Thursday, November 21, 2013

New blog!

Say goodbye to the Ms. Conduct blog and hello to the Blind Squirrel Running blog!

It just didn't make sense to write about running on this blog, and I honestly haven't had more than 140 char to say about hockey at one time since the Aeros abandoned Texas. 

As usual, my personal blog is a brain dump and I know most of you don't give a crap about running, and I'm not sure it's interesting or funny enough to warrant reading it if you're not into running. But who knows?! Maybe you're bored!

Anyway, that's the unceremonious end to this one, I suspect, but it will still be here for the foreseeable future. Thanks for reading and interacting all these years. This thing was the start to an incredible ride as a hockey writer that certainly far exceeded my own expectations... I just wanted free hockey tickets, man. And I ended up a beat writer! Life is great like that sometimes. :)

Keep your head up and stick on the ice, my friends.



Monday, August 5, 2013

Evolution & Transformation

There are so many fitness blogs, it feels like a total cliche to even bother with it, but I think one thing I'm definitely going to do as my focus shifts from writing about goaltending (honestly, nothing happens any more that I feel the need to write about) is do some race reports.

Whenever I'm looking for info on a race I'm considering signing up for, I LOVE reading people's reports. I like to know what I'm getting into, if nothing else, but it also inspires me to keep moving. Also, it's nice to look back and see (hopefully) my progress.

So, I guess much like the way this blog started, I'll just write for myself and if people's searches on certain races lead them to my race reports, all the better!

Over the next few days, I'll be backtracking a bit to catch up on a few races I've already done.


I was taking a shower after boot camp this morning and it struck me all of a sudden how crazy it is that my lazy ass works out now nearly every single day of the week. And that one or two days off just feel weird (though it is awfully nice to not soak a set of clothes with sweat that day... I feel like I'm constantly doing laundry to keep from having stale workout gear lying around festering).

Long run on Saturday
Hockey on Sunday
Bootcamp on M/W/F
Training run on Tuesday evening

I guess Thursday is my day off for the next couple of weeks until boot camp wraps up. Then I start doing more running as my half marathon training ramps up.

And I have to say, I'll be sort of sad for my month of boot camp to end. I'm really glad I took the leap and signed up. I can feel the benefits in my game on the ice and it makes running feel like a cake walk. If you're in the Dallas area and interested, I can't speak highly enough of Transformation Boot Camp. It's very positive and our (super hot) coach, Mike, is really good. Different coaches do different locations, but I'm lucky to have his camp just a 4 minute drive from my house.

I'll definitely be signing up again!


Meanwhile, just so you know I haven't lost my senses altogether, I can't WAIT for hockey season to get going. Not only because it will be COOLER out, but because HOCKEY! Regardless of my feelings about writing or playing at the moment, it will be awesome to get NHL hockey for my live hockey fix going forward!

People keep asking me if I'm going to still be a Wild fan or abandon them for the Stars. And I honestly don't have an answer. I'm a Lehtonen fan, for sure, and I've always liked the Stars if only because they're my home state team. And now I'm giving them a hefty sum to entertain me 21 games a season.

But I've got a few years invested in the Wild now and lots of friends who are fans, so hopefully that foundation will ease me past the bit of bitterness at the organization I feel from how they handled the Aeros moving. I'm still a faithful member of the Church of Yeo. I'll go neutral to the Wild/Stars games and just see who my cheers erupt for. I'm as curious as anybody to see which way I fall there.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Goalie retirement?

So, I'm just gonna put this out there and hope for clarity to smack me in the face, because while I definitely know what direction I lean, I don't know if it's for the right reasons.

I'm thinking of retiring from playing hockey. 

Part of it is that I just don't look forward to playing. I don't exactly dread it, but there is no part of me thinking, "Yay! I get to get hit by pucks and possibly humiliated!" The fact that I sum up goaltending like that probably says it all. These days, I'm just so grateful when I don't get lit up, but I don't get particularly excited about any other part of it.

Wins are nice. Saves are nice. But nothing has me pumping my fist and feeling like a million bucks. I make a great save on a good player and I think, "Bah. Got lucky. You'll probably get me next time."

How pathetic is that? The love, the thrill, is definitely gone.

Another part of it is leaving my hockey home in Houston. I loved the women's league there, despite a fair amount of bitchiness (sometimes from me, I'll admit), those were people who, even when I didn't really want to be playing goal most nights, made it totally worth my while because I enjoyed the level of competition, the players, hanging out after, etc. The intangibles made up completely for having to talk myself onto the ice.

Not that women's league in Dallas is bad at all. Everyone is nice and despite a 6-game losing (and I mean monumental losing) streak to start my career here, they never gave me any reason to believe I was unwelcome. But they are a lot better, many have been playing a lot longer and at higher levels. It's slowing down for me a bit, and I feel like with work I could get better against them, but the idea of pouring energy into improving my game just makes me feel like, "ugh."

Meanwhile, I'm really getting into my running. I joined a half marathon training group and instantly felt at home with them. I love that I can just do my thing and nobody is depending on me but me, yet I still get a "team" vibe during training. I love that I don't have to wear 35 lbs of sweaty, smelly gear to run. It's no cheaper, between race fees, good shoes, training fees, etc. but money was never the issue.

I just worry that I'll regret it. Women's league even falls on our "crosstraining" day of the training schedule, so it makes sense in that regard. And I really feel like once I stop using those weird goalie muscles, that's the end of it. It would be very hard to come back and play again.

Mr.C suggested taking a season off and then playing one more, but as far as I can tell, there's winter season and summer season, so it would be 9 months before I'd play again. Maybe by the time winter season starts, I'll either miss it or be ready to call it quits.

Just feels super weird to be abandoning two things that were so fundamental to me not very long ago. Not writing about hockey and now potentially not playing hockey? Seems crazy. So I'm wondering: Am I abandoning something I need to instead be fighting for or am I just changing and growing?

I never thought about quitting in Houston and I really hadn't here either (though I will say I didn't miss it while we were moving and I was off for about 6 weeks) until I was just getting hammered brutally in all my games. But now I've won 3 in a row and I still am just counting the weeks until the season is over (that would be 3 more after tonight, if you'd like to count along).

Being a goalie is something special. When you want to be in net, it's utterly thrilling, empowering, and badass. But when you don't want to be there, it's almost unbearable and the results tend to rat you out.

Speaking of which, I have to get my gear ready for tonight's game. From here on out, it's an effort to go out strong and not feel like I'm leaving because I can't do it, but because I simply don't want to.


Friday, May 10, 2013

So, now what?

Now that the hard core dust has settled from moving (though still no art on the walls and a mile-long list of to-dos remain), I don't have enough stress at home to distract me from the fact that


Shit. I had my first, "Maybe this move was an awful idea and what if I never make any friends and am miserable in Dallas like I was in Kingwood" moment last night. Though I have to think the "we're going away, too!" feeling of watching the second to last The Office amplified the feelings of loss.

I've just been too busy to acknowledge it, but hockey and writing about it have pretty much consumed me for the last few years and it feels weird to have exactly none of that happening now.  That said, when I think about having to be an "expert" on a team or goalies or anything again, I feel weary at the thought. Clearly the break is needed.

Yet, I keep thinking, "Who am I now?" I think I kinda get an inkling of how retiring athletes feel... that existential crisis of, "This thing has defined me and brought me immeasurable satisfaction and now it's gone."

Luckily, I've learned a thing or two about myself in my thirty*cough* years on the planet and realize that this is was inevitable and eventually it will get okay.

I guess what I need to figure out is how to keep a little bit of that edge. Reporting is out of my comfort zone. I could do it for the rest of my life, I think, and I would still get really anxious before every interview. Which meant I was constantly having to do things that scare me a little, and I think that's good. It's also kind of exhausting, which is why it's hard to say, "Yes, let's find new ways to scare myself!"

Much easier to piddle around with fixing up the house and stay in my comfort zone, but I also already feel that dulling me. I'm capable of more than sitting around in my yoga pants looking for the perfect rug for the entry way (but seriously, I'm stumped... it's an odd shape). I mean, I have my day job but it never ever scares me. I've been doing it for 13 years and it's completely in my wheelhouse.

So, I dunno. As I've said elsewhere, I've always had pretty good success with just listening to the wind for my next "thing." But I definitely need to create something, and for more than just myself.

For now, you're looking at it. I suppose a remodel is due here, too, but but given my current state of identity crisisness, I'm not even sure where to start with that. I'm not a sentimental person and it feels like a waste of time to spend much energy on what was, even as cherished as these experiences were.

If I'm not moving forward, I'm moving backward, is probably how some self-help book would put it.

So, here's to the future, the unknown. To fond memories of the past but not looking behind me so much that I don't see the opportunities in front of me. 


Thursday, September 27, 2012

This, that, and a hiatus

I've tried twice now to write in this space and have deleted it both times. I don't really know why, other than maybe I'm over the phase of my life where I need a "diary," or maybe things have gotten so routine that there just isn't anything to hash out.

Playing goal is pretty regular (I still suck about 75% of the time, and get lucky the other 25%).
I'm still losing weight like a bandit and have loads to say about that, but dear God, the world does not need another fitness or weight loss blog, amirite? And really, while I do torture my Facebook friends with the trials and tribulations of my every-other-day running adventures, I know that's super annoying unless you're also a runner.

I've never written about my home life like some might, but thankfully it's tame enough that it really doesn't need writing about. Mr.C's job continues to be an all-consuming, raging clusterfuck for him, Major has a cancerous growth on his leg that we're figuring out how to treat, and the new kid is Louie, and he sleeps curled up next to me and has the softest ears you've ever felt on an animal. I lurves him.

That's my socked foot, not some strange protrusion from Louie's hip.
I was on sabbatical from work for the last month, which was great. Vacation in Alaska and Toronto and some time at home. It went by in a flash and I didn't take a ton of pictures, but other people's vacation pictures generally bore the crap out of me, so I'll spare you. Well, okay just one:


The only other big thing is that I'm the new Houston Aeros beat writer for the Houston Chronicle. Okay, so that's pretty big. Real big. At least to me. Andrew did a spectacular job and I tried to learn as much as I could from him, not really with any inkling that this opportunity could come some day or that I would have a prayer of getting it if it did, but just because being a good beat writer is as much an art as anything.

And I may be more in the finger painter realm of beat writer artists for now, but I'm going to do my dead level best at it because it's really important to me to honor the opportunity. Not many real sports writers get such a chance, much less a hack like me.

So, right now I'm trying to find the balance between taking it seriously but also not being a total bore in the process. And part of that is figuring out whether to keep this blog going or just put it on hiatus. I write so much (and even more now) during the seasons that writing for personal enjoyment now happens in 140 characters on Twitter.

I think, for right now, the blog is going to take a planned siesta (as opposed to the last year or so where it was on an unplanned siesta and made me feel guilty).

But I'll still be around. Follow me on Twitter, read over at Third Intermission, read the Chronicle. I won't be doing Backhand Shelf anymore, as that is just too time consuming and stressful to do in addition to the Aeros beat. I'll pop in occasionally on Hockey Wilderness. And I'd like to do a piece on Jack Campbell for InGoal this season if I can arrange it.

Anyway, here's to the lockout ending in December (color me selfish but I want to see the stud prospects for myself) and lots of juicy stuff to write about for the Aeros all season long. Cheers! :)

P.S. Also, just because I'm feeling the love today: #TeamBrusty. Go get 'em, big guy.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mask sneak-peek and running from zombies

The front of my mask is still getting painted but I called an audible Friday afternoon and asked Jason at Head Strong Grafx to add a tribute to Jessica on the back of my mask. Now, what I asked for was her initials in the spot where San Antonio is on the map of Texas that was already going on the back.

What I got (after he asked if I wanted something cooler than that), was this:

WHAT? I was just blown away. It's just beautifully done and since it's kind of zany mask theme and Jess was kind of a zany girl, it just seems so fitting. Plus, I got green to go with my red hair... hey! Go red-heads!

Anyway, so excited to wear this mask finally. Just honored to have such amazing artwork on there. It's really a treasure. Will unveil more as Jason sends me progress shots.

But one of my last messages to Jessica was that I would let her know how I liked the Zombies, Run! app I was trying out. She hated running and was intrigued by the idea of something to make it less boring, just like I was.

Except I don't find running boring... yet. But I wanted to try Zombies, Run! to see if it maybe distracted me from the agony of running and made it more fun or, fingers crossed, EASIER somehow.

Well. No. It did none of those things for me, but I think it's just me. Lemme 'splain.

I have two things working against me:

First, I shut down like Fort Knox when you boss me around, especially for no good reason. So when the comm guy who is talking to me, Runner 5, as I'm running around collecting supplies for the town and avoiding zombie hoards, says, "OMG RUN RUN RUN!" I'm like, "Fuck you. No such thing as zombies."

Second, running is hard. Like, the first mile, I kind of enjoy. My breathing is good, my legs are peppy, I'm not coated in a waterfall of sweat. But as the run goes on, the more I have to focus on continuing to run. There is self-talk going on like you wouldn't believe in order to even get 2 miles out of me. 3 miles? Yeah, total and complete focus. By the third mile, I don't even really hear my music anymore.

"Just keep going. You can only stop if you're physically ill. But you're fine. It's just hard, but it's not killing you. The hard is what makes it worthwhile. Keep going. I'm sure the lady will say it's been a kilometer in her super awkward way before you know it and then you can walk for a minute. But don't think about that. Just keep going. Zone out. Look at houses, yards, just keep going or you'll feel like a jerk when you're done."

So, if I have to listen to these zombie town people talking to me over my headset between my songs, not only does it keep me from diligently keeping myself going, but it also doesn't time up with my walk breaks (which I really find are helpful to keep me fresher later in the run and also gives me a mental "treat" every now and then).

In my one run with the Zombies, Run! app so far, I ended up walking more than I have for any run. It was literally my worst run ever in terms of accomplishing my goals, feeling strong, etc. Part of that is that I was running along the bayou by my house which isn't flat as a board like my usual route, and also, I really hadn't eaten much in the way of carbs that day and my legs just would. not. go. Though I honestly think that was 90% mental.

At some point, I'll try it again. Maybe when the weather cools off and it doesn't feel like I'm boiling from the inside out and maybe it will take less focus and maybe running 30 minutes won't seem as horrible for the final 15 minutes. And I'll do it on my usual flat sidewalk routes around my neighborhood.

All that said, the story is good and well acted and engaging. I just don't have the focus right now to do anything but will myself to put one foot in front of the other. I kept wanting to stop and walk and listen to the story because I didn't have the focus to both run and enjoy the story.

Bottom line, if you're a headcase like me, it might not work out for you, but if you're an experienced runner, I think this might be a fun way to shake up the ol' routine a bit. At $8 or so, it's not a huge risk either way.


Friday, July 20, 2012

It's everybody's loss

"So sorry for your loss."

My dear friends, hockey and otherwise, have expressed this sentiment many times today as I've let loose my sorrow at the horrific death of my friend and fellow red-headed Texan hockey writer, Jessica Redfield, in the movie theater shootings in Colorado last night.

I very much appreciate the sentiment and support and hugs, but all I can think is, "It's all our losses. We ALL lose here." We are all minus one spunky, funny, down-to-earth, smart, hockey-loving gal.

She was someone I considered a friend, even though we hadn't met yet (I always assumed we would eventually... hockey is a small world), but I've come to realize how many people fall into all the same boat. "I just talked/texted/DMed with her yesterday." I've seen that so many times from so many people today. She managed to touch that many lives, up close, from afar, everywhere she went.

We bonded over a number of things: Being southern girls passionate about a northern sport. Our deep love for Texas and hockey and most importantly, sharing our love of the game with others through our media work. She didn't just dally around the edges of hockey either. She learned to play, she wrote about it, she connected with movers and shakers in the hockey media fearlessly -- not because of what they could do for her, but because of what she could learn from them.

It's been a really tough day. I can't imagine how much worse it's been for her family and closest friends. I'm surprised by how hard this has hit me personally, but Jessica stood for something that you don't see much anymore. She had integrity in the face of plenty of reasons to ditch integrity. She had maturity beyond her years in that regard (beyond MY years, even), and I've long admired her for that. I was so looking forward to seeing her career and her life blossom. She had so much going for her, I had no doubt she was going to get a big chance one of these days.

I've seen a lot of great things written about Jess today, but this post spoke to me the most.

I keep seeing pictures of her that her boyfriend is tagging on Facebook and I just can't believe she's gone. But in a way, she lives on in all of us who knew her, even just a little bit. I'm having her initials painted on my mask so I always carry a little piece of her spirit with me. But right now, it feels hollow. A pretty special light was extinguished last night and it will take a while to come out of the dark.


  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP