Wednesday, December 17, 2014
With everything that has happened in my world in the past six/seven months from losing my job to having injured feet to losing three people, then falling into a depression, I can say it's been rough. But I've been lucky because a few readers have sent me notes of encouragement and concern. I thank you. I still don't have a job, my feet still hurt, I'm still fat, my back still hurts 24/7 and my skating is an extremely slow work in progress. I'm trying. It's a daily challenge, but so is everyone else's life. So, I take this moment to wish everyone out there there the happiest holidays ever. Laugh as much as you can. Dance like no one is looking (because chances are they aren't looking). Sing when you want to. Love when you can. Happy Chanukah! Merry Christmas! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy New Year! Happy Skating! See you next year.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
About 10 years ago, I taught group lessons to a bunch of girls from Harlem, NY. It was a challenge on many levels; one of which was the 2 hour subway/bus ride to get home. But, for the most part, the girls were sweet and the other instructors were great. This brings me to Alyssa Joy Stith; one of the instructors. She was a competitive figure skater. She was talented. She was sweet. She was a great choreographer for kids. I lost track of her when I was in mourning for my mother and she was getting married. The last thing I said to her was "I'll see you soon, I promise." Alyssa Joy Stith, figure skater, passed away on November 30th. I don't know the details. All I know is that a dear woman has left this world and we're all a little emptier for her departure. This year, I have lost too many friends/co-workers/colleagues. I can't do this right now. It's really just too much. Toss in the holidays and well... you can guess how I feel right now. Exercise helps. But really, I wish people would just stop dying for a while...
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I'm not in a good place. I can't shake this feeling of despair, affectionately known as depression. I've been here before. I have no desire to skate. Or get out of bed. Daily showering is an effort. Most days I don't leave my apartment, even to get the mail. I've lost a few pounds because eating is an effort too. So is sleeping. Drinking isn't. There's hope that this will pass quickly and my tolerance for being around other people will dissipate. I have the time to skate, but absolutely no desire. I'm taking some time off to re-evaluate my life. It might be a short period of time, it might be a longer period of time; I don't know. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving all. "Hard to tell you How I feel Everything is so unreal. Lord, this life Is a hard thing to get through... And harder still To leave..." HOW I FEEL from The Me Nobody Knows. Music by Gary William Friedman and lyrics by Will Holt.
Friday, November 14, 2014
I had this crazy idea to skate every single day for two weeks. Well, maybe not every day because there isn't a session I can make on Saturdays because of school. So ALMOST every single day for two weeks. And not just skate, but actually get some stuff done. It boggles my mind that after years of performing in musical theatre, I get shy and uncomfortable when someone watches me skate. I really need to get over that; it's not helping. It's actually making things worse. And speaking of things getting worse... I must announce something not even my physician knows: I am 5'6 1/4 inches tall. And I weigh 186 1/2 pounds. I shouldn't weigh more than 140 pounds, which means I am almost 50 pounds overweight. I mention this only because my extra weight is impeding on my skating progress due to the outrageous amount of pain I end up in after a skate. This ends today. So, on top of skating everyday for two weeks, I will also be working out twice a day, eating healthy and looking for a job. Oy!
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I had an interview today for a company I can only describe as a Ponzi Scheme. It might not be, but when I left the two hour presentation, my stomach hurt and not because I hadn't had any coffee. If a company you have never applied to, calls you up and tells you you're exactly what they're looking for, but doesn't really tell you the name of the company, proceed with caution. Migraine headaches prevented me from skating on Monday and Tuesday. My Wednesday night lesson was canceled and it's raining cats and dogs here in NYC. The next ice day will be Friday since I have an appointment with Unemployment to determine that I am indeed looking for work. As a side-bar: it's sometimes very depressing to be unemployed after so many years. I have again returned to monitoring the sessions on Sunday morning. This past Sunday, I got ten whole minutes on the ice. I must find somewhere to purchase a whistle; I can't keep screaming "CLEAR THE ICE!!!" every week. I asked a coach (not mine) how to pass my MIF. He said he hadn't really seen me skate in years, so he didn't know. I mentioned that due to back issues, I had a problem twisting on the back inside three turn. His response? "How much twisting do you need to do with your back? Turn your foot." He then told me he has the same problem with his back (degenerative joint disease) and to "suck it up". Well DAMN! I have been schooled!! This also brings me to something I saw on TV today. A woman always wanted to be a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saint football team. After three (I think) kids, an incurable kidney issue, and being 40 years old, she tried out for the squad. She got a call-back and then another. Long story short, she made the squad and is now the oldest cheerleader for The Saints. What's my point? I have no real excuse. I may have a creaky back, but I can stand. I may not have a job, but I have a roof over my head and enough money to pay my bills and skate. Public sessions early in the morning aren't crowded, I can get used to that. And not being inside my home all day will prevent me from eating everything in sight. I'm trying to be more accountable and have fewer excuses. If I can dream it, I can achieve it. "Throw me a rope to grab on to. Help me to prove that I'm strong. Give me the chance to look forward to sayin': "Hey. listen, they're playing my song." "Play me the music. Give me the chance to come through. All I ever needed was the music, and the mirror, And the chance to dance..." ** **The Music and the Mirror from "A Chorus Line" Music by Marvin Hamlisch. Lyrics by Edward Kleban.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
My Thursday night freestyle session is no more. The rink sold the ice time to hockey. Surprise, surprise, surprise. Off to another rink: World Ice. A facility that shares space with a swimming pool. One day, I will get my courage up and try again to learn to swim. Yes, I know, most people CAN swim. And no, it has nothing to do with race; it has more to do with opportunity. While most kids were learning to swim at camp, I was either at Church Camp, or in theatre camp. There's no swimming in Church Camp (bathing suits can be sinful) and in theatre camp, I was too busy learning lyrics, dance steps and lines. On to skating... The session before I skated was the Power Skating session. Every single little girl on the session skated the session I was on. It was like they were hyped up on sugar. Arms and legs were flying across the ice, and sadly, not one of them had any control whatsoever. I have never figured out why a coach would teach a skater an axel when she can't hold an outside edge, do a three turn or stroke properly. But what a great looking axel she has! Arriving at the rink 40 minutes early allowed me the opportunity to actually warm up before skating. What a novel concept! Performing exercises to warm up my aching muscles so I don't end up in so much pain that it hurts to take a breath! Someone alert the media! Somehow, even with arriving 40 minutes early, I got on the ice 5 minutes late. Hmmm.... Before I go any further, I would like to say that 99% of the skaters on the ice did not look where they were going. How bad was it? Two crashes; I had nothing to do with either of them. There was a near-miss involving me; a girl skated right at me while looking back at her parents. I moved; she hit the wall. Left back inside three turn, you have met your match and I am she!!! Yes, that's right. My left back inside three turn has returned, and it is never leaving me again. Ha ha!! I have found you!! Right back inside three turn, you are next. I have my eye on you! And you, backspin, we will meet again soon. And I will be triumphant!! I have the position, I have the hook, I have one revolution. It is a matter of time before I have you in my hands... or feet. I think I may start to tape my practices. All of this progress left me limping from pain, unfortunately. I wonder if my foot pain is gout. I don't know anyone with gout, so I must rely on the internet to determine whether that's what it is. I mention it only because my foot has been throbbing for three hours and no amount of ice is helping. This Sunday is the send-off party to those little ones going to North Atlantics. They get to do their programs snd then attend a party. I get to announce their names. Since I have all this time off, I believe I will go to the $5.00 daily public session. It starts at 9:00, so it eliminates many people who have to be somewhere else. Who knows? I may be telling you about my right back inside three turn next week. One last thing: coach said I was too good a skater to allow back three turns and outside mohawks to prevent me from taking a passing this test. A vote of confidence!!!! Now I dance!!! "I feel groggy and weary and tragic Punchy and bleary and fresh out of magic But alive, but alive, but alive! I feel twitchy and bitchy and manic Calm and collected and choking with panic But alive, but alive, but alive!" But Alive from "Applause". Music by Charles Strouse. Lyrics by Lee Adams.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
My last session left me in a great deal of pain. This is probably because of the intense workout I did earlier in the day. Had much pain? I still hurt and I skated three days ago. Add to the pain, a bad sinus headache and some depression and you have three days without skating. It's okay; I live in a duplex apartment (it's really a house that was marketed as a duplex) and I've been going up and down the stairs, very slowly. I surprised my coach by slowly performing a proper backspin with a total of 2 1/2 revolutions. We were both thrilled. My backspin success prompted her to allow me to try harder jumps. My disappearing flip jump almost returned, short of those crossed feet, causing me to land all the way around... on two feet. Grrrr.... Feeling like I couldn't lose, after my lesson, after faithfully practicing my moves again, I decided a camel spin was in order. I had speed, I had flow... I had a back spasm and my skating was over for the day. As I limped home, I thought more about the adult competition I wanted to plan. After receiving my exciting 9 responses (yes, 9), I thought about forgetting the whole thing. Why should I bust my hump trying to plan, plead and organize a competition when I couldn't even get a dozen people to respond to my query about an interest. Perhaps I continue because I'm stubborn. Or maybe it's just to spite the people who refused to respond; I don't know. What I do know is that I can no longer discuss it with the other ice monitor who I occasionally share a ride to the rink with. She's tired of hearing about it. How do I know? She told me this afternoon while we were working on a club event. She said skating was for the young and the club really didn't care about the adults because the money was in the kids. Point taken. However, the kids come and go; adults stay. Or they would, if they received any kind of respect. Three adult skaters have left that club because of the lack of opportunities and respect. This alone is one reason why it is not my home club. While my home club has no ice time, at least they treat me well. From my 9 responses, one suggested that I organize a competition in November. Hello?? Ever hear of a little thing called Easterns? One of my favorite lyrics comes from the show listed below. The lyric? "Keep your eyeball on the highball in your hand." "As we stumble along 'cross life's crowded dance floors. As we push and we shove we live and we learn. And when we finally leave the bar, And we see that morning star, we pull our boot straps up and homeward turn..."** As We Stumble Along from The Drowsy Chaperone. Music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison.
Monday, September 22, 2014
I believe it's in the movie "Rush Hour" when Chris Tucker asks "Do you understand the words that are coming from my mouth?" I understand his frustration on many levels. My dear readers, in my last blog, I posed the question as to whether or not you'd be interested in an adult skating competition in the NYC area in February/March. I asked that you please post your responses. I've received no responses, but only ten people have read the blog at this point, so I'm still hopeful. However, if you're reading this PLEASE tell my your thoughts on a competition in the NYC area in February/March (of 2016) before I try to convince a skating club to sponsor such a competition. Today, I skated part of a public session that began at 9:00am. It was relatively empty, with one speed skater (how DO they skate on those things? The blades look like my kitchen knives!), two hockey skaters; one who could skate and was semi-obnoxious about it, and another who couldn't skate well and lived in his own little world, singing at the top of his lungs to the music from satellite radio. Also joining me was a woman I know, doing figures and a young girl working on jumps and spins. Pretty empty. I worked on three turns until my back and legs ached. I must find a better warm-up for my creaky back because after ten minutes, I was in pain. Forty minutes later and I was in a lot of pain. My back doesn't really like the cold, or the heat, or humidity, or standing, or sitting or lying down. I'm not sure what my back does like, but as soon as I find it... The three turns were not my best, the left back inside was better than the right back inside and that has never happened before. I did a few outside mohawks, but that involved twisting too and well, twisting was not really on the menu this morning. Back spins. The bain of my existence. I managed to eek out several of them, but they were probably the ugliest, slowest back spins you'll ever see. After doing what I considered my best, another skater popped one out like she was taking in air. Oh well... That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I limped home, my knees and feet throbbing. My head achy from a lack of coffee and my back reminding me who the boss is. I sit at my desktop, typing this, wondering how many OTC medications I can take before it gets dangerous. Hopefully I'll be on the ice again on Wednesday. Until that time, I'm off to locate my heating pad...
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
This weekend, I volunteered to ice monitor at the 89th annual Middle Atlantic competition. I was lucky enough to witness some beautiful and exciting skating. It made me want to work harder. Since I spent the three full days standing in a cold ice rink, I was unable to skate an early morning public session. That's okay, I will workout and remain inspired. As a result of watching the competition, I have decided to try to organize an all adult competition in the NYC Tri-State area. I don't exactly know what it all entails but, since the Winter Classic was eliminated about six years ago I feel there's a need for an adult competition in the NYC area. The Winter Classic was canceled, not because of lack of interest, but because there weren't enough volunteers, nor enough competitors from the sponsoring club. Hershey no longer has adults at their competition, nor does Princeton. I skated all of those competitions, during some of the worse and best times in my life, including when my mother was dying in a hospital. While I wasn't always prepared and my nerves got the best of me 99% of the time, once I signed up, I skated. I miss those competitions; it gave me something to work towards other than hoping to test to go to Adult Nationals. I would like your opinions on the matter. Would you travel to NYC for an all adult competition prior to sectionals and nationals? Would you come at all? Yesterday, while battling NYS Unemployment (they have my name wrong. I have submitted EVERYTHING short of digging up my dead parents to confirm that my name IS my name), and possibly having to change my name to what NYS has on file and then change it back to what it is, I discovered that the rink right next door to my former employer has evening freestyle sessions. Another rink, not far from that location also has evening sessions. Where were these sessions when I was driving 42 miles round-trip to that hell-hole? THAT would have made the job tolerable. What a slap in the face! Trying to stay optimistic while spending 2 1/2 hours daily looking for a job. Will workout later, after I try to put my sister's new bed together. I had it together yesterday, but had two major pieces upside down!!!
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Middle Atlantics, the local and somewhat large competition held by the Skating Club of New York, is this weekend. I know because not only am I volunteering (it prevents me from having to pay to watch Junior and Senior Ladies), but because the rink had two solo competitive ice dancers, a senior man and a senior pair team. Toss in two little girls who didn't reach my waist, another skater, who can't see without her glasses and me and you have my freestyle session today. It really wasn't that bad. We, Amy and I, have figured out the problem with ALL of my three turns: twist. I don't twist enough. She thought it could be because of my back, but that's not the reason. I don't know what the reason is because it doesn't hurt to twist. I think I felt that if I thought about the three turn, it would automatically happen. Nope. So with more twist in my spine, I tried my worse three turn: right forward inside. Guess what? It worked. They ALL worked. The ability to complete my MIF was interrupted by the competitive skaters listed above, but that's okay. I'm going to hit the rink again on Monday morning (9:00am public session - wish me luck). In the meantime, I am hopeful and optimistic about my skating and finding employment. As a side note. it is my hope that one of the most recently overused piece of music will fall back into obscurity: Feelin' Good. Most people use the Nina Simone version (yes, that's a woman) and know nothing about the song. I surprised a coach today by giving her this information, and for the record, I never saw the show because I wasn't born yet. Feelin' Good is from the 1965 musical "The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd", written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse (same folks who wrote Candyman for the original Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory). The song is sung by "The Negro" (remember, it was 1964 when it was originally produced in London, came to Broadway in 1965, thus the term "Negro" was acceptable). The character is abused by the two main characters (Sir and Cocky) and despite that abuse, still manages to soar in the face of authority and win the Game. He leaves with dignity, much to the amazement of the other characters. It's a very deep song with a very deep message. Sadly, I don't think anyone who skates to it, gets it. If you can hear the original version of this song, do so. You may understand it better. That was my lesson on American Musical Theatre for today. The original singer was Gilbert Price, RIP.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
I am still winded from yesterday's lesson. Because I would like to take my Silver MIF test before they change it AGAIN, I stated that I want to test this year. I was also adamant that I would not move down to Bronze (which I can because I didn't pass the Silver freestyle test) in order to compete at Adult Nationals. I either do Silver or I don't attend. Me and my big mouth. So yesterday, 99% of my lesson was on the MIF. I did every move at least twice during lesson; some more than twice. Everything was picked apart. Everything. Toes were pointed, back was straightened, head was aligned, shoulders were down and arms were positioned. So, how'd it go? Well, some moves are ready to test: cross strokes, power pulls and spirals. Unfortunately, some are not: the mohawks, half of the three turns. My right forward outside mohawk is almost a figment of my imagination. It was getting better and then it went on vacation, sent me a postcard and has yet to return. The forward outside three turns aren't bad, but my right forward inside three turn is now inconsistent. And let's not talk about my back inside three turns. So, those four three turns have gone on vacation and are determined to stay away. I have sent out a search party to find them. The search party is being lead by Amy - the Wonder Coach. I'm not twisting enough in my inside three turns. This is a problem because my back doesn't always cooperate and my skates are breaking down rapidly. I am determined to figure out how fix this situation before October. The mohawks present another problem. The only time I've ever taken a bad fall while skating was on a mohawk; actually a split jump. I missed my toe and fell on my face (missed falling on my knees, hit my cheek instead). I'm sure I've related the story of biting through my bottom lip, having a hairline fracture of my cheek, somehow spraining my wrist and my mild concussion. I'm sure I mentioned driving home (on the street, not the highway) straddling both lanes. (At the time, I could swear I heard Tweety Bird singing.) With that in mind, I have had a mental block about mohawks that I'm still trying to overcome. I'm looking for a hypnotherapist to cure me of that problem. Until I find one, I'll just keep trying. Any suggestions?
Thursday, August 28, 2014
With regards to severance, we all know that this too must end. Mine ends on August 31st. If I knew how to put in a GIF of an upset kitten, I would. Long story short, my insurance ends on that day too. I am still trying to decide which Exchange Program I will sign up with from the Affordable Care Act. Please, don't call it "Obamacare", since it's based on a system in place in Massachusetts. And that system was created by Romney. If you don't like ACA, blame Romney, not Obama. If you still hate the ACA, then I have a suspicion as to why, and you really don't want me to go into that, do you? I didn't think so. I only mention this because my knees (now both) seem to be getting worse and my feet are not improving at all. It's very disappointing because I skated (as much as I could) more than usual this summer and had high hopes of improvement. Instead, 99% of my lesson is taking up by stroking, (which really hurts) and that never seems to improve. My concern is that this is the winter (or summer) of my discontent. Perhaps my days really are numbered. My knees are swollen and hot. My feet have stabbing pains through them. Both wake me up at night, or keep me from sleeping at all. On a good night, I fall asleep at 2:30 and wake up at 5:40. Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty" anyone? So, this is my crossroad. Do I need new skates (mine are pretty broken down now, and old) or is it just my ability or lack thereof? How much more weight can I lose when working out is painful? Well, it's ibuprofen time, so we'll talk later. How many are too many when no less than three gets rid of a simple headache?
Saturday, August 23, 2014
A friend died today. I was in too much shock to skate. I had sent her a text last week about a funny Youtube video about tourists in NYC. I didn't get a response. I sent another text today. Her sister called me back, giving me the terrible news that my friend and former co-worker had died suddenly this morning from a heart attack. I was just beginning to accept Robin Williams' death. I can't think about him without smiling sadly. I know depression; I know how taking you own life sometimes sounds like the best response. I know the voices. I try to keep mine as quiet as possible. I so loved Robin Williams' work. And Lauren Bacall. You can't be a theatre geek without knowing the two shows written especially for her: Applause and Woman of the Year. I didn't see either; I was either not born or too young to see it. But I do own the cast album of Applause; it's a keeper. I didn't expect her to live another thirty years; she was in her 80s. Still, I had watched her movies on cable and enjoyed every one of them. But I didn't know these people personally. I knew my co-worker. She was such a lovely woman. She almost never had anything bad to say about anybody (the exception was this annoying guy who used to stand near us when we were chatting, just to be nosy. I used to wait until he was around and shout "And then I killed him for being a pain in the ass!" We would laugh and laugh...) I said it before when someone else I knew died: do whatever makes you happy as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. It'll all work out somehow. To quote Robin Williams: Carpe diem.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
I wanted to write this blog entry yesterday, but after skating, I was in so much pain, I took some pain killers and went to bed. After two hours of tossing and turning, I finally fell into a pain filled sleep. I liked my body more ten years ago when I was ten years younger. One day, someone will figure out why your body suddenly decides that even the simplest of things is going to make your hurt so much that you actually want someone to rock you in their arms and tell you it's all going to be okay. How many of us have that gift? So, a sinus headache prevented me from skating on Tuesday, which only left Thursday for ice time. School will be finished soon, and perhaps I can skate more often. Regardless, I headed out to the rink with a sore back, creaky knees and aching feet. I had high hopes. Two laps around the rink, forward inside edge crossover warm up, back inside edge crossover warm up, back outside edge crossover warm up and suddenly, I couldn't feel my right foot. That's the "good" foot with the sudden creaky knee. Off the ice to work my feet some more. Back on the ice, continued practice with MIF. There I am, moving along, minding my own business, noticing but ignoring the sharp pain in my left foot when it happens: my toes are numb. Not like "my feet are cold" numb, but like "there's no blood traveling to your foot and at any moment, it will fall off" numb. Off the ice, massage the feet, wake up the toes. When it finally feels better (about 5 minutes), I put the skate back on because it's time for my lesson. Several of my moves are improving to the point of being ready for testing. Sadly, the outside mohawk is not one of them. Uggghhh!!!!! I also just learned that the outside mohawk move begins on my good mohawk, causing me to fly through that portion of the move and slow down to a near crawl on the "bad" mohawk. Ugggghhhh!!!! And due to the foot issue, the forward outside three turns temporarily decided to visit other people. That being said, my freestyle is improving as well; except for the flip which causes me a great deal of pain. I can't figure out why. After the session finished, I limped to the subway, gasping for air, since taking a deep breath made my back hurt. That's not normal, is it? Up the two fights of stairs, onto the subway, as I felt the pain worsen. Was I worried that my body felt like I had been kicked by three dozen two year olds? No, I just figured it would feel better when I sat down on the train. It didn't. In bed by 10:30, up the next day at 7:00. I could now feel my feet, my knee was swollen, by back hurt and I was back to grinding my teeth at night without a night guard. Somehow, all of this is going to work out; I just know it. I will pass this test of wills because I am a skater. I am also incredibly stubborn.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Sometimes your body just betrays you. My right knee is swollen, my feet (both) are in constant pain. And my usual/chronic back pain went from a 3/4 to 8/9. And still I went skating. On Tuesday, I did something I haven't done in years: I skated a public session. There are public sessions in the middle of the day during the summer so that camps can come and enjoy them. Unfortunately, camps come to public sessions. At the one session I skated, over fifty kids from three different camps came to the public session. It was amazing. I had forgotten how LOUD kids are. Wow! The noise, the screaming and the smells. What are you feeding your kids that they smell so badly? When you stopped teaching them to cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze, did you also stop telling them to wash regularly? Ugh! I only forty-five minutes of a two hour session because it became so dangerous that I spent most of the session stepping over prone bodies. Please don't get me started talking about the rude boys on hockey skates who almost knocked over an elderly gentleman. Those of you who can skate an empty public session have no idea how lucky you are. At $5.00 for a public session, I wish I could skate it. It was so crowded that I was unable to practice so much as a three turn. Freestyle on Thursday began with a great deal of frustration. My knee is swollen, my feet hurt all the time and while trying to push a large, heavy package up the stairs, I apparently hurt my back. The MIF that were pretty good last week, stopped working correctly. My three turns were all in the wrong place; forwards were too soon, backwards were too late. Ughhh!!!!!! Happily, during my lesson, Amy was able to fix three other MIF. Power Pulls when you have sore body parts is a bit of a struggle, but, I decided to ignore the pain and continue. Spirals, power pulls, edge rolls... all improving, slowly and painfully. Last week, I mentioned that another adult skater was working on more advanced skills while I spend most of my lesson stroking. Yes, it still bothers me. However, she is testing soon (MIF) and I'm guessing that's why she's being video taped and I'm not. That's okay because I hate watching my own videos, even with sign language. I need to get over that ASAP.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Prior to receiving the news that I was being laid off (which was a blessing in disguise), I signed up for an intensive ASL class at a local college. I was evaluated and placed in the highest level. Unfortunately, not enough people registered for the class, so I stepped down to the next lower level. The teacher and I are almost at the same signing level; the other students are three levels below me. It's going to be a long summer... Back to skating. While I still don't know what the deal is with my feet (although I've had two people tell me they think it's all in my head. No, it's in my FEET!!), I was able to skate 99% of the session today without doubling over in pain. The pain is not as intense as it has been for the past few weeks, so I am able to skate. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a good thing because there are early morning Public Session that this woman needs to attend. I figured I can go Monday through Thursday because most camps will show up on Friday. Today I practiced many of the Silver MIF. My back inside three turns are still not clean and usually in the wrong place, but they do look like three turns and they are the correct size (they used to be about the size of large cantaloupes). A step in the right direction. I'm not sure how many I'm supposed to skate on each size, but today I had three forward and three backwards. I was also pleasantly pleased to report four successful back spins. Three revolutions each, but, I'll take it. Considering that I land on my left foot and that's the foot that hurts so badly, I was surprised to land every jump I tried: salchow, loop, toe loop. I stopped at that. Have I ever mentioned that I'm extremely competitive? With two older sisters who are both prettier and much more talented than I am, I became very competitive at a young age. That being said, I still feel a tinge of jealousy when I see another adult skater, taking lessons from my coach, who is working on higher elements. Okay, my Silver MIF need help, but my free skating is pretty solid when not in pain. It's confusing to me to watch someone who cannot spin work on flying camel spins. Can't land a loop jump working on axels while I spend so much of my lesson stroking. As soon as my feet feel better (or at least when I find out why they hurt), I'm going to ask to work on harder elements. Personally, I must say I'm tired of working on Silver MIF. And it is so dog-gone HOT in NYC!!! "Summer, not a bit of breeze Neon signs are shining Through the tired trees. Lovers walking to and fro. Everyone has someone And a place to go..." **Night Song from Golden Boy (yes, it is a musical too. Originally starring Sammy Davis Jr as a boxer... Go figure.) Music by Charles Strouse; lyrics by Lee Adams.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
First of all, I want to thank everyone who wished me well in my new unemployed state. So far, I've managed to remain positive. However, it has been under one month. On to skating. I am wondering, seriously how long I will be able to do this. The pain from my left foot has traveled up my leg toward my knee. Now, my right foot is suffering from the same problem that has plagued my left. It hurts to walk, it hurts to skate, the pain wakes me up during my five hours of interrupted sleep I get per night. Sometimes the pain is so bad, I wish I could pass out to make the pain stop. My doctor's appointment is either the 22nd or the 29th; I'm not sure which. This pain is causing a problem with day to day activities, but is really trying to throw a wrench in my skating. Today's session consisted of me spending a lot of time sitting down because I couldn't stand. When I was able to skate, I was unable to perform a right over left forward crossover due to pain. Since my right forward inside 3 turns are weak, we worked on those as part of MIF. The left back outside 3 was really painful and difficult to perform. Somehow, I managed to squeak out one dozen of the worse looking back outside 3 turns known in skating history. Am I watching my plans and goals for the summer slip through my fingers? One of the positive things about being laid off is being able to skate more. I can't skate more if I can't stand on my feet. Wonder if this has anything to do with my weight. Duh! I was able to do some spins, but for reasons I can't comprehend, my right knee began to throb making it difficult to step into a spin (I'm a lefty, remember?). Four scratch spins and five camel spins later, the session and my body was finished. I had tears of pain in my eyes and really, really wanted to pass out from the pain. Instead, I walked with Amy to the subway while extremely nauseous. Point of reference: I am nauseous a lot during the summer months; I don't deal well with the heat, never have. As a kid, I always had to wear a hat to keep the sun off of my head. I also wear sunscreen every single day. What would I do if I couldn't skate any longer? How would I fill my hours? What would become my physical passion? I'm a writer and an ASL Interpreter student, but both of those activities are sedentary. Skating is my physical passion now that I'm no longer on my college softball team (I was a center fielder; could throw from center field to home plate with a two hop step. Thanks Daddy!!!), and I wasn't even first, second or third string on that team (I was a left-over, never got to play a game, just in practice). I have so much I want to achieve before it all has to end. And I really don't want it to end like this. "So what happens now? (Another suitcase in another hall) So what happens now? (Take your picture off another wall) Where am I going to? (You'll get by, you always have before) Where am I going to? (Don't ask anymore.)" *** *** "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" from Evita. Lyrics by Tim Rice; Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Thursday, June 26, 2014
My session was canceled due to... well, that'll be explained in a second. Recently, a rink opened up in the park near my job. I haven't skated there because their payment methods are so confusing (if you skate 2 hours 3 times a week, it costs X. If you skate 3 hours 6 times a week it costs Y) I haven't figured out how much it would cost to skate ONE day a week at that rink. Not that it matters because... I was laid-off today. Ten years at my job and the head boss decided to cut my 2 1/2 (one person is part-time) department by one: me. The Finance Department has eleven people; the company has no money, and no one in that department was let go. The head boss is in charge of the Finance Dept. They have someone to do payroll, even though payroll is sent out to another company. The woman in charge of HR doesn't understand Workers' Comp and always asked me what to do. There is a woman who does nothing but order supplies and regulate the A/C, both of which she does badly. THEY still have their jobs. I, on the other hand, have a car full of stuff I accumulated over the last ten years. Grant it, I hated my job. I hated the commute. And I grew to hate driving. However, it kept me on the ice and it kept me paying my bills. Now???? I've always been told: When God closes a door, He opens a window. So, here's to open windows... "Open a new window Open a new door Travel a new highway That's never been tried before Before you find you're a dull fellow Punching the same clock Walking the same tightrope As everyone on the block..."** **Open a New Window from Mame. Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
As I write this, I am icing my feet. Although it is mid-June, it is hot here in NYC. As a result, my feet decided now was a good time to swell up. Add this to my tendonitis in both of the dorsal areas of my feet and you understand how I feel. Ouch. I haven't skated in a month, maybe more. I also feared that my skates, like my tablet, hadn't made it to my new apartment. They had, tablet is still AWOL. So, I skated on Tuesday and for someone who hadn't been on ice in a while, it didn't go as poorly as I expected. I can say, every move, every stroke, every spin hurt like hell. Between my back, my hips (which are just tight from lack of use) and my feet, I thought at one point that I would faint from the pain. It hurt to take a breath. But since I've spent so much time feeling that way, I ignored it as much as possible. When asked what my goals were for the summer, I announced that I would have all of my single jumps secure and all of my spins secure. That includes my back spin (which is really painful to practice). We started with waltz jumps, which were good and solid once the little girl who insisted on spinning in the lefty lutz corner went away. I will never figure out skaters who ignore the rules of where you should jump and spin. The girl came just above my hip; twice I didn't see her and almost took her down. I was in lesson, she was not. I say every skater for themselves. She moved. The rest of the jumps followed in nice order: salchow, toe loop, loop. The toe loop (inside left 3 turn) hurt so much it caused the jump to be really small. Thanks to the dorsal issue, I couldn't even practice a flip jump (the left foot is worse than the right; toe-ing in was impossible). Spinning was a bit harder because my balance seemed off (probably that stupid dorsal issue again), but then again, it had been a while since I was on ice. A rink opened not far from my office; I hope to make it there before the layoffs start. Yes, my job is planning layoffs. Regardless of where I land, it'll be okay. Lately, I've been watching old TV shows: The Jack Benny Show; Bachelor Father; Burns and Allen; F Troop and The Monkees. The title of this blog comes from one of their songs and NOT a theatrical song. "I'll be back upon my feet I'll be back upon my feet. Looking high, I'm looking low When I find my boots I know I've gotta go...." Music and lyrics by Denny Randall and Sandy Linzer
Sunday, June 15, 2014
I have moved; it was hell. Let's just say it was so bad that the high point was when my car broke down and I was stranded in the middle of the street until 2:00 in the morning. Thank you AAA. Or maybe it was when I discovered that 2000-2003 Ford Focus' have a system-wide problem that causes the ignition chamber to lock preventing the key from turning at all. This left me stranded in the parking lot of my office. Thank you Ford. At least I know where my skates are... I think. I hope to be back on the ice this week. I hope to be able to skate more than once a week. I have plans and desires. I need to somehow put them into action. "Let the lightening strike Let the flash of it shock you Choke your fears away Pull as tight as a wire Let the fever strike Let the force of it rock you We will have our day, sailing into the fire. "Someone has to face the valley Rush in! We have to rally and win boys When the world sis saying not to By God, you know you've got to march on boys Never hold back your step for a moment Look alive! Oh your courage will grow Yes it's higher and higher and into the fire we go Into fire! Onward ho!!"** ** "Into the Fire" from The Scarlet Pimpernel. Music and lyrics by Frank Wildhorn.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
I think the title comes from Follies; a Stephen Sondheim musical about the closing of an old theatre. I think it's from the song "Waiting for the Girls Upstairs". But don't quote me because I'm not sure. I move on Friday to a 3 bedroom apartment with BOTH of my sisters. If you hear screaming in October (when the other sister moves in), it's just us; we can be loud when we get started. I would write more, but I accidentally packed my glasses and can't really see this clearly... More when I've settled and am back on the ice. P.S. Who ordered the summer weather for NYC? Today, it was 81 degrees; it's MAY.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Looking for an apartment is exhausting. And frustrating. A two bedroom apartment should NOT be a Jr. 4. Please don't say it's "huge" when my love seat won't fit in the living room. Add this to my lack of skating, Adult Nationals just ending (without me, again) and my weight creeping up from lack of exercise and you have my life right now. I feel huge, Jabba the Hut huge (Star Wars reference!). I haven't been able to workout during lunch either. Ugh! Watching Adult Nationals is both inspiring and frustrating. Inspiring because I want to skate, improve and compete again. Frustrating because I've notice that there aren't a lot of minorities in the competition. Also, where are the lefties? So, in order to represent the permanently tanned and the lefty skaters, I will have up my game... Just as soon as I move. I must find a place in the next 3 1/2 weeks or put all of my stuff into a storage unit and live with my other sister. While I'm hoping for the best, I'm okay with living with my other sister for one month. My sister/roommate, on the other hand, is adamant. NO. NOT HAPPENING! NOT IN HER LIFETIME. This is what happens when two strong personalities may have to live with one another. Skating wise, I am still surprised that I can maintain some form and skill when only skating once a week, not working out and eating whatever I can grab while in the car. On a positive note, I recently saw two apartments that are "maybes" rather than "hell no!". Seeing another one tomorrow. Wish me luck!
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Friday, March 21, 2014
When someone says "STOP", I never know if it's in the Name of Love; Hammer Time, or if I'm supposed to collaborate and listen. That being said, I have skated once or twice, in between studying, packing and tossing out old stuff. For someone who is only skating once a week, I find myself still maintaining the same level of mediocrity I had before. However, I do have goals for the upcoming months: Non skating related, first and foremost is to find an apartment. One without young, "I only know one song on the guitar, which I play while smoking pot every single day and playing indy music you're much, much too old and uncool to understand", people living underneath me. Skating related, I really want to take these tests and move on. I am so tired of the Silver MIF test; I've lost track as to how long I've been working on it. And the freestyle... UGGH!!! Why did they have to make a flip jump a requirement?? My flip jump took a vacation when my last ex-boyfriend broke up with me and hasn't made a complete return! I would find that guy and ask if he has my flip jump (no, he wasn't a skater, just slime), but I don't think his wife would appreciate it. (To my unmarried female readers: Have you ever noticed that the guys you date get married to the next girl THEY date?? This has happened to me FOUR times! Wonder if it's me... No, it's them. It's always them...) Where was I?? Flip jumps... My lutz is better. Heck, my axel is better than my flip and I haven't tried one in years! I've decided to keep trying them off the ice. Recently, I received a comment from another blog about why people don't read mine. Her suggestion was that maybe if I added photos or video, it would help. Well, if someone could please, please, please explain to me like I was 4 how to do it, I'd be more than happy to share. If you know how to do that, please tell me. I tried to add in a GIF but nothing happened. There's supposed to me someone dancing at the top of this post. See ya on the ice!
Thursday, March 6, 2014
I will be off the ice for the next few weeks thanks to many issues, which do not include injury, but do include packing to move. My upstairs neighbors sound like elephants, all day and all night (I don't think they sleep). My downstairs neighbors are young, so they are relatively inconsiderate and play loud music all day and half the night. Someone received a guitar for Christmas; they know one song. When they aren't playing music that is "too cool for me to appreciate", they are playing that one... blasted... song!!! I used to play the guitar. I could teach them the 3 1/2 songs I know: "Walk, Don't Run"; "Isn't She Lovely"; "Malaguena"; and the intro to "Pilate's Dream" from Jesus Christ Superstar. Anyway, I need to start packing. My funds are tied up in the move, so skating will be taking a back seat for a while. See you soon. Try not to write too many comments; I might get a swell head.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Mother Nature: (No longer "Dear" because we are no longer on speaking terms) Enough is enough. STOP!! It's snowing again. I can't stand it any longer. I've been wearing snow boots for over a month and now my instep is bothering me. STOP WITH THE SNOW!! I'm sure you wanted to make a point; whatever that point is, I get it. Now PLEASE stop with the snow and below freezing temperatures. I promise not to complain about the heat in August.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Dear Mother Nature: I am impressed. The last time you decided to show the Tri-State area how skilled you were at making a lot of snow was in the 1990s. There was a year when we had 18 snow storms. While you are not showing off like that this time around, I can tell you that I am speechless with regard to your snow making skills. And ice?? Boy can you make ice. Since my office was closed today (and the subway that could take me to the rink in Queens wasn't running), I was treated to the sounds of spinning car wheels as crazy folks decided to drive their cars on the ice caked roads. I've learned that no matter the size of the vehicle, spinning wheels all sound the same. Amazing! Since you are familiar with my love of shopping, I appreciate the numerous snow storms that caused my winter boots to start to take in water. No problem; I'll get another pair... if they're available anywhere, so far, no... they're not... But they will be soon. In the meantime, I'll just carry an extra pair of socks for when my feet get wet. I'm not complaining Mother Nature, I am in awe. Wish I had that kind of power. The power to make ordinary, easy-going people swear like sailors when they can't get their cars out of the driveway. The ability to make teenage girls wear actual full-length coats instead of little cropped jackets. The power to make NY slow down for a little while. Yet, at the same time, there are some problems. People can't get to the theatre and they planned it months in advance. (It should be noted that 70% of the technical people in theatre do not live in Manhattan. Most live in Westchester, Connecticut, Long Island and New Jersey. So if they can't get to work, does the show really go on??) Most people lose the ability to pick up their feet walking in boots, so you hear them scuffing from two blocks away. Hotels are crowded with people who want to leave, but the airport has been shut down. The snow days have caused me to look at alternatives: travel, exercise, food... I am shrinking my carbon footprint by taking public transportation (okay so it takes 1 1/2 hours on the bus and a .75 mile walk from the bus stop to the office, but it's great exercise, dodging ice from sidewalks that haven't been shoveled). Getting more exercise by walking those .75 miles. And as far as food is concerned; I'm either very hungry or not hungry at all. Go figure. The Groundhog determined that there would be 6 more weeks of winter. Mother Nature, can you please explain to me, how dragging a hibernating rodent from his home and making him parade in front of the press determines the weather? I thought that was your job. Plus, if you do this practice in early February, spring is ALWAYS 6 weeks away! I will let you go now Mother Nature because I understand you have another storm to prepare for the Tri-State area. The work never ends. Thank you Mother Nature for making me appreciate the little things in life: Twizzlers, brandy, ski pants and monitoring the Sunday session because now that's the only session I'm skating. See you tomorrow as I'm walking to or from the bus. Skatecat
Monday, February 3, 2014
It's snowing, again. I used to really love the snow. I'd get the shovel out, put on my ski pants and jacket, heavy gloves and a hat and off I'd go. The sidewalk in front of the house? Check. The walk to the sidewalk? Check. Dig out the driveway (even before I had a car)? Check. All the while singing old songs like "Working In a Coal Mine", "100 Pounds of Clay", or "Get Ready ('Cause Here I Come)" at the top of my lungs. Then something happened. I found that I had to drive to work; 21 miles one way. The joy of snow left me when I was nearly in an accident with no other cars, just Mother Nature. When it snows, I take public transportation. As a result, I can't get to the rink. And sometimes, I can't get to work. Or we close the office because Long Island always gets it worse than NYC. (For those of you outside NYC, that means: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island AND Manhattan. It all equals NYC.) Had plans to go to the rink for a 5:30am session, but the snow tip-toed in last night and squashed that idea. As I write this, it's almost 4:00 and still snowing (more like flurries now). My office closed almost as soon as it opened. Does my .7 mile walk in the snow count as cardio? I walked really, really fast (to catch a bus) and managed to get there in under 12 minutes. Either way, I'm off to stretch while watching old TV shows. Dragnet or The Rifleman anyone?
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
A recent trip to Lake Placid to watch some adult ISI skating proved to be a waste of time; there was only 2 adults and I missed them anyway. I did get to skate, and foolishly hurt my back. I couldn't take a deep breath; I'm still trying to figure out what I did. It snowed here on the east coast; a lot of snow. The mayor told people to stay home, if they could. My office closed for the day and 1/2 of the rinks I know were also closed. Not that it would have mattered. Between hurting my back and my car being buried by snow, the odds weren't good anyway. Now, here's the problem: I drive to the rink 99% of the time. I do not, however, drive in the snow. This is due to a near accident (or near miss) I had about 4 years ago. There was also an incident of a 360 degree donut my other car did about 10 years ago. As a result, I don't drive when there's snow on the ground. Not that it would matter because I park outside and the slight ramp I must drive up to get out of the lot is covered in ice. There's also the street I have to drive up to get to the lot; it too is up an incline. Ice and inclines... bad combination. That leaves me with another problem: where can I skate?? I'm taking public transportation to get to work. The bus takes an hour; the train only comes once ever half hour. I can't skate in the morning because I just can't get there. The rinks I might be able to skate in the evening will take another hour to travel to by bus. I find this ironic because one rink is only 7 miles away and it's going to take an hour? It's a bit difficult when rinks believe an "evening" session should begin at 3:00pm. Aren't kids just getting out of school at 3:00? Even 4:00 is pushing it a bit. A good evening session should begin at 6:00 or 6:45. Not too early, not too late. I know of three, but I'd have to have access to my car to get there... Oh well... Just to add a spanner to the mix (wrench), my coach told me on Sunday that I should do Easterns, the technical program. Really? After the vote of no confidence and not having done that program for two years?? I need a drink...
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Howdy folks. Here's hoping everyone had a wonderful and safe holiday season. I learned what my drinking limit was. And I will never, ever forget again. I had my skate bag all packed to head to the rink on January 2nd, when NYC was hit by a snow storm. Since I don't drive in the snow, my efforts were dashed. Subsequently, my office was closed. Will be on the ice on Sunday. And then... who knows? "The best of times is now What's left of summer but A faded rose? The best of times is now As for tomorrow well, Who knows? Who knows? So hold this moment fast And live and love as hard As you know how And make this moment last Because the best of times Is now, is now!" The Best of Times from La Cage Aux Folles. Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman.