Sunday, November 06, 2011

Thursday - Vancouver Adventure

Thursday was a long, long day, so prepare thyself for a long post.

We woke up, fairly refreshed, and not being in a great hurry, luxuriously read in bed for a bit before getting up, showing, breakfasting  on cereal and Odwalla juice we'd brought with us and heading out.

We did a little debating about what we were going to do with the day.  It was forecast to rain around noon, which had an impact on our plans.  Davan really wanted to go to Capilano Suspension Bridge and I thought it would probably be pretty cool, but not really worth the price of admission, so I was thinking Lynn Canyon would be a better place to head.  There is a suspension bridge there, as well, but it's free.  Of course, it's shorter and there isn't all the extra stuff like the tree walk...

Seeing as how we were on a bit of a mini-vacation, I told Davan my reasons, to which she listened and gave some serious thought, but then said if she really wanted to go to Capilano, we could.  She did, so we did.

I was right that it was pretty cool, but not really worth the admission.  Davan agreed after seeing the place and learned a valuable lesson about tourist attractions.  Still, we were there, so we enjoyed what was on offer.

There were some totem poles:

And the suspension bridge was pretty long:

We spent some time in the middle, looking, and perhaps spitting again:

The weather, as you can see, was quite nice.  At least, it was not raining - mostly sunny, even.  It was chilly, though.

We walked around on their various paths, checking out what views we could:

Being homeschoolers, it was, of course, important to get in some lessons.  Davan is learning all about geology and bridge construction here:

I'm actually kidding.  She didn't get much from the displays.  I just thought that would sound good.  :)

They had a tree top walk, which was fun:

We had a nice time together there (even though I believe we'd have had just as nice a free time over at Lynn Canyon, but, you know, I'm not bitter or anything):

The cliff walk was fun, too:

We'd have definitely been scared if it weren't for all the heavy duty railings...

They had a glass floor in spots, but besides the fact that it was fogged over, they'd ruined the fear factor of it by putting little white squares all over it:

This summer, Davan and I were in Chicago and went up the Sear's Tower (yeah, I know it's called something else now) and they had a glass floor thing that was actually scary to get yourself to step out onto.  We'd expected that again.  This?  Not so much.

After a couple of hours of grand enjoyment, we were done with all they had to offer and moved on.  We were headed to another eatery that I'd found prior to travel for lunch.  On the way, though, we drove through Stanley Park and Davan, in spite of being absolutely famished, asked to stop at this park:

It had the same core equipment as the park we'd stopped at on Wednesday, but it also had a few other things.

Davan couldn't pass up outdoor rings and a trapeze if her life depended on it.  Well, okay, if it was really life and death, she could.  But you get the idea.

After lunch, which left Davan not totally full, but I promised more food prior to her audition, we were torn between going back to the hotel to chill out for a while or sight seeing more to take her mind off her upcoming doom.  We opted to go to Science World.

But, once we saw the prices, we decided it wasn't really worth it for the two hour slot we had available, so the picture is of the museum we didn't go to.  Yeah.

We went for a walk on the sea wall instead.  And what did we find?

A park, of course,  After a little playing, we moved on so that Davan could panic a little.  I got the camera out to get a picture of her panicking, but instead, she looked like this:

That made me threaten to just video her all afternoon to ensure she kept up her good spirits, but, instead, I distracted her by singing.  This not only produced some public humiliation, but caused her to need to correct my lyrics, which made for a nice distraction for a while, including while we sat on these rocks for a bit:

Then, lo and behold, we found another park.  This one is of a style that Davan really loves, so we spent some time there:

When we moved on, we found yet a third park:

The equipment wasn't very exciting for Davan, but what was cool about it was two fold.  One, it was under a bridge, so it says dry even in the rain, but two, and better, there was this view when swinging:

Our walking goal was to get to a ferry pier, not to ride the ferry, but just to walk out onto it because it juts out into the water and Davan thought that was cool.

However, I'd been mentally toying with the idea of riding back to Science World (not that it was a long walk or anything, really, but just for fun), so when Davan asked if that was a possibility, I was pretty quick to say okay.

While riding the ferry, we noticed a pretty cool looking bridge along the path the other way from Science World, so we went to check it out.

There were a lot of pretty cool things right around there.

Then we discovered why:

It turns out we were in the Olympic Village area.  Pretty cool.

Oh, and the forecast rain?  Hadn't made an appearance.  It was mid afternoon and mild out.  We were really glad we'd ended up on the walk instead of inside.

By the time we got back to the van, it was time to think about getting a bite to eat before going to the audition.  Davan, I must say, was holding up pretty well.  She was nervous and every now and then would have a small freak out in her Davan-ish way, but we've had some pretty strong audition freak outs in our house and I wasn't seeing that at all.

We'd seen a Whole Foods and decided to check out their prepared food bar for some eats.  We found it and figured there was probably underground parking someplace, as that seemed pretty common in the area where we'd also had lunch earlier.  However, we found a street spot that was available and opted to just feed the meter.  We had a fair amount of time, so I went for an hour and a half. 

We stopped at a drug store to get some lip balm, as we both had chapped lips, and some floss as I'd been in need for hours with a bit of food stuck that was bothering the heck out of me.  Then it was on to Whole Foods.

We found lots of good stuff (vegan, gluten free, not overly oily, lots of veggies) for us to eat there - plenty of options in the hot food bar and some were even Fuhrman recipes.  They had California Creamed Kale for those for whom that means anything.  We were impressed. 

Sadly for my pocket book, as it wasn't overly cheap, Davan went through twice before she was feeling satisfied.  And then we got smoothies, too.

I wasn't worried about the time for the audition yet by the time we got the smoothies, but I was concerned about the meter running out, so we meandered back to the van.

The van wasn't there.  The whole line of cars we'd parked in?  Gone.  At first, I thought I had my blocks mixed up.  But, no, it was where we'd parked.  The meters?  They had stickers on the posts saying that you couldn't park there between 3pm and 7pm - rush hour.  We'd parked the car at 2:40.  I'd totally missed that.

What gets me about it now is that the meters are pretty high tech - you can use your cell phone to pay the meter there.  But they can't figure out how to make the meter not accept money during the no parking times?

The time was 3:55.  The audition started at 5:00, but we'd been told to have her there at 4:30.  We had a good idea of where the audition was, but had left time to figure it out en route, so we didn't know exactly.  My first thought was to get a cab and just go to the audition then worry about the van, but Davan's paperwork and clothes were in the van.  I had to figure out where it was.

There was a restaurant right there that was kind enough to let me use their phone.  I didn't have my cell phone with me because we'd decided not to pay the roaming charges for out of country use and I wasn't even carrying it or I'd have used it in this circumstance.

I got the address of the impound lot along with a directions from the nearest light rail stop from a recording.  By the time we were back out on the street and I looked at my watch, it was 4:08.  The hostess from the restaurant had told me how to get to the stop near the lot by taking a train and then switching downtown to another train.  We didn't have time for that.  I looked around for a cab.  None to be seen.  I debated going back in to ask them to call a cab, but I started thinking about where that light rail stop was - near Science World.  We'd just been there and it wasn't that far.

We started running.  Now, I've been training for a 10K, right?  Davan is up to a mile at a time in preparation for the 2 miler we're doing in a few weeks.  She kicked my hiney.  I, apologizing, had to ask her to go a little slower. 

We got about half way and saw a tow truck from the company that does the towing and I asked for directions and a ride.  He gave directions, but wouldn't give the ride, even though I was able to work up some pretty good panic.  After we left him, I told Davan I was putting it on some in hopes of help and that things weren't quite so dire.  I was telling her this whole time that I thought we'd still get her there by 5:00.  She took it all really well.  I was impressed.

We finally made it to the lot.  Just now, I mapped it out and we ran 1.5 miles at as fast a pace as I was able to squeak out.  I'm pretty sure I did faster miles than I did on my recent 5K in spite of the fact that I was not in running shoes and was way, way over dressed and in spite of the fact that Davan hasn't run more than a mile in a day.

We ran in and got pretty lucky with getting to a window to pay quickly because a lot of people were flowing in to claim their cars.  I gave Davan the keys and told her to go get changed while I paid.  Then I ran to her, putting the smoothies that were near untouched but had been carried the whole way into the drink holders.

When we pulled out of the lot, it was 4:30.  We were starting from a different place than we'd expected to get to the audition, had no extra time to figure out navigation as we went and it was rush hour.  I drove and Davan did her best to navigate with me helping at stop lights as I could.  It was super stressful.

We got there at 4:50 and went tearing in the building.  A mom said to us, "They're just starting, get on up there!" which didn't make either of us any calmer.  However, they were just stretching and the auditions really didn't start until 5:00.  She'd totally made it.  Two other kids came later - one not showing up until 5:30.

So, the audition.  I'd been planning on running while Davan auditioned, but with the stressful and taxing trip there and with the fact that parents were allowed to watch, I decided to stay.

During warm up, there were kids up there holding handstands with their feet on their heads.  This is something Davan can't remotely do.  Handstands are not her strong suit.  I could see she was intimidated and, frankly, I was worried, too.  Was she out of her depth?

Then they started.  And I needn't have worried.  Davan held her own just fine.  There were 15 kids all told ranging in age from 9 to 17.  The instructors led them through a warm up (including a run which was a little over kill for Davan, I must say, but they didn't know that) and then got down to business. 

They did a partner trick:

I was surprised by how many couldn't manage it.  Davan and her partner did fine, in spite of the fact that Davan's partner, while her same height, was quite a bit larger and they had to trade off being base and flier. 

I stopped taking pictures after this, as they weren't turning out so well.

They did a series of acrobatics from summer salts - forward and backward - progressing up to tumbling that included round off, back hand spring, back flips.  Anything that someone couldn't do, they could pass on.  Davan had to pass on a few of the tumbling passes, but others started passing before she did.  They got a chance to warm up each thing, then did it for real.

After tumbling, they did some press handstands to back bends and similar things, then flexibility.  Throughout all this, Davan did well,  She was often in the top three performers on those things.

They did some dance and some improv.  Then it was onto strength.  Now, keep in mind that Davan had played on a multitude of play equipment, done a goodly amount of walking and then topped off with a 1.5 miles sprint just before the auditions began.  Still, though, she did well with the strength portion, which included standing tuck jumps, push ups, pull ups and pike ups (hanging from a bar and bringing your toes to the bar with straight legs).  She was in the top two or so on pike ups and definitely in the top half on the others.

Then it was over.  There was a question and answer period, after which we gathered up our things and left.  As soon as we got to the van, it was time to analyze it all (after we figured out a food plan, as Davan was starving again and what we had with us wasn't enough - smoothies were involved in the food plan).  The first thing Davan said to me was, "I don't really know what I was auditioning for."

In the question and answer period, the teachers told them that some of them would be invited to audition for the high school, some would be invited to audition for the college and some would be invited to come to the summer camp.  There was never a question about which each person was hoping to do.  And they said that, even if they weren't invited, they could still audition, but it would be without a recommendation.  Apparently, the real auditions (not the per-selection tour), last a week!  It'll be interesting to see what come of it all.

Davan, although she's toyed with the idea of the high school before, is pretty sure she's not ready to leave home next year.  She wants to go to the camp (if she doesn't get into Circus Smirkus, I should say) and she wants to go to the college when it's time, but she doesn't want to leave home at 14.  She's not necessarily staying no to leaving home at 16, though, and maybe doing the last couple years of high school there...I guess we'll see if she even gets an invitation and, if so, for what!

We also don't know what is better - an invitation to audition or an invitation to come to camp.  I mean better in terms of which they offer stronger candidates.  I know the camp invitation would be better for Davan just now.

It was a very interesting experience and Davan, while sometimes looking like she was wound as tight as a top, kept her pre-audition anxiety to a minimum and seemed to make a good showing for herself.  After, she said, "The first step is being able to go to an audition without being dragged there.  The second step is to not look like I'm in pain while I'm there."  Fair enough.

We went back to Whole Foods for a post audition smoothie for Davan, parking in the garage this time around, then headed back to the hotel where we looked through the catalog they'd handed out at the audition before collapsing into bed at 10:45, whopped.

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