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FreeWill Floatin’ In The Flow, Mon!

The Global Rowing Club FreeWill Cruise of The British Virgin Islands was great! Idyllic, really.

The day before we left, my quest was to get back in touch with my favorite friend from Tortola, Leona Wattley. Years before I had tried in vain to contact her when I read that her husband, Paul Wattley, the Tortola Minister of Communication and Works, had suddenly died. I was unsuccessful then, but was determined this time to track her down. My detective work yielded that her internet presence was under her first name Sylvia. I left messages for her on Facebook and LinkedIn asking if she were the Leona I knew from The Anne Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico in 2000. One of my messages reached her and she called me immediately from Tortola and we made a plan to get back together.

On the plane and the ferry on the way there and back I met quite a few other people with whom I had tons of things in common. The downside of that was all the talking over jet engines and ferry engines left me with a medium case of laryngitis. I could still speak softly, but even today, my voice is not fully recovered.

Originally it was supposed to be rainy the week or so we were going to be there. When I heard that, I said to Andrea: “Let me work on that.” (I have a knack for good weather.)

HENCE: the weather was perfect the entire time. There were a couple of showers that cooled things off at night, one during lunch while we were on land that cooled things off. I couldn’t have ordered a better scenario.

Andrea, Butch, Jeni at Leona's

Having only met in person two days before the trip … Captain Butch, Andrea and I all got along delightfully well and worked together on the boat like a well-oiled machine as if we’d been sailing together for years. Captain Butch, who has been sailing in the BVI for 27 years showed Andrea and me all the wonders of nature and history — and took us every day to fabulous restaurants for lunch and dinner. We snorkeled all the reefs and saw all kinds of fish, huge starfish, conch (barracuda, stingrays too). Between our three phones and a camera we effortlessly took over 600 gorgeous pictures and some video.

We met and talked with many interesting locals and ex-pat transplants spreading the word about the Mission of The Global Rowing Club. I had a nice visit with Foxy, a BVI icon on Jost van Dyke — and afterwards met with his assistant Susan.

Upon hearing about my background and looking over the GRC website together, Foxy’s assistant Susan informed me that Foxy wants to open a health retreat on Jost van Dyke. Susan, a former long-distance swimmer, expressed particular interested in the Pro/Master’s Athlete health retreat as well as my plan to build the sport of LONG DISTANCE ROWING and the year-round rowing center and new boat design. She felt all the health/athletic-related plans would go over very well in the BVI as a high percentage of the cruisers visiting were adventure-oriented masters athletes like Butch — a retired marathon runner after ruining his knees running. Long-distance sculling for Butch would be, as it is for me, physical therapy in addition to being a superior full-body work-out.

She informed me that current British political policies were slowing down the development of renewable energy initiatives in the BVI. Richard Branson purchased Mosquito Island to establish a green community/resort. It doesn’t seem to be progressing rapidly, but the time is at hand to break through such barriers and we will be in the wings at the ready with The Cosmos Renewable Off-Shore Energy Platforms  — just the sort of outlandish project that would capture the imagination of a man like Sir Richard. It certainly is Virgin territory!!!!

But hands down, of all of our adventures, the best was the wonderful evening with Leona our last night when we returned to the marina in Road Town. Leona’s and my connection was instantaneous. As we caught up over dinner at the marina, it came to light that she is on an accelerated path of spiritual awakening. My friends absolutely loved her too and she lamented over and over that she had not been able to meet us on our first day to join us for the whole cruise. We finished this magical evening over wine and cheese at her beautiful house on top of the mountain overlooking Road Town and the harbor.

Commit to Cruise the Caribbean!

How’s this for committing? Two recent Global Rowing Club joiners: Dr. Butch and Andrea, have invited me as part of their contribution — to transform their 9 day cruise on a 43 foot sailing yacht into the first Official Global Rowing Club FreeWill Cruise of the British Virgin Islands.

We are starting out from Tortola where, interestingly, I made friends with several lovely woman from there in 2000 while I was a guest practitioner at the Anne Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico for a few months. I promised them one day I would  visit and now I will keep that promise!!

I’ll also come in handy for Dr. (Captain) Butch. Their plans were about to change when someone cancelled going. They were going to have to downsize to a smaller boat he could sail without experienced help. He needs an experienced first mate for a boat this size. And, yes, I have the “sailing gene”. I grew up spending my summers at our family beach house in Annapolis in Maryland, perhaps the sailing capital of the world! I’ve been fortunate to have opportunities to sail many wonderful places. I was on a racing team on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, I’ve sailed off of Costa Rica on the Pacific, I’ve sailed on the Valdez Arm on Prince William Sound in Valdez, Alaska, I’ve sailed a few times in Nashville … but most of my sailing has been extreme and thrilling catamaran sailing on the Gulf of Mexico and on the largest and most beautiful Bay in the word: The Chesapeake Bay!! This will be my first time on the Caribbean. Sailing is a passion for me and to combine it with a 9 day cruise with people who are COMMITTED to ACTIVELY be a part of The Global Rowing Club Campaign to save the world — is a spectacular gift and a dream come true!!! The Universe notices right away when you COMMIT 100%!

I want to also give credit to a several other GRC members who are contributing Sky Miles for the flight, spending money as well as house and Hannah sitting while I am away. Everything has come together to make this happen in less than 24 hours as if it had been planned for months. Actually, it feels like we planned it a long time ago (there’s that space and time conundrum again) and are just now remembering. We leave in less than 30 hours.

Guess what? I’m ready.

What makes it even better is the last thing Dr. (Captain) Butch said tonight after he went over the chart to give me an overview of  how we will traverse the Islands and what activities he has already mapped out as a seasoned Caribbean sailor … was “You’ve saved our trip!” That’s an especially wonderful thing to say when it’s a gift!  So in addition to enjoying great company while visiting spectacular destinations, we will be on a Treasure Hunt to find out how and with whom The Global Rowing Club is meant to offer ways to substantially make a difference in the world by partnering with like-minded people in the British Virgin Islands. Let’s see what magic and miracles await us as we voyage on our Ship of Dreams.

Everyone feel free to hop on board. We’re about to set sail!

Treading IN Water Instead of Sculling ON Water

Slow rowing summer? Why? I could say life gets in the way. But the truth is, I can’t devote a lot of time to training without outside support.

Just as the Levite tribe had to go back to working their fields because the other 11 tribes weren’t ponying up the dough to support the Levites to run the temple and attend to the spiritual needs ot the rest of the tribes (read The Book of Nehemiah to verify), I have to keep treading water bootstrapping with my inventions and can’t get to the business of saving the world or even trying to draw attention to The Cosmos by setting up spectacular rowing extravaganzas.

First my mother had a stroke, which took me out of town for nearly a month and completely broke my training routine! (She’s fully recovered.)

When I got back, for another month or longer it thunder-stormed every day.

I could probably still row a marathon tomorrow, but it would be SLOW and my hands would be scolding me for doing it for a week. Best to build up by increments when I get back out on the water.

Then I got too busy working with Trina working to translate all of my medical device info into Spanish for sudden intense interest expressed in manufacturing it in Latin America, and redesigning my self-loading boat roof rack to get into production to put on the market.

As for the radical new boat design: it is still the page that gets viewed the most. I suppose a lot of people keep checking back because I promised to prototype it and to take lots of pictures and videos of the process. But I haven’t started it yet because BILLS get in the way.

Seriously … if you are interested in seeing some of my projects get launched so that everything I have to offer the world will have a the chance to financially snowball into the funding it will take to make The Cosmos a reality … feel free to show up and come aboard.

Surfing The Piscean / Aquarian Cusp

I was bulldozed by many seasoned business experts to take the route of accepted business practices in developing my first invention, currently referred to on this web site enigmatically as “The Medical Device.” I had great fresh ideas when I started out, but in what I thought at the time was wise deference to their experience, I always ended up caving to the “good” ideas of experts that were more conventional (and more to their financial advantage). In retrospect, it is clear that my ideas were the good ideas, but I didn’t have the confidence at the time to stay with my mavericky (thank you Tina Fey) convictions. At the time I didn’t realize I was a pure Aquarian on a mission to exemplify a new way of conducting business and how to live life in general.

Running The Medical Device company all by myself almost killed me. What huge medical device companies informed me (when I attended The Future Medical Forum several years ago) was an astounding accomplishment for an individual to achieve, is not something I am that proud of right now in terms of the outcome — and I don’t want a repeat of it. I want to be as far away from the soul-stealing life-force-sucking struggle of “bootstrapping” in a sea of Piscean sharks as I can be. So I’ll steer clear of the sharks, be creative in my approach, do my own thinking and insist my ideas be implemented instead of discounted,  trumped and thwarted. My modus operandi won’t appeal to the people who aren’t risk-takers (just takers) and adventurers. Good! I can no longer bear to surround myself with that energy — so just consider that the things I come up with that “savvy business men” advise me to toss out are the very things I deliberately keep to be sure to sort things out from the start. Also considering the conventional mind-set is what has gotten this planet in the shape it’s in and what keeps the majority of its inhabitants in denial, I am keen to find a new breed of thinkers to populate my foxhole.

It is TIME (Aquarian Age) to be creative and go out on limbs and think outside of stupid confining boxes. That’s just how I am wired. To diminish my integrity and compromise my ideals to force an agenda would be to negate the very essence of who I am. It would be over for me right there.

So I will be whimsical, insist on things being fun, off-beat, outlandish and look at everything from the fresh point-of-view of someone who has not been indoctrinated by how things are supposed to be done. I have no need to suppress myself to meet with the approval of conventional thinkers just to get their money. People either believe in me, the REAL me, or they don’t. I won’t “pose” for money!

My world-saving ideas will be just great ideas without substantiation until I can afford the engineers to flesh them out. I was in Costly Medical Device Manufacturing Hell for five years trying to reach the point where I could devote my time and funding to The Cosmos. It took total ruination of my health and finances to finally force me to release myself from that hell. The moment I finally became powerful was the moment I achieved two thirds of what my hero Nicola Tesla achieved on his final day on earth. I became penniless and alone. Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. It was only at that point people like me started to show up to support my newest freshest idea: The Global Rowing Club. ¡Olé!

So what if all I ever do from now on is travel and row and talk about a dream? I guess that makes me a happy person already living a dream. My best has to be good enough. Time will tell about the rest. I am just well-informed enough to know that the entire planet is entering a new age and it will be daring quixotic people like me who will pull our world out of this ever-accelerating nose dive if the old school will just step aside and admit they didn’t make the cut. Until then, egos will play a destructive and pointless tug-of-war. Don’t expect (or advise) me to pick up either of the rope.

The people I am manifesting to populate my reality to implement my/our Purpose — are dreamers who have a sense of humor and a consuming desire to heal our planet. I am not for everyone. But I do know (finally after too many years of resisting the pay-off from my expensive education) that from now on we are going to do it my way (according to the Aquarian paradigm) or not at all. My wagon to the stars is going to be a fun adventure or I’ll be the first to jump off. Maybe it will fly, maybe it won’t. It’s out of my hands. I am simply WILLING to do my part and am not invested in the outcome.

My only agenda is The Will Of Heaven. Que será será.

Feel free to join me all ye who dare to Surf The Cusp in critical times — for what I hope and pray will be a relatively painless shift into a bright, shiny and peaceful Future. Denial or a negative fatalistic attitude will only exacerbate an inevitability that will not go away no matter how much you are distracted by a vast sea of minutia. Decide something about the BIGGEST AND MOST OBVIOUS ISSUE ON EARTH. To not decide is to decide. Time (if you still believe in time) is running out.

Hummingbird Handling in Español & English, 101

Your Dream Is Willing (To Stay or Escape)

A visit from a baby hummingbird is just a usual day in the life of Jenifer Humming, but  holding a hummingbird (colibrí, picaflor, tucusito) is a life-long dream come true for Trina Jacqueline — Jenifer’s talented, interesting well-traveled, multi-lingual buena amiga and assistant from Venezuela and a European resident. Trina is in the United States training to be el jefe of International Fundraising for The Global Rowing Club, promoting Jenifer’s inventions in South and Central America and learning to be an excellent sculler!

Watch our fun little pelicula … un poco en español, a little in English — but a picture is worth a thousand words in any language. If you suspect everything is a metaphor, you are probably right. Subtitles may be on the way so check back.

Climate Change and Sculling Challenge

I have to confess I am getting frustrated. I did better getting out to row all winter long in frigid temperatures than I am doing now that it is summer. There have been precious few days in the forecast that have not threatened thunderstorms. There were two days that were clear since Trina and I returned from over two weeks (of no rowing) in Maryland May 28th exhausted and depleted from the madness of the trip, but the wind was up to 14 mph. No thanks. Then there were two perfect days about two weeks ago but urgent matters prevented me from taking advantage of them. Mala suerte (I speak Spanish a lot more these days.)  Last Friday I did 36 miles dodging the ominous clouds and threatening rumbles of thunder. But that was on a small lake and I was always within a 30 minute row to get back to the launch dock if things got crazy.

My situation is a little different from the rest of the rowing world. Normal rowers and scullers can get out to row in the morning when it is clear and be off the water by the time the storms usually start. The reason that doesn’t work for me is when I get in my boat, it’s not for an hour or two … it’s for 5 to 10 hours non-stop. That’s why I am being thwarted. Most of the nights after sunset have been clear and I don’t mind getting started late and rowing all night, but I can’t get in either of these lakes after dark because the ingress is closed until dawn. So what’s a girl to do?

I’m all set to go back out to Inland Lake so I won’t have to do a zillion laps at Lake Purdy, but a thirty minute drive to gamble on dodging storms on a much larger lake where I could get caught an hour and a half away from the launch area — is too much of a risk — especially when I am in the middle of so much going on here. If I worked as much as I check the weather I would be much more productive.

I don’t remember it ever being like this. Maybe I wasn’t paying such close attention before … or maybe the climate is changing. That’s one of the things I want to get around to fixing. But for now, all I know is this weather is taking a CHUNK out of my rowing. And even worse, I barely have a tan and I can’t keep the cushions out on my deck furniture.

Looks Like I will be rowing on Monday.

Why the Long Rowing Dry Spell Jen?

Very good question. I haven’t been keeping up with adding to this blog for a good while either. So here’s the condensed version:

If you have been following my rowing stories, you will recall in the winter I really smacked my left shin running into something in the dark, didn’t ice it right away and actually forgot it even happened. My next row was on February 20th. I rowed 45 miles and I wondered why my left shin began to hurt. Next thing you know, I could barely walk for weeks. I even went to have it ex-rayed because I thought I had fractured it.

I gave it a few weeks off and went out on March 12th. It began to hurt again at 20 miles, but I rowed 50 anyway.

The next time out was March 27th at Lake Purdy to test my leg on the smaller lake where the rowing club is located. I am glad I only did 8 miles that day, taking it easy rowing slowly chatting with my friend Bob.

I stayed at Lake Purdy from then on as the water levels were back up and worked my mileage back up to 34 miles by April 19th. I really meant to do 50 or 60 miles that night, but I got a call from my new volunteer intern/assistant who was flying in on April 21st from Venezuela and once stopped for more than a few minutes, I got way too chilled to keep going, was floating right by the dock, so it was too tempting to just call it a night and get warmed back up ASAP in a heated car.

Then upon my new assistant’s arrival, our time was taken up with getting her trained and adjusted to all the workings of my multi-faceted business, health, sports, save the world way of life. It was going great and we were having a blast. But my personal rowing time was taken up with training her to row in a double. It was great fun, but not my usual work-out.

Then just as we were hitting our stride and making tons of progress, I got a call from my brother that my mother had a stroke. Next thing you know I’m on my way up to Maryland. Thankfully Trina made the trip with me in the hopes that we could continue to get some work done, but the friend we were staying with had no internet access and the only time we could get online was at the hospital … a two hour drive in traffic both ways from where we were staying. We never got to bed before 4 am in the morning. The strain of the trip did us both in.

Thankfully, when the dust settled on my mother’s acute episode, the doctor explained to me that her blood pressure had simply spiked way too high, and the worst of her damage was just being kept in a hospital bed for two weeks losing all of her strength while they were trying to get her blood pressure medication adjusted. By the time we left, she was her old self again. But between the 15 hour drive there (Trina obviously could not help with the driving) and the 15 hour drive back … and the minimum of 4 hours of driving every day we were there, and no rowing to keep my joints pain free, my old right hip injury decided to kick up into a full blown bout of non-stop pain and barely being able to walk AGAIN.

I was so depleted by the over two week trip of non-stop impossible circumstances, it was a week before I was even close to being myself again emotionally and being in constant physical pain was not helping at all.

I knew the only way to get it under control was to get back out rowing and Trina and I made it out once in the double, but again … 8 miles is not sufficient physical therapy for my abused joints from a life-time of extreme sports.

Then all of a sudden, we started getting intense interest from South American about my medical device invention and Trina and I spent a couple of weeks writing, compiling and translating already existing information into Spanish for her connection there to submit for consideration.

Then to make matters simply impossible, the weather forecast for every week since our  return from the Maryland trip has looked like this: And still does. This is from today:

Trina is off visiting family in Miami and trying to get a customs matter straightened out about some things she had shipped from the UK to Venezuela so I was determined to go rowing by myself again Friday. The weather as usual promised scattered thunderstorms so I called my chiropractor and made an appointment for 3:30 to get my hip adjusted. But I told him if it weren’t raining, I would go rowing to adjust it that way instead. He’s a Global Rowing Club supporter and knows me well. When I left having lunch with a friend, I called to say it wasn’t raining and rowed mind-numbing laps at Lake Purdy for 36 miles. I felt GREAT.

My hip is pain free again, but I still have to put in some more miles to get it completely back to normal.

I had my gear all ready to go back out to Inland Lake early this morning for some REAL mileage because the weather showed no signs of thunderstorms last night, but the big thunder claps started extra early and it has been dark and ominous all day. Tomorrow looks the same, but I will still try to get out early and hopefully dodge the scattered storms. When it is 95 degrees (35 Celsius) I don’t mind getting rained on. Getting hit by lightning might give me super human powers, so whatever happens, it’s a win win — the way I see it.

I just have to row again, darn it!

So there it is … why I have been conspicuously silent in my blog posting … and took a hiatus from rowing. Life got in the way.

Back from Sculling Haitus

36.1 Miles — 58.1 Kilometers

I only had 36.1 miles (58.1 K) in me today after not rowing in my boat Hummingbird since  April 19 … nearly 7 weeks ago when I did only 34 miles. I was planning to row 60 miles that night. The conditions were ideal. A full moon was rising just as it got dark and while I was moving, the temperature was perfect. But I got a phone call and stopped to talk. Then I got too chilled and stiff to continue. This afternoon and evening, I didn’t answer the phone, text, or even take pictures. I just rowed non-stop except for a quick pull-over to switch my running lights on at twilight. Is mine the only scull in the world that has a lit dashboard and running lights? I think it might be.

Marsh Labyrinth Sculling, 101

18.2 Miles — 29.3 Kilometers

The wind was up and only going to get worse. Gary at Lake Purdy kept telling me, but I had checked and I already knew. I told him I could handle it. (Yeah, I’m so tough.)

When I got out … windy it was. I pulled out an elastic band immediately to put around my hat to keep it on. I had intended to head straight down to the Bald Eagle nest but decided to make a run for the new Marsh Labyrinth in hopes that the wind would in fact get calmer instead of worse by the time I ventured back out into the main lake.

Once I got back there, it was a sheltered paradise. As I was only out to test my leg and work on my tan (the only sunblock I ever use is sun … I’m strangely not as fair as a Scottish lass should be) I lingered in the maze amid the wildlife. I saw all three Bald Eagles there, countless herrings, ducks, geese and even chased after a surprisingly relaxed and friendly Water Moccasin lazily swimming with his head above the water and sticking his tongue out a lot. It was forked.

I took lots of pictures. I was in no hurry to leave. There are a couple of the snake … look for them.

I managed to get at least four miles out of the Marsh Labyrinth and went places no scull has gone before. Skegless sculling means being able to go over logs or almost anything. And after rowing so much in the dark, my balance in the daylight is effortless! I can pick my way through narrow passes by raising my blades high above all obstacles or pulling them inboard all the way. It has become uncanny! I can go anywhere!

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Once I got back out into the main part of the lake … it was soooooooo windy. Oh my God was it windy. Up to 20 mph winds for the next hour. I just opened my bailer and left it open and struggled against the wind to keep up the 3 miles per hour it takes to keep the water going out as I was constantly swamped with swell after swell. There were times I was rowing as hard as I could and the Speed Coach read zero miles per hour! I tried like Jesus to talk the wind into calming down. I’m not as fast as Jesus, but it eventually worked. I kept going until dark mapping the perimeter and managed to get 18.2 miles in one lap. Now I have a GPS line to follow. When I got off the water and up to my car … this time there was a sticky note on my window with the combination to unlock the gate to get out. Thanks Gary.

He knows how I am. 🙂

Sculler in a Cage

I have been conspicuously silent lately in my blog posting. I have not worried about it as I still haven’t officially launched this blog. Nevertheless, it is getting traffic. And the most attention I am getting is for my new boat design still. That is an indicator I need to prototype it SOON.

I have been silent because I didn’t want to admit how I am. When I have space and time (when I am pretending either of those two things exist) I use all of it no matter what. In other words, my last row at Inland Lake … even though I thought my leg was healed and ready, it was not. At mile twenty it started to hurt and I rowed 50 miles anyway. That’s just how I am. So I have been nursing it back to health and promised myself not to push it again.

Therefore, I have to be contained. Knowing this about myself, last week I rowed at the smaller lake, Lake Purdy where the rowing club is located. It is sooooooo much easier to launch there. With all of the rain lately, it is not so little and treacherous anymore. There are new areas to explore and I spent my time (Bob joined me for half of it) exploring the new creeks where there was only marsh before, if that, while it was dry. If I hadn’t mapped it on my GPS, I would never have found my way back out. It is a labyrinth of glorious exotic beauty. I felt like I was in the marshes of Louisiana and I have never seen so much wildlife, even in the mangroves of Florida!

There is also a nesting pair of Bald Eagles there now with a baby. I am going to go see them today. As I must be contained, I am going to the little lake again that closes at 7 pm when the gates are locked. (I got locked in last week!) I will see how my leg does today with 15 or 20 miles. It hurt last week doing only 8! I am not going to train today, I am going to work on my tan. Yes, I will be “wearing my bikini of power.” They’re used to that there.

My down-time, however has been well spent corresponding, speaking on the phone, audio and video Skyping with Global Rowing Club supporters all over the country and Internationally. I have an assistant coming to work with me soon from South America and expect a visit from Michael in Germany.

Just checking in to say hi. 🙂 I will be back later to tell you about today’s adventure.