7.30.2003

I just realized that my new job at IKEA only pays about $1 less per hour than many of the HTML jobs that I'm qualified for.

I'm making my debut as an NCWHL goalie on Friday, subbing in for a very desperate Red team. Please wish me luck, I'm already nervous as hell. Even though every Monday for the last 2 months I've played at least one game of 3 on 3 as a goalie, facing more shots and a much faster pace than I will on the big ice. But I'm still showing my skills in the hope that this fall, I'll be good enough to be a permanent Red goalie.

Ack! Bring on the nerves!

Timeless lesson: yelling at a deaf dog does you no good. This is one that I seem to learn at least once a week as our Zeus loses more and more of his hearing. Knocking on the ground can help but it's still kinda sad.

7.28.2003

Like NUTS? 800.962.NUTS (thanks amyfritz)

Amyfritz = HOT RUNNER STUD GIRL!!!!
Amyfritz has completed her first 1/2 marathon in fantastico time, 2:24:05. I am ballooning with pride! My best friend, completer of half marathons! Woo!!!!

7.25.2003

Here's what the internet means to my mom: she sees a recipe for Diane Sawyer's Meatloaf on Good Morning America. Instead of going downstairs to her computer (which works fine but has a dialup connection) she calls me, asks me to look it up and send it to my dad, so he can print it out and bring it home.

Note: this does not mean she'll cook it tonight. We have now begun 2003: the Meatloaf Oddessy, where she'll spend the next week gathering special ingredients from exotic stores around Columbus, then 1-2 days preparing the loaf, then cooking it. Dinner will consist of her saying 'I don't think I'll do this again,' and my dad saying 'oh no, dear, it's very good.'

Life really is all about the journey.

This brings to mind the legendary 1999: a Peppered Beef Oddessy. Andrea and I were in town, Amy had driven in from Pittsburgh to see us. We spent the afternoon at Grandma's house, playing cards and hearing the buildup to that night's dinner, Peppered Beef. The Beef had been imported all the way from Zanesville, Ohio and was to be treated with the utmost of care. This meant that all afternoon, Mom flitted in and out of Grandma's house, running home to marinate the Beef as it cooked at a low temperature. Amy, Andrea and I did our best not to giggle as Mom took off every 30-45 minutes to marinate.

When the Beef was finally served that night, we could hold back no more, giggling at each bite of Beef. Finally, Mom caught on and said 'you're making fun of me, aren't you?' We couldn't help it. No beef (even if it *is* Peppered Beef) is worth that kind of effort.

That night marked the first time that I can remember my mom laughing at herself a little. Like I said, it's all about the journey, even if it's only a block and a half away, if it brings your heart a little closer to someone else, it's worth the trip.

I'll save tales of 2000: a Crab Cake Oddessy for another day...

7.24.2003

I either failed my stats exam or got a very good grade. With any luck, I got at least enough to get myself a C. I'll know in about a week.

7.22.2003

For the second time this summer, I have a cold. This one (so far) is not nearly as bad as the one I had earlier but I still feel like crap. That is no fun.

2 more days of statistics! Ever!

One of my guilty TV pleasures is House Hunters on HGTV. Maybe because it brings me back to our hellish, yet oddly compelling, struggle to find our home, maybe because looking into other people's houses is always sort of interesting. Last night I was watching this episode, which features an architect looking for a new home. I was all interested because she had a dog and needed a home that would work for her and the pup, a situation not unlike our own.

Interested, until she referred to people who are not architects as 'lay people' who wouldn't be able to appreciate older homes the way she could. Um, hi, lay people are regular folks who are not priests but who go to church. I realize that in other religions, this term is also used, and that's fine, but for an architect to use it to set herself above other homeowners is not right.

While having the ability to link directly to that episode is nice, I do have to wonder if it's really necessary to have a web page for every tv show on earth.

7.21.2003

A great miracle has occurred. I thought for sure I'd failed my stats quiz on Thursday. It wasn't coming to me at all, I just didn't get it. Panicky, I cried for a moment, then did my best to get back into the task at hand. Evidently, it worked because I got a huge 76%. My overall grade is now up to 69.7%, a mere .3 away from the C I desperately need. If I do okay on this week's final this may well be the only time I have to take this evil class. With any luck I'll be able to concentrate this fall on the classes that I'm actually interested in.

I emerge from yet another hockey-filled weekend undefeated! Saturday night I surprised myself by scoring a goal on defense. First of all, I don't generally score goals, and on the rare occasions when I do, they're usually garbage goals, rushing to the loose puck when the goalie is down and we're all swarming the net. These are mostly done when I'm playing forward. But not Saturday! I was out at the blue line, playing D, when the puck squirted out of a frenzy of players in the crease. I was all alone and close to the puck so I cheated in a little to get to it. I got there, lined up, looked up, then let a very nice wrist shot go. It went over the sticks of the stunned defensemen and dropped between the goalie's legs, sliding into the back of the net! I celebrated way more than people generally do in that league but I just didn't care, it was a really nice goal and a big deal for me. We went on to tie the game, not bad for the first week with a new team.

Then, the A-Team, my co-ed team, celebrated yet another win, this time over one of the 3 top teams in our division! We beat the y-guys 2-0 and realized yet again that the y stands for whine. They bitched about every call, every penalty and even stayed after the game to bitch about it. This team plays kinda rough so I did too, holding onto this woman's glove with my bottom hand as we raced toward the puck, then giving a little push at the end that took her out. I was so sure I'd see the ref's hand up after she fell but no, thanks to the miracle of not that women playing co-ed, I got away with it. I also flattened a couple of guys who don't skate so good. Nope, I don't feel bad, they would've flattened me if they knew how and besides, the little bastards were in front of our net. The A-Team is in a record-setting 4th place overall and has won an unprecedented 6 games this season. In the past, our record was 2. Anything that happens after this is gravy.

And now I'm off to start my final week of Evil Statistics.

7.18.2003

Three good things happened today: 1. I passed my drug test for IKEA so I'm good to go. 2. I bought some t-shirts for $1.97 each. 3. My dad said he's going to frame my championship photo and put it on his desk.

I think I need a Librarian Action Figure with shusshing action. Hell, I think we all need one. Shhhh!

I had no idea that my most-favored travel site, Orbtiz, had a Gay Travel section. They also ran a gay-focused commercial on tv. Not that all (or any) of my travels focus on 'lesbian destinations' but their open support is enough to make me keep using them over other sites. The low prices help out with that, too.

If I may take a moment to get mushy about this team here for a minute. To think that less than 3 years ago, I couldn't skate, pass, shoot, do anything on the ice (or any other sporting arena) and today, I'm part of a championship team, even if it is an in-house league, is huge. To think that I can keep up with Lou, Shannon and the rest (those two are or were Blue players, the holy grail of my other women's league) and at the very least, not make an ass of myself, or at the very most, have a great game like I did that day, well, it means more than I can adequately describe.

Yes, in some ways it's just a sport. To many I play with, it's only that, something fun to do on the weekends. For me, it's something different, something more, something I'm deeply proud of. I turned myself from a grade A couch potato into an athlete. Yes, I still have weight to lose (and will most likely always have that left to do) but I can skate faster and stronger than I'd never imagined, keep up with some pretty fast people and a very expanded set of friends. The stanley keg is just icing on a very wonderful cake.


My Championship team! Woo!
(L to R, back row: Tina, Julie, Susan, Tancha
middle row: Charlotte, Shannon (my hero) Me!
front row: Lou (game winning goal scorer) and Ed, our goalie

7.16.2003

It's been a good news/bad news kind of day. The bad news first: statistics is not going well. This comes as no great shock but I'd vainly started to think I could pull it out and get the C I need. Today, I think not. The other bad news? Rainie has a bad ear infection. It's so deep I couldn't see it but knew something wrong when she yelped a few times during an ear rub. That's just how astute I am. I got medicine for her and started the fun treatment process so she should be on the mend now.

The moment the vet walks into the office after I'd sat there for 20 minutes waiting for him, my phone rings. It's that Yvette from IKEA, calling to make me an offer! Of course I said yes! I start August 4 with 'Off the Floor' training. I imagine that's not unlike being 'onstage' or 'offstage' for Disneyland employees. I'm looking forward to having a fine part time job and to the sweet benefits package they provide to us 24 hour a week folks. I'll be starting in the returns department so if your Poang chair doesn't work for you, bring it to me. I'll Poang it back for ya.

Caution, this may well be Too Much Information
Monday night, my worst nightmare came true. I was all suited up in goalie gear, went out and started playing the first of the 2 games I was scheduled for. All was well, then without warning, came the dreaded rumble in my stomach that means only one thing -- from the first rumble, I have about 10 minutes to find a bathroom. Lucky for me, I had another 30+ on the ice, then another game immediately afterwards.

Trying not to panic, I did my best to be a good goalie (a challenge any day, even when I'm not fighting this feeling). Every time I threw myself on the puck, I worried about upsetting my stomach even more. At the same time, my pelvic protector, a monstrous thing, was digging into my stomach. It was nowhere near comfortable, no matter what I did.

After the game, I thought, I can make it at least 1/2 way through the next game. I asked Brian, the other goalie if he could suit up early, maybe I could wait till he got there. I sat on the bench, watching the Zamboni do it's thing, my teammates noticing that I didn't look so good. At the absolute last moment, I knew I couldn't wait. I told Arik the ref to have them start without me and took off running. Okay, waddling as fast as I could in all that goalie gear.

I make it to the bathroom but it's not a simple matter of just pulling down your pants in goalie gear. First, just getting my jersey off is a challenge. I usually need help for this. Then, there's a huge chest and arm protector that's not unlike a suit of nylon and foam armor. I get that off and the hard part remains -- getting my pants down far enough in time to do what I need to do without taking everything off. (This is the TMI part) I throw the top buckles off of my leg pads, undo my hockey pants, the evil pelvic protector and give it a first try. Not far enough. I undo the velcro around my thighs (it's attached to the leg pads) but still not enough. Two more buckles, one more set of velcro and finally, at long last, I'm good to go.

I only missed the first 3 minutes of my game and did much better, now that The Incident was over. Of course, since I'm the goalie, everyone noticed that I was missing and asked what had happened. I figure since everyone at hockey workout knows why I was missing, you should too.

It was embarassing and mostly scary. Why can't this happen in my regular hockey gear, which now seems like being naked after spending time in goalie gear. Sigh.

7.14.2003

I won the Stanley Keg!!!
This weekend was downright spectacular. I'll start with the highlight -- Saturday's championship game at Redwood City. I play in their women's league, where I don't know the people as well as I know my girls in the NCWHL, but where the level of play is a big step higher than Red (my NCWHL division). Playing there has been great for my game, when you're defending against people who can skate great, shoot and pass, you have no other option but to improve your skills.

Anyway, my team this time was blessed with all of the ringer grownups in the league. There are a handful of ringer 16 year olds but I generally feel much better around the grownups so it was great to play with these ladies. We came into the first round of the playoffs in 3rd place but won the right to play for the coveted Keg 2 weeks ago.

We (okay, Shannon, who is my hockey hero, the best all around player I know) scored a goal early in the game. We kept our 1-0 lead until the third period, when their ringer 16 year old finally got one past us. Well, past me but that's another story... We only had 3 defensemen, including myself and another woman who normally plays forward. With the periods being 18 minutes, stopped time, i was absolutely exhausted. I kept my sprits up by imagining the moment when Jon would bring the Keg out for us to pose with.

At the end of regulation the score was 1-1 and we went into Sudden Death Overtime. At the end of overtime it was still 1-1. At that point, we went to a shootout. We picked our 3 best shooters and they lined up. The first set of shots didn't go in. The second round was my hero Shannon, who of course put it right into the net. They came back with a goal from the 16 year old and at the end of the shootout, the score was 2-2.

The next step was to go to another round of shootouts. I was picked to go after Lou. I got out my blue stick and was ready for the challenge but also petrified that winning the Keg could fall to me. Lucky for me, Lou put it in! When their next skater got to center ice, I knew we'd won. Sure enough, she missed and that was it, the Desert Thieves had won the Stanley Keg!!! Jon trotted that puppy out onto the ice and Lou grabbed it, hoisting it over her head and skating around. I touched it and almost started crying.

This is the first championship I've ever won. It means more to me than I can put in words.

Other weekend hightlights include yet another win for my amazing Red team, with me actually getting 2 assists. We win so much it's almost a given these days so I'm trying to change things up and make it more interesting for us. It's easy to get spoiled that way...

The A-Team, the co-ed team I started 3 seasons ago, had an unprecendented 5th win yesterday with Paul scoring his first and second goals ever with us!! We ended up with only 4 people on D (usually I go with 6 on this team because we have opponents with a wider range of skills than anywhere else) but we held in there and won 4-1. We may actually go to the playoffs this year!!!

I'm 3-0 for the weekend and it feels very very nice. One other potential highlight is that I think I did very well on my stats midterm. I either got a B or failed. I'll know very soon....

7.11.2003

While I'm killing time, avoiding the dreaded financial aid trip, let me tell you about my goalie glove. It's the only piece of goalie stuff I bought myself, brand new (Andrea sprung for the helmet and the stick I got with a gift certificate), with my own money. It's a Franklin, a brand not known for hockey gear, but I got a good deal on it and it matches my other gear (red/black/white) so here I am. It's pretty nice, but has one big problem. It's stiff in exactly the right place to hurt my middle finger. Which is funny and all that but hey, pain is pain.

I'm supposed to go to financial aid today to ask pertinent questions like 'what is unmet need' and 'why aren't you people meeting my needs?' but I'm having a *really* hard time getting off my ass to go there. I don't know what this mental block is about that place. They're really very nice.

A couple of really good things happened yesterday. First, I may have passed or even gotten a decent grade on my stats midterm. At least it seemed to make sense while I was doing it and I did not cry during the test. Not one tear!

And then! The mail came and my beefy unemployment check, which I thought was to be my last. I was waiting to hear about the extension but I guess I still have time on round 1, which is good news. I also got an unexpected $25 from AT&T. Also in the mail was a letter from one of the park districts I'd applied to in the spring. They're no longer hiring for summer (I'd hope not, it's July, folks) but would like to interview me for a permanent ranger position. I am at the very least going to talk to them.

Went to HockeyWorkout to have some goalie practice with friends. Thanks to the 'Nettes (twins and dear friends Annette and Jeannett), Chris and Dana for giving me a chance to see where I should be standing. Notice I'm not thanking Dana for that wrister to the helmet. My ears did stop ringing after a while. Jeannett kept magically finding my 5 hole (the space between your legs, over the stick), which was frustrating but a testament to her aim! I made it out of there in time to rush home, get my sax and make it to the concert w 3 minutes to spare.

Basset Hound Howls His Way To Freedom. Behold the power of the Roo!

7.10.2003

Speaking of maudlin things, I heard this Alanis Morissette song where she's talking to all the guys she's loved. It's full of tributes and lessons learned. I'd like to copy her idea and make mention of the dogs in my life. Exes, well, that's either for another day or just not for this public a forum. Sorry, kids.

Dear Gus, the moment you picked me at the shelter, my life changed. Shaking and scared, your eyes said it all. You taught me all about big dogs and silly toys. And about neglect. Your bones showing, tail still wagging, you made it clear that we did the right thing when I hung up on your owner that day. Today you keep me safe from the mailman and bring me stuffed toys.

Dear Zeus, you came along when we least expected it. Just a ride from Tracy, you were my boy the moment I saw your sweet face and your healthy self. Your arrival took us past our broken hearts and taught us about healthy, sweet boys. Watching you grow older is hard but a gift, too.

Dear Rainie, I never wanted a puppy but you changed all that. Opened a part of my heart I didn't know was closed. Taught Andrea about toys, about having a soul mate dog. You make me laugh every day and turned me into a Basset Mom.

Dear Patrick, the sweet boy we never intended to have. Number 4 in our pack, your silly sweetness is healing the place in my aching heart where Alice used to be. Your seizures scared me but made it clear that you were always meant to be my boy.

Dear Ellie, you showed me what quality time really means. McDonalds and donuts, fiercely, toothlessly guarding your bone, you showed me more in 6 months, 8 days than anyone could have in a lifetime. The pain and loss of life after you remains worth it.

Dear Buddy, you brought my Mom back to life and inspired many people to adopt, rescue or at least neuter. Your quiet, gentle soul brought peace when we needed it most. You will always be my Miracle Man.

Dear Alice, I don't know where to start. Even today, I can't think of you without a catch in my throat or an ache in my heart. When you ran out of Mara's house and into my life, a light turned on in me. We were soul mates, you and I. You showed us how to beagle-proof a house, your bark was the most ferocious (I swear) despite your 20 pound frame. Being your mom turned me into a grown up. Have I ever thanked you for that? I miss you every day but can now remember the good times more than the bad.

Looking at photos of my band I'm getting a little sad. Tonight is my last concert for a while. We'll have our summer break, and when we come back I'll have a class Wednesday nights that will prevent me from going for most of the semester. I do have a hard time getting to rehearsals most of the time but once I get there, I usually enjoy it. Hard to believe I've been with them 4 years already.

7.09.2003

I never thought I'd say this, but.... if I get just 5 more points overall, I will pull off the C in stats that I need. I got a 60 on a quiz this week and was exstatic. I do have the worst teacher in the world but I'm going faithfully to the tutoring center after every class (all of which, I attend) and working hard to understand this crap. Either way, it's over in 2 weeks and 1 day, I would prefer to do well enough that I don't have to take it again after that.

7.08.2003

I am proud to report that I finally have a second interview with IKEA tomorrow. Please keep your fingers crossed, I'd really really like this job.

Last Night's Goalie Report
Last night I discovered that playing 2 games back to back is harder than it looks. Well, harder than it looks pretty much describes everything about playing goalie. Getting dressed -- harder than it looks. Walking around -- harder than it looks. Going through the doors onto the ice -- WAY harder than it looks. Carrying your water bottle, picking up your stick, taking a drink of water, well you get the idea.

I muddled through both games and did both way better (the few stellar saves) and way worse (the goals where I had NO idea what to do and just stood there hoping I'd block it. I didn't.) than I'd expected. We switched at the half (this is 3 on 3, there are only 2 periods, not 3 like in regular hockey) so I didn't really win or lose. At the end of the second game I was absolutely spent. Today I feel like I've been beat up but I do think I'm getting a bit better at this. I think.

Lesson of the night: throwing yourself flat on the ground is probably easier if you don't have boobs.

7.07.2003

I am just so sad about the loss of Buddy. That little guy saved my mom from a nasty bout of depression, inspired me to adopt both Alice and Ellie, outlived them both and went on to be our miracle man, beating malignant melonoma only to be blindsided by lung cancer. He got me into rescue and is largely responsible for at least 100 dogs finding homes. I miss him already, just like I've never stopped missing Ellie and Al. Not even for a minute.

Buddy was not, I repeat, not an outdoor man. Dad would take him for walks in the winter and now and again the Bud Man would slip out of his collar. Most hound dogs take this as a license to run far far away but not Buddy. He'd run, but straight for home and be knocking at the door to get back into the warmth of his house. The addition of Ben a few years ago helped Buddy get some spark back, anything Ben did, Buddy could do better. I know that Ben gave us an extra year or two with Buddy, and I'll always be grateful. Sprawled on the carpet below is Ben, Buddy is where he always was, in his bed.


Wishing you a safe journey, Bud Man. The world's better for you having been in it.

It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you that my mom's beagle Buddy is headed to the bridge today. He had a very rough weekend, didn't want to eat on Saturday or today. He had a nice visit yesterday with Melinda, our dear friend who rescued him in the first place. Today, he didn't want to get up and only ate a little egg salad that Mom spoon fed him, so she knew it was time. He's having a very hard time breathing and last night they thought he had passed away when a prolonged choking fit got the better of him.

They're headed into their regular vet today at 5:30 pm Ohio time. Please send good thoughts Buddy's way as he makes the journey to the Bridge. I am certain that Alice is waiting for him, eager to lead the way to the buffet.