Saturday, March 11, 2023

Four Weeks

Four weeks driving from work to the hospital.
Brisk walks on the icey pavement.
Steam in my glasses with my mask.
My father.
Covid and pneumonia. Another stupor.
A thin cloth gown that he leaves untied in the back.
He moves from bed to chair, chair to bed.
Squeaky shoe basketball games on the television.
White walls, white floors, white light.
The beating shrill of the bed alarm.
His memory is folded in upon itself--
like a paper plane lifted, 
then falling.
Remembering someone who wasn't there,
who didn't bring him lunch.
What day is it?

Saturday, July 23, 2022

15 Hours in Istanbul

We flew Turkish Airlines to Rome and TA has a generous tour option for those who have a long layover in Istanbul. The day we flew back to Chicago we had a 15 hour layover--3 pm to 6 a--and chose the free tour option (you can also choose free accomodations--but not both.) It happened to be a cruise on the Bosphorus Strait! 

Highlights included... A trip to the market prior to the cruise, where we sampled chocolates, baklava, and tea. Dan smelled spices and picked 'Ottoman' spice and Sumac to take home. (They were generous portions so he will be sharing them with anyone and everyone who is interested.) I got some fresh baklava pieces boxed up and Raine picked his favorite chocolates. Everything was vaccuum sealed for our flight. 
...The cruise absolutely blew us away. It started in the late afternoon so we were able to watch the sunset and enjoying the night lights. We were able to float along the European side and then the Asian side so Raine was pretty excited to have been "on 2 continents." :) There was ice cream for Raine on the boat and dinner was provided. We shared a beautiful moment as we listened to the call of prayer echoing among the walls of the city and over the water. After sunset, we enjoyed a gorgeous full moon. All evening Dan and I kept kissing and saying we loved each other. It was such a special moment that we had never even dreamt of, especially when he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer 8 years ago. We will always be so unbelievably grateful for this experience, and all the time we have been given.

...Our last night - about 10pm in Istanbul. We had celebratory shots and beers and talked about everything we did and what we would remember. My words and our pictures don't do it justice! However I do hope that it will all help Raine remember as he grows up...Watching him experience everything brought us so much joy!

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Herzing Three Do Italy! The Basic Overview


Tip toes in the Mediterranean! We spent our first night in Fiumicino
a 'suburb' with the airport and about 35 minutes to downtown Rome.

Raine's #1 favorite thing to see in Rome was the Trevi Fountain
We were expecting a little fountain like the one we met our tour guide* at (Turtle Fountain
in the small Piazza Mattei, so when we turned the corner and saw Trevi, we were in awe! It is huge!!!!

Other favorites were the Colosseum, St. Peter's Square / Vatican -The smallest country in the world! 
And the Keyhole of the Knights of Malta. (IYKYK.)

Lunch in hilltop town Pienza, near our villa. Side note: The small town road trip is very curvy and up and down hills. Be careful. I totally threw up in the car.

Tuscany treated us well. We stayed at a beautiful Villa in Chianciano Terme, southwest of Siena in the Val d'Orcia. The special occasion for our visit was the marriage vow renewal for our friends Amy and Ross Mulder. We were honored to be present for their beautiful and touching ceremony. The  family of the Stinson/Glick/Mulders made us feel very welcome and we enjoyed hanging out, playing games, going out to dinner, and swimming. Raine also had fun with Harvey and his cousin Alfie playing tennis and jumping on the trampoline.

We were also able to spend a day in Florence, which is the city I always dreamt of returning to and I was thrilled to find my old apartment and show Raine and Dan where I studied. The same pastry shop was still below the apartment so we chatted with the women and ate some sweets!

Raine's #1 fave in Florence was the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral).
He was so impressed with how large the cathedral was that he had us time him running around the entire thing. (He clocked in at just under 3 minutes.)

We visited Florence's "town hall," Palazzo Vecchio, with a copy of Michelangelo's David in the Piazza della Signoria. That led us to Ponte Vecchio, a medieval bridge spanning the Arno, where I had wished upon a star that I would someday return with the love of my life....!

Our time in Italy was far too short ... Just 5 days. Raine became a true world traveler and the most enjoyment I had was watching him marvel at the cities and excitedly take pictures and videos. He also had a relaxing stay at the villa even though I forced him to participate in a cooking class! He actually did really well. He didn't last the entire 3 hours but he cooked the panna cotta that we all enjoyed for dessert!

*We had an amazing tour experience in Rome with Arvin, a guide with Turtle Tour Rome. I booked it easily through Viator and I can't recommend it enough. He was knowledgeable and fast, as well as interested in involving Raine and teaching him. He had great recommendations for restaurants, too!

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Fast Forward to Summer Residency + Graduation!

Graduation - Saturday July 2, 2022


My graduating cohort! || Reading from my thesis

A typical day at the residency || I taught a class this particular day !

I was proud to serve on the thesis committee of Molly B. Collins.
I read her thesis several times and did my best to provide crucial feedback.
She is going places, that woman! So excited for her to be published in the future!

(She is my bestie!)

Between classes we found time to hang out with each other, staff, faculty, and guest artists!

Our residency hosted 4 cohorts and was hybrid (in person + online)


Generative workshops with guest artist K-Ming Chang !!!

Faculty talks by Alison C. Rollins, 
Jay Ponteri, Alejandro de la Costa, 
Tanya McQueen, and Vi Khi Nao !!!

Readings by faculty, as well as Joanna Kaufman, Sara Jaffe, 
Brandon Shimoda, Jess Arndt, and K-Ming Chang !!!

Spending time with all the cohorts --including dinners, drinks, and a night of karaoke!

My graduating cohort--Attending their thesis committee meetings and readings!

Zine and comics workshops!

The LRCW Alumni Fellow, Joanna Kaufman, and her time and wisdom
and phenomenol art exhibit!

Graduation of course. I love you guys.
ocean ocean, Russell Hill, Molly B. Collins, Rachel Keller,
and our cohort's thesis award winner, Manya Orescan Campos!

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Only One Semester To Go!

There was a summer residency, my third semester, and a winter residency. Now I have one semester to go and a final residency in June/July when I will graduate! Where did the time go???

Grad school books. I've read about 90% of them. Guest artist works,
faculty works, anthologies, fiction, lyrical nonfiction, poetry, and critical studies.

Residency memories:

Winter 2022 those of us who were in person at the school 
were able to participate in art workshops!

Where it all happens in Portland - Pacific Northwest College of Art (@ Willamette University)

Winter 2021 on Zoom

2021 Graduate, my friend Janna                                My buddy Russell

2021 Summer post-graduation karaoke


One of many dinners at cool Portland restaurants

Molly, bonafide best roomie ever

My thesis, "Blankets"


B L A N K E T : noun : a large piece of woolen or similar material used as a bed covering or other covering for warmth. Etymology : Middle English (denoting undyed woolen cloth): via Old Northern French from Old French blanc ‘white’, ultimately of Germanic origin. A blanket can be made of woven acrylic, knitted polyester, mink, cotton, fleece, silk, and wool. Synonyms : cloak, cover, cover-up, covering, curtain, hood, mantle, mask, pall, penumbra, robe, shroud, veil, wrap.

White covering 

for warmth.



The earliest memory I have of death isn’t a memory. It’s a fluid thought-image of white walls and curtains, a sterile hospital bed with white blankets, my Grandma Ethel, my mother’s mother, and a specific moment that I was given to say goodbye. Is it real? I’ve shaded it out and erased it so many times. I wish I had a better sense of it because I was almost ten years old. I know for sure that when I saw her body later in a casket, despite her familiar white wig and silky turquoise blouse,  I couldn’t understand why her lips were formed into such a thick, tight pucker. 

I also think I have an older thought of her husband, Homer, lying in a bed of pale, thin white sheets in his home. I felt special because I was tall enough as a toddler to help him move his limbs to keep his muscles from atrophy. Easily the bones moved, the muscles hung heavy.


When I fell in love with my husband, Dan, I visited him in Chicago and stayed at his apartment, in his room with a small window next to the bed where he hung blue Christmas lights and ran a fan. I loved lying in his bed of soft, worn-in blue sheets. Later, I confused my memories and began to believe that my grandfather actually had been cocooned by blue sheets.

In college, I created a sculpture to represent these confused memories; a shelf covered in those blue sheets and white polymer clay bones. The fabric hung from the shelf, even, with some of the bones cradled in the draped folds.


Mary Martha (Hendricks) Hodel || Circa 1965, 1980



As a child in church one evening, the pastor dropped the lights and showed a film on a projector screen. There was a cemetery and a person raised from a grave; shot up quickly to the sky, bound for heaven. It was sending a soul to heaven to await the resurrection. That body speeding, upward hurtling through the air terrified me.



After her death but before the doctor placed a sheet over my mother’s body, I held her hand–the hand I had known all my life; admiring how it felt and how it had held my hand, the nesting and the pressing of the soft pads together. I tried to comfort my mother, kissing her cheek and caressing her forehead. I was 36 and she was 69 but I had become her mother by helping my sister with caregiving. I touched her body, a body no longer having warm blood or breath. Her skin was cold and purple but I kept telling her in my mind that she was beautiful. If I thought/said it to her enough times, didn’t it make me a better daughter than I felt I had been? The truth was her eyes were paused in a yellow pale gloss, her scalp exposed without her wig-only partially covered with feathery patches of short, white hair, and her mouth slacked, revealing an absence of teeth, only gray gums.