Friday, March 21, 2014

Lights! Cadavers! Action!

Last week I was sent to photograph an FBI course being taught over at the medical campus. They students were part of the Evidence Response Team and were learning from a retired FBI agent and a MED professor, how to get prints of victims.

I was going to see cadavers, and smell formaldehyde

I was really nervous leading up to the assignment, not knowing how I would react. What would the bodies look like? What was it going to smell like? I had no idea whatsoever.

I showed up and Gary, the retired FBI agent and instructor in forensics at BU, brought me straight into the gross anatomy lab. As we walked in, I saw four bright green bags covering bodies on tables at the far end. I glanced over to my left and BAM!  There was a body, picked over and dissected and being leaned over and worked on by a student. "They're dental students" Gary told me. The bodies are donated to the school. Gross Anatomy learns on them first, then the dental students get them, then the forensics department.

OK, this is happening. Mind over matter.

He explained how the class works, what they were doing, etc (the students were having lunch at the moment in the other room).

Class gets back in session and we gather around a body bag. TO my surprise there were far more women int he class than men. They brought an arm out of the bag. It was an old woman, I'm guessing. She had pink fingernails and had been completely dissected over by the anatomy students. I got a glimpse of her head at one point, not on purpose, and it was completely wrapped up.

I waited for the next hand to come out on the next body so I could photograph a body with no nail polish.  The professor/doctor standing by the next body threw back the green bag and wow, I was not prepared. It was an entire, complete, untouched human dead guy.  Big belly, hair on his head, bulbous nose, gnarly toe nails. I really had to focus to keep it together. The prof covered the majority of the body back up, but the head and arm stayed outside.

Gary worked on the hand, which was stiff and curled. He bent and tugged, pulled and massaged. I crossed my fingers that he would break nothing and I wouldn't hear a crack. I knew that would put me over the edge.

Mind over matter.

The prof came over to me at some point and reminded me that I don't need to be a hero. I could go over to the window if I needed a break. But I was OK and I told him so, "It was just...I wasn't prepared for him to be tact." I told him.
"And his head's still out" I added.
"Oh, sorry" he scurried over and kindly covered the man's head with the green bag.  After that it was much easier to be int he room and do my job.

Using a cadaver at MED, Boston FBI Support Staff members Crystal Komara, from left, Keri Allen, and Keri Peters learn new techniques for collecting prints from a victim March 14, 2014, during a course for the FBI Boston Division Evidence Response Team.

I shot this one the other day and was just really happy with how it came out. They way the guy at center is standing there sort of eerily.
Electrician Margaret Lorinczi (CFA'16), atop the ladder, and Associate Lighting Designer Alex Fetchko (CFA'15) put the finishing touches on the lighting for CFA's upcoming For Colored Girls at CFA March 17, 2014. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide With The Rainbow Is Enuf opens Friday night and runs through the weekend.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Best Shelves

On Sunday I went for a visit to my friend Meg in Burlington. She and Aaron, both friends from college (go Bobcats!), have four adorable kids; Stella, 6, Miles, 3.5, and the twins Vivian and Sylvia are 1.5.

I was feeling a bit blue that morning, so I was excited to get some time with them. They are always a great pick-me-up. Really, a great pick-everyone-up.

There were many funny little interactions while I was there but the one I remember most vividly came from Miles. Miles was having a bad morning. He was feeling weepy and sensitive, tired maybe. First he asked if he could go to his room and be by himself. Of course he could. Aaron walked him over to the stairs, moving the little baby gate out of the way for him. He gave him a hug and told his son that he loved him. Miles sweetly and quietly sniffled out "I love you too".

He pulled himself together for lunch but lost it a bit again when he was a little naughty and threw a ball in the house. The ball went into time out and Miles went into weepy-mode. "Oh, Miles, we are not showing Cydney our best selves today" Meg told him with a sigh.

"Our best shelves?" Miles asked through his wimpers, "Where are our best shelves?" more sniffles while looking around the room, "The ones with the books on them?"

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I don't live with much regret in the bigger picture of my life. I generally feel that the path I have taken thus far is the path I was meant to be on.

I think through most of my desicions, and I'm simply not very regretful once the decisions are made. I might feel verysad about an outcome, but not regretful.

This monring, I woke up realizing what it feels like to have regret. To do something, or in this case, not do something, and then realize it might be too late.

Many peple, when they learn I've photographed births as they happen, shrivvle and say "why would anyone want photos of that?!"  I tell them that if the images are taken you ahve them. If you never want to look at them again, so be it, but if you do they are there.

I turn 38 in a few short weeks. 38. The number is mind-boggling to me. I stood in my shower this monring, with my regret; not having my eggs frozen. It had occured to me to do this when I was maybe 30 or so. It crossed my mind.

Cost I'm sure was an issue. It can cost as much at 15 grand for the proceedure. And of course there's no guarantee it could work for you later in life when you want to actually use them. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn't be down the path to parenthood by now. So 33 came and I thought the same thing, "well, I have time and I bound to meet my person before it's too late". Then 35, then 36. Gone. And then a few more years.

But then I didn't meet him and here's the thing; Had I had my eggs collected and frozen when I was younger, if I never had to use them, so be it, but at least they would be there for me if I wanted to use them.

I would have at least had the choice.

So this is what regret feels like.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

She HAS Grown!

I look at Harlow and know she has grown, but at the same time, I can't really see it.

When I first got her I photographed her near the stairs out back, and then months later, did it again. I can't really see much difference.

And then I remembered that I photographed her in the Ikea chair when she helped herself to it just after I first got her (probably within the first few days).  So today I took a snapshot of her again in the chair.

I look at the picture of her now and wonder what I've done to her; all overgrown and scraggly looking and graying!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

There's Twenty Percent More!

I was in the shower this morning struggling to get out the last bit of noxema from it's pump bottle when I suddenly had a memory involving Susan which I hadn't ever thought of, really ever..

I don't know when this was - fifth, sixth, seventh grade?  She was over for dinner and for dessert we were having ice cream with Hershey's syrup on top. I stood next to her in the kitchen and watched her perform syrup duty; She was patiently holding the bottle upside down, waiting, and then creating a sputtering sound every time she would squeeze the bottle and make the last of the syrup spittle out into the bowl of ice cream it was hovering over.

"Susan, I think there's none left" I informed her.

"No, see?" she answered, pointing at the marketing ploy label on the bottle "It says there's twenty percent more in here!"

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pizza and Puke

Dad and Bootsie had come over earlier in the week for pizza and TV when Mom was off being social somewhere. Bootsie was unnerved. She couldn't really get comfortable- I'm sure the annoying puppy had nothing to do with that (insert sarcasm font here).

Later in the evening, Bootsie disappeared upstairs and I blocked off the stairs with a gate to give her some peace from the beast. When I eventually moved the gate to check on her, Harlow went upstairs with me and there in the hall were two puddles of vomit.

Oh, poor Bootise! Part of me wondered if she was so unnerved by Harlow's innability to be a relaxing host that she got an upset stomach. Harlow went over to investigate with her newly washed purple cow in her mouth. Wanting her not to mess with the vomit I told her "Leave it!".

At which point she dropped (of "left" as she was asked) purple cow right into one of the vomit puddles and walked away.

And purple cow got his second bath of the night!

Oliver Dream

Mom had a dream with Oliver in it and it was so nice I had to share it. Hopefully I am remembering correctly!

Mom was somewhere, (don't remember where, I'm already doing well with the details, huh?), when I giant raccoon showed up, hissing at her and approaching. Suddenly, Oliver shows up, his fur standing up on his back and bearing his teeth.

Mom encouraged him to leave the raccoon alone. That he could get hurt, but Oliver went after the raccoon. They had a nasty tussle and the raccoon ran away (or was killed or vanished. I'm fuzzy on the details).

Oliver wen to Mom held him, telling him what a brave boy he is, and Oliver said (in that dream way where their mouths don't move but you know they're saying something) "I'll always protect my family".

*sniff sniff*