News and Views: Setting it Straight

Before I get to the novel I have to pass along news from last nights practice.  On my ninth practice session I was asked to do a 27/5, which is one of the test we do for certification.  You skate 27 laps in 5 minutes, which works out to about 5.4 laps per minute, or one lap every 11.1 seconds.  You get out and you don’t stop, you just keep going.

So, my first time out, I skated 18.5 lap in 5 minutes, which means I did one lap every 16.2 seconds.  Now I have to work on shaving off that five seconds a lap so I can get up to qualification speed.  Oh, and there’s video of it happening.  You’ll see that soon.

Now, about this excerpt–

Sure looks like Kerry shit the bed, huh?

You know, if you go back to the first novel, Kerry has come across at times like he’s a bit tone-deaf to social norms.  After all, he didn’t get named Captain Clueless because he’s always the sharpest knife in the drawer.  So, yes:  a thirteen year old Kerry did a dumb thing.  And he severely upset someone whom he does love a great deal.  That’s on him.

Does he have a reason for being this way?  He’ll try to explain:

 

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

 

She looked up with her eyes shadowed by emotions. “What did you mean, then?”

“I mean you should take that time to be with your family, not to make sure I’m okay.” He rocked her as he sighed. “Besides, it’s gonna feel awkward staying with you. All the while I’m there you’re parents are gonna be watching me—”

“No, they won’t.” Annie twisted her head to one side. “I admit we might not have the ability to be alone as much as we might like, but they aren’t going to watch your every move.”

“Maybe not, but—” He searched for the right words. “They don’t know me, so I’m not sure this is the best time for them to get to know me.” He looked down and away. “Particularly your father.”

Annie touched his chin. “Don’t be intimidated by Papa. It’s just the way he is—especially where I’m concerned.”

“Yeah, well, my concern is that he’s gonna be too concerned about me, and he’ll spend all his time hovering over us.”

Before Annie could reply Coraline threw back the privacy curtain and stepped into the bay. “Well, you are obviously in better shape than I anticipated.”

 

It appears that Kerry’s biggest worry is that he’s going to spoil Annie’s time with her family by being there, as well as feeling like her mother and father–particularly her father–are going to have him in their cross-hairs most of the time.  These are all legitimate reasons–it’s just unfortunate that he didn’t do it in a better fashion.

Which is all irreverent now as the School’s Doctor has appeared–

 

“I have a great doctor.” Kerry held on to Annie as he smiled at Coraline. “She makes everything better.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere, young man.” She cocked an eyebrow in Annie’s direction. “And I wouldn’t tell you if it did, not in front of Annie.”

For the first time in five minutes Annie managed to crack a genuine smile. She glanced at Kerry. “See? She knows better.”

“I certainly do.” Coraline slipped her hands into the pockets of her jeans. “I’ve sent messages to Vicky and Holoč telling them I’ve released you for racing. And with that—” She motioned towards the ward corridor. “You’re free to go.”

“Thank you.” Kerry slipped around Coraline and out of the bay, still holding Annie’s hand. “See you at the races.”

“Have a good time today.”

They made their way slowly into the waiting room. There were several things Kerry wanted to say, but he seemed unable to bring them out of his mind. The best he could do was make small talk. “So, what time are your parents supposed to get here?”

Just then Sabrina’s voice echoed through the Great Hall. “Attention. Will Annie Kirilova please report to the Atrium? Your parents have arrived.”

A huge smile formed as she glanced to her right. “I believe you know the answer to that question…”

 

“Annie, your parents are here!”  And so it begins.  I guess this is as good a time for them to get to know Kerry as any…

I’ll just leave you with one more thought which is really more of a question.  Has Kerry been acting a bit irrational of late?  Like, you know, being emotional and losing his shit on other people?  I know it’s a stretch, but maybe that’s got him being Snappy McSnapperson when he normally isn’t?

Asking for a friend…

News and Views: How This Works

A return to practice last night and…  man, I am sore today.  I wasn’t feeling that bad when I got home, but it all snuck up on me while I was sleeping and this morning I was moving around like I was 100 years old.  I’m better now, but damn:  that soreness is a killer.  Maybe I’ll grab some Epsom salts tonight and try that after practice.

Yesterday we saw Kerry figure out that Moma Malibey had a reason for calling him early in the morning.  Now he gets around to telling Annie why:

 

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

 

“Knowing Mom, she decided to contact me first thing this morning and tell me this BS ‘cause she knew I’d obsess over it most of the day. Knowing the way she thinks, she probably figured I’d call them back before they went to bed tonight begging to come back for the holidays.”

Based on what Kerry had told her in the past, Annie knew Louise Malibey to be an emotional manipulator and Kerry’s explanation of what she was likely thinking fit her profile—which did nothing to improve Annie’s opinion of the woman. “And if you were to beg to come back for the holidays, it would be on her terms.”

Kerry nodded. “Exactly.”

Now that she likely knew the reason for Kerry’s mom to call when she did, Annie wanted to know more on another but similar issue. “What are you going to do for the holidays now that you can’t go to your grandparents?”

He shrugged. “I sent an email to Professor Semplen letting him know I needed a place to stay. I figure he’ll throw my name in the pot and see who wants me.” Annie knew just as Kerry that no one was allowed to stay at the school during Yule holiday, so the administration worked to find families to take in those few individuals who had nowhere to go. Requesting a place to stay was known as “putting you name in the pot,” after which it was pulled and matched with someone willing to have a student for a couple of weeks.

Annie slid to the floor but remained leaning against the bed. “Did you ask Erywin if you could stay with Helena and her?”

“I did. She told me that Helena and she are going to New Zealand to spend time with Helena’s parents. She said they’re leaving the day after school lets out.”

 

Unlike another famous magical school that is also fictional to my students, Salem doesn’t believe in leaving kids there for the Yule holiday.  If you can’t go home, they’d find a home for you to go.  Kerry’s already asked Erywin if he could stay with Helena and her, but they have other plans, unfortunately.  That means Kerry will likely get placed with another family–

Unless there’s another solution and Annie thinks of immediately:

 

“I see.” Given that there weren’t many options, Annie had one of her own. “You could stay with me.”

Kerry shook his head. “No.”

“What?” She was shocked to hear him respond this way. “No? What do you mean?”

“I mean I don’t want to come and stay with you.”

“Why not?”

“Because Yule is for you to spend time with your family, not take care of me.”

Annie looked down at the floor and responded in a soft voice. “You are my family as well.”

It took a moment for Kerry to realize that he’d hurt Annie’s feeling with his comment. He slid off his bed and moved closer so he could take her in his arms. “I’m sorry, Sweetie. I didn’t mean it that way.”

 

Well, what way did you mean it, Kerry?  Because after all this time Captain Clueless still strikes once in a while and this time he did something really dumb.  The question becomes, however, can he recover from this faux pas.  Or will this become something that Annie reminds him of for like the next, oh, 50 years or so.

We may find out tomorrow…

News and Views: Getting More Than a Checkup

Guess what? I’m back!

Yeah, for the last few days I’ve taken some time away from the novel writing thing simply because of been too busy with things not related to novel writing. Which means I haven’t been putting out any excerpts from my novel. So is probably a welcome change from all my traveling exploits to get back into the swing of things with Annie and Kerry.

And what are those lovable scamps up to right now?

Well, if you remember, Kerry’s mom Skyped them early in the morning and tore his heart out.  Not literally, but we know how he handles rejection and abandonment, which means he’s not feeling is best at the moment.

Not only that, but first thing in the morning it was necessary for him to go and get checked out by Doctor Gallagher so that he could be cleared for racing that afternoon.  And wouldn’t you know it: that’s where we’re at right now–

 

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

 

Coraline glanced up at the monitor over the bed before turning back to give Kerry’s left shoulder, arm, and hand a final examination. “This has all healed up rather nicely.” She stripped off her rubber gloves and stuffed them into the pocket of her smock. “It’s safe to say you’re free from the possibility of secondary infection.”

Kerry glanced up to his left. “Does that mean I’m cleared to race this afternoon?”

“Absolutely means you’re cleared to race this afternoon.” Coraline gave him a questioning look. “How’s your medication holding up?”

There was no need to ask about the medication to which Coraline was referring. “I’m good through the weekend.”

“Then come see me tomorrow night and I’ll get you stocked up for the week.” Coraline glanced over at Annie, who sat on Bed #1 staring intently at Kerry, who was sitting across from her. “You can give Kerry his shirt so he can dress; I’ll step outside.” She moved out into the ward hallway and pulled the privacy curtain closed.

Annie levitated the shirt over to Kerry, never saying a word the entire time. He slipped on the shirt and regarded his soul mate for a few moments before speaking. “You haven’t said a word since I told you; please tell me what you’re thinking.”

 

You know when you’re getting the Silent Annie Treatment, nothing good is going to come up it.  So what is on Annie’s mind?

 

There was an uncomfortable few seconds of silence before Annie’s nostrils flared and she spoke in a low voice that was on the verge of trembling. “If your mother was here right now, I’m not certain I could control my actions.”

“Yeah.” Kerry looked down as he sighed. “I figured that.”

 

This is something that Louise is not learned yet, that pissing off her future daughter-in-law is not a good idea.  It’s one thing for your girlfriend to say she’s angry: it’s another thing for her to say that she is not certain she could control her actions around your mother.  And when one of those actions involves lighting Mom up like a Christmas tree with an Electrify attack, Louise Malibey is setting herself up for some real fun in the future.

And this allows Kerry to reveal a little bit more information about what it’s like living with Mommy Dearest:

 

Annie drew in a deep breath before continuing. “Your mother called this morning to tell you they want nothing to do with you this holiday. How could she do that?”

“You’d have to know my mother.”

“And why did she call so early in the morning?”

“Because Mom is a button pusher and she probably thought that if she woke me up early in the morning, I’d have all day to stew on this—which is what she really wants me to do.”

“What do you mean? Why would she want this to bother you throughout the day?”

Kerry let out several sighs before giving his thoughts. “My guess is that she wants me to be all upset today because it’s a big day and she knows I have a lot planned—”

Annie appeared puzzled. “How would she know that?”

“I sent them an email at the beginning of the month inviting them here for the races.”

“You said you weren’t going to say anything to them.”

“Yeah, well, I lied. I figured they weren’t going to come anyway so no harm. That’s how they know how important today is to me—to us.”

“I see.” Annie quickly raised and lowered her right eyebrow. “Continue with what you were saying before.”

 

Louise Malibey is a manipulative individual. We know she’s a bit of a button pusher and she’s got Kerry’s buttons mapped out pretty well.  And here we learn that she likely called early in the morning so she could guilt trip her son’s ass into begging them to allow him to somehow join them on their trip. I mean, they already know he doesn’t need to pay for airfare, and it would be an easy accommodation to have him join them on their holiday.

But it’s somewhat apparent that while Kerry may be upset, he’s not about to start begging.  He’s read his mom’s actions and he knows with what he is now dealing.  The question remains, however: will Kerry get through the day unscathed?  Is what happened this morning going to affect him later?

And most importantly, is Annie just going outright kill Louise the first time she meets her?

Well, we’re not gonna find out in this novel…

Home From the Hio

Let me tell you, this weekend has bit a lot of an adventure.

It’s no secret where I was:  I headed off to the Wilds of Ohio–specifically an area just south of Youngstown, OH–so I could watch my roller derby team take on the local team there.  I took my camera and video camera and my tripod–which I left behind at the hotel but I’m having shipped back to me–so I snapped up a lot of stuff.  A lot of that got explained in this intro video:

 

Now, we didn’t do as well as hoped.  We lost by a pretty good margin.  But they all looked good in the teams shot after:

 

 

And even better when we went out for dinner.

How do we like to party? #HARD #RollerGirl

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I discovered something about myself, too.  Since we were rooming four women to a room I had to share a queen sized bed with someone else.  They said at one point I stared swearing in my sleep.  Not talking:  swearing.  They said first I made a strange sound and then went, “Well… shit,” then mumbled a bit later and clearly said, “You motherfucker.”  Believe me, I have no idea what I was talking about, but it probably wasn’t good.  Maybe Kerry was venting his frustrations with his mother.

The thing most important was that I got to see how the game it played–something I’m learning more of as I go over game footage–and I got to hang with the team members.  And I felt as if I fit in with everyone.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had the feeling that I “fit in,” and it’s nice to see yourself not as an outsider, but as someone who may actually be part of something.  That’s something I’ve craved for a long time and it’s possible I won’t have to feel that way much longer.

This was me returning home about four hours ago as I write this:

Heading home over Sideling Hill. #HARD #RollerGirl

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Someone on my Facebook page said I look tired but happy and that’s about as accurate as one can get.  I had a great time and I can’t thank everyone enough for what I experienced.

Of course this means I’ll have to go into this in more detail, but at the moment I’m trying to figure out how to copy video to YouTube that doesn’t suffer any degradation, as I noticed when moving some up to YouTube.  As soon as I figure that out I’ll bore you with the details of the game.  What?  You didn’t think I was going to do that?  Ha!  You don’t know me, do you?

There you have it:  Cassidy’s Excellent Adventure.  And this means tomorrow I get to go back to writing–

Maybe I’ll actually get this novel finished one day.

Getting Ready to Roller

It’s a different kind of travel day for me today.  Let me tell you all about it…

 

Readjusting the Curve

I will admit that my ideas are not always the best.  Allow me to explain:

We have reached the point in the current novel where it’s become known that Kerry’s parents are heading off to Australia and New Zealand for the Christmas holiday.  As it turns out Kerry’s grandparents are going to be on a cruise from San Fran to Panama City and back, so this leaves Kerry in the position of being abandoned by his folks, who are more or less telling him to go pound sand.  Knowing Kerry’s issues with abandonment the odds are good he’s not gonna handle this situation well even if he looks tough on the outside.  Because this is how Kerry is and he’s not changing anytime soon.

But what does this do for his holiday plans?

Leave it to renxkyoko to come up with the most obvious plan:  have Annie ask her parents if Kerry can comes to Pamporovo and spend the holidays with the Family Kirilovi.  Though the parents are not yet aware–at least they don’t know everything that’s happened to these two in the last couple of years–he is the future son-in-law, so maybe getting him used to being around Annie’s folks is a good idea.

And it is a good idea–

Only…  it wasn’t my original idea.

Oh, if you haven’t figured it out:

 

See, this part of the novel was figured out years ago and I was sticking with that plan.  What I had plotted out was that Kerry was going to fall on his sword and decide to stay at school, even though it bothered Annie a great deal to leave him behind.  Sure, Kerry fixes things up with getting her a computer so they can Skype, but still:  Annie goes home and Kerry stays behind ’cause he wants her to spend time with her parents and not make being there awkward for everyone.

Now, this isn’t that big of a deal–except for one thing.  Writing about Kerry being left behind at school requires haven’t a whole chapter that’s almost all Kerry, all the time, and after a while I found that to be a bit untenable.  Yes, Kerry is getting his own chapters, but Annie’s getting one as well, so that’s nicely balanced.

But Kerry at school alone sort of bothered me.  And as time went by it bothered me even more.

So when the suggestion came that Kerry should go stay with Annie I started thinking about the possibility.  And since you probably do know me, you’re aware that I spent a few days running ideas and scenarios around my head to see what happened.  And the most thought I gave the matter, the more I came to the conclusion:

Kerry should go spend the holidays with Annie and her parents.

The simple fact is this is their story.  And, as possible, that should happen together.  And how will they handle being under the watchful eye of Mama and Papa?  What sort of shenanigans can they get up to?  What sort of public fun will they encounter?  Let’s remember, Kerry’s never seen Annie in her natural environment, so is he gonna see a completely different person than the one he knows and loves?  Just imagine the first time Kerry has to wait in her sitting room for her to come out of her bedroom.  Will he consider it natural?  Or will he think it’s a little too much for this particular rich girl?

There you go:  I adjusted by curve and changed the story.

And, I believe, it’s gonna make it a better novel.

It will certainly make it a better holiday for two kids I know–

The Pains of Aches

Tuesday, 30 May, 2017, was a real turning point in my life.  That’s the night I decided I would see if I had what it took to become a member of a roller derby team.  I met the people who would coach us, signed the release forms, and strapped on the gear after finding stuff that fit us.

We didn’t do much.  We got on our skates and went around the rink and did a few exercises and introduced ourselves.  I discovered quickly that I was out of shape:  I had to lay down three times because I was getting dizzy due to not breathing.  (Hot Tip:  every kind of physical activity goes better when you breathe.)  But I made it through the evening and resolved to return for practice the following night.

The next day at work I had a couple of people ask me how things went.  I told them I didn’t do as well as I hoped, but it was a good time and I was going back.  Oh, and this:  “I don’t feel that sore.  I thought it would be worse than his.  I shouldn’t have a problem with this.”

That was perhaps the dumbest thing I’ve ever said.

That Wednesday, the 31st of May–that was the real deal.  The Fresh Meat–that’s us, the new kids–had to get out there and actually work out.  Like we were training.  I think the first thing we did was thirty laps for cardio.  I managed like…  five.  And I fell.  Hard.  Actually I fell several times that night and a couple were pretty good wipe outs.

How did I feel at work that next day?

Sore.  Real sore.

Since becoming a HARD Derby Woman there hasn’t been a moment when I haven’t had an ache or pain somewhere on my body.  My shoulders tend to hurt at various times throughout the day, mostly due to throwing my arms out to keep my balance.  I’ve hyperextended by right elbow because of balance issues.  I’ve had some soreness in my hands due to falls.  I hit my chin and nose on the floor when I fell during a game.

The ones that were really bad were the slight groin pull I experienced during the above mentioned game, and then, last Monday the 21st of June, I went down hard and jarred my left hip so bad that my first thought was that it might be broken.  I was actually laying on the ground going “Ouch, ouch, ouch,” because there was a whole lot of pain.  I eventually got up and continued, but the next day I hobbled around work wondering how long I’d need to recover from this injury.

This has all happened in the course of seven practice sessions.  Seven.

Here’s the progress of that Monday night practice.  First, notice how I look like I can’t wait to get out there and kick ass?

Let's see how I look in a couple of hours. #HARD #RollerGirl

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Yeah, this was me two hours later.  I kicked some ass all right:  my own.  You can see it in my eyes:  I was just dead to the world and ready to get out of there.

I died tonight. #HARD #RollerGirl

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I’ve discovered quickly that if you train for a sport–and let’s not kid anyone, we are training for a real sport–you are gonna get sore.  You are gonna feel like hell sometimes.  You might not be able to go to sleep because some part of your body is in pain.  You may spend the next day walking around like a 90 year old woman because some joint or joints or the muscles that control those joints were overworked the night before.

As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, “It’s always somethin’.”

A couple of days before that Monday practice I even joked about it:

Well, I'm ready for derby practice. 😊

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This is getting ready for practice?  Sure is.  Because just as you need pads and a helmet and a mouth guard and skates, you need that stuff as well.

Ibuprofen.  These days I take two to four a day to help with minor pain.  I can’t take Aleve because the active ingredient in that, naproxen sodium, can mess up my liver, so ibuprofen is the go-to drug of choice.  A 200 count bottle should be good for three months.  Should.

IcyHot is my liniment of choice.  Some people prefer Bengay, some prefer Tiger Balm, some get totally insane and go right for the Deep Heat.  This last Tuesday and Wednesday I was rubbing IcyHot in my groin to help with the injury there and it seemed to help, though I’m walking funny again today–probably because I skated about sixty laps last night.  I’ll get to that in a bit.

I also have two ice packs that I use to ice down the parts of my body that need it.  Here’s a picture of me around midnight after the 12 June Monday night practice, cooling down my sore shoulders and getting twelve ounces of water:

Even mermaids gotta drink, you know?

 

One night I slept with one of those ice packs strapped to that hyperextended elbow because I couldn’t sleep due to the pain.  After my groin pull on the 14th I jammed one of those in my crotch and rested for about twenty minutes, letting the pain subside.  They’re life savers, y’all.

Now, what about that Kleen Kanteen?  You need that to work out?  Damn right you do.

Even if you’re not working out in a hotbox, you need to keep hydrated so your muscle work properly.  When you’re skating your working out the largest muscle groups in your body:  your thighs, your gluts, and your abdomen, and those muscles need to stay properly hydrated so they can continue breaking down fats and acids into triglycerides, which becomes the energy that powers you body.  When your muscles aren’t hydrated you lose energy and eventually hit a wall–and in the case of skating that last can be a literal thing.

My Kleen Kanteen holds twenty ounces of water and I take two with me to every practice.  And I generally go through both within two hours ’cause you sweat your butt off doing the things we do.  And when I get home I usually fill up that twelve ounce mermaid mug and drink that down after getting out of the shower because I want to make sure I’m well hydrated before going to bed.  I also drink a lot of water throughout the day because staying hydrated is important even if you’re not skating a ton of laps.  It’s not just something you do during workouts:  it’s a constant thing.

I never thought I’d start working out like this at my age.  And I never thought I’d feel all this soreness, either.  But it’s part of training.  It’s part of becoming–dare I say it?–an athlete.  Oh, sure:  you may not think we are, but once you’ve spent some time with us you’ll see it differently.

Maybe you’ll even feel what we feel the next day.