September 2009

Back to New Orleans.

Once you open a loaf of bread in New Orleans, you have approximately 15 minutes to devour it completely before the humidity sucks out all the soft goodness and turns it into a wheat rock.  What a loss of good bread.  Our solution?  Throw it into the freezer at minute 14 — just in the nick of time — and save it for the animals in the park.

Like this guy, who I think just heard us tell Kate not to eat the moldy bread because it was for the squirrels.


Today’s high was 81.  In September, a high of 81 means it was an absolutely perfect fall day.

Way too beautiful to spend the afternoon inside.  So we picked the kids up from school and brought them straight to the park for a picnic.

Is this squirrel sticking is tongue out at us?


If you’ve spent time in Audubon Park, you recognize these three.  They are the park social committee.  We like to think of them as Agnes, Edna, and Beatrice.  They squawk with British accents.


The wood ducks are back (my favorites).  Will referred to the swan that followed him around as “big guy,” as in, “I need more bread to feed the Big Guy.”


Will also played around with the Photovoice camera and asked if I could set it on a timed release “so that we can get some family pictures.”  Okay, Will.  He set the camera on the cooler and got to work.


He was very serious.  So serious that we had to capture the intensity.  For the record, Kate totally and completely listened to every darn word the kid said.


Paul and I are barely holding it together, just seconds away from exploding into hysterics.  The Kid is directing us to put our heads together.


See?  I wasn’t listening.  I was suppose to move closer.  Okay, Will.


What unfortunately isn’t easily seen in this picture is the underside of Will’s cast.  He took a marker and wrote “DAD MOM KATE” in a line on the inside of the cast.  Underneath he wrote WILL, except that he made the W upside-down.  So really, he wrote “MILL”.  When he realized the mistake (“Will, who’s ‘Mill?'”  “What?”  “Mill.  M-I-L-L.  On your arm.”) he laughed like a loon and then simply wrote his name (complete with W) underneath.  DAD MOM KATE MILL WILL.

If that doesn’t sum up the age of 5, I just can’t think of much more that can.  Awesomeness.


I humbly requested a photo of Kate and Will.  This is the only one where one of them isn’t lifting the other, picking a nose, or bent upside.  It also showed that I am the only photographer no one listens to.  Not that this was ever in doubt.


Happy fall day, New Orleans! So good to be home.


Art & Photography
Family Life in NOLA
Family Photos
Mi Familia

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Where my music’s playing

8pm flight from LaGuardia and I’m back in short-sleeved 85 degrees New Orleans before midnight.  With this to greet me.


(Photo by Paul, and outfit by A., I think?)

Aye, but there’s a rub.

Notice Kate’s front tooth?  The one on the right in the picture?  See how it’s gray?  It’s from when she fell a few weeks ago.  My Colombian go-to Dentist friend checked her out and advised x-ray due to abscess potential — gray indicates restricted blood flood which usually heals on it’s own, but could also worsen.  As I understand it.  We’ve been busy and the whole no dental insurance thing has us gun-shy.  (To my credit, I did call the LSU children’s clinic — THREE TIMES — and never got a call back.)

A few times Kate has complained of tooth pain, though we’re not sure if was really legit (or just her hearing me freak out about it.)

Anyone else have experience with the gray tooth?


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My new career?

The second cast went on week before last.  He’s in this one three weeks (removal day is October 1st).  If everything goes as planned, the arm will have remained unwashed for 6 weeks.

I was not there for cast removal and replacement, but the report was that Will’s dark blue X-wing cast (with autobot logo) made quite a stir.  The technicians cut carefully around the paintings and gave Will the cast to take home.  (Will has an uncanny fondness for things others would see as landfill fodder.)

So… anyone have a creative re-use idea for a full arm cast with an X-wing painted on it?


Last weekend, I fulfilled my promise of painting “Optimus Prime, ALL of him” on The Little Man’s arm cast.  He watched Mulan while I painted.  This time, he managed not to wipe his hand across the wet paint part way through, which really sped up painting time.

It was late in the afternoon and rainy, so it was tough to get a good picture.  That, and the fact that Will, once released from the grasp of Mulan’s comforting glow, WOULD NOT STAND STILL.   We’re outside, the ISO is on, like, 500 million, and the kid is STILL blurry.


He’s posing with the cut-out I used for sizing guidelines.  Because of the bend in the cast and the bumpy surface, both times I’ve used cut-outs to help determine appropriate spacing.  Not that the method produced perfect results, but it was enough to keep Will happy.

So, starting around October 2nd, anyone have ideas for re-using one full arm and one half arm cast??


PS: Please forgive my overuse of the comma. I’m just so very fond of it.

Arts & Photography

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While I’ve been working ’round the clock…

Paul has been taking the kids on lots of fun adventures.  Here are some photos.

kids 1

kids 2

kids 3

kids 4

Formatting is still a disaster with the upgrade.  As with everything else in my life, it’ll have to remain crummy a little longer until we know we’ve lived through the next few weeks…

Art & Photography
Special Family Moments

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“Will told me last night that Dumbledore dies in The Half-Blood Prince.”


“C. told him at school.”

“You are kidding. His parents must have brought him to the movie. HOW DARE THEY.”

“I asked Will if C. said anything about Santa Claus.”

“That would have been much better. I think I want to kick that kid’s ass.”

Mi Familia

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Just Posts: August 2009

I have a confession.

I used to be very angry.  And the more I learned, the more I found out about how sick and twisted and unfair and awful the world can be, the angrier I got.  It felt a little like Sophie, who gets so very angry that she explodes like a volcano and runs and runs and runs.  Eventually, I realized that all that anger and exploding and running wasn’t really doing me or anyone else any good.  That no matter how angry and active and upset, the world was still sick and twisted and unfair and awful.

Sophie cries to let it all out.  I become cynical and apathetic.

How can I find a middle-ground with someone who refuses to let the President of the United States, a position that should be respected regardless of your political stance, address their child in a pubic space?  Where I can start to educate an individual who enjoys their Medicare coverage on the fact that their insurance is a government plan?  And if those ridiculous conversations cannot be fixed by reason and rational thought, then what future do we have?

I’d get mad, but I don’t think it’s going to help anything.

Is it to cliche to say I’m glad to read regular folks who write about these issues (and more)?  So thank you for the reading, for bringing these posts to my attention, and for suggesting them for this space.  Thank you.

August 2009 Just Posts…

Girl Griot at If You Want Kin… with: Choking on a Wishbone; Oh I See, Profiling is Colorblind; and What’s Good for the Goose

Kitty at The Show Must Go On with: Fallen into a hospital and can’t get out

Barbara at An American in Lima with: Government extends State of Emergency; more children to die

Holly at Cold Spaghetti with: Superheros; Thoughts on Rising Tide 4; and Why does New Orleans have different moral rules of conduct?

Painted Maypole at The Painted Maypole with: What Jesus would do and 4-years ago today Katrina made landfall

Laura at Our Feet are the Same with: B is for Backpack

Julie at Using my Words with: Why Playing the Whore Card in reference to Mommybloggers is not so cool

Catherine at Their Bad Mother with: Baby Got Boob

Margaret at Mostly in the Afternoon with: Youth in Asia

Elizabeth at A Moon, as if it had been worn by a shell with: Thursday Rant

Ilina at Dirt and Noise with: Marriott is a Disgrace

Angela at The Many Hats with: How dare you take your vagina out in public!

Jen at One Plus Two with: Culture Clash

Magpie at Magpie Musings with: You want to know how much a colonoscopy costs?

Chani with Finding my way back home with: War on Women

Fireweaver at Laboratory Tested with: Foolishness is Free

Contributors to this month’s roundtable:
Painted Maypole


(Note: please forgive formatting and font issues here… the latest WordPress upgrade destroyed something important and I haven’t had a chance to track it down.)


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Happy 3rd Birthday, Abeona!

Hooray for THREE years!


Life in New Orleans

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State Museum

A long, long, time ago we took the kids to Baton Rouge to visit the State Museum and Planetarium.

lam 1

Okay, it was only last month.  But it feels like a long time ago.

lam 2

The State Capital was across the street.  Very interesting fence.

lam 3

The planetarium itself was very cool, with a good sky show. The kids loved it, which was fun for Paul I because we loved it (it was about the size and composition of the universe). Kate participated in a “building the city” event where kids got hard hats and “building permits” for different things. She built an animal shelter and we placed it in a spot in the city grid, where parents were busy building the biggest, tallest things they could “with” their kids. There was a special exhibit on handbags, which was surprisingly interesting and engaging. The Mummy was interesting as well, though the kids weren’t as willing to spend a long time in the tomb-like presentation space. Best part: no accidents from Kate, who is proving to be completely successful in potty training outside of the home, but not so much within the home.

Family Life in NOLA

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I just don’t know what to do with The Hate

For about two years, I’ve had a video clip of an ABC Nightline News broadcast on youtube.  It’s a segment from a show discussing violence in NOLA, and heavily features stories related to the murders of Helen Hill and Dinneral Shavers.  It’s personal, this event, and for New Orleans, it symbolized a larger political movement that continues now.  (I’ve written about these things here, here, here, here, and here.)

Every once in awhile a comment appears on the video and I get email notification of it.  The most usual comments have been from some guy who repeatedly wrote posts incriminating Paul in Helen’s murder — I have responded by deleting the comments and blocking the user.  After a few goes under two names, he stopped.  More recently, though, it’s turned into standard anti-NOLA crap.  The sort of comments you get from folks whose profile names are “LuvFOXNews”.  I’ve treated it like the others — like a nasty fly to swat away and forget.  But then another one showed up today.  And I guess I’ve started to have enough of the bullshit.  Maybe the ridiculousness around the responses to the President’s attempts at making our world better is pushing me over some edge or something, I don’t know.  But for whatever reason, I actually went to this person’s youtube page before deleting and blocking the comment, which was:


chevyls1camaro has made a comment on ABC Nightline Jan 24th (New Orleans Violence):

Ummm well if you’re white and move into a black neighborhood especially with your TODDLER child you need your fucking head examined.

And it’ll probably be by the Coroner.

stupid stupid fucking people.

You can reply to this comment by visiting the comments page.


Typical New Orleans hate.  Here’s chevylscamaro‘s youtube page.

I visited the page and found that NOLA hate, black hate, and just about any other kind of hate one can think of seems to be this person’s reason for joining youtube.  I dunno, hating others maybe this person’s reason for living.  I couldn’t think of anything to do with the information, except for sending it here, and writing about it.  I thought you all may have some constructive thoughts or suggestions.

Recovery and Rebirth

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This Fall.

From now until the end of October:

— Three conference presentations: one in New Haven (this one is a poster/talk about my still un-finished dissertation); one in New Orleans (this is is a presentation about the PAR Photovoice project); one in Chicago (a presentation about health and health-related work in NOLA).

— Program director’s meeting in Chicago.

— One week plus one day of fall break for the kids in mid-October (cut short by the Chicago meeting and conference).  Will we take the kids to Disney as originally planned?

— School events.  Parent-teacher conferences, back-to-school picnic, nightly homework, open houses.

— NOLA Aids walk Sept. 20th (Schweitzer group is participating).

— Doctor visits for Will’s casting and re-casting and eventual cast-removal.

— Doctor visits for Paul and I (we’re trying to Be Good).

— Weekend workshop for Photovoice project in October.

— Continued work on Photovoice project and Schweitzer program.

Laying it all out seems to help me think through it.

All this is like constant background noise that floods out my ability to focus, think, and write.  I know what I have to do, I know what I want to say.  I have outlines and the starts of each chapter… I just need to flesh each one out in draft.  (And make a beautiful poster about it.  The poster doesn’t require the draft being done, but I’ve never made a poster for this kind of event before, and the attendants are my Academic Heros, so I’m way nervous about it.  I’m talking about the poster during a cocktail hour where all the speakers will be milling around talking and asking questions.  And did I mention that the conference organizer is one of my brilliant teachers/advisers from Michigan, whom I respect and adore?  Oh, and my committee chair?  Yeah, he’ll be there, too.)

I know I *can* do, each thing, and do them relatively well.  I mean, right?  But how?  I’m trying to figure it out.  Suggestions welcome.  *gulp*


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