My new hat pattern on has been totally addictive for me! I can't stop knitting the things! The original pattern was done in Swish, which I love, but I also wanted to see what it would look like in Wool of The Andes. I did a few of these with smaller needles than called for as well, again, just to see what it would do to the stitch pattern. US size 7 makes for a much tighter fit for those first few rows, but the overall result is really nice!

Saturday we got to hit the road for a double header in Ohio against the Ohio Roller Girls. Playing Ohio is special for me. When we first started getting the league together, Ohio was starting their first season, and we went to their first game, which was the first time I saw real, live, roller derby.
We played them last year to a very narrow defeat, that was honestly my hardest loss of the year. I've been pretty eager for the upcoming rematches, first on their home turf, then in April, on our home turf.
Instead of riding in the van, I took the "Maiden Voyager" with Maiden America, Noxious Donna, and Eve Elle. We were planning to skip the after party and come back that night, as opposed to the fun hotel shenanigans I'm sure the rest of the girls got up to. (I had to work all day Sunday, so I HAD to be back that night)
The OHRG venue is very small, but the track was nice, and it was a sold out crowd. There was only ONE girls bathroom that I could find, which kind of sucked because I am very much a "drink lots of water and go to the bathroom a bajillion times before a bout" kind of skater!
The Warning Belles played first, and just tore up Ohio. It was beautiful. Our Belles are a fantastic B team, and in some cases I would consider them on the same level as other teams "A" team.
For us, we tore up the first half, then our foul trouble caught up with us in the second half, and allowed OHRG to gain a lot of points on us. We still pulled out a very solid win, but the second half has really reminded us to step up our training hardcore for when we meet them on the track next month.

PICTURES! All photos by Dr. X.

Yes, that elbow IS exactly where it looks like it is. And yes, that hurt. A lot. You can tell by the look on my face! I remember feeling that, but not knowing what happened or where it came from. I love trying to match my bruises to picture and video after the bout!

I love the look that Dirty Grrl (OHRG) is giving Eve here. She looks... annoyed by that tiny booty holding her back!

Trauma did such a good job of jamming for the Belles. OHRG had a VERY solid, good, defense that was tough to get through. It was so awesome every time we saw our jammers fight there way through!

This time last year, my ass looked like this on the track:
(click the picture for the full effect)

Greg The Mayor

This picture was my inspiration to lose weight. One year later, I did not hit my goal weight, but I did lose 50lbs, and my ass now looks like this on the track:

Dr. X

I eat better, I skate better, and I feel LOTS better. My new goal is to lose that final 10lbs by next month, when I meet Neil Gaiman. Did I not mention that I'm meeting Neil Gaiman next month??? That is because my brain still can't process it, and that knowledge is still squealing, blushing, and hiding in a corner. Hopefully by next month it will have processed, and I can blog about it.
But for now, I'm thinner. Lots thinner. I feel pretty damn good about it.

all photos by Tom Klubens

Saturday marked what we knew, would be one of our toughest bouts of the season. Sin Lizzie had to retire due to injury, Touretta Lynn had to retired due to injury, so we went into this bout down two of our best blockers, with some fresh meat on our roster.
We played Sioux Falls previously and lost, on their home court. In our defense, it was the beginning of the season, and lots of Sirens couldn't make the trip (myself included).
Saturday morning I awoke and began having one of my worst bout days ever. I felt like crap, the shop was SLAMMED beyond anything I have ever seen, which is awesome, but it meant I stayed about two hours longer than I wanted to. It felt like I was forgetting everything when I went to the fairgrounds. My helmet, my wheels, new bearings, etc. So I practiced on my G-Rod wheels, which are way to grippy for that court, and with Touretta Lynn's helmet. Dill brought me my helmet and wheels, only for me to find out that I bought the wrong sized bearings. Argh!
I took about five minutes in the corner to close my eyes, breath deeply, and shake everything off.
The bout was sold out, the crowd was already getting loud and I'll be dead honest, I was nervous. Sioux Falls looked really together, they had some big girls, and they all looked solid in their skates.
The first jam, we put our brand new Siren Booche in. She fouled out almost immediately, allowing the Sioux Falls jammer to put some points on the board. Next jam I was in the pack, and while we made some contact with their jammer, again, they got on the board unopposed by our jammer. Pretty soon the score had crept up to 20something against 40something, in favor of Sioux Falls. They were doing a great job of holding three strong in the front, and keeping within 20 feet of our girls. The pack was pretty quick for the most part, then something clicked.
They started attempting to slow the pack down, and we started using that to bust up their blockers. Maiden America went on the line as our jammer, and Sioux Falls jammer fouled out. Maiden used the slow pack, and the holes that were opening up, to put 28 (!!!!) points on the board for us. Taking us from a deficit to a 3 point lead!
We held to our lead the rest of the night. Again and again in the second half they were trying to run a slower pack. By the last 10 minutes they were simply trying to run the clock down by not moving when the whistle blew, trying to get their blockers in penalty on the track and into the action quicker. I think that this was a bad move on their part. I understand wanting to get your blockers out, but running the clock down when you're behind didn't seem to be the best move.
We won by a mere 11 points, proving that this team seriously brought their A game against us. It was a tough bout, and I would love to play them again. A great game on the track, and a great game for our fans.
After party was wonderful, and Sioux Falls owned the dance floor the whole night. Very cool girls.


THIS JAMMER! Holy Crap! Julia Wild. Absolutely incredible. They jammed her over and over again. I think her and Queen Elizabitch were their two best that could just bust through us every single time. We would move in for a hit, and unless we were set up with a two person block they would be long gone before we could make contact.

Did I mention it was a Star Wars themed bout???

Poor Slammy's hand got caught by this blocker!

Celebrating Maiden's 28 point jam!

Jr. Derby was the half time. It's seriously the cutest thing in the world. The girl in black is the daughter of one of our skaters, and I swear they make the same face when they skate!!!!

Every once in a while, I post something that I've learned from roller derby. Usually it's something silly, but this post is Serious Business. So, what I learned from roller derby:
Don't give up.
Last night we were scrimmaging, and it was a HARD scrimmage. Started off Sirens against Belles, and we were shutting down the Belles, pounding on them a little harder than we should have been this close to a bout. (tell a derby girl to only give light bumps and taps. Now see how long that lasts) We then split up our scrimmage, Belles vs. Belles for 2 jams and Sirens vs. Sirens for 2 jams. We were closing in on the 2 hour mark at this point, and one of the newer girls was jamming for the Belles. She was tired, and getting knocked down over, and over, and over again. She got up, and we could see she was on the verge of tears, and started to skate off the track in defeat. We all started screaming from the bench for her to keep going, not to give up, she could do it, etc. Still frustrated, she shoved her skates forward and headed back to the pack. She sped up, dodged, went down once, popped back up, and slipped through the pack cleanly and quickly!
Yes she wanted to quit, and she was hurt, and beat up, and tired. But she didn't quit, and she made it. Maybe she didn't get the most points in that jam, but she got through, and even if she hadn't, not quitting when you're not winning, and you're getting the snot beat out of your is a victory in itself.

So I've had my Kindle for about a year now (give or take), and I've got some thoughts.
The short version, it was a worthwhile purchase. I am never without a book, I can take it anywhere, and if I'm bored in a waiting room or long line, I can download a book in seconds and start reading.
Now the longer version:

I purchased the Kindle for a few reasons. Mainly, I have no more room for books. I'm not one of those people that buys a book, then sells it back to a used bookstore. I reread favorite books, and even the ones that I don't like I tend to hang onto.
The other reason is that I'm a fast reader. When we travel for derby, I can bring three books along and read them all on the bus ride to whatever state we're playing. I read constantly, and my purse is filled with knitting as it is! Big giant books aren't easy to carry around everywhere.
It's also great for reading those books that are "guilty pleasures". Why yes I am reading the latest in the Teen Vampire Academy books! Though no one needs to know when you're on your Kindle!
The final reason is my lack of shopping time. Sure I can order books online, but I want instant gratification. Going to work at 5am, and getting off work at 830pm, does not make it easy for bookstore browsing.
Hence the Kindle. Buy books quickly, easy to carry, tons of storage.
Overall, I think it's wonderful. The downsides? It feels like every time I hear about a book I want to read, it's not available on Kindle. The Kindle search doesn't tell you, yes, this is a real book, but sorry, you can't get it on Kindle. It just doesn't show up, making me think, did I type the name wrong? Did I do something incorrect on my search?
The free books are great, sometimes you get Sherlock Holmes, or the beginning of a series that totally sucks you in and makes you buy the whole series. (The, My Soul to Take/My Soul to Lose purchases were caused by a freebie download from the publisher) However, there needs to be a warning on those dang fundie romance novels. You're reading a book, the plot is kind of thin, but, okay. It's free right? Then you get to, what in a normal book, would be a pretty hot steamy make out/sex scene. But in a fundie romance, they replace that sex scene with the main characters praying.
Um. Right.
Problem is, once I start reading a book, I almost always finish it. No matter what. Fundie romances need warnings on the cover. I've started checking reviews and writing down which publishers put these things out, so I don't accidentally download.
*Note, I'm not knocking on religion, just lazy writing. This goes for the free books that turn out to be nothing but sex. Not interested in authors that overcompensate for lack of character development by um, overcompensating their characters.
Other problem, I miss books. I love, love, love the smell and feel of a new book. I may lament about my overcrowded shelves, but secretly I enjoy it. I like browsing my mini library in the living room for something to read. When I first saw the movie "My Fair Lady" I wanted to watch it over and over again, just to see the library. I teared up in Beauty and the Beast. Not at the end scene where the beast becomes a handsome prince, but the scene where he gives her the library. I believe you can never, ever, ever have too many books.
In reality however, I DO have too many books. I simply can't buy every single book that I want to read, or we would have no room to live in our home. I have every shelf filled, boxes in the back room filled, boxes in the garage filled... I could line every wall in my house with shelves and fill them up in less than a month.
The Kindle is keeping that at bay. Though I will admit to buying books that I loved reading on Kindle. I like having the digital copy, but when it's really good, I simply have to have a hard copy as well.

So is the Kindle saving me money? A little bit, but I'm probably still buying way too many books.
Is the Kindle making my life easier? Heck yes. Easy to download and easy to carry around.
Overall, a worthwhile purchase. Just don't buy one expecting that you will no longer buy hard copies of books! Because I'm sorry, no e-reader will ever replace a the paper cut giving, hard to lug around, easy to dog ear, honest to goodness book!

Perhaps it's a silly thing to be so sad about, but the old man across the street from the shop died. For 6 years, I've looked out the windows and smiled when I've seen him and his little white poofy dog in the front yard. He let his dog out several times a day, and when the dog groomer moved into the strip with us, the old man started taking his dog to get groomed there.
We only talked to him once. He was in the front yard, it was a little slow at the shop, and we saw a boxer bound up to the old mans dog and tackle it. The boxer wasn't trying to hurt the dog, but the old man got scared. So Dan and one of our friends ran across the street, made sure that he was okay, collected the boxer and called the number on it's dog tags.
Last week I noticed that I hadn't seen him out, then I started seeing strange cars pulled up in front of the house. Then Greg the groomer came in all upset. The old mans family had brought the dog in, and asked Greg to bathe and clip him to go see the old man one last time, as he wasn't doing well and they didn't think he would make it through the night. He died a few hours after seeing his dog.
I shouldn't be so upset. I didn't know him, didn't talk to him, but he made me smile every day with how much he doted on his little dog, and I'm sad I won't get to see them from inside the coffee shop anymore.

I am so incredibly late in posting the after party pics from this bout! So without further ado...

I've noticed that the more drinks surrounding octokitty, the more drunk I get. No idea why...

It's not a derby bout unless someone gets a spanking!

and apparently humped???

dang.. Octokitty went a little overboard...

Kickabroad Crane shows off the latest in derby shoe fashion.. the dreaded boot! So hot a Memphis girl had one on too!

Eh... we're derby girls. Not debutantes. What do you expect?

I have no idea what's going on here. There was beer being poured down pants, swimming in beer puddles... we were celebrating a victory here okay!

Octokitty dives back in the, ahem, fold.

All in all, not too bad for an after party. Only 15 pictures that I'm actively choosing not to post!

I realized that I never wrote about my first ever derby dream. About a week before our first bout (holy crap, was it really four years ago???) I had my very first derby dream.
I was on the jammer line, and realized that I forgot my skates. I looked down, and I had 1 skate in my hand, but it was a Fisher Price kids skate. The plastic blue and orange kind that you can adjust to your foot size as you grow. I crouched waiting for the jammer whistle, in a total panic. As soon as the double whistle blew I tackled the other jammer, trying to get her skates from her so I could wear them and get through the jam!
I believe, had this been real life, it would have been a foul! Nowadays I could keep a notebook full of nothing but derby dreams. That one was my first, and the most terrifying because I had yet to realize what the hell I was getting myself into. Nowadays I just dream about strategy and plays being executed, and the occasional dirty after party dream...

Widget Progress Report

Still biting, though a lot less lunging and trying to take fingers off. Now it's a lot more beaking, but if she's annoyed, she'll squeeze down a bit. We usually just shut the cage, and walk away. Then she starts whining for attention, we come back, put our hand in, if she bites, walk away again. About the third time she'll stop biting.
She WANTS attention, but she doesn't know the proper way to get it yet.
She talks a lot. Way more than I was expecting. If we're in the kitchen, we can hear her muttering and laughing to herself. She has a really creepy, "Heh, heh, heh" laugh. And her muttering sounds like playing a record backwards. She's also started asking for water by saying, "water" or "water is wet". No idea where she picked it up from.
Her other favorite game? Making a door knocking sound, dogs go crazy and start barking. When they calm down, she imitates Sassy's bark, which sets Ernie off... rinse, repeat.
I'm hoping that we'll be able to handle her more and more. She likes us, but she's still terrified of us. For the short time we've had her, I think it's going pretty well!

Last Friday we helped a fellow roller girl, Sin Lizzie, bid adieu to single life, in proper roller girl fashion. By getting shitfaced, dancing with strippers, and watching drag queens perform.

I decided to forgo my standard jeans and tee shirt attire, and celebrate the 50lb weight loss in style! Dark skinny pants, black button up shirt, and the super clearance black button boots from Target! Said bye to Dill, who was having a boys night out at Oaken Barrel, and took off with Fin for stop the first stop of the evening.
#1. Slippery Noodle
One of our derby girls works there, so we had a pretty sweet VIP long table set up, where we could be loud, noisy, and raunchy. Which we were. After a couple Midori Sours, Pink Octokitty thing did what it does best.
Got in some boobies.

While Diane may no longer be pregnant, some of the effects of baby carrying are still lingering...

The majority of us went on to the next bar.
#2. Dolls and Taps (???)
Let me tell you right now, there is nothing cooler than being in a gigantic group of roller girls, and walking into a slightly sleepy bar! You could almost hear the record screech to a halt, everyone looked up... it was hilarious! We grabbed our drinks, hit the dance floor, and I think, livened up the joint a bit!

I don't know why octokittys always end up in boobs. They just do! I also have no idea what was up with my hair. I need Dora on standby before I go out..

Then we hit the bathroom. I won't tell you what we were doing the majority of the night in the bathroom, but observe:

Mmmhmmm. Octokitty and Sweet C. Troublemaker this one.

Before anyone who doesn't know me gets the wrong impression, let me stress that there were no illegal drugs or such happening in the bathroom. Just typical roller girl shenanigans. Of which I can not post pictures. Except for this one.

*but there were boobies. I'm just sayin!*
Best part of that night? Walking down the narrow hallway to the bathroom, hypno bomb in hand, with Katya Lookin behind me. Older guy does the nice, stare up and down thing. I'm cool with that. Check me out, I look awesome tonight. But uh... dude? Narrow hallway. I need you to move so I can get back to the bathroom with my drink. Dude isn't moving, he is now leering. Katya, from behind me starts shouting:
I busted out laughing and just shoved past the guy.

We decided it was now time to move our party. On the way out the door, Sin fell down the stairs, and broke her heel. Being a trooper, she just had Helluva help her break the other one off, and we wobbled into a taxi for the next stop!
The shoes right before the break

and after (she lasted another 6 hours on those suckers)

#3 The Unicorn (gay strip club)
Alright, having never been in one of these establishments, I was curious. Obviously, I have no pictures, since cameras aren't allowed. Also obviously, I will not mention which girls went, which girls did not go, and which girls got lap dances. (Or which girl, upon finding out that someone bought her a lap dance, went into the fetal position and refused to move until the guy went away without giving her the dance. heh) We were only in there long enough for me to discover that it was not my scene, though entertaining. The best part, the guy trying to get us not to leave (since we were drunk girls with lots of dollars) by telling us how hot we were, and that we were making him horny, etc. Um... yea. You're wearing leather pants with the butt cut out. I don't believe that what I have going on, is your thing. But here is a dollar for the effort! :)

#4 Ten (??)
At this point the night is blurry. We walked, in the cold, in really awesome cheap shoes from Target, or in Sin's case, broken heels, for what felt like MILES. I can't remember the name of this club, but I believe it was called Ten. By this point, my camera, which is shaky business at the best of times, has completely died. We got through security at the club, and saw a stage filled with.... DRAG QUEENS!!! I love, love, love, drag queens. I love people who get on stage, in crazy costumes, and dance or sing or do cartwheels... it's just totally my scene! We caught the end of the drag show, then EVERYONE hit the dance floor. This club was seriously IT. Loved it, wish that we had started and ended the night there. I wanna go back.

But my ride was tired, it was really late, and I had to work in the morning. So long cold trek back to sober girls car, where we were given a ride back to the Slippey Noodle, where my rides car was waiting. At this point, my feet hurt. So cheap Target boots did pretty darn well considering the height of that heel!
Got home at about 2:30 in the morning, where was greeted by a couple of sleepy dogs, some sleepy cats (well, I say greet, in reality it was like, "oh you survived? Feed me then. Now go away") and a very sleepy husband. Unfortunately Widget the parrot, was very much awake and excited that I was finally home. She chattered at me, and I felt bad just ignoring her, so I got her out and played with her a bit. Being late, I had a very deep conversation with her that went something like, " Seriously. Go to sleep bird. I understand you've had a very hard life, and I'm glad that you, like every other animal in my life saw the flashing neon sign above my head that says, 'THIS ONE! SHE WILL FEED YOU, AND SHELTER YOU, THIS HOUSE IS FULL OF SUCKERS FOR HARD LUCK ANIMALS', and got me to take you out of foster care and into our home, but I'm tired. And hungry. And a little drunk. Go to sleep bird".
Finally she chilled out, and I put her back in her cage and went to bed. Took Octokitty out of my back pocket, and put the little monster in a box to go to Neil, where he can find it a home with someone who can deal with it's awful, awful influence.

An hour later, my alarm went off for me to go to work. Ugh.
To work I went. Made the scones, brewed the coffee, and if I was a little less chatty with customers, they didn't seem to mind. Got home about 8pm that night, and crashed.

Soooo... can someone else on the team get married please? Because that was fun as hell;)

Oh, and can I mention that this was my first time going out with a smart phone? So to my facebook friends, I apologize. I was, to quote myself, "detting grunk".

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