So, I entered a small LARGE photo contest with a few pics I snapped before I had to pawn my fancy camera for gas & food money. One of the prizes is a new camera and lenses. I'd really like that. I am going to eventually transform from a derby player to a derby photographer but I'd need a good camera again. So any who, the photo from above is one of the ones I sent in, but I sincerely think it's the best one I ever took! The emotion on my subject's faces is palpable! I love it. Now, the part where I beg for you help!! Can you take a moment, click this link, and vote for me? Better yet, can you vote every day? Dude... you'd be my hero!
Unless you've been stuck under a rock, you know that I play and support roller derby. And no, I didn't come to the sport by way of the movie "Whip It". I actually embraced the roller derby lifestyle a few months before that movie premiered when I saw a tweet on the local twitter, checked out a practice, and bought my skates. Most people who know me wouldn't be surprised though, because I've been saying I would be a professional roller girl since the 5th grade! Now that my dream has become a reality, I am learning so much more about the sport. I'm learning things like strategy in bout play, the business behind running a derby league, and fundraising fundraising fundraising! Man, I thought my kids' schools overdid the fundraisers thing! Nope. Derby beats that! I practice as much as a woman with 3 kids can. I travel an hour each way to my current team. My husband switches jobs quite often and we tend to have to move because of this. I am by no means a stellar athlete. I'm 40 years old. I am about 50 pounds over weight. Because my husband's profession is so iffy, we usually don't have much money so I can't afford to update my equipment. (I'm still skating on the same wheels & equipment I first bought 4 years ago.) The fact that I can accomplish what I do on the track with the time & things I have is amazing. I'm not disputing that fact. But when you go to a roller derby game, you have a definite split between the hard core players and those who play for love of the game. I am most definitely the latter. I have loved roller skating since I was a child. I asked for new roller skates at every birthday. Once I got into high school and became a band geek, I stopped skating but it never left my heart. The breeze in my hair, twirling around and, when I was at the top of my game, jumping a single axle were exhilarating!! Now I speed past women of all ages, smacking into them with my entire weight and knocking them to the floor while aiding my team's jammer in swooping through the chaos. I have spent the last 4 years learning, learning, constantly learning and here's a few things I learned.
Just because you're totally immersed in derby doesn't make you any better than the girl who comes 2x a week. I've seen this happen lots of times. Skaters who live and breathe derby will look down on those who can only make some of the practices. It sucks because you have no idea what that girl has to do in order to make those few practices a week. She may have to take a lousy shift at work, rearrange her school schedule, get the crappy car pool day, or any other myriad of real life B.S. that happens during a day in the life of a human being. Just because your life is unfettered and all the stars aligned for you to be able to hit up derby 5x a week doesn't make you a better person, just a more seasoned player.
NEVER FORGET: IT IS THE FANS & VOLUNTEERS THAT MAKE OUR LEAGUES FUNCTION! I've said it before, and I'll say it again, without the volunteers, NSO's, refs, and fans we wouldn't have roller derby like we do today. It would be foolish to think we can live in our ivory tower strategy and play books, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, bouts would not happen with out all those people. Our volunteers help sell tickets, raise money, and set up for our bouts. Our NSO's make sure the score, penalties, and box visits are all on the up and up. Our Refs make sure we are safe as we try to kill each other. Our fans keep us grounded and amped up! We cannot exist as a league without these people yet I find it laughable that we(the leagues) totally forget about all of these folks till the week of the bout. Oh hell, then the leagues are scrambling, searching, & begging for help whereas just a week or so ago they didn't have time to respond to even a facebook message!
Some folks just don't wanna go WFTDA. WFTDA is the governing body of women's flat track roller derby. They make the rules, hold the national tournaments, and decide everything. Generally we as derby players are supposed to want to be WFTDA certified players, playing for a WFTDA certified team. That's not always true for everyone and just because someone doesn't want to "Go WFTDA" doesn't make them any less qualified of a derby player. Look at me. I'm a 40 year old woman with 3 kids, a husband, and a 2 hour round trip to derby practice 2x a week. I have 3 major joints that I need surgery on that I have been putting off for a year and a half now because either my husband changed jobs and we lost our insurance or it just takes forever to get said surgery scheduled. Given a choice between buying something for my kids for school or buying new wheels & bearings, I'm always going to put my kids needs first. Apparently that doesn't jive well with WFTDA-minded teams and players(At least from my experiences.), but hey... I'm ok with that. That's why we have rec. teams and I am totally cool playing on one of those.
Don't "forget" your sick, injured & troubled. We've seen it happen in every league and team. Someone gets injured or someone's family has an emergency and they drop off the face of the earth, but really... that may be some of the league's fault too. Do we call these people? Drop by to visit? Send them FB messages asking about them? Include them in our practice & bout planning? Being injured or screwed over by life circumstances and not able to skate sucks ass, but also being forgotten and the written off? That sucks worse. From my own experience with a past leagues, I was injured, but still offered to help with the posting of bout information on all the local community calendars for my league as PR. I couldn't drive to practice but I made damn sure I could help out my league, even if it was only online. It was ok for the first few bouts, but then since I wasn't skating they kicked me out of the skater's forum where I was gleaning information to post about fresh meat intakes and meet the skater opportunities. Then I wasn't allowed on the committee FB pages. I finally took the hint that I was dropped from any and all team doings when I was no longer receiving the press releases so that I could update all the community calendars. It was all done gradually and no one ever said "Hey, thanks but since we haven't seen you in a while we're going to have to sever ties with you.", but this goes back to my earlier point of not taking your volunteers for granted. I hope they got someone to fill my shoes, (and in all reality, they more than likely did), but the way they went about replacing me was just shitty and I'm no longer a big fan of that league.
Lastly, and most importantly, play for the love of the game!!! If derby becomes more of a job than the adventure it should be, step back for a little bit. Being a mostly women's sport, we got bucket loads of drama. Skater squabbles, league squabbles, squabbles squabbles squabbles..... but we usually can wade through all that. What we can't wade through is someone's bad attitude poisoning the league. No one is going to think less of you if you gotta take a moment. (Just know if you're in my league I'm gonna be checking on ya!) We all need a breath of fresh air sometimes, and if you can't find it in your current league, go and find your happy! It has taken me three leagues to find my derby happy and I am so delighted it's ridiculous. My knowledge is valued. My experience is respected. My attitude is echoed by all the women I skate with. Remember that "thing" that brought you to derby in the first place and skate your heart out finding it!!!
Ok then. Glad we could have this chat. Roller derby is an ever evolving sport that is as exciting as it is maddening, but at the end of the day, it is totally worth the work and effort we as players put in to it. Just remember, find your happy and play for the joy of the game because that's what'll keep you coming back!
Went to the second high school football game of the season. Even before it started it rained. It never really stopped raining, but when the weather let up a bit they started the game anyway. I felt bad for Eldest. Now only was it raining & cold, the team didn't even get into scoring range. They were being handled quite well by the opposing team. At the half, the score was 19-0 and even the marching bands had packed up for the night. I told eldest it was time to go. I was wet, cold. and couldn't afford to get sick before my bout on Sunday. We gave it up and came home for hot showers. It was nice to see some live football again
I have never professed to have an understanding of our government. Oh, I understand how it's supposed to work thanks to my wonderful American Government teachers in high school, but when it comes to the actual WORKINGS of our government, I just don't get it. Red tape seems to abound and when I read about stories of folks trying to get, oh I don't know, say a building permit for a small shed on property they owned for the last 30 years and it get's denied because a ground hog that hasn't been seen in years farted on the property 100 years ago in a thunderstorm during a solar eclipse and therefore they can't get the permit, I tend to question how our government is really working. Then I saw an article and I am just completely flabbergasted. Ori Feibush is a businessman in Philly. He owns a coffee shop that is next to a city owned lot that was vacant and COVERED in tons of trash. It looked bad. People used it as an illegal dump. It was a drag for his customers to look at as they enjoyed their coffee. Mr. Feibush called the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority more than 20 times, went to the PRA offices at least four times, and even wrote several letters asking that the lot be cleaned up. I myself can only imagine the huge amount of vermin that probably lived in there. Mr. Feibush even offered to put his own money behind the cleanup, thus relieving the city of a burden on it's budget, but was a citation flatly told no. What's a business owner to do? Clean it up anyway. This businessman spent $20,000 of his own money to remove 40 TONS OF TRASH from the vacant lot. 40 tons!!! That is a lot of trash. Not only did he clean up the lot, but he leveled it, planted trees, put in fencing and benches, and even paved the sidewalk exactly like the city so it would be uniform. So what does he get for his generosity? Sued. Yup, if the man doesn't put the lot back to it's former nasty glory he's gonna be sued by Philly. Um, gee thanks for that. And to make it even more stupid... "The situation is not without irony. In 2011 Mr Feibush received a citation for litter on the same lot that the city is now pointing out is not his property." Yeah, they are giving him a ticket for litter, yet asking him to restore 40 tons of the shit to the lot. Makes a lot of sense, right? People who revitalize our cities and neighborhoods should be celebrate, not cited. Yes, he did go about it after being told no by the city,but I say Mr. Feibush is a hero and it is STUPID for the City of Philadelphia to spend even more tax money on a frivolous lawsuit. And our government wonders why we are unhappy? Go figure.
Mo had a birthday party to go to on Saturday. We got the invite last Monday. It looked simple. Party on Saturday, 2 to 5pm, bring a bathing suit. Ok, no problem. I drop Mo off at 2pm, tell her I'll be back at 5 to pick her up, and leave. After cooking dinner so it will be ready for Mo's arrival home, I hop in the car and drive back to the party house and it's then that I see the first problem. The kids are still in bathing suits running around the yard that has a giant inflatable water slide in it. I park & walk up to the house and the first thing that happens after I introduce myself to the birthday child's mom is she starts pointing out the marks on my teeth and how they can be fixed and how she has bad teeth too blah, blah, blah.... Um... excuse me? Then the woman proceeds to ask me, (in front of my daughter), if Mo can stay overnight because the party was supposed to be a swim/sleep over party and it was decided that they would have the birthday cake for breakfast the next morning. Um... excuse me AGAIN?? I asked if the woman knew Mo had type 1 diabetes. She said oh no, she didn't. I asked why it wasn't stated on the invite that there was a sleep over. She had no idea.(?) I said I'd leave Mo till 8pm and confer with HHH about if Mo could stay or not. I wasn't really feeling it though. I didn't know this woman. She had no idea about my daughter's medical condition and really... cake for breakfast? I called HHH on the drive home & he agreed with me. I knew I was going to have a very miffed Mo when we came back to get her, but really what was I gonna do? After picking her up at 8pm I looked at the invitation again and not only was it asking for an RSVP but gave no number to call, but I failed to realize it was in a child's handwriting meaning the MOM didn't even check the invites to see if they were correct & had all the information! Who does that?? I'm used to parents who have parties on par with the "My Sweet 16" on MTV and really, this mom did kinda do that by renting the 2 story water slide, cotton candy machine, popcorn machine & such... but details are important and the lack of them really tanked this party for Mo. So, I'll ask you guy: What would you have done?
There is a page on Facebook called JuniorDerbyIsNOW. If you haven't seen it, you should follow the link & check it out. Many adults think junior derby is a baby sport where no one really has to DO anything. In actuallity, junior derby is almost as labor intensive as adult derby. These kids have to learn all the skills adults do. They have to skate in all the equipment adults do. They get hurt just like the adults do. This page shows photos of kids playing junior derby with captions that are very fitting & thought provoking. I submitted a photo of my son and daughter and it got captioned! So excited!! So go check out these awesome kids on this awesome page!
People are shitty. They don't pick up after their pets. I'm so sorry for this imposition that generally comes with owning a pet, but really thinks about it. Do YOU like stepping in dog shit? How about the smell? Is it a floral scent wafting gently to your nose? NO. It's a malodorous car wreck slamming into your nose like a semi truck! So, you see, picking up after your pet is just being a good neighbor & part of your community. And if that isn't enough, how about you pick up you dog's shit, which was on the freakin' SIDEWALK today, because the lovely, disabled high schooler who lives across the hall from me doesn't deserve to have to roll her walker through that crap... LITERALLY!
I wrote this last year. I actually put into words something I hadn't spoken about in 10 years. It still holds truth for me. I'm actually allowing my Eldest to tell the story if she wants, but the school isn't really doing a memorial or anything, just a moment of silence and going on with life. I present it here again. I can rise above my family's monumental blunder and because I KNOW she won't apologize for it, I will. I'd go up to every one of those families and apologize if I could. I can't. 11 years on, we are winning the war on terrorism just by getting up out of bed and going on with life. We will go on. We must. This is the 10th year anniversary of 9/11. It's a pretty big deal, both in America and abroad. I remember watching the news that day. I had walked down to my in-laws place and thought they were watching a TV action movie, but they quickly told me no, a plane had crashed into one of the towers at WTC, then as we watched GMA, we actually SAW the second plane fly into the other tower! It was then we started to realize things would never be the same. I felt Junior kick me in the bladder, and wondered what kind of world I was going to bear my son into. It was so sad, seeing the scared, the worried, the hopeless jump out of the windows of the WTC rather than die a fiery death. We weren't alone though, the world denounced the terrorists and everyone who supported them. One of my most touching memories from that week was of the Buckingham Palace Royal Marching Band playing the Star Spangled Banner to support our grieving country.
Almost everyone in the US had a connection to those who perished that day and in the days following. I didn't know anyone personally. Then came the news. I was connected,.... in a serious, sinister way....
I have never really told this story. Once it was told to me, I was sworn to not impart it to ANYONE. It was going to STAY a family secret, however Eldest had a report to do this year, and she joined journalism class, and OMG.... she was asking questions, so many many questions. So I spilled.
My older sister, in a money grubbing move, married an Egyptian National for $50,000 so he could get a green card and secretly establish himself as a base of operations on Florida's East coast for Al-Qaeda terrorists.
I haven't spoken, thought, or typed those words in 10 years.
My older sister could very well be responsible for aiding in the deaths of THOUSANDS of Americans!! OMG!! How does one reconcile with that?? I'm trying very hard not to bawl my eyes out typing this. Children died that day. Mothers and fathers died that day. Sisters, brothers, heroes.... all died that day, and my own flesh and blood helped those lousy bastards get a toe hold here in America to do this horrible thing. Her "husband" was later targeted by the US government(rather quickly) and my sister was put on notice she better get a lawyer. After that, I never spoke to her again. From what I gather, she wasn't sent to jail, but apparently a hefty fine and probation was levied for fraud in order to obtain a green card.
I explained this to my daughters and son on Tuesday, a catch in my throat, tears in my eyes. Eldest thought she had the story of a lifetime till I told her she wasn't allowed to write about it, but then I thought why keep the secret any longer?
So... I'm not. I am directly related to someone who helped the terrorists commit the most horrible atrocity our country, nay... THE WORLD has ever seen!
And I'm sorry. I know it's not my fault, and I didn't do it myself, but I'm so, so sorry.
So, yesterday my eldest made her debut on Aiming Low to the delight of her Dad and I. I also went to the high school yesterday to try and straighten out Eldest's transcripts. She had taken high school level geometry in middle school because she was in the gifted program there and it hadn't made it to her new high school. I called the old middle school the day before and asked them what I should do. They said to go to the high school's registrar, and fill out a permission to fax the records. The middle school woman thought it was strange that it wasn't already in Eldest's academic record. I arrive at the Guidance office and explain my predicament to the patient woman behind the desk. She finds this whole thing strange as well, looks up Eldest's permanent file, and sure enough.... there is nothing before 9th grade in it. WTF?!? It seems the "amazing" private high school we got her into last year never bothered to requisition her records. Never. Bothered. Oh my God! What are these so called professionals doing to my kid? I am beyond upset that had I not been so vigilant about keeping her education on track, she might have been cheated! I'm beginning to think that that so called advanced school is a black hole, and apparently I wasn't alone. According to Eldest's new guidance counselor lot's of kids have left that hippie school and had the same problems. This. This is why I am so involved in my kid's educations. It has come to the point that you can't trust the schools to know what's best for your child. YOU know your child best. THEY only see the kid maybe a handful of times over the course of a year. Gone are the days when parents could depend on the school to steer their kids to a bright future. I was a product of those days. I turned out ok. I see the potential in my daughters & son and I want to nurture it as much as I can!! I want them to reach for the stars!
OMG, have you seen this?? I already love Krispy Kreme and when given the option I will throw caution to the wind and eat a doughnut of theirs even though I don't feel so good later on. (celiac's) Well, if you have one of these awesome establishments near you, you could get a free doughnut come Sept. 19th! Read the article below, which was originally published in QSR Magazine, a Quick Service Trade mag.
"Krispy Kreme is getting in on Talk Like a Pirate Day with a tasty grub giveaway.
On Wednesday, September 19, any buccaneer who dares to enter a participating Krispy Kreme location talking like a pirate gets one free Original Glazed doughnut.
To the lad or lass wearing full pirate attire goes a bounty of one free dozen Original Glazed doughnuts.
To claim their loot on September 19, guests must:
· Talk like a pirate or wear an eye patch to a participating Krispy Kreme shop for one free Original Glazed doughnut.
· Come to a participating Krispy Kreme location in full pirate costume for one free dozen Original Glazed doughnuts. No weapons allowed."
REALLY!??! A free doughnut? A dozen free doughnuts? Dude, I have 2 different Pirate costumes I can wear! Now to go check the local store and see if they are participating. DIsappointed I won't be able to bring my actual steel pirate's cutlass, but free is free! Arr matey! I be wanten some o'dem golden glazed rings!!
UPDATE: Nevermind. My local location (which usually sucks ass anyway) laughed at me when I called and asked about the promotion. Fuck them. Where's Dunkin Donuts?
Why is it that when ever I break down in a vehicle I am always dressed in my derby clothes? You may have seen my tweets about getting a flat tire Thursday and having to pull off the road at a hotel in north Tampa. It turned out that was one of the hotels that housed the RNC delagates. I mentioned that it was good I was at least in my stars & stripes DerbySkinz red shirt & tights and blue star socks. I fit right in with all those political movers & shakers!!!
But the question still stands.... why do I never break down when I'm in normal clothes?