June 2008

Reminding us of the many ways women rock

I consider myself to have been a pretty darn good pregnant woman. I generally did all the stuff one is suppose to do and held a reputation for being good natured and easy going. This is despite spending virtually all of my second trimesters of both pregnancies in hot Central American and South American (respectively) summers with no A/C. (And for the first pregnancy, spotty running water and electricity.)

My caveat to all of that is to say that it’s hard to complain about discomfort when you work in remote clinics, the kind that are miles and miles by dirt road away from advanced medical care, and see women peddling bicycles uphill, in active labor, to deliver their babies without anesthetic… it just puts it all in perspective.

And then there is my friend Robin. Robin, who is in the third trimester with her second baby and just ran a half marathon. No, scratch that, ANOTHER half marathon. Not to be confused with the triathlons she competed in during her second trimester. Oh, and did I mention that she did it in Dhaka, where it is about 345 degrees out with 170% humidity during the coolest part of the day? The Asian version of Runner’s World even published an article she wrote about running in Dhaka, which features her running while 24 weeks pregnant. Go Robin!


Comments (1)


Marion Barry, patron saint of the Jeffersons

From the T-P:

Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, announced Tuesday that he will run for a 10th term in office…

Get out!

…even as he faces a Dec. 2 political corruption trial in what he called an “overly zealous” prosecution based on “false factual allegations.”

If the “allegations” are based on facts, then doesn’t that mean that they, by definition are not false? Oh, wait. I’m a scientist. I think way too logically to understand law.

Actually, regardless of your point of reference, the whole article is hilarious. I’m placing a bet that before this whole thing is over, he’ll be quoted saying, “I’ll be goddamn. Bitch set me up.”


Comments (1)


The nicest part of TAing the Peru class?

Extended time with graduate students who aren’t interested in PhDs and are still idealistic, upbeat, and full of romance over the belief that public health can make a difference. Sometimes I feel that being cleared to graduate with a PhD happens once all the love and enthusiasm for the field has been beaten out of you… slowly… until you can barely articulate what it is you are doing, why it matters, and why you matter.

Since returning, my contact at the church (where I’m suppose to be holding interviews, starting tomorrow) has disappeared and the pastor is not responding to email or phone calls. I’m feeling awkward, uncertain, and frustrated, and in general… just feeling like this darn thing is never going to happen. It’s not that I can’t figure out a next step, it’s just that the steps themselves are grating on me.

Which is why this resonated with me today:


Comments (2)


Will’s Graduation

This morning, Paul and I dropped Will off for his Alliance France summer camp, the first step in his transition to Kindergarten, which happens the day after Labor Day.

Which means that last Friday was his last day at Abeona.
While we were in Peru, Emmy took Will and the other kids moving to ‘big school’ to lunch at the sushi place across the street from the school, Ninja. She kindly sent us an email about how great the kids were at lunch at how much they enjoyed it; Will tells us regularly how much he loves “shush-she.” A few days later, the school had a ceremony for the kids graduating from pre-school, but Will wasn’t there. So on Friday, the school held another little ceremony for Will.

First, the twos and preschoolers lined up with flowers and streamers waving. Then, they sang “You are my Sunshine” (note: one of the teachers, a professional musician/singer, would sing this to the kids at naptime and I forever hear her voice in this song). Then Will and Emmy came hand and hand down the ramp (yup, that ramp that Paul mobilized in construction). At the end, she read a certificate written just for Will about his special talents — all the ones that she has so lovingly taught us to see and appreciate beyond what we would have otherwise seen — and gave Will a huge hug.
But it didn’t end there. As if I, the woman who cried at the end of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (they were so patriotic at the end) and, more recently, over Herbie: Fully Loaded (Dad, seriously, let her race!) and don’t even get me started on how weepy I get over Oreo commericals!.. as if I need more reason to cry over such a simple and sweet sentiment. Emmy then whips out a certificate for me — me?! — to thank me for ‘having shared and captured so many ordinary and extraordinary moments through your photographs’. Totally caught me off guard.

Paul and I are still at odds with all the changes this summer. Our family at school has been the source of so much strength and goodness through these difficult few years. It feels like something very special is ending and will never be the same again; the whole world changing with the growth of our children and shifting of our lives.


Comments (5)


The Beach.

It was a little windy, the surf was rough, under current strong, and jellyfish out in force (Paul, Will, and PapPap all got stung)… but the kids loved it!
We went to Gulf Shores — paying the $5 to park and use the area of beach protected by the State Park, rather than the crowded public beach. Nice bathrooms, showers, a lifeguard stand (with vinegar spray bottles), and snack shack with shaded tables. Worth the drive from NOLA!


Comments (1)


It’s the thought that counts.

M: “So, Will, tomorrow is Father’s Day. Should we do something special for Daddy?”

W: “YEAH.”

M: “Do you have any ideas on what we could do?”

W: “I KNOW. We could build a T-Rex and all the dinosaurs that aren’t alive anymore out of wood and then give Daddy a button that he could push and allllll the dinosaurs would open up their mouths and go ‘ROOOOOAAAAAARRRRR.'”

M: “Wow. Well, what about for PapPap?”

W: “What kind of stuff does he like?”

M: “I don’t know, what do you think he likes?”

W: (thoughtfully) “Ummmm… probably he’d like something small. Like a Pterodactyl.”


Comments (1)


Peru, the trip, the work… The Start.

We’ve been back in the States a week and I’m still figuring out how to write about our three weeks in Peru. Part of the issue is that my trusty notebook, with all my travel notes and thoughts, went AWOL about a day after we arrived home. Another issue is the nature of the work… I’m unsure of some of the ownership details of the photographs I took and feel that if I put them online before the Magazine has chosen which they are using that I could get in a sticky situation. The third issue is workflow, which does not exist. This issue relates to how we store photographs, how I process them, and the tools I use to do all of the above. Paul has a great storage system arranged for us… it just takes me hours to use it because my little ‘puter can’t handle much, doesn’t have much in terms of software, and has display problems. The new baby has been ordered, so that last issue should be somewhat fixed in another week or so. Until then, all I’m really doing is cropping photos and trying to organize them.

Some lessons learned about photography gigs:

— They get harder when the gig is everyday for 3 weeks. It’s hard to keep up with the volume, keep equipment ready and waiting, and stay fresh. (That said, I totally loved every minute.)

— Make sure your cameras have the same time/date set. I didn’t do this and because we used two cameras, putting the photos in a chronological order is an ongoing nightmare. Combined with how S.L.O.W. it is to do anything with the photos from my computer, it is a real time-sink… but completely necessary.

— I was up late every night emptying memory cards, checking back-ups to make sure everything was safe, trying to upload backup copies to our home network, and checking that equipment was charged and ready for the next day. These things all sound easy, but were actually very difficult when you’ve been up since 3:30am (we had many days that started before 5am)… the bottom line is that Paul was my saving grace for everything. As always. The perfect partner for all of the work of the trip.

— Anytime you find yourself asking whether you should take something, the answer is YES. Every Darn Time we asked, ‘should we take the tripod?’ or ‘should we take the flash?’ or said ‘maybe we should only take one camera’… every single time we went with the pesky thought, we regretted it. Bottom line: haul it all.

— I am ready for a battery pack. Bring on the weight.

— Although we were in many situations where pick-pockets are plentiful, crime goes unchecked, and poverty and desperation are high… I never, ever felt myself to be more at risk because of my camera(s). Yes, we watched ourselves. Yes, we were smart. Yes, we traveled in groups and always had guides who knew the community. But in the end, I actually think that having the GEAR made me/us more conspicuous. The cameras stood out so much that theft would have been obvious. Better to slink away with a pocket camera than a several pound beast with a wide angle lens attached. Plus, I typically had conversations with those I photographed and explained who I was, what I was doing, and what it was for — this opened a ton of doors for us. While there were some who requested I not photograph, more often than not, people not only were happy to be photographed but offered suggestions and help.

— If I ever do this again, I will approach it completely differently. I didn’t fully grasp how to handle both roles (teaching assistant AND photographer/photojournalist) until the end of the class. It took a few days of doing both to see what worked and what didn’t.

If I could leverage this type of photography within public heath work on a regular basis… wow. Even thinking about it is overwhelming.

Fish market pictures are up
. There is a short description there, too…


Comments (2)


If you get it, you’ll love it

I learned of these gems through a few of the feminist websites I troll. Clever and way funny, all of them…

on how yogurt ads are targeted to women (it’s the only food acceptable for us disgusting females to eat)

on wedding shows and the promotion of women as selfish children (even by, or maybe especially by, We!)

on the political wooing of women’s votes (we’re all free now, considering we were all in for Hillary, since she is a woman, too)

I’m surfing around while waiting for pictures to load on Smugmug. More trip pictures really are coming soon…


Comments (2)


We did it.

I had to call in the order to get the discounted Creative Suite ($299, normally priced at $599 with academic discount) and the free Ipod Touch that came with the order (toy for Paul, hooray!) Since those two discounts were only available with the purchase of a new computer, we went new instead of refurb. It’s rare for us to buy anything new, so it felt very odd. And stressful.

But it’s done. We’re about to be proud Apple parents. Phew.


Comments (5)


8 Years

1 wedding.
0 honeymoons.
9 addresses.
2 Master degrees.
2 bouts of unemployment.
50, then
20, then
10, now
5 (?) pinball machines.
4 Michigan winters.
2 kids.
3 houses.
5 countries.
3 continents.
(almost) 1 PhD.
4 promotions.
1 cat on a farm,
1 cat in the back, and
1 cat at our feet.
1 Natural Disaster, followed by
1 Big Flood, followed by
2 months of wandering.
Thousands of really bad jokes that always make me laugh.
1 really good Anniversary gift, followed by
7 years of none.
Hundreds of diapers.
Countless nights with no sleep.
A ton of family dramas.
Many celebrations.
A million happy memories, with
A billion more to come.

Happy Anniversary, Pancho!


Comments (4)