March 31, 2009

You cannot imagine how badly I want to interview this woman.

March 15, 2009


Over Christmas break I had the privileged of interviewing a wonderful woman named Doris for our project on money. She is 84 years old and lives in Minnesota. Have you ever seen such beautiful silver hair! Doris was 5 years old during the Great Depression and lived on a large farm in Northern Minnesota. The following are clips from the first part of our interview where she discusses some of her experiences living and working on the farm and the transition in her early 20s to working as a flight attendant for Northwest airlines. It has taken me forever to edit the videos, but I finally got some of them done. (Note: There is more reaction than usual in interviews because there are actually three people off camera including me, Doris's daughter-in-law and my mother)

Doris 1 from Julka Almquist on Vimeo.

Doris 2 from Julka Almquist on Vimeo.

Doris 3 from Julka Almquist on Vimeo.

Doris 4.1 from Julka Almquist on Vimeo.
(I am working on repairing this video -should be back in sync soon...)

On the day of the interview there was a pretty bad snowstorm in Minneapolis, and Doris shoveled her own driveway. Can you believe it? She is one of my heroes.

March 1, 2009

Participant Observation

Yesterday, I did participant observation for a collaborative project on Venice Beach vendors. Here is our Saturday cookie stand. It was a very intense and humbling day and I am still processing everything. One good thing is that we sold all the cookies!

On a personal note one of the most important findings relates to our project on money. This is the first time I have ever had such a direct relationship with earning money. I have had plenty of jobs where I work and get a paycheck for my labor or thoughts. As a vendor, I paid for all the ingredients and made the cookies from scratch (and I worked really really hard). The money that I earned is mine, and I will use it to reinvest back into more ingredients (or other things to sell) in order to keep working as a vendor. Somehow this money feels different to me. It feels precious. I have it in a special envelope and don't want to spend it on anything else. Having such a direct relationship with money really changes the way I think about it.