rambling

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Rolling on

Published July 8, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Hello!

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been slacking so much on the blog that it’s almost impossible to know where to begin again! I have several, long, picture filled posts I could write, but it’s probably better that I just write about what’s on my mind today, and that’s where I’m at with roller derby.

(But first, I should probably multi-task, and get some bleach on my roots… Ok, bleach on…)

After feeling a little burnt out, and having little hiccups and travels, I’m finally starting to feel really motivated derby wise again. Which is great! :)  Getting on Rat Lab was a bit terrifying and overwhelming at first, and I really wasn’t sure if I was going to stay on. There are two levels of Rat Lab. The fundamentals (which I’m on) and Competitive Rat Lab, which just like it sounds means you scrimmage and bout, have a number of practices you commit to per week, and also become draft eligible for one of Rat City’s four home teams. Even though I wasn’t on CRL, the new pressures associated with skating with these much higher level players was something that took a little getting used to. But I’m happy to report that I’m staying on, and feeling more capable and motivated all the time!

Speaking of more capable… we had PFM scrimmage on Sunday. And while I jammed less than usual (partially b/c I wanted more practice blocking, and partly because my ankle was swollen from a wheel hit to the ankle bone a few days prior), for the first time I actually felt like I was doing some effective things as a blocker!

(Bleach off!)

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And even tried a little backwards blocking too!

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Of course, I’m still learning. One of my struggles is endurance, but it’s definitely getting better. I think part of it has to do with sleep and hydration, which I’m perpetually trying to improve. But it’s no secret that I was never physically active as an adult prior this, besides dancing to bands on the weekends in my twenties, so a big part has been just getting myself in shape. Another factor that I think is playing a bigger part than I realize is the entirely foreign [to me] concept of mental game, which I haven’t quite figured out yet. For this, I just started reading Mind Gym, based on good reviews from rollergirls I know. I will report back on how that goes, but so far it seems to be about positive thinking, so that sounds pretty good for a start.

What else? I’m getting very close weight wise to the heaviest I ever got, which was the summer I gained 15 pounds before college. (Apparently I just couldn’t wait to pack on my freshman 15!) And you know what? I look pretty darn good. That weight has certainly been distributed differently this time around though, as it seems to all be in muscle in my lower body. And again, like before, I’m getting faster. Penny counted me at somewhere around 29 laps in 5 minutes last night. (It was hard to hear when exactly the time got called.) So those muscles are definitely doing what they’re supposed to.

 

Here's a pic of me jamming the previous scrimmage, which I never got around to sharing!

Here’s a pic of me jamming the previous scrimmage, which I never got around to sharing!

Besides all that, I’ve also taken up the job of helping to coordinate the new skater sessions for PFM. So between PFM, Rat Lab, volunteering for Rat events, general summer activities, and life, I guess it’s probably no wonder why I’ve been a little quiet on here, huh?! I’ll be attending Jet City‘s Bombercon at the end of July, and most likely Rose City‘s Derby Daze boot camp down in Portland at the end of August, so don’t be surprised if a lot of my next posts are derby, derby, derby. :)

OH! And I also forgot to tell you, I had a slight name change to VAMPIRA BITELY!

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My new helmet decal is on it’s way from Helmet Candy (on etsy) in California as I write this to you, and she was even nice enough to make me some awesome fangs to boot!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH YEAH, and also. THOMAS IS GOING TO DO MEN’S DERBY now!

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He was taken on for a salary position at his job, and has had health insurance now since July 1st! YAY!!!! He finally decided to get back on quads and give men’s derby a try, so I bought him a pair of Bont boots (same as mine!) that had to be made, because his size was out of stock. In the meantime one of the refs (and also a girl that I skate with’s hubby) was nice enough to lend Thomas his old pair. As expected, even after not being on quads since he was 8, Thomas immediately took to these with no problems and will likely be a much better derby player than I am on day 1! (He’s a skilled inline speed skater who learned how to rollerskate at the ripe old age of 2!) He’ll be starting training with Puget Sound Outcast Derby as soon as he gets all his gear, and we’ll now be practicing and watching each other skate in the same space, which is SUPER AWESOME. He may even go to BomberCon with me, as a skater. We shall see…

Thanks for reading!

Vampira Bitely

\/^^^\/

Announcement: Vida Vegan Con III Date Change!

Published June 11, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Vegan Derby Cat Party:

VVC 3 date changed to weekend AFTER Memorial Day for 2015!

Originally posted on Vida Vegan Headquarters:

New date for Vida Vegan Con III!!

Due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict with our event space (we’ll tell ya just where on Friday, stay tuned!), Vida Vegan Con has adjusted our official date. That’s right, we’ve all got an extra week to wait! Deep breaths, noochy popcorn, and please adjust your calendars and travel plans accordingly.

vvciii date change

Head here for exclusive Early Bird rate (launching Friday June 13) and more Membership Drive options, including inclusive packages, blog features, or a trip to Portland to brunch with us!

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Hello!

Published June 9, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Photo by Steve Messerer

May PFM Scrimmage – Photo by Steve Messerer

Hello there!
Just a quick note to say, Holy Cow! Has it really been so long?! May was a super busy month of cancelled practices, traveling to Portland, scrimmage, traveling to Florida, and being sick, and it seems that I skipped writing even one update during the whole month! (A first, I think.) I have a whole bunch of things to tell you about though, so stay tuned. Posts coming soon!:D

<3
Ty Vampira Knightley

VVCIII Takes On…Austin!

Published April 29, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Vegan Derby Cat Party:

Just announced: Vida Vegan Con 3 will take place in Austin, TX! (#VVCIII)

Originally posted on Vida Vegan Headquarters:

If you received yesterday’s official VVHQ newsletter, then you’re already in the know. But for the rest of you, we’ve got some pretty big news (and subscribe here for the first look next time). So let’s get to it!

Vida Vegan Con III (or #VVCIII, if that’s how you see the world) will be in…

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Austin, Texas. May 22–24, 2015.

That’s right, after hosting two glorious, action-packed conferences in our home city (and vegan wonderland) of Portland, we’re taking this show on the road. Janessa, Jess, and I (Michele) have spent over a year scouting about for the perfect city and space in an exciting, happening vegan community to rival our little vegan mecca.

We’ll have loads of information on all things Austin, including:

  • lodging & travel tips (getting to and around Austin)
  • our favorite grub (lots of budget eats)
  • just where and when all our conference happenings will be—because…

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Derby body image struggles and happiness

Published April 22, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Here is a great picture of me doing a Mohawk, demonstrating how even with my new muscles, my new strong thighs are not fat whatsoever! Stupid brain!

Here is a recent picture of me doing a Mohawk, demonstrating how contrary to what my brain was saying, my new strong thighs look pretty good! Stupid brain!

I originally started writing this post back in February, when I was freaking out because my weight had climbed. I was hoping to get useful feedback from other female athletes, but also reluctant to talk about a  topic that can be emotionally triggering for some readers. (But here it is!)

I’d never been really been athletic or active before derby. So of course I thought I might drop a couple of pounds and tone up with this new venture. Which is exactly what happened… at first. And that was all fine and good, until the scale started to creep up, right up to a number that I had only seen once or twice before, and didn’t care to see again. PANIC MODE!

In my family, the insecurity has always been our thighs. (Even though there is actually nothing wrong with them. We’re freaking Cuban, that’s all!) As a kid and teen, I was super self-conscious, especially about my thighs. (Which I didn’t realize until years later, were SO FINE!) Societal “norms” have changed a lot since my childhood, and gotten a lot more multi-culturally friendly, which has helped so much. But when the scale started showing me higher numbers, and all my pants started fitting tight in the thighs, all I could think about was how much food I was eating, and how I needed to make it stop. However, just when I decided I needed to “zip it” until further notice, someone from my team posted this article. (Just a few hours later, as a matter of fact!)

Basically the article says: if you don’t eat enough for your sport, you’re making it very likely that you’ll get injured, because the metabolism will take what it needs, even if it’s from your healthy new bones and muscles. WHAT?! That got my attention.

So then I went through this whole period of trying to reprogram my brain. Part of this was doing a serious assessment with a wall mirror placed at an angle on the floor so that I could see my whole body. I spent about 20 minutes one night in my underwear looking over my entire physique prodding, flexing, and jiggling while Thomas giggled nearby.

I learned several things. 1. My butt and thighs are much firmer now! 2. There are muscles and definition that never before existed! 3. My calves look awesome! :D At the same time I also coined the phrase, “the proof is in the laps!”, because I had also recently gotten a lot faster on the track. That’s when I started to make my peace with it.

Soon after, a couple of other relevent articles came out, including this one, written by a Rat City Rollergirls, Derby Liberation Front skater, who is one of our coaches, and also a physical therapist! It was nice to read about her very similar struggles as I was going through the same thing. When I talked to another girl that I skate with about it, she confessed she had ripped a pair of her work pants about the same time that I was outgrowing my scrub pants.

It seems to be a thing that happens to a lot of girls. Which is why I thought it was worth mentioning.

So what did I do? Well, I finally had to order some new underwear and scrub pants. I mostly just wear scrubs or derby clothes these days, but in the event that I do something social (like go watch another team’s game), I’ve been wearing skirts and dresses because trying to get my jeans on is NO FUN. But eventually I’ll have to try to find some jeans that fit too. (Which has already been challenging with the skinny jeans not being thigh/butt friendly, even before derby!)

The funny thing is I’m TOTALLY happy now with my new body. I love that I’m getting firmer, faster, and stronger! I think watching the Olympics also helped tremendously. Seeing all those strong, muscled legs really helped me to look at my body in a more athletic way, instead of just as an ornament. I remember in high school thinking to myself that I would never do a sport like soccer because I didn’t want to bulk up my legs! So ironic now. But really, I’m pretty proud of me for getting around my deeply embedded, self-loathing head trip!

Here’s another blog post that I thought was great, talking about how roller derby improves body image: here!

Most of all I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be involved in a sport that embraces all body types, and all kinds of people. It’s done a lot for me in ways that I really didn’t anticipate, and I know it does that for so many people out there too.

 

<3,

Ty / Vampira Knightley / Vamp

I made Rat Lab AND got new skates! :D

Published April 6, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
You already saw this picture last month, but I thought it was appropriate since I was all decked out in Rat City gear.

You already saw this picture last month, but I thought it was appropriate since I was all decked out in Rat City gear.

Quick post to brag about my big deal derby accomplishments this past week! If you’ve been wondering where the heck I’ve been, well, I realized last night (after two back to back practices, and after watching another league’s bout) that I skated 6 of 7 days last week! I wasn’t consciously trying to do that, but that’s just how it ended up. Part of the reason was that it was really nice and sunny all week, so we went to skate around Green Lake last Sunday, and then Thomas had new wheels to try out, and then I got new skates.

What’s that, new skates?! I HAVE AWESOME VEGAN SKATES NOW?! YES, YES I DO!

They look like this!

They look like this!

The Bont microfiber boots I ordered during Fast Girl’s annivesary sale came in, and Thursday I was able to get them mounted and molded. Unfortunately, the plates I had on my old skates were too big for the new boots (so I will be selling them, as well as my other skates) but I liked them so much, I bought them again in the right size in a really pretty red.

Bont Hybrid in microfiber with Crazy Venus plates and lightweight kingpins.

Bont Hybrid in microfiber with Crazy Venus plates and lightweight kingpins.

These are incredibly light, and I got to skate in them a little bit yesterday afternoon. I already love them. Just have to finish heat molding the toe box, and get used to the slightly looser truck setting that I have them at right now.

And then the extra big news…

I skated for the Rat City Rollergirls assessment yesterday to try to get on Rat Lab Fundamentals. (read all about their multi tier freshmeat program here) After skating with their rec league sporadically, and having a few of the girls I skated with make it on in the last couple of months, I decided to go for it. I tried to remain as calm as possible all week, and not let me talk myself out  of it. (It helped that one of my good friends from PFM was going too!) It was a hard practice, but I made it through the entire thing, remained positive, and gave it my all. I got my closest to 27 in 5 yet, just a foot or two short of the whistle! I think I will definitely be getting there on my next attempt, after a plateau of 26.75! And even though I was sure that they’d pass on me this time, when it was all said and done, I received my congratulatory email yesterday as I was getting ready to go watch the Tilted Thunder Rail Bird‘s bout (banked track roller derby). I was in complete shock and overjoyed!

Midna & I all tuckered out at the end of the night last night.

Midna & I all tuckered out at the end of the night last night. (Photo by Thomas)

So I will now be officially training with the Division 1 WFTDA ranked #13  team, Rat City Rollergirls!!!!!! SO excited and thankful for the opportunity to take my training and skills up to the next level, just had to share. I would stay and tell you more, but I actually need to get dressed for my regular team practice!

I’m still working on finishing up that post on roller derby and body image, so that should be coming up this week!

As always, thanks for reading!

Ty / Vampira Knightley

PS- Check out the awesome dinner we had last night at In the bowl after my practices! It’s an all vegetarian place in Capitol Hill, right next to our apartment. None of the mock meats are vegan, but we love tofu anyway…

Thai Peanut Sauce with wide noodles and tofu, $10.29. Stir fried with bok choy, broccoli and carrot then topped with peanut sauce. OMG, YUM!

Thai Peanut Sauce with wide noodles and tofu, $10.29. Stir fried with bok choy, broccoli and carrot then topped with peanut sauce. OMG, YUM!

Thomas had Ginger Fried brown rice and tofu, $ 9.99. Stir fried with carrot, green onion, snow pea, celery, broccoli and fresh ginger.

Thomas had Ginger Fried brown rice and tofu, $ 9.99. Stir fried with carrot, green onion, snow pea, celery, broccoli and fresh ginger.

4 year Bloggerversary!

Published March 16, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Photo by Thomas. Thighs by Derby.

Photo by Thomas. Thighs by Derby.

Today marks the 4th birthday of the blog! And with each passing year, it has definitely morphed into something more distinct and more confident. This year certainly took a big turn with a name change that really reflects where I am in my little vegan life.

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VEGAN DERBY CAT PARTY .com!

Ah derby… Derby has certainly taken over my life in the last 5 months, and I am completely, unapologetically in love with it. CameraPhoneVegan.com served me well for three years as a jumping off point, but the new focus has lead to a clearer idea of what I want to write about. (When I actually have the time!) I am happy to report I will soon have a nice collection of vegan skates! Our local skate shop, Fast Girl Skates, was having a 20% off sale to mark their store anniversary (which is today, same as my blog!) so I got to order myself some nice microfiber boots that I’ll be switching my awesome plates over to, and I’ll also be getting a cheapie pair to skate in outdoors this summer! Yay! :)

Moving to Seattle has proved to be a perfect decision for us too. I miss my family terribly at times, but we’ve really found a place that offers us so much, including a sense of fitting in that we never had in Florida. We’re completely at ease with the seasons, the mild city life, and interesting, liberal, artsy minded folks. Oh and the food, we are very, very lucky to live in a city with so much delicious vegan food! (That delivers no less!)

Anyway, thanks for reading! More vegan food, derby, and cats to surely come!

<3,

Ty / Vampira Knightley

Typical weekday meals

Published March 4, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Yay! A lunch break! But also proof that I am still cooking sometimes and drinking water.

Yay! A lunch break! But also proof that I am still cooking sometimes and drinking water.

Just a quick hello on my lunch break from your favorite (?) vegan derby vampire! (Please link me if you know any other vegan derby vampires who blog!)

I’ve been meaning to write this long, involved blog post about weight gain, body image, and my new physique, but honestly, I really havn’t had the time. Instead I’ll just tell you that my prime blog writing time (lunch) has been hijacked by an increasing patient load at work, and that I might finish writing it eventually. Maybe.

Also, I’ll tell you about the typical week day meals that have been giving me fuel for practice, making my muscles, and pleasing my palatte. I don’t pretend to know tons about work out nutrition, but one of the girls I skate with asked. She used to be vegan, and is contemplating doing it again, but was curious how it would work with derby.  I’ve been trying to drink more water and make sure that I have lots of fruits, veggies, carbs, and our important friend… protein.

(This will go quick, because I only have 10 more minutes!!)

Typical day…

Breakfast: I’m generally a bad at breakfast person. I’ve been drinking emergenC (because people just keep on getting sick around me!) before I leave the house, followed by white tea. By the time I get to work I’m hungry, so I’m usually eating a Luna bar.

Snack: banana

Lunch: Food (kale, noodles, tofu type meals like above, peanut butter sandwiches, or bean/lentil dishes), yogurt and/or an orange

Snacks: banana/Luna bar/peanuts/raisins/cereal/and I would be lying if I didn’t include chips &  salsa, but I’m trying to cut back!

Dinner: This one varies a bunch. If it’s a practice night, I tend to get some tofu in there, either with high protein tofu at home or tofu pho (soup) from the restaurant if I get back early enough. Beans, lentils, and that sort of thing too, which is where my leftover lunches come from.

Anyway, that was a super quick rundown, but you get the idea!

Talk to you again soon! (Hopefully!!)

Photo: Robert Bakie

Photo: Robert Bakie

Scrimmage 2 Success!

Published February 10, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Don't worry mom, that's only FAKE BLOOD!

Don’t worry mom, that’s only FAKE BLOOD!

I decided that since we don’t bout in PFM, and only get to scrimmage once a month, I might as well get my derby persona together for the occassion. So I did full on Vampira Knightley, with fake blood and all. I loved it.

Fortunately, I already have plenty of vampirey things in my possession.

Fortunately, I already have plenty of vampirey things in my possession.

My only other scrimmage was back in November, due to travels the last two months, so I was pretty excited to see my new skills and knowledge put to use. The 1st time, I basically knew very little about the rules of the game. We had only seen one Rat City game in person, and I had streamed a few during the 2011 championships. I basically only knew this:

So after watching lots of local bouts in person and streaming a whole bunch on youtube lately, I was curious to see what I had absorbed, and if any of those things would come out this scrimmage. I also spent a lot of time in the penalty box the first time (because of not knowing the rules) for cutting the track. So one of my goals was to spend less time in the box this time, and try my hardest not to get any cut tracks. (I did get one at the very end!)

This penalty was for failure to reform the pack. I think.

This penalty was for failure to reform the pack. I think.

(We had some issues with reforming the pack that landed almost everyone in the penalty box at one point, so we had a big meeting with the refs to go over the rules. Ooops!)

We needed a firm talking to.

We needed a firm talking to.

There were two separate occassions where I was the only black blocker on the track, with two red blockers. I tried really hard.

Uh, really? Again?!

Another big goal of mine was to get lead jammer at least some of the times. I’m not sure if I did at all in November, because it was such a blur. I just remember it was really hard to get by the walls, so I was determined to get through every time as well. (Which I did!)

Get those jammers, ladies!

Get those jammers, ladies!

So of course the thing about jamming is, everyone’s out to get you, as beautifully illustrated here. You can see I’ve fallen over the inside track as team black’s jammer, and team red’s jammer going down as well! (And I did NOT get a cut track here, I crawled to the back of the pack before jumping back in!) But I did manage to get lead jammer at least 2 of the 4 times I jammed (that I’m aware of), and I tried to work on jumping up from falls as quick as possible. I was also was amazed at some of the crafty little sneak bys I did by dodging hits and skating on one foot close to the line. Pretty freaking neat, and definitely all stuff I absorbed from watching so many games.

My delicious post scrimmage meal: No Huevos Rancheros

My delicious post scrimmage meal: 5 Point Cafe’s No Huevos Rancheros

A bunch of us went for post scrimmage food & drinks to 5 Point Cafe where I had this awesome protein packed No Huevos Rancheros (comes vegan, straight off the menus!) and some cider.

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Thanks to Thomas for taking all those action shots from above, and Allison for taking the cute photo of the two of us! I’m sure I’ll be sharing lots more of our professionally shot ones as they come available!

Don't worry mom, that's only FAKE BLOOD!

Don’t worry mom, that’s only FAKE BLOOD!

Thanks for reading!

Ty / Vampira Knightley \/^^^\/

Keeping Balance: On & Off Skates…

Published February 6, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Jet City's Camaron Harem in orange

Jet City’s Camaro Harem in orange

Last week I had a difficult decision to make about accepting the commitment of making Jet City’s fresh meat team. Several factors were involved in the decision, but ultimately it was about keeping balance in my life emotionally, physically, financially, and socially. In the end I decided that even though skating with them is a tremendous opportunity, it’s really just too much for me right now. Mostly because of the time and distance, and the impact that would create.

I’ve drastically improved in the last few weeks (as yet another teammate told me last practice), and them agreeing to taking me on was a great testament to the hard work I’ve put in. That being said, I still have plenty to work on, and I know I can do that in PFM at my own pace. In addition, I’m going to be amping up my participation in Rat City’s Rec League, and see how far that takes me in time. They just revamped their new skater program into a 4 level system (on the website here), and a couple of girls from PFM just made Rat Lab. (So I get to pick their brains about it!) Also, PFM and Rat City are at the same practice space, which I’m already used to driving.

Friday night beers with my favorite person!

Friday night beers with my favorite person!

After all that heavy decision making it was nice to take it easy for a change. I only did the PFM practices, and let my body have a little break. We also did things like go out for pizza and beers Friday night (I have barely been drinking lately!), and even went to the movies before heading to the Jet/Rat City game on Saturday night (above). Sunday we were one of the very few households in Seattle to not be in a complete frenzy watching football. Thomas had already told me he wanted to stream roller derby instead, so a couple of the girls came over after practice to watch/talk derby for a while.

All in all, I’m really happy with my progress. I don’t feel like I’m on some crazy deadline, and I’m just enjoying the experience. That’s what I told Thomas. I did this to have fun, learn to skate better, meet people, get in shape. I don’t want to push myself to the point that it sucks all the joy out of it, especially so soon!

Thanks for reading :)
Ty

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