Thursday, May 31, 2012

Unplanned Break

I seem to have been taking a bit of an unplanned break from blogging.  It's not that there haven't been things to talk about or things we've done, it's mostly that I haven't gotten the camera out and I find myself not as motivated to blog if I don't have the pictures to go along with it.  I've been missing the blogging, though, so I'm trying to get back into picking up the camera and I do have a few pictures to share with you today after a little bit of catch up.

Davan and I had a good time at the Parkour Challenge on Saturday.  I purposefully didn't take the camera for that event, as I needed to have my hands free to participate.  By Saturday my various and sundry injuries were mostly doing well on the road to recovery minus issues all around my right hip (front, back, inner - pretty much circling the whole area where the right leg meets the hip).  I was worried I wouldn't be able to participate fully, but once I got moving, it didn't hurt more than just sitting on the couch and it didn't get worse.

Davan, while she is very able physically, is actually a bit of a wuss when it come to trying new things such as Parkour vaulting or when it comes to falling.  The guided challenge was really good for her because we were in a group of people causing her to push her boundaries a little.  Of course, that's not good for all kids, but it is for Davan who is extremely safety conscious.  She even slipped in the mud a couple of times, but just picked herself up and moved on with barely an anguished look in my direction.

While we both had fun, I don't think that seriously pursuing Parkour is going to be in either of our futures.  Davan has too many other things going on and neither of us really feel that safety is necessarily as prioritized as it maybe should be when doing Parkour.  That said, it won't stop us from playing around with it on our own from time to time.

We did quite a bit of family rotational fun over the weekend.  Ranger was pleased to participate in hide and seek several times over.  We enjoyed many games.  Adventure walks proved to be a hit this weekend.  We went out with a list of things to find and couldn't come home until we did.  There were a wide variety of things to find from a person eating to writing in a foreign language.

This week has been busy with our usual activities.  I'm still a bit anxious about my new classes at Poekoelan, but less so.  I actually feel like I've gotten something out of the classes this week and I've enjoyed going to my old regular classes and being a "mat instructor."  My injuries are all gone with the exception of something going on with my inner right thigh.  It'll heal eventually, too, though, I'm sure.

Davan, too, has been struggling with an injury.  We're not totally sure what happened, but it seems to be a really bad muscle spasm in her upper back on the right hand side.  She's still going to all of her classes, but she's mostly just stretching and doing leg conditioning.  Poor kid.  It does seem to be getting better, in spite of a bit of a set back from trying to do too much at gymnastics last night.

Lena had her last day of school yesterday.  The seniors get out about a week and a half before the rest of the high school.  So, she spent the night last night after gymnastics.  The girls wanted to go to Voodoo Doughnuts at the same time as the night we went to see Ovo to try for the deal on the doughnuts again.  I went to Poekoelan, but Anthony took them over.  They ended up having to wait nearly an hour, but ended up with day olds in a bucket - litterally.  There were an amazing amount of doughnuts.  Some a little stale...

I've eaten far too many doughnuts in the last 24 hours.  They're getting pretty stale now, though, so hopefully I'll be able to let the rest go.  Sugar is a bugaboo for me.

There is something I've been meaning to blog about for a couple of months now, but haven't gotten around to.  Davan is in a play!  I came across a homeschool theater class that isn't musical theater (Davan not being much for the signing), is super reasonably priced and fits into Davan's busy schedule.

Today was the dress rehearsal.

Her hair will be different for the production tomorrow night, as she's playing Ms. Minchin in The Little Princess and should look like she has a bun.  Here she is with her Ms. Minchin glare going.

She is doing a great job with the roll - alternating mean with sickly sweetness like that's really her.  Yikes!  I know I'm totally biased, but she's been doing really well with the whole process from the first day that was theater games/audition to learning her lines to taking direction well.

The teacher/director is great.  She's a former homeschooler.  Several of her siblings are still homeschoolers and are in the class.  With the exception of a couple of other kids, all the students have done a previous class and production with this same teacher.  We didn't know any of the participants before enrolling (yes, there are a lot of homeschoolers in Portland) and Davan has made a couple of friends.

In fact, here she is whispering to one while the group was receiving notes before the run through.

Fret not, though, they were being quiet and were not the actors in question for the notes at the time.

Most of the time, she was paying attention.

The dress rehearsal went pretty well, I thought...particularly considering the hot mess it was on the regular Tuesday class this week.  Productions are like that, though.  They tend to come together for show time, no?

So, tomorrow night at 7pm, this is where we'll be.

Sitting in these chairs, watching this smiley girl be mean, mean, mean.  :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Little More Rambling

We're having a four day weekend at our house because it's Anthony's Friday off today.  We'd talked about going camping, but didn't for a few reasons.  The weather is looking like it'll be pretty decent, but not great.  We were going to backpack and weren't looking forward to it being cold at night.  Then there is my pulled muscle.  So, now we're mostly hanging out.

We do have a few things going on.  Davan is going to open workout this evening at Do Jump.  Anthony is going to go on a long bike ride with Kim again this weekend - it went well last weekend and she needs to do another long one.  Davan and I signed up to do a Parkour Challenge course tomorrow.  I'm a little worried about how my glut will like that, but I'm doing it anyway.

Today, though, up until open workout, has been pretty free after a ride Anthony took this morning.  We've had a good one so far, although I haven't gotten the camera out at all, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Ranger and I went to the dog park where she got in a good run and stopped for bagels on the way home.  We have been playing Family Rotational Fun, which is something we used to do a lot, but haven't in a while.  We each came up with four activities and wrote them down to be drawn out of a hat.  The exact rules vary, but today, we're doing three activities, then watching an episode of Modern Family, then taking time to do individual things as needed, then cycling through again.

So, far, we've gotten a picture book each from the library and read them aloud to each other, played Munchkin, planned dinner and gone shopping for the ingredients, played Ranger hide and seek (one person takes her out in the hall and the others hide with a treat so she can find us), played Madlibs, and played catch with balls from big to small and a challenge to meet.  We've watched two episodes of Modern Family, I've blogged, obviously, Anthony's run to the bike store, Davan has read and we've gotten dinner ready.  Yes, it'll be quite early.  That happens with a late breakfast and no lunch.

And I'm off for vegan sausages wrapped in bread with pickle fries.  Have a great long weekend!

Moving Up

I got the opportunity this week to try my speed through for time.  I did it once, sucking wind pretty much the whole time.  It was really tough from a fitness point of view.  I only hesitated a couple of times.  I made a couple mistakes.  I learned that if you miss eight holds, the test is stopped.  That didn't happen for me.

After the attempt, my teacher gave me feed back regarding a couple of holds that were either wrong or needed improvement.  I had a drink of water.  I meditated a bit.  I was still breathing hard.  It was really hard work.

Then I was told to do it again.  I have to admit that I had hoped in the back of my mind that I would it on my first timed try, even though that didn't seem reasonable from what I'd seen of those who passed before me.  When I had to start again without even feeling fully recovered, I gave up.  I figured I'd just do it for the experience, but, exhausted as I already was, there seemed no way to go faster.

To make matter that much more exciting, I caught that same toe I injured the night before my half marathon right at the beginning of the second speed through.  It crossed my mind to call it off because it hurt, but it didn't hurt more than it had just over a week before and I ran a half marathon on it then, so I figured I'd just push through.

I finished.  I pretty much collapsed into meditation.  I was so very done in.  I got corrections.  We moved on with class.  I had no idea what my time was.  As the class progressed, I started thinking that I had passed, as the remainder of the class time seemed to be used in testing me, as well.  We did forms, kicks and the like that we're supposed to know.  My teacher asked me questions about the history of the art.  Sure enough, when we got to the talking part at the end, I found out I'd passed.  Apparently, I'd shaved 45 seconds off of my time for the second attempt.  I still don't know what my actual time was.

I was pretty excited that I'd passed on the first day I tried for time.  I guess all the practicing at home paid off.  Thanks, Davan.

When one starts training at this studio, one has no belt at all.  After a while, I'm not sure what the criteria is for this other than showing up to four or so classes, one gets a white belt.

I actually borrowed Davan's for the above pictures.  She tried class for a couple weeks, but it was not her thing.

Once the student has learned about half the Cun Toa holds and can demonstrate that knowledge, one gets a strip - a black strip on the belt.  After learning all the holds, as well as kicks and forms, one gets a second stripe.

After the second stripe comes a white sash.  To earn the white sash, one has to pass the speed through - all the holds in 6 minutes or less.  After that physical part, comes the golden interview.

My golden interview was Wednesday night.  The Goldens are practitioners who are trusted to help govern the school.  The interview can be done by one or more of the Goldens.  Mine happened to be conducted my Saturday morning instructor, which made things more comfortable for me.

He asked me questions, all of which I had some sort of answer for, even if it wasn't complete.  I passed.  Then I had to go to class.  That was a challenge.

First off, we did the promotion ceremony.  I don't have any pictures with the stripes because I never took any at the time and they keep the belt when one ranks up.

The change in this picture is subtle, as it's just a white belt to a white sash.  You can't see the kerchief tied around my left ankle, but that's now a part what I wear.  I took class in this on Wednesday, except for not having the kerchief yet and not having the fringe sewn on my sash.  I did that by hand at home, as is required.  This is the outfit I'll wear to teach in - any time I go to Cun Tao classes, where I'm now considered a teacher and I have a certain number of required teaching hours before I can take my next test.

However, when I train at my new level - Third Phase, I'll now wear this.

Black is much more flattering, so it's good I've moved up.  LOL

Really, though, I have mixed feelings about it.  I've really enjoyed my day time classes and the camaraderie there.  I know, intellectually, that that'll come in my new classes, as well, but the class is much bigger and it's a little daunting.  I also am not really excited about training from 7:30-9:00pm.  I like working out earlier in the day.

Davan made me this card in a jiffy on Thursday morning, when we also had doughnuts to celebrate, although she didn't even know about the doughnuts when she made the card.

Inside she wrote:

Wow Mom!  Congratulations indeed!  I am so impressed with your speedy speed through on the first day you tried it, not to mention your half marathon just a little while ago.  I know you are apprehensive about white sash, but I know that you are really awesome and can handle anything you set your mind to.  Go Mom!


She's got her thumb on my feelings about this whole thing - I love the accomplishment, but don't love what comes next.  I also seem to have sustained a couple of injuries over the course of the test and my first sash class.  There is the toe, which is healing up nicely, but I also injured my right wrist, which was really bad the first night after the test, but is doing much better now.  I seem to have jammed the thumb on my left hand as well.  All of these kind of suck, but aren't big deals and are getting better.  However, I pulled a muscle in my right glut in class, I think, and it's really painful to walk and particularly go up stairs.  Hopefully a long weekend of no running or Poekoelan will put me on the path to recovery and will help improve my mood about the new challenges ahead.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Show Weekend Take II

It's the second and last weekend of Zig Zag shows for Davan.  Anthony and I are not going tonight.  I always say in advance that we won't go to all of the shows.  Then, often, I wish we were going to all of them.  Sometimes I buy last minute tickets...I probably would have done that for tonight's show, but it's completely sold out.

I did, though, buy a couple last minute tickets for Anthony and I for tomorrow.  I'm ushering for the 1:00 show, but the 4:30 show is the last of the run.  I like going to the last show.  The cast party is right after.  There are special speeches at the end of the show honoring various people including the graduating seniors...all-in-all, it's a difficult one to miss.  I'd been planning on just sneaking in the isle for that part, but a lot of parents do that and the kids actually need space in the isle for their last piece.  I don't want to be clogging it up.  So, yes, justify it how you will, I'll be there again.

I did go over this afternoon to help set up for the shows.  There is quite a bit to do to move the space over from classroom to theater.  Among other tasks, I was privileged enough to get to wipe down mats.  My own floor could use some of that love, I tell you.

In other goings on over the weekend, I went to Poekoelan this morning and got a good workout attacking people, for the most part.  I still haven't gotten to try my speed through for time.  Oh well, it'll happen.  I'm not running this weekend, but I'll be starting back up on Monday.  I'm kind of looking forward to it.

Tomorrow, Anthony is going for a long bike ride with friend, who is also a Zig Zag parent, who is training for an Ironman Triathlon (I'm in awe) and has been getting lonely on her long solo training rides.  It'll be good for both of them if they turn out to be compatible training partners.

Davan finished up the equivalent of her first year of French on Rosetta Stone today.  I might have said that she'd done that before, but I had misunderstood what she'd told me.  Today I know it's true, as I watched her pass her final milestone.  We took her out to lunch to celebrate...well, that and I had a craving for Thai food.  We've also told her we'll get her a French/English dictionary when she's done some research and found one that she really likes.  It's something she's been wanting, so she's pretty excited about that.

The three of us watched a couple of episodes of Modern Family last night.  I got the first season from the library and we've been surprised to discover that we like it.  While there are a few TV shows I like, I've found many more that I don't.  I wasn't really expecting a lot from this show, but Davan had seen a preview for it and expressed an interest.  We're finding it really funny and are looking forward to watching more episodes when time allows.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Header Photo

Even before my mom commented that I needed a new one, I've been thinking I needed to replace the header photo of us skiing.  The season is all wrong now.  I've been putting it off, though, because I wanted to replace it with another one of all three of us, or, at least, of Davan and I.  I don't have a good recent one that fits those desires, though.  I'm working on it.

Ah, Spring

I love this weather we're having.  It's mild and sunny.  Being outside is so nice right now.  Davan and I didn't go anywhere today to enjoy the weather, but we did head down to the yard for lunch and hanging out.

I just like to say that having a yard to hang out in but not have to maintain?  Heaven.

Ranger came with us, of course.  She likes this weather, too, but wilts if it gets much hotter.

She's discovered that there is a hole in the fence behind a bush which she can get through even when on her lead and muck about in the neighbor's garden.  We have to keep an eye on her.  Wily dog.

One of the HOA board members had someone from Home Depot come and give an estimate on new windows for the halls - windows that would open, which would be a great relief in the summer when the halls are oppressively hot.  What is pertinent to my story here, though, is that he had the HOA ladder out.

Davan was quick to check it out once permission had been granted.

She enjoyed herself up there.

I also asked her to work on my holds with me again.  This time she said I could throw and sweep her if I liked, so I did most of the time.  This is a video of the first half or so of the holds I need to do in less than 6 minutes to achieve my next rank.  I did edit out some parts where we went off screen or got new "weapons," but it's mostly a straight run through of as many holds as Davan could remember to throw at me.  It's great to get it on video because I can see where I've messed up when I watch myself.  I've got a few things to try to fix for next time.

As you can see, this was no where near the sort of time I need to do it in, being nearly 5 minutes for just that first half or so, but when I do it for time in class, I'll have multiple attackers who don't need any coaching about the holds, so I'm hoping it'll be faster than this.  :)  I've done a run through in class once, but we didn't do it for time.  I'm excited to give it a try and see what my starting point time is.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Biking to Books

While one of the things we love about where we live is the fact that there is a library kitty-corner to us, it is a pretty small branch.  Davan and I both really like the Central Library located downtown.  We say that we try to go once a month and spend a couple of hours there, exploring and reading, but, really, it's less than that.  Davan has been asking to go for a while now.

Today we made it happen.  We had a clear schedule until gymnastics at 4:15, the weather was lovely - mid 70's and good for bike riding, Anthony had the time to meet us for lunch.  Off we went.

We nearly turned back because Davan's bike was making a weird noise like the fender was rubbing, but whenever we stopped and spun the wheels, there was nothing.  It was odd.  I finally figured out that a screw that was supposed to be securing her back fender was loose and rubbing on the tire.  I had to take the back wheel off to get to it, but then it fell right out and we were on our way, after rubbing my hands on some grass to try to get the grime off.

We crossed over the Hawthorn Bridge on the way into downtown.

Last year Davan's performance troop did a history of the local area and created a reproduction of the Hawthorn Bridge out of people.  Just a little aside for you there.

We made our way to the library, where I was glad to wash my hands.  You should have seen the dirt that came off of them.  I should have gotten a picture.  Instead, you'll have to make due with Davan on the library steps.

As I have a stack of books from the library already at home, I enjoyed the large selection of periodicals while Davan collected books.

And finished one off before we left so there would be fewer to cart home.

Then we met Anthony for lunch, procured from one of Portland's many food carts. We ate at a small park with many other people who were doing the same.

After lunch, Anthony headed back to work and Davan asked if we had time for a stop at Powell's City of Books because, apparently, she hadn't gotten her fill of books at the library.  We did have time.

After about 45 minutes of browsing, we decided to go so we'd have time to stop for dessert.

The sign behind Davan says "Coffin Full of Doughnuts $100."  Yup, we'd gone to our favorite haunt these days - Voodoo Doughnuts, but the downtown location.

We got two doughnuts and went halvesies.

Then it was back on the bikes to head for home.

We went across the Morrison St Bridge on the way home because we were further north at that point in our day.

Another bicyclist offered to take a picture of the both of us.

We made it home just in time for me to take Ranger out for a quick walk while Davan got ready for gymnastics.

This perfect weather is supposed to continue for a while.  I sure hope we find the time to get out and enjoy it some more.  We sure did today!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Ride

Every year the Zig Zags create a show to put on in the spring.  It's usually a fairly organic process with some pieces being created as the year progresses which are then fit into the story while others are created to make the story work.  This year, it was a little different, as they had all these pieces, but no overarching least until about two weeks ago.

Prior to then, the show was going to be called something like "Pieces of Ourselves:  A Self Portrait."  I'm sure I got that a little bit wrong and Davan will scoff at me later, but that's more or less it.  Suddenly, though, a story was created, pieces were subtly altered as needed to fit the story and it all came together as "The Ride."

The Ride premiered last night to a sold out audience (which was kind of a whew moment, as ticket sales hadn't been as brisk as one might have hoped as of a couple days ago).  This week was busier than usual with some extra rehearsals and meetings, but the Zig Zags don't have the luxury of a tech week.  The shows don't actually make enough money to be self supporting, much less enough to close down the school for the week in order do show prep.  In order to keep prices down for parents and audience members, all of that is done in snatches of stolen time here and there.

They did have, as usual, a dress rehearsal Friday night and I got to go and take pictures.  While parts of the show had been leaked to me by Davan and Lena in a variety of ways, I didn't know the whole story.  I have to say that I wish I'd gotten to see it whole for the first time without picture taking, as, while I was able to follow the story, I wasn't really able to appreciate the artistry, being rather consumed with getting the shot.

It was sort of fun to take pictures, as I've really been enjoying getting a lot of Davan and Lena in action this year, but it was also kind of stressful.  Thankfully, they had two of us taking pictures, so I was able to not stress as much, hoping that if I wasn't able to get good shots of a particular piece, maybe the other photographer was.

I got there while they were still setting up, organizing and warming up.  The set up is complicated by the fact that there are Saturday morning classes in between dress rehearsal and opening night.

Davan and Lena were the first Zig Zags there and sat in the lobby, studying their show order and lines while waiting for the last class of the day to be done.

Wendy always sets up a board with the schedule for rehearsal, so the performers all spent some time checking that out.

While I got pictures of everyone and some great shots of kids who don't belong to me, I'm going to mostly share with you Davan, as I feel most comfortable plastering her all over the internet.  I've given myself permission.  Well, and you'll find several of Lena, as well.  She's given me permission, too.  :)

Davan and Lena are loving the whole process.

They did a run through of a piece before starting the full dress rehearsal.  I was trying to figure out what settings were going to work for the camera.  While all I got for this one was blur, I still think it's kind of cool looking.

If you're going to see the show, the rest of this is going to contain spoilers, so proceed at your own risk.

The story is told from the point of view of a teenage girl in the summer just before her senior year of high school.  Her sister, who is also her best friend, has just left for college.  She decides to take a bike trip from Portland to the coast.  She writes in a journal along the way and we get the story from each of the Zig Zags reading the journal in parts in a reading nook.

There is a bike of sorts.

The journey, of course, has it's ups and downs.  There is a lot of reflection.  There is interaction via letter with her sister.  Along the way, she meets another solo rider, who is a little older than she is and an exchange student from Switzerland.  This part was a jolt to hear for the first time, as much of what's said there is taken from Davan and Lena's friendship.  It was very sweet for it to be part of the show.

Davan is takes part in Do I Dare, where she falls backward off of this two high.

She is in a ring trio.

My favorite piece is a duet she does with Lena.  It's sweet and challenging and wonderful.  I say that after watching it at opening night, when I really got to enjoy it.  Mostly on dress rehearsal night, I was worrying that the light was such that I couldn't get good pictures.

Davan's least favorite piece is call Breaking Out of the Crowd and I can see why, but it's really fun to watch.

Speaking of funny, I Whales in the Boardroom brought tons of laughs from the audience.  I'll share a picture even though Davan wasn't in that one.

Lena was in a ladder piece that totally looks like kids playing at the park.  As it's when the two bicyclists stop and play at a playground, it's perfect.

The two seniors in the troop did a lovely and playful piece.

Davan in the nook.

There was a bike solo, a bike duet and a bike group piece at points throughout the show.

There is a big group tumbling piece at the end, which is great, but didn't photograph well.  It's actually done is bright colors, but the while blurs at the top of the post are from it's not dressed run through.

And the final bow.

What a great group of kids.

During dress rehearsal, there were a few glitches and stumbling points, but opening night was fantastic.  Everything went really well, all the pieces looked great.  It really all came together.

Davan and Lena after the show.  Davan went home with Lena to spend the night after we fussed over them for a while.

Davan with one of the adult students - Dave.  Dave is a great guy who recently had a major operation and has been taking a break from classes.  He and Davan are buddies and she was really glad to see him at the show.  He is also the dad of two prior Zig Zags.

Davan and one of her two biggest fans.

I'm looking forward to seeing the show again today when I'm ushering.  Well done Zig Zags!