Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Follow up on : Last Week

I wrote back on July 6th that I had entered a mini/sprint triathlon.  As I had explained, the week that I saw the ad for the mini-triathlon had been cool and mild by Kansas summer standards.  I think that was the mental lapse for me: cool and mild.


I signed up for the triathlon, and two days later, BAM!  Back we were to the triple-digit temperatures. I was distressed.  I hate sweating.  But, I did venture out most mornings of that fortnight and either ran or rode my bike some semblance of triathlon distances.  Oosh: the sweat.  I hate sweat trickles.

In the evenings, I enjoyed my swim training.  Ha ha ha!  I swam happy laps; side stroke, breast stroke, back stroke, and freestyle.  In that order.  Most evenings, I had my own happy lane. And every other swimmer was polite.  "May I?"  "Is it OK?"  "Can we?"  

I thought this was the way things were in the swim world. "Do you mind?"  "How about we share?" "Oh, pardon me."

In my two-week triathlon training, I also looked at YouTube for videos on "transitions" and "strokes" and blah blah blah.  I was so ying-yang mentally.  Part of me said, "You've got this!" and part of me said, "Seriously?  Just go have fun with it."

That latter mentality is what I chose to adhere to: Go have fun.  And so, the early morning of the triathlon, I drove an hour or so to the competition site, parked my car, and looked around, eyes wide open to a myriad of athletes.  Somehow I had gotten the mistaken impression (having entered this thing online) that there were so few participants that I was certain to be Okie-Dokie and not stand out like a total beginner in any of the transitions.

Ha ha ha!  Wrong.  There appeared to be some serious competitors in this morning's fun and games.  SERIOUS.  E.G., the woman whose bike I placed mine next to?  She had all her "stuff" lined (in a line!!) as to how she would transition from pool to bike to road run.  Yes, I do understand that this is how it is in the Big Time,but HEY!  This was supposed to be fun and games, and not the Olympic trials.

So, I shifted my shoes and helmet around a bit.  To show everyone that I knew how this thing was going down.  Yes sirree.

The start of this mini-sprint triathlon was in the local pool.  We were told that they would send each swimmer off every 20 seconds.  (We all had timers on our ankles).  No diving was allowed, and I mentally planned to jump straight down into the pool in order to kick off from the side.  Ha ha!  Well, adrenaline got the better of my mind, and when that man called "Go!", I jumped about twenty feet into the pool.  Ok, I exaggerate, but know that I jumped far away from the side of the pool so I had no place to kick from.  SHEESH.  Starting from a dead stop.

And then, I swam a few lengths of the pool, passing a few people.  And a few people passing me.  Everything seemed OK to me, not unlike my happy swim laps at home with my polite fellow swimmers, until SUDDENLY these two Saint Bernard-sized men overcame me in my lane, SPLASHING and WHACKING me as they passed me.

Oh.  OK.  That's competition, I told myself as I gasped for breath in the waves.

But then, you know what? I met those two giant Saint Bernards at the other end of the pool.  They were hanging there, catching their breaths.  And so I had to swim under the rope, pass them and get on with my swim.  But then!  Whoosh!!  Again, those two Orca Whales overcame me once again, and WHOOSH!  I had a few mouthfuls of water.  This was not pleasant, nor was it anything I had experienced in my happy laps in my happy evening swimming.  This went on for the last four laps of our swim.    

Transition to my cycling:  it went well.  Very well.  I can't say enough about it, except that i was fast for six miles.  I passed people!

And then: the running transition.


I was tired from the cycling, and so I piddled around in my transition (i.e., parking the bike, taking my cycling shoes off and putting on running shoes, drinking a fair amount...)

And then I went off.  It started as a run, then a walk, then a run, then a walk, and so on, for two DING-DONG miles in Kansas summer heat.

I was toast.  But you know what? So was the teenage girl with whom I was trading off and on during our last transition.  She and I were both encouraging each other, and that made my last few minutes much more pleasant.

So the result of my two weeks' training:
3rd in my age group (56-ish?)
31 out of 35 entrants.

I will take it, and I will eagerly take a new mini/sprint triathlon.

I likened it to recess for 50-year olds.  Seriously:  I had so much fun.    



Monday, August 29, 2016

More to Come

Back, way back, in my TWA flight attendant training, we were taught how to successfully evacuate 410 passengers out of a 747 by means of eight emergency exits, at approximately "one butt per second on those eight slides".  Granted, some of those butts would land on the tarmac below in a crumpled and injured, perhaps very injured heap.  But, they would be out of that plane.  One physical aid we were taught in order to encourage any balking passenger onto the evacuation slide was to grab them by the back of the neck, and tuck one's knee right under their hiney.  BOOM!  They'd be on the slide and halfway down before they could scream, "Jiminy Pete!".

I think today was one of those days.  Someone should have grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and tucked their proverbial knee under my mental well-being and WHACK!!  Someone should have told me to straighten up and fly right.  Maybe someone should have just...

Oh.  Never mind.  Someone did a kinder and gentler motion to get me back here to writing fine tripe and utter nonsense.  Thank you, Louise.  I am back on track.

More to come.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


We got our dog out of the Wichita dog pound, or whatever it was called.  Initially, I had seen a "for sale" ad for a dog, the breed for which I was looking.  We already had a Bouviers de Flandres dog, and I wanted our elderly pup to have a companion to keep him active.  I answered the ad, a few days after the 4th of July of that year, and the owner's reply was that she (the dog) had jumped the fence and fled during the fireworks in their community.  She was in the pound, and they, the owners, had elected to not collect her.

Would they collect her for me?  I would pay to spring her from the joint.

The owners agreed.  They paid her bail, I repaid them, and the dog "Holly" came home with me.  
Soon after, I renamed her Biserka.  Our dog is a nutcase.  She is timid, scared, yet can get totally out of control and attack the thin air in a millisecond.  I think it is poor care.  Abusive care.  Whatever, this dog is now and will be our responsibility till her dying day.

It's a love/Lord-have-mercy relationship, for all of our family - that Spouse o' Mine can barely get her to come to him, and he can RARELY approach her without her cowering.  So, so sad.

This week she was cowering upstairs during a particularly bad thnderstorm.  Later, I chanced to find that she had chewed up one of my favorite paperback short-reads (I Don't Know How She Does It).  Just yesterday morning, another bad storm (our world was green in atmosphere), and poor Biserka was flat-out spread eagle on the study floor.  I sat down beside her (pondering how I might cajole her into the basement if need be for a tornado?) and she refused to acknowledge my presence, at all.  Poor pup.

Tonight I was up in my art room, and upon reading about Nice, France's horrific news, I began crying.  Silently, but the tears were flowing.

I heard pawprints downstairs.  ( Biserka is an outdoor dog who gets to live indoors in hot summer and freezing winter.)  I heard her climb the stairs, and then she came and lay her head in my lap.  Nothing else.  Just looking up at me.

This is so out of character for our little nutcase.

Maybe she knows more than she reveals.

Here it is, the following morning's edit:

Last night, I went downstairs from the art room.  I went into the living room to read a bit.  But, Biserka had managed, (quite out of character, I might add,) to shred the first few chapters of this week's project:

War and Peace

Thursday, July 07, 2016

July, almost mid-. Saints be praised.

A fun friend and I met for lunch this week, after which, she suggested that we hit the local arts place for their annual watercolor exhibit.  I am so happy she did; the paintings were just what I needed to spur me into another interest here in my summertime ennui.

The next morning I went out to run the requisite two miles (for that triathlon thing next week!), and the clouds were gorgeous at 6:00 am.  Yes, there was some lightning going on, and I left with the instructions to that Spouse o' Mine that he should come fetch me in the car if the lightning seemed near enough to whack me.  (Happily, the storm cell moved onwards and eastern.)  When I got back to the house, I took my camera and a car, and ventured out for photos of fun things that I might like to use as inspiration for some watercolor.  I have not done much in this medium, and I have no instruction.  But... here I go!

Last night that Spouse o' Mine and I ate lamb masala and some spinach paneer and some cool, cool cantelope.  Tonight sees us having cod with coconut chutney and curried beetroots.  (You can tell that I shopped at my Asian Mart this week, yes?)  The beets and kale come from my special Darwinian Garden, which is indeed doing the Darwinian thing of late,  (I am mowing weeds now, but that's OK), because the beets, kale, and collards are all standing tall and that's all I ask of them.

And that's all I have, this July summer evening. Ugh.
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