Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Coach Yoda is positive I can do Back Inside threes. "You should be doing these by now," were his exact words. But the physics of it has either escaped me or is lost on me, or I've just managed to convince myself that these are harder than they really are. Possibly both.

"I did try them this week," I assured him today. I didn't say I'd only tried them twice. I don't know why, they're not overtly scary. The worst I do is hitch up and turn on the pick, and catch myself with my other foot as I tumble sideways. There isn't the sheer terror I had when learning mohawks, just frustration.

"Try one now," he pointed out to the ice. So I did. I set up with a back crossover, got on an BI edge, brought the free foot forward, thought I turned my shoulders and rode up on the pick again.

"I'm panicking," I admitted. "I panic and ride up on the pick."

"You started off on the pick. Get off your picks."

At least he's honest.

I set up again. Back crossover, RBI edge, free foot forward, turn outside the circle and scrape, but it turned.

"You turned that time," Yoda pointed approval. "But stay off the picks. Turn your shoulders, not just your arms."

I set up yet again. Back crossover, RBI edge, free foot forward, turn everything above the waist outside the circle... and my blade flipped to a neat FO edge for about four inches. There was a satisfying shove from the blade itself as it happened, but quickly halted since I was slow going into the turn. But I did one! "That's one!" I said happily.

"Well, now you have to do more," Coach Yoda smiled.

I did try more, and I turned on every fifth attempt or so, and only RBI3's. But it was an auspicious start. Given the success I had with BO3's on both sides on Monday, backwards threes don't seem very much farther off. (Bend the knee coming out of the turn.)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Competition what what?

Ever since I started skating, I've wanted to compete. I don't know if it's because I'm competitive or I like performing or what, but the idea appeals to me so much. The excitement, the drama, all of it.

Yet it's never been mentioned in my direction. My first coach just didn't take me seriously about the whole thing and seemed to think I'd be content going in circles or doing ice dance. (No.) Coach Fab was getting me closer to the ideal by being serious about testing and getting the skating itself remarkably improved. But it was starting to frustrate me that I still wasn't competing. Moves is fun and all, but dammit I want to perform, and it seemed like the only way I was going to be able to truly perform was in competition. The Ice shows are okay, but adult skaters are so limited in what they can do. For my show solo I only had 53 seconds, which was practically nothing before I had to melt back into the adult group. Yes, I was frustrated.

Today Home Rink was closed, so I thought I'd miss my lesson. But Coach Fab is fabulous and he doesn't forget about me. He texted me saying he'd found some ice and could I come. Of course I said yes.

So I trucked to City Rink and bought an hour of ice, skating for a half hour before my lesson. My feet seemed annoyed since I'd worked all week thinking I'd have the day off the ice. They didn't want to skate. But I reminded them that we had a massage later on and please cooperate. So we did moves and spins, a few Salchows, waiting for Coach Fab to get done with his student and get to me.

He skated over and said he was sure about the test date, and also there was a competition we could try. I nearly died. Finally!! We didn't work on the program, just more Moves and Sit Spin (which is coming easier but I'm still on two feet. Have to bring the free leg around which is scary still... but it's getting there!)  He watched my five step mohawk and reminded me of when we'd started working together. "You only do five now. Before you did ten. But now you do it like the book." Yup, I remember. And now he was talking competing, which even if we don't do this one, it's on the table. I finally feel like I'm getting where I want to be!

Coach Fab had more kids to teach, but asked if I wanted to stay until ten to talk about it. I had to go, since I made a promise to my poor achy self that I had to keep.

Dr Magic shares his office with Massage Genius, who worked on my shoulders (BO8, BI8, BO3, BI3) lower back (edge pulls, BO3, BI3) quadriceps (edge pulls) my left leg and hip adductors (spirals, mohawks, extension and all the off-ice work I do to open up my hips) and my ankles which are always tight.He also dug into some muscle deep in my hip that i had no idea about, but felt better once he finished with it. When he got to my feet I thanked him profusely. We talked about different sports, and how the one that makes the participant happy is the best one for them. Apparently there is a fued between the Runners, the Pilates people and the Yoga people. The Crossfitters are too busy chucking trucks at each other to get involved. He does some form of yoga that seems tougher than most.

So, competing is a Thing now, and I'm so happy. I came home to go back to bed and thought about my revamp of the costume. See ya'll on the competition circuit real soon!!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Rain of Terror

It's late May and the weather is finally warming up here. The birds are nesting in the eaves of the building, squirrels are in the recycling bins fishing out half eaten granola bars, and you have to watch for the occasional lumbering skunk or possum in the early morning hour. But the Wildlife isn't limited to the outdoors.

Inside, the insects are blossoming as indoor insects will always do. The problem is, a great majority of them make their homes in the rafters above the rink between the steel ceiling and the insulating sheet. There's a lot of holes in that sheet. And bugs and spiders are raining down onto the ice with terrifying regularity.

Spiders are most common, tumbling down onto the ice where they get about a minute of scurry time before they start to slow down.

Spider on the ice!!!

I happen to love spiders, so if I can catch one just as he's slowing down, I'll warm him up and deposit him outside. Even a spider that seems frozen can sometimes be revived with some warm hands. A pair of male skaters were once circling a recently stopped spider of considerable size. I picked up the poor thing, whereupon male skaters freaked out and thought me crazy. I am a terrible person and could not resist chasing one of them with the spider, who was warming up and starting to scurry again. Where I come from, it's bad luck to kill a spider, so I figure saving them is good luck.

We also have House Millipedes that fall. I do not like house millipedes, a.k.a. Eyelash Bugs. Those things can freeze in hell for all I care, and for some reason we have kamikaze millipedes that seem to wait until I am right underneath them to drop. Maybe with my Catch and Release Spider Program, I'm hoping some of these spiders will remember my kindness and eat some of these hateful millipedes.

50 Pairs of Harlicks, please. I Pronate.

This morning I was practicing my Lunge/3-Turn manuever and realized I was on a lunging course with a centipede frozen to the ice. I tried to alter course, but there was an ice bump right on the inside three turn path, so I had no choice but to collapse the lunge rather than touch a centipede that might still have some scurry to it. (No, it was not a large centipede but it was ugly.)

Fortunately none of my millipede or centipede encounters have happened with my coaches present. I have managed to fool both of them into thinking I am a strong, brave woman ready to try most anything. If they saw a millipede land on me, my carefully crafted image would be shattered as I leaped in terror screaming "GET IT OFF ME GET IT OFF ME!!" And as much as I love Spiders, I don't like Surprise Spiders.

I know lots of my fellow skaters don't like the spiders, but maybe the Spiders are just like us. They just want to dance.

I iz John Curry Peeplez!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ice Charades is Writing a Sequel!!

Have you read Ice Charades; Penguins behaving Badly? If you haven't, and you're a child of the Eighties looking to explore her lost fantasies of gaudy outfits, bad makeup, French Braids and European Travel, then you need to read this book. *Plus* there is Ice Skating. You need to read this book. I've got mine on my Kindle, and when I get tired of reading "serious" things I just click back to this standby, and I'm on the ice with Showgirls in Fishnets and fiberglass Owl Heads.

This book actually gave me the courage to try False Eyelashes for this past show. (It wasn't so bad!)

But then I read that Miss Ice Charades is writing a *Sequel!* I will be dying a little every day until it comes out! Miss Ice Charades, write faster! My Kindle is incomplete until I get this book!

Please please please put this book in my Kindle!

With Love for my Skating Family

I was feeling like hell yesterday. I'd done some heavy duty work at the theatre on Monday night, stripping down the grid completely and hanging a basic plot for a Memorial Service for a Friend. Tuesday I attended the Services after work, followed quickly by a rather dramatic Advisory Board meeting at the Rink. Summer Practice Ice Schedules are out and some folks are crying foul. (Even though there is actually more ice for them, which is amusing.)

By the time I was done, I was totally fried, physically and mentally. Wednesday we got some really bad news from a Friend, and it downed everyone with sadness all day. I just wanted to go home and go to bed, but I had to drop off test forms for Coach Fab's signature and my own Contract for Summer Ice. There are two Adult Only times and I wanted to be sure I got on them.

I pushed through a terrible headache and severe stomach cramps, drove to the rink and found my mood immediately lifted. I assembled my papers and forms, got handed a baby, warmed the hands of a little girl I skate with on Saturday, was greeted by Pairs Coach from Winter (and thought happily that I had Coaches to choose from these days.) I watched the practice session for a bit with the baby, fending off the "Are you skating?" questions with "No, I can barely stand." Coach Fab breezed in, I threw the envelope at him so he could get to his Student, I dropped off the baby in the monitor's booth, and then I was a little loathe to leave.

Whatever bothers you outside of the rink typically does not follow you in.

Today I started to get excited about testing, now that it's a Thing again. Hopefully this round won't be as panicky as last time, now that I have some idea of what I'm doing. I'm only unsure about the 5 Step Mohawk thing on one side and the now scanty three Power 3 Turns I get on the Bronze MIF test. (Yes, Coach Fab cut one. It's a nightmare.)

However it goes, I'll be glad to get it done so I can go back to the Program, because at that point we can take the Program out and compete with it. I want to revisit the costume for that program as well, since I fell in love with Elizaveta's dresses from last season. Another Skating Mom has asked me to make the Season's dress for her daughter, and she wants a practice dress of her own, so we're all going to go fabric shopping after class on Saturday.

Skating, whatever else it may be, is always a lovely haven from my day-to-day routine. We can laugh at our collective lack of ability, celebrate the little successes, nurse each other through the hurts, and encourage each other in what we think we just can't do. We're not a clique, we're not a gang. Anyone can dive in or out at any time, we all have different coaches and everyone's cool with everyone else. It's the way a skating community should be, and one I'm so grateful to have.