Sunday, March 30, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Longs to Strike a Few Blows in the Name of Peace
It is wrong to hit people. I know this. But sometimes, you just feel a need to slug certain people at certain times in the jaw. Yesterday, after an already long morning of rowing (which ws fun) and then coaching (also fun), I headed off to the library. I am operating under some serious deadlines. I had forgotten, however (if I don't write it down, I'd forget anything these days) that there was a peace demonstration on the Common which I had entirely intended on participating in. But....the deadlines. Whatever the deadlines, I could spare an hour or two of my time to lend my support to something I whole heartedly support. Some things just get prioritized. Even if I forgot them.

I headed out of Park Street station to encounter about 50 PRO war demonstrators. I couldn't even believe it. If these people are representative of why 70% of Americans support the war, or at least according to polls they do, the explanation for why we do is that we are stupid beyond belief. Holding such signs as "America, Love it or Leave it", "Neville Chamberlin Fan Club" and "Go USA", I was imediately caught off guard by someone shouting to support our troops. Well, people, you all know my answer to that. And I answered. "I support our troops. My nephew is out there on the Kitty Hawk. And I support them so much I don't believe they should be being shot at for this unjustified action." This seemed to throw him a bit. So he told me that if I didn't like America, I should leave it. I asked him if he'd been to any other countries. Without answering my question, he asked me if I had been to any other countries, and I told him that indeed I had been to 32 other countries, and if he hadn't been to any others, maybe he ought to actually try to find out what he was talking about. So then he told me I was unAmerican. I then enquired as to how exercising my Constitutionally protected first amendment rights of free speech and the right to assemble for precisely such purpose made me unAmerican. "Our guys are out there protecting your rights!" "They're not protecting my rights. The whole shebang is called "Operation Liberate Iraq." That's about liberating Iraq, not protecting my rights." By now, the guy was totally losing it. So I suggested that if he so supported this operation, that he volunteer for the armed services and get thee hence to the front lines. Discussion over, he was speechless.

And hour and a half of peaceful exercise of my Constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech and assembly, I made my way to the computer lab. After a bit of work I overheard a conversation by the guy across from me where he was whining about how he couldn't respect the protestors because they were protesting the establishment, but wearing clothes from Banana Republic. I had to speak up to point out that they weren't protesting the establishement, they were protesting the war in Iraq. This seemed to throw him. "Well, I support our troops" he said. And we're off.......

It is dangerous to be well read and opinionated in this country. No one knows what to do with you!
Back to work!

Saturday, March 29, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Develops a Deep Relationship with a Chair
The thing about starting from scratch to get back into shape is that a gal gets a bit stiff in the old muscles. This was without question the case when I woke up yesterday morning. Unfortunately, I was waking up in the morning to go erg a 6K with Matt. I did loosen up a bit for that, and then cycled home, but frankly I was tired. And still stiff. Never mind. There was life to get on with. I desperately needed a haircut, and luckily I was booked in with Roger at 11:30. Or so I thought. On arrival, I discovered I was actually booked in for 12:30. This turned out to be quite fortuitous. I went to Tealuxe, got some tea, brought it back, and they let me sit in the chair for 40 minutes. This may not sound so significant, except that the chair at the salon is one of those that massages your back while you sit in it. Ahhhh. Ooooooo. I was worried I would get kicked out for making obscene noises, so I tried to stay as quietly obscene as possible. By the time I stood up, all the stiffness in my back had disappeared. Ahhhhh. Ooooo. And a bitchin' new do to boot.

Then, in a fit of "If I can't interview for a job, I"m not going to look like I'm going to interview for a job" I had my nose pierced again. (I did this once before, when Testa didn't give me a job.) I like it, but it hurts more than it did last time. Still, it isn't permanent, like a tattoo. Pretty much the second I take it out it will heal over. But I like it in the meantime.

Then it was time for the kids to get back out on the water, and I have to say they did really really well. Stiff as boards from fear, but still much improved rowers. Things were fine, there was no flipping, and then we hit land, where everyone started confessing how nervous they had been. Of course, I don't think this was an unnatural reaction at all.

Still, my body isn't built to take this any more. I got up this morning to row with Jonathan, and while I haven't stiffened up I did fall asleep on the sofa this morning. So tired.

Back to bed. On the water at 7!

Thursday, March 27, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Sees Who Shows Up for Practice
It really quite amazing how just a little swim in some cold water really tires a gal out. I slept 12 hours last night, and even after that spent most of the morning lounging around on the sofa. I did go down to the boathouse early, to see if there was damage to the boat. There was, a little bit, but nothing unrepairable. So who would turn up to repair it? Or who would have been put off after yesterday's little swim? I waited on tenterhooks. Amazingly, every single kid turned up, even stroke seat, who it turns out sprained his ankle yesterday when his foot didn't come out. Boat repair was done by the kids, who are now vested in it, and who also were approached by the Filippi rep to help move a boat, for which they were all given calendars with hunky Italian rowers. Hey, its week two. They're captivated by this. They're hooked into it now. And it is all about the tchotchkes. And the water time.

Speaking of water time, I then amazed myself by hitting the water after practice for my first outing in a double this year. In the off season, I always say that I love rowing but I wonder do I really love it as much as I think I do? And then I get out there and realize that I love it a whole lot more. Which is exactly what happened tonight. I went out in the double with my friend Liz, who knew about yesterday. I used to teach youth learn to row with Liz, and in fact she has seen me wade into the river up to my waist to pull in an 8+ of kids who couldn't dock due to inexperience and wind. But she was still mighty impressed with this squad, watching them do their jumpies and their situps. And as she realized when we got in for our "day after" team photo (me still in the Golden Gopher sweatshirt as it was the only dry thing in the house!), even standing next to me, these are big kids. Go team go!

I had a big decision out on the river with Liz - what to do for the season. I have been of the mindset to re-join the CRI competitive women's team. But I wasn't quite convinced. Something was holding me back. At heart, I am a sculler. And I really love the double scull. If it works, you really form a bond with your teammate for good times and bad. In the comp squad, dealing with 35 different, strong personalities gets wearing. I really want to turn up, row, work hard at my rowing and then just not get so involved with the rest of it. Racing is fun, but only if you let it be. As Liz and I put it "racing is fun, and the boys are so fine!" which is why we want to race. And the decision was CRI, just Liz and I in the double. Its a good decision, and it fits well. You just know about things sometimes, and this is so easily the right thing for me right now. See seems psyched, and I definitely am. Roll on fitness! Now to just find some adjustable spacers for the riggers. The Knauth is rigged a bit high..........

Tired again this evening, but only for the very best reasons.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Goes for a Wee Swim with her Squad
Cripes, I'm pooped. An afternoon of adventure on the high seas does that to a gal. Cycled down for practice, clambered into the survival suit, waited for the kids to turn up. Except that two were striking sets for the play, and one has broken out in a bad rash and so had a doctors appointment. So three boys, and a recruited coxswain. What to do? Stick me in bow seat, that's what to do. So out of the survival suit, and into the boat. All was going well when three seat caught a crab and it turns out that his gate wasn't on tight. Up, up, up, and............ flip. Into the water, the whole lot of us. And the water was *very* cold. Remember, the ice was still fourteen inches thick on this part of the river last week. Of course, this is why we watch the safety video every year, which indeed we did last week. So everyone knew to stay with the boat. Immediate problems: stroke seat can't get his feet out of the shoes and can't kick out because he has brought his head up in the rigger, so he is twisted at an angle that stops him kicking (with a mild bit of panic) and the coxswain is so tiny she's chilling off faster than everyone else. Calm stroke down, get coxie on top of the boat (as you lose heat faster through the water than through the air) grab hold of the boat and start towing boat and kiddies to shore. In the meantime, shout to people on shore to call 911, request an ambulance and tell them we have kids at risk of hypothermia. And be sure to do it *all* very calmly, despite being pissed at being out of survival suit as this is precisely what its designed for. It worked. All kids out of the water safely, but coxie was shivering quite hard. Get her out of her wet things, and get her wrapped in blankets. The ambulance arrived quickly and we were all taken to Children's Hospital. So there I was, having to phone parents and say "Um, terribly sorry, not to worry, but could you just pick your child up at the Childrens' Hospital ER? Oh, and bring some dry clothes." Luckily, the parents took it all very very very well. The kids were recovering well, and then I realized that *I* had no dry clothes, shoes (shoes are at the boathouse) or way home. I thought about who to call. My few friends with cars were actually out of town. I tried to call Patrick. Not there, and home now way out in Natick. Lora? In Philly on business. Um? Mike. Mike was a good idea, because not only did he have a car, he doesnt live *that* far from me, and bonus of bonuses, he would have a sweatshirt and sweatpants I could borrow that might actually fit, as he is closer to my size than many of my friends. Damn. He's not in the office. Home? Not yet. Try again. Whew. Home, and willing to come in and get me. And bring sweatshirts! Mike, patent lawyer and hero to the masses. Well, hero to me, and I'm massive.

Up til this point I felt fine. Parents started coming in, and I felt fine. Then, while talking to one of them, I started to not feel very fine at all. So I lay down for a bit. Of course, this is the minute before Mike turns up. So instead of being able to hop up, change my clothes and go, I wound up having to lounge around and be sick for a bit. The kids, of course, are all "ooooooo, who's this? Coach has a personal life!" I expect questions tomorrow, to which the answer "none of your business" somehow seems to be poking a situation the wrong way. I shall have to think of the appropriate response. I do have a personal life, but Mike is not involved in the way the kids are thinking.

One of the mothers actually took photos of us. First team photo for our new slogan (coined by one of the parents) "CRLS Novice Crew: Only the Bouyant Survive."

But cutting a long story long, in the end, I was fine, the kiddies were fine, and Mike took me home in the car that comes with the bun warmer. I am now eternally indebted to Volkswagon. I have to wash my clothes (which somehow seems paradoxical since they're already soaking wet. Maybe I should just throw some soap on them.), wash the Golden Gophers sweatshirt (Mike is from Minnesota), and get some sleep!

Practice is tomorrow at 3:30!

Monday, March 24, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Has the First Cardiac Arrest of the Season
One of the lovely things about being a novice rowing coach is that you can plan your cardiac arrests. The first on-water outing of their rowing lives is bound to shorten the life of the coach by a good five years. The challenge is to not get the kiddiewinkles (I have begun to think of them as "the novitiate") to enjoy rowing, not flip, not run aground, not drown, not get impaled, not break a rib from catching a crab, not hit a bridge, not hit another boat, not break an oar, somehow travel some distance, and then turn them around, get them back through the bridge, get them turned around again (because there are only certain places where it is safe to turn), and then land them without breaking the front of the boat off. In the meantime, as a coach, you have to keep it upbeat, and also manage to not ram the coaching launch into their boat or oars, and while you're at it, try not to swamp their boat (or others on the river) with wake. This is the real reasons why boat clubs require their coaches to maintain up to date certification in CPR - to save other coaches. Our hearts take a severe pounding. I was luckily spared a few of my scheduled cardiac arrests by having an experienced coxswain to steer the boat and give my kids commands. THis seemed to work well for everyone - the coxswain said she received good experience from it.

How great are my kids? I'll tell you. They run without complaining. They do their situps and jumpies every day, again without complaining (although one maintains steadfastly that they are going to die, but has not let this stop him from doing them in any way), and the one who overslept on Saturday and missed our launch actually hung around the outside of the boathouse waiting for us to come back, went off on his run as directed without complaint, and then stayed and did his situps and jumpies with the team despite the fact he didn't get to row all day. Amazing. I *adore* these children, I really do.

Sadly, in the midst of all this, Elenarda has gone home. Sadness. It was good to have her here, and the baby was absolutely adorable! I just didn't get to spend enough time with her! It has been four and a bit years, and ten days with my working hard meant that I wasn't around nearly enough! Still, it was great to catch up with her, and she seems to have had a good time, despite my being run flat. Although I was comfy on the settee, it will be good to sit in my own bed tonight. It is strange to be in the flat on my own, though. I keep wondering if the baby is all right!

I think I am about due for a cardiac for another reason - I caught sight of my stomach in spandex this week and I did *not* like what I saw! Time to do some situps and jumpies of my own. ALthough I have started biking again, but it is just to practice and back. Only 7 miles-ish a day. I need to be rowing again. Hopefully the four oared rule disappears this week, and the minute it does, I'm out there. Everyone's violating it anway, but I'm not risking it. How can I expect the kids to follow my rules, when I don't follow the club rules? Not to mention that since there's no more company, I can eat spa food. Salad festivals. Whoohoo! Gotta lose that gut. Spandex season is nigh.

The news of the war is on 24/7. The thing that is really getting me is the implication in this country that because I am against the war, I do not support our troops. I support our troops greatly - my nephew is out there on an aircraft carrier. But I don't believe they should be risking their lives on this when diplomacy hasn't had the chance to pan itself out. Inspections were working - why this? And if I was British, I would be ticked! The US seems to be killing the Brits, not the Iraqis! We're the ones shooting their planes, etc. Not good.

Somehow, I feel so cultured. I have actually seen an Academy Award nominated foreign film. The Finnish one. In Finland! Huzzah! So multiculti.
Love and situps,

Saturday, March 22, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Enjoys A Film
Ah, the movies. War rages in Iraq, the peace protestors scuffle with the people supporting the war, the people outside my window are arguing about something or tuther. But I'm watching my violence just the way I like it. Big and fake. "The Quiet Man" - one of my favorite movies of all time. Any movie where John Wayne is felled not just once but twice with punches that quite obviously don't connect is the way it should be. I remember mourning last year that it wasn't shown on St. Patrick's Day, the way it usually is. And here it is.

It is the way to unwind after a fairly long day. I made up my internship day today, which always means an early start, and then had to go immediately to coach the kiddies, who continue to do well. By the time I got home, I was a bit beat. And yet, still excited for tomorrow. First full day on the water for them. The problem of course being that with the weather suddenly turning nice, every lunatic and their mother who hasn't been out on the water all winter will be out there, getting in the way. Or more accurately having us get in theirs. The kids are doing well, but that first day is quite a handful. In fact, the first few are a spectacular handful. But the kids will be all right to me, so long as I don't have to do what I had to do a few years back in a high upstream wind and wade in up to the waist to bring them to the dock. They had their first erg test yesterday, and they did well. Then, to show them how it is to be done, I did one. Only one thousand meters, but I have to say, ow ow and ow again. It would appear I am out of shape. Rather. Tomorrow's the big day!

Thursday, March 20, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Races A Bus
Well, this is it. Supposedly the deadline has come and gone, and I guess we're at war. I don't officially know, as I am hiding from the news. Yesterday, under the strains of war impending, I got on my bike can cycled to practice. First time on the bike in ages, and was totally loving it until I suddenly had flashbacks to cycling home from practice after watching the Twin Towers fall while we were in the boathouse on 9/11. High anxiety all day - I think it came through in the e-mails I was sending. I felt almost compelled to e-mail my English friends to declare that I hadn't voted for Bush, and I thought the war was a bad idea. My friend Neil returned the e-mail immediately with: send phone number, I'm calling now! He did call, mostly because we've been trying to catch up via phone for months, but I think he thought this was important. He was very reassuring, I must say. Then again, a quick phone call to my doctor for a rather minor medication adjustment also helped considerably. This is the problem with my horomones - too much adrenaline. If the fear in the whole "flee or fear" response gets going, wowsa. Still, at least knowing why it is going on means that I can do something about it, and I recognize the symptoms, so things get sorted out pretty quickly.

The most important thing about the above paragraph is the fact that I have gotten my fat butt back on the bike. Yeah! I *love* riding my bike around. Love it, love it, love it. And of course, day one is never so bad. It was day two (today) that was a bit tricky. A wee bit tired, I was. But coming home, just as I hit Harvard Square, I noticed a number 86 bus heading homewards. I wound up racing it home. I had a good distance on it until I hit Market Street, despite the fact the bus took the short Western Ave route, and I felt like having fun and taking the long bike path along the river. But when I hit Market Street, it became neck and neck. Mostly because it is a long hill, and I am pokey on the hills. Market Street is hardly an Alp. But I was still pokey. The bus, of course, had the speed advantage on me, but has to stop almost every block. So it would pass me, I would pass it, it would pass me. The race was on! I won, but I have to say only by about five feet. And I also have to say, I am one pooped girl from it. But better for it.

In all this cycling, I cannot omit the where and who I was cycling to. It was the first days of practice for my novice crew kids. I admit, I was a little nervous about it all. Teach them to row, race them in a month, and in the meantime instill boat safety skills and a phenomonal love of rowing. Could I do this? I hoped I could, but of course one never knows until you try.

Well, I have met the children and gotten started. I *love* my kids. I could not have asked for a better bunch of kids. There are only six of them, five boys and one girl, but doggone it they're wonderful. The shortest one (your ideal rower is a tall one, but it isn't mandatory) has picked up the form very quickly, and seems to already be thinking it through. He turned in the fastest erg score today. The one girl started off as rather shy, but seems to be adapting into it well, and I really truly hope she sticks with it. I think training with the boys (she can only race with them as a cox, but I can train her with them, and will try my damnest to make sure she races somehow other than as a cox, as if she puts in the effort she deserves it. And I usually get my way.) will make her a better rower faster in the end. The other boys are fun to work with, are getting the form quickly, and seem prepared to work hard. They also all seem to be built to be future Olympians. They've already adapted to the fact that they have to do 50 situps and 50 jumpies at the end of every practice. It seems to be making them tired (even the boys) but they're incorporating it well.

I told them today about how when I got this job, Mike said "I predict they will all either be future hall of famer Ivy League rowers or join the chess club." I can agree with him. And it don't look like these boys are joining the chess club! Or the girl, who I mistakenly keep calling by the name Rebecca. It is *not* her name, and it doesn't even sound like her name (which I won't post here in the interests of child privacy.).

We've had two erg days so far, with the infamous "swim test" sandwiched in between. Every year, both for their safety and our insurance, the children all dive in fully clothed, tread water for five minutes, and then (still fully clothed) have to swim four lengths of the pool. They all jumped in, and my immediate thought was "where is my camera when I really need it?" But even today they did their situps with more ease, and their jumpies seemed a little higher.

We have met the enemy, and they are the varsity. We are after their seats! We are CRLS Novice Crew!

Parent contact so far has been positive. Whew!

Well, while I'm typing this, my e-mails have blipped up to announce we are officially at war. I pray for peace, for the safety of the civilians, and that all our soldiers may come home safely to those who love them.

Monday, March 17, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Accumulates Some Knowledge
Today is the day of the odd knowledge accumulation. So far today, I have learned: (Click on the colored text to link to an explanation of the statement.)
1) That I can not be a blood donor in the USA since I lived in the UK for more than three months since the 1980. Apparently, my week in the Falklands qualifies in this total as well!
2) According to none other than the New York Times, the BBC and the Guardian, a talking fish has spoken a portend of the end of the world, or possibly a warning against the war in Iraq. The theological implications of the fish being slaughtered immediately after speaking does not appear to have yet been analyzed.
3) I more than doubled my score on Celebdaq when I correctly predicted last week that Prince Charles would get loads of press this week. This time last week, 18,000 pounds. This week? 52,000. Dividends. Love them.
4) The people from my boat club are officially crazy with the cold.
5) The March Madness lineups are in! And apparently BC not making the dance is newsworthy.
6) And of course, we're headed to war on the 24 hour countdown.
Love and prayers for peace,

Saturday, March 15, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Is a Horrible Hostess
Administrative stuff first: the archives now work. Really click on a link and find out. I didn't post on the site while I was in China. If you want to read about that time, check out If you're looking for cotimundi, and I'm always amazed how many people are, they're in the last week of January, 2002.
Anyway. Bad hostessing. So poor Elenarda, having arrived and begun to combat jet lag last night, was today dispatched down to the center of town, and just really dropped there. Because I was already booked to spend the day at a seminar on Trade Secrets. From nine in the morning until five in the afternoon, lunch included. So after a quick pointing to the T stations, here is the school, here is the State House, here is the T station, I left her to it. It doesn't seem to have gone too badly. She had other friends coming in for the weekend, and the first one was arriving on the 11:30 train. Between meeting her, and getting her to the hotel, spots of lunch and things, time seems to have passed quickly. She was fine.
Time was probably passing more quickly for her than for me. The thing about seminars is that you get some good speakers, and you get some bad speakers. The first thing that I noticed was that apparently to be a prominent trade secret attorney, if you are male, you have to be a) not very tall (as in, short), b) have a beard, and c) be relatively bald. It seems to be the case that the more prominent you are, the more profound your combover. I have to say, the panel of men sitting waiting to speak all came from the same cloth. But they knew what they were doing. Trade Secrets, trade secrets, trade secrets. I suppose I should comment that the woman who opened the panel was also very good, but was not short, did not have a beard, and did not seem to be going bald.
And then I noticed that my friend Ralph was there. Even better luck! Not that Ralph and I would be chatting during the presentations, but it did add a fun element to it to be sitting there with him.
The thing is, the papers preapred with the presentations were very comprehensive, and now I have to read them! My internship is having me make a presenation to it's sales force about confidentiality agreements, non disclosure agreements, etc, so this is right up that alley. I feel that I got a very practical grounding for preparing for making this presenation.
The one bad bit of news was talking to a partner from a big firm in town. He described the current market as a "nuclear winter." I don't think this is a positive sign looking to the immediate future of the market.
Oh, so tired. These last couple of postings have barely been coherent. I'm sorry, but I'm a bit wiped out of late. I shall try to do better. Or, as Ethan says, "there is no try, there is only do."

Friday, March 14, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Goes All Girlie
It is snowing, but spring has still entered into la casa del Anna. First, Elenarda has arrived. Complete with bairn, and there's nothing like a baby about to make one feel springy. Plus, she has brought over for me a nice new outfit from Sally's - very springy. Cream trou and a girly silk blouse. Lighter than air, that thing is. Looks great. The trousers will look even better when I lose five pounds, but roll on cycling to practice and sculling, and we'll be fine. By Memorial Day (when one can wear white trou without being arrested by the fashion police), I'll be a svelte babe again.
And I will smell like one too. Because Elenarda has armed me with my favorite delights in the world. Products from Lush. Why Lush does not have a shop in Boston or the USA for that matter I don't know. But they don't. Consequently, Lush products must be hoarded at all costs. The bath bombs, the soaps, the massage bars, more bath bombs, and just because she liked the name something called "Buffy the Backside Slayer." I, too, have considered caving at that one. She's bought me some lovely dusting powder to go with the shirt. In the Lush tradition of things having odd names, it is called "Silky Underwear." But darn, I smell good!
Getting poor Elenarda here was an event. First off, it started snowing again. Nothing major, but snowing. Then, she was loaded down with baggage (all pressies for me, near as I can tell. And baby gear!) and baby. I thought the best way to see Boston for the first timewould be to take her on the boat from Logan to downtown, and we did this, but the snow meant that you couldn't see a darn thing! So that was a bit moot. We managed to grab a cab, or actually a livery car (fixed rate. Excellent.), and the driver went out of his way to show her around, give her the guided tour, the whole nine yards. Beacon Hill, Back Bay, all of it. Gaslights in the snow. She seems very impressed! We shall see tomorrow. Then becomes the whole challenge of her getting around.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Runs Out of Time
Well, that is that. The flat is *not* clean, although the lounge is making a stab at being tidy. The laundry is *not* done. Ellie has said she's fine with this. I really don't think she fully appreciates the situation! But nevermind. I still have tomorrow morning! Which should be just enough time to scrub the tub and wash the dishes. I can but hope, eh? Even the poor kitty, groomed as he is, isn't looking so hot at the moment seeing as it is time for him to shed his winter coat. Everything that comes out is out, but it still gives his fur a rather clumpy look.
Spring is really lurking just around the corner. Boat Race lineups have been announced, and one of Chris Clarke's kiddies made it into the Topolski dark blue boat. Clark was quoted in the Telegraph about the whole Boat Race Mutiny 16 years on, and still sounds like an unrepentant chid. He's a coach now - I cannot help but wonder how ballistic he'd go were one of his coachees to try such a stunt as he did. Never mind. He did make it terribly embarassing to be an American abroad and wanting to row, though!
Indeed, there is enough spring springing that Harvard and Radcliffe were out in 8+s this afternoon. Frankly, I have to say this was not the wisest thing they could have done. Firstly, there was only about a 500m stretch where they could go before having to spin, and secondly there were large chunks of ice floating down the river. At 14" thick, and five or six feet long, they'd knock a serious hole in a boat which would be expensive to repair. The ice near the dock is still thick enough for me to stand on, and stand on it I did. Ok, so it took a lot of prompting to get me to do it first. But it really does have me drifting off into daydream after daydream of sculling next week. Even though we are supposed to get three inches of snow tomorrow, it is supposed to be 10C all weekend and most of next week, so with the ice already broken up and drifting down, by Monday we should be good to go. But to scull I'll have to wait for the four oar rule to be lifted. It can't be too long!
I met a hottie named David yesterday, but I'll never see him again, so I will just leave that issue there.*Sigh.*
Poor old Ellie must be leaving her house right about now. Eek! It is all happening! It is happening!
In addition to everything else, I have to start coming up with workouts for my kids. Monday starts practice! Whoohoo! Time to get down to it!

Monday, March 10, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Stays Busy
Too much, too much. Still grinding away under the various guns, but it is starting to pay off. Elements of cleaning are starting to take hold (must scrub tub). I've installed shelves, and may install a few more. Although I can't figure out yet how installing the shelves make the room seem bigger, but they do. Works in progress are progressing. This is all good. I have *even* managed to get some laundry done as well, thank heavens. The tradeoff for this, unfortunately, has meant staying inside much of the weekend. Drat - we had good weather this weekend. Missed it.
I missed a couple things actually. One of which was my lunch meeting. I have been a little forgetful of late, but this was teh most spectacular. I woke up in the morning and re-arranged one meeting so I had more time for my lunch meeting. Then I went into school, and got grinding away (or tried to grind away. Two people, one of whom I knew, were chatting away in the computer lab. Loudly. After half an hour I got up and went to lunch. When I came back, they were still at it. Would NOT stop. Grrrrrr. Very distracting.) I completely forgot about my lunch meeting. When it was time for lunch, I went, grabbed a burger, ate it downstairs and realized 45 minutes later that I had completly forgotten about my lunch appointment. Cellphones were set a-ringing but to no avail. Certainly my most spectacular forgetfulness to date.

Last night was babysitting. Such fun! The problem is that I'm quite positive I was not as bright as Catherine when I was three, and in fact am not as certain that I am that bright even at 32. She certainly explained rowing to me in new and unique terms. But the fact of the matter is that Catherine and her sister are just marvellous children. Dinner, bath, movie, bed, not a problem, no tears, no hassle, and when they were asleep I just thought "really, is that it?" Somehow it felt just too easy. Well behaved children are such a joy.
So interesting, busy, and then came Sunday night. Sunday night is one of my favorite times of the week - a relaxed transition into the new week. But not tonight. More work, installing of the shelves, getting dinner together, and then just as I was settling in, the phone calls started. Why is no one else happy this evening? And further, why is it that they call me for advice, and when I give it, they start shouting at me? I got the message "please call me before 8 - I need some legal advice." In short, the transmission is gone and the warranty company doesn't want to pay for it, and instead are having it taken apart to be inspected. I was asked if I could write a letter saying I was an attorney, I had been informed of the situation, and that the person in question was not the sort of driver to burn out a transmission so quickly. First off, this wouldn't do anything, as the mere might of being a lawyer is useless, as anyone with a law degree will be the first to tell you. Secondly, I haven't seen this person drive in a couple of years, so I have no recent basis on which to judge whether or not they could burn out a trannie, particularly since I don't know what it takes to do that. And the last time I did drive with them, they were racing cars at intersections, so I really couldn't in good conscience testify that they were a good driver. But I didn't go into all this, as there was no point. I just said that such a letter wouldn't help. I did, however, give some advice which should be much more practical towards getting the problem resolved. And for that I just got shouted at. Honestly, I nearly hung up. I wish I had. Could have saved me some yelling at.

The next phone call to come in wasn't any better. A friend is changing jobs. The stress is making him difficult to deal with. But friends are friends, and he therefore deserves my love and support. But the stress on his end just constantly makes me want to go "why are you shouting at me?" In fact, I have asked that question a couple times. There is no good answer. Now that the job change is happening (out of the old, new is tomorrow) I am hoping things will calm down a bit. It is undermining my medication!
Anne with Shelves

Saturday, March 08, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Gets a Little Overbooked
Ah, the runaround. I'm on it. I'm doing it. It is fun though. It started Wednesday. Leave work, go to meeting, go to church for Ash Wednesday (40 minutes late! Eep!), go to dinner, go to BED! Had to go to bed, as Thursday it was doctor's appointment at 8, court date at 9, work by 10, out of work, dinner with Liz, go to bed again. Because Friday it was morning phone meetings, go to work, leave, meet Matt, then go meet Tim, then go meet Suffolk classmates for reunion drinks, then another meeting. Eek!
It isn't going to end as far as I can see. Even this weekend, I have a TONNE of work to do, somewhere sandwiched in around a breakfast meeting tomorrow, lunch meeting, dinner meeting and then babysitting. Sunday's not much better. And I have REALLY got to get this place whipped into babyworthy shape for Elenarda arriving on Thursday. Ummmmmmmmm.......that is going to take rather a lot of effort.
I'm looking forward to her visit, but between paid work, work that doesn't involve being paid, and all kinds of other things, I'm starting to wonder when I'll actually see the poor girl! Things are getting swamped.
The temp job at the moment is quite wonderful. I am cataloging the score collection for the Harvard University Jazz Band. Yes, these people are band geeks. I keep waiting for someone to say "one night? At band camp?" but I have to say that they are exceptionally nice people, and in terms of the staff I'm working with, exceptionally bright and fascinating people. I seem to be on a crash course to learn about jazz, and it is working. I work at the computer of whomever is outside the office at the time, and today that was Professor Everett. The work itself is not so terribly fascinating, just your basic compiling of information, but never mind, the atmosphere is relaxed. In fact, maybe a little too much so. I had been encouraged to use Prof. Everett's CD player, so I grabbed the CD off the top of the stack and hit "play." Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie. Big band at its finest. Not only could I sing along (no one was on the entire floor to hear, thank heavens for small mercies), but when you listen to that sort of music, everything you do winds up having a bit of a flourish to it. Bit of zing, bit of zap. Ta da! Somewhere, I'm sure I'm on CCTV, and there is a security guard watching me, and just cracking up all day long. Rarely has entering data into an Excel spreadsheet caused such zing.
Much to do, must sleep and prepare for the weekend.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Panics, But Just a Little
Sometimes I do worry about my mental state. I have been forgetful of late, but just a little. Still, I need to write things down a bit better. My friend Elenarda is coming to visit next week. (You can read about someone else's opinion of me back in college here. Just check the Feb 28 entry.) I'm looking forward to it. That's certainly not the problem. The problem is that I thought she was coming the week *after* that and there is lot of cleaning that needs to be done in the meantime. A whole lotta cleaning. And some shelfs need to be installed. And some other things need to be done too. Like, oh, more laundry.

Never mind. I have plans this weekend. I get to babysit. I realize that to most people this is not some sort of an honour, but I love it. So long as it is the right child. And this weekend is definitely the right child. Catherine, who is almost three, is one of my absolute favorite children in the entire world. Smart as a whip, very curious, very energetic, and since she has been raised well, she is very polite to boot. Ok, so she needs reminding every so often, since she is only almost three, but still. I adore her. She's terribly fun. She now has a five month old sister named Clara. I'm babysitting Clara as well, but I haven't met her yet. I'm sure she'll be fine.

This is part of the whole happiness deal. Since I'm all happy again (oh, the joys of modern pharmaceuticals), I feel that everyone else should be happy. What would make Catherine's mother happy is a night out with her husband. What would make Catherine's dad happy is a night out with his wife. And what would make me happy is to babysit the kids. So all in all, everyone's a winner. The kids really are that wonderful. I'm good friends with the mother, who is a wonderful woman, but I really do think that many of the times I call her, it is so that I can ask her if she wants to drop off Catherine so that she and I can play. She's that charming. And bright. I've seen her come over to my bookshelf, pick out Calvin and Hobbes, and bring it over for me to read to her. She thought it was a children's book because of the colours and pictures on the front. Of course we didn't read that, we opted for Curious George, but still I was impressed for a girl at (then) two and a half.

I'm also having drinks with some friends on Friday. I haven't seen them since before I left for China, so I'm very glad about that as well.

During the days this weekend, well, that's more work. Particularly in light of the forthcoming arrival.

And of course, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. For reasons I've never quite figured out, Ash Wednesday is one of my favorite religous holidays. I think it is all the contemplation of mortality, which seems a little odd to me given my complete inability to deal with death.

I think everyone needs this sort of break. Lola was over here this evening for pizza and fun, and she was so exhausted I kicked her out early, poor thing. It's only Tuesday!

Monday, March 03, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Achieves Domesticity
Well, after a long week of selling T passes at Harvard (a job which is suprisingly more interesting than it sounds, if for no other reason than my perkiness quotient just goes up all day - it is an interesting phenomenon to me. This is not even considering the fact that somehow I have managed to start to make friends with some of the people I have sold T passes to - two of them are e-mailing me about careers in patent law and one, God love him, is hooking me into the anti-war effort. This is what happens when you comment on someone's "No War in Iraq" button.), I acheived domesticity all weekend. I was supposed to have pancakes with Lolo on Saturday morning, but she was too tired from a hot date on Saturday night, so I headed off to my first meeting of the parents.

Why am I meeting with parents? Because I am the new novice boys and girls rowing coach for Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Practice starts March 17, we race a month after that. It is my job a) to teach them to row (they haven't before), b) make it fun, c) keep it safe (I'm a *bear* about safety), and d) who knows maybe we'll even win something. I must say though that winning isn't my priority. I suspect it is for some of the parents, but it is much more important to me to instill love of the sport and the safety aspects in them. Winning is about how well you row on the day comapred to everyone else. If the competition is weak, you can be bad and still win, and if the competition is strong you can turn in the row of your life and still lose by a country mile. So I met the kids. My initial impression of them is .... terrified. They didn't even get to meet me until they'd had an hour meeting with parents in tow of being told "don't get detention, don't do drugs, don't miss practice, don't do this, don't do that, if your grades aren't high enough" and so on. They've never done it before, they don't really know yet what it involves, and two weeks before they even get to touch a boat they get put into the whole "this is everything that can go wrong" deal of it all. The parents had loads of questions, the kids were pretty quiet (there weren't that many, I will meet more next week) and I now have a survival suit. It is windproof, waterproof, quite warm (I think there's neoprene or something similar in it) and basically looks like a big snowsuit. I am quite certain I owned something similar when I was two. Certainly the minute I put it on and zipped it up I immediately had to disrobe due to a sudden urge to pee. It is also bright yellow. You could certainly find me in a snowstorm with it. Or bobbing up and down in the middle of the river. It will be great for coaching. Rowing at least you work out, you exercise, you stay warm as long as you're working. Coaching you're stock still, the wind is nipping at you from being in the motorboat, and often it is raining to boot. Rowing in the rain, I like. Coaching in the cold rain, not so much. Of course, even with rowing in the rain, its all about the right gear. Coolmax is the biz. And with coaching is also the gear. Thus, the survival suit. Though I have to say sexy it is not. Somewhere between fisherman and astronaut. My friend Elenarda is arriving the 19th of March. The woman hasn't seen me in years. This will no doubt be quite a vision for her. She will no doubt turn around and run fleeing back to England, baby in her arms.

The survival suit, I have to say though left me feeling a little less than feminine. So I came home and drew a bath and threw in the old Lush bath bomb, complete with salts and rose petals. Chickiness reigned supreme, so I was able to shove myself into a pair of trou (they're getting snugger every minute and workouts cannot start any too soon for me) and head off to Waltham for dinner with some friends. Even this had an air of domesticity to it - Mike had very socially set up an even number of lads and lasses for an Indian meal out. With one married couple and a mix of people who knew each other and who didn't, it had that air of a very grown up dinner party. Good fun, good people, good food, and somehow I felt a bit immature with it all. Aren't grown ups supposed to do this sort of thing, not me? Ok, so there was also a bit of envy - I want to have real furniture I picked out myself! Mike's taste seems to be pretty decent.

That's ok, as this morning I accelerated full on into happy families. Jim came over and picked me up for brunch. In typical fashion, we didn't actually *eat* our french toast et al until three in the afternoon, but still. I made the mistake of telling his son to go wash up for lunch and was promptly corrected by son that we were having breakfast. Lunch to Will means that Sunday is almost over and its time to start thinking about school in the morning, so breakfast to him is a key component of the denial that it is Sunday. After that it was what Sundays I think are supposed to be. A bit of lounging around, catching up, not really talking about anythng in particular, and soon enough it was time for dinner (which is what happens when you don't eat breakfast until three), with which I was actually helpful as I had trimmed my rosemary bush before I went over and was armed to the teeth. Next thing you know, it is roast chicken dinner with spinach, avacado and pistachio salad. Mmmmmm. And then the three of us sat and watched "Jimmy Neutron: the Movie." It was all terribly happy families. But again, I'm way too young for all this. I'm too young to be married, too young to have a child (much less a 12 year old one) too young for dinner parties and parent/coach meetings. I am only 32 after all.
Tomorrow, internship. Contract clauses galore.