I want to be a Roller Girl.

For years I have harbored a secret desire to do something that both thrills & terrifies me to the core.  And today I am finally telling the world.

I want to be a Roller Girl.

rollergirls

You may not be familiar with Flat Track Roller Derby.  To be honest, I’m a newbie myself.  But when I first heard about it, several years ago in Philadelphia, I was blown away.  Roller Derby is simply the coolest, most empowering sport for women EVER.  I wanted to try out for the Philly Roller Girls then and there, but.. But…  I didn’t know enough about it.  I’d never even been to a game!  At the time, my kids were small, and to top it off – I have Meniere’s Disease.  B/c of Meniere’s I can’t do all sorts of things.  Eat salt, Fly, listen to an iPod, have dental work, the list goes on.  Can you imagine what ROLLER DERBY COULD DO TO ME??!!  In short: I was afraid.  Very afraid.  Of getting hurt, of getting vertigo, of putting myself OUT THERE.  And so *Roller Girl* got shelved.  Until last week.  When I read the Philly Liberty Belles were coming to town.  Saturday night, instead of sitting on the couch watching a movie, I took Maddie to the Portland Expo for our very first Roller Derby.

rollergirls1

WOOT!!

If you are new to this sport, like me, then you may have questions.  Important questions.  Like The Rules.  I’ll be honest.  I don’t know them.  But having watched one bout, here’s what I’ve learned.  The bout (or game) is divided into two 30-minute periods, separated by a 20-minute intermission.  The basic gist – and forgive me if I am wrong – 5 skaters from each team are on a circuit track.  Eight women (4 from each team) form a big heap up front.

thepack

The remaining 2 girls (one from each team) start behind on a different line.  They are the Jammers.  They score points.

jammers

The whistle blows.  The pack takes off skating and the jammers follow.  The women up front try to block the opposing team’s jammer from breaking through the pack.  The jammers each try to break past the pack to get out in front.  The best jammers act as both offense (trying to get out in front), as well as defense (simultaneously blocking their opponent jammer).  Whichever jammer gets in front of the pack first is pointed out as LEAD JAMMER by a whistle toot and a pointing referee.  That lead jammer now skates round the track to score points.  The rest of her team tries to keep the other jammer back.

thejam

Players can get penalties for doing bad stuff.  I am not sure exactly what.  But it seemed to involve pain. Or maybe just poking.. It’s hard to tell.

pain

When a player is bad they get sent to the penalty box for a period of time.

penaltybox

Those three people on the stage (behind the penalty box) were the MCs.  They were great.  Providing running commentary and helpful tidbits of information all bout long.  I particularly liked the way they kept encouraging the crowd to root for both teams and give lots of love to all the players.  No nasty bloodlust here!  Also fun was the interaction between MCs and the “Beer Garden” crowd.  HOW’S EVERYONE IN THE BEER GARDEN? they would ask — to a ROARING response.  I LOVE ROLLER DERBY!

Unlike many other sports (I am talking to YOU, golf) Roller Derby is ACTION PACKED and incredibly entertaining to watch.  The bout literally flew by!

One thing that struck me about the sport is how incredibly supportive all of the women are toward each other – opponents included.  Before and after the game, the teams lined up to slap hands.

rollergirls3

And at the end of the bout, the teams huddled to select an MVP from the opposing team.

thehuddle

Each MVP was announced and then given the opportunity to speak to the crowd; both heaped praise on the opposing team.  It was lovely.  A sport that not only empowers women to be strong and fierce, but celebrates each others talents – WELL.  Count me in.

After the bout we stayed to meet many of the Liberty Belles.  Maddie had them sign her program.

autographs

Everyone was super nice, and more than one player encouraged me to try out.  When I asked BUT Won’t I get the crap kicked out of me?? I was told Of COURSE! EVERYONE DOES.

HOW CAN I RESIST?!

gracelesskelly

Even the refs look GREAT!

WANNA KNOW MORE?? ME TOO.

Wikipedia’s entry on Roller Derby.

CART ATTACK!

On Monday, I had to run a bunch of errands.  We have only one car – which my husband now uses to commute for work, so that meant walking 40 minutes into town.  No big deal.  To kill as many birds with 1 stone, I brought along my beloved push-shopping cart.  It looks like this:

cart

Except mine is black. Now, this cart is something I used w/ regularity in Philly.  You see them everywhere and people never give them a second look, ever.

WELL. LET ME TELL YOU FOLKS.  After pushing my trusty black cart into town and back this past Monday, I have deduced that these carts are NOT – I repeat NOT – used here in Portland, except by the homeless.  Rather than treat me like the environmentally conscious, DIY type I’d imagined myself to be:

chicshopper

To the majority of people, I apparently looked more like:

crazyman

WHAT THE HELL??  For a city that’s supposedly GREEN in oh so many ways, these Portland folks were downright surly towards me & the cart.  Like that a-hole in the main post office.  YEAH B*TCH, I AM TALKING TO YOU, you snooty-faced weasel.  How DARE you SCOWL at me and my cart, looking us up and down, when we turned to smile and say hello to you.  Didn’t your momma ever warn you about your face freezing like that??  You KNOW it’s cold enough here for that to happen.  AND YOU.  YOU SMARMY BALDING GIT, with your ugly suit and greasy hair.  If ONLY you could have read my mind when you gave me that fish-lipped smirk.  OH YES.

It is obvious that some of the uptight jerkwads residing here in Portland have never seen a red-blooded woman pushing her overpriced whole foods groceries home in a folding cart EVER.  I will not comment on the size of their wieners, but I should.  Because the rest of them is SMALL.  It is narrow-minded and childish to treat anyone with contempt, simply for doing what they need to do.  Me and the cart – we are above that.  So the next time we go shopping in town, you uppity lot better WATCH OUT.  I have an airhorn, and I know how to use it.

SO???

— On Wed, 4/8/09, <curlywurlygurly@verizon.net> wrote:

So, how goes your new life in Maine?  How's john's job?
The girls are making friends and enjoying school??
you've unpacked all the boxes and set up
house? Let me know. xoxo

I know this isn’t QUITE what you were expecting Curls, but as I’ve already discussed feet, underwear, and copulating animals crackers here.. why not get a little personal?  So here goes.

19 days in Portland. and we are settling in well.  The boxes are all unpacked (save for those hidden beneath our beds and they DO NOT COUNT), and the apartment is in order.  I have to say, coming from a 3 story house I’d never have imagined I’d like any apartment, but I truly love this place.  So sun filled and spacious; my plants have never known such bliss.  John seems to be enjoying his new job, which is much the same as his old job @ PENN, but w/ more responsibility.  The girls are loving their new school.  Maddie had her first assembly today – she got to do an African dance w/ her classmates and play a Nigerian rhythm on the drum.

madsdance

Both she and Georgia have made wonderful friends quickly. The day after we moved in, they were already going to the park w/ neighbors, and Madison had her first play date by the end of the week. Georgia – that crazy 5 year old – already has her first real crush (CANNOT NAME NAMES) and a birthday party to go to next week. Me? I’m having a blast exploring Portland, taking photos and OF COURSE Blahhhhhging once more. Oh, and I’ve gotten a job.  YES I KNOW I HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN HERE 3 WEEKS. But Kismet is Kismet.

I’m finding Portland is small. In a good way.  Coming to a brand new city, one w/ roughly the same population as the “neighborhood” I used to reside in, is reassuring. I’m walking everywhere and not getting lost. I say hi to people I meet and almost everyone is friendly. Parents from school have gone out of their way to approach me, introduce themselves and welcome our family.  It’s been lovely.

And transitioning back to apartment living after 8 years away has gone fairly well. Except that our refrigerator clucks. LIKE A CHICKEN. At random intervals, for no apparent reason, the fridge begins to BOCK – b-B-BB-BOCK. This goes on for several seconds at a time, then stops.  As perplexing, is the unknown tenant who lives above us. I have met the 2 college guys who live downstairs. I have met one of the tenants above. But the other tenant on the third floor remains a complete MYSTERY. I’ve met his, or her, girlfriend, who is very nice by the way.  But after 19 days in this building, I’ve yet to meet him/her.  His/her name is a very unusual one, one which could go either way (boy or girl).  And although we hear ALL KINDS of noises from above – I’ve yet to establish gender. I do not want to be so rude as to ask.  IS YOUR ROOMMATE A BOY OR A GIRL>>>???  That just sounds weird.  [Though between you & me, I am GUESSING it’s a GIRL.]  It’s not like I want to force myself on this person and become his or her best friend.  I’d just like to put a face to the noises. name.  I’ve come home a couple times and/or been leaving, and have heard the door opening upstairs and someone coming out. But they’ve always waited silently for me to enter my apt or depart the premises before coming downstairs. I am seriously considering some sort of SURPRISE! Say, waiting until he/she THINKS I’ve gone in, but really I am standing outside the door w/ a crazy grin.

grin

What do you think?

I love this place. Why are there so many chiropractors?

YES!!!!!! FINALLY! After my prolonged & totally unacceptable ABSENCE, I am BACK!!!

AND It’s official!!  My family & I are now MAINERS**.

**NOTE: We really are transplanted Philadelphians now living in the guise of MAINERS, but I’m giving it to us anyway.

SO HOW’S THINGSS??!  I KNOW.  It HAS BEEN A LONG TIME< HASN’T IT??  OOoh, I am sorry to hear that.  How awful.  My next-door neighbor’s dad got laid off too, but then they called him up a week later and offered him another job.  Yeah what a crap fest.  Good thing he decided not to jump. Huh?  ME??  Ohh. well you know how it’s been total craziness the past few months.  The whole “packing up the house and moving to a 2 bedroom apartment in a completely new city” thing.

I guess it’s to be expected, but this move is taking a little getting used to.  You can take the girl outta Philly, but you can’t take the Philly outta the girl. Right?  RIGHT. SO. The first night we arrived.  We’re outside unloading the U-Haul.  It’s really dark out – we didn’t get here until after 7 – so we’re unloading, and a car sloooowwwwly drives by.  Then another.  And of course we’re all thinking DAMN! They’re totally casing the joint – just waiting for us to be inside so they can help themselves to our stuff.  But then, another car drives by… slowly.. slowing.. to a virtual stop.  The driver looks at us.. we look at her.. and.. and.. then she smiles and WAVES!  Because people here aren’t thieves. They’re just NICE.

SO>As you can imagine. There’s a whole mental adjustment taking place. No one is trying to cart off our belongings.  No one is skulking in the bushes waiting to stick me up or show me his “thing.”  This Portland.  It’s a whole new world!  And, lest I forget to mention, after just one week here in Portland — (hold your breath) — we get OUR MAIL!!!!  Can you believe it?!  I KNOWOOOO.  We’ve only been here a week.  ONE HONKIN WEEK.  And we’re RENTERS!  No matter.  Our friendly mail carrier does her job like a PRO.  We actually had mail WAITING for us when we arrived.

HAHHAHAHHAHHAHHAHHAHHHH!!!

Back in Philly – where we’ve owned a home for ALMOST EIGHT YEARS, we STILL DON’T GET OUR MAIL

PS: Thanks for that awesome card, Curly babe! Love ya! xoxo

BUT BESIDES THE MAIL, there are some other things I’ve noticed about Portland.

Number One: Portland is clean.

As long as you don’t mind cigarette butts and dog shit.  B/c BOY ARE THEY EVERYWHERE.  But other than that. This city is pretty clean, at least in comparison to Philly.  Seriously, the day before we moved, I had to go to Target to pick up a few things.  As I waded through ankle-deep trash in the parking lot, I noted the number of empty garbage cans just begging to be used.  Here in Portland, I can’t find a trash can.  Not even outside people’s homes.  I am convinced everyone here stuffs garbage inside their clothes to keep warm.  And this theory isn’t just crackpot.  NO, it’s backed up by HARD EVIDENCE.  You see, here in Portland you have to pay for special blue *CITY OF PORTLAND* trash bags to put your weekly garbage in for collection.  I KID YOU NOT.  AND. Not only are these designer bags expensive, but they are EXPENSIVE.  $7.50 for FIVE.  F-I-V-E.  YET, you don’t see dingbats dumping their garbage in random lots – or dropping chicken buckets out car windows while waiting for the lights to change.  Nuh-uh.  Garbage in Portland “appears” to be a dirty little secret no one wants to air.  People hide it away until trash day when they are FORCED to put it out on the street – B/C THEY HAVE TO.  THANK GOODNESS for those pretty blue bags.

Number Two: Portland is home to a population of roughly 65,000 – 3,893 of whom are Chiropractors.

On every corner in Philly, there’s either a pizza/take-out beer place or some sort of mini-mart bodega.  Here in Portland there is a chiropractor’s office.  Sometimes two.  On one stretch of Congress Street, I’ve actually counted 3 chiropractors in a row.  With another just a block or two away.  All this adjustment raises several questions.  First.  If you are working as a chiropractor in Portland, how can you possibly be making enough to buy trash bags?  And Two.  What the hell is happening up here that warrants so much manipulation?  I’m hazarding a guess with snow shoveling> but .  BUT?  ANYONE??  Can someone help me out here.  Please>??  I am stumped.