Thursday, March 28, 2013


Davan and I had a great time in Seattle.  We took the train up on Monday, which just gave Davan enough time to sleep in a bit, unpack and repack before leaving.  I took a ton of pictures which I have not had a chance to do anything with yet, as we've been keeping busy on our spring break.  I'll share a couple of teasers here and will try to do more with them later.

On the train ride up, we both discovered that we get motion sick on trains.  That was too bad, really, as we'd taken the train as a treat (we could have easily driven for less money) and we had to take the train back again the next day.  Sigh.  We were glad to arrive. 

Now, I'd taken the train before, frequently, in fact, when I was a young adult, going up to Seattle to visit my best friend who was living there at the time, and used to do homework during the ride.  When I was pregnant with Davan, I got motion sick on the train, but I had no idea it was a lasting thing.  Davan only occasionally gets motion sick, so that was a surprise, as well.

Still, we were able to play card games some of the time.

We weren't able to read at all, though, which was a bummer.  We spent a fair amount of time looking out the window, even when the view was so-so due to the motion sickness.  I introduced Davan to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, which she enjoyed, but I'm not sure she did as much as I do.

We walked through downtown Seattle in a meandering way to our hotel when we got in, picking up dinner along the way.  After eating, we walked some more

and picked up some dessert for the hotel room.

In the morning, we hit the town again.  Highlights were the Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, vegan Pho for lunch, the library and lots, and lots of walking.

Oh, and there was a pretty cool Target downtown.

We decided to try watching videos on the train on the way home, at least after dark, which I've discovered on planes is better than reading for managing motion sickness.  I downloaded a couple episodes of the Amazing Race onto my iPod.  We had a much better trip home with careful snacks and the videos to help ease the way.

The trip was wonderful, really, motion sickness aside.  We had a blast eating and walking our way through Seattle.  I got to hear a lot more detail about the IPSE weekend as the trip went on, which was great.  My impression now is that it went even better than Davan let on when she first got home.  I do understand that there were lots of amazing teens there, so it wouldn't be a shock if Davan isn't selected to go, but it also wouldn't be a shock if she were.  Meanwhile, she's been inspired in so many ways and has a lot of ideas for next year if she doesn't go involving a variety of things ranging from volunteering to joining a model UN.  Whatever comes of this whole thing, it's been a great experience for Davan even this far.

Since we've been back, we've done a library tour for our Wednesday adventure (more details later, I hope), Davan has gone to her fabric class at Night Flight (who, as they're for adults, doesn't follow the school schedule and, thus, has classes this week), done a rock climbing class, gone for long Ranger walks, had a show rehearsal (that would be Davan), gone for a bike ride (that would be me) and have caught a few more Amazing Race episodes.

Just this afternoon, we decided to take a last minute trip this weekend.  This time Anthony gets to come.  And Ranger.  The weather here is lovely for March and we've decided to go camping for the weekend.  We whipped together a meal plan and have done our grocery shopping.  Tomorrow morning we'll pack up and take off for a couple of days at the beach before we have to get Davan home for yet another Do Jump rehearsal.

We're having a great spring break!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Breaking Radio Silence

Yes, yes, Davan came home and we were never heard from again.  Sorry to leave everyone hanging!  Although, Mom, it's not like you hadn't heard from us - such drama.

Anyway, let's see if I can give a really quick run down.  We have been quite busy and that isn't changing anytime soon!  I've been creating blog posts in my head, but not having the time to actually write them.  Let's see how far I can get until my insomnia wears off.  (It's currently 2am and I'm up due to lack of ability, though not desire, to sleep.)

Davan was really tired her first Monday back.  She had trouble sleeping past 3am her first night back and ended up having had about 6 hours of sleep in the previous 40+ hours between travel and jet lag.  Anthony and I had both taken the day off to spend with her.  The two of us had decided we should do a fun and active family thing.  We knew she'd be tired, but physical activity would help her adjust.

At first, when I told her that plan, she groaned, being so tired, but when I said it could be something fun and different from our usual activity, she brought up, not seriously, rock climbing.  Well, we'd been talking about going to The Circuit Gym for over a year without making it happen, so I said, "Why not?"

It was certainly physical!  We all had a good time and a got a good workout.  Davan was a natural, though.  I'm hoping to do more with the pictures we took, but, for now, here's a teaser:

After that, we've been mostly busy with regular life, trip recovery and preparing Davan for her next trip.  I'm a little embarrassed to say that the down time we've had has been filled with things like catching up on The Amazing Race rather than blogging.  However, we've also done the usual of baby sitting Kai, me working, Davan doing Zig Zags (and filling in for a Tic Toc who is out of town for their rehearsals), me working in the Do Jump office a bit still, finding Davan an interview outfit for her interview for both the Vietnam scholarship and the YES Abroad In Person Selection Event (IPSE), Wednesday adventures (more on that later), the Vietnam interview, a dance recital for a friend, a gig at Do Jump for Davan and a much delayed cast viewing of Seeds of Hope (the December show Davan was in).  Whew.

Wow, I just realized I never posted about her making semi-finalist for YES Abroad!  Not only did she make semi-finalist, but she just spent the weekend at the IPSE!  She flew out super early on Friday (5:30am) and got back last night, Sunday, at 8pm.  The IPSE was just outside of Washington D.C. this year, so she spent much of her weekend jet setting across the country.  She was nervous and excited before she went and came home...well, changed. 

She had a great weekend - one of the best weekends of her life, she says.  She really, really wants this scholarship for many reasons and I think one of them is to spend more time with the people she met this weekend.  She says she felt really good about her one on one interview at the time, but is less certain the more she thinks about it.  There were also two group evaluations, done in small groups of 5, which she said were fun.  She feels really good about her performance in one of them and a little more iffy about the second. 

Sadly, she had a killer cold all weekend (she still sounds pretty bad now), which made things challenging.  Imagine that it was one of the best weekends of her life, even so!

When I say she's changed what I mean is that in just the couple hours I spent with her before bed last night, I see a whole new maturity, confidence and spark in her in a way I haven't seen upon her return from any of her other travels in the last year (and there have been several).  It's more than a little surprising and I think part of what is keeping me up this evening. 

There are several other semi-finalists who live in the Portland metro area with whom she flew there, back and roomed with (in various configurations) and they are planning a Portland area IPSE candidate get together as soon as they can. 

As for her chances...I'm not sure.  She's come home with stories of how amazing everyone is - how well spoken, what ambition and personality.  Yes, there were a couple of people she met that she didn't hit it off with, but by and large, it was an amazing group.  She feels that others were more well spoken than she was, which would make them come off better in the interview.  She was also one of the youngest.  Most of them were sophomores or juniors, not freshmen.  She met several people for whom this was their second year applying, most of whom hadn't made it this far before, but it was a repeat IPSE for one girl.  She says they didn't say how many applied, but they did say that over 600 people start applications and don't finish them.  I'm thinking, "Wow, if that many started and didn't finish, how many went through the whole process?"  It's got to be a good number.  The fact that she even made semi-finalist between being a freshman and having an irregular application (her references were Do Jump teachers, but they're really supposed to be academic teachers) is a huge honor. 

She's hopeful and really wants it, but she's also telling herself that even if all she got out of it was this weekend, that's big because it was such an amazing experience.

Meanwhile, she had the interview for Vietnam the day before she left.  She told me she thinks it went fine, but doesn't want to jinx it.

Her interview outfit (thanks Goodwill), is this:

And, with sweater:

We were able to find her a nice pair of slacks that make her feel like she's wearing yoga pants, but look more professional.  The dress code for the ISPE was casual, so we were also going for nicer than jeans and a good shirt, but not too dressy.

While Davan was gone this weekend, Anthony and I got in a lot of bike riding (56 miles on Sunday, which is a good, long day for me right now!), some housework and general being together.  While I did have a bit of time here and there I could have sat at the computer and done a blog entry, I'd have had to fight Anthony for the computer and didn't have the heart.

This week is spring break for schools here in Portland and I asked for the week off at work.  While there is no after school program, there is day camp for the kids on break.  Luckily, we have teen black belts looking for a little income to cover some shifts and I was able to take the week to spend with Davan.  I'm really excited about it - a whole week of fun with my girl.  I wanted this time with her post trip (and I was thinking Switzerland/Germany at the time, but now it's also post IPSE) to just connect and have fun.

We've got a busy week planned, for which I really should be getting some sleep.  I will go back and try in a minute or two here.  Later today (sigh), we're taking the train to Seattle!  We're leaving in the afternoon, spending the night and taking the train home Tuesday evening.  It'll just be Davan and I due to both trying to figure out Ranger care and Anthony not being able to take time off this week.  I'm really looking forward to it and it's something Davan has been wanting to do for a long time - take at least a day trip to Seattle.

So, goodnight and I hope it takes this time.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Various Adventures in Germany

As predicted, I'm having a busy week.  I'm either working at Do Jump or baby sitting every morning and working every afternoon.  In between, I'm visiting the doctor and dentist to drop off/pick up forms for Davan for her application and, of course, walking the dog and other regular life tasks.  I haven't managed to get in a single bike ride this week, which is a bummer, but things will settle out.

What I've also not been doing is sharing pictures with you, even though I've gotten quite a few.  So, here's a bit of a picture dump from Germany.

Visiting Burg Elzt:

Making dinner one night:

On the planes where the medical team Mom supports flies.

And now I'm off to Do Jump for my morning working hours.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

On the Wall in Germany

I've gotten more pictures now that I've kicked up a fuss here on the blog.  ;-)  Davan and my mom took a trip to Rothenberg this week for an overnight trip.

Here are some pictures from that excursion.


What is particularly fun for me about this is that my mom and I went to Rothenberg when I was just a few years older than Davan.  Well, okay, five years older, but still.  And Anthony was with us.  We'd been dating just under a year then.

Here are some pictures from that trip, a little over 20 years ago:

And because we seem to only have pictures from Anthony's camera that day, here's another a picture of him from the same time frame, just to be fair.

We'd just gotten out of the Army and he was going through a scruffy beard stage. 

And, because that's now gotten me on a nostalgia kick, here are more pictures of the two of us from our younger years.

In this picture, I was a just barely 20 year old and Anthony and I were fairly newly dating.

Here's Anthony from the same time frame.  He was 22.  We started dating about a week before I turned 20, which was November of 1990.  He felt like he was robbing the cradle at the time.  Now, of course, the difference is nothing.

Our trip to Rothenberg with my mom happened about 9 months later.

In between, in the spring, we went bungie jumping with some friends.

And, on the 4th of July, we went skiing on a glacier in Australia.

There were other adventures, as well, but I'll stop there.  My gosh, though, weren't we just babies?

I'm glad that Davan is getting in adventures of her own (not that ours are over) and that hers will be much better documented though the miracle of digital photography.  (I could hardly find any of Anthony and I together!)