Friday, June 30, 2006

Thrashing Things Out

I've been feeling pretty restless lately. I went for a good long swim in the ocean this evening by myself. It was really nice. I felt like I could go on forever, but Raybon was waiting for me to call him so he could come from downtown Flip to pick me up. I like my social swims, but what I needed tonight was a good long swim alone with my thoughts. I feel quite a bit more relaxed now. Swimming on my own with no clock and no pressure to stay for less time or more, or swim slower or faster helped me find my groove. No pressure to be happy or entertaining or responsive or conversational. My back was hurting before I got in, but now it actually feels better.

Don't get me wrong. See post below to know how much I love swimming with other people. But everyone needs some down time. The ocean is a really nice place to find some space.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Jesus is My Lane Line

I went swimming in the Ocean yesterday with Eleven, Oceana, and Camille. Camille posted about it on her blog (check it out on the link to the right.) I really loved the way she described it. Very poetic.

Camille made it out to buoy #2! The farthest she'd made it before that was halfway out to buoy #1. I was very proud of her. She was very brave and did very well. She isn't used to sighting, so I told her I would swim to her right and she would know she was swimming the right direction by looking at me when she took a breath. She said "You'll be my lane cord!" I told her, that yes, I would be her lane line. She said, "That is the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me." Eleven quipped "Jesus is my lane line! Wouldn't that be a great title for a cheesy sports book?" That cracked me up, hence the title for this blog.

Seeing Camille and Eleven improve and learn to love the water makes me very happy. It makes me happy that it makes me happy, because it makes me feel like a more caring person. I think that is what I've always wanted out of club sports. Everyone working towards improving, and everyone encouraging everyone else in whatever goal they might have. In the book Gold in the Water by P.H. Mullen, he says that sports matter more than anything else. I remember reading it, and getting caught up in it, and almost saying out loud with all my heart "Yes." A few seconds later, I laughed and said "No!" I mean, please, can't we all think of things more important that sports? Who would say sports are more important than friendship or family? But sports, when done with the right attitude and with the right people, are truly a great way to build your character and confidence, and build lasting friendships. It really is a unique opportunity for building other people up in a way that is almost entirely positive. I turn to my friends for help when I have problems, which means a lot. (Thank you, thank you, all of my wonderful friends! You are all so great! Thanks for listening to all of my bullshit!) But sharing the joy of accomplishment and pleasure of activity is something positive and refreshing.

Monday, June 26, 2006

HOT!

I'm way hot. I mean, literally. I feel hot. I don't feel like it is coming from the outside, but it feels like I'm burning up inside. I don't think I have a fever. The only times I felt good today are when I ate ice cream and sucked on ice cubes. I did two trips out to buoy #4 yesterday after jumping in and sitting in a wet bikini for an hour, and I didn't really get cold. My teeth and lips did, but that's about it. I feel like crap right now though. Can I just move into the ocean?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

More Than This

Oxy and I once talked about how it was hard to think of a happy, positive song that wasn't completely vacuous. Most songs that I like are about unfulfilled longing or frustration with the world we live in. The closest thing I came up with for a song that wasn't neither sad nor vacuous was "More Than This" by Roxy Music. I guess there are two ways of looking at it: you can be relieved and content that there is nothing more than what we have, or you can be sad that there isn't more. I think when I listen to this song, I go back and forth between both points of view, changing it at every line, sometimes thinking the opposite way about the same line on a different listening.

This song is going through my head now. I worry about my future, but I really don't know what it will be. There really isn't anything I can do but deal with the here and now. I think in previous posts I've talked some about how the past is past, and I just need to deal with what's in front of me with grace, love, and wisdom. But maybe the future needs to be dealt with with the same sort of detachment that I feel I need to have with my past. I've felt that I need to put faith in some mystery and reward waiting for me that is beyond my understanding, but maybe everything I need to know about what I want in my life is available to me right now. I know this is all a bunch of hazy rambling. I'll pick this up and look at it a little bit more later.

More Than This (Bryan Ferry)

I could feel at the time
There was no way of knowing
Fallen leaves in the night
Who can say where they´re blowing
As free as the wind
And hopefully learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning
More than this - there is nothing
More than this - tell me one thing
More than this - there is nothing
It was fun for a while
There was no way of knowing
Like dream in the night
Who can say where we´re going
No care in the world
Maybe i´m learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning
More than this - there is nothing
More than this - tell me one thing
More than this - there is nothing

Spa Day

Raybon got a $250 certificate to a spa in a swanky area of Hose. Yesterday, he and I went and split it. We got there early and watched people drive by in Ferraris and Porsches. Raybon says this is just where rich people come and hang out, hence all the fancy schmancy cars. I thought there were way too many of them for it to just a normal day. It turns out I was right. There was some kind of car show. I've never been one to be turned on by guys in hot, expensive cars. I guess it does get my attention, but I am more likely to think that they are either shallow or are compensating for something than to think they are sexy. All hot cars mean to me is the person has money, and all that means to me is money is important to them. I looked at the guys in the cars, and they looked pretty geeky for the most part. I imagine there is a lot of overlap between tech nerds and car nerds. They are entranced by the power of their machines, be they cars or computers. I'm a computer nerd, but I like programming and logic more than hardware. I like the internet, too, because it's a mode of expression.

Anyhoo. Raybon got a massage and I got a manicure/pedicure. It was kind of nice, but I sat in a chair for almost 2 hours, and my butt started hurting. My feet needed some work, though. I like having nice looking toenails. I don't wear makeup, but I like painting my toes. It doesn't feel heavy, and I don't have to do it every morning. It doesn't feel like I'm hiding under a mask. It feels more like decoration.

The spa was pretty swanky. They provided everything: hairbrushes, every product under the sun, towels, robes, slippers. They had a quiet room with reclining chairs for you to relax in. Fresh fruit, water. I spend some time in the hot tub before my mani/pedi. I didn't even think to bring my swim suit. Everyone else in the large hot tub wore one but me. I didn't really care. I worried a little that they would be offended, but it was told that they were optional. I've gotten a lot more comfortable with my body since the last time I went hot tubbing nude with a bunch of girlfriends 7 years ago. I think showering at the pool has gotten me over my shyness in that way.

When I got to the spa, I was told that conversation was allowed only in the outside lounge area. This made me very happy. Not that I hate being sociable, but the idea of finding a place where you can be free to be quiet seemed like such a relief. Still, the two trophy brides that shared the spa with me spent the whole time bitching about their husbands and kids. OK, maybe they weren't trophy brides, but they were sponsored. Didn't have to work. At least they didn't talk to me, so I didn't have to talk to them. I wonder if they knew I was annoyed. Maybe they were annoyed by my nakedness and I was annoyed by their talking.

After the spa, Raybon and I headed to downtown Flip. On the way, he asked me about my mom's parents and her aunt and uncle and how they got married in a hurry before they were forced into the interment camps during World War II for being Japanese. I burst into tears. I think that's the first time I've ever cried about it. Part of me wonders if they would have gotten married if they didn't have to do so to stay together because of the camps. I've been thinking about marriage lately, and how my belief has always been that I would discover what love meant after years and year of commitment and marriage. But my great aunt and uncle are now in their 80's and are living separately after decades of marriage, children, and grandchildren. My Grandma and Grandpa spent the last year and half of my Grandpa's life apart. My paternal grandmother was married to my step-grandfather despite serious problems in their relationship, because she was Catholic and didn't believe in divorce. I am sure she died believing she did the right thing. Maybe she did. Three of her children have been in marriages that have lasted over 30 years, so maybe her model of dedication paid off in that sense. I feel like some of the hurt from their marriage was passed down through my father to me, though. Was it worth it? I don't know. I wish I did. I think we make sense of our lives by making sense of our past and the past of our families. At least my maternal grandmother is still alive, and I can talk to her about it. I'll think about it.

We got to Flip, and we had some lunch at a taqueria. Raybon wanted to hang out downtown, and I wanted to go home and take a nap. We compromised. I stayed in the car and napped while he hung out downtown. We then went to go see Cars. It was pretty good. The main voice was Owen Wilson, who is one of my favorite actors. That made up for my total lack of interest in a movie that is about a world with only cars and no people.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Writer's Block?

I haven't been quite as prolific lately. Maybe it's because I'm back to work. Maybe it's because I feel like I've reached a nice ending point with my post on forgiveness. Maybe the stuff that is going through my mind just isn't blog-worthy or blog-appropriate. I think my blog started a little more light hearted, and then got more serious as I recovered from surgery. I guess it is nice to go through different phases of introspection and light-hearted musing about the surrounding people and events in my life.

I've been really inwardly focused since my surgery, and I'm trying to shake that off a little bit. Everything has been all about me and my surgery. I think all my energy went into my recovery and all that surrounded that. I am in a habit now of forgetting that other people have lives and shit that they are going through. I haven't been as patient lately either. Forgive me, anyone who I might have slighted by not asking you about your stuff, or anyone who I may have gotten impatient with for not asking me about my surgery. I'm going to try not to be so egotistical.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My deepest darkest secret


I have a scar from a navel piercing. I had my navel pierced when I was 17 years old. I think the reason I did it is because I wanted to have a secret. I didn't have any other secrets, really. I don't have many now. Before I posted this, I called my dad to tell him. He took it pretty well, i guess, but I think he's a little disappointed in me. I never told him before, because I was always afraid he'd think I must have been a big slut when I did it. Seeing as that I had never even been kissed at the time that is about as far from the truth as possible. I was a very good girl, I guess. Although I guess we are all good girls and we are all bad girls aren't we?

I didn't get my ears pierced until I was 13, and only after my Dad allowed me to reluctantly when my maternal grandparents gave me some Black Hills Gold earrings. I remember being embarrassed when I got them, and didn't say thank you, and tried to hide them. Sneaky grandparents. I was very happy when I got them pierced. I felt like kind of freak not having them pierced. All of the other girls who didn't have their ears pierced were all prissy, unpopular goody-two-shoes like me.

OK, that's not really my deepest darkest secret. My favorite fortune cookie of all time is one that Oxy got. It said, "You think it has been a secret, but it never has been one." He, he, he.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Mammals

My favorite CD right now is Departure by The Mammals. I bought the CD just based on their sound, but their lyrics are both deep and riveting. They are political and spiritual and introspective. They are an mix of Appalachian music and rock, but listening to their music, it is almost hard to place them in a genre. You'll like them, I promise. Check them out http://www.themammals.net/

If you already know of them and know of any music like them, please let me know.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Catalina Channel vs. English Channel, Part II

In my previous post, Catalina vs. English Channel, I quoted Dr. Penny Lee Dean as saying "The Catalina Channel swim is comparable to the English Channel in conditions, difficulty, distance, and challenge to the swimmer." I think I may have misunderstood what she meant by comparable. I think she meant "suitable for comparison", versus alike or similar.
ConditionsEnglish ChannelCatalina Channel
Length2120.5
Temperature
52-64 degrees F62-74 degrees F
Challenges"cold water, currents, tides, rough seas, ship traffic""currents, weather and conditions, marine life"
CurrentsSignificant Currents"There are no significant currents like there are in the English Channel."

(Above info is from Open Water Swimming, by Penny Lee Dean.)

Hmmm... The water is a lot warmer in the Catalina Channel. My one natural talent, if you can call it one, that relates to swimming is my ability to withstand cold water. This makes the English Channel more appealing to me than the Catalina Channel. I like cold water. I definitely don't want to do a long swim in 74 degree water. If I did it, I would want to swim it when the water was at the colder end of above range, more like 62 degrees.

It seems from the info in the above table that the English Channel is a significantly more challenging swim than the Catalina Channel. Would I, knowing this, be satisfied with swimming the Catalina Channel vs. the English Channel? Well, yeah, in a way. I mean, honestly, I'd be satisfied with my life if I didn't do either. I think the training would be challenging and fun, and I'd feel tremendously accomplished if I did either, though. More than just accomplished: I'd be amazed. I'm not 100% certain I can do either. There would be a small part of me that would always feel not quite the same about swimming the Catalina Channel instead of the English Channel though, knowing that it is there and it is more challenging. But why? Is that part of me an important one? Worth all the extra expense and non-swimming-related effort? I'm not sure. I'm still leaning towards no, at least with where my life is right now.

Forgiveness

I've been taking a break from church for a couple of years. My reasons for it have nothing to do with a falling out with my church or God or Christianity. I wanted to take a break from a psychological pattern I feel I have that has been screwing up my relationship with God, and making me unhappy. I have an obsession with sin and purity. I love confession. I love the feeling of my sins being washed away. But everytime I went to confession, my mind would enter a struggle that would make me feel unhappy. I felt like I had to try with all my might to be sinless. Failing that, I would have to make a count of any sin that I made, and remember it in order to confess it, so I might be forgiven. An unconfessed sin wouldn't be washed away, leaving my soul in danger. I knew in my mind that this was impossible and illogical, and in my heart that it was unhealthy. I would always sin, because I am not perfect. I would never be able to realize when I am sinning at all times, because I am not all knowing. I couldn't remember every one of my sins, because I can't remember everything, and trying to remember every bad thing I do is an unhealthy obsession. I continued with this pattern for years, because I figured even if I couldn't do it perfectly, God was asking me to try my best. But even trying my best is asking for a perfection that I don't have.

Praise God! I think I may have come to a point where I can believe in God's forgiveness as the state we all live in constantly. Father Mel, my spiritual father, always told me that I only had to confess the sins that I felt weighed me down. Stubbornly, I didn't believe him. Confession is just a tool for understanding the state of forgiveness that we all live in, so that we can accept God's grace completely. I don't have to spend all my time trying to figure out if I was right or wrong, and punish myself by remembering my sin. God's love and forgiveness are always there, no matter what. There is no punishment, I don't have to flog myself or obsess about my sin. Anything like that which would interfere with me accepting God's love is demonic. Confession is there to help me accept the forgiveness which is always there for me. Walking with God isn't about doing right and wrong, but knowing he loves you and accepting his grace.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Here you go, Oxy

Oxy's been on my case for a while about doing this list.

Things I like, but shouldn't:

John Denver – Country roads, take me home. I don’t own any John Denver music, but I grew up listening to it. Some people who I consider cooler than me really dislike him, so I figure I shouldn’t like him, but I do. I cried when he died.

America’s Next Top Model- I just find the cattiness of it both funny and a little enlightening. Tyra Bank’s seriousnessness and her silly adjective “fierce” are too funny juxtaposed with the ridiculousness of modeling.

MarioKart – Huge frickin waste of time. I don’t play it much anymore. There is something about the instant sense of accomplishment from winning a video game that I find somehow rewarding and completely empty at the same time.

McDonald’s - Happy Meals. Yum. Fast food in general. Wendy’s frosties, too

Running – Any swimmer knows that running just isn’t that good for you. I like the high I get when I run. I’m trying to figure out if I can do it without pain, once I recover from my multiple accidents.

Stupid teen movies - She’s All That. 12 Things I Hate About You. I can’t explain this. I hated being a teenager, and don’t much like teenagers. I think it might have to do with the fact that I was emotionally developmentally frozen at the age of 9, which is about the age I thought teenagers were really cool.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of my favorite TV shows. I actually thinks this is a defensible position, but I don't want to get into it right now.

Things I don't like, but should:

Classical Music - I can get into it sometimes, but I don’t generally have the attention span. I know I should, because the space my head is when I am able to like it is a good one. Same thing with jazz.

Bats - Everyone loves bats but me. I’m sticking with scary rabies carrying flying rodents.

Museums – I like drawing. I like the artwork of people I know. I really like a lot of beautiful paintings. But I hate walking around all day feeling like I should be feeling and thinking something that I just don’t.

Radiohead - I just don’t get it. Sorry. Again, apparently I’m not cool enough.

Things I don't like, and shouldn't like:

Processed cheese

Porn - Sorry, 90% of men out there. For my sake, let’s pretend you don’t look at it.

The mall - I’m with you Oxy. Shopping make me sick to my stomach.

Things I like, and should like:

Swimming - Everyone should swim. Yes, that means you, Oxy, Raybon, RDV Knights, EMA, Ric, E.K, and Lupe. Eleven says I am a swimming evangelist.

The ocean - The smell (usually), the color, the feel, the temperature, the vastness, the waves, the power, the mystery, the foam.

Fruits and Vegetables - Yummy.

Reading.

Music.

NPR.

Things I like, and are illegal:

Speeding. My Maserati does 185...I lost my license, now I can't drive. (Joe Walsh's, "Life's Been Good To Me." My Chyrsler TC by Maserati never went 185, and doesn't go anywhere right now.)

Making mixed CD’s. I just think the artists should appreciate me sharing their music. I've totally bought an artists CD based on a track a friend has put on a mixed CD.

Sneaking snacks into the movies - Not sure that it’s actually illegal, but against the rules at least.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Addictions, part II

I previously posted about my addictions. My operation has forced me to take a break from some of my addictions, which made me kind of scared that I would get depressed. You know what? I feel better than ever. I haven't been able to swim, and that's actually been fine. I pined for a few days, but I'm fine with it now. I was stoked when I got a doctor's appointment for tomorrow, where I could be released to swim. I told Raybon "I have an appointment to swim! I mean, um, I have a doctor's appointment." But if I can't swim for a while longer, I'm totally cool with it. When I went on vacation last time, I worked in an open water swimming meet in Hawaii. I don't think I'll do that again. If I go on vacation, I want to take a break from everything in my everday life that is stressful, even if it is fun.

I haven't been able to work. I'm not the workaholic I used to be, but I thought I'd get depressed not working, like I did when I went on Worker's Comp. I'm fine. I love napping. I love listening to music. I like reading. I love the time I have to be quiet and introspective. This is the best vacation I've had in years.

I did have a few days there where I was spinning and fretting and nervous and sad, and occasionally crying. This is someting to be expected after surgery, so I've read. But I'm realizing that I have nothing to be afraid of at all. I think my addictions do cover up a deeper pain that I may have. But I'm not afraid of that anymore, anymore than I am afraid of the pain I get when battling my little green demon. There's nothing I'm dealing with that I can't handle with God's help, and the love of the people I have around me. Maybe my fear of what lies behind my addictions is the blue meanie my dad was talking about in his comment on that blog entry. Maybe he's as much a paper tiger as the little green demon.

I'm learning a lot about myself. My head was always full of "What if this, what if that?" Did I go to the right school? Did I marry the right person? Did I choose the right career? Did I hurt someone by failing to meet his or her expectations? Was I right? Was I wrong? Was he right? Was she wrong? Could I have tried harder? None of those questions matter to me right now, and right now the only one that matters is a rhetorical one: WHO CARES??? My life is what it is, and I'll deal with obstacles as I meet them with as much love, strength, grace, and wisdom as I have at my disposal, and then I'll move on.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bono Probability Positioning System


http://www.stunned.org/bono/googlebono.htm

"..The Bono Probability Positioning System version 2 Google Bono (beta) utilizes Dublin's extensive surveillance camera network in conjunction with facial recognition software, Google Maps and advanced probabilty techniques to allow visitors to determine the probability of seeing Bono in any of the most probable locations in Dublin's city centre in real time."

Oh...my... gosh! If I was the 17 year old girl I once was, I would probably be on my way to the airport to get on a plane to Dublin right now. Do you think if I dedicated a Channel swim to Bono, he would show up and give me a kiss at the end? Maybe that could be my cause, and I could get people to sponser me. I could get donations over the internet that would pay for Bono to meet me at the end of my Channel swim. Bono could give the proceeds to the One Campaign, or just buy a new Mercedes, for all I care. Just kidding of course. My days of pining for Bono are over. Um, yeah...

As a teenager, I would lie in bed at night and wonder where Bono was. Was he washing his hands, eating his breakfast, sleeping next to his wife? I knew at least that he was breathing and that his heart was beating. If I got dreadlocks or shaved my head, would that be a turnoff? Would he mind that I didn't shave my legs? If you gave me any random person, place, or thing I could find someway to relate it to Bono within a second.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dogma

One of my favorite directors is Kevin Smith. Probably my favorite movie of his is Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, because it is just completely silly, and the one moral it has is that somehow a stoner with a completely filthy mouth and rotten attitude towards women can somehow be a good, innocent person. I had a crush on a guy a little like Jay (although not so extreme) in college, so I can kind of relate.

Eleven and I have similar tastes in our favorite movies. One of her favorite movies is Dogma. I liked that movie, too, because it was funny and I found it thought provoking. I think Eleven saw a deeper meaning in than I did, and it touched her more deeply. I'm going to watch it again, because I've been thinking a lot about stuff, and it kind of relates back to what Eleven was saying she liked about Dogma. She likes how it shows how much God loves us as we are. I don't think I got what she was meaning at first, but I think I might now. She said how she loved how God was a skeeball fanatic. When I saw the movie, I just thought that was funny, but I kind of get that it is more than a joke. There is so much about our lives in this modern world that seems so divorced from anything I figure God must have imagined that he wanted for us when he created this world. Like skeeball, for example. Like computers, blogging, freeways, air conditioning. But maybe there is a way of finding something sacred in our everyday lives that I've been missing.

I feel lost in this world, because it seems kind of poisoned. I think the one time I felt like I loved the world I lived in was on 9-11, when I felt like it was in danger. I drove to work on 880 and 101, where you would be hard pressed to find anything resembling the Garden of Eden, but I realized that if it were gone, I would miss it. Maybe that feeling I had should be carried on a little bit. I'm not arguing that we should feel attached to billboards and asphalt, but this is the world we live in. It's the freeway that I've taken to pick up loved ones from the airport, where I've had interesting conversations with friends, where I've fumed about my horrible ex-boss, where I mused about God and the mystery of life. There is a part of me that wants to tear it all down, go back to nature, and live life more simply. But there are ways to find beauty in the life I live in, and in the people God has given me to love. Maybe God didn't create the tacky Boardwalk, or chlorine and lane lines, but we can find joy there, and God wants joy for us. Maybe God isn't asking all of us to be revolutionaries, to tear the world as know it to pieces and build something better back up. Maybe some of us are just here to love our Mom's, our husbands, our puppy dogs, and to find joy and God in whichever world we are born into, whether it's corrupt Washington, D.C., or impoverished Calcutta, India. Father Mel once said something like that to me, when I confessed what I felt to be sinful in just living here in the United States. I didn't buy it at the time, but maybe I'll give it more thought. I imagine God looks down at our country and is horrified, but he probably just knows we are the silly little fallible humans he created, and maybe he smiles at the good he sees as people go on with their everyday lives.

Kevin Smith probably said this a lot better than I did, and a lot funnier, too. Rent Dogma.

Finding contentment

I woke up this morning in a crappy mood. I didn't sleep well last night. I was anxious about some stuff. I almost felt better when I felt worse, because my purpose in life was simple: get better. I woke up this morning wondering if I should work or not. Maybe I'll take today off at least.

I went back to bed after I woke up, and I woke up again around 9:30, and felt a lot better. I downloaded some music I used to listen to growing up, some folksingers called Wendy and Mary. Here are the lyrics to my favorite song of theirs. My Mom liked Psalm 103 that I posted earlier, so I hope she likes this, too:

Psalm 62
Words and Music: John Michael Talbot

Only in God is my soul at rest;
In Him comes my salvation.
He only is my Rock, My strength and my salvation.
My stronghold, my Savior;
I shall not be afraid at all!
My stronghold, my Savior;
I shall not be moved!
Only in God is found safety,
When enemies pursue me.
Only in God is found glory,
When I'm found weak and found lowly.

I think I've found some peace that I didn't have before. See earlier posts about fate and coincidence (Could it be Satan? and Another coincidence! and Coincidence or not?) I've decided that if God wants to interfere with fate, there isn't going to be much of my will involved anyways, so I shouldn't worry about it too much. If there is something he wants from me, it's going to hit me like a ton of bricks. What is left to me is make the best decisions based on what I know, not on what I speculate, and to pray that I can be open to his will.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

It Hurts to Laugh


I was lying in bed sans contacts or glasses when Raybon came in and just started talking to me. My mouth was under the covers, but the rest of my face was exposed. He started saying "You know how in Superman, I think it was Superman II, Superman flies around the earth really fast and turns back time?" I nod and stare, but don't say anything. He is really excited. "Well you know how people say that if he did that everyone would go flying off the earth?" I'm lost, but I don't say anything, just stare blanky, while I smile hugely under the covers. "Well, what if he stopped the earth really really slowly? Then people wouldn't go flying off into outer space. I mean, things would get kind of f**ked up with the oceans and s**t, but at least people wouldn't go flying off into other space." I think he is being totally adorable, like a little boy. I'm supresssing laughter. He finally realizes he's going on and on and I'm just staring at him, and he gets mad. He says "I'm just trying to have a conversation with you, and you're just staring at me!" I protest "No, no keep going." He leaves the room, while I bust out laughing. I yell after him "Why don't you send that question into MythBusters?" He yells back "That's stupid. They can't stop the earth!" I can't stop laughing. It hurts my stomach, but I can't stop.

I go into the living room after a while, and he is sulking. I ask him how he happened on thinking about this, and he said "Well, the new Superman is coming out. Aren't you interested in this? People are going to be talking about this kind of stuff." I told him I don't know enough about physics to speculate, but I guess what he was saying makes sense. He was upset because his attempt at having a conversation was laughed at. He is over it. He is a good natured guy.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Day 2

I don't feel too bad. A little achy still, but I'm off the Vicodin. I may even venture out of the house tomorrow.

Everyone has been so nice to me. Maybe I should get surgery more often. :) I got flowers from my parents today. S., 007, V., and Jay all sent me nice emails. Oxy came to visit me today and brought me vanilla ice cream from Marianne's. Eleven was nice enough to lie to me and tell me that this morning's long course workout was terrible. Lupe called me the night before my surgery. Miss S. called me after my surgery and told me to expect flowers on Tuesday. E.K. and Ric visited me at the hospital and brought me roses. I'm lucky. I don't deserve such good friends. I feel very blessed.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Blogging Under the Influence

My surgery went well. I am a little achy, but I am Vic'd-out. They put tubes in almost every hole in my body, and made some new holes, too. My voice is scratchy. When Miss S. from my work called me to see if I was OK, she thought I was Glenn. She was a little worried. She asked me "Your voice won't always be like that, right?" He he. Just call me Marge.

When I woke up, everything was blurry. I thought I was lucid. I started talking to my nurse about being pre-med. I told her I took my MCATs and bragged about my scores, but now that I think about it I told her my SATs. Ha ha. That's pretty hilarious that I was bragging about being smart while talking complete nonsense.

E.K. and Ric came by to see me at the hospital. They brought me pretty pink roses. Thank you, thank you! Being sick isn't so bad when you have good friends who care about you. Raybon has been great, too. He took me to the hospital and stayed there, and he hates hospitals. He's been good about bringing me food and drink. I broke a glass of grape juice already, so I'm not allowed to get myself stuff. Plastic cups only, too. I can only imagine what total nonsense I am writing right now.

Psalm 103

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
Bless the LORD, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!

This is Friday's Psalm for morning prayer. It's been a while since I've said morning prayer. So long, that I giggled when I said "Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon all world rulers, on our President George Bush, on our Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger..."

Go under with a smile

This aint no way to be
Stuck between my shadow and me
The sun's going down
It's getting dark in here
Still folks say:"I got nothing to fear"
I'm so tired of repeating myself
Beating myself up
Gonna take a trip and multiply
Least go under with a smile

That's the song I have stuck in my head. It's "Multiply" by Jamie Lidell, from the album Multiply. It's a great song. I just thought it was kind of a funny song to have in my head before I go into surgery.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wednesday Evening Ocean Swim

I met at Cowell's last night with Oceana, V. (her official alias, since that is her nickname), 007 and Eleven. The water was marvelous. It was a little cold getting in, but once we were in it was perfect. Everyone took 2 trips out to buoy #4. This is my last swim before my surgery. It was nice getting to talk to everyone about my fears a little bit. I asked Oceana if she ever felt sad if she had to be out of the water for 2 weeks, and she said no, but that she has more practice at it than I do. For me it is an unknown. In the 3 years, I've been swimming, I haven't taken many breaks. My first year, I did, because I was a normal person for whom swimming was something I dragged myself to, just like most people who go to the gym have to drag themselves. Last year I took a brief break when my shoulder first hurt. Since then, I've become more addicted, I think. I think my anxiety about my surgery is being displaced into anxiety about not swimming. I'm afraid of getting depressed if I don't swim. There have been times when I have been sad about everything else in my life except swimming, and swimming is the only thing that gets me going. I won't let this become self-fulfilling prophecy. I think so much of my identity is wrapped up in swimming, even though I am a multi-faceted person. I'll use this opportunity to find out more about myself. Relax, find some balance.

The girls all volunteered to come visit me and cook for me. I feel loved. I was kind of worried about what I would do with all my time next week. Eleven suggested I read Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. I'll try it. I still have to finish a couple of books I started a million years ago. That is something to look forward to. I haven't done much reading lately, and hopefully it will refocus my attention span, and I'll get back into it.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Don't wanna


I have surgery in two days. I'm scared. It is pretty routine, outpatient surgery, but I am scared anyway. I don't want to be cut open. I don't want to be out of the water for two weeks.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Let's try this again

This is a briefer post about my personal demons that hopefully won't get erased. I was thinking about something my Dad once told me when I was around 13 years old. He told me that there are all sorts of demons that one has to face. I think we were Christian at the time, but I think the demons he was talking about were from Nicherin Buddhism. First the smaller demons attack you, and once you defeat them you move on to larger demons. My Dad and I were both athletes at the time: I, an age group swimmer, he a competitive cyclist. He said that the voice in your head when you are training that tells you to quit is a little green demon. That is smallest and first demon that you have to face. I think the last demon he said you have to face is the Devil King from the 6th Heaven. He said that he had faced him and lost, but that he was still hoping to face him again.

I'm not sure whether I've defeated my little green demon yet. When I was a little kid, I was very whiny. If it was too hot, I whined. If I had to go to practice, I whined. I dragged my heels to every dry land workout. Around the time I was 13, this started changing, I think in part because of what my Dad told me about my little green demon. On one car ride where we were driving through the desert in car with no air conditioning, my Dad remarked on how surprised he was that I whined less than my brother and sister, since I was generally the whiny one. This made me very pleased. In junior high school P.E. class, I went from being a 9 minute miler to a 7 minute miler. In swimming, I started placing, and making B times instead of C times. Unfortunately, I quit swimming at this time I was making this breakthrough. I still hadn't got out of the habit of begging my parents to let me quit swimming, and they finally let me quit. I sort of regret it, and wonder what would have happened if I had kept at it. I think in part I didn't ask my parents to join again because I had too much pride to admit that I really didn't want to quit. I had insisted for years I hated swimming, while they insisted I really liked it, which I really resented. I couldn't admit they were right. This may be the first time in my life that I sort of am admitting that they were.

I think whatever demon I had that made me hate training is gone. He might come back sometimes, but pretty much my favorite thing to do is to kick his ass. But I think I've moved on to whatever the next demon is. I'm not sure how to define it. It's some combination of lack of self-confidence and lack of strong sense of purpose. Every time I race, there is a part of me that wonders why I am doing it. I rarely think of really, really good reasons for doing it, but I can always think of lots of really bad reasons for not doing it. I think fear of failure is the major reason for not doing it. I'm definitely not over my fear, but I think by racing at least I'm trying to face up to it. I hope someday I can laugh in that demon's face, that kicking his ass will become my favorite thing to do. It’s hard for me to put a finger on why it is I like to compete, but maybe that is just it. I need to get to the point where all the fears that make me not want to compete are gone. In a way, I’m lucky that I’m a mediocre athlete for that reason. My fear of failure won’t go away simply because I know I won’t fail. It will have to go away because I’ve conquered the fear.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Could it be.....Satan?

I was just writing a post about some of my personal demons and my religious background. I went to save it as draft after writing quite a bit and then lost all my work!!! This keeps happening! This happened to me in college when I was taking a class on William James and trying to defend faith in God. This happened earlier in this blog! (See "May 29, Coincidence or not?") It's frustrating and confusing! I think, if it is God that is causing it, does he think I am too poor a witness to represent him? If it is Satan, should I just be more dogged in trying to post? Is it all just a silly coicidence?

Oxy's back!

Just thought you should all know she arrived safely in San Jose at 10:16 this morning bearing gifts of nori from Japan for Nori. She says it very high quality nori. I will have to make my bestest, bestest sushi with it. It is almost black, which Oxy says is a sign of high quality nori. She says the best nori is from Japan. (Of course. Everything best is from Japan. Ask any Japanese person.) This is the second time I've received nori as a gift. E.K. gave me some yummy nori from her home town in Korea. Maybe I will become a nori connoisseur.

Happiness is...

Someone on our street let their 8 month old puppy get loose. It followed a cyclist 1 mile down our street. The cyclist stopped in front of our house as Raybon was getting in the car to go to work. The cyclist was about to get on the Highway near our house, and didn't want the puppy following him. I came out to see what was going on. Raybon called the owner, who was asleep. I took care of the puppy for about half an hour before he came by. We had her tied to our porch, but I didn't want to leave her there, because there are other bigger dogs that run around our neighborhood, and I was scared to leave her alone with no way of defending herself or running away. The puppy was blissfully ignorant of any such possibilities, and just wanted to be held and run around and explore. She was a very licky dog. She gave me a wet willy. Ewwww!!! When the owner finally came, I tried to get her to go to him, but she just wanted to run around my house some more. I caught her and handed her to him. I always want to keep dogs that I take in while we try to find owners. I figure, finders keepers, losers weeper. Not really, but it does seem a little neglectful to leave your dog outside to run all over the Flip Flop Mountains.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Night Before Berryessa Swim


I can't sleep. I tried to go to bed at 7:30. I am nervous about tomorrow, I think. I'm not even really thinking about tomorrow too much, but I still am nervous. Looking at the above picture makes me feel a little bit better. People look happy. I look happy. That's me on the left.

Negative thoughts: port-a-potties. Hot weather. Crowds. Poor results

Positive thoughts:
  • Cool water.
  • Nice people. Oceana. V. (still needs an alias.) S. (first mention, also needing an alias.) 007. Ahelee. Maybe even some people I haven't seen for a while, from other clubs, that I don't even know will be there.
  • Beautiful view.
  • Maybe other people in my club will do well, and I can be happy for them, even if I'm not up to speed.
  • No flipturns.
  • Finding my groove.

I think I need a goal for tomorrow. What should it be? It should be to relax and focus on my stroke. I think I'll set a ridiculously easy time goal for myself: must come in within 75 minutes for the two mile. Must come in within 35 minutes for the 1 mile.

I think I'll just try to enjoy the water. I never know why I am swimming until I am actually in the water. Then I know that is where I want to be.

Oooh. I just thought of something cool to look forward to. I think this is V.'s first open water race ever. I am happy for her. My first open water swim was so rewarding. It really felt like an accomplishment to finish a 2-mile lake swim. I think it was my first race ever as an adult (unless you count the Hour postal). It was so fun to swim it. I had no goals other than finishing. Maybe I'll just think about V., and maybe thinking about her experience will remind me why I loved open water swimming in the first place.

I used to have the above picture as my desktop background. People would always ask me about the funny guy on the right. I have no idea who that is. I think he just jumped in the picture.

Anti-Depressants = Instant Enlightenment?


The Four Noble Truths (Buddhism):

1. Dukkha: There is suffering and impermanence in life for all beings.
2. Samudaya: There is a cause for Dukkha, which is attachment and desire (tanha).
3. Nirodha: There is a way out of Dukkha, which is to eliminate attachment and desire.
4. Magga: There are paths that lead out of Dukkha, one named: the Noble Eightfold Path. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths)

Anti-depressants are known to lower one's libido. I wonder if lowering your libido is a side effect or the actual mechanism by which depression is stopped. I mean, if the cause of suffering is desire (see second noble truth) maybe anti-depressants get rid of suffering by going for the root cause.

I'm neither an expert on nor proponent of either Buddhism or anti-depressants. And this is not an invitation for you to ask me about whether or not I'm depressed and if I'm thinking about going on anti-depressants. My biggest pet peeve is when people tell me I should be happier. I think I am a happy person generally, and if I want to be unhappy sometimes, it's my prerogative. I push myself beyond my limits sometimes, and that is my choice. As an athlete and an introvert, I sometimes try things that make me afraid; hence I'm not always in the best of moods. Life is all about taking risks, and sometimes they work out and sometimes they don't. Don't tell me I should be happy when I'm not. Sometimes I'm happy, sometimes I'm sad, sometimes I'm thoughtful, sometimes I'm spontaneous. Sometimes life sucks so badly that being happy is just completely inappropriate. One of my favorite all time lines from Say Anything. When Corey Flood tells Lloyd "We don't want to see you get hurt" while Lloyd considers asking out Diane, he defends himself by saying "I want to get hurt!" I reserve the right to do things that might end up hurting me, and I reserve the right to be hurt when things don't work out the way I want. If it bugs you, you have the right to ignore me, but you don't have the right to choose my mood for me.

I suppose in some ways this relates back to the Four Noble Truths. Maybe suffering isn't such a bad thing; hence desire isn't such a bad thing. Desire brings suffering, but it also brings joy. I think it's a bad thing to romanticize suffering, and to pursue suffering as an end into itself, but it isn't a bad thing to risk it.

Jamie Lidell


I raved about Beck, but I thought I should mention something about his awesome opener, Jamie Lidell. His music is soulful and grooving. It sounds like he is channeling Stevie Wonder, but he still sounds very now. If you ever get a chance, check him out. I ran straight back after his set and got one of the last of his CD’s.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Seven lists of seven

Seven things to do before I die.

1. Swim the Pier to Pier (10K from Capitola to Santa Cruz)
2. Swim the English Channel
3. Raise a happy child
4. Achieve inner peace
5. Learn to paint
6. Learn to play guitar
7. Break a 30 in the 50 free

Seven things I cannot do

1. Be a double agent
2. Do improvisational comedy
3. Mix beer, wine, and hard liquor
4. Sprint (swimming, running, bicycling)
5. Lie convincingly
6. Vote Republican
7. Any number of taboo sexual behaviors

Seven things that attract me to [my spouse or significant other or best friend]

1. He loves me
2. He's not stupid
3. He's responsible
4. He can admit when he is wrong (well, he used to be able to anyhow)
5. He is affectionate
6. He is even-tempered
7. He isn't mean

Seven things I say most often

1. I'm hungry
2. I'm tired
3. Good job!
4. Um
5. Not so much
6. It really is
7. Cool (way overused)

Seven books (or series) I love

1. The Little Prince
2. To Kill a Mockingbird
3. The Dispossessed
4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
5. Pride and Prejudice
6. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
7. Geek Love
8. Dry

Seven movies I watch over and over again (or would watch over and over if I had the time)

1. Fargo
2. The Blues Brothers
3. Best in Show
4. Breakfast at Tiffany's
5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
6. Rushmore
7. Ghostbusters

Seven people I want to join in, too

1. Raybon
2. Eleven
3. Emma
4. Sandy
5. Monica
6. Andy
7. YOU!