Meeting Gabby from the TV show “Pawn Stars”

Happy with my new coach Frank Carroll
Enjoying Hermosa Beach

Greetings from Southern California! It's been a little bit since my last update. I've made some big changes since then.

My previous coach, Alex Ouriashev, and I parted ways during August. Our differences were irreconcilable. I had big decisions to make and the Olympic Winter Games were just months away! It was a very stressful time. I trained in Canton, Mich., with Oleg and Marina, after Champs Camp until the Salt Lake City U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. All of the skaters and coaches sort of took me under their collective wing. It was a very safe and productive place to be during that time of upheaval.

Salt Lake City wasn't the most successful competition for me. My life was feeling frantic and out of control. I think my performances were affected by that turmoil.

Luckily, I was able to start training with Frank Carroll towards the end of September. He's wonderful to work with. When anyone speaks of him, they invariably say, "He's not just a great coach, he's a great person." I understand why they say that. I really enjoy our lessons. He's intelligent and insightful. He's also very humorous in his examples and delivery.

The Toyota Sports Center is beautiful! Everyone there has been welcoming and friendly towards us. There are three ice surfaces: an Olympic surface, an NHL rink, and a smaller surface, called "The Pond".

I was able to skate with Evan Lysacek for a few days before his injury required him to take time off. He has an energy and drive that is contagious. I hope he's back soon. Dennis Ten is there most days and I usually see Mirai Nagasu and Courtney Hicks once or twice a week. It's inspiring to skate with such great skaters.

Besides my lessons with Frank, I work with Galina Barinova for ballet (off and on ice) and Benoit Duboscq for off-ice training. They are both great to work with. I asked Benoit if he could help me achieve more strength in my core and back and I can already feel a difference!

I thought I should talk briefly about my programs. They have generated a lot of feedback, positive and negative. Of particular concern seems to be my pink, princessy free skate dress. Apparently it's too juvenile for someone of my advanced years, lol! I admit to being a little torn over the interpretation of the music — pretty princess vs. Carabosse (powerful witch). I have since changed my thinking. I picture this Sleeping Beauty as beautiful and lovely, yes. But, instead of a weak and timid nature, this beauty has the heart of a lion! She's angry about the spell, she doesn't want to take a nap! She wants to dance! She wants to live! Like all of us, she's a mixed bag. She can be light and lovely or dark and moody. I will be debuting another dress at Skate Canada. This dress gives a nod to the beautiful princess dress, but with a touch of darkness and magic. My plan is to take both dresses to competitions and decide at each competition, which one I'm "feeling” and wear the correlating dress.

Apparently October is the best time to rent a place in the South Bay Area. The summer tourist season is over and all of the college students have settled in for the year. We wanted to be close to the rink but also close to the beach. Mixing in our additional needs of pet friendly and a reasonable price narrowed the search considerably. We stumbled upon our little beach cottage almost accidentally. (It's funny how things like that are always happening!) Located in Hermosa Beach (three blocks from the beach), it is completely charming! It was built around 1920, so it is one of the original cottages in the area. I want to research the house, when I get extra time, and see what I can discover about its history. It is pretty tiny, but has hardwood floors and lots of windows. We have two parking spaces, which are prime (so close to the beach). There is a small-enclosed patio/garden off the back door. Yoshi is adjusting well to his new home. He loves his beach walks along The Strand. There are so many new and different dogs to meet and sniff. We recently met a little dog, Gabby, who starred in the TV show “Pawn Stars.” Check out the sunglasses! There are so many fun restaurants and shops in the area. I love Hermosa Beach! I can’t wait to check out some yoga studios when I get back from my Grand Prixs.

I'm excited to compete at Skate Canada this weekend in Saint John, New Brunswick. The Canadian fans are so knowledgeable and enthusiastic! It will be a new part of the world to explore. It is supposed to be very beautiful. I'm looking forward to seeing the Reversing Falls (or rapids), which is listed as an attraction. I will take lots of photos and give a full report in my next blog.


My quote of the month:

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

-Soren Kierkegaard