moving my crap

The moving van is loaded with my crap. By crap I really mean my treasures, except that they are mostly not. It is really the memories that are attached to these objects or the possibilities that they represent that somehow transform them into treasures.

My Jordanian serving dishes are a memory of seven years spent in the Holy Land, a reminder of Arab hospitality, and the possibility of many a good meal to be served to friends. The Palestinian wine glasses hold memories of long nights of merriment. Although I have yet to break one, I bought 18 with the hope of being left with a small set 20 years later with which to continue to make memories.

There is a box of pottery that represents a year of being soothed by the repetition of a potter’s wheel, of letting beauty be created from my hurt and exhaustion. There are fragrant spices that have slowly been collected from around the world that bring my food to life. There are boxes of journal papers and field notebooks that are a testimony to five years of research at Notre Dame and in Benin. There are boxes of photos and enlarged prints that are a reminder of where I have been and the people that fill my heart.

There is an art table at which to create. There is a breakfast nook at which to serve meals. There is camping gear galore. There is a bed on which to sleep.

These are all just things, just crap of one sort or another. I could loose it all and I would still be complete, and yet in moving it from my home to what will become my home, there is a process of remembering. A processes of saying goodbye, letting go, and opening the arms and heart wide to the next place that will hold all my crap.

An so, tomorrow morning circa 7am, the moving van, me, and all my crap are on the road to Nashville.

making the new york times

Sometimes you just have to brag, and I feel like making The New York Times is a braggable event. On Sunday MC, my little brother, had an article published in Nature Methods, a highly respected technical journal. Then his accomplishments were made available to the masses through an article in The New York Times. The article came out on Tuesday and is available online here.

sometimes i am just a kid

19 June 2008

For example, last weekend I was at a festival in a little town in the Midwest. The one thing that I simply HAD to do while I was there was get a blue ‘Hawaiian Shaved Ice’ (aka snow cone). You have to understand that it is critical to ask for blue, not ‘blue raspberry’ because that somehow ‘blue raspberry’ makes it seem more grown-up and takes a little bit of magic out of the event. I love the whole experience. I love the anticipation of all the blue goodness, the sweetness of the flavored ice, the brain freeze, the slurred speech complements of a very cold tongue, and, best of all, a wonderfully blue mouth, tongue, and lips. I hope the glory of a blue snow cone is never lost on me.

Today it was the anticipation of an upgrade, free movies, and Biscoff cookies. Compliments of the air miles logged on transantlantic and cross-country flights, I sometimes get free upgrades to first class when traveling in the US of A. But, I pretty much never know until I am about to board a plane if I get that magical upgrade that provides larger, more comfortable seats and endless supplies of drink and snacks. So I hope and enjoy the anticipation. Today there was no such upgrade.

When I got on the 767, I pulled out the inflight magazine as it provides all critical information concerning what movie(s) I will get to enjoy on the flight. Maybe a movie I was hoping to see or maybe one I did not want to spend the money to rent but might just be decent (at least decent enough for a plane ride) or maybe an old favorite. Instead the magazine informed me that, unless I was on a transatlantic flight (somehow flying from Atlanta to LA does not qualify) or flying first class (see above described disappointment), I had to pay to watch a movie. Sure, the systems were ‘on demand’ so I could fast forward, rewind, etc., but it now costs $6 for this benefit. Disappointment.

Then there is the beverage service. Given the general trauma that the airlines are facing complements soaring gas prices, I should be thankful that there is any beverage service at all. Of course all of the alcohol costs, and now the food too. I pulled out the food brochure to see what there was to offer should I fancy spending some money on food that used to be free. All sorts of random things, but no Biscoff cookies, the signature Delta cookie. Trauma. I LOVE them. Then, I see the fine print at the bottom….Peanuts, crackers, and Biscoff cookies are FREE snacks. Needless to say I just finished my cookies. I wonder if Biscoff cookies would hold the same appeal on solid land. I honestly don’t know. But, should you happen to visit me, fly Delta on the way, and decide to save your cookies because you were stuffed from your airport meal, you might just be rewarded with a goofy, happy grin that would likely cover my entire face.