June 2009

May Just Posts: Ga Gona Mathata

A few Just Posts ago I posted a note from our dear friend Carmen, who recently began her job with the Peace Corps in South Africa.  Earlier this week I spoke to Carmen via chat — our first “live” conversation in 6 months. We talked through some ideas, challenges, and experiences. Not necessarily all connected to her current situation, but about the characteristics of “the work” in general. The realities of rural poverty. Being aware and at times surrounded by gross inequalities. The struggle of whether a problem is local or regional or national or global… and what it means to work at each level. Many of us involved in poverty work are called to it from a deep seated mission of social justice — yet are often asked or forced to work in ways that can codify or sustain the systems that create the inequalities we would like to address. There is a lot to struggle with, personally and professionally. There is always so much need and the desire to help, to give, to serve… it can get overwhelming. I want to find ways to help her and her new home; making the world a little smaller through our connections and friendships and trust in each other just feels like the right thing to do.

Here is some exciting news!  Carmen has started a blog. Right now it’s a place of photographs and brief descriptions.  Her emails reflect the richness of her experience and the tremendous need she encounters each day in her work. I’m hoping to write more about her work on THIS blog, and link to it in THIS space… and hopefully, maybe, possibly… get some ideas, suggestions, and contributions to her work from the wonderful readers and writers who participate in the Just Post social justice round table.

As for Ga Gona Mathata?  It means no worries*.

The Just Posts Roundtable for May 2009:

May Readers:

Please send love to Alejna, who has great music to go along with your JP reading.

If you have a post above, or would just like to support the Just Posts, we invite you to display a button on your blog with a link back here, or to the Just Posts at Collecting Tokens. If you are unfamiliar with the Just Posts, please visit one of our information pages.

* Well, according to Carmen: “literally it means ‘there are no problems’, but it does also mean ‘no worries.’  Setswana – along with Sepedi and Swahili, among others – are in the Bantu language family, and they all share similar sayings, made famous by a certain Disney movie.”


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Sans Mullet. Almost

When I poured water over her head last night to wet her hair in the bathtub, I noticed that Kate was really overdue for a trim.  As in, her bangs were actually getting caught in her eyelashes.  What kind of mother would I be to allow my daughter’s eyes to sustain an injury from the uncooperative hair I am guilty of giving her?  I grabbed the scissors.

My caveat here is that I do this often.  Yes, in part it’s that I’m being cheap to save money because Kate’s hair is so very, very straight that she needs her bangs trimmed more than once a month.  And in part it’s because finding the time to get her hair cut is a tremendous challenge.  I’m not great at it, but considering the circumstances of my grade-school issue scissors, the bathtub location, and the moving head of my child, I figure I do okay.

And then last night.

Oof.  The mullet with uneven bangs, choppy ends everywhere and even a strand in the back of her head chopped a completely different length (must’ve gotten mixed up with another part of hair).  It was bad.

This afternoon I took Kate with me to the mega-mart to stock up on beach food (we’re going to the beach this weekend with friends… 3 room condo, 6 adults, 7 kids).  I realized that a lot of pictures would happen this weekend and cringed.  I was desperate.  So I took her into the family haircut station in the mega-mart…

… where I told them her older brother had cut her hair and asked if they could help me fix it.

Yup.  I tossed my first born (who knows better than to even THINK about cutting his sister’s hair, sohelpmegod) under the bus.

I guess I could argue I had to.  I mean, it was BAD.  How bad?

When the hair stylist started, she asked me if I wanted, “to keep the mullet look.”

First, there is only one answer to that question.  So if someone is asking you to clarify your mullet intents on your 3-year old daughter, it sounds more like an assessment of child endangerment than personal preference.

So the kind Mz Connie cleaned up Kate the best that she could.  Her bangs are still uneven (much shorter on Kate’s right side) and very choppy.  (Shown below.) She took a good 2 inches off the back to help stop the mullet.  Now she’s working an almost bowl cut.

As for me?

Well, I guess I totally deserved it when we finished the cut and Kate peed all over the floor in the middle of the sunscreen isle.

Mi Familia

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Poor Kate’s Achy Breaky Heart

This is Kate and her hair, two days ago.

This is Kate and her hair, last night.

My child looks like Billy Ray Cyrus.

It rhymes!

I know.  Kate, I know.  And I am so, so, SO SORRY.  There will be extra in this month’s college savings plan for your pain and suffering.

Mi Familia

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My first ever night at Tip’s

Did that belly dancing class make us uppity?  First we’re umming, then we’re all blinging out, and before you know it, we’re having drinks and splitting burritos at young co-ed haunts on Saturday nights.

Oh, and then?  We’re going out for live music and dancing.

This is Katie Herzig.  If you’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy, you’ve heard her — she’s wonderfully talented, plucking out those mellow chords and lyrical phrases. Here’s the song you’re likely to have heard (a-la Grey’s):


She was a Lagniappe, the unexpected opening act.  I truly had no idea that the headlining act wouldn’t START until 11pm.

We chugged huge vats of iced coffee before the show, just in case.

I know I’ve gone on and on about the Photovoice project cameras.  And while I’m not saying that my recommendations are powerful enough to produce dramatic market changes, I do find it incredibly suspicious that these cameras (which we bought for the project at $109 a piece — on sale marked down from $139) are now $300 on Amazon.  (Office Depot is selling them in the $130s.)

At first, I played around with the ISO (this is the 800 setting) and then with the shutter priority mode.

All this trouble was completely justified.  It was for the Indigo Girls, after all.

I didn’t realize it, but Emily (the musician on the right) went to Tulane!  She gave a big heartfelt shout-out to Tip’s, mentioning her own first music experiences in the venue.   Both she and Amy took every opportunity to remind the crowd of the groups they were there to support.

The venue, Tipitina‘s, sits on the corner of an Uptown neighborhood street, near the railroad and docks.  Once upon a time it was a neighborhood bar and juke joint.  It’s been home to many (if not most) of New Orleans’ beloved musicians — but the club is dedicated to Henry Roeland Byrd, (a.k.a. Professor Longhair), one of the most revered rhythm and blues musicians in the legacy of New Orleans music.

Tipitina’s holds a wide range of community activities and runs a Foundation that brings instruments to local kids.  They sponsor events where musicians mentor students, including training in musician business skills and industry internships.  They hold events that raise money for organizations dedicated to preserving the unique heritage and traditions of our city.  The concert was part of an “activism night” for Tipitina’s and local organizations that the Indigo Girls support.

(Also?  The camera does video…!)

Untitled from Cold Spaghetti on Vimeo.

It was my first night inside Tip’s.  The two story space is like a big barn — U shaped second floor with open center and big dance floor below.  It has that special mix of history and intimacy one expects in New Orleans; you feel the energy of the evening on the back of the energy from the day before.  It feels familiar and exciting all at the same time.

Here is a recording of the full song in the clip above:

Indigo Girls – Land Of Canaan (Official Music Video)Click here for another funny movie.

The concert was fantastic.

I was thrilled they played Land of Canaan AND Watershed, neither of which I think I’ve heard them play live before.

They played quite a bit from their new album, which is fantastic — it goes back to the sounds of some of their older music.

Actually, they played nonstop for 2 hours… from 11 until 1am.

One of the fundraising activities for the night was the opportunity to sing “Closer to Fine” on stage with them… and get a recording of it… to the highest bidder.

It went for $9,000.

I know. WOW.

And of course someone in our group knew the winner.  I hear she’s an OB-GYN?  She actually bid with a group of friends, so all four were on the stage, but she sang the second verse all by herself.

They played a couple of encores… the last one was Galileo.  Bonerama was hanging around, so they joined the Girls on the stage.  I’m not sure if the members of Bonerama had ever really heard the song before?  But whatever.  Everyone was singing so loudly I’m not sure if mattered.  You decide:

Indigo Girls and Bonerama from Cold Spaghetti on Vimeo.

Either way, it was a way cool concert and an awesome New Orleans’ night!

Thanks, Chrissie, for getting the tickets and EVERYONE for making it great!


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