Saturday, August 9, 2014


I hate drama and conflict.  I hate when people do things just for the sole purpose of making someone else feel bad so I'm not even going to go into great detail about the drama I have experienced this summer other than to tell you that it has happened at the rowing club between the "elite" set and the amateurs.  What I love about this whole topic is the way that some of the ladies on my team have handled. it.  I love my ladies. Today I'm going to tell you about Leigh.

When a team of my ladies were docking a quad one day, they bumped the dock.  Rowing shells are very delicate so it's never a good idea to run into anything.  Duh.  Everyone knows that, but docking is hard.  The ladies didn't do any damage to the shell, and certainly didn't want to dock the boat badly, but a woman from the more elite group saw it happen and barreled down to the dock and screamed her head off at my ladies. The coxswain in our team's boat, Leigh, is a retired police officer and triathlete.  She interrupted the screamer and told her not to talk to anyone of the ladies until they had gotten out of the boat.  (that's rowing protocol)  Once they got out of the boat Leigh calmly, quietly, and efficiently handled the screamer, reminding her that nobody WANTS to damage shells, mistakes happen, no damage was done, screaming doesn't solve anything, it just pisses people off, and finally she said, "You are not allowed to talk to me again," which is genius.

Another day we were carrying the 8 boat from the lake side and we set it down in slings to dry it off.  The same screamer came out and yelled about how we almost laid the boat down on the impeller (delicate plastic thingy on the bottom of the boat) and "everyone who knows anything knows not to do that."  Leigh handled it again saying, Thank you for your comments, and 1. We didn't lay it on the impeller.  2. If you thought we were going to lay it on the impeller, why didn't you speak up before we did it, and  3. I thought I told you you were not allowed to talk to me again.

I love that woman.

We have pretty accomplished women on our team.  Leigh was pretty high in the police ranks when she retired last year.  We also have a lawyer who is a retired FBI agent, a doctor, and several business owners.  I really can't believe the way that they (we) have been disrespected by a small contingent of other rowers and fellow club members.  I think the problem the other rowers have with our team is that for the most part, the women on our team are fearless.  A couple of our novice rowers (including Leigh) took out a double sweeper boat last week.  People were up in arms about it because usually it takes rowers three or four years to advance to that level.  It went fine.  They did very well.  It's not rocket science, it's moving a boat.

I think we need to start going to board meetings.  Well, the other ladies can.  I don't like conflict.  ;) 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Rowing Novice

Hello again.  Two days in a row.  What do you think of that?  Looks as if our dry spell is over.... or is it....

Today I'm going to catch you up on my athletic career.  As you know from my post in June, I joined the local rowing club.  Isn't that cool?  I think it's pretty cool.  Why?  Because a few years ago I would have never imagined me, a huge chicken, rowing a skinny, tippy boat in the middle of the Duluth Harbor, where people DIE every year.  But I do that now.  Regularly.

I joined a team of ladies who row that I met at the gym.  It's been lots of fun, but I have found there are two kinds of people at the rowing club:  A group who just wants to get out on the water and practice, workout, and have fun.  And a group who wants to keep the club exclusive to a very elite and superior group.  The team I am on is in the first group and we have a couple of coaches who are elite quality rowers. The ladies that row in the 8 oared boat are pretty tight.

This is us at the Duluth Regatta in June.  The lady in the blue hat isn't technically part of our team, but she's a good sport and sat in with us for our regatta.  She's what you would call an elite rower.  The rest of us are either novices or amateurs.  We are learning, and practicing, and having lots of fun.  

So my schedule almost every day this summer has been to get up at 4:30 in the morning, drive down to the lake, and then row in either a single, double, quad or the 8 boat.  It has been fantastic.  Sometimes I just have to stop and look around and say, wow, I can't believe I'm doing this.  

Sometimes we have to carry the boats across the point to the lakeside because of wind conditions.  When we do that the lake is usually like glass and the sun is just coming up.  It is gorgeous.  

We are not the best rowers in the world, but we aren't bad.  If we can keep the team together for at least a few years, I think we will be better and better.  We are going to participate in the Master's National Championships next week.  I will be in two races in the 8 boat.  I am really looking forward to it.  

There is something really special about being on a rowing team.  When you're in the boat you have to work together, in total unison, or the boat doesn't move as well as it could.  When we are in total unison, it's like magic.  It's smooth and fast and exciting.  You can feel in your feet and your butt when everyone is moving together perfectly.  It is really amazing.  When you're in a boat with other people there are no good rowers or bad rowers.  The team is only as good as the worst rower (usually me) and thankfully my team is supportive and very forgiving.  We are literally all in the same boat.  Rowing is a lot harder than it looks.  It's very technical and you have to think about it and work all the angles all the time.  We are always striving for the perfect stroke.  Mine are getting better, but they are still few and far between.  The ladies I have met and had the pleasure of spending time with this summer are amazing. They are kind, and brave in every sense of the word, and we have all become very close knit.  

Tomorrow:  Drama drama drama!!! (more rowing)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Movie Review: D of the P of the A

I went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes the other day.  I don't really have much to say about it except:

1.  It wasn't as good as R of the P of the A.
2.  Ceasar, the main monkey character, was handsome and dignified.
3.  I got everything I ever wanted out of life when I saw a chimp on the back of a stampeding horse shooting two machine guns.  

I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me...

Hi.  I haven't posted anything on here since June.  That's so super lame.  I'm sorry.  I have lots of excuses, but they are only excuses.  Excuses are lame.

So what did you miss?

1.  Kira has been funny
2.  I've been a super athlete
3.  I've had a fun summer
4.  I'm excited for the new school year.
5.  Drama drama drama!

Today I'll I'm going to tell you about his Kira.  She is a funny girl.  She's 14 now and has requested that I not blog about her, but she's conflicted because she likes people to know about how funny she is, but she does't want me to talk about her to anyone because I'm her mother and THAT'S EMBARRASSING!

Mitch and I went out AT NIGHT last week without her.  We were going to be out late and Kira was going to be home alone.  Part of me thought she might be apprehensive about being home alone at night, but she assured us she was FINE and to just GO.  Around ten o'clock I got a text from her.  I thought, well, this is it, she wants us to come home.  Here's the text:

Yeah, that's right, she wanted me to know she had the shower of a blind amputee.  What a weirdo.  She was in bed when we got home, but let me tell you, I got a good look at her the next morning and she wasn't all that clean.  I told her I was impressed with her imagination, but not too impressed with the quality of the shower.  She said she thinks she must have shampooed with conditioner because, you know, eyes closed.  She's been working on it and is getting it down.  She said she can now recognize shampoo because of the lather.

The other night at the dinner table we were telling the kids how they are lucky because they have many advantages over their peers.  They wanted to know like what kind of advantages, and we said that they are lucky because their parents are financially secure and our family is intact.  Those two things alone makes a huge difference in a kid's life.  Kira said, "We are not an intact family.  Grandma's uncle got his leg cut off by a train.  Remember?" (duh!?)

Mitch's and Sam's and my jaws dropped.  What???  We had to explain to her what the term "intact family" meant.

I kind of love how her brain works.

But also, because she is 14, the worst age in the world, she is a smartass.  We went swimming at Lake Superior the other day because the waves were big.  That's always fun.  I was trying to balance having a fun and exciting swimming day with being a good parent so I said, "You remember what to do if you get caught in a rip tide, right?"  (the answer is to swim easy, parallel to the shore until you can get out of it.  She KNOWS this.)  She said, "Oh yeah, you swim STRAIGHT OUT!" and pointed into the endless, dangerous oblivion of the lake.  I got some more gray hairs that day.

Okay, that's enough for today.  More tomorrow on the topic of being a super athlete.  Here's a teaser:

I'm third from the back.  I look like a fly with a tiny yellow mustache.