the last week or so.

like the last update,

there’s a lot

to cover, and i’m

gonna let

a lot of the

photos do the talking.

so…

we’ve settled in.

(somewhat) normal sleep

schedules, plus a

daily routine equals a good

thing for all of us.

we’ve been here

long enough now

that all the things

that at first were

unfamiliar have

become the norm.

well, maddy still

goes crazy when

she sees a

cow or a monkey,

face to face with a bull.

but everything else

is pretty much normal

to her now.

so (almost) every

morning we start the

day by jumping in

an auto rickshaw

on the way to breakfast.

and heading out

for breakfast.

usually it’s in

the spot where

i do my writing,

but we switch it

up from time

to time in order

to have a little

variety in our lives.

maddy and some little dude.

breakfast is a

break for all

of us.

why?

because one of

the services that

restaurants don’t advertise,

but almost all provide

without hesitation,

is free babysitting

while you eat.

photo time.

high-five.

it’s totally

and completely awesome.

(this happens at only one restaurant in los angeles).

after breakfast we have a

little play time.

at the oberoi.

clapping.

resting.

paused.

drop.

maddy has a new

morning routine…

instead of

apple throwing,

she throws sticks

into the koi

pond at the oberoi.

running with a big stick.

screaming with joy as she throws a stick.

after play time,

rachel and maddy

head back to our

apartment to take

a nap, while i

spend the entire

day working on

my book.

according to rachel,

madeline is down

to one, two-hour

nap per day,

which is awesome.

after nap time,

rachel and maddy

walk to the

park, window shopping

along the way.

that's a lot of stairs.

just like her mom.

in awe...

at the park maddy

asserts her independence

and walks where ever

her curiosity takes her.

walking on a path through the park.

walking.

over there.

sometimes she

climbs things,

madeline on a tree.

looking.

climbing.

up.

but most of the

time she just walks

around and makes

new friends.

happy.

madeline with her new friends.

meeting new friends.

people in the park.

little dudes.

maddy with friends.

her favorites are

still the men,

with dudes.

maddy and her new friend.

and for

good reason, i guess.

the women

poke at her

meeting new friends.

and pinch her cheeks.

making friends.

afterwards, they often

try to pick

her up.

she said no.

and when they

do these

things, maddy usually

takes exception and

smacks them around.

smacking some lady.

(i know it’s sort of self defense, but i’m trying to discourage such behavior).

most of the time

she loves kids,

but there was

once instance that

left sort of

a bad taste in

her mouth.

meet some kids

who wanted to

be maddy’s friend:

kids.

the little boy

was a sweet and

gentle little thing,

his sister appeared

to be the same.

well.

she wanted to pick

maddy up and

bring her over

to her parents who

were sitting

on a nearby bench.

maddy was busy,

watching a caterpillar

inch across the

walking path.

pointing at a caterpillar.

despite repeated attempts,

the little

girl just could

not divert

maddy’s attention away

from the caterpillar.

so she walked

around madeline and

stomped on the

caterpillar, killing

it right in

front of my child.

maddy said, “whoa!”

and just stared at

the girl.

satisfied, the girl

turned around

and walked away.

one of these

children may

end up to be

a serial killer,

but i don’t

think it’s gonna

be mine.

back to our daily routine…

after playtime in

the park, rachel

and maddy find me

in my writing

spot and then

we take off

for dinner

rachel and maddy at dinner.

hats.

a little blurry, but awesome.

lounging.

dinner.

we usually

dine with friends,

eshwari and anish.

jumping.

all of whom

are excited to

spend time with madeline

while tolerating

my incessant

talk about my book.

when i’m not

writing we try to

get out and

explore the city.

we ride around

town in auto rickshaws,

and i take photos

of the things

we see.

cart.

movie poster.

flower seller.

a poem by greazy boy.

rajkumar on the right, can't remember the name of the dude on the left...

we have auto

rickshaw dance parties

we buy ridiculous things

dumbest fucking t-shirt i've ever seen.

we go to

the places that

liz

loved,

sitting.

running.

us.

waiting for a taxi.

and i

tell madeline all

about her mom.

smelling the flowers.

mostly we just

have fun.

wtf is up with the elevator times?

chasing.

chasing daddy.

last weekend i

decided that we

needed to get out of

bangalore for the weekend.

i’d been staring

at a computer for

far too

long and there

were a few things

that i wanted

madeline and

rachel to see and

and experience.

besides, saturday

was the 24th,

and sunday was

something else,

so it was a

good time for us

to get away.

so…

saturday morning we

jumped in a

car and headed

toward mysore.

we stopped for breakfast

breakfast.

but we were distracted

by monkeys.

looking for monkeys.

maddy found a monkey.

i took a lot of photos

out the window

of the car.

movie advertisement.

kids in the back of a truck.

heavy loads.

flower seller.

pissing.

and we stopped

at places of

historical significance

at the juma masjid.

at the juma masjid.

pointing.

books.

books, desks.

at a temple.

stopping for a drink.

at a temple.

keeping her feet cool.

in front of a temple.

checking out some carvings.

going through the doorway.

school kids.

gumbaz.

shoes.

maddy & daddy.

rugs, gumbaz.

at mysore palace.

at mysore palace.

at mysore palace.

running.

climbing.

walking.

flying.

running.

and it was hard

to be in the same

places i visited with

liz

fewer than three

years ago.

liz outside of mysore palace.

mysore palace.

liz outside of mysore palace.

statue, maddy, me.

liz outside the jamia masjid mosque.

maddy & daddy.

liz outside the gumbaz of tipu sultan and hyder ali.

walking in a place i walked before.

liz outside the gumbaz of tipu sultan and hyder ali.

up.

liz outside the gumbaz of tipu sultan and hyder ali.

in front of the gumbaz of tipu sultan.

liz outside the gumbaz of tipu sultan and hyder ali.

us.

liz outside the gumbaz of tipu sultan and hyder ali.

maddy

but it was necessary.

and it was great

to have maddy

there with me.

at one point

i saw maddy running

because the ground

was hot

(settle down, i wasn’t abusing her poor feet. shoes must be removed in most of these religious places, even for kids).

it was hot so she ran.

it was hot so she ran.

as i watched her

run to get

her feet to a

cooler spot,

i thought about

a photo

i took of her

mom doing the same

thing in the

same place.

liz was barefoot and the ground was really hot.

but the trip to

mysore wasn’t

all hard.

it was after all,

maddy’s 19 month birthday,

so we had

as much fun

as we possibly could.

on top of seeing all the

great sites,

we rode:

a horse.

riding a horse.

horse ride.

chased by kids.

a camel.

on a camel.

camel joyride.

camel joyride.

and best of all,

an elephant.

elephany joyride.

elephant ride.

her first elephant ride.

elephant ride.

maddy + dude + elephant.

she seemed to love

her joy rides

joy rides.

until was accosted

by an elephant.

the elephant was only

trying to be

nice when she placed

her trunk

on madeline,

but maddy didn’t

see it that way.

and when the

elephant tried to attack

me, well, she

gave it the same

treatment she usually

reserves for women.

maddy was pissed.

(rachel also got accosted by an elephant)

attacked by an elephant.

that night we stayed

in an old palace

hotel.

overlooking one

of the most

incredible gardens

any of us

have ever seen.

before dinner,

we played for

a bit

maddy and rachel on the swing.

maddy playing chess.

maddy playing chess.

then we took a

long walk

through the garden.

us.

rachel.

trash can.

fountains.

maddy.

maddy with a stick, rachel with a watchful eye.

flying.

rachel.

us.

i hoped that

the walk through

the garden

would help maddy

burn some of her energy,

but when bed time

came, she was the

only one not ready

to sleep.

she ran around

the hotel room like a

crazy person, climbing on

chairs, switching the

lights on and off

and poking me until

i opened my eyes.

not fun considering

we had to be up

and out of

the hotel

by 6:00am.

the next morning.

october 25th.

19 months

earlier i never

would have guessed

we would be where

we were at that moment.

that’s both literal

and figurative.

6:00am.

standing outside

of a palace

converted into a hotel,

watching the geese.

waiting for

our driver to

pick us up so

we could go

bathe elephants.

yeah.

seemed like the

best way to

forget about

a horrible anniversary.

we watched the

sun rise

over the fields

sunrise.

then we all

feel asleep.

i woke up

somewhere along

the way, and

saw fog

covering almost everything.

green.

morning.

blocking the road.

and soon enough

we were there.

maddy was still

in her pajamas,

which i thought

looked pretty awesome.

we took the

boat across the river

boat ride in her pajamas.

with her new friends.

and wandered around

the elephant camp.

pointing.

elephant food.

rachel helped me

get maddy into

her swimsuit,

in her new swimsuit.

and not a moment

to soon, ’cause

the elephants

were on the move

and ready to

be bathed.

watching.

watching.

watching.

we read a couple

of warning signs

before we got started.

learning something.

learning a lesson.

holy shit.

i snapped some

photos as rachel

and maddy watched

the first elephant

go in.

ready to get in.

watching.

watching.

soon enough they

were in the water

and working

hard to clean

the giant beasts.

elephant bathing.

elephant bathing.

rachel had a

great time getting

up close and

personal with her

new friends

touching an elephant's tusk.

while i helped

maddy get used to

the water.

us.

watching.

elephant bathing.

eventually she got

really excited

and started trying

to swim out

to the elephants.

she really wanted to get to them.

going to the elephants.

trying to swim to the elephant.

elephant bathing.

just hanging out.

we had a great

time hanging out

look at all of those elephants.

but eventually bath

time was over

and maddy was

ready to climb.

trying to climb.

maddy laughed at

me as i mourned

the loss of

my favorite shoes

ruined my favorite kicks.

(that’s mud, not elephant shit).

we spent a

bit more time

with the elephants

rachel with elephants.

taking her shoes off.

before heading back

across the river.

waiting for the boat.

waiting for the boat.

happy after bathing elephants.

it was a short

walk back to

the car

walking.

then we were

headed toward

a buddhist monastery.

took a few photos

along the way

shops.

dudes.

store.

before finally arriving.

gate.

rachel.

us.

we went inside

and all were

in awe of what

we saw.

in awe.

rachel.

walking.

maddy & daddy.

maddy even managed

to be quiet for

a few minutes

reverence?

quiet for a second.

we went outside

and she tried

to hide from

some women who

wanted to

take her photo.

behind the curtains.

we continued our

tour of the grounds

happy.

pointing.

pointing.

then maddy started

stealing shoes.

walking in someone else's shoes.

walking in someone else's shoes.

the time came

to get back on

the road to bangalore.

maddy and rachel

slept almost the

entire trip.

i rested a bit

but woke up

in time

to capture a

few more photos.

quite a load.

four.

dude.

dudes, bicycle.

people in a truck.

we got back to

bangalore later than

we hoped.

we were supposed

to catch up for

tea with a

few friends and

then go out

to dinner.

well.

when we got

to the tea shop,

i walked into

a surprise party.

surprise party.

surprise party.

awesome cake.

surprise party.

surprise party.

surprise party.

yeah.

it was my

birthday.

and i can’t think of

a better

way to have

spent it.

this week…

now is a good

time to discuss the

word explosions

going on here

in india.

first.

the words i’ve

had in me,

mostly unspoken and unshared

for 19+ months,

are spilling forth

from my head

and landing

on the page.

it feels better than

i could have imagined

to finally

commit them to

my hard drive…

i hoped that this trip

would bring the

words out of me

but i didn’t

think they’d come

this easily.

call it exercising demons

or whatever,

but if you see

more smiles

on my face

in the photos i

post, well, this is

part of the reason.

(let’s just hope my editor likes what i’ve sent thus far).

the second word

explosion is coming

from maddy.

she says something

new almost

every second that

she’s awake

(and i caught her at saying actual words in her sleep the other day).

eshwari swears that

maddy even speaks

a little tamil.

it’s amazing to

hear what’s coming out

of her mouth

these days,

and it’s been

so much fun

to see her growing up

right before my eyes.

i wrote all

day monday,

trying to get

to a place

i needed to be,

and tuesday i

took a break

to see some more

sites with maddy,

rachel and eshwari.

the inside of an auto rickshaw.

driving.

on my shoulder.

walking into the bull temple.

in she goes.

walking.

making a donation.

pointing a the giant bull statue.

staring.

rachel.

she found a stick.

we had been

here before.

liz inside the bull temple.

liz inside the bull temple.

liz outside the bull temple.

and we’ll continue

seeing what

we saw,

so that maddy

can have something,

come connection.

and we’ll have

tons of fun

doing it.

in front of a wall of coconuts.

coconut water.

coconut water.

sweeping.

helping.

reading the paper.

reading the paper.

waiting for an auto.

reflection.

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