August 2010

Almost ready for the Big Top

Step One.

Step Two.

Step Three…


So.  Plan B.

Nice how Plan B involves the pressing of the widest parts of my thighs from not one, but TWO sides.  Lovely.

I love the kids faces here.  And the fact that Will took my sunglasses off and put them on his head.


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Gulf Coast Sunset

The original idea was for us to have family time together in that in-between week: the lapse between end of camp and start of school.  In practice, we juggled kids around appointments for travel shots and dental cleanings, while working 8-10 hour days.  On Wednesday, we met my parents in Mississippi and they took the kids to Sandestin, Florida.  Thursday, I submitted grades for my summer course and sent the requested edits back to my committee chair (with hopes of finally getting a defense date).  Thoroughly exhausted, we met them all there 2 days later, spending a beautiful day and a half at the beach.

Art & Photography

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Just Posts for a Just World, July 2010

Just Posts for a Just World, July 2010.


Just Posts are a collaborative between myself and Alejna.  We collect posts written each month by regular folks about social justice issues.  Any and all are encouraged to submit posts.  (Go here for more info!)

Thanks to all the participants, readers, and supporters of the Just Posts for a Just World!


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Read, ye! And be thee not so stupid!

Eight days ago, I packed up my beloved full-frame SLR, my travel-worn and equally loved wide angle lens, and the one lens I own that takes us beyond 50mm (a Christmas gift from Paul) — and packed them up for a long trip to Virginia, where Canon Camera’s Repair and Cleaning Division told me to send them for a tune-up.  The trip was pre-arranged with Canon, I’d filled out all the necessary paperwork, packed the lenses in their original boxes with the original padding (the camera was bought used and didn’t come with a box, so I packed it in special foam and bubble wrap) and everything was protected within a sea of foam peanuts.  Before closing the box, we had it inspected by the folks at FedEx, to get their stamp of approval that all was well-packed before I said goodbye.

Canon said to wait a week after shipment; it might take them a day to get to the box, assess the situation, and call with a cleaning and repair estimate.  After a week, I checked.  The package never arrived.

Because it never left Memphis.

So I call Memphis.  Over several phone calls, I learn:

— The box lost its routing slip.

— They found the box and opened it to examine the contents.

— They found “a Canon camera” and a box with “EF 17-40” on it.  Sounds promising, but more information is needed.  Except.

— They won’t confirm the type of camera, won’t check that the one lens is still in the box (EF 17-40 is the wide-angle lens) and won’t confirm the existence of another box (the other lens).  “I just don’t know.”  They repeat.  “No, I can’t go down there.”  They explain with fake remorse.

— No.  They can’t take a picture of the box or do more to discover what is there, or, at least, “it is very unlikely.”  Ultimately, all they can do is read the notes because “It’s not their department.”  I ask to speak to the department checking the box, the floor, whatever.  They say that they will “have to have them call me back.”  Okay.  Finally, something positive.  “They’ll call later on tonight,” they tell me.

— Except no one calls back.

So, this morning, I call again.

— Oops.  Their bad.  Yeah, well, that camera and lens from last night?  We sold it on ebay last night can’t find it now.  Fill out a claim form.

— No, we can’t help you fill out the form, with all those crazy questions and numbers.  “It’s not our department.”  And?  “No, no one from that department is in today.”

FedEx decided to open up my shipment and keep what they liked.

But here is the stupid part: I only insured the package for the value of the contents, NOT the replacement value.  And the replacement value?  Almost twice the insured value ($2000 versus $3800).  Also?  The camera is very hard to find now, as it’s an older model.  I’d waited several years for it to fall in price in the used market and finally found a price low enough about 16 months ago.  How will I replace it?

I was crying hot tears of anger and regret as I wrote down the necessary tracing and control numbers from FedEx, numbers that are suppose to help me in this claim.  Why was I so stupid?


And also?  If driving through Memphis, please pull over a take a giant shit on the lawn of FedEx.  Just for me.

Art & Photography

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Too cool for school.

Eyes: Oh yes, they are that blue.

Hair: Worn, preferably, spiked in the center.

Skills: Fluent in French.  Good at all athletics.  Likes to dance.

Extra special: He loves his Mama.

Art & Photography

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Totally worth the sucky health insurance stress.

We take the kids to school, together, on most mornings.  We have breakfast or lunch together a few times a week.  On many days, we pick the kids up together, too.  We play games a few times a week and sit down to the same table for dinner.  In the edges, there are a lot of trading: dinner duties, one of us at the cafe working early morning hours or into the night.  There are things that we could do better, but that’s how it goes — we’re always working on being better.

We didn’t get to this place because we planned it.  I’m not even exactly sure how it all happened.  We took a lot of risks; life is a lot of ups and downs.  Job insecurity.  Liquidation of savings.  Inability to plan in advance.  More than a year of repeated denials for health care.  Uncertainty.  Working crazy hours, on different schedules, for weeks at a time.

But being in this crazy place is the best thing in our lives.  The thing for which we’re the most proud.  We have time with our kids, flexibility in our lives, and fulfilling careers.  Both of us.  On our own terms.  It’s not that we just got here — it’s what we do everyday.  It’s never been about working to a point or reaching a goal, it’s about living right now and doing it the best way that we can.  Somehow, the rest just manages to work out.

My new job is less risk and more defined, but has the common hallmarks of something that fits me: it’s flexible, has many opportunities that can go in whatever direction I take them, and involves domestic and international projects.  It’s got an “interim” prefix for now, as I didn’t apply for it and have to go through a formal process of Provost approval and interviews before the role begins straight off with the Director title.  Plus, since I’m officially a student until the PhD diploma is in my hand, I have wait until December before getting to the next step.  Which is perfect as it means I can try things out for awhile to see how everything fits.  Meanwhile, it puts me into a supportive academic school Uptown, within biking distance through some of the prettiest parts of our city, where I can sit in my corner office on the top floor and see the bell tower, gracious oaks, and green quad of the main campus.  One of my colleagues is completing the site visits to the African continent, which will allow me to focus on fall travel to Belize and India.  The India trip will be more extensive.  We’ll all go, visiting with friends and staying for Diwali, the Indian festival of lights.

It’s very, very exciting — and right now, as I transition from one position into another (and get my defense draft through committee for a September defense), very, very busy.


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My reason to wish for cool weather.

Do you admire the wardrobe creations of a certain awesome kid?  Yea, me too.

Check these out.

This is it’s match.  Really.

Or, you could go with the big stripes.  Yup, this set has THREE socks.  THREE!

Made by these folks.

And sent to me by Magpie, who ABSOLUTELY MADE MY DAY.

PS: I’m reading The Island of the Colorblind and am on a black-and-white photo binge in honor of the achromats of Pingelap.  Also?  This socks will rock my Danskos.

Art & Photography

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