I’m sort of bored. Mini Furious is playing games on Nick Jr. until her bedtime in 20 minutes. The husband has been at school most of the afternoon/all evening due to studying for comps/writing cues/going to rehersal. Conveniently, he’ll be home just after MIni is in bed. And so I figured perhaps I would post something, since I haven’t in a while.

In derby news, we held our first home bout ever. We needed to sell 400 tickets to break even. We pre-sold 600, and so expected maybe 800 people, and were ecstatic about that. We wound up selling 1600 tickets. It was the largest walk-up crowd the civic center has seen for anything ever. We started the bout 10 minutes late just to give the box office a chance to get through the line. The very, very long line. It was so amazing. We NSOs didn’t quite have it together right at the beginning, but we got there. One of our skaters fell and broke her ankle about midway through the first half. We all took a knee while the EMTs checked her out, and my heart just dropped when I saw one of them call for the body board. She’s had surgery and is on the mend. She’ll be back on the track and kicking butt in no time. Well, next season anyway.

I’ve wussed out on freshmeat. I have a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that my lungs are utter crap anymore. The slightest exertion sets off my wheezing. We’re leaving in July. I’m out of town for the last two weeks of it. But it all comes down to I am a wuss and we have had a LOT of injuries lately and I live on the second floor and the idea of stairs and crutches is so not my thing. So I’m an NSO, and I guess I’m okay with it. I like NSOing. I’m good at it. I am not good at skating. Coordination is not my strong suit, and I can manage being up on skates, but I’m not sure I’d ever pass the skills test. A lot of it just seems like magic to me. Like… you can make your body do that? Witchcraft.

I’ve been lousy about making it to bellydance. I freaking love it, and just can’t make it happen lately. Again with the breathing, for one thing. We’ve got a recital in June and I am just sitting here going… oh I am not ready. The dances have all flown out of my head. Walking hip circles are still my worst enemy. But I am going to suck it up and make it work. I’m not failing at dance the way I have at skating. (And right now fresh meat is at the same time as dance, which is my other totally valid reason for not doing fresh meat.)

Beyond all of that, it’s job hunting season for the academics of the world. No clue when I’ll find out about anything I’ve applied for. Our lease is up at the end of July. So basically if we get to that point and haven’t heard anything… I have no clue. Part of me wants to say screw it and pick a city. But the responsible part of me says that moving is expensive and that is definitely not the way to go. But I can’t do another Minnesota winter. Can’t. Shan’t. Won’t. For frak’s sake, we’re still doing this year’s winter! Not again. Never again.

Oh look bed time.

Derby family is a phrase you hear a lot in the derby world. And it’s true. We’re this big crazy family. And it goes beyond your league. Your team, you league, that’s your immediate family. But head out into the world and meet someone from another league? They’re like a second cousin you’ve never met. It’s pretty awesome.

We hosted a clinic last Sunday. It was a very least minute affair. We weren’t sure if anoyone other than our league would turn up. We weren’t sure our league would turn up. But we had girls, and guys, from all over. Some were from River City Dames of Anarchy, who we bouted with last month. (For our first ever bout! We lost! But only by 39 or so. It was awesome! I was an NSO. This needs its own post.) Where was I? Oh yeah. So these ladies came up, a nearly 3 hour drive, at the last minute, because we said we were doing a cool thing (that started at 8 am btw) and wanted them to be there. And it was honestly good to see them. I didn’t get to chat with them as much as I wanted, but I’m glad they made it. And of course our next league over was there. We’re bouting with them on the 30th for our first ever home bout, and it’s going to be awesome. we’ve skated alongside them in a scrimmage, and last week when their practice space was unavailable, and then at the clinic. And it’s never been “omg we’re fraternizing with the enemy.” More like, omg we get to see you guys! I’m looking forward to our bout on the 30th for all kinds of reasons, but part of it is the after party and hanging out with these derby cousins of ours.

Of course, I realize this is a bit Pollyanna of me. there are leagues who share a city and don’t particularly care for each other. There are teams within leagues that don’t get along. Leagues come and go, because derby is hard. Not the skating part. The skating part is probably the easiest bit of it. Wrangling a bunch of amazing, and headstrong women? Organizing league (or even committee) meetings that work best for the largest number of people? Fundraising events, tracking down sponsors, making sure we’re by the book where it counts… that’s all hard. It’s what I call the dark side of derby. The paperwork. Figuring out how to pay taxes. Applying for our non-profit status. I can barely skate and I’d rather do ridiculous endurance drills than deal with the IRS. It’s hard and it’s stressful.

So what’s the point of this? I’m not taking my anti-anxiety/anti-depressant med. And I’m fine. I’m better than I was when I did nothing but stay at home with Mini Furious all day. I’ve got this amazing crazy family who makes my life so much better than it’s been the last couple of years. I’ve got a support system. I’ve still got therapy appointments on the books through early May, but I’m doing so much better. At the end of night, after the anti-Valentine’s dance we held, the guests were mostly gone, and it was just us and I looked around, and people were playing cards, and talking in little groups and laughing, and it was one of those movie perfect moments. After so much time counting the minutes until we could move away from Minnesota, now I’m a bit sad at the thought of leaving. We can’t stay, there aren’t any jobs for us here, and I’m not sure I could take another Minnesota winter. (At least my lungs can’t. I’m relying on my inhaler in a way I never have before. Hell this is the first time in my life I’ve had a like permanent, always with me inhaler.) But when we find out where we’re moving to, I will be finding the local derby team. It won’t be quite the same as my close knit bunch of rookies, but it will still be derby. And that’s a pretty good start.

Catching Up

I’m not super great at blogging regularly. That’s something I’d like to get better at. I was sick, then I was in Texas, then I was sick again, then we were in New Mexico, and then we were back and things have been, as always, nuts.

The latest is that the spring semester has started up. Thankfully, it’s Mr. Furious’s last. We’ll be on the job market… now. We’re on the job market now. We’ve found openings for both of us at a school in a place we’d like to be. That’s just like magic. So we’re applying and keeping our fingers crossed. The hardest thing, for me, won’t be leaving Minnesota, not by a long shot. But leaving the league? That is painful. Making friends here has been pretty rough, and now I suddenly have this group of amazing women (and some dudes) and leaving them is just not something I want to even think about.

Mini Furious has started junior roller derby. She’s four (and a half now), so it’s pretty junior. Her first practice was this week, and she had fun. There was much falling, but she got up every single time. Her two mantras are “Be Derby Tough” and “Derby Girls don’t give up.” I’m so proud I could burst.

Of course, I have given up, to an extent. I haven’t been skating. I feel lousy about it, but I haven’t been. I’m so far behind everyone I just feel like I’m taking up space. Right now, my attention is more on administrative stuff and NSOing. Which are totally valid and useful things for the league… but they aren’t skating. I feel like calling myself a derby girl is a lie.

I am not a Minnesota girl. This will never be a thing for me. Never is this more apparent than when it gets cold. By gets cold, I mean cold by my South Texan standards, not Minnesota standards. The fact that these are two wildly different things is pretty much the crux of my problem with living here. We had our last outside practice on the hockey rink today. It’s getting colder. It’s getting darker earlier. Soon our hockey rink will actually have ice on it. Not exactly conducive to roller derby. But let’s talk about it getting colder. It was about 48 tonight, with the wind chill pulling things down another ten degrees. I knew it had gotten cold, but I hadn’t realized how cold. I really should have been wearing more than leggings, a tshirt, and a hoodie. Really really should have. (But not as bad as Spunky Nugget, who was out there in a skirt with no leggings or tights at all.) It was a little frustrating. Monday night was warmer. Not super warm, but warmER. And I skated, no problem. Tonight, I felt like I was too busy being huddled over for warmth to do anything. I couldn’t get my knees bent, and my fingers were doing that so cold they hurt thing. But I worked on snow plows as best as I could, because I’m still not good enough at them. And then Ida Funk made me skate as fast as I could back and forth. It didn’t feel anywhere near as smooth as it did Monday night. Then I ended practice with one practice double knee fall and didn’t kill myself. Not the worst farewell to the rink, but not exactly what I had in mind.

My knee pads have this super annoying habit of slipping. Usually it’s just the right, but tonight it was both. Very disconcerting, since every time they slipped it left a new line of cold on my leg. When I fell, they were pretty much where they needed to be. I’m goin to tinker with the velcro again. I had sewed on some extra, because there wasn’t enough to close. Now they close, but barely. I want to throw enough on to have a good grip on it and pull it as far over as I can. If I’m still skating come August, and I plan to be, I think I will be investing in some ProDesign custom pads. Possibly before then will be new plates for my skates (Sure Grip Rebels). They’ve got the stock nylon plate on them, and it was creaking ominously by the end of practice. I’m hoping it was just the cold, though. Ooh I just realized that my self-imposed “no using my Gumball stops on the rink” thing is now over! I know they’re meant to be used and a little abused, but I didn’t want to tear them up on our rough concrete.

Last bit of gear news, I need a new bag to haul these pretties around in. I’ve been rocking a duffel bag I got from Wal-Mart ages ago and probably didn’t pay more than twenty bucks for. While it fits my gear fairly well, it obviously wasn’t meant for derby life, as the strap is starting to rip out from the bag. So I need something that will hold size 8 Rebels, my helmet, and triple X 187 pro knee pads. (And then wristguards, elbow pads, and assorted stuff including a first aid kit.) And preferably work as a carry-on, because i’d really like to take my gear with me to Texas at the end of the month, and then to Hawaii when I visit my parents in May. And is cheap. And comes with a unicorn. And rainbows fly out and de-stink my pads before I put them in. Is that too much to ask for?

Fucking ninja bronchitis came out of nowhere and knocked me for a loop. I had a sore throat, and a hell of tension headache. But I made it through our fundraiser last weekend. Was it only last weekend? The weekend before? What day is it now? But once our (incredibly amazingly successful) fundraiser was done, so was I. Breathing was a no go. I was coughing like crazy. My lungs were making a most horrid crackling noise. Finally, Mr. Furious forced me to urgent care. Since I felt on the verge of an asthma attack for about two days straight, it wasn’t much of a fight. I’ve got an inhaler, and I just finished the course of steroids. Everything seems to be getting better, but so slowly it’s painful. My lungs aren’t crackling anymore, but if I so much as bend over, it’s coughing fit. Going up and down the stairs today was just terrible. The coughing is ridiculous. One fit was so bad, it made my csection scar hurt. I’m thinking if I’m not 100% next week, I may follow up with my doctor. At least it wasn’t whooping cough, because apparently that shit is making the rounds.

Mini-Furious went to a bellydance class with me yesterday. She really dug it, but I would have been on my ass if it hadn’t been so low key.

The worst bit is how antsy this has left me feeling. Physical therapy for my knees? Coughing fit. Slowed down run through of bellydance routine? Coughing fit. Thinking about derby straight up makes my lungs hurt. I am so frustrated. I’m starting from behind to begin with. I may be healthy, but I am not strong. Getting knocked on my ass for two weeks? Is putting me even further behind. I’m scared I will never catch up. I’m scared I don’t have the drive. But I want to move. I want to skate. I want to be out there cheering my heart out for my team, even if I don’t pass my minimum skills. I will head up a posse of jeerleaders if I have to, but I will be out there and I will be a part of this.

I need to get a boutfit together for our big fundraiser next week. (Are you in or near Mankato, MN? Redsky Lounge is the place to be on the 28th!) Really, since we’ll be unveiling our jerseys, I only need a boutskirt/boutpants. Everything is more fun when you put the word bout in front of it. Except for shopping. It’s a pain to find things in my size when it’s a non-derby thing and I’m not on a deadline. Derby clothes in a week, on a budget? Oh god. But whatever I’m wearing, I’ll be with my Derby family, so it doesn’t matter!