Look at these girls! Being all awesome and on the news and stuff!(News link directly below)  

Chippewa Valley Roller Girls wipe out stereotypes (w/video): There’s a rumor floating around that the women who skate for the Chippewa Valley roller derby team are gruff and menacing, with bulging muscles and a bad case of ’roid rage."

I love CVRG. I had the privilege of bench coaching them for a few games and they're a hard working group of skaters! I'm also a big fan of the derby "scene" in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It feels like there's a mixer or small tournament every weekend, always a bout to go to, open practices to attend.. just so much derby all over the place! And so many leagues! If you're wanting to be a derby girl up north you are very, very lucky! (Except for the whole getting to practice in the winter thing. I don't know how you people do it!)

Bonus Fun Fact: Neil Gaiman's very first roller derby bout was a CVRG bout!

So glad to see them getting some press and I hope they continue to get noticed by their local community!

I have always wanted to travel, but it hasn't been a high priority in my life until the past few years. I've been more and more determined to say "yes" to out of state and out of country events than I ever was before! 




This year, my friend Elyse, who lives in New York, was throwing her wedding reception/one year anniversary party in Brooklyn. As soon as I got the invite, I said, "we're going!"! Booked a flight to NYC, and went with the intention of doing ALL THE THINGS!

Well, all the things didn't exactly happen. I don't know if you know this, but sometimes weddings have an open bar. And sometimes after the wedding closes down the wedding party goes to another bar. And when that bar closes you go to another. And when THAT bar closes you go to another one. Then sometimes, you realize the sun will rise soon and it's time to go back to the hotel room.

We kept going and going....


That kind of night can really kill all your sightseeing plans the next day.

Waiting for dill to rise. It didn't happen until I wandered down the road and returned with coffee.


His hangover face looks different than my hangover face.

We did make it over the bridge for some whiskey drinks with everyone the next day.





Which means I need to make another trip to New York. I still need to meet Paul Auster! I still need to see the Empire State Building! And Central Park! And a yarn shop!

And maybe, just maybe, I need to see a little less whiskey the next time around.

Highlights: The British.

Elyse used to live in England. All her friends came in for the party, and they were all wonderful.

Talking to someone who happens to live in Indy. We decided we should hang out as couples. Decide to introduce them to Dill. Say, "Oh! You should meet my husband! Where is he? Oh. That's him over there. With his tie on his head." (He says it was the fault of the British)


Ok, maybe I put a tie on my head too.


I have no idea





Brooklyn! It was such a fun neighborhood. Dill was in slightly worse shape than I was Saturday, so I left him in the room for a bit and wandered around. (And bought pretty jewelry)

Loved these. The ear cuff is a pain to put in unfortunately, but I really adore the bracelet.


Not only did we find a bookstore, there was a sidewalk book seller! And there was a paul auster book! 

And of course I bought a book. Neil once gave me a book for All Hallows' Read by this same author and it scared the crap out of me. This one was disturbing in a different way. 

Stole some time and worked on my scarf! 


If I weren't such a wannabe country girl (and poor. Let's not forget poor) I would love to live in a neighborhood like that. There was always something to do (until 5am. Then everyone wants you to go home) stuff to see, food to eat and drinks to drink.

Although... I should remember that I'm old. And while 22 year old me could survive on about an hour of sleep per night (or a powernap under my desk during the day) 22 year old me really likes pajama bottoms and a good book by 8pm.

Regardless, Operation : Get the heck out of Indiana more is going very well these past few years. Cancun, San Francisco, LA, Pitsburgh, Canada and now New York! Later this year, back to Minnesota and Wisconsin for a book signing and some hangout time with friends! If I can just get some signings booked in Scotland and Ireland my "I wanna go there" list will almost be complete!

It's that time of year again! Can you forgive me if I get a little mushy when it's playoff season? I flash back to the early days of derby, then to see the level of athleticism and dedication that our sport has grown to, and I just get so many feelings!

If you haven't done so, you should get your pass to watch playoffs live. I have to admit that I'm not very productive at work during playoff season. I have my computer up and watching at the shop, and I have it streaming to my tv at home.

Since I've been toying with the idea of announcing, listening to the best of the best of the announcing world isn't a bad idea for me either! I'm lucky to have Dill around to learn from, and such a talented announcer pool in Indy to hang around with should I ever decide to officially make the jump. (You know, with my oodles of spare time!)

I need to update this blog a lot more! I went to New York! I have signings booked! I may be going to Canada again!

You can always follow me on Facebook as well. Don't be offended if I don't friend you on my personal profile. I've been getting some weird stuff on there, so I am paring it down a bit and sending people I don't know directly to my page!

I love hitting Gen Con in Indy every year. It's a huge convention and it's pretty much in my backyard, so it's silly for me not to make time in my schedule to go! If you're a fan of tabletop and card games, this con is a must visit!

I was fortunate enough this year to get to talk and teach and knit with my fellow geeks! I've done this a few times now and always have a blast.
I also broke out my handy dandy America dress from Geek Knits!
Agent Carter found me...

I found Iron Man 



And Ant Man!



And I bought a lot of really cool stuff!

This canvas print by Aaron Miller of Chicago


This book and some prints by Vincent Marcone aka My Pet Skeleton

Some gorgeous pens made by Pens and More here in Indiana. 



Met this lovely gal who made the robot from Knits for Nerds!

She also gave me a brain slug! 


And of course I got some new games! We got to play a few demos sunday, I was too busy every other day!

All in all, a successful and fun gen con. I learned a few things that I'll do differently next year and I might try to schedule a little more gaming time for myself! 






Starkey is a pretty good horse. He's in his 20's, so he an older guy and not one for a lot of mischief. We let him wander out yard and our neighbors and he's pretty well behaved about it.


Then I planted sunflowers.

Starkey leaves most plants alone. In fact, he's great for getting in the garden and eating nothing but weeds. 

But sunflowers? He got one taste of those things and it unleashed the mini beast within him. I'll turn him out and he will just be casually grazing then BOLT to the sunflower and eat as many as he can before I drag him out.

He got one yesterday and honestly? It was so cute I didn't even scold him. I just took pictures and let him finish eating it. (He ate the entire thing btw!)






At least it's not the tomatos! 



Saturday Mr. Dill Her0 and I, along with Danny Mac headed to Muncie. Dill and Danny were announcing a double header bout, Naptown vs. Cornfed. The bout took place in a skating rink, which I kind of love. While I enjoy derby on a grand scale, it's a lot of fun to see the smaller leagues in rec centers and roller rinks. Plus, this one was a 90's time capsule. $2 sodas and butterfly hair clips??? Amazing. Only downside is NO BEER! 


Butterfly clips! 


The first game was Naptown Warning Belles vs. Cornfed All Stars. Warning Belles are Naptowns B-team, but in all honesty, they're the equivalent of most leagues A-team. I only mention this because Cornfed won the bout, and I would hate for anyone to think "Yea, but that was an A team against a B team!". While technically true, Naptowns B team (and C team) is very, very good. Cornfed should be very pleased with themselves over their victory. They have really good communication on the track, (Pivot fOWL Play is outstanding) and jammers that were just fun to watch. (BOOMSDAY!)






The score went back and forth in the first half, then NRG started letting themselves get spread out on the track. Cornfed jammers took advantage of that mercilessly. 



Sitting with the announcers, I got a pretty cool view of the coaches in action. Of course I know NRG's coaching staff, but seeing other excellent coaches was a lot of fun. I always have an interest in the bench, having spent time coaching myself. It's neat to see the calm zen bench, vs the fierceness on the track. 





Before the bout Danny Mac had asked me if I'd ever thought about announcing, saying that I would probably be good at it. (He interviewed me once for an NRG video, and on camera, I interview fairly well.) I hadn't ever really thought about it seriously, especially since I know what an incredibly hard job announcers have. The boys convinced me I should take the mic during one of the games, so I said I would give it a shot.

I did. I gave it a shot.

Let me tell you something. Announcing is HARD. I knew going in that it was hard. I've seen all the prep work Dill does at home, discussions between announcers, watching tons of footage as they prepare for games, learning names, numbers, pronunciations and stats, but knowing and doing are two totally different things.

I had Dill right by me, giving me pointers as I announced. I didn't do too badly, but by the time I matched a girls jersey number to her name (OMG, can we PLEASE go back to names on jerseys?????) the moment would be over!

It was a lot of fun though! There was a skater named "Cosmo Pain" on Cornfed and I don't know why, but I decided that her name needed to be said like 1980's Wrestlemania. (PS- she's like a wrecking ball jammer. Watch out for her)



Seeing the Third Alarm was great. It's my first time checking them out this season, though of course I know a lot of the girls. I've watched Peyton Slamming go from stream announcer to skater, so it was great to see her as Captain of the team!

Other thoughts from the night:

Upon walking in, I had a skater know who I was and state that she had one of my books. I freaking love it when that happens! It puts me in a good mood for at least 24 hours.

I was so impressed with the number of Cornfed skaters that took the time out to thank the announcers, NSO's and refs. I know there was a recent kerfuffle over an announcer quitting derby, with much speculation over it being due to the lack of thanks and respect shown to volunteers. I can say firsthand that thank you's are way too rare in derby. It was nice to see Cornfed take a few seconds to make sure they showed their appreciation to their staff.

Strategy talk. When 2 minutes remain on the clock, and one team is down by a not unbeatable amount, say 20-30 points, the standard play always seems to be to get lead, get the points, as soon as the other jammer is coming up, call the jam. But if your team is down, and you're lead, shouldn't you just try and get as many points as you can and depend on your blockers to try and force a track cut on the other jammer? Like, make that their goal in life? Otherwise you call the jam, reset, and then the other team might get lead instead of you.
I know that I've always been coached under the theory "4-0 is better than 8-4". but I feel like ending the game with your jammer as lead, gives you the better edge.

I've only ever seen Danny Mac as a stream announcer, yet he did really well on house! (Sometimes announcers don't do well switching from one to the other) He had that perfect mix of clarity, excitement, and information that house announcers need.

The roller rink that Cornfed bouts in mixes caramel corn with regular popcorn. This is important to know. 

Dill got Pokemon tips in the parking lot. 



I promise my blog won't turn into all roller derby all the time. But I have to keep my knitting secret right now while I work on some new patterns!

xoxx

I've worked as a barista for many, many years now. It's not an easy job, despite what most people on the other side of the counter may think. And I'm going to be 100% honest with you: Your barista is totally judging you by your drink order.

Doesn't mean you shouldn't order what you want (with only a couple of exceptions)!

*** Please note that this is completely tongue in cheek!***

Black coffee = No fuss, no nonsense. We could be friends.

Flat White = You're slightly trendy, or an expat missing home.

Pour Over = You're very trendy. Borderline hipster.

Deconstructed coffee = You're so damn hipster you rode your weird, 18th century bike here wearing your boat shoes, fedora hat that doesn't really fit your head and a tank top. Also hell no. We aren't making that.

Extra hot, no foam*. Absolutely no foam = You probably have a lot of friends that talk a lot of shit about you behind your back. Also, you failed 8th grade science. But somehow, you drive a better car than me and don't need to work for a living.
*Note: No foam is fine. But extra hot no foam means you hate baristas. Like, a barista stole your barbie when you were 4 and took the head off then returned it after you complained to your mom, and they told you it was fine because they put the head back on but it made the neck about half an inch shorter and looked completely weird. Barbie was never the same. So now you relish the look of pain on the baristas face when you say "extra hot no foam" because that's the pain you went through! Now they can feel it too!

Espresso Macchiato = You appreciate quality espresso. We like you.

Chai Latte = You went through a hippie phase your freshman year of college and totally gate rushed at Woodstock.

Dirty Chai or Dirty Hippie = You're a little weird and don't care who knows it.

Blended Caramel Mocha with extra caramel, extra mocha, only 1 shot in a large with extra drizzle and extra whip = You're 13. If it's "for here" and you're meeting a bunch of friends we're giving you decaf.

Medium cappuccino with cinnamon powder in the bottom of the cup, shots next, skim milk microfoamed and extra dry = you've owned a coffee shop for 12 years and you're freaking obnoxious when you order coffee anywhere else. Also, your friends pretend they don't know you when you're ordering! (If you can't tell, this is me)





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