Finding Another Road

Yesterday was an interesting day.  It was both good and bad and just like life, you have to take both as they come at you.

Yesterday I met with my HRT doctor, one of the two meetings I have with her every year.  This 7 July will mark four years I’ve been on female hormones and, though it may sound clichéd, that part of my life has been good.  Yes, I have crazy mood swings at times and my depression will get the better of me now and then because estrogens do that to you, but I am woman, hear me roar, and no one’s taking that from me.

I also have boobs, which is a plus.

Therefore, I drove out to New Jersey for my semi-annual visit.  I arrived about 15 minutes before I was supposed to be there because after three and a half years I know my drive times.  We chatted, she asked me the questions she always asks, the told me my labs are “boring”–

And then she told me this would be our last time together.

I sort of suspected that this moment was coming for a while.  I know my doctor hasn’t been in the best of health, and a year ago she sent out a notice that she was about to close her doors before rescinding the comment.  But based upon a few other things I’d read, I didn’t think she’d stay in practice much longer, and that became a reality yesterday.

I was able to hold it together during our visit, but once out in the car and bad on the road I had several crying jags hit me on the way home.  My doctor has been an important part of my life for a few years now and having to say goodbye the way we did–well, it does hurt.  But I can’t begrudge her wanting to step away from her practice: after all, that isn’t about me.

So now I’ll start the task of finding a new doctor, though I likely won’t begin on that for a few weeks.  I’ve got other shit for which I need to deal and I’ll work on getting them out of the way first.  Also, as much as I didn’t mind driving into New Jersey, I’m going to try and find a doctor a little closer to me this time.  I know a lot more now than I did back in 2014, which makes things a lot easier.

One thing that my doctor told me is that she likes my “exercise regime”, which I told her consists of two or three 2 hour practice sessions of derby training every week, an hour to seventy-five minutes at the gym once a week, and a couple of hours of skating on the weekend.  I was proud of the fact that my weight this time was 238 pounds, down 15 from six months ago–though I’m pretty sure that I’ve likely burned off a bit more fat than that–and my blood pressure was 120/78, the lowest it’s been in a long time. That’s all due to skating.

And speaking of which… Monday night we meet the new photographer who’s agreed to shoot us this year and he was out to the rink on this last Monday.  I only showed up in a few shots, and the one below is probably the best.  My teammate Mak the Ripper is on the left and I’m helping her form a blocking wall.  Khara is the teammate behind me, trying to get around our wall with me doing my best to stop her–

By getting in the way with my butt.  (William Fletcher Photography)

 

Yes, the Bootie Block: it’s a blocker’s bread and butter, and the bigger the butt, the better the block.  Fortunately I’m a wide enough girl that the big butt comes with the territory.

Today I’m better.  And it’s warmer outside, though I can sometimes feel a chill come on when the sun dips behind clouds.  I’m in shorts and a tank top right now, resting and enjoying the day–

And, strangely enough, writing to you.

Let’s hope there’s more of this.

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Travelin’ By Tunes

Where in the World Was Cassidy Frazee on Sunday evening.  Well, I was in Baltimore.  Why?

Skating, of course.

Actually I wasn’t skating, but a metric shit ton of other women were, as we were all there for a clinic hosted by World Champion Laci Knight of the Angel City Derby Girls, which was the first woman’s flat track derby team and generally considered one of the best leagues in the world.  Since I’d love to become a pivot, I signed up for this clinic back in January and was waiting for the chance to be on the rink with another person from whom I could learn.

Of course I was there to observe only as I’m not certified, but those be the breaks.

So I cut out of The Burg about 4:30 PM (or 16:40 if you are from outside the U.S. and/or happen to be a witch attending a special school in Massachusetts) and drove on down to Baltimore, which put me there right before 6:00/18:00.  This gave me time to grab a bite before getting to the clinic:

Dining on the best the city of Baltimore has to offer.

 

The clinic was fun.  Even though I couldn’t skate I was allowed to stand in the middle of the rink and watch all the craziness going on about me.  I shot video for my time, though I’m not allowed to post any of it here.  We did, however, get a team shot at the end of the night.

 

Yes, that’s Laci’s doing the handstand while still in skates.  I’m over on the right not in skates and wearing my HARD shirt.

One of the things I had with me while traveling is my portable speaker, which I linked to my phone so I could play music from my various YouTube playlists.  The radio in my car doesn’t work, and even if it did, it doesn’t have all the snazzy Bluetooth features that so many vehicles have today.  Therefore I made do the best I can, and this is how I do so.

It’s no secret that I’ve been in a massive funk for a while–at least three months with January being The Month From Hell.  There was a time when music used to alleviate these feelings, but it hasn’t happened in a while. But Sunday afternoon and through to the night–yeah, there were a few magical moments that caught my attention and set my mood to “Yeah, this is Cool.”  And I’d like to share those moments with you, ’cause they’re sharable.

The first song that caught my mood as I was crossing into Maryland while the sun was setting was this: Sukiyaki, which was released in 1963.  Performed by Sakamoto Kyu, the actual title is Ue o Muite Arukō, which translates as “I Look Up As I Walk”.  When it was released in the U.S. it was given the name Sukiyaki because they rightly knew no one who wasn’t Japanese–or at least understood Japanese–would be able to pronounce the title.  This was also the first single from Japan to chart on Billboard, making Sakamoto Kyu the first Asian on the U.S. charts.  This is always been one of my favorite songs and I can remember hearing this as a young kid way back in the day, as they say, and when I need something catchy and soothing, I go here.

 

A point of trivia:  Sakamoto Kyu was aboard Japan Airlines Flight 123 when it suffered cabin decompression, lost its vertical stabilizer (aka, the tail), and crashed on August 12, 1985. 520 people were killed and this remains, to today, the worst single aircraft accident.

The next one came as I was making my way out of Baltimore, specifically as I was heading north along I-695, the Baltimore Beltway, heading into the massive interchange with I-95.  And what played as I rolled down this stretch of highway was Elvis’ Burning Love.  Now, full disclosure: I am not an Elvis person.  I don’t consider him the King of Rock and Roll, and I don’t have a lot of use for the majority of his catalog.  There are, however, a few of his songs that get me going, and this is one of them.  And with the darkness around we on a somewhat empty section of highway, this was the perfect tune to set the tone for my journey home.

 

I stopped off in York to pick up a few food items before continuing home.  Being in York generally means I’m about a half-hour from pulling into the apartment complex, so when I finished up the play list I had going I popped in the next song: the just over eleven minute Elton John epic, Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding.  The album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was the first actual pop/rock album I bought with my own money and it got good and worn out on my turntable, with this opening track getting the most play.

Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding is best known for the grandiose opening, which was not recorded by Elton but rather by album’s engineer, David Hentschel, who spend a considerable amount of time on an APR 2500 synthesizer overdubbing track after track to achieve the orchestral effect.  It wasn’t supposed to actually be part of the song, but after Elton heard the playback he told Hentschel to add it to the track.

Mentioning the ARP 2500 allows me to bring up the photo of Phil Dodds, then VP of Engineering at ARP, installing the 2500 used in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  I believe this very instrument now resided in a private school for witches…

 

I timed this nearly perfectly: the tune was coming to an end just as I parked my car right around 12:10 AM on Monday morning.  Do I know how to do this, or what?

 

Music hasn’t actually touched me in a while, so it was great that my mindset was such that I felt so good going south to the City of Chicken and Waffles (true, this is where it’s really supposed to have started), enjoyed a skating clinic, and then had a nice time driving back in the darkness.

Let’s hope I have that same feeling today as I head to Jersey to visit with my doctor…

All On Me

And yes: I am doing a riff on an REM song title.  Watch the video and find out why!

 

My two jerseys:

 

Seven Days Out

And here’s where I get to talking.  Enjoy!

 

Here’s a photo of me at the showing with the artist:

 

 

Here’s the video of the pace line I mentioned:

The Stroll Back: What, Who, Why

Here I am and, believe it or not, it’s Excerpt Time!  Really, I started working on the last scene of Chapter Twenty and decided, hey, it’d be nice to put out what I wrote tonight before I go to dinner.  So here it is–

Although I have to talk a little about my league’s Recruitment Night on Wednesday, which went really well.  We had about 15 people show up and if the last Recruitment Night is any indication, we’ll end up keeping about a third of them.  I wouldn’t use my Recruitment Night as an example as I’m the only one left over from that evening, so here’s keeping our fingers crossed.

We had so many new people come out we didn’t have enough equipment for them all, and a couple of the OG removed their gear and loaded it out.  We also got buddies that we are to stick with and help through the process of leaning to become a derby girl, and mine is Niki, who was really shaky in skates at first, but managed to make it through about half a pace line before rolling off to rest.  I’m looking forward to seeing her again on Monday, and do Fresh Meat practice on Tuesday.

Oh, and we got a group picture, just like last time.

Who’s that green haired woman on the left? She looks fetching!

 

Yeah, there I am on the left with the white socks.  Geez, I gotta fix that this weekend.  Really.

So, excerpt time.  The kids have left Memory’s End and are heading back to The Pentagon.  And they’re talking.  About?  What do you think is the topic of discussion?

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

They were on the long path back to the History and Arts Building, perhaps midway between the paths leading to Orchestra Hall and Gwydion Manor, before Annie decided it was time to speak about their vision. Since leaving Memory’s End Kerry hadn’t spoken once, but it was easy for Annie to see there was not only something on his mind, but it was disturbing him. “My love?”

Kerry continued looking straight ahead as he answered with his own question. “You don’t believe about what I said concerning Precognitive Amnesia, do you?”

“I believe it’s a real thing, otherwise Deanna would have called you out for lying.” Annie rubbed her fingers against the palm of Kerry’s left hand. “I don’t believe that happened to us, however.”

Kerry nodded as he slowed his pace. He looked about to see if they were alone, then continued. “When Deanna asked if you knew knew who the woman was, you said you couldn’t remember her name—”

“That’s correct.”

“But do you remember what she was?”

At that moment Annie realized what Kerry was saying. “Yes, I do—the same as you. You know, don’t you?”

“Yeah.” He looked straight ahead for a moment before glancing back at Annie. “You want me to say it?”

The corner of Annie’s mouth curled upward into a smile. “You know what I’m going to say—”

 

Well, dammit, then say it!  Stop playing this out!

 

“I do.” He gave Annie’s had a squeeze. “She was one of the Seven Sisters.”

Annie looked off to her left. “It was.”

Kerry swallowed once. “Did you try to say that when Deanna asked?”

The response was quick. “I did, but I…” She cast her gaze downward. “I couldn’t.”

“Neither could I. And since I didn’t think I could convince Deanna that I did know who it was, I just couldn’t say the words—” He signed. “I brought up the Precognitive Amnesia. I knew she’d believe that.”

 

If you need a refresher, someone mentioned that there are seven really powerful spirits located on different continents and that they go by the name The Seven Sisters.  Is there one in North America?  Surely you jest:

 

The feeling that the name was just on the tip of her tongue, but she was unable to speak, had bothered Annie tremendously when they were being questioned. Now that they were finally able to discuss the matter, she felt a way of relief. “I’m glad it wasn’t only me.” She looked back to Kerry. “It felt just like the day after our E & As.”

“Yeah, wonder why?” Kerry chortled as his mouth turned upward in a smirk. “I mean, who here at Salem would have an active interest in keeping the mention of a hugely powerful spirit out of our conversation with the school seer?”

The answer to that question was easy for Annie. “A concerned family member?”

“That’s my guess.” A loud exhale slipped from between slightly parted lips. “Why would she do this?”

“Because if we do meet with one of the Seven Sisters in twenty years time, it’s because something bad is about to happen.” She half-turned to Kerry as they continued walking.

“Why else would a spirit gust as powerful as The Phoenix appear in the Physical Realm so they could speak to a couple of humans in a restaurant?” Annie’s exhale was as loud as Kerry’s. “As you said, we were being called upon to save the world—”

“Which, if you think about it, is a scary thing if something like The Phoenix needs help from us.” Kerry chuckled again, but this time he sounded far more upbeat. “I think she’s letting us have this conversation now.”

“I do as well.” Annie tightened her grip around Kerry’s hand. “But why?”

 

The kids are thinking that, yeah, they did meet up with one of the Seven Sisters, and Sister North America–aka, The Phoenix–is jacking their memories around.  Because… well, it’s what she does.

At least that’s what the kids think–

For now.

Back From the Vision: When Reality Strikes

Wow, another excerpt!

Yep, it is.  And not only that, but I finished the penultimate scene of Chapter Twenty and I’m ready to set up some stuff that will likely come off being a little strange and unusual, as well putting the story off in a direction far different from what I’d envisioned years ago.  But that’s how stories go, right? You evolve, they evolve.

But before we get into that, would you like to see a picture of me with a mask?  Sure you would–only it’s not that kind of mask:

Okay, I've got my mask: let's cook! I mean, paint! #HARD #PaintTheWFTDA

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

Next Monday the team is gonna tape down the floor at the rink and repaint the outlines of the WFTDA track, and since I’ll be in a room with paint fumes I was told if you didn’t want to smell them–or get light headed as fuck from them–it was best to get a paint mask.  So I did.  And there it is.

And if you don’t believe that I’m not going to lay a few Breaking Bad lines down when we’re painting, you don’t know me…

Yeah, I’m for sure saying this.

 

Now, about Annie and Kerry–

Yeah, they had a great vision, but they’re forgetting parts of it for some reason. So lets go back to the part where Kerry thinks he has an answer:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

No one said anything for at least ten seconds as the implications of the latest revelation were considered. Kerry was the first to break the silence. “Precognitive Amnesia.”

Deanna shifted on her pillow. “I have to agree.”

Annie glanced from her soul mate to her instructor. “What’s that?”

Once Kerry realized Deanna was allowing him to answer, he spoke. “It’s from one of the books you had me read when we were A Levels. Sometimes you have a vision of an event that’s so big, it’s like you’re not supposed to have seen it, you know? So your mind started shutting down you memory of the event—” He glanced over to Deanna. “Though some seers say it’s not your mind affecting you, it’s really reality stepping in and making sure you have no recollection of the event.”

“I happen to be one of those seers.” Deanna folded her hands in her lap and intertwined her fingers. “I think it’s more like a mild case of Blowback, with your memory taking the brunt of damage instead of your body.”

“That’s kind of how one book put it: you mind takes the hit and scrubs your memory.”

 

And there you have it: sometimes you have such a big vision that Reality steps in and says, “Hey, you know what?  There are some things people were not meant to know–and this is one of them.  Sorry.” And then you suddenly begin forgetting shit.  At least that’s what Kerry and Deanna believe.  Although–

 

Annie still found the answer a bit nonsensical. “I can still remember parts of the vision, though.”

“But not the important parts.” Kerry leaned closer to her. “We know we visited that town before, right?”

“Yes.”

“What’s the name?”

Annie pondered the question for a few seconds before answering. “I can’t remember.”

“Same here. I can’t even remember the name of the café now.” He shrugged. “It’s the same thing as having an extremely vivid dream: while you’re dreaming you’re certain that you’ll remember everything, then you wake up and…” He held up his hands. “You can’t recall anything but a few moments.” Kerry looked at the floor. “That’s what’s happened to us.”

In that moment a quick chill ran through Annie. It wasn’t that she’d never experience Blowback before: in the years before coming to Salem she’d had spells go wrong and hurt her, and a few times during the last two years she’d taken a couple of hits from Reality. Now she understood that Reality could come at her and render her incapable to remembering things—and she wasn’t enjoying the feeling. “It’s a bit unnerving. I mean, we know something important is going to happen—”

“You mean you’re going to save the fucking world?” Deanna smiled when Kerry winced. “Again?”

Annie couldn’t help but smile at Kerry’s discomfort. “Yes, that. But now, to have everything just fade away—”

Deanna gave her student a concerned look. “Annie, think about it. If you are going to become involved in something that incredible, do you really want to spend the next twenty or thirty years worrying about what comes next?” She shook her head. “I know I wouldn’t.”

“Neither would I.” Kerry sat up, looking a bit uncomfortable. “Just knowing we had this vision is enough.” He let out a long sigh. “Professor, do you need us to stay for the rest of the class?”

Though she was about to release both students, Deanna found it a bit strange that Kerry was asking if they could be dismissed. “No. You’re both free to leave.” She didn’t move as both students stood, gathered their things, and left the room hand-in-hand with only a goodbye once they were at the door. Though she suspected both kids were somewhat bothered by what they’d just discussed, their auras painted a completely different picture. Something’s bothering them both—and I have a good idea what that is

 

–It may seem as if Kerry is starting to thinking differently, and maybe Annie’s there as well.

And as soon as I write the scene you’ll know what that thinking is.  I think.