Monday, September 23, 2013

While the City Sleeps

Having to wake up early seven days a week can occasionally be quite exhausting. That alarm clock rings at 5:45 six days a week, at 6:30 one day a week. When am I supposed to sleep in? With no other place to skate on Saturday, I skated early Sunday morning and had a lesson with my coach. My ONLY coach, if you read my last post. I was feeling a bit sluggish, having spent Saturday in class for hours. I love ASL, sometimes, it's just so intense, I end up wanting to sleep for a few hours. I had no expectations regarding my skating. Wednesday's lesson fiasco, which included enough "stink-eye" for the rest of my life, I wasn't sure what to expect. Whatever the reason, something happened: everything worked. Jumps were high and landed cleanly. Spins were centered and fast. And MIF were better than ever. I even performed something called "rolling threes", which made me dizzy, but were quite fun. If you know how to do rolling threes without getting dizzy, please, I beg of you, tell me. I want to incorporate these into my program, but have to stop in order for the world to stop spinning. Sunday was a very pleasant experience. It was followed by a trip to the Brooklyn Museum for an ASL field trip, which was also a lot of fun. Hope I can keep up the good work, pleasant attitude and vocabulary. "While the city sleeps While the streets are clear There's a life that's happening here. While the tourist dreams In his Statler bed Here we're living those dreams instead..."** While the City Sleeps from Golden Boy. Music by Charles Strouse. Lyrics by Lee Adams. ** Decided to go a bit old school and obscure with this quote. This show, based on the 1937 play by Clifford Odets, was produced in 1964 and starred Sammy Davis Jr. There is your theatre history lesson for today.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Best Laid Plans

Did you know it's still really, really, really dark at 5:15am? I found this out this morning as I left the confines of my apartment to walk down the five flights of stairs (the elevator has been out for three days thus far) to my car, happily parked right in front of my building. I was nervous with anticipation. I had the highest of hopes. I was having my first jump lesson with a coach I had never met before (we spoke on the phone) at the rink in Long Island near work. I drove the forty-five minutes to arrive early for my 6:30 so I could warm up and maybe have a short conversation with him. Paying for the session, I asked if he was already here. I was informed that he wasn't expected, but if I had arranged a lesson with him, he'd be there. But he never arrived. Skating my MIF, which are really getting better; except for those darn back inside three turns which are forever too late and the forward inside threes which are forever too early. The rest of the moves were looking healthy. Every so often, I'd glance at the clock thinking maybe he's just running late. Forty-five minutes into the hour long session, I stepped off the ice to inquire about his whereabouts. The lady in the office called him on the phone; he had over-slept thanks to setting his clock for PM rather than AM. He had never done that before. Lucky me. We rescheduled to the first Wednesday in October thanks mostly to a series of 7:45am conference calls I must attend. Seriously, who schedules a conference call for 7:45am? I must attend because my boss doesn't get up until 7:45; thus explaining why she arrives at work at 9:30am (I arrive at 8:00). I'm not quite sure I will attempt this again. If you're familiar with the term "giving the stink-eye" then you'll understand. Upon stepping onto the ice, one young skater gave me the stink-eye so deep, I looked around to see if someone else was the intended victim. Nope, for as the session continued, this stink-eye was tossed my way over and over again. When I got off the ice to inquire about the coach, the kid's mother gave me the stink-eye. Huh? I can be overly-sensitive; I admit it. I'm a pretty sensitive person with a developed thick-skin, but when a coach also gives you the stink-eye, it's time to re-think your choices. Not sure I want to give my hard earned cash to people who give me unpleasant looks; especially if I've smiled at them to indicate that I'm harmless (Just so you know, there still are people out there who are afraid of other people who are a different skin color than they are. Yep, it's stupid and annoying, but after a while, you get used to trying to put their worries to rest.) I am not throwing the "race card" because I think I could have been green and an adult and gotten the stink-eye. I had forgotten that this particular rink isn't very fond of adult skaters. My bad! With that in mind, I'll look for somewhere else to skate. Maybe I can find some ice time within a subway trip since I no longer have a parking spot. (If you want to know how difficult it is to find parking, here's an example: Monday evening, I drove around for forty minutes looking for a place to park. I finally found one, but it meant that I would have to move my car before 7:00am or get a $105 parking ticket. You cannot arrive at your car at 7:00am, the ticket will already be there. You cannot sit in your car after 6:59am, the ticket will be written while you're sitting there. No, your car must be in gear and moving at 6:59am. I kid you not.) It's too bad about the jump coach; it would have been nice to have a second set of eyes. Oh well, back to the drawing board...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friends from the Past

A few weeks ago, I met up with an old friend who was in town with two of her three sons (My Three Sons... maybe someone should use that title for a TV show...) for an event her eldest son was participating in. We've known each other for what seems like forever. We met years ago when she was a competitive Junior Lady and I was a rank beginner. During the time we have known one another, my friend has moved about a dozen times, briefly become a pairs skater (she's as tall as I am), fell in love, passed her Senior test, competed in more competitions than I could ever count, graduated from college, gotten engaged, gotten married and has had three children. I, on the other hand, have purchased shoes. Seriously, I don't think I've improved all that much since we met. She asked me about my tests and jokingly said that I've been working on them forever, since before we met. I think that might be true. She is toying with the idea of temporarily moving to NYC; which would be great for her son, and pretty cool for me. As a former national competitor, she would probably have a line up of kids and adult who would want to take lessons from her. I'd be one of them. Under her guidance (and I think while she was pregnant with her second son), I took my Adult Silver Freestyle test. I didn't pass (partially because I left out a required element, also fell into the boards on a required jump)but it felt pretty good going out there and trying. She made me work so hard, every night I went back to my room and iced my knees while sitting with a heating pad on my back. (Forgot to mention, this was during one of my trips to Adult Skating Week in Lake Placid, NY.) My body didn't know if I should be hot or cold. It was pretty good. Best time I ever had at Adult Week. Fast forward to my skating now. It's sporadic, thanks to pain, finances, classes and cooling systems. My heart is still in the sport, even if my body and pocketbook are fighting me. Before you suggest skating public sessions, I will repeat something I said almost a year ago: public sessions are few are far between here in NYC. What few there are, are usually held while I'm at work. I still don't believe my boss will agree to me skipping out the door, smiling and calling over my shoulder, "See ya soon! Gotta go skate." Call me crazy. As for moving out of NYC, I have three, yes, three family members. That's it. And we all live in NY; three of us live really close to one another (okay, one is my room mate) and the other lives just a few hours away. So, moving away is really out of the question. Plus, I live in New York City! Hello.... I know my friend would be able to improve my skating, if we could ever schedule lessons. But she lives in Buffalo and I don't. Therefore, I will do the next best thing: practice, practice, practice. Since I no longer have a parking spot, I am hesitant to take my car to the rink on Friday night for fear I won't have any place to park it upon my return. I'm sure this is a unfounded fear, but, try to imagine a five city block radius, with approximately ten apartment buildings on those blocks. Every other person has a car and the only parking is on the street. Also, each block has a fire hydrant and you can't park near them (I never remember how close you can park to them) and some of the other residences are houses with driveways. You see my problem. I am looking for a parking spot to rent, but meanwhile... "Are you pulling out or just parking? Parking? Okay, thanks!"