jo skates

Skating in the key of life

My skating island


If you saw the new Pixar movie, Inside Out, you will know that skating produces happy emotions that color significant memories. In the movie, these skating memories are little spheres that give off a beautiful glow; joy is golden.

So looking at all these blog entries reminds me of how this movie depicts our memories: as a massive collection of different experiences, each getting shelf-space in our brains. Every so often the long-term memory shelf gets cleaned out and everything you don’t use goes into a black hole of forgetting.

I must be doing a lot of cleaning these days, because after only nine days off the ice (visiting in-laws on the Oregon coast) I seemed to have forgotten a lot.

The first ten minutes of my back-on-the-ice session today were far from golden. What are these things on my feet? I think I still remember how to do power pulls, at least. But what’s that weird sensation in my legs? Oh, it’s exhaustion. Oh right, that hurts.

Vacations are for emptying one’s brain (one is supposed to vacate, after all) so I was expecting some re-entry issues. In today’s case, it was less physical than mental. My legs were not really that tired (though I definitely don’t use the same muscles for walking on the beach.) No, it was my brain that felt less-than-connected today as I tried to remember basic body positions and edge sequences.

But as I went along, it started coming back to me. Oh yes, those back inside edges, yes, I am still having trouble with those. Yes, I still need to engage my glutes and use those adductors on the left side, or suffer dire consequences. Hey, that’s not a bad swing roll! But what was I supposed to do to steady that inside mohawk?

By the end of today’s session, I had gone through most of the things that I have been working on over the past year, and really, it wasn’t too bad. I guess muscle memory can kick in even when my conscious memory is rather sketchy.

Maybe this is just to teach me that I can just let go of having to think so hard about everything that I’m doing. It’s nice to think that I’ve really internalized some of these skills now.

I will write down my basic list here in case I need to access it (post-50 amnesia definitely has set in). I am hoping that as I write each thing down, it will generate one of those perfect little spheres. It would be nice if I could get the golden glow to happen on each one, but hey, all these emotions have their place.

  1. warmup swizzles and two-foot rockers
  2. chassés, progressives, swing rolls
  3. forward and back inside edges, especially on the left side
  4. power pulls
  5. sequences like chassé, swing roll, change mohawk, hold inside edge, step forward to repeat up the rink, then do it on the other side; backwards crossover, change edge, repeat on other side
  6. three-step mohawk sequences
  7. forward and back cross rolls
  8. Three-turn exercises: European Waltz threes: this one is colored purple (fear) or red (anger), but at least it’s not green (disgust). My creepers are definitely a golden oldie by now; I really enjoy this exercise even though it’s still challenging on the left side.
  9. twizzles (just forward inside entry for now, but these are gold, gold, and more gold!)
  10. brackets

No reason right now for me to move from Minnesota to San Francisco like the characters in the movie do. But if I do, I’ll still have all these lovely little orbs. And they are almost all golden, a few sad blue ones in the right places, and some green, red, and purple just to make life more interesting.

Come, fly with me, Gatinha! Ahhhh. . . .

Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

4 thoughts on “My skating island

  1. Ah yes, the first days of skating after being off ice are always so weird! I also feel like skates are weird alien things tied onto my feet. And then the familiarity of it all comes rushing back… What a great list of things to work on in your warmup!


  2. Thanks, Eva! Nice to be back, though!


  3. Ten days off is long but a good break for your body once in a while. I’m glad things are coming back quickly for you. I’m at almost six weeks off and looks like four more to go: my quads and belly are turning to mush. Wish me luck in September when I get back to the ice.


  4. You are more than halfway, Mary–good for you! I’m sure it feels like eons. I can hear the ice calling to you. But September is almost here. Best wishes for the last month of recovery.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s