Those of you that know me, know that I am PASSIONATE about my animals. And other peoples animals. And random animals, stray animals, animals on television... whatever, I have a problem.
Lately, due to the economic downturn in Indiana, I've seen lots and lots of animals lose their homes. Horses, cats, dogs, and birds. I've also recently been talking to the Fabulous Lorraine. Who is fabulous. And rescues some amazing kitties. You should go talk to her about them. They need homes, and she can hook you up. If I didn't already have a gazillion animals, I would have one of those kitties.
Speaking of gazillion animals, I thought I would, one by one, introduce everyone to the "kids", through a series of blog posts, and tell you how they came to live with me. So let's meet Ernie!

Ernie had a sad story. His name used to be "Moo Moo" which in itself is a cruelty I think. One night his house caught on fire. The family got out, and when a fireman asked the family if everyone was safe, they said yes. Then the fireman heard the dog barking, rushed in, and snatched him up. He gave the family their dog, and they left. It wasn't until a few hours later that the fireman realized that the dog he had saved was still sitting in the yard.
He called the family the next day, to tell them they had forgotten their dog. They responded with, "please drop him at the pound" The fireman WANTED to keep the dog, but he was incredibly allergic. So he dropped this cute, soot covered, hair slightly burned dog at the local animal control.
They cleaned him up, for the most part, there was still some soot, but overall he was okay. But BOY was he a scared doggie! A high school volunteer loved him so much, and renamed him Ernie, after the fireman who had pulled him out of the fire. She begged her dad, her mom, her grandparents, ANYONE to let her take Ernie home. They all said no.
So the day came when Ernie was going to be put to sleep, since there wasn't enough room in the shelter. The girl called Ernie's family to make sure they didn't want their dog (they didn't) and then, legend has it, she threw a tearful pleading begging ranting tantrum, swearing up and down, "My Dad can be convinced. Give Ernie one more day"!
But her Dad really couldn't be, and after postponing it for over two weeks, the head boss of that animal control came in, and put his foot down. Ernie had to go.

Then I came in that shelter.

I asked the staff if they could pretty please bring a smallish dog up front because I couldn't bear to go in the back. They said no, I had to go to the cages and look for myself. So I did, and bawling my head off, noticed one little dog that was just cowering in the back of his cage, and didn't come up when I walked by. My friend Mike was with me, and he stopped and called to the little dog, who, shaking all over, came up. We got him out of the cage, and he sat on my foot, looked up at me, and I swear to every higher power, he was just telling me, "Please". I hadn't 100% planned on getting a dog, so I asked one of the volunteers if I could come back the next day and walk this dog around a little bit.
She looked at me and said, "I'm not trying to hard sell you, but Ernie has until 3pm today. So if you want him, it has to be now. If not, there are lots and lots of other dogs that you can walk tomorrow".
So I clipped a leash on him, walked him to the front, filled out the paperwork, and they let me take him home, telling me he was a Yorkie, and that a girl would be very happy when she came in later that day.

Two days later I got a slightly hysterical call from the animal control, saying, "look, I know this is strange, but can you take a picture of Ernie with today's paper and mail it to us"? Which I did, since apparently the nice volunteer girl who kept Ernie around long enough for me to find him didn't believe he had actually been adopted. I happily sent a Polaroid picture of me, Ernie, and my mini horse, and a separate picture of Ernie sitting on that day's paper and mailed it off. I received a very sweet, tear jerking card thanking me for saving "her" dog, and telling me that he was special.

Ernie, who I have been informed, is not a bit Yorkie, but most likely a lot Corgi, IS special. He's been my little buddy since 1997, and is now somewhere around 16 years old. Still acts like a puppy, just a little bit slower these days. Though I can still talk him into the super fast crazy puppy run, and he will sit pretty, play dead, and hi-five for a cookie.
I don't know about his life before me, just that he's always been afraid of men, and he used to pee himself if anyone so much as raised their voice. If you yelled at him, he would pee, shake all over, and cower in fear. So I'm guessing that not very good things happened to him before fireman Ernie pulled him out of that house.

Ernie (Whose full name is now Ernest Rugby Wilkinson Carr) has been my best friend, and I wouldn't be the person I am today without him in my life. So if you have room in your house, and you want to fill it with a little more love, think of your nearby shelter, or local animal rescue. Somewhere, really close to you, is another Ernie, who might only have a little time left, and is just waiting for you to clip on a leash, and take them home.

My entire family chipped in, and gifted me with the go ahead to order the Siren skates I wanted! In 6 weeks I will have the coolest color clashing skates known to woman! (pink and purple FTW)
I was still a little short on the plate I wanted, and the second color, but then a check came in the mail for my Knit Picks Patterns sold! And it was EXACTLY the amount I needed for the upgrades. Like, to the dollar!
YIPPEEE!!! Now I wait for the longest 6 weeks EVER to be up!

PS- there is a brand new FREE pattern of mine up on the Knit Picks site! Grab it!

During our first and second season, I believe that our announcers, Dill and Brownie Her0, pulled off the greatest announcer prank ever, on D'nouncer Duane from Kansas City.
Naptown Roller Girls flew Duane in for our first ever bout, Cherry Stomp, to help show our announcers the ropes. He taught them a few things, partied with all of us, and ate large amounts of White Castle, since apparently the chain is not to be found in Kansas. (lucky you Kansas)
Then he flew home.
When Brownie was cleaning up, he found that Duane had left his socks behind.
The next year was spent taking the socks all over town, to parties, derby bouts, new years parties... it was kind of weird. Derby girls stuffed socks in their bras and panties, did shots with socks, we took them on stage with us at events, socks went everywhere!

Then the boys had to figure out the best way to return the socks to Duane. During all of this, Duane had no idea where his socks were! So the boys enlisted the help of super hottie scoreboard girl, Red Rocket. (If you come to NRG bouts, she's the one dressed as the Mad Hatter, A pod racer, a jedi, a... um, dominatrix with big hair???)
Rocket when she was a ref, and the socks:

Rocket, being an awesome photographer, offered to photograph Dill and Brownie with the socks. She didn't exactly know what they wanted to do with the socks, just that both our announcers insisted that Rocket look as frumpy and ugly as possible for the shoot.
This is the picture.
WARNING: There is no nudity, but um... maybe NSFW. Just saying!

The boys had those made into posters, and mailed them to Duane. Along with the remaining sock (the other one got lost when yours truly crashed into the announcers booth and spilled all their beer) some White Castle Hamburgers in ziploc bags, and a song they wrote about the socks.

But it gets better.

See, Duane was out of town when the package arrived. So it sat for about four days or so. Then, when Duane got home, he brought over his girlfriend, and his girlfriends parents, and decided to open the package. According to Duane, after he opened the box and the stench of week old White Castle hit, he ran and got tongs to remove the contents!

So there it is. I'm of the opinion that our announcers pulled off the greatest announcer prank in derby. Any challenges to that claim?
Wanna hear the song? CLICK HERE!

It's been a very long time since the last "What Sassy Ate Today" post. I was very pleased with Sassy for her lack of eating things. She's slimmed down a bit, her hips no longer bother her due to her being overweight, and I no longer dread coming home to see what she's gotten her little paws on.
Until yesterday. (apologies for the camera phone picture)

Sassy ate $40. Luckily only $20 of it was marred, and most of the bill is intact, so I think the bank will still take it. The other $20 she was hiding under her belly for later noms.

Owning a coffee shop, I really do see all different kinds of people. Eccentric, blase, rude, hyper, nice, needy... all sorts. If you ever want some interesting people watching, hit your local coffee shop. Not a Starbucks, but the neighborhood place with real ties to the community. It's a whole different sort of world.
We had some crazy customer incidents this week. I got screamed at by a man in his bedroom slippers, who then asked me for a job application ( I didn't have any. I would have given him one just to see what he put down for giggles) then he screamed me some more when I couldn't produce one. I happened to be by myself since Dill was catering, and the incident left me sort of freaked out.

One of our regular, ah, "eccentric" customers, who some days asks herself a question in one voice, then answers herself in another voice, has been coming in here for five years. Good days, and bad days. The bad days could be really, really bad. She would scream, screech, bang her cup, it would get awful sometimes. The good days, she was still strange, but didn't really bother anyone.
One time, as she was leaving she stood up, poured her cup of coffee into her purse, and went out the door. Just to give you an idea of what we're working with here!
The past few weeks, there have been... issues. Issues that involved me having to do massive clean ups in the restroom. For some reason, she did not want to poo in the toilet. Instead it was the sink, the trash can, the floor, the mop sink, it was awful. The 5th time it happened I broke down in tears. I was exhausted and frustrated. Dill took action, and the next day told her that she just could not come in here anymore. I felt awful about it, he felt awful about it, but it was just too much for us.
She has live in help, and one of them came in to talk to me yesterday. It turned into me lecturing them about the fact that for FIVE YEARS, they have not once come in, told us what her situation was, what we could do when she was having a breakdown, etc. Not to mention the fact that she would walk straight out into busy traffic to get to us, without even glancing at oncoming cars. Once someone almost hit her, and followed her to the shop to see who she was with, since they were terrified that they almost killed her with their truck. She would walk here in freezing rain and blizzards without ever wearing proper coats or gloves. I told this woman all of that, and for a few minutes, she tried to stand strong and make me feel bad for kicking her out of my coffee shop, but by the end she had backed down, and apologized to me for everything that has gone on here. I talked to one of the neighbors of this woman (we ARE a community place) and she informed me that during the time she came here, it was the "break time" for the nurses. They would say how relieved they were to get her out of their hair for a few hours.
I really do feel awful about it. I hated saying that she wasn't welcome here anymore, but I just reached my breaking point. I did end up saying that she could come in if, and only if, one of the nurses was with her, and that if things went south they would have to leave. I was told by Dill that I'm too nice.

Believe it or not, she's pretty tame as far as our crazy customer stories go. There was the guy in the hoodie that tried to attack one of our workers, claiming he (the guy in the hoodie) was in the Russian Mafia and in Indiana to kill a child molester. He had also followed a group of 4 teenage girls into the shop, produced the license of one of the girls neighbors, and told the girl he was sent to kill her neighbor. We called the cops both times.

There was the half blind guy that just REEKED of crack pipe. Some days he had 20 hundred dollar bills in his pocket, other days he was trying to panhandle outside. He was pretty harmless, just smelly.

There was Karate Kid that worked next door at the pizza place. He made me sad. He was really messed up, and would come in and show us his "ninja moves" or ask to clean our windowsills. He was off, but harmless. He had a seizure and died about a year after we first opened.

2 Liter guy started off as just a typical group home level crazy. He was okay. Sometimes he would buy a coffee, and hang a notice on the bulletin board asking if he could please mow someones lawn for free, to give him something to do. He's deteriorated since then. Last time he was around he ran into the market next door and took off with SEVEN(!) 2 Liters in his hands and booked it across the street to home. He's not too bad. He'll just try to come behind the counter, or he'll take any and every business card or menu he can grab. The market knows his mom, so they'll call her to come get him whenever he comes around.

Diarrhea guy doesn't come in anymore, but his caseworker used to bring him here. He had a head injury and is "stuck" in 1995. We called him Diarrhea guy because he always sang the Beavis and Butthead song "Diarrhea.. cha cha cha"! by way of greeting. He always wanted to give the girls peppermints and would ask us if we were mad at him. (we never were)

Some day I need to write down all the weird crap that happens here. But there is a taste of it at least. And before anyone accuses me of being mean and giving horrid nicknames to people with special needs... EVERYONE gets a nickname here. I see so many people that I hardly ever know anyone's name. So we have our regulars, comic book guy, bookstore guy, the twins, mohawk chic... everyone knows there nicknames, no one cares. In fact, I've been known to bump into someone at a store and say, "Hi small double raw sugar skinny latte, hows your husband Awesome Tron Shirt"?

Photo by Tom Klubens
This past Saturday was the Spring Roll Tournament in Ft. Wayne. It started for me, on Friday. Remember the super busy week from the last blog post? Well it kept getting busier! We got booked for a few more catering jobs, and seriously, by Friday I could barely keep my eyes open at work! I was dropping cups, making mistakes, it was a mess! Right as Sweet C was picking me up, the shop was exploding with customers there to check out a new art show, and one of our employees called in.
Dill told me to go, so I went, but I felt freaking awful leaving him in the mess. I slept all the way to Ft. Wayne, which C found amusing. She kept saying, "she curls up just like a cat and sleeps anywhere"! Which is pretty true. I have been known to sleep in my office chair for a couple of hours. Not a big comfy office chair either. One of the really cheap ones that swivels.
We all ate together, then crashed in the hotel room. I was so excited there was a coffee maker, but dismayed to find out in came with the coffee already in the filter like a tea bag! No way was I drinking that! When morning came (all 5:30 am of it) I cut open the filter, poured out the crappy coffee, and replaced it with my own Strange Brew Coffee. Yummy!
We headed over to the Coliseum, suited up and warmed up, then played our first bout of the day against the Ft. Wayne Derby Girls Bomb Squad. We've played Ft. Wayne several times before. Our first season, they smoked us. Our second season... they sort of smoked us. Our third season it was a down to the wire last minute jam and we pulled out an 8 point win. Everyone in the derby world was predicting a close bout. Everyone but us.
I don't know why, but we were beyond confident. Personally I knew we were going to win, and I knew it would be no contest. And it wasn't. From the get go we dominated them, and pulled out a 99 point victory. Only a few stupid fouls, one of their girls turned and clocked one of our girls with her shoulder into our girls throat. She got called on it, and later asked us to apologize for her, calling it the "dumbest move she's made all day". They weren't getting dirty, they were getting frustrated. We were locking down their jammers, and they didn't know how to answer to it.
Know what? It felt really, really freaking good. I loved every single second I was out on that track. Even the few times we missed their jammers, it was heaven out there.
We had a very long break before our next bout, against the regionally ranked #2 Detroit. I was envious of the fact that they didn't have to play a bout before they played us AND a bunch of them got to sleep in. Lucky bitches ;)
We weren't expected to win that bout, and we didn't. But we DID have a much stronger showing than the derby world was prepared for. I think we lost by 46 or 50, and not the 200 point blowout that was expected.
Honestly, if we hadn't played a bout beforehand, and if we hadn't had a couple of jammer fouls in the second half, I think we could have taken them. I eagerly await a rematch!
What's this mean for our shot at regionals? No idea. Hopefully good things. I am on pins and needles waiting for the next ranking to come out.

On a side note, the Riedell rep was there. Look, I've been pretty happy with my 265 Wickeds. I love those skates! Sure, the heel slips! Sure my heel kind of pops out when I run on my toes! But they are good skates! I always laughed at the girls who obsess over the latest and greatest skate that comes out, why it rocks, why it should be bought, etc. I went through two other pairs of skates before settling on my Wickeds, and those suckers have served me faithfully for almost 5 years now!
Then.. I saw these:

The 1065 Siren. No padding on the ankle, can be heat molded to your foot, and see those metal buckles attached to the laces? That's part of a band, that goes around your ankle, inside the boot of the skate, so when you lace the skates, your ankle is laced in as well. No more foot popping out. Wider toe, narrower heel... and custom colors. Oh yes. I am all about the custom colors. Pink boot, black tongue. Or pink boot, purple tongue. Or pink boot, hot pink tongue, or blue tongue, or, or....
I have never wanted a pair of skates so badly in my entire life!
I mean, if we make it to regionals, I should have new skates right?????

Ever look at yourself, your hobbies, your job, and think, "what the hell am I doing"? I'm having one of those weeks.
We have been booked for catering every single day. Which means we need two people out catering, and two people working the morning rush at the shop. Since we have so few employees the results are a full week of open to close shifts for Dan and I.
Combined with the Spring Roll tournament in Ft. Wayne this Saturday, that means my life right now is nothing but work and derby. Up at 3am to load the trailer and get catering stuff ready. Bake, brew coffee, etc. Either go with Dan to cater or run the shop. If it's a practice day, leave Dan at the shop at 5pm, go home, change, straight to derby until 9pm. Get home at 9:45 or so, wash all the catering towels and tablecloths, take a shower, eat dinner, get in bed around midnight. Repeat. All. Week. Long. Throw in the total random incidents at the shop (Had to bounce our resident eccentric from the shop. Sure, every coffee shop needs their resident eccentric, but ours started pooing in inappropriate places. Proof of the fact that I'm too nice for my own good, I let it happen no less than 5 times before I finally, nicely, let it be known she could not come in here anymore)
I should be absolutely miserable at practice. I'm tired, haven't slept, my body is so incredibly sore from how hard we've been pushing and practicing for this (not to mention the fact that I'm squeezing in any spare seconds I can to run, lift weights, or even just do push ups in my office), my body is literally a mass of bruises. I can't sleep on my right side at the moment due to the amazing amount of bruises on that hip.
Everything that isn't work this week, is derby. No time to play with the horses, no time to sit and hang out and knit or work on spinning yarn, nothing but derby, derby, derby, every spare second of every single day.
But instead of being miserable, I found myself smiling last night. I spent no less than two hours in scrimmages and drills. I was not rotated out a single time. So every single jam, 2 minutes at a time, I was in the pack, hitting, getting hit, falling, getting back up, getting hit again, opening holes, working plays... I should have been bitching and hating life! It kind of surprised me, in this abstract way, to realize I had a GIANT smile on my face. Even when I left practice, dragging my bag, gingerly poking a bruise to see if it was knotted underneath, getting home and taking a shower, inspecting a brand new bruise on my back, another on my shin, one more developing on the top of my foot... and still I'm smiling!
This week has pushed my endurance with derby. These open to close shifts, then we'll have a tournament Saturday, with our first game being at 8AM(!!!), but I'm realizing that I'm still loving every second of this.
Logically, I should quit. I have no time. I MISS free time. I miss it so very much! And sleep. Oh god do I miss sleep! But I just can't imagine it. I can't bear the thought of seeing a game and not being down there, getting new bruises, working new plays, sweating with some of the most amazing women I'll ever meet...
Monday, when we have a big meeting, and announce whose staying next season and whose going, I know that despite swearing up and down that this year was it for me, I'm coming back. It's not the smart decision, or probably even the right decision to make. But I just don't know any other one I can make. I have never, ever, loved a sport like this one. This sport is greater than me, greater than my team, greater than any one girl or one single group. It's a collective of DIY punk ethos that decided, "I don't fit in anywhere, let me make my own niche in the world" and slowly the world has started accepting derby. But no matter how big it gets, there's still a girl, seeing it for the first time, who never thought she would do anything like this, ordering skates. Taking laps around her driveway. Trying to read and understand the breakdown of a crossover, or a t-stop, who will someday step out in her first bout, and perform that perfect block, or that perfect jam, that helps her team, and makes her heart swell, and in the stands, there will be a girl, seeing it for the first time, who never thought she would do anything like this...
Could you give something like that up if you were me?

Look, we've been through some great times together. You were the first ones to jump right on board during the first roller derby break. In the beginning it was all good. Sure, my jeans were a little snug, but so was my bra! I figured it was a good trade! But then, 50 of your friends started creeping in. I get that you wanted company, but I'm not into the whole "open relationship" thing. A little experimenting here and there sure, but soon, you had me sucked into a world of cheese and ice cream... I just wasn't ready to go that far!
I got rid of your 50 friends, but you? You just can't seem to take a hint! Months and months after they leave, and you still hang around! You've become that dude at the party that doesn't comprehend that all the other guests are gone, I've already changed into my pajamas, and you're asking if there are more chips!
So look. I'm usually too nice to be this blunt, but it's over. You need to get the hell off of my body. I'd suggest departing quickly and quietly, otherwise we're going to have to get Shaun T involved in our lives on a daily, instead of weekly, basis. You don't want that do you?
You have until July 15th. Au Revoir hips!

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