Saturday, December 10, 2016

Adult Pairs Christmas Pops Performance

One of the hazards of skating pairs or ice dance is the 2 blade click-of-death ~
Tangled blades took me down during our performance today, but in the spirit of
#WeGetUp ... I did just that and we managed to finish out the program only having to omit a pair camel spin just before the ending.

It was a.really nice program choreographed by our pairs coach Chris Anders formerly of Disney On Ice.  We struggled to learn a lot of the steps, but worked hard to try and do them justice.  We could have used another 1-2 weeks of practice on it, but we walked away with smiles on our faces.

Much thanks to our coach Chris and my partner Hank Landis for holding me up!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

3 Days Before Holiday Show

This run was at the end of our 45 minute lesson today.  Weren't sure we could pull it off, but considering we were on public session and had no music playing overhead - It wasn't too bad.
I think we can finish on time and skate more "to the music" while we can hear it overhead.  We had to dodge the little ones, that slowed it down a bit.

We will head to a freestyle session tomorrow afternoon to give it a go with music.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Crunch Time

Hank and I are finally back on the ice in our last week of practice before our club holiday show on December 10th.  We should have 5 days of practice to get this to a presentable state!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Post Traumatic Turkey Syndrome

We journied across the country for Thanksgiving in Chicago with my sister-in-law and her family with my skates in tow.

I had hoped to get some pre & post turkey skating in - but underestimated the popularity of a FREE OUTDOOR RINK in downtown Chicago!

At the time I got there the ice was so chewed up it felt like I was skating on pebbles.  I went LIVE on Facebook for a lap or two.  Later, my hubby and sis-in-law came down to the rink and took some video.  It was all I could do to keep from slicing off mittenless fingers from fallen skaters - much less try to do any real skating.

I presume skating at Rockefeller Center is the same.. but probably not free.  (I don't really know)

Sunday, November 20, 2016


 We had one last chance for practice at Riverfront Park turns out it was game day…

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Christmas Rush

Somehow we have run out of time to properly put together our Christmas program.  Today is literally the 1st day we put all the steps together and tried to run through during a lesson.  Omitting the full out jumps and lifts and forgetting much of the choreography during the run .. we did our best.

Tomorrow we get a practice on a public session - then we're apart for the holidays until December 2.

Our first performance is December 3 at another rink for their holiday show and our second will be December 10th for our own club's Christmas Pops.

On a side note ... I had to send my boots back to Harlick to hopefully find a solution to my foot problems.  I am back in my old boots with the old blades.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Da Agony of Da Feet - New Boots

This is my 2nd new pair of custom Harlick boots.  My old boots are 4 years old and I have already sent them back for reinforcement about a year ago.  As my aging feet continue to skate .. so do my foot problems.  Bunions, tailor bunions, accessory navicular and nerve compression to be specific!

My husband says ... and you do this WHY?

With all these issues, stock boots are not an option for me.  I love my Harlick's, but this time I am wondering if something went wrong in the tracing or construction.

The boots look huge, but they are the same boot.  They start with the size 8 1/2 C model and build from there.  Tracing around a very wide ball over the mountainous bunions on both feet and on the outside edge of the ball there are little bunions called "tailor" bunions.

I am showing you these diagrams because my feet are too ugly to post on my blog!

I have skated 4 times in my new boots and put about 5 hours in them.  My feet are KILLING me.
I'm working with Harlick now to find the problem and a solution.

Meanwhile my skating suffers!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pair New Christmas Program Start

Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat .... AGAIN ...

4 weeks until our Christmas Pops and we are just starting the choreography.
I'm in new boots that are giving me AGONY right now.
I will be gone for 4 days this week and 10 days over Thanksgiving.

Not sure how or when we will get this done.. but here goes!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Compulsory Figures 101

Operator error.  My video was off during my first compulsory figures lesson.  It was great.
My very scary Silver Test Blades are honed to a 1 1/2 " radius on hollow ... which means they are seemingly FLAT compared to the hollow of a freestyle blade.

That equates to skidding unless you have your hips under you and you are leaning into your blade.
You cannot just glide or go for a ride on these bad boys.  It takes core strength and pressure into the ice to keep them on the ice.  Practicing figures on freestyle blades is entirely different.

We worked on Preliminary figures.  Inside and outside edges across the short axis of the rink, like Pre Prelim moves in the field.  We worked on FO and FI eight.

Seems my initial problem is the push off.  I am overlapping my circles from the push.
I will describe this better in the future with video and photos... next time.

I had not had a lesson on figure blades (Patch skates) in 46 years and my coach had not given a patch lesson in 25 !!  It was fun.  People were staring at us!

Pairs Practice in New Boots

I love my new Harlick boots but I have to say my feet are aching right now!  I am 2 hours into them.  Today was my 3rd time in them.  I am getting off the ice for re-lacing less, but that is out of laziness.
I will pay the price for that on my tongue if I don't do it more often.

Hank is just coming off being sick and due to my boots being so new we hardly did any jumping or throws.  We tried some off ice lifts today and caught them on video.  I see that my free leg is doing something ugly and bending as I try to get up into the lift.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

It Takes A Village! Pre Bronze Dances Passed!

It takes a village.  You hear that a lot.  It was definately true in this case.  Our rink recently lost our only ice dance coach Kendall Tupper LeClair.  Last summer I took a couple of group classes she taught and we learned the basic steps of the Dutch Waltz and the Canasta Tango while I attended.  At that time I didn't know I would be finding a dance partner and persuing taking dance tests.

A few months ago I started working on ice dance regularly with Mike Otis.  He's a member of our club and also a USFSA judge who skated from time to time.  I am happy to say I think he is thinking about skating as much as judging these days!  He partnered with me for my Preliminary dances on June 3, 2016.

We have been self teaching ourselves the Swing Dance, Cha Cha and Fiesta Tango (which I just learned about 3 weeks ago) without any regular coaching.  Mike had already passed the Swing Dance some time ago and he knew most of the steps of the other dances - and we often referred to our Ice Dance book and YouTube!

Each of us had some lessons apart from one another privately and we had a handful of last minute lessons trying to smooth out the rough edges (literally) close to test time.

I thank you all.  It really does take a village:

Kendall Tupper LeClaire                    - Lilac City Figure Skating Club, Spokane WA
Julie Nixon                                         - Lake City Figure Skating Club, Coeur d' Alene, ID
Peter Sasmore                                     - Redwood City, CA
Ryan Yearous                                      - Missoula Figure Skating Club, Missoula, MT
Marie Furnary.                                    -  McCall Figure Skating Club, McCall, ID

And to my many YouTube mentors ..... especially to

Kseniya Pomomaryova & Oleg Altukhov (their website)
Fiesta Tango  YouTube direct

And to

Daven Lee and Nick Hart

.... Now that I am done with all the THANK YOU's.  Here is our test.
Below that are MY judges critiques.  I did not post Mike's.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Skate By The Lake - McCall ID

I've been in McCall since Wednesday.  Getting some much needed ice and lesson time with coach, Marie Furnary.  I'm not a morning person.  Thursday I skated at 6:45 am.  Friday we skated at 5:45 am (and this is mountain time .. 1 hour earlier than home!) Tomorrow we have 15 minutes of practice ice at 6:00 am and test at 6:50, 7:04 and 7:18 respectively.

I hope we pass our tests.  5 in total.  We are both testing this time - except the Swing Dance.  I am the only one being tested as Mike has already passed that test.

Here was our last lesson and run throughs -

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

We Get Up


This is US figure skating's new campaign both to recruit skaters demonstrating that this is a sport that will make you tough and able to succeed in many things if you can conquer "the ice" -  also sending a strong message against bullying.  The campaign just happened to appear on my Facebook page on the very same day that I had an exquisite fall while skating pairs doing side-by-side flip jumps.   I could not resist the opportunity to jump on this bandwagon and put in my two cents as an adult skater.

First from US Figure Skating WeGetUp on Facebook or

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lap Dance ???

That got your attention didn't it?  Ha!   Hank and I had our regular pairs lesson today.  While we are "off season" ... we are back to working on the fundamentals of skating, tracking and trying to learn some new things. Two of which are new carry lifts that we can use in our Christmas program.
One is not really a lift but a two footed lunge for the man and a 1 footed lunge for the lady with the left leg bent backward behind the man !!!  #2 is a carry lift ... I will now refer to as the "lap dance" !!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday Mambo ...

Well, not exactly.  It was the Monday Cha Cha.  We worked on the Swing Dance and the Fiesta Tango too buy the camera was off.

We are working on all three of these dances and making about as much progress as the ice time we are putting into it. 3 hours a week minus all the time we spend talking about it and that doesn't leave much practice time.  It's like watching a football game, fast forward through all the instant replays and commercials and you get about 12 minutes per game of the ball in play!  And apparently one of us was having fun video-bombing!

_   I had a great MIF lesson with Berkley today but I didn't put my camera out during the freestyle session.  I really wish I had.  We spent the entire lesson working on Power Circles.  I basically learned that I don't know how to do proper crossovers most of the time. We are looking for the RUMBLE on each stroke and on both feet.  I am guilty of the crossed under foot just going for a ride.  I can push, but to get my weight over the right part of the skating foot and really press into the ice on the crossed under foot (both directions forward and backward) - that is going to take some time.
Next week I will publish some video of the exercise she gave me.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Give Me A Break ....

... from Swing, Fiesta Tango and Cha Cha!

The thing about ice dancing especially at my level is you aren't doing much "off leash" so to speak.  You are so busy tethered to each other, counting 1-2-3-4 and most of the dance is facing forward except the Swing Dance and a brief (but scary) Mohawk on the Fiesta Tango.

It felt good to let my hair down today ... although in contrast I put it up in a bun!  Last time I skated with Hank my pony tail was slapping him in the face !

We had a great practice.  No lesson today but I started and ended the video with pix of us with our pairs coach Chris Anders.  I give him a lot of credit for dealing with a couple of old dogs fighting the good fight on old age!

1/2 the practice was not recorded - but we had some good SBS Camel spins and stroking and tracking exercises during our warm up.

We tried the fun "crocodile" spin today.  We are working on getting the Axel lift up with me on 1 foot.  It didn't happen today, but I am practicing more off ice and hopefully it will come.  We'll have a lesson on Tuesday and start thinking about music for our Christmas program December 10th.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Gold moves in the field practice

 Starting to get weekly lessons working on these gold moves in the field. I'm a long way off but I hope to take the test in about six months.  Double three turns and brackets are the hardest part but all of the moves are difficult for me.  My core strength and balance especially on my left foot and edges needs a lot of practice.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Working on the Cha Cha

Sunday afternoon public session on our smaller rink... this was a first for me.  Complete with disco lighting! We did the best we could.  Today I really dissected the video and I can clearly see I have some major posture issues when it comes to ice dancing. I tend to lean forward on each step rather than skating  "through the hips".  My extension is weak, my slaloms are more like Stem- Christie's from the old skiing days.  Without a coach I have to rely on my own instincts after viewing my videos and comparing them to those who can dance well.  I sure hope to find one soon that I can get regular lessons from.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Frustrated but determined

 The eight and nine step on the cha-cha I has me really flustered. I get it I just can't make my body do it… Yet

Friday, October 7, 2016

Finally A Lesson In Ice Dance

We have finally gotten a lesson together in ice dance.  I seem to be the one with the PROBLEM !!

Cha-Cha steps 8 and 9 are not happening for me.  Lifting the left leg on the 2nd beat and doing a 1/2 beat L R afterwards is eluding my cognitive brain/muscle memory.

As for the Fiesta Tango ... I'll let you enjoy the wreck!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Day Off Dance

Went to the rink intending to practice the 3 dances I am testing in a month, but found myself yearning to do some freestyle.  It was a good idea because I easily lose my muscle memory for everything when I take too much time off.

Happy with how it went and not surprised that the Lutz jump goes away.  It's always been a FLUTZ .. But now I am not even landing it ... Just balking and doing a 1/2 jump.  Lesson time!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Back from another fabulous holiday.  This time with my hubby.  A week in Glacier National Park.
I brought my skates in case there was any extra time and I could sneak up to Whitefish Mt, but we were either too busy or too tired for anything more than hiking, playing golf and relaxing.  Beautiful country - If you haven't been to Glacier National Park .. put it on your bucket list.

On my new bucket list are:

Gold MIF and Pre-Bronze Dance

That's what I attempted to practice today.  The moves were very sad and the dances .. without my partner were even sadder.  Still learning all three dances.  Hope to get  a lesson or two next week in California.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Getting Lazy on the Videos!!

I skated yesterday at the college rink EWU.  Beautiful soft ice - huge rink - but if anyone other than a free style skater is on the ice we can't do any free style.. that's the rules.

I tried to do part of my Silver Women III FS for next weeks competition.  Working on it helps my stamina but I don't plan to skate - unless there's a magic pill that will convince me to skate it -

The flying camel is really hard to control anytime but when I am breathless ... ugh.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Saturday's Pairs Practice

Seriously folks.. 1 week before competition week.  To quote a famous skater ......

"Why Me" ??????

Friday, August 19, 2016

Not Quite Ready For Prime Time

I set my alarm for 4:45 am today so I could skate 2 sessions starting at 6:00 am.  I got on the ice at 6:15 and I was off the ice by 7:15.  Just not feeling the energy I so badly need to make this happen.  Made a decision.  It's ok to scratch if I don't feel up to it when I get there.  There.  I feel better already!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Preliminary Ice Dances COMPLETE (Passed the Rhythm Blues)

Here's a link to my test video from the Rhythm Blues Ice Dance Test.
Usually I just video from my phone but I decided to use Facebook Live and now I can't figure out how to extract it from there.

Tested August 12, 2016

Partner Mike Otis

Click here

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Trying to skate two sessions

 It's absolutely unimaginable to me how these kids can skate 3 to 4 sessions a day I honestly cannot recall ever having that much energy....   Maybe when I was 10 or 11 .

 First session working on my singles elements with the choreography lesson. We are still plugging away at this program which I am supposed to skate in about three weeks time.. probability of a scratch is very high !

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Skating Before Coffee..

… This never seems like a good idea to me. I tried it today and I just didn't feel " stimulated" enough!! I have more excuses don't I?

 A few more weeks and we will be back to our normal rink schedule for the winter and I will be happy as a clam back on public sessions.

...  Meanwhile you can find me on the ice today I'm wearing neon orange !

Monday, August 1, 2016

Time To Run

It's that time. One month till competition. We need to run 1-2 times each time we practice... Today was Monday ... Hanks got a swollen ankle and I somehow strained my wrist... We did you best today.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Post" Traumatic Stress Disorder

Between my busy summer schedule and toying with a new Go Pro camera - add some company at home ... result .. I have not had time to properly take/edit/post my skating videos lately.

A while back I decided I was probably posting too many long videos of really repetitious things -
but I have not turned the corner yet on honing my editing skills.

Seriously .. I just put the camera on the boards and get what I get.

Anyway, today we skated in the morning and had a great pairs lesson - with a complete program run with all the lifts and jumps - but alas the battery on my camera failed and all I got was a snippet of practice.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Dancin' Fridays

I think we have a "passing" Rhythm Blues for my upcoming test.  It's not perfect by any means, but unless I totally forget the steps - I am feeling confident about it.

The next dance - the first of the Pre-Bronze dances is the Swing Dance.  It's not that hard on paper..
But on the ice.. Especially at the end pattern I get a little off.  I need much more quietness in my upper body and MORE LEG EXTENSION.  Deeper edges too!  I like the feel of the dance, especially during the Chasses.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Just an Illusion

Just a short clip of something I tried the other day.  I need to practice getting more of a straight line from fingertip to toe pick on the Illusion.  As for the scratch spin... Stop this ride... I want to get off!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Coffee and a Sweet Roll?

Yawn, stretch ...  NO .... Chassé and Swing Roll.

That's right.  It's Friday morning.  Grumpy Maxine is back on the ice doing her best to learn how to ice dance before her second cup of joe!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pairs Program Progress

It's hard to see but we are making progress.  Despite very little off ice practice and only skating 1-2 times per week.  Getting close to crunch time!

GoPro Camera Test

Well, I got a new GoPro Hero4 Session camera and I am trying it out on the boards.  I don't think this camera was meant to shoot anything too far away nor in low light.  I am still figuring out what it can and cannot do.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Flying Camel Day

Still piecing my program together with zero stamina... I guess I'm making progress on the flying camel since I'm see-sawing less and getting 2 revs... I am hoping for 3.

Our pairs coach Chris Anders was on the ice toward the end of the session doing some nice jumps!!!

Pairs lesson afterwards...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Rhythm Blues and Swing Dance Practice

Friday morning ice dance practice with Mike.  The R n B dance is coming along.  I am still confused about the end pattern of the Swing Dance.  It just doesn't feel natural yet.  We'll get it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Singles Practice

Long overdue.. A session dedicated to my free skate.  I haven't seen my choreographer or main coach in a month --- since my meltdown at my last lesson.  Trying to lay out the framework of my new program on my own and let them tweek it afterwards.  It will save me a lot of money and frustration.

I'm currently working on the opening through the 1/2 way point.  The planned program content I sent into the competition says:


... In plain English that means:

Step Sequence
Single Flip jump + Single Loop jump + Single Toe Loop combination jump with 3 jumps
Single Lutz jump + Single Toe Loop combination jump with 2 jumps
Flying Change of foot spin (Flying camel + Forward Sit or Broken leg sit... I haven't decided)

Looks good on paper right?

Here's how it's unfolding on the ice:

Hanky Panky....

... Translation:   Pairs practice!

We are working hard to get some stamina and cohesivenes back.  Crowded sessions don't help!
No program runs today since we are on a public session.

Everything looks off.  We need work on fundamentals.  Timing, upper body position, arms - sigh... So much to improve on.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Vacation Remorse!

Just back from 3 weeks of family vacations, traveling and ... Well for lack of a better word gluttony.  Excess eating and drinking and not nearly enough exercise.  A few bike rides, a little paddling in a kayak, some dancing - but the family dinners all included dessert and the BBQ ribs in Memphis... Well, let's just say ... I didn't stick to my diet!

Anyway.  Had a double-header back on the ice Tuesday.  Pretty wobbly and out of condition, I skated pairs and ice dance right after.

Hank and I tried to skate, but we looses what little synchronicity we have when we take time off.  I'm sure it will come together in the coming weeks.  We are officially 7 weeks from competition in Vancouver at the ISU International Adult Skating Competiton Aug 28 - Sep 3.  There are only 4 competitors/teams in our event.

Here's what happened today when we tried to do a program run!  It wasn't pretty!

After that Mike and I did some dance practice and we worked on the Rhythm Blues and Swing Dance.  This was my first try at Swingl Dance.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Not quite ready for prime time

 It has been nearly 2 weeks since Hank and I have taken the ice together to practice our silver pairs free skate. Today we had a lesson and the advantage of being on a club session so we could try a program run with music.  Needless  to say we are not in the best physical condition having not run this program since nationals.

 We will get to skate twice this week before commencing on another two-week break ..  How do you like our hard-core training program?

Friday, June 17, 2016

If it first you don't succeed…

Try try again right?

 I took a couple of days off since my disastrous doubleheader lesson day and decided to just work on my choreography... On public, at my own pace, in my own way, with my own ideas.  I moved a few things around from what my coaches asked me to do and I'm feeling a little more positive.   Chances are it will be several weeks before I see either of those two coaches again  as we have summer travel plans ahead.

Looks like I'll be  missing up another program down to the wire before competition.

Warning this video is repetitious ...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Agony of Defeat ...

For those who skate ... you know.  Some days you unlace your skates and ask yourself WHY?
Why am I doing this?  Today was a compound disaster day.

For unknown reasons I woke in one of those moods.  Hubby says "anything wrong?"  To which I reply "no".  Obviously something threw me off kilter.

I arrived at the 2:15 session ready for 2 lessons.  Coach first then choreographer. I warmed up and felt ok having stroked a few laps, done some edges and cross strokes, stretched at the wall, etc.

Then I made the mistake of talking.  Talking to my coach about my displeasure of the changes in my choreography and how I didn't feel like it was going in the direction I wanted it to.  At some point she said.. "Diane you look like you are about to cry".  Within seconds .. there I was standing at the wall, balling my head off for no reason except that I was embarrassed that I was upset and in tears.  It was a vicious circle for 5 or 10 minutes, which I felt was an utter waste of my lesson time and money... made me more upset.

Finally we stepped away from the wall and tried to work on the program a bit.  I floundered and didn't ... no COULDN'T skate well.  Then she passed me off to the choreographer and I spent another 20-30 minutes with her, floundering, falling (hard a few times) and coming away totally beaten to a pulp.  $60 poorer do to paying for lessons where I couldn't learn anything with my own mental blocks.

..... grrrrr.

I'm home now.  Had a cocktail, played golf with my husband, came home had dinner and a glass of wine and I am not able to see this for what it was ... a bad day.  Nothing more.  And the moral of the story is:  Show up for a lesson with your mind and body open .. not closed and don't spend lesson time talking.  It's a waste of time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Getting in Step

Freestyle on public today. No lesson just working on step sequence and program elements. Tried a few new things today- spin combos, illusions, transitions.

Lessons tomorrow.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pairs and Choreography Lessons

Lesson day for pairs and choreography for singles.

Hank and I haven't been skating much lately.  One or the other has been out of town or sick .. guess who?  Bleh!  I'll give it 3 more days, then I think an anti-biotic may be in order.

Computer problems prevented me from posting video #2 yesterday so I am posting it a day late.
Maybe it's because my iMac is from 2009 or because I have too many videos and photos and need to use 2 external drives to keep my storage in the safe range... I don't know.  All I know is that uploading, editing and posting video was a lot easier when I started this blog/vlog project a few years ago and that eBlogger and iMovie have joined forces to drive me crazy.

.. end rant.

So choreography.  Not my forte.  I wish I could stand in a mirror "a-five-six-seven-eight" and watch a choreographer show me steps and upper body movements once and catch on .. and move on and add more like they do at theatrical auditions.  I am like the remedial class held back for not getting it.

I'm also fighting my sense of vision most of the time I am with the choreographer.  I have this vision of what my program should look like before I begin.  After all - it's always me who chooses my music and dress.  Somewhere along the way - the program always strays because the choreographer has ideas about program design, putting certain things in front of the judges, etc.  I know if I tried to choreograph a program myself it would not be successful.  I trust her.  My coach trusts her.  I know I am in good hands, but sometimes she wants me to do things I don't know how to execute or would really slow down the completion of the finished program in order to learn.

.. end rant #2.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wasted Days and Wasted Ice

 Much to my disappointment I am now entering my second week of this chest cold and I don't like to complain but it's putting a real damper on my skating practice.   I can't skate very hard without hacking and running out of breath. Blah!

 So today I just took it easy did what my body allowed me to do which was A few spins, I worked on some choreography for my new Freeskate and MIF and fooled around a little bit doing some outside loop figures .

Tomorrow I will try to put a little more effort into it. I have lessons in both pairs and choreography on Friday.

Monday, June 6, 2016

First Freestyle In 10 Days

 Skating today with the "never ending" head and upper respiratory cold ...,  I did not know a body  could produce so much mucus ... Gross.  So with low-energy and a depleted oxygen source I tried some freestyle today and had some pair practice with Hank.

 To my credit I will say that I was elated to have done my first two Lutz jumps since nationals...

 We have a lesson on Friday and saved all of our lifts for that.

Friday, June 3, 2016

First Two Preliminary Dance Tests

Pass! & Pass!

 Got some good criticism as well.  Skating with a very bad upper respiratory infection -
 It was nice testing and feeling confident even though it wasn't perfect... Dance is so different as far as posture and carriage but these dances are like the learners permit of ice dance.. They are forgiving!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Double Header Tuesdays

Pairs practice & lesson on public followed by choreographer lesson on club ice.  This may be a normal day for some of you more dedicated skaters, but for me, skating twice in a day is asking a lot and usually nothing good comes from over exerting my body.

Pairs Lesson

We are making significant progress in our Axel lift.  Most of the time we are getting it up.  This was our biggest struggle the past six months.  Now I need to work on my leg position (not being in a piked position bent at the waist with my legs past Hanks body!) and Hank needs to work on a smoother transition and 2 consistent turns in position.  Simple right?

Our lift from group 2 (waist lift) which for us is a Loop Lift position .. is suffering because Hank is experiencing a lot of pain in his right forearm in this lift.  Coach thinks it is because he is lifting me too far from his body and not getting elbows in and under.  I feel bad for Hank .. no fun being in pain.

We really need a better solo spin and pair spin for this IJS competition so we are trying to incorporate a Camel-Sit for our solo spins .. .they may turn into a Camel Scratch or Sit Scratch - but we need to find one with enough revolutions (in sync) to count for IJS.  Same with the pairs spin.  Right now we have a Camel-Upright-Camel (in opposite position) - I would like to add a crouch position to it .. and speed it up... (easier said than done).


Choreography Lesson

So I have new music for my new program and I am really excited about it.  I started working on this with my primary coach to add some harder things into my footwork and we decided to start this new program with footwork and get it out of the way.

Lesson #1 with the choreographer is always frustrating... as is lesson #2-#10 ... Choreography is not my forte.  I really suck at it.  Lack of dance training I suppose.

Here's the result from our first meeting.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Week in Pairs

nothing too exciting this week. A little progress wth the Axel lift and tinkering with death spirals and some new pair spins and combo spins.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

So You Think You Can Ice Dance?

no I definitely don't think I can… Yet but I am planning to learn. This is the beginning. These are the first two dances I plan to learn and hopefully test next month with my partner Mike Otis.

 Still skating pairs… Still skating singles… I just decided to complicate my life .

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Footwork Lesson

Had a lesson today with a sore knee and feeling too dizzy to work on spins - so our only option was footwork.  Badly needed as my last footwork sequence in my Silver IV program was non-existent.

This - when performed properly should help beef it up.

Friday, April 29, 2016

It Takes Two To Tango

... As in a Tango position pair Camel spin.  Something new we are trying to learn this week.  Just like the pair camel except the lady is on the opposite skating leg as the man.  Rotating on a forward inside edge while he is on a back inside edge.

... And finally - The Axel lift is getting up higher and more often.  The light went on the other day during our lesson.  Our coach figured out that I am trying too hard and putting way too much pressure on his left arm (my right).

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday Moves

I had this idea a few years ago to warm up my week - every week - with Moves In The Field.
Along the way I let it go.  I think I will resume spending most of my Monday practices working on them or at least going through them.  They take anywhere from 10-13 minutes for me to complete them all - so there's no excuse right?

I had a DDS appointment today with novocain and felt a little punk when I got to the rink, so I brought in my scribe and did some old fashioned school figures to warm up and then ran through my Gold Moves without stopping or any retakes.  It went pretty well.  No falls.  No balking at the brackets or running out of steam on the backwards eights.  Are they passable?  No way - no how.

Also trying to figure out a schedule I can adhere to in the coming months to train and prepare for competition at the end of August.  It may go something like this:

Off Ice Stretching
Elliptical for cardio
On Ice Moves in the Field
Ice Dance (Oh did I forget to mention I want to take a dance test this year?)

Off Ice Stretching
Elliptical for cardio
Off Ice Pairs Lift Practice
Pairs training and lesson

Wednesday-Wild Card
Off Ice Stretching
Elliptical for cardio
Free skate practice
Evening golf league 9 holes walking

Off Ice Stretching
Elliptical for cardio
Free Skate Lesson

Off Ice Stretching
Elliptical for cardio
Fun day - Choreography if needed

The weekends are for playing and boating and body repair!

So looking at that schedule and counting the days between now and a mid summer moves test and/or dance test and/or pairs test and trying to put a new free skate together and improve my skills at pairs - it doesn't quite seem possible.  Especially with summer vacations here and there.

D E T E R M I N A T I O N ....... D A Y   O N E

Here's 12 minutes of  Zzzzzzzzzzz  of my Gold Moves In The Field

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Road to IJS

OK so at the adult silver level  we are judged by United States figure skating under the old 6.0 majority rules .  The Panel of seven judges watch you skate. They make a few notes by hand and they decide whether you should be first, second, third or 10th etc.  you can see in my previous post a results page for my silver free skate at nationals. To the right of my name are the ordinals that I was given by each of the seven judges.  Most of the time they are very close in agreement but sometimes they are all over the place.  This happens a lot especially in what used to be known as the interpretive events that are now called showcase.  It's very subjective.

When you achieve the test level of gold in adult skating or if you were a more accomplished child skater and returned to the sport as an adult, you may be a Masters skater at the intermediate/novice or Junior/Senior levels.   All of these events are judged under the rules governed by the international skating union or ISU, and the judging system is called IJS or international judging system.  I'm not a skating historian, but I believe this all stemmed from a "thrown" score at the 2002 Olympics in the pairs event.

 I have a loose understanding of how the scoring works.  When you put a program together, each  jump, spin, step sequence, spiral sequence or as we call them "elements" have a  base point value.
 Obviously the harder the jump the more points you get, the more revolutions in a spin or the more complex combination jumps and combination spins will render you a higher base value.  Coaches in choreographers will try to create a program that will maximize your base value score before you ever hit the ice according to your abilities… And usually a little beyond - they like to push us  into reaching our potential.

Now when it comes time to skate  not only do you have a panel of seven judges but they already have a list of your program components before them in a computer. They may have never seen you skate but they know what you're attempting to do in your program and in what order.  So rather than write down everything that you do, they make notes on each element on how well or in some cases-  poorly you execute each of those components.  This is called the grade of execution or GOE.  This ranges from +3 to -3. And because we are only human, your eyes may be down making notes when something is going on so there is a technical panel viewing on a monitor as you skate to see  whether or not a jump was fully rotated or if the jump took off from the correct edge,  how many revolutions were achieved in the position of a spin etc.

 Elite skaters are all judged and do this scoring system, so if you're watching skating on television this is why everyone shuffles over to what's known as the kiss and cry bench to wait for these calculations to finish being made in within a few minutes the  technical score in the component score are calculated and posted and everyone knows where they stand after they skated because they will announce what place they are currently in.  It also gives skaters a chance to skate against themselves… In other words trying to achieve a personal goal of attaining a higher point accumulation during their program.

 One of the beauties of adult skating is that the judges in the 6.0 system seem to be a little more lenient on things like taking off from the proper edge or attaining a real sit spin position where your butt  has to be at or below your knee level.  Under that complicated IJS system it is what it is  and it's all under review.

 I'm up for the challenge, but I have aptly named this new system IJS = I'm just scared!!!

 So if you haven't fallen asleep reading the previous paragraphs or if you skipped over it because you already know everything there is to know about it below is my first lesson after coming back from adult nationals and I am working with my coach, trying to improve my spins for this judging system that I will be skating under at the end of August in Vancouver British Columbia for the 2016 International Adult Skating Championships.  Usually this is one event per year held in overstored Germany, but this year they decided to hold to international competitions.     Obersdorf  will happen in June.  Each competition is independent of each other.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Addendum to original post 4/14/16

Here are the "official" videos from the events

Original Post
My 2nd experience at "Adult Nationals" is complete.  Videos will be added when they come in.  Until then ... here's the good, the bad and the ugly:

Ladies Free Skate IV
Bronze Medal - Clean Skate !!!!  Wished it were stronger, faster, more polished, but super happy with a medal.  I skated 1st of 14 skaters in 4 groups.

Silver IV Dramatic Showcase
6th place of 13 skaters.

The error of my ways was not having this program well rehearsed or even "complete" before 
using it in competition.  I was literally on practice ice that afternoon trying to finish it up.  Tsk tsk.
I spent a lot to have this program choreographed and really wanted it to be better received.

Silver Pairs
Bronze Medal

Three pairs teams - so yes a medal, but 3rd out of 3 isn't something to be proud of.
What I am proud of is all the hard work we put into skating together.  We only started skating pairs together since mid summer of 2015.  This was my first pairs experience.  Hank had not skated pairs competitively in 10 years.  We hope to keep going and do better next time.  Pairs is a blast.

Lastly, and with the most disappointment was my Light Entertainment Showcase program where I portrayed Rosie The Riveter, skating to the song of the same name, by the Vagabonds.  I was very fatigued on this final day and got a little behind the music during the performance.  When I turned to lay into a spread eagle (in front of the judges) .. I fell, sloppily and felt like to ruined the program.
Afterwards I found myself understanding better the whole "kiss and cry" thing... as I took off my skates and costume and let the river of tears flow in the dressing room.  Only to find out 1/2 hour later that I still placed 4th - and received a Pewter medal ... so I had to get back into costume and put my skates back on.  Lesson learned... NEVER rush an element!

So that's the good the bad and the ugly......

Videos are starting to appear on IceNetwork now and I ordered all the programs mentioned and will upload them when they come in.

Best part of this competition is always the love, support and friendships made and rekindled.  Here's a few parting shots of the competitors party:

Thanks everyone who reads this blog for your continued support.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rosie The Riveter

 This was my first attempt at running my 2016 light entertainment program in costume .   It was before my lesson in before we put the finishing touches on this program and I don't have any overhead music playing so of course I'm behind the music .

Friday, March 18, 2016

Coffee Club Roseville CA

I'm down in California with my skates, so of course I had to stop by Roseville SkateTown for coffee club. Ran into my skating buddies Debbie Cutter-Georges and Kathleen Powers. Thanks for sharing your ice! I had a great day.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Choreography Crunch Time

Most of my skating peers will have had their programs long since completed by now. Probably some since before the new year or longer. There are always a few procrastinators. Namely yours truly. I don't start thinking about competition until I register and that's in January. Throw in a long vacation, a few local trips, getting sick and skating other a partner and voila... A recipe for not working on singles and/or choreography is cooking.  Getting together with my choreographer has its scheduling woes for someone like me as well who generally skates (and prefers to skate) on public session rather than FS sessions.and this year I added a new twist ... I had my Dramatic program choreographed remotely by someone in Salt Lake City. So I am trying to learn each step from video clips.... Way more challenging than I thought.

So today I skated some pairs with Hank.. Broke off for a FS lesson, then returned in the afternoon for a choreography lesson on busy FS ice. Tomorrow I have to take a six day road trip to Calif with hubby so ... Again practice will suffer.

 PS the music for my Dramatic is missing because Adele and her record label think I must be trying to profit by using this music to skate to without permission. I'm skating to Skyfall. Use your imagination !!! Grrrrrr.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Pairs Lesson - Cleaning Up The Program

Had a lesson today to work on our Silver Pairs program for Nationals in  LESS THAN A MONTH .... I am shouting at myself as a reminder!  Physically, things could be going better for me at this point.  The cold I got before Sectionals is waning, but I still don't feel 100%.  R ankle problem.  Pain under the boot and up the leg while jumping.  Undiagnosed, but I think it's Peroneal Tendinosis from jumping when my boots weren't laced up snug.  If it gets worse I will see someone.  Going to take the weekend off the ice.

L foot now has a big bump known as an Accessory Navicular ... looks like 2 ankle bones!

Minor setback.... Our lesson was good but we didn't make any major breakthroughs on our Axel lift.  Scary to think we are set to perform this program in a month.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

.. And on a Lighter Note

Working in the choreography of my Silver IV Light Entertainment Showcase program to "Rosie The Riveter".   Should be fun - no pressure ....  Wish we had more time to work on it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pairs Program 4 Weeks Before Nationals

Well, singles isn't going well for me today. My coach now tells me every jump needs to be fixed. I have a bad habit it not keeping my left arm in front before jump take off in ALL jumps. It's like staring over... Being at the wall and doing jumps from a standstill already gave me a few bruises on the bum.

Meanwhile in the pairs corner - Hank and I have been making progress on getting our Axel lift in the air. The video today is a piecemeal layout of our program.. Dubbed over with our music. We have not done a real run with music overhead yet.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pacific Coast Adult Sectionals - Championship Silver Ladies

Well, I did it.  It's over. I feel  so many different emotions.  I'm really proud of myself for not withdrawing as I threatened to do. I was very nervous and the warm-up made me feel like a third grader on the six grade recess.

I did miss three weeks of skating during my fabulous vacation to Australia and New Zealand and recovered from the flu and came down with a subsequent cold ....  But that's where my excuses end.

 Going to these adult events is so inspiring. Half of the skaters who are my idols skate in the gold or silver level and are not only over 50 but many of them are over 60.  They are "training" on and off the ice 15 hours per week and they all have stories of surgeries and set backs.... I am not alone and we are all skating because we love the sport.

 Once again I think my coaches were right. I think that the more you do it (compete) the easier it gets Although I was extremely nervous I felt a very strange calm just before I got on the ice and this time I smiled all the way through my program... probably because I felt like everybody that I was improvising the program .... Which isn't true at all - nobody but me knew everything was rearranged.

 I was disappointed that my spins were not good ... But now I have something to work on.

 Final standing 10th Pl. out of 13 and I have to say I am honestly happy with that.  This was my first competition at the silver level and some of these ladies were in their 20s.

Here is the link to the entire group of the Championship Ladies Silver event.  I skated 3rd -

The girl who skated just before me was amazing.  She qualified - Great speed, good jumps.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Singles Practice at EWU

Skated today at Eastern Washington University - the equivalent to HOT YOGA for figure skating!  This rink is so warm.  Heaters above the ice and bright inside.  I wish every rink was like this one.
You can peel off all the coats and sweaters and sometimes even the gloves for practice here....

...that is when they let you practice.  They have strange rules about what you can and can't do on a public session.  Sometimes you can skate to your hearts content as long as you look out for others.  Sometimes an ice monitor will come out and tell you that you cannot do ANY freestyle or even skate backwards!

Today I went to their one and only drop-in freestyle session on Friday from 4:00 to 5:00 pm.  $5.  Such a deal.

After a day of doing nothing except watching videos of other adult skaters I decided to get off my butt and get some exercise.  My pairs skating is so much fun, but I have really neglected regular singles practice and now some of my elements ... along with my stamina are suffering.

My Lutz is 100% gone.  I balk every time I toe pick in and just do a 1/2 Lutz.  Flip?  Not a problem.  And considering my Lutz is a Flutz (a Flip from a Lutz entry) ... this should not be a jump that gives me trouble, but it does.  So today I resigned myself to the fact that my competition next Sunday
at PCAS will probably look like a Bronze skate.... at best.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Skating Solo Today

My partner was nice enough to give me a day off pairs to work on my singles.  Competition March 6 ... not much time to regain my skills and build up some stamina.

I did a really stupid thing.  I entered the Silver Ladies Championship event at Sectionals - knowing I was going on vacation for 3 weeks and would be off the ice and not getting much exercise.  My skills were barely at the Silver level having recently passed my Free Skate back last summer - I have been concentrating on pairs and .... well.... you know the adage ... if you don't use it ... you lose it.

Too late to pull out of the competition.  I did not expect to "qualify" at Sectionals for Nationals, but I was hoping for a good skate.  I will be competing agains ladies of all adult ages from 21 and up.  I have no idea how many 56 year olds there will be.... not that it makes a difference in this competition... we are not divided into age groups.  I just hope I don't come in dead last.... anything above that and I will be happy!

At Nationals I will then fall back on my Adult Silver IV "open" event ... where we are split into our appropriate age groups.   Not as prestigious as Championship, but I am going to go with a new "joy for skating" attitude and try and accept whatever level I am able to skate at and BE GRATEFUL.

Grateful I can skate at all... grateful my adoring husband lets me stay home and spend hours at the rink and when the coaching bills come in and the dresses are bought ... he never says anything to me.... although secretly I know he is rolling his eyes wondering what the fascination is.

He loves aviation ... he could fly all day, and talk about it all night (and never get a blister!)  So there.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Pairs Lesson

Back from vacation - which was fabulous.  Aside from getting the flu and being down for 3 days of it ... And not getting to skate or doing much exercise -  I went to the rink today without much in the way of expectation.

We had a lesson with our pairs coach Chris Anders and he brought Melida Seable to help out with a few pointers - she is a coach at Frontier Ice and a former show skater as well.  It's nice having the female perspective on pairs.

We ran through some elements and then got to work on completing the backbone of our Silver Pairs Program for competition laying it out and marking everything.  This video today didn't process properly with the music but you can get the jest of the program layout.

Our Axel lift is working well off ice but failing still on ice... We need to be closer hip-to-hip before I go up and I need to push harder with me left arm.  We just marked the loop lift toward the 2nd half of the program and our footwork was spliced because one of us (me) didn't do it right and when I put the music on it we were late on the music....

Like I said... It's an outline.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Axel Lift SUCCESS!!

It has been a long time coming. Several months to be exact since we have started working on this both off and on the ice. We have been struggling for a myriad of reasons. Lately, we have been able to get this lift up in the air while we are off the ice at not on ice.

Yesterday after a brief hiatus from doing lifts due to my partner's small injury we attempted the lift before we got on the ice and after warming up we decided to "go for it" and after two tries… We did it !!!  Although it was far from perfect and my legs were piked (in a bad position)... We did get the lift up on the ice and much to my surprise my partner announced while I was up there that he was going for the turn. I never expected that and I think by the time I realized I was up there I helped myself down during the turn. He said if I has just hung on longer we would have completed the rotation !! 

Anyway it was a great practice today. We worked on some new things and some old things, some choreography, footwork and spins.  I guess we were thinking about making up for a bad practices on Monday and Tuesday.

 I will be officially on vacation tomorrow for the next few weeks… I have decided not to bring my skates which may or may not be a good idea with competition so near. It was just too difficult to try and find ice time in Australia and New Zealand on the days we would be there . If I have any OZ or Kiwi readers -- sorry I missed the chance to skate at: Canterbury Olympic Ice in Sydney, Paradice Ice in Auckland, and Dunedin Ice Stadium in that city.

Till then.... E noho ra (that is me Maori for farewell)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Single For A Day

 Taking advantage of a free day to work on my singles events ...

 My silver free skate is nowhere near ready for competition I can't imagine how hard this crime is going to be after I get back from vacation

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Beginning a new Paris program

 After having our first lesson of the year and starting to put together a new program we put into practice some of the things that we learned… Of course rearranging a few things but this is what we got so far ..

Monday, January 25, 2016

Hangover Monday

 Hangover Monday .... OK it's not what you think, the hangover is from binge watching the 2016 US nationals. Once I start watching I just can't stop - especially when the skating is as exciting as it was this year ...way to go Gracie Gold.  The men were amazing as well.

Since this is a blog about my skating and not about the status and future of US figure skating I won't vent here about my thoughts about all the pressure to do quads and so forth but wait I guess I already did.

I'm from the Peggy Fleming era and I miss graceful artistic yet athletic skating.  We live in an era of explosive multi rotational- who can do the most jumps and bend more like a pretzel era.

 So today we had a lesson but nothing seemed to go right including the recording of our practice ---
 We had a lesson working on our choreography and footwork nothing seem to gel today

Friday, January 22, 2016

New Light Entertainment Program

I had this vision for last year, but I didn't end up skating any competition.  Costume is 99% done and music was cut so I stuck with it for this year.  Rosie The Riveter .... I love the old music.  I just wish I possessed enough character to pull it off ... oh yea.. and skating (theatrical skills).

Anyway... here we go.  Choreography = Sessions of Dyslexia.  It takes me FOREVER to learn it.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Beginning The Push

I can't say peak because a week from tomorrow I'm going on a 16 day vacation.  I'm not complaining I'm very excited about my trip to Australia and New Zealand however my skates are staying home ... I didn't think it would be fair to my husband to spend my first time in a faraway land seeking ice time.

But the push back home has started to  gear up and try to turn this flimsy program into a competition program .... During.  My freestyle lesson today my coach found three places where I needed "extra steps" leading into jumps of course she's right but every  extra step I take takes another breath out of me ....

 Video today's a little bit longer and it's mostly raw footage ..

I also had a Pairs lesson later on today but our coach was using my phone to listen to the music and choreograph so no video just as well it was one of those days.

Tomorrow choreographer....

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pairs Tuesday

Together again. We made some baby steps of progress today on our crocodile pair spin and it was a complete miracle that we even attempted to do a pair sit spin and attempted our waltz/Axel  lift  without our coach being present .... We feel like we are chiseling away bit by bit .

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday MLK Madness

 I always have my camera out but today I didn't have the nerve.  I have never seen so many people on one freestyle session before. There must've been 27 or 30 and it was on our smaller of our two rinks. Young and old, big and tiny, four coaches one was even using a  fishing pole harness...  I know some of you who read this blog deal with crowded sessions like that all the time .....  I don't know how anybody could make any progress when you have to abort three out of five attempts at doing anything because you're going to run into somebody  or vice versa .

Here's a quick minute from the last five minutes I spent on the ice after the crowds thinned down.
I'm trying to remember how to do an Illusion.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday ... Before Breakfast

I had to drop my husband off at the airport very early on Friday so I took the opportunity to make a rare morning appearance at freestyle session. I'm kind of lost in this video because of the other skaters on the ice don't get distracted by all the double jumps around me !! I'm just learning how to do combination Jim's two or three jobs and I'm finding it a lot harder than I thought ....

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Lift Off

... As in a day off lifts for Hank. Sore neck from yesterday's falls.

I'll start with what I did at the very end of my session. I attempted a program run of my non-competitive version of my Silver Free Skate.... I pooped out before I finished.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Something Old Something New

... something BROKEN ..... Well nearly. A multitude of falls and wreacks today. Poor Hank. We started learning a new pair spin. Not sure of its official name but our coach called it a crocodile....

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Pairs Day 2 - 2016

 Going my way?
I guess that's toward competition. Between yesterday and today I decided to go "all in" and enter the  qualifying event for ladies silver free skate at sectionals. Chances are I won't place high enough to qualify for nationals but I will still be able to skate at nationals during the non-qualifying open event. If that made any sense to you you're definitely involved in US figure skating. I entered all the events that I entered for 2014 ..Only at the silver level rather than bronze.  Plus this year I'm adding pairs to my repertoire. My coach and choreographer had a good laugh when I told them. They know how stressed out I get in and were a little surprised by the big bite of this sandwich.
 But the way I figure it I don't know how many years I have left to skate competitively I'm certainly not getting any younger or stronger ...  So why not? I decided to skate 4 events at nationals but only one at sectionals due to the exorbitant costs of registration.

 So I took Wednesday off to contemplate all that sign up and absorb the idea today I skated with Hank we had a great practice especially off ice… We're getting much better and actually getting our excellent in the air. But when we get on the ice it doesn't seem to happen... I think a few more practices will have it down... No wait up!

Last (regular) Dance (lesson) for the summer

Ok .. this is IT.  I’m off to the land of no ice rink for a month or so.  I’ll be back home a few times over the summer but won’t be able to...