Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lots of Medical Types and Other Things

Well, life keeps going, even with a bump to be removed and disappointing news.  Ranger has an appointment on Monday with a veterinary surgeon for an estimate.  Her regular vet will do it if we want, but she suggested that we consult wit a soft tissue surgeon because of how close it is to her eye.

We're actually having a lot of medical appointments right now for a couple of reasons I haven't blogged about yet.  I may do more in depth posts about these things later, but one issue is back pain that Davan's been dealing with and the other is mine and is hopefully nothing, but still taking up time and energy.

Anyway, other than medical stuff...Davan is sad about not getting in, but is also taking it very well.  She's determined to try again next year.  She's also looking forward to taking a trip to Switzerland to visit Lena, which is something we said we'd try to swing if she didn't get in.  Lena, while feeling for Davan about not getting in, was very excited about Davan getting to come to Switzerland.  We're thinking she might go for the month of December, but nothing is set in stone.

In the good things category, Davan has been having a lot of fun this week with it being spring break.  I'm hoping to pull together something cohesive about what she and Lena have been up to - challenging because they're pretty independent for short distances, meaning I'm not there with the camera for many things, but we'll see what I can do.  To tide you over, here's a video of Davan and another friend, Summer, at Sky High.  It's a lot different from when she goes with Lena, but fun in it's way, too!

Grrr!  I'm having You Tube issues again, so here's a link to the video rather than embedding.  Sorry!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sad, Sad Teenager

Dear Madam,
Dear Sir,

Following the Entrance Examination 2012, we regret to inform you that your child’s candidacy has not been accepted for the program leading to a circus and high school studies program.

The process of selection is based on criteria pertaining to the School vocation and aims to find the best candidates able to assume the load. In the interest of fairness and integrity toward all participants, we hereby inform you that the analysis of the jury leading to a refusal will not be revealed.

In the meantime, we thank you for your interest in the School and its programs.

Yours truly,

Johanne Larose
Technicienne Registraire
8181, 2e Avenue
Montréal  QC  Canada  H1Z 4N9
Tél. : 514 982-0859 poste 239
Téléc. : 514 982-6025

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ranger Danger

As you can probably tell, we are rather fond of our dog around here.

One of her nick names is Ranger Danger just because it rhymes.

But, it turns out that she's actually in some danger.  Sigh.

Some of you may have noticed that she has a bump on her face, near her right eye.  We first noticed it about the time that top picture was taken - last summer. It was on a camping trip and we were sure she'd gotten injured.

But, it's still hanging out.  And it seems like it's becoming more prominent.  I'm not totally sure if it's gotten bigger or just changed - the fur is rubbed off of it, for one.

So, I made her a vet appointment and off we went today.

They poked at it, much to Ranger's dismay, making it even more noticeable, as you can see below.

And, it turns out that she was right to be dismayed.  It's malignant and needs to be removed.  They did a blood draw, as well, for presurgery.  Thus, the fetching purple bandage on her leg.

And she still looks worried, no?  There is good news, though.  There's over an 80% chance that all that needs to be done is removing the bump and she'll be fine.  I'm choosing to believe that that is what will happen.

Meanwhile, though, even with that belief there is the bad news.  This is going to cost us an arm and a leg when all is said and done.  Because it's close to her eye, the vet would like us to consider talking to a board certified surgeon because they can be more aggressive about removing tissue than our vet would want to be. Just today's visit wasn't cheap and then she needs to take Prilosec (yeah, that's cheap) and Benadry daily because this type of tumor tends to throw of histamines which need to counteracted.  And, really, in the grand scheme of all this is going to cost us, that cost is minor, but still.  

Ranger, however, is more than worth it, particularly with such a good prognosis.  I don't know what we'd do without her.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Break

It's spring break for the local schools here in Portland this week.  Spring break never used to be a big deal for us.  We just went about our regular business of life other than maybe choosing to stay away from places like the science museum because school was out and it would be busy.

However, with Davan in Zig Zags, it's been a bit more on the radar for us the last couple of years.  Last year, for example, we took the opportunity for Davan not to miss any practices and went to Colorado to visit my parents.

This year we're not going anywhere, but Davan is supper excited that it's spring break.  She's still doing her daily math and French.  She's still doing chores.  However, the exciting thing?  Lena is off school!  Davan and Lena have plans all week.  More specifically, they have plans to do something together everyday all week - exactly what is a bit looser, although they do have a whole set of ideas.

Yesterday was sunny and eventually got pretty warm.  Lena showed up after her morning ortho appointment and the girls took off for the park with plans to go to Oak's Park - the local, smallish amusement park where they were running a two for one special this week - at noon when they opened.  I'd agreed to give them a ride, but later thought they really should have ridden their bikes.  It's not that far, the weather was nice and it would have saved me time.

Turns out that time saving would have been good yesterday.  Luckily, I got in and went grocery shopping first thing in the morning because I got a call from Do Jump asking if Davan could sub for the afternoon session of their spring break camp yesterday.  She couldn't, having made plans, but I offered myself up if they were desperate.  I'm not a trained teacher for Do Jump, but I am an advanced student, so I know what I'm doing and they've had me teach before when desperate.  They said they'd let me know.

I took the girls to Oak's Park, walked Ranger quickly, and ran (literally) to Do Jump, telling the girls that I could pick them up after 4:00 or they could, if they so desired, walk home.  It'd be a long walk at about 5 miles, but not undo-able.  I also mentioned some options like walking on the Springwater Corridor.  I mentioned these things because Davan has recently started to feel a little motion sick on some rides and Lena was expressing similar concerns.

After my three hours of teaching (Whew, three hours is a long time to entertain kids!  It was fun, but I was ready to be done and I must say I like teaching the hour or hour and a half classes better.), I found some 6 text messages on my phone plus a voice mail.  Not all were from Davan.

A friend of mine was texting to reschedule a walk we'd been supposed to take that morning but she'd had to cancel due to a sick kid.  My mother in law was calling to confirm that she was coming to dinner.  And then there was Davan.

She and Lena had gotten done with Oak's Park around 3:00 and had opted to walk on the Springwater a bit.  She texted with a meet up place for me to pick them up.  Then she texted to say that they were getting themselves home as an adventure and they knew what they were doing.  The last one was to say that she was just texting in case I was worried, but they were fine, on a bus and headed toward home.

Okay, then.  I'm a free range type of parent, so this didn't freak me out.  In fact, I'm glad that she and Lena felt confident enough to tackle the buses on their own.  Lena, apparently, usually carries a bus schedule in her bag, but didn't have one yesterday, so they were winging it based on common sense and previous bus riding experience.

The next text I got, in the middle of trying to get dinner together for company and walking the dog again, was that they were at Lena's and she'd be home for dinner.  Awesome.

So, we finished the day with dinner with my MIL.  It was a pretty full day for all.

Today Davan is going to Sky High with another friend - gasp!  Then there is an optional Zig Zag workout this evening, after which Lena is coming over to spend the night.  The girls have plans to visit Voodoo Doughnuts and watch Harry Potter movies.  Davan had given them up after the third one, disappointed in the adaptation, but Lena has talked her into giving them another try.

I know there is more on tap for the week, but we'll see what develops.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hunger Game Sunday

Like many people this weekend, with or without teenagers, we went to see the Hunger Games.  We waited until Sunday to do so because we weren't supper excited about staying up 'til the wee hours on Friday morning and because we wanted to take Lena with us, which ended up meaning Sunday, particularly if we wanted to make a day of it, which we did.  It was a fun day, too.

We started off picking Lena up at 10:30 and going to Sky High for a couple of hours.

The girls jumped lots, of course, but they also took a break to rest their backs.

It wasn't overly busy, but there was a pack of teenage girls running laps around the trampolines, making it kind of difficult for Davan and Lena to do their long tumbling runs.  They still managed to have fun, though, and need tons of water.

We then went to Red Robin for lunch.  Lena hasn't been to one and we all need that American bottomless fries experience, no?  The girls were impressed with the fancy napkin Red Robin had.

It was a hit, although Lena thought there was a little too much salad with the Keep it Simple burger with a bocca patty that the girls both got.  She ended up pulling it out and eating it separately.  :)  A couple extra baskets of fries were requested.  It seemed to be a hit.

We took Ranger with us because we had times where we could walk her and it would have been a long day home alone for her.  Anthony and I each took her out for a walk while the girls jumped at Sky High, but she was still anxious to go out again after lunch.

We got to the theater with time to spare and there was no line, so we traded in our printout (we'd bought in advance just in case) for tickets then took Ranger for short walk.

Meanwhile, the girls found ways to entertain themselves.

We went in about a half an hour early to make sure we got seats.

It was a good think we did, too, because, while it didn't sell out, it was pretty packed by the time the movie started and late comers had to make due with not overly great seats.

We very rarely go to the theater for movies, so it was an experience for us.  Actually, we used to go all the time.  Before Davan was born, going to the movies was a regular weekend activity for Anthony and I.  Then we got out of the habit.  And then we found we were getting more and more picky about what movies we wanted to see.  Not to mention the fact that free from the library or cheap rentals with the ability to pause the movie sounded better and better and you end up with the reality that the last time we were at a movie theater was just over a year ago and I think it'd been an even longer stretch before the time previous to that.

So, did we enjoy our theater experience?  Yes, yes we did, but we won't be making it a habit.  It was fun to be in a crowd of people who were all excited to watch the movie.  It was interesting to see how many people needed to have electronic entertainment while waiting for the movie to start.  Most were playing games or maybe texting, but there was one teen girl who was actually watching a movie on her small device with ear buds in while waiting.

And we enjoyed it because we did like the movie.  There was some camera work particularly in the beginning that made both Anthony and I worry about how it would go, but, after that, I really only noticed the odd camera work during the fight scenes, when it was used to disguise a bit what what happening.  All four of us thought it was a pretty good interpretation of the book.  We heard someone say before the movie started that it was better than the book, but I would not agree with that, even though I thought it was good.

What we didn't like?  Well, it does add up to pay for four people to go when we are used to free movies.  I'd rather spend my entertainment money on live entertainment for the most part.  And, not surprisingly for me, I did need to use the bathroom in the middle of the two and a half hour movie, so I missed a bit for that.

Over all, we had a fun day, particularly for the girls who got to jump rather than watch people jump.  :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Before and After Pictures

Davan and I went to get our hair cut on Friday.  We opted for Supercuts because they're cheap, we're not picky and they were on the way to another appointment.  Davan and I each got our hair cut by a different person.  The instructions were the same to each person, though.

For different reasons, Davan and I are both growing our hair out.  I really like mine short, but I dislike the need for monthly haircuts to keep it up.  I'm rather a cheapskate.  I also like my hair in a bob.

And that, I can make Anthony cut every so often.

Davan, though, has somewhat different reasons.  She really dislikes talking to hairdressers about what she wants done, has had some disappointing cuts and has been taken for a boy, particularly by young kids which she's not overjoyed about.  So, she's going to try a bob, as well.  She'll do hers without bangs, though.  She's had it like this before, but it's been a long time.

Still, it's one of my favorite cuts on her.  We did try it with bangs, as well, but didn't like that look quite as much.

We never could really get that part out of her bangs, so they were always split.  We tried them to keep her hair out of her face more, but we liked it better without.

Anyway, we're both growing out, but not wanting to look overly shaggy while doing so.  We decided to go get the bottoms trimmed, but leave the tops alone so they'd grow out and start catching up.

We each told the hairdresser, "Please clean it up around the ears and in the back, but leave the top alone."

Mine when from this:

(sorry - turns out there aren't a lot of good headshots of me floating around)
to this:

I actually like it.  It's my opinion that it looks better in person, as well.  :)  I was having Davan take pictures, but it didn't go so well and we ended up with a lot of odd pictures.  I find this strange because she was really into photography when she was about 6 and took nice pictures.  This time we ended up with stuff like this:

Which, okay, it's horrible, but when one is trying to get a shot of one's hair, there is sure a lot of background noise.

And this:

Which is maybe a little close, don't you think?

Davan's went from this:

to this:

See how much it changed?  Yeah, me neither.  It's the same hair!  It is cleaned up a little around her ears and  a bit in the back.  Her hair dresser told her, though, that the sides would take the longest to grow out because they're so short!  What sort of logic is that!?!?!  The sides don't have so far to go - it's the top that needs to catch up.

I told Davan I wanted to get her back in the chair and clean it up some more, but she didn't want to have that confrontation, even if it was me talking.  She wasn't real happy with her hair, but wanted to put up with it rather than have to talk to them about it not being what she wanted.  So we payed for a haircut that wasn't.  Sigh.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Continuing with the Run of Videos...

This is a bit from Thursday's end of winter term class that Davan and Lena take at Do Jump.  It wasn't so much of a polished show as just showing what they've been working on and playing with over the course of the term. 

In the first part - two people on one trapeze, Davan and Lena have different partners because of the difference in their hights.  And, in fact, Lena's partner is their teacher.

In the second part - two people on two trapezes, I've put in the part they did together.  They each also did some of this with other people from the class, but this probably more than enough to share.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More Sky High

The Sky High trip I'm reporting on here is actually an old one.  We all went to Sky High when my aunt and grandma were in town to watch the girls jump.  It just took a while before I got the footage from the trip and then a while longer before I got around to doing anything with it.

As usual, Davan and Lena had a great time.

As usual, they took occasional breaks for a cooling fan session or

a refreshing drink of water.

At the end, they did their new usual - stretching to stave off soreness the next day.  Davan never mentions soreness to me except in her back.  Apparently, though, Lena gets really sore after Sky High visits.

The stretching, while apparently helpful, isn't always totally serious.

As usual, they did a lot of tricks.

Sharp readers may notice something a little different, though.  Watching each other go isn't just the other and maybe a random passerby, but a person in a brown shirt and jeans.  That made this trip unusual and, thus, blog worthy even though it's been a long gap.

Who is the person in brown?  That's me!

I jumped with the girls for a while.  While I am also a trampoline fan, I don't usually jump for a variety of reasons varying from conflicting with run workouts to paying for it to last, but certainly not least, a definite Mommy bladder if you know what I mean.

That Sunday, though, my aunt Candy was interested in what I could do, so, even though I was woefully unprepared in my jeans, I went out and jumped, too.

While I'm not on the level of Davan and Lena, aerials aside, I didn't do half bad for myself.  I even have a video to share with you.  Because I care, I left in some of Davan and Lena, too, not to mention a brief clip of a girl who was jumping with a tail.  Fun!  Oh, and the music choice is mostly because it was actually what was playing during part of the filming.  You'll probably notice that there are lots of high fives going around, but I never get one.  Sigh.

Monday, March 19, 2012

St Patrick's Day Dinner

Little did I know that I'd be celebrating St Patty's Day this year.  I'd thought about signing up for the St Patty's Day run, but didn't get around to thinking about it too hard until just last Monday and the event was sold out.  Ah well.  Still, though, I got to celebrate, thanks to Davan.

Davan offered to make dinner Saturday night and I was down with that.  I was expecting a particular recipe she's been eyeing in the Peas and Thank You cookbook, but was surprised to discover that she had something quite different planned.  I guess I still have that particular recipe to look forward to another evening.

The festivities started off with a walk.  I forgot to take the camera for this particular event and we'll all have to live with that.  Davan had gone out earlier this week and taken pictures of  18 different landmarks in the neighborhood with her phone, which was wise because she'd have never hidden it from me had she used the camera.  She gave us one picture at a time and we had to figure out where it was.  We did pretty well at this, needing hotter and colder clues on only two of the pictures.  Davan was surprised at how well we managed, but, as Anthony pointed out, we walk in our neighborhood every day taking the dog out.  We should know it pretty well.

As we found each picture location, Davan gave us a letter tile.  When we got to the last picture, she had two for us and was surprised about that, but she figured she'd just miscounted and handed them both over.  Then she made dinner while Anthony and I - okay, mostly Anthony, but only because he started while I was in the bathroom - assembled the tiles into a phrase.

It turns out that a superfluous U had joined the message, explaining the extra tile at the end.

When things where ready, or mostly ready, Davan called us to the kitchen and we embarked on another Amazing Race Dinner.

Davan had six different clues in her box.  Anthony is trying to find the one marked "1."

Ranger was right there, in on the action, hoping for food.

Each numbered clue sent us off on a clue chase two or three stops long.  Here's Anthony finding a clue in the motivational poster Davan has hung on her ceiling.

Our first path led us to the bathroom.  Where Davan scared the bedjesus out of me by being in the shower when I was expecting to just find another clue.

We ate lettuce leaves that had been shaped into a clover while we talked about our best and worst for the day.

Our next clue hunt took us around the house...

with various stops...

until we found Davan by the balcony.  She'd been planning on being out on the balcony, but it wasn't great weather.  And the balcony isn't real clean.  So, we were just by the balcony.  We played a made up game by Davan game involving finding a four leaf clover while we drank green goo.  Also known as Odwalla's Superfood.

The green goo didn't scare anyone off.

Davan did, occasionally, need to tend to things in the kitchen.

Our next destination was the master bedroom where we played Amazing Labyrinth (all with green pawns from different games so the pawns looked different),

snuggled with the cat and

ate edamame.

Next up - the table of all places, where we ate roasted chickpeas and broccoli and played a new game we recently found at Goodwill - Cranium Dice - which was fun and entertaining, but not particularly challenging.

Then it was time for dessert - clue number 5 led us to the couch where we ate Zig Zag Rice Dream (it's chocolate and peanut butter flavored and the only non-green course of the evening)

and watched this video, which Anthony may not be pleased I'm sharing as there is an unflattering little video clip and a picture I insisted on taking in it, but the whole thing cracked me up, so I can't resist.

Davan had made the video not knowing what holiday it would be for - just to have it in the can, as it were.

The last clue lead us to Davan's room, where there was no more food, but we did find a game and a dog (who'd adjusted the covers on Davan's bed to get down to the sheet - bad dog!) waiting.

This was also a new to us game from Goodwill - Cranium's Hubaloo, which turned out to be seriously challenging for us.  We didn't win, but we laughed a lot.

We played more on Sunday and modified the rules some to attempt to make it a challenge, but not so stressful.  I think it's a lot of fun.

Thanks, Davan, for the fun evening and the yummy naturally green (mostly) food!