Sep 28, 2012

Feminist Walking


Have you ever been walking in a crowd and been faced with a daring game of pedestrian chicken; both people walking straight at each other?  In high school it was the stuff of teenage boy fights.  Two boys would shoulder check each other and then one would yell, "bring it!" and they'd be off and rolling around on the hallway floor while people formed a circle and chanted "FIGHT!"

In adult life, polite society, and even not so polite society, this crazy game of pedestrian chicken happens all the time.  Think about being in the grocery and people with their carts.  Think about a festival you may have been to and what it was like to walk through a crowd.

At some point in the last few years I stopped moving out of the way.  I think it was around the time I had Ella.  The fact was; I was exhausted most of the time and carrying baby on one hip and a diaper bag and purse on the other side.  Making those extra three steps to move for a grown-ass-man, in a crowd, was a concession I just didn't have the energy to make.  You would be surprised how many times I've been shoulder checked with a baby in my arms.  Because  not only do I not move, but I refuse to be the one to shrink out of the way, to contort my whole being around someone not carrying another human in their arms.

When my extra human was big enough to walk, we'd hold hands through a crowd and people would automatically make way for us. You see there is a hierarchy.  People get out of the way for little kids, bleeding people, old people, someone who looks like they're about to barf and people with guns.  Otherwise you're on your own and in my experience it's often the women who are shrinking out of the way or expected to move.  In fact once I started paying attention I realized how often women apologize for what seems like just taking up space on the planet.  This is about the time I joined roller derby and was learning how to purposefully take up space on the track.  I was learning how to be wide and plant my feet, how to have a presence and not only claim my spot, but defend it.

I learned from roller derby and catching beads at many a Mardi Gras parade, if you shrink and don't own your space, people will muscle in and take it from you, get past you on the track, or catch those beads right in front of your face.  You have to stand wide and think large.  You have to be ready to not shrink back when people bump into you.  You have to hold your head high, look people in the eye, be present and say "Excuse me" when you want people to move out of your way.

Since this new attitude, I have been in more than one argument with the man I was walking with, about my refusal to yield.  My stance is, given all things equal, why should it be my responsibility to move.  Especially now that I am again carrying a small human on my hip and sometime limping (when it gets cold my knee gets creaky.)  It's a hard thing to explain to someone.  I've been called aggressive, rude and selfish.  While I understand if you're seeing this crazy dance for the first time; the one where I walk with purpose and a teenage boy or grown man is caught off guard by me not getting out of his way, and then suddenly he's doing an awkward dance to get around me.  It seems harsh and startling, and you might turn and ask me  "Why didn't you just move?!" And if it were only on occasion this happened, I probably would have, but you have to understand, it's often.  So often I'm tired of it.  So no, I won't move nor will I feel bad about it.

It's not like I'm trampling people trying to get through the doors to Walmart on Black Friday, or hip checking people in walkers to get through a door first, I still have manners.  I'm just un-apologetically existing in my own personal space and refusing to yield just because someone else is oblivious.  When you lean into my space on a train or while standing in line, I will widen my stance in an effort to tell you to back off.  And should you decide to play pedestrian chicken with me, you should know I spend several hours a week seriously training for a shoulder or hip check...  and I'm even talented enough to do it on wheels.

Also know that if it's just me walking and I'm approaching a man carrying a kid and a diaper bag etc, I step out of the way.  And recently, I know a guy who was rammed in the back of the legs with a shopping cart because he was walking slow.  So I know it's not just women this happens to, but I think a most of the time it is gender specific.  In fact, I read another blog about this same subject a few months ago and I wish I could find it again, I'd link (I'll keep looking.) Do you have a story? Do you find yourself moving? Apologizing often for being in the way? Or perhaps you are a ground stander? Have read this same topic somewhere? I'd like to hear about it.

Sep 24, 2012

The Great Sauce Off 2012

This is my recipe for sugo

What you need:

  1. Stew pot
  2. Two cans tomato sauce
  3. Brown sugar
  4. Parmesean cheese
  5. Garlic
  6. Red meat
  7. Salt 
  8. Pepper
  9. Time
Brown the meat (can be burger or cubed steak or stew meat) with garlic and salt and pepper in the bottom of the stew pot.  Do not drain the fat.  Add the tomato sauce and some good fat shakes of parmesean cheese and salt and pepper.  Put the lid on and turn it down to a slow simmer and let it sit.  The longer it cooks the better it will be.  I like to simmer for at least two hours and usually the rule in my house is if you walk through the kitchen, stop and stir the sauce.  

Cook your pasta in a different pan. Any pasta will do, sauce makes enough to cover 8 servings which is the amount in most boxes of dry pasta, but feel free to use the sauce on what you like.  I like a penne pasta and when it's all put together and on the table it's mostaccioli or as the kids call is "monster choli" 

Sometimes I add mushrooms or basil or a little onion but they aren't needed. Oh! And sometimes if I have a little merlot, I put some in with the meat when it's browning and then I put some in me while I'm cooking.  

This is a great meal if you have big eating guests.  I used to make it for firefighters and construction dudes along with a salad and some italian bread and those guys never left hungry.  

But because we almost never eat eight servings, unless we have guests, I always make a baked pasta the next day.  I put the left overs in a casserole dish and top it with shredded mozzarella.  Throw that in the oven for a half hour at 350 and it's almost better than the day before.    

Also see I Still Hate Pickles for the rest of the Great Sauce Off 2012.

Sep 18, 2012

I Jammed

Whole 09.15.12 Flickr set HERE  

This was my first game with the Rockford Rage.  It was the Ragdolls vs IL Valley Vixens, a non-sanctioned WFTDA bout.  We lost by two points in the last three jams 116-114.  Not bad for our first time all playing together.  We have a bunch of new skaters from other leagues this season, so it's been super fun making all new pals. This was also my first game back since my knee surgery.  I wore the DonJoy knee brace and it worked pretty well.  I think I did all right.  I remember getting lead a few times and I remember knocking the other jammer down, but I also remember getting stuck behind blocker number 5 and her cohort for most of a jam and getting a major for cutting.  So, this season I will concentrate on jamming and all the many things that requires.

Photos by KORfan

I've been having dreams that I am getting ready to play, but I don't have all my pads, or I lost my favorite socks and I'm not ready.  I think it's the same dream as when you find yourself at work or school without pants, but in derby if you find yourself without pants chances are that's on purpose.  Next month's bout is October 13th.  It's a mixer, meaning teams from everywhere are invited and all scrambled up and split down the middle.  Mixers are pretty fun, you get to play next to people you normally don't and soak up new plays and knowledge as well as just have a fun time.  Usually there is a theme and some crazy outfits... yes even more crazy than no-pants.  You should come and watch.  You should also cheer for the team I am on.

Sep 13, 2012


Children's dirty socks appear
Like spores in the crannies of our living room
Small and musty wads of colorful stink
Folded onto themselves ready to explode into forty more
If your child is missing a sock, I bet it's at my house

photo from 12/22/2005

Sep 12, 2012

It's the Little Things

Every time we got in the car there was this smell.  I was thinking it was my derby gear in the trunk. Then there was the rash of fruit flies and the beginning of every drive required two blocks of windows down.  While I was rooting through the toy box in the back seat today, looking for a missing library book, I found an old banana peel and a dozen fruit flies hanging out with spider man and a hot wheel car.  I'm glad I was able to solve at least one problem today.