Finn Dog

April 19, 2010

After an amazing 21 cumulative days together during March and April, GB and I are on the final stretch of separation before I move up to MN to go to grad school.  Not that I’m counting, but that would be 16 weeks until we have our own home and I can make us coffee every day, and I can trip over the dogs when I get out of bed in the morning.  These are the things I really miss.

I’m pretty excited about the next four months.  I have already started giving private swimming lessons and these will get more frequent as the summer approaches.  I love coaching swimming, so it’s really a fun way for me to make money for tuition while enjoying myself at the same time.

In not-s0-great news, Finn bit somebody yesterday.  GB was a little reluctant to tell me about it given that I am all the way out here in the ocean and can’t do anything about it except worry.  I guess somebody walked onto the property (invited) at my in-laws and Finny took a bite out of his pants.  This is unheard of for Finn since he traditionally barks and runs away from strangers and never approaches someone he doesn’t know.

Perhaps he is taking his job as guard dog a little too seriously, but how do we teach him differently?  Obviously this is a major problem and a behavioral shift that worries me greatly.  Time to call Cesar Milan, I think….

I’m hoping that once we live in our own place and have our old pack dynamic back, Finn will remember who is alpha dog (me) and leave the biting up to me.

Fortunately he did not bite the person’s skin and only ripped his jeans.  And fortunately, the guy was an extremely good sport and laughed about it.  But still.  Not good.

Anyway, life on the rock continues to be good, especially now the weather is warming up.  Now that the days are getting longer, hopefully I’ll take more time for blogging and keeping in touch with blog friends.

Honeymoon Days

March 18, 2010

Shocking really, but the weeks between my visit to MN at Christmas and GB’s visit here have passed and we are reunited once again.  The past two months have been pretty tough in many ways – partly because it has been winter, and partly just because it was a LONG stretch of being apart and we have now passed the year mark.

We were a little nervous that things might be weird at first, but our worries were totally unfounded.  Things have been amazing and it’s so great to be together again.  Last night we were laughing about something – that hearty, abdominal laugh that you just can’t control – and it occurred to me that GB is the only person in the world with whom I laugh that hard.  I am a pretty happy person most of the time but even my close friends here have commented on how alive I have seemed since GB arrived for this visit.  It’s so true, part of me does come alive when we’re together.   I guess that’s what partnership is about.

It’s fun to be honeymooning again after so many years together.  I find it amazing how much we appreciate each other and all the little things.  Things we used to take for granted before we were separated are SO important to us now.  A quick visit to the beach yesterday after work to play a little frisbee and do a quick run workout was the source of a ridiculous amount of fun.

No doubt once I am living in MN and we are settled in our own place again these precious moments will become normal moments, and we won’t treat everything like it’s such a gift.  Still, I hope we can hang onto some of it for the rest of our days, and remember just how lucky we are.

Euphoria

February 18, 2010

Well, I got into grad school.  I got the advisor I wanted, in the program I wanted,  in the school I wanted, in the city I wanted.  At last GB and I will be able to live together again!!

And boy was that a big exercise in trust, patience, and intention.  I only applied to one program at one school, since that was the one I wanted.  We are absolutely over the moon about being together again soon and all the fun stuff like apartment hunting, taking our stuff out of storage, having the dogs and both of us under one roof…and so much more.

Anyway, I am having trouble keeping my feet on the ground, but after all this waiting and hoping and praying, I think that’s probably acceptable.  Thanks to everyone for their well-wishes!

Tenterhooks

February 3, 2010

I always thought it was “tenderhooks” but I looked it up to be sure…

Anyway, GB and I are on tenterhooks.  We are waiting, waiting, waiting, to find out if I got accepted into graduate school and whether we will be reunited again in September.  We have managed this last year apart very well and have learned to adapt to a marriage grounded in email, video chat, and occasional visits.  But let’s be honest, we’d like to wake up in the same bed and eat breakfast at the same table again. 

It’s a weird thing, this waiting.  I’m finding it so difficult to be present in my life without constant email checking and constantly wondering.  Nonetheless, I am trying to go about my life knowing that whatever the result, it doesn’t mean my life or my marriage is over.  It just means we need to get creative again.  And if we have demonstrated anything this year, I’d say it’s that we are creative and flexible, both as individuals and as a couple.

It’s not only the moving back to Minnesota piece either.  I am SUPER psyched to go back to school.  I get crazy just thinking about how much fun it will be.  When GB is stressed out over a paper, I’m that jerk whose going “I’m so ENVIOUS of you!”.  GB thinks I’m nuts, but let’s face it, as a young child I already knew I wanted to “go to school forever”.  Besides, it really frees up the daytime training hours for triathlon!

I’m supposed to be heading out the door now for a 60 degree swim without my wetsuit.  BUT it’s raining and I have to jump on my little moped and ride down to the dock and I am just not feeling it in the cold, rainy dark.  So I am off to the gym instead.  I have to at least do SOMETHING this morning to make another day of waiting just a little bit more bearable…

Etc.

January 14, 2010

Well, another month has come and gone.  Because of weather here on the rock (crosswinds) and weather in New England, and then weather in the Midwest, I didn’t actually arrive in GB’s arms until 4 days after I was supposed to.  However, endless days in an airport before Christmas seem like a distant memory now…

GB and I had an incredible week at a cabin up North in Minnesota.  It was just us and the dogs and life was as it should be.  We watched movies, went XC skiing, visited Duluth, bought groceries, cooked together, and hiked the dogs together like we used to before we ended up in separate countries.  We also did all the other pieces of a relationship which tend to be less fun – talking about money, emotions, struggles – but even these were a gift since we get them so rarely.

Prior to going to the cabin we had Christmas with GB’s family.  Since they are six of my favorite six people in the world, we had a blast.  Of course my new nephew was there in his gorgeous little Christmas pj’s and it really was fun to hang out as a family which we haven’t done since last Christmas.

Now that my grad school application is in all I can do is wait and pray.  I’m trying not to think about it since it could be a good long while before I hear back.  For anyone going to grad school there’s a lot relying on admission.  For me, my ability to live with my dogs and partner are on the table.  High stakes, for sure.

I’ll confess that the water temperature is down to 60 and I have been avoiding swimming this week.  I know it’s going to be cold and since I started this ridiculous no-wetsuit challenge, I feel like I need to keep going with it.  I do recognize however, that not swimming at all does NOT count as completing the challenge!  I think tomorrow I’m going to run before work but maybe I’ll take the plunge on Saturday morning.

Grad School

December 16, 2009

I haven’t blogged in two weeks because I have been knee-deep in my application for Grad School.  I was supposed to submit a sample of my writing from college but my college papers are long gone.  So I decided to write a research paper (which I will tell you, was NOT easy).  It is one thing to write a research paper when you are in school and others around you are doing the same, and the library has good resources.  It is entirely another when you are working a full time job, several part time jobs, and you live on an island the size of a kitchen table.  Nonetheless, I threw myself into that paper with abandon, as if it was the only thing that could possibly get me accepted into grad school, and the result is something I’m very proud of.  All of my application materials were submitted on Monday, leaving me in an exhausted yet happy daze.

The best part of all that is that now I have time to get back to the business of swimming, cycling, and running.  So I was back in that ocean water yesterday morning without a wetsuit and truthfully, not that cold.  I will say though, that the biggest deterrent by far for a non-wetsuit winter is the jellyfish.  I’m not sure what is going on in that water.  Some kind of global warming over-spawning or something.  There are places where it feels like swimming through tapioca which is totally disgusting.  And the larvae continue to get stuck down my suit and sting the heck out of me.  I wore a two-piece yesterday hoping that would at least bring a reprieve to my midsection, which it did. However, any part previously covered by my swim top is now red and itchy as if covered in mosquito bites.  I know it will go away in a few days, but it’s annoying nonetheless.  Besides, it’s just not socially acceptable to be scratching at your chest all day long.  I guess this is the tradeoff for swimming in a nearly-enclosed, calm body of water.  Tomorrow I’m going to try vaseline and see if that keeps the stingers out.  If not, I may reneage on my no-wetsuit challenge because this itchiness is not cool.

In other news, there are only three more sleeps until I see GB since I am flying to Minnesota this weekend.  We have rented a cabin in the Northwoods during the second week of the break so we can get some much-needed time alone.  We’re taking the dogs and our cross country skis, and are looking forward to a fun week.

In the meantime, I get to enjoy all the fun things about being a Catholic school teacher at Christmas.  Namely, excited children, Christmas concerts, and all the in-school Christmas celebrations.

“Reply All”

November 30, 2009

I may have accidentally thrown down on an email to the morning ocean swim mailing list. 

Maybe.

The water is starting to get cold and most people have their wetsuits out by now (can you guess where this is going?).  I’ve been putting off wearing mine mostly because I would have to take it to work after swimming and nothing ever dries out in this damp air, so I’d have a wet wetsuit in my classroom.  Not cool.

Anyway, there was an email sent to the swimming mailing list by a guy who ships wetsuits here saying that they are now available.  I have an awesome BlueSeventy wetsuit which I had every intention of wearing this winter.  However, I responded to the email with the statement “wetsuits are for wimps” and hit “reply all”.  This was purely in fun and I was trying to take a dig at my male swim buddies who have been wetsuit-clad since the water was nearly 80 degrees.

HOWEVER, a woman whom I have only swum with once and hardly know at all, responded.  Essentially she went on a tirade about how she would love to see me try to last the winter without a wetsuit and how in her entire time of swimming, she’s only seen two people do that.  Her email came across as really angry and aggressive and I had obviously inadvertently offended her.  So, how to respond?

I could a) write an email back to her thus fuelling whatever is going on with her and creating unnecessary email drama.

I could b) ignore her.

or the obvious c) go all winter without a wetsuit.

The water will probably dip into the low 60s and I already get pretty cold when it’s 70, so we’ll see how this goes.  Typical of me to get myself into this situation completely by accident so that I feel I have to be an ambassador for women and prove that we too, can do the stupid things that men do and do them just as stupidly.

(Please note, if you are perhaps a volatile reader and read that earlier statement as “all things men do are stupid” and you are now feeling angry and combative, let’s take this into the water and have a little wetsuit-free swim off, shall we?)