Worlds

As I mentioned last week, I spent over a week in Montreal, attending the World Figure Skating Championships. The skating was amazing; so many talented people competed.

Ilia Malinin had a unique free skating, completing six quad jumps, including a quad axle. That jump is actually 4 and 1/2 half rotations in the air. It was a phenomenal experience. I have seen Ilia perform the quad axel live both times he did it. At both Skate America in 2022 and at Worlds in March 2024, I also got to speak to him. He seems like a nice and thoughtful young man.

Although I enjoyed attending Worlds, I am on the fence about going to next year’s event which will be in Boston. Montreal, of course, was cold and it snowed. Boston’s weather in March will not be that much better. It was hard to sleep in a hotel for that many days. The food at the Bell Center was often cold and always unhealthy.

I have now attended 2 Skate Americas, 2 USFSA Nationals and 2 Worlds. That might be enough. Next year, I can devote the same week to watching skating, but view it in the comfort of my own home, sleep in my own bed, and have better food.

I am publishing this today, because – believe it or not- tomorrow, I am going to a skating show. On Sunday, my club, the Skating Club of Amherst, has its annual show. There’s a lot of skating this weekend. I am excited to attend and thrilled that I am not performing.

 

 

Montreal

I recently returned from eight days in Montreal. I went there to attend the World Figure Skating Championships. We got there Sunday, March 17. I was really excited that we didn’t have to take a plane and could just drive. The trip basically took us through most of Vermont which had some very pretty parts to it.

Monday and Tuesday were just practice days, so we did some sightseeing. Our hotel was close to Old Montreal and on Monday we did a self-guided walking tour of that neighborhood. The highlight was the Notre-Dame Basilica which was absolutely beautiful.

On Tuesday we went to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and saw an  exhibit about Georgia O’Keeffe and Henry Moore. Although the artists never met each other, the curator found similarities in the materials they used and the themes and topics they explored in their art. At the  end of the exhibit the museum had videoes of both artists talking. Henry Moore’s interview took place in his studio and was fascinating. I really enjoyed the exhibit.
Next week I’ll tell you about the skating.

Weekly Update, Week 24

My day for posting is now Monday. I cannot guarantee it will stay like that. I’m currently going through the chapters, correcting typos, adding missing footnotes, and fixing any other errors I come across.

I am still deciding about what pictures to use. I have a clearer idea of how to proceed.  They will be a mix of photos of people and some photos of ephemera from various faculty wives clubs’ activities.

I took Sunday and today off. We went to Brattleboro, Vermont, for an overnight stay as an early Valentine’s Day celebration. Yesterday, we went to the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center and saw some unusual exhibits. I really liked the  textile art by David B. Smith. There was a QR Code you could scan and hear the artist talk about his work.

David B. Smith, Quilt, 2023

After the museum, we ate dinner at T.J. Buckley’s, which is my all-time favorite restaurant. We got back to the hotel in time to see the exciting end of the Super Bowl. The trip was very relaxing. I had a great time.

 

 

Weekly Update, Week 14

It is December, which is amazing. Officially, NaNoWriMo has come and gone since it is only for the month of November. I, however, am still on my prolonged NaNoWriMo journey. NaNoWriMo says, if I keep to my current pace, I will complete my goal by Feb 9. This would mean I would have to work almost three hours a day.

My goal is to complete the work before my birthday in February. I will be 70, so I would like to have a relaxing, romantic weekend away with my husband.

I am still deciding about chapter 7. Since I can’t reach a decision, I’ve started reviewing the edits from my editor. Hopefully, the tedious work will bring clarity about my decision.

My plan is to work for about 2.5 hours a day so I can go away for my birthday.


 

 


 

Good News

On July 26, I finally got a yes from one of the many publishers I have sent queries, book proposals, and sample chapters to. Levellers Press will be publishing Dames, Dishes, and Degrees in the Fall of 2024. This is long-awaited great news and I am incredibly happy.

I barely had any time after this revelation to process it and figure out how I would get a clean, ready to print copy to the publisher by May 2024, nine months away. Shortly after I found out my book will be published, I went to Seattle and then on an Alaskan cruise.

The whole family went on this wonderful adventure, and we had an exciting time. We saw glaciers, whales, bears, and bald eagles. We walked through a rain forest and learned about the history of Sitka which the Russians settled.. We also had a lot of fun in Seattle which is a beautiful city with many views of water and mountains.

We got home around midnight Tuesday evening and have been getting back to our real life the rest of the week. I have come up with a plan to complete the work to ready my manuscript for publication. Starting Monday August 21, I am going to do a mammoth NaNoWriMo with a minimum expectation of two hours of work a day, every day until May 1st.

Because I am on such a tight schedule and I need to stay focused, my blog posts from now to the beginning of May 2024 will primarily be progress reports, similar to what I did in the past when I was completing the first draft. Those posts will start September 1 after ten days of work.

New Orleans Jazz Fest

I apologize for not posting last week. I was out of town, attending the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and visiting with relatives. I have been to New Orleans many times and I love the city. It is a unique place with a very lively street life; something you don’t find in the  semi-rural, mostly suburban place I live.

Jazz Fest runs over two weeks and many, many people attended. New Orleans has a tropical climate, so it was hot and muggy with one day of torrential rain. That was the day we didn’t go because of the mud.

We saw a lot of performances including Santana and Melissa Etheridge. It was great to hear so much live music. We also listened to people we had never heard of before, but I plan to listen to them going forward. One of these performers was Sue Foley who plays a pink Fender caster guitar. Another was Martha Redbone who is a partly indigenous women with great politics and a great voice.

This was my first time attending Jazz Fest. I tried two times before but both events were cancelled due to the pandemic. I plan to attend again. I am also going to try to go to more live music performances because I really enjoyed doing that at Jazz Fest.

 

 

Reentry

I have a list of maybe five or six topics that I was considering for this week’s blog post. As I sit here trying to write, I feel overwhelmed. As you may remember, for three weeks in February I was dealing with COVID. Both my husband and I were sick;  I was really sick, and he got a rebound case after we both had taken Paxil  for five days.

Shortly after he finally tested negative, we went away for two weeks to Florida to visit my aunt. The trip had its stressful moments, but the weather was beautiful and the ocean was gorgeous. We walked on the beach a lot and I swam most days. It was definitely a vacation mixed with familial responsibilities.

The Intercoastal

We have been back a few days and it’s been up and down with how focused I can be. The trip to Florida did restore my energy level which was set strongly depleted by COVID so that’s a good thing. However, life keeps intervening, occupying my brain, leaving less space available for things like blog posts.

Besides blog posts, the main thing I want to make progress on is my book. Since I can’t stand the thought of further revisions of my manuscript, I have decided to focus, once again, on trying to get a publisher. I spent a few days this week working on getting my submission packet in shape to start sending it out to a list of publishers I compiled before we left for Florida..

I intend to include a marketing plan along with my book proposal and CV. That is what I have been working on this week. I have a marketing plan I did after Brewing Battles was published. I developed it because if I had waited for my publisher to do any marketing, I would still be waiting.

I have been trying to use that marketing plan from 15 years ago as a template for a current marketing plan for Dames Dishes and Degrees. It was going okay till I got to the review section. Book publishing and marketing has changed tremendously since Brewing Battles was published. Whether or not a journal or magazine accepts books for review and publishes book reviews is not that easy to find out. My attempts to research that wound up sending me down a rabbit hole that was rather discouraging. I’m going to regroup and figure out how to tackle the reviews section and then move on to the other parts of the marketing plan. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.

Skate America

I am watching Skate Canada while I am writing about my attendance at Skate America last week. Both competitions are part of what is known as the Grand Prix figure skating series. The International Skating Union (ISU) sponsors this series of competitions each season.

Skate America was the first in the series and was held at the Skating Club of Boston’s beautiful facility in Norwood, Massachusetts. I was extremely excited to go to this competition for several reasons. My coach is on a synchronized skating team from Skating Club of Boston, so I was really interested to see where she skates every Monday.

I was also anticipating seeing such athletes as Ilia Malinin and Gracie Gold compete. Although it was a lot of days and sometimes the rink was frigid, I had a wonderful time. I saw Ilia complete his quadruple axle which was thrilling beyond words.

I found Gracie Gold’s performance very moving. She has shown such grace and determination in her brave attempt at a comeback. Gracie is really an inspiration to anyone who has ever suffered defeat, mental or emotional distress, or physical disabilities.

I also had several celebrity sightings and interactions which made the event even more exciting. The first day there I had a nice conversation with Jackie Wong from Rocker Skating about media coverage of skating and how  the USFSA doesn’t always appear to be aware of  the best way to maintain and grow its’ fan base.

I spoke to Ilia Malinin after he had finished his practice and before he went on to the ring to complete his competition which included his successful quadruple axle. I also had conversations with Ashley Wagner and Mirai Nagasu. I attended the 2016 Worlds in Boston in Boston and saw Ashley Wagner when she won her silver medal, I have always been a fan of Mirai Nagasu, and it was nice to have a brief conversation with her.

The last big competition I attended was Nationals in San Jose  2018. I went with my cousin Marla who died this past June. May her memory be for a blessing.

It is always inspiring to see skating in person and Skate America was no exception. However, it was very draining so I may wait a few months or maybe a few years to attend another big competition in person.  Worlds will be in Montreal in 2024 and in Boston in 2025. Those two will probably be the next opportunities for me to go to something in person.

We came home from Skate America on Monday and tomorrow we are going on another trip. My next blog post will be November 11.

Happy International Beer Day

Today is International Beer Day. To celebrate, here is a roundup of articles about the holiday. The first describes the day and provides a brief history of beer. In 2018 there were 7,450 breweries in the United States. I wonder if that number has decreased due to the pandemic. If you know the answer, please let me know.

The second link profiles seven cities across the world, looking at their top beers, beer festivals and the best places to drink beer. If you are traveling to any of the cities mentioned and like beer, this is a handy list to have.

The third article looks at Singapore beer. The Asian beer imported to America is usually a pale, nondescript lager so I would be excited to try some of the beers mentioned. I would love to go to Singapore and other places in Asia but  it is a very long flight and the time difference is brutal.

Finally, here is a link to a post I wrote in 2016 when we were traveling in Paris and London. On that trip we drank a lot of Leffe blond beer. Once we were home it was hard to get. Apparently, a liquor store near me now sells it. I am going to get a six-pack and drink one tonight to celebrate International Beer Day.

Cheers!

Beaches

On Tuesday, I returned from ten days in Florida. Over the July 4th weekend my sons and daughter-in-law  were there as well. On July 4th we all took a shuttle and went to the private beach owned by the hotel we were staying at.

The rest of the time, my husband and I walked to a public beach about one mile away. All this beach going make me reflect on the tortuous history of Jim Crow and Florida beaches.  In my current manuscript I write about attempts in the 1960s to de-segregate  the public accommodations in St. Augustine, Florida. Here is an excerpt from the first draft of the sixth chapter of my book.

St. Augustine, Florida was one of the country’s most segregated cities. Beginning in 1960, it was the site of many civil rights demonstrations including students from Flagler Memorial College sitting in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter.

1965 was the 400th anniversary of St. Augustine. In preparation for the planned celebration, in 1963 the city embarked on a restoration of its downtown buildings. Vice President Lyndon Johnson was scheduled to attend the dedication ceremony for the first restored building. All the festivities were for whites only. His advisors became concerned about him attending a segregated event. The organizing committee set aside two tables in a dining alcove for local African Americans. Blacks had pushed for city officials to meet with civil rights activists as part of the festivities. This did not happen.[1]

Following this event, the activists started picketing segregated local businesses. The uptick in civil rights action led the Klu Klux Klan to descend on St. Augustine. The Klan embarked on a reign of terror. “Homes were shot up, cars set on fire, people were beaten, jobs were lost, jail sentences handed out and threats made.”[2]

The situation was becoming intractable; St. Augustine civil rights activists sought help from Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The activists sought assistance in early 1964; at the same time the U.S. Senate was engaged in the longest filibuster that body had ever seen over the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[3]

Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders sought an end to the filibuster and passage of the bill. They chose St. Augustine as a case study in the law’s necessity. Part of the proposed legislation dealt with segregated hotels, motels, and restaurants. St Augustine, a tourism site, had plenty of these establishments.[4]

Local activists choose Easter, 1964 to begin their campaign. They called for college students to spend spring break in St. Augustine; not for a vacation but to participate in sit ins and demonstrations. Four prominent Boston women came as well. When Mrs. Esther Burgess, the wife of the first black elected diocesan bishop of the Episcopal church and Mrs. Mary Peabody, mother of the Governor of Massachusetts, were arrested, the tension in St. Augustine became a national story.[5]

Mary Peabody’s arrest made it very likely that Martin Luther King would, at some point, arrive in St. Augustine.[6] He came to St. Augustine in early June, renting a beach front cottage, which was vandalized and burnt twice.[7]

On June 11, Martin Luther King, Jr. Ralph Abernathy, and eight other civil rights activists attempted to enter the Monson Motor Lodge, St. Augustine, Florida. James Brock, the motel manager stopped them at the entrance. The group refused to leave. Brock called the police who also asked King and the others to leave. They still refused and were arrested. They did not post bail and were placed in the St. Johns country jail.[8]

Two days later, Sarah Patton Boyle led a group of civil rights activists seeking service at a St. Augustine restaurant. They were all arrested. The Tampa Tribune described Boyle as the “wife of a University of Virginia professor (and the) great granddaughter of a Virginia governor and second cousin of the late General George S. Patton.[9]

After spending three nights in jail Patty, and other “white integrationists” including Reverend William England, Boston University chaplain were released on bond.[10] She was proud of being arrested. “I would rather have the voice of a civil rights jailbird than the voice of a mockingbird. That is why I announce with pride that I was one of those who went to jail for freedom in St. Augustine …. “My heartaches that such drastic action as going to jail is necessary to make America what she claims to be–a land where there is freedom and justice for all. But since it is necessary, I am proud to take full integrationist part in it. I regard my arrest as an honorary degree in the struggle to implement the principles in which I so deeply believe.”[11]

[1] https://civilrights.flagler.edu/digital/collection/p16000coll11/id/4/rec/1 Accessed 10 13 2020

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Warren, Dan

[7] Florida Room: Battle for St. Augustine 1964: Public Record and Personal Recollection Author(s): Claudia S. Slate Source: The Florida Historical Quarterly, Spring, 2006, Vol. 84, No. 4 (Spring, 2006), pp. 541-568.

[8] Tampa Tribune, June 12, 1964, pg. 1.

[9] Tampa Tribune, June 14, 1964, pg. 2.

[10] Tampa Tribune, June 17, 1964, pg. 1

[11] https://civilrights.flagler.edu/digital/collection/p16000coll11/id/4/rec/1

©Copyright Amy Mittelman 2021. Do Not Reproduce without Author’s Permission