on expedition

December 19th, 2017 § 2 comments § permalink

Jack, my 7 year-old nephew, recently asked us to help him clarify a challenging concept: “What is is like where you are?” His teacher had asked each student to inquire with a family member or friend who lives in a distant place about what winter is like where they are. Jack had to report back to his class with the data.

We received the question as we were suffering from cabin fever waiting out the very last rains of the monsoon, and so we sprang into action:

I recently wrote here that one of my hopes is to crew a research or expedition vessel. F asked me, “You have a boat. Why not make IT into a research or expedition vessel?” The science challenge from Jack solidified it. Word came back from the schoolyard that our reportage was well received. We nailed it.

We have (some) gear, we have adventure, and we have the means to document it. Suddenly every device has a potential magnification or recording capability. Does this fit with that? Can I waterproof it for submersion?

As I write, F is enjoying a solo meal of octopus. I can’t eat them, because even dead, they look like this:

If I had better bandwidth right now, I would post the video of how, even in death, the creature still has rippling colors running up and down its skin. For now, just look at that picture and shake your head around.

For a few days we had a tiny grasshopper on board, who was hanging around one spot by the window. Out came the microscope to inspect its mouthparts. In spanish, “mouthparts” are armadura bucal, lit. mouth armor.

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I have some new devices! #photomicroscopy

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I see it!

Even the documentation we already have is full of citizen science blurbs, and although he is an octopus eater, F has also become an ardent observer of “around the boat”, a place full of birds, fish, and sounds.

This reminds me that to wait any more or procrastinate is to just delay feeling great. Cheesy, I know, but I am saying it anyway. Now just isn’t the time to wait. Its time to hit the “extrude” button on that Ron Popeil Pasta Maker.

don’t fence me in

January 29th, 2017 § 2 comments § permalink

You know that phrase, “There but for the grace of God go I?”

Its something one might say to invoke humility in the face of their own good fortune, or to express identification and unity with the struggle of another.

Yesterday the first headline I read began, ”Refugees, Visa and Green Card Holders Detained, Turned Away…”. I sat upright and my heart pounded in my chest. You see, my husband is a green card holder (he’s actually my Permanent Resident Alien Spouse, to be exact) and we are currently in what we hope will be the final stage of the process.

Until we reach that promised land of a 10-year green card, allowing supposed free movement in and out of my country, his residency and immigration status informs every aspect of our lives together. Where we go, how we work, when we visit family, and how we plan for our future. The thought that the rules we have been so diligently following would somehow and suddenly be thrown up in the air put my heart in my throat.

Then I read further, and saw the changes were affecting travelers only from Muslim countries. My heart promptly returned to my chest. My husband is from Italy.

That quick moment of relief affirms for me that what divides us is bigotry and racism, social constructs that have no tangible basis, yet have deep influence in our history, society and individual behavior. I can insist all day long that I am not biased against Muslims, but that moment of relief would be no less real. My privilege would allow me to leave it at that, accept our own good fortune and move along.

at_capt_stans

After the courthouse, with Alien Spouse.

When we got married in a small town courthouse in rural GA, the clerk doing our marriage license heard F’s accent, saw his foreign birth certificate and filled in his race as “Other”. F thought this was fantastic. I thought it was sort of an Alpha-Omega moment, where our national pastime of keeping everyone neatly sorted turned a white European male into The Other. We had become completely estranged from the source material of our racist thinking. The center could not hold.

So this morning I intentionally rewind to that heart sinking feeling that came before the momentary relief. Because there but for the grace of God go we.

resist

January 21st, 2017 § 2 comments § permalink

Oh how I hope this message reaches you, dear reader.

If I am being hyperbolic, hormonal, hysterical, so what; if I should be locked in the tower, I simply don’t care. Today’s global mobilization of women and girls, and the cisters, sisters, and men who love us has sent my heart on a wide boomerang arc – out… and back. What a week, amirite?

In my “old life” I would have hopped a train with friends and been in the center of one the largest and coziest of herds. What is a modern nomad to do when you get that homing mechanism that moves your feet on the FL/GA line?

You march around by yourself, is what! Then you go to a coffee shop and kill time until the next idea comes to you.

A group of older-than-me ladies asked if I was waiting for a friend, and I responded, “I think I am waiting for you!” We then invited each other to a bigger table, and I pointed out a pair of younger girls wearing 1920-2020 protest pins, and said, “Hey I think you are with us too.” All the sudden we had ourselves an intergenerational feminist quorum.

It is weird to sit down with strangers, but just think about what we have in common. We all left the house today with the intent to be on the right side of history on this historic day.

My intention for the next few days is to stick with this mind set – to assume that the people I encounter have something more in common with me at the core than different. We are women today, but tomorrow what will it be?

We are pro-love? We are daughters? We are environmentalists? We are neighbors? We are in line at Parkers?

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