Wednesday, October 31, 2012

40 Days of Birthday: Day Thirty-Nine

Just one day till the end of days—Birth-Days, that is! I’ve been given a reprieve from being inventive lately as pre-scheduled events, meetings, and holidays provide me with my extraordinary activities. Today is no exception. It is the day before Halloween and our pumpkins were carved.

Lennon isn’t so skilled with a knife yet, so all the actual carving was left to my husband and I. Lennon is also not fond of gooey stuff—he got very upset at Kita when, on the first day, they tried to have him create a print by dipping his hand in paint. He stood as an observer today as we cleaned and cut.

 We began carving in the late afternoon, when my husband got home from work. We borrowed a day old newspaper from our neighbors to use as a surface for the messy pumpkin massacre and were happy to see that is was printed with pigment-based inks, the kind that come off on everything they touch. All of the big papers in the U.S. no longer use this type of ink. Though we had smudge marks on our table, we were happy to know that we could grab a German paper and a spray bottle of vinegar any old time for spotlessly clean, streak-free windows.

Lennon did have a snack at the beginning of the carving and his dinner toward the end, but still was excited to nibble on the cut-out top of his miniature pumpkin. His little pumpkin had been in his room for a few weeks now. When Nicholas put Lennon to bed, they said goodnight to pumpkin. Today, Lennon got to see what we do with pumpkins around these parts.

Nicholas did most of the pumpkin cleaning and sorting of the seeds for roasting. I was in charge of the carving. This is definitely not my medium. I experimented with one of the pumpkins, trying to create the San Francisco Giants logo, but miscalculated my lines and ended needing assist from a toothpick. To my eye, it turned out far better than I imagined but is still sad looking. Lennon’s little pumpkin and our bigger pumpkin faired better with classic Halloween faces.

It was our intent to watch the 1966 classic, “It’s the GreatPumpkin, Charlie Brown” while we carved but the iTunes store let us know that it would be thirteen hours before the movie would be fully downloaded. Luckily, our internet troubles are being dealt with tomorrow, but for today, Lennon friendly music would accompany our festivities.

We lit the pumpkins, turned off the lights, and all gazed at what we’d made. It was time for Lennon to go to bed and for the first time when I went to pick him up, he pulled away, not ready to say goodnight. I did this the same thing all the time as a child. So did Nicholas. We just wanted to stay up and have fun—not miss anything. It seems that neither does our little boy.

40 Days of Birthday: Day Thirty-Eight

I had a very exciting meeting today about a project for next year here in Berlin. This meeting has been on the books for a few weeks and I was hoping to share more about it since it is my official Birth-Day activity for today—but I can’t. There are just too many details that need to be sorted before I can spill the beans, and before I can truly call it officially in the works. I’m looking forward to telling you more about it in the coming months.

Something unexpected happened today, before my exciting secret meeting. Lennon has a small plush fox that he carries with him nearly everywhere. Fox is an inexpensive toy that we bought at IKEA in the late spring. Lennon became attached to fox for a couple of reasons. When we travelled to the U.S. this past summer, we took a collection of toys with us that were small enough to be portable and inexpensive enough to not make us sad should they get damaged or lost in travel. His little fox was included. At the time of our vacation, Lennon wasn’t particularly attached to any one toy so we could make these kinds of decisions, but having spent a month with these toys only, they became mainstays. Additionally, Lennon loves toys with tails or dangly parts that he can hold in his hand and flip around. This is a habit we discovered on vacation, perhaps because fox was there with his perfect, toddler hand-sized tail.

When he started Kita this fall, we thought fox would be a perfect companion as they asked we bring our child’s favorite “Kuscheltier” with him every day. Though Lennon doesn’t get upset when fox is not around and is happy to play with other toys or even swing other plush animals by the tail, fox had been a consistent companion throughout the summer and, again, wouldn’t be such a financial loss should something happen to him.

As we came from Kita today, I handed Lennon fox whom he grabbed tightly by the tail. On the way home, I always glance down to make sure fox is still with him in the stroller. Luckily, he always is. We stopped into a few stores before heading home. As I was lifting Lennon out of the stroller, I noticed fox was missing. I checked everywhere on my person and in our bags but fox had been…dropped. I really couldn’t remember the last time I glanced down to make sure fox was there. Was it before we got on the train? After the store? Fox could be anywhere. Fox was lost. I did the first thing I always do in any crisis: call my husband. We both decided that it probably wasn’t advantageous for us to retrace all of our steps, having no idea where he could be. Luckily, IKEA still sold the exact same fox and Nicholas would make a run tonight to get another one.

We’d always said that if fox got lost, we’d move on and not replace him. Our adaptable Lennon would find another toy to be his companion. Actually faced with the real life scenario, however, we needed a new fox. He’d become such a celebrity amongst our friends and at Kita: Lennon and his fox. As I waited for Nicholas to come home, I became sad about losing that particular fox. Yes, he could be replaced, but I imagined mending fox when he ripped a seam and letting him take on that wonderful child-loved patina. That fox had been washed so many times its fur was a little matted and dingy. The new fox would be all different and that made me melancholy.

Nicholas walked through the door and asked if I’d received his message. He was on his way home and wanted to know what side of the street we’d walked on, just in case he’d happen to spot fox. Disappointed that I’d not gotten his message, I apologized. Just then, out of his pocket he pulled fox---the original, lost-now-found fox! Nicholas had seen fox on one of the outside tables at Rogaki, just down the street. Some kind soul likely found him on the street and placed him there, clearly seeing how beloved he was. Happy day! Lennon saw fox sitting on his Tripp Trapp chair where Nicholas had placed him, smiled, and went to him. Then fox made a straight line for the washing machine. He’d be clean and dry in time for Kita in the morning. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

40 Days of Birthday: Day Thirty-Seven

We’ve had today’s activity on our calendar for months: The Botanic Garden Halloween Fun Fest! We attempted to go to this same event last year. It was one of the first times Lennon used his baby buggy. He was so displeased with it, however, we put him in the baby carrier half way enroute. With an empty carriage and a baby on my chest, Nicholas, Lennon, and I waited in line for an hour to enter the festival. We had no idea Halloween would have such interest in Berlin. We did arrive late in the day and when our friends called to woo us to dinner we aborted our mission.

Before we got going today, my husband and I went through our weekend trade-off schedule: I get up with Lennon early, around 6am, while Nicholas sleeps. At around 8pm, I get to go back to bed for an hour or so. When I awoke this morning from my sleep-in time, Lennon and Nicholas had made me breakfast in bed for Birth-Day Thirty-Seven! So very lovely.

 We came to realize late that it was day light savings time, so even though we had a leisurely morning, that extra hour still allowed us to arrive early to the Fest—minutes after opening. There was no line and we sauntered right in. The admission cost was the regular Botanical Gardens entrance fee, and of course I received my student discount. It was brisk today so perhaps that’s what kept people away. Or maybe coming early was key. In any case, it remained uncrowded.

The opening of the festival coincided with Lennon’s naptime. Lennon was cozy bundled in his “Fuß Sack” inside his stroller and, as he knows to do at 11:30, went right to sleep. Sleepy Lennon had a jack-o-lantern balloon tied to his stroller upon arrival. We first made our way to the pumpkin carving station. We reckoned most of the activities were for older kids but we thought maybe we’d get a good photo-op in for Lennon—he wore his “Jenks the Beagle” costume out today! The pumpkins were 5 euro and you paid an additional 5 euro deposit on the carving kit. We’d be carving the pumpkin we bought at the Hofladen Falkensee the night before Halloween, but it was sweet to see what the future would hold when Lennon is a bit older.

After picking up a 1 euro candied apple that, despite my husband’s reservations, was completely delicious, we headed indoors. A ghostly puppet show was to be performed in one hall but our timing was off so we headed to the “Neues Glashaus” where more of the program was taking place. It was lovely and warm inside. Nicholas and sleeping Lennon stayed on the stroller friendly first level where chairs and tables were set while I ventured upstairs to snap some photos. On the next level up, there was a “Halloween Café” selling snack bar food. Next to it, a child’s birthday party was underway with a long table and decorations. I’m not certain how they pulled this one off, but it was such a brilliant coup: have your child’s birthday party at a festival with face painting, crafts, and costumes! It made me wonder why more people didn’t think of this. How did they secure that lovely spot next to the café? Can anyone book this for a birthday? It was all too mind-boggling.

On the upper level, there were several booths selling Halloween items. Nothing extraordinary, at least not by U.S. Halloween standards, but these items were fairly exotic here. It was all typical drug store merchandise: Halloween paper plates and cups, plastic witch hats and prefab costumes. Most children came in costume to the festival today but didn’t stray from the classics: witches, ghosts, and goblins. There weren’t even any fairy princesses. Halloween is new enough to Germany that all the original rules still seem to apply.

Beyond the Halloween items, a face-painting table was teeming with children and several craft tables were set with materials. Kids were painting ceramic birds. I wasn’t sure what this activity had to do with Halloween, but none of the children seemed to object.

We continued to walk the grounds when Lennon woke up hungry and thirsty. After a quick snack we headed home, all before the clock struck 1pm and we turned into pumpkins.

Monday, October 29, 2012

40 Days of Birthday: Day Thirty-Six

Nicholas had an open house at his school and we’d miss seeing him for most of today. My plan was to have a Mama and Lennon adventure: we would visit a local playground and then hit up a second hand children’s clothing store. I’m looking for a snowsuit and a play kitchen for him for Christmas. More days than not, when I collect him from Kita, he’s at the play kitchen there, opening doors, putting blocks in the sink and taking them out again.

Lucky for us, just as we were about to leave, Kelly from upstairs invited us to go to the playground with her and Otis. I told her of our scheme with the second hand shop. She added the idea of a cup of coffee and we had a plan. At the playground, Lennon and Otis crawled all over—through the sand, into the little houses. The dangerous looking boulders jutting out through the landscape were most interesting to Lennon. We tried the swing again—last time he was overtired and didn’t dig it. He enjoyed it enough today but wanted to take more control over the actual swinging part, which the baby swing isn’t really designed for. His back and forth motion made the swing jerk in a way that scared me it’d tip over. He didn’t protest when I pulled him out.

We stopped into the second hand children’s shop. They had a sweet red and white wood play kitchen in the window and I rushed in to ask the price. Before giving me my answer, the shop owner explained how it had been hand built and painted by an “old man”—130 euro, she said. It was cute, but I’d seen the best of them new for less than that. I began to look at the winter wear section and noticed the used baby coats were running around 60 euro. The shop did claim to have designer wear and I’m not unwilling to pay for quality, but when it comes to second hand items, I want a bargain. Kelly had the same reaction. We all turned our buggies around and headed for the coffee house.

With our drinks to go, I stopped by the Turkish store with Kelly so she could get a Halloween pumpkin for carving. Her husband, Aaron, had just phoned and was going to swing by where we were to pick up Kelly’s house keys—he had been out and about and had forgotten his. When she came out with the pumpkin, Aaron was waiting in his car across the street. I waited with the boys while she went to make the handover. Wilmersdorfer is a busy street, but pedestrian heavy and cramped. I’ve crossed this street in this exact spot many times without any issue. But after the handover, just as Kelly turned around to head back to where we were standing, a speeding Mercedes sedan came barreling down the street. It didn’t appear that Kelly noticed it coming. It was going way too fast for this section of the street and for there being a stopped car, as well. I yelled out, “Kelly, wait!” At that instant, she stopped in her tracks and the speeding car came to a screeching halt, within inches of my friend. The driver seemed annoyed, Kelly was embarrassed, and I think Aaron saw his life flash before him.

As Kelly and I walked back to our building, we were both shaken but slowly moved on to other topics of conversation, letting go of what had just happened. When Nicholas got home, the weather turned for the worse. I had thought that I’d maybe go out for a solo shopping trip this evening, but decided staying in, cuddling with my family, would be the best way to treat myself.

40 Days of Birthday: Day Thirty-Five {Looks Like We Made It: Schneidersitz Sewing Store}

I have received a commission to make one of my birthday crowns! I’ve made several beyond the ones you’ve seen on Lennon or myself, but these are usually paper based and thrown together in a hurry a few hours before the birthday celebration. Like the paper crowns, this request is for a grown-up but something more permanent is wanted. I plan on using new and vintage material already in my inventory but I have a special vision in mind so need some additional trimmings.

Today I headed to a tiny sewing store that I discovered with Lennon when we first moved into this neighborhood. Lennon and I went for an epic walk one day, got lost and found ourselves in front for Schneidersitz. It was closed—it being Sunday—but I’ve wanted an excuse to go back during business hours ever since. They have a sweet little website that provides just the essential information plus a few pictures of what they have in stock. Since we’d gotten lost finding it last time, I mapped it out for us before heading there today.

With a meeting at 6pm, we were a bit rushed in going to Schneidersitz. With Lennon staying home from Kita, still under the weather, and nap schedules, we left later in the day than I’d planned. Schneidersitz is small and I knew that if I’d kept my wits about me I could get out of there in a half an hour. I made a quick run to the bank—often little shops are cash only or have a minimum to use your bank card—and we were off. Our map said it would take us seventeen minutes to get there and as we saw the shop from across the street, I glanced at my iphone. Much to my delight, we’d gotten there in record time. Also, with all my rushing to get us out of the house, I somehow had added another hour. It was only 4pm, not 5pm as I’d thought! We’d have a luxurious amount of time at Schneidersitz.

Lennon was in good spirits as well and seemed happy to be out of the house. We were the only people in the tiny shop and I was able to park Lennon’s stroller just inside and navigate the trimmings while he babbled away. The woman behind the counter was stoic but began to warm when I actually had her cut some goods, a clear sign I was going to buy. I did make her do a little work as I couldn’t decide on a particular trim and she had to get several down and return several others. After the cuttings were made I did a little more browsing. The counter lady gave Lennon a colorful card to entertain him. He was delighted. I paid for my items, including a little grab bag of discontinued trim for just 3 euro, and was pleasantly surprised by the prices.

Before I left, I mentioned to the counter lady—all in German—that I have a sewing blog and asked if she minded if I took some photos. She probably wondered what I was going to do with the giant SLR camera around my neck. She graciously obliged.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

40 Days of Birthday: Day Thirty-Four

When performance is really moving, I struggle to find the words to write about it. It can have such a personal resonance with me and touch me in such a way that defining it on paper narrows its impact somehow. Unfortunately, in choosing to get a PhD in Performance Studies, I’ve agreed to do nothing but write about performance. Tonight I saw another work as part of the Foreign Affairs festival sponsored by the Berliner Festspiele. This piece was by Italian Director Romeo Castelucci and is called "The Four Season’s Restaurant." I’m providing below the artist's description as presented by the Berliner Festspiele not as an alternative for me discussing the performance myself, but because I’d rather spend time articulating my experience, however inarticulate it may end up being:

“It all starts with the desire to say no: when American artist Mark Rothko had completed a cycle of paintings for the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York, he decided to refuse their exhibition after a personal crisis. He saw this restaurant’s commitment as the epitome of a new bulimia of images. Nowadays, this cycle of monumental canvases forms the nucleus of the cathedralesque Tate Modern Gallery in London.

The Four Seasons Restaurant is a reference to Rothko’s late masterpiece: the audience is confronted by a gigantic black rectangle that hides the entire stage, accompanied by ear-splitting music and fragmentary texts – an overwhelming technical arrangement that overpowers the senses. Mass, adoration, idolatry figure alongside fundamental concepts of religion, philosophy and nihilism in director Castellucci’s work, who started out as a visual artist.

The Four Seasons Restaurant is part of a cycle including Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story The Minister’s Black Veilabout Reverend Hooper, whose decision to always appear in a black veil was based on a similar act of refusal. Castellucci’s production On the Concept of Face Regarding the Son of God, which also belongs to The Minister’s Black Veil cycle along withThe Four Seasons Restaurant, raises similar questions about hunger, desire and torture in the face of a superior image.”

The piece was in Italian with German subtitles. I was able to gather only a little of what the German was relaying. We were advised to take the free earplugs handed out before the show. It would be loud, they said. The “overture” was a sonic blast of tones from a black hole, as recorded by NASA. Titles on a screen in front of the stage explained what we were listening to. When the curtain rose, one by one, young women entered the stage, each dressed in North American Amish fashioned “plain dress” skirts and pinafores. Each grabbed a pair of scissors, cut off the tips of their tongues, and mopped the blood from their mouths with a handkerchief. What followed was the telling of an epic tale, the plot of which I only gathered in pieces. The story was told with grand, theatrical, melodramatic gestures and called to mind a medieval Passion Play. Beyond text, much of the story was told in imagistic movement sequences: at the conclusion of the story, the women formed a clump and writhed together until, one by one, each women was “born” from the group. Once a woman fell from the group as a “new born” the others stripped her naked, embraced her, and sent her off the stage to someplace else. Once all of the women were born this way, the epilogue began:

The blank white stage the woman had been on disappeared behind black curtains. With the music from the black hole and the rhythmic veiling of the white, watching the stage being engulfed put me in a trance. The downstage curtain slowly dragged upstage toward the back revealing a dead horse, laying on its side. No sooner had the horse been revealed but the curtain dragged forward to cover it again. The sounds from the black hole continued to play. The curtain lifted to a wall of gushing water in a tank but soon discovered to be a deluge of small black particles being blown wildly about. After several minutes I noticed a woman sitting in the midst of it all, waving a flag. As the particles began to rest and become still, the face of a woman, as large as the stage could be seen. She was Mother Mary drawn on the back wall. Just then, the naked young women came onto the stage and rushed toward the mother, reaching for her mouth as she looked down to them.

Weeping beauty, truly gorgeous. 

Photo source for horse image and last image found here
Photo source for "birthing" image found here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

40 Days of Birthday: Day Thirty-Three {Looks Like We Made It: Costume Time Capsule}

As several of my Birth-Days, today did not go according to plan. It was meant that I was to attend one of the PhD colloquiums tonight that I’d learned about yesterday. I spent most of the day assuming I would, but when Lennon got home from Kita, what we thought were nighttime sniffles had turned into a cold. Staying home to help with bedtime was the best choice.

Earlier in the day, I’d pulled out an old Halloween costume, handmade by my mother, that I wore the Halloween just after my first birthday. As you might have read here, I’ve made Lennon a Jenks the Beagle costume to wear for Halloween, but I’m planning on conducting a photo shoot with Lennon wearing the same costume I did at the same age. I pulled it from storage today because, not only does it need mending for him to wear it, I wanted to take a photo of him in just the hat. The costume is of a tiger. There is a baseball team you may know of called the Tigers of Detroit city and they are about to play in the World Series baseball competition against my beloved team the San Francisco Giants. My husband happens to be a Tigers fan. I wanted to give both teams props by taking a picture of Lennon in his Giants T-shirt and one of him dressed as a Tiger, at least his head anyway. The results of the shoot can be found here.

There were many things that needed mending on the tiger costume—you know how old it is! About ten years ago, I found the costume in my parent’s attic and, not being as resourceful as I am now, I had it dry cleaned. It’s been neatly folded in a box since. The spring before Lennon was born, I brought it to Berlin. It has sloppily charming hand stitches in white thread. I mended a few of them by hand in the hat and on the tiger chest detail using the same thread. There is a part of me that wanted to take it to the machine and make it polished looking, but I resisted. The tiger tail had been stuffed in a few places and a wire coat hanger, unfolded, and inserted to give the tail some life when I walked. When the costume was dry cleaned, the hanger was removed and only a few bits of stuffing remained.

I decided I wouldn’t include the hanger again but would restuff the tail. I pulled out the bits of stiff stuffing and found that they were balls of crumpled newspaper, circa 1973. The date wasn’t actually visible on the pages but one can assume it would be no later than the Halloween after my first birthday. The crumpled bits were from the classified ads. One side held House for Sale advertisements and the other autos. The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States and I think it’s always disheartening to see what prices for homes used to be, not so long ago. The average home seemed to be just under $50,000. Today, the average two bedroom home in an average neighborhood is a steal at $500,000—and these can be rare. There were some luxury homes listed that went for $100,000 - $200,000. The descriptions had some real time capsule gems in them:

One average family home boasted a “paneled family room, all electric kitchen, carpeted and draped throughout.” All electric kitchens seemed to be the height of convenience and luxury in 1973. Drapes were also a bonus worth noting.

One of the more expensive homes included “two maids rooms, swimming pool, and an enclosed Jacuzzi” all for $228,000.

Another wanted you to know that it was on a center lot with “expensive trees.”

I loved the house that had “a miniature garden with little bridge to enhance deck and pool” and was “truly a house geared for today’s living!”

I was slightly confused by the home that had been “remodeled and redecorated and re-modeled.” Is the hyphen in re-modeled a distinction I would have understood if I’d been born thirty years earlier?

And I thought how could you go wrong if your home included a “cordial formal dining room.” I believe the opposite would be a hostile formal dining room. 

Before the tail gets filled with eco-friendly bamboo stuffing, the newspaper pieces will be crumpled up and returned to the proper place for Lennon to find one day and marvel.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

40 Days of Birthday: Day Thirty-Two

“I hate writing. I love having written.” –Dorothy Parker

It’s been a struggle lately, friends. Between feeling yucky—though recovering—and a busier than normal schedule, my 40 Days of Birthday have taken on more of the challenging end of their bargain. With less than ten days left, I’m desperately clinging to the wonder of this enterprise; not giving up. Today’s main Birth-Day activity was to meet with my PhD advisor regarding some new ideas I have about my dissertation. Pure magic, no?

In truth, It’s rare I get to see my advisor, which makes it rather special when I do. She’s high profile in her field and has a lot on her plate at all times, which always makes me hesitant to bother her unless I have a big question. I had submitted a brief draft of an abstract outlining ideas for my potential new course of action yesterday. In our meeting, she graciously and without any condescension tore my ideas to shreds. I expected nothing less and knew the draft was premature in regard to where I was in my research. I actually was hoping to hear brutal commentary that might help change my course toward more clarity. I was also hoping secretly that she would say my new ideas were brilliant, but one out of two ain’t bad. The best part of the meeting was that she connected me with a Post-Doctoral student named Daniela who works in the Theatre Studies building. Daniela gave me a schedule of upcoming seminars and colloquiums, many of which are conducted in English. I never wanted to bother my advisor with the basic questions like, “How do I get involved?” or “how do I meet other students? I feel isolated,” but today I’m glad I did.

The second half of this Birth-Day began in the evening when we had our friend and neighbor, Kelly, over for dinner. Her husband Aaron is out of town and we reckoned she might enjoy the company and home cooked meal. Her baby monitor is also able to carry its signal throughout the building so she put little Otis to bed upstairs and dined with us downstairs. Nicholas made wonderful roasted chicken legs and root vegetables and we sat around drinking and talking until way past our bedtimes. 

Source for the image of Dorothy Parker found here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

40 Days of Birthday: Day Thirty-One

A huge thank you to my loving husband for guest writing my last post. He does everything with heart. I’m such a lucky wife. He took over on the day my cold really had the best of me, but truth be told, I’m still not feeling so hot. Little sleep and early mornings keep it lingering. Today I decided to do something gentle, but physical, to stretch some of the demons out of my body. I considered a yoga class but worried about the commitment to stick with it for the full ninety minutes. Instead, I opted for the Frauenschwimmen—Women’s Swim—at the beautiful, old swim hall just down the street from our home.

The Art-Nouveau Stadtbad Charlottenburg “Alte Halle” is the oldest public bath in Berlin. There is a new swim hall next door where Nicholas and Lennon have gone swimming before that looks like a typical mid-century indoor pool and when I walked by it this evening, there were several trainings and lessons going on. When you enter the “old hall,” however, it’s isn’t romance. I’ve always fanaticized what it might have been like to swim in the old San Francisco Sutro Baths a hundred years ago and the “Alte Halle” is probably the closest I’ll come.

I paid the kind lady at the ticket booth my four euros. As always, I inquired about a student discount. She generously asked if I was under the age of twenty-six. Ah well. Such is the course for a life long learner. The locker rooms flanked the edge of the pool and there was a row of private stalls for changing. A euro deposit gave you a key to your locker with a handy waterproof wristband. The pool was already full of women, only a couple of which sported swim caps. I just wore my hair up, but I think I’m going to buy this for myself to wear next time. I love swim caps. 

I really hoped the water would be body temperature but it was slightly cooler—very comfortable if your working out and slightly annoying if you’re just interested in soaking, like I was. Two thirds of the pool is very deep and most of the women were found swimming there. The other third was standing height and less popular. The water temp eventually motivated me and I did some laps, dodging several women along my route.

Had the water been warmer, I’d have lingered longer, but after my laps, I headed to the locker room. The five shower heads available for rinsing were occupied, except, surprisingly, for the one marked “Kalt” (cold.) I believe the cold rinse to be distinctly German, and perhaps losing favor amongst the younger set. Lennon had a test swim lesson many months ago. Afterward, all the babies showered briefly in warm water with their Mamas and then were doused with cold water by the instructor. As it was Lennon’s first day, he was exempt from the torture.

The ladies at the shower tonight were doing the full bathe, multiple products and all, creating a long waiting time for others. Being just a block away from home, I chose to do my showering there. It’s been such a long time since I worked out in the water and I remembered that feeling I’d always gotten after a swim—my body actually feeling lighter.