Taking the Plunge

It’s not often I get way out of my comfort zone and try something I’ve never done before.  I should say, it wasn’t often before I started transitioning.  Before that little event I was pretty content not to do anything that might make me uncomfortable.

Now, being uncomfortable is something of a way of life–

Like it was yesterday.

Yesterday, the first of the year, I headed over to City Island to participate in the annual Penguin Plunge, which involves jumping into the Susquehanna River.  As you may have figured out, living in Pennsylvania means it probably wasn’t going to be warm and you’d be correct:  when I left to meet with my teammates it was 19 F/-9 C.  At least the wind wasn’t blowing–yet.  Anyway, I was ready for that weather–

19 F/-9 C. Let's swim!

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I met up with my teammates, because we, the girls of HARD, were going to do the plunge together.  Ariel Wildfire organized the event and I jumped on it, figuring what the hell, if nothing else I’ll contribute money.  However, I did state on my page when I promoted the event that if I raised more than $75, I would take the plunge–

And you know I raised more than that.  In fact I nearly doubled that amount, raising $146 total so far.  Doesn’t seem like a lot, but I couldn’t kick in any of my own cash due to losing my job and with the exception of one $100 donation, the others were small dollar amounts.

Once all my teammates arrived we got together, registered, and waited.  For a while we hung around outside in a gazebo, which gave me time to head down to the river and see how things were going.

The answer to that was–not well.

Getting the pool ready for us.

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As you can see there’s a lot of ice on the river.  That’s due to the extremely cold temps we’ve have in our area for the past couple of weeks.  For the first time in a long time the river was completely frozen over, so when I took the above photo the River Rescue people were doing their best to chop open an area for us to dive in.  During this time they were using axes to open the ice, but since that wasn’t working, a few minutes after taking that picture they broke out the chainsaws and started cutting.  On a local newscast they said it was only the second time in like 24 years they’ve had to do so.

Since the time to plunge growing near my teammates and I headed to the warming tents and began stripping down into whatever garb we intended on wearing into the water.  That meant leggings or shorts, and one one of us that mean fish net stockings and a green Derbyskinz, which is something I’ll probably wear during one bout when I get to that point.  (Note:  Derbyskinz is not only where my team gets their jerseys, but it was actually started by someone who used to play for HARD.  She wore an outfit to Fresh Meat practice her aunt made for her and it became rather popular.  Now they run their own business in Camp Hill.)

Naturally we had to get a team photo before going out:

Team HARD getting ready to take the Penguin Plunge. #HARD

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(Left to right: Unchained Maryilly, Ariel Wildfire, and the Fresh Meat collection: me, Sarah, and Ashly.)

 

Matt Barcaro of local station WGAL News 8 was there and streamed the start.  You’ll see us within 10 seconds, on the left of the screen.  I’m easy to see because I’m big, I’m wearing a lime green tank top, and I have a GoPro strapped to my head.  Watch us go into the water and come out right after!

 

Now, as I stated, I was wearing my GoPro and managed to shoot everything from my point of view.  And here it is in all it’s chilly glory.

 

And just for the record, here’s a screen capture from the news stream of me coming out of the water.  My face says it all:

 

After that we headed back to the warming tent and changed.  It was strange watching steam rolling off my body and my feet remained numb for about 30 minutes after this little jaunt.  So I just went home and chilled out, right?

Wrong!

What does a derby girl do after jumping into a freezing river? Go skating!

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Yep, I went skating and Unchained Maryilly, aka Mary, joined me because… well, we’re derby girls, that’s why!  And I got video of us not only skating, but falling!  Yay!  (I spend most of my time skating behind Unchained, who is the woman on the YouTube splash for the video.  She told me yesterday she wants me to certify so that she’s no longer the oldest certified skater–she’s 47 until the end of February.)

 

2017 was sucky. I’m hoping that 2018 is gonna be a hell of a lot better, and even though I’m out of work right now I still hold that hope.  At least I started out the year right by getting out of the comfort zone and doing shit that even a year ago I might not have done.

I can only go upward from here, right?

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Sentinel of the Extra Hours

Today I’m taking the opportunity to take a title from the legendary Harlan Ellison short story and warp it around so it fits into something I can place in my blog.  Why?  Perhaps it’s my only chance to be as a tenth as that literary maniac, though I fear even that attempt will fall short.  So just be me, yeah?  Yeah.

My nights are filled with a lot of things this week.  Practice two nights, one of which I didn’t have to attend, but I feel like a slacker if I don’t.  Last night was bout review and I was there with my computer as I was the person who filmed and put together the playlists of the footage of the last two games.  It was a lot of fun and a chance to hang out with the team–and it ran a little longer than I expected.  I thought I’d be home by nine:  it was about ten-thirty when I hit the door.  And since we’d been outside for a good part of this I needed a shower to get the sweat off–

And then I got to writing.

Only…  By eleven I was nodding off.  I mean that in a literal sense:  I sat at the computer with my Dragon up and running and the headset on, and my head was falling forward as I fought to stay awake.  I manged exactly 350 words before shutting it all down and heading off to bed.

After three and a half years in The Burg I’m finally getting something of a social life and as we know, when you are out being sociable, something has to suffer.  My sleep has suffered a bit–mostly because a few nights a week I’m getting four hours of sleep–but my writing has gone right into the tank.  I’m behind on my novel and my recaps, which means I’ll be playing a lot of catch up this weekend.  Maybe I’m averaging two thousand words a week on the novel, and that’s if I get in a lot of quality time on the weekend.

In the next couple of weeks this should straighten out a bit and I’ll find myself with a much better schedule, but the truth is–I don’t think so.  I’m attending an event after work tonight and the chances are I won’t be home until after nine-thirty or ten.  Hey, at least I can get in about five hundred words tonight before crashing and burning.

The writing biz would be a lot better if I didn’t have a day job, but that’s not the case.  There is one possible solution to this mater and I believe I’m gonna have to try that again and see what happened.  After all, it once worked for me well, so I don’t see why I wouldn’t now.

Being social:  it’s a blessing in many ways, but it’s also a curse.  You want to get out and do things, but in doing so you gotta put something to the side.  Either that, or you find a way to free up some of those extra hours you’re hanging on to and put them to good use.

I can’t hold all those hours back, can I?

Stepping Into Thirteen

The Great Indiana Change Trip is nearly over, and this will be one of the last things I do in this state before packing my stuff and heading back to The Burg in a few hours.  With all the anxiety I felt before driving the the thousand kilometers to get here, everything went smoothly.

I’ve already discussed the court hearing and getting a new Social Security card, and yesterday involved getting a new driver’s licence.  Other than the fact there was some sort of data connection issue between Valparaiso and Indianapolis, the licence change went without problems, and after an hour I managed to get the registration on both cars changed, and my name and gender marker adjusted.  So now the state of Indiana recognizes I’m a woman, which means Yay!  And I changed all my banking information and received a new debit card with real name upon the surface.  Even more Yay!

All that remains now is to contact everyone who knew me by the old name and get them to change everything over to the new.  That’s probably going to happen over the rest of the year, but that’s the breaks, right?  So it is written, so it is done, and this shit is over and done.

Now to get back to life as I know it . . .

Hey, speaking of this novel I’m working on, I wrote some last night.  School is up and running for that long ago year of 2013:  that means stuff and things are happening.  Like–

All these things here.

All these things here.

Several things happened here last night.  First, I changed the name of the chapter.  Second, I changed a wrong time.  Third, I had to reason up something that happens here that won’t become apparent until the next novel, bwah hahahaha! because I know and you don’t.  And forth, I added a scene because it made sense to add a scene.

But what about the writing, Cassie?  What happens in this Express Farewells?  Let’s see together, shall we?

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

It took a few seconds for Annie to realized that she was being awoken, and the person waking her was doing so with light kisses. She kept her eyes closed and enjoyed the sensation, and only began to smile once the kisses moved from her lips to her check and then to her neck. “Ummmmm.”

There was nibbling on her ear before she heard the voice. “You like that?”

Her eyes still closed Annie rolled on to her side and wrapped her right arm around Kerry. “Yes, I do.” She wanted to add A time will come when you’ll be awoken the same way but she left that out of the conversation: this wasn’t the time to speak of the future.  “I love that.”

“I’ve only done that a couple of times.” Though they’d spent the evening together more than a couple of times, on most occasions when it came time to wake up they were up and about with little fanfare—or one of them woke up and let the other sleep in for a few more minutes. “I’ll keep this in mind for the future.”

“As will I, my love.” Annie sat up and looked about the empty ground floor commons of Cernunnos Cover. “No one’s around?”

 

So now we’re seeing that Annie loves being woken up with kisses, and she’s reminded that a time will come at some point in the future when she’ll wake Kerry up the same way.  Not that she hasn’t done this already, but that time she’s thinking about involves her having a new last name, if you know what I mean.  Little romantic witches in love:  gotta love it.

And no one’s around?

 

“The two A Levels were still here when I crashed—that was about an hour ago.” He shook his head.

“Must have went up to the first when we were napping.”

“Quite likely.” Annie threw back the comforter and stretched. “I take it you’re ready?”

He smiled back as he stood. “Only when you are.”

“Since you’re holding my robe—” She found her fur-lined snow boots and slipped them on. “I take that as a sign you’re ready for me to get ready.”

Kerry’s cheeks flushed bright red. “Yeah, well . . .” He looked down at the ground. “I guess I am.”
“No need to be embarrassed.” Annie took her robe and slipped it on seconds after standing. “I understand how excited you are.”

Kerry led Annie away from where they’d napped on the sofa in front of the commons fireplace towards the center of the coven floor. “You wanna take the tunnel over, or walk outside?”

“Temperature still around zero?”

A few hours before the temperatures were hovering just over one degree Celsius, and Kerry couldn’t see them dropping much more. “Probably.”

“Outside will be fine, my love.” She wrapped herself around his left arm as they proceeded towards the door leading to the inner Pentagram Wall. “We won’t be in the cold for long, I’m wearing my flannels, and I can use you to stay warm.”

He waved the door open and tightened his robe before stepping into the wall inner corridor. “I will do my best.”

“You always do.” Annie waved the door to the Pentagram Garden open.

 

So they were napping, and now they’re off into the night towards–well, if they’re heading into the Pentagram Garden, there’s only one destination . . .

 

They walked quickly from the tower to the Great Hall, not meeting a person along the way. Annie didn’t expect to meet anyone, at least not heading to the coven. Right now, at twenty minutes before midnight on the first Thursday school night of 2013, everyone was either in their towers sleeping or in the Great Hall, and she expected they would be among the last to arrive for the event about to occur. They weren’t about to miss anything, however: Kerry and she knew the event schedule as the schedule had been known since Monday.

They entered the Great Hall and headed for the Dining Hall. The scene inside was far different from the other times when it was used for eating or for the Midnight Madness. This time there were several tables covered with backpacks, brooms, and miscellaneous equipment, all kept separate from the seventy or eighty students who’d appeared to watch the proceedings. Annie spotted Vicky speaking with Holoč, Erywin, and Headmistress Laventure, while Isis and Wednesday appeared to be making some last minute checks to equipment with the help of a few of the higher level students, the majority who appeared to be from the racing teams.

Standing near the northwest entrance to the Dining Hall, Annie wasn’t certain what to expect to see in the next twenty minutes—she was, however, pleased that this year Kerry wasn’t one of the students departing on the Polar Express.

 

Now, finally, we get to see something about the already somewhat famous Polar Express.  Just so you know:  Kerry isn’t leaving, not this year.  More is going to get said about it, but for now be content in knowing that the 2013 Polar Express is about to begin.

However . . . I likely won’t post that new information tomorrow because I’m leaving out of Indiana about ten in the morning, and I don’t expect to arrive in Harrisburg until almost twelve hours later.  But as I know the real reason Annie and Kerry are there, I don’t have to give it much thought–I just gotta write it down.

Don’t worry:  I’ll get to it real soon.

The Trip Through Part Four

I spent a lot of time going over the novel yesterday, between bouts of being hungry and feeling like I was going to loose my lunch.  Couldn’t figure out if I was coming down with a cold again, or if it was something I ate, but for most of the afternoon I felt queasy and ended up sleeping in front of the TV for about an hour.

But in the process I put three chapters out of the way in Part Four, and . . . I’ll get to that in a bit.

Here is what I have:

It's shapping up quite nicely.

It’s shaping up quite nicely.

There’s a lot there, but then again, there isn’t.  This covers maybe four, possibly five, events in the story, it seems like there isn’t a lot going on there.  Until I start thinking that with all those scenes, each probably being between fifteen hundred and two thousand words each, there’s twenty to twenty-five thousand words in those chapters.  Which means if I’m worrying about the novel being short, I shouldn’t worry.

But there are private matters here.  I talk about dancing and racing, fighting and injury, dreaming and looking for connections.  What about school work?  Bah.  This isn’t about being in the class, though that will come up–I’ve got something after the start of the year for sorcery class, it’s just a matter of knowing when it’s going to happen.  Which I’ll have in my time line sometime tonight.

Here it’s all about the relationship, and some of the things related to the school.  School work is work, and I want to avoid getting bogged down in that here.  It was a bit necessary in the first novel, because it helped to introduce the instructors, and give people an idea about how the classes work.  But now that people have that information, there’s isn’t a need to go into it once again.  You know the players, and you know how things are gonna go.  It’s a matter of moving the relationship along.

Which brings me to another item:  the holidays.  And . . .

Did you think I'd forget this?

Did you think I’d forget this?

I managed to get into the next part and the next chapter, and it deals with the kids heading home for the holidays.  And if you look at my synopses metadata, you can figure out that Annie and Kerry leave the school and head to Vienna together, then split up and head for their own homes.  A big change of pace from last year, which means that Kerry won’t have to hang out all day in the Great Hall and be placed in a position where he’ll have to curse someone again.  Last year Annie’s mother jaunted into Vienna to pick up her daughter–is Dad gonna be there this time as well?

It goes without saying that Chapter Fifteen will deal with the kids at home.  It won’t be a long chapter, but you’ll see a dynamic between the kids and their moms.  Yes, there will be a conversation between Kerry and his mom, and you’ll discover something interesting about her–and Annie will find out that her mom is working hard on something with her as well.  Curiouser and curiouser, as the saying goes.