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August 2014

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Aug. 23rd, 2014

channel2004

New Challenges, new year...

I swam the 3K at World's this year.  Because I'm not in the shape I want to be in, it was long enough to allow a lot of thinking:
As the summer comes to a close this year, more than ever I’m missing the big swims.  It has been 10 years since the summer of big swims including the Channel.  I not only miss doing them but I miss being able to do them. Somehow I think being in the shape to swim miles upon miles helped me not only physically but emotionally.

It is the ability to swim and not focus on anything or focus on something as needed.  I solve problems when I swim or it can also be a zen like experience.  I let go of each thought as it comes.   I lose myself in the repetition of the stroke, the sound of the water and the passing of time.  I may be tired at the end but I am also clear in my head.  I'm at peace.

I also very much miss the people, those that share the passion or the need to make dreams come true.  Those would be the swimmers as well as the crew folk, the pilots and event directors. I miss working out and going for a soda or beer after.  I miss the comradery of a group of swimmers no matter what their goals are.

So 10 years after my last big swim, it is time to head back to the water for distance and speed.  Be it salt and fresh and chlorine, it is always wet.   It is time to put in the long workouts and short power swims as I work up to a long swim.  Next year this time, I will have a long swim under my belt if not more.  Tampa is on the slate for April.  It will be good for me for all reasons big and small.

Jul. 13th, 2013

channel2004

Strength in many forms, grace also…

Many years ago during a time of personal crisis I saw that strength comes in many forms.  I was sitting on top of Sentinel Dome in Yosemite National Park.  As I watched the hawks gliding on the updrafts behind me in the rocks were Monarch Butterflies flitting.  The contrast of the strength hit me at once.  The sheer power of the hawks as they glided by and the perseverance of the Monarch who make a annual trip round trip from Northern California to Mexico back to Northern California.  Each had a different types of strength for the same purpose, that of survival.

Of late I have had the privilege to be on periphery and witness two friends on similar paths but at different places of them.  It appears in the near future one will be on to the next great adventure.   Again I am forced to understand the concept of different strength.  Most importantly this is 'the strength that is needed to love and let go.'  I don’t do helpless well.  I try not to do it at all. But there comes a time when you have to understand that it happens at times and realize no matter what, you can’t affect the outcome.

These two friends are unknowingly teaching me lessons about both strength and grace.  Both lessons I hope I learn well.  The one that will be moving on has finally decided it is time for her Big Beautiful Schnauzer to be re-homed with another friend.  We all know that he has helped keep her alive and living with the joy and grace she shows us all.  Even in her request there was just this amazing lady showing the love she has for this pup and all of us.  Not a grumble, nor hint of discontent, just an explanation and request.  She is facing the biggest transformation of her life and she is showing us all how to be graceful and loving.

The second friend is a soul sister to the first and when they are together the laughter is unstoppable and bubbling, not little snickers or giggles but laughter as it was meant to be, uninhibited and unashamed.

I can only help in trying to provide some of this laughter as she also faces her biggest opponent and love her through her journey.
And pray she knows ‘her sister’ will always be with her.

Boy, they are making sure I learn these lessons….

Help me learn these lessons of 'strength and grace' with grace they would be proud of.

So in closing, here are a couple of pictures, one of Jolie and her Big Beautiful Boy and one of Jolie and Rach laughing.


Jolie-Heinz
Jolie-Rach

Jan. 15th, 2013

Italy

Just two goals....

Well I started this New Year with two goals besides learning to dive with goggles which has been consistent for 10 years or more

They are to ‘avoid drama’ even when being sucked in and to ‘just do better.’  Fifteen days into the month and I’m doing pretty good.  I have learned the delete key in email; the hide key in Facebook and the red button on my phone.  I wish it was as easy to utilize the delete key in my brain but I’m working on it.

Progress not perfection is the motto for this year

The ‘just do better’ is with nutrition, exercise, sleep and de-stressing.  I’m home right now and eating fairly healthy, exercising, working on sleep issues, less stress and more patience.  I went to my first acupuncture appointment to see if that would help bring down my blood pressure and am doing yoga and meditation in search of similar results.  So far my pants fit better,  I’m establishing a good swimming base and the dogs say I’m not as ‘demanding.’ But they will say anything for a treat, so who knows.

The real challenge will be to continue this on the road.  How to avoid the fast food and salt laden junk food will be interesting.  I do travel with a bottle of Mrs. Dash so if I have the change to cook something myself that is healthy and not boring.  I’m not carrying a full suitcase of herbs with me.  So that is my check-in with myself for the first half of January.

Oct. 25th, 2012

LE

Changes are a constant.

Well folks, I know I owe a few entries and I was hoping to be home for a few weeks to get caught up.  Best laid plans and all that….

 Instead I will be traveling into the upcoming hurricane and it won’t be as cool as swimming in Cocoa Beach as one closed in on Florida a few years ago. 

And to finish my luck (good this time), a number 1 position opened up on a late September neap tide next year; I received the notice today and I just emailed back and asked to be penciled in. 

My second mid-life crisis has definitely taken shape and this one will last 2 years until I turn ‘half-century.’ 

So the semi-official next year schedule for big swims is ‘Tampa, Catalina and English.’  The Catalina will finish my triple crown after 8 years of stasis…

More later.

Aug. 3rd, 2012

channel2004

Saying No and fixing what I can…

Well I whined yesterday and realize there is only so much I can fix.  I can work on little tiny pieces and hopefully ‘the big stuff will work itself out in the wash’ as my Grams would say.

nerves
The first thing is ‘saying no’ and I started yesterday: 

     ‘No thank you, please don’t call.  I hope to be asleep at 11:30.’

     ‘I understand you would like everything in today so you can go on vacation, I can’t.  I will have it for you on   your return.’ 

     And ‘no, I’m not going to work on my one day off except to scan receipts.’

Instead I plan for my one day home - swimming, laundry, running with the dogs, swimming, cleaning some, playing with the dogs and swimming.  Hopefully during that cleaning I will find my small stash of British Pounds I have for entry fees.   Included in that day and Sunday, is eating well and taking care of my shoulder and back.  If I have a little time, I might watch a little of the Olympics while cuddling with my pooches.  And I will hopefully  get in a long swim on Sunday evening depending upon T-storms of course.

No, I don’ t plan to rush for anyone today, I will juggle but not rush.

Aug. 2nd, 2012

channel2004

A fish out of water…

This year which started with so much promise swimming and otherwise is turning into a year of loss.  My parents, both are not doing well.  The friends I use to be able to count on more than two hands have dwindled to 1 or 2.  My home Bay Swimming club has pretty much stated ‘we like the money you pay for dues but you aren’t one of us because you don’t live here.’  My home swim region just said the same thing.   

Who knew that living local was such a deal breaker in this world?  Especially in an age of instant news, information, communication and gratification; the world is not really as big as it used to be with modern communication and data services or so one would think.   Apparently I am mistaken or very much ill informed.

I moved 4 years ago because I thought I would have a solid place, a dream job with limited travel, a home and a future all equaling more training and swimming, time with a partner and settled. 

I thought that I would be able to hold on to my old friends, family and life while creating a second base of operations.  I didn’t realize or refused to acknowledge that people are really very temporary fragile connections that blow away much like a spider web in the wind and rain.   Every other connection is even more tenuous.   

This year I’m on the road every week for at least 6 days, temporary help for the latest bidder.  There doesn’t look to be an end to this situation.  I laughed, a very sad laugh when I heard Sawyer Brown’s ‘Six Days on the Road’ on the radio.  No, I’m not a trucker but I still very much understood the sentiment behind the song.

I am very seldom at the place I reside which is only a rental again.  I seem to live out of hotels most of the time.  My dogs are spending all their time with a caretaker and I seem to be the parent with limited weekend visitation rights.  I guess it is good that the visits aren’t supervised also.

I have scratched many more swims than I have participated in this summer due to this schedule.  I’m so very wary of entering swims because I just can’t afford to throw away the money on unused entry fees.  So I always wait until the last minute and decide, not the most economical way to go. 

A couple of times I have gotten home so late that to drive to the swim, then participate and drive back would put me awake for well over 30 hours at a time.  I’m willing to swim that tired but I’m not willing to take any chances behind the wheel of my truck where someone else would pay a huge price.      

It has been a year of injury and illness, backs, hips, knees, viruses, ulcer, asthma, shoulder issues, and just plain exhaustion.  It seems that everything is falling apart at the same time but there is no time to really heal anything.  I have taken to traveling with ice packs in checked baggage for temporary relief to injury while on the road.  The question becomes where do I need them the most or first? 

Now as I ponder a swim that is abroad, I have great trepidation that that part of my life is over also.  Is this the last adventure that I will participate in? 

 Am I traveling over there too find that another family and set of friends are ‘local only?’  Again, do I care too much for people who are more ambivalent about my friendship?  Are people really that easily replaceable and interchangeable?  I just miss my life or what I thought it was.  This new one sucks.

So I struggle to get ready for the 9 mile swim this month and the 10.5 next month and worry. 

What do I do for a crew this month, do I need it?  How will I get all the work done and justify an evening away for the pre-race dinner much less the couple of days for the 10.5?   

For the overseas trip; will I find myself as lonely during those few days as I do every day at home? 

I try to force myself to work on healing my shoulder so it will manage both swims.  All the while knowing that if I can’t, come September it will be time to let a surgeon fix it.  If that is the future will any chance of swimming for adventure and challenge vanish?  And the low voice that says ‘why do you continue to do it’ comes in treacherous and clear just to further unhinge things. 

I have found myself thinking maybe I’m not who I thought.  Maybe swimming isn’t me.  Maybe I am destined to just move around, making contact but nothing lasting.  Maybe I just don’t get it people are actually replaceable in all instances.  Maybe there really is no such concept as home.

Then I pay attention to the lyrics in my ears:

Holding Up the Sky

 I found myself between two places neither of them home

I could not recognize the faces

I've never felt so alone.....so alone

I found myself between two choices to settle or to run

All my life I've heard the voices

This time mine’s the only one....the only one

Chorus:

I wanna feel what the wind feels like

I wanna go that high and feel no fear except being down here

Holding up the sky.....holding up the sky

Life astounds us in an instant

Changing all we know

Blink just once and then you've missed it

All you can do is watch it go......watch it go

You wanna feel what the wind feels like

You wanna go that high and have no fear except being down here

Holding up the sky......holding up the sky

I found myself between two lifetimes

The sunset and the dawn

I reached out and took the lifeline offered up to me

between here and gone....here and gone

We want to feel what the wind feels like

We wanna go that high and feel no fear except being down here

Holding up the sky...........holding up the sky

I wanna feel what the wind feel like

I wanna go that high and feel no fear except being down here

Holding up the sky......holding up the sky

The lyrics of this song resonate with where I am today and the crisis of faith that I’m having with myself right now.  It managed to quiet the noise for awhile, so I will go try and figure my life again while listening. 

Jul. 12th, 2012

phonehome

A swim with no one waiting for a call...

Last week I swam an open water swim, first one in a couple of years.  

I got out and then remembered that no one was waiting for my call.  

Not my Mom, whom I bought my first cell phone because she wanted to know when I got out of the water and usually there were few phones.  

Not my Dad, whom wouldn't travel with me domestic or abroad but always was waiting for my call.  

Mom and Dad are having rough times and don't have time to worry about me.  It was very strange that no one was waiting for a call.

It became very apparent it is a lonely new world these days...'solo' swims has taken on a new meaning.

More on the Adventure later when my mood picks up.

Jun. 3rd, 2012

LLdone

Rough week

I was supposed to swim a race this weekend but couldn't pick up my pups if I did.  I bailed on the 21 minute swim for the 12 hours with the pups.  I also was supposed to go to World's this weekend but work, new client, etc have conspired against me.  So it is back to the drawing board for now.  A summer ahead and what to do?  I want to swim but need to find those that are financially balanced.

Loch Lomond is out because I can't find a boat, Swim the Suck is filled up along with a lot of the other big swims....but I do have my BLDSA card for this year.

I also did get a USAT card this year so that opens up a few more events, but can I get them to switch the length of the run and the swim?  Probably no,t but I can crawl to the finish if need be....

Oh well it is back to the drawing board to figure out what to do... anyone with ideas, ping me or leave a message please.

Feb. 22nd, 2012

LL3

My Grams....

Except for the fact that I swam today, this post had nothing to do with swimming.  

Grams has been on my mind a lot lately, she was an amazing lady.  No matter what I had done good or bad when I went to her house there was coke or hot cocoa and 'applesauce raisin cake.'  My Grams was one of those women that 'a pinch here and a dash there' were all she put in on any recipe card and for most of her recipes are not documented.  I was looking for an applesauce raisin cake recipe because that is the one I associate with her.  As I said no matter what, that was in the air when I visited.  

I finally found this one and it looks a lot like hers smelled (Yes I can translate between the two).  


Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups applesauce
  • 2 cups raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. Mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the applesauce. Fold in the and raisins. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

So I'm going to try it and I will let you know if it is my Grams recipe minus of course the 'love' that she made it with.....

Tags: ,

Feb. 21st, 2012

havingasip

So tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent….

I’m a very lapsed Catholic which means we have differences of understanding.  I’m feeling not at odds with family but there are difficulties so maybe I will participate in my own way to honor my Grams which I do a couple of times a year.  She was such a good Irish Catholic with pagan tendencies. I try and make Church on Good Friday as well as Easter and Christmas each year.  Being raised Catholic, fish sticks, tuna sandwiches and salmon are regular Friday meals even if the Pope says you don’t have too. 

I’m not into giving things up right now, at my age you can run out of things to deny yourself or you don’t want to use it as a way to beat yourself up or both. 

I’m looking at it as 40 days of taking care of myself, body, mind and spirit.  I’m not totally sure what it will all mean but I do know recommitting to healthy eating, proper rest, exercise and hoping to lower the stress levels with some meditation are in the future for a 40 day experiment. 


So what I have figured out is: There will be long dog walks and dog loving sessions, lots of swimming and I’m going to join the team for the 40 days.  There will be gentle stretching until I can venture out into my other cross training activities such as weights, running and Aikido.  I also want to add in rock climbing, I’ve done it before and it has been good for all areas I’m trying to reach, body, mind and spirit.  Getting more serious about training and swimming is taking care of myself as long as I have fun doing it. 

I’ve been missing my creative outlets so there is some art or at least crocheting in the next 40 days.  I want to finish my Mother’s afghan and start my Dad’s blanket.   I haven’t crocheted since I moved but I was really enjoying it even if I’m not good at it.  There is also a shop that has a drop-in crochet and knitting group, that may help my ‘socialization’ or lack thereof that I’m concerned about.  There are also weekend art classes that I may take one or two of.  I would like to find a place to ‘throw clay’ also, it is fully satisfying when it hits the table with a resounding smack.  I’m not going to be able to do all of this but I would like to do some of it and have a plan on next steps at the end of 40 days. 



I have some new cookbooks on Vegan cooking and want to replace a couple of meals a week with vegan entrees and more that are vegetarian to go with my fish on Fridays.  So I love to cook combining the two works very well.   

It will be a interesting experiment even knowing that things can change in a minute.....


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