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!"


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Music is loading really slow lately...sorry...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Breaking Silence

"Love Potions" are taking over the porch! We install the work on Sat with the artist reception on the following Sat. and I am scared to death. The 3 large canvas paintings are just too big for my studio.  The newest (and just finished) sculpture is out on the porch, paint drying.  I have had such growth with this work! It is not the work you are expecting to see from me; it is not the pretty pictures of flowers, landscapes, life studies. That work was created for others, to like, to sell. It does not matter if this work sells, it matters that I turn my heart inside out and tell you a story. 

It’s a love letter to myself, confirmation that I will go on, flamboyant, vulnerable and disturbing.  It is my heart screaming….can you hear me….this is what it looks like!


"Breaking Silence"  Janis Ian

Thank you 2015....

It has been, without question the best and the worst year of my life.  As I put this together I laughed and cried more than I think I ever have. Once upon a time, New Years Eve was about how much I could drink without passing out.  I lost that challenge more times than I ever care to admit.  The 12 hour hangover the next day was just an added bonus! Do not get me wrong there will be a bottle of champagne opened but it may or may not be at mid night,

But now,  I am reflecting back on the year. This has become a big part of my New Years Eve. The highs and lows are my personal acknowledgment of  my successes and losses.  Now it is time to celebrate and mourn and then..... let them all go. Tomorrow I will welcome the new year with all of the feelings of a fresh start and the chance to make my life even stronger and better!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Declaring to myself and the world that I am not defeated!

The stitches are out! I was hooked up to the computer and re-calibrated! Everything is working just the way it should and the healing is progressing just as it should or maybe even better! This past week I have been thinking about 2016, how wonderful it will be and what I want to do to live the next 365 days spectacularly, and this came across my email on the OM site. And I am like….YES!    Maybe it is time for another Artist Way Weekend!

“You can channel your pain into helping others and spreading a tide of curative energy throughout the world. Helping others can be a restorative experience that makes your own heart grow stronger. In channeling your pain into compassionate service and watching others successfully recover, you may feel a sense of euphoria that leads to increased feelings of self-worth and optimism. Your courageous decision to reach out to others can be the best way to declare to yourself and the world that your pain didn’t defeat you, and in fact it helped you heal.”


"Change the World"  Eric Clapton

Sunday, December 27, 2015

good enough.....


I am afraid of so many things, but the one thing I am not so afraid of is to talk about what or why I never feel good enough.  And here is the thing….each time I share my fears, others seem to know just what I am talking about.  They know these fears, too.  There are so many of us that seem to not feel good enough, not smart enough, not skinny enough, not pretty enough….not perfect. And although I know all of the intellectual reasons that all of these new bumps and scars on my chest do not define me, when I look in the mirror they scream loud and clear "you are so ugly", "you are broken", "how could anyone love this?" at me.  

I think I should start a club and with the single mission of getting rid of the word perfect!  Good enough is my new perfect!


"Body Love, Part 1 & 2"  Mary Lambert

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Really live....



The bruising is beginning to fade and the stitches come out on Monday, all are clear indications that my body is doing what it is designed to do….HEAL… my life begins again and I cannot wait!  So much of this year has felt like it was spent destroying my body, my health my life in an attempt to make it better, when the reality is, just between you and me, I think my body was doing a pretty spectacular job on its own, not perfect but not bad.  From here on in it is just me and healing, no more surgeries, no LVAD, no transplant just sweet amazing, fun, creative, dancing, painting, laughing, loving, life!  It is time to put this pain in the past, time to begin my life again.  I survived, I am still here, and I want to live…I mean really live!

"Get it on...Bang a Gong"  T. Rex

Friday, December 25, 2015

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 has become a wonderful irreverent tradition at our house and we love it! Unfortunately I was unable to do my Enchilada Duty this year, but what a marvelous gift to see my children Darren and Jill carry on the tradition. It is the little silly things we do year after year, like the Jones family cinnamon rolls that the Evans's have done for 40 years now. These are the threads that stitch my family together and I am truly blessed.


"I Believe in Love"  Indigo Girls

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Here it is! My battery back up!

Here it is!  This is what is now inside of me….about 3.5 inches long and maybe 3 inches wide about a 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch thick and it is quite heavy.  They let me see and hold it before surgery.  It has been implanted on my side about boob height with a wire that runs in me and up to my heart.  One big incision and two more little ones and day 2, they are still quite sore, but it is done and it is all good!  From here on out if my heart cannot recover from erratic electrical and dangerous heart beats, my hickey will kick in and shock my heart and do it for me!  It is a pretty terrific thing!  ICD technology is not all that new, but it is changing so fast….this is the latest technology and they have asked me to be a part of the research study, I have said yes and am looking forward to being a part of the growth of medical technology.  I am so blessed!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Beginning again...

Today is the day!  Finally…the day is here and the last surgery…it is almost over…one quick overnighter and a “back up battery” and I am good to go.  Ready to start a new life and New Year with a little bionic hut-spa!  I will confess that I hate hospitals, but I do not think that comes as a surprise to anyone, any I am nervous about having electrical “equipment” implanted and a bit apprehensive about what the “shocks” will feel like or how often I will get them, but on the flip side I think some of the anxiety I have had for years and have just learned to cope with may finally go away and a whole new freedom will arise!  I am ready….let’s get it done….I am ready for it to be over so I can begin again!

"Heal Yourself"  Ruthie Foster

Friday, December 18, 2015

holding on....

I have tried so hard to understand why he is in my life….clearly there is something I have to learn, he is still here and I continue to reach out.  But each time I come away frustrated, baffled, lost, hurt and almost angry.  I would like to search for our lessons together, but I do not think that is going to happen, we are in such different places.  “I am going to have to let the tender darkness do the holding on for a while.”

One more…last time…finally….this is it…no more.




One more…last time…finally….this is it…no more.  A huge sense of apprehension accompanies this ICD surgery.   I think there will be a great deal of comfort of knowing my heart has a “back up” system.  There is also a great deal of relief in claiming this as the last surgery to keep this going.  This year and these surgeries have and will give me the best quality of life available.  It is up to me how I want to use this life, I have so much more to do!

                   "Defying Gravity"  Lea Michelle

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Independence Day 12-21

Have been feeling pangs of independence…I felt them before the last surgery too.  However this surgery will be nothing like the first.  This one is going to be a cake walk.  Easy deal….in and out of the hospital with just an overnight stay!  I have truly come to hate hospitals, even more than I did before.

It is kind of a double edged sword, having an ICD!  The bad part (at least for me) is that being fiercely emotionally independent, this means my life may be depending on a little battery powered “ hickey “ implanted in my chest.  The good thing is I can be confidently alone and live my life without so much fear about sudden cardiac death.  This appeals to me and scares me at the same time.

This independence thing seems to have taken on a new ferocious meaning since my own ability to financially support myself has been so severely impacted.  Sometimes I feel like I just need to prove to the world and me…that I can do this…My Independence Day is Dec 21st.
"Hammer & Nails"     Indigo Girls   

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I passed....

I had an EKG this morning for the sole purpose of measuring things to determine if I fit all of the criteria for a newer kind of ICD implant.  This hoo-ey –doo-ey  ICD has leads will not have to be threaded directly into my heart but will function just as well outside my heart without risking infection and more damage.

I passed….so surgery is on for the 21st!  This is the last surgery....the last invasive procedure...the last...from here on out I am on my my own, I have given it all I have, I did it all.  It is all on me now and swear I will live and create, and love!

"I Lived"    New Republic

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015

This time I open my eyes before I click my heels 3 times!

"You just had to learn it for yourself."

Lessons, I suspect they have been here all along.  I just could not see them and in some cases did not even know it  existed or recognized it as a problem.  But the pain it created is real.

Yesterday I realized there is a huge difference between “cared for” and being “taken care of”  just a few short words that on first blush seem to have the same meaning.  But there is huge difference and confusing the two can cause massive amounts of heart ache. 

This time I open my eyes before I click my heels 3 times!

"For Good"    Kristin Chenoweth & Idina Menzel

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

the magnificent practice of letting go....

Blank canvas and ready to begin again, but letting go FIRST!
I learned again, that old habits die hard…

After completing a wonderful and successful large abstract piece, I was anxious to begin another.  It was a spectacular failure!  I am fairly new at abstract painting, and spent some time reading about and studying the process.  Over and over again, regardless of the size, style, medium or artist the one consistent element was that they approached the canvas, let go of preconceived images and allowed the paint to express a feeling.  My first true abstract I was able to do that, it was a marvelous experience….I wanted more! 

And then because I wanted the second painting to be as good, I reverted back to my original “we are all taught to do it” method of painting…make a plan, do a sketch, arrange the composition.  And this work like all other pieces I created in the past….was controlled, I controlled every aspect of it.

Yesterday I planned, I sketched, I controlled the work and the painting was horrible!

This morning I woke up, painted over the image and I am starting again.  Today there will be no sketch, no plan just a free exploration of feelings, a dance with paint and the magnificent practice of letting go.  And that is precisely how I want to live my life from here on out.

                                                                                      "If You Could Read My Mind"  Gordon Lightfoot

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

not waiting...

No they cannot break me.  The current medical industry disregards me  Their need to control my personal information, translates into controlling me and my medical decision making.  It puts me in emotional fragile territory and this time keeps my life on “hold” unable to make commitments for  anything, waiting to hear if the ICD is a going to be implanted or not.   I have been struggling with this for the past month. 

At the risk of sounding like a cynical conspiracy theorist, when the test results are not what they expected or contrary to their expectations, they delay and avoid me.  I cannot wait any longer; I do not want to postpone any more life.  I am moving forward…It is my body…It is my life, I want to be living not waiting.
"Arms Around my Life"  Janis Ian

Friday, November 27, 2015

I do not need to be safe anymore!

There are times that the ideas will come at me faster than I can keep up with.  That is not to say they are all good ideas, just a mess of ideas. 

There are ideas I have that are so outrageous, that I am too scared to pursue them.  Then there are the ideas that I will discount almost immediately because they seem just too ridiculous to be any good.  I want to be “safe” but each and every time I have worked up the courage to follow the outrageous ridiculous ideas I am spectacularly rewarded!  I need do pursue more of those ideas!  I do not need to be safe anymore!

"Try"  Colbie Caillet

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving blasphemy…..

My annual Thanksgiving RANT!!!!
When I turn on the TV there is at least one cooking show on every minute of every day  portraying the culinary experience  as a fun and fulfilling activity that not only  satisfies a need to be creative but keeps the family well fed and healthy.  My response to this entertainment trend is BULL PUCKY! Where is the cooking program for the “I Hate to Cook” people? Where are the cooking programs that promote a delicious home cooked meal in 3 ingredients or less?

I am not cooking a traditional Thanksgiving meal although I did for many years!   I will indeed be giving thanks, but not by using every pot & pan in my tiny kitchen, preparing and cooking really bad food all day, washing, soaking and scraping all night, then stuffing a refrigerator full of leftovers that will probably spoil before they are eaten and eventually be thrown out. And of course the worst part is, the incredible guilt I feel because by the end of Thanksgiving Day I have truly hated the entire experience, and am anything but thankful.

This year I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, sharing a few beers, great stories and amazing conversation.  Our thanksgiving blessing will be on "no reservations needed" Wednesday evening  over a blooming onion, followed by a nontraditional but marvelous cooked just the way I like it....Thanksgiving  filet!.  Then, and here is the best part, I will go home to an incredibly clean kitchen! No cooking.... No muss...no Fuss...oh, I am so grateful!

Thanksgiving day I will watch the parade and Santa arrive, remembering how the boys and I marched around the coffee table drumming to the marching bands with the pots and spoons I had just set out to begin cooking.  I will smile and remember, how unorthodox most of our Thanksgiving dinners have always seemed to be despite our best attempts to be Norman Rockwell normal.   This year...I will express my gratitude the best way I know how to,  dancing with paint brushes in my hands in front of a large, white, freshly stretched and primed canvas ...and...there will be no cooking!
                                                                              I know, I know Thanksgiving blasphemy…..

 "Good Girl"     Julian Moon

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Did I miss Thanksgiving?




I went out last night….I know….I know it does not happen that often, but every now and again I will venture out ….daylight savings time is over, the time has changed, it was dark and the first thing I noticed is that at least one house per block (and sometimes more) already had their outdoor Christmas lights up.  Then….because I could,   I peeked in windows as we passed by, more already had their trees up…..what????….really?????  Did I miss Thanksgiving?


                 "Bottle of Wine"  The fireballs

word of the day....



Yes…yes….yes….the word for the day, the month, the year and then some.  It is the most marvelous word I think I have ever seen and the definition is even better.  If you just happen to be one of my regular blog readers,  you WILL be seeing this word again and often!

"Unwritten" Natasha Bedingfield

by stories....

The 2 weeks from the time you were born to the time I could bring you home felt like forever. You were so tiny; at a little over 4 pounds when they let me bring you home But, it feels like that was just a few weeks ago. Surreal is the only word that can describe how 40 years feels like. Between nursery school , Cub scouts, 4 am. Christmas mornings, GI Joes, stitches, summer camps, swim meets, first car, military, weddings, children of your own and a BAZILLION stories you turned into a man. I do not know how it slipped by me so fast!

But, oh my the stories….the stories! I love you and I am so proud of you! Happy 40th Birthday!
"House at Pooh Corner"  Kenny Loggins

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Love Potions...they are REAL!

The exhibition  prospectus went out today and it really is going to happen. Half of me pinching myself because I am so excited. I will get to to use my art to speak to something so important to me. The other half of me is scared shitless, there are so many opportunities to screw up on such a spectacular magnitude!


"She Just wants to Dance"  Keb Mo

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

F#ck it Bucket...Installment #1

Yes, yes I know it is rude and crude, but….

I have had a “bucket list” for some time now and it truly is a wonderful thing.   I try to focus on the positives in every situation but I am finding that I need balance. 

To achieve this stability… I am formally instituting my F#ck it Bucket List.  This will be where I mentally chuck all of the ignorance, anger, and general pissed off-ed-ness that I seem to be having to deal with in my life more and more.  Which incidentally seems to increase around election season.

My Bucket List is a list of my hopes, my dreams and my wishes for positive life experiences,  my F#ck it Bucket List is an inappropriate but much needed release of those destructive thoughts, disapproving people and damaging experiences.

 So here is F#ck it Bucket  Installment #1  ....WHINERS…
How about trying a little gratitude for all of the wonderful things, people, health, experiences that you do have, quit complaining, and grumbling to others about what is right and wrong.  Whining never solved anything and it is annoying as hell!  Just stop it! 
Whew…… that feels kind of good!
"Beauty in the World"    Macy Grey

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

All the same....

My Face Book page is a snapshot of dramatic incongruencies. Two posts, both professionally produced, not their own original thought or opinion and by coincidence right next to each other, showed up this morning on my page.  One post asked me to type the word “amen” to a Christian values statement.  The other post asked me to support by clicking  on the "like" button, a governor that does not want to help victims of violence, clearly a very un-Christian value. I wonder if they really read, research and believe in the post they are now “sharing” with me…or just re-posting a banal thought because it is a popular thing to do.

Could it be that one mouse click they feel like they have an opinion (even if it is not theirs)? Are they unwilling or unable to develop and speak their own thoughts and feelings? I love that social media gives us an open forum to express our opinions but I am finding most end up posting the opinions of others, not even caring enough about those opinions to check the sources of the posts they are sharing.  Consciously or not, by simply sharing an opinion without fact checking it's validity they end up spreading misinformation, intolerance, lies, mistrust and hate.

When did not having your OWN opinion  become so popular?  When did we become so afraid to be different and speak our own minds?  Why is it easier to focus on being negative and  being the same?
"Think"    Aretha Franklin

Monday, November 16, 2015

The best training....


As much as I sometimes just want to quit, some part of me says “nope” I have more to do, more to say, more to give.  So tomorrow, I march back in there for a nuclear echo.  Then I will come home and create.

Art takes guts, it is not for cowards…. and it was the best training I could have possibly gotten to help me deal with the challenges of my heart.


"It Don't Come Easy"   Ringo Star

Sunday, November 15, 2015

and... Wa-Lah.....

I love it when it works!  I have spent the last ….too many to count…years with plain clear glass in the front door and the side lite.  It was originally designed and sandblasted but at the time the boys were still teenagers and that is a whole other story.  The beautiful but unbelievably broken frosted glass was replaced with clear glass and meant to be temporary, unfortunately many of my temporary fixes, if they function, seem to become permanent and so the clear glass has been there for years.  It really was not much of a big deal until I was accidentally caught by the UPS man making a mad toweled dash down the hall from the bathroom to my bedroom….whoops!  That close encounter got me seriously motivated to do something!  Last night I finger painted the glass in the front door with clear glass paint and ….. Wa-Lah….! Clear...but NOT!
"The Kind You Can't Afford"  Madeleine Peroux

There is no time for anything else

OK, so here is a confession…At first I was horribly upset, angry and frustrated when they told me all indications are that the hibernating tissue in my heart has not responded and probably will not.  The ejection fraction has not improved.  I have never gone through more pain and more expense for anything as much as I did for this.  I wanted it to work so badly!  But…I also wondered how my life would look afterwards.  Would I always have to be vigilant, giving up foods, activities and things that others might think would not be good for me?

Last week…I got permission again, to do anything I felt like doing!  If I enjoy it and my body can tolerate it “do it”.  (I do love my cardiologist Heart Failure advice!)  I have had almost 5 years of this kind of thinking, risk taking, rule breaking and doing what feels good.  I was really kind of afraid I might have to give that up to nurse a weak surgically altered heart for the sole purpose of living longer, and I do not think I really wanted to live like that. (yikes.... Did I say that out loud?)

I risked it all….I lost…but not really!  I do not want to tip-toe through life, afraid.  I want to be kind, silly, warm, compassionate, weird, loving, emotional and if I am lucky ....somehow be wildly inappropriate at least once, every single day!  “There is no time for anything else.”
"Ob-La-Di - Ob-La-Da" Life goes on…. The Beatles"

Friday, November 13, 2015

and she just showed up.....


A lesson in letting go, which some of you may know is NOT what I do! I control everything, partly my saving grace,  partly my undoing!   Before I even started I whipped up that grid, because somehow, some way I needed some structure. I have no other explanation…ridiculous to begin what I though should be a “let it rip” abstract with squares and rectangles.  I slapped on some happy colored paint with no image in mind, and she just showed up.  The paint told me what it wanted…. I just captured it with a few chalk lines and filled in the blanks.    I have a date with her again tomorrow in the studio, and I cannot wait!  Great fun experimenting it is a new day!

  
"There She Goes"  OrtoPilot"

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Heart whispers!

Sometimes I just need to ignore the rules, quit weighing the options, and quit thinking about obligations, commitments, responsibilities and what is good for only my health.  It is time to begin paying more attention to my heart and what is good for my life!  It is time for me to wildly, passionately and fearlessly love life! 

"In My Mind"   Amanda Palmer
And it's funny how I imagined,
That I could win this, win this fight
But maybe it isn't all that funny
That I've been fighting all my life
But maybe I have to think it's funny
If I wanna live before I die
And maybe it's funniest of all
To think I'll die before I actually see
That I am exactly the person that I want to be
Fuck yes
I am exactly the person that I want to be

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A new life plan is NOT giving up...

This one bites and it bites hard because I recognize me.  All of this time I thought I had no life plan, when the reality is….I think I did, but was too chicken to admit it to anyone. An adored creative that facilitates creative successes in others as well as a phenomenal artist in my own right, was a pretty spectacular life plan, and it appears that I am totally attached to it, even though I thought it too self-serving to admit it out loud. The fact is I have known for some time I needed to make another plan, but for reasons that are both admirable and downright stupid I have hung on to the “I can beat this” mentality.  The just hang on… keep pushing… be strong… don’t let anyone see you weak or in pain and other sappy Hallmark Card sentiments are just that…..sappy sentiments written by people that have no idea what this is about.  The reality is there are things in my life now and in the future that I cannot change ….I have got to able to recognize and change my life plan to incorporate this reality.  A new life plan is NOT giving up or giving in or an admission of weakness and/or failure….
"All Star"  OrtoPilot

Monday, November 9, 2015

Cha-Cha-Cha


I am good to go... although still stunned by the official  recent and disappointing cardiac function test results (even though I had some suspicions).  Now is when I need to remember how much staying busy (aka staying in trouble) and my attitude (aka breaking rules as often as possible) have been great for my overall health and done so much more than all of the medicines and surgery have ever done! In the past, nurses and doctors were surprised by how much I do and accomplish, at times wagging fingers, insisting that I may be doing "too much" even accusing me of denial.  I want to live, laugh, love every single day until I fall down in sheer exhaustion!
If this is denial...so be it and woo-hoo!
Optimists are not oblivious to reality, but  chose to move forward with life in spite of it.
                                                   Cha-cha-cha!
                   "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing"  Stevie Wonder

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The BIG GIRL PANTY CODE....None of that Sissy CRAP!

It seems like in today’s world that any time there is a serious medical problem, it requires multiple doctors.  Oh how I long for the ONE DOC days!  I feel like I have to deal with a cast of thousands for my one poor heart.  Yesterday I saw my most favored cardiologist a young, smart, intelligent, personable and sensitive woman.  I know that is almost an oxymoron…. a sensitive cardiologist, but I have one!  The rest of them, electrophysiologist, surgeons,  PA's etc. are all pretty much compassionless boobs!  

My wonderful cardiologist and I talked frankly about what this new and disappointing set of cardiac circumstances are and what it means for me and my life.  Although the surgery did not work and the hibernating tissue has not recovered any function, the additional blood flow has reduced the amount of angina I have.  And for that alone I am so grateful, not having so much pain in my day to day life is a great gift!   Although I wanted desperately to get both quantity and quality from the surgery, if I had to make a choice of one or the other I am  pleased that for now the quality of my life will be better.

I have officially been given the OK to do anything I feel like doing and my body will allow me to do, with a finger wagging warning about not over doing!  It is less than I hoped for, but I am learning how to celebrate and be happy with everything I have received.

Mother, you sent this too me just at the perfect time! 

"The Heart of Life"  John Mayer

Friday, November 6, 2015

again.....


YES... again... the same old shit again!  Back to the doctor's office with the repeat performance of, how come my heart is not doing what it is suppose to do.  Somehow I feel like I am responsible when my organs do not respond like they want them to.  I hate it! 
"When Angels Cry"  Janis Ian

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Pee on it and walk away....

Today had all kinds of possibilities of going down the toilet, and every single one of them came to fruition.  Communication with the doctors has been difficult and today’s office visit I began to understand why.  October test results seem to be saying there has been little or no improvement in my heart.  The day before surgery my ejection fraction was 30% (which by the way was up naturally almost 5% points from the previous April echocardiogram results).  The second echo done on Oct 13th 2 months post op echo said 31%.  No wonder they have been so quiet about my test results ….clearly they suck!

The new tests were scheduled weeks in advance to give my heart more time for that revascularized hibernating tissue begin to function.

And now I am afraid, that all that risk, all the pain, and all the money may have been in vain.  
Exhausted, and sick and tired of doctors, tests, medical bills, and medicines. 
I just want to “pee on it and walk away”!
"Ooooo Child"   Beth Orton

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Already worrying and the week has not even started....

Day after tomorrow should find out if my heart is still going to need to have an ICD implanted.  The last time I was in the electrophysiologist’s office he was clear about his responsibility was only to the “electrical” functions of my heart.  So maybe the tests my cardiologist is doing will not affect his decisions one way or another.  An ICD is a little electrical “hickey” inserted in my chest if I am still at risk for sudden cardiac death.  It will send electrical shocks to my heart when it senses any abnormalities in heartbeat or go into sudden cardiac arrest.  I hate having surgery again, but this should be a breeze compared to what I have already been through and it will be the last surgery I will have.....already worrying and the week has not even started.


"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"  Al Green


And this is this morning's FB post regarding stress,
"Handle stress like a dog...If you cannot eat it or play with it....then pee on it and walk away!"

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Even though it is plastic...

Yea…yea…yea…It is a plastic pumpkin.

It is not round like most pumpkins…rather skinny at the top quite broad on the bottom…A pumpkin with an ass…I can relate!

When the boys were little, there was nothing I could do to keep them from exploding with excitement at Halloween!  At our house in those days, being outdoors playing in the yard after dark was a big deal but to cruise the entire neighborhood (and then some) after dark, in a costume, with massive amounts of candy…it was a little boy trifecta!  The only thing that could keep them pacified, waiting for night fall was carving the pumpkin on Halloween afternoon.

The three of us continued carving pumpkins together on Halloween afternoon all the way through their high school years and rather embarrassingly through a few college years, too.  But I finally gave it up when they were quite grown and gone. I do miss the carving with them, but not the mess.

All of these years later, (the boys are now 38 & 40) I may have given up the carving but I have never been able to give up having a lit pumpkin on the porch for the trick or treat-ers on Halloween night, even though it is plastic.         Happy Halloween!

   "Spooky"   Dusty Springfield
Spooky candles burning, pumpkins lit and on guard, goblins circling, but the trick or treat-ers are getting through to the front door! 
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Frankenstein has nothing on me!

Frankenstein has nothing on me!  At the risk of sounding morbid and gross…but it is Halloween week after all!  I have got me some scars….9 kidney surgeries, 2 C-sections, 1 thyroid, a several skin cancers and now open heart.  That last one left me several fresh new ones and another surgery being scheduled soon. But then I suspect in today's world and at my age, who doesn’t?  Quite frankly for me, they are embarrassing and a constant reminder of how fragile my body and this life can be….and  that is when the fear begins to slip in.  I forget to remember how strong I have been, how many unsurmountable (and a few weenie) health issues I have overcome, and I slip into the ugly downward spiral of “what if’s”.  What if it happens again, what if they did not get it all, what if it did not work, what if….what if….what if…  I need to remember that those ugly scars are nothing but symbols I carry.   They have made me who I am….Strong!
"Beautiful"    Carol King

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The CHERYL EVANS method of cardiac function testing....

There was a time….not so long ago… when the nurse at “The Heart Failure Clinic” would want to send me to the hospital for tests….I would balk.  My reasoning was, they are expensive and invasive, and I do not feel bad.  Give me a glass of pinot grigio and send me on a brisk walk around the block and I will tell you precisely how I am doing. No muss...no fuss and the price is right!  Not to mention the results are always accurate! 

Since the surgery, I have become a big old fat weenie, depending on the medical industry’s high priced, horribly invasive and insensitive methods of telling ME how I feel.  SO… I got my ass up on the treadmill (sans the pinot grigio) and pushed my heart and my body hard!   I walk on my treadmill everyday and it has always given me the first tell-tale signs when things in my heart were  going wrong.  Why couldn't it tell me when things are going right? Clearly the doctors are evading my questions and are not going to tell me what they know, not without more of their expensive testing!  God forbid they make and educated assessment or explain to me what they are looking for and why. 

I can figure this out on my own!  I doubled the speed of my normal walking on my treadmill, very close to a run, for 2 min and 30 seconds.  I was totally out of breath (not too proud of that) but NO ANGINA! NO ANGINA…. 3 months ago I could not walk for 45 seconds without having to take a nitro glycerin. 

The CHERYL JONES EVANS method of cardiac function testing is a thumbs up success!

Based on this “kind of” scientific, non-invasive and extremely affordable test….I am doing GREAT!


"Take a Walk on the Wild Side"  Lou Reed

unstoppable....

There is no place big enough to list my
doubts and failures for the past 5 years. So how about I list them for just the last couple of days!

1. As I regain my strength, I seem to be over anxious to restore my emotional well-being by unrealistically insisting that my friends allow me participate fully. No more sympathy or empathy…I have been down right rude and militant…and I am sorry.

2. I hate that I do not feel like my heart is recovering that hibernating tissue we all hoped it would, the medical response that used to be we just need to give it more time, is now scheduling more tests and I still have not received information on how the first tests went. And….next week I am scheduled to find out about having the ICD implanted. I wonder if they will do that without clear test results…

3. I have decided to try a new style of creating and committed to do the nudes for 2 exhibitions in that style….What the fuck am I thinking?

4. I screwed up my courage and invited 5 women artist, I truly admire to join me in a curated exhibition and only 2 have 3 have responded, 2 were yes.

I can go on, but am running out of space…..(I know that is a chicken shit way out of this) and I really need to focus on the good positive things happening….”ART: making a living and a life” classes and the new book are doing well….”Big Magic” Book group has a great wine bar to meet in….I get to see a community theater play….a fun art center fundraiser this week….2 possible exhibitions on the horizon….one “for sure” exhibition on deck.
"Sunshine"  Johnathan Edwards
Some man's come he's trying to run my life, don't know what he's asking
When he tells me I better get in line, can't hear what he's saying
When I grow up, I'm gonna make him mine, these ain't dues I been paying...
How much does it cost? ...I'll buy it!
The time is all we've lost...I'll try it!
He can't even run his own life,
I'll be damned if he'll run mine....

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

but this time there is no book club to quit...

I have always been attracted to Dr. Brene’ Brown’s work, for me it has been a love-hate thing.  Love what she says but I struggle with the how she feels vulnerability must be incorporated in our lives ! I even QUIT a book group “Daring Greatly” How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.  I think it is the only thing I have ever quit.  I was so ashamed of myself.  I did not feel like I could risk being vulnerable in front of friends and strangers.  I down loaded the book read the first chapter and walked away.  Maybe it was not the time.  Right now I am feeling incredibly vulnerable, it does not feel good, in fact I am afraid it is getting close to letting this fear overwhelm and frighten me but this time... there is no book club to quit.


"Body Love pt. 1 & 2"   Mary Lambert       (so I downloaded her next book "Rising Strong")


Monday, October 26, 2015

"Love Potions"...it begins






Five invitations sent, 2 already accepted, one already engaged but may send a piece, and 2 more to hear from....it really is going to happen!  I am so excited!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Something new and different...

Perhaps now is not the time to be trying something new,  especially when I have several January deadlines looming.  But I am having an itch, a need, a command from myself to do what I know how to do, but do it differently.  Let go of the past “tried and true” formulas and launch into way of seeing and portraying the world I see.  I have been through a lot; I have a lot to say.  I want my work to be my voice not just something that looks good with your furniture. Pallet knives on the way here!

"Let's Get it On"    Marvin Gaye

Friday, October 23, 2015

Maybe, it is just still too soon...

Patience has never been my strong suit, so I have to confess it is agony waiting and wondering if this surgery worked, if that hibernating part of my heart is “waking” up with new blood flow.  Testing has started, more is scheduled, they are dragging it out with weeks in between them and still they do not tell me what my heart is doing. I am a full believer in “no news is good news”, however, in this case I am beginning to think it is not so.  That reality that I never allowed myself to consider, is slipping into my consciousness.  I pinch myself and remember, I had nothing to lose.  This was a long shot from the beginning, and the absolute worst case scenario would be I am no better off than when I started, and I had learned how to live and accept that quite some time ago.  Those were the cards I was dealt, I made the bet and I know for every winner there has to be a loser.  I wish I knew which one I was or maybe it is just still too soon.

"Closer to Fine"  The Indigo Girls

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

They were taking bets all over town otherwise!





I know I must be driving everyone crazy with wedding pictures......

I promise I will not be so obnoxious much longer, but there were one or two really wonderful moments, and I was so happy that they were caught!

These 3 wonderful women and I have been friends since high school (and 2 of them since kindergarten) How often does that happen? All of us obnoxious teenage hell raisers in the early 70's, but all of us managed to become responsible women, (.....well kind of) although I know a bunch f people in town that were taking bets otherwise!


"Best Friends"  Jason Mraz

Happy Happy Heart Day...I think?


I missed the actual happy heart day, yesterday because of the cruise, so it is a belated celebration.  I always celebrate my heart attack anniversaries by painting my chest but I am not absolutely sure this year is a serious celebration yet, so I only painted it is a small happy heart this year, When I know for sure there will be big big happy heart painting!   Every year on my heart attack day I celebrate and thank my amazing heart that continues to support me in ways that even the doctors find hard to believe.  This year is a bit different, this year my heart was unable to support me like it had in years past, but this year they found some “hibernating” heart tissue and did open heart surgery to try to get it to work again.  8 weeks later, I am still being tested, more tests scheduled, still waiting to find out if it “took”.  The scar is healing, but we still do not know if my heart is healing…Happy Heart Day, my amazing heart….I know you can do it…I believe in you, I believe in me!
"Heart of Gold"  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
First year...I was too afraid and did not yet believe how much control I had over this.....Not the doctors....not the medicines.....me!  2nd year- but my first painted chest.Super Heart!  3rd year- Big Ole' Happy Heart.  4th year Ejection Fraction stayed at 30...30 Hearts Celebration and this year the  5th Little but tough! My heart has been through so much and still we take care of each other!

How much happier could a mother possibly be?

I did take off that lovely "dog tag" style  ID before the
actual wedding began.!  But just so you know with the "sea
pass" I got to drink  for free all weekend , I knew
where that puppy was at all times!  LOL

There is no 'happy' like this one.  For all the things that have gone wrong in my life, these 2 have gone incredibly right! They are both happy, healthy and married to incredible young women.  How much happier could a mother possibly be?  I am so blessed in so many incredible ways, but if I had to count them this would be number 1 & 2 (and they will probably still argue the order of which is which!)


"Forever Young"  Rod Stewart

They are delightfully married and happily home!

Thrilled beyond belief to have a beautiful daughter in-law!
Had a great time seeing bunches of my family and meeting new family!
Glad I had the cruising experience, but more happy than it is possible to imagine 
that we are all happily home!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I just want to dance...


I dance badly and I dance a lot!  The music has been some of the very best out there, everything from the most upbeat melody to the depressing dirge.  I just want to dance!  I am not a musician, I am not a dancer, but I cannot imagine a world without either one.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”                                                                                                                                                            Victor Hugo

"She Just wants to Dance"  Keb Mo

A smile on her face, Cause she's in a place
Where she don't have a care
 
She ain't looking for no lover, She ain't looking for a romance
She just wants to dance. She just wants to dance
Yeah, she just wants to dance, Ooo, she just wants to dance

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Broken is not easy.....




What, how long, why…difficult days are coming in different ways.   In the past I would recognize them by the overwhelming exhaustion.  They have changed, this is my first post op difficult day, part of it I recognize, the other part is new and different and very uncomfortable.   And the damned unanswered questions begin again.  What brought this on, how long will it last, why now?  Broken is not easy…but I am learning to fill in with gold and be beautiful for having been broken.


"Undun"  The Guess Who

Monday, October 12, 2015

Somewhere....




I am just now learning how to listen to me.  What a shame 60 something years old and I am still learning how to do this.  There is some part of me, and I have no idea how it developed that craves to please others, even at the risk of being destructive to myself.    I am learning how to listen to me, but I am still hearing them.  The answer is here in me…..somewhere...

"Music in Me"  Paula Cole

Sunday, October 11, 2015

It is time....

I know this sounds morbid, but I think it may be very true!  I know I have personally had much more bravado since the heart failure began 5 years ago.  There have been a few times I have launched into a scary situation with the attitude, “What can they do to me if I fail, loose, piss someone off?  Kill me?”  That is already happening to me (and as much as I hate to point it out, “that” is happening to everyone) …failure cannot hurt me any anymore, I have nothing to lose.  It is time for me to follow my heart! I am already naked!
"Super Hero"  Ross Lynch