Friday, May 28, 2010

aloha friday spam: ...einie menie miney moe...

subject lines: (various)

I suppose this is the sort of "good problem" we face here in the U.S. of A.:

So many choices, so little time

Tell me, how does one choose between "Authorized," "Official" (copyrighted!), and "Approved?"

Note: I'm kind of assuming that RX-Store had a similar offer, but I confess I didn't open the message. Why bother when there are 3 other solid ones?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

photo thursday : I'm a goin' fishin'...

series: where I live

I took this a couple of years ago, down at Seacrest Park in West Seattle. It was a lucky convergence of people, light, and fog....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

paddling: ... we're goin' places....

Tuesday was the 1st anniversary of my first paddling post and in honor of that I'm going to do another paddling post right now, even though I've already done today's post.

Tuesday night I did an awesome workout with DougM in the club OC2. And by "awesome" I don't mean so much that I performed awesomely as I mean that the workout was long and nearly continuous and it kicked my butt and I'm stiff this morning and I'm thrilled with how it went. And, looking back at that original post, pleased with my progress over the year.

The last few weeks I've done a fair amount of OC2 paddles with DougM for various reasons (DougN is out of town, not enough folks showed up last Thursday....). Last week Tuesday we did an OC2 workout (w/ DougN in his OC1) in choppy water and windy conditions, heading toward but not reaching I90. That was 11.65m in 1h50m. And then Thursday we did a workout in very strong southwest winds which meant we stuck to Lake Union and the ship canal and still got in 13 miles in just over 2 hours.

So last week was windy, but Tuesday afternoon it was calm, and as I left I had this exchange with M and the girls:

me: I think it's going to be an I90 day.
M (joking): Oh no!
K: Why 'oh no?'
L: Why no?
M: Your dad is going to do a hard workout tonight.
L: Daddy, you going paddling?
me: Yup. It'll be fun.
K: Sometimes I want to go paddling with you.
me: Yeah, we will. It'll be fun.
L: And I want to go paddling sometime with you!
me: I know. We'll do it.
L: But we not fall in the water.
me: Probably not.
L: Because it cold. And dirty.
K: Can we watch a Saddle Club?
me (kissing various cheeks and ducking out the door): Bye! Good luck!

I got to the beach as Doug drove up and getting out of my car I said, "I90?" and Doug said "At least!"

The water was smooth and there were few boats out and we warmed up to Portage Bay before starting our first 30 minute segment. And then we paddled. And paddled. Through the cut. East to the 520 bridge. South. Past kayakers and a man sailing in a cat boat. Moving through the water at a regular pace.

My back hurt on the right side, reminding me of the major pain I'd had there on Thursday, a result of compensating for the very choppy conditions (protecting the ama to prevent a huli). I tried to rotate as much as possible and focused on staying in sync with Doug and on getting a good catch at the start of my stroke. My body felt somewhat tight, but we were moving.

At some point we reached our first 1min break and I drank water. And then we started again and cruised past Leschi and the west shore, approaching I90 and going under it, past it, continuing south. We kept going toward the Y dock. And past the Y dock, heading for Stan Sayres Park. Still in our second 30 minute piece. At the park we rounded a buoy there and started north again and were a couple minutes into it before that 30 ended and we got our next 1 minute rest. We'd done 7+ miles in 1h13m.

When we started again I was feeling pretty good. My back isn't what you'd call "flexible" and it takes a good deal of time for me to start feeling warmed up. But I was finally feeling stretched, no longer hurting on the right as I paddled left. I yelled up that I was finally "warmed up" and Doug laughed. Warmed up after 7 miles. And we paddled.

Past the cat boat again, past 2 dragon boats, both of which we went near and exchanged hellos with. Then later past another. And past the 2 kayakers we'd passed going south. Approaching 520 again, pulling hard, trying to stay in sync with Doug. No wakes, no swells to ride, but no chop or confused water either.

One last break before the final 30 minutes.

Then it was a push west toward the cut and through the cut into Portage Bay, almost to the University Bridge before we were done with that last segment! Not quite under the bridge, but less than 50 feet from it.

I was exhausted, but in the best possible way. It felt like we'd been moving pretty well. And I liked that I'd been able to keep strong the entire time. I focused on my stroke technique and on pushing off my legs as I pulled the canoe up to each planted paddle.

We paddled back to the beach where I stumbled ashore as we carried the canoe back to the cradle.

Final stats: 15.82mi in 2h21m.

The farthest south I've been in an OC2
(and farther than any other time except the Around Mercer Island race)

Average speed: 6.7mph
(new goal: a workout averaging 7mph)

I'm fairly certain this was the longest paddle I've ever done. Certainly the longest straight paddle. I did the SSP Changeout race last year, but that was about 24 miles and I figure I only paddled 1/2 of that. So 15+ miles feels significant.

family: ...take a chance, take a chance on....

.... whatever you want!

I've been thinking a lot about how we end up doing the things we end up doing. Like working as a technical writer. And paddling outrigger canoes in Seattle.

I think this particular flavor of introspection has to do with me watching the girls and wondering what they'll end up doing (not to mention wondering what it is I'll be doing when I grow up!). And stressing that they haven't yet figured it out. I mean, K is already 4, going on 4 1/4. Isn't it time she "kid up" and make a commitment to some sort of career? And L, at 2.5, still looks to her sister for guidance. I try to tell her that she won't be able to do that for the rest of her life.

me: Are you girls going to come outside with me and the dog?
K (distracted with her new pullups): silence
L (looking to her sister): K, we going outthide? You have pullupth on? Daddy, I want pullupth!
me: You have a diaper. You don't need pullups. Do you want to go outside with me?
L: I. Want. Pull. Upth!
dog (watching the stellar's jays from the kitchen door): BARK!!! BARK!!!!

My thinking has to do, too, with a sense that I'm not doing my "life's work" at the moment, and wondering how that impacts the family.

Sample dialog from just about any evening:

M: How was work?
me: Uh... fine.
M: ....

It probably would play out exactly the same way if I was passionate about my work, right?

On the other hand, things aren't horrible. I like to write, and that's what they pay me for at work. I'm just not going home at night to read about summary tasks....

So, on to a specific example. Let's see, how about I illustrate using outrigger paddling?

Another sunny day in Seattle
(at least it's not raining)
(that's me, 2nd from the left)

When you think about it, outrigger canoe paddling is a pretty odd sport. Unless you're a Pacific Islander.

The canoe itself is a strange craft. It's got an ama (outrigger) off to the left, which provides stability on that side, but the whole contraption can be pretty unstable if you shift too far to the right. Lean left all you want, pull up a 200lb ulua on that side, dive off on the left to harvest opihi, no problem. Lean right and... whoops, face, meet water.

Digression: this whole flipping thing is routinely called a "huli" which in Hawaiian means turn over. Huli huli chicken is a standard fundraising food, usually cooked over 1/2 of a 55 gallon can that probably contained petrochemical products or pesticides, cooked by turning the chicken over and over and over.... thus, huli huli chicken. So people talk about a canoe huli-ing, or flipping over. But recently I've seen several references claiming that this is not the correct term. I can't say if that's true. But I can speak from experience that when your canoe hulis in the Columbia River, it's kind of cold and, well, wet.

In other words, the outrigger canoe a crazy craft, and more so here in the Pacific Northwest where the water is about 30 degrees colder than back home. There are design reasons why Hawaiians (and others) came up with the single outrigger, but I'm not sure how practical it is for Seattle.

And yet I've ended up paddling here, and I'm loving it. Even though I'm sitting in a narrow, somewhat unstable canoe that should be cruising along the Kohala coast on 74 degree water in 74 degree air, blinking through snow flurries and cold driving rain. On paper it doesn't make sense, but somehow in person, it does.

Probably because:
  • I love being on the water.
  • I love being physical in a way that allows me to push my body (and swimming was no longer an option due to shoulder issues).
  • And I love the connections paddling gives me to Hawaii and Hawaiian culture.

The key though is this: I never would have figured out how much I love it by thinking about it. There are too many reasons why it doesn't make sense. Maybe back home, but not here. In other words, in order to really know, I had to try it.

And that is my lesson to myself: there are all kinds of reasons and ways to convince myself that something doesn't make sense, that it won't work out or is stupid to pursue. Reasons that may not be valid.

So, K&L, don't close yourself off to options. Don't imagine you can think things through and figure out what makes sense without going out and getting 40 degree water down your neoprene pants (so to speak).

More than anything else, I want you both to feel free to try things, no matter how crazy, no matter how little them "make sense." Don't settle for thinking things through, because you know what, your intellectual justifications may well be full of crap.

ps: Happy 8th, M! I'm looking forward to another 20 or 40....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

family : ...I started a joke....

it's celebrity double tuesday!

Easter morning. We're into the candy!

Casual Dress Sunday
(that's chocolate around her mouth!)

(no caption needed)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

family: ...A he nani maoli no*

I've been listening to the "Brown Gabby" album, and I wanted to talk a bit about it because this particular album is a very important one to me. For several reasons.

Gabby Pahinui is one of the seminal 20th century Hawaiian musicians and entertainers. He played music beginning shortly after WWII, largely as a pedal steel guitarist, but was "rediscovered" during the Hawaiian cultural renaissance in the early 1970s, and .... rather than go any further into it, I'll just link to wikipedia. (Somehow it seems fitting that wikipedia is named after a Hawaiian word.)

But about the "Brown Gabby" album, sort of:

My parents both enjoyed Hawaiian music and Dad especially liked to play ukulele and sing. He (and Mom) participated in a "Hawaiian Sing" group, friends who gathered regularly to play and sing Hawaiian music (and drink, I suspect). It was something I was vaguely aware of as a kid, and I heard plenty of Hawaiian music at home, but by junior high when I was playing the guitar a lot, I was a typical teen and not particularly interested in Hawaiian music, especially old music ("old" = stuff my dad was interested in). So even as my skills on the guitar increased, and even as Dad tried to spend time with me by inviting me to join him at Hawaiian Sing when I was visiting on Oahu, I had no desire. And so I never did.

Just writing that makes me a bit sad.

It's one of those things I kick myself for now. Partly because by junior year in high school, spending time with friends, visiting regularly in Hana and getting more direct exposure to island culture, I grew to appreciate and love the music. And partly because, what a wonderful opportunity to share with my dad what we both loved! They say school is wasted on the young. I think sometimes parents are too, especially if parents aren't around for long. Dad died in 1996, and I had grown up enough by that point to thank him for some of the many things he did for me, but this wasn't one of them. At least not adequately. I do know he appreciated hearing me pick up his ukulele and noodle around on it during my last visits with him in Kamuela. Dad, I appreciate those offers now, though you never would have known it at the time....

I'm getting sidetracked.

"Brown Gabby:"

First, it's "Brown Gabby" in quotes because that's not the official name of the album. I think it may simply be "Gabby." And it was mostly brown (see the picture above). Sort of like "The Beatles" is known as "The White Album." Sort of.

Second, it's an album I "discovered" in 1977 but which had come out in 1972. (Here's what Amazon says about it: The album was instrumental in beginning a resurgence in native Hawaiian music upon it's release in 1972. ) Which is about the time I was discovering the Rolling Stones and listening to a lot of Beatles and Bob Dylan and not especially aware of things Hawaiian, except through unavoidable exposure in our home, an exposure that, in retrospect, I am grateful for.

I loved the Brown Gabby album, once I'd found it, and I played it a lot for the next few years. I took it to college in Colorado and Providence and carried it back home when I returned. Then I moved to Seattle and I brought it with me here as well....

Then in 1995, during a particularly difficult time in my life, when I was living alone in a small, dark and cold house in Madison Valley, miserable and feeling especially sorry for myself, Mom mailed me a CD of one of my favorite Hawaiian albums. I think she did it on a whim, knowing how much I was hurting, and wanting to someway let me know things would get better. And they have. Immeasurably better. But just getting that album meant so much to me. I'm not sure she realizes it (which makes me think that I probably didn't adequately communicate this to her), but it felt like a life saver at the time. Here was music that took me back to the sunshine and warmth and comfort of Maui, back to local rodeos in Hana and sleepouts in Makena and hikes through the crater and body surfing and being with high school friends I could count on and who mattered to me. Talk about a lift!

Imagine a lonely local boy, feeling abandoned in dreary Seattle, getting an unexpected package in the mail, a package containing this album. I treasured it, as much for the circumstances in which I got it as for the music on it. It brought a lot of sunshine during those dark months, and though I don't listen to it every day, when I do listen to it, it reminds me of both my parents: Dad for his love of Hawaiian music and his passing that love on to me, and Mom for somehow knowing this particular album could take care of me at a time when few things could. And it reminds me that the worst of times are transitory, and that better things are coming.

It also makes me think ahead and hope that I remember during the tough teenage years that the girls may actually look back and think about things they got from me, from us, and be grateful. And I hope that I'm tuned in to my daughters enough to sense when they might need a small surprise, arriving unexpectedly to bring a little light into the present darkness.

Thanks Mom and Dad!
Wedding reception
Halekulani, 1952
(looking so, so young)

* this phrase is from Royal Hawaiian Hotel, a song on the Brown Gabby album, and means, roughly, "true beauty"

And, if you're a glutton for punishment, here are a couple of links to earlier posts about my parents (nothing that adequately captures all they did and have done, nor all I feel about them, but what the hell....:

-- Dad and Dad

-- Mom and Mom

Friday, May 21, 2010

aloha friday spam: ... i must have missed that episode...

subject line: Bark Off - As Seen on TV

I'm picturing my yard full of naked trees and it ain't a pretty picture!

Then I open the message and it turns out it's about dogs barking. Oh....

Things to note:
  • I get 2 for the price of 1.... why will I need 2? Is it going to break that quickly? Or are you assuming that once I stop that annoying, incessant barking, I'll finally want a second dog?
  • It's "painless" for the dog.... hmm... right. So it convinces her to stop by positive reinforcement?
  • When, exactly, was this "on TV" for me to see?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

photo thursday: ...go to sleep little babe...

... daddy's comatose and mama's nearly so,
go to sleep little babe....

L, in her mama's arms
(note: old photo from last spring, but the
sentiment is current)
me (walking up to L's crib to get her from her nap): Did you have a good nap?
L (lifting her arms up): Yeah. Daddy I thleep all night in my own bed!
me (remembering how M had gone to get her at about midnight): You did?
L: Yeah, I did!
me: No you didn't!
L (now in my arms): I thleept all night in your bed!
me: that's how I remember it.
L: that'th how I member it too Daddy.
me: uh huh.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

family: ... when i find myself in times of trouble...

K's been something of a bear lately, mean at times and refusing to behave at others, and I haven't been able to figure out what's going on, except that she's 4yo and that probably says most of what I need to say. She's also been sick in the last couple of weeks as well.

And then there's this:

Still life, with Pacifier
(I found this one at the bottom of K's
bed some days after she'd given them
up. Obviously we haven't found all of them

She's given them up. After virtually 4 straight years, she no longer is using her pacifiers.

The 4yo trip to the dentist spurred this step. Apparently up to 4, any damage done is relatively easy to correct (and the correction happens more or less naturally as the teeth shift). But if you wait much past 4, things get quite a bit more complicated (and more expensive).

Luckily K and M had gone on a shoe-shopping expedition to Nordstrom the day before K's birthday, and there K had to choose between 2 pairs of shoes she really loved: a shiny black pair of slip-ons (ballet/mary jane-ish), and a pair of white and pink Pumas that light up when you walk. As you can imagine, the choice was difficult, but K came home with the black pair, very excited and proud. M told her that maybe when she was ready to give up her pacifiers she could get the other pair.

The dentist appointment was just a week later, and with our encouragement, K decided she was ready to give up her pacifiers.

We collected them. All that we could find -- here's the thing about pacifiers in our house: as a baby, K regularly woke in the middle of the night because her pacifier had dropped out of her crib, so we started putting in several. She got used to having several, needing one in her mouth and at least one in her hand (preferably 2). So there were upwards of 5 or more pacifiers, some of which were left in forgotten places. The best we could do was gather up those we could find. These went into an envelope to be "sent" to Sammy, the son of some friends. For some reason K has chosen Sam as the recipient of her castoff pacifiers. If he only knew!

That same afternoon, M took K back to Nordstrom where they bought those beautiful Puma shoes.

I was nervous about how things would go, but K did fine that first night, falling asleep without much trouble. Subsequent nights went with varying degrees of success, but she never really had any of the complete breakdowns I half-expected. K started on the couch in the living room once or twice, to be moved up to her bed after she fell asleep. Over all though, things were surprisingly calm for a girl who'd absolutely insisted on pacifiers to this point.

Lately, she's been acting up a bit. And when I think about it I think that there's a reasonable chance she's missing those pacifiers, or missing some way to pacify herself. For example:

Last Thursday afternoon I took K to her swim lesson and it didn't go well.

She refused to do what the instructor wanted, and the poor teacher worked for 20 minutes trying to get K to do things she's been doing for weeks, like lying on her back and kicking, like taking 3 strokes and turning over onto her back, like jumping in from sitting on the edge.... nothing would get her to do any of this, and I finally took her out of the pool and dressed her and told her that she wasn't going to get to play with Ella (a little girl who's also in lessons at the same time, and with whom K has bonded a bit through playing after lessons). Further, she would lose a privilege, though I was going to talk with her mom to figure out what, exactly, that would be.

I drove her home quietly. She cried because the snacks we'd brought weren't what she wanted. I ignored her. She stopped crying and decided she wanted to eat what we'd brought. All the while I tried to figure out how to make a point of this. The cost isn't really a factor, not for her, so bringing up wasted money didn't seem like a good approach. I told her that when we are in Florida with her cousins this summer they're going to be able to swim but she'll need to be with M or me in order to go into the pool. We drove further in silence. Finally, close to home, I told her I was sad.

K: Why you sad?
me: Because I love to swim and your mom loves to swim, and it makes me sad to think you won't be able to swim.
K: (silence)
me: You know how your mom and me learned to swim?
K: How?
me: We had lessons.

And she got quiet, and I could tell that this had somehow struck a chord.

As we pulled into our driveway, I saw M working in the front yard, L swinging in her swing, everyone clueless to our disappointing afternoon. K nestled down into her car seat and closed her eyes as though asleep. I think she was tired, but I think too she was processing our conversation and didn't want to be available for another one with her mom.

M asked how it went, smiling, assuming the best. I just shook my head and carried a sagging K inside and said we'd have to talk about it. Inside, I asked K if she wanted to tell her mom or if I should. She said I should.

And here's the thing about swimming. We really do love to do it, M and I. We were both on swim team, and we both feel strongly that it's not an optional skill to have.

My first memories of swimming are in the HC&S pool not far from our house in Puunene. I remember learning to float on my back while the steam from the sugar mill drifts overhead in the blue sky and the water over my ears muffles the noises of the world and I can forget about everything else except that feeling of floating free.....

There were other memories as well: the needing to fish drowned rats out of the pool before practice (I think the coaches and/or the bigger kids did that. I never had to), learning to swim breast stroke well enough to beat a bigger kid (I was probably 6 or 7, and the other kid was 7 or 8).

Later, after we moved to Honolulu, we used to swim at Queen's Surf and sometimes at the Elks Club when the Furrs across the street invited us -- that's where I learned to do front and backflips off the diving board. I remember too swimming at Spreckelsville all through high school, loving the freedom of the water as I became a moody teen that no one understood....

What struck me later, after I'd told M that I didn't feel like K was acting herself and that if it continued for much longer I wanted to have her checked by the doctor, is this: she's 4 years old. 4. Years. Old. A lot of this behavior is likely simply working through growing up stuff, and doing so without her traditional way of comforting herself. (When I think of how moody I was as a teenager, I find myself wanting to cut K all kinds of slack. And I had more than twice the life experiences that she's got right now.)

I need to remember this and do what I can to help her out. I need to be understanding and reassuring. It's hard work being 4, and sometimes parents forget that.

Sorry K. You're doing a great job as a 4 year old!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

definitions: crocalator / ballei

double-definition tuesday:

- noun, a toothy amphibian that lives in places like Florida and that we don't touch because "it bite you!"

edited: K&L's grandmama suggests that a crocalator may in fact be a reptile rather than an amphibian. She probably knows, given that she lives in AL, closer to any crocalators than we do.

me: Look at this.
K: What!?
me: K, you shouldn't just yell 'What!" like that. You could say 'What did you say Daddy?'
K: What!?
L: What that, Daddy?
me (holding out the newspaper for L to see): Can you see it?
L: A crocalator! It a crocalator!
me: Uh... (deciding it makes as much sense as anything)... yeah. I guess it is.
K (being a big sister): It's a alligator, L.
me: More or less.
L: We don't touch that. It bite! Crocalator bite you!
me: Right. We don't touch it. We don't touch any wild animals.
K: Yeah.
L: Yeah!

ballei - noun, a garland placed around someone's neck. Originally of flowers or feathers, the cheaper ones now come in plastic. The best are made from plumerias picked in your own yard!

L: Look Daddy!
me: What's that L?
L: It K'th ballei.
me (looking at the white plastic lei she's holding and wishing we lived in Hawaii with our own plumeria tree so these girls knew what a lei really meant): Oh.
L: You want to thmell it, Daddy?
me: Sure. (leaning to smell the plastic)
L: It thmell good!
me: You think?
L: Yeah. It thmell good. It K'th ballei.
me (thinking): Oh how I love you, and oh how you don't have a clue!
Note: Listening to "Brown Gabby" and that only contributes to my homesickness....

see also: ballady -- a dancer who wears a tutu and dances on her toes. (M's childhood word.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

paddling: ... running down the... lake...

preparing for one of our coed races
(I'm 3rd from the left, Jocelyn steering)

Last weekend were our first sprint races of the 2010 season, and the weather was nearly tropical! Sunny and 70s and only a slight breeze. Of course, this was in Washington, so it was coolish in the shade, and the trees were all evergreens, but still....

My previous (and only) sprint regatta was last year's event at Silverdale. For those races I was inordinately nervous and felt largely unable to accomplish anything useful. This time went much better, though I'm still not convinced I'm truly a sprinter.

Kim came up from Olympia (I knew she was going to) and M surprised me by bringing the girls down (we'd thought K had a swim lesson that morning, but apparently it was the previous day). It was a lot of fun to have them all there, and to get the chance to introduce the family to various club members (and vice versa).

K, enjoying the sunshine
(and wearing my new hat from Justin and Maggie)

I did 2 OC1 races, both 500 yard races, and in the first (Senior Master Men) I took 3rd place. The race was in 2 heats and I did well in my own heat (1st) so was feeling good about that, but then Melissa called on Sunday morning to tell me that I'd finished 3rd overall. It's a good feeling, though my brain automatically goes into "here's why it doesn't really count" mode -- something about the way I am. Luckily I was in the 8th lane, which is rumored to have been set inadvertently shorter than some of the low numbered lanes. In any case, it's a good finish for me, having only been doing this for 11+ months.

Steve and me
(prep for another race)

Our club as a whole did very well, coming in 3rd overall and taking home a trophy for that. Apparently as recently as 2 years ago, Sabine was the only SOCC member attending sprints, so this is quite a change. The women did particularly well, coming in 1st a number of times.

Unfortunately, I had to leave "early" (5p) to be home to help with the evening "calf wrestling" of girls into bath and jammies and bed, and then M and I went out to dinner (!). The leaving early meant I didn't do 2 of the races I was supposed to do, including the Masters Coed 1000, which I was really looking forward to. (They did just fine without me!) I also missed some bbqing/drinking/bonding time after the last races.

Many of the appealing aspects of last year's Silverdale sprints were there for me on Saturday, including the "local" feel and the general camaraderie of folks on the club. Only this time it was more so, because I now know and am friends with these people. Last year I was wandering in a daze, alone and somewhat lonely. I've now put in enough time that in addition to having some bonds with SOCC people, I'm starting to recognize folks from other clubs and even have conversations with them. (!)

The paddling I've put in with the Dougs over the winter feels well spent. Not that it didn't feel "well spent" before this weekend, but it's nice to see how it's impacted my paddling. I'm actually comfortable enough in an OC1 to do a sprint race (never had done one). And it didn't go badly.

On the other hand, there's so much I don't know about sprinting, including how to pace myself. My first 500 I did in 2.31.31, and my second was in 2.48.14 (10th place in the Master Mens 500). A part of that may have been the difference in lanes, but another aspect felt like I didn't let myself lengthen out at all on the second race. I paddling faster than I probably should have after the start. Rob was in the lane to my right, with DougM to his right. They both took off and I couldn't catch them (Doug finished in 2.40 and Rob 2.41). I had similar problems in the OC6 races, starting fast but not bringing the pace down once we were cruising. Luckily Steve spoke up in one race and told me to lower the pace slightly, which made me more aware of the while issue.

It's all learning, and it's all good. I just look forward to having more experience so I can start to get a handle on how to best approach a sprint.

Greenlake Sprints are coming up in 2 weeks, and those should be fun, minus the fact that I'm supposed to steer in several of the races. I'm nervous about that, but the only way to learn is to do it.... Jocelyn steered her first sprints this last weekend. She was quite nervous, which I could really relate to, but she did really well. And now she's an "old hand" at it, while I'm still untested. Yikes!

family: .... i don't know, baby, where....

Park Bench
(bedtime's not always a walk in the park)

scene: I'm trying to get the girls dried and dressed in jammies after their bath. M is sick and at work late (double-whammy), so it's me and the tasmania devils. It's been a struggle to get them into the bath and then to get them out, so we're already pushing the envelope....

me (carrying L upstairs): What jammies do you want?
L (crying, tears dripping onto her bare chest): I want that book!
me (not stopping): What book?
L: That book! That book!!
me (taking a guess): The butterfly book? K's new book from Grandma Jay?
L (sniffling, face a soggy mess): Yeah. That book!
me (upstairs now): I'll go get it. Let's get you into a diaper.
L (new tears): No! I want that book.
K (she's come up herself, towel around her, but now it's in a pile on the floor): I don't want to wear footies.
me (trying to put L down): You don't have to wear footies.
L (clinging to me): I want that book!
K: I don't know what I want to wear! (starting to crawl under L's crib.)
me: K! K! What are you doing?
L (leaking nose pressed against my sweatshirt): Get that book! The Butterfly book!
me (still trying to put her down on the floor so I can go back and get the book): I'll get it. Let me get it after I put a diaper on you.

K has disappeared, naked, under the crib. L is now standing in the middle of the floor, sobbing.

me: Let's get a diaper on you and then you choose some jammies while I go get the book.
L: No!
me: No?
L: No! (looking for something to throw) No! (struggles to pull her towel off)
me (grabbing L and going to the dresser where I grab a diaper): Diaper now. Then I'll get the book.
L: I want my pacifier.
K: Daddy. Find me.
L: Pa. Ci. Fi. Ers!
K: Daddy! Daddy!
me: K, come on.
L: Pa. Ci. Fi....
me (getting her into a diaper): Now go pick some jammies.
L (lying on the floor in her diaper): No!
me (standing up): Ok. I'm going to get the book and look for your pacifiers.

L comes to the top of the stairs. K is crawling out from under the crib.

me: you guys stay here. I'll be right back.

I hurry down the stairs and can hear both girls coming after me. Down to the basement where I expect to find L's pacifiers. But I don't. And they join me there, L in her diaper, K "nudie-b-jones" as we say in our house.

me: Come on. Upstairs. Let's go.
K: Look at me Daddy!
me: I see you. I wish you'd stayed upstairs.
L: Look at me Daddy!
me: I'm going upstairs. Come on. (K starts to follow. L is sitting in the middle of the rug.) Come on.
L: No!
me: I'm turning off the light.
L (sobbing again): No! Pick me up! Pick me up!
me (going back): Ok. Come on.

I find her pacifiers on the kitchen counter. We all go back upstairs.

me: Jammies! (I pick some out for L, no longer bothering to ask her. She's quiet for the moment, probably because of her pacifiers, and I'm able to dress her.) K? Where are you? (no answer.) K? Come bring me your pajamas. (no answer.) K, come on. I'm tired. You girls need to get to bed.
K (brings in 2 shirts): Here! (throws them on the bed with a grin)
me: Those aren't pajamas.
K (laughing): I know!
me: Go get pajamas!
K (retreats to her dresser and comes back with 2 pairs of sock which she throws on the bed): These!
me: Not jammies! Come on!
K (laughing)

I pick her up and lay her on the bed and wrestle her into a diaper.
me: K, what are you doing? Didn't you hear me? What are you doing?
K (looking at me directly): I have no idea!

This caught me by surprise.

It disarmed me too. Where'd she learn how to say that? Where'd she get the phrase? And what could I do?

I bent down and kissed her on her nudie-b-stomach and she smiled and things were suddenly better.

For a second or two.

And it was worth it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Aloha Friday Spam: ... he does everything he can...

some things I particularly like about this spam:

  • it gave me the brilliant idea of just putting "Dr." in front of my name (without bothering to send them any money)
  • it includes a long quote from Pride and Prejudice (why!?!)
(signed) Dr. pvz

Thursday, May 13, 2010

family: ... oh we're going to a (tea) party, party...

note: this isn't really a "tea party" in the sense of there being tea or a party, but it's a sun-hat-wearing-pizza-sharing moment and that's enough these days...

(may have finally arrived...
or spring at least)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

paddling: ... we're going the distance...

Last night was another small boat workout with "the Dougs." I paddled with DougN in his OC2 while DougM and MikeM paddled the club OC2. It was sunny with a breeze from the south and we went out Montlake Cut and south on Lake Washington.

At the beach I told Mike, "The last time I was out with DougM, we went to I90." He said, "You trying to frighten me? Because you are!"

I didn't know if we would be doing that because I wasn't sure of the conditions. It had been blowing from the south, so had the potential to be pretty lumpy, but when we got out beyond the cut it looked pretty good. A decent wind from the south, but the water was only choppy, not really bumpy. And we went to I90 (and beyond -- to the "Y-dock" which is apparently called that because of its shape, not because I was wondering "why are we going there?!?"):

14.5 miles on a gorgeous night

The thing I like about doing these workouts, besides being on the water (and man, I love being on the water -- now that it's getting warmer and brighter and staying light later, it's glorious to be out there!), is that every time I go out I get more experience in a variety of conditions.

I think if I'd been in an OC1 I would have been paddling somewhat tentatively, but with Doug the boat felt good and stable and we powered through the chop. It felt good to be working hard in the water, with the boat cruising along, slop occasionally splashing into my lap as we busted through or over a small wind swell.

My back has been hurting me a little, but I'm happy to say that I didn't feel it at all last night, and I was able to push myself a good deal. I did feel it later, when I crawled into bed, and I feel it now a little, but mostly it feels tired and worked, not in a bad way.

This was one of the more enjoyable paddles I've done recently. I wasn't sure how I'd feel on it, given that I'd been off the water for a week, but things went well. I was worried about my conditioning, and I felt the effort, but luckily we did a reverse pyramid with 1min breaks between each piece (so 8min/1min off/7 min/1min off....). Those "off" minutes really helped me recover. I think we did the set 3 times. I wasn't counting. I was paddling in 1 and trying to focus on technique and to not think about the next few weekends.

We've got sprint races coming up this weekend and then again on 5/29, and I don't really feel ready for them. But I don't know that I ever would either. I'm not sure sprints are my best venue, but it should be fun, with the exception that I'm likely going to steer the mens' boat on 5/29, and I feel woefully under-prepared for doing that. Still, it's an opportunity to learn, and where better to learn than on Greenlake of all places. Whatever the weather, it's not going to be too lumpy out there.

And I'd love to know the basics of steering. I'm not sure how well I'll do, but I think it's important for everyone in the canoe to understand what it takes to steer, and to be able to help out when necessary. (The things I read about open ocean racing make it clear that when you're in big water, the steersman frequently needs help from #5, as well as from #1 and 2 (at times), and that the more people in the boat who understand steering, the better.)

I'd like to be an all-around resource in any boat I'm a part of. I'd like to be a guy that can hop into any seat and acquit myself well, and learning how to steer is part of that. (Being comfortable rigging the canoes is a part as well, and I've got some work to do there as well.)

I was getting worried about the whole steering thing when Melissa and I exchanged email in which she encouraged me. And I've been through this all before, so won't beat a dead horse. Any more than I already have.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

definitions: biteamins / thopping

double-definition Tuesday

biteamins - noun, a pill or pills eaten in the morning, containing necessary minerals, etc. to grow strong and healthy (presumably in easy-to-chew sizes).

: Daddy, what you doing?
me (going into the pantry): I'm getting my....
L (leaving the table and following me in): Biteamins. I want my biteamins!
me: Eat your oatmeal girls.
K: Then we have our vitamins?
L: I want my biteamins!
me: Not until you finish your breakfast.
L (bounching on toes): I. Want. My. Bite. A. Mins!
me (rolling my eyes): ....

thopping - noun, the act of buying, for example, groceries

L (pushing her cart): Mommy, I going thopping!
me: Shopping?
L: Yeah Mommy.
me: Mommy? Am I 'Mommy?'
L (noticing): Daddy. Daddy, I going thopping! I buying biteabmins!
me: Hmm... good.
L: Yeah. Them good biteamins!
K: That prend L. It's prend vitamins.

Christmas Morning, 2009
(seeing double edition)

Monday, May 10, 2010

family: ... can't you smell that smell...

another entry from the If You Only Knew What I'd Like To Say files:

scene: lying in bed with L sitting up next to me. She's joined us some time in the night and now is ready to get up, somewhat before I might normally be getting up.

L: I want to go downthairth!
me: You do?
L: Yeah. Daddy, your breath thinky!
me (said): Most people have stinky breath when they wake up. That's one reason I brush my teeth when I get out of bed.
me (wanted to say): Yeah, so do you! I've got "morning breath" and you've got "morning pacifier breath!"

Sunday, May 9, 2010

family: do you remember...

Remember when you were 20-something and you'd go out with friends and it wasn't too late a night but you shared several pitchers and managed to get back home and into bed by 1a or so and then there was always some family down the block that couldn't control their kids and at 0-dark-30 one of the brats would be yelling. Out in the yard!

We're that family now.

We are family

Scene, this morning, 5.35a. I've been trying for 20 minutes to make scones. This usually takes 10 minutes, but this morning I've got "help" so it's dragging on. I've just added the cream to the flour when I notice Lucy pooping and move to go get it, leaving the girls standing side by side on their small chairs, peering into the bowl of congealing scone mix:

me (outside, looking for dog poop): rekenfreckingsheckin....
K (standing in the now-open kitchen doorway, yelling): Daddy! Daddy!!
me (loud whisper from across the yard): What K?
K (not hearing me, or not caring): Daddy!!! (voice echoing off the neighboring houses)
me (hurrying towards her): What. Is. It?
K (yelling): There's pee on the floor!
me (hurrying now to the door and dropping the bag of dog poop): What? Where?
K (pointing): There.
L (pointing): Thea!
me (seeing nothing besides the normal-dirty floor): Where?
K (exhasperated): There! There Daddy!! Where it's yellow.
L: Thea Daddy. It yellow!
me (still not seeing anything and bending closer): There's nothing there!
K: Yeah there is.
L: Yeah there ith Daddy!!
me: Whose pee? You're both in diapers.
K: I don't know, but there is!
L: Thea is Daddy!

For the record: there wasn't anything on the floor except the normal dirt, but the neighbors all had a chance to share in our discussion. It's nice it was a pretty morning. They probably should try to get to bed earlier.

photo thursday (sunday edition): ... wonder how you manage....

M and the girls
(K, L and Lucy - 4/10)

This being my second annual Mother's Day post, and tomorrow, 5/10/10 marking the first year anniversary of this blog, I'm slacking and will celebrate with a few of my favorite images of M as mother....

Sleep and the beauty
(K, April, 2006)

K - best foot forward
(April 2006)

Mother-daughter conversation
(L, March 2009)

Footloose and fancy-free on the Light Rail
(L, August 2009)

Africa, without the travel
(zoo trip, 2/10)

Saddle Club Mama

Soccer Game Snuggle
(M and L - 4/25/10)

Happy day, all you mothers! And a special thanks to the moms in our families, Mom and Rita, and especially M.

One last, bonus picture:

Quiet Time
(with bathing assistants, 2/10)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

family: ... anticipation....

3 big pluses: park, sunshine, cousin!

You can plan all you like, but things aren't necessarily going to work out the way you expect. For instance, it's gorgeous, our first real summery weather, and the park was in the cards for us. Cousin Maggie was coming to spend the night before helping with the fund raiser tonight, and the girls were thrilled. But we hadn't planned on K getting sick!

Cousin Maggie arrived last night (K: "When Maggie going get here?" L: "When Maggie get here?") and approximately 15 seconds after she arrived they'd lassoed her into watching 2 (!) Saddle Clubs with them. While I made dinner.

At dinner K said she was cold and insisted on a coat and ended up curled in my lap, and after I bought a clue and took her temperature (102), I realized what was happening. She'd eaten almost nothing, but she was bleary-eyed and miserable and so I carried her off to bed still in her clothes and jacket.

L was her normal, crazy, wound up self and "galloped" back and forth across the kitchen while K quickly fell into a feverish sleep. Somehow we made it through the doldrums of the evening (Maggie kindly entertaining L) and eventually we got her to bed as well. And just to be clear, I've compressed a fair amount of angst into the phrase "got her to bed." And then I made ice cream. (You gotta do what you gotta do.)

Maggie (at the kitchen table with her laptop open): I never do homework on Friday night.
me (at the sink with piles of dirty dishes): What do you do?
Maggie: Watch shows on the internet.
me: I can hook you up on our network.
Maggie: No, that would be a bad idea.

Eventually we each went to bed. Or rather, I left her at her homework and climbed upstairs past those sleeping munchkins and into my bed.

A timeline from there:
  • 4.30a - L wants to come into my bed. I cave (strike one)
  • 4.31a - 5.20a - rattling pacifiers, tossing and turning
  • 5.21a - she wants to go downstay-ers.
  • 5.22a - I tell her ok, but we have to sneak past K (strike two).She agrees.
  • 5.23a - We sneak past K (L (shouting in my ear): "I whispering!")
  • 5.24a - 5.59a we occupy the kitchen, the floor of which makes up the ceiling of the basement room Maggie was sleeping in. L continues her galloping from the night before, periodically asking "When Maggie going to wake up?" and "Why Maggie not up?" I contemplate attempting to explain mornings that start after 5.30a and decide it's not worth the effort.
  • 6a K appears, seeming much better
  • 6.01a - 7.59a-ish, both L and K wonder loudly why Maggie hadn't shown her face yet.
  • 8a-ish Maggie gets tired of the thundering above her head and crawls upstairs. (It's hell being a college student in a toddler household.)
  • 8a - 8.15a - Maggie has a chance to have some breakfast before we head to the park.
  • 9.15a - 10.45a - Urcolini Park for biking and sliding and climbing.

    K, fading
    (you'd think I would have caught a clue)

  • 10.46a - both girls announce they need "privacy" and go into the van
  • 10.47a - 11.10a - Maggie and I are trapped, waiting
  • 11.11a - L needs a change. K too, but she hasn't pooped. Which is just as well, given that I've run out of diapers.
  • 11.20a 1.30p - back home for naps.
  • 1p - 3.30p, my sister visits
  • 1.30 - girls up, K feeling miserable
  • 1.35-1.40p - calling around to neighbors to find ginger ale (Tom & Christine come through!)
  • 1.40 - 2.50p - girls drinking ginger ale
  • 3.30p, my sister takes Maggie away, abandoning me with a badly fading K and a crazy-active L.
  • 3.31p - I resort to 2 Saddle clubs and a Curious George so I can make an early dinner (both girls have "eyebags" and are due for an early night)
  • 4.50p 5.25p - dinner and dessert (ice cream for K and a piece of candy for L)
  • 5.30p - baths with tears beyond tears
    L (after I get K out and dressed and tucked in on the couch): Wath thith! It pretty amazing! (throws soggy wash cloth across the tub where it slaps against the far wall and slides down to the floor).
    me: amazing.
    L: Wath Daddy! Wath! (repeats, this time with the wash cloth sticking) See! It pretty amazing!!
  • 6.15p-6.30p - jammies and books, K snuggled miserably next to me
  • 6.45p, K asleep
  • 6.30p - 7.15p, L jabbering and yelling for me
And now it's time to clean up the kitchen, eat some ice cream myself (hey, I ate all the broccoli after asking if they wanted me to make some and having them tell me "yes"), have a cookie from the cookies and iced coffee that Kenny & Sheila brought me this morning after reading about yesterday's "coffee incident" (they're just like that), and then to bed I think, even though there are plenty of things yet to do including laundry, building bookshelves, vacuuming....

Less than a day to go!

Good night.

Candy is good!
(smiling L)

paddling: ...some people call me lazy...

(warning/teaser: another workout post you family readers might want to just skip, though I do mention kids and parenting right at the very end....)

Thursday OC2 Workout
(I-90 and back with DougM)

I'm posting this in lieu of actually doing workouts this week Thurs/Sat (M's got an event tonight so she's working a lot of hours).

A week ago Thursday I did yet another OC2 workout with DougM, my first down to I-90 in an OC2! On the previous Tuesday we'd done a 10+ mile OC2 workout in windy conditions, sticking to Lake Union and the Ship Canal (see bottom of page for track), and I was looking forward to this Thursday paddle. Knowing ahead of time that I'd be going out with him, I made sure to eat well before hand and drink plenty of water. There's not a ton of time to hydrate during these workouts.

We did 14+ miles in 1 minute off/1 mile on pieces, and the weather was fairly nice (calm, light wind from the north). And for the most part, it felt pretty good, though it was also the longest small-boat workout I've done, and it wore me out.

Doug is such a strong paddler that I have the opportunity to overachieve when I'm with him. By which I mean that I manage to do more/better when with him than I would if left on my own. I'd like to find a way to tap into that "over achievement" when I'm in a single. I think it's partly a motivation issue, and is something I think about regularly.

I love being out on the water, even when I'm working hard. Or maybe especially when I'm working hard. Every time I go out, I get a little more experience, and that makes me a little more comfortable. It's such a treat, and I get a workout at the same time.

The water, especially around Montlake Cut, was busy, with dozens of boats were already lined up on the log booms for Opening Day (on May 1). Yet in spite of this, we didn't get any wakes to surf! All those boats and none going our way at a speed we could take advantage of. We passed several boats that were putting along slowly, looking for spots to moor. Nothing that we could take advantage of.

As I paddled south, I got to thinking about where I was last year at this time (still contemplating trying out the paddling at SOCC) compared to now (able to survive workouts with "the Dougs") and it made me realize just how much better I do in "small pond" situations.

SOCC has an all-inclusive approach, and especially last year we didn't really have a competitive mens team of regular paddlers. A lot of us were rookies and still learning, and that meant we got attention at practice and boat time in races, and were given opportunities (including races like Catalina) as rookies. I'm fairly certain that this wouldn't have been the case at some of the other clubs. When there's a group of high-level achievers, they tend to get the attention and focus, and people like me might be relegated to "second tier" status. (Note: I know some clubs have good programs for novices, that provide encouragement and instruction, but in order to have that, you need a critical mass, and that's not as easy around here as it is in Hawaii.)

If I step into that kind of situation, "the best and the rest," as a beginner, I don't know that I'd thrive. In fact, I strongly suspect I wouldn't. But with SOCC I think Sabine and Doug managed to walk a good line, trying for competitive teams while giving us beginners enough attention and time. That, combined with the encouragement and experience we got, meant that we could progress faster. In short, I think I'm much farther along, having started with SOCC, than I would be if I'd started with some other clubs, including some of the others here in the Puget Sound region.

So now, a little less than a year after I started, I'm in an OC-2 paddling to I-90 from Lake Union, paddling with an experienced and strong paddler who's been willing to have me join him several times recently. It feels good to have reached this point, though I know there's a lot still to learn. And as we near the bridge I'm starting to struggle a little. But not from exhaustion.

My biggest issue in both OC1s and OC2s is that the left side of my okole starts to hurt, badly. I gather this is a pretty common issue for small boat outrigger paddlers. There is a tendency to lean left, toward the ama, to offset any likelihood of a huli. I've dealt with the problem in all my OC1 races, and on Thursday I made a real effort to paddle hard on my right when I was over there, and to really use my legs, hoping to reduce the amount of pain. That helped, but over the course of our 2 hours, my butt definitely got to me, so much so that near the end I could barely focus on technique and wasn't feeling like I was giving my best.

The small-pond-big-fish line of thought led me to remembering my switch from Punahou (hundreds of kids) to Seabury (dozens... like 120 total from 7-12). I thrived at Seabury in ways I never would have at Punahou, and I think it was for much the same reasons -- I got personalized attention, got to be a full-fledged participant, and had the time/space to grow at my own slow pace. We were so small that I could be on the swim team (captain even.... of a 1-boy team!!) and there were only 5 of us playing basketball, and yet we still regularly won our rec league (not due to my contributions though!).

I've always been something of a slow starter, and I don't think places like Punahou are conducive to slow starters. Once you're put on a track of some kind (the "orchestra kids" or the "latin-taking kids") it's hard to become anything else. I take too long to figure out what kind of kid I'm going to be (still figuring it out, actually), so I get stuck somewhere (the "rest of the rest" track) to be left to my own devices. Which is not to say that some don't pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become successful, but I think that's the exception rather than the rule, and it's hard for the rest of us, the less-than-spectacular ones, to find our own footing.

An aside: This is where having a particular mentor, a teacher or coach who takes an active interest and makes an effort to help, has a huge impact. I can think of teachers along the way that have done that for me, from Mrs. Hefty (5th grade) to Fred Rawe and Charlotte Melrose (high school) to Susan Ashley (college).

Anyway, (and remember, while all this is going through my head I'm supposed to be keeping count of strokes and calling changes and working to match Doug's pace -- good thing he's in the first seat and can't see me daydreaming!), I moved on to thinking about this in terms of parenting.

I'm not much of a natural at anything, but with the right encouragement and attention (and effort on my part), I can be successful. So what I can do as a parent to make sure my daughters have the space and the opportunities to blossom, even if they aren't "naturals" at particular things?

No real answers here, but it's an issue I'll continue to ponder, even while I'm grateful for the opportunities and encouragement I've had in paddling, at school, from friends and family. It's something to distract me during these longer workouts!

A visual, to reward anyone who's read this far:

Tues: 1 min off / 5 min sprint
(x more than 8)

Friday, May 7, 2010

family :... all i no!...

L, with "fire hat"
(immediately after our conversation)

from a recent snack-possibility conversation:

me: You want some apple and peanut butter?
L: No!
K (eating her apple and peanut butter): It good peanut butter.
L: I don't like peanut butter!
me: It's a good apple too.
L: No.
me: You want some apple and cheese?
L: No!
me: You want some cheese and crackers?
L: No!!
me: You going to say 'no' to anything I ask?
L (slightly softer): No!

and we're making progress... ?

me: Ok.
L: I cruthinthithfirehat.
me: What?
L: I cruthingit.
me: Say that again? I couldn't understand you.
K: She crushing that hat.
me: You're crushing it?
L: Yeah.
me: Why?
L: Becauth I cruthing it.

less than 2 days until M is home!

family: ... paying the cost...

... for being the (only) boss:

Join me in a conversation I had with myself this morning:

me (in my head): why am I trying to carry 3 shopping bags, a small bag of treats AND an iced americano in one trip?
me (getting out of the van after dropping L off at daycare, stopping at Bakery Nouveau and making a quick shopping trip for weekend supplies): to save time!
me (head): I could just make 2 trips.
me (finally got hold of everything, sort of): Nah!
me (head): How's that americano?
me (struggling with the gate): great! what I've had of it.
me (head): Not had much?
me (still struggling): not yet.... (setting americano on the gate)
me (head): Probably not the best spot for that....
me (weighed down by heavy shopping bags and annoying noises in my head): It's fine there. (finally manage to get the gate unlatched)
(americano, virtually untouched, hops off the gate and falls to the ground)
me (still struggling): crap!
me (head): how's that "saving time" thing working out?
me (gate open now, coffee draining into the grass and gravel): Shut up!

I'm on my own all weekend with the girls, so treated myself to a twice-baked almond croissant and an iced americano from Bakery Nouveau. Because, after all, the weekend is nearly started! And then as long as I was there I got a ham-and-cheese croissant too. Because I needed to have enough to justify using a credit card. And besides, I deserve it. Did I mention about the weekend and me and the girls? Good thing croissants don't "spill" like coffee does.

M is working a fund-raising event, which though it involves being on her feet from roughly 3a to midnight for the next couple of days, sounds like a bit of a vacation to me. For one thing, she'll be sharing a bed with... nobody! (Gives L and me more room, I suppose.*) And there's a POOL at the hotel where she's staying. And what's she going to be doing between, like, 3.01am and 5.59am? Lounging about I suspect! BY HERSELF!

Wish me luck!

* conversation from yesterday:
me: L, when are you going to start sleeping all night in your own bed?
L: I have crib Daddy!
me: When are you going to start sleeping all night in your own crib?
K: Yeah, L! When you going start do that?
me: Tonight.
L: No! I not do that tonight.
me: Why not?
L: Because I not do that!
K: She not going to do that Daddy.
me (sighing): No, probably not.
And she didn't.

aloha friday spam: ... and it's a hard, and it's a hard, and it's a hard...

... it's a hard drive, that's going to ... fail to say "I love you"

Mother's Day Special - Exclusive ... on the WD Store!

Happy mothers
(get hard for mothers' day)

hmm.... I guess M probably does want a portable hard drive for mother's day. Maybe I'll order 2.

(And I know that the "on" in the subject probably means "on the web" but it still annoys me. I'd have used "in.")

Thursday, May 6, 2010

paddling: ... turn, turn, turn...

today's theme: Wow. Sprints are different than long distance paddles.
sub-theme (file under "still in progress"): If you're scared to try, you'll never learn

That's this morning's news flash.

For more news, go elsewhere. This is another one of those paddling posts.

Tuesday night we did sprint turn practices, and it beat me up. I've been working pretty hard at getting into shape for the paddling season, but I've been doing that by paddling longer distances, which I tend to be more suited for (temperament? muscle type? habit?). But last night, sitting in seat 1 and paddling back and forth across Lake Union to round buoys sucked me dry.

I feel muscles I haven't felt in a long time. My chest is sore in a way it hasn't ever been during my long workouts. This is because one job in the first 2 seats is to reach out to the left and plant paddles when the steersperson yells "kahi" -- this helps pull the nose around the buoy. But it
takes strength in the chest and arms that isn't what I've been building. The other thing is, because of the nature of sprints (short in length), you've got to explode with power and speed and keep it up from start to finish. I'm not much of an "exploder." And "exploding" seems to use more arms than core muscles -- I should check with Sabine and Doug about this. Maybe it wouldn't be such a contrast if I can learn to sprint with my big muscles alongside my arm muscles.

To finish it off, we finished the workout in a cold rain/hail downpour that came out of dark clouds which had me worrying about lightning. We paddled back to the beach with hail lashing our faces and rain soaking us through, feeling the cold like it was January rather than May.

It was a good workout, but an eye-opener for me. Whatever conditioning I've built so far obviously isn't adequate for the sprint races.

We ended up doing a good job with the turns. First Jasen and then Murray practiced steering them, and Steve clearly knows a lot about steering, because he was able to give them good
instructions on how to approach the buoy and when to poke (which initiates the left turn). By the end of the practice I felt like we were swinging the canoe around cleanly and sharply with either steersman. So that leaves the business of paddling fast! Hmm....

Our crazy-a@# track
(posted here to break
of the written word)

One other thing I remembered as we pulled the canoes up on the beach and my hands and knees turned blue -- I've only ever done sprints one time, last year at Silverdale, and I was so new and so inexperienced that it doesn't even count. Then too, I wasn't sitting in seat 1 or 2, so my only job was to paddle. Not that I did that particularly well, but it was less responsibility than the first 2 seats (or the steering seat).

We need a novice steersman, and Melissa and Sabine seem to be thinking that I could do that, but I feel so unprepared and so clueless that I've resisted. They actually wanted me to steer
some turns last night, but I managed to avoid it, with the weather's help. If the weather hadn't changed I might have had to, but I got off without it. The problem with having Steve do it (which is what I suggested), is that he's a big and very strong guy, and we both benefit from having him in 3/4, and would suffer from having such a big guy steering.

This issue gets directly to my personal issue of disliking being incompetent at something. Which is crazy.

When I think of either K or L not trying something because they don't know how to do it, I think "of course you don't know how! that's what you learn when you try it!" Yet somehow I don't seem to be able to give myself that same latitude. It's something to work on, especially as I'm now a role model of sorts for them (frightening thought!).

And when I think back on how I've learned things, it's by being willing to make mistakes (to "make a" as we used to say in high school, meaning, to make an ass out of yourself). The challenge with this steering thing is that there are 5 other guys relying on me, and I really don't like to let other people down.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

family: room fighting girls...

A couple weekends ago the girls got into a wrestling match that lasted for 20 minutes without any tears. Which was amazing. And great.

I don't do so well with really dainty or delicate girls and I think it's good for the girls to sometimes get a bit more physical in play. I want them to learn what they are capable of physically and how far they can push without going too far (dream on daddy!).

There are different kinds of hurts, and experiencing at least the more benign types is not a bad thing. I'd like to imagine my daughters will know how to push themselves in a marathon or on a snowboard or in a canoe. I want them to know how to physically hurt in the good sense, to be able to challenge their perceived limits.

Anyway, that's the justification.

Being tired and lazy and the only parent on duty, I just let them go at it, imagining that this was something close to what it might be like if we had had 2 boys. I kept waiting for one of them to hurt or be hurt, and for the whole thing to come crashing down around us, requiring multiple hugs and kisses and all that other 2-girl-parenting stuff.* But it never did. They just kept at it until M got home. (I think I managed to get off the couch before she came in the door.**)

Irrelevant aside:
I was reminded out of the blue how, when I was in grade school at Punahou, a few of us used to play at "wrestling." And by that I don't mean any whimpy Olympic Greco-Roman sense. I mean wrestling like Haystack Calhoun / Lord Tally-Ho Blears. Oh yeah, we were kids, and we were tough!

* For the record, I'm not one of those dads who was looking forward to raising a son in his image. I actually was hoping for girls both times. M, on the other hand, knowing firsthand how girls can sometimes behave toward their mother, might have liked a bit more gender balance. I love having girls (though I also anticipate the teen years as something I'll find challenging and be useless during) and never wish the girls were anything but. I just hope they're physical and understand they aren't limited by the expectations of others. You can be a doctor, a senator, a garbage man, a singer, a soccer player.... whatever it is you want to be.

** I did get off the couch long enough to get my camera and take a few pictures:

It warms a daddy's heart....