Figure skating dresses aren’t just for skinnies!

I spend most Saturday mornings skating, either with or without a lesson.  Today I worked on my Adult Bronze Freestyle program, set to music from Final Fantasy X.  I’m still wondering what I’m going to wear when I finally test it.

Elite athletes spend big bucks for the right costumes, some put together especially for them by top designers.  Kids’ outfits are often made by their moms, or purchased plain and then embellished by same.  Adults are mostly on their own.

We can’t ALL wear Vera Wang.


Most skaters never reach Nancy Kerrigan level.  Good quality skating dresses can cost over a hundred bucks for something simple.  And manufacturers of ready-made outfits don’t seem to realize that most adult skaters aren’t five-foot stick figures.

I’m an adult recreational figure skater, and while I’m not obese, I ain’t skinny either.  I can’t afford to buy dresses or have them made for me, so I bought a sewing machine and learned to make my own.

I use Kwik Sew patterns, which are interchangeable.  If the skirt is too short on one, I can substitute something else.  I’m also tall, so I had to lengthen the bodice and sleeve patterns.  The instructions are easy, and the patterns simple.

I have two ready-made dresses, and I only wore one of them once.  It’s a lovely purple dress with spaghetti straps .  Let’s get one thing straight.  I’m a woman, and I have boobs.  The only way I felt comfortable in the thing was to wear a nude leotard under it.

Mostly, I try to stay away from:

Excess crystals

I don’t have the body for these (yet—I’m working on it).  No need to accentuate bumps I don’t want anyone to notice.  Besides, the good ones are pricey.  I don’t want to waste them on a homemade crap costume.

Circular skirts

They flare out nicely, but unless they are a bit longer than usual, they make my hips look bigger.  Flat skirts actually are better for a fuller figure.

Poofy sleeves

If you have sticklike arms, go for it.  Or, preferably, if you’re under ten years old.

Cute if you’re six; not so much if you’re sixty.

Image:  northernice&

Tiny anything

Ever notice what happens when a lady in a figure skating dress skates backward really fast?  The underpants on that dress need to cover your butt completely.

Bare outfits

The purple spaghetti strap dress I mentioned earlier is covered with sparkles and is flowy and beautiful.  I can’t bear to get rid of it.  It’s like a faint, closeted hope that I may someday be able to go bra-less.  But without something underneath, one jump and Janet Jackson will be on her knees thanking God she’s not me.

Thin fabrics

It’s cold in there, dammit.  Not only do thin fabrics show things I wish they wouldn’t, they’re not warm enough.  I favor stretch velvet, not too shiny.  Sometimes it’s still not enough, so I use a stretch lining fabric or that extra leotard.

An extra layer also helps conceal any supportive garments.  Technically, you’re not supposed to wear anything under a skating dress, but I’d rather not distract the audience with flying body parts.

Here’s an example of a gorgeous costume on a mature skater.  This is Dr. Marci Richards, competing at the Adult National Figure Skating Championships.

You go girl!


Skating costumes reflect the character of the music.  They’re not as literal as stage costumes, unless you’re in Disney on Ice.   Like the words you choose when you’re writing, your colors and embellishments help set the tone for your program.

For adult skaters, it’s certainly possible to look as great as you skate!


More Annoying Online Errors

Surfing around the ‘net, I found another 79,352,863 so-called professional articles online this week with ridiculous errors. Most are homophones, words that sound the same but are spelled differently.

I already covered common punctuation errors here, in The Most Annoying Online Errors (formerly called “All Those Eyes.”  Editing is fun!)

Below are more goofs I keep running across, in no particular order.

Horde vs. hoard

A horde is a large group.  A hoard is an accumulation.  ”But,” you cry, “the definitions are similar!”  Tricky? Yes, except a hoard can be small.

Teh vs. the

In LOLcat speak, teh is usually deliberate. The email to your boss is not LOLcat speak.  Often this error is a typo that careful proofreading would have caught.  I see it more in blog posts and comments.


Thx vs. thanks

Unless texting your BFF, write it out!  The more you get in the habit of writing carefully and properly, the better your overall presentation will be.  Save the textspeak for casual encounters.  Or just learn to type faster.

Bare vs. bear

(Naked vs. a large carnivorous land mammal)

I hate this one.

The pain was more than I could bare.

Don’t wear shoulder-bearing shirts in the office.

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear (not a bare).  Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.  Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy, was he?

If you tell me this is a bair, I can’t help you.

Image:  APF/Getty

Isle vs. aisle

You were not married on a tropical aisle; it was a tropical isle.  Your grocery cart didn’t lose a wheel in the middle of the isle; you lost it in the aisle.

Gage vs. gauge

A gage is a pledge or the token of a challenge, like the glove a knight throws down to an opponent.  A gauge is an instrument for measuring something.  Guage is just plain wrong.

Hair vs. hare

Come on.  Really?  You can’t tell the difference between an aggregate of keratinous filaments growing through the skin, and a long-eared, rodentlike mammal of the genus Lepus?

What an ultra-maroon!


Juggler vein

Your veins can juggle! Call the news channel! Call Ripley’s Believe it or Not!  We got a medical miracle here!

Leach vs. leech

NO:  The trash leeched chemicals into the groundwater when it rained.

To leach *VERB* means to dissolve out something by percolation.

A leech *NOUN* is a bloodsucking freshwater worm, or that ex-boyfriend who hung around constantly and ate all your roommate’s food.

Accept vs. except

To accept is to receive something—an object, criticism, etc.   Except is a preposition, which leads to an exclusion.

“I’d accept your challenge,” the Doctor said to the Sontaran, “except we are not both armed with sonic screwdrivers.  Wouldn’t be quite fair, would it?”

Run-on sentences

Run-on sentences go on and on they don’t have any punctuation between them and they are very very long the person writing them doesn’t know or care about punctuation oh my God that drives me nuts.

I see these in comments or forum posts the most.   Many times, they lead to an impenetrable wall of text my eyes cannot fathom.

Than vs. then

NO:  He was more handsome thenthe first man we saw.

YES:  He was more handsome than the first man we saw.

Than is a conjunction.  It sets apart two unequal subjects of comparison.

Then is an adverb (modifies a verb, typically) used to denote time and place.

Gandalf leaned over, set the confused Pippin on his feet, then brushed him off roughly. “Fool of a Took,” he muttered, not without affection. 

Subject/verb agreement

Plural vs. singular

The cops ate their donut.

One cop, one doughnut.  His doughnut, her doughnut.   More than one cop, more doughnuts.


Donut vs. doughnut.  Did you catch that one?

Separate, not seperate.

Mischievous.  not mischievious. Also pronounced wrong:  it’s MIS-cheh-vus, not mis-CHEE-vee-ous.

It’s leviOsa, not levioSA, you bloody idiot.



When your name goes on that article, you want it to be your best work, right?  Even if you’re posting anonymously, your online writing represents you, in comments, posts, and even tweets.  Take a little time to check words you’re not sure of.

I’m far from perfect, and if you spot a mistake in one of my posts, please let me know in the comments.  They come to me in email, so I’ll see it. I’ll gladly correct it, publish your rebuttal to something I said (following my Comment Policy, of course), or change it if needed.

Writing When You’re Not Writing

It was wrenching to write the first words of this post.  Why?  Because I don’t want to admit I’m not writing.  Maybe you surmised from an earlier post that things aren’t going very well right now.

But you’re blogging, you say.  That’s writing.  Sure it is.  I’m talking to you in written form, telling you something.  So it’s writing.  It’s just not the kind of writing I want to be doing.

Anne Wayman, super freelance guru, wrote a post about writing even when you are horribly distracted.   She says, in essence, that writing helps keep her mind off things.

I have the opposite problem; I can’t NOT think about it, because when I’m upset, I tend to bang out little Notepad diary entries about how pissed off I am.  At least they’re digital, and I can delete them before I die and someone finds them.

Note to self: burn this old thing….

Image:  vada0214/stock.xchng

How the hell do you write when life blows up in your face?  Here are my conclusions.

Take a break

Sometimes, you just have to.  If you have freelance clients or a deadline, you might not have the luxury.  At least cut back, if you’re able.  Put as many projects on hiatus as you can while you deal with things.

Write something that pertains to whatever is distracting you

Turn it into a project, by golly.  At most, you might even get a sale out of it, if you can find an intriguing angle on the subject.  At least, you’ll discharge some of those feelings and sort your thoughts.

I have no clue what the hell this is supposed to be, but it cheered me up for a minute.


Use the time to do research

I’ve been trying to do this a bit.  Of course, the whole insomnia thing makes reading material very difficult.  I’ve actually had to *GASP* put the computer aside and rest my eyes.

Research is easy.  You read some stuff and take notes.  No pressure. If you act like it’s no big deal instead of life or death, you may dig yourself out of a dead end.  I think I’ve found an answer to one particular problem in the current WIP that’s been plaguing me.

Write somewhere other than your hidey-hole

Get out of the house.  Take your laptop to the library.  They have wi-fi in case you need to look up giant sloth toads of Madagascar, or watch a YouTube tutorial on binary star systems.  Wear headphones so other unemployed lurkers don’t hit on you.

Once you start writing in earnest, disconnect.

For God’s sake, stay away from the button!


Go back to a previous project

When I’m brain-dead, pulling something out of Ye Olde Writing Trunk is soothing.  I’ve said before that I much prefer editing to writing first drafts.

Hence the re-edit of Rose’s Hostage   I’ve got a few more queries to try before I bury the poor thing.  At least it will give me something to do.  And you never know.


I dearly hope you are all surviving this ridiculous excuse for an economy we have lately.  And the drought.  And the unemployment.  And the global warming.  And the religious wars.

We all have to hang in there.  There’s nothing else to do.  Except, maybe, write about it.

Vocabulary – O Yeah

My favorite letter! Hey, I like the shape. It’s kinda like a pizza.

O is for ocean, operatic, and ohmahgawdwhatthehelljusthappened.  Well, that’s not a word. Okay.  That’s a word.  Happy now?

Shall we begin?

Oakum – in old-timey sailor talk, natural fiber ropes that are unraveled and used to caulk cracks on a ship.  They’re jammed in the cracks and coated with pitch, which traditionally would be pine tar.  Oakum is rarely used today, except in the construction of historically authentic tall wooden ships, or maintenance of the real deal.

Jam-packed with oakum.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Oblation – a sacrifice or other offering given in worship.

Buffy rolled her eyes.  She had no time to be the demons’ oblation today.  With her super Slayer strengths, she broke her bonds, kicked all of them into the lava pit and escaped the sewers in time for lunch rush at the Doublemeat Palace.

Occlude – to close off or obstruct something.

Odoriferous – giving off a distinctive smell.

Wand held in front of him, Harry cautiously entered the Muggle attic and sniffed.  He detected the odoriferous presence of a concealed werewolf.  A board creaked in the corner.  He pointed his wand at the corner and yelled “Stupefy!” The stunned werewolf fell to the floor, unconscious.

“Right,” said Harry to the other Aurors. “Let’s get him out and modify the Muggle family’s memories.” 

Sorry, I got carried away.  Been re-reading Harry Potter again, I have.

Oenophobia – fear of wine.  Really?  You’re afraid of wine?  More for me!

I’m only afraid of red wines made from zombie-trod grapes.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Officious – annoyingly assertive or dominant.  Overly enthusiastic about being in charge.  See the first sentence in Stephen King’s The Shining. 

Ogle – to amorously glance at something or someone.

Joker ogled the pretty red-haired nurse.  He grabbed her wrist and yanked her up, ignoring her shrieks.  “Batman would come after you in a jiffy,” he said.  “Lets go, bait!”  He dragged her off into the depths of the asylum, leaving Harley to pout jealously as she cold-cocked a guard.

Ohmmeter  – a thing that measures electrical resistance in ohms.  What’s an ohm?  According to, ” the SI unit of electrical resistance, defined to be the electrical resistance between two points of a conductor when a constant potential difference applied between these points produces in this conductor a current of one ampere. The resistance in ohms is numerically equal to the magnitude of the potential difference. Symbol:  Ω ”

Yeah, I don’t know what that means either.

Oilskin – cloth that has been treated with oil to make it waterproof.

Ojime  – a Japanese bead worn on a cord.  Click on this link and then the arrow to hear a Japanese person pronounce the word.


Image: Wikimedia Commons

Okra – a mucilaginous vegetable pod often used in making gumbo (yuck).  Delicious when sliced and fried in cornmeal or breaded.  For more information, click this link from the University of Illinois Extension.

Oligarchy – a form of government where power is concentrated in a small class or with just a few people.  Criteria could be wealth, royalty, or some other delineator.

Ombré (ohm-bray) – a French word meaning shaded.

Like this…om nom nom…


Onomatopoeia – a property of some words that means they suggest the sound they refer to.  Examples include buzz, oink, splash, and plop.

Oology – the study of bird eggs, primarily, or the hobby of collecting them.

Opulence – riches, affluence.

Joker’s filthy, bedraggled form looked as out of place in the opulence of Wayne Manor’s ballroom as a turd on a wedding cake.

Orology – the study of mountains.

Ossuary – a repository for bones of the dead.

“Dammit, Miklos, you were just supposed to stack them nicely!”

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Otoscope – what the doctor uses to examine the inside of your ear.

Outré (oo-tray) – French word meaning excessive or extravagant.

The general thought Darth Vader’s diamond-studded cape was a bit outré, but, not wanting to be force-choked, he didn’t say a word. 

Ovine – sheeplike.

Owlery – any Harry Potter fan knows this one.  A place where owls live or gather.  In the Harry Potter series, the owlery was a room at the top of Hogwarts Castle’s West Tower, where the owls used to carry messages ate, slept and rested.

Harry waits for a message, perhaps a recipe for poop-stain removal.


Oxymoron – a contradictory figure of speech.  Examples:  jumbo shrimp, Army intelligence (if you ever watched M*A*S*H*, that may be the first one you thought of), and genuine imitation.

Oysterer – someone who sells oysters.  WHICH I HATE.

“Thass all right then; we love ’em!”

Image: Wikimedia Commons says ozocerite is:

A naturally-occurring odoriferous [!!!] mineral wax or paraffin.

It is used in the making of electrical insulators, high-temperature use candles and waxed paper.

That’s all the vocabulary for today, kids.  See you next time!