Monday, November 7, 2011

Autumn Images

This image isn't gray-scaled, but certainly appears to be.  Cold light on Lake Murray.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ladies and Gentleman, I present George.

George, I suspect (based upon the recommendation of my friend who shall be known for now as Red Kettle)  is a Red-Eared Slider.  I don't know his age, but he is rather young and very adorable.  It seems that he patrols the house boats and marina shore, but nearly always stops by my boat when he hears music.  Today, that station is my favorite station in the world, WMVY from Martha's Vineyard. (

Although not in his regular diet, (also noted by Red Kettle) Vermont aged cheddar, is clearly his favorite.  It is also the favorite of the myriad of fish that try to steel his cheese.  George is rather punchy and doesn't take lightly to having his cheese stolen, unabashedly chasing fish three or four times his size.

Today, for the first time, George climbed aboard my foot for a late-morning snack.

I think I love him. 

The View From Down Under

I realize this pic is rather slurry, but I wanted to share the color of the water with you.  Cool, huh?

Misc. Pics

Mynrva and The State newspaper.

Serious downsizing, living on a boat


Christine Johnson has been doling out the artwork she owns, asking friends to hang favorite pieces in their homes so she can visit them.
Paintings are the one thing she has a tough time doing without.
This summer, Johnson, 42, is downsizing from a loft apartment in downtown Columbia to a 350-square-foot pontoon boat she has restored on Lake Murray.

She can’t bring herself to sell her artwork.
Everything else is expendable.

She has to cull her professional clothes to three or four suits. That’s all that will fit in the closet.
A gourmet cook, she’s keeping the wok but getting rid of the KitchenAid mixer and Le Creuset pots.
When she considers buying something, she said, she’s guided by one issue: “Where am I going to put it?”
Her boat, she said, has become “an expression of me and my values and what matters.”
Johnson is a South Carolina native who moved back here about a year ago.

Before that, she was Rep. Christine Johnson, a state legislator in Utah, doing something she loved in a place she no longer wanted to be.  Her relationship with her partner had dissolved. She had just had a baby, as a surrogate mother, for two friends who are gay. Her daughter was moving away to college.
She found herself in a midlife crisis — 10 years early.

And so she decided to come home for a job as director of S.C. Equality, an organization advocating for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, addressing the bias she has learned to confront.
Life on the lake provides freedom, tranquility, simplicity.

In February, Johnson found a place in Camden she thought she might want to buy. It had four acres and a pond. But the thought of furnishing such a large home “made me feel really heavy,” she said.
She shook off the feeling and went online to find a rowboat for the pond; she could envision herself reading the New York Times in a rowboat, she said.
What she found was a pontoon boat — cheap, small, rough — and a big project.
She decided to become one of the small group of people who live on a boat on Lake Murray, a group so small census-takers don’t take note.
“It felt healthier and lighter to live with less,” she said. “To be more conscientious about my role as a consumer. And I thought, ‘This could be really fun.’”
The boat didn’t have a motor. Its flat roof leaked.
“It was just a mess, a mess, an utter mess.”
The owner was asking $4,500. Johnson offered $2,250.
And then she set to work, learning how to do electrical work and plumbing, lay carpet and set tile.
She gutted the inside and hired a contractor to put on a roof.
“Part of taking on something that was a risk was having the opportunity to learn things I don’t know,” she said.
This past week, the boat was finished, for the most part.

Carl Sundius, who owns the marina where Johnson is docked, sometimes fixes up boats to resell. But he said the pontoon boat Johnson bought was too big a project for him.
“She’s tough,” Sundius said. “She did it. It’s turning around really nice.”
Johnson figures she has $7,000 in the boat she named “Mynrva.” She probably needs to invest an additional $1,000 on furnishings and storage.
That would leave her with an $8,000 home, along with plenty of money to travel — Thailand is her next dream destination — and to pay for daughter Olivia’s college education.

“I just had to stop and reprioritize,” Johnson said, “because my daughter has been my priority and, finally, I’m living with a degree of freedom I haven’t known for 20 years.”
She enjoys having a “dock family” who shares an affinity for the lake — people who come aboard with a beer, sit down to share a story or two. Folks take turns visiting each other, she said.
“At night, it’s really very still, but every now and then, there’ll be a little bit of a rock, and that’s lovely,” she said. “I don’t think we can deny: We grow up in an aquatic environment until we’re born.”
Johnson gets up early, makes coffee and watches as “the light starts dancing and animal life becomes more active.” Geese, turtles and fish live off the bow. Here, she is a little more connected to her natural environment.

For Johnson, the serenity of lake life provides balance. “The more our lives have been ramped up into making money, and work, and stress, and all this stuff, maybe the more we seek that balance.”
She has found her boat is just enough.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Comments on Contractors

Well, it's been a while and for good reason.  Part of posting on the boat is actually having progress on which to report.  I've gone through two contractors who although well-intended have not really held up to their ends of the bargain.

The bedroom is pretty well done, with the exception of sun-proofing the windows.  I've replaced the air-conditioner, refinished the shower, replaced carpet in the sleeping area and addressed the needs of both decks.

 Plumbing has been an adventure.  I'm happy to report that the plumbing which I replaced is leak free...the remaining original plumbing is not leak-free and so Joe, the plumber at Lowe's and I are becoming well-acquainted.

Affectionate-friend, Nikki (that's what I like to call her) has been keeping me company, well hydrated with Heineken-light, and lending a hand.  My mother's friend, Dana popped on board and helped out in exchange for several beers (beer is both a wonderful motivator and troublesome sedative).

So here are a few pics and now that progress is once again being made, I promise to post more frequently.

House boat party second weekend in June.  Mark your calendars!

Bedroom with walls up and windows trimmed out.

Paint and an Oil Pastel up. 

Dana helping with the front deck.

Front complete!  WooHoo!!

Thanks to my WONDERFUL Mother, Toni for the teak chairs!  They are perfect!!