Posted by: trish alexander | October 10, 2014

The play’s the thing. (Shakespeare)

learning-to-ride-bikeWhen you were a baby and you learned to walk, do you think you were compelled to walk, do you think it was a goal, or did you simply just do it? As you moved from crawling to grabbing onto the coffee table and standing for the first time was it a goal or did it come from some place deeper in you?
I think what makes learning to skate so fun and enticing for people is that it is a chance to be playful, to learn something that is not bookish, but is simply fun. When people think of learning to skate, I suspect it it is more about the prospect of recess than anything else.
Learning to skate and then skating for a lifetime is about a commitment to playfulness. An agreement within yourself that life is not always necessarily serious. There exists a playground for creativity and skating brings that out–in you.
Learning to skate as an adult is a new dance, a fresh start. Although most people initially resemble Bambi on ice with feet splayed out in every direction, it is still fun, challenging and has a joy that you once captured in your childhood…like grabbing onto the coffee table and standing for the first time, or learning to ride your bike without the training wheels.
While your adult self sees these transitions as methodical and a process, when you achieved those two things you felt young, happy, joyful and you achieved something that you will always have.
Learning to skate fills a deep place in your soul. An agreement you made when you were a kid that you’d feel this way forever. Playing, whether it is skating, climbing, hiking or skiing is the remembrance of your youth, when you tried things without purpose, without goal, without expectation.
When you skate it’s like recess and recess means carefree fun, freedom from work, movement, skipping, hopscotch and monkey bars. It’s pure joy, it comes from somewhere very deep and when you visit that place, oh, do you love your life.
So go skate, or ride your bike, or climb that wall. Go Play. It’s the thing.

Posted by: trish alexander | August 7, 2014

Skate Immersion for Quad & Inline Skaters!

Facebook-AD_v1 camp skateiaThe best way to improve your skating is to immerse yourself in all things skating, especially practice and lessons. In 1996, while turning 36, I attended Camp Rollerblade in Santa Rosa, CA for a four day camp. Did I ever get my money’s worth. From Aggressive to Dance and all disciplines in between I spent 8 hours a day on the quarter/half pipes, on the dance floor, on the launch rams and on the rails learning, trying, doing so many aspects of skating. There were 350 kids and 50 adults and the most amazing instructors (most were X-Games athletes. I cannot over emphasize how wonderful, helpful and amazing it was to go to Skate Camp. To be there all day, around other skaters. To be open to all the ways you can skate. To learn new ways to skate that I had not even dreamed of, well…it was an amazing experience.

It is in that vein that I’m offering CAMP SkateIA 2014 Workshop & Conference. While our previous 3 conferences for Skate IA were all about the instructors, this year we’ve offered the same top notch classes to both the instructors and the students of skating:  freestyle slalom; artistic; dance; & fundamentals moves to both inline and quad skaters. We’ve got a  great line up of teachers and topics. There will be two evening dance parties and lots and lots of skating: Here are some specifics:SkateIA2014Conf_flyer

  • 6 hours a day of classes each  of the 3 days (including two each day of freestyle slalom, one for beginners, one for advanced). The schedule will be out soon, email us for a sample schedule.
  • 1 hour each day for instructors only, including handouts for the classes taught
  • open to all ages
  • for both roller skaters/quads & inline/rollerblades
  • located at a real camp, so housing is inexpensive: $85 for meals and a dorm style bed at Camp Winadu in Eastern Mass. near New York airports.
  • The CAMP only costs $140 for instructor/member, $165 for everyone else.
  • A few of the classes may be double tracked, so that we can offer the types of classes you want. Once you register, you will get to help shape the daily curriculum.
  • A dance crew will be on hand to teach R&B/Jam skate moves
  • A strong focus on fundamentals including edging, balance points & weight transference
  • Certifications for Level 1, 2 and Slalom Instructor will follow the conference so you can stay a few extra days and get certified

If you love to skate then come hang out with other skaters. Improve, learn, surprise yourself. Immersion skating is so fun, so addictive, so doable. Come to camp.  You never know when the chance will come along again.

Barbie puppy Oct 2000 compShe was an adorable, fun, highly focused, pain in the ass. She was born 14 months after Skate Journeys Skate School was started and just three months after her owner-skater lost her brother Blair to a brain tumor. She comforted us at her first birthday party when 9-11 occurred. While death and destruction were rampant, petting her at her birthday party on Sept 14th brought us comfort and joy and a recognition that life is to be lived fully.

Her goals in life were:  1.) Eat as much as she wanted, 2.) Be pet by everyone in the world, 3.) Be an only pet (much to the chagrin of BunBun who was in the last year of her life and Barney the Australian Terrier who joined us when Barbie was 14 months old).  Barbie looked like a bunny, sometimes like a lamb, and sometimes like Cujo when she’d snap at Barney while scraping a bit of skin off his nose, or my finger.

IMG_2424Barbie was the single reason Skate Journeys has lasted 14 years. She came into life when Skate Journeys was 16 months old and it was a rough go. She licked the tears off the owner-skaters face when death, depression and near bankruptcy were looming large. She had her own quiet resolve, a strength of character that lead by example. She knew who she was, where she was going, who she wanted to be and she lived that life. Through thick and think, she survived some 10 different house moves and traveling to and from Portland each weekend, for a year in an Alfo Romeo with another dog and two parrots. She dealt with the cacophony, non-plussed, never complaining, barking rarely, and never missing a meal.
Barbie was at the skate school for every class for at least her first five years. She skated the trails, played at fit camp, sat in the middle of camp and tirelessly let herself be pet by eager kids. At a certain point both she and Barney got tired of going everywhere and asked to just stay home.  She’d be right there, looking at the same place she saw her skater-owner leave when I opened the door to return home. When stepping out of the shower, she’d be right there, once you opened the shower curtain she’d look over her ‘shoulder’ and then leave. Sort of saying, ‘okay, you’re back, I can go in the living room and lay down again.’

044She was driven by food. In the end it was her undoing. She could spot a morsel of food on the ground from 100 feet, despite having cloudy eyes. She was initially raised in a condo next to Seahawk Stadium and loved to walk through the food vendors and find treats that were invisible to the human eye. She once slithered a full glazed donut down her gullet, without chewing before her skater-owner could even bend down. Once prying open the mouth, not a trace of the donut could be found, save a little sugar dusting on her nose. She pooped up a full New York Peppermint patty, wrapper and all. Crayons, rubber bands and previously chewed gum found their way into a poop bag.

Two months ago she expelled an unflowered bulb. It took her a day to recover and upon inspection it did look like a very big nut, the kind you don’t like in the mixed nut tin. She always ate them fast, no chewing needed, who knew if someone was going to pry it out of her mouth.

IMG_2421Barbie died because she finally ate something that she couldn’t get rid of, or it took too long a toll on her to recover from consuming it. There wasn’t any obstruction in her stomach. She had become incontinent six months ago, was having thyroid issues, sleeping more and wanting to be held and petted even more. She was less cranky, gave up some of her top dog duties to Barney (who didn’t know what to do with them) and she was letting me know that she was pretty much done here.

Because Barbie lived at all,  her skater-owner learned to soldier through the tough times, keep the school open, and never miss a meal. She taught the cycle of life, that life is for the living. Although her skater-owner was crying buckets in Barbie’s last hours,  (an entire box of Kleenex) when life did finally leave her her, a calm came over me and I was no longer sad. She was no longer suffering and I think she had a good and honorable life.

Barbie  taught by example, she exercised alongside so many skaters, she ate a lot and always seemed hungry.  She could be cranky Trish+Dogs_MG_1091 (1)and loving. She was comforting when it was needed and off doing her own thing when not needed. She soldiered through any tough situation and simply marched into the future. She was loved and she gave comfort.

What more could we want in a skater or a dog?


Posted by: trish alexander | May 21, 2014

Improving your skating through private lessons

If you want to improve any aspect of your skating, consider taking a private lesson. While most private lessons happen in person, they can easily be done online.  Naomi Grigg, Skate IA Slalom Instructor Extraordinaire, recently helped someone out via Skype (or Google Hangouts) on some wicked aspect of a slalom move.  This is such great news: you don’t have to live near an instructor to hire one.

I’ve done a number of online private lessons and look forward to doing more. I’m also trying to get regular, weekly online lessons set up for groups.  I can do a Google Hangouts lesson, (or Skype) or one in person, contact me to teach you, or help you find the perfect person for what you are looking for.

Skate Instructors Association offers a list of Certified Skate Instructors who can help you. You can be sure that those listed on the Search Engine are current members, highly trained and very professional. They can easily break down the various moves into small steps that can allow you to digest the information in the way you learn.  They are each trained on the various learning styles (watchers, thinkers, doers & feelers) they have a terrific command of the Teaching Model and have shown a talent for skating by passing their skill tests. There are currently two levels with Skate IA, Level 1 is our beginning instructors and Level 2 are our higher level instructors who have passed the more rigorous skills exam (backward cross-overs, hockey stops, etc). Also, we now have a group of our instructors who are also Slalom Certified, so if you are looking for that aspect, then search online for that level of training.

You can spend hours even years trying to get a move, but I am confident that even just a few minutes with a Certified Skate IA Instructor can change your skating for the better.

They can help you understand which edge you should be on and why (your strongest edge is the outside edge wherein your little toe is closer to the ground than the big toe), they can help you with your form (ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips and hips over skates for the basic form) and they can help you shave years off your learning curve with just a few tidbits of information.

The beauty of skating is in its efficiency. In the proper edge, the proper knee bend and the proper rotation, can be found the grace that attracted you to the sport. It’s nearly impossible to find grace without some feedback from someone else who knows enough to give you the kind of feedback you need to be the best skater you can be. Your Instructor can!

Hire an instructor for a private lesson, in person or online, and take your skating up to the next level. Click here for the instructor link. (And if you are already a good skater, consider becoming a certified Skate IA instructor because we need more, in more locations.) Skate IA gives you the tools you need to be a great instructor. Our membership has the best instructors!

Contact me here to help you find a lesson or an instructor, in person or online:  


Posted by: trish alexander | March 13, 2014

The year of skating dangerously

A year ago, March 12th I was driven to the emergency room at Virginia Mason and embarked on a crazy 8 days in CCU. I died, I came back, I skated, I broke my arm, I skated again. To everyone who supported my recovery from the Sepsis & the mass on my ovaries from the wonderful hospital staff to my family, friends and acquaintances who walked my dogs, walked with me and my oxygen tank and helped me pay my medical bills, a huge thank you.

I can easily say that I’m healthier than I’ve been in a dozen years. I’m off all medications I was taking even before the ER/CCU ‘vacation,’ I’m back in the gym daily, skating with more spring in my stride, my diet is healthier and my life is richer for all those who I get to spend time with.

Skate Instructors Association is finally really groovin’ and Skate Journeys Skate School is running well thanks to the plethora of new employees, solid board members and consistency of volunteer instructors & staff.

It’s been a truly terrific year and I am grateful to all of you for you energy, because nothing short of that could have made it all work.  Skating is a joy for it is challenging, always new, brings great people into my life and keeps me always working on balance. Falling is the occasional gift, for a life spent only upright is a life not well enough spent.

Thanks for giving me this year everyone.

Posted by: trish alexander | February 20, 2014

A lifetime of learning

Learning any balance sport from a well versed instructor is likely to help you avoid years of unnecessary falling and bad habits.  One way to learn is via video and a new instructional website could be just the ticket for you. 

Already a good skater and teacher? Then prepare a video and send it in for inclusion. You On is designed to offer quality instruction for the beginner and the skater who wants to improve or simply learn a new way to skate. Learn about Aggro or Slalom, or try a new move from the fitness page. 

Just a thought. 

Posted by: trish alexander | February 17, 2014

Be daring?

I have the amazing fortune to teach up to four times every weekend. My set schedule is to teach an Adult Level 6 class (our top level) on Saturday the first hour and then some random class as needed the second hour. On Sundays it is an Adult Level 5 class the first hour and then I float and teach whatever class is needed the second hour. Lately the second hour classes have been kids Level 2 classes so I get the chance to teach to the widest age group of students and nearly the widest level of students.

Be courageous? Be daring?  At the end of the classes on Sunday I came away gave the same words of advice, ‘…at some point you will simply need to be courageous, be daring and just push beyond the fear you have.’

It does make sense to be giving that advice to the 40, 50 and 60 year olds in the class. Afterall, I’m still sporting my elbow brace and Doug J has his broken ankle propped up on the wall for everyone to see (the unfortunate fall after a LFI three turn on ice, or as he calls it, the dark side).

trish dance circle nycI was giving a lecture on the importance of a bent knee, a REALLY bent knee, so I wasn’t asking for some unattainable move, just the lowering of the body closer to the ground.

In the kids class in the second hour, it seemed odd to be telling them the same thing, to be daring and go deeper into the knee bend. We usually think of kids as willing to take more chances, we think they are less worried about a fall, after all they are closer to the ground, but I still can see the fear, the lack of willingness to push beyond their comfortable limits, if only by omission.

Why do you skate? What does it give you? Why does it matter to you?

I think it is the chance to glide like an angel, to feel that freedom of movement. But in order to get there you must be willing to be daring. And there is no way around it.  Whether you are 5 or 65, at some point your mind meets the place where fear resides.  When that happens you have a decision to make.

So, because sometimes you need your instructor to say it:  be daring, in small steps or great bounds.  Be who you want you to be.

Posted by: trish alexander | December 31, 2013

Chalking out an adventure

chalk nWhat do you do when you end the year with a UTI, a throat so sore you are popping throat lozenges like M&Ms and a broken elbow, in a sling that is on its third break?  I’ve been at the skate rink, a lot, in shoes, in the middle, helping other people move forward on their goals, so I’ve been mulling over an idea I saw at Nordstroms…. A chalkboard that started a sentence but left the answer for the viewer to fill in.

Before-I-Die-New-Orleans-Candy-ChangI also saw a great story about a woman who created a huge blackboard and wrote: before I die I want to:_______ and let neighbors fill in the blanks. She put them on the walls of boarded up houses. It was provocative, it encouraged dreams, it made people believe there was a way out. So, from sick with infection, sore throat & broken down, I’m seeking my way out, launching myself right into my future. Call it a bucket list, call it dreaming, call it an adventure.

What adventures do you encourage me to take?

Chalk 1These are my new chalkboards I just made with Martha Stewart chalkboard paint, blue painters tape, foam brushes and white foam boards.  I am going to fill them with lists…. An adventure that comes to me in the middle of the night, from reading the Outside Magazine December issue on Risk, from a Facebook post, from (I want to sleep in a lighthouse), an idea from a discussion in the car on highway 1 when stopped for an accident. It’s going to my year of adventure and you get to help me plan it.

This isn’t a new idea, I read a book about a woman who decided to take the line: Do something everyday that scares you by Eleanor Roosevelt and wrote a book, “My year with Eleanor” where every day she did one thing that scared her.  Send me your ideas, small, tall, little, big. Ask me to join you, ask to join me. Turn me on to adventure web pages you love, tell me how you love and I’ll find an adventure there. Just because I have to give up doing full revolution jumps on skates, does not mean I have to quit jumping for joy.

Help me with this adventure, push me, pull me, thrill me, trill me. Tell me about your adventures, I’ll be back in a day with a list of adventures, but here are a few I’ve already got on my mind:

  • Travel to the southwest, I’ve never been there (Arizona, New Mexico, specifically)
  • Sleep in a lighthouse
  • Go flyfishing on my motorcycle with my four-piece four-weight and camp overnight, alone
  • Skate seven rinks in seven days (skating safari—needs to wait until after doc clearance on my elbow!)
  • Run four Skate Instructor Certifications in Canada & two in California (boring but not if it’s a great road trip!)
  • Cook a new ethnic dish every week for a month
  • Take a full set of waltz dance classes (I already bought them on Living Social)
  • Skate the Monuments in Washington DC

Not very creative? I’m not dreaming creatively enough!

 Send me your ideas!

Today’s adventure will be _____________
This week’s adventure will be _____________
This month’s adventure will be ______________

Posted by: trish alexander | December 20, 2013

What it all means-tis the season

gratitudeToday while I was doing my morning meditation I pulled the angel card: Gratitude and so began to write down all the things in my life that I am honestly grateful for… the list was getting long and then I began to think about all the people I need to say thank you to….

I am entirely grateful that Skate Journeys Skate School continues to exist.It is a miracle, no doubt about it. In 2009, when I announced I needed to shut the doors because I couldn’t financially continue to run it, an Angel came along and not only kept the door open, but turned it into a non-profit and it is now, well, thriving (and they kept me on as Director-bonus gratitude). First thanks to the Board of Directors over the past four years for your guidance and dedication–it has not been easy and you’ve done the hard word, so a huge debt of gratitude for what seems often like a very thank-less job.  Gratitude in big handfuls to the 46-ish instructors who all volunteer their time each week to teach the students. An extra ovation to the Junior Instructors who make time each week and add a dimension of hope for the future.  To the Staff who do all the work no one will ever see–you are the best of the best!  To the students who get out of their warm beds in the cold of the morning and come and skate with us so early in the morning.  I am in wonder at the  energy that is created each day at classes, the chatter, the laughter, the learning, the anticipation, the goal setting, the patience and the pure joy of seeing everyone skating around the rink. Imagine if it didn’t exist, what a poor life that would be.

My heart truly trills at lunch after the classes, it is my moment of quiet joy, sitting with the staff and friends who continue the community over coffee and a meal. For me the school is more than just a classroom and getting together with those who can make it afterwards, is a personal moment that fills me somewhere deep down.

The Skate Instructors Association which was given to me by Janet Miller six months after I turned over the Skate School to the Board of Directors, is an opportunity that I marvel at constantly. The chance to strive to be a leader in such a changed environment both allows me to do something that scares me everyday and to push my limits in creativity, support and care. Skate IA is a meaningful membership–it is important to the sport of skating and the members each have a wonderment of stories about learning in life, expanding the possibilities and they all do it for the passion they have. Skate IA is not mine, it is ours, and while the goals are daunting, the membership is so supportive that moving forward is a given. Skate IA allows us all to grow our passion, share our love and increase our knowledge and the possibilities of skating….. In the last decade a new type of skating has been created and a new sport (derby) has been launched or at least renewed. Skating on wheels is still current and expanding and I am gratefl to be a part of the exciting past, present and future of it all.

Skating on wheels is quirky, it is hard to make money doing it, so those of us who do teach or work in the industry have moved the sport forward because of the passion, so a moment, a pause for passion which leads us on a great adventure.

I am so grateful to have found skating. Not sure what made my Mom get me to my first lesson in 1972, but I am so thankful to her and for all the opportunities for joy what have occurred as a result.

Yes, I am grateful to be a skater.

[Because I can’t seem to share it enough, my favorite video on skating which shows the newness, the grace and the energy that continues in our sport:]    Jin Seong Yu  

Posted by: trish alexander | December 19, 2013

It’s official…it’s a break…six weeks off skates

Elbow sec appt.So, an appointment with the ortho doc indicates the fall/landing of the loop was an actual break but when you see the Xrays, it will make sense. As previously mentioned I broke my elbow in 1979 and you can see that bone “1979 Fracture”, doesn’t even connect to the arm any longer, so that is why there is no stability. The good news is that those of you in the Level 6 class who are heading for the back full loop that I was doing when I fell, well, you wouldn’t have the same outcome, it’s only because the elbow was so fragile to begin with. So, here is what I know:

  • No skating for six more weeks:
  • If I don’t over use it or try and straighten it, no surgery, it’s repairing nicely
  • There is a loose fragment in there (it’s the circle) that has been there for a long time, they want to take that out
  • The newest fracture is quite small and will easily repair, but it will be a pain to fix if I break it further between now and then.
  • I’m getting a lot (A LOT) of work done, I must have really been skating a lot up until this point
  • I’m slowing down a bit and being quite present for what is happening just now. This is a good thing.

Yes, sometimes it’s about falling down and seeing what you get when you get back up. For me, I’m on an amazing adventure and I wouldn’t have the jump or the landing happen any other way. Right here, right now.

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