Latitude 17N

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Training Mini-Tri

OK here is the deal on the training mini tri we did on Saturday. As I said before it was a 250m swim, 5k bike and a 3k run. For SOME reason it felt a lot harder than any of the sprint tri's we have done. We started out with the swim. Beach start which means you have to run into the water and start swimming. Well, I was in the water before the thing started and it was full of seaweed and murky as he**. You could not see underwater at all. So I was not looking forward to even getting in. Once out there I kept getting off course. I would be swimming out to sea and should have been swimming parallel to the shore. So I would have to get back on course and that would eat up some time. That happened a couple of times. Once I finally got out of the water in the back of the pack I had to run over to the bike rack where my bike was and get my feet cleaned off and get geared up for my bike ride. I got on the bike and immediately had to ride up Hurricane Hill INTO the wind which was very gusty that day. It's normally windy on that hill anyway but on Saturday it was very windy with gusts. So I got down the hill but the wind was in my face all the way to the turn around point which was just over by Camps Road (that's the Castrol Sign road for all you familiar with Nevis). After I turned around I noticed a huge difference on my pedalling. I was no longer facing the wind so I was flying back but still had to get back up and over that hill again. So I got over the hill and parked my bike. We had a friend video taping us so that was kind of fun. But I got off the bike got my helmet off, guzzled some water, grabbed my mp3 player, put on my hat and started running. As I got out onto the road I grabbed a bottle of water knowing I might need it. I had to get my mp3 player on so I stuck it in the waist band of my shorts thinking it would stay there as I bumped along. How stupid is that?!!! It dropped down into my shorts and as I was trying to fish it out of there it fell between my legs. I looked like a freak! I finally got it out of there as I was laughing and starting up that same helsacious hill. My calf muscles were cramping up and resisting what I was putting them through but I made it up the hill and the rest of my run was good. So I finished in about 48 minutes which includes all my transition times and everything. Not the best time but it was really just for training and practice. So I felt fine afterwards, no aches or pains or anything like that. You can poke around at and see the results and other stuff going on here. And that is it. Adios from Dani B - May the wind be always at your back!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving has yet to happen here in Nevis. We are going to celebrate on Monday because Jaime had school today and tomorrow he has a big test so tonight he needs to study. He has two more on Monday so we are going to do Thanksgiving after the tests are over. We're going over to Janet's house with another family and some other friends of theirs. It should be pretty fun. As for today...Julian and I decided to take the day off. We watched the parade on t.v. and did some shopping for Monday. We had steak for dinner. It was good steak. So at least we had something good for the big dinner on the day. Now I'm surfing channels on t.v. and surfing the world wide web. An exciting evening for sure. On Saturday I am going to do a mini triathlon which is being put on by the triathlon club for training for the big race in March. It is a 250m swim, 5k bike and 3k run. It will take about 40-45 minutes to do this race. Not much of a big deal really but it will be fun. Some of the people we met last year are back on the island and will be competing so it will be fun to see them. One of them is a 60 year old man who is in better shape than any other person I know! He took 3rd place in his age group at the World Championships Triathlon in Honolulu this year. Very impressive. So that is what's on my plate at the moment. Hope everyone had a fun Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Today Julian and I did an experiment that showed him how a volcano works. It was pretty neat actually. You put vinegar and food coloring in a container with a small top. Then you mix 1/2 cup of water with a tablespoon of baking soda and pour it into the opening at the top of the container that holds your vinegar. A chemical reaction occurs and you get bubbling ooze all over the "volcano". He loved it and now he wants to do experiments every day. It made for a fun day. We put together a scientific method graphic organizer where he stated his hypothesis and wrote down his experiment and it's results and then came up with a conclusion.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bad things come in threes

There is not much excitement going on here in Nevis lately. The weather has been crappy with quite a bit of rain. Yesterday I dropped Julian off at horseback riding and decided to go for a run while he had his lesson. At the beginning of my run I saw something weird on the ground and then noticed it was fur. Something had gotten hit and there was nothing left of this animal but the fur. I had to jump to get over it without running out into the road and into a car or into the pricker bushes on the side of the road. Or risk stepping in it and getting the leftovers on my shoes! As I was jumping over it I noticed the head was pretty much completely intact and it had a look of Stephen King horror on it's face. It's mouth was wide open and it's eyes were open. That much had not decomposed yet. It was so eerie. So I kept running and then it started to pour. I figured it was a passing shower but it kept going. The rain started to drain down the road in the trenches on the SIDE of the road which of course is where I have to run. I kept looking at the cloud which looked to be right over me. Behind me was blue sunny skies and ahead of me it was blue too. But over me was the Charlie Brown black cloud, hovering over me. OK, the rain isn't even one of the bad things that comes in threes. My MP3 player was getting soaked and I was worried that it would get ruined but it kept playing on so I kept running. I got to a point and heard some running water. I looked around to see where it was coming from and noticed a couple of guys across the street. So00000, one of them had , to quote Elaine Benness from Seinfeld, "IT OUT"! He was finished but he kept "it out". It was so NASTY! But also, sadly, not surprising. So that was number 2. A man going number one with "it out" was actually bad thing number two, just to clarify. So I continued on and saw a friend pulling out of their road. So I waved to them just as a truck whizzed past me and nearly toppled me over. I was coming up on a sharp turn. I heard a horn honk and thought the truck was honking at me to say I was in their way and I turned around and went to show them a special certain finger when I heard a loud engine and turned around to be facing a big red dump truck. I hopped up into the pricker bushes and missed becoming Flat Stanley's sister. It probably sounds far worse than it really is so don't be worrying about me. The corners in some areas are so sharp and the bushes grow out right to the edge of the curb so you have no place to run or walk but IN the road. And you literally can't see but a few feet around the corner and whoever is coming from the other direction can't see you either. And of course everyone is in such a hurry to go absolutely nowhere. I have decided to keep myself back up in my normal running area where the road is a bit straighter and the traffic is not as thick. Haha. Not that the traffic is thick here but it is a little bit busier at "rush hour" in some areas. So anyway that was my day yesterday. All is well now.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Friends of the Gingerland Library

I just remembered this story as I was writing to my sister Julie tonight. I joined a book club here. They kind where you get together with people and discuss books. A couple of weeks ago we had our first meeting to discuss where our meetings would be and which books we were going to read. One woman in the club, Diane, is a member of The Friends of the Gingerland Library. They get donations for the library and go in and help organize things there. I think they are all mostly people from the U.S or Canada or other places who expatriate themselves to live here. There are two libraries here in Nevis. One in downtown that is quite crappy and one in Gingerland. Gingerland is about a straight line across the island from my house if you could go over the mountain. But since you can't it is about a 20 minute drive on "unimproved" roads as they call them. They are so pothole riddled that by the time you get to your destination you feel like a shaken baby. If you go the other way it is about a 30 minute drive. Either way it's a haul just to go to the "local" library. So anyway, that is the library we go to because it surprisingly has a really large childrens section. I have not looked around a lot in the adult section because I keep getting loaners from people that have kept me happy so far. So, back to Diane, she went in one day to the library and saw a new "New Books" shelf. She was so excited becuase the women who work there don't normally do a lot on their own. So she went over and looked at the books and they were all really old worn books. Not good, classic, old books but just old books that people donated because they were crappy books. So she asked them why they were on the shelf. They told her they were new. She opened one and showed them the copyright somewhere in the 1950's. She told them the book is not new and asked where they got them. They said they found them in the basement and considered them new because they have never been on their shelves. She didn't quite know what to say and asked them how they would know if it was time for them to be removed from the "New Books" shelf. They told her that when someone borrowed one and returned it, it would no longer be considered new and would go on the regular shelf with all the other books. This is so typical for Nevis. We have a library card there but they can never find it when we go in and they look at us as if we have never been there before. I'm pretty sure that they have not filed it in the right spot because they are not very literate. I don't care what the "literacy rate" is noted to be here. It is untrue. I asked the librarian the other day if they had any Magic Tree House books from the series and she looked at me funny. I told her they were by Mary Pope Osborne. She asked me how to spell it. She tried to repeat O-s-b-o-r-n-e but couldn't get it right. She went to a shelf and was looking for O-B-S and I kept telling her it was O-s-b but she wouldn't listen. So finally I found them on my own. All the ones that Julian has already read with the exception of one which is not the next in the series so he refuses to read it until he has read all the ones in between.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Paul Barlow

Well, I've been reminscing a lot about my grandfather so I thought I would paste in a letter that I had on display at my grandfathers memorial service last year. It explains what our relationship was like and it goes like this...

It all began when I was younger. I enjoyed my birthday so much that I would begin reminding people of it’s approach at least a month before hand. This went on until finally it morphed into a new personal holiday period that I call Danielluka. Sort of like Hanukkah, it is a period of weeks leading up to my birthday where I spread the word to people about my birthday coming up. Haha. One year, when I was a teenager, around Thanksgiving, I was telling Grampa that he had two weeks to start saving for my birthday. He asked what I wanted for my birthday and since I had my license at that point, I told him I wanted a Mercedes Benz. We liked to joke around so I figured it was just our usual banter. Well, on my birthday, I got a package with a present in it and when I opened it I found a little toy Mercedes. This started years of joke gifts between us for our birthdays. I always remembered his birthday and he always remembered mine. Sometimes my gifts were mailed to me. I could always tell who they were from because they were addressed in Grampa’s fine handwriting. One year I asked for a trip to Hawaii and he gave me a feather as a one way ticket. He also gave me a bonus gift of a Maytag washer and dryer. This consisted of a washer, like the kind you use with a bolt, with a tag on it of the month of May and the dryer was a piece of clothesline with a clothes pin on it. Another year I gave him a card with a joke in it and for my birthday he gave me back the card and told me I was cheap and that he never promised me a rose garden and this was pasted onto a box of dead roses. To anyone else this may have been an insult but between us it was the funniest thing. Some people thought we were a little strange and maybe they were right but this is what made our relationship special. A couple of ‘winners’ is how it is sometimes put.

On December 10th of 2004, Grampa looked at my mother and Grammy and said “Tomorrow is Dani’s birthday, I need to think up something…we always do that.” Just the fact that he remembered the day was enough for me this year. He did muster up enough strength to sign my card which is something he had rarely done in the last few years. Always for me he would sign my card. Just after that day I came back from being in Nevis for 7 months and spent some time with him. He was having a good day and it was great to see him. A couple of days later, my mother and grandmother asked him what was so special about me and they wondered why we had this special relationship. And he looked at my grandmother and gave her that look that says ‘you should know’ and said “Because she’s just like you…she’s feisty.” Well that is the best compliment I could ever get because I look up to my grandmother so much because she is a woman who lived before her time and has never been considered ‘old’. She has always been young at heart and you can always count on her to have modern views on the issues in the world today. She’s not old fashioned at all. Grampa Paul Barlow will be missed by all that knew him and as Chet Rowe says “the world has just lost a national treasure.”

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


OK, just in case you are wondering...the verse in my poem...

Now Thelma was a crazy girl

She surely was that grand

For once she stormed in the P.O.

With a rifle in her hand

Back in the grandfather, Paul, worked for the post office. He had borrowed a rifle from one of his co-workers who Thelma knew really well. Being the crazy girl she is, she came up the post office steps with the rifle to return it. She kicked open the door, raised up the rifle and said "OK, this is a hold-up!" Well unknown to her the shift had changed and there were a bunch of people behind the counter that she didn't know. She didn't know what to do. They were scared and didn't know what to do either. So she just put it down on the floor and told them to return it to the owner. Haha. You can just imagine what would happen these days if that had happened. So anyway, my grandmother, Thelma Barlow is 89 years old today. And going strong. She goes for a long walk every day with her friend Betty who is a young 60 who she says walks her ass off. I believe her that it keeps her young. One of her secrets is to live each day as if it is your last because it could be. So the picture was Grammy and I on New Years Eve this past year which was only a little over a week after my grandfather died. OK, gotta go finish watching House.

Thelma Queen of Perfumes

Here is my latest poem...Happy Birthday Grammy!!!

Thelma Queen of Perfumes

Says the sign in her garage

It sits up on the rafters

High above her garbage

Her house is very quaint

It’s full of lots of stuff

I bet back in the day

She tried a little snuff

She married in a black dress

Fell just below the knee

Now that’s a girl before her time

Now wouldn’t you agree?

Her fellows name was Paul

A tall drink of water was he

She was the light of all his life

Just look and you will see

Now Thelma was a crazy girl

She surely was that grand

For once she stormed in the P.O.

With a rifle in her hand

She didn’t get arrested

Though surely now she would

For Paul was in employ there

So that was very good

She worked a while at Rockingham School

And Barlow was her name

The kids did get a bit rowdy

But they were not to blame

Her real kids surely did grow up

And move on yes they did

They all made lives around the town

And farewell some did bid

She hangs sometimes with Munny

Her sister by the pond

Or her adopted sister Marliyn

For both of them she’s fond

Jane and Linda bring her out

To Lenas twice a week

Its like clockwork you can find them there

Don’t believe me? Take a peek

Her life is filled with many friends

Some related and some not

And if she takes a shine to you

A friend for life you’ve got

She likes to play her poker

With pennies she will bet

But don’t you try to bluff her

For that you will regret

She’ll sing a song to your newborn

She did once sing to mine

It went…Do Your Balls Hang Low

An odd choice but still fine

Grammy is different from most of them

She’s hip and cool and fun

I love the way she’s young at heart

She’s the best under the sun

So Happy Birthday goes to you

Just pretend my words are blooms

I hope you have a great birthday

Thelma Queen of Perfumes

Monday, November 07, 2005

I had my head in the clouds today

I hiked up Mount Nevis Peak today so I literally had my head in the clouds. I hiked up with Andrew and Lexi, who are my friend Janet's kids. They are 13 and 10 years old. Andrew is a veteran as he has hiked the peak before but it was Lexi's first time. She did a great job and didn't complain until she slid down some slippery rocks on the way down. She scraped her arm all up but was fine considering it could have been much worse circumstances. It is pretty steep up there and today was extremely muddy. From bottom to top. The last time we hiked it was only muddy for a while at the top. But today we were caked with mud and our shoes are really nasty. Our guide, Jim Johnson, is a very interesting character. He has so many stories about people and his family it is always fun to be up or down with him so you can hear him chatter on about stuff. I think he and Uncle Ronnie would get along great. Once we got up near the top it was very foggy. We did not have a view at all and it was actually a bit cold on top. I had goosebumps! It felt so good. Going down the mountain was quite a chore because of the mud which made it really slippery. I used many muscles that don't get used a lot and I run bike and swim a lot! But you are constantly using your upper body to pull yourself up on ropes and roots and also using those muscles on the way down to help ease yourself down. Jim said that on average there is a 44.5% grade but in many places you are climbing vertically. My muscles and joints will be sore tomorrow I can feel it already. So the pictures are one of Lexi and I on a big tree very close to the bottom and then a picture of our entire group which consists of Andrew and Lexi, Me, 4 Mormon Missionaries, a couple from Nebraska and a man from Chicago.