Thursday, December 29, 2011

What the Deuce???

Don't you just hate it when something works so wonderfully when you're in lesson, but when you try it on your own the next day, you body just refuses to do it?

That was my backspin today. No matter how hard or how often I tried, all I did was hit the toepick and fall off. It just refused to work. I mention this only because it worked so well yesterday, while in lesson. Today? Nothing. Oh well.

Being off from work for the week inbetween Christmas and New Years has advantages. I've skated three times this week; two times more than my average. Plus, I didn't have to ice monitor for any of the sessions.

The rink has announced a competition in February. Wouldn't it have been nice if they had given us more than 2 months preparation time? They knew when the competition was scheduled, how about posting it in late October/early November instead of the week before Christmas? I have decided against doing this competition. Why? Tired of coming in last.

If you've read my earlier blogs, my hair has been a number of colors, including blond. After a comment from my mentor in ASL, I have decided that maybe dark alburn/reddish brown isn't my color afterall. Plus, the upkeep is a bear. So, after New Years, I'm back to the salon for a darker, closer to my own really, really, really dark brown, not quite black hair color. I do miss my blond hair though, but not the damage it did.

Although I've been back at the gym and working out, having the week off is doing absolutely nothing for my eating plan. There's chocolate in this house and it has my name on it!!! Also, my abdominals are no stronger than they were two or three blogs ago. Hmmm..... wonder why....

Be that as it may (one of my favorite phrases, along with "Not for nothing, but..."), I am back at the rink tomorrow morning, so I should get some sleep.

Wishing you all the happiest and healthiest New Year. Thanks for reading!

P.S. I may post a photo next year, if I ever figure out how...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Highs and Lows

Before I start this, I must vent (well, maybe not MUST, but I will)...

If I see one more idiot on public transportation chewing like a cow, I think I just might scream long enough and loud enough to make the gum or food drop out of his/her mouth. Animals don't have lips so they cannot chew with their mouths closed. But, surprise, surprise!!! So many people chew like cows!! And it's really, really ugly.

I mention this for two reasons: 1) there's a girl in my class who chews like a cow 2) everyone on the uptown subway chews like a cow.

Vent over.

Last Wednesday, I had the absolute best session I've had in a very, very long time. One hit on the old inhaler and I was ready to go. (Sidebar: Doctor tells me I have chronic asthma; like COPD. Really???) I worked so hard, I was sweating by the time my lesson was over. But the best part? I didn't have first lesson. I hate having first lesson because it takes my body so damned long to warm up. It warms up faster if I'm wearing a heat pack on my back, but I haven't had a reason to do so yet. In case you hadn't heard, NYC is pretty warm this autumn.

Sorry, I'm babbling...

Anyway, Amy, best coach in the world, had another student, a child, so I had second lesson so the child could go home early. I warmed up by doing most of my Moves in the Field before the lesson. By the time it was my turn, I was ready to go. I flew through ALL of my moves. No, they weren't all perfect, but they were done. YEAH!!!

This was followed by jumps which went really well. My timing is still a bit off on a salchow jump; I'm spinning them a bit, but they have speed and height. More height than speed. The beauty of being 5'6" tall, I guess.

As for spins, well, I must admit I know why my spins aren't better: I have no abdominal muscle tone. I've been working out and doing ab work, but it doesn't seem to help. Amy made me laugh when she mentioned that my spins would be easier and faster if I had some ab muscles. Well, ain't that the truth!

Be that as it may, I did something I've never done before: 6 revolutions on a camel spin with speed. I probably could have done more, but I came out of the spin. Just imagine my surprise!! It was AWESOME!!

And still more good news: A new entrance on a back spin. After years (and I do mean years) of struggling with a back spin and watching YouTube videos, I thought I'd try a back spin from just a inside 3 turn (left foot. Go lefties!) and it actually worked. It's a bit easier from that entrance and coming along slowly.

Those were the highs. Here are the lows:

I missed Sunday thanks to an appearance of Miles, my migraine. Miles showed up in time for my final at school on Saturday and left Monday afternoon at 2:35. I'm trying to figure out what caused Miles to show up this time, and I've narrowed it down to a really bad, overly sweet cup of coffee that I purchased. (Sidebar: always put your own sweetener in your coffee. That crazy woman put Sweet-N-Low AND sugar in my coffee!!)

Also, skating stops for about 2 1/2 weeks. I could and will go to other rinks and other sessions, but it's annoying that now that I'm on a roll, my sessions discontinue for 2 1/2 weeks.

But it's all good. Everyday is a good day. Things are getting better for me. I am truly blessed.

In the meantime, have a great week.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Storm Clouds

I am really, really tired.

I have been to Gallaudet University in Washington, DC and I loved it. If I had the money and could find a skating rink, I'd go. But that is a point for a totally different blog; one I don't actually publish.

I came to the rink on Sunday full of hope and anticipation about skating. I couldn't wait to get on the ice. Color me disappointed.

On a session that starts at 10:30 and is only 50 minutes long, shouldn't I be able to get on the ice before 10:55? I check everyone in, count all the skaters on the ice and then do it again to make sure it's right. For reasons I cannot understand, I have yet to get on the ice before 10:55. Once I am on the ice, all I want to do is work.

Easier said than done.

There are 4-5 girls, ages 9-11 who cluster together because they're all working on the same thing. I guess because I've always been a bit of a loner, I cannot understand the draw of wanting to work together. Perhaps it's because every time someone says "oh let's do XYZ together", they do all the work and I end up standing, watching. I mention these girls because they ended up getting in EVERYONE'S way during the two sessions today. Program skaters, skaters on lesson, me, everyone.

Fifteen attempts of a waltz jump and I finally got one out, only to jump up and have one of those little girls heading right into me (she was backwards and not looking). I grabbed her and sort of caught her before she slammed into me.

Did I ever mention that I do NOT like children!

While the coach apologized, it was too little too late. Those girls do the same thing every week.

Every week, every coach complains to me. Every week. Every coach. Every week.

I do not make the rules. This isn't even my home club. Complain, complain, complain.

I have to listen to people complain all day at work. I listen to people complain at home. Now I have to listen to people complain at the rink. And I don't get the chance to vent.

Except for today.

I got off the ice and my hands flew into a rage. I didn't realise I could sign that fast or that angrily. I finished what I had to say and someone asked me what I just said because I neglected to "voice" while I signed. I then repeated every thing I signed and voiced it this time. And it boiled down to this:

Every week, I have to listen to everyone complain: coaches, parents, even kids. I listen to people complain at work, at home and now here. I've had enough. There are nothing but a bunch of idiotic, spoiled, oblivious brats out there and I'm sick and tired of having to put up with the attitudes. I am a %&^*(@# volunteer. And while we're at it, skating here is doing nothing for my practice. Why? Because with 110 minutes of ice time, I get to skate for 40 minutes, when I'm lucky. Why the hell should I stay?

I had promised myself that if monitoring the Sunday session was too irritating that I would be gone. Well, looks like I'm gone. Being the type of person that I am, I will finish this half of the season, but really, that's it.

I had hoped that I would get a second lesson on the second session on Sunday mornings, but I've only had one and it was interrupted when a 4 year old wandered onto the ice. It doesn't appear that I will have another lesson on Sundays any time soon, so I guess I can forget that. There are less than 9 sessions left before the end of the year. After that, my Sundays are mine.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you have kids, heed this comment: you are raising a bunch of inconsiderate, oblivious, spoiled brats. Your children believe the sun rises and sets with them; it doesn't. They believe they are the most important people on the earth; they aren't. Teach your children to be polite and considerate and to remember that they have to share the ice and the world with other people.

I am blessedly childless. I am not your nanny and I really don't give a hoot about your kid. My idea of paradise would be an all adult free style session where no one talked and everyone signed.

That sounds like heaven...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Same Old Song, Slightly Different Twist

Due to the lack of decent ice time for those of us who must work in order to remain on said ice, I have returned to the thankless job of being Ice Monitor for the Sunday morning sessions at the rink in Manhattan. Thankless is the key word here.

This Sunday was the first real morning and I received "attitude" from a new parent. When I asked him if he had purchased a card for his lovely little darling, he snapped that he would take care of it later. I asked if his child was skating both sessions and the asshole gave me the hand. He had to watch his darling daughter while she had her lesson. Her coach, the father informed me, told her she could skate this session. I reminded him that it wasn't free and that he had to settle-up BEFORE his daughter took the ice. Again I got the hand.

He settled up with another monitor; one who, I suppose, didn't want to kick his ass for his attitude.

As he was waiting for his daughter to take off her skates, I loudly said, "I'm a volunteer and I don't take crap from anybody. I'm an adult; I don't have to."

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: THIS IS NOT MY HOME CLUB!

I had a lesson on the second session and perhaps from having to walk back and forth so much, or the amount of champagne I drank (love champagne - drink of choice) or the fashion show I attended the day before, regardless, my timing was slightly off. An ill-timed movement of my arms in a jump sent a searing amount of pain through my shoulders. It's amazing how a new pain can cause your eyes to tear when you least expect it. Jump landed; shoulders screaming.

Side bar: didn't tear rotor cuffs; just strained them severely. There's something else wrong with them, but I forget what it's called. All I know is: better living through chemistry!

Session ended, one of the higher level skaters complained about two or three of the lower test skaters who skate through a special program in upper Manhattan. Okay, it's Harlem. The Novice Lady insisted that the uptown girls kept getting in her way; her mother chimed in that they (uptown skaters) needed to "stay where they're supposed to" (she meant the west side of the rink). However, the more she said it, the more my blood began to boil. Her darling daughter constantly got in my way during my lesson. This child saw me in the air and decided to stop right where I was about to land (I landed anyway; she moved). And the true culprits of horseplay on the ice were 2 new girls on the session, NOT the uptown skaters. I finally said that her comments were bordering on racist. Although I was told no, and I corrected the mother about the skaters, I will always have these comments in the back of my head.

Figure skating is expensive, yes. But it doesn't have to be an elitist sport. It's the snotty-ass bitches who try to make this an elitist sport. Personally, I'm sick of the attitude.

The club isn't doing well financially, probably because of that elitist attitude. Either way, I had some ideas to get additional skaters (adults) on the ice. Must wait until regional competitions are over to have the club president bounce them off the rest of the board.

Can't blame a girl for trying.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Back On Track

I took a really bad fall on Tuesday.

I was doing a flip jump and somehow opened up in the middle of it. The next thing I knew, I was flat on my back with my feet flying over my head. I did a nice shoulder roll that I was never able to do on demand when I was taking gymnastics (which was a dumb idea for a 5'6" woman). I got back up and did a few more attempts, but I must admit, all sorts of places hurt on my body and I limped off the ice and went home.

I also hurt my wrist, but again, I don't know how.

I was asked if I hit my head. I don't think so. To be quite sure, I just don't remember.

My skating schedule returns to normal on Sunday and I'm thrilled. What I don't like is the 8 1/2 block walk to my car in the early morning hours. I will have to find someplace else to park when I have to get up that early.

For now, my wrist still hurts and I should ice it. And my back. And my shoulder. And my side.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

My vacation is nearly over. As is the summer, which pretty much sucked.

I think I've skated more during my week long vacation than I did all summer. Needless to say, some of my "skills" have decided to remain on vacation, even though it is long time for them to return.

Skills, I expect you back after Labor Day. Don't make me come after you!

I spent most of the summer studying, practicing and absorbing as much ASL as possible. I think my brain is slightly fried, but there's no time for that as school begins again on Tuesday. My stomach hurts just thinking about it.

Or it was the spiked lemonade I just had; not sure which.

This brings me to decision making time.

I don't have a lot of free time anymore. Between the 40 mile round trip commute, school two nights and one morning per week (Saturday mornings), and my favorite, rinks that refuse to have decent schedules for freestyle, I have a very tough decision to make... monitoring the Sunday morning session again.

This time, there is a twist.

My coach, Amy, has agreed to come in most Sunday mornings for me on the second session. I have informed the powers that be, that I am willing to monitor the first session and the first session only. Once that zamboni hits the ice, I am just another skater. Since there will only be two 50 minute sessions, no longer will there be a session for the "elite" high test skaters. They will have to learn how to play nice with everyone else. Too bad if a 7 year old gets in your way. Go around her!

The other twist is that if it doesn't work out for me; I'm gone. Last year was pure hell, evil and the biggest waste of my time. I don't plan to waste my time this year.

I have been invited to the 2011 Police and Firefighters World Games. Just walking into the venue had me missing competing. I really must get my butt in gear. I am still unhappy with my weight and I really have no excuse for it. I must admit if it wasn't nailed down, I ate it. That really has to stop because everything I eat is making me sick. My gastroenterologist still insists it's stress. Perhaps if I took a real vacation instead of staying home studying and grabbing random skating sessions while having to listen to my annoying lead-footed upstairs neighbors, I'd have a bit less stress. (Sidebar: My upstairs neighbors are so heavy on their feet, I know EXACTLY where they are in their apartment at all times. When they walk across the floor, my apartment vibrates!)

I am strangely giddy and optimistic about everything, which is SOOOOOO not like me. You'd think I was finally on anti-depressants again. FYI, they only made sick the first time, which is why I'm not on them any longer. I am one of those people who need to stay busy all the time. Between work (blah!), skating, the gym and school, I can't imagine how I could have time to feel sorry for spending so much time alone and not being in a relationship and never having any fun...

I think I thought too long...

And for the record: there is no such thing as "big-boned". Recently I was called big-boned. While I wish this was a true excuse for my size, I really am just fat. Not happy about it and this time, I will work harder to rectify that situation.

Still, I have 4 days left thanks to the Labor Day weekend. Sleeping in sounds like a plan since I won't be able to do it again until Thanksgiving.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


It's August. I believe I've skated 6 times all summer. And had 2 lessons.

I'm watching my hopes for Adult Nationals, and the need to pass 2 tests to be able to compete at said Nationals, disappearing as quickly as the days are passing.

Last week, I had planned on skating on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, I had an event related to school to attend. Unfortunately, my migraine, Miles, decided to show up on Monday night and stuck around until Wednesday night. I'm still trying to figure out what my triggers are and I'm coming up empty.

With that in mind, I hope to be at the rink tomorrow.

School is over for the rest of the summer; I have 3 weeks before it all starts all over again. I'm on vacation (and going no where) the last week of August. I will be at the rink every day.

In the meantime, I will be doing kick boxing to try to lose some weight. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Welcome To My Pity-Party

This is a mis-mash of emotions I'm going through right now. I feel lost and alone and overwhelmed and frustrated and incredibly sad. So sad I've been forced to buy waterproof mascara and I hate that stuff. (It's really bad for your lashes; breaks them off).

I belong to an adult competitive webgroup. Recently I vented about not having sessions because they were given to hockey. What did I get in response? Comments like "you should move", or "hockey pays for the ice", or "life's tough" and my personal favorite "rather than spending the hour to get to the rink with a lesson with my coach, I work with another coach, or go to my syncho practice or work-out in my pool". Thanks. On a good week, I skate twice a week. A really great week is three times on the ice. And this pain in the rear tells me to work out in my pool. I have a few choice words, but I'll be polite.

Lately, I have felt overwhelmed. I spend a lot of time alone as my sister/roommate is away every weekend. For the most part, I don't mind; I have school to keep me busy and the adding frustration of trying to get a webcam to hook up to Windows Live Messenger and two email accounts it apparently doesn't like. However, it has occurred to me that my life has not gone the way I had hoped by any stretch of the imagination. I have been looking for a new job for 8 years and I'm still working with Jabba the Hut. I haven't been in a relationship since the Clinton years. I can't seem to lose weight and I looked at myself in that stupid webcam and I look like the stuff you scrape off your shoes after walking through a dog park!

My physical health is pretty stable: my cough has never gone away, my sciatica still bothers me, my knees ache from time to time and I've injured BOTH of my rotor cuffs putting on a backpack. As for my love life, well, there is the guy who lives near my new parking space and he'd be fine if he wasn't covered in tattoos, didn't smoke like a chimney and had teeth. Does it help that I have a crazy crush on one of my teachers, who unfortunately is only 27? And probably not straight?

I am overwhelmed with having to clean my apartment since my roomie is never home. Overwhelmed because someone I love dearly is unemployed and finds in necessary to mention this fact in every single conversation, at least 5 times. My plan is to find a better job so I can give this individual $600 a month as "hush money" as in "hush-up now".

I have just been denied my vacation time, not that it really matters. I wanted to go someplace quiet and not listen to anyone complain, since I do that all day at work and afterwards. But surprise, my family wants to come along. I haven't had a real vacation in years.

Since I have skated three times since June 1st, the competition I wanted to do in October is out of the question. You can only come in last so many times before it starts to take a toll on you. When I do skate, thanks to doing kickboxing during my lunch hour (that's NEVER an hour), I am much stronger. The kickboxing was supposed to help with my stress (insert here dizzy spells and nose bleeds), but it doesn't seem to be working. After I finish, my body reminds me that I've injured both my rotor cuffs. I've wanted to get up earlier and get to the rink, but since I'm not sleeping well, it has made that difficult.

I apologize for dumping my feelings on anyone who reads this. If you are one of the people mentioned in this post; I am sorry if I upset you. I'm also surprised that you read it.

Back to work for me. If you hear someone sobbing in the background, pay no attention to it. It's just me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

I'm Still Here

It's been over a month since I put on skates and I must admit I miss it. I'd like to thank the powers that be for changing the schedule and totally screwing up my plans.

Happily, I'll be back on the ice on Wednesday. Unfortunately, I'll be back at the rink in Bethpage, where the skaters will just jump anywhere they so desire. Last summer when I skated there, I took down a little girl who decided that the track was an excellent place to spin. Sorry kid. This year, I have no plans of aborting any of my jumps, so skaters at Bethpage, keep your eyes open.

To quote The Joker from the original (the 80s) Batman movie, "Wait 'till they get a load of me."

Monday, June 20, 2011


I was asked to do a post about Ted, the coach who tore me down, but never built me back up. So, here goes...

I began my skating career in Manhattan and then after leaving one coach, started skating in Long Island. Since I skated mostly on the weekends and one day during the week, it strangely ended up working. That is, until my coach in Long Island decided I wasn't progressing fast enough and dropped me as a student.

Thanks Susan.

So I returned to Manhattan, which, since I worked in Manhattan, worked well for me. I returned to Sky Rink and asked a few friends who they were taking lessons from. 99% of the coaches were booked. One coach simply refused to take on an adult skater (I wasn't going to the Olympics and what do you know, neither were any of his other students!). Since I wanted to become a stronger skater, rather than a more lyrical skater (I already am pretty lyrical), I decided I wanted a male coach.

Someone suggested Ted.

I met Ted and he seemed interested enough in taking me on as a student. He was able to fit into my schedule, which was a 6:30am session with a lesson once a week. Finances prevented me from any additional lessons. That was fine as far as I was concerned.

I arrived at my first lesson with ALL of my single jumps and a massively cheated axel. My backspin had never been strong, but I was able to crank out three of the slowest revolutions on that spin. I was optimistic.

My first four lessons consisted of Ted making me stroke, over and over and over and over and over again. Everything was wrong with my stroking. Everything. Four lessons and we hadn't even gotten to crossovers and each lesson was 50 minutes long. If I was at the other end of the rink, he whistled for me. Yes, whistled. All the time, I just stroked. If I did a crossover on the ends, he told me I was wrong.

I later found out that Ted was an ice dancer, which explained his obsession with stroking.

When we finally got to crossovers, mine were horrible. He had never seen such bad crossovers. Really? I didn't think they were that bad.

Once when Ted was a little late, I did a spin and a few jumps. A friend asked me why I had been spending so much time on stroking and crossovers. I couldn't answer her; I still can't.

We finally graduated to waltz jumps, salchows and the occasional toe loop. My waltz jumps went from being big to being so small it looked like I tripped. Ted was concentrating on the edge before the jump; the jump itself wasn't important. Okay. He changed the entrance into my salchow which flattened out the edge nicely, but ruined the timing, so I spun the jump instead of jumping it. As for my toe loop, it, along with my loop, flip, lutz and cheated axel disappeared from lack of use.

It was right around then that I had mentioned that I wanted to do Adult Nationals. I had already sent in my money and thought this would kick-start a different training program. After being told I shouldn't have signed up for the competition without his permission, Ted told me I should be prepared to come in last.

Off to Adult Nationals where I came in... last.

Upon returning and telling Ted, he said, "I told you so". And proceeded to tell me NOW we could start working at breaking down all of my bad habits and building them back up. I was told it would probably take years, if he was able to fix it at all.

We returned to stroking. And, strangely, flying camels.

It was right about this time that I developed degenerative joint disease in my back. I remember the day the pain got to be too bad; I was tying my skates and I sneezed. My back pain went from 1 to 100000 in a matter of seconds. I told Ted I was in a lot of pain and he said to suck it up. Okay.

I began to skate more practice sessions in a mad effort to keep what few skills I had left: my waltz jump, toe loop and scratch spin was all that was left. If I did my salchow the way I could do it, I'd land it. If I did it the way Ted wanted, I spun the jump and didn't leave the ground. I tried. I worked the way Ted suggested; afterall, he was the coach. My loop jump sort of returned, if I did a waltz jump before hand. If I showed the jump to Ted, he told me I was doing it wrong. However, since the waltz-loop was going well, he allowed me to continue to practice it.

My flip, lutz and cheated axel simply moved away.

Then one day, all hell broke loose. My skates were stolen.

I was inconsolable. I cried, I prayed, I cried, I prayed. Eventually, I scrapped together enough money to buy another pair.

When I returned to skating, I discovered that the rocker on a Pattern 99 blade had changed, causing me to fall down a lot. I couldn't do a jump, a spin or that annoying stroking. It took weeks to be able to get used to the rocker of the new Pattern 99. When I did, I had totally lost my toe loop, which had been my best jump up until that moment.

My skills slowly returned, and during that time, we returned to stroking forward and backward.

It was right about this time that Ted decided that if I was going to insist on competiting, that my taste in music sucked. I have always been a "show tunes, movie soundtrack, ballet music" type of gal, so Ted picked Yanni. I have nothing against Yanni; he's just not what I would have chosen.

Thanks to Yanni, I met Amy, who was cheographing my program. Thank God. She didn't think the music was for me either.

With now three jumps (waltz, salchow, toe loop) and one spin (scratch) and a new program, the summer arrived. With the summer was a change in Ted's schedule and he handed me over to Amy until the fall.

Something happened that I'm not quite sure of, and Ted never returned. I remained with Amy.

My jumps have slowly returned and my spins are always better when I weigh less. Ted wasn't a bad coach; he just wasn't the coach for me. He was a bit too negative for my incredibly fragile ego.

Right now, because of scheduling, I probably won't be able to take lessons from Amy until the fall. The tenative schedule I had has gone down the drain thanks to sessions being given to hockey. I haven't skated in over a month. I haven't lost a pound and I really need to. I will return to the rink on Friday at World Ice, where the parents are rude and skaters are oblivious.

Wish me luck.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm Free!!!!

It is finally over!! The biggest mistake I have ever made in my skating career (except picking Ted as a coach) has finally ended.

My self-emposed sentence as Ice Monitor has reached its end and I am blessedly free from the chore!!

My final session was so much like previous sessions; I skated for 10 minutes. During those 10 minutes, I got absolutely nothing done. Why? There were 30 skaters on the ice. Everyone had approximately one foot of skating room. I didn't even bother to try to do my moves in the field, I did try to work on spins, but that proved to be a waste of time. I really didn't care; all I wanted was for the session to end so I could hand in my paperwork and never, ever do this chore again.

Songs about freedom have been running through my mind: "Me and Bobby McGee", "Freedom" (from the musical Shenendoah), "Free" (from the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum)... The list goes on.

One bright note is that my co-monitor relaxed a great deal as the year went on. Plus, said the sweetest thing. She said she wished I had had the chance to really skate because she knew I could skate and wanted to actually see me do something. I had to agree with her on that one.

So, I have plans (again) and some upcoming time off. (I don't call them vacations because something usually goes horribly wrong.) I have a few things to do during that time which includes cleaning my apartment, going to the gym, skating, studying and attending a theatre opening. I already have the shoes, now to figure out what I'm wearing...

It'll be so good to sleep in on a Sunday. Or go to church.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

One Day More...

I can see freedom in the horizon and I am heading toward it.

There is only one, I repeat, one session left on Sunday mornings for me to monitor. I am almost free! And as I've said before, I will NEVER, EVER monitor again. Being an ice monitor, at least for these sessions, is better suited for a parent and NOT a skater.

Today, I spent 10 minutes on an ice surface that had, including coaches 35 people. The skaters, both lower level and high level, seem to be oblivious to one another, thus explaining the girl who almost took my head off while I was doing a Silver Move in the Field, backwards in the track, and she decided that that was the best place to do a flying camel.

Don't remember where I had my skates sharpened, but thank you, whomever you are.

Normally, I'd be in panic mode because of the ISIA competition on the first Sunday of June, but I'm not doing it this year. It's sort of bittersweet. I'm not prepared and my music hasn't been cut. Unfortunately, this was the only competition I did for 2 years and since I thought I sucked so badly last year, I was hoping for vindication. Oh well.

I'd like to do the ISIA Adult Competition in Florida in late September, but I promised my sister we'd attend a fashion show at the mall and I think it's the same weekend. Being the person that I am, I'll go to the fashion show and not compete again. Doesn't really matter to anyone but me.

I remember when I returned to competiting after several dormat years. It was the first Sunday in June and I was excited because my sisters were attending. Unfortunately, it was also "Tony Award Sunday" and while they attended, it ended up being rather anti-climatic for me. No drinks or dinner afterwards because they wanted to get home to watch the Tony Awards. I understand; it was the year Bret Michaels got conked on the head with a piece of screnary.

It's Mother's Day, so Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. Please stop saying it to childless women; it could upset them more than you know. I'd like to wish a happy Mother's Day to my mommy; I miss you.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Thinking, Thinking...

I was watching a video of random people at Adult Nationals and two things struck me: One: I kept seeing the same people. Two: Not a lot of adult minorities are in this sport. I know what you're thinking: does it ALWAYS have to come down to color? No, but my brown body should have been there.

WIth that in mind, I am going to (again) work my rear end off to take my MIF test and freestyle test and go to AN next year. And I don't care where it's located. (Note please that I say that now. Come August/September when I find out that it's in Alaska or somewhere, I will be complaining, I'll bet money on it.) I haven't gone to AN in so many years, I can't remember when I did last participate. Wait, I think that was the Ted years...

Ted, not a bad coach, just not a good coach for me. I think he quit the business, but I'm not sure. Right now, I can't remember his last name. Right now, I'm not sure I remember MY last name.

I'm trying to figure out my schedule between 3 classes for school, the gym, skating and of course, work. Wednesday night skating at Sky Rink ends in another month and happily so does the disaster called Sunday morning. I'd rather clean port-a-potties than monitor the session on Sunday mornings. I have learned my lesson; sometimes "any ice time at all" is more like "NO ice time at all". Never again.

My biggest concern is Amy and where and when I can have a lesson. I have a class on Saturday morning at 10:00. I could make it to the rink for the 8:00 session, but really, who wants to skate at 8:00am on a Saturday? I really wouldn't blame Amy for saying no to that situation. I could skate the public session after class is over (my class is in Manhattan on Saturdays, in Long Island on Tuesdays and Thursdays - two different schools. Trying to make up for lost time. Long story.) and make for a super long day because I wanted to go to World Ice Arena in the park for the 5:00pm session.

I'm either going to become very fit, very tired or none of the above. What I hope to be is a better skater, fitter and more proficient in my signing. I do have a competition I want to do in October in Florida, however, that means I will be unable to attend a local fashion show I so enjoy watching. But I don't have that date yet and I do have the dates of the competition.

I have work to do.

I have to stop thinking so much and just enjoy the ride. One of my biggest problems (I have several) is that I hate looking foolish. I hold back when skating because I don't really like people to look at me when I'm practicing. I skate small, which is ironic because at 5'6 and over 150 pounds, I am anything BUT small. I stand out at every rink I go to, for various reasons.

As far as school is concerned, I study a lot. And I hate being wrong and looking foolish. It makes for some stilted signing. I need to relax and expect to get it wrong; it is, afterall a foreign language for me.

My dad (RIP Daddy) used to say that I was always thinking. He was right. My mom (RIP Mommy) used to say I didn't laugh much. She was right. Sadly, they are both still correct. I'm working on it.

In the meantime, I have to get to the gym and then get home to stretch some more. I have a spinner I need to use for about 10 minutes and then I have to study for an hour.

What day is today?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where Was I???

Oh yes, now I remember...

In March, I took two days off and skated the mid-morning session at Chelsea Piers. It was a blast. Amy was able to come and give me a lesson on one of the days, and I worked my tail off. These were interesting sessions in that, on one day, I was the youngest and fastest person on the ice. What a boost to my ego! This was the same day that another skater gave me the "stink eye" and told me to "SLOW DOWN!" I had to look around to see who she was talking to and imagine my surprise to discover she was talking to me!

But March was so far away. I don't really know what's wrong these days. Maybe I'm upset because I wasn't able to go to Adult Nationals. Or maybe it's because I've been engrossed in school and sign language to a point, I've found myself signing to myself while half-asleep. Or maybe it's a lack of really good sleep, exercise and fresh air. I don't know. Things just seem out of sort lately. I really can't put my finger on it. I feel as though there just aren't enough hours in the day.

My weight loss was coming along quite nicely until I had to go away (again) for work and work 15 hours a day over a four day period. The only thing keeping you awake is coffee and the only thing allowing you to sleep is liquor. Vicious cycle. But I'm back and trying to get back on track.

I gave myself a treat last Sunday. I did NOT go to the rink to monitor; told them two weeks before I was not available. It would have been nice to sleep in, but my upstairs neighbors are so very good at waking me up, they did not neglect their duties. I was awaken at 6:50 on Sunday morning. 6:50. Their little brat never seems to sleep and she sounds as though she weighs 600 pounds. Her father sounds as though he weighs 1000 pounds because when he walks across the floor, I can feel the vibrations in my apartment. Got to love apartment living.

Amy won't be back until the last week in April. I have all but given up the idea of doing that competition. I don't have my music yet, the program isn't finished and I've hardly practiced. Maybe I need a shot in the arm.

Or a vacation.

Monday, March 7, 2011


It's always difficult to skate a session when you're the oldest, fatest, slowest and worse skater on that session. Add to that a major lack of confidence and a few rude comments and your session is toast.

Yesterday, my session was toast.

I suppose being tired didn't help the situation, but that's no excuse. Being on the verge of tears as everyone literally flew past me is no excuse either.

I could either attack or give up.

I choose to attack.

I had stopped listening to my self-hypnosis cds, so it's back to square one with my confidence level. The weather has improved so I'll be back in the gym too. I'm also, reluctantly, returning to the Long Island rink of earlier posts for the kamikaze sessions in the morning. I've also learned that two other rinks (World Ice Arena and City Ice Pavilion) have or will have sessions I can actually make. Whoo Hoo!

I hate giving up my Sunday mornings for nothing. Between the five minutes I skated on the first session and the fifteen I skated on the second, it was not what I would consider a successful day of skating.

I would like to quit monitoring but I'm not the type of person to quit something in the middle. Plus, there are 9 more sessions before this hell I'm living is over.

I spend most of the first session signing people in and doing paperwork for both session. Several skaters skate both of them and that's the reason why it takes so long. Because of this, I usually don't get on the ice until the session is 1/2 over with only twenty minutes remaining. The second session is for higher level skaters. I had to get permission to skate the second session, which was reluctantly given to me. I don't belong. I am too slow and no where advanced enough at this time. I was once.

I am reminding myself of "The Princess". She was an older lady who would go to Rockefeller Center Ice Rink in full regalia. She'd dress in a (usually) pink skating dress, with feathers, and a tiara. The Princess would bow and blow kisses. I don't remember ever seeing her actually skate, but she was a staple of the rink.

I feel like her. Not quite fitting in, possibly talented, possibly nuts. But still holding on to some vestige of possible skill level.

Not that long ago, things were really going along like gangbusters. Sunday was just a hiccup; nothing to worry about. No concerns, no worries.

There are 90 days before my June competition. I have work to do.

No, I must attack!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bit By Bit, Putting it Together...

The title comes from the musical "Sunday in the Park with George" by Stephen Sondheim. If you can catch it on PBS (from the 90s) I would suggest watching it. Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters at one of their best.

Going on....

Thanks to Winter Break in NYC schools this week, the ice has been relatively quiet, when it wasn't canceled altogether. Today, Sunday, was especially sweet, with so few skaters on the ice, I actually got to skate the (wait for it...) ENTIRE SESSION!!!! And I can tell you I worked my rear end off!!! My loop jump from a different entrance is slowly coming along. I even worked on jumps that I hadn't worked on in a while. As for the dreaded backspin, I got two revolutions out of that thing. I nearly screamed for joy.

I even took off my fleece pullover.

Because of the winter break, Amy, Coach Extraordinaire, was away with her family. I still skated my Wednesday session. I try to be as personable as the next person, however, I am a bit of a loner and prefer my own company. (That may be out necessity more than choice.) Since I have so little ice time, I prefer not to chat away my time with others. I may stop to catch my breath and say a little something, but I'd rather just soldier on.

On Wednesday, another skater said we should have an "Amy lesson" with one another. I knew what that meant. It meant she wanted someone to watch HER. The offer is almost never reciprocated. So for 10 minutes I made suggestions about her sit spin and one or two jumps. Then I started to get cold and said I had to get back to work.

So, here's my question: Why do some think it's okay to stop someone else from practicing just so they can be watched? When did everything become "ME, ME, ME"? Never in my skating career have I asked anyone to watch me do anything, except for a paid coach. And why am I always the person being asked?

I have watched other skaters pass me and leave me in the dust. Skaters who started after I did and who probably didn't have my issues. However, I can tell you those I was friendly with, all of them asked me to watch them at some point. I need to know why. Why me? Why do you need all the attention? Why must you disturb me?

It got to a point, several years ago, that I would never stop long enough to be asked. I'd slow down, but when I saw someone approach me, I'd take off, doing anything. I once knocked down another skater in my attempt to get away. Sounds silly, right?

If you're one of those people who need the attention, that's what a coach is for. The other skaters just want to skate.

Rant over.

I am pleased that skating is coming along nicely. I have my hopes of taking my Moves in the Field test by the end of the summer. I just keep pushing it back. Damn those back inside three turns.

I will miss Wednesday's session because I'm being sent to Austin, TX for a meeting. My boss didn't want to go. Lucky me. She tried to tell me what to wear. I looked at her as though she was insane because fashion is NOT her strong suit. I, on the other hand, watched Fashion Week from my home computer.

So here's to slowly putting it together. Loop jumps, flip jumps and backspins; my precious bane.

As for vacations, well, I've taken a half dozen vacations in the past three years, each worse than the previous. I even took a bad "stay-cation". Still thinking of going to a spa, but was wondering if they can make it a silent spa... Shhhhhh.....

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Different Drum

I have said it before and I'll say it again: Next year, I will NOT ice monitor on the Sunday morning (or any other day) session. On a good day, I listen to countless parents complain about something, then coaches complain about something and then I get to take my unprepared body onto the ice for (hopefully!) 20 minutes of skating.

Until I get interrupted, again.

This Sunday, because of the change in schedule, was as bad as last Sunday. Only difference was, it was 10 times colder in the rink. And my body decided not to cooperate.

Skating, like the sign language class I am taking, is my outlet. My other outlets are working out (which I haven't had the chance to do), writing and taking a lunch hour. I haven't done any of those and it's beginning to take a toll on my mental health.

I have more stress than I can deal with right now. I have family issues that are driving me to the point of wanting to get in my car and drive as far away from everything as I possibly can. No, the issues aren't that severe or life threatening; I'm just tired of hearing the same damned complaints every single blessed day. I'm tired of my upstairs neighbors sounding as though they are Godzilla stomping Tokyo in Doc Marten boots. I am tired of not being able to sit quietly and watch TV in my living room without constant movement out of the corner of my eye. I am tired of listening to daily complaints.

You see, in my job, all I hear are complaints. Doctors complaining about what they are paid, what the state should do to fix something, complaints, complaints, complaints. STOP! I can't take any more. I need everyone to just shut up for a few days. Shut up and sit still.

I need some peace and quiet.

I hate my job. I can't stand my boss. I hate my commute. I haven't taken a real vacation in over a year. I have no social life. I feel as though the world wants everything from me all at once and I just don't have enough to give anymore. I am willing to make a very large sacrifice just so one person will (temporarily) stop complaining to me.

I am running out of pencils to break (at work). I have been listening to my self confidence Cd's and they are helping me sleep, but when I wake up, there are the issues all over again. And they never stop. Ever. Long after I'm dead, someone will dig me up (or take my ashes, I haven't really decided) just to complain to me about something.

I am writing this at work, so I must go. Please excuse me while I do my boss' work now.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This Is Nice

I had a different title for this entry, but I'll get into that later.

Lately, things have been going really, really well on the ice. And I am pleasantly surprised.

I've been listening to a self-hypnosis cd about confidence while I drift off to sleep. I've been told that because it's a cd to listen to while you sleep, it taps into your subconscious. Don't know if that's true or not, but boy have I been getting some really good sleep. Plus, my skating has been off the chart. Of course, there are the elements that still seem to allude me (the right outside mohawk pattern and the right forward inside 3 turn) but I'm sure they'll come around soon. I hope so; I want to take this stinking MIF test and get it over with!

But the free skating is off the chart. I've landed every jump I've done on the first try. The first try!! And every try after that! And I returned to doing a jump I've been unable to do due to injury and (drum roll please) it didn't hurt that much. I jumped and spun like I had "back in the day". And it was wonderful!!

I wish I could say I had the chance to practice on Sunday, but the schedule changed and all hell broke loose. I was on the ice 5 1/2 minutes (yes, you read that correctly) during Sunday's session before monitoring duties took over. It was a good 5 1/2 minutes though... Don't expect this Sunday to be much better; people are still confused about the new session.

This brings us to this Wednesday where things were still going well. And, I fell down. I fell down!!! If you skate, you understand how great it is when you're working and you fall down. It means you are close, so close to whatever it is you're working on. I was so happy to fall.

Until this morning, when I woke up and asked myself, "Who kicked me?" and "Why is there an elephant lying on me?" Two hot showers, some asprin, and some brandy later and I'm good.

This brings us to what I was originally going to call this blog: Ice Network Wants to Give Me a Stroke. Two weeks ago, I wanted to see the live feed of Ice Network on my computer. I sat down and turned it on. But what happened? It seemed that Ice Network no longer supports AOL, which is what I have. I called Customer Service and they were about as helpful as a feather duster during a dust storm. 45 minutes later and I was boiling. I was so angry I wanted to jump through the screen and strangle someone. I downloaded not one, not two, not three but four, yes four programs at the suggestion of the customer service rep and it still didn't work.

I wrote some of the most scathing emails to their customer service department. I demanded my money back, I stated that I would contact the FCC and the state attorney general's offices of both the state they were in and my state. My blood pressure rose to heights I had never seen (at least not while on medication).

Funny how if you complain enough, people actually take notice.

I received a call from Texas on a day I was home because of the snow. Together, we got Ice Network to work. I have been trying to send an email to the company telling them how great this particular rep was, but the email won't go through. I'll keep trying though.

Final thoughts: Skating is going really well. And, I still need a vacation.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

When Life Hands You Lemons...

Add vodka, ice, a little sugar and stir...

I've been working out quite a bit; kick boxing mostly. Kick boxing is a wonderful way to work off stress. You just pretend all the people who annoy you are in your line of fire and POW!! A left hook, a right jab, a round-house kick... You feel 100% better.

Funny thing is, it is improving my skating.

I had been working out on and off for a few months. I re-joined my old gym because it was on the way home from work (when I drive). Then winter decided to show up in the NYC area and with it came snow, snow, a bit more snow and ice and freezing temperatures. As a result, I haven't been driving to work (which has been reducing my stress. Are people now getting their drivers licenses on the back of cereal boxes?) which also means I haven't been going to the gym. Desperate to loose a ton of weight in a healthy manner, I started working out at home, and returned to working out during my lunch hour (40 minutes) at work.

What happened? Other than a really sore backside, I had a heck of a lot more strength, stamina and core stability. As a result, Wednesday's skate was absolutely awesome. Did everything go perfectly? No; nothing is perfect, but this was the best skate I've had all season. I had cat-like landings on jumps, three revolutions on that vile backspin (the bane of my skating existence!) and back three turns as good as I've ever done.

Hot diggity dog-dig!!

Sunday, it was cold. Very cold. I arrived at the rink and warmed up, checked people in and hit the ice. I stupidly wrapped my knees a bit to tightly, so bending was a little harder than expected, but I did double threes, some moves in the field, a few jumps and a couple of spins. I learned that I need to warm up just a bit more because my timing was a bit off, but, all in all, no complaints.

And that session was crowded! We were full. Full of little kids. There were only 3 of us skating over five feet tall; everyone else was my shoulder or below. Sixteen skaters, thirteen short. Even with the coach who took over 1/4 of the ice to teach his student with the traveling pole, I was determined to have a decent skate.

One of the parents even said, "I didn't know you knew how to skate." Thanks, I guess...

After performing my monitoring duties during the second session, I skated the third. It was a good day.

Amazing what a little kick boxing and putting one's foot down about ice time can do!

Now, a glass of lemon aid...

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Has anyone seen my balance?

I've been having balance issues suddenly when on the ice. It's as though my feet and legs belong to someone else. Someone who has never been on skates before. I am reminding myself of Fred Flintstone when he went skating to stay awake because they thought he had a dinopetic germ (Dino had it). In this cartoon, his feet flew out from underneath him (until he got mad at Barney and could skate like a charm). While I'm not falling, I feel as though my feet will fly out at any given time. It's weird.

Of course, having skates too sharp to stop can't possibly help.

So, I've decided on a re-boot. Working out daily, eating healthy, skating in the morning. Everything anew.

Naturally, it snowed, once again grinding NYC to a halt.

I don't like driving in bad weather (or on ice for that matter), so I'm taking the train into work. That means, I won't be at the rink until the snow melts, which may be the spring since the forecast calls for another snow storm in 4 days. I also can't get to the gym since I rejoined a gym near where my job used to be located (10 miles from where we are now) and it is not located near my office. That means working out at home. Okay, I can do that. Of course that also means going to bed at a decent hour (12:45 is NOT a decent hour) and getting up at 5:45. When the snow melts and I'm back on the road, skating at 6:15am, 5:45 will feel as though I slept in.

Joining me on my re-boot are all of my old physical issues, neglected recently, deciding to join the party with a vengeance.

Tammy, my facial twitch has subsided greatly. Now she only shows up when I'm on my way to work or after an exceptionally annoying phone conversation. Everyone else has decided to hang around for a while. They are like relatives who show up, eat all of your food, break all of your expensive items, take up space, never leave and don't pay rent.

Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes on it. (No mistakes on it yet.) - Anne of Green Gables.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What to Do... What to Do...

Returning to the ice on Wednesday evening was exciting and fun. Fun because I really wanted to skate; exciting because I had just had my skates sharpened before the Christmas break and couldn't stop.

After running into the boards a few times, I decided to ignore my inability to stop on a dime and just enjoy my lesson. I have odd bad habits, like riding my toe pick before jumping so that I slow down, or not being able to do the simplest move if I think about it too much. However, Amy worked her magic and all but 2 of my moves in the field are almost test ready. To fix the others, I am using those moves to go into jumps, thus learning to do them faster and while not thinking: I'm too busy thinking of the jump.

Wish that I could bottle Amy and take her with me wherever and whenever I skate.e

That brings me to Sunday's session where I ice monitor. Today I have 20 minutes on the ice, however, I seemed to be unable to do anything productive. It takes me a long time to warm up and when a parent insists on having a conversation with you while you're trying to warm up, it defeats the purpose. This caused me to make a decision.

I told my co-monitor that because I was getting so little time on the ice, using carfare and waking up 3 hours before the beginning of the session, that I would finish out the month of January and no longer be the ice monitor.

I thought she would faint.

To be fair, she drives in and it takes her an hour to get to Manhattan on Sunday morning. If she had to monitor the 10:00 session, she would have to leave at 9:00 and hopefully, not hit any traffic.

I said I would figure something out.

Maybe I could get to the rink early and jump rope for 5-10 minutes before stretching, working my feet (my sister/roommate's term) and putting on my skates before my ice monitoring duties. This way, I'd be warmed up before hand. It's a thought. I'm really at a loss because while the club appreciates what I'm doing, my skating (at least on Sundays) is not improving at all.

I suppose I could try to get up at 4:30 and get to the rink before work. But 4:30?? Even the birds are still asleep at that time.

My confidence level has sunk to a new all-time low. I only feel good about my skating when I'm in lesson. I feel fat and clumsy and all out-of-sorts.

It'll get better; I know it will... I hope.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


It snowed on the Sunday after Christmas in NYC. Snow in NYC causes the outer boroughs to grind to a halt because the Mayor takes all the snow plows and cleans up Manhattan. This is especially true if it snows near New Years Eve. Tourists come to Times Square to watch the ball drop; native NewYorkers stay home. I stayed home.

I was unable to get down the ramp to my car and therefore unable to see the new rink. Because the Mayor concentrated all the clean-up efforts around Times Square, the crosstown bus wasn't running to get to the rink.

Thank you Mr. Bloomberg.

I spent the week fighting off migraine headaches and an upset stomach. I return to work on Monday.

Just as soon as I finish digging out my car.

Happy New Year.