First 2k Trauma: For the love of god, STOP DOING THIS TO PEOPLE

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So yes – as mentioned in my last entry, I 2k’d again last weekend. It went better than I expected – I pulled the exact same split, but at no point in the before, during or after process did I throw up, so in my world that’s the actual victory.

However, my avoidance of neurosis-induced vomit is not what today is about.

Instead, I would like to take a moment and make a plea on behalf of some of the girls that I’ve competed with over the last two weekends.

Please stop making new adult rowers do their first 2k at erg competitions.

Ya know, doing it to kids is bad enough – as much as we naysay, the truth is that every coach gets a little amusement out of making the children suffer athletically* – I’m not a coach anymore, so I’m just gonna go ahead & admit that.
*within ethical boundaries, of course.

The thing is, new adults are different.

 

Rowing creek: letting go, finding flow & being really freakin’ selfish.

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Bear!Boathouse sits on a finger of land that separates two bodies of water – marina & creek.

Marina is just that – it’s an open marina that you row in a counter-clockwise loop, and depending on your course it can be about 6000m, not counting inlets. You’re out there with everyone else – rowers from other boathouses, recreational motorboats, sailboats, a couple of commercial tourist fishing expedition boats, and the occasional Catalina-bound ferry. As you might guess, sometimes that makes for an adventure wrapped in chaos punctuated by many an utterance of “What the fuck?”

Creek is different. It’s an outlet of the LA river which has about 2400m of protected water between two bridges that’s two, maybe three boat lanes wide. Thanks to our location, Bear!Boathouse has a dock that lowers down directly to the water. Everyone else has to actually row out of the marina, go out around the breakwater & surf about five or six hundred meters of ocean waves to get access. As such, the course doesn’t get much play beyond some of the local Masters who know how to manage that sort of hazard and college crews who have a coach launch as safety escort.

I like rowing in the creek. Not just because the water is flat – after six years in our marina, shit water is just part of the game. No, I like creek because it helps me let go.

Truth told, I really needed that this week.

Laziest. 2k. Ever.

I did a 2k piece last weekend. I went to SD & did their Indoor Classic, and while everybody else in my heat was busting their ass racing, I just went ahead and… did a piece.

One of the Juniors described it later as “the most casual 2k ever”, and it’s true – I pretty much did the anti-2k.

I sat down, I did a nice steady state piece. I adjusted the volume on my ipod twice, I deliberately didn’t go faster than the girl who was winning the lightweight division (open & open ltwt went together) & and I really only put pressure on for the last 400m when I looked the screen & saw that Hoff (who came in 2nd in the lightweight division) was +10m up on me, which the junior rowers described as, “it literally looked like you said, ‘ehhh, screw it, I’m gonna go ahead & beat Hoff‘.”
That was actually a very accurate assessment, except that longtime readers will not be surprised to know that in my mental version of that statement, I dropped the f-bomb.

After I was done, I put my handle in place, reached back for my phone, took a picture of my screen, then cheered on the girl next to me for her last 500m & waited for everyone else to finish.

Rowers reading this story are either laughing or horrified right now. Or, as JRo said to me at work on Tuesday when she heard, “Wow. You seriously did that & still won your race? You’re kind of an asshole.”

Salter: hahaha…what a good example you lead for the high school kids
Claris: what? i cheered the girl next to me on – that’s totally sportsmanship!

Why did I do a piece instead of a race?

Because the problem isn’t my body, it’s my head.

 

Sh*t we say in LA, 21 Jump Street, & storm troopers on the highway.

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I have actual content, I swear.

But before we get to the fact that Gina Curano is my new girl crush, I thought I’d share a few things with you:

sh*t people say in LA

While I have not snorted coke with Skeet Ulrich, I am verbatim guilty of the parking quotes, and yes, a couple of other things:

21 Jump Street? I am SO THERE.

Much to Sachiel‘s horror in the movie theatre lobby, I fully intend to partake of this, because unlike my erstwhile roommate, I’d already seen the trailer:

I love two things about this movie:
 

Princess & the Pea: why I’m healing up a hurty knee.

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As of late, I have been athletically cranky.

Why, you might ask?

One word, people: Crosstraining. Cross. Training.
Okay, yes. I think it may be two words. shush.

Here’s the thing – when you’re a rower, you can’t just row. If you do, two things happen:

1. you get hurt because you’re overworking those muscles.
2. your brain gets bored & you burn out.

Thus, cross training. Swim, bike, run, whatever – you do something that’s not rowing.

Last May, I joined up at YAS.

YAS is exactly what its name stands for – Yoga And Spin. That’s it. That’s all they do. No upsell, no attempt to get you to do personal training or their diet program. Yoga & Spin, in one form or another. Very cut & dry.

Thus for me, as someone who used to teach spin & is already inclined to yoga, that’s pretty much perfect. And I loved it there. Loved it.

At least, it was until my right knee decided to get all… wonky-like.

Lemme ‘splain.

If you’re going to spin regularly, it’s highly advisable to get shoes & clips. This gives you a better footing on the pedal than using your regular sneakers with a basket on the pedal.

Now, when I was teaching, spin was still fairly new, and I was poor & in college, so I didn’t get clips. This time around, however, I decided to take care of business, & caught a good sale on some Sidi shoes.

At the time I didn’t know anything about spin shoes & just went with the philosophy that I wanted the lightest hardshell shoes I could find, because to me that seemed the logical choice. I later learned that I’d lucked out not only in price but also in brand since, as YAS instructors Diane & Gina said when they saw my new shines, “You got the rockstar shoes! Nice!”

However, you also have to get clips to go on the shoes before you can use them.

So, that in mind, one Saturday I stopped by MDR bike on Lincoln in Marina Del Rey & said, “Hey, I got these shoes, I need to get clips, can you help me?” And the guy in the shop said, “Sure, here you go”, installed clips & off I went.

No problem, right?

Wrong.


Shopadidas.com - official adidas store

 

Bits, bobs, boundaries & being a sleeper agent for the arts.

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Well, we’re moved. Things thus far?

- it would seem that, according to DJT, I have an entire magical adventure within my apartment. More on that later.

- I’m pretty sure Zoey thinks we’re house sitting, as whenever we go out for a walk she tries to find the car. Sorry, ZeeZee, this is where we live now, kiddo.

- Ernie just thinks everything’s an adventure. I’m astounded at how well he’s been behaving as of late – he’s even already figured out to wait until we get down to the sidewalk & pee on the streetlight, as I don’t want him to get in the habit of just lifting leg on the stairs leading up to the building… which I suppose counts as me teaching my puggle not to piss off the neighbors.

- We had a moment to appreciate that I had one large box of clothes and seven medium boxes of books — and that’s after I’d culled the herd.

The result is that I’m torn between getting a Kindle Fire and waiting to see if they actually come out with the iPad Mini (I find the current iPads a bit too large for my taste) and possibly that would help cut down on the space taken up by my book collection.


h/t to k-walla for this one.

 

January Promo: 15% Off Tea Clubs

 

- thanks to her present decor involving red sheets over the windows until we figure out curtains, Sachiel‘s room looks a bit boudoir-esque. This impression would probably be greatly improved by a lack of plastic bins, but I figure hey – at least she’s got the lighting down. Gotta start somewhere.

- mostly at this point, I feel like the apartment presently resembles dominoes — if I do this, it will affect this, this & this, which is a bit overwhelming.

 

A tale of moving house: Tumblr style.

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First: let’s play a round of “Expectation vs. Reality”

Expectation:
For the record, I had plans for these last two weeks of the year. Seriously. I was going to go through, finish cleaning out my apartment, organize my electronic files, finish up some lingering projects… you know, all those things that allow one to feel like they’re starting the new year in some semblance of control over their life.

Reality:
…did I mention that I’m moving on Saturday?

But we are! The week before Christmas, Sachiel & I took the Friday beforehand to go look at a couple of possible apartments… and came away completely disheartened. Personally my favorite was the guy that was willing to rent to us and then when he found out I had two dogs, told me the rent had just increased $100/mo. Seriously, dude? I mean, I’ll pay a full deposit or a pet fee, that’s fair, but you want me to pay you $1200 more a year for the entire time I rent from you?

Yeah… we decided to pass.

source

Episode II: The Search Continues

Christmas Eve, we had one place to look at before Sachiel went to visit with Polgara’s cats for two weeks & I migrated with the puppies to the Long Beach Menagerie for a week. When we’d looked at the ad earlier in the week, I’d said to Sachiel, “I vote we just show up at the open house with the dogs and let them charm the landlord the way they do everyone else in the entire world.”

 

Puggle-bomb: why we’re looking for a 2 bedroom

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As we’ve mentioned, Sachiel migrated to LA right before Thanksgiving this year and, while in pursuit of gainful employment, took up residence on my couch. Since I’d been looking for a new place anyway, we decided to just chuck in & get a place together.

Thankfully, in what I may dub a Holiday Miracle if it goes through, I think I may have found a place yesterday (application pending).

In the meantime, I took a picture this weekend which best illustrates why we need to get a place so that Sachiel can have a room with a door:


Trust me – it’s even cuter if you click to enlarge.

Ernie: He know when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.

Zombie Abandonment Poll: A holiday activity

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The right side of my body is a bit for sh*t. And it turns out – so is Sachiel.

As I’ve mentioned in other entries, I’ve been having some issues since September with strain in my right forearm/elbow. I’ve also been having twinges in my right knee, which of course is just fantastic.

One Friday, after a technically challenging erg set, Sachiel & I went out to do errands. In the course of this, we were walking up a set of stairs from underground parking, and just something about the way I put the weight on my right leg to go up the step caused my right knee to take out a cleaver and attempt to sever the bottom half of my leg from the rest of my body.

My response was to make a[n admittedly rather] girly noise of pain and shock. Sachiel, ahead of me on the stairs, started walking up them faster, yelling, “What is it? Are you okay? Is everything all right?” as she’s running away.

Once I recovered and got to the top of the stairs, I made two statements:

1. We’re going to stop at the Sports Chalet in that shopping complex and get me a sleeve knee brace because whatever the frig that was I do not know but have no desire to ever experience it again.

2. Sachiel is a bad friend.

Claris: Dude. You ran away.
Sachiel what was I supposed to do?
Claris: Stay! Help! I could have been in mortal danger!
Sachiel Okay, you know what? Look at you. Now look at me. I am 5’2″ & 3/4. You are a big strong rower type. What could I possibly do to defend you?
Claris: Hello? Safety in numbers!
Sachiel Oh, no. I’ve seen the zombie movies – the people that go back for their friends inevitably end up getting eaten too. Number one rule – don’t go back to save others if you want to survive.
Claris: Did you seriously just say that? You are totally a bad friend!
Sachiel No, I’m realistic. Because I know you, and if there’s something bad enough to make you make that girly scared-girl noise, it’s really bad. Like, ridiculously bad. And if it scares youthat much, the best thing I can do is get myself to safety & see if I can find reinforcements.
Claris: Are you seriously going with the “when scary things get scared: not good” defense?
Sachiel yes. That. Totally that.
Claris: And you’re doing this on a day where I’m your ride home?
Sachiel As long as I’m still alive, I can call a cab.
Claris: Whatever, Zombie Abandoner. Whatever.

When we got to our destination that day, we were still going strong, & upon explaining what happened to the person we were visiting, Sylvie looked at me & went, “So now you know – she is a bad friend.*”
*Due to Sylvie’s country of origin, we also discovered this statement is even funnier when expressed in a French accent.

As such, it’s somewhat possible that in our household, the word “zombie” has become a Pavlovian trigger for Sachiel to begin an increasingly eloquent defense of her actions, which I graciously offered to allow her to present here.

The “girly noise of pain and shock” was a SCREAM. A “OH MY GOD SOMETHING REALLY SCARY AND REALLY HORRIBLE IS NEARBY!!!” scream. The parking garage wasn’t well-lit and I was walking up stairs that were open stairs where something could have been in the process of trying to grab me.

This was the thought process that occurred (more or less):
Lalala. Stairs. Not a fan. I hope I don’t trip.

[Claris' SCREAM OF FEAR!]

%@&^&!!!! WHAT’S WRONG? IS THERE A HUGE SPIDER HEADED TOWARDS ME?! IS THERE A RAT BY THE STAIRS?! IS THERE A SNAKE?! IS THERE SOMETHING REALLY GROSS BY THE STAIRS?! IS THERE A CREEPY PERSON?! OMG! IS THE CREEPY PERSON TRYING TO GRAB ME FROM UNDER THE STAIRS?! MOVE FASTER! FASTER!!! GET AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE FROM THE SCARY!!!

Running was the best option. If Claris were in actual danger, then me and my six months of fitness krav wasn’t going to be of any help to the girl who used to like to beat things up.

By running away, I was putting distance between me and the scary, which would allow me to assess the situation from a safe distance. My sense of self-preservation is strong. I may be selfish, but as at least I’ll be alive when the zombpocalypse occurs.


Truly, 1049 is currently a house divided, and there’s only one solution:

Let the internet decide.

So, what say you, interwebs? Is Sachiel’s Zombie Abandonment approach to friendship valid, or am I right in my “bit for shit” classification of her actions?

Welcome to the Holiday Zombie Challenge.

The Game:
- Get Facebook Like count to 100
- Have a minimum 100 votes in the poll below

Reward:
Whoever the internet proves to have the lesser moral compass will make a $100 donation to Toys for Tots in the winner’s name. Word on the street is that this year, the Marines could use a little extra help.

Deadline:
- December 21st

So c’mon people – share us on your social media, spread the word, get your friends in line and help Sachiel and I decide whose morality should win out. Just remember – it’s for the children.

HeroineAddict.me - Holiday Zombie Poll
source

Step 1

Why the Facebook like count? So that neither side in the argument can stuff the interweb ballot box by simply ditching the cookies on their browser & voting again. 30 people have already liked us, so each of y’all just need to get 2.3 friends to come play the game. Assuming, that is, that you’ve got 2.3 friends…

Step 2

 

Music: Baby You’re Gonna Have to Pay – Victoria (Alcazar) Alcazar - Various Artists


Buy, Sell, and Trade Gift Cards -PlasticJungle.com

Thinking in colors, dating like an Austen novel, & how to booby-trap a brand identity.

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Sorry, fellow miscreants. I’ve been pretty sick for the last week with what I can only describe as The Head Cold From Hell – to give perspective, I’ve only worked out once in the last five days, it’s been that bad. And even then, on Tuesday night after I did spin, I admitted to Heekin that I was still feeling like arse, & it’s possible that she as the instructor kinda kicked me out of yoga & told me not to come back until I was actually better instead of trying-to-act-like-I’m-okay better.

Fun part of life right now is the fact that I’m not used to taking drugs of any kind, so this week has been quite entertaining for Sachiel. Amongst other things, it’s possible that at one point I declared that I could only think in colors. These & other moments of fun were brought to you by the letter P & the good cold meds that federal law makes you swipe your license to buy at Target.

I don’t get sick enough for meds very often, so I was unfamiliar with this little pharmaceutical snafu, and since at that point I was basically wandering around Target like a grumblingly cranky 3-year-old that’s missed naptime, it may have taken more than one attempt to explain the necessity to produce ID.
Finally, things cleared my brain fog & I said, “Wait, so you guys weren’t kidding about that? Seriously, I couldn’t even remember to bring the coupon so we could get $1 off 2 cartons of juice– at this point in time, do I really strike you as someone capable of starting a meth lab?”

Things I’ve learned in the last week:

1. Zoey does not have cancer.
…and it only took a burst cyst on her butt, two vet appointments, and the low low price of $500 to help us determine that. This is also my mental reminder that I need to start Ernie‘s pet insurance policy from the same company as his sister ’cause oy, with the checkbook.

2. Neti pots only work under certain circumstances.
The present state of my left nostril, it would seem, is not one of them.

Neti Pots are supposed to help irrigate the crap out of your nose, and during the Target excursion wherein I reaffirmed my disinclination for meth addiction, Sachiel & I had a convo that we’ve heard Dao Jones talk about how much she likes them. So when when we saw one while waiting for the pharmacist, I was all, “Sure, let’s give it a whirl.”

It worked okay on the right nostril – not the nice neat stream they show in the illustrations, but still, air flow was achieved.

Left nostril… well let’s just say that if the nostril prefers to remain blocked, the warm liquid you’re attempting to run through doesn’t really have anywhere to go, at which point things can get backed up and you just might end up spitting out neti pot saline solution that’s leaked down the back of your throat, thankful for the decision to attempt this particular procedure over a bathtub as opposed to the sink as suggested by the directions.
The end result of this experiment may have been me cracking up Sachiel by stumbling out of the bathroom with red-rimmed eyes and the violent snuffles of a cokehead as I coughed, “Oh yah. Check it out – I’m wicked f*ckin’ sexy.”

3. Oh, TV – teacher mother secret lover…
Ne’er was a truer word spoken by Homer Simpson, my friends. Little did I know at the time what a fortuitously-timed purchase my Roku would turn out to be. The start of the week was season 1 of Nikita, which I probably would have watched sooner if I’d known the hottest version of Tom Sawyer ever was on it, as well as 30 Rock, which made me feel way better about the fact that, odd as my life occasionally is, at least I have never inadvertently dated my cousin.

 

Gingerbread Christmas Holiday Tea

 

However, even hunkered on my couch under a blankie & the 21-pound Puggle who thought me being home all day was great, I still had the interwebs.

 

Sleepy Zoey vs. Getting Out of Bed: a dog tail.

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Once upon a time, there was a morning.

A morning when Zoey did not want to get up.

Unfortunately for Zoey, her mommy uses the iPhone as our alarm clock, and thus started taking pictures of the process.

The following is that story.

k-walla: Wait, is your dog sleeping with its head on the pillow? Like, like a person?
Claris: Yup.
k-walla: did you teach her to do that?
Claris: :sigh: no, she figured that out all on her own.

 






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