5.27.2004

No Kickball for Me
Some of the kids at work are hosting a kickball game today. I'd love to play, I really would, nothing really beats kickball, you know? But despite playing hockey 3-5 times a week for the last few years, it seems that the only time I get injured is when I'm not playing hockey (e.g. the Shaving Cream can on the edge of the foot incident, last week's jumping off a rope swing only to hit the water face first, resulting in a bloody fat lip and a nice bruise, spraining my ankle three different times when walking off stairs or just walking in the gym, etc., etc.).

Given all that and the fact that we're leaving for a tournament tomorrow, I'm not going to play. But I'd really like to. Because you can't beat kickball.

Full Circle
Tomorrow morning, we leave for Phoenix so I can play my last tournament of the season with the Seals. A year ago, I took my ragtag little team, Code Red, and we sucked ass. Lost every game and never really came together as a team. I guess I wasn't as good at assembling personalities as I thought I was. There was a lot of in-fighting among the team and way too much drinking.

Some of the crap that happened there, on and off the ice, set off a chain of events that had a seriously negative impact on my life last summer, and indirectly, led to some shit that was even worse, bad, icky stuff that I may never be fully able to leave behind.

All that stuff has changed me, made me stronger and yet, weaker. Although I understand the value in conquering adversity, really, last year from May on was simply too much for one short period of time. I know they say that God (or whoever) only tosses you way as much shit as you can handle in one day, but there were far too many days where I thought, no, this is way more than a day's worth. There are days when I still think that.

So we're going back, Andrea and I. Together, stronger, more secure in so many things. Of course, the Seals are a much tighter team than Code Red. At this point, we have two first place finishes under our belts and I know I'd like to take a good stab at a third, if to do nothing else than erase some of the ghosts that the word Phoenix brings up in our house.

The Class That Never Ends
Last night my Rec class had our final meeting. Instead of 6-8:45 pm, we were supposed to go from 6-10 so everyone could do their presentations for the class. One thing led to another and we ended up being there until almost 11 pm. I squeaked out an A- on my Lit. Review, which is good. I learned that the university is basically forcing my advisor, my hero, to retire RIGHT NOW. Last night was probably her last class ever and we didn't have a chance to say good bye.

Thanks to Gov. Ahnold for that particular budget cut.

5.26.2004

Blast From the Past
Because it irritates the hell out of me that Yahoo puts a limit on how many times my old site can be accessed, I have finally moved this little slice of 1997 to my own site, where you may view it all you like. Some crap is still broken but the tacky animated gifs are all working properly for your viewing pleasure.

What's not to like?

Just When I Think it's Safe
I find pages like this, filled with pictures like these:
Yeah, I still miss her. I think I always will.

Continuing Shoulder Drama
If yuu don't want to read about pain or suffering, read no further. However, if you have a morbid fascination with other people's pain, you're at the right place.

The thing with my shoulder is entering it's sixth month. Some days it doesn't bother me at all, but the thing that seems to do it the most harm is playing goalie. We all know that playing goalie is something I'm still not sure I like, something I'm really not any good at, but I am not ready to give it up, especially not for something as silly as an injury. So I had a say in demoting myself in the women's league, in the hope that the slower pace of the green games would give me time to set up for the shots and that the pain would be kept to a minimum.

Last night, Dana and I got stuck in traffic (it's a curse. We spent the entire Seals season sitting still or inching along the 38 long miles between San Jose and Oakland. It only makes sense that we'd get stuck going to Belmont, too) and were 20 minutes late to practice. Lucky for me, I'm getting good at getting dressed in the car.

Even with 20 fewer minutes playing goalie, I still managed to F up my shoulder during the practice. Jan was trying to stuff it in at my foot, with one Nette on either side of the net, waiting for her pass. I didn't let it in at the corner, it squirted across the goal line and I got it, by golly I got it, using my stick to get it out of the crease. Hurting my shoulder in the process.

Shitshitshitshitshit.

I get my MRI next Tuesday. At this point I think my best hope is for some better painkillers and physical therapy. Here's hoping it's just tendonitis.

After yesterdays's Grand Adventure at the vet, it wasn't very long before the vet called to tell us that the lump in Rainie's belly is just a fatty too-mah. We're to watch it for unexpected growth but it's allegedly harmless. Phew.

Gus was mighty pissed that we left him at home alone, but when I got back with the merry band of hound dogs, he was snoozing away, face pressed up against the window, enjoying his bachelorhood.

Late last night, Zeus went outside, then promptly came back in, sneezing like a madman. Instantly concerned about foxtails, I got off my ass (yes, at like midnight, when I was pretty much exhausted from working all day then playing goalie at practice, where I once again managed to mangle my shoulder) and went outside to pull every foxtail in the backyard. Andrea came and helped, eventually I think we got them all.

For now I'll ignore the fact that pretty much all of the grass in the yard has died. It's really time to pave the thing over, as attractive as that would be.

5.25.2004


A little late, but here it is. The Oakland Seals, International Champions!

5.24.2004

After that letter from the Great Rob, fiction teacher to the stars, I shall rename today, May 24, 2004, as The Day I First Realized I Could Pull Off Writing a Novel.

Thank you, thank you.

Got my fiction portfolio back, it includes the highest compliments I could hope to get from my teacher, Rob, Fiction Teacher to the Stars. Let me be boastful and share them here:
"Dear Liz," (that's me)
You just continue to improve and I couldn't be more pleased. The story -- that long, complex account of a life, is coming together as fiction and that's the goal. I look forward, if I get the chance, to see what you've done with Carol and the others. (aside: I think Carol is no longer with us, but the others very much are. I won't bring Carol back until he's really fiction. Right now he's just a sad, angry caricature of a man I once knew, and that's sort of lame.) It seems they have come to life, become their own characters separate from the people you know...You're leaving the raw material of personal life (often less interesting to others than to us) and exploring the vast world of the interior landscape, and you do it with humor and honesty. Fantastic work.

I'm back!
Back from a wonderful 5 days with family. I saw the sights of a lovely town in Tennessee, and more importantly, had the chance to just hang out with some people I adore. I could share the funny parts of the trip (the parade full of Shriners, the shining sea of mullets, the ten people who made up the entire contingent of 'gay day' at Dollywood) but the thing that matters most is the people.

It was great, wonderful, amazing, sweet. Each moment added up to a tremendous gift that some people look their whole lives for and still never find.

Thanks for having me. Next time, I promise to not make as many bad smells or tasteless jokes.

5.22.2004

I'm at Dollywood this instant. We are on the tram, ready to head into the park. On the way here we passed an entire parade comprised on Shriners. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen.

5.18.2004

Beyond Exhaustion
Most nights, it goes like this. I turn of my light and before my head hits the pillow, I'm asleep until the next morning. But not the last couple of nights. Despite only having a few hours allotted for sleep, my body has rebelled, granting me about 4 hours a night.

My hope is that the end result will be me, totally sacked out on the plane tomorrow instead of being awake and fretting that something will go wrong. Until then, I'm damn tired, dreamaing of being asleep.

5.17.2004

The Home Stretch
Today is the last time I have to go to my tedious fiction class. I had this unrealistic expectation that being in the graduate version of the class would give me access to other stuggling/unpublished, yet still pretty talented writers. That whole grad student connotation would have you beleive that, right?

Wrong.

Granted, about half the class writes some really interesting stuff and has valuable insights about what works and what doesn't in my work. But the other half writes, well, crap that I'd also call drivel. In addition, the comments they made about my work, other people's work, was often so caught up in self-importance and making references to obscure authors that I thought I was in the latter Matrix movies.

Which did not help in my quest to write a whole novel that doesn't suck. And has decent dialogue.

In less than an hour I'll turn in my 63 pages of stuff that may not suck, that may make it into a whole novel one day, knowing that most of the improvements that I made came from the comments of just a few folks.

There's an undergrad version of the same class, I think I'll stick to that. Not because my crap stands out as being better, but because my classmates aren't so caught up in themselves that they can't make good, constructive comments about my work.

Farewell, stuffy grad students. Hello, punkass undergrads.

I can't help but get teary-eyed when I see gay couples getting married.

For the record, the day that it truly becomes legal here in the Bay Area, when I can get a marriage license, then proceed to the church of my choice and be legally married by the pastor of my choice (or just the guy at city hall, if that's my choice) with the state ready to recognize my union, that will be the day that I make all kinds of noise to Andrea about making an honest woman out of me.

So hurry up, people who make laws. Let me marry her already!

Big Pants Still = Sore Ass
So my new pants came and though they look super duper spiffy (it's all about coordinating with the stick) after two games I've found that they're simply too high-waisted for me to comfortably skate in. Yesterday, I fell down and couldn't get back up because they kept folding in at the waist. I laid on the ice forever trying to figure it out. Eventually I got back up but not without a scar on my stomach from where they'd cut into me during the process.

I must have fallen on my ass pretty hard then, too because today my left cheeck (and why is it ALWAYS my left cheek?) hurts just as bad as on other days after other falls in my current, much more mobile pants.

I played four (count 'em, four) hockey games in two days. That's like a tournament, but (as Jean says) without the dinners. Though a bunch of us did go out for lunch after the A-Team 2 game (another loss, but a good time had by all) and every time Annette or Jeannette got up to get a beverage, the Sharks scored. It was hysterical, they'd come back, armed with a full glass, returning to a room full of shouting, happy people. Their beverage needs worked out because the Sharks won the game and will be back here tonight ready to take on the Flames once again.

Dare to Dream
The A-Team 1 remains in first place, still undefeated. We're now in first by 3 points but more importantly, we've really gelled as a team. Finally. After 5 losing/.500 seasons, we've lost very few folks, and added just the right ones at the same time as our beginners have crossed the line from beginner to intermediate. More than once a game, I find myself smiling at their efforts, proud to be on the ice with them. All the work we put into finding the right combination of personalities and skill levels has paid off, we're a team. And we're winning. WOO HOO! I'm also racking up assists in almost every game I play, which is huge for me. Someday, I will score. On a goalie, not just an empty net. Oh yes, I will....

5.14.2004

Seeing Rupert win the million bucks last night was amazing. Here's a guy who loved being on the show, never stopped trying, and had the same level of integrity in real life as he did on the show (from what I can tell). In my opinion, there had never been a more deserving winner but twice he was voted out too early and didn't get the chance.

This time, we got to choose and for once, I was THRILLED about the winner. Hooray for you Rupert!

5.11.2004

"As athletes, we repossess our bodies. Told that we're weak, we develop strengths. Told that certain sports are wrong for women, we decide what feels right…Told that certain sports makes women look 'like men,' we notice the truth: working out doesn't make us look like men, it makes us look happy…it makes us healthy and powerful" (Mariah Burton Nelson, The Stronger Women Get, The More Men Love Football, 1994, p.33)

Though the hour is late and my literature review is still a couple of hours away from being finished, I must stop to give a huge shout-out to Heather for the simplest, most wonderful of gifts. For my birthday this year, she gave me a pack of little tiny post-it notes shaped like arrows that I've used to mark and color-code spot after spot in the growing collection of books, course readers, my own work and journal articles that are forming the backbone of what I think is going to be a very strong piece.

Without these little flourescent arrows pointing to thoughts that seem to leave my brain as soon as they arrive, I would be utterly lost.

Thank you Heather, for saving my thesis.

Haiku Tuesday
Why must you tell me
About bad times with my work?
Sorry, no can fix.

Liz car sad, in shop
For two days, while pimp Focus
I must drive around.

I called Pimp My Ride
They cannot help the Focus.
Is Unpimpable.

In bug fix, I am
Liz Doughty, fixer of bugs
Rid the world of bugs!

I want to go see
Bob Barker. In his waxen
Glory. Price is Right!

Today's Work Related Adventures
First off, actually having a real job where I use my mind (though it requires sitting on my ass, which is a little scary since that ass was once a good bit larger thanks to jobs like this) is fantastic. I'm engaged with what I'm doing, using all of my skills (writing, UNIX (CVS) and HTML, no fancy coding shit, just HTML embedded in a bit of proprietary database calls that even I can find my way around most of the time).

The money part is of course fantastic but it's really a whole lot more than that. I'm part of a very funny, smart, occasionally very loud, team that rocks in so many ways. And I'm not dealing with the General Public (aka The Many People) at all.

This morning when I was renting my pimpass Focus, the guy doing my contract asked me where I worked, apparently for the contract. When I said the name (technically I work for an also well-known subsidiary of the larger, well-known company) he of course started telling me about his experience using the larger company, and how did a certain option (which is, in essence the whole reason that the site works so damn well) work. He also told me that he owes my company $.35.

I do not mean to be rude, but I am not tech support, customer support or someone who cares about your $.35. I realize that I have an inherent duty to be an ambassador for the company but does that oblige me to listen to every story from every person I meet who has ever used the platform or the product?

Maybe it does and I'm just not very good at it. I've never had this problem before since every other company I worked for in this valley (yes, save IKEA, why you gotta remind me?) is long dead and gone or so bastardized that the parent company would never have heard of me.

Last week, I decided to celebrate going permanent at work with a spiffy new pair of hockey pants. I've actually had mine long enough that both pairs in my current rotation are starting to fall apart and more importantly, I keep falling right on my ass. Hard. Incidentally, these pants coordinate nicely with my spiffy new orange stick.

So I wanted pants with more ass. I was all excited that they'd arrived so soon, since the website said blue (my preferred game color, I'm not sure why it's worked out this way) would take 1-2 weeks. I was ready to wait, but thrilled and surprised when I saw the pants-sized box on my porch.

The surprise was for naught. They were the wrong pants, an older, cheaper model. Though they were blue. I'll have to give them points for getting the blue part right. The guy was very apologetic and will refund my shipping costs when I return them. That's good service.

After five months of having my Check Engine light on, I finally have the cash to get the throttle body replaced and have the little light turn off. While I'm at it, I'm getting new tires and having the locks fixed. Right now, the car has a charming feature: it acts like it's locking but doesn't really lock. If you wanted to, you could just open my driver's side door, then reach in to grab whatever you like from my collection of empty coke cans, happy meal toys and assorted workshopped pieces of fiction, as long as you didn't mind the gentle bleat of my wounded horn.

But now, you won't have that option. I can't wait! In the meantime, I'm pimpin in a Ford Focus, which is seriously a pieceocrap. For a rental, it's pretty thrashed. Even though my car has issues, I still can't wait to get her back, minus a few of those issues.

5.10.2004

My foot hurts way way too much, given that it was injured by a damn can of shaving cream.

What a weird weekend! Saturday, we spent the day with Jennie, her son Graham and their dog Maddie. They'd had a tough week and needed some quality time with dogs. Since we have dogs in abundance, it was the perfect thing. Then we trotted off to Belmont, where I coached my first red game (I think, I may have filled in once in the past but I was never Head Coach). Neither goalie showed up so the team had to make do, but they came up huge, winning 9-5. That was much different than their previous game, where they lost 8-0 and had a big implosion on the bench. I was beaming with pride when one of the players got a hat trick (Go Jenny!) and another, her first goal ever (Go Vanessa!). More importantly, they all got along well and seemed to have a good time. Go Red Fury!

Later that night, the A-Team had another great game, winning 3-1. All of a sudden, we're a very strong team and I'm having more fun with them than ever. It makes all the bullshit I've gone through getting to this point worth it. And not because of the winning so much but because we've become a team.

Sunday, we slept in and when I finally got up, I was determined to shave so I could wear shorts when we went out to a nice breakfast. So I figured, what the heck and took a shower. At one point, I put my shaving cream back into the little cubby we have affixed to the wall for bath products but it didn't settle in there quite right because when I turned around, it leapt from the cubby and landed with the edge on the side of my foot. I stood there screaming 'fuck! fuck! fuck!' as my foot bruised, then started to swell almost instantly. Andrea came to my rescue, admonishing the shaving cream for hurting me and helping me clean out the extra crap that had prevented the can from sitting properly in the cubby.

That scrapped all of our plans because the swelling was quite impressive. I knew I had to skate that night (do not even think for a moment that this would have kept me from doing so) so instead of a nice breakfast, we stayed home and I iced/elevated the foot while watching the Sharks lose to Calgary. The swelling went way down but the pain remains far too much for the kind of idiotic injury that it is.

I hobbled out of the house around 4:30, ready to put one more notch in my 'test-driving-every-mini-SUV on the market' belt with the Toyota Matrix. So far I've driven the Honda Element, Ford Escape, Mazda Tribute (yes, I know they're the same) and the Mitsubishi Outlander. I think the only one left is the Subaru. Anyway, the Matrix pretty much rocked. I drove the WRS, with a big ole' fatty engine and a ton of options. It was fast, handled well and had a fair amount of room inside. Of course the salesguy tried to get me to come inside and 'talk numbers' but we bailed, saying that we couldn't do anything until the refi is complete. The guy wanted to know when that would be, I told him that was a little personal, didn't he think? and we left.

I had thought I'd talk about last night's game, but I think I'm still processing it. I was shocked and disappointed at how rough it was, given the level and the fact that a lot of us on both teams were friends. I could give a rat's ass about losing (which we did) but when I look up and see a friend clocking one of my players on the back of the head, I just have to ask why?

Kinda makes me want to give up on co-ed for a while. The Seals have spoiled me.

5.07.2004

I am NOT Tech Support
I headed back to the sports medicine doc this morning to see what's up with my shoulder and get a refill on the drugs she prescribed last fall. My pharmacy had many issues trying to fill it because the lameass insurance didn't like it, the doc's office never called the pharmacy back and when I called, their answering service told me that they don't take messages. Huh? What's the point, then?

I can also afford my part of the co-pay on the MRI that she ordered back then so I wanted to set that up, finally.

I was there 5 min early and was ushered into a room, where I waited for 20 minutes until the esteemed doctor made her way in. When I mentioned that I'm working and could now get the MRI, she asked where I work (a large, successful Internet-based company that I'll not name here) then proceeded to tell me about her troubles with email and Yahoo (where I do not work).

What I wanted to say: Look lady, your office fucked me out of pain killers and now that I've waited 20 minutes to talk to you, please beleive me when I say that I am NOT tech support and I am not paying you to troubleshoot your computer.

What I did say: Well, you should talk to Yahoo. Now, about my shoulder...

She rushed me in and out in a total of 5 minutes then handed me off to her assistant, who seemed shocked that I wouldn't have my original prescription for the MRI that was handed to me last November. I actually had the guts to say "One piece of paper from six months ago? You have got to be kidding. Please make a new copy for me."

I think I'll get the MRI, then find a doctor who's a little more focused on the patient. Through the whole process I felt like an afterthought. How lame is that?

5.06.2004

I just got the word that Susan and Bill finally welcomed the twins into the world today. They're two little girls, one arrived at 5:30 this morning, the next 5 hours later.

Welcome little ones! We're all glad you're here at last and all three of you are okay.

Last night was all about rockin in the free world. First, I did the first presentation of the literature review for my thesis ("Nice Guys Always Finish Last, but Women Don't Even get to Start, an analysis of the disparity of opportunity for women in sport") and while it wasn't a badass, super-polished hour of fun, it was pretty darn good. I covered everything I wanted to (did you know that the most money a woman athlete can make as a professional in a non-traditional sport in this country is $55,000 in the wnba?) and alluded to my vast range of knowledge on the topic of women and sports. I ended about 10 minutes too early but oh well, I still covered everything I meant to.

I left early to go to my maroon game, where the Rabblerousers played with a full bench for the first time. We kicked ass, winning 4-2 and having a great time. I am extremely lucky that I was able to pick so many of my friends, we really gelled. This team is so fun that it's almost worth all the crap I went through coordinating evals. Almost.

5.05.2004

The word on the street is that the Ice Hounds are striving to bring out their inner Gordy Howe. Resist! Resist!

5.04.2004

Last night's A-Team II game kicked ass! We had help from a couple of last-minute subs who rocked (and got a nice view from the penalty box) and played well together. We laughed a lot, made a few good plays and in the end, lost 4-1 to the nicest team in the whole world (note: we haven't played the Ice Hounds yet, I'm also expecting them to tie for this distinction), the Ice Monkeys.

I've never had so much fun losing!

5.03.2004

I want to thank everyone who has made a donation to my Relay For Life efforts. I know that thinking of the loved ones you've lost isn't always an easy task, please be assured that I'm extremely grateful for your kindness and your donations. I'll do my best to honor your losses as I walk.

One benefit to all the thinking about cancer that this has inspired is that finally, almost 4 years after losing her, I can think of more good days than bad that we shared with Ellie. She was truly a little angel who I was lucky enough to know, even for a short while.

I hope that our efforts this July add up to even one more day with loved ones for people fighting this horrible disease. Thanks for being part of that.

Weekend Hockey Report
I'm struggling with returning to co-ed play. It seems that since I've gotten a bit better recently (faster, smarter about my moves and even stick-handling better) I've become a bit of a target to the other teams. This means that I get pushed around (yes, I push back) a lot more and that the guys are less inclined to hold back just because I'm female. The good news (I think) is that I'm still not getting many penalties for this. The bad news is that I'm really letting it get to me, like it just doesn't quite connect that in some ways, these guys finally see me as an equal threat to the other guys out there. (Is that a good thing?)

So yesterday, I played hard on the crappiest ice ever, fought for every puck and more often than not, came up victorious. Of that, I am proud. We won, 3-2, I'm proud of that too. But what I'm not proud of is how much I let this one asshole get to me. We were tousling a little all game, nothing serious until the last minute or so. They were trying desperately to tie the game up and we were trying desperately not to let them. I was down low with Mr. Mentally Unstable who is New to Hockey and doesn't quite grasp some of the more subtle things that go on.

Like my favorite move: when I feel an opponent's stick up around my waist, you bet your ass I'm going to reach out and hang on to it. If you're dumb enough to hold it up that high that close to me, well, duh. Don't do that. But Mr. Mentally Unstable did, not doing what most people do, which is to start to skate away. At that point, I'll let go since my dirty little trick becomes obvious enough to get a call. But this guy just stood there like a moron, shaking the thing and shouting, no doubt getting seriously pissed off that a 'girl' was keeping him from moving. Finally, he wrestled the thing away from me (his version) or I let go (my version) and his stick flew up and hit me in the head, which pissed me off.

What did I do next? The dumbest, most dangerous thing I've ever done in a hockey game. I hit him over the head with my stick. I know, I know, that was DUMB. Kids, do NOT try this at home! He did not take kindly to this and turned around, faced me, then slammed me full force into my own net (I would like to note that I did not fall down!). He came up swinging so I asked if he wanted to fight me. Over and over, he said "YOU HELD MY STICK!!" as if that makes hitting me in the head, then starting a fight okay, or even necessary.

There's a code of conduct that usually dictates that the guys do not fight the women, but apparently my skills have reached the point where that code is now void. I need to remember to stay focused on the next play and not let these assholes get to me. I also need to NEVER retaliate like that again. Getting the puck and making a good play immediately afterwards is a much better choice.

After the game, he called me a crazy bitch when we were shaking hands (I did not shake his) so I went up to him again and said hey, let's let it go okay? To which he replied "YOU HELD MY STICK!!" Um, yes, I know that.

This time, I got the last word in. My reply?

Honey, it's just hockey. And I skated away, another A-Team win in my pocket.