Sunday, February 28, 2010

Life in One Day - Cinequest 2010

This is my second time attending Cinequest, because it's hard finding a huge chunk of time to spend at the movies (that I could justify). But I went today, and ended the day with a Dutch movie called Life in One Day. And ended up crying alone in my car on the way home.

So, this isn't a review of sorts... reviews aren't my thing. I will say that, as the movie really spoke to me, I thought it was very good, and from what I know about filmmaking itself (which isn't a lot, but I know the basics), it was well-made too. As usual, I will talk about the movie as a jumping off point for my personal reflections.

In the movie, a person's entire life spans one day... you're born early in the morning (in time for your grandpa to see you before he dies, having lived his own life the previous day), and you die at the end of it, and you live your entire life in between. Because your life span is so short, all of life's meaningful experiences happen only once, and thus hold more meaning. Sex, childbirth, love... they happen once, and can never happen again. Hell, to them, is an eternal afterlife where everything CAN be repeated, over and over, rendering them thus meaningless and empty, completely devoid of any special significance (so, parallel to our real world of empty sex and empty promises). Benny and Gini are two teens who meet and fall in love, and decide that they want to keep loving each other forever, so they commit murder in order to go to hell together... only, they end up losing each other and what follows is a painful stretch of time where they learn the hard way that this was NOT what they thought it would be, and that being in a world where you can love each other forever does not necessarily mean that you will.

So, I knew that there would be a lot of sex in the movie ahead of time, but I did NOT know that this movie would break my heart. From the beginning, it grabbed my heart in my chest and gripped it so tightly that I couldn't breathe.

At first, it was the set-up of their world that was making my chest ache. Your entire life in one day? Maybe they're okay with it because they don't know anything different, but for me, that idea alone almost brought me to tears. One day? One day is not enough. I thought about my baby girl, smiling and laughing, and I wanted to cry because one day with her is NOT enough. I thought about the person I love and how we've been together over a decade, and I know that one day is not enough. I thought about EVERYTHING going on in my life right now, and everything that has already happened in my life, from the big things like my job and my friends to the little things like reading my favorite book, or eating the best cupcake I've ever had, or the feel of water swirling around my hair when I go swimming and let my ponytail out... and I just couldn't imagine having to sacrifice any of that if my life could only span one day. I already feel the constant ticking of my life's clock NOW, and it terrifies me.

Being a parent makes me more aware of my own mortality than ever - I think about death far more now than I did before I had Jolie, and I think it's because I'm not just a young'un anymore, and because now, I am watching someone else's life progress in front of my eyes. I'm already feeling the "my baby's growing up so fast!" blues, and Jolie's only 7 months old. The scene where Benny's mother drops him off at school (he looks about kindergarten age) was another one that brought me near tears. She tells him, "This might be the only time you'll hear this, because by the time I see you again, you'll be grown: work hard in school and remember that mom loves you, okay? Now let me look at you and remember how you look right now."

That's got to be every parent's saddest moment, right? The indelible moment of separation? The knowledge that your child is growing up? I was fighting back tears already, and we were only, what, 15 minutes into the movie? I knew this was going to be a tough one - I already get weepy walking around the baby section of Target and seeing the newborn and 0-3 month sized clothes because Jolie's too big for them now.

From there we move on to the idyllic beginnings of love. And I am such a sucker for a "we are meant for each other and we'll be in love forever" type of story, especially in this case, where forever really isn't much. That stage of desperate longing, where everything the other person is and does is beautiful and perfect, and where the world suddenly feels brand new because you're experiencing it together, and where you really do feel like love could last forever because YOU feel like you could live forever as long as you have that person's love to carry you through... the movie captured this beautifully, and so effectively. These sequences brought up all of my memories of those same feelings: the excitement when someone notices you, the nervous flush when you realize that he desires YOU, the anticipation and heart-thudding when you realize something BIG (like a first kiss) is about to happen. My heart pounded its own irregular rhythm as Benny and Gini fell in love.

And then the pain... so far, in my life, the worst pain I've ever felt was the pain of heartbreak. Nothing has ever cut me deeper to the core than the pain of being in love. It's literally a physical pain for me, a clenching in my chest, a deep ache that makes my breathing ragged. When Benny and Gini are apart in hell and suffering the loneliness and loss and heartbreak (represented by split-screen sequences), I found myself wrapping my arms around my body, trying to hold myself together to keep from falling apart as they do in the movie. To love someone and not be able to be with him feels like breaking into a million pieces. What I literally feel is a shattering inside, tiny shards of glass cutting me up everywhere they touch my insides as they fall. Remember that scene in Amelie where she melts into a sad puddle of water after watching her love walk away? It's like that, but worse.

I admit it, I tend to hover on the "oversensitive" end of the spectrum. And anything having to do with love makes me a little overdramatic. But I can't help it - I'm a deeply feeling person, and I can't stand to watch someone else in pain, because I feel it too. I have always loved with all of my heart, and if I am hurt, then I feel that hurt with all of my heart as well. And this movie really reached in and took hold of my heart. I don't know what's worse - to know nothing but love for only a short period of time, or to know love AND to know pain for an eternity.

The urge to cry was much stronger after the movie was over - I no longer had to concentrate, and since I saw this one all by myself, I didn't have anyone to distract me with conversation, so my lip quivered and I blinked back tears as I walked down the street to my car, and my voice shook as I called home, because I really needed to hear the voice of the person I love. (And I really wanted to hug my baby when I got home, but she's at her grandma's tonight.)

How's THAT for powerful filmmaking? Life in One Day is not one I will soon forget. I don't remember the last time I was so deeply affected by a movie. Don't take life for granted; whether you have one day or all eternity, life is what you make of it, so live it meaningfully.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I got my new wheels :)



Atom G-Rods, standard width.

Sometimes the English language lets me down.

(And so do other people.)

There is not a single word in the English language that I can think of that can adequately express the outrage and anger that I feel about Utah's Criminal Miscarriage law.

Despite the fact that I've been talking about it all over my Internet places (Facebook, Rav forums, emailing people, etc.), I still can't properly put into words how I feel about it. When I read about it the first time, my jaw dropped. "ARE YOU KIDDING," was all I could say. And as I find out more about it, I can feel the tension build up in my FACE muscles.

And I feel absolutely powerless. I don't even live in Utah. And if I did, I don't think someone like me would be very welcome there. No one would lend any credence to my voice anyway - judging by the fact that someone would actually THINK UP this law (well, it's still a bill, right now), and the fact that SO MANY people have voted for it, it's plain to see that women, women's mental health, and women's bodies are not valued or treated with any sort of reverence whatsoever. No man who respects women would ever be okay with this, and definitely no man whose wife/girlfriend/sister/best friend/etc has had a miscarriage would ever vote to pass it. Unless he's a complete jerkoff.

This law is designed to punish intentional miscarriages. Apparently it was inspired by a teen girl who paid someone to beat her until she miscarried, because she was not able to get an abortion.

There are so many things wrong with this. First of all, I bet there would have been no need for the girl to go to such extremes if she'd had access to free and safe abortion. I myself have always been pro-choice, because I cannot fathom telling someone what to do with their own bodies, especially in regards to being pregnant. And especially having been pregnant myself. I didn't even have a difficult pregnancy, and I can't imagine having to go through what I went through WITHOUT WANTING IT. And now that I have a daughter myself, I am even more adamant that the government, religious groups, and well, EVERYONE ELSE should not be able to control women's bodies.

(To further the chain of responsibility, the girl might not have needed an abortion if she'd had access to birth control, and she might have learned about birth control if she'd had sex education that was not centered on abstinence as a solution... etc, etc. I don't know her particulars, but there actually is a lot that could have been done before she got pregnant.)

Miscarriages happen, more often than not for no apparent reason at all. They just DO. And the law isn't aiming to punish women for miscarriages like that, but it potentially could. The law cites "reckless" behavior, but doesn't specifically define it. The article I linked says that a woman could be charged with homicide if she miscarries as a result of a car accident and she wasn't wearing her seatbelt. Or if she fails to leave an abusive relationship. I'm STILL stuck on that one - you're already getting beaten savagely, and this time it even causes you to lose your pregnancy, and YOU could get arrested for homicide? And what would the man get charged for? The law ONLY cites that a woman can get punished under it. Battery is a lesser charge than homicide, isn't it?

This law is effectively punishing women for... well, DOING anything. Considering how miscarriages can happen without apparent cause, how can a woman prove that her doing anything other than lying in bed all day (which can't necessarily prevent miscarriage anyway) was not the cause of her miscarriage? I used to freak out driving over speed bumps - I can't imagine if I happened to miscarry, and someone told me that THAT must have been the reason why, and that I'm being charged for it.

How do I fight something like this? It's not even my state. And I wonder how many women in that state are powerless to fight it anyway, handicapped by either their upbringing or politics.

I just... I can't...

These points were brought up on Ravelry:

1. The same incident happening to two different women (let's say, falling down the stairs) might have two different outcomes. One might miscarry, and the other might not.

2. According to the law, the woman who miscarried might get prosecuted. But it's the same reckless behavior as the other woman... how long until they prosecute her too, because she COULD have caused a miscarriage?

3. If you try to kill someone, but fail, you still get prosecuted - it's called attempted murder. If the woman didn't miscarry, but fell down the stairs the same as the other woman who DID miscarry, hypothetically would she be charged with attempted criminal miscarriage?

4. ... How long THEN until they start busting women for any sort of reckless behavior at all,  because it COULD cause a miscarriage?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Some pictures for fun!

First of all, I ordered an SVRG bootcamp shirt from Steffenrazor, and it's awesome! The front says "SVRG bootcamp 2010," and here's the back.

Like I said, Jimmy doesn't call me Brock Lesnar for nothing. If I had some training, I could give those WWE Divas a run for their money, fight-wise.

Here's one of me and Jolie from a couple days ago. Note the incongruity of our mother-daughter pairing: Jolie is cute as a button in her Pooh outfit, all smiles and baby innocence. I've got my derby tshirt, dark Urban Decay eyeliner, and my tattoo proudly displayed on my huuuuge arm.

Jolie will lure you in, and I will hip-check you.

And lastly... Jolie is trying out a new look. It's her DERANGED smile:
Watch out for this one! This girl is ca-raaaaaaaazy!

Have a good night :)

Lesson of the week: Sometimes it's better to stay down.

In roller derby, if you fall, you have to get RIGHT back up. Three seconds. Two, even. For one thing, the action is still going on, and if you take too long, the pack will be miles away, and you will have a heck of a time catching up, and in the meantime, your team is short a jammer (to score points) or a blocker (to take out the other jammer or clear the path for your own jammer). And for another thing, if you stay down, it signals to everyone else that you have a serious injury and they will have to stop the action to take care of you. 

This week has shown me that sometimes it's better to stay down.

This has been a terrible week. I got sick last week - bad cold, sore throat, exhaustion - and it rolled over to this week. I toughed it out through Monday and Tuesday at work, and had planned to go to practice, but my nose started BLEEDING right before I was to get ready to leave, and I decided to stay home, but I wasn't happy about it.

That's how you know that I love this. I'm not saying that I don't love my job, but let's just say that when I call in sick to work, I'm not particularly upset or sad or depressed about it. (I'm not giddy dancing around the house either, but it just is what it is: a sick day.) But missing derby? I was in a mood that could bring the house down. I went to bed angry, woke up angry, and was nearly in tears as I read all the Facebook comments from fellow bootcampers congratulating each other on surviving the hardest practice yet. You may think I'm nuts for being in a funk over the fact that I missed the one practice that made people cry in the pace line, but it's not actually that crazy when you think about the fact that I missed yet another chance to learn something new, to prove myself, and to be with my team. Instead, I was moping in front of my computer. Yes, derby has become an obsession for me.

Anyway... I was determined to go to practice last night. 1) Because I was determined to get back out there, and 2) Missing two practices in a row? Three weeks before the big tests? Baaaaaaaad idea. So I got dressed and left, fighting the uneasiness in my stomach (not nerves, but literally physical discomfort and nausea). Yeah, that's not a good sign.

I didn't feel right during warm-ups, but I chalked it up to being off-skates for a week (due to missing practice) and we always warm up in the opposite direction, which never feels right to me until the end of warm-ups when I've been at it for a while. But this time, it felt weird the whole time. And it made me wonder if maybe my wheels were loose or something gear-related, but a quick check during stretches showed nothing wrong.

We immediately went into a hitting pace line, which is something they did Tuesday for the first time, so everyone had done it but me. (Well, okay, not exactly... apparently a LOT of us were out sick on Tuesday.) But I was excited to do it. I held my ground okay as others hip-checked me, and then it came to be my turn, and suddenly, I was just ALL over the place. I haven't felt so much like a beginner skater since I first started LAST YEAR, and it wasn't the hitting, but the skating itself - my stride was choppy, my skates were going behind me instead of out to the side (even though I wasn't trying to push that way, because I know better), my knees weren't staying bent. I fell SO many times after hip-checking others. (Although... the plus side to falling a lot is that you stop being afraid of falling. But this wasn't the time.) Aim gave me a couple of whips to get me back to where I was supposed to be in line. Eventually I got through, but I was so dismayed - I was just TERRIBLE. I hadn't felt so discouraged and disappointed in myself since I don't know when.

The faster line is much longer than ours (we are "fast," they are "faster"), so we had enough time for some of us to go a second time. My second time through was much better - I avoided falling, I actually got in a few good hits, and I managed to stay up even when one of the other skaters grabbed my arm to steady herself (it's a big no-no to grab someone as you're falling, and because it tends to be instinct, it's something we have to consciously remember not to do). I was much happier with my performance the second time - it renewed my belief that I could be a good blocker. I had to push extra hard, and my body was crying uncle, but I was so happy that I was able to redeem myself.

We did hot laps and then got water, and as I stood at the wall, I felt my temples pulsing, and the room was spinning a little. We started the next exercise - Unexpected Objects. As in, we skate all together in a huge pack, and Denny throws cones at our feet or has random people do knee falls, and everyone else has to avoid hurting themselves or each other by skating around, jumping, or falling properly. I could NOT keep up very well with the pack, and after I was sent sprinting to the front, I fell and ended up at the back again. I stopped a couple times to adjust my laces (too loose, too tight) and after a while, the room started spinning more, and when I felt something rising in my throat, I knew I had to sit. I've dropped out of drills before, and skated easy laps around, but I've NEVER sat anything out. Never.

I planned to go back out eventually, but the nausea persisted for quite a while. One of the other skaters (my friend Tish), who was injured at Tuesday's practice, convinced me to give it a rest for the rest of practice - she had been talking to one of the other bootcampers, who was injured indefinitely and would probably have to come back for the next bootcamp, and what happened was, she'd started out with a small injury, so she downed the painkillers and went back and skated. And now her injury is so bad that she can't finish bootcamp with us. (I think this is something that happens to a lot of athletes in all sports.) So Tish didn't want this to happen to her as well, and she relayed this to me, and the three of us watched the rest of practice.

They're both right... I don't like admitting weakness when I'm really, really dedicated to something, but the last thing I want to do is jeopardize my health and physical ability in the long run. I know I'm "merely ill," as opposed to being injured, but I could've run myself ragged last night, and then maybe I'll still be sick next week. And I definitely don't want that. Even though I feel like I'm admitting defeat, I have to concede that I would rather take it easy this week, and be at full strength for the remaining weeks of bootcamp, than to be at half-strength the whole time and just be really inefficient and ineffective and mess myself up completely.

If you fall during a jam, and it's a legitimate injury, stay down. The medics NEED to look at you. If you get back up with a bad knee or a concussion, it's going to affect your game, and you're going to be no good to yourself or your team - you'll just end up being the weak link that costs your team some needed points. So don't try to be a hero - stay down, let them take you out and put in someone who's 100%, and when you're back to 100%, get back out there and kick ass.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thoughts on Roller Derby and Feminism

I'm tired of reading people's articles/blogs claiming that roller derby is anti-feminist or that roller girls are undermining feminist ideals.

Case in point. It's actually positive overall, but it also questions the feminism of roller derby, because of the outfits mostly. It claims that roller derby is only popular BECAUSE it's played by women, and says that the objectification going on is similar to that of jello wrestling.

I would say, Yes, roller derby gets a lot of attention because it's all women, but not in the way she's insinuating. She is making it sound like roller derby turns women into some sort of cheap novelty (hot chicks on skates beating each other up), and that's why people go see it. I would argue the opposite - if derby girls are any sort of "novelty," it's the fact that they are diverse women of all races, ages, sizes, shapes, stations in life, etc. playing a tough, aggressive sport with skill, AND looking sexy while they do it (and there's nothing wrong with that), AND nothing about it has anything to do with what men desire or want, whatsoever.

This doesn't mean that we're "hating on" men. It's just that this is something that we do for ourselves. Men's sports exist without any reference to women's wishes whatsoever. No one accuses baseball players of wearing tight pants just to please women. Even in professional wrestling, which is sports entertainment, no one accuses all those guys of showing off their ripply muscles and wearing spandex for WOMEN. And this is because for... well, FOREVER... men have been the dominant gender, so they've never had to cater to anyone. Everything has always revolved around men or their agendas.

Well, not roller derby. This one belongs to us, fellas :) No boys allowed in the treehouse. (Unless you're a ref or NSO. In which case, you're girl-friendly.)

Yes, there is something novel about roller derby: the total unabashed power and self-confidence that radiates from these women like sunshine - we are strong AND we are sexy, and WE are in charge here. (Literally - derby leagues are skater-owned, skater-operated. Women build the leagues from the ground up and women govern them.) If that is a novelty, an anomaly, then that reflects badly not on roller derby, but on society itself. If it's unusual or weird to see women who are so empowered, then that means there's something wrong with this world. If it's too hard to see women who are so empowered without judging them or criticizing them or being suspicious of them, then there is something wrong with this world.

Now... individual roller derby girls may or may not call themselves feminists. Feminism is a word that means many different things to many different people. But regardless of our definitions, I think we all feel the same sense of joy and power and personal fulfillment every time we set foot on the track. Roller derby girls are not weak. You can't help but build muscle in this sport. You can't help but focus your mind and learn to think fast. And you can't help but learn to trust in yourself and your body and your ability to succeed. And you also can't help but learn to trust and love the other women that you skate with - it's literally your job to help each other and to protect each other, and that more often than not extends into real life too.

In a world where there are women who compete viciously for the attention of men; in a world where girls are told to restrain themselves and "act like a lady" instead of being free to be loud or opinionated or exuberant; and in a world where women are made to feel like freaks if they don't want to (or can't) find a husband and become a babymaking machine...

... it sure is nice to have a sport like roller derby.

As a little footnote, I would like to say that shorty shorts and fishnets actually ARE practical clothing in roller derby. The shorts allow freedom of movement for your legs - figure skaters, gymnasts, and swimmers need full range of mobility of their legs as well, and their uniform bottoms are not unlike ours. Also, you get really sweaty and hot when you skate. (You think derby is all sexy fun? Then you've never experienced pad stink.) Some girls can skate in full-length pants, but I can't. Too much thick material will make me overheat. On the other hand, bare legs are impractical because of all the falling and sliding across the floor - rink rash, anyone? Tights or over-the-knee socks are great, but again, for heat reasons, you don't want them to be thick. So, lots of girls like fishnets or thin tights. Not all leagues wear costumes, opting instead for athletic-style jerseys in breathable mesh.

I may not be a full-fledged derby girl yet, but I'm definitely a believer. I'm a fan for life.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

This is an exercise in self-praise without apology. So, I do not apologize whatsoever for how conceited I might sound, because I pretty much never do this, ever.

What's Awesome About Me (in no particular order):

I'm smart. I was that irritating friend in high school who would do maybe half the reading, try REALLY hard not to fall asleep during class, study a little bit, and still end up with a B+ in the class. Some things come really easy to me. I wasn't always lazy though - I just got really good at figuring out what my priorities were, where I needed to place my focus, and where I could let things slide a little. That said, I have spent countless hours in my life sweating it out over writing essays and papers, and reading, reading, reading. I'm not a quick thinker, but I'm an analytical thinker, and a reflective thinker. I can't recall facts very well at all, but I can synthesize and analyze and reflect like nobody's business.

I'm doing a good job with Jolie. Jimmy and I both deserve the praise together. We have a lot of help, yes, but when it comes down to it, it's still the two of us the vast majority of the time. Our baby was 7 weeks early and weighed a little under 5 pounds when she was born. Now, at 6 1/2 months, she's pretty much completely normal and caught up, and weighs just over 16 pounds. And she's easygoing and happy, and laughs at everyone. And her hemangioma is going away. That deserves kudos, I think, considering how many people were doubting our abilities to start with.

I have awesome legs! Seriously, have you seen them lately? They are strong from all the running (that I used to do) and all the skating (that I'm doing now). If you could figure out how to pop my left leg out of my hip socket like you would a Barbie's, you could totally bludgeon someone to death with it. (Note: I'm not actually recommending this.) And to go along with this...

I'm strong. Don't let the flab fool you... I'm muscley. Jimmy doesn't call me "Brock Lesnar" for nothing. And on the inside, I'm no weakling either - I'm brave and tenacious and resilient.

I am successfully reaching out to students. Now, students may lie about certain things ("I'm going to the bathroom!" they'll say, and come back 20 minutes later with a bag of chips and a Gatorade), but what they don't lie about is how they feel about their teachers; in fact, they're brutally honest. And even if they don't say anything particularly mean, you can tell they don't much like you by how they behave in class sometimes - they don't ever ask you questions, they don't say hi, they just hand in their work and leave as soon as the bell rings, and they never smile at your jokes. That said, I've had lots of kids come through who are not embarrassed to greet me around campus, who come into class wanting to ask my opinion about whatever shows were on tv last night, who want to tell me about their families or their SOs, who even come right out and say, "Ms. Ngo, you're my favorite teacher!" or "This is my favorite class, I love this class!" or ask if there's any chance they could be in my class next year. For all my doubts and feelings of futility, I have to remind myself that there are actually lots of kids I've taught who like me and respect me and would count me among their favorites. And that's awesome.

I'm pretty handy with the eyeshadow. I can't paint, I can't draw, I can't sculpt... but I'm pretty good at doing a smoky eye. Also, I'm really glad that my eyes are fairly large for an Asian person - I have a definite crease :)

I'm fairly techy. Not an expert, but smart enough to do most of my own troubleshooting. Ever since I was a teenager, I've been into webpages and HTML and whatever the latest trends are on the Internet. Whatever I don't know, I learn fast - I'm never "that person" in a computer class who's like, "I go where? Then I click what? What's scrolling?" Also, my Google-Fu is strong.

I have good taste in music. I'm not as much of a snob as I used to be - it just takes too much time and energy (and money!) to go chasing the latest obscure band. But I've got respectably good taste in music. I could just as easily blast Phoenix as I could CCR. As I wrote in my bio, I'm one of THOSE Radiohead fans, who can recognize allusions to their b-sides and who remembers when "Big Ideas" sounded completely different. I'm fairly up-to-date on the styles of music that I don't usually listen to (enough to recognize names and such).

I'm crafty. Not crafty like how Jolie is crafty, when she reaches out to touch your face really gently and then all of a sudden takes a swipe at you with her nails, but crafty like, I love to knit and crochet. I have done the odd bit of sewing, jewelry-making, and paper crafts, and I like to bake sometimes. I like making things, I love taking the time and effort to put something together with my own hands.

I'm compassionate and empathetic. I have to turn off movies if there is a scene depicting a hate crime or mob violence. I will passionately defend gay marriage to anyone who chooses to argue with me, even though I am not gay, because I believe in equal rights for all. I get really upset at the idea of kids bullying other kids, to the point that I would step in and fight them myself if it wasn't such a bad idea. I am a deeply feeling person, and I do not feel only for myself.

I have a pretty nice complexion. I have the odd blemish once in a while, but for the most part, I'm really lucky that I can get away with not much more coverage than maybe some lightly-applied tinted moisturizer (WHAT UP, Stila Sheer in Medium!)

I observe. You know those people who run their mouths off about everything without stopping to think before they speak? Yeah, that's not me. I'm a big proponent of "watch and learn." This makes me generally quieter than most people, but it doesn't quite mean I'm shy - it means I'm assessing what's going on before I say anything.

(Let's see, that's 12? Let's see if I can make this an even - well, odd - 15.)

I have an irreverent and unusual sense of humor. I don't laugh at the same things most other people laugh at - I hate off-color humor, and I'm not really amused by physical comedy. I laugh at clever wordplay, obscure references that (I guess) only I would catch, and at very subtle jokes. I love wit and cleverness.

I am a feminist. Yup, and proud of it. I define feminism as the fight for equal rights for members of all genders to live as they choose, in "the pursuit of happiness," without being confined by the restrictions placed on society by gender roles. That means I am in favor of working mothers AND stay at home mothers (and stay at home fathers!), wearing makeup when I want to and not wearing makeup when I don't want to, being in control of my own body (rather than someone else being in control of it), and the general idea that we should all be free to express ourselves as long as we are not infringing on others' freedom. Considering how many people automatically asked me how old my SON was, because I was holding a baby in a blue shirt, I think we've still got a long way to go. But I'm there, and I'm fighting.

Lastly... I'm very determined. When there's something I want to do, there's no stopping me if I decide that I want it badly enough. Whenever I DON'T achieve a goal, I know it's because I DIDN'T want it badly enough, and that's the truth. There are very few things that I've failed at where I put in 100% effort. (I just find it exhausting to live at the threshold of my abilities for everything I do.)

So that's 15. I hope I didn't sound too terrible. (But like I said, even if I did sound very terrible, I'm not going to apologize! =P) I will make myself re-read this entry every time I'm feeling down, and I will remember that there are good things about me.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hooray for small victories!

Well, it's not a small victory - it's quite a large one, actually:

I'm down 9 pounds since January 23rd!

Had the official weigh-in at the doctor's office today, and I'm please to report my progress. As I may or may not have mentioned, I'm taking phentermine (under medical supervision, obviously), and it's helping curb my appetite. (I do still get cravings sometimes, but not as strongly and not as often.) My doctor had set my goal for 5-8 pounds for the first month, and I exceeded it (kind of)!

I also would be remiss if I didn't thank roller derby for the changes it hath wrought. Four and a half hours a week of sweat dripping down my face and sprinting and squatting really make a big difference.

So, my doctor said that the first month is usually the best in terms of weight loss, so I should not be expecting to lose more than 8 pounds over the next month. (I go back again March 20th.) She has set my overall weight goal for 160, which should put me merely in the "overweight" BMI category as opposed to "morbidly obese," which is technically where I started. (Scary, huh? It's not so much the word "obese" as it is the word "morbid" that scares me. Anything sounds worse with the word "morbidly" in front of it.)

Personally, I think the BMI system is kind of flawed (and I'm not the only one who thinks so). I think I have way too much muscle mass for my BMI to be entirely accurate, although I am so overweight right now that my muscle mass doesn't matter. I would have to lose a LOT of weight before the amount of muscle I have starts to matter. But still... Some girls who are my height can get away with being 115 pounds, but I think that if I were ever to weigh 115 pounds, I would just look sickly. I don't think I ever COULD get down to 115 pounds without actually being sick, and I don't think I want to. Conversely, a lot of girls who are my height and my weight might be quite a bit... uh... fluffier. For someone who is 194 pounds, I'm pretty solidly packed, with some nice lines. (Come on! Who wouldn't love to have my legs right now?!?!?! My legs are awesome!) And again, I owe that to roller derby (and my trainer too!)

So, anyway, here's celebrating a step in the right direction! When was the last time I lost that much weight in just a month? Probably not since college-ish. Maybe in grad school, when I was going to UCI's athletics center every day and doing Nutrisystem. (Yeah, I actually did get a 10-pound bear for my efforts that summer... and then gained back the weight because I kept going across the street for animal style fries. I put the bear away in a box out of shame.)

So, I'm at 194... I've got 34 more pounds to lose, and let's see... about five more months to go? I can do this!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I want to go fast!

So during warmups last night, one of the other skaters, as she was passing me, asked, "Are you going to get new wheels soon?" I was pretty puzzled, because I had thought that I had pretty good wheels (particularly for beginner skates), so I said, "I don't know. Are they bad?" and she replied, "Yes!" And another skater right behind her said, "You will totally feel a difference with better wheels. You'll go faster!"

Which got me thinking, about new wheels and about gear in particular. I pretty much know nothing about gear and skates. It's just a matter of taking the time to learn, of course, and because the derby world never assumes that anyone joining derby will just KNOW everything, there are lots of primers and tutorials about gear, all over the internet. One of the skaters for SVRG, Postal Servix, keeps a gear blog. Sin City Skates has a ton of info for newbies like me.

The thing is, how MUCH will new wheels help me? I can see how a good skater, who has good form and is in tune with her body and her motion, can tell the difference between good wheels and beginner wheels, but how about someone like me, who is still working on form and stride? How much faster could I go on new wheels if I don't even have my skating down yet?

But maybe I'm underestimating myself. Maybe I'm better than I think I am. On Tuesday, we did this crazy circle-weaving pace line (where the person at the back has to skate a circle around each skater before moving on to the next, but constantly facing in the right direction, so it's a combination of both the forward weaving and fall-back weaving pace line drills). As we were listening to the instructions (which Denny had to draw for us, by the way, that's how crazy it was!), the girl next to me just had this look of terror on her face and I looked at her and said, "Don't worry, we can do this!" And she said, "Yeah, YOU'VE got this easy!" And last night, I was explaining the pace line to another skater who was absent for Tuesday's practice, and she said, "... I bet you totally made it through, huh?" And I was actually very surprised to hear both of these comments, because truth be told, I don't think much of my abilities right now. Back when we first started pace lines, I SUCKED. I could never keep up with the person in front of me, I would invariably get passed by everyone else in line (and then lapped, as the entire pace line passed me by again), and I would always end up in the back. And in my mind's eye, I am still a back-of-the-pack-er. Even though I've been writing these past few weeks about how "I totally survived this and that pace line drill, wow!", it's never really dawned on me that I am getting better. That I don't suck. I'm nowhere near the top half of the skaters in our bootcamp, but I must not be bad if others are telling me things like, "You've totally got this!"

I've never been confident in my physical abilities. I was never sporty. In those stupid Presidential physical fitness tests, I think I was only ever good at sit-ups and the sit-and-reach, but as far as the pull-ups and the mile run, I was horrible. I used to be teased for being chubby. I never did sports in high school because I was too afraid of failing (another common theme in my life). By the end of high school/beginning of college, I did try to start exercising and lifting weights, but as you know, my relationship with exercise has been very on/off. I did join the swim team in college, but I was never good. I got "points for effort," but I would never be the among the fast girls, because I didn't have years of conditioning like they did. (Too little, too late.) And over the years since college, I've gained a lot of weight, and I'm starting to think that I'll never be able to run well enough to be a marathoner like I've always dreamed.

Derby is the first sport that I actually think I can do, and do well. (And I will state right here that, no, it is NOT easy.) And I didn't start actually believing I could do it until maybe these past couple of weeks. Until now, I've been doing it with a "try it and see" approach, and now, I am actually starting to think that I can do this. I used to be terrified, go wide-eyed like a deer at some of the drills when the coaches would go over them, but I would gulp down my fear and try it anyway. Now, I get excited - I'm like, "YES! LET'S DO THIS!!!" and I'm ready to charge like a bull.

So... ahem... back to my original point. Maybe I could benefit from better wheels. I've been thinking a lot about upgrading my gear in general (pads, wheels, even skates, if I could afford it), but I've been talking myself out of it, like, "What if I don't pass the tests? Then I will have gotten all this expensive stuff for nothing." And now I'm thinking, "What if I don't pass the tests... BECAUSE of my gear?" What if upgrading my stuff could give me just that slight edge that would shave off a couple seconds on the endurance tests? Or help me stop more steadily? What if my wheels give me just that extra bit of sliding to help me cross over better?

And now, all of a sudden, I'm starting to feel like I can't afford NOT to upgrade my gear. So I'll start with the wheels. (I would not be able to save up fast enough to buy new skates before the tests anyway... the next ones up from mine are $300.) Do I want firmer ones? Narrower ones? Should I try a different brand? (I have Sure Grip Fugitives, which are pretty popular.) Should I get the same bearings I have right now, or try out the China Bones Reds, which lots of people seem to recommend?

We have three weeks left until the tests, I think. I still don't know if I will pass, but I do know that I will give it everything I have. No holding back. I'm not going to doubt myself and then have it turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I need to start treating this very seriously (more than I already have), and that includes learning about gear and how it can help me skate better and faster.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Schrodinger's Baby Manual - every piece of advice is both true and false until you try it.

One of my biggest strengths, I think, is my ability to follow directions. Therefore, one of my biggest weaknesses is trying to figure out what to do when I have no directions to follow. I feel confused, lost, and overwhelmed. This is how I feel as I'm trying to introduce solids to Jolie.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, this is how I've felt ever since she was born. It's frustrating, isn't it, that there are a million books, websites, articles, and well-meaning people out there who have an answer for EVERYTHING, but it will always be followed by, "Well, in the end, every baby is different, so this might not work for your baby." Hey, THANKS! That's really helpful!

It IS true, but still... frustrating, nonetheless. An academic in every sense of the word, I have spent countless hours reading anything and everything and querying everyone from my family to perfect strangers on the internet about this whole process of introducing rice cereal while still feeding Jolie formula. And everything and everyone says something different.

And Jolie herself is different. Her preemie-ness makes her different - she doesn't drink as much formula as the "average" 6-month-old. We waited until 6 months to start solids rather than 4 or 5, like some other babies get to. She doesn't sleep on a regular schedule (we just let her nap when she's tired, and wake her if we need to). My baby has somehow managed to be the exception to everything.

So, for someone like me, who hates playing things by ear and loves to have a plan, it's very difficult. I'm not used to operating this way, but I HAVE to, because obviously, her comfort here is more important than mine. But the thing is, she's being pretty easy. We've been on solids for a week and a half now, and she's liking it and having no problems. So why am _I_ having problems?

For starters, where do I go from here? I understand the whole "Introduce one food at a time" instruction. Kaiser says wait 5-7 days; other places say 3-5; some parents I've talked to were fine with 2. And her doctor says introduce veggies first (which I also understand), but then other places/people say it doesn't matter.

Once Jolie works her way through all the veggies and fruits in the cupboard the first time through, do we just go back through the repertoire and mix/match (the way adults mix and match the stuff they eat during the day)? Fruit and cereal for breakfast, veggies for dinner?

And what about the baby food that has two or three ingredients? If they have two things that she's never tried, do I introduce them individually? But where the heck do you find a single-ingredient jar of chicken baby food?

(Can you also tell that I tend to be a worrier?)

It will all work itself out, I'm sure. The bottom line is that, despite being an exception to everything and despite having no tailored instructions to follow, Jolie is remarkably well. She is perfectly healthy, and even better than that, she's probably the happiest, easiest baby I've ever met in my life. (And yes, I've met LOTS of babies in my life... I've got 15 first cousins alone that I've watched grow up from babyhood, and often helped take care of.) And my family, who've collectively taken care of more babies than I could even imagine, all say the same thing.

So... whatever Jimmy and I are doing, it's working. And in fact, I only get flustered when I read baby advice; when it's just me and Jolie, things are perfectly clear. It's just this whole "watch her for cues!" thing makes me nervous, but I've never been the sort of person who's been comfortable with taking my cues from anyone or anything other than myself. And even when it IS just myself, I hate to "wait and see." I like knowing ahead of time what I'm supposed to do next. When I lesson plan, I plan out everything to the day, and adjust as I go, rather than just "wait and see" where we are when we get there.

I guess I have no choice but to deal with my discomfort. And as Jolie is learning how to eat solids, I am learning something new as well.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Firsts :)

Some Jolie awesomeness - her first real baby food, and her first Vietnamese New Year!

We're moving onwards and upwards from the rice cereal. Enough of that crap. Bring on the sweet potatoes!

So, this is Jolie's first non-white food, by the way. (I think.) Time to invest in an apron or a smock, because that girl gets messy!

She really seems to love sweet potatoes, though!

She even loved it so much, that she felt the need to eat the leftover bits that dripped onto her bib!

I'm a hungry animal!!!

Jolie also got her first lucky red envelopes today! In the grand tradition of Chinese/Vietnamese New Year, lucky red envelopes are given out containing money, for good luck. Jolie, having no knowledge of the function of money, finds a new purpose for it instead:

Yeah, she tried to eat it. And if that wasn't bad enough, sometimes she would miss, and nearly poke her eye out :)

All in all, a good day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Crossing Over (not the skating kind)

My life right now can be neatly divided into three parts, with very little crossover between them: work, home, and derby. Which is not to say that they don't affect one another - I'm just saying that no one I know takes up more than one category in my life right now.

No one I work with hangs out with me outside of work, and obviously, no one I hang out with outside of work will ever see me AT work (because... well, it's work). No one from work or derby so far has hung out with me at home (not that I invite anyone over - it's always a huge mess of baby bottles and Kleenex and my dogs are crazy).

But see here - I would LOVE for people at work to come to a derby bout. I know a few of my work friends are waiting to actually see me play, but who knows when that will be? So why don't they come to watch one with me? (Jimmy and John have been to a couple, so I'm not complaining about the home front, and I think my parents would be terrified.)

I feel like I am falling in love with roller derby and it's transforming me, and no one cares. I have never felt so strong, so empowered, so alive, and so... MYSELF. But it's like this whole other part of my life that no one truly knows about. I mean, they know I'm doing bootcamp (how could they not? I talk about it constantly, especially online), but do they really KNOW? Do they understand and appreciate what it means to me? I'm becoming a completely different person right under their noses. This is totally turning into a Superman/Clark Kent situation.

So, I'm a little bitter. But I also recognize that it's not necessarily a justifiable bitterness either. My relationships with my work friends are different from what they used to be - I became much more of a hermit when I was pregnant, and started holing up in my classroom more. How can I expect them to care about my life when I totally give the impression that I don't care about theirs? (I do care! I just... like to hide.)

Also, as much as our job dominates the rest of our lives (the constant barrage of grading, the required "good behavior" even when we're off the clock, etc), teachers do like to separate out their work from the rest of their lives because... that's how we stay sane. Some people have jobs that they can leave behind at work, but we don't... so we have to work extra hard to keep that unaffected part of our lives unaffected.

Also, we just don't have a lot of time to socialize. All of my work friends are older than me. (The coworkers that are my age or younger, I'm not really friends with them.) They all have their own spouses, families, and households to run. So I feel bad making demands on their time, when clearly other things are more important. So my work friends are just that. WORK friends. But I wish they could be my friends without any additional qualifiers or descriptors.

But goddammit. I'm experiencing a total personal revolution here. I have had so much trouble finding my inner strength these past few years, and derby is finally helping me come out of my haze. This isn't just a hobby I'm picking up... it's a total life change, for the better. Other than when I'm with my daughter, there is no other time when I feel more amazing than when I'm flying on my wheels. Literally, I feel like I can fly when I'm skating. And I feel so proud of myself when I complete a really difficult drill and when I feel my muscles are learning a new skill. I'm so happy when I'm at derby practice - no matter how tired or ill I feel, even as I'm gearing up, the second my wheels hit the light blue floor, the weight on my shoulders lifts and I'm a completely new person. My personality hasn't changed - I'm not any crazier or louder. I don't act different, but I feel different. It's frustrating to feel my life completely turning around, and to have no one notice or care.

I feel bad being bitter, because I think I am being a little unfair. But I also feel bad, period, because it's pretty lonely leading a compartmentalized life.

As far as the derby girls, I'm still getting to know them. I'm hoping I will find some that I really click with, who will be my friends even outside the rink. (That really seems to be the case with the girls who have already been in the league for a while.) There are derby events constantly, so I have no shortage of opportunity to hang out with them. We're still in that tenuous stage where we don't really know who's going to make the team and stick around, and who isn't. Besides, a lot of us are drawn towards derby in the first place because we do need that time away from everything else in our lives.

Okay, so maybe I am being unfair to my work friends. You can't force two of your friends to be friends with each other if they have nothing in common except for you. And especially if you're no longer particularly close to one of them, and the other one is still very new. It's a shaky relationship at best, and difficult to navigate.

And in the middle of it all is my home life. I feel like I don't spend enough time with Jolie, actually. I work all day, come home for a few hours, and then go to derby. By the time I come home, she's already asleep, and I'm getting ready for bed. On the weekends, her grandparents beg to take her. So it often comes to pass that I don't get much time at home with just her and me. (Usually it's me, her, and a bunch of other people.) And that's the most important thing. I have next week off from work, so I'm TOTALLY looking forward to taking care of her all day like I used to.

I don't have any solutions. I don't even know exactly what I want. Maybe to feel as awesome outside of the rink as I do inside of it? To have my work friends cheer me on and support me the way my fellow bootcampers do? I've known my work friends for four years, and I've known my bootcampers for four weeks... and I feel more loved at derby practice than I do anywhere else in my life except for when I see my daughter's eyes after a long day of being away.

But maybe that's the culture we're dealing with. To be a successful team (in any sport), you have to back each other up and be there for each other. To be a successful teacher, yes, you have to be able to collaborate with each other, but in the end, it's just you in your classroom, and the bells ring, and the periods go by, and everyone decompresses at lunch by talking about work, but unless you're SUPER close with someone, you don't really talk about much else.

I would love to see my work friends become more than just work friends. And I would love for them to experience derby, whether or not I'm playing, because it's turning out to be a crucial influence in my life. Outside of work, home, and derby, I don't have very many other friends (there's Becca, who IS trying to make it to the March 6th bout!), so the people that I do have are ever so important to me, and I wish they knew that. Maybe one day, all the parts of my life will crossover, just like my feet, and I will be able to finally  navigate life's turns with fluidity and grace.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy halfway!

I do believe tonight marks the halfway point of bootcamp. I do feel that I am immensely better than I was when we first started. We are learning more every day of practice, and pushing our bodies harder.

Tonight we started off with pushcarts, where we had to push four other people in a line from the back. That was totally fun - we were like a bunch of out-of-control train cars.

Then we did back-to-back pace lines: the first one was a fall-back weaving drill, where the person in the front has to weave to the back (facing the right direction, of course), and I have to admit, until I actually tried it, I was scared to do it. And then it ended up being easier than the forward weaving pace line, because all you have to do is let the line move by, person by person, and duck behind everyone. You don't have to scramble to maintain your place. So, I felt like I did really well on that one. Then we went straight into one where the person in the front (which happened to be ME first) does a hot lap around the track to the back of the line and weaves forward. I felt like it took me a million years just to get around to the back of the line, let alone weave forward, but I made it. And once I made it, just staying IN the line for so long was wearing me out. In the "normal" weaving pace line, you have to keep skating for as long as it takes for people to go from the back of the line to the front, which is already grueling. But in this one, you have to do that, AFTER skating for as long as it takes for people to do their hot lap. And sometimes that took a while (I know MINE took about five years!), so you're just skating skating skating and waiting for the next person to even START weaving, let alone finish. I really felt like I was starting to die.

After some hot laps and a short break, we learned how to skate in 3-person formations, learning how to "form a wall" (exactly how it sounds) and to "waterfall" - if a person in your formation falls behind or loses her position, you have to rotate your threesome to fill in that spot. This was easy enough, but we did it for aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaages. I had to drop out twice towards the end because my back was just killing me - like the pace lines, you have to control your pace, so it's not like I could've just slowed down to ease up the tension in my back. I swear we did this for, like, over half an hour.

And then in the last 15 minutes, some girls left the group to help out with the scrimmage, so we talked a little about the tests coming up (which is much harder than even WFTDA requires), and then we all did timed skating - trial runs for the tests coming up. We have to be able to skate 5 laps in 1 minute, and 25 laps in 5 minutes. Not impossible at all, but definitely hard.

I came in HALF A SECOND late on my one-minute test. And I can tell you why:
- I was tired and my back hurt
- I was totally psyched out and overanxious as I was skating
- I didn't push myself to the max because I was worried about wiping out and losing time by falling
- I coasted into or out of a couple turns because I still suck at crossovers.

All of those are things I can do something about. So I KNOW I can pass this one-minute test. If I keep improving at the rate that I'm going, I should be able to rock it in four weeks. The five-minute one, though, I didn't attempt (because I was so worn out, I knew I wouldn't have made it if I couldn't do five in under a minute), but I know I will have to work on that. I felt like I had to skate pretty hard for the short test, and if I want to come in under five minutes, I will have to learn how to skate hard for a full five minutes - no holding back, no coasting, no psyching myself out.

So, at the halfway point, I am still unsure of my fate. I still cannot say if I will definitely pass or definitely fail. But I CAN say that whichever way the needle points, my decisions right now WILL affect the outcome.

That said, I'm going to make the decision to get some sleep right now. I need some R&R.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Just wanted to squee a bit...

Panda thought I did a great job! Squee! It means a lot to get a compliment from the head coach! (Considering how, the first night of bootcamp, she pulled me aside to tell me that I was wearing my helmet backwards... smooth move, Ex-Lax!)

We had a one-hour practice tonight, because of Goth Night skating. Still, we got in a weaving pace line, which I'm getting better and better at, and some close-proximity skating, which I could use some improvement on (and that does also involve controlling your pace). Then we worked on pushing each other off the line (legally! no hurting each other!), which I think I got the hang of, and as I said above, I think I could really do well as a blocker, if I make it into the league.

I feel like I'm on the cusp of something huge, and I'm having trouble finding that little extra spasm of power to push myself towards it. I need to find that extra push and run with this, because I think I have a lot of potential here, and I'm not maximizing it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Yay for bootcamp!

I posted this on Facebook, but forgot that I hadn't posted it here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My baby's growing up!

Jolie, who is now 6 months old, has just tried solid food for the first time.

And true to form, she was completely adorable and easy. Obviously, more of it came back out than went down, but she was adorably curious, opened her mouth for the spoon, and smacked her lips to get a feel for the food.

I can't believe how fast she's growing up. Today she tried rice cereal - next week I'll be seeing her off to college or something.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sometimes I think swear words were invented specifically for nights like last night.

If Tuesday night had me feeling totally awesome, last night had me feeling the total opposite.

First of all, I was late to practice, for the first time ever. (And usually I get there WAY early to gear up.) It's just my luck that the one time I leave a little bit later than normal, BOTH major freeways to get to the rink are clogged up with traffic from accidents. My shoulders tensed up and I yelled more swear words than I'd used in the past week combined. I got there and got my gear on JUST in time to stretch, meaning, I didn't get to do any warm-up laps. I went from a cold stretch into a pace line drill without warming up, and I could feel my legs shaking underneath me after a few turns around the track.Really, it's a credit to the strength training I did this weekend that I survived the pace line (weaving again) and the hot laps afterward. It really was a tough one.

I'm so exhausted this morning, I don't even remember what else we did - I know we learned how to jump (and spent a long time watch other people jump over large objects, which was awesome), and I know that we eventually did another weaving pace line. Now, it's ONE thing to split up into two pace lines (fast and slow) and only have to weave up through half the bootcampers at the beginning of practice when you're all fresh from warming up... it is QUITE another to form one giant pace line with ALL the bootcampers (including the super fast ones) and have to weave through them after an hour/hour and a half of working out intensely already. I took a long time making my way up to the front, but eventually I got there, and I managed to stay in line for a relatively long time until I just couldn't take it anymore. I was literally just about to veer off to the sidelines to stretch my back when one of the other skaters went down, and we all had to stop skating and take a knee. (As sorry as I am that she got injured, I really, really was glad that we all stopped for a bit.) That gave me just enough of a break to be able to get back up and keep going, but I knew I was totally spent. My legs were shaking again under me, my back muscles were twitching, and I swear I was ready to collapse at any minute.

It was just my luck then, that instead of watching scrimmaging, we ended up skating an EXTRA half hour. We practiced giving and taking whips from other people at random, and I did manage to get in a few (from both positions), but most of the time, I skated around the outside edge of the track. I was running on empty by then. Practice ended with TEN hot laps, which just about did me in. I pushed as hard as I could, and pretty much collapsed on the floor when I was done.

We had two girls left who had a few laps left to finish, and Aim yelled to us, "Team spirit is everyone skating until the last person is done!" So then, of course, we ALL got back up to skate. I don't want to be accused of being a poor teammate or not having team spirit, but oh man, I did NOT want to get back up. I was just... SO TIRED... I could barely see straight. But I got up too, and did slow easy laps around the track and cheered along with everyone else when we all finished. I gulped my water down like a man who's just been rescued from a desert. (Well, I guess it doesn't have to be a man. It could be anyone.)

All in all, I have to feel good about last night's practice, even though right now, it's taking all of my focus to sit upright. (Seriously, how am I going to make it through work today?) I really got pushed to the limit, and though I kind of skirted it a little bit, I did really push past where I was before and reached a new limit.

We took a bootcamper team photo last night (before we became completely sodden and red-faced), so hopefully they'll get that to us soon and I can post it. There's a part of me that wishes bootcamp would never end - it's that in-between where we're working hard, but we still have some room to make mistakes that won't hurt the team.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Got to admit, it's getting better, it's getting better all the time

*singing* It can't get no worse!

So, we'll see how I feel after tonight's practice, but last night's felt really good.

The first thing we did after warm-ups was a weaving pace line drill. I've seen the team do this before, and it's always freaked me out because it just LOOKS so hard. We split up into two lines though ("fast" and "faster"... I was in the "fast" line), and aside from probably allowing too much of a gap too often between me and the girl in front of me, I managed to keep up AND I survived the weaving part without taking anyone out! It took me a little while because at one point, I could not catch up to the next girl I was supposed to cut in front of, but eventually I got there and made it to the front. (And then later on I got taken down by someone else trying to weave, but no problem - I wasn't hurt.)

AND we learned how to do a whip yesterday! SO awesome. It's a classic derby move, and I didn't fall, nor did I throw my partner against the wall.

And equally importantly, I felt like I was able to move faster than I was last week, and I credit that to Aim's advice of focusing on training my core. I did a major workout on Sunday (which I was still sore from two days later), but I felt stronger and faster and more steady last night at practice, so... guess what I'll be keeping up from now on? (Also, I'm starting to train with Raymond again on Thursday at the gym.)

So now.... I just need to find time to practice my actual SKATING. I can do this! I want IN this league, and I'm going to make it, and I'm going to push myself until I get there.

Have I mentioned how much I love roller derby?