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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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Screw them....



I have met them…I am not certain if they are intimidated by me, but whatever they are they seem to need to build themselves up by tearing me down.  They chronically remind me how much smarter they are than me, how much more experienced they are than me.  That I am so damaged, only they know what is good for me.

They will destroy me, to make themselves look and feel better.

Screw them….

"We Don't Care" Eric Bibb

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Re-framing.....

My 2016 year of Artist’s Way classes are over with a mixed feeling of joy and relief, but most endings are like that.  I always learn more than I teach in these classes, and that is one of the huge reasons I keep coming back year after year.  This summer group came up with a term that has resonated with me. She (and she knows who she is) calls it re-framing.  

As an old picture framer even the word, re-framing appeals to me.  Re-framing appears to have its roots in gratitude, but is not the same.  Re-framing is taking a situation that may be difficult and looking at it from a different point of view (as opposed to my ingrained typical point of view) before reacting.  It also opens up the possibility of acknowledging grief and anger unlike gratitude. Sometimes I just need to be hurt, and grieve, sometimes I feel like I am so full of emotional scar tissue I am running out of the ability to be empathetic with others and myself. 

This week,  I have officially rejected the newest round of old tests that they use to determine how much more heart function I have lost.  I am re-framing my health, re-framing my life.
"From Me to You"  Janis Ian

Monday, August 29, 2016

Way Outside my Comfort zone! But loving, living and growing....

It is done.   I made a decision …..well to be honest, I think the decision had been made years ago, but last year I caved into medical pressure and advice. Hope and fear are influential bedfellows and when combined become a powerful convincing weapon.  Extreme measures were taken, surgeries were planned and executed that gave everyone, and that includes me, the ability to legitimately say, we tried everything! Or am I being incredibly na├»ve, could it have been my “hope and fear” that created my willingness to try anything did nothing more than generate a profit and relieve legal liability responsibilities for the doctors and hospitals... I risked my future, my money and my life. They risked nothing and generated a huge profit.  Financially, physically, emotionally the surgeries last year were the hardest thing I have ever done, and I cannot begin to entertain the thought of going through that or anything like it again. I stopped it before the hope and fear have a chance of enticing me into gambling my entire future, economically and emotionally again. Yes it is scary and uncomfortable and way outside my comfort zone!
"Fumbling Towards Ecstasy"  Sarah McLachlan 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Another's Eyes

I am still learning how to embrace my own thoughts (insanity) I am just beginning to realize I am different and completely vulnerable. It maybe  through that vulnerability that maybe I might find some of my own worth.  But I struggle desperately with finding the strength required to find and maintain my own self-worth, I am frustrated that I still need others approval, or need them to  want  me.  I look through another’s eyes to find what is attractive in me.

"Should Have Known Better" Sufjan Stevens

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Just gossip and an all you eat fish fry....

Taking a couple of days away, no teaching, no obligations, just playing with friends (although I suspect there may be some serious wine drinking in the process). Nothing spectacular planned just gossip and an all you eat fish fry.  It is all about the joy of being with women I adore!  There would truly be “peace on earth”, if everyone had friends like I have.  They accept me unconditionally and without judgment!  I can tell them all of my secrets and know they keep them. They laugh at my stupid stories and even encourage my ridiculousness!  And when I fall down, they pick me up….no questions asked.

Now I ask you….Does it get any better than gossip and a fish fry?


"Good Girls" (never get caught!)  Julian Moon

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

it may be so wrong....

I am moving forward by the seat of my pants (or lack there of). 
No…. I do not know what I am doing, but is there really ever a “sure thing”?   It may be so wrong and then again it might be so right.  I may have time to fix it if I am wrong, I might not.  The important part, for me, is that I am doing it my way.  AND…it has worked for me so far!  Well, kind of…
"Girl"  The Beatles

And after the second day of twisting wire and taping the armature (or wire and tape ...the clay sculpture skeleton) the girls are about ready for clay faces, boobs and bottoms and who knows what else! Thought I might mount them on a single long "bench" but I am kind of liking the separate pedestals....hmmmmm? Need to think about that.

I am enjoying the "process"...I am slow s hell, have no idea what I am doing but I am liking it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Louder than any of my words....



Old, 
strong, 
balanced,
multi-dimensional, 
poorly proportioned, 
not standing up straight-
but still standing, 
supported and 
suspended at the same time, 
broken and still beautiful
….alone…

 
"It's Amazing"  Jem

Monday, August 22, 2016

Stand back.....it is Monday!

Days and weeks come and go….Some are better than others, but I am thrilled that last week is over. Last week's doc appointments and test results broke me hard.  Unlike most, I am welcoming Monday morning, a new week-a new beginning.  I may not get to have a full “do over” but I am giving myself permission to look at this new heart issue from a new point of view. Well actually the same issue, it is just changing and creating new challenges and a new set of decisions.to make.  Monday morning gives me a fresh week and the promise of more time to come back “full of heartbreakingly beautiful scars”…  You might want to stand back, just a bit, because I can mend like a MF!

"Walk the Walk"  Eric Bibb

Sunday, August 21, 2016

IT is the SHIT!

Each of us knows stories, have seen movies, read books about how someone beat the odds and thrived, won the game, had a miraculous recovery, found love, and achieved peace….Whatever good they wanted.  Being passionate is the one magic ingredient that is present in every successful scenario!  
Why don’t they teach this in schools???
Its free, it is in each of us it does not always scream at you announcing itself as your passion, it begins as a little whisper in your head….”this feels good….I am kind of good at it….I like it“ and it may not be just one thing, it might be several undefined things, ideas, talents that are in you. Passion isn’t always about the traditional lovers and loving, but it can be.  It can produce the same feelings of unlimited joy and happiness!
I promise it is there for each of us; it is the one gift that the universe gives everyone of us.  Be passionate….it truly is the shit!!
"Shine On"  Eric Bibb

Saturday, August 20, 2016

All I need to do....

Yesterday was a “come Jesus moment”…I have known, lived and been party to the fact that heart failure is terminal, I even had what amounted to a back room confession from a PA some time ago that my prognosis was about 6 years.  Although I wanted to know how long, when I got it, it was like waving a red flag in front of a bull, I am going to beat this!  Yesterday, 2 months short of my 6 years, and after a year of absolute hellish surgeries and long miserable recoveries, they suspect something is going bad...again.... and have scheduled ugly tests.  It was like I was socked in the gut….hard… Now all I need to figure out why “I HAVE to” keep doing this. 
"Connected"  Eric Bibb
Just a side note….Religion, Church and/or Jesus have nothing to do with this, there is no magic… but my connections to the universe, connections to life, love, friends, family, creativity and the mysteries of life and death do. Those are my connections, those are my reasons, there is my why! 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Being an artist means....

I took a lesson from Neil Gaiman….

“And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art...
I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art.
Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art.
IRS on your trail? Make good art.
Cat exploded in the microwave? Make good art.
Somebody online thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art.
Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn't matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art......Make it on the good days too.”
So...Did it make things any better...no…
but I lived through it, and I will keep living through it, until I don’t.  
"Heal Yourself"   Ruthie Foster

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pushing....(healing in the studio)

Sketching….kind of...but the point is I would like to do some sculpture that hangs on the wall….and not base relief. I want life in 3-D. So canvas with an extra bar on the back will hold a small shelf that I can mount the work on….New tools...new-ish medium...the wire and aluminum foil armature and the clay goes on. Pushing past my comfort zone...into the new or back to who I used to be.

"When Angels Cry"  Janis Ian
She is still on her temporary mount but I think I am pleased with her finish.  Time for me to quit before I screw it up!

Head vs. Heart

My heart is broken, but it is still strong and healing. It is my head that I need to worry about. My head is where I have stashed all of the memories that still hurt me, they are the ones that cut through me like a razor blade.
My head keeps me awake all night, makes me cry and destroys me over and over and over again.  I just need to convince my head to let go, because my heart already knows how to heal.


"We Don't Care"  Eric Bibb

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How this story ends!




Rumbling with the truth is wearing my ass out!  “Yes, this is what happened, this is my truth & I will choose how this story ends."  But there are others that do not like my story.  There are others that have control over how and what the rest of my life looks like and we are not on the same page in this story, in fact we are not even in the same book.  They don't know!!!

"They Know"  Eric Bibb

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

or....maybe it is just the heat....

Inner strength is one thing, and it is a great thing, but there is another necessary part that really is best when mixed with it….and that is the physical strength and ability to do what I want/need to do!  I know most think I do a lot, but no one really sees how much I sit in front of this computer or read or sit day dreaming about art projects. Exhaustion is like a heavy black cape that just covers me after the smallest activity.  Simple everyday life and house chores, which granted, I never enjoyed doing now take so much longer and exhaust me I mean, really really wear me out.  I am frustrated that I am working so hard to find and hold on to my emotional inner strength while my physical strength is seems to continue slipping away from me. I am afraid this is how this disease works…and I HATE it!  DAMN! ( or.... maybe it just the summer heat!)                
  
"More o' that"  Eric Bibb

Monday, August 15, 2016

Thank you!

 Champagne Toast & Confetti
There are times that all of this is really all worth it!  But the secret is you have to make it happen for yourself!  If I had one thing I could pass down through the ages that would be it!  I do not mean for this to sound selfish or self-centered, if anything it is exactly the opposite.  Selfish is expecting others to get for you, do for you and pay attention to you….all of the time.   Doing for yourself means not needing anyone or anything. It is a concept I try to live by, but difficult to explain to others. I know I don’t do it very well. 

I do not want to expect anything from anyone. I have such problems asking for help.  I know that I am often thought of as a control freak, but there are times it is hard to explain what I need, and needing help feels like I am conceding and giving into this disease.  I do not want to need, but am learning the hard way that perhaps I do, it is difficult!

So even though I cannot ask, and sometimes appear frustrated when others step in to pick up my slack, I appreciate more than words can say the ones around me that step in and help me.  Thank you all!  You allow me to keep going, keep creating and most of all to keep celebrating my life and creativity.
"Thank You"  Alanis Morissette

Friday, August 12, 2016

When I expose myself....

Always an honor and so exciting to celebrate creativity of the awesome Artist’s Way creatives that have been on a 12 week journey of exploration and recovery.  The last minute preparations for Saturday’s opening are well under way.  In years past I grieved about the “production”, you know, hanging the art works, is there going to be enough food and wine, can I find enough linens without wine or paint stains on them, will it rain, etc…etc….  The past couple of groups I have found myself on my own creative journey and recovery right along with them.  Not so much the facilitator as just part of the group and a recovering creative.….putting my new hopes, dreams, explorations out into the world for the first time.  All of the sudden the worries about the “production” is fading, but the nerves that erupt when I expose myself through the art work are rampant!

"What She's Doing Tonight"  Boyce & Hart

Thursday, August 11, 2016

By George I think she’s got it!

All is well in “sparky” land!  This is what is implanted in my chest….More like a “hockey puck” in my left boob!  But it is working!  Yesterday’s S-ICD data download went very well!  No “events” ….Pulse generator at 94% and NO adjustments!  My device is working just like it is supposed to!  Does not get any better than that as far as I am concerned!  Me and my  S-ICD are part of a clinical trial so all of this gets sent to some unknown muckity-mucks as well as my round house of docs and clinicians.  I will get the official report next week when all of “team” has a chance to look  over all of the downloaded info and decide……what’s next.  This has become a fairly routine (every 9 to 12 weeks) but the first time since this thing was implanted 7 months ago that there has not been some kind of glitch or problem…technical or medical….Woo-Hoo …By George I think she’s got it!
"Faith of the Heart" Rod Stewart

In that moment....

Comparing movies with a friend and “The Bridges of Madison County” was mentioned.  I had not seen it, I remember all of the talk about it sometime ago, but I never saw it, not even on VHS or DVD.  How did that happen?  I looked up the year it came out….oh…. 1995.  That explains it,  two teenage boys, running my own business, a barely there husband,   testosterone was literally dripping off  the walls.  I would not dare to bring a romance movie into the house.  There was such an incident after I brought in “Steel Magnolias” Then there was an out and out mutiny when I brought home “The Princess Bride”.  I had to swear within an inch of my life that there were fights and swords, kings and trolls.  I was exonerated.  But I knew better than to even attempt another romance movie and for years I didn’t.
So with the boys long gone, the living room empty and I am in absolute total control of the remote, I searched Amazon and rented it for the evening, then curled up in my chair with a glass of Reisling and watched. OMG….I recognized so much in the story, in the main character Francesca, her life, her frustrations, her sacrifices and most of all, her heart!  I kept having to stop and replay some of the magnificent dialog.  Some of the passages burned me like a hot poker others my heart recognized immediately …. I cried like a baby at the end and then...... watched the movie all over again!
“And in that moment, everything I knew to be true about myself up until then was gone. I was acting like another woman, yet I was more myself than ever before.”
Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County
"Backbird"  The Beatles

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

There won’t be any gifts or parties, but I will be celebrating!

This Saturday will be my 1 year anniversary.  Most likely, I am the only one that will even remember.   1 year ago I underwent some pretty risky open heart surgery to re-vascularize “hibernating” cardiac tissue.  It was one of the hardest thing I have ever done, It was an incredible disappointing failure of the procedure (the hibernating tissue did not “wake up” and My EF is still dances in the 25% range) I suffered from a post op TIA and kidney failure and even more surgery as soon as this healed.   It was a rough couple of weeks months, year!   But I am still here, still living, still creating, still teaching, still laughing, still loving  and I bought myself and my heart a gift to celebrate.  I commissioned the most magnificent jewelry artist to create this for me and it was delivered today.  Made of 3 different metals that represent my mind, body and spirit, the 4 big pieces of my life, my family and the rest is pretty evident and tells my story better than a thousand words.  I am proud…I survived…I am moving forward!

"How Can You Mend an Open Heart"  Al Green & Joss Stone

Monday, August 8, 2016

Define Nothing....

Oh if I only could!  It seems like I am always looking for ways to let go of “what it should be” to jettison all of those “prior rules”.  The same prior rules that have brought me great comfort have managed to also leave me with an enduring pain and regret.  I like Bob Dylan’s idea, from now on I am defining nothing….


"Waiting for My New Life to Begin"  Colin Hay

Sunday, August 7, 2016

If that ends...

Every, every, every time I go into the studio, every time before an opening, every time before beginning a new class, every time I show my own work to anyone for the first time. I am petrified!

When I confess this to others they are surprised, they seem to think I am full of confidence, when the reality is, I am scared to death they are going to figure out that I have no idea what I am doing. I am a giant fraud with a smidgen of talent, or at least enough to fool most people.  Yes there are some things I do rather well, because I have done them over and over and over again, but most parts of my life and art…. I am just sliding in by the seat of my pants. What I do think I know is, the only way to real accomplishment as a person or an artist is to constantly and continually pass through that fear, panic and trepidation. If the fear ends so does my creativity.

"Me"  Paula Cole

Saturday, August 6, 2016

That explains the wine stains.....

Mornings after always come with their very own set of “issues”!  

Last night’s Wine Pairings Dinner was such great fun!  But I have to tell you  how nerve racking it is when “I” am on the auction block (for the art center fund raising) as an evening of painting with the artist (wine and paint included)….it could have been horribly embarrassing!  What if nobody bid on me…a big fat ZERO .....Holy Crap!

I am happy to report that the bidding opened at 100.00 and finally closed at 350.00….whew!  That may explain the wine stains!


"All Right Now"  Free

Friday, August 5, 2016

Itty-bitty abstracts


I recently and seriously began fooling around with abstracts and although I am loving the freedom of them, as you can see I am still struggling with the structure.  I seem to really need structure.  It is hard to see in the images, but all of those straight lines are not paint but “built” small pieces of balsa wood and dowels. Adding some real dimension and tension to the unstructured texture it is sitting on.  More ideas seem to be blooming in my head regularly and I am so excited to be creating, sewing, painting and soon to be sculpting again. I did not understand how easy it was to have my attention (SQUIRRELL!!!)  and limited energy led into uncreative destructive areas of my life.  It will not happen again I cannot allow myself to need anything but the work that keeps me alive.  This….this is who and what I am and I am coming back to life!                 "Upwards Always" 16 x 16            "Releasing  Dark" 16 x 16
"Back to Life"  EnVogue

Thursday, August 4, 2016

How does he continue to get away with it?

I would not put this on my FB page, Holy Crap, not after last week, I would be crucified!  BUT this is my blog, not as public as Face Book… my place to spew, dump and celebrate without fear of retribution. Many have groused that it is technically difficult to make comments on the posts and I should look into what that problem is.  Nope…it is working just fine for me! 

I cannot imagine any image being more appropriate!  How does he continue to get away with it??? No tax returns, over 3000 lawsuits (and he shouts “lock her up”), he is a name calling bully (my children had their mouths washed out with soap for that).  This list can go on and on and on, but the mystery for me continues to be He disregards and disrespects anything that threatens his ability to win. “How does he get away with it?”

Has the “dumbing down” of America finally reached the place where this kind of behavior and activity has become acceptable?
"NO"  Meghan Trainor

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Energy saving mode

I am not sure who, if anyone sees when I “fall down” but it always feels like everyone is watching.  At times I think they are even laughing, pointing fingers and saying “I told you so”.  My art demons, become heart failure demons, whispering in my head….”Who do you think you are?  Did you really think you were better than everyone else and were not going experience physical heart failure like the rest of us? You were told, and you just ignored it, now….look at you?” Physical pain and overwhelming lethargy invite such ugly thoughts into my life.  This is not a decline….this is just my energy saving mode….It is so hot, everything was just so heavy, I just did too much and now I am paying for it.
"Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"  Ottis Redding

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

How can I know when it is real....

Some days are just really hard!  The pain can be wicked but it is the fucking fear that pushes it over the edge.  Fear has its own horrible voice, and it does not matter how “real” it is when fear and pain wrap themselves in each other… they become overwhelming! They tell me I can’t, it is too much, you are not strong enough, I am l not going make it this time…but then my over analytical mind kicks in, saying this could be nothing and I am acting like a hysterical fool.  The terror, anxiety and panic of fear are making everything…and I mean everything seem worse! How can I know what is real and what is not?


"Undun"  The Guess Who

Monday, August 1, 2016

Umbrellas are up!

Whew! Installations are great fun but oh my, they are getting more and more exhausting! Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the lugging, lifting and hanging but one thing for sure, I could not do it at all without the help of terrific creative help and support. I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing creatives.
"Not much rain...but the UMBRELLAS are up! The 2016 Summer Artist's Way Group came together last night, with food, wine, a little 60's soul music, art and lots and lots of amazing creative self expression! Art and Umbrellas opened at the Casselberry Art House....this is just a small taste of the creative "wonderful-ness" there! The Celebration of Creativity is Aug 13 at 7:00 PM where those amazing hand painted umbrellas will be auctioned (silent) off....maybe it will be raining then!!!"
"Hold on, I'm Coming"  Sam & Dave