A quick catching up

It’s a chilly morning and I’m snuggled in a blanket on the couch with my second cup of coffee.  It’s quiet-just the shhhhh of the furnace.  I have a cookie scented candle burning from Bath and Body and it smells delicious.

It has been a busy several months since I’ve last written.

I have officially moved into my grandma’s house-directly next door to the house I lived in for the past 20 years.  I boxed up her lifetime of accumulated belongings and moved the majority of it into my old house.  I still have a lot of things left to move out but it’s a process.

I was able to design the remodel completely on my own:  paint, fixtures, tile, counters-everything, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  We’re actually still in the process of remodeling but the main areas are done.  It’s a small house but so much bigger than where we were.  I honestly felt like the Old Lady in the Shoe, especially having seven of us living in less than 1000 square feet with ONE bathroom between us.  We managed;  we survived.

I think what I love the most is that I’m living in a house in which I’ve only ever had good things happen.  My grandma was such a treasure to me-all through my growing up years as well as my adulthood.  As a kid, we all had family dinners on Friday nights at her house where we’d laugh, eat, and us kids would watch The Dukes of Hazard or Benny Hill reruns.

It’s surreal living here.  I know it’s the same house but it looks so different.  I have my couches and tv facing a different direction but in my head I can still see my grandparent’s rocking chairs and all of their furniture. It’s like my memories are clashing with the new ones I’m making.  My kids will be so confused when I’m old and trying to tell them stories;  I’ll have the timelines all garbled.  Oh well, they can sort it out.

I’m in the process of trying to start either a vlog or a podcast…I get myself so worked up with anxiety about it that I haven’t actually put anything together.  Stupid, isn’t it?  My biggest downfall is fear of failure.  Lord only knows what I could have accomplished if I didn’t hold myself back.

I’m still alive, if you hadn’t guessed.  And back on a diet.  *groan*

Since I feel like my writing is stuttering, let me share a few pictures with you:

Gorgeous view overlooking Lake Elsinore

Robert got a brand new bike!

Matthew is continuing his guitar practice and always improving.

Sweetpea loves this house so much more

So does Baxter

I absolutely love my new kitchen

Jordan was able to spend Christmas with us

I hope you enjoyed my little photo tour of the last few months!

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A midday hike to clear my head

I’m getting increasingly stressed about the idea of my husband switching jobs-the company he is currently with is making certain changes which are not conducive to a good working environment and so he is looking at his options.  This means we will no longer have the same insurance and we’ll most likely take a financial hit.  He’s in the trucking industry and is away for long stretches of time.  While he’s been away, two of the kids have moved out, the other three are rapidly moving closer to adulthood, and his own health has declined.  I’d love to see him find employment that has him home in the evenings or at the very least, the weekends.  We all miss him and want him to be healthy and happy.

In order for him to possibly have a local job, he would most likely be forced to take a serious pay cut which would mean we would have to pick up the slack somewhere…this means me.  Somehow, I need to make some money.  I haven’t worked since 2010 when I was a home health aide.  Before that, I taught for a year at a private school, was a substitute teacher, and was in college completing my degree in English.  Honestly, I have no clue what I would even be good at, let alone where to begin my search.  I would absolutely love to work from home but is there even such a thing anymore?  I know people somehow manage to earn money off of their blogging and various other social media ventures but I’m completely out of my element in that area.  How exactly does one do that?

So here I am-what does an unemployed 42 year old mother of five kids do when faced with the challenge of finding supplemental income?

I grabbed my daughter and we went for a hike yesterday.  I needed to get some nature in my lungs, be off of my bed, outside of my house, away from the noise in my head.  I needed some pine trees, wildflowers, and bugs crawling in my socks-some sweat, slippery dirt, and climbing.  I also realized quickly just how out of shape I’d gotten.


 

About halfway up, I realized I had worn the wrong shoes.  Converse sneakers do not have the tread needed to navigate through the slippery surfaces and I easily envisioned myself landing with my feet over my head and having to be helicoptered out of there. We’d be easy to find between my heavy breathing and Hannah’s lime green socks.

We spotted several lizards that seemed to be trying to race us down the hill and only encountered a handful of people, which was very nice.  There was quite a collection of poops along the trail and I’m sure at least one was from the mountain lion the sign at the gate warned us about.

The sun felt good on my bare arms and the breeze helped relax me somewhat.  Bonding with my girl was a great escape-exactly what I needed.  She’ll be twelve in August and I relish the time we spend together while I’m still in her good favor;  before I turn into the woman that no longer knows anything.

As for extra money and me gaining employment, who knows, I don’t know what I’m qualified to do other than possibly work at Taco Bell.  What does a B.A. in English get you nowadays other than snickers and giggles from engineers?

Impossibly Measured

I can measure my up and down, and unfortunately, my side to side.

But the affinity my hand has for yours;  that magnetic inclination to feel your hand holding mine, I cannot.  How does one measure a feeling?

The width of my smile, the lightness of my heart, twenty-three years of memories together?  That’s a start.

How frequently I creep up behind you to smack your ass-so much so that I’ve ruined your iPhone…

How many times you make me laugh in one phone conversation, the fact that I continuously attempt to make you a Radiohead fan, the coffee cup full of thoughts I have about you through the course of one day…

It can all be measured without numbers;  with how close, no matter the miles between us, our hearts connect.

Measure

And then there was that time I did Roller Derby…

I was approaching my fortieth birthday when it occurred to me that I should do something badass.  I wasn’t going to go buy a sports car or anything crazy like that-but after going to watch the local roller derby team practice for an evening, that seemed to hold just the proper amount of tough girl I was looking for.  Camaraderie, cute socks, and little shorts combined with roller skates seemed like the perfect mix for me.  Why not?  Life is too short to not give it a whirl.

After talking it over with Robert, who was in full support, I decided to contact the team and see what I needed to do to get involved.  Just because I hadn’t been on skates in, oh, 30 years, was no reason to be nervous, right?  I got in touch with the captain and she encouraged me to come to the next practice and they would have loaner gear waiting for me so that I’d be able to try it out.  I was excited, to say the least!

I got myself psyched up and actually managed to make it to the next practice.  There’s quite a lot of safety equipment involved in roller derby-helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads, skates…now that I’m actually considering the equipment, it’s not really all that much.  After being shown what goes where and how to put it on correctly, I was all set!  Ready, set, roll!

Alright, it wasn’t that easy.

I think I spent almost an hour holding onto the fence surrounding the rink (which was also used by roller hockey guys) just going around in an endless circle.  The fear of falling is something to behold.  Having your body supported by wheels that may or may not go in the direction you intend is just not normal-I felt like a baby giraffe, to say the least.

After getting warmed up Ha! I joined a small group of other derby noobs and we went over the basics of skating.  How to stop, how to start, how to fall.

How to fall.

Yes, one does a lot of falling in roller derby.

2 hours  and countless sore muscles later, practice was over. I was able to hobble over to my truck and drive directly to Walgreens to purchase some Epsom salt in hopes of soaking in a hot tub with a giant glass of wine to relieve some pain. It did help a little but I think the wine and Advil did the bulk of the work.

I was so excited at the prospect of becoming a derby girl who, after many encouraging words from Robert,  ran out and bought all my gear the next day.  I wasn’t too keen on having a white helmet, I’ll tell you, but I’m too impatient to wait for something to be ordered and I had practice the next day so I wanted to be prepared. I have a rather small head so finding the proper size is more challenging than I would have thought.  My brain is plenty big, it’s just compact.

Next practice, I was all geared up-skates laced, all my pads on, mouth guard, helmet.  I stood up off of the bench upon which I was seated and promptly fell on my ass.  Not a graceful fall, not just lightly, No, this baby giraffe fell with a giant thud, all spindly and no sign of femininity at all.

That stung.  I narrowly missed hitting the back of my neck on the metal bench as I went down and all of my weight landed on my left butt cheek.  I got myself up, looked around to see if anyone was laughing (no one was) and made myself go out onto the rink.  That wasn’t exactly the best start but, as I said, there is a lot of falling in roller derby, I was just ahead of the game.

I chit chatted with some of the girls and they were very encouraging. Just keep practicing and you’ll get better.  If you’re not falling, you’re not trying hard enough.

I made it through the practice with a very sore rump which I iced once I made it home.  Almost the entirety of my cheek was turning all shades of purple and it hurt to sit on it…Oh, the price we’ll pay to attain badassery.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I developed a love for knee-high socks.  Aside from the obvious cute factor, they served a purpose; the taller the sock, the more protection you would have on your bare legs since, unlike hockey, roller derby uses the least amount of clothing and padding as possible.

I looked in stores and those types weren’t the easiest to find.  There were a few in Hot Topic and Spencer’s, but I wanted variety.  After asking around at practice, I was told about Sock Dreams-an online superstore specializing in wondrous socks galore!  O, delight! I spent at least an hour perusing their website when I finally settled on about 4 pairs of socks suitable for a potential derby queen.


    

As you can see from the above picture, there is a lot of skin to scrape if you don’t wear tall socks.

A few words about duct tape:

It becomes a necessity it roller derby.  You need to keep the front part of your skates taped because through the course of a practice, you will find the leather (or synthetic, whichever the case may be) becoming worn from rough use.  When you fall to your knee or knees, you use the top of your skate to stop which rubs along the skating platform which, in our case, was a treated concrete.  If you don’t protect it with a few layers of duct tape, you will quickly ruin the boot of your skates.  Duct tape, like socks, also becomes part of the fashion.  There are many cute designs and patterns to choose from and a derby girl usually has a few different rolls to choose from.

Along with practices thrice weekly, there were also various meetings to attend as well as social gatherings and fundraising projects.  It quickly became all-consuming and I found I had time for little else.  I was just a wee bit obsessed.

Through the course of the practice filled summer, I gained about 15 pounds of muscle.  I didn’t realize it at first until I noticed that my jeans wouldn’t fit up over the bubble butt I had developed.  Ohhhh, I didn’t like that! I liked developing muscle but I definitely did not like seeing the scale go up.  It takes a lot of muscle to keep weary legs going for 2 hours of grueling practice in 100 degree heat but it wreaked havoc on my brain. Muscle is good. Gaining weight is bad.  Being strong is good.  Jeans not fitting is bad.  I didn’t deal with it as well as I should have and constantly complained about it to Robert who was always reassuring and encouraging me to continue. No, I wasn’t a tub of lard.  Keep skating.

He puts up with a lot, thankfully!

The summer went progressed;  I built a small wardrobe of long socks, glittery booty shorts, and rolls and rolls of duct tape…I also developed some friendships and an appreciation for group sports.  These were some dedicated and hard-working derby girls that put in many hours each week honing their skills. It’s hard to keep pushing through after falling countless times but they would just get up and get back at it.

It was finally time in the season where there was a bout to attend.  A “bout” is a roller derby game where two teams compete against each other in an allotted amount of time and the team with the highest score wins.  I was nowhere near close to being able to skate in a bout-definitely didn’t have the skills down, didn’t know the rules, so many rules!! But, I got to do the next best thing which was to show up and support the girls that were going to be competing.  I helped out at the door by having the spectators sign release waivers.  Yes, roller derby is a contact sport and it is not unheard of to have girls go flying into the sidelines and wipe out a row of people.  Nobody wants to get sued, so waivers are a must. I had to explain this to several people when they asked why they would need to sign anything.  Ever watch the movie Whip it? Then you know what I’m talking about-it’s pretty rough.bout 3

derby bout1

group derby

bout4

I continued with roller derby until about November when, at practice, I took a fall.  Now, I had become fairly accustomed to falling quite a bit, and while not fun, I knew it was inevitable.  But this time, as I landed on my derriere then somehow flipped forward and slid across the cement boob first, I realized that maybe this just wasn’t for me.  I had also managed to hit my head, which had begun throbbing fairly quickly so I sat myself on the bench for the rest of the practice.  Even though we wear helmets, a good thump still bounces the ‘ol noggin a bit.

I decided I’d take a break and as the holidays were rapidly approaching, I could use the down time.  It was also a break my almost 40-year-old body needed-I needed to spend some time visiting my chiropractor so that he might relieve some of the pain I had developed in my hip since that last fall.

All in all, I would do roller derby again;  it was an experience of a lifetime!  I also learned some new things:

1.  You don’t have to prove anything to anybody but yourself

2. I’m not a complete wimp; I should have already known this as I’ve birthed five big babies without an epidural

3. My husband is my biggest fan

4.  Turning 40 is pretty badass in itself

Thank you, Prison City Derby Dames!

sporty