catching up

Yes, I did get in to the Brewmaster Program at Niagara College. And yes, I’ve almost got my Second Career application ready to send off to see if I can get any help to pay for it. Accommodations and transportation have been sorted out. I’ll be renting a room from our pal Moose during the week and commuting with our old car (Keith bought a newer Mazda 3 for him to use). I’m kinda looking forward to being back in the place I grew up – Moose’s house is about 2 concessions away from my old high school. Plus his backyard has a hammock and a firepit, so what’s not to like?

2014-06-04 12.25.38
Moose’s backyard in early spring. Looks much greener now.

I have a new blog, this time one related to all things beer-y. It was called Goodale and Beer, but I have forsaken that for the much snappier Hop Kat. For anyone still counting, this brings the total number of blogs started since 2005 up to 9, with three still being active: HopKat (beer), Katitude (photo-a-day), and this one.

I’m working part time now at the Bulk Barn. I was given a promotion and a raise after about 3 weeks, and am  now a cashier supervisor. It’s close enough to walk to, so between walking there and back, and being on my feet for most of a 6-hour shift, I’m over my 10,000 step fitness goal every day that I work. I come home smelling of candy and spices, which is not nearly as nice you would think it would be.

I’ve signed up to take the Fresh Meat skating course again through Toronto Roller derby. This is the third time. I have informed The Knee that I will be finishing it this time whether it likes it or not. It replied by pointing out that I will need to get my ass off the couch and away from Netflix if I want this to happen. I am taking its advice as I wish to keep walking when I get old(er).

The motorcycle is uncovered and I’ve been out on it a few times. I’m noticing that the anxiety and borderline panic is returning. Awesome.

Putting together my summer list for 2014. There’s lots to do. I would really like it if “worrying about money” didn’t make it on the list, but I fear that’s the only given.

Overall, life is good. There are flies in the ointment, but when isn’t there?


Trading card time

It has been a week of doing that thing I most hate doing – writing about myself.

I know, I know, I write about myself all the time; there’s Twitter, Facebook and here. But those are different, fun. Writing something serious or semi-serious about myself for other people to read makes my procrastination gene work overtime.

This morning, I emailed my portfolio for the Brewmaster application. It’s been proofread and edited by 3 people other than myself, and I still found a grammar issue this morning upon the eleventy-hundredth reading. *head desk. I did the two tricks I was shown when I worked at the print shop – read it out loud (2 more issues) and read it backwards word by word (no more issues). I could re-write sentences forever, so made myself finally hit the Send button. I only checked 5 times before sending that I had attached the right file. And so far, 4 times after sending. Yes, I am that paranoid about it.

Then on to the other one. This is substantially less critical, but still needs to be right. It’s time to write my copy for the Toronto Roller Derby trading cards. I couldn’t help but laugh at the typo on last year’s – it’s so me. What made it funnier was the fact that it wasn’t my typo!

After much thought, this is what I’m going with:

Spirit Animal: Grumpy Cat*

Three Likes: Beer, motorcycles and Doctor Who

Three dislikes: Bad coffee, romantic comedies and To Do lists

Is known for: Refusing to act her age

I’ve decided to go with last year’s picture as it’s one of the few pictures of me that I like. That and the fact I’ve put on weight during my unemployment, and I can’t keep denying how much if I have actual proof, now can I?


*Keith asked me why Grumpy Cat – she can’t help the fact that she looks so grumpy all the time, and apparently is quite a lovely and sweet cat. Not that I’m saying I’m lovely and sweet, but I’m a damn sight nicer than my Resting Bitch Face  would lead people to believe.



Draft clean up day, part 4. This is a lot of odd little drafts and some more recent bits. I could give them their own post, but after 3 updates today, I think it’s time to concatenate ’em all and just get ‘er done.

Went with Keith last week as he headed out to a car wrecker in Stoney Creek to look for a less rusty hood for the car. It was in an open area covered with concrete, metal and glinting glass, and the day was crazy hot. I stood by the compound, looking at the wrecks and wondered about them. There’s a story for every one of them…somebody chose them and drove them home proudly from the car dealer, smelling the new car smell. Sports cars might have babies conceived in them; minivans carried the babies and families later. There might have fights or laughter, bouts of road rage, or singing loud to a favourite song on a road trip. The cars were outgrown, damaged, crashed, unrepairable, and now they are abandoned here, waiting for recycling in the hot sunshine that tastes of metal and oil.


I headed to Ottawa on the weekend for a derby thing. While that was fun, the best part of the weekend was catching up with Karen, a friend of the family’s. We agreed that it must have been 25 years since we’ve seen each other, but it felt like less, much less. She gave me a place to crash, fed me, and, having read about the tentative beer-as-career idea on Facebook, bought some interesting beers for me to taste and try. We talked, we drank, we talked some more, we called my brother to taunt him a little bit, and generally hung out. It makes me want to do it again soon.


Speaking of derby, I saw this shirt while I was there. Love the feline riff on the Black Flag logo – want!


Been thinking that my lifestyle has been a bit sedentary so far this summer and that I should get back into using the FitBit and tracking calorie input and output again. Stepped on the scales to get a current benchmark point…apparently I have gained 8lbs since leaving the school.

There are a lot of words I said upon seeing that, but it was mostly one word used as noun, verb, adjective and adverb. It starts with the letter f, if you need a hint.

*WSOGMM = Whole Sort of General Mish Mash.

June 9- 10

Day 9: your view today

Well, one of my views, the one that was the most fun. No one wants to see the other view I saw most of the day, while I was marking photoshop projects, spreadsheets and programming reports. Not even me.


Day 10 – the best bit about your weekend

Explored The Liberty Village neighbourhood with Keith today. Coffee at Balzacs, booze-flavoured cupcakes, and taking in the sights.


Things I have not done in a really long time:

Squats while on 8 wheels.
Lunges after squats.
More jogging.
More squats.
And then skate for two and a half hours.

That was Sunday. My body is…umm…unaccustomed to this kind of activity. It’s now Tuesday and even after epsom salt baths and many stretches, my knees and arms still ache like a bugger. I have my first derby-related bruise; a lovely light purple strip across my hips. The funny thing is, I wasn’t skating when I got it. The trainer was counting us off for groups and all she did was point at me and say “2”, and my formerly stable stance became a mess of flailing arms and legs. Down I went. Right on my ass.

That’s when I noticed a few of the other Fresh Meat girls with these decidedly unlovely padded shorts and thought “must have”. They ain’t pretty, but bruises are less so.

Did I have fun? Hell yeah! But as with most things I find fun, there’s a recovery period.



This how I am ending my day:


My mood did not lift until late this evening at roller derby, my first night of working as NSO (non skating official). I’ll be putting in some time here while I 1) learn to skate and 2) learn the rules.

Yeah, I need to do some studying. I fucked up a few times, but nothing cataclysmic. I wrote the wrong penalty a few times (well, more like 50% of the time), but everyone was very helpful once they saw just how green I am. I was tempted to go out to the after party, and to be honest, I’m not sure why I didn’t.

Next time.


Woke up feeling as bitter as my morning coffee tastes today. A couple of things happened to happen last night that have made me … displeased. Perplexed. Generally off.

Great way to start a busy weekend.


It’s a derby-flavoured weekend. There’s a game tonight, and I start my NSO (non-skating official) training by jumping in with both feet. I’m nervous and excited and feeling like I have should read the rule book waaaay more than I did.

Tomorrow is Fresh Meat practice. I missed the first one while I was in Australia, and am feeling a bit like I’m coming from behind. But I can’t wait to get the skates on and refresh my blisters.


I was thinking about the bloggers, and about how so many have taken up running. I found myself thinking what it would have been like, if I could have run, to have the kind of support I’m seeing in the former poker blogosphere. I’ll admit to being a bit envious of the new community; I doubt that anyone is going to travel to watch me skate or know/care what I’m having to do to get ready for this at my age. And then the more reasonable/less emotional part of my brain reminded me that it’s just the way it is. Even if I could run, would I? I am drawn to different things than most, things on the fringe, like punk rock and geeky electronics and motorcycling and roller-derby. And when you like things on the fringe, you really can’t complain about how it feels a bit lonely at times, to be on the periphery.


And on that rather self-pitying note, I’m off to a hair appointment to get the gray roots looked after and then go for a brief motorcycle ride before heading to the Bunker.

I expect to feel more myself later.

Speaking of runners, clunes calcitrantes to the G-Vegas crew today. I hope it’s a blast!

This morning

Two amazing things happened to me this morning:

1) I received the email informing me I am now officially part of the Toronto Roller Derby’s Fresh Meat program.

2) I woke up in Sydney. It’s one of those days where the weather is a gift beyond compare.