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We have the video from this year's ice skating recital. As one of my students pointed out, everything is crazier when there's ice skating involved. Kids dressed up as monsters? Not so crazy. Kids dressed up as monsters wearing ice skates and attempting to skate in a straight line? Wackier than Walter the Wackjob winner of the Worldwide Wacko award.

There are also moments when the kids pull it together and rock their icy little world. The Harry Potter drill team was totally awesome. The finale torch-wielding mob scene in Frankenstein on ice looked really cool. That being said, the crazy moments are more fun to talk about.

Back in the day, my sister and I both figure skated. Mom forced us. We were dragged kicking and screaming and plopped onto the ice, not because Mom thought we had any talent at all or harbored any hopes of us being any good at it, but because she was sick of seeing us sitting in front of "the boob tube" all day long. As far as she was concerned, all the kids' programming was nothing but ads for toys and crap (and she was right about that, hello Rainbow Brite Show, My Little Pony Show and ZOMG Gummi Bears!!!) So, we get shoved into skating lessons. Eventually, we even sort of practiced because you had to pass the tests in order to get onto the skating teams that all your friends were on or to get a SOLO IN THE YEAR END RECITAL.

Today, the solos are more planned out and set. That doesn't mean you don't occasionally end up with a teenager dressed as a sexy sexy monk skating to a song about getting high because that still totally happens and did totally happen. Oh, ice skating, never stop being that insane. These days you have to be a Freestyle level 7 or 8 or something to get a solo and they only give out a few. When we skated as kids, you only had to be a level 4 and they had different solos every night for 3-4 shows. Yes, the skating recital was so long that it took 3 or 4 nights. It was like Lord of the Rings only with skating and sparkles and pop music.

When my sister finally was eligible for her very own solo, she decided that she wanted to skate to music from the Disneyland Electric Parade. She had this super cool Mickey Mouse outfit that a costumer had made for her (she had helped out on a show and she got a custom made costume in lieu of pay.) Then either she or Mom came up with this brilliant idea that it would be super cool if she came out of a light parade float. Nevermind that none of us had any experience making any kind of a float, not even a float that you pull along in a wagon. We'd all seen behind the scenes specials and it was all about chicken wire right? So my sister or my mother or both of them decided to make a giant mushroom float.

When you think about it, a giant mushroom is not the ideal project for a first time builder of electrical parade floats. Those things are complicated. They have engineering and stuff. We had chicken wire and Christmas lights. My dad flat out refused to be involved, which only made my mom more determined to make the thing work. So she assembled fabric and lights and chicken wire into... you have to know where this is going... a giant, glowing penis.

I said nothing about the penis because I am not crazy. I already knew that you do not get in between Mom and her figure skating stuff. Believe me, I tried. I bruised my freakin' tailbone and she sent me right back out onto the ice because that's how hardcore Mom is. You don't leave practice for anything that doesn't require an immediate trip to the emergency room. The more Dad talked about the giant penis, the more Mom insisted that it looked like a mushroom and we were just being mean. It was a MUSHROOM dammit.

And that, my friends, is how my sister ended up dressed as an ice-skating Mickey Mouse birthed from a giant, skating, glowing penis.

About three years later, Mom watched the home video (for old time's sake) and face-palmed.

Only in an ice skating recital, guys, only in an ice skating recital. If the performances didn't always hit during my busiest seasons, I would go to that recital every year in the hopes of watching a team of teenaged Dr. Frankenfurters performing a tribute to The Rocky Horror Picture or my own contribution, a skating Horatio Caine using the sunglasses of justice to track down the reindeer who ran over grandma. Only in an ice skating recital, you guys, only in an an ice skating recital.

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Tytania Strange

April 2017

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