My parents are off on their journey to a whole other continent. I mentioned the silliness at the Russian Consulate in New York City. But the visas went through. Since the tour is in part a river cruise my parents will be in a cramped cabin, and so my mother was taking out luggage of sizes to find the right paradox (compact yet spacious). My father waited to the evening before to start figuring out what suitcases were available and to learn that he had in a moment of weakness returned the luggage of my brother and his wife to my brother and his wife. He asked if I had a suitcase as compact as the one my mother got at the Target (the one that otherwise sells me soda and peanut butter cups) a few months ago, which I don't. If I had my way my luggage would possibly fit in a containerized cargo box. The forty-foot units. I offered my canvas-satchel suitcase, though, and emptied that out, which you'd think I might have done in the preceding eight months (there were just a few little things in it, like a Singapore Trix cereal toy, of the Trix Rabbit in tae kwan do garb, which concept worried me), and an hour or so after I turned it over to him he returned it, saying he would use something else.
My mother borrowed my camera, so I spent time showing how to attach the wide-angle lens -- and take it off -- and how to unload photographs and if need be replace the memory card. I hoped she wouldn't ask too many details about the different modes since the truth is I barely know what the camera buttons do. It took me two years to learn how to set manual focus. But as long as I stick to the mode where I control this thing that can be 0.0, 0.3, 0.7, or 1.0 in positive or negative then my photographs are fine except when I need to do something like take a picture in the darkest night. She didn't, though, and she's confident of the work she can do. Now all I have to worry about is the knowledge that a few years ago she lost her whole pocketbook when she made the perfectly ordinary mistake of leaving it unattended at a sidewalk cafe while she went to the bathroom. I'm sure that wouldn't happen again.
Trivia: Two committees of the United States Maritime Administration, the American Standards Association's Materials Handling Sectional Committee 5, and the International Standards Organization's Technical Committee 104 set standards for containerized cargo. Sometimes even working together. Source: The Box, Marc Levinson.
Currently Reading: Doctor to the Stars, Murray Leinster.