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Happy New Year! We’re moving! (But staying in Seattle)

Published January 5, 2015 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Happy new year!

Happy new year!

This year I decided to copy my parent’s tradition of going out and buying a whole bunch of nice specialty foods to snack on, and just having a nice night in together. We had the best time!

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We had black beans, (2 kinds of hummus, which I happened to notice had milk in them before we opened them, so we skipped those), Earth Balance cheddar squares, garlic stuffed olives, chips and salsa, pita chips, grapes*, black berries, Fieldroast celebration roast, Daiya Jalepeno Havarti cheese wedge, and Fieldroast tomato cayenne and coconut herb sliced cheeses. It was great! *It is a Cuban tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight. As you can see here, we were more than prepared!

And our 1st order of business in what will be a very hectic, eventful, and expensive 2015 was to immediately start looking for a new apartment. Our current residence was one where we traded cheap rent and location for an old shoddy building, so it was time to get looking since I told them that January would be our last month. After doing tons of looking this week, I finally found “the one”! It had nearly everything on my list except a washer and dryer in the unit. (And a garbage disposal. I’m wondering if we can put one in…)

Lucky number 7

Welcome!

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September is my Derbyversary!

Published September 16, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Me celebrating getting cleared for PFM with a box of Sour Patch kids and a cat.

9/7/14: Me celebrating getting cleared for PFM with a box of Sour Patch kids and a cat.

On September 7th, 2013, I geared up fully for the first time, and started my derby life by attending a PFM* foundational skills practice. It’s a class we do every two weeks that teaches new skaters how to stop and fall safely, makes sure they’re safe to skate with other skaters, and introduces them to some of the core members of the group. It’s how you get cleared to skate with the team. (Just a couple of months ago, I became the new skater coordinator/helper!) I was able to pass on my 1st attempt, and came home totally psyched. I then spent the next week barely able to walk.

(*Potential Fresh Meat (PFM) is a volunteer-run quad skating group open to all women 18 years and over interested in learning and practicing the skills needed to play roller derby. Many of our members skate with us to get ready for tryouts for leagues all over the Pacific Northwest, but there are many women who skate with PFM just because it’s fun and great exercise.)

My 1st helmet.

My 1st helmet.

My first actual PFM practice was shortly thereafter on September 15 with Jill Nye, which was a super brutal endurance style practice that again made sitting and walking something that involved lots of pain and concentration. They assured me that not every practice was that hard. I had family in town so I didn’t get back for a couple of weeks, but amazingly I did go back, and I kept going back for more.

No name and no number. I was #99 for my 1st scrimmage. :)

No name and no number. I was #99 for my 1st scrimmage. 🙂

On November 3, 2013 I laced up my skates for my very first scrimmage.

I didn't really know what I was doing, but everyone was pretty nice about it.

I didn’t really know what I was doing, but everyone was pretty nice about it…

Okay, maybe not everyone! Haha, I kid. Mod Quad, pictured here, did not fail to teach me what it was like to get blocked like crazy!

Okay, maybe not everyone! Haha! I kid! Mod Quad, pictured above, has a great, positive attitude about skating in general, and did not fail to teach me what it was like to get blocked with force. Repeatedly!

And I got to try jamming, which I really enjoyed!

I’m not sure if good form was even on my radar yet.

And I got to try jamming, which I really enjoyed!

A name is born!

An identity is born…

Eventually, I found a name for myself. AND then I changed it, so that it fit me perfectly.

And eventually perfected.

And perfected.

And the last step, the nickname.

And the last step, the nickname.

I finally got myself an awesome, vegan skate setup.

Proper fitting skates...

Bont Hybrid microfiber skates with Crazy Venus plates

Then all I had to do was keep on skating!

PFM Scrimmages 1-6

PFM Scrimmages 1-6

When I first decided to do this, getting onto a team was the furthest thing from my mind. I had grown up skating in the driveway or the street, and loved rollerskating, but didn’t really have any skills besides going forward and spinning in a circle. My real first goal going into all of this was learning to do cross overs, and my ultimate goal was skating backwards! That was pretty much it!

This first year has been more about getting past mental blocks and figuring out what I want to get out of my experience. PFM has provided me with a really awesome, safe, and encouraging environment. I tried a couple of times to move on to more advanced training, but found that I wasn’t ready. Since I didn’t come into this with the intense, competitive, athletic drive that some of my peers did, I’m not sure that everyone that I encountered along the way understood my cautious approach, but that’s okay. I believe we all do these things at our own pace, and I simply had to do what was right for me. In my own time, I’ve slowly lifted my expectations higher and higher.

While I am still trying to hone some essential skills, I have a much firmer grasp on the [huge set of] rules now, and have become more interested in learning the workings of more complex skating and strategy. Even though I feel like I have a long way to go (and of course everyone always has things to work on), I’ve recently felt like I’ve hit the next level on my mental game, and am going to be stepping up my training with Jet City’s Cadets starting next weekend.

There are so many wonderful things derby has brought into my life, including my derby family, derby wife (Stevie Thunder, who is a great source of encouragement and support), and most recently the transitioning of my partner and best friend Thomas to quad skates and derby, from his previous background of inlines and speed skating, so that we can share the experience together! I’m really looking forward to all of the cool things in this next year!

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.

The triumphant return of Highline: Seattle’s only vegan bar!

Published March 20, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Around a month ago, a wonderful, fantastic, should-I-really-get-my-hopes-up? rumor started fluttering around vegan circles in Seattle… Highline is going to re-open their kitchen, but just for brunch. I was overjoyed, and immediately planned on starting a twitter campaign to let them know that I supported them. (Which I promptly forgot about, and never ended up doing!) Fortunately for us, this rumor turned out to be partially true.

Highline was planning to re-open, but only for dinner between the hours of 4 and 8, and only on Mondays and Tuesdays, to start.

So of course we were there on the very first day of renewed food service. And the day after. And the week after that. And so on.  Afterall, this is the bar we most fell in love with as soon as we moved to Seattle. The whole first year we lived in First Hill, we would check craigslist for apartments, and map them to see how close we could get to it. So you can imagine how sad we were when they closed their kitchen last summer. And even more so every time we passed the glowing sign these last 5 months, since we did in fact end up moving ever so close by.

So here’s what they promised:

We’ll be serving food from 4pm-8pm Monday’s and Tuesday’s for the next while. The menu and days, though short and sweet now, will expand as the weeks pass by. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone over the few weeks! On behalf of all the staff, a HUGE “thank you” to everyone who’s helped spread the word and aims to support us! This is a long time in the works and we expect to exceed everyone’s expectations. love-Highline Bar

And here’s what they delivered:

More Cumin Than Cumin Tacos and Seitan Fingers

More Cumin Than Cumin Tacos $9,  and Seitan Fingers $8

The above was from the opening night. They even came over to see how the food was, and to get our feedback on how we thought the reinvented Seitan Fingers compared. We were thrilled. They now have a dedicated taco section to their abbreviated menu, and after having these, and the ones from Taco Tuesdays of the past, I think it was an extremely wise and tasty decision!

Crazy Train and Reubender, $10 each, or $12 with a side

Crazy Train and Reubender, $10 each, or $12 with a side

These sandwiches were okay. I ordered the Reubender and it was pretty good, though I’ve had better. Thomas seemed to like it a lot, but to be fair, that’s typically the type of sandwich Thomas will order, and not so much my go to. I thought his sandwich was pretty good, except it was just a bit on the bland side. Either the tofu needed marinade or it needed a punchier sauce. They didn’t ask that week, so I didn’t get to give them the feedback that time. Not bad though. I’ve always loved whatever bread that is that they use.

Then there was a week when we didn’t get there in time for food, but stayed for a little while for Britt’s birthday. (Not pictured!)

The Bell Toll $10, and that night's special: Cactus, Potato, Soyrizo tacos $9

The Bell Toll $10, and that night’s special: Cactus, Potato, Soyrizo tacos $9

This was from our food last week. I decided to go with that night’s special, despite the crazy sounding cactus that was throwing everyone off. I’m pretty sure I’ve had cactus before, and basically as long as it’s not an animal or a mushroom, I’m game. YUM! I saved one for later, and it ended up still being really good after sitting in the fridge for nearly a week. Haha. Yah, totally ate it days later. 😉 Thomas’ sandwich was good too, especially after clearing all the mushrooms off!

Verdict:

So far, so good! We really love the punk, gothy, rock vibe of this bar, and will be supporting them in all their efforts. It was easy for people from other vegan friendly towns to complain about this or that off the old menu, but there was a tremendous void when Highline shut down; it was the only all vegan bar we had! Personally, I had very little to complain about the old menu besides that the quality of the food was sometimes inconsistent. I think with the smaller menu and their concerted effort, they’ll be able to keep that in check this time around, and hopefully be able to expand their dinner service again too!

WELCOME BACK, HIGHLINE! 😀

The new booze menu!

The new booze menu!

A very poorly lit pic of their new menu!

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