I just don't know how you do it

I read this article the other day in The New York Times about doctors and whether or not it's "right" to display emotions, like crying, in front of their patients. It got me thinking about my experiences working in hospice.

I had one patient long term, and I got to know her and her husband rather well. As the husband and I were talking one day, he asked how I could keep myself emotionally separated from my work.

"I just don't know how you do it," he said.

"Well," I told him, "sometimes I think of death as 'The Big Show'." I explained that I thought of it like a play, and I was just a bit player with a walk-on part at the end. What I did five or six times a day for years as a work routine was a huge life event for the patients and their families. My conclusion was: It wasn't about me.

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Gone fishin'

BrowntroutI've been invaded by bottle caps! Thousands in my shed, hundreds in my living room...

I am collaborating with John T. Unger on his bottle cap fish mosaics. This is one we worked on together, a happy lil' brown trout (a custom order).

These are so much fun to make, but they really are very labor intensive (don't try this at home, kids!). I've finally stopped whacking my thumb, that's progress...

Cokefish1_2This guy is one I have been working on this week. The body will be composed of red Coke caps, the face will be Beck's silver caps. The tail and fins are cut from the hood of an old car.

Already planning ahead for the next ones. The fish will be sold soon on John's site and also in select galleries. I'll post what fish are currently for sale and locations to purchase them as soon as they become available.

Playing in the studio

Spending the Memorial Day weekend with my boyfriend John, who does all kinds of cool metalwork. Got to try out his plasma cutter and made this guy:


I was really hesitant at first, the plasma cutter makes a lot of sparks and, well, I hate to be on fire. The welding goggles are cool though, makes me feel like a bad ass, which I kinda am sometimes.

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Why I work in hospice

"Hospice? Oh my God, I could never do that."

No, you probably couldn't, that's why I do. My "day job" involves me traveling home to home across three or four counties, helping terminally ill people do things we take for granted. Getting dressed, taking a bath, having someone wash their hair, and usually washing other less savory bits. It's not for everyone, and sometimes, it's not for me either. It's a lot of body fluids and raw emotions. Yes, I have had people die while I was there, and I have seen nearly every rotten thing a body can do to itself.

So why have I worked in hospice for five years and then some? Because of days like today. Woke up to a little black cloud hovering over me, been looming for days. My first patient of the day canceled, so I went to see the next patient on my list.

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woo hoo!

I've been included in Smith Mag's Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak: by Writers Famous and Obscure! You can buy a copy here!

so...where have you been?

I haven't been posting new photos for awhile now and yesterday someone asked where I've been... so here's what's been going on:


I've been using a point and shoot for the last year. Yes, every photo on here was taken with a lil ol' point and shoot...but I found that I was starting to hit a wall. Some shots are just not possible- my vision was starting to be hampered by my equipment. So, I waited very impatiently for my tax return and bought new equipment- a Canon Rebel xsi, a bunch of lenses and filters, including a lot of new Lensbaby toys.

A DSLR is a much more advanced camera than a point and shoot, so the main reason I haven't been posting is that I am learning how to use my new stuff.

2. RUT!

Another reason I've been on hiatus is that looking back over the past year of photography, (and I really only have been shooting seriously for a year) I see all my amatuer mistakes and it's driving me slightly crazy. Does EVERY photo I edit need focal soften and a vignette? Apparently I thought so at one point. John was gracious enough to state that every artist goes through "phases," but somehow Picasso's Blue Period doesn't seem to match up to my past zeal for focal soften. I can do better than this.


I bought the new camera in time for our trip to Texas, so I had the opportunity to practice a lot with it on the road. The Texas trip did several things for me: I was able to meet and spend time with some truly amazing creative people (Mary Anne Davis, Emily of Texas, and Hugh MacLeod among many, many others). I also got a lot of positive feedback on my work from people whose work I highly respect. That made a big difference in how I decided to pursue some upcoming projects.

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