Feb 28, 2007

When Time Slows Down

Last night at practice I decided it was finally time to step up and be the Jammer. The Jammer has the pressure of the crowd on them; she wears the star on her helmet and makes the points. It is her job to get through the pack before the other Jammer to establish herself as lead and then she must lap the pack and score points by passing the opposing skaters. What people don’t always realize is if your blockers stink it doesn’t matter how fast or slinky your Jammer is she can’t fight a whole pack on her own. On the other end if your blockers are great than anyone on your team can jam as long as she has the endurance. Most teams, like ours, fall somewhere in-between.

I lined up on the second line and waited for the second whistle. It’s this few seconds waiting for the whistle that I always feel like I have to pee. The fact is I always just went. It’s my fear that I fall in a giant hog pile of women and then I accidentally pee on someone, so I always go just in between suiting up and hitting the rink and then again sometimes in between jams, sometimes so often I joke that my number should’ve been PP, but I'm well hydrated so what can I say.

After two excruciating, leg crossing, pee filled seconds of waiting for the whistle, he finally blows those two short bursts all Jammers live for. I take off running on my stoppers, the pee sensation long gone right along with the opposing Jammer. When I reach the pack I slide past the opposing and surprised black blocker and to my delight the rest of the opposing blockers are entangled with my team, I skim past the middle blockers on the inside of the track and get knocked out of bounds by their last line of defense their Pivot. I am free and clear of the pack now and my legs are working hard to get me around the track but I am not “Lead Jammer” because I was out of bounds briefly thanks to their Pivot. My new wheels carry me around the track with the utmost efficiency.

By the end of the jam we’ve skated the full two minutes, I sprinted the whole time and my lungs are on fire, sweat is pouring off me and I plop down on the folding chair at the side of the track and wait two minutes for my turn again. I have no idea how many points I actually made, I know I lapped the pack three times but I'm not sure how many fowls I incurred not keeping my elbows to myself or going out of bounds. Tonight the track is just a series of cones instead of actual rope lights, so it's hard to tell.

Next jam I’ll block while my team mate Acid Rain jams and then we’ll rest again, you just can't jam back to back two in a row even with the brake in the middle, it's too much. It's two minutes of sheer energy pouring out of your legs while the rest of your body dodges and wiggles out of the way and your brain is screaming "Watch OUT!" To say it's exhausting hardly seems to cover it. Two minutes on and two minutes off, that’s how it goes with twenty seconds to shuffle around in-between jams. On the track two minutes stretches out into eons and when I watch the bout back on DVD I can barely make out split second hits that seemed to take place in slow motion when they happened.

Feb 27, 2007

Take Two

Sunday night I walk up to the big building in the back of the community center lugging my giant orange skate bag on my shoulder. I set it down and proceed to help take down 64 long folding tables and stack the 256 chairs in the big hall. Soon we are staring at roughly 3,000 square feet of bare cement littered with gum wrappers, pull tabs and ashes from BINGO. Two women grab big brooms while the rest of us stretch and suit up for exercises. As I throw my sweatshirt into my bag I catch a glimpse of my new wheels, I can’t wait to see how they feel on the glassy cement. We do crunches and squats and something called the kayak and I am so antsy I can’t contain my inner third grader, I start whining “When are we gonna get our skates on?” “I wanna suit up. Let’s go!” and soon enough Sandra D. Molisher looks at me and says “Good job ladies, let’s get our skates on.” I almost squeal with glee and a few on my teammates nod and smile at my Christmas morning attitude.

I described these wheels as the mountain bike I traded my twelve-speed for and on a wood floor that was true but on cement tonight it’s like a ten-speed mountain bike. I am stuck to the floor firmly and adjust my skating to include long strides and all my strength. I no longer have to rein my speed to keep from skidding into the tables folded and stacked at the far end of the room. My legs unfold and I am zooming past my team mates and approaching Punchy Love fast. I try to swerve around her with a flick of my ankle and the new wheels don’t respond. I grab Punchy’s hips from behind to avoid bonking my forehead on her butt. I hear her in front of me say “What the f*ck?” and respond with “It’s me… I love them…. Huff puff they’re sooo grippy!” She says “good” and skates to the side of me. I can’t help but show off now and Punchy is paying attention so I have the perfect opportunity I say “Watch this!” and I sprint taking the corners as tight as I can, I am really flying now and one of the referees gets in front of me, I turn my ankle a little harder this time and lean, again have to reach out in front of me to grab his hips before slamming into him. Five or six more times around the imaginary track and I finally get my swerves and turns figured out.

By the end of practice my legs are sore again, like when I first came out of my fifteen year skating hiatus. It’s a good sore, the kind that tells me I really worked hard. The skin on my feet will make adjustments in my calluses over the next few weeks and by bout time my new wheels will be an extension of me. They are going to keep me safe and help me stay upright. As the grease in my bearings loosen and burn up as I put more hours on them they will get faster and faster. My husband told me when he used to skateboard the first thing he would do after buying new bearings was take them apart and soak them in rubbing alcohol to get all the grease off, when reassembled they are fast as lightning. I don’t have the nerve to mess with my bearings like that – I’ve always been a recommended dosage kinda woman. I really only take two when the bottle says take two and I think I’ll just put the time in on these bearings instead.

Feb 24, 2007

Time to Prune

The famed shrill stabbing thrusts at violin strings played in their topmost register induce fear and conjure up images of Marion bleeding in the shower at the Bates motel. When asked what thought was uppermost in his mind when creating this unique and hair-raising cue. The composer Bernard Herrmann replied in one word: "terror." It’s an unmistakable composition to any movie fan, it is also the precise sound produced by the dry twisted branches scraping on the cold window of the library below our bedroom. As the wind picks up the branches rake back and forth mimicking the rhythmic horror of Hitchcock’s score just audible enough to wake you from a good sleep.

Feb 23, 2007

New Wheels

Oh the encouragement of a very wise friend I have remembered - It’s my blog and I can talk about whatever I like here and if you don’t like it you won’t read. Neener neener neener.

So our next Roller Derby Bout is Friday March 9th and everything is a whirlwind of running drills finding enough skaters to fill in for the injured and getting promotional material finished and in hand, which happened today and no I can start on April’s stuff. I only have ten days before the next board meeting and I want to have April’s promo material finished (or darn near finished) so I can get a nod from the board collectively. You see, all these women have day jobs and this last week has been spent chasing down a majority of votes individually via e-mail, myspace, fax machine and in person for EVERY piece of print material I needed an approval on. Screw That! I’m going to be ready BEFORE the board meeting next time even if it kills me and it may. The photo shoot for April is done so artwork is the only thing left in my way. I’d tell you how cool it’s gonna look but its top secret.

I bought new wheels for my skates. I bought blue Witch Doctors after reading several reviews and reading that’s what Melicious uses. My old wheels are Zingers, they’re very hard and very fast but super slidey and fifteen years old. I jammed once in the last bout (two weeks ago) and no matter how fast I went it didn’t matter because I couldn’t stay in bounds, the centripetal force was the devil – so I bought something that was supposed to be grippier without sacrificing any speed. I put them on my feet for the first time on Tuesday night and not only are they grippey and slow but they seem to be twice the size of my old wheels. I went from 58mm to 62 and I was tripping all over myself. I skated again in them last night and they feel a little faster yet. I’m determined to get at least 8 hours into them before I make a decision on them. It was like going from a twelve speed racing bike to a mountain bike, clunky and tough but much safer when flying down a mountain with your life cradled in a helmet.

I went out to a new bar with the girls last night to scope it out for one beer. We are always looking for a better place to have an after bout party you see the perfect place doesn’t exist. We pull in 1200 people to the actual event and I think about 1/3 of those follow us to the after party plus staff and roller girls and their significant others, we need a giant bar that is clean and well staffed and empty enough for a crowd like that on a Friday or Saturday night to come rushing in through the doors and want beers right now. Oh and they also have to LIKE us. Not everyone is capable of treating Roller Girls with respect and we take that very seriously. We are athletes and while it’s ok to find an athlete attractive it’s not ok to imply that she would dance on the bar for you and some roller girls might not be offended by the implication but some might slap you in the side of the head for it. We are diverse and individual just like any team, too bad some people don’t ever see past the uniform. Any minute I’m going to start singing “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roll”.

Feb 21, 2007

Mid-Blog Crisis

What to write? I don’t want to dwell any further on the sickness we had here (gross no one really wants to read about the adventures of poo). I could talk for days about Roller Derby but I think most of my friends are truly sick of hearing it because that’s really all I talk about anymore (I’m so in love with it). I could expound about politics and the Iraq war but I think you all know how I feel. I could whisper about Britney Spears and her shaved head going into rehab but it seems shallow – if that was your cup of tea you’d be reading D-listed. So I’m not sure I have anything interesting to say today, so I’m just gonna go play Legos.

Feb 19, 2007

Mt. Ella

Dan and I slept with an active volcano last night and about 1:30am it spewed. The whole family awoke to puke and puke and more puke, I am only thankful that it wasn’t me doing the barfing. Ella was miserable. She and I got in the tub while Dan cleaned and moved us all to the the futon. When we all made it back to bed Dan snored, Ella snored and I listened. I listened for that little rumble in her tummy that would give us some kind of warning before erupting again so I could warn the villagers and move the valuables.

Feb 17, 2007


Last Wednesday I started that new fad diet everyone is on, it’s called the flu. I’ve been on it for four days now and though I don’t feel fantastic I think I am loosing lots of weight. Ella jumped aboard last night and barfed all night. She and I slept on the futon close to the bathroom and this morning she’s decided she didn’t like the flu and went back to eating like a growing three year old. I think her legs sprouted between breakfast and lunch and she promptly outgrew her pants. I am sticking to it though perhaps one more day before I call the doctor and inform her that her whole eating healthy and exercising plan sucks compared to having dysentery or salmonella.

Feb 15, 2007


Last night we ended up wandering around the book store in a stupor looking for a children’s book that was under $7.00 and didn’t involve princesses or getting married or animals – good luck on that one ehe? Why can’t I ever find “A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes” or “The Seven Silly Eaters”. I just see row after row of Olivia and Barbie Fairytopia and Cluck Cluck Moo Oink and those books are just fine, we own some of them and read them but now what’s left to find on the shelf to buy? Come on book store – have a little creativity!

I did buy “
Roller Girl Totally True Tales from the Track” by Melissa Joulwan aka “Melicious” of the Texas Rollergirls. So far I like it – one problem though I read it right before bed and then I was too excited to sleep. Her description of being on the track is so right on that it makes me want to skate in the worst way. No more “Rollergirl” before bed.

Feb 14, 2007

For Sale Cheap

Valentines Day has been one of my favorites since I was a kid when Mom would bring home a tiny box of chocolates for each of us kids and we would get a valentine in the mail from our Grandparents. I’ve never been one that needed $60.00 a dozen roses or smooshy fuzzy bears proclaiming “I wuv you.” In fact I’ve told Dan should he ever do either of these he’d have to sleep on the couch, but he does do a little something on Valentines and it usually includes chocolate and books and he never forgets.

You see, I bought Valentines Day from him 10 years ago. When we first met he gave me this story about telling me he loved me every day and not needing a special day for it and I bought that hook line and sinker for a couple years but soon the girls I worked with were getting flowers and trinkets and I began to fret about missing the holiday. Dan’s reply “You don’t even know who St. Valentine is and we aren’t even Catholic” This was an excellent point and I let it go another year until I could stand no more and went to the library to do an impromptu report on St. Valentine. It was quiet an ordeal to find information before the internet of today.

February rolled around again I prepared to enlighten Dan on the subject, he prepared for a trip to Las Vegas with his friends. I encouraged him to go for the weekend and each guy had a set amount of money to gamble with; $2,000.00 no more, no less. Dan was short of his steak by half and worried about it but I had a Christmas bonus that year that I hadn’t spent yet and didn’t have any plan to spend. I traded him the rest of his steak in exchange for Valentines Day for the rest of our lives. That is how I bought St. Valentines Day for $1,000.00. I think I got the better end of the bargain, but so does he.

Maybe that story isn’t very romantic or implies that his gifts aren’t genuine but honestly he does a pretty good job of it every day just like in the beginning of the story.

Feb 12, 2007

She goes all the way to 11

Ella and I were in a meeting when I realized we were cutting it close to ballet class, she was playing puzzles on the floor while I wrapped things up and we headed four blocks home in our cold van with Ella’s gloves on the wrong hands for speeds sake and Ella yelling she was hungry for “something”. We literally ran into the house, let the dog out while I answered the phone and I shoved a cupcake into Ella’s gaping mouth and changed her into ballet clothes before letting the dog back in and leaving for class. What did we do with our free five minutes while we drove to the studio? We talked about how to use your ears more than your mouth when the teacher is talking. Oh yeah, imagine that, Ella likes to talk lot, who could’ve guessed? We also discussed the volume at which you should try to keep happy giggling during dancy class. I know it seems a bit manipulative to try and tell a little kid “you are too full of joy could you just take it down a notch” but that is what I had to explain to my dearest innocent child. Yes Ella, that crazy maniacal laughing and jumping up and down you do while anticipating your turn is a distraction to the class and the teacher really needs your help keeping it down and besides I think you’re freaking her out a little bit. I know you love ballet but ballerinas use their feet to tell people their happy by dancing their best. Whatever part of my five minute lecture made sense to her seemed to work and she was only mildly distracting this evening, no more than any of the other wiggling squealy three year olds in her class. May God grant you all the patience of a toddler’s ballet teacher.

Feb 11, 2007

Hot Coco

What a beautiful Sunday. The temp came up from the subzero and so our furnace is able to keep up again. The Sunday funnies are particularly funny and we have hot coco in the house. I suppose that doesn’t seem like an overly long list of good things – it’s really just three but somehow the whole day feels nice and cozy and good, it just has a good aura. I hope your Sunday is just as contented.

Feb 9, 2007

Diamonds and Chocolate


FACT: One-third of Nestle's chocolate is from West Africa, where over 286,000 children are working in slave-like conditions on cocoa (chocolate) farms.

FACT: Dole is the largest distributor of cut-flowers in the world, the majority of which are imported from Columbia and Ecuador, where farmers and flower workers (often adolescent girls) are exposed to 127 different chemicals, including neurotoxins and carcinogens.

FACT: The three private owners of M&M/Mars Inc. are each "worth" $10.4 billion, while the West African farmers growing the cocoa for M&Ms chocolate are paid an average of $108 annually.

FACT: Despite record profits in 2006, Hershey's has been accused of buying from contractors who utilize child labor and child slavery on cocoa farms on the Ivory Coast.

TAKE ACTION: Send a message to the chocolate and flower giants to stop child labor, illegal toxic chemical use, union busting, and to pay their farmers a living wage.

from www.organicconsumers.org/valentines/alert.htm

Please buy local for Valentines Day

Feb 7, 2007

She's been watching PeeWee's Playhouse

"I'm the boss and you can be the nice office taker and I will be mean to you."

"Dude, you crack me out!"

"The Lion King always makes me funny."

"I'm the most beautiful woman in puppet-land."

"Can I have some apple? I want it on the cob."

Feb 5, 2007


I’m still alive and keeping warm. It is 8 below today and our furnace is pretty much running every 10 minutes to keep up. We have space heaters everywhere and I am doing gobs of work with my computer, which always makes my hands cold. I’m not sure why, but I’m still waiting for someone to invent that heated mouse – or even a heated mouse pad. It couldn’t be that hard.

Today this is my 555th post.

Feb 2, 2007

Extra Extra

Good morning my dearest bloggies. Today is a good day. Dan is coming home from a four day business trip to Indianapolis and we have nothing on the agenda today except grocery shopping. I've had an insane busy week. The next roller derby bout is Saturday Feb 10th and I've been helping with the ads and we are also running a contest via the website. We are recruiting for our fourth team and asked the public to help us name it. We've past the point of submissions and are on to voting. So dear bloggies go to www.rockfordrage.com and click on the “Name those Dames” button and vote for your favorite. I personally like the Monkey Wenches being that Rockford is the home of the sock monkey, but I voted for the Sinnissippi Sin-dicate because the theme seemed easier to adhere to than monkeys.

In other derby news the first bout has changed. It was the Screw City Slammers vs. the Midwest Maulers and my team the Demolition Dolls, were to volunteer as support staff. I was learning to ref but the Maulers suffered an inordinate amount of injuries and were forced to forfeit. The Slammers take the win but we can’t just cancel the bout so the Dolls are going to skate against the Slammers in an exhibition bout on the 10th. We’ve spent the last week re-working print materials and running drills. I’ve lived ate and breathed roller derby for about two weeks now. The good news is a
HCTM message therapy school has decided to sponsor us and give the girls messages before the bout and they will be on hand during and after the bout in case of injury. Next week I am scheduled for ½ an hour – I already love these people.

Feb 1, 2007

February Evening

The full moon is shining down on a fresh coat of snow. I’m sure Eskimos have a specific word for this type of snow but I just call it sparkly. It’s a flakey dusting that makes the sidewalk especially slippery and every surface it holds on to shiny like someone took the sky and tossed it to the earth shattering it into a million shards, cold reflections of the moon in all its round glory scattered across the landscape.