Reading my letter to Ellie still makes me cry, even now, almost 4 years after her passing. She was certainly a good egg, I was lucky to know her.

I'd like to thank my three loyal readers for their donations. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

In setting up the table at the top for my Relay for Life donation plea, I found this letter that I wrote to Ellie, just a few days after she came home to us in April of 2000. I like to think that for the most part, I made good on all of these promises.

It is for her, for the dogs like her who do not get to die in someone's arms the way she did, who don't get the very best of love, of snacks, of treats and walks until her little body gave out that I'll walk. I know that the money raised goes towards human research but the advances made do trickle into the veterinary world so it's worth the effort. Just like loving Ellie was.

(April 12, 2000) Dear Ellie,

I've been your mom for all of 6 days, but it pains me as if you'd been ours for 6 years to see you in pain. I know that the warm bed and love I give you will mean more to you than these words, I write this to you from my own selfish need to mourn you.

You haven't left this world yet, but it's growing clearer to me every hour that you're getting ready. The vet tells me that your tumor has most likely spread, that they can do their best with surgery but it can never be fully removed. You seem to be telling me that you're ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge and as your mom, I have to respect what you want to do, what you need to do.

I promise to keep you as comfortable as possible, to give you as much love as you'll let me while you're with us but I understand that you're almost ready to go. You don't want to eat, you shake with pain and you want only to sleep. Soon, my darling, we'll let you sleep all the time and you'll be free of pain.

It would be easy to burden myself, wondering why you were brought into my life for such a short time, but I think I know. Everyone deserves to die comfortably and to have someone mourn their passing. That is what I can and will do for you. You've taught me so much already, I'm sure that your lessons for me are only beginning. Thank you for choosing me to learn them.

I will love you always and be grateful for the peace I've been able to give you this last week. I will not let you suffer. Waiting for you when it's time are Daisy, my growing up beagle and a very special guy named Mr. Tahoe. They've been making a place for you and will show you where the treats are. Mr. Tahoe will also introduce you to a special snack called Pupcorn.

Ellie, let me know when you're ready to go. You'll cross the Bridge in a warm, safe place, surrounded by love. You have my word on it.

Love always,

your Mom Liz

This was so my worst nightmare, moreso than having beans come back to haunt me or a general type of B.O. that everyone knows about but me. I sneezed and let a big, uncontrollable fart at the same time.

At home, all alone in my office there, this is no big deal. But I sit in a large bull pen with 9 of my co-workers just feet away from me.

I don't think the sneeze was timed well enough to cover the fart. I swear I saw them laughing. I'm mortified.


I've joined a team in the Relay for Life which raises money for cancer research. We'll be walking around the clock on July 10-11 in lovely Campbell CA and of course, I'm asking for your donations.

Why do this? Becuase first and foremost, cancer sucks. It's robbed me of a wonderful grandfather who I didn't get to know for long enough, robbed my friends of their parents and is slowly robbing me of a couple of friends right now. I know that walking for one day won't save my friends but it might help even a little. If nothing else, I'm making a statement, a statement that says clearly "I support you." Sometimes, that's enough.

If you'd like to make this statement too, please make a donation and I'll walk in honor of anyone you choose.


Burned Out
I think what's happened is that the Great Stress of the last month (which is entirely different than the Great Stress of the last six months, which remains None of Your Business) has pushed my body over the edge and I'm now a victim of my own bad self. Exhausted, grumpy, sort of stumbling around like a drunkard, tummy-aching, stuffy nose, sore shoulders and all, I'm ready to collapse, a gelatinous mass in front of the portable air conditioner that Andrea was amazing enough to score from her office last fall.

May that gentle hum bring forth a boundless supply of cool air and help my tired body repair itself. After all, I have a game on Wednesday.

Andrea and I played at 2 pm yesterday with the A-Team II. I had a really hard time getting into the game, I think in part because 2 pm is really early for a non-tournament game and because the skill level on both our team and the other teams is all over the map. I've grown spoiled by the homogeny on the Seals and in the women's league and it's hard to figure out which guy is actually fast, which guy can stick-handle too and which guy just can't stop. One guy checked me into the boards, hurting my hurt shoulder once again, then calling me honey afterwards when I tried to explain that this is a non-checking league.


Lucky for him, we'll be playing his team all season and despite me being just a girl to him, I'm acutally a much more skilled player so we'll see what happens next time I'm behind him on the boards. I hate to be like that but, HONEY? Come on.

We won 2-1, extending our record to 2-1. Not too shabby.

Late in the afternoon, I started feeling like crap and fell asleep for a couple of hours, waking up in time to admire Andrea's excellent yardwork and to have a quick dinner before the A-Team I played at 11 pm. Despite feeling like crap, I felt like I had a much better game. We also won that game, 3-1.

Today, I still feel like crap but at least I have 2 wins under my belt.


Yesterday, Andrea and I just farted around all day, something we hadn't done in a long long time. I found some rad new sandals at REI, along with a couple of really cute t-shirts. We also paid yet another visit to the Honda dealership, where I once again, touched, sat in and prodded the Element I've been thinking of buying. Unlike the last two times, when I had no money, a dying car and visited the dealership in the rain, yesterday was bright and sunny, my car is still dying but I finally have some money. All of this made me look at the Element in a totally new light that made the doors seem tinny (a major factor of consideration in my family, my dad loves his Camry but hates the tinny doors. Every time he climbs into his shiny Passat, he comments on how heavy, and thus, how satisfying, the door weight is.) and the interior seem cheap.

After really considering why I'd need a car that large (I don't. Andrea's car is large enough to haul all of our crap, dogs and hockey gear alike, even if it means I'd need to borrow it sometimes for the Seals carpool), I started to see that in the end, I remain a VW girl. I adore the Toureg, but the thing is like $40,000 for the base model. Even if I'm earning a decent salary, that's still too much ching for a car like that.

So I think, maybe, that in the next 6 months to a year, I'll be getting a silly car with no grownup value whatsoever, a New Beetle Convertible.

Why not? Soon enough, I'll need the kind of responsible car that I've always owned (my car history is a series of station wagons, sensible sedans and yes, a van), I may as well have a totally frivolous car. Woo!


I have just learned that on my upcoming trip to Tennessee, I'll be among the priveledged many to visit none other than the DollyWood theme park with my two favorite punk ass young men, Andy and Robin.

But wait! There's more! The town I'll be visiting includes at least one Waffle House. Thank you Jesus. And Dolly. For the wood and for the waffles.


Yahoo wrote to me just now to remind me to update this charming website or risk it being shut down. Enjoy. We wouldn't want this little gem to be deactivated, now would we?

This, on the back of the bag of Unhealthy Snacks in front of me:
"Packed on shared equipment with Peanuts and Tree Nuts"
Noo! Spare me from Tree Nut interaction.

I was just thinking that if I knew you better, there would be so many more things that I'd tell you here.

Because I consider it bad form to speak in this blog using anything other than vague terms about people who treat me badly, in the vain hope that they'll either stop treating me badly, that I misunderstood their hostility or that they'll read me blogging about them and get even more mad, I shall remain largely quiet about the drama that's been going on, re: hockey.

But goddamn it, people. BACK OFF! We're all 1. volunteers and 2. doing our best. I'm trying to trust that y'all have the same good intentions that I do but when you're pointing fingers at me it's hard to see that.

What's odd is that one of the people involved is someone who has been in my life for far too long (pushing 10 years now) in a very convoluded way that only lesbians seem to have (no, I did NOT sleep with her. Eww...) with very little positive interaction. I would be quite intellectually-challenged to think that she'd act any different toward me now but I am once again kicking myself in the ass for hoping against hope that for once, she'd be nice to me.

Silly me. Clearly, I'm meant to learn something from knowing her but I'd like to think that I've already learned it and our paths can cease to cross so I can focus on the more positive people in my life.

All of this crap has made me wonder what's wrong with me, why I seem to inspire people to a weird kind of hostility. I wish I knew, though it does make it pretty easy (though not painless in any way) to weed out the people who don't fit in well with my values. I wish I could just sit them down and say 'you know, Ms. So-and-so, you're just not a fit in my life. I'm going to have to let you go.'

Though I've hardly transitioned to this conclusion, I realize that I can forgive almost anything if there's no lying involved and you have a good heart with good intentions.


Had my exciting salary negotiations this morning. The fantastic news is that as soon as school is out for the semester is through I'll be a permanent employee here at Unnamed Successful Internet Company less than 5 miles from my home.

Here's how the negotiations went:
Recruiter: Here's the offer. You can sign it now or think about it for a day.
Me: Um. Is there any negotiation here?
Recruiter: This is the offer. You can sign it now or think about it for a day.
Me: Oh.

The truth is it's a Very Nice offer but I like the illusion of negotiation. Of course I'll 'think about it' tonight and sign tomorrow, just so I don't look like a total pushover.

Is that a Wooden Leg?
I think it's just leftover high metabolism from the tournament but ever since I got back, I've been starving. No matter how much I eat, I'm totally hungry less than an hour later. The good news is, my belly is in stasis so it's clear that my body is being demanding for a reason.

But damn! I don't have time for all this eating.

In the meantime, could you PayPal me a sandwich?


Y'all knew I was slumming when I worked at IKEA, didn't you? Thanks for not saying anything. I guess it was something I had to do, like touching a hot burner when you're a kid, even though someone is always saying 'don't touch that!'


We Are the (International) Champions!!!
Step back, crazy Canadian teams, the Seals B were in town and ready to kick your ass! We started our tourney on Friday night with a 7-0 blowout of the Jagged Edge, a team from somewhere in Alberta. All the rumors about hockey dominance thanks to a lifetime of skating and ringette were not true. Thanks to months of hard practices, sessions that more often than not leave me utterly spent, we had the stamina to maintain our intensity (I guess you could say that those practices were like viagra) through three solid periods. Sandra was a Scoring Machine, putting in 4 of the grittiest, hardest-earned goals I've ever seen.

That night, we all went out and partied a little too much. Our intensity was missing the first period of Saturday's game and we let in 2 goals. We got the intensity back, let in no more goals but didn't score much so we lost 2-1 to a team we should have beat.

Dejected and disappointed, we did the natural thing. We went shopping at the Hockey Shop, aka the World's Greatest Hockey Store. I got the stick I'd been dreaming of -- an Easton Synergy Si-Core, 75 Flex. Yes, it's orange so it now matches my gloves. More importantly, it just feels right.

With that stick (and the new Bauer 8000 shinguards, which also rock!) I felt back to my old self. I chipped passes off the boards, took harder shots, pulled off the NHL-style defense-to-defense passes that set up some really amazing neutral zone regroups, leading to at the very least, possession in the offensive zone, where we'd continue to pass it around, waiting for the right opportunity. It was amazing.

With only one win, we could have been out if we'd lost our next game so there was a lot riding on how we did that night.

We were one conhesive unit for the next three games. Saturday night, we were determined, beating a redesigned version of the Mile High Mamas (the team Code Red lost to in the finals in Vegas 2 years ago) 5-0, including one really phat goal from Elissa (with an E) thanks to her new stick, Stryder. That night, Elissa hung out with some of the Mamas and got the scoop on Sunday's team, the Colorado Cliffhangers. Supposedly, they had a couple of ringers but I replied confidently that we had a whole team of ringers.

That confidence and team spirit led us to Sunday's 8:15 am semi-final game, where we rousted the Colorado Cliffhangers 6-1, again playing like a well-oiled machine. We had a short break between that game and the 11:15 final game against the Centurions, hometown unknown. They were the toughest team we faced, it was clear (mostly from their worn-out jerseys with a kind of outdated-looking logo) that they'd played together (or at least owned only one set of jerseys) for a long time.

We were up 3-0 going into the third period. I was worn out but not exhausted, thanks to our viagra practices and I think, to step aerobics. All of a sudden, they scored two goals. Shitshitshitshitshit. But we kept our cool, even with :24 left on the clock, when they pulled their goalie and took a time out. They had a face off in our offensive zone and could easily have tied it up at that point, sending us into overtime.

But they didn't. Our line went out, with Margie telling Lisa and I to go finish what we started. We tied them up, prevented them from taking a shot and with 9 seconds left, Elissa (and of course, her trusty stick, Stryder) iced it out of the zone. We weren't sure if the refs would call it icing, stopping the clock, so we cheered a little, then a little more, as the puck slid toward the far goal line. With no time on the clock, there was no whistle.

The game was over. We had won!!!

Afterwards, we all sang Queen's "We are the Champions" in the locker room. In fact, it's still in my head now. It was the most amazing team experience I've had so far. I wouldn't trade a minute of this weekend, even the loss, maybe especially the loss because it was the moment that changed us, made us stronger, for anything.

Go Seals!


Off to Vancouver at the ass-crack of dawn tomorrow for my first international hockey tournament. I know Vancouver isn't that far from the United States, but getting there still requires the assistance of my rarely-used passport. I'm a bit more nervous than I usually get before tournaments, mostly because my shoulder, while better than yesterday, is nowhere near 100%. The chiropractor did some magic yesterday, including two rounds of the electric stim (close relative of the electric slide, yes) that loosened it up a bit. Now sporting some magic tape from Japan, I'm somewhat improved.

But mostly not.

Our first game is tomorrow night. The worst part about this tourney is that it's the first one Andrea can't go to. I've never played a tourney without her in the stands. Wish me luck...


The other day a sad song came on my ipod (which Andrea was nice enough to load for me with a smattering of every CD we own). It was from Boys on the Side, the last movie I saw with my ex when were breaking up. We both knew that we were at the end of the road (I, of course, didn't know about the nurse who was waiting in the wings for said breakup to happen) but we went to the movie as if it would be a sufficient bandaid to heal a wound that had never been whole.

It wasn't. We broke up three days later, I left the soundtrack behind for her when I moved out.

Andrea had no similar obligation to her own copy and has put it on the ipod. When I heard the song, I thought of that day at the movies and all the heartbreak that came after and then, you know what I did?

I skipped the song and moved on. It's okay to remember, but not always required to dwell. In many ways I thank God for that nurse in the wings because that was the first link in the chain that brought me here, to my eighth year with Andrea, to a life of shared joys and (perhaps a disproportionate) heartache, a wonderful life in the end.

After everything we've been through in the last year, I can say this for sure. I wouldn't trade my life with Andrea for anything.

Somehow I managed to hurt my shoulder in/after last night's game. It is more painful than when I hurt it last winter. What sucks is that the Seals are leaving for Vancouver on Friday so it needs to be healed by then.


I prefer to call it 'coming in second' instead of losing.

Last night's inagural A-Team II game was Big Fun! It was a close game the whole way through and though I'm utterly embarrassed that both of the 2 goals scored were on my line, I still had a good time. In addition, I managed to get the first team stat: a 3 minute penalty for hooking. Thank you, thank you.

Annette popped up the first important team number with a gorgeous goal, making our end result a 1-2 loss, or second-place finish, depending on how you want to think about it.

No matter what, it's gonna be a fun season. Woo!


Here's what that last post means: after 1 month of work, of Andrea schlepping me from evaluation session to evaluation session, crossing the Dumbarton Bridge in a hurry and sometimes in a huff, we have successfully evaluated and placed 180 skaters and goalies across 4 divisions of the NCWHL.

In case you're wondering, I had the humbling experience of seeing on paper how very appropriate my skills are for the maroon division. I also became a green goalie, which I'm both a little bummed and relieved about. Being a red goalie was just more than I was ready for and this way, I get to play with Andrea on two teams!

Demotion is okay if you get to play with Andreatan.

Hoping for a Statuette
Hi Folks, After far too many hours of work, sweat, and some tears, the end result of the evaluation process is the attached spreadsheet.

Honestly, I feel like there ought to be a statuette presentation, followed by the opportunity to make a speech to accompany said statuette, but in the end, one spreadsheet is all there is. Enjoy.



I woke up this morning early (for a Sunday) wanting to get started on the Literature Review for my thesis. So I am.

The hardest thing about school right now is that the only class I really care about is my research class, the one that's encouraging me to form ideas, read a ton of literature (though the beauty in the way Maureen teaches is that I just started being aware of how very much relevant stuff I've already read and processed) and now start cranking out this Lit Review (a task which I have decided is worth of proper noun status).

My other class, the Cross-Cultural Marketing in International Tourism, is just a waste of time for me. I've worked in and around marketing for many years, I know the practical application of it, even if I've never run a hotel (and for the record, have no aspirations of ever doing so) I still know what we're talking about. The only really new thing I've learned is this:
In the public sector, more than one business doing the same thing is competition.
In the private sector, that same concept is called waste
Hmmm. But for an entire semester, I'm not sure that's a worthwhile take-away. I haven't actually added the class yet (long story and for once, it's not my own drama, it's merely ancillary to someone else's) and at this point, I'm leaning really strongly toward not doing so.

I don't know what this means for my status in the program. Last semester, I took 2 English and 1 RecL class, this semester I've vainly attempted 2 RecL and 1 English (all the while becoming more aware that while I'd like to one day have an MFA, I don't have the intestinal fortitude to stomach a number of years around my peers in the field, not to mention my inability to grasp the importance of analyzing works from dead white men. I just can't.) and in truth, all I can bear to take in the RecL department, yes, I know that's my own damn department, is the research classes.

Because I like to study, I like to write, I love pulling ideas out of my ass then seeing them become well-formed on paper. But I just don't care about the other classes that are supposed to make me a recreation professional, something I'm starting to admit I may never become.

I'm thinking quite seriously about moving to the Human Performance department, if they'll have me. I'm trying not to think about dropping out.


#1 Sign That Things are Not Quite Right in the Universe
I'm actually groovin to Van Halen. Why can't this be love, anyway?

Every aspect of my life exploded in some way yesterday. Maybe that's good, because it's over with, I hope. There was a great deal of bickering amongst my board bretheren, a lot of ill will and accusations that boiled down to confusion about how best to use a single, hour and fifteen minute ice slot on Saturday. For once, I stood up for myself and said a lot of the hard things that had been on mind through the process (the most important was, where was my help at most of the sessions? I fully acknowledge the help given by a few board members and some skaters and I'm very grateful for that.).

The whole thing reaffirms the power of holding your tongue. Because when you finally let loose, people listen. They may still not agree, but they understand the power of my pain.

I also confronted the guy who had made that creepy comment about my outfit the other day. He was very apologetic, which I appreciate though I'm still not ready to stop being weary around him.

Paid league dues for both teams last night and ended up covering for 4 more people (at a tune of $364 each) than I'd anticipated. Good thing I'm made of money....


Hockey Humor
I'm placing our jersey order for the new team. One of the players wants her last name on the back. Not usually a big deal, in fact the jersey guy sort of expects it. I didn't realize that by saying '5, Large, BLANK' he thought I meant 5 jerseys, size large with nothing on the back.
Jersey guy: "You're kidding. The player's last *name* is BLANK?"
Me: Yup. (not quite getting his confusion)
Him: I thought you wanted BLANK JERSEYS not a jersey for somone with BLANK as their last name.
Me: (sound of a light bulb clicking on) OHHHH. Right, that's Ms. Blank to you! Now get going on her jersey, would ya?

I'm having a really hard time concentrating on school right now. The job is altogether more compelling and it's really making me question the point of going to school at all. How many more comments about running bowling alleys can I possibly stomach with a forced grin when I'm not sure myself that I'm doing the right thing?

The other day, I thought "I was just killing time with school until I found a job like this." What the hell am I supposed to do about that?

Not a Good Neighbor
This may qualify for TMI Tuesday. Read at your own risk.

Whatever I had for lunch is causing me some problems. Not the 'I-need-to-take-care-of-this-right-now' kind of problem. That would be easier. But no, this is the 'you're going to make bad smells at your desk' kind of problem. I'm afraid to stand up, I'm convinced that all of the bad smells are trapped somewhat safely beneath me and rising from my chair would release them to an unsuspecting public, or at least to the three people sitting right near me.


The Sherriff has been sighted!
So I've been at this job for about a month now. I'm about to start my third timesheet, so that must be right. Anyway, I'm in Building 10, which is connected by an atrium to Building 11. My friend Bridget, aka the Sherriff because she's the hockey league President, works in Building 11 and though we'd met for lunch a couple of times, the accidental meeting hadn't happened yet.

So today, I'm on my way to a meeting with one of my esteemed co-workers, absolutely minding my own business when, at the end of the Great Long Hallway, comes Bridget. It was cool to see a familiar face, though more and more people in my group are getting to be familiar too.

Skating With My Peeps
No, not with Peeps, but with my friends. Went to Belmont last night with Andrea. Viv was there, as planned and then great surprise! Heather showed up too. Totally cool. We were the only women, and the bulk of the guys were beginner/intermediate skaters. What always gets me is the guys reactions to seeing women skating along with them. All night I heard things like:
"Wow, that was a nice play." (in a surprised voice) after a wrist shot went cleanly into the net, hitting the back about halfway up.
"That was a nice pass." after a nice pass.
I always forget that guys just assume that because I'm female, I automatically suck at this game. I know that it's often easier for guys to improve faster, easier for them to get a solid shot, even before they can stop. Hate that.

But what I hate worse is when scrimmaging against or with those guys who were so goddamn surprised that I'd made a good pass or outskated them on a number of drills, I set up a great pass to an open man further up the ice and he does what with it? Nothing. Just fucks it up.

That's when I left. It was near the end, anyway. Apparently finesse is optional but for me it's a requirement.

And for the record, Viv, Heather and Andrea all skated like pros too. Full of finesse. Nice job, peeps.