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Tue, Apr. 24th, 2012, 02:04 pm
Oh, You Meant Straight... My Bad.

Hola! I hope you are all as happy as I am, because my life just seriously rocks right now. Don't get excited. Nothing particularly Earth shattering is going on. I'm just in a good place and am enjoying being alive at the moment. I love my house. My job is more satisfying than ever. (A raise does wonders for changing one's outlook on work.) And of course, I have my rowing obsession to keep me busy. Seriously,my life is all puppies, unicorns and rainbows right now.

I went to see Cake last weekend. This was my 5th Cake concert, and with the exception of the very first time I saw them, this was my favorite Cake show. Cake has basically done away with having warm up bands. Instead, they play 2 50 minute sets with a short break in between and that's it. I kind of wish more bands would do that. There's nothing more annoying than suffering through a sucky opening act or 2 while waiting for the headliner. But, on the other hand, I have discovered a band or two that I really like who were opening acts for someone else. Most of the time though,I have to suffer through stuff that makes my ears bleed. The show was at the Diamond Ballroom and This was the first time I've been there where the sound wasn't total ass. I had heard that they had made improvements to the sound system but this is the first evidence I've heard that it might be true. It still doesn't sound as good as a show at Cain's in Tulsa, but it was acceptable enough that I didn't leave feeling pissed off about
it. Cake played a good selection of songs, mostly older stuff. There were only 5 songs off the newest album and 4 of the 5 happened to be the 4 songs that I like from that album. "Sick of You" was particularly entertaining with the extensive audience participation that was involved. Oddly, they didn't play anything from "Pressure Chief". Not a huge loss as that album never did much for me, but I was at least expecting 1 or 2 songs. They of course played the old obvious hits like Short Skirt/Long Jacket", "The Distance", "Rock 'n Roll Lifestyle" and "Frank Sinatra". Lead singer, John McCrea was his delightful, sarcastic self. I love how he can say stuff that I'm pretty sure is intended to be an insult to the audience but everyone
just cheers and screams and seems to totally miss the sarcasm. All in all, it was a very entertaining show and it was nice to spend an evening with one of my favorite bands. I hope they swing through town again in the near future. It was nice to not have to take a road trip for a change.

Rowing is going well. I feel like I'm starting to suck less. I'm not getting yelled at as much by the coach and every now and then, I even manage to get a compliment. Progress is a good thing. We were supposed to race in Dallas 2 weeks ago, but got screwed over by all the severe weather that weekend. It was a real letdown. I was completely fired up for that race. But, I suppose there will be other events and I should chill out. Still, we only race 5 or 6 times a year, so 1 getting
cancelled is a big chunk out of my season. We're going to Tulsa this weekend for the Route 66 Regatta hosted by the Tulsa Rowing Club. I am in 2 events for this one - mixed masters quad, and women's masters quad. I'm really excited about the mixed quad. We're rowing the same lineup we had for the Head of the Oklahoma last year. I like this combination a lot. We are all very compatible and row nicely together. It will be fun to race now that we've had more time in the boat together. I think we will show improvement from last year.

I'm still doing weights once a week. I can squat 92 pounds now. I think I can actually do more. When I did the 92 pounds, it was pretty easy and I'm certain I could have done 100. . When I started, I could only do about 45 pounds. Of course, part of that was due more to the fact that I didn't know how to do a squat so it took me some time to get the technique down and get used to having the bar on my shoulders. Turns out, it's kind of tricky to learn how to squat non-visually. Fortunately, I have a patient coach who talked me through it and I've made excellent progress with my form. I jumped from 45 to about 65 pretty fast as my technique got better. I am anxious to get to 100 pounds. In the grand scheme of weightlifting, I realize this isn't a lot of weight. But I'm looking at it from where I started. I'm not trying to do weightlifting competitions or anything. I just want to get where I can squat my body weight and I think that will be good enough for what I'm trying to do. All the work in the gym has helped
me in the boat, particularly with my shoulders and core strength. Anything that helps me to row better is fine with me.

TU hired Danny Manning as its new head basketball coach. I was glad to see the school make a change and Manning is an interesting hire with nice potential. He's already breathed life into a program that has been stagnant for the past 10 years. I think his name and reputation as a players' coach will help TU get higher quality recruits. I also expect a style of play that will be more entertaining than the defense first/low scoring style saw from Coach Wojcik. I am anxious to see if Manning's potential will translate into success on the court. I hope so. But for now, I'm happy with change and I'm glad to be looking forward to basketball season for the first time in several years.

OK, I'll close this one with an amusing story. I debated for awhile about putting this on the blog because I was pretty embarrassed about this little blunder. But, enough time has passed that I think it's pretty funny now, so what the Hell? Y'all can have a chuckle at my expense...

About 6 weeks ago, I had just finished up a pretty good rowing practice. I was in a double with a friend who I enjoy rowing with and everything was peachy. We pulled the boat out of the water and were walking it down the dock to make the turn up the ramp. I was in front so that my partner could watch me from behind and be able to give me
steering directions without having to turn around. I've done it this way before and it generally works fine. Do you see the foreshadowing? I think you all know where this is going... Anyway, I'm cruising down the dock and my friend says "Go straight, go straight." Well, I thought I was going straight, so I just kept on walking... right off the side of the dock.

Go me!

It really didn't occur to me, until it was too late, that my partner wouldn't tell me to go straight if I was going straight. I have always struggled with walking straight. I don't know why. I just can't feel it. I veer every time and it's part of the reason I decided to get a guide dog. Walking straight is kind of a big deal for crossing streets
and Cinnabar keeps me in line. It's perplexing that I have never been able to master the art of walking straight. Trust me. I practice all the time and I'm not getting any better. Anyway, when I hit that point where I knew I was going in the river, everything just seemed to go into slow motion. All I could hear in my head was my coach who tells
us at least twice every practice to be careful with the boats. I find it interesting that I had no thought for myself. I was only worried about the very fragile and expensive boat I was carrying on my shoulder. I might be taking this rowing thing a little too seriously.

I went in on the shore side of the dock and had know idea how deep the water was there as I was falling. Fortunately, it was deep enough to be over my head, so I didn't have an awkward landing on an uneven surface that could have resulted in an injury. I would much rather go all the way under than hit bottom and twist an ankle or worse. I lifted the boat over my head as I fell hoping to reduce any impact it might have with the dock and to keep it from hitting me in the head. That plan worked out well. The boat is fine and and I survived my fall without a scratch or bruise on me. The water was about 60 degrees, which as it turns out, is cold enough to trigger my gasp reflex so I
sucked down a small amount of toxic water from the Oklahoma River. Fun! I caught my breath and assessed my surroundings. The rule is that you're always supposed to stay with the boat. But, I was freezing and all I could think of was getting out of the river. My friend kept yelling at me to stay put, but screw that. I wanted out. I did keep a hand on the boat, but I knew where the edge of the dock was so I grabbed it and pulled myself out of the water. By that time a couple of the guys were there and got the boat out of the water for me. I was fine and the boat was fine. The only damage was to my ego, so all in all, it wasn't that big of a deal.

I have always known that I was probably going to fall off the dock someday. It's one of the risks I was prepared to take when I decided I wanted to row. It happened and I've moved on. Really the worst part was knowing how awful my friend felt for her part in the incident. She of course blamed herself, but we talked about it and I think she's over it too. The thing is, it really wasn't her fault. Yes, it would've been more helpful if she had told me to step left. But, I have to be responsible for myself and use common sense. I do rely on input from people on the dock and I appreciate that my team is willing to watch out for me. I made the choice that I wanted to participate in all aspects of being on a team, including carrying
boats and oars. It takes 2 hands to carry a boat so I can't use my cane. My compromise is to rely on my teammates for verbal guidance. If I asked them to carry my boat for me, they would. But I don't want to be like that. I can carry oars and boats and help wash the equipment at the end of practice just like everyone else. I want to be a full participant on this team and that includes doing the work. So, I have to swallow my anxiety about being in a vulnerable position and do the best I can on the dock. I pay attention to what's going on around me and always know which direction I'm facing. If I pay attention and use common sense, I'll be fine. This was just a momentary lapse in judgment and I took an unplanned swim because of it. I don't blame anyone else and I'm glad there was no real harm done. There's no point in getting upset about it. I can sulk about it, blame my teammate and feel sorry for myself, or I can dry myself off, learn from my mistake and try again. I will choose the latter every time.

So there you go. One amusing anecdote with a nice little moral to the story at the end. That's some quality entertainment and it's totally free! What a bargain! OK, I'm done. Toodles for now!