Monday, November 23, 2009

Because I do so love lists....

At some point over the weekend I got to thinking about the things I've done over the course of the past couple years that I wouldn't have done if Ms. Ex and I were still together. I thought it would be fun to make a list and share. So, here is a short list of the good that has come from the protracted death of that relationship.

1. Seeing the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain. Twice.

2. Discovering Infinity Music Hall. My very favorite place to see live music.

3. Going on vacations with friends.

4. A wonderful summer fling with FMHW wherein I (re)discovered what I had been missing for all those years with Ms. Ex.

5. Getting back in touch with a friend from college whom I never would have found without, of all things,

6. Trying out for the roller derby, not matter how incredibly painful the experience was.

7. Seeing Rent live on stage three times (once on Broadway the week it closed) in less than a year and a half.

8. Seeing Maggie play with her best friend Milo, before and after her back surgery.

9. Learning to knit.

10. Going to my first, and hopefully not last, concert on a beach.

11. Getting back in touch with my creative/hillbilly side. (It's hard to see in the picture but there's a tow rope connecting my car to my lawnmower which is firmly stuck in my swampy lawn. Who knew a sedan could be such a good tow truck?)

12. Holding a baby bunny in my hand.

13. Discovering the fun of wearing my hair in pigtails and wearing high heeled boots. Hell, just the fun of wearing boots.

14. Going sea kayaking with my mother and seeing seals.
15. Spending the morning at Dinosaur State Park with my mother, my Aunt and my first cousins making molds of fossilized dinosaur footprints.

16. Getting back in touch with myself, mind, body and soul. As well as finding a confidence I'd forgotten I had.

17. Meeting the people who have become the friends I'd been missing for years and getting back in touch with old friends through the wonder that is the internet.

And that's just a short list. I'm sure I could keep going but, I'll stop there for now.

I think some Rent lyrics are very appropriate here. From No Day But Today specifically. They're short and sweet, but are so important to remember.

Forget regret -- or life is yours to miss.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Girl in the Green Shirt

Last night I did something way out of my comfort zone. I got this silly notion in my head that I should try out for a roller derby team. Because, you know, I haven't been on roller skates in over 15 years. And really? How hard could it be?

So, I drove myself to the tryouts and loaded myself up with gear and did my best not to break something. The following is a run down of the tryouts, in list form of course, which I sent a couple of friends today.

  1. Oh.My.God the pain. THE PAIN.
  2. Over three HOURS of skating is too much when you haven't skated in at least 15 years. WAY too much.
  3. It is totally hard core. We not only skated in a nice oval around the track where I recalled that I am afraid of crossovers (what real skaters do around the corners which entails picking up on of your feet while the other sort of glides out from under you) we also had to jump on our skates, hop from foot to foot, skate on one foot, push people and be pushed from behind, do hip whips and have people whip off of us, skate backwards, walk on the toe stops of our skates, do a T stop, a plow stop, a one knee stop and a two knee stop. I'm a big fan of the knee stops. They were about the only things I could do right.
  4. Let me repeat, THE PAIN.
  5. I was one of the last 3 people to have our skills test (as in "the girl in the green shirt hasn't gone yet"). Yes, a test! Test started at about 10:15 or so. After being on my skates since about 7:20. My legs were beyond rubber by then. Nice.
  6. We also had a one on one interview. Mine was with Black Cherry. She was sweet and also from upstate NY. She told me that a lot of the girls in the league are knitters. She crochets. If she ever moves back to where her family is she will join the team they played last weekend.
  7. The men's derby team is called the Death Quads. Some of them were there helping out as were some of the refs. Major N' fraction was there (we saw him at the bout we went to last weekend.
  8. All the Roller Girls were nice. They did a lot of coaching while we were "learning" all those skills from #3 above. I apparently skate standing up far to straight/upright (skating and walking are NOT the same, who knew?). They worked on "derby stance" with me. A lot. Derby stance hurts.
  9. Imagine you are doing squats for 3 hours. Now imagine doing them while on wheels and skating in an oval surrounded by people who are doing such things as grabbing you from behind while whipping off your or pushing you forward. That is derby stance.
  10. I was not the first to fall. After the first person fell I felt as though I could fall as much as I wanted.
  11. I fell a lot.
  12. I managed to bruise the ring finger of my left hand (under the ring I always wear) on the back side of my hand. I did not notice until I was in the shower this morning. Comparatively, it doesn't hurt.
  13. During one lovely and less than graceful fall there was a tearing sensation in an area where there should NEVER be a tearing sensation. It does not seem to be a problem today.
  14. Have I mentioned THE PAIN?
  15. We were skating for at least 2 hours before we were given our first water break.
  16. There were women skating in jeans.
  17. We were in full gear: skates, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, helmets and mouth guards. Women were wearing jeans.
  18. I was dripping sweat in my shorts and t-shirt. The women in jeans? Barely breaking a sweat.
  19. I was not the oldest person there. There was a woman in her late 40s, maybe even 50 who started out. I did not see her again after the first 30 minutes or so. I do not blame her for just leaving. I will freely admit that I almost just up and left also. I had a long conversation with myself about it. I stayed.
  20. I am glad I went.
  21. There were like 27 people there trying out. One guy (trying out for ref position maybe?) was in a kilt. Thankfully if he fell I didn't see. I hope he had something on underneath the kilt. Guy in the kilt tripped me at one point. He skated away and didn't even look to see if his trip had hurt me at all. Good think I wasn't left in a crumpled heap.
  22. If we all passed our skills test and our interview we all make the team. There are no max or minimum team sizes.
  23. I don't think I'll play if I make the team. (addendum to the list, I did not make the team. I am absolutely okay with that.)
  24. Why did I not consider that my thighs would BURN? Why was I only concerned with breaking my wrist or ankle or bruising my butt? Those seem like far less likely occurences than the extreme thigh muscle burn. Rubbery thigh muscle burn is awesome.
  25. I got to hear a lovely story about one of their last rookies breaking her femur in three places during what looked like an innocent fall at practice. They were all sort of milling about and down she went. She was apparently nursing twins and didn't bother to tell them. Femur. Three places.
  26. They had to ask if I was nursing because of this woman. Um, no. No, I'm not.
  27. I am not nearly tattooed enough for the derby. Of course the full chest tattoo one of the girls has plus the sleeves probably offsets my complete lack of tattoos.
  28. Rental skates suck.
  29. Good skaters make it look sooooooooo easy.
  30. It is not sooooooo easy.
  31. One of the Death Quads who was an instructor in my little break out group kept giving me looks. I couldn't tell if they were "what the hell is she doing here" looks or "I feel so bad for her" looks of just plain looks of pity. He, unintentionally I'm sure, made me feel rather embarrassed and ashamed. Maybe he was just concerned for my well being. Maybe my perception was off due to the burning in my legs and lower back and the sweat dripping in my eyes.
  32. I think those are the highlights.
  33. Did I mention the pain? Sleeping last night was wicked difficult and that was after I took two extra strength fast acting Advil. I can't tell if the Advil I took this morning helped at all.
  34. They said the pain will be worse the second day after. Looking so forward to tomorrow morning. At least it's Saturday.
  35. When I asked in my initial e-mail about what they were looking for and what was entailed in tryouts I was told that they would mostly be looking at our balance. Um, I think there's a teeny tiny bit more that they left out. Just sayin'.
  36. I have a new found appreciation for just how hard these ladies work. And just how hard they worked during the bout we watched even though they made it look relatively easy. It is very much not easy.
  37. And that my friends is "Jess auditions for the roll of blocker" in a not so small nutshell. My comfy couch seems far more my speed after having been through the ordeal of last night. Perhaps I should just buy a treadmill and call it good. Or find a nice pickup basketball game now and then. Something that doesn't involve a ton of squatting with wheels strapped to your feet.......
There are no lyrics for this post. Sorry. Just extreme admiration for the women (and men) that play roller derby. These women are true athletes and I heartily applaud them. Brava ladies, you are rock stars.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stepping out of the comfort zone

As I started typing this blog Annie Lennox's Why popped up on the radio. I'd say that's an interesting coincidence.

This week I'm going to step out of my comfort zone. It's a very scary prospect for me. But I am also incredibly excited. I'm not going to say how I'm stepping out of said zone, if it goes well I'll be posting about it soon enough. If it doesn't go well then at least I tried and I won't look back in a month or two or six or whatever and wish I'd tried. Forget regret as the song goes.

And that's what I'm trying to do. Forget regret. This past weekend I went to a memorial service for a co-worker who died of brain cancer. As I sat there listening to the people she chose to speak (she planned the service herself before she died, and if you knew her you'd know doing that was soooooo her) the one thing that really struck me is how much she lived in the moment all the time. How unafraid she was to let loose with a full body laugh or dance without a care in the world. How confident she was in herself and what a larger than life presence she was.

I got thinking as I sat there watching my co-workers dab the tears from their eyes that I don't do nearly enough living in the moment. Sure, I laugh out loud as much as I can (it adds years to your life after all! and it's fun) but for my entire life I've been super concerned with how people perceive me. I have nearly always tried my hardest not to make a fool of myself.

When I was a little kid (okay, all through school) I got picked on. I was a sensitive kid, hell I'm probably a sensitive adult too if I cared to analyze that. Ever since I became aware that people might laugh at me and not in a nice way but rather they were being mean I think I've tried my hardest to make sure I don't put myself in situations where I'll get laughed at. Now, that's not to say I haven't done silly things now and then and I certainly do know how to laugh at myself and have a good time. But what I haven't done regularly is put myself out there in situations where I'm not confident I'll be good at them and succeed. I don't do failure well.

I can't remember the last time I danced for instance. Seems like a small thing right? But I'm totally self conscious that I'm not doing it right. (is there even a right way?). Get a few drinks in me and that might loosen me up enough to dance, but I don't drink that much. I'm very much in control of myself almost 100% of the time. If I were to give myself advice it would be "loosen the fuck up!"

I can't remember the last really big risk I took where I put myself out there to be judged when I wasn't sure I knew what I was doing or that I was good at something. And I'm not talking dating, that's different. Still a scary prospect but in a different sort of way for me. Dating is like a mutual interview and when I think of it like that I can totally handle it.

And speaking of dating how awkward is it to run into the last person you went out on a date with after you e-mailed them to tell them you had no romantic feelings for them but you'd like to hang out as friends and they never respond? I'll tell you how awkward. It is sooooooo freaking awkward. Wicked uncomfortably awkward. Can't say I want that to happen again any time soon. Or ever really.

Anyway later this week I step out of my comfort zone. This is a good thing for me but it's a very scary prospect. I'm completely nervous and am having flash backs to middle/high school. But, in the end I think that's a good thing. I'll try to remember to post with an update afterward. Depending how it goes that is. I'd rather not be laughed at.....

I recently discovered Brandi Carlile. I can't believe I didn't find her sooner. She's really great. Today's lyrics are from her song Dreams. I particularly relate to the passage in bold.

Dreams, I have dreams when I'm awake when I'm asleep
And you, you are in my dreams
You're underneath my skin, how am I so weak

And now in my dreams,

I can feel the weight, I can just come clean
I keep it to myself, I know what it means
I can't have you, but I have dreams

How long, can you hold your breath?
Can you count to ten, can you let it pass?
Keep, can you keep it in?
Keep it behind the lashes, can you make it last?

And now in my dreams, I can feel the weight
I can just come clean

I keep it to myself, I know what it means
I can't have you, but I have dreams
Oh, I have dreams, I have dreams

Mind, can you read my mind?
Has it come undone, am I showin' signs?

And now, in my dreams
I can feel the weight, I can just come clean
I keep it to myself, I know what it means
I can't have you, but I have dreams
I have dreams, I have, I have, I have dreams

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I am a lousy blogger

That's right. I said it. I am a lousy blogger. I have such good intentions to post more. But work is so draining lately that by the time I get home I can't remember any of the things I thought I should blog about let along be coherent enough to string words together to form these complex structures known as sentences. I know, excuses, excuses. Whatever. Here's a pretty picture to make up for my lack of posts.

For the rest of the post I'm going to list things I am grateful for. I'd rather bitch about work, but that serves no purpose right now and won't change anything so I'm going to focus on the positive instead.

I am grateful for the following, in no particular order:
1. Chocolate in all shapes and sizes.
2 Down comforters when the weather outside is crisp.
3. Pretty yarn to make endless hats from.
4. A dog that is always happy to see me.
5. Two cats that are sometimes happy to see me (they are cats after all).
6. The fact that I have a job and health care benefits.
7. Laughing with friends over really stupid stuff.
8. Texting.
9. Comfortable pajama pants.
10. Water. Sounds silly I know, but I love me a nice cold but not too cold glass of water.
11. Song lyrics.
12. Discovering a new favorite song.
13. E-mail.
14. Chocolate. It's so good it deserves a second mention.
15. Happy memories and having the rest of my life to make more of them.

That's enough for now. No lyrics for this post. When I have a little more brain power I'll be back to my normal posts.