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01-23-2002 @ 10:40 p.m.
Stop. Think.

Today I was driving about, running errands and trying to get home in time to pick up Joey from Brownies, and I drove past a very small cemetary that I've driven past about 500 times in the past 10 years. Today as I whizzed by, I saw that there was a funeral in progress. Or rather, it was just finishing up. Some of the mourners were walking back to their cars while others remained at the grave site, hunched over against the very cold, windy sprinkly rain. I saw one person with his (her?) arm around another whose head was down. And in the middle of my scurrying around, I was pulled out for a minute. While I was doing mundane, ordinary things, these people were going through something terrible. Something painful. Something final. And it was all out in public view on a very busy road. And it gave me pause to remember that this life is fleeting. And precious. But that even when I'm going through my most awful moments, the rest of the world is going on with its own thing.

In a way, it helped to assuage my guilt (?) for not feeling more concerned and caught up in the war and atrocities our world is experiencing and that the people of NY experienced in full color on September 11th. It's so weird to think about how many different things are going on all around me--lives beginning, lives ending, betrayals occurring, secrets revealed, illnesses diagnosed, accidents happening. I don't think about those things because they aren't touching me right now. But sometimes something reminds me to be cognizant of the full realm of experiences around me. And reminds me to low down.

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In class today, I made some 11x14 prints of Joel playing his viola and a print of Bill's Dad. I was happy with the results though I wasted 2 sheets of this (expensive) paper because there was a piece of fuzz on Joel's cheek that didn't show up on the test strip. Ack! I hate it when that happens. I tried to spot it out with spot pens but it didn't work very well.

I got some great feedback from the students in class about both the viola pictures and the picture of Johnny. I really like these pictures so I was delighted when they received unsolicited compliments in the darkroom. I'm also officially crazy about 11x14 paper. I just need to get a portfolio that is big enough for pictures of that size. I think maybe some time I'd like to try 16x20, too. Ooh, that could be larger than life.

Slowly but surely, I'm getting my enthusiasm back. I made an appointment to photograph Russell and his daughter on Sunday. I'm starting to get a theme of nurturing men for this project. I wonder where we can go from here?

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The baby shower was as expected. You know how there are some people whose voice just grates on you? Every word drives you batty? This mother-to-be is such a person. She has a slightly higher-than-average voice but when you're talking one-on-one she's ok. Get her talking to more than 3 people and it gets all high and annoying-like. And she has this style of talking where she thinks she has said something utterly hilarious and then pauses and looks at you expectantly so you can laugh then you have to think "oh, this is where I'm supposed to laugh" so you whip up some lame laughter and cringe on the inside. (Her whole family does this--being with them is quite a treat.) She's a nice but clueless person. I tried to be friends with her--she doesn't have a lot of friends and she goes to my church so I thought I would give it a whirl. I invited her to 2 of my beach retreats. I invited her and her husband over to my house for game nights and a few parties. But you know what? We had absolutely NOTHING in common *and* she drives me crazy. Of course she has no idea that she drives me crazy so I smile and make nice. I dropped out of our church choir when she took over from my friend Russell. After a month or so of rehearsals, she said "Oh sure--you'll sing for Russell but you won't sing for me." I laughed but the truth is that she hit the nail on the head. Anyway, the shower was bearable. They served chocolate.

Next Wednesday I get to go to another baby shower but this time it's for one of my college friends who I really like and don't get to see nearly enough of. She and her husband adopted a baby in December. It's their third child. The first is biological, the second adopted 5 years later and then this one adopted 5 more years later. I filled out a recommendation form for them when they first applied for adoption just over a year and a half ago. I'm dying to talk to her and find out how this agency was and how the whole experience was.

I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with a great idea for Russell and DeLyn's baby shower in April. I know it's a few months away but I like to plan ahead. I threw a really fun shower for them when their last baby was born and now I have to come up with something different and even more fun for this one. I'm thinking something along the lines of a relay race. I'm going to have to give this some thought.

Ed and Joey "forgot" to practice the piano tonight. Ed forgot but I think Joey made a point not to remind him. Those rascals! Oh well--it just means that she has to get up 15 minutes early to practice before school. And Ed has to wake her up since he's the goober who forgot to have her do it tonight. Ha!

--L

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