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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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Just like Chuck Norris...

Our kitty “Slick” died a little more than a month ago.  I was broken hearted and swore, no more.  No more wrapping my heart around another kitty, it just hurts too much when they die!  But then....

I remember my Mother telling me the story about her neighbor’s cat that would march into her house for some solicited petting and a full scale home investigation each time Mother's door was left ajar. That kitty’s name was “Chuck Norris” (I have no idea why, but there must be a story there).  It was so unusual and I had never heard of a cat doing anything like that...until...last week while I was unloading groceries, which with a 10 pound lifting limit, takes many more trips to and from the van, when this kitty darted into the front door and began rubbing and wrapping herself around my ankles. Four days ago, she figured out there is a “cat door” on the back porch and has begun visiting regularly, taking naps on our beds and in general presenting herself as "our" kitty.  I have to admit, unlike my other kitty's she is so sweet and lovey!  We suspect she may be a neutered feral, she has the notched ear and other evidence that would suggest that, but she is totally comfortable around people, in fact she seems to seek us out, not  typical feral cat behavior!

Perhaps the universe has sent me a new “studio kitty”

   
                "What's New Pussycat"  Tom Jones

Still trying to figure it out....






Sunday morning, snuggled in my covers, sipping, thinking, looking back and writing. So much to say and I am still figuring out how to do it.

        "I Just Don't Think"   Colin Hay

I was captured...




One of my best Christmas gifts I did not really appreciate until last night!  Colin Hay tickets…(Thank you Darren & Jill!) I have always really enjoyed his music but last night I was captured!  There are some artists, you just know-you can feel it, are living, playing and singing from their hearts….he is one of them.

"Overkill"  Colin Hay

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Welcome Home Harper.....




Baby Harper, Mom & Dad are coming home today!  With such an early arrival I had to rush-rush-rush to finish her “Birth” day cake, inside are 40 new born diapers, a fuzzy blanket, a hooded baby towel, 5 wash cloths, 2 pacifiers and a little gifty for Mom & Dad…bottle of champagne!  Darren got a Daddy dooty bag, tongs, face guard, butt paste with spatula, rubber gloves, plastic garbage bags, air freshener and 200 diaper wipes, he has a big job ahead of him! 

Welcome home my new little family!


"Forever Young"  Rod Stewart

Success vs Value

This quote shot right through my heart!  It occurred to me immediately that, in my life and beliefs, thes 2 concepts were irrevocably linked. 

A person (I) has NO VALUE unless they (I) have SUCCESS.
 
I was taught that success is measured by money, stuff and the “Leave it to Beaver” lifestyle.  I spent untold amounts of energy trying to fool all of you, and I did a good job.  The truth is I think the only person I fooled was me.

I want more value.


"Try"    Colbie Colbert

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Harper is here!



Cool as cucumbers, grace under pressure, Jill and Darren brought Harper Molly Evans into the world to day!  And it was a spectacular day!  5 lbs, 1 oz Harper has arrived and she is the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen!

     "Isn't She Lovely"  Stevie Wonder

 2 generations and 4 grand sons we finally have a GRAND DAUGHTER!
It is the most grand day!

Taking back my power....

The powers over my own thoughts are the only power I truly have.  It is my super power, the only power that cannot be taken away from me without my consent.  I do have power and strength, and I will not give it up because of fear….mine or others.  I will find the strength and power to do whatever I want to do!


"No Sugar/New Mother Nature"  Guess Who

Monday, January 25, 2016

it knows.....




There…That’s it…That is why I am here!   When I get frustrated, afraid, lonesome, unsure, anxious I need to shut up, turn down the volume of the situation I am currently in, and listen to that little voice.  That little voice knows what my heart needs …it knows….it knows… because it is true.


"Fear"   Jazmine Sullivan

The count is 3 "Oh Craps" and 1 "Meh"

Monday mornings are always a choice!   Choice #1 the beginning of another exciting week or Choice #2 “Oh Crap” another week is starting again. 

I woke up, wrapped my house coat around me, put my slippers on and made a mad dash to the thermostat to turn up the heat….mmmmm…the warm air pours out over me as I position myself strategically under the vent.  Until…..it didn’t…"Oh Crap"!  Call the repairman, hop in the shower to get ready to head up to 2 appointments at the Florida Hospital Heart Center. The water is warm but as soon as I climb out it is crazy cold! “Oh Crap” I made it to the clinic, almost on time and the ICD is working perfectly but the incision site is showing some suspicious signs,  my body is not liking the ICD  “Oh Crap”.  If you are counting…that makes 3 “Oh Craps” and it is not yet 10:00 AM.  Monday morning is not looking good!

It is now late Monday afternoon, the repairman has come and gone, The heater is humming, the incision has been medicated and seriously taped up, my feet are up, bra is off and I am binge watching (and really liking) “Mozart in the Jungle”….The count is 3 “Oh Craps” and and  1 “Meh”.  It was officially a rocky start, I never reached “Excited” but I am... after all… a gem! 


"Have a Little Faith"  Micheal Franti

Saturday, January 23, 2016

You'll just be too much....








It is so hard to be what is expected of me and do what my heart screams for.  It is time to make a whole new crown and/or not "NEED" a man at all.


"Try Everything"  Shakiera

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Retrograde RANT....

If I were Jewish I would be holding the back of my hand to my forehead bellowing “Oy-vey... what a day!”  I did not make it to the art center board meeting this afternoon, instead I had a memorable ride in a tow truck. The tow truck expense is mercifully covered by the roadside assistance part of my car insurance, the repairs I am afraid will not.....AND there is more, upon arriving back home I find out that our automatically drafted mortgage payment was declined, they say the bank account had been closed….ARE YOU KIDDING ME….that account has been open since 1979, (I maybe close to holding a record somewhere for the longest open bank account!) and since 2002 they have successfully drafted 168+ consecutive mortgage payments! One and a half hours on the phone and the mortgage co. still insists it is the bank’s fault and, of course...yes... you knew it..... the bank claims it is the mortgage company’s fault.  This all comes on the heels of my marvelous DMV adventure to attend to another colossal screw up that I had no responsibility in creating. The common thread through each of these, is I did everything required of me.  I dotted my I’s crossed my T’s on time with the correct amount of money and account numbers , The error that created the problem is clearly not mine. But the expectations are that I locate and repair their errors! Crap...I can barely keep up with screw ups I make on my own and I AM responsible for. When did the errors of large companies, become the customers responsibility to track down, prove and correct?  I have spent hours on the phone and in DMV waiting lines tying to fix errors someone else made without the benefit of their computers and logical customer service. I will not be receiving a paycheck for my time from Wells Fargo, Regions Mortgage or the Florida DMV....In fact Regions Mortgage and Florida DMV had the unbelievable moxy to tell me with a smile, that they were not charging ME extra fees or late charges!  AGAIN....ARE YOU KIDDING ME????

I was told these things might happen after all “Mercury is in retrograde”. I do not know who I should see about sending that stinking retrograding somewhere else besides all over me!  If there is any silver lining  the  tid-bit of good news, has to be if “shit” truly comes in 3’s…I should be done!

 
"You Might Die Trying"  Dave Matthews

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Being specific....

“Digging deep, staying true, not giving up, building character, breathing in, hanging on”….Make it sound like a super hero introduction.  An incredibly vague set of virtuous actions with no idea about how, when or why to apply them to my life.  Is this list of super human strength the only thing that can make me a good person?  What if I choose to take care of the life I have now? Not choosing to become a pillar of strength or solve others emotional difficulties, but just to have a peaceful, happy, responsible life, focusing on the things I love?  Would walking away from chaotic circumstances that compromise my love and life make me weak and selfish?  

I am still learning what and where my limits are, both physical and emotional. My self-esteem stinks!  In the past, I would take on problems that were not mine, that I did not create and could not possibly solve. No one said I had to do it, and sometimes they did not even ask  for my help.  I made myself feel better and my own problems seem smaller by taking on other people’s problems, and as a bonus I would be seen by others as a “good helpful person”!  So unhealthy on so many levels...and then I ask why me...why heart failure?

So perhaps I need to be more specific….Digging deep into my own heart and love, staying true to my passions, not giving up on creative life,  building my character by taking care of my emotional and physical selfbreathing in love and joy, and hanging on to my own happiness.  Empathy and compassion will always be a part of who I am, but I have to learn how to balance it in my life.

"Superman"  Five for Fighting

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mother's clock

I met my mother when I was 14 yrs. old (1968…PLEASE do NOT do the math). One of the very first things we did together was go to pick up this family clock that Uncle Harvey was repairing. By the way…Uncle Harvey was the family repair man and NASA engineer, I do not recall anything ever, in my life that Uncle Harvey could not fix (or for that matter Aunt Mary could not make, cook, knit, sew, or play on the organ!) but...I digress…this clock has lived and chimed on every shelf and or mantle of Mothers since the very beginning of our relationship in South Miami.

From her original diagnosis, she kept asking me “which of my belongings do you want” and each time I answered “nothing”. That is such a loaded question, and I always felt so awkward when she would ask. I would always answer "I want our memories, our good times and our bad times and all of the love we have created as a result of them". We began talking honestly about our history one day. Admitting to each other that we had failed miserably at the “mother-daughter” relationship, but when we let go of the "family" rules and expectations we became the greatest friends, it was the most amazing love filled adult relationship! That was the day I changed my mind. I wanted to have this clock.  We talked about that day in Uncle Harvey's garage and both agreed it was the one constant in our lives, it marked all of the time we spent together…both good and bad, it has been a part of us from our beginning. The clock was our symbol of the time we did not spend together, the time we spent badly together, and the time that we spent sipping wine, drinking coffee, laughing, exploring, dancing and reveling in the wonderfully peculiar relationship we created.  It was always there, marking time and chiming to the best and the worst of us!

Mother’s clock is a finicky old girl and she has taken some time settling in, insisting on being on precise level footing and slipping into lethargy when I forget to wind her. But finally….we have found our groove! I now recognize the chimes gentle requests when it is time to be wound and she appreciatively responds every hour (and half hour).  The love and  memories of a lifetime surround me each day and every night and are told through those magnificent chimes.


Mother's Clock Chimes

Maybe not shake…how about just a little shudder?

The moment any of us are diagnosed with a long term terminal illness, palliative “living” care should begin…and that is exactly what we should call it, although it needs to be geared towards the early “diers”. (Which by the way....we are all early "diers") Palliative care should not be just a last minute effort that does little more than  organize living wills and prescribe pain meds.  I need guidance to accomplish my best most full life, before the disease is over powering and I have no option but to sit down and rest.  I do not want to “conserve” energy I want to wisely use every single bit of it up.  Give me the resources to be comfortable and as active as possible, do NOT keep telling me to sit down and rest.  Sit down and rest…for what? 


"And Your Bird Can Sing" The Beatles

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Monoliths!

Monoliths 6 feet tall and 14 inches front and sides that hang on the wall!  Not quite sure I knew how to “get out of the box” so I just built bigger boxes….well canvas boxes.  The pics are pretty poor quality, I was painting up to the last minute so they are cell phone pics and the texture and the writing really is not visible but ….it is there!  I promise.   I am so very excited that they will be at Orlando Nude Nite  the 11-12& 13th  of Feb.…WOO-HOO!  

Scary and fun pushing myself outside the box!  It's a new life and a new year!  It's amazing, makes my heart sing!


"It's Amazing"  Jem

Most magnificently fascinating!

And it is not as hard as you might think!  Surrounding me is much easier than I thought and the great news for me and others is with a touch of an “on” button I can be connected to just about any one…anywhere…sharing similar problems or interests.  But…. I do have to admit there is nothing like the real experience!  No computer or cell phone screen has ever made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up, or goose bumps appear, or shared a naughty giggle over a glass of wine, or made me feel the need and the want to search, move, dance, sing, and paint, but still I am so lucky to have these connections with friends, lovers,  mentors, artists, and other heart failure ICD implanted sufferers that inspire me to live fully.  I am surrounded in cyber space and real life and it is most magnificently fascinating!

"Follow Me"  Uncle Cracker

Monday, January 18, 2016

Battery Back-up Hardware



The new jewelry.... 5 years later I am getting an up grade! Woo-Hoo! I wear the alert tag and nitro container on the back side of my neck….but it is always with me!  S-ICD is a Subcutaneous Internal Cardiac Defibrillator…Emblem A-209 is the model # and make.  There is oodles of more info on the back AND I have a “note” I have to carry in my wallet at all times just in case I set off the shop lifting detector in stores, metal detectors in government buildings and OMG the sensors at the air ports.  I am good to go and ready to travel….Yeah!!!!  Battery Back-up Hardware!

                 "What Condition My Condition is In"  Kenny Rogers and the First Edition

That’s it… 3 parts of being happy!

I cannot guarantee this will work for everyone, but it works for me. I wonder if everyone already knew this and I am the last one to figure it out.... or people really do not care to understand it.... or I just plain think too much!


Blame nobody…..It is so much easier to blame someone else for the failures in my life.  I do not think that idea needs any further explanation.  I do not want to fail or screw up or look bad, it would be so much easier if it was someone else’s fault.  Cannot blame a girl for trying to push my screw ups off on some else, but for the most part I just need to stand up and “fade the heat”.
Expect nothing…I have spent a life time expecting and every time I did, without fail I have been disappointed (and that is a shit load of disappointment!)  My love and life have been compromised by my expectations of others and their expectations of me.  If there are no expectations, there can be no failures.  I am not certain what people expect of me, but as a woman, wife , mother, sister, aunt, nana, friend I have not lived up to my own expectations of myself, much less anyone else’s.  It maybe time to quit expecting and begin living, laughing, loving without expectations or restrictions.
Do something…even if it is wrong, I am learning the absolute worst thing I can do is... nothing, even when I was healing and it was necessary to be still, not doing anything was detrimental to me.  Not moving, not doing, not proceeding with life causes great deep swaths of damage in my heart, soul and body.  It is good to think, even if I think too much (I am constantly accused of this) but for me, it has to be balanced with doing.  There is a divine balance between thinking and doing.
That’s  it… 3 parts of being happy!

"If it Makes You Happy"   Sheryl Crow

Sunday, January 17, 2016

what's not said...






Maybe it is obvious,,,but then again maybe not, for a blog that is titled Life, Love, Art and Heart Failure and Assorted Ramblings, it occurred to me that there is very little here about love...sometimes what's not said,
speaks volumes.


"Life I Know"  India Arie

my little successes....


....and I do not think it is going to happen by me sitting back and waiting for it to happen (although somehow I thought if I did all of the right things that others would just take notice). I no longer need my dreams to include the approval or the admiration of others. I am so incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to pursue the life and art I love with others that share my passion and my love. 

 I just want to celebrate every little success!


"So Beautiful or So What?"  Paul Simon

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I don't believe that....







It begins by not believing everything we are told.  It begins when I look inside and acknowledge my own pain, joy, love, life and start to trust that different does not mean wrong.


"All We Are"  Matt Nathanson

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

finding the balance....




I am often caught in the middle…My art requires that I take chances to move forward, it is scary and difficult but on some level it ALWAYS moves me forward and leads to growth.  On the other hand the doctors chronically shake their fingers at me, admonishing me to quit taking chances, only to follow their prescribed activities.  It is difficult to find the balance.


"A Prayer for the Dying"   Seal

Monday, January 11, 2016

Doing what I LOVE....Love Potions!

An Art Exhibition
Women finding the"Love Potions" that will protect and defend their hearts from heart disease.
The number one killer of women!


Thank you!  Amy, Steve, (Amy's Mom & Dad) Denisse, Marla, Lillian, Terry, Vicky, Judy, Mary, Cindy, Joy, Debbie, Ann, Liz, Wendy, Jenifer, Terry and Peg Bebe, and so many others that were a part of this amazing dream come true!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Yay ME!


Don't you worry about a thing...

Well…here it is!  Not my first art exhibit, but the first one that my focus has NOT been on painting pretty pictures and then selling them.  These pictures are about telling a story, hoping they will feel something. "NO" they are not serene landscapes, recognizable still lifes or ethereal life studies.  They are my guts flung on to canvas and feelings mashed into clay.   I hope I can make you feel something.... I cannot change it now!  It's out there...I cannot worry .

"Don't You Worry"   Stevie Wonder

I am holding on tight to Niel Gaiman's quote.
“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself...That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right.”

Friday, January 8, 2016

Love Potions














The Art Exhibit opening is tomorrow night!


It's not about your scars, its all about your heart!


"It's all about your Heart"

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Do I have a voice?





Almost…almost…almost…
Seems like just a few days ago this was nothing more than a fleeting idea. Just Amy Painter and I batting ideas back and forth…and then in what feels like a blink of an eye….it manifests into a real exhibition that tells a terrific story. I cannot wait to see if others like it as much as I hope they will! I cannot wait to find out...Do I have a voice?


"It's  a Little Bit Me"   The Monkees

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Monoliths!





Monoliths!  No longer just pillars! 14 x 14 by 72!  By the time the canvas was stretched and the geso applied they seem to grow in size and space.  I still have no idea what or how I am going to paint these things but I got to get busy….Nude Nite juries in about 10 days….YIKES!  I will confess that the work, so far is still horribly slow, my body and these new (but healing nicely) incisions continue to  be really sore and uncomfortable.  I cannot wait to begin the "real" painting, but tomorrow is all about the texture, then I hope "she" the image will begin to show up!


"Woman"  John Lennon

I'll be there for you....

Although we “kinda” kept in touch with each other through 44 years of life, the reality is life required that we focus on the choices we made. Lovers, careers, children and other responsibilities commanded our attention for each of us to become successful in those choices. The bonds of girlhood friendships, some that were established in kindergarten, lost their intensity.  But life changes and we are finding a new place in the bonds that were created ages ago in a whole other life time.  I am reveling in the recent opportunities that have brought us together again! There are times that I look past my glass of wine at the girl across the table and the years melt away, we are 17 again!

To have this group of amazing women come to support me in this latest art exhibit opening is the most wonderful thing. As I expose my life,  heart and soul in a body of work in a style and medium that are so different than my past work, every part of me is shaking with fear. But my friends will be there, and somehow that has become the most important thing! Thank you my dear friends, Thank you!

"Friends"  The Rembrandts

Monday, January 4, 2016

How I ricochet......

And....I know most of you will never understand that quote from poet and suicide victim Sylvia Plath. but I bet every "creative" will…and….it is ok.  Telling us that our feelings are wrong or ridiculous...does not now, nor has it ever made the scary feelings of fear go away.  This is not posted to explain to friends and family why I am having these swings from “certainty to doubt” but to share with the creatives in my life, that these radical feelings are normal for every single creative endeavor that we pour our hearts into.  
It will never make sense!  
You never get used to it!  
and do it any way!

"If You Could Read My Mind"  Gordon Lightfoot

Friday, January 1, 2016

Pillars & Pool noodles



And the next project is “Pillars” that will hang on the wall.  14 x 14 x 72 stretcher bars are ready for the canvas to be stretched and primed with gesso.  Nude Nite juries in a couple of weeks and I am anxious to try something really really different! Crossing my fingers….I hope I get in!  I love being busy and creative and Nude Nite!

Large canvas paintings are going out in the morning for exhibit installation and I found that the grand children’s pool noodles cut up and split will make the most amazing transporting pads! (Sorry kids!) They literally and softly “clamp” on the stretcher bars of the canvas paintings and keep air space between them!  No rubbing and scarring from the vibrations in the van or other moving!  Woo-Hoo!


"Fight Song"  Rachel Patten

who I was created to be...

I feel like I have been given another chance to be who I was created to be!  In the past I have been close. Each time I reinvent myself I feel like I am getting closer.  As a picture framer I learned about art, how to frame it, what sold and what did not. As an artist I learned how to produce the pictures that others would like and buy. Every time I tweaked my direction, I was scared and afraid of failure but every time I took the risk I was happier, a little more successful and I suspect closer to who I am supposed to be.  I have been given another opportunity to be who I was created to be. As I change directions again I have to remember that fear is part of it.  I have been given another chance to be who I was created to be. I hope this time I get it right!
"I Lived"  One Republic