My body tells me no…

…but I won’t quit ’cause I want more — From “My Body” by Young the Giant. This is my derby theme song.

I’m just getting back up to speed after having been off skates for about 6 weeks due to a knee injury. I’ve been back on the track for about 4 weeks, but only fully able to participate for a week and a half. This past Sunday I was planning to skip practice to go with the family to NJ Comic Con, where a friend was debuting a new Sith costume that I helped make part of. Then we found out it was Meat Testing day…I didn’t think I’d get my first star, but the evaluation would give me a good baseline, and I wanted to be there for my teammates, too. So I sent Kit and the kids off to Comic Con without me, and I headed down to practice.

Eleven and a half laps into warmups, I rolled my ankle. Badly. It’s (almost certainly) not broken, and in fact I’m pretty sure this is one of those times when having weak/loose ankles may have saved me from a more serious injury, but right now (almost 24 hours later) it’s still pretty swollen and painful. So instead of getting to test with the rest of my Fresh Meat mates, I sat on the sideline and watched (and cheered — they all did so great!).

While I was sitting there, I was thinking: how much do I want this? This is my 2nd injury* (and at that point I wasn’t so sure it wasn’t more serious). Even when I was a kid I was “injury prone” so it’s probably not going to be my last. I have trouble with transitions and plows. I have no speed. I am old for just starting this sport.

But I love it. I love every second on the track, even when we’re 4:59 into 27-in-5 and I’m sucking wind**, even when we’re halfway through Build-a-Bitch and I think I don’t have another push-up in me much less another 30, even when I’ve heard, “get lower!” for the 453rd time in 10 minutes, even when my knee starts screaming in a pace line or the pack. I love it. I feel good after practice. I always, always want to give everything I have to every minute of practice.

And I love this team that I found. These women are amazing, in a myriad of different ways. They make me want to be the best me I can be, just by being them. And they never, ever fail to be encouraging and supportive. So. No matter how much my body tells me “no”, I won’t quit. Because I want more of this sport, and more of this team. <3 you, JDB!

* 2nd that’ll keep me off skates for one or more practices. I’ve also had some more minor things, like a bad tailbone bruise and my first “derby kiss” bruise when I slammed into a wall instead of turning. You know it’s a good bruise when even the seasoned vets see it and say, “What the hell did you DO!?!?!”

** Yeah, more cardio. To be fair to myself, this was 2 weeks back on skates from the knee thing, which had also kept me from doing a lot of cardio. So I’m working on it.

Je suis Paris (et al)

IMG_20151116_105015559Let’s get this out of the way first: I am sad also for those who died in Beirut, and in other terror attacks around the world. It is all senseless and terrifying. But the news from Paris touched me in a particular way, because what happened there reminded me so much of what happened on 9/11. Not just the attacks, but the aftermath and reactions of the others in and around the city. Although I have never been to Paris, it is familiar to me through books and movies, through friends’ recollections and shared stories. I can imagine vividly what the survivors are going through.

I first heard about the attacks when I got home from practice Friday night. I iced my knees and went to bed as usual, but when I woke up Saturday it really hit me. My mind was in a turmoil and I needed to do something, but I didn’t know what. I wandered out to my studio and caught site of a skein of red, white, and blue wool that had been sitting on the corner of a shelf for months, waiting to become something. I’d originally thought it would be something for Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day, but it didn’t. When it caught my eye Saturday, I knew this is what it had been waiting for.

This cowl is easy and repetitive, and it truly doesn’t matter a whole lot if you forget one of the plain knit rows or add an extra one — no one but you will ever notice. So it’s a good project to work on when you want to sit and contemplate what is going on in the world, or send good vibes out, or you just need something to do with your hands so that they’ll stop shaking from being so angry and sad all at once that this keeps happening.

Freedom Cowl

  • Size 17 needles.
  • App. 80yds super bulky thick-thin yarn
Special Stitch:

k1w: Insert needle into stitch to be worked, wrap yarn around needle twice, pull through as normal to complete the knit st. On next row, work into only one of the wraps, dropping the other wrap as you work the stitch.


Cast on 13.

Row 1: k1, work 11sts k1w, k1

Row 2-4: knit

Rep rows 1-4 until desired length, ending on row 3.

BO and join short ends.

On Veteran’s Day

This was supposed to go up yesterday, but I encountered some technical difficulties. Better late than never.

Basic training photo
My basic training photo, September 1992.

As of Thanksgiving this year, I will have been a U.S. Air Force veteran for 20 years. Which makes me feel old, but also makes me realize how many years I have been dealing with conflicting feelings about my service. I entered the Air Force at the tail end of the first Gulf War and during my enlistment did a very brief stint in the sandbox (Dhahran, Christmas ’93, during Operation Southern Watch) which makes me a third-generation* war veteran. I hope it ends with me.

Globally, I hope this because war is awful and it would be wonderful if going to war wasn’t a possibility for my children due to there being no wars on. Unfortunately, I think that’s probably pretty unrealistic. But on a personal level, I hope my children never feel the need to enlist in the armed forces because my experience was traumatic and scarring, and I do not want that for them. Twenty years later, I still have nightmares and/or insomnia on days when I think too much about things that happened while I was in the military.**

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I felt able to celebrate Veteran’s Day, or announce with some amount of pride that I was a veteran. It wasn’t that I was ashamed of my service: I served honorably and have the discharge to prove it. It was that I felt more like a survivor than someone who had served her country.

Every time someone thanks veterans for their service — whether it’s an individual thanking me personally, an individual making a blanket statement thanking all vets, or a company offering freebies/discounts to vets in appreciation of our service — it reminds me that I didn’t just survive the experience, I served my country. So on this Veteran’s Day, I thank all of you for recognizing and honoring our service. It means more than you can know.


*At least third generation — I’m unaware of whether my great-grandfathers served or not. My father served in Vietnam and both grandfathers served in WWII and were career military. All of us were USAF. Well, technically my grandfathers started out Army Air Force, but both stayed in and were eventually USAF. 

**Not even necessarily traumatic events…just thinking about day-to-day things or funny anecdotes can trigger strings of thoughts and feelings that send me into a stress/depression spiral. When I went to the VA last year, it was so stressful just being in a place that is related to the military that my blood pressure, which is normally around 120/70, jumped up to 190/150.