Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Figure Skating Resolutions

Generally, making New Year's Resolutions doesn't work.

source: Pusheen the Cat

My resolutions this year....

1. Start Group Lessons again.

2. Relearn FI3----yet again!  

3. Improve my mohawks!  Specifically get the free foot over the circle on the back edge!

4. Get some check in FO3 and mohawks.

5. Get more than 3 rotations in my 2 foot spins. 

6. I may be pushing the edge of the envelope here....Do a Bunny Hop.

Monday, December 30, 2013

I Have Duckfeet!

I'm now skating in Jackson Competitors, and I've been really happy with them. They're a lovely intermediate boot with good wearing properties, and just right for me in so many ways.. Except my feet have decided to get 'old lady spread'.  Apparently as you age the ligaments and muscles of your feet lose elasticity and you get 'duck feet' narrow at the heel, wide in the forefoot.

Welome to my Duckfoot Boot World.
There's a way to deal with narrow boots in the forefoot, it's a last ditch effort but I've been happy with it.

Then after 5 years of skating, the heel cups of the  Competitors gave out.  At this point, there's little I can do to fix the heel cups.  I've got gel tubes on my heels already, and putting leather patches on the inside of the heels will only delay replacement.

So my skate tech measured the circumference of the balls of my feet. 9 inches. Jackson 5 1/2 Cs are made for about a 8 1/2 inch circumference. Ditto Reidells. So I have to get customs with a split width.

Jackson's are right out because they only do split width on Premieres which are waaaay to stiff.  Reidells and SP-Teri's  are my only options.  I know you're thinking, "There's other companies," let's just say I had a bad experience with a pair of custom boots from a premiere custom boot maker (so badly fitting on one foot it tore a toenail in half, stiff enough for doubles, no ankle notch,  the only thing they got right was the color).  I'm sticking with the big boys from now on. And I've learned my lesson, send the boot back right away if it's a suspect fit.

All said and done, we're talking about $900 here.  That's bad enough, but then there's the endless self doubt...I'm spending a lot of money here, will they fit?

Man, decisions decisions. Is skating worth it?What do I do?

I see my skate tech next week and I know what I'll do when I see him.

Take my money! I need new boots!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dull Blades Get an Appointment (UPDATED)

So I have an appointment tomorrow to get my blades sharpened. I'm able to skate on them for now only if I have really deep knee bend and perfect edge placement. Really, I should keep skating on them because maintaining edge control on dull blades is good exercise.  

So my basic rule is, when I'm working so hard to skate that I think...
Time for a sharpening!
I haven't had a sharpening since March! And despite my off and on  skating, I think I've put in the 25-30 hours that's expected between sharpening. So, my sharpener squeezed me in on Sunday. 

And I know what will happen. He'll run his thumb nail over the blade and he'll say the same thing he always does.
"These blades don't need a sharpening,
they've got plenty of life in them."
But it's been 10 months since I had a sharpening, so I figure I'm due. Otherwise 2013 would go down as the "Year without a sharpening."

And if he says, "These are still skatable," I'll do my Tim Curry face!

(Update: My skate tech reported they were dull but with no nicks!  That's so unusual, I have no funny face for it!)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Lost and Found

Got to the rink and discovered one of my wrist guards was missing.

Turned up in Lost and Found!

Thank you, some honest person!

Unlike whoever walked off with my knee pads a couple of months ago.

Ooooh, if only......

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Which Works Better for Acute Injuries, RICE or MEAT?

A couple of days before Christmas I did an ankle rollover off the edge of my porch mat and flopped around in pain in the rain on my front sidewalk for a couple of minutes. Then I got up and limped into the house.

My fall was much less graceful
Fortunately, since I'm a figure skater I had ankle compression, Advil, and ice packs ready to go!

You're all familiar with RICE aren't you? Rest Ice Compression Elevation? It's the mantra I grew up with. Rest-get off my ankle, Ice--put ice on it, Compression--well, put on a compression bandage, Elevation--prop my foot up.
Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation!

There I am lying in bed, and I start researching. It turns out that RICE is now in a contest with MEAT!
MEAT says I should do the following:
Movement-rotate the foot to keep the blood flow to the injured area
Exercise- get up and walk around
Analgesic--hooray! Advil!
Treatment--physical therapy
Movement,Exercise, Analgesic, Therapy!
Basically, I have to be a doctor to tell when RICE is better than MEAT! I'm not kidding! One is for muscle injury, the other is for ligament injury. How ya gonna know?   Since I'm not a doctor I can't know if it's muscle or ligament, I have to make some decisions on my own.

Let's call my personal method BEANS.

Basically, put some compression and ice the injury followed by heat a couple hours later
Exercise--get up and walk around; if I can't, then stop and go to the weekend clinic, also rotate the ankle to keep the blood flowing to the ligament and/or muscle that's injured
Analgesics--sweet, sweet advil
Note how I'm feeling and adjust my treatment,
See if there's any bruising or swelling and monitor it for increasing pain

So what do we have after an injury?

Booyah! We've got a meal!  Rice Meat AND Beans!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Things I Hate about Skating. 7, 8, 9 (Pre-Xmas 3 for 1 Sale!)

7. When  RINK STAFF (!) interrupts my lesson to talk to my coach 

On the outside
On the inside

8. When some guy in hockey skates decides to hog the center hockey circle to practice his crossovers
Dude, you're annoying me--and all the spinners, jumpers,
skaters in lessons...

9. When the ice is too cold, too hard and covered with bumps over the entire surface

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ooops! I Need Some Tissue for My Blade Issue!

What with 3 bouts of shingles since August and two knee injections since March, I haven't skated much this year. Are you surprised that I kind of forgot to stay on top of my sharpenings?

I was on ice Friday, barely able to get an edge. I was skittering all over the place.  It wasn't helped by the fact the ice was too cold for figure skating.  Ice as rock hard as diamond. I had to really work hard to maintain control.

When I got off ice I checked my blades.

Yes, they were d.u.l.l. And it's 3 weeks until my skate tech comes back.

I feel like doing this to myself:

I know what you're all thinking:

Yeah, I think that too!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Things I Hate on Ice. 6

What My Coach Is Teaching Me To Do

What I hear.

What happens as a result.

My whining excuse.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Forward Inside Three Hell

I have pretty solid forward outside threes. Okay, there's still a checking issue, but I can do them either direction, in pattern, and not from a stop.

Last year I had Forward Inside threes. They disappeared when the Knee Went Bad. Now Miss Bianaca is all serious and everything about  getting them back. Most of the time I'm a serious and mature skater but when it comes to FI3, I'm all like this...

while Miss Bianca is pretty relaxed about the whole thing. She has a technique fore teaching FI3.

a. Push off onto an inside edge and place the free foot in the T-position, with a slightly open free leg.
b. As you do the turn hold the free leg so that as the skating foot finished the turn the free foot ends up parallel to the skating foot.
c. Move your hips in the turn.

I'm apparently a 'hip flinger'. When I do the three turn I do it al with my upper body and the hips kind of get pulled around at the last minute. This makes the shoulders of my 3 turn flat on the exit edge, and sometimes I can actually get a hook on the three turn.  This is because I've got stiff hips. I'm not proud about it, it's just that I worry more about my feet. My hips are on their own.

Still, about half the time I try, I can get a FI3 that works. Here's a video.

See, the hips are late in the turn.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

"Celebrate Even the Little Things"

Miss Bianca was pleased with the fact that I had improved on the stuff we worked on last week. Even though I didn't have a chance to practice, I was a step up from my last lesson.

"I see you're able to do mohawks out in the middle, away from the boards,"  she paused and smiled, "I like to celebrate the little things."

So in support of coaches everywhere who have to 'celebrate the little things'  here are some 'celebration expressions' to use.

"OMG! You didn't fall!"

When something is actually too small to celebrate.
"Nope, not celebrating *that* one."

And  the most important one of all...
"Damn, I am a good coach...!"

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Things I Hate About Skating. 5

I was on light skating this week due to an injection in my knee, so Miss Bianca was having to think deep thoughts about what I could do that wouldn't stress my knee too much. It's always a bad sign when a coach thinks about what she wants you to do. You never know what will come up.

Then Miss Bianca gets some inspiration.
"I want to see your Hockey Stops,
 right here, right now!"
Yes, we all know adult learner figure skaters all hate hockey stops. Keep your chest forward, twist your hips, do this thing with your feet really suddenly and don't fall on your ass. 

But as much as I hate them, hockey stops are important. Having the skill to stop when you're going fast, is critical to safety, and it allows you to skate on crowded sessions with more speed but without danger to slamming into anyone.

There's some really good tips out on the web. I like the hockey stop page at Robby Gantz Power Skating. Really an excellent write up, and a nice bit of animation to go along with it. 

Anyway, Miss Bianca has me skate to the hockey circle and do the stop on the circle line. I sort of sneak up on the blue circle, then gently do a one foot snowplow.

"That's a rolling stop! You need to come to a complete stop!"  Miss Bianca is firm, "And you need to do a hockey stop too!" 

What Miss Bianca wants:

Sadly, when I start to do them, this is what she gets:

But by the end of the lesson, I'm doing better! More like this!
Maybe, next week I'll be doing them as well as the 9 year old hockey boys!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

You Know You're a Regular....

So I went into the rink for a lesson on public. I was there a little early and there was no line, so I plopped my skate bag on the counter and started digging around for my 'frequent flyer' card.

"Well," I started muttering to Isabel the cashier, "Here's my toothbrush, and pen, and earphones, and advil and pepto.."

"You need a new card." Isabel said, "You're due."

I found my card in its case. "Oh, yes, you're right, I need a new card."

Yes, the staff knows me so well, they know when I need a card before I do.  How this works, I have no idea. The cards are  marked with a pen, so there's no computer tracking. Apparently, Isabel remembers when I get to the next to last public and remembers it until I come back again a week later.

Hundreds of people a week and she remembers that I'll need a new card at my next visit.

Yes, that's just one of the marks of being a regular.

"See, you need to renew your public skate card."
When do you know you've reached "regular" status?

It's like walking into the Cheers pub, where everyone knows your name.

'Cause not only do they know your name, they know your boot problems, test level, coach, car, boot bag, jacket, injury history and can tell at a glance if you've been practicing!

Hope you're having a happy holiday!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Merry Christmas to Your Skater--2013

Desperate for last minute gifts for your skater?  Here's my last couple of years of skater gift suggestions.

Christmas gifts for your coach.

Merry Xmas to your Skater-2012.

Merry Xmas to your Skater-2011.

I haven't been on ice much this year, so I haven't seen any new skating things to buy. So what about....

Fabric! and Crystals! or a Sewing Machine! Doesn't matter if your skater is a guy or a gal, everyone needs costumes and sparkles, boot covers, practicewear, jackets, whatever. Even a series of Learn to Sew lessons can be a wonderful gift. Okay, maybe you'd get resistance if your skater is under 18 or an adolescent boy, but most adult skaters would be grateful. Let's face it, if a guy skates, does he even care what people think?

I know what somebody out there is thinking, "This woman would recommend giving a donation to the Heifer Project in someone's name as a Christmas gift." Well, yes, if you made a charitable donation in my name I'd be happy with that as a gift. I've reached the age where 'useful gifts' is perfect!

Do you reject the sewing idea?  Okay, give them some freestyle or public skate cards. Those fit everyone!

Oompa loompa doompety doo
I've got another costume for you
Oompa loompa doompeda dee
If you are wise you'll listen to me

Learning to sew gives you power and style
You control all  designs and that brightens your smile
Your practice wear will fit; not to short or too long
And your costume is yours! Not sung to someone else's song!
(And if you want to see how to make a costume there's always Sew Skate Read's costume sewing tutorial!

Friday, November 29, 2013

When You Take a Friend to the Rink because They Want to "Learn To Skate"

First you help them out on the ice:

And they grab you and take you down
 Then you get away from your friend as quickly as possible, letting them skate on their own:

Watching them grab for the boards can be amusing too:

Finally after a long hour at the rink, you go home and take a well deserved nap!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

You Know You Skate Too Much: 3

You come home from the rink and tell someone you love how you spent your day working on your skating and they respond:

Yeah, who understands what we say except other figure skaters.

P.S. The Ice Doesn't Care will be down for a few days while I upgrade my computer. Sorry, no Sunday funnies this week unless a miracle occurs and everything works the first time. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hot Cross Buns--er---Rolls

I've always had trouble with cross rolls.  Anyone else?

Anyway, I admire the way some people do a big semi-circle then at the last minute the free foot crosses onto the outside edge, and you push off with the old skating foot from a T position. Finally, this summer I asked Coach Amazing if she could help.

She stood too one side and watched me do my 'cross rolls'. What I was doing was rather pathetic flat curves and only occasionally landing on the outside edge.

"I see what you're doing wrong," she said, "You're starting your free leg forward too early."

I was treating the cross roll like a swing roll. What I was doing was bringing the free leg forward at the top of the curve, and I wasn't bending my knees enough.

What I *should* have been doing was bending the knee much much more, and not bringing the freeleg forward until the last second.

It took me a while to break myself of the habit of bringing the free leg forward too soon, but once I mastered bringing the freeleg forward at the last second, I found that with the proper kneebend, I was automagically in a proper T-push position for the next edge.

Well, at least I only have to
worry about TWO legs!

Monday, November 18, 2013


Sunday I was stroking around the rink when I suddenly heard my former Russian dance coach yelling in my ear, "Poosh! Pooosh! Poosh!"

I reflexively started scampering for power like an elderly, arthritic Brussels Griffon who has just heard the clickety-click of an angry Doberman's toenails on the red Spanish tile of a California sunroom. And it's headed his way!
My typical scampering for power
Then I realized,  WTF! Dance Coach hasn't been my coach for a year since I quit dance. I'm having a skating coach flashback!

I looked to my left and he was skating past with his student and gave me a wave...and for a moment there, a heart attack too boot!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Marker of Doom. Mark II

Miss Bianca reaches into her pocket and pulls out here coach's marker.

You may have read how I feel about these here.

"Show me your 3 turn," she says.

I pop one out. Nice point, good shape.


Miss Bianca says, "Do you want me to draw you an arc?" Oh, the voice is sweet and nice. But deep underneath is a threat...'make it bigger'.

"No," I say in a little voice.

I want to hide when the marker comes out
 Miss Bianca draws an arc anyway. I know what's she's thinking...
Well, uh, falling....