Archives for May 2013
My sister Maddie and her friend Kara came to town on Monday. Maddie moved back to California after graduating. The last two days felt like my life before my sisters moved away. Busy, funny and full. Once Danielle gets home in early June, I think I’ll feel whole again. Monday night we went out for drinks at the wine bar. Maddie asked for a job while nearly choking on a piece of cheese. We came back to our house and sat around the chiminea in the backyard making way too much noise talking and laughing into the night. I told the stories of the times I’d crashed my car in High School. Apparently I was the only one who had let their car roll into their piano teacher’s petunias. I’ll have to save the rest of that story for another time. Tuesday, we went surfing. Maddie got to short board for the first time and Kara, a Pennsylvania native, had her first surf. They did awesome.
+surf the smaller inside waves away from other people
+lay with your toes touching the tail of the board if it’s a longboard
+paddle hard with your fingers together to catch the wave
+stay centered over the board as you stand
+put weight on your front foot to stay with the wave if you feel you’re about to come off the back
After the nap pictured above, I read my book for four hours and Scott made pasta for dinner. He served it to me right on the couch and I didn’t even have to get up to get my drink of choice (two buck chuck chardonnay with a splash of juice). Something about pasta is so comforting and nothing about the ticket seemed like a big deal any more.
Looking back, I was so nervous. My mind normally goes into auto-pilot when I’m surfing, my feet sink into the wax footprints created sessions before, but during this contest, out in the ocean that seemed to transform into a stage, I felt I had to remind myself how to do a bottom turn.
It’s for charity, just go and have fun, help out, I told myself when I signed up. I intended to do exactly that, but on the day of, I knew I had expectations for myself, even if I tried my best to stuff them away. I wanted to go out there and perform to the best of my ability, show the judges what I had learned in all my surf sessions. More than anything, I wanted to enjoy the day and be free from the pressure I had put on myself in the past to win.
The last time I had competed at Pacific Beach Drive was about four years ago. The waves were closed-out and kind of big, just as they were yesterday. I fell or went straight on almost all of my rides and ended up getting dead last in my heat with my soon to be sister-in-law and a few of her friends on the beach watching me surf for the first time. It was stressful, upsetting and kind of humiliating. After that, I decided to take a break from competition. Why add that pressure to surfing? Why feel the need to win and the feeling of failure after losing? I realized I didn’t want to.
I was pulled to the idea of competing again because I hoped I had moved on from those feelings.
It was time for me to put on my white jersey to challenge (and perhaps embarrass) myself as I took on the frat guys. We got an ample five minutes to paddle out and thank God because it was a rough one. It was much more consistent than it looked from the beach. PB (and the whole Mission Beach stretch) is lined with difficult waves when the swell rises because they go from deep to shallow water rather rapidly. While I was watching from my tent sanctuary on the beach, I assessed the waves to be 2-4 feet. Once I was paddling out, they seemed more like 3-5 feet with the occasional 6 foot set. Although I was ahead of the boys at first, they quickly gained on me and eventually left me on the inside, swallowing water. Like a scene out of Blue Crush, I duck dove one wave, only to be greeted by another behind it that crashed right into my open eyes and drug me back five feet. When I finally made it out, I let the guy in the yellow jersey get position on me and take an open faced left I really wanted. “Crap! Come on Devon!” I paddled into the next one, a meaty left with a big lip that crashed almost immediately. I tried to get up on it with a quick bottom turn-foam climb combo, but I fell. I didn’t allow myself to get discouraged though, and luckily made it back to the outside without getting clobbered by any sets.
My second and third waves were my best-a quick right with a spray turn followed by a left with a backside off-the-lip. I felt a little more relaxed after my second “keeper” wave (your top two best waves count towards your ending total) and paddled back out just as a set of six footers marched in. I scratched over them in a minor panic. Because I was nervous this whole time, it was even harder for me to fill my lungs with air. I duck-dove a thick one and opened my eyes. The big waves out in the deeper water were such a pure dark blue like the night sky when there’s no moon. I felt immediately relaxed and weightless within them. I took a moment to look around underwater and think about how lucky I was to be doing this. My last wave was a close-out right and then the heat was over.
They announced the winners as I was making my way back to the tent. They read it in reverse order–last place to first. The top three advance. When I heard I didn’t get fourth I knew I advanced and I allowed myself a mini-celebration inside my head. When I found out I wasn’t in third, but in second I was astonished and called my dad immediately, as I always do with surfing things.
“Dad! I beat the boys!”
The sun made its way from the east to the west as the warm day went by. Scott showed up after finishing the Junior Olympics with his elementary school P.E. class kids, which I was very thankful for. I surfed closed-out waves, a little more cautiously than usual, made it through my Open Women’s semi-final, but got eliminated in the Men’s Greek Athlete semi-final with a sixth place, dead last in the heat. Nerves came as each heat approached, but I was enjoying myself. I felt excited for my next opportunity to test myself on this surfing stage. At the end of it all, I made it to the Open Women’s final and got second place. A victory resembling an iceberg, so much bigger than it appears.
As I sat reflecting in my living room that next day, I knew the contest had been a victory for me in so many ways. I had allowed myself to enjoy it even though my performance wasn’t perfect. I had challenged myself in ways I had been afraid to before and put myself in a situation where I was likely to lose by entering a male-dominated division. I had lost and I was ok with it. In fact, I felt good about it.
Losing had been part of the triumph because I’ve seen the kind of good and growth that comes from it, and it’s not something I fear anymore.
The people who have beat me in contests, the women who were mean to me at my old job, that jerk from surf camp who told me I wasn’t worth the money, the places that have rejected my work, they all have helped me become better at being myself because they have helped me accept myself.
Winning is an artificial thing I don’t need anymore and that’s a victory I would take any day.
I’m pretty obsessed with Maddy’s unique, nature inspired, vintage jewelry from her shop Marolsha, so it makes me really stoked to give some away to one of you. What’s up for grabs? These stunning ocean inspired glass framed drop french hook earrings. This color is one of my favorites. It reminds me of the ocean here at home when it’s really calm and the afternoon sun shines right on the shallows.
When our airplane took off for home, I muttered “bye Syracuse,” to Scott, who was across the isle from me. I knew the chances of us returning were small. The ending of chapters in life always get me. The emotions associated with the graduation of my baby sister crept into my throat and almost made it to my eyes on that plane ride, but I swallowed them back down. I loved Syracuse, and not because it had such a significant meaning for me, but because I knew it did for Maddie. It was her place, her special fort in the middle of the trees on the other side of the country to learn her own lessons and grow into her own person. It was another home for her for a time. It was a place that was her own.
“Oooh, Polaroids make my food look so hipstery”
1. quinoa, kale, sweet potatoes, red bell pepper; napkin c/o Dot & Army
2. green beens with toasted almonds and parmesan cheese
3. sauteed lentils and kale with sea salt and olive oil
4. cous cous, red quinoa stir fry with peas, bell peppers, tofu, onion, garlic, chick peas, and a ginger soy sauce inspired by ohdeadrea
5. Daphne’s salad with falafel and jalapeños
6. Moscow mules. What? Those are vegetarian. Have you ever had one? It’s vodka, ginger beer and lime served in a cool copper cup. I had my first one a month ago. They’re so refreshing.
When I’m on a wave I feel like this, so long as I’m not too occupied by some grudge against a chauvinistic dude. I can even feel the way the wax moves under each one of my toes. How often, outside of the ocean, do I ever think about what my toes are feeling? Never, really. Some waves, the really good ones, even seem to move slower than the rest of life. I notice the way they change colors as I ride them. I’m happy to realize I’m so present in my surfing experiences, but I want to transfer this to the land, as well.
If you’re sitting there going “what the heck is farro?”, well, it’s a healthy grain rich in fiber and vitamins like a, b, c and e that can be used as a substitute for rice or pasta. Have you had it?
I like to serve it with a little parmesan cheese and a few shakes of hot pepper flakes.
|warm nights, cold drinks|
|lunches in the backyard with the birds|
|one of my favorite maneuvers, the tailslide, and the fact that this bird is totally unimpressed|
|sunset sessions after work with this guy, my favorite guy|
So I’m not so much of a sweets person, have I told you that? Oh yes, yes, I did. Back when I shared potentially the weirdest recipe to ever reach blogland ever–the microwaved rice cakes with soy sauce and cheese. Remember? Anyways, I’m into salt and, although I don’t naturally gravitate towards sweeter foods, I love healthy food. Anything to make me live longer and prosper, ya know? Plus, I love the earth and any company with an environmental mentality is a-ok in my book. So when Sambazon e-mailed me a few weeks back about trying some of their products and doing a giveaway, I responded with a resounding Yes! Please!
Sambazon is a socially and environmentally conscious company that uses organic food and beverages as vehicles for positive change (yay!). They have pioneered Amazon Superfoods such as açaí, acerola and guarana through a product range that includes fresh juices, smoothies, sorbet, and frozen smoothie packs . All Sambazon products are USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Ecocert Fair Trade, vegan, and gluten free. Again, yay! Plus they’re really tasty. Even the Supergreens juice that you kind of look at and go, “This will be good for me, but not good.” False, it’s both! I can attest to that. It has a really delicious taste with a lot more fruit flavor than grass, which, personally, I really like. And it gives you all the nutritional value of kale and wheat grass such as lowering your blood pressure, increasing your red blood cell count and protecting your liver.
(u.s. residents only)