Success!

13 11 2012

When I was in elementary school I found out the hard way that the New York Public Library only allows patrons to have thirty books out at one time. I knew my librarian by name and we always enjoyed seeing each other. We still do. Downsizing to the RV involved selling and donating about 1,000 titles from our bookshelves.

I like books.

The Austin Public Library labels books on hold using the requesting patron’s last name. When I head over to the hold shelf I find my last name (and first initial) on a piece of paper sticking out my requested book. Seems reasonable, right? Not at all! Let’s say you come from a conservative religious family and want to take out Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide For Teens. That book will be on the shelf right next to your mom’s copy of Evangelism For Dummies. Not cool.

I live about 500 feet away from my local library

I live about 500 feet away from my local library

The NYPL does it right. They label books on hold using the last four digits of patrons’ library card numbers, affording patrons the anonymity that they deserve.

I have been in touch with the administration of the Austin Public Library for months now, pushing for a shift to the NYPL system. The first hint of progress came in October when I was told that a branch was selected for a one-month pilot of the new system. Fantastic!

Then the news came in: the pilot was a success, with patron and library personnel both favoring the change. That was a major win, but the big challenge was going to come in getting senior administration onboard.

After spending a few weeks in close contact with those involved in the decision-making process I just received the following note:

“We are anticipating a system-wide roll-out of this change in the labeling of holds in early December.”

Yes! I’m excited to walk over to the library in December and smile at that big shelf full of anonymously labeled books.

posted by yair





My Second Bedroom

24 09 2012

As you may have guessed, my new place costs significantly more that I was planning on paying for a roommate arrangement – even downtown. I’m planning to write about that decision, but this post is about a cool arrangement that I have regarding my second bedroom.

A while ago my landlord saw on Craigslist that a person who was looking to rent a room in South Austin on weekends only. She contacted him and they arranged that he would pay what amounts to one quarter of my total rent in exchange for weekend access to the furnished second bedroom.

Looking in toward the second bedroom (the bed and desk are staying)

Looking in toward the second bedroom (the bed and desk are staying)

The gentleman is a 30-something lawyer who has been using the room once or twice each month for a day or two at a time. When he is not there I have full access to the bedroom, including for hosting guests. The possibility of weekend guests exists as well, because he is fine with being contacted in advance to ask if he is coming on a particular weekend.

The room has a good amount of space (most of that stuff is heading out)

The room has a good amount of space (most of that stuff is heading out)

My landlord – who has been living in the house for over a year – says that the arrangement has been working wonderfully, and I will be continuing it for the duration of my lease, with the option for either of us to cancel with 30 days notice.

My rent is still significantly more than I was looking to pay for a roomshare or sublet, but this is a pretty sweet deal – particularly considering that there is separate a fold-out couch for other guests.

Fantastic!

posted by yair





Moving Again: Someplace Fantastic and Much More Permanent!

20 09 2012

Sometimes roommate situations don’t work out, and mine lasted about a week. The house and location were fantastic, but sharing the space wasn’t a good fit. So I went on a hunt!

A friend of mine told me that anyone who can find a place in a few weeks is a superhero. It took me five days! Should I start looking for one of those spandex costumes? A phone booth in which to get changed? Selecting my superpowers?

I am moving less than a mile away to a place and location that I am thrilled with. There are a few firsts here, but the two main ones are…

  • I will be living in a house. For the first time. Ever.
  • I will be living on my own!
Master bedroom

Master bedroom

Part of the backyard

Part of the backyard

Finding this place (furnished!) seemed very meant-to-be. I had been looking around and exploring a lot of possible roomshare arrangements and none of them seemed to fit. Yesterday morning I was sitting at a cafe and I decided that I was going to look for a sublet where I could live on my own. I wanted a place where I could entertain, cook, and live comfortably. I wanted good sound insulation, a good location, and a good price.

After a quick glance at craigslist I sent a quick email replying to an ad that looked promising. I got an email back almost instantly and learned that the place was six blocks away and I could walk over right then. I loved the place and Ayo came over to give the thumbs up (she knows what I like better than I do). Six hours later we had a handshake. Twelve hours later the lease was signed.

The kitchen

The kitchen

The house is a two bedroom with a large master bedroom that opens out to a huge backyard. It is in a quiet neighborhood but is also just a few blocks from two of Austin’s three main north-south streets. I get along really well with the owner, who is a fantastic woman in her young 30s. We signed the lease today and I’m psyched to move in on October 1st. (Whoah. A lease. Maybe I’ll be here for a little while?!)

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posted by yair





Opera at the Supermarket… and a Fun / Ironic Photo Shoot

14 09 2012

This past Monday was my and Yair’s three week get-iversary, and we went out for lunch to catch up at Whole Foods.  (The national headquarters for Whole Foods is in Austin and it’s a mammoth of an institution.  Quite the experience.)

Yair casually commented that we should go out dancing some time and we figured “why wait?”  So – in the middle of the supermarket – we took the floor with ballroom histrionics.  The only thing that we were missing was a song, so I asked Yair to pick a tune and I would sing it for us.

Well, whaddya know, he had to choose Ave Maria and so I began belting out opera in the middle of Whole Foods.  The only problem was that I had no idea how it went or what the words were besides for “Ave Maria”, so I proceeded to make the entire thing up as we waltzed through the produce section.  It was pretty classic.

"Yayo" (as some of our friends call us) at Whole Foods - Still Friends

“Yayo” (as some of our friends call us) at Whole Foods – Still Friends

We went back to the co-op for some chill time, I creamed him at anagrams (sorry Yair) and we created a new code word: chest bump.  You see, our natural greeting used to be jumping the other person and that’s not so easily untrained.  So, in situations where we would have normally gone for a kiss (which used to be basically every situation ever), we now have a gruff chest bump or we just say “chest bump” as a nod to the emotion, our new situation and the humor of it all.

Speaking of finding humor in odd situations, Yair had been promising me since our wedding day that he would take me out in my wedding dress so that it gets at least two uses in a lifetime.  The wedding dress resides at my family’s house in New Jersey, which made it a bit logistically challenging to go out in the dress at any old time.

Pretending to Fight Like "Real Divorced Couples" Do

Pretending to Fight Like “Real Divorced Couples” Do

Because Yair and I were bringing our relationship to a close on August 20th, neither of our parents seemed very excited about celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary together with us on August 19th.  (Big surprise.)  We decided that I would pop the old dress back on, Yair would pull his tux out of the closet and we’d go out for anniversary milkshakes one last time.

But there was a catch: My older sister Rachael and her family were visiting from Israel and, by the time Yair and I finished going over separation logistics, Rachael and family were fast asleep in the basement… where my dress was!

A few minutes and some brainstorming later, we had a plan:  I had another white dress that I wore to the wedding hall and had bought for our first dating anniversary picnic. Crisis averted!  Yair and I dressed to the nines, played a bit of acro and generally goofed around with my little sister Jessica in tow capturing the highlights for us.

With no further ado, I give you our 5th wedding anniversary, pre-separation goofed out photo shoot:

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posted by ayo





The “Why” of the Split – A Change of Plans

23 08 2012

Our posts from earlier this week were met with an outpouring of love, support and a tad of criticism as well.    After some reflecting, we have decided not to delve into the genesis of our separation for three reasons:

1)  Privacy and Focus – I think it important to maintain a certain element of privacy, but moreover to keep the focus of relationship-related blog posts on lessons learned and how Yair and I created the positive dynamic that we have now.

2)  Response Control – Because this topic is so fresh and hits close to home and because this is a public blog, I think it unwise to actively invite commentary about the “why” of the split from individuals who might knowingly or unknowingly say hurtful things.

3)  Unity Over Division – I feel most strongly about this reason.  Unity and compassion are guiding forces in my life.  Yair and I realize that – by providing insight into the decision (who initiated? how was it decided? was it mutual? etc.) – we might unwittingly create “Team Yair” and “Team Ayo”, needlessly dividing people and losing friends in the process.

Yair and His Secret Wives

Yair and His Secret Wives

For those of you disappointed about the lack of “juice” in this post, here are three of my favorite concocted “why we split” stories:

1)  The Hillbilly Answer:  Yair and I were gearing up to start a family, and decided to do some genetic testing first to be aware of our risk factors.  Little did we know the tests would show that we were… half-siblings!  Awkward.

2)  The Oldtimer Answer:  Yair and I were hanging out with a family member last week and explaining the reasons behind the split.  After thinking for a while and trying to come up with a conceivable answer, the relative asked: “Yair, you’re not gay, are you?”  [Answer: He’s not.]

3)  The Days of Our Lives Answer:  After finding some anime on Yair’s computer, Ayo discovered that Yair has had a secret family for years.  Ayo just couldn’t cope with his four Japanese wives and sixteen children.  Alas.

Which answer is the best?  Alternate (goofy) answers welcomed!

PS – Keep an eye out for the next couple of posts, which will keep things light and fun amidst the relationship insights.

posted by ayo





Is That a Pay Phone on Your Porch?

9 08 2012

The story, by our not-so-mysterious friend in Bozeman.

posted by yair





Colorado Springs and Garden of the Gods

9 07 2012

Our time in Colorado Springs was fantastic and focused on two activities: visiting Garden of the Gods and reuniting with a friend. Each of those activities involved a solid RVer parking moment.

  • Ayo couchsurfed with a really great woman named Moni a few years ago. We met up for a 9:00 AM(!) breakfast at a bagel place. Parking? We overnighted about 300′ away, so our bed –> bagel shop time was about five minutes.
Breakfast with Moni and her boyfriend

Breakfast with Moni and her boyfriend

  • We spent two days at Garden of the Gods and were hoping to find a parking spot to overnight near the park. Well, we didn’t have to look far. At around 8 PM, they locked us in at the visitor center parking lot! Our solution to being locked in: make some Indian food, watch a TV show and go to sleep in the same bed as always – in the park.
A small part of Garden of the Gods

A small part of Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods was wonderful. We spent one day exploring the grounds and took another day for climbing, hiking, relaxing, and taking the scooter for a joy ride. Ayo even joined me for a few climbs and put me to shame with three quick and composed barefoot ascents. She’s a natural!

Yoga at Garden of the Gods

Yoga at Garden of the Gods

Boulder acro photo!

Boulder acro photo!

In the coming days we’ll be heading north into Rocky Mountain National Park. I’m not sure what our connectivity will be like there, but you’ll hear from us eventually. ‘Til then!

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posted by yair








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