Sunday, July 31, 2011

Where'd everyone go?

Camping at Mt Shasta

Camping at Mt Shasta.



The best part of Cazadero, besides the company and the food and the view and the weather and the vibe, is the quad.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Road Trip

Northbound Golden Gate Bridge
Northbound over the Golden Gate Bridge

We are on the road! Our baby turned eight weeks and we thought, shoot. Maybe we should take a roadtrip! Isn't that what most folks do with their infants? In July my brother-in-law and his family drove out to California to meet the baby in their crazy giant Sportsmobile van and now we're spending all of August driving it back to them in a very roundabout manner (via Oregon). I had hoped to post at least a picture everyday but finding wifi along the way is proving to be difficult. So I will just back date posts in batches whenever there's time.

Our first stop is Cazadero, a mountaintop hamlet near the Russian River in Sonoma county and home to our friends Danny and Tara. We met them five years ago at a cafe nearby and all fell in love. They said we were welcome to come back and visit anytime, which we have. Let this be a lesson to those of you who casually make this type of offer to us. We will likely come so the offer best be sincere.

I'm actually writing this on my phone as I sit in a little town on the Oregon coast. We're all smiles over here. Even Mr. Crampy Pants.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dear Dad

Stanley circa 1944 NY
Stanley Lee Lubell 1939-1992

I had another baby boy. His name is Idan and he's almost seven weeks old. He looks like me! Well, me and mom. That's what everyone says anyway. Sometimes I pull out the pictures I have of you as a little boy and I'm astounded by how much Shalev looks like you. It's your face on my son! We're trying to convince him to take ukulele lessons in the fall with your old ukulele. If there's You Tube where you are, you most certainly will not want to miss out on that.

But more about Idan. He is your typical infant. His intestines are bunched up too tight or something so he's crampy and grumpy for many of his waking hours. Which are few, thank god. He's starting to flirt with the idea of smiling but so far he mostly just stares at the world in complete panic. You can hardly blame him. The world is kind of a scary place, and scarier since you left. He does have the softest angora hair on his head though, so I've decided to keep him. Because he's soft. He's my new wubby. wink wink.

The other big news is that we're moving to Israel. I wonder if you'd be supportive if you were still alive. The truth is it's probably a moot point since my life would have likely taken an entirely different trajectory if you hadn't died. I hate to say this, but I'm probably better for it.  More resilient. More pragmatic. More resourceful. Which is not to say that a day doesn't goes by - really, not a single friggin day - that I don't wish you could know your grand kids (you have five now, not sure if you're keeping tabs) and your son-in-law and me for that matter and that we could all know you.  I'm sure you'd be nuts for these kids. Especially Aviv. She is a pisser. Hard headed. Spunky. Charming. Sweet. Kind. Generous. Devilish. With a head of thick, dark brown curls. She's phenomenal. And she could probably use some extra attention now that we have the baby. She's kind of a pain in the ass lately. Poor girl. Last year when we were in New York visiting your family, she started calling Uncle Peter Grandpa. It was sweet. But made me sad.

Yes, Israel. Packing it up and moving there in the winter. Who knows for how long but we're trying it out. Your mom is a little worried about it but she's not as dramatic as she used to be. She is ninety after all. And mom seems to be okay about it too, although I know she'd rather we stayed put. She lives for these kids as you can imagine.

What else...I had a career switch and I've been selling my artwork the last two years while I wing it as a reluctant stay at home mom. That's also not easy and sometimes I wish I'd become a doctor like you. Because at the end of the day it's pretty high paying shift work for a mom. But I lacked guidance in my twenties and sort of flitted about. Good years, to be sure. But somewhat aimless. Anyway, the art and the business surrounding the art keeps my mind from atrophying too much and allows me to run around dropping off and picking up my kids from a million different places. My big dream these days is to write a book - a collection of essays about navigating mid-life with spirit, creativity and a sense of humor. And a GPS.

That's about it Dad. Nineteen years goes by pretty fast, huh. You can rest knowing your baby girl is doing fine. The kids and I talk about you a lot and what it means to die and how everyone dies and how we miss people. All healthy discussions, thanks to you. Give my love to Pop too.

I love you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The case for maternity leave

Milk Brain
Above: picture of what nursing does to my son
Below: transcript of what nursing does to my brain

This is my first time being self employed after having a baby so it's been somewhat challenging staying away from work. Mainly because no one is currently paying me. And even though I've let it be known that I'm mostly on maternity leave, I'm still kind of taking orders but mostly not. So when a potential client called me the other day asking about a ketubah for an August wedding, I understood why maternity leave is so critical, especially in the first few months. This is how the conversation went:

her: So how does it work exactly?
me: Well, basically once you decide on a design and make your buy, I mean buy your transaction. I mean make your transaction, then I will send you the different texts to choose from and something to write in your information. Like a form. On the computer. A pdf.
her: You mean like an in-take form?
me: Yes. that. And then you fill it in with your details and tell me which text you want for the inside. That I can flow in. For the Hebrew part and the English too. which you can also write yourself. But you don't have too. I have texts. Jesus, someone take the phone away from me.
her: Can you send the texts now so I can get a head start?
me: Sure, no problem. Just send me your email address in an ETSY convo.
her: How about if you just write it down since we're on the phone.
me: Right. good idea. I'll just write that down.
her: Great. I really appreciate your taking this order even though you're on leave.
me: Yes. I appreciate you too. I mean *it*. I appreciate it. The order. And you, too. Thanks.

Remind me not to go on the radio or on any talk shows in the next few months since I sound like a moron.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Snaggle tooth

This is the picture of my son's mouth that I texted to my dentist wondering if I should bring him in to be seen. He has this crazy stubborn snaggle tooth that for the last two months has been about to fall out. But instead of falling out it has completely shifted to one side creating a space for what I can only imagine is some kind of saber tooth. So it actually looks like he's already lost the tooth, but alas, he has not. And adding to his frustration he recently got his six year molars so not only is he the only six year old in the universe, by his reckoning, that hasn't lost any teeth, he's actually getting more teeth. Life is not fair.

My dentist never wrote back. Is it bad form to send pics and questions to your health care providers on their cell phones? He did give me his cell after all. I should have learned my lesson two weeks before when I texted the mohel a picture of my baby's penis to be sure that all was healing well. Never got an answer there either. I might need a refresher on what is and is not an appropriate use of texting. I think I will lay off sending pictures until my hormone levels even out.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry Idan

I figure I better write this one quick before I forget again and have another baby.

Having a baby is rough. Even the third time around. I will admit that I sort of thought, well I've done this twice and my kids are older now, so how hard could it be to just add one more to the mix. He'll just get dragged around and he'll sleep though anything and he'll raise himself, kind of. I knew it would be a lot of work but somehow I thought it would be easier than it is.

It's not easy. Those first few weeks are horrible. Even if we take out the sleep deprivation and the hormones and the two other kids and the constant appeal for your attention, even without all of that, it's still so difficult. Because your body is wrecked. I was in constant pain for those first two, even three, weeks. I honestly forgot about the pain - nature's way of ensuring the survival of the species. And then add in everything we subtracted before and it's almost impossible. A former colleague of mine once told me that in her culture a new mom and baby are not allowed to leave the house for the first month after the birth and I used to think that was crazy. Now I think it's wise. And with my mom and mother-in-law helping me out this past month, it's basically what I was able to do - stay put. But now they're gone and in fact, everyone's gone.

I've actually been on my own with the baby the last few days. My other two are with Mr. Rosen and the extended Rosen clan in the Eastern Sierras for a camping trip (this morning my sister in law sent me a video of Mr. Rosen in his underwear playing Neil Young on his guitar surrounded by snow capped mountains, a flowing creek and green meadows - not bad). The day before they left I had a nervous breakdown wondering how I will manage with this grumpy baby who appears to be more in his tenth month of gestation than his first month of life. And how will I get anything done if I'm the only one around to hold him. Plus I was a little weepy about my kids being away for six days. That will be the longest we've been apart. And also wondering when my husband would ever bond with our son. I was basically an irrational basket case. The next morning the place was a complete circus getting ready for this trip but once they were gone I felt a calm wash over the house and over me. And the baby. For the first time since the hospital he could nurse without having his sister rubbing his head or kissing his feet or his brother asking a million questions. We didn't have to be anywhere. We finally had a moment to get to know each other a little.

So with the first tumultuous month behind us we are enjoying a few days of calm. We don't have to take anyone to camp or pick anyone up so our days are free to go grocery shopping or go on walks or see friends or do nothing at all but eat and poop. I even got around to filling some ETSY orders. And because I don't have to worry about when I wake up in the morning, the nights are easier. And then the whole day is easier and I can carry around this yummy little baby without carrying around the weight of the world.