Goals

My main goal for 2020 is to finish my book on faculty wives. I hope to complete chapter five, which I have been working on for over a year, shortly. I would then have five or six chapters left. At the very least, I need to pick up the pace.

When I was thinking about my progress, I realized that I would need more structure, focus and motivation to achieve this goal. Beginning the end of January, I will be participating in the year long non-fiction manuscript group that the Pioneer Valley Writers Workshop offers. Most of the other members of the group will be memoirists but I think paying for the workshop and having regularly scheduled meeting once a month will provide a lot of structure and motivation.

The other writing commitment that I am undertaking is being part of Nerissa Nield’s Writing It Up in the Garden workshop for ten weeks. This is two hours once a week. Both of these writing groups require a commitment which I hope will benefit my rate of production for the book.

Besides writing the book, my other big commitment is to my ice skating. Having competed in October, my focus is now on being part of an adult group number, for the annual skating show of the Skating Club of Amherst. I hope I will be less nervous skating on home ice. My other skating goal is to complete at least one three turn this year. Here is link to a video, by a professional, of a three turn. After today I will have 357 days left to do it.

Because finishing my book is imperative, I am going to try to keep my schedule free from the other activities. This will not be easy; I have trouble saying no. The only thing I will consider getting involved in is efforts to defeat Donald Trump.

What are your goals for 2020? I would love to hear them.

Skating Competition, Part 2

I competed for the first time, Saturday, at the 33rd Halloween Classic, Winterland Skating School, Rockland, Massachusetts. Here is a picture of me before I went on the ice.

Despite all my preparation, I was extremely nervous and did not skate the way I had planned.  My legs felt like jelly but I did go on the ice and skate, which I feel was a big accomplishment. I was the only skater in my event, so I skated against “the book”. I am not sure what the criteria for judging was, but I got second place and received a medal.

I also earned four points for the Silver Lining Club. The club came in second for the competition so I contributed to that result.

I can’t say I enjoyed myself but it was a learning experience. If I compete again, I will try to find an event where Kiara, my coach from the Skating Club of Amherst, can be the one takes me. She knows me really well and I have complete confidence in her.

I would also practice skating my program from different places on the ice so I would be comfortable no matter where the judges were and where I had to start.  Connecting certain moves to specific points in the music would also help.

It turned out that competing in a spotlight event meant that the rink got dark, very dark. The only light was a spotlight the followed the skater. I didn’t realize what spotlight meant until I got to the rink. Next time, I would know, be more prepared, and not get so freaked out.

The nicest part of the experience was the support I got from the audience, other skaters, Kiara, Andrea and Aaron. I appreciated that so much and I am very grateful.

Skating Competition, Part 1

On Oct. 19th I will be competing in the 33rd Annual Halloween Classic at the Winterland Skating School, Rockland, MA.  This competition is ISI endorsed; ISI stands for Ice Skating Industry and is another skating organization besides the United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA).

The USFSA is better known and is the organization that sends skaters to the Olympics. My skating club, the Skating Club of Amherst (SCA) is an USFSA club. ISI is more recreationally oriented and has more opportunities for  that beginning adult skater, like me, to compete in.

To compete at the Halloween Classic, I had to become an ISI member, join a ISI club and get a ISI coach. I did all that; I now belong to both the SCA and the Silver Ling Club. My ISI coach is Andea Newsham and my SCA coach is Kiara Sonada.

When I posted Travel, Part 2, I mentioned I had gone to Bridgewater to test the pre-Alpha level for ISI. Passing enabled me to compete at that level in the Spotlight category. To pass pre-Alpha, I had to do a two foot glide, forward one foot glides, forward and backward swizzles and a backward wiggle.

The Spotlight category is supposed to be entertaining. I have a baseball program, skating to Centerfield by John Fogarty.  Here  are pictures of me in my costume.

I will post about the results next week and, hopefully, have a video.

Travel Part 2

The end of July we went to Bridgewater, MA where I tested in the Pre-Alpha level of skating in the ISI system. I did this so I can compete in October. Before we got to Bridgewater, we went to the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA. It was a great place. The museum  had a basket exhibit which I wanted to see. I used to weave baskets so I found the exhibit really interesting. This basket is by  Katherine Lewis. It is willow and the technique she used to make was rope coil randing and twining.

We also saw  Tom Kiefer: El Sueño Americano – The American Dream which was  photographs of the various personal items, food and other materials that are taken away from immigrants and refuges who are being held in a detention camp in Texas. This was a very powerful and disturbing exhibit.  One of the items people have to give up is condoms.

In August we went to  Maine for a few days. We stayed in Casco, right on one of the lakes. We took a couple of hikes with some beautiful views. It was a lovely relaxing time with the whole family.  It already feels like was a long time ago.

 

Watching Nationals

Since Tuesday I have been watching skating, both Europeans and the US Nationals. For a skating enthusiast it is like the Super Bowl times two.  Europeans is an International Skating Union sponsored event for skaters from Europe. Next month there will be a similar event for the rest of the world, Four Continents.

So far the standout performances have been Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres winning the pairs competition at Europeans and Alysa Liu, who is thirteen, successfully completing a triple axel in her short program in the Senior Ladies event at Nationals.

I have been watching so much skating that it almost feels like I am at Nationals.  Last year, I was at Nationals in San Jose and it was terrific.  Here is a picture of Nancy Kerrigan from  that event.

Watching the skating is really inspiring and motivating. Of course, I will never compete at Nationals but I certainly can try to be faster, skate with more power and cover more of the ice.

A Look Back

This year I will have 49 posts, counting this one. Last year I had 51 but this year I was hacked which was one of many life events that cut into time for blogging. As I have said frequently this year, it was harder to post once a week.

I am on track to end the year with 3160 tweets. I will have tweeted 538 times this year which is well over once a day. The political situation makes it pretty easy to tweet frequently. I still can’t tweet my URL and I don’t think I will ever be able to again.

In my goals for 2018, I mentioned doing more on Instagram. That hasn’t really happened because many of my posts don’t have pictures. It is not really something I care that much about.

My main goal for the year that is ending was to make progress on my book. I finished the fourth chapter in October and I am about halfway through the fifth. I have almost 200 pages done. I wish I had been able to do more but it is what it is.

My other goals were around improving personal habits such as eating and sleeping. This was also a mixed bag. Last spring, my husband and I did the Slim Fast diet. I lost five pounds but  gained it all back. More recently I have tried to focus on healthy, anti-inflammatory eating and I have again lost some weight.

My sleeping has been hit or miss with at least one day of insomnia a week. I  haven’t figure out how to be a better sleeper yet but I will let you know when I do.

I now skate three days a week and I do feel I am improving. I have also started doing off ice training which is great.

This year was pretty much like other years . There was some really good stuff, like attending skating camp and some really bad stuff like my mother-in-law dying. That’s life.

Second time around

Looking over my last few posts I thought I would revisit some of the topics. In Summer I outlined what I was doing during this season. The Take Back the House (TBTH) opening was a huge success. You can see a video about it here. I am still working there and I feel, now more than ever, it is critical to turn the house Democratic.

Skating Camp, which I talked about in Summer and Off to Camp, was terrific. There were only nine of us and the coaches and assistant coaches were so helpful and supportive. It really improved my skating, making me more adventuresome and less fearful. I plan to start some off ice work which should further strengthen my skating.

I am still having trouble sleeping. At least once a week I have a bout of insomnia. My latest thought is to try hypnosis to change my sleeping habits. If anybody has tried that, please me know.

It has been two weeks and I  have watched two  Youtube videos that were on Feedly. I am also reducing my watching of Reality TV since it feels very connected to the rise of Donald Trump, something I fervently wish had never happened. I do not want to be complicit with his fascism in any way,

Several of the posts reference how hard it has been to do weekly posts. That remains true. I put all of the potential changes to my website which I discussed in Half Year Update out of my mind but  it is probably time to start thinking about them again.

Finally in the last month my most viewed post was the one on Methylated Spirits which I wrote five years ago. It had 229 views in 30 days. I average about 20 reads a day. The day I post is not always the day with the most readership which is a bit of a puzzle to me. I am  still thinking about ways to increase readership. If you have any ideas, let me know.

If these more personal posts are not your taste, let me know that as well.

 

Gratitude

On Monday I started the 11 Day Anxiety Challenge. Wednesday’s task was to find five things you are grateful for. Here are my five things:

  1. My family – My husband and sons mean everything to me.
  2. My house – I am so happy I am able to afford my home. I have worked very hard over the years to make it a lovely place to live.
  3. Exercise – I am very glad I am physically able to exercise since I have interstitial cystitis which is so debilitating for so many people.
  4. Ice skating – The reasons for being grateful for exercise hold true for ice skating with the additional thought of  being able to do it at my age.
  5.  Birds – Wednesday morning I heard them chirping and it was a beautiful sound.

The black-capped chickadee is the state bird of Massachusetts.

What are some things you are grateful for? Please tell me below in the comments.

 

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Basic 4 Figure Skating

Yesterday I passed Basic Skills Level 4 in figure skating. I have been trying to pass this level for at least three years so it feels like a real accomplishment. I posted about passing on Facebook and now realize a lot of people who responded don’t have any idea what I am talking about.

Here is what you have to do to pass  Basic 4:

Forward outside edges on a circle both right and left. This means  if you are skating counter-clockwise, you would skate on your left leg while lifting your right leg. If you are skating clockwise, it would be your left leg that you would lift while skating on your right.

Forward inside edges also on a circle – both right and left. Skating counter-clockwise you lift your left leg while you skate on your right. Skating clockwise you do the reverse.

Forward crossovers on a circle both clockwise and counter-clockwise. This involves taking your outside leg and crossing it over the inside leg. It is not that easy,

Backward 1/2 swizzle pumps on a circle in both directions. Going counter-clockwise your right leg is on the outside and makes a backward c as you are moving. Clockwise it is your left leg that does the pump.

Backward on-foot glides – both right and left – Going in a straight line you skate backwards on one foot.

Beginning two-foot spin.

That is what I had to do to pass. although I passed I will continue to work on all of these elements because there is still room for improvement.

If you go on YouTube, you can see video  of all of these elements.