cartoon by Carla Barrett

cartoon by Carla Barrett

This week, America celebrates National Adoption Day to focus attention on children who need a forever family. These children are often born into situations not of their own making. They are the innocent participants of choices their biological parents make- or don’t make.

Grandparents of a child born into difficult circumstances have a decision to make. They can choose to ignore the child and situation completely, pretending the birth never happened. Or, they may proactively intervene to protect an innocent child from harm.

My husband, Joe, and I chose to intervene and do whatever it took to protect our darling grandson, Ethan, now age 3 1/2. We have cared for Ethan from birth, and then took steps to become his legal guardians. Once you have been the legal guardian for 2 years in our particular state (California), you may then petition for adoption, if you so choose.  We hired an adoption specialist attorney and filed last July.

On November 17, 2014, the Court finalized our adoption of Ethan, and I am so happy to announce this event publicly. He is such a wonderful blessing to Joe and I, and we love him so much! Below are some favorite photos of Ethan taken this year:



Joe and I look forward to raising Ethan and providing for him a safe, stable, loving home environment in the years to come.    I hope you have enjoyed our adoption announcement and meeting Ethan.    Hugs, Carla

BVI and Back Home

Virgin Gorda Sound sunsetBack home from our wonderful vacation in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

We decided to introduce our grandson, Ethan, to the joys of bareboat chartering, which is when you charter a sailboat and crew it yourselves.

We had a wonderful time!  After two days of travel, we arrived at the catamaran we had chartered, a new Lagoon 40 named Tequila.  If you read my last post here, then you remember we were expecting a 38 Lagoon, but due to unforeseen circumstances, namely that the owner of the 38 foot boat ran it on a reef, so the company substituted a larger, newer catamaran.  Nice!

bvitequilaOnce we left the marina, we  headed to Virgin Gorda Sound to spend the first night at Leverick Bay before also visiting Saba Rock, The Bitter End, and Prickly Pear Island.  The photo, above, was taken in Virgin Gorda Sound at sunset.

Next stop, Marina Cay.  By this time, Ethan had discovered that there is a trampoline on the front of the catamaran that is perfect for 3 year old boys to bounce on.  Also, the cabin top is perfect for climbing, as shown in the pictures taken below:



We spent our time sailing, swimming, snorkeling, building sand castles on the beach and hiking.   We also had fun feeding fish off the back of the boat, too.  On one day’s sail, we had gusts over 40 knots, which was skill building.  Ethan’s favorite place on the trip was the hike to the Bubbling/ly Pool on Jost Van Dyke.  Here is a picture from an earlier trip:

bubblingpool Ethan loved to climb on the small rocks on the right, and play in the smaller pools.  This place is amazing, it feels like nature’s jacuzzi!

We met lots of fun, engaging people during our trip.  Some were bareboat chartering like us, some hired their own crew for their vacation, a few also had children, and a couple were staying on different island resorts.  When we returned Tequila back to the charter company, we had the pleasure to meet a lovely Canadian couple who were just getting ready to cruise the BVI and USVI for several months in their Lagoon 40, 40 Below.  A quick shout out to Ron and Barb:  Have a great trip, and thanks again for the ride to the ferry dock!

Colorful signs at Marina Cay, BVI

Colorful signs at Marina Cay, BVI

The trip home took two long days, and at San Francisco airport I lost a small carry on that I am hoping will be found.  In it was my iPhone, prescriptions, two pairs of prescription eyeglasses and my new underwater Canon camera, which also has all my vacation pictures and videos.  Everything can be replaced but the vacation pictures and videos, so keeping my fingers crossed that an honest person found my case and turned it in.  I filed a formal report last night and placed a message on my locked iPhone using a wonderful app called “Find my iPhone.”

Losing a bag, while upsetting, cannot dim the wonderful memories of our trip.  How fortunate we are to be able to travel to exotic, tropical locations.  We are truly blessed!

Hugs from Carla

Tropical Dreams

Picture this….warm turquoise water, white sand beaches, coral and tropical aquarium underwater views through my snorkeling mask.

Or how about this…. the sails filled with wind on a beam reach as the catamaran sailboat glides effortlessly through the water towards the island shore.

380That will be our reality shortly when we bareboat charter a catamaran in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) again.  Joe, Ethan and I will be flying to St. Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands, then boarding a ferry to the island of Tortola in the BVI.  A cab ride from the ferry dock to the east side of Tortola, and we will board the Lagoon 380 catamaran, which is a double-hulled sailboat (see picture, above).  Here is the layout of the boat, shown right:

Lagoon380saloonAs sailboats go, it is quite spacious, especially when compared to a monohull sailboat.  You have a main salon, consisting of a kitchen, dining table, and navigation station.

lagoon380_2You also have several staterooms, here is a typical view of one, shown below.

I have lost count of how many bareboat charters we have done.  A charter is considered a “bareboat” when you act in the capacity as captain and crew.  In this case, that would be Joe and I.  Ethan will be wearing a special offshore Personal Floatation  Device (PFD) and tether for safety while underway.  You would be surprised how often we get asked about how we keep 3 year old Ethan safe while sailing, especially when we are both busy at the helm and raising sails, anchoring or picking up a mooring ball.

bvibeachThis trip will be our way of introducing Ethan to a more extended sailing.  Previously, he has only experienced day sails on our current sailboat, SV Sea Glass, an O’Day 23.  We will soon be selling our O’Day 23 and  purchasing a much larger sailboat in early 2015, a bluewater cruiser sailboat about 42-49 feet in size.



Marina Cay, BVI

Chartering in the BVI is fun, relaxing, and there is lots to do and see.  You wake up in the morning and decide where you want to sail and do that day. Above is a map of the island group that makes up the BVI.  I plan to do a lot of snorkeling, sailing, beachcombing, and swimming during our trip.   Watch for my trip report when I get back!   Fair Winds, Carla

Love My Camera!

Haven’t been posting as much as usual, so I thought I would check in and say hello.  Been busy playing learning my new camera.  For Christmas, Santa brought me a wonderful new creative item- a Canon 6D:

404_canon_6d_slant-1024x874I took my first photography class back in high school, using a 35 mm Minolta camera.  My last photography class was when digital imaging was offered at a local college, and I used a 2.5 megapixel camera at the time.  It was more a class on learning Photoshop than anything, so I have to teach myself how to work the new EOS camera and settings.  In other words, I am a newbie.

I did take some fun images so far.  Yesterday, I captured this image of my dear sweet granddaughter, Kate, while at big brother Jack’s 6th birthday party at a pizza place (not Chuck e Cheese- this place had wonderful pizza):

photo by Carla Barrett

photo by Carla Barrett

Kate had just finished her yummy chocolate chocolate chip gelato, and was watching her brother open his presents.  The blue painted wall presented a great backdrop for the image, and it has not been photoshop edited, cropped or changed, this is straight out of the camera.

I look forward to learning more about photography.  My uncle Cliff, a wonderful photographer, tells me that I should practice, practice, practice, and take LOTS of pictures.  Boy, does that sound familiar?  It is exactly what I tell my machine quilting students who are learning to freehand quilt.

So… why photography?  It has always been an interest, but after my photo shoot last year with professional photographer Lauren Jaye, I knew I really wanted a good EOS camera to work and learn with.  Plus, I want to capture images of what I make and create, too.

If any serious hobbyist or professionals stumble on this post, what advice would you give a new hobbyist photographer?   Until later……  Carla

Ada the Kitty

Many blog readers may remember that when I write about my youngest son, now an adult, I mention that he has autism.  He lives nearby us in a small apartment, with lots of support from parents and his independent living worker.   Many people on the spectrum relate better to animals than people.  Joseph happens to loves cats.

We had loaned him our favorite kitty, Oscar, as a therapy pet.    Here is a picture of Oscar:

  • oscar

Unfortunately, about 3 months ago, Oscar went missing.  We were devastated, searched in vain; but Joseph took it especially hard as Oscar was his companion and only friend.

A few weeks ago, a starving stray showed up at Joseph’s front door, meowing.  We think the kitty had been dumped, as it did not act feral, just hungry and thin.  Joseph took this sweet calico kitty in, and named her “Ada” in honor of the first woman programmer, Ada Lovelace.  He has showered Ada with love and affection- who in turn is warm and affectionate back.

Ada is the sweetest kitty, we fell in love with her, too.  Then, one day we get a phone call from Joseph.  He thinks Ada was very pregnant.   Uh-Oh.  All my pets gets spayed and neutered, so I forget that other pet owners are not as responsible.   Now I think the owner may have dumped Ada rather than deal with baby kittens.

Last night, Ada gave birth to 3 5 healthy baby kittens.  One kitten is spoken for, so we only have to find good homes for 2  4 kittens.  Ada will remain an indoor cat until the vet spays her at the proper time.

Pictures to follow…..

Happy Anniversary Musings

Wow!  Today, Joe and I are celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary, and I must say it only feels like 10 years have gone by rather than 30.   Joe is still the love of my life, my best friend and confidant- all rolled up in one!  How wonderful to be able to say that after 30 years, I would remarry him in a heartbeat…. if we were not already married.

We look forward to many years together still.  Raising Ethan, spending quality time with the grandkids, retirement eventually, travel still to come, sailboat trips; all are future adventures waiting to be shared together.   We are truly blessed!


Happy 4th!

To all the US blog readers, a happy 4th of July to you.  We are spending time with family, barbequing, fireworks, a very traditional 4th for my family.  What are you doing if you celebrate the 4th of July?

Grandson Jack spent the night last night!  Jack is now 3, and fun to be around.  He is very funny, and love all the toys I have saved or bought for the grandkids.

Ok, I will admit that I go a little crazy getting toys for the grandchildren room….  Being the bargain shopper that I am, I would say that most of it I picked up at the thrift store.  My local thrift store has a lot of Little Tikes toys, and other name brand toys.  Of course, you have to wash off the Thrift Store cooties first, before letting the kids play.

Any other bargain toy shoppers out there?

PS: if you are looking for the Class Registration info for the class starting next week, just scroll down.  Thanks!  I look forward to a wonderful class!


New Family Member!

Meet Sarge, our new dog:

Sarge was in need of a good home.  He is 6 years old, very sweet, and just wants to be loved.  That we will gladly do!

If you read my blog regularly, then you might remember that my previous dog, Rex, went missing, then we found his body on the ranch.  We were very sad as we had loved him for 12+ years.  It took well over a year, but now we have a new dog again.


Oreo Update

This update is for those of you following the story of the sweet little black and white cat named Oreo, who  became badly injured after seeking warmth by sleeping in the engine area of a car.   At least this is the Vet’s theory based on the cat’s injuries.  The owner of the cat is disabled, and does not have the resources to pay for the cat’s care, so my dear husband (DH) is paying for all the treatment.

This weekend, Oreo’s back leg was amputated, and now he has recovered enough to be discharged later today.  DH Joe will drive Oreo back to the owner, who lives in the next town over, but I think he is going to offer to adopt this sweet 3 legged feline.  We feel that Oreo should be an indoor cat and will need follow up care.  I will let you know whether we get a new kitty or not.

Thank you for all the wonderful comments about what my husband did.  He is a great guy, a very kind man, and feels he is just doing the right thing and not anything special.  In fact, he doesn’t know I have written 2 posts now about his kindness- and would be embarrassed to learn I did.

Back to my quilting studio now.  I am almost finished with the Kimono quilt for Barb, just need to finish up some curved crosshatching and SID, and I am done!   Hugs from Carla




Oreo The Cat

Earlier this week, one evening, we received a phone call about an injured kitty named Oreo.  The owner lives on disability and had no car  or way to take Oreo to the emergency veterinarian.

My husband dropped everything and drove Oreo to the after hours emergency vet.  This poor cat, only about a year old,  had somehow gotten into a neighbor’s car (fan belt area) and fell asleep.  At least that is what the vet thinks.

Later that evening, we received a call from the emergency vet.  He said the kitty needs his back leg amputated it was so badly mangled.  Oreo had other injuries, too, including his front paw, which possibly sustained nerve damage.  Anyhow, the after-hours vet said that in the morning, Oreo would need to go to the usual vet office for treatment.

The next morning, my husband picked up Oreo and drove him over to our family vet for treatment.  Initially, they thought they could save his leg, but it became much worse.  Time for a decision…. euthanize Oreo or amputate his leg?  My good-hearted husband chose amputation,  saying that Oreo had such a sweet temperament.   Despite his injuries, Oreo was purring and very affectionate.

You may ask why my husband is making all the decisions when Oreo is not our cat?  It is because he knew the owner couldn’t afford the vet care, and really wasn’t in a financial or social position to even have a cat.  So, he is paying for all of Oreo’s vet bills, including emergency hospital care, a week or more of board and care, plus the surgery.  My DH is such a kind man, it touches my heart just how kind.  What is amazing is that my DH thinks he is doing nothing special, just doing the “right thing” for the situation.

Update:  Yesterday, we received a call to learn that Oreo came through the surgery just fine.  That is good news!  I will keep you updated about this now 3 -legged kitty.  Oh yes, the front paw that had some nerve damage initially?  Oreo is now moving it normally, too.

I promise to keep you posted about Oreo.