Archives for the month of: August, 2007

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Tuscon Blue.

i love this home. it’s simplicity is beautiful and relaxing yet vibrant colors decorate the exterior. teal blue is one of my favorite colors for home decorating.

sorry the blog hasn’t been updated this week. the cold that i had really slowed me down this week. at present i have a beautifully deep cough that brings up lovely bits of icky stuff. better “out” then “in”, eh?

this week has been interesting in so many ways. i’ve had a lot of different meetings…and i have been introduced to a whole new vocabulary, which reinforces that fact that i have so much to learn. educators have a jargon and vocabulary all to themselves. my sister Heidi, who is a teacher, understood what i said during our conversations, which was a relief.

several of the meetings i’ve had this week have been about the ways in which we can assess the skills of each student – both at the beginning of our program and at the end.
these meetings have been an interesting experience for me. it has given us a chance to really examine what our goals are and what we wish to teach. i have left every meeting very inspired and very much in awe of my co-workers, as well as the organization that i now work for.

i’ve done a lot of reading this week, which has been a great escape from feeling yucky. i finally read “Woman Hollering Creek” by Sandra Cisneros, and i fell in love with her style of writing. i have had this author on my list of “must read!” for such a long time. and i am elated that i felt really connected to her writing.

i’ve been on several high school campuses this week to make presentations to recruit students to apply for 110º magazine. it has been a great way to get to know Tucson as a city, as well as a chance to see what kind of educational systems our potential staff might be a part of. i have learned that Tucson has several charter schools, which makes me curious as to why??? is the public school system in Arizona that bad?

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we’re moving this weekend…into our normal office space (pictured above). the building i work in has been under construction since i arrived. by the end of this week i will officially have a desk to call my own! since i left Lincoln i’ve felt like a woman without a country, and it will be great to have a space – however small – that i can settle into.

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i like this little duck. it reminds me of a painting i used to own. i took this image earlier in the week and i passed by it this morning and someone had already painted over it. sad. this little duck made me giggle a little every day as i headed into work. as you can see, i take pleasure in the small things in life. hee hee!

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the tucson inn. at night. ooohhhh…pretty colors.

i’m in phoenix for the long weekend. my brother-in-law Jason has kept the Cape Cods coming since he got home from work, so I’m feeling really relaxed right about now. everyone be safe and have fun over the long weekend, whatever ya’ll do.

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i’ve been home-bound the past couple days. that head cold has decided to hang out for a while. i have no patience for being sick, but i have a feeling that this head-cold-turned-chest-cold thing is going to stick around for a few more days. which should make this week’s presentations at local high schools an interesting experience.

i’ve spent my weekend sleeping, reading and complaining internally about feeling so icky. i finished “Kabul Beauty School” yesterday (highly recommend it, a very quick read), took a long nap, then started into a collection of short stories by international women writers (i bought this lovely collection at Cinnamon’s bookstore back in lincoln). American writer Alice Walker (author of The Color Purple) starts off the collection with “Nineteen Fifty-Five” a fun story about an older African American woman who wrote a song that was recorded by an Elvis-like character and launches his career. anyone who hasn’t been introduced to the magic of Alice Walker’s short stories needs to rush out right now and find “You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down”. there is so much to connect to within those pages.

this collection introduced me to Tatyana Tolstaya, a Russian author who writes with intense romanticism and complex narratives. her short story “The Circle” is a like a mysterious carnival ride. i had to read it twice. she is literary nobility by birth – she is great grand-niece of Leo Tolstoy. not to knock one of the masters of literature, but i might prefer her writing style more than her great-uncle’s. i have attempted Anna Karenina twice now and have yet to complete it. someday maybe.

katie: i’m sorry to hear you got the ‘bug’ too. i hope you feel better soon.

to my reader in san antonio: are you friend or foe? if you are e.a.o. – unless you have two boxes of my professional work to return to me, don’t ever come here again.

i woke up w/ a lovely head cold this morning, which has gotten progressively uglier as the day has gone on. major sinus pressure and achy, achy body parts. seems like most everyone in the office has the same symptoms. we like to share “everything” here at Voices.

so…the book reading i was going to tonight is off my calendar, instead i’m gonna be lounging in my pajamas and reading my current book, “Kabul Beauty School” by Deborah Rodriquez, who traveled to Afghanistan w/ a relief group after 9/11 and later returned to establish the Kabul Beauty School & Oasis Salon where Afghan women are trained in the beautification arts (hair, etc.) and are then able to support themselves financially. click here for their web site. it’s a awesome project.

i found “Suzette” a boyfriend yesterday. he’s a little hairy, but he’s rugged and very interesting…reminds me of Chewbaca from Star Wars.

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i should have shot a detail of the fur. it’s hard to see the charm of the Chewbaca Bike – it’s covered in fake fur and sports a mask on the stem. naturally i had to take a picture. i got to talking with a couple at the table nearby and met Ray Ray and his wife Scarlet. Ray Ray restores vintage cruisers – mostly schwinns, which i would love to have. “Suzette”, my front-suspension Specialized mountain bike is a little too rugged for everyday riding around downtown so i told him i’d call him up when i was ready to buy.

overall, people in this town are really friendly and curious. when i moved to Nebraska i found it funny that most people would inadvertently diss their state by inquiring “why would you wanna move here?” when they learned i was new in town. here in tucson, when i tell people i’m new, they become fountains of information of where to go and see and explore. today i found Le Cave, a bakery that uses no lard in their products. it’s especially popular with the vegan community. i celebrated the find by devouring a pumpkin empanada.

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i finally made it out for a bike ride last night (yeah!). i explored Catalina State Park, which is a quick 7 miles from my current apartment. there aren’t enough adjectives to describe just how breathtakingly beautiful the park is. i took this photo as i started out on my ride. it was gray and overcast, but by the end of my ride the sky was ablaze w/ color…red, oranges, blues…and two storms seemed to be chasing each other across the sky with lightening strikes competing w/ the brilliant sunset to illuminate the clouds. the trails are really, really sandy. at a couple points i felt like i was on a stationary bike b/c i was peddling away like i was in a spinning class and wasn’t moving forward at all. i must have looked hilarious!

some random photos:

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this is Katie Johnson, the Writing Director of Voices. she’s a badass and emits so much positive energy. she is re-enacting the previous night’s yoga instructor…who told her students to hold this pose and meditate.???? to the right is DonnaMarie, our office manager. she has a splendidly dark sense of humor and a lot of sass!

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for mark…i think “Vanilla” needs a friend.

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a self-portrait in the window of our offices. that is a shrink-wrapped couch in front of me, wrapped w/ pillows and all. the construction continues…

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the road home….which is what i’m gonna hit and crawl into bed.

on my ride home from work yesterday, i was listening to NPR and heard a lovely commentary about love, passion and their role in creating long-lasting relationships. click here to listen to the story . the final lines made my heart all a’flutter!

and today a letter arrived for me (finally! it got lost in the construction shuffle) sent via Miz Becki – a gift certificate for Antigone books, a local used book store (which by the way has a profile of Nebraska author Jonis Agee on their web site!). THANKS LADY!! perfect timing b/c i’m going there this friday night for a book reading.

we got some disappointing news yesterday. due to a LARGE chunk of money from a funder that is stuck in limbo, we will only be able to hire 20 youth staff members this year. we have decided to commit our resources to upgrading our computers, software and spend this year further developing our systems and processes (curriculum, protocols, etc.) and get settled into our new digs – which we got a tour of yesterday. totally cool! we’re going to have a more formal “newsroom” and a lounge area as well as a shared library with City High School. the walls are framed, but sheet-rocking and electrical work is still in progress.

i’ve been searching for a mountain biking group to start riding with. there is a pretty awesome trail not too far from my apartment, which i am hoping to hit tonight after work. it’s a quite humid here today but i’m determined to just get my ass out there. gotta get acclimated somehow.

i have to share this quote with everyone.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” – Anais Nin

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you know i love you girl!

Michael is working on a portrait series, and took a test image of William that is one of the best photos of William i’ve ever seen (b/c William has a nasty habit of making faces at the camera! silly man). click here to see it. hey mike, may i kindly request a print? i don’t want to run the risk of never seeing a “serious” photo of William ever again.

and Michael was down to Ivanna Cone for another story. glad to see that Turkish Delight finally made it up on the board! and excellent quotes from Jessica and Sam, but way too much copy dedicated to the “other” ice cream place in town.

to my book club: i found this photo of Mz. Cinnamon on her Orbitz high from our last meeting at O’Rourkes. had to share! sorry to hear about your maple tree Miz C., but love the personal mythology! and a very happy 5th b-day to Miss Izzy!

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so. i got my first parking ticket yesterday. the fee is $25, but get this (!!) if you don’t pay it within 30 days the fee jumps to $95. excuse me??? parking tickets are a rite of passage when moving to a new town…so i can check that off my list. yeah. (insert sarcasm here).

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(photo credit: katie johnson/resident creative badass)

my visit to the Center for Creative Photography was completely splendid. the Ralph Gibson exhibit was beautiful. his work is artistic and mysterious. the CCP has over 80,000 images in their archive, as well as the entire archive of photographers Edward Weston and Gary Winogrand…and all of it is available for me to hold in my little hands. wild.

i had lunch yesterday at the most interesting place – The Cereal Box – a restaurant that is basically a buffet of cereals. for $3.99 you can mix & match, add fruit, etc. i ordered the “Health Nut” which had a combination of fortified cereals topped with fresh blueberries, sliced bananas and dried cranberries. it was awesome! oh…and w/ free wi-fi.

i’ve got an odd collection of images to post.

mark got a new hat. isn’t he handsome? (this is rhetorical. you’re not really supposed to answer unless you agree 😉 )

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this is from a night photo session mark and i did out at wagon trail park. the toads were loud and spooky that night.

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a few weeks before i left nebraska, miss becki and i went on a camping trip…with a stop at Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska before tubing down the Niobrara River. for anyone not familiar with it…it is an exact replica of Stonehenge but with cars made in america, mostly from detroit. it’s fun and campy.

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some images from the road:

who is Cloe and exactly why does she need to be spanked?

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quintessential nebraska.

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a good closing image:

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i can tell that mondays are going to be the day that i feel overwhelmed. we have our staff meetings on mondays, and after today’s meeting i am reminded of just how much work we have to do before our youth staff starts. we have so much to do that we have arranged a “retreat” for a whole afternoon so we can plow through everything. wow! thankfully i’m an overly organized person (don’t laugh!). i’ve volunteered to take over the organization system on our server. should be a fun adventure.

this week is gonna be crazy, crazy. i’ve got meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting (get my drift?). the highlight so far is a guided tour tomorrow (tuesday) morning of Tucson’s Center for Creative Photography. the tour, for faculty and educators, is of their new exhibit on Ralph Gibson, who created his own publishing outlet – Lustrum Press – do to the few opportunities that existed to showcase fine- art photography. the CCP is a great resource for me and i hope to make it my “church” much the way that the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery was for me in lincoln.

my weekend was relaxing. i took my nieces on a five mile bike ride saturday morning. we left at 7:50am and it was already 90º outside. they were good sports and it felt great to be riding again. my right elbow is finally (!) healed enough and strong enough to bike again. it’s been a long healing process, but that is to be expected with a break that left me with a 4-inch titanium plate and seven gnarly screws – not to mention one awesome scar! here’s my original x-ray.

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sorry, but my x-ray is pretty cool. i love showing it off. i’m proud of it in some weird kind of way, i think mainly because the story of how i crashed my bike and broke my elbow is one you can’t hear without laughing. for those of you who are curious about the metal in my arm, click here (and click the arrows to the right) to go to my friend William’s photo journal. he thought it was cool enough to post. and before anyone asks: no, i don’t set off the security alarms at airports. disappointing, eh?

i made ice cream (yeah!) this weekend w/ my nieces (amy: we made vanilla b/c the girls couldn’t decide what flavor. one wanted mint chip and the other wanted cookie dough. shocking, eh?). i really miss doing that every day. it was so fun and creative – thinking of new flavors and experimenting until we got the flavor just perfect. and i miss working with the awesome crew at Ivanna Cone. mark says that the new and fancy-pants web site for Ivanna Cone is nearly ready! how exciting! he’s tweaking the interactive guest book and will hopefully launch soon. it will be the first site he and i created together and i can’t wait to launch it! the pictures turned out beautifully, if i do say so myself.

for you music fans: several new albums are out (or nearly out). they are:

  • rilo kiley
  • calexico (who are from Tucson!)
  • balkan beat box
  • tom waits
  • tilly & the wall
  • zap mama
  • bettye levette (sept. 25)

both calexico, rilo kiley and the red elvises will be stopping in tucson during september. you know i’ll be there!

some photos:

my first glimpse of mountains on my way home from work. corner-view.jpg

my birthday pie – caramel chocolate cream. how many ways can you say “yummy!”?

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and my niece Scarlet, who burned her finger lighting my single candle.

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a tired krista rocking out & working into the night…

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today is my 32nd birthday! and while there will not be the usual blow-out party with “The Perfect Margarita!!” that we have spent the past few years perfecting (Thanks William!!), but i will spend this birthday with family – something i have not done in more years than i can count. my nieces – Emmy and Scarlet (age 9 and almost 11) have insisted on taking me to “their favorite” sushi restaurant in town. how cool are they? i am certain that i had no idea what sushi was at their age, let alone had a favorite place for it.

so this year i will toast the coming year with a Sake Bomb! and if anyone else finds themselves out on the town, have a drink with me – and may the coming year bring many adventures in life and love to everyone!

i received a great birthday present today! a paycheck! just in time because i literally spent my final $2 on the coffee i’m sipping on right now. phew!

yesterday i did something i’ve never been able to do – due to ethics codes that apply to journalists. i went to a political meet-&-greet for Rodney Glassman, a democratic candidate for Tucson City Council (http://www.rodneyglassman.com/). i went simply as a member of the community and a representative of Voices, Inc. i actually signed the guest list and got the contact information so that i can volunteer for his campaign. he generously donated $1,000 to Voices, Inc.

i have longed to be an active participant in my community and my politics…and to volunteer for the floundering democratic party. i have found yet one more benefit to not working for newspapers anymore. a few months after i was fired from the journal star, my dearest friend becki talked me into volunteering at the Sunken Gardens bi-annual volunteer morning. it was an event i had covered several times for the newspaper, but that morning i spent actually digging in the soil and meeting other volunteers was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my adult life – “doing” something was so different from “watching” something happen. all these years i had felt that i was doing things, and it’s not so say that i wasn’t participating – but it was on the fringe. on that morning i had a revelation that i, personally, deeply enjoying being more in the center than on the fringe. (sidenote: i learned yesterday that the j-star newsroom received yet another email stating that yet another cool person “no longer works at the Journal Star.” that makes at least four great people that paper has fired. it’s a shame corporations have no shame nor any loyalty for their employees.)

after the meeting i checked out this lovely dress shop across the street that i’ve passed by several times now. it’s pricey, but lovely. the woman who runs it – Claudette – is a great spirit. i look forward to having money to spend in her shop.

i took this photo as i was walking across the plaza this evening on my way back to to the office. two air force planes were flying over at a moment when the sky was a beautiful periwinkle color.

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of course, on this posting they look more like flies than jet planes, but work with me, eh?

often the hardest part of moving to a new town is finding a market that you like. i found a great market not far from my new place. Sprouts, which is an Arizona-based organic food market (similar to Trader Joes or Wild Oats Market). They have a very small frozen foods section because nearly half of the store is fresh produce from local suppliers. prices are quit reasonable and they sell some of my favorite stuff. Score! i’ve become a lot more aware of the “food miles” my food has before i purchase it, and thanks to Mark i pay a lot more attention to which products contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. there are good reasons that is is banned in several countries – but what else are they gonna do with all that overproduced corn??? ethanol?

notable work events this week:

i made my first hire of Alex N., a very artistic and creative young man, to be the Assistant Photo Editor/Youth Staff Leader. I look forward to working with him and incorporating his ideas into our program. his photo illustrations are highly innovative. if anyone is interested in checking out his work click here.

i recreated our recruitment flyer, which we use as an advertisement to post in high schools. i was re-creating the flyer from the previous year when our office manager DonnaMarie, who is an awesome 19-year-old and previous youth staff member, commented that she thought last year’s was kinda like “an after school special” advertisement, which is definitely NOT what we’re going for so i started from scratch and created this one.

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the photo was taken by Edward Brown (click here to see his work), a really talented Christian Rap artist, that we are currently hoping will be accepted to Idyllwild Arts Academy in southern California on the $45,000 Native American scholarship that i sent out to everyone last week. (by the way: thanks to everyone who forwarded that email. the school recruiter commented that she was awed by the amount of people calling the school to inquire about the program. she asked for my list of contacts). i credit the font choices to Johnathan S., last year’s youth leader.

i finally completed my training curriculum for the youth staff. i have precisely 3.5 weeks to teach them the basics of EVERYTHING before they start working on their projects. it was a challenge to boil everything they need to learn into exactly 8 sessions that last 2 hours each. yikes! thank goodness it’s a “continual learning program.”

yesterday i received a wonderful compliment from the projects director Rachel. she turned to me and said that she was really glad that i am here. my heart swelled at that.

oh…and i think i may have met the only woman to say “Awesome!” more than me…my co-worker Katie, who is the Writing Director of Voices Inc.

curriculum, curriculum, curriculum. that is basically all i’ve been thinking, organizing, processing and any other “____ing” you can imagine….and it’s actually been A LOT of fun! i am hoping that by the end of this week that i’ll have a fairly concrete “working” version – an bit of an oxymoron, i know – but i am learning that things here at Voices are very fluid.

today we interviewed two previous Youth Staff members for the two Assistant Editor positions that we have open – one for photography and the other for writing. the whole experience made me recall when i came to interview here at Voices and how i felt the whole process was pretty hard! today’s interviews were much the same – a group interview with the applicant totally surrounded. i remember the group interview with the adult staff of voices and the very direct questions shuttled in my direction…but to be honest, the interview i had later that day with the youth staff was WAY harder. the students ask some hard questions and there is no way you can fudge your way through b/c they will see right through you. overall, it was a much more challenging process than any interview i have ever had for a newspaper position. i received a compliment today on my performance during my interview here. apparently they all thought i was calm and collected. glad to know my acting skills are still intact!

today’s applicants were fun and interesting. the applicant we have for the Asst. Photo Editor is a bright and creative young man that i think i will enjoy working with, if he is hired.

yesterday evening i moved into the room that i will be renting for the next three to four months. my roommate Steffanie is quite lovely and i sincerely feel we will be good housemates. i am the first person she has shared space with in several years, which i hope won’t be too much of an adjustment for her. luckily i am rather low key and my work hours are slightly different from hers. she has already been a great resource for me in my move here. she moved here from Minnesota ten years ago, not knowing anyone, and had a slightly rough start. she has been kind in helping me as i try to get settled into my new city.

i spent last weekend back up in the Phoenix area at my sister’s house. my nieces and i played game after game of “Sorry”. remember that board game? it has been redesigned and is fancy now, but full all the same.

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we also spent some time quizzing my youngest niece, Scarlet, on her states and capitols which she has to memorize this year in 5th grade. she got quite a laugh out of ” The Cornhusker State” and asked me what it meant – which lead to an interesting conversation about how states get their knicknames.

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the highlight of my weekend was having lunch with Jill and Michael, who were in town visiting Michael’s parents and were looking very relaxed. it was fabulous to see familiar faces, especially photographers! i spent a little time over lunch asking for their input on an assignment i’m developing. thanks guys!

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oh…and friday night i went with my sister to a Crave party. what is a “Crave” party, you ask? more or less, it is a tupperware party for ladies, except what’s for sale are sex toys, lotions, lingerie and even a ‘stripper pole’. it was actually a really fun and interesting experience, especially since most everyone had been drinking steadily for several hours. the highlight was the few daring souls, who with enough alcohol and peer pressure, tried their talents pole dancing. alas, i was not drunk enough to dance, nor was i wearing the right attire (a skirt) but i did learn a thing or two, but you’ll have to buy me a few drinks before i’m willing to demonstrate.

oh…one more thing! for those of you in Lincoln, Bread & Cup is now officially open. go chat with Mark as he bakes bread, have a glass of wine, and tell him how much i miss him!

happy friday. i did it. i made it through my first week as a teacher – which, of course, was easy due to the fact that we have no students yet (lol). it has been a great week. the organization is low-key and my introduction to the protocols has been gentle. i have spent the past two days developing a curriculum to introduce and train our Youth Staff in all aspects of photography. i’ve been told that a good percentage of our students have little, if any, familiarity with photography and/or cameras. for several of my students, working here at Voices will be the first time they have used a camera as way to express themselves artistically.

yesterday also brought good news. i finally have a place to live, albeit, temporarily. i will be renting a room for the next few months, which will give me time to rebound financially from the bank-drain caused by my broken elbow and the move to Tucson. I will keep searching for the “perfect” space in the downtown area that i can live in and also use as a photo studio.

those of you in Lincoln will get a kick out of this story. yesterday afternoon i had a planning meeting with Sarah, an editor from the local paper, who volunteers with Voices. after the meeting, she and i were walking towards our cars and through the conversation i shared that i had spent the last year making gourmet ice cream with my beautiful friend Miss Amy Green at Ivanna Cone. Sarah immediately asked me if this was the same Amy that had been interviewed recently by NPR for a story about rising milk prices – and i replied, “Why yes! That is the very same lady!”

for those of you who missed the amazing Amy’s comments, click here for the story & audio:

http://216.35.221.77/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11980712

today i continue researching the first photo assignment i will challenge the students to do. it is a research assignment for them, and there is a load of background research for me to accomplish if the assignment will have the effect i hope it does. i’m really wishing i had brought my library of photo books along with me b/c the local library and the local chain bookstores have only a certain percentage of what i need.

momentarily i will heading back up to the Phoenix area to share a cocktail with Miss Jill and Mr. Mike. seeing familiar faces will be so good for my spirits.

lastly, i have to add a couple things i’ve discovered that had caused my respect for this town grow:

1) there is a cafe and a thrift store directly across the street from Voices. i learned yesterday that both businesses are employed by adults recovering/coping with mental disabilities. while waiting for my ceaser salad i meet Orlando, the manager of Cafe 54 who introduced me to most of the staff there which was fun. i have yet to check out the thrift store (shocking!) but i’ll make it there when i have more than two nickels in my pocket.

2) today i discovered that the charter high school that we rent our space from only purchases 100% recycled paper for use in the restrooms. outstanding!

i’m off to get some lunch. i’m starving!

my brain is officially on overload status right now. i had a tough time staying focused and following a project through. i did make it to day 3 before my brain reached processing capacity…although i’m not sure if that is a positive or a negative thing??

today was spent organizing the curriculum/training calendar for September – November. it’s tough to decide what to teach first and to figure out how to sequence lessons so that they build upon each other without being redundant. thankfully my college professor, ken kobre, writes ‘THE” textbook for photojournalism students, which is a great resource and guidepost for me. god bless you ken!

we also had a great meeting to brainstorm community-based news project ideas for the Knight Foundation’s $5 million purse. some great ideas were proposed. if anyone is interested in reading about current project proposals, check out their web site:

http://www.newschallenge.org/

as promised, here are a few photos:

Downtown Tucson…

Tucson downtown

it’s a bicyle culture here in Tucson…(i took this in our school building in downtown).

Bicycle

can someone please explain, what “dustless black pepper” is and why do we need it? is it better than dusty black pepper???

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a very mundane photo of the Santa Catalina mountain in north Tuscon. i’ll take a better one when i get to know the town a bit more.

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this is B-Line…one of my soon to be top eateries on 4th Ave.

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