This is going to be an odd story to tell, because while I remember certain key elements about this particular weekend, I don’t remember a lot of the connective details. Stuff like eating dinner or who I roomed with, or actually studying the Bible – these points are really nothing but shadows.

When I was in my teens a few friends of mine asked me to come to a Friday night youth group at this church that was just a few blocks from my house. We were not a religious family at all – I believed in God, but had not attended church or even read the Bible.

I will fully admit that my desire to attend this youth group was more social than spiritual. However, there were worse places a teenage girl could be spending a Friday night. And who knows? Perhaps the Holy Book might really make an impression on me.

What made an impression on me instead was this kid Jeff from Tenafly. He was ADORABLE – curly hair and a crooked smile. Uff da. While he has absolutely nothing to do with this story, I feel compelled to mention him because it was my crush on him that pretty much kept me coming back to the youth group week after week.

It’s a cringe-worthy admission.

That winter the youth group was sponsoring a Bible study weekend up in Vermont. I begged my parents to go, and I still can’t believe I was given permission, but on a cold Friday night I was picked up, put in the very back of a station wagon, and carted up to some resort in Vermont.

MEMORY #1 – The Car Ride

When I say “the back of a station wagon” do you remember the ones that had the seat that faced backwards? Yeah, that’s where they stuck me. I was bundled up for the cold, but the car had the heat blasting, and it also had roughly 7 people sitting in it. I got very hot very fast. And I was riding backwards.

I think we were somewhere in Connecticut when I threw up.

I had complained of feeling sick, so they moved me into the back seat, but it was too little too late. While I did manage to get a majority of it out the window, we still needed to stop at a gas station to a) clean me up and b) de-funk the back seat of the wagon. Shortly thereafter they stopped for dinner, where I stayed in the car both too sick and too mortified to do anything more than sleep.

MEMORY #2 – Horseback Riding

The first morning of our retreat we went horseback riding. I was thrilled to be doing this, having never been on a horse other than your average pony ride. The handlers had asked if anyone had riding experience, and my girlfriend Pam raised her hand, and also offered that she could ride an English saddle.

“Hmmm” said my brain – Pam lived in a tiny apartment with her divorced mom and older brother – where the hell did she learn how to ride an English saddle?

This would prove to be troublesome for me down the line.

The handlers let us know that the horses had to be kept in a certain order – horse A (my horse) did not like horse F (Pam’s horse), so they should be kept apart. Fine. Off we went down the trail.

All was fine n’ dandy until I heard a ruckus kicking up behind me. Pam, with her crackerjack English riding skills, was having trouble controlling her horse. It was moving out of its place in line and making its way towards me. Me, as in the gal who is currently riding the horse that hates Pam’s horse. Do you see where this is going?

Once my horse caught sight of Pam’s horse, they both started to run…slowly at first, but before long we were pretty much at a full blown gallop. Now this is where the day really got fun.

My saddle broke.

All I know is that while we were wildly galloping across the field, my body started to slide to the left. The saddle was slipping, and my whole body listed – I only had one leg over the back of the horse and I was frantically attempting to hold on to anything. We were approaching a line of fence, and I thought I was a goner. If the horse tried to jump it, I was fairly certain my head would not clear. Eating barbed wire was not part of my plans when I woke up that morning.

Thankfully one of the handlers caught up to us and was able to stop the horse. Once my feet were out of those stirrups and set firmly on the frozen ground there was no getting back on. After shooting Pam a glaring look, I marched back to the stables on foot.

MEMORY #3 – The Song

My last memory of this weekend actually isn’t a bad one at all. It was Saturday night and we were having a Bible jamboree in the big hall. There were tons of other youth groups from all around the area, and it was a huge crowd. Again, I don’t quite remember how push came to shove, but somehow my friend Carol and I volunteered to sing as part of the evening’s festivities.

The musical director suggested we sing “You Light Up My Life,” a song that was hugely popular at the time. While it was a #1 song, I didn’t know all the words, and I have to say, it made me a little nervous – could I learn them all in the span of a half an hour? We practiced a few times, and then the show began. I was scared, but I had Carol to go out there with me – a partner in crime so to speak.

Ha.

Right before it was our turn she chickened out. I was left with the decision to cut and run with her, or go out there alone and quite literally face the music. I thought of the time the musical director had spent with us rehearsing, and thought it would be a douche move to bail on him.

So I walked out there alone. Me, in my Dorothy Hamill haircut, and sensible Sears clothing. I stood on the stage next to the piano and whispered to him “it’s just me…is that okay? Are you sure I can do this?”

He nodded and smiled and began to play. I got through the song – I remember being too afraid to look out into the audience, which was, in my mind, massive – like Carnegie Hall massive. Instead I just looked at the Musical Director and plodded my way through the song. I’m pretty sure I fucked up the lyrics at one point, but it didn’t matter.

When I finished, he smiled and winked at me, and said “Great job.” And then there was the applause. I remember it being loud, and I remember that it was the only time I could look out into the very large audience. Wow. I’d done it.

When I left the stage, there were lots of pats on the back and congratulatory comments from both friends and strangers. I’ll admit, it felt awesome – I was really glad I hadn’t bailed. And Carol? She was a little envious – and perhaps a bit regretful.

Those are the three big memories from that weekend. We might have gone skiing, but I don’t really remember. I also remember I made the trip home without throwing up, which was a personal victory for me.

computer mouse on white

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Have Confidence in Me.”

Are you good at what you do? What would you like to be better at?

I always knew my talents lied in the middle of the road at best. In high school I was nowhere near the most talented artist, although I tried hard. I had an art show my senior year with another girl and I’ll be honest, her shit blew mine out of the water; Like, my stuff was flopping and dying on the beach.

My mom was proud though.

Ditto in college. I was super average as an illustration major. My photography was average, my sculpture was average, and my figure drawing was average. Once I graduated with a BFA I had one job illustrating a cartoon for a magazine and I decided I hated it.

So, I went into graphic design – we’re talking T square and triangle, waxers and Bestine. I worked for Tiger Beat and Right On! magazines for over three years, and had moved up from beginner fledgling to Art Director, and I thought I was hot shit. So hot that when the magazines got sold to a firm on Madison Avenue, I didn’t take the offer to stay on as Art Director. I’d find something else.

It took me years and years to find another job in design. But I did, and I was always good. Maybe not great, but good. And in some cases good could seem great. While I may not be the best designer, I always managed to be way better than the person before me, making me appear great.

I spent over 12 years working for one newspaper – Again I started as the low man on the totem pole and worked my way up to the position Art Director. The paper looked tons better under my averagely skilled hand – plus, I was fast. Sales agents used to clamor for me to do their ads – I was in high demand. I was also reliable – working nights and weekends if need be to meet our weekly deadline. I was hot shit again.

And then they fired me.

Once again, our paper was sold and after 2 years with the new owners, they budgeted me out. They had younger designers with fresher ideas who would work for a lot less money. I collected unemployment for almost a year, and had trouble getting hired.  I thought with all my experience someone would snatch me right up, but I guess a middle aged designer with little html experience wasn’t all that hot after all.

During that year I watched my newspaper, with a sinking heart, deteriorate each week I saw it on the stands. Those young fresh designers didn’t give a hoot about my crappy little paper, and as a result it was thrown together last minute. But that was a good thing.

Turns out complaints were coming in from advertisers about the shoddy quality of the paper. I was asked to come back on a freelance basis just to design the covers and the edit. That was over a year ago, and I still do it today.

I also work close to full time for a real estate firm handling their graphic design and marketing materials – once again, while I’m not great, I’m better than the person who had the job before me – way better. My speed and ability to learn new programs quickly made me an office favorite once again. I was able to take on tasks that others no longer had time to do.

I got a raise after one year.

Last week my boss, who used to do marketing for Calvin Klein, gave me an ad to design that required a lot more design acumen than your average cut and paste. I was afraid my average design skills would shine a giant spotlight on my utter medicority. I worked hard on it, and sent her a proof with little confidence that she would like it.

The next day she came to my desk and told me how impressed she was with the designs I came up with. I’d hit it out of the park.

So, I might not be big ad agency material. I might never be good enough for Glamour or Time or Entertainment Weekly. I’ll never win any print design awards, and I certainly don’t make a lot of money…I doubt I ever will.

But I’m good at what I do. I might doubt myself at times, but in the end I get it done well.

Vintage-Ski-Styles

When I was growing up in northern New Jersey our town’s Rec Center used to hold ski trips. The kids would meet in front of the Rec Center, board a bus and head up to Vernon Valley for an afternoon of skiing. There were times where my mom and I, while running errands in town, would pass the Rec Center and I’d watch all the kids lined up with their bags and their skis waiting for the chartered bus to pick them up.

And I was so envious of them.

I grew up in a pretty wealthy town. We were not wealthy. We weren’t on skid row or anything, but there was no extra money to be spent on nonsense like lift tickets and ski rentals. So, Rec Center ski trips were out of the question for me. I acted like I didn’t care – like those kids were all assholes.

Some of them were. But a lot of them weren’t. They were kids I ate lunch with, or might walk part of the way home with. But they could afford to go on the Rec Center ski trips, and I couldn’t. So like any brooding teenager is apt to do, you viewed them with a cool loathing rather than blatant envy.

I did eventually ski though. While I might not have been able to go on the Rec Center trips, my Junior year in high school I became friends with this guy Paul whose parents had a house by Hunter Mountain. Ah Hunter… One of Upstate New York’s finest ski lodges.

For the next 6 years or so, Paul would call me on a random Thursday night and say, “We’re heading up to Hunter tomorrow…wanna come?” It wasn’t always winter either. Sometimes we went up in the summer and attended a festival at Hunter Mountain. Sometimes we just went up for some R & R. But if it was winter? We went skiing.

I was never a great skier, but I learned how to hold my own on the intermediate slopes. I only rode an actual ski lift a few times and dreaded/planned my departure from the chair the entire way up. My trip down would take my about 25 minutes as I would slowly shoosh my way down making a very wide, very horizontal path.

Susie Chapstick I was not.

I remember one weekend a whole bunch of us went up to Paul’s house. It had snowed gangbusters the night before so conditions were going to be phenomenal. The day turned out being a real keeper – temps hit the mid 50s; folks were skiing without coats. We went back to the house, put beach chairs in the snow and drank a case of beer.

It was AWESOME. I left Hunter in February with a sunburn.

My best ski trip ever though, was when I was in Austria. When I took my semester abroad, our school sent us on a ski trip to Semmering. Having not skied in a while, I decided to use the free ski instruction the lodge provided. Our teacher’s name was Norbert, which I found humorous…were his parents undecided between Norman and Burton?

Nobert? He turned out to be a real perv. While doing snowplow turns down the bunny slope, he would shoosh up behind me, wedge his skis between mine and push his pelvis against my ass in very firm, very suggestive manner. It wasn’t just me… he did it to all the girls. He got very drunk at the lodge party later that night and tried very hard to grind us a wee bit more on the dance floor.

But during that day, as I made my way down the slopes an hour south of Vienna, I thought about those kids that used to go on the Rec Center’s ski trips. I could never go, but here I was in Austria. AUSTRIA. On skis. Me.

Beats the hell out of Vernon Valley.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Opening Lines.”

What’s the first line of the last song you listened to (on the radio, on your music player, or anywhere else)? Use it as the first sentence of your post.

Trip, Stumble & Fall

That’s the first line of the last song I listended to. I hadn’t heard that particular Mamas & Papas song in quiet a while, so I Spotified it, and was glad I did. So glad that I purchased it on iTunes this morning. But this blog post is not about the musical stylings of The Mamas and The Papas. It’s about falling your ass down.

Now let’s talk about falling…I’ve done it a few times in my adult life and I wouldn’t file it under the “good times” category. In fact, it sucks. It’s embarassing and painful, and something totally foreign to the average adult body. Kids fall – kids who run amok and risk life and limb climbing and jumping…they fall. Not me. Well, not often anyway.

Below is a post that appeared in an earlier blog that is now defunct. However, it’s one of my sisters’ favorite stories from that blog, so I will share it again with my Typical Tracy followers.


FALL FROM GRACE 
Originally published 9.14.10

Yesterday I left my office during lunch to go for a walk. I began on a route I had never taken before, and as I looked around at office buildings and unfamiliar scenery, I spotted a Coke bottle cap on the ground.

I am always on the lookout for coke bottle caps. Each cap contains a code that is worth points on their website. Our family collects these points and trades them in for stuff. Over the past few years we’ve obtained a toaster, a set of pans, a t-shirt and a free ticket to Kings Dominion. So I bent over to picked the cap up.

It was at this point that my day radically changed.

I’m not quite sure what happened to be honest with you. My feet hit some imaginary rope strung across my path. I tripped. I stumbled. And then I fell.

I remember trying to recover from the stumble. I remember attempting to right my body as I careened wildly towards the ground. My attempts were fruitless and I landed with a hard thud in the street. Not on the sidewalk, mind you, but in the street. You know, where the cars are?

I did not put my hands out. I had my cell phone in one hand, and the blasted Coke cap in the other. So I landed hard on my left forearm, while my right hand, conveniently shaped like a fist as I strived to hold onto that cap, punched me square in the mouth.

Dazed, wincing, and mortified, I popped back up on my feet and continued walking like nothing had ever happened. After a few seconds I sneaked a peek behind me and was relieved to see that nobody was around. Had I really been spared the added humiliation of witnesses?

I glanced at my elbow and forearm to assess the damage. Dirt and gravel was intermixed with bits of loose skin and blood. It hurt so bad I was surprised you could not physically see stars and lighting bolts radiating from it. I ran my tongue over my lower front teeth. Yep, they were still there, but man, did my lip hurt.

As I continued my walk, I replayed the mishap in my head. I fell in the fucking street. Hard. I am grateful there were no cars coming. Or a bus. I am glad all I did was skin my elbow and punch myself in the face. I could have broken a bone or knocked out a tooth.

Who falls down like that? What am I four years old?  I wasn’t skiing or mountain biking. I was close to standing still. Who does that?

Apparently I do. And let me tell you, falling down is no fun when you are, well, chunky. The thud was not a pleasant one. I’m wondering if the U.S. Geological Survey saw a blip on the Richter scale in Virginia yesterday. I cringe just thinking about it.

Today I am very sore. Not just my skinned elbow and forearm, but a variety of muscles are angry with me today. I am keeping my arm wrapped intermittently in an ace bandage. Funny how few of my unfriendly co-workers have asked about it. But that’s a blog for another day.

Be safe everyone, and watch your step for goodness sake.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Me Time.”

earlybird-1

I spend not just Saturday mornings, but every morning with a little “me time.”

My weekday wake up hour is 4:45. I get up, make some tea and spend an hour catching up with the world. I check Facebook, and see if anyone read my blog. Then I get a little work done until it’s time to wake the family and get ready for school and work.

I swear, if I don’t get this hour and change I’m useless. There are times I’ve forgotten to set the alarm, and I wake up with just enough time to get everyone fed, dressed and out the door, myself included. I am useless on those days. There’s something about that hour with my cup of tea and some mindless web-surfing that puts my moon in the seventh house.

Weekends are even better. I usually get up around 6 am, hours before anyone else in my family begins to stir. Sometimes I get up even earlier, but only because my kitty needs something…and when he needs something he will not let me sleep. He had me up at 5:30 this morning.

But  it’s fine because I get a lot of work done in the morning too. That’s also “me” time. I work best early in the day, so I get the majority of my freelance design work done before 9 am. Then the rest of the day is mine.

Another source of “me time” is my daily walk, which surprise, surprise, I also like to do in the morning. I walk at least once a day for two miles or so…I put in my earbuds and listen to a podcast or a book or just some music – I block out the world and give my body a little “me time.”

You have to carve out these precious hours for yourself, especially if you’re a mom – because God knows you’re not likely to get it when the rest of the world is up and at ’em.

45 art

I was introduced to a ton of music when I was a young child compliments of my Aunt Carol’s collection of 45 records. They were stored in boxes just like the ones shown above, and when we were in the mood to jam to some tunes, my sisters and I would pull the boxes out from the cabinet in the “stereo console,” find as many insert adapters as we could, and stack ’em up on the turntable.

david-bowie-space-oddity-picture-sleeve-45-original-1973-rca_8096841Her collection was impressive. She had a ton of Beatles singles, not only on the Capitol label but also on the Apple label. There was lots of Elvis, which my sister loved. Me, not so much. She had a lot of odd tunes; weird little ditties that had to have been one hit wonders. She also had a fair share of surfer music, which I still find odd. And as long as we’re talking odd, she had the 45 to David Bowie’s Space Oddity. That’s a record I can’t see her buying at all – that was a little far out for my Aunt Carol.

Part of the beauty of these records were the labels. Decca, Bell, Atlantic, RCA – many times it was the easiest way to find your favorite songs in the boxes and boxes of records. Those labes were so recognizable – if I wanted to find “Knock Three Times” by Tony Orland & Dawn, all I had to do was look for the silver Bell label. I might find the Partridge Family instead, but that was fine too.

mOg1os7DgpqHlW686dyIRhQMy favorite of all the 45s was one by Gary Lewis and the Playboys. It had not one but TWO songs on the same side – “This Diamond Ring” and “Little Miss Go Go.” Everyone knows This Diamond Ring, but the best was when you got to the little known song two. Little Miss Go Go is just a kick ass song.

In keeping with the surfer-style music, my sisters and I used to love “Surfer Joe” by the Surfaris because it was a story song – you know those…like “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” or “The Night Chicago Died.” You can’t beat a good story song.

Another favorite of ours was Dizzy by Tommy Roe. My sisters and I would spin round and round while the song played so we could be dizzy right along with Tommy.

We always had to play Tracy by the Cufflinks. While I’m glad I have a song named after me, I wish it wasn’t so über dorky. And speaking of dorky…that lead singer? Yikes.

When it came to name songs my sister Judy had “Hey Jude,” but my sister Wendy had nothing. So, she adopted another 45 favorite of ours, “Windy” by The Association, as her own. Then Springsteen came along and put her name in the best song every written. Sigh. And I’m stuck with the Cufflinks.

Typical.

There were some real oddball songs too. One was “Surfin’ Bird” by the Trashmen. I don’t know who had the idea to put that record on for the first time, but I do believe after hearing it, it was the first time my tiny little brain registered a thought along the lines of what the fuck.

That wasn’t the only song straight out of the WTF Files. An insanely bizarre 45 is “They’re Coming To Take Me Away (Ha-Haaa)” by Napoleon XIV. It’s hard to describe, but as a small child I always found it creepy as hell. His voice changes pitches and there’s a siren in the background and this stomping/clapping back beat throughout the whole song and his voice echos and it was just really, really sccaaary!

And I can still remember all the words. What was even more wacked out was the B-side; it’s the same song played backwards.

My sister Wendy thankfully still has all these wonderful 45s because she realizes the value of them…not just on the commercial market (although it would be fun to take them on Antiques Roadshow), but because they were a real part of our childhood.

One day I’ll have to blog about MY 45 collection…and how I don’t have it anymore. See, my husband isn’t quite so sentimental about old 45s.

aa9557cd8d5582db1c90a5424d60d1b2

People are annoying me.

In most cases, I know it’s not them, it’s me. My moon isn’t in the 7th house or something, and little things make me want to bitch-slap random strangers.

Take yesterday. I had to make a quick run to the store, and everytime I needed to get something off the shelf or in a cold case, someone was in my way – in my way and not moving. Like the dude with the handtruck full of granola bars blocking all the other granola bars.

Or the old lady that was standing right in front of the Lean Cuisines carefully reading the back of the package. As I stood staring into the case trying to see what they had she did ask if she was in the way, but I told her she was good, because I didn’t really know what I wanted. In those cases, when I am the dope in the way, I move anyway because I know eventually I will be in the way.

She didn’t move. I had to open the next door down and snake my hand way in from the side to get the item I wanted.

But today I got annoyed at someone and it was 100% not my fault. I got assigned to design a gift certificate placard for an upcoming charity event. I work it up quite nicely, and sent a proof to the person for whom it was intended. They email back and ask if it’s 8.5 x 11. I email back, it sure is. They email again saying it looks great. I reply that I have some nice cream card stock I can print it on. They say wonderful.

I go downstairs to the printer, put in the special paper, come back up to my desk to print it, go back down to retrieve the print and bring it to their office. She looks at it and says to me, “Oh, this is horizontal. All the other placards are vertical.”

I inwardly roll my eyes because the proof I sent was clearly horizontal, and reply “That’s an easy fix. I can make it vertical if you’d prefer.”

Then she says, “Can we get any photos to jazz this up?”

I say, “I tried several times to contact them. Nobody ever returns my calls or answers my emails, and the photos online are too small to use.”

To which she replies, “Well this won’t do at all. It needs to be fancier…more attractive looking. You can take this back.”

As I take the finished, now rejected product out of her hands I’m inwardly thinking, “Am I high, or didn’t you just see a proof and approve this thing? If it was not what you wanted why did you approve it? Now I wasted paper and ink and time running up and down the stairs WHEN YOU JUST COULD HAVE TOLD ME RIGHT OFF THE BAT THAT IT WASN’T WHAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR!!!!!”

Like I said, people are annoying me.

I’m going to make her wait a day or two before I get her another proof. Maybe until Monday. I think I’m suddenly swamped with more important jobs.

960x540

Yesterday we woke up to 6 inches of snow here in Central Virginny. It was a long time coming…it had been a miserable winter with little to no snowfall.

Unlike a lot of people, I like snow. I don’t want Boston snow, but I like it. I get excited when a snow storm is predicted, and can become rather perturbed when the weather folks get the forecast wrong and I wake up to my normal landscape. Because a little snow can turn the world into a different place…a place a little prettier and a little more magical than it was just a few hours before.

So like I said, having woken up to 6 inches of good powdery snow, our family geared up to do what we always do on a snow day. We went sledding.

Our community has a golf course with a pretty decent hill, and it’s our favorite place to sled. When we showed up yesterday there was already a crowd, and the conditions looked fantastic. It was sunny and cold, but not so cold that you were uncomfortable. It was really a perfect day.

We have two sleds, both the plastic variety; a long blue two-seater and a regular-sized orange sled. Nobody ever likes the orange one because any time anyone in my family would ride it, they’d turn sideways halfway down the hill. Therefore, it was deemed defective.

Well, I have to tell you, that sled is not defective – but my family’s ability to sled apparently is. Cause let me tell you, I was flying on that thing.

That’s right, me. Fifty year old Typical Tracy plopped her ass down on that sled, not once. Not twice. I’m pretty sure I made at least 12-15 runs down that golf course hill. And you know what was weird? I was one of the only parents doing it.

Most of the parents just stood around at the top of the hill, gossiping and “supervising.” Between sips of K-Cup Coffee in insulated travel mugs they might scold little Carson for taking Hudson’s sled, or wipe the nose of little Marlowe, but other than that, they were having zero fun.

I used to just hang around at the top of the hill too, but for a different reason. I was too self-conscious to give it a try. I mean, it’s not easy to lower yourself into a sled gracefully…at least for me. Then there was the walk up that hill. But I’ve been walking a lot lately, and while I’d not venture to say I’m “in shape,” I’m hardly the physical basket case I was a year or so ago.

So, down I went. Over and over again.

It was so exhilarating to fly down that snow-packed hill. Occasionally I’d hit the little ramp of snow and catch some air. Other times I went so fast and so far, my sled would wind up in virgin snow beyond where any other sledder had landed. I rode double with my daughter, and once I even rode down with our camera running on video mode – which btw didn’t turn out that great.

And I never once did I cause that orange sled to turn. Because this 50 year old Slovak knows how to work it. Let those other moms drink their coffee at the top of the hill. Not be, baby. I’d rather be flying.

Skater

I used to be addicted to figure skating. It was my absolute favorite sport, and each year from fall to spring I would scan the TV Guide for any televised competition. I’d watch them breathlessly (except for Ice Dancing…zzzzzzzz) and size up each competitor, and pick my favorites each year.

But these days I know very little about who laces their skates or who sits in the kiss and cry. Do you know I barely watched skating in the Olympics last year? I have to tell you skating got dull for me once they changed the scoring system back in 2004.

Isn’t that dopey? I mean, why should that make a difference?

Well dammit, because old scoring system was fun! Judges from different countries would post their score, 6.0 being the highest. With this system, a viewer felt more involved. You could cheer the 5.9’s and the 6.0’s and jeer at the crusty judge who gave your favorite a 5.2. With the new system they just post a total – and it’s a number that I just can’t comprehend…Ok, his score is 65.35….well is that good or bad? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

I lost interest real fast.

I tried to soldier on, but once the skaters were in the kiss and cry, there was nothing to look forward to. Waiting for those scores, which would flash up one at a time, sometimes, was part of the drama that was figure skating – as much of a nail biter as watching and wondering if they will land that triple axel.

I realized how much the scoring had played a part in my enjoyment of the sport. And suddenly a lifetime of love for figure skating just melted away.

Skating 1I’d been watching since I was a kid. I had a Dorothy Hamill cut when I was in the 6th grade. I remember watching Scott Hamilton in the days where he had hair…and a rather lousy cut, I might add. I remember watching Denise Biellmann and that wonderful spin, and Elaine Zayak, who was from Paramus, NJ – only a few towns away from my hometown.

skating 2I hated Katarina Witt when she came on the scene. She was too buxom and she was from West Germany…she was like an evil prison guard in my mind. I rooted for Debi Thomas in the Battle of the Carmens (where I lost) and rooted for Brian Boytano in the Battle of the Brians (where I won) during the ’88 Olympics. I mean, who wanted Brian Orser?

4f58f61de276b.preview-620But it wasn’t solely American skaters who piqued my fancy. In the late 80’s/early 90’s I fell in love with the Russian Pairs team of Gordeeva and Grinkov. They were so good, so elegant, and that little Ekaterina was just so cute! They could land jumps that other pairs teams couldn’t – and they made it look easy.

They wound up getting married, those two. But then, in 1995 Sergei died suddenly of a heart attack right on the ice while they were practicing in Lake Placid. I was heart broken – how in the world could someone so young and so fit just die like that? I went to see Ekaterina skate in a Champions on Ice show at Madison Square Garden the next winter, and I balled my eyes out.

CryingNow, we can’t have a serious skating discussion without bringing up the whole Tanya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan saga. Personally, I hated both of them. Tonya Harding looked like a thug, and Nancy Kerrigan, with her giant Mr. Ed horse teeth, irked me as well. I didn’t like anyone that year – not even Oksana the orphan – but I’ll tell you, the Olympics that year was riveting television!

MenIn the early 2000’s I fell in love with Men’s skating….well, Johnny Weir to be exact. Oh, he was so wonderful to watch, and so cute with his hair and his smile! How about when Rudy Galindo won the Nationals in 1996 – that performance was goose-bump raising. And then Evan Lycacek came on the scene – he was super easy on the eyes and a super skater to boot. What had I been missing all these years?

But my greatest skating triumph came when Champions on Ice started off their 2007 (and for a while, last) tour in Richmond. Hubby was the zamboni driver/ice tech at the time, and I got to hang out backstage more than once during the week they were rehearsing.

Johnny Weir called me one night to tell me my husband  had grease on his pants.

I held Evan Lycacek’s skate guards.

Rudy Galindo was jealous that I had a photo of Johnny Weir on my office bulletin board. he made me promise to add his photo as well. And I did.

evgeni-plushenkoEvgeni Plushenko? He smoked non-stop and avoided me like the plague.

I got to stand rink-side during the entire show, and was allowed to attend the meet & greet where my camera ran out of batteries. Typical. Thankfully a co-worker of my husbands had a camera and snapped photos of me with Weir, Lycacek & Galindo.

I was thankful until I saw them, that is. She had zoomed in so close that I was all face. Ugh. I was not Norma Desmond and I was not ready for my closeup. Here I had my photo taken with 3 of figure skating’s golden boys, and I had a gigantic moon-face that no amount of photoshopping could fix.

That was more than 7 years ago and nobody outside my immediate family has seen those photos. My Facebook bragging rights? Shot to freakin’ hell.

I was watching the US Figure Skating championships a few weeks back, and a young skater named Adam Rippon caught my eye. His free skate gave me chills, much like Johnny and Rudy had back in the day when I rarely missed a men’s skating event.

And then they flashed his score, and it meant nothing to me.

I turned the channel and watched an episode of Chopped instead.

Bbbys

A few years ago my husband and I decided to have lunch together. The area where we work, which is a pedestrian mall, has lots of restaurants, and some of them have outdoor eating areas. We got some food from a place that has a great salad bar, and sat at a table at the outdoor eating patio in front of the store.

About 15 minutes later and older gentleman approaches us and says, “I’m not going to make you move, because you’re pretty much done with your lunch, but this eating area for Baggby’s only.”

Baggby’s being the sandwich shop right next to the place where we bought our salads.

I smiled at him and said in return, “I’m so sorry! I saw the plackard in front of this eating area and thought the seating area belong to the place where we bought our lunch.”

He, in turn said quite nastily, “I don’t care what you thought. There is a sign right there (picture him pointing) that says this eating area is for Baggby’s only.” Then he began to rattle off the money he has to pay each month for the spot, and how it’s not spent for folks who don’t support his business.

I stood up and said, while cleaning up my stuff, “well you don’t have to worry about seeing me here again, because if this is the way you deal with an honest mistake, I’d rather eat out of the garbage can than ever buy anything at your restaurant.”

And I’ve stuck to it. Besides, their sandwiches are expensive and completely average. I’ve made tastier sandwiches using Oscar Mayer lunch meat.

Today at my office they are hosting a lunch and learn. I could’ve had a free lunch courtesy of our guest speaker. But he was ordering from Baggby’s.

I proudly passed and brought lunch from home instead. Because even if I wasn’t paying for it, I didn’t want that asshole making one thin dime from me.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 540 other followers