Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ian and Elfen

Six days after Johnny returned from California, I drove to Washington to see Ian in a school play, then in a gymnastic's meet. And to see Jessica's horse Elfen Lady in a two day dressage clinic. It was a busy few days.

The one-act play put on by Ian's school, Chrysalis, was "Things Fall (Meanwhile)", by Barton Bishop. Here's the story line of this dark comedy: When musical prodigy Meg Meadows accidentally drops an air-conditioning unit out of her window, crushing someone on the street below, she loses the ability to hear music. Meanwhile, after Keb's brother is killed by a falling air-conditioner in the middle of their street-dance routine, Keb loses his grasp of language and begins speaking gibberish. Meanwhile, Emily Piper, in a fit of rage, accidentally throws a javelin over a mountain range. Meanwhile, Herman, on a stroll in the woods, is suddenly nailed to a tree by a flying javelin. Paramedics say he'll be fine, but he's going to have to spend the rest of his life nailed to his tree. Lives and stories collide to create a truly unique and mesmerizing tale. (This play was specially commissioned by Playscripts for high school actors.)

Ian played Meg's partner. He was amazing and that's not just his grandma saying that. So did everyone else. He knew his lines, said them at the right times and enunciated them so we could understand (not the case with all the young actors), and seemed to "be" his character. Acting is not something any of us realized Ian would be interested in doing, much less excel at. As we all kept saying "Who knew?"

The next day Ian was in a gymnastics meet on the mini tramp, where he also did well, as usual.
First, the team warmed up with stretches.

 Here he is lined up with teammates before competition begins.

Videos of his two "passes" are on youtube: and

Here are a couple still captures of him in the air:

Elf did well this weekend, too, in her clinic debut, with trainer Nicki Grandia riding. Kathleen Raines was the expert clinician.

Like Ian, Elf had to get ready first. Here she is at home, with Jessica grooming... and sharing a kiss.

 After brushing, Elf gets vacuumed.

 The Traumhof horse trailer awaits her...

At Bear Creek, she is saddled and ready to go.

 She gets a little reassurance from Jessica. Elf obviously adores Jessica and the feeling is mutual.

 In the arena under saddle, Elf waits politely. Nicki and Jessica took Elf to Bear Creek the weekend before to get her used to the new venue. She was nervous then but fine this weekend.

 The videos I took are very long, of course, since it was a clinic. It's difficult to get a still capture that shows the floaty, uphill movement of this beautiful horse. Here she is at the canter.

And the trot. Unfortunately, I had my camera tilted so it looks like she's headed downhill. I was trying to capture her tremendous overstride.

 One still shot I took the first day of the clinic caught her in the sun...

 Jessica's retired Grand Prix mare, Elisienne, better known as Lily, is now ridden by Jessica... in a bitless bridle. Here she is with a Traumhof employee and friend of Jessica's aboard (but out of the photo) on Elf's clinic day. Lily always poses when a camera comes out.

The huge and beautiful Traumhof arena is in the background. It is the first thing you see after you turn into the white fence-lined driveway.

 Early Sunday morning before others were up and before the clinic that day, I took a hike around the lovely, nearby, private Lake Marcel.

When I returned, Ian was up and ready to play... Scrabble this morning. When not at a play or gymnastics meet or horse clinic, Ian and I had fun together "bowling" and "playing table tennis" on the WII, and playing board games. At 13, Ian is more like a good friend than a grandson.

And we enjoyed the antics of Jasmine, Ian's beautiful Bengal Cat. Ian said "this is trouble waiting to happen" when he saw Jasmine approach the cozy cat house... with their first Bengal Cat, Bangle, older and grumpier, inside.

Just as Ian predicted, Jasmine could not let Bangle sleep in peace.

Bangle growled; Jasmine stuck a tentative foot inside and soon they were having a boxing match.

But it was mostly show and Jasmine soon gave it up. She is a very mischievous cat... and maybe just a little spoiled. Here she takes coconut cream off Jessica's finger... while she (Jasmine) sits in the kitchen sink... one of her favorite places.

All the animals at Traumhof are well-loved and cared for.

I drove home Sunday after the clinic. It was a fast, fun, three days.

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