Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One More

And then I'll be done with posting today.  :)

This is Davan's main project for the day.  She told me when we were watching two interesting things.

1)  "That part sort of looks like cells splitting, but I didn't mean it to."

2)  "That looks like it's the heart - with the veins and arteries flowing into it."

Can you tell that she's been doing anatomy and physiology?  See if you can see which parts she's talking about.  For a hint, #2 actually happens chronologically before #1 in the video.

Yet Another For You Today

Davan did the production on this one on her own.  She's now an independent movie maker start to finish.  LOL

This is one from this spring, also.  She and her friend, Emma, made it together.

Another Movie

Here's another video from the Davan files.  This one was from this spring when Davan and her friend, Emma, had a brief fling with stop action animation.  This is a fun one, I think.

Cleaning Out Surprises

I've been doing so many videos that I'm starting to feel like my computer's memory isn't unlimited.  So, I've been spending a little time cleaning out.  I've deleted audio books that have been listened to and were just hanging out, "raw" video footage that I've culled the interesting parts out of and turned into videos and some pictures, as well, as I've been taking tons of pictures lately, too.

While I was working on this cleaning out project, I came across a set of pictures that I didn't recognize at first.  It turns out that Davan had taken all the pictures for a stop action animation sometime this summer just before we moved and it'd never gotten further than the pictures.  So, we made it into a video last night and I'm going to share it with you.

What surprised me isn't that I found pictures for stop action animation, as Davan used to do a lot of it.  In fact, after seeing one of Kei's projects over on HomeSchool Girls, I'd been thinking about digging out one or two of her old movies and checking them out again.

What surprised me was how recent it was.  The last time I remember her being doing much in the way of stop action animation was after a trip to OMSI when she was maybe 7 or 8 where they had a station set up to play with stop action animation and she got so into it that I set up the camera for her at home.  She made a whole bunch of movies then - one of them ended up being something like 8 minutes long, which is a whole lot of pictures, let me tell you.

After finding this set of pictures, though, and making the movie last night, her interest is piqued again.  In fact, she just came out to steal my light so she could have a steady light source for her current project.  She informed with with glee that she is "off to make a stop action animation movie and listen to A Short History of Nearly Everything."  Okay, then.

Monday, January 30, 2012


So, I was going merrily along thinking that I had the whole Circus Smirkus application there by tomorrow thing under control, when Davan came home from teaching and didn't have her references with her.  This was inconvenient, but not a huge deal, as we had told her references 2pm.  Still, I'd hoped they'd come home with her so I could stop at the post office when I went for a walk with a friend and get it all off.

Instead, Davan asked me if she could mail it while I was gone if the second reference got done in time to give us more time for other things in the afternoon.  I said sure, gave her directions to the nearest post office and got online to show her the type of envelope to use.

Now, when I looked at the post office site on Saturday, I'd been searching for overnight mail and this envelope came up:

This time, however, I came at it a different way, through their "calculate postage" tab.  Guess what?  When I put in the two zips (on different sides of the country), the result was that it wouldn't get there until Wednesday.  That's a day too late.

My first reaction was, "Okay.  I've done all I can do.  It's just not going to make it."

My second reaction was, "Fine.  Fed Ex can have $60 to get it there overnight.  That sucks, but what will it really mean in the grand scheme of things?"

When I told Anthony what was going on, though, he told me he needed to check something out and to hold on for a bit.  So I did.  And I called Davan (by now I was on my way to meet my friend) and told her not to worry that we'd get it there.  She was very thankful.

By the time I was done walking, I had a message from Anthony that, provided we got everything to his office by 3:30, he could send it through the corporate account (although still charged to us) with the office discount.  The whole thing cost us under $16 after all and it'll be there tomorrow.  Whew.

And it's over, out there and one less thing for us to figure out.  I'm happy to have it done, but Davan and I were already talking about what was missing from the video.  It's too bad that we didn't have a bit more of trapeze, including some a different style trapeze and some of her on straps.  Still, though, oh well.  Done is done.

And it's a good reminder to keep better track of our deadlines.  Yikes.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just a Quick Update

I haven't posted in a couple days, so I thought I'd do a quick catch up here.

We went skiing on Friday.

The weather and snow were the best we've had all season.  I felt pretty good and wanted to ski a lot.  Davan, though, had a cold and spent some of her time in the lodge.  Still, we stayed for a bit over 5 hours and mostly had a good time.

Davan feel asleep when we got home for about an hour and I debated between letting her sleep and waking her up because she'd said she was going to meet Lena at open workout at Do Jump.  I ended up deciding to wake her up and give her the choice, but she woke up on her own and decided to go.

Saturday Davan was still sick.  I also started not feeling well.  Sigh.  Still, I got in my run and strength training in the morning and it wasn't really until afternoon that I started feeling under the weather.

We had a nice peaceful day until 4:00pm when I casually checked the due date for the advanced summer camp at Circus Smirkus.  Some of you may remember that Davan applied for their summer trooper program which is 10 weeks of camp and touring.  However, she didn't make it.  She decided to apply for their advanced summer camp, thinking that might help her make troopers next year.  We decided that she needed a different audition video, based on those that we'd seen online.  I did a preliminary one, but have been collecting footage here and there for a better one.  I've been going along merrily thinking that the deadline for the advanced camp audition materials was in February and, while I have been collecting footage here and there, Davan had several things she wanted to put on there that I haven't gotten yet.  I figured we'd concentrate on that after the Vancouver trip to audition for the National Circus School.

Because, yeah, in between auditioning for the troopers at Circus Smirkus and now, Davan has also decided to apply, with a recommendation from the preselection tour, for the high school at the National Circus School in Montreal.  Keeping up here?

Davan is thinking that if she gets into Montreal, she won't go to Circus Smirkus.  She wants to have more time at home and we want to have more available money for tuition and room and board.  However, it's not, by any means, a done deal for getting in, so we're finishing the application process as a back up.

So, back to yesterday afternoon, when I casually checked the application deadline.  It's January 31st.  That's Tuesday.  And that's not postmarked.  No.  It's there.  Cripes.  So, I've made her video, which is fine, if not as spectacular as we'd been hoping.  Here is it, but if you've been watching videos here, it's a lot of stuff you've already seen.

I called and emailed her two teachers that she'd like to get references from and tried to figure out how to get them quickly.  At first, I had a little hope we'd get everything together and out yesterday.  It became clear quickly that wasn't going to happen.  So, now we're aiming for Monday and getting it there overnight.  Yay.  An extra expense.  Oh well.  We've got all our parts done and one reference scheduled for Monday morning.  I haven't made contact with the other yet, but I have a back up and I'm guessing she'll be able to do it Monday morning, as well.

Okay, this isn't turning out to be quick at all, is it?

This morning, I took Davan and Lena back to SkyHigh again, where they bought 10 hour passes that can be used over up to 10 visits.  It makes it much more affordable, particularly as they each got an hour free today for buying them.  It was busy right away today, which was too bad, but they still had fun and did something new - synchronized tumbling.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

More Gymnastics

I took the camera with me to gymnastics last night, but I told Davan and Lena that I wasn't planning on using it unless one of them got something new because we had a lot of gymnastics footage.  Then they both went and did new stuff.

Lena would prefer to polish what she did prior to me sharing, but Davan started working on a bars sequence that is sort of a mix between the level 4 and level 5 competitive routine and is doing it really well.  At the beginning of the bars rotation, she didn't even look close to her high bar kip, but, as you can see here, she was doing it by the end.  I didn't get her first efforts, but I did get one miss that I'll share.  When she did this recovery move, her coach, who is also an ex professional Do Jumper, said, "And that right there is why I'd hire you.  Even when it went wrong, you made it look cool."  LOL  In fact, speaking of LOL, you can hear Tera doing a lot of that through the music when Davan does her switcharoo.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Saying Goodbye

It's confirmed that today is our last day with Lovely.  I will miss her.  And I'm okay with moving on.

We decided to celebrate today by spending a good chunk of today's pay on going to the Portland Children's Museum.

We used to go there all the time when Davan was younger.  In fact, she didn't really grow out of it until she was about 10, which is a little older than most of the kids you see there.  Today, she felt like she needed to stay close to Lovely to give her a reason for being there.

With some "encouragement" from me, she did do a little exploring herself, which I could tell she really wanted to.

Davan has been thinking this week about how to volunteer to work with young kids again (she volunteered at a preschool prior to our move and loved it, but Lovely has been filling that need for her recently) and had been looking into the volunteer program at the Children's Museum.  When we came home, she went ahead and filled out the form.  We'll see what happens there!

Lovely had a lovely time.

She crawled all over the place and explored everything.

We finally left when she became too exhausted to enjoy herself further.  She's currently taking one of the longest naps she's ever taken at our house, even though she also feel asleep in the car on the way home, which is usually a deal breaker for naps for her.

Goodbye, Lovely.  We'll miss you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Demanding Pets

The other evening, the pets requested that we play a game all together.

Or, at least you'd think it was their idea with the way they flock around whenever we settle on the floor for a game.  They don't like it as much when we sit at the table to play, which we don't do very often, but every now and again Anthony, who isn't very flexible, asks to.  He has trouble sitting on the floor.

Licorice had to think about her moves for a long time.  But, for Ranger, she thought so long that she needed a little rest.

We were playing Tri-Ominoes, which I have a soft spot for because we played for the first time on this trip.  Later, when I saw it at Goodwill, I snatched it up.

It's not, however, Davan's favorite, so we don't play all that often.

You'd think I forced her to be the score keeper or something.  I don't, although it wouldn't hurt the math skills.

Tonight, though, is just Anthony and I, as is the usual on Tuesday nights.  Davan goes to Do Jump from 5:30-9:00 on both Tuesdays and Thursdays.  On Tuesdays, she usually goes early to hang out, leaving the house around 4:00.  On Thursdays, she does yet another class at a different location before and misses out on the hanging out part.

Today, she left at 1:00 to meet a friend who doesn't have school this week.  Emma goes to a private school and is on a different schedule than most of the kids around here.  Her school had semester finals last week.

Anyway, what all that means is that I haven't seen Davan in 8 hours!  If that feels like kind of a long time (not that she hasn't been away longer, but still, I'm used to her being around a lot), imagine what next year might bring with her gone for months.  If this whole Montreal thing happens, I'm in for a rough patch.  Sigh.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Video Mania

I've been all about making videos.  Davan and Lena have been asking me to film them at gymnastics and I've done so for three sessions.  Last night, I put together a video from those three sessions.  I left out all the trampoline stuff because the trampoline action from SkyHigh was better.

The girls are also working on a video.  I'll see if they'll let me post it when they're done.  For now, though, here's my go.

In Flux

We are in flux this week and it's all because of this cute little critter:

Lovely started coming to us in October.  She came on Mondays from 8:30-4:30 and I charged $5/hour.  While the extra money is a plus, it was partially for Davan, seeing as how she doesn't have any siblings and how she loves little kids.  It was a good hands child development course.

We came to look forward to Mondays.  Lovely is an easy baby and the 8:30 start time was easy.  There was plenty of time for me to get in my run still and for Davan to get up at her leisure.  We are tied up on Mondays anyway because Davan teaches at Do Jump.  All-in-all, things were going along swimmingly.

We took a break over the holidays due to us going out of town and to Lovely's grandmother being in town to watch her.

Prior to the break, Lovely's mom had asked if we would be able to take Lovely two days a week - Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6:30-4:00.  We thought about it for a while, but decided we'd miss her too much if she didn't come.  We said yes.

And we did miss her over the holidays.  We were glad to have her come back, aside from my 6:15 wake up call two days in a row every week...

Lovely's mom needed the schedule change because of a new job.  She told me the money was much better. Lovely started showing up at 6:20 and not leaving until 4:05.  I figured this was okay and we'd just round up to 10 hours, rather than 9.5.  That didn't happen, though, which left me a little resentful.

Then, Lovely's mom's schedule started fluctuating all over the place.  The first week this happened, I was super understanding.  She was, obviously, stressed about it and it was okay for us to do Monday and Wednesday that week.

However, the next time it happened, it was just assumed that I would accommodate.  It is a bit of an imposition.  We do have activities and plans.  I was feeling resentful again.

In addition to that, we've been thinking about what next year will be bringing.  Tuition, room and board is potentially looming.  With all of that added up, I decided to ask for a raise.  This weekend, I asked for $6/hour.

Last night, we got the answer.  As things stand right now, this is Lovely's last week.  They say they can't afford the price increase.  I'm sad.  A little relieved.  A little bummed about the lack of supplementary income.  After thinking about it a while, though, and talking with Anthony and Davan, I've offered to keep her until the end of the school year at $5/hour.  I know I won't get an answer until at least this evening because her parents don't check email at work.

I wonder, though, what other situation would people be in that they are offering child care so cheaply?  I wonder where she'll be going.  If she'll get as much attention.  If she goes, though, I'm sure it'll work out.  I'm sure they'll be careful and find a good place for her to be.  And if she does, I'll be a little relieved.  And a little sad.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Jumping Beans

I took Davan and Lena to SkyHigh today.  It was a great rainy day activity.  I'll let the video speak for itself about how it went.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

More Skiing, Much More Snow

This whole last week, the snow has just been dumping up on Mt Hood.  This is a really good thing because the snow cover was awful.  So, not only is it good for skiing, but it's good for the water table come summer.

Still, last weekend, the forecast suddenly called for rain on Friday, our usual ski day.  It changed by Monday, saying snow - 4 to 8 inches.  Seeing as how Thursday's snow was some 28 inches, that seemed reasonable to us.

Davan's friend, Lena, has been wanting to go up with us when the snow was good, so we invited her along.  Actually, first we offered to take her up on Sunday because she's an exchange student and goes to school.  However, I asked her if she felt she could take a Friday off because it's so much less crowded and that's when we usually go.  She said that wasn't a problem at all.

Lena, at 16, has finished mandatory school for Switzerland.  She's planning on doing higher education when she gets back, but hasn't started yet.  So, this year doesn't really count for her.  She's doing a lot of classes that are kind of fluff.  Thus, a day or two off here and there doesn't matter too much to her and she's wanting to experience many things while she's here.

As even more of an aside from skiing, I have to say that Davan is going to miss Lena like crazy next year.  Sure, Davan may be winging off herself, which would ease that pain, but she does so much with Lena every week and they've really gotten to be best friends.  They do all their Do Jump classes together, which is unusual.  Davan has several good friends at Do Jump, but they're only in Zig Zags with her.  Lena is also doing the same two adult classes after Zig Zags that Davan does, which gives them lots of time without other friends as distraction, as they're the only non-adults in those classes.  The two of them also do a two hour gymnastics class together on Wednesdays in which their the only two students currently.  When we told Davan she should invite a friend over to keep her company when we went to Anthony's office party, she invited Lena.  I'm telling you, it'll be a big, ragged hole in her life when Lena leaves if she ends up staying home.

Any-who, back to the skiing.  Lena joined us and it was delightful to have her along.  We did get off to a delayed start when we were about 20 minutes down the road and Lena realized she only had one of her two gloves.  We went back for it.  One gloved snowboarding (which is what Lena likes to do) is not a fun thing.  So, after a false start, we really got going.

We stopped to rent equipment for Lena, who would have liked to rent a helmet, too.  Not everyone wears helmets, but we all so and Lena is used to it, as well.  The place we stopped didn't rent them, but they did sell them and Davan has been needing a new one, as the one she's been skiing in we got her when she was 7 and it doesn't fit very well anymore.  We bought Davan one and then told the girls to figure out which one fit whom the best and just make it work for today.  It turns out that Davan's old one fit Lena fine, so they were all set.  Lena also bought herself a pair of goggles that were on sale for $15, as she didn't have a pair and we had no extra.

So, we finally are going up the mountain.  It's raining.  We started placing bets on when the rain would turn to snow.  We passed all the bet points and it was still raining.  We got nervous.  We pulled into the slushy parking lot to the fall of a wintery mix, feeling like this might not be the best day of skiing ever.  Still, we'd already rented for Lena (actually, she rented for herself - she seems to have a decent spending budget for her stay) and we'd driven up there, so...we dressed and headed to the lodge for Lena to get her ticket.

And the conditions were...less than ideal.  It was a little like skiing through concrete.  A very wet snow was falling.  There was a lot of fog, making visibility very poor.  At times during the day, visibility was so poor between the fog and the snow on our goggles that we could see trees and people, but otherwise, everything just kind of looked white.  That made skiing pretty darn challenging.  It was a skill building day.  If Lena weren't with us, having invested in rental gear and a ticket, we'd have gone home early.

If we had gone home early, though, we'd have missed the afternoon skiing when the precipitation turned to true snow and we were suddenly skiing on powder.  Viability was still crap, but the snow was fun.

Davan, who would usually be saying, "I'm ready to go whenever you guys are," after about an hour of a skill building day, was happily still skiing until 3:30, when we all called it a day.  She giggled and laughed her way though the day along with Lena.  There really is something to taking a friend.

We gave Lena Davan's old helmet to use for the duration of her stay and told her to join us any time she feels like playing hooky on a Friday.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Not So Lovely Today

While we don't have Lovely today, I guess drenching rain could be still be considered a lovely day so long as one is cozy inside, as I am at this moment and have been, aside from that 30 minute easy run dragging Ranger, who is a fair weather dog, through the rain.  Ranger usually resents us drying her feet when we come in from walks, which we do habitually, but today was actually glad to see the drying towel.  Her tail started wagging and everything.

As for me, I wrung out my clothes and hopped in the shower.  It's been warm and cozy there after.

Davan and I broke out Cranium this morning.  It's a group game, but we play it by just doing it cooperatively.  We work together to get one, two or more of the pawns through to the end, taking turns reading the card.

In our version, whoever reads the card has to do the acting out or whatever, except for spelling, which the other person has to do because the card reader sees the word.  Here Davan is sculpting a turtle.

Group things - data heads and other word worms - we do together.  Here she is being a famous person with amnesia.  She was Mae West, but didn't know who that was.  For famous people, you can speak.  You're supposed to act like that person (think "I am not a crook!" or "Yabba-dabba-do!"), but in this case, she used her speaking ability to verbally describe her name.  Call it cheating if you will, but we got this one.

Whereas, we did not fair so well with me humming "I Shot the Sheriff, but I Did Not Shoot the Deputy."  In spite of my exceedingly excellent (not) humming skills, Davan did not guess this song.  In fact, just about the only thing she even suggested was the theme song to Scooby Doo.  Sigh.  Of course, it's important to point out here that she never has watched Scooby Doo, so this was pretty much a shot in the dark.  Humdingers are not our friends.

At the start of one's turn, one chooses which pawn one is taking the turn for.

We used to play the Family Fun version, but we let that go when we moved because Davan usually wanted to play the adult version.

When I first got the camera out, Davan was a little camera shy today.

But, then she came out of her shell and showed why.


Davan would like it if I posted more pictures of her post shower and less pre shower, but I take pictures as the mood strikes.  Poor Davan.

Yesterday, we did have Lovely over.  She was the grumpiest I've ever seen her, at least in the morning.  I was not feeling like calling her Lovely then.  However, she came around in the afternoon, as did the weather.  She and Ranger were waiting for me to be ready for a walk.

I love this suit of hers and plan to ask her parents to send it every time she comes.  I'm often having to make due when I take her outside with wool socks for footed leggings for her and such.  Yesterday, though, there was snow in the morning so they sent this.  Anytime the weather is below 45 or so, though, I think she needs more than a light jacket if I'm taking her out for a walk.

Lovely is coming to us twice a week now - Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Prior to the holidays, it was once a week on Mondays from 8:30-4:30 and it was truly lovely.  I'm a lot less enamored of the 6:30-4:00 Tuesday and Wednesday schedule, but I'm attached and would have a hard time letting her go elsewhere for care.

As for today, I'm off to fill in some holes in Davan's education that came up during Cranium today.  When I acted out "evolution" with not a hopeful bone in my body, she got it pretty fast, so we're doing fine there.  However, when I, with much confidence, acted out "nun," I was sorely disappointed.  Well, I guess that does show some where our priorities lie.  But, still, nun?  Come on.  We've got to get educating here.  We've got Cranium to win.

(To be fair, Davan did guess nun just after the time ran out and she was convinced it was priest for a while, so she's not totally ignorant in this realm.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We Had a Lovely Day Today

That is to say that Lovely (this is not her real name) was here today, not that it was necessarily a lovely day.  Don't get me wrong, I adore this baby

not to mention the teenager who's holding her, but any day that starts at 6:15am is at a disadvantage in my book.  I'm not an early riser.

When Lovely showed up in her footie pjs today, Davan decided to join in the lounge wear look.  They two of them were snugly all day.  Well, up until Davan showed before going out to meet her Zig Zag friends and then go to Do Jump for class and Lovely went home.  Still, until 4pm was most of the day.

Ranger, who didn't make it out much today due to the not so great weather (cold and rainy, mostly, with a little mix of very wet snow this morning), was less enamored of the debris that accompanies Lovely days.

So, she retreated to her bed.

Davan also claims this bed, but Ranger uses it more by my reckoning.  Plus, Davan is, you know, planning to abandon us, so then it'll really be Ranger's bed.

I'm not sure why Davan chose to do math in the living room today with Lovely about.  It does add an extra challenge, what with the trying to keep the book, notebook and pencil out of Lovely's reach.

Still, the day was fine.  I am tired, but mostly in a I got up before I wanted to way.  Lovely had a pretty good day.  I got stuff done, even with the pj party going on.  All that said, I could live without the 6:15 alarm tomorrow morning.  Sigh.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Snow, Sort Of

We've been having snow fall from the sky off and on the last couple of days.  However, I say it's only sort of snow because it's been just as likely to be rain or, briefly yesterday afternoon, hail.  Thus, it hasn't stuck at all.

Davan and her friend Lena were pleased by the snow yesterday morning.  They rushed to the window to look out at the rain/snow mix.  They were playing Journey Through Europe when I went in to tell them it was snowing.

Then, they rushed back again when it turned to big fluffy snow, which actually drew them outside for a while.

Lena, who is an exchange student from Switzerland, was funny, though.  She kept saying, sarcastically, but in a fun way, "I've never seen this before."

After Davan went with Lena to the library and walked her home, we spent a quiet afternoon at home.  We spent some of our time corrupting Davan by teaching her the finer points (as we know them - we're no great shakes) of Blackjack.

Nothing like a little Sunday afternoon gambling.  We didn't let Ranger have a hand, but Anthony and Davan took turns sharing with her.  She's only 3.5, after all.

Today has been an interesting mix of holiday and not here.  Anthony is off, but Davan has all of her activities.  So, this morning she left to go teach at Do Jump for a while and this afternoon she's off at her straps class.  (The link shows her teacher, Shersten, doing straps, if you don't know what it is.  I don't have a video of Davan doing it yet.)

In between, though, we went to Forest Park for a hike for some of us and a run for me.  I needed to do a 60 minute run today.  I'm feeling much better, by they way, still tired, but not exhausted.  Again, I don't know why, but I'm sticking with the healthy food and feeling very pleased about feeling better.

Anyway, off we went, mostly because I wanted to do a run on a trail.  Leif Erickson is a wide, gravely path, so the wet weather didn't make it too muddy to run on.  Anthony and Davan came for a walk in the woods, but neither wanted to run.  While I feel a little guilty about it, I didn't take Ranger, even though she'd have liked the running part, she also likes the stopping to sniff and pee parts, so I left her with the others to do that.

Briefly during the run, it snowed a bit, which was nice, but then it really stared to snow at the end, which was very pretty, but it still didn't stick.

It was snowing in this picture, but you can't really see it.

It was a good run, but I ended up going longer than my 60 minutes because it's uphill going, so I went 40 minutes out, thinking I'd be faster coming back.  I wasn't.  It had leveled out enough after the first mile that it didn't make a big difference.  I did slow down after 65 minutes and just jogged in the rest.

By the time I got to my family, they were all cold.  The poor dog was shivering.  But, she recovered quickly in the warm car, probably because she was so pleased with putting her muddy paws on the seat.  Or maybe that was just incidental.  Sigh.

I made Davan ride her bike to her class this evening, as usual, which I feel a little bad about, considering the cold, wet weather, but class should have just gotten out and it's not raining at the moment, so hopefully it'll hold out for her until she gets home.  Then she can put on her footies and warm up if she likes.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Playing Dress Up

Davan had a friend spend the night last night, but it wasn't the two of them who dressed up.

Anthony and I were the ones dressing up because we had a party to go to.  Anthony's office does their party in January to avoid the holiday rush.

Usually, I more or less enjoy these events, but I have to say that I had a little trepidation last night, seeing as how the party went from 6-10pm and I've been in bed with the light out at 9pm all week, but I was willing to give it a go and, as I mentioned, I did feel a bit better yesterday.

Look - at least a part of Licorice made the blog.  See?  She gets her screen time.

I'm wearing all clothes that belong to Davan from the dress to the shrug to the "tan tights" which she has from dance.  I've got my own undies on, you'll be happy to know.  I don't actually own anything that seemed appropriate to going to a mascaraed.

Anthony?  Well, he wore pretty much his usual work attire, but added the tie.  Still, quite handsome, no?

The party was fun.  I lasted until 9:30, after which I faded fast, but we stayed until 10 when they did the raffle drawing, from which we, thankfully, won nothing.  The item Anthony was interested in was a coffee maker that would have taken up way too much counter space.  The rest of the items?  Well, we really didn't need a basked of candy, thank you very much.

There were hor'dourves and drinks, a buffet dinner (I'd eaten before we went, so I just had veggies from the buffet), a chocolate fountain (and fruit without using the fountain) and gambling.  Yup.  Gambling.  They've done this style of party before and it's fun.  We each get a certain amount of play money to start.  There's blackjack, poker, and roulette to choose from.  Money that is left at the end is exchanged for raffle tickets, so you can just hold onto your money or grow it or loose it as you and the fates choose.

I played blackjack all night and was hot for a long time, but started loosing at the end when I started gambling big, knowing I had no interest in the prizes.

We came home to find the girls watching a Jackie Chan movie (odd because Davan has never been interested before) and drinking smoothies they'd made.  I hit the hay, totally whooped.  Actually, though, this morning, I just feel like I had a late night for the most part.  Granted, it feels like it was a really late night, not in bed by 10:30, but that's still not bad, considering.

I heard the girls go to bed around midnight and they're still sleeping now (nearly 9am), which is good as an indicator of what Davan's future mood will be.  Davan has asked for nothing too weird for breakfast, so I'm still not totally sure what we'll be eating.  LOL

The only sad thing about the sleeping in is that they've missed the snow.  We don't often get snow in town here and this wasn't a big deal, as there was no sticking at all, but we did have some pretty flakes falling this morning.  What is really great about that is that it's dumping up on the mountain!  Yay!  We're looking forward to our Friday ski this week after a forecast of snow all week!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I've Not Been Well

I've been trying to pretend that all is well, but the reality is that I've had a rough couple of weeks health-wise.  It started early last week with feeling like I had a bit of a virus of some sort.  I had a sore throat and an upset stomach (these things do not often go together for me) and I was really tired.  The sore throat pretty much went away after a couple days, but I never felt totally better.

Then, at the end of the week, I had four nights in a row of sleeping really poorly.  I was super tired, but couldn't fall asleep for a long time, couldn't stay asleep and, when I was sleeping, had really vivid dreams which didn't help me to feel rested at all.

I started sleeping again Sunday night, which was a big relief, but, even with sleeping plenty (some nights 10+ hours), I've just continued to be very, very tired.  I wake up feeling not well rested and it gets worse throughout the day.  I feel and look like I haven't slept much in a couple of days.  It sucks.

My stomach continues to hurt.  My throat actually hurts off and on, but I realized years ago that my throat gets sore when I'm really tired and I've realized that's what's going on now.  I have really bad headaches in the afternoon and evening, which I'm pretty sure have to do with being tired, too.  I also feel sort of like I have a sunburn - my skin is itchy and uncomfortable frequently, often shortly after eating.

I'm not really sure what's going on.  I've promised Anthony that I will go to the doctor if it goes on one more week, but I don't have a lot of confidence in the medical profession to figure stuff like this out.  The fact is that I've felt tired in spite of plenty of sleep for a long time, this is just worse than "normal" and no one has been able to tell me what's wrong,  This is unpleasant, as it leaves me thinking it's all in my mind.

However, in the spring, I had some blood work done and what I found is that I'm anemic and at the extremely low but normal  range on several key nutrients including sodium, potassium and calcium.  What's the kicker here is that I eat well.  I consume a lot of these nutrients.  I thought maybe the issue was Celiac Disease, as I talked about here.  After our three month gluten free trial, I didn't feel appreciably better.  Davan didn't feel different at all.  We both went back to eating gluten on the 16th of December.

I didn't start feeling really bad until last week - around the 3rd.  Does that mean that the gluten free eating actually did help, but it took a while of eating it for the symptoms to come back?  Does it mean something else entirely?  I don't really know.

What I do know, though, is that I really don't like how I feel.  I also feel strongly in the healing powers of high nutrient foods.  The stomach issues have me thinking that it might be diet related.  I've decided that I need to try something.  I'm putting myself on a detox diet.  For two weeks, I'm going to be eating strictly, then slowly adding in foods.  I'll be keeping a food journal so I can see if I find any patterns to my symptoms.

I have, both, high hopes and low expectations.  I know that's dichotomous, but it's still accurate.  I couldn't do it without high hopes, but I also don't feel like I can expect perfect results.  My body sort of seems to just work this way.

While a little weight loss wouldn't be repugnant to me at all, it's really much more about feeling well.  My plan isn't to starve myself at all, just to eat very well.  Today, I have to say, that I'm feeling a little better already.  Is this because whatever this is has mostly run it's course?  Is it hope?  Is it that I've only eaten very clean foods?  I don't really know.  And I'm not totally better, just a little less tired this afternoon, my stomach is churning a bit less and, so far, only a very slight headache.

Meanwhile, life goes on.  Anthony and Ranger went for a walk this morning while I stayed in bed and read a little.  After my morning post, I went for a 20 minute easy run with Ranger, followed by some strength work.  (Although, I have to say that nothing feels easy right now, so the run was difficult even though I tried to keep my pace down.)  We had a visitor who brought Davan a gift that she's so, so excited about.

Rosetta Stone for French!  A cousin of Anthony's whom we see something like twice a year, but who is a very nice person who is very interested in Davan, had the program and offered to loan it out to Davan.  Davan was over the moon.  She got it all set up and is through Lesson 1 already.

We also got in a game of Munchkin.  I tried on an outfit for Anthony's office party this evening.  I'm mostly borrowing from Davan.  LOL.  Anthony did a kick-ass bike/weight workout.  We've all done some reading.  It's raining out here and feels nice to be inside with the lights on, warm and dry.

Friday Skiing Video

Keep in mind, we are none of us great skiers and, on top of that, this video doesn't necessarily catch our finest moments, but we think it's cute.

Friday Skiing

We went skiing yesterday, as per normal on Fridays this winter.  We have annual passes to Mt Hood Meadows Ski Resort this year and have set Fridays aside as our skiing day to get the most out of them.  Anthony, who usually has every other Friday off due to 9 hour work days, takes the opposite Friday off with vacation time so that we can ski on weekdays.  Once you get used to skiing on weekdays, weekends pretty much suck, I must day.  We're so spoiled that having to wait for 10 groups to get on the chairlift in front of us seems like an imposition.

Anyway, yesterday, we took the camera.  Here I am, just hanging.

It was a beautiful day weather-wise, but we haven't been getting enough snow and there were a lot of bare patches, which was a bummer.  Supposedly, we're due to go back to regularly scheduled winter as of this afternoon and snow should fall off and on all week.  That would make next Friday very different!

Davan, spraying snow.  She likes to work on her turns by trying to spray us in snow when she stops.

Our usual plan is get up whenever (usually between 7 and 7:30), have one adult take Ranger out while the other loads the car (usually I've prepared food the night before), then we wake Davan up if she's not away and are on our way by 8:00.

Yesterday, I didn't get around to food prep until that morning, so Anthony took Ranger out, then loaded the car while I put food together.

We ate apple slices and PB&J's in the car on the way up for breakfast.  Ranger was wishing someone had thought to pack her a PB&J, too.  She comes up with us and spends a bit of time in the dog park they have up there when we first get there, then gets, sadly, stuffed back in the car.  So far, the weather has been quite nice and we've had to crack a window for her.  If it'll be really cold, we'll leave her home, like we did on New Year's Eve, but this time, we'll make sure there's not chocolate soy milk boxes on top of the fridge or anywhere else for that matter.

Davan, heading into the shade.

We ski for 3.5 hours, give or take, depending on such factors as mood, weather, health, the itchiness of Davan's head, then go back to the car to spring Ranger back to the dog park and load up.

We eat lunch in the car on the way home.  Yesterday, that was veggies sandwiches made with veggies of choice and hummus with baby carrots and sugar snap peas with more hummus to dip them in.  It hasn't always been so healthy, but I'm wanting to be better about my eating.  In fact, there may be another post about that today.

Riding the lift.

We all have fun, expect, we suspect for Ranger, who, while she enjoys the brief dog park frolics, wonders why the heck we spend all that time driving up to the mountain and then don't even take her for a hike.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More Gaming

Davan and I are limiting ourselves to no more than one episode (45 minutes roughly) of show watching a day during the day.  Between that and evening watching with Anthony, it's still probably too much most days, but we're not having any more days that are spent vegging out all day and that's an improvement right now.

It's odd, but again, I feel the need to justify.  We do a lot of other things, as well - walking/running the dog, reading, shopping, math for Davan, chores and Davan does a lot of classes.  Even with all that, it's amazing how much time we can find for TV.  But, as I said, we're trying to limit it.

Right now, we're working our way through the second season of Dollhouse.  Some episodes are a little much for Davan, but she's interested enough that she just hides her face when things get too hairy.

Anyway, we're having a lay low sort of day today, as we're both feeling a little blah, we've had a couple of busy days this week and Davan has 5 hours worth of physically taxing classes this evening, so this morning, we played a game over breakfast again.  

This morning, we got out Careers.  We went through a big time Careers phase last winter, starting one day when we played in front of a lovely fire on a cold day pretty much all day.  After a couple months of fairly intense play, it started loosing it's shine a bit.  However, we still enjoy it from time to time and today was one of those days.

Although, after I snatched the win out from under Davan in our first game, she both wanted a chance at revenge and was a little sulky.  She'd been so, so close.

We went for another round.  Sadly, I won by the skin of my teeth again.

Davan didn't sulk at all this time.  She'd like you all to know that.  It doesn't mean it's not true.  She was a good sport.

We play a variation that we enjoy quite a bit more than the original.  We each run two pawns, whom we name.  We used to play that they were partners from the beginning, but we've lately come up with a new rule in which they play their own separate games until they meet (land on the same spot), after which time they combine money and resources (opportunities and experience).  Pretty much they get married.  They each still have to fulfill their own success formula, have their own careers and make their own salaries.  We choose each time which person we're taking the turn for before we roll (rather than just going back and forth).

We long ago ran out of the formula sheets that come with the game, so we create our own on scrap each time we play.

We also like to vary the total for the success formula, depending on how long a game we want to play.  Lately, we've only done the rule-stated 60, but in the past, we've gone up to 120 for each of our characters.

Our characters, of course, have personalities and such, which adds to the fun of it.  It makes it a combination of game playing and imaginative play of the sort that Davan doesn't really do anymore, but did constantly up until a couple of years ago (maybe less).  Now her creativity comes out more in writing and creating shows.  And, it turns out, playing Careers.


Ranger and I went for a run this morning.

This wouldn't be unusual, except that I took a little over a week off of running and am now starting a new training program.  This program, sort of cobbled together from a couple of different sources, but mostly following, on my own schedule, the plan from this book.

When I was doing some research into a plan, I realized that everything I was reading was telling me I was running too much.  I have an easier time feeling like I'm making progress when I'm pushing myself, but I'm going to try giving one of these plans a try.

That meant that, today, at least, I did an easy 20 minute run.

Ranger is a little worried about this.

Worry not, Ranger, we'll start increasing again.  Meanwhile, I did walk a little extra with her this morning, but it's cold and windy and running wear is not meant for casual strolling is this sort of weather, so it wasn't too long.  Still, Ranger, I promise we'll get you some exercise.  Even if it means you have to run with Dad.

(Okay, that last bit is an inside joke in our family.  Anthony doesn't take Ranger running usually because Ranger doesn't keep up with him well.  It's a sad, sad thing.  Ranger is always running ahead of me, except when it's time to pee or sniff or bark at a dog, but she can't seem to keep up with Anthony.  What does that tell you about our respective running speeds?  Sigh.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Anthony's New Toy

Remember my new toy?  It was an early Christmas gift, as you may recall.

Well, this weekend, Anthony went out and bought his own new toy.

His new toy?  The water bottle cages were more than my new toy.  Does this seem fair?  I think not.  I am lobbying for better toys.  Okay, not really.  I don't want more stuff.  I would like more vacations, though, maybe.  Or, you know, maybe being able to afford boarding school for the kid.

To be fair, Anthony used money he got when he sold his motorcycle when we moved.  It was his earmarked money to spend.  And he seems really happy.

And.  Well.  I did get to go to China this past spring, so what can I say, really?

I'm glad he has his heart's desire.  I sure hope his heart doesn't start desiring again too soon, though.

Just for kicks, I'll share another photo that landed in the "new bike" folder somehow.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Journey Through Europe

No, sadly, we aren't planning our next big vacation.  In fact, with the possibility of boarding school tuition/room and board/fees/ect, I don't know that we'll ever take a vacation again.  Okay, we probably will.  It just feels overwhelming right now.  It'll all work out.  Right?

Anyway, back to Journey Through Europe.  It's a game.  We got it a while back at Goodwill, but it somehow just sat for a fairly long time.  I got it out for the three of us to play once and it, while I enjoyed it, I thought that Davan really didn't, so I didn't suggest it again for a while.  Still, when we moved, we brought it.  After all, I'd liked it and we'd only played it once.

Recently, I asked Davan if we should just move the game on, as we hadn't been playing it.  No, she said, she'd liked it.  So, we took it out and started playing it again recently (maybe a couple months ago).  We've been playing it fairly regularly ever since.  We even took it to Colorado with us and introduced Oma to the game.

Here's the thing about this game - most of it is setting up.  You have a board with a map of Europe on it.  You get a home city plus eight more city cards.  You plan a route that passes through all those cities and then goes back to your home city.  Some cities are special and there are instructions for those.  You definitely want to plan for those bumps or pushes along the way.

Once your route it planned, a lot of it is luck - how well you role, mostly.

We played this morning over breakfast.  This is Davan doing actual route planning, not posing, even though it looks like I set this up.

We enjoy the game because of it's armchair travel aspect.  Davan really wants to travel and enjoys dreaming about it.  It's also fun to talk about where we've actually been.  In the rule book, there are short blurbs about some of the cities, as well, and sometimes Davan likes to play where she reads about each city that she passes through, if there is an available blurb.  So, one could say that there is a lot of educational value here.

I enjoy the strategy of route planning combined with the luck of the role and the luck of the draw (sometimes the cities are seriously difficult to get to, other times, not so much).  I'm all about the combination of luck and strategy when it comes to games.  All one or all the other is usually not very interesting to me.

Licorice enjoyed the box lid, but couldn't be bothered to actually look at us or anything.

Anyway, if you come across the game at Goodwill or a garage sale or what-have-you, it's well worth picking up.  That said, even though we enjoy it, I'm not sure I'd pay full price.  Of course, it's rare that I think full price is worth paying on games, so you could take that with a grain of salt.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Anthony's Project

There's still a bit left do do on the project that Anthony's been working on and that's been cluttering up our house for a couple weeks, but it's near completion, it's not causing clutter anymore (much) and it's usable, so I'll show you what it is.

It's a pull up bar!  But, wait!  There's more!

Anthony created a system where the bar can be set at different heights so it can be used for more than just pull ups.

To show you some of it's versatility, here's a short video.

I'm sure that Davan will explore all of it's levels in great detail eventually and we'll have more to share.  Right now, though, she's dedicated herself to doing a pull up and a pike up every time she passes underneath. (With the exception of when she's carrying Lovely who is here with us today after a break for the holidays.  We sure missed her.)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Not Your Ordinary Dinner

Davan made dinner tonight.  She's been asking to do so all week, but it hasn't worked out until tonight between classes of hers and skiing (after which we ate out) until tonight.  It wasn't an every day sort of dinner, though.  We did not sit at the table and eat.   Nor did we eat in front of the TV (which we, of course, never, ever do).  No, we ate in nearly every room of the house in a nearly three hour event that Davan called

The Amazing Race Dinner!

We started with a clue box.

This clue box contained 5 clues to be done in order.

We (Anthony and I) took turns opening the clue box, finding the clue and reading the clue, which lead us along a trail of clues to a particular destination and course of the meal.

We first ate apples in the closet while telling about our best and worst parts of today.

Next, our clues lead us to the kitchen, were we ate broccoli.

Or maybe sucked a little blood.  We played the game where we each add to a monster, without knowing what the others have drawn.

As we hunted around for clues, Ranger tried to help.

Really, though, she just wanted in on the food action.

We ended up in the master bedroom, playing Sleeping Queens and eating polenta fries, but I seem to have missed a picture of that course.

Next up was the couch, where we ate chips and salsa while watching a video Davan made.

We really enjoyed it, so we watched it twice.

Lastly, we wound up in Davan's room for dessert and a couple of rounds of Munchkin, both of which Davan won.  Sigh.

We ate pretzels dipped in a chocolate peanut butter sauce while Ranger watched mournfully from the bed.

After a while, though, she got tired of maintaining constant vigilance.

Remember Anthony's Munchkin partner?

Oh, and I was thrilled to pull on the Knee pads of Allure...until that treacherous Davan stole them from me.  Grrr.