Friday, July 15, 2011

Skating in Sacred City

To try and stay in reasonable roller derby shape, I put some feelers out and tried to get in touch with roller derby leagues in the places we’re staying for more than one day at a time. One of the leagues that gave me permission to practice with them was the Sacred City Derby Girls based in Sacramento. 

Sacred City practices 4 times a week. They have a warehouse that they rent and have totally made their own. They practice there, but hold bouts at a local skating rink with a wood floor. They put in their own sport court for the warehouse. (It could have just been me, but it felt a lot smaller than our track.) They have a kitchen with a beer tap, sink, water coolers, microwave, coffee machine, fridge. They also have a vending machine that has regular stuff like power bars, gum, energy drinks, and chips, but also has crew socks, Chapstick, and bandanas. They also had several couches, a couple of bathrooms, an area that was upstairs that had a Bowflex and some stationary bikes. They also had big benches lined up in rows for skaters to put on their gear.

I signed a waiver to skate with them and asked if I could take some pictures. They allowed me to take some, but not of their white board which had some strategy stuff on it. They said they are pretty secretive about what goes on in their league and don't share with other leagues which they admitted could be good for them and bad for them because then other leagues didn't share with them. I'm kind of surprised they let me skate with them!

They said I should have brought shirts with our league logo on them to sell. They would have bought them. DARN!!! I wish I had thought of that:( Next time I take a cross-country trip, right?

Sacred City is ranked in WFTDA as 8th place in the west for the first quarter of 2011.

It felt pretty great to skate with them. The practice was fairly easy because it was their fresh meat and fast track (advanced fresh meat) combined practice. They warned me that the next practice (fast track only) would be much harder.

This practice was conducted by Malevolent, a B-team skater from Sacred City. In roller derby there are several types or levels of teams. A recreation league team is purely for intra-league bouts two teams within the same league skating against each other for promotional bouts. B-team skaters are more advanced and sub for A-team skaters as alternates and often travel to compete, but are not as competitive as A-team skaters and their games do not count as far as rankings. A-team skaters are the all-star traveling team that skates against other leagues in competitive bouts for ranking. Rankings only come into play once a league is a registered member of WFTDA or another roller derby association.

I practiced again with them on July 6. WOW! Fast track practice with Sacred City last night was HARD!!!!! It was way harder than our league practices, even when some of our whip crackers are coaching. Part of it could have been because their warehouse doesn't have air conditioning and part of it was because it was 3 hours long.

We had 10 minutes to work on whatever we wanted at the end of practice. I chose to ask one of the coaches for help with my backwards skating. I learned a lot since she used to be an artistic roller skater.

The team also stretched as a team at the end of practice and did a hands in with a "Sacred" shout. Shadow Soldier stuck a sweaty sock in there instead of her bare hand.

In other notes, if Coach Shadow Soldier was trying to explain something and skaters were talking, she made us all do 10 push ups off the track. Sherlock Home Slice was also coaching, she went around and critiqued everyone and kept telling us to lower our butts, face forward with our chests up. They were both drill sergeants on the track. But saying that, when I tried to buy a Luna bar after practice out of their vending machine and it got stuck despite some hard booty blocks to the machine by me, Sherlock Home Slice put some money in it and said the league could pay her back to get the Luna bar out. I bought a shirt, they've got labeled bins of shirts according to size, all styles mixed together and Shadow Soldier threw in a bunch of stickers and two pins for free. She also works at Cruise Skate shop in Sacramento and recommended the Heartless 93's for me since I like a slimmer wheel and faster skates.

On July 9th I skated with their fresh meat/fast track skaters again. This practice was much harder than the other Saturday practice. They had an A-team skater called Kneel and Weep coaching and she was almost as tough as Shadow Soldier and Sherlock Home Slice. We started off without our skates doing floor work which is something completely new to me. Our league is always on skates during an official practice. We also worked on a lot of the more difficult stops in derby as well as how to most efficiently skate around the track. I learned a lot in this practice as well. It helps to skate outside the league because everyone does things differently.

Next week I'l be skating with Garden Island in Kauaii. I've been trying to contact them and one of their skaters happened to be skating with Sacred last night so I got the info on when and where their practice is. The week after that skating with Bay Area Derby with hopefully a practice with Santa Cruz and the Sac City Rollers if I can fit it in.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Irreverent Italian

July 1, 2011

We took off for Sacramento stopping first at Seton medical center where my mom works as a lab tech. She analyzed Aidan's urine. Ian dropped his test tube into the toilet and fished it out with his bare hand, urine was contaminated. She also showed the kids some bacteria under the microscope and introduced us to some co-workers

Donut Time
1235 Linda Mar Shopping Center
Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 738-9888

was our next stop. My buttermilk bar was too dry, but the apple fritter was a thing of beauty. It had crisp edges, a moist chewy center, and lots of apple pieces. Emma ordered a custard-filled bar and the shop owner filled it right there in front of us.

Going through Bay Area traffic was bad, but not as bad as L.A. and the drivers are less aggressive in Northern California. We stopped at UC Davis. Collin went to UC Davis as a freshman in college and play soccer there. Their workout facility was awesome, way nicer than any other I’ve seen including Bucknell which also has a great facility.

More miles of California traffic fun later we made it to Elk Grove where Collin’s parents, John and April, and brother Aaron and his family live. We unloaded our stuff in their gorgeous house and set off for:

Buca di Beppo
1249 Howe Avenue
Sacramento, CA
(916) 922-6673

for April’s birthday dinner.

The place was a riot! It had kooky and irreverent photographs covering the walls as well as a room dedicated to the pope. You get to walk through the kitchen on your way to the table. The bathrooms had old advertisements for stockings or beauty aids.

The food was delicious and almost too filling. The meals are served family style. We ordered:
Mozzarella Garlic Bread—mozzarella cheese melted on top of Italian loaf brushed with garlic-infused olive oil, Parmesan cheese and fresh garlic.

Chicken Carbonara—Tender chicken breast, prosciutto and peas with imported Italian spaghetti tossed with creamy Alfredo sauce.

Chicken Saltimbocca—Sauteed chicken breasts layered with fresh sage and prosciutto, topped with artichoke hearts, lemon butter sauce, and capers.

Chicken Marsala—sautéed chicken breasts and fresh mushrooms in a sweet Marsala wine reduction.

Baked Ziti

A few of us ordered flavored lemonades. I ordered raspberry, Collin ordered strawberry, and Ian ordered purple pear. Ian’s was the best, it was really sweet and refreshing with a beautiful purple hue.

My favorites were the chicken carbonara and the chicken marsala. The chicken carbonara was very creamy with crisp prosciutto and fresh peas, kind of heavy to eat with all the other stuff. The Marsala wine reduction on the chicken was really sweet and the mushrooms were really plump and tender.

We also had chocolate cake for dessert. The waiters sang to April and came in carrying the cake and candelabra instead of sticking candles in the cake.

Getting our bellies jellied

Note: these posts will probably not be in sequential order all the time.

The Jelly Belly Factory
Solano Business Park
One Jelly Belly Lane
Fairfield, CA 94533

July 7, 2011--It was busy today! The wait to get in for the free tour was 2 hours. The kids were getting kind of squirrely because we were waiting for so long. We saw the guy/gal dressed up in the very cherry Jelly Belly costume and Ian ran up to him/her and hugged him/her really hard thinking that the suit was made of foam, but it was actually one of the kind of made of parachute material with a fan to blow it up so he scared the Mr. Jelly Belly. We took turns waiting in line while the rest of us went in the gift shop and tried different flavors at the sample bar. I chose mango chili, crushed pineapple, and mango to make their pineapple mango salsa “recipe.” You were allowed to try three different flavors. They put the beans into your hand by using a scoop that only had room for one bean. There were mosaics made of Jelly Bellies of Ronald Regan, Princess Diana, John Wayne, Elvis, Amelia Earheart, Donald Duck, and lots of presidents. The tour was pretty cool. We learned the history of the Goelitz Candy Company and how Jelly Bellies were invented. We also saw how Jelly Bellies were made from start to finish. The tour guide passed out free samples of Jelly Bellies in their various stages of production and a small bag of assorted flavors. So even though we had to wait in line for a couple hours, the tour was totally neat.

There are 50 official flavors: berry blue, blueberry, bubble gum, buttered popcorn, cantaloupe, cappuccino, caramel corn, chili mango, chocolate pudding, cinnamon, coconut, cotton candy, A&W cream soda, crushed pineapple, Dr. Pepper, French vanilla, green apple, island punch, juicy pear, kiwi, Sunkist lemon, lemon drop, lemon lime, licorice, Sunkist lime, mango, margarita, mixed berry smoothie, Sunkist orange, orange sherbet, peach, pina colada, Sunkist pink grapefruit, plum, pomegranate, raspberry, red apple, A&W root beer, sizzling cinnamon, sour cherry, strawberry cheesecake, strawberry daiquiri, strawberry jam, Sunkist tangerine, toasted marshmallow, top banana, tutti-fruitti, very cherry, watermelon, and wild blackberry. My favorites of these are toasted marshmallow, lemon drop, Sunkist grapefruit, juicy pear, cotton candy, coconut, and watermelon. My least favorite flavors and tutti-fruitti and island punch. The four most popular flavors are very cherry, buttered popcorn, licorice, and juicy pear. They also had some funny bean boozled flavors that look like regular Jelly Bellies: skunk spray, pencil shavings, rotten egg, toothpaste, canned dog food, barf, booger, moldy cheese, baby wipes, and centipede. Ian’s favorite is watermelon, Collin’s is juicy pear, and Aidan’s is red apple. April’s favorite are the chocolate dipped flavors.

Collin’s mom goes whenever she has grandkids visiting and said that usually the wait for the free tour is only 15 minutes. That must be when school is still in session. Now I’ve eaten so many jelly beans that I feel a little sick. At least I know that they try to use as much natural flavoring as they can in the slurry that makes up the center and the coating.

We were all pretty tired so April picked up some sandwiches from:

Mr. Pickles
6350 Folsom Blvd., #300
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 454-3706

They were super fresh, hot, and awesome. I ate the Tuna Tuna two days after it had been bought and sitting in the fridge and it was hands down the best tuna sandwich I've ever had. Here are the ones she ordered:

triple decker of bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato

The Mr. Pickle
chicken breast, bacon, avocado, and jack cheese

Tuna Tuna
tuna salad with swiss cheese, avocado and cucumber

I think I'll go there again the next chance I get so I can try some different ones. I really love their San Francisco style bread.