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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Skating Update...a Bit of Good News

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Skating Update...a Bit of Good News

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So. Skating.

I made the post two weeks ago that our rink had been sold to Baltimore County for conversion into an indoor sports arena. This Wednesday, I had my last lesson and my last skate at Putty Hill Skateland.

But....

The county failed to show up for settlement.

Ms. Jackie came into the rink on Wednesday and said to the manager, "This is it, I guess," and he said, "Well...not quite...."

Since the county didn't show up, no one knows whether the rink is sold or not. Naturally, we will be informed as soon as a definite decision is reached, but for the moment, we're hanging in a sort of limbo. But I am not complaining. Any chance that we can keep our rink--even based on a technicality--is great news. I'm not lifting my hopes too much, but at least I got to enjoy what might be my last skate without complete sadness in my heart. There was a lot of hope too.

Wednesday was a special class on toe spins. Normally, when a person spins on rollerskates, s/he stays on all four wheels but concentrates most of the weight to a single point to get a tight revolution. For most of the spins that we do, we put our weight on the front-inside wheel of our left foot, and the heel then pivots around that point, but all four wheels stay in contact with the floor.

For toe spins, a skater lifts up onto just her front wheels. A tenuous balance between the front wheels and the toe stop is ideal. Toe spins allow a lot more speed and also some pretty creative positioning that simply isn't possible when spinning on an edge.

For years, I have been averse to toe spins simply because the temptation to go on one's toe (as it is easier than to spin on an edge) tends to spoil skaters. I do all of my spins--even my blur spins--on an edge. Well, I decided the other week that after fourteen years, I think it's safe to say that I am a decent edge spinner, so I'm ready to learn toe spins.

Ms. Jackie brought in a special guest teacher to work with us on our toe spins. They still feel awkward, but since I've never really done them before, I'm not really worried about that.

The class prior had been a special class on stretching and holds, which had opened up a can of worms for my poor abused hip, which rebelled after a weekend of subsequently strenuous activity. It still hurts on occasion, but it has been hurting since the spring, so that's not a big deal. Normally, I might not even have skated on Wednesday, but my last chance on my big, beautiful floor? To hell with that hip; I'll limp for a week if I have to!

I finally understood how athletes can play with injuries. My hip did hurt for much of the evening, but I skated anyway, and I wanted to skate so badly that the pain was secondary. I even did held-knee spirals again, which I suspect are what tugged it out of shape in the first place. The Rollergirls didn't have practice after us, so Ms. Jackie let us linger, and we spent about fifteen minutes just free skating. There is something special about an open floor and a loud, upbeat song that makes me feel like I am flying. Will that be the last time I will feel that? Maybe, but I hope not....

For my Possible Last Act at Skateland Putty Hill, I spiralled around the back corner. For some reason, no one skates back there, and it has always been my favorite place to spiral. And during public sessions, it's funny to watch the heads turn. Spirals are impressive (and probably my best and favorite skill).

After that, I left the floor and took off my skates.

But...there is hope.

I have thought a lot about losing our rink, and the more I think on it, the madder I get. At first, I thought, "Well, at least it will make other kids happy like it made me." But no. Because they are cutting our programs--the freestyle program (Freestyle Fanatics) and the rollerderby program (the Charm City Rollergirls)--for programs that already exist in multitudes all over the area. There are plenty of indoor soccer/lacrosse facilities in the Baltimore area. This is one of the last skating rinks, and the only one--so far as I know--to offer freestyle and rollerderby.

So what they are saying: our programs are not as important as other programs.

Well I know that rollerskating is hardly the sport du jour. Indoor soccer and lacrosse, on the other hand, are. However, I spent the first ten years of my life thinking myself pathetic and inferior to other kids because I wasn't any good at softball and basketball and lacrosse and my PE teacher never bothered to find out what I was good at. Ms. Jackie took the time with me to figure that out, to encourage me where no one else had, and I honestly credit her to a significant extent for my ability to find self-confidence. Now, Ms. Jackie has at least two dozen beginning skaters in her program; White Marsh enrolls another two dozen every year. Some of them--like me--will skate until they are in college. Even longer. So there is interest among kids like I was, who don't think that standing in a field and waiting for a ball to come to them is fun or rewarding--who might otherwise never give themselves a chance--but our programs are not as important apparently.

Bobby is righteously angry on my behalf too. But he is a hockey player, so he knows how it feels. Youth hockey programs get cut all of the time too.

And he also brought up the issue that Skateland has always been good for the community. I went to a few public sessions on Friday and Saturday nights, but no more. The place is packed, mostly with teenagers. Teenagers who are rollerskating and drinking Cokes and doing the cha-cha slide instead of...what? Loitering at the mall? Drinking beer? Doing drugs?

We're hoping that maybe the county took this under advisement and decided to direct their interest elsewhere. It's not like Skateland is a foundering establishment; quite the opposite! There always has and continues to be great community interest in using the facility.

I am admittedly biased, but it seems a pity to have a place where the public can go for safe, supervised, and fun physical activity for a $3 admission and take that away.

Meanwhile, in other news, there's a hurricane a'comin'!

Well, it's a tropical storm, but it sounds funny to say, "There's a tropical storm a'comin'!" and slightly anticlimactic.

To those of you not on top of American weather (which is me, 99% of the time, and I freakin' live here), Tropical Storm Ernesto is marching up the east coast and has Maryland right in his sights.

Well, as I told Bobby, it's not the first tropical storm we've lived through and it certainly won't be the last. Tropical Storm Floyd arrived precisely on my eighteenth birthday, tore the state to pieces, left my family without power (and water too, since we lived in the boondocks and got our water from a well) for eight days. Personally, I think it was a portent of things to come: Dawn turns eighteen with the legal power of an adult, and one of the worst storms in decades ravages the state. Perhaps it's Mother Nature's way of shouting, "Look out, here she comes!" Funnily enough, there was a possibility of a tropical storm to arrive also on my 21st birthday too, but no luck on that one.

They are predicting five to ten inches of rain for us. (That's about 12 to 25 cm for you sensible Metrically-inclined folks.) The path takes the storm through the center of the state rather than up the coast, which is good for Ocean City, which was formed by a hurricane and often predicted will die by one. It's not so good for historic Ellicott City, which is at the mercy of the Angry Patapsco, but ten inches shouldn't cause the river to overflow its banks. I think we got at least that earlier this summer on the crazy weekend when we returned from Puerto Rico.

I'm hoping not to lose power. If I lose power, I lose Internet. Oh the travesty.... But if you don't hear for me for a while, chalk it up to having my technologial luxuries temporarily out of commission thanks to Ernesto.
  • Ai! The hurricane... OK, tropical storm business sounds scary and I'm going to be worried for you now. I hope it doesn't hit you so hard, with floods, water and electricity failures. I have no idea what a storm like that can be like. Over here, while we do get some nasty weather and some pretty freezing winters from time to time, nature is hardly that violent and I live in the center of an area (Transylvania)that is sheltered from all sides by mountains. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you and looking forward to hearing from you whenever possible, to know that you and Bobby are all right.

    Just the other day I was talking to one of my co-workers about nasty weather and she found it really weird to hear me saying: "I would rather run outside and face a storm, feel the wind, watch and hear the lightning and thunder... even wait for a tornado to come closer. I'd probably be struck down or swept away before fear would kick in and overtake the fascination and the awe inspired by nature's raging forces." Admittedly, I may not have said it in such a poetic form, but it is true. I'm not afraid by bad weather, but fascinated by it. Even when it's deadly.

    The news about the skating rink does leave some room for hope and I'm crossing my fingers for that, as well. I'd be just as pissed off as you if I were in your... skates. ;)And I also understand why it is important to encourage all sports, to create and maintain facilities for all of them, not just the popular ones. I was never good at any team game in school. I only loved basketball (I'm horribly short for it), but every time I played, it was me against one, two or three classmates. I would have loved to skate if there had been a skating rink in my little town. As it is, I was only interested in swimming, probably because it's just me and the water.

    You hang in there until the storm passes and I bet there are a lot of brave Elves (having faced the raging North Seas and the Helcaraxe) there with you, to keep you safe. *hugs*
    • No worries about me! :) I live at high ground, so I should be okay. Tropical storms aren't too bad; not like the hurricanes we had in the south last year. They generally knock over a lot of trees and powerlines and low-lying areas get flooded, but all is normal again in a few weeks.

      It's really just like a normal rainstorm but with lots, lots more wind. Honestly, the scariest thing about it is looking outside and seeing really big trees bending like they're made of rubber. Losing power sucks but can be kind of like an adventure too. When we were without power for eight days, our next-door neighbor got back her power after about three, and she let us run a cord to her house so we had one lamp, a toaster oven, and a television. My dad sure had his priorities straight! Since we didn't have flush toilets (because the well ran with a pump which ran on electricity, so the tank wouldn't fill again after being flushed), we ran a hose from the pool, through basement window, and filled the toilet with that so that we could flush. Innovation at its best! :^D

      I'm with you when it comes to weather. Bobby was reading a while ago about how there are storm-chasing vacations that one can take in the midwest during tornado season. Both our eyes got this devious shine.... We would both do that, but we are the ones who are also talking about shark-diving, including a cage dive with great whites. We both have a devout respect--but no fear--of nature. Thunderstorms fascinate me. :)

      The Elves are plum tuckered out at the moment (sorry, that's my Alabama roots coming out there!) because Feanor and I just finished Jenni's story yesterday. Whew. My Midhavens Elves have been rustling about a lot, though....

      And *hugs back* I hope I'll be in touch all weekend, but if I disappear, I didn't want anyone to worry!
  • Apparently there's a rollerskating rink somewhere around here. So when you come to visit we can hike *and* skate! (Well, you can skate and I'll tip toe around trying not to fall on my ass.)

    And yes, hockey got no respect from my school at least, either. It was like "Oh, btw, the hockey team won the state championships last weekend. Anyways..." Which is sad, hockey is my favorite "conventional" sport.

    I hope you do not lose power! That would suck. :(
    • We lucked out! Some 50,000 Marylanders lost power, but not us.

      You say hockey around here, and people say, "What?" Bobby has to order his equipment online because we have exactly one shop that sells hockey equipment. And when recreation funding is cut, guess where they go first?

      Hockey is my second favorite sport after football. And I hate the NFL--not the game but the organization. So I end up watching hockey the most! :^P

      (Do you support the Avalanche, the Stars, on someone else entirely? I'm Caps all the way...especially Alex Ovechkin! :^D)
      • Our only weather craziness was when it was in the 40's ayer when my roommate and I left for Denver. O.o

        Stars, yeah baby!!! Wooooooohoo!!!!!! My presence at games makes them win. ;)
  • Well I know that rollerskating is hardly the sport du jour. Indoor soccer and lacrosse, on the other hand, are.

    Indoor soccer? Am I reading that correctly? I had no idea you guys had that over there. My dad played that for years and I have fond memories of it.

    But I am not getting it eithe Dawn. Any form of physical activity outdoors is preferred over kids sitting behind their xbox ect ect right? Not that there is anything wrong with a good session of gaming though...

    I'm hoping not to lose power. If I lose power, I lose Internet. Oh the travesty.... But if you don't hear for me for a while, chalk it up to having my technologial luxuries temporarily out of commission thanks to Ernesto.

    Poor fish and poor you. I think you will be happy with a paper notebook, candles and a pen.. but those fella's need the light and stuff. Stay safe!
    • Indoor soccer? Am I reading that correctly? I had no idea you guys had that over there.

      Yes we do! Though over here, it is more of a sport for kids than anything that adults play. Well, soccer is not a popular sport over here for adults at all, but most adults who do play soccer play outdoors.

      Any form of physical activity outdoors is preferred over kids sitting behind their xbox ect ect right? Not that there is anything wrong with a good session of gaming though...

      Exactly! And I think that offering a variety of sports helps all kids find something to do, even weirdos like me who hate playing basketball and softball. :^P

      And gaming...yes! Funnily enough, for the longest time, my boss thought that D&D games involved me chasing the other players around the apartment with tinfoil swords. :^P

      Poor fish and poor you. I think you will be happy with a paper notebook, candles and a pen.. but those fella's need the light and stuff. Stay safe!

      We were very lucky: the power didn't even blink! The worst part about it is that it got cold, and I had to break out the wooly socks...in September?

      The fishies are very happy at the moment: They're eating. :^D
  • Here's hoping Erenesto proves to be a wimp when he makes landfall! *crosses fingers*
    • We were lucky. We have one tree down in the neighboorhood, and part of the street flooded and had to be closed. We had a lot of rain, which we needed anyway, and that was about it. I'm not complaining! :)
  • I have a friend over in Frederick who is sooooo excited about the hurricane. He just moved back from living in Phoenix for a couple years, so any rain gets him all worked up. Meh, the alpacas next door get him all worked up, they're a continual fascination for him.

    Hmmmm, I think my brother works in Frederick too; one of those long-commuting jobs while the family stays here. It's a new job so I don't feel too bad that I don't know any more. If only I could figure out what he does. The sad part is that it is roughly in the same area as me.

    Hockey is being cut? Infidels! That doesn't happen in MN, where it is part of the birthright. I hear it's the same in the New England states.
    • Frederick is about a forty-minute drive from us. It's a small world!

      I have a friend over in Frederick who is sooooo excited about the hurricane.

      Lol, he moved to a good place! We get tropical storms every few years here but they rarely do much damage. *knocks wood* I'm guessing that he's going to be very excited over the snow too!

      Hockey is being cut? Infidels! That doesn't happen in MN, where it is part of the birthright. I hear it's the same in the New England states.

      Hockey gets no respect in Maryland. Some NHL teams sell out every night...the Caps get such poor attendance that they are selling seats for $5 a piece. (That's good for us, though, because traveling to DC is not a cheap affair!) We have one store that sells hockey equipment; Bobby orders most of his stuff online.

      It's funny because more than half of the guys (and girls) he plays hockey with are from somewhere north of us: Canada or New England, mostly. It's hard to find a Maryland-born hockey player.
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