Many thoughts about the world, meditation, parenting, Judaism, pregnancy, teaching, cancer survivorship, moving from West Coast to East and more.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Environmentally Happy Ink Cartridges

Just ran across this while clicking around on this site.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Yankees vs. Royals

I went to my first real baseball game ever: New York vs. Kansas City. We had bleacher seats which meant:

1. We had to go through a separate entrance.
2. We had a pole in front of us.

3. No Kosher hot dogs. I found another Jewish couple who were also trying to figure out how to get to the Kosher hot dogs in the main stadium, but alas, it couldn't be done.

It was fun being there except that the truth is I don't really have any sports alliances except for rooting AGAINST the Yankees. So with the exception of the YMCA song, it was hard to know what to do when people were cheering. Mostly U. and I sort of muttered sarcastic and very silly remarks to each other about the game.

One really cool catch involved a Royal jumping up, catching the ball, then rolling on the ground and popping up again unscathed. I couldn't quite see it, but U. jumped up in time and saw it all.

(Note: At the time I'm posting this, the video isn't up yet for that catch from the link above, but I guess it will be a little later.)

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Waltham

I haven't written in awhile. It's been a busy and sort of difficult week. I'm not going into too many details here. Adjustments are hard.

The highlight, though, was seeing a very dear friend of mine in Waltham, MA, near Boston. So now, throughout my life I've been in:

Arizona
California
Connecticut
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Massachussetts
Montana
Nevada
New Jersey
New York
Ohio
Oregon
Pennsylvania
South Dakota
Texas
Washington
Wisconsin
and Wyoming

20 down and 30 to go.*

This doesn't include anything out of the U.S. of course including British Columbia, Canada, several cities in Poland, London, Amsterdam and a few other areas in the Netherlands, Dublin, and Israel.

Not bad.

As for Waltham... I had a great time with my friend, her husband and their two cats. None of whom are Jewish, including the cats. The only reason that is relevant is so that I can mention that there's something wonderfully precious about what they did for me. They now have a box of Kosher dishes put away in a special tub for anytime I come to visit.


*Correction -- My mother reminds me that I have also been to:
Alabama (where my half-brother grew up)
Georgia (apparently landed there on our way to Alabama)
New Mexico
Missouri (plane layover in St. Louis)

So that's 24 out of 50. Almost halfway there!

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Well if that's moving up then Iiiiii'm moving in...

One of the best parts of this Ikea desk is the magnetic panel on the right.



And yay! Although it doesn't show it in this picture, this will be the first time in my entire life away from my parent's home that I could have ALL my books on display. (Before they were stuck on shelves in the attic!)

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I love my stuff

Oh yeah, and the movers finally came. Life feels so much better now!

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Guest what happened to me...

(No, nothing really happened. I'm just making a pun.)

It is really hard work for me to be a guest in a stranger's home. Every meal I've been to so far has been with a large-ish crowd and I don't know how to contribute to discussion. So I sit quietly, sometimes for three hour meals or more.

I'm looking forward to being with just one or two people at a time. I met one person today who I really liked and who might turn out to be a friend. Let's see if that develops. (There are a lot of people that I like, but that doesn't mean they'll be my friends.) The truth is, the most engaging conversation I was able to have at a Shabbos table today was with a mother who was asking advice on books for her child. So I was talking shop, and I don't know how interested she actually was, but I guess that's just what makes me tick.

On another note, I found two alternative communities for myself last week. I say alternative because they are not Jewish communities, they are just other places where I can belong.

One is with a writing group that meets in the library twice a month. After the meeting this week I was totally reinvigorated towards writing.

The second place is theTenafly Nature Center. I agreed to volunteer there a few Sunday hours per month. A little voice inside me said it's a bad idea to volunteer too early. But a more personal voice said that I need to be in the outdoors, I would love the physical labour of trail maintenance or whatever they have me do, and that I can spare the time for something that deserves it like this.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Teaching kids how to laugh?

Yet another ploy to get children to nag parents to buy stuff at Tickle U rather than allow them to be children.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Cicada Central

I remembered even from Oberlin that in this part of the country, during the summer, there's a constant buzzing sound in the air. It's so constant that I even wondered when we first came if it was an electrical station or something instead. I started to suspect cicadas, but wasn't sure, not really knowing what they look like or for sure how they sound. (I used to have a novelty cicada key chain that made a terrible sound when you hit the button and couldn't be turned off. I got rid of it because it was so horrible.)

Tonight I was bringing some things in to the back of our building and suddenly, right in the spotlight, I saw this beautiful and weird bug, but it was totally silent. It crept along the wall and I bent over to it to get a good look. It was a quiet moment of connecting with nature and I felt in awe of this huge and kind of creepy bug.

Then it suddenly "fluttered" (more like stumbled through the air) to the ground. It may have been injured. And it made such a racket as it did so that I accidentally screamed.

I hope no one heard me.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ellis Island and More!

Warning: Long Entry



So as I said yesterday morning, we hit Ellis Island. I've been wanting to do this for a very long time. Some advice though... if you ever come as a tourist, do it EARLY. It takes a long time to get to Battery Park, then wait in line for tickets, then get on then get on the ferry, stop at the Statue of Liberty, check that out, get back on the ferry to get to Ellis Island for 3 floors of exhibits and then bo back again. We got there in early afternoon and already I was worried we wouldn't have enough time. In fact, once in line to get tickets for the ferry we bought some off someone whose companions had not shown up for the trip and probably saved ourselves at least a half an hour. To save time we also skipped The Statue Of Liberty. If we didn't live her now, I probably would have really regretted that move. But we DO live here and sometime are sure to visit again with visiting friends or family.

Are you a candidate?

Ellis Island is a pretty amazing place with an amazing history. I just love being in historically signifiicant places to imagine the people who have come through. Of course, many people in both of our families actually did come through this place when coming to America.

Being there really made me realize what it was like to arrive as an immigrant. Having so recently come to a new place myself I could sort of identify with the idea of leaving special things behind and taking a long journey. But so many of the people who came to this island journeyed so much longer, spent everything they had to do it, didn't speak English, were on a boat and had no idea what was ahead. It's jarring to imagine being on a ship for so many days, finally seeing the NY skyline and then having to stop at this island to be processed. Lots of people never made it past that point either because they were sent back home or even died on the island before they could actually get into the city. And so many other people didn't stop at New York but had to take trains across the country for days and days longer.

It's weird to me too to know that this place, Ellis Island, is such a symbol of immigration and diversity, and yet in Englewood I feel so little of it. Yes, this area is more racially diverse than Oregon, but as I've said in previous entries, most people here have always been here.

I saw a nice view of NY from inside the room in which people waited for hours, sometimes days, on end.



There was also a nice exhibit called "Silent Voices" which showed photos of Ellis Island after it was abandoned and before it was renovated into a museum. Haunting in the same way that remnants from the Titanic are haunting.

On the ferry ride back to NY we were followed by two different seagulls who seemed to benefit from whatever wind changes the ferry caused.





We arrived back at Battery Park around 4 PM. A whole lot of men were there with bundles. I thought, "Oh, they were selling stuff and now are packing up." I had it backwards. Within 2 minutes these dozen or more men went from carrying bundles to suddenly having their wares out and trying to sell watches and handbags. I've never seen such a quick transformation in such an unexpected place.

There was a statue in Battery Park of immigrants. I couldn't tell what to make of it. The guy in front on the statue is practically crawling on the ground, begging, and is wearing a kippah. Was it anti-semitic?



So we were meeting an old friend of ours for dinner at 6 near the Empire State Building and tried to shoot for that as well. (It was an expensive day.)





They've got a cute little scam going there. While you're in one of the 4 or 5 lines you have to stand in before you actually get to the top, they want to sell you these audio tours. They claim that once you get up there you'll be really bored unless you know what everything is and that there is NO WAY for you to figure it out without the audio tour. You won't know Central Park. You won't know Yankee Stadium etc. Oh, and it costs $6 more.

Well, you can see plenty, thank you very much, even on an overcast day. And there are actually plaques that help you figure out. And come on... how can anyone miss Central Park?

We saw The Statue Of Liberty and Ellis Island again, now from this height.


We also saw Englewood.



And a pigeon with chutzpah.



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Monday, August 15, 2005

Ellis Island Today

We're off to be tourists at Ellis Island. Wahoo! I've been looking forward to this for a long long time.

I wonder... have more people first approached Ellis Island from New York City, or from the ocean?

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Meeting People On Tisha B'Av

It's tricky to be in a new Jewish community close to Tisha B'Av. I've only had 2 Shabboses at the shul and now I was there on this holiday on which we are in mourning for all of the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people over thousands of years. In keeping with the spirit of the day you are not supposed to greet one another (always a very difficult task) nor introduce yourself. So last night after Eichah (a reading that takes place on the evening of Tisha B'Av) a woman said,

"I'm not supposed to introduce myself but my name is..."
"Well, I'm not supposed to introduce myself either but my name is ... and I'm looking forward to talking to you more on another day."

The truth is, I'm a pretty shy person when new to a community. It usually takes me a very long time to really warm up to people. But the people in this shul all just seem so friendly in a non-threatening way. In some places, kindness takes the form of lots and lots of personal questions, but here people somehow seem undemanding with the questions and generally are interested in how we are adjusting.

We'll have a little more to answer them when the moving truck finally comes...

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Friends In The Neighborhood

Today was kind of a rough day. One of those days when I felt like a complete different breed of human being from anyone else that I know here.

But then after some time alone in the afternoon to stew about that, I got to see some old friends for the first time since I've been here. (Actually, tomorrow we will see a friend and then a relative.) J.R. and A.B. are in town as you can see from the latter's blog. We met in Teaneck for dinner.

Weird to see them in this context, but very welcome.

(Note: I realize there's no need to use their initials as you can see their names from their sites, but I'd like to be consistent on this semi-anonymity.)

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New Desk

Oh yeah. New desk. This is what I've been waiting for.

Now I can get comfortable here.



(P.S. The panel on the right is magnetic so I can put my magnetic poetry there when the moving truck arrives. Oh why didn't I pack it in the car with us???!!!)

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

TV-B-Gone

In response to my latest entry, my dad sent the following information about tvbgone. I'm especially intrigued by this article. Very tempted to buy this item. Anyone want to join me on an anti-forced-TV-watching-in-public-places movement?

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Cooking Wine and Grocery Shopping

We live about a 10 minute walk from Shop Rite which is where we get most of our groceries. I went there today in old baggy (too big) pants feeling a bit of pride for looking a little sloppy. (Since the moving truck still hasn't arrived I have to spare my nicer clothes for when I actually need them.) So except for my hair being covered by a Greek sailor's cap, there was probably not much way to guess that I was Jewish. I was shopping for ingredients for pasta and a nice marinara sauce in which I usually include (trade secret... don't tell!) red cooking wine. So I decided to have a little fun and started approaching random (obvious by dress) Jews in the store and asking if it is ok to cook with wine during the nine days. (These are nine days of mourning before a holiday called Tisha B'Av in which we commemorate a whole series of tragedies that have affected the Jewish people on that day. One of the restrictions during this mourning period is to not drink wine except on Shabbat.) I actually couldn't find anyone who knew, but found it enormously satisfying to have so many frum Jews around to ask so casually. Also kind of fun to know that I was observant without necessarily looking that way. I got a nice wink from one of them who wished me a Good Shabbos 3 days early.

At the Shop Rite they have these TV monitors by the checkout which blast at you while you are checking out. Although they make a terrible racket (I'm surprised the employees can't take out worker's comp. on dealing with that noise pollution) I so far have managed to ignore everything they've advertised except for something about taking care of dogs. See, I don't even remember HOW they were suggesting taking care of their dogs.

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Portland in Canada?

Today the following conversation actually took place between my husband and a FedEx employee:

"I need to send this to Portland, Oregon."
"Where?"
"Portland, Oregon."
"You need an international envelope."
"For Portland???"
"Is that in the country?"
"Yes. Oregon is under Washington. Above California."
"Ok, then you can use a domestic envelope. Wait, where did you say?"
"Oregon."
"Are you sure that's not international?"
"I'm very sure. You know California, right?"
"Yeah."
"It's above California."
"Is that in Canada?"
"No. It is definately in this country. Ever hear of the Portland
Trailblazers? We're close to Seattle. We
root for the Mariners?"
"I think I'm just missing something here."
"That's ok."

This was an employee of FEDEX international delivery service!!!!!

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Monday, August 08, 2005

Furniture Day

I hereby designate today as having been Furniture Day for us.

We bought furniture.

(Obviously)

We schlepped furniture.

Now we are putting together furniture.

I have discovered that I only sort of like buying furniture. It is fun to go shopping for it and imagine the possibilities, but once you get past the possibility stage, your purchase becomes reality. And with furniture, you really can't go back. It feels like we're deciding on things that will affect us for a long long time.

Such troubles we all should have.

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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Sendak Exhibit

Ventured into Manhattan today to see the Sendak Exhibit at the Jewish Museum. It was quite a trek to get there. We bussed in and then took the subway (including a very stupid wrong turn on my part) until we finally arrived. On the way home, with no wrong turns and just one quick errand, it took us nearly 2 hours to get home.

In any case, it felt really cool to be in the city. Really cool. And for those of you who know me, this is quite a revelation. I've always been terribly afraid of living in New York. But I'm not living there. I'm living in NJ, and can get into NY, one of the most famous places in the world, and I can do it ON FOOT and with SUBWAYS. No planes. No vacation time spent on this. I spent a Sunday afternoon at the Jewish Museum in NY.

That rocks.

The exhibit itself was pretty good, although somewhat short. I've read quite a bit about Maurice Sendak and knew much of the information presented. I read pretty much everything in the exhibit and still it only took an hour to get through. It was exciting to see his original work, and especially to learn a little more about some of his more recent works, like Brundibar and We're All In The Dumps With Jack and Guy. His work has always been so dark, but more and more so lately. It's really interesting to walk through the gallery past costumes of "Where The Wild Things Are" in which dark imagery can be made magical and kept in control, until the final gallery where you walk in front of an actual stage containing costumes for Brundibar. If you read the link above you see that Sendak's book and the current opera are taken directly from an actually opera written in Terezin and then performed there by children shortly before both the children and the author were murdered by Nazis.

Sendak is not a happy guy.

There were a few places in the exhibit in which tiny copies of photos of deceased relatives or of famous places were placed alongside the drawings that Sendak drew. There could have been more and I wish there had been. But it was good.

We went through the rest of the museum too. At first I was kind of bored because a lot of the exhibits were there to basically explain what Judaism is. And I already know that. I already know what a Talmud is. I already know the holidays. But eventually we reached the art and slowed our pace considerably. It's not a bad museum at all. I was really moved by a number of pieces. I'll be curious to go back some time.

I can. It's just 2 hours away.

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Trip Summary

I've been meaning to post this all week...

Final summary of our trip:

Day 1: 398 miles
Day 2: 587 miles
Day 3: 527 miles
Day 4: 478 miles
Day 5: 584 miles
Day 6: 403 miles
(Day 7: 0 miles... Shabbos)
Day 8: about 400 miles (forgot to write down final mile until the next day so I may be off a bit)

Total mileage for the trip: 3450 miles
States travelled through: 12
Provinces travelled through: 1
Kosher restaurants found on the road: 1
Tired people: 2
Relieved cats: 1

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Tricky Blogging

I've really wanted to document my experiences moving to a new place on here, but now I've entered into a tricky zone... because I've started to meet people.

I want to give my first impressions of the places, the people who may become my friends or not etc. But that could be loshon hara. (Saying things about other people in ways that could ultimately be detrimental. It's a Jewish legal term.)

So I can't really tell you much about my new principal, my co-teacher, the people in my new shul. I have to talk around individuals and just tell about generalities. I have to avoid loshon hara because 1. it's the right thing to do and 2. I don't want to get myself into trouble later. And even good things you say about someone can be loshon hara.

I will say that in NJ, people act much more confident and sort of in-your-face-ish here, even when being friendly. We needed to borrow a screwdriver on Friday for our brand new air conditioner (Thank heavens for that!!!!!), and so I went knocking on doors. When I finally found someone who had one, she said, "Now I really need it back. That's my screwdriver."

"I know," I said. "Thank you. I'll have it back within the hour. And we live in apartment ___."

"I'm not going to come get it," she said.

"I know," I said. "I'll have it back within the hour. I just wanted to tell you where we live."

I said it as calmly and friendlylike as I could, smiling all the while. By the time I returned it to her she seemed to feel bad about speaking in a way that I would be willing to classify as rude. She was nice then, asking when we'd moved in etc. I don't mind doing that... being really friendly in a way that makes other people realize they weren't... and then having them feel bad about it. We've all be rude sometime or another and the best way to stop someone is to be nice. It makes you look really good too. :)

Anyway... I want to say more about how people are here, but as I said, it's better I document some of those things in my private journal instead. Even the nice things.

Just a few lines about the new shul.

I do think it's funny what happened this morning. We're in a nice new little shul which I think I"ll really like. It is arranged so that all of the chairs on either side of the room face the middle towards the bimah. The men are on one side of the bimah, then there is a mechitzah and the women are on the other side of the bimah, facing the opposite direction.

U. and I came in earlier than is usual for us and in fact it turned out I was the only woman there yet. So with this seating arrangement, if you think about it carefully, all of the men were facing me as I walked in. Yes, there was a mechitzah there. A tasteful sheet almost shoulder high. But either way, I could see all the men's faces, and they could all see mine. I suspect we just have to make a point of not looking. And men and women certainly weren't talking over the mechitzah, so I don't have any objections to how it was set up. Just a funny experience.

Lots of very welcoming people at the shul. Lots. But I know it will take time to know who my FRIENDS are. I felt a little out of place during most of lunch which made me extremely homesick. But there is one couple that really appeals to me and who I look forward to getting to know. I hope they will be our friends.

The only thing I'll say about them... again, to avoid loshon hara... is simply how interesting that of everyone at the table, the people I was most attracted to were the only other people not from the NJ/NY area.

Hmmm.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Weather

IT'S TOO HOT!!!!!!!

My best strategy is to stay up late when it's not as bad, sleep long in the afternoon, and hide in an air conditioned place any chance I get.

In other words, today felt very unproductive. U. and I did a lot of exploring... found a dollar store finally, discovered Ikea, etc. etc. But hardly anything on my list actually got crossed off.

Tomorrow I meet with two different work-related people. How am I going to balance this move-in and school stuff?

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Monday, August 01, 2005

At last


So we made it. We got in last night an hour and a half later than we should have due to a wrong turn towards the George Washington Bridge. Get on an expressway and you might never get off again.

When we finally arrived I felt grumpy and hungry and we stumbled into town to try to find something to eat. Englewood has a nice little village feel to it with all kinds of shops including two Kosher restaurants. (One of said restaurants closed at 8:45 and we walked in at 8:43 and had to beg them to serve us something out of their case. Thankfully, they complied.)

There’s also a bigger shopping center, further down the hill including a large grocery section with an enormous Kosher food section. An entire very long aisle! Not to mention the usual Kosher stuff you’ll always find mixed in among the other things. Very mixed ethnically. Predominantly African-American and some Hispanic. White too, many of whom may or may not be Jewish. I spotted quite a few kippot in the store, and this morning sat alongside some people who turned out to be Reform Jews over at Starbucks. Was later helped at a CVS Pharmacy by a worker who had peyos tucked behind his ears.

The apartment itself is starting to really grow on me. Last night I didn’t really want to be here. It was empty, echoey and very very dirty. (The floors were so filthy we had to wash our feet once, if not twice, before bedtime.) And all we have right now is an inflatable mattress and all of the stuff we managed to jam into the car. A. was miserable all night and I was up most the night checking on her and sweating. (It’s HOT.) In the end she has decided she is happiest in the kitchen for now. It’s the only place where she can hide behind things that won’t flush. Hopefully she’ll move out of there once we get some furniture. In the meantime, I’m giving her free reign.

Anyway, more about the apartment: It’s very old. I’m sure it’s at least 100 years, but I need to find out more. We have a bedroom, a dining room and a living room and it is all hardwood. There is an unbelievably lovely courtyard outside that I will post pictures for one of these days. Stay tuned. There is one of those very shaky, noisy, rickety old elevators with double doors that are really hard to open. But it does its job well.

Today I:

Got a library card

Opened a bank account

Searched in three stores for things like buckets, dish drainer etc. (This is the hardest thing so far – finding stuff, especially environmentally friendly food and cleaning supplies.)

Swept the whole place for a long time

And much much more…

For once I was smart enough to schedule myself time to rest in the afternoon. Sure enough I fell asleep almost immediately. Now I’m feeling great.

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Rest stops and service plazas

In the west we have quiet, sometimes grubby, rest stops which I’ve always found woodsy and peaceful.

Out here in the east we have “service plazas” that include gas stations, corporate food places like Starbucks, McDonalds and Roy Rogers, and are as busy as malls.

In the former, the toilets are modest things with the occasional chemical toilet or, on the other hand, an automatic.

In the latter, the toilets go berserk flushing and flushing and flushing like a roaring waterfall before the “visitors” are even done.

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Day 7: The Day I’ve Been Waiting For


So this is it. Just a quick note from I-78 towards Allentown in Pennsylvania. One more border to cross, and we’ll be “home.”

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Day 6: Sentimental Journey

We had two goals on Friday (Day 6). The second goal was to get to U.’s parents house in Pittsburgh by Shabbat.

But the first goal was to see how much time we could spend at Oberlin College.

We got a later start than I hoped. A. just had had enough car riding and really freaked out when it was time to go. The poor thing was frantic, even as I tried to get her to take her anti-anxiety medicine. She spit it out at least 4 times before I finally got it into her. She was fine after that, but I certainly felt guilty.

We made it to Oberlin in time to spend only about an hour or so. No time to look up old professors or anyone else for that matter. But we drove around, and walked near some special places together. We split up a little to explore as well. We both noticed that although we had met there and begun our life their as a couple, we both wanted to remember things that had come before all of that. So we covered different parts of the college and town and finally had just enough time to run in and out of the museum. The Tending Of Saint Sebastian By Saint Irene is still one of my favorites.

Some of the highlights, for those who not what I’m talking about:

Wilder Bowl
Kosher co-op
The reservoir in the arb
Gibson’s (the same lady was there at the cash register)
The co-op bookstore
That statue across from J House. This time he was wearing a bike helmet.






A friend I have since spoken to says she always feels restful and at home when she goes back to visit Oberlin. But this has been my first time back, and I felt excited and busy. I remembered what it felt like to be frantic all the time over school work and my “activist” activities whether or not they were worthwhile and in fact found myself drawn to the student union where our most harried meetings had taken place. It was silent for the summer without a person in sight. I reflected how much work an elementary teacher has to do to set up a classroom before the fall and suddenly wondered just what a college or university staff has to do for the same purpose when in fact the students will pretty much take over the place soon enough.

I also noticed the heat and humidity in the air, and the bugs – could they be cicadas? – were so loud! It made me feel the same nervous sense I found when I came here after having left home for the very first time. And I felt like I was doing the same thing again, moving to this same climate to start a new chapter in my life.

Some days that feels better than others. I wasn’t sure how it felt on Friday. I guess today, Sunday, I don’t know either.

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Day 5 continued: Chicago

Day 5 was our longest in terms of hours on the road. It was about 3 miles short of furthest travel day. We made it to Chicago around 5 and I called an old friend of mine who used to live in Chicago for advice of where to get good Kosher deep dish pizza. She sent us to the perfect place, even if it took awhile to get there through the traffic. I don't remember the name but it is something like Da'Nally's. It had a lovely ambience and they let me leave A. in the back near the cook’s lockers. Ironically, it’s illegal to have a cat in the dining room of a restaurant but they didn’t mind keeping her safe and cool inside near the kitchen.

While we were there, I had the odd experience of seeing the first person we know (besides each other) on this whole trip. Basically it was the daughter of some family friends, along with her family. She doesn’t even live in Chicago, but Cleveland and they had come down to visit their parents for the day before their parents flew back to Israel.

While we were in the middle of our conversation, another family I know walked in. This family is from Portland and was visiting their son. Steunned I took pictures on my phone of both groups and mailed them back to my parents who might never have been able to believe it otherwise.

After the fantabulous pizza we hit the road again until we were just too tired to go on any longer and stopped in the Ramada at South Bend, Indiana. So that day we began in Minnesota and went through Wisconsin and Illinois before bedding down in Indiana. Not bad. 4 states in one day.

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Day 5

July 28, 2005 2 PM (Written offline, posted August 1st.)

Forgot to charge the computer’s battery, so this will be short.

I’m typing this from the passenger’s seat in Wisconsin. Today I saw the Mississippi for the first time. I was not prepared for how excited I was about that. After hearing about it all my life, mainly from Mark Twain, it was awesome to actually see it glittering blue against the green banks.

Last night I started to get a little moody about getting so close to the cities. I felt scared and nervous about starting work soon. Today I’m still a little resistant to be in the Midwest, but at least it isn’t completely foreign. I lived in Ohio for 3 ½ years while in school. (The other ½ was spent in Dublin, Ireland.) So I guess part of the resistance is that I feel like I’ve already done this. On the other hand, we’re going way past Oberlin and into something I’ve never done before.

This morning I got a huge chunk of driving done. U. was sleeping. I love driving when my passenger, especially someone I'm in charge of somehow, is sleeping. I'm a little surprised I felt that way. I would attribute that particular feeling of protecting someone to a man for some reason. Women have tons of opportunities the rest of the time to feel nurturing and protective of people, but the fact remains… that’s the feeling I had while I was driving.

It reminds me of a Charlie Brown cartoon I once read when Charlie Brown is lamenting that when you are a kid you can sleep in the back seat while your parents drive. But someday you’re older and you can’t sleep in the back seat anymore. The cartoon always made me quite sad, but I guess you can still sleep in the car as an adult. You just have to take turns.

My favorite painting in the Cleveland museum was wall size. It was as though you are looking through the eyes of the driver of a car over at a woman sitting in the passenger seat. She is just looking ahead at the landscape, kind of glazed over as you get on a long road trip. I could see the love through the artist’s/driver’s eyes.

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