Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bout Night, All Over the World...

All the photos here tonight are from my friend DJDayZ, and I am so glad she was there, (for lots of reasons, not just because I now have three great photos of my very first Bout Night) but here you have them!

It was my first Bout Night as part of a league. Not, mind you Bouting, but very much a part of it. And I really, really wish I could tell you what that means.

In a word: Everything.

Here's me in the middle of the pack during our Derby 101 Demo. Loved that. Right after I got surprise NSO (Non-skating Official) duties, which put me in the middle of the track. Hadn't thought I was going to do that, but they were short one, and there I was, doing nothing but security. (which I admit, I wasn't stellar at, the only people I carded were older than I was) Learned it quickly and did right fine.

You can see a lot from the middle of the track, even watching for outside white board ref penalties.

You can see A LOT. And I did.

I watched the women I've been practicing with for a month now skate on a whole new level. I was inspired by them before, now I am somewhat MORE. I love them, all of them. I know them. And the thought of being able to do what they do, to pull that kind of determination out, that kind of skill, that, Gods, I'll lapse into music here: To play that kind of gig.

Yeah, I want that gig. I want that gig really bad.

I woke up this morning hearing about a Bout in Australia, from some skaters, and people who had been there. Coming home tonight, and reading on FB, and on Twitter, I heard more about Bouts that happened tonight. We all had the same experience. One skater pretty much summed it up:

"I can't even begin to put into words how I feel about my team! It's def moving, and DEF brings me to tears...LITERALLY!! FOEVER!"

Uh-huh. I nearly cried too. THAT is Derby.

That kind of love, that kind of "I have your back", that kind of skill, that kind of putting everything in your body and soul out there on the track...

I've never seen anything that ever comes close.

Sometimes, especially after watching skating like I saw tonight, I am not sure I can be that good. Just in my secret heart, just between us, I really don't know. No, really. The bar is very, very high. I can work very hard, and give everything that is in me, and I do plan to, but to everyone who skated tonight, wherever in the world you were skating, whether you won or lost:

You are my Rock Stars.

And I want that Gig.

Love and Derby,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bout Week, and Bengals!

Posted this to FB yesterday. The winner of the caption contest, (not that there was one, but if there HAD been, he was the winner) has to be from a Ref, Rick Harder, who said "No knee pads and non-compliant wrist guards. I'm sorry, but you can't bout with this horse."

Still laughing.

My Little Pony Alex was lame, so I opted for Rommy, sans saddle. (Not to self: Next time you ride bareback in the spring on a pony, wear some underwear, gods, it, well, never mind, TMI) We had thought it would just be fun, but wound up with an epiphany about riding, feeling the horse, and just how subtle the movements they respond to ARE. It's a lot like trying to describe how it feels to play music, can't be done, but you don't THINK anymore, it comes from the soul.

Speaking of contests, we have THIS ONE going on from the folks at The Night Garden Project, which is a group of artists who donate their time and work to raise money for the Great Lakes Bengal Rescue Group, a cause near and dear to my heart.

They also run a Shop over there, with all proceeds going to GLBR. My favorite has to be the Magic Mug, a coffee mug featuring our very own (wandering pudding) F1 Bengal Magic. So if you have missed this contest, or aren't artistically inclined and want to help still, buy yourself something fun.

As ever, I am grateful to each of you who have helped save so many Bengals. And we HAVE been saved, as a rescue group, because of you. Special love to Jess, who has spearheaded the Night Garden Project. I love you Stalker-Wife!

(wish I had a photo credit here, will edit if I find one, promise!)

Saturday Night is Bout Night! Last home Bout of the season for the Chippewa Valley Roller Girls! Which yes, would be MY league! (as in the one I am a part of) This isn't exactly a Derby blog, and I'm not sure I can adequately explain anyway how much skating with them means to me, but one can try. I love them, and I love the sport. More than anything. There. Tried.

I am not on the roster for Saturday Night. Non-Derby folks, it takes a LOT more than a month to achieve the skills needed to Bout, trust me. Months of work harder than you can imagine, it's a serious sport and an art. Besides the actual skating, you need to learn the GAME, the strategy, and the WHY of the game. It's not a free for all. Every move is for a purpose. I got to seriously watch a scrimmage the other night, and it was all I could do to not say "Whoa, stop, explain that to me, Gods, that was beautiful.." These are the things I will learn in the next few months. From them.

That being said, I AM skating! And am just as excited and a proud as if I was Bouting! Pre-Bout, we'll do a sort of Derby 101, explaining the game, and the moves, and I have landed in that group. Which makes me so happy. Could not have happened a month ago, and when I think back to six months ago...

Every sore muscle is so very beyond worth it.

See you on the track!

Love and Pretty much everything this week,

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hiving the Package....

An Easter Bonnet of sorts, one supposes. Me with 10,000 bees on my head. Mostly in the box.

We hived the last four of the seven hives today, myself, Birdchick, Non-birding Bill, Kelly and Laura McCullough. Lovely day for it, and for a change, I need do nothing in the way of describing this event, it's all on video!!!! More than I might have ever wanted to see.

(especially as my FIT and weight loss is not at all being shown off in the bee suit. Ah, but it was too tight last year at any rate.)

The one thing I will say tho, is that, I have a bee phobia, I'm really scared of them, most reluctant beekeeper on the planet I am. I really wanted to hive this package with no gloves, barehanded. One can. Mostly it works out ok. More or less.

Couldn't do it. Too scared.

But I tried.

And there is the win.

Next time...

I'll do it.

Warning. Whole lot of Bees going on!

Love and Bees,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Magic Is Home!

Magic came home!!!!

I got smart this morning and put Venus and Mim out on the Scream Porch with NO BREAKFAST! Trust me, two starving Bengals locked out of the house are LOUD. Going to be real popular around here. Only took about ten minutes and he came running down the hill.

Brought Venus and Mim in, saying "Oh, dear Kitties, why look, I have breakfast ready" and ignored Stupid Pudding Butt, I mean Dear Magic, who himself was howling like a Banshee, locked outside the porch, Venus and Mim came in, I opened the outside door and he nearly ran me over getting to breakfast.

That easy.

And he seems just fine, tho I haven't got a good look yet, if starving and kind of freaked. He's hiding now. Poor dude.

I've been so worried the last couple days, but I need to tell you, the love, and support, wishes and prayers from all of YOU meant so much. It makes me feel so good about the world that you always step in, sending hugs, offers of search and rescue, the same way you step in helping when when GLBR need rescue help. That so many of you care, and help me save these kitties, well...

It just means so much to me.

I love you so much.

Love and Thank you,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Magic Gone Walkabout...

It started like this, with a letter, and picture, from Janet, Director of the Great Lakes Bengal Rescue group...

"Got the cat, he is an F1 and beautiful. He is pissed off right now. He has a peeing/marking problem, has been through 3 owners and is only 1 1/2, was left in a shelter in Dane Country who said they can't take/adopt him and would have to put him down..."

Looking at the picture, I thought, I just bet you can't adopt him, that is no cat who has ever trusted anyone, not even sure it's a CAT. Then I wrote Janet and told her I'd be down the next day. I'd been fostering Bengals for a while, specializing in the problem kitties, thru odd quirks of fate, and wanted an early generation Bengal who needed help.

He never made a sound the entire four hours back. He knew enough not to cry. No one was going to help him. He was the most alone being I'd ever been near.

We're writing about Magic tonight because last night he got out, which has been a fear of mine since day one. He's not back yet. Yeah, I'm worried. The door blew open and his Scream Porch wasn't latched.

I won't tell the story again, most of you have been following it, but for those that haven't, the short version is: It took a couple years, and a lot of patience, a lot of work and a lot of love, but Magic is now a part of our Spooky House. He's still freaky, timid, most F1's are, but I can give him pets, he's in the house with his two later generation friends, Freaky Venus and Mim, and I've heard him purr. He joins us by the fire, he plays, he knows he is loved.

If you're even newer, and reading about Bengals for the first time, asking What the heck is a Bengal??? Well, try this out to start: The International Bengal Cat Society. Lots of handy information, but if you're impatient: A Bengal is a hybrid cat, bred from the Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic kitty. The first Kittens from such a pairing are considered foundation Bengals, or F1. Go down a couple generation to F4 and you have a beautiful kitty who is considered domestic. (tho not by any means like any kitty you've ever curled up with. LOT of kitty these.)

In homes with people who know what they are doing, or responsible breeders, F1's can live quite nicely, tho they are very close to wild animals and do have very special needs.

But can I just say something very strongly here?


That's Magic's story. Whomever didn't know what they were doing, and ye gads, when that cute kitten grew up and started ACTING LIKE A LEOPARD, they gave him away. And again. And again.

And one of the whomevers de-clawed him. On all four feet. He has no claws, no defense.

And now he's out there, scared, alone and has no clue what the world is.

I'm responsible for him. When I took him, I knew he wasn't going anywhere. Not easy, but we make it work. I have another early generation, an F2, and his friend, an F4, I took in fostering, who also can't go anywhere, they live upstairs in my Spooky House. Five Bengals is too many Bengals, but now that one is missing, I'm not much thinking things are ok with only the four.

We, as in humans bred these kitties. For good or bad, they're here. I personally believe we should not be breeding from Leopards anymore, the breed is established, and there is no NEED for foundation stock. (not my term for them) They don't make good pets, and when something like this happens, it can very likely go very badly for them. I need to set up a live trap, and hope he comes back.

That said, I love Bengals, and the later generation ones are delightful, hours of entertainment. There are many in foster care that won't set you back hundreds of dollars or drive you more crazy than you already are. Once you've read everything you can find on them, you will either think "THAT is a party I want to be a part of, sign me UP" or "I do not think so, very lovely, but no, thank you"

Kind of like Derby, come to think on it, but I digress.

I could go on about Bengals, and trust me, if you stop by here often, you will find that I do, but mostly now, tonight..

I'm really sad. I want my Leopard back.

Love and Magic,

Monday, April 18, 2011

Now More Than Ever...

I want to do a bit of a post tonight, and tell you everything about what a wonderful weekend it was, but it IS nearly midnight, I'm pretty darn tired, and there was too much to condense properly for my brain at the moment. Still, we shall try. (not sure who the WE is here, it's just me and these Bengals at the moment.)

Here's my favorite of the Derby pics from Saturday night, a Tom Klubens shot of Dora the Destroyer, which may well pretty much says everything that needs to be said.

(using Derby photographers photos for your own blog or art is entirely cool, as long as you, say, ask them. And give them credit. They're beyond cool like that, you know)

Speaking of not exactly great shots...

Or not exactly, but here is Mr Klubens wearing Joan of Dark's wig on the day after the night before. I, um, get credit for this one. And take full responsibility.

Me and Joan of Dark by another great Derby photographer Marc Lebryk. We'll try and get a proper Derby pic of his in here before the end of this, but I love this shot.

I loved being there for these Bouts this weekend, like coming home. It was a couple of my friends lasts Bouts, before retiring, Vonda's and Jane Ire's among others, which was a strange feeling, thinking, "how can you retire, I am only just starting" but at the same time, knowing, it's a circle, Derby is, there's so much love, and so much FAMILY, it doesn't end.

It doesn't end. And they'll be there with me, when I skate my first Bout. All of them.

I like that.

I love that.

I could go on, and I do believe on the way home from the airport tonight I went into fine detail to my very tired Boss about every last great move, and jam, and skater but it's after midnight and we have three hives of Russian Bees arriving in the morning just ahead of a Winter Storm (Yeah, I know, late April) and I am all done for the day.

Tomorrow: Bees. And practice, with new skates, (which I nipped into Roller Revolution and bought tonight LOVE this store, and the people who own it, huge thanks to you! Wish I'd gotten better contact info, Derby owned and operated, and yes, you love them too)

I'll leave you with a Marc Lebryk shot from Saturday, four blockers on a jammer.

Did she get thru? Yeah, I think she did, tho I don't recall the exact moment.

Know she did. There's always a way.

Because that's what Derby is about.

You do.

Love and Derby,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another Afternoon For Way Too Many Bengal Pics!

Summer is here! Yes, yet again, no spring. Might have missed it. Hard to say, goes by fast in my part of the world. Being so nice, I took the Bengals, Freaky Venus and Madame Mim out for the first leash walk of the year. Pre-tornado sirens. Barely. Love this time of year, as I said, things change fast.

Funny writing this, watching the storms develop. It was all sunny and fine for a while there. Here's Venus, on the now snowless lawn. Lovely, isn't it? I really want to figure out that whole GREEN thing for the lawn this summer. Generally, I am bad at such things, but every spring, I get hopeful again that perhaps I've developed some latent gardening skills.

Mim blissing out on the sidewalk. I really want to build (ok, HAVE built, yet another skill that is beyond me) an outdoor cat run for them this year. Mim wants OUT so badly, and it's just not safe here in town for Leopards to be running about. If I built a big one tho, I could have trees, and grass, and a sort of little jungle area for them. They would like that.

Venus didn't want to be out long, and also, leash walking two Leopards by yourself is not as easy as it sounds. She didn't APPROVE of Mim's running about and went back in early. But she watched, disapprovingly, with Magic.

Actually, Venus is not in a good mood at all today. I moved the table back into the dinning room, now that I don't need it for a Derby track. Between moving furniture, Being Out and thunder, her world has gone all wonky.

Magic can't go outside yet, not sure I'd want to try and get a harness on him, claws or no. He's come a long way, but he's not ready for Out yet. Don't know if there are many F1's brave enough for Out, they tend to be timid (If you're new here, an F1 Bengal means the Dude is mostly Asian Leopard Cat, and not much domestic)

More Venus, and happier now, I believe. Feathers she likes and approves of. And everything just went all green here. Not the lawn, kind of everything else. So, perhaps this is all for now....

If you want me, I'll be watching some storms...

Love and Bengals,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

First Bee Post Of The Year...

I do recall promising you a new, the very first of the Season, Bee Post, with all new pictures of The Birdchick and I, taking inventory, going over the hives and supplies, getting READY for the Bees!

And. Well, Yes. I do know that first picture is not BEES, but rather two Bengals in the Bathtub, in the Dinning Room with a Skeleton, but it has been kind of a long week for me and I seem to have a LOT going on (Derby, among other things, does that to you) and I did completely forget to bring the camera out and TAKE any new pictures.

And I don't seem to have any old ones I could sneak in, on this computer, in hopes no one would notice, so we'll go with Bengal Pics, and TALK about Bees.

That's Magic and his fish. Sadly, they all died. The fish I mean, not Magic. He's just fine. (look, I did TELL you it had been a long week, we'll get to the Bees in a moment. I won't even mention how far beyond sore I am. Or the amazingly cool Derby I saw last weekend, with Naptown against the MN Roller Girls, THAT was a Bout, down to the last jam, closest...What? Oh. Right. Bees.)

Where was I? Oh, right, dead fish.

(How did I get here?)

Ah, this is King Lear the Huge, playing in his water dish, not noticing the Tardis has landed in a seriously off scale world.

(Note to self: This is a BEE post, work them in somehow.)

HA! Here is Jason Webley from last year, he came for a visit and got put to work extracting honey. Sticky business that, but tasty. He's on tour just now, and if you haven't got to a live show yet, trust me, you really do need to. He's one of the most powerful performers I have ever seen, well, I could go on, but most likely, you've seen him, and if you haven't, just go. Again, trust me.

(Did I lose the Bee Topic AGAIN?)

Bees. Ok. The Birdchick and I did spend time together today with all of our Bee Things, plotting and Planning. Mostly we would like coloured Bee Suits. Fashion is everything, remember. And my Bee Suit is too big now, I need a new one anyway.

By the end of this month we will have seven new hives, all of ours having not made it thru the winter, sadly. Not colony collapse, we think it was the weather, it got way too cold, way too fast and winter went on way too long. We're getting two hives of Russian Bees, (yes, they may well wear little furry hats and drink vodka) two Carnelian and three Minnesota Hygienic Hives. (Don't know much about those last two and have nothing very clever to say about them.)

At some point in the next couple weeks, these seven boxes of bees will arrive. (The post office courteously calls you when they do. They courteously call you REALLY EARLY)

We will Hive these Packages (I kind of like saying that. It's just fancy for "Dump the boxes of bees into the hive") and there will be NEW Bee pictures.


I leave you with me naked in the bathtub, (This one in the bathroom. Oddly, for this house) as any post as scattered as this one ended up NEEDS something hot at the end...

Love and Bees,

Friday, April 1, 2011

They Got me. So Good.

Oh, I got punked today! In my defense, may I say when I go to the barn to ride, it's serious, I'm focused and there to work. And everything else, work, what day it might be, everything, all out of my head. Everything stops except riding.

I went to the arena, and greeted the Barn Manager, and my trainer, Poetry, like always, Poetry was working another horse, and after a brief greeting, rode off to the other end of the arena. Well, thinks I, that didn't seem exactly ecstatic to see me, but maybe she's not having the best day, happens, it's not ME, I'm pretty sure.

I went to the other barn, and blanketed up My Little Pony (17 hand Dutch Warmblood Dressage horse) and brought him up. Normal. Except the Barn Manager said "I am SO sorry, you're not riding him today, she is using him for another lesson, and you're to ride another horse, I so forgot she told me that, so sorry, I've got yours for today all ready for you."

She seemed upset, well, ok, I know what it's like to forget to do something your Boss told you to, trust me, so fine, but in my head I went all HELLO? SOMEONE ELSE IS RIDING MY HORSE???? Some OTHER student? Who I can guarantee is NOT working as hard or as serious as ME!????

But Rule #1 is never ever never argue with the coach, in any sport. Ever.

Fine. There are other horses (not nearly as GOOD, mind you) and other people have told me I am welcome to ride their horses if ever Alex is off. Fine.

Then I see my horse for the day.

The PONY? Max the POA Pony?????

I subtly ask the Barn Manager to come over and ask her if she is SURE this is a good plan, he's tiny, and er, does he actually DO dressage? Joan of Dark rode him, sure, but she's tiny, must be 120 soaking wet, and she rides very well, but not dressage.

Barn Manager says, yup, sure is, he needs to be worked, no cantering, walk-trot only.

In my head: Walk-trot??? WTF??? Me??? Working on walk-trot? Do I NEED to work on my walk-trot?????

But you never ever argue with your coach.

I even TWITTER this pic to Joan of Dark, in an attempt to be cheerful about this and make her smile, at any rate.

Here's comparison, so you can see exactly the difference in mounts here. That's Joan on Max, and Me on Alex, a few weeks ago.

I lead him out to the arena, and Poetry says Hey hop up, warm up...And I notice the SADDLE. Tiny. Not small. Not something an adult can ride in. Something a CHILD of five might use.

I break the rule.

"Ah, Poetry, I am not questioning you, but are you SURE my, er, BUTT can fit in the saddle?"

"Yup! You might have to lengthen the stirrups a bit, but hop on!"

OK, then. Right. I start to, and everyone in the barn falls over laughing....


So forgot what day it was.

Paybacks next year are going to be HELL.

Love and April Fool's Day,