Friday, August 29, 2008

Bachelor Weekend

This will be a bachelor weekend for me. Ann and Daughter#2 left early this morning to visit Daughter#1 in Connecticut to have a girl weekend and do some wedding planning. Its been a long, long time since I've been alone for a weekend. The question is how to spend it. Some of the choices are:

Rowing - This is sort of a given. Besides practice Saturday morning, I can go out in a single, which is something I haven't done in a while now.

Biking - Again not that surprising. This was suppose to be the weekend we would ride the entire 45 miles of the W&OD Trail like we did last year. Alas, The Son opted out to go to Atlantic City and Daughter#2 is headed to Connecticut. Ann, who is our pick up and drop off driver, is with her. I really do want to do the ride again, but it is not to be. Unless someone out there is interested in being a drop off and pick up person for me. A free lunch is in for you and a friend, if you'd like. I've decided trying a modified ride would have to do. I would ride to Purcellvile and back from Rt 28. That would be 42 miles. I could ride an additional 8 miles toward Vienna and back to round up to 50. A trip to Old Dominion brew Pub would be in order after that.

Football Game - I do have tickets to the Maryland vs. Delaware football game. I'm not sure how crazy I am about going to the game by myself plus I'd have to find someone to take care of the dog. It's a 3:45 start too, which would put me home late (yes I'm old).

Baseball Game - The Nationals are home this weekend and their new ball park is terrific. The downside is that they are terrible although they just did sweep the Dodgers.

Movie - Always a choice especially when it's raining out. I can't say that anything really excites me right now. Any recommendations?

TV - College football does start this Saturday. Who Hoo!

Feel free to to help me figure out on what I should do.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Late Presents

For Father's Day The Son gave me a quite generous gift card from Amazon. for the longest time i was at a lost what to get with it. The choices were overwhelming. After much thought and with our vacation fast approaching (and now over). I finally decided to act. Out of his gift I managed three separate presents. A new bathing suit for the vacation, which I sorely needed, a CD of Frank Valli and the Four Seasons and a bike jersey. I've never owned a bike jersey before, but I've wanted one for a while. I have been riding in just various t-shirts almost all of them from various rowing regattas. The trouble with cotton t-shirts is that when you sweat in them, they get wet and hold onto the moisture. They get heavy when wet and uncomfortable. Bike Jerseys, however, are made with whicking material that keeps the shirt and you dry. The trouble with most Bike Jerseys is that they look like billboards sporting some ad of some sort or another. frankly i think most of them look pretty hideous. I did buy Ann an Ohio University Bike Jersey and Daughter#2 a VA Tech Bike Jersey and they look pretty nice. I looked at one from my college (Auburn) and wasn't that thrilled with it. So what to do. I did a search through Amazon figuring eventually I'd find a jersey i could live with and I did. Lo, me in all my spandex glory:

Speaking of spandex glory, it's time to go change into my rowing shorts and get ready for practice, Until later.

Another Weekend

The craziness that was work finally came to a head on Friday and we made an award. You can read what it is here. It's the first listing under Navy. There will be some trips to be made for kickoffs and what not, but the real heavy work is done. Now on to the next one.

I look back on the weekend and can't remember doing a whole lot. Friday was paying bills and doing some shopping to get things we need for us and the house. I also spent a lot of time getting the books for the rowing club up to date. I had fallen behind being away on vacation and the Coaches really did want their paychecks. Of course, no one really took responsibility for collecting the paperwork from the coaches so about half their timesheets were either missing or incomplete. To rectify this, I'm going back to my paperless system. Hopefully that will work a bit better.

Saturday morning was rowing practice. It was on the cool side when I arrived at the boathouse, in the low 60s. Our Coach put together a 50 Yr Old 8+ and a 40 Yr Old 8+ and we did two 20 minute race pieces starting at a 24 spm rate and building it up to 30 spm over time. It was a good solid workout and the first piece put us a good mile and a half above Ryan's Dam. It's where I would normally row my single to (5 1/2 miles from Sandy Run), but it's rare we get that far upstream when rowing the 8+s. We had really great water and didn't get waked once by any of the fishermen.

Sunday I got up early for a bike ride. Ann has been a little under the weather recently, so I went by myself again. I wanted to do a bit more than I usually do, so rather than the 20 or 25 mile rides I have been doing, I decided to go for 30 miles. I headed out from the Rt 28 parking lot and got on the W&OD Trail at the 24 Mile marker. I biked for 2 1/2 miles toward Leesburg before turning around and biking to Vienna and the 11.5 Mile marker and then back to the car. Total ride time was 2 hours and 9 minutes. It wasn't too bad, but my quads were really feeling it, especially since the ride ended with having to bike over the Rt 28 overpass right at the end. Average ride speed was 13.6 mph. When I got home, Ann and I decided to try making a frittata for brunch. I volunteered to make it since I generally do breakfast, but I think Ann was eager to try making it and soon took over the cooking duties. It turned out quite well. I'll post a picture of it tonight. After eating we just chilled out the rest of the day. We watched some DVR stored episodes on In Plain Sight, which we were both enjoying. The show stars Mary McCormack as Mary Shannon, a U.S. Marshall assigned to the Witness Protection Program. I thought the pilot was a bit shaky with some corny cliche dialog, but the show seems to have found its footing and is quite good. Its summer run has concluded, but it has been picked up for a second season. We also watched the conclusion of the Olympics (us and everyone else). The second week seemed to get lost after all the swimming and gymnastics of week one, but I think the Chinese overall did a good job in hosting Olympics. Ann threw out the idea of trying to go to some of the events in London in 2012. Maybe something to think about. Hopefully we'll be retired by then (fingers crossed).
EDITED TO ADD: Our (or rather Ann's) frittata:
Ann made it with bacon, onion and chedder cheese. One lesson learned was to make it in a smaller pan so it is thicker.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Coxswain Appreciation

It's a beautiful late summer day here in the Old Dominion. Sunny, in the low 80s with a very tolerable humidity. I should be out rowing or biking, but the Club had a Coxswain Appreciation dinner last night for our coxswains. A few beers might have been drunk, but not by the coxswains. Almost all, save one, are high school students. It's a small way to show that we appreciate the time they are giving up, especially getting up early on weekends so that we, the adults, can row. Without them our boats don't leave the boathouse. So Thank You coxswains.
I mentioned in the last entry about spreading mulch around. One area that needed some (and still needs a bit more), is our final resting place for our pets. We've been waiting until we could spread some mulch before we put out the memory stone for Winifred. Her stone joins that of Napoleon's.

We can see the stones from our deck. It reminds us of the love and joy our pets brought into our lives. We still miss them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tippy Boat

Work continues to be a flurry of deadlines, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully things will calm down to their usual chaotic state.

The weekend was very laid back and enjoyable. Saturday's rowing practice continued to emphasis longer pieces as we make the transition into head racing season. As usual we point to the Head of the Charles as our premier race of the fall season. We're waiting to see if any men's boats get accepted (it's done by lottery as entries far exceed available slots). Until we know for sure, it's hard for our Coach to set the boats. If we get a Senior Master 8+ entry (50+), 6 seats are already filled leaving four of us to compete for the remaining two. I figure I have a 67% chance to make that boat. If we get something other than a Senior Master 8+ entry, I probably won't be going. There are too many other men on the team that can beat me out for a seat at this point. Being a Lightweight rower does have its drawbacks at times. For Saturday's practice we took out an 8+, a 4+ and two quads. I was bow seat in one of the Quads. The rest of my boat has only moderate experience in sculling boats so we didn't fare too well in the two pieces we ran against the other boats - one a 15 minute piece and the other a 20 minute piece. Last in both would be a good description. After our second piece was over and we had a chance to rest and grab some water, we were going to do some very short pieces before heading in. As all four boats came to the catch, a fisherman screamed by us going full out (as full out as a 9.9 hp outboard will let you) and created a nice wake. The Quad next to us and also closest to the sure caught the wake as well as the rebound wake from the shore and with their blades squared up and in the water, they couldn't compensate for the rocking motion and they started to tip. It was like watching the Titanic go under. They slowly heeled further and further over until they reached the point of no return and flipped their boat. Its the first time I had ever witnessed a flip other than in a single. Needless to say we gave them all kinds of crap, which they took good naturally. It took them a few minutes to get back in the boat and the Coach decided that was enough for one day and we headed in. Our Recreation/Fitness rowers (i.e., those that row for fun and fitness rather than for competition) had prepared breakfast for the club and we cancelled all the health benefits from our row by stuffing ourselves on pancakes, donuts, bagels and the like. Very satisfying.

The rest of Saturday was spent watching Olympics. They had half of the rowing finals on Saturday, which are for me, one of the highlights. they make it seem so easy. As if.

Sunday I packed up the bike and headed off to the W&OD Trail for my first ride since before vacation. It was a gorgeous morning - bright sun, reasonable temperatures and also reasonable humidity. I did the Rt 28 to Vienna portion of the trail which is a 25 mile round trip. It was a good ride and I managed to knock off 5 minutes both ways from the last time I rode it. After I got home, Ann had me do some yard work - mostly spreading mulch around. Then it was more Olympic watching including the Men's 8+ finals. The power and speed is incredible. The Canadians settled in at a 40 strokes per minute after their start sequence had them up at 49 strokes a minute. That's almost unheard of. No wonder they won. The Women's 8+ final was shown in prime time since the US won that race so congratulations to the women. Let me get this posted and it's time to wrap things up. Later.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vacation 2008

Vacation is over and I'm back at work and I must say work is kicking my ass this week. Deadlines are a bitch. So vacation. As I mentioned, Ann and I went to Cocoa Beach. My Dad's girlfriend, Lee, owns a condo on the beach that she graciously lets us use - for free. And how weird is it so have to say my Dad has a girlfriend even though they've been together for years and years? People always look at me funny when I tell them I'm going to Florida during August. The reasons are pretty clear. First, the price is right. Free condo right on the beach? Yes! But it will be so hot you say? It's not any hotter then in Virginia this time of year plus you have a nice ocean breeze. And look at this beach. There is no one on it. You think the beaches at Ocean City or Rehoboth look like this? Hardly. It's wall to wall people up there. Plus Lee cooks for us and does laundry nonstop. We hardly have time to wear something before it's washed, dried and folded. It's amazing. I think we made the right choice. This is view from the condo. Sweet.

Since we traveled without the kids, Daughter#1 wasn't there to organize every minute of the trip. So a typical day would be:

7:00-7:30 Get out of bed

7:30-8:00 Read paper, slurp down my morning Coke, watch Today Show

8:30-9:00 Enjoy hot tasty breakfast cooked by Lee

9:00-9:30 Get ready for beach

9:30-12:30 Sit/Lay out on beach and read books. Maybe take a walk

12:30-2:00 Lunch, including a few beers

2:00-4:30 Back on beach

4:30-6:00 Shower and cocktail hour

6:00-8:00 Dinner Sometimes Lee would cook us dinner sometimes we would go out

8:00-10:00 Read or watch TV

10:00 Lights out and sleep

Repeat the next day. t was very relaxing to say the least and much needed. Ann doesn't share my love for being out on the beach and frying so she did most of her reading inside. She would come out with me first thing (before 10:00) and we would take a walk on the beach. Here she is reading Merle's Door: Lessons from a Free Thinking Dog, which she loved and thinks you all should read it too. She liked it so much that she gave this copy to Daughter#2 and bought a second copy so I could read it. While Ann was reading about Merle, I read 1948, Polar Shift, and a Patricia Cornwell novel, which I can't remember the title. All good beach reads except maybe 1948, which is non-fiction, but interesting enough to keep my attention.

We've been to Cocoa Beach a number of times now so we've developed a list of restaurants that we enjoy going too. Since Lee was nice enough to make her condo available to us, we picked up the restaurant tabs (except one which my Dad picked up). Here is my Dad and Lee at the Sunset Waterfront Cafe on the Banana River. I had the blackened scallops. Mmmmmm.

Tradition all calls for us to eat at the Pig and Whistle our first night there. Fish and Chips and Bass Ale gets the vacation off on the right foot. Our last night before heading home we always hit Rusty's Seafood. It's a loud, raucous seafood place (notice the seafood theme), which is a nice way to wrap up our stay. Here my Dad and I enjoy some steamed clams. Something we did often during our vacation.

My Dad and Lee were able to join us for the entire time at the beach (they actually live in the Orlando area) so that was a good deal since we don't get to see them enough. My sister lives in Melbourne, which is right next door to Cocoa Beach, so we got to visit with her and her husband. They are a cute and fun pair.

While in Florida I celebrated my birthday. My Dad was very generous with his gift. Also a Happy Birthday to my brother, whose birthday falls two days before my own.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

On Vacation

I'm currently warming these old bones on the sands of Cocoa Beach. I had dragged along one of The Son's old laptops in order to stay connected to the Internet world. Unfortunately, either the laptop doesn't like dial up, which I don't think is the case, or AOL is just screwing us (more likely). So until our return to the real world of work and schedules, my ability to post is severely limited.

As far as we can remember, this is Ann and I's first vacation without the kids. That's a good thing/bad thing type of situation. My father's and his gf Lee's (whose condo we are currently occupying) hospitality has been second to none. I'm also visiting my sister and using her computer to post this. For now the sun has been warm and the beer cold and the seafood tasty. I couldn't ask for more. Well ok I could ask for Internet, but I don't want to seem greedy. I'll post again upon my return or when I can in the interim.