Monday, April 30, 2012

More Sad News from ENC

We got the word today that Davan didn't get into the camp at ENC - The National Circus School in Montreal.  Davan, thus far, at least, has taken the news in stride.  She's busily planning out her summer, which now will include teaching camps at Do Jump, taking a camp there herself and probably taking the aerial intensive camp for teens at AWOL.

Me, though?  I want to go up there and kick some ass.  Don't they know what they're missing?!?!  And I know that Davan is sad.  She's just doing well with it.  But, I'm sad for her, as well.

These options that Davan is planning will be not as good for training, but she'll have fun while staying busy and that's good, too.  We're both thinking that being busy this summer, just after Lena leaves, is a good thing.

So, we don't know all the details of summer - the teaching schedule at Do Jump is far from solidified - but we do have a much better idea of what summer holds now and, for Davan, at least, it's going to be hopping.

We all go to Colorado in mid June to visit my parents.  Lena will be coming with us.  We get back on Sunday the 24th and Davan starts Pendulum's summer intensive camp on Monday.  Lena leaves that Friday.  Sigh.  We'll all miss her.  Davan will probably miss some of that day of camp to go with Lena to the airport.

Pendulum's camp lasts another week.  Then Davan is available to teach at Do Jump for two weeks.  The week of July 23rd is AWOL's camp in the afternoon and Davan has said she can teach in the morning.  Last summer the AWOL camp was a bit of a disappointment in skill level and I didn't know if Davan would even want to do it again, but once we knew she wasn't going to Montreal, we took a look at their offerings.  This summer's teen intensive has prerequisites, so it seems like it'll be more challenging.  We haven't signed her up yet, but I think she'll probably do it.

The next week is an aerial intensive at Do Jump in the afternoons that Davan is planning on, but she may also teach during the day that week.

Then she flies to Vermont for Circus Smirkus!  I still have to buy tickets for her and make those arraignments, but she'll be flying on her own.  She's excited to practice navigating herself through the trip domestically before she does it internationally when she goes to Switzerland.  I'm just sad I won't get to see the show at the end, but it's the most cost effective way to go and makes total sense, so there it is.  She's there for two weeks.

There is one more week of camps at Do Jump after that and she's made herself available to teach again then.

She probably won't teach every week she's available to, so there will be some free time in there for camping or just hanging, but she'll also be kept busy.  It'll be a good summer.  Even though ENC has no idea how to choose good candidates.  Grrr.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I'm Whooped

Usually, I get up between 7:00 and 7:30 to go for a run or walk with Ranger.  Weekend days are more hit or miss, as Anthony sometimes takes Ranger out in the morning - sometimes being not at all one weekend maybe, but then three days the next if he's home on a Friday and that's how it works out or something in between.  And then, of course, there are Tuesdays, when it's Davan's job to do the morning walk.

This morning, though, I got up at 6:15.  I'd been toying with the idea of getting up early to run.  I needed to get in a two hour run this weekend for my half marathon training - it's two weeks from today!  I've found that Saturdays are the better day for me to run because then I get a full rest day on Sunday and Fridays are usually a lower intensity day or a rest day.  That makes Saturdays good for my long run. 

Any-who, this Saturday it was sort of looking like it wasn't going to fit in.  Part of that was because of Poekoelan.  I've mentioned Poekoelan in passing here on the blog and I've been meaning to dedicate a whole post to it.  I'd been holding out for pictures of me dressed out for it, but that just seems to keep not happening, so I'll just go ahead and talk about it anyway.

It's an Indonesian martial art form of Karate that I started doing in February.  I'd wanted to get into martial arts for a long time - years - but didn't for a wide variety of reasons varying from finances to schedule to just plain inertia.  This studio is very close - about a 5 minute walk - from our home.  They ran a special in January to get started at a low introductory price.  This being prior to Ranger's surgery, we were feeling like we could handle the cost.  The schedule is good for me with lots of choices.

I've been going 2-3 times a week.  I go to noon classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Saturday class at 10.  Sometimes I hit the Friday evening class.  I have done all four in a week, but that really interferes with my ability/interest/motivation for running.  I've been trying for all but the Friday night class regularly.  On Saturdays, for the last couple of Saturdays, that's meant both a Poekoelan class and a long run on the same day.  That's worked about pretty well, given that I have a rest day after.

Poekoelan is no cake walk.  We do a lot of conditioning borrowed from Crossfit concepts, so I usually am pretty well dripping with sweat for at least part and sometimes all of class.  Still, I love it, partially because of that challenge, partially because of the learning, which is both mental and physical and partially because of the social aspect of it.

So, all that said, I really wanted to go today.  I also wanted/needed to get in a two hour run.  I've been coming home from Poekoelan, having a bite to eat, then going on my run for the last couple of weeks.  That's worked out pretty well, but today, I told Davan I'd be available for her and Lena between noon and 3:00 if they wanted me.

Lena's birthday party with friends from school kind of fell through for this weekend because of too many conflicting commitments.  So, it was just Lena and Davan for the afternoon.  Because of that, even though we celebrated with Lena last week, I told them I could chauffeur if they wanted to go someplace or get a treat or something.  They only have that window of time between the Do Jump classes Lena teaches and call for Tic Toc tech.

That meant that there wasn't time after Poekoelan.  Anthony and I are going to the Tic Toc show this evening and made other plans for the late afternoon, so there wasn't a two hour slot.  I debated switching out today's run and Monday's.  I debated just running tomorrow and not having a real rest day.  I finally decided that I really wanted to run today.  So, I got up early and just did it.

By the time I got myself up, had a small preworkout snack of 1/2 a banana (Ranger ate the other half) and a few walnuts, got out the door, ran a little over 2 hours, while stopping my watch for things like lights, Ranger's needs and drinking fountains, and took a quick shower, I was thinking maybe I wouldn't go to Poekoelan after all.  It was 9:20 by the time I sat down to have some breakfast with Anthony and Davan.

I found, though, that I was done with breakfast in time and feeling like I'd be regretful if I didn't go, so I gathered my things and went to Poekoelan.  Let me tell you, even the walk over to the studio was challenging.  And then there was training.

I'm a sore and tired person this afternoon, but I feel really good about everything I did.  And really deserving of taking the rest of the weekend for rest and recovery.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Take Two

Remember how I said that Davan and Lena really wanted to see Ovo again?  Remember how I said that was so not going to happen?  Well, I was wrong!  We went to Ovo again last night!

A few days ago, we got the word that Do Jump had been given some complementary tickets for the show.  They didn't get very many tickets and, so, had to choose carefully who to offer them to.  I believe the order went something like this:  professional troopers, teachers who aren't troopers/office employees, Zig Zags who teach, other work traders.  No one was offered more than one ticket, so no one was able to bring a friend/significant other/child.  However, Davan, Lena and I each independently qualified for tickets, so we went!  Anthony stayed home with Ranger.

To make the evening even more fun, fellow Zig Zag, Tanner, also got a ticket and ended up coming along in our carpool for the festivities.  We had Tanner's parents drop him off at the gym ('cause it was Wednesday - gymnastics day) so he could go with us to grab a bite to eat before the show.

We sometimes eat at a place called The Hungry Tiger 2 and, on Wednesdays, they have $1.25 vegan corn dogs.  We've never gone for corn dogs, but Davan has wanted to for a long time, so we gave it a shot last night.  It can be pretty busy on Wednesdays and we've have a wide variety of wait times there, so I was a little concerned about if there was enough time, which was compounded a bit when we got there and had to wait for a table, but we did not wait long and the service was quick, so we were all set.

Everyone enjoyed their junk food on a stick with a large side of fries.

In fact, dinner went so quickly that I announced afterward that if they wanted dessert, I felt there was time to stop by Voodoo doughnuts, which is quite close to The Hungry Tiger 2.  They were just a little excited as they ran to the car, jumping up and down.

I sent them into Voodoo alone with instructions to get a Vegan Voodoo Dozen with no coconut (as most of us aren't huge fans of the coconut).  It's a lot of doughnuts, but I figured with three active and hungry teens we'd do okay and it's a lot cheaper to get the Voodoo Dozen, which means they pick the doughnuts for you, than it is to get even 6 individual doughnuts.

They emerged from the shop with a box of doughnuts that wouldn't close and a story.  While they were waiting in line, they watched as a worker emptied the display case of doughnuts into an overflowing box.  They had ordered, but hadn't had their order filled yet when Lena asked what they were going to do with those doughnuts.  The answer was that they sell them for $5 for the whole box.  A couple of times a day, they empty their display and sell those off cheap because they aren't as fresh.

The kids looked at each other and shouted out, "We'll take it!"  They were so very excited.

These pictures were actually taken after four of the doughnuts were already eaten, so the stash is already depleted, if you can imagine.

Tanner said, "We're like kids in a candy shop!"  Davan replied, "We're like kids who own the candy shop!"

There was a lot of sharing and plans for when each was to be eaten.  We each ate two on the way to the show, with most people feeling like they couldn't eat another then if they wanted to.

When we arrived, we found a contingent of Do Jump sorts hanging around the entry.  We joined them and chatted a while before going in.

Here're "my" three teens with Jack - one of the professionals as well as a teacher and an all-around great person - one of our mutual Do Jump favorite people.

Then we added Diana, a teacher and also a good person, to the picture mix for another shot.

The show was great again!  Sadly, one of the acts didn't happen last night - the slack line one - but all the rest were just as awesome.  We were on the opposite side of the tent from our previous viewing, which was fun for comparison.

I sat next to Jack and that was awesome because she was so, so excited by everything.  It really put a shine on the evening.  Lena was to my left for the first half and Davan for the second, as the teens shuffled about at intermission.

There was one more Zig Zag present, as well, Katie, who is a senior in high school this year and a really great teen.  She's been kind of a leader of Zig Zags for all the years Davan's been in the troop and it will be really sad to see her go.  We shuffled seats around so that the four Zig Zags were all sitting together, which was fun for them.

Afterward, those four asked me to take pictures of them in front of the big top.  They did some circus-y type stuff and had a great time.  Here are some of the pictures I snapped.  They're not great, as it was dark and the kids were moving, but they're still fun.

This one is blurry and you can really only see three of them, but they were all four doing handstands.

Tanner was already up on Katie for a two high and Davan was climbing up Lena for a two high as well in this shot.


All in one leg up bridges.

Helping Tanner after he fell into a bridge from a handstand.


Landing a jump - bad timing on my part.

All in the air!

They did not mind at all that it was wet and still raining.  Most of them were in bare feet.  A bunch of kooks they are.  :)

After the photo shoot, Katie came back to the van with us to partake in a doughnut and some conversation while waiting for her dad picked her up.  I had thought she was driving herself.  If I'd know otherwise, I'd have offered her a ride, as well.

Our ride home was filled with more doughnuts and statements as to the exact awesomeness that was the whole night.  For "my" three, it ranked as either the best night of the whole year spent outside of Do Jump or in the top two or three best nights of their whole lives, also spent outside of Do Jump.

That's an important qualification - the outside of Do Jump.  These four are all so enthusiastic about what they do at Do Jump.  They are stoked that they'll be there pretty much all weekend every weekend for the next four weekends.  They're all teching for the Tic Tocs, then they'll have rehearsal weekend for the Zig Zags, then it's two weekends of Zig Zag shows.  They couldn't be happier and only wish that that's how every weekend was!

I guess I know how to show teenagers a good time.  Friends, fried food, sugary food, good entertainment.  What more can one ask for?

Maybe doughnuts left over to take to Do Jump the next day.  Wait - that's all taken care of.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Davan's List

Davan just presented me with this list.  I believe she was inspired by Keilee's list over at HomeSchool Girls, but I knew nothing about her doing it until she just now handed me the list.

Things I Want to Learn More About:
(I can't remember if it's 10 or 15, so 15)

1.  history of circus
2. what its like to live in other counties
3. herstory about girls and women (and I did think of that before I saw Kei write it) Great minds think alike, I guess, and I also guess that we can see that she was indeed inspired by Keilee's list.
4. how language was created
5. inventors of popular games
6. authors
7. international affairs and laws that govern multiple countries
8. where food/parts of electronics/toys/clothes/books/etc. are made/grown/assembled/sold
9. what is the most common language to read in?
10.  from what country to what country are the most letters/emails/packages sent?
11. animals.  what they look like, where they live, eat, etc.
12. invention of the calendar
13. astronomy
14. what it is like to work in various jobs
15. anatomy
15 1/8. psychology

Earth Day Santa

Anthony's office is doing a secret Santa sort of thing for Earth Day this week.  For those who are participating, they're giving their recipient a particular item each day of the week.  Monday it was a plant.  Anthony actually ended up passing on a plant that was already in his cube.  That evening, though, we went shopping with him to pick up a couple of other items for the week.

While we were at the store, Davan was jonesing for a treat.  This is what she ended up with:

At our Fred Meyer's, they have a description of each type of apple.  Davan perused them all and ended up with a Pink Lady.  Then she got a Chocolate Protein drink, as well.

She enjoyed her snack after we got home while reading one of the stack of books she'd checked out of the library earlier that day.

We had fun shopping for Anthony's gifts.  Tuesday was organic fruit day.  He considered just taking one of the apples out of our fruit bowl.  I buy some organic and some not, but we did happen to have organic apples.  I talked him into doing something a little more unique and fun.  This is what he got.

A coconut, a red banana and a kiwi.  When his fruit was delivered on Tuesday, he got an apple.  The exact same type that is in our fruit bowl right now.  LOL

Today, Wednesday, is organic drink day.  He gave an Organic Farm's Blueberry Smoothie.  In return, he got a Marion Berry Soda.

Thursday is a while elephant gift day.  They are supposed to give something that they aren't using anymore but that their recipient might have a use for.  Anthony had really been hoping that his givee would be a bike rider as he has some bike related paraphernalia that he isn't using, but that is very usable.  That wasn't the case, though.

The person he's giving to has a daughter that's about the same age as Davan and more girly than she is.  So we found a head band that Davan had been given at Christmas with a pretty flower on it.  He'll be handing that over on Thursday.

He says it's tricky to deliver the items, as you have to do it when the person is away from their desk and, if they aren't in a cube close to you, it's hard to monitor.  He's doubly challenged because his recipient has a cube mate, so he's got to wait until they've both cleared out for something.

Any-who, the whole thing sounds like fun and makes me want to work in a cube.  Okay, not really, but it does sound like fun.

By the way, Ranger continues to heal up well.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Catching Up

I see that my last post was about Ranger getting her stitches out.  A lot has happened since then!  I guess I've just been too busy to actually sit down and post about it....or, in the case of Friday, too busy taking a down time day.  So, let me catch you up!

Davan and Lena made peanut butter and jelly muffins from the Peas and Thank You cookbook.

We love her blog, too, by the way.  They liked them even better than some much less healthy chocolate chip cookies they made a couple weeks ago.  Fancy that.

We keep checking Peas and Thank You out from the library.  I guess we might have to break down and actually buy it.  Davan loves the book for reasons that go beyond just the recipes.

The girls had a substitute gymnastics teacher on Wednesday and did a lot of work on aerials, which they'd both love to master.  Davan was very excited because she actually managed to get it off of the mat a couple of times!  This is huge for her because she broke her arm doing one when she was 11.

They are both very close to getting them.  It's more a matter of confidence than anything else at this point.

That was all just Wednesday after the stitches came out.  Whew.

Thursday was much a normal day of activities - Do Jump, Lena time, Poekoelan, cooking, dog walking.  Anthony did snap this picture of me in the kitchen, making dinner.

I wasn't feeling great on Friday, so Davan and I took a down day.  We played games, caught up on Amazing Race, read, did Rosetta Stone...up until evening when Davan and I picked Lena up and went to see their friend and fellow Zig Zag, Tanner, in his middle school play.  It was fun, cheap entertainment with a wide variety of skill level that gave us a good deal to talk about after.  We joined Tanner and his family for some gellato after.  Davan and I both had a bit of raspberry and a bit of lemon sorbet.  It was really tasty.

Saturday was busy all day!  I got up, found a cupcake recipe and made cupcakes.  I went to Poekoelan.  I shopped for a missing ingredient for the frosting, finished the cupcakes, hopped in the shower and went to pick Lena up at Do Jump, where Davan met me after procuring Subway for all three of us.  The reason for all the hustle?

Well, it's Lena's birthday next weekend.  That weekend is jam packed, but I wanted to do something special for Lena for her birthday, particularly as she's away from home and all.  I offered to take the girls someplace for a treat and encouraged them to pick something that's not just routine for them, like Sky High is these days.  They chose Safari Sams, an indoor jungle gym.  I'll pictures from there later after I get them from Lena's camera.

Of course, though, a birthday celebration is only complete with cupcakes.

We had chocolate with peanut butter frosting.  Davan also decorated the van for the occasion.  You may be able to see the banner in the back.

After Safari Sams, we came home, picked up Anthony and went to Red Robin for dinner, Lena's choice.

It was a lovely day outside, as you can see.  I did manage to get a run in while the girls were at Safari Sams to enjoy it a bit, as everything else we did was inside.

We weren't done with dinner, though.  Nope, it was a bit of happenstance, as it's just how it all fit together and we were going to do this anyway, but we went to see a Pendulum production.  Pendulum is another aerial arts group in Portland.

The girls, waiting for the show to start.

They were good and we enjoyed the show...mostly.  Davan and Lena didn't love the piece they did from Chicago - The Cell Block Tango.  They didn't think it was very family friendly, but loved the arrangement of it anyway.

After the show, they were doing cartwheels down the side walk to the car.  I tried to get them in action, but it didn't go so well.  Here are some of the shots I did get.

Sunday, we had our pancake breakfast and then spent a lot of time outside in the sunshine.  Davan did enter the cave that is Do Jump in the afternoon, though, for Tic Toc tech.  The Tic Toc - younger kids performance troop at Do Jump - show is next weekend and Davan and Lena, along with several other Zig Zags are teching for the show.  It's her first time teching and she's pretty excited about it.

If you're local, you should come!  The show looks like it'll be lots of fun and it is also pretty cheap entertainment.  Check it out!

I have to call it quits for now, as I've gotta run to pick up Davan and meet a friend for a walk, but that's pretty much the scoop anyway.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ranger is Stitch Free!

Ranger and I made another trip to the Cascade Veterinary Referral Center today.  Ranger did well, but she was nervous.  I'm glad we're done with going there for both our sakes!

Yesterday, they called to confirm the appointment and I asked about the pathology report.  The receptionist was surprised that the vet hadn't called us and also mentioned that they'd faxed the results to our regular vet on the 11th.  That was a week ago!  She posted a note for the vet to call me, but wouldn't tell me the results herself.

Now, I'd been feeling pretty laid back about the whole thing, feeling like no news was good news, but her reluctance to tell me left me feeling worried.

An hour and a half later she called back to say that the vet was in an emergency surgery (some poor dog had gotten hit by a car) and probably wouldn't be able to call back that night.  Was it okay for him to just go over the results with me the next day?  I reluctantly agreed.

I emailed our regular vet and asked if she'd tell me.

A few minutes later, the referral center called back and she said that the doctor had asked her to go ahead and tell me over the phone.  So, we found out it is a level 2 tumor, which was pretty much expected.  It's the most common.  The margins are good.  Probably, it has not metastasized.  Probably, it won't grow back.

We celebrated with a treat for Ranger.

Our regular vet emailed back shortly thereafter with more detail, but basically saying the same things we'd remembered from prior to the surgery about what level 2 with good margins means.

Today, when Ranger and I got home from our run, we found Davan lounging in bed.  Immediately after breakfast, Ranger rejoined her.

When I'd first said hello, Davan had been looking at a recipe book.  She and Lena are going to do some baking before gymnastics this afternoon.

By the time Ranger had joined her, though, she was doing something with her notebook.  It being practically a diary, I don't look unless invited.

Ranger was just chillin', though.

The appointment went well.  Ranger was nervous, but went in willingly.  She did a fair amount of shedding and a little whimpering while we were waiting.

When the vet actually cut and pulled the stitches, she was mostly a trooper, but she did pull away a couple times and try to get free.  She never lashed out or anything, though.  She's a good kid.

Now she's stint and stitch free!  Yay!

Still crooked, though.  Our little Crookface.

Davan, who ended up opting to stay home for this vet visit, greeted her with much celebration.

We're to watch for regrowth, although it's not expected.  Actually, they want us to see a vet once a month for six months and then every three months for a year and a half after that - just to check out the site for new growth, but we've decided we'll check it ourselves.

And, because she's grown one bump, it's not unlikely for her to grow others, so we're supposed to watch for that, as well.  We will.  Though we're undecided as to exactly what we'll do if that does happen.

Meanwhile, though, it's mostly back to life as usual for our puppy dog.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Structured School

A while back, I posted about how we were trying more structure in our school day.  I thought I'd write an update about how that's going.

It's not.

The whole structure thing lasted all of a week, maybe two or three weeks if you're loose about interpretation.  However, it served it's purpose as far as providing a push past stagnation, so it's all good.

We are back to not at all structured.  Davan does things as the mood strikes or as she's planned in advance.  

For example, I came home absolutely drenched from my morning run in the pouring rain to find that Davan had done a few chores and was, for a change, sitting at her desk, doing math.

This is a view of her room that you don't usually see.  Her desk is inside her closet, so when the closet is closed, you can't see it at all.

She was almost late to teaching at Do Jump because she'd gotten so involved.

Yesterday afternoon, I met a friend to walk and Davan had to come with me because we had her back appointment directly after.  We met at a library so that Davan could hang there while we walked.

When I went in to collect her, she'd found a few books she wanted to check out.

She spent most of the rest of the afternoon/evening immersed in geography.  A few years ago, she went through a similar phase with US geography, but now, it's all about the world.

She found this web site and is having fun with the how many countries can you name games.

She's also been really into languages lately.  She didn't do any yesterday, but she's been flying on her French and has done a year's worth of French study as of this weekend. 

She also opted to use a good chunk of her long term savings to buy herself Rosetta Stone for German.  We found a good deal on it and it came last week.  She's been spending at least a half an hour a day on each language most days.

Additionally, she's decided she wants to learn sign language and has been using various videos on You Tube to learn words and phrases.  

My time is nearly up to write this blog entry, as Davan has already made it clear that she needs the computer to work on her languages.

Of course, she always finds time to read and do various writing projects.  She decided to add up all the hours she spends doing her regular actives each week with times for things such as sleeping, brushing her teeth, walking to and from Do Jump, hanging out with Lena and pretty much anything else you can think of.  Then she wrote it all up in her notebook.  She discovered that she has 20 hours of unaccounted for time and is now curious about what she does with those hours.  She's thinking of doing a detailed study.

Here's to the joy of learning what interests you!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Davan's Haircut

I cut Davan's hair for her today.

Davan had doubts, but finally let me do it and is pleased with the result.  I told her I had no interest in her looking bad.  :)

Here's a video of her messing around in her room, as well as showing her new hair cut.

How Ranger is Doing

I've touched on it here and there, but I thought I'd give you a current update on Ranger.  She's doing really well!

While she does occasionally still paw at her face, she hasn't caused any seeping/blood for many days now.  Her fur is starting to grow back.

I've been teasing her by calling her "Crookface."  They pulled her skin together on her right side, making her nose crooked and her right jowl significantly shorter.  We keep saying that, for the price, they should have sent her home balanced.  Don't worry, we still think she's adorable.

She is no longer on any drugs. 

She's started running with me again.  Yesterday, though, we ran for an hour and she was falling behind by the end.  I guess she's out of shape.  We'll have to build her back up.

For comparison's sake, here she is freshly home last Friday:

And today, a week and two days later:

The vet never did call with pathology results this week, so we still don't know.  I'm assuming, though, that no news is good news.  I guess I'll have to call them tomorrow.

Ranger goes back in on Wednesday to have her stitches removed.  That'll be another big change, one that we're all looking forward to, other than the fact that it means dragging her back to the scene of the crime.  She might not like that much.

For now, though, she's already back to her usual peppy, able to be left unsupervised self.  Yay.  :)