The Sirens of the Deep are Calling Me.


The Sirens of the Deep are calling ME–not just my husband.

Ok, the pool is not THAT deep, but it does go over my head!

Since I have become Darth Virginia with my mask, I discovered I really like swimming.  (If this doesn’t make sense, check out “My Husband’s Mistress.”)

Now, that it is October,  those cold winds are blowing– 0k, the scorching California Santa Ana winds aren’t cold, but the pool is a frosty 72 degrees.

The sun doesn’t heat up the solar panels  to get the pool to the 85 degrees that is perfect for swimming.

 

 

Why, now that I like to swim, I can’t?

 

A few days ago, as I walked on the beach and watched the surfers, I had a thought.

I was thinking that Number One has a wet suit, so why don’t I wear his wet suit and see if it will keep me warm in the pool.

There was no way I was going to try it on while anyone was home–which in hindsight–I should have re-thought that idea.

The wet suit was heavier than I expected.  Oh, did I forget to tell you that I have never put on a wet suit before?

I pulled and pulled and twisted and sweated and yanked and cussed for 20 minutes before I finally got that thing on.

I feel as if  I did 20 minutes of weight training because my arm muscles were killing me.  And, my back was a little wrenched, too.

 

When I looked in the mirror, I saw a cross between the Cat and the Hat minus the hat and the tail, and a Penguin.

I didn’t have the smooth strides of a lithe cat.  I waddled like a penguin because the suit wasn’t fitting quite right.

 

Was this going to work?   Was I going to freeze in the water after building up such a sweat putting om a second skin?

 

 

I grabbed my Darth Virginia helmet, stuffed the earplugs in my ears, and donned my swimming mitts.

Now I looked like the Creature from the Black Lagoon!

Our dog, Max, ran back into the house once he saw me.

 

I stepped into the water.  I felt a tiny chill.  Then I bravely  jumped into the water and swam to the other end of the pool and back.

Holy Moly!  The water wasn’t cold!

Yipppeeeee!

I swam for about 40 minutes–it was invigorating!

 

My next problem.   How was I going to get out of this contraption?

I twisted, turned, pulled, swore and finally I got the suit  to my feet.  I only had to pull my feet out.

I felt I was giving birth again.  I haven’t pushed so hard to get something out of/off of my body in 31 years!           

How do surfers do this every day?

The Sirens are calling me, but the Creature from the Black  Lagoon is holding me back.

Are you taking bets on who is going to win?

 

 

 

Remember When Biking Was Just You and Your Bike?

 

Growing up, my pink Schwinn bike was my escape and my fast getaway.

I remember bounding down the steps of the side porch-actually I missed a few, but still landed on my feet.

I jerked my bike away from the house, slid my leg through (I didn’t have to swing it over, it was a “girls” bike) stood up and peddled as fast I could  to the road.

Our road was the best to bicycle on, because it was the only paved road in the area.   It was so much easier riding on blacktop than the gravel roads.

I spent hours biking around the neighborhood and going up and down the street at top speed–or as fast as a ONE gear bike can go.

 

THAT WAS THEN!

NOW, there are no more quick bounds out the door, jumping on my bicycle and riding on the street in front of my house.

BIKING IS NOW A PROCESS!

I still do bike in  the neighborhood, but not directly in front of the house because there are LONG and STEEP hills.

So the next best thing Number One and I do is bike in our neighborhood by the beach.

As you can see our neighborhood is not flat, even along the beach.

No bounding out of the house because:

We must don our bike shorts and shirts.  We do  have to look the part, so we can fit in with the “professional” bikers that wiz by us at 95 miles an hour.  You think I’m kidding, come ride with me.

Since we cannot bound down the steps and jump on the bike, we need to take it to somewhere we can ride.

So, that involves putting the  bike rack  into the hitch that was specially attached to  Number One’s car so we can ride our bikes “in the neighborhood”.

To install the bike rack, you need two wrenches.  One to hold the end of the screw and one to turn the bolt–but that is after you  fiddle around with the rack checking to see which hole we need to put the screw into.

We still need to put the bikes onto the rack.  However, Number One stores the bikes on the ceiling.  Only someone with strong arms can bring them down–meaning it is not me!

Then, check the air in the tires.  Why are they always low?  My Schwinn tires were never low and if they were, I never noticed it.  As long as I could ride, I was happy.

Next, we fit the bikes into the specially designed  holders and pull the straps into place, then we double and triple check to see that the bikes are held in place so they don’t go flying off the rack..

As a kid, I wonder how far I could have biked by now?

Once we get to the street where we can park our car, we have to go through the same process with the rack, only  in reverse.

The bikes are finally  on the street that we will ride on–yeah!!!!!

 

NO, WE ARE NOT READY TO RIDE!

First, we need to put on our helmets, then we put on the gloves that do not cover our finger past the first knuckle.  I  slip on the camel-back backpack so I can drink  my water whenever I want.

STILL NOT READY.

Now we need to put in the earplugs for our iPods (yes I am behind the times) or our iPhones.  Next, check to make sure it is playing the tunes you like.

You grab the handle ready to go and uh-oh–I need to turn on the RunKeeper App on my phone.  I need to know the distance I have traveled,  my speed, my average speed, and how many calories I spent on this ride.

Finally, I am ready to go!

I swing my leg over the bike–I know–it’s a bummer that they don’t sell girls bikes.  I could have very easily slung my leg over when I was kid, but now it is like slinging my leg over a horse.

I push down on the pedal, start off and oh my goodness, I forgot!

 

I FORGOT MY HEART MONITOR!!!!

It almost seems pointless to ride now because I forgot my Orange Theory heart monitor.

I won’t be able to see how orange and red I am.    There is no record of my heart beat!  I could have shown the young coaches  that I was exercising over the weekend.

Yes, I biked 10 miles, rode up steep, heart pounding hills, but it DIDN’T COUNT.

Tomorrow,  I am creating a bike check-off list that will be attached to my helmet!

I just have to remember to tape it to my helmet!

 

There Is Orange Theory and Then There Is My Theory

Oh what a mother will do to hang out with her grown children!

My oldest has been going to a workout center named Orange Theory.  Sounds strange, I know.  The name comes from the idea that we need to be in a “zone” of 80% of our heart-rate in order to get the maximum benefit from our workout.

While visiting last month, my oldest convinced my youngest to go workout with her and sort of guilted me into going, too.  I told her  I was afraid that everyone there was going to be young with perfect bodies.

“Oh, no,” she said.  “there are older people and”–then she hesitates–“those that are not in perfect condition.”    That was a good save!

My daughter needs to get her contacts changed–there were no old people there.  Oops, maybe I saw a 40 year old.  Again, not old.

 

Yes, you guessed it, I think there was one person there who could maybe have lost 15 pounds.  No where near my numbers!

I was fitted for a heart monitor–that should have been my first signal that this was going to be more than I bargained for.  Oh, they give you a free first lesson to entice you into coming.  That is not an enticement.  Give me a piece of chocolate cake if you want to entice me .

Once inside, you can either start on the treadmill or the floor lifting weights.  I started on the treadmill.

All I can say is that Thank Goodness the trainers and staff are really sweet and supportive while they are giving orders like a drill sergeant to increase the pace or increase the incline.

 

I was red.   My face was red, my neck was red and the screen displaying my colors was RED.  I skipped orange and went straight to RED.

I had to keep up.  There is something in my genetic makeup that if someone tells me to go faster, I go faster.  If they tell me to go higher, I go higher.

Dumb!

Tired!

No, EXHAUSTED!!!

 

Noooooo, I was  NOT done.  I still had to lift weights and contort my body to make it stronger for another half an hour.

“I’m so proud of you,” both my daughters cheered.

I got news for you.  Moms want their kids to be proud of them, too.

“We have to sign up for this,” my younger daughter said.

I had no problem having her sign up.  More power to her.

“But, mom, you have to sign up with me to encourage me to go.”

I can encourage her from the kitchen table.

Nope, no such luck, I had to GO and encourage her.  We signed up for 8 sessions a month and got the heart monitor–otherwise you can’t see yourself go orange, or in my case,  red.

I have survived three classes.

My muscles are sore.

My knees ache.

And, I am so tired all day long after the session.

But, I feel better.  I feel tighter.  I feel stronger.

So I keep on going to the classes.

Oh, and I was right.  There are only young, thin, people there and me, the old, not thin one.

Today my youngest said that next month she wants to sign up for three sessions a week.

My daughters say they want me to do this for my health.

MY THEORY?

My theory is that my daughters are looking for an early inheritance!

 

 

 

 

Construction Worker? Me???

 

I am not handy.

But Number One believes he can fix anything.

I can read directions.

However,  Number One doesn’t think it is necessary.

So, with these great skills and talents, we decided to don our construction helmets and belts and build a building.

Ok, I will admit that the word building may give a false impression, but we did put together a micro-house, or in layman’s terms, a shed.

Surprisingly, you need strong muscles to put together a micro-house.    You also need the ability to see things from different angles and slants and you need to swivel, contort and twist yourself and the pieces to see how they fit. This is similar to putting together a giant puzzle. Did I mention puzzles are not my thing?

Oh, and one more thing, you need the ability to bounce when you fall.

After snapping these three together Number One thought we were almost done.

The location of a mini-house needs to be on flat, solid ground.  Therefore, the narrow space between the property line and the house was the logical place for it.    The key word is narrow.

To put the sides up, you need to jam them down so they will click into place.  So, while Number One is inside, I am climbing the wall–really climbing a wall– to get a better angle.

I remember the good old days when I could put my foot on a 3 foot wall and just jump up on it.

These are not the good old days.  I got my foot on the wall, but my body  didn’t nimbly jump up.  Number One tried to hold my arm to help, but somehow my arm flexed and flopped at a grotesque  angle.  I want to say that he caught me in his loving arms and saved me.  I only bounced once before he caught me.

Captain Step-stool to the rescue!  (All rescuers need a name.)

Once on top of the wall, I had to battle the Cyprus tree.

It won.

The tree and I did a dance of King of the Hill. Cypress trees have lots of arms and they push in all directions. I grabbed for the branches, then I  lunged for the sides of the shed, but the only thing I made contact with was the sidewalk below.

The next hurdle was the vaulted roof.  Even the instructions, which, of course, I read, said you need a second person to  push or pull down on the roof so it could be attached to the walls.

There was room in some places for me to hang onto the edge of the roof–can you picture me dangling from a roof?

Other places were so squished that I had to climb up that damnable wall, fight King Cypress,  and bear down with all my might.  That fall was a little more controlled.  When you fall so many times, eventually you learn to fall without too much pain.  How do I explain to my chiropractor that my back is contorted because of King Cypress?

We finished our project in one day and under budget.

Why under budget you ask, because my pay was lunch at El Pollo Loco!

 

 

Yippee!
I will never do that again!

 

 

 

 

Guardians Angels Are Real

 

 

Someone is watching over Number One and me.

Our angel helped us find our way in Paris.   Then again, in Venice.  It was 2 a.m. and not a soul was out.  But two men dressed in white walked us to our hotel and then suddenly disappeared.  You may think that was pure coincidence, but  I can assure you that was our Guardian Angel at work.

Last Friday, she was hard at work again.

I will do a visual to show what happened.

This will be a math problem.  Number One’s favorite kind of problem.

What do you get when you add a very tall, thin, palm tree, plus a long ladder, plus an old man, plus a machete saw, plus a long, long pole that the machete saw is attached to, plus an old lady holding the ladder and gripping her husband’s ankle.?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ANSWER:

DISASTER!!!!

 

This was quite a sight to see.   The ladder was wobbling.  Number One was wearing flip-flops and trying to keep his balance while holding a pole that has been elongated to 15 feet and there was a very sharp blade on the top.  Of course it was all ready to topple over onto the old lady hanging onto the ladder and her husband.  Oh, I do need to add that the old lady was begging the old man to come down because  it was too dangerous.  I guess the words, “Are you out of your mind?” may have slipped out about 20 times.

As Number One starts to realize that maybe this is not a good idea, a truck drives up with two men, wearing white.   Amazingly, their job is to trim palm trees.  In seconds, Number One struck a deal.  Moments later, these two men are climbing the trees with ropes and spurs, dropping huge palm fronds and seeds.   They move  up and down the trees as easily as monkeys.

In twenty minutes the trees are trimmed and the men are off to save another old couple from disaster.

We keep our Guardian Angel pretty busy.  We like to think she looks like the angel on the top, but I think she looks more like this.

 

Her hair is messy, her halo is a little askew and that might be a black eye from trying to sweep in fast enough to save us.

 

I CAN CHECK THESE OFF MY BUCKET LIST

My Bucket List Started Long Ago!

After this summer, I can cross 15 things off my bucket list.

  1. Four raw oysters slithered down my throat!  What do they taste like, you ask?  Lime flavored slime.  I can say I ate oysters (plural) and now never again.
  2. I visited a Temperate Rainforest in Alaska!  Yes, I said rainforest and Alaska in the same sentence.  In Ketchikan the annual rainfall is 153 inches!!!!!!  Yes, it rained every second we were there.
  3. My legs were like Jello as I  inched across a 450 foot long suspension bridge that is 230 feet above ground, that was built in 1889!!!!  Yes, it was swaying.  Yes, I was petrified!!  I made it across going hand over hand and clutching the railing and some poor soul that was next to me.  THEN, I HAD TO GO BACK!!!!!!
  4. The King Crab legs in Juneau were almost as long as mine.  The amount of tender, tasty crab meat in those legs was unbelievable.  Then dip it in butter and, bam–you are in heaven!
  5.   The  Hubbard Glacier was a mere 1/4 of mile from our cruise ship.  I watched it calve into the ocean.  It was  like a sonic boom, you hear the noise after it crashes into the water.
  6.   Reindeer meat is quite tasty, and no it wasn’t Rudolf–I checked. Reindeer sausage is quite a staple in Northern Alaska.  I learned that Caribou and Reindeer are the same, except that Reindeer are domesticated–you know–to pull Santa’s sleigh,  and Caribou are wild.
  7. Several black bears were mere feet from us.   One is called Roly Poly for obvious reasons.   Nope, there was nothing to protect us, except the person behind me who can’t run as fast.
  8. I mushed behind 12 Alaskan Huskies down a forest trail at twilight.  I learned if the leader of the pack takes a pee to the right, the entire group has to pee to the right.  If he goes left,–yup, you guessed it–they all go left.
  9. A Moose calf  was happily walking down a trail,  and Mommy Moose was hiding in the trees behind her baby, munching leaves.  Mom looked calm so we guessed we were safe,  or maybe we were just too dumb to know how dangerous it was.
  10. Three humpback whales–each about 45 feet long—were  bubble feeding–that means they create a bubble under the water and they all breach the water at the same time and  together to catch the fish–awesome sight.
  11. I was within 150 feet of a bald eagle catching and eating a salmon.
  12. A lonely salmon was trying to swim upstream.  It was working so hard, but wasn’t getting very far because the current pushed it back further than its original progress.  It was sad.
  13. I was within 150  feet of a Grizzly Bear!  Yup a real live Grizzly.  I,  however, was in a bus, safe and sound.
  14. The Arctic circle was only 100 miles from us–believe me, that is as close as I want to get!
  15. The crowning glory of our visit was the complete view of Mt Denali (McKinley has officially changed its name to the original name).  The tallest mountain in North America (20,310 feet) is very difficult to see because it creates its own weather, but we were one of the 10% who visit it, that got to see the entire mountain.  Yes, I took this picture!

Only 10% of visitors get to see this mountain.

A Whole New World!

Now that I am Darth Virginia,–if you don’t get it–look at the previous post, my world is not outer space but under space.

I could never look under the water in a pool because I was afraid of drowning–you know water up the nose, in the mouth and in the ears, and there was no way I was getting my face wet.

So with this very special piece of equipment, I can see what others have seen all their lives.

Do you know your hands create small bubbles when you swim free-style?

When you swim in the morning, the reflection of the sun on the bottom of the pool reminds me of the static machines that allow you to see the arcing electricity.

But in the pool the arcing is magnified and multiplied  a hundred times over.

The lights shimmer, sparkle and undulate with the choppy  waves under the agitated water.

You almost feel as if you are in an underwater disco.

But in the afternoon, it is a totally different scene.Continue reading

Conquering My Husband’s Mistress

Water has never been my best friend.

Ok, I can tolerate it for  a shower.  However, it took me a long time to handle a shower because I was used to a tub where the water stayed away from my face.

For Number 1,  water is his mistress–nope not jealous.  He grew up swimming in the blue, balmy waters of the Mediterranean.  If he could choose, he would be a dolphin in his next life.

So, as you can see, this  is a bit of a conundrum for us.

Yes, I learned to swim at the local pool–6 miles from the farm, but…I never put my head in the water.

I do have my reasons.  I can’t stop the water from surging up my nose.  Water funnels deep into my ears and,  of course,  I end up with an ear ache.  Finally,  my glasses were so thick, even as a child, that I couldn’t see underwater, even if I did open my eyes.  Which I never did.

So once we started traveling it was usually to a place with a big body of water.  It would look gorgeous, but…it was always too deep for me to put my feet down on the sand.  i.e. my face would get wet.

I tried.  I dog-paddled a lot.  Yes, I got laughed at.  Yes, he did try to teach me.  But he gave up quickly–he’s smart and he knows a lost cause.

Eventually, I managed the breast stroke with my head above water.  It was a better variation of the dog-paddle.

Oh, and I can swim on my back as long as no one is near me to splash water on my face.

 

Warm, sunny, southern California means there are a lot of pools and a good reason to use them.

Our new home, came fully equipped with a gorgeous pool.

 

As you can see, I am absent from this picture.

 

Believe it or not, my doctor turned me onto this and helped me conquer my husband’s mistress.

Continue reading

Move It, Move It, Move It–Raw-hide and Stiff Muscles

 

I am a Night Owl!

 

I really enjoy walking, biking, and swimming–in warm water–around 11 a.m. or 12 noon.

I also really like my  morning sleep,  To some of you, you may wonder why these are not compatible.

Trainer

My “trainer”–or should I say “torturer” is my daughter.  Somehow along the way she turned into a morning person.  She jumps out of bed at 5 a.m., drives to Starbuck and gets a Venti coffee drink.  When that is finished she enjoys a Red Bull energy drink.

While all this is happening, I am happily  slumbering in my bed.

With a burst of excess energy, she throws open the bedroom doors and announces, “Get up! Get Up!  She pulls up the shades as loudly as possible–singing something nonsensical.  She is so hyped on caffeine that sounds just babble out of her mouth.

I quietly shudder and play dead.  She plays doctor and lifts one eye open and I moan as the bright light glares in my eyes.

Get Up!  We are going to the gym this morning! she proclaims.

When she gets no response from me, she is not deterred.  She yanks off my cozy, warm comforter and then she really gets evil. Continue reading

When Did “Mom” Morph Into “Dude?”

Typical conversations with my children begin with “Hey Dude. “Such as, “hey dude, what’s for dinner?”  Or,” hey dude, did you hear about this?”  Or, “No way, dude!”

As I recall, the term dude usually referred to a man.  According to Wikipedia, from the 1870’s to the 1960’s, a dude was a man that was dressed in fancy clothes–he didn’t fit into the westward movement or the cowboy way of dressing.  It was considered a derogatory label.

However in the pot smoking, hippy generation of the 1960’s, all men were referred to as dude.  My belief is that most were so stoned that they didn’t want to waste their energy opening their eyes to see who they were talking to, so any deep voice that spoke to them was called  “dude.”

I have heard my voice on tape, I do not have a low voice, nor am I a man–at least I wasn’t last time I looked.

Didn’t woman work so hard to get the word man out of postman to mail carrier and fireman to firefighter?  Now women  have lost all their identity and  instead of using the word man, they answer to dude.

I want women to do what they want to do, but can’t we maintain our gender, and not make everything uni-sex?

The reason this has bothered me so much today is that there was a mouse in the house–specifically in the pantry.  When I saw it, I screamed and screamed like a banshee. I jumped up and down pulled my pants legs up to my chin and screamed again.

Both children were in the house and were definitely within earshot of my voice.Continue reading