Friday, May 10, 2019
I looked at this blog and noted that my last post was back in January. That seems like a long time ago. At the end of May my rink shut down for the annual two months of maintenance. Yesterday was the first time I skated since the closure. As per usual for this time of year, I'm skating at a neighboring rink not too far away. I had a lesson scheduled and I wasn't looking forward to it. I warmed up by perimeter stroking and when it was time for my lesson I told my coach that my goal for the lesson was to be able to drive myself home from the rink. I asked her not to kill me.
So, it seems that I'm in a slump or at a plateau or up against a wall. Plug in your favorite analogy. My right forward inside Mohawk is no better than it was six months ago. I've not made any progress on either of the two remaining pre-bronze level dances that I've been working on since passing the Cha-Cha way back in early December of 2017. There are instances when I wonder if my skating skills are actually going backwards. Am I skating with the same panache and zest as when I last tested? I sometimes wonder.
Am I ready to give up? Am I ready to admit defeat? No, not yet. I'll give it another year and see if I can test at least one of the dances that requires a clean Mohawk in my weak direction.
Yesterday we skated the Fiesta Tango, up to the dreaded Mohawk. At least I remember the steps. We then practiced, in isolation, the 6-beat edge sway that leads to the Mohawk and plugged in the Mohawk and the end pattern steps. I did it semi-cleanly once and kicked her boot on the next attempt. After that she had me work on the 5-step Mohawk MITF element just to bear down on that element. I felt like a drunk on a 5-step recovery program.
At the end of the lesson we scheduled another lesson for next week, and I was able to leave the ice and drive home under my own power. I'm hoping that it can only get better from here.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
My lower back was aching yesterday so instead of belaboring my wonky Mohawk, I suggested to coach A. that we work on the beginning of the Fiesta Tango--the day before, during an empty public session, I found myself unable to correctly remember the opening optional steps which she'd taught me months ago. And so we did; at first me following her a pace behind, then solo with her watching from the boards, and finally partnered.
It was soon apparent that part of my problem was due to timing rather than lousy memory. The dance starts off with a pair of 2-beat strokes but those are followed by a pair of 1-beat steps and then another 2-beat step during the progressive which leads to the cross in front/cross behind steps. Those first two progressive steps really seem quite quick, coming on the heels of the slower two beat steps which start the dance. But, it is this ebb and flow of timing which,in part, gives the dance a tango expression. This slow-fast-slow timing signature reappears during the end pattern.
I also needed to flatten out the lobe of the progressive and keep it closer to the boards so that I'd not go way off pattern during the cross in front/cross behind steps.
We next skated the dance to music, which surprisingly helped me rather than being a distraction. We finished up working on the end pattern which of course features the Mohawk turn. Once again she bought to my attention the change in timing from the 2-beat LFO stroke through the pair of 1-beat steps which are the Mohawk, to the three 2-beat steps which make up the back progressive. In an effort to get through the Mohawk, I was slowing the Mohawk but rushing the progressive. I need to do just the opposite. In a backhanded way this is good for me since the Mohawk is my weakness. I must remind myself that I only have to hold those problematic edges for one beat each and then have the luxury of two beats to get through the back progressive with body language which suggests a smidgen of control!
After the lesson was over and I was walking out the door to the car, I noticed that my back didn't hurt quite as much. Who knows, maybe this Tango thing will help work a couple of kinks out as we dance our way to spring!
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Diaristfamily was invited to spend the waning days of 2018 with friends in a rental beach house in Lewes, Delaware. We gladly accepted. The weather was warm for the end of the year, and for the most part dry.
There's much more to see in Lewes, including a lightship, old grave markers, many more interesting buildings and of course, that elusive Moth Boat. I plan to go back, and next time bring along a proper camera.
|We climbed to the "crows nest" (aka roof top balcony of the house) and were greeted by this view of the breakwater lighthouses to the east.|
|The house was less than a mile from the Lewes terminal of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.|
|Lewes has an interesting historic district. Lewes was first founded as Zwaanendael by the Dutch in 1631. Zwaanendael (Swan Valley) was a short lived colony. The local tribe of Lenape Native Americans wiped out the 32 colonists in 1632.|
|The Zwaanendail Museum features a status of Captain David Pieterszoon de Vries, leader of the expedition that founded the colony.|
|The building, which dates to 1931, the 300th anniversary of the colony's founding, features many 17century architectural details.|
|Sadly, the museum was closed during our visit.|
|The old part of Lewes has many fine and interesting buildings. My cell phone camera was almost full and so this post gives just a taste.|
|This house dates to the 1770s.|
|One of my main objectives while in town was to see a very early Moth Boat which is supposed to be on display.|
|Sadly, that will have to wait for a subsequent visit since the museum was closed.|
|We had booked a table at this restaurant, but over Christmas a pipe burst and the restaurant was closed until further notice--I was not having much luck in this town! Never mind, we managed to get seated in another place close by.|
|The next day we took a walk in the state park. A close up of one of the fire control towers. Yes, like seemingly everything else in Lewes this was also closed!|
|A number of these towers still stand on both the Delaware and the New Jersey side of the bay and provided coastal defense for the oil refineries which are located up the Delaware River to the north.|
|Some of the old barracks still stand.|
|Guns, guns, everywhere guns.|
|This 16 inch monster was once on the battleship Missouri.|
|Don't get in the way.|
|In addition to the coastal guns, which, BTW, never fired a shot in anger, Cape Henlopen is famous for the surrender of a U-boat at the very end of the war.|
|Cape Henlopen State Park has large dunes, some of which are close to 100 feet tall.|
|Your old diarist watches an empty tanker as she heads out to sea.|