Archives for the month of: September, 2007

i attended several functions today and by the end of the first one i was small-talked-out. i have a theory that having spent 15 years in daily journalism – i am over the concept of smalltalk. i’ve had too much smAll talk in my life. give me a topic to talk about and i’m cool, but i’m not masochistic enough yet to enjoy those long, uncomfortable silences in which people slowly nod their head, trying to think of something witty to say while eagerly scanning the room for someone more interesting than you.
i’ve moved around enough to be a near expert. i’ve moved to so many cities and towns where i didn’t know a soul. i start from scratch every time and after today, i am sincerely tired of not knowing anyone and feeling isolated. i’m like an island surrounded by people who are so busy and caught up in their own lives’s (be that good or bad) that since i started my job 8 weeks ago only one person has invited me out for coffee – and that offer came just this past week – oddly from the one person who has the most chaos in their life.

so, tonight i thought i had a reprieve. i headed to a bar in downtown where my co-worker Steph is playing with her beyond awesome band (more on the awesome show later, after my rant). i’m already feeling like the lonely odd woman out at any given moment, yet a man i met tonight plays a “fun” joke on me by playing along that he’s from Omaha – and i’m thinking cool, i can talk about “home” with someone…but… psych!! “ha-ha! not really! ha-ha!” later, the fun keeps rolling…i get home and the fear of every cosmetic-wearing-new-girl shows up in the mirrow: i go to brush my teeth and it is at that moment that i notice that i have lipstick on my teeth…and have since i arrived at the bar 2.5 hours earlier and there is NOT a chance that at least ONE of the THIRTEEN people i talked to didn’t see it. smooth.

yeah…i sound like a total whiner. i’m cool with it. i’ll make a glittery sash and affix a dented tiara to my head and wear it with pride. let me know if you need to borrow my get-up. i’m happy to share.

i really do want to talk about how awesome Steph’s show was…and to talk about the book reading that i attended, but i’m too pissy and grumpy at the moment to do right by either of them. i’m just gonna send my shitty attitude out into the ether and go to bed. cheers.

this post is going to be more like a novella because i have so much to share. it’s been an amazingly full week – ups, downs and moments of pure elation and relief!

Chapter 1: An Ode to Orange

I am sad to report that my dear friend William has announced that he is “retiring” his atrociously bright orange sporting shoes. these shoes have been a quirky signature of William’s for a long time and have often been an identifying element if you want to find him on the sidelines of a Husker’s football game. I’ve trolled through my archive to find a couple memorable images.

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from one of Cathie Huddle’s famous “roof parties”…i’m certain this one is from “the coldest March EVER!” party celebrating march birthdays.

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this was taken at Knickerbocker’s during a “Forty Twenty” show. i also have a shot of William doing his famous “airplane dance” but i’m saving that image for future blackmail opportunities.

click here for the image William shot to honor his shoes.

Chapter 2:

Two. Two fantastic things happened at work this week. On Tuesday we learned that we learned that we were awarded the Social Ventures grant. You’ve never heard a room full of shrieking unless you were in the room after that phone call!! it was awesome! The Social Ventures grant awards us $25K each year for the next three years. Nearly 100 agencies applied for this grant, which is awarded to only two groups – of which we are one. It is going to be a good opportunity to grow our organization and the number of youth that we serve as we learn from the expertise the members of this group have in the business world. I am excited to partner with this group in the future.

Also…after three days of deliberations, we finally have our 2008-09 Youth Staff! We have an amazing and diverse group of people and I am so excited and ready to get to work. We had 144 students apply for the 110º Youth Magazine, and are only able to hire 18. I wrote letters yesterday to those who didn’t make the cut, and it was hard! The whole she-bang starts on Monday. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas. Anxious and overly excited.

Chapter 3: I went looking for “Eden” and found Margaret

I was wandering around Craigslist last week, looking at the advertisements for rental property. I answered one and found Margaret, who has created “Eden” in her 1938 Adobe home. I have been dreaming of finding the “perfect” place to live. It would be an older home, preferably a southwestern-style adobe, with lots of character, have a partly shaded courtyard that I can garden, a fun kitchen with a gas stove and old tiles, not an inch of icky carpet on the floor, provide a feeling of quiet solitude and be close enough to work that i could ride my bike. A bit of an impossible list, I know…..but……yesterday I stepped into Margaret’s house and fell absolutely in love with the place. It has everything on my Dream List, plus a beautiful built-in dresser in the hallway, sage green walls in the kitchen and bedroom and a bright but calm yellow in the living room AND laundry on site. Wow! It’s an absolute dream come true. The kitchen is a perfect space to make dinner and margaritas with friends. It’s been a long while since I’ve had my own space and I feel like I’ve been rewarded for my patient wait. I look forward to taking care of Margaret’s gem while she is overseas pursing a dreamy opportunity.

Margaret is moving to Amman, Jordan to write a book on Landscape Architecture (can she be cooler??) and therefore needs someone to care for her beautiful home. Serendipity. She is a lovely spirit and I liked her instantly. I’m actually sad that she is leaving Tucson because she would be a cool woman to know.

And I got a sign last night while doing my nightly crossword puzzle. “Tucson” was an answer. (funny little tale…i was stumped a couple nights ago on a clue that read “11th century date”. i was thinking, hmmm….couples in the 11th century didn’t “date”, what kind of lame clue for a 3-letter-word is this? the answer: MVI. duh.)

Chapter 4: Turn Camera on Self

Mark and I had a fun photo session the other night. We had a little competition to see who could take the best self-portrait. I think he won, but I’ll post my favorite one of myself.

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oh…and for those of you who read the comments area on my blog. check out the one left by my niece Scarlet. she’s just cool.

Chapter 5: In your future I see…

– A “wish-you-well” party for my co-worker Kristen, who has been at Voices, inc., for the past five years. I would not hesitate to say that Kristen “is” Voices. She started as a Youth Staff member, moved up to a Youth Leader and then onto an AmeriCorps Leader. It is exciting to see her heading to college, but I will really miss her knowledge and quirky giggle around the office every day. Luckily, next week she starts as an official Volunteer so I’ll see her often.

– A punk band show at The Grill’s Red Room. Steph d., another way cool co-worker who fronts a punk band is performing tomorrow night and nearly the whole lot of us at Voices will be attending. I haven’t been out for live music since I arrived in Arizona and I am ashamed to admit that sad fact. I’ll take pics and share.

– A 1.5 hour massage. Thanks to the ever-thoughtful William, I am the proud owner of a gift certificate for a full body massage that I am happy to redeem on Sunday morning. This week has been full of moving (literally) boxes and boxes of books into our storage area – now that construction is nearly complete. Between the physical stress of the moving and the emotional / mental stress of debating the youth staff hires, I am elated that I get have a chance to pamper myself a little.

tonight i went to hear Darius Himes, Magazine Editor of the photo-eye book-list, speak at the Center for Creative Photography. i’ve been looking forward to his presentation for a few weeks now. i don’t know too many people in this town yet, but i seemed to ran into most of them as we were rushing over to CCP.

photo-eye is a haven of sorts for photographers and aficionados of photography. it is a book store in sante fe, new mexico that sells nothing but photography books – an amazing variety of photography books. i have only been to the book store once, but it was a truly phenomenal experience. i was too poor to buy anything at the time (i was earning “intern” pay back then). Himes is the editor of the magazine associated with the book store. click here to go the the magazine’s site.

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(current issue of photo-eye, cover photo/Paul Graham)

Himes had some interesting things to say. i’ve long been fascinated with the world of book publishing and, although his talk tonight focused more on the history of photo book publishing than current and/or future trends like i had hoped it would, i learned a lot and was introduced to some new photographers to investigate.

during his discussion tonight i felt the cartoon light-bulb go on over my head. it dawned on me that since my arrival and my subsequent start of my new job at Voices, Inc., i have felt more energetic and creative than i have in the recent past. i realized tonight why that is – i am rediscovering my first true love – photography.

after nearly 14 years in daily journalism, i am reopening my creative self to the endless possibilities and paths that photography can provide. i still love photojournalism and believe deeply in the importance of the genre’s mission. the impact of a photograph will always be tantamount to me.

yet, i can’t help but feel that as i prepare to introduce the magic and mystery of photography to the youth staff, i am rediscovering an incredible number of photographic paths that i did not choose all those years ago.

i feel like “door number two” is opening now that “door number one” is slowly closing. i feel like it’s my 13th birthday all over again and i just received my first SLR – a Pentax K1000 – and the idea of being a professional photographer just popped into my heart.

last week the universe provided me little reminders to reignite my feminist side. not that i really needed to catch a new flame, but a little inspiration never hurt anyone, eh?

my beloved NPR aired an interview with Jennifer Vitale, blogger of Feministing.com. and author of the recent book, Full Frontal Feminism. the NPR interview was most interesting. the discussion was lively, with talking points about porn and those girls who show their breasts on Girls Gone Wild. Vitale also spoke of her feeling that the feminists of the 1970’s are not passing the torch onto the current generation of feminists. and it wouldn’t be a discussion about feminism without tossing around the lovely term “bra-burning-man-haters” which was was bantered around and then dissected. fascinating.

later that day…i found the following art installation piece at Bentley’s coffee shop…

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the piece entitled, “Period Pieces” is in support the Grrls Literacy Activism Workshop. (sic). it’s in the ladies room at the coffee shop, so knock before opening the door to check it out.

with all the “up-with-women” messages on the day, i found a beautiful and humorous irony in the image that greeted me as i headed to my car…

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could this be Eve’s apple?

sitting half-eaten and rotting where she dropped it. i wondered about this as i drove home. the eternal link between women and apples. i smirk a little each time i load one into my shopping cart and happen to catch the eye of a man at the same time…hoping to see the slightest glimmer of fear. maybe i’m overly imaginative, but i giggle a little anyway.

and thanks to the sizzlin’ Missy Elliot for the title of this blog.

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pretty little lovers.
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i’ll call this Sidewalk Talk. (you 1980’s peeps should recall that song).

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i’d call this one Footprints, but i think that title is taken by an overly published religious poem.

enjoy. go spread a smile. it’s easy…i’ll start.

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isn’t this postcard just awesome?? i found it over the weekend at the Center for Creative Photography. i like the message. it inspires me to do more with my photography. i’m looking forward to getting more settled to give myself a more stable platform to pursue the documentary projects i’ve kept simmering on the back burner for way too long. i also got an application to volunteer at the CCP. cool beans!

today we reached over 100 applicants for the youth staff positions. over 100 students have already applied and we have seven more days of interviews to do. yesterday i interviewed a charming young man with Asperger’s Syndrome (a high functioning form of autism). i fell in love with him, as i have nearly every student that i’ve interviewed.

yesterday i also headed downstairs to check out the ongoing construction (which was a good thing for me to do because i’ve hit my wall of flexibility with all the noise, paint fumes and layers of dust). the newsroom that we’ll be working out of is going to be fantastic. here’s an image:
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it’s a little hard to read without anything to give it scale or dimension, so use your imagination. we will also have a photo production room that will had dimmed lights and a couple (i hope!) super cool iMac’s for photo editing and toning. right now it looks like a Donald Flavin light sculpture, which is cool. construction is supposed to be complete by the end of this month and i have been practicing my sigh of relief. i’m happy to demonstrate if for you. just ask! also, the photo below is the one that (while framing the image) i backed right into the wet paint with my black skirt. i can’t get the paint off so i’m just gonna have to paint the rest of the skirt.

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i want to respond to a comment made on yesterday’s post.

i still trust that we made the best decision possible (in the moment we made it) when we chose to not publish that particular photograph. our decision was not based on being protective of readers. being respectful was.

at the time we made our decision, the number of people believed or suspected to have died in the attack and collapse of the World Trade Towers was triple the number that time eventually proved had actually perished. well over 100,000 photos were processed and edited for the next day’s newspaper. think about that number for a minute.

of all the newspapers and wire services that i have worked for in my career, i have never experienced a decision-making process that has the integrity and depth of the New York Times’ process. they understand that their product is one that will be turned to not only for coverage of the events of the day, but that it will also be viewed as the historical record for years to come.

editor and content producers (writers, photographers, etc.) all across the world make editing decisions everyday. layers of issues are navigated to make decisions for what makes it into publication. we all make the best decisions we can make with the information we have at hand.

i believed then, as i do now, that the image i captured would live longer than i would. i wasn’t concerned about it being published right away. i knew that the story of 9/11 would have a long future and that eventually my image would find the right place and time to be appreciated – to make people pause and reflect – which is exactly what it did yesterday.

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does time really heal all wounds?

maybe the more important question is – do all wounds need to heal?

i don’t want to confuse healing with forgetting, they are indeed very different processes. but can one heal if one can’t forgive?

six years ago today, i covered the most devastating event in contemporary American history. it truly seems impossible that so many days have passed since that morning. i still have such a difficult time each time i see video footage of the World Trade Towers exploding and crumbling. i still can remember every face i photographed and i wonder where everyone has moved on to…or even if they have moved on? in particular i remember Michelle DeFazio, who lost her husband Jason after a mere two months of marriage. i remember the firefighter with dust molded into his unshaven face who helped me climb over the watery and burning piles of debris – guiding me towards scenes and details i that i hope never dim in my memory. i don’t talk about that day very often, but it is always with me.

the thing most people don’t talk about is what a beautiful day that tuesday was. the sun was stunning as it was filtered through the smoke and debris clouds drifting across the sky. hundreds and hundreds of pieces of paper floated down like feathers from where they had once resided in desks within the towers.

the photo above is proof of this surreal and tragic beauty. i took this image from 140 broadway. the open space on the left side of the frame is where the towers had stood only hours earlier. when the editor i worked with that day, Stella Kramer, saw this photo she paused for a long time and throughout our edit she kept returning to this frame. she turned to me, unsure how to say what i already knew she was going to say – we can’t run this photo. it breaks my heart, but the image is simply too beautiful to attach to such a horrific event.

i agreed with her. and i still believe that we made the best decision in that moment. i still love this photo and of all the images i have ever produced in my life i feel that this is the one that i will hope to be remembered by. to me, it symbolizes that in life, we have to find the beauty in tragedy, and that is the only way we’re ever going to survive.

Dim Sum. two small words…big adventures!

my roommate Steffanie invited me out for a dim sum lunch today with two of her friends. it was so great! i can’t remember the last time i had authentic dim sum, and i’m sure it was on a trip home to san francisco. it was super yummy! the BBQ pork buns…the bean curd sesame rolls…i even tried shark fin steamed dumplings. (for those of you who have yet to experience the fun that is dim sum, it is basically a Chinese version of Spanish tapas…carts full of appetizer-sized edibles are wheeled around the dining room and you hail the servers down and load up on whatever looks good…egg rolls, steamed dumplings, steamed rolls, pork ribs, etc.).

the ladies were very funny and it was really uplifting to hear girlie chatter and laughter.

the work week was very full. i know i put in nearly 50 hours…between morning presentations and afternoon interviews…and meetings in between. yesterday was our last day of presentations, which i’m glad for. my “talk” was starting to sound more like a prepared speech…boring! i’m looking forward to being able to focus on interviews this coming week as well as finalizing details for our training schedule.

i forgot to give a shout out to my brother-in-law Jason who showed me how to replace the air filter on my car (so easy, even a caveman could do it) and was highly determined to replace my fuel filter as well. it was a real pain in the arse, but he won the battle and my car has way more “zip” than it did before. thanks Jason!

miz amy finally treated herself like the diva she is and is now zipping around town in her very own blue Mini Cooper. she said she loves to drive it – so don’t be afraid to ask for a ride! Lady…pack the kids in the back and point little “Scoop” towards the southwest!

i’ve met some really cool people this week, which has been great. through one of them , Jo, i found out about a cool group of people who are working to create a “Sew-Op”…a co-op of seamstresses who gather together to sew personal, group and community projects. i can’t wait to find out more.

tomorrow i’m heading down to the Center for Creative Photography for a guided tour of the current exhibit that will be led by a doctorate student. i’m looking forward to it. it will also give me an opportunity to look into being a volunteer docent at the center.

i’ve had an idea floating around in the back of my mind for a long time now…returning to university life to begin working towards a masters in art history or museum studies. my work schedule at Voices, Inc., is perfect for that. i’ll have to check into the programs available and see where it takes me.

i have one rant to offer up this week. i’ve been on a high school campus every day this week…several in fact…and i now know that i am “old” in my mindset. on every campus, i found myself having to navigate around kissing couple after kissing couple. what’s the big deal, you ask? high school students don’t just share a quick kiss in the hallway as they head to class. i saw more deep throating this week than you’ll find on the Spice channel. i had to curb my internal reaction of “you’re too young to be doing that!” and remember exactly what i was doing back in the day…(sigh).

quote of the day:

The past is prologue.” – inscription on a building in Washington, D.C.

think about it for a minute.

today started much too early for my tastes. another early morning presentation to high school students. neither myself nor the students are awake enough at 8am, so i’m not sure how successful this morning’s presentation was. four more presentations at a different high school followed that one. my co-worker steph and i killed time in between presentations reading in the high school library, which made me just want to curl up in a soft chair and lose myself in words. during one presentation i had to put the smack down on one student who wasn’t paying attention (meaning he was being a teenage boy hooting with a classmate when he saw a semi-nude artistic photo in our magazine). i was surprised how natural the smack down was for me…and how effective.

this afternoon i interviewed three very impressive young women. each one is very solidly determined to push themselves forward and upward to a better life through our program. they each have solid ideas and views on where they want to go and why. i fell in love with all of them. i have no idea how in the world we will be able to choose the staff members for this year’s magazine…and today was day 3 (0f a total of 15 days) of interviews and we have already had just over 51 applicants. let’s to the math on this one…we only have 18 slots to fill….we already have interviewed 1/3 of our normal number of applicants (last year well over 120 applicants)…and we have 11 more days of open interviews. tough decisions lay ahead. we need more funding!! meeting these talented students makes me so sad that the organization was forced to not hire as many as planned due to funds being frozen in limbo.

today’s interviews were an great thing for me to be involved in. i’ve been feeling isolated and lonely…homesick for friends and familiar locations…social interactions. what i miss most is the just heading to a familiar bar to have a drink with people i love. and…adding salt to that wound is the fact the my favorite band to see live – Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash – are performing tonight at the Zoo Bar back in Lincoln. i miss my bastards! so sad. Becki – i want a full review!!

today’s interviews helped put me in a much better frame of mind. the life stories these kids tell are heartbreaking and really put my issues in firm perspective. they remind me of the crappy things that happen in life – but through it all we have the power to decide which path we take…and to look for happiness in the small things.

i was truly saddened to hear that Luciano Pavaroti died today. i really love opera, although i’m a novice enthusiast. my favorite aria, “Nesum Dorma”, comes from Puccini’s Turandot, and is one that Pavaroti performed with exquisite perfection and depth. i think Pavaroti introduced opera to a great number of people who most likely wouldn’t have ever been introduced to this form of storytelling. his voice is easily one of the most recognizable voices in the history of opera. the world lost a great vocal artist today.

today was the first day of interviews for 110º magazine. we had 26 students show up to apply and be interviewed, which i felt was a great turnout for the first day. i only interviewed two applicants (due to the fact that i had coffee to interview a potential photo volunteer/mentor). during interviews today i heard “i don’t know” more times than i would have liked to, which reinforced for me that i have been really spoiled working with super-opinionated and articulate journalists. i’m not accustomed to having to dig the “why is this cool?” out of people. i’m way more practiced at finding creative ways to basically tell people to “hush up, i get it!” so they can go get the story written.

today was also the first day we were back in our normal office space. i have a desk now, which i find terribly exciting. weird maybe, but it’s nice to have a space to settle in to.

i had a long and relaxing weekend. i spent a great deal of time reading and playing board games with my nieces. this weekend the girls were really into playing “LIFE” (the Sponge Bob version). it’s a game about money and the expenses of life…which opened the door for some interesting conversations about money. it was interesting to play it as an adult. it made me wonder why anyone would spend their free time playing a game that really only reinforces the money issues that we face everyday in life? anyone?

tomorrow is going to be absotively crazy. two recruitment presentations at local high schools (one of which will be to approx. 200 students), then lunch with another potential volunteer…followed by a site visit by a group representing a grant we’ve applied for. it’s a substantial grant ($75,000 over three years). i’m a little nervous for this visit, yet i feel it is vital for funders to visit our organization to see just how awesome our program is.