Friday, January 21, 2011

Been Scrappin'

This weekend (and last weekend) I spent some time with my first hobby love: Scrapbooking. Last weekend, I went to one of the regular retreats hosted by my beloved ScrapDivas (a yahoo group that I've been a part of now for nearly 8 years). As someone who moved all the time growing up, it's lovely to have a group of friends that has been a part of my life for eight years. (To give you some perspective on the moving: we've lived in our house here in Albany for almost 9 years and that's the longest I've had an address in my entire life). I really enjoy the recharge I get from hanging out w/these ladies. This weekend, I'm spending the entire weekend scrapping w/one of my good friends as a way to celebrate her birthday. It's going to be great!

I'm contemplating taking apart and reorganizing my albums. A few years ago, I thought it would make sense to separate each kids' activities and scrapbooking layouts into their individual albums. I haven' really kept up with that, so now I think I want to re-incorporate those layouts into my big family chronological albums. Anyone else do a complete album reorganization? Was it worth the hassle?

Derby Progress:  I went to my first practice in well over a week. I was sick on Monday, and out of town scrapbooking (plus practices were canceled due to slippery floors in our warehouse practice space) so I was a little apprehensive and worried I would have lost a lot. Not so much! It was a great practice. I slept better, woke up better and feel better than I have in about a week. I feel like I can really do a t-stop now; I just need to keep practicing to make it better and more consistent. I also might not be the slowest in the group (for awhile at least) since we had a bunch of new girls join this week. I do need to push myself more; I tend to give myself permission to take a rest or go slower, and I need to change this mental attitude. I have to admit that at this time, I don't really have the fire for competitive derby--I want to learn derby skills, and I'm hoping that the goal of a Sick Town recreational league will someday be a reality. Maybe this will change--I don't know. I DO know that I LOVE this, and that I want to be better every time I go to practice.

current family these guys!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Derby Progress

My goal with roller derby is simple: Be better every time I put on skates than I was the last time I put on skates.

Oh! I didn't tell you I joined the Roller Derby team highlighted in this video I posted about in August? Well, I did. I'm on the beginner team (Team Skabies--think "skate babies") and for a few months I was really more of a remedial beginner. I've been skating with them since August 11, 2010. My progress is v e r y  s l o w. But that's okay, 'cause I am having a BLAST!

I need a place to record my improvements though. At each practice, I try to find at least 3 things I'm improving on or that I couldn't even do before. I don't want a lot of files or Facebook posts, so I'll just do a quick record here after each practice I attend.

Last night I:
  • started figuring out the toe-stop turn-around (thanks to a tip from skater Smackdapus)
  • managed to average 3 laps a minute in one of our relay challenges--and found I probably could have pushed harder and skated faster (will do that next time)
  • created a baseline of skills in another relay
  • did some pack skating like never before
  • didn't have to sit out and recover as much as earlier practices
  • managed to stay low nearly the entire time while skating.
Thanks! I attend practices a minimum of twice a week (my goal for 2011), so this might get repetitive. Feel free to wait around for my usual blog posts.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Imagine my surprise to get a phone call at 6am. I was awake (I tutor Korean students in English in the wee small hours of the morning) but I rarely have phone calls. I didn't recognize the number on the caller id (they were calling my cell phone) so I ignored it. Then the same number called the home phone. At that point, I figured it was someone who really wanted to talk to me, so I answered it. It was my daughter, calling from a cell phone in her swim team practice carpool telling me they'd just driven past a house on fire in our neighborhood. Later, I found out that she'd even seen the flames from her bedroom window as she'd gotten ready for practice that morning. This was scary and exciting and scary and impossible and mostly scary.

Of course, as soon as my work was finished, I ventured down the street to see it for myself. The road was blocked off by official cars and people were working hard to put the fire out. I didn't stay long--I didn't want to be in the way, and I didn't want anyone assuming the frumpy housewife taking pictures in her fuzzy slippers was the arsonist.

pictures taken from the backside of the house, in a nearby cul-de-sac

The stretch of road that this house was on was closed for the next 24 hours or so, while investigators did their work. There was a big mobile communications truck, and lots of people milling about. I've never seen so many people walking around out neighborhood before--mostly regular citizens wanting to see what was happening. I felt like they were treating this fire as an arson fire until they knew for sure what had caused the fire.

You see, our little city of Albany has a serial arsonist. You can read more about it in the local paper here and here. So far, the targets were empty or abandoned buildings. Some were homes that were in the process of being remodeled. One was an empty restaurant on one of the main streets into our town from I-5. This fire was well underway by the time the neighbors realized what was happening and called the authorities.

What really makes this fire different and scary was that this was the first home that was occupied. Luckily, no one was hurt. But the devastation, the loss, was complete. The woman who lives here literally has nothing left. It hurts to drive by it. I find myself taking the alternate route home more and more, so I don't have to see it. When I see this terrible aftermath, I can't help but think of how easily that could have been me. It's very humbling. It makes me grateful that my family is safe.

I have no idea what goes through a person's mind when they decide to commit a crime of this magnitude. To me, it is immensely selfish. I hope that this fire means he'll (or she'll) move on, away from my neighborhood, so that no one else close to me suffers. I actually hope that they'll be caught and punished, that appropriate consequences will be enforced. This is a terrible, terrible thing. I hope that there is a satisfactory end to all of it, especially for the owner of this house (and the other buildings that were burned).

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year--Goals for 2011

trying for a family pic before church yesterday...H was talking...sigh...

I love New Year's! I love that feeling of a clean slate and a fresh start. I love looking ahead to my year and thinking about what I would like to accomplish. In 2010, my New Year's goals centered around my "40 before 40" list--and that was good. I DID think about what I wanted to do after I turned 40, but the rest of that year was caught up in a maelstrom of busy that left me little time to do much of anything--even blog (as you noticed, from my 4 month absence). This is influencing my goals this year.

Another thing that influences my year is part of Ali Edwards' "One Little World" philosopy. For me, my word is two-fold: my main word is "Balance," because when I get as busy as I was in 2010, I lose my balance. The second part is "Slow," because I need to slow things down. It's become a habit to live my life scheduled not by the day or the week, but by the hour--and that's not healthy or happy. I need to take a step back and slow down; I need to not cram so much into my life.

So "Balance" combined with "Slow" are my first two goals of the year. Other goals include attending roller derby practices a minimum of twice a week, eating more raw snacks (meaning fruits and veggies), clean/organize/overhaul my home--especially my craft area/office (it's a DISASTER!), take more pictures and continue to move towards photography as a side business, learn to juggle (literally--it's something I've always wanted to be able to do) and take more naps. (*smile*)

What are your goals for 2011? What would be your "One Little Word?"