Tag Archives: crew

Are we on the right river?

Last spring, my dad bought a tandem ocean kayak. I was an on-and-off rower throughout high school, and while I really liked the sport, I am just not a very competitive person. I’m judgmental, relatively ambitious, and I enjoy success, but I’m too okay with the thought of losing a race to be as dedicated to rowing as a team member should be. Kayaking is like the chill man’s rowing. It is obviously quite a different motion, but the general concept of a small personal craft in which you’re really close to the water is similar, and that’s what I liked most about rowing. I remember getting on the river in the pitch black, unable to see more than a few feet ahead of me, and rowing in the darkness with the rainbow lights of the MidHudson Bridge ahead. We would keep rowing and rowing, and eventually we’d see the sunrise, and it was so beautiful. I think I’m too much of a romantic to be a rower.
 
Anyway, kayaking is all of that cool stuff, but less intense physical pain and more exploring the river, which I am all about. Last year I paddled around with a few friends, and my friend Sarah and I talked about making a trip down the entire southern Hudson River from Albany. However, because we barely made it to Bannerman’s and back without collapsing from upper-body exhaustion, we decided we’d need some time to prepare for that. This past January we started talking about it again, and we decided to do it this summer. We originally wanted to paddle directly to NYC, but because of our independent schedules we had to break it up a bit. After a few months of each trying to get more physically prepared for this, we decided to have a little practice paddle from Beacon to Poughkeepsie and back.
 
It was bad. So, so bad. Mostly because I miscalculated the distance (what I believed to be 14.5 was actually 29, (oops)), but also because it rained like a bitch. The paddle up from Beacon to Poughkeepsie wasn’t so bad, but as it started raining really hard, Sarah and I decided to stop at Shadows to dock and use the bathroom. We then realized that we needed to get things out of our dry bags and we couldn’t from the dock, so we paddled closer to the bridge and beached ourselves on this little sandy patch, and hung out with an adorable duck. It was really cold and rainy, neither of us had sufficient rain gear, and in those few hours we were the definition of miserable. We were pretty beat, soaked to the skin, our toes were blue, and we had to paddle all the way back to Beacon, mostly against the current.
 
We sat in the rain on that beach for two hours or so, and then decided to brave the conditions and get back before dark. That paddle home was one of the most physically difficult things I have ever done. I was paddling in the cold, in the rain, without gloves on, so gripping the paddle was ridiculously difficult. It wasn’t like we could quit and call someone to pick us up, because we had no choice but to get back to Beacon. After a while, we started coming up with some other plans to get our asses out of the river, and we became kind of delirious. At one point, I didn’t think anything around us looked familiar, and I honestly asked, “Are we on the right river?” The sun was setting, and we knew we had to make it back before dark. When we finally did get back to Beacon, the wind had picked up so we were dealing with some pretty nasty waves and literally paddling against both wind and current, and it was already dark so we had a hard time seeing the dock. We eventually found the launch, and as we both got out of the kayak we probably looked like a pair of stumbling idiots as we couldn’t walk because we were so exhausted. We knew there was no way we were pitching a tent in the pouring rain, so we stumbled our way to Sarah’s car, changed into dry clothes, and spent the night watching the kayak.
 
The next morning, we got some coffee and walked around Beacon for a while, ending up in this bookstore which is basically an awesome place with books about all things Hudson Valley, Hudson River, and some about the larger New York State area and its wildlife. There is also some nice Hudson River artwork hanging in the gallery in the back, as well as a huge map of the river. We walked around sipping on our iced coffees, looking all sunburnt and dirty like a couple of scrubs, and I was looking at the map hanging on the wall. I then saw the key in the corner, and put my fingers up to it to measure exactly how far we went. At this point we thought we paddled maybe 12 miles roundtrip, but I held up the ten mile marker to the map and it didn’t even cover the distance from Beacon to Poughkeepsie. I then began to suspect the err of my ways, and I called Sarah over to check it out. She was a bit surprised as well, but we were both a little too stoked for her to be mad at me for making her paddle almost 30 miles in the rain. We then returned to the kayak and the sun was shining brightly with a gentle breeze coming off the river, so we decided to paddle to Bannerman’s and see how we would feel on day two.
 
This was a completely different experience: we were both dry, the sun was shining, the current was with us, and we had no threat of getting lost in the dark. Even though our arms were in serious need of a massage and some TLC, this paddle was cake compared to the previous day’s conditions. Thus, we learned two things: We will go to extreme measures to avoid paddling in the rain, and we are two hard core mother fuckers for paddling 30 miles in the rain, against wind and current.
 
I also made an unusual realization during that terrible paddle. Even in my coldest, most exhausted, most miserable moments, I was still really happy. Actually, I don’t know if I should call it happy. I guess I just felt really good. I felt good because I was on the Hudson River, and something about it just makes me feel so good. I have so many great memories attached to the river, but it’s a lot more than that. I feel safe when I am there, like I am very much in control, even if I’m not. I really can’t describe it, but when I am on the Hudson I feel like it’s all mine, and no one can take it away from me.
 
I think that’s also why I feel like I need to protect it. After seeing the fourth condom float by, it was pretty disheartening to realize that so many people don’t think about taking care of the river. Some see it as this massive, menacing body of water that can take care of itself, and it scares them. More people need to realize how delicate the Hudson actually is, and how carefully we need to consider how we treat it.
 
This is part one of my kayaking adventures for the summer. Until next time…

Say it with me: Two more weeks.

Spring Jam was actually mildly eventful. I liked it, but it definitely fell a little flat. It’s all cool though. Any weekend involving friends, several forms of ASC, and gyro pizza can’t really be that bad. It was really, really nice outside too. We had absolutely perfect weather – high 70s, strong sun, little humidity, and gentle breeze from the Mississippi. On Wednesday, however, it started snowing. Snowing. A-fucking-gain.

Yeah, he sucked. But it was fun.
This pretty accurately depicts the Saturday of Spring Jam in one picture.


Oh hey snowy campus. In April.
That is snow on my scarf. Snow. Yesterday.




Right now I am eating an apple and sitting in the special seat of the Starbucks on West Bank, and it feels glorious. I am, however, drinking an iced coffee rather than a special latte, because I have $0.08 left on my student account and I now must pay for my own caffeinated beverages. So I go with coffee.

I didn’t have to work yesterday because it was the deadline for confirming admission, so I went to a different yoga class. I had never had this instructor before, and I am actually ridiculously sore right now. The guy that was next to me was completely covered in tattoos from the knees up, and he had a red mohawk. I don’t know what it is about tattooed guys and yoga, but when you put them together, I find it curiously attractive in a very hipster sort of way. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s why I’m so sore. Nothing drives us quite like trying to impress attractive strangers. Especially tattooed-yoga-doing ones. Maybe that’s why I pushed myself so hard yesterday. Hmm. Curious.

Although, I did get super dizzy and I started seeing spots while in this one position. BUT I DID NOT GIVE UP. I have to say, though, I am really proud of the progress I’ve made in terms of my strength and ability to control my body. The yoga instructor always walks around during class, and she helps the “advanced” people get into the more difficult poses. I can proudly say that last week, the instructor came over to help me. I had such a huge, dumb, sweaty smile on my face.



My beautiful yoga studio. Which was formerly a coffee shop where Bob Dylan frequently performed. True story.



I’m going to reveal a bit of my inner flower child here, but practicing yoga really is so underrated. I think what I find so impressive about it is that it encourages a mentality of building strength and physical awareness without someone screaming at me. Like, whenever I was rowing or running or anything, I would listen to super high-energy music that usually involved someone screaming to get “pumped up” and encourage myself to go HAM on dat erg (or dat road, whatever). But there’s something really cool about being like, “Nah, dude. Just chill and be strong. Calm down and just be cool.” I don’t know why I like it so much, but it’s like rather than getting all worked up and cray on the treadmill and beating yourself to death, it’s like finding strength and health and well-being in the effort and really focusing on your body and how it’s functioning. It also makes me think a lot more carefully about what I eat…like it makes me more aware of my body on all accounts. I like it. You should try it. The best part is that everyone can do it in one way or another, and if you can do it, then you can benefit from it.


Me, as I appear while writing this.



I am two papers, one essay, one problem set, and two exams away from summer. As excited as I am for the summer and to be free of exams for a little while, it will also be kind of sad. I’m going to be away from Minneapolis for over 3 months…That’s a very long time. No doubt, this summer is going to be amazing, and I will get my fix of the Hudson Valley. But this is very much my home now, and I will miss it.

Idiocy, Starbucks, & The Hunger Games

Thismorning sucked. It just…sucked. And I cannot tell you how surprised I was when I found out that “thismorning” is not a word. “Tonight” is a word! What the hell. And lately I find I have been combining words like that, and putting an “e” on the ende of everythinge. I am not sure why. I noticed that everytime (again, should be one word. “everyday” is a word!) I type the word “whom” I put an “e” on it. Not good. Not good.

So, this morning (ehem- thismorning). Well actually I have to back up to yesterday, when I had sailing class on the Hudson River in March. Yes, this is the warmest the Hudson has been at this time of year in decades, but it’s still really cold. So during sailing class yesterday, I was wet and really cold and every single person was sniffling and shivering and the instructor was wearing SHORTS. The guy was wearing shorts and not shivering at all. I couldn’t help but start shaking after, oh, I don’t know, the second hour of watching him forget to attach the main halyard before putting the mast up. Really? Really. I know how to do very few things with certainty, especially things of the “assemble this thing!” variety, but I do know how to properly rig a small sailboat. I was a little surprised. I was wearing spandex pants and sweatpants, plus a tank top, a tshirt, a long sleeve shirt, a hooded sweatshirt, and a windbreaker and I was legit freezing. He was wearing shorts. Blew my mind. He forgot the halyard. Blew my mind.

I mean, we all make mistakes, and I am probably the most forgetful person you have ever met. I am not kidding. But…the halyard? I mean…it’s a little boat. There aren’t that many things that we have to do to rig it. Whatever…I will stop now.

So I froze. And I then went to the gym, and I noticed that I was sniffling while I was running. Then I went home and showered and my throat started hurting. Which sucks. Then I was feeling pretty crappy, and I went to see the Hunger Games with Marielle. It was alright. I’ll talk about that later. But during the movie I got so much worse and I kept sniffling. Then I got home and showered and was in bed by 1am, which is not good when you’re sick. It’s actually really stupid. But this is me…This is only one of the eleven extremely stupid things that I do on a daily basis. At least I met my quota.

This morning, I woke up, and I felt so much worse. It’s the kind of cold that really destroys your throat and your ears as well. So I woke up and saw the alarm clock- 7:28 am. My class starts at 7:30. I typically leave my house at 6:55-7:00 to make it to class on time. Shit.

So I threw on a tshirt and a fleece and some jeans and got in my car and started driving to school, then I stopped. I ran out of gas. I RAN OUT OF GAS. WHO DOES THAT. Ugh my God…I am such an idiot sometimes. It kills me. And…oh look a that- MY CELL PHONE IS DYING. Legit dying. So I turn on my phone and call my mom hoping she will answer, and she does, and becomes very angry (and rightfully so) at my forgetfulness and stupidity and drives to me and I eventually get gas and drive here, to Marist.

I have a gold card for Starbucks, so I get free drink post cards, and so do my dad and Sam. My dad gives me his sometimes, and so thismorning (ehem) I had two of them sitting in my car. I save them for really crappy days when I want a really large sugar free latte to make me a little happier. Today, however, my throat was hurting, so I got an iced latte. Oddio they are so good. It’s like…liquid ice cream. With caffeine. I swear…it makes a sucky day suck a little less. I now have 1:20 before I have to go to Calculus, then I have sailing for 3 hours. I hope I don’t freeze today. I am not in a freezing mood.

So I am going to write a mini review about the Hunger Games, both the book and the movie. I read The Hunger Games in one day- I just sat down and kept reading. I do this a lot actually…I’ll just start reading something and if I don’t have any plans I’ll just keep going and going and plow through it. I think this kind of takes away from the book though. I feel like if I took my time I would soak in a lot more of the development of the novel. Like Suzanne Collins did not write it in 6 hours…I don’t know. I just thought it was worth noting that I don’t know if I should to that so often.

Basically, it was good. I would recommend that you read it if you are looking for some interesting light reading, but I didn’t get super absorbed into it. Like Harry Potter consumed me. Twilight took over my life. Those two series really became something that I just could not put down. I don’t think I took more then three days to read any of those books because I simply could not put them down. Those books accessed me emotionally and really pulled me in. The Hunger Games? I don’t know. I just feel like there are two reasons that they are so popular: 1) Everyone can read them and mildly enjoy them and 2) Twilight and Harry Potter are over.

I believe that the mainstream literature of my generation will be defined by Harry Potter and Twilight. I don’t know a single person who read the Harry Potter books and didn’t like them. It’s just such a complete world that it’s hard to believe that it isn’t real after a while. I remember I was reading the sixth book around Christmastime one year and I was under the Christmas tree (don’t judge me) and it dawned on me that NONE of that is actually true. As in, magic is not real. There are no wizards. Wingardium Leviosa will never help me. And I was sad, because that world seemed so real to me. It seemed six books worth of real. And it’s not like it happened in some other magical universe, it happened in the UK. So HP really created a new world for the readers to attach to, but the Hunger Games just kind of…I don’t know. I guess I should finish the series (I only read the first two books) because apparently the ending is really crazy and maybe it will be more interesting then, but it didn’t really seem that great to me.

I think everyone can enjoy them because there’s a little taste of everything for everyone. There’s some romance, some action, some wilderness/survival stuff, some political 1984ish stuff, and a badass 16-year-old girl who shoots squirrels through the eyeball and eats them, and I think everyone likes badassery (aaahaa- that Autocorrected to brasserie) in their novels. But the problem for me is that it is spread too thinly- there is not enough of any one appeal to make it really attractive to one particular kind of audience. So everyone will like it, but I don’t how much someone can absolutely love it. Like in Harry Potter, there was SO MUCH action, SO MUCH magic, SO MUCH romance (well, romantic things that happen…), SO MANY different subplots that drove you crazy and sucked you in no matter who you were. And Twilight? There was basically just ROMANCE AND LOVE AND HEARTS AND HOT VAMPIRES AND WEREWOLVES AND SEX THAT LITERALLY BROKE HOUSES. That’s pretty much it, so the audience that Twilight appealed to (everyone’s inner romantic) just absolutely devoured those sappy stories with happy endings.

But with the Hunger Games, it just seemed a little formulaic for me. Like, “romance + political theory + murder + badass teenage girl + adorable little sister + survival = enormously popular novel.” The second is better in my opinion, but so many people only read the first one. Also, I know this sounds silly, but the first one doesn’t end with a happy ending. Every single Harry Potter and Twilight book ended with some kind of a cathartic (is that even a word?) resolution that made you feel happy. “Well not everything ends with ‘Happily ever after’!” Yes, that’s why I read books. I don’t want to hear about problems without some happy solution. That’s what real life and political science classes are for. So I think the Hunger Games just kind of ended with too many questions to make me feel happy about it.

About the movie- I think it was a lot more helpful in explaining things than the book. For example, in the book you don’t actually know if Seneca is creating the fire or how Haymitch is getting them to alter the rules because everything you see is from within the arena, and it’s all just Katniss’s speculation. But in the movie you see Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman) and the hot plastic bag guy from American Beauty (Seneca) explaining things and shooting Katniss with fire. Maybe I’m a little dim, but I wasn’t so sure about how all of that was happening. It was to seeing for some concrete explanation. (I don’t know how that sentence made sense in my head, but it did. Hmm.) However, the one scene that I did find a little disappointing was one of the last scenes, when Katniss and Peeta are about to eat the berries. In the book, you know for sure that Katniss is just trying to be awesome and get one past the game makers. But in the movie, I don’t think I would have thought that if I hadn’t read the books. It looks like she really just loves Peeta. Idk, I guess it just doesn’t really matter but I think so much of the book is about how Katniss thinks about things that the book and the movie become being of different stories, so I can’t really compare them. Idk. I guess it doesn’t really matter anyway. Lots of people loved the movie.

I now have to go to Calculus, then I have to go freeze my ass off at sailing. Absolutely not looking forward to that. I love sailing, but please not today. Please.

Oh well. I guess I will just have to suck it up. Maybe I’ll get there early and rig it myself. I’ll be sure not to forget anything such as the one line that is responsible for making a sailboat a sailboat. Oh yes! And I am going to Minnesota tomorrow! That’s going to suck- being sick on an airplane. Oh, God. I really hate being sick for so many reasons. But it will be nice to explore UMTC, hopefully I will really like it. I think I will…

Adios, amigos. Stay healthy and do not go on a river if it is too cold to wear fewer than 4 layers (unless you are rowing. in which case as long as there is no floating ice, you’re good).

xoxo

Me.

Spring Break Pat II + 1st Week Back, and Crew

Long time no talk, eh? SO…a lot has been happening here, and I have been incredibly busy, but I officially have an unplanned hour or so of life when I am not trying to squeeze in some extra sleep so I shall update my blog. Allora…

The second week of Spring Break was pretty similar to the first, but a lot more homework and a lot less L&O (which may or may not have been replaced with some Bones, just sayin). On Thursday I went down to Long Island and spent a few days with my aunt and uncle until my family came down on Saturday. Then I stayed in a hotel with them which had a really nice pool so we spent a lot of time in the pool and the jacuzzi. Then we went to Sunrise Mass at Gilgo Beach which was nice, and then we made Easter dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house. It was a really nice holiday. AND…we each got plenty of Reese’s Eggs…which was probably the highlight of my Easter.

Then on Monday morning I had crew, and that afternoon we pulled a 2k. I honestly didn’t even finish it…it was so bad. I began so strong and I was holding just below my goal splits and I was feeling great, but then my lungs started hurting so badly and I just couldn’t breathe. During a 2k, you HAVE to breath, but the one thing I had to do the most was the most painful thing to do, and I just had to stop. I only had about 450 meters left, and I was doing great, but I had to stop. So, that was a little depressing. I think it’s because I am back in the USA and my allergies are starting up again, because I didn’t have them for the two years that I was in Switzerland. So I was nebulized and I got a prescription for Advair and I got an inhaler which I’ve been using so I’ve been feeling better. I still get really tight sometimes, but I am definitely better.

So then on Wednesday we all slept at the boat house, and that was a lot of fun. Not the most comfortable surface to sleep on, but not bad. On Sunday I went down to Saratoga for the Invitationals, and my boat was 6th of 22 I believe…so that’s not too bad…especially considering we were competing against these freakin Amazonian women. I swear, they were some of the most intimidating people I have ever seen. Like…wow. They. Were. Beast. But, we placed in the top third to I was happy with that. I also got a really nice t shirt there…

Then Monday – Thursday I had crew and school and STUDYING FOR APUSH. That kind of pushed me over the edge. Yesterday was the APUSH Exam, and I honestly have absolutely no idea how I did. I definitely have at least a 2, so…idk. HOPEFULLY I did well. Hopefully. After the exam I went to Babycake’s and had lunch with one of my friends, then we went to driver’s ed, and then I went home and watched Bones and slept.

Today, I went out with my dad and Mike in the morning and we got his cell phone (his birthday’s on Monday), then we went to a café in Beacon that makes a really nice latte and a really good Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookie, and then we went and visited my grandfather in Newburgh. We then went home and I did some homework while everyone else did yard work and continued our battle against the pool, and then I went to Triangulars! There was a possibility that they were going to be postponed because of the weather, but we were just delayed by one hour. Lourdes raced 8 boats: guys senior 4, girls V8, girls senior 4, girls lightweight 4, guys J4, girls J8, girls J4, and girls lightweight 8; and we won 1st in 6 of them! The other two we placed 2nd and 3rd, so we did really well. There were about 8 or 9 teams there, so we did really well. It was a great day for us. I was in the J8, and we were the 8th race of the day of 12, so we had already seen some of our other boats dominate, and that totally boosted our confidence. Yeah…it was a good day =]

Then, my mom drove me home, and my dad made pizza which was delicious. Now my dad, Sam, and I are going to Starbucks, and then I will shower, watch Bones, and to go sleep.

Good night!!

xoxo me

Spring Break 2011 Part I

Heyyy there blog! SO. I’m currently on Spring Break. AKA: Various combinations of crew, sleep, homework, and Law & Order: SVU reruns. It’s a lot better than it sounds (especially compared to going to school.) So, my week has looked like this.

Saturday: Okay so fine…I don’t remember what we did on Saturday. Other than that I had crew at 5:30 am. Other than that…I don’t remember.

Sunday: I REMEMBER MORE OF SATURDAY NOW! We went to Palm Sunday mass at 5:30 pm at St. Columba because on Sunday morning we went to help with the Easter baskets for SVDP. Actually, my mom and brothers went at around 8:30, and my dad and I went to Starbucks, and then to the baskets. I honestly missed that when we were in Switz…it’s a good thing to be involved in I think. After baskets, we went to Nonni’s house and my aunt and uncle and cousins came over and we had dinner and it was nice. Sam and I watched Hercules on the VCR lol. I miss Disney movies. And CHRISTMAS MOVIES.

Pause. So, this Christmas will be my last one “home” for the entire Christmas season, so my dad and I have decided to make this the most amazing Christmas season ever. Thus, we have already begun planning some of our Christmas events, and therefore I am experiencing early-onset Christmas obsession. It is a known fact that I experience a weird Christmas phase every August/September, but this is just ridiculous. It’s not even May yet! But, whatever. I am still going to break out the red, green, and gold glitter glue and make an amazing Christmas 2011 Calendar tomorrow.

Play.

Monday: spring break crew resumed. I REMEMBER MORE OF SATURDAY NOW!!! Okay, so after practice, the whole team went to breakfast at out coach’s parents’ house. At 10:30 my dad picked me up and we went home and I showered and vacuumed and whatever until church. Okay, Saturday is complete now.

BACK TO MONDAY: crew at 5 am. Just in case you were wondering, I wake up at 4:10 and Pitz picks me up at 4:33 (seriously) and we usually arrive a few minutes early. I was on land Monday morning, so I erged. It wasn’t bad at all though, we were given an easy piece. Then mio padre picked me up and (SURPRISE) we went to Starbucks. There, I was introduced to the world’s most annoying men. There was one big Russian guy and a Mexican guy with peroxide hair and a quiet guy (therefore, accent could not indicate his ethnicity), and the Russian and the Mexican were SO LOUD. OH MY GOD. I couldn’t even concentrate enough to eat my oatmeal. So, we left and went home. I showered and did some stuff and before I knew it, it was 4 pm. I prepared for crew again we went out, and it was nice. I don’t actually remember how that practice went, but it couldn’t have been bad it I don’t remember. Right? Right. After crew I went home, ate dinner, showered, and went to bed at like 9 pm.

Tuesday: Repeat Monday, except subtract the easy erg piece for the worst piece I’ve ever done, subtract the insanely loud men because we went to a different Starbucks, and instead of going out in the afternoon, insert a steady state erg piece.

Wednesday: Which is, today. Crew went well this morning, but the fours didn’t come in until 8:10, so we were there for a while. I also realized how sore I actually am. Like, my shoulders and my legs hurt, and my hands look like something tried to eat them. I’ve been using tape on my outboard hand because it hurts so badly when I row, but my inboard hand is fine after a while because I kind of become numb to it. IDK why my left hand hurts so badly though (I row port), the worst is inside my thumb and the middle of my middle finger. There’s a giant blister underneath my callus, so it won’t pop, and it just hurts like a bitch. But, whatever. I’ll be fine.

After crew I showered and made a salad and watched some L & O in peace, but my mom is home today so she’s kind of screwing up my routine. It’s okay though. I only woke up at 4 am to row my ass off while everyone else slept until 10 am. Of course I should be the one to clean the bathrooms and vacuum. After all, they must be much more tired than I am.

I must go now. Like I said- I have cleaning to do.

ciAO, me ;)