The Amalfi Coast.


That miserable and storied month of February now over, I am acutely aware of how anxious and unhappy I was throughout. This didn’t occur to me while it was happening; only after the trapeze artist is safely on the ground again do you realize you were holding your breath the entire time.

And you realize how much worse it could have been. If only you could reach back in time and tell yourself: everything will be okay. I am not there yet – as I told a friend last night, I still don’t know what will happen to my book, and so I can’t yet say, “It was all for the best.” (more…)

“This month has kind of sucked,” I told Rand yesterday.

When he began to dispute this (because to dismiss an entire February thanks to a few unfortunate events is antithetical to his logical and – somewhat paradoxically – upbeat nature), I merely whispered “Seahawks” and he immediately fell silent.

“Man,” he said after a quiet moment. “February has kind of sucked.”

Halloween 2009.


Note: I wanted to share photos of the kids from the school we visited in South Africa but I realize that I don’t have permission from their parents or guardians – only their teachers. Consequently, I’ve tried to select images where the kids are either in the distance, or not visible head-on, so that it wouldn’t be easy to identify them. In some instances, I have tried to reduce the focus on them (literally) while still trying to maintain the integrity of the image. My intent was not to reduce them to a background, to dehumanize them, or turn them into props for the white tourists visiting their school. Rather, I wished to maintain their privacy. I hope that my efforts to keep them anonymous has not insulted their autonomy in any way.

Needless to say, these are real children. They have real feelings and problems and losses and triumphs. They are not anecdotes. They do not exist so that I can make a donation to their school and feel better about myself. But they do exist. And they should not be ignored or overlooked.

I am also acutely aware that it is kind of messed up to have the only non-blurry image be of a small white child in South Africa. But that’s the compromise I went with, as I have Jack’s parent’s permission to put him on the blog.

Please feel free to email me or leave a comment if you want to further discuss the issue of how to portray children on blogs.


The fence around Blomvlei was tall, lined on the top with barbed wire. The buildings inside had bars on all the windows. The administrative offices were surrounded by multiple barred doors.


Later, when we talked about that dinner, we spoke with reverence of many things. The sky. The lanterns. The food.


But none of these could hold a candle to the bathroom.

We could not stop praising that tremendous toilet. That remarkable restroom. That lavish lavatory. That wondrous … wiz palace? (Sorry.)

Which is not to say that the rest of the evening wasn’t incredible – it was. But I’ve been to nice restaurants. I’ve seen amazing things.

But I have never peed in a nicer toilet.