Monday, August 29, 2005

Cyan's Birthday! 

Inside on the Outside

(I just realized that I had "drafted" my last post, rather than "published" it. Now that I've published it, and read it, I realize that there is some repetition but with variation, but isn't that how life really is? Variations on many of the same themes, and tasks?)

It's Cyan's 9th birthday today! She's excited that it's her birthday, and sad that it's her last year as a single digit. She really likes being little. She opened her presents this morning, then we went to the park, and she ran for a bit with Marcia and me, and then roller bladed around with the boys. After the park, we went to lunch at Fresh Choice, because Cyan loves Fresh Choice. It was a surprise for her, and she loved it. Later, after Alan comes home, we'll have a cake.

It's hard to believe so much time has passed since my last blog. This summer was just great. Zane went to Circus/Performing Arts camp every weekday in July, and learned how to ride a unicycle. He's very good at it. After camp was over, we bought him his own unicycle, and he rides it every day. It's fun to see people's reactions to this kid on a unicycle! People are so amazed. I'm so amazed at the determination he had to learn it. For two weeks, he came home coated in dirt from falling off the unicycle so often, and then one day, he came home basically as clean as he had been when he left in the morning, and I asked him, "What's up? How come you're so clean today?" and he said, "Oh, I can ride the unicycle now." He then started working on tricks, and got to the point where he could ride up and down a ramp that was placed on a fulcrum - like a teeter totter! At home, he can ride up and down the drive way, stop, turn. Very cool.

Cyan had her last day of summer ballet class on Saturday. As it turns out, it was also her last class with her new teacher, Nicole. She's going to miss her. She'll start her new classes next week with Shannon, the director, and Vicki, one of the founders of The Studio (! So we're getting The Studio teaching methods without having to go to The Studio! One point for following our intuition). I also recruited Cyan's friend Sophie to join her class one day a week. Sophie's parents both work full time, so I volunteered to pick Sophie up from school and take her to class, and Sophie's mom will swing by here after class to pick her up. Sophie goes to school just minutes from Ocean, and the timing works out perfectly, so it'll be fun for them to have a standing playdate and dance class together every Tuesday. Cyan is also going to take Jazz 2 at Dancenter with Gina on Saturdays. The jury is still out on whether or not she'll continue taking French this year. Our cash flow is, well, not flowing very well right now, so I don't know if we'll be able to pull it off financially at this time.

Both kids went to camp Kennolyn last week (paid for in the spring - Uh, if I'd known we'd be down to 1/2 rental all summer, I wouldn't have signed them up! Non-refundable tuition, though). Of course, they had a great time, and both developed a love for Fencing! Last year, fencing was offered as a community class at AFE (meaning we pay a small fee for each class, and kids outside of AFE can take the class as well), so she may do that (and Zane too) instead of French. She's going to have Spanish classes at Ocean this year anyway - real Spanish classes - so that may satisfy. We'll see.

Alan and I are working on starting his beer business in earnest. My mom got very sick two weeks ago, and I spent 12 days at her house in San Carlos taking care of her, so our plans were put on hold for a bit, but I'm ready to go now, and we've put together a list of action items for each of us to complete this week. It feels good.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Inside on the Outside 

Inside on the Outside

Oh, this will be fun. I think I just remembered my old user name and password, so I have no idea how or where this entry will be published!

If I knew how, I would be titling this entry: Passion

Since we in our family center our lives around our creativity and passions, I thought it might be fun to mention a few of the goings-on in those areas around our home of late.

Cyan: Recently started dancing at a new ballet studio: a small start-up in Scotts Valley. All I can say is that my instincts were right in suggesting a change to her, and asking her to try it. In only 3 weeks - 6 lessons, her dancing has become so confident, her knowledge of the why and the how of each movement has expanded amazingly quickly, and her new teacher - a young and enthusiastic dancer - has been such an inspiration to her. I see Cyan trying new techniques, and adding new elements to her own choreography at home, but most importantly, I see her confidence growing, and I think it's because she can now begin to actually dance the ideas she has had in her mind. She was hampered before by lack of information and attention to detail. Her teachers at Dancenter are very sweet - and also good dancers, but they don't seem to communicate the details to all the students, they don't touch them as often, they don't articulate to them exactly what their bodies should be doing. I think the dancers who do well there are good at imitating through the visual channel. Another issue there is that they have so many teachers there that the instruction is not consistent from year to year. She'll still go there, though, for jazz, since the new school doesn't really have a viable jazz program yet.

Zane: He met a big goal of his this summer: He learned to ride a unicycle! He's been going to a Circus Arts camp in Aptos at the Orchard School, and has worked and worked on riding for two hours a day, and he's done it! His teacher is now challenging him with riding on ramps, steps, and even a teeter-totter! Amazing. Alan and I will get to actually see him do it on Friday. He doesn't want us to come any sooner than that.

Alan: His beer making business is beginning! The kids have been helping him, and they're loving it. A large group of people at his office have decided they want him to start a beer of the month, or week, or something club, and they're paying him for it. There are a couple of marketing experts who are talking to him about marketing the beer as well, so...stay tuned.

Me: Piano! Cyan and Zane have inspired me with their creative pursuits, and I've started playing more often lately. I'm always struck when I go away from it for awhile, and then come back to it, how I've seemed to improve in my artistry (alas, not so with technique!) without even having touched a piano in months. My theory is that all that extra life experience comes out in the music. I may try hypnosis for my stage fright. It's so ridiculous to me in a way that I'm such a confident and out in the world person in all other areas of my life, but have a mental block in this particular area. I'm going to go for it directly now. Again...stay tuned.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Creating My Reality 

Here is what I finally decided to do about the T.V. issue: Nothing. Well, nothing outwardly, that is. Inwardly, I just wanted what I wanted: More peaceful times in the house without T.V. and it has just happened naturally. For example, it's 8:45 p.m. on a Saturday night - often a prime T.V. watching time - and the kids are playing Risk in the living room without the T.V. on. Gabe is teaching the kids how to play.

Cyan had her official dance recital today. It was great. I finally saw the ballet dance, which was beautiful and sweet. Interesting to me was that Cyan did make a big, obvious "mistake" - she started to leave the stage going in the wrong direction, and turned around and ran off, rather than spot turning off like the other girls. Then, in her final Jazz dance, Come Clean, she and the other girls missed a couple of cues. Alan leaned to me and whispered: uh oh - and was concerned that she'd feel badly, and be hard on herself after her upset of a few days ago, and her stomache ache yesterday. (Austin Powers was the hit of the show - and she did nail that one! ;-) ). I said - don't worry about it, I think she'll feel fine.

I found her after the show sitting with Kristy - her Jazz 2 teacher (of Come Clean). Kristy is 19 and leaving for college - a dance scholarship - so she won't be teaching at Dancenter anymore. She gave each of the girls in her class her picture, and some great photos taken during their regular classes together. The girls and Kristy were all hugs and big smiles. When Cyan was ready, we went out to the front of the theater and found Alan, my mom, and the boys. I asked Cyan (as I always do), "So, how'd it go? How'd you feel up there?" "Great!" was her response. Ahhh...She got to the joy of it afterall.

I was talking to my friend Suzanne earlier today, and we were talking about performing, and performance anxiety. Suzanne used to be a performer for a living, so knows quite a bit about it! We were talking about stage fright, and how some performers always experience it, but once they start performing, the joy of the performance takes over, and the stage fright dissipates. That's what happened for Cyan yesterday (Today, she felt no stage fright at all). It's always been puzzling to me that I can get up in front of an audience and speak, or act, and I don't have stage fright. I'm seeing that it is because I enjoy acting in front of other people, and I enjoy public speaking. I do have stage fright (debilitating stage fright which gets worse the longer I'm on stage, or being focused upon) when I'm playing the piano because (here's my new revelation for myself:) I Don't Enjoy Playing The Piano In Front Of Other People. Ta Da!

I have been so hard on myself about that over and over. How many times have I heard people say, "But you're so talented. You *should* (arghh, that word!) share your music with others." As if I am selfish for not wanting to play in front of an audience. You know what? I don't like to play for an audience. And the anxiety I feel is my emotional communication to myself that I am Not Being True To Myself When I Play In Front Of Other People.

That's how I know that Cyan just had ordinary excitement-type stage fright this week, and I have ordinary excitement-type stage fright when I act, or guest lecture, or otherwise get up in front of an audience: Because when we actually start doing our things up there - we love what we are doing! That's the difference, and it's such a key difference.

I feel so happy about this particular kindness to myself, that I'm going to go play some Beethoven right now. All by myself. The way I like it.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Dance 

Inside on the Outside

It's great to be healthy again. This morning, we went to the skatepark. Marsha and I ran together for the first time in awhile. Cyan played with another little girl - Martina - while we ran. She had her full dress rehearsal this afternoon, so she didn't want to risk a skating injury. The boys skateboarded together.

This afternoon, as I mentioned above, Cyan had her full dress rehearsal. This is her 5th year of dance, and dance recital. And she's been in plays with significant speaking parts, as well as other dance shows, so it surprised me a couple of nights ago when she burst into tears over worry about this year's performance. She cried for a long time - worried that she'd make a mistake. I guess she'd made what to her was a significant mistake during the last in-class rehearsal, and she was afraid she'd make it again during the show.

I think she really needed to express her feelings. I wondered, though, why is she suddenly feeling nervous, and worried about making mistakes. It's probably her developing consciousness. I looked at my own stage fright, and my own tendency toward perfectionism. I know these things are communicated on subtle levels, no matter how we try not to communicate them consciously.

This morning she woke me up asking how many more hours until the dress rehearsal. She was bouncy and excited. We had an ordinary, low key day, and then at 1:00, I did her hair and makeup. She started to get a stomache ache when she put her costume on. I asked her if it was a stay-home kind of tummy ache, or if she wanted to do the show today. She did want to do it, so I dropped her off at 2:00, and told her I'd be in the auditorium if she felt too sick, and wanted to go home.

Three o'clock - The rehearsal started. Cyan's first dance was only the 4th in, and I genuinely wondered whether I'd see her on stage or not. I heard her music start, and I think I even moved a bit to the edge of my seat. And...there she was! It's a great dance - to the music of Austin Powers. Everyone clapped and whooped when they were done - and of course, none of her fears about missing a cue, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time came true.

She was in two other dances as well. A ballet routine - which I still haven't seen, because she wants it to be a surprise, and her other jazz routine which was wonderful to see. After the rehearsal, two of her teachers told me about her tummy ache, and apparently she had laid down before and after Austin Powers number. They thanked her and complemented her for going on despite her feeling badly. I asked her how she felt being up on stage, and how the experience was for her as a whole. She said it went great, and that she nailed all her dances (hee!).

She also said that her tummy ache went away right before her second dance. She had no tummy ache this morning, nor does she have one now, so I think it was a case of nerves - and I'm so happy for her that she was able to work through it so well.

Tomorrow is the official performance!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

T.V. or Not T.V. That Is The Question 

Around this time of year, summertime that is, I get tired of the T.V. I just want to be done with it. For good. We live in a small-ish house with an open floor plan, so when a T.V. is on, no one in the house can get away from it's influence.

Maybe this particular year this feeling is arising because I've been cooped more than usual with an illness. Maybe it's because once the sun starts shining, and the house heats up, the T.V. loses it's draw for me. I don't know. But I do know that I feel like being done with it. For good.

And yet again, I don't. I like T.V. sometimes. We all do. But lately it's presence seems relentless. Even Cyan, our resident T.V. -aholic, has been yelling, "Turn it off! Just turn it off! I don't want to hear that T.V. anymore!" exclamations I never thought I'd hear from her. So maybe it's just in the air. The T.V. is too...here, too prominent, too much.

Last summer our family decided to unplug for the whole season. It was heavenly, and we all enjoyed it. In the fall, though, we hooked it back up, and it has grown again in primacy to the point where at least 3 of the 4 of us either do, or want to yell, "Turn it off!"

So, it's time to re-evaluate again. Think I'll ask for a family convo so we can all live together with or without T.V. without feeling encroached upon.

Monday, June 13, 2005


We're getting that summertime feeling, though, unbelievably, it rained for 2 days last week! As it turned out, I had a virus - fevers, headaches, general malaise until yesterday. Still tired today.

I did manage to get the kids to their parties and activities, and go to a couple myself. I took the kids to Pacific Edge a couple of times - they bouldered while I read. Zane is not a lesson taking kind of guy. He likes to observe and just do - just like Alan. One of the days we were at PE, a 6 y.o. little boy was there too. His dad was rope climbing with other, older guys, and the boy was left to his own devices. He played a bit at the table where I was sitting, and then started to climb - using just his regular shoes. He and Zane hit it off, and Zane climbed with the boy for about half an hour. As we were driving home, Zane told me that he watched how the little boy climbed, and realized that if he made his body small like the boy's, he had more grips to choose from, and could climb more efficiently, and easily. That was so cool! Cyan climbed a bit, and hung out with me a bit.

Friday, we went to a pool party, and later Cyan took her final dance class with Kristy. The girls had a lot of input on choreography this year, and Cyan has been so inspired! While Cyan was in class, Zane rode his skateboard, and I ran, and together we went to the Hook and back, stopping for a few minutes to watch the surfers. I was very tired, and thought I might pass out by the time we got back to Dancenter. Duh! I was sick! What was I thinking? LOL!~

Saturday, I took Cyan to her French class. She has decided to continue with French next fall, rather than join a soccer team. Interesting. I told Karima, her French teacher, who said, in the way only the French can, "She chose French over soccer, huh? Good girl, Cyan." I don't know why this makes me want to giggle. Zane went to Gabe's birthday party at the Boardwalk - and conquered a fear! He was going to back out of going to the party, because he's afraid of riding on the Giant Dipper. Gabe's mom arrived at 11:00 (Cyan and I were at French), and Gabe, Zane, and 2 other boys went to see the chickens. Gabe and Zane have done a lot of work setting up the chicken house, the roosts, etc., and Gabe wanted to show his other friends what they had done. Apparently the 2 other boys were afraid of the chickens. Alan discretely pointed that out to Zane, and Zane decided he could go to the party afterall. I was home when he returned, and he had the time of his life there! And he didn't even have to make the decision to ride the Giant Dipper or not, because the line was so long that no one wanted to wait for it. He hasn't stopped talking about the Cyclone.

It was Alan's 45th birthday on Saturday, and his band played at a neighbor's birthday party: The semi-annual party jam at the Culver's. Alan and Cyan left for the party at 3:00, and I dropped Zane off there at 5:30. I stayed home, and got some much needed, uninterrupted rest time. The family arrived back home around 10:30, the kids filthy, and beaming from ear to ear. Alan told me that Cyan and several other girls got up on stage and sang and danced. Several people complimented him on his talented daughter, and he was proud. :D

Sunday was Jenny's bridal shower, which I attended, while Alan took Cyan to picture day at the dance studio. Three costume changes, including three different hairstyles were involved. I had asked another mother if she could help Cyan, because I knew that Alan wouldn't be able to go into the dressing area. Apparently, that didn't work out the way I had arranged, but Cyan found someone else to help with her hair. She said she was stressed, but she's more mature now and was able to handle it, and I didn't need to worry about her and treat her like she's not mature. I told her that I was really glad she told me that she's more mature now. I explained to her that parents sometimes don't notice right away when their children have grown in maturity, and I was really happy that she could share that with me. Awesome!

We had another day at home today. The kids watched a lot of T.V., rode bikes, and played outside. Cyan did some sketching, collaging, and multiplication. Zane invented several vehicles, explained to me how an engine, and a generator work, and read about electricity, and magnetism. I read to the kids for about an hour and half tonight: Toliver's Secret (we've finished Hoot), and Horse Shy (still working our way through it, since it's Cyan's bedtime book, and she usually falls asleep after 4 or 5 pages! :) ).

Monday, June 06, 2005


The wind hasn't let up. Our eyes are itchy with dust and debris, our clothes are coated, the ground, our cars. Yesterday, when the boys were feeding the chickens, a large, still green tree branch fell from a tree right in front of them- they said it seemed that the wind blew it off the tree.

We met Marsha, Derek, and Steen at Sky Park today. Marsha and Derek and family had been in Hawaii for 2 weeks, and had a family wedding, and surf contest over the weekend, so we hadn't seen them in about 3 weeks! The boys skateboarded in the skate park, while Marsha and I ran, Cyan roller blading along with us. We also ended up at the resource center together. I was incredibly - uh....stupid when I was there. This relentless headache is really getting to me. I stuck books on the shelves myself without turning them in for check-in for example! I'm sure the librarian thinks I'm crazy! LOL! At least, that's how I interpreted the look on her face when she said, "You put them on the shelf yourself?" LOL!

The kids and I went over to the climbing gym, but I'd forgotten that it doesn't open until 4:00 on Mondays, so we decided to try again tomorrow morning. We went to Java Junction and had smoothies and cookies instead. On the way home, we had a great conversation about politics, checks and balances, reasons for going to war, the ethics of going to war if we are not in clear danger, etc. The connections they're able to make, and the depth with which they can discuss these issues now amaze me.

When we got home, they did some math in their Singapore books, and did a couple of language lessons which were really fun. The lessons were to name all kinds of people and places, and Cyan came up with Mississippi for a state name. I told her a little chant I had learned when I was kid to help me remember how to spell it. That inspired them to sing and chant the spelling, and to write a couple of songs about it! I'll ask them tomorrow if they mind if I post the songs here. So much fun.

We had dinner, and watched some T.V. - our favorite show to watch together right now is Ravin. Then we read some more about the Revolutionary War. Zane didn't want me to stop, but he was so tired he kept saying "George Bush" for "George Washington" and "1984" for "1776" which each time sent us all into peals of laughter. I read a chapter of "Hoot" and a chapter of "Horse Shy/The Saddle Club #2, and they fell asleep. Which is what I'm going to go do now.

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