Since I did that year-in-review quiz, I realized maybe I can occasionally mention something here that isn't related to elderly people or poop.
So here's one: the summer before last, I decided to learn how to surf. But I live in the Pacific Northwest, which means our ocean is very cold. So I worked a bunch of extra hours (this is when I was a nanny) and saved up, and signed up for surf camp at Surf Divas in La Jolla CA. I took 11 days off, and drove all the way down there, camped near San Diego, and surfed during the days. It was pretty awesome.
On my drive down, I stopped for lunch and saw the world's most amazing pinball machine.
I set up my tent
And spent my days like this (yep, I'm in this photo. I'm NOT the one in the instructor rashguard, sadly)
It was amazing and scary and one of the most fun things I've ever done. I didn't get good at it, but I did it enough to want to do it more.
When we first started learning, we were on the "inside" - closer to the shore, where the waves have already broken and the water is shallower. On the second or third day, we were ready to paddle out to the "outside" - past where the waves are breaking. To do this, you need to paddle really hard and strong to get through the "impact zone" where most of the waves are breaking. You don't want to spend much time there, so you try to power through it as fast as you can. Then you get to the outside where the waves are more like big sloping hills lifting you up and down as you bob around on your board. When you get lifted up you can see the shore, and it's so gorgeous and calm and peaceful out there. From there you try to catch the waves just as they're breaking and then you can ride them all the way to shore. When you get one, you go so fast it feels like you're flying. It's amazing.
Here's a wave diagram that may help you understand what I mean by inside and outside and impact zone. Where it shows a peaking wave, that's where you'd be catching the wave to take off on it. The breaking waves are the impact zone. Further out to sea is the outside, and closer to shore from the broken waves is the inside.
I've only gone once since then, back in my cold section of the Pacific. This last summer I was working too much to have time to get out to the coast. Hopefully next summer!