August 2012 Archives

Further Thought

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If I hadn't hurt my ankle, I'd have been at my lesson until about 8. It is possible that my bike still would have had trouble on the way home, only this time it would have been after dark, and neither my friend nor the bike shop would have been available to help me out. (I also wouldn't have found that quarter.) It's all in how you look at things.


But then...

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This afternoon was like a long game of bad news/good news.

First I went to my light keelboat lesson (yay!), but then I slipped and put my foot down wrong my second step onto the boat, hurting my ankle (boo!). After the initial pain died down, it really wasn't hurting at all (yay!)) unless I tried to put my whole weight on the foot (boo!). Being able to put my weight on either foot as needed was pretty vital to being useful on a keelboat, so I went left the lesson within a half hour of the start (boo!). Fortunately, I was able to pedal my bike without putting the wrong kind of weight on my foot, so getting home wouldn't be a problem (yay!).

I was slowly coming up the home stretch, on the hill into my neighborhood when I spotted a quarter at the side of the road (yay!). I stopped to pick it up, but when I started pedaling again, my chain wouldn't move and I couldn't turn the pedals (boo!). Just at the moment, I looked up and saw a friend of mine biking up the hill. He stopped to say hello and lent me a hand with the bike (yay!). After a bit of looking, I discovered that the one of the screws that holds the bike rack to the bottom of the frame had come out and the support post and fallen down into the gears, jamming up the whole thing (boo!). But I was only about two blocks past a bike shop, so I could easily go get that fixed (yay!).

At this point, my hands were black with grease from my chain (boo!), but I remembered that I had two hand sanitizer wipes in my purse, which took off the worst of it. A gent at the bike shop was able to fix it for with right away, and didn't charge me anything for it (yay!).

When I got home, I found that my ankle was felling much better (yay!) unless I out pressure on it at a specific angel, at which point it *really* freaking hurts (boo!). I do think it will be fine with a bit of rest, though. So I made pizza and chilled out, and a friend linked me to a video from a really enjoyable vocal group, which I will share with you below.

So yeah, it has just been that kind of a night.



This was a really good weekend, the kind that you need to hold in your heart, to get you through January.

Thursday was CSA pick-up and some rowboat time of Lake Wingra with the nephew.

Friday involved a sailing lesson, a lovely outdoor dinner at Buraka on State Street (their chicken peanut stew with injera is one of the best things I have ever eaten, and I often crave it mightily), followed by a starlight sail on Lake Mendota that ended just before midnight, and a balmy bike ride home (a drunk-dodging slalom up State).

Saturday was mostly taken up by a 45 mile bike ride to Mount Horeb and back. (If you stop for a meal at The Grumpy Troll, I can highly recommend the Trempeleau Hotel Walnut burgers, the Dragon Boat Wit, and the Trailside Wheat beers.) This was our third use of our state trail passes, bring us up to $12 worth. Two more rides and we break even for use, though I'm ok with the donation if we don't make it, for some reason.

Saturday night was supposed to involve another starlight sail, but I was pretty exhausted and had been haunted all day by a recurring headache, so I begged off. There was more sailing for me today, however, as I got in some more practice on the tech dinghies. Learning how to capsize/turtle the boats and recover went much better after I figured out that removing my shoes was key. I was having a lot of trouble getting a good kick while wearing them. I had been able to right it with a lot of effort, but it was exhausting. So I took them off, tied them to the painter (to keep from losing them) and tossed them into the boat. After that, I was able to kick and pull myself all the way into the boat.

Side note: purposely capsizing a perfectly good boat feels so very counter-intuitive. "Why the hell am I doing this?" But you need to know what to do, and so much better to learn under controlled circumstances. I did lose my bandanna in the process, but c'est la vie.

In the end, I did not obtain a Tech Light rating, as I need more practice with my landings. I am hoping to have it by the end of summer, though.

Further plans for the evening included yoga class and a barbecue, but rain and general tiredness curtailed those. Instead, I think this calls for turning on the paper lanterns and chilling on the porch for as long as I can. Long live summer!




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A time-lapse view of a place where I have been spending much of my free time.



Someone Else's Terrible Night

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Park Inventory LWCF 6-21-2010 041

Saturday night, while out watching the Perseids, I happened across an interesting scene at a park boat launch. A tow truck was at the top of the second ramp and people were moving around. Something was in the water, though in the darkness, I couldn't make it out at first. I thought perhaps a boat had sunk.

Then the facts of the matter hit me: a vehicle was almost completely submerged at the end of the ramp. Oh no! Looks like someone forgot to set the parking brake. As the tow truck did its work, a pickup truck, with open windows and a boat trailer behind it, slowly emerged from the water.

At one point, once it was out of the water, I noticed that the rear lights and windshield wipers were on, so the electrical systems had held up. However, given that it was likely running when it rolled into the drink, I'm willing to bet that the engine was most likely done for.

There were two people with the truck. I don't know who was responsible for it having rolled into the water, but I found myself hoping that it was the fault of the truck's owner. It has to feel awful knowing that you've ruined your truck. But having ruined your friend's truck? Oh lord. That might also ruin the friendship.

It was strange. I was out, having a perfectly lovely night of watching the sky and enjoying the meteor shower while just a few feet away from me, as a footnote to my evening, someone was having a bit of a nightmare. It rather put things into perspective. Also made me more appreciative of the excellent night I was having.


Photo love

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I am now kind of in love the with the University of Wisconsin Archives' Flickr photostream. It is a treasure trove of great historical images.

In particular, I am quite taken with the Campus Area and Madison Walks (1900-1970s) set:



Under the Sun, Under the Moon

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I have started to learn to sail, having joined the UW Madison Hoofers Sailing Club. I had previously taken a Union Mini-course on sailing, and that 3-day course let me know that I wanted to learn more.

The mini-course had been over the course of three very windy (blue flag) days in late June. In contrast, the first Hoofers "Intro to Sailing" for which I had signed up was canceled due to lack of wind. I was able to make it to a second session of that class last Friday afternoon. It was also a day of light winds (green flag) but we had enough to get us out onto the water. The sun was high and bright and if there were any clouds, they were minimal.

There were three of us in a Badger Sloop, two students and the instructor. As we sailed, we shifted our positions around the boat, so that both students had a turn at the tiller and working the sheets. Because the wind was so light, we actually lost the breeze a few times, and had to work the tiller back and forth get us moving toward the windier areas. It was hot, sweaty work, but it was also three hours of fun.

Later in the evening I returned for a moonlight cruise on Spray, a cruising keelboat owned by Hoofers. On board was the skipper, Barry, two crew, and ten others who had signed up. Of course, since it was technically a lesson, we all had to pitch in when needed, and Barry offered some time at the tiller to anyone who wanted it. I considered it, but ultimately chose to stay at my perch up at the bow end of the boat, watching the magic that was the rise of the full moon over the water.

The breeze had picked up a bit since the afternoon, and we were able to move along across the water at a nice clip. The temperature was a perfect blend of warm and cool. There were a few other boats out on the water, but mostly the lake was ours. I'm pretty sure I was grinning the whole time.

The three-hour cruise (a three-hour tour, a three-hour tour!) passed by too quickly, and before I knew it we had put the boat away and I was back on land. The time had come to hop on my bike and head off to find midnight breakfast.

I am particularly excited for this coming Saturday, when I will do it again on the Knotty Rascal. Hopefully, we will see some of the Perseid meteor shower during the cruise. Looking forward to it!



A day in review

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On the one hand, even the mildest of colds, in the summer, is a major bummer.

On the other hand, there are few things that can match the refreshing sweetness of a perfectly ripe watermelon.

This pretty much sums up my day. Now to bed. May sleep work its healing magic on my upper respiratory system.

Altars, shrines, and quiet places

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After reading Tara Austen Weaver's account, on Tea & Cookies, of her walk through the labyrinth on Lummi Island and the small pile of little things (stones and shells, mostly) that she found there, I started thinking of a similar walk I took a couple of years ago.

Sunset Shadow 2

In early fall of 2010, my boyfriend and I bicycled out to Governor's Island, on the northern edge of Lake Mendota. We spent a golden afternoon wandering around the edge of the island, and exploring the small trails through the little woods. In one shaded area, I found a small shrine or altar. It was very crude, made of things that one would find on hand there in the woods, but it was still quite recognizable. Sitting on top were a number of small objects, including several dollar coins.

I didn't take any photos, because by that point the late afternoon light was too dim under the cover of the trees, though I wish I could have. I don't know who made the altar, nor for what specific purpose. I certainly didn't touch the objects on the altar, particularly the coins. I figured that, sooner or later, someone would come along, disturb the altar and pocket the coins. But I was not going to be that person.

It isn't uncommon to see roadside shrines: crosses, flowers, maybe balloons or stuffed animals, marking the scene of a fatal accident. It is also pretty common to come across places like the Dickeyville Grotto, which are built with genuine love and respect, but are also pretty public. Something like this, in such a quiet place, stumbled-upon, rather than displayed, seems unique. Yet there are probably just as many quiet, out-of-the-way little altars and shrines as there are in full view. You just have to be there to find them.



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