Let the Grand Prix Begin!





One of America’s Ice Princess, Ashley Wagner (not my photo)

Its that time of year when figure skating fans start to get a bit nutty. We are anxious to see the new routines of our favorite skaters and equally curious about who has done what over the summer months.

The Grand Prix series brings together top skaters from all International Skating Union (ISU) countries in a showcasing format of limited-entry competitions. Skaters earn the right to compete at these events (and the right to try and earn some much-needed prize money) based on how they fared internationally the year prior.

We begin the 2016-17 season tonight in Hoffman Estates, Illinois with Skate America. And so begins this year’s rivalry between our own Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold.



The current US Ladies Champion, Gracie Gold! (not my photo)

While Gracie’s talent is incredible and her jumps are gorgeous she has some in the skating community holding their breath when she leaps from solid ground. Er, solid ice.

A lack of consistency knocked her off the top of the podium at this spring’s World Championship. Sitting in 1st place after the short program she faltered on a night when the other women brought the house down, including Ashley. Gracie ended up apologizing to the nation with tears in her eyes and a lump in her throat when she placed 4th.

Ashley and Gracie met up early in October at the Japan Open, an early-season event where professional athletes can compete against the amateurs. Ashley earned some of her highest points ever and skated lights-out after telling reporters that she had worked her butt off this summer to gain consistency and strength.



Determined, strong and confidant Ashley Wagner. (not my photo)

Ashley Wagner is no stranger to the media. She is often out-spoken (at times annoyingly so) but she backed her words up earning the silver medal at Worlds last spring and is starting to look like she wants to kick some ass.

She is a military brat and most people would agree she doesn’t have the talent that oozes out of Gracie Gold. She has been criticized for being stiff at times and she often has point deductions for under-rotating her jumps. Her triple-triple combination (a necessity for the top women these days) usually is a hair short and hasn’t been consistent.

But maybe her hard work this summer and her commitment to pushing through to the next Olympics as well as her taste of silver medal glory at World’s will keep her hungry enough to bring the best Ashley Wagner to every competition.



Another gorgeous dress from the Sochi Olympics for Ashley (not my photo)

I like that she’s gone back to her darker hair coloring this season. It is more her and more real and that’s what the judges need to see.

And hopefully we will see Gracie share in some of the limelight this year. I just feel that her heart was crushed at World’s and she felt like she let the country, her coaches, her family and herself down.



Gracie having some fun (not my photo).

We don’t get to see her bubbly, playful side as much anymore and practice reports from Illinois reflect that. “Straight face” and “poker face” are what I have read although she apparently had a decent short program practice today.

I used to always tell my skaters that if they weren’t enjoying themselves out on the ice the audience and the judges could tell. Nobody enjoys watching a skater have a complete meltdown as they achieve human-Zamboni status during a bad skate (a la Carolina Kostner a few World’s ago… oh, man, that was rough).



The impeccably dressed Carolina Kostner, Caro to her fans, NOT wiping out (not my photo).


(As an aside, I love 29 year-old Carolina, who is returning to the party this year after a ridiculous ban forced upon her because of actions and choices a former boyfriend made involving performance-enhancing substances. We are the lucky ones to be able to watch this gifted, amazingly styled, musical, mesmerizing skater yet again!)



Yay! Caro’s coming back this season! (not my photo, this was at Sochi in 2014 where she earned the bronze medal).

I’m hoping to see Gracie have some fun again because when she is on her game its like watching her put on a jumping clinic. She floats effortlessly around the ice in shimmering Swarovski crystals, leaping into her triples with a lightness and grace that defy her height. I want to see happy Gracie tonight because that will bring the US crowd to their feet. Gracie took almost a full month off her training this summer (unheard of in the skating world) and we are all hoping it recharged her desire batteries.

But this isn’t a 2-horse race this weekend. There are some other tough competitors sharing the shiny, slippery surface with the Americans.



Japan’s Mao Asada… another tough, well-established cookie! (not my photo)

The balletic, triple-axel-wielding Mao Asada is in Illinois and although she hasn’t performed her full arsenal in the early season, practice reports are looking good so far. Of course, its all about what happens that night, under the lights and pressure, with television cameras at every corner of the rink, the coaches lined up along the boards and an arena full of knowledgeable fans who want to see every single skater bring it.

Mao is older than many of the others but with age comes a maturity to her skating that I absolutely love. A confidence that women achieve only with age. The knowledge of our own bodies and how to hold ourselves shows strongly in this petite performer and much of what Mao puts out there is more of a show than a competition.


ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2008 Day 2

Incredible Mao Asada. (not my photo).

She also has some of the most beautiful dresses I’ve seen on the ice and I can’t wait to see her programs this season.

Another skater to pay attention to is the young upstart from Canada, Gabby Daleman.



Canada’s Daleman! (not my photo)

Daleman has been on the international scene for a couple of years and while she has enjoyed podium love in Canada I get the feeling she is ready for a real breakthrough. She’s tough, polished, stunning and fast. I love her speed and it allows her jumps to soar.

Canada needs their women to join every other discipline on the World stage. Pairs, men and ice dance all have Canadian global champs but its been a generation since we have had women at the top.


Olympics: Figure Skating-Team Ladies Short Program

Canada’s former champion, Katelyn Osmond (not my photo).

We thought we had the next big deal in Katelyn Osmond from the Maritimes (training now in Edmonton) but bizarre injuries plagued her for the last 2 seasons. This did allow Gabby to gain some confidence, though, which is why she has earned spots in this year’s Grand Prix.



Gabrielle Daleman thanking the crowd. (not my photo).

And we can’t count out the experience of Japan’s Kanako Murakami. Kanako suffered the fate of rising to the top of her game in a country that was full of rising stars. Fumie Suguri, Mao Asada, Akiko Suzuki, and Miki Ando were tremendous skaters when Kanako was trying to claim her stake among Japan’s skating elite.



Kanako Murikami of Japan (not my photo).

She can be a bit stiff with her skating but she definitely skates from the heart. Unfortunately, she is one of those skaters who “wraps” their freeleg while in the air during jumps. Its a technique that some skaters just naturally have but it can lead to slower rotations and its just plain unsightly.

The unsightly quality is a big deal in our International Judging System where the base points for a jump can be added to or subtracted from based on the Grade of Execution. If not a negative GoE, it certainly doesn’t gain positives.



While she has worked on her wrap over the years its still there. Note- faces always look funny in jumps & spins. (not my photo)

But you can’t argue with the fact she is still committed to the sport and there is something to be said about experience.

The ladies short program will air on Ice Network (www.icenetwork.com) tonight if you have a membership. NBC will also show some of the event this weekend.

The ice dance event will be ground-breaking in that the short dance is combining the Blues set pattern dance with a hip-hop section. I have seen some of the programs and its going to be a blast. I won’t detail the event just yet but know that I’m hoping the American siblings, Maia and Alex Shibutani are on their game.



Maia and Alex Shibutani. LOVE them! (not my photo).


The Shibutanis (Shib-Shibs to their fans) became cult favorites last year when they skated to Coldplay. No, wait, they made art to Coldplay. I just got shivers thinking about their routine from last year that earned them the World silver medal.

This year they are combining Sinatra and Jay-z. Yeah, that’s right. Remix that, Baby! I’m curious to see what the judges think. Figure skating judges have been known to be stuffy old farts wrapped in wool coats and fur hats who glare at skaters and drop marks when new boundaries are pushed. Just think of how long it took Canadians, Shae-Lyn Bourne & Victor Krantz to break through ice dance barriers long established by European skaters.

But they did and it paved the way for creative performers like the Shibutanis and it has moved ice dance into a new era.

Reports from Illinois say Maia’s outfit for this routine is as amazing as their skating skills and the routine are. I can’t wait.



The Shibutanis with iconic coach, Marina Zoueva after their silver-medal winning performance at World’s in Boston earlier this year.

I love this time of year.

I love the Grand Prix of figure skating.

I hope you’ll be able to see some of the skating this weekend and feel free to share your comments or ask questions. Figure skating is my first language and I remain fluent in it. Next up on the circuit is Skate Canada in Missisauga, Ontario next weekend. I shall keep you all posted.




Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloveev of Russia are back on the scene at Skate America this weekend (not my photo).



Also competing in ice dance are the Americans, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (obviously not my photo).



Hoping to see happy Gracie after this weekend! (not my photo)






















Its Okay to Tell You This (or, Its Time)



Most of the people who know me know me as a funny, sometimes-silly, choose-to-be-happy, up front, confidant gal.

And I am those things.

I’m all sorts of things, just like you are. Our combinations of genetics and surroundings added to our choices shape who we are on a daily basis.

Our personalities are pretty much set by the time we are 21 years old but things can still happen that may change how we react to certain things.


a few days ago

I’m a professional with a Doctor in front of my name. A CEO of my own bling biz. A former professional athlete and respected coach. A writer who writes from the heart. A wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a step-mom and a pet-mom.

I’m a tree-hugging, wine-drinking, Aloha-loving, hiking, skiing, golfing, laughing, Canadian, American advocate for the little guy which is why its time.

Its time I shared my story  of sexual assault and why I haven’t until now.


getting ready to sing with the ferrets in the Bling Emporium

I haven’t shared this because of all of those things I am and all of the things I want you to see me as.

I am not a victim and I have never, ever wanted to be a victim. I don’t want you to think of me as a victim.

But that’s how it is with assault. You don’t get to choose. You just have to suck it up and live with it.


vaccine day at the local animal shelter last month with a new friend

My story doesn’t involve Donald Trump but it does involve a large, powerful, man who was a well-respected thespian within our small acting community when I first went to college. I was an English major pursuing a Theatre minor at the time and the acting community was small but close-knit.

I was 16 when I went to college and I was definitely not worldly. I was even a little bit of a prude, having been quite sheltered in my brainy, figure skating world.

But I loved life as much as I do now and after a couple of years I was dating another member of the theatre community and I was moving up in the acting ranks.

Amazingly, I was actually cast as a lead character in our college’s highly anticipated annual Shakespeare play, The Taming of the Shrew. I was cast as Jessica, the raven-haired Jewish daughter of the large, powerful man who I, and everyone else loved, admired and respected.


a couple of weeks ago on our local golf course

I played his daughter. He was supposed to be my father.

When you’re backstage everyone has ways of getting into character. You are focusing, rehearsing lines, blocking, getting rid of jitters. Sometimes you are alone, other times you are with other actors or stage hands. The large, powerful man had more stage time than I did but we were together a fair bit as well.

Towards the end of our two-week run this large, powerful man was facing me backstage. I was about to climb up the balcony for one of my scenes but before I knew it he reached his hands down at me and grabbed and squeezed both of my breasts.

Hard. For several seconds.

Just like that.

And then he said, “I had to do that” and turned and ran off.


I looked more like this back then, circa 1992


Who on Earth just has to do that? Seconds before I was going on stage to pretend this man was my father he groped me.

And it wasn’t subtle.

It was offensive, rude, hurtful and wrong.

He took his position of power and used it to grab and handle my body in a sexual way for whatever gratification he took from it. He took my trust and threw it down the toilet with one gesture.

I couldn’t look him the eye ever again. Even at the wrap party at his house where his two young, adorable children and his pretty wife celebrated with us.


A few years ago with Shilo.

And I wasn’t completely silent. I did tell my then-boyfriend, who wasn’t in the play. He was appropriately horrified  and supportive and we discussed telling the higher-ups in the college community.

I, like the women who are speaking up at this late political hour, chose not to speak up against a powerful, well-connected man.

Who would believe me? A little ethnic kid from the Kootenays with a few extra pounds and absolutely no clout.

Women are tough. We are made to be tough. And while I’m not saying its acceptable that I kept quiet its still what I rationalized I should do.

And look at me! I have gone on to do and become many amazing, fabulous things. I’ve said it countless times- I love being me!


loving being Me… with this guy… and a bear

And this doesn’t define me. And its not as horrific as what some men and women go through when a powerful, thoughtless, narcissistic, mean person does something to them without their permission.

There is a problem in society in that some folks don’t see using derogatory, sexually-charged comments about women as a problem. That people who casually use language like that  (outside of any locker room, mind you, on a bus with a microphone while on the job) are often those who don’t see the problem with sexual assault at any level.

In my case, a few years later, after 2 trips to Japan, a break from college as well as a breakup, when I was living in Nelson, BC as a single figure skating coach I received a strange phone call. The call was from an older woman who had taken a few acting classes when I was in college and did some work on the sets. I barely remembered her then and I can’t recollect her name now.

She was calling because the large, powerful man had assaulted her, too.

And there were several others.

And they were pressing charges.

My story did get told and I was a part of the accusation against this man that forced him from the college. I don’t believe the case ever went to trial but at least we spoke up.


Ferret Fun!

I get it, though. Donald Trump and the people who support him claim its foolish and unbelievable that these women didn’t say anything about their sexual assault claims until now. That there must be political motivation for them to tell outrageous lies that can’t possibly be true.

And I’m not even being political here. I’m not saying you should vote against him. You should vote for what you believe to be true.

I believe these women. I believe there are more of them, just like there was with the large, powerful man who took advantage of me.

We were all younger women who faced a world where white men held the keys to our futures. We didn’t want the act to define us.

Just like I don’t want it to define me now.


Loki & I

I still just want to be Loki’s Step-Gammy who Walks & Talks with her outside. I want to be your go-to when you have questions about your dog, the state of figure skating, or which jewelry to buy to match a certain dress. I want you to laugh or smile when you think about my big wine glass or me falling off my speeding horse when I first met Alistair. I want you to laugh at my blog about my sleep-walking around Maui’s Ritz Carlton naked. I want you to cry with me when I share my thoughts and difficult decisions about our aging animal companions. I want you to shake your head at all of the snow, or chuckle beneath your breath when I tell you how Loki pin-balls her way around the world. I want you to want to get to know me and my animals and their voices with accents and the one with the slight lisp.

I also want you to know its okay. That even the most hilarious, silly, content, confident, smart people have had shit happen to them.

That its okay to talk about it.

That it will not, EVER define you.



This is me



most definitely me



Wine-sponsored PSA. Me, encouraging everyone to get their Influenza vaccines!



This is more of what defines Me. xo






The Curious Case of Bebe Fyfe




Fabulous Babulous…. sunbeaming again.

Most folks who visit the Fyfe Farm haven’t met Bebe, our mysterious feline companion. If she hears that doorbell ring or a voice in the house she disappears like magic and we won’t see her for at least 2 hours.

If the house guests are spending the night I won’t see her until its time for soft food when the guest room door is closed before bed. I don’t know where she re-appears from. Sometimes the garage, sometimes the boat, sometimes from behind the washing machine.

She’s been that way ever since Whitney and her friend brought her and her littermate, Cartman home in Bismarck. I had only told the kids about the litter of kittens down the road so they would slow down with their driving. Not because we needed 2 more cats.



Bebe as a kitten

When Babs and Cartman joined us that brought our indoor collection of cats to 8, which is totally ridiculous and I think it might be partly why she is as shy as she is.

When you’re the youngest sibling in a household of older, well established sibs you probably don’t need to communicate much. Or interact, other than for basic necessities like eating & using the litter box.

Over the years she slowly packed on some weight and she just did her own thing.

She, like every other female Fyfe adored our big boy, Oscar, who was basically the king of the cats.



Cooper, Boomer and Bebe snuggled in with Oscar

It wasn’t unusual to find any combination of the girls with him in one of the cat beds scattered throughout the house.

This went on for years.

Until we lost Oscar.

That was the beginning of the change in feline dynamics around here because Mulder was suddenly in charge. Until we lost him, too.



You can imagine the dynamics when there are this many of you! And you can’t even see Sport and Cooper!

And everything changed as Attrition continued until, as of February, we had a house with 2 indoor cats and Babs is one of them.

Which is when we got to meet the real Bebe Fyfe.

Our quiet, not-so-little fan of sunbeams and soft food has become a Domesticated Indoor Cat.



Shy, young Bebe many years ago

She meows at me to remind me that our morning routine has changed.

On top of letting the dogs out, feeding the dogs, cleaning the litter box, feeding Loki, getting Rimadyl for Loki, changing the water in the water dish, getting water to Luigi, and giving treats to Luigi as I clean his cage, I now have to give 3 Greenies treats to a somewhat demanding grey & white Domesticated Indoor Cat.

I mean, she’s cute about it but when did this all start? I didn’t even know she could meow!

Bebe now comes down to our bedroom on sleep-in mornings if we’re lazily watching Netflix while sipping our Kona coffee and joins us.

On. The. Bed.




And she purrs and cuddles and interacts as if she’s been a normal cat all of her life.

She’s also lost some weight, probably due to being more active around the house and outside as well. She’s much smaller than she was in the photo above, which was taken just after we lost Boomer in February.

Boomer and Bebe always cuddled in the cat beds but there must have been something about her that kept our strange little Bebe quiet all those years.

Bebe’s sole pastime for years (aside from sunbeaming) was staring at our freezers in the garage. When I had my clinic that’s where I would sadly bring home patients we’d lost who were going in for cremation. Bebe would make the strangest chirping sounds and tip her head from side to side while staring at the freezer. We just figured she was communicating with the spirits and we’ve been fine with that.



“You don’t want me to exercise, do you?”

I don’t see her staring at the freezer much any more.

Maybe she was communicating with the spirits who were likely a bit confused about their situation. I know that every paw of every pet that I have held while they transitioned with their families by their side was ready to lay down and have a good, long nap. They may not have put that thought together but I have only ever said goodbye when it was necessary.

Never out of convenience.

I used to think that was an endearing quality that Bebe had and really, she did it with such regularity it was almost a bit freakish.

But it doesn’t happen now & that’s not because our freezer is empty. Mouse, Boomer, Calypso & Phillipa sadly are beneath Alistair’s treasured huckleberries right now. I think Bebe just knows that they understand where they are and their spirits are still right at home.



Bebe & Sport waiting for Mummy to open the kitchen door a few days ago.

And her own spirit is blossoming as she grows into the Domesticated Indoor Cat that she is becoming.

And we like her chirping and meowing and visiting us throughout the house. I like seeing her and Loki sleeping closer and closer together on the bed. I love the feel of her clawless paws as she kneads my lap when she explores the land of lap-sitting. I like feeding her bits of bacon on sleep-in mornings although I suspect we won’t ever get to the Kiss Piece stage of domestication.

Its fun watching her explore our house- the living room with the warm wood stove and the snoring Boston Terrier snoozing in front of it; our bedroom with all of its windows and the big TV she likes to stare at; the computer room where I do all of my creating and Loki sleeps on my feet like she is now; and the outdoor world where she has even brought a couple of mice up that big old plank.

And I love sharing Fabulous Babulous with all of you!



Just another day in a cat bed with Cooper & Oscar and Boomer wondering where she was going to fit.


Jacques and Bebe 2010

“Pleased to meet you, Jacques. I’m Bebe. Don’t chase me, okay?”



The ultimate Sunbeamer.



Just now, refusing to look at the camera. Oh, Bebe!