12 January 2014

Jan 2014 MICHIGAN Kalamazoo - Killamazoo (not Kalamazoo)

Remember way back when, when Mike and I happened across the Killamazoo Roller Derby team in the Kalkaska, Michigan Big Boys Diner? (read up at: www.trippingwithmikeanddeb.blogspot.com/2013/11/10122013-fast-forward.html ).

We met player Wicked Wings and promised to attend the all-gal Killa's next match in Kalamazoo. Last night was the night. The team was playing the first season match at the Fairgrounds Expo Center.

At the birthday party last weekend, we suggested the whole family go with us. So almost everyone went (except my younger younger brother's clan who probably had a sports event of their own going on). Even my 85-year old mom joined in.

Right from the start we knew it would be fun. As we entered the arena, they rubber-stamped our hands with a skull-n-crossbones to show that you had paid. The first game started promptly at 5:30pm. That was a Class B match between the Killamazoo Killa Crew and the South Bend Bonnie Dooms. A game is two 1/2-hour bouts with a 15 minute rest period. Lots of rules and regs and action, so hard to follow all the details for first timers like us.

Mom did comment though that in her 20's in Chicago, she and my dad would often go to basketball and roller derby games. I was amazed as my parents divorced when I was about two and he chose not to keep in contact. I don't know much about him other than that he passed in 2000. It was a cool surprise to learn such an fun fact about his existence.

But having a personal connection in "knowing" Wicked Wings (#178) made the game more interesting for us all. She (on right) is a jammer or point scorer on the team, although there are others jammers that take turns throughout the game. But we had someone special to root for whenever she scored a point. 

All the gals and the refs had funny names which cracked us up as various plays were recapped over the loud speaker system. Some of the team member rink names, besides Wicked Wings, were Bicked Witch, Stinker Belle, Buns and Roses, Brit Happens, Levita Beaver, Marj Attacks, Crashive Aggressive, Mushtache Ryder, Merica, Afro Disac, Slamador Dali, and Ginger Snapped. There's just not enough room to list all the imaginative (and some a little naughty) names.

Seven refs or officials work each match. Some of them were Black & Blue Boo Boo, Floorburn (my favorite), Wesley Stripes and Ariel Attack. As you can see, all the names are very creative and you have to be "in the know" to understand the humor in some of them. The announcer names were Reverend Killjoy and Ash Hole. The play recaps were hysterical with these all crazy names in the mix.

We tried to think of names for ourselves, but it got a little raunchy, so I won't list these. OK, I'll say one--Boob-Boob Bear. Hope you get the double entendre.

The final score was 269 (Kalamazoo) vs 163 (South Bend), so Wicked Wings had her work cut out for her and she came through with flying (no pun intended) colors. It was a big win for WW and the team. The only disappointment was the WW wore a full back t-shirt, so we could not see the lovely wings tattooed upon her shoulders and back.

During intermission, the Killer Beez Team displayed their skills. These are boys and girls, aged 6-17, who did precision (of sorts) roller skating. They all had their rink names on their jerseys, wearing mouth guards and elbow and knee pads, just like the big girl team. Each added their own touch to their uniform, such as Blu Berry Jam wore a tutu and another little girl had drawn a mustache under her nose. They are were  all adorable.

Also, during intermission there was a special surprise. WW came rolling across the rink with a white bride's veil attached atop her black helmet. She stopped in front of her boyfriend, knelt on one knee, and proposed to him. He said "Yes!." The crowd burst into loud applause, hoots and hollers. Congrats, WW!
The second game started a little after 7pm. These were the Class A teams-- Kalamazoo Derby Darlins and the South Bend Studebreakers. We left during half time, but the Darlins were way ahead. Will have to look for the final score on their website at: www.killamazooderbydarlins.com .

Our family had a blast. We laughed and booed and snickered and high-fived. All the ladies got Killamazoo t-shirts. It was a real hoot. I'm not sure we will do it again, but just one more thing to check off on our bucket list--see a roller derby game. Yahoo!

To read about the history, rules, and other info regarding roller derby, go here in Wiki:

08 January 2014

1/4/2014 - BD Girl

The holidays are never really over for us until January 5th. The Christmas decorations usually stay up til then and there is one last holiday blow out. That's because January 4th is Deb's birthday. Last year at this time we were in Key West, Florida. This year we are home in Kalamazoo with the Arctic Vortex swirling around us.

It was a wonderful day though because my mom, sister, two brothers, their spouses, a nephew (and his friend) were all here to celebrate. I got flowers from my sister, a birthday balloon from my bro, and a few other odds and ends. But the best present was having all my family together.

We were definitely in party mood and tipped a few, including two new liqueurs. One called Ty-Ku, a Japanese citrus liqueur. It actually tasted a little medicine-y, but was fun because when you tipped the bottle to pour, a light triggered that made the liquid glow neon green. Mike's bro-in-law turned us on to this one. The other my sister discovered and is called Rum Chata. It is a white creamy liquid and tasted of cinnamon or Snickerdoodle cookie-ish.

For the birthday toast, we opened a bottle of wine that Mike and I had been saving for a special occasion--a Brys Estate Cabernet Franc, 2007, Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City. We purchased it on one of our many wine tours up north, this one with our friends Tim and Nancy. It was the last bottle the winery had for sale in their tasting room and the vintner signed the bottle for us. It was wonderful and worth the wait.

Mike cooked my favorite Shrimp and Artichoke soup. We learned this recipe at a cooking school in New Orleans years ago. We don't have this often because it is full of butter and heavy cream. We also had ham and turkey sandwiches, Waldorf (apple) salad, and plenty of munchies and sweets.

Shrimp and Artichoke Soup
(Chef Kevin Belton from New Orleans Cooking School)

24 oz. canned (in water) artichoke hearts, quartered
1 qt. chicken or veggie stock (some can be substituted by using
 liquid drained from artichokes)
1 cup chopped green onions (including green part)
1 t. thyme leaves
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup plus 1 T. flour
1 qt. heavy cream
½-1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 T. chopped parsley (for garnish)
If desired, a splash of dry sherry per serving
Season with salt and white pepper to taste
Combine artichokes, stock, green onions, and thyme in large soup pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a small fry pan. Gradually stir in flour, making a smooth light roux. Add to simmering stock pot above.

Stir in heavy cream and simmer for 10 minutes. (Keep a 1-1 ratio with broth to cream.)

Add shrimp and simmer for 5 minutes.

When serving, garnish with green onions, parsley, and/or dry sherry.

Serves 6-8.

We started about 2pm and carried on til about 11pm. We laughed and cried and brought back old memories. An excellent family get together. Thank you, family, for the best day ever.

This is what I felt like the next day. A little blurry.

04 January 2014

365 Project

My friend Sam, a professional photojournalist, turned me on to this project in 2011. The premise is that you take at least one photo every single day of the year and post it on-line.

People all over the world are doing this, too. It is fun to see other people's photos and to show off mine a bit. Of course, you cannot take a GREAT photo every day, but it is fun trying.

I completed this challenge in 2011 and 2012, but took a break in 2013. I am hankering to "test" myself again for the third time in 2014. It is not an easy task, but I am going for it again. Here is why I love the project:

1 - I have a daily goal.

2 - That goal may get me out of the house, even on a bad weather day. Right now there are at least 8 inches of snow on the ground (drifts much higher) and the temp is 14 degrees Fahrenheit, but I'm headed out shortly to get a nice snow photo.

3 - I get to meet people I would not have met by asking if I may take their photo. I've gotten into some wonderful conversations and made a few friends along the way.

4 - My photography skills have improved.

5 - I get feedback from strangers around the world who comment on my photo of the day. It is almost always positive, but sometimes a helpful hint to improve future shots is thrown in.

6 - When I get a comment, it is a real thrill, a personal connection to someone without ever meeting them in person. Also, I know a few of my friends check my work every day. I don't expect them to comment on each and every photo, but when they do it's a delight. A comment means I have touched some one in some way.

6 - I am exposed to the photo ideas of others. If I see something that touches me, I comment.

7 - It encourages and challenges my creative genes.

8 - It makes me feel good.

9 - It gives me a sense of accomplishment.

10 - The biggest and best reason to do it, is that I began to see the world in a whole different light. Now I look for details. When I walk down the street I am not thinking about my schedule or chores or bills or whatever else nags me. I am thinking, "Oh, that would make a cool photo" or "I never noticed that before." My world has become smaller, more personal, more real.

I carry my little point-and-shoot camera with me all the time now. I don't want to miss an opportunity. I have a "fancy" camera that I carry for events or family gatherings where I want to try for a special or complex shot.

This project has changed my life in such a positive and dramatic way. It has calmed my soul and opened up a whole new world of awareness. I love it.

If you are interested in this project for yourself, it is a great time of year to kick it off (although you can start at any time of the year). Keep in mind it can be started by anyone with any level of photography skill. Sign up at:

You don't get unwanted advertisements or spam. I have not found one negative or spam-y thing relating to the site, so I can recommend it with confidence.

I've included some of my favorite photos, but you can see all my photos at:



01 January 2014

New Years Day 2014 - New Beginnings

Today's title may sound like an oxymoron, but it isn't. I have begun a number of things a number of times and so I begin again with a few personal goals--eat more healthy, lose pounds, exercise faithfully, be smart with money, read more, being kinder, and keep up with this blog.

This blog is not so much for others, but mostly for me. First off, I love to write (and have received compliments for this...thank you very much). When we lived in California, I wrote local interest articles for a glossy-covered magazine titled Coast Views. BTW, I got an email yesterday that the magazine is shutting down due to the editor retiring. Yah for Gwen!

I don't need to write college papers at this point in time. I don't draw up lesson plans for United Airlines customer service agent classes. I don't even write letters any more. With email, it is just short quick news blasts. So no real place to keep my writing skills sharp.

In 2012, my Uncle Kit got me going on Ancestry.com (another thing I need to spend serious time researching). Working on Ancestry got me thinking about mortality and about how little I know of my heritage and the lives of my past relatives. And that lead to thinking about special and even mundane moments in my life. And, at the end of 2012, Mike and I started serious tripping, taking extensive road trips around the U.S.

So between all these things, I felt the need to document my life, our life. As I grow older I want to be able to look back and read what a wonderful life we've had. And maybe the next generation or someone else would be interested or enjoy those memories also.

So I soldier on with my thoughtful meanderings. Whether anyone else reads or not, it's all OK. We don't have much planned travel-wise this year, so much of our "tripping" will be down memory lane in future blogs. 

I wish all a happy and healthy new year. If you have those two things you are wealthy as well.