I have been quiet but the result is a full gallery of photos from the States. Unsurprisingly you will find lots of photos of Clark (who became progressively easier to photographs in just the 2 weeks I was there) and Karleigh (who is the sort of kid that complains when you stop taking photos of her). At the end of the gallery you will find all the photos from before and after the Art Melt at the Dixon house. Dave Marley had been planning this all summer, and the event was a great success.

Art MeltThe principle is simple — several artists get together to exhibit their work while anyone is free to come by and view. Debbie was initially worried about the number of people who might descend upon the house, but she thoroughly enjoyed the night. Alongside the art was a range of food to nibble, cold drinks and live music from a band Dave knew. It was particularly interesting being around the week beforehand, seeing several of the artists coming to the house to sketch ideas and prepare.

Distinguished visitors included a man running for judge which highlighted another idiosyncrasy of the American system. Elected positions are not just the obvious political ones, but rather span sheriff, district attorney (the chief prosecutor) and judges. On the surface this appears a more democratic way of doing things. However beneath that, and the reason we do not adopt it here, is the concern that these people cannot be expected to do their jobs properly when a popular election is imminent — they are clearly conflicted by a desire to retain their position.

Shopping Cart KidsTo avoid going stir crazy while cooped up in the apartment with medical books, a pregnant Jenna discovered couponing which has now overtaken her life (we mused that given our family’s apparent addictive personality — Caleb and WOW, Manel and cleaning — it was a good thing none had ever been hooked on drugs). The basic system involves matching specific coupons with sales on at certain stores. So if there is a buy one get one free coupon and a buy one get one free sale at the shop, after both items and the coupon are rung up, the marvel of modern technology and automated tills reduces the price to zero. It gets much more complicated than that, of course, but there’s a very odd feeling walking away with $18 of shampoo for 82 cents, particularly as the clerk apologises since he had technically overcharged us. The whole procedure becomes significantly more challenging when performed with three children in tow, I discovered, when we hooked up with Cassie. Jenna’s least proud moment, however, has to be sitting in front of Target cutting out coupons around 10pm only to find that once she was done the store had been closed for 10 minutes.

Jenna and I discussed a group photo she had taken of her friends at university and how she felt she was very much part of the picture despite not being physically in it — she can see herself in it. In much the same way I am very definitely in many of the photos in this gallery. In fact as a photographer I have often found that I can tell how another photographer feels about their subjects simply from the way they choose to shoot them, occasionally with surprising results…