Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Circus

Last night, at almost the last minute, my sister calls me and asks if I and two of my wonderful children would like to go see the Great Y Circus. It was hard to choose two children, mostly because my husband was busy setting up the Wii he had happened to find at Walmart a few days before, and they all wanted a turn. I finally convinced the two younger ones to go with me, and we set out.

For those of you that haven't heard of this "Great All American Youth Circus", let me give you a brief history. In, 1929, YMCA director Roy Coble, once a performer for Ringling Brothers, started this program. Kids as young as 3 up to 18 are trained by circus performers in arts such as juggling, tightrope walking, trapeze, bungee, acrobatics, teeter board, unicycling, and contortionism in a program that starts in September and culminates in their performances that begin in mid to late May. The trainers are mostly volunteers, as are the setup crew. This has been a tradition at the Redlands YMCA, and this year marked their 68th season.

I wasn't expecting much, being that, hey, we're talking about kids. But what I saw was just astounding. I saw kids as young as 10 swinging by their knees on ladder style trapeze. I saw a young man no older than 17 twist himself into forms I had no idea were possible. Three teenage girls dressed in very tasteful but classy leotards draped themselves precariously over the frame of what looked like three hula hoops stuck together in an almost pyramid shape, which was hanging near the top of the gymnasium ceiling. A large group of kids cycled out onto the floor on their unicycles, then performed a reel sort of maneuver, passing from one hand to another as they rode their unicycle toward the end of the line. Another group of cyclists came out on taller cycles, followed by a young man who climbed to the cage in the rafters in order that he could mount his cycle, which was almost as tall as the highest trapeze. The older kids on the mid height cycles joined hands and rode at the other group, then joined together to form an x, and rode in a circle. Then there were teenage girls and boys who performed with the German wheel, and the same group, more or less, also did some incredible acrobatics on what looked like pairs of curtains. A couple girls did a routine that had them swing to get enough momentum to let go and do flips on bungee cords. Of course, there were the adorable 3-5 year olds, who did tumbles and were assisted in flips, all ending in a "taa-daa" pose for the crowd.

I am so glad I got to go see this! Both of the girls I took with me want to run away with the circus now. I caught one of them putting a branch between the swings and trying to walk across it today. Since she had no balancing pole, I made sure the branch went missing! Kudos to the parents, volunteers, and the performers for their amazing achievement. now, I have to rustle up the money so the rest of the family can go....

Friday, May 16, 2008


If you have taken a few minutes to check my profile, you can see why escapism is an appropriate title for my little corner of the internet here. At this very minute, I am trying to escape talking to at least three of my children. In the background the sounds of ground beef spitting and sizzling compete with my 2 year olds protests at having food taken from her, and the pasta water is bubbling gently away. The washer gurgles, and they dryer hums monotonously. Two of the girls are fighting over whether one of them is a crybaby or not.

In the time it took to write that, I have popped out of my seat at least 5 times to check dinner, shoo a couple of girls out of the kitchen, (I'm at 7 now), stirred the ground beef again, wiped the yogurt hand print off my back, and helped find a wii mote. Here I go, number eight, back with more random ramblings.....

With the spaghetti noodles now married to the meat sauce, and the garlic cheese bread in the oven, I think I have time for my random musing of the day. My husband received a call last night from GameStop to go pick up his Age of Conan Special Edition package. He always has to get the special edition of any game he plans on playing for more than 5 minutes, and he must reserve it months in advance, and pick it up the minute it hits the store sales floor. We only have one large station wagon (It seats 9, I need nine seats, I use more than half of them 75% of the time. Let's not get into the gas guzzling discussion.), and he has to go get it while I am at work. So, he packs up my two elementary age kiddos and the toddler, and he starts his journey. Drop wife off at work....check. Drop brats off at school...check. Hover anxiously in front of GameStop entrance until manager grudgingly opens doors 5 minutes early to get rid of stalker....check. Waste time meandering around Target until wife is almost done at work...check. Make wife sit in back seat because moving special edition pc game might cause a rift in the space time continuum...check. Rush home to set game carefully on desk, while wife manages apron, purse, keys, toddler, and closes all open car doors...check. Stare longingly at game he cannot play until get the idea.

I didn't buy a special edition of World of Warcraft, or of The Burning Crusade expansion. Sure, I think it's the best thing since sliced bread, but I probably won't rush out and stand in lines to get the Wrath of the Lich King Special Edition expansion package either, because that's just not me. I'll pre-order, but I'll get the regular edition. I like the game for the freedom from children (mostly), the adult company, and the thrill that I am doing something that a lot of people in my situation are not; being semi successful at a video game. My crowning achievement this year? "Check it out! The lunch lady has a level 70 warrior on World of Warcraft!"