Category Archives: Isla

movies and dance

I watched a lot of TV last month when I wasn’t feeling well.  I really got quite sick of Netflix.  Nevertheless, there were a few things worth watching in there.

Lion – such a great movie.  I high recommend it.

Broadchurch, Season 1 & 2 – Nothing like a good British detective show

Orbiter 9 – not awesome, but kind of fun.  Reminded me a little of Moon.

Safe – a teenage girl is lost in suburbia.  Surprisingly good.

Lost in Space – space geeks unite.

Touch the Wall – love this documentary on Missy Franklin and Kara Lynn Joyce (swimmers)

Gone Baby Gone – great movie about the search for a missing child

I injured myself trying to get back into running too quickly, so I’ve been slacking lately.  I’ll try running again today, and hopefully my IT band, which I believe is the injury, will be happier than last weekend.  Running is such a huge time commitment, and it’s been nice the last couple of weeks to feel well and have that extra time to be lazy and knit and just do whatever.

I’m still trying to get L into a dance class.  She just loves ballet so much.  I don’t understand it, honestly.  My feelings on ballet are decidedly mixed.  I like that dance combines music and athletic activity, but I don’t like: the general obsession with attire, the terrible things it does to feet, the excessive skinniness of professionals, the tights – who wants to sweat in tights? and tights on men?, the fuss about the performances for little kids, and on and on.  I also hate that around here you have to sign up for dance for an entire year.  With sports, you sign up for a season.  You can do soccer in the fall, swim in the winter, and T-ball in the spring.  I hate to put L in more than one or max two activities at a time, and the constant commitment to dance is really annoying.

However, the bottom line is that she loves it.  Finding a class is non-trivial because there are just not that many commercial establishments within 15 minutes of where we live, which would be the preferred max distance I’d like to drive.  Of the dance places, many have their classes on Saturdays or after 6 pm, neither of which is ideal.  Saturday is a non-starter because you have to show up or they won’t let your kid be in the show, which I don’t care about whatsoever, but L definitely will, and I don’t want to give away our Saturdays for 9 months!  So, we did a trial class at a place not too far away to see if they’d let her into the 7-year-old class as a backup if she doesn’t get off the waitlist at this other place which is an inconvenient drive into North Bellevue.  Ug!  Anyway, bottom line is that L was so excited when she heard about the trial class, just because it was a ballet class that she got to go to.  She ran around the house screaming and jumping, which is not typical behavior at all for her.

At the end, the teacher said she was fine for the class, so we have a backup option, even if I’m quite un-enthused about dance every Thursday night extending past her bedtime.  I felt like quite the dance mom, as she has her ballet themed dance bag (very pink and frilly and not bought by me) and had her ballet outfit on, whereas most of the other kids were just in shorts.

 

swim lessons

I’m so proud of L.  She was promoted to Level IV of the Y swimming classes today.  Basically, she’s learned how to do the crawl and side-breathe.   She can still only swim about 10 yards before she needs a break.  On a macro level, it’s not a big deal.  My brother was already swimming competitively at age 6, as do many, many kids back where I grew up.  Still, it’s been an uphill battle here.  First of all, global warming aside, we still don’t have THAT much truly hot weather here in Seattle.  It’s in the 80s to low 90s the last few days, but as of Wednesday it’ll be back in the 70s.  There are very few neighborhood pools here.  Most pools have limited “free swim” time, just lessons and classes most of the day.

Then, I started L in swim lessons at 3.  The teacher promptly dunked her.  Hysterics ensued, and we ended up dropping out.  (It didn’t help that Bri was an infant in arms at that point.)  We sporadically did swim through the years, and she finally made it out of Level I (water acclimation) into Level II (Water Movement.)  Water Movement is more or less where they learn to swim.  To get out of Level II, you need to be able to kind of swim, not gracefully, but definitely swim.  And she was stuck in Water Movement forever.  We kept not signing up for lessons for one reason or another – classes were full or it wasn’t convenient or whatever.  Finally, this summer, I decided these children were going to learn to swim.  The Y does lessons Monday through Thursday in summer to two week sessions, and so both girls started going to the lessons four days a week.  Our awesome nanny found a pool that actually had free swim in the afternoons and started taking them swimming a few times a week in addition to lessons.  And finally, not surprisingly, they started making progress.

Some things are easy for L.  Reading, studying, art, dance, things that aren’t physical or scary.  Those things are easy.  But things like swimming, riding a bike, and probably lots of things to come, are not easy at all.  And the satisfaction when she learned to ride her bike and now learned to swim is just huge.  It feels so good for both of us.

interest

We’ve been trying to think of ways to teach L about money, and we tried something randomly which seems to be working well.  We’ve been giving her an allowance for a while, one dollar per week.  She’s figured out that that doesn’t buy much, but not much else.  I’d been promising to open a bank account for her for a while, but I’ve been somewhat disheartened by the 0 interest rates from the major banks.  BECU provides 5% interest annually, or something like that, on the first several hundred dollars you deposit in a basic savings account, so I considered that route.  However, we eventually decided that we would instead open our own bank, the Bank of Daddy as we’ve been calling it.  We found an old bank book and gave her $50 as a bonus for depositing her existing life savings, approximately $30.  Every week, she has the option of taking her allowance in cash or depositing it in the Bank of Daddy.  Further, the Bank of Daddy is very generous and pays 10% interest per month.  Yup, that’s 300% interest annually, assuming full compounding.  Fortunately, given the initial balance of only $80, the Bank of Daddy can afford to be generous.

(I did mention that like all banks, the Bank of Daddy reserves the right to change its interest and terms at any time.)

The cool thing is that even given L’s very limited grasp of math, she has figured out that this interest thing is awesome.  She has been eagerly depositing her allowance in the B of D, and she’s counting the days until her first interest payment.  She really enjoys writing her allowance deposits in her bank book with our help.  She’s totally gotten the concept of money written on paper being the same as real money.

Anyway, I’m kind of excited by how well this is going.  We’ll have to see how it sticks.

running and horses

I read about the Strava mile on the Strava app and decided to give it a go.  My mile PR is 5:52 from high school when I was 17, had had no kids, weighed maybe 115, and did a lot of speed work.   I think it’s safe to say I’m not breaking 6 minutes any time soon, which makes me a little sad.  But, no matter.  Strava thinks my PR is 7:05 or something like that, so I decided to go after a sub-7.  I found my nearest track, less than 10 minutes from my house and is synthetic; there isn’t a track like that in the whole city of Roanoke.  I headed out there at 6:30 in the morning or so and had it to myself.  I wore my watch and decided to try and target 400s between 100 and 105 s — leading to a 1600 m between 6:40 and 7:00.

My splits for 1600 m ended up being 99.5, 102.3, 102.1, and 101.9.  That’s a 6:45 1600m.  Strava clocked me at 6:43 for my fastest mile (as I kept running since 1600m is just a bit short of 1 mile.)  Overall, I’m pleased, though honestly I thought I could run a few seconds faster.  I’m inspired now to do some speed work.

Saturday, I went out for a 38 miles bike ride around the lower half of Lake Washington.  1737 ft of elevation gain.  I’ve done the ride before, but it felt a little easier this time.  I’m always intimidated by a ride that long, but it’s better when I at least know the route.  I averaged 12.9 mph, which is pretty typical for me for this type of ride.

LakeWARide

After my ride, we headed to a birthday party with L – an equestrian party.  We live very near a beautiful area called the May Valley that has a lot of horse farms, and the party was at one of them.  L, as I’ve mentioned on here before, tends to be timid and afraid of most new things, and she has always been afraid to sit on a horse every time the opportunity has come up.  The people at the horse farm were so great.  They started with having the kids brush the horses.  L was initially afraid to touch the horse, but I eventually was able to talk her into it.  Then B got up on the horse they’d been brushing, and we all managed to talk L into getting up to.  What did it was the option to ride with her sister.  It was so sweet.  Unfortunately, I was so busy providing moral support to L that I got no photos, but I’m hoping I can get at least one from one of the other moms.

ambivalence

I recently stumbled across one of my most favorite pieces of running writing.  When I was in high school, there was a bit of a running fad that favored fewer miles.  Of course, this was the pre-internet age, but in my teens I was pretty convinced that I was “burned out” and other such nonsense when my times slowed down in 10th / 11th grade.  (Looking back, puberty and (healthy) weight gain had a lot more to do with it.)  In any case, it wasn’t until my junior year of college that I stumbled upon a community of running enthusiasts on the internet on the CoolRunning forums and became convinced of the opposite, that as far as running goes, more is almost always better.  The author of the piece above ran many, many miles and enjoyed the payoff.

The weather was warm enough to run in shorts and short-sleeves yesterday for the first time in, oh, six months?  Longer.  Who knows.  It was wonderful.  I took advantage and ran 8.5 miles, my longest run since before B was born.  It felt great, though I’m sore today.  I need to drag myself out for a shorter run this morning sometime soon before the rain starts again.

We’ve settled on a school for L.  We’re going to send her to a French immersion Kindergarten.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I wish we were living slightly farther North, in a better school district, but for a wide variety of reasons the cards did not fall that way.  We’ll re-evaluate the long-term path after next year.  You might wonder, why French?  Well, there are two French immersion schools near us and none in any other language.  I think there is a value in knowing any second language, regardless of what it is.  I also think that L is precocious and this will ensure she is challenged.  Hopefully, she won’t be TOO challenged.  Both B and I feel ambivalent about the whole thing, in contrast to how we feel about the preschool, which we love.  But we’ll give it a try.

swimming

L graduated from level 1 of swim lessons.  It’s been a long road, and I’m frankly just delighted.  It seems like a small thing, and she was beginning to tower over the other kids in her class.  It had just become obvious to me that swimming would be a challenge for her.  However, I have derived an enormous amount of joy from swimming and being in the water through the years, from just playing at the pool in the summer to swim team to being confident in deep water at Smith Mountain Lake and pool parties and on and on.  As an adult, I really feel water aerobics and my weekly swim were incredibly important to my mental and physical health, and I met one of my best friends in Seattle at water aerobics class.  Anyway, I’ve watched L gradually gain confidence and comfort in the water, and I see a clear path towards her becoming a confident swimmer over the next several years.  (A path paved with bribes and sparkly swimsuits, no doubt.)  Now, B is getting old enough to start swim lessons!

I myself have been swimming once a week.  I absolutely detest getting in the pool and swimming that first half lap.  It’s just torture!  After that, however, it’s quite pleasurable.  I always preferred breaststroke, but I’ve been swimming freestyle with an eye towards triathlon, and I’ve become so much more comfortable with freestyle.  I even tried some flip turns at my last session.  They went . . . ok.  I ended up with a nose full of water during one of them, and I basically found them exhausting.  But it was kind of fun to realize I can still do one, more or less.

My parents are visiting, and H is out of town.  My loyal readers will know that the latter has caused me a great deal of anxiety in past.  Today, I’m doing fine.  A friend told me to try and celebrate the small achievements, and so I’m going to celebrate how today has gone.  We’ll deal with tomorrow tomorrow.

strife

Watching this made me tear up a little.  A mother and child lost and reunited while Nadal holds the tennis match.

My own little munchkin (the larger one) came home with a bloody lip today, sustained after a fall from her scooter.  The poor little thing takes bodily injuries so seriously, much as I do I suppose, except worse.  She has been this way since she was tiny, so I guess it’s genetic.  It’s hard because getting hurt is part of life.  Her little sister is much less sensitive.  I do think life is a bit harder for sensitive types.

On a side note, I enjoyed watching Streif.  I’m fascinated by downhill ski racing, so naturally, I’ve been interested in this movie for a while.  It’s not perfect – a bit choppy and over-edited in places – but if you’re interested in downhill skiing, it’s a must-watch.