My online journal.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Well, it seems as though the mystery-illness I thought I might be coming down with was instead just a whopper of a migraine. 600 mg ibuprofen and 2 hours later, though, and I'm practically good as new.

Joel has passed his skills testing and is officially a member of Minnesota Men's Roller Derby! He hasn't been drafted to a team yet, but has practice 3 nights per week (sadly, at the same times as MNRG practices). He's excited, but this is a weird change to our routine. For the next month, HE will be the one going to practice 3 nights per week, while I'll be the one in charge of the kids' bedtime routine and evening activities.

Once my leave-of-absence (LOA) is over, he and I will alternate practice dates -- so for example, he'll go on Sunday, I'll get Tuesday, he'll go Thursday and then I will go the next Sunday. This is because each of our leagues require 50% attendance in order to bout. The difference is that MY league actually has bouts scheduled, and for the moment his does not, so I might get some kind of priority when it comes down to it.

This is hard. I've been involved with derby now for 2.5 years, putting in a year on the rec league (only 1 day per week), going through tryouts and 3-day-per-week boot camp, then one full season during which I had extremely high attendance, then all-star tryouts and practice all spring and summer. I rarely miss practice and I felt like I was able to learn and improve quickly simply by showing up so frequently.

Having to drop down to 50% attendance is going to be a bummer, certainly. Though maybe playing less will give my body more time to recover, and I'll be less likely to be injured (assuming I make time to exercise outside of practice, which I'd like to continue to do).

And I'm so happy for Joel. Derby has had such a positive effect on my mental state, and on our relationship, and I'm so pleased to see him regularly DOING something active with other men. He is a very bad friend who makes no effort to hang out with his guy friends (and I realize this is a near-universal thing with men). I want him to experience being part of a team -- though he's played baseball, softball, and basketball in the past, I think there's far more camaraderie when you see each other 3x per week for intense practices, rather than once a week for a one-hour game.

So we are in a weird limbo now, where I'm on LOA and he is able to really throw himself into the sport. There's no need or reason -- other than fun, keeping up on (light) skating, and seeing my teammates -- for me to attend practices these days. I had arbitrarily set my return date for Feb. 1, but I'm thinking I might push it later in order to give Joel more time with his league. Truly, my doctor said my bone wouldn't be fully healed until the end of February anyway, and suggested I wait until April before I return to full contact, so taking another month off might not be so bad. I can skate at the RollerDome one night per week so I'm not so terribly far behind when I do return.

Today started out well -- I had a St. Pascal's rehearsal in the morning and then took a Spinning class before meeting up with Julia, Sherry, Laura, and Laska at Julia's house. We met a couple of Julia's other friends, Fatima and Angela, and we had some lovely mom-time together until my headache started creeping. I went home and napped for an hour, foolishly waiting 'til 4pm to take my ibuprofen, at which point I needed another 90 minutes' rest for it to kick in. Fortunately Joel was game enough to pull dinner together. The kids were absolute angels, reading and generally being their awesome selves up until bedtime. Joel considered skipping his practice -- which makes me a LITTLE ANGRY though I do know what it's like to be exhausted from a long day and have to get in the car and drive across town and do something even more exhausting (also it's raining in January, which doesn't really bode well for safety on the roads). But he decided to go and I think I might grab some ice cream and put on a movie.

Tomorrow's Friday, payday, thank goodness -- I forgot to budget our grocery money properly and it's been Pantry Roulette (my favorite game! Just kidding -- nobody like dinner EVER!!) all week. I actually super-lucked-out, finding packages of salmon and chicken in the basement freezer -- otherwise it was going to be Ants on a Log for supper. Yikes.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Tuesday afternoon

One of those days when I have to wear ALL THE HATS.

Got up early and helped scuttle the kids together so we could get to my Pirates rehearsal at St. Pascal's by 8:15. I dropped them at school at 9:22 and headed up to Shoreview to teach a ballet class to 13 new-and-familiar little ones. Back to Dayton's Bluff by noon for a Forum meeting, then back home where I've been answering rollergirl emails and prepping for dinner and doing housewifey things like laundry.

It can be really tough keeping track of all these different things. I talked on the phone with Sherry and our lives overlap in so many ways it is entirely mind-boggling. We liken ourselves to ferrets when we try to have a conversation, and it's a wonder we get anything accomplished.

Kids will be home in 20, so I'm going to knuckle down and do some things until they're here.

Tomorrow is a much-quieter day, though, with nothing on the docket until evening, hooray. I am learning to value some down-time.

Sunday, January 06, 2013


I guess I never mentioned that I broke my collarbone on October 14. I had, after 6 long weeks, gone back to full-contact after my right-shoulder separation. I had been good and it had been hard, missing Regionals and the first 2 bouts of the season -- but I felt strong and ready to go back. I'd lightly-scrimmaged at 1 or 2 practices, and the Bombshells had a weekend trip planned to Bemidji (which, from now on, will be known as The Place that Shall Not Be Named).

I wasn't going to play, but I was feeling good, and I felt like maybe I'd been silly to take so much time off, and I was REALLY READY for my season to finally start. I thought this would be a fun, light-hearted scrimmage with a not-super-skilled team. D asked if I'd jam, and of course I jumped at the chance.

There were some early indicators that things weren't going right. There was some confusion about the PTSNBN team wanting to run it just like a WFTDA-sanctioned bout. I left my mouthguard at home and borrowed one from Buzz. The floor was so horribly, incredibly slippery that I spent the entire first half just saying to myself "this will be over in 30 minutes and then you can go back to playing regular, real roller derby on our regular, real surface." A few jams into the second half, I got lead jammer (FINALLY -- it was not anything like a fun, easy bout) and called off the jam at turn 4. After the whistle, an opposing player completely laid me out. I went to fall and -- Lord knows why -- thought I was a running back with full football pads on, and rolled and landed on my left shoulder. Heard a crack, felt something bad, swore a lot. EMTs thought it might be my head. Uh... or my rotator cuff. I reached up to touch where it hurt and felt my collarbone in pieces. Chad Rough, bless his sweet, wonderful soul, took me to the ER where the medical staff, bereft of human compassion or anything remotely resembling bedside manner, left me for hours without clothes, a blanket, sling for my arm, pain medication, or even water. I cried many air-tears in my dehydrated and hysterical state.

Let's just fast-forward to me returning home and having surgery 5 days later to pull the pieces back together, with help from the sweet, good, competent (and polar opposite of TPTSNBN hospital staff) people at Summit Orthopedics. It's now 2.5 months later and I seem to be recovering nicely.

I have to say the rest from derby has been a blessing. I had been feeling like my life was spiraling a bit out of control, and the break forced me to rest and reevaluate. I was overwhelmed by the support and assistance offered by my family, friends, and teammates. I missed 2 weeks of teaching, but I'm back and things are good. I've had some lovely and much-needed hours with my family. I'm not taking myself so seriously.

I could write a ton more, really. There was a weird coincidence of the 14s in 2012: Olive was born on March 14; Ellen and Eric married on Sept 14; I broke my collarbone on Oct 14; Ellen and Eric's apartment burned down on Nov 14; and the horrible Sandy Hook shooting was Dec 14 (which is also Jean's birthday). We are all a little nervous about Jan 14. I don't really believe in the supernatural, but it is truly an odd series of events.

Joel should be coming home soon -- he took his WFTDA test(s) today in hopes of soon being drafted to one of the teams on the men's league. I'm sure he was going to pass the skating portion, at least.

I start 3 new dance classes in the morning and I'm a little nervous. I think I just need to get to bed and do my last bit of prep in the morning. Adieu --

Saturday, January 05, 2013


Practice Thursday night in the concourse was really great. I love concourse practices -- possibly because what I really love is racing and skating fast and endurance, and possibly I shouldn't be playing a full-contact sport at all. But I digress.

The All-Star mixer was very much like a regular All-Star practice. Regular warmup (which I modified based on my no-jumping restrictions), paceline work (I did the weaving but not the whipping, to avoid stress on my arm), agility (too much jumping/falling risk, so I sat out everything except the backward-weaving) and scrimmagey-drills (sat out entirely). Home-team practice had started by then, anyway, so some Bombshells and I did some endurance stuff until the All-Stars (and hopefuls) joined us. In all, it felt so great to connect with many skating friends again and see so many faces. It felt like being home again.

I got to the gym Thursday AND Friday, doing some spinning, elliptical, kickboard and Bosu ball balancey stuff. I had a nice visit with Sherry, a lovely conversation with Jean, and we've had some nice family dinners and games. This morning after breakfast and Skyping with my folks, it got really quiet in here and I found both kids curled up in the living room, reading silently. Such a blessing to have such readers. They make up the weirdest little routines together and get such a kick out of one another. We are so lucky.

Saturday morning

It's Saturday morning in the Gronau home. Another bright, sunny, cold winter morning -- I don't mind winter too much when it's sunny and I don't have to go anywhere.

Joel went off to have a skating lesson at the Roller Garden in St. Louis Park. He takes his WFTDA (er, MFTDA?) test tomorrow -- skating and possibly a written test (he is SO BAD WITH DETAILS, I swear) -- and he is really nervous. I don't think he has anything to worry about with the skating portion, because it seems like his skills are up to par. He is anxious about the snowplow stop. And he SHOULD be worried about the written test, because he is a dreadful multiple-choice-guesser. Also because he has scarcely glanced at the new rules.

Lucy and Ed are playing with Lincoln Logs in their room and now they are pretending their house burned down. I had a weird dream last night in which someone was shot (by police, I think) right outside our house. Joel and I had watched "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" last night and it destroyed us both -- we were both pretty much sobbing for the last 20 minutes or so. The movie struck me in a few different ways:

1. There was a line at the end:  "I'm even glad to have my disappointment. Which is much better than having nothing." I've been feeling disappointment a lot lately, and I've been having a hard time being grateful for it (or even acknowledging "disappointment" as a THING and not just a residual, intangible, passing cloud).

2. We truly never know what's going on inside other people's hearts. We seldom hear about the Big Things people are carrying around with them and living with and thinking about every day. And once you realize that everyone is the star, the title character, of their own lives, and not just a walk-through/bit part in YOUR life -- once you realize that everyone is a human being, neither good nor bad, but capable of doing and saying things that can build up or tear down -- the easier it is to wrap your mind around differences of opinion and policy. My friend Sherry wrote on Facebook the other day: "...the more people you know and like, the less likely you are to hate anyone." It reminds me of that inspirational quote: "Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle (or, "carrying a heavy burden")." They are. We are. I am. Could we all try to love one another, even in their (and our) flawed, hurting spaces? If we all just thought the word "love" before ever replying or reacting -- how would our world be different?

3. If I say more than this, I think it would be a spoiler, so: I love Sandra Bullock. And I loved what the story did with her character.

OK Lucy's clamoring for peanut-butter toast (and it's time for 2nd breakfast for me) so I'm out. More later!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Snow globes and nostalgia

I like it when people remind me to look outside when it's snowing -- because it does look like a snow globe out there. I don't generally care for winter, but it sure is beautiful.

Just dropped the kids off at school for their first day back after break. People complain about the schedule being silly, but I think it's smart to have them go back just for 2 days before tossing a whole week at 'em. It's nice to get them out of the house, certainly.

This morning we had a rehearsal at St. Pascal's for Pirates the musical. I got to meet Emma, my co-director, and she seems lovely. Plus she looks like the Little Mermaid. I think I am really going to enjoy the morning rehearsals -- the kids are subdued and it's only an hour. We did a whole-script read-through and I think it went well. The kids are cute.

Last night I was able to hit the RollerDome for a couple of hours with Stompy and Shug. It wasn't the most killer of workouts but it was nice to skate. I will have to remember to take it easy now that I am feeling better. All-Star tryouts are next week and while I don't technically have to try out (because I won't be able to scrimmage until after the NEXT round of tryouts in April), I'm going to go do what I can. The next few practices are in the concourse which is great because there's typically very little hitting and no scrimmaging -- I just have to remember that I'm really not supposed to be doing jumping or juking yet. RECOVERING FROM INJURY IS SO HARD.

We swung by Grumpy's after the Dome last night and I don't know what it is but something about that place reminds me of derby. In a good, nostalgic way -- like, back in the day when Debs was just starting and we were all just learning together and I had no expectations and derby hadn't broken my heart and body yet. Isn't it weird how a place can remind you of an old feeling like that?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

I guess I made a new year resolution.

I love the idea of going back, 20 or 40 years from now, and reading what was going on in my life. But guess what? There's no magical journaling fairy that's going to do that for me. And like choosing to exercise and eat healthful foods and put money in savings in hopes of having better long-term life-quality, if this is something I want then I'm going to have to work for it.

Yesterday was January 1, 2013. I'd left Joel alone on NYE for the first time in our 15 years together, and ventured into downtown Minneapolis with Buzz, meeting up with BOoM, Rita, D, Chad, Trudy, Juke and Leethal for some New Year's fun. It was OK. The drag show was, honestly, a bit of a drag (it just doesn't seem like they're putting much effort into anything except their outfits, which were certifiably fabulous). Buzz and I cut out around 1:30 or so, and ran into a dreadful coat-check situation (a messy line with lots of sad, solo, drunk gay men butting in front of the rest of us, punctuated by one cat fight and having some laughs with the girls behind us, one of whom lamented the difficulty of being an African-American lesbian who loves show tunes. You learn something new every day). I got home at 3am on the nose, and despite only having 4 drinks all night, feeling rotten all day yesterday.

Which was fine, really, because all Joel wanted to do was watch movies with the kids all day. We tackled the 2000 John Malkovitch-and-Gerard Depardieu version of Les Miserables (which wasn't bad at all) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which, it turns out, I'd never seen.

We took down all the Christmas decos except the tree proper, which unfortunately leaves my cleaning-plans in a bit of limbo until Joel can get the tree and the bins out of the living room -- I hope after he gets home from work tonight. We had Red Robin Salad for dinner and the kids ate a truly-astounding amount of food.

Happy 2013!