Friday, June 29, 2007

Liberty Challenge Outrigger Race

I'll be missing it due to the fact that this weekend I go back into coaching mode - but if you happen to be in town & looking for something unusual to do this coming Saturday - may I suggest that you hele on down to the waterfront to watch the New York Outrigger's 2007 Liberty World Outrigger Competition"!

They've got a page that has a really good list of spectator vantage points - and you don't need to paddle at all to get to any of them!

And I think I'll just leave that up on top until Sunday, when maybe I'll have a star 1 star 2 weekend review from the coach level 2 trainee perspective (although it's far more likely I shall barely get the wet kayak gear out of the bag before I stumble off to bed - these weekends are exhausting). Having done pretty well at coach training, my follow-up instructions were to go work with some people I haven't worked with before - feel like I should have a little banner ad on this site, L2T seeks Coach 3 for meaningful short-term relationship, references available upon request...ha. No, I should just start sniffin' around for who's running what when & start knocking on doors.

Anyways, good luck to all the paddlers! Hope the weather behaves for you!

Especially seeing as it's been overly perfect for plants & ducks lately. Thunderstorm with drenching rain, 2 days of sun. Thunderstorm with drenching rain, 2 days of sun. It's just been doing that & the plants are all just adoring it, I cannot get over how fast everything is growing! I've had a few salads now, and tonight,I had to go out to prep my boat for the weekend & discovered that my snow and/or sugar snap peas (I got them mixed up in planting) - which I thought had just started flowering within the last few days - had actually already produced one lovely, ready to pick snow pea pod.

Not much you can do with one snow pea pod except pick it & eat it. So I did.

Looks like more on the way, too!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Arbo & John at Vox Pop

Person does not live by boats alone. Occasionally a little music is a nice addition!

Here are my friends Arbo and John. Arbo and John are both really good Irish musicians. They are two of the anchors at the Tuesday night session at Dempseys I attend once in a blue moon (John is in fact really the session leader, keeps the whole thing together).

Over the winter, I introduced John to my favorite local leftist-communist-socialist coffee shop & independent bookstore, Vox Pop. Vox Pop has a LOT of interesting community events (in fact I missed the 1st Ever Brooklyn Blogade, but it was last weekend and the dinghies won, sorry Xris!) of all sorts. John got to talking with the owner & now John & Arbo are playing an hour of really good Irish music every other Wednesday.

One of these days I'll remember to bring my whistle!

Here's the Vox Pop live music & events schedule.

Ride a Wild Sunfish -

The Sailing Committee chair sent me some encouraging words this morning (she reiterated that conditions were really a bit beyond ideal for introductory & said that our entire class actually did pretty darned good considering) and this picture. That's me on the Sunfish.

Did I remember to mention that I can actually see the makings of fun in all of this?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Coaching Cool

Late lunch today & not much time - but I wanted to post this picture again. I was looking at the full-size version last night & there was something I really liked about it.

Click on the picture to see the full-sized jpg. Just take a look at the instructor's face. I don't know what she was saying, but I just love the way she looks - she's just positively radiating a message that everything's just fine. Possibly

Yeah. Fun!

That's such a key thing in teaching beginners. A lot of adult beginners are anywhere from a little to very tense when they first get in a boat. Might even say scared.

Working students through that fear is a crucial first step. Mostly people are afraid of capsizing, but capsizing really isn't all that terrible.

An instructor who looks this cool about it is just sending the perfect message.

I hope I look like that when I'm teaching rescues.

Children are an entirely different matter. A nice warm summer day & good luck keeping 'em in the boat.

Seems like the instructors I've liked learning from or working with have I think tended to be people who have managed to hold on to, or rediscover, that sense of play that kids just have. With them, it's all fun, falling out is fun, staying in is's all just...yep, simply messing about in boats.

To communicate that to a student, especially one who starts out nervous & tense - what do you think, isn't that one of the best lessons a teacher could teach?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Used Romany, For Sale Cheap

$1200 OBO. Brand new decklines. Will trade for Laser. Gone to the dark side.




ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaa!

The Romany is not for sale at any price, I'll be needing that boat for many more adventures, starting with teaching at the lake next weekend.

I was not exactly a howling success as a dinghy sailor. There were 2 lasers added to the boats available to play with on Sunday, but I didn't lay a hand on one of those. Trying to get a Sunfish around a figure 8 course provided more than enough frustration. Either I was in irons, or over. I understood the theory, but failed entirely to put it into practice. Mostly just 'cause the business of dealing with tacks or gybes with a tiller extension and a mainsheet without a cleat was a source of incredible confusion. There's a sailing catchphrase, about how your head should always be outside the boat - well, I'd start my tack, and the minute I even started thinking about what I was going to do, my head would instantly be focused entirely on tiller extension & sheet, in that moment of inattention I'd let the boat head up, but slowly, not with alacrity, I'd feel the boat start to turn & push the tiller to lee when instead I probably should have let it pick up speed again, go into the tack too slow, and then of course I'd be sailing with the tiller behind my back & trying to work out how to get the sheet hand and the tiller hand swapped, and couldn't seem to pull that off while keeping both the rudder and the sheet under control - I'd lose one or the other, and whichever it was, that would be the coup de grace of any vestigial forward motion & there I'd be, flappety flappety flap.


The other variety of error involved swimming.

I did get plenty of practice at:

Righting a dinghy
Getting out of irons

and eventually -

Cursing in proper sailorly fashion.

When the cursing sessions were getting longer than the getting-out-of-irons sessions, I decided it was time for a looooooong lunch break.

It's not that I couldn't sail the boat at - I loved sailing out & sailing back. I practiced a few tacks at the end & they were getting better.

I think the IDEAL next step would involve a Sunfish, a breeze of 5 to 8 knots, a quiet beach with lots of room and just coming about & coming about &coming about & coming about, repeat ad nauseum or until I could do it without thinking about it, whichever came first.

Then maybe I could think about actually doing one around a buoy.

Hm...and as long as we're pipe-dreaming, perhaps the buoy could be in the Caribbean. Mm. Yes, that would be pleasant.

For the time being though, my kayaks are not for sale.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sebago Sailing Class Day One

Now isn't this the first thing you picture when somebody says "Brooklyn"?

Any sailors out there care to take a look at the following picture - taken 30 seconds later or so - & hazard a guess at how conditions were for teaching a bunch of utter newbies?

No Lasers today, needless to say. Four Sunfish and a Phantom.

I thought I was just getting a sailing class today, but the Sebago Sailing Committee is a multifaceted bunch...we also got hiking lessons:

and swimming lessons:

But there was plenty of sailing, too. Fun stuff!

Cool milestone du jour...first time EVER sailing a boat without a more experienced sailor on board that boat. Very odd, I'm quite comfortable when I know that somebody else is going to be able to take charge if things go awry...well, there weren't too many ways things could have gone too far awry but still, it was quite bizarre being the only person in the boat! It wasn't too far, and it sure as heck wasn't perfect (there was time in irons and oh possibly a bit of a bump with another boat while rounding a buoy) but I'm looking forward to more practice time tomorrow.

And in closing - did you ever know lettuce could be so pretty? It was a good week for the garden, lots of rain and lots of sun. The lettuce is going crazy! I'll have to have another homegrown salad with dinner tomorrow.

(cross-posted at the Sebago Canoe Club blog)

Friday, June 22, 2007

1.5 blocks down Memory Lane.

So there I went, starting a pleasant little meander down Memory Lane, made it maybe a block & a half & then The Present intefered. Must be summertime!

Wednesday night I did a pre-solstice paddle with Sebago's own Paddling Chef, instigator of many marvelous culinary club events. We went to the Wharf Bar & Grill in Rockaway - good basic grill food, outside in the fresh air, overlooking Jamaica Bay - good stuff. They have brunch, too - now for that, I'd get up early! Nice crescent moon, maybe about a 15 knot wind, tailwind going over, headwind going back, but we'd had a good dinner & had plenty of energy for getting home. This was a fun paddle, I think it'll be a nice fill-in for the Tubby Hook lunch paddle I used to really love doing on the Hudson.

Last night, solstice, my umpteenth running of the 3.5 mile Corporate Challenge. Did better than I thought. Ran most of it, which was more than I was expecting, I just have not been doing any running lately. I have been doing a LOT of walking though - getting to the club involves at least a mile & frequently more, as I have little patience with waiting for buses on the Flatbush-to-my-place leg. That seemed to give me more stamina for the run than I expected. Nice surprise! I think I did better than last year, when I got all wrapped up in taking pictures of the annual New York cubicle-oid stampede.

Tonight I was going to go on a post-solstice paddle with sun gods Prof. M & "I.M." Pei and their merry band of post-solsticians. but tomorrow & Sunday I am delivering myself into the merciless hands of the Sailing Committee, see if they can make a Laser sailor out of me, and I was POOPED last night - in addition to the 3.5 mile race, there's like another half-mile of being funnelled along tables where you collect your post-race schwag, then there was another mile or more walking in search of post-race beer - I finally gave up at the 2nd jam-packed bar, went home beerless. And damp, a huge thunderstorm broke out after the race.

I've decided maybe a nice quiet night at home is in order tonight, even though it means missing out on a really nice evening. My plan is to pack up for the sailing course & get a good night's sleep so I'm fresh & ready for tomorrow's fun & sogginess. One really can only pack so much fun into a 5-day period, especially active-type fun, ESPECIALLY during a work week.

I will probably take a little time to descend back into coach weekend musings too, less rustbucket reminiscing though, I want to get back to my original point. To steal a quote from Derrick, if we're really lucky, it might even be interesting!

In the meantime, may I recommend a visit to His kayak got to Ireland on June 8th - Hand Delivered by Nigel Dennis, no less! - and he's maintaining a really excellent trip journal. Concise but vivid. There's a shark, there's beer, there's some pretty hairy-sounding conditions - vintage Marcus.

No sturgeon yet. I hope he knows to beware of the sturgeon.

Random thoughts from yesterday in closing...

1. Self-appointed motivators at races involving large numbers of amateurs should try not to lie. I was just a little ways past the one-mile marker when this guy came sprinting by proclaiming "Halfway there! We're halfway there!" I was glad that I knew better or I might have listened, picked up the pace & ended up running out of steam by the end of the 3rd mile.

2. I'm not one of these people who gets all lathered up over the Central Park carriage horses in general. No, it's not the perfect life for a horse, but there are worse things people do to horses. There are definitely some who look like they could be cared for better, but there are also some big stout healthy-looking draft horses who look fairly healthy & content. Last night, though, during the beer quest, we walked past the Central Park South carriage horse line - the rain was absolutely bucketing down, the drivers were all sitting inside the carriages with the tops up. But out of the 15 or so horses in the queue - how many do you think had even a rudimentary rain sheet thrown over them?

One. One lucky horse had a driver thoughtful enough to throw a tarp over his back. The rest of 'em just stood there and got soggy. That just seems wrong. Claire, wouldn't a horse rather have a rainsheet?

This just bothers me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Coach II training thoughts...let's start at the very beginning...

Still can't write it all down in a nutshell, but I am starting to have some thoughts about last weekend that I want to write down.

One thing that just dawned on me this morning is that it's been a very long time since I took a coaching class.

I've been aware that styles have changed, strokes have changed, all of that.

What I somehow hadn't realized was how much I've changed since my first Instructor Development Workshop (the first stage in the American Canoe Association coach certification process), way back in 1999.

So - what kind of paddler was I then?

Green! Totally, utterly, ridiculously green!

I took to kayaking fast. My first kayak lesson was in June of 1998. In early 1999, I asked to be a partner at Manhattan Kayak Company. At the time, I felt completely dependent upon MKC to do the kind of paddling I wanted to do, and because of that, I'd stayed in contact with Eric, the MKC founder, after he was, shall we say, invited to leave Chelsea Piers in October of 1998. Chelsea Piers had promised that they would have kayaking in 1999, but I absolutely loved the tours & instruction I was getting from Eric, Richard, Abigail, and a couple of other people who were involved, wasn't ready to sit back & quietly wait for Chelsea Piers to bring in some mystery company to replace the people I was already regarding as my coaches. What they were coaching me for, I had no clue, but I liked the process & the way I was learning. By the end of that first year, I had the basics - a good solid forward stroke (that was courtesy of Richard's patience on a tour one day & probably laid the foundation for everything else - before that, it was all I could do to keep up), bracing, edging, good directional contral. No rolling, no fancy control strokes, but by October, I had done my first circumnavigation of Manhattan. I was beat at the end - we all were, that one got interesting! - but for an NYC Paddler, that first trip around Manhattan is such a benchmark.

So, as I said, when I found out from Fred at Chelsea Piers that they were ending their relationship with MKC, I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. Whaddayamean, no more paddling for the year? We were still having some beautiful Fall paddling, I was so excited about what I was learning and doing - I couldn't just accept it & wait for the next season. Even then, I wanted to have at least some insight on what was going on.

Huh...perhaps that was the earliest root of my devotion to the local kayak grapevine.

Well, I was on the phone with Eric one night (boy, this was before I had personal email, and still actually called people when I wanted to know what was going on), he was describing the plans that he, Richard, and a couple of other people who were already working to move MKC to the barge at Pier 63 were making, and it just sounded like such an exciting project that I finally took a deep breath & asked if I could be part of the business.

Didn't have much more to offer than enthusiasm, those basic skills I'd listed, and and some cash. For some reason, though, nobody said no, so I wrote my check & off we all went. Those were the days of the rustpeople, the days when all of Eric's old clients from MKC were going to political meetings (that was back in the days before the Trust got the money that made them the Trust, at the time they were a Conservancy), writing letters, chipping rust when we needed to, anything to get our favorite kayak company up & running again.

That first season, I assisted in a lot of classes. Learned a lot from watching Eric & Richard - two very good instructors with two extremely different styles. Watching watching watching, all the time - observing what got corrected, what got praised, how they went through a class - I think I may have been soaking up more in each class than half the paying students.

It was a great way to start learning to teach. I did get overconfident once or twice, but managed to learn the lessons I needed to without drowning anyone...

By Fall of 1999, Richard decided to help me make my first step on the road to getting my ACA instructor certification.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Well, this was worth a post, since I'm completely stalled out on what to say about the coach workshop. Serious mental overload, y'know? It's like, oh, describing a really spectacular sunset...words just don't quite cut it. And at least with a sunset, you can take pictures.

But while I'm pondering that one - look! My garden has now actually produced one green salad, and enough herbs to add some flavor to a big pot of stew I started last night.

We won't discuss how much this particular salad & stew herb-ing cost, OK?

The main thing is that I have actually managed to grow a salad, right here in the middle of New York City. I think that's pretty cool.

Particularly when I recall how at one point I truly thought I'd managed to kill every single thing I planted.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Coach Level 2 Training

It was here (Lake Sebago), it was great, and I'm too tired to write anymore except to say:

It doesn't matter how nicely you've planned your sweep stoke session. A stunt plane is simply going to be more interesting. End of story.

(ps - there were a couple specific questions in the comments in the last couple of days - I'll try to get back to those this week! No internet at Lake Sebago. Sometimes that can be nice!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Off to the Races!

Can't pass up an excuse to post one of my favorite pictures ever!

If you happen to find yourself on any of the various promenades that follow the shores of the Hudson, Harlem, and East Rivers this Saturday, and you spot people swimming (look for some splashing with a bright colored swim cap in it, accompanied by a kayak and a motorboat) - if you think you might be in earshot, sing out Louise! That swimmer is part of the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, meaning they will have started swimming at the Battery at 8:30 AM and they'll finish swimming in the same spot, several hours later. That's twenty-eight and a half statute miles without any physical assistance. I'm missing it this year for the first time in a while because of the coach training scheduled up at Lake Sebago, and I'm sorry to miss it.

Although not quite as sorry since I heard that this year, the swim coincides with the annual Father's Day weekend Poker Run.

Big ol' race with a certain kind of craft I've been known to talk stink about. There's been quite the discussion among the NYC kayakers today about this - see, a southbound swimming race and a northbound powerboat race go together like spilled oil and sea otters, drinking and driving, that sort of thing. It was a lot more congenial the year that we had the big swim and the big outrigger race together. Well, hopefully the powerboats all pay attention to the escort boats for the swim & nobody suffers anything more than choppy water & a lot of noise. I was an escort one year when the same unfortunate coincidence of scheduling occured; my swimmer was near the end so the powerboats had all been herded well away from the swim race, but the poor guy was having a rough go of it owing to his boat crew making a crucial mistake in his feeding (there were gatorade bottles, and then there were bottles with something with more calories - he never got the latter - if you're ever thinking of swimming around Manhattan, trust me, you'll want more than just Gatorade at some point) - well, he was just clearly not having fun by then, and then the Poker Run goes howling by, and suddenly he's swimming in a washing machine - he looked up at me & asked "What's going on?", I said "Speedboat race", and he sort of shrugged, put his head back down & resumed slogging. Boy, the worst thing was that he almost finished, and then like 10 minutes shy of the finish line a lightning storm broke out. Otherwise he WOULD have finished. Just not fair.

hm, if I remember correctly that was also the year it was an "unofficial" race 'cause we'd just had the remnants of a hurricane dump about 6 inches of water in a day...ugh. One of my self-appointed tasks that day was trying to get the "hudson river whitefish" out of the way. Not the best circumnav swim I ever paddled for - I really, really like to see my swimmers finish.

Well, anyways, I wish everybody luck & I'm glad to hear that they have plenty of kayaks this year. Always an impressive thing to watch!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Deckline Replacement Time

Ah, the decklines. The last thing that I really needed to attend to on the Romany before I could let boat be seen for a class that I was involved in at any level.

All in all, not too tough a job. I was at the club Saturday, got out there in the afternoon, futzed around gardening for a while, schmoozed for a while. Nice. Really did want to get out for a paddle, started working in that direction maybe 6:30 or so. All changed & ready to go - oh, phoo, I really should fix those decklines first. Can't take THAT long.

Ah, one of these days I'll learn that even what looks like a no-brainer bit of maintenance that should take 15 minutes always takes me 5 times longer. Naturally I figured out various ways to make a simple cut-off-old-decklines, thread-new-decklines, tie knots, apply ye olde butane-backsplice to the ends, all pau take more like an hour.

A few thoughts, just for your amusement:

1. The time to replace your decklines is sometime before they look like this:

I am adding this note the following day just as a bit of insurance, I was being facetious when I said that & unfortunately facetious is one of those things that doesn't always "read" in electronic format. SO just to be on the safe side, since this is a safety issue & I don't want to take any chances on misleading anyone - as pointed out in one of the comments, lines should never be allowed to get anywhere NEAR this bad before replacement. Why? Well, because although under ordinary circumstances kayak decklines aren't load-bearing, the circumstances under which they ARE are towing and rescues and generally when the s*** has hit the fan. You don't want to be wondering if that deckline you didn't get around to replacing is going to take the strain in a situation like that! I knew about this, I just didn't get to the repair, and on more than one occasion I've borrowed another boat rather than use this one with the lines looking like that. The only thing a deckline like this is good for is as an example of Bad Boat Maintenance - which is why I've swallowed my pride & posted it here.

2. It's ever so important to have a repair kit with all the latest, cutting-edge, technologically advanced repair items money can buy:

3. Doesn't my kayak look weird with no decklines?
4. Oh yes, once you've gotten here, you really sort of have to finish the job before you can paddle the boat again.

5. What kind of stopper knot? How about the same kind as has held these decklines in place for as long as I've owned the boat. This was one thing that took a little longer than planned - I know a couple of stopper knots, but I got a little nuts about REPLICATING the old one PRECISELY. Eventually I did figure out that this is what a figure 8 knot looks like after at least seven year of hard stopper-knot service, but y'know, I didn't feel that silly - the deckline knots really need to hold.

6. I'd talked about getting some of that Scotch-Brite...well, in the end I replaced the deckline with the same kind as the boat had when I bought it, New England Rope Sta-Set. Same reason as my knot nuttiness - it's worked very well for the last 7 or 8 years, during which it's been called into service for a lot of rescues, real ones, practice ones, and just plain for fun ones - but then when it was time to replace the stuff, it was beautifully obvious. As you can see here, this line is a variety that has a core with an outer jacket - well, the minute that outer jacket wore through (again, remember, after YEARS of hard use), the loose ends promptly began to fluff out in the most visible way. Atlantic Kayak Tours' website practically has a hymn to the stuff. I'm sure the Scotch-Brite is fine but I just figured I'd stick with something I knew did a good job.

Wow. Those last 2 were almost serious, weren't they? Anyways. Onward.

7. You know that thing about "measure twice, cut once?" Well, I figured I could ignore that since I'd started in using one length of line, planning to cut each length as I actually finished it...well, er, good plan but I cut it a leeetle too short. oops.

You see the problem here - I only left myself enough line to go like this:

when I needed it to go like this -- around itself & back up through the loop.

Fortunately after a split second of "Oh noooo!" it hit me that I had quite fortunately chosen to start with the bow, and the stern doesn't take as much. So what was a trifle too short forward, was just the right size aft. Perfect. Phew.

Stern finished, here's how that realio trulio little red dragon looks with some sharp new threads...

Bow took half the time, I'd made all the possible goofs already - toggles back on (single line, lets the boat twist around in rough water without any chance of fingers getting trapped) - and there we are, ready to go for a few more years!

Harbor Herons in Waterwire

Another interesting article sent to a number of the bird enthusiasts at Sebago courtesy of the commodore.

Harbor Herons

Sharks, schmarks.

Sharks sharks sharks. Everybody's always worrying about sharks.

But what about those vicious boater-assaulting sturgeon?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Upcoming Events - Greenland Paddling & Hidden Harbor Tours

I am resisting the temptation to take a lunch break today to do a weekend report. It was a darned good weekend, started with a dinner date, then went on to replace decklines (overdue), plant some mesclun (how's this for smart - there are guys at the Union Square Farmers who will sell you dandelions, yes dandelions - I did not buy that mix, I will not pay money for dandelions even if it meant I ended up having extra lettuce, I gave that away), paddled around Ruffle Bar (somewhere around 8 miles), and then yesterday I think I became an official member of the Flying Scot fan club, what a nice little boat, had a lovely day at the Miramar Yacht Club's Seek and Sail. What a nice bunch. The wind started out like a good pie crust - light and flaky! - but it did fill in somewhat over the afternoon and it was just a nice nice day...can I say "nice" again?

Too much to do to take a full lunch hour in the library to do pictures and everything though.

In the meantime - OOOH! My favorite Greenland instructors, Cheri & Turner are going to be doing a number of things in the area over the next couple of weeks. I don't ever mind plugging for them, they are worth it!

First up - on June 21st, they'll be giving their wonderful FREE presentation on Greenland kayaking at The Small Boat Shop in South Norwalk, CT. I went to see this when Yonkers hosted them earlier this year, and I just can't recommend it enough. Aside from seeing some beautiful pictures, the story of the evolution of Cheri's approach to the style is quite fascinating - she started out with a sort of typical American competitive approach, focused on winning - and then - well, turned out the big national kayaking competition in Greenland is a lot different from any US athletic championship. Listening to Cheri talk about what she learned from her first year there, and how much richer her second trip was because she approached it with such a different attitude - well, it's cooler than CGI surfing penguins.

And Turner is Santa Claus!

Next, the weekend of the 23rd & 24th, Turner & Cheri are going to be the head instructors, joined by a posse o' "mentors", at the 3rd (or was it 4th or 5th?) Annual Hudson River Greenland Festival. It's going to be wonderful; I was invited to join their team of mentors (which will include my original Greenland mentor Jack Gilman, some of my other friends from Yonkers, and I think my friend from so many good paddles & rolling sessions last winter, Stevie (Stevie, that's right, right?). I was invited but it was the same weekend as the Sebago Canoe Club's dinghy sailing intensive, plus it was at the end of a long string of Weekends with Major Plans, all of which involved major schleppage of gear - so I decided to be easy on myself & stick with the plan that let me stay in Brooklyn for an entire weekend. Ah, Brooklyn.

Anyways, it's just going to be so darned nice to be able to turn around and be a total, know-nothing beginner, in the midst of all of this work aimed at getting myself back up to speed as a kayak instructor (good grief does THAT need a post or four)!

But for those who haven't been running themselves like crazy people trying to tick off prerequisites - that will be marvelous.

The one other thing that made the choice relatively easy is that I had already signed up for another workshop with Turner & Cheri - they are running a series of workshops through The Small Boat Shop, yes, same place as the slideshow! These workshops aren't free - in fact they may look rather steep - but the classes will be small, lots of individual attention, and of course you get to work in one of Cheri & Turners hand-made Greenland kayaks, in the very lovely Norwalk Islands. I'm really looking forward to it!

Finally - for those of you who might prefer boats of the type that lets you stay right-side up, dry, and in street clothes - the Working Harbor Committee has a couple of Sunset Hidden Harbor Tours coming up! June 20th & July 19th. I've never managed to go on one of these but I've heard good things about them. For just twenty bucks, this is a great way for anyone who's curious to see some parts of NY Harbor that most tour boats never visit!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Somewhere in Brooklyn...

I took this on Sunday, 6/3/07, en route to playing a few tunes at the Tara Festival in JJ Byrne Park, Brooklyn.

You can read the inside scoop on the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store here. Pretty cool.

ps click on the picture for detail!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Good Morning!

As in - boy, did I have a good morning!

Last week at work was quiet enough that I'd been leaving work with enough time to go out to Sebago. Of course I wrote up my full-moon paddle; the other days, I hadn't gotten going early enough to paddle, but I still went out & messed around with my garden. We had had a dry spell, it was pretty warm, I had some very new seedlings that were either sprouting or had been transplanted the week before, so I wanted to water & weed. I'm finding that that's a nice way to spend the part of the evening with light.

This week's been a bit of a different story. The fiscal year at the Really Big Children's Publishing Company follows the school year - unfortunately that doesn't translate into "yaaaay! school's out 'til September!", especially in the finance division. No, that translates into "Time to close the books on the old year, and open the new year!"

So I've been working some long hours. We had that all-day drenching on Monday, so I figured they'd be fine on Tuesday. Yesterday, I was finishing off a little too late to make it out to Canarsie before dark, but I did want to see how things looked.

So I made a highly uncharacteristic decision to get up a couple of hours early & go do a little gardening before work.

Oh...btw, I think I said here that I was going to stop using the word "gardening" until I stopped killing everything I planted?

Well -- check it out! My bed is definitely lagging behind the beds of the more experienced gardeners, but things are actually growing now!

The parakeets were of course up and working away already. There's a new entrance on the side of the nest - I only saw one bird at any given time, but I wonder if the new door means that our nest has gone from single-family to duplex?

A few more pictures, not of my bed, but of another bed that turns out to be pretty specialized. This bed belongs to Professor M., who was telling me about it on Sunday, when I'd stopped by the club to water & weed & also drop off some gear I'd taken home for the safety class.

I knew that she was one of the club's birdwatchers from other days in the garden, or on the water - but it turns out that birds are not the only winged things she loves -

Her garden is a butterfly garden! There's a little basin of water, and all sorts of plants that butterflies love. This, for example, is a dill plant, which she said is a favorite plant of the black swallowtail - and as she said it, she was pointing out the tiniest caterpillar! I never would have spotted it on my own, but she knew what to look for.

She said that the caterpillars could end up eating most of the dill eventually - but she doesn't like dill that much, so that's OK with her!

Here was the caterpillar this morning. Twice the size and much easier to spot; it's still less than an inch long, though.

Good morning, indeed. Only tough part was coming to work after that - it would have been such a lovely day to play hooky!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


I didn't think that I'd have time to post much more this week, but this is a quick one.

It seems we have a challenge to my assertion that that photo of that adorable Chocolate Lab puppy peering adorably over the coaming of an adorable old-skool Anas Acuta is the cutest picture I have ever taken.

The challenge comes from one of my friends from the Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club, who feels that my photo of their own adorable Sailor the Boathouse Cat peering adorably over the coaming of an adorable handmade Gilman skin-on-frame is actually cuter.

Seems it's time for a contest o' cute here on Frogma.

Our contestants:

Sailor the Official Boathouse Cat of the Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club


Tucker the Chocolate Lab Puppy

I leave this in your collective capable hands & return to work.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Congratulations & Good Luck

Circumnavigations galore going on these days!

Of course there's Derrick & Taino going around Puerto Rico (or should I say Boricua). That expedition ran into a little bumpy stuff, which unfortunately got a bit of an internet airing. Personally, I wonder what percentage of serious, multi-day trips get pulled off without at least one set of toes getting stepped on. There's always going to be somebody who wanted to go who gets left out, or people who start out full of excitement & best intentions & then find that the working partnership is not working out the way they hoped.

heck...that latter scenario...that's sort of universal, isn't it? The gift that us people-types have for imagining things the way we'd like them to be can turn out to be more of a white elephant when our imagined versions of things run afoul of other people's imagined versions of things en route to turning those dreams into reality.

Oops. Didn't mean to wander down some deep philosophical path here. Too much work to do this week. Year-end close here at Really Big Children's Publishing Co. Fun fun.

Main thing is that I wanted to send out good wishes to the Chasing the Ana folks (hope everything from here on is smoother sailing) plus I wanted to give a quick shout-out a couple of other friends of mine - Pier 63 folks -

First off, congratulations to O. & F. on successfully completing a full trip around Long Island! So cool. They just did it for fun; they'd planned what they thought was going to be a reasonably leisurely trip, no record shots or anything like that. Then they got slowed down by some steady headwinds; on Thursday O. had emailed me saying they wouldn't have rounded Breezy Point by Saturday evening (there was some talk of them using Sebago as an overnight that night, prior to paddling their last leg, up to Pier 40, on Sunday, and I'd offered to head out & play hostess if they wanted)...well, I was amazed to open up my email yesterday morning (Sunday) to see an email from O. saying that through determination and long days, they'd gotten back to Pier 40 on Saturday afternoon at 3:00!!! She also mentioned that Long Island is long, so if you had any doubts on that matter, you have the word of a couple of very trustworthy women.

Still can't get over the sheer amount of mileage they managed to make up. Even spurred on by the rotten forecast we had for today (let's just say I won't need to go water my garden tonight), that's amazing. Congratulations!

And in closing, here's TONS of good wishes going out to the paddler formerly known as "Sticks" - the one & only Marcus Demuth, launching on June 7th to paddle around Ireland! Go Marcus! BTW this is for a good cause, so if you feel like throwing a little money in the direction of some brave Irish lifeboat folks, head on over & sign up to sponsor him!

Boy, and the biggest thing I've circumnavigated lately was Carnarsie Pol.

Heh heh. Maybe I'll buy a cart & circumnavigate Coney Island!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Tucker the Puppy.

What a great day. I got to meet Tucker. This may be the cutest picture I will ever take in my life.

Oh, yeah, and I passed my Canoe Safety too. I love rescue classes.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Full Moon over Jamaica...

Jamaica Bay, that is.*

Nice paddle although a bit on the short side - I was shooting for the Elder's Point Marsh, launched a little while before sunset. It was pretty breezy (the dinghy sailors were all coming in just as I was going out, they looked pretty happy!), and I didn't make it all the way to Elder's Point because I started seeing some distant flickers in the clouds. Forecast had mentioned thunderstorms & since it's bad form to get electrocuted during the work week, I elected to pack it in & head back for the dock. Nice paddle though - never been out in the bay at such high water, the beaches were pretty much gone, the shorebirds all sounded like they were having some serious discussions about the scraps that were left. I set my course by the wind direction, went out against some pretty good-sized (for Jamaica Bay) chop - maybe a foot, and then had a fabulously surf-y trip back. Romanys do get happy in a following sea! Nice paddle, maybe 5 miles in all, then went back to the club & packed up everything I'll need for Canoe Safety at Atlantic Kayak Tours tomorrow.

Yeesh. This will be the first assessed thing I've taken since I got my 4 star. Naturally all the old "oh jeeze, I'm gonna suck" insecurities are all flooding in. Seems like everybody gets those. This is the last prerequisite I need to nail down before I can take the coach training at Sebago on the 15th & 16th. Got my CPR update last weekend, only thing I'm missing (assuming I don't actually suck so badly tomorrow that Bill shakes his head & sadly demotes me to a 1-star) is that I've er sort of er discovered that I don't know where any of the actual certificates that are proof of my various certifications ended up after I moved. Oops. Well, fortunately if I can't scrounge 'em up tonight, I can ask the Lozanos what to do.

Boy, I like taking classes but I forget how much I dislike the paperwork end of things. Oh well. Into every life a little bureaucracy must fall.

And speaking of bureaucracy - sounds like a lot more bureaucracy than one would have desired is falling into the lives of the barge gang. I mentioned yesterday that it hadn't opened, there was a question in the comment about more details - here was my answer:

Dan, I'm sorry, all I know for sure is that it sounds like the New York Riversports crew and the barge formerly known as Pier 63 have run into a number of unexpected delays in dealing with the...requirements of the Trust.

Here are a couple of emails for people who should know what's going on:

Trust emails:
Connie Fishman:
Noreen Doyle:

That's Connie & Noreen, president & EVP of the Trust - mentioning that you miss the barge & you're eager to see it open can't hurt. I'm out of the loop but I just have a feeling that if the Trust really wanted things to happen, they would happen. Them being in charge, and all.

Maybe a little general encouragement from the public would help.

The MKC blog has sporadic updates -

The Frying Pan website doesn't appear to have updates, but there's contact info there.

If I get anything solid, I will post it here. This is really depressing, the way the Trust took something really neat & vibrant that put a WHOLE lot of people on the water in various ways, and just can't seem to manage to preserve that.

That's all I've got time for now! Have a nice weekend everybody!

*Lunch time photo download made possible by very nifty little birthday present from TQ - look ma, no cables! I had no clue I needed a "SanDisk Micromate" - what an excellent boyfriend.