Friday, February 29, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY: MIDLIFE CRASHES

Welcome to the second installment of our Campaign for Real Booty!!!

I'm especially excited about this week's booty, Midlife Crashes, 39 ½, a member of the Omaha Rollergirls. As you may have guessed by her name, Midlife is indeed midlife – she’ll be turning a proud 41 in April. Midlife is one of those amazing ladies that breaks down many stereotypes of what a derby girl is – she’s got both experience and size.

Midlife Crashes has been with Omaha Rollergirls since July 2006. As a member of Omaha’s travel team and her home team, Victoria’s Secret Service, Midlife is a bumper and a second-string jammer.


(credit: Ruckman Digital Imaging)

Describing the above photo, Midlife writes, “It's more a thigh than booty shot, but I love the juxtaposition of the dainty pleated skirt and the thighs of death :) Plus I'm jamming, and in our league big derby girls CAN jam!!”

In addition to her dedication to derby on the rink, Midlife is also the Recruitment Director for Omaha Rollergirls, a job that may be underestimated by some but ultimately celebrated and appreciated beyond belief by all rollergirls, since recruiting new women to be a part of our sport is a very important aspect of keeping derby alive and well and poised for even more success and stardom in the years to come.

A big thank you to Midlife for sharing this photo, her age, and her dedication to the sport. You can catch Midlife next playing for Victoria’s Secret Service on March 15.

God, all this talk about Omaha, and I’m really jonesing for a fucking steak… and it’s only 9am (help me, jesus)!

OK, ladies, we've heard a lot from the midwesterners - let's hear from you East and West Coast gals! Submit your photos by clicking on the yellow link to the right!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Is the IUD Making a Come-back?

After reviewing the most popular posts on this blog through the wonderful Google Analytics, I was surprised to find that any post in which I talk about my IUD gets a lot of hits. It's not surprising, I guess. Once people find out I have an IUD, they often have a lot of questions, which I think is great! So, I thought I'd share with you an article I wrote a while back about my experience with my IUD and the best overlooked side effect: better sex! Enjoy ;)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I came home from my annual GYN exam several years ago with some unexpected news: I was being taken off the pill. I cried all the way home. What was I suppose to do? I’m allergic to latex, and the mini-pill my doctor suggested I start using immediately is only partially effective as my pill was. I knew I didn’t want kids – at least not now. I had been on the pill for 8 years, and as thoughts of vinyl condoms and spermicides swirled in my head, I wondered what I was going to do. I thought I was doomed. My sex life would be over. Little did I know that an option I had previously overlooked would in several months time set me free, and my sex life would be better than ever. It’s all thanks to the copper IUD.

At that annual exam my doctor asked me to think over several options, a copper IUD being one of them. Alarms immediately went off in my head – didn’t IUDs kill women? Sure, I say I don’t want kids now, but what if I change my mind? I can’t have kids after having an IUD, right? Wrong.

There are numerous misconceptions about IUD use in the United Stated. IUDs got a bad name back in the 70s when the Dalkon Shield, an IUD that is no longer used, got pulled for being found to be the result of death in some of its users. Since then, all sorts of other rumors have infiltrated what women in the US have thought were the facts about IUDs (e.g., IUDs make you sterile and you have to be married and have had children to get an IUD).

My partner, J, was already home when I got back from the doctor. I brought up IUD use, and he cringed. He told me sex wasn’t worth dying for and we’d figure something out (according to him, a blowjob a day would be a perfect substitute for inconsistent vaginal sex). It was then that I remembered I have a friend who has an IUD. I decided to send her an e-mail and do a little research of my own on the internet.

From the Planned Parenthood site to Aphrodite Womens Health, I was able to find both the facts and opinions from users around the world.

IUD stands for intrauterine device, because IUDs are placed in the uterus and certain kinds can be left there and remain effective in preventing pregnancy for up to 10 years. Shaped like a capital “T” with a short string passing through the cervix for easy removal, there are two types of IUDs, copper (ParaGard) and low-dose hormone releasing (Mirena). Copper IUDs work because of the small amount of copper that surrounds the arms and bottom of the base of the IUD. Copper is thought to interfere with sperm motility, acting as a spermicide so the sperm die before they can reach an egg. If in the off chance a sperm reaches the egg, the copper also causes a slight inflammatory response making it extremely difficult for the egg to implant itself on the uterine lining. Low-dose hormone-releasing IUDs like Mirena thicken cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to pass through the cervix, and may even prevent ovulation. Both types of IUDs affect the uterine lining, making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant itself. Scientist don’t exactly know why this happens.

IUDs are 98-99% effective in preventing pregnancy (versus 97% for the pill). The Dalkon Shield is no longer used, and IUDs don’t kill women. You don’t have to be married to get an IUD (although you must be monogamous), you don’t have to be a mother, and an IUD is a reversible method of birth control – you can get pregnant very soon after it is removed, much like the pill.

IUDs are actually the most popular form of reversible birth control in the world. Women in other countries who never experienced the stigma attached to the Dalkon Shield have been happily using IUDs for years. Unlike condoms or the sponge, IUD use allows you to have a spontaneous sex life. Once an IUD is inserted, it can remain in place for up to 10 years for ParaGard and 5 years for Mirena. Additionally, copper IUDs like ParaGard allow women the freedom from the side effects from hormones.

Like any other birth control method, there are some disadvantages to IUDs. If you contract an STD while your IUD is in place, you have a much greater chance of getting PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), since the infection caused by the STD can more easily enter the uterus because of the IUD string. PID can lead to scarring of the fallopian tubes and sterility. Upon insertion, there is a small risk of perforation of the uterus (where the uterine wall is torn by the device), and additionally, IUDs can lead to longer-lasting, heavier periods. This may cause anemia in some women, so it’s important to get a blood test to check for anemia after your 1st period with an IUD. The good news is that nearly all these risks can be avoided by taking the proper precautions.

So, why has your GYN never brought up IUD use to you before? The Dalkon Shield, for one, but additionally because IUDs are currently only marketed to mothers in the US, since there is the risk of sterility for women who contract STDs. Doctors figure that married women are at much less risk for STDs than unmarried women. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t request one.

Who makes a good candidate for an IUD? Any woman can request that she be fitted for an IUD. If you haven’t yet had a child, your doctor will need to measure your uterus to make sure that it is large enough to hold the device. Your doctor will most certainly also discuss the importance of a monogamous relationship to avoid contraction of a STD. Some doctors also require your uterus to be in the proper location (some uteruses are angled differently than others). Although an IUD can be placed in a uterus that is angled differently than normal, some doctors may not feel comfortable performing the insertion due to the increased risk of perforation. IUDs are also a great option for overweight or obese women, since low-dose birth control pills may be overly absorbed in fat cells, resulting in a decreased efficacy and greater risk of pregnancy for some women.

After all my research, and after I understood how IUDs worked, I decided to go with the ParaGard copper IUD (hormones from the pill had been interfering with my blood pressure, which is why I was removed from the pill in the 1st place). It was important to me that my birth-control method allow me to be spontaneous. I talked to two of my friends who had copper IUDs, one is a mother of two and the other is single and in a stable relationship like I am. They echoed some of the fears I had read about on on-line message boards – does insertion hurt, are your periods more painful, can you feel it? They were wonderful in candidly sharing their own experiences with their IUDs, and although they were honest, they were both very excited and felt good about their choices.

Insertion does hurt. People describe the actual insertion as a pinch. It’s slightly more painful than a pinch, but the immediate pain is over when the IUD is in place – within minutes. I remember walking out of my doctor’s office and calling my boyfriend. I told him it went well, and I was surprised that it wasn’t worse. I drove to my grocery-store pharmacy to fill my prescription for antibiotics (to minimize risk of infection from insertion), and while I was waiting for the prescription to be filled the pain hit me. My hands were white-knuckled on the shopping cart, and I thought I was going to pass out. The local anesthesia they had put in my cervix wore off. That’s the only bad memory I have of the insertion, and the pain would have been manageable if I had went straight home.

When I went for my 1-month check up, my doctor asked me how I liked my IUD so far. I told her my friends warned me that my period may be heavier and longer, and it was, but it wasn’t anything surprising. It lasted 5 days instead of 3, and I only had cramps on the 1st day (I never had cramps while on the pill).

“I bet you wonder why more people don’t get an IUD then,” my doctor replied. She echoed my happiness with the device and lamented the dreaded Dalkon Shield. “If it wasn’t for that thing, IUDs would probably be as popular here as they are in Europe.”

It’s been 2 years since I got the IUD, and for the most part, I couldn’t be happier. I did wind up with one surprise after getting an IUD. My body is so much more alive. I hadn’t even realized how much the hormones in the pill had numbed my senses. Sex is exponentially more enjoyable now that the hormones have left my body. I’m almost glad that I had to be removed from the pill, because I truly like my IUD better.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It’s Rough Being an Adult

Today I sit here completely stressed after my monthly bill-paying session. I do this every month, and every month I promise myself I’ll find a way to make some more money, so I won’t be stressed, but I never do. I always come to the same conclusion that I’ll be even more unhappy if I have to spend two nights a week going to a part-time job, which I would.

When I was still in high school, living with my parents, I couldn’t wait to get out from under them and be on my own, but living with them did have its advantages – most of them monetary. The only things I paid for were my car (which was like $800), gas, clothes, and entertainment. I generally think of this time as “the best time in my life,” a time when things were simpler, I was happier, and I didn’t feel the need to spend so much money to have fun. Looking back on it though, I was miserable then for a completely different reason: I had little control over my life.

I’ve worked since I was 13, yet I’ve never learned to save more than several thousand dollars at a time (and right now I can’t even manage to do that). I’ve been through cycles of going into debt and getting out of it, and I thought I was out from under it for the last time. I think there are several things that I can take from both these times in my life to make my financial life today better than it has been then or now.

First, I need to realize that I’m never really happier when I’m spending money than when I’m not. The things I really enjoy doing are mostly free, like skating, running at the lake with my dog, and going to the gym. Sure, I like to go out with friends, but that doesn’t mean I have to spend $60 on drinks – there’s no reason I can’t have the same time I would otherwise have for only $20.

Second, I do enjoy being on my own. I’m not at a point where I could ever “go back,” so I must realize that there are expenses associated with living the lifestyle I do. But, there are ways to cut back. I need to plan my grocery-store spending a bit better, so I don’t waste money buying items I wind up trashing because I never used that have rotted. I need to live within my means and take those credit cards out of my wallet once and for all. I won’t cut them up, because I will need them for travel and to buy items I buy over the internet, but I should limit my use of them to those two circumstances.

Lastly, I need to do an inventory of my spending more frequently than once a month. I need to look at my register weekly, (yes, I write EVERYTHING down on stickies in my wallet that are stuck to each other and folded accordion style!) so I don’t accidentally overspend.

It sucks being an adult sometimes, but I guess it’s true that freedom comes with a price – now I just need to find some freedom that’s on sale…

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Derby: Fun with Friends or Sport? (BDG do Cry)

When I was a kid I played a lot of organized sports. My mom started me in basketball in kindergarten, and I continued playing basketball up through high school. I played soccer in elementary and middle school, softball in middle school, and tennis in high school. For all these sports – each team of every single one, I was there just to play. I rarely had a friend on my team, so it certainly was much more about playing that it was about being with my friends.

Derby is unique in that the action of starting a league really brought a lot of us close together, and we wound up becoming close friends. I assume this also happens with groups of fresh meat who start derby together. Since derby is more than a sport – since you have to spend time participating in committees and preparing for bouts and organizing fundraisers, you become de facto friends with the people you hang around often more than your spouse or children.

This makes for an interesting dynamic. By playing with these people, you are playing a sport, but you’re also doing it with some of your closest friends – it gets intertwined, and as I’ve just recently noticed, it’s very hard to separate the two when circumstances change.

You’ve heard me talk about our recent mass exodus of vets. I keep thinking that it’s just that not everyone is showing up for practices. So many people seem to be missing. But practice after practice, I have to remind myself that they are gone, and the women I’m looking at while we’re stretching are who we are now.

As if that change isn’t hard enough on me, last night our 2008 home teams were announced. And there were trades.

I must say that for some reason the trade of my derby wife and former team member, Flo Shizzle, has really hit me hard - I couldn't stay at practice last night, and I've been crying ever since. My eyes are swollen and people in my office must think I'm crazy for sitting here continuing to crying. I think it's hard in derby to draw the line between fun with friends and just a sport. Luckily, it has seemed to be a good 50/50 mix until now.

Personally, it's hard to lose a team member - someone who needs to retire, but I'm thinking it's even harder to lose someone to another team, or perhaps it's a combination and I'm just extremely overwhelmed by so much change all at once.

I suppose I should count myself lucky for having had 3 wonderful years where derby for me was both fun with friends and a sport. That’s not to say I won’t become friends with the freshies or my new team members – I know I will, and I already am, but it’s like going off to college or changing jobs – the social aspect is hard all over again, and I’m going to miss my friends.

Last year we suffered great skill disparities among our four home teams, and I must say that seeing the new roster, with new people in place and several traded vets, I’m actually really excited for the coming home season. I have no idea how things will shake out – who will win? This is just one example of something that had to be done to sustain our league, and I’m fully supportive of it, but that also doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t cry or be upset – it’s a personal reaction to a sport that is very personal to its players, and I think that - the personality of the sport - is another one of the great things about derby.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Meditate This

I’ve been meditating on and off for 10 years now. It was originally suggested to me by my therapist at the time that I try meditation as a way to relax, since I was so overextended and refused to give anything up (me? imagine that). Since then, I’ve used meditation to also help me focus on tiny changes I need to make in my daily life, and I even meditate right before I leave the house to go to a bout, since it helps quiet my mind and let me focus once I’m out on the track.

My best friend, Betty Beatdown, has always been interested in meditation but has been unable to learn how to do it on her own, so we decided to attend a meditation center (a shambhala) that was offering group meditation and a short instruction on how to meditate.

We were both nervous about attending the group, but for some very different reasons. Betty was scared she wouldn’t be able to focus and would want to get up after 10 minutes. I was afraid they were going to make us recite group mantras out loud, which I was resistant to doing, because I already have my own mantras, and quite frankly, I like meditating because I do it by myself. The thought of independent meditation in a room full of other people independently meditating was intriguing to me, and it’s what I first envisioned Betty first asked me to go.

After initial fear of being rejected by the Buddhists for not being able to sit still long enough, Betty’s thoughts then turned to worrying about other things, like becoming so relaxed that she would fart really loudly. This, in turn, made me paranoid that someone would fart and I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from laughing at it. Hell, I laugh when I’m alone with the dog and he farts! Oh, god (Buddha), how would I control myself?

I then envision awkward questions that I would be engaged in when we arrived at the center.

“Are you Buddhist?” they would ask.

“No, but I am an ordained Buddhist priestess,” I would say, and diarrhea of the mouth would ensue. “It’s not real though – I mean, I got ordained on the internet to marry my friends, and I seemed to identify more with Buddhism than anything else listed on the drop-down menu – I mean, I guess it technically is real, because I am able to perform marriages and Baptisms. Do Buddhist get baptized? Oh, god – I mean Buddha! Wow I, eh, I hope you’re not offended here. I really do like to meditate. I apologize for being a legal Buddhist priestess…”

I really do identify with Buddhism more than any other organized religion, but I’m comfortable with the pieces I’ve taken from it and that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m into becoming a full blown Buddhist or even learning any more than I know already, unless it’s on my own terms. So, I was scared to go to the class, but I kept telling myself, and Betty, “They’re Buddhists. It’s in their nature to not judge and just be helpful.” And so we went.

We both woke up an hour early yesterday and decided to go ahead and just pick up some coffee on our way over. Before Betty arrived to pick me up, I became paranoid that I would have to poop while meditating if I didn’t poop before we left, so I spent a while in the bathroom doing some lower GI meditation in hopes of enlightening my colon. Thank god (Buddha) it worked! It was a beautiful day outside, the sun was shining, and I was really getting excited about going. Betty picked me up and we were on our way.

After a stop at the coffee shop and an apartment building that shared the same address as the meditation center, we finally made it there. I small 70s looking wooden sign was posted on the walkway outside the building that read “Baltimore Meditation Center.”

“OK,” I said. “If you need to get up, just do so and go to the back of the room. We’ll sit next to each other so I will hear you get up, and I’ll join you and we can go.”

“OK,” Betty said.

We opened the door and entered a surprisingly small room that was segmented by strategically-placed furniture to make three distinct areas: a reception area, denoted by a desk, a sitting area, denoted by sofas and pillows, and a refreshment area, denoted by juice and doughnuts sitting on a folding table. There were three men in the room: two were at the refreshment table talking and one was kneeling down on a pillow in the sitting area. All three looked at us as we walked in. We stood there, approached the desk in front of us.

No one came over.

I removed my gloves and sunglasses. Still nothing.

I let out a large sigh, followed by a “Well, we’re here,” and I looked around at the three men who only again stopped briefly to look at us and then go back to what they all were already doing.

Was this it? Is this 8 by 8 sitting area where the meditation happens? I imagined more of a yoga studio. Why isn’t anyone approaching us? What should we do? I look at Betty, and she has the look of fear on her face. I freak out and say loudly, “OK, let’s go wait for her outside,” knowing full well there was no “her” we were waiting for.

“What the fuck was that?!” I say once we were outside.

Our expectations were crushed. After briefly debating going back in there to tell off the Buddhists (shame on you for being unBuddha-like!), we instead decided to go buy over-the-knee socks.

I don’t know if my expectations for our interaction with the people in the meditation center were too high. I kind of compared the experience to derby (I compare EVERYTHING to derby…). If someone we don’t know walks into the rink, we make sure to go up to her and make her feel welcome. Not because we have to, but because it’s the right thing to do. You’d think Buddhists would get that.

Part of me still wants to write an angry e-mail to the center’s management expressing my displeasure with the experience. The other part of me wants to go back and hope for a better experience.

(I will tell you one place I WILL NOT be going back to: American Apparel. Their over-the-knee socks look hideous on me – rolling down my chunky thighs like an old-lady’s Suntan-colored knee high pantyhose. For the love of Buddha, when will I find some that fit?!)

We decided Betty would e-mail the center this week for further information, and we may try to go back again next week.

Friday, February 22, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY: SERVIN' JUSTICE

I'm happy to kick off the first installment of the CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY by presenting you with a bad-ass booty shot of one of the fiercest women in derby. In 2006, she cleaned house and won four Wheelies presented to her by her league. Taking home the awards for Best Dance Moves, Most Dedicated Player, Blocker of the Year, and 2006 MVP, I give you SERVIN' JUSTICE, 02, from the Brewcity Bruisers!





Justice (left) is posing here with The Other White Meat, also of Brewcity (mmm, meaty...).

As Justice put it when she submitted this photo, "I am notorious for my big ass, I am also called 'Just Ass' instead of Justice, and right fully so. It's big, powerful and beautiful! I flaunt it on and off the track. My man was recently caught staring at it and bragging with the words, 'That is mine...' He's so sweet. "

Servin' Justice is also a member of The Crazy 8s, the Brewcity Bruisers team 2007 Champions. Stay tuned to find out if she takes part in the about-to-be-selected Brewcity travel team. Something tells me she'll pass the ASSessment... Big derby girls RULE!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY

Although you’ll likely never hear one rollergirl call another “fat” or refer to her buddy’s body in a derogatory manner, personal judgments and preconceived notions still abound regarding the larger derby girl.

It’s not just the skaters themselves who may rush to judgment, but the derby fans and the photogs as well. Open the newspaper to a derby article, and it’s likely going to be the slim jammer who’s gracing the page. I have nothing against slim jammers, but you all know what this blog is about. I got a lot of feedback about the ham/brick house photo doctoring, and although you all can take a joke, it seems you’d rather not, which is cool with me too. That’s why I decided to implement the Campaign for Real Booty, which begins tomorrow and will run each Friday.

The Campaign for Real Booty will be a celebration of the larger physique. Think for a second about women in the derby community that you look up to – hopefully many of them will be featured here. So, spread the word. Let’s be proud of what lies behind a powerful J-block, an impenetrable booty block, and an amazing whip.

If you would like to be featured one Friday, please send your pix and a short bio to me. If there is someone you’d like to see featured here, please send me that person’s name and e-mail address.

I’m looking forward to showcasing some amazing women!

XO,

Cindy Lop-her
cindylop-her@charmcityrollergirls.com

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Gone and Done It Again

Oh, responsibility, you are a drug I just cannot quit. I’ve gone and done it again. I’ve signed up for something else. I offered to captain our B team.

Now, before you go thinking that I jumped right in, I want you to know that I waited 2 full weeks, and when no one stepped forward from the group to be a captain, I decided I had to do it. It’s my responsibility as a vet. And I pretty much run my mouth like a captain regardless if I am one or not, so there – I did it.

For the past few months I’ve been thinking our league has had really low attendance. It was the holidays, and low attendance should be expected, but even after the holidays I noticed people were missing. And then it hit me: people aren’t missing, they’ve retired – and what you see is what you get. CCRG has underwent its biggest mass exodus since our inception this winter. Our four home teams of 16-18 each are now down to about 10 each. I quit captaining my home team, I’ve decided to not try our for our travel team this season – all the while I see gaps, which is why I guess I stepped up to help the B team.

Although we’re down to maybe 40 vets (10 or so of which are left from the initial formation of the league), we have over 80 ladies skating with us now – 40 or so fresh meat. It’s amazing and refreshing to see the excitement in the eyes of these newer ladies, for without them we would exist no more. Then again, if it weren’t for the solid foundation that so many vets built for the past 3 years, we would also exist no more.

I suppose you could say derby is a partnership between the old and the new. In some aspects, I really miss the old. I miss the women who worked so hard on bake sales and car washes so we could have our first closed practice, I miss their conviction, I miss plain old skating with them. But I also see a lot of what I shared with our founders in some of the fresh meat, and that makes me happy too.

It’s funny, because at the beginning of all this, I wanted to be a leader at a time when anyone could have been a leader. Now most days I just want to skate, but my league’s at a point where we need leadership, so I’ll accept the call.

Watch out, B teams everywhere! We’re going to be a force to be reckoned with!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

By The Grace of God

So, yesterday I have to leave work early to make a doctor’s appointment with a new doctor. It was an odd experience.

My preliminary discussion with the doctor took place in his office, which contained a nice wooden desk and leather chairs – the kind you would expect from (surprise!) a doctor. Nothing out of the ordinary, except that all his framed photographs were facing the patient-side of the desk and not his own. Why would I want to look at his family? I can understand his pride, as his sons were pretty hot and wearing ties in the one picture of them. His wife, obviously a replacement, looked about 20 years younger than her husband and not too much older than his sons. But, certainly, the pictures were more for him than me. I suppose I should have been impressed, but I wasn’t.

The doctor would not look at me in the eye – he looked at his papers, the floor, the wall, and the ceiling, but not my eye. And he used the word “underpants,” although he’s not that old (“Take off everything but your underpants and put on the gown with the opening to the back.”). He kept moving from one place to another, one patient to another, in the course of my visit. I can appreciate the efficiency in which he runs his office – it didn’t keep me waiting, but it was certainly interesting.

I went from the doc’s leather-clad office to an exam room and back to the office, other patients in between our discussion in each room. Another interesting thing is the doc’s inability to shut his office door when talking with patients. It was when I was finished the exam and waiting to go back to the office that I heard the following conversation between the doc and another patient:

“By the grace of God, I wish he would just take me,” the man said.

“How many milligrams have you been taking?” asked the doc.

“I mean, I’m really going to miss my dog, but I’m not going to miss my life – this body. I just want it to be over already. The skin on my back is on fire and like pins are all in it. How are your sons?” said the man.

“They’re good. How long have you been seeing your GP?” asked the doc.

“Are they married yet?” quipped the man.

“Who?” asked the doc.

“Your sons. Are they married?” inquired the man.

“No. Tell me about your mood.”

“Are they at least living with anybody? Any nice girls? I can’t stop sweating,” said the man.

“Do you sweat at night?” asked the doc.

“Are you taking a vacation this year? God, I wish I could die. Any place nice?” asked the man.

“Yes, actually we’re going to Mexico. Do you need any other prescriptions filled?” asked the doc.

“I’m so worried about my dog. You know, when I die. Can I get some valium? I just get so overwhelmed! So flustered! Sometimes I just cannot handle it. Oh, my poor dog. By the grace of God. By the grace of God,” said the man.

“How’s 90?” asked the doc.

“I’m so glad you’re taking a vacation. That’s wonderful. That’s really wonderful. I CAN’T STOP ITCHING!” proclaimed the man.

The doctor walked the man out and came in to see me. I guess at this point I should tell you the doc is an Endocrinologist. Not a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, not even a GP – an Endocrinologist.

Seriously? Seriously.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I Only Like Who I'm Masquerading to Be

While I was sick last week I ran out of the antidepressants I take daily. I know from experience not to go too long before calling in a refill (and picking it up), but being as sick as I was I had bigger fish to fry, and I wound up going a little over a week cold turkey from my meds.

Yesterday morning I lost my shit. It was like a switch was turned on (or off), and I was certifiably crazy. I wanted to scream and cry and be volatile and hide all at the same time. And although I knew full well that I was like this because I was off my meds, I couldn’t totally put the crazy aside. It was all about “the now.” I couldn’t see several hours into the future when I would have picked up and taken the prescription. I was scared that I was going to do something nutso, and I was quite frankly afraid of myself.

As I walked into the pharmacy this morning to get my refill, I thought to myself, “Who the fuck am I?” In general, I really like myself – I like who I am, but that person that I think is “me” is actually “medicated me.” Me? The real me? I guess I’m nuts. Realizing the crazy person is who I really am is a hard pill to swallow, which is why I swallow the antidepressants each day.

I can see why so many people refuse to take their meds – for better or worse, they change who you are. I suppose that while my seeing the stark change between the two “mes” is the reason why I stay on the pills, it’s also the reason why so many people stop taking them.

My taking them, knowing the alternative, is in itself an admission of how flawed I really am on the most basic level that there is, and that’s a really difficult realization to face.

I think, “everything I’m proud of isn’t really me.” Then again, I suppose you could compare my taking mood-altering drugs to someone with a prosthetic leg. The person can’t technically walk without the prosthesis, but with it he or she can. Would you say that person can’t walk just because he or she has an accommodation?

I think fear has been my sole motivator (and still is) for staying medicated – what will I do if I don’t take them? Quit my job? Become homeless? Die?

I want to come off my meds eventually, but I don’t know if I will ever be able to do so. Am I okay with that? Not really, but I’m even less okay with the alternatives. I’m happy to be medicated again.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Cheeseburger Waged Biochemical Warfare

I’m proud to announce my return to life outside my bedroom and bathroom, and I’m even prouder to announce my first semi-solid poo since last Friday. I seriously don’t know if I’ve ever been more sick in my entire life. It went down like this:

Last Saturday Charm City Roller Girls were manning a booth at the Baltimore Tattoo Convention, selling some merch and spreading the word about our upcoming bout on February 17. It was packed. Betty Beatdown and I spent our time going back and forth from the booth to a party on the 12th floor with cheap beer and a lot of skinheads (the good kind, though – both beer and skinheads). J and GT were also there, and they were loading up on the cheap beer. We waited and waited for Murphy’s Law to hit the stage (and by “stage” I mean meeting room in the Sheraton), but by the time they went on we were beat and just wanted to go home. I had forgotten to take money out of an ATM, so I hadn’t eaten in hours. J was 1-and-a-half sheets to the wind, so I recommended we stop off at the diner by our house for some food.

J got his usual: eggs Benedict. I threw my diet out the window and ordered a vanilla milkshake, cheeseburger, and fries. It was delicious. We came home after that and went to bed.

3am rolls around, and I wake up because I’m having a dream that I’m nauseated, only I really am nauseated. Thinking it must be the cheap beer, I try and suppress it. I suppressed it for 30 minutes, and then all bets were off.

As I told the doctor when she asked me what came first, the vomit or the diarrhea, I told her “both.”

“No,” she said, “which one came first?”

“They came at the same time,” I said.

“Impossible,” she says, “which came first?”

“Well, if you want me to be explicit, on my first heave I also shit my pants – so both.”

The vomiting subsided several hours later. Like J said, it looked like I had been punched in both eyes – I had burst all the blood vessels surrounding them.

The diarrhea is another story completely. For 4 days, I was going every 15 minutes. And it was pure liquid. And I still have no idea where it was coming from. I lost 10lbs in 2 days (have gained them all back, than-you-very-much!).

It was during this cycle of nap, shit, nap, shit, nap, shit that I realized what a busy life I lead. I always knew I “did a lot,” but I wouldn’t have said my life was “fast-paced” in any way, shape, or form. I’ve now come to the conclusion that it is. I have over 500 unread e-mails. I received about 20 panicked phone calls/voicemails and numerous text messages. On top of that, some of you fucks actually contacted me just to ask “why isn’t your blog up?” (I kid, by calling you “fucks” – I’m actually super flattered that you like the blog enough to ask. I’m a nerd.)

So, here I am. Tired and sore, but happy to be on the outside of the bathroom door. I can never in good faith go back to that diner again, which really sucks because we go there nearly every weekend for breakfast, and a part of me thinks J will go without me instead of finding a substitute, because I honestly think it’s his favorite restaurant. Even sadder, I cannot so much as imagine a cheeseburger, let alone look at or eat one. I hate you, cheeseburger.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Have E Coli, Can't Travel

Be Back Soon... As soon as I can stray from the toilet for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Hamming It Up!

I received an e-mail from Betty Beatdown yesterday that was entitled “BAD ASS” and contained a link to the following (extremely unflattering) picture of myself from the Expo bout last Friday (which we won):



I actually remembered the headline as “HOLY SHIT” instead of “BAD ASS,” thinking it made perfect sense, because holy shit, look at my ham-hock thighs! Receiving this photo was not unlike a slap in the face, however it was more accurately like a full-body slam into a brick wall. I’ve been feeling good about myself lately, and I had no idea…



Indeed, if I had any idea that my legs looked like that, I certainly would not have worn booty shorts and tights. After viewing this photo, I think I need to go back to leggings, as they better disguise the ripple effect and the sheer size of the ham hocks that support my brick house.



My thighs have been my nemesis since I was 11-years-old. I’ve always hated shorts and bathing suits, because my legs were so exposed. I remember my 1st pair of gym shorts being too tight at the largest size they offered when I was in the 6th grade (and I wore I size 7/8 then!). The navy blue polyester would make my legs itch and my thighs chafe.

I always played a lot of sports, but I hated the uniforms. I would pull the shorts down as low as they could respectfully go on my hips, and I’d fidget to ensure they were back “in place” after I kicked the ball or made the shot. In fact, I think I single-handedly invented the look of wearing your pants so low that your underwear is the only thing covering your ass, so you’d better be sure you’re sans skidmarks that day. Okay, perhaps that’s going a little far, but you get my point.

Since doing derby, I’ve done a 180 on my perception of shorts, since shorts are the most comfortable bottoms for me to skate in. There’s no extra fabric getting in my way, covering my kneepads, or blowing up in my face as I scramble to get up from a fall. I like shorts, I wear them all the time, and I somehow thought that derby had “firmed things up,” which I now know is not the case.

It has become quite obvious that I’ve been lying to myself. What has caused me to do this? Is it my self-esteem’s defense mechanism? Because no matter how hard on myself I am, I still had no idea things were this bad. How was I able to fool myself?

I think I have reverse image issues. You know how anorexics see themselves as fat even if their bones are protruding? Well, somehow I have the opposite of that and think I look much thinner than I actually am. I seriously don’t see this when I look in the mirror.

Perhaps this is a bizarre side effect of constantly looking for the good in other people – I can no longer see an accurate image of myself. Or perhaps I’m just mental.

Well, at least I can laugh at myself, and I suppose it’s better to be cheeky than leggy anyhow – right?

Thanks to Global Glenn, the very talented photographer who took the photos, for letting me use them here and doctor them to include the ham. Thanks also to my coworker, Megan, for helping me turn my legs into ham hocks and my midsection into a brick house.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Dusk is Here (and he's already lucky)!

Dusk Bugayong has arrived!

The new son of Greg and Sunny is 7lb 7oz, born today, 2/7, and their room number also ends w/2 7s, so I'm ventureing a guess that he's gonna be one lucky boy!

Mom and baby are going well. Eden is SO HAPPY to be a big sister - she cannot stop kissing her new brother.

Dusk was almost born in the car - mom was only in labor 35 minutes, and his head was partially out when they arrived at the hospital. She gave 2 pushes, and now he's here :)

More to come soon.

XO,

Tara





Wednesday, February 6, 2008

RIP, Mr. Frank

I’m in a bit of a somber mood today. I came home from work last night to find out that our next-door neighbor, Mr. Frank, died.

Mr. Frank was old. His wife had passed the week before we moved into our house (I’ll never forget, because one of his sons passed off a funeral plant to me as a “welcome to the neighborhood” plant), and from what the other neighbors say, he kind of gave up after she died.

His daughter had been trying for the last 4 years to get her dad to sell his house (to her friend for less than ½ the market value) and move into a retirement community. He didn’t seem too pressed to move, and I’m glad he wasn’t, because he got to live in his house independently until he died. I saw him every morning as I left for wok. He had already been out and about and was coming back home by then. It was just last night that J told me Mr. Frank spent his mornings taking food over to his brother’s house, as his brother was much older and in worse shape than Mr. Frank.

If you’ve ever been to a party at my house and asked why the neighbors don’t mind, you’d know that Mr. Frank was extremely hard of hearing. In fact, we could hear his telephone ring inside our house with all the windows shut and the television on – and we live in a single-family home!

Although Mr. Frank and I talked often, it was almost always to tell me to tell J something.

“Ask J to pick up my papers, because I’m leaving for vacation on Saturday, and I’ll be gone until the following Friday.”

I didn’t mind though.

I’ll never forget the time the foxes tore open everyone’s trash, and I found used Nitroglycerin patches all over my lawn. I had no idea what they were! But I cleaned up the mess, and hoped Mr. Frank’s heart was okay after finding out what they were for.

We would shovel his walk and car when it snowed. We trimmed both sides of the bushes (when we actually got to trimming them), and we always looked out for him. In fact, I had suspicions Mr. Frank had died about a year ago when it had been 2 weeks since I had last seen him. I was so relieved to see him later in the day that I had told J about my suspicions.

Still, his daughter hated us, and probably still does. I don’t know why. Probably because we don’t mow our lawn every week or trim the bushes before they get out of control, but is that what really makes a good neighbor?

No. A good neighbor is someone who watches after you and your stuff. A good neighbor cares. And I think we were good neighbors to Mr. Frank.

The shitty part of this whole thing (aside from Mr. Frank dying) is that no one told us until yesterday. He apparently died last week (of a heart attack while at the doctor for a cold), and the funeral was on Saturday. I would have gone to the funeral – I was his next door neighbor.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Who Pissed in My Wheaties?

Strange headline, I know, but even stranger is the events that unfolded last night as I prepared lunches for today’s workday.

It’s been a while since I’ve consistently made lunches for J and I to take to work. Usually I’ll at least make lunch for J, but even that has become more and more infrequent. There are several factors that contribute to my lack of consistency when making lunches:

1.Lunchmeat, bread, and mustard must already be in my house. I go to the grocery store once a week, once every two weeks at least, but sometimes I can’t justify the cost of lunchmeat, so I don’t buy it from my usual grocery store and instead promise myself that I’ll stop at the mom-and-pop neighborhood grocery store on my way home to by lunchmeat from their deli, where the quality is great and the prices are $2.99- and $3.99/lb. The problem is that I either forget to stop there on the way home, or I’m too tired and say, “screw it.” I don’t buy all my groceries at the local store, because most of what I buy is produce and low-carb this or low-fat that, and the good, cheap lunchmeat store only sells high-fat/sugar/processed everything else. And they don’t accept checks (I know it’s an old person thing to still be writing checks, but I use checks for all items I budget for monthly and my card, attached to a separate account, for my “fun” items like beer and… more beer!).

2.The kitchen must be clean, the dishes must be done, and the mail must be in neat piles on the table so I have a space to work on. Okay, so in case you haven’t been privy to my neurosis before, you are now. I simply cannot work amongst clutter. I can’t. Maybe I could, but I refuse to. It frustrates me, and if I’m going to take the time to do something nice for someone (J) in the evenings – my time to relax – then all the conditions must be perfect. I don’t want to go into doing something nice and come out of it pissed off and frustrated – or scrubbing the kitchen two hours after I want to be in bed. I’m neurotic. I’ve accepted that.

3.I must be “in the mood.” Yes, much like sex, I must be in the mood to make lunches. If J has pissed me off, no lunches. If I cleaned the entire house that day with no help, no lunches. If I just don’t feel like it, no lunches. Sorry, bologna, I have a headache.

So, here I am last night, and the conditions were perfect: a stocked fridge, a clean kitchen, a willingness to do something nice, and even a glass of wine. I make J his sandwich and decide I will make salads for myself. It’s been a while since I brought salad to work, but I could use some fiber (still on the pain pills). I get everything ready to make my salads: a cutting board, my favorite chopping knife (newly sharpened), lettuce, cucumber, olives, and artichokes. I go to get my special “salad” tupperware containers when I realize there’s something in them. Yellow liquid.

“It can’t be,” I thought to myself. It was quite a bit though – maybe 2 ounces. I smelled it. It didn’t particularly smell like piss, but it also didn’t not smell like piss. I smelled it again. I looked at it. I swished it around in the container and analyzed it. What else could it be? The tupperware sit in a box beside my prep table. I analyze the box. It’s taller than our dog, Calvin, and the dog’s weiner, so it wasn’t him. J hasn’t been drunk in weeks, so it couldn’t have been him either. Did someone else pee in my kitchen?! If so, who?

I wash the tupperware – thoroughly. I wash it again. And again.

“Okay, it’s safe to use,” I think.

I do the old switcheroo with my eyes closed so I cannot tell which container was the culprit, because if I know I won’t eat from it, and really, I’ve washed the fucker three times, so it has to be safe. No reason to throw away a perfectly good salad container, right? I must be an adult about this.

J comes home, and I describe my findings to him.

“Do you think it was Geech? [Anna's dog]” he said.

“No, Geech is shorter than Calvin and Calvin isn’t tall enough to have peed in the box, so it can’t be Geech.”

“Well, I don’t think it was me,” J says.

Funny how we both take this so lightly. After all, we both know the perils of too much whiskey and the effect it may have on a man, thinking the closet, a box, or the TV is a toilet after a bit too much to drink. Alas, I know it wasn’t J, because he hasn’t been drinking.

It’s a mystery. Was it piss? If so, whodunit? If it wasn’t piss, what was it? Why was it yellow? And how did it get there?

I ate my salad for lunch today, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the container I was eating out of was the mystery piss container. I sucked it up, tried to put it out of my mind, and ate my salad. After all, I spent all that time preparing it, and I could use the fiber.

Monday, February 4, 2008

My New Addiction

Even through all the recent female trouble bullshit, I’ve still managed to find some sort of silver lining. For the past few days I’ve found myself strangely excited about the possibility of switching birth control methods, but why?

I asked myself this question the other day, and the only reason I could muster is because switching methods would mean something new. And apparently new equals exciting to me. I never realized this about myself before.

Thinking back, I tend to do this a lot. For instance, last week I ran out of my face lotion, but instead of buying more (it works great) I decide to try something else – and the something else sucks, but now I feel like I have to use it anyhow, because the box is already in the trash.

In the past, I’ve done this with nearly everything I’ve consumed: razors, wine, vacuum cleaners, and skate wheels to name a few. And no matter how good one type or brand of any one of these items work, I still can’t keep myself from trying something different. What’s worse, I sometimes won’t go back to what did work, because I still want to try something different. The newness excites me, even if that excitement only lasts from the time I buy it until I get it home.

I think I’m a newness addict – a fucking addict! Instead of buying or using only the things that I really like or are of the best quality, I go for the “quick fix” of buying or using whatever, because it’s new. I’m straight up addicted to the new.

The sad part about the impending IUD removal is that I really like my IUD. I like that it’s non-hormonal. I like that it cost $10 to insert and nothing else (for up to 10 years). I like that I don’t have to take anything everyday at a certain time or worry about antibiotics affecting its efficacy. I like it! Unfortunately, I can’t keep it. So, maybe in this instance it’s not so bad that I’m excited about the new.

Aside from the unfortunate need to switch birth control methods I really would like to get out of this cycle of consuming and using “new” things for the sake of getting excited for a short while. I think it’s the root of my shopping addiction, and possibly part of my issues with food. Now that I’ve talked my way into realizing this about myself, I’m going to try and be more mindful of my actions.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Gods Must Be Crazy (Or Just Hate Me)

I’m so excited for our mini expo bout tonight at Saint Francis Academy, but I’m beginning to think the universe is conspiring against me.

I have 3 sore and sensitive to-the-touch ingrown hairs in my right armpit – the armpit that faces the audience. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, except our uniform tees aren’t actually tees, as we expected, but actually black wife beaters. I started messing with the ingrown hairs last night when I noticed them, and now they’re all red and swollen and still ingrown. I blame it on the Tom’s Natural Deodorant I’ve been using lately. Although “natural,” I think that stuff contains boric acid – boric acid is naturally occurring, right? It tears my pits up and sometimes makes them burn. This morning I switched back to my deodorant stone, but it’s too late. The damage is done, and it appears that I have prepubescent acne in my armpit – the one that faces the audience. Did I mention we’re at a high school? It’s like being a freshman all over again.

Two nights ago at practice I developed the first real blister I’ve ever gotten as a result of skating. Yes, I’m probably due for one, since I’ve been skating for 3 years. Most people get them each time they get new skates and sometimes just because. Some people have chronic blisters. This is my first one, and I’m being a baby about it – it’s on the instep of my right foot, and it hurts like a mother. I’ve had other weird foot happenings due to roller derby. My right big toenail has fallen off twice from two incidences of severe impact – one with a wall during “dodge ball” and one with a bizarre collision in which I was nailed by a plate or skate wheel during a pile up. Additionally, both toes that reside next to their pinky-toe neighbors have had inexplicable simultaneous injuries where the nail splits in half horizontally in the middle of the nail. Even though it sounds weird and disgusting, it doesn’t hurt. The blister I have hurts – have I mentioned that?

Ah, painkillers. Thanks to my lady bit issues, I’ve been taking painkillers on and off for several days. They really are a godsend, because at times the pain can make me double over, but we all know the wrath that painkillers have on a GI system, and I’m suffering that wrath currently. I could really use a BM. Really. I used to be obsessed with following this blog ring of self-proclaimed anorexics and bulimics. Really, it was just a bunch of 14-year-olds who wanted to be anorexic. The funniest entry I ever read was a post by this girl who had been obsessing about looking thin for a pool party that was coming up. Finally, the day arrived and she still felt fat even though she had eaten nothing but strawberries for an entire week and completed 300 crunches a day, so she decided to take laxatives. She admitted on her blog that the party was at 2pm that afternoon and she popped twice the dose at 9am. Bad, bad, bad, I thought. She was surely going to have much bigger problems than not looking thin enough in her yellow bikini – there would surely be a code Brown in the pool. Although I haven’t followed this blog ring for years, I can say that I have learned something from it, and this is that I cannot do anything about my current GI situation until after the bout.

Still, I am resolving to put my setbacks behind me and kick ass tonight! You see, Dutchess of Torque is on my team, and she’s never won a bout – ever. Not in the regular season, not in mixed-team bouts, and not at expo bouts. Dutchess, I’m doing this for you, lady. We will rise up!