3.31.2004

With Easter just around the corner, it's time to reflect on what's really important in life: doing crazy stuff to Peeps. There's a wave of Peep Love going around work right now, you just can't help but love those little bundles of stale marshmallow-ey goodness.

If I may just mention this again. I dig the job.

The New Math
Apparently to the washer repair guy, 10 actually equals 9. He was supposed to come at 10, I had planned to be at work, eating a plain bagel, so procured because I got into the office in time to get one before they were all gone, long before Mr. Repair Guy arrived. But no. He came at 9. Lucky for me, 3 of the dogs were already outside enjoying the newly landscaped (i.e. poop picked up and mowed) backyard and it was easy to trap them out there while the guy came in.

Andrea was cool enough to take the day off to attend to the Repair Hootenany, which, in the end was over by 10 leaving her with a free day. She met me for lunch and I introduced her to the mediocre, yet convenient but expensive work cafeteria. Yum.

In other news, we're moving toward the end of evaluations. I got to inform a large chunk of the league that they're either fine in their current division (myself included. Sigh...) or that they moved up. I much prefer being the Good News lady than the bad. Sorry ladies, and congrads, all at once.

3.30.2004

Not My Beans to Spill
I'm still in a position of having to keep someone else's rather large secret from my mom. I keep this secret because it's not my story to tell, but it's gone on for far too long and now I'm starting to look like an ass. Please, people, own up to your shit.

Now I have to return to not talking to my mom as much, because she's going to bug me about this until I spill the beans. But they're not my beans!

3.29.2004

It Burns!
Last night was the first chance I had to skate as a goalie for this season, I've been too busy coordinating the evaluations to skate much, which kinda sucks. Claire was nice enough to let me be in net for a maroon session and I was ready, damn it, ready! After all the headaches of coordinating 180 people and their 180 issues/injuries/allergies/just plain don't want to 'try out's/confusions it was nice to just skate with no expecations. It's not like I'll ever be a maroon goalie so I just put on the stuff (once I remembered how!) and went out, all relaxed.

Three things are true: if you are relaxed and have nothing in your head about how well you *need* to do at something, it's a lot easier to do well. The other thing that's true: if you have 15 shooters lined up to shoot at you, and you know they'll all be doing wrist shots or backhands or some kind of a slapshot, it's very easy to do well. I must have faced 100 shots and I don't think I let in more than 4 or 5. I also discovered a kick save that I didn't know I had! Woo! One other true thing: hard shots are easier to stop than soft shots.

It was totally tiring to face shot after shot and every time I'd want to take second to rest, I'd look over at Mary C., who was ready, ready by golly, to take her next shot. There was no way I could deny that kind of enthusiasm so I lined up and faced them all over again, which was great conditioning since I had to stay low for a lot longer.

I'd like to thank my own personal bi-weekly root canal: step aerobics for improving my stamina. I'll still be a red goalie this year but maybe I'll be a little bit better at it. For my team's sake, I can only hope! Until then, I'll be nursing some sore muscles.

3.26.2004

What's Not to Like About Socks? Since Naomi broke the seal in talking about socks, I'll add my $.02 on the topic. I, too, have special socks for sports, mostly for hockey since I consider Step class to be not unlike root canal and thus, in no way, is it a sport.

When I skate out (i.e. don't play goalie), I wear one of three kinds of thin knee socks because my skates no longer have room for thicker socks and I have the most sensitive skin in the world and have to have something between my janky shin guards and my skin. The Bauer skate sock, the Underarmour 009 sock or the coolest of all, a medley of Sesame Street knee socks. I have Elmo, Cookie Monster and of course, the Count. I got these at Journeys but they don't have a direct link to them for ya.

As for luck, the Underarmour have proven to have the most luck, though I like the Sesame Street socks the most.

When I play goalie, I wear the Thorlo Walking Mini-Crew because my janky (but inexpensive) goalie skates are simply too big and I'm too cheap to buy ones that fit better. I don't need longer socks for goalie because I don't wear shin guards, I wear gigantic leg pads with hockey socks under them. Yes, I realize that hockey socks are not unlike leg warmers. May the 80's live on!

Anyway, that's the scoop on socks. Hope it offers some guidance for someone, anyone out there.

One Down...
The Seals A, my tournament team bretheren, are currently slogging through lousy weather in Rochester New York for the USA Hockey Nationals. They played their first game this morning and won!!!

Here's the whole bracket. Go Seals! Arf!

I'd like to thank the good people at USA hockey for providing up-to-date stats on this tourney. It's quite cool that we can follow their progress so quickly from so far away.

3.25.2004

Spring What?
Remember when Spring Break meant something? A week of freedom, most likely a roadtrip to a really interesting and unique location, like Florida, where the rest of the young world was headed. Driving all night through the South with one thing on your mind: collapsing on a beach at the end of the journey. Well, that and beer.

Today marks the start of Spring Break and just like my birthday, there's no love here. No trip awaits me, no grand adventure (though, it must be said, Andrea and I are planning to go to Costco tonight) lies just over the horizon. Nope, just another 2 weekends of evaluations to coordinate and a week without school. Though not quite, because my Wednesday class is still meeting. But I do get to go to work all week, not just part-time.

And I have to admit that now that it's getting kinda hectic, work is rad. Yep, I dig the job. It makes IKEA look ridiculously silly and I am very very grateful for the gig.

3.24.2004

Just Plain Tired
The A-Team played another great game last night, losing in a shootout (after an overtime) to HP in the second round of the playoffs. The team has come a long way and I'm still insanely proud of the group's overall improvement. Next season should be even better, though they've determined that we need one more ringer, or at least someone who plays a little better than the rest of us. Drop me a line if you're that ringer...

After the game, I went straight to the computer and finished my annotated bibliography for tonight. I had to examine 15 articles and offer a lot of detail about each one. In the end, it was 2:30 am and I'd written 8 pages that I think are good. I think. But I was too tired to tell then and don't have time to re-read them now.

Evaluations are going okay, there have been a couple of minor snafus and a few angry emails but for the most part, it's moving along. I didn't realize, however, that I'd be stuck with informing the people who need to be seen at a lower level that their skills didn't cut the mustard. I thought their coordinator would do that, but she's out of town and it's in my lap. I've sent the evites and am braced for the wrath of angry blue players. Sorry, ladies. I'm just the messenger.

1 weekend of evals down, 3 to go. Is that right? Why can't it be 2?

3.22.2004

Ack!
I think I just started getting a cold.

I'm Not Carol, I Swear
It's 6:30 am. The phone rings. Something about the phone ringing at 6:30 am forces me to answer it. Usually, that early hour can only mean bad news and though in the end I think my mom would hold off until she thought I was going to be awake anyway if something truly awful happened I still felt obligated to answer. Just in case it was someone needing bail or bus fare to Omaha, I picked up the phone.

A Groggy Me: Hello?
Voice on Phone: Hey how are you doing?
AGM: (thinking that it sounds vaguely like Dan, figuring he was needing bus fare to Omaha, I kept talking, ready to help with whatever he needed) Fine. Who's this?
VOP: I thought you'd recognize my voice
AGM: Well, I don't. Who is this?
VOP: Mike. I just wanted to tell you I had a good time last night.
AGM: Who are you looking for?
VOP: Carol. Isn't this Carol?
AGettingPissedoffMe: No. I'm not Carol.
VOP: Oh. I must have the wrong number.
- Click -

Why was any of that necessary???

Saturday night Andrea pointed out that those two games were the only games she's ever watched me play where she didn't have any comments about my performance because I'd played so well. Woo! That's as cool as winning a trophy!

We Are the Champions!
The trip to Vacaville was fruitful for the Seals. We won our first game 3-0, against a team made up of a lot of ladies I play with in the women's league. I was a bit put off that they hadn't asked me to play with them (though I fully recognize that many of them either know I'm on the Seals or didn't know me all that well so I wasn't likely to be one of their choices) and I guess that lit a fire under my ass. I played hard, shut down every breakaway that started to happen (Andrea may correct me on this but I don't remember anyone getting by me. The word on the street was that they took something like 5 shots the whole game, again this I can't confirm but it didn't seem like many at all...).

The second game was only 1 hour and 45 minutes after the first so I stayed halfway dressed, yes in wet shin guards, socks pants and yes, ick, underwear. But it beat putting that same wet stuff on again. Evidently the second team's goalie didn't show so they had someone who played goalie like I do -- not so good. We racked up 5 goals in the first period alone! That was more than we'd ever scored in a game, in just the first! The other team had some of the ladies who play for a different team, a team that had spanked Code Red back in November 13-2, including a woman scoring from BEHIND the net. So again, I had something to prove. We won 9-4 in the end, putting us in first place going into the championship round on Sunday.

Saturday night we stayed over in the hot vacation spot of Vacaville. We visited with an old friend and his wife, hit the outlets and then relaxed in our hotel, which was in the parking lot of the rink. No joke. I didn't know when I booked it but I was quite grateful for the proximity. Our room had a fly hot tub but no view of the rink. You can't have everything.

Sunday we got to sleep in a bit then headed over for the championship game, something the Seals have played in the past but lost. To the Squirrels. Who we were playing again this time. The last time we played them, in Vegas, I spent way too much time thinking about who was going to do what (I play with a lot of them in the women's league) and lost focus. This time, I pretended they were that team from Orlando that we played in Vegas, with nobody I knew. It worked because we stayed strong and our rockin goalie, Joan, came up huge again. We won 1-0!

Afterwards, our illustrious coach asked the world's best question: "Did everyone get a trophy?"

Oh yes, yes I did. It's monstrous and large and shiny. And it says First Place on it. The first First Place I've ever had. Wow. Go Seals! Arf!

3.19.2004

This may be the #1 reason to use UNIX: so you can have a meaningful shortcut command named 'pimp.'
[liz@serverliz]$ pimp
[liz@server gen]$
My pimp worked. Bad ass.

I was hit by this urge to say "Wow, you're really hot. Is that a hickey?"

But I chose not to. I think that's always the smart move, to not talk.

3.18.2004

My birthday was Very Nice, though very very mellow. After last year's week long unruly boozer-fest (UBF) yesterday was Just Fine. I got some lovely cards and gifts (thanks, Andreatan, giver of cute pajamas and socks, Heather and Gerald, Dana, AmyFritz, Lisa and the dynamic duo of Sarah/Gregory!), had a nice dinner with Andrea and hung out at home afterwards.

It's just hard to get excited about turning 31, an age with no real significance. I was, however, grateful to have completion of what had proved to be the hardest year of my life. Obviously, March 17 having passed means little to the cosmos, should they decide to sling more bad stuff my way, I will not be immune simply because the year is over but it is my most sincere hope that the cosmos will at least acknowledge the tribulations of this past year and cut me some slack in the coming one.

Seriously, I've done my time. Move on to someone else.

The only really good thing about turning 31 is that i'm now only 4 years away from playing in the over 35 league. Woo!

3.17.2004

Word of the day: pabulum:
  1. A substance that gives nourishment; food.
  2. Insipid intellectual nourishment: “TV... gobbled up comedy material and spat it out as pabulum” (Richard Corliss).
I found it in this article.

Evals, Now in Progress
Last night's session went reasonably well, we seemed to have enough evaluators to go around and the drills went all right.

However, I'm still dealing with the scheduling/injury issues for a large number of people, most of whom understand that we're doing our best, that we're trying to make a balanced place for people to play, or in the immortal words of our esteemed VP,

"There are several reasons for league-wide evaluations. The reasons include rebalancing divisions to maintain the competitive level and spirit of each division, moving players to the division that best suits their skills and to promote respectful sportsmanship and eliminate negative perceptions between divisions."

Most people get that and give me no lip. However, one thorn in my side has decided that she doesn't need to skate any of her evaluations and is getting close to being abusive about it.

Seriously, if you don't value the end result of the efforts we put forth to make a league where everyone is comfortable and has a good time, please, I beg you, go skate somewhere else. I know that evlaluations can be nerve-wracking, I do. The nights I tried out for the Seals I was either so far removed from the situation that I was on auto-pilot, grateful that my legs knew what they were doing without me checked in to guide them, or was looking for the nearest trash can to puke in.

So I know all about tryouts. And I also know that they're a part of life in team sports.

That Time Again
Remember when you were a kid and birthdays were a big deal? All day, I'd feel special, like it was my special day, like I was unique (except for my cousin Bob, who has the same birthday). That sort of tingly feeling followed me all day, painted by the anticipation of what may come. Invariably, good things would come. Gifts, cupcakes, a dinner I enjoyed. Oh, and gifts.

But that was then. Today, which, by the way, is my birthday, does not have that feeling. I have work to do at work, a paper due tonight and a bunch of articles to read before class at 6. It all adds up to just another day.

In the end, my mom did give me money, for hockey. Which is always the perfect gift! Thanks, mom.

Wow. Awful plastic surgery is hilarious. And sad.

3.16.2004

Last night I got home from the board meeting (where I arrived late but fully prepared) and class (where they seemed to really like my story. Good thing, I liked it too!) at the same time as Andrea. I was stoked to find myself pulling up right behind her in the driveway. Natrually, I had to pee so I ducked in the house, expecting her to follow. A few minutes later, she hadn't appeared so I went outside to see what she was up to.

The Monday night routine on Pacific Ave is chatting with the neighbors over our garbage cans, in preparation for Tuesday, Trash Day, a day of great importance.

But I digress. Noticing that Andrea is outside somewhere, I go outside in search of her. It had been a long day and I was ready to see her. She was out there, chatting with the gals from each side of us. One of the gals points at my love handles (okay, they're more like a rollbar of love than just a handle, something I'm aware of every minute that I'm awake, thankyouverymuch) and says "What's this? You looked so skinny the other day." I was probably wearing some slimmer pants that day. Since I've started sitting at a desk in a public area for part of the day, I've stopped wearing some of my low rider pants. The last thing the general public needs is to see part of my lily white back or worse, any part of whatever may be under my pants (underpants, if you must know. Perv.), so I'm wearing my older pants from a heavier time a lot.

Apparently, those pants make me look fat. Thanks.

I honestly do not know why people can't keep their mouths shut. Women especially should know better than to comment about a woman's weight unless it's to say 'wow! you look great!'

And speaking of noticing that someone looks great, that does not give you a license to tell a woman anything in a lewd manner. My long hair and weight loss are not a license or espeically an invitation for lacivious comments or lewd behavior.

The best example of this that I can share here, in a public forum happened the other day, when I saw a guy I knew from band. He was heading to the lameo band that I dropped out of while I was leaving campus. I stopped to say hi and the first thing out of his mouth was "Boy, it's a good thing you're a lesbian, because if you were straight, I'd be all over you." EXCUSE ME??? Never mind that I have a partner and that you, sir, are MARRIED or that you just repulsed me, probably forever.

Is it really so fucking hard to just say "hey, you look nice," and leave it at that?

Apparently.

Tuesday TMI
Today, my breasts seem huge. Much larger than normal. Every time I see myself in a mirror or reflective glass, I am startled by their largeness. Where did they come from and more importantly, why won't they go away? Or at least get smaller?

3.15.2004

She's gotta nice...Glove!

Andreatan, Master of Goalie

Doesn't she look great?

Even now, there are moments were I just miss Alice.

3.13.2004

I don't know why hockey seasons have to all start and stop at the same time. I play at half of the rinks in the Bay Area (Logitech Ice in San Jose, Oakland Ice Center in Oakland, Fremont Ice-O-Plex in Fremont and Belmont Iceland in Belmont) and they are all on the same damn schedule, which means that we're all dealing with playoffs and getting our shit together for the new season at the same time.

For most people, the new season means giving their money to the league (NCWHL), the rink (Oakland) or the captain (Logitech). But when you're the captain, it means a bit of work. Granted, this is my 5th or 6th season in the position so it's almost down to a science but it's still work. That work is manageable.

Side note: I'm starting a EEE (lowest possible level) version of my co-ed team and we still need a few players. Email me if you might like to play, but only if you are looking for a mellow group. Win-hungry folks will be happier somewhere else, I just want to have fun and play with my homies. Yes, I said homies.

The NCWHL does something unique and wonderful. We evaluate our skaters to make sure no division has people who don't have the skills to keep up or, more importantly, that there are no ringers to scare the shit out of everyone else. It's the only league of it's kind in the country and I am, indeed, proud to be a player and a member of the board, that cocky, humble little team that works really hard to make sure that everyone is having the best time possible.

This year, for a great variety of reasons, we're evaluating every skater in the league. At last count, that number is getting close to 180 ladies. Hey, that rhymed! This means coordinating volunteer evaluators (speaking of which, if you play hockey with any degree of skill and live in the Bay Area, consider yourself tapped to help out. Email me and I'll set you up with a list of dates and an instruction sheet.) to watch skaters at each of 20+ sessions.

The big hoohah officially starts on Tuesday but I'm exhausted already. But I'm ready. I spent today wading through emails, begging additional volunteers and coordinating the folks who can't make their regularly scheduled sessions. My spreadsheets are up to date and my evites have been sent out (why I didn't use more evites sooner I don't know).

Bring it on, ladies. Let's get this show on the road. T minus 2 days and counting.

Reason #805 That Andreatan is my Hero
She not only disposed of the maggoty dead mouse her mousetrap caught, she vaccuumed up the poops and messes that little rodent made while I stayed inside, cool and dry, working on league-wide evaluation stuff.

Back from a few fun-filled days in Anaheim for the CPRS conference. It was held at the Anaheim Convention Center, a glass and steel monstrosity just steps away from the Happiest Place on Earth, aka Disneyland. I was supposed to work the Continuing Education booth, since the Recreation Department at school usually does this but the call of the mouse was just too strong. Gail and I rolled in around 3:30 on Wednesday, learned that the park was open until 8, stopped by the convention center, then ran (stopping for beer first) to the park.

The next morning, I got up at 6:30 to work the booth at 7. At around 7:30, I noticed that I hadn't signed up to be there until 1 pm. Oops. The upside was that a woman who actually works for CPRS was scheduled to be there. She sent Maureen (my advisor and hero) and I off to Disneyland, instructing us to return only for break time. Maureen hadn't been there since the early 80's and I guess a lot has changed. I did my best as tour guide, showing her all around the park and scoring us some quick access to rides with long lines by being single riders. I had a great time and oh yes, in the end I did spend some time at the conference.

3.09.2004

Admitting Defeat
When we first bought our house in late 2000 (closing in early 2001), it was a nightmarish process, filled with sleazy mortgage guys, outbidding and last but not least, a pueblo that was being masqueraded as a house, all for the low price of $250,000. Not fully understanding why, but knowing that we'd been emphatically told to do so, we took two (well, three, if you count the schmucks we first talked to, the schmucks who tried to get us to pay 10% interest on our house. That is NOT a typo, but it is another story) to the very end. Schmuck #1 had the worst rates of the two so we dumped him shortly before closing. He then came back with a bill for an appraisal that we didn't know about, had never ordered and were of course not going to pay for. A harshly worded letter a few months down the line cleared that up, but again, another story. Well, I guess I just told all of that one.

Anyway. In the end, we found John, who was reasonably nice and offered good rates, even before Saint Greenspan came along to lower the interest rates later that year. We signed our lives away with John the Tuesday before we actually got the keys. For us, that was sort of a special day, a day that marked a great deal of accomplishment, the culmination of months, cobbling together closing costs, and in the end, the mark of a passage from semi-adulthood into true adulthood (though I'm sure I did make a fart joke on the way there). But for John, it was just business. Makes sense. That's what he does, mortgages.

But these are not ordinary debt assumptions. These are houses, little (or big) manifestations of hopes and dreams. I'll admit freely that I could see the future in our little house, more good years with Andrea, more dogs (okay, I didn't really see *that* coming) and yes, very much so, a child. John took us through the reams of paperwork and sent us on our way, homeowners.

Twice since then, we've refinanced, getting the payment low enough that the last year or so when I've not had a 'real' job haven't killed us. I'm grateful for that and for the myriad of tax writeoffs the house provides. Now that I'm working again, it's time to explore refinancing once again. So I dutifully email John with a list of questions, like 'how long do I need to be working before we qualify?' you know, lame stuff like that. Stuff I need answers to.

Five days later, I get a response from the man:
Hi Liz,

Please give me a call.

John

I think it's time to find someone else, someone who at the very least can answer emails so I don't have to play phone tag to get basic answers. Have someone you like?

3.08.2004

Finally
A couple of finally things happened this weekend. First, Heed got the break he was looking for when a friend and her husband decided to give him a try. I had no idea their backyard was so big, Heed went nuts running around it, playing with a dishtowel, rubbing his scrawny self on it then running in giant circles around it, then, finally, actually bringing it to us. Heed loves Marc, his new dad, kept giving him kisses and returning to him. It was really sweet. We left a bed Heed likes and a crate for the daytime, that night we got an email with a picture of the little guy, comfy in his bed. Like usual, he had tucked himself in for the night, even in a new home, he knew what to do. I am praying that he doesn't mess it up.

The other finally is having my second win as a goalie. Once again, I let in only one goal. We won 4-1. I'm thrilled to end a shitty season on such a good note.

The end of the season does mark the start of evaluation season for the women's league. No matter how much energy we (the board) put into thinking through each possible scenario, no matter how redundant my presentation seemed at the sparsely attended annual meeting seemed, the process can never be clear enough. Our humble president sent out the official email less than an hour ago and I've already had 10 emails about it. It's going to be a long month.

3.05.2004

Andrea's right. Last night with Heed really sucked. I don't want to have to euthanize him but his agression is so not okay. On any level. He's going on a very well-informed visit with a friend of ours tomorrow, if he lived there he'd be the only dog and have an experienced dog-owner mom who would come home at lunch to play with the little guy.

Please join me in praying that this works. I don't think we could place him with someone we didn't know and I'm not sure I can bear to euthanize him. This needs to work.

I'm still adapting to my new place inside the exciting world of work. Many many things are good about this place:
  • All of the new people who started around the same time as I did are very very cool. And I'm not just saying that.
  • I'm working in my field (the writing field, not recreation. Unfortunately I am cursed and utterly unable to get a rec job to save my life.)
  • The location is a whopping 10 minutes by car from my house. By light rail and a long walk from the Discovery Musuem, it's more like 45 but still, all transportation takes place n San Jose, aka the City Where I Live, not a city 45 miles from where I live.
  • The thought, just the thought of having a real-sized paycheck in my life is almost too much to bear. Stay tuned for tales of frivolous purchases and refinancing.
One unexpected thing that sucks is the side effects of all this sitting and typing on a non-ergo keyboard. My tailbone, which will probably never heal (see last April, when it all began), hurts like you might imagine a gigantic pain in the ass would. I think I'll have to invest in one of those donuts to sit on. I could bring it to meetings and make a big joke of it 'anybody want a donut?' I'd say, waving my ass cushion at them.

Better wait until I've been here a bit longer for that sort of thing...

3.03.2004

Sometimes I feel like I'm about to get sick, about to need a couple of days in bed to recover from the oncoming imaginary illness. But then I think no that's not possible. I don't have time.

How did I get so busy?

At work. At a 'real' job for the first time in over a year. It's kind of scary but also pretty cool. Thanks again, Carol! Once those fat paychecks start rolling in, I owe you a niiice dinner. And some crack, if you want it.

Were I to write a movie about my work experience, I would sell it as this: "It's like Office Space meets Claire of the Moon." That's kept me cracking up all day.

3.01.2004

I've made virtually no progress on my fiction. I accept that it will not be ready for class at 4 pm. I have however unclogged our kitchen sink and filed Andrea's taxes. This year she gets the big fat refund, since techically I made no money last year. I think it came out negative, in fact. How is that possible?

Ahh, the tax returns of the unemployed. Next year I hope to file the tax return of the merely underemployed.

But still no fiction. I feel like I'm letting my characters down. Sorry.

I am utterly without discipline. I now have 10 pages of fair-to-mediocre fiction, all character development stuff, but I need at least two more pages and more importantly, I need to make the characters interesting enough that the three people who buy this book someday (and you know who you are) will want to keep reading. At this point, *I* don't want to read this shit.

Baby, it's Cold Outside
The office in our house, the place from which I do all my research for school (this semester's myriad of library visits notwithstanding), write in this blog and slowly, painfully work on my uncompelling second novel, is always cold. Every day that I'm home writing, I bundle up like Nanook of the North only to be completely shocked when I finally step outside, shocked to find out that it's totally warm and I could be wearing shorts.

I think today is one of those days. Gotta go find a sweatshirt. And perhaps a woolen shawl.