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!"


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

Monday, September 25, 2017

The right direction...

I do love seeing authenticity like this.  It seems to give me more control over how I want to feel.  And another nod to my core desire feelings….passionate, connected, fearless, excited! It is what I want to feel it is what I want to project into this world! Feels like life is beginning to fall into place. Lining up in a crooked line but headed in the right direction.

"59th Street Bridge" (Feeling Groovy)
Simon and Garfunkle

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Doing Time....

From time to time….no pun intended…timing rears its ugly head and reminds me that I have absolutely no control over it.  Time is exactly the same for the most wonderful giving persons as it is for the most heinous evil doers.  Time judges all of us the same.  So the “bad timing” that I argue is one of my ongoing claims to fame may be nothing more than my ability to diplomatically declare …I am not getting my way!  Looking back, some of the worst times I have experienced have turned out to be my greatest learning experiences. I can choose to see each hour, moment, or second any way I want to.  Good or bad timing, it is simply time and in the end, it is truly the greatest gift of being alive.  

And if this unknown quote has any validity what so ever…I may very well have this time thing under control!
"Any Time at All"  The Beatles

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Thank you....

And slowly, the house is getting put back together….the doorbells hung back up…my “happy guy” is back out, but after killing 2 sets of plants I decided he would be a better birdhouse holder….I cannot kill those! Yesterday the charity truck picked up oodles of grandchildren things (portable cribs, strollers, high chair, etc.) that they have long outgrown, making the storage room ceiling repair a little more “doable”, but there is so much more that still needs to be done.  More tree limbs went out to the street and the back porch is still under restoration.  The wind that seems to have literally “peeled” the paint in the front of the house, actually cleaned the porch screen  I was tickled that it did not get blown out and it is really really clean for the first time in years!  It is not all bad! All of the grief that Irma caused has also created a great deal of gratefulness....Thank you
"Thank You"  Alanis Morissette

Hope is overrated!

Hope is overrated! Hope is a concept that we throw around as if it were magic…but it is not.  Please know that I am not advocating that you or I not have any hope, but do so carefully!  Hope alone will not change anything and hope that someone else will do or be something different is futile too. Hope, for the most part, is an empty promise.  I have hoped for so much but more often than not, my hopes were not realized.  So, I do not hope anymore.  That may sound cynical to most, but the reality is I think I am a much happier person because I accept what “is” and build my life and my happiness around that.  I do not waste time hoping for something that will never be. I have learned to take what comes….and make the best of it.  That does not mean I do not receive miracles daily…because I do!  But it was not until I gave up wasting time on “hope” for the future that I could see the gifts and miracles that happen every day.  I live by celebrating today, rather than wasting time hoping for what might be tomorrow.
"Be Honest"  Jason Mraz

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Gift to self...I wish you could hear this!

 those of us that came up on 45 records and vinyl LP's this is
still about as close to music magic as it could possibly get
I sold 3 pieces of art at last month’s exhibition...woo-hoo!! I have splurged on a gift for me, my heart my soul... a new set of remarkable headphones. Every morning while I am writing I plug them in.  Oh... how they make my heart sing!  I might very well go deaf, but I will be writing, dancing, singing and smiling the whole way…The sound is magnificent!  Wish you could hear this!!!
"Thinking Out Loud"  Ed Sheeran

Leaving the door ajar!

I forget to do this all of the time….I think I let myself get old, hardened, and cynical (even more than usual).  I discount the magic and the miracles that happen every day and I miss them.  Please hear me when I say the miracles, the joy, and the ecstasy that is available to me every single day that does not need to be big “holy crap” healing of the sick or raising of the dead miracle…just the little ones are enough to fill my heart. After the hurricane last week….electricity, AC, phone service and clean running water have taken on near miracle status!  What that storm did do is remind me that I overlook and take for granted these and so many other little miracles that happen every day.  All I have to do to bring all of this ecstasy into my life is open my eyes…It is right here waiting for me to experience it.  Leaving the door ajar!

"Here Comes the Sun"  The Beatles

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I know this is corny…but I am so happy!

Norris has found this to be a great napping place, but that may come to an end for a while!  Yesterday the Dr. feels like I have officially plateaued.  With heart failure…that is as close to remission as you get.  Heart failure will never go away, or be cured but a plateau means my body has transitioned.  It is just how this disease works…periods of decline are followed by my heart and body adjusting and learning how to function with the lower amount of blood flow…it almost feels normal!  The ability to just function is a great thing….and functioning well enough for the Dr. to give me thumbs up to get back on my treadmill (on a limited basis)….AKA my Prozac!  Just walking does so much good for my head.  It helps the way I see and deal with the challenges of everyday life.  Better than any of the medicines they could give me for the crappy depression that crawls into my life under the guise of, just part of this disease. I know it is not my style to follow the rules and behave, but when it comes to hospice team knows their stuff.  They lay all the cards on the table...face up...and we make choices judgment from them about how I chose to do this, just total support!  They know how to make the best of this, and I am so lucky to have them!  This is my life Norris you are going to have to move over! I know this is corny…but I am so happy!
"Happy"  Pharrell Williams

Monday, September 18, 2017

Wonderfully lucky!

The porch that was completely dismantled is coming back to life....the backyard limbs are cut and ready to go out to the street (and NO the camera is straight....everything else is now leaning) and the biggest mess is the ceiling drywall collapse in the horrible embarrassing and disheveled storeroom. At least I do not have to look at that inside the "living" part of the house! It is going to take time, but we are getting there! I still count us all as wonderfully lucky....I have seen much much worse in our own neighborhood.
"It Don't Come Easy"  Ringo Starr


Well, I will admit there are many things that it may be too late for.  And I have grieved them, they are absolutely right, you will not regret what you did… but what you did not do.  But there are so many things that I can still do…want to do…and NOW is indeed the magic word…time to start now!  (right after I finish putting the house back together after Irma…..oooosh) And that explains it...the struggle between what needs and should be done vs what I want to do!
"Fumbling Towards Ecstacy" Sarah McLaughlan

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Being passionate is indeed the shit!

This past week was an absolute exercise in focusing on all that we have instead of what we do not!  For a few short days, I have been exposed to how many people in this world live every day. No power, no running water (and ours ran just not drinkable)…and as far as cable, internet and cell phones, all I can say is …I am truly spoiled.  I was so lucky, heart failure has taught me to have plenty of radical living and loving practice, focusing and celebrating everything I could do, rather than grieving what I cannot.  It translated well in this past week’s situation. I have so many amazing many people in my life, some I didn’t even know (electrical linemen) that came from all over the country to restore my power, friends that loaned us a generator and an air conditioner, and those that kept in contact, keeping me focused other wonderful parts of life that I had truly forgotten existed. It was an opportunity to truly experience giving and receiving. Being passionate about life and love is the shit! and it reminded me that I want to be this passionate every single day!!
"Crazy Love"  Van Morrison

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The only "normal" I want to admit to....

Farwell, Irma and good riddance!  We finally have power, but holy crap what a week it has been!  It is never just about the storm itself (like that is not bad enough) but the aftermath.  The downed trees, the mess, no power, no gas, no stores, no internet, no 4G phone service, the oppressive heat and I could go on and on and on.  But 6 days later, life is indeed getting closer to normal.  It has taken a whole lot of vodka, tonic and squeezed limes to work my way back to “normal”.  Getting electricity, AC, cell phone service and the internet back is an absolute delight…and let’s just say that is the only normal I want to admit to. 

          "Trying to Reason with a Hurricane"  Jimy Buffet

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The "me first" mentality...

Perhaps it has been functioning in the Irma hurricane frenzy that has really exacerbated the absolute lack of patience and kindness in people. I have witnessed more examples of the worst side of “me first” behavior I think I have ever seen in such a short amount of time.  It has also made me grossly aware of my own boundaries and shortcomings.  The lesson I have taken away from this is I have become grossly aware of how much rude and outrageous “me first” behavior we are all exposed to every day and I have learned to accept them as normal or am I so desperate for approval myself that I allow and accept it? I know I can never change or undo the behavior of others, but I can take care of my heart by avoiding the situations, or not allow myself to be caught up in the orbit of others approval.  I know some think I should speak out against the bad behavior, that ignoring it is just another way of approving of it.  But maybe this is my way of “me first” and I am not particularly proud of it.
"Got to Do Better"  Eric Bibb

Thursday, September 7, 2017

YES to new brave…be kind…be curious

This showed up this morning…along with the full moon.  It seemed to be telling me everything I needed to hear.  For some unexplainable reason, I am more than normally attracted to the moon.  I seem to get some enigmatic energy that can be physically palpable at times and it is a most wonderful thing.

As we head into the weekend there is a great possibility of a hurricane.  I have to confess that all of the fears of past storms and the struggles in the aftermath are sneaking underneath my relax…”it is going to be just fine” emotional radar.  This is the first real hurricane (no, last year’s Matthew was truly a non-event) since the heart failure. In addition to the typical preparations and worries, there are a few new ones, not big ones…just new ones (oxygen concentrator, back up non-electric
O2 tanks and meds). I will be listening to the wind and remembering to be brave…be kind…be curious.

"Summer Breeze"  Jason Mraz

Monday, September 4, 2017


The site has been squirrelly all last week...Sure hope they have ALL of those glitches fixed now!

Cheeky but it works....

Each day I am reminded…whether I am looking in the mirror, swallowing a handful of pills, sucking up O2 to have enough breath to speak my mind or the hearing yet another news story of another one of my musical heroes from my youth is gone. I cannot escape the undeniable fact that my time is waning. My body is screaming “old woman” but my heart has so much more to feel, do, experience. Perhaps if I am bit “wilder” I could be “Reelin in the Years”…Yea…I know that was so cheeky but it worked!
Steely Dan, your music…your work is in my heart always…..

And the flipping cloud storage site is down again so here is the youtube version..

Sunday, September 3, 2017

but...if you try sometimes...

This may very well be the secret of life!  So many times what I “want” could very possibly be the ruination of me, then other times it just might be the difference between living and existing.  Making those decisions now has become even more difficult than it used to be.  In the past it was just plain fear that ruled my decision making, now the fear has somehow morphed to “can I physically” do it…and I am angry that I allowed fear so much power over me in the past.  So now I am embracing the Rolling Stones anthem, and learning that what I need will come, if I try sometimes, and I will be grateful!

"You Get What You Need"  Rolling Stones

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Burning Man 2017, Trust and Surrender...

Trust & Surrender….it is about letting go of everything I think I should be and accepting me exactly as I am.  

Surrender is trusting that I am right where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I should be doing and accepting that my life has been a gift to me, and the world.
Behind "The Man" they will burn tonight (Saturday night). Now you get it….”Burning Man” there is this temple.  The Temple holds all the thoughts and wishes and the letting go that each person needs to leave there.  Some are notes, and photos or small mementos.  But I suspect each is a symbol of trust and surrender.  Sunday night the temple is burned. Just one other reason I love Burning Man! One day I will really be there.....     
"Forgiveness"  Matthew West

And then it burned....

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Cape is NOT working for me!

Oh God, I hate these days!!!  Nothing hurts but,  everything, everything, everything, takes 4x more energy to accomplish.  Unload dishwasher, sit for 10 minutes, make up my bed and half way through out of breath, sit again, water the plants on the porch, exhausted…God damned I hate days like these….go away please…please, please, please go away…. or give me the right kind of cape because this “lazy cape” is not working for me!

"The Lazy Song"  Bruno Mars

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Moderation is a concept....

I want this coffee cup…It could be my “un” official way of officially notifying the Universe….that enough is enough….Clearly, I do not seem to be able to make that call on my own!  The days that I feel so good do not come as often as they used to and when they do I just feel full of energy and life and have an insatiable need to move.  Four loads of laundry, vacuumed, made home made yogurt and cooked a dinner then cleaned up the outrageous mess I made in the kitchen then all of the sudden BOOM.  Like somebody said that’s enough bitch….you are soooooo done.  Made it back to my room, into a night gown and down I went…one big horizontal wet noodle…Moderation is a concept I have not yet grasped….maybe because I do not want to…a magnificent hot shower and home made yogurt for breakfast this morning….it ain’t all bad! I am good to go!  Bring it on!
"Everyday" Dave Mattews Band

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What comes next...

Sometimes it is not about what is over, but what is beginning.  Letting go of the things that I do well, that others recognize and appreciate are hard to do.  At any other time in my life, I would be holding on to those things like crazy. They are the very things that I and other people have defined who and what I am. But my heart knows it is time to let it go now, to focus on what comes next, to be fully open to what comes next.  There are so many parts of me, so many other things I have had to let go of this past year.   But every time I have let go, it has opened me up to see and accept my other gifts.  Time for some more exciting and surprising new beginnings, ideas, and energy to arrive in my life!
"Nothing Stays the Same" Luke Sital Singh"

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Shine on!

Whoa…that one jumped out and bit me on the ass! It does happen, with or without my permission.  But, I guess the opposite might have to be considered the same way.  If I chase exhilarations and allow that to define me, I may be setting myself up for chronic failure and perhaps an identity that is just as damaging. Somewhere between struggle and exhilaration is the balance.  But I have to wonder if the if the profound struggles do not magnify the intensity of the magnificent exhilarations…and is it a good thing or a bad thing?  As I look at my last Artist’s Way class and taking down this last exhibition there is an overwhelming feeling of both loss and accomplishment and the fear of an overpowering life change!  I find this feeling of nagging unrest grabbing me as I let go of this part of my life that has defined me for such a long time. Time to move on to the next chapter, find the balance…maybe it is the struggle that pushes me forward....on to the exhilaration? Maybe it is just time to easily and effortlessly move forward, no big splashes just time to shine on!
"Shine On"  Eric Bibb

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The next day...

I learned something important last night. Maybe I shouldn’t try to stop some things from happening. Maybe sometimes I am supposed to feel awkward, sad, confused and ashamed.
Maybe it is ok to be vulnerable in front of other people.
Maybe it is a necessary part of me getting to the next part of myself, the next day….

"Morning Girl"The Neon Philharmonic

Friday, August 25, 2017

Today I just need to do fearless!

I know it is in there….I know how strong it can be.  I have to really really really dig deep this time!  I absolutely refuse to let this part of me go…I do not care how long or how hard I have to dig for it.   I have made my decisions the last 4 years based on “Desire Mapping” these are the 4 feelings ( one or all) I want to have every single day of my life.  Connected, excited, fearless, and passionate,  today I just need to do fearless!  The other feelings will come!

"Wild Thing" Troggs

Thursday, August 24, 2017

There...I said it....

I cannot claim to be a wise woman, but sometimes I am frustrated and angry enough to just want to scream.  I want to know why me?  Aren’t I good enough?  What did I do to deserve this?  I want to live happily ever after, too!  I want to be a crazy old artist lady that surprises and embarrasses everyone.  I want to laugh so hard that I cry every day! I often get frustrated with people that create their own problems and then wallow in them. I want…I want…I want my life back!  I want to scream at the top of my lungs “fuck this shit” I don’t deserve it! I don't want to die...There I said it!
"Mad World" Gary Jules

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Allowing new things to arrive!

I suspect my grown sons might not agree with this, but I think after all of these years they are getting used to it!  As I really begin this new part of my life, I am struggling to NOT allow myself to become old and sick!  The teaching and facilitating was good for me, and I am going to continue that, but only once a month!  Then I think I might want to continue something like the VoG’s.  (Please do not ask me to describe what that is, it is far too difficult to explain)…but you know it involves creatives, wine, chocolate, and fire.  I want and need to open my life and my heart so ALL the gifts, love, happiness, and creativity in this life can arrive!  I have to confess, it already seems to be working…it really is a remarkable thing and   I wonder if this might be the Universe telling me not to be afraid to say no…sometimes no is a very good thing and letting go of comfortable things is truly
allowing new things to arrive!

"Goodmorning Starshine"  Oliver

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The best gift ever!

Sometimes the best gifts from the Universe arrive at the most wonderful times!  If ever I have needed some kind of sign I am making smart, good choices with all of the difficult decisions that seem to be running at me...  it was the most amazing confirmation, that it is going to be ok!  Yesterday while continuing to clean the porch, re-pot sad plants and in general repaint, replant and freshen up the porch I got such a surprise! 

I was putting away garden tools up in the front room…..aka…a very scary storage room!  A small flat box had fallen from a shelf and was on the floor partially open. I could see a set of non-descript brand new wind chimes in it.  I did not recognize the box, I did not remember when or where I might have bought them or was given them or by whom…. I drew a total blank. This in itself is not all that surprising; it seems to be happening more and more now days.  I was incredibly curious about where they came from and why they were on the floor as I picked them up. Again they were nothing special but since I was in the process of rearranging the porch I thought I would take them out there and see if I could find a spot to hang them.  Out on the porch, I began unwrapping them and as I pulled off the plastic I saw these words on the small wood panel designed to catch the wind
“Let the sound of the wind gently remind you, I am here.  All my love, Mom.”

With tears literally streaming down my cheeks, I read it.
Thank you, Mom…you have no idea how much I needed to hear you!
And now I can hear her whenever I need to.  When I least expected it...I got the best gift....ever!

                             "Mother's Chimes"

Monday, August 21, 2017

They were meant to be something else...

An old plastic red square salad bowl (what was I thinking when I bought that??) that I cut a big hole in the bottom and some black and white tape is now a planter for an umbrella pole.  Quite frankly I could not afford the ones they were selling on Amazon. And while I am confessing, it really is not an umbrella anymore, but a candle chandelier made from an umbrella pole and a bentwood hat rack.  Maybe when I bought those things they were meant to be something else. Maybe I am supposed to be something else. Maybe time to find out!

So much wine and creativity has been shared around this incredible second-hand table on the porch.  Celebrating such a great place is good for my heart!  Red Wine (and much more), Mistakes and Mythology have gone round and round this table....we have laughed and we have cried, and I am so much better for it!

                                    "Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology"  Jack Johnson

Moon Shadow 2017 Eclipse Day

I am pretty much a card carrying selenophile  (n. person who loves the moon).  I am not sure exactly when that began officially, but I suspect it has been building all of my life.  I began to notice on days and nights when it was a full moon I felt more courageous, more creative just plain stronger in all most every way possible!  In the beginning, there were very slight inklings.  Now they are big shifts in consciousness! And it is wonderful!  Today the moon is literally going to block the biggest producer of light and energy in our galaxy.  The moon at such an infinitesimal fraction of the size and energy of the sun has the power to impact the world. It is a powerful silent reminder that my tiny influence can and will someday have an impactful meaning to the world.
"Moonshadow" Cat Stevens

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Lights On!

I love red!  Spray painted an old garage sale find from years ago, and have solar lights that will fit in the candle sockets that are in the process of their first charging.  I cannot wait to see what it looks like at night!  Learning to use my creativity for me, learning how to really enjoy it, not just the process but the product too!... Not having to worry anymore about whether or not it is saleable, just that I like it and will enjoy it!

                "Light On" Mark Ballas

Friday, August 18, 2017

Just loved this poem...and I want to read it over and over and over again!

Breakfast of Champions!

Homemade yogurt, spiked with a teaspoon of salted caramel Skinny Syrup…is my breakfast of champions!  Yogurt supports my “gut” and helps my immunity, which is already sorely compromised and the salted caramel skinny syrup makes it feel like I am having ice cream for breakfast…It does not get any better than this…YUM!  Yea-yea I know that skinny syrup is most likely chucked full of chemicals, but do I need to say it again…ice cream (and coffee) for breakfast…big smile!

"It's a Beautiful Morning"  The Rascals

Remembering how good it felt to do it different and break the the rules!

No.... it is not NEW news….It is old news!  And yes Leesburg is just a small town….but it was the first time that my whole body of work was displayed in one place…besides in a 10’ x 10’ tent outside.  After all the years of being the featured artist at gallery shows and outdoor art festival, it was the first time I was the ONLY artist exhibited.  It was overwhelming!  And I can remember being absolutely panicked after saying yes I would do it….without thinking through the title of the show…”Pairings”…it was the wine and dinner pairings fundraiser for the art center.  They had seen a few of my food still lives, but that was it…a few.  The rest of the work was all over the place subject wise.  How was I going to make this show about pairings???  That is the week I came up with “pairing” art with music, via a mini MP3 player and headsets….mounted by the works giving people a glimpse into the music that inspired that piece. It worked! When this popped up on the FB feed this morning it filled me with memories and it made me smile.  It reminded me of how wonderful it feels to do it different how good it felt to break the rules!
"Let it be Me"  Indigo Girls

Thursday, August 17, 2017

so others will think....

Taking care of myself is a difficult concept for me.  I was infused with the “good mother, good wife, good woman” always puts others first mentality.  So every time I feel like I need to do or not do something just for me, I feel guilty.  

I understand intellectually why I feel like this, but emotionally it still makes me feel horribly selfish.  I feel guilty asking for help or saying no, but I am in a place where I just do not have the resilience, the patience, the strength to be that strong anymore.  I keep pushing myself to the edges of my emotional and physical abilities.

Where is the line between giving and selfishness?  Do I keep pushing and giving until there is nothing left of me.... so others think I am a good person? 

"Better Off Now" Trent Dobbs

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

He has to....GO!!!

‘Oh no…here I go again!  My attempt to remain apolitical on my blog often gives way to feelings and emotions, and since this weekend. I feel like I am surely bleeding from having bit my tongue so much!

What happened in Charlottesville VA this past weekend was horrible!  White supremacy groups are and continue to be a blight on our society.  What we get from them, although intolerable, is expected.  What was not expected is that any president could possibly suggest that people carrying Nazi flags,  shouting  “Blood and Soil” (a well-known Nazi quote), “white lives matter”, “we are taking back the streets”, and “Jews will not replace us” could possibly be considered “very FINE people” that were just there to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.  OMG…Really?

As long as this horrible man remains in office our most basic services, rights and freedoms will continue to erode. We have to make it stop….he has to go!
"Give Peace a Chance" John Lennon

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

3 Days of Peace & Music

"Happy Woodstock Day....48 years ago today the concert opened! One of my most prized possessions is my original Woodstock poster! It defined my generation! And it appears to be defining me NOW! It is a bit faded, has some wrinkles and is curling at the corners!"

This poster resides in my bedroom and is one of the first things I see every morning.  It is a marvelous reminder of my younger days and all of the excitement, the breaking rules, the music and the movements for peace that existed then.  I wonder if I would be as open and accepting of new and different ideas because of this generation. 

But, for a very few moments, every morning my memories fly back to a time where I was free and fearless…and I carry a little part of that with me every day!
"Woodstock" Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Holy CRAP...I made it!

It was a wonderful night, and nothing does my heart more good than to celebrate with creatives as we get close to the end of class. Last night went quite well…the “newbies” were surprised but absolutely joined in and danced the Hokey Pokey….yep, we all toast each other’s creativity, throw confetti and then dance.  It always takes the edge off of the nervousness and reminds them this is about having fun and celebrating each other’s creative accomplishments.  All of the clocks sold at auction! Both or my original sculptural works sold…and that is another HOLY CRAP!  So there was so much overwhelming “sweet”….I suspect the “bitter” will come soon as it really settles in that this is my last Artist’s Way class….but for now I just want to bask in the “sweet” and celebrate…Holy CRAP I made it!  
"Brusied Not Broken"  Joss Stone

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The last one...

Well, tonight is the last one.  After 23 years and 27 Artist’s Way Groups, I am hanging up my hat.  Tonight is the last Celebration of Creativity I will produce.  I confess it is bitter-sweet.  I am truly exhausted, but I am truly sad to have this part of my life ending.  So….I have been telling myself again and again…I will not have the time or the energy for new things to come into my life until I let go of some of the old things that consume so much of my energy.  Artist’s Way has been such a huge part of my life for such a long time, that it has become comfortable.  There is fear in leaving comfortable behind, but there is also excitement in finding and experimenting with the new.  Cross your fingers!
"The Skye Boat Song" Kathryn Jones Raya Yarbrough

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Redirecting...every chance I get!

I confess…I have her book on death and dying, and I did read some of it, but at the time it was way too “clinical” for me. Then there were the stages of grief, the concept that she gained so much recognition for, that are important and truly recognizable, but for those of us with long chronic terminal illness, they forget to mention that you might go through these stages over and over and over again! And I have truly labored with that and it made my angry that she did not tell me that!

It just takes a while to get to the place she is describing here. I do not think it is work through the stages, once and poof, you arrive at her “beautiful person”. I didn’t…but maybe that is just me. Most of us think we should fight, and I think we all should fight but I also think we should be taught there is a time that we each need to quit that fight and accept the amazing process of end of life.  Fighting sucks up so much time, energy and money.  I do not want anyone think that giving in to the inevitable act of dying is some easy peace that suddenly just arrives….it does not!   It is a difficult, hard, sometimes sad, and horribly consuming lesson, which by the way there are NO books that give you any help or direction with this.  It is not so much a giving up as it is a redirecting.  In my life “redirecting” means changing where I spend my time, energy and money. Redirecting it from fighting to live…to actually living.  Living the best way I can!  It is not a giving up, it is redirecting and it may be one of the most difficult things I have ever done! And just like the stages of grief, I am going through this over and over again.  Each time I bump into something I used to be able to do and can’t any more…I am angry, then hurt, then sad but eventually I have got to learn how to redirect that wasted energy into the life I have. I do not want to waste any more of my life being hurt or angry or afraid.
"Doing the Things that We Want to"  Lou Reed

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What I can and what I will...

I can feel my life changing again and at first blush it sucks.  Unsolicited life changes are much like adult naps.  Naps are wonderfully extravagant mini-vacations when they are not necessary but when you do not have any choice in the matter they become annoying reminders of my inability to function normally for a full day.  This week and a typical art gallery installation became a glaring realization that I cannot do the things I used to do.  Life is changing and again I find I do not have a choice.  It is horribly difficult to give up activities I loved, even when it is obvious that I cannot do them like I used to. If I give up those things I could do and do very well then I feel like I am giving up on who and what I am. I keep feeling like I just need to push harder, longer and it will all come back to me.  It always did in the past.  But, that was the life that allowed me to do anything I wanted to do. I never really appreciated what a spectacular gift that was.  Now, all I can do is remember and celebrate the person that I was but admit to myself and others that I can no longer function as that person. I do not want to keep feeling like a chronic and constant failure because I cannot do what I used to do.   I have to learn how to grieve the loss of the person I was and then begin to look for and find the person I can be. I need to find the creativity, the balance and the strength that will move me into what I still can and will do…. And I must confess, I am looking forward to the excitement of searching for and finding a new path!
"Kola"  (I Remember)  Damien Jurado

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Maybe it is time to use my imagination first!

I have heard this before….hell I have even posted it on FB before (and quite frankly again today)!  But today it feels different.  In the past, it felt like the battle cry to go out and imagine a new life.  I have done that, it was not easy but it felt right, there was always a pull in that direction!  I would see someone doing something and there would be a tug or some kind of immediate recognition in my heart.  I would know immediately that I was “attached” to that job, activity, class or whatever I was looking at.  There was some kind of unexplainable knowing.  Perhaps the closest thing I can relate it to would be a religious calling, but since I have never had one of those or know anyone who has actually had a calling….it is just a guess.  Recognition was always the first step.

My imagination was the second step. I would see something and then imagine myself doing it.  I would make it mine, figure it out, create in my imagination a scenario of what this would look like when I did it. That was historically how I have made me and things happen. Life is changing, heart failure is really beginning to take hold of my physical abilities and I do not get out as much.  Of course, income, although still very important is not the #1 driving force… unfortunately it really never has been. I have always lived on the edge.

Maybe it is time to shake things up a bit…maybe time to imagine what I want my life to look like first.  I am not sure, I am truly wrestling with “what comes next”.  I just know it is time to understand where I have been, be incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities and people and then I have to release myself from having to live up to my own “history”.  Maybe it is time to use
my imagination first!
"If Only"  Maria Taylor

Monday, August 7, 2017

I know, it looks like complete destruction....but....

I have had 2 days bumped up right next together that the Universe has been talking to me, and I do not believe it could have spoken louder…perhaps it is time to listen.  Artist’s Way has become increasingly difficult to do, and last night’s gallery installation was a screaming exclamation point!  I have loved facilitating; for 23 years I facilitated 27 classes and that is just Artist’s Way it does not count the other creative classes, art business classes,  paint dancing, book groups, full day and weekend workshops.  I can truly say I have followed my passion, shared my gifts, given back to the universe and done what I loved.  Things have changed, what used to come so easily is a struggle now both emotionally and physically. Perhaps it is me changing as well as the kinds of creative people struggling to live in this world with their creativity.  Creatives, in general, seem to be less and less willing to give up ego and control to dig into their own hearts and souls where all of those answers live. Part of my job has always been to create a safe place for them to release ego and control and share those parts of themselves in a supportive safe place. I have always felt more than qualified to guide them through that process….because it is a demon I recognize and fight regularly. I have struggled with recognizing it and disarming it my entire life….but I just do not have the strength to wrestle the difficult personalities anymore.  I have been unable to give some of the dearest fragile creatives a safe place to expose themselves this summer, nor have I been able to capture the attention of others that have let their ego and control run amuck and cast negativity over themselves and the group.   I cannot seem to break through it anymore and the universe is saying it is time to move forward…I do not know what forward is yet, but I recognize the seed analogy, I am cracked, broken and in the process of becoming completely undone.  This is part of my growth, I do not want to see it as a failure or an ending but the beginning of something not yet recognizable… It is time to let this part of my life go.  It is part of life…it is part of death and my choice is to fight it or celebrate it.  I choose to celebrate.
"Death With Dignity"  Sufjan Stevens

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Barefoot in the studio.....

There is nothing more frustrating and rewarding at the same time as being barefoot in the studio.  I remember how shocked my mother was when there was paint on the tile floor, my only reply was “but there isn’t any paint on the carpet….I am careful!”  Not sure she ever really understood that eventually, the pain will wear off of the tile….not so much on the carpet! 

Another last minute push in the studio that 4 or 5 hours ago I knew just what I was doing, then not and another layer of paint….4 or 5 layers of paint later and who cares I am having a blast!
"Walk the Walk" Eric Bibb

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


30" x 10"
And here it is….
my Artist’s Way silent auction art clock….Past-Present-Future….It is hard to tell in this shot, but Past and Future (the top and bottom squares) are mirrors just because the only thing you can do about either is “reflect” on them.  The only part of time that moves or is truly important is the Present (the center square) it is the only place where time actually moves.  A pretty complicated concept…..presented in a very simple way.  Ta-Da!! will not matter which way it hangs, it will still say the same thing!
                              "No Time" Guess Who

Doing the same thing.....differently...

I will preface this by explaining that I am a baby boomer and terribly white.  Ok…so now you understand why I was so curious when a Latin grocery store opened in my area.  First of all, I grew up in an era where grocery stores were not the size of football fields.  I used to really appreciate all of the choices, now am exhausted just walking through them and I do not think I really need to have 7 different brands of canned green beans…A green bean is pretty much a green bean, one or two brands is just fine!  So this little Latin grocery is small, like the main street grocery store I remember, probably 50% of the store is fresh produce and meats with only 3 aisles of other stuff, some of it recognizable, some not.  The only things that had more than one brand choice was rice and I counted 4 different varieties.  The building was very small and had maybe a dozen or so parking places right by the front door.  The people were incredibly friendly and the prices were great.  There was contemporary Latin music playing loudly that filled the place, not the typical “muzak” grocery store and without thinking I caught myself giggling and doing a cha-cha step behind the cart every once in a while.  Sometimes it is just fun to experience how other cultures do the same thing differently.
"Smooth" Carlos Santana

Monday, July 31, 2017

Apologies for the f-bomb….

Apologies for the f-bomb…. Every single artist alive that has had a serious dead line know this well-known but seldom talked about “creative process”…..and knows it…oh so well!  

However, you might be horribly mistaken if you think for one moment that I plan on doing anything to change it!  I suspect it is the single creative trait that all artists recognize and share!

I have often asked myself if there is a buried Machiavellian part of me that gets some kind of perverted “jazz” out of pushing my creativity to the last minute and very brink of disaster.  

Sometimes this “creative process” works…sometimes it doesn’t.  It is a 50/50 crap shoot. 
Then I wonder if I would have any better odds of success if I had a well thought out and organized plan.  

Nope…don't think so!
"Satisfaction"  Rolling Stones

Sunday, July 30, 2017

I am enough!

I love manifestos!  They make me feel so empowered, militant and fierce!  I have a life full of things I am proud of but they are dotted with stupendous bouts of beating myself up.  It maybe one of the things that I do best…I am an expert!  This unique talent started way before I got sick, but I have gotten even better since, after all, I have a whole new set of circumstances to blame myself for.  It always begins with “Damn it, if I had only_______(fill in the blank).”  I still wrestle with self-worth and I was sure by this age I would have whipped that.  I wonder if anyone ever really gets past that.  So for right now…and for all of the “right nows” I get…I have to remember that I am enough....right now.
"Hammer & Nails"  Indigo Girls

Saturday, July 29, 2017

"Girding" Up!

Today begins the heinous chore of having men stomp through the house to give me estimates on what it will cost to replace our AC/Heat system.  After an unplanned break down (on perhaps the hottest day of the year) I was presented with the somber fact that our over 30 year old system is, decrepit, on borrowed time and horribly inefficient!  The repairman showed me several instances of rust and “crud” for lack of other things to call it that has encrusted the coils from years of condensation and normal wear and tear.  It was gross!

That was the repairman’s assessment and he had nothing to gain by making this frightening diagnosis, I am bracing myself for the “salesmen” who I am certain will paint a horrific doom and gloom scenario to get me to buy their system immediately.  As a rule, I find most salesmen pushy and rude…typical used car salesmen.  I am gearing up to hear and compare without allowing fear or emotions to get wrapped up in the decision making.  One has already told me that the prices are going up on Monday…..REALLY…?  He has not even given me any prices….yet!  Putting on "the hat" and getting my "crusty old broad" face on and girding up for the salesman onslaught!
"Obeah Woman"  Nina Simone

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Round and Round it goes....

Round and round it goes…and where it stops…everybody knows….for the most part!  Whatever ridiculous self-serving subject #45 chooses for that particular day or just about anything that he thinks will deflect attention or stop the current investigations into his family, campaign and financial entanglements with Russia.  We already know he out and out lies, turns on his own appointees even when they are doing their job (when it does not involve covering his ass) is a blatant misogynist, narcissistic, makes fun of and bullies anyone that does not do his bidding, wastes tons of our tax dollars on the golf course, does not understand how our government works, accuses others of anything to cover his own butt and the list goes on and on and on….We have got to make it stop!  Stand up, write your Senator and Representatives.  Communicate with your local politicians!  All of these people work for us!  They need to do their jobs, not ensure they get Republican and corporate donations and funding for the next election!
"Walk the Walk"  Eric Bibb