Sunday, August 6, 2017

Summer winds down.

Hello from steamy Portland! We've been in an oppressive streak of hot days, which combined with a few days of terrible air quality to make a miserable end-of-last-week. But we survived. We try not to move very much. Skipper has been sleeping in the basement because the upper bunk in a west-facing bedroom is unbearable at her bedtime.*


1) We had our third weekend in a row of camping, and it was a lot of fun. The camera ran out of batteries, so I have no photographs. But it was fun. There were a LOT of my relatives, and dogs, and an adorable toddler, and there was river floating and swimming. The kids were thrilled. Duchess paddled an inflatable kayak by herself, and she loved that - she was afraid at first, and then super-pleased with herself for not falling out in one of the little rapids. Skipper got to ride in a canoe, and also was afraid at first and then delighted by the experience. And now we're home for a weekend, scrambling to catch up with all the stuff that went undone for nearly a month.

2) Duchess is gone, off in Minnesota competing in an ultimate frisbee tournament, under the quasi-supervision of some young volunteer coaches (thank you, volunteer coaches).** After the tournament, she's going straight off for a few days at a lake house with a teammate and the teammate's relatives. She'll be gone for a week total, and doing stuff that requires her to take more responsibility than she ever has before for both logistics and her own emotional and physical well-being. She seems to be having a great time so far, as far as we can glean from her cursory, infrequent communications.*** Cook and I fully expect she will return home completely converted to ultimate frisbee. Duchess was born to be part of a team,**** and ultimate has some fundamental characteristics that really appeal to her, plus she loves the people. One of her communications was pretty much a lot of squee over a player she thinks is AMAZING

3) Skipper has been muddling through all her activities in a storm of anger, fear, and resentfulness.  She's been struggling with swimming - she has missed so many practices due to vacations and camp that she hasn't ever really settled into it, and she still feels very uncomfortable. She has also continued to struggle with ultimate - she enjoys it but feels really uncomfortable because she's so bad at it. She went to her first ballet class today very anxious, and came through it okay. She's talking and thinking a lot now about her habitual thought patterns, though, which is potentially a very good development. (Actually, having Duchess gone is giving her a time and space to do a lot of interesting processing. Last night she asked me where love is stored in the heart - if there's like a big reservoir or what.)

That's pretty much it. We're turning the corner toward school now, and I think both kids are looking forward to settling back into it...

* I have also learned this week that Skipper is extremely embarrassed by the way I look in a tank top. I've been trying to explain to her that body-shaming is not okay, and also I'm HOT and I'm going to let my blotchy upper arms fly.
** To clarify, Duchess is now playing ultimate frisbee at an elite level not because she's good (she's mediocre, though being tall is helpful), but because teen girls who play ultimate even mediocrely are scarce in Portland, and an even smaller number of them have families who can be suckered into buying their kid a plane ticket to Minnesota.
***Either she's having a great time or she's joined a cult. I guess we'll find out when we go to pick her up at the airport.
**** Left alone, she's pretty much an inert lump. Put her in a team environment, and she instantly kindles into life and becomes an energetic, responsive, thoughtful, engaged participant. Take away the team, and you have a lump again. It's an amazing social alchemy. 

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