Back camel spin: Uhhhhhhh apparently this is now a thing? Kind of? I've been working on it for a week and somehow it's further along than the back scratch spin I've been working on for almost three years. Okay. I'll take it!
Broken leg spin: I adjusted the arms and in the process lost some of the knee bend, but on the plus side, I no longer look like I really have to pee, which is what I was going for. Yay!
Loop jump: BF spent almost an entire lesson on them with me a couple weeks ago and I'm much closer than I've ever been before. I think I'm two-footing the landing as a security blanket rather than because my weight isn't over the right side.
Back inside three turns: I can finally do these! Mostly! I can do the Silver moves pattern (forward outside three to back inside three) without any touch downs when the back turn is on the right foot. I can do the turn and get back to the axis without too much wobbling. The left back turn is...going to require work.
Other footwork: I have a consistent double twizzle on the left back inside edge, although the second one goes up to the toe. It's to the point where I'm trying pretty arms with it, anyway. Brackets, counters, and rockers are all pretty much where they were, maybe a bit cleaner. P taught me this thigh-burner of a rocker exercise that goes back outside (or inside) rocker, power pull, forward inside (or outside) rocker, power pull, repeat, all on one leg. I can do the rockers on one foot but have to put the free foot down to do the power pull part, probably because I still suck at checking exits to turns. I experimented with adding some extra footwork to my program, because I'm finishing a bit early now, but I think I need P to tell me what is actually accomplishable.
I also eliminated the entrance to my nascent back scratch spin entirely and actually got a revolution or two in the right place on the blade, with my weight over my right side. BF has done away with the inside three turn everyone uses to start a back spin and is having me enter it from...the closest I can describe it is kind of a mutated Ina Bauer. Just keep curling around on the right foot, dragging the left foot, and the circle gets smaller and smaller until it turns into a spin. In theory. It works better than the three turn entrance, anyway.
Getting my weight over to the right may have helped a little bit with the loop jump, although I'm still too scared to really pick my left foot up and cross it in front while I jump because you cannot save yourself in that position if something goes wrong. I like having an exit strategy. Except my exit strategy leads to me always landing it on two feet, which is not really the goal. Ugh.
Arthritis: On Monday night, ever so briefly, I thought the Enbrel might be working, because usually I'm 100 mg of tramadol in by 6 PM and I actually managed to make it all the way to bed without needing any (I had taken some that morning). Alas, it was short-lived and Tuesday was kind of hellish. But it was close enough to when I take my shot (Sunday afternoons) that I'm somewhat hopeful it's related to the medication, and as it continues to build up in my system I might experience longer and longer periods of not hurting.
I finally made an orthopedics appointment for the hip bursitis(?) that's been going on for at least six weeks now. It's been low-level annoying for long enough that I want professional help, even if the professional can't do much. Although apparently they can just remove the inflamed bursa in an outpatient procedure if steroid shots and physical therapy fail, so there's that.
Apartment: I now have 15 plants in various containers, not counting some hibernating bulbs, mostly in front of my huge western exposure living room window. I may need an intervention. But they love that window so. My purple waffle started as basically half the size of my hand, and within six weeks was bigger than my head. It's still growing. And it bloomed! So did two succulents. Adorable pink flowers. And my not-an-aloe-but-looks-like one made a baby once I repotted it. And I added a table to my screened-in porch, which has been very nice since the weather warmed up.
...Yeah, put that way it sounds pretty impossible to me too, but BF did it today and even I got to the "jumping straight into the air" part, so it seems it can be done.
I also learned yet another entrance into a back scratch spin. I think we may be into the teens by now. We'll see if it works. We're teaming it with a couple of exercises to get my weight over my right side, because it just doesn't want to be over there.
Either the Humira was actually doing something that Enbrel isn't, or I'm having the world's longest, lowest-key flare. Bleh. Tired. Bed now.
I think I found next year's program music: this most excellent rendition of "Down by the Salley Gardens" (well, more specifically the part from 1:39 to 3:24, ending with that lovely variation on "and now am full of tears").
Or I may possibly end up doing it as a Dramatic Showcase piece? To be honest, I don't really get the difference between freeskate and showcase; especially at the Pre-Bronze level, where the music is the same length and you just get one fewer jump in showcase. I guess the judging is supposed to be more predicated on choreography and emoting? Except we still use 6.0 judging at my level, so it hardly matters. But basically it sounds like you get to do two programs instead of just one, so that would be fun.
So I'm going to try the one a day plan for a couple of weeks and see what happens. Chandra's coming to visit at the beginning of next month, so I can also pre-medicate with three a day for the increased activity and hopefully prevent another flare.
I've also switched from Humira to Enbrel, since the Humira did nothing. The downside to Enbrel is that you have to inject yourself once a week rather than every other week. But hey, maybe it'll work!
Skating: I had BF take a bit off the toe picks when he sharpened them this time, and it was definitely the right choice. I was getting really scrapey after the last sharpening, and now I'm not. Spins are faster, too, since I'm no longer dragging on the bottom of the pick quite so much. Salchow and waltz jumps were hard to get used to at first--there's more to roll forward on now before hitting the pick--but I think I've gotten them back to normal.
P started teaching me the horribly named but very pretty broken leg spin. At the moment, mine looks nothing like that; it looks more like I really, really need to pee. However, I think it will get better. I'm hoping it will also serve the purpose of training me to quit turning my free foot out so much in spins and eventually jumps, because that's really all that's holding my loop jump back now.
Speaking of which, we tried having me go into loops and flips with a shallower three turn, and it certainly improved things. Still can't land either of them on one foot, but nevertheless, I persist.
Other: This week has had some great weather for sitting out on my screened-in porch. I now have a table on which I can put my laptop and/or a meal, which is quite excellent. I sat out there yesterday and sewed up the too-big armholes on a new dress, and read this morning. Good times.
This means I came in last out of the four of us, but I was expecting that as I knew at least two of the three had more difficult jumps than I do. Oh, well. (One of the five judges had me third, which was heartening.) I was uncontested in the compulsory moves event, which was fun to prepare for because the compulsory moves this year were all things I enjoy and am good at, but was over so quickly that I don't know if I'll do it again in August.
I bought the professional action shots a photo company was making of everyone, so here are some selected photos.
I don't think I'll be trying to do an out of town work conference and a skating competition in the same week again, though. That was very stressful and tiring. (And, unfortunately, this conference next year is going to be Thursday-Saturday instead of Wednesday-Friday, so I really couldn't do both. I'm hoping we'll get a budget from NIH someday soon--thanks, Trump!--and will get to hire someone, and that person can go next year, but I should probably be thinking about a poster I can present, since they have a section for training and educational support posters, and that would get me closer to the quasi-faculty position my boss and I want me to move into someday.)
In fact, it was so stressful that I'm pretty sure it's set off another arthritis flare. I have a previously-scheduled rheumatologist appointment tomorrow, though, so at least relief is in the near future.
Skating: BF and P are both very happy with my program for Skate Nashville next weekend, as am I. Unfortunately, my flight back from a work conference in DC lands a nervewracking four hours before my first event (compulsory moves; freeskate program is the next day). If all goes as planned I should be fine because it's 10 minutes from the airport to my parents to eat and pick up skates I will have left there, then thirty minutes to the rink, but please cross your fingers the plane doesn't get delayed.
And then after the competition I'm going to get my skates sharpened, because dear god do they need it.
Arthritis: Currently playing another round of "is it arthritis or something fixable?" with new foot and ankle pain. The timing is suspicious, because this started right around the time I noticed my skates were breaking down. But while Achilles tendonitis from that makes sense (and was partially alleviated by adding yet more moleskin to the heels), second toe pain does not. It seems to also be tendonitis-like, and I suppose the real cause could be somewhere further up the foot or ankle where the broken-downness of my skates would affect things and referring to the toes, but it's also kind of stiff and arthritis-y, so...I dunno. I see the rheumatologist the Monday after my competition, so I'm hoping to limp along until then.
Also I want to get off Humira and onto Xeljanz, because it's a daily pill instead of a biweekly injection and short-term studies have shown significant AS improvement for a large chunk of the study populations, so plz to sign me up! (Come on, insurance, cover this one!)
BF said that the way my feet are shaped, ain't no stock boot ever going to fit them and the lacing accommodations I do to make these workable are breaking them down faster, so if I want to not be doing this again in two years or less--not to mention have less pain than I do now--customs are my only choice. Customs, of course, being in the $800+ range, more if a brand/style changes changes what size blade I take and I can't move my current ones.
On the other hand, these are going to become unsafe to skate in within 4-6 months, so I don't have much choice, at least if I want to continue skating. Apparently the head of SP Teri is going to be at the coaching conference in Nashville in May, so I'll make an appointment and see what they can do for me. Arrrrggghhh.
(This is the one I've been working on since I was preparing to test Pre-Bronze. It's been my little coping mechanism through three Moves tests now.)
Playing by the Rules (7405 words) by icepixie
Fandom: The Cutting Edge (1992)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Douglas Dorsey, Kate Moseley, Anton Pamchenko
Additional Tags: Ice Skating
Before Kate and Doug get anywhere near Nationals, Doug has to qualify by passing the US Figure Skating Association's many skating skills tests. It's a bumpy road for both of them.
"I can do crossovers in my sleep. Why the hell do I need to take a test on them?"
"Is just formality," Anton said from the side of the ice. "You have to qualify to compete."
"Who came up with that?"
"Someone very smart, I would think," Kate said loftily. "After all, without the tests, just anybody could walk on the ice and make a fool of themselves at competitions."
Yesterday I was back to or even a bit above my normal, which is maybe 80% of regular-people normal. You reduce the amount of medication each day, so today my back and hips are muttering angrily, but no more than usual, and the rest of my body is happy. My joints bend, I can get out of bed without tools, and I have energy again, so I can do things like my taxes and grocery shopping and holy cow, I even cooked something that required real preparation and a heat source other than a microwave today!
My tax refund came to within $10 of the Skate Nashville entry fee, which was a pleasant surprise. I guess last year wasn't a fluke and despite choosing to withhold as little as possible because I would prefer I earn the interest on my wages rather than the IRS, tax law and my current salary will combine to give me about $150 in the spring. Sweet.
Speaking of skating, P and I ended up ditching all of the possible music choices in my poll and going with the October Sky soundtrack. The music is technically 5 seconds too long for Pre-Bronze, but they don't start timing until you start moving, and they stop when you stop moving, so as long as I don't start right away and end a bit early, it's all good. We started working on it yesterday and laid out the majority of the choreography, though it's still a work in progress. The structure is fairly similar to the Amelie program, but different enough to be interesting. It has a left forward inside three turn in the footwork sequence, which is my bad side on forward inside threes, so I'm hoping it will make me actually work on it so it doesn't look so inferior to the right forward inside three when I do it as part of my Silver Moves test. Plus I think I can get this cool move I came up with to look good in six weeks. It's a forward inside spiral, change of edge to...it doesn't have a name, but I'm upright and on an outside edge with my arms doing interesting things and my free foot crossed in front.
For some reason, this competition wants even Pre-Bronze competitors to fill out the IJS planned program content form (not actually needed for low-level events like mine!), but they don't allow you to include waltz jumps, half-flips, or half-loops, which...make up most of the jumps in my program. So it looks like I only have two planned jumping passes when I actually have four. I guess that's okay. I'll probably be the only competitor in this division again anyway, so I can't imagine it matters.
I'm also doing Adult Bronze Compulsory Moves, which this year include only things I'm good at and none of the things I'm bad at! You get a minute and fifteen seconds with no music to do a waltz jump-toe loop combination, a salchow, a sit spin (my best spin!), and a spiral sequence of at least two spirals (my spirals are pretty darn good for an adult).
Other skating things: Flist, it is time for you to help me choose music again. I'm planning to compete in the competition put on by the rival skating club in town in late April. I could just use the Amelie music again, since I'll be competing in the same division, but I had fun choreographing with P and kind of want to do it again. Here are the other options.
He has also started me doing waltz jumps, toe loops, and salchows on patterns, oh dear god. This means speed. I do not like jumps at speed. He's all, "You're fine, just go faster and jump higher!" and the words "But I like my bones in one piece!" actually came out of my mouth. At 32 very quickly going on 33, landing on ice on a 4 mm-thick piece of steel, I feel like this is a valid concern.
I have a lesson with P tomorrow, so hopefully she can clean up my new spin technique. Or at least commiserate, because when she started taking lessons from BF a couple of years ago he completely redid her technique on everything as well, and she went through the same disintegration/reintegration process.
On the bright side, I'm occasionally managing double back inside twizzles, which is pretty cool.
Humira: I had a miserable weekend where I couldn't go on after about 90 minutes of shopping (admittedly, this was after I spent $50 on Christmas tree ornaments, so maybe this was a blessing in disguise), then Monday and Tuesday were much better than usual. Today, eh, back to normal. I just took my third shot, so I'm starting week five. Eight more weeks before we can declare it a success or a failure. One of the common side effects is a sore throat, and unfortunately it's one I've got. About three times a week, I feel like I'm in the beginning stages of a cold, but the cold never shows up. Better than three colds a week, I suppose.
Fandom: I finally started on my Yuletide fic last weekend. Well, the one I think I'm actually going to finish, as opposed to the two false starts. 125 words. Onward...
My back spin lesson with BF last week was good. He said I was trying to go immediately from step one to step four in a four-step spin, so we're breaking it down into micro parts. As in, we started on the wall. Then we went to just trying to spin on the right foot with the left leg turned out(!). Maybe I'll get this spin yet.
Humira: Eh. I haven't noticed any difference yet. Maybe I get a third or fourth hour of negligible pain in the first half of the day, some days, but it's still within the usual variation of the last year. The second dose is on Wednesday. *crosses fingers* Today was a lovely day it would've been nice to get out and walk around in, but my thought process for some time has been, "Do I hurt? I'm not walking anywhere. Do I not hurt? Better not walk around or I'll start hurting." It would be nice to break out of that someday.
Music: Meet my new favorite contemporary composer, Norwegian Ola Gjeilo. He composes for choir, piano, and strings. I've currently got his setting of "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" on repeat, but the entire album it comes from is fantastic.
Yuletide: BEARS. I know what I want to write but am having trouble getting words on the page.
Skating: Right back inside three turns: UNLOCKED! (Let us not speak of left back inside three turns.) I'm getting more revolutions in forward camel spins, sometimes up to four, and getting better at sitting lower in camel-sit spins. Layback spins exist for a couple of revolutions, albeit I don't know that I'll ever be brave enough to really arch my back and lean my head back.
( Video )
I asked BF for a lesson on back spins and loop jumps this week, which should be exciting. P and J the elder both say he'll have great tricks to get me to actually do not-awful versions of these elements.
TV: It's been aaaages since I watched any television. Since Agent Carter finished in March, I think it was. I guess The Librarians is coming back next month, but other than that I got bupkis. Is there anything worth watching on these days? I haven't kept up. Since fandom left LJ/DW and I didn't really follow to Tumblr or Imzy, I've been out of the loop.
On the bright side: I have a lot of drugs for that.
I think also have to eat some crow. Three days into the prednisone, and my lower back/sacroiliac pain is GONE. I walked my dog around the block today without back pain for the first time in over two years.
I guess this means I need to admit I have ankylosing spondylitis and should start the Humira. I'm glad I at least know turning off part of my immune system should help, rather than winging it on a hope and a prayer. And it'll be nice not to be in constant pain, assuming the Humira works as well as prednisone.
(Bad side: The steroids did nothing for all of my other joints, including elbows, fingers, thumbs, knees, ankles, and toes. But the back pain is 70% of my daily pain, so I guess that's okay. And perhaps the Cymbalta will take care of the other joints in time.)
Anyway, after a week of reminding myself to use my butt and abs, I've got about a half revolution more on a back scratch and a back sit spin. Spin doctor and I have another lesson a week from Monday to work more on this.
Speaking of spins, my layback spin has gotten much better in the last couple of weeks. I have the leg and hip position down; now I just need to face my fear and lean back. (The minute I look up and see the ceiling, my body just goes "NOPE" and the spin stops.) I'm also getting lower and more revolutions in the pancake and tuck spins I posted a couple of weeks ago.
P taught me to do a waltz jump-half loop-salchow jump combination last week, and this week I actually landed a few. They are itty-bitty, because it's frankly a massively awkward combination. You have to land the waltz jump with your free leg forward, which is a thoroughly bizarre feeling and quite difficult. This is so you're set up for the half loop, which takes off like a loop and requires your free foot in front. Then you land the half loop on your non-landing foot and immediately wrench yourself around into a salchow off that foot. It's not a jump combo I would've come up with, let's say. On the other hand, working to get it better should improve my control over all my jumps.
(I know, I know, kyriacarlisle is probably the only one who understands what I'm babbling about, but trust me, it was impressive.)
He asked us if we could do back outside three turns, to which three of the four of us nodded somewhat cautiously while the fourth was more confident. Then he said he wanted big, fast back crossovers around the middle circle into a back three, to which I at least went AHAHAHAHA YOU MUST BE JOKING and proceeded to do them on two feet. Again, when demonstrating, he had such a deep back outside edge that I thought he was going to fall over. I know he probably wasn't at a 45-degree angle to the ice, but it sure looked like it.
On the bad side...dude is very touchy-feely. P has touched me three, maybe four times in the two years I've been with her, only with fingertips to reposition an arm or shoulder, and that works for both of us. We did an alternating forward outside three turn exercise as part of this class, and every. single. time. I turned he grabbed my arm with both hands to make sure I checked out enough. I would've done better without that, as it startled me so badly every time that I was mostly trying to keep from falling over rather than working to control the edge on my own. If the class in September isn't big enough for me to hide at the back and that happens again, we will need to have Words.
(Part of my annoyance with touchy-feely group class coaches is that while there are plenty of skills I definitely can't do yet and need help with, a lot of the time I can do the thing, it just takes me a few tries to figure out which leg I'm supposed to be on at what time and things like that. Left and right side differentiation is not something that comes naturally to me. So if they just give me a minute to figure it out rather than immediately manhandling me, I am much happier and learn better. This is why I prefer edges instruction one-on-one to group classes; then I have more time to figure it out and can get P or whoever to just tell me which arm or leg I need to be moving at the right time.)
I booked a lesson with our local spins specialist to try and get a real back spin happening. P and I are at our collective wits' end and figured another perspective might help. The bad part is that it's at 6:45 on Monday morning ohgod. I hope it fixes my problems. T is an amazing spinner and I've seen her work miracles with other people.