kara,  photography

And now we have Darnelle…

Internet, meet Darnelle. This is Kara’s new baby. Before you go freaking out that we bought her a big ol’ expensive Nikon, just listen to how this all came about.

Since long before 6th grade, Kara has had this thing I like to call, ‘Her Mother’s Inability To Retain Anything That Has To With Numbers Being Multiplied.’ (perhaps this has something to do with how many children I have…that or 9 months of not having a period outweighed the horrible sickness I had taking birth control pills)
When it comes to retaining any information outside of the lyrics to every song written, every single line in a movie she loves or a promise I made while half asleep, she locks up.

In 6th grade I got a phone call from the school saying Kara had a ‘melt down’ and that I needed to come to the school ASAP.
When I got there her teacher and this strange looking man brought me into a room and told me Kara had freaked out in class and walked out. This is very much unlike my daughter, normally if she has a problem…she seeps into the woodwork and is unable to be found until the bell rings and she bolts for the door. Her teacher, the sweetest human to walk the earth, said that Kara had tearfully (ok, she was sobbing) confided in her that she has ‘math issues’. I already knew about these issues, and after years of frustration had just hoped that it would someday just fix itself. It didn’t and the boiling point had been reached.
They suggested putting her in a ‘special’ class for kids that had difficulty with certain subjects.
As it was, Kara was teased horribly for her ‘tooth issue’ and I didn’t want to add to the humiliation of her being pulled out of class too.
Kara then said she wanted to go and needed the help.

It took a half of a school year for Kara to finally understand what everyone else was doing in minutes. The dorky looking man had broken through to Kara and taught her more in 4 months, than all her teachers to that point combined did for her. She got a B in math and the angels in heaven threw a huge party.

Going into 7th grade would be a challenge for her. Still no front tooth and all of her girlfriends had boobs. She was worried about getting a math teacher that wouldn’t be able to explain like her dorky teacher had been teaching her. What if this new teacher was mean?
After talking to the school district, they enrolled her in a similar program and all-be-damned if she didn’t pass math. She was still being teased about having to go to the ‘special’ class, but her confidence had grown so much that it didn’t bother her.

8th grade was similar, but she moved from just passing math to getting A’s in math. This is something UNHEARD of in my family. I certainly never saw an A in math, but it was easy to make the I (incomplete) look like an A on a report card. This ‘special’ class was really helping.
I meet with the school district again and they agreed that the program was working for her and they would like to continue it through high school. There was a catch. She would only get ONE elective, when the other kids would have 2 or sometimes 3. We talked about it and she agreed that she would be willing to give it up to remain in the program. The second catch was since the elective programs filled up fast, she would have to pick her elective for her whole 4 years of high school right then, but would be secured a spot in all her classes.

She went through the papers and through them again. She had wanted to take her drama/acting classes. She was torn between following the 4 year path of something she had a desire for and also for something she had been craving for; Photography.

As you can see, she took photography. I called my dad and told him about her decision and he seemed…well, he could care less. Then I brought up the fact that she would need a camera. The school provides cameras, but they are REALLY bad cameras and for her to take this seriously, she was going to need to motivate her.
Months went by and I tried every tactic in the book for my father to shell out the cash for her camera. Each time it was an empty promise of ‘looking into it’

While we were in Redding last weekend my mother, The Fonz…well…let’s just say she used this tone in her voice and the eyebrow raise to her ex-husband that he understood that she meant business. She…how do I say this? She strongly reminded him that even though they were no longer married that he was going to bend to her Will or pay the price dearly. He called that night to ask me questions about cameras. I told him that Kara had her heart set on a Nikon D50. It wasn’t the D70, but it would be easier for her to manage and understand.
The next day he put the bid in on Ebay and bought her the camera for half the price of what you would get at the stores. He was excited that he got the camera at ‘a steal’.

Kara got her camera in the mail today. She pulled the camera out of the box and was nearly in tears. It didn’t come with the strap and I insisted that if she was going to use it, the strap would have to be on it.

We now have a new Nikon in the family. Since our cameras are named after the characters on “My Name Is Earl” She needed to name her camera to follow suit.

My Nikon is Randy (the little brother to Earl) Shaun’s Nikon is Earl (because he has the older camera) and instead of ‘Joy’ she decided she wanted to name her camera ‘Darnell’ (also known as Crab Man) because Earl and Randy like him and he’s really nice and funny.

She has also decided that we need to redesign our business page with a picture of all of us with our cameras, walking through a smoke filled alleyway like they do on the TV shows when the good guys come in to rescue someone.

It’s probably a good thing she has a camera…at least it will get her away from the TV.

I'm a lot of things, but mostly I'm just Random and Odd.


  • Sharkey

    Awesome, awesome. So happy for Kara! And for you. You sound almost as excited in this post as you have when you’ve announced new grandbabies.

    Congrats all around!

  • dashababy

    I love the idea for the webpage of walking through the smokey alley way, maybe just enough rain to wet the ground,,,, coool.
    Hey Kara, maybe you could teach auntie Kathy a thing or 2 about the photography. I need my “special” teacher. Hows the tooth coming? Take a picture of it!!
    I love you guys, oxoxxox

  • MrsDoF

    Kara will greatly enjoy photography, and getting class credit for it is even better. I had a little series of photo classes at the Parks & Rec and learned so much about framing the scene, lighting, etc.

    Aw, ol’ grandpa got off easy, a camera at half price.

    My mother-in-law paid for textbooks for every semester of college for 6 grandkids, and was glad to do it.

  • Leane

    I loved reading this. First of all my son starts 7th grade this year. I may need your help. this is the year I could be pushed over the edge completely!!! I love that Kara got so much help in math. My son is also not great at math and his memorization of math facts–took FOREVER–to this day I think he still hasn’t gotten them completely memorized. Kara is going to do great things with that camera! Hugs to you all.

  • Andrea

    go. kara. as an adult with math issues, tell her i am so proud of her for sticking with the “special” class and turning her math issues around!

  • Cat

    That is so Awesome!!! Glad to hear that your daughters school took an interest in her, and are helping her throughout high school!!! (unlike what my son was given) I am thrilled for her!!!

    can’t wait to see some photos from her. sounds like she is a natural already!

  • seahorse_

    That is so fabulous! I am so happy for Kara! I know that she will be a wonderful photographer and I think you SHOULD redesign your business page like she suggested. It would be too funny!

    You GO Kara!!! :-D

  • traci

    Go Kara!!! and GO Kara’s mommy and grandmommy too! Way to fight for your girlie!

    As for My Name Is Earl, I’ve never seen it. heh

    p.s. The business page pic is a great idea!

  • Michelle - the other one

    Congrats! My daughter is so jealous. She is only going into Eighth grade but she has already decided to take photography in High school. (Our school here has an awesome program and studio.)

    Good job on the Math Kara. Hard work pays off…nicely :)

  • kimmyk

    Yeah Kara!!!
    Now I know who will be my phone a friend for my Algebra II class I have to take in October. Woohoo!!

    Win win situation. I get a tutor and you get to brag you’re helping some old lady with her math homework. Let’s go easy on that whole ‘old lady’ comment though, mmkay?

  • just another jen

    YAY Kara!

    I’ve had many hobbies but I am forever grateful that I have a decent camera. Nothing can compare to capturing memories. =D

  • Fantastagirl

    That is just Fantastic! Way to go Kara – and that’s just for the great grades in Math. Numbers can be a difficult thing to get – I’m glad that she was able to find some great teachers!

    and I am green with envy that she gets to take photography in High School… that is awesome!

  • kate

    I need to get a passing grade in math. I so understand not getting math. she is doing awesome!

    I love the camera story and I think that is awesome.

  • OddMix

    Yay for a good camera for a great young photographer. But, please tell me that this does not mean that she will be spending less time on the glass side of the camera! Because that would be a crying shame!

  • Debaser

    You’ve ruined your daughter forever! You can’t learn on digital! She needs and FM2n! All manual, baby, and slide film makes you pay dearly for mistakes!

    Just kidding. It’s great to hear your daughter’s interested in the same thing you are. If I ever get a kid he’s going to be a photographer and a pro baseball player.