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A Most Unreliable Narrator Issue #159 Stroke Me Stroke Me
Corn and soybean fields as far as the eye can see
If you’ve watched competitive swimming (Michael Phelps etc), swimmers do a somersault at the end of the lane and push off the wall to head back. I can do two front strokes and three backstrokes but when I get to the end of the lane. I stop. Catch my breath for a few seconds, and then push off the wall to head back.
I am desperate to learn how to do the somersault.
Turns out, it’s more difficult than I thought. You need to take into consideration your height, point to start the somersault, how fast you are going, and what stroke you are doing. The first time I tried doing a somersault in shallow water, the instructor had me flip using a pool noodle. You lean forward, tuck in, and do a somersault. The first few times I did, it ended in a modified handstand with my legs flailing about. After a few tries, I could do a successful somersault without drowning.
Thursday, we moved from pool noodle to two floating devices about six inches long. Made from the same material as the pool noodles, I held one in each hand and used those to do the somersault, which I did successfully, for a few times so we ditched the floating devices and now I can somersault using nothing.
Now that I’ve mastered doing a somersault using no assistance, I need to figure out how to somersault and push off against the wall.
The goal is to swim, find a marker on the pool floor, somersault, and push off from the wall and return. I was SO SO SO close. I could swim, find my marker, somersault, but I was always too short, or I would bang my feet on the lip of the pool. If I could stay longer on Thursday, I’m sure I could make it happen.
My next lesson is this Friday; not tomorrow or Thursday. With traveling and morning appointments, I could not get in to see her until Friday.
I’ve got four more swimming lessons to go (for a total of 12) and instead of meeting Barb twice a week, I’ll come in and swim by myself and have my lesson later in the week. I think after this set, I’ll be done with swim lessons for a while.
Speaking of gym rats, I spoke to a trainer at the Y to weight lift. I won’t bulk up but rather tighten up the flabby bits that are getting flabbier as I lose weight. It would also be nice to have some definition in my arms and tighten up the glutes. I told Best Kate being able to do a single pushup would be a good goal and maybe a one handed one while we’re at it.
We head down south at the end of October. I’ll join the Y there and put our membership here on hold, which only costs me $10 a month, and pick it up next year. I’ll do the opposite down south.
The Y by our condo has a pool so I can keep going with that cardio and I’ll hire a trainer when I get back. If I have learned anything about myself and exercise, the only way I will get accountability is if someone is yelling at me.
IOWA! STATE! FAIR!
I was to see Brendan earlier this year but his work commitments prompted me to cancel my trip which left me with an airline credit.
I thought that I didn’t have a timer on the credits until I called to book Mr Lisa and I’s flight to Vegas later this year. I wanted to use the credit but turns out not only I had to use the credit by mid-August but I also needed to travel by mid-August.
I asked around if anyone wanted me for a weekend and ended up in Iowa visiting Erika.
I was up at 4:30 a.m. to get to the airport early as my flight left at 7 a.m. One thing I learned, other than driving in a rural area at 5 a.m. can be scary, is I don’t need to leave as early as I think I need to. This will be helpful next month when I fly to the Keys.
Erika picked me up at the airport and we went straight to the Iowa State Fair.
If you’re not American, the concept of a State Fair is a lot to take in. Dozens of acres dedicated to rides, food, and events such as the ugliest cake contest and Princess Cowgirl event. Farm and farming are the main celebrants. It’s at the State Fair that things like the largest pumpkins are shown (1200 pounds!) and there are butter animals. Behold, the butter cow:
Yes, that sucker is made entirely out of butter. (There was a long ass line to view the butter cow along with other butter sculptures but thankfully being tall and timing it right when people moved allowed me to get a good pic without having to stand in line.)
Erika and I saw so much. Quilting contests! Sculptures made from corn! A hog log (wooden sculpture of a hog made from wood. I bought one!). Miniature houses! Paintings! Foot long corn dogs! Pickled beer! Cow contests and horse events. Smell of animal feces is everywhere.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
The fair lasts 10 days and we were there on day two. So many fucking people. Parking was a nightmare but Erika found us a spot close by and we walked the rest of the way. We were there for 4 or so hours and in 90 F (33 C) and we were sweating and tired earlier than thought.
I told Erika that I would come back in 2025 and we’d do the fair properly.
Michigan is Midwest and Iowa is also Midwest but amps it up a thousand degrees. Michiganders love Michigan. It’s everywhere, from stickers to tattoos and clothing items and so much more. Iowans love Iowa just as much as Michiganders love Michigan. I saw state stickers on cars, t-shirts everywhere, and support for U of Iowa and Iowa State that rivaled support for Michigan State and U of M.
Erika took me to Raygun in Des Moines which was akin to The Mitten State here in Michigan. Iowa love was everywhere and a lot of it resonated with my Michigan heart. I bought this t-shirt and this one. I bought this one at the fair (which they sold for $30. The bastards). I want this one, this one, and this one. Just as I have a Mitten State problem, looks like I’m going to have a Raygun issue.
Erika took me all over her small town. We went to Hy-Vee, Casey’s (but didn’t get pizza), and had tacos at Taco Tico. We had lunch at an orchard who were having a sunflower festival, so we went to that.
We packed a lot in two days and I had a lot of fun. A++, would visit Iowa again.
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On my quick flight to Chicago from N. Michigan (38 minutes) and then on to Iowa (1 hour), I thought about air travel. To drive from our cabin to Erika’s house would be 11 hours or a solid day drive if you push it. But even with the time change (one hour), from here to there flying time was four hours with 1.5 hour lay over. I left at 7:30 and got to Des Moines at 10:16.
(Our flight to Vegas is similar in December. We leave at 7 a.m. and get to Vegas around 11 a.m. (with two hour time difference not included).)
The first “successful” air flight was 120 years ago via the Wrights and the first cross-country air flight was in 1911. Our ancestors never saw this coming (unless you’re Divinci) and now it takes mere hours to get from one side of the US to the other. Across the pond can be done in ½ a day including stop overs and time changes.
Technology. It is amazing.
Have a wonderful week!