31 March 2007

A Day in the Life

5:12 a.m. Awakened to the sound of NPR
5:13 a.m. to 5:33 a.m. Got dressed, packed the car, grabbed some hot water, took the dog out.
5:34 a.m. Hit the road
6:06 a.m. Met up with one of the surf homies from work at my new favorite break
6:15 a.m. Hooked up with the other surf homie from work in the parking lot.
6:16 a.m. to 7:20 a.m. Did the eternally optimistic, yet utterly futile, waiting and watching that is typical when it's completely flat.
7:21 a.m. "It's been fun, but I'm outta here!" Drove back to L.A., knowing there wouldn't be any surf here either.
8:05 a.m. Shed my Surfsister persona, put on my wife/mother hat, and shopped at Target.
9:15 a.m. Arrived home and changed to workout clothes. (Also unpacked the car and talked to Soul Brother #1 for a bit when he came back from a quick spin on his motorcycle.)
9:43 a.m. Got on the rowing machine
10:03 a.m. Got off the rowing machine. (Too nice a day to do any kind of working out inside.) Dug out my jump rope. Jumped. Rope.
10:40 a.m. Showered. Chilled.
11:45 a.m. Picked up Soul Brother #2 from Soul Grandmother #2's house.
12:10 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Soul Brother #1, Soul Grandmother #1, and I watched Soul Brother #2 get his swim on. (Warming up by himself, taking his lesson, and then playing for a bit.)
2:04 p.m. All four of us headed to the South Bay to pick up our (i.e., Surfsister's and Soul Brother #1's) new glasses.
2:20 p.m. Ate at a nearby restaurant. Interesting. Didn't know it was a dim sum restaurant. Laughed through most of the meal; Soul Grandmother #1 was overwhelmed by all of the attention and said "yes" to almost everything offered.
3:50 p.m. Got dropped off at home by Soul Grandmother #1. The three of us made a pit stop, got in my car, and went to spy a VW bus we'd seen over here in the 'hood.
4:15 p.m. Came home thinking the bus I posted pictures of looked pretty good compared to what I'd just seen.
4:35 p.m. Decided to strike while the iron was hot and do some gardening. Dug many holes and planted many bulbs.
5:20 p.m. Sat down and started blogging.

29 March 2007

Oh, There's More

In response to my last post (about wanting better waves than those offered up at my home break), Alan M said it was a good sign. I think so too. What makes me kind of sad is another good sign: I saw a chink in the armor of my beloved Slick. I've spent much of my blogging time singing the praises of this board. I still think it's a magical board that can do no wrong. Scratch that—a magical board that can almost do no wrong. It did me wrong during my last session. Much to my chagrin, I'm going to admit that the board can be a bit, well, slow. During that last session, I got a good long left. I saw where I wanted to go. I was trying to get the board where I needed to be (in order to make the section). However, the board couldn't get me there fast enough. God, I remember this part of the ride with crystal clarity. I was looking at the open shoulder and doing everything I could to get in front of the part of the wave that was breaking. I can still see it clearly as I type this. But, dammit, the board was incapable of getting me where I wanted to go. It's the first time I can remember being disappointed in this board. That was a first.

I'm going to assume that my dissatisfaction with my home break and with the performance of my equipment is an indication improvement. I guess that's a good thing. (Sigh) Life was so much easier when I didn't know any better, when I'd happily paddle out even when it was flat. Now, I've got the nerve to be picky! What does this mean exactly?

28 March 2007

Rethinking the Value of My Home Break

You know what? Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side. My recent sessions outside of L.A. messed with my head. Like Grace, I'm now starting to ask myself why I continue to hit up my home break. Granted, the place is convenient and the people with whom I surf make me smile. But let's call a spade a spade: the waves at the home break suck. There was a time when the waves were somewhat consistent, not consistently good but consistent nonetheless. Now, they just piss me off. One of the guys in the crew once told me that the home break was a good place to learn to surf because surfing those shitty waves would mean you would surf a good wave well. Sounded good at the time. Now, I think it's a load of rubbish.

The break I've been surfing with my friends from work is full of good, stylish surfers. It was a joy to watch these guys express themselves on the waves. I had as much fun watching other surfers as I did surfing the waves. And I learned quite a bit. I don't seem to learn much at the home break. Yes, there are some great surfers there. However, they're outnumbered by the rest of us.

Have I outgrown my home break? Maybe so. I'm not going to be driving to this new break every chance I get. It's too far away. Still, it's opened my eyes. I've said on more than one occasion that my goal these days is to develop my style on a longboard. Some of you responded that it would come in time. Well, if I continue to do most of my surfing at the home break, it won't come any time soon. Truthfully, I think it helps to be in the presence of better surfers. My friend who sits across the cubicle from me told people at work that I was "on fire" on Sunday. I was. Yes, I psyched myself up for the session. I also stepped up my game. I saw people surfing in ways I envied, so I tried to emulate them while doing my own thing. I don't always do that at the home break. As I write this, it occurs to me that you can work on style when the wave allows you to do so. In other words, you need time to work whatever magic you've got. That usually can't be done at the home break, at least not by me. I'll continue to work on it though. I'm mindful of the fact that Kelly Slater cut his teeth on Florida's less than perfect waves. I'm also mindful of the fact that Kelly doesn't surf a longboard. If you can do a gouge on a horrible wave, you can do one on a good wave. However, you can't work on walking a longboard if the wave lacks shape.

That's all for now. Work is slow . . . and boring. My review went well. I got a good raise. I appreciated it last week; I wasn't bemoaning my life in that cubicle. Well, now it's a week later and I'm over it. Anyway, I'll be off on Monday. I decided I needed a surfing a SW swell, I mean, a mental health day. I hope to find some decent, not overly crowded surf that day. Aloha.

25 March 2007

"Don't Surf Like a Kook!"

This is what I told myself Saturday night in an effort to get into the zone for Sunday's surf session. I'd surfed with two guys from work on Saturday. The session was good enough. The shape of the waves was lacking. The drift from the current was even worse. I got waves, yes, but I felt stiff and kind of kooky that day. I wasn't surfing as well as I could. That got me to thinking. Why is it that I can surf so well and effortlessly at my home break, but can't seem to do that when I go to an unfamiliar break? Saturday was my second visit to that break. On Saturday night, one of the guys called to tell me they were going back on Sunday. Once I got the go-ahead from Soul Brother #1 for a Sunday session, I started getting my head straight. That's when I kept telling myself, "Don't surf like a kook!"

How was Sunday's session? Well, I took a page out of Alan M's book. I went into the session very relaxed and confident of my abilities. The result? The session was great. My first two waves (a left and a right, respectively) were so good that I could have left the water a happy and contented person after the second wave. The entire session was fun. Yes, there were lulls, sometimes long lulls. But when the waves came, they brought beautiful shape. There seemed to be enough to go around. It was crowded, yet it seemed like everyone out there was getting his or her fill. I know I got mine (as did the surf buddy who sits in the cubicle across from me). When I got out of the water after two hours, I could barely paddle. In fact, there was one wave where a guy was yelling at me to go and I was yelling back that I was too tired. We yelled back and forth for awhile. I finally tried, but the tank was empty. I'd just paddled out from a good ride. He laughed and said he was only yelling at me because he was too tired to go. Then another wave came and he took that.

Somehow I knew the breaks in L.A. wouldn't be all that good on Sunday. I'd looked at the surf reports about Saturday and was actually thinking about skipping a session in L.A. on Sunday (because I didn't want to deal with a crowd and terrible waves). Well, there was a crowd where we surfed this weekend. Somehow, this crowd was different from what I usually experience here at home. These folks were friendly, knew how to surf, knew surf etiquette and actually used surf etiquette. Surfing in a crowd of this type is rather nice. I saw no collisions. There was no yelling or telling people off. People just surfed. I'm not used to that!!! Thank goodness I don't mind leaving my comfort zone for surf points unknown. Well, this break is known. I'm just not saying where I was. One clue: I wasn't in L.A.

21 March 2007

Surf Vacation

No, I'm not going on one, at least not any time soon. I did, however, start looking into one. I know which part of the world I want to visit. I still don't know how to get the most bang for my buck. In fact, why am I even talking about this? I don't have any money. Do you see what happens when you get a full-time job in a cubicle? A little steady money and you're ready to act like a Rockefeller. With that said, I'm thinking a year or two down the road I may be able to swing an honest to goodness vacation. See, this is not a vacation family. The three of us lack that thing they call "disposable income". I'm assuming that can change, right? I'm all for renting a Mini Winnie, packing it with us, food, and surfboards, and driving up and down the coast. For us, that would be a vacation. And while I don't like airplanes or serious traveling, I want Soul Brother #2 to see other parts of the world while we can safely do that. Where do I want to go? The Caribbean. Are the waves big? No, but there are waves. Is the weather warm? Yes. Is the food good? Yes. Is the population diverse? Yes and no. But I think it behooves American blacks to travel to places where black folks are everywhere doing everything. Most of us didn't see that growing up. I would love for the little man to see it. And, hell, I want to go surfing somewhere off the beaten path, somewhere that isn't at the top of everyone's list for surf travel. Maybe it'll never happen. Maybe it will. Who knows? I figure it doesn't hurt to start thinking about it in an effort to make it come to fruition.

18 March 2007

I'll Take What I Can Get

The session wasn't that good. And it wasn't that bad either. I caught waves when I first paddled out. Then I did a lot of sitting or paddling for mushy waves that I couldn't catch. I don't know if anyone in the water ever notices that when I get mad at the waves, I turn my back on them and refuse to paddle, saying I don't trust them to break. I did that today. The waves were confounding me and another woman who was out in the water. A couple of the guys could catch this waves, but most of the guys weren't . . . and neither were we. I steadily got colder and colder. As usual, I was waiting for a wave in. It took forever to come. Guess what happened when it did come? I rode it and paddled right back out. Thank goodness I did! There was a small window of well-shaped, somewhat powerful waves. I got some of those. Then I got out.

Okay, I've now been surfing about five years. I know I'm much better than I used to be. But how much better? I still think I've got a long way to go (and I do). I was a little confused by the partner of one of the women at our home break. This woman and her partner were there when I started. Today, the partner gushed over how well I surf now. I don't think I surf well, but I'll take what I can get in the way of compliments. I try to make some little improvement on my surfing every time I go out. Sometimes it's something others can't see. Sometimes it's something that I know will make me look like a kook until I learn to do it right. Today, I watched closely as a few of our guys, on both longboards and shortboards, did cutbacks. This maneuver is the one I that gives me the most trouble. I'm not trying to do some beautiful cutback with spray flying. For me, it's a matter of changing direction. I can do it (i.e., change direction) going frontside. Backside? Not so much. Well, today I watched closely and when I got a good frontside wave, I managed a small cutback when the wave closed out in front of me. It's a matter of giving yourself over to your abilities. Of course, that's what much of sport is about. You've got to believe and then know you can do something. I'm now beginning to believe I can do a cutback. (Note I said "beginning to".)

17 March 2007

A Good Surf Session and a Good Margarita . . .

would make the world a better place right now.

Today's session was disappointing at best. I went to a point break and waited. You could see something was coming or at least it was trying to. The tide was having none of that. As usual, time was of the essence. I must be home by noon on Saturdays in order to take Soul Brother #2 to his swim lesson. After waiting and watching, I called one of the homies at the home break. She said there were some shoulders and that she was about to paddle out. Given the time and the tide, I left the point break. The home break was surfable but not enjoyable. Once again, the shape left much to be desired.

Promise to self: During the next decent swell, I'm taking at least one day off. I don't even care if I take it without pay. I just need a mental health/surfing health day.

16 March 2007

Free L.A. Surf Report

I found this picture and many others on a site Ria hipped me to. What's that? An L.A. surf report that's free? Sweet!!! (Uncle Grant, hurry up and get your site up! I miss your surf reports!) Anyway, if you surf in L.A., you'll want to start looking at Surfwise.

Feelin' Better

I'm talking about my back, not about my job. I figured out yesterday that my back problem came from Soul Brother #2 and I being front ended a few days before. Some guy decided he should back up . . . quickly . . . into my car. I was bracing for it (and honking) but we still got a good tap. There was apparently no damage to the cars. It didn't hit me until later that I'd knocked my spine out of alignment a bit. But after taking a day off from working out, applying heat, and taking some anti-inflammatories, I'm good to go now. The pain is pretty much gone.

I don't feel better about the job. Reveiws are coming next week. I don't know what they'll say to me, but I have no reason to believe I won't get a good review. I do know that even though my review will be positive, they're not going to put their money where their mouths are.

Soul Brother #2 is close to losing his first tooth. The thing just wiggles. There aren't many things I remember about being a little kid. I do remember losing teeth. I was always fascinated by the loose tooth/gone tooth thing. Watching him go through it is a hoot. His belief in Santa is strong. His belief in the Tooth Fairy is not. In fact, Soul Grandmother #1 told him that she's the Tooth Fairy. We've all told him that that soon-to-be lost tooth will garner him a dollar. Yesterday, much to her surprise, he said to Soul Grandmother #1, "Don't tell anybody—give me a twenty."

14 March 2007

@*&$%! Cubicle - Random Musings

I'm feeling a bit stir crazy of late. I don't know what's gotten into me today. I tweaked my back yesterday while taking my board off the top of the car. (Can you believe that shit? How do you hurt yourself doing that? I'm assuming I did something while lifting weights earlier and then exacerbated it while in the act of getting my board down.) No, I wasn't going surfing. I took the board to work so I could drop it off at lunch for the repair to that big ding. Hell, that's not a ding. I don't even know what you call that. Anyway, I was in pain all day yesterday. It didn't hurt to sit. It didn't hurt to walk. What hurt was getting up out of a chair. And let's just say I'm not the most static person when I'm at work. I look for reasons to jump up and walk around.

Where was I? (To self, "Don't know. Just keep typing.") My back is still a little painful. It's much better than it was yesterday. However, it's probably not feeling good enough for a surf session. Nonetheless, I'm sitting here pissed off because my day was spent in a cubicle rather than out in the water with whatever little swell that's out there.

Is it about balance? And what exactly is balance? How does one balance work, play, wifehood and motherhood when there are only 24 hours in the day? It's to the point of being distressing. I want more time to play. Mind you, I don't want to spend all my time at play. That gets old . . . and no one pays you to play. But why must so much of our time be given over to work? I hate it. I often feel like I'm spinning my wheels and going nowhere. Yeah, they pay me. That's the only reason why someone like me goes to a desk job every day. Apparently they think it's enough money to keep me satisfied or quiet or enslaved or something. (Sigh) I'm going to be brutally honest: I fucking hate this. I hate it. I'm good at my job. I like the people I work with. I'm bored to tears. There's no room for advancement. That was made perfectly clear when I was hired. The yearly raises are quite small. So, what? I'm supposed to stay there and like it just because I'm part of the rat race (i.e., child, mortgage, bills)? I certainly can't do what I'm doing for more than a few years. That much I do know. The job doesn't challenge me mentally. Then again, no job ever has. And that's my problem. I get bored, I quit. I get pissed off, I quit. I want more time to play, I quit. That's my modus operandi . . . or at least it was before Soul Brother #2.

Ack!! Bleh!! I gotta get my proverbial shit together.

11 March 2007

How Was My Session?

I think the pictures speak for themselves.

10 March 2007

Bolsa Chica

I've worked across from another surfer for over a year and, up until today, had yet to surf with him. But today was different. Someone else at work wants to start surfing and finally got a wetsuit. So he was anxious to get out in the water. Before we knew it, plans were being made: babysitters were lined up, shared custody issues were straightened out, and a break was chosen. My surf buddy lives in the O.C. and surfs Bolsa almost exclusively. As I'm always up for trying a new spot, I suggested we all meet at Bolsa. Since I needed to be back in L.A. by 10, we agreed to meet at 6 a.m. It's a good thing we did since the tide started killing the waves not long after we paddled out.

I must say, it was cold as hell out there! I was cold from almost the minute I paddled out. As usual, a little bit of a breeze is all I need to get cold to the bone. Still, it was a pretty good session. I was a little fearful at first. When we pulled up, I saw someone get barrelled. Granted, he was crouching, but he was still covered up and made it out unscathed. As it turns out, that was a rogue wave. Nothing like that rolled through while we were in the lineup. In fact, it was pretty damn mushy out there. My wave count wasn't all that high, but it was higher than it usually is when I go to a new break. In fact, I was on a mission to be the first one to catch a wave. See, my surf buddy's been at it for at least a decade (if not longer) so I knew he could surf. But I was worried that if I didn't catch something right off the bat, he'd go back to work and tell everyone I was a kook. I don't know why I was worried about that. The best wave I caught I rode with him. In fact, our newbie friend was there too. (Yeah, we had to surf around him as he tried to paddle into the wave we were riding.) It was a nice long wave. Since I was going backside, I couldn't see my friend behind me. I would turn and look for him every so often. When we paddled back out, some of the other guys in the lineup, guys who'd been trying to give tips to our newbie friend, said something about us not running over that friend. I mentioned there was no way I was going to run him over since he was on my board. Then one guy yelled to our friend that we hadn't run him over because we love him. I said, "Oh, yeah, we love him. (Pause) And the board."

I had fun. It was too cold for me, but that's nothing new. I enjoyed the waves at Bolsa even though it was a mushy day. I also enjoyed the people. I think we're planning on going back more often. I can't get out there every weekend. It's not worth the drive. Still, it's nice to have a change of venue every once in awhile.

08 March 2007

Still Think I Should Get It?

Looks kinda good from far away, doesn't it?

Let's talk about the positives first:

That wood is in good shape and it's beautiful.

But wait! There's more! Let's talk about everything else.

Okay, I'm not done. There's nothing good about this door (and those are my friend's fingers poking through at the bottom):

Yes, there is! The replacement for it . . . is inside the bus!

Finally, there's the rust:


06 March 2007

Should I or Shouldn't I?

Well, it just kind of fell into my lap. 1968 VW Bus. Engine is great. Then it goes a bit downhill from there. Needs some body work—nothing extensive. Needs some interior work. In other words, it needs some love shown to it. $1500. JGirl, what do you think?

From our "Notes of the Weird and Strange" file, I surprised myself and probably my spouse by being able to say that I've been at this job for one year as of today. Truly and utterly amazing.

04 March 2007

Spring Cleaning

There's nothing else to do when it's flat!

03 March 2007

Oh, How Beautiful . . .

and flat. From what I can tell, it looked like this (i.e., flat) all day. I checked the cams when I got up this morning. There was nothing out there. It wasn't worth my while for my surfboards and I to head west hoping for the best. Once again, I got on the bike. The group I was with said they were going to do the route for the bike portion of tomorrow's L.A. Marathon. No, thanks! I work in a cubicle all week. The last thing I want to do on the weekend is ride east through Downtown L.A. and its skyscrapers filled with cubicles. I don't want to be reminded of what I'm forced to do 40 hours a week On the weekend, I need to see some open space. That's hard to come by in L.A. For me, the only open space left is the ocean. Suffice it to say, they went east. I went west. I checked two spots, hoping I'd find a little swell in the water, something to give me hope for a possible session on Sunday. Let's just say, it's not looking good for a Sunday session. I didn't see one real wave anywhere. Pathetic.

Later in the day, I spent some quality time with the shaper of my new board. It won't be making an appearance any time soon though. It'll be at least a month. That's fine. I've got to do some selling before I can do some buying. This gives me time to get my finances together.

02 March 2007

But I Was Born and Raised Here!

You Are 20% California

You are a bogus Californian. Go back to the East Coast.

01 March 2007

Response to "Hmmmmmm"

Why I Hate Dolphins

- Dolphins think badly of humans. Have you ever seen Flipper . . . Uncut and Unedited?

If you knew what dolphins were really saying about us, you'd know they are a danger to every human who walks the Earth. This is readily apparent when you watch America's Most Wanted Dolphin, The X-Files: The Dolphin Chronicles and CSI: Florida Keys.

- I'm going to go out on a limb here and argue that dolphins are stupid. I mean, really. Why is everyone condemning large-scale fishing ships for catching dolphins in their nets? It's the fault of the damn dolphins for getting caught and dying. It serves them right!!!

- Dolphins aren't the creatures we idealize them to be. If dolphins were so great, they'd be on the side of a can and starring in commercials for "Chicken of the Sea". But they're not. And I think we all know why not.

- Dolphins are inferior to us in every way. If dolphins were a superior life form, they would have done what water creatures did millions of years ago: evolved into a species with legs, a species that rules the earth. But they didn't, so they're inferior.

Just the other day when I was surfing, I saw a bunch of dolphins swim by. That proves they are inferior. I was sitting on the board, breathing air. They weren't.

This is the only response I will give to "Why I Hate Blacks". Stupid is as stupid does.