Saturday, October 20, 2007

New England Color

We're in Connecticut for a wedding this weekend and oooooh, the fall color is beautiful. More soon....

Monday, October 15, 2007

Update :: Joyce

My sweet and spunky girl is growing and I am so, so, so very happy! Many of you have been asking about Joyce: her health, her family, her future. It has been difficult to answer many of those questions because the answers were sometimes elusive, and a good (responsible) plan challenging to put into place from over here. Oh, Uganda. Oh, Joyce.

But we have a plan. Of sorts, at least. And Joyce is not in limbo. And I have hope.

Joyce's TB is gone, and her HIV is under control. She is in school! All these things began before I left, but they remain stable. Honestly, this is somewhat miraculous and due to the hard work and dedication of many amazing people. Joyce's burns wounds are being actively treated and she goes to Gulu Independent Hospital regularly for specialized care.

Joyce's Aunt Mary and her stepmother, Carla share the role of "mother" and care for Joyce with all they have, trading time (a few weeks at a time) to each return to their small gardens and homes in a different district. She is surrounded by a slew of cousins at all times, including Emma, Mary's 15 year old daughter, who shared hours and hours and hours with me at the hospital drawing, playing games with Joyce, and teaching me about her culture, language and family. Joyce is very loved.

And school! Preschool has never been so great, and her teachers report that she is doing very well and likes it, too. But best of all, Joyce has a new friend, Grace.

Ocwee Grace is a mentor/guide/friend to Joyce and her family. She is an accomplished and loving Acholi woman who works with Invisible Children, who is partnering to help support Joyce. Since Invisible Children already has a mentoring system for the students in their secondary school program, this worked well. Most importantly, though, Joyce adores Grace.

Grace oversees Joyce's educational, nutritional and medical needs, works with the family to ensure that they understand all aspects of her specialized care, and assists where/when necessary. Right now she also oversees helping with the family's basic food needs. Without immediate proper nutrition Joyce wouldn't get better.

However (and this gets me excited!), we're working on the possibility of supporting Joyce's family in setting up an income generating activity/small business venture so their only sustained assistance will be Joyce's hospital bills and schooling. Jimmie and I are going to be doing everything we can to help make this a reality.

In the meantime, we hear from Grace (through the ever patient and fabulous Tiffany) that Joyce is "growing very fat", going to school, and always making her laugh.

Music to my ears.

I want to thank you all so much for asking about Joyce, remembering, caring... I miss her somethin' awful (hope to get back to see her very, very soon), but nothing is better than knowing that she now goes to sleep at night with a full belly, next to a loving family, with medical needs met, and a day of school awaiting. Who knows what the future may hold....but it looks bright to me!

(Thanks to Tiffany and Grace for the updated photos)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tiles, Texture, Fall

Mav, over at Port2Port (one of my favorite morning visits) has been taking beautiful photos this week of "everyday texture." The changing weather, and Mav's photography have had me thinking of these pictures I took of Dubrovnik roof tops. I loved the color, the wear, and yes, the texture. My colleagues watched me obsess over them then and take these pictures as we walked the old city walls. And now, somehow they remind me of fall. Today DC was blustery and cool -- mid-month, October is really here. Yay!!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


A while ago, Ali wrote about the little silly things out in cyberworld that make her smile on a dreary day. It's a good thing to know: what can get you out of that funk.

Here is something that is always, one-hundred percent guaranteed to make me grin.

Click here and then press play. YES! The Relay Project was begun by an old, childhood, summer-camp friend of mine, Lucy Raven, and her friend, Rebecca. It is an "audio magazine," an innovative, artistic exploration of sound in our lives. I think it is brilliant and very special special. The Relay Project Theme is my all time favorite.

From their website: The Relay Project is a magazine you listen to. A publication of sounds released on CD, it occupies the gap in your library between the records and the journals, swapping the sounds from one for the pages of the other. Each track is created by a different contributor, though each CD is curated as a whole. Content is limited to things that make noise, but is otherwise boundless: interviews, stories, found and archival sound, virtual vacations, documentary, music, field recordings, affirmations, dissentions, voice, breath. As an audiomagazine, we’re interested in...." Read more here.

If that makes you smile, even just a little, then check out this and this and this. (Not the Relay Project, but related.)

And if you want to keep going on your own, well, here you go. Happy listening!

P.S. In high school I covered my ceiling with collage. Greeting cards, magazine tear-outs, fun things, beautiful things that inspired me. Making those collages used to entertain my friends and me for hours! But the centerpiece was a big, huge multi-colored "YES" sign that was pinned up just above my pillow. So silly, but I loved it. Maybe that is why I get such a kick out of the "Relay Project Theme". I looked for a photo of that ceiling, that sign, for this post, but it wasn't to be found. Oh well.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bienvenido A Miami

Two weeks ago M and I headed down to Miami to visit Little, who isn't so little any more. She got her nickname when she was just a baby, and it was fitting, considering that she is 10 years younger than me and 8 years younger than our brother. Now she's a freshman in college and a good 2-3 inches taller than her big sis..but to me she'll forever be "Little." M and I went to visit for "Parents and Family Weekend" -- we got to see the dorm, eat in the dining hall, and explore a bit of Miami. I have to say, her environs are pretty different than my old haunts in the Pacific Northwest, but the sun and the palm trees suit her and she seems really happy and grounded (not that easy to be in Miami).

We found this perfectly unusual flower while walking through campus. Isn't it spectacular? The flowers, ocean breeze, palm trees and tropical birds and plants fooled M and I into thinking we were on a Hawaiian vacation. But the best part was spending good, quality time with Little. We toured, ate, caught up, ate some more, and had a terrible time saying goodbye. Somewhere along the line my little sister became one of my favorite people in the universe. Thanksgiving can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

La Raiz Y El Camino

Since I shared the special book I found for Danielle a few days ago, I thought I'd also show you my other find -- the one that stayed with me. On the same trip to the same used book store, I sat on the floor and poured over this quiet, captivating book of photography by Mariana Yamplosky, all taken in Mexico. I am mesmerized by the movement, the light and shadow...the deep spirit she captures in each of her photographs. I had never heard of her before finding this book but I find these photos so moving. Here is a small sample. I wish I read Spanish so I could understand the introduction!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Happy Trails

Found at Idletime Books, this treasure is going straight to my dear Danielle. D is a brilliant filmmaker/photographer who trailed her camera through a small part of Africa, too. Luckily, our paths crossed. The vintage design on the cover of this book (a 1924 1st edition!) captured my imagination. I think it is even more beautiful when you can hold it in your hands. A good chunk of today was spent immersed in the world of tangled jungles, open savannahs and many, many lions. I hope you like it, Danielle!

From Google Books: With illustrations from the author's photographs. Johnson, previously a photographer of wild men in the islands of the South Seas, takes his first African safari in the early 1920s. With his wife Osa he journeys through Eastern Africa, photographing and hunting wild animals. Filled with thrilling adventures, near-fatal mishaps, and moments of quiet beauty, this is the story of the beginning of the Johnson's love affair with Africa. In beautifully descriptive prose, Johnson describes the creatures of the Savannah. A wonderfully entertaining book.

Although some of Johnson's observances (including references to local people as "savages") are much less than politically correct today, this book gives a rare and intimate glimpse into an artist and adventurer's first encounter with Africa, from a time long-gone. Treasure.

PS You should watch Danielle's disarmingly charming short doc, "81 year-old Sweethearts," right here. You will smile the rest of the day. I promise.