So I am in Dallas this week, and today I went skating at the Dallas Galleria mall. The rink is in the middle of the mall, and it's a multistory mall with large windows over the walkways of the mall so that there is natural sunlight. I found it extremely weird to be skating under sunlight instead of the lights I'm used to in Tucson. The ice was very wet everywhere it was exposed to the sun, and a little soft. I was there for about an hour and a half, and they had a Z-break at 3 (just after I got there) and again at 4:30 (as I was leaving) which is not bad, really. It was somewhat crowded compared to what I'm used to in Tucson, but not as bad as I expected. There were lots of kids, of course, but not too many teenagers or adults. I'd say it was at least 50% or more kids under 10. The rink is fairly small, I'd say almost the standard width but only 3/4 or so the length.
I was there with my friends' daughters, ages 14 and 13. The 13 year old (B) skates much better than I do, and the 14 year old (K) is a bit better than me, at least she gets around the rink a bit better than me though I think I probably know how to do a couple of things that she doesn't. I fell twice due to a little girl zipping right in front of me (out of control, of course) and me trying not to run her over. (This is how I found out just how wet the ice was!) I also fell a third time, my own fault, I caught my toepick. It's the kind of error I almost never make on my home ice but I was distracted by the people and the ice. I worked on my stroking and a few other skills but the thing I most wanted to work on (1 foot glides) I didn't because by the time I was warmed up enough and in the mood to do such things I'd already fallen 3 times and wasn't really in the mood to be ready to fall again.
While I was there we bumped into a very nice older woman (I'd guess her 60s) who was teaching someone (her husband?) to skate backwards. We had a nice little chat, and she worked with K and B on their backward skating. She was very kind and fun to talk to. People like that are one of the best things about skating, I think. She mentioned that another rink we'd considered going to, in Addison, is much better and quieter. We didn't go there because oddly enough their only Sunday public skating session is late Sunday night. I might try to go there Monday or Tuesday by myself; I could use some nice quiet ice time to try some things that require me to be brave (and fall), like those one foot glides and maybe just stroking a bit faster.
I tried to evaluate the results of my newly permanently-mounted blades, but I can't really be sure. It seems like they are better but I still got a little crunching on glides -- I think that is mostly likely from being on the inside edge a bit. The other place the mismounted blade was noticeable was on a one foot glide on that foot, but I didn't try any today. I'll have to try to evaluate it more the next time I skate.