Lila making her sneaky face at the High Museum in Atlanta. Ellsworth Kelly's "Blue, Green and Red" in the background. (Pun in title -- capital letters included -- not mine. ). I tell you, I look at this picture and I can't believe how grown up she looks.
I'm having some trouble typing as my hands are still thawing. I just went running and it's damn cold outside. I hate the cold. My throat aches. My lungs burn, and every part of me cringes with unhappiness.
As I ran along Lavista tonight, I once again realized how much i hate anything below 60 degrees. I also realized that, much as I try to deny it, I hate running. Give me 80 degree weather and a 3 hour intense yoga class with a heater on any day. Not this hell.
It's boring, repetitive, painful to the joints and the only way I get through it is to distract myself with music.
Tonight, though, I could not be distracted. Curse I-pod shuffle. There is no way in hell it's truly random. Otherwise, how did it randomly present endless Johnny Cash, Wu-Tang Clan, Beck and Led Zepellin. I broke my shuffle running rule again today and moved ahead, moved ahead, next, not you, no.
Why do I do this?
I dunno. It gives me time to think? Although, I didn't do too much thinking tonight. The only topic to rise above my own whinging was the thought of a book called My Jesus Yearrecently published by the youngest son of my high school rabbi, Benyamin Cohen. This is not the son I dated in 8th grade. That was Ezra. Our dating consisted of peering longingly down the hall at each other and talking on the phone at night. In memory,we lasted a few months. In reality, I think it was a few weeks. Ezra ended it because his friends thought he should. I was devastated.
This, all while running painfully past Beth Jacob, the synagogue where I davened in high school. And by davening I mean I sat with my friends and talked about other people.
Benyamin's book, which I plan to read as soon as possible, interests me on many levels. First, how brave to so openly discuss his doubts and dislikes of Judaism. It's hard enough for most of us who grew up Orthodox. Is it that much more difficult when your father is a rabbi?
Myself, I've never considered for a moment turning to Christianity. Sure, I love visiting churches, adore the iconography, and enjoy the signs and symbols in literature and life. But I've got enough confusion in relation to my own religion. Why in God's name would I make my life more complicated by turning to a religion that separates me from my family?
Perhaps if I felt strongly about religion, any religion, but I don't. I have yet to figure out how and where it fits into my life. And I have no idea what it will look like when it does.
This, by the way, took approximately two minutes to flit through my head and then I was back to my running, forward, forward. Method Man again. Didn't that song come on already? More Johnny Cash. I tried to listen but the beat was too slow. I'm a creep? No thanks, not now.
Finally, I came across one song -- five minutes long -- that made me laugh and supplied just enough energy to keep me going. As I ran along that cold, car-riddled street, past Outback Steakhouse and Blockbuster, turning along the bend by Calibre Woods beyond Kroger, Pike's nursery and onto where just houses and darker streets grace the hard concrete sidewalk that breaks a runner's knees and back, I had to smile. I listened to it twice.
Ain't nothing like the suburbs, baby, to bring it all home.
We're back in Atlanta and I'm in search of a good yoga studio. My requirements?
It must be nearby. It must have drop in classes. And it must be real yoga, not the kind of power yoga that turns a relaxing, challenge for your mind and body into the equivalent of a stretching on a treadmill.
It's not too much to ask. I know this. There have been studios that fill these three requirements in every single place we've traveled. Be that a small yoga class on the dock in Bocas or the three excellent studios within ten minutes of my bed in Buffalo, they're easy to find.
Not here. I'm having the damndest time.
Ok, well, there is one place, called Sattva Yoga & Healing within walking distance. It does fill all my requirements. The philosophy and the classes look solid. The studio is pleasant and comfortable.There's just this one, well, there's just this thing that makes me a bit hinky. You see, this place is not only a yoga studio, but doubles -- should you require it -- as a colonic irrigation center. As the sign says, Yoga and Healing (wink wink).
At first, this was a source of much jokery. Yeah, let's go to the yoga place for a root and toot. Or Noah's favorite, "Hey, we could go on a date." Can they do two at the same time? But now that I'm actually here and ready to attend classes, I'm finding it difficult to be quite so flippant. I checked the website and what I saw truly traumatized me.
Basically, you lie on your back on machine that looks like a pinball game. This contraption is called the, ahem, Colenz. Next, you insert the nozzle and lay a drape sheet over your lower half. There's a sign clearly stating, though, that the FDA requires everyone insert his or her own nozzle. For whatever reason -- a reason I am only mildy curious to know -- the technician can't do it for you. My guess: this reduces the number of fetishists coming in their door. (Or perhaps that's just an insight into my thinking I didn't need to share?) I'll stop right there with this description, but I will say the rest involves low pressure warm water, a scoop and handi-wipes.
For those of you who care to know more, you can see and read all about the ins and outs of colonic irrigation in full diagramatic detail right here. All I can say is that I've been somewhat traumatised by the whole thing since I read it late, late one night last week. And I am not generally faint at heart when it comes to discussing body functions. I mean, I have an ongoing discussion about bedsores with a nurse friend of mine, and after spending more than one night covered in my sick shivering child's vomit, well, you see what I'm saying.
Otherwise, I have found no other yoga studios within a 20 minute drive. They may be closer mile-wise, but Atlanta traffic could use a bit of time on the Colenz too. So I may have to bite the bullet and just partake of these classes even with the Colenz in such close proximity.
Hey, you never know. Maybe I'll get used to being around them. And then, who knows where things can lead. They do, after all, have TWO machines.
I was just in NYC. I didn't like it much. Two days there, and I find myself slipping back into the same habits as before. I stop saying hello to people, never smile at anyone. I keep to myself.
How did I not notice this when we lived here?
We carried some of this New York as we drove south for what may well be the last time. It might not; it might. The first day was hellish. Imagine this. Noah and I in the front bickering for at least three of the seven hour drive our first day. Did I say bickering? No, fighting. Straight out, no purpose fighting. We brought back past grievances and hurled accusations. There was shouting, crying and long stretches of silence following statements like “Whatever.” Or “This conversation is over.” And begin again.
I considered jumping out of the car and just running. Where? To what? No idea. I just wanted to get away from just sitting there with all that negative energy (yes).
This, thankfully, was infinitely better than our first drive to Atlanta after the first time we left NY.
Amazing how things have changed and yet the same patterns are always there. Traveling is exciting at the beginning. Everything is always new. Now, after almost two years, constant change has become our norm.
I've learned a lot since we left NY. Learned how to adapt to whatever situation arises. Learned to let go of the things we can’t carry with us. And I feel like I’ve moved closer toward the type of person I’d ultimately like to be.
Clearly, we humans like our patterns. In NY, I took the same roads to the subway each day, most times forgetting myself and suddenly finding myself ast my destination. While the streets were the same, when pressed, I couldn’t have told you which actual route I took. Did I go up Henry? Or Clinton? I didn’t remember.
Now I can't remember which road we took each of the six times we've driven this route (3 times round trip).
They say children need boundaries, stability and routine in order to feel secure. When Lila tantrums because we want her to go to bed or buy her a new doll, and we refuse to budge because of the tantrum, she seems happier when we hold true to those edges. A new toy won’t make her happier, but knowing she is safe within defined borders does. The tantrums are horrible and often occur when stuck in traffic on a highway somewhere. I’m talking screaming unintelligibly at the top of her lungs, kicking the back of my seat, heartwrenching cries too. But after, after things all calm down, Lila will then repeat happily, “I was screaming so I couldn’t have chocolate.”
I think we say that children need boundaries, though, because we so desperately need them ourselves. We just don’t have someone forming them, often arbitrarily, for us.
I suspect that once again it is all about finding balance. Routine is comfortable and necessary, but it can also become too binding. Complete freedom is wonderful too albeit extremely rare.
So back to the car driving down Interstate 81 -- or is it 81, 84, 85 or 95?. We're in one place but moving. We fought all day one, but day two the cloud lifted and we calmed down, figured things out.
Because when all is said and done, what else are we going to do but work it out?
Last year, I wrote a long involved post for this blog about the meaning of High Holidays. The perceived meanings. The actual meanings. The meaning to me.
When I read it to Noah, as I sometimes do before posting, he raised an eyebrow and asked. "You're really going to post that?"
I really was, but after a day or two of thought, decided against it. Why? It was angry. It was invective. And it goes against everything I want this blog to be.
This blog began as a semi-public journal of our travels meant for friends and family. As time passed, more people read it. Then a few more. Then a few more. Now, it seems there are hundreds reading and following along, which really is quite amazing to me.
My idea of what this thing should be has also changed. While the content, I think, does not yet reflect that quite yet, it will eventually, and if I've learned anything along the last year or two is that patience is your friend. As long as I keep moving forward, however slowly, it will happen.
The saying goes: May you be sealed in the book of life and sealed well.
Sealed? I don't like that idea of sealed. Who wants to be "sealed" into anything. That just strikes me as being stuck, laminated over with plastic and left with no room to breathe. No. Instead, I like to think of this as the inking of pen to paper, the continuation of a story -- a metaphor to which I can relate on many levels. Even better, it allows for forward movement.
My holy day post from last year reflected all that I saw wrong. Wrong with the world, my religion, my family. While it most certainly did not name names, and it came as straight arrow honesty, well, it wasn't the right thing to do. Believe it or not, I try my best to do the right thing with whatever information I have at that moment. What more is there to do?
There is also a custom of asking forgiveness from all those you may have hurt over the last year.
I am a big fan of honesty but sometimes convince myself it is alright to say or do something because it is honest. I have also been known to lose my temper and say or do things that were best left undone and unsaid. Over time, I have learned that silence is often a better choice even though silence is as easily misinterpreted as words.
It is not easy to apologize, because apologies mean you are wrong. Who among us embraces error? I rail against apologizing because I have also been hurt. Where are all the apologies owed to me?
Yes, yes, a silly, childish thought, but again, it is honest. An honesty, I believe echoed in the thoughts of others, even if you don't admit it. Then agian, even if I did hear the apologies I desire, I'm not sure I woudl believe them. Apologies mean nothing without follow up action.
Now as sundown approaches on this evening of Yom Kippur, I say thank you again. Thank for being a part of my life. I also apologize for anything I may have said or done that was hurtful. Some of it, I'm sure, was inadvertant. Some of it, because I chose not to pay attention. Some for other reasons altogether. Please know, though, that nothing I have said or done came from spite or the desire to hurt others. I have no desire to hurt anyone. It is just not worth it. On any level.
What is my action, here, though, that would lead you to believe my mea culpa. I'm not yet sure.
For now, I wish you all a good future. One of growth and potential. One of new experience and joy.
It's the paradox of the move that does it. We're in one place but moving. Lila and I are baking cookies tomorrow for her teachers. Noah's picking up a package at DHL. It's our first day of dogsitting Cosby (who seems rather irate these days, although I'm mostly sure he wasn't offended by my last post.)
Everything slows down the week before we move. We don't go out as much. Don't see as much, and we don't seem to get as much done. Yet the days slip and slide forward so fast I don't know Monday from Friday. I suppose it's something like turning a corner. You're slowing down, slowing down, but really speeding up at the same time.
Does this make any sense at all?
I didn't make it to yoga and the abortion protest this week bc we went to Toronto again to see family. This coming weekend will be my last chance. I haven't started Lila's Halloween costume. We didn't go to Maid of the Mist or Cave of the Winds.
Between now and Monday morning, I plan to go through all our stuff, pick something up from DHL, launder and iron the cloth for Lila's costume, make cookies for Lila's teachers, give a donation to a couple charities around here, do laundry, mail some stuff back to Atlanta because it won't all fit in the car and plan the trip down to Atlanta. Also, go to four yoga classes so I can use up the rest of my ten-class pass (unless someone else wants it. If so, let me know. I'd be happy to ask Darcy if she'll transfer it to someone else), take pictures of the protesters. I have a list of questions in my head for them. Should probably write them down but whenever I try, I forget them.
Blah blah blah. Have you noticed that between moves I list all the things to do, to go, to be?
I've noticed. It's tedious as hell, but it's what in my head now. It's my process, so now those of you who have asked how we do this, this is it. To do lists and you just don't think about it too much more. You really can't think too much about it, because if you do, it's becomes more difficult to reach the ends of those lists.
Have I mentioned preparing Lila to go. We've already started the goodbyes, returned our library books, barbequed with the in-laws one last time. We go through our clothes and decide what to pack. Begin to talk about what we'll do next week, the week after, where we're going, who we'll see.
All this before Monday morning, when we start the decent from Move to Road Trip to Month in Atlanta to Deal with Last Details of Argentina to ARGENTINA.
It is evitable. A ball rolling down hill, and yet I still feel like I'm on the steep uphill of the next leg the journey.
We're back in Buffalo at Ken's and will be dogsitting his dog Cosby for a week.
I'm not good with dog etiquette. We'd dogsit for Cosby sometimes in Brooklyn. I hated those moments when you're walking your dog, minding your own business but every time you pass someone with a dog you're required to stop, let them sniff each other while you, the owners, talk all things dog.
"He's so cute. What kind of dog is he?"
"I don't know," I'd say at first, because I didn't. He's not my dog. I got the gas face and the other dog and owner were suddenly off.
Or I'd make the mistake of mentioning that I was just dogsitting. Same gas face. Same walk off.
After some time, I began to learn the rules of this game. You meet, say hi, determine if the dogs are friendly. Cosby most definitely is, but sometimes, he'd get a bit aggressive. And people are very protective of their dogs. Sort of like the moms on the playground. They'd get so upset if your little one pushed too hard with theirs.
People, wanted to shout, they're dogs! DOGS!
After a while, I began to get nervous when I'd see other dogs approaching because I never knew when there would be a fight. I hated that moment, almost as much as the one that followed.
Once you determined that the dogs were indeed friendly and were also actually interested in getting to know each other better, perhaps to one day become neighborhood friends and invite each other to birthday parties and park dates, they'd sniff each other while we owners enjoyed some chat time discussing how adorable each dog is. How fluffy. What kind is he? Or perhaps we'd tell a little story.
I never got the hang of it. My dog chit chat never lasted longer than a few minutes and always ended up with the tell tale nose in air, walk away. Most of the time, I had no idea what I'd done wrong.
Today, while walking Cosby, I had some similar feeling. We met Baby and her owner, who for all I know has and never has had a name of her own. Baby's a puppy, very cute, lots of energy and jumps on people. Cosby is old, has allergies all over and is currently on medication that gives him bad diarrhea if he eats anything other than rice and edamame.
Sharing this is not winning dog conversation.
Still I persevered. What kind of dog is he? He's part Chow, part Labrador, a chowbrador, if you will." Believe it or not, this merited a smille and a chuckle.
A bit later, a mail main stopped me to ask what happened to his leg. Cosby's back leg is wrapped in a little blue bandage. "Allergies," I told the guy. "He gets them badly and bites until he bleeds." Oddly, the man did not walk away.
Next thing I know, I'm invovled in a conversation about dogs and their allergies and what to do for them. "Because, you know, you really can't do anything for them. They're just miserable."
"You can give them benedryl," he suggested "but then they're just knocked out." That's what happened to his Rottweiller.
I have never given a dog allergy medication, although I do remember my childhood dog Sadie going nuts, breathing heavily and all around going crazy with her fur sticking up like an angry cat. The vet cried allergy, but I have no idea how my parents handled it.
I'm not really even sure if Cosby has them. I just remember Ken saying something about this at some point.
Truth be told, I'm not much of a dog person anymore. They're stinky. Messy. slobbery and have to be walked. Worst part of walking, without a doubt is picking up their poop in little plastic bags. It ruins any walk. Permanently. From the time I'm forced to lean over and grasp whatever little or large nuggets squeeze out from the dog, I simply cannot remove the look of disgust from my face. At least not until I find a place to dispose of the baggie, which is usually when I get back home.
I have this fear of people running out of their houses screaming bloody murder as I trespass on their property to dump, well, dog dump in their garbage cans. I was traumatized by a sign left on the garbage can near our old building in Brooklyn. "If you leave your bags of dogshit in my garbage cans, I will find you and make you eat it."
Lovely. Just lovely.
This is also a reason I don't just leave the poop on the ground. I suspect there are homeowners everywhere with nothing better to do than peer out their windows watching and waiting for me to leave poop surprise on their lawns. They'll then fly down in an unholy rage and punish me, somehow. Cosby, I'd guess, does not have the energy or stamina to protect me in such a case.
It also just seems like something that should never be done in a civilized world.
I'm not proud of my non-dogpersonhood. I used to love them. As a kid, I used to climb into Sadie's doghouse, ramble through the woods with her, even put her ears in fluffy pony tail holders to match mine. She was awesome and very patient.
So I'm not sure how between there and here, I stopped liking dogs. I don't hate them. I just don't have any desire to have one living life indoors with me. Or stop and play with them on the street. Or compliment strangers on their dogs winning personalities.