Saturday, May 11, 2013

Trip North Part Five (the final post about this trip)

My mother and I left Kripalu on Wednesday, the 24th, after listening to an introductory talk on Ayurveda.   The woman who led the talk recommended a book which my mother and I both looked for in the gift shop but they were sold out.  However, we did find a gift for her friend Cathy whom we would see the next day.  Not that I needed another book.  With two signed books and a dvd set and a couple of other books bought for others, not to mention the cd I bought for Rob, there simply was no need.    Besides, we were going to meet Cathy at Barnes & Noble and I don’t know that I can ever get out of there without my mother buying me at least one book.

Back at my mother’s home, we dropped off our things and ran errands.  First we picked up Lizzie and then we picked up Beauty.  Lizzie is my mother’s shih-tzu and Beauty her parrot.  The former loves me but the latter loathes me.  I don’t even try to build a relationship with her any longer.  Life’s too short and my fingers too delicate.  Larry, who had been quite sick while we were at Kripalu, was still feeling poorly but he had seen his doctor and felt somewhat better. 

He did not feel well enough to join us for dinner and my mother and I headed to a Thai restaurant.  However, we decided to get ice cream instead and it was delicious.  Naughty.  Delicious.  That evening, we had a relaxing time, listening to some beautiful music while Lizzie fell asleep in my arms.  She had been staying with the groomer who has a few dogs of her own so poor Lizzie was understandably exhausted.  I, too, was tired, and slept so well that night that I was surprised to wake up and find the sun already making the sky glow.  

Thursday my mother and I headed to Barnes & Noble to meet Cathy.  We had lunch there, talked a while about different things.   We all then went to look at books.  First we looked for a book for Bibi and we found an updated version of The Velveteen Rabbit but we specifically wanted the one with the illustrations my mother loved.  We then looked for the book on Ayurveda but it wasn’t there. 

Back at the house, we did some laundry and I started repacking, already getting ready for heading home.  I had woken up feeling sad again about Romanov and that feeling stayed with me.  We went to The Chef’s Table for dinner, a lovely French restaurant.  The food was wonderful and, when we returned to the house, we relaxed for a little while, talking about the children and Rob, Larry’s weight loss, my exercise routine, and avoided talking about my weight gain.
One of the things that comes up during each visit is my traveling and the difficulty I have with flying.  Larry really wants me to fly to other countries but there is a reason to hesitate.  It would be horrible to go to a place I have longed to visit only to struggle with the vertigo to such a degree that I cannot enjoy the visit at all, see any of the museums, go to the restaurants, or experience the culture as fully as possible.  We all understand why we all want me to travel and why none of us are eager to make it happen.

Friday, I was awake before everyone once again and I did my morning practice in a wonderful silence, with the sun filling the room.  I had coffee and I read.  My mother and I were going to the Frick Collection, one of the few New York City museums I had never been before.  In the car into the city, I was looking at the familiar neighborhoods going by and I realized how much I want to share my home town with Rob.  And that’s when I realized that Rob and I should go to New York for our first real trip together.  This way, if I have to sit out part of a tour or can’t walk through another wing of a museum, I won’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.  The idea of sharing my home with my husband felt so wonderful.

Image found here.
The Frick Collection is small but remarkable, with paintings by Whistler, Sargent, Rembrandt, and so many others.  There was an Impressionism temporary exhibit which had pieces by Lautrec and Degas, many preliminary sketches for familiar paintings.  Familiar to me, anyway, and I have always adored seeing sketches for things like paintings, buildings, and even designer clothing.  The size of the entire exhibit was just right, not overwhelming for me and I was happy to buy a book of the collection to take home with me so I could enjoy the memories of the visit.  Unfortunately, I bought a Spanish book and I ended up giving it to Matt who had just spent the past couple of months in Costa Rica.

When we were back in New Jersey, my mother and I went to visit her friend Barbara who has pancreatic cancer.  She had her pancreas removed which was like being turned into an instant diabetic.  We’ve been sending batches of no sugar added cookies to my mother to share with Barbara.  It was nice to meet her, to meet her beautiful greyhound (she and her husband rescue them), her husband and her parrot.  After our visit, we had to go to the supermarket because the handyman who had been working in the kitchen was going to make sure my mother and Larry at least had access to the kitchen for the weekend.  He would be back on Monday to do more work.

Back at the house, my mother and I told Larry about my idea to go to NY with Rob and he loved it. Now it’s just a matter of our planning the trip, finding an appropriate dog sitter for Snowdoll, and hopefully having a wonderful trip.  We went out to dinner at Varka where Larry and I shared a fish he had never had before.  I was genuinely surprised there was something he had never tried before and the Fagri was delicious.  If you ever have the chance to try it, I highly recommend it. The texture was buttery and the taste delicate.

Yes, I had dessert, an almond cake with figs and chocolate. 

Saturday I had the pleasure of having lunch with my step-sister.  Part of the previous day’s shopping included picking up all the things we needed for the lunch which was a wonderful salad, quiche, and an open blueberry pie for dessert.  One of the things we had also bought was a box of Good Humor Ice Cream Toasted Almond bars.  I was under orders to eat all six bars before I left.  Thankfully, Janice was willing to help me finish the box as we had a wonderful conversation.  Her mother had died the Friday after Thanksgiving and it was one of the many things we discussed.  And Romanov.  And of course all of the other things I had discussed.  She is an amazing woman and I always have a glorious time with her.  I wish I could see her more. 
Image found here.
When she left, I did the last packing, making the final choices regarding what I would wear on the plane, putting in my suitcases anything I knew I would not want or need between then and the next day.

We went to Aldo & Gianni’s for dinner.  Fettuccine alla Bolognese.  So good!  Back at home, I was sort of done.  We talked some more about the potential trip to New York, a bit about Janice, and said our goodnights.  My last night in their home and I slept beautifully, perfectly, peacefully. 

The morning was without surprises.  I ate the last of the ice cream bars and had a couple cups of coffee.  I put away the last of my things, mostly makeup and the sort of things I needed to make myself human before facing the world.  I made sure to have a book or three to read while at the airport and on the plane.  There were kisses and hugs goodbye and I get into the car.  On this trip I felt more homesick than I had ever felt before.  It isn’t that I wasn’t eager to be home on any of my previous visits but this time I ached for home, for my bed, for Rob and Snowdoll.  I missed them more because it was the second week since Romanov’s death and this was all very much on my mind and in my heart. 

Last picture of Romanov and Snowdoll together
I nearly started crying when I saw Rob.  I was exhausted and we had dinner at the airport because it was after our usual dinner time and I had not eaten much that day.  In fact, I’d only had an almond croissant at the airport, along with a chai tea, and, on the plane, I had some nuts and such that I had in my bag.  I made the mistake of going to the bathroom and asking Rob to order for me.  I showed Rob what I wanted on the menu but he ordered me what he ordered for himself.  He’s lucky I love him.  Love him and missed him as much as I did.   

Snowdoll was insanely happy to see me.  It was good to be home.  It was sad to not be greeted by both of my beautiful dogs.   Being away when I was allowed me to distance myself from my grief.  Coming home again, I was overwhelmed with reminders.  I sobbed myself to sleep, with Rob coming to bed early to hold me close. 

It is good to be home, where I belong. 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Trip North Part Four

In my previous post, I left off on Saturday evening.  My mother had gone to her room to read and go to bed while I went to the Energy Medicine Yoga practice led by LaurenWalker.  She offered suggestions for how to modify everything.  There was never a need to do something that was too challenging and even when she said we would do tree pose, she urged anyone who needed to do so to move towards the walls.

Needless to say I made a bee-line to the wall.  Other than that, I was able to follow the entire practice, which incorporated some of the techniques and methods that Donna Eden had been teaching us.  At one point, Lauren showed us how to do something that Donna said was difficult to do on one’s self.  I tell you, I could feel the energy vibrating from head to fingertips to toes.  She’s working on a book and I, for one, cannot wait!  I hope that the book comes with a guided yoga practice on cd.  A dvd would be great too but a cd may be easier to add to a book.  (I’ve said several times that yoga and meditation practice books are wonderful but it’s hard to do a guided meditation from a book when you have to keep looking at the text and the same goes for a yoga practice.)

My mother doesn't like to have
her picture taken so I took a pic
of her socks.
Sunday morning, after a lovely silent breakfast, my mother and I grabbed our books to have them signed.  My mother preceded me and, while I was on line, one of the helpers asked if she could hold some points on me to help me feel better.  It was the one week mark of Romanov’s death and I know I was carrying that sadness inside.  When it was my turn to have my book signed, I don’t know what I said to Donna except that I thanked her for a wonderful workshop experience and asked her where she bought her beautiful necklaces.  I didn’t look at what she wrote in my book until my mother and I could both look in our books back in her room.

In my mother’s book she wrote in purple and blue and said that my mother’s life colors are violet and turquoise.  In my book she wrote in the same blue pen and said that my life colors are turquoise and crystal.  I don’t know much about life colors but I did a little research and learned that they are different from auras because auras can change, indicative of the present state of mind or the immediate experiences of life whereas life colors are more essential, unchanging.

There was one final workshop and then my mother and I were on our own for the rest of our stay at Kripalu. I had hoped to go on one of the easy hikes but you had to sign up for them.  I didn’t want to sign up and then feel too sick or tired to go on the walk which might keep someone else from going.  With limited number allowed to go, it felt too selfish.  I kept picturing a group of friends going to sign up and seeing one too few spaces left and choosing not to sign up because they couldn’t all go together only to have me stay behind because I’m too tired.

I was very tired a lot of the time and, as I said before, I was probably depressed as much as I was tired.

We traded our workshop badges for the R&R badge which afforded us access to all of the yoga practices we could want to enjoy.  During the rest of our stay, when we weren’t napping (or in my case, desperately trying to nap) or reading, we did go to a few things.  We participated in a metta meditation, went to a lecture on energy healing (with an emphasis on prana, mudras, and pranayama), a talk on affirmations and mantras, and last but not least an introduction to Ayurveda.

Monday, I had a bit of oddness occur, in the way odd things happen in my life.  I had seen a book in the gift shop and my mother had given me some money to use as I would.  This book, Mindfulness Yoga, appealed to me because so much of my personal yoga practice is, by necessity, mindful.  Being ever vigilant, ever aware of my tenuous balance, I have to very mindful, focusing on my breath and body as I move from one asana to another.  I opened the book and noticed some things that especially appealed to me.  (Book review coming in a few more weeks when I’ve had an opportunity to use some of the practices described in the book.)

So I bought the book on impulse and started reading it, devouring it, immediately interested in Frank Jude Boccio’s story, his experience of having Buddhists looking at his yoga practice as unnecessary and the yogins in his life saying that Buddhism is too austere to ever bring bliss.   But I digress.

Having tried to take a nap, I gave up and went to the café to get something to tide me over.  I’d promised my mother that I would wake her up by a specific time so I had my phone with me to keep track of the time.  I kept checking the time because I kept losing track of myself and everything as I was reading the book.  I worried that I would get so consumed with reading just one more page that I would forget the time and I know myself well enough to know that I may think I’m only reading one more page and find myself at the end of a chapter before I realize it.

So you can imagine my confusion when a man walking by my table stopped to ask me what I thought of the book.  Ummm . . . okay.  I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised by men interrupting me when I’m reading.  I have a husband who does it all the time.  This man asked me what I thought of the book and, without explaining my raison d’être for reading it, I said that I was enjoying it very much, that I was already drawn into learning more about the writer and his practice, and have long thought that mindfulness and yoga are practices that lend themselves to being used together, not necessarily removed one from the other.

I have no doubt that I was not nearly as clear in what I said as I am here in my writing.  Nonetheless, we talked a bit and then he introduced himself as the author.

Now, in my defense, I should like to point out that the author’s photograph is not on the book cover so there is no reason for me to have known to whom I was speaking.  He also stood in such a way that I could not have seen his guest badge albeit that would not have helped for the badges put the first names quite large and last names are quite small. 

When he walked away, after hearing me say good things about his book, I checked the time again and thought about how embarrassed I would have been had I said, “I don’t know.  I think I am going to return it to the gift shop because this guy is just trite and uninteresting in his prose.”  Goodness knows I have written book reviews that have said that and worse!  So I sighed with relief that I could honestly say that I was enjoying the book.  I don’t know if I told him I was having a hard time putting it down.  I should have because it was true.

But the oddness doesn’t end there because I watched him sit down at a table in the café with a pretty cloth on it and I thought to myself, “Oy, didn’t they do that when Donna Eden was signing her books?”  Why yes, yes they did, and here was Frank Jude Boccio signing his book too.  Needless to say, I had him sign my book before heading up to my mother’s room to wake her up from her nap and tell her about the odd experience I had while she was lucky enough to sleep.

I guess it’s a good thing I was incapable of taking a nap that day.  I bought another book while I was there.   None of those were signed.  Not yet, anyway.  At this point, I wouldn’t put it past me to be randomly reading a book in a public place and run into the writer.  I hope it only happens when I’m really enjoying what I’m reading. 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Happy Third Anniversary to me and mine

 Traditionally, the third wedding anniversary gift is leather. So this song seems apropos. Besides, I love Tori Amos.


 Rob says this song reminds him of yours truly.


This one for Rob from me.