i couldn’t login to this account for months, and all of a sudden, it works.
well, i have another blog, so check that out if you’ve been coming here:
i couldn’t login to this account for months, and all of a sudden, it works.
well, i have another blog, so check that out if you’ve been coming here:
there are so many things i want to do, things i strive to do & be and things that i imagine could be possible; so much so that i get overwhelmed and just stop.
why do i do that?
i’d like to welcome gibson to our little family.
he’s pretty awesome.
he’s already house trained, listens quite well to commands and loves to snuggle.
what’s really cool is to sit here at the desk, drinking some tea, listening to music while little gibson sleeps very contented at my feet. there’s such a comfort in just having him right there.
the schauermann clan is complete.
our little family is about to become “complete”. now, completion, i’ve learned, is a bit different for each person or family. some people want a certain number of children, some want no kids, some want to be single, etc., and they feel a sense of completion that way.
for us, after having chloe, it has always been to have a dog. we really dislike cats (i have to remind myself not to say “hate” in front of chloe, or anyone, really), and i am allergic to them, and rabbits, and almost anything with hair besides certain types of dogs. good thing we LOVE dogs!
after taking the time to find the dog that fit our little clan today, we now have 2 days to think of a name. poor guy has to get fixed tomorrow, so he won’t be ready for pick-up until sunday. he was a stray and doesn’t have a name that is known, so we are left to decide.
we had always thought of dog names based on our favorite baseball players, but applied those names to little toy dogs like pugs. our guy is a white, poodle mix, more like a large terrier than a poodle, to me. all the names like Gibson, Edgar and Ichiro just are not the same. we have found a unique dog and he deserves a unique name that suits just him. and so the search goes on…
so far we like Albert (for Albert Pujols, one of my current favorites), but a name is really so important. the Bible talks about our names being sacred things. they represent so much. in fact, the Jews’ name changed as a part of God’s covenant because they were no longer seen in the same light- they were God’s, and thus their name changed. it’s the same when a woman gets married. regardless of what you think about taking the husband’s name, it’s a similar idea of moving from an incomplete state to a complete state, a better place, and taking that name as a reflection of your new, whole self.
maybe we should take that into consideration as we think of a name. not only is this dog going to be the final link in our little chain, but we are his family, too.
that’s what i love about dogs: love and affection are reciprocated (unlike many cats).
anyway, this is sort of a crap post. very stream-of-consciousness.
on other notes, chloe and i have been on all sorts of adventures this week. here is a photo of the latest, strawberry picking:
owning a home brings immense personal satisfaction and achievement. when the garage door suddenly jumps off the track, you gotta fix it. when the fence is ugly, you have to paint it. when the furnace is archaic and possibly hazardous, you have to replace it (or at least pay someone else to). when your yard looks like The Secret Garden gone horror flick, it’s time to tear it all down and start from scratch.
i suppose that’s what all of this is: a new start for us. many times since we’ve been here, i have wondered to myself about who has lived here over the past 50+ years. how many owners? families? what changes did they make and add to this mid-century relic? who decided to plant this giant tree? what insane person thought it was cool to EVER plant ivy and vines all over the freakin’ place?! anyway, it’s fun to make up stories or at least imagine. but honestly, it’s even more fun to begin to dream about what you and your family will add to this little house’s legacy.
we love this house. in case you’re in the dark ages, we did buy a house and moved last saturday with the help of the very gracious hands of many friends. and for those who haven’t seen it yet, here it is:
a bit country, but homey none the less.
jared told me that he wanted to die in this house. maybe a slight exaggeration considering we have only been here 4 nights, but oddly, i have that same sort of feeling. there is something that feels so right about it. i think about all the houses we looked at, many that we wanted to put offers on, and feel so thankful that this is where we came to rest.
a few things have been welcome adjustments:
space! we actually have too little furniture, which is fine.
a yard! chloe is in heaven
a garage! jared has begun to transform it into a man approved space.
a window above the kitchen sink looking out to the sunrise
my own trash cans!
NO SHARED WALLS, FLOORS OR CEILINGS!
my own washer/dryer
the ability to do whatever the hell i want to it (save build a fence less than 16′ from the curb…darn city code).
this front porch!
as i was scurrying around doing odd projects like putting a chain lock on the front door, washing cooped up linens, spraying bugs and replacing light bulbs, i began to feel anxious and overwhelmed. trying to remember too much at once. suddenly, i remembered the front porch. we put our 2 nice, heavy iron chairs out there, but haven’t really utilized the space. how nice, i thought, to just sit in silence with a book and a drink, simply watching neighborhood life pass by. so, after churning my right thumb into oblivion screwing and unscrewing that silly chain lock, i grabbed my drink and headed to the very place i sit now. that’s the other great thing about a house…your internet connection can go outside with you!
sitting on a porch, to me, can be likened to walking through a new city as opposed to driving or taking a guided tour, or just spending a day there. you can drive down a street, even look into a certain house, but never know the flavor and character of that neighborhood. sitting on the porch gives me the opportunity to observe and understand the goings on of those around me. i can say hi to new people, or maybe just notice how the wind always blows the front gate closed. but more than anything, it gives me a place to be still. no clutter, no tv, no apartment neighbors smoking in the common area…this is my/our area. jared has the garage…i have the porch.
when i traveled through europe, i preferred to stay in a city for at least a few days, preferably a week. i spent a week in paris, a week in croatia, 3 weeks in mallorca, a week in ireland, a week in switzerland, a week of combined stops in germany, and then skipped around, usually in 3 day stints, to other places. the places i came to admire the most, were those in which i could slow down. i took up smoking while i was there. something so sexy about smoking. but i can understand why they do it…they like to sit at cafes and watch their world, their neighborhood go by. having something to be orally fixated with in the process is nice, and comforting. i guess that’s how i got to know europe.
i no longer smoke, save an occasional clove, but i do plan on having some drinks, sitting with my friends and family on our porch and getting those same warm sensations of joy, happiness and comfort that i got in my other home, europe.
i tell people to practice this every time i teach. i remind myself to be “still” at various points throughout my day.
as i sit here and try to conjure up the words to explain life over the past couple weeks, the only stillness that i can think of is corpse pose, shavasana, our final resting posture.
i think to some degree we all loathe and envy death. it is the most enigmatic and scary part of living, but we know, that when it does happen, there is nothing but stillness and relief from everything warring in our own heads.
why so morbid?
i feel like death has been entering slowly into my life in the past year. first, with a couple distant friends, dying suddenly; not people i talked to regularly, but people that where a part of my life at some point, enough to be a bit jolted by their passing. this year, it comes with a bit more fervor.
my grandmother, who is such an integral part of SO many peoples’ lives, has stage 3B, inoperable lung cancer. she is the healthiest person i know, and probably one of the last people we would expect to have a terminal illness. although she is still with us, her diagnosis has brought about a profound observation of death and life. i never really had to think about death before, and now i don’t know what else to think about.
last week, my uncle was tragically killed racing one of his many motorcycles. it was instant, a crash occurring at speeds exceeding 100 mph. his funeral was yesterday, and like my grandma’s diagnosis, it brought about a whole host of feelings that were not very expected. we visited his house today, where much of his stuff, including the bike he died on, still stand. it was eerie and surreal. so many random things, all relics of a life we knew so little about. we walked away with a pair of skis, an old banjo, sans one string, and a metal dora lunch box that he had for some reason. when we got in the car, jared showed me the ski pass that hanged from one of the skis. he figured no one would miss it, and we would have a memory of pancho’s smiling face, taken when he was doing one of the things he loved most.
when we got home today, our beta fish, dr. k, who was part of the centerpieces at our wedding 3+ years ago, was dead. we knew it was coming. we had been debating whether or not to euthanize him, but he made the choice for us. as i stared at his white face through the glass, chloe innocently asked me about the “shish”. how do you explain death to a 2 year old? i decided to be blunt and just say what it is: that the fish was dead, he stopped breathing and would never breathe again, like he went to sleep forever. with her precious naivety, she tapped the glass and said, “goke up!” those are her words for wake up. immediately i smiled and thought, ‘yes! wake up…all of you, wake up!’ but that’s not the way it works.
the thing is, my life is so good right now. i feel guilty being happy knowing that so many others are suffering. it has been a delicate balance for me to both grieve and celebrate. my grandma, or gamma, as we affectionately know her, told me this was to be a celebration. i wanted to believe that, but seeing pancho’s grief stricken friends made it hard for me, once again, to balance those opposites. but now, as i sit her and use my writing as a cathartic release, i see that these people, and even my sweet fish, have found stillness. it is corpse pose, that thing we try to master all the time, but really cannot until our physical life comes to an end. i do envy that. what grace and peace must abound when the chatter subsides.
in corpse pose, the hardest of postures to master, we learned that it is literally practicing for death. what if i did that everyday? what if the reality of other people dying was a way of teaching me to die everyday, dying to the stress, the jealousy, worry, envy, pride, anger and all things dealing with life, to pursue a greater understanding of the joyful stillness in death…while i am still alive?
i don’t know…just some thoughts…
i always wondered what it was like to be one of those people that is just going all the time, with endless errands to do. i have never been that person, maybe out of laziness, or maybe out of ignorance.
but lately, i have been one of those. papers to sign everyday, things to mail, people to call, appointments to set and attend to. and then there’s chloe 🙂
in some ways, i feel overwhelmed and ready to be done with it. but in others, i feel very productive and useful. i guess like anything else in life, you have to find that delicate balance.
tonight as i taught, i had a new thought. even after all the times i’ve watched people come down to their knees into child’s pose, i’ve never really seen the beauty of what people are doing.
as the candles flickered on the sweaty skin of these 30 people, people that i don’t really even know, i saw the humility coming through each one of them. i thought about what an honor it was to be in that room, walking between the outstretched arms of all these people in a position of complete vulnerability. obviously, they may not all believe what i do, or even see the depth of what they are teaching me, but that is the joy of being a yoga instructor…we all teach each other.
in fact, at the end of class, the instructor recites the word “namaste” to the class, and they reciprocate. the word can actually be split up into 2 sanskrit terms, “nama”, meaning to bow or bend, and “te”, meaning you. in short, it’s a term of humility, a prostrate stance, recognizing that there is beauty, love and a piece of God in each of us. some could even say that it is recognizing the teacher, evidence of the divine, in each person.
to some this may seem like a lot of nonsense, but it goes along with my recent feelings about humility. at a time like right now, when it seems like everything is going so well for us, it is so easy to get overwhelmed and prideful…maybe even a bit egotistical. instead, i have been trying to stay grounded, asking for humility with every prayer. and i feel the same way each time i bow forward saying “namaste”…grounded, humbled and honored to be in the presence of others who feel the same.
each day is a gift.
as i drove home from my grandma’s last week, i was acutely aware of my surroundings. something about the circumstances under which i visited, combined with one of those stellar, clear winter days in L.A. made me ever so nostalgic. in fact, it made me a bit homesick. the funny thing is that i really didn’t have a “hometown”. i’ve never lived in one city for more than 6 years, and even within those cities, i’ve never been in the same house more than 4 years. it’s been a continuous cycle of change.
but something about L.A., particularly long beach, touches me deeply. everything feels fresh and alive. a rush of random memories fills me as i make certain drives that were once a part of daily routine. one of these drives was over the Vincent Thomas Bridge from san pedro to long beach. i not only made that drive while working, but for many months when i lived with my grandma, i drove over the bridge and the evening lights of the harbor into work in downtown long beach. there wasn’t a day that i didn’t thoroughly appreciate that drive. i specifically made that drive last week, even though it wasn’t the most direct route, just so i could share the bridge and the amazing colors with my precious Chloe. i wasn’t disappointed.
i’ve recently had a lot of good (in my opinion) music in rotation:
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Boards of Canada
Red House Painters
Nightmares on Wax
Kings of Convenience
i made a mix cd of these, and something lead me to put the song “Homesick”, by Kings of Convenience, as the last track. as i’ve listened to it over the past few days, i realized how wonderfully poignant the lyrics were. as i began editing these photos tonight, the song popped in my head as a perfect accompaniment.
I’ll lose some sales and my boss won’t be happy,
but I can’t stop listening to the sound
of two soft voices
blended in perfection
from the reels of this record that I’ve found.
Every day there’s a boy in the mirror asking me:
What are you doing here?
Finding all my previous motives
growing increasingly unclear.
I’ve traveled far and I’ve burned all the bridges
I believed as soon as I hit land
all the other options held before me,
would wither in the light of my plan.
So I’ll lose some sales and my boss won’t be happy,
but there’s only one thing on my mind
searching boxes underneath the counter,
on a chance that on a tape I’d find:
a song for someone who needs somewhere to long for.
Because I no longer know where home is.
as we lay in bed this evening, recounting the unsettling news that had just been put before us, jared asked a simple, and profound question:
How can one woman hold so much together?
i really had no answer…so i just said, “i don’t know.”
sometimes, i am realizing, there just are no answers, no absolutes, no cure-all’s…just a lot of i-don’t-knows.
as difficult as the world seems when you are flailing about for all the answers, some of the greatest wisdom that i have gained as i age is to simply allow the wisdom and knowledge of God be just that: HIS wisdom and knowledge.
and right now, i just don’t know a lot of things.
the other day, when i was woefully occupying the couch (all day) while recovering from a vicious little cold, there was a beautiful, and perfect moment.
it was one of those rare moments where all sound and people vacate the room, save one very simple, rhythmic sound, usually caused by something very ordinary. maybe this isn’t a “one of those” sort of moments for others, but for me, it is.
jared left the room to get the laundry, the re-runs of Lost were on pause, chloe was gone and i was alone for about 30 seconds. as i lay there feeling like my head would surely explode into a mass of snot, i heard the gentle click of the vertical blinds tapping each other as the warm breeze filtered through them.
for some reason, i softly opened my eyes and made a mental note of this moment. something about it took me back to another time. honestly, i’m not sure what that time was…it was just real. likely, it was a moment in europe, as that is my equivalent to the birth of Christ: B.E. and A.E; before and after europe. either way, it was the kind of moment that i come back to whenever i am in another day where that stillness is not present.
if i close my eyes for just a second, remembering that palpable sound, everything fades away.
it’s good to have a moment like that to go to.