I have a new favorite astronaut… and although my little US-educated brain had never considered the fact that astronauts could be something other than American, he’s a Canadian!
I’ve been watching all of Chris Hadfield’s Expedition 34/35 videos from the ISS in amazement. Zero gravity is super rad! Why didn’t NASA ever think to reach out to the masses like this? I mean, really, first Felix & Red Bull, now the Canadian Space Agency? This is the stuff of dreams, and yet my biggest NASA memories involve space shuttle disasters and retirement. (The Mars Rovers are cool, though.)
How did Chris Hadfield find his way to the top of my astronaut list? This:
Every single day you’re the result of what you did on the days prior.
“Hey Viv, you wanna play center?”
“Um… do I have to?”
Thankfully, the answer was no. After a mountain bike ride, hockey clinic, and hockey game in a span of 24 hours, my legs were toast. I was happy for the opportunity to play D.
Even better, I got to play right D, which meant I got to try this nifty little catch and shoot in one motion thing I worked on at the clinic yesterday. It’s great for getting a shot off fast, but it means I need to see what’s going on between me and net ahead of time. I guess I should be doing that anyway.
I can’t remember if I was plus or minus or if I was even on the ice for any of the goals. In any case, we won! Final score: 4-2.
No one seems to like skating on a Sunday morning. Yay, subbing opportunity! I played wing. What?
I feel kind of whiny. So since this is my blog, I will whine.
Whine 1: Slew footing people near your net seems to be an accepted practice now. While I take this to mean I should move more to avoid getting slew footed, I also take this to mean those players who did the slew footing this morning are fair game for when I play D against them in the future.
Whine 2: There is a very special player in our division who flings the puck high along the boards pretty much every time she touches it. We can skate all the routes we want while yelling for a wide open pass, and the puck will still get flung. I usually just SMH at this, but when this happens during a power play, and when said player then gets off the ice and complains about how our team can’t take advantage of the power play because we keep flinging the puck up the ice, RAWWWWR!
On the upside, I scored a goal! And half a minute later I got an assist! I might have gotten an assist earlier in the game too, but I dunno if the ref counted it. Yay for points! They justify my time spent playing up.
After months of D, D, D, D, D, I played center in today’s game. Once again I focused on always moving, skating to the puck, and skating with it immediately to buy myself time and space. This worked beautifully until I got tired, at which point I would either whack at the puck or stand there with it like an idiot.
From this, I deduce that (1) there’s something to this new buying myself time and space thing and (2) I should ride my bike up more hills for conditioning.
First skate since Nationals tonight! My edges felt a bit rusty at first, but once I got going I felt pretty good. The best part was I remembered to skate into the puck and move with it immediately all night. Actually, I didn’t have to remember; I just did it. I guess I’ve been working on it in the back on my mind since Florida. Hooray for learning new things off-ice!
I got to work from my parents’ house last week. Hooray!
In preparation for my arrival, Mom stocked the kitched with Orange Milano cookies and Haagen-Dazs while Dad de-spidered the house. Grandma was sad that she didn’t have salted egg yolks ready so she could make joong. I kept telling her I didn’t need joong and she wouldn’t stop talking about it, until I assured her I was visiting because I wanted to see her and not because I wanted joong.
As with every visit, we discovered a whole bunch more ways I am just like Dad:
- thermonucularizing everything in the microwave because we like our food dangerously hot
- wanting a bite of every tasty thing that enters the house
- ice cream all the time
- odd finger-not-nail biting habit
Spent a lot of time with Mom during the day since I was working from the dining room table. She spent the entire week making all sorts of super yummy food for me: jook, fried taro cake, soup, hot pot, wontons, DIY Vietnamese spring rolls, some special beef and lettuce fried rice dish, black sesame dessert. She even cooked up a special batch of red roasted pork belly and put it in a jar for me to take back to California.
When I wasn’t working, I tried to get Mom out of the house. Every day we went for a walk: along the beach, around the neighborhood, to the local Dunkies (“Small hazelnut, cream and shuggah!”), to the store down the street, etc. I also made her drive everywhere, because she doesn’t feel very confident about it. In my book, the only way to get better at something is to do it more. Tough love!
Mom is starting to morph in to a little old Chinese Lady. I think she’s shrinking. Already?! She’s super duper cute. But it also makes me want to protect her.
As usual, spent some time fixing their laptop. I refused to work on the 8 year old laptop, despite Mom’s insistence that it is heavy and solid because it is well built. I told her to recycle the thing. She felt that would be a waste and did a defrag instead. Suprisingly, it completed. Then the screen saver came on, followed by a blue screen.
My tech support duties have expanded to the TVpad2 my sister recently got them. Mom wanted some Cantonese stations from Hong Kong, which involved installing something through some process, most of which was documented in Chinese. There was a lot of “What does that say?”, “Click on this,” and “Download that.” After accidentally erasing everything she had installed on the box, I managed to install a couple apps with the stations they wanted. Streaming live TV from Hong Kong into their living room is like magic.
Mom got a new fish this week! Spot, meet Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood. I’m pleased I got to give her new fish a dog name.
Little Red Riding Hood is the photogenic one. Fishy face!
Remembered a lot of moments from my childhood:
Moment 1 – The time I was 6 or 7 or 8 and Mom was chopping carrots in the kitchen. I asked her what it was, requested a piece, and put it in my mouth. It was sooo carrot-ey! I refused to eat carrots for the next decade and a half. It wasn’t until college when my friend put baby carrots in my salad that I gave them another try. Turns out those are way more palatable.
Moment 2 – The day Dad made me learn to use chopsticks properly. I used to hold them like a pencil and do this ugly chopstick cross, which worked well enough to get by. One day at dinner Dad said in his loud booming voice, “If you don’t hold your chopsticks properly you don’t get to eat dinner.” (In Chinese, of course. It would be silly to demand chopstick precision in English.) I cried. My hand cramped. My fingers hurt. But I am damned good at using chopsticks now.
Moment 3 – The day I ate a toasted egg bagel with cream cheese for weekend breakfast (weekdays were Eggos and/or Nutrigrain bars) and came down the with stomach flu shortly after. I was in 6th grade when that happened, and I refused to eat another bagel until one day in 12th grade when I was at my friend’s house. I was starving and the only thing she had was bagels. I ate one. I didn’t die. I’ve been eating them ever since.
Moment 4 – The day Dad told me he kept a graph that plotted my good and bad behavior, and if that graph dropped below a certain point he would kick me out of the house. I really believed it existed, especially since my parents used to threaten to send me to boarding school if I didn’t behave. I asked him about it years later and he only vaugely remembered telling me that.
Moment 5 – The time my parents made me and my sister ride the elephant at the zoo. I didn’t want to because I was (and still am) opposed to enslaving and riding animals but they made us do it anyway. There’s a picture of me somewhere sitting on an elephant with the biggest scowl on my face. Dad seemed hurt when I told him about it. “Did you not hear me say I didn’t want to ride it?” “I was only trying to provide a good vacation for my family with what little time I had.” I get it, he meant well, and it’s not unusual for parents to not listen to or believe what their young children are saying. But I still haven’t gotten over the fact that I contributed to the unhappiness of that poor elephant. Frowny faces all around. :(
For his part, Dad told a story about the time he visited his Dad in Shanghai. His family was really poor and to make ends meet the parents and kids were distributed all over the place for various jobs, to stay with relatives, etc. Still, his Dad had saved enough money to buy him a giant rainbow lollipop for the train ride home. My then ~5 year old Dad was best-day-of-his-life happy about it, and was waving it around on the train when it fell out the window. Then he cried and cried and cried like it was the worst day of his life. Because it was.
Mom, who has long preached to me and my sister the virtues of modesty, said to him, “You shouldn’t have been flaunting your lollipop!” LOL.
Visited Grandpa and Great-grandma’s graves on Saturday. Brought Grandpa an orange because he wouldn’t appreciate flowers. Remembered how he used to take off his glasses to examine all my new kid-gadgety toys. Realized Great-Grandma’s been gone for 20 years. It really doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.
Sis came by Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. She and Paul are house hunting! Wow, she’s all grown up. :) We half-jokingly made a list of all the ways we’re different. Actually, it’s not really different, it’s more like opposite. Our interests, talents, and preferences are like night and day. If she wasn’t my sister, we’d have nothing in common, but because she is, I am in awe of her. She is good at everything I’m not. Wao!
We decided to do Florida right this year with a beach house in Clearwater. Super duper win!
Unfortunately, that was all the winning we did last weekend.
Game 1: Nighthawks
Opened the tournament against a team from Boston, easily the fastest and most skilled of everyone we faced. This game highlighted the fact that I don’t really know how to do gap control. I can fudge it against players my speed but when they’re fast and they can stick handle I’m toast. It also didn’t help that I started to think too hard about what I was supposed to be doing, which overwhelms my little brain and freezes my feet in place. D’oh.
Final score: 0-5.
Game 2: Gulf Coast MsConduct
This was a much more manageable matchup for us. Alas, my hockey team has a scoring problem and despite some good chances we put a whopping zero pucks in the net. Final score: 0-1.
At least I learned something this game. When I’m coming around the back of my own net with the puck I shouldn’t feel like I need to pass it because I’m running out of ice. There’s nothing wrong with taking a few more strides along and up the boards to make space and look for a passing lane to develop. Sounds like another one for the “patience” column.
Game 3: Illinois Stars
Good news, we finally scored this game! Three times!
Bad news, the other team scored eight times. I should have written down what happened because I can’t remember now. I seem to have blocked it from memory.
I got a penalty this game, for “body checking”. My teammates from two years ago would find this amusing, since a couple of them spent the season punching me on the bench in an effort to make me mad so I’d go hit someone on the ice. I joked from the penalty box that if I knew I was going to get called for checking I’d have made it count, but um, I really have no idea how to check someone. In any case, I’m pretty sure I at least interfered, so no complaints about getting thrown in the box.
I also got an assist this game. This, after an earlier power play in which I got the puck at point, tried to shoot, and totally whiffed. A few seconds later, Lisa got the puck at point and blasted a shot on net. My D partner showing me how it’s done!
Final score: 3-8.
Game 4: Philadelphia Voodoo
This game didn’t start off as yucky as our matchup at Nationals last year, but then late in the 2nd period one of our players got speared with a stick, one of their players got thrown in the box for 5 minutes, one of our players got taken out by throw-yourself-into-the-other-player-long-after-they-get-rid-of-the-puck penalty killing, and one of their other players went over one of our players and landed on her head. It went from normal game to giant mess in the span of 5 minutes and I was really glad for the mid-game ice cut.
I don’t remember when the scoring happened, but I did at least write down the final score: 0-3.
- – -
I think we won a grand total of one tournament game this season. This bothers some of my teammates a lot more than it bothers me. It’s not that I don’t want to win, but what’s the point of getting frustrated about something if it doesn’t help the situation?
My team needs a shrink.
- – -
After our final game last year, I asked our coach what I could work on to be better for this season. He kept it simple; instead of giving me a giant list he said, “learn to change direction more quickly.” I wasn’t sure how to do that, but I knew he was right; I was too easy to shake.
I seem to be doing better in that department now, thanks in part to the inside edge / outside edge “homework” he gave us this season. I work on my edges every time I step on the ice, and it’s made a huge difference in my cornering and agility.
I got my informal exit interview one game early this year. We had some time at the rink after our 3rd game, so I took that opportunity to ask what I could have done better that game, or be doing better in general. I also showed him this list, currently the wallpaper on my phone.
I explained how I’m trying to remember to always keep moving to get open for my teammates, and especially when I have the puck to buy myself time and space. But sometimes I get caught flat footed upon reaching the puck.
Here’s my top thing to work on this summer: When I am about to get the puck, don’t just look for where I can pass it, look also for where I can skate with it upon gaining possession.
The first part I’ve made progress in; this past season I’ve found myself making pretty consistent one-touch passes to advance the puck. I hope to expand that vision to effective offensive zone passing.
The second part lit a giant lightbulb over my head. It sounds so obvious, but I’d honestly never thought about it outside of, “I want to go on a breakaway and score now.” So now I have two things to scan for before taking possession of the puck: teammates and open space.
Pre-scan for open space so I can skate with the puck into it while I buy myself time to make a pass, take a shot, keep skating, etc.
Now, how do I condense that into a catchy 3 word mantra?
This morning, it was evening somewhere, and there was some sort of creature running around my house. I finally spotted it in the rafters. It saw me and jumped – at my neck!
After a holy crap neck hug, it jumped onto the ground. I got a good look at it. A monkey!
I brought him to the pantry in the back corner for some food. Cheetos? No. I didn’t care much for the bananas but I offered him one to be nice. He took it and said, “Domo arrigato!” Whoa, what?
I offered him a drink. He chose a can of Mountain Dew. I looked at him, this little monkey clutching a can of Mountain Dew in his left hand and a banana in his right. “You’re having a banana and Mountain Dew for dinner?!” He didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with it.
We started walking down the street. I asked how he knew Japanese. Years ago, he explained, there was a Chinese program that taught monkeys Japanese.
“Do you speak Chinese?”
“That’s the same thing!”
I brought him to show Mom. She showed me some sort of sciencey craft thing she made. It was pretty cool but I was so blown away by this Japanese speaking monkey I just sort of waited for her to finish and showed her the monkey. I asked him to speak to her.
He wanted to know what language she spoke, then said something to her in Cantonese. Mom didn’t seem surprised.
What the heck, monkey?
“You said you didn’t speak Chinese!”
“Cantonese doesn’t count.”
First Blue game of Summer season this evening! Let’s go B4! B4 what?
Looks like I’ll be playing D again this season. I get the feeling somewhere out there in Blue Division spreadsheet land there’s just a “D” next to my name now. I don’t mind; it’s certainly better than when I first joined the division and wasn’t trusted to play D!
Had some good offensive zone passing juju with captain Lindsay. She put a beautiful pass on my stick early the game and Heidi finished off my shot with a rebound goal. Stoked to start the season with a point! From D!
Final score: 3-1. Had a great time watching Helen play in her first Blue game. She did really well, and even pulled off a beautiful deke on one of our solid veteran D. I’m looking forward to watching her improve. :)
In our Black Stars 30+ scrimmage against the Sirens tonight I finally turned “ALWAYS KEEP MOVING” into actual moving when I had the puck. This allowed me to comfortably control the puck for a heck of a lot longer than I would have standing there like a sitting (er, standing?) duck, and opened all sorts of great pass and skating opportunities. What took me so long? Perhaps tonight’s taste of success will help ingrain this into a new Good Habit.
I should have added one more item to my list: BREATHE. I forget to breathe when I skate. No wonder I feel like I’m gonna die by the end of a shift! Basic, indeed.