The counterpart to the “Hello, world!” post: “I aten’t dead yet.”

Well, that’s embarrassing — the first piece of spam on Magpie & Whale made it through Akismet, which I then had manually go in and delete, to my shame. It’s been, what, three months since I updated? Many apologies; there’s been a lot going on.

Medill is going well — it’s going very well, in fact. I continue to be wildly, wildly happy, with the program, with the people and with this profession. We’re coming up on the end of the quarter, and it looks like all my final projects are due on June 3, which is inconvenient, as that’s my mom’s would-have-been 70th birthday and I will be in Ohio that weekend. She, of course, would not let me get away with not doing the work, so it’s going to be a busy week.

I have a new side project that I keep banging my head against, trying to make it go from concept to outline to execution. It’s more “what if?” Shakespeare, though it’s more in line with the play (Henry IV Part 1, for the curious) than Innogen is with Cymbeline. (I also have not forgotten Innogen. It pains me that it’s still stalled. There is a break coming up, though, and hopefully that will be fruitful. Thank you everyone for your patience. If George R.R. Martin can [sort of] do it, so can I, goshdarnit.)

In the meantime, if you’re interested in the reporting I’ve been doing as part of the Medill News Service this quarter, here are links to my seven published stories so far; I have four more to go. I’ve been covering veterans and military families, and I’m spending this Memorial Day transcribing interviews conducted at the opening of the new exhibit at the National Veterans Art Museum, so I suppose that’s apropos.

  1. Hope for homeless veterans in Garfield Park, Englewood (May 21, 2013)
    Hope Manor is a West Side housing facility for homeless and at-risk veterans. While many residents credit the program for turning their lives around, some residents and outsiders are worried about Hope Manor II, a new project that has just broken ground in Englewood, said by some to be an epicenter of the self-destructive behavior these veterans are trying to escape. (Print, audio, photo)
  2. Stress and resilience in children of deployed parents drive two new studies (May 16, 2013)
    How do children of military parents really respond to a parent’s deployment? Two new studies are breaking ground by examining the physiology of how children experience stress when a parent is deployed, which means this is the first time objective evidence, in conjunction with psychological interviews, can teach us about risk factors and resilience.
  3. Mothers in the military face adjustments during deployments, homecomings (May 15, 2013)
    For mothers serving in the military, deployments can shape their relationships with their children and their families long after they’ve come home. Spc. Spring Sullivent, 33, of Elk Grove Village, is one of more than 150,000 single parents serving in the U.S. military. When she left to spend a year in Kuwait with the Illinois Army National Guard, her son was 5 years old.
  4. VIDEO: Veterans eager for Illinois marriage equality (May 2, 2013)
    Same-sex marriage is likely to come to a vote in Illinois as soon as next week. For gay veterans, this could mean spousal recognition that affects federal veterans benefits. Many have set on a larger goal, though: repealing DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
  5. VA, minority veterans both frustrated by benefits claims backlog (April 25, 2013)
    Veterans and administrators both expressed frustrations with the VA at a meeting for minority veterans, each side wishing the department could expand and improve services for aging and vulnerable veterans and their spouses.
  6. Family of slain Chicago cop sues pawn broker who sold gun (April 24, 2013)
    The family of a slain Chicago police officer and Iraq war veteran is suing the Mississippi pawnshop that sold the weapon used to kill him, highlighting the role of out-of-state gun purchases in crimes committed in Chicago.
  7. Cybersecurity bill agitates privacy advocates on eve of House debate (April 16, 2013)
    CISPA is a cyber security bill that allows companies to hand over data collected about online users directly to federal spy agencies. Critics say it’s a major erosion of privacy and civil liberties; supporters say it protects vital U.S. economic interests. Congress will begin debating the bill Wednesday.

I’m also in a photojournalism class, and if you’re wildly curious about the pictures I’ve been submitting for that, you can hop on over to my Flickr account. They’re going to make me give back the loaner Nikon I’ve been using all quarter, which will be a sad day for me and my bank account both, because I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to a non-DSLR now that I’ve seen how nice my photos come out with a good camera.

That’s all for the moment. I may have an update about another, kind of hilarious life event later this week, if I’m not too frazzled from all the work I have to accomplish. Hope you’re all well, lovelies! Don’t be strangers: as always, I’m great at procrastinating on Tumblr and Twitter both, and of course, I always love to hear from you here in the comments.

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