What I Did this Summer

September 16, 2008

I’m back. I hope your summer was excellent and that your fall is coming together nicely.

Geeky as it may be, I used to love going back to school in September, mostly because that meant obtaining a new pencil case and also partly because of those What I Did This Summer reports we got to write. Of course, I also adored Show and Tell day, so imagine me reading this report in front of a classroom with the blackboard behind me… 

Let me clear my throat and shift around up here somewhat nervously as I look out at the rest of you folded into your little desks…okay. So this summer, in addition to coaching, I did lots of writing, which involved obscene amounts of java, bleary eyes, and tense typing shoulders (otherwise known as “boulder shoulder” in certain circles.) For better or worse, my skin tone remained utterly unchanged. Rink tan + coffee shop tan = frightening white.

I did stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge once, meander through Central Park once, did enjoy the splendid view from a friend’s rooftop deck (24 floors above the city), watched the sun set once from a NYC bistro on the Hudson River, dined amid two flourishing gardens outside the city, and generally took advantage of as many sidewalk cafes as humanly possible. Mainly though, I tap danced my fingertips across my keyboard.

Recently, instead of telling my friends that I’m writing when they call, I say that I’m at the “office.” Of course, my office is nomadic; it includes a circuit of coffee shops (both in my neighborhood and beyond) and sometimes the desk in my apartment. I like how saying “office” sounds slightly official. I also like how it’s a bit unspecific. What I mean is that if I were to claim that I was writing, that might not literally be the case. I might in fact just be staring at the wall gearing up to write. Or I may be looking at my laptop screen, thinking. Or I may be fidgeting with my fingernails, thinking about gearing up to stare at my screen so I can think about writing. If I say I’m “at the office” this means I’m in the writing space, in the most general sense.

For example, I might answer my phone kind of softly so as to not annoy the fellow coffeeshoppers around me, “Hello?”

“You’re in ‘the office’ aren’t you?” my friend might say.

“Affirmative,” I might say back, cupping my hand over the phone and looking at the person at the table next to me with an apologetic this-won’t-be-long expression on my face.

“Okay,” my friend responds respectfully, but also probably smirking. “I’ll let you get back to work. I don’t want your boss to get mad.”

“Yeah, she’s been a real jerk so far today,” I say, furtively. “Call you later.”

Pretending I have an office and all-powerful writing boss helps me to best utilize the limited hours I’m away from the rink. But here’s the most beautiful thing…and can I get a drumroll for this please?… Here goes: if you put a space between the two syllables of the word office…you get ‘off ice’ and you don’t have to know me well to realize that I find this clever little word play downright delightful. 

So the main thing I worked on when I was off ice this summer was my book, called “Skate at Your own Risk.” Many have kindly requested to see this manuscript and have been denied that pleasure. For that, I apologize, but I believe that “all good things come to those who wait” and “patience is a virtue.” Trust me, the book doesn’t rely on clichés nearly as much as that last sentence might imply. I just want the thing to be fully cooked before I serve it up. Some of you have seen some snippets and others, if you’ve been reading this blog, have gotten a taste without even realizing it.

To “show” the other things I worked on this summer, I present the following three links:  

The first is an article about Tommy Litz for icenetwork describing his exciting foray into “phototivity.” I love to see how this sport can inform other areas of our lives and Tommy is making very cool connections between figure skating and art.  To read, click here.

The second is another article for icenetwork about the venerable Wayne Seybold – he is now the mayor of Marion, Indiana. My brother and I trained alongside him and his sister, Natalie, when we first arrived in Delaware as teenagers. The Seybolds were a huge inspiration to us back then so I was thrilled to interview him about all he’s gone on to accomplish since competing in the Olympics. To read, click here.

Finally, I am excited to announce that I have become a staff blogger for a website called Uppereast.com (because there just wasn’t enough blogging in my life already.) It’s called the Upper East Side Informer. This means I go around and review different businesses and events in this quadrant of New York City. Basically, it’s a matter of enlisting my friends to join me in eating, drinking, and gallivanting through the neighborhood, while I take notes along the way. By the way, from here on, if you’d like to refer to me as the The Informer (as a few people in my life have sarcastically begun to do), you are welcome to do so. To read, click here.

Enjoy, and check back next Tuesday. For the months ahead, I’ve got lots of funny lined up, reviews of skating products and books, interviews, and even some “hard-hitting” journalism (note quotation marks).

If you send this link on to others who might appreciate it, I’ll be forever grateful. And I can aim that gratitude more specifically in your direction if you leave a comment telling me you did so…okay, or just telling me anything at all.

Thanks to everyone who weighed in a few months ago on their favorite installments and who made suggestions for future ones. It’s good to be back!  

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12 Responses to “What I Did this Summer”

  1. Aaron Says:

    Brilliant! If I was gonna go another week without my dose of Current Skate of Mind I might not make it!

  2. Henner Says:

    Okay, so New York City Informer and Skating Informer. Got it. Just trying to keep up.

  3. Strats Says:

    Right on!! Sounds like a great summer, but so glad you are back here keeping us in the loop.

    office/off ice…excellent.

  4. J. walker Says:

    Glad you’re back. I enjoyed hearing about your summer. No sunburn in those off-ice places but maybe lots of good work. Thanks for making us smile or laugh.

  5. RWT Says:

    Wow, you are such a slacker. Kidding!

  6. DVJ Says:

    So happy to have the blog back!I cant wait to read your book.

  7. happyplum Says:

    You’re just like Carrie Bradshaw. Am impressed with all that you are doing. And your off ice / office wordplay is quite clever.

  8. Julie Says:

    So glad you’re back.

  9. BA Says:

    Glad to see the blog back. Have been enjoying the Informer as of late. I will pass this blog onto a friend I think may enjoy it as we all do. Excited for the Fall season ahead with the crisp air, colorful leaves, competition season beginning, and lots of bloggin’!

  10. Porgy Says:

    Your populace awaits.

  11. Martina Says:

    Welcome back double informer! You were sorely missed.

    Off-ice, you kill me:-)

  12. tina mclean Says:

    Loved reading this…will forward you website to others in the neighborhood. Off-ice ~ clever, indeed!

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