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, December 31, 2014

It was good year, It was a hard year.....lessons and love...

Don't We All?

I have ugly questions, that they will not answer, don't we all?

If more women die of heart failure than all cancers combined, how come we do not have more press and fundraising, do you have any idea how expensive this is? Where are they?

Why do they tell you heart failure is not the death sentence it was years ago…..bull shit, it is exactly the same death sentence, they have just figured out how to make it last longer and collect more money.

Does the medical industry ever understand what we go through, how sad, desperate, and frightened we are?  Will they ever acknowledge me as a person with opinions, feelings, choices about my own life?

I just want to live spectacularly and die well, I want my life to have meaning. Don't we all?


"Answer"  Sarah McLachlan

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

That is my job and I want to be really good at it!

Every doctor I have seen is very different but they each have had lessons to teach me.

The most important lesson I have learned is this. It was a hard lesson and it hurt my feelings but the reality is doctors and nurses do not know me or “care” about the quality of my life, they are not my salvation or my friends.

Their “care” is being paid for. Their job is to investigate and interpret my physical functions and recommend meds and treatments. I am no more or less than a paying customer, just like a customer of the phone company. I wish it were different but in my experience it is not.

I had to change my thought process. I am the only one that cares about and is responsible for me. I am the only one that knows how I feel and/or how I want to feel. The doctors and nurses are my hired professionals; my physical advisers that can help me achieve the life I want to lead.  They are not the final decision makers.

The most important part for me about living with heart failure is to continue to create art, facilitating creativity in others, spending time and life with friends, family, living, laughing and loving. I cannot place my amazing life in the hands of doctors/nurses that do not really know or care about the quality of my life…..that is my job and I want to be really good at it!
"Blackbird"  The Beatles

Monday, December 29, 2014

Holy Crap!

It is one thing to "know" or think you you know and then when you really know,
Holy Crap! This what no one sees, but I feel.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

It feels so good!




.....in pieces and parts, 36" x 48" Canvas #1 built and first coat of black…. Each nude will be mounted on top of a big solid black canvas….screwed from the back and then I will draw more so the image will flow off of the image canvas onto the black….kind of like a chalk board….well that is the theory anyway….stand by! Banging, building, stretching, and painting I cannot remember being this challenged and tired in a very long time….Oh boy it feels so good! 

Gonna’ keep on, yes I will, if for no other reason….it feels so good!


"Yes I Will"  Michael Franti and the Spearheads

Vulnerable.....

Whew…the big ones! They challenge me artistically, emotionally and for the first time in my life they are challenging me physically. I used to build these canvas stretcher bars and stretch my own canvas without a problem, easy deal, no sweat, piece of cake….not that I am having a “problem” but it sure is slow going, this is where I find out just how committed I am to the art….to the work…I am an artist, I know vulnerable, this is just a new side of vulnerable that I have never had to deal with before. I am an artist….this new vulnerability just makes me more beautiful!

Are you believing that? 
Me neither….back to building!

"Why I AM"  Dave Matthews Band
"still here dancing with the gru-grux king!"

Friday, December 26, 2014

Very Very Real

"Confronting Congestive Heart Failure, 
Putting a Positive Spin on Fighting CHF"
That is the group I belong to. The first support group I have really been a part of.  I have joined others, but after a few days or meetings, it was clear that they were big fat whiners. Almost like a stupid competition of who had the biggest scars, took the most medicine, or had the worst doctor.  Nothing could have been more depressing or unproductive.  I have avoided them like the plague, until this group.  They are real, there are real discussions, questions and answers, for the most part they are all incredibly brave and positive about life, committed to not letting this disease consume their lives and very insightful.  I have only been a member for a couple of months,but this week we lost a group member.  He died, he died of heart failure. I have known for quite some time I will die of this, this week it became very, very real and sometimes I am very scared.
"Road of the Heart"  Ann Reed      
when something happens to me, 
they should be told, they would want to know  
             

Are You Watching Over Me?




For reasons that I do not understand....it is really hard today.
Letting go is much harder than I imagined. 
Are you watching over me?

"Watching Over You"  Ann Reed
Sending a silent  "Thank you" to who ever is watching over you.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Spirit of Phoebus


The Phoebus Ring. 

The ring was my grandfathers, William T. Phoebus. Carved into the stone and built up on the sides in silver and gold are tributes to the Greek God Phoebus. Phoebus is the god of Light, Prophecy, Music, Poetry, and the Arts and Sciences, and is by far the noblest conception of Greek mythology. He is the god that pulls the sun (light) across the sky every day in this chariot.

My grandfather died at 45 from an unexpected heart attack, a connection that I never expected, but a connection that only I share with him. I never knew him but I remember asking my grandmother about his ring she always wore; it really was a large awkward ring for her delicate fingers. She would always tell me a story about my grandfather and end every story with, the ring was his and a part of his family history, and that she was then and always would be a part of that history. When my grandmother died my mother fell heir to, and wore the Phoebus ring, she and her father had the most spectacular relationship I think I have ever known between a father and a daughter. In Sept, of 2006 she gave the ring to me. To give up her father's ring was more than any typical act of giving. It is one of the most amazing gifts I have ever received.

Unfortunately at its age and significant daily wear, some of the prongs had broken off and the stone was very loose. Several different retail jewelers refused to make the repairs, I suspect because of its antiquity and liability issues. So for 8 years it has been put away, only worn on special occasions for fear of losing that irreplaceable carved stone. My dear friend, Terry, happened to run into an old friend of hers, a jeweler and in the course of their conversation the Phoebus ring came up. He told Terry it might be fixable, he would like to see it. I met with him 8 weeks ago and yesterday (Christmas Eve) I got back the Phoebus ring, beautifully repaired and cleaned.

The ring is a part of my family history. It will be my every day reminder that I am infused with the spirit of Phoebus and part of the Phoebus family history.
"Family of Srtangers"  Ann Reed

Yes Cheryl, There is an "Enchilada Eve"


Yes Cheryl, There is an "Enchilada Eve"!
15 Years ago in a turkey/ham holiday revolt we opted to have Enchilada's for X-mas Eve dinner. Evans' Enchilada Eve is an irreverent tradition at our house and we love it!  This year after 3 busy days with my grandsons in addition to all of the other wonderful Christmas activities I was pooped beyond belief, I mean way beyond the typical power through it anyway "pooped"! I had to let go of Enchilada Eve. The spirit was more than willing but the body was staging a full on strike.  I was heart broken literally! But a last minute wonderful surprise when Darren and Jill made Enchiladas tonight....Christmas Eve 2014.  Well it may not be as spectacular as a big star in the East but, but it was indeed my very own Christmas miracle.  Thank you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The closer I am to fine....

And…let’s not share this with my insurance company!
The question is how much of our life is decided long before we arrive. I want spiritual acceptance for what is happening to my body,  I want to live with a whole heart, to contribute my unique gifts to the world or the people that need them the most and that my body is well spent then I feel like my spirit will live on well loved and closer to fine!

"Closer to Fine"  Indigo Girls

I'm trying to tell you something about my life, Maybe give me insight between black and white

The best thing you've ever done for me, Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all

Monday, December 22, 2014

CupCakes for breakfast!

YES......at Nana's House we have cup-cakes for breakfast! 

Celebrating birthdays past and to come...and getting an early start on a big birthday shopping day!

I know, I know I can feel their parents cringing from 90 miles away, but I warned them that my job as a Nana was to do all those things that they are not allowed to do at home and then......

send them home.....Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

There is a Fine Line.....














We try so hard to be normal
...it just never lasts very long!

please take note of who is NOT in the second photo and you will understand the second picture.

"I Farted on Santa's Lap"

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It is What we do...


There is something indescribably magic about like-minded creatives and a fire (of course a little wine does not hurt). There is a spirituality that is present with creatives and fire that none of us really understand but....it is there. It is there in the stories that spill out, there in the sadness and failures that we throw into the fire to be consumed, there in our desires that are cast into the fire and carried immediately up and out to the universe, we all know there is something beyond our understanding 
there and we celebrate it!
"for Good" Idina Menzel

Friday, December 19, 2014

Counting stars





Because she knows!  
She knows how lucky she is to have so many incredible stars in her sky! 
I am always counting my stars!
Thank you!


"Counting Stars"  Guardier Sisters

Thursday, December 18, 2014

on the other side

Creativity is my God/prayer. You may not understand it, and that is is just fine, because I do not understand it either.
I do not think any of us are capable of truly experiencing God on this side of the grave. Humans have been trying to do that since the beginning of time and we are no closer to an explanation than we were thousands of years ago, infact we are still telling the very same stories. I think we all get little glimpses of what God might be but none of my glimpses match what I have been told about this God or other Gods.
So, I will wait. I know in my heart that all of this will be lovingly revealed to me on the other side of the grave, after I release this life, the emotions and all of the limitations of living. For right now, I will happily practice creativity, that is where my little glimpses are.

"Phenomenal Woman"  Ruthie Foster

I have decided to be happy...

                                                                                                                                           


I cannot always change my surroundings. I cannot always change what is happening to me. The only
things I get to change are my thoughts and my attitude. No one can control that; no one can take my thoughts from me. They are mine and mine alone. Happy, sad, grief, love I own them, all of them, they are mine, I am rich beyond belief with emotion and I do not relinquish control of any of them to someone else. They are mine, I choose! I have decided to be happy!



"Time of Your Life"  ortoPilot

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

They did not say anything about a straight line!

Good thing  I draw lots and lots of lines. None of them are straight! The older I grow the more I wonder about morality. Who decides what is moral and what is not, why and when? My morality is based on what I feel in my heart, it is that simple! It may be right or wrong, it may be good or bad in other’s eyes….but in my life, it is simply what I feel in my heart.  It will never be a straight line and my heart is what I have to live with.


"Change"  Blind Mellon
"they'll all look at me and they'll say, Hey look at her and where she is these days.When life is hard, you have to change"

Oscar Wilde

Monday, December 15, 2014

Thinking about death....

We (me, doctors, friends, family) do not talk about death… Perhaps that is why it took me so long to explore these thoughts, but when I finally did, I found a comfort and clarity that I did not expect.  As I struggle to come to terms with death, I am surrounded by a comforting peace that reminds me of my place in the world. In the big picture, death reduces the mundane things that stress me out and puts them in perspective. The love, the people, the places, the experiences and all of the things that matter most to me become big and crisp again. … Thinking about death does not scare me, it clarifies my life.
"Better Off Now"  Trent Dabbs           

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sometimes the music says it so much better....

"I Lived"  One Republic

Hope when you take that jump You don't fear the fall
Hope when the water rises You build a wall
Hope when the crowd screams out They're screaming your name
Hope if everybody runs You choose to stay
Hope that you fall in love And it hurts so bad
The only way you can know Is give it all you have 

And I hope that you don't suffer But take the pain
Hope when the moment comes You'll say...
                                        I did it all

I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
                                          I swear I lived
Hope that you spend your days but they all add up
And when that sun goes down hope you raise your cup
I wish that I could witness all your joy and all your pain
But until my moment comes I'll say...
                                          I did it all


"I lived"  One Republic

2014 Professional Artist Magazine Art Mentor Finalist....Woo-Hoo!

I am honored and touched beyond all words!  Thank you Shirley Fox for this incredible nomination and thank you Professional Artist Magazine for an honor that I am overwhelmed by.  Encouraging and helping emerging artists realize their unique and individual potential is the love of my life!
"Thank You"   Dido

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I created something...

Practicing creativity, no matter how well or how badly
is what keeps me alive.
It is why my heart beats, why my soul grows
and it is my way of making life bearable.
I sing off key with head phones on.
I dance dreadfully in the studio with no one watching.
I write using horrendous grammar and atrocious spelling
(even MS WORD is baffled!)
For every “good” picture I draw or paint,
for every mask or figure I sculpt
there are at least 15 that are embarrassingly bad!
Good or bad, at the end of the day, I can say
I created something...I lived!
More than a daughter, woman, wife, mother, sister, or friend
I am a creative.


"You Might Die Trying"  Dave Matthews Band
If your give, then you begin to get the world"

Monday, December 8, 2014

Step Away from the Easel!




It was a good day in the studio!  Yes it is new for me, much looser than I typically do, but very freeing to let go of the minute details that I characteristically obsess over, and over and over again.  Once I finally let go she came pretty quick. she is still asking for more, but knowing when to quit has always be so hard for me to figure out...step away from the easel!


"Morning Girl" Neon Philharmonic

I do not owe....

Neither can be taken away from me.  I foolishly believed I owed my life to someone else, that was how it was supposed to be.  I thought my freedom came from anothers love, respect for my independence and trust.  I was wrong, I have grown up, opened my eyes to things I never really wanted to see.
My freedom comes from me, It is my wild heart and my gypsy soul that make me whole.  I do not owe anyone for my life.


"Dust to Dust"  Civil Wars

Sunday, December 7, 2014

White Lies



Some days are better than others….and I am finding the “other“ days are getting harder and harder to get through.  I always believed that gratitude would get me some tough times.  I am still learning to focus on all the good things in my life with amazing gratitude and when that doesn’t work there are always white lies!



"White Lies"  Paolo Nutini

Saturday, December 6, 2014

O Tannenbaum and really bad reindeer!


"O Tannenbaum"  Vince Guaraldi Trio

Boundaries

I think there were times earlier in my life, and everyone’s life for that matter, that some “forcing” and failing is necessary.  How else do we learn what and where our boundaries are?  But there comes a time that enough is enough.  I am not advocating that I quit, but that forcing and/or failing from this point on will be a chosen experience, I know what and where most of my boundaries are.

"Better Off Now"  Trent Dabbs

Sometimes the lyrics say it so much better than I can.
So easy to hurt, so hard to forgive and there's no getting over the people we've been but it sounds like a question, when we say "this is it" won't you stay around, tell me that we're better off now wait it out tell me that we're better off now, we're better off now
From the first time we heard this, we were quick to believe that light on the surface, was dark underneath knew enough to be nervous, but we just couldn't quit stay around, tell me that we're better off now wait it out, tell me that we're better off now we're better off, better off now
let's say that the sun might show up here tomorrow and we could go back to that place let's say that the sun might show up here tomorrow and we will find the love we misplace just tell me that we're better off now just tell me that we're better off now stay around tell me that we're better off nowwe're better off now better off now

Thursday, December 4, 2014

life, love, art, heart failure and assorted ramblings 2014

each year.... I publish the posts from my blog that were the best part of my growing, the biggest AH-HA's and the worst disappointments.  These are some of my greatest life lessons.  It has been a magnificent year



  
"All Star"  ortoPilot

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Finding purpose through play!

New Box of color experimenting with blocks of pure pigment that you can draw with, use as a watercolor or water soluble crayons. They are bizarre to hold when drawing with them, but how freeing that is in addition to adding color and paint feeling to sketches. I am still exploring basic poses for the Nude-Nite ....I need to get busy, but oh my I am having so much fun dancing and playing in the studio!

"All About That Bass" Meghan Trainor
yes,  that is a purple bottle of bubbles back there...sometimes inspiration needs a little help


No Fear....





Sometimes it is best to put my big girl panties on and just do it.  Quit overthinking it, and that is really hard when it is a part of who I am!  It is time to start following my own advice, let go, lead with how it feels in my soul, reach for the new and different experiences, and do it with no regret and no fear!



"Bubble Toes"  Jack Johnson

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Who am I Kidding?

And that is the truth! 
Instead of getting smarter, each new situation makes me grossly aware of just how much I DON'T know.
Shouldn't I be getting wiser in my old age? 
What has happened to the years of experience I am supposed to have? 
Will I ever figure it out?
And exactly who decided I was supposed to figure it out.


"Follow Me"  Uncle Kracker

Monday, December 1, 2014

Yes I will...

There are so many different beats that will wake me from my everyday hibernations.  I am always looking for the rhythms, the textures the lines, the movements that will make that connection.

Yes I will allow myself to be rocked by connection, passion, excitement and fearlessness hoping that something much greater than me will propel me heart-first into my now then move me even higher by doing, by being and by trusting me.

Yes I will surrender  to the strongest pull I know,  the primal desire to create.
I know in my heart it will never lead me astray.  
It will bring me home,
Creating will bring me safely home.
Yes it will.


"Yes I Will"   Michael Franti

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Letting go of....



Sometimes things are not how or what you expect them to be.  I thought this part of my life would be about holding on.  Holding on to relationships, love, time, memories, but what I am learning is that it is exactly the opposite.  It is about letting go!  That concept is just now beginning to show up in my work.  Letting go of the tight images, the perfect pretty pictures  others perceive as good art and I thought they expected from me.  I want to embrace the emotions and the feelings that are present in that moment.  It is not about holding on.  I want to live and be free enough to let it go and express the feelings.  Letting go of expectations and living it all.


"I Lived"  One Republic
(I really like this song!)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Watch me....

I want to own every minute,
The things I do are for me, 
to grow
to live, 
to be whole, 
to be happy
Watch me, sometimes you may not agree, sometimes it is going to hurt, but it is worth it.   I do not want there to be any doubt...I lived!

"I Lived"  One Republic

Friday, November 21, 2014

Stronger than this...sometimes






And I have such a lovely assortment of monsters sleeping there! 
They are the most insidious of all monsters, not because of their real danger, but the danger they have made me believe in.
The fear they create keeps me small, overwhelmed, unable to decide what is good for me.

I am stronger than this...sometimes.


"Don't Give Up"  Herbie Hanncock, Pink, John Legend

Monday, November 17, 2014

Is it worth it?


 Another round with same reactions. And I wanted it so much not to be so....again....  How much life am I suppose to give up before we all agree this does not work.  My body turns against me, and refuses to function, the world closes in and I do not want to wake up. The emotional pain is overwhelming, I cannot function, but my heart is beating...Is it worth it?

"No No No" Paolo Nutini

Friday, November 14, 2014

GREMLINS.....AUGH!!!!!!

It looks like my blog was attacked by technical gremlins!  I do not know where they are, or how they got here, but they ate some of my images!
GRRRRRRR.....

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I believe...

Not giving up, I have too much more to do!  

I have a purpose and I have so much more to do.  I can do this with strength, resolve and love.  
I can do this!
"I believe this is not the end of me, 
this is the beginning!
I believe today it is ok to not be ok.
Hold on...hold on!"

"I Believe"  Christina Perri

My wonderful little young, female doctor that in one breath says she adores my attitude and wishes more of her patients were like me and then in the next breath tells me I am in denial, and I am not wrapping my head around the danger and the seriousness of this.  I carefully try to explain that I unserstand the denial and I like it......work with me!  And now I think she will!  We have got some work to do, some ugly meds getting added to the mix, that if I am lucky will stave off an even uglier procedure.  Things are changing, I am just not sure I was ready for it to begin happening, although I have had plenty of time to get ready for this!  I got to get busy I am here for a reason and I have a lot more to do!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Here I go again....




And it is THAT time again.  Another crap load of tests and I sat for weeks while “they” decipher the results. Here I go again, telling myself it does not matter what they say…I know how I feel, and it is great,  but still the closer it gets the more I wonder….how is my heart really doing.  Monday will be here soon!


"There She Goes Again"  ortoPilot (yup him again!)

ummmm....working on it.....stand by


I am still learning how to shut out all of those critics in my head!  Always telling me...be ashamed, you are not good enough, who do you think you are, now what are you going to do?

Good thing my heart does not have ears, but oh man....my brain can get really loud!  

and that is when my heart goes lalalalala!


"All Star"   ortoPilot  (nope...not a typo...really)

Friday, November 7, 2014

When you buy something from an artist...












And…when you look at it this way…there really is no amount of money  that could possibly pay for the work of any artist!


The Kind You Can't Afford"  Madeleine Peyroux

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Maybe...it is not worth having....

And that is what I keep telling myself….over and over and over again.Will it ever stop hurting? 
How and when do I let go?
Will I ever learn that my value is not measured by others love, affection or attention.
I have to do this myself.
I cannot allow myself to need and that is much harder than I expected.

"Defying Gravity"  Lea Michele

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Shake it!


.....and when I just cannot get it together
or I am so happy I canot hold still
I do the same thing.
Shake it....Shake it
All the right junk!
Come dance "really bad" with me!
Love teaching the Artist's Way...Love the creatives that become a part of my life....and love that they celebrate my bad dancing!


"All About that Bass"  Meghan Trainer

brokenness...

Everything breaks, everything changes, it is how I manage the pieces that will define me. I struggle so much to hold on to my own self-esteem and self-love.  It seems to break when I am feeling the least confident and unsure of myself.  That is when the proverbial rug is pulled out from under my feet.    Do I accept the changes gracefully or do I scramble like a mad woman to put things back the way they were?  How will I know if I should embrace my brokenness or fight for the way it used to be?


"Come on Get Higher"  Matt Nathanson

Living in the moment...


I am certain there will come a time when they will not approve of what I have done, or how I have done it.  I am claiming fully whatever I may or may not have done, and know I did so with no regret by living in the moment.  My intentions have never been to cause another living soul pain, but to enjoy my life to its fullest extent.  Right, wrong or  indifferent, you may rest assured I am living in the moment, with no regrets, and am having the most marvelous life. I can not change the past, and I will not waste my present trying to control the future.
peace in my heart....peace in my soul


"Living in the Moment"  Jason Mraz

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Moon Dance

A full moon makes halloween so much more scary!  But I did have so many scary short people at my door last night.  I will wait patiently for next weekend, celebrate a fall full moon dancing around the fire!  Some things in my life are changing, others will be the same!  Moon dancing!



"Moondance"  Van Morrison

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Breaking my promise....

In the act of symbolically letting go of Mother I realized I need to let go, too.
I am breaking my promise, I have to let go now.




"Watching Over You"  Ann Reed

Friday, October 24, 2014

A relationship with death....



Perhaps this is why I feel so empowered about life. NOW….

No tomorrows, no what if’s,
overwhelmingly grateful for today.

No one, no thing can take this peace from me.
 No….death is not the worst thing that can happen,

If you will open up and really look at it, you can feel the gift.


"You Have Lived"  Don McLean

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Some Changes...

I would begin by never allowing old men in Home Depot to call anyone…”little darlin’”  Not little, and certainly not his darling….and if I had a home depot hammer in my hand I would have smashed his finger.
Male children should always respond to their mother’s phone calls, texts, IMs immediately….no questions asked!  Period!
50 Cent beer night should be on Friday or Saturday or any day I do not have to get up and do anything that resembles work.   Tuesday 50 cent beer night is just not working for me.
And if I could go back in time and do this all over again, I would know what to do differently!
"She's Not Afraid"  One Direction

Monday, October 20, 2014

It did not work then...


I am still learning the hard way and maybe it is just too late.   Have there been too many years, have we all grown just too far apart, are we too different?  I have no idea how to do this, and I am stuck between doing what is good for me and or wasting time being what someone else thinks I should be and not be honest with myself. I have wasted so much of my life trying to be what others wanted me to be.  It did not work, then...what makes me think it will work now?


"Love Me or Not" Micheal Franti

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy Heart Day #5! Every Year I celebrate my heart and paint my chest!

Every heart attack anniversary, I paint my chest
 to celebrate my incredible, amazing strong heart
This year has had more than it's share of ups and downs, but today I am celebrating no change. Mid-way through my 4th year, my Ejection Fraction slipped from an unheard of and an amazing 40% (which the doctors and nurses have told me is close to miraculous given the amount of heart damage I have) to 30%.  The mitral valve is failing, and the rest of my valves are now being examined for signs of failure also.  The very kind, but no nonsense echo tech was not allowed to give me any results but as I was getting dressed she asked what was my last EF back in May….I responded 30%.  A few moments later as she opened the door to let me out of the lab, she covertly whispered in my ear….it is still 30%.  That means 6 full months of no change, and I am taking this as spectacular exciting happy heart day news.  To celebrate this year’s Happy
Heart Day, I painted 30 happy hearts on mychest.  Happy Anniversary my heart, I am celebrating, dancing and painting. I am so incredibly grateful for how you continue to support my amazing life.


"I Just Want to Celebrate"  Rare Earth
Backing up, and setting the record straight, which I would have been most happy to leave at 30% when the doctor got a hold of it, I was down graded to 25%.  Apparently this is a subjective call.  Who knew?  So if it is subjective, I think I will stick with my original 30%, After all I have already painted 30 hearts...yep....I am sticking to 30!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I miss you so much....



I wish there were words for how much my heart hurts.
I wish I had told you more how much I loved you.
I thought this pain would start going away, but I miss you more today than I thought possible, our Wednesdays, your fearlessness when you were so scared, white wines, your amazing stories, you gave me the visions of the art I love in Italy and New York, the marathon phone calls and having your arms around me.
Always my champion, how do I do this without you?
I just had no idea, how much I was going to miss you.



"You'll be in my Heart"  Phil Collins

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Not...MY favorite things but....


BUT...very fun to explore different images and mediums for an upcoming exhibition!  Lyrics from the song "My Favorite Things" is the title of the exhibition. It is in conjunction with the play, "The Sound of Music".  I have to confess that the chicken wire dress is not original, but fun to try.  I am finding that my creativity is becoming more about trying new things, and I admit that
instead of risking failure of a new medium, I repeated an idea that I felt I could execute.  I just needed to grieve and "practice" creativity.
It was just what I needed when I needed it.
So it may not be my favorite thing, but it filled the empty space in my heart.

"My Favorite Things"  Jody Gnant
Sorry Julie Andrews but you just gotta hear this one!

Observation is the First Step in Healing



There are experiences that every human being must live through, and losing your mother is one of them.  Some of the grief I choose how and when it will be expressed, and there is another kind that comes in waves of sorrow that I have no control over.  In the car stopped at a red light, in the lounge of a car repair shop or in line at the grocery store tears well up and run down  my cheek.  I know this will get better in time but it is far worse and far greater than I could have ever imagined.  I am aware.


"Heal Yourself"  Ruthie Foster

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Some Things Never Change!

A week ago today I was at my Mother’s home taking turns with siblings, sitting at her bedside, she died the following day.   My younger sister began to write her obituary and the cell phone blew up with questions.  Some I had the answers for, others I had known the answer and had chosen to forget, but most  of her questions brought about feelings of hurt and pain I thought I had let go of long ago.  But here they are again, this time swirled around and mixed in with grief.  Then I found this photo, going through old albums and records, and all of the sudden laughter became a part of this toxic mixture of grief, hurt and pain.

She is dead,  And although I am 60  years old the thought of living the rest of my life without her still makes me feel stripped, naked and vulnerable. But now a little smile will slip through, remembering how I laughed hysterically when I found this picture she took. A reminder that that life is about birth, death and changes, but at the same time I realized some things will never change. I would like to believe that 57 or so years ago, she knew one day, when I most needed it, I would absolutely roar laughing at this picture.
Thank you Mother, I needed this today. Thank you!
"Thank You"  Dido

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Brothers and Sisters in Me

One of the things I have seen time and time again, was reinforced over the past few of days.Everyone grieves differently.

Over the past few days I have seen my family take such different approaches to grief. It is difficult to watch yourself grieve, but easy to recognize other familiar patterns of grief manifest. The really strong ones will never let you see any emotion. They are experts at compartmentalizing. They will weigh the pros and cons and are able to set emotion aside to make the correct decision. Then the exact opposite is those that cannot cope, but struggle to prove that they can. The constant fight within themselves manifests itself as physical ailments. And somewhere in the middle.....
I have all my brothers and sisters in me.                     
"Have a Little Faith" Micheal Franti and the Spearheads

Mother I promised you I would try...and I am, but oh my I am just now beginning to understand what you went through.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Shake Woman Shake

Yes!  Letting go of everything that does not resonate immediately with my soul….No more pushing to make it work.  I know how it feels when things are right, you know in your gut right away.  Every cell lights up!  Forget the try try try again crap. They forgot to tell us, those that do... are passionate about what they are doing. They do not see it as difficult or uncomfortable or hard, we love every second of what we are doing.  Other people’s idea of success is of no importance.  There is not enough time in this world for me to risk one more second not doing anything I am not passionate about.  I am grateful for my gifts!    BOOM..... earthquake!

 "Shake Me Like a Monkey"  Dave Matthews Band

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What on earth makes her think I do not get this!

The cardiologist ripped into me this week.  Her words exactly….”you are not taking this seriously” …. “Denial”…. “When are you going to understand, this is your life?”…”Does your family know how sick you are?”

Are you fucking kidding me?  What on earth makes her think I do not get this!  I asked her to tell me how she thinks I am going to die, then I will consider her way of how I should live (why should I take medications that make me sick…surgeries…etc…etc…)  Her answer was, "everyone dies differently, “I cannot tell you that.”  So  “Why is it so hard for her  to understand that I want to LIVE it differently?”

I really did not know how I am going to die, and perhaps it was unfair to make such a definitive statement.  Then I found this book in the second hand book store. It turthfully, clearly, frankly, told me what I can most likely expect (well actually, it is what all of us can expect) but NO ONE, especially the doctors want to talk about it.

When this day comes, (and it is not here yet!) it is going to be ugly...it is going to hurt but I will be able to do it better, knowing I have had the best, truly fun, with incredible outrageous experiences, marvelously full life I could possibly have had.

And I cannot do that if I am sick and scared all of time!

"Strip Me"  Natasha Bedingfieild

Bitch, moan, crab, kick, belly-ache, gripe

Bitch, moan, crab, kick, belly-ache, gripe and in general I am not a happy camper. I know that lessons come to teach, that everything can be an ordeal or an adventure depending on my attitude, and 42 other platitudes about having a positive outlook on any situation….but sometimes they just out and out suck….There is no attitude or happy quote that will make a pile of shit be anything other than a pile of shit….if it stinks, walk away from it!

Whew...that feels a little better. Not much....but a little.....


"Satisfaction"  Rolling Stones

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Divinely Misguided



Never certain what experiences open for me or why, but on some level I understand that I asked for them all.  Consciously or unconsciously there are lessons I need to learn.  Some I go into knowing exactly what I need to learn…others I have no idea what is waiting for me.  Those are the ones that scare me.

Is the lesson to keep moving forward, risk the pain, for an unknown pleasure?

Worry about the future…or stay in the now?
The fear of the furture or the pleasure of now.


"No No No" Paolo Nutini