Monday, January 28, 2013

Jason Brown is a very nice guy.

  This is what happens when I have a messed up travel day and find myself with free time on my hands and a funny memory.

Jason Brown.  We skated together in the Jimmy Fund show Evening With Champions at Harvard back in September.  I had remembered watching him at the 2012 U.S. Championships and therefore knew he was an upcoming force to be reckoned with.   I just assumed he knew it too, and because of that, he probably would be in his own little “I-am-a-force-to-be-reckoned-with” world at the fundraiser show. I  also didn’t think he was familiar with Brent’s and my work as matching green and orange snakes in Holiday On Ice.  What I am trying to say is that I didn’t think we would have any off-ice interaction, he being an upcoming hot shot and us being old withered snakes.

I love when I am proven wrong, especially when I do that thing where I assume something haughty about someone.  Jason, with his adorable smile, was adorably kind.  

So kind in fact, I thought he had us mistaken for different skaters.  Because he said, and I quote, “You guys are great.  That lift you guys do is unbelievable.”

Unbelievable.  That is a very nice thing to say.  However, I am pretty sure the things we do are incredibly believable.  Absolutely believable.  In fact, that may be my unique strength as a skater; I am a very believable skater.  No surprises here!  And Brent I could be the world’s most believable team.  We could be featured in Ripley’s “Believe It!” 

If you were to describe, let’s say, a throw double axel, you would say, “You should see it!  This huge guy throws this little girl into the air, then she rotates TWO AND A HALF times IN THE AIR, and then, AND THEN, she lands on one foot.  One foot!”

And someone listening would be like, “Whoa.  That is unbelievable.”

And you would be all, “Yeah, I know.  Unbelievable.”

But if you were to describe a lift that Brent and I do, you would say, “So this five-foot-seven guy with a tiny beard lifts this disheveled looking woman a foot higher than his height.”

And someone listening would say, “Oh yeah.  Well, that sounds like a thing. A boring thing.”

I was so confused when Jason was so complimentary that I said, “Oh I think you are thinking of someone else.”  Like maybe Marissa and Simon.

And then Jason got a little flustered and started describing a lift that we actually do, and I felt bad that I had tried to tell him he was wrong.  And then I realized he was just being really nice.  Because he is a really nice guy.  

So, what did Jason Brown make of the skating at this year’s U.S. Championships?  Super duper unbelievable, I imagine,  because you don’t have to be as nice as Jason to have found the skating truly incredible.  I mean, did you see it?! Meryl and Charlie?! Holy smokes.  Watch out World Championships.  Max Aaron?!  I thought Nebraska had a speed limit, man.

I can’t even imagine the way these skaters will bring it to next year’s National Championships.  It will be, without a doubt, all caps, UNBELIEVABLE.  Right, Jason?! ;)

The world's most believable team watching the country's most unbelievable teams

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Backpacking & Writing through New York City!

Backpacking through New York City!  

After finishing a third summer in Sun Valley, Idaho, I am back to the backpacking lifestyle.  However, I am staying domestic this time.  And with an actually backpack.

Instead of touring around Europe with my suitcase* (like I have done these past two years,) I will be a pinball for the next few months, bouncing around friend’s unoccupied beds, couches, and floors, in various east coast locations, keeping the backpack Brent has leant me close by.

At some point during the summer I signed up for three writing classes-- a grammar class, humor class, and memoir class--in New York City.  So, that is what I am doing (in addition to some skating shows) starting, tonight!

Apparently my goal is to write a grammatically-correct, humorous, memoir.

And truth be told, that kinda is my goal, but it took me a bit to admit this.  I feel like saying you want to write a memoir is like saying you think your life is a big deal.  To be clear, I don’t think my life is a big deal.  But, I also realize you didn’t think that I thought that, so we are probably all on the same page.  Plus, I didn’t say I want to publish a memoir, just that I want to write one, which I think is A OK.

Also, if you or I did think my life was a big deal, I’d be writing an autobiography.  

People would be like, “How many bananas did you eat for breakfast to become a, technically, three-time Olympic alternate?”

And then I would have to address all these things in my autobiography.  And it would all be pretty tedious and boring.

So, to my great fortune--and I swear I say this sincerely-- I am no Michael Phelps (though I would LOVE to eat that many pancakes for breakfast!) So, I can write whatever silly things I want.  Unless, that is, you have some suggestions or requests?

Let me know.

*Full disclosure, I do still have my suitcase, which resides in a friend’s closet in the West Village (thanks Andrew) alongside some sparkly skating costumes (your welcome Andrew.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Help Me Get Married!

I never have and never will be able to write about anything political, for two reasons:  
First, I do not understand politics. I would have better luck writing about ice skating in a foreign language.  
Second, and 100% related, my brain is very small.
However, sometimes political issues or events will trigger my small brain, which mainly thinks about me-related things and tonight the passing of North Carolina’s Amendment 1 has done that.
I always say that I am missing some sort of gene, the “I want to get married” gene, because I just don’t have the desire to get married.
I was told I would want to get married when I met the right person.  This is false.  I have met the right person.
Also, I have almost zero fear of commitment.  Because of skating, that is one of the few things I do well.  I can commit.
And here is the truth, missing gene or not:
I want to want to get married.
All I need is someone to talk me into it.    
Here is my obstacle:
I have an aversion to exclusivity.  I typically end up on the losing side of that coin.  And right now, marriage seems to be an ever increasing exclusive club.
And what is crazy is that I can totally join the club.  Here is something I do not have to qualify for (unlike, say, the Olympics) or attend school to do (unlike being in any high school club) or even have a hint of a butt to be in (unlike getting inducted into the “a boy tried to grab my butt at the middle school dance” club.)
I don’t even have to prove religious dedication or ability to procreate, though these seem to be essential to the club.
I just lucked out that my parts are different from my boyfriend’s parts.  
Luck is my “get into marriage free” card.  A card I just made up that this exclusive club just might use (but pretty sure they don’t because I know a lot of married people, including my parents, and I feel like something like that would be up on the fridge.)
So, what do I do?
Do I take my luck and just figure I am due some good luck at some point, like, “Hey! I didn’t win the one lotto I played, so I am owed this!”
Do I just shrug my shoulders and point at a gay friend’s crotch and say, “Tough luck. By the way, I am registered at Crate & Barrel.”
Seriously, what do I do?
I have all the makings for a marriage.  I have the desire to spend the rest of my life with a certain someone, I have the plan to, I have good commitment skills, and, I got luck.
So, what do I do?

Saturday, March 31, 2012


You guys, the time has come!  TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY OF TOUR!
Crazy, huh?
There is a giddiness and sadness amongst the cast and crew.  And although I have been honest about my struggles throughout this experience, I know I will get sentimental when the music begins for the very last show.
I will say, “This is the last time I will ever put this purple flower in my hair.”
“This is the last time I will look at Andre on this step.”
“This is the last time I will smile at Michael right here (our NEW goodie!)”
“This is the last time I will do the running-man in this snake outfit.”
And when I do this enough, it opens up the door for all sorts of sentimental feelings.  In fact, some may be more than sentimental; some may be just plain irrational.  I might actually say, “Boy I sure do hope I get to do the running-man again in a snake outfit because, if not, I think I am really going to miss it!”  That is how sentimental I can get.
It reminds me a lot of my last day of high school.  I found myself surprised by my sentimentality when this day came.  I didn’t enjoy high school much nor was around much for it (Back story:  I went to high school for two years, then moved to Texas to skate with an ice-dance partner.  When that partnership ended, I moved back home and went to school for the last half of my senior year) Yet on the last day, there I was getting teary-eyed, wondering if I would ever see my teachers or classmates again.  
Funny enough, I did get a good does of reality too, that last day of school.  In my sentimental state, I gave some boy, who I think I thought was a close friend, my yearbook to sign.
He wrote, “Have fun in Texas.”
Hmmm.  Apparently we hadn’t caught up since I moved back home from Texas (hence the being at school and all.)
Point is, sometimes my sentimental ways keeps me from seeing things clearly.
So, here is my clear-thinking going into the closing of this tour:
Yes, there comes some sadness in the ending of a chapter.  But what is pretty cool is to realize that you even created a chapter in the first place...good, bad, or something in between.
Because I think that is what makes for a great life story-- one that has lots of different chapters.
And I am excited about whatever chapter is next.  
Let’s get it started.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What I've Been Up To

I think this is what the kids call an "epic fail."  I have completely failed at writing once a week.  And just towards the end of tour!  Grrrrrrr....

But conveniently and simultaneously, I am trying not to care about things too much.  I told Brent that I was going to incorporate that expression "oopsies" into my vocabulary more.

So, oopsies!

And also in my lame defense, I have been giving this travel thing hell.

First, between Dresden and Berlin, I took a side trip to Prague with Michael and Brent.

Where I was happy that I don't eat meat....
And thankful for the invention of the watch......

And grateful for the beautiful blue sky that made for the perfect backdrop....

Then we spent three weeks in Berlin.

Highlights include:

Renting bikes with Charlene, Kathrin, and company....

Riding to the East Side Gallery....

Which is a remaining stretch of the Berlin wall and has about 106 paintings from artists all over the world.  Some of my favorites were this.....
And this.....
Some were beautifully powerful....
Some were incredibly inspiring....

And some were inspiring for second year roommates (notice my face)....
Going inside the Berliner Dom....
And on top of it....
Visiting the Tacheles.....
And observing how these little German kids played....
Then we cruised on over to Oslo, Norway.  On a ship....
And took in the wide open space....

As well as the city of Oslo....

And the waves of the sea (that made us keep low to the ground)

Now we are in Kiel, a maritime center of Germany.

The sun is out, the seagulls are too, and today we have just one show, which is the best number of shows to have besides zero.

And after today, there are....drum roll....7 shows to go!

I guess time does fly when you're, I'll admit it, having fun ;)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In the “How to Blog” online writing class I took this past summer, I learned that blogs should have an angle, they should be specific.  Like “I am a single parent in New York City and here are my struggles,” or “I am a motorcycle enthusiast traveling the United States and here are my tales.”
I feel like I started with this intention; last year I was an “I am a fresh-off-competition ice skater touring with a professional skating show through Europe and here are my silly adventures.”
But now, round two, I realize, I ain’t got no angle!  
I can’t figure out if my main goal here is playing travel writer or working out some psychoanalytical stuff.
And truth be told, they are both kind of fun.
Because I didn’t fall head over heels for this dealio last year, I waver between working through my feelings about this experience and just turning my attention towards the traveling aspect of the job.
You may have noticed.
And I am not sure that will change.  It was just an observation.  And a good set up for the following...
As far as the travel aspect goes, I will say that Dresden is place to see.  And this can be backed-up by a recent National Geographic article:

It is a beautiful town, as you can see....

With funky areas, like Kunsthof Passage...

And the most beautiful dairy store in the world (I had to take a picture of the bag, because photos are not allowed inside)

On a gorgeous sunny day, the city looks even better....

When you want to know the time, you can check out this bad boy...

And if you never want to be reminded of the time, there is plenty of nightlife too....
And for the what-is-going-on-in-my-brain portion of this, I am proud to say that I am feeling optimistic.  Even giddy.
We head to Berlin next and will be there for three weeks.  Then there are just two more cities after that, which strikes me as crazy.  Crazy because it means the following:
Three more openings.
Three more times having to figure out where the #$@% to enter the building.
Three more times setting up our dressing room tables.
Three more times trying to find coffee stand.
Three more ice surface sizes to get used to.
Three more times packing up our dressing room spots, crates, costumes, etc.
And that sounds really manageable.  And it also sounds like it means this:
Three more places to not cry in.
Three more environments to carry out a “no bullsh*t” policy.
Three more venues to try to not worry about what others think.
And three more places to practice handstands!

Monday, February 20, 2012

This city hasn’t been much to write home about.  A lot of buildings look like this:

Or like this:
Which has been a bit of a bummer, because in order to survive this madness here (and not have to deal with too much “bullsh*t” from myself,) I have to find a good balance between resting and saving money and getting out and enjoying the city.
Since there is not much to see or do, I’ve lost my balance this week.  And it doesn’t feel good.  
It feels a little like a hangover.  Or an upset stomach.  I haven’t decided.
The one saving grace this city has been a small record store I found a few blocks from the hotel.
Just as I had been thinking about my resolution to buy records instead of CDs, I walked right past this store.  At first I decided not to go in, because it seems a bit unnecessary to start collecting records while essentially backpacking through Europe.
But then I changed my mind.  And walked back. 
Inside I met Andreas, who seemed to be the sole owner/worker of the store.  He mentioned that he was shipping a record to Virginia, an East German print of a Whitney Houston album (still can’t believe it.)
I was fascinated by this special East German something he was talking about.  Andreas explained that East Germany had their own special label, called AMIGA.  The albums usually involve simpler designs, because there wasn’t enough money to have lots of different colored inks, and the prices listed on the albums are listed in East German marks.
I thought this was way too cool, so I bought another copy of the Whitney Houston album he was shipping (still heartbroken) and a very simple-looking Beatles album.
Then I went back the next day and bought a Madonna album, Bruce Springsteen album and an album by The Police.  
And Andreas threw in a bonus album by an East German band called Puhdys, but one where they sing in English.  Thoughtful!
And there you have it.  My Zwickau highlight.

Goodbye Zwickau.  Dresden, you're up next!