Tuesday, December 6, 2016
A funny thing happened today at the rink. As you may know, I am only skating one day a week: Sunday. And that's the day I'm also the Ice Monitor. That also means not a lot of ice time during the sessions, but some. After performing my ice monitoring duties, I hit the ice. Today, as I was about to step into a waltz jump, it hit me. I have no confidence in my skating any longer. While riding that left back outside edge, I managed to talk myself out of doing the jump: "You're going to re-injure your not yet healed hamstring." "You're going to fall anyway." And my personal favorite, a quote from Carrie, that old horror movie from the 1970s: "They're all going to laugh at you." (Mrs. White, Carrie's mother played by Piper Laurie utters that line.) It made sense to me. Between my boot issues and my lack of confidence, no wonder I am unable to perform the simplest of tasks. More cardboard under the ball of my foot should prevent me from feeling like I'm pitched forward. I'm off to find some confidence. Where is the Wizard of Oz when you need him?
Thursday, October 27, 2016
After watching Skate America, I read various posts about how depressed Gracie Gold had been/is currently. I'm hoping by the time I finish this post that she'll be feeling better because, as a person who has been diagnosed with chronic depression, I wouldn't wish that on anyone. I'm not really a fan of Gracie Gold; I just prefer Ashley Wagner and that could just be because she's a lefty and Gracie isn't. That being said, I was saddened that people stated that she looked fat(?? Are you kidding me??) or tired with bags under her eyes (could have been a wrong make-up choice). She's a young woman who is dealing with disappointment; leave her alone. I am dealing with my own demons lately. I had such great hopes during the summer; I skated more than I had in years. Then I injured my hamstring. What I though was a re-injury of my hamstring is probably sciatica. It's such a joy to be over 40. The pain is constant. Add that to my chronic back pain and my reoccurring cough and I'm beginning to think those AARP commercials are for me. Anyway, I may have lost some of my joy for the sport. I don't feel as though I'm improving. That could be due to the lack of ice time. Hey rink owners, a few late afternoon freestyle sessions at various rinks wouldn't hurt. Seriously. During a recent conversation with another adult skater, we both bemoaned the lack of afternoon/evening sessions in The Big Apple or the nearby Long Island. My fellow skater mentioned that due to the lack of evening sessions, no New Yorker has ever won Adult Nationals. Hmmm..... I hadn't noticed that, but I do believe she was right. The lack of evening sessions that do not involve my driving 30 miles home from the rink has caused me to re-think my early morning skating ban. I don't know if my body will actually cooperate on the ice early in the morning; it's not really cooperating for my early morning Spin class. But I'll try. I figured that the rink closest to my home (World Ice Arena) would be my best choice. If the weather is too inclement, I can simply take the subway there and then take a bus (or two) to work. Easy. All I have to do is go to bed early enough to get up at 5:00am. Actually, that's not that difficult; I set my alarm clock for 5:00am every morning. I just don't get up. That will end soon. "Oh how I hate to get up in the morning, Oh how I love to remain in bed..."** **Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning by Irvin Berlin (1918 - really)
Sunday, September 4, 2016
"New York City; center of the universe..."** Dear readers: This blog will have a brief intermission due to the US Open and Middle Atlantics, both of which curtail my skating. The US Open because (if you recall a post from a few years ago) ALL of the parking spaces in and around Flushing Meadow Park are reserved for those attending the matches. Recently, after 40 minutes of driving around the park, which included having my car searched and a snarky comment from a cop telling me my car was "a mess" (thank you ever so much, Mr. Policeman), I was directed in a series of circles, literally. The last person told me to "turn left here", which took me out of the park and heading for the highway. Okay, I got the message. For those of you who suggest that I park outside the park, I can tell you this: those spots were gone too. Judging from the license plates that read New Jersey and Connecticut, I'm guessing those people were going to the US Open as well. It's okay; I know when I'm not wanted. Middle Atlantics is something else. I announce at that competition. Plus, it takes all the ice time at Chelsea Piers. Therefore, I'll be back when it's over. "Until that time my friend, until that time."*** ** Santa Fe from Rent. Music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson *** It's Always Fair Weather - (MGM movie) written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Sunday, August 21, 2016
1967 is known as "The Summer of Love". Why? Well according to everything I've read, it was when the hippies came to Haight-Ashbury; James Rado and Gerome Ragni started seriously working on "Hair" and Scott MacKenzie had a huge hit with the song "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)". Fast forward to the summer of 2016. This was my summer of no. I had such wonderful plans for this summer. I would be skating more than I had in years; an adult intensive class on Tuesday, freestyle with an occasional lesson on Wednesday, another freestyle with the occasional lesson on Friday and another adult intensive program, which included off-ice on Saturday. Only something went slightly wrong. While I have had an adjustment to the blade placement by adding a bit of cardboard under the blade in the front of my skate and I can now spin, I still spend so much time with my feet in incredible pain. There is no rhyme or reason; it changes every time I put the skates on. There are session when, if I shake my feet really hard, the numbness goes away and I can continue. Then there are days when I have tears in my eyes from just skating laps in the first five minutes. I always warm-up my feet for no less than 15 minutes, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I end up missing at least 15 minutes of every session I skate because I have to take my skate off and massage my either numb or just painful feet. It's amazing. And more than a little confusing. I tell ya, it had been getting better and then....BOOM!!! It got worse. But wait, there's more... On Saturday morning, during off-ice I was not warmed-up as I hoped and strained my left hamstring. I know the difference between strained, sprained and torn. Definitely not torn. I've been doing everything I'm supposed to do to help it heal, the only problem is, I re-strained it two weeks ago. Since it is my left leg, I am at a loss as to when I'll be able to jump without pain. As it is, during yesterday's session, I had to leave early because I couldn't put any weight on my leg at all. Now I'm concerned. I had hoped to improve my MIF test this summer and to jump and spin like a mad woman. That didn't happen. So I am disappointed. I don't know when I'll have that much ice time again, no one has posted their schedule for the fall yet. I still hope to take my MIF test by Nov/Dec. I so want to compete at Easterns this year; it's so close. If you have any suggestions as to how I can fix either one of these problems, I would soooooo appreciate your feedback. Until that time...
Sunday, July 31, 2016
All the classes, all the practices and what do I have to show for it? Bunions. Sore hamstrings. Hot, painful feet. And the need for a new mouth guard because I grind my teeth when I practice. Odd. I wish I could say that all of the ice time has improved my skating, but that would be a lie. I still cannot really jump or spin. I am riding my toepicks like a motorcycle. Back crossovers into a spin causes me to grind to a halt. There maybe help on the horizon: something under the front of the blade to make me rock back. I stopped by the local skate shop and mentioned the problem and was told that was the solution. A coach at the rink told me the same thing. Unfortunately, no one seems to have the time to FIX the problem, but I'm hopeful. Next week I hope to have news that includes jumps and spins. In the meantime, my three are improving, providing I lean back...
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Not really, but I like the sentiment. So here I am at the ASL Symposium at Northeastern University in Boston. I'm working hard on my ASL skills and trying to deal with both the hardest dorm bed in the world and a tablet that moves the curser at will placing odd letters in the middle of other words. My eyes are tired and my head often hurts. I love it. Sidebar: thinking of going into Tactile Signing for the Deaf-Blind. It's harder, but it is a field in need. Back to skating. While I haven't really posted in several weeks, I can tell you that I have been skating. Like an onion (only hopefully better smelling), I have been peeling away at my problem areas in hopes of improving. This has caused more than one day of me limping off the ice when my back decided it was in charge. I have created a pattern for myself that includes an intense warmup, followed by every element of my MIF test, taken out of context. I then repeat it, putting it in context. It's a lot to get through and I admit that it's difficult not to skip those elements that I hate: mohawks. Last Saturday, I have a few decent mohawks that didn't look like I was tripping over my feet. I really need to slow those down to the almost stand-still speed of the rest of the outside mohawk step sequence. And I had three good back three turns. But I think the best was the back spin with several revolutions. I couldn't repeat it, but I have witnesses. To quote The Beatles, it's getting better all the time! Here's an interesting bit of info before my tired eyes give out on me (plus, I have class in the morning and this page is no longer in focus...), while in Boston, I thought, maybe I could skate. The only place apparently open are a Skating Club of Boston sessions. I call and was immediately greeted by a woman who told me it wasn't a public session. I told her that I was aware. She then asked me what level I was; I gave her the information and she said, "ohhhhh..." I mentioned that I saw their schedule online and would only be coming for the No-Test session. She said, they were very advanced. Long story short, I didn't bring my skates. However, the club is having exhibitions on Friday and I plan to attend. And after that attitude, they'd better be good. Well that's it for now. Eyes are totally out of focus, so I have to wait until tomorrow to post this so I can read it again.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Have you ever had one of those sessions, one of those days when you just wanted to jump up and down and kiss a stranger? Well, I have and it was on the ice!! (Never did find a stranger to kiss...) As you know, I'm taking an intensive adult skating class. On Tuesday, no one else showed up but me and the awesome coach decided to work with me for the entire 80 minutes!!! I was amazed!! In that short period of time, we worked on almost everything. And in that short period of time, he fixed almost everything. No, it's not perfect, but I must say, I felt pretty darn good about the progress! We did stroking (of course), crossovers forward and backward. I did a mohawk with a bit of speed. We did figure 8s forward and backward, inside and outside (I KNEW those figures would come in handy one day!) We did three turns, jumps and a few spins. It was lovely. Since this coach works at one of the rinks I will be practicing at, I am going to ask if he has time for a lesson or two with me. I'm not cheating on my primary coach as she will be going on vacation for 2 weeks to another country and then I'll be at an intensive sign language symposium the last week of June. In the meantime, I would love to work with this coach. I'm optimistic. How about you?
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Do you find yourself wondering if anyone is on your side? Sometimes are you not on your own side? It's been an odd week. I began the intensive skating classes, which can only be described as semi-private lessons because right now there are two people in the class. More may come; I'm not sure. We worked on forward three turns and inside mohawks; I concentrated on my weaker side. I don't understand why my left forward outside three turn, my right forward inside three turn and my right forward inside mohawks are so hit and miss. I did figures back in the day, but suddenly those three turns have gone on vacation and I keep waiting to receive a postcard telling me when they're coming back. As for the mohawk, well, they've never been my favorite turn so they're really just bad in all directions. The only really bad fall I ever took was doing mohawks. As we say in ASL (American Sign Language): "scar memory" (it means it's been burned into your brain like a scar). Anyway, mohawks have always caused me to pause and pause and pause and false start and pause. It takes forever. My hope is that by the end of the summer (between these intensive classes on Tuesday and the intensive classes on Saturday), I will have both my mohawks without hesitation and the weak three turns will be stronger. A lack of core strength (yes, that again) appears to be holding back progress as well. I don't know what's going on other than when I should be up working out, I'm hitting the snooze button and turning over. I suppose it means I need more than 6 hours of sleep. Go figure. Either way, it appears that if I had more core strength, things would be getting better. That leads me to my current situation: I feel as though my coach, whom I love, is kinda going through the motions because I don't seem to be progressing. I used to have my lesson during the Sunday morning session, but one day, I was told someone else would be taking that lesson time. Okay... I would have preferred to have been told BEFORE I arrived at the rink, but I can always use the practice. However, this was the Sunday session and the lesson was really the only reason I agreed to return to Sunday monitoring. So my lesson day was changed; I can be flexible. I have my lesson on a session with another adult skater. She's working on her Intermediate Moves (I think). However, if she can't come for whatever reason, my lesson is canceled. I always have first lesson... always. Most of the time I don't mind. I arrive at the rink early enough to warm-up and stretch my feet, but sometimes it would be nice NOT to have the first lesson. Yes, I've mentioned this, but my fellow skater is often late, so... Perhaps it's because I am still struggling with foot/skate/blade/back/head/balance issues, but I spend most of my lesson stroking. Like for 10 minutes; it's a 30 minute lesson. When I do work on something other than stroking, it's usually MIF. Sometimes I have the opportunity to jump, once in a great while I spin. This could totally be my fault because sometimes my crossovers are out of control, but I feel stagnant. I know I need work on my Moves, don't get me wrong, but maybe shake it up a bit? Years ago, I competed as a Silver. I'd like to return to competition as a Silver. My coach wants me to move down to Bronze because I "will never get that good". Ouch. I watch my fellow adult skater during her lesson (while I'm getting a sip of water) and I see her working on things I used to work on and things that I can land. But I don't get to work on those anymore. I'm all at sea. Wishing doesn't make it so. Wishing for MIF, jumps, spins and connective steps doesn't make it happen; hard work does. Wishing for flat, strong abs doesn't make me a size 6; hard work does. Wishing that the Friday night session in Bethpage wasn't such a zoo doesn't change the craziness; plowing through the chaos will. It takes 21 of doing something daily for your mind and body to accept it and not rebel at the thought. Consider this the beginning of my 21 days. No wishing; just results. "Never take a stranger's advice Never let a friend fool you twice Nobody's on nobody's side Never be the first to believe Never be the last to deceive Nobody's on nobody's side And never leave a moment too soon Never waste a hot afternoon Nobody's on nobody's side Never stay a minute too long Don't forget the best will go wrong Nobody's on nobody's side" ** Nobody's Side from the musical "Chess". Lyrics: Björn Ulvaeus & Tim Rice Music: Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus
Sunday, April 24, 2016
I bet you're wondering where the heck I've been... Or maybe not. I'm going to tell you anyway. Work has been kicking my buttocks, however, I have been trying to skate at least twice a week, not including Sundays when I ice monitor because I almost never get to skate anyway. I've been heading to City Ice, World Ice and Bethpage. All of which I can drive to without getting lost! That's a big thing for me because in the eight months I've had my job, I have not really ventured into the neighborhood because there is absolutely nothing but car dealerships around there. Back to skating... I've been "skating" with a some general numbness in my feet after 20 minutes. It usually causes me to sit down, take my skates off and shake and massage my feet until the circulation returns. Recently, I discovered that if I just shake my feet really hard while still in my skates, I can usually finish the session. Thus far, it has worked wonders. I know I mentioned my recent victory regarding being able to jump in my new skates. Well, I can do you one better: I can spin now too!! (Hold your applause until the end). Yesterday at City Ice, I not only did a few scratch spins, but some camel spins as well. They were still pretty ugly, but I'll take them. I haven't figured out why my jumps and spins are so awkward, but I'm working on it. I've also signed up for an adult intensive program on Tuesday nights. I've attended on (that session is over now) and enjoyed it. My basic skills are lacking in some of the most interesting areas: I can only do mohawks well in one direction, my right inside 3 turn shows up intermittently, my backspin is 1 1/2 revolutions after several attempts, I never learned a bunny hop. That will start next week. There's another program on Saturday mornings that begins in late June that I am also looking forward to. On another note; thanks to a run-in with the skating school director and the annoying parents who like to tell me how to monitor but will NEVER do it themselves, I have left the chore monitoring the Sunday sessions. There is only two sessions remaining and I may have to return next season if I can obtain two lessons per month with a jump specialist, but my blood pressure was going through the roof due to these annoying people. My job gives me too much stress and aggravation have to deal with these petty annoyances during my weekend. I will apologize to my co-monitor again, but she's pretty fed up too. Just a note: If you're not part of the solution; you're part of the problem. You disagree with how a skating club is run? Stop mouthing off at the volunteer monitors and write to the club president. Ask if you can attend a board meeting. Speak to someone who can act on your suggestions (unless they are petty, which all the ones I hear ARE petty) and stop complaining to people who can't change anything. It will feel so nice to sleep in on Sundays. "Hello, it's me I've thought about us for a long, long time Maybe I think too much but something's wrong There's something here that doesn't last too long Maybe I shouldn't think of you as mine..." "Hello, It's Me" - Music & lyrics by Todd Rundgren
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
This relates to skating only slightly; it's about my job. It relates to skating because it PAYS for my skating. In the 5 months I have had this job, in my incredibly small department of 7 people, 3 people have resigned. TWO of those 3 people were MY BOSSES!!! Now, I know it has nothing to do with me, but, it's beginning to make me a little uncomfortable... Should I start looking again?? Should I have never stopped? Why does my chest hurt all the time? I think that's stress... Three people in five months? My VP quit 2 days after I started. My director sent me a text message this evening because I had already left (after working 10 1/2 hours). Has this ever happened to you where everyone seems to be leaving and you're not and no one is telling you why?
Monday, January 18, 2016
I JUMPED TODAY!!!! Sorry about shouting, but I haven't been able to jump since late April when my old Klingbeils still had some support. Fast forward to today and I JUMPED!!!!! Was it pretty? Nope. But the jumps were high and they were landed. I hit some of the worse positions in the air and managed to still land on one foot. Weeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! I also did some of the ugliest spins known to mankind and they traveled to Istanbul and back. BUT, I was able to spin. I can only say to myself, "Welcome back!!" The lyrics to the old Pointer Sisters song are pretty inappropriate (don't you just love the music of the '80s? After all, "Every Step You Take" is a not a love song but about stalking someone.) and as a result, I won't be quoting that song here. But I will leave you with this... "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929 - 1968
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Can you believe this debate is STILL going on?? Recently, I was the unwilling audience to a parent who was "educating" me on the nuances of ISI vs USFSA. She was insisting that ANYONE could compete with almost no skating skills in under the ISI track. Her son, she mentioned, had started in ISI, but quickly out-grew the program at the age of 6 because he could already do a waltz jump. According to my educator, a waltz jump was the HIGHEST level in ISI. Apparently we participated in two totally different program, since ISI makes you perform jumps in the opposite direction and the USFSA does not. I made the foolish attempt to tell my educator all about the ISI, but my attempts seem futile. FS5, she insisted was the highest level and there was that waltz jump again. No, I told her, FS5 has a axel in it. You don't have to do it, I was told. Yes you do, I insisted because I WAS a FS5 skater and have the scars from axel practice to prove it. While I understand that ISI isn't usually for the "competitive" skater, as an adult, I can say, it's the way many of us began. If you recall some of my earlier posts, it was in FS5 where I had my very cheated axel (all the way around, but on two feet) and the beginnings of a double salchow and double toe loop. Not bad for someone who was told that ISI is only for Basic Skills skaters. And for the record, I think Basic Skills is pretty challenging. If I don't have to do a hockey stop, I won't. That's a move on Basic Skills. Perhaps my educator was confused between Basic Skills and ISI, I thought. Nope, she knew the difference, even quoting the moves on Basic Skills 8 (which includes a waltz jump). No, ISI was for people just shy of wearing rental skates and a helmet. My first competitions were ISI and while I struggled; I did enjoy it. I only stopped competing ISI because they stopped including adults. Initially, ISI levels were allowed in USFSA levels, but I'm not sure that's still the case. Regardless, many Silver skaters cannot do an axel, but there it is on FS5, which I think is the equivalent. Unfortunately for me and anyone else within ear-shot, this unfair comparison is really snobbery (is that a word?). Her son was a really good skater who quit and perhaps she is still having trouble accepting that fact. That's no reason to put down ISI, adult skaters (who, she says will NEVER achieve much of anything... You might want to tell that to the adult skater who is working on her Senior MIF) or anyone over five feet not working on doubles. As for me, I am just a recreational skater who is much more useful monitoring and announcing at competitions. Wow. The only skaters who are important are the young ones because they have the opportunity to go to Nationals or Sectionals. The rest of us are really just wasting ice time. But we pay, so we have our merit. For the record, I knew a young skater who competed in both tracks. She was on FS8 and Novice FS when I lost track of her. And for some reason, it didn't bother her, her coaches and the judges in any way, shape or form. As for my own skating; it's getting better. At least the pain is gone, but I'm working on my confidence. It seems to have packed up and moved away... Skate on, my friends.
Sunday, January 3, 2016
Good news! I took all of the padding, cushioning, etc. out of my skates and went "old school". Old school, for those of you who are unaware, was when you took thicker socks, wet them with hot water, put your skates on and either skated or walked around until the socks dried. Yes, it feels weird, but it actually works. Add to the mix, a new lacing pattern taught to me by a post on Skating Forums and (drum roll please), I can wear my skates!!!! Thank you, thank you very much. I added to my skate an inexpensive rubber arch support that seems to hit the spot. Today, I skated for 50 minutes and my arches only started to hurt at the final 5 minutes. I AM impressed!!! I am starting from scratch again, so my lessons consist of crossovers mostly. The skates aren't flexible at all and dig into my leg, which causes me to pitch forward on crossovers, but if I don't think about them, I can do them fine. It's a little frustrating to have to start all over again, but I am hopeful. And I refuse to quit. Today I discovered that there is a rink 10 minutes from my office and they have very quiet public sessions during the day. Looks like I found a place to go for lunch! At least I won't be disturbed while trying to watch videos of funny cats as I am now. I'd like to see my co-workers follow me to the rink! HA! Here's an odd bit of information. My new Jackson skates with the blades on them still weigh less than ONE of my old Klingbeils without the blades on them. That being the case, why do I feel as though my new skates are two blocks of cement strapped to my feet? Prior to this new result with my skates, I felt that I would just have to sell them and try again. You have no idea how happy I am. The lyrics below express how I felt BEFORE. "A woman* has dreams Of walking with giants To carve her* niche In the edifice of time. Before the mortar of her zeal Has a chance to congeal The cup is dashed from her lips The flame is snuffed aborning She's brought to rack and ruin in her prime"*** * The song was written for a man to sing, which I am not. ** A Man Has Dreams from Mary Poppins Music and lyrics by Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman.