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Posted By SkatingPj

A friend wrote to tell me that tonight is a blue moon. The kind of full moon that occurs twice in a month; rather than the customary once. In other words: an anomaly.

What makes this blue moon so unusual is that is also New Year’s Eve and the close of one of most trying years in the life of my family. So many things to be grateful for and yet so many reasons to wish that this year would come to a close.

My mother, Grace Elliott started saying a year ago that she wasn’t well. In her words “I think I am in trouble again.” At this point a year ago, she had already faced cancer in the eye six times over the previous  21 years and insisted that she “wasn’t well”. It was ultimately discovered after lots of testing for vague sounding complaints that she had ovarian cancer and would require some pretty hard core treatments including 6 chemotherapy sessions and surgery that would include a hysterectomy and some intensive de-bulking.

Every time there would be some new wrinkle and she would ask her surgeon/oncologist (I like to think of him as Marcus the Magician): “will this hurt?” He would always laugh and say “Are you kidding? After all that you have been through with your prior surgeries, there is nothing that could be as painful/difficult or whatever.” 

I’m here to tell you that none of it has been exactly a walk in the park but also not as bad as it could have been.

We spent the better part of today in the chemo unit at Princess Margaret Hospital in chemo daycare where my Mom received her final treatment.    We always do a couple of things just for fun. I always get her a Tim’s coffee with 3 milk and double sweetener, catch her up on what I’ve been doing (like Bolzano) and what’s new in skating. We silently play scratch tickets (her favourites are the crosswords) and with the winnings, I go to the gift shop and buy new ones.

Two things, aside from the blue moon, make today memorable:

The first: Grace got to ring the bell; the great big brass one by the door on the way out of the unit that signals a person's victory in their currrent battle and hopefully their war against cancer. She rang that damn bell so hard that she pulled off the rope. 

As many nurses as are around witness this for every patient and it is quite moving in its’ own way. I took pictures of them, they took pictures of us and I cried.

The second:  She found a lucky penny on the way out in the waiting room. Lucky pennies have their own place in our family history, but those stories are for another day.

Wherever you are and whatever your battles, I hope that the last day of 2009 is where you get to ring your bell too.

Here’s to a great 2010!


 
Posted By SkatingPj

First things first.  Those Guys who were supposed to come home are now at home.  Those Guys who are goofing around Europe are somewhere in Germany (maybe) as I write this.

On a scale of 1 to 10, this trip was a 10+.  The town was beautiful, the hosts were spectacular and we were thrilled to be able to do this for ourselves and to also raise money for Ovarian cancer. 

The show was very well done and the production was of the highest quality and we really were honoured to be there.  Of our 2 numbers, I would have to say it was the Sabre Swans of Swan Lake that really it it out of the ballpark which added to the excitement.

Excitement which could also be felt backstage and led to the regular amount of hijinx.  We made some new friends at the show.  Aside from Denis Ten, whose skating we all believe is sublime, we also made Massimo Scali (the Italian ice dance champion) and Annette Dytrt (retired German champion) as well as Philip Turchdorf (part-time rigger and 4th place German man) honourary Guys for being along on the "night that cannot be described".  Carolina Kostner gets to be a Guy for being sweet and nice and for standing in a picture AND "going through the Car Wash."  The Italian Hot Shivers get to be Guys for cheering for us during BOTH numbers!  (We returned the favour and cheered for them when they skated...they were LOVELY!)

You don't know about the Car Wash?  Like the esteemed Tunnel Stare, created in 1996 by Ice Nightmare, the Car Wash is a modern classic.

Picture 2 lines of men facing each other, wearing tutus made out of white garbage bags (which create a wonderful rustling sound) and standing in their skates.  They lined themselves up right before the only door leading to the area just before the ice.  When you twist side to side with said tutus it resembles the effect of those big brushes in the car wash, hence the name. 

With confidence, Annette was rhe first one through, smiling.  She was followed by Massimo AND partner Federica Faiella and, in the coup of the 21st century, the lovely Carolina went through and was giggling and ruffled a few tutus along the way.  Truth be told more than the tutus were ruffled for a few of the Guys and I am not sure they have recovered they were so enamored.

Our hosts had food and wine for us after the show and it was a chance to kick back and relax and eat and drink (some more!)  Then it was a quick trip back to the hotel and when it was all said and done, a 45 minute nap before a gag wake-up call from The Phenom, 15 minutes before it was necessary (and I said Thank You...not recognizing the voice).

This trip was a stand alone.  Truly a magical and extraordinary experience and one that I won't ever forget.

If you are looking for a link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kEhaEUe_V0&feature=related  for Kung Fu Fighting.

Thank you Bolzano!  We really didn't know what we were in for.  We owe you one!

 


 
Posted By SkatingPj

Hi again,

 

It is show day and we are show minus about 2 hours and while the guys are playing cards and trying to get the attention of the very prettty Hot Shivers (the Italian Synchro team), it is time for me to tell you why men and women are different.

Take a simple trip to the bathroom.

For women, like me, you excuse yourself and find the door marked WC and go in to find yourself in a little foyer with a men's room on the right and women's on the left.  In this little anteroom there is a sink and then a window above with a handle.

Women, or this woman at least, went into the WC and that was that.

Not so with the N'Ice Guys. J-bird was the instigator.  Seemed like he thought it would be a swell idea to go to the bathroom, and exit through the window and then come around the building to enter into the restaurant thrhough the front door again to thunderous applause and what sounded like giggling from his team mates. J-Bird was too chicken to do it so made Kubo do it first.   Not only did he drop the 5 feet or so from the ground, but he was worred he wouldn't get back into the building so shinnied back up into the open window to make sure he could get back in. 

Once the rest of them were inspired by Kubo, they all had to do it.  There were more than a couple of funny moments:

D-Lo got stuck the first time so had to request a mulligan and was ultimately successful but not until the next day.

With the exception of Kubo, all of the Guys zigged instead of zagged after hitting the ground and made their way (sheepishly) through the kitchen instead of around the front of the hotel to get back to the table.

Women would never think of doing that.

During a break in the action yesterday, some of the Guys thought that it would be a great idea to play handball in the dressing room with a tennis ball.  The speed and intensity was such that they decided that they should take their shirts off AND open the window (women would have lit a candle) to alleviate the sweat smell. 

I have to say it doesn't matter how intense the shopping is, women  (or at least the ones that I know) would never take off their shirts!

 

 

 


 
Posted By SkatingPj

Well, gentle readers, it was a long night with a short sleep.

 

In point form:

 

1.    Dinner -  delectable

 

2a  Reflection  - nap for Disco Daniel

 

2b  Team Steam

 

3.   Walk to a Bolzano hotspot.

 

4.  Walk to a better hotspot with a private room (read cave) for our group.

 

What happens in Bolzano stays in Bolzano.


 
Posted By SkatingPj

Hi everyone!

Mazin and I are sitting hip deep in our room in N'Ice Guys and the conversation surrounding us ranges from working in an ice show to writing to the merits of red wine that costs 2 euros a bottle. 

It's wonderful the way that skating can bring skaters together  and there really is room for everyone regardless of age or personality or differences.

The majority of the team is spread out in our room watching movies on Mazin's new (read hot) laptop...ok...kidding about the "hot" part.  Just said it for effect. :)  The rest, not surprisingly, are in the sauna.  You just never know when the "naked gods" will be kind and send let's say, the Italian synchro team that is scheduled to skate down to the   "wellness centre" for a sauna.

We were at the rink today for some practice time and it was a dose of reality.  There really will be a show tomorrow night and it was do or die time.  There was a moment that we thought Mazin might die but nothing that a little coffee and his inhaler couldn't fix.  Our Tom(my) the wounded bird is not going to be able to skate which means, Mazin is.

We have to say that we are being treated amazingly and that the food here is second to none.  At lunch befoire leaving for the rink we all fell victim to a rookie mistake.  Gnocchi was served with a robust tomato sauce which was inhaled with a sizable amount of wine and just as the Guys were getting ready to push their chairs back, out came the salmon, grilled to perfection  along with steamed vegetables and roast potatoes.  Fortunately more wine also arrived, which meant that the anxiety level about the upcoming performance was dulled.

It has to be said that the food and wine was such that Dan "The Phenom" was rendered basically thought and speechless.

One quick note from the practice: the OUTSTANDING Denis Ten is performing in the same show and was so intimidated by Our Swan Lake that he changed from his intended Swan Lake show number to a Michael Jackson tribute.  We have named him and honourary N'Ice Guy.

 

 


 


 
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