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...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Super Powers


I think I need to make myself a cape; the crown and the magic wand just do not seem to be doing the job anymore!  This is where my strength and my super powers are going to be found! 

I am beginning to think it is not about opening my heart. It is about accepting the emotional tools I need to protect it. These will be my super powers.

                                "Super Hero"  Ani DiFranco

alone with something to say….

Or the older I get, the more I see how the men in my life discount my feelings and see them as truly insignificant.  What I do and how I feel seem to be totally irrelevant until they interfere with what  they want and then only then  am I seen, but seen as being selfish and quite mad!  Why does my gender mean I am less than?  And again…alone with something to say….


"All Alone with Something to Say" Bonnie Raitt

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

have to...

How do I sit, smile, nod my head and say to myself “this is really shitty,” when I listen to the prognosis as they type into a computer terminal the new calibrations that “talk” to the S-ICD implanted in my chest? Is there ever a time that I do not have to be horribly grateful for the technology that keeps me alive?  Do I ever just get to be pissed? Do I have the time to feel the anger and the disappointment when there is so much other stuff I have to do.

I have to do more of what I love.  I have something to say, and need to speak.  But most of all I have to learn to love myself, If I need a hug, I have to be brave enough to ask for a hug….and because I am dying, I have to live.


"The Come On"  Janis Ian

Sunday, April 24, 2016

None to waste....

Ummmm……yes!

It is just that last part that I struggle with.  I am learning to fight for myself, but my fighting …as it turns out looks more like me walking away from or turning my back on those things that cause me pain and difficulty.   For the most part I think I am just about done with the fighting except fighting for my own physical heart.  I do not have the energy to waste on fighting.  Even if I win the fight, I will loose life in the battle. I would much rather spend the rest of my heart and energy on love.  I have none to waste on fighting.

"Waiting for my Real Life to Begin"  Colin Hay

Friday, April 22, 2016

When I stay in my head...

“We ignore our feelings by staying up in our head rather than being present in our body.”
I have not learned how to effectively manage my feelings, and find that avoiding them is easier.  I find myself focused in my head rather than my body, more or less unaware of my feelings?
When I stay in my head I am avoiding responsibility for my feelings….ouch!

"Her Diamonds"  Rob Thomas

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Frida knows

I suspect Frida knew.  She may be one of the few (artists) that knows how frustrating it is to have a body that keeps you from doing some of the things you want to do.  She has become one of my guiding lights.  I do not think anyone has ever accused her of undermining her own life by always doing what she loved and wanted to do.
  
Although she struggled she always did her way, and to the best of my knowledge …never regretted it.

                                "If it Makes You Happy"  Sheryl Crow

Lessons to Learn from Frida Kahlo

                                                                             by Elyane Youssef


Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter, who is best known for her self-portraits.
The ones who personally knew her, described her as “one of history’s grand divas, a tequila heavy drinker, dirty joke-telling smoker, a bohemian who threw festive dinner parties for the likes of Leon Trotsky, poet Pablo Neruda and her husband, muralist Diego Rivera.”
If I were to introduce her, I would say she is an icon of strength, a victim of love and a genius in art. Frida Kahlo changed the standards of beauty with her unibrow, her right leg—that was thinner than the left one and her indigenous Tehuana dresses.
Being my great inspiration in life, I regard Frida Kahlo as a school of lessons. She should be the role model of every woman because she indirectly showed the world what a woman is capable of, both physically and emotionally.

After many years of admiration for Frida Kahlo, I can finally put on paper what this woman taught me:

Love is forgiveness
. “I had two big accidents in my life: The trolley and Diego; Diego is by far the worse.” ~ Frida Kahlo
Frida was the wife of Diego Rivera, the muralist who was best known for his endless love affairs with women. He was a womanizer who had serious problems with infidelity.
Although none of Frida’s friends nor parents approved of this awkward union, Frida still married Diego. She kept on loving him despite all the pain he caused her.
Frida teaches us that love is forgiveness.
She might not have said it out loud, but staying with him throughout her life, shows us that she did forgive him every time he cheated on her.

Love is unexplainable
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“…the marriage of Frida and Diego is like the union between an elephant and a dove.”
Whenever I have a discussion about Frida’s life with someone, I always get the same question: “Why did she love him?”
Frida loved Diego for reasons no one understood. Sometimes people think we fall for the wrong person, but in our own eyes, they’re always right for us. Diego was 42-years-old and 300 pounds while Frida was 22 and 98 pounds. He cheated on her, had little time for her and yet she loved him.
If each one of us looks back at our own experiences, we can understand Frida’s love for Diego. We can never explain the love we had (and maybe still have) for people who hurt us or left us but we can definitely feel it. Frida simply taught me that love is unexplainable.

Love yourself.
“The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to.” ~ Frida Kahlo
To love yourself means to remember yourself, no matter what the circumstances are.
Frida married a man who had little time for her, due to the busy life he lead. She married a man who cheated on her and left her in agony. We live in a time where we’re instantly bedridden if we have a tiny headache. Frida had a broken spine, wore a corset most of her life, had an amputated leg and still she managed to paint.
With all this emotional and physical pain, Frida never forgot herself. She loved herself immensely that she always kept herself busy with painting. Although she loved Diego, she didn’t accept being a doormat who waited for him at home crying. In retaliation, she loved herself enough to go out, make affairs and pleasure herself just the way Diego pleased himself.

Know when to quit.
“I am not sick… I am broken.” ~ Frida Kahlo
Diego had many affairs with many women. But one affair finally pushed Frida to quit. In 1934, after having her third abortion, Frida learned that Diego cheated on her with her younger sister, Cristina.
Afterward, they separated for almost four years and Frida led a life away from Diego.
Frida teaches us that it’s okay not to let go too soon but one must know when it’s time to quit.

Suffering is consciousness in disguise. “I drank to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learnt how to swim.” ~ Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo was plagued by illness starting at a young age. At 18 she went through a tough accident that left her with a broken spine, a fractured vaginal structure. She had hundreds of injuries and died critically ill with pneumonia.
Mentally, emotionally and physically, Frida Kahlo went through intense suffering. And though we don’t realize it, Frida was more conscious than many of us are today.
Her pain was her gate to higher realizations—realizations that we only find through books nowadays. Frida found them through pain.

Keeping a diary is healthy. “I never paint dreams or nightmares; I paint my own reality.” ~ Frida Kahlo
People usually underestimate the importance of keeping a diary. I bet Frida wouldn’t have been able to live as long if she didn’t let out her pain.
There is only one thing that can truly kill us and it’s called “sadness.” If sadness isn’t expressed, it has the capability of ending a body’s life faster than any disease.
Frida Kahlo is the first in history to write a diary with a brush on canvas. She also kept written diaries with drawings for the last 10 years of her life.
Frida teaches us to express, to paint, to write, to do anything to let out our anger and sadness. She teaches us to make something out of our pain—something beautiful.

Don’t be ashamed of your style. Frida was regarded as an icon of beauty in Mexico. She was known for her extensive style with her colorful clothes and extraordinary hair braids.
The unibrow and the mustache that people make fun of today, are the very elements that made Frida unique. She left her armpits untouched and decorated her shoulders with fantastic Tehuana dresses.
Frida was best known for her red lipstick, red nail polish and the beautiful smell of perfume that she wore. Kids in her neighborhood used to know she was passing by when they started smelling roses.
Frida taught us to be unique in our style and comfortable in our own skin. She taught us to simply be ourselves.

Don’t get attached to your plans. “Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”~ Frida Kahlo
Frida never planned to become an artist. Until she was 18, she was planning to become a doctor and attended a prestigious school that only had 35 girls out of 2,000 students—Frida was among them.
The accident she had at the age of 18 changed the course of her life forever. As a result of being bedridden with a corset, her father gave her his brushes and paint and constructed an easel for her so she can paint while she was in bed.
Just like Frida says, “everything changes, everything moves.” We never know how or when our life can change. Hence, never plan and get attached to your plans.

Women have an abundance of strength inside. “At the end of the day we can endure much more than we think we can.” ~ Frida Kahlo
I highly believe that women are stronger than men in many aspects and Frida Kahlo stands out today to prove this notion for us.
She is an example of how much a woman can undergo and still be able to stand on her two feet.
With a man who sucked the energy out of her system and an accident that left her with hundreds of injuries and deadly illnesses, Frida teaches us that women are a pile of strength.

Let go. “I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to return.” ~ Frida Kahlo
Frida was an outgoing person who used wise words in her conversations. She loved to smoke, drink tequila and sing off-color songs to guests at the many parties she hosted.
Despite the fact that the doctors tests on her revealed a severe kidney infection, anemia, exhaustion and alcoholism, Frida remained a person who drank, smoked and had fun.
The bottle of tequila and cigarettes never quit her hand.
She held them until her last breath. She just didn’t care much about the consequences. She went through a lot and lost a lot that there was nothing more to lose—she let go, and this is what made her the great Frida.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

“friggin” phenomenal odds

Instead of hiding and trying to prove to everyone that I am fine, there is nothing wrong and I can keep up with the best of them…instead I hide, cover, minimize.  I wonder why I just cannot celebrate that I am in deed “one tough chick” that I have survived and continue to survive against some pretty “friggin” phenomenal odds.  Why can’t I just stand up and be proud of this and everything else I have accomplished through out my life?
"Evolve"  Ani DiFranco

AND....Later this same day (from my FB Post)
Here is a little bit of very weird synchronicity! This morning’s blog was about being “one tough chic”. Having finished my writing, I rewarded myself with a second cup of coffee and a quiet moment on the back porch. My home is in the city, but I have a nice little assortment of wildlife to watch from my porch. Squirrels, wild birds, a pair of garden snakes, monarch butterflies and recently a pair of red hawks have made a nest in a neighbor’s tree. But this morning….this particular morning….there was a chicken! REALLY a chicken! I am guessing it must be “one tough chic”!

Monday, April 18, 2016

so...... why not do the hell what I want to do!

It's Monday morning and I turned 62 over the weekend....

I do not want to sound ungrateful….there was a party with dear friends, dinner with family and lots of lovely sincere wonderful well wishes but I am still feeling how old I have become and the sheer amount of accomplishments I have not managed to achieve. It feels like the big “F” word (no not that one)…..FAILURE….has attached itself firmly to my ass and it is dragging! Somehow I thought by this age….I would have more life figured out, would be more successful and certainly better off financially. And yes…yes…yes…I know, I should be grateful for all that I have, that I should be celebrating the accomplishments I have achieved….but it is Monday and I am 62.

And then a quote by James Baldwin creeps into my pity party. A superb 1962 meditation on the creative process,“but the artist must know, and he must let us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven.”

I begin to suspect, all of this may just be a part of my creative duty and growth process.  It is #1 horribly possible or #2 ecstatically wonderful that the struggle and frustration to find that perfection and/or stability will never be accomplished and never end….
so why not do the hell what I want to do!


"Wild Women Don't Get the Blues"  Cyndi Lauper

Friday, April 15, 2016

Following my own advice & eating my words....

Following my own advice & eating my words!  For many many many years I refused to hang work in restaurants.  First of all, art hanging that close to people eating, spilling and drinking is always a risk.  And, using my work to decorate their business with no appreciation or compensation felt almost abusive.  BUT…then I have always taught in classes “if the Universe“  presents  an opportunity…pay attention.  Even if it feels uncomfortable, even if hairs on the back of your neck are bristling, even if your first reaction is NO….remember this is the only way the Universe has to teach us, good and bad, they are lessons we need to learn.  So when this came up, again (and a lesson will return to you over and over and over again, until you learn the right answer) I surrendered!  Although it has been grossly different from art shows and galleries it has been an adventure…  
And by the way....Maxine is amazing!  The food and wine are crazy GOOD!
                                                                                                                                                                         "Stumbling Towards  Ecstasy"  Sarah McLochlan

Monday, April 11, 2016

and I thank you...

Of all of the things that have gone wrong in my life….This I did right, and if the truth be known, I really did not have much to do with it.  Some explainable magic brought us together, and years later put us together again! We all have somethings in common; we have known each other from high school, some from elementary school and even some from kindergarten. All of us graduated from LHS (Leesburg High School) in 1972. But the one thing we all share regardless of how long we have known each other is the ability to ROCK a feather boa and the love of each other and Nanny Sanders. Thank you Nanny and my dear friends for the opportunity to spend time, silliness and memories with you all.
"I Thank You"  Sam & Dave

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

at least 2 women...


There are times that I have even suspected that I may be bi-polar, so you can imagine how relieved I was to read this.  What I truly recognize is that I am the one who leaps into a role on the stage, concealing real feelings.  Not wanting to feel bewildered or desperate I will do just about anything and I am not always sure that is a good thing.  I know the people around me would much rather see my good stuff.  So I recognize that “other” woman, but I cannot allow her to take over my life, I do not even want to recognize she is there!

"32 Flavors"  Ani DeFranco

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bailing as fast as I can....

I think this goes along with the saying 
“He who cares the least, holds the most power”.
And I have to wonder about both of these sayings.

How is one supposed to know when to "give a damn" and care….and when not to?  And when it is all said and done, what kind of life would it be to not give a damn and not care. 

But one the other hand….

I do get it.  There have been situations that I could have “cared”, invested myself but opted not to.  I am learning to consciously decide not to be a part of chaos, deciding to choose to remove myself from all uncomfortable situations that I am not “required” to participate in. I have more than enough difficult life conditions; I do not need to take on more.   

My own boat is sinking.  I am bailing as fast as I can, barely staying afloat myself.  I cannot to take on anymore grief.

                                      "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"  Otis Redding

Monday, April 4, 2016

naked...


I knew that title would get your attention!

When life gets difficult …this is my sure fire cure!

Although I have to confess that there may be a chance that life would not be as difficult in the first place, if I were better at loving myself.  I have some of the most magnificent friends (who by the way, put up with my outrageousness) and I do have the ability to create (in several different mediums) but I think I lean to hard on them and I am still woefully lacking in the “love yourself” concept.  Loving me has somehow gotten mixed up with being selfish.  They float around my life like 2 different flavors of partially melted Jello in a single bowl, almost impossible to separate the 2 different colors.  

It feels like loving me, sharing how I really feel makes me complicated, vulnerable, undone, exposed, NAKED …..

                      "Naked" Lakshimi Devi

Sunday, April 3, 2016

...for no reason at all

It has been a week!  And although there was no one thing that could be considered the reason for a “break down” there seemed to be more than enough little things, one piled on top of the other that were surely the culprit.  Some of it I chose not to participate in, simply because there would never be a resolution.  I suspect in the long run that will be a good choice but it was not easy and hurt my heart  to make it.  The other was just another simple fact of life that the “medical industry is a business”, and clearly cannot serve the needs of patients and the needs of money at the same time.  (Which, by the way I walked away from, also….) Mix this in with a difficult exhibition install, out of town class, a loved one in the hospital and just day to day life.  I should not have been surprised.  A crying breakdown was inevitable.  Or maybe…..I just needed a good cry for no reason at all.


"Counting Stars"  Gardiner Sisers