Out On the Town: Let’s Walk

This post is all for Skye Hegyes, whose comment yesterday had me smiling because I knew what was coming and apparently, so did she.  I figured she guessed, but how did I know?  I write this mess, remember?

Yes, after being cooped up on the third floor of the hospital all day, Coraline had a dinner plan that she was certain would make Kerry feel better. As Annie pointed out, it was something sure to make her feel better.  And how would that be accomplished?

Maybe by getting some fresh air first?

 

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

 

Annie rounded the corner at New Liberty Street and looked westward down the Essex Street pedestrian mall. There were scattered clouds over Salem reflecting the glow of the setting sun. Though not completely dark, the lights were on everywhere due to the heavy shadows casts by the buildings, and in maybe another twenty minutes it would be dark enough for it to be considered night. Though the wind had finally dropped to 16 kilometers per hours, the 10 C temps keep it cool enough this close to the ocean that it was impossible to walk around comfortably without wearing a jacket over a sweater or sweatshirt.

She took a step on to Essex and realized she was semi-alone. Annie turned to her right and held out her hand. “Come on: there’s nothing to worry about.”

Kerry stepped from around the corner of the large manor house at the intersection of the two streets and looked down Essex. “No chance we’ll run into anyone at all—right?”

Annie shook her head. “Not at all. Everyone’s back from wherever they went today and sitting down to dinner. We have almost forty-five minutes before we meet everyone for our own dinner.” She held out her hand. “We’ll be okay. I can guaranty won’t run into anyone we know.”

“Okay.” Kerry drew in a breath and let it out slowly. “Okay, then. Let’s do this.”

Annie took her hand. “Let’s.”

Back on the third floor, the moment Annie told Kerry that Coraline had received approval for them to leave the ground and go into Salem to eat, she jumped at the opportunity. Coraline arrived with something for Kerry to wear a few minutes later and within ten minutes they were taking the lift to the lower level to meet Isis, who took them to the secure jaunt station in the sub-levels that was used to transport those guilty of malfeasances to Foundation correctional centers. From their they jaunted to the station located in the Church Street parking structure and told to meet Coraline, Deanna, Erywin, Jessica, and Mathilde at Turner’s in forty-five minutes.

Annie loved the ensemble Coraline put together for Kerry. Jeans, warm blue socks, and plum sneakers for her lower half, while a burgundy sweater and blue fleece jacket covered her torso. Coraline hadn’t forgotten Kerry’s extremities, either: she wore a wool cap the color of her sweater and her hands were encased in gray fingerless gloves. She was pleased that Kerry seemed so at ease wearing this in public. While nothing she wore appeared too overtly feminine, the cut of the jeans, the plum-colored shoes, and the matching jacket, seemed far better tailored for a girl.

Annie gave Kerry’s hand a squeeze before letting it go. “Are you cold?”

“Naw.” Kerry flashed her a smile. “No. The hat’s keeping my head warm; same with the sweater and jacket..” She looked down at her hands. “Getting used to these gloves is another thing, you know?”

“Are you fingers cold?”

“No, they’re not. It’s just that I’ve never had gloves where my fingertips are exposed.”

“In weather like this they’re not bad.” Annie leaned closer to Kerry. “I like to feel things when I’m touching them. But don’t worry: for colder weather I wear mittens.” She gave a quick nod. “You’ll get used to them.”

“Like I am everything else in the body.” Kerry lifted her face a bit towards the sky. “That feels different, though.”

 

There you have it: the next step in this long day of change is to get Kerry off the grounds and out into the public.  And have her walk around awhile and enjoy Salem at night.

As least now the chill is coming from the night air…

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Third Floor and Chill: Fixing the Sad

Believe it or not, Chapter Eighteen is finished.

I wouldn’t lie about this.

 

It didn’t take much: almost 500 words to put this last short scene to rest.  As I knew it would: there wasn’t much to say in these scene.  So in a matter of about forty minutes I got it said and put it to rest.

Then I went and did a work out.

I've been giving my abs a workout. #HARD #RollerGirl #NoOffSeason

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As was suggested I’ve begun doing cardio and strength training to build up my endurance and different areas of my body.  The first visit on Wednesday night was to improve my legs; today I worked on back and abdomen, which is otherwise known as your core.  Having better legs and core do help you maintain derby position and give you more speed and endurance on the track.  Which is what I need to do if I want to play.  So, as we say, there’s no off season, and I’m making the most of it.

But, the writing.

The first part of the scene saw Kerry feeling a little down at being confined all day, but as we’ve heard, she’s also got a touch of depression with which to deal with as well.  Annie and Coraline see this, but not all is lost:

 

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

 

“I know.” Coraline glanced to her right before speaking. “It’s become more evident in the past year.”

“When we met in dreams I never actually noticed his moods: he was always happy to see me.” Annie released a soft sigh. “I didn’t pay much attention to his moods during our A Levels since I was concentrating on other things…” She glanced down at the table top as she gathered her thoughts. “Later, though, I’d notice him being unhappy and he’s say things like he was ‘down’ or that he was ‘out of it’. It wasn’t until this last summer and the start of this school year that I understood he was depressed.”

“I noticed his moods last year and while I couldn’t give him an exact diagnosis, I suspected he had mild depression.” Coraline nodded towards the room beyond their location.

“Now that she’s filled with estrogen all the barriers are down and the depression’s hitting her hard.”

Annie hated having to watch Kerry suffer through confinement and disappointment. She knew it wasn’t her fault that she’d found it impossible to control her transitions yet, but in Kerry’s eyes she saw the self-blame her ginger girl lay upon herself. She knows it’s not her fault, but her depression is not allowing her to accept that conclusion. “Is there anything you can do for her?”

“I can give her something that will help it in the long run, but I can’t give it to her now as it’s not going to help her immediately.” A small smile began forming on Coraline’s face. “I have another idea for that, however…”

Kerry remained laying on her back, staring up at the ceiling at least six meters above her head. She felt herself shutting down: she was tired of laying around with nothing to do but watch movies. And talk to Annie. She didn’t mind talking to Annie—as always, she loved speaking with her soul mate—but on a normal Sunday they might be wandering about the grounds, or heading into Salem, or even flying off somewhere once Advanced Self Defense concluded.

That wasn’t happening today. She was stuck in bed in her night clothes, unable to leave the third floor because no one could risk seeing her with long, curly hair and boobs and—

“How are you, my love?”

Kerry turned to her right to see Annie, with a huge smile on her face, stretched across the bed, having flopped there after returning. “I’m okay.”

Annie began curling a strand of Kerry’s hair around one finger. “No, you’re not, but that’s besides the point.”

Kerry didn’t stop Annie from playing with her hair: in fact, she found it cute. “What did Coraline want?”

“She wanted to know if you were ready to eat.”

Kerry snorted. “Did you tell her I’m not hungry?”

“I did. But…” Annie slid closer. “You may be interested in hearing about what she has in mind for dinner…”

 

Coraline has a plan.

I should be able to show it soon…

Third Floor and Chill: Feeling The Sad

So what do you know?  I actually have something written.

I was trying to get this out much earlier, but shit happens, you know?  Anyway, I have something for you: the aftermath of what’s going on up there on the third floor of the hospital.  It’s late in the afternoon on the same day and things aren’t quite what you might expect…

 

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

 

Annie shifted her body, taking the pillow that had slid down near her butt and moving it so it better supported her back. She looked over to her left where Kerry was nearly laying down, her head and shoulders the only parts of her body not under the comforter. “Would you like to watch another movie?”

Kerry looked up at Annie and sighed. “I don’t know. I don’t know what I’d want to watch.”

Annie rolled slightly to her left and propped herself up on her elbow. “Are you sure?”

Kerry pulled her hands from under the comforter and folded them across her body. “I don’t know.”

It was impossible not to hear how bored the ginger girl sounded, but Annie felt there was more going on than simple boredom. “Maybe you should ask Coraline if you could try transitioning again.”

“She said we’d do it after dinner.” Kerry sighed again and looked up at the ceiling. “Besides, I’m not in a hurry to have another failure.”

Annie lay her hand over Kerry’s and gave it a slight pat. After their video meeting with the coven leaders Coraline instructed Kerry to try transitioning again, and just like the first attempt that morning, the self-transition failed to occur. After that, Coraline configured a king-sized bed for Annie and Kerry to sit and lay upon so they could watch movies while waiting for the next attempt.

It wasn’t long after they began watching the director’s cut of Aliens that Annie sensed Kerry growing quiet. That was normal when they watched a movie, but this time it wasn’t so much that Kerry grew silent as she seemed to withdraw from everything. To Annie it felt as if her soul mate were pulling herself in behind invisible walls and closing off any entry from the outside.

Annie worried that Kerry was doing far more than just becoming quiet…

Someone stepped out of the waiting area and in to the third floor proper. Annie knew this could be only one person. “Coraline’s here.” She immediately saw the doctor’s hand gesture. “She’s calling me over.”

Kerry nodded while seeming disinterested. “Better go see what she wants.”

Annie gave her soul mate’s right hand a squeeze. “I’ll be right back.” She slide off the bed and hurried over to Coraline. “Yes?”

Coraline looked over at the bed, then back to Annie. She gestured once again while speaking in a soft voice. “Let’s speak in here.”

They moved over to the table between the bathrooms and the lift and sat across from each other. Coraline knew Annie would wait for her to speak first. “How is she?”

Annie shrugged. “Bored.” She looked back over her shoulder. “We’ve been up here all day and stuck in the hospital since early this morning.”

“I see.” Coraline nodded slowly. “You know she’s more than just a little bored don’t you?”

Annie closed her eyes the moment she heard Coraline’s statement. It wasn’t necessary for her to ask what the doctor meant: she understood completely. “Yes.” She glanced across the table. “She has depression.”

 

Even in 2013, there was a bit of Netflix and chill going on.  Where did they stream the movie?  The Foundation probably has every flick ever made available for streaming, so it doesn’t matter.  I mean, they are in control of The Pond, are they not?

I’m going to try and get in a bit more writing tonight after working out and having a team meeting.  And I’ll try to do some more tomorrow.  My guess is I’ll have another excerpt ready to go on Friday.

At least that’s my hope.

Let’s see if I can get back on schedule…

On the Holiday Hours

Believe it or not I’ve got some free time.

Last Sunday was my team’s last bout of the 2017 season.  I started off the day getting over a sudden illness from the night before–as you know–and progressively grew better as the day wore on.  By bout time I was well enough that I changed my hair and hauled my equipment off to the rink so I could film.  And I had everything just right–including my hair:

It's almost time for the final bout of the season. #HARD

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Alas, the mood of the day couldn’t keep up with our opponents and we lost.  Actually, it was pretty much a blow-out: 41 to 501.  Yeah, a 460 point different.  But we half the off-season in place now, which means I pretty much have two weeks off save for a couple of practices I can attend in York this week and next.  And that means I can get some writing in, writing on a regular basis.

In the mean time I have some of the clothes that I bought last Friday night to show off.  Like this sweater dress yesterday–

One of my new sweater dresses.

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

And this slacks and blouse combo–

Another new outfit and breaking out the heels for the first time in a while.

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

So, down time mean rest time.  I won’t be down the whole time, but I’m kinda off skates for two weeks.  That means I can get in some writing.

Let’s see what happens.

Love Among the Witches: Those Two Things

Before I get into the writing, allow me at moment to speak about something I’ve not spoken about for almost a year–

Politics.

As you know, last year at this time I was pretty much a basket case staying away from my balcony.  It was not a good time for me and I fell into a month-long funk that was hard to snap.  It happens when you throw all your energy into something you believe and you have those hopes crushed.

This year I didn’t get as involved in local politics.  I did some phone banking, but that was it.  I did get out and protest–both locally and on the national level, with trips to D.C. for the Woman’s March and the March For Science–but as the summer wore on I dialed things back.  While staying in touch with politics, I’ve also been selective about what I want to do.

But, last night–yeah, I feel good.

We–and by that I mean the Dems–won big in New Jersey and Virginia, literally flipping VA from red to blue and both states not only elected Dem governors, but elected black lieutenant governors as well.  Three trans women were elected, one of them the first trans woman of color, and one trans man was also elected to a school board in Erie, PA.  Seattle has a lesbian mayor; Provo, UT, has a woman mayor; Charlotte, NC, has a black woman mayor.  A Dem Socialist is in the VA House of Delegates, a Sikh was elected mayor of Hoboken, NJ, and  a former Black Lives Mater lawyer is the new DA in Philly.

We call this “change” and it’s a good thing.  Also, it’s likely causing an orange shitgibbon lots of butthurt right now, which is even better.  2018 starts right now: let’s keep this happening.

Now, on to writing…

Believe it or not, I finished the scene.  Yes, that scene.

There’s a lot of words there…

 

Yeah, it’s a big scene, but then we’re talking about all the kid’s secrets and sexy things, so it takes time to get through it.  And nearly every night I worked on this scene involved writing around five hundred words.  With a word count of almost forty-five hundred words, you can see why it took so long.

So what are the last things discussed?  Well, those two things for which Kerry answered “Yes” when asked about sexual activity.  And Annie has something to say about them, too:

 

 

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

 

Once more Coraline was a bit surprised by a revelation given to her by the couple. “You didn’t waste any time.”

Annie smiled. “No, we didn’t.” She nudged Kerry. “Though there was something you couldn’t help that first time.” She winked at Coraline. “Someone made one of the messes I said we were trying to avoid.”

The ginger girl blushed. “Hey, I was excited, okay?” She turned a sheepish look in Coraline’s direction. “It’s not like she didn’t have something to do with that.”

 

Messes.  Made by Kerry.  No need to elaborate, yeah?  Good thing Annie brought all those towels from the bathroom.

But there was something else–

 

“I bet.” There was one thing about which Coraline was curious. “That second thing you said yes to—”

Annie quickly answered. “That was Kerry’s idea. She—he—” She wrapped an arm around Kerry’s. “This one did that to me first.”

Coraline’s eyebrows rose once more. “You did? How did you—?”

“I read about it on the Internet.” Kerry snuggled against Annie, a slight grin on her face. “It said girls liked that.”

Annie and Coraline answered simultaneously. “We do.” Both began laughing, with Kerry joining in seconds later.

 

So Kerry was reading about, you know, sex things on the Internet and came across something I called the Australian Kiss, because it happens Down Under.  And he sees that “girls like that” and probably thought, “Whoa!  Can’t wait to see if this is true.”  And it probably wasn’t long after that he found out that, yeah, girls do like that.  Girls of all ages, if Annie’s and Coraline’s reactions are any indication.

With all the sex stuff out of the way, there’s just a bit more to discuss…

 

When they finished a few seconds later Coraline sat back in her chair and sighed. “I heard you were on the flight the next morning with red eyes. After having a romantic evening like that, I suppose you spent some time crying after.”

“We did.” Annie looked downward as she remembered the aftermath of their first special night together. “It was hard to not be sad knowing that come the next day we’d end up apart for the whole summer.”

Kerry nodded. “I did all the crying.” A few tears came to her eyes. “It was hard not to cry.”

Annie pulled Kerry close. “You have no idea how much I fought not to cry.” She gave her soul mate a tight hug. “Your pain was my pain.”

“Well, you don’t have to worry about that pain these days.” Coraline stood and straightened her top. “I’m gonna see how long before we have to speak with the headmistress and the others, and then I’ll see about getting some lunch up here.” She turned and headed towards the lift.

In the silence that followed Annie reached over and wiped the tears from Kerry’s eyes. “You still cry remembering that night.”

“Not because I’m sad.” She sniffed hard. “Maybe a little, but I’m crying because I remember how beautiful it was.”

“Yes, it was.” This was the first time Annie had ever heard Kerry refer to their first special evening as beautiful. “I can see how much it touched your heart.”

“Well, it was the first time we were ever that close.” Kerry rubbed her hair against Annie’s cheek. “So close.” She looked up into Annie’s eyes. “If that were to happen today, would you cry?”

Annie slowly ran her fingers through Kerry’s hair. “My love, we’ll never be apart like that ever again. Never.”

 

Now that Annie can come to Kerry and they are only an hour away from London, being away from each other for the summer isn’t as bad as it was that first time, but at the end of their A Levels Kerry was a messing having to leave his soul mate behind, and we finally discover that the separation hurt Annie more than she let on.  But she is able to dodge Kerry’s question about crying since she knows they’ll never face another separation like that again.

The sex talk is done.  What happens next?

Something boring, that’s what.

That Championship Practice

Last night was the practice that I was dreading for a couple of weeks while, at the same time, looking forward to it with tremendous exhilaration.  That’s ’cause I was about to get coached by a world champion–

Over this past weekend–3, 4, and 5 November–the WFTDA Division 1 Championships were held in Philadelphia and the best roller derby leagues from around the world when there to compete for the title and trophy, which is known as the Hydra, named after the first WFTDA President and excellent derby skater in her own right.  (Just so you know the name of our current president is Master Blaster.  Yeah, we’re cool–)  One of the past champions, Gotham Girls Roller Derby of, where else, New York City, came in third and got the bronze.  That left former champions Rose City Rollers of Portland, OR, to square off against Victorian Roller Derby League of Melbourne, Australia, for the big title.  And while Rose City put up a gallant effort and manged to be the only team to score over 100 points against VRDL, they lost 101 to 180.

That means for the first time a roller derby league from outside the US became the champions and prepared to take the Hydra back to their home country–

All save for one person.

Lorrae Evans, a blocker with VRDL, was asked by one of my teammates, Pixie Panzer, if she’d be interesting in staying over a couple of days and coming to Harrisburg to do a special coaching session.  She wouldn’t only coach us, but we’d invite players from other leagues to join us.  Surprisingly, Lorrae said yes, and the day after their championship win she’d take the train from Philadelphia to Harrisburg and join us for a night at the rink.

Besides my team, HARD, and members of our sister team the York City Derby Dames, showing up, we had players from the Dutchland Rollers of Lancaster and the Black Rose Rollers of Hanover in attendance as well.  All together there were 28 of us on the floor, with me and one of my teammates being the only uncertified players in attendance.  Also, with the exception of one other person–one of my teammates–I had the least amount of time skating, only four months, whereas so many more players had 1 to 8 years of experience.

Like I said, I was dreading this for a couple of weeks.  However, yesterday I decided that I was going to show up and do my best, so rather than get into a negative head space over this, I’d see what I was capable of doing.

What I learned right away is that I have a lot to work on.

We started out simple:  stake forward and backward, then weave back and forth, the skate and plow then skate backward and plow, then do airplanes–go from one track side to the other, moving your arms like the wings of a plane and trying to touch the line–also skating forwards and back.  We finished off with trying to skate around on one foot also going forward and backwards.

Easy, yeah?  That was a line we’d heard from Lorrae off and on during the night.  As a coach she was easy going, but she was also in charge:  she let us know when she did a double whistle it mean we were to come to the center of the track right away and form up so she could speak with us.  No dallying: get in and listen up.  It was also like that with drills: we’d do one, then come in and find out what we were doing next, usually get shown an example of what we’d do, then it was out to do it.  Not a lot of rest in between, not a lot of banter and chatting between players.  Just listen and do it.

And it went on and on.

Like I said went with the attitude to do my best, but I knew I wasn’t going to be as good as the others there.  I knew instantly that we were working at a far higher skill level than I’d seen before and I felt it through all the sweat pouring from me.  But I felt something else as well: every so often a chill would pass through me and that was an indication that I was starting to get overheated and my body wasn’t responding well.  After 45 minutes I went through 40 ounces of water and at one point I hurried off to the bathroom ’cause I thought I was about to vomit, but after a couple of minutes there I felt better.  I refilled one of my water bottles and headed back out.

It wasn’t going to get any better for me, however.

During the middle of a three-person drill where we were pushing each other laterally from one side of the track to another I was pushed to the inside and thought for a moment I had a slight groin pull.  I didn’t and one of the women with me laughed and said to shake it off.  What happened after that was me going “Wait a minute–”

And then things got fuzzy.

I know I was told I should go sit down.  I was told that more than once, in fact.  I made my way off the floor to a bench and, I was told, a coach from Dutchland asked if I wanted to lay down, where then I would ask, “You want to lay down?”  That went on for a bit before my coach and one of the refs who is also a registered nurse came over and sorta helped me lay down before getting some ice for my neck to cool me down–I was told that my head was pretty hot at this time–and remove my gear, which is a sign that you’re done for the night.

I lasted 90 minutes, which is pretty good considering that’s pretty close the amount of time we actually spend doing drills in a two hour practice.  But this was nothing like our practices; this was way beyond anything I’d done up to that point.  Some of the York women who made it through the whole three hour practice and who are in fantastic shape said they were exhausted at the end of the night, so you know it was ass busting.

After I cooled down my coach wanted to make certain I was okay and I told her that I was and I wasn’t upset that I didn’t make it all the way through: I did my best and there was no shame in not being able to keep up with women with far more experience and in better shape.  She said she’d kept an eye on me and saw I was pushing myself, which made her proud.  The ref who helped me check to make sure I was okay and was glad I wasn’t upset with myself over not being able to make it all the way through:  like she said, “You didn’t have to do it, but you’d have been kicking yourself in the ass if you hadn’t gotten out there.”  And there’s a lot of truth there.

I not only learned a lot on the floor while I was there–and one of the things I learned was I have to improve my footwork–but I watched the rest of the practice from the sideline and saw things I so want to do when I get the chance.  I told my coach that I know now that I need to work on being a blocker and pivot, as that’s likely where I’ll help the team the best, as I’m not as crazy fast and quick as a real jammer, but I can do great defense as a blocker and run offence in the pack for the jammer as a pivot.  Hey, Lorrae is a blocker and she helped her team win a championship.  Not too shabby.

After practice we gathered around for a team photo that I also joined as I was out on the floor when this started so why not?

 

We also got to pass her gold medal around–which she just happened to bring–and take a few selfies with her.  Like this one, which was taken for me by another person:

 

After practice was over I spoke with Lorrae for a few minutes.  I told her I got heat exhausted about half way in and she was sorry to hear that and said that she saw me and said I’d done well.  I did ask her if she meant that and she said yes, she did.  I told her I’d only been practicing for four months and that did elicit a moment of surprise from her, as I suspect she didn’t think someone with that little experience would be on the floor.  She also let me know that the practice we did last night was pretty much the regular practice her team does–

Which means I was actually doing a practice meant for world champions.

It was a good night.  I learned from the experience and while a bit humbled by what happened, I also know I can push myself when necessary.  I’m not as good as the other out there, but then, I’m not supposed to be–at least not yet.  I have months of experience as compared to women with years behind them.

What does that mean?

I means that by working hard, I’ll one day I can be as good as most of the women with whom I shared the floor last night.

Which is the most important thing you can take away from any practice.