Friday, May 29, 2009

old fashioned okole whuppin'

Last night was the second paddling practice I've attended, and this time it got good. We were out for nearly 2 hours (in gorgeous weather on Lake Union and Lake Washington) and by the end of the time all I was thinking about was making it back to the beach. M asked me later how far we'd paddled. I have no idea. 50 miles? 75? Probably something like 2 is more realistic.

The experience made me realize that last week's paddle was more akin to the Waikiki paddles that the beachboys (used to -- do they still?) take tourists out on. It's all about having a little fun, dipping the paddles in some water, and not huli-ing the boat (turning it over). I felt last week's paddle a bit, but it felt good -- tired in a good way.

I feel last night's paddle a lot more, in my back and shoulders and arms and neck, and yet it still felt good. Except for the lower back, the aching is good. And some ice later today should help the lower back.

Like last week, I was in a canoe with 4 others (one empty seat). Unlike last week, where we did a minimum of focus on technique, yesterday was primarily about technique. And the technique was taught by a woman (last week the steers person was a man). She focused on helping us get more efficient and on learning the basics of paddling -- it's primarily done with the back and legs rather than with the arms. As she pointed out, the arm muscles are small, the back and abdomen and leg muscles are big. Makes sense to use the big muscles, yeah?

I liked the focus. It makes sense to me to learn proper technique and let the conditioning and the strength aspects come as I work at technique. As she said last night, different paddlers have slightly different techniques, but good paddlers are able to adjust to the techniques of others when they sit in a boat with people using those other techniques.

I'd like to be flexible, to be able to adjust to the style of whatever boat I'm in. I'd also like to get to the point where I have my own technique, fit for my body and my limitations, but it seems like a good goal to be able to jump into another boat and make a contribution rather than a negative impact, and because coordination and synchronization are key to success in paddling an OC-6, being able to contribute rests in large part on being able to blend in with the rest of the crew.

I also got the go-ahead to start coming on Tues and Sat. "As long as you don't mind sore muscles," they said. Well, that's largely what I'm going for, to get the good workouts, so I'm excited to get out on the water more frequently.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

definition: assoholic

Addicted to being a jerk, especially if claiming "just trying to be funny."

Sure, you can stop acting like that, any time you want.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

7 year itch?

7 years. In that time there have been 2 girls born, 4 countries visited, 2 layoffs, 1 parent gone, 3 basement floors, numerous other house projects and yard projects. Lots of laughing, a bit of crying, confusion, clarity, and just about every other feeling/emotion/reaction you can imagine. It's been a great time, with more fun and happiness than I probably deserve, but I'll take it undeserved.

It's gone by in a blink but also feels like a long time ago that we got married.

Last night we had a date, a real date for the first time since L was born. Chez Shea in grownup clothes. A relaxed dinner without concerns about the girls, courtesy of our neighbor who loves both girls and is willing to spend her night reading in our kitchen so that we can have some one-on-one time.

I've been wondering where that itch is, that 7 year itch. Don't feel it, haven't felt any inkling. I guess I'm not going to worry about it.

Happy anniversary my love. Thank you for the balance, and the grounding. And thank you for every day.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Hup.... ho!

Last week I spent my Thursday evening paddling an outrigger canoe for the first time since high school, and I discovered that in spite of the stiff back and the unused muscles, in spite of the badly coordinated crew of novices (myself included), I had a great time. I'm looking forward to this week's novice practice -- every Thursday night for... I'm not sure how long.

I'd love to get out on the water more often than 1 day per week, but I also understand and accept that as beginners we novices have to put in our time and prove our serious interest. We also have to build a level of ability that will allow us to join a more experienced boat without greatly impacting their efficiency and capabilities.

I'm not sure how long that will take, nor how many of us who turned out last week (we had more than a boat's worth of novices, but some decided not to paddle) will continue to show up, but I intend to and hope to make it a regular part of my week.

The last time I was in an outrigger, we were paddling in Kahului harbor, a motley crew of Seabury students, none of whom had spent much time in an outrigger. I remember paddling in the #1 position, due mostly to my long reach and swimmer's shoulders. I also remember Eric Frederickson paddling in the canoe. I wonder what he's up to these days? His parents had a trimaran (catamaran?) in Maalaea Harbor and he was an ocean guy of the sort I envied and looked up to. Was he going to be a marine biologist? I'm not sure. I'm also not sure of any of these memories (except the bits about paddling in Kahului harbor -- we probably did that 3 or 4 different times). But it's fun to think about.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

small kid time, part 1 (water memories)

A couple of memories that came to me while I stood on the deck of the King County Water Taxi during my morning commute:

1) swimming in the stream at Kahakuloa Village after a hike.... we were in jeans and muddy t-shirts and splashing among the slippery rocks and it doesn't seem to me that it was just family. But I don't remember much more than this. And being deliriously happy about it.

2) swimming in the ocean just off the rocks at Keanae. There was a swell that caused some surge, and this is when I learned that if the water is pushing you into the rocks, you swim out. You can use the upsurge to lift you out onto the rocks if you're ready, but if you're not ready, you back off so you aren't smashed into the lava. I remember being deliriously happy this time too, happy that I was able to splash in the refreshing salty water, happy that I was big enough to do what the other kids were doing, happy that I was there right then.

That's it. One fresh water memory, one salt, both somehow key moments in my pre-8yo world. I think I'm turning these sorts of things over in my mind because I'm watching the girls grow into awareness and enjoying that experience trememdously, while also wishing they were growing up in a place with warm water and more sunshine... in short, wishing they were growing up on Maui (but Maui back when agriculture was king and tourism was a small bit of the bigger picture).

There was a moment, when I was in college on the east coast and visiting NYC with friends, when a friend turned to me and said "man, you're a real hick!" I argued against it, but slowly the realization sunk in that they were absolutely correct. I grew up in a small town (that small town happened to be an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but...) and was comfortable with farm animals, with irrigation ditches and dogs running free, with tractors on the road and wind-blown dust at harvest time, with rodeos and barns. Hell, I drove a tractor for a summer (and unloaded pineapple trucks for another couple of summers).

I grew up a country hick. At least at last I know.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

mother's day - 2009

It's Sunday, 5/10/09, and it's also sunny, something that hasn't happened around here that much. So while I'm inside typing, M and K are outside planting plants and enjoying the sunshine. And L is napping upstairs. Both she and K are badly in need of good naps, given that they've been short on sleep the last couple of days.

Oh, yeah, it's also mother's (mothers' ?) day.

I have mixed feelings about the day. It feels like a "hallmark card" day in a lot of ways. A made-up day for which we're supposed to consume like good Americans: buy buy buy, show your love.... On the other hand, I'm all for mothers. I have one, and my wife is one, and they're both wonderful women. But as I told M yesterday, I tend to think about all she does as a mother on the birthdays of our girls (and virtually every second between! Of course!!).

I think I was scarred for mother's day some years back when, after years and years of believing my mom and I were on the same page with regard to mother's day, she out of the blue said something that was roughly "you could have called on mother's day." Until this point we'd had an understanding (I thought) that it was a greeting card holiday and that I would acknowledge her immense contributions to the person I am in other ways.

Now I try to call her on mother's day. (She was out this year, so I left a message.)

Happy day, all you mothers.