Ways to find roller derby practice/bout space

Last night the Lethbridge College Student’s Association invited the Lethbridge College Roller Derby Club, which I’m also a member of ;-), to come hang out on skates during their Band Wars contest at the barn.

The venue is fantastic and I admit I had visions of inter-league scrimmages complete with disco lighting and live bands playing as our DJ as I circled around the facility.

What it lacks in size; we’d only be able to fit the track and maybe 2-3 rows of suicide seating, is made up in atmosphere. With a raised stage and concert lighting built in, the facility is ready for a variety of events. The floors are industrial tile with, what it felt like, a wooden sub-floor, giving an excellent balance of spring and grip under my wheels. The venue is licensed, lots of parking and directly across from 2 college residences.

It felt like the perfect storm.

For roller derby leagues, all over the world, space is a constant struggle.

For some, the space is available and willing, but to rent it for 2 practices a week for a month, costs more than a month’s rent of a residential apartment. It creates a league with high dues and a necessity to fund raise often just to stay ahead.

For others, they have a facility, but it’s within close quarters to walls or pillars that make full-speed-contact pileups look similar to boarding in hockey.

For more, the facility of choice has floors that are so rough that wheels wear down quickly and you don’t dare skate bare-legged or wear your favorite tights. Or they are so smooth, injuries happen due to sliding out and careening off the track.

Even with established leagues, it’s a struggle. Leagues with multiple teams in large centres, compete with all other sports organizations for time. There simply aren’t enough indoor facilities as it is for hockey, soccer, basketball, ringette, etc.

Most recently, the Gas City Rollers in Medicine Hat lost their practice facility due to the roof collapsing.

So if you’re a league searching for space, what can you do? Here’s some things we’ve done to try and secure venues. Some worked, some didn’t, but if it helps you find a space permanently… Fantastic!!!

Call everyone!!!

Churches, halls, community centres, rodeo grounds, schools, surrounding communities… Any space that looks big enough to fit a track, call them. Inquire that you’re interested in viewing the space to rent for your group.

Our experience has shown if you identify what you’ll be using the space for right off the start, it’s tough to get past that initial phone call. But if they ask, don’t lie. However stating that you’re a ‘women’s sport group’ isn’t lying either. 😉 The key here is to get in the front door and woo the keyholders of the building with your charm.

Anticipate partnerships…

If you’re lucky enough to find the perfect space with perfect floors and get a meeting to view the space, do some research on the group who owns the building beforehand.

Are they non-profit? What other events are held there? Think of ways ahead of time to sweeten the deal for them if they are hesitant about renting to your group. Perhaps they are always in need of volunteers for their own events and your league could offer time in exchange for reduced rent. If the building is older, perhaps you could create a work-bee committee to contribute time to maintaining and improving the building monthly (painting trim, minor repairs, etc) Or create a sponsorship agreement where their name will be tied to every public event you hold. The possibilities are endless if you’re willing to do some negotiation.

Write A Kick Ass Proposal…

If you have a league member who works in the non-profit, public relations or media industry, grab them now and harness their writing skills or find a member who just loves to write! Coming to a meeting with a written proposal in-hand that talks about who you are, your goals and objectives and your reach (eg appearances, what charitable organizations you support, media attention) show that you are a serious league. Also include an outline of what you can offer in return as extras (from previous point) and don’t forget to state what you will do, as a league, if damage to the facility were to happen.

Research leagues in similar-sized cities and make sure to share in your proposal what kind of spaces they have and who’s providing them. This will show roller derby is all around and to hopefully create a desire for the keyholder to ‘keep up’ with the other communities.

Most importantly, put a face to your league. Include photos with your proposal. Show derby moms skating with their kids, show how you participated in the local parade or rally, show photos of other leagues in their pretty spaces (get permission!). Let’s be honest, there is a conception of what derby girls are within the establishment. Show that your on-track personas don’t reflect negative behaviours when you are here to train.

Writing a good proposal will take time. Do it right and you will only have to do minor updates for each venue. Bonus marks if you can get reference letters from former space providers stating you paid rent on time and were good renters.

Once you find the space, respect the space…

This is an obvious one, of course. But some keyholders may give you space on a trial basis and will be watching carefully for any excuse to take it away from you. Don’t let them. Go above and beyond. Work as a team to make sure garbage and gear is cleared out before vacating. Same goes for the parking lot.

Pay the rent on time and report damage immediately. Always watch what your gear is doing to the floors and make adjustments as necessary. Also make a point of asking the keyholders to notify you immediately if there are any problems so you can rectify the situation quickly. Follow up on any special sponsorship or partnership agreements. If you fail on that, you risk negative feedback within the community.

Not only will the attention to detail save you from eviction, but will continue to show your league as one to be taken seriously.

Finally, get into local politics…

I know…. BLAH. But your city/town council are the ones who decide the use of current and future community centres. I’m not saying attend every council meeting, but be aware of the meetings, when they take place and what’s going to be discussed. Meeting agendas can be found on municipal websites and from there you can decide if you need to attend. Look for terms like capital improvement, recreation & culture, parks. Watch/read the news and see if the city is set to expand any of their recreational buildings and are looking for public input. That’s when you need to jump in and get involved.

Find someone on council who favours youth activities, sports or non-profits and ask to sit with them to discuss your concerns about lack of space for your league. While individually they may not be able to do much for you, they now know your challenges and will hopefully keep you informed of any leads that may come up.

Partnering with other groups looking for a similar space is also a great way to get more to notice your cause… Your local skateboard association, wheelchair basketball, ball hockey, lacrosse groups all have the same challenges. Approach council as a unified group and they will notice you more.

******

So those are just some ideas we’ve tried. It’s a tough road seeking out the perfect space, but once you find it, it will be soooooo worth it. To the Gas City crew, best of luck to you in finding a replacement for your lost space. To other leagues who have found a permanent home, I’d love to hear your success story!!!!

As for the ‘perfect storm’ venue we have in front of us, it would be fantastic if they welcomed us back to put on an event-on-wheels; or even just to practice since we are homeless from our current space until February. Guess I should get on tweaking that proposal!

Feeling the love…

Reaction from this weekend’s bout is pouring in and all I’ve seen is positives even though we lost…

We had 17 new skaters show up at fresh meat practice on Sunday (that’s more than enough to fill a roster)…

Comments like this are appearing in my inbox…

(From a member of the Gnarlie’s) I am just blown away. What impressed me more than how our team pulled it together on the track, to win over a tough team, is the sportsmanship and the hospitality the Dames displayed. Derby is a hard-hitting game and this bout was no exception. As soon as it was over I was slapping hands with a team full of smiling faces; we came home to ‘friend requests’ on facebook, ‘thank yous’, and warm wishes from members of their team. The Dames are true ambassadors to sport of roller derby. We are so grateful to have made friends with them and can’t wait to host them in Rossland this summer. Way to leave your hearts on the track – and the dance floor!

Dames are being recognized in their places of work. People are coming up to them and commenting/talking derby…

My little blog has suddenly taken on a life of it’s own, gaining views and new subscribers daily…

All of this is just so overwhelming…

Thank you.

Game thoughts

First of all, I’m super-proud of all the rookies, especially those who played in their very first game last night! Seeing gals I helped train, only a few months prior, the basics of stopping and falling, bring it all together, was an amazing moment for me!!!! Congratulations gals!

For our game against the Gnarlies, we got our asses handed to us, 239-135. But what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger and facing an opponent who shut us down so many times no matter what strategy we threw in, goes to show how much work we need to do.

Mamasita from the Calgary Roller Derby Association said it best, “Losing will only make you stronger.” (Follow her on Twitter @mamasita_muerte. She coaches the men’s Calgary derby team, the Glenmore Reservoir Dogs and plays for the Thrashin’ Lassies)

Also congrats to Mamasita for becoming the new arm wrestling champion, defeating our own Nixxi Knox at the after party!

As for jamming, it wasn’t my greatest performance. It felt like everywhere I went there was always a wall of 3 red shirts and it was tough to shake their blockers. Have I said how fantastic this team was???? It was an honour to play with them.

An unfortunate hit in the second half caused my neck to lock up funny and I had to sit out and ice it for a few jams. I was disappointed in myself for not playing more, especially since jammer Half Pint got a hit in the first half which reduced her playing time and our other main jammer Bones O Fury got taken out in the first half with a knee injury.

I feel with every game comes a whole new list of things to work on and as we play more teams, the list grows and seems endless. It goes to show how physically & mentally demanding this sport is and how frustrating it can be when things just don’t go as planned. But if I continue to set goals, celebrate small personal victories and not give up, I’ll get there eventually.

But you know what makes it worth it? The fans! I can’t say enough about how amazing our fans are!!!!! I’m pretty sure we surpassed attendance from our first home game and they stayed with us even though we got hammered!

The response after the bout from the crowd was fantastic and I got my first autograph request from a fan, signing his program and tshirt!

And the after party… Wow… If you go to the games but don’t come out after to share a beer or two with us, you really are missing out. The penalty wheel was brought back and yours truly was called up to spin it for a major back block penalty that everyone but the refs saw. As a result, Miss Scarlet Bloodbath of the Gnarlie’s, who was also celebrating her 19th birthday I believe, was the receiver of a muff dive from Cherri. (It’s as dirty as it sounds; I still have whipped cream caked in my hair)

So that’s what happened yesterday! Disappointing, but fun all at once! And now, the special mentions…

• Dick Pounder – our guest announcer from the Calgary league. You are so great at what you do and we love your support!
• Mamasita for amazing half time encouragement. I wanna come skate with you and be your paduwan.
• All our refs and NSOs – we had crew from multiple leagues in Alberta, Saskatchewan and BC. These men and women drive for hours to help us out. Their jobs are hard and their derby dedication is phenomenal.
• Hugh Johnson from our league for reffing his first game!!!! Congrats on popping your Cherri!
• Ref Kid Kickurass from Medicine Hat for promising to spend hours with me working on my starts. (Ima gonna hold you to that.)
• Mister Fister from Medicine Hat for helping us out on our bench.
• Random people who came up and congratulated me on my performance. Thank you so much! It means a lot!
• All the media crew who came to check us out! (Shaw, CTV, the Endeavour, LCTV, I hope that’s all of them) Thank you for taking the time to spread the derby love to those who couldn’t be there.
• And to those who promoted the event leading up to it (Lethbridge Herald, The Lounge, Rock 106, Shaw, Global, Lethbridge Living, Lethbridge News, Lethbridge Nightlife, I’m sure there were more, I apologize for not remembering them all) We appreciate the time and space you give us!
• Tanya for running our scoreboard. Seriously, we love you and hope you’ll come back skating with us soon!
• All our volunteers, so many to mention, but if you saw how many we had, you’d be impressed – again, amazeballz!
• The Lethbridge Skateboard Association for coming out and showing us what they do.
• Mamasita and Spaz for bench coaching our rookie game!
• All the fans who stayed till the end! You’re hard core!
• My derby wife, Betty Believit! You inspire me!
• The Deathbridge rookies! Next game we’ll be competing for roster spots. Gulp! I have to step up my game after seeing you play! You rock my world!
• The Gnarlie’s – damn you’re good!
• My Dames – seriously, can my heart bleed any more love for you gals???
• Everyone who came out – you make all the planning, training and execution totally worth it!
• And thanks to anyone I missed. It takes so much manpower to put on these events. We appreciate all you do to help us keep derby in Lethbridge!

If you attended, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to make things better! (Was the concession lineup more bearable this time?) What did you like? What didn’t you like? Would you go again? Please don’t be shy… I wanna hear it all, positive and negative.

Until next time, derby fans!!!

Dear readers, it’s game day!

Good morning everyone!!!!

For those who follow me on Twitter already know today is the big day!

I have a lot to do, including figuring out my boutfit, pitching in to help my derby wife move and hit up the Exhibition around 3 for some free skate time.

I was very frustrated to find out last night that the new sets of wheels I bought, don’t work for me in our bout venue. I was sliding out all over the place so it looks like I’ll be switching to my outdoor wheels for this game.

I have no problem with my outdoor wheels, they just aren’t as narrow and pretty as the new ones I bought. The search for my perfect indoor wheel continues…

See you all tonight!!!!!!

Spelling lesson – derby style

According to The Canadian Press Caps and Spelling textbook, the spelling of roller skate changes depending on the context.

Here’s your lesson. Now pay attention, children…

How cool is it that 'roller derby' is in Caps and Spelling?

What does this mean?

“I am going roller-skating.” The term roller-skating is a verb, and therefore should be hyphenated.

“Where are my roller skates?” The term roller skate is a noun, and therefore should be two words.

However…

Here's where it can get tricky, kids!

By this rationale, “I am going rollerskating,” is also acceptable when using the term as a verb.

In summary…

NOUN – two words
VERB – hyphenated or one word

Class dismissed 🙂

How I clean my roller skate bearings

Before a game we try to get together as a team and do an evening of skate maintenance, which often leads to bad lube jokes (likely due to the fumes of all the cleaning products). It’s a great way to bond as a team and last time it lead to us all painting our nails the same colours in preparation for the bout.

Last week I went ahead and cleaned 2 full sets of bearings on my own. Without the distraction of lube, fumes and nail polish, I figured I would document how I do it and share with y’all.

Things you’ll need

Containers, dirty bearings, bearing puller, a small screwdriver or nail file, cleaning agent of your choice, rags, canned air, lube, etc.

**DISCLAIMER: My way isn’t necessarily right, but the procedure is what I’ve picked up from reading, talking to other derby gals and asking questions at skate board shops. If your way works for you, keep doing it!!!! If you see me doing something glaringly wrong, please speak up!!!!!

Removing your bearings from your wheels…

The best way is to get a bearing pusher/puller. Most multi-use skate tools have them. Below is a video of how to get them out. It’s sort of a wiggling/round-and-round motion. It’s easiest to pull from the back of the wheel, then push your tool through the middle of your wheel to pop the other one through and out.

Bearing tools are available at most skateboard shops.

How to tell if your bearings are dirty…

If they look like this…

I know the focus is off, but you can even see the grime on the bearings in the background.

Then they are dirty.

If you hold them between your fingers, give them a spin and they make grinding noises or don’t even spin to the count of 1, then they are dirty.

Wiping surface dirt from your bearings help a little, but if little grains of dirt get caught between the balls inside the bearings, you need to take them apart for a deeper clean.

Before I go on, inspection…

It’s important to also inspect your bearings for loose parts & make sure they aren’t lopsided. Remember we are putting a lot of pressure on our bearings by almost always leaning in one direction. I’ve never had it happen to me yet, but I imagine bearings will eventually start to bend over in the direction you’re leaning in over time, especially if you don’t rotate them. So if they are clean, lubed but still don’t roll well, they should be ditched or made into a keychain decoration.

Taking apart your bearings…

Before you take apart your bearings you should wipe all surface dirt away with a towel. My bearings have removable crowns on the back. You must be careful when removing them to avoid cracking or breaking the shield. I use a small eyeglass screwdriver to gently pry the crown off the back.

The dollar store sells cheap little screwdrivers perfect for this job.

There are many different styles of bearings on the market and how you take them apart varies. The bearings shown above have an easy-to-remove crown. However if you also remove the rubber shield on the other side, the little balls will fall out and roll all over your floor. Don’t do that if you have these types of bearings. A commenter below said that with these types of bearings its usually easier to remove the rubber shield and keep the crown in place. So do what works best for you. (Thanks to Rink Rolled for the info)

Bearings that have 2 rubber shields on both sides usually have spacers in between the bearing balls to hold them in place. Use a safety pin to pry out both sides of the rubber shields.

Bearings that are fully encased in metal, aren’t able to be taken apart to be cleaned (to my knowledge). But Rink Rolled says this…
“Bearings with metal shields can be cleaned (except cheap sealed ones). Metal shields are held into place with a metal C-ring along the outside of the bearing. The C-ring can be removed with a pin and the shield will come right off.”

Edited to add (Dec. 23, 2011)
I found this great video that shows the different ways to take apart bearings. Check it out!

What to use to clean your bearings…

Once all my crowns are removed, I put all my bearings in 70% rubbing alcohol. Better yet, if you can find 99% alcohol (you usually have to ask for it behind a pharmacy counter) do it. Paint thinner and kerosene also work but they stink and those are hard on your skin. Bearing-specific cleaner purchased at your local skate shop is also an option. Some use environmentally friendly options as well, but be careful in what you choose because if there is any film or residue left on those little balls, they won’t roll nice. EG: Dish soap isn’t great for bearings.

Soak em if you got em!

My rookie mistakes!

The first time I washed my bearings I used soap and water. I let them soak too long and the little balls were literally rusting before my eyes. If you’re going to use water, make sure you have a way to dry them FAST! When I saw them rusting, I panicked and grabbed my hair dryer and frantically started blow drying them on the hottest setting. Don’t do that either because it kinda shrinks the outside rubber shield which helps hold your bearings together. If you have a hair dryer with a cool setting and want to try that out, go for it. More about drying your bearings below.

Cleaning the crowns…

One of my teammates told me to not wash the crowns with chemicals or rubbing alcohol as it can break down the plastic. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but now I give them a warm soapy water bath and get the dirty grunge of lube and dirt off with a toothbrush, while I let my bearings soak in the alcohol. Then I rinse them in water. To finish the crowns, I give them a quick rinse in the rubbing alcohol, to ensure any leftover residue is gone, then towel dry.

The crowns get really gross when mixed with your lube and dirt.

Cleaning the bearings

I give them a good scrubbing with a toothbrush, shake them in the alcohol and repeat until they are clean. Then I towel dry them to get rid of the excess moisture.

Brusha, brusha, brusha

Don’t have a brush? Here’s an even BETTER option!

After you take them apart, put all your bearing pieces in a water bottle, fill it alcohol and shake it for 20 minutes. This advice comes from Coach Pauly himself! Under most circumstances, the friction of shaking the bearings in the alcohol is enough to get them clean.

Edited to add (Dec. 23, 2011)
Below is a great video that explains in detail how to clean bearings. Some of his techniques are different than what I outline, so you can choose what works best for you!

Drying the bearings…

If you use paint thinner, that stuff evaporates very quickly. Other cleaners may need a little help to dry before the bearings start to rust. If I can’t find 99% rubbing alcohol and use a lower percentage, I use canned air and give them a blow to make sure. But if you’re lucky to know someone who owns a mini air compressor, that’s a cheaper alternative. Give them a good blow to ensure all moisture is out of the bearing.

Its recommended you have more than one can handy for this job because the cans freeze up and lose their blowing power with constant use.

Inspect your bearings

Make sure the balls are smooth, no pits and the inside track is clear of debris or other issues.

Putting your bearings back together…

Using the little screwdriver that I used to pry off the crowns, I position each individual ball to approximately match up with the sockets of the crown.

Sometimes you need a steady surgeon hand...

Then I press the crown in. If everything’s lined up nice, it should snap in easily. Careful not to push too hard to crack or break your crown.

Dont force it! Use your screwdriver to reposition balls while the shield is sitting loose on top if its not snapping in easily.

If you have the bearings with the spacers in them, all you have to do is snap the rubber shields in place.

What if your bearings fall apart during the cleaning process?

Watch this video…

Add the lube…

This can be done before putting on shields/crowns or after. But it also depends on the kinds of bearings you have and how they are put together. I’ve done it both ways, mainly because sometimes I forget before replacing the shields. I do one drop on opposite sides of the exposed bearing, though I’m told one drop is also good enough or maybe do 3 drops for good measure. You don’t need to use skateboard lube for this. You can go to Canadian Tire and purchase 3 in 1 automotive oil and use that as well. Speed cream that hairdressers use for their clippers and other devices is just fine too. Essentially, any kind of lubricant on the market that is meant to reduce heat and friction will work on your bearings… another Coach Pauly tidbit.

Give them a spin…

Put the finished bearing between your fingers and give it a spin! It should have a nice WHHHHHIIIIIIRRRRRRRR sound (but not tin-sounding, otherwise you need more lube), come to a smooth stop and roll for a decent amount of time. If you hear odd noises coming from your bearing or if it stops abruptly during spinning, you probably shouldn’t use it anymore. Or you can try to soak them overnight and give them another shake or brush to try and make them come back.

Keeping your bearings cleaned and maintained is a good way to extend the life of your bearings which in turn, helps you save money. Make sure you give yourself a couple of hours to do this process and it’s way more fun doing it in groups.

Happy cleaning!!!!

**EDITED TO ADD Talk to your local skateboard shop tech guy for more information about cleaning bearings! They skate in way more dirty/nasty areas than we generally travel too and are a wealth of information! They also sell fancy cleaning containers to help clean your bearings more effectively!

Something a little less serious… helmet decorating

For those who pay attention to the derby world, they know that it’s not only the derby name and boutfit that can show a player’s personality. For those who aren’t familiar, if you get a chance to catch a derby girl standing still, check out her helmet.

Many adorn their helmets with paint and stickers (both of the home made or manufactured kind) to enhance their derby persona or show personal convictions, political ties, social stances, sexual orientation or support of, favourite music, hobbies, etc. etc. etc.

According to my blog, March 14, 2010 was the first time I officially skated with the goal of becoming a derby girl and it took me until December 17, 2010 to mark my helmet. I don’t know the process that other gals go through when stickering up their helmet, but being a graphic designer, I took the decisions I had to make about what to put on my helmet very seriously; thinking about shapes, colour and spacing between all the paraphernalia I had chosen. Fittingly, I placed my first sticker with many of my dames present, during a Christmas crafting get-together. (Yes, we craft together. Don’t judge.)

My first sticker…

Back of my helmet: A little diddy I picked up at a Van Halen concert that I was just waiting for the perfect spot to stick it on.

For those not versed in the words of David Lee Roth, that’s a line from Panama from their 1984 album.

Swinging my helmet around, you see a couple familiar symbols…

Left side: A Rollergirl sticker where I have bought pretty much ALL my equipment from, the front of a Cherry Blaster wrapper and of course my number tucked in by my ear.

I used double sided carpet tape to get the wrapper securely attached to the helmet. Yup, carpet tape. We’ll see how that backfires on me…

And now the front…

My name, enhanced with a star.

The letters are cheap dollar store ones and they are kind of starting to fall off from jammer panties being put on and off over them. I may reinforce with clear tape over top, or I may see how my name evolves as the letters fall. (HER LAST would be pretty funny if the letters fell that way.)

And now swinging around to the other side…

Homage to my fandome of all things Mac and the back of the Cherry Blaster wrapper. I’m made of delicious ingredients and you could probably scan me too if your smart phone has an app for that.

Those present while I adorned my helmet with stickers would tell you I had minor panic attack moments before attaching my first one. Not only is it a big commitment, like choosing pint striping for your car (Do people even do that to their vehicles any more?) but the pressure to make those stickers move around a curve and stick without bumps or seams is very difficult. I failed on each and every one of them. Oh well. Adds to the charm, right?

So that’s my official helmet debut on this blog. But I’m growing tired of talking about myself. I want to know what’s on YOUR helmet and what made you choose that for your helmet.

I can’t be the only one who obsesses about this stuff, right?

RIGHT???!!!???

Cue step 2 – nutrition goals

This was my first week of mixing gym and practice. It went okay; I’m determined to keep up with it as long as I don’t burn myself out.

Here’s what my schedule was…

Monday:
• ran 4 miles

Tuesday:
• derby practice

Wednesday:
• ran 4 miles

Friday:
• ran 2 miles
• weight training focusing on arms, back and abdominals
• derby practice

Wednesday was a particularly challenging run, immediately following a practice on the previous day. Even though I was begging the distance timer to hurry up at around mile 2, I still made myself push through. But it gave me a wakeup call.

With the energy I’m going to be expelling over the next little bit, I’ve realized I need to change my diet to help fuel my body better. Many of my derby sisters have taken on the Roller Derby Workout Challenge, a Facebook group that has been created with 8 weeks of exercise and diet plans. I’m not doing the official challenge because the menu is a little to strict for me (sorry I can’t give up sugar and cream in my coffee). However it has helped me sit down and think about what I’m putting into my body.

Diet Goals/Strategy
• Eat breakfast – even if it’s a slice of dry toast, eat SOMETHING
• Replace my favourite sugar/salty snacks with trail mix
• Replace pop with cranberry juice, energy drink or water.
• Drink at least 3 bottles of water a day.
• Cut out alcohol.

I know the nutrition gurus out there will say that choosing juice/energy drinks as an alternate isn’t good and trail mix isn’t the best choice for diet either. However, I want to be clear that I don’t desire to lose weight but to fuel my body effectively so I don’t peter out.

I also know that sometimes I will still snack on some sour gummy candies, have a Whopper or drink a pop at 1 a.m. and that will be okay because I know, all-around, that my eating habits are still better than what they were a month ago. And if I have a shitty time at the gym or at practice the next day as a result of what I ate, I’ll only have myself to blame.

As for cutting out the booze, after an unfortunate over-consumption situation I put myself in over Christmas, where my kidneys were screaming in pain the next day, I’ve pretty much lost all my desire for the stuff. The occasional beer or glass of wine aside, I don’t plan on drinking with the purpose of getting drunk in a long, long time.

So, dear readers, that’s my plan of action for the new year. (Remember, these are NOT resolutions) I encourage you to set your own nutrition goals and feel free to share them here so we can support each other!