Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Reverend John Coffee.

The two most legendary professors I've ever had are now both dead.

I have had other great professors. There have been some really important ones in terms of mentoring me in the things I believe I am good at: David Akiba through many photography classes; Richard Hoffman through many writing classes. In grad school, Ken Peterson will always be the most influential professor I had in terms of my educational philosophy, and overall just one of my favorite people.

(I know this list of random names will mean zilch to most of you, but the act of documenting them is important for me due to my increasingly alarming memory issues. I can't tell you how often I forget Ken Peterson's name, and he was the one I had most recently! Also, kind of strange that none of my favorites have been women. Hm.)

But in terms of plain legendary, the ones whose classrooms were wonderful not just for the education or the mentorship but for the overall experience, the ones everyone always tells stories about, the ones who are characters, there are only two--Alan Hankin, and the Reverend John Coffee.

Alan Hankin, a science professor at Emerson, died while he was actually still my professor. It's the only sudden, unexpected type of death I've had to deal with in my life, and I actually still can't really talk or think about it too much.

The Reverend John Coffee taught history at Emerson, and he died earlier this month at the much more reasonable age of 83. Even though he already looked to be as ancient as life itself when he was my teacher almost ten years ago, the news was still tragic, since as Allie said, we all hoped he would be the first man to never die.

John Coffee always wore the same maroon V-neck sweater worn over one of the most remarkable hunchbacks I've ever seen outside of a Disney film. A tiny white man, he'd amble into class with his briefcase at the exact time class was to start, take out his folded paper of notes, and sing out in his epic storyteller's voice, "WORD OF THE DAY!"

He would proceed to tell us about some ridiculous word which was unrelated to anything we were studying, which 90% of the class had never heard of before and which 99% of the class would never hear of or use ever again.

His classes were lecture courses, plain and simple, and the man knew all. He knew about history, he knew about religion, and he loved absolutely all of it. He was also almost entirely deaf, and he would sometimes ask questions to the class, to which many students would attempt to answer.

The Reverend John Coffee: "Does anyone know the capital of California?"
Various students: "Sacramento!"
"It's Sacramento!"
The Reverend John Coffee: "Nobody??"
Students: "Sacramento!!"
"It's Sacramento, sir!!!"
The Reverend John Coffee: "Why, I can't believe NO ONE here knows the capital of California! It's Sacramento!"

(He also always stressed that his favorite US President was Zachary Taylor, because he was the one to make California part of the United States in 1850. "Have you ever been to California?" he asked. "Smartest move our country ever made!")

Although, there was one particularly obnoxious student in my History of the Bible / History of the Constitution class who sat in the front row and was one of those people who knew the answer to every question and needed everyone to know it, and John Coffee never "heard" him either, but I think that was on purpose.

John Coffee's classes were pretty much the easiest things in the world to get an A in, although somehow there were still people who didn't. All you had to do was show up, and occasionally write short papers on whatever the hell you wanted related to the class. And if you didn't complete the paper in time, all you had to do was write a one-page letter with an excuse. He urged us to make these excuses creative; I mean, he didn't want to get bored. If you had good attendance and turned in the papers, you didn't have to take the final. The roll call of who would have to take the final and who didn't was always a perfectly dramatically timed reading during the last class.

"Guccini! (pause) No test. Dougherty! (pause) No test. Smith (pause) (pause) (pause) (pause) (little grin) See you on Monday."

While his lovability as a professor was widely known throughout the school, there were still some assholes who would 1) show up for roll call because of this no-final attendance policy and then sneak out fifteen minutes into class because they assumed he was old as balls and wouldn't notice (but John Coffee was no fool); 2) talk or generally be obnoxious during his amazing storytelling. This wasn't the first time I had the thought, "Geez, you guys are jerks," while at Emerson, but it still ranks high in unbelievability of jerkiness just because it was so dumb. Any time spent in a John Coffee class was pure gold. Why would you want to purposely miss that shit? Oh well. I still need to learn to not be bothered by the misguided decisions other people make in their lives.

Kathy remembers his most famous stories that he liked to tell better than I, but our favorite ones to randomly re-enact include these:

1) He particularly enjoyed acting out the story of John Brown going door to door and asking this of the people inside the houses:
"Do you believe in the institution of slavery?"
(His voice would get soft and innocent here, bringing his hands together and nodding fervently) "Oh, yes, yes, of course!"
(Cocking his skinny wrinkled hand to form a gun) "BLAM!"

This drawn out BLAM! in his nasally, wavery old-man John Coffee voice was so good  I don't think we will ever tire of remembering it. BLAM!

2) He had worked at Emerson for forever, and had all sorts of ridiculous stories about what it used to be like in the past. I think this story he used to tell was about a student from a 1960's or 1970's Emerson life:

"I walked into the dining hall and he had stood on a table, stripped himself stark nude, and declared himself Jesus Christ."

Stark nude! Jesus Christ! *slaps table*

The most famous and true John Coffee tale is that Stephen King met him through his daughter or someone or other, and named the main character of The Green Mile after him. This is also one of the most wonderful stories of all time, considering that the John Coffee in the book/film is an overwhelming large black man while the Reverend John Coffee, as I mentioned, was a wrinkled and white-haired small white dude.

We saw him once on the T, a couple of years after we had graduated. It was during the summer. After only seeing him in slacks and the maroon sweater for years, he was wearing shorts and a t-shirt with loafers. It was on the blue line. I think he was going to the beach.

He always talked about how he would go to California when he retired and spend the rest of his happy days under the sunshine and palm trees. I don't think he ever did, but this is not too surprising--people on the East Coast love talking about the dream of California, when their realities will never actually leave the Atlantic. The Mamas and Papas knew what was up. (You know the preacher liked the cold. He knows I'm going to stay.) We know where we belong, us East Coast people.

Still, I imagine that wherever he is now, he can go to California whenever he damn well pleases. He might not have to be there all the time. I imagine him on a Massachusetts couch with his family, reading books about history and religion and being content, and being able to open his front door to reveal sandy white beaches and palm trees every now and then, if he wants, just for kicks. I hope the sun always feels warm on his shoulders.

Monday, May 14, 2012

5 Random Songs: Part III.

To be honest, there are so many random songs I love recently that I feel I might burst, which is the best reason to feel like bursting, but I'm only choosing five so that my excessive YouTube embedding doesn't crash your computer. You're welcome.

1) Gold Guns Girls, Metric

I don't wanna bend
Like the bad girls bend
I just wanna be your friend
Is it ever gonna be enough?

Right, so I am way behind the times with Metric. I've heard their songs a ton on the great rock station here in Portland, and every time I say, "Huh, I like this song," but only recently did I take the step of actually remembering to download some of their stuff, completing that oh-so-important step of taking a song you heard and liked and making it feel like it's Yours. 

I debated between including this or their other single from this album, Help I'm Alive, but Gold Guns Girls makes me feel more, "Let's turn this up loud and kick ass!," and I always need more of that feeling in my life, so.

2) Little Talks, Of Monsters and Men

My friend Amy included this on a mix CD for me and I thought it was so great and fun and I had never heard of it before. And then I immediately started hearing it EVERYWHERE. So basically, you have probably heard it at this point too, but I still gave Amy credit for knowing all the cool stuff first.

This is just such a feel-good song, plain and simple, one you want to turn up loud in the car and bounce around to while you drive with the windows down. Also, they are Icelandic and adorable, so, how can you really go wrong? The video I'm including for this one is an acoustic KEXP version, so you can see how adorable they are, and also because I don't think I've ever watched a video from KEXP that isn't awesome.

3) Breath of Life, Florence + The Machine

A couple of blog posts ago, I mentioned a bunch of great new songs from great ladies that were all released in a slew of awesomeness recently, and really I want to mention all of them again in this list. But in the end, a super dramatic Florence song complete with an intense backing choir and lots of great BOOM BOOM BOOM drumbeats always wins.

Sigh. Florence, in my head I am as crazy and Full Of All The Things as you are brave enough to be out loud.

4) Pursuit of Happiness, Lissie

My complete obsession with this live Kid Cudi cover is also due to Amy. (Word up to Amy!) I can't really count how many times I've listened to this song at top volume in the last month?

Also, listen, this song confirms to me how powerful covers can be, sometimes. I mean, anyone who's heard Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah or countless other masterpieces already knows this fact, but still. The original Kid Cudi version is like, a slow jam? Whereas this version is full much, to me, anger and desperation and empowerment and other things I can't describe. All I know is that yelling along to, "I'll be fiiiiiiiine! And I'll be gooooooooood!" makes me feel things I very much want to feel, lately.

5) Myth, Beach House

It's just are All of The People and All of The Bands coming out with new stuff that is just all so good, lately? Thank you, Music Gods! You're my favorite Gods! 

While Teen Dream has been off my heavy-rotation list for quite a while now, hearing this new track practically punched me in the stomach and made me remember why I did have it in such heavy-rotation for so long. Myth is just so wonderfully Beach House-y, and thank goodness for it. It makes me want to lie under an ocean of blankets listening to it forever, not because I'm sad but just because I want to listen and float in a dreamy, floaty place for a while. Who doesn't want to disappear in dreamy, floaty places, at least sometimes, just for a bit?

I just want to give you a big hug lately, Music. Thanks for helpin' me out. You're the best.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In Defense of the South.

As everyone who is not living under a rock now knows, two big gay things have happened within the last 24 hours.

1) North Carolina was all, "Listen, gay marriage is already illegal in this here state, but we're gonna make it SUPER DUPER ILLEGAL now y'all, along with a bunch of other shitty things."

At this point, you may be a little gay-marriage-discussion-ed out. I don't blame you, although I would maybe urge you to take a look at this flyer from Lambda Legal. If you're too lazy to click on that, I'll just tell you--it gives you a number for the rights legal marriage actually does grant you. It's 1,138. So, yeah. It is that important.

And while Obama's statement is just that--a statement, not a law, not an amendment, not something binding--it does matter. It matters immensely. And if you think it was just a political move--uh, so what? He still said it. Who cares about anything else. If it is a political move, it's finally the right one, and we need even more like it.

But moving beyond the major triumph of the day, I have something to say about the disappointment of the day, the yin to the yang of this gay 24 hours. And it's something that I feel like I haven't heard enough since Amendment One passed. And actually, it's more than just one thing. So here I go.

While I have never lived in North Carolina, Kathy was born and raised there, so over the almost eight years we have been together, I have spent a considerable amount of time there. We plan on one day returning to her homestate and raising children. I would like to say that I have hope that the constitutional amendment passed last night could be overturned by the time we live there, years from now, but I really don't know. Accordingly, this particular fight stung just a little deeper than normal.

Still, after reading too many “Shame on you, North Carolina”s in my Twitter feed to count, I started to feel a deep, more complex reaction to the situation. There is much shame to be had, on those who drafted Amendment One and those who supported it. There is genuine heartbreak for those who live there, genuine anger, disappointment, and rage within the whole community. I feel all those things, too. I really, really do. This bill was a particularly senselessly crafted one, harming a wide number of people in a variety of ways. And anyway, voting on human rights, on minority rights, isn’t even a thing that should happen.

But after a while, the burden of language always hangs on me, and it seems unfair to write off an entire state as being shameful. I perhaps would have been dispelling my own “Shame on you, North Carolina,” if I didn’t know so many good North Carolinians who did vote against Amendment One, who spent the day urging others to do the same; if I didn’t know there were so many people who worked so hard in the Tarheel State to fight this fight, and who are deserving of no shame at all.

But this is what we have always done, haven’t we? Written off the South as being too backwards and far behind the times for equality, or for almost anything that requires any sort of justice or logic. Having grown up above the Mason-Dixon line, I know I did. In fact, when I first met Kathy, I quipped that I would love to live anywhere in the country except for the South—because I mean, ugh, right? She raised her eyebrows in an “Oh, really?” sort of way. We often hold opinions that make no sense. I was lucky she thought I was adorable enough that she looked past my unfounded prejudice towards the place that had groomed her wonderful heart.

But here’s the thing. Nearly 40% of voters in North Carolina voted against Amendment One. That is thousands of people. Had this battle been waged even just ten years ago, I think the triumph of hate would have been far more resounding and final. You might be thinking, “What do the numbers matter when hate still won?” But I think they do. Because 40% is better than 30%, better than 20%, better than zero. It means that next time, when the next battle comes in North Carolina—well, we might lose then, too. But the time after that? Then, then we might win.

I later learned that Kathy’s public high school in North Carolina was far more progressive and gay-friendly than my small-town high school in Pennsylvania ever was. (My old high school still refuses to sponsor a GSA/QSA. Although please tell me if I'm wrong, PA folks.) It reminds me of when I reviewed The Miseducation of Cameron Post for After Ellen last month, and I described the setting of the novel in small-town Montana as one of the worst places possible to be young and gay. Thankfully, a commenter politely corrected me, stating: I'm a young lesbian in Montana.  And I have to say, in real life Montana's not that a bad a place to be gay.” And on the other, yet similar, hand, Oregon, where I live now, is often seen as a bastion of liberalism to the rest of the country, but I’ve seen and heard worse prejudices here than I have in other places I've lived. 

My point is this. Places—places like towns, and cities, and states, and regions, and countries—are so wonderfully complex. There are awful people everywhere, but it normally turns out, there are great people everywhere, too.

The history of the South, and the reality of the South now, is not to be ignored. I am not ignoring it. And since I have not lived in the reality of the South, I don't have a lot of authority to speak to it. But I have met so many wonderful, excited people from the South, read so many stories about progressive, neat Southern towns doing good things, places where I in fact would like to live, that I feel so strongly that we cannot give up on it. We owe it to all the beautiful people that live there, and we can't afford to give up on any anywhere

Let’s remember that on January 1, 2013, gay couples in Maryland—just below the Mason-Dixon line, but still below the Mason-Dixon line!—can happily gay marry to their hearts’ content. (And also that North Carolina and Virginia--Virginia!--went blue in a sea of red during the last presidential election.) There are changes happening in the South. Do not be fooled: a big, gay seed is taking root in America and blooming like never before.

Will the South get there more slowly than the Northeast corridor? Of course. Will there be parts of the South that never get there? Maybe. Will it be in our lifetimes? Who knows. But, most of it will get there.

Perhaps I feel this so strongly because of the day in 2006 when I got to sit on the floor of the Massachusetts State Capitol building, listening to debates during one of the many failed attempts to appeal that state’s same-sex marriage ruling, the first same-sex marriage legalization in the country. There were Republican state senators who had voted against same-sex marriage multiple times in the past during previous appeals, who broke down and admitted that they couldn’t do it anymore. That they had seen with their own eyes that love hadn’t ruined their state. After the final victorious vote count, all of us who were sitting out in the hall cheered, and then we sang the Star Spangled Banner. I have never had a more moving and powerful experience as an American citizen.

I know Massachusetts isn't North Carolina, but these changes of heart are happening everywhere. I can’t find video of the speeches I saw that day, but there is this one:

And more recently, this one:

There are probably more, and there will be more. The reason that politicians normally end up crying during these speeches is because it is an enormous and courageous thing to change the way one sees. The problem with my hometown, the problem with 60% of North Carolina voters, is only partly hatred, only partly misdirected religious vitriol. I think the larger portion is a lot of good people who just haven’t seen. They may literally have not known a gay person--and I mean truly known, and seen, and loved, as a person, not just as the token gay person in the room, the token gay person on the TV screen. They have not seen how love works in the same ways—meaning, in the twisted, unfathomable, unique, glorious ways love works—across all borders and boundaries. It is one of the most basic human instincts to fear what one doesn’t know. Maybe that sounds naive, but it's what I feel. Because when I think about my hometown, I think, A lot of those people could change their minds, if they just got to know me and Kathy. I think a lot of them already are changing their minds. State by state, more and more people are going to slowly start to see, and know. 

And to get there, we have to get there together—even when a portion of a population somewhere makes disappointing choices. We can be angry—we can be angry as hell—but we still have to cheer on the portion of the population that didn’t make that choice. Another basic human instinct is that after a valiant effort fails, after someone falls, the number one thing they need is someone to reach out their hand and tell them to keep going.

The Tweet that rang truest to me last night was this one.

The ignorant & fearful yelled louder. The ignorant and fearful tend to do that. It is hurtful, and infuriating, each time. But eventually, victory by victory, we will get louder. Some of the ignorant and fearful will start to be less ignorant and fearful. 

And we will win.

Trying To Do This: Part I.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, and by "thinking" and "lately," I actually mean "the exact same stuff that I have always thought about forever." Which is: What do I want to DO with myself? Should I devote my life to education and teach? Can I actually teach? Or should I quit everything and devote myself to writing until my fingers cramp and my eyes bug out of my head and I need to take breaks to walk around the neighborhood just so fresh air can re-enter my brain?

Something about Maurice Sendak dying, combined with a few other things, has unexpectedly whipped up a frenzy of thought about the latter part of this equation this week, even moreso than usual. I feel focused in a way I haven't in a while. I DO want to write more. I want people to READ what I write. I want people to frantically agree with what I write. I want people to despise what I write and tell me I'm an idiot. I just want to write.

So. How does one do that?

There is nothing quite as irritating as writing about writing, but I'm going to try to document my process with this on here anyway, because right now I feel like a child who knows nothing about how to Do This. But I WANT to know more, and I think documenting my process with it will help. Because the one thing I already know about trying to get people to actually read what you write is that it can be really, really frustrating and stupid, and in order to stay sane I need to get back into my own head space and sort things out. If it doesn't work, I will be able to look back and at least tell myself that I tried.

So far, I've been lucky enough to write for After Ellen, where all the editors I've talked to have been wonderfully supportive and kind and encouraging. They are Good People, and I think I'll be able to continue doing Good Things with them. Yay, all around. Yay yay yay.

But sometimes, I will want to write things that don't fit After Ellen. For instance, in a fit of sudden emotion over North Carolina's passage of Amendment 1 last night, I wrote a thing about how awful it was but also about how personally disappointing it can feel for people to perpetually and stereotypically give up on the South, how people's reactions are full of honest hurt and rage but also full of these prejudices we have against each other. I hadn't really seen anyone else writing about this event with this perspective, so I wanted people to read it. So I started doing a brief research project on Blogs On The Internets Where I Could Possibly Send My Shit To. Within a half hour of this research project, I felt annoyed.

I: The Problem With Blogs On The Internets Where I Could Possibly Send My Shit To

My thesis from my brief research project is that, from my perspective, there are three main Big Fancy Blog (Like-The-Kind-That-May-Possibly-Pay-You Blog) Types. 

1. Snarkfestopolis. Listen. I like snark. I like snark a lot. Often, these are my favorite kind of blogs, because they're smart and witty and often offer new perspectives and things that make me laugh are my favorite type of things.

But the problem with Snarkfestopolis blogs is that they walk such a fine line between smart/witty and obnoxious/exhausting. Especially as a writer, writing for them seems like such a daunting and possibly-soul-killing task. Who can outsnark another? Who can be more indifferent or alternately pissed off sounding about such and such random cultural tidbit? Who knows what random cultural tidbits are even worthy to snark about? Who can be the funniest and bitchiest funny bitch?

Even when the Snarkfestopolis is firmly on the smart and witty side though, or the random and goofy side (which is actually my favorite side), I enjoy it as a reader and a writer because sometimes I feel like being smart and funny. But sometimes I feel like just...telling people things. Is there space on the Internet to just...tell people things?

2. Factual reporting and/or brief commentary from people who know facts. These make up the majority of Important Blogs, really, and as they should. It's good to know stuff. One of the main reasons we go on the Internet, other than finding out what our friends are eating and reading and looking at and thinking, and other than watching videos of animals being friends who shouldn't be friends on YouTube, is to know stuff.

But, right, so, you see, I have no experience in the, like, finding of resources to, say, get the facts, and get the facts first, and stuff, and if you don't get the facts first no one cares. So.

3. Highfalutin Blogs for Successful Writerly People.  I love these blogs. They are producing wonderful, important work. But. I'm not going to get published in the Paris Review, not going to get published in the Rumpus, not going to get published in McSweeney's, probably wouldn't have a good chance with Thought Catalog, not going to get published in Whatever Else There Is And I Know There Is A Lot. This is okay! But like, are there more blogs out there for, say, mid-falutin people? Mid-to-lower-falutin? Dreaming-of-falutin-someday?

II: The Trouble With Figuring Out What My Shit Actually Is

1. I learned very quickly when I took an Intro To Fiction class in undergrad that I cannot write fiction. I really can't. It's painful, guys. So count those submissions-for-short-stories openings out.

2. I've actually written quite a bit of poetry recently, but this doesn't even feel related because I haven't written poetry since the 8th grade and my knowledge of how to write poetry, or how even to read or understand what makes poetry Not Suck, has not advanced since the 8th grade, and it's only been happening recently because it felt like the only way to get things in my head out of my head, so anyway I don't even know why I'm mentioning it.

3. What I spent most of my time doing in undergrad were lengthy personal essays, lengthy because they were supposed to be but also because it's hard for me to NOT be lengthy with a personal essay. There are already so many more succinct, eloquent, and unique personal essays out there, folks. Does anyone REALLY want to read my tome about my grandma dying of Alzheimer's? Probably not. I mean, especially not when there are gifs of kittens hugging stuffed animals to look at instead. That's not being snide. Seriously, I would rather look at the gifs.

4. Most of the random things I've written in the last few years which aren't for a specific purpose are bits of personal stories combined with some opinions and a lot of Thinking Out Loud.

So what I'm saying is, this is what I probably need to do: 
1) Find a place that will want to post my random Stories Combined With A Lot of Thinking Out Loud, or,
2) Refine What My Shit Actually Is, and then Write That Shit. And go from there.

In conclusion, my brief research project, and writing this, has made me feel pretty pooped, and I will just post that thing about North Carolina on here later.

Friday, May 4, 2012

10 Random Things I Like, A Lot, That Do Not Require Any Further Explanation: Part I.

(Perhaps subtitled: A Lesson in Brevity for Jill.)

1) Sun on my shoulders. Sun on my neck, sun on my feet and legs--sun on pretty much any patch of skin that does not feel it enough, which is pretty much any patch of skin.

2) Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. It is always good. Always.

3) Dahlias. (The Dahlia Garden in Seattle's Volunteer Park, where this was taken, is particularly wonderful. More photos that don't include me looking silly can be found here.)

4) Pickles. Yo. I really love pickles.

5) These mugs that Kathy and I bought at the tulip festival this year. In general, the fact that Kathy and I always immediately agree on the essential things we need to spend our money on.

6) The pink tree that blooms briefly but awesomely at the house at the end of our block. Also, the dad who lives at this house (who I'm pretty sure is a teacher, not that that is related to anything), sitting on his porch early last Sunday morning, playing the acoustic guitar and staring into the distance.

7) This book I just finished, which I'll be reviewing for After Ellen soon. The quality of the books I've gotten to read for this project has seriously surpassed anything I expected.

8) S'mores Pop-Tarts. Because, I mean, duh.

9) New songs from Brandi, Regina, Florence, and Fiona. Thank you, ladies. You are fucking gorgeous.

10) Tami Taylor. Forever.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Goals.

OK. So I used to post about monthly goals I'd make for myself, and they were exceedingly boring, and I knew they were exceedingly boring, and they were also pretty much the same things each month, which is why I stopped making them. But the truth is, I think they were actually really good for me--in a like, "These are boring but help me feel stable and good about myself" way. And a lot of these things I used to make goals about I don't actually do anymore, partly because my current schedule of having four jobs and volunteering with three organizations is so cuckoo and weird, and partly because I'm lazy. So I think I'm going to start making them again, and the only reason I'm posting them on here is because I don't know if I would actually work on the goals otherwise and this is a boring explanation for a boring thing so let's finish this paragraph now.

+ I've been trying to run again but then putting off running because I don't actually own a pair of sneakers with which to go running--and last time I tried without sneakers I hurt my back, which made me a big whineypoo for over a week--and my iPod broke so I don't have music and people who run without music are more motivated people than me. So--make room in my finances. Buy sneakers. Buy a shuffle. Do it. Run at least five times, you big whineypoo full of excuses.

+ Send out all wedding invitations! Whee! Start work on wedding favors. Start working out plans for the ceremony, since we pretty much don't have any.

+ Start cooking again. Make three new meals.

+ The one I really want to do: make time to get outdoors, again. I spend so much time online these days, both for one of my jobs and just from pure, reckless addiction, and overall am just really stuck in my Portland world. This is a world that in fact doesn't include all the fun Portland-y things you would think of, but just being in my car and working a lot. Being stuck in any world for too long is never really good for my brain, and I've been feeling kind of wanderlust-y recently, which actually feels really good, because being wanderlust-y feels like being me. My love for hiking is different from my love for travel, but they come from the same corner of my heart, and I haven't wandered onto a trail in months and months and months. And I should. So. Find time to complete at least ONE solid hike. Columbia River Gorge, I'm looking at you.

+ Call Lou. Call Sam. Call Zoe. Call Allie.

+ Spend some time in the darkroom, make a portfolio of pictures of my cousin's lovely baby that I'm proud of. Print some pictures just for me, too, though.

+ Post another photo gallery on

+ Finish TWO of the multiple National Geographics that are waiting for me, taunting me from the coffee table.

OK. I know there's even more boring things I need to be doing but this is enough for now. Carry on.