We woke yesterday to a lovely coating of ice on the streets and cars. We've been experiencing a bit of a snow drought here in Maryland this year. Generally we get the first dusting in late December and then a goodly amount of snow or ice depending on the track of storms sweeping in either from the northwest or up the coast from the south. But other than a freak storm on Halloween we'd not had anything measurable this season until now. As I surveyed the scene from the bedroom window I started thinking about the afternoon public session at my local rink and decided to go with the expectation of lovely, uncrowded ice. That was not the case--the roads proved to be less treacherous than I'd hoped and not only was the usual mob of kids in full attendance but coaches and figure skate students were also getting in their last licks before an upcoming competition. I was hoping to find a quiet piece of ice to practice inside edges but doing nice half circles was out of the question. However I come from the school of thought that says when life hands you a lemon you need to figure out how to squeeze out some lemoncello. Instead of attempting classic half circles against a line I spent the session perimeter skating, alternating between forward stroking on outside edges and practicing those forward inside edges by doing big, fat, forward inside swing rolls when the crowd of kids pushing E-Z skaters permitted. My former instructor Mike was there tutoring one of his private student/competitors so I drifted over to say "hello". In the process of T-stopping I encountered a toe-pick divot with my back skate and almost collapsed at his feet--nothing like making a classy impression on a coach! Mike laughed and said "the other day you were blaming the skates, today you're blaming the ice!" Yeah, excuses--I've got a million of 'em! I let him get back to his student and I got back to my edge work. All in all a day well spent, and any public session I can walk away from must have been a good one!