Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter, cerca 1989

I hear the snow trickle as it melts, but my favorite spring signifiers, the forsythia and daffodils, have yet to bloom. Thier absence has me daydreaming about the Austrian Easters of my past when the Stigliani children would have an egg hunt in the vibrant flower garden of our good friend Ulla.

The Stiglianis in Ulla's spring garden (minus the boys)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring break and sickness

It's spring break! Only, I arrived in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with a head cold and a fever. At least I'm at home, the best place to be sick. I've been pampered with soup, slippers, hot rum, a seat next to the fireplace and the company of my parents and the dogs.

My seat by the fire ...
in Mama's craft studio ...
where she makes slippers like the pair she gave me ...
with Tina and Joshi nearby for company

Monday, March 18, 2013

On track?

Thesis writing lacks the weekly deadlines that have driven my previous three semesters of graduate school. There is the big final deadline—the defense. But, many weeks have passed without consequences for not getting enough work done.

While I have not cast my work aside, I have also not worked nearly as hard as I have in other semesters. I've taken days off when I felt like it and slept late if I liked.

My thesis advisor assured me at our last meeting that I was making good progress. Still, I have a nagging fear that May will arrive and I won't have a manuscript that I am proud of. Perhaps this is the nature of long-term deadlines. Maybe it's more reflective of real world work assignments and the level of oversight from bosses and editors.

In the meantime, I am trying to enjoy life and be grateful for its slower pace.

Monday, March 11, 2013

As I leave sunny California

My good friend Kevin and I are traveling (actually waiting in the airport) to return to Missouri after a whirlwind trip to visit my brother Anthony in San Francisco.

In the San Francisco airport
I had a wonderful time exploring the city, eating pastries, shopping and drinking—all in the company of two my handsome companions.

As I leave, I feel certain that this trip was exactly what I needed and also that I am not meant to move to San Francisco after graduation. Anthony is not in a position to move into the city right now; he lives in Palo Alto, which is an hour commute to city's center. I don't want to move to a new city alone, and there are more work opportunities for me in New York than on the West Coast.

I leave California with happy memories and a clearer idea of where I want go.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Something to see

This week, I spent many hours at movies and conferences related to Columbia's True/False Film Fest. The most eye-opening movie I saw was the documentary Dirty Wars, which investigates the US government's secret operations forces that have been engaging in drone strikes and attacks around the world (including countries with which no war has been declared). Countless civilian have been killed and some of those killings have been intentionally covered up.

I was fortunate enough to briefly speak with the movie's main narrator and writer, Jeremy Scahill.  I asked him how he deals with reporting on people who are in desperate situations that he cannot directly help. He said that he never makes promises, but makes efforts to stay in touch with them and to share the impact of the film as it's screened at different festivals. I found his answer inspiring because I struggle with the idea that journalists write stories and get recognized for what they do while the lives of the people who share their stories often gain nothing.

The movie will be screening nationally later this year. I highly recommend seeing it.

Here's a bit more if you're interested.