Private Lessons for the Boys

I enrolled Đạo and Xuân to private lessons with a Japanese-American coach who competed in the Olympics and worked for Disney on Ice. I had observed her giving private lessons many times and her meticulous methods caught my attention. She didn’t just focus on the techniques. She made sure that her students had correct postures, forms, and hands.

I watched her giving Đạo a private lesson on Thursday and she showed him how to do forward crossovers, which he had learned a while ago. His form didn’t look too good. She showed how to lift up his chest, how to push his leg correctly to get the power, and how to move his arms in accordance with his legs. I appreciated her attention to the details. Even though she was strict on the forms, she had a friendly approach to teaching them. She didn’t make him feel intimidated. Đạo liked her coaching style too.

Xuân is still young and he has a solid foundation. It is important that he learns the proper techniques, forms, and postures. He started to cry when I asked him to go into the rink with her. He didn’t want to go in without me. I asked Đạo to accommodate him for a bit and five minutes later she completely put him at ease. After their first private lesson, he asked me when he could take it again. I said, “You were crying and now you want more?” He replied, “I was fake crying.”

She is a great coach; therefore, her rate is quite high. I could only let each of them do half an hour each week. Not only do we have to pay her fees, we also have to pay for the freestyle time on ice. She is no longer working at the Fairfax rink that we normally go to. We have to drive thirty minutes to a different rink. Is it worthwhile? Absolutely, if money isn’t a concern. When I discussed with my wife the reasons I chose this particular coach, she asked me my end goal for them to take private lessons. I just want them to learn proper skating techniques, to develop an appreciation for how our bodies perform on figure skates, and to enjoy ice skating.

My wife suggested twice private sessions a week if they are doing to do it. Hell no! I already am worried financially with once a week.

No Rollerblading In a While

I haven’t been to the skate parks since my last falling off the ramp. The pain in my sacroiliac joint is fading away, but I am feeling a bit intimidated to get back into rollerblading.

My helmet cracked when I fell the previous time and blacked out. If my head were hitting the ground instead, I don’t know if I could have survived. That helmet saved my head, but now I need a replacement.

I need to get back to the park to rebuild my confidence, but I will not get near the high ramps. I need to be more mindful of my age and my health. I am no longer a young man. The pain took way too long to subside.

I have been spending more time ice skating. The ice rink is much safer than the skate park. I don’t want to give up rollerblading though. It is still a fun sport I can do whenever I want and not have to wait for the rink to open. Maybe I just rollerblade on the bike trails instead of the skate parks.

Personal Blogs

My thanks to Tommy for supporting my blog. I appreciate his generosity and I am glad to hear that he enjoys reading this blog. This is definitely a motivation to keep me going.

As a blogger who blogs my life away, I really miss reading personal blogs. Even people I don’t know, I love to catch a glimpse of their life. They don’t have to be famous and they don’t even have to write about grand topics. I enjoyed something personal about their life that are willing to share to the public.

Whether blogging about their kids, emotions, or passions, they are invited the readers into their mind and I felt like I get to know them a bit. The other day, I saw a group of Vietnamese-American mothers who used to blog met up and posted their photos on Facebook. I was told that they are still blogging, but mostly in private. I wish they were still open to the public, but I am glad to hear that they are still blogging.

I am exciting to see my sons (Tinygui and Lilgui) started blogging. I hope they keep it up to practice their writing.

Summer Spending Spree

As a financial worrier, I am concerned about our summer spending spree, particularly on our kids. Xuân is continuing his academic tutoring for three days a week. Đán is taking private tutoring for reading and writing twice a week. Đạo is attending a writing workshop twice a week.

For sports, we already sent Đán and Xuân to a week-long figure skating camp. Đán will start the NHL/NHLPA Learn to Play program this Saturday. Yesterday, I signed up Đạo and Xuân for private ice skating lessons. I also am taking group ice skating lessons myself.

To offset these expenses, I am taking on freelance projects. I am currently working on only one website and the pace is slow as I am waiting for my client to do its part. My advising service for Vietnamese diacritics is going well. I have clients all over the world asking me to review their typefaces. I am really happy about those gigs.

As I am paying for all of these tutoring services and private lessons, I am thinking of offering my own services on web design, typography, and graphic design. Anyone interested?

I Like Buying Fonts and I Cannot Lie

Although I have more than I can use for my personal projects, I keep acquiring new typefaces. I recently bought a complete web license for Captura Now, designed by Anita Jürgeleit. Captura Now is a friendly, flexible sans-serif family with a variable font and Vietnamese support. I haven’t had a chance to, but I will put it to good use one day.

I invested in Lang Syne, designed by Stephen Nixon, from Future Fonts. Although Lang Syne is still in its early development, I trust that Stephen will complete it with a variable font and Vietnamese support, just like what he is working on for Name Sans.

As much as I have been excited about Future Fonts, I have refrained myself from making purchases. Except for Name Sans, a handful of fonts I have invested in have no future. Some of them aren’t going anywhere. With the exception of Name Sans, none of them supports Vietnamese, which is not too useful for me. As of this writing, only five typefaces on the entire Future Fonts catalog support Vietnamese.

I am still a long-time member of the Font of the Month Club. I am really happy that every font David Jonathan Ross each month comes with the Vietnamese language. I still highly recommend this club for students and font enthusiasts.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Notes on Grief

Adichie’s Notes on Grief is a beautiful, lyrical tribute to her father who passed away caused by a kidney failure. His sudden death during the global COVID-19 pandemic devastated her. She lived in the U.S. and he died in Nigeria; therefore, she could not be with him. My father passed away in Vietnam during the lockdown as well; therefore, I felt her pain and sorrow. The book is 67 pages and I read it in one sitting.

My Skating Roadmap

Today, Đạo and I learned the waltz jump, which is the last technique for my Freestyle 1 lessons. To pass Freestyle 1, I have to complete forward inside pivot, two-foot spin, arabesque, backward edges, half flip, and waltz jump. Now that I have all the technical down, I just need to practice my form for the test, which will be the second week of August.

I like this new learning method. Instead of focusing on nailing down one technique before moving on to the next one, I am learning all the techniques first then taking my time to refine them. Practicing several techniques seems less monotonous than just one at a time.

When I was making the transition from hockey to figure, the toe picks kept getting in my way. I tripped on them. As I am doing more jumps or hops (in my case), I begin to appreciate them. They are my new favorite tool for techniques.

After Freestyle 1, I will be done with group lessons. The pressure is both rewarding and stressful. I am the oldest and the only guy in the group. The girls are much younger and they can do the techniques with ease. I am too old to keep up with them.

I like to learn using Coach Julia’s YouTube videos and some encouragement from Đạo. He is keeping me motivated as we are trying to learn new techniques. The process will be slower, but I can learn at my own pace. I don’t need to take any test and I don’t have to keep up with my skatemates.

Đạo had written about our time together.

Một ngày của tôi và Đạo

Hôm qua Đạo chích ngừa COVID lần thứ hai. Tuy vẫn còn sợ kim nhưng Đạo chịu để anh dược sĩ trẻ người Việt chích. Đạo chỉ cần nắm lấy tay tôi để lấy thêm can đảm.

Để phòng ngừa tác động thứ yếu, hai cha con rủ nhau đi trượt băng. Đạo chỉ tôi cách quay hai chân. Tôi dễ bị say sóng nên quay hai vòng là chóng cả mặt. Rồi hai cha con cùng nhau học cách nhảy lật nửa (half-flip jump). Gần ba tiếng đồng hồ, chúng tôi tập có kết quả tốt.

Sau giờ trượt băng, hai cha con dắt nhau đi nhà hàng Nhật. Đạo giống tôi ở chỗ là đi đâu cũng mang theo quyển sách. Trong lúc chờ đồ ăn mạnh ai nấy đọc. Lúc đồ ăn mang ra, hai cha con vừa ăn vừa tâm sự. Tôi hỏi thăm nó về thằng bạn của nó.

Hôm thứ ba vừa rồi nó đến nhà thằng bạn chơi. Từ lúc đại dịch đến bây giờ tụi nó mới có dịp chơi chung với nhau. Lúc đến đoán Đạo về, tôi cũng xã giao với mẹ thằng bạn của nó. Tình cờ biết được rằng hai vợ chồng đã ly thân. Ông chồng đã dọn ra khỏi nhà. Chỉ còn lại bà vợ với bốn đứa con (ba trai một gái) trong căn nhà lớn. Cuối tuần thì mấy đứa con qua ở với ba.

Tôi hỏi Đạo có để ý bạn của nó buồn không khi cha mẹ chia tay. Nó không thấy bạn có thay đổi vì cả, vẫn vui vẻ bình thường. Chắc con nít còn vô tư chưa hiểu chuyện hoặc tuy cha mẹ không sống với nhau nữa nhưng họ vẫn sắp xếp để không ảnh hưởng đến con cái.

Tôi không biết gì về gia đình của họ nhưng trường hợp cũng tương tự như gia đình tôi (hai vợ chồng bốn đứa con). Dĩ nhiên vợ chồng nào cũng có vấn đề cả nhưng bước tới đoạn đường chia tay sau khi đã có bốn đứa con là một quyết định không nhỏ.

Tôi định hỏi Đạo nếu như gia đình của chúng ta rơi vào hoàn cảnh như thế thì sao. Nhưng rồi tôi không muốn nó phải suy nghĩ nhiều. Tuy trong cuộc hôn nhân này tôi không thể tự quyết định nhưng tôi sẽ dùng hết khả năng và quyền hạn của mình để điều đó không bao giờ xảy ra.

Xù Coke & Six Feet Under: Nhật ký của những kẻ chán đời

Những bài viết ngắn tựa như những blog posts chia sẻ tâm sự cá nhân của hai tác giả. Nội dung rời rạc. Chuyện không đủ thu hút. Cách viết không đủ quyến rũ. Tác giả viết trong tâm trạng chán đời nên cũng chẳng có gì sôi nổi. Đọc không thấy chán đời, chỉ thấy chán nản.

One-Week Skating Camp

Đán, Xuân, and their cousin Khôi just wrapped up their five-day Sky High Skating Development Camp at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex. Based on the program’s description, I signed my boys up to develop their skills based thier levels. For example, I wanted Xuân to work on his backwards and Đán to work on his freestyles. I expected the coaches to test each individual skater and then grouped them together based on their level.

Unfortunately, there was one coach for eight kids in different levels. The coach was a seventeen-year-old girl who could skate, but didn’t have the experience to teach. She showed a few techniques for all the kids regardless of their levels. For example, the waltz jump is for freestyle level; therefore, Đán could do it, but Xuân and Khôi couldn’t. They need to learn the bunny hop first before they could even try to do the waltz jump. They ended up skating just for fun most of the time.

It was not the coach’s fault. She had the tough job of overseeing eight kids for four hour straight each day. In fact, she was very patience and cool with them. The kids had fun, but I was hoping they had developed some solid skills as well. The program was over promised, but under delivered.

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