Tuesday, August 31, 2010

definitions: perry slicker / good minder

it's double-definition tuesday!

peary slicker - noun, a specialized truck with a lift designed to raise you up to fix wires, or to pick cherries.


L (in her car seat, heading east on the West Seattle Bridge, looking out the window): Hey, look at that ting!
me: What thing?
L: That ting!!
me (turning to see where she's pointing): Oh yeah. That's a big truck.
L: It a weally big truck!
me: It's called a cherry picker. It lifts workers up to fix wires.
L: It a weally big truck!!
K: It's not that big.
L: Yeah it ith!
me: Let's see if mama can catch up to it!
M (annoyed expression in my direction): It's right in front of us.
(conveniently, the truck moves over one lane)
K: Now it not Mama!
L: Yeah, now it not!!
me: We're catching it!
L: We're cathing it!!!
all: Yea!
(we pull up next to it and then go past. we take the Aurora North exit while the Cherry Picker continues on toward I5)
(moments later, a second cherry picker moves past us, speeding north on Aurora. What are the chances?!?)
L: Hey, thea it ith again!
me: Where?
L: Thea!! It going fast. It going weally fast.
me: Yeah it is.
L: We need to cath it. We need to cath that peary slicker!
M: That what?
L: That peary slicker!
M: Ah.
me: You think mama can catch it?
L: Yeah. Can you cath it Mama?
M (glancing at me): Catch what?
me: That peary slicker.
L: That peary slicker! That weally big peary slicker!!
M: Hmm....

good minder - agent noun: one who remembers things.


M: K, do you need to go potty?
K (at the breakfast table): No.
M: Really? Have you gone yet today?
K (shaking head): No.
M: Really?
K: No.
: You remember what happened yesterday?
K: What?
M: You had an accident.
K (head down): Yeah.
L: K had an athident?
M: Let's go try on the potty.
L: K had an athident?!
K: I'm a good minder. I'm a good minder Mama.
M: A good minder?
K: Yeah, I member things.
M: You do. You remember all kinds of things. Let's go to the bathroom.
K: No!
L: K had an athident?!?

Monday, August 30, 2010

family: .... I don't mind, I don't mind....

... cause I've got nothing but love for you....

There are times when M and I feel as though we live in a whirlwind of.... craziness.

L is frequently the instigator, but she is not alone is this. Together the girls create a strange and (sometimes) wonderful chaos. I spoke with a friend late on Sunday morning and she said she was just waking up, finishing her first cup of coffee, and getting ready for the second. I laughed. We'd been up since 6am due to the dog and to L. I'd already managed to misbake a batch of scones (uh, baking powder, not baking soda!, 375 nor 425!), share my bowl of oatmeal with L, and chase the barking dog around the yard.

Sample Sunday morning event:

Weather gray and low 60s or even high 50s. It's basically November in August and I'm cranky about that.

Lucy-the-beast comes to the kitchen door, jumping excitedly to let us know she's pooped and should have a treat.
me (getting up): I'm going out to pick up after Lucy.
M (reading the paper): Hmmm...
L ("reading" the paper too): What Dada?
me: I'm going out.
L: You going out?
me: Yeah.
L: Why you going out Dada?
me: To pick up.
L: You going out to pick up?
me: Yeah.
L: What?
me: Huh?
L: What you picking up?
me: Lucy's poop.
L: Ok. I can come too.
me: Uh, sure. It's cold out there.
L: It cold out there?
me: Yeah, but we're only going to be out for a minute.
L: Do I need a coat Dada?
me (going out): No. We'll be quick.
(I scout the lawn and clean up after the beast while L comes out onto the deck.)
L: Dada!
me (whispering): What L?
L: You picking up?!?
me: Yeah. You need to talk quietly. It's still early.
L (yelling): What?
me: Talk quietly.
L: What Dada?
me (hurrying over, bag-o-poop in hand): Nothing. Let's go inside.
L: Ok Dada. I can walk on the gravel. Is you walking on the gravel?
me: Yeah, but I have my slippers on.
L: Yeah.
(back inside the kitchen, M is reading the paper)
me: I need another espresso.
L: Can I have your thugar Dada? Pleeeeath?
me: Yes, you can have my sugar, L.
L: Can I have a drumstick? Pleeath Dada?
me: A drumstick?
L: Yeah. Pleeeeeeeath?!?
me: No, not for breakfast.
L: But I need one!
me (glancing at M): You need one?
L: Yeah, I neeeeeeed one. Pleeeeeath Dada?
me: No L.
L (breaking down on the kitchen floor): whaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!
M (reading): Hmm....
me: Ready for another espresso?
M: Yes please.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

photo thursday: ... give me a boat...

... that can carry.... 6?

Somewhere along the Na Pali coast
(change #4 for the men)

This is one of my favorite photos of the 8/14 Na Pali Challenge race (taken by Molly Altman, thanks Molly!).

This is a change-out, about to happen. We've jumped in off the escort boat into the water in reverse seat order (#6 in first, then #5....) and are now waiting in the water with paddles up so Sabine can see us and line up appropriately.

I'm fairly sure this is change #4 for the men, which would mean it's change #7 for the whole team, but this is just a theory based on the fact that I'm lined up immediately behind Matt who'll be in #1.

I started in #2, then switched to 1 and then to 3 before going back to 2. This isn't change #1, so it's gotta be #4. We did one more change after this, during which I paddled in #1.

What I love about this picture is that it's unusual. Rather than a typical "canoe in the waves" photo, it's unexpected and somewhat goofy, with those paddle blades waving in the air. And it's a picture of all 12 of the paddlers (though Rob is hidden behind me... his paddle is visible at least). I'm wearing the white hat.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

paddling: Na Pali.... cause these are the good old days....

(note: this is primarily about pre-race time)

Talking Story at Kaiola CC beach
(waiting for our canoe - Friday, 8/13)

As I stood waiting for my bus in the cold gray shadow of the West Seattle Bridge on Monday morning at 5am, I thought about the contrast with where I'd been just a week ago: sitting on Mom's deck as the sky lightened and the ocean came into view, the occasional honu (turtle) popping its head up out of the water.

And just a couple of days before that (Saturday), I was up before 5a in our condo at Princeville, cooking oatmeal and drinking coffee before heading down to the beach at Hanalei Bay for the start of the canoe race. I was nervous, excited, and ready to paddle!

The day before (Friday), we'd spent the day mostly waiting. Hawaiian style. Island time.

We were supposed to have our borrowed canoe available to practice in at 9a on Friday morning, but it turned out it wouldn't be in Hanalei until that afternoon, so after waiting an hour or so, we borrowed another canoe from one of the clubs hosting the race (Namolokama). Not an ideal situation (we would have preferred to test out the canoe we were actually racing in), but you gotta go with the flow sometimes.

There were extenuating circumstances (there are always extenuating circumstances), including a massive funeral that morning in Hanalei that happened to be for a 40-something woman who'd been one of the Hanalei coaches. I think that threw everything else canoe- and uncanoe-related into disarray. The race also seemed a little disorganized, with our escort boat not reserved as expected (Sabine had to run around on Thursday sorting that out). "I'm livin' on easy...."

The men went out for the first paddle in the borrowed canoe, coming out of the river and running up onto the sandy bottom off the beach before really getting going. There was a small swell with a couple of folks out surfing, but not really much serious surf. Hanalei Bay is a north shore bay, so it primarily breaks in the winter.

Dolphins surfaced ahead of us as we paddled out toward the wind line. There were whitecaps ahead too, and we quickly cruised into the chop and the wind.

DougM took us out into it and along the coast for 18 minutes, heading west toward the point near which we'd be making our first change. The wind was strong but at our backs, and we tried to get used to the lumpy conditions. Starting to feel the Hawaiian waters was a big part of this test run. We'd be paddling with the wind, surfing down the swells as we cruised along the coast line on Saturday.

(During the race itself, this first part would be the leg the women would paddle. They were starting the race and we'd be in the chase boat, ready to switch with them after 30 minutes.)

After 18 minutes we turned back, and Matt (in 1) and I (2) promptly got a lap full of Hawaiian ocean. Welcome to Kauai!

This concerned me a bit - we'd come quite a distance and if we were getting regular dollops of water, it would be hard work to make any headway. Realistically, we should have had a spray skirt on, but we didn't. Behind us Garrett and Rob discussed bailing. I tried to focus on paddling, but was disconcerted by the bumpy water. Ama!? Incoming!! It definitely wasn't like paddling on Lake Washington.

We realized that it was going to take some time to paddle back into the shelter of Hanalei Bay where the women were waiting on the beach for their turn. There wasn't anything to do but to dig in and claw our way back.

After that first wave we didn't get much else in the boat up front, and we slowly fought into the wind, making foot-by-foot progress (I noted this against the beaches we were moving past). I started to relax just a little, feeling that we were going to manage to get there without a huli. Behind me Garrett and/or Rob bailed now and then. Later I learned they were getting regular water in over the gunnel, even though the canoe had high sides (which Garrett said made all the difference in those conditions).

We gained ground toward the bay, pushing up and over wind swells, and last slipped into the wind shadow and calmer seas again. We cruised on toward the pier and onto the sand and after a total of 48 minutes (18 down, 30 back) we delivered the canoe to the women waiting on the beach.

It wasn't a particularly satisfying paddle for me. I'd found myself very conscious of the lumpy water and the wind, too nervous to concentrate on my job (providing power to move the canoe forward and to give DougM the ability to steer). Others seemed to have enjoyed it though, so I think I was in the minority. The water was warm and I loved that as well as the saltiness of it, but the conditions definitely got into my head.

The wahine, starting their practice run
(Hanalei Bay, Friday, 8/13)

The women paddled for 30 or 40 minutes while we hung out, and then we returned the canoe and made plans for the afternoon: lunch, shopping, a brief rest, then rigging our borrowed canoe at 4pm. Those were the plans. In reality, we waited over an hour for a mediocre meal at Tropical Taco, then had just enough time to shop for a group dinner (I bought some Ahi at the fish store to grill at Sabine/LeAnn's), drop the groceries off, and get back to the beach to rig.

We went by the bay to deliver stuff to the escort boat for the race the next day (DougM and DougN paddled the stuff out to the boat in a 4-man surfing canoe), and then on to the Kaiola Canoe Club beach where we waited some more for the canoe. Time to talk story, enjoy the warm air and the tradewinds, and be grateful we weren't waiting anywhere else in the world. If you've got to cool your heels, there's no place like the country in Hawaii!

The canoe finally arrived some time after 4pm, at which point we unrigged and rerigged the ama, slipped on the spray skirts (nice new ones), and finally got ready to paddle over to the beach in front of Pavilions on Hanalei Bay. That's where the women would be starting at 8am the next morning. Jocelyn (Buttercup) joined the men (minus DougN) on this "delivery" paddle, and though it was getting dark (it was after 6p by the time we were in the boat) DougM took us through a couple of upwind/downwind legs to see how the canoe felt. This time I was in 1 and the paddle felt better to me than our initial paddle. Having the spray skirt helped my mental state, and this time we didn't ever get out into the wind line.

A shower later, we went to Sabine/LeAnn's to grill and eat (tons of food) and talk (briefly), before heading to our various condos/houses to sleep. I think we got to bed around 9.30p. I didn't sleep well, what with the anticipation and excitement.

I'll write more about the race itself, but here's a picture to whet your appetites:

Hanalei Bay, prerace
(doing last minute stuff, like waxing the
canoe bottom for traction, Saturday, 8/14)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

definitions: zu-kenny / rejuice

it's double-definition tuesday!

zukenny - noun, a green vegetable that grows enormous over night


L (out in the garden with M): What that Mommy?
M: What? (looking into the plants) Yikes! That's a zucchini. Look how big it is!
L: It really big.
M: We need to pick it before it gets any bigger. Hey, there's another one. 1
L: Two, Mommy! There's two zu-kennys!
M: Uh... yeah. Two. We're going to make zucchini bread.
L: Zu-kenny bread?
M: Yeah.
L: I want a tomato!

rejuice - verb: to go get more juice.


K (sitting at a restaurant table with M and L): I want more juice.
M: What would be a nice way to ask?
K: Please.
M: That's better. (looks around for the waitress)
L: I want more juith.
M: You too?
L: Yeah.
M (still looking for the waitress): And what would be a better way to ask?
L: Pleath.
: Can we have more juice Mama?
M: Yes. I need to find the waitress.
K: I think she's in back. She went back to rejuice.
M: You think she's back there to rejuice?
K: Yeah.
L: Yeah!

Monday, August 23, 2010

family: ... they talk to themselves but...

... they don't listen.

snippet of in-van conversation from yesterday:

L (talking to herself): ... ith not the way it is because ith not that way...
M: What's not that way?
L: What?
M: What's "not that way" L?
L: Don't thay that!
M: Don't say what?
L: No!
M: You were talking and I was curious what you were talking about.
L: I wath talking to mythelf!
M: But we can hear you.
L: What?
M: When you talk to yourself out loud, we can hear you.
L: What you thaying, mama?
M (motioning with her hands though she's also driving): When you talk out loud (waves hands around mouth), we can hear you and want to know what you're saying.
L: I'm not talking to you!
M: I know, but when you talk....
me: (snicker)
L: Don't thay that! Don't listen.
M (looking over at me): ???
me (laughing out loud): Yeah!
L: What? What Daddy? What?

Monday, August 16, 2010

paddling: ... hanalei, hanalei moon...

(actually, there was a moon over Hanalei while we were there, but... I never get picha!)

What I did get pictures of (mostly by stealing from team mates' Facebook photos) is our team:

Before the race
(rested and excited)


38 miles and 5 1/2 hours afterwards
(tired and excited)
(and maybe a little bit pleased with ourselves)

What race? Why, the Na Pali Challenge 2010. The race I've been thinking about for months, training for, anticipating. We finally did it. And it was good!

The race starts on Saturday morning in beautiful Hanalei Bay, and then cruises down the Na Pali coastline, around the southwest end of the island, and on to Kekaha Beach Park. 38 miles in all.

The women started first, with a beach start, where #1 (Kaimana) and #6 (Sabine) held the canoe in place while the other paddlers sat already in their seats. When the flag went up for the start, 1 and 6 hopped in, and 36 canoes all took off for the far point (west of the bay). What a sight! There is nothing like a boatload of canoes taking off all at once across a Hawaiian bay!

We men swam out to our escort boat and climbed aboard so that we could follow the women and be ready for the first change. Each team swaps all 6 paddlers every 30 minutes. Until you get within 2 miles of the finish, and if you aren't at a 30 minute switch point, the team in the canoe finishes up. (We tried hard to get there but the women ended up getting back into the canoe for the last 2 miles plus about 2 minutes... that's how close to the buoy we were!)

The first change is a bit crazy because all the canoes are still fairly close together and there's a lot of jockeying for place among the escort boats. You're not supposed to throw a lot of wake because that can mess up other canoes, but you do need to pull in front of your canoe so the 6 paddlers can hop out (in reverse order of seats, so 6, 5, 4...).

We did this, and crawled up into the canoe for our first leg. Wow! Butterflies. Nerves! I was paddling in a race in Hawaii!

The weather was mild, the wind light, with almost no swell. At least until the very end. And at that point the women were back in the canoe.

The short story here is that we had a blast, and finished 24th out of 36 canoes. In about 5 hours 30 minutes I think. And the winner finished in 4:40. But it wasn't about winning. It was the experience. And what experiences!

I'll write more later, but wanted to get an initial post up.

I haven't had a chance to do much with my photos yet, but here's one I took that is one of my favorites (so far). This is our wahine (women) paddling the last 2 miles of the race. This 2 miles was by far the most difficult, with big rolling swells coming in at them from the right (starboard bow in boating terms, but nobody every uses boating terms when talking about outrigger canoes for some reason). You can see them coming up over the crest of a roller. The #1 (Kaimana) is catching nothing but air with her paddle. And then the nose of the canoe comes down with a crash and sprays 1 and 2 with a bit of water! I've got another in this sequence that shows Sabine in 6 with almost none of her paddle in the water because the tail of the canoe is lifted so high up. That would be when the nose is getting buried.

Up and over a bump (swell)
(on the way to the finish)

Friday, August 13, 2010

aloha friday spam: ...same last name...

(disclaimer - as you read this I'm in Hawaii preparing for the Na Pali Challenge. But the wonders of Blogger allow me to pre-schedule this post.)

Here's some spam I got recently that I loved, simply due to the fact that this attorney in Malaysia purports to have a client with the same last name as mine. Which, if you know me, is highly unlikely, in Malaysia, in Japan, in just about anywhere except Hawaii (where some of my family still live), Washington (where my sister and I both live) and in Michigan (where various distant relatives settled after escaping the dreariness of Holland).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

photo thursday: ... the girls in their summer dresses...

it's photo thursday, and this week I offer up some slightly unorthodox pictures of K, taken on an unexpectedly nice day in late June, while she and I waited to pick up L at day care.

Wearing Daddy's Sunglasses
(and admiring self in mirror)

un-self conscious moment
(they're getting rarer)

Red Dress Collar
(with detail)

Monday, August 9, 2010

paddling: ...it's a gray day...

... but we raced and it was fun!

On Saturday (8/7) we held DaGrind 2010, the long-distance canoe race sponsored by my club (SOCC). This race usually takes place at Alki, so in salt water and from a sand beach, but due to a scheduling conflict we had to move it to Magnuson Park. Then, 2 weeks ago, the Harbor Patrol decided that we couldn't have it there, in spite of the fact that we'd gotten all the proper permits, etc. Soooooo, we (and by "we" I mean Sabine mostly) moved it again, this time to Lake Sammamish State Park. Which was fun for me because that meant Brook and Amy were more likely to bring the boys down for a little while.

Unfortunately, after a week of foggy mornings and warm sunny afternoons, Saturday dawned gray and got grayer, finally giving in to a drizzle that kept up all late morning and afternoon.

But we paddled and we had fun. The after-race bbqs were lacking in enthusiasm though, and many of us took home uncooked/uneaten food. For some reason, no one wanted to hang out and grill in the rain. Brook/Amy/the boys did come down, and so did M and the girls (surprising me!). They all stayed until the men's race started, then headed for drier weather inside their houses.

The women's Na Pali crew did well, coming in 3rd in their class, but they are a strong crew and felt that things never clicked for them this race. They've paddled as a group in other races this season, and for some reason this one wasn't one of their best. But even without clicking, they did well.

The race was an 11 mile loop, and was the first time this season that the men's Na Pali crew were paddling in a race together. It was also the first long distance race I'd done all season. I was a little nervous, which surprised me. We were in Po Anuenue, and that canoe is tight up front.

Heading to the start
(I'm in the hat up front)

Luckily, Matt stroked and I got to sit behind him in #2. He set a good pace and we got away from the start quickly, being in the first four boats. Over the course of the first couple of miles (downwind) the eventual winner (SSP) took off, and the eventual 2nd place canoe (Hui Heihei) followed them. We were in a tight race for 3rd with a Mountain Home crew, and they passed us still going downwind. The Anderson brothers were drafting behind them in their OC2. We did our best to keep up, and the canoe felt like it was moving well, but obviously not quite as well as the 3 ahead of us. We have not refined our downwind technique. That may hurt us at Na Pali.

Oddly, Matt didn't seem to give much of a damn when I pointed out there was a bald eagle flying overhead. Weird. I didn't take it personally though.

The truth is that the #1 seat is generally working their okole off and in comparison #2 feels "easy" in that all I had to do was match his stroke and pull with all my might. The other factor for the person in #1 is the size of the seat, and it is tight up front in Po Anuenue. I have to alter my stroke when I'm up there, and I know Matt felt it as well. All of which contributes to the pain the stroke feels. He also didn't care about the Blue Angels when I mentioned them flying over the ridge ahead of us. Double-weird!

When we rounded the first buoy, we were going across the lake to the west and the wind/chop was coming from our left (the south), against the ama. The canoe never felt unsteady though, and we managed to gain on the Mtn. Home canoe, nearly catching them before the 2nd buoy. DougM did an awesome job steering, and I thought for a bit that we would be able to round the buoy ahead of them, but it didn't happen.

Then it was an upwind push for another 6 miles, and we'd gain on them, getting within 25 feet or so, then lose ground. At one point I got into this odd state of mind where I felt that when I was paddling with significant rotation, we were gaining on them, and when I forgot to think about technique, we dropped back. It isn't realistic to imagine that my technique by itself would make the difference, but I was tired and maybe hallucinating and so I'd focus on technique and we'd seem to make up some ground and then I'd drift off and lose focus and we'd fall back....

Most likely I was hallucinating. Another option is that everyone was following me so closely that when I lost my technique they did too (probably not a likely scenario). The third option is that I alone was making all the difference as to whether we were speeding up or going slow. This is even less likely a reality than option 2. I'm going to have to go with hallucination.

The Mtn. Home boat was definitely aware of us. I could see their steersman glancing over his shoulder at us, and I know they were working hard to keep ahead. We did our best to stay with them, and I had brief thoughts of Doug calling a push at the end, but ultimately finished 14 seconds behind, as the 4th canoe in (3rd in our open class).

Trying to catch Mtn Home
(with less than 20 seconds between us, and
about 20 seconds from the finish)

I was tired, but not completely wiped out, and felt like we'd had the boat moving well the entire race. We just couldn't manage to catch Mtn. Home!

(I'm the only one collapsed with exhaustion!)

Men's Race - 11 miles
(7.5 mph avg, official time of 1:23:30)

Back on the beach DougM said something about thinking of doing the short course race in his OC2, and after a second I said I'd do it, so we rigged his canoe and went back out for another race. He steered from up front, and we paddled another 6.7 miles (it was supposed to be 5 miles but was long).

(I'm in blue, to the right of the yellow and red canoe)

We were the second canoe in, behind an OC6 (just behind by 22 seconds -- another one we didn't manage to catch!), and well ahead of everyone else. Which felt great.

Short course - 6+ miles
(OC2 w/ DougM - 7 mph avg, official time 56:39)

The race was a push the entire time, but I expected that and it's not any different from a lot of our practices. I do wish we'd been able to catch the one canoe ahead of us, but what felt especially good to me was how quickly I bounced back from the first race. I felt good getting into Doug's OC2, like that race didn't impact what I had for the second race. It felt like the long workouts and conditioning have all paid off. Which is good, because next week we'll be on for 30 minutes, off for 30, on for 30.... through 38 miles. In bigger water than we're used to.

Now we head to Hawaii and the Na Pali Challenge this coming Saturday (8/14). Which promises to be something quite unlike anything we've done before. The wind should be at our backs but we seem to do better going upwind, and we don't have much experience surfing decent sized swells (no experience doing so as a crew - DougM has done it, but in an 6-man canoe the crew needs to be in sync).

Starting Weds posts here will be sporadic at best, until I'm home on 8/19. Wish us luck!

*photos stolen from Jocelyn's FB page. Thanks Buttercup!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

family: ...minute by minute...

Sample timeline from my day:

I've probably used this one before
but I like the off-kilter aspect
(taken by K I think)

3.39a - wake up just ahead of the alarm, giving me enough time to get up and turn it off before it goes off and wakes M.
4.05 - make first espresso, spill it on counter, consider licking it up as-is, then decide using a straw makes more sense
4.07 - fail to find straw, determine espresso is now ice cold, wipe up w/ dish cloth and give burial at sink (wash out dish cloth)
4.08 - make second espresso, swallow in single swill
4.10 - make third (really only second!) espresso and swallow again in single swill
4.11-4.16 - make/eat oatmeal, feed dog, let dog out, run after dog as she barks at paper delivery person, wave at delivery person while acutely aware of being in a t-shirt and pajama boxers
4.17 - drag dog inside, cursing
4.25 - shower and contemplate advisability of making another espresso
4.35-4.45 - bumble about making lunch
4.47 - let dog upstairs where, now that she's eaten, had her morning "constitutional", and made the yard safe for squirrels/moles/neighbor cats who want to use the garden as a litterbox, she'll go back to bed. For the rest of the day!
4.48 - contemplate life as a dog and wonder if I have to be extra bad or extra good to
come back that way in my next life
4.50-4.59 - try to find everything I need for my day, which includes paddling gear for after work
5.09 - park and catch bus
5.35 - walk into work
5.36-3.30p cruise the internets/watch YouTube/listen to music work hard
3.35 - leave important meeting early and just miss bus
3.36-4.10 - wait for next bus, wondering where the hell next bus is
4.59 - get to car at last
5.15-5.25 - drive to Waterway 18, start to change into paddling clothes by wrapping towel around my waist and undressing/dressing while traffic goes by. Wave at the tourists in the DUCKs as they pass. Realize I've forgotten my trunks. Scrounge under seats of car (still in towel) looking for backup trunks. Find some and pull them on.
5.30-5.45 - get canoe ready
5.50-9 - paddle my ass off, failing to find any regular rhythm or power or anything remotely useful to any other paddler in the canoe
9.01-9.07 - dry off and crawl into the car to try and drive home
9.15 - realize I've gone nearly all the way home without putting on my seatbelt. Pull it on.
9.20 - somehow arrive home having decided not to stop at the store for chocolate milk or anything else remotely useful to M and the girls tomorrow
9.22 - fumble with backdoor key, giving the dog plenty of time to get up from her bed and bark loudly at me through the glass kitchen door, threatening to wake up the household
9.23-9.29 - stand in front of refrigerator eating anything I find, not bothering with plate/bowl/serving spoon
9.30 - decide I'm too tired to take a shower
9.31-9.35 - try to convince myself I'm too tired to brush teeth but finally allow my guilt to override exhaustion
9.36 - crawl into bed next to a sleeping M who has had to deal with 2 maniacal girls all afternoon/evening
9.32 - 9.32.5 - attempt to read
9.33 - drop book on bedside table, fumble light off and fall immediately asleep

(repeat more or less daily)

Friday, August 6, 2010

family: ... let's pretend...

scene from a recent morning:

4yo Checkup Bandaid - 4/28/10

K (climbing up onto our bed where I'm lying before heading to work): Daddy, let's pretend we're getting married.
me (just what does she imagine that involves?): I've got to go to work.
K: It only taking about... hmm... 30 minutes.
me: I've got to go soon.
K: I'm the....
me (does she know the words "bride" and "groom"): Yeah?
K: ... the mama and you're the daddy. And I'm pregnant.
me (more and more complicated! Now putting my hand on her stomach): Oh no!
K: It ok Daddy.
me (really?): It is? Hey, I've got to go to work K.
K: Ok, it only taking 1 minute.
me: What do we do?
K: It pretend.
me: Ok, but what do we do?
K (snuggling in beside me): We lie in bed.
me(Aack!!): Really?
K: Yeah.
(a few seconds pass, and K, not typically a snuggler, snuggles close)
K: Ok, we're done.
me (with a feeling of having dodged all sorts of bullets): Ok, I'm going to work now. I love you.
K: I love you Daddy.

Wearing Daddy's sunhat - 5/15/10
(Spannaway Sprints)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

photo thursday: ... coffee coffee coffee....

for this photo thursday, a picture, a definition, and an apology*:

A thing of beauty
(unspoiled, unspilled, already drunk)


  • sad - spilling your first double espresso on the counter
  • really sad - spilling your first double espresso on the counter when you're running low on coffee
  • pitiful - considering finding a straw to "hoover" the espresso up off the counter
  • really pitiful - considering licking up the espresso when you can't find a straw

I may have, likely have, used this picture before.

In poking around previous posts I've come to realize that more than once I've reused photos, forgetting that I'd already used them. On the one hand, I'm consistent in the pictures I choose. On the other hand, it's not intentional. On the third hand, it probably reflects "daddy brain" in which I'm losing my mind. I should probably find a better system for filing "used" and "not-yet-used" photos.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

family: ... dance, dance, dance...

Pure Joy

today's truism - behind every good dancer is a good teacher:

(running back and forth across the upstairs, stopping on one end at the bookshelf beside her bed and at the other end by bouncing into our bed): Daddy, I doing.... I doing.... I at ballet school.
me: Oh, good.
L (bouncing off the bed and heading away again): You the teather Daddy!
me: I'm the teacher?
L (yelling from the other room): Yeah. You the teather Daddy.
me: Ok, run! Run like your life depended on it!
L (running): Look at me! I running! I running!
me: Yes you are. Good work L. You're doing good ballet.

note: L's ballet is, to the uneducated eye, remarkably like her galloping which itself mirrors her "running reallyreally fathed daddy!" Lucky for her, I'm a professional. Do Not Try This At Home!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

definitions: prettiful / reneckanize

it's double-definition tuesday!

Meltdown, Florida Panhandle Style
(a pose we reneckanize!)

prettiful - adjective(?), something eye-catching? "land of white"


L (looking at a multi-colored gecko art piece): That prettiful Mommy!
M: Prettiful?
L: Yeah. It really prettiful.
M: What does 'prettiful' mean?
L: It mean the lizard is land of white.
M: ????

reneckanize - verb: to see something that appears to be familiar. You think.


K (riding home from the airport, soaking in sights of Seattle after 20+ days away): Hey, I think I reneckanize that too!
me (driving): What?
K: Those... that... the wires Daddy.
me: The wires?
K: Yeah, and the buildings. Everything. I pretty sure I reneckanize everything.
me: Are you happy to be home?
K (quietly): Yeah.
me: I'm happy you're home too.

Monday, August 2, 2010

paddling: ...it's been a long, long, long time...

note: edited to add photos that capture some of the experience.

(since I posted anything specifically about paddling)

At the moment (8/2) there are 2 aspects of paddling occupying my mind:
  1. last Saturday's "simulation" of our Na Pali race, complete with entire crew and escort boat (but minus the tropical weather!)
  2. the Na Pali challenge is in less than 2 weeks (8/14)!
So Saturday. It was, in case anyone has forgotten, the last day in July, and we spent 6 hours on Lake Washington, either paddling or waiting to paddle, covering a total of 40+ miles, and getting mighty cold while doing so. July. 30. 1st. And we were huddling in fleece and blankets and knit hats on the escort boat under gray skies and windy, choppy conditions.

Trying to keep warm on the escort boat

We were warmer in the canoe than in the boat (obviously, because in the canoe we were working hard), but we were also warmer in the water than in the boat (because the water was warmer than the freakin' wind, especially if you were soaking wet).

So, the conditions weren't ideal in terms of mimicking Kauai, temperature-wise. The other thing we can't replicate here is the water conditions. We have nothing approximating the open water of Hawaii, except possibly the Gorge at times, and we (SOCC) don't often get down there to paddle. I've only been once, and that experience wasn't the most confidence-building.

Na Pali is a unique race in that there are 2 complete crews for each canoe, one of 6 women, and one of 6 men. The women start and then swap out after 30 minutes. And every 30 minutes thereafter the full crew swaps out. So 6 women out, 6 men in, 6 men out, 6 women in.... repeat. For 38 miles.

This means, among other things, that the escort boat is more fully loaded than usual. Most changeout races use a total of 9 paddlers, so there are only ever 3 waiting (there are races that use 10 or 12 paddlers). It also means that it's a lot of fun to have the opportunity to cheer on your women's crew while you're rehydrating and refueling in the escort boat. Except at the end of July in Seattle. When your lips are turning blue and you're wondering why you didn't bring long underwear.

In spite of these limitations, we had a great paddle. The women started (as they will on Kauai) and the men met them in the escort boat. We did the first change somewhere between Magnuson Park and the 520 bridge.

The routine is for the escort boat to run up ahead of the canoe, and the men jump into the water by seat number (6,5,4,3,2,1), with their paddles, line up treading water, and wait while the canoe approaches. The canoe stops (unlike typical changeout races where you're only swapping a couple of paddlers at a time), the men grab the gunnel and hand paddles up to the women who have unzipped their sprayskirts. The women stow the paddles, then jump out on the right as the men climb in on the left. As soon as possible after getting in, you zip up and start paddling to give the canoe some headway.

We were rotating seats, so I sat in seat 1 for the first piece, and I discovered that when the sprayskirt is on, I don't have enough leg room to put my off leg under my seat. That meant that I was paddling with both legs forward, not an ideal position, but I made it work.

I tried to set an aggressive pace, and the canoe felt like it was moving well in spite of a good headwind and some decent chop. I think we were all ready to get in and get moving, after being on the escort boat and then in the water.

I'm in seat 1, in hat and long sleeves
(and definitely not overdressed)

We powered south past Madison Park and reversed the swap with the women... I don't even remember where.... north of I90 for certain. (I remember this because by the time we were going under I90, we were passing Sabine her steering blade which she'd managed to lose. Lesson 1 from the simulation: always keep a spare steering blade in the canoe! It's bad enough to lose a regular paddle, but the steering paddle is key to the well being of the entire canoe. In this case Lisa passed her paddle back to Sabine until we were able to circle back around and pick her's up and pass it back to her. We'll have a spare on the canoe in Kauai.)

Then further south, swapping out again... somewhere before Seward Park where the wind seemed to be backing off so it was warmer and less wet. Continuing south, with the women taking over again near the south end of Mercer Island. Once they turned the corner, the wind was at our backs and was an advantage. (The wind should mostly be at our backs on Kauai.) The men got back into the canoe in the east channel and we paddled north.

The men were paddling when we reached Juanita Bay on the northeast side of the lake, and there were some pretty good swells we managed to surf, but then we had to turn west and take the wind/waves on our ama side, and things got a bit more interesting.

I could feel myself tensing up a bit. I was in Seat 2 at that point, and my body remembered the Gorge 2009 and I had to work hard at sticking with my good technique and proper approach. A couple of things that make unsteady conditions easier to take with this crew: DougM is an awesome steersman, Garrett is really "ama aware" and is good at slapping it back down when necessary, and we've been paddling as a group (more or less) for many months now, so are comfortable together and trust each other. Doug often says that the boat feels good and stable, which is a great thing because in bumpy conditions the important thing is to keep up our speed, keep paddling so we keep moving. It's that forward momentum that gives the steersperson the ability to correct.

It's also a bit counterinstinctual for me. When things feel uncertain, I tend to pause when in fact I need to focus on keeping the stroke regular and strong -- I've gotten much better at doing this over the year, and feeling like everyone else is reliable means that it's easier for me to focus on what I'm doing (paddling) rather than on what the canoe is doing (threatening to flip over).

We managed to do the west section without problems and then turned south toward Sand Point, where we did a change and the women got back in for their last piece. They paddled south past the boat ramp at Magnuson, and then the men swapped back in and we paddled back through Montlake Cut and into Lake Union, doing a final 40 minute piece to make a full 3 hours of paddling (for us).

I think we did 5 pieces each crew, with a couple of those being significantly longer than 30 minutes (the women's first piece while waiting for us in the boat, and our last piece heading home).

The final stats:
men -
  • 3 hours
  • 21.5 miles
  • avg speed - 7.2 mph
women -
  • 3 hours
  • 18.48 miles
  • avg speed - 6.3 mph
And a visual, for those who like to look at things:

Note: The track looks a bit funky because this represents only when the men were in the boat, so the section that makes it look like we paddled right across Mercer Island is because we got out of the canoe at the southwest end of the lake, and the women paddled 1/2 way up the east side of Mercer Island.

We're all excited about the race, now that we've actually done a similar distance as a group and practiced the changes with an escort boat, etc.

family: a close NOT shave

a father-daughter interlude:

It's not a beard
(but it plays one on TV)

I'm carrying L upstairs, about to deposit her on the bed where she'll read books while I shower.

L: Daddy, you scrathed me.
me: I did?
L: Yeah, you scrathed me on my arm. You scrathy. It hurth.
me: I am? It does? I'm sorry. Are you sure?
L (reaching up to feel my chin): Yeah, you scrathy.
me: I'm about to take a shower. Should I shave?
L: Umm... nope. (shaking her head)
me: Nope? Really?
L: Nope.
me: Ok, maybe I'll shave tonight after I paddle.
L: Ok.