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Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 01:11 PM PDT

I never knew her, and now she's dead.

by khowell

Feeling regret at 'what could have been' is not one of the things that I'm very good at.  Never have been.  I know it's part of the reason that I occasionally take more risks than I should, but it also means that I do my very best to live my life to the absolute fullest, no matter what.

It's also why, about 15 years ago, I started trying to find my birthmother.  

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Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 01:34 PM PDT

Yes, I'm new - Here's my card

by khowell

Well, y'all - it took me forever to get around to telling my Kos family (and for that I hang my head in shame, but damn it's been busy) but I have an announcement to make:

I GOT THE JOB!

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I came home late last night and moved straight from the office and car to the couch, where I started writing my next-to-last paper for my last class.  After 2 AM, when I finally curled up in bed to sleep, I dreamed about the book I was reading, Craig Colten's historical geography of New Orleans - An Unnatural City: Wresting New Orleans from Nature.  I dreamed myself back into the city that shaped my childhood and teenage years, that fed my passions of food, music, and drink through my 20s, and that makes me ache with nostalgia for my almost-home.  My spiritual home.  

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Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 08:40 AM PDT

NEPTUNE + 69 - A D-Day Photo Diary

by khowell

Hill 147
Hill 192
St. Lo
Arromanches
Point du Hoc
Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword
Pegasus Bridge
Caen
Bereigny
Bastogne
St. Mere-Eglise
Le Cambe
Beny-sur-Mer
Bayeux
Colleville-sur-Mer

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Since January, I've worked closely with a number of retired Army guys who are using their MGIB benefits to take classes.  Some, due to the nature and severity of their injuries, are taking classes online (students with PTSD and TBI may feel more secure at home, in a familiar place, than out on a bustling campus).

In the US, though, where we're busy widening the income-based gap of people who can afford technology and those who can't, how do we talk about technologically-based education?

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I just got back Saturday from the American Association of Community College's Workforce Development Institute in San Diego.  This was my second trip in the past six months to sunny California - my first was to the American Association of Sustainability in Higher Education conference in Los Angeles in October - and I'd be hard-pressed to say that I got more out of that larger (far larger) conference than I did from the sustainability-focused pre-conference I attended on Wednesday.  If any of you work in the community college side of sustainability education, operations, or policy, I can highly recommend the SEED center's yearly event that's affiliated with WDI - not with the full AACC conference.

While I was in town, I (of course) took every chance I could to get outside - the weather was divine and there's only so long one can sit in a windowless hotel conference room.  Follow me below the Kos croissant for more.

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Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 02:21 PM PST

My most recent letter to Mitch

by khowell

I'm one of those many, many liberal democrats - far to the left of our president, even - who are unfortunately represented in the Senate by Mitch McConnell.  Today, with the coming showdown on Senate rules, I felt compelled to write Mitch not about his medieval policies, his party's slavish dedication to monied, white theocrats, or his general disregard for what is best for the commonweal of the Commonwealth.

That is to say, I wrote him concerning filibuster reform.

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As I mentioned here, I do a fair amount of guest lecturing in our faculty members' civil rights classes.  Each time I meet with a new group of students, I do my very best to remind people that Dr. King was only the most "noticeable and charismatic" of individuals within a narrow window of the Civil Rights Movement as a whole.  

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Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 01:04 PM PST

My Favorite Civil Rights Playlist

by khowell

For the past several years, I have delivered the civil rights lectures in my husband's second-half US History courses.  Taking a page from the book of our dear friend and mentor Andy Wiest, I've typically started class with music.  Since I'm enjoying that playlist today, I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you.  Join hands and dance across the Orange Pastry of Power and we'll have a sing-along!

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Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 03:22 PM PST

When Will We Ever Learn: Burn Pits

by khowell

I worked on an Army installation for 3 years.  During that time, I heard soldiers brag and laugh about killing women, about running children down in the street, about giving young children dip and making them sick, just for a laugh... and in the end, all of that combined with my general discomfort about helping people improve their education so they could command more people to hurt others.  And I left.  Many of the people I worked with day-to-day were wonderful, and there were certainly some bright spots among all the jingoistic, violent comments.  And not all of the students fit into the same mold.  There were many I met with whom I have more in common with than my own family - freethinkers, peacemongers, and medics who wanted nothing more than to piece people together again.  Hawkeye Pierce is alive and well in today's Army, too.

One of those bright spots - one of the brightest, in fact, is now facing some pretty scary darkness.

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Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 08:32 PM PST

Travels and a nosh - A Photodiary

by khowell

It's been crazy busy at casa khowell these past several months.  Thesis writing, work and recreational travel, and classes.  And thesis.  Below are things that don't involve the thesis, including photos from my trip to the AASHE (American Association of Sustainability in Higher Education) conference in LA and to Mobile for the Southern Historical Association.

Keep your fingers crossed that I can finish the thesis on time!  I'm actually enjoying it quite a bit - a novel concept - since it involves helping liberal arts faculty become better versed in sustainability and integrate those ideas into their traditional coursework.

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What is it with people (and with me, let's not pretend I'm excluding myself from this set) right now?  I'm not quite to Waylon's level, as I'm not necessarily 'lonesome,' by any means.  But I have to fight with myself to keep the 'on'ry and mean' tamped down.  And it seems a majority of people I see during the day - at work, particularly - are in the same boat.  Simmering.  Unhappy.  Frustrated.

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