Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What a Twist

In an interesting turn of events my stepmother called me last night to ask if she could hang out at my place while her kids were at a Jonas Bros. concert tonight in nearby Camden. I decided to be a nice person and say sure resulting in my having to blow off practice.

Last night I dreamed of being kicked off the team for it. Last week Coach said Wednesday practices are mandatory and if we don't show up, we don't skate. I'm not usually a smart-ass, but what does that mean? We don't skate ever again? The following week when we show up? At the next bout?

I have no idea what it meant and apparently no one took him too serious because practice was cancelled at 2:44 since so many people couldn't make it. Luckily for me, I don't have anymore anxiety about missing anything.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Holden's kid sister liked to roller skate in Central Park

The past week has gone by in a flash and I'm rather enjoying the chaos as it is a nice change from the usual boredom. Tonight all I have to do is get all my gear - helmet, pads, mouthguard. Saturday was my first derby bout and I've decided to stick with it.

The bout was a good experience. We were awful and we called the game in the second period after S.S. got knocked out and had to go to the E.R. That sucked. Thankfully, she's fine. But it was good experience nonetheless and I can handle bruises and soreness. At least I think I can. I'm looking forward to practice tomorrow.

Oh and I finally picked my name (and it is available) so I feel fairly official now.

J.D. Killinger

If you don't catch the reference, then shame on you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Getting my ass kicked!

I am really hurting today. In fact, I had trouble getting out of my car last night; that's how quickly the soreness of last night's derby practice moved in.

I have never done a team sport before. I have never really tried to do my best at anything athletic - it either came naturally and I was good at it or I did it under my own discipline and quit or gave up or just simply never really improved because I didn't have the drive to really work at it. I often wished I had someone (like a drill instructor) push me and make me go further and faster, etc. But I don't so I tend to quit when it hurts or when I get too tired.

Last night was totally different. I want to learn this sport and I want to be good at it. There are people telling you what to do and they're watching you closely so the pressure is on. Last night was Coach's first practice back from a two week vacation and he spent almost the entire time teaching us newbies how to fall. And fall we did. Over and over for almost two hours. On our right knee, on our left knee, on both knees (scary), on our right knee and spinning into a 180, on our left knee and spinning into a 180, and the same on right and left when you just touchdown and get back up and keep skating. Over and over we fell.

It was very scary at first I admit. The double knee falls are the worst. You're just skating along and then, Bam, you drop to your knees. The first time I tried it I panicked at the last second and fell on my ass instead of my knees. I messed up quite a few times actually but overall, I felt good about my performance. I asked questions, I paid close attention, I practiced a lot and I asked for do-overs when I really felt I screwed up. I need to remember not to put my hands down on the ground so that they don't get run over but I think I really only started doing that when I was near exhaustion.

I was spent! I was dripping from head to toe in F.V.'s helmet, pads and skates and got progressively worse as the night went on. Getting up from falling a hundred times was worse than falling a hundred times. My thighs were just shutting down and they didn't want to work anymore and I felt myself becoming confused and I just got sloppy near the end.

We were told to join the team at the end for their final workout. It was fun skating with the girls and we did drills with them for a few minutes then stretched out as a group. Afterwards there was some talk about strategy and it was interesting to listen to. I'm really looking forward to watching the bout Saturday and I'm getting my pads Friday night. I don't think the bout can change my mind at this point. I'm in.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I had an excellent four days off from work, two and a half of which I spent in Ocean City, MD with Kelly. I had a great time and relaxed at the beach and laughed a lot. Sitting on the beach with Kelly and laughing made me realize just how long it's been since I've spent more than a day or so with a female friend. It's been a very long time and I really enjoyed myself. Girls rock! Not to mention it was nice to get away. I slept very well.

I feel well rested now and we are experiencing the most amazing weather: sunny, mid to high seventies, no humidity, there's even a hint of an autumn breeze. Yesterday I threw on a hoodie and sat out on the deck and read while enjoying a chai tea. It was marvelous.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Now Where to Begin

It's now calm after the storm and Mike and I are both very tired. It was a hectic and fun weekend - a roller coaster ride of ups and lulls, but no downs. Last night we were hoping to catch our seventh and eighth winds so that we could make it home in one piece. I met David for lunch today so I could tell him about my ring and now there are only stragglers and strangers to tell for the most part. Oh, and the friends who haven't returned my phone calls. The rest I'm leaving up to the game of telephone, word of mouth and a Myspace page blog post.

So basically, the weekend went something like this:

Friday night: drinks, monopoly, laughing

Saturday: Heavy duty cleaning! I did suspect Sunday may be the day and I knew that would mean that organization and staying ahead of the game would be crucial to a stress free celebration. I made meatballs so we had a ready-made dinner for later in the week and the house was more or less spotless. And mom always said clean sheets are the best for holidays and special occasions so not only did I change the sheets but I cleaned the mattress cover as well and I gave the mattress a much needed turn.

Saturday night: Mike and I headed out to High Velocity in Beechwood to meet up with some of the Boardwalk Brawlers for a fundraiser/promotional thing. Mike met four of my future teammates and I got a chance to get to know a few of the girls better and to get some additional information and to ask questions. I'm really glad I went. Here's a picture in which I look AWFUL. If I look over excited to be asked to be in the photo, I was.

Sunday Mike and I got up by 7:30 to get ready to head down to Cape May. We had breakfast at our favorite place, the Mad Batter, and then headed over to the Point. Getting around in Cape May is so easy - I just love going there.

Soon after I was settled in my beach chair and started reading Mike proposed and it was great! It happened very fast and afterwards we went about our day at the beach and had a blast and I had something to look at all day and calls to make and it was all very nice. I found the perfect rock to take home as a memento and to write the date on. We laughed and waved at one another and stole kisses in the surf and I couldn't have asked for a better day. And it wasn't even half over yet!

We got home around 4:00 or so and it was time to get ready for our 6:00 dinner reservation at Blackbird as part of Collingswood restaurant week. We notified the Maitre d' that we had gotten engaged and could we please have a romantic table. We were then provided with the best dining experience of our lives. It was the best meal we've ever eaten and the best service we've ever received - the experience was spectacular and we were very grateful. Blackbird helped to end the night of our engagement on a most glorious note so we wrote the owner and head chef a letter yesterday to thank him again and to let him know just how well his staff treated us and just how wonderful his food was and just how much they all added to our special day.

For all you foodies out there, this is what we ordered.

Course One:

I ordered the handmade potato gnocchi in a tomato basil cream sauce with parmesan and mozzarella. Mike ordered the same but added the optional fresh jumbo lump crab. It was a heavy dish but very nice. The portion size was slightly too large for a first course and I did not finish it.

Course Two:

I had been looking forward to this since we made our reservation. Finally after years of watching Top Chef and Iron Chef, I was going to taste my first confit! I ordered the crispy confit of free range chicken with sweet pea risotto and jus de poulet (my first demi glace). I also ordered the optional additional seared breast of chicken. The dish was to die for and I am not exaggerating. The skin on the confit was so crisp and the chicken flavor was so intense and the meat was so moist - it was an amazing experience in my mouth. I had also been looking forward to the risotto and it too was delicious - the cream just melted off the rice in my mouth and made me smile every time I had some.

Mike ordered the pan seared Chilean sea bass with artichoke and olive fregola sarda (a toasted breadcrumb-like pasta from the island of Sardinia). He also ordered the optional additional Prince Edward Island mussels. Mike's been really getting into seafood lately and he just loved his dish as well.

Course Three:

For dessert we both ordered the arborio rice pudding and I added on the polenta cookies which had a lovely hint of lemon. Our server brought out our dessert on one dish with a small candle and said they don't usually do it that way but that they thought we'd enjoy it. It was lovely.

Between the wine, the Rogue, the meal and the cappuccinos we were stuffed to a maximum and I mean it when we say it was the best meal we've ever had.

Here's a photo from the evening (our big debut):

Monday it was time for us to head back to work. Mike's parents were more or less the only ones who had not yet known about the engagement. We knew Mike's mom wanted an in-person announcement so we decided we would accommodate her. I wrote her an e-mail saying hello and that we wanted to hear about her weekend - would she be home tonight? Yes.

We headed up north to see my mom first who already knew about our engagement as she was the first person I called. We pulled up to the house at the same time and she got out of the car singing a made up song (I think) about how her daughter was getting married. We showed her the ring and had some pizza. It was loud, hectic, and rushed - the way I like it at mom's house. But time slipped away from me and we had to go. We made it over to Mike's parents house and his mom's truck wasn't there. That suuuucked. So Mike called his dad to see where she was and he said she'd be home at 9:00. Ouch. We were basically stranded as Mike didn't want to go back to my mom's so we decided to call Rudy and see if we could kill some time at his place. He was happy to accommodate us so that actually worked out really well because we all got to hang out for a little bit and I got to show off my ring some more and talk about roller derby some more and the guys got to catch up and talk about their cars.

Around 8:40 Mike's mom called and said she was home so Mike said he'd call her back in five minutes and we left Rudy's to go surprise his parents. We rang the doorbell and Mike's dad answered and yelled to his mom that Michael was at the door. I walked in the house and his mom walked into the room and she knew immediately. She started screaming and crying and jumping up and down and grabbed us both and confessed her love and happiness and thanked us profusely for the joy we had brought in to her family. Mike and I just laughed, but it was all very sweet. Then she grabbed us and ran us over to the speaker phone where she proceeded to call her brother and best friend who both live in Florida and we gave them the news. Then we all sat down and talked for an hour or so about all different stuff including our plans and she regularly interrupted the conversation to give us hugs and kisses. I couldn't have asked for it to have gone any better.

By the time we left I was dozing. Getting excited so many times just wiped me out. It was a wonderful weekend. All that's left is to get my big brother Doug on the phone who is traveling. I left him a message shortly after Mike proposed on Sunday and gave him the news and he left me a message Monday night congratulating us and saying he had news of his own. I missed his call a little while ago and tried to get him but couldn't. At times like this I miss him very much.

So next is the engagement party (which has been planned for a few weeks. ;-) ) and then on to planning our wedding. Mike is so wonderful. He takes all my excitement in stride and asks so little. I rattle off all the things that have to be done and he simply asks for reminders and an itinerary (his words not mine). I couldn't have hoped for a better husband.

*Addendum: Doug and I finally got in touch this evening and now I feel complete knowing how happy and supportive he is for us. His news was BIG, but more about that another time. Mike had shown him the ring when he was out visiting back in June so he's known for a while but now that it's all happening, hearing him congratulate us was the icing on the cake.

Monday, August 04, 2008


Mike and I are now engaged! Mike proposed yesterday, Sunday, 8/3/08, on the beach at Cape May Point. We had the most wonderful weekend!

More details to follow as well as a recap of the weekend.