May 2008

Quick note for important legislation in Louisiana

Latinola has a link to an editorial in the T-P regarding pending legislation in Louisiana regarding immigrants. (Have I mentioned how much I love the colors of Latinola´s website?)

I´ve taken the time to write local officials and hope others will, too. Here is some information…

Listed below are all the immigration bills, plus one resolution that have been filed:

Ø HB 1357 by Rep. Geymann (District 35, Lake Charles) creates the crime of harboring, concealing, or sheltering an alien. (passed House floor waiting to be heard by Senate Committee)

Ø HB 1358 by Rep. Geymann (District 35, Lake Charles) creates crime of unlawful transportation of an illegal alien. (passed House floor waiting to be heard by Senate Committee)

Ø HB 25 by Rep. Geymann (District 35, Lake Charles) requires police officers to verify citizenship of every person they arrest. (passed House floor waiting to be heard by Senate Committee)

Ø HB 1365 by Rep. Burns (District 89, Mandeville) requires that landlords verify legal status of aliens (passed Committee waiting to be heard on House Floor)


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We leave early tomorrow for Sacred Valley.


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Back in Iquitos

Paul here:

We’re back in Iquitos and safe and sound after our jungle adventure. The place we stayed was wonderful and we were able to see many animals and, of course, insects. Holly is going through the thousands of pictures we’ve taken over the last few days and deleting the ones we don’t want to keep in order to make room on our memory cards which are bursting at theirs seams. We didn’t bring a computer with us to Iquitos so we have no other place to store them right now.

A more detailed blog entry with tons of pictures will be coming in a day or two (we should have an afternoon off either tomorrow or the day after). But we wanted to let everyone know that we’re doing great and truly having the trip of a lifetime.


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Estamos en Iquitos

Paul and I are sitting in a hot, sticky internet cafe (El Cyber) on the Plaza de Armas in Iquitos, a city which may hold the record for being the largest city in the world inaccessible by car. Mototaxis rule here, providing the bass to the continued 80s soundtrack of our trip. It´s great… we´re great… and we are safe.

Tomorrow we take off on the Amazon. Over dinner, we learned about several monsters that steal people from the river and jungle. Not counting the mosquitos, crocodiles, and pirranha. So keep your fingers crossed for our safe return on Sunday…


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Heeere, Fishy Fishy

It’s been two very full, very long days… with a very early morning tomorrow (we leave at 4am) to visit the fish market in Callou at dawn.

Tomorrow afternoon is “off,” which will give time to do the numerous TA jobs keeping me up all night… and to catch up here. I tried to upload yesterday’s pictures to Smugmug last night while we slept, and woke up to find it failed. Rat farts. Using a different strategy, we’re trying again tonight.

One thought, though: Did Will’s voice always sound so angelic? Like the clouds opening up and angels singing? It’s all I can do to keep him talking. Thank goodness for Skype.

And a question: Would hearing my voice upset Kate? Apparently, she is missing me… crying periodically for Mommy. Would my singing her to sleep upset her? I’m guessing it might. It’s selfish to want to talk to her, too… but what I would give to hear her!


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A few words about weather in Lima

Lima is situated in an arid, coastal desert — it never rains here. Spaniards settled Lima mostly because of the location of three rivers which rolled full of glacial melt-off from the Andes into the ocean. Those once plentiful rivers are now trickles of water which still are responsible for providing much of the city with water. If I can, I would like to try and take some photographs of one of the rivers (Rimac, in particular, is my hope — it is hard to describe the vision of the homes perched precariously on the edges of the riverside, or cliffside, since the river is so low). Water is serious business here. Run on a water platform and you can get elected! I read somewhere that roughly half of the population of the city of Lima uses less water per day that is recommended for survival in refugee camps. I myself have seen mothers clean their children’s faces with dry rags… sort of re-arranging dust and dirt in want of some water to help the job along. Fights over the barrels of water filled outside of homes in shantytowns are not uncommon, bringing along all sorts of questions about how one develops a new community, how settlement should occur, and how new settlements should be laid out with respect to household water supplies.

It is winter here, cold and damp. La garua, a fine mist that hangs through the air of the city, keeps everything damp… and without the benefit of indoor heating, there is no escape. Imagine living in a tiny crowded tent, with a dirt floor and woven mats for walls and ceiling, with a constant drizzle drifting into your clothes to your skin. Even with relatively warm temperatures in the 60s, this constant cool translates to a cold that sets deep in your bones. Respiratory illnesses, including TB (and more alarming, rising cases of MDR-TB) are widespread.

So far, we’ve handled the weather with fleece and layers. It’s been pleasant, even though the grey skies and near shadowless days remind me of those impossible Michigan winters when I felt that the world existed only in 2-dimensions of grayscale color. Thankfully, the damp air is warm enough for plants… doorsteps and courtyards are filled with geraniums, cacti, ficus, coleus, and other bright and colorful foliage.


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Estamos Aqui

Three flights, no delays, Green taxi, no hitches.

Some notes: Spirit does not give anything on flights… no drinks, snacks, or meals. Drinks and snacks are available only for credit card purchase… when their credit card machine is working. Pack a dinner.

Even with lack of meal on 6 hour flight, Spirit was worth it because we booked early and paid an extra $20 for one of 8 “big front seat” seats. Awesome.

Paul and I are sharing a ‘habitacion matrimonal’ with a shared bathroom in One Hostel in Barranco, which has it’s own facebook page. It’s very clean.

So far, the constant soundtrack has been 80s pop… Tears for Fears, Eurthymics, Men Without Hats. Resting and settling tomorrow… Monday morning we start with the course orientation.


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Worth the two minute read, even if you’re trying to dash off to another continent

Nails. It.

There are many reasons Clinton is losing the nomination contest, some having to do with her strategic mistakes, others with the groundswell for “change.” But for all Clinton’s political blemishes, the darker stain that has been exposed is the hatred of women that is accepted as a part of our culture.

h/t: laloca, who should keep reading the morning news


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Sudden Milestone

After a rough night with “no crib” Kate, I posted her crib on Craigslist. We’re now sporting $150 and have a used toddler bed that Kate is spending her first night in.

Tomorrow, Paul will pick up another Craigslist toddler bed… with mattress, Spiderman quilt, sheet & pillowcase… for Will. We think that the character draw will entice him away from his super-comfy pillowtop double bed.

We may not have a tub, shower, sink, vanity, porch, or study together for my Mom and Aunt Linda while they watch the kids while we’re away… but both of them will get their own beds!

And Will and Kate get to share a room for a little longer…


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The Recap.

The last three weeks.

We had a week-long visit from:
Nana. Who brought presents, time, patience, and recipes. The day she left, Kate wandered around calling “Naaaaa-Naaaah, Where ARE youuuuuuu?” (Subtext: “Save me from these crazy people!”)
Having a third adult in the house was a huge relief. It was also well-timed, because the day she left and returned us to a house of two adults, we downloaded a child.

He was thrilled to be spending almost a week away from home, his parents, and his particularly his sister. In Will’s words: “Mommy, I needed a break from that crazy girl. She’s too much for me.” I dropped Will off with my Mom in Gulfport (our half-way meeting place) and he joined Granna and PapPap on a trip to visit my brother and sister-in-law. (My incredible sister-in-law, who by all accounts spent 5 hours a day on the floor re-reading the same books and cards so patiently to the-ever-curious-Will, has posted adorable photos from the trip.)

While Will was away from home for the longest time ever, Paul turned 38 on May 5th. This is remarkable only because I told at least 3 people that he was turning 36. I also wrote that I was 30 on a doctor’s form a few months ago and only realized the mistake because “date of birth” and “today’s date” were close enough together to make me do the math. I’m not forgetting little things, I’m actually forgetting years. It must mean that it’s time for us to have some sort of life crisis.

Also on Cinco de Mayo, our friends Alex and Dawit were married. (The wedding date was chosen because it’s Alex’s birthday, too.) In between a day of picking up tiles, switching cars, dropping off kids, and buying paint, I took photos of the event and you can see them here.

Meanwhile, back at the station, the house continues.

Drywall took a long time. There were delivery problems. Supply problems. And daily layers of drywall dust… dirty, gritty, drywall dust… ALL OVER the bedrooms and hallway each evening to mop, dust, polish, and wash off. And, we’re back to no washer and dryer. Still, the crew (comprised of a husband and wife) did a very good job.

Here’s the site of the future cat-door to Scout’s litter-box “room” under the washer and dryer.
Outside, Paul spent a good 20 hours on the roof over 2 days. It’s done, although these pictures show it as still-in-progress.

Now that it’s done, I’m thinking we may finally be able to remove the ever-present can of Goo Gone from our shower?
We discovered that Kate can work the garden hose. WATCH OUT.
Note that Will’s head is soaking wet. Coincidence with that last picture? I think not.
Kate also discovered an obsessive love of ice. Workers (read: Daddy) must carefully guard their precious cups ice water, lest it be plundered by the Sweet Pea with the dirty hands.
Also: Kate loves Crabby Jack. Oysters. Shrimp. And duck. (Domilise’s for Roast Beef, though, of course.)
Kate turned 2 and got presents. Including ELMO UNDERWEAR from Gwen & Co. Here she is, putting on Every Single Pair.
And dancing.
My Fellowship Year officially began with our Orientation Retreat. At first it was going to be an overnight event, but it was shortened to a Really Long Day in Baton Rouge. Who knew the LSU campus was so darn pretty??? The group is inspiring and interesting; I left the day feeling an unexpected excitement for the coming year. We did a variety of team-building exercises, including ropes. I surprised myself by having fun, and realizing that my recently-developed fear of heights is more extreme than I thought. I was Very Impressed with the folks that climbed the 60 foot pole, stood up, and jumped for the trapeze. Here’s Jonathan, the only one to touch the bar, in one of my favorite pictures from the day:
This one of Kemi is probably my favorite:
Meanwhile, back at the station, drywall finished. Tile started.
Tomorrow, the base of the washer/dryer platform will be grouted and trimmed… so we’re hoping to have these back by Wednesday?Paul ALMOST finished the plumbing today while I wrangled kids and house. The tub plumbing is hooked up and tested perfectly. The ONE LEAK in his intricate shower plumbing? It wasn’t from a failed joint… it was a failed PIPE.
The darn elbow had a crack and hole. When Paul went to Lowe’s to get another elbow, he came home with the wrong kind. When he went back to trade, they were closed. As was Home Depot. Plumbing to Paul is like Cryptonite to Superman. Utterly defeated and forced to wait until the morning… because, after all, tomorrow is another day.

Family Life in NOLA
Home and Renovation
Special Family Moments

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