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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Monday, April 24, 2017

There will never be another Horsefeathers....

This one may have been here before, but it was such a great week, it is worth repeating! 

This was one of the day sails from St. Thomas and that is either St. John or one of the BVI’s behind us.  My parents were perfect Virgin Island guides, they had lived there a couple of years by the time we visited and were running day sailing charters from Red Hook to Leinster Bay.  After sailing all day, we were always welcomed back to the marina by all of the patrons at the thatch-roofed bar named “Horsefeathers” where we would spend the rest of the evening “sipping” with the other boat people. It was truly like every tv sit-com bar complete with all of the appropriate characters. The perfect tv bar except for the part where "everyone knows your name" and I suspect that is exactly how they liked it!  We had such a good time sailing in the islands that we were enticed into buying our first sailboat, a 22 ft South Coast and we named it after that magic Red Hook Marina bar….Horsefeathers…Several years later we moved up to a larger boat and it was Horsefeathers II…all good memories and such great times.  This is where it all began.  There will never be another real Horsefeathers whether it is under a thatched roof in the Virgin Islands or under sail!
"Summer Place" Percy Faith

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dragon Slayer: Wanted.

I no sooner posted this before I was looking around myself like there might be someone else in the room I could blame for what I had done! 

Yes, I am ready, yes I want to, yes I am excited, but for the first time in my life, it is not that I am just fighting the emotional battle of feeling like I am qualified to do this. It is so much more than my typical risk of facilitating something that is emotionally charged as creativity vs. the joy of being in the company of such marvelous unbridled creativity.  There is a brand new dragon is this battle.  His name is “Will this body let me do it?” I have to face this dragon head on!
You can be amazing, 
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast, 
Or be the backlash of somebody's lack of love
Or you can start speaking up, 
Nothing's gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle 'neath your skin,
 Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins But I wonder what would happen if you
Say what you wanna say, And let the words fall out…Honestly I wanna see you be brave.
"Brave" Sara Bareilles

Friday, April 21, 2017

Strangeness!

Oh, Thank Goodness!
On some level as artists, we already know this.  Rarely are we drawn to images that are photographically perfect!  I mean what is the point of excessively admiring what can be seen in life or something a camera can do already, cheaper and faster? 
As an art facilitator…of sorts…often the question of what is the difference between an “illustrator” and a “fine artist” comes up.  The question often arrives as “why do I like this “weirdness” so much?’  I will confess that both well-done illustration and fine art must have equal amounts of technical art skills and can be equally appealing.  But in my opinion, the important difference is the courage of a fine artist.  An illustrator will present a very photographic life like image.  The subject, color (if any), proportions, and surroundings, are realistic. The best examples I can think of are early portrait paintings or Norman Rockwell’s magazine cover images.  Our rational mind tends to judge this art by how realistic or lifelike it appears. But a fine artist consumes the same information, takes it into themselves, ingests it and for lack of a better way to describe this process,  spits it back out on the canvas, paper, sculpture, fabric, etc.…infused with their own style, feelings, and opinions.  It takes a huge amount of courage to present to the world our version of life, with all of its strangeness. 

The next time you are in front of a piece of non-conventional art, or a person or anything eccentric and find yourself unexplainably drawn to it, congratulations!  Your soul, not your logical rational mind has just recognized and responded to the “strangeness”.

"Not Other Way" Jack Johnson

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Medical code words....

For lack of serious medical training (and quite frankly I really do not need to understand every single micro medical reason) this is basically what is happening now, according to yesterday’s nurse visit, I have pulmonary edema, which is the medical code word for fluid in my lungs. Not sure if this pic is an accurate representation of the quantity of fluid, but I am a “show me a picture” kind of gal….however, I DO NOT want to have the medical school gross pictures….this one works just fine for me and my imagination!  There is a fine line between understanding and just plain knowing too much.  The good news is that with the nebulizer and by doubling (again) the lasix we ought to be able to manage this, feel better and have more energy pretty soon!
That and pee more than I already do now…and that really sucks!
"Doctor My Eyes"  Jackson Browne

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

how much I get away with....

My idea of right and wrong is an ongoing topic for me!  Maybe because I want or need to justify some things I have done or will do that might be seen as wrong…but wrong by what measure?  Is it legal, scientific, moral (and is moral the same as religious?) and who specifically decides?  I suspect in the end, being a good “right” person will be judged by those I knew, it will depend on how closely my life decisions match up with theirs…but I think the most important thing I really need to wrap my heart and mind around is I have absolutely no control over what they think. But still, I (and you) will have to wonder….how much of my life was good and right and how much I just got away with?.........Bwa-ha-ha……..


"No Such Thing"  John Mayer

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Never really appreciated my metabolism....




And like this list is not enough….now it seems I need to add “because it makes me sick” to it!   I am still recovering from a big ugly sick from my NY trip, which BTW I really really really liked.  Now I have to add in the Birthday/Easter debauchery that among other things includes chocolate, beer, crab legs dripping in lemon/butter (and other things I will not mention, in an attempt to maintain my unsullied reputation) and I have one big ugly mess.  Dear god…. I miss my youth, and never really appreciated my metabolism!


"In My Dreams"  Amanda Palmer

Monday, April 17, 2017

It's all in the gloves....

On my recent trip to NY I had some “special” security concerns.  Now that I have the SICD implant I cannot go through the typical magnetic screener, then there was the battery powered oxygen
concentrator that I carried with me.  There are 3 other popular options.  #1 Go through the full body scanner,  #2 Have them “wand” me all over while avoiding the implant site and  #3 the full body pat down.  I might point out that both coming and going I was in the TSA pre-check line….I have yet to determine how or why I was chosen for that dubious honor or exactly what the difference was except I did not have to take off my shoes or sweater. 

Leaving Orlando I was walked through the full body scanner…no muss, no fuss, no magnetic screening!  The LaGuardia airport in NY was not so simple.  Even though I was again in the TSA pre-check list, I was chosen for the full body pat down.  My New York TSA screener was methodical, professional and she explained the entire procedure before she began.  It was over in a matter of 2 minutes, if that long.    I think the uncomfortable parts were that everyone was staring at me throughout the pat down, assuming I must be suspected of something horrible, and the other part, was when she snapped on those latex gloves.  Most of us have a limited experience with latex gloves, and those are typically in the doctor’s office.  As soon as the latex gloves are snapped on, we all brace for "what comes next" and it is never a good thing.  I bet if the TSA opted for happy colored knitted mittens, the fear and memories of the last unpleasant glove infiltration would reduce the ruckus about TSA pat downs being an invasion of privacy... 

TSA pat downs are truly quite benign…comparatively.  
It’s all in the gloves!


"Strip Me"  Natasha Bedenfield

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter mornings & Birthdays....





Easter Morning & Birthdays….Not as bad as having to share your birthday with Santa Claus, at least this is not an every year thing for me. Then when you get to my age, quite frankly perhaps it is time to quit acknowledging birthdays altogether!  But today it is about me and the bunny and I am pleased to say….he is indeed much older than me!


"Oh bla di oh bla da"   The Beatles

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Loved Big....

That I am a little all over the place…is an understatement! But (and you knew that was coming) I am feeling a little more “pointed in the right direction”. For the last few years, well since the heart attack and the heart failure diagnosis I feel like I had been running a race of sorts. Doing some things wrong and incredibly expensive inevitably damaging things that did not seem to work or stave off the progress of this disease and I have done some pretty stupid foolish things just because I want to or it feels good at the moment. I do not suspect either has done much to change how this goes. What I would truly like to do is to stop beating myself up for any or either of the things I have done in my life….good and/or bad. There is only one bit of good news. In my life.... There is one thing I feel I can claim I have done well…not all of the time, but over the long haul….I have loved big.

"No Such Thing"  John Mayer

Friday, April 14, 2017

Celebrating my "Aries-ness" today!



There are some excellent things in my life, and of course some not so great things.  I will be 63 on Easter Sunday and I beat my NY parting gift of pneumonia with the help of Z-pac magic!  My life is full of good things and bad and I would not give up any of them….(well maybe a couple of bad ones!)


"Walk the Walk"  Eric Bibb

Thursday, April 13, 2017

What I'm talking about....


Because quite frankly I have no idea what I am talking about, but it has occurred to me that…I talk (or write) an awful lot, for someone that has no idea!  I am only one of millions of human beings, not less than… not more than… just another one of them. 

I am reminded again that everything changes, not always in ways that I think are the best, but they do indeed change.
I am reminded that I do not need to convince anyone else,
I just have to convince myself.


"Something to Talk About" Bonnie Rait

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Yes...but



Yes but….
every once in a while I am just sad.  
Not end of the world sad…. but not such a good day sad.  
And I suspect being sad is ok…
well maybe more than ok…
perhaps it is a necessary thing. 

How would I or could I recognize the happy great days if I had not experienced the sad days?  So my sad days do not need company or someone here to hold my hand, or someone to hug my neck and pat my back saying “there-there”.  Sometimes I just need to have sad days so I can really recognize, revel and celebrate the good days!


"From Me to You"  Janis Ian

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Outsmarting the sprinkler police....

It has been terribly dry recently….and the new crotons planted up under the living room window have really been struggling.  I have been going out with the hose and hand watering each of them every day.  That does seem to be a reasonable reaction, since we are indeed under a water ban, and not allowed to use our water sprinklers…. accept on my days….Thursday and Sunday and not  between the hours of 10 AM and 4PM but I am lazy and it was taking too long.  I carefully developed a plan, lined up the sprinkler head, which took some serious engineering skills so that it watered  just my crotons.  I figured it would be best to turn it on only after dark for a half hour, so I would not get caught by the sprinkler police.

I was so proud of myself and the plan was excellent, working perfectly, the crotons have perked up and are no longer drooping or loosing leaves….. until last night.  It was a wonderful evening with the windows open and a rare perfect spring night breeze blowing.  I tip toed out the front door, turned on the outlawed sprinkler at precisely the correct water flow. But…before I could get back in the house the water pressure changed, I suspect from typical neighborhood use. It is really difficult to actually see the water trajectory in the dark but after a few seconds it was clear that it was shooting in through my open window….and onto my laptop keyboard.  Panic set in and I could not decide if it would be better to dash in and grab the computer out of the way…..or dash out and turn off the water. Either way, I could not move fast enough to stop the computer carnage…and my key board was soaked!

So much for outsmarting the sprinkler police….
Damn it...I never get away with anything!!!
"Evil Ways"  Santana

Monday, April 10, 2017

Healing myself.....

Came home from my NY museum trip with oodles of inspiration and lungs full of fluid!  I sound like I should be in a TB ward but so far there are no signs of infection.  That is the good news; the frustrating news is to be so full of creative ideas and so low on energy!  The level of frustration is as close to maddening as I can imagine possible!   However as it turns out, I can sit quietly (low energy) and play with clay and paint and it is giving way to some interesting expression.  I was truly “turned on” by the simplicity and the meaning of the works in the Oceania section of The Met.  Some of those works dug up some unresolved battle grounds in my heart that are insisting on being explored visually.   The tall one is “Sees Right Through Me” the other is “When My Boundaries Turn into Prisons”.  There are more feelings stirring around in my heart looking for a way to get out into the real world.  I know they are kind of dark, they are the things no one wants to talk about, but they are here…in my thoughts and feelings anyway.  Pulling them out and making them real I think may help me be more aware of the negativity that haunts me. I may be unable to heal my body, but…I can heal my spirit.

"Heal Yourself"  Ruthie Foster

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Love wildly, passionately and fearlessly....

Yea….but think of all of the fun I will have first!  For me…..to love wildly, passionately and fearlessly means to put myself first and that as a woman, mother, wife, and daughter was always presented to me as a bad selfish thing.  I do not recall ever being presented variations, “shades of gray” or any set of circumstances that taking care of my needs or wants was ok to do.  Anything other than complete compliance was self-centered and not deserving love.

I plan to be following my heart much more….

"All About Your Heart" Mindy Gledhill

Friday, April 7, 2017

Cultivating faith.....

I think most feel like I have no faith at all because I do not subscribe or believe in any specific religion. I think they are wrong.  I feel like I have more faith than most, the only difference is my faith does not require rules, buildings, books, payrolls or tithing.  My faith is simple…. do no harm, do the best you can and love.  That is my faith….plain and simple. No need for magic gods, services or sacrifices…only love.  I am the first to admit that simple does not always mean easy, I screw up regularly and that is where the ceaseless questioning comes in. 

"For What it is Worth" Buffalo Springfield


Thursday, April 6, 2017

I am the whole fu(#!~@ fire!

Every now and again, I find myself sinking…sinking physically and emotionally...it sucks! But I am learning that my source of strength cannot come from outside of me.  Although, I recognize that the things outside of me are totally capable of taking my strength away and that truly seems so unfair!  Even if strength could be magically delivered from one person to another, it would never be the right size, never the correct amount; actually it might never be enough.  I imagine that I could literally suck the life out of the very people I love without really meaning to.  My strength has to come from me and only me. We all know that no one can do this for us but there is a part of me that wishes they could.  

Art holds my lesson.  The work that proves to me that something of worth, something that can fill my heart with value can come from unrelated stuff and nothingness. I am the ingredient, the strength that causes that to happen.  The times that I cannot whip up the feelings of strength and value of just being here is when it is the most important time for me to get back in to my studio….that is the one place where I am the whole fucking fire!

"Me" Paula Cole

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Equipment


I have a new piece of equipment….ughhhhh!  Enough already!  According to the Doc and I guess the nurse too,  since they both came to see me yesterday and I never get both of them on the same day, I think they must have suspected I would be coming home with issues. Seems my heart and lungs got a bit backed up while I was in NY, so now I need to suck on a nebulizer to get the meds in me quicker 4 times a day.  Quite frankly this “more equipment” program is getting a bit out of hand!  But whatever happens next, believe me….it was so worth it and I would go to NY again in a heartbeat, the museums and the art was worth it.  I
am hoping that is all of the equipment I will need from here on out
…so bring it on.... I can do it!
"Keep Breathing" Ingrid Michaelson

Monday, April 3, 2017

The New York Museum Trip!

and again.....it may take a moment for the video  to load...                                              

Monday, March 27, 2017

The “awesome-ness” is in the details!

We are staying in a 1903 historic hotel on the Upper West Side designed by noted architect Emery Roth in 1903.  Described as one of the flashiest of its day, the Hotel Belleclaire was once referred to as a skyscraper on Broadway and was first amid the most luxurious buildings in the city. Roth combined Beaux Arts principles with Art Nouveau style that make it worthy of landmark status.

Famous past guests include Mark Twain and Babe Ruth Skip & Cheryl Evans with Cathye Bouis, how much more fantastic could it be?


"Beauty in the World"  Macy Gray

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Too good to be true.....

Every now and again I see something that just seems too good to be true, but in moments of sheer desperation I am willing to try anything!  As I continued to monitor the weather for the upcoming NY City Museum trip it became clear that the lovely early spring weather I was hoping for has degraded to a lingering ugly sloppy wet winter.  I am a FL girl….really..I mean really!  I do not nor have I ever owned boots, or any other “serious” winter clothes, but what I realized this week is that winter clothes regardless of how serious they are, take a hell of a lot more room in a suitcase…AUGHHHHH!!!!! I found these packing bags on Amazon.  Bags that seemed to be inspired by the “seal-a-meal” or (because I cannot remember the official name) the “suck-and-store” bags for blankets and pillows that suck all of the air out and shrink them up!  I thought “OMG…please let this work”.  Halleluiah-Halleluiah…it works!  A puffy jacket that would normally take up half the suitcase now only takes up a fraction of the space!  The packed bags with the air sucked put look slightly disgusting, and I am sure the wrinkles may be seriously smashed in there, but that is a problem for another time!  For right now…I will call it “creatively organized” and do the happy dance.  I can get on the plane without paying more for baggage!
"Time of Your Life"  OrtoPilot

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

WANT to do

This has been going on so long I am not sure what normal is anymore.  I do not remember a time (other than recovering from illness or surgery) that I could not physically do anything I wanted to do.  Now I will confess there were many that laughed when I could not do it as good or as long as I wanted to, but there was no question that I could do it. As I recall…those were the times I was typically accused of being “hard headed”.  That name never bothered me, in fact I kind of wore it like a badge of honor, and it went well with the red hair.  Now I find myself questioning everything I want to do.  Am I strong enough?  Will my passion be enough to keep me going? No doctor ever explained the frustration that would happen between what I want to do and what my heart will allow my body to do…Somewhere in the back of my mind I felt like the more I could do the more I would be liked….


"Try" Colbie Caillat

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Scared Shitless....


Nothing used to scare me….well, almost nothing.  I find little fears slipping in between the cracks.  The big “holy crap” health stuff that should scare me are kind of “meh”.  But the little things had me in an out and out panic yesterday!  I had to sit down and have a talk with myself several times. They all started out the same way….What the fuck is wrong with me?  I used to do things like this without a second thought, now I am scared and second guessing myself.  So according to this quote, I am fixing to have a HUGE adventure!

"No Such Thing" John Mayer

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Damn.....I Missed it

Damn….my own opening…
well not just my opening, but an opening with my work there.  Not just any work, but the first time a piece of my sculpture was accepted into a juried show.  Although I know it is not a sure thing or a verifiable thing, I am taking this as validation that I am headed in the right direction and this new medium can have some real artistic value… I friggen’ missed it!
Somedays heart failure raises its ugly head and aggressively marches into my life.  It reminds me of a demanding toddler having a tantrum, screaming, stamping its feet and demanding my attention.  For the most part, the best thing I can do is ignore it, knowing that it (the temper tantrum and heart failure symptom) will go away sooner.  But then there are those days,  regardless of how hard I try….it is bigger than I can ignore….and I lose important days of my life.
(barely evident in this pic, my piece is way back there, to the left of the portrait)
"Mad World" Gary Jules

Saturday, March 18, 2017

inspiration is waiting for me in the art....

I have the heart and the intuition but I seem to be losing courage and I am definitely short on stamina
….damn….!

I am desperately trying to figure out how to stay busy, how to keep growing, how to be relevant and continue to be a viable contributing human being artist.  That all sounds so ridiculous, which is exactly why it becomes so frustrating especially when I have an idea about what I think I want to do, but my body is chronically saying….no way bitch!  I am really looking forward to teaching again this summer in Casselberry.  Maybe I can figure out some other things I can do…successfully…But in the mean time I am so very excited about seeing all of the museums while on the art and the NY City trip!  Perhaps inspiration is waiting for me, in all of the art I am going to see!
"Don't Give Up"  Herbie Hancock, Pink, John Ledger

Friday, March 17, 2017

....but I just cannot sit back and do nothing....

How do we get to the place where we raise big money, business above people?  How can anyone consider doing away with the arts, humanities, children’s free school lunches, meals on wheels and then reconfigure health care to the point where the ones that really really need it, will not be able to afford it.  How can this be the country I loved and respected all of my life?  How was a president elected that lies, bullies and berates anyone that does not agree with him.  How can senators and congressmen  kowtow and look away from the idea of common sense and common good to “buy” favor and money from big business lobbies. How did we get to this place?  And I wonder if my pathetic resistance does any good at all....but I just cannot sit back and do nothing....


"Put a Little Love in Your Heart"  Jackie DeShannon

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Cheetos are gone....


When I have so so much to be incredibly grateful for, I still continue to feel a sense of loss that will in the least expected moments over take me….and I find myself quietly and embarrassingly crying to myself.  Fear and finances kept me from so much that I really wanted to do with my life and now there is a whole other layer of fear.  Experiencing a body that does not physically support me makes fear and finances seem so silly and small.  I really have not appreciated the gifts I have been given. I should have done so much more!


"Details in the Fabric"  Jason Mraz

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Because I am the Nana... and I can!




The absolute cutest bundle of energy and smiles I have ever known! Sweet enough to smile and charm the britches off of anyone, but just enough spice to keep you wondering what she is planning to do next....she is thinking all of the time! She is the reason I can brag all I want to!


"Bubbly" Colbie Caillat

Just live, make mistakes....

I have had a life full of those wonderful memories but I have also had more than my share of colossal mistakes!  I constantly second guess who I am and where I am going.  I try like hooey to accept them (the mistakes) as part of the life lessons that have made me who I am today….but I continue to beat myself up for each and every one of them. I wish that part of me that metabolizes hurt and pain into to real life; character building experiences would hurry up and kick in! "Just live, make mistakes....

"Photographs"  Ed Sheeran

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Time to Let Go






It was just an ah-ha, an instant “knowing”  that took root and flew….I knew that this was right!

Not quitting...it is just time to let go and make room for the next one to emerge...time to make certain that Artist's Way keeps going
....but I confess,  
there are tears between the singing.

"No Such Thing" John Mayer

Monday, March 13, 2017

It felt like the other way around....



Sometimes the universe sends you the perfect thing!  I was worried…just how much could I do?  Art shows are known to physically push you physically up to and sometimes over the line.  And it could have easily gone there, but Bobbie Deuell this year’s emerging artist was phenomenal.  Her work was amazing and she knew what to do!  She made it so easy for me, and I was the one that was to help and mentor her.  It felt like the other way around! (I think the hat worked...the oxygen "hickey"is barely seen.....woo-hoo!)


"Shine On"  Eric Bibb

Friday, March 10, 2017

Time for me to "Practice what I Preach!"

OK…today is the day….for something that I so enjoy doing…and I am scared!  Which is really kind of crazy.  I am the one that should be cool calm and collected for the artist I am mentoring who is also scared!  YIKES! The choice is …put on my big girl panties, go in there with a positive attitude, with the expectation that this heart is going to support me and that I am going to have a great time or just give up.  I am so NOT ready to quit….. It is really time for me to come to the plate and practice what I preach!


"All Star"  OrtoPilot

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Please, don't let me be misunderstood!

"Listen to understand not to say something in return."  I heard this quote or something close to it quite some time ago ….but yesterday I finally understood what it meant. I rarely post political stuff about my personal feelings, but every now and again I feel I need to take a stand.

My post yesterday was questioning the method used to create the recent health care bill presented by the Senate Republicans. It was seriously lacking research from the people that it would affect the most.  The politicians “selling” the bill touted the concepts and theories based on the opinions of state governors, insurance companies, and other political pundits.  They did not seem to have, or would reveal any research from doctors, hospitals and most of all patients that currently have ACA health care and would have the most relevant experience.

One of the posts  I received, in response was about how to apply for ACA/Florida Blue insurance for $6 a month, even if it was embarrassing.    WHAT? 

The advice was followed by rambling about how she “knows” this because she sat in on a health insurance consultation with a homeless woman and when she had a personal inquiry; her voice mail was full from all of the agents responding to her question.   AGAIN….WHAT?

"Don't Let Me be Misunderstood"  Yusuf/Cat Stevens

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

I rise....

and again...it takes a few moments for the video to load...YouTube and Blogger are like two dogs meeting for the 57th time.  They still have to sniff each others rear ends to make sure it is ok.
...there are others that can say it so much better than I can... a young and wonderfully sassy Maya Angelou performs her poem...I Rise....

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My guiding culinary canon!

3 ingredients…my guiding culinary canon!  I have never made any bones about being a bad cook. And yes….I have tried to cook!  Some seem to think that a creative is naturally creative in all areas….WRONG!  Put me in the studio and I am happy as a clam…but dear Lord, please do not put me in the KITCHEN.  The only place I feel really comfortable in that room is standing in front of the coffee pot ….pouring!

I have held firm to the 3 ingredient rule through 40+ years of child rearing and marriage.  It seems I was to be responsible for the care AND of feeding for all of them.  My (and their) only survival was the 3 ingredient rule!
So…for most of you this is no big deal….but holy crap….for me it is HEEEEE-UGE!  I made a main dish tonight that had 15 (you bet…..I counted them) ingredients and that did not count the salt and pepper which technically would make it 17 ingredients.

Damn those Face Book recipes!  I just do not want anyone to think I am going to make a habit of this….I have a 3 ingredient reputation to maintain!
"You Might Die Trying"  Dave Matthews Band

superhero......





sometimes it is better just to sit down and shut up, because someone else says it so much better.
thank you Elizabeth Gilbert

"Bitch" (acoustic)  Meridith Brooks

Monday, March 6, 2017

It just makes sense!

WARNING…..if you are a offended easily, do not read this post!

I question everything and believe very little of what I am told.  I am one of those "got to figure it out myself based on what makes sense to me".  NudeNite held up a big mirror to me, with the “Confessional” art installation.  Looking at my own ending, I am considering all of the options, just in case I have missed one or there is a better one out there.  Raised as an Episcopalian earlier in life, every church service had a “blanket one size fits all” confession that was required.  The priest absolved us all in mass and then we marched to the alter for bread and wine….“poof”  forgiven....we were good for another week.  Never questioned…just did it…attempting to appear pious and penitent as I turned from the alter to face the congregation returning to the family pew. As I look at the religion that I perhaps have the most experience with, which would be the easiest to step back into, my common sense revolts!  A quick overview screams "WHAT"??? We humans were created by an omnipotent God that included sin, a.k.a. free will, as part of our “original programming”.  Then were kicked out of “the perfect garden of Eden” God created because they exercised the free will he gave them...WHAT?  Later when this entire free will thing just continues to go down hill, he…. that same omnipotent God, impregnates an innocent earth woman to give birth to himself so he can die a horrible death that somehow absolves us from that very same free will/sin and then rises from the dead to go back to where he came from.  All of this is to promote love, kindness, forgiveness?

The one thing most religions seem to have in common is they begin with the well-worn “once upon a time, long long ago, in a land far far away” and include many fairy tale-ish magic, mythical  demons, monsters, and of course an equal compliment of hero good guys. This particular religious story is unbelievably convoluted!  If you repeated a story like this, claiming it happened recently, I suspect they would give you free room and board in the nearest “rubber room”.

My personal dilemma is…why can’t we just love, be good and kind to each other because it is the loving thing to do, it is right and it just feels good? Why don’t religions just teach this? Are all of these complicated nonsense stories necessary to make such a simple point?  Where is the religion that celebrates living a best, most inquisitive,  creative,  exploring, loving, life you can while you can, because when you die…..life is over….that is it.    It's simple, needs no complicated magic, it just makes sense! Live now...live well...love! period.....
"No Sugar-Mother Nature"  Guess Who

magnificent mischief

So here is the tricky part… kindness is a no brainer, no risk, everybody is happy kind of thing, but mischief is a bit more complicated!  There is always some kind of chance that the risk of participating in amazing and magnificent mischief might run the risk of upsetting someone else.  Therefore, mischief is typically a covert operation!  So here is the question…..is getting caught part of that magnificent mischief???


"Bonfire Heart"  James Blount

Sunday, March 5, 2017

BUT…..I get to keep doing what I love!

This is a serious love-hate relationship!  Hate having to carry this thing around, Hate having tubes poked up my nose, Hate that for the first time since I have had heart failure that it is obvious ( I could pull off no one knowing before) and just Hate that it is an open obvious reminder that this is beginning to go downhill, and a constant reminder that this disease is marching on with or without my consent.  But I love that it gives me the ability to keep going, and I can still participate (albeit from a rather “edited” point of view).  In the past few weeks I have been able to deliver and participate in Nude Nite, went to St. Pete to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit, delivered art to the Osceloa Art Center for the “Creativa” Exhibit and screwed up my courage enough to continue mentoring at the Leesburg Art Festival next weekend. I love it and I hate it!  BUT…..I get to keep doing what I love!
"Save Myself"  Ed Sheeran

Friday, March 3, 2017

Road Trip!

Kissimmee Road Trip!

Not a big one, but a good one!  Needed to deliver my sculpture that was accepted to the Osceola Arts Center “Creativa” Exhibition today.  I had no idea where I was going, but I had Google Maps talking to me the whole way!  Marilyn (the center visual arts director) took me on a great tour of the center!  I am so so so impressed and so honored to have my work included in this exhibition!  They have a very active performing arts group and theater, 2 wonderful visual arts galleries, class rooms and a children’s performing group with their own theater! It is such an amazing place!  If you ever have the chance to do a road trip and would like to experience live community theater AND fine arts exhibition….this is the place!
"On the Road Again"  Canned Heat

Thursday, March 2, 2017

"Oviedo-Winter Springs Life Magazine" Article by Jill Duff- Hoppes

Oh My!  What a wonderful honor.  I am truly overwhelmed!  And I still love "The Artist's Way"!

and quite possibly the worst picture...EVER...taken last August at the end of the Artist's Way Celebration of Creativity!  It was a great night! But it was Aug....FL...I had worked like a crazy woman...danced....drank a little too much champagne...and every stitch of make up I might have been wearing had long since literally dripped off  my face....but oh my it was a very fun night!

Critical Thinking....

That is what they keep telling us and there are days that I think I almost believe it. For the most part I think we are all more alike than any of us want to admit.  I suspect that pretty much the same things scare the crap out of us, but that goes for what makes us happy, also.  There are lots and lots of people that study this, and figure out how to use this information for their benefit.  
Other people (some we do not know or have ever met) begin telling us what we need to be happy, and what situations will make us sad, unproductive, unloved, not cool, losers and in general unsuccessful and we believe them.  They cleverly and covertly convince us that we are not brave enough or smart enough to know what we want or need, or the needs of the many or the poor are so much more important and for the common good. They want me to believe that we do not want the responsibilities, it is too complicated or difficult to make these decisions ourselves….and we trust others to do that pesky thinking for us. This is where we give up our own critical thinking.

There is a huge difference between wants and needs.  I often think that it is the job of big business, and government, to blur that difference.  Make no mistake, the only thing they are interested in is how to separate us from our dollars and/or give them more control and power. I am often accused of being cynical; I like to think of it as critical thinking.  Measuring possible outcomes and recognizing who possibly derives the greatest benefits from them.  Are those outcomes plausible, what will they cost, in the current situation, can they be realistically accomplished and what are the odds?  We all need to put on our critical thinking hats and take our power back!

"Brave" Sara Bareilles

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

This is it.....

This is the advice I give others on a regular basis….perhaps it is time for me to take another gulp of it myself.  

I seem to wave back and forth from conservative, behaved, do exactly what I am supposed to do (which kind of comes with taking a shit load of medicine at prescribed times) and longing for the bohemian life I used to have (and by the way, never really appreciated). I seem to be living on the edge of fear, rules, and expected behavior always afraid I am going to slip into it.  I do not mean actually fighting the disease, it is pretty amazing all of the machines and medicines I have available to me for that.  The real struggle is to keep my head out of the “I am sick” mentality.  I see others dealing with terminal disease and they seem to be willingly drowning in it.  They let their illness take over their lives.  It is easy to focus on what is wrong, spending precious time, energy and financial resources to try to stop something that is going to happen to every single one of us.  There are absolutely no exceptions.

I am listening to every little whisper; celebrating life…it takes the same amount of energy as fighting the disease, but is so much more fun and I do not want to waste any of it!  This is the magic of life…I am listening…this is it!
"She Just Wants to Dance"  Keb Mo

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Sin...Repent...Repeat

As a constant recovering Christian/Episcopalian (and quasi-Catholic by proximity) I do remember Fat Tuesday as a child but as a young adult I realized I got ripped off.  It was never referred to as Mardi-Gras. It was just Fat Tuesday, where we would have a pancake supper in the Parrish Hall then get “ashed” the following day on Ash Wednesday.  It was very solemn, the beginning of Lent, the 40 days Jesus was in the desert, the 40 days before the crucifixion, we were to “give up” something dear to us and of course put extra money in the Lent box for the church, kind of an extra buy out for the  Lenten cheating you knew you would be doing.  In recent years Mardi-Gras has undergone a serious secularization!  I bet if you asked 10 people “what is Mardi-Gras?” they could not tell you that it is the out and out “party hardy” before you had to do the 40 day penance.  One year I opted to give up pantyhose for Lent and found that, it did not seem to make any difference what I gave up and since I did not transgress the pantyhose ban, I was good! No forgiveness or Lenten money box, required. I think they (religion) missed the major component of forgiveness, it comes from within us. You cannot give up something or buy forgiveness.  It is our own willingness to forgive ourselves and ask forgiveness from the ones we hurt. 

I Sin…Repent…Repeat, but I do not need to pay for it, or give anything up.  I forgive, am forgiven and continue to celebrate life and dance with the GrooGrux King (New Orleans slang for something happening, that is cool and amazing)!
"Why I Am"  Dave Matthews Band

Monday, February 27, 2017

In desperate need of connecting....

Frida had not been one of my favorite artists over the years, but when there was an exhibit of her work this close to me, I was compelled to go.  I can say with all honesty that it is not her art that I am most attracted to.  In fact as far as most surrealism goes, I am just not a big fan.  It is a personal taste I suspect.  But what I do admire and covet about Frida, is her “not quitting”.  Through polio, a life altering bus accident that sent a metal bar completely through her body, and multiple miscarriages as a result of those injuries…..she kept painting, kept living, smoking, drinking, dancing, and making love.  She kept on with her life, ALL of her life and made it mean something.  She never let the calamities of her body alter her life’s purpose.  I think, and she actually said as much, that she was able to live two Frida’s.  The first Frida “creative” was an artist that had no boundaries. The second Frida  lived a life that most would find outrageous, irreverent, reckless, immoral and the list goes on and on if you look at her behavior from a religious and political point of view. But from life's point of view it was always full and passionate. I suspect when she died at 47 the only thing she really wanted was to have a child, but I felt after seeing her work that, even  though childless, she died without regret. 

To spend the day with some of her work and drink in her story was inspiring to me on so many levels! To finish that day by sitting on a 2nd floor balcony with beer in hand, overlooking the Tampa Bay and the skyline bridge way off in the distance, and all of the life happening on the water was amazing.  It was perhaps one of the most inspirational weekends of my life!  I still dearly miss that gypsy part of me that loves to travel to strange places (the art festivals) only to be surrounded by incredible art and the bohemian life of an artist.  Thank you Frida, I owe you a big one! Life and my heart have physically and emotionally drained me.  I was in desperate need of connecting back to my spirit, my artist.  Your painful creations, your fearless and passionate life are truly my inspiration!
"Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"  Otis Redding

Saturday, February 25, 2017

You might want to stand back, just a little bit....

I do not think there is a person alive that has not been through incredible amounts of hell. Some came through it and beat the odds while others are defeated. We have all had both of these situations. I suspect some have been through hell and have learned how to metabolize that pain and loss as fuel can keep living life to the very fullest. They do not give in to the grief, anger or sorrow. They do not expect “soap opera” drama nor do they engage with the negativity. We just keep moving forward with life, one small step at a time….celebrating all of the joy I can get my hands on! So maybe you do not need to “fear” me but if you see me look into a fire and smile, you might want to stand back, just a little bit!


"Arms Around my Life"  Janis Ian

Friday, February 24, 2017

Yay!!!! the music & video links are back up and working! Thank You "OPEN DRIVE" cloud storage techs!

Expletives are going to fly!

It sure can’t hurt!  Running up on more things than I thought I would ever have at one time that I feel like I have no power over.  And yes, yes, yes I know….I cannot control anything or anyone else….I can only control how I feel. That all sounds so beautifully calm and sappy, but the reality is sometimes I have NO control!  PERIOD!  I do not want to control how I feel I just want to cuss like a sailor and kick something!  I am pretty sure it will not help one damn thing….but I am just as sure that I will feel better!

Just draw a thought bubble over my head then stand back, the expletives are going to fly!


"F#*k it"  Chris Trapper

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"Wanded" is a verb....

Had my first official run in with a metal detector!   Last night was an honest to goodness, airport-ish metal detector at the Colin Hay Concert at the Plaza Live theater.  The metal detectors must have been an addition since the shooting there last year! Yikes….when it was  my  turn, I quietly leaned over and explained the “purse-checking” lady that
I have an SICD and she called over to the “wand” lady.  She had me to put my hand over the defibrillator and she wanded the rest of me….It was easy, no big deal!  No questions asked, and much less dramatic than I had imagined.  I feel like I am ready for the airport next month!


"Overkill" Colin Hay

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wonderful places...


This used to be a difficult concept for me, but for the first time I am really getting it!  There is truly no reason to try to manage the future, and to be quite frank, all of my past attempts have been miserable failures! Why did I keep trying to do it? It feels so good to stop thinking, it feels so good to just go where my heart takes me….and oh my…… I am going wonderful places!


"This Time"  Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Monday, February 20, 2017

...and that scares a lot of people....






Yep…we know what the expectations are!

Sometimes being called overly sensitive, or thinking too much may have nothing to do with any of this.  I suspect highly sensitive people feel the same feelings that everyone has but most are just afraid to have. And then on top of having the feelings, we work to understand them and then we often have the need to tell you about them.  And that scares a lot of people!


"Who Says"  John Mayer

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The thing about annual events....

Hanging up another lanyard and thinking about how honored and how much “holy crap” fun it has been to be a part of Nude Nite  this year and for the past 5 years. It was one of my early on “Bucket List” wishes. The thing about “annual” events (birthdays, holidays, etc…) is that when they are over, I begin asking myself….is this my last one. This year’s events seem to be a bit more emotionally charged…


"Save Me"  Goyte