All posts tagged: Play

I Joined a Rollerderby Team at 46

(Photo courtesy Shelly Rabuse) Here’s the thing: Most weekdays I’m a website designer, jewelry crafter and mom with a 13-year-old daughter and a husband who works in finance. And while I live in the suburbs of Philly, I’m not your typical 46-year-old suburban mom. On weekends I like to “jam,” throw “whips” and “booty block.” And by jam, I don’t mean canning up strawberries. This kind of jamming. I’m a brand new member of the Penn Jersey Roller Derby team. How did I get here? My history of roller derby goes something like this: Philadelphia Warrior: One Saturday afternoon, when I was 14-years-old-ish, I happened to be watching roller derby on a black-and-white TV in my room. My dad came in, flipped out and told me “you aren’t supposed to be watching that junk.” Remember, in the ’70s, women’s roller derby was more like pro-wrestling with women really slugging each other. Some of the same people in those leagues — like the Philadelphia Warriors — are now our coaches. It wasn’t like I had any …

How I Lost (And Regained) My Handstand

When I lost my dream job, my life went topsy-turvy — so much so that I also lost my handstand. I’m not talking about a gymnastics-style handstand — the kind where perky and muscular athletes like Nadia Comaneci or Gabby Douglas walk around on chalky hands to win Olympic medals. I’m referring to the yoga handstand, often done with the help of a wall. Known in Sanskrit as Adho Mukha Vrksasana, this handstand is my favorite yoga pose. The benefits include increased blood flow to the brain, which is obviously very helpful when it comes to thinking on your feet, once you’re upright again. Typically, this handstand is one of the poses you do toward the end of class, after you’re a malleable and sweaty pretzel. You’re now all warmed up and your shoulders are nice and loose, so your body is perfectly prepped for that handstand. I’m by no means a crazy athlete, by the way. But being able to pop myself into this handstand was just one of those karmic things I could …

The Wishful Hobbyist: Finding Time and Space to Be Crafty

(Photo Credit: Stacy Morrison) I have a confession to make: I live a secret life. No, no, not like that — though that would surely be interesting. I’m talking about an imaginary life in which I do hobbies. The hobby projects themselves are actually real and fully formed in my mind: making a beautiful scrapbook of my son’s first years, stringing together hundreds of 5mm labradorites to craft a dramatically long necklace, sorting through the collective family photos of three generations and making photo books for the Morrison clan. But I haven’t actually done them. At least not yet. I have all the raw materials, carefully and painstakingly researched and collected over many months and years. (My son is ten, for crying out loud. I bought the scrapbook before he was born.) I have drawings and plans and dog-eared references. I have carefully stored raw materials and neatly aligned good intentions. I want to be a person who actively does hobbies! I come from hobby stock. My father built model trains (H-scale, if you know these …

I’ve Become a Non-Alcoholic Craft Beverage Snob

(Photo Credit: Andy Kropa) When I drank (especially toward the end of my “drinking career”, as they often say in AA) the quality of the spirits was of little meaning to me. Sure, I loved fancy Manhattans and extra dry Ketel One martinis, but at the end of the day, a bottle of Old Grandad or a pint of Absolute did the job just fine. And to be frank, I was a vodka girl at heart  — all I really needed was a chilled glass, some ice, and olives. Eventually, I didn’t even need the ice. Or the olives. And eventually, I didn’t even need the glass. So when I’d go out to small gatherings, and my craft-beer-loving buddies would offer me their favorite brews, or my wine connoisseur hosts would kindly offer a glass of their top-tier red, I graciously accepted. But I honestly didn’t give a rat’s ass about the robust, hoppy flavors or woody notes. I just wanted to get drunk. So here’s the kicker. I think my sobriety has transformed me into …

The Consequences of Play

The Husband’s Secret/Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $16, Amazon.com; Rebecca/William Morrow Paperbacks, $12, Amazon.com Reading today’s bestsellers can lead you back to more great books. In this installment, I’ve got a great pair of reads to help us all consider the consequences of what can start out as “play.” My au courant pick is The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, a deliciously rich batter of a novel studded with deceit and menace, instead of chocolate chips and other sweet things. The Australian author set her story in a leafy suburb of Sydney and centered it on three families with ties to a small Roman Catholic school. Wait, don’t say you’re yawning! Within this suburban bastion of Tupperware (sold by perfect wife-and-mother Cecilia Fitzpatrick) and macaroons (a vice for school secretary Rachel) lurks the unsolved murder of Rachel’s daughter Janie, which occurred decades earlier in the 1980’s. There’s also a sealed letter from Cecilia’s husband John-Paul, and Rachel’s growing suspicions that PE teacher Connor Whitby may have more to do with the murder than anyone else knows. Meanwhile, …

If You Play Chess with a Six-Year-Old, Plan on Losing

I can’t imagine having more fun in an afternoon than losing a chess match. Really. And I’m not a loser. Here’s the game: Find the nearest six-year-old and challenge him to chess. Not checkers. Chess. It doesn’t matter if he has any experience playing the board game or not. He’s still likely to beat you. And that will be fun. And therapeutic. Here’s how I know: One spring day in Sonoma, a six-year-old named Oliver appeared on my doorstep with his Dad, who was my friend. With a full head of tousled hair, Oliver wandered around my home, scouting a spot for entertainment. He took little notice of the big screen TV and even the energetic, eager-to-play Labrador, complete with ball in mouth. He was looking for a game — a chess game. “Can a six-year-old play chess?” I asked, laughing. “Of course!” Oliver’s dad insisted. So Oliver and I headed off to the outdoor picnic table with game in hand. Initially, Oliver looked disinterested, but this was clearly a poker face. He quickly set …

Football & Me: Where is the Love?

Lee Corso (left) as “Big Al” and Kirk Herbstreit on ESPN. (Photo: TueNight’s TV Sett) It’s that time of year again. Every year, around Labor Day, a virus creeps into my household (and 99.9% of America’s households), settling into its primary host: a television screen. In an effort to try to understand this phenomenon, I’ll occasionally stand in front of this screen, watching colorful dots of moving, huddling figures grouping to the left, then to the right and then to the left again. Accompanying this is a persistent, roaring noise that crescendos as the swirl of dots mash into each other or break-off from the pack. Usually this culminates in a piercing whistle. “Honey, can you please move, I’m trying to watch the game.” Football season. The time when my husband deeply considers the value of buying an NFL Sunday Ticket (access to every single football game). A time when the couch becomes something to be negotiated. And as hard as I try (ok, I don’t try that hard), I can’t seem to follow the …

Dad Introduces Daughter to The Breeders

It started with a spat. My husband and I were listening to music while cleaning the house together when I noticed that all of the songs coming from his iPhone were sung by men. I made a snarky comment about how the father of two daughters has an obligation to expand his playlist. He snarked right back that he’d be happy to play all the female artists I could provide him. Raised eyebrows on both sides. Later that night, he posted a request on Facebook for suggestions of “solid female music” and struck a chord. He got 95 responses, most with multiple suggestions: Aretha Franklin, Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell. Some people even posted several times throughout the day as they remembered more: Liz Phair, Neko Case, Aimee Mann. People shared the post with their friends and the list grew. Stevie Nicks, Lucinda Williams, Etta James, Joan Jett, Patti Smith, Pat Benatar, Marianne Faithful. A friend who works at a radio station WBKM was inspired to do a ‘Ladies’ Night’ on his show. We read the lists together, amazed, talking …