Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One Super Long Post in Lue of Several Shorter Ones

I'm having a very busy week, mostly as a result of the fact that I'm joining the ranks of the gainfully employed.  Yup.  Off to work the salt mines.  Or be a teacher in the Transported After School Poekoelan Program offered at my martial arts studio.

I have to admit to going back and forth about this a fair amount, nearly resulting in not inquiring about the job at all.  However, I finally just asked a question and then I was pretty much hired.  The question?  I asked if they'd consider a white sash, as the job listing says gold sash or above who's trained for at least two years.  Here I am, a white sash with all of 7 months of training.  That was one reason it took me so long to speak up.

The other reasons are that it's a few more hours a week than I'd ideally like at an average of 26 hours a week.  I'd been thinking somewhere around the 15 hour a week mark sounded good to me.  It's not high paying, which means it won't have a huge impact on our family's income which makes me wonder if it's worth it.  And?  The hours are 2:00-6:15, which is prime time for making dinner and shuttling Davan around.  She is able to get most places on her own, but there were two days a week last year that I gave her rides to things and they were both right smack during that time.

The pluses?  It is a little extra money and that can't hurt.  It just gives us a little bit of breathing room.  I've been wanting to do something to challenge myself - a part time job or starting back to school.  It will benefit my own training.  I usually enjoy working with kids.  I like the community at Poekoelan and am happy to be a bigger part of it.

As a result of this impending employment (it really starts when our local schools start, which is on the 5th), I've spent this week at meetings, training by assisting in kids classes twice a week, and doing an all day CPR/First Aid class.  This is in addition to my usual training, which has meant that for the last few weeks (minus the Monday that Davan was home), I've been spending 4.5 hours at Poekoelan every Monday and Wednesday evening - plus the Tuesday and Thursday day time classes that I've been instructing in.

To add to the excitement of the week, we had a Zig Zag stay with us Tuesday night.  This Zig Zag lives out of town and drives in, but had to be in town Tuesday evening and then had an early Wednesday rehearsal at Do Jump.  We were happy to have her, but it did add that much more to this already busy week.

It's Wednesday evening as I write this, but I opted not to stay for my own training this evening because, hey, it's only Wednesday and have you read what all I've been doing so far this week?  Plus, tomorrow morning I'm baby sitting Davan's Do Jump directors' baby while they run a rehearsal, then Poekoelan camp starts, which keeps me hopping from Thursday afternoon until Sunday afternoon.

This camp is a camp for adults where the head of our art comes to teach.  People come from all over to train (there's a woman from Finland!) and we have two workouts a day plus meals and social time.  I'm told it's great fun and I get to participate thanks to my mom, as it's not cheap.  Thanks, Mom.

Before all this started this week, Anthony and I got away for a nice weekend of backpacking.  All of these pictures are taken with our cell phone, as we sent the camera with Davan for her current camp, so they aren't great shots, but they're something.

We went up to Paradise Park on Mt Hood and opted for the big climb way of going, which meant starting at Ramona Falls for a 7.2 mile hike with 3400 ft of elevation gain.

At the trail head:

The first real view of Mt Hood.

Ranger, enjoying herself.

Me, enjoying myself.

Crossing the Sandy River.

Anthony and Mt Hood.

Climbing with the wild flowers as we were getting close to Paradise Park.

Ranger was so thirsty, she ate the snow.  Anthony was loosening it up for her.  It turned out that this wasn't a great idea, as Ranger threw it up a short way up the trail.  Don't worry, though, it never seems to bother her much to throw up and the next water source was close.

Up on an overlook at Paradise Park - the view away from Mt Hood.

Our camping site.  It turned out to be pretty busy up there potential camping spots were filling up when we got there.  We got a pretty good one here, though, as it was not actually visible from the trail, which had a lot of hikers on it, so it was nice to be off it a little.

This was our view in the other direction.

After getting there, setting up the tent and eating a bit, we spent some time doing a little leisurely hiking around to see what other spots were available for camping, what all the various views were like and to briefly dip our feet in the stream.  As our feet were hot, tired and dusty, it felt good, but the water was so very cold that we could just dip our feet in for a moment, then take them back out and do it again after a bit.

Back at our camp site, I found this arrangement of rocks that was a little like a lazy-boy, but not so soft.  Still, it was fairly comfy.

Looking at the mountain from near my resting point.

The view from the tent. 

 The sunset.

Ranger was ready for bed by this time.  We took the little two person tent that Anthony picked up at an REI garage sale for $5.  It needed a repair and is missing it's vestibule, but, after the repair, it's pretty functional.  It was snug in there with the two of us and Ranger, though, I can tell you.

It wasn't long after Ranger went to bed that we joined her.  When the sun goes down while we're camping, pretty much so do we.  We chatted for a while before it got dark and we were ready to really get into our sleeping bags and call it a night.  While I don't have picture from the outing, when I went out to make one last attempt to empty my bladder for the night before getting in my bag, I realized I could see the city lights.  Anthony got up to look, as well.  The moon was pretty, too.  It was only about half full, but it was so bright that it was casting shadows.

We were just getting ready to drift off to sleep when we got a surprise.  Anthony's cell phone rang.  Mine didn't have service up there, which is odd, as we have the same cell phones and the same cell phone service.  It was a number we didn't know, but Anthony went ahead an answered.  It was Davan.  She'd borrowed another camper's cell phone (only one company has service there) because she was having a hard time and wanted to hear our voices.  It was really rough because she was crying.  She said she was hungry because there was never enough food at the meals and, while she was friendly with many people, she hadn't really made a friend.  That evening there was a movie playing that she didn't want to watch and, at the other activity, the campers were having a discussion that was uncomfortable for her.  It was a really difficult call.

It was all I could to not to pack up, hike out by moonlight and go pick her up.  While I didn't even actually suggest that out loud, I did say that I wanted to go get her early and we talked about when that could be done.  After hiking out on Sunday, I could drive down, pick her up, camp for the night, then drive home on Monday in time to be home for a meeting?  Tuesday because, while I had plans for that day, they could be canceled?

I had a really hard time falling asleep.  Not only was there the Davan issue, but the wind picked up big time after dark and it was loud!  Even with my ear plugs in, I could hear it.  Anthony fell asleep pretty much right away, but work up later and said he felt like he never sleep again.

What with one thing and another, we were up pretty early.  And it was pretty.  This was the morning view out of our tent.

We decided to go ahead and strike camp then hike a bit before eating breakfast.  Eventually, as we were hiking, we decided on a plan of action.  We'd given Davan some advice the night before, which was, essentially, to talk to her adviser about at least the food issue and possibly ask for help with making friends, as well.  She said she would.  So, we decided we'd give her until Monday evening to see if that made a difference, then call and talk to her.  If she wanted to come home (which, I have to say, she didn't actually ask to do when she called, in fact, she told us not to worry about her - which was not really possible, as she was sobbing at the same time), I'd go get her on Tuesday.

It was a hard couple of days.  I kept worrying about her.  I finally called on Monday afternoon and got lucky in that she was near the phone, so we didn't have to play phone tag.  She sounded much better.  She said the food situation had improved.  They'd gotten the number of vegans at camp wrong and weren't making enough food, so now there was enough.  Plus, I'd sent her a care package on Friday after she'd texted me while on her way to the beach (thus, cell phone coverage), mentioning that she wasn't getting enough food at meals, and it had arrived that day.

I considered just leaving it at that, but I opted to really let her decide.  I cut to the chase and told her she could come home early if she wanted to.  She was pretty sure she wanted to, even though it was better, she missed home and (I think this was a large part of it) she wanted to be at the first couple of rehearsals for a show she's going to be in.  She decided to think about it for the rest of the day and let me know.  I told her that, if she decided she was going to come home, she needed to tell them she was leaving and have them call us if they needed verification.

We played phone tag that night, but finally made contact about 10pm with her saying that she really wanted to come home, but she hadn't been able to track down her adviser, nor the next person in line that she felt comfortable going to.  She said she'd just stay, as she hadn't made that happen, but she didn't sound happy about it.  I told her she could talk to them in the morning and I'd still come if she wanted.  She did want.  There was a little bit of iffy-ness, but she pretty much sounded solid about coming home.

I stayed up to take care of a little business that I wouldn't be able to get to on Tuesday with the driving 5 hours each way to pick Davan up thing.  One of the things I did was email the directors of the show that Davan would be at rehearsal after all.  It was 11pm and moments after I'd hit send on that email that the phone rang again.  It was Davan.  She'd decided to stay after all.  She said that really, things had gotten a lot better and that she felt she'd end up being disappointed in herself for not seeing it out.  She'd started to make a friend that day and wanted to see where that went.  There were things she wanted to do at camp that she'd regret not staying for.  She was ready to be there fulling and get the most out of it.

Great.  I was happy to have her stay and feel so sure about it.  I was happy not to have to do the drive.  I was a little bummed I wouldn't get to see her the next day, but I was more than willing to get over it.  I asked her if she'd talked to someone.  Yup - that friend she'd started to make that day who said she was disappointed that Davan was leaving.

So, Davan is still at camp.  I told her I wouldn't call again, but that she was welcome to if she felt the need and had the opportunity.  We've now received two letters, both written prior to the Saturday night phone call and both really upbeat.  The second did talk about the food issue.  She sounded good, though.  So, I think Saturday was just a rough evening and that, coupled with the food issue, sent her over the edge.  Just it being a new day and food getting resolved was enough to set her back on a good track, but then the offer to come home, meaning that she'd get to do those rehearsals...well, for a while, that sounded just too good to pass up.

Wow.  I've spent so long writing this stupendously long post that it's gotten quite late.  As I've got more busy days ahead, I'd better hit the sack.  Kudos to you if you've made it this far!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Making Time for Friends

Although Davan was home for a very short period of time, she made time to see her friends while she was in between camps.  In past summers, some of these kids have done all week make up your own type camps together.

Two summers ago, they (in a slightly different combination of people) all came to our house every day for a week and created a show together for friends and family.  They had a blast and named it Pat Plane Camp.

Last summer the setting changed as we were now in a condo rather than a house with a yard and trampoline.  They still spent a week together, but it was doing stuff like visiting neighborhood parks and going out to eat on Hawthorne, going to Safari Sam's, or going to a place with a bunch of inflatables to play on.  They also lucked out and one family took them all to the beach overnight, as well, and stopped at Sky High on the way home.  They, again, had a blast.

The schedule this summer was such that the only time everyone was in town together was on Monday.  So, rather than a whole week, they had a couple of hours at Sky High.  It wasn't quite the same, but it was still fun.  I think they're hoping to go back to the week long format next summer, but with this group of busy kids, I guess we'll see what develops.

Here's a video I put together of their time at Sky High.

Davan, even though she was feeling a little pressed for time, had a really great time.  She always smiles a lot with this group.  Afterward, though, she confessed that going to Sky High made her miss Lena, as that was kind of their place this last year.

More Filling in the Gaps

In the week prior to leaving for Circus Smirkus, Davan was busy with Do Jump camps.  She taught one camp from 9am - 3pm, then took a camp from 3:30-6:30.  It was a week of long days.  On the Friday before she flew out at the crack of dawn, she had shows for both camps.

Of course, for the camp she was teaching, she mostly wasn't actually in the show, but she did take the stage a couple of times for various reasons.

Those are her feet behind the cheese wedge, for example.  :)

A little spotting was necessary.

And, of course, the final bow and thanks for coming to camp speech.

Davan playing a much bigger on stage role for the show in which she was doing camp, of course.  One of our favorite people, Jack, was teaching this camp.  You may recognize her from the end of end of term show for fabric video a couple of months ago.

Two of Davan's most favorite fellow Do Jumpers were in the camp with her.  She was delighted to get in some good Tanner and Summer time.  She's so looking forward to the start of Zig Zags and seeing her buddies all the time.  Sadly, she only gets to see Summer in passing then, as Summer is a Tic Toc still.

The show was entertaining.  Jack had them working on some new ways of creating pieces and of expressing emotions.  While the tricks involved weren't too difficult, some of the concepts provided good ways of stretching Davan's abilities.

The video is a bit on the long side, but here it is for any who want to watch.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

And She's Gone Again

We were all three so delighted when Davan finally, after more travel delays, made it home Saturday night.  We fed her, heard some stories and all went to bed. 

Sunday was a day for sleeping in as late as we could.  Davan only made it to 7:30, but that's pretty good, considering she'd been waking up at 6am Eastern time for the last couple of weeks.  We had a pancake breakfast, heard more stories, told her news of our own, unpacked, did laundry, walked the dog all together, showed new things we could do, ate favorite meals, started repacking, and snuggled on the couch all together watching season two of Modern Family.  Davan was exceedingly happy to do some vegging after all the on the go-nes of her couple of weeks at camp.

Anthony had to go back to work on Monday and Davan had made previous plans with friends.  She kind of was wishing she hadn't, as another day of just down time was sounding good to her, but she ended up having a blast with a few of her favorite Do Jump people.  I took them to Sky High.  Video to possibly follow - the computer is acting up again.  We also walked the dog together a couple times, did more packing and ate more favorite foods.

We had pizza for dinner and watched more Modern Family while cuddled on the couch for the evening.

By bed time, Davan was feeling a little weepy about the idea of having to leave home again the next day.  By Tuesday morning, it wasn't better by any stretch.  We walked Ranger together, had a hearty breakfast, which I hardly ate any off after a couple day stretch of robust eating, but Davan enjoyed, and did the final packing.  By the time we left, Davan was in tears.  Sigh.

I'm sad to say that she cried all the way to the train station and I not only didn't know how to help her, but made it worse.  Luckily, Anthony met us there to say good-bye and he was able to pep her up a bit.  There ended up being a dozen or so Not Back to School campers on the same bus and they all sat together.  She wasn't crying as they pulled away, but I'm pretty sure it was a close thing.

I went home and sent Davan a letter right away.   Then I realized I could text her.  So, I did.  I texted her all the encouragement that didn't come earlier when I just said the wrong things.  Hours went by, then the texted back, not having heard them until then because her ringer was off.  She was doing fine and was excited about camp, but still lamenting the timing.  She said the people she'd met so far were "interesting but I think I like them."  I was very relieved that she sounded upbeat.

I didn't keep her too long, though, as the point was to be with them.  And, once the get to camp, there is no cell phone reception.  So, now it's just the wait for letters to hear how it's going again.  This time, it'll be a lot faster delivery, though, as it's in state.

It's so quiet at home.  Sigh.  I miss her.  I hope she's having a great time.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Excited Preperation and Aaahhhh

Last Set of Smirkus Pics

Last night, Davan's group, ensemble, had their show.  Today, pictures were posted.  I've got quite a few to share today, so be warned.  I won't know if you don't look at them all.  :)

There were some from the dress rehearsal and Davan was in a few of those, but the actual show photos are better, so I'm skipping the others.  If I haven't mentioned it here, the ensemble did a Wizard of Oz show.

The before show cheer - Davan is to the right of this picture:

In this depiction of being whisked off to Oz, Davan is in the back, doing a sort of side bend.

Here she's on top of the fabric on the left side.

Still on that left hand fabric.

Now she's front and center.

And still...

And yet still.

Here she is in the tragically turned into hip hop dance as, apparently, one of the Wicked Which of the West's flying monkeys.  She's in the back on the left.

While there are quite a few pictures of this dance, Davan is exactly blocked by the front and center guy for most of them.  But, luckily for us, there are a few more she's in.  :)

This is my favorite from the dance:

The next piece that Davan is in is when the heroes are put under a magical sleeping spell.  In this picture, Davan is in the back on the right.

And now she's on the hoop in the front.

On the left side hoop:

Now she's on the left side trapeze.


And yet still.

Now she's moved to the right.  Just for a change.

And now back to the left...

Getting enough of these?  Yeah, me neither.  Now she's front and center.

And now they've made it to the Emerald City.  Davan's on the far right.

Getting into a two high to the left of center.


Follow the Davan - in the back on the right, doing a thigh stand.

And now there are like a dozen of Davan doing the same thing in the back - standing on some poor kneeling people with her arms up.  This must have lasted forever.  I'll just give you the one example, though.

Davan's entrance for the final bow.

Davan being a base for the final bow.

Post show/saying goodbye huddle.