Showing posts with label Figure Skating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Figure Skating. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

What I Learned On My Spring Vacation

Okay, it's not exactly spring and, it wasn't exactly a vacation because, since I am now retired, every day is a kind of vacation, but Hubby and I left town and traveled back East to Richmond, Virginia to visit family, and it was a total of 12 hours in the air round trip.  I am not a fan of flying, especially for that long, so what does one do with that much time on one's hands? 

I binged and I read!

***The Binge***

One Day (2024)

A 14-episode British series that follows Emma and Dexter on the same day for 20 years - from graduation from the University of Edinburgh to...well, you will just have to watch and find out.

Emma (Ambika Mod) is a serious, hard-working, top-of-the-class, but sarcastic young Indian woman who meets Dexter (Leo Woodall, who you might recognize from "The White Lotus"), a privileged, handsome, kind, but rather shallow playboy, who is drop dead gorgeous (that last bit is me talking).  The two "meet cute" on July 15, 1988, right before graduation from the University of Edinburgh and spend the day and night together.  They know that after graduation they will both go their separate ways, which they do, but, despite the fact that they are polar opposites in many ways, they can't forget about each other and their lives entwine as the series checks in on them on that same day - July 15 - for the next 20 years.

Emma dabbles in the theatre, becomes a teacher and struggles to find her way as a writer while Dexter becomes a controversial TV presenter (that's a TV host to us Americans) on a not-very-important TV show (it's a video game review show) and struggles with family issues, unemployment, drinking and other self destructive tendencies. But both find other loves and remain friends and confidants, always coming close to getting together, but the time never seems right. Will the time ever be right? 

Created by Nicole Taylor and based on the novel by David Nichols, this is one of those opposites attract tales where two young people meet and are attracted to each other, but it's never the right time to be in love.  You watch because you want to know if they will ever get together. It reminded me of "Normal People," another series I loved.

The series takes place in various spots around England with some other exotic locales thrown in, the throwback to the 80's and 90's well done, the music is emotionally and pop culturally fitting and the two actors are attractive and engaging, especially Woodall, who is, ahem, did I already say?...rather delightfully handsome.

And if you think you don't need to see this because you saw the 2011 movie version, and especially if you didn't like the movie, give this a chance. This adaptation, the actors and the episodic format works much better to bring this love story to life and let you get to know these characters, and you will enjoy spending time with these characters on every one of those days.

"Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.” - Charles Dickens

Rosy the Reviewer says...a little bit of a Gen X mashup between "Same Time Next Year" and "The Way We Were" that all ages will find charming and a reminder that no matter what happens, value each day.  Have tissues handy. (Netflix)

Love is Blind, Season 6 (2024)

This is a "social experiment" reality show hosted by Nick Lachey and his wife, Vanessa, where men and women "date" each other in "pods," talk to each other through a speaker but not see each other, and fall in love? 

Okay, I know, I know.  You know me as a serious, intellectual who doesn't suffer fools, right? (lol) So what am I doing watching this show? Well, like all of you, I have my weaknesses and dating shows is one of them.  I know you are judging me, and I totally understand because when I was in college, I was totally enamored of a philosophy major who I thought was just the smartest and deepest man I had ever met.  But then he told me that his favorite movie was "The Love Bug," and that was it. I lost all respect for him.  So go ahead and judge me.  I totally understand. BUT, here is what I have learned.  "Judge and ye shall be judged," right?  Because here I am watching this show, my own little "love bug."  And you know what?  I would bet you have one too! 

Anyway, as for "Love is Blind," men and women come and go out of "pods," rooms where they can stretch out, have a cocktail, eat, exercise, and talk to their "dates" on the other side of a wall.  And they talk and talk and talk and eventually they may or may not declare their love for each other, based on the fact that they are so simpatico from all of that talking. "Here is someone who gets me."  If that happens, they become engaged, and they finally get to see each other in person. And that's when the trouble sometimes begins.  Those who hook up go off on a retreat and eventually move in together.  Some stay together and some relationships go to hell because, yes, we were soul mates when talking but now that I see you?  Don't really want to have sex with you. Uh-oh.  Not fun.  But fun for us, right?

I am not the only person who enjoys this show.

This is a popular series around the world.  The American version is now in its sixth series, and there are also Swedish, Japanese and Brazilian versions, all available on Netflix, and all of which I have watched or will watch because, hey, people, it's fun. And I know those of you who stick your noses up at reality TV because you don't believe it's real, you are right to a certain extent.  There is usually a plan about how it should go, but people just can't help themselves or hide who they really are and no matter what is scripted, something interesting, and real, usually transpires.  

And why do I watch?

I know I was making fun earlier, but the human condition, especially when it comes to love and, er, sex, is very interesting to me. I am just fascinated by how people react to each other, how they say one thing about what they want and then, when the reality sets in, not so much.  Also, I find it interesting what people are willing to expose on camera. To me, these kinds of shows say a lot about the human condition, that whether you are in Sweden or Japan or Brazil, the same issues crop up.  We are all more the same than we are different when it comes to human interaction, and I find that fascinating...and like I said, fun!  

And truth be told, I have to admit, sometimes I just want to watch TV shows that don't require a lot of thinking from me! Don't you?

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you enjoy reality dating shows, this is a fun and interesting one. It's kind of like "Married at First Sight (which I also enjoy)" but less sight.  (Netflix).

So now that you are over the shock that I watch reality dating shows, we can get back to my more serious, intellectual side.  I also read books!

***The Read***

Outofshapeworthlessloser: A Memoir of Figure Skating, F*cking Up and Figuring it Out by Gracie Gold (2024)

The subtitle tells it all as Gracie Gold2014 Olympic Team bronze medalist, the 2014 NHK champion, the 2015 Trophee Eric Bompard champion, and a two-time U.S. National champion (2014, 2016), shares her experiences as a world class figure skater. And it's not pretty.

Gold, with her cute little blonde hair bun, was likened to Grace Kelly and was the face of women's figure skating in the mid-2000's.  She had it all - the looks, the body, the skill. She had great success as a figure skater, but there was darkness behind the scenes. Gold reveals in this candid memoir that she was three people.  She was Grace Elizabeth, the young tomboy who had great athleticism and as a young girl wanted to play hockey; she was Gracie Gold, "America's Sweetheart" of figure skating; and she was also Outofshapeworthlessloser, the perfectionist, who had an eating disorder and suffered from anxiety and suicidal thoughts. 

Yes, there were highs like winning medals, being written up in magazines and baking cookies with Taylor Swift.  But the lows were very low as she faced pressure from her coaches and the powers-that-be within the figure skating community to excel and, as injuries and an eating disorder threatened to derail her, her family was falling apart and her self-destructive inner voice kept calling her an "outofshapeworthless loser."  

Gold goes deep in sharing her story but she also reveals the dark side of figure skating, where young girls are expected to wear skimpy costumes and a smile no matter what. She exposes some stereotypes e.g. all male figure skaters are gay (not true) and the female are straight (also not true - she shares that she is bisexual).  She was also not so happy with commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir whose comments were often less than helpful when she was struggling.

As many of you probably know I am a huge figure skating fan and Gold was always a favorite of mine.  I feel bad for giving up on her when her career took a turn but I am glad she has taken control of her life, come to grips with her demons and pulled back the curtain to reveal a disturbing world behind the scenes of figure skating.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are a figure skating fan, you will definitely want to read this, but those of you who also like raw, revealing memoirs, this is one of those. (Check your local library)

***So, what did I learn?***

I learned that when confronted with a long plane ride or even hanging out in a motel room, it is essential to plan ahead and stock up on preferred TV and movie content and reading material before I leave home. I was able to watch those shows and read that book on the plane, because I had downloaded them all onto my trusty IPad, so I had content that needed no wi-fi. You can do that with your phone as well. Highly recommended. Movies and shows are easily downloaded from all of the main streaming services, and you can purchase and download reading material from Apple Books or other sources and/or download books for free through services provided by most libraries.

Oh, and here is something else I learned. I learned that budget airlines have lots and lots of kids on board! 

Thanks for reading!

See you next time!

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And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What This Newly Retired Baby Boomer has Learned from Figure Skating

Retirement can be a big shock for the newly retired, especially if you have worked your whole life.

It's an irony that something we look forward to for much of our working life could end up a disappointment, or worse, a regret.

If I am honest, since I walked out of my office for the last time eight months ago, it's been a roller coaster ride as I navigate the changes to my life.

One of my interests is figure skating, so naturally I watched the Olympic competition. 

As I watched, I realized there are some parallels in the quest for Olympic gold and the quest for a satisfying Golden Years.

Exercise keeps you thin

It's important to keep moving.
Though I have learned that exercise alone does not stave off fat, I will ask: 
Have you ever seen a fat figure skater?

Keep up the bling

In retirement, it's easy to wear sweats all of the time, go without makeup and look like crap.

Figure skaters are notorious for their sparkly, and sometimes crazy outfits (do you hear me, ice dancers?)

But they need to wear sparkly costumes to call attention to their identity out there on the ice and to illustrate their programs.

We might not want to go so far as some of the ice dancers, but we retirees need to also retain our identities and, hey, why not call attention to ourselves? 

Women of a certain age seem to become invisible around 50.  We must put an end to that!


I must admit I succumb from time to time to the "looking like crap" scenario while at home (poor Hubby), but my identity has always been the glam librarian clothes horse, so why stop now?  Though, finances preclude the "clothes horse" part, I still am interested in fashion, wear makeup and fix my hair (most days).
And watch out when I go out to a concert or the theatre!


Not only do figure skaters have to be patient as they learn how to jump higher, better and with more revolutions, they also need to exercise patience during their competitions.  As a male skater prepares for his quad, the most difficult jump in figure skating (four revolutions in the air), you see him set his course so he doesn't hit the boards, put his toe pick into the ice, launch himself and check himself on the way down. If he rushes the steps, he will fall.


Retirement is the same, I think. 

I am absolutely astonished that after eight months, I am still struggling with the feelings I have about not working anymore.  I think this new part of my life is my "quad."  I need to be patient. I shouldn't be hard on myself when I fail.  I had some good advice from some other retired people - that it takes time and I need to try different things until I find a good fit.

I need to keep working on my quad: set myself a course, put my toe pick in the ice and launch myself and keep doing that until it works.

If you screw up, it's not the end of the world

In figure skating, it's possible to fall down and still win, especially in the long program.  It's all about the points.  Yes, you get a deduction for falling down, but if you get up and keep doing your best, you can still win.

So too in retirement. 

I started out with guns blazing.  I had my days all spelled out in lists.  Monday is blog day, Tuesday is "work out like a maniac" day, Wednesday, Project Day, etc.  I was going to take Zumba and horse-back riding lessons.  I was going to meditate every day, lose 30 pounds and save the world.

Well, you know that old saying, "The best laid plans...?"  Life and your mental state have a way of wreaking havoc on one's plans.  Stuff happens. 

I didn't get involved in everything I thought I would.  Getting to a 10am Zumba class even started being a burden.  I don't even get up until then sometimes. Some days I meditate, some days I don't.  I had some bad days.  I didn't accomplish much. And I felt like I was failing my "long program" - retirement.

But as that great sage of baseball, Yogi Berra, said, "It ain't over 'til it's over." 
I am working on the Zumba moves at home.  I meditate most days and hey, I never even used to do it at all before.  And I am working with a volunteer group, which I have never done before either.

I will keep trying things.  Maybe I will save the world after all.

If I fall, I get up and give myself some points. It's all about the points.

Change is good

Speaking of points, those of us of a certain age remember when the figure skating ranking system was the 6.0 system - skaters were ranked from 1-6 - which ultimately led to too much subjectivity on the part of the judges as per the 2002 Winter Olympics figure skating scandal, where the Canadian pair skaters clearly skated a better long program than the Russian skaters, but received the Silver Medal.  There was such an outcry that the Canadians were also given a Gold Medal, which in turn led to the new ISU Judging System, a point system that is considered less subjective. 

However, even that new system has led to controversy in this year's Olympic women's figure skating competition where the favorite, Kim Yuna of Korea, the 2010 Olympic champion, lost to the Russian skater Adelina Sotnikova.  Yuna Kim skated a perfect program, Sotnikova did not.

The skaters all had to adjust to this new scoring system.  They had to add finesse and difficulty to their programs in order to gain the maximum points.  This has not been as difficult for the younger skaters.  But the skaters who were used to the old system had problems adjusting.

Likewise, in life, change is never easy, especially for those of us used to the "old system."  Try to get your husband to sleep on a different side of the bed! 

Retirement is one great big change. But as in figure skating, change can be good and it can challenge you to not only succeed but to exceed yourself. 

That is what I am hoping for.


Figure skaters have expressed the sense of freedom they feel speeding across the ice or launching themselves in the air and spinning three or four times.

Retirement is like that too.  No more deadlines, no more bosses, no more doing what you don't want to do.  But it's a "be careful what you wish for" story as well.  Same as the figure skater needing the discipline to attain the jumps and spins, in retirement, discipline is needed to experience the riches of freedom.  It's not easy to jump and spin on figure skates; it's not easy to be disciplined when completely free.

You don't want to live the lyrics "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

Age and Experience Count for Something

Finally, I think it's easy to start feeling sorry for yourself when you age. 

It's no fun getting grey hair (unless you look good with grey hair), creaky bones, doctor bills, wrinkles, a turkey neck, age spots, or your grandkids tell you you smell.  I'm not so good at Twitter and forget about Vine.

The figure skating world was counting on 15-year-old Russian skater, Julia Lipnitskaya to win the gold, but she cracked under the pressure and came in 5th.  Veteran Mao Asada, also a favorite, had a disastrous short program ending up in 16th, but in the long program she came from 16th to finish 6th. And 23-year-old Kim Yuna, who came in second, skated impeccable programs and probably should have won the gold.  Even though the gold medal winner, Sotnikova is only 18, figure skating years are like dog years. She's been around awhile and 18 is actually 28 in skating years!  So the veterans reigned.

My point is this:  I may have wrinkles and creaky bones and am terrible at Twitter, but I've earned those wrinkles and creaky bones.  The fact that I am still here counts for something, and in those 65 years, I've learned a few things. 

Whether anyone else knows that is beside the point.

I know it.

I may not have my retirement quad or even my triple-triple yet, but I'm working on it.  And Twitter.

Now on to the World Championships.

See you Friday for
 "How to Throw a Killer Oscar Party"
The Week in Reviews

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