Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter Cleaning

my three shelves in the den

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Cleaning

bathroom essentials

The sweetie man did the wet work in the bathroom, because I am sick. But after intense negotiations conducted from my sick couch, old and random bathroom products have been pared down to one dopp kit of tiny shampoos, lotions, soaps, and hand sanitizers and put away on the top shelf.

I actively like Equaline brand of almost everything, except Aveeno Ultra-Calming cleanser and moisturizer and also Herbal Essences None of Your Frizzness shampoo and conditioner (not pictured). I use baking soda to exfoliate and Neutrogena retinol at night.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Cleaning
  front room

winterval lights in front room

There are five lights!

There will be fifteen lights, actually, by the end of this Winterval, all through the house. I actually do have enough jelly jars saved for all that. I am burning an immoderate amount of tea lights to fuel my celebration, which the sweetie man is being very nice about.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Cleaning

kitchen god

The kitchen god has the top of the hutch back to himself, after I threw out all the yogurt, hummus, and rotisserie chicken containers, mixed nut canisters, styrofoam trays, and salad clamshells that god knows why I've been saving for the past four years.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter Cleaning

bins from bedroom

Friday, December 24, 2010

Winter Food Plan

So yeah, I have these two tools to keep my nutrition on track: the food plans are for planning my macronutrients around my workouts, and the diet quality cards are for checking that I've got my food groups covered.

complex carbs &
light protein

simple carbs
simple carbs &
light protein
complex carbs &
light protein
complex carbs &
heavy protein

Immediately before/after means within 45 minutes, before/after means within 1-3 hours, and between means more than 3 hours before or after workouts.

Complex carbs and light protein before workout

Pasta is still working for me, I actually do better with just plain pasta and red sauce before weekday evening practices; it's easier to digest. Though I think I shouldn't just eat pasta and red sauce and I'm okay with pasta with vegetables, but that's about as complicated as I think I should get before workouts.

Before Saturday morning practices, I'm back to oatmeal with cranberries, walnuts, and hemp milk. It's enough food, and it's just so much easier. And I like oatmeal.

Poppy: I was making tofu scramble on Saturdays, but I got bored.
P: Sooo I'm back to oatmeal, seven days a week.
Dame Over: You got bored.
D: With variety.

Hahahahaha. Yes. Although. Lately I've been weirdly not hungry, I've been having a piece of toast and tea with hemp milk for breakfast. I added applesauce to that to keep my fruit covered, but I might be a little low on protein...

Simple carbs immediately before/during workout

Still good with CocoOJ2O during practice. On Saturdays I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich between plyos and noon league practice.

Simple carbs and light protein immediately after workout

Starting to hit the wall with Raisin Bran with Sliced Almonds, so I'm going with Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie in this slot.

Complex carbs and light protein after workout

See above, oatmeal or toast for breakfast the morning after. Except Saturday mornings when the upholdskis manage to all do the same practices, then we go to Feed and stuff our faces.

Complex carbs and heavy protein between workouts

Alternating between Curried Vegetable Stew, various roasted vegetables with quinoa, and veganly beans for lunch. My lunches have been fancy, I think I have vegetables covered if not protein. Recipes TK.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter Fitness Plan
  home season

Peak: Fuck shit up. Have fun. High five!!

I love the new league practice schedule, if I do say so myself. I should be able to keep up with this schedule even if I start working again. So home season will be about the same as scrimmage, which had a hard time getting off the ground for various reasons. Which we're making up for by pretty much not having a winter break, which is supposed to be now. We don't need no stinking break! Because we're headed straight for home season, the season opener is in just about three weeks...


What I'm going to be doing differently in home season is setting up a microperiodization plan so that I will be at peak for actual bouts. My base is five practices per week, but you can adapt this to whatever your base is:

* bout week = base minus one
* weeks before and after bout week = base
* any weeks in between = base plus one
Which basically boils down to no plyos on bout days, duh, but also teaching derby lite instead of a league practice on bout weeks, and an additional Kru boot camp for the plus weeks; so there will be five plus weeks during the home season, pretty well spaced. [ETA: No wait, six.]

[ETA 3/24/11: I actually never did the additional Kru boot camps, I kept getting sick which pretty much means that I was overloaded. What I ended up doing was six practices per week, including ref practice, on bout weeks, and four practices per week before and after bouts (no plyos or Saturday league practice before bouts, no ref or Monday league practice after bouts).]

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Buyer's Guide to Shin Guards

nike mercurial lite iii shin guards

So a couple weeks ago at Fury practice, I slightly tripped over Mel and I swear I just brushed my left shin on her wheels but did it hurt. Then the next night during a Windy City paceline at agility practice, Pom kicked me right smart in the right shin. That also hurt. So then I went out and bought shin guards.

You can find them at like Sports Authority with the soccer stuff, some girls have guards that strap around their calves. Which I knew I didn't want, I feel like having straps around my calves would freak me out. I got lightweight guards that slip into your socks instead.

But I wore them once, and I don't wear them anymore. Because I didn't get kicked at that practice, and it was too much crap to have stuffed into my socks. Lots of girls won't skate without them, though. So, submitted for your consideration.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

 make screen

Here's the first half of the screenprinting process, making your screen. This is a medium-tech method that I learned from shoalmate Shannanigan, more reusable than hemoglobin hummingbird's paper stencil method and not as intimidating as the photo emulsion method. That is, the design is more reusable. With the paper stencil method, you can reuse your blank screen forever with different designs. Which maybe is what you want, when do you ever want even three of the same t-shirt? See now, that's why I think screens are best for printing your name and number on the back of practice shirts. But anyway, let's say you have:

  • your design on a piece of paper
  • an 8x10 screen
  • a pencil
  • a spoon or other stirring implement
  • screen filler
  • a small paintbrush

And that's all! If you are careful enough with the screen filler, you don't have to bother with drawing fluid.

First tape your design to your work surface so it doesn't move, put the screen over the design, and trace the design on the screen with a pencil.

pencilled design

See, I was going to use this screen to make my Better Blocker and Tiny Hits t-shirts. But I decided to use Zazzle instead for those.

Thoroughly stir the screen filler.

This is the picky part: you want to carefully outline the whole design with the tip of the pencil dipped in screen filler. Remember that the parts that are not filled in with screen filler are what gets printed. Use the pencil tip fill in any small areas, too, like inside and between the letters here.

outlining the design

The little blobs across the top of the screen are where I was wiping off the tip of my pencil now and again. I should have wiped on a paper towel. Also I should not have tried to sand them off with sandpaper.

After that, you just fill in the rest of the screen using a paintbrush. It will need several coats. Let it dry between coats, and hold it up to the light to see if there are any holes. Ink will get through any tiny pinprick that light shines through, so keep painting until it's solid. Oh and, you might want to raise up your screen on little feet to keep it from sticking to your work surface when you're painting and while it dries; pushpins or little gummy erasers are good.

If you make a mistake, screen filler can be scrubbed off with Mr. Clean and a brush. I scrubbed out my fully painted Poppy Spock screen twice, once to change my name (long story) and once to add my number. Let me tell you though, it took some doing and that was using the sonic scrubber I clean my bathroom with. It took forever. But I am patient.

See my earlier post for the second half of the screenprinting process, printing your shirts.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winterval Chart
 with Winter Chart

Some years ago I made up my own winter holiday because I do things like that, and this year it goes like this:


The Story of Winterval

Radix and Persephone used to always celebrate Christmas with Persephone's weird family. Not that Radix's family aren't weird, but they're Jewish. So thank god that's one less thing to deal with during the holidays, because Persephone's family has a lot going on. Or did, Persephone's mom died on Christmas Eve—the wake was on Boxing Day—and then the following November, Persephone's dad died. "Wouldn't it have been great," she reflected, "if Dad had died on Thanksgiving?"

She is her father's daughter and has a very keen sense of order.

Persephone's father was so super religious that he didn't believe in Christmas. What he believed was that he had calculated the actual date of Christ's birth, and that this was some time in July. Obviously.

Also Persephone's sister tended to volunteer to work on Christmas, so we finally moved the whole damn celebration to New Year's Day. Still it's a nice thing to get together with your family and to give presents, even though you have to shout "Happy New Year" instead of "Merry Christmas." Then Persephone's two sisters decided amongst themselves that there would be no more presents. Except for the kids, their mom added as an afterthought.

"Thank god," said Radix to that. "Christmas is a pain in the ass."

Well, Persephone liked Christmas. With presents. What could she do, though? She was already outvoted by her sisters. She didn't know yet that only having to buy two presents is the best thing ever. And she was hardly going to demand that people give her presents, if they didn't want to in their hearts. She isn't that kind of person. She wants people to want to.

So then it was Christmas, and there was nothing to do. Radix was happy. "There should be nothing special about Christmas. It should just be an ordinary day."

Persephone locked herself in the bathroom and had hysterics. When Persephone has hysterics, it is not a joke. Radix thought that he was going to have to take the hinges off the bathroom door. Or alternately, hop on a bus. Or more sensibly a few years later, get a divorce.

When Persephone finally came out of the bathroom, Radix shakily agreed that there would be some winter celebration chez Munt from then on. Something that respected his feelings as a Jew and that provided her with the feeling of celebration from her childhood Christmases, minus the alcoholic shouting.

"I want it to be like Kwanzaa," she sniffled.

"But we're not black," Radix protested.

Persephone said very crossly, "It wouldn't be Kwanzaa. It would be like Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa goes from Christmas to New Year, like that. Except that I want it to start on the solstice. And I want to eat fried food, like for Hanukkah."

And a few minutes later, they came up with the name for this new winter festival.


I still celebrate Winterval as a holiday of rest. Lord knows I need the rest, it's always something this time of year. Though I don't work, how do I rest. I'm still keeping up my blog and still skating. This is supposed to be league break, but practices are still going on because the season opener is coming up fast. Not as many practices, though. Besides that, I pretty much plan on sleeping and eating like a champ: potato pancakes with applesauce and sour cream for Erev Winterval, Chinese takeout for Xmas Eve, waffles for Xmas Day, sweet potato pie for NY Eve, and hoppin' john with collard greens and cornbread for NY Day. I know that the solstice varies every year, and this year is the 22nd. I observe on the 21st, but I light candles starting with whenever potato pancakes is. Which was yesterday, because there's black and white scrimmage tonight. I have informed the sweetie man that a small Xmas present is required. Between Xmas Day and NY Eve is winter cleaning, five days for five rooms: bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, front room, and den. Winterval Epiphany is whenever the first Monday of the new year is, when I have to get back to work. Small w work, not Work big question mark.

Just because you know your plans might change in two weeks, that's no reason not to make plans. If you wait for life to stop spinning so you can get on, you're going to miss half the ride. I have to decide what to do about work, but until then my winter chart looks like this:


Friday, December 17, 2010

Kale Chips

kale chips

I do believe that the sweetie man mistook mustard greens for kale, so these are actually mustard green chips.

Truthfully, I made these just to have the oven on. I think I'm too lazy to make them on the regular. Maybe once a week, but more than that would get old real quick. On the other hand, I could do worse than eat a pound of kale once a week.

I make mine pretty plain, just olive oil and salt. But you can get fancy with them, Z sprinkles her chips with sesame seeds before putting them in the oven and Box did some with honey and tamari and sesame oil and sesame seeds. If you come up with something good, you can get at me at allapoppy (at) gmail (dot) com.

1 lb kale
olive oil

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Wash, stem, and tear kale into about palm-sized pieces. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil, like less than half a teaspoon. Then sprinkle with a teeny bit of salt, less than a pinch. Toss and spread on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Put them in the oven for five minutes. Take them out and turn them over with your fingers, then put them back in the oven for five more minutes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I like yoga as a warmup for the dynamic stretching, and also because I like to sneak in a little strength work to start with.

This is also nice little sequence to just get your day started, I used to do these in the morning and stretches at night. You know that I used to have tiny T-Rex arms and used to not be able to do pushups, right? Then Busty and I did six hundred quarter tricep pushups in six weeks together, and then bang, I could knock out ten regular pushups no problem. Then we started this demented pushup challenge at work, which I am winning with 13,448 pushups and four weeks to go. Woot, I need to think of some new challenges and somebodies to do them with.

reach up and FORWARD FOLD
come up part way
walk yourself out to a PLANK
lower yourself down to CHATARUNGA
peel yourself up for COBRA
curl your toes under
step the right foot between the hands
come up for RIGHT WARRIOR 1
open out for RIGHT WARRIOR 2
return forward, weight on front foot
hinge forward for RIGHT WARRIOR 3
...repeat on the left side

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Buyer's Guide to Helmets: Bauer 7500

I have been due to replace my good old Pro-Tec helmet, which I have been happy enough with; but after a year of wear, the lining was well compressed and the helmet was wobbling a bit on my head. Which is not, strictly, safe. You can pretty cheaply replace just the lining of your helmet, but not ad infinitum, as I discussed in this earlier post about replacing your helmet, where I also brought up the subject of hockey helmets. In addition to providing better protection, hockey helmets last longer; the life of a hockey helmet is supposed to be seven years. Which means this Bauer 7500 hockey helmet is going to last until I'm fifty, bitches:

bauer 7500 hockey helmet

I had meant to get the 5100, but Gunzo's only had the 4500 and the 7500 in stock. Ice Warehouse has the whole range of Bauer hockey helmets and Easton hockey helmets nicely laid out here. I like to try on stuff that I'm going to wear, though. The 7500 was more money than I wanted to spend, but it had better foam than the 4500 and tool-free adjustment. The 4500 is adjustable, but it adjusts with screws somehow. Tool-free is a very good feature. It has these locks on the sides, you flip them up and fit the helmet to the length of your head and then you flip them down to lock again.

The fit is amazing, you put on that helmet and it stays put. No wobble at all, the helmet is just part of your head. The first day I tried it on, I kept swiveling my head to look at things. Also I keep hoping it's going to project a bionic targeting system on my retinas, or maybe give me a list of swear phrases to select from.

Flava Dave: Ha! The swears come with the next model up.
P: Dang.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fall Pastime Wear

I know, fall is very long in the tooth. But winter wear is just layers of hoodies with fall wear underneath, and layers under that. Truthfully, pastime wear for staying in and watching television is a v-neck undershirt with long underwear and sweatpants. And I watch television a lot. When I do go out, I rock some jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt layered under another t-shirt.

wings in the shape of a guitar

I'm down to four pairs of what used to be my mom jeans, and two of them I won't be able to wear in winter because I need to wear long underwear under my jeans in winter and nothing's getting between me and my Calvins these days. They are, actually, Calvin Kleins that I got at Costco maybe eight or ten years ago. I have a long history of wearing body concealing clothes, until a couple of years ago Meg marched me out for my birthday to buy two pairs of size two jeans. Which I can't get past my thighs now, those and the two pairs of size four pedal pushers that I tried out for WCR the first time in. Yes, I tried out for WCR in jean shorts. Don't. Anyway, you know that episode of Star Trek Next Generation where Wesley accidentally creates a space-time anomaly and people keep getting sucked off the Enterprise? It's like that for me, except with pants. Well also, people. I don't mind about getting bigger, by the way. I spend almost all my time with girls who are all trying get bigger. When I get reassured that I'm not fat, it's like resurfacing from hanging out with radical liberals and there's still Fox News.

For long-sleeved t-shirts, I like Xhiliration sleep tees. They're very thin and stretchy. I haven't checked if Target still has them.

For t-shirts, I prefer t-shirts that I've designed or surgered myself or free t-shirts like from the free bin at the practice space. I recently picked up three treasures: a black one that has an appliqued 56 and Jagermeister written down the side, a red one that says I Want You To Want Me in black velvet letters, and the one pictured that says MUSIC IS MY SOUL on the front and has BEDAZZLED WINGS ON THE BACK. IN THE SHAPE OF A GUITAR. These used to belong to AliSin Chains, who must be getting tired of me grinning excitedly every time I see her and I'm wearing one of her old t-shirts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Life After Black & Blue Ball

new index card system

I'm having a right proper resurrection day after Black & Blue Ball. Speaking of balls, I'm sitting on my new fitness ball. Does my writing seem bouncy? I am bouncing a little bit. I mean, I'm going to do more with this ball besides using it as a desk chair. Anyway. During my post-divorce pre-derby period, I was going out, you know, kind of a lot, and I wasn't working because I was writing my screenplay, and I used to give myself resurrection days to recover after nights out. I named them after the resurrection process in Battlestar Galactica, where the Cylons wake up in a bathtub full of goo. Not that it ever got that bad, but I actually needed a full day to recover after a night out. Which I eventually reevaluated as too much of a price to pay and started watching more Project Runway instead. I mean, I didn't drink last night. It's just been a hella long week, I was holding 'em all week and today I woke up knowing I could fold 'em. I'm actually skipping agility practice tonight. I'll see how I feel tomorrow, too.

So I drank some gatorade and decided to photograph myself in my hockey helmet, and also my shin guards, and I was laughing to myself as I set the self-timer that it was a good thing that nobody could see me sitting on this fitness ball in my hockey helmet and my shin guards, with my right sock pulled down to show the shin guard. Except that you totally can, because I took pictures!

Wednesday, though, I get back on the horse. I upgraded my index card system, as you can see. Mondays and Wednesdays I write Livestrong articles, which are the yellow cards. Tuesdays and Thursdays I do league work, which are the blue cards. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays I write my blog entries for the week, which are the red cards. The cards over get moved across the week, until they're finished and they get filed. The cards under are my week by week blog plan, which is generally systems on Monday, fashion on Tuesday, gear on Wednesday, fitness on Thursday, and food on Friday.

I mean, for now. I have to figure out what I'm going to do about work, don't I.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Date Nut Oatmeal Cookies

date nut oatmeal cookies

Not a peanut butter apple replacement, that has to be a fruit or a vegetable. This could do, though, as an after workout snack. Or even better, as my Saturday between workouts snack. Which right now is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Which is also good.

This is basically the Quaker Oats oatmeal cookie recipe, veganized and with the sugar reduced by half. Because of my crazy blood sugar I've mostly lost my taste for sweets, so this may not be sweet enough for a normal person. Though my tasters thought they were okay, and because they're not so sweet you sort of feel like you can eat a lot of them. Ha, um. Also because they don't have so much sugar, these cookies don't spread when they bake and keep a nice shape; so if I wanted to add a little sweet to these cookies, I'd be more inclined to ice them.

1/2 lb "butter"
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flaxseed, ground and
   mixed with 6 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix together butter, molasses, and sugar until creamy. Oh and I just happened to use molasses and sugar because I was out of brown sugar, you could also just use 3/4 cup brown sugar. Mix in flaxseed and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and mix into wet ingredients. Mix in dates and walnuts.

Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until browned.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Last but so far from least that I'm starting with them, here are some stretches. I've been hearing this loop with regard to stretches, viz., trainers should leave time for stretches, there's just so much to do in just two hours of practice. So you're supposed to stretch on your own, but you know you never do. Rinse and repeat. Except don't. You don't have to never do, you can do. And here's a nice sequence that you can learn and do by heart, so that you don't have to stand around wondering what to stretch next.

I have a rule, actually, about getting overly exuberant about working out: if I'm doing a full practice schedule, I'm not allowed to add P90X or Insanity or whatever until I've added stretches. So far I haven't got past stretches, which is probably good. Pretty much every other morning right after I get out of bed, this takes about twenty minutes depending on how long you hold the stretches. Ten to twenty seconds is pretty good. More is better, if you have the time.


reach up
roll back up and reach up
cross right foot over left
roll back up and reach up
cross left foot over right
roll back up and reach up
step right foot forward and across


press up and bring leg back
step left foot forward and across
press up and bring leg up
walk up into forward fold
sit down


cross right foot over left ankle and pull across for IT BAND STRETCH
raise right leg and pull forward for HAMSTRING STRETCH
cross right ankle over left knee and pull forward for GLUTE STRETCH
cross right knee over left knee and pull forward DEEP GLUTE STRETCH
tip right knee to the left, look to the right for SPINAL TWIST
lie on left side and pull right foot back for QUAD STRETCH
...repeat on left side


fold right side over right leg for SIDE STRETCH X R
fold front over right leg for BACK STRETCH X R
walk hands around
fold front over left leg for SIDE STRETCH X L
fold left side over left leg for BACK STRETCH x L

pull right arm across chest for SHOULDER STRETCH
pull right arm over shoulder for TRICEPS STRETCH
...repeat on left side
pull arms clasped behind for SHOULDER BLADE STRETCH
pull arms clasped forward and overhead for CHEST STRETCH

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Owner's Guide to Replacing Your Pivot Cups

So the pointy bit of the truck goes into this hole in the bottom of your plate:

where the truck goes in

See how there's a hole in the plate itself, but the actual hole is smaller? Like a ring, sort of? That is the bottom of the pivot cup, which is a little plastic bit that pops into that bigger hole and fits the pointy bit of your truck tightly into your plate. If the pivot cup cracks or breaks, your whole truck will wobble and your skates will just not feel right. This hole looks a little bit enlarged but mostly okay, so I decided that my pivot cups don't need changing for now.

Which means I have replacement parts actually on hand in the event that something goes wrong, whoa now:

pivot cups

Four cups total, two per skate!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fall Play Wear

Really except for the Great Pants Shift of 2009 from skating dresses to tank tops and boyshorts, my play wear stays the same from season to season.

When the weather turns cool, I do break out my track jacket:

wcr track jacket

You have no idea, or maybe you do, how much happiness I invested in the idea of having a Windy City Rollers track jacket with my very own name and number on the back. And if you think I'm going to say that actually getting a Windy City Rollers track jacket with my very own name and number on the back didn't make me as happy as I thought it would, think again.

I mean, I'm not saying that it doesn't get any better than that.

Because obviously, there's this:

fury track jacket

Frankly, I still sometimes catch a glimpse of myself in my Fury jacket and scream a little bit. What's amazing is, then this gets topped by your teammate giving you a spock hand hoodie for no particular reason.

Taped to the wall over my shoulder in both pictures, actually, is the index card where I have written down the things I need to be wearing or have packed for practice. That I check, seriously, before I leave for practice, every single time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Erev Pearl Harbor Day Special Report

Well, my sister died yesterday.

Saturday afternoon after agility practice, I got the message from my brother-in-law that she was in the hospital again. This time it was that she had fluid in her lungs, and they had collapsed. My mom had fluid in her lungs, I know what that means. Or you know, maybe I don't. I'm not a doctor, I just know these two cases.

I had called her Thursday morning, and she wasn't feeling well at all. So we kept it short; but then she called me back, because she forgot to tell me that my nephew made the middle school basketball team. So that was the last conversation that I had with my sister. Really not bad, as far as last conversations go.

If you ever needed to be humbled, you would just look at how life goes on. You're kind of just not important enough not to keep going, so keep on.

Friday, December 3, 2010

December Diet Quality Card

december daily diet quality dance card

So Sarge and I have been drinking smoothies with an added sense of hysteria, because it's too cold. But smoothies are so good!

S: Arrrrrgh!! Could't resist again. I might catch pneumonia.
P: Ha ha, you're like a moth to a smoothie!

And yesterday:

S: Ummmmm.... I may or may not have taken a scalding hot bath just so I could drink a smoothie in it. Maybe. Is there a support group for this?
Are you kidding, that's genius. I've been eating oatmeal with dried cranberries and walnuts instead, I feel so unimaginative. If I ever don't think that I was born lucky, consider that I really love oatmeal. But it works out, because I always drink orange juice with oatmeal. I forget why. Oh, because oatmeal and orange juice supposedly reduces LDL cholesterol better together. That's not why I thought. Ha ha ha! Not like it's going to hurt you! I've actually been drinking orange juice or orange juice soda more with meals with the idea that the vitamin C in the orange juice helps with both calcium and iron absorption, especially iron from plant sources. Anyway, orange juice counts as a fruit serving!

But then also, I stopped eating peanut butter apples for some reason. Aiee, I would have a perfect card with them. I dunno, too cold. Or I just need to think of something new. Last week I randomly roasted some brussels sprouts with cranberries and pecans, I pretty much parked myself by the stove and snacked on them off the baking sheet. And may have eaten giant helpings of curried potato and vegetable stew that should count as two. So it's all good, except that I'm probably going to burn out on curried vegetable stew. But I have ideas, the brussels sprouts actually were for a quinoa dish and I have plans for some roasted root vegetable salads.

I suppose things are getting sort of carby. But it's winter, man.

I switched from soy to almond milk, but I just read the almond milk label and it really doesn't have much in the way of protein. So I'm not counting almond milk as anything. Now I'm trying hemp milk, which is a bit higher in protein but not much. It seems to be a good source of calcium and a bunch of vitamins, though, and omega 3s, and it tastes good. Here's an interesting article about different milks.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Plyos Workout

This summer I ran a plyos workout during the off season, and I'm repeating it again this fall. It's 10AM Saturday, and I follow them with noon league practice. Prepeak is a great time to throw down some doubles. Others in the class follow 7AM Fleetwood speed practice or 8AM league practice with plyos, and a couple of crazies have done the hat trick since you can get to Tsubo from the practice space in less than ten minutes. The two other really good doubles are speed plus Kru boot camp or Kru plus league practice, but you'd have to bend the laws of space and time to do a Kru triple. And also that would be insane, Kru is hard. I have plans for Kru during home season.

I started plyos with the upholdskis mostly because I like to have people to work out with, where "like to" means that I probably wouldn't work out without them. We actually do the little workouts that I developed when I was a rioter, before I had friends and used to be able to work out by myself. So I also teach these to people to theoretically do by themselves in whatever spare twenty minutes here and there. I'll be posting the little workouts in upcoming weeks, sort of with the idea that I've gone through them with you in person. I'm not sure that I'm going to be able to organize photos of everything. So they may not be totally self-explanatory, sorry about that.

My plyos are not so much anymore about hitting that big Whip It jump as putting a spring in your every step, though that's just because of time constraints. I'd do it all if I could. But right now, my plyos workout goes like this:

1. Warm up

I warm up with sun salutations with some easy strength work mixed in: quarter-tricep pushups for core and upper body, good mornings for core and hamstrings, and elevators for core and hip flexors.

2. Check form

There's a certain form that I'm trying to maintain throughout this whole workout, and it goes like this:

* navel pulled to your spine
* tailbone pointed down
* knees and ankles folded

Most skaters of a certain level know that "get low" doesn't mean bending forward at the waist, but getting your butt down by bending your knees and ankles. Now check when you get low that your back isn't arched with your butt sticking out, you want your back flat with your butt tucked under. Navel to spine. Tailbone down. Now get low.

Or do it the other way around: get low, then tuck your tailbone and pull your navel in. Whichever way, you want to set this form in those muscles. Check your navel and tailbone whenever it crosses your mind, whenever you're just standing around.

3. Set jump mechanics

This is the most basic way that you jump:

* remember, navel to spine and tailbone down!
* fold your ankles down
* spring your ankles open, pushing your toes through the floor

I run through different patterns of jump drills on two feet, right foot, left foot, split right, and split left. Foursquares for the basics, sunbursts to practice jumping at all angles, and sigmas to practice laterals and diagonals.

4. Practice jumping with fast feet

Then I do line drills to put jumping in context:

* throughout, navel to spine and tailbone down!
* fast feet forward, jump sideways
* fast feet sideways, jump forward
* fast feet forward, jump forward

Basically, the first two are juking and the forward-forward combo is the apex or inside line jump. But anyway, it's all about launching a jump mid-scramble. We add bodies and blocking as we progress.

5. Hit the deck

Credit where credit's due to upholdski Dame Over, who found this on the internet. Here's how we play:

* deck of cards
* diamonds are pushups, they're the hardest
* hearts are crunches, we love crunches
* spades are squats, you look like you're digging
* clubs are bridges, uh... bridge club!
* jacks are eleven
* queens are twelve
* kings are thirteen
* aces are high
* jokers repeat the last card

Right now we're doing wide arm pushups, russian twists for crunches, regular bodyweight squats, and one-legged bridges, plus we pass around a couple of kettlebells for some fun kettlebell roulette.

You get that I want your navel to your spine all the time, right? When you're doing pushups, when you're doing crunches, when you're doing bridges; but especially when you're doing squats, work that navel to spine and tailbone down and get low in that good form. If you're used to getting low with your back arched, you probably won't be able to get as low with your butt tucked and this is where you get that back.

All this business about navel to spine and tailbone down is about getting your core, of course, and your glutes and hamstrings, not just your quads, to do their part. You need to get your glutes and hamstrings involved for top power and stability, and for injury prevention.

6. Stretch

I'm a huge believer in stretching not as a nice form of relaxation, but as the necessary last step to maximize the benefits of all your hard strength work. If your trainer doesn't set aside time for stretching at the end of your workout, stretch before you go to bed or stretch after you get out of bed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Owner's Guide to Replacing Your Cushions

So if you keep lefty-looseying your truck nut, you can actually take your whole truck off the plate and also take apart the cushion assembly. I have never done this before!

disassembled truck and cushions


I've had these skates for about two and a half years? So I've never replaced the cushions. Possibly it was overdue, the pale alabaster cushion on the left obviously is the new cushion and the manky dirty yellow cushion on the right is the old cushion. If you look closely, the old cushion is actually compressed a millimeter or two shorter than the new cushion. So it's probably lost its spring a little bit. Besides loosening your trucks until they bottom out, the softness of your cushions is how you get action out of your trucks. Remember, trucks give when you put weight on them? The looser your trucks or the softer your cushions, the more responsive they are to how you move your weight around. And you don't have to have your trucks so loose with softer cushions, which is probably actually a better way to make them work.

new and old cushion

I did actually feel bouncier with new cushions, like I could pick up my feet better. That was just replacing the old Powerdyne white/black cushions with new ones. There's more, though. Two and a half years, I've never given my cushions a second look and I left Uproar with four sets of new cushions: the new set of the old Powerdyne cushions, and three sets of the new Powerdyne Magic Cushions. Whaaaat. They were in candy jars! They looked like gummy candies! Supposedly they're made of a different urethane than the old cushions, springier even at the same durometer. The white/blacks are 88A, then I got 85A firm yellows, 82A medium oranges, and 78A soft reds. The guy said that oranges would probably work best for me, based on my body weight. But I'm basically going to work my way all the way down, because my motto is how do you know that you've gone far enough unless you go too far.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ska Got Me This Awesome Hoodie

howlive long and prosper

I totally got my name and number put on the back, too! Just as a public service announcement, this hoodie is available at Threadless.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tofu Scramble with Sweet Potato Hash

tofu scramble with sweet potato hashAnd for the hat trick...

For the hash:
1 potato, scrubbed
1 sweet potato, scrubbed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced

Microwave the potatoes for just three minutes, then dice them.

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat, then add the potatoes, onion, and any other vegetable to the pan. Toss to coat potatoes in oil, then cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and toss again, and cook for another 10-15 minutes until browned.

Set the hash aside and use the same pan for the tofu.

For the tofu:
1 package extra-firm tofu
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Heat oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute lightly for 1-2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce.

Break the tofu into eight pieces, squeezing each piece until it's about half its original thickness, then loosely crumble it into the frying pan. Stir to combine with the onion-soy mixture and cook until heated through, about five minutes.

Put the hash back in the pan like in the picture, and let it all heat back up for about five minutes before serving.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Special Report

So then, I think last Friday, my sister developed blood clots in her leg and in her lung. I mean, right? Gah, not the lung. So she was taken by ambulance to the intensive care unit for observation, and pretty much just observation. Because if she goes into cardiac arrest, it's not like you can give her compression. Not with her ribs. Well okay, also for oxygen and blood thinner. Regular blood thinner, also, doesn't work on chemo patients.

She was in the hospital over the weekend and now she's back home, hooked up to oxygen and giving herself blood thinner shots daily to dissolve the clots. "Or maybe," she makes a little explody gesture near her heart, closes her eyes, and grins and flaps her hands like an angel going up. So it's that kind of Thanksgiving. Like when my mom showed up at Thanksgiving all of a sudden on crutches and announced, "I can't walk. Ha ha!"

I always say that if I were the President of the United States, I would sign an executive order making the day after Thanksgiving a permanent national holiday. It should be against the law to work the day after Thanksgiving. Especially the day you wake up not wanting to get out of bed, like ever. My favorite life coach says that depressed sounds like "deep rest," because when you're depressed that's what you need. Which is entirely plausible. But also imaginable is that I won't ever lift a hand to do another damn thing, even against a sea of damn things, and laundry, and index cards. If I wanted to get out of bed just a little bit, I could stay in bed.

As it is, up and at 'em:

* drink water
* shower
* eat oatmeal
* change sheets
* sort laundry
* eat sandwich and pie
* read Belly Up
* report volunteer hours
* invite trainers to practices
* review & plan
* bills: pay credit card
* set up December LHH tasks
* talk morosely to sweetie man
* write root vegetable article
* write up sweet potato hash recipe

And now I've had dinner and I'm watching the last two Matrix movies, which are very deeply restful. I think my brain is flatlining right now. I'm only half paying attention because I'm writing this, so I have to ask the sweetie man who the Chinese guy is. "Serif," he says. "He's the Oracle's bodyguard."

"Seriously? So like if he dies, she's gonna be sans serif?"

Oh, Seraph. Still.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Potato Pancakes with Applesauce

potato pancakes with applesauce and sour cream

Happy Thanksgiving y'all, from the Asian girl who sometimes says y'all! Whose nephew and niece have grown up thinking that a traditional Thanksgiving dinner isn't complete without potato pancakes, applesauce, and sour cream thanks to my Jewish ex-husband. Which I have veganized here with rice flour. Full circle, yeah!

For the applesauce:
6 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Peel, core, and cut up the apples into chunks. Put the apples and water into a saucepan and cook uncovered until the apples are soft. Mash the apples, add the sugar and lemon juice, and refrigerate until needed.

For the potato pancakes:
6 russet potatoes
1 onion
2 Tbsp rice flour
1 cup matzo meal
1 tsp salt or to taste

Peel and cut up the potatoes and onions into chunks. Grind them together in a food processor until fairly fine. Add rice flour, matzo meal, and salt to taste.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Drop heaping tablespoons of potatoes into the hot oil, fry for about four minutes per side, and drain on paper towels.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Owner's Guide to Setting Your Trucks

checking your trucks

Your skates come from the factory with the trucks tightened; so you will want to loosen them at least a bit, or else you won't be able to turn at all. If you feel like you're willing yourself to turn with all your might and still skating into walls or if doing swizzles and slaloms seems just impossible, it probably means that your trucks are too tight. As your skating improves, you may want to loosen them even more to your liking.

The truck, in case you don't know what I'm talking about, is the metal chunk that attaches your axels to your skate. To check their looseness, grab a wheel in each hand and wiggle them up and down like a seesaw. They should move at least a little bit, I personally like my trucks pretty loose and set them so the rings really wobble around the cushions there. More about cushions TK, though.

adjusting your trucks

To adjust the trucks, you loosen or tighten the truck nut with your skate tool. Righty tighty, lefty loosey. Same advice as for lowering your toe stops, you can gradually loosen your trucks or you can go the full loosey goosey and reel yourself back in if you go too far.

The way trucks work is, they give when you put weight on them. The front truck gives backwards and the back truck gives forwards, so that they sort of pinch together if you can picture that. You turn in the direction that the wheels are pinching. So that's how you turn: you put your weight in the direction that you want to turn, the trucks pinch, and you turn in that direction. The looser the trucks, the more responsive they are to what you do with your weight.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You Make Me Want To Be A Better Blocker

you make me want to be a better blocker

And ta da, here's the Better Blocker t-shirt and here's the link to order this awesome t-shirt at the alla Poppy Zazzle store.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tofu Scramble with Red Flannel Hash

tofu scramble with red flannel hash

Second verse, pretty much the same as the first.

For the hash:
1 potato, scrubbed
1 beet, scrubbed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced

If your beet comes with its greens, you can chop those up and throw them in the hash.

Microwave the potato and beet for just three minutes, then dice them.

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat, then add the potato, beet, onion, bell pepper, and any other vegetable to the pan. Toss to coat potato and beet in oil, then cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and toss again, and cook for another 10-15 minutes until browned.

Set the hash aside and use the same pan for the tofu.

For the tofu:
1 package extra-firm tofu
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Heat oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute lightly for 1-2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce.

Break the tofu into eight pieces, squeezing each piece until it's about half its original thickness, then loosely crumble it into the frying pan. Stir to combine with the onion-soy mixture and cook until heated through, about five minutes.

Put the hash back in the pan like in the picture, and let it all heat back up for about five minutes before serving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Peanut Better Apple

peanut better apple

Where "better" means that I turned an apple into a 500 calorie snack, woot! But seriously, this is to get my essential omega 3 fats in. Do you know, I used to buy Land O'Lakes Omega 3 eggs and they came up on the grocery store receipt as LOL OMG EGGS.

I have to tell you, I was photographing this and the bowl of peanut butter dip flipped over headed for the floor. And I caught it square in the middle... of the peanut butter... with my foot... and flipped it back over without spilling a drop of dip. Though I did get some on my sock. AND THEN I ATE IT. What, it was way less than three seconds.

2 Tbsp flaxseed
1 Tbsp flaxseed oil
2 Tbsp peanut butter
an apple

Grind the flaxseed in a coffee grinder. Mix ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and peanut butter in a small bowl. Cut up the apple and eat with the peanut butter.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Feel Like A Morning Star

I feel a little out of place surrounded by vegan foodies not because I'm only veganish, which is really to say not vegan, but just that I'm not a foodie by a stretch. I mean, I like food. I think I like food. But I might think I like food like I think I like fashion. Okay, I'm pretty much obsessed with food but I'm not obsessed with food qua food. I'm obsessed with food qua fuel, or food qua fitness. I guess I'm a fuelie, or maybe a fittie. Food, for me, either has to fuel a workout or recovery after a workout. And also I have to be able to fix it in fifteen minutes or less, because I have the patience of a bat.

I don't know. Do you know? Bats. Patient?

But as it happens if you're super concerned about delivering the cleanest fuel to your muscles for a workout or rebuilding your muscles with the most nutrient rich foods, you do end up making a lot of room for fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains and you can only eat so much food. So other foods tend to get crowded out, and you sort of get veganish by default. I pretty highly recommend Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier and also Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness for vegan, vegetarian, and meat eating athletes, and for non-athletes for that matter. Though maybe that last part's not fair, I never could get good about diet and exercise until I had a reason to.

Anyway, I'm not saying that I'm the first person to put together the ideas of vegan and athlete. I mean obviously, there's this book.

Here's my thing: skating and playing derby is basically what my life is organized around, and I beat the hell out of my body for that. One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean shit. Which is from City Slickers, by the way. My other favorite line from City Slickers is Scoop of vanilla, scoop of chocolate, don't waste my time, which is my Darmok for something that's insultingly easy. Someday I'm going to put together my personal Darmok page, just to see it all in one place. But anyway I don't need food to beat me up, that's not what food is for. You understand, this is more of a steering wheel than a clean bill of health.

But yeah food's supposed to fix you up, not stress you out. Is what I'm saying. That's why I don't stress myself out cooking so much and stay away from processed and harder to digest foods as much as possible, I'm keeping my stress load down so I can do more pushups. So that leaves out dairy, too. You don't think I'm serious, do you. I mean, I'm serious about dairy. Though I'll tell you something interesting about stress, I used to be lactose intolerant when I was married. And now I'm not! Though I still don't eat dairy. Also I'm way behind on the pushups, better get on that—

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Owner's Guide to Setting Your Toe Stops

tightening your toe stops

To take your toe stop off or put it back on, you have to loosen or tighten that toe stop nut; you grab the toe stop with one hand and work your toe stop wrench with the other hand. Always remember, righty tighty lefty loosey. Though it's worth mentioning, that's looking up, as it were, at your toe stop from the bottom of your skate. Not looking down from your head to your toes, like I am in the picture. I'm actually righty looseying there. If the way you're turning doesn't work, turn the other way. That's good advice for life and toe stops.

To set your toe stop to your desired height, you wind the nut down the toe stop screw, drop on the washer, and screw the toe stop into your skate however high you want. Then keep the toe stop in that position and tighten the nut with your wrench.

[ETA 4/16/11: Steve from Lombard highly urges me to tell folks that you should put a drop of, say, bearing oil, on the threads of a new toe stop before you screw it in. If you screw it in dry, you could strip the threads.]

checking your toe stop height

I thought it was crazy to set toe stops as low as the Countrymans from the Fleetwood speed team told us to. Your back wheels should be no more than two inches off the floor, when your toe stop touches down. But I am obedient, and it was instantly fabulous: the lower the toe stops, the lower the angle that your feet are off the ground for better balance. You can lower them gradually to get used to them so low, or you can maybe bite it a few times and get it all over with a bold swoop.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You Have Tiny Little Hits

you have tiny little hits


I was trash talking with upholdskis T.S. Helliot and Dame Over, and all I got was this AWESOME t-shirt. I was going to make a screen to print a few shirts for ourselves, but I was not having time to make a screen and look here's Zazzle who will make shirts for you. So you can totally order this t-shirt at the alla Poppy Zazzle store. Photo of the Better Blocker shirt TK!

The shirts are only available in black, the Better Blocker shirt is held up because I tried it on white and the design didn't show up well at all. But Zazzle lets you return shirts that don't turn out, which is cool of them.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tofu Scramble with Breakfast Potatoes

tofu scramble with breakfast potatoes

this awesome cast iron pan was my mom's. i wrote a goth little poem about it when i was in high school.

This used to be my ultimate skating breakfast, I guess when I had 10AM rioters practice. Since then, though, my weekend practices have all been at nine or eight or seven, in descending order of the likelihood that I'm awake enough to actually cook breakfast. But happy days are here again, Saturday plyos are at 10AM again followed by noon league practice. For which it's not a bad idea to seriously fuel up.

For the potatoes:
2 potatoes, scrubbed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced

You can also add a little bit of whatever something-something you have on hand, like half a bell pepper, finely diced, or a bunch of parsley, chopped.

Microwave the potatoes for just three minutes, then dice them.

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat, then add the potatoes, onion, celery, and any other vegetable to the pan. Toss to coat potatoes in oil, then cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and toss again, adding any herbs at this point, and cook for another 10-15 minutes until browned.

You can do this in a separate pan from the tofu, but I have this awesome cast iron pan that nothing sticks to; so now I set the potatoes aside and use the same pan for the tofu. I suppose you could scramble it all together, but I feel like the tofu would get the potatoes wet at this point.

For the tofu:
1 package extra-firm tofu
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Heat oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute lightly for 1-2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce.

Break the tofu into eight pieces, squeezing each piece until it's about half its original thickness, then loosely crumble it into the frying pan. Stir to combine with the onion-soy mixture and cook until heated through, about five minutes.

And now I put the potatoes back in the pan like in the picture, and let them heat back up for about five minutes before serving. Then I scramble the tofu and the potatoes together on my plate to eat them, but that's not as pretty and probably bad table manners—

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fruit Soda

fruit soda

This pretty much fixes me up for soda. I guess what I really like are the bubbles.

seltzer water
fruit juice

Almost fill a glass with seltzer water, then pour in a splash of any fruit juice. Mostly I just use orange juice, but sometimes sweetie man gets this fancy mango green tea and that's really good.

Really, just a splash, probably about a quarter cup of juice. So this doesn't count as a fruit serving, just hydration.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fall Fitness Plan

Prepeak: Intensive Endurance and Pack Awareness

Hm well, I'm not sure how much extensive endurance I did last period. But anyway, we are now officially in the post-Uproar period as planned by yours truly. Being that I'm now in charge of the league practice schedule, don't you know. Though I just evenly divided practices between all the focuses, and scrimmages between all the teams.

For me, this means training for real to play in the upcoming home season. I'm only doing four practices per week, it's up to me to make them all key workouts. I sometimes think I do so many practices that it's not urgent to make them count. My new rule is that if I'm not too tired the next day to think about doing anything but stretches, I haven't worked out hard enough. Saturdays I'm leading plyos again, and doing them as a double with noon league practices. Every other Sunday I also lead referee practice, which is a recovery workout for me. But do you know I taught mohawks at a Derby Lite practice a month or so ago, and I've been so much better at mohawks since then. I sort of think teaching rewires all the stuff that you've jerryrigged in your brain, so it's more reliable and not such a fire hazard up there.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Buyer's Guide to Toe Stops

I'm very stoked to have gotten new toe stops from the Derby 4 All booth at Uproar, as well as few other things that I will talk about later. Now's as good a time as any to give you a quick rundown of toe stops, though.

snyder round toe stopssure-grip web toe stopspowerdyne round toe stopspowerdyne midi-gripper toe stops


  1. NEW to me, Snyder Round - I've wanted for a long time to try Snyder Rounds; the ball shape is supposed to give you some bounce, whereas a flat round stop supposedly makes you stick to the floor. Looking forward to giving them a try, but I've also heard that there are some issues with this stop's durability. Stay tuned.
  2. Sure-Grip Web - This has been my favorite stop almost since I started skating. I prefer big toe stops because there's more surface area to do everything— starting, stopping, or running— for more stability and more agility.
  3. PowerDyne Round - This is the stop that came with my Vandals. It's okay. It's better than the Midi Gripper, it doesn't unscrew itself at least.
  4. PowerDyne Midi Gripper - This is the stop that came with my R3s. I don't like this stop at all, it's too small. And unlike a round, the wedge actually has to be correctly positioned, and also because of the wedge shape, it's more prone to turn out of position. Mine were almost always out of position and pretty frequently unscrewed themselves.

Toe stops are mostly interchangeable (but ask), and you can use the toe stop hardware that came with your skates. Basic toe stop hardware for R3s, Vandals, and the like looks like this.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Curried Vegetable Stew

curried potato and spinach stew

I've been having this more than Creamed Vegetable Soup, because it counts as two vegetables and soup only counts as one. Even though one of the vegetables is potatoes, OKAY.

And this is extra good over brown rice.

olive oil
1-2 onions, diced
1 tablespoon curry powder
2-3 potatoes, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can broth
, ETA 1/9/ 12 optional
16 oz frozen cauliflower, peas, or spinach

Heat oil in a saute pan over low heat as you prep the vegetables. Turn up the heat to medium and saute the diced onions until almost browned, about ten minutes. Stir in the curry powder until fragrant, about a minute. Then add the diced potatoes, stirring until potatoes are well coated with oil and spices. Stir in the tomatoes and broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan and let simmer for about ten minutes. Stir in the frozen vegetables; partially cover the pan and let simmer until vegetables are well cooked, between ten and twenty minutes.

ETA 1/9/12: You know it's even better if you omit the broth, put in the frozen vegetables, turn the heat to low and cover the pan to let the vegetables steam for 20-25 minutes; you get steamed vegetables in a thick tomato curry sauce.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Life After Uproar

I think that letting go is going to be an important survival technique coming up. I'm not talking about my sister, geez. Not ready for that. Her doctor thinks that something viral and not cancerous paralyzed her throat. It's already getting better, she can eat again but has to tuck her chin to drink. She also came home from the hospital with some really excellent pain meds, which I failed to not be aware of. It would be so lovely to be high, but I only have two vicodin left and harder days ahead. What, vicodin is vegan. Actually, I don't know if vicodin is vegan. But if I'm high, I won't care. What am I talking about. I'm talking about letting go of structure and routine, you know, the glue that holds me together.

things to get done on index cards

Anyway since I've been on a reduced work schedule, I've been staying on track by starting every morning with a simple routine:

* drink water
* do stretches
* wash up
* wash dishes
* breakfast

...where "wash up" is short of a shower, and I don't stretch and sweetie man does the dishes on shower days. Then I sit down at my desk and look at what cards I have taped to the wall for the day, and I do one card at a time. Some days, I mean, I only do one card. But now some days I'm going to have to be at my sister's, right now just to keep her company or to take care of the kids. I'm going to have to be okay with doing what's needed, and letting go of Getting Things Done, things being, in order, well, working, writing Livestrong articles, writing for this blog, and if worse comes to worst, taking care of the league practice schedule, which I'm in charge of now.

But you're just worried that I'm a drug addict, aren't you.

Do you want to hear my vicodin story? It's from New Years Day 2007, I was just separated and living on my own for the first time in fourteen years.

I'd had the best New Years Eve, there was a party in a dance studio, then a cab ride where I was laid out across four girls' laps, and then karaoke at the Hidden Cove. All in all, I didn't get home until four-thirty in the morning. I couldn't get myself out of my dress, I was thinking for a minute that I'd have to sleep in the dress and get help in the morning; but I worked it out by myself. Seriously if you're single, how do you zip up? I laid down on my bed and slept for three hours, and then I had to go to my sister's house to play with the kids.

"I know what it is," the girl says, when she gets her wrapped present. "It's a Bratz doll."

My sister asks, "How do you know that?"

"Because the box is shaped like a coffin." This is the kind of thing that Imo can't help saying when she's very tired. My sister's cancer doesn't recur until June of this year, in case you were really horrified.

I felt human until lunch, though I was taking it very easy and the kids were perfect and happy to watch Pirates Of The Caribbean 2 with me. After lunch I painted ladybugs on the girl's thumbnails, and then I hit the wall and wished everybody a happy new year.

I dropped the car off at my ex-husband's, and honestly I was too exhausted to walk home. Luckily Filter was open and I had my laptop, I camped out on a couch. I had coffee and a scone, which perked me up enough to walk back to my place.

It's been so busy over the holidays, a lot of late nights. Plus I've been euphoric and pushing myself pretty hard, and it started to catch up with me over the weekend. I had a few swings into depression, and I needed to respond quicker to them. I got home beyond exhausted, and totally fell apart. I mean, this was the big crash. It's too late to help yourself when it happens. I was afraid of everything, including sleeping. It was only four in the afternoon, and I was terrified I would wake up all by myself at 3:00 AM with the screaming blue horrors. And then what. I thought if I could just calm down enough to watch television just until bedtime, I could get some sleep, get back on schedule, probably be fine in the morning, and promise myself to have a quiet week.

A key Darmok phrase for me is Mama's bank account. I think I've explained this, it's an emergency resource that you aren't meant to use. In the story, Mama's bank account doesn't actually exist. I'd started to think of this bottle of vicodin in those terms, all the more so because it's my mom's vicodin. The game is not to take the pills, of course. I decide to take half a vicodin. Which doesn't feel like anything after a half hour, and after all my mom died three years ago. Half of a three year old vicodin probably doesn't have any drugs left. So I take the other half, which also doesn't feel like anything after another half hour. I take a second pill, and that doesn't feel like anything. The label says to take one to two pills as needed, I'm not going to take any more—I'm depressed, but I can still read directions. I settle down to watch another episode of Space Above And Beyond, which sort of starts off slow & then gets going in fourth episode, which is way more than you can say for Deep Space Nine. Oh well, the pills don't work, but I have my pillows and blanket out on the couch and the lights out, and this episode is actually pretty good & I start thinking about what I'm going to do tomorrow, looking forward to what I have to do.

I think to myself contentedly, I love my pillows and blanket. Because right, it's the pillows and blanket and of course not the drugs.

In about a minute, I'm laying out paper on the kitchen floor for refinishing the kitchen cart tomorrow. It occurs to me now about the drugs. Hooray, the drugs work and I don't feel weird at all. I'm not even blissed out, like junkies in the movies. I just feel normal, like I can cope with my life. What's to cope with, it's all good.

In another minute, I start to feel weird. My heart is racing, I kind of feel like throwing up and I think that might not be such a bad idea, because who wants to be the person who has to get her stomach pumped in the emergency room for taking two vicodin. I ought to be able to throw up two vicodin by myself. Then I'm having dry heaves in the bathroom, until my jaw locks. I manage to register that I'm actually in a pretty good mood.

I give up trying to throw up and creep out of the bathroom, massaging my jaw. I'm not even sure that I'm not having a blood sugar episode, because I've hardly eaten anything all day. I am sure that now is not the time to eat anything. Declining my head seems to lessen the nausea, which goes away almost entirely when I am horizontal. I hinge at the waist and creep around the apartment like a T-square, turning off the lights and getting my laptop. Then I lie flat on my back in bed, feeling good and watching television until midnight.

Anyway that was all, I felt better enough at ten to make myself two pieces of toast. Most of this I wrote then, on drugs, if that explains anything.

Friday, November 5, 2010

November Diet Quality Card

november daily diet dance card

So, this is much better than last month. Mostly because I never reorganized myself about work lunches and reverted to sandwiches, which threw everything off. Now I have curried vegetable stew for lunches and also better peanut butter apples for afternoon snacks, recipes TK. I add flaxseed and flaxseed oil to the peanut butter, so I get my essential oils in. So I've filled in more of the good boxes, and am not eating dairy, eggs or meat on a regular basis. Just in time for:

vegan month of food

I also haven't been drinking Coke, because I don't work near a vending machine. Although honestly, the last time, I was at home and put on my shoes to get myself a Coke at the gas station. But now I have a recipe for fruit soda that I like just as much, and a water bottle that I like drinking from—

More about Vegan Month of Food >>

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Owner's Guide to Cleaning Your Bearings

Bearings should be cleaned when they start to roll slower, or don't roll for very long when you spin them. How often that is depends mostly on where you're skating: bearings will get dirty pretty quick outdoors and stay pretty clean in a clean indoor space. Which the practice space is not, so I try to clean my bearings about every month.

I've also heard that how clean you need your bearings to be depends on the top speed you need. So like, speed skaters are pretty religious about cleaning their bearings. Even jammers don't skate as fast as that overall, and blockers even less so. But I don't regard bearings as being fast as much as easy to push: a cleaner bearing is easier to push, who wouldn't want that?

Okay so these are instructions for cleaning one-sided bearings, which means they have a shield just on the one side. Bones bearings are one-sided; so in addition to being great bearings, they're easy to clean. Bones does make a bearing washer, but I think the BSB Speed Wash System is better designed.

poke out the shields

One-sided bearings are great because you can just poke out the shields from the back, using a bent paperclip. I did not figure this out myself. You just work the paperclip through the back until it goes through, and poke, the shield pops out. With two-sided bearings you have to use a pin to pick the shield out from the front, which I never got good at. If you have sealed bearings, you just throw them away and put into new bearings. Tut, though.

wash the bearings

Then you snap the unshielded bearings on the washer stem, I bought two so that I could do all my bearings at once. The longer it takes or the fussier it is to do any task, the less likely I will do it ever. With two bottles, it's snap snap snap snap snap snap snap snap shake shake shake and done. By which I mean, you drop the stems into the washer bottle, let them soak for five minutes, shake them each for the length of a favorite song, and they're clean. The bottle comes filled with BSB Citrus Cleaner, which is pretty good. The other cleaner I've used is acetone, which dries better but which I melted the paint on the windowsill with.

filter the dirty cleaner

The cleaner can be reused, I filter it in, um, the sweetie man's coffeemaker. What. It's clean, it's cleaner!

dry the bearings

I might switch back to acetone when I've used up this citrus cleaner, because drying bearings is a pain. After I take my bearings out of the citrus cleaner, I wipe them on a rag and blow out any remaining moisture with canned air. But drying an entire set of bearings takes almost an entire can of canned air, which seems wasteful to me. So lately I've been drying my bearings with a blowdryer set on cool. Acetone evaporates instantly, so you don't have to do any of this.

oil the bearings

After the bearings are dry, the most fun part is spinning them and hearing that spinny sound. But then you have to oil them, and they don't sound as spinny after that. Bearings need oil, though. Don't be tempted to do without. I use Bones Speed Cream. Just one drop on one ball, then spin the bearing to get the oil all around.

press in the shields

Then you press the shields back in place, and your bearings are ready to go back into your wheels.