Thursday, June 13, 2013

Typing Out Loud: The Power of Positive Thinking

I did it: I am signed up and will be taking my adult gold moves in the field test next week Friday. The butterflies have already started to flutter. Why? Because I want this, I want to perform well, I want to test well and pass.

The flip side is the negative thoughts are already creeping in. In order to exorcise those demons, I'm going to just type them out and air them out.

Patterson is so cold, I'm going to get stiff and fail.

I'll get so nervous, I'm going to blow those brackets.

I'm going to embarrass myself.

I'm not a real gold level skater.

I'm going back to the other side. I want to focus on some of the positives heading into this test, and see if I can combat the negatives that are currently making my arms hot.

I'm prepared. I have been working on this test since I passed silver moves three years ago.

I'm ready. I have been working and tweaking those brackets and I have finally got it down.

The judges are proud of me. At a competition this weekend, one judge nodded and said I was ready without seeing me skate. One gushed, "Oh you have arrived! Your gold test is a big deal, good for you!" and another was more concerned about what I would wear than whether I was prepared, which tells me that I must give off the aura of being prepared.

Michelle is nit-picking small things, which is a clear indicator that she is now looking for ways for me to be over-scored.

Past history: Granted, I have failed a moves test once. But I was also sick with a cold and the coach who prepared me for the test was new to moves. Since, I passed silver moves over by 3 to 5 tenths over, and was told my pre-bronze test was one of the best tests - PB or otherwise - he had ever seen.

I can do this.

Visualization. Even as I am typing this, I'm visualizing going through my test, remembering all the little things I need to do and how to do them. Pacing in the power circles. Waiting for the 3s. The push for the figure 8. Sitting on that hip and riding the edge to the bracket, and getting the hip swish.

Confidence. As I was struggling with the brackets, I started saying "confident" in my head before the turn instead of saying " #$%! " Huge difference in how I held myself and how I skated.

I think most of all, I'm going to muster up excitement this next week. I should be excited - this is a GOLD test! I should be eager, I've worked my ass off for this. I should be proud, I've done the work, now it's time to show it off.

I hope this little exercise works.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Why Art Matters: Festival

We had Bosnian, Pakistani, Lebanese, Greek, Australian, Vietnamese and American food.  

One of my favorite festivals of the year is Festival of the Arts the first full weekend in June. It is a three day celebration of arts, be it dance, music, performance, writing, visual, or in the kitchen. In the past, I would go all three days, but with the boy, we were lucky to have a family date last night for a few hours.

We started the night with the band Ejector Seat while enjoying chicken kabobs, pavlova, vegetarian spring rolls and vegetable stir fried noodles. Pavlova is a meringue shell filled with blueberries, strawberries and topped with whipped creme, a favorite of mine since I started going to Festival. Another favorite, the vegetarian noodles were good but NOTHING compared to the spring rolls - delicate wrappers filled with cucumber, carrot, lettuce, mint, tofu and noodles with hoisin dipping sauce.

After a trip through the artist tent and sharing a tandoori chicken tikka, we took a seat at the Calder stage to enjoy a performance by Hark Up Horns. How to describe? According to the site, "gospel favorites with a big band sound." They played a lively mix of religious and secular music, including Route 66 and Dance with Me.

Will started requesting loudly a hot dog, so when they stage was changing for the next performers, off we went in search of booth 6. Six is next to four, so after grabbing Will a hot dog, we scooted over to the Greek booth for a marinated pork sandwich called souvlaki. The line was behaving at the Lebanese booth, so I got a schwarma, a beef and lamb mix served on a pita with lettuce, onion and cucumber sauce.

We made it back to the Calder stage in time to see the Lifehouse Full Life Mass Choir, featuring Rev. Marvin Sapp. Kind of a big deal, the man has won a ton of Grammies in the gospel category. Such amazing musicians. What miraculous vocalists. And Rev. Sapp is truly a charismatic performer, getting the crowd whipped into a peace and love frenzy in the spirit of the Lord. A sharp contrast to the street corner preachers venomously exercising their free speech rights by telling passersby that God hates us because we are sinners.

The line for the rib tip booth was finally short, so while Will got an ambulance tour while Dave got us some rib tips and a smoked turkey leg. We savored the atmosphere as Will told us his new ambition in life was to be an EMT so he can "help people and drive the ambulance... WOOOOOOOOOO!"

Our last adventure was pausing to take in the band Head while Will played backstage with the band's kids and got a handful of candy from the bucket.

It was a family date pleasing to the palate as well as the ears.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June Playlist: Catch That Boogie Rhythm

Stylin' 40s style.
This month's play list has one song on it, the Andrews Sisters "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Why? It's 2013, and at a competition this weekend, I saw not one, not two, but THREE artistic skating programs that used this music and all the skaters were under the age of 18. This song is 72 years old.

The song was written by Don Raye and Hughie Prince for Decca, and the Andrews Sisters debuted it in an Abbott and Costello movie. The legend goes the song was inspired by the story of a jazz musician from Muskegon who was drafted for service during WWII at the age of 38. Older than the typical private, the spunky solider offered his own talent at entertaining the troops and thus became the infamous Bugler of Company B.

Since 1941, the song has become a defining piece of American culture. It is ranked #6 on the list of Songs of the Century and has been remade countless times, the most popular being Bette Midler in 1971.

Defining the song's eternal appeal is a tough one since I am in no way a music expert, I can only comment on what I like. The brass in this song is tight, the rhythm jumps. It's perky, patriotic, and has a certain energy that speaks across generations. I have loved this song since I was a child and the years have not dimmed its joy.