April 25, 2021 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

My exercise room has a new occupant, and it is not a dinosaur. After borrowing old Concept2 ergs from the rowing club twice to use in online races over the winter, my husband and I decided to buy a new one. The Hydrow that we bought in 2019 has fun instructor-led workouts, while the Concept2 just has a small monitor that displays the pace and other basic statistics.

Photo of a new Concept2 rowing machine next to a Hydrow.

Concept2 has more options in that it can be programmed for either time or distance and for intervals, which Hydrow cannot; everything on Hydrow is time-based. So a Concept2 is very good for training, in addition to online races, some of which require all competitors to use Concept2 machines.

We much appreciated the rowing club’s generosity in allowing us to borrow the old machines, which are in reasonably good condition, considering that they’ve been kept in a non-climate-controlled boathouse for 15 years. Having a nice new Concept2 in our basement will be much more comfortable, though; and now we won’t inconvenience any club members by borrowing machines that someone might have wanted to use. And, if it gets late in the day and neither of us has gotten any exercise yet, we can both row at the same time, rather than one of us having to wait.

Concept2 ergs are still very affordable. Unlike many companies, they did not raise prices during the pandemic. We had to be on a waitlist for six weeks, but that was reasonable, and the machine was shipped promptly when we reached the top of the list. It arrived yesterday, and we’re happy with it.

March 30, 2021 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Even though I wasn’t as fast in the virtual rowing regatta two weeks ago as I would have liked to be, my husband and I still got prizes for our double crew on the “dinosaurs.” The online racing software allowed us both to row a 1000-meter race at the same time as a virtual double by adding our distances together and automatically stopping when the combined total reached 2000 meters.

All of the other competitors in the double race were men, so although we weren’t the fastest crew, we were separately awarded a first prize as the only mixed crew. Instead of medals, we got Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards in the mail with a very cute donut rower cartoon and the race information, which we can keep as souvenirs even after cashing them in for donuts.

Dunkin' Donuts gift card prize decorated with a stick figure rowing on a machine that has a giant donut in place of the flywheel.

I haven’t yet decided what kinds of donuts I want to get, and it may be a while because the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts is five miles from my house and a bit out of the way—but that pink cartoon donut with sprinkles is definitely making me hungry!

March 25, 2021 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Like everyone else this year, I’ve been wanting to get away. Somewhere, anywhere. Back on the mother ship, maybe, on the way to another galaxy. As that isn’t a choice at present, I’ve been putting images on my digital art display from different parts of the world. This rail bridge shown in early spring crosses the River Wye, along the border of England and Wales.

Bridge over the River Wye in early spring.

(Image credit: Stewart Black)

But I can’t really complain too much about the lack of travel. Yesterday afternoon was lovely and warm here, and I was able to get out with my husband and row our double scull for the first time this season. It was a bit windy, but we were fine. I had almost no blisters, even though my hands are still very soft from being indoors all winter. Today it’s raining and the river is getting high, but I’m still happy that we got back out on our “mother ship.”

The dinosaurs (aka vintage Concept2 rowing machines) have returned to the basement for one last online race on Saturday. Although I wrote in my post last week that borrowing them from the boathouse wouldn’t be an issue in the cold weather, one of them did get some use at the boathouse this week, when the weather warmed up. So we’ll be sure to return them promptly after we finish the race.

I didn’t do as well in last weekend’s race as I would have liked, mainly because I did not pace myself well at the start and ran out of energy toward the end. But, every race is a learning experience. Along those same lines, here’s a fun dinosaur-themed graphic:

I’m not just a hatchling anymore, but haven’t yet reached my full powers! Whatever you may be working on at present, keep in mind that there is always space for improvement, and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I’ll be rowing in an online race on Sunday, along with my husband. We can’t use our Hydrow rowing machine because everyone is required to use a Concept2 rower. So, this afternoon my husband borrowed two Concept2 machines from the rowing club’s boathouse, which didn’t inconvenience anyone because the boathouse is unheated and does not get much use over the winter. He set them up in our basement, on either side of the Hydrow.

Two old Concept2 rowing machines and a new Hydrow.

They are older models, and when he came home with them, he cheerfully announced, “Dinosaurs are roaming the earth.”

We practiced on the “dinosaurs” for awhile this evening and got them adjusted as best we could. Even though they are old and creaky compared to our nice new Hydrow, I can’t really complain because we are fortunate to be able to compete in this race. In a normal year, it would be held in Boston without any online racing. So, we are both grateful for the opportunity, even if our basement now feels a bit like Jurassic Park.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

September 9, 2020 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Over the long weekend, my husband and I got out rowing every day. The weather was nice and sunny, though definitely on the windy side. We rowed a double on Saturday and Monday, which doesn’t get blown around as much as a single because it is larger and more stable. On Sunday it seemed mostly calm in the early afternoon, and we went out in singles, but the wind started picking up toward the end of our row.

I got an email at work last week asking for photos of Labor Day activities to share with the group, so I asked my husband to take a photo of me rowing the single. He brought his phone in a waterproof bag, and although the sun made it hard to see, he managed to get a pretty good landscape view.

On Monday we went out early too, which turned out to be a good thing because some ferocious thunderstorms developed later in the day. Now the river is full of debris and too high to row. Of course, we’re back to work anyway, so I am not complaining. The rain was for the best, as it has been so dry around here.

August 19, 2020 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I’ve mentioned in a few posts that my husband and I bought a Hydrow rowing machine last fall. We enjoy the online sessions, which they call “Live Outdoor Reality” because the instructors row on the river during most of the workouts (there are also a few indoor videos, for those who prefer a studio setting). The company is in Boston, so they’re usually on the Charles River, except when they travel to Miami Beach in the winter and to other destinations on occasion for more variety.

Both of us have been working out regularly and getting more fit. Also, we got a nice perk recently when Hydrow offered us a free coaching session (via Zoom) from an instructor. Our coach was James Dietz, who gave us both some helpful tips. We had met his father, who is also a coach, a few years ago at a rowing camp hosted by our club. Small world! This picture, which I received in an email afterward, shows me sitting sideways on the rowing machine during part of that conversation, with the instructor’s image on the right. #myhydrowcoach

Meg with the rowing machine

The rowing machine is in a basement room that was overflowing with random junk five years ago, as shown in this decluttering post. It’s all cleaned up now, and though it still could use a bit of decorating, it is certainly much improved. Good to have some fresh new energy in the house!

February 26, 2020 · 4 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Although the weekend was chilly enough that I wouldn’t have said it felt like spring, my husband went out sculling on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. He rowed a double with another member of our club who loves rowing enough to go out on a late-winter day when it’s sunny, if a bit windy. The water temperature was cold enough that he wouldn’t have risked going out on the river in a single, which is less stable; but he had a good time in the double.

Monday was cooler, a dark day with low clouds. I put an image of a foggy path winding through a park on my digital art display, and it matched the outside view with more accuracy than I might have preferred.

Foggy path through bare trees in a park.

(Photo credit: Elliott Brown)

The weather didn’t change much on Tuesday, and this morning looks about the same. That’s all right, though—it is close enough to spring that the birds can be heard chirping happily at sunrise, even when there’s not much sun to be seen. It won’t be long before we can get out on the river regularly and see the herons, beavers, and other wildlife.

November 21, 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

The rowing club ended the season with its annual Jingle Bell Row on Sunday afternoon. The sweep team decorated a boat like Santa’s sleigh, with eight rowers wearing reindeer antlers while the coxswain had on a Santa suit. To announce that they were ready, the rowers sounded off by reindeer name instead of doing it the usual way by seat number.

We had a total of eleven people who wanted to go out on the water, and I rowed a double with another woman. It was a lovely mild autumn day, sunny and calm.

Two crews on the river. A double is in the foreground and an 8+ is in the background.

The water was cold, but another club member volunteered to drive a safety launch while taking photos; and nobody got wet, so it was a good day all around. We had hot chocolate afterward, and a few people brought homemade baked items to share, which included a yummy pumpkin bread made with a pumpkin from a backyard garden. Everyone was left with good memories for the winter months ahead.

Two women who row with a different club kindly helped my husband and me with our boats and oars at a regatta recently, when we didn’t have anyone else from our own club there, and we were in a big rush because our single and double races were scheduled very close together.

We decided to buy gift baskets to show our appreciation, with apples and other fruit, which we gave to them when we saw them again at another regatta this past weekend.

While I was sitting at my desk on a workday morning, with gift baskets and other cheerful things on my mind, I heard a sad little voice in my thoughts, far away in the distance.

“I was in pain for a long time.”

The voice definitely belonged to Queenie, my troubled younger self who had been wandering around in my thoughts for the past few years, wailing that she was always in pain. Something was different this time, however. I realized after a moment that she was using the past tense, which indicated more emotional distance and capacity for self-reflection. Queenie, it seemed, was finally starting to grow up.

Because I already had gift baskets on my mind, I decided to pop in and visit Queenie in the imaginary village of Channelwood, bringing a virtual basket of goodies with me.

Photo of gift basket wrapped in plastic with purple ribbons.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

It was a chilly autumn night when I arrived. A sliver of moon didn’t give me much light to navigate the narrow little walkway that led to Queenie’s tiny house. I held onto the railing, which was slightly damp, with one hand and the gift basket with the other.

Up ahead, the inviting glow of candlelight seeped through the curtains. I arrived at the door and knocked, feeling just a bit silly about being so formal with a character who, after all, existed only inside my head. Still, considering all of Queenie’s fears and insecurities, I thought it best to respect her personal space.

She came to the door wearing a robe over a nightdress, with her hair wet and tightly braided. Maybe she had been caught outside in the same rain that had left the railing damp. If so, I thought she probably was comfortable by now. A firepot blazed cheerfully in a corner, warming the room, and apple-scented candles in sconces brightened it further.

“Goodies for you,” I said, holding up the basket.

Queenie stepped aside to let me enter. “Thanks. Is today a special occasion?”

I was about to say “Not really,” because it wasn’t a holiday or other notable event on the calendar. Then I thought about it and decided that today really was special because Queenie looked so much better.

“Yes, it’s always special when friends get together and have a good day.”

Queenie had to smile at that. “I’m reminded of Winnie the Pooh.”

“There’s a lot of wisdom in Pooh Bear’s fuzzy little head,” I agreed, standing just inside the door.

“I would offer you a honey jar, but we don’t have any here,” Queenie informed me. “We did find some wild honeybees not far from here, though, and Sara has been thinking that she might take up beekeeping.”

“That’s ambitious of her,” I said. “Don’t worry about offering me any food; I wasn’t planning to stay for very long. I can see that you’re getting ready for bed, and I wouldn’t want to disrupt your evening. I just wanted to wish you a good night.”

As the scene faded and I came back to my present-day life, I still could feel the warmth of Queenie’s cozy little house all around me.