Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
Let's see if I can take some seemingly disassociated pieces of data and bring them together into a coherent whining session. To begin, I remember Milwaukee back to the late 1940 years. We lived on the west side (about 4200 west). On a Sunday, we would pack lunches and drive out into the country to visit a small airport (Timmerman Field) and watch the little planes come and go. That field (at about 8000 west) is now engulfed in city. In fact, during my residency I lived even further west than that (100000...but I keep digressing).
Since then, Milwaukee has grown south (almost to Chicago), north (to Port Washington) and west out to Waukesha County land. There is no east because of a huge lake (Michigan, for the geographically challenged).
I'm getting there. See the picture above? It represents man's insanity. We pay to park a car...and I hate it. We pay to buy space. We (not me) go down town to shop and pay for the privilege of doing so.
It's nuts. It's like me saying that if you want to chose me over all the other businesses at the Mall's, I will charge you to leave your car near my store.
Finally (aha, the insufferable boar gets to it), there is the privatization and commercializing of water frontage (read: launch sites). In this category, we do better. Sure, we have to buy a seasonal launch sticker in order to park at the South Shore launch lot (what the hell, I get a Senior Citizen Discount, but I digress), and we need a State Park Sticker to launch there (and there are many)...But, along the Milwaukee River there is a water trail with all sorts of free access. Even down town. BUT YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR PARKING IF YOU USE THEM. AAAAAARG! So, pay up, then
Sunday, January 21, 2007
After a week of intense sadness, the warm water was (as I had hoped and mentioned in a recent blog...but I digress) nurturing. It seemed, too, that my hiatus from paddling, however short, had left my body hungry for action.
I went between a euro and a Greenland stick and spent the evening sculling and bracing and rolling and playing like a kid. Everything was working almost all the time. Sweeps, storm, angel rolls and reentry rolls. I even found an opportunity to teach some fellows a T rescue and help one with his roll. There is something to be said for the healing powers of water. Now if I can just find the ibuprofen.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007
Many traditions have been observed including the eating of eggs, a sign of life. Supportive friends and family prepared plates of food for mourners, a ritual to remind us that life goes on and that one must still take care of them self. Many tears have been shed. I know there will be more and that they will come when they need to. I have been through this before, with my father.
So, like a beach swept and left different by a wave, we take what is left and go on...or begin again. If all goes well, a kayak will go on the car tomorrow, and I will head for the pool. Restarting in warm water feels right, almost nurturing. I will do some braces, some sculling and a roll or two and see how things feel. Hopefully, someone will ask me to teach them something so that I can also be of service. And then I will go on, one stroke at a time.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
At our first class, I warned my Anatomy & Physiology students that they would be seeing some pictures of kayaks and that they could earn extra credits on a quiz by answering a question about the sport (no loss of points for missing it). I didn't have to tell them that the lecturer would also subject them to some corny humor.
Last evening I gave them a session on medical terminology and the need for precise use of terms. For instance, when a patient says that their stomach hurts we cannot know exactly what that means. On the other hand, if we know the pain is in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen we can begin to narrow things down. During the evening I asked them,
"Is this a skull or a scull?" Seeing the two words juxtaposed made them stop and think just how the word was spelled (it is my skull in a neoprene cap while I scull...and digress).
Then I asked them,
"Is this a sign or a symptom?" (JB providing the visual lesson).
Answer: It is a sign of a bad symptom.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
First, let me thank those of you who wrote and shared your wonderful comments. I do not even know who some of you are, and your support is just as welcome. The past week has seemed like one Sunday after another. My routine disappeared as the family gathered and mourned. Today, for the first time since this all started, I am just beginning to get back some of the old sense of "I". That, in turn, was stimulated by Derrick's blog about being in the middle of a vast body of water.
When I sailed my Hans Christian 42 on Lake Michigan, I loved being off shore. I was often solo and liked being able to take care of myself. Of course, I had a well-founded cutter with 6 tons of displacement a good compass and all sorts of sybaritic systems. Kayaking, on the other hand, has been a more intimate experience for me.
Being inches, rather than feet, away from the water's surface is a personal experience for me. I am not so much on the water ( or even in it) as with it. I can dangle my arms and touch the stuff, I can scull with most of my upper body in it and, of course, I can take a refreshing roll in it. I don't leave a huge wake, and I disturb virtually nothing. Except for some nervous birds, nothing seems to object to my presence.
If you are not from around here, you can hold up your hand with your palm facing away from you and pretty much have a map of Wisconsin. Your thumb will represent Door County where Rutabaga has their symposium in spring. JB, Derrick and I have been teaching there (and, why, they ask us back is a mystery...but I digress). In any event, I have thought about the symposium upon wakening the last two days.
I am not a big off shore guy anymore (hence, the reference to Derrick's blog). I very much like day trips and returning to a base. I've been to war, flown upside down at supersonic speeds, saved lives, won Judo tournaments and experienced the love of Lady Linda and family. I don't need any more "thrills" than that. There are still, however,two things around paddling that turn me on to this day: just being on the water and feeling competent (not to be confused with cocky) and teaching.
At a pool session a few weeks back I waded over to a father and son struggling with rolling. I offered my humble help and had the son rolling in no time. Today, I received an e mail from the dad saying he had returned to the pool, worked on what I had told him and got his roll. Is that not excellent, or what?
Tonight, I will return to the classroom to teach Anatomy & Physiology at a local college. I guess I am back in the game...and I want to be back in warm waters. I want to be back in Door County. I want to be at the symposium. I am awakening. (ps: The photo is the Med.and was taken from a hotel in Tel Aviv).
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
*There's the old saying, it only took me 30 years to become an overnight success. Well, Derrick has arrived at that wonderful place in life. After working various parts of his anatomy off for years, he has recently become sea kayaking's equivalent of a made man. He is in the loop, running with the big dogs, hanging with the in crowd.........
Morning after morning and for years, he has pounded out his blog and sent us wisdom, beautiful images, the latest kayak-gossip and information. He has kept us abreast of developments in the commercial area letting us know as new equipment became available (and sometimes before it became available...but I digress). A creative man, Derrick has supplied us with whimsical lyrics from all sorts of musicians and links to everything you could possibly want to know about sea kayaking and rolling and stroking and...
And he has been in the "gym" all this time. Pools, lakes, gunk holes, nearly dry water falls, you name it and my man, Derrick, has been there working on everything one can try in a kayak. He paddles, he rolls and, when his arms are tired, he stands up in the cockpit...sometimes on his head. He strives, almost daily, to master the sea kayak.
As many of you know, Derrick has a circumnavigation of Puerto Rico on his drawing board. This is something he has been piecing together for a while and the project is starting to sprout blossoms. You can read, on his site, about his paddling partner and some of the support he is getting from various sources. In the past day, he has announced a biggy. A major kayak company (not yet in the states) will be supplying boats for the expedition. And that, my friends, is the sign of success in this game.
In reality, it is just an affirmation of what we all knew, all along, about Derrick: he is the real deal. I am happy to know him and proud to number him among my friends.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Monday, the start of a new week (on some calenders). The beginning of the work week (for some). The first day of what will become a normal and new way (for my wife, her family and me).
My father inl law died late the night of the 10th, and we buried him yesterday. In between those times, family gathered from as far as Florida and California. Relatives we hadn't seen in years, even decades, appeared to comfort Mom and to honor Dad. There was grieving and, at the same time, arrangements had to be made. Still, with everything that needed to be done, it was not hectic.
In fact, time slowed to a stop. People forgot about work. We just gathered, sat together, hugged, told the stories over and over and talked and talked and talked. I imagine, as the rituals played out, that we did what people have done since the beginning of time, turning to our traditions and the comfort of friends and family. And the healing began.
Today is just another day, and it is the first day of how it's going to be from now on for our family. As I sit here and write, it is not the same "I" that sat here a week ago. Something has happened. The world has changed, and this has all happened, in one form or another, a thousands times before. I will adapt and watch with curiosity to see how this experience has changed me. Gradually, I will ease back into the paddling, the teaching and coffee at Bella's. I will be my old self again, and I will be different, but how I will be different I do not yet know.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Last night, the Discovery HD channel aired a program named Arctic Mission. It was about Inuits and their lives, both past and present. There were interwoven films of the old ways and how things are done today. Wonderful old footage with translations were aired including interesting interviews with elders who remembered the old days and old ways.
It was fascinating to see an old short film of dogs dragging a seal carcass across the ice followed by one of men on snow mobiles doing the same. Another sequence showed how the elders believe an iceberg to be alive and will not approach certain ones lest, "...they will grab you...." In one scene, three older men watch from a distance as some young boys climb about on such a berg.
I read recently that the blood of present day Inuits contain the highest level of pollutants found anywhere in the world. This is, in part, due to the gulf stream bringing up "gifts" from the south and, in part, due to the eating of seals which are close to the top of the food chain. Seal meat, as it turns out, contains the concentration of pollutants from all the fish that seal has eaten. When told of these laboratory findings, most Inuits pointed out that this was their way of life and that they were unwilling to change it.
So, they go about the "old ways" using engine driven snow vehicles, rifles, synthetic fish nets and outboard engines on fiberglass boats. One thing, though, none of them were wearing neoprene garments.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
The clock, on the badly colored wall, is another image from the 1950's house collection I referred to yesterday. It reminds me of how things have changed, how time has marched on and how neither man nor interior decoration can hold up to the relentless passage of the days. The clock, in at least one way, is lucky...it can get a new battery and keep on ticking. Not so much with we humans. We all end up gong the way of the flesh. Should the clock ultimately fail, we can get another, one that is more contemporary. Not so with loved ones.
If you love someone, hug them now and let them know how you feel...before their battery wears out.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Friday, January 05, 2007
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
If I get myself going, things go better. Even when I want to, but don't feel like, paddling I feel better once underway. It looks very much as if this will be such a day. It is 5:30 am. I will walk Ansel and drive my daughter to work before returning home. I like to wait until midday to paddle in order to enjoy the warmest part of the day. During that period between returning home and going paddling is when I will feel like a flat tire on a bicycle: repairable but needing some work before being useful.
So, it is time to put on the coffee and make a bite to eat. I am already wearing the warm base layer under my jeans and pull over. It is my way of committing to going out later in the day. In fact, I can't wait until then...when I will feel inflated again.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
It took me this long to figure out what the heck an i-pod really is and what the fuss is all about. For anyone around the age of 50, it is a compact, electronic, hi-fi Walkman. For us older guys, it is an amazingly compact, space-age tape recorder that can store a million songs (none of which are worth listening to...but I digress).
No, I am not down on the toy, just pointing out a generation gap and how fast it has developed. The incentive for these thoughts came about a few days ago while JB and I were enjoying a lazy morning over coffee at a place called Sven's. It is one of those coffee shops with a very nice menu, relaxed atmosphere, computers to use and good coffee. There is art on the walls, and one room that has comfy leather chairs and a leather sofa (which JB and I managed to claim...but I digress, again). There is, among other things, another item of note in that room, and it is pictured above. Recognize it?
Well, children, that is a 1940's i-pod, except they were called Victrolas back then. They played something called records which, back then, were heavy, brittle disks the size (relatively) of a flying saucer. They came in cardboard sleeves and had one song jammed onto each side. The table turned the disk at exactly (more or less) 78 rpm, after you wound up the spring. You then moved the end of the arm, which contained a needle, onto the disk and it would track along the grooves reproducing the recording on a speaker the size of Nevada with the fidelity of a man playing wax paper on a comb. No, it wasn't portable, but then there was no where to go back then. It did, on the other hand, bring families together since everyone had to put their ears within a few feet of the thing if they wanted a shot at hearing the words and music playing. Estimated weight...about 4.5 tons.
Young people, they don't know what they're missing.
Monday, January 01, 2007
This year, on the other hand, has begun not with a sunrise but with the same old crap. The Beta form of Dashboard (what is used to post these blogs) wouldn't upload photos (again), but the old version would. There was a note atop the form saying, "we're out of beta," with an x through the word beta. Milwaukee is also out of Schlitz.
So, I feel like a curmudgeon just now. It is 2007 and the simple things don't work (still). There are still 100 wars going on all over the world. I see lots of men who look pregnant while half a content is starving to death. I see people spending fortunes on lawyers to get out of a traffic ticket while tyrants continue to kill at will. I see cheaters and low-lifes, albiet among rightgeious dudes. At least Derrick is opining the state of civilization and the state of the planet. Me? I do what I can. Maybe I am keeping some of my powder dry for just the right shot. Meanwhile, I think I shall have some more coffee and go out and enjoy the global warming.