Monthly Archives: December 2010

Day 50 or Day 1… Its always Day 1


Today is Day 1 of my dance challenge.  I was going to do it yesterday, but I failed.   Today I was woken up by my husband saying, “Do you want to sleep or go to zumba?”  I wanted to sleep but, Maria (my favorite mother-in-law) came to pick me up for zumba.  I made such a big fuss in my last few blogs about dancing, I had to say “Zumba.”  Another JCC Zumba class, my 3rd one this week in Atlanta.  This instructor was not as fun as my Blondie, but bad zumba is better than no zumba.   Her few repetitive steps were still hard for me.  Box steps and cha cha’s, I have ways to go.

I bent over during the class to stretch my back and it hurt.  My body hurts.  I notice it when I am stretching.  The screeching of my weary contracted muscles, slow stagnation.  I used to be an acrobat, dammit.  I used to sit in a split with ease, I could climb a rope using only my arms, I did yoga, I was an athlete, now I can barely touch my forehead to my knees.  My body is deteriorating.  I noticed it the most after having Isaiah.  The breasts, the legs, the stomach loosing its shape.  I glance in the mirror and catch a reflection of my new “mom” body.   And this is still only the beginning.  I don’t know if Lisa said it to me or I said it to her, either way I think of it always, “Our bodies are at their best now.”

Yes I can try to remember my body when I was 18 but I will never have it.  Everyday my body is getting older, slowly but noticeably.  I don’t want to wake up one day and say oh no, I look so old.  I want to wake up and say I am the youngest today then I will ever be.

I have some bikini pictures of myself when I was 18 and I look hot.  I can’t even believe how good I look. Then, instantly I remember being that 18-year-old in that same bikini, feeling awkward and uncomfortable in my skin, scared of people seeing my imperfection.  My body may not look like that but inside I feel better and more comfortable than ever.  Now, if you bring me to a nude beach, even in my “mom” body, I will peel off all my clothes in one second without a single thought of my untrimmed bikini line (I could never do that when I was 18).  I am Jewish, dark, hairy, proud and fearless.

I chases the physical.  Dieting and exercising for vanity but it stopped working for me.  I don’t take it seriously.  I like fitting into my clothes but not enough.   I need new motivation.   I want to feel like a cat when move.  I want to walk across the room on my hands.  I want an agile brain to go with an agile body.

Yesterday, I picked out for $5 at TJ Maxx little iPod speakers that Maria bought for me, thank you.  Now I can have a dance party with my iPhone anywhere I go.  Isaiah is really into them.  When I start dancing, he grabs his blankie.  He yells until I pick him up so that we can dance together.  We spin, we jump, we dance.

11:15 pm


Day 49, JCC Dance Instructor

11:01 pm

I didn’t dance today.  I think dancing half an hour a day will be harder than writing a half an hour a day.  It is something I am actually going to have to really plan in my days.  Why dance 40 days?  Envy.  I love envy, it inspires me.  I noticed this envy before but the other day it hit me in the face.  I was in a JCC Zumba class with my favorite mother-in-law.  I didn’t expect for a JCC class to come even close to the Zumba class I do in Brooklyn.  The teacher was a voluptuous tall blond, by voluptuous I mean not what you expect from a dancer.  It didn’t matter when she started dancing.  She was moving; she was having fun.  A lot of fun.  She was also telling us to have fun and we were.  She had all these sayings with her Southern Y’all accent.  She wanted us to have an attitude while walking, showed us a dance move she called temper tantrum, and put on our high heals move.  She told us her favorite two things in life are shimmy and hips.   She did spider monkey arms, the Charleston, the chubby checker, the put on your skinny jeans move.  It was easy for her.  She talked and made jokes while throwing her big body around that didn’t feel big at all.

I loved her!  And then envy came in.  I don’t think of envy as bad.  Its good, its natural, it is to be embraced and recognized.  Who made envy a sin?  If you covet your neighbor’s husband, you should probably take a good look at your husband and find out again why you love him.  If you covet the dance moves of another, you should probably start dancing.  I make envy a virtue, a desire for life.  I want to dance.  My friend Kristianne and I had at a year run with African dance six years ago that culminated in a group performance that my friends and family went to see.  At that very performance my now husband met my parents for the first time.  It was a meaningful performance.  After the performance I got busy and stopped.

The blonde JCC instructor reminded me that I should not have stopped.  I should have kept going.  I had a dream at that time to be a dancer.  I don’t want to perform.  I just want my body to move in the way that a dancer’s body moves.  I want my body to feel good because I own it.  I want my arms to do one thing gracefully, while my feet are doing another thing, and my butt is doing the third thing, and my chest is staying perfectly still.  And… I want to have a smile on my face while this is happening.

11:33 pm


Day 48, the Experiment

5:31 pm

Tomorrow I will start a new count.  This will be a series of 40 day experiments because eventually that will be my character in my screen play or show that I will write as one of the 40 day experiments. Today will be a recap day of the first 40 days and tomorrow I will pick a new experiment.

40 Day Writing Experiment Recap

Every experiment needs a Hypothesis.  My Hypothesis was that if I write everyday: It will become a routine, I will become a better writer and I will change myself and therefore the world.  I think that’s what it was.  Now I will set my hypothesis prior to the experiment.

My findings.

The 40 days of writing uprooted feelings, ideas and memories that were buried inside. It was all the unsaid, the unexposed, the shamed, the hidden, the scared, the joyful. All buried. When I started writing it became very clear and very quickly that I need it. Now its a routine. Like brushing my teeth and flossing (I wish), I clean out by writing. Cleaning is not the word it’s more like dancing my soul. Whatever the word is, the feeling is that I have a message, dammit. I want to tell people that message, I don’t care if they hear it or not but I need to tell it.  I am amazed every time someone says they heard it.

During the 40 days, I started with 0 readers and I now I have a nice bunch. I mean it, really nice people are reading my blog. If you are reading it, you are nice. I am told by new people all the time that they are reading, relating and inspiring themselves. My friend Michelle just started Mommy Theorist (inspired by moi), she is a writer and an editor and how cool is the name Mommy Theorist.  I feel so proud that I inspired a writer to write.

This is not a black hole. I saw a paper journal in this trendy boutique that said on it “Fuck your Blog.” I was personally offended.  I felt that it was talking to me.  My first reaction and underline reaction was , why don’t I just privately journal, why the whole show. Then I remembered the boxes during my move. At my parent’s house there is at least two boxes of my unedited, unread and probably never to be read journals, unless I become a famous writer which I am not ruling out of the realm of possibilities.  I like having a large realm.  The pages are thinning and the ink is fading.  I can’t do a word search on them.  There are no tags or categories, there are barely any dates.  In my current house there is also at least two boxes of the same. I won’t use the hard language but “Dang You Paper Journal!” (I am not saying Yours).  If you want to journal privately, fine, it’s better than nothing but don’t curse at my Blog and the Blogs of so many others.  And watch the language, there are kids who come your store.

I’ve been journaling for years and never did anyone say, I love what you wrote in your journal, it inspired me to write in my journal.  No one said, I love what you wrote in your journal about your ex boyfriend, I cried because I had a similar pain and held on to it.  I didn’t start this to help anyone but myself but that’s how help works.  It helps others the most when you help yourself.

My mother-in-law told me two days ago that she has read every blog entry. Thank you, Maria! That makes me feel so loved and not only loved but known.  There is no way that you would get to know me so well unless you read this.  Even if we lived together.  My own mom is getting to know me through this medium.  And I am getting to know me.  We could live a lifetime without really knowing each other.  At least now you know me, now we just have to sign you up on WordPress.

Experiments within the Experiment

I will take one day a week off. Shabbat on Saturday.  My last entry for the week will be on Friday afternoon and then the first one will be on Sunday.  I need to empty the vessel so that I can fill it back up again.  My sister reminded me of this recently and it has been my motto since she said it.

Somewhere in between the above paragraphs, I went to Zumba at JCC with my favorite mother-in-law.  It’s 9:50 pm.

I figured out what my next experiment will be.  40 days of Dance.  Dancing a half an hour a day for 40 days!

40 Day Dance Party!  Hypothesis will be written tomorrow.

10:13 pm

Day 47, Isaiah the Cat

8:52 pm

There is a blizzard in NY and I am in Atlanta.  I am happy to be here but this is one blizzard I do not want to miss.  All the roads are still closed.  People are walking on the streets.  It’s a winter wonderland.  My dream is a closed off NYC with pedestrians spilling over to the streets.  One of my favorite times in NYC was the Blackout of 2003.  I think the power was out for 2 or 3 nights.  People had to improvise.  They could not continue playing their roles.  People had to help each other.  The guy who hung out on the corner of my street directed traffic.

Another favorite day of all time was April 1st, 1996.  I don’t have a good memory but it was April fool’s day, my freshman year in Boston University.  There was a snowstorm that canceled school and stopped traffic.  It was white magic.  All of Boston playing in the snow all day.  We rolled, we sledded, we snow balled, we built, we snow angeled. The snow enabled students to take over the streets.

This snow storm is making me realize even more how happy I am with our decision to stay in Brooklyn.  If I want to be there on the Christmas Blizzard of 2010, then I think we made the right decision.  I want to be there rolling right in the middle of my closed off street.

Tonight, we finally got our Christmas Chinese food at Yura’s aunt’s house.  Isaiah spent the night chasing their cat around, playing with the cat’s toys and laying on the floor looking at the cat under the couch.  I found many similarities with cats and babies.  Isaiah climbed on the cat’s gym, he enjoyed the cat’s toys, he wanted to hide when new people came close to him, and then there was the laser pointer (see video above).

I don’t know if it’s too much sugar or too much salt but my brain is melting today.  I can barely stay up and its 9:33 pm. 

I’ve been working hard and writing hard.  I am taking a break tonight.

There is no moral.

Day 46, I am in the South, Y’all.


I skipped writing yesterday.  It was Christmas.  We packed all morning and got to Atlanta at 9pm.  No Chinese food, no movie.  I didn’t realize how late our flight was.  Isaiah was a fighter on the plane, he did not want to sleep.  Utterly exhausted babies are funny.  They fall all over the place.  On the car ride home, his eyes were shiny and half closed.  Like an old man he dosed off and woke up repeatedly in his car seat.  He could barely see, but he knew he did not want to miss anything.

Atlanta has become a second home for me.  I am only realizing it on this trip.  When I first visited here with Yura, we were just dating.  This was another country to me.  Now, I know that I want Mellow Mushroom pizza for dinner tonight.  I know that I will go swimming at Zaban JCC tomorrow.  I know that at some point we will take Isaiah to the giant new Aquarium here.  It feels good to know my other home.

The South.  As a Russian Immigrant Jew, I thought that the Jews are only allowed to live in the North East, the West Coast, some big Midwest cities, and Miami, of course.  The rest of the country is off-limits.  It is maybe the same way black people feel about Russia, it’s not on the map.  None of their kind live there.   I don’t know.  I do not relate to any Yankee mentality either, that was before my time.  I am a Russian Immigrant and that is the only mentality I related to growing up.  Through Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and TV, I learned a few Southern basics.

Recently my husband and I were talking about these Northern and Southern stereotypes.   In the North, I thought, when you hear “Y’all,” you automatically assume the person is not very bright.  My husband said that when he was little, he watched “Who is the Boss.”  He thought Tony’s Italian American character was completely fictitious.  He couldn’t imagine anyone like that.  Meanwhile, my whole High School was full of Tony’s.  I mean that literally.  Anthony was one of the most popular names.  Everyone was either Italian American or Irish American.  There were 3.5  Jews total in my high school, one black kid, Henry and not one Asian.  In my class the minorities were me and David Stitleman whose dad was Jewish so he would not even be considered Jewish by the Jews themselves. You need a Jewish  mother to be Jewish.  Judaism is still kind of Matriarchal, in that way.  I was the only Russian and probably the only real immigrant, by real I mean zero generation.  There were plenty of Jews in other high schools in Connecticut, just not in my town.  The Jewish areas were a bit more affluent, I again am not trying to stereotype but they were and still are.

So back to Atlanta.  My husband’s story is interesting.  He is also a Russian immigrant.  He came here 8 years before me when he was 5 years old, in 1980.  Unlike us who came here by an invitation from my Aunt, his family was the first ones to make the move so they had no one in America when they got here.  When they came here, the Jewish Federation and Hias (God bless them) placed them in a location where there was most funding — Birmingham, Alabama.  I always laugh at this story.  It was shocking to come from Ukraine to Connecticut for me.  But I can’t imagine how it must have felt to come all the way from Minsk, Belarus after a lifetime of persecution, and end up in Birmingham, Alabama.  They could not have picked a more anti climactic place to come for them.  Everyone knows NY, LA and those types of places.  For a Russian coming here its like saying Nowhere, USA.

When I came here at the age of 10 the Jewish Federation got me into a private Jewish school for free with only 10 kids in my class (this was before we moved to the Catholic part of town).  It was hard in the beginning with no English and a Russian looking wardrobe, but as easy transition as it could have been, in retrospect.  At that time the Jews in America were fighting for the Jews in Soviet Union (God bless them).  They were trying hard to get them out.  So at least all the kids in my class were aware of that.  It still didn’t stop Rafi, from squeezing his apple juice box on me and calling me a Russian spy.  I barely understood the accusation.  But Yury.  To come to  Birmingham, Alabama as a Jew and Russian with a name like Yury during Reagan.  He might as well have been an Alien landing in Time Square.

Speaking of Aliens.  It still funny to me that the first identification cards we got said “Alien” on them.  I it said Naturalized Alien, I think.  Most people who have these cards probably don’t even understand the crazy connotation to that word, especially in the 80’s.  The time of the Alien explosion and Cold War.  We really were Aliens.  We felt like Aliens and by some smaller minds, we were seen like Aliens.  Maybe those same smaller minds were the ones who decided to put that on our official identification cards.  They still do that at INS now.

Anyway, Yury’s parents later moved to Atlanta where we are now.  His niece, Yael lives in the South with an Israeli name and says “Y’all.”  She is one of the smartest 8 year olds I know.  Nothing is off limits.


Tomorrow Morning 8:30 am Zumba!