Friday, July 31, 2015

OMG! Look what I did....

With all the cabin buying excitement, I've been feeling a little bit left out... not really, but I have been "banking" some "one for you, one for me" points in my mental bank just in case something came up that I really wanted...
Buying a single, what the hell am I thinking?!?  I don't even know how to scull, I've only done it 3 times and NEVER in a single.... But.... John bought a cabin... :o)
Seriously, John Meehan just happened to bring back 4-5 of his own singles from Buffalo that he was hoping to sell.  I figured if I was ever going to get a single, now would be the time.  John M would probably give me a good deal, put me in a boat that was good for me and if I had any problems with it, he'd be around for me to go to for help.  We talked about it and we had a little money left over from refinancing the house and buying the cabin and my John agreed.  So, now I have a single...
Zack has been very good about helping me out, giving me pointers.  My first day I went out, he sat on the dock with me and held the stern while I practiced a little bit.  He's such a good boy.
After my brief "lessons" trying to build up enough courage to push off from the dock.

Moving very slowly around the cove.

I've been out about 4 times so far.  I've made it all the way to Sandy Run and back.  Haven't flipped yet.  Still trying to decide if I should go ahead and flip on purpose in the cove with John or Zack there or if I should just wait until it happens naturally.  When I talk to other people, the opinions are split. For now I'm just waiting on the "natural flip." :o)  I wonder how long it's going to take before I feel comfortable enough that I can actually enjoy being out there?  Right now, I'm so tense and nervous it's hard to enjoy anything.  I can feel myself doing a bunch of things wrong - dragging my blades on the water, pausing at the release to make sure I'm steady - I'm sure it's just because I'm still so new at it.  Every day is a little bit better.  The challenge has been that I can't, yet, carry it by myself, so I'm dependent on someone, usually Zack, (have I mentioned what a good boy he is) helping me carry it down to the dock and then I text and he helps me carry it back up to the house.  I think eventually I'll be able to do it by myself.  John and I are looking at getting a cart that will help me, then it will just be a matter of getting it out of the fence myself.  It's not that it's too heavy, it's just 31lbs, but it's so long an awkward that it's going to take some work.
Pondering how to "rack my boat"

My brilliant husband spent a whole weekend building me a rack to keep my boat on!  It's fabulous and he can keep is kayak underneath it.  Win/win!  Now I just need to get a cover for it to keep it protected from the elements and animals.  For now I'm borrowing oars from Woodbridge, god knows we have enough of them so I'll probably do that until I can't any more.   I must admit, it's pretty exciting.  I'm already planning a "Summer Camp" outing next summer with my rowing friend Jullie.  It's a 4 day, sleep over camp for sculling in singles!  So, I'll just stumble along by myself this summer and then get some real guidance and be ready to go!

Idaho 2015

Ian was out there 2 weeks ago and had some concerns, so I headed out to visit Dad and see for myself. He seems to be doing much better since his surgery, recovery is going well, but he's just not eating well, he's never been a good eater.  I planned to cook all sorts of tempting items, ply him with food and then leave stuff in the freezer for them to eat later.
First stop is always Jack in the Box!!  Oh how I love my Jack in the Box!

I just love Idaho.  The weather was stunningly gorgeous!  Low 80's at the highest, no humidity.  I was able to get my runs in without dying and we spent most of our time just sitting on the porch enjoying the weather and watching the pond and wildlife.  They really do have the most beautiful oasis in their backyard.

It really is so relaxing and rejuvenating to just sit out there and relax.  No phone calls, no email, just peace and quiet and good conversation.  I was also designated the "freezer police" this trip.  I cleaned out all 3 freezers, reorganized and then filled with casseroles.  It was great fun teasing Louise about the amount of crap in their freezers!  If it was completely covered in ice, unrecognizable or older than 5 years - into the trash it went.  4 enormous bags of trash later...she took the ribbing pretty gracefully. 
No trip to Idaho is complete without a trip to the Casino!  Personally, I don't get the lure - but I enjoyed having lunch and hanging out with them.  I prefer a game that requires at least a little skill, like solitaire! :o)  Not just push a button and wait to see what happens.  But I played along just like everyone else.  Started with my $20, tried to find machines that had some sort of significance.  Played a "Buffalo Bill" machine in honor of John - loser.  Played "Prince Charming" in honor of Zack - loser.  Played "Aliens" for myself - even bigger loser.  Down to my last few dollars... Found "Lucky Horses" in honor of Brenna....

"Lucky Horses" - BIG WINNER!!!  Thanks Brenna Hyzy!  Started with $20 and came home with $63.77!  Pretty darn exciting... then we went to the movies and I had POPCORN and CANDY with my winnings.  It was a "go crazy" kind of day!  I think it was good for Dad and Louise to get out and they both seemed to enjoy themselves. 
Overall, it was a good visit, Dad seems to be doing very well, handling everything about as well as I could expect.  He ate really well while I was cooking - maybe so I wouldn't feel bad, but if guilt gets him to eat, then I'll take it!  I'll probably try and head back up there when his reconstruction surgery is scheduled, if he decides to go thorough with it.  His Dr. seems to be an anti-smoking fanatic and is threatening not to do the reconnection surgery if Dad doesn't quit smoking.  Seems a little iffy-iffy to both Ian and me, so I told Dad to try and get a second opinion and we'll go from there.  I'll keep checking in regularly, nagging him to eat and walk and hopefully he'll have many more years of my nagging!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Brenna fishing update... giving her Daddy a run for his money....

Brenna has taken to fishing like...... a fish to water... :o)
She started out small....

But it looks like there's no stopping her now!  The folks she's staying with at her current bat site have a boat and it appears love to go fishing.  I think she may give John a run for his money when she comes back for another visit!  I guess it may actually be in the DNA.  I know John is one proud Papa and is thrilled when she calls to discuss fishing or lures, or bait or whatever it is that fisher people talk about!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Run This Year - 600 miles

Running is still a struggle and nightmare for me right now, but I'm trying to hang in there and not give up on my resolution and running entirely...  I have managed to get 3 runs in while in Idaho.  The weather has been just beautiful, 70's low 80's, no humidity!  The good think about Idaho... is it's FLAT!!

I don't think these cows had ever seen a grown woman in pink spandex.  They seem truly puzzled!

I hit 600 miles with nothing but cows, wheat and farm machinery around me!  It was a nice change.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

John's dream place

John has spent the last 4 months combing through websites and realtor pages looking for his dream cabin.  He's actually put 2 offers on cabins, but they fell through for a variety of reasons.  Now he has found "the one."  He goes to closing next week and he is giddy.

It looks like a beautiful little cabin.  It has 2 bedrooms, a bathroom (indoor plumbing a must if I'm ever going to visit), a nice little deck and across the road National Forest for him to hunt to his hearts content!  He cashed in some Team Health stock for the down payment and now that we've refinanced the house, our mortgage payment was reduced enough to compensate for the cabin payment.  Now he can also indulge in his passion for Ebay and Craigs List as he shops around and "saves us so much money" furnishing his Man Cabin!  It's also near a little town (New Market, Va) that actually has a Wal-Mart and a couple of small restaurants - so it's not really roughing it!  I might actually go out and visit occasionally.  I'm just glad he's getting to make his dream come true, heaven knows he's worked hard enough for it!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Operation Slim Down 2.0

Went for my first run in 2 weeks!!  The two weeks of Novice camp threw me all out of whack.  I didn't get anything done those 2 weeks.  I have been rowing, but not running or erging... Unless you count running to the 7-11 for a slurpee!!  Kidding... I don't run to the 7-11.. I drive! :o)

3 miles today.  They weren't as horrific as I expected them to be, but they certainly weren't fun or easy.  I know I sound like a broken record, but it's just amazing how much fitness and ability you lose when you take any kind of break.  I'm now lucky if I can make an 11:00 min mile.  I was working on 9:30min when I quit back in May... oh well... running is still running.  Zack and I are going to get back after it... Erging in the mornings

Beautiful and tasty Halibut salad! 

Operation Slim Down and Healthy Up is back on!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

River day escape!

Wanda Higgins from Team Library hosted and amazing Getaway Day at her river house.  John took the day off from work, we packed up and headed out!  What a great day.  Their house is absolutely beautiful!  Gorgeous deck, pool, boat, jet ski - a wonderful getaway.  The day was beautiful, good friends even better food.  Really nice to just head out and decompress!!

Tour of the Potomac on their boat

Not sure about being talked into tubing!

What a blast!  I was sore from laughing so hard!

Relaxing on the boat

Great group of friends!

Monday, July 20, 2015

College Visit #2 - Virginia Tech

We headed off for our second college visit of the summer.  Virginia Tech.  Probably bottom on my list... Partly because of my bias toward Radford which always gets overlooked, partly because the whole cult-like "I can only wear maroon and orange all the time' attitude and lastly that damn 4 hour drive down.  But, it deserves a fair shot just like everyone else...
Dairy Queen binge

Just what exactly is a "Hokie Bird?"

Hmmm... pondering VT 

We drove down and spent the night in a hotel, had a lovely breakfast and headed over. Once again, the information session and campus tour were very good.  Very slick and professional, that could be a good thing or an iffy thing.  The campus is beautiful.  We also went to an information session at the College of Science (math and physics) and they have some really cool and exciting programs that Zack might be able to take part in.  I think he was impressed with everything to begin with, but then the College of Science tour really impressed him.  While I don't think VT has knocked UVa out of it's #1 slot, they are definitely neck and neck now!  Very different schools - I think Tech is about 35,000, so quite a bit bigger.  I think the only drawback from Zack's point of view is the whole "Hokie Nation" thing.  Which in my mind is a pretty big "thing."  I'm not sure how he'll make his decision?  I think, he needs to go back to both schools in Sept/Oct and see what they are like with students there.  I'm going to see if I can arrange for him to "shadow" one of his friends at each school.  That would give him a really good idea what it will be like for him there.   
We have George Mason and William and Mary left to see, although he seems to think UVa an VT are the top two and the others are also-rans.  But, I don't think he liked VT as much until we visited, so who knows what he'll think of the others.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Novice Camp - BOOM! Success!

My 2nd year of running the PWCA Novice Rowing Camp has come to an end.  I am exhausted but very happy with the way it turned out!  We had 43 kids last year and this year we had 63!  We had 5 Eights the 2nd week!!!  I had to scramble to find coaches, but I did it and it was awesome!  I found the coaches, coxswains, experienced rower/helpers, ran the entire registration, ordered the t-shirts, planned the pizza party and in general handled it all.  Even coached one day as a fill in.
Looks like a centipede under that boat!

Week #1

Week #2

I just love Novices.  It's so amazing to see them on the first day of camp and you think "Holy Shit, what have I gotten myself into.  These kids are never going to be able to get this."  By the last day of camp, they are rowing by all 8, they are laughing and having fun and no longer sitting in the boat like it's going to capsize at any minutes!  It really is crazy how quickly they pick up the skills.  I think it's partly because they have very little fear, compared to adults.  They may be afraid, but if you tell them they can do something, they trust you and do it.  Adults (or maybe it's just me) overthink everything, and don't really trust that they can do it.  Last year, when I was rowing as a novice, it took us close to a month or longer before we were rowing by all 8.  They get it done in 5 days.  Now, I'm anxious for the season to start.  I want to see how many of these kids come out, how many more we can get and get them out on the water.  I'm not as anxious for the rest of everything that comes with being "in season" but I do love being with the kids on the water!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Home Visit!!!

Sooo exciting... our girl got permission to come home for 10 days.  She deployed her detectors and then high-tailed it down to Virginia.  We couldn't wait to see her... but we had to... because she hit Radford and "the boyfriend" first!
Totally understandable, she's a grown up now and we're happy whenever she wants to come see us.  She spent about 4 days down at Radford and then she came up to us for a day.  It was good to have her home and I think she got a chance to relax and recharge and that's what she needed the most.  Just a break from the work and the being alone, back in familiar territory.
While we were thrilled to have Brenna Bob back with us....

I'm not so sure that Autumn was as warmly received.  As you can tell from the body language... Cooper and Zoey grudgingly tolerate and Autumn is clueless! :o)  
We didn't do much of anything except sit around and drink wine and gab.  John got her all fitted out for fishing.  It's only taken 22 years, but she has finally decided that fishing is pretty cool and she has plenty of opportunity to do it.  John is thrilled!!!  After a day or so of pampering we sent her on her way.  So, very proud of her.  She had to plot her course back, she found hotels to stay in and just in general acted like the responsible grown up that she has become. 
She is amazing!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

If there was one word to summarize all that is good about summer....


I can't seem to stop myself.  It's because they built a new 7-11 right on our freaking corner and it just calls to me... I can't resist it's siren song of deliciousness!  It's light, it's cool, it's sweet and refreshing..what's not to love???  Sometimes I try and restrain myself and I just get a small one... but I am weak!  Needless to say Operation Slim Down is not going quite as planned.  It would be one thing if I was out there running my ass off and earning those slurpees....

Monday, July 6, 2015

That's what you get for asking!

John has been hounding asking me for the last month or so, "What do you want to do for our 25th anniversary?  Do you want to go somewhere?"  To which I respond, "I don't know, I'll think about it."  Which really means, "Leave me alone, I don't want to go anywhere, I hate to leave my house and go somewhere different with none of my stuff."  But then one day, just out of the blue, I had an epiphany... It was as though I was struck by lightening, I don't know what made me think of it...

Yep that's right we're going to Hawaii!  Flights are booked, hotel reservations are made... 5 days in Hawaii! I think John was a little stunned when I dropped that bombshell on him, but he responded very enthusiastically.  I'm a little nervous about leaving Zack home alone for 5 days, but he'll have school and winter conditioning and the neighbors, so how much trouble can he really get in... she said hopefully...