I added a slide show! See it? Over there, on your right!

I know, I know, probably not a big deal for most of you. But you have to understand that I have mild technidartdation. I see html, rss feeds, and my head kind of locks up. Technology hates me too. Things that work fine for everyone else lock up as soon as I get near them! Probably because it's learned of my dormant super power, which is now just beginning to manifest itself.
See, over the years, we've always joked about how automatic doors don't work for me. I've run into so many of those damn things because I expect them to open... and they don't. I've colided into them with shopping carts, and of course, my face. Over the years I've become more wary, and I hesitate until someone walks up behind me and the door lets both of us in.
That of course, should have been a sign of my super power. Little did I know, that mild mannered (hah) Joan of Dark, was really... Electornics Killer!!!! Nice ring to it right? It turns out, not only am I just horribly unlucky with computers and such, I also am learning how to KILL THEM!
Two days ago, we walked into the shop, and I reached up to shut off the alarm, like I always do. I went to key in the code, and *ZAP*! Static electricity! The keypad quit working. Or I should say, it worked, it just couldn't be turned off. We had to take it out of the wall, and Dan had to pull wires to shut it off. In the mean time of course, it's called our phones, and left Dan a 3 minute long voice mail of it's death throws. All of this meant that we had to spend a ridiculous amount of money getting the darn thing replaced that same day. Grrr.
That of course, was bad enough, but then later that day, Dan asked me to look at something he was doing on the mac. Set my hand on the keyboard and *ZAP*! Locked the computer up! Luckily it didn't fry, it just freaked out and had to be rebooted.
I've spent the last couple days killing little things. I zap everyone I touched, I locked up my computer, the calculator, my cell phone... which of course explains why all of this technology has hated me for so long. It's not that I'm stupid with computers, or that I have bad luck. They could sense this super power laying dormant in me for years!
I do have to admit though, as far as super powers go... this one blows.

I also have a twitter account now. I'm JoanofDarkKnits on there. I know there is a way to upload that to my sidebar as well, but let's just take it one thing at a time shall we? For now, just look at the pretty pictures.


EDIT- Okay, I am not as smart as I thought I was. That slideshow only shows the first couple pages of my photobucket account, and I can't figure out how to change that. Grrr.

You win this round technology, but the war... the war is still on!

Dill and I had a very long, very hard week last week. The shop was just slammed, which is great! Then Friday we had a charity event, where we served about 200 people, and stayed open until past 10am at night! Don't get me wrong, I'll take that kind of night every night of the week! But dang, I was TIRED and SORE after!
We decided this weekend to treat ourselves to a movie. Now, I am not a fan of horror movies, but I love, love, love a good 3-D movie! So when I heard about My Bloody Valentine in 3-D... we had to go!
We got to the theater super early, to make sure we sat dead center, for the best experience. It started to get a little crowded, when I noticed this family come in with their kids, who looked to be about 12 and 6. Now, I'm not a parent yet, but I would hope, that while I plan on being a pretty cool, hip mom, I would not succumb to my child wanting to see a movie like, My Bloody Valentine, at the age of 6. The entire family were wearing matching leather Colts jackets, the mom had hair that was straight out of Washington Square Mall in 1989, and the Dad was about 2" away from a mullet.
I saw them start eyeballing the rows, and walking up the stairs towards ours. Okay, I can deal with them sitting in front of us, though the Mom's hair might get in the way of my gore. And I wondered briefly if the 6 year old would start puking or having a mental break down during the movie.
They passed the row in front of us, and kind of eyed our row. Once again, I could deal if they sat in our row, at least then the hair wouldn't block me.
But no, they sat behind us, and within seconds the 6 year old began the seat kicking. I turned around and glared at him and the dad, and it stopped... until the movie began. Then it was a horrid pattern of kick, glare, stop, kick, glare, stop. Me muttering, "I will not hit a child, but I will put the smack down on the breeders if this kicking doesn't knock it the eff off". Finally stopped, for the most part.
I try not to blame the kid too much. I mean, hell, he was probably going through all sorts of mental issues during this movie! First off, the gore. Not normal gore. 3-D, in your face, crazy ass gore. It was super, super bloody and gross. Then the nudity. This 6 year old had to sit through no less than 15 minutes of full frontal, in your face, 3-D nudity. Some chick ran around totally naked except for her high heels, then got cut up and gutted. (I'm not ruining plot here. By now we all know the naked chick is gonna get it in these movies) So not only did Jr. get exposed to sex and violence at his tender young age, he got exposed to SEXUAL violence. Great. In 15 years we're going to be reading about this kid on the "incidents" page of the paper.

Besides the lesson in bad parenting behind me, it was a great movie. By great movie, I of course mean that it had awesome 3-D. The movie, plot, and acting were all horrible, but I knew they would be going in. I totally went for the 3-D experience.

Speaking of 3-D... the Coraline trailer also played in 3-D. It looked so awesome! The 3-D was amazing, I can't wait!

To talk about Neil Gaiman every day... here is the new Coraline trailer.
I'm seriously bouncing out of my seat to see this movie!!!!



I am so excited by this one! It looks as dark and creepy as I remember the book being!

So, as you all have heard over, and over, and over, I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan. I'd say Mr. Gaiman and Mr. Paul Auster are my two favorite writers ever. I can't place one in front of the other, because it really depends on what mood I'm in. Sulky introspective too smart for her own good college student with an amazing lack of social skills? Paul Auster. Happy, chipper, dye my hair pink and wear lime green rain boots even when there is no rain? Neil Gaiman.
I obsessively follow his blog and saw a post where he mentioned that there was a coffee named after him. Then began the discussion on his blog and twitter page about what Neil Gaiman coffee should be. I wrote him and said I would love for Strange Brew to make a Neil Gaiman coffee. Heck, we have Rage Against the Bean, Frank Sumatra, and I've done my Paul Auster Macchiato. I even used to make a Delirium late based on something K. said when she worked here. Mr. Gaiman, being awesome, wrote me back right away and said to whip something up and send him the pictures!
Here is the journey towards the Neil Gaiman Latte.
First, I thought a lot about it. With his books, I always seem to get totally lost in the story. When I first read Neverwhere there were times that I would look up and have to remember that I was not Richard, lost in a strange world in London with a girl named Door, but I was at home with a cat demanding my attention and a dog that had to go outside and pee. He has the ability to make you completely lose yourself in a story, which can be a little scary. What if you forget how to come back? Will you just wander the pages forever while your body just sits there with a little smile on its face staring at the pages? Have their been cases of people slipping into what were thought to be comas, but are really people who were in Neil Gaimans world and didn't want to leave?
Or would you disapear, leaving only a copy of Fragile Things on a park bench somewhere?

Right. Coffee. Sorry, distractions and sleep deprevation abound today. My point is, I wanted a coffee that made you forget your worries for a couple of minutes. Something warm and smoky, that would give you the urge to curl up with a good book.

Based on my Auster Macchiato, I decided to use Cacao Beans (raw chocolate). Not only is it a bit of an extra caffeine boost for the nocturnal writer, when ground and mixed with espresso, it adds a rich depth that just makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I poured that shot, and decided to mix it with chocolate, honey, and soy milk. Honey, because I believe I've seen mention on his blog about keeping bees. I used local honey, from the comb. Which for some reason, looked a bit cloudy in real life, compared to how clear it looks here.
My first attempt, was the cacao bean with espresso, poured with a really nice creama, in soy milk, honey, and chocolate.
It was really good, but almost too sweet. The chocolate, even though it was a very little bit, overpowered the other flavors. The soy milk took away from what I wanted as well. Once again, it was too much flavor, and took away from the honey, which, while I didn't want it to be a dominant flavor, I wanted to be aware that it was there while drinking.
Attempt number 2 was much closer to what I was going for. Again with the cacao and espresso, and I also tried a pinch of raw sugar in the grind as well. Whole milk this time, and honey of course, with a little hint of cinnamon.
Very, very close. The honey and cinnamon went very well together, but the raw sugar in the espresso didn't do what I wanted it to. After Dan took a couple of sips, he agreed with me, and suggested to use the raw sugar on the edge of the latte. He also suggested that I drizzle the honey on top, along with the raw sugar, instead of mixing it in with the actual milk.

Attempt number 3 was perfect! Cacao bean, espresso, cinnamon sprinkled on the inside of the cup, espresso poured on the bottom, then whole milk, honey and raw sugar on top!



With the first sip, you immediately get the hints of sweet. The honey mixes with the milk, sugar, and cinnamon. The espresso follows immediately after, giving a nice, rich smoky taste to balance out the sweet honey and sugar.


You can see the edges of the glass here, where the honey and raw sugar mixed and almost caramelized. Almost like cracking into a creme brule when you drink it!


The cinnamon sprinkled inside the glass ensures that it mixes, and doesn't just clump up on top of your drink.


I was very excited to sample! I think this may be my new daily drink!



Sergio, one of our regulars, gave it a try. He's from Italy, and he liked it. So if the Italian guy likes your coffee, you know it's good! In fact, Sergio liked it so much that he got a second one!








Dan of course got to drink it too!


One of our customers Amanda, gives it a try!


After all the caffeine, we were a bit hyper, and Dan attempted to make a Dream Helm latte. It didn't work out for him ;)

Everyone who tried it loved it, and we're going to put one on the menu. If you're not going to be near Greenwood, IN, anytime soon, let me recap how to make one at home. (for those of you who didn't keep up, and are just looking at the pretty pictures)

The Neil Gaiman Latte

Take 1 Cacao Bean per shot, grind with your espresso
Pull shot, should take between 18-22 seconds to pull.
While your shot is pulling, steam some whole milk to 140. Your milk should spin, leaving you with a nice, glassy sheen on top.
Sprinkle cinnamon into your cup, then pour your shot into cup.
Add milk, attempting a little leaf art if you're so inclined.
Drizzle about 1 tsp of honey around the edge of your latte, followed by a half packet of Raw Sugar.

Enjoy while curled up on the couch with a copy of The Graveyard Book, Sandman, or Anansi Boys. Once the caffeine kicks in, stay up all night writing or painting your house. Whichever.

Well boo effing hiss.

After the awesome shoulder incident the other night, I've been kind of babying my left side. Unfortunately, with my job, it's not an easy thing to do. Believe it or not, working an espresso bar is an amazing strain on the arms and shoulders. After a couple practices, it was pretty clear that my shoulder was going to be an issue this weekend. That shoulder has become much weaker than my right shoulder. When you have a severe AC separation, like I got in season 1, and don't do the corrective surgery, the tendons and muscles don't snap back the way they should to hold everything in place. Which makes it easier for it to come out again, and again, and again.
So my goal over the next couple of weeks is lots of shoulder PT, to try and build the surrounding muscles up as much as possible, making it harder for it to come out of socket again. Until then, I can't take severe impact on my shoulder for another week or so, because it's so weak right now, it's just going to come out again. Hence, if I go to North Carolina, I'm going to hurt it even worse, and run the risk of not being able to play in March.
Obviously, I'm going to choose playing on the home court in March.
This is pretty upsetting to me though. I've skating for this team since the beginning, and I have never, ever missed a game. I've skated with jacked knees, shoulder... and I've always toughed it out. If this were a home game, I would probably risk it. I just don't want to go all that distance, have my shoulder go out within a couple of jams, and be stuck hours away from home.

The bad part of all of this is we are down so many of our top skaters for this bout. We booked it as a learning experience, since NC is ranked so much higher than we are, but with our roster depleted to 7 Sirens at the moment that can go... it's looking kind of grim! The other unfortunate thing is that NC is not letting us sub alternates within 2 weeks of the bout. We're pleading our case with them at the moment, because 7 skaters.. if someone gets hurt, game over!

Edit: As expected, we just got the word from NC, they are going to be cool, and let us bring additional skaters!

Anyway, I'm missing my first bout ever, and I'm extremely sad about it.


1 tablecloth
1 crochet place mat (used on the show, Uncommon Threads)
1 skein of Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton, black

We don't kennel Sassy Burrito, as I've mentioned before. We're simply gone way too much for it to be fair to the dog. Ernie is pretty well behaved, and does not require the kennel.
Note that I said "pretty" well behaved.
What we do instead, is section off a very large part of our living room for the dogs. We barricade them from the floor to ceiling book shelves, as I'm convinced that Sassy would eat the books if given a chance. We also keep her away from dangerous items that stupid Sassy might find appealing. Such as, the fireplace, any plug outlets with wires plugged into them, the paper shredder, and the trunk that we store the PS2 and games in.
We also have what we like to call, "the ghetto baby gate" that blocks the living room from the rest of the house. Instead of a real baby gate, we use a suitcase, and a lid from a large rubber maid container.
Ernie, being very clever, knows how to get in and out of this gate, but he normally has no desire to. If we were to go in the other room, and cook dinner, or do anything that he might find remotely of interest to him, he simply uses his paw, and slides the rubber maid lid over, releasing himself (and of course Sassy) into the house. It's never been an issue, because he has never, ever done this unless we were at home.
"Has never done" being the operative words here of course.
We came home the other day, and instead of being greeted at the door by 2 happy puppies, Ernie immediately shoved his way past us to go outside, and Sassy kind of wiggled at us, lay flat on the floor and hid her nose under her paws.
I didn't think anything of it, until I turned the corner, and realized that Ernie had shoved the tupper ware lid aside. Ernie had probably just been bored, or he heard the cats fighting. He likes to break up the cats when they're fighting. His Corgi side kicks in and he herds one of them into a corner. Unfortunately, when Ernie did this, he unleashed Sassy Burrito, unsupervised, onto the rest of the house. She apparently pulled the tablecloth off the table, ate a corner, moved onto the place mat which apparently tasted much better, than hit my yarn room, pulling drawers out of shelves, yarn out of bags, before settling on chewing my organic cotton. I refuse to discuss the cat box. She got into it, it was gross.
I was pretty convinced that this would finally mean that we got a real baby gate, but no, now we use 2 suitcases.

Thanks Ernie. I thought you were the good one.

More on the finger issue:
We were doing a round of 4, 2 minute scrimmages. I was having a great time blocking. It was hurting my shoulder like crazy, but I was still doing a good job. At one point, I felt a sharp pain in my hand, but didn't really stop and pay attention to it. I never fell, so it must have just whacked on someone's wrist guard.
After our round, we went over for a leg workout (we would scrimmage, then work out while belles scrimmage, then switch) when I looked down at my hand, which was now really starting to hurt, and saw that there was this huge bump right in front of my bottom knuckle. I showed it to Fin, who's currently nursing a broken finger herself, and she agreed that it was broken. She taped it up for me, but taping that part of the finger is really hard. It started swelling like crazy, but before the swelling got too awful, I could sort of... eh, look away if you get sick easy, grab the little bone in my pinky and move it around. Sort of, push it from side to side and see the end of it moving, and feel it moving. It really hurt to do that, so I quit. ;)
I kept scrimmaging, but by the end of the night I was in some real pain. Once that adrenaline fades, things start to hurt even more.
Here's what it looks like now. This is a blurry, horrid picture, but it's really hard to take a picture of your own hand.
You can see some of the bruising, but the black and blue doesn't really translate very well in the photo. It looks worse than that!
It's not too bad right now. It hurts like screaming oh my god paiiiinnn if I touch it, and touching the middle knuckle hurts really bad for some reason.
Eh, it's a bone. It grows back right?
The lucky thing is, I just made these really cute gloves, and I can't tell you how GOOD they feel to wear, over the broken pinky. Putting them on hurts pretty bad, but once they're on.. mmm, bliss.
The yarn is Plymouth Galway, a nice, not too expensive wool. I found the pattern off ravelry, and modified the fingers a bit. The experienced knitter can probably spot my mistake in this pic;)
I'm going to make another set, when I have time, but I'm going to replace the cables on the bottom with the slanting rib/fake cables I used for the "Know Your Buddy Wrist Cuffs". This cable is kind of tight, and I'm remembering the one on the wrist cuffs being snug, but still stretchy.
Here's the pic of one of my gloves:

Okay, typing is hurting, so I'm off.

I broke my friggin finger at practice tonight...

Warners and Fox have settled on that whole damn Watchman fiasco. It will be released in theaters on March 6th.
Thank goodness. Otherwise I was planning to hop a plane, grab a torch and pitchfork and camp outside Fox Studios.

Linky














Dill Her0 rules all that is to be ruled

-Dill Her0 needs to quit hacking into my blog...

Smackie told me at the bar that my life is like candy. I think because I had on a pink hat and was drinking a midori sour, which we agreed tastes like sweet tarts.

Thought I would share.

Headed to practice last night, put my gear on, did a few laps, and then the Sirens had a meeting about the bout while the Belles started scrimmaging. We talked new strategy, what went wrong, what went right, what we're going to change, and of course took a few moments to admire Sin and Touretta's black eyes. (Sin had 2, Touretta had one, but Touretta's also featured a cut above the eye) I could hear people on the track, and it wasn't us! Arrgh! I wanna skate dangit!
Finally, we get our butts out there. Did some brief stretching, and jumped into the scrimmage. Blocked a quick one, then went in to jam. Got through the pack once, then taken out by CK, while Katya busted through. Jumped up, scrambled, got to the front again, coming around turn four. All of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I see a blur of red, black, and blonde coming at me.. Jen X. There was no time to dodge the hit. I tried to put on a burst of speed, but she did this amazing hit that I couldn't escape from. She came out me in a full sprint, then put the brakes on as she slammed her shoulder into my chest. Her shoulder caught me right under my collarbone/shoulder area, in that little hollow. At the same time I was thinking, crap, I'm going down, I heard this *crunch* *pop*, spun, and landed on my left side.
Shit, shit, shit.
I started to get up and take off, and realized that my shoulder was out, and there was no way. I tapped out, slumped to the ground, and started bawling my head off. I was frustrated, and pissed.
Luckily, every other girl on the team seems to be a nurse, ortho tech, or EMT. Sin, Joanie, and Kit all started poking around my shoulder, making impromptu slings, grabbing ice packs, etc. I started begging for one of them to pop it back in, but there was fear that I broke something.
Don't care, put it the eff back! Owowowowow.
I sat on the sidelines for a couple of seconds, and I just couldn't stand it. It's really hard to describe what it feels like, but imagine your shoulder being stretched as far up and forward as it can go. It's not a sharp stabbing pain, it's an ache, but everything just feels wrong and out of place. To the point that it makes me start getting freaked out and claustrophobic. I know from experience, that if I let it keep swelling, it won't pop back in on it's own for at least 2 weeks. I started begging and pleading for Sin to try and put it back in socket. I was pretty sure that nothing was broken. The first time it happened, there was a tiny fracture, and even that little bitty thing caused really sharp pain. When it's out, there's no sharp pains at all.
She finally said we could try, so we went in the office where no one would be able to see. My teeth were chattering, and SJ said my lips turned blue, from all the blood rushing to my shoulder.
I braced myself for a good hard yank, which is the way it's always been put back in the past. However Sin, being much better trained than me, Dill, or the wall I've used to pop it back in before, started just rotating it in small circles, gradually pushing on my shoulder and making the circles larger.
*Crack*! Freaky sounding, but it started feeling a little better. We kept going and we heard a smaller crack, kept going some more and finally another small crack/pop.
It didn't feel GOOD per se, but it felt like it was back in socket at least!
We wrapped it all up, and I managed to drive myself home, with my right hand and very, very slowly.

Today it feels a lot better, but there is some bruising and swelling. It just feels like someone was punching me in the shoulder all night while I slept.

Jen X also took out Joanie, and Karen, our bench manager. Joanie is fine, Karen is on crutches. Jen X kicks ass ;)

photo by Tom Klubens
For the first time in 3 seasons, the Tornado Sirens lost their opening bout.
It was absolutely heartbreaking for us. We knew going in, that we had a tough battle. We were down so many of our good jammers! Blazin' Ace was out with a back injury, Shady Layne for her knee, and Slammy Faye had broken her leg right before the Northstar bout.
We started off strong, putting points on the board, getting a good lead in. The Steel City Derby Demons however, starting playing really smart. They were using the rules very effectively against us. If they knocked us to the outside, the blocker would put on the breaks, forcing the girl knocked to the outside to either take a foul by cutting in front, or take a knee to come back in behind.
They also split the pack extremely well. Once again, the entire team of Steel City would put their breaks on, and fall back. The refs would call a split pack, and if we had their jammer, we would have to let go. If they had our jammer, they would simply speed up per the refs instructions, and still have our jammer. In the meantime, their jammer has come to the back again, and they would once again put on the breaks, while we would still be flying ahead. Effectively using our speed against us.
We had a LOT of penalties. Some deserved, some not so much. The much stricter WFTDA rules were kicking our asses. Our girls spent almost the entire time in the box. At the end of the first period it allowed their jammer Hurricane Heather, to rack up multiple grand slams against us in a single jam. We had no jammer on the track, and maybe 2 blockers. At that point they were 30 points ahead.
The final period was just so frustrating. We would get lead, and our jammer would get sent to the box. Once again, some legit, some... no. Not legit. The one I ALWAYS complain about really burned me up. Athena falls in front of JRoller, and JRoller falls on top of her and... you guessed it! Gets sent to the box for pushing from behind! Arrrgh! I will never understand how that gets called if I skate till I'm 100! With that logic, the falling skater should get called for tripping and back blocking! It just makes no sense!
Regardless, the Steel City Girls played a smart, clean game. Our new strategy? Get as many damn refs to our practices as possible, from as many leagues as possible, and have them call our scrimmages the way they would call a bout. As of right now, they're calling our scrimmages pretty lightly, but then calling every little thing in the bout. It was incredibly confusing for us.

On the plus side, the Toyota Pavillion was PACKED. I don't know if I've ever seen that many people in that building. (Nothing will ever beat our 4500 that we had in the Expo Hall, because the fire marshall will never again let that happen;) Our fans stayed to the last whistle, even when it was clear there was going to be no win for Naptown.
We go on to play one of the top ranked teams in the country, North Carolina in a couple of weeks. I'm looking at that one as a great learning experience;) I know we plan to redeem ourselves as much as humanly possible.
The best thing I can say about Steel City Derby Demons.. not only did they win, they won very well, as proved by their conduct at the after party. I've said it before, we've lost to other teams were were horrible winners. This was not the case with Steel City. So as always, my random drunken after party pictures.
Katya Lookin dancing.


Dill becomes a scarf model.

This was Hurricane Heather from Steel City break dancing. As soon as I saw the program, I was saying, "awww shit. They have a girl with dreadlocks"! In roller derby, dreadlocks=kick ass skater. I don't know why that is, but they are always amazing. She was their top jammer for the night. Incredible skater.





I obviously, have no break dancing skills..
Dill is giving me the, "how many drinks have you had"? look.
This is probably the worst picture of me ever taken, but I couldn't resist posting it. Because Touretta is checking out my boobs. That just screams "derby after party".
Ivanna getting her groove on.


Kit gets her dance on as well.

Shadi getting her ass grabbed. This is one of the ways you know you are a derby girl. If you feel a hand on your ass at the bar, you don't even flinch. You just assume it's one of your girls, and you might even reach back to grab her boob. If it's not one of your girls, you assume your girls have your back, and will jump the offender and beat him up before you even have a chance to register what is happening.

Why do we grab so much ass you ask? I really, really don't know. It's not something I really did before derby. I think it's partially because you just get so comfortable always having your hands on these girls! When we're on the track, there is a lot of talking and touching that the audience doesn't see. My hand it usually on my team mates butt, back, stomach, arm, whatever. We're always touching, letting each other know where we are... just in case they need us, or we need them.

Off the track we tend to let that touching carry over. We hug, spank, smack, grab... all in fun of course! It's how we show our love for each other. That and frankly, the derby booty is just so amazing! It's bigger, fuller, and way more muscular than the normal booty! We just always feel the need to show our appreciation!



I have no idea what Kit is doing here, or what is in her hand.

Farrah, Donnie, JRoller, Dill, and some random dude who hopped in the picture.

This is why Dill didn't drive home.
And the reason I was not driving home.
And the reason I never would drive home after a party! That's my niece Kyla. She is the cutest.

It may happen! We've just sold more on line ticket sales than any other bout. Once the paper tickets sell out... the bout is sold out. I know they were flying out the shop today! Whoohoo!

I will be getting home from work, and starting my pre-bout rituals.

And overnighted some G-Rod wheels. The sad thing? I still need to order another set. In pink this time.

My debit card is crying in my wallet right now.

First, I need to ease the stress of an upcoming bout. The first bout of the season, with an almost brand new team, brand new uniforms, and stepping up a level in the teams we compete against.
So here is a picture of a cute kitty.


That's Lenore. She has a weird purr, used to be feral, and therefore doesn't meow (cat's only meow to communicate with humans, fun fact of the day) and she likes to cuddle. Her favorite pastime used to be knocking skeins of yarn out of their little cubbyholes, so that she could sit in said cubbyhole. I decided that I did not like my skeins of nice yarn laying on the floor, so I bought little canvas drawers to go in the cubbyholes. Lenore decided to push the canvas drawer out of the cubbyhole, and then decided that the canvas drawer was much nicer than the cubbyhole, as it had lovely, soft cotton yarn in it.
I gave in, replaced the cotton with acrylic, and let her have it.

This morning we derby girls had to be up extra early, so that channel 13 could come and put us on their morning show! So Dill and I got up at 3:30, went through our morning routine of letting the dogs out, giving insulin shots and thyroid medicine to the critters, dropped him off at the shop, and headed to the practice space to promote the bout. It was fun, and as soon as we were done I had to rush back to work. Then I get to go BACK to the practice space tonight, and, well, practice! Whoohoo!

Another way I was de-stressing today... I made a hat! I had some leftover Cascade 220, in this pretty pink. The pattern is here

I like the way it came out. It's like a cross between a beret and a snood. Really, really quick project too. I finished this in about half an hour!

Also, last Sunday night, I was surprised by a comment that said my blog had been found via Neil Gaiman's Twitter. Huh? Checked out his twitter page, and yup! Neil Gaiman was on my blog! He said something like, "Only scoffers would deny the miracle" and linked to my Sandman on my pasta pot post!!!!
Um. Neil. Freaking. Gaiman.
On my blog. That's like, almost direct contact! Via the interweb sure, but... Neil Gaiman! Aahhhh!
I've been reading his stuff since I was 15! I have one of his characters tattooed as a sleeve on my arm!
I am not ashamed to say that I ran around my house squealing, and would randomly wake up and go, "Neil Gaiman was on my blog".
Thank goodness I didn't meet him in person. I probably would have peed myself and fainted!

I know Monday mornings typically suck, but this morning was a little ridiculous. Let me back up, by saying how AWESOME the weekend was.
Friday the shop was busy. Our first lunch of the day was a 35 person order, and it kept going from there. We had a brief lull, then picked up again when the music started. We hung out after for a few hours, then turned in kind of early. Woke up feeling great, and had a typical Saturday. Which is, pretty dang busy.
However we got off work at 12pm, and decided to hit Fountain Square and try out a new Thai place, called Siam Square. I am a huge fan of thai food, and was more than a little upset when our neighborhood thai place went kind of.. south. 20+ critical health violations, and a few upset stomachs after eating there... we just quit going.
Siam Square however, was bright and clean when we walked in. Kind of small, and a little bit noisy, we got a table really close to the front door. I was all geared up to have some purple Taro ice cream, and fried bananas. Touretta and Rusty met us for lunch, with Touretta and I both having the mixed vegetable stir fry, medium spice. Dan got his staple thai dish, Pad Thai, to see how it compared with other places he's been. I forget what Rusty ordered.
The food was sooo good. The medium spice is a little bit more of a mild spice for me, and I think next time I will go hot. I was also so full from my meal, that I couldn't even think about purple Taro ice cream and fried bananas. Which really bummed me out. It was our whole reason for going!
I decided that the money I saved by not ordering ice cream would best be served by walking 4 doors down to Mass Ave Knit Shop for a little yarn browsing. Walked around to the entrance at the back of the building and... closed! Until Jan. 9th! Argh!
It's all for the best though, as I am technically not supposed to be buying any yarn unless it's for a commissioned project.
Sunday, after work was great, since, as I previously posted, involved better working skates and a much better practice.
We spent the rest of our evening watching the movie Blindness (I would write a review, but it would just be a blank blog since NOTHING HAPPENED in that movie), while I knit a scarf and Dill crafted more scrabble tiles. (I'll post pics later, he just did a really, really cool batch)
Off to bed! It was clean sheet night, and we left the door open so the kitties could come in for a cuddle if they wanted.
Mmmm. Sleep. I love sleep so much.
Imagine if you will, sleeping, a nice, hard sleep. Nice dreams, drifting, and all of a sudden you hear a yell, and realize you're soaking wet!
My head was spinning, and I kept thinking, "am I drunk still? Where the past 2 weeks just a dream? Did I drink so hard I slipped into a coma and peed myself? And if so, why is it on my face and hair?" (disclaimer, I have never, ever, drank so hard I wet the bed... yet)
It took me a couple seconds to realize that the glass of water I had next to the bed was now ON the bed, and Hillbilly the cat's butt was whisking away out the door.
Damn. I forgot to use the sippy cup.
See, Hillbilly is a "special" cat. He came into my life, as a part of Dill. He started out as this nice sweet little kitten, when due to some unfortunate circumstances, had another owner besides Dan for a few weeks. When Dan next saw him after the separation, he took him back and kept him. Because Hillbilly was now a changed kitty. He had apparently been kicked in the head, not eaten for almost a week, and tormented by feral cats. The sweet little kitty now would start howling and screeching for no reason, while rubbing his head on the floor or batting at it with his paw, etc. It took Dan years to get Hillbilly to a somewhat normal state. Throw in the fact that he's now a diabetic that we have to give insulin shots to twice a day... good times people.
Anyway, one of Hillbilly's favorite pastimes is to knock cups over. We can catch him when we're eating, or if he tries to snag one off the kitchen counter. At bed time, if one of us has a glass of water, we use a sippy cup, or a sports bottle. He'll knock it over sure, but without damaging anything.
Unfortunately, last night I forgot to use the bottle, and instead, used an open glass for my water. Hillbilly waited until about 3:00 a.m. (isn't there some witching hour thing about 3am?) and knocked the glass of water onto my head! By the time I woke up enough to realize what had happened, he was hightailing it out of the bedroom. Dill woke up a bit and helped me throw some towels down. I dried my hair, and squeezed onto the dry side of the bed with Dill to snag another 30 minutes of sleep before we had to get up for work.
I woke up to Hillbilly sleeping on my chest, content, purring, and kneading away.

I'm going to wait and catch him asleep, then dunk water on him.

Coach Rick changed out my bushings for me last night before practice. This is what they looked like when he pulled them out.



Now, I don't know a lot about skate maintenance, but even I know they should not be that flat! Comparing them to the new bearings was absolutely laughable. (I think he did laugh at me actually)
I also swapped out my four pusher wheels for four Answer wheels. The overall difference in my skates was immediate. I hadn't noticed how bad my bushings/trucks were, since it's something that kind of goes gradually. When I've been turning, I've been digging so hard, and pushing with the side of my foot and my ankle, trying to force my skate to turn. The result has been a lot of drifting on the track, and very sore ankles, and the bleeding side of my foot. (I'll be kind and not post that picture again)
Once the new bushings were in, and my trucks were tightened down however, I felt a huge difference. When I would turn, I could actually dig in with my feet, as opposed to my ankles, and I didn't drift at all! It felt great, and was a huge confidence builder. Not only that, I took my socks off when I got home, and no bloody foot! Dill was so happy that he didn't have to deal with another night of, "EWWW! Look at this"!

So skaters, save yourself some pain and suffering, swap out your dang bushings, and check your trucks!

I've been bitching and bitching about my horribly bald wheels for weeks now. Finally, at practice Monday night, my skates told me they had had enough! I noticed during pyramids that I was drifting even more than usual. I was forcing my skate to turn, to the point where it felt like my ankle was going to snap. Finally, during a brief moment of standing still, I lifted my right leg up and realized that my front wheels were just dangling from my skate! Oh yea... when was the last time I tightened my trucks????
Ran over to the bench, and tried to tighten... hmmm. Not getting any tighter, even though I could feel my toes getting squished with every turn of the wrench.
Called Coach Rick over, and he took one glance at my trucks and said the doom words, "your bushings are shot, you need new ones". Which I heard as, "Yo Joan, I know you're broke, but your skates won't make it to the game without spending more money."
Crap, crappity crap. Not only did this mean I finally had to cave and get new wheels, I had to pay for rush delivery, and new bushing. Gah.

But wait, being the clever, thrifty girl that I am, I remembered that I had my old 125's! Those were great skates! They should work right? (They are actually those pinstriped numbers you see in my blog picture up top). I took them to the space on Wed and tried doing a few laps.
Oh hell no. It felt like switching from comfy, worn chucks to super chunky platforms. I was clumsy, tripping all over the place, and listening to the squeak of nylon trucks... no thank you.
So I caved. I ordered some Answer pusher wheels and some new bushings. After some frantic phone calls, I managed to snag some for a grand total of $30, with free shipping. Thank the derby gods!
I still need to order some new wheels overall, which I will do Monday morning. That will set me back about $100. I'm not looking forward to it. But at least I get to skate tonight at practice, without breaking my dang ankle.

Poor skates. They need some TLC.
FYI, that pic is from the end of '07. I'm on the same wheels. Eeek! Bad derby girl!

Dill is finally starting to absorb the craftiness that flows around our house. A few months ago, he made this little guy.

That was a "before baking" picture. I need to take the after pic. He did such a good job on it, and our friend Brandon painted it for him.

Last night, I talked him into making some scrabble tile necklaces. Here is the first one he made.



How freaking cute is that???? I'm going to put it on our etsy site. Dill needs to get in on the etsy addiction!

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