Ali's Adventures

July 31, 2012

Summer Fun- Ottawa edition

Filed under: Adventure,Kids,Vacation — by Alison @ 5:19 pm

I started this post about our trip our second full day in Ottawa. Three weeks later and a return home and I was finally able to finish it.

We arrived in Ottawa late on Friday, and it was very early on Saturday morning when the kids actually fell asleep. But they were up bright and early and raring to go. Our three weeks were filled with family, sun, friends and water play.

At the beginning of the summer I asked E to make a list of the things she wanted to do while we were in Ottawa. Here’s her list:

  • Swim in Grandma’s friend’s pool
  • Pancake lunch with friend A
  • Playdate with friends M&A
  • Cousin play time
  • Visit Aunt’s friend
  • Movie time with Aunts
  • Splash pad with Rebecca’s kids
  • Wading pool with CapitalMom
  • Cora’s
  • Play hotel with Grandma
  • Swim at Baba’s
  • Pancakes at Baba’s
  • Pizza Pizza for supper
  • Museum of Nature

My husband also made a list of things he wanted to do in Ottawa. His list was:

  • Breakfast at Gabriel’s
  • Gabriel pizza
  • Fajitas from Lonestar
  • Chinese food from Lucky 7 (our favourite place, and we can’t find comparable food in Seattle)

I just wanted to make sure I saw as many people as I could.

In our 23 days back in Ottawa we accomplished it all. I only wish we’d been able to see more of E’s old school friends. We even made time for a family trip to Calypso Waterpark. This was a definite high point of the trip. We spent a lovely day with good friends. We’ve added it to our must-do list for next summer, with the addendum that we reapply sunscreen more frequently.

The trip home was wonderful, and I think it cemented in us the feeling that Orléans is home. We’ll be back soon.

We spent a lot of time in other people’s pools. Maybe our next house needs one.


New trucks from the grandparents, and a fun time with extended family.

Finally meeting Grandad’s horse. I don’t think Santana was as impressed by us.


These two have so much fun together.


On our way back to Seattle. Already planning our next trip home.



July 10, 2012

Hilights of the week: July 8

Filed under: Hilights,Vacation — by Alison @ 1:40 pm

This is a bit late, because last week was one filled with very good things. We had house guests, two national holidays, baseball outings with mascot photos, train rides and Duck tours of the city.
But the real hilight of the week: We are home! Seeing my parents, brother and sister waiting for us at the bottom of the escalator at the Ottawa airport was the best thing I’ve seen in a long time.

July 3, 2012

Derby lows

Filed under: Adventure,Derby,Plans,Weight loss — by Alison @ 12:03 pm

I registered for the Rat City Rollergirls try-outs the day after Bacon Camp ended. I was nervous but thought that I had a fair shot of making it through the try-outs.

On the Saturday morning I got there a little after 9:30 and saw a lot of people I recognized in the registration line. There were over 30 skaters there, and I knew at least half, either through camp or through PFM. PFM (Potential Fresh Meat) is the practice group I go to about once a week. I was excited and still a bit nervous. I’d had a weird back cramp the night before, it seemed to relax but I tried to pay particular attention while I was stretching so it wouldn’t cause problems.

As all the skaters were getting photographed, having their gear checked and being numbered up, there was a general warm-up going on. Then we were all called to the centre of the track, and they outlined the plan for the morning. There would be a warm-up, some drills, then some off skate drills, and finally interviews. Skaters who made the Rat Lab (the place before being placed on a team) would be called later in the afternoon. We were told that cuts would be made throughout and that there wouldn’t be any specific feedback provided as to why. The evaluators and those leading the tryouts introduced themselves, all the team captains and co-captains were there as well as other league officials. All in all, in seemed that there was at least a dozen people watching.

The warm-up went well. We did some pace line drills, a cutting worm, and a double pace line. I was being encouraging where I could, and trying to explain the double worm to my partner as she’d never done it before. We also skated laps as a pack, I fell during one pack drill but I can’t remember if this was the only one I did.  I felt good afterwards. Then after stretching, and water, they made a cut. I was sad to see one of my friends go.

Then we started with drills. There was an agility drill, where we had to cut side to side or jump depending on the whistle blast. Then a stopping drill, with turnaround toe-stops and plow stops. I did not do well in this drill, I was getting so flustered by not being able to turn around that I couldn’t manage to do a solid plow stop either. We took a brief break after this. I was worried I would be cut, but much to my relief they didn’t make any cuts.

Next up were hitting drills. First we did a worm where we hit everyone on the way by. It was also a lesson on how to stand your ground when being hit. When the first league player demonstrated, I went flying way out of line but managed to stay on my feet. It was challenging to make 30 hits in a row. Then we divided into 2 groups for positional play, and moving other people off the track. The leaders decided we needed pinnies to make it less confusing, so while they were getting those we were doing planks. I find it hard to plank while wearing skates because it’s difficult to balance on my toes or toe-stops, I can never get set. This also put some strain on my back, so I had to take a knee for a second and then go back to it. I also made a joke about the pinnies arriving and it was time to stop planking. The angling people out drill, is one I’d done before in PFM and camp. I had a few mis-starts but got quite a few people out in our alloted time.

After this we gathered back in the centre, and Penny came to make cuts. My number wasn’t called and I was asked to leave the track with one other skater. I was crushed. I didn’t think I was doing that badly. When I got off the track, one of the League skaters who had been involved with the camp came over to me. She took off my number and asked if I was going to try again in three months. She was positive and told me she liked watching me skate. I was a bit numb. I took off my gear quickly and went outside to wait for my ride. I didn’t even say goodbye to the other skater, we’re derby friends and we’re both on the Green Army at camp. I just didn’t want to talk with anyone.

Sitting outside waiting to be picked up, I was so upset. I could hear the tryouts continuing, they seemed to be doing more pack drills and I think I could have kept up. I really wish I knew why they decided to cut me then, and why they didn’t think I was worth keeping around so I could show what else I could do. Was it my inability to turn around, my bad planking, did my joking make it seem that I wasn’t taking it serious, was I a lot worse at hitting than I thought. What did the skaters staying have that I didn’t? It was a very long wait for my family to get me.

I was so disappointed, then that afternoon my Facebook feed was filled with the fantastic news that many of my derby friends had made it and would be skating with the Rat Lab. So now not only was I disappointed I hadn’t skated better, but I felt like I was losing some of the new friends I’d made at derby. I wouldn’t be seeing them at PFM anymore. I was feeling pretty low, but also happy that these skaters had done so well.

On Sunday, I decided to splurge on some new toe stops. I have decided to master turning and stopping. It’s my main goal for skating in July. Then when I return to Seattle in August, I can work on all the derby stuff at practice. At the store, I ran into two women who had made the team. after congratulating them, J told me I’d done well. I didn’t feel I’d done well the day before, but tried not to be too negative. I was getting a bit choked up about it. Then I was taking with one of the Rat City All-Stars about it, and again it was hard not to burst into tears. She was very encouraging and suggested I try out again. It was the small confidence boost I needed.

I’m going to get ready for the try-outs at the end of September. That gives me three months, which is longer than I’ve been skating so far. I will master turning around. I will keep skating fast and in control. I will be able to hold a plank on skates. I will last until the end of tryouts, and if I don’t I’ll be back again in December.

July 2, 2012

Derby highs

Filed under: Adventure,Learning,Plans,Weight loss — by Alison @ 6:27 pm

In June, I was part of the Rat City Rollergirls “Makin’ Bacon Camp”. It was four weekends of high energy practices and finished with a camp bout last Monday. I loved it.

I started in the beginner group because I’ve only been on roller skates since late April, and wasn’t sure I fit the definition of ‘novice’. The first two days we spent on basic skating drills, and practicing cross-overs. I’ve done a lot of cross-overs, so these days weren’t that challenging but staying in derby stance is hard. After the Sunday practice, my team councillor (we are at camp) asked if I wanted to move up to novice. After thinking it over for a few seconds, I decided to give it a shot. The novice group was great, we practiced positional blocking and hitting and everything was at a faster pace. I felt I held my own and didn’t seem out of place. The only thing I couldn’t do was the turn around toe stop , specifically the turning around part. Using toe stops also seems very foreign to me, I never used picks on my skates and usually owned hockey skates growing up. In speed skating I had a hard time with starts and getting up to speed quickly because you’re supposed to use your toes.

The last Saturday of camp we scrimmaged in preparation for our bout. We all took turns being the jammer (the one who scores points) and blockers. It was fun, but when I was jamming I held back on going after the weak spots for the blockers because I didn’t want to cause anyone to fall. There was a lot to learn. Actually playing the game is very different from doing drills. At one point, I was in a blocker wall in front of the other team and one of the coaches yelled at us to “Hit someone, make space for your jammer”. We all looked at each other, I may have asked “How” and then we very illegally skated into the other team. After the coach had finished laughing at us, and we’d finished laughing at ourselves, she showed us how to properly play defense from the front of the pack.

That Saturday night, i went to my first live Roller Derby bout. There were two games, one with the Rat City Rain of Terror and then the All-Stars. We all had a blast. E enjoyed me pointing out the players I “knew” from the camp, and cheering for the Jammers. The All-Star game was very close at the end, and penalties played a big role. Unfortunately, the All-Star team lost by 5 points, after being down by as many as 50. The kids didn’t want to leave the game, so we stayed until the very end. The crowd was so into it, and the energy was amazing. The athleticism and strategy that go into the game was great to see.

Before our scrimmage on Monday, I was extremely nervous. Luckily, so were a few of my teammates and derby buddies. Our team, “Green Army”, was in the second game of the round robin tournament. We were up against the Black team. It was a close game, but in the last jam their Jammer was sent to the box so we were in a Power Jam situation and our wonderful Jammer managed to score 15 points to win the game. I don’t remember most of the details. I didn’t jam that game but only because I forgot to speak up and ask our Team Leader for my turn. It was so much fun being on the track, and we were really hitting our stride as a team.

In the second bout against the Blue Team, I got to be Jammer right away. The blue Jammer made it through the pack before me and was Lead Jammer, but I managed to catch up to her and she had to call off the jam so I wouldn’t score points. I was really pleased. The rest of the game also went really well, and I jammed a few times. We won that game as well.

In our final game against the Red team, I had my most embarrassing moment. I was late getting to the starting line as a Blocker, and fell out-of-bounds when the referee blew the whistle to start. This meant I had to return to the bench and my team was a player short for the whole Jam. I had another good Jam, which balanced it out. Our team ended undefeated, and they decided not to play the championship game. Go Green Army!

I wasn’t ready to stop playing, so after consulting my team, I volunteered to play with the Black team in the bout against Blue for 2nd place. It was a lot of fun. I was the Jammer for the last jam, and although we were down by about 20 points, I made the final score respectable. We were in a power jam situation for a full minute, which was fun but tiring. After I called the jam, I fell on the floor I was so worn out. One of the greatest compliments I got was from The Neutrino (a league player). She said “I liked it because you listened when I told you where to go” 🙂 It was hard to move to the spaces she created, but I had tried. Nice to have seen it recognized.

After de-gearing and celebrating with ice cream, we all started talking about tryouts. I was still on the fence, based on my inability to turn around. Then the Camp coordinator and current All-Star team member told me she was hoping I would try out, and that she had been very impressed with me during the games. With this confidence boost, I decided to go for it.

More on try-outs soon.

July 1, 2012

Hilights of the week – July 1st

Filed under: Gratitude,Hilights — by Alison @ 7:47 pm

1. Champions of the end of camp bout. Such fun, want to write more about it but it’s a bit of a blur. Go Green Army!

2. Laughs with new friends.

3. Long conversations with old friends.

4. Plans made for our time at home.

5. Keeping traditions in a new place. Happy Canada Day everyone!

What was the hilight of your week? Or just something that made you smile?

Much thanks to Ann for the inspiration.

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