Monday, 1 October 2012

Beaten But Not Beaten Down

These are not the faces of the winning team. These are my teams faces
after loosing their first ever bout by over 100 points. This is why I
have spent the last day on a complete high.

Sound strange?

We went into our first ever tournament this weekend. Not only had we
never really played a proper match, we had never even played on a
proper track. We are a brand new league full of players who have
skated for less than a year. And who have only been playing together
for a few months.

The thing that brought those smiles to our faces is that we know we
left nothing behind. We gave our all during the match and left
everything we had on that track. We were outmatched but we fought and
the score showed that, with more practice, we will have what it takes.

I started the day watching the two teams we were scheduled to play
later that day, play each other HARD v CRDL.

HARD was full of women who were mostly the size of two of our women.
They were big hitters and hard to budge. CRDL were like a precision
flight team. They worked in unison. Talked in numbers for their play
formations and were all amazonian.

CRDL thrashed HARD.

The day was too long and emotional to go into a great amount of
detail. But there are a few moments that I wish I could live over. At
least by writing them here I will never forget.

Bout 1 IWRDL v HARD 170ish to 70ish

- Before the bout the teams get to have 10 minutes skating on the
track. Most of it is meant to be spent getting used to the surface.
But for us most of it was used telling each other what all the lines
meant (THAT'S how new we are, we needed to have the lines pointed out
lol) and going over the rules about the outside track, seeing as when
we train we don't have enough room to have an outside track. And
getting used to the rope that is the track boundary.

- I started having a bit more pack awareness. One of the mistakes I
have made a few times in practice is being too far away from the other
players as I'm chasing someone down to hit them. This match I feel I
had a much better feel for where that 10ft mark was and managed not to
engage with anyone outside the engagement zone.

- At one point all of our team bar one blocker was in the penalty box.
That one stood out there alone and just kept trying to hit their
jammer over and over. It's impressive to see someone so new, put so
much in.

- The night before one of our coaches had said to me if I said sorry
to anyone she would punch me in the face (it was said with
motivational love). At one point I was already going in for a hit as
the end whistle got blown. But it was too late as I was already in
motion and I hit her. Before I could stop myself, I said sorry. She
laughed and said don't apologise. I quickly skated to my coach. Took
out my mouth guard and knelt in front of her. She asked me what I was
doing and I explained that I had just apologized and I had come in for
her my punishment. She cracked up, called me cheeky and thankfully
didn't actually punch me in the face.

- After the game was over the other team came over and joined in as we
were all cuddling each other. We then do a skate around high fiving
all the spectators and other team.

- During our cool down a player from a different team came up and said
she and a few of her team mates had been watching our game. She said
she thought it was a great game and asked who else we had bouted. I
told her it was our first. She looked shocked. She then asked how long
we had been playing together. And I said 4 months. And she was really
impressed. Then she asked if we had members who had played before and
I told her we only had three. Her reaction was amazing. She had such
positive things to say and the most impressive was that she couldn't
tell just how new and inexperienced we were.

If we were the underdogs against HARD. We were lambs to the slaughter
against CRDL. They had virtually perfected things we could barely
remember to think about let alone do.

Bout 2 IWRDL v CRDL 293ish to 11.

- 11 points to nearly 300. It sounds pitiful. But I can't tell you how
hard we worked for every one of those points. Before the game started
our coach showed us a photo of one of the other scores from the day.
It was 350ish to 3. She told us if we could do even just one point
better than that she would be ecstatic. My absolute favourite part of
the day was our team and supporters on the side lines (which were a
lot of other teams as well) reaction to every point we got. We raised
the roof. We cheered and screamed and stamped, jumping up and down
like we had just won the game. I like to think we showed people that
the best part of IWRDL is the team spirit. The fact that we were not
going down without a fight. Even if that fight was like watching
rabbits stand up to lions. As we stood as a pack waiting for jams to
start I often looked over my shoulder and smiled or winked at the
other team. I wanted them to know we knew we were going to be beaten
but that we would enjoy every minute of it. The roar of us and the
crowd for every one of those 11 points lifted us higher and higher.
Beaten but not beaten down.

- One of our coaches telling me to do a particular play that worked
and took us from 1-4 points. Of course it wasn't all me :) but it was
my best play of the day.

- Finally finding my voice and yelling to the other girls. Usually I'm
so caught up in my own head that I don't vocalize what I'm thinking.
Having a few jams where I was yelling out, pushing and pulling a few
of the other girls into blocking positions. Having our jammer behind
me as I'm yelling what I'm doing trying to make holes for her to get
through. I saw a few of my skills come out and I have so much more
confidence in myself.

I could go on and on. About everyone and everything. But let's be
honest, nothing can capture the feeling of that day. The joy I felt
every moment on the track. The pride I feel in myself and every IWRDL
member, coaches and benchies included. It was a day worth bottling.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Silence in the Ruckus

My poor neglected blog. I'm sure if blogs had feelings it would feel
like I had left it for another man and just popped back in for a booty
call once a month.

And it is kind of like that. Not because I don't still want to blog
but because I have so much less time. Big things are a happening.

I realized that I haven't told you about my new perfect job working in
Specsavers. It's four days a week between school hours and I take
holidays off to be at home with the boys. Cool people, work that's
interesting enough to keep me interested but not so interesting that I
take it home mentally at night. It's like a gift from the gods.

I also haven't told you the latest derby updates. We are playing in
the Eastern Regional Roller Derby tournament this coming weekend. This
means that a dozen teams do a battle to the death until only one team
is left standing ;) not literally of course but that is how it feels.

It's a huge part of why I'm not blogging. We are training more often.
In my spare time I am reading rules, learning hand signals, learning
plays and generally immersing myself in everything derby. For the
first time I'm so physically and mentally tired I can't wait to take a
break.

We are all getting uniforms, we all have our derby names, (Buffy
Stun-Hers #144) we are all slighting peeing our pants in anticipation.
Not at the idea of not winning. We are a brand new league who have
only been skating together a manner of months so winning isn't our
focus. But at not feeling proud of our efforts. Of being so paralyzed
with performance anxiety that we forget to perform.

Anyhoo, it's late and I'm tired but this was the first and last chance
I could foresee having time to blog for a few more weeks and thought
I'd do a mini catchup.

Life is good, bruises and all (actually bruises are sexy)

Watching - derby
Listening - to my coaches
Reading - rules
State of mind - full

Saturday, 11 August 2012

This is Getting Real!

Remember in the good ole days when I talked about skating in terms of new skills I had learnt. Shooting the duck, spirals, doing a basic t-stop? Yeah they were amazing for me and I was so proud of myself and my fellow skaters.

How times have changed!

These days it's all about derby and derby isn't about spirals or anything pretty (although don't get me wrong all of these pretty skills help create amazing skaters). These days skills are all based on hits, dodges and moves that are about position on the track. None of it is pretty.

We are starting to see the hard parts of derby. I don't mean the drills that make you want to cry. The ones were you do a time pyramid of floor work and speed skating. Of planking, sit ups, pushups and booty lifts for 20mins. I'm talking about watching friends take the brunt of our hits, dodges and positions that leave them getting hurt.

A few weeks ago Smashund Terrier fell on her head. Now, we wear a helmet but it was so hard it left her spinning. It was out first ambulance call. Luckily she didn't have a concussion so chose to get a lift home instead of going to the hospital.

Then last week as we warmed up running on our stoppers. El Scorcho fell. Her ankle twisted in a bad way. Long story short she is, as I type, in surgery getting pins put in her ankle after a double break.

Capt'n KidCat is out of scrimmage with a damaged knee. I still have numbness and bruising coming up on my knee from a fall weeks ago. Actually I have bruises all over my shins, hips and bum. As I'm sure most of my team mates do. It's complete carnage.

I pride myself on the fact that I actually don't fall much. Being stable on your skates during a hit is almost as important as your ability to give a hit. And I'm getting a lot better at my stability. But last night we learnt a new maneuver. It required us at a team trying to be at the front of the pack. And depending on where your jammer was, speeding up or slowing down the pack. Mostly is was about 'catching a bunny' meaning as a team trying to hold one person from the other team back so we controlled the situation.

People were hitting me in the back, catching my skates with theirs and in one case (the one that gave me my latest bum bruise and the bit of whip lash I currently have) me just bouncing off one of our amazing blockers who can cover the whole track just with her legs.

My last fall was during a scrimmage. There was a pile up. In the chaos I can't tell you who fell first but I can tell you I was second last to fall. Me. Then Dinky Die tried really hard not to kick me in the head (for which I will be eternally grateful) which resulted in her trying to jump over me. This then resulted in her belly flopping onto the floor. I felt someone go over my back, and as I looked up I saw her and she made this incredibly scary noise. A mixture of scream and groan. For one long moment I thought she had broken her arm. But seconds later I realised she had just winded herself.

It terrified me. After she recovered, coach had a great talk with us about what we both did right and what we both did wrong. All I knew was I was trying not to cry.

So as I said, this is getting serious.

Scarier than hurting myself, for me, is watching other get hurt. I mean when I had my big fall last night I was playing at being the jammer. I fell hard on my butt and hit my helmeted head on a wall. But when someone stopped to ask if I was alright I just screamed "just get up and make me a space". But when I heard that sound last night of her trying to catch her breath I wanted to cry and hug her and promise I would never EVER get in her way again. Even though it was one of those situations where no one was at fault.

This is getting serious .... it certainly is. I'm not questioning my resolve that this sport is what I want to do. But I am questioning the why? And so far the only answer I have is that these days I want to challenge myself. Derby, apparently, is my version of jumping from a plane. Only I'm not strapped to someone who knows more that I do. I push myself so hard, as we all do. And try to balance achieving the objective of these new skills which require a team focus versus self preservation or concern for particular individuals.

Did mention the word carnage? I have a feeling I will be using it a lot for any future scrimmage posts.

Watching - Devil Seed. So terrible that I think I could have made a better movie with $5k

Reading - the WFTRDL rules. Hard to read and even harder to take in. Hence the fact that I am reading them over and over.

Listening - I can still hear Dinky Die in my head.

State of mind - is it possible to be cautious and reckless at the same time?

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

You Never Know Till You Try

Note: this photo isn't me

About 13 years ago Andrew and I were wandering around a park after dark. We were talking and holding hands as we walked barefoot onto this huge lush green field of grass. Suddenly I had this overwhelming urge to do a cartwheel.

I used to do cartwheels all the time. There is something I love about the feeling of defying gravity and doing something slightly extreme with your body.

Anyway, this night as it was dark I didn't notice all the tufts and divots in the field. I landed on one with my first hand and promptly fell on my back. My wrist hurt for the rest of the date. And then really hurt as I tried to drive home. Then became excruciating as I tried to sleep. But in the way of so many early 20 year olds I ignored it.

Six months later I realised it was still hurting. I went to the Doctor and was told it was broken. I needed to have an operation to put in a bone graft and a pin. It has never been the same since.

That was the end of cartwheels. Or so I thought.

Last week after Rollerfit I looked at the huge open space and felt that feeling again. I must do a cartwheel. So I did. And it was awesome.

The next class coincidently Stacey mentioned that you could do a cartwheel on skates and then promptly got one of her friends to do one. One of the other rollerfitters and I looked at each other and said 'we can do that'. But we didn't, we giggled about it and kept skating. But then she looked at me again and said 'do it', and I knew I was going to try.

I was terrified my wrist wouldn't cope, or that I wouldn't be able to stick the landing with wheels on my feet. But I really, really wanted to try.

And Taa-daa I did a cartwheel on skates.

Life is to short to say no to things just because they are scary. One day in the not to distant future my body may not be strong or nimble enough to do a cartwheel ever again. Damn if I am going to let today be that day!

When was the last time you did a cartwheel? or whatever your version of a cartwheel is. Maybe you haven't ridden a horse for ages cause once you got bitten, maybe your too nervous about traffic to drive, maybe you don't want to tell someone you love them even though you do.

How would you feel tomorrow if you realised you had missed your chance to do that 'thing' one last time!

So stop reading this and go and cartwheel!!

Reading - a science fiction best of annual the name of which I can't remember.

Listening - The Foals

Watching - Still on a horror movie kick. The last was 100 Ghost Street (spooky but not good) and Don't be afraid of the dark (good but not spooky).

State of mind - AB is away for a few days and I feel like I have a million things to do. So I have that slightly frantic put of stomach feeling going on.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Someone Turns Six

Yes that's right my baby turns six tomorrow! It's almost
unbelievable. How did time fly this fast. I look at photos like this
from when he was three and think 'yeah that's my little boy' and then
he walks past and I barely recognize him.

As I have mentioned many times before he is one of the strangest kids
I have ever met. It is exactly what makes him so damn endearing. It's
like he sees the world with purple skies and absolutely no
limitations. And god help anyone who tries to convince him otherwise.

He can be incredibly hard to mother, so full of desires and
willfulness. And as much as there are days where I'm at my wits end. I
truly wouldn't swap or change anything about him (although sometimes I
wish the universe had blessed me with more patience and some skills
that would help me guide him better).

He is creative, incredibly loving and caring, so funny that he
constantly has the family in stitches, his laugh can infect a room, he
still loves a massage, to run and climb at any opportunity, he can
never ever sit still, gives and wants hugs and kisses at every
opportunity. He makes my heart melt daily.

My baby, every year he is less and less baby, but no less mine. We are
so similar, even all of the crazy bits, people say come from me. He
has my exuberance for life, my emotionality, my eyes, and yes
sometimes I think the sky is purple as well.

Six years ago tonight I fell asleep with him in my tummy, wondering
when I would meet him. And by this time the next day he was in my arms
and as I held him I wondered who he will end up being. This tiny
innocent little thing. Everyday I still wonder and the more I get to
know, the more I am so amazed that I made this and helped guide this
little man into the strangest and unique little person I have ever
met. I am so proud!!

Monday, 30 July 2012

A Good Week For Firsts

The last seven days have been pretty damn groovy. Most of these
groovy bits have actually been accomplishing small firsts, mixed with
sunny weather and a generally chilled out life vibe. So far (and at
this time of night) these are the best bits:

- At Friday training we had our first derby scrimmaging. Talk about
mind blowing awesomeness crossed with complete carnage. I could talk
and talk and talk about it. About the feeling you get when you find
that gap that gets you through the pack. When you make a spot for
someone else. When you see your team work together in a way they
haven't before. Every time we do something new (no matter how messy
and crazy) I'm filled with such joy. And exhaustion. Did I mention
exhaustion!!!
- Cooked my first white sauce. Which I then, like a true mum, made
into cauliflower with white sauce (I know I don't recognize myself
either).
- I conquered front to back transitions in the opposite direction. I
also started to feel comfortable jumping from back to front as well.
Completely terrifying but also so damn cool.
- Hung out with my lovely, funny and slightly mad derby girls.
Watching derby, eating chocolate Guinness cupcakes, drinking wine, and
laughing loudly.
- I made mushroom sauce. And it was so delicious that I ate the
leftovers by themselves ... And now I feel sick ;)

This week has been filled with moments of awesomeness. Mostly skating
and cooking related but hey, they are the two things I do the most in
my week ... Beyond cleaning and no one ever had a moment of
awesomeness whilst cleaning.

Reading - World WarZ
Watching - Nup
Listening - The Foals
State of Mind - Tired, happy, tired, lucky, and very very full.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

City Skating Beginning

Tonight I went on my first night city skate. It's something I have been wanting to do for a while but a mixture of cold, rain, timing and fear meant that I had been able to put it off.

We met at a park in Prymont and skated through darling harbour, up (and down) George street, through Hyde Park, down Martin place, across The Rocks ... pretty much everywhere.

I was pretty nervous to start with, the surfaces varied, there were cars and people to dodge, but mostly I was scared of the hills. And for good reason. I mean when your on skates and you find yourself going out of control you can't just jump off. It's a matter of stop, hit or fall. Hopefully falling with some grace and no injuries. The highlights were: (other than just making it finally)

- Getting the hang of skating up and down kerbs.
- Shooting the duck through Hyde park.
- Falling in front of the pub as I tripped over my toe stop that had fallen off.
- Carving down Martin Place.
- Knee sliding to a stop so I didn't cross a busy driveway.

I'm a new and complete fan of outdoor skating and what better place than to do it through the city. And it was all made even better by the fact that everyone was so friendly and helpful. They even ordered us after a particularly bumpy bit of road to check our wheel nuts and stoppers.

I hope this was the first of many. I hope that next time I'm a little smoother, a little more confident, and a little braver.

And once again, I'm so thankful for finding skating against. It's bringing so many amazing challenges, lovely people and ways for me to really see what I'm made of.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Some Love and Excuses

Firstly, my blog isn't dead!  I promise it truly not. It's just the same old excuse though.  The spaces that used to be reserved for blogging, reading, TV watching and any other general down time activities is now taken up with skating. 

I'm not upset about that at all of course.  Except that I occasionally have this pang of longing for blogging.  But then I'll look at the clock, or the weather and realize that it feels like the time could be better spent on wheels.  So yes I'm still excitedly obsessed about skating and derby but no my blog isn't dead, just quietly and patiently waiting for my return. 

So now that that has been said I wanted to share two things. First is this photo of Jack taken a few days ago by a neighbour (ain't he just the cutest!) and the second was a conversation that I had with Jack this evening before bed. 

A few months ago I saw a link to an idea for kids. Basically it was about giving kids the beginnings to old proverbs, ie a bird in the hand is..., and then seeing what they would add as the ends of the proverb. Tonight we talked about a few and I thought I would share his answers. 

- It's always darkest before ... I go to bed
- Don't bite the hand that ... is Hamish's 
- Children should be seen and ... not be seen at night
- The pen is mightier than the ... pencil
- Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry ... but don't cry with me
- Don't put off till tomorrow ... what you should do
- If at first you don't succeed ... you'll succeed the next time
- You get out of something only ... what you do
- When the blind lead the blind ... the unblind should lead them as well
- A bird in the hand ... of its nest

So cute!  I had a few more to ask him but he was about to fall asleep and figured it would be cruel and unusual punishment to keep him awake for my own amusement :)

I'm planning on giving him a print out of the others and see what he writes. And then asking Hamish the same questions. And if the weather is bad, or I find some better extra curriculum balance I hope the I will remember to blog them as well ... If I don't you'll know where to find me!!!

Watching - I have just started episode 2 of 'The Fades'. So far so good. 
Listening - ...
Reading - I'm so tired at night I'm mostly reading old favourites. At the moment it's Neil Gaimans Neverwhere. 
State of Mind -I am almost always these days content, exhausted, a little sore in the body and generally happier than I have for a long while. Thanks to my friends new and old, family especially AB and the kidlets for being so very very supportive and mostly thank you my beaten up ever fiddled with skates. You rock my world!!!




Sunday, 20 May 2012

Inner West Roller Derby League

Yesterday I woke up and felt completely relaxed. Then I remembered 'oh
god, today is tryout day'. Now if I'm honest, after running through
the whole test twice I felt pretty confident that I could pass but
there were a few things playing on my mind;

- What if I fall and can't complete the test?
- What if I freeze up?
- I want to do more than pass, I want to do my best (nah screw it I
wanted to do more than my best, I wanted to feel great about the
results)
- What if the girls that I have been training with and adore don't pass?
- What if I'm not as capable as I think I am?

I'm such a what if girl. It wouldn't have been me if I wasn't racked
with worry before something like this. But what I did realise was just
how damn much I wanted to be a part of this.

So I anxiously drove across the bridge. And asked 5 different people
for directions before I finally rocked into the court with my enormous
bag, sweaty palms and an intense need to pee (turns out I have a
nervous bladder).

We geared up and generally bantered around while we waited for the
coaches and their friends to set up the track. They put us into
groups, I was put into group two. And we started to skate around for
20 minutes or so to get used to the surface and warm up. The surface
was lovely except for one major flaw. There were 4 big cracks within
the track. One in particular was almost big enough to loose a wheel
in!

And then it started. All of those nerves became focused on these
cracks. I felt my heart start to race and my palms become sweaty
again. I was completely freaking out. I ended up seeking out one of
the girls that always seems to say the right thing and told her I was
starting to focus too much on the cracks. She agreed they were bad,
bless her, but said we should both do a few laps together in different
styles to get used to them and help us stop freaking out about them.
It did help though it didn't allay my fears completely, but there was
no time to keep fixating, it was time to skate.

We watched team one which had both some good friends in it, but also
some old hat derby skaters who blew my mind. I was caught between
watching them with internal horror that I had ever thought for a
second that I was a decent skater. And with such inspiration that I
wanted to keep pushing myself until I could, one day, keep up with
them. Once they finished and it was our groups turn. The world
quietened and I thought 'Ah hell, this is it and I'm going to be ok'.
And of course I was.

I'm not going to go through the whole thing. Mainly cause it took us
three hours to complete and it would probably take me that long to
type it. But needless to say I felt confident by the end that I had
indeed done my best.

In the end we had done;

- 20 in 5
- X overs in both directions
- Skated on one foot
- Stops
- Pace lines
- Jumps and hops
- Weaving
- Backwards skating

Although there were lots of breaks between, everyone was exhausted.
Mostly I think it was mental exhaustion. As soon as we were done we
all rushed to take our gear off and most of us headed to the pub to
await our results.

It was a long wait. The coaches had to add up, average out and do all
sorts of things with the numbers. So we drank beer, ate chips and
talked loudly to hide our nerves.

Finally they arrived, and handed me my results (well they handed
everyone their results but I only noticed my own). I wanted to jump
into the car and read them in the safety of my home when they
announced "you all passed".

Picture me, grinning like the Cheshire cat, and then going around
kissing and hugging everyone. Lots of cheering and happy smiling and
then we all finally let our exhaustion shine through and headed home.

Once I got home I really started to take my results in. I was so happy
with them. They were better in almost every area than they had been
when we did the mock test earlier in the week. Sure I definitely have
areas that I need to work on (more than just the general all over work
that needs doing) especially in the jumps and hops area (where I
scored the lowest both in the mock test and on the actual day) but
generally I'm completely chuffed.

And not only that, everyone that tried out made it as well. We will be
a team together! All of my beloved rollerfit girls. Even those
amazing girls who I hate to love. I'm excited at the idea of using
their awesomeness to inspire me (if I can keep my awe in check:)

So that's it. I'm member of the Inner West Roller Derby League! I am
officially a derby girl. Sure I'm in training, we have quite a few
months of training before we are ready to bout. We have to learn how
to fall like a ninja, hit like an ultimate fighter (if ultimate
fighter were only allowed to use from their shoulders to their knees).
And once I have learnt to do those in the safest way possible, we have
another test similar to the one we have just had but bigger and
badder.

To be honest I kind of can't wait, because after that we start having
friends and family bouts. Where we invite our (you guessed it) friends
and family to come and watch us actually compete.

For now I'm just jazzed that I made the team. My friends made the
team. We have awesome coaches who will push us and have fun with us.
And I will keep on rolling ;)

Monday, 14 May 2012

I Don't Do Sports

I am probably the least sporty person I have ever met. I don't and
have never played any regular sports. In fact I used to fein injury
and illness to get out of as much high school sports as possible. I
have practically never done any sort of physical activity, and
certainly never with the idea that I was trying to win. I never watch
or think about sport in any way. I have also never been a part of a
team, well not on purpose. I haven't been in the school play, or
joined a band, or been part of a social group that required us all to
work together to reach a certain goal.

Actually I guess I have. But again never on purpose. I am actually a
good team player, as long as you don't use the words team player. I
work with couples and hospital staff or midwives as a team during
pregnancy and labour. When I worked for companies with multiple staff
I like to think I worked well as a 'team'. But I wasn't thinking of it
as team work, just as doing my job.

So here I am today thinking about next Saturday. Derby tryout day.
Where I am actively going to try and be one the member of a team. And
not just any team. A sports team.

I don't do sports!

It's easier for me if I think about it as an active social group. Or
a bunch of friends with wheels on their feet. Or just playing. My
sense of self is so tightly wound around the idea that I am
un-athletic and innately lazy, that I just can't seem to think of it
that way. But it's not. It is sport. It's exercise. I'm going to have
to be team player...

I'm so filled with nervous excitement that I can barely contain
myself. I wish it were Friday already so I didn't have to wait out
the week. Because on Saturday I will not only be fearful of trying
out, hoping desperately that I make the cut. But I will have to
overcome another fear. Being judged on my performance.

You see a big part of why I never joined a band, or the school
performances, is my fear of auditioning. The idea of people watching
and judging me on something I love doing and want to do well at, fills
me with such a huge sense of dread that it's been too terrifying to
even try.

What if they tell me I'm terrible! What if I don't managed to do what
I know is my best and let myself (and others) down! Or worse, what if
I do my best and I'm still not good enough! All of my quite real
blood sweat and tears will literally be put to the test.

Just a few months ago I put on my skates for the first time. I didn't
think of it as exercise. Just playing around. But then someone asked
if anyone was interested in derby and I tentatively put my hand up. I
couldn't skate but thought, what the hell I may as well stay in the
loop.

Because I've been loving skating, it's been fun to practice. These
days I train three times a week with others and lots of little bits a
pieces on my own. And I'm slowly but surely getting the foot work.
And my stamina is improving ... although lets be honest the only way
was up. But it's my stamina that still needs the most work.

On Saturday, one of the many things we will be tested on is how many
laps can we do in 5 minutes. Doesn't sound like long, but for me
skating at full speed in large circles for that long feels like enough
to give me a heart attack, or at least make me vomit. I've done it
twice over the last weeks during our derby training (we've been
working with our coaches before we get in just because we and they
couldn't wait for the official tryouts ... which of course is
brilliant but it will be hard to give them up if I don't make the
cut). And I do manage to exceed the minimum amount of laps to make the
cut. But what if I'm extra tired on Saturday? What if I fall? What if
the fear of being judged takes over and I just can't make it?
Argh!!!!!!!

Stamina!! I'm starting to regret being such a lazy bint all these years.

Anyway, I'm going to be spending the week not letting my nerves run
away with me. I'm going to think positively about it and try and make
myself believe that the point of the day is to overcome my fear of
being judged and if I actually make the team, well that's just gravy.
If I make the moment of awesomeness be about overcoming the fear and
just doing the tryouts then in a way I have already won 1/2 the battle
by turning up. I'll set my goals small, and then take anything after
that as an added bonus.

Just as long as no one starts telling me it's sport I should be fine *grin*

Watching - Whatever has been recorded on our IQ

Listening - New favourite is In for the kill by La Roux

Reading - Same

State of mind - like I should get my skates on and practice that 25 in 5.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Working Together

A long long time ago, before I had children I heard a friend of ours talking to one of his young kids. There was a chore that needed doing, clearing plates off the table or some such thing and the child was complaining about being asked to help. The father then said something that has always stuck with me, he said "we are a family and in our family we all help, that's how the house keeps running and that way everyone only does a little bit but the job gets done and done faster".

I've thought about this conversation often in my mothering and it is something that I have said to my kids since they were little.

It started with small thing, picking up their toys off the floor for example. When they were little they would do it putting everything in random spots, but the important part was that they were helping.

As they have gotten bigger the things that I have asked them to do have become more complexed and I have also started directing them on certain tasks, so these days their toys are put away in a more orderly fashion.

What I love is that they rarely complain, just knowing that part of being a family is all contributing to the running of the household.

A few weeks ago Jack mentioned that he would like to save some money. He has no idea what he is saving for but he has said that he would like to save $10 to spend on 'something'. So we decided to start adding a few extra jobs to their list as ways of earning some money.

So now the jobs range from cleaning their rooms to feeding the dogs, making their lunch boxes to keeping their room and desks tidy, or from picking up the dog poo to helping with other random things that come up each day.

Jacks want to save this money has bought the whole idea of pocket money to the forefront, when I had thought we had a while before we needed to have the conversation.

It's a strange thing. I'm wondering how to balance the idea that as a family we just help, with no expectations of anything except thanks (after all that what AB and I get in return for doing our jobs). Yet also teaching the kids about money, saving, earning and how to accomplish a 'want' goal such as this.

I guess like so many things I'll just play it by ear and hope I get right for our family.

But so far I am loving the way we are having to talk about co-operation, the ways the kids are figuring out how to work together with each task. It also seems that the more they get used to different ways of helping the more ways they are seeing on their own. Quite often now I will see they have already unpacked their school bags and hung their pants over the back of the lounge for the next day before I get a chance to ask them. They clear their plates off the table and sometimes ask to clear ours as well. Jack wants to learn how to stack the dishwasher, Hamish likes to make his bed (although not even I do that).

I think maybe they 'get it' in a small way. That idea that I heard all those years ago about a family working together. And it makes me incredibly proud.

Now if I can just start getting them to do everything ;)

Watching - Our Idiot Brother, liked it but didn't love it.

Reading - I saw a friend recommend Among Others - Jo Walton so I've just started it.

Listening - iPod on random and kids trying not to squabble.

State of mind - It's late so my mind is tired and snuggly.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Moments of Awesomeness

I saw a YouTube video recently giving pointers on how to skate sideways. It was great and all, but the thing I loved was one quote. She said "don't worry if you don't get it straight away. All you are aiming for is one moment of awesomeness, and then every time, try for another". It has stuck with me and now every skate session this is my plan. Try for, or look for, one moment of awesomeness.

Today was double Rollerfit day. Overall it's fast becoming my favourite day of the week. I still find this hilarious seeing that the main parts of a double Rollerfit are sweating like a maniac, being completely exhausted, not hitting the moves your working on, legs burning the next day, and the occasional fall. But it's on skates which seems to always make it fun, with great people ... actually more than fun, it's a complete blast. And it's a great place to find a moment of awesomeness.

One of my Rollerfit friends said something that also stuck with me a few weeks ago as we were attempting to do a spiral. This is a move where on one foot whilst moving forward, you make a T with your body by putting one leg perfectly parallel behind you and your arms perfectly parallel in front of you. I had seen a few of the more experienced girls do this on one of my first lessons and I was amazed at their skills. Anyway we were attempting this and failing to make a T it was more like a \ and she said, as I made a frustrated comment "just remember it was only a few weeks ago we were still trying to do cross overs well enough to go in a circle, now look at us, look at how much we have already done!" and she was right.

I had had a moment of awesomeness and hadn't even noticed. Cross overs will probably always need fine tuning but I can easily do them in a way that seemed hard just a few weeks before.

So I worked on my spirals and sure enough, huzzah, I rock at spirals. Step by step .... actually roll by roll by roll, I'm doing it. I'm achieving these (albeit sometimes brief) moments of awesomeness.

In the last few weeks I have also comfortably achieved decent backward skating prowess, even being able to do a basic backwards move to turn corners (officially still needs work to do it the proper way, but hey, I can turn corners backwards!). So the next challenge I set myself was figuring out how to shoot the duck (that move where, while moving, you squat right down and lift one foot so it's pointing off the ground in front of you and then putting it back under you so you can get back up).

Over the last few weeks I've been getting closer and closer. And I praised myself for each little achievement. But tonight I shot the duck not just once, but four times. Down, leg up, leg down, back up. Sure I'm not flexible enough yet to have it as beautifully straight as our coach or some of the young whipper snappers, but down, leg up, leg down, back up .... I'll cheer for my moment of awesomeness in achieving that. So again, yeah I rock(ish) at shoot the duck, just needing to fine tune the move.

Now I have my next move to work on. Last week at my first try, I fell over (it's a complicated move that requires you to go from skating facing forwards to backwards jumping from one foot to the other mid turn). I can do the basic move, but the more advanced move is going to take some time. Tonight, I managed to turn 3/4 of the way. I wonder when I'll be able to turn the whole way? And then when I have, when will I be able to do it so smoothly that I can continue skating? It feels a long way away, but if my accomplishments so far have taught me anything, it's that one day I will look back and say Hey! not so long ago I couldn't do that!!

Moments of awesomeness! It's my new life plan.

Watching - I really loved Tucker and Dale vs Evil and my new favourite thing is Norwegian horror movies. The movie Troll Hunters was so very cool!

Listening - Nup.

Reading - Same, I'm so tired I'm falling asleep after only a few pages.

State of mind - Rocking out those moments of awesomeness.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Today's Haul (8) aka The Amazing Light Shade

Today was one of those 'do a lot of things to get out of the house before the kids loose the plot' days.

It started with a swim at the local pool. Then a quick play at the park. Then I decided it was a great day to peruse my four favourite secondhand shops.

After the third I felt that the boys were over browsing, but I had been wanting to go to the last one all holidays so I decided to push them through it.

Then once we got home we cleaned the house. Counted out our change bowl and went to the bank to cash in $40 dollars worth of coins for $40 worth of notes.

The big news is that I found a light shade I have been coveting. In fact we went to Ikea yesterday and bought a bed (yay! After 3 years I was over the mattress on the floor thing). And while we were there I had a moment of staring at it and wanting the red one. But for $20 when they are still selling at Ikea for $99 the white (pictured above) will do just fine. In other bargain news;

- A decent pair of knee pads for both kids and a pair of skateboarding hand pads $5
- A cute new top for me $3
- A pair of gloves for Jack and stripy knee high socks (for skating) for me $2
- A used and slightly abused but still working skateboard for Jack $3
- Two spunky work shirts for AB $10
- Some sparklers and a random little toy for Hamish $2
- New gorgeous still in the box light shade $20

Using Leigh logic, seeing that I 'got' $40 out of that change bowl today, I only spent $5.

Happy Days!!!

Watching - a few random movies that were on the top scifi movies of 2011 list including, Attach the Block, Tucker and Dale vs Evil, and a few others.

Reading - Same Same

Listening - ....

State of mind - New bed + cheap and exciting light shade = pretty damn chuffed with myself.

PS the above photo is obviously not of my house, just to make things clear we have neither that fresh and airy a style or that fresh and airy a house!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Making The Best Of It.

It's frustrating to me that I haven't quite found 'the' place to skate
outside of my twice weekly classes. No doubt I have some high ideals.
It needs to be close to home, with a good quality surface that
preferably is as flat as possible, a decent size and generally free
during school hours.

I have tried 1/2 a dozen different parks, basketball courts and
general concreted areas but so far I haven't found anywhere that rocks
my world.

But luckily I'm nothing if not inventive.

Earlier this week the kids and I went to a skate bowl. The actual bowl
was writhing with tweens on skateboards and scooters but next to it
was a 'basketball' court. I use the term basketball court liberally
because it was so full of pot holes, cracks and general flotsam that
getting any sort of skating in seemed impossible. There were also two
huge muddy puddles, a metal bar from some old signpost and some faint
markings that may have once marked out a court but had long been
forgotten. I was frustrated! Here I was, skates on looking at the
beautiful surface on the bowl but I was unable to join (unless I
decided I was good enough to suddenly do stunts).

Then I had an idea! I decided to use the obstacles like a course.
Jump the pole, skate between the puddles, and don't roll over any of
the green lines. This gave me an opportunity to practice my hops,
weaving, small jumps and generally pretend that every obstacle was a
fallen derby girl I was trying not to hit. It was fun and challenging
and as much as I won't be heading back there in a hurry it was a good
experience to have.

Yesterday I took the kids to a park with a basketball court I have
used a few times. The surface is a bit rough but mostly clean of
holes. But it's a busy park and you never know just what will be going
on in it.

To my surprise the court was free so I sent the kids off to play on
the equipment and explore. Within the first 10 minutes an elderly
couple came to the edge of the court, set up a little CD player and,
facing the court, started doing tai chi. This wasn't so much a problem
as an annoyance. The music was definitely not skating music and the
space they were in was about 30cm from the edge of the court. Then a
woman and her small child came over. She sat in the middle of the
court to read book whilst her child threw a ball around. This bought
to my mind the idea of park etiquette. Would the same woman have taken
my kid off a swing so her son could use it? Or have come and sat down
if a group of people were playing basketball? Or dare I say it, would
she have done it if I were a guy? Quite a few times I have gone
somewhere to skate, only to have to wait until the current occupants
of the space had finished whatever they were doing. I wonder what was
going on in her head? And if she felt my death stares directed at the
back of it?

Then as the topping on the cake Jack wasn't enjoying the park. This is
something that is happening more and more. Swinging and climbing seems
to be a favourite of the past and seeing we hadn't bought a book or a
scooter, he was soon frustrated. So after about 45 minute I packed up
and we went home.

Today I decided to try again. I took the kids to a park that's close
to us. The court isn't in great condition, with a few huge cracks and
a fairly intense slope. My main worry was a. The court wouldn't be
free as it is right near a youth centre and b. that the kids would
loose interest before I was finished. Luckily the court was free (yay)
and later when the kids had had enough of climbing and swinging we
came up with a plan.

They would first chase me on their scooters. This gave me a chance to
practice my speed especially around the corners and also work on being
able to look behind me and watch who was coming up so I could adjust
my speed and path accordingly.

Then I would chase them. Seeing I was a lot faster than they were this
gave me a chance to practice my pacing speed as well as playing at
pushing them around the court. The whole game was an amazing work
out! Jack would go for a few laps and tire, then Hamish would step in
and so on. By the end I had skated at a pretty full on pace for over
1/2 an hour.

Then Jack found a ball and he and I played catch and then aiming for
the basketball hoops. Which meant I was working on quick stops and
turns as well as speed and control. All in all the later half of
today's one and a half hour skate was the best fun I've had outside of
class. The kids also had a blast playing with me and ran off a lot of
the engery that seems to bloom during the school holidays.

It was a great reminder of what life is meant to be all about about.
The old adage 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonaid' just about
sums up this weeks skating experience. Add to that that I love
sharing skating with the kids. Actually yesterday afternoon I went out
to practice for a bit longer (that dodgy 45 minutes just hadn't cut
it) and Jack, after hearing me complain that I couldn't see if my feet
were right doing crossovers, suggested videoing it so I could see
myself. Sweetly he and Hamish took turns videoing me going back and
forth on the small flat area of our street as I tried my hardest to do
a few crossovers back and forth. And yeah, I think they are ok ;)

Watching - Game of Thrones S2

Reading - The Strain, Guillermo del Toro. (never heard of it before
but found it in my ebook library and thought, what the heck!)

Listening - whatever music feels perfect when I skate. Including,
Prince, Pumped up kicks and various others.

State of mind - so happy that the kids and I had a great time together
and also that I finally feels sated in the amount of skating I've done
in a day.

PS. If your wondering what else is going on in our world the answer is
not much. It's just all calmly moving forward in a comfortable and
predictable way. But there is certainly no complaints about that at
the moment. It's nice to have a calm period of life for a while.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A Little Here A Little There


Skating Update:

My new skates are fantastic.  The difference in speed, the balance of the shoe, and the upgrade in control is just amazing.  But once I started getting used to them, it felt like there was something not quite right.  As I skated, especially when I was practicing skating in a straight line on one foot, I kept feeling like my feet, especially the left, was curving inwards.

I talked to Stacey the Rollerfit coach.  She checked my trucks (1) and said they looked fine (i.e. they weren't loose) and then asked me about my insteps.  I do have flat feet so I asked if she thought that innersoles with arch support might help the issue. She agreed that it might, but also suggested that it could just mean that I needed to control my edges (2) better.

A few days later I went to the chemist and bought the insoles that fit what I needed.  Excitedly I got home put them in and went out for a skate.  It was a little better, but very little. This must mean that the issue is that I am not controlling my edges well enough. I spent a week skating daily trying to self diagnose what I was doing wrong.  It was incredibly frustrating because no matter what I tried nothing seemed to make a difference.

Last Sunday I approached Stacey again before class.  I explained that I had been working with my edges with the inserts to no avail.  Again she looked at my skates and couldn't visually see anything wrong.  In my heart of hearts I knew she actually thought it was just me being a goofy newbie skater but she recommend that I go to Skater HQ at Moore park to see if they could think of something she couldn't.   By this stage I was starting to worry about my skating future.  If I couldn't master this very basic skill what chance did I have of accomplishing the more intense skills.

During class I was talking about it to a friend.  She mentioned that I should try on a pair of Stacey's rental skates.  You would think that if the issue didn't happen when I was wearing other skates then the issue is with the skates not my skating ability. Why oh why didn't I think of this earlier?  So at the end of class I borrowed a pair and sure enough, it seemed a lot better.  I started to feel hopeful that maybe this wasn't about me after all.  Although I didn't want to get my hopes up.

So this morning, skates in hand, off I trotted to Skater HQ.  Within the first 2 minutes the guy that was serving me mentioned that I might want to try some better quality cushions (3).  There were three levels of softness and so he put mediums into one skate and hards into the other and then told me to start skating around the shop. Within the first few steps I could tell that without a doubt the cushions had been the issue.  The play that I now had with my edges was completely different.  Moves that I have been trying to even slightly do suddenly seemed easy.  And as for balancing on one foot ... well I was able to do the length of the store with relative ease.

I was grinning like a madman as I payed and left.  But I still had this niggly feeling that it may have all been easier because the floors in the shop were such perfect polished concrete that even a goofy newbie like myself was able to glide straight.

So on the way home I stopped at a local park that has a large flat concrete area.  I didn't have any of my pads (4) with me so all I planned to do was try these new cushions on a surface that was not as perfect as those polished floors.

And of course, TAA DAA, I was able to finally skate straight.  It was also much scarier because my edges were so much more responsive.  I pretty easily skated the length of the area on one foot but when I tried my cross overs the give in my edges meant that I almost fell right over.

But that is something I can get used to.  Its like every time I change something on these skates I have to go through a mild learning curve again.  And actually that's kind of fun.  Things that had been easy last week are a small but achievable challenge again.

Tonight I had Rollerfit again.  I excitedly told Stacey that Skater HQ had solved my problem and I sensed that she was dubious.  But sure enough once she saw me on them she came over and mentioned how much smoother all of my moves were.

Finally I have skates that are no longer holding me back!  I was able to do the whole one foot thing on Rollerfits unresponsive surface, I could so the squats without feeling like I wanted to physically hold my skates straight and I even thought that I could attempt 'shoot the duck' (5) which I managed to get up but not back down.

I'm completely jazzed.  Not only are my skates pretty but they are now also amazingly functional.  And my skating is quickly moving from newbie status to moderately competent, YAY!

NOTE:  Skating has turned out to be far more expensive that I could have thought.  The basic decent skates that I bought are great but I needed to update the wheels ($80) the bearings ($30) the cushions ($30) and the stoppers ($30).  Hopefully this last upgrade needed for at least a while :)  Next time I'm just going to build them from scratch.

Watching - Still waiting for AB to home long enough that we can watch the remake of 'The girl with the dragon tattoo'.

Listening - I had a great trip away on the weekend and the kids and I listened to Bob Marley, Simon and Garfunkel and a lot of other old amazing bands on the drive down and back.  We talked all about different styles of music and different things that musicians were trying to share through their music. It was a pretty amazing experience sharing my thoughts and feeling about music with them on a deeper level than I had before.

Reading - Old favourites while I wait for a new novel to jump out and grab me.  I have a few great recommendations and now just need to look into them.

State of Mind - Just completely satisfied.

(1) Trucks - The pivoty part of the plate (metal bit underneath the shoe) that the wheels are attached to.
(2) Edges - by adjusting your weight from side to side in the skate the edges steer you in that direction
(3) Cushions - The rubber washer type things that go onto the trucks and give slightly as you are trying to control your edges as well as offer a bit of shock absorption.
(4) Pads - Knee, wrist and elbow protection.
(5) Shoot the duck - Whilst moving, squat on your skates and then put one foot in front of you off the ground while you roll forward on one foot.


Saturday, 24 March 2012

The End of Summer

AB has been away a lot over the past few weeks. When the kids were young the idea of AB going away for more than a day was enough to put me into a complete state. But these days the boys and I have found our groove and although he is missed, it's no big deal.

Well usually it's not!

I don't know if it's the months worth of rainy weather or just the planetary alignment but things were slightly tetchy between the three of us last time.

As AB went to leave this week I decided that I needed to put a few things in place to make sure that we didn't spend another weekend feeling cranky together.

Step 1, getting our favourite take away for friday night. For them it is a chicken kebab roll and for me it's a lamb shish kebab plate. This both makes me feel relaxed cause someone else slaves over the hot stove and eliminates and arguments over dinner.

Step 2, go to our friends holiday house for the night. Pack light so we don't feel completely harassed before we even leave the house. Not caring if we leave in the same clothes we arrived in. After all it is only one night and on lazy weekends at home its quite possible they would wear the same clothes two days in a row.

Step 3, have a few planned activities for while we are away. Collect firewood together as its meant to get cold tonight. Go to the beach (this is huge for me because in all the time I have been coming here I have never bothered going to the beach which is a huge 10 minute drive from here). Throw the ball for the dogs. Collect rocks. And after all that, settle down and play some games on the wii while I blog and then prep for dinner.

Step 4, don't unpack much. This way in the morning all we have to do is chuck a few things in the car and get on the road. Again because this time we are only here for one night what's the point of settling in to much.

Step 5, mummy enjoying some time siting in the sun, reading a book so that she actually feels like she has had a bit of quite restful time.

Step 6, after you get home, plan for a double rollerfit class to work out any kinks or residual crankiness!

So far so good. It's also given us all a chance to say good bye to summer. Kicking our feet in the water, stocking up on our vitamin D, and generally breathing in the fresh warm air before it turns into fresh (freeze your nostril hairs) cold air.

I'm looking forward to next summer already.

Watching - S2 The Walking Dead finale.

Listening - Nothing new

Reading - Room by Emma Donoghue, hated it but couldn't put it down.

State of mind - Rocking out this solo parenting gig!!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Another Humphy Day

When I was young and my dad was having a cranky day, Inge and I used to say he was humphy. I don't know here this term came from but we would giggle about it both in front of him and behind his back. The word seemed to perfectly explain the unexplainable grumpiness that overtook him on occasions.

It's a trait a lot of us have and one I definitely inherited. The ability of our emotions to suddenly get the better of us and take us down a road we had no intention of taking when we woke in the morning.

Well today I'm humphy! I'm unsure why but I think it's a mixture of intensive parenting, very little adult contact and solo parenting.

It's ok, I mean we all have to allow ourselves the occasional day (or few days) where we are particularly in touch with our cranky selves. But the truth is, today, I don't want to be cranky.

I've spent the last 1/2 hour trying to figure out what I can do to stop being so. But unfortunately I've come up blank. I went to rollerfit to no avail. I've had a bath (although I spent most of it checking for nits, which I thankfully did not have and neither did the kids), I have had a few small vents with close friends and generally spent some time trying to relax and find my happy place.

But I'm still cranky. I guess there is no answer except to perhaps find a way acknowledging it and then hopefully letting it go. Or crawling into bed until it goes away.

I can't decide if it's a coincidence or response to, but it seems when I am humphy that my kids seems to be especially trying. I think it's probably both, but it makes it even harder to get out of your cranky place, if your kids are bickering or generally being slightly painful. The question that may really keep me up at night, is, is their behaviour really that tetchy? Or is it that my resilience is so low that every tiny little thing seems like a huge infraction?

Ahh, mixing this parenting malarky with a humphy time is like mixing some medications and operating heavy equipment.

I guess in the end the way I will deal with it is, I will accept it, talk to the boys about it, hope they decide to be especially sweet and understanding, put them to bed and then hope I wake on the right side of the bed tomorrow.

Watching - Soylent Green
Listening - It's been a fairly music free weekend.
Reading - Just finished the Hunger Games trilogy. Couldn't put it down but didn't adore it.
State of mind - wondering of roller skating for longer each day would keep the humph at bay? Probably not but it may be a good excuse to get more skate time in.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

You Get What You Pay For

Ok it's been extremely quiet on the blog front. Firstly, after saying I wouldn't inundate the blog with post after post on skating, its all I can think of blogging about. Secondly, every free moment I have I'm spending skating. Hmmm ... obsessed much? Maybe :)

I've been skating for at least an hour a day. Mostly I'm just in the house skating back and forth up the hall, practicing my balancing (often while cooking dinner), trying out different types of stops, doing squats, and moving furniture in our lounge room so I can (barely) practice my cross overs. Sometimes I just leave them on all day so that I can get used to all sorts of movement on them.

But as I started trying new and more difficult things I realised that my cheap as chips skates were holding me back. I definitely needed new stoppers and, particularly for Rollerfit, I needed new wheels.

Luckily I still had a bit of money left from my birthday so I ordered the stoppers I wanted and a new set of wheels, in purple. The stoppers especially had been causing me issues. They were too hard and had no grip. So as soon as they arrived I grabbed my skates but to my dismay they didn't fit. My cheap skates didn't have adjustable stoppers! Which was something I had never heard of until it meant I couldn't put my new pretty gumball stoppers on.

It turns out that seeing I had bought my skates thinking more about price than researching what you needed to look for in decent skates, I had bought duds.

Well that's not exactly fair. Before I bought the skates I had spent ages looking for some I could borrow. But no one I knew had any. I didn't even know if I could stand in skates anymore, and I certainly didn't know that I would get as excited about skating as I have. I could have skated for a few weeks and decided I didn't like it after all. Or I could have fallen over, scared myself and decided never to skate again ... again. So with those things in mind buying cheap skates was a logical choice.

But I do love skating. It's like AB and his motorbikes. I spend time when I'm not actually skating researching products, moves and techniques. Reading up about roller derby rules and fresh meat criteria. Or watching videos of other skaters to be inspired.

Anyway I digress, the stoppers didn't fit. After a mini meltdown I decided to try the wheels. They were amazing. Compared to the others I suddenly had so much more dexterity, especially on that rubbery surface at rollerfit. But after a few days I noticed a major flaw in my skates. When I lean from side to side on them, as you have to for a lot of moves, my skate boots were so rolly and cheap they they bent and hit the wheels. As you can imagine that is not only limiting but downright dangerous.

But what to do? I mean the ones
I have are still virtually new!

Today I picked up my new (and considerably more expensive) skates. They are still cheap as far as roller skates go but they are reputable as a great starter skate with the idea that I will get years out of these versus months. I actually bought a fresh meat package so I as well as skates I got knee, elbow and wrist pads, a mouth guard, skating helmet, toe guards (to stop you ruining the toes of the actual skates) and some new bearings.

As soon as I got home I changed the stock wheels for my better purple wheels, changed the bearings, finally got to put on my gorgeous gumball stoppers, and just cause they came with the package, the toe savers.

I'm nervous! I think I may have to relearn some of the things I have just begun to master (particularly crossovers) but in my 15 minutes on them this evening I am already amazed at how much easier it is to balance and the boots are much better quality, so no more hitting my wheels as I lean.

The only downside so far is because they are new and not at all worn in they are tighter around my broken toe ... oh did I mention three weeks ago I broke my pinky toe after stubbing it on our skirting boards (I kept skating though! Yes I am that obsessed) and its still incredibly tender.

In the beginning I thought I would spend $90 on a pair of skates. I'd skate around on the street a little. I'd maybe get my wits about me enough to do a bit of bike track skating and then ... well there was no 'and then' because I didn't even know if I could stand up yet :). What then happened was a gorgeous friend sent me a link to these rollerfit classes. I realised not only could I stand but I could learn, and with practice maybe even master, new skills. And yes, me, the woman who loathes exercise has found an activity which she happily sweats her butt off at twice a week and in fact she wishes she could go even more.

I have walked past them a few times tonight and they almost bought a tear to my eye. I'm so excited. Suddenly Sunday seems to far away. But the thing that is the most amazing to me is just how excited I am generally about skating. I've realised how much without knowing it I have been longing for a hobby. Something that was just for me, that nurtured that part of my soul, that wasn't about the kids, or earning money, or cleaning the house or all the other important parts of my life. But is just frivolous, fun and playful.

Watching - Nothing, I'm to busy skating (although I did watch Whip It this week:)
Reading - The Hunger Games trilogy
Listening - My iPod is on random
State of mind - Wildly optimistic and joyful

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

RollerFit


OK a warning, if you are sick of me talking about roller skating stop reading now!  This is probably the last one for a while but honestly if you are over it feel free to close your browser or hit that little 'x' :)

I'm still loving my skates.  I have, as I promised myself I would, put them on and had a skate everyday (even if it turned out to only be for five minutes).  But honestly I have done as much as I can as far as updating my skills within the confines of my street and in the house.  After quite an ouchy fall on the weekend (where my skill level met the bad road surface in a match to the death) I started wanting to find other places to try them out.  I needed somewhere flat(ish), I needed somewhere larger and mostly I needed somewhere where I didn't feel the eyes of non skating people watching and judging if/when I fall over.

After my fall I posted a photo of my grazed and bruised arm on facebook and mentioned my want of a better place to skate.  A friend of mine who is an avid skater and derby girl posted a link to 'RollerFit' classes that were just a suburb away.

Now I'm a homebody, often if things are too far away or seem too challenging I either blatantly say I just don't want to do it, or I find a really good excuse why I can't go.  But this time I was determined.  I mean why did I get these skates if not to challenge myself!  Sure I thought by challenging myself I meant overcoming my fear of skating (well actually my fear of falling over) but obviously my fear of both leaving my comfort zone and doing something like this 'on my own' was part of the process as well.

So today I rocked into the class with my skates over my shoulder.  There were about 20 women for the beginners class.  At least 7 of them were around my age, with the rest being quite a bit younger.  The instructor was a fair bit younger as well and although she obviously knew her stuff she wasn't at all what I expected.  Kind of a bit terse and not particularly welcoming or cheery, but now that I think of it she was very similar to almost all of the aerobic instructors I've worked out with (not that that is a huge list :)

We put on our skates and started skating around to warm up.  The first thing that I noticed was that the ground (which is a sort of rubber) was very different to skate on.  I needed more force to get any speed up and the fact that my wheels have some tread on them made it even harder to maneuver.  But after a few laps I was beginning to get more comfortable.

We were then split into two groups, super beginners (the ones who were still learning how to stay upright and move forward) and the regular beginners who were looking to become more confident and work on other skills.  And then with music pumping we started with a variety of different moves;

- Scissor skating, laps up and down the court without lifting our feet.  It was exhausting and extra hard with the tread on my wheels.  So by the time the first exercise was complete I was as red as a beetroot and starting to wonder what I had gotten myself into.
- Laying on our backs, skates on, and bicycling with our legs in the air. I laughed and said if I had wanted to bicycle I would have bought a bike ... the upside of my smart arse comment was that a few of the women started talking a bit and I finally felt myself relax.
- Crossovers (basically turning by stepping one foot across the other).  I was excited to finally be in a place where I could practice this again as it was one of the things I was having trouble doing on the gravel.
- Balancing on one foot while moving. Believe it or not I found it easier to do it moving than I did standing still, but still didn't manage to make the full five seconds in one glide.
- Squatting while moving, which after a bit of practice culminated in us all doing roller limbo under a pool noodle.  I made it through 4 of 5 stages so felt pretty impressed with myself.

For the last 10 minutes we practiced what we had learnt and spent a bit of time going over the basics for backward skating.  For the record I can scissor backwards but full skating backwards seems ... complexed (although it is almost the exact reverse of forward skating this was not something my brain grasped well)

So that was it.  And I had a blast, I almost can't wait to go again next week.  I have also already started trying to source some new wheels ... I'm thinking green, maybe with purple stoppers ... if possible :)

Watching - Signs with Jack.  It was kind of hilarious how such an unscary movie seemed so scary to Jack because of the creepy soundtrack ... I may have scared him for life.

Listening - Trying to spend a bit more time listening to the radio and keep up with some new music.

Reading - Need to pick a new book tonight

State of mind - Skating super star :)








Thursday, 16 February 2012

Roll or Bust?





I was a roller girl when I was younger. I pretty much had my skates on my feet from the time I got up (or home from school) until bed time. I skated most weekends at the rink, both competing in speed skating, and winning the title of junior girls speed skating champion and  competing in the roller disco limboing where I always came home with a lolly :).  I loved going to the rink, and still remember the first time I decided to try the big hill. And that we spent a lot of time talking to boys!

When I was about 22 I pulled out my skates for the first time in a long time and skated around our flats car park. I then decided to try and skate to the shops. I gave myself a hell of a fright as I had trouble stopping and almost skated onto a car filled road, decided I was too old for roller skates and gave them away! 

The truth is, I had given myself such a fright and I had become so cautious, as we often do as we get older, that I was too scared to imagine I'd ever try again.

Flick to 3 years ago. I heard that there was a roller derby team in Sydney and it made me wish I had kept up with roller skating. Then I saw the movie Whip It and again thought 'why the heck didn't I keep up with roller skating, that's so damn cool'.  And then the final straw was a woman I knew (although not well) joined a roller derby team and I though 'OMG she is older than me!!'

Too old!! Too unfit!! Too responsible!! In the end it all came down to being too scared!! And blast if I was going to listen to those little voices anymore.

But I did, oh sure I told myself it was because I didn't want to spend the money on new skates and I was 'trying' to find cheap ones or because I couldn't find a place to try skates on again. But really I wanted skates but was still to scared.

This year my dad and Inge gave me some money for my birthday, with the clause that it wasn't to go into the kitty. I was to buy myself something I really wanted. I had been longing for skates for over 2.5 years and decided, stuff it! Even if I only use them once, I will never know unless I put some skates on my feet and give it a go!

They arrived yesterday and straight away I strapped them on and started the first tentative rolls around the house. Then I decided I needed to get out on the street and actually take them for a burn. And it we awesome!! I remembered how to turn quickly as a way to stop, I remembered all of the moves and yeah, I probably looked completely uncoordinated as I occasionally felt like I was going to loose my balance but yeeHaa I was skating.

Then I fell over, on my butt! It hurt so much I wanted to cry, but instead I got up and kept skating.

Today as I put my skates on again I feel more cautious. I wish there was a rink closer because the hardest part is trying to deal with uneven surfaces while I get my rollerfeet back. But I have decided that for at least the next two weeks I will put my skates on everyday and keep trying because I want to feel like I've put my birthday money to good use and mostly because I don't want to be scared anymore.

My butt is still sore, but hey I'm still rolling and should be (and am) proud of that alone.

Sounds Like?

When looking at schools one of the things that drew me to Jacks school was the strong music program. I was excited for my kids to have the opportunity to play in a band or solo if that was the thing they were interested in.
Then once we started I realised that they weren't really able to play anything but percussion instruments until they were in year two. It felt like a long way away.
But Jack is in year 2 this year and today was musical try outs. What was awesome was that it wasn't the kids trying out for a place (like an audition). Instead the music department pulled out all of the instruments and told the kids to have at it! Try everything, see if there is anything that you enjoy and would like to take further, or if you don't feel like this is your year, come back to it next year.
They had timpanies, drum kits, keyboards and piano, saxophones, violins, flutes, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, percussion, and a lone cello.
Jack started off feeling very nervous, but seeing that they had older kids showing the younger ones how to positions their mouths or hold the instrument Jack quickly relaxed and wandered from space to space listening and trying.
And you know what, I was jealous! I wish that this access to instruments of all shapes and sizes was something that had been available to me when I was young.
So this morning we found out that the cello, violin and drums weren't Jacks 'thing'. As he tried the trumpet he got such a lovely clear sound straight away that even the music teacher was surprised (ohh how I would love for him to choose the trumpet, but I felt forced to play the trumpet when I was young and so no pressure).
I got such a huge rush from watching him trying all of these things, and hope he chooses to join. But also will not push it. He has already said that he would like a guitar, which will be a very belated birthday present. And he regularly picks up his (on loan) saxophone, but it's still a bit to big for him to really get into it.
It was a mummy moment worth bottling and an experience I think he will keep with him for a long time to come. And if he decided this year isn't his year or that playing in a ensemble isn't his thing then at least he has had the opportunity.
Watching - Sherlock S2.
Listening - Other than Jack on the cello I have an obsession with The xx at the moment.
Reading - Fahrenheit 451
State of mind - All tingly and so proud of both my boys. I may need to be reminded of this later in the week :)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

School Girl Crush

When I was in junior primary school I had a crush on one of the boys in my class. Actually most of the girls had a crush on the same boy. I remember all of us chasing him in a game of catch and kiss and him getting so overwhelmed by the attention that he burst into tears.
I'm purposefully reminding myself of this story today because it has become apparent to me that there is a little girl in Jacks class that has a crush on him, and if I'm honest it's freaking me out.
He, in true Jack style, is completely oblivious. To him girls are just other cool people you hang out with at school when your sick of playing the games your guy friends play. He is so very very far from crushes.
Now I like this little girl very much. She is ballsy, and being the youngest after three brothers, she's outspoken, knows more about things like popular music and teen idols than most of the kids I've met. And apparently she gets what boy-girl relationships are 'supposed' to be about.
At Jacks sixth birthday party she arrived and had Jack written on her leg in pen with a love heart around it. I thought it was hilarious and also a bit more advanced than I had thought six year old kids were on average. This year they are in class again and the other day she invited Jack to her birthday party. It was a giggly affair as she handed over the invite and then as she walked off I heard her say to her friend "Oh my god, his hair is soooo cool".
Ummm ok ...
Then this morning she and one of her friends were talking to me and as I said that Jack was really looking forward to coming to her party her friend started to giggle and said in an excited tone "did you invite him?". The little crush girl smirked said yeah, then they both wandered off giggling and whispering looking back at Jack.
Oh My God!!!
So I'm reminding myself that I too had a little school girl crush when I wasn't much older than these kids are now, and it didn't turn into anything (mind you I am wondering if the boy we made cry was traumatized).
And of course when I told AB he was kind of chuffed and didn't at all get my mumma bear reaction ... the difference between men and women or fathers and sons?
They are growing so fast and sure it's all normal and expected, but today I am imagining him with girlfriends, kissing and heartbreak and wondering about this whole parenting thing and the directions it takes you in.
Remind me to get this little girls phone number, I may need to talk to her parents. (joking of course! .... mostly)
Watching - the miraculous event of a woman giving birth and a man becoming a father. What a lucky woman I am.
Listening - Aliens. I know I should be watching it but I'm to busy blogging.
Reading - Birth plan notes and the last chapter of Road to Perdido.
State of mind - a bit hyper after a birth but soooo glad to be off call and enjoying a glass of wine.

Monday, 6 February 2012

What Now?

It's the question of the moment. Now that I have two kids at school, what are my plans now. It's surprising who and how many people have asked me this in the last few weeks. People who love me, people who hardly know me, people who work full time outside the home and others who are still stay at home mums.
What now?
It's a curious question, and one where the answer isn't as easy as you might think.
What now?
I do keep asking myself the same question over and over again. I mean I do some work for AB each week but at the moment it's not enough to keep me busy five days a week. And sure at least one day a week could be filled with cleaning and grocery shopping. And I absolutely could spend some time fixing bits a pieces around the house, the lounge room alone could take me two weeks. But all of that still leaves around 2 - 3 days a week free.
Or 50 weeks, minus holidays thats 38 weeks which is (after weekends) 190 days, minus the 2ish days work I have that's 114 days!
114 me days a year! What now?
Cause let's be honest, I'm incredibly lackadaisical and sure I could totally spend some of that time catching up on favourite TV shows or books that have sat unread for way to long. But even I would find that boring after a certain amount of time (not as long as you would think, but longer than is probably healthy).
The truth is I don't exactly know 'what now?'.
I do know that there is probably more work coming through from ABs work, and I hope there is. It will be great to be busy during the school hours, it will be amazing to bring in some extra money to help out with our finances and take some of the burden off AB being the (mostly) sole provider. But I'm also glad that I get to pick up my kids every day, that the little money I already bring in helps, that I have the ability and now the time to hopefully fix our place up a bit more (cause lord knows it needs it).
So honestly, feel free to ask me what now? But please understand when I say "I have no idea! but if you have any feel free to share" :)
Watching - recently just devoured 'Misfits' seasons 1-3 loved it and recommend it highly. But take into account it could just be a very 'me' type show.
Listening - The XX, love that album!
Reading - Perdido Street Station - China Mieville.
State of mind - All kind of soft and gooey, with a chewy center :)

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Golden Oldies.

Like most people my age I've had a lot of friendships. Most have been wonderful. Some have ended badly. Some have only been for a few days and others almost a lifetime.
My best and oldest friendship is with Catriona. I've mentioned her before (normally calling her Treena). We met on the first day of kindergarten and the story goes that as our mums picked us up from our first day we both ran to them and asked if Treen could have a sleep over that night. They convinced us to wait until the weekend and we were inseparable from then on.
Oh sure like all kids, we had ups and downs but in the end our friendship survived. It survived through different friends, my parents divorce, different high schools and social groups, it continues to survive in spite of the fact that she lives in a different state and we only see each other once a year.
She is more than a friend. She is like a sister, some kind of soul mate, she is my family and so deeply part of my heart that I can't imagine it could keep beating if she wasn't part of my life.
Yesterday I got a knock at the door and it was our postman. He had a huge box for me from Treena. I tried to think what it could be, there are no birthdays nearby and Xmas has passed. I opened the card, and I started to cry. It was an anniversary present, timed perfectly to both match our 30th year of friendship and my littlest boys first week of school.
Inside were two intricately wrapped (to survive posting from Brisbane to Sydney) flying ducks, which I had mentioned to her that I wanted a few months ago.
After I stopped sobbing I felt a little guilty, I should have remembered, I should have sent her something or at least touched base about it. It felt so amazing to have this package, filled with so much thought and love arrive unexpectedly on my doorstep.
As soon as I can convince AB to see securely put some hooks in the wall, they will have pride of place in our lounge room. And every time I look at them I will feel a little 'happy sad' that my life has been so blessed to have her in it.
It will also remind me to be thankful for all of my friends and to make a point of telling them so. Starting with Treena!!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

All Dressed Up.

Here he is. All ready for his first day of school and so incredibly proud. Walking around with his chest puffed out and the excited energy pouring out of him.
He walked straight into the classroom, sat at a desk and started playing with the play dough, just like his brother did on his first day two years ago.
I can't wait to pick him up, and ask him all about his day. To find out who he played with and what he thinks of his teacher. To see if he is disappointed that he didn't learn to read fluently on his first day (because that's how he thinks it works).
I'm sure there will be hard days, but today was not one of them.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

It's Cool! Seriously!


I've been feeling really centered about the fact that Hamish starts school this week.  He's so excited that he has already packed his bag, decorated his library bag and told me exactly what he wants in his lunchbox for the first day.  And it's contagious.  Our whole household is buzzing with happy 'Hamish is starting school' vibes.

Until last night.  It's been a hot humid few days in Sydney, and in our old double brick house it means that sleep (upstairs) is almost impossible.  So as I lay there trying to get some sleep, I pondered on the whole school thing.  And yes I am excited, and yes I do think that he is ready and will be fine but I had forgotten something.  I had forgotten how much that first year of school changes them.


Jack was also excited about school and he fit into the whole thing really well, but by about 1/2 way through the year I noticed how much older he seemed.  He was more self assured, he needed me less, and although he was still my little man, he was also developing in a direction that I had no control over.  And that's a good thing.  But its also challenging.

So on Thursday my littlest man starts on the same journey.  By the end of this year, Hamish will be able to read.  He will be more independent, more grown-up, he will be a very different version of the boy that I send off to school in a few days..  And yes I am excited, but I am also feeling aware that this is the beginning of him becoming, even more, the Hamish he is without me.


I guess I should be used to the kids growing up by now!!
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