Monday, December 7, 2015

Winds of Change

Working twelve hours a day then driving 90 minutes home began to take a toll on my health, so I had to cut back. Cutting back meant I had the opportunity to skate. That also created a bit of a problem because the skates are still killing my arches. Oh feet, why must you be so wide AND flat???!!!! Thanks to my GPS (not the one in the phone, an actual, stand-alone GPS), I located the rink in Bethpage. It was nice to be back on the ice, however, I had forgotten what a zoo that session is. You want to do an illusion in the middle of the track? Go ahead. You need to do a back spiral and it's not your program and you don't look behind you before hand? Feel free. I think what surprised me the most was the 2 year old on the ice, in the corner, playing with the snow. I did get some skating in, but not much. I warm up my feet, doing ballet exercises for my feet and sometimes it still doesn't help. That was the case on Friday. I was only able to last twenty minutes before I had to get off and rest my feet. I hate to say it, but if I sit down, it's not so bad. That leads me to believe that (yes, that broken record again... If you don't know the origin of the saying "broken record", please ask your parents; unless your parents are in their early 20s) my weight is causing the issue with my feet. It probably doesn't help that I've gained weight since beginning this job. We seem to have more than the usual amount of celebrations and luncheons. Last month alone, there was a potluck luncheon for Thanksgiving; a pie give-away for Thanksgiving; a celebrate the November birthdays dessert surprise and three luncheon meetings. That's a lot of food. Add to that a lack of exercise and you have my current situation. "Winds of change are set to blow and sweep this whole land through..."** Sunday's session was better, even though I only skated the second session and not the first. Yes, I'm back as ice monitor; I have resigned myself to the job, knowing that I do get free ice in the process. My skates are still stiff as a board and an hour of working my feet prevented pain for almost 50 minutes. So, what have we learned here? I have to really warm up my feet for no less than 30 minutes. I have to lose weight. I have to skate more. And I have to say "no" to those desserts!!! (The birthday cake was really good, with roses made out of icing and that buttercream filling...) ** "Morning Glow" from the musical Pippin. Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Off Ice

So, due to working 12 hour days and driving about 36 miles round trip, I haven't really had the opportunity to skate much. Add to that the fact that my car sounded like a 90 year old man with COPD that I dragged behind me, well, you see what I mean. I also have brand new boots and pain in the bottom of my feet that travels up my legs and makes them go numb. I don't know what the heck that is, but I can only stand the pain for 20 minutes before I have to stop. It's getting better; originally it was 10 minutes. And if I sit down, it gets better. I wonder if my arches are falling. I had hoped that by now I would be deep back into skating, but it's the pain that's keeping me away. I'll be wearing my skates around my house this weekend after performing ballet foot exercises, so hopefully that will help. Until that time... "Nothing to see here. Nothing to see here."

Saturday, October 17, 2015

She's Back....

Well, kind of... So my lovelies, did you miss me? Whether you did or not, I have returned from the depths of unemployment. What can I say about being out of work for 14 month? It stinks. As a result of my unemployment, I sunk into a pretty deep depression, put on 5 pounds instead of losing 45 and ended up cleaning toilets. I don't recommend any of them. The good news is I have a new job and it pays much better than my old one. I also have 100 times as much work and usually end up working a 11 hour day. That's the bad news. The good news is, I have a brand new pair of skates!!! If I can ever figure out how to export photos from my phone to my computer (insert cry for help here)I would post a picture. The boots are Jackson 4200 and they are beautiful. Uncomfortable at the moment, but beautiful. The blades are my old Pattern 99s, recently sharpened, really sharpened. I skated on dull kitchen knives for years; I need to get used to these babies. So, I have a brand new attitude to go with my new skates. I just need to find sessions I can get to. I also need to leave work at 5:00 when I get in daily at 8:00. And to those of you on the Northern State/Grand Central Parkway, if you see a navy blue Ford Focus with a few dents in it, please either speed up or slow down or just move; I'm trying to get to the rink. It won't be on Sunday morning at City Ice. Wow! That place was crowded! I considered that the most expensive public session, disguising itself as a freestyle, I have ever experienced. Madhouse is the only word I can use. And I couldn't really stop yet, so... Another session later and a lesson and I can finally can stop!!! I was able to do some of my MIF before having to get off the ice, remove my skates and massage my feet back to life. Ouch!! My feet are not happy, but I am. New skates are the best!!! As I continue to feel my feet, I will be able to do more and therefore post more interesting things. For now, allow me to say, I AM BACK!!!! (Wanted to quote a song from the new musical "Hamilton", which I recently saw, but I can't find the lyrics written anywhere...yet.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Is Anybody There???

If you are still interested (and I'm hoping that you are), I am happy to report that I have finally secured a job. It only took 14 months and 583 applications/resumes. Yes, you read that number correctly. I could go on about the odyssey that is being unemployed for over a year, but that's the subject of an article that I'm working on for someone else. The important part is that very soon, I will be back on the ice. I'll still be in Long Island (apparently, Manhattan didn't want me), but I won't be far from several rinks!!! (Insert Happy Dance here!!!) And I will do my best to figure out how to post photos and GIFs. Wish me luck on that front. See you soon!!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Be Back Soon

Due to my employment status, I will not be back on the ice until I have secured a position. Therefore, I am wishing everyone a good holiday with hopes of a nice warm spring. I am confident that I will be back on the ice soon, with new skates, less weight and more ice time. So, until that time.... "Cheerio but be back soon I don't know, somehow I miss ya I love ya, that's why I Say cheerio not goodbye Don't be gone long, be back soon Give me one long last look, bless you Remember our old tune Be back soon..."** ** Be Back Soon from Oliver! Music and lyrics by Lionel Bart.

Friday, February 20, 2015

101.4 Degrees

Since I've been struggling to rid my body of an annoying head and chest cold, I've been watching a lot of skating and thinking. If this doesn't make sense, remember, I've been running a fever. Sometimes you and your coach are on two different pages. You see yourself as being able to at least attempt to move on and try harder things. Your coach sees your highest jump as being a waltz jump. Different pages. You sit back and wonder why you aren't working on new elements and why your entire lesson consists of you doing crossovers. 40 minutes of crossovers. By the time your lesson is over, your legs are jello and you want a drink. Unfortunately, it's 8:30am. You remember being able to perform elements without thinking about it, and if you don't think about it, you can still do it. Then you think about it. If someone video taped you at that moment, you would resemble an animal attempting to run at top speed on ice. You know how it's going to end and no, it's not a pretty picture. You watch a local competition and think, "I should have done this competition". So the next year, you sign up. Who else signs up? That skater who just left an international ice show. Watching her Russian splits, illusions and easy double jumps, you wonder if you're being punked and where Ashton Kutcher and cameras are hiding. Mentally you have choreographed your program and it contains elements you CAN do. Your coach doesn't agree and that opening jump combination of salchow/loop becomes a waltz jump. This is followed by crossovers, a lot of crossovers into another waltz jump. You insist that some of what you mentally choreographed should stay, but when you try to show your coach, it looks as though you've never been on ice before and you lose that battle. So you make plans and a tentative schedule for upcoming months, but freestyle sessions are canceled for hockey and coaches move on because you're not improving fast enough. You begin to wonder if you're actually enjoying skating any longer. You are, you just wish you were improving faster. Such is the life of an adult skater. To those who are reading, this is not necessarily me; this is all adult skaters. We work really hard to master the elements. We do not get the respect we should. Our events are eliminated from competitions, or our competitions are dropped all together. We are occasionally treated like 5th class citizens at rinks, yet we expected to always volunteer at events. We enjoy volunteering, but our main purpose for being at the rink is to skate. Wishing the best to those going to Regional and National. I hope to be with you next year. However, if you ARE that skater who just left the international ice show, please, do NOT be in my group! I've already experienced that at my first USFSA competition and it wasn't fun.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Light Entertainment Part 2

I found the description of "Light Entertainment" on the USFSA website. I thought I would post it here for those of you who may say I'm just being a grouch. No grouch here, just a person who watch over a half dozen of short programs that had nothing to do with "light entertainment". 1. Dramatic Entertainment: Programs should express intense emotional connection and investment in the music, choreography and theme concept through related skating movements, gestures and physical actions. Props and Scenery ARE permitted. 2. Light Entertainment: Programs should express a carefree concept or storyline designed to uplift and entertain the audience through related skating movements, gestures and physical actions. Props and Scenery ARE permitted. I can only hope that in the future, coaches, judges, skaters, parents and anyone else who organizes showcase competitions will read what a showcase program is supposed to represent. Also, in showcase competitions, try not to gross out, insult, or make fun of the judges, especially to their faces. That is a story for another post... maybe.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Light Entertainment Programs

Having finally recovered from a cold that just about knocked me off my feet for a week, I attended and announced at a Showcase competition. This competition USED to be an adult competition called The Winter Classic. It was, to my knowledge, a financial success but was changed to this Showcase competition because (and are you sitting down for this?) the host club was upset that not enough club members participated or volunteered for the event. Please tell me you are just as confused as I am... Be that as it may, I announced for most of the Showcase competition. And I was shocked and disappointed at what some skaters consider "Light Entertainment". Back in the day, when I did so many ISI competitions that they knew me by face, a "Light Entertainment" program was fun, had some technical elements, and conveyed either a bit of sexy or silliness. Yesterday, I watched a group of girls basically do their Intermediate short program. All technical, no "light entertainment". Evita has a wonderful score. Is it light entertainment? No. Les Miserables, beautiful score. There is one "light" number in the entire show and that's Master of the House. No one skated to that and yet 3 girls skated to Les Miz. Phantom of the Opera... not light entertainment. Jekyll and Hyde; Civil War; The Scarlet Pimpernell and any other Frank Wildhorn show... they are NOT light entertainment musicals. Please do some research first. Yes, you like the music and good for you for appreciating a good score, but skate to that music either as a technical program (in a technical competition or in a Dramatic Entertainment event) but NOT as light entertainment I firmly believe that if you skate your short program for a showcase event, you should be marked down because you did not adhere to the rules. But I'm not a judge and for that, everyone involved should be happy. As for the "Improv" events (which in ISI ran extremely smoothly and were called Interpretive) all I can say is after hearing Taylor Swift screech out a song that reminded me of those screaming goats (even with auto-tune), I volunteered to pick the music next year. I actually begged to pick the music next year. One judge asked if we had to hear that song for three events. I think we heard it for two events, four girls each. It was torture. Remember when people had to be able to sing LIVE to have a music career? Gone are the days... Schools are closed this week so there's no point in trying to get to the rink. So until next time, as we are currently saying in the east coast... Stay Warm.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Happier 2015

Miss me? While I still haven't been skating much (once a week when I ice monitor), I have been making the most of my abbreviated sessions (usually about 30 minutes each). However, yesterday, I had the opportunity to do two of the four things (maybe five) that I love to do: I got to skate/teach and sign. I volunteered to teach a group of Deaf children basic skills. Yesterday was the first day with five sweet little girls. They caught on very quickly and by the end of the lesson, were able to get up when they fell, stop and do one foot glides on both feet. While I don't know how long I'll be able to do this since I'm still looking for employment, I can say, it was the best day I've had for a very, very long time. Smiles all around!!!