Archive for June, 2010

I did it!

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

I mastered the challenge. Today I swam in my first open water race. Two miles at local Lake Harriet. I went into this race confident in my ability to swim two miles, pretty sure about my ability to swim two miles in open water, even with weeds and wind; and hopeful that I could make it within the hour and fifteen minute time limit for the race. All I wanted to do was finish.

Joe and the girls left the house extremely early for a Kang-family weekend and came down to the beach with a picnic breakfast to see me off. You can’t see it in the picture, but the paper Julie is holding is a sign reading “Go, Mommy Go!” (with the Gs written backwards).

There I am in the water right before the race, pretending to be confident. In actuality, I was trying to ignore how cold I was and convince myself that I was really going to do this.

Joe was in charge of taking pictures today, and while I was out in the water the kids amused themselves on the beach. I hear that there were a couple of dead fish involved, but my girls were only observers in that part of the entertainment.

The actual swim itself was fine. The first leg was a little – not scary, but I was nervous. All those people bumping bodies in the water, settling into my stroke, getting comfortable with trying to sight the buoy. Once I turned that first corner, though, the crowd had spread out and I settled into the swim – one stroke at a time. I’d swim thirty or so strokes, then pop my head up with a couple breast strokes to check my path. It’s not exactly easy swimming in a straight line when you’re not staring at the black line on the bottom of a crystal clear pool. I never did get too far off course, and pretty soon I was past the second buoy, then the next.

There was only one point where I was swimming against the wind and swallowed a giant lungful of lake water when a wave caught me right as I came up on a breast stroke. The thought going through my head as I coughed it up was not “I’m going  to die” but “I hope the safety people in the kayaks don’t see me coughing and come over to drag me out.” And then I turned the last corner and came in for the homestretch and it was all downhill from there. At that point I felt like I could keep swimming all day.

And when I came up on the beach, I was so happy to finish feeling good that I did a little happy dance to the finish line.

There were a bunch of high-fives, hugs and general celebration. In this picture I’m surrounded by three of the women I swim with at the club, all Jennifers, one of whom swam in the race and the other two who showed up to cheer us on. How cool is that?

Here we are again – the Jen on the right is our coach – her kid is the one who touched the dead fish!

All this before 10 in the morning. The family and I headed home, I showered off the lake schmuck, and we all went out for brunch. Which was awesome. And then I came home and took a very long nap. The End.

Mid-June Update

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Hi, this is me stopping by for another update on a little bit of everything. Here we go.

Since last we checked in, the school year has ended. Before the end, though, the kids in her class did a little play – a kindergarten interpretation of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Julie was one of the town’s tailors.

Here’s the “emperor” being dressed by the “trixters” – his outfit is labeled “Royal Underwear”.

After the play was over and everyone did their bows, they had a little photo op so the parents could take more pictures. After the serious, smiling face picture, they all did their shocked faces.

The robins’ eggs have not only hatched…

(and newborn robins are some ugh-lay little creatures!) more on the baby birds later in the post because moving pictures around in my little WordPress window is a pain now that they’re all loaded already…

Meanwhile, an update on the garden. A belated update, because these photos are more than a week old, and things are growing like crazy. It’s just silly how much enjoyment I get out of standing around staring at little vegetables. First the wide view…

Here’s a bunch of kale plants. They’re huge now. We’ve been eating kale this week, and it is yummy, and there is more waiting to be harvested.

Here’s a bunch of baby pea plants which will hopefully grow up around the tomato cage. I really should have planted these earlier, but the last few weeks have been cooler than usual, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I might have some small chance of a pea harvest yet.

And some little spinach plants…I think some of them are ready to eat now, and I’m only wishing I had planted more. I don’t think it’s too late to plant another row if I can squeeze it in between some of the other plants.

Calypso beans! Doesn’t the name sound fun? Supposedly, you can either eat them fresh or dry them and use them for soups. Also, this picture is specially squished-out for you courtesy of Photoshop and/or Wordpress.

That’s either a broccoli or brussels sprouts plant, just a little nibbled by naughty green caterpillars that I’ve obsessively been picking off the Kale and other cabbage-family plants, and which I think have moved on to greener pastures for now.

Another squished-out photo – this one is the beets, I think.


Or maybe those were the carrots before, and now these are the beets.

Brave little sunflowers by the side of the house…

Other random flowers that we planted in the front, attempting to cheer things up there. Next year we are totally rethinking this bed. I’m going to plant decorative edibles, like lettuce and cabbages, which will probably mean building a raised bed but will have to be an improvement over the current situation.

This is the hanging basket where the baby birds live. It hasn’t been watered nearly enough, but I’m okay with that for the sake of the baby birds.

Okay, even though they’re really ugly, they’re also darn cute.

Mama bird spent all of her free time when she wasn’t in the nest or hunting sitting up in the tree waiting to dive-bomb anyone daring to encroach on the front porch area.

Totally random, Julie made this silly mask the other day and wanted me to take a picture. This is all her idea and implementation, crazy kid.

I had no idea how quickly baby birds grow up and fly away. This photo is from just over a week ago. This Saturday they flew off to start their own little adventures. I’ll miss peaking out at them 20 times every day.

That’s Julie and Sophie with Daisy cat. On a leash. Don’t ask.

Okay, I’ll tell you. She’s been bored since Harry died. She’s been wanting to explore the wider world, and I’d been supervising visits to the yard sans leash for the last couple of weeks. Joe thought she should have one just in case she got scared and bolted.

I’ve got a few singles spun up.

The problem with big spinning projects is that they don’t make for the best blogging because they take a lot longer and there’s not much progress to show. I had a pound each of the gray (100% Polworth from Rovings that I bought at SOAR last fall) and the hand dyed Polworth/silk blend that I bought at the same time. I’m trying to decide now how to ply the big mess – should I ply the colors with the grey as a two-ply? Should I navajo ply the colors and 3-ply the solid? This mess is destined to be a sweater – a simple garter-stitch jackety sweater I think. Suggestions welcome…

Here’s a couple of close-ups to help you think it over. The handpaint one is another squished photo. Must figure that out some day…

And those are the highlights. I’m continuing to work out all the freakin’ time. This Saturday is my two-mile Lake Harriet swim. I’m starting to get just a little nervous, but at least the weather is supposed to be nice and I am going to give it my all.

Also, I went to the dentist this week. I found out I have the first cavity of my life. I’m a little devastated.