Sunday, February 28, 2021


The state kept its word.  I got my first dose of vaccine yesterday. Sitting in the vast amphitheater of the Minneapolis Convention Center, I felt a teary upwelling of gratitude, for the scientists and doctors and nurses and truckdrivers who had carried me to this moment. I was one of the lucky ones—selected at random from a pool of some 300,000 seniors--surely there were other in more precarious health? At 63, F. is still waiting.

When I got back home, I was exhausted. Not just from the vaccine, I think, but also from all the weeks and months of battling fear. I secluded myself upstairs, lay down on the floor with a book. My attention kept slipping off the page. Eventually I gave into the undertow of profound fatigue and closed my eyes.

For the first time in almost a year I have a sense of protection, an infusion of efficacy; I’m less terrified of moving about in the world. I can just glimpse a room full of light through a door cracked open.

Ready for Framing

 The drawing of Joe is finished, ready to be matted and framed. It’s not perfect, but parts of it are beautiful. He does come alive in it: his strong forearm, his hands competent despite their mangled fingers, a chihuahua winking on his T-shirt. A thoughtful concentration I never really noticed before. I said I would give the drawing to the rest of the family out east, but I’m not sure I’m ready: I need to keep him here with me a while longer.



Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Expanding the Circle of Support

 At the last minute, Max switched from game development courses to two gen-ed requirements: interpersonal communication and health psychology, both online. They’re required for a 2-year degree in sport and exercise science.  Now he’s struggling through them. The college has not been helpful in providing tutors, so I’ve been putting in 2-3 hours a day, growing exhausted and resentful about my lost freedom. But I finally rounded up two college girls to take over four of the seven days a week, at $20 per hour. It’s worth it. The two young women are close to his age, and patient, and Max is happy to interact with someone other than his parents and his typical circle of friends.

Sunday, February 21, 2021


Devastated.  My appointment for a first dose of the vaccine has been cancelled, because of the snowstorm in Texas.  Despite the official reassurances, I’m terrified it’ll take weeks to get another appointment.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Portrait Drawing: The Messy Middle


Can’t get the proportions of the nose right.  The problem is I just don’t like noses, the way they stick out from the face in profile.  I keep wanting to make them smaller than they are. 


I tend to draw too lightly.  Need to go back to darken the shadows.  Make the face, especially, pop into three-dimensions.  


Finally getting close.  Took a photo and posted it to my phone, to compare to later iterations. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021


Working top left to bottom right, adding shading and detail.  Painstaking.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Jerry's Artarama

 Thank God for Jerry’s Artarama.  Got the paper for the drawing in the mail today.  Drew out the grid and started penciling in the contours of the larger shapes. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021


 I’m stunned.  Got a notice in my email today: Out of something like 300,000 people who registered for a “community vaccine” (immediately crashing the website), I was randomly chosen to receive one Feb. 21.  I feel thrilled, relieved, and guilty: aren’t there people on that list who need it more?  But mostly grateful.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Starting the Portrait of Joe

Suddenly, that photo of Joe fishing on a lake looks just right for the picture I want to draw.  He looks serious, competent, thoughtful, not the man of mischief I thought I wanted to portray.  But I like it.  What did he think about when no one was looking?

It took forever today to get the photo cropped just right, heighten the contrast of light and shadow, size the photo to print out full-page without sacrificing sharpness.  To intensify the colors and then do away with them entirely, choosing black and white instead. 

Now I have to decide on the best paper for the job.  Google, here I come.

Featured Post

Forging the Second Self: A memoir in progress.

Forging the Second Self: Post-Teaching, Post-Mothering, Post-Midlife: Who Will I Be Now? Part I.: Who Am I Now? When I see myself a...