Sailing empty beaches with a dose of sibling warfare


Yesterday we were able to check sailing off of an acquaintance’s bucket list for his 50th birthday. It was a hot day in WI. We were asked earlier this month by his wife to surprise him with a sail. In the morning, we were able to sail into town for some lunch and live music. The winds were light, but that meant we didn’t do a lot of heeling which sometimes freaks out the newbies. 

After lunch we sailed to the beach. We spent several hours swimming. The beach that is boat to boat on the weekends was practically deserted. The photo that I took doesn’t do it justice. We had a bit of an issue. I tossed Paul his hat, wine glass, and the bottle of wine. Except he didn’t catch it all. The bottle sunk to the bottom, we saw a few bubbles and then it was gone. Who would’ve guessed? I was thinking of the floating message in the bottle.  Paul did end up stepping on the bottle later so I didn’t get in too much trouble. Lol. 

My friend and I gossiped about our mutual friend Cori. She is the one that got first place last weekend on the half in our age group while I took second. She beat my time by 10 minutes. My friend told me that Cori works out almost 30 hours per week. I thought that my 5 hours were a lot. She works out as much as I work! It just bothered me that she can stay up all night partying and whip me. Did I tell you that she smokes too?? Geez, I shouldn’t be such a crab because she always has been helpful giving me pointers even though I am technically competition. Albeit, not that much. When I heard how much she works out, she can have that first. Someday when I am independently wealthy I will work out more, but not that much! 

Anyway, after having an absolutely gorgeous day sailing, the other couple took us out to eat for their gratitude. They have been wanting to sail for a very long time and almost went for a weekend almost a decade ago. They had everything planned then found out that their hosts wanted to take them for the weekend without clothes. Good thing they didn’t put any money down for that trip!

Paul and I almost slept out on the hook for the first time this week. It was a hot, sunny, wind free evening when we left home. When we got to the marina it was cool, cloudy, and windy. We anchored at the beach in 3 to 4 foot waves and strong winds. Paul was afraid that the anchor would let loose and crash us into shore. That was the end of that idea. Maybe next week…

When we got home last night, I received a call from my son saying that the car wouldn’t start. Angel and I went out to get him last night around 10 PM. After the great day of sailing, it seemed like I was in another world. Back to reality! The car needed towing. On the ride back home, Alex and Angel fought something vicious. Alex got out of the car and started walking the 15 miles home. By the time I straightened things out and we all got home it was after 11:30PM. Seems like there are a lot more fireworks in fights when siblings are teens. And to think I thought I would be able to come home and go to bed after sailing!

Sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad. One thing is for sure…my life is always an adventure!

Not always out running

This morning Angel and I will be leaving the waterpark and heading to Milwaukee for my cousin’s wedding. Earlier this week my oldest cousin asked me to go running with him while we were both there for the wedding. 

I told him that I don’t run while I am on vacation. I don’t exercise. I don’t workout. I do nothing at all. 

He might have talked me into it if I hadn’t left home already. 

To save face, I told him that I was going to get my workout on the dance floor. 

When I am on vacation I lighten up a little. I have that extra beer. I eat the french fries. I might even dust off the wallet to buy a souvenir or two. But it don’t exercise. 

Yesterday after spending 10 hours at the waterpark, I was getting tired. We must have walked 20 miles. We climbed a skyscraper’s amount of steps while carrying heavy tubes. My 17 year old daughter questioned why I was feeling tired. Me, the great marathon runner with boundless energy. After 10 hours, why can’t I keep up with a 17 year old?

Tonight I will be tearing up the dance floor. 

But I don’t do anything at all while on vacation. I relax. I have that extra beer. I eat the fries.. 

Who am I kidding? I love leading an active life!

Race the sails

Last night was race night at the sailing club.

It was a windy evening and the waves were high. I am still rocking a bit as I type these lines.

I am an alternate racer when Paul’s regular crew can’t be there.

It is an unwritten rule that men do not race with their wives. The reasoning behind this is that the men get rather worked up and tend to do a lot of yelling and sailor talk. But I figured since I work with my husband I could handle that. So, in other words, I am used to functioning in that mode already. After the race, I was asked if I got yelled at a lot. I replied that I did not get yelled at but did the yelling. Lol. It is a well known fact that I am a lot more competitive than Paul.

After the race, the ladies put on a meal for the sailors. I was one of the very few women that joined the ranks of sailor.

To be honest with you, I would rather go on a leisurely cruise than race though. Racing is a lot of work. Everything happens very fast. At a moment’s notice you have to tack. This requires a lot of upper body strength to pull the lines as fast and as hard as you can. I can see why a lot of women who are older than me would have a hard time doing this. It is hard for me and I consider myself a strong woman.

Racing also requires getting out on the bow with the whisker pole. This pole holds open the sheets in opposite directions to catch the wind. It also looks like someone is out on the bow doing ballet (or pole dancing), which can be tricky when the surface is wet. After they are done with that dance, they should take a bow.

Sometimes racing requires fighting gravity to run from one side of the boat to another quickly over lines that are in the way. Last night I had to get up on the bow to untangle a line. It really is a bigger workout than you would think it would be. It took the wind out of me! All the while fighting off other sailors that are trying to steal your wind..

I took this picture at the boat races last year when I wasn’t racing. The class A sailors use their spinnakers which are the colorful sails at the front of the boat. We are not in class A. We did take 2nd place last night which wasn’t too bad since we botched our start. This weekend there is a full moon sailboat race. Sounds like an adventure to me!

There is no doubt that I will get roped into doing this again.


Branching out

Not only did I watch my daughter graduate this past weekend, have a small party for her, run 6 miles, watch a parade, walk some more, and sail a couple hours…I also spent a whole day up north getting the cabin ready for the season. And I wonder why I am tired!?!

This typically isn’t a terribly daunting task. It usually involves sweeping and vacuuming up tons of dead ladybugs. Big whoop! But this year was different. This past year several of our big trees had to be cut down because of oak wilt. That left the yard full of dead logs, branches, and brush. Unfortunately, due to a bit of a miscommunication and a broken axle on an old wagon that caused the wheel to fly off into someone’s yard, my brother Mark was unable to join us in the clean up while we were there.

That left my brother Luke, my husband Paul, my son Alex, and I to do the heavy lifting and yard work. Now I have complained in the past about not being able to help the guys. This year they needed me and I complained about how heavy everything was. Nevertheless, they hear me complain every year about how strong I am when there is no work for me to do and about how weak I am when there is a lot of heavy lifting. Lol.

We spent the day raking brush, picking up sticks, and stacking wood through brief sporadic rain showers. We were filthy. Then we put the dock in. I helped carry the dock to the water. The hardest part all day was putting the large raft into the water. We couldn’t move the huge logs without Mark and his chain saw. So we had to tilt the raft on its side and push it in through a narrow treeless gap. Alex and I had to use our arms to hold up the raft making sure it did not tip over. After awhile my arms started shaking. There were a couple rough patches where I jolted my back. Whine, whine, whine. We weren’t even sure that we would be able to get it in the water with all of the wood in the way, but we did. Paul urged us to keep working. What a work horse! That is one of the things that I like most about Paul, he has an incredible work ethic. Not a lazy bone in his body. 

This weekend I am planning on going up north and swimming despite a forecast of stormy cool weather. Yesterday I signed up for my first triathlon. I felt fearful when I had to sign the waiver that promised we wouldn’t sue if this activity causes injury or death. Oh my, now what did I get myself into?? If I can run a marathon, I can do a small triathlon. Right???

I practiced the bike to running transition and this weekend I want to work on swimming. Then my plan is to put it all together. I sure hope that I am giving myself enough time since the triathlon is in a month. It has been really cold this year to go out swimming in open water. 

Today I biked 12 miles followed by a 3 mile run. I haven’t biked that far since I was a teenager without transportation. I found it to be very tri-ing. Lol.

I had to keep repeating the same mantra over and over. I am a marathon runner. I am a marathon runner. I am a marathon runner! Imba maraphonn rrrumber…. 

The grass is greener here

This past week I heard some great news. Of course, it was preceded by a brief bit of bad news.

Almost a year ago, my best friend Lisa moved to Florida with her family. In the couple of months before she moved, she completely withdrew from her friends. I think she was trying to prepare herself for the separation. Or maybe it was just that she was going to school full-time and has 3 kids at home. Her husband was transferred to Florida for his job which ended up falling through. They ended up renting a house in Florida while making payments for a house here that they were having a hard time selling.

Lisa contacted us last week to tell us that they finally sold their house. We were happy for them that they didn’t have to make double payments, but were disappointed because it seemed like they were cutting their ties for good. Lisa also said that she wouldn’t be able to come back next month to run the marathon with me either. What a bummer!

Then something completely unexpected happened. Lisa told me that they decided to move back home in the beginning of June. I guess the grass is not greener in Florida after all! LOL

Life was pretty dreary without Lisa here last summer. All I did was train for the marathon. She was always the one that would get the girls together to go out. She liked to have girls nights at her house that included cooking, movies, camp fires, and games. We would have theme nights making sushi or Italian dishes. She was a very good cook. Now I will look forward to getting together with her.

She was also my running partner. My mom is happy that she is moving back because she said she worries about me running on the back roads by myself.  Lisa always motivates me to be a better runner. C’mon, we can run faster. We can run further. Don’t slow down. Don’t give up. Lisa also has just as many demons to outrun as I do. We can relate to each other on a deeper level because we have lived successfully through hard times. I told her about getting a new bike and she is already talking about doing a 50 mile bike ride. We will probably do our first tri side by side. It will be great to have her in my life again.  I was afraid I was going to have to let her go.

My 1st transition from biking to running

It was a warm spring like day. You know the kind. It was mostly cloudy with temps in the 40’s with a light breeze. The warmest day predicted for this week. Perfect day to try out my new bike and learn a few lessons.

The first thing that I did was find an old helmet. Then I dressed like I was going to go for a run. That was mistake number one! I put on a hat underneath my helmet. I sure looked like a clown. I didn’t notice that any neighbors took off of work for the occasion. So, who cares?

I decided to go for a 6 mile bike ride to break in my bike. Everything went great, except that I was absolutely freezing. I had forgotten how much of a wind biking creates. I felt like I was running against a 25 mph wind on a cool day. The faster I went, the colder I got. My hands became red and swollen. Was that a little frost bite coming on? Even though I budgeted an hour and a half lunch break, I was off on that. I had to stop indoors for a few minutes to warm up. My ears were cold and my fingers were tingling.

After the 6 mile bike ride, I decided to transition over to a 5 mile run. Running was rather interesting. After getting off of the bike, I felt like I couldn’t walk straight. Almost like I spent the day sailing. My equilibrium felt slightly off. Watch out, dizzy blonde runner! I felt like I had a couple shots of whiskey after roller skating for a couple of hours. It took about a mile to retrain my body to run like normal. I had to tell myself several times that I know what I am doing since I have been running for years. I was able to complete my run like normal, but it was a slow start.

I probably won’t be doing too much biking in the next couple of weeks. My main focus right now is getting ready to run a marathon in May.

***Note to self***So far on my first transition I learned a few very important lessons. First, dress a lot warmer than I would if I was running. Second, it make take longer then an hour and a half especially if I do not dress right. Third, I have to retrain myself mentally to run.




Cabin chaos, part 1


Back in 1950, my great-grandparents bought a double lot on a quiet lake. The lake has been built up quite a bit since then and is not as quiet as it once was. But it is still beautiful. They built a cabin on the lake. When I was growing up, the only running water in the cabin was two sinks in the kitchen. We had an outhouse with a garage located between the cabin and the outhouse. There was also a boat house, a fish cleaning shack, and a screened in cook house with a long redwood table.

My family originally built a concrete retaining wall with stairs going down to the water in the center. It has since crumbled and shifted over time. The boat house was in bad shape and was torn down when I was a kid. The garage was the next building to go. The roof caved in and it housed bats. Every time that I had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, the bats would swoop down at me. I turned on the lights outside in an attempt to keep them away. When I had the lights on, the guys across the road would see me running to the outhouse and whistle at me. It probably didn’t help that I was screaming and flailing about while in little summer nightgowns. If I could make it past the bats and creepy guys, my next fear was always the wasps. How did people survive having to use an outhouse all the time??

Eventually the garage was torn down as well. There was a lot of junk inside. There also was an antique car from the early 1900’s that was in rough shape. A lot of times my family was too cheap to buy new stuff for the cabin, so they took up mismatching plates, silverware, etc..

This summer I am planning on swimming across the lake to prepare for the tri. I will probably not be biking or running up north though because at this time we do not have an easy way to bathe. I am afraid that stinking would be frowned upon and my family would no longer support my crazy fitness habits.

This is going to be a very short series telling some of the funniest stories.