life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

Don't Talk Like That...

I write to find out what my heart thinks....
I write to expose and work through the ugly parts of this disease, open heart surgery that was less than successful and more recently an S-ICD (internal cardiac defibrillator) implanted in my chest that will hopefully restore my heart beat in case of sudden cardiac death. I am here to celebrate my life, to uncover my fears, to hold on to love, to learn how to live a full life with heart failure, to honor my creativity, and to explore all of my emotions out loud ...before anyone can say
"Don't talk like that!"



Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Maybe too honest….
maybe not honest enough.  

When I talk about this pain to others both physical and emotional, I know they are uncomfortable…hell…. I am uncomfortable telling them….I know they are…. regardless of what they say…I can see it in their eyes.  I do not want this!  I suspect that is why I am here….why I write....trying desperately to be invincible!

"Her Diamonds" Rob Thomas

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ups & Downs...but at the same time!!!

Ups & Downs…at the same time????   This week I am learning that I have a new kind of up & down…that involves ups & downs happening at the same time…and it is really weird…and incredibly difficult to explain!

Ed…the hospice nurse, in his delightful accent, has said several times over the past weeks…. “You are doing really good in the context of this disease”.  I do not really know what the context of this disease is, it is the first time I have had this, all I know is when I feel good, and when I do not.  In the context of this disease or any disease for that matter means…"can I keep doing what I want to do and/or is there any pain?” And there is truly very little pain… and nitroglycerin can relieve it in literally seconds… So as far as I am concerned, other than getting tired very quickly,  I am always doing good!

This week, it got different.  In the midst of some delightful personal “ups” (a huge wonderful class of Artist’s Way, sushi with friends, shoes I ordered through the mail that actually fit, bagel breakfast with my son and his family) I have run into raunchy debilitating downs with my digestive system acting up from top to bottom.  It is what is expected according to Ed, the nurse.  My organs are going to begin reacting to the disease and medications and making my physical body absolutely miserable.
But he promises me .....there are more meds ordered and on the way to help me manage this new set of challenges….

Emotionally UP and physically DOWN…at the same time… is a very weird and difficult emotional territory…
"Golden Slumbers-Carry the Weight"  The Beatles
And in the end,
the love you take,
is equal to the love you make,

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father’s Day to all of the Fathers in my life...Thank you guys!

Every time I reflect on one of my life’s accomplishments, I can’t help but realize that I achieved it because of something you taught me... Happy Father’s Day to all of the Fathers in my life!  And my life is full of them, my own father, my husband and both of my sons.  My life is surrounded by fathers, now in every stage of life.  Some have been in my life since I took my first breath, others will be here for my last.  It is an interesting vantage point.  I have loved and learned from each of them the lessons in life that have made me the daughter, the wife, the mother and the woman I am now…even the bad times have made me stronger.  Thank you guys, I am a better woman for having you in my life.
"You'll be in My Heart"  Phil Collins

Friday, June 16, 2017

but.... maybe it is not too late to be who I might have been.

I had pretty much given up on my art “career” when I came off of the art festival circuit.  I guess I had convinced myself that I had to make XX amount of dollars to be considered a successful artist.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought it would be better to be a “retired” artist AKA I have chosen to not be a successful artist, rather than admit I can’t physically do it anymore. The tumbling economy and recession were excellent cover!  I had attached success to money. I did what I teach in my classes.  I decided ahead of time how much money I “needed” and the specific amount of money that would make me” feel successful”. I was so very very excited when I reached that goal and the amazing feeling of accomplishment that comes with it, but I never ever considered what would happen to me when I could not do that anymore.  And in real life that is going to happen to everyone at some point.  So now on the back side of this, I have mustered up the courage to submit work to a new gallery, I do not expect anything…but holy crap just the act of submitting work again to a gallery is so frightening.  In some ways, I feel like I am backing up…returning to where I began but left to pursue a more lucrative path.  That path has ended, but the art and the work are still tugging at my life.  Perhaps it is time to create and submit the work, see this as a new path.  I am certain I will never be what I used to be, but... maybe it is not too late to be who I might have been...or maybe this is all part of my journey and it has a beginning a middle and an end.
"Same Mistake" James Blunt

Thursday, June 15, 2017

and I find it secretly magnificent!

I will have to admit, through all of the chaos, craziness and unbelievable things that are happening on a daily basis in our government I find it difficult to find the bright side…or anything positive.  However, this quote may be it.  Although I feel like I have always been politically active, I can admit that I have written more letters and emails to my Senators and Representatives, local reps and even the President in the past 6 months than I have all of my life combined.  There is a constant thread of political conversations happening online on the latest scandals and conspiracies. I see more people involved in politics than I have seen since the 60’s.  And as divisive as it feels right now, people involved, paying attention, participating is how this amazing government works.  It has been our indifference and the complicated aspects of politics that have turned most of us off and allowed the system to run amuck.  In some roundabout way, it way means we are paying attention and hopefully the government will soon be returned into the hands of people that truly represent their constituents…..and I find it secretly magnificent!
"King of Anything"  Sarah Bareilles

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

MORE of what excites and scares me!

This is the ongoing struggle for me…it seems like most choices on a minute by minute basis boil down to just this.  Behave, be dignified, elegant, honorable, gracious and respectable.  All of those things are considered good things, which in my mind meant that everything else must be bad.  After 23 years of facilitating the Artist’s Way, I still find little jewels embedded in the chapters and this week, the term “either/or thinking” hit me like a brick upside of the head. Because I have never considered myself as having any of those distinguished attributes, I subconsciously assumed I had just the opposite. In short…I was bad…I can “pull off” the good, I know how to do it, but I have to confess, it has not always felt authentic for me!  Seems all of those and more distinguished character qualities were embedded in me by parents, teachers, and religion for the single purpose of acquiring the percieved rewards of having others recognize them and see me as a “good” person.  No one ever asked if that is who or what I wanted to be?   I am not degrading any of those wonderful good characteristics.  I have just decided that I do not have to be either a good person or a bad person.  I am both…some good and some bad and that makes me just a real person.  My intentions are never to hurt anyone and that includes me. Good and bad, I plan to do a lot more of what excites and scares me!
"Ants Marching"  Dave Matthews Band

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This is a BIG deal!

I think….that this may be one of the biggest deals EVER and I forget to do it, on a regular basis. It may be the one thing we all need to do more of…a lot more of.

In my entire life and all of the southern manners that were drilled into me…no one taught me how to tell someone they are good for me, they light me up, they make me a better person, or how important it was!  I was taught to say please and thank you, respect my elders, be honest, do good work, company goes first,  don’t cuss, say pardon me when I burp, cover my mouth when I sneeze, do not chew with my mouth open and the big one….”Do unto others…..” But no one…and I do mean…no one told me to tell another person how great it is to be around them.  That just being in their presence makes me a better person!  Not my parents, grandparents, not my mothers (yes that is a plural) or aunts or teachers.  Not even the Sunday school teachers! I think the closest thing I ever actually saw that was something like this was inside a Hallmark card and it was this sappy “Thank you for being You” and I never really knew what that meant.

Every great moment in my life has been involved with connecting with people!  It is great, it is a huge big deal, it lights me up from bottom to top….and I am a much better person because of it!  This is a BIG deal!
"Shower the People We Love with Love"  James Taylor

Monday, June 12, 2017

I believe in angels!

I believe in angels but not the biblical, sent from heaven (or hell) variety. These angels’ wings are physically made by local Orlando creatives and worn by those whose only mission is to love and protect the family and survivors of Pulse.  Our Orlando angels arrived last year at the Pulse victims funerals to protect the families and mourners from the ugly angry signs of some Christians that came to protest.  I do not know who these angels are…but they touch my heart.  They are a living physical reminder to all of what true love really is.

They came again last night to provide another wall of love…..  Love is love. There are no restrictions, no boundaries, no color, no sex, no amount of money that can regulate or control it.  There is no religion, no God, no man, no woman that gets to claim control or exclusivity on love.  Love belongs to anyone that claims it.
"What the World Needs Now"  Jackie DeShannon

Sunday, June 11, 2017

What to say or when....

and so it goes…I have been incensed at least 42 times since #45 and I bet if you lined up all of my infuriated responses from end to end there might well be enough for a book. Then I realize I will change no one’s mind and I will only provoke more hate and most likely it will be directed at me….so I erase the post I have thoughtfully composed and move on.  There is no such thing as a spirited exchange of ideas, it is all about “I win” peppered with crude language and unsubstantiated accusations. Then I begin to wonder if my silence is seen as some kind of agreement, or that I do not agree with it but am not strong enough voice my opinion….I am never really sure what to say or when….
"Say"  John Mayer

Saturday, June 10, 2017

“to GRRRRR or Not to GRRRR, that is the question”?

 I believe....but not in #45.....  Yesterday, after watching the political goings on I prepared a rip-roaring rant and then….I realized that I had just allowed #45 to get me worked up, angry, and frustrated which I suspect was precisely his intent. On some level, it felt like he won.  He had made me pay attention to him and talk about him…..GRRRR….So I decided NO!  I will celebrate yesterday’s happy stuff instead.  Dr. Nandra came out to check on the fluid in my lungs, and it is much better!  No infection and he could not hear anything of note in bottom left lung….Woo-hoo!  Much more fun doing the happy dance than being riled up over coot #45.  I am still learning I cannot control what others do, but I can control how I feel about it!  It is all about “to GRRRRR or Not to GRRRR, that is the question”? I chose to feel good....I chose to believe in love!
"Shaking the Tree"  Peter Gabriel