Friday, May 30, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Loses Her Underpinnings
Well, Team Milhouse is back at it. Miles rowed today, 7. Money raised today in pledges: $150. Money received today in hand: $100. We've been on and off all week for a couple of reasons. First is my eye infection. Now, this was last week when I had this eye infection, or more accurately irritation (despite the sheer excitement of all the doctor's who hoped I had a resurgence of the exotic eye disease I obtained in Mongolia and Finland, it ws proved to be an irritation from my contact lens.) but the fall out is this week if I raise my blood pressure enough through exercising, and getting my pulse rate up, I am rewarded with a pain that feels as though someone has stabbed me through the eye. Now. for stroking the double, you don't really need your eyes, but the lack of pain does help. And apparently screaming "Ah! My eye! My eye! I'm blind! Aieeeeeeeeee!" can be distracting to one's doubles partner. But we brought the pace (and consequently my blood pressure) down and did a skill and drill. Of course, we really don't need to be doing skill and drill, we need to be doing cardio stamina steady state. But we do what we can do. Today, we went out to do more steady state, and while the first half really bit, the second half was better. But it was most notably better because Liz coxed me through it. She had to do so, poor thing, as I could not get my focus through on anything. I have been having insomnia the last couple of nights, and so was tired, but frankly that's a pathetic excuse. As much as I sucked this morning, she coxed me though and I improved. I think this is also important for another reason. It's a bit of a shift tactics wise. A further improvement in dynamic. See, at the start of the season, even though I was in stroke seat, I called a lot of the shots. Too many, frankly, for a stroke seat, who isn't supposed to be calling ANY of the shots really. My job is to set the pace (bringing it up or down as directed by the bow seat), and to be a machine, focused on nothing other than rowing strongly and cleanly through the water. Block out all else, nothing but the sculling, and certainly not calling the shots. But at the beginning of the season, I was the one with the experience a) sculling, and b) calling the shots from the bow of the double. So I told Liz what I knew, and she started taking it on. She's done well, very well, and very quickly, but I think there's been a natural learning curve for her. Seeing as she has had to learn to steer, arches of bridges, etc motivating me, or even just getting into the habit of directing me was just not high on the priority list of things she had to learn. But now she's taken on that challenge as well, starting as of today did very well. We just took "tens." 10 strokes for sitting up at the finish, 10 strokes for a slow recovery, 10 for this, 10 for that, 10 for a good push on the drive. It worked, and even more importantly my pulse rate was up and in the target rate for a new record (well, for me) of 19 minutes. A seven minute improvement on yesterday! Gooooooooooooooooo heart rate!

We'd switched practice today to the morning at the last minute last night. My doctor's appointment was moved to five in the afternoon, and thunderstorms were predicted for early evening. Again. Really wanting to row, and not being able to row in the lightning, this was completely the right decision. But again, the insomnia. And the last minute rearrangement of time. And I had to be at work at 8:30, preferably not all sweaty from rowing. Work was in Harvard Square, so Liz woudl drop me off at CBC, where I could shower and change and then hop to work. Being cunning, I put my change of clothes, some shampoo and things in a bag by the door so I wouldnt' forget it. So what did I forget to include? Undergarments, top and bottom. It was a long day with my arms securely folded across my chest. You know you're going to have a bad day when you haven't managed to get dressed for work, and you're already there. Could I take off my many layers today? That would be no.
Anne the unsupportive

Sunday, May 25, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Stops the Presses
Did you see it? Did you see it? Did you see my niblets in today's Boston Globe? If not, look here: Their River of Dreams. It won't show you the rather great photo of the lads that was in the newspaper, but you will find me being described as a "daunting challenge." I liked it, and in fact I found it a delightfully subversive article, seeing as I was suspended for what was written here on this website, and the article quotes from this blog and in fact gives the domain. Take that, wimpy parents who won't bother to tell me you have a problem - no one's describing your kids as focused, and you really need to go ask yourselves why. I hadn't counted on the praise from the outside coaches. Ethan, of course, would say nice things about me, but here he just talks about rowing generally. For Tom (from BB&N) to comment so favorably on my kids, well I don't even know him. Thank you, Tom. The only real problem with the article is that one kid got left out. I can see *why* he got left out - the head coach says he never got his green form (which I handed to him personally), so he was prohibited from practicing and the last race, so he might have been a dicey call from the reporting standpoint, but it is a real shame as he worked incredibly hard all season. Flipped out of the boat with the rest of us, erged (often coming in the fastest), raced all but the last race, the whole enchilada. Without a release form in site (although I would take all mention off if he asked me) Joe Blair, I salute you. A big round of applause for him please. Clap clap clap clap clap.

I need to go. I have to run out and purchase every copy of the Globe I can find!
Anne the Strict.

In Which Our Heroine Is Interrogated
I seem to be plagued with lots of questions of late. To my eye, they seem a bit random, but nevertheless I shall answer them here. Perhaps it will provide some sort of greater insight into the skewed map of my brain? (Please note, these are all questions I have been actually asked in the last month.)

Q: If you had a baby, what would you name it?
A: Well, once recovering from the shock of actually having a suprise baby, I would then try to figure out who the father was and see if he had any input. If it was completely up to me, if it was a girl I would name it Ivy, and if it was a boy I'd go for Neil. I wonder why girls have answers to these sorts of questions. I suspect it is part of my theory that you can ask any girl over the age of four what her wedding will look like and she can give you every detail but the name of the groom. I guess bairns are a natural extension of this.

Q: Was Paul Revere a quarterback?
A: No. He was a Patriot, but this was before the NFL. He was more of a defensive guy, doing an end run.

Q: Have you ever been in love?
A: Yes. Twice. The most amazing thing in the world, even though there was so much heartbreak when they ended.

Q: How tall are you?
A: The same height as Abraham Lincoln, our tallest president. Go do your research to find out how tall that is.

Q: What's your resting pulse rate?
A: My lounging around watching telly resting pulse rate is 48. My pulse rate for lounging around watching the Red Sox is 172.

Q: What on earth possessed you to do that?
A: Well, all the girls were talking about how cute they thought that park ranger was. And I'd been chatting to him all day. So they asked me to do a ring check for a wedding band, but he was wearing gloves. Since so many people wanted to know, I uttered those four fateful little words: "So, are you single?" and many people obtained the information they needed to make informed flirting decisions. Not that anyone has followed up on this, apart from the squad officially declaring crushes on the poor man, who has no idea that anyone other than maybe me has this crush! Wouldn't he be flattered to know? I should think so, but I'm not qualified to answer that question.

Q: Are you getting a kitten?
A: Maybe yes and maybe no. There is heavy consideration being given to bringing a kitten into the household. However, it would not be for me. It would be for my current cat, Lexi. Lexi would be my cat, and XYZ would be his kitten. I think he needs some company. He is a happy cat, but I think he gets lonely. Maybe I could name the kitten Ivy or Neil?

Q: What is your advice for the day?
A: If you can't control your peanut butter, how do you expect to control your life? It is from a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon by Bil Waterson, and somehow it just seemed appropriate.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Reflects On Her Heart Rate Monitor
So one of the things that Team Milhouse needs to do is build up its stamina. We're working, but is it efficient? Will it get us where we want to be come head race season? And how on earth do we find out? I mean, it feels better, but who's pushing us? Just us, which is good, but is it really enough? I'm a big believer in the outside standard. Exam standards, testing standards, and of course race standards. There's a lot in the world that happens because people think they're good enough, and never submit to outside examination. Of course, a lot of us don't even submit to internal examination and reflection either, but I'll start where I can. Feeling a bit lost, Liz and I bribed Coach Joel for some advice. Lucky for us, Joel is a cheap bribe: dinner and the promise of beers and socializing. Which means we all got to have a happy dinner and talk about rowing. Right now, for us, it all appears to boil down to three words: heart rate training. Which meant we needed to get heart rate monitors. I'm very poor, but this was important and I did just get paid, so come Saturday I made plans to head to REI and buy a monitor. This was a well thought out budgeted plan. I had done my on-line research, knew what I wanted to spend, had a coupon for 20% off, and a $5 dividend rebate to spend. I was set. At the last minute Lolo phoned for pancakes. Now, I love Lolo and we've been trying to get together for ages, but schedules weren't permitting it. But I had to go to REI. I asked her if she'd come with me and keep me on budget. Sure! Off we went. I told her the budget was a monitor and possibly a pair of slides for the boathouse. Monitor was easy, the staff as always at REI very nice. Lora then got a pair of sunglasses and we continued to have fun with the same sales guy, who thought we were funny because we keep making fun of each other. "You two have a real tough love thing going on here." he said. Lolo immediately retorted "There's no love. Just tough." Then we all just fell about laughing, and moved on to the sandal section. They didn't have the slides I wanted, the other Teva and similar style sandals I wanted were out of budget, but we asked a guy where we could get the slides. He didn't know because he was working the grand opening from the Seattle main store. But he did give us Cliff bars, which counted as breakfast. Everyone happily goes to the counter, where Lolo decides to fill out the REI credit card form (1% cash rebate on all purhcases, more on REI purchases.) and we hear the guy from some radio station doing a free giveaway for the REI grand opening. I am dispatched with the words "Go get me something free. I don't care what it is." So, dispatched to the giveaway desk to fill out a raffle form for a heart rate monitor of all things, there were some pop quiz questions for freebies. "For a pair of Teva sandals, which was the first REI store in the greater Boston area?" "Framingham!" I shouted. No. So without pausing for breath I went for "Reading." knowing that there's only the two others here in the area. Boom. Pair of Tevas! Lolo, by now standing next to me, managed to then get a pair of Tevas as well on the question "where is this guy from?" It was our sandal friend. "Seattle!" Excellent. The Tevas were actually a gift certificate for a specific style. Mine were a women's style, which concerned me, because they tend not to have my size. The marketing woman in charge was very nice, set us up with the Teva rep working the grand opening, and he got us sorted out. Lolo told the marketing woman how great it was as I had $0.62 cents in my bank account last week, and had come down for a monitor and pair of sandals but couldn't afford the sandals and now......... so she was impressed. The Teva rep was great. Nope, no woman's sizes for me, but he fitted me up with a pair of nice men's ones, and my new $70 pair of Tevas is now in the mail. I would like to publicly say thank you to Teva, and recommend them heartily to all comers. You can link here: Teva. Lolo liked her pair too. They're in a funky colour, which she got to pick. So we headed off for lunch. We stood no chance of winning the heart rate monitor, as while I'm putting back out the good karma in the world with all my volunteering, and charity fundraising and work with children, there's only so much a gal can get back, but still I had asked and found out that you had to be present to win, so I headed us back for the two o'clock drawing. They were still on freebie giveaways, but no one was really responding, so Lolo picked up two t-shirts (including a Teva one) for her boyfriend who needs them, and then we looked on the computer for other things. While looking, the guy drew the name of the HR monitor winner. "Sarah Smith of Encino, CA." She didn't seem to be around. "Are either of you Sarah Smith of Encino, CA?" he came over to ask us. No, we're not, but we're both in the bag, so get back to your drawing, Mr. Man. Next name out of the Huzzah! More joy with the marketing woman, who is now taking my name for the intranet promo within REI. I'm happy to help her out, and she also then gave me a box of Cliff bars, a frisbee, and other things for the CRI Auction. Yeah, REI! I return my newly purchased HR monitor and take my newly won one home. Only to discover that there are two models. There is the Suutomo X6 and there is the Suutomo X6HR, which includes a heart rate monitor. Guess which one I had? Oops. Back to REI, to purchase a monitor again. I talked to the marketing people. There was no reason for them to fix it at law, I had won what I won, and it was an impressive piece of gear. Compass, clock, barometer, altimeter, etc. Does everything but row the boat for you. And take your heart rate! And they didn't have an X6HR, so I was a bit stuck. But I asked on the offchance, could I have a store credit instead? REI, being my favorite store in the entire world, not to mention having phenomonal customer service, said yes. So with a $350
In Which Our Heroine Finally Sorts out Her Web Server
Well, I don't know what I did in the first place to make it all go wonky, but the website did go wonky. And while I was typing in blogs, they weren't publishing. The thing that amazed me was the amount of protest I got about it! I was very touched when both a reporter from the Boston Globe and a Literature Professor from MIT kept encouraging me to blog away. "Keep it going!" "Why isn't it updated? What is wrong with you?" they said (this being the Jason Blair age, I feel that I should state that these may not be direct quotes. But I have talked to these people, and they have said roughly these things, though they may have been udner the influence of various things. So now, by just simply relaunching the whole thing in a new format, I'm back on the information superhighway. Does anyone even call it that any more?

So just what have I been doing with my time of late? The first answer to that is that I have NOT been coaching my kiddies. Apparently, someone on the varsity and a varsity parent took objection to this website wherein I referred to someone as an "obnoxious lying child." I was suspended. I feel it worth noting that a) no comment was posted on this site with regard to any offence given, b) no e-mail was sent to me with regard to any offence given, c) no one other than the Head Coach (put between a rock and a hard place on this one) has bothered to send me a complaint, nor have I at any point been shown one still or even mention they were upset. I still got paid in full, so the only people who lost out were the kids. And, I hasten to stress this point, the unnamed child was in fact profoundly obnoxious, and a liar. Would I have taken the comment down had anyone asked? Yes. (Apart from the fact that the site went down, but it didn't matter as no one asked me.) No one did, no one has. And so on. Or, as one novice mother was known to exclaim "I think it stinks. And they never even bothered to tell us. The varsity complained, but you don't coach them. And our kids lost their beloved coach and no one bothered to tell us." Can I say that I love my kids, and their parents as well?

The good news for the kids is that through the ballyhoo, a parental connection has now had us profiled in the Globe, which should appear in Sunday's sports section, front page I hear with a photo. I was happy to talk to the reporter, but only on the condition that the story be about the kids and what a good group they are, going up against flipping, grounding, bad weather, etc, and it not be about the coaching situation. The reporter (who seems a very good egg, I must say, and who knows his rowing, being the proud father of a Berkley varsity lad) was happy to comply. And bought me a coffee and a muffin in the bargain.