Thursday, December 18, 2014

Two Lessons In One Session

Even though I only skate 1- 1 1/2 hrs at a time, skating 4 days in a row really takes it toll on me.  This week I skated Mon-Tue-Wed including a lesson on Monday and today (Thursday) I had 2 lessons during my freestyle session.  All this leading into Christmas week.  (limited if any ice time)

Starting with my choreographer we are trying to get this Silver FS program into shape for my upcoming test and potential competitions (still weighing that option).  I am getting closer to being able to complete one run through without needing to call an EMT.

Today she tried to teach me what is known at my rink as "The Randy Move" ..(he is the head coach at our club)  I'm sure plenty of skaters do it and call it what it is:  a deep forward outside edge, crossing with the opposite foot and instead of stepping onto the opposite foot while crossing you just step down and push back off it, lifting that foot and returning it to behind the skating foot in almost a t position and pushing off back onto the original outside edge.  When done properly and with pretty arms .. it looks great as you will see another one of our skaters demonstrated for me as well as my coach in my lesson.  Don't try this at home IT'S PATENTED!  (just kidding)

So we spent the good part of our lesson on this plus learning to turn out my foot and point and stretch during my spiral and going over my footwork.


Later that session, my coach worked with me with what little energy I had left on my Camel and Sit Spins as well as the above mentioned step.

If that wasn't enough I skated later that evening at another rink.  Thinking I was going to relax and do some beginning ice dance with a fellow skater (and local skating judge) .. who didn't show up... I ended up working on my elements there too.  I was so sore when the day was done.

Thinking about how the kids train 15-30 hours a week and more at the higher levels .. my body would never stand for it!


Not sure what the weekend holds and next week I am headed to Mt. Bachelor, Oregon for 4 nights with my hubby and 3 days of skiing (if it doesn't warm up too much and rain) - Maybe I'll get on the ice at Sunriver Village a few times.  It's sure to be crowded beyond belief, but maybe I can get my husband to strap on a pair of skates.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Short Practice

Today I donned a fitness band and a heart rate monitor while I skated.  I am still trying to figure out how to get a report out of it, but as it turned out I only skated 30 minutes total.

I don't want to sound negative, but I can feel the pressure of a looming test and the adult competition season around the corner and I have serious doubts about being ready or even passing my test.  Ice time will be limited due to the holidays and a skiing trip I am taking over Christmas.

I did a few jumps today but wasn't really feeling it.

Will post the results of my heart rate when I figure it out!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Toe Loop Tuesday

Had a fun practice today on a public session with my friend Heather of a great online shop for figure skaters.  Need tights?  Protection for your head or bum?  Bling bars for your laces?  Check her out.

She taught me a great exercise to get over my fear and loathing of Toe Loops.

You know what they say practice-practice-practice.  So that's what she suggested doing.
Toe Loops, one after the next in repetition.  By jove I think it may have worked.

Major accomplishment today.  I ignored all  the warning signs that I was about to enter cardiac arrest or muscle failure and kept skating until the end of my program.  MY FIRST COMPLETE RUN.
Granted, a few things are still missing for testing and a lot of things are missing for competition, but I kept going until the end.  The music had long stopped however .. so I must keep working at it, but I was pleased.  My music is 2:10 long and I was still going 10 seconds after .... so technically I skated 2:20 non-stop.... amazing.

Lesson with the choreographer on Thursday to seal the deal, then it's just work work work until January 14.  Test day.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lost My Camel Spin

Public was busy today.  My legs always seem to let me down.. watching videos and thinking about skating motivates me, but when I "strap on" my skates, my utter exhaustion and my degenerating knee and hip joints tell me otherwise.

Friends tell me ... "you look great".  I am never fishing for compliments.  Trust me I am my biggest critic and my coach says things like "they were all small mistakes"  "you are skating strong" .. but from my perspective it sucks!

There are many things I will never be:

I will never be 5'8" tall and lean.
I will never have a double jump.
I will never have enough energy to provide me the kind of confidence I wish I felt while skating.
I will never not envy someone else's skating.

If only I could live by a better mantra:

I am a 55 year old figure skater.  ('nuff said)

Anyway ... Mondays are usually reserved for Moves, but I need to stay focused on my test in just shy of a month.  My Camel spin disappeared today.  I was loving my slow 4 rotations and now I would give my eye teeth for 4 slow rotations.  Tomorrow maybe.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday Morning Backspins and Spread Eagles

FS session at a different rink today.  My program runs were not good so I just captured a minute or so of my backspins and spread eagles.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Public Friday

Realizing that 1-2 days a week will never get me ready for a test next month.. I headed back to the rink today for a public session.  My jumps and spins are really looking and feeling weak to me..

Time to get out the jump rope.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Slow Climb Back..

I had a much needed lesson with my choreographer today to continue working on my unfinished Silver FS program.  She is laying it out for competition and my skating coach will tweet it for testing .... i.e. make it EASIER!  It is no where remotely near a competitive program at this point, but little by little we'll get it completed.

My goal in the next 3 weeks is to complete this program and increase my stamina.  Also to work on stretching and extension at home and at the gym.  (That's the short list)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lesson on 1st Day Back in 3 Weeks

Need I say more?  3 weeks no skating = a really difficult climb back.  It may take a while to get back into any progress.

Skated a public session and had a lesson today.  My regular coach had not seen my Silver FS program progress.  We decided to change things up to make it easier to pass my test in January.  Very important or else I won't qualify to skate as a Silver at Sectionals or Nationals in March and April.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who peruses my blog.  I am so grateful this year to be healthy enough to skate and to have the love and support of my husband who makes it possible for me to do so.  And to all my skating friends of all ages and abilities who frequent my blog and give me encouragement I thank you and my Thanksgiving wish is that your holiday is spent with family, loved ones and friends, that your travels are safe and that your turkey is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Last Skate For a Week: Before Pacific Coast Sectionals (at our rink)

I will be spending the next 5 days at the rink as a volunteer for the 2015 Pacific Coast Sectionals qualifying competition for US Nationals .. pretty exciting for all of us at the rink.  I'll be an ice monitor for a lot of the time and I will also be helping out with the trial judges.

Today was my last day on the ice but there was already a bunch of kids from the competition coming to get some unofficial practice time on our public session.

I brought my scribe and got a chance to draw some circles for the first time in about 44 years on the ice!  That was exciting.  I couldn't however see the tracings without my glasses!  The glare in our rink hardly made them visible.

Skated about 45 minutes then it got a little chaotic with all the higher level skaters mixed with some of us adults and some hockey skaters and I just didn't have the motivation or energy to continue so I got off the ice and decided to do an OFF ICE LESSON today instead of working on Moves in the Field.

I contemplated putting all 16 minutes of it on my video but it would have taken a long time to upload and most people would  not have fallen asleep at the computer watching it.. so there is just a few minutes of my lesson included on it.

Basically I am trying to get my 136 lb body to jump up and around 1 1/2 times without hurling my arms into the air recklessly and cross my feet in the process... IT AIN'T EASY !!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday @ EWU

Went out to EWU to skate today.  It  was 26 degrees outside but it felt like 65 inside the rink.. It was seriously HOT in there...   Had a quiet practice with the ice almost to myself.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lesson Canceled - Bad FS Session - Ugly Fall

... Today made up for all the fun I had yesterday.  Coach texted me after I had my skates on that she couldn't make it today.  I decide to be a brave soul and skate on a FS anyway.. what could go wrong?

You will soon see.  Bad take off edge from a Loop Jump.  Nothing looked good today, nothing worked.  The only thing I got out of it was that I exercised a little and I have a bruised elbow, knee and wrist as a result.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Pair Skating Debut

OMG .. I have been off the ice for a week.  No excuses.. just haven't been in the mood.  I think the fear of the Axel is contributing, but that's beside the point.

Got to the rink today on a public session to get reacquainted with the ice after 7 days and I was out there getting my legs back under me.  My skating friend Hank was there.  He is also a competitive adult skater at the Silver level.

Toward the end of the session he offered to show me a few PAIRS moves.  I have never done pairs in my life.  As a child skater I always wanted to, but I was too chunky!  I still am .. but adult skaters at our age rarely do the lifts unless they have been doing them a long time.

I just wanted to know what it felt like to try and synchronize ... it was SO MUCH FUN.  I really loved it.  I wish he was available to skate pairs with .. but alas, he already has a partner.

Anyway, it was great fun!  Thanks Hank!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Coffee Club

Went to public session today to skate with my friends Heather and Hank.  Heather is an Adult Bronze skater and Hank is Adult Silver.  You will see them in the background of my videos from time to time.  I went wine tasting yesterday and followed up with dinner and more wine with friends.. .gee I wonder why I had no energy today?

Knowing I have a lesson on Thursday on the harness I know I need to keep moving each day.. so I did what I could, but it felt awful.  I was really fatigued and it shows.

Monday, November 3, 2014


I had to name my post today Twizzles because my MIF lesson was long and boring (on video) and I just didn't have the energy to sit at the computer for hours doing an edit to find something worthwhile to post.

Need to spend more time on the ice and actually doing off ice exercises than talking about it.

.... Sorry everyone... here's a few RFI Twizzles to entertain you today.  Maybe less IS more !

Saturday, November 1, 2014

No Weekends Off For Me!

I did skip Friday so I thought I better find some ice today.  Went to a nearby rink for their freestyle session.  It's always a real mixed bag of skaters there.  They had 4 coaches giving lessons and the club is new so the skaters are going every which way - some still in rental skates.

Nevertheless, I had an ok session.  This is the rink I usually have a blade-click incident or take a header doing a spin.  The ice was really bad today - but I just did my best to skate through it.  It was really bumpy like they didn't lay a fresh sheet of ice and only scraped.  I don't know anything about how to Zamboni.

I did not feel like I had a good session while I was there, but the video shows I worked hard!  I was only on the ice for 45 minutes total.

Thank you Lake City Figure Skating Club for letting me skate.

And.... oh yea -  I bought a SCRIBE today on Ebay.  So excited I will be able to make a real circle to practice my Backwards Circle Eights with.  I am also thinking about getting into the old school compulsory figures. They still have a rule book for them and judges who can test them... just not at my rink.  I will have to investigate.  They are really good for all aspects of  your skating.

Click that link if you want to read (a lot) about figures.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

1st Axel Lesson On The Harness

As promised - my first lesson in the harness.  I was pretty nervous.  My coach thought it went really well and you will see by her reactions.  I see that I have much to learn off ice and on before this jump will ever be something I would do off the harness.  Time will tell....

Poppurri Skating

Today I had a fresh nearly private sheet of clean ice but no legs or stamina.  I did my best and got some practice in but it was a disappointment in my book.

I did make some Backward Circle 8 progress thanks to tips from my viewers... THANK YOU.  Keeping my back arm up higher helped a lot. (no video)

But if you want to see a really great fall... my video is at the bottom of the page!

Here's a few stills of the week

These pictures were from Monday ...
See if you can guess what I was working on from the pink tracing my coach laid out for me.  I must have done something right because my skate picked up the pink dye!

Special Congrats to my friend Penny who underwent TKR (total knee replacement) in August and
got back on the ice this week.  (wonder how many Advil that took?)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Off and On Ice Practice & A Lesson

I wasn't planning on much more than working on Moves In The Field today, but here's how it played out:

I got to the rink and decided to do a little off ice warm up.  I often wonder if I am the only one (adult) who struggles trying to do off ice jumps. I really fear torquing my knee and twisting my ankle.  Which I did today.. on a Loop Jump.

On ice I worked on my Gold Moves.  I was able to get in 2 sets of each of the Power Crossovers in both directions and both frontwards and backwards. Without someone filming you - the video is not good from the rail, so I didn't capture that.

I worked on my Backward Outside Eight many times both before and during my lesson.  My coach could see during my lesson that I need to raise my hip on my free leg and that should help my trouble spots on this move.

During practice I got frustrated .. again.. and moved onto free style before my lesson and I was really happy with my Waltz Loop Loop progress.

Thursday.. the plan is to put me in the harness for my first Axel - in harness - lesson.  We probably won't be attempting the whole jump, just trying to initiate more rotation.. we'll see, I hope to capture it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Axel Prep Exercises

Today I had a really frustrating session and decided since my moves in the field were not working why not try some Axel Prep!

Here's the result.  I had a lesson yesterday which I didn't video and this was what we worked on for the last 15 minutes.  This was drawn out for me yesterday with a pink marker.  Basically it's a Waltz Jump (on a specific tracing) then a Loop Jump on-the-ice to finish.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

3 Fall Tuesday

Bought a new pair of Mondor shorts with padding in them.  I put them on this morning and was so disgusted with how my already oversized hips looked even more "out there" that I took them off.  I said to myself.. I won't be falling today.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha...

First on my moves (which I spared you of sitting through) - had a blade click on the double three turns - BAM.

Second on my Flip jump, which is usually my strongest jump next to a Waltz Jump, BAM

Third on my Loop Loop combo (not seen) BAM.

Wish I had been wearing those ugly shorts!

Great session though.  3 of us regular ADULT FIGURE SKATERS plus a new girl and another new (younger adult .. 22) ... I wish we could encourage more of this at our rink.  It's quite motivating to be on the ice with kindred spirits and arthritis ~!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Public + FS Session and Lesson

I double dipped today.  Public was great.  3 Adults.. all "skaters". Beautiful quiet, clean ice.
Then I had to unlace, take a break for lunch and come back for Freestyle session - only I was so tired I could only do moves.  Had my first couple of hard falls today on brackets!

Also took my pattern and material to a seamstress for my 2015 or 2016 LE program.  I am NOT committing yet to passing my Silver and making it to Nationals - not sure I have it in me... but the programs and dresses and costumes are in progress... so we'll se.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Moves Practice Continues ....

I missed some practice last week and was out of town for a few days -

Monday I had a MIF lesson which I did not record.  We worked on brackets mostly.

Tuesday I went to a nice quiet public session and spent most of it working on the MIF.  There was a lot of practice, but I only made a video with one of each element.  (And that is too boring for most to sit through ... )

After that I spent a few minutes on my freestyle.  Nothing too exciting to report, except that it felt good to be back on the ice.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Love My New iPhone6...but

It recorded my entire skating session today including my choreographers lesson.  It's going to take longer to edit my videos now, but no more "oh darn, the camera stopped before I did this great __________ (fill in the blank)!

So it has taken me 2 days just to sift through my video of Oct 7th practice and lesson to come up with this excerpt of just my practice.  My choreography lesson was on a FS session and from where the camera was sitting and where I was skating and the repetition of it all .. I decided not to post it.  Much of it is me at the wall with my coach trying over and over how to put 3 steps together and me attempting them over and over and getting confused!  I wish I could learn them faster!

Turned out it was a hard day of practice.  I have been actually sore since that day.  I must have over exerted myself.  Boo hoo.

My iMovie is doing that weird pixelating thing again in this video... working on the solution.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Moves Lesson - Struggling with Backward Eights

I had a long MIF lesson today and we kept working on the Backward Circle Eight.  I seem to be ok on the 1st outside circle, but the 2nd outside circle (on my LBO edge) I have a lot of trouble making it all the way around AND trouble keeping my free foot close to my skating foot and just passing it by at the top of the circle.  I am occasionally falling onto a flat or worse, even wobbling inside/flat/outside/flat/inside.

Here is USFSA video library example:  Adult Gold Moves In The Field: Backward Circle Eights
Not a perfect example, but a good example.  However, I notice too that his free leg on his LBO circle wanders a little after the top of the 2nd circle.  I think this is common for most of us when we skate on the non-landing leg.  We all have superior control on every turn and every edge in both directions on that leg.

I also had my first lesson on Brackets In The Field.    I have been trying these from time to time on my own without a lesson and have already developed a BAD HABIT of placing my free leg in front after the turn.  Now I will struggle to undo my problem.

When the lesson was over I felt defeated did a little freestyle.

Video #1 Freestyle

Video #2 Moves Lesson

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Forgive Me Ice For I Have Sinned .. It Has Been 12 Days Since My Last Confession..

Yep.  12 days.  No ice.  No off ice either.  That last photo shoot of me trying to do an off ice Axel and the previous days off ice lesson really made my body (bones, muscles, joints, back, feet, ankles) ache.

Then I took a weekend holiday and when I returned home there were golf obligations for my league (that I am president of) and then my husband and I took our travel trailer out for one last fall excursion to Glacier National Park.

So I did exercise a bit.  Walking the golf course a few times and going on a 4.7 mile hike, but nothing skating related.

Today I attempted to skate, but oh the price we pay for time off ice....

This video is about 12 minutes of boring moves in the field, done poorly with a little comic relief at the end.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Off Ice Lesson and Spin Practice

I had a 15 minute off ice lesson today prior to skating.  I didn't video it - but it consisted of doing
L Step
R Cross Step
L Bend and Jump (either Waltz Jump or Axel attempts)

I am guessing I did about 10 off ice Axel attempts.  This will be no easy task.  I have difficulty in a number of things:  getting into the "rotation position" see number 6 & 7 (right to left) in the illustration below:

I can't seem to get my free leg/foot to comfortably cross  over my jumping/landing leg/foot.  It's not familiar or comfortable because I never really learned it as a kid - I was probably jumping out and around then too.

I also am having trouble with my arms.  If you see my jumps, my arms are usually wild!  I have to really concentrate to get my arms in close to my body.  I often lead my jump with my left arm instead of rotating from the right and pulling my left arm into toward my right shoulder...

Coach says no ice jumping until I can land 8 out of 10 on the ground first.  Wonder if my knee will ever make it to the ice?

I forfeited the 2nd half of my lesson today because after doing this 10-20 times I acquired a foot pain from my arch back to my heel.  I was probably landing on a part of my foot I never do on skates .. and then of course my knee was cursing me.

So I skated 30 minutes of freestyle and just worked on spins primarily.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Moves

I have reserved my much hated Mondays for MIF practice and lessons.  I don't mind the Moves In The Field at all.. I just hate Mondays!  (because of 2 days off the ice on the weekends.. usually)

So far all we are working on are the Power Circles and the Backward Eight.

Learning the placement of all the steps on the Power Circles is my challenge.  I was counting each crossover vs each step and it was not working out.  I had a 1-2 1-2 1-2 cadence going.  I need to learn 1-2-3-4-5-6 .. and so on.  Each step must increase with speed and be stronger.. the last 10 strokes get wobbly especially on the CW direction.

The Backwards Circle Eight is really holding me back right now.  I can't control my core and stay on edge.  Coach Berkley suggested I keep my head on the inside of the 2nd back outside circle, but it feels very unnatural to me.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pretending I Belong On A Freestyle Session

I agreed to skate FS sessions on Thursdays so I can take my FS lesson there.  I seem to work harder now on FS session than I do on publics.  Accountability I guess.

Good session today.  I feel like I worked really hard at a lot of things in just an hour on the ice.
My lesson was all jumping.  We worked on my Loop jump, using arm variations and my Flip jump using entry variations and combinations.  Most of it was caught on camera except the Lutz jumps and the 1st Axel lesson which I was not expecting.  That was at the board - drawing a tracing of the proper take off edge and landing edge and trying to do Waltz jumps on it - Harder than I thought.  Hmm that sounds familiar lately!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Freestyle Session - Jumps

I have a FS lesson tomorrow and I didn't want to show up without any FS practice this week.. so off I went in the middle of the day to a 2:15 session ... Lots of kids as you can see.

Any day I attempt a Lutz jump without my coach present is a day I am working hard!

I am supposed to be working on a Lutz-Loop combination and a Flip with a more difficult double three turn entry as well as a Loop jump with a different arm position.

Today I tried a few Flip-Loop combos and I did try a Lutz - Loop combo at the end of my practice while running what I have of my program so far.  (Choreographer out of town till next week)

Spins are off and I am finding there isn't enough time to practice everything in 1 session any more, but I don't have enough energy for 2 sessions.

Monday I went to the gym after skating and I feel wrecked.  Back and shoulders and lower back are in agony ... thankfully there's Advil and .. Alcohol (Chardonnay).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday MIF

Newly sharpened blades + a weekend off the ice enjoying the last dog days of summer = Splat !

Had a great fall today doing backward crossovers during my warm up.  The camera didn't catch the fall, but got me in the belly slide backwards!  Such talent.

Coach showed up unexpectedly today.  She was giving a guy a private lesson.  You will see him in the background (or foreground) of my videos today!  More entertaining than my warm up and MIF lesson... that's for sure.

So far all we are working on is the Power Circles.  They are so much harder than I thought they would be.  Staying on the pattern and especially holding a good edge for the first 4 strokes is hard.

Video didn't upload right... some funny pixel things .. sorry

Friday, September 5, 2014

Blades Sharpened ....

Had my first FS lesson in quite a while.  Newly sharpened blades felt great except for the first 10 minutes... when you think one false move might send you hurling onto your face from tripping.

Didn't have my camera going for my lesson.  We worked on a Lutz/Loop combination and trying to do a Flip with a more difficult double three turn entry (really slows the energy down).  After that my coach says "I think I am going to start teaching you a Death Drop" ... I nearly fainted.

Here is what they look like:

This is definitely something I never did as a child.  I don't really have a Back Camel or a Back Sit Spin yet... so why she wants me to start thinking about this Death Drop into a Back Sit beside me.  My motto this year is not to be negative and just go for it.

So far - All I have to show for a lesson on Death Drops is a broken fingernail from the at-the-wall exercises.  I think there may be bruises involved in learning this one.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back on Public Sessions

Now that school is back in session I can return to skating on public sessions most of the time.

... but I have to admit, this summer I spent a lot more ice time on club ice free style sessions and I have lost my fear of skating with the kids.  On the contrary, I think they motivate me to skate harder during my sessions.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fun Friday ... Or So I Thought It Would Be

.... I skated Mon-Tue-Thu already this week.  Any more than that and my 54 year old joints and muscles really give me trouble.   I decided to skate at EWU today since they are open and cheap.. $5 for a 5 hour session.  I got there and had a fresh cut sheet of Olympic Ice for the entire session...

I only wish I had the stamina and skill to put it to good use.  I came away feeling really defeated after attempting to try all of the Adult Gold Moves In The Field.


My video is so long.. I split it into 2 segments.  MIF and FS.

Obviously I need lessons and a ton of practice on the moves.  The double three turns are hard.  The back outside 8 is much harder than I remember and the brackets...well... that's like saying .. do an Axel ... I can't get my head to tell my feet to do that (yet).. and it may never be comfortable.

After that.. I worked on the little part of my new program that is choreographed and I did a little improv at the end of each one to work on my stamina since it's only partially done.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Was It An Illusion?

You decide.  I tried a few today.  ILLUSIONS.  The way I remember them... but I fell the first 5 times.  (not shown)

Afterwards I had a choreography lesson to work on the opening of my Silver FS program.
2:10 is a long time for me.  I am exhausted and I haven't done one jump or one spin yet!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

And Then There Were 2 ....

It's like being empty nesters !!!

....  After a few weeks of company and family visits - I am ready to start taking my skating a bit more serious and delve into practice 4-5 times a week + off ice and workouts.

My goal is to prepare my Silver FS program and use it for testing.. instead of what I did last year....which was preparing for my Bronze test and then changing it for competition.

STAMINA ?  I'll work on that as we go.  I just want to get it all choreographed and then work on the details ... LIKE LANDING THE JUMPS (Ha ha)

I skated 2 FS sessions today and had a short 15 minute choreographer lesson at the end.  We worked on my Silver FS program opening ..

This year I am skating to the theme from the 1960 movie Exodus.  A Leon Uris novel made into a movie about the founding of the State of Israel.  Ok....that's 2 years in a row I have picked music with a Jewish theme.   My coaches wanted something powerful for me to skate to ... as my delicate artistic side seems to be lacking !!!  We'll see.  Here's my dress..

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

S'more Hangover

We have our grandkids visiting this week and that means ... very little ice time.  We spent the day on the lake yesterday, then came home and had a BBQ and later made s'mores on the outdoor chimenea.

Before I went to bed I knew I needed to set the alarm for 6:00 am ... really Diane, s'mores?

7:00 am FS session.  You should have seen the surprised look on my coaches face!  I am not a morning person.

That ping is still going on in my right posterior ankle.  Wrapping with an ace bandage seems to quiet it down.  Joints were barking and flexibility was not cooperating.  Ah the joys of figure skating at age 54.

I worked on all my jumps prior to setting up the camera.  Took a nasty fall on a Lutz.. fell way back on my blade and then onto my back.  First time for that one.  Wrists are a little sore too.

I like my progress on the split flip.  A few weeks at the gym and doing flex should greatly improve that air position.

The back spins are really a road block for me ... haven't had a lesson for a while on them.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Snippet of .....

....  a Back Spin ....

My phone was not charged as I ran out of the house to grab some ice time Thursday evening.

Practice was all over the place, but I have decided to start thinking I should attempt to learn an Axel one of these days... this snippet of a backspin was a prelude to a backspin-jump ... a kind of Axel prep exercise I see the kids doing.

I have not begun working on an Axel with my coach Berkley yet.. I think I should lose 15 lbs before I start putting my knee through that -

I wish my phone was charged.  I had a nice chat with one of the men skating out there - who just happens to be one of the three judges that recently judged my Silver MIF test.  He explained to me that had I tested as an Adult vs Masters - that I would have passed by the required  passing score (at least according to his marks) That was good to know....

Then he tried to teach me how to do the Dutch Waltz !!!  I never attempted a dance step before.
Harder than it looks folks!  This video is not that... it's just my back  spin.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Squeezing In Ice Time

My skating friend Penny came over to Spokane to visit for a few days .. so there hasn't been much ice time except in our cocktail glasses... however today we sneaked off to EWU to skate for about an hour.  The rink was cordoned off for a skate class, so there wasn't much room for jumping .. and I spent the hour working on the dreaded back and flying camel.  Emily was working and gave me a great demonstration ... I should study it well !!!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Reunited With My Childhood Skating Coach

Today was nothing short of amazing ... I keep saying it over and over because I can't believe it.  After ... 43 years I reunited in person with my childhood skating coach Tony Howard.  If you read my page on how I got started skating, I talk about my few years on the ice when I was age 9-11.  From age 9 to 10 I was taking group classes and from 10 to 11 I was taking "privates" from Coach Tony.  Many of the skills I now posses are fundamentally things he taught me as a child.

If you don't already know - I am nearly 55 years old (come October).  Tony told me today he is 85 years old. He still coaches 3 days a week and drives nearly an hour each way to do it.  Not for the money, but for the love of the sport.  No wrinkles .. he says because "meat that stays in the freezer lasts longer and he's been in the freezer a long time" - I am sure he looked younger when he coached me 43 years ago, but his general physique is the same and he still dresses in an overcoat, neck scarf and Russian style wool hat...

And it so funny how his voice was completely recognizable as though time had stood still; a charming English accent and the way he coaches, explaining in detail how to do something or NOT do something and peering over his glasses staring into your eyes to make sure you are listening and kind of yelling at you if get it wrong right away and also shouting out if you get it right... took me right back to being 11 years old.  He is a treasure.

If you are reading between the lines, my previous paragraph talks about his coaching technique... Yes I actually got an unexpected 45 minute lesson from the boards and on ice (shoes) when we met today.  He had so much to say about the way I skated ... and it wasn't all good!!  They were things my current coach has told me many times, but in different words and ways.

He watched me warm up and asked what I was working on.  I said I just started my Silver program and was suggesting jump combinations and sequences that would work.  He critiqued all my single jumps (boy did he) ... and gave me great tips to correct my problems.  We worked on my Camel spin and he gave me a new approach with my arms, but above all he said "if there is one thing you take away from this lesson today... LONG-SHORT .... and what he meant was on everything I do.....
every jump entry (except a Waltz jump because a long back outside edge and a big Waltz jump looks good) I am taking too much time on my 3 turn.  For example:  Toe Loop.  Long LFI edge - then short 3 - pick - jump.  My coach Berkley has been telling me this a lot lately when I do my Lutz.  Tony explained to me what was happens when I take too long on the 3 turn or when I take too long to turn into the Camel spin... I am losing all my energy and momentum for the jump or spin.  I really hope I can put the tips to use over the next few weeks.  I love my coach Berkley.  She has helped me achieve so much I never thought possible, but today was really an eye opener for me.

Tony asked me if we started working on it yet.  NOOOOOO I said, of course not, nor did I know if we were ever going to!  He said .. listen.. I want to give you a tip I use for adults learning an Axel.
So he took me to the rail and had me do a backspin and then jump up before finishing it.  (That  have seen a lot on ice, but never tried it.  .... it's scary)  He also had me stand 3 feet from the wall and step hop jump .. straight up and land backwards (waltz jump) to get me used to jumping UP not around.  Hard to explain in writing.  But it was my first Axel lesson in 35 years.  I don't know if it will happen or not... it's like the flying dream... when you put your arms out and take off like Sister Bertrille from the Flying Nun.....  sometimes I dream I can do an Axel.

It was a day to remember I will cherish forever.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Headless Skater ...

That's the theme of my video today.  Went to a morning FS session and the rail was full of kiss and cry bags and I didn't feel safe leaving my phone on the inside with so many skaters.. so this is what I got -
Nameless and faceless ... but you can see I need to go on a diet!

Worked on many things off camera .. that went much better than my spinning.  Did quite a few good sized Flips and landed several Lutz jumps - minus the usual fear.. maybe it's getting easier.
I'll need some good lesson time to fix this backspin and back camel and flying camel thing.  It's going nowhere.

Good news:  My twangy ankle pain didn't rear it's ugly head today.

Coming up this week:  Choreographer lesson on Thursday to start working on Silver FS program!
                                      Friday I will be in the Bay Area and I am looking forward to reuniting with my childhood skating coach, Tony Howard - who is 83 years old and still actively coaching at Oakland Ice.  I signed up for a freestyle session on Friday morning ... sure hope the ice isn't loaded with elite skaters!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Night Session

I missed my lesson this morning with my coach because I had a golf tournament I forgot about. I would have been better off at the rink as my golf game was terrible... 72 for 9 holes!

Later this afternoon I had to redeem myself (and cool off) ... it was nearly 100 degrees today in the Pacific Northwest city where I live. It felt great to get on the ice again even though it wasn't home ice.

Unfortunately my iPhone maxed out on storage so I only have a few minutes of practice. I still need to upload all my vacation photos and videos... note to self!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Ice House in Wilmington North Carolina

I'm currently on vacation visiting my son and daughter-in-law and their new beautiful baby boy, Grayson... but alas too many days off ice is not good for me so I brought my skates along and I have been able to go up to Wilmington North Carolina to skate two days this week at FS sessions at the ice house.  I was really lucky because the Port City Figure Skating Club recently had a competition and most of the kids decided to take a few days off this week so the ice was very quiet... Just the way I like it.

I took video on day one and I spent quite a bit of time editing it and then I accidentally deleted the whole thing from my iPad before I was able to upload it.  :;($@@$(;:/-;)&@@& \{~#>^€*£+¥ !!!!

Today, hopefully I won't be such a dolt!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Freestyle Session Practice & Lesson

Back on FS session this am.  Leaving for nearly 15 days to visit my new grandson and go to Oshkosh Fly-In before returning to home ice August 1st.  This was my last skate at home and I got a short 15 minute lesson to give me some things to work on.  I plan on taking my skates with me to North Carolina to skate in Wilmington  at the Ice House.

Jumps this week really felt weak and sometime painful in my R knee - I really need to shed 15 lbs so that I can reduce the impact on that joint.  Soon as summer BBQ's are over ..

My lesson focus was on a Waltz-Toe and Flip Jump.  Both are in need of getting my free leg/foot crossed over my jumping leg/foot.  Also controlling my left arm and not letting it get ahead of me..
We did work on the Lutz but it wasn't captured as it was in the Lutz corner .. but I found out I am taking too long after I prep cross my L foot over my R foot .. I need to cross-pick .. immediately.
(I do the L cross to help get closer to obtaining the proper outside edge takeoff of the Lutz) ..

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Freestyle .......What the ________? .....

.... Or so says my muscle memory, aching knee and general lack of balance!

I've been concentrating only on moves for the past few weeks and with all the other summer activities going on in my life I have avoided any freestyle.  It really shows.  But, you have to start somewhere, so I drug myself to the rink for a morning freestyle session.  My landing knee was really barking at me so I only captured some spins at the end of my session.

Friday, July 11, 2014


I took my Adult Silver Moves In The Field test today and passed!  That's the good news.

The interesting thing that happened was that they asked me today if I was testing as an "Adult" or as a "Masters" skater.  I had never been asked this before.  I just looked at my other two MIF tests and they show "Adult" for Bronze and the Pre-Bronze tests don't have an option on them.

My coach had to explain to me that it was an age thing and that if you are over 50 you qualify to be "Masters" skater in the test.  The marks required for masters are lower than for adults.  She thought I would pass either way but she told the judges "masters".  I had no idea that there were two different categories.  I never noticed it on the forms before and I thought "masters" had to do with accomplishing a level of Intermediate or higher as a standard track skater before switching to adult skating.  What do I know?

So I skated my test and was informed I passed and I have attached my judges forms for your perusal.
I felt the test went pretty well.  It could have gone better, but I thought I would have passed under either standard.  If you see the scores they gave me I would NOT have passed as an adult.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dress Rehearsal .. Sort Of

Decided to put on tights and a dress to run my moves today at the public session.  You forget how cold a rink can be, even in summer.  Always a good idea to see how it will feel on test day.
.... minus the scattering of public session skaters of course!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 2, MIF Practice

This is a bit raw, not edited, zoomed or anything.  Just trying to make ice time these days -

Test on July 10.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Little Distracted From Skating..

I have been a little distracted this past week.
My son and his wife gave birth to their first born July 27th.   A healthy baby boy they named Grayson-Everett !!

Super exciting, but alas they are nearly 3000 miles away and I can't visit until July 17th.

Meanwhile back on the ice .... I have been working on strictly Silver MIF for a July 10th test date.
I posted a little video the other day, but it's seriously too boring to keep posting.  I will post my test (pass or fail) and the results.  If I get some freestyle in this week, I will post snippets.

I got an invite to participate in the USFS Showcase 2014 event in Burbank in August.  You have to have placed 1st-4th place in the past competition year to be eligible.  I am toying with the idea of taking my light entertainment program only, but I may just forfeit ... it's a big expense.  And it's under spotlight ... dark arena with just a spotlight on you skating.  That may be scary.  I have until July 16 to decide.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Another Practice Day

Sneaking in some ice time in a busy summer schedule.   Next week I will be back on a daily schedule..... I hope.

Ran through all my Silver MIF and each single jump (Axel excluded of course).  Working on a few things.  Cannonball sit spin for one.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Week In Paris ...

... and no skating, of course.

Back on the ice today for the first time in 12 days.  Not as bad as I thought it would be.  All the walking and bike riding in Paris kept me in shape, but I was afraid my feet might have swollen up and would hurt in my boots.  Not bad.

I only took a short couple of minutes of practice today.  I worked primarily on my Silver MIF.  As bad as that went I should have just kept doing that all the time, but boredom sets in and I did a little free style.

Here are a few snippets of me trying to get my legs back under me.
Worked on my sit spin.  Trying to develop a cannonball position.  Getting used to
the idea of putting my head down and looking at the ice spinning under me is strange and dizzying (of course)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ina .... Where Are You ???

Had my first lesson in a few months with my choreographer.  We talked about my new music for a Silver Free Skate program I plan to start working on -  We hit the ice and started working on some things I can't do well yet:

  • Straight line (flat or outside edge) Ina Bauer
  • COE (change of edge) spirals
  • Hydroglides
  • Clamshell Spiral 
As soon as I got off the ice I knew it was time for the gym and time for the hot tub~!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Little Bit Of Everything

Had a lesson today right off the bat, without much warm up.  We worked on my Silver MIF which is too boring to post video on.  At the end of the lesson we worked on my Flying Camel Spin.

Found out I was doing a WALTZ JUMP + A BACK CAMEL SPIN ... not a FLYING CAMEL.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Learning New Spins

I took a week off the ice to spend a much needed holiday with my husband.  We flew to Seattle in our little plane and visited friends for 2 nights and went to Stars On Ice with the Kingskate Figure Skating Club.  Then we flew to Sunriver, Oregon to play golf and enjoy the resort.  So much fun.

We attended the afternoon practice session and watched them all warm up and run portions of their programs and Ashley Wagner came to our section to sign autographs.  That evening at 4:00 we saw the show.  Meryl Davis was so exhausted (just before the finale of Dancing With The Stars) but she was still radiant and skated beautifully. She and Charlie White scratched their planned Olympic number, no doubt because Meryl needed to save her energy.  They didn't say.

Unfortunately I did not bring a REAL CAMERA and this is all I got at Stars On Ice with my iPhone.

Ashley Wagner signing someone's iphone

My friend Penny and I enjoying watching practice ice

Saturday I finally got back on the ice.  I went to a freestyle session at Frontier Ice and didn't take much video until the last 5 minutes of practice.  I am happy to say that I did go through ALL my jumps twice or more, even the Lutz (3 times) ... trying to get over the fear of that one.

The video is my attempt to learn a Flying Camel Spin and a Back Sit Spin.  Baby steps of progress.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Friday public was ... interesting today.

A family of three - all learning to skate together and unfortunately blocking most of my video... but hey... it's public and I don't own the rink.

Skater #2 was a hoot.  I have seen him once before.  Sunglasses, long hair ... could it be????
Axel Rose's alter ego on ice?

Worked on Moves in the Field, then some Loop jumps with alternate jump entries (double inside three turns), a few attempts at twizzles and some back and flying camel spin attempts.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Practice & Moves Lesson

Monday turned out to be a very social day on the ice.  My friend Heather of  (a great new online store for all things figure skating) was on the ice practicing along with several other adult skaters.  It was public, but it felt like a low level freestyle session!

In my 45 warm up before my lesson I worked  on

  • Loop Jump with an arm variation down at my sides.  Improper boot lacing will hamper this!  I wasn't "strapped in" tight enough.  
  • Flying Camel - going slowly and making baby steps of progress
  • COE (Change of Edge) Spiral.  These are REALLY hard for me.  I took a good spill trying!
  • Back Sit Spin (not pictured in the video)  Getting lower 
When my lesson began we just worked on Silver MIF today, primarily the 8 Step Mohawk Sequence and Three Turns.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Morning Freestyle Session and Lesson

I did not take any video of my early morning freestyle sessions or lesson yesterday as it took every ounce of energy I had just to wake up that early and get to the rink.  I had to reschedule my regular lesson this week and this was the only time available.... 7:45 am, but since the session begins at 7:45 as well, I came on the previous session in order to be warmed up before the lesson began.

My goal for this spring, summer, fall is to take my Silver MIF test and Silver FS test and put together a program worthy of competition.  Let it be known... I don't really like the competition part, but without it, I am completely unable to set goals for myself and achieve them.  I love the "idea" of competing: putting on a pretty dress and skating flawlessly to some beautiful and moving music...
but THAT NEVER HAPPENS!  Not to me.. at least not yet.

Coach Berkley wants me to up the anti this year and start putting complexities into my program that will stand out: split jump, hydro glide, double three turn entries into my jumps, bigger, better jumps, flying camel, change position sit spins ..... sounds to me like an Adult Gold level program - but I suppose if we shoot for gold we may end up silver!

On another subject worth bragging about, my original childhood coach Tony Howard (who is now 84 years old) and I have gotten in touch with each other.  I have come to learn that he is still coaching 4 days a week in Oakland, CA.  He was my coach in 1969-1970 ... That was 44 years ago.

I wrote him via the head coach at Oakland Ice and he put me in touch with him.  Tony wrote me back and told me he was a one-fingered-typist and would write me a letter.  A few days later I received a really long email from him and subsequently a beautiful hand written long letter with a recent photo and and hand drawn cartoon of a skating Mickey Mouse.  I have a bad memory so I don't remember him drawing these for us as kids, but apparently he did.... and I finally got one .... trust me, it will go into a frame.  I was touched so deeply by his response and will be forever grateful for the skills he taught me as a child and the memory he left.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Seis de Mayo

One day after cinco de mayo ... need I say more?  I'm lucky I made it to the rink.

For obvious reasons, I didn't practice any spins today!  I worked on moves in the field and a few jumps.  My Lutz jump failed attempts did not capture on the video ... too bad... they were beautiful 1/2 Lutz's .....  I'm back to my old fear of the Lutz jump again.  Lesson Thursday.

Season 12 (of Adult Skating) Finale Parts 1 & 2

I’ve been really falling apart on the ice the past few weeks.  After my big disappointment of not passing my American Waltz dance test ~ I  ...