Monday, February 28, 2011

Things Fall Apart

20110215_orange1So two Sundays ago was the February bout and last Sunday I did a Quilty shoot, both of which were really cool things to do! You have to do cool things! But would it kill you to remember that Sunday is your day for putting yourself back together and that if you miss two of those in a row, the universe has not suddenly become bereft of hope. Wasn't the universe fine two weeks ago? What are the odds in the whole grand scope of time that suddenly everything went wrong in the last two weeks? You just need to hold yourself together until next Sunday, and everything will be okay.

Except.

Wednesday morning, I determinedly tackled the whole mess. I clean from the back of my apartment to the front. I made the bed and picked my laundry off the floor. For whatever reason, my system is to throw my clothes on the floor every night and pick it all up at the end of the week. It's very tide like. On the other hand, I do the dishes as I cook. Except when I don't cook, the sweetie man cooks and he does not do the dishes as he cooks. I haven't been cooking, and the dishes have been piling up. So I tied on my apron and plunged into the dishes. After I finished all that, I was about to overlook the mess in the refrigerator again. Everything that I've made in the last couple weeks has only been okay and I haven't been eating it. It's just been piling up in the refrigerator going bad. I have been eating cake. Don't get me wrong, I love cake. Cake reminds me of when I was a kid. Do you remember what it was like to be a kid? Right. You were psychotic. I felt bad, I kept grabbing vegetables in their plastic bags and thinking, oh, I can make a nice pasta with this, only to find upon closer inspection that something yellow and sometimes foamy had taken over inside. But after I cleaned it all out, I made an amazingly delicious savory oatmeal with the only vegetables, half a pint of cherry tomatoes, that hadn't turned into oozing Grandpa Simpsons. And then I pushed out to the front room, which included paying all my bills.

The bathroom is still gross, the bathroom is like the appendix of the apartment. Because the bathroom is off to the side!

Thursday I work, and then there's scrimmage, and then we wanted to get milkshakes at Earwax one last time. But there was an hour wait, because everybody wanted to get milkshakes at Earwax one last time. So we ended up at Sultan's, and I had a falafel sandwich.

So far so good, except for the bathroom.

Friday morning, I woke up feeling like I had been beaten with a stick. Luckily I watch House now, I diagnosed myself with a stomach virus. The stomach part got over and done with in the first hour, and the virus part went on for the next twenty-four hours. I mean, I had a fever. And fun fact, my body temperature is normally about 97.6. I say this without ire, but my ex-husband never took my 99.1 temperatures seriously. Whereas the sweetie man is putting ice packs under my head at that point, which is how I know he is the man for me. But seriously, my temperature was at 100.7 for most of the day and night and I'm stubborn about not taking fever reducers because isn't the fever supposed to be killing the viruses? Of course now I have a sardonic voice in my head that says, "And your brain cells, you idiot." And fever makes you feel so bad. So I did take two ibuprofen at some point, though I don't think they did anything. I was saying "everything hurts" at ten minute intervals and the sweetie man would respond "I know" in a loop for four hours. Which is also how I know he is the man for me.

My temperature was normal when I woke up Saturday morning, I felt guilty about having cancelled plyos. "Guess I could have led them after all," I sighed to myself, heading straight from the bed to the couch and getting under blankets.

About an hour later, "I think I'm still sick."

"No kidding."

I did feel better Saturday, though. I didn't get off the couch. I felt well enough to write all of the above. I watched television and napped and wrote in my notebook. All I needed was a good night's sleep to set me up for Sunday again. Except that I woke up at two in the morning and threw up, and crawled back out to the couch for the rest of the night.

When the sweetie man comes out to check on me at about 7:00 AM, I tell him that I had a terrible night and threw up and my stomach hurt and I took Tagamet and then my stomach felt better and I did fall asleep for a little bit, but now my stomach hurts again and I keep seeing these weird faces when I close my eyes, though I think that last part was the sleep deprivation talking.

So much for Sunday, again.

I did have a good night's sleep last night. And some crazy person has been writing stuff for my blog. And the weird thing is, I've had a stuffy nose for, I don't know, a few months? And I don't have the keenest sense of smell, which is like the opposite of a recreational hazard. I can totally breathe this morning. And I can smell, the sweetie man is up making his coffee...

So now this rough beast is moving her slow thighs into the shower.

Friday, February 25, 2011

 

* couch
* bed

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Walk This Way
 off skates

 

* walk

So right, this is no problem. You don't need me to tell you how to walk, you've been walking since you were two years old. Maybe sooner than that, I have no idea when babies learn things. We all know how to walk and if you can walk, you can skate.

* power walk

So what did everybody do when I said power walk? We all started swinging our arms. You may notice that your arms and legs swing opposite to each other, your right arm swings forward when your left leg steps forward and vice versa. We do this naturally. Now that I've pointed it out to you, I might have accidentally melted your brain and you won't be able to walk naturally for the next minute. Probably doesn't bear too much thinking about. That little arm swing, though, adds a little bit of purpose and a little bit of speed to your stride.

* power walk with a spring in your step

We're just exaggerating what goes on when we walk, which is that we're always transferring our weight from one foot to the other. We set down one foot and lift the other foot, then set down the other foot and so on. As we lift the foot going forward, we slightly spring off the back foot and right now we're exaggerating that slight spring. But we're still just walking, we always have one foot on the ground.

* run

Walking turns to running when you spring off that back foot and for a moment you're in the air. Neither foot is on the ground. You strike and spring off the ground strongly enough to get yourself airborne. Whee, run.

* run and leap forward

So you can see, running is already jumping in a sense. Add a little more force to your spring and turn your running step into a leaping step. Run three steps and leap forward, run three steps and leap forward...

* run and leap sideways

Just for fun, run three steps and leap sideways! You're still transferring your weight from one foot to the other, just in a different direction.

And now we're going to work our way down:

* run and leap forward

What's the difference between leaping sideways and leaping forward? Just how you reach with your fly leg and how you push with your spring leg, right?

* run

Now lessen your spring, you're not leaping forward anymore. Just that little moment in the air.

* power walk with a spring in your step

Now lessen your spring more, you're still moving strongly forward with one foot touching down as the other foot lifts off. So you're back to always having a foot on the ground.

* power walk

Now let that go, you're just walking and swinging your arms.

* walk

And let your arms go, just walking like you've walked all your life.

And now, tuck—navel in, tailbone down, knees and ankles folded as low as you can—and do it all over again. Apart from getting low, most of us don't walk with our navel in and tailbone down. Most of us walk with our butts sticking out, which has to do with us sitting in chairs so much. In your normal life, it probably gives you a little bit of lower back pain now and then. It's going to be a big pain in your skating life, though. And the best way to get it right for skating is to do it all the time, and your back will feel better. So, win win.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Winter Play Wear

snowsuit

I've never been a winter biker, though now I can't think why not. I crazily chose the second day after Snowmageddon to try biking to the practice space. Only it wasn't crazy, our car was buried up to the windshield in snow after all and I had to get out. Now biking in winter just makes sense, you're perfectly warm when you're biking as long as you're bundled up. The only thing about the cold is, the gears don't catch if the freewheel is dry or dirty. I was having to scooter push my bike, then pedal and change gears wildly until something caught or else slowly tip over and have to start over. Which was hilarious, and an adventure. But I took her to Quick Release the next day, she's all good.

I biked to practice and then after practice to Boiler Room for Mel's birthday, it was zero degrees. Which is really cold, I'm not going to lie about that. It was good, though! Because now I know I can, and now biking when it's just freezing seems downright pleasant.

The next day, my snowsuit arrived! This is a regular size large Lands End Boy's Snow Squall Bib, it just fits in the hips and butt. Possibly husky would have been better, I can't gain an inch as it is and it's likely that I will.

I am loving riding my bike again, it's really giving me a boost. And a cardio and lower body workout, but really that's just a byproduct. I've been stepping down my practices, which has been good. Sometimes you need more discipline and sometimes you need more freedom. Though if you've noticed people who have plenty of discipline tend to think they need more discipline and people who have plenty of freedom tend to think they need more freedom, and get stuck like that. Sometimes you manage to switch, and then it's like you get to unlock the next level—

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Veganly Cannellini Bean Soup with Pepperoncini and Potatoes

veganly cannellini beans

I had a handful of baby spinach in the fridge, so I threw that in too.

A whole jar of peppers makes a pretty spicy soup, adjust as you like.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion
1 potato
1 jar pepperoncini peppers
1 tsp thyme
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can broth
1 can cannellini beans

Gently heat oil over low heat as you dice the onion and potato, adding them to the pot as they are diced. Stem and slice the peppers, and add them to the pot. Add thyme, and stir until fragrant. Add tomatoes and broth, and bring to a strong simmer. Add beans and simmer for twenty minutes or until potatoes are done.

Monday, February 21, 2011

 

* drink water
* stretch
* shower
* cake for breakfast
* wash pads for the love of god
* make bed
* make quinoa with roasted turnips and apples
* yuck
* talk to Myra
* gear field trip with upholdskis

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quinoa with Roasted Sweet Potato, Leek, and Corn

quinoa with roasted sweet potatoes, leeks, and corn

You might think that it's the sweet potato that makes this recipe, but it isn't. It's the corn. Also roasting leeks makes the house smell amazing.

a large sweet potato
three leeks
1/2 lb frozen corn
olive oil
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Scrub and dice the sweet potato. Trim the leeks, discarding the dark green parts. Halve the white and light green parts lengthwise, wash thoroughly, and slice crosswise. Toss the sweet potato, leeks, and corn in a baking pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until nicely browned, about twenty minutes or maybe longer because of the corn giving off liquid.

Meanwhile, bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a small pot. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it stand. When the vegetables are roasted, add the quinoa right to the baking pan and stir it all together.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Agility Workout

This home season I'm teaching Derby Lite about once a month, twice so far this season. I thought I was doing a plyos workout with them, but realized that it's actually an agility workout. But it's all connected, which is beautiful and totally why I love to teach.

1. Warm up

The warmup actually worked out the way I thought it would, which is always amazing and exciting:

Offskates, around the track, maybe a quarter or a half lap each:

* walk
* power walk
* power walk with a spring in your step
* run
* run and leap forward
* run and leap sideways
* run and leap forward
* run
* power walk with a spring in your step
* power walk
* walk
I almost don't want to talk through what happens at every step. In fact, I won't. Just do it, and come back. Then I'll talk.

Now repeat the above, still off skates, navel to spine, tailbone down, ankles and knees folded as low as you can without sacrificing your tuck. "Tuck" is short for navel to spine, tailbone down.

2. Skates on!

Now do it all again, nice and relaxed. Believe me when I say that you can do everything on skates that you can in shoes. Do it all on skates just the same as you did in shoes. Do it! Then come back, and we'll talk.

Finally, do it all again in a nice low tuck.

3. Agility 5

All of the above, if you haven't figured it out, was about changing speed with smooth forward momentum. Except for the sideways jump, which was just for fun. This next part is about changing speed with interrupted forward momentum. Which is to say, with stops and turns.

One minute each, in counterskate direction:

* swizzle
* slalom
* shuffle sideways
* plow stop
* hockey stop or hard slalom
Then do it all again skatewise. When I work in both directions, I always like to start in counterskate direction. It's like a little crisis of faith because you feel awkward and weird, but then you get to turn around and it's all easy and you feel like God.

I will break this all down in later posts. It's going to be over the course of weeks, so don't wait for me. Do it!

4. Pacelines

Then I put it all together in pacelines, weaving from back to front:

* run up and slalom across
* run up and step across
And a huge hit, which I stole from Dinah Party's advanced agility practice last week:
* run up and orbit around
Orbit means that you pass the skater in front, like a forward weave, and then you have to slow down to get behind and pass her in the back, like a backward weave. So it uses everything that we did previously, speeding up forward, changing direction sideways, and slowing down "backwards" (though you're not really going backwards, you're just going forward more slowly. Get it?)

5. Stretch

The ARC building is overbooked on Thursdays this winter, so I only had ninety minutes and we didn't stretch. Sorry, ladies! I hope you stretched at home!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winter Hobby Wear

crocs

Nooooo Poppy, nooooo!

Ha ha ha, yesssss!

Is this a perfect example of Mendelian inheritance or what. There's the sister who wouldn't be caught dead wearing Crocs, the sister who wistfully thinks that Crocs look comfortable but won't buy them, and the sister who actually is dead but don't be stupid, they're totally comfortable. So when she leaves five pairs of Crocs, the middle sister crumbles and picks up a slingback pair for summer and a FLEECE-LINED pair for winter.

My feet are so warm.

I crunch when I walk. So I call these my Orcs.

So now what I wear around the house is hoodie, track jacket, undershirt, long underwear, sweatpants, white socks, AND CROCS. Also sometimes my WCR hat, and black fingerless gloves. I only took a picture of my feet, but I want you to think about me in all my glory.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Veganly Pinto Bean Soup with Chipotle and Hominy

veganly pinto beans

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 chipotle peppers
1 tsp oregano
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can broth
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can hominy, rinsed and drained

Gently heat the oil over low heat as you finely dice the onion and chipotles; you can add them to the pan as they are diced. Add oregano, and stir until fragrant. Add tomatoes and broth, and bring to a strong simmer. Add beans and hominy. Simmer until slightly thickened, about twenty minutes.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

sweetie man and prawn

So you know that I schmoopily call my boyfriend sweetie man. It's from District 9. He calls me prawn.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quinoa with Roasted Potatoes, Garlic, Tomatoes, and Basil

quinoa with roasted potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, and basil

a large potato
a head of garlic
a pint of cherry tomatoes
olive oil
a package of fresh basil
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Scrub and dice the potato. Smash to peel, then roughly chop the cloves of garlic. Wash and halve the tomatoes. Toss the potato, garlic, and tomato in a baking pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until nicely browned, about twenty minutes or maybe longer because of the tomatoes giving off liquid.

Meanwhile, bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a small pot. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it stand. Roughly chop the basil. When the vegetables are roasted, add the quinoa and basil right to the baking pan and stir it all together.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hit the Deck
 beginner

First of all if you're just starting with strength work, you would not start with the deck. Not including the jokers, an entire deck is 105 repetitions each of four different strength exercises. Do not start with 105 repetitions. Start with twenty. If twenty is too much, start with ten. If you stay patient and consistent with ten, you will see results sooner than you think.

If you have been doing fifteen or twenty reps of various bodyweight exercises for some time, the deck is pretty good for kicking it up a notch. Which is to say, up to 105. You can do it, though. Aces are the highest, and those are just fourteen reps. Of course, you could deal yourself an ace and king of diamonds. But that's what makes the deck fun, the danger!

Still, you can start easy with the exercises. It's better to start easy with good form than to go hard with bad form, obviously, right?

♦ tiny tricep pushups

Remember that pushups are as much about core strength as arm strength. Every pushup starts and ends with a straight, solid plank from hands to toes. Your butt isn't sticking up, and your belly isn't sagging down. You make sure of this by pulling your navel to your spine and squeezing your butt. The most important thing in a pushup is to maintain this plank throughout.

Here's the small part, well, the big part is that I want everybody to do tricep pushups, which are harder than wide arm pushups. But all we're going to do for now is, first, your hands are directly beneath your shoulders and your arms are rotated so the insides of your elbows are facing forward. Now lower yourself down just a tiny bit, sending your elbows straight back. And raise yourself back up. That is one rep.

♥ reverse crunches

Sit nice and tall on your butt, with your legs bent in front of you and your feet on the floor. Now let your spine sag and lower yourself a little bit, pulling your navel to your spine and squeezing your butt. And raise yourself back up. And that is one rep.

♠ two foot squats

Squeezing your butt is the horizontal version of tailbone down, by the way. You must get that tailbone down to make these squats work for you the way they're supposed to. Stand with your feet hip distance apart, navel to spine, tailbone down, and now bend your knees lowering your butt straight down. Your weight should be well back, in your heels. In fact if you fall on your butt, that's how far back. Except don't fall down, fight to hold that squat. Raise yourself back up for one rep.

♣ two foot bridges

Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, and your arms to the side. Raise your hips up, squeezing your butt. Lower them back down for one rep.

Here's deal with bridges: the closer your feet are to your butt, the more you work your glutes. The farther your feet from your butt, the more you work your hamstrings and that's what we want to work. So set your feet out to the point where your hamstrings feel just about to cramp, but short of getting a debilitating charley horse.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Winter Work Wear
 Shoo Goo

I'm telling you, miniskirts with tights over leggings and snowboots are cute! And also warm!

Why do snowboots leak, though. You know that if you buy cheap snowboots, they will leak. And you don't know if you buy expensive snowboots that they won't leak. But this is madness, they're snowboots! They're meant to be worn in the snow, why would you not make them not to leak? Even if they're cheap, it's not okay for cheap snowboots to leak! But whatever, I want it to be one way but it's the other way. Instead of snow boots that don't leak, we have leaky snowboots and Shoe Goo.

Shoe Goo is an amazing waterproof substance, for a world where snowboots aren't made not to leak. I suppose the world where snowboots are made not to leak doesn't have Shoe Goo. But anyway I'm never buying expensive snowboots again, I'm just getting cute cheap snowboots from now on and gooing them up. I got these Sporto snowboots on sale last year at some department store, and they were leaky along the seam where the sole attached to the boot.

squoosh out bead of goo

So I taped off the seam pretty close to the seam and squooshed out a bead of Shoe Goo.

spread goo along seam

I used a palette knife to spread the goo along the seam. A butter knife would probably work just as well, the dried goo will rub off the knife. You do have to take the tape off before the goo dries, though, or you will have tape permanently stuck to your boot. Let it dry for at least 24 hours and ta da, you have totally waterproof boots for the rest of winter.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Veganly Black Beans with Sweet Potato and Garlic

veganly black beans

Normally this has huge cloves of garlic stuck everywhere, but the head of garlic had a tragedy and I substituted shallots instead.

This is seriously so good.

ETA: I usually eat veganly beans with rice; so before I start the beans, I put on a pot of rice.

1 sweet potato
1 head garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp oregano

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled
1-2 poblanos
2 Tbsp or half a small can of tomato paste
1 Tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 can broth
1 can 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Scrub and cube the sweet potato, and separate the head of garlic into cloves and peel them. I am not neat about peeling garlic, I smash the cloves open under the flat of my knife. Toss the sweet potatoes and garlic with olive oil, oregano, and a little bit of salt. Roast for about twenty minutes.

Gently heat oil over low heat as you finely chop the onion and poblanos, adding vegetables to the pan as they are chopped. Turn up the heat to medium high and saute aromatics until golden, about ten minutes. Add tomato paste, spices, and broth & bring to a strong simmer. Add beans, roasted sweet potato, and garlic & simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.

ETA 3/20/13: I'm upping the beans to 2 cans, so now this is a thick bean stew flavored with vegetables.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Amok Time

Last Monday the reason that I got out of bed was because I had a meeting with Pom and Nina, which was an actual good reason to get out of bed. I wanted to ask about getting the practice space for my plyos class, and also felt very grown up about being invited to their meeting about important training things. Then my inner Pollyanna Hospital Corners announced, We're not going to start the day with water and stretches. We're going to have green tea and do morning pages! Woo girl, run with scissors why don't you.

So I'm drinking my green tea and doing my morning pages, talking in bursts to the sweetie man:

p: on the one hand, my rib still hurts.
p: but on the other hand, i get another tiger balm patch.
p: do you think this is funny? "I am the Sherlock Holmes of vicodin."
m: i'm not sure what that means.
p: you know, sherlock holmes is addicted to cocaine.
p: not that I'm addicted to vicodin.
p: because it's all gone ::sob::
p: do you think i'm a genius though?
m: i don't know if you're a genius, but you're very smart.
m: what do you mean by genius.
p: i guess i mean more like mad genius.
p: like manic, do you think I'm manic.
p: i mean, not like a manic attacker.
p: no, i don't think you're manic—
p: NO! THE CORRECT ANSWER IS YES!

Also I should mention that at the past Thursday's scrimmage I switched back to my new old cushions and, thank god, it was like a light going back on. And also that Second Wind tryouts were the past Saturday, and I didn't make the charter. And yes, it's always crappy to not find your name on a list of names. But I basically feel like I've improved a lot since last season and then sort of fizzed for the past month for obvious reasons that I don't want to blame things on, but at the same time all that, you know, did happen this winter. I've been a little bit asleep. I do wish that my subconscious, or the universe, or maybe my subconscious is the universe, woah. Woah. Would not try to knock out my tooth as a wake up call.

poppy clock

Ska, again, made me this "takes a lickin, keeps on tickin" team award for the annual Fury party.

When I got to Tsubo, Nina was eating oatmeal and cherries. I got my plyos class and got to geek out about fitness, and at the end they asked if I wanted my Second Wind feedback. They said it was mainly felt that I'm just not ready yet and that it's generally thought that I will get there this season, and that's exactly what I think. What I wanted to say was like a graph with an upward curve that intersected with tryouts sooner and lower than I would have wanted. Only I got to the part about "for obvious reasons" and started bawling.

So then we had to go into the break room so that I could cry so hard that I couldn't breathe, and Pom who just made the All-Stars gave me the inspirational quote that she'd been carrying around before tryouts, and that made me cry harder, and Nina emailed Myra about being my therapist. I love that I'm so therapy resistant, but I'm like WHEE COUCH if therapy will make me a better blocker.

I cried all the way home. I cried all afternoon. I did manage to stop crying for advanced agility practice. Actually I felt a weird thing during advanced agility, I felt happy. That also made me cry.

The next day I cried in the shower. I cried at work.

I almost posted this as my facebook status, um, at work:

Depression is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign that you have been trying to be strong for too long. Put this as your status if you just realized that being weirdly not hungry or regularly awake from 4:30 to 6:30 AM maybe means you're not as okay as you think.

I decided against it, though. Because it's not that when I feel manic and happy, I'm faking how I feel. Manic and happy is how I feel, a lot, and also I feel sad sometimes. I'm not sad all the time. I just want to be able to say that I'm sad and be sad for the minute that I'm sad, and not be seen a Sad Person. Because I'm not, I'm basically a happy person who's just carrying this little bit of sadness. I don't usually let people see that little bit of sadness at all, though. Because I guess I don't trust them to see just a little bit of sadness and not a sad person. But the problem is if you shut up that little bit of sadness, every other feeling gets shut in and it's like the opposite of Pandora's Box. Or I guess that's what Pandora's Box is? For a minute I wasn't feeling anything, I'm feeling everything now. And crying at every fucking thing.

I cried on the train home. You know that it's Snowmaggedon, right? The trains are packed. Like I'm crying two inches from somebody else's face.

Every time I cry, I think it's the fog in my head melting into rain.

So emotions are high at the Spock house. The sweetie man is making up the bed like a little bowerbird. He knows what pon farr means.

ETA: No, he is not. That is a scurrilous fiction that I made up just to be funny.

Friday, February 4, 2011

February Diet Quality Card

february diet quality card: home

Nina very nicely brought me two kinds of dried cherries from Trader Joe's, and they are indeed very good in oatmeal. The tart cherries are sweetened and the Bing cherries are sulfured, and she wanted me to know that there's a third kind of unsulfured Bing cherries, "because I know you care about what you put in your body," but I have to admit that I was mainly thinking Nina reads my blog! and also trying to lower the hot dog that I was eating out of her line of sight.

I'm not really principled about junk food, I actually sort of eat on autopilot and have to be my own elf about leaving healthy food lying innocently around. Though I think my elf has a drinking problem and disappears now and again, leaving me to fend for myself. I'm not doing that well, I've always been religious about fueling after workouts and I just haven't felt like eating after practice for the past month. Or well, I'll drag myself to bed saying that I don't feel like eating and then the sweetie man gets into bed with a noodle bowl and then I want his noodle bowl.

february diet quality card: work

But the other problem is that, ugh, I haven't figured out what to eat on work days, I've been having a latte with a blueberry muffin for breakfast and a cobb salad for lunch for the past two weeks. Partly this is because my work is moving offices and I figured that I'd wait until we'd moved to bring my groceries in, which was this week.

Blecch, I've felt better—

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Line Drills
 on skates

This was the second hour of my plyos on skates practice at the space:

Fast feet forward, jump sideways

1. Line up behind turn four. One at a time, run on skates forward and jump sideways and diagonally forward at every ten foot line. Run and jump like this halfway around the track. At the apex, sprint hard home and hockey stop at turn three.

The hard part is controlling your forward roll so that you can abruptly make lateral moves. Don't glide so much, something more like a duck run will let you brake quickly to change directions.

2. Now practice this with bodies. Line up in a pace line spaced about ten feet apart, and roll out. From the back, run up behind each body and jump sideways and then in front of her.

3. Now practice faking or changing your mind. Run up behind each blocker and jump sideways and then to the other side behind her, and then in front of her.

4. And now, with blocking. Each blocker can block once to the inside or outside. If a blocker opens up a space in front of you, jump forward for the love of god. If a blocker closes a space in front of you, jump to the other side behind her and then in front of her.

5. Once you have the above down, try this as a blocking free for all. Because in a game, blockers will have more than one shot on you...

Fast feet sideways, jump forward

1. Line up behind turn four. One at a time, shuffle on skates sideways along a ten foot line and take two jumps forward. Shuffle and jump like this halfway around the track and at the apex, sprint hard home and hockey stop at turn three.

2. Practice this with bodies. Line up in a double paceline spaced about ten feet apart and partners spaced about six inches apart. From the back, run up and jump forward between the bodies.

3. Now practice with visual obstacles. Pairs lightly cross arms and put hands on each other's knees, visually closing the space between them. No multiplayer blocks! From the back, run up and jump forward between the bodies and bust through those arms.

4. And now the pair will try to keep you out. Wedge that fly leg in there, and transfer your weight from your spring leg to open the space up.

Generally speaking if you're skating in derby direction, it is advantageous to fly with your outside leg and spring or push with your inside leg. This is because your next move will be to fly with your inside leg and spring or push with your outside leg, which will push you in the proper direction of travel.

There is, however, a situational consideration, and that is whoever in the pair has fallen slightly behind is more vulnerable to your block and if that's the inside partner, you fly with the leg closest to them. Which is your inside leg, block them to the inside using your outside leg for push.

Fast feet forward, jump forward

1. Line up behind turn four. One at a time, run on skates forward along the inside line and take two jumps forward at every ten foot line. Run and jump like this all the way around the track, as close as you can to the inside line without stepping out of bounds.

2. Now practice this with bodies. Line up in a single pace line spaced about ten feet apart and about six inches away from the inside line. From the back, run up and jump forward along the inside line and don't step out of bounds.

3. And now that blocker will try to keep you out, same as above. Wedge that fly leg in there, and transfer your weight from your spring leg to open the space up.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Buyer's Guide to Skates: Riedell Minx
 with PowerDyne Reactor plate upgrade

20110123_norma

This lovely lady is ALL-STAR Norma Lee Wright of the Double Crossers, and those lovely skates are her Pink Ladies. These are an upgrade on the Riedell Minx package, which comes with PowerDyne Triton plates. Tritons are a pretty low-end and rather heavy aluminum plate and if you ask me, not really worth getting with these nice boots. Instead Norma and a number of the Double Crossers have 965 boots with the much better PowerDyne Reactor plates, which are very light and have excellent action for agility.

Norma is famous for having hardcore skated for two and a half years on the R3s that she tried out in. That's a long time for a vinyl boot to see heavy action! I think she got the right order of business, though. Don't look at packages so much for your first pair of skates, just start with R3s and then dress them up with toestops, wheels, and bearings to your liking. Then don't look at packages so much for your next pair of skates, just pick the right boots and plates for you. More about boots and plates TK!

What is your current skate setup?

Boots
I've got the 965 boot, which I am totally in love with. It feels like I'm putting my foot into a pillow. When I got them, I was upgrading from my starter R3's. I could feel an immediate difference, and maybe it was the Dumbo + feather effect, but my skating improved a lot very quickly once I got them! I love them and have recommended them to many of my teammates, who have gotten pairs of their own too.

Plates
I have the Reactor plates and can't complain about them at all. I love that the toe stop has a little tightening screw; gone are the days of losing my toe stop mid-drill! Even though my current setup has metal plates, the skate is much lighter than my previous R3 with nylon plates. It was worth the investment.

Cushions
I am using whatever cushions were in my skates when I got them. I haven't felt anything wonky so I haven't messed with them.

Bearings
I use China Reds. I don't ever clean my bearings - I just skate in them until they are gross and barely spin and on their last leg and then get a new set. They are cheap enough that it works for me to do that. I would like to someday upgrade to nicer bearings, but that would require cleaning them, and I am a little bit lazy...

Wheels
I am a huge fan of G-Rods and D-Rods. When we got our sport court and I upgraded from my 88s, I went to the G-Rods and FELL IN LOVE. Like hearts shooting out my eyes, oh this is what it's supposed to be like, where have you been all my life, love. I skated on them for a long time, though I cheated for a few weeks with Jukes (which kept knocking me on my butt at random times, so we broke up and I went back to G-Rods). Once my skating skill improved, I decided I should get something a little harder, and decided to try D-Rods since they seemed so similar to the Gs. They have the same feel to me as the Gs, just with a little extra roll, so they were easy to get used to. I love them.

Toestops
I love the webbed toe stops. I've tried the rectangle ones, the smaller circle ones, and everything in between, and nothing works for me as well as the webbed ones.

What skates did you have before?
I had the skates a lot of derby girls start on - the R3's. I skated on them for almost two and a half years! WAY too long!

What were you trying to improve from your previous setup?
In buying these skates, I was trying to get a pair that would last me a while and allow me to improve my skating ability without clunky, hole-y skates getting in the way. I had worn my skates out way past the point when I should have retired them. I needed boots that were not too high in the ankle - I tried on the 265's and was only able to take one lap around the rink before I hobbled back to the front office - something about my foot/ankle anatomy makes taller boots cut into my achilles very painfully. Luckily, I found a low-ankled boot that could pass for a cloud. It feels so good putting my feet into my skates, and I couldn't be happier!

When I first got these skates, the only issue I had was that I felt like I was falling forwards. The plate is a size or two smaller than the plate on my starter skates, which is supposed to lend more maneuverability, but from the start it just meant that the ball of my foot was supported further back than I was used to. Those first few practices were interesting!

If you don't mind, what is your height and weight?
Ugh, you have to ask? I'm 5'7" and I have no idea what I weigh these days. I haven't weighed myself in years. It says 150 on my drivers license, though I have put on quite a bit more muscle since then!

How would you describe your skating style?
I have what my captain has described as a power stride. I don't take a ton of steps when I sprint but I try to put as much oomph into each one as possible. I skate pretty high but I'm trying to skate lower! Work in progress...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Basic Brown Rice

brown rice

I think these cooking and resting times are right. I just start my rice before I do anything else and leave it to cook by itself. If it burns —what, sometimes it burns! Just turn off the heat and let it rest covered, the steam will soften the burned bottom and you can scrape it right up.

I make brown rice to eat with curried vegetable stew and veganly beans, but it's also good to have on hand to eat for pre-workout carbs with a little bit of salsa or sriracha for flavor.

2 cups brown rice
3 cups water

Combine rice and water in a saucepan and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn heat to very low and let simmer for twenty minutes. Turn off heat and let rest for another ten minutes.

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