Monday, April 21, 2008

Wooden it be n' ice

It's Monday, so it must be time for the weekly update. We are using the remaining time we have before Tim goes on vacation for several weeks to make last minute improvements. While he's gone the things we've learned will "gel" from non-use and when he gets back we'll see a quantum leap forward. At least this is what we are hoping for. We've been without a coach for a couple of weeks also, and so we are hoping that all of the gel is still going in the right direction. (We all know that left to its own devices gel flows downhill.)

It's tough to have made so much improvement and then have Tim leave, but there are definite benefits to this. It will allow him to ship his boots to Klingbeil to have them rebuilt (they are totally falling apart inside) and also get his blades sharpened. That sharpening thing is key - it has been a full year since he sharpened them. Yes, I said a full year; he last got them sharpened right after the "rust fiasco" when we got home from Nationals last year. Remember that I am the sharpening queen and can't stand any hint of dullness, so this just drives me crazy. He claims dull blades make him a better skater, so I asked him this morning why not just skate on blocks of wood? That would also make him a better skater if he could pull it off. He could be the world's best "block of wood" skater, although not so hot an ice dancer, but perhaps edges are overrated.

But I digress. This is supposed to be the weekly update and not the weekly nagging. Our compulsory dance intros are getting pretty good now that we've practiced them a lot, and we usually start the dances on the first beat of measure 9, which is the goal. Occasionally we don't, for which we place the following blame: "the hip shake thing" when practicing the Samba and "the CD player must have skipped a few beats" when practicing the Viennese.

Speaking of wood, I am having the wood floors refinished at my house. This is a dusty, smelly and overly long process. We've been renovating our master bedroom/bathroom and office for what seems like about 6 years, but really since February. If all goes well Perry and I may actually be moving our furniture back into the bedroom early next week. But enough about wood.

Our expression on both dances has improved. Our timing has definitely improved. We're skating closer together and our tracking is better. We are learning to bend our knees at the same time and in the same way more often so that we are synchronized in our pushes, meaning more power. It's sometimes hard to keep these dances inside the barriers of the mini-rink at Lloyd Center. (This doesn't mean we're such powerful skaters but that we need to get on deeper edges. This might prove difficult for those who choose to skate on blocks of ... OK, I won't say it again.)

Best of all, today we tried some Blues choctaws - always the measure of how well or poorly we're doing. Once we applied the new things we've learned, they were effortless. An effortless Blues choctaw at 6 AM on a Monday morning really makes my entire week. I can only hope the choctaws gel permanently while Tim is on the slow boat to Barcelona. Wouldn't that be n' ice.

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