Thursday, December 20, 2012

From the Show

Here's a link to another clip from the show.  There are only four performers in this piece and Davan is one of them.  She's the one in the back on the right side.

Happy Birthday, Davan!

 Sunday was Davan's 15th birthday.  Prior to her birthday, when she realized she'd be performing on her birthday, she was supper excited.  As it got closer and we were trying to figure out birthday plans, she realized that a party was going to be difficult with all of her friends being so busy with the performances.  Finally, we decided that she'd invite some of her fellow performers (particularly close friends, as, really, they are all her friends) over for lunch in between the two Sunday shows and then go out to dinner at a place of her choice with her dad and I.

Livia, a friend and fellow performer, spent the night Saturday night, so she joined us for breakfast Sunday morning.

Davan chose lemon poppy seed muffins, pomegranate and hot chocolate mint soy milk for her birthday breakfast.

Prior to breakfast, Livia had a chance to sleep in while Davan opened presents and Skyped with Lena.  The above drawing was one of Davan's presents.  See, her present from her Dad and I for both birthday and Christmas is getting to go to Switzerland.  However, I did draw her a that picture and we did make a contribution to Do Jump, which we were going to do anyway, and put it in her name as a birthday gift.

She still had this to open, though.

She got an iPod touch!  She'd been using mine whenever she got the chance so, when my parents asked what she'd like, I was quick to suggest this gift and they generously came through.  As they had it shipped directly here, being in Germany currently, I did the wrapping for them.  I also spent a couple of hours one day setting it all up for her so she had email, music, a few contacts and some geography related apps all ready to go.  She was very pleased.

Lena gave her a combination birthday and Christmas gift.  It's really cool!  It's an advent calendar with chocolate, cookies, daily notes, little gifts, slightly bigger gifts each day.  It's been so much fun for Davan.  On her birthday, she got this cute snowman, whom she named Amy.

After breakfast, it wasn't long before the girls went to Do Jump for call.  I got to work making lunch and cupcakes for the hungry teens scheduled to descend upon the house between shows.  Ranger got busy stealing a cupcake off the table when Anthony was in the shower and I was changing.  I guess at least it was only one.

When the group arrived, I was surprised to see that it was larger by one person than expected.  As the group was heading our way, they passed by Gwen who was all by herself without lunch plans.  Davan quickly invited her to come along.  She likes Gwen, but doesn't know her all that well, and thus didn't invite her originally.  I was very happy she did end up inviting her, but we had a last minute scrambling for an extra chair and napkin.  I think we were able to be pretty smooth about it.

For the run of the show, the cast and techies are doing a secret pal thing.  Davan has yet to get anything from her pal, but many people made up for that on Sunday by flooding her with things from hand drawn cards to a box of cookies all day.  She had so much fun!

In fact, at the end of the show, each of the cast members shares a hope they have.  These vary from a little frivolous, hoping for snow this year, to pretty serious, hoping for gay marriage to be legalized everywhere because all love should be okay, but all are great.  Davan for the day, switched from one of the more serious hopes "I hope that it is possible to have a sustainable world in which extreme poverty is completely eliminated," to "I hope that everyone has a birthday as great as mine was today." 

Audience members are encouraged to write down their hopes to be added to the wall of hope in the lobby.  Here are Davan and Tanner checking out the wall after the shows on Sunday.

After this, the three of us went to VegiThai for dinner, where they gave us a free appetizer plus one free dish for Davan's birthday.  We do eat there pretty regularly, but this was particularly sweet of them.

Davan said that it ranks as one of her two all time favorite birthdays, the other one being last year's 24 hour bash.  I'm so pleased it was a good one for her.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


We have this restaurant nearby called Slappycakes.  You can follow the link to check it out or I can just tell you that the main draw is that you cook your own pancakes on a griddle built into your table.  They have a variety of batter options which are delivered to your table in a condiment dispenser sort of device so you can just squeeze it out onto the griddle.  They also have a variety of add in options from fresh fruit to chocolate chips.

I've never actually eaten there, but Davan has.  She and Lena went with Lena's host mom for Lena's birthday.  It's very popular, particularly with kids.  This morning I passed by there while out walking Ranger and noticed two kids who went in with what appeared to be their mom, jumping up and down in excitement about having breakfast there.  My projection about what was happening there is that they were doing a special advent activity and had never actually eaten there before or they would have been jumping up and down when they pulled up rather than when they got inside and saw what it was all about.

I've kind of wanted to eat there and kind of haven't.  I mean, we make pancakes once a week at home.  They only have one vegan option for batter.  With the toppings being extra, the cost can add up.  Pancakes are actually pretty cheap to make.  But, it seems like fun.  Anyway, I've had all these ambivalent feelings about it.

Seeing those kids so excited and, assuming it was their advent activity, made me want to go there with Davan for a special treat.  However, we're trying to limit our eating out and it would be kind of rude of us to use up an eating out event when Anthony couldn't join us.  Plus, there's still some ambivalence there.  But then I had a brain storm.

I came home and doubted myself a bit, but I brought up my idea to Davan anyway and she was excited.  So we did it.

We created two batters - one a kind of traditional pancake batter (but, you know, vegan and with whole wheat pastry flour and just a little agave rather than sugar and all) and the other a vegan buckwheat pancake.  We decided on toppings and prepared them.  As we're also staying away from sugar except for special occasions, the toppings did not include chocolate chips.  We had bananas, chopped apples, apple sauce, peanut butter, homemade chocolate sauce (made with nuts and dates), raspberry compote (both this and chocolate sauce were left over from Sunday pancakes), cinnamon, grapenuts, and dried cherries.

We set up our griddle in the middle of the table and went to it.

We had to use a ladle rather than a squeeze bottle, had to share the spatula and had to do the work ourselves, but it was really fun.  Not an everyday breakfast, for sure, but one to add to the repertoire for special occasions or advent activities.

We both ended up liking the more traditional pancakes the best, but had a lot more of the buckwheat batter made.

So, as we were drawing to a close with making pancakes for ourselves, we started cooking up the buckwheat ones with some of the leftover ingredients that work for Ranger.  Two of these four pancakes are for Ranger.

She'd already had breakfast, plus a few nibbles in the cooking processes, so she didn't get them this morning, but she'll have them to eat over the next couple days.  We had a lot of leftover buckwheat.  LOL

Yay for homespun Slappycakes.  We'll be visiting you again someday.

Snowman Mania

I opened the advent calendar on Sunday to find "Make snowmen out of paper and other things.  Use to decorate and/or send to friends and family."  We were unable to actually do that activity on Sunday, as Davan was at Do Jump pretty much all day for shows.  It also didn't come to fruition on Monday, mostly because it slipped our minds until shortly before it was time for me to go to work and then we went to a choir concert in the evening after dinner.  So, Tuesday it was. 

Having decided to get into the Christmas spirit with some Christmas movies over the course of December, we put in Polar Express and made snowmen.

As you can see, we had a lot of material to work with.  And distinct personalities emerged.  Mostly, the creative ones are Davan's and the look pretty much the same ones are mine.  However, Davan would be unhappy if I let you believe that the clown-looking one was her's, so I'll tell you right now, that was one of my experiments.

We worked on these for hours, even continuing after the movie while listening to Christmas carols.  It was a little off and on, but we did spend a lot of time on it.

When we were done, which involved putting the finishing touches on my last one a minute or two after I usually leave for work (don't worry, I made it on time.  barely.), we counted 16 snowmen.

We decided to do something different with them.  There are 14 condos in our building.  This morning, we crept through the halls and distributed them.

We did put two on our own door.

But that left one for each other door plus one in the entry way.

We're very curious to see if they get left up through the holidays.  We hope people enjoy them!  We sure had fun making them and distributing them.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

One More

Here's a link to an interview with Aaron Wheeler-Kay, who is the director for Seeds of Hope.  He's also co-director for the Zig Zags, but this interview is about this holiday run of Seeds of Hope.

Seeds of Hope

Opening night was Friday night.  Davan got four free tickets to use opening weekend.  Anthony, myself, Anthony's mom, and Anthony's aunt took advantage of them to go see the opening show.  It was sold out!  Of course, the free tickets for family members and friends helped with that, but there were plenty of actually purchased tickets, as well.

The show was great.  They've made a lot of changes to it between when the Zig Zag created and performed it a few years back to now.  Many of the pieces are more professionally performed.  The production is much more professional.  They actually have costumes that were designed for the show and fit, rather than whatever can be put together from their own wardrobes and the stock at Do Jump.  (Actually, they are still wearing their own clothes for one costume, but it makes sense then.)  There is live music some of which was composed for this show.  The teen cast does the vocalization and some of the instrument music, but there are three professional musicians that designed the music and do accompaniment for the show.

All that said, the most important part is that they do a great job performing the show.  It's entertaining, creative, visually beautiful and ultimately gives an uplifting message even in the face of adversity.

Of course, I'm a bit biased, being the mom of one of the performers, but I really enjoyed it.  I'm really looking forward to seeing it again when I usher this afternoon.

It's the first weekend of a three weekend run.  I'll get to see it at least twice again after this weekend.  I feel really lucky that that is the case!

I'm sorry not to have pictures to share because photography isn't allowed during the show, but here's a link to another clip I can share.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We've been moving into our Christmas season here this last week.  We saw this post last week on The Simple Year blog and I suggested that Davan do something similar for us.  She did.

The final product. 

She started with day 5 because that's when she put it up.  It's my duty to open it each day.

For some days, she used cards that we have on hand.  Other days are legal sized envelopes.  Other days are envelopes created out of note cards or paper.  It's all very creative.

To make it still look like a tree, we put the envelope back on when we're done.  Then we draw on it so that it's clear it's been done and we see progress.

So far, for advent activities, we've watched "Families of Sweden" which is semi-Christmas-y because it has snow, we've played Ranger Hide and Seek to make Ranger's advent merry, we've gotten our tree, we've decorated.

We got a tree this year for the first time in many years.  For a few years in the past, we had an artificial tree.  We didn't love that, so we went back to a real one.  One year, though, we were leaving for a week at Christmas and didn't want to do a tree.  Davan still wanted to decorate, though, so we strung the lights up all over the house and then hung the decorations from the strands.  Davan loved it, saying that it was like being inside a Christmas tree.  I liked it, too.  And we were avoiding the whole using up of resources for a tree to toss out/cost of the tree/thorny issues.

This year, though, we're having company.  My parents and two of my aunts will be here for Christmas and Anthony decreed that we needed a tree.  I was a little ambivalent about it, to be honest, but now that it's here, I'm really enjoying it.  It's smells nice and is pretty.  It was a lot of fun to decorate.

We still hung lights all around the condo.

This cute snowman ended up being our tree topper.  We're pleased with him.

We got some extra branches from the lot for free and Anthony crafted a door hanging.  We plan on decorating it more and I'll post pictures when it's more fleshed out, but it already looks nice without the $25+ price tag associated with buying a store bought wreath.

So, it's feeling all Christmas-y here, which is nice.  In fact, I've got to go open the advent calendar for today before Davan has to leave for today's two matinees.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

That Ranger Dog Again

In the midst of all of our cooking, eating and playing last weekend, we noticed something concerning.  Ranger has a new bump.

I took her in on Friday and, sure enough, it's another mast cell tumor (meaning cancer).   This doesn't mean that the last one metastasized or that she has any sort of wide-spread cancer.  It's simply that dogs that grow bumps are more likely to grow more.  We were told last time that it often happens over a few years, then goes away.  I guess we'll see.

We caught it fast and it's not in a tricky location, so it can be removed at our local vet's office.  She can even have it done under just sedation rather than full anesthesia, although they've been recommending a teeth cleaning, as well, which they could take care of at the same time if they do anesthesia.  We're getting quotes about both and will decide from there. 

Shesh this dog has been expensive.  Too bad we love her so much.

I even looked into pet insurance, but, given her breed and such, it'd be pretty expensive.  Either we'd be paying for the care on a month by month basis or just pay when it happens.  So, we'll just keep taking it one bump at a time and try to figure it out.

I'll know more early this week about what we're going to do for sure and when, but, meanwhile, I'll leave you with this video we made last week of our funny girl.  You'll see she did something she's not supposed to do, but she was just trying to figure out what we were asking her to do.  Then we went and asked her to do the thing she's not usually supposed to do and we got a surprise.  Shame on us.  It was really funny, though.