Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Mini-Drama at the Rink--Game of Thrones Style

Back in 2012, I failed my Canasta Tango test, my knee went kablooey, and I not only quit ice dance I quit skating for several months.
Kablooey. I took an arrow to the knee.
When I left, Dance Coach said, "I don't like to see students quit after failing a test, when you're ready I take you through the test again."

After the months off ice and I came back to skate with Miss Bianca, Dance Coach said once again, "I'll take you through the Canasta Tango, I don't like to see people quit on a fail."

I mean, I smiled and nodded, but I was done with ice dance. I don't think I had a feel for the dance, or maybe, my skills weren't there. I expected to just do freestyle and maybe do some comedy programs for ISI.

But, damn....

I missed ice dance.

I missed swing rolls, and progressives, chasse's, and someone bitchin' in a Russian accent in my ear about how sucky my power was.

So, I talked to Miss Bianca and today she started re-teaching me the Canasta Tango. I thought if I mastered the steps, I'd go to Dance Coach and ask him to take me through the re-test.

It was a secret. The people who know are not supposed to tell Dance Coach.

It turns out, I'm just as slow today to learn the steps as I was in 2012. On the other hand I have some damn fine progressives right out of the gate. And it was just like old-times skating around tiny little bodies on public. "Hey, I didn't kill anyone!" is my mantra after every pattern. Although it was hard to hold myself back when there was an adult figure skater in my way  not to mouth, "You gonna get your ass out of my way?" And a freestyle woman and I passed so close that I could feel the wind off of her.

Then Miss Bianca and I are in the center working on progressive, stroke, slide chasse', swing roll, stroke slide chasse'. And as I'm doing the last slide chasse' I see Dance Coach skating towards us.

Dance Coach never skates public on Sunday. I've been here for years and he's never there on Sunday. Not One Time.

He looks at me. He knows the pattern of the Canasta Tango. He know what I'm doing....and I haven't talked to him about it.

I get...a look.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

I Finally Use My 'Previously Owned' Zuca

Earlier this year I bought a Zuca frame and insert for $25 at my club's semi-annual used equipment sale. I didn't know if I would ever use it, but really, for $25 it was a steal. So I bought a new insert for it, and it sat in  my  'figure skating room' (second guest room) for a few weeks.

I just started using it because LTS is so crowded, that it's hard to find a place to sit. The women in freestyle want me to join them in the 'ADULT FREESTYLE CIRCLE OF THE SACRED FIRE'. But they all have Zuca's and (again with the crowding) I have to find a spot on the bench to sit where the CIRCLE OF THE SACRED FIRE is seated on their Zucas.

So, this week I packed my skates and gear in the Zuca bag and started hauling it around to practices.

Below is a picture of my review:

Reason 1: It doesn't support my Pack It As You Take It Off Philosophy. I don't like the fact that it's natural to put the skates in first (on the bottom) and the other stuff I want to put in the main compartment goes on top of my skates. So I have to be careful not to put too much stuff in the main compartment so there's a lot of wasted space above my skates.
Temp Fix for this: I have to leave my skates out, pack all my other stuff in their vented bags, pile them on the bottom and then put the skates in on top of them. This means I have stuff spread out all over the place, rather than the natural method of 'pack it as you take it off'.
Real Fix to This: I'm going to find one of those locker shelves that fits the main compartment, and set it up so that I can put my skates right in on top of the shelf, and then pile the other stuff under the shelf. This way, I can pack it as I take it off.

Reason 2. The side mesh areas look as flimsy as hell. I have a vented bag for my knee and hip pads and I'm afraid all that's going to tear the side mesh off one of these days

Reason 3: Those extra deep pockets are pretty worthless to me. Everything settles to the bottom, so if I'm looking for something I have to root around the deep pockets to find stuff. I guess they work okay for CDs and stuff, but its easier to find CDs etc in a  classic suitcase.

Reason 4: The thing is H.E.A.V.Y. Hell, I'm in my 60's I practically need a man to get it out of the car.

I don't want to criticize Zuca in a way that implies it's a badly made product. It's a well made product and maybe those mesh sides are stronger than I think they are. If it rocks your boat, that's fine.

On the other hand,  I want to sit with my sisters in the CIRCLE OF THE SACRED FIRE, so I'll put up with it.'

You guy's know I made up all that CIRCLE OF THE SACRED FIRE shit don't you? It's not like we go out in the wilderness and dance around a fire and chant Patrick Chan's highest COP and GOE scores or anything.
"Patrick Chan? I thought it was Jason Brown's this week."

Friday, May 29, 2015

Adult Skater Responsibilities #1

Sometimes when I'm at the rink a coach in lesson will skate near me with their little student and call me by name, as in "Hi Babbette!"
"You talkin' to me?!"
 Now, as far as I'm concerned when a coach is in lesson, I should be invisible. The coach's eyes should be focused like two diamond tipped drill bits on their little student.  They do not want to talk to me about my skating. They shouldn't even notice me.
Coach drill bit eyes
As near as I can figure out, the coach calls my name because they want to pause the lesson for a second and they know I'll do my adult skater job.

I skate over and I start complimenting the hell out of the student, and sometimes the coach.

 To a girl,I'll say

"Oh, what a beautiful dress/hat/barette/jacket/new skates/you're so pretty....."

or to a boy,

"Oh, you have such good posture/balance/power/edges/swing roll/three turn/smooth jump landing...."

Or to a kid who is very young,

"Coach X is such a wonderful coach, I know you'll have a great time learning to skate."

Then with a smile, I gracefully skate away.

Damn, I'm good.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Temperature Transitions at the Rink

First 5 minutes on the ice

Next 10 minutes on ice


When You Get Off the ice and step into the Parking Lot

I hear you ask yourself, how did she do that without a single "Frozen" picture? Well, just if you reaaly want one....
Nice backspin position there Benedict


Monday, May 25, 2015

The Very Dull Blades

Miss Cheerleader picked up my boots today and tested my edges. "You need a sharpening."

True, too true.

Yesterday, my coach Miss Bianca said, "You need a sharpening. Bend your knees."

Sadly, my tech is at the PSA conference and I don't trust anyone else.  I have to wait until he gets back. When he retires, I don't know what I'll do.

I guess sharpen them myself. It can be done.

Here's an interview with a Chinese skater sharpener with who made his own machine.  He's been sharpening for 79 years!  The old man is right, don't use those computer controlled sharpening machines!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Sea of Little Kids Vs The Rink Gate

In my normal life, I never see little kids.

In my skating life I'm surrounded by a sea of little kids.

So, it's the end of kid LTS and I'm standing near the closed gate, while I talk to the assistant skating director. The bell rings indicating the end of kid LTS. Suddenly, there's a herd of unsteady, very short little skaters trying to open the gate. And they can't manage the latch from the inside.

I turn to look for the assistant skating director, but she's disappeared. Coward.

Honestly, the only adults left in my general area of the gate are gormless parents who aren't doing squat. So, I, the only adult within 15 feet (where did all the other adult skaters go?) step up to the gate to open it.

I open the outside latch to open it, and as I do a bazillion little kids from the inside start to push their way out, and a bazillion kids on the outside start to push their way in.


There's a little girl that wasn't there a second ago, putting her guards behind the gate, and if I let those kids push open the gate they'll slam it right on her fingers and crush them.

Because of the rink noise, I have to yell at the kids on the inside, "STOP PUSHING!"

I tell the little girl, "GET OUT FROM BEHIND THE GATE!"

She says "Someone will steal my guards!"

I'm actively leaning against the gate to keep it from slamming into her tiny, little fingers. "GET OUT FROM BEHIND THE GATE!" a half turn to face the kids on the inside, 'STOP PUSHING!"

I swear to God, that little girl continues to fiddle with her guards. "MOVE IT!"

Finally, she moves. I open the gate and set it against the boards. Little kids flow on and off the ice, pushing each other aside.

As I watch the kids around me I'm filled with a sense of satisfaction. I'll get my revenge ; someday these kids will pay for my Social Security.

You Know You're a Real Skater.#2

You Go To The Drugstore and See All The Foot
Remedies are On Sale and You Get All Excited

When You See a Male Dance Coach Partnering A
Male Student And You Don't Think Anything
About It 

When You've Comforted Another Skater
After a Failed Test

When You Take Off Your Side Zip Warm Up
Pants and Don't Care How Weird It Looks


Memorial Day Skating Skirt Sale for Adult Women

As a service to my readers, I'm listing some online stores that are having Memorial Day sales of skorts that I think could be worn as practice skirts.

A skort is a skirt with built in shorts.  Usually these are more 'generously fitted' than the skirts you buy from skate shops.

Here goes:

Title 9. Mainly a running, biking, outdoor sports store, Has a lot of variety and good quality skorts. I have a couple from them.

Team Estrogen: Mainly biking. Lots of skirts with shorts. Some are padded shorts for bike riding, double check before you order.

Terry Cycles, More biking skorts. I don't see  a Memorial Day sale. I own a skort from them and I liked it. They seem to run a little longer than other places.

Now for some practice skirts without built in shorts. I recommend just wear some black booty shorts underneath these. If you want to be fancy, buy the skirt then find some dance pants in a matching color to wear underneath.

American Apparel. Look through the pictures of skirts and you'll see a bunch of shorter skirts that are just to die for, I have a cute double chiffon skirt from them. The short skirts run short, They are having a memorial day sale.

So in general these skirts and short are available is sizes that adult women might feel comfortable in. Some sites even have plus sizes. The Memorial Day sale at most of them is a great deal for the holiday.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Spin Comparison

Before my lesson one of the male figure skaters at my rink (we have a bunch) was exclaiming over one of his spins. He was exceptionally excited about it. I took a picture and changed it to B&W and adjusted the contrast. Here it is....

Here's one of mine:

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Back to LTS

The skating director charged at me like a tornado. "I was so happy I saw your name on the sign up sheet!" she exclaimed.

Wait. What? The skating director knows my name? When did that happen?

"So," she continued, "I put you in Freestyle 2. I think you'll have fun there!"

"Freestyle 2?"

I said, "I was thinking more like Basic 5."

She pats me on the shoulder, "You can do what you want, but I think you'll have fun in freestyle 2."

So the Freestyle section is 5 women from Freestyle 1-5. Gold Skater, Miss Cheerleader, Lady Bunhead,  and a woman I don't know, plus me. It turns out Gold Skater, Miss Cheerleader and Lady Bunhead don't want to graduate (Lady Bunhead is a junior coach). So it's 3 women working on their axels and two working on spins.

I look over at the Adult Basic section. There's about 20 people in Basic 1-8 and three coaches. It looks like a goat rope at the other end of the rink.

So, yeah, I'm staying in Freestyle. I told the Freestyle coach that if she can get me to do one foot backspins by the end of the session I'll consider it money well spent.

First session, I got 4 revolutions of one foot back spins.. . one revolution at a time. On average that's 1 decent revolution every 10 attempts! 

Sadly, my spin entrance is pretty much like this!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I'm an Adult...Skate Classy!

Gold Skater and I were chatting one day when I complimented her earrings and she complimented mine. I'm a recreational skater not a Gold Skater, so I match my casual earrings to the color of my jacket or shirt and I have a matching or complementary hair clip. When I get Gold (someday, in my 70's) I'll go with diamonds like her's.

Adults show sophistication
Kid skater's have obsessions with clothes (all hail Chole Noel and that yoga place) but adult figure skaters seem to have a sense of dressing up for the sport. Even many of the male skaters turn out well.

This is not to say I've seen adult skaters who just throw some stuff on (well, most of the coaches) but for those of us who skate seriously, we care how we look. It's not as if dressing better will make us skate better, but dressing like a slob seems to reflect an attitude of lack of care.

I'm not the only one who feels like this. The Silver and above skaters and I are always scoping out each others' practice gear. 

For me it means a jacket and shirt that go together, earrings, and a hair clip that go with what I'm wearing. If I had better legs I'd wear a skating skirt, but the world has been saved from the sight of my legs by nice black slacks.
If I wore a skirt to skate in.
I like men who wear black slacks and  a nice fitting (not necessarily tight, but if he's got the muscles for it, go for it) long sleeved athletic shirt. If a man wears a ratty T-shirt I just want to shake him. Black jackets on men, fine. If he wants to wear red (so Johnny Weir), I'm okay with it. Also, blue, orange, and any other color in an NFL team emblem. So even pink is okay.   

The one thing I want to warn people against, is no mater how fit you are; No matter how skinny you are; no matter how heavy the material is, if you wear light colored yoga pants under the bright lights of the rink everyone will be able to see the pockmarks of your cellulite from 40 feet away.

No White Yoga Pants

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Short Break--The Story In Pictures

Be back on the ice soon. I'll try to keep you entertained anyway.