~*~ 5 OCTOBER 2000

~*~ 5 OCTOBER 2000

Oh dear... You will have to excuse my language when I last wrote. I was truly not myself. I'm felling a bit better, but still not 100% I'm dreadfully worn out, but I think I'll be back in school by the end of the week.

It has been most boring to just sit here and eat saltine crackers and watch some American tele show "Oprah." Really, how do Americans actually ENJOY things like that? Lets see, today is Thursday, oh; Saturday is a prelim thingy, uh for all these events. Was talking to Lucy, and as much as she would want me to go, she doesn't want me to w/out practice and I don't think I'll be on the ice by tomorrow. So, I'll go and watch Ev.

~*~ 7 OCTOBER 2000

Ev was WONDERFUL! He had a perfect 4-3-2 combination (quad, triple, double combination) and he said he's trying for a 4-3-3 combination. I feel bad now; I can barely do a quad. Sigh. I spoke briefly w/Mishan and he said he's sure that Ev will go 10-0 this season (I don't really recall exactly what he said in the way of events, but he said Ev would go undefeated this season) Yags watch your back!

Speaking of Yags, he did very well this thingy, but Ev was much better. Or am I just biased? Nah!

After the prelim, Lucy came up with a student while I was giving Ev a congratulatory hug.

"Evgeny, Julie, I'd like you to meet my other student, Yelena Titykof. Yelena, this is Evgeny Plushenko and Julia Demodova."

"Nice to meet you."

"Oh! It's an honor to meet both of you! I've waited for so long to meet you Julie, I mean I've been taking from Lucy for a while and I haven't met you yet! I can't believe I'm taking from the same woman who coaches Julie Demodova and..." Except she spoke really fact so it sounded more like this: "Oh!It'sanhonortomeetbothofyou!I'vewaitedforsolongtomeetyouJulie,ImeanI'vebeentakingfromLucyforawhileandIhaven'tmetyouyet!Ican'tbelieveI'mtakingfromthesamewomanwhocoachesJulieDemodovaand..."

Thank god for Lucy who cut her off about there. "Well, Julie, Ev, can I interest you two in a cup of coffee at the little place down the street?"

"Of Course! I'll go!" I exclaimed. I LOVE coffee with a passion, especially espresso. So of course I'd go.

Ev frowned. "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to let you ladies go alone. I have to meet Lina in ten minutes," he said.

Oh, sure. Lina again. No, I'm not jealous...really. It's just that I'm sick of hearing about Lina, that's all. So we went without him.

Lucy and Yelena spent much of the time telling me obscure things about Yelena, explaining techniques and asking about styles, music, and things like that. At three, Yelena announced that she had to go meet her mum somewhere, and invited me to come watch her practices some time.

"How old is she?" I asked, when Yelena had left.

"Fourteen," Lucy replied.

"I gather that she lives with her family, then?" I asked.

"Yes. With her mother. Her father died recently. He used to coach her, but since his death, she has come to skate with me."

I nodded. "That makes sense. How would you say she is? Level wise?"

"Um, relatively low. Her mother pressures her way too much, and she has to manage a four point in classes, because of her mother. She has low self-esteem and it shows when she skates. If she is having a particularly terrible day, she can't even make a single. She hates her jumps. Because of that, she doesn't look foreword to skating at all. Does that make sense?"

"Yeah. Sorta if, you don't like on aspect of a class, you won't like any of it."

"Exactly. Her mother dreams of her becoming a champion skater, in fact, she's always telling Yelena to be more like you!"

That was a surprise. I wasn't used to being looked up too. I was the youngest in my family; remember? "Ouch."

"Yes. I think she has emotional problems too."

"Anorexia. I'm almost certain."

"Have you spoken to her mother?" This matter was reason to be concerned.

"Yes. 'Yelena is eating just fine!' she claims. Ha, I would LOVE to see that."

"Well, I'll talk to her when I go to see her skate on Wednesday," I promised. With that. We paid our bills and left.

~*~ 8 OCTOBER 2000

The "Keri Lotion Classic" was on the tele today. Not much to say on that subject except that I felt rather like I was spying on the other skaters. I guess Russia has always had secret connections like that! Ev came over to watch w/me and we tried to make pizza. But, we ended up ordering out instead because neither of us really knows how to cook. I can make caramels and Ev can make just about anything blackened (no, not burnt. Sheeh!). Odd, really one would think that we would be good pizza, but alas, we're not. Maybe if we see the Italian Ice Dancers this season (really, we will, so it is a matter of when) we can ask them for an easy pizza receipt. Yeah, we don't even know HOW to make pizza. (Laugh it up Kelly!) Ev and I are quite a sorry bunch.

Am going to help Tasha w/her wedding plans on Wednesday, so I'm going to go watch Yelena on Tuesday as oppose to Wednesday. You know, they had wedding planners in the USA? I imagine we could get one here too, but neither Tasha nor Pytor have the money to hire one. I guess its all for the better now, eh?

~*~ 9 OCTOBER 2000

Oh! My first practice in a LONG while. There are exactly 20 days 'til Skate America and my quad is looking pretty good for being out so long. I think Lucy is proud that I could come back that quickly and she says that I'll be in "apple pie order" by the time Skate America rolls around Apple Pie order? I guess its one of those sayings she caught while in the US during the summer. Funny really. Like Oprah. And Football. Not OUR type of football. No, they call that SOCCER over there. They have this thing they call football which is like rugby except not. I don't exactly know how to describe it, Yags was telling me about it the thingy last Friday. I guess he's kind of into it. He was also telling me about last year, when he was training in the USA. Very interesting.

Right now, I'm stuck in that vortex of Sunday afternoon. You know, when it seems like time is creeping by so slowly. Like, you sit down to read a book and you look at your watch to see what time it is. You think you've been reading for twenty or thirty minutes but no, only five. Ohhhhhhhhh! I HATE IT! I wish I could just have something interesting happen!

Oh yes, I forgot. I got new boots, and they're BLACK! Yes! I've wanted black boots for the longest time and finally, I have some. I'm very excited and glad, because they go w/my "Prince of Egypt" costume and I guess w/the Beethoven one too. They are very nice skates over all, and I threw out my old ones today. I was going to have a burning ceremony, but I decided not to.

~*~ 10 OCTOBER 2000

Oh god, Ev showed up today reeking well enough to wake the dead. OH MY GOD! It was terrible. Of course he looked very proud of himself and explained that they were dissecting cats in his "comparative anatomy" class. So, he still smells like formaldehyde when he comes to practice. Ugh, the smell still turns my stomach.

"You should really check it out Julie. It's a whole lot cooler than when we did it in. And a whole lot slower," he explained

Great. Slower. It was way too slow when we did them in high school. I couldn't imagine what it would be like now. Oh well. He says he changing his practice times too.

"I want to practice my new exhibition routine in private," he said.

"Why? What is it? You're switching from Pasadena?" Pasadena is his present routine.

"Its for worlds, but I need to get it ready now, so its prefect."

"What is it?" I asked, extremely interested.

"Can't tell."

"Why not?"

"Surprise."

"Great." I wonder what could be so secretive about thins routine. I'm really stumped now. On my way off the ice I asked Mishan, but he's just as hard as Ev. Errrr…. So terribly annoying!

~*~ 11 OCTOBER 2000

I stayed after my practice to watch Yelena's, just as I promised. She was v. surprised to see me.

"Julie! I thought you were coming tomorrow!" she exclaimed, catching sight of me in the bleachers. Now, that is an interesting thought. Why exactly DO they call the bleachers, bleachers? Hmmm…

"Yelena! How many times have I told you not to talk to adults like that…" That would be Yelena's mum, Kristina. "OH! Miss Demodova! I didn't recognize you at first… Please excuse my daughter—"

I laughed. "What is there to excuse? I see nothing wrong with a friend addressing a friend by their first name," I replied, trying to be good-natured. I didn't like Kristina already. "So, Yelena," I began turning to her, "what have you been working on?"

She started telling me, her mouth going about a mile a minute. Soon, she was on the ice and her mother and I were in the bleachers watching.

"Miss Demodova, when did you meet my daughter?" Kristina asked in a snake-like manner, I felt like I was about become her dinner.

"Well, I met her the day of the prelim, expo thingy," I explained. "I wasn't skating because I hurt my ankle but my fried Ev was skating and I went to watch. I guess Luce took Yelena there as well, and we went to have coffee afterwards."

I couldn't tell if Kristina was more appalled that I, Julie Demodova, Russia's best bet for a gold medal at worlds drank coffee or that her daughter did. "You drink coffee?"

"Only black, and that's not real often. No, I prefer espresso," I explained with a grin. This was really very amusing.

"Oh…" She looked like people do when they're about to file their nails. "So, I hear that you are trying to work a quad into your program," she said, not looking at me.

"I have two in my long program," I said

"Really?"

"Yes." I don't know why, but this woman made me very uncomfortable.

"I wish Yelena could buckle down and get some lessons from you. She can't even land a triple very well, and if she wants to get to the level you're at…"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Be careful what you wish for, Kristina. I gave up a lot of things normal teenagers did, and often, I wasn't very happy with it. And I didn't even try the big leagues until now. Lucy told me that Yelena is on the junior scale, and you plan to have her up to seniors soon. Look, Ev had to give up even more than me. You really should ask her what she wants to do," I said.

"Ev?"

"Evgeny Plushenko, my best friend," I explained.

"Oh. Well, this is what Yelena wants."

Why did I net believe her?

When Yelena's practice was almost over, Lucy called up. "Hey, Julie! You want to come down and show Yelena a few things?"

"Sure." I still had my skates on; I hadn't realized that. I got down to the ice and slid on. "What do you want to see?"

"A quad!"

Of course. "Okay." I skated around a bit, and then did one, hoping I wouldn't fall. It wasn't a beautiful quad, but it worked, and Yelena loved it. For the rest of the session, we did goofy things and I stared to teach her some of my secret moves. We had a great time.

"Do you live w/your family?" She asked as we went to the locker room to change.

"No. My family is all in Volgograd, well, my mum and grandma at least. My brother Miki lives in Moscow, my sister Sophie in Madrid, and I live here," I explained.

"Did your dad die?"

"No. Left us."

"Yeah, my dad did too. Mum has never forgiven him."

I wouldn't put that past Kristina at all.

"When did you start skating?" Yelena asked.

"Oh, uh…when I was three. When I was about ten, the rink I was training at closed down. In Volgograd. So, I had to come here with Ev and the rest is history," I explained.

"Your best friend is really Evgeny Plushenko?"

"Yup. We've known each other practically since we where born. He was born in November 1982 and I followed three months later in January 1983. Our families still live in the same building."

"Wow…" Yelena pulled off a skate. "I wish I had a best friend like that."

"You don't?"

"No, I barely have any friends, all my time is devoted to skating. I can't even got to parties or sleepovers because I have to wake up late the next day."

I sighed. "You know, you could try what I do."

"What's that?"

"Well, on weekends and during the summer, I schedule practices later so I can sleep in. Really, its very nice."

Yelena turned this idea over in her head. "That might work. How many hours do you practice?"

"Between three and four. Usually one to one and a half in the morning and the rest after classes," I said.

"Wow. I usually have to practice a lot more," Yelena said. We left the locker room and caught sight of Kristina and Lucy talking.

"…How hard would it be for Yelena to pick up the quad now?"

"Kristina, you can't push her. It took Julie a long time to learn the quad. And Julie may be the most flexible woman in the ISU. Flexibility is key. Yelena is flexible, but not like Julie," Lucy tried to explain.

"But Yelena has to learn! Julie didn't go to any junior competitions and look where she is now!"

"Kristina, listen. Julie is one of the most advanced as far as technicality is concerned. Yelena has the needed grace, but its not about that anymore! I can't help her with the harder jumps until she can get the singles and doubles down."

"Hmp!" Kristina turned and left the rink with Yelena. Lucy sighed and sunk down on one of the bleachers.

"I don't get it Julie. Why does she push Yelena like that? I don't even think Yelena wants to do this."

"She doesn't. She wants a normal life. Her mother wants the next world champion. And her mother is paying," I said. Lucy looked like she had hit forty at that moment. She was barely over thirty-one.

~*~ 12 OCTOBER 2000

We made the guest roster for the wedding today. I never thought Pytor and Tasha knew so many people! The date has been set for June 1st. I think they all want this over with. Suddenly, I'm very glad I'm not getting married. Right now, its really late, and we still aren't done! LOL! (Laugh out loud, Tami taught the phrase to me) Yeah, I'm still Tasha's flat. And, we still have lots to do.

~*~ 14 OCTOBER 2000

Great, all my dates are messed up. I think it began on the 7th, which was really the 6th, I guess. V. dumb move on my part. *Sigh* Not much else is going on; next Friday is mid-term. I'm not really worried. Just need to finish the damned thesis.

~*~ 18 OCTOBER 2000

Do you ever feel like screaming? I mean REALLY screaming. So loud it could wake the dead. And long. Longer than anyone has ever screamed before. And when you've run out of steam, start all over again? That's how I feel right now. I have a zillion assignments to turn in and Miki called last night to tell me that they want the piece I wrote by the end of the month! Errrr! I can't think anymore. My head is going to explode. God save me!

~*~ 20 OCTOBER 2000

Mid term is here, and I got all my marks already. Top in everything save Russian, which I have a satisfactory in. Mainly because I use so much slang. Hee, Hee. I love it! Although, I guess I'm going to have to work on that. Probably, this journal will be helpful. I leave for America on Thursday! Less than a week! I'm losing sleep from the excitement!

~*~ 26 OCTOBER 2000

I'm on the plane right now, and totally physched (is that how you spell it?) about this trip! It's my first competition! Oh, I'm so excited. Ev and I are flying together and we've been having a blast. We saved up enough money to fly first class and its very exciting. I've never flown first class before. They're showing a movie right now, and I'm listening to it and writing this the same time. Of course, I can't be watching it if I'm writing, that's why I said I was listening to it.

Ev thinks I'm crazy to be so excited about this.

"Its not the World Championships, Julie," he said as we were taking off. Ha. He's been to things like this before, not me. I can't wait to get there! Tami said she'd be there, and she'd watch the competition. Yay!

I had to eat some of that terrible airlines food, and almost got sick. Ugh! It's so terrible. One time when I was on vacation in Las Vegas, I flew in. So, on the plane they served chicken burritos. I ate the corner of it and left it. My host brother, Tom ate all of it, and swore it was made from toxic waste. I don't really trust airline foods, but I didn't know what time we'd be getting in, so I ate it.

Not much else to say. Better finish watching that movie.

~*~ 29 OCTOBER 2000

I WON, I WON, I WON! I can't believe it! I completed the quad easily and oh! It was excellent, like I was flying on the wings of a dove. IT was so incredible. Ev won too… I'm really sleepy so I'll end this. Really, there's not much else to tell.

~*~ 31 OCTOBER 2000

Tami wanted me to stay in Colorado Springs for a little while longer, but Ev wanted to get back to Petersburg in time for Olga's Halloween party. Halloween is a concept I introduced them all to, I discovered it in the US. Personally, I didn't want to go to the party, because Ev's girlfriend will be there, and I don't want to talk to her. Also, I just hate those parties because it feels like I have nothing to do. Really. I feel so singular, and it takes five minutes at one of her parties to make me bored. But I went, even thought I was suffering from jet lag and ready to fall asleep.

I got there, and Ev practically met me at the door.

"Julie, I want you to formally be introduced to Lina."

Mentally, I groaned. The last thing I wanted to do was meet someone who was practically a super model. I mean; I'm no Tyra Banks myself.

"Okay," I said, putting on my chipper look.

"So, you are the Julie Demodiva I've been hearing so much about," she said, trying to disguise her cynicism.

"De-mo-DO-VA! Demodova, not Demodiva." I said curtly, stressing the last part of my name. If there is one thing I can't stand, it's people messing up my name. Tabloids do that, and that's one of the reasons I hate them. God damn mudrakers anyway.

"Oh, I'm sorry."

This woman was really bothering me. I tried to make the best of it, mainly ignoring – or forgetting – the whole thing.

"Well, Ev has told me many…things about you. He speaks very highly of you."

"And you. Congratulations on your…award the other day."

Award my ass. I'd love to see her try to do that.

"Thank-you."

"Oh, Lina, there are some other people I'd like you to meet. See you later, Julie."

"By Ev. Nice to meet you Lina."

"Nice to meet you as well."

Oh, that woman is a bitch. She truly is. I just stood there in the foyer, steaming. I couldn't believe Ev had just watched her chew me up like that. Er…

"You don't look to happy." It was Yags.

"Oh…yeah. Hi." I tried smiling, but it didn't work. "I just met Ev's girlfriend. Have you?"

He smiled. "I think he introduced her to me to torture me. She's a real…"

"Bitch. Use it. I don't really care."

"All right. Bitch isn't she?" He laughed.

"Yes. Oh, god I hate her. What does he see in her?"

"Who knows? Punch?" he asked.

I shrugged. "Sure." We spent the rest of the evening discussing skating and everything else under the sun. Slowly, the sting of Lina's words wore off, and I managed to enjoy myself.

Imagine that!