Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Worlds Collide - and it was fun!


OK, this is a bit out of order here, I wanted to get the more photo-heavy events (the sail on the 10th and of course City of Water day last weekend) up, but now I'm bouncing back to July 9th, when my paddling and music hobbies collided in a most delightful and totally surprising way. I spent the morning lazing about at home but in the afternoon, I got motivated to go for a paddle -- I was thinking of being a trip leader for City of Water Day and I wanted to test how my stamina is coming along, and I'd thought that I would do that by repeating the paddle I'd done when I paddled to Dead Horse Bay to see Hokule'a. That's a paddle that under ordinary circumstances I would've knocked off without really thinking twice, but that was my first paddle after my reconstruction surgery.

I'd gone on my own and I'd made a comment on the original post about that maybe not being the brightest thing I'd ever done, but the one good thing about going on my own was that I was absolutely free to paddle at whatever pace I wanted to. I paddled a reasonably good clip going out but then on the way home I kinda ran out of steam - got home under my own power but man, I craaaaawled the last couple of miles.

I figured that doing that again and seeing if I held up a little better would be a good test for whether I was ready to be a trip leader again.

But then I got to the club and a clubmate asked if I was there for the hoedown. Hoedown? OK, I'd seen a few emails with the topic "hoedown" but hadn't looked at them because I'd assumed they were about the annual square dance at the ACA camp at Lake Sebago, and I just don't get up to the lake that much these days.

So I walked out back and there was Megan Downes, one of my set dance instructors from back in the 90's when I was doing Irish music and dance at about the same level of intensity as I now paddle! Another old friend from Irish music was there too, along with a lovely trio of old-timey musicians, and other members of the City Stompers, NYC's premier Appalachian clogging group. One of my clubmates dances with them and I'd actually been meaning to surprise Megan by turning up at a class sometime, but this was even better, we both got to be surprised!

All plans for paddling were scratched and I had an absolutely great time dancing - it was all square dancing, with Megan teaching the moves and calling the sets. Sound like fun? Check out the schedule on the City Stompers page I just linked to, they're doing a number of similar events here and there for the NYC Parks Department. Tons of fun!

And as a bonus, I have now gone to 2 set dance classes with Megan, and it seems that my feet have not forgotten quite everything.

I didn't get to take many pictures because we had just enough dancers for 2 squares if everybody danced every dance, but here were the 2 I did get:



And here's a bit of video with Megan and Kathy (one of the Stompers) doing some clogging!


Sunday, July 17, 2016

City of Water Day 2016 at Sebago Canoe Club - another good one!

Another good City of Water day at Sebago Canoe Club! We had a great variety of boats for people to try, kayaks, canoes, the new rowing gig, two sailboats and there was even a trainer K-1 (sporty little racing kayak) available for the adventurous and unafraid to swim. It was a pretty warm day but the breeze was just perfect, enough for cooling but not enough to push the boats around too much, and despite the fact that there wasn't much publicity, we had a pretty good turnout and a lot of people had a good time on the water with us. The thunderstorms that were supposed to come through tonight made an early appearance, but it wasn't terrible timing, things started looking ominous a little before 4:00, which was when the event was supposed to be over anyways. I was actually out in the container where I store my Romany when the rain started, and after a long and busy day of trip leading, I actually enjoyed sitting in there looking out the door and listening to the rain drumming on the roof. Eventually I did brave the rain, took a few pictures out on the dock, and then joined the rest of the gang in the clubhouse for a good post-event dinner of sandwiches from a good Italian deli in the area. Another good day at the club! 

















Thursday, July 14, 2016

Saturday July 16th - It's City of Water Day!

Wow, this one kinda snuck up on me, but yes, it's once again time for NYC's annual City of Water day! This is a great day to get on the water in NYC, or just learn more about it; the main events are from 10 am to 4 pm on Governor's Island in NYC and Maxwell Place Park in Hoboken, and then there are "City of Water Day In Your Neighborhood" events all over the place, you'll find them in all five boroughs plus Yonkers and the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. Of course we'll be taking people out all day at Sebago, that's the flyer for ours above. Hey look, that's me in the yellow boat! :D

For more information on the festival, click here!

p.s. - cardboard kayak races are every bit as much fun as they sound!!!! 
p.p.s. - click on the City of Water Day label below for posts from previous City of Water Days - I've been participating in this Waterfront Alliance-sponsored event since 2009, there are a fair number of posts!
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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Corn

When I try to cheat by going to the gourmet food store to score some corn before it's local corn season. >:(

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sebago Sailing Committee July Cruise

This was my first cruise in over a year! I'm actually not sure when my last sail was, but it may well have been the May 2015 cruise, which by an excellent coincidence happened to be on my birthday. June and July I guess I was busy with other things, including a wonderful week in Hawaii for my 30th HS reunion, and then when I got back I found the lump and then it was doctors doctors doctors. Great to be back out in a Sunfish at last! Holly the Sailing Committee Co-Chair set up a good long one, the last two were shortish due to weather, but this time the weather was more cooperative and she set up a route that went around Ruffle Bar, on out to Broad Channel, around Ruler's Bar and Black Wall Marsh, back to Ruffle Bar for lunch, finishing off with a loop around the east end of Canarsie Pol and then (phew) back to the club.

12 miles as the kayak paddles, god only knows how long as the Sunfish tacks, especially when I got so tired towards the end (plus demoralized by having to throw in extra tack to avoid a motorboat that was moving a little faster than I liked and then running aground because of that) that I just completely gave up on sailing well and Holly had to come back and remind me (this happens to me in paddling too but I'm much more aware of it when my paddling form starts to get sloppy and there I can correct myself once I realize that I'm wasting energy that way). There were some very good stretches before that though - would've actually been a great sail if I'd taken the shortcut that had been suggested for the Melonseed (lovely little boat but a bit slower than the Sunfish) - I'd thought about following them, which would've exchanged mileage for rest, but at the point that decision had to be made things were going along so nicely that I didn't want to stop. Underestimated the beating to follow, whoops. Did make it home under my own steam, and I did get some nice pix - but oh my hands and oh my sitzbones! I'm going to sleep very well tonight.


Here's the pix - usually this many I would put on a Flickr album but I'm soooooo sleepy and this is a couple less steps! Click on the first one for a slideshow view. 


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

3rd of July fireworks

I skipped the ones on the 4th entirely - after a long string of social engagements (all fun!) I was ready for some time to myself on the 4th. Slept in, spent the morning curled up with a good book (The Bastard of Istanbul, one of the recommendations from an excellent "Fictional Istanbul" list that a librarian friend in Seattle recommended after last week's attack - click here for that,, "librarian's coping mechanism", he called it, so sad but a good way to learn more about a place that I definitely don't know beyond vague memories of history class)  then went out to the club in the afternoon to plant a lavender bush in my garden and go for another surfski spin. There was a potluck going on when I got there but I decided to be antisocial 'cause I was there for some good exercise and if I sat down and started chatting there was a very good chance that wasn't going to happen.

It was kind of windy so I stayed in the basin - that worked out well because one of our race committee folks, Yosi, was also out, and because I was looking kind of shaky, he paddled with me for a while and gave me some pointers. The pointers didn't entirely match what I remembered learning from Bob Twogood when I took a couple of lessons from him, but those lessons were a million years ago now and I think Yosi was giving me more cruising speed hints than sprint and I found that listening to what he said really did steady me. I didn't get out on the ski that much last summer, and the year before I let her spend the entire season out of commission, and I'm also in kind of crummy shape after a fall, winter and spring of the most intensive doctoring I've ever been through - so calming down from struggling to do a high-angle sprint stroke when I wasn't feeling in the least bit comfortable on the ski was a good approach (I'd been getting exercise all right, exercise in frustration) and by the end of three and a half laps of the basin (about 8 miles) keeping Yosi's pointers in mind, I was feeling much more at home on the ski. Must keep at that.

After that I picked some green beans from the garden (ate half of them raw on the way home, almost as sweet as sugar snap peas, yum - the green beans went in where I used to put the cukes, but after 2 years of losing cukes to stupid mildew I decided to try something different, and the beans are producing beautifully) and then I just went home and finished my book and went to sleep. Missed the rain that way, too. Read/paddle/read - that was a perfectly satisfactory day for me. Happy 4th!

The sunset on the 3rd was enough fireworks for me for this year. And then there was this bee on a coneflower.