Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Meme: What did you do in 2008 that was…


I took SiSi on her first overnight kayaking/camping trip. We were racing a wind storm, and had to work hard to get where we were going by the time the water became choppy. We got to explore the wilderness, go swimming in the river and make s’mores. She was a great partner in this adventure, and really got into putting up the tent, making and tending the campfire and paddling the kayak. I remember thinking, as we were coasting down the river the next morning, that my kid really impresses the hell out of me and I am glad she chose me as her papa.


I packed six months of endurance training into about 13 weeks, so I could run in my first triathlon in 15 years. I could have started earlier--in fact, I tried to start in February--but building this routine proved incredibly difficult for me. I just couldn’t get myself up to do anything. I don’t remember now if it was because of anything in particular (note to self: blogging is good for remembering), but I do remember being frustrated that, after having already trained for and accomplished a 400-mile bike ride, I couldn’t get up to go for a 5k run or a 750m swim. What made the training particularly demanding was the timing: All the peaks of my training fell into the full and frantic times of my school-year routine. That just added to the desire to put it off. Eventually, I had to kick myself in the ass and just go, deal with the stress and discomfort, and get moving. I was motivated by the fact the goal of competing in the event, but also by the knowledge that I could actually do it and do reasonably well. Also, sending the checks out to cover the entry fees appealed to the tightwad in me. If I’m going to spend the money, I will damn well do the race! I did, and it was a great experience, but actually getting into the habits of mind, body and spirit that were required to train for it took a lot more will and determination than I was expecting.


My first run of more than 10k was exhausting, but I was so over the top at having done it that I wanted to shout. If I hadn’t lost my car key along the way (necessitating a call to Beth at the house to come and fetch me), it might have been even more epic. It’s not the marathon distance of Grammar Snob’s husband, but it was the first time in my life I’d ever run that far, and the sense of accomplishment was incredible.


I was able to put it out of my mind while I was in session, but it was hard to know that, as I was speaking at my conference in Charlotte, my soccer team was playing for the league championship. That game represented the culmination of several years of effort on my part to build an extra-curricular sports program at my school, then to build a league within which we can have meaningful and evenly-matched competition. It also meant a great deal to my players, who worked very, very hard to get to that game. Last year, our league’s first, my team lost in heartbreaking fashion in the semifinals on penalties. This year we had to survive two intense contests to reach the finals, and they knew that, if it came to it, they would be playing the finals on their own (well, not on their own. Jeanne gets big props for working that game in my stead--she did an awesome job).

Someone on the field was supposed to call me when the game ended--about 4:00, if there was no overtime. When 4:15 passed with no word, I figured they were playing overtime (I was mentally prepared for this). When 4:30 came and there was no call, I was starting to wonder. At 4:45, I was starting to panic. The call came at 4:55, with the word of a 0-0 tie that went to overtime and 19 (!!) penalty kicks before we won. The game was truly epic, with a result my team can be justly proud of, but waiting for news had me chewing my nails down to the quick!


Reviewing my list of goals for the year reminded me that I’ve done absolutely nothing in the way of woodworking all year. There are several projects on that list that I really want to do, but none of them ever rose high enough in my awareness to drive me to get them started. I have decided to move them onto my goals for next year, with the added commitment to devote more time in my tiny shop in the evenings so such things will stay in that prominent place in my attentions.


Wifeness and I dropped the kids of at the Matriarch’s and drove up to Freeport, ME for a night at a B&B. We tooled around the LL Bean campus and enjoyed some of the other local shops, but really the date was about taking time to enjoy being in each other’s company--and the hot tub!


The work I did to research and prepare for my gig in Charlotte took four months and resulted in a 15-page workbook for the participants of my seminar (I’ll post a link to it eventually, but it’s not available online at this point). I’m questioning whether it’s worth putting some additional time into it so I can publish it for popular consumption. I need to send off some emails to people to get feedback on that question.


I gave up my side of the bed to Karla to assist in her recovery. I’ve been sleeping on the futon in the living room for the last two months, and expect to be there for a good while longer. I miss sleeping with my wife, sure, but it’s ok. We’re adapting well overall. We only need to constantly remember to take the time to communicate and connect at other times, in other ways. It’s easy to forget to do that stuff.


I moved the store of Trident gum I keep in my classroom from the center drawer of my desk to an undisclosed location. It is public knowledge that I chew gum, and that I’ll offer it to students who ask, but somewhere along the line someone decided it was ok to go searching for it. I can’t figure out who it is, so I’m protecting my stash from further depletion. If you want some, just ask. There’s no reason to steal it.


I do a lot of this, really, so it’s hard to pin down a single event. Napping in some form or another would probably fill up most of the top 100 slots on the list. Napping in my hammock on a warm summer afternoon certainly ranks among the top 10.


Mrs. Chili said...

I might have to try this meme...

JRH said...

Isn't the feeling of running farther than you've ever run before neat? Well, the feeling OTHER than the exhaustion and the blisters... :)