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Tin Lizzy
29 January 2008 @ 09:08 am
I'm sitting here looking out the glass doors on the 3rd floor of the East Bay Suites in Grand Marais, listening to the wind howl around the door frame. No lake view room, but rather a lovely view of the glare ice parking lot, although the veiew of the ridge surrounding the town isn't bad to look at. The room we're in is a studio suite, with a kitchenetter and everything all in one room (except the bathroom :), and presently everything is in disarray with the murphy bed (hells yeah a murphy bed) pulled out and Lisa in it, the couch taking up most of the rest of the room and Dax perched on that, and me in a squooshy cozy chair in the corner by the deck door.

After 2 days of mild conditions and beautiful mushing weather, and half way thru the Beargrease marathon (the mid-distance race finished yesterday), everything went to hell weather-wise last night. With teams scattered between Sawbill and Trail Center, right about 6 or 7 pm last night it started raining of all things. So most of the mushers were stuck running the longest leg from the Sawbill checkpoint to Trail Center at poplar lake (60 miles) during the night in the rain. Ugh - I can take some cold, but damn that had to have been grim getting soaked with a constant rain for 6+ hours straight on the trail. It was still fairly warm up until this morning, but wonder about keeping the dogs warm when they're soaked through and the temps start to drop, as the prediction is for a 60 degree temp drop between yesterday and today.

The musher roster has dropped by about half as of this morning, looking like due primarily to the suckitude of conditions, although there's hardly a word posted anywhere about what's really going on, and Lisa and I are going out of our skulls. In the past the beargrease folks have done a good job of keeping constant commentary posted on their site, with updates from checkpoints and road crossings, they have a whole amateur radio contingent that travels along. But this time there's next to nothing.

The only thing they do have on their site in terms of updates (other than a blogger who hasn't done any real updating until this morning, and even then it's just a lot of words without really saying anything of interest) is regularly updated pdf docs of the standings, including where-they-are, rest times taken/required, withdrawals, # of dogs, etc. So technically you can track where everyone is, but there's no substance - no quotes from the mushers as to trail conditions, why dogs were dropped, how hellish the trek thru the night was, and why nearly half the damn roster has now withdrawn from the race. I mean yes - it's fairly likely so many withdrawals because of the ice/rain conditions, but I want to hear it from the mushers dammit!!

Why no roving reporter constantly updating the site with reports from the mushers and volunteers and whatnot. Lisa and I decided that next year we should volunteer to do so. I mean dude the whole town of Grand Marais is completely wi-fi'd and numerous cafes along the way on the grid, so not like there isn't the means to constantly get things posted up here.

But off course I'll be too busy volunteering with the race itself next year. Because, in true tin lizzy fashion, being up here and watching the race and being at the checkpoints and Ang and I having done the sled-dog training thing up in Cambridge for a season+ (the means by which the fabulous Dax came on my scene 9 years ago), I'm of course fixated on getting back into dogsledding.

Not fully, not yet anyway - I still have a lot of roller derby to do ;). And probably not at all, but we all know how I work when I get fixated on s/thing!

Ok - it's off to the Coho cafe in Tofte to grab breakfast and meet up with the race back at Sawbill checkpoint, where some mushers are already checked in this morning.

Later - pix!
 
 
Tin Lizzy
15 October 2007 @ 02:39 pm
So I lost my shit to the new pro-lifer Charlie at the clinic this morning.

One of the main bits of value that roller derby has force-fed me into learning is confrontation. And I don't mean combatative, antagonistic, snarky, pointless or indiscriminate confrontation. I mean that pure precious jewel of being able to confront someone frankly about any particular load of bullshit that they're slinging at you.

LOBs (loads of bullshit) can take many forms. It can include someone having willingly taken on a hefty bundle of significant tasks for which they've agreed to take responsibility then going AWOL and leaving all the tasks to just hang undone. It can be some pro-lifer shouting at patients coming in the clinic or other types of nonsense tactics they use to harass patients.

As Midwesterners (I know lots of you here in LJ didn't get saddled with Midwesterndom - lucky lucky you), we're at a congenital disadvantage for effectively and healthily dealing with LOBs, as well as the people throwing them. We're too polite, too passive, too restrained. We fantasize about how we could just "tell that son of the bitch what a low-life manipulating bastard he is!" or that we're THIS CLOSE to letting so-and-so know that "that's it! You've dropped the ball repeated on this for the last time and you're done".

And so we stew. And commiserate with anyone or everyone who ISN'T the LOB-thrower about how terrible it all is. And we decry the LOBs that keep getting thrown, and gnash our teeth (really - what the fuck IS "gnashing" one's teeth anyway???) that no one steps up to do anything about it, and "how do they keep getting away with it?!"

Sometimes we come THIS close to just opening our mouths and saying something already, but then we don't - because that would Change Everything. It would be Rude and Impolite, and it would make things Awkward, and someone might end up feeling Sad and Mad.

Heh - this morning at the clinic was evidence of tin lizzy having progressed admirably in throwing her midwesternism under the bus for good. And really - I have roller derby (primarily serving on the board of governors, aka "the BOG") to thank for it. And actually at root I have Ang to thank for it - she was the initial catalyst for helping me to find my spine and start confronting things already. And then there's shwiggitude who's also hugely contributed to my continued growth in the area of confrontation - oh yes, yes you have ;).

But seriously my experience with rollerderby and on the BOG has been so chock full of a constant and never-ceasing stream of LOBs getting thrown at me that my only means for sanity and for ever getting anything done or resolved has been to confront LOBs and LOB throwers. Yes, sometimes I'm still a little slow and/or dripping in diplomacy in doing so, but it's really really helped shove me over the edge in losing my last shreds of fear at confronting people and their LOBs.

Could be a MasterCard commercial for derby girls:

Monthly roller derby dues: $35

Time spent each week on both legit BOG business as well as drama and issues generated by 80 roller girls: 30+

Learning the skill of fearlessly calling people out on their shit: priceless

Oh but wait, I digress, this wasn't supposed to be about roller derby. This was supposed to be about how I lost my shit to Charlie the prolifer outside the women's clinic this morning.

If you've read past posts about my escorting at the clinic, you've heard about Ann. Ann has been replaced by [Crazy] Charlie. Charlie is much less combative, cut-throat, abrasive, screechy, or psychologically manipulative than Ann is. He's much more mild-mannered and humble, but he's irritating and grating in some different ways.

Anyway - one thing he does is shout (loud enough for people clear down the block to hear him) after patients once they've they enter the building, ostensibly with the intent that his Very Important Information about alternatives to abortion might carry through the set of double-doors separating his charges from him.

So this morning after a patient and her friend went into the building, and after Charlie was satisfied with the amount of shouting he did after them, he walked over to the giant wall-windows (the foyer windows of which we're able to keep blinds closed on) of an office in the building thru which he could see the patients waiting for the elevator. He then stood looking dolefully in through the windows, pleading with looks and gestures for the patients to "Please please just come out and let us tell you why you having this baby will be the best decision you've ever made in your life".

It was the pleading through the windows that made me snap. I don't ever interact with the prolifers at the clinic. I don't engage them, I don't talk to them, I don't give them dirty looks or say mean things about them to patients, I don't make small talk, I don't politely smile at them. I simply ignore them, except for what I need to do to stay between them and the patients when walking patients into the clinic.

So completely against character, I lost my shit to Charlie. "Stop DOING that! What's wrong with you - just leave them alone! They don't want to talk to you, they're already feeling nervious and uncomfortable, and they're already in the building already! Just leave them alone!" Charlie just gawped at me, taken aback that I said anything, let alone that I was telling him off, then started to say something along the lines of "But I just want them to know-", before I cut him off and let out a whole slew of how horrible/mean/awful/disrespectful he was for being so threatening and harassing and that what in world makes him think that God is particularly impressed with him saying such guilt-inducing and un-proveable or flat-out untrue things (eg. "No relationship survives abortion!", "No woman has ever regretted KEEPING here baby!").

There was a whole long bunch of things that I just kept barraging at him, undammed at last with all the irritation and frustration that's built up over escorting there the last couple years, particularly having chosen to just maintain radio silence no matter the examples of awful or harasssing behavior. And then he would try to respond with "but I mean to be supportive not threatening" or "i'm only shouting because they can't hear me once inside" and I just kept hitting him with my disputations of how he and other prolifers who harass patients come across regardless of his so-called intention, and asking him how he couldn't conceive that a whole bus full of protesters lining the sidewalk (as happens on saturday mornings) is horribly threatening and intimidating for patients to have to walk through/past.

It turned into a half hour or 45 min interaction that felt both validating and positive, in a way it couldn't have been with Ann. Charlie, for all his crazy wierdness, actually has some humility and agreed when I bored thru some bit or faulty logic he was trying to throw up in his defense of some action. And he wasn't argumentative, just very humble and reflective, and respectful to not pursue areas of discussion that I cut off and refused to engage in (eg. the status of the fetus as living or not).

So all in all it was good for me - I needed to vent some piss and vinegar at him/them, in a way that was heard and acknowedlged by them, and cut through their I-have-an-answer-for-everything BS. I wasn't looking to win some argument with him either, and told him explicitly that I have neither any stake in changing anyone's mind on the fetus-vs-baby debate, nor forcing anyone to come into the clinic for an abortion who doesn't willingly choose to be there. I simply needed to vent my own passion at feeling protective of the women who come into the clinic and my reasons for being there, and my own perception that the prolifers methods, regardless of intention, come across as manipulative, guilt-inducing, threatening, disrespectful and plain mean.

So woo. And hurray for confrontation and getting things off yer chest :)
 
 
 
Tin Lizzy
13 October 2007 @ 11:12 am
Thank gods the sun finally came out again today - I don't have to end it all after all. *whew*

You'd think that murky glum days would strike inspiration for doing inside projects - laundry, fixing the p-traps in the kitch and bathroom, weather-proofing the windows, etc. However no - I end up just feeling resentful that doing inside stuff is really the only option on such cold dreary days, and so like a stompy child I dig in my heels and mostly refuse to give in to the logic. Then come sunny bright days I rediscover motivation and inspiration for doing housey things, because I could also be out biking or playing or reading outside - thus I have a choice. And it's the choice that seems to bring the inspiration. I do not like being backed into corners, and glum murky days back me into a corner - which I subsequently take out on my house. Thank god I don't have children.

Now if the above were completely and always true (that could work into an iff - "if and only if" - statement somehow I'm sure), I'd have the most well-maintained, orderly and clear house. However those of you who really know me know this is not the case. The breakdown is that while the maintenance and cleaning bug tends to only bite me when it's happy sunny la la out, it doesn't happen on every happy sunny day. But today is definitely one of those days, could be that they come on days immediately following a succession of glum murky days. Hmmm.

Took Dax to the vet this morning for a follow up check to make sure she wasn't suffering any kidney or liver damage after her most recent Home Alone adventure a couple days ago. She's a big girl dog by this point - 8 yrs old. You'd think that having achieved dog-yeared quinquagenarian status that she'd be long over tearing shit up when left home alone. But no. I mean yes - sometimes she's fantastic and docile and fine, being content to just snooze peacefully and non-destructively on the couch while I'm out. But then there are the frequent destructi-con episodes I come home to, which appear random and driven by nothing in particular but for Dax's mood/whim. Sometimes peaceful snoozing, s/times tear shit up!

My friends shake their heads at me, at my continuance of having faith in Dax's grown-upness, that I keep choosing to extend trust in her, that "maybe this time she'll be fine and won't tear shit up". And many times she fulfills my trust in her. Often times she doesn't. Thursday she didn't.

While I was gone Thursday, Dax decided that 2 sample bottles of Deramaxx (some kind of super-special advil type NSAID med to treat arthritis in dogs) that we'd gotten for Shiloh smelled teh awesome and that she definitely needed to chew through the plastic bottles and eat all the pills. They were on the upper shelf of a closed cabinet next to the door in the living room in which I store most of the dogs' stuff. But somehow her nefarious nose teased out their smell from the general scent of the rest of the room, honed in on them, she managed to extract the bottles from the cabinet, chewed thru them, and ate all 14 pills.

So off to Dr. Jami at the Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital for induced vomiting, activated charcoal, and bloodwork. And after her follow up visit this morning - she's all fine, no residual kidney or liver probs. Just some follow-up pepcid AC she needs to take for a few days since NSAIDs tear up stomachs so bad. She's probably had a couple days of feeling like a rockstar tho - best her joints have ever felt!

Dax: O hai - i invadeded yer pillz an eeted tehm all up.

Ok - so now, my list of things to keep me inside on this beautiful autumn day when I could instead be out frolicking in the leaves:
- laundry (always pre-emptable, but might's'well since I'm here)
- p-trap fixes in the kitch and b/room
- re-caulking the bathtub
- installing a thingie on the edge of the tub wall to keep water from leaking onto the floor
- weather-proofing the windows

No way I'm getting all that done today, so we'll see what I get thru.
 
 
Current Mood: energetic
 
 
Tin Lizzy
10 October 2007 @ 01:26 pm
 
 
 
Tin Lizzy
22 September 2007 @ 11:16 am
Lisa thinks I'm a whackjob (although thankfully in an endearing way :) in regards to my obsessive fascination with spiders and bats, so I have to post this here.

I've made posts in the past about these Garden Orb Weaver spiders that show up for the tail end of summer, crafting these often huge and brilliant Charlotte-style webs (minus any words or messages from what I can tell so far;) in various and sometimes surprising locations around the yard and house exterior (and once, some 6 or so years ago, smack in the middle of my living room).



I'm always super excited for them to show up every year - for the chance to watch them methodically weave their food trap every evening right about dusk and sit stoicly smack in the middle waiting for dinner, to make my own occasional contributions by tossing mosquitoes or moths into the web, to observe how quick work is made of packaging up the unfortunate insects trapped therein, to catch one pulling in the lines of her web the next morning and tucking up into a crack to sleep for the day.

So yes, I'm ridiculously sentimental and in awe of my resident Orb Weaver spiders (which isn't to say that I'm not ridiculously and completely arachnophobic about the usual suspect arachnids that persist in skulking and stalking their creepy bastard selves around my house against my wishes).

Yesterday I had my fondness for these graceful deliberate arachnids boosted by at least an order of magnitude. Jumping back to Thursday afternoon, I was futzing around on the deck and noticed an Orb Weaver hanging haphazardly from the bottom of the table, looking injured and sort of macked up. So I grabbed a City Pages to catch it up with, then put it up on top of the table - where I saw that its dilemma was that it had only 4 legs - all 4 legs on the one side of the body just weren't there.

Couldn't figure that it had managed to make it to arachnid-adulthood without them (tho it was a smaller than the usual adults), but figured the legs must've recently gotten whacked off in some unfortunate accident/encounter. So it hobble-crawled across the top of the table, where I figured it would hole up until it just died of hunger.

Next morning - when I came out to feed Dax, I saw the most brilliant ghetto-looking web between the legs of the table, with my 4-legged friend perched right in the middle. The web had all these crazy angles to it, like a drunken spider had made it with its eyes closed, but it was functional and solid. I just had to laugh in total appreciation - leave it to nature to allow a developmentally disabled spider enough wherewithall to still manage to build webs and survive, I'm hella impressed :).
 
 
 
Tin Lizzy
21 June 2007 @ 11:10 am
Last night the Kilmores as a quasi-team event went to Bills Gun Shop in Robbinsdale to shoot handguns at a gun range. The back story is that Scary Moon Zombie just started working at Bill's and there's a new trainer there (they do gun safety/training classes there too) who offered a handgun safety class to all of us for free so he could get some experience in teaching. They also expressed interest in sponsoring the Kilmore girls.

So we talked it over on the Kilmores list to see what we all thought/felt about it. Because of my gut reaction on the topic - wildly anti-gun, wildly anti-conceal-and-carry, anti regular people having semi-automatic guns, fairly gun-phobic, etc (though very pro-hunting), I decided since it was free that I would explore my own impulses and antagonism on guns and do the class. As an aside however, I from the start was and am solidly against any kind of sponsorship by them - hells no. A few of the Kilmores were like "yeah no" and agressively against taking the class, and I made it very clear in our team discussion that it wasn't something for anyone to be lobbying for ( i.e. trying to talk anyone into) - we all get to feel about it however we do, and that the class is a totally optional thing.

Anywho - it was interesting. The guy teaching, Dennis, is a Hennepin County sheriff, and admirable for his safety-focus and no-fucking-around approach to firearms (the kind of pro-gun folks who aren't psycho/hysterical and at least don't make me want to knock their block off), and the class was pretty a-political. As a team bonding thing it was kind of cool, a sort of collective experience of sharing fears and opinions about it all, and having a range of opinions and feelings about it.

The shooting itself was a little scary, all I've shot before are hunting rifles (hunted and did DNR gun safety when I was a kid) and my dad's pistol. Last night we shot a revolver and a .22. The shooting left me feeling mostly just shaky and sketchy - such force and harm done/possible with just a twitch of your finger.

I wasn't surprised to have my overall opinions on carrying/owning a gun unmoved, it actually just clarified and reiterated to me my prior general notions about it. I'm still completely uninclined to ever buy/have a gun, though a couple of the girls were like "hey yeah I think I might sometime look into getting a handgun." For me I see it as there just being some core differences in how people think/feel about guns and fear and defense of themselves. Some folks are definitively in favor of being able to defend-themselves-by-gun in the event of getting assaulted/burgled/etc. However, I'm just mostly non-violent to my core where it comes it dealing with actual agression directed at me (roller-derby notwithstanding;), where in the event of getting assaulted or having a gun drawn on me, my impulse/intent is that I would (hopefully) choose to step outside of and try to circumvent the aggression in whatever ways I can rather than return it, and I'd rather take my chances and risk being harmed/killed w/out drawing a gun on another human.

On a completely different note, afterward gun class, Rainbow, Red Riding Crop, Dawny Darko and I went down to Pizza Luce dowtown for Triviasco with Ian, and finally - after months of going, we WON!! And awesomely what it came down to was us being tied with another team, so to break the tie we had a pint-guzzling contest. I went to bat for my team (confident in my water guzzling abilities, tho I hadn't tried beer before!) going up against some girl from the other team. The results? I guzzled that pint whole without even taking a breath - she didn't even get half thru before I was finished. Geez how frat-boy do I feel ;). So our prize was a $50 bar tab (which we used for our bill for the 4 of us) and $50 for Solera restaurant downtown. Sweet :)
 
 
 
Tin Lizzy
29 March 2007 @ 01:13 pm
Other derby awesomeness of late:

1) link to the North Star Roller Girls' appearance (specifically Cher Noble, Napalmer and myself) on Drinking With Ian.

2) Last weekend the North Star Roller Girls traveling team (made up of some of the most awesome skaters from all four NSRG teams!!) journeyed to Indianapolis for our first away-bout ever, to bout the Naptown Roller Girls Tornado Sirens. The prospect of bouting girls outside of our own league was a little yikes, and bouting in a new location and on a different floor, but we ended up beating them soundly - NSRGs 118, Naptown 86.

I snapped a phone pic of a fan-damn-tastic bruise on my left leg below my ass, but my bluetoothing between powerbook and phone isn't working out quite right. However, here are a couple awesome photos caught at the bout by one of their photo dudes (he's locked them from being sourced or copied, so just links):

tin lizzy jammin #1

tin lizzy jammin #2

bench shot

pack shot

taking a helmet to the face...

...and managing to stay on my skates while the other chik went down - yeah BIATCH!
 
 
 
 
Tin Lizzy
23 February 2007 @ 11:34 am
So get this...

Wait no - let me provide a back drop:

Fact #1: I used to work (circa 1995-1997) at Star Base Omega (R.I.P) which used to reside in the Mall of the Universe. A function of my employment stint there was the accumulation of a largeish hodge-podge of gamer geek friends, many of whom I'm still to varying degrees connected nearly 10 years later.

Fact #2: I'm a derby skater for the North Star Roller Girls, which y'all know unless you've been living in a cave for the past year.

Current scenario:
I just go an email from Cmdr Rexfall - good friend and former Capt/Commander under me (everyone take a moment to consider "under me") while at SBO, to whom I used to give good screws (sorry - bad inside pun-joke that had to be included). I haven't spoke/emailed directly with Rexfall for probably a couple/few years now because I'm 35 kinds of lame and haven't managed to pull my self-indulgent head out of my self-indulgent ass long enough to sit down and respond to the occasional email grendades he so diligently lobs my way.

And for the record - Star Base Omega (henceforth referred to as SBO) and roller derby share a feature of employing the use of alter-egos rather than real names. So while in derby we have skater names (tin lizzy, Tara Ryzin', Freddy Kruelgirl, etc), at SBO we had character names (which were prefixed by our rank) and were expected to be in-character at all times while on the floor (eg. Adm Paul^3, Cmdr Rexfall, Capt Tails, Cmdr T'loch, etc). And likewise where I know skaters by their derby names and rarely by real names, at SBO I would generally be hard-pressed at any given point to draw up a Capt or Commander's real name. So while I do happen to know that while Rexfall's real name is Ryan, calling him Ryan would feel as odd as calling Freddy Kruelgirl (one of the Kilmore Girls) by her real name, or likewise for me to be expected to answer to my real name rather than tin lizzy. Anyway - you get me ;)

So today's email (and an accompanying voice mail) discloses that Rex is out in San Diego (where he's been a few years now) hanging out with Tara Ryzin', one of the Kilmore Girls, who's out there for a few days. And not only that, but that he actually met her out in San Diego when she was roommates (in SD) with another former SBOer and good friend of Rex's (and with whom I have my own sordid SBO past >;) - Capt D'Kytef. I still need to snoop further into the what/hows and origins of Tara Ryzin' and D'Kytek getting connected out in San Diego, and Tara landing back here in MN and joining up with our derby league, and whether it's all really as ridiculously improbable as it seems, in which case who's been making use of an Infinite Improbability Drive in my general vicinity?

Meanwhile, I'm going slink off into the corner to coalesce into largest prime number.

And confidential to weaponepsilon: I HAVE THE The Last Starfighter TAPE!!!
 
 
Tin Lizzy
13 February 2007 @ 08:17 pm
Hey so it's almost that time of the month again - and by THAT time of the month I mean ROLLER DERBY TIME biatches!!

February 24th you can come see the fabulous and undefeated Kilmore Girls bout the mighty mighty Banger Sisters!