of shofars and mermaids and wires

it's been a day.

it started with m taking the boys, dropping Fynn at school, and taking D to the Met to see the armor. D was off for 2 days for Rosh Hashanna. I got my running gear on, trotted over to my friend S's picked her up and ran to Prospect Park to do a couple laps. As we were entering the park, we started to pass a group of Hassidic men and boys who were gathered on the median. S called out "happy new year!" to them, and one called back something about a shofar? wasn't sure what he said, but he started almost trotting behind us, and asked if we were ready? i muttered sure, not knowing what i'd agreed to but was intrigued enough about being chased by someone who normally won't even look me in the eye, that i was game. they started to run behind us, with the one who'd spoken taking out his rams horn and blowing it madly. chasing us down the road. i felt like i'd stumbled into the most bizarre parade, but was entirely amused. S was a bit freaked out and sped up. After about 20 yards they said something about running and stopped. I asked a Jewish friend tonight about the whole deal, and found that they believe that if ALL jews hear the sound of the shofar, the Messiah will come. S's Happy New Year probably made them think we might be jewish ... either way I got a kick out of the parade!

The mermaids made their appearance at the salon where i got a haircut today. i found the place via a facebook ad ... they sell discount slots at salons for blank spots in their appointment book. i still paid too much, but it was half of their normal price. the fact that it was called Michael Angelo's Wonderland might have clued me in to fact that it wasn't a demure place ... a stuffed cheetah wearing jewelry in front of the desk, getting Hello Dahling'ed upon arrival, fake flowers matted on the walls, scratch and sniff wallpaper! (this I discovered by reading the website After i was there, alas ... ), lucite chairs, mermaids with hot pink teased hair, enclosed in glass bubbles and hanging from the ceiling, waterfalls of blue tinsel ... you get the idea. the fact that it was in the west village and boasted a modeling/vogueing/celebrity clientelle might have given me a clue.

I had a great time :). Gabriel took care of me, didn't suggest anything wild, and gave me a great cut. The pic doesn't do it justice, though it's pretty simple. i have bangs again! i was in my teens the last time that happened i think. i looked up the site once i got home, and discovered that 1) i royally undertipped (you're supposed to pay 15-20 of the normal price, not the discounted one) and 2) that Gabriel has also cut lots of celebrity hair including some names even I recognize :).

Before I crash, the wire ... Man on Wire to be exact, the movie I saw tonight. Fascinating and disturbing in the end ... a man driven by a dream, a complex but oh so simple dream, and his path to it. And what happened afterwards, which was the part that bothered me. I won't spoil it, but his resemblance to M fell apart for me at the end! His dream? To walk on a tightrope between the world trade center towers. He did it, 1/4 mile up, and the images are haunting.

It's been an interesting day.

Strange Fruit

Part of the weekend was seeing Strange Fruit's "Swoon" show at MASS MoCA. Circus-like comedy and moves, no speech, set to music.

We were all mesmerised. My Flickr set is here. There's more info here (and some videos in their Repertoire section) Very very cool!

finding home

We went to G&D's summer place on Saturday, so that G and M could go into Brooklyn together for a gig that G's band had. That left D and I, our 2 boys each, and almost all of G's Italian family filling the house with commentary, banter, (mostly in italian of course), loads of food, and the usual jockeying that goes on between siblings and parents of what to do, when, with how many people, and once a decision is made it's discarded and remade several times before it gets settled on. (Heavy foreshadowings of our family camping later this week, I'm sure! Just minus the italian ...)

Initally I felt very out of place, as the boys and I were staying overnight (loads of bedrooms) but I still felt intrusive into their family enclave, as welcoming as they were. It didn't help that Douglas hauled out a chess set within 3 minutes of arrival, and accidentally knocked the pieces all over the floor, some of them marble and broken. One of the uncles freaked out, and didn't take D's assurances that they had been mostly broken already (it was a hodge-podge of several old sets and I don't doubt she was right) too well. His edginess put me on edge more than I already was. I knew that the parents who came (Nono and Nona) rarely venture out of their home in the Bronx, and had made special pains to come be with their kids. They welcomed me, shoved extra food at me, and made me feel like I belonged. I realized near the end of dinner that if I was to have a good time, and they weren't to feel obligated, that I just better relax and make myself at home and stop feeling like a 3rd wheel. Fynn's single-handed charming of the edgy uncle, and the kids going down to the basement to play (full of giant blocks, mats, dress up clothes, ride on toys, and mouse poop) helped a lot :).

After breakfast on Sunday, the boys holed up in front of the TV and watched a Sponge Bob marathon, keeping amazingly quiet.

The house (former barn) is huge and roomy and so comfortable, you can't help feel at home there. But the part that made it truly a home was the love/connections between the family members, and between G and D and us. G's always had the ability to make me see the value of relaxation and flowing from one activity to the next, for some reason. Letting connections be made and thoughts expressed, without being too careful about things that don't really matter.

In my wandering around the property, I'd seen some ropes hanging from the trees, across the marshy lake that separated the house from most of the surrounding forest. I'd done some creek wading, and when M and G returned late-morning, I left the kids and went and checked them out. Sure enough, there was a long rope swing with a t-bar at the bottom, an even taller (35+ feet) rope swing with a log seat and the most delicious gentle arc to it, and a rope ladder that looked like a ship's rigging strung between two trees.

I tried them out, then went back and convinced the men and boys to come along and join the fun. There was much joyful squealing, some squabbling about turns, and then the thunder drove us back into the house.

We packed and left, leaving G and D awaiting the return of their family from church. It was time to go and leave them to their own, and yet hard too as they are so open in sharing what they have. Lovely friends, people, and parents.

I realized on the way home that I was having these momentary flashes of familiar and unfamiliar. We'd driven that way a couple times, and some of the sights were already in my memory bank, and others seemed totally new. I've been having that a lot with my running lately also, as I go the same routes around here multiple times. The web of 'familiar MA' is growing daily.

The desire for familiar things. Calling MA home for now, and referring to Bklyn as bklyn. Douglas loving it here, starting to recognize things, and wishing he lived here. Where is home to be? It's wherever we choose to feel it, wherever we are as family, but roots are starting to play a part. Where do we plant them? I feel the pull to do so, and yet a fear too of getting too settled to travel. I feel like there are two very strong desires in there, and the two are always dancing. New things and familiar things. Familiar is comfortable, known, easy, and predictable. Understood. New things can be disturbing, vague, shaky, and exhilarating. Full of potential and wonder and joy. So can the familiar I suppose, but it's not as easy.

I love both things. I want a new place to put down roots, discover, contribute to, reshape and make into beautiful things, connect, and grow in. A place my boys will revel in, not feel bound by. I want them to live outside, not inside. I think I want to too.

The Magic Glen

Based on a tip from one of M's friends at the party the other day, we ventured off to a waterfall in the woods. The directions involved going "past the cemeteries, take a left on M-something street, go to the end of the road and through someone's side yard and you'll find a trail. Hike 20 minutes and you'll see a waterfall."

They turned out to be perfect directions, and the waterfall a magical little grotto place with mini pools, rocks to climb, freezing water, and slivers of sunlight. A most wonderful place to sit and eat Subway, splash, throw rocks, slip and slide and squeal, and spend a magic afternoon.

The rain held off till we were on our way home :).