I took a few days off because there is so much going on in our house. Two in a musical, another in a very intense dancing and singing camp. Both with performances Saturday - we will watch them one after the other, with a mad dash of 25 miles between. Should be a totally exhausting weekend.
But this week is what the summer has been about, for two of us, and the timing was not ours to control. And we're all glad to be doing this - it's just going to consume us completely. In a good way...
I took the days off to get some perspective on work projects, and to be able to help as much as possible with the logistics.
Several days ago Youngest and I were talking about yo yos. He has a cheap one that doesn't work, and another that is basically a plastic party favor. We looked up yo yos on line, because I was curious if the old Duncan Imperial was still made (my yo yo as a kid was a translucent orange-yellow Duncan Imperial). I was bemused and surprised to discover that, like bikes, yo yos have been completely re-engineered since I was kid. Bearings, weight rings, star and ring response systems, hybrid response systems, lots of discussions about mods, categories of play, off-string yo yos... The prices run from two dollars (the Duncan Imperial - strongly discouraged in reviews because it is so difficult to get it to behave consistently) to over four hundred. The average for high performance, competition yo yos seems to be around a hundred dollars. We spent a lot of time on the YoYoNation store site. We talked about yo yo models in the car coming and going to Daughter's camp, and she heard us go on and on. We wear her out, sometimes, the two of us.
On my day off yesterday I dropped Daughter off at her camp, and then drove to Chapel Hill. After three days, the yo yos would not get out of my mind. I finally realized I was being nudged to do something about it. It wasn't going to leave me.
With a shake of my head and a grin, I gave in and stopped at several stores, looking for the new breed of yo yos. I finally found them at Learning Express. They stocked several models of Yomega, in the Raider line-up. They had been fairly well reviewed. I bought a transaxle model for Youngest (more responsive - i.e. will return up the string more easily) and a bearing model for me (they can "sleep" at the end of the string longer, and then still return). They're $13-$15 yo yos. I can understand a price like that. Shame the yo yo that bit me on-line is over $40 and no longer seems to come in the colors I fell in love with (YoYoJam's Mini Motu - red and gold - above) - but these Yomega models will be fine.
So I went on to Davis Library, at UNC Chapel Hill, where I spent so many idle and productive hours in college, wandering the stacks. I automatically gravitated to the N section of the Library of Congress system - the sixth floor of Davis' eight. I discovered that my throw was still intact (like riding a bike, you never forget) and that the yo yo was sweet. I set up my camera and did about two dozen shots on timed delay before I finally got one with me, the yo yo, and the string, all in the shot. Then I spent an hour and a half reading a gorgeous volume of Vincent Van Gogh's letters to Emile Bernard, including beautiful reproductions of the paintings and drawings referenced in the letters. I got confirmation from Vincent, of several things I've been experiencing as a painter; I'll be able to let them be, now that I'm more certain where they lead. One of the things confirmed was that you must not ignore or deny the seemingly silly stuff. Play.
Later that evening, Youngest and I drove to pick up Daughter from camp. When we got to the parking lot, a little early, he was walking ahead of me between the cars. I pulled the yo yo quietly from my pocket and threw it - the lovely high sleeping hum made him turn around. He dropped his jaw. He had talked to me about yo yos several times in the last few days, also bitten, apparently. I said, "I found it in Chapel Hill. Yours is in the car." For the next ten minutes we played them on the grass waiting for Daughter to come out. She lost it when she saw us - laughed long and loud (her laugh, and Dearest's, are the music I love the most). Youngest has been working with his quite a bit since, trying to get the throw strong enough and straight enough to get a solid return. Right now he either throws straight OR fast enough. He's probably only completed a few returns, but he keeps at it. I love that he is breaking into something he can't do and yet he's still happily working at it. That's new since he turned 10 - and important.
But it's not just about him and sharing something with him (though that's a big part of the joy in this)...
My yo yo is in my pocket and it feels right there.