life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

Don't Talk Like That...

I write to find out what my heart thinks....
I write to expose and work through the ugly parts of this disease, open heart surgery that was less than successful and more recently an S-ICD (internal cardiac defibrillator) implanted in my chest that will hopefully restore my heart beat in case of sudden cardiac death. I am here to celebrate my life, to uncover my fears, to hold on to love, to learn how to live a full life with heart failure, to honor my creativity, and to explore all of my emotions out loud ...before anyone can say
"Don't talk like that!"


.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Please write Rubio and say NO to repealing Healthcare

I try hard not to allow politics to impact my daily life, although I do pay close attention now days.  Washington politics always impacted my pocketbook through tax law changes, but it has never been more important than now that I pay very close attention.  I am one of the 20+ million that without The American Health Care Act, I would not qualify for any health insurance at all, due to expensive pre-existing conditions.  Yes, it is not cheap, yes, the deductibles are high but we need to work together to figure out how to fix that.  Just DUMPING the entire program will be so damaging, detrimental and for some life threatening.  WE have to quit allowing OUR politicians, those we hired with our votes, to make their decisions based solely on their abilities to please the Republican Party so they qualify for more re-election funding or large private/corporate/lobby campaign donations.  Please join me in writing Senator Rubio of Florida urging to listen to his constituents vote accordingly.  Tell him to Vote NO on repealing our health care.  Write/E-mail Rubio tell him vote NO on Repeal healthcare

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Stay-cation...a new concept for me...but a great one!

I have heard the word "stay-cation" for some time, but I never really thought about until just recently, as my travel wings have been clipped a bit.  It was worth a try and in the vacation capital of the world, it should not be hard to do.  It wasn't hard and so much more than expected!  It was great fun, relaxed and wonderful to be with family.  The guys played golf, we had a hysterical round of "Heads Up" that involved perhaps a few too many beers. (thank goodness the videos were not kept...blackmail material for sure). I lost all of my money at Texas Hold-em...clearly not my game, watched fireworks from my room for 3 consecutive nights, played with the kids had great food with my terrific family....it could not have been better! 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

how smart people do Disney!!







Disney was my first "real summer job" (1972....please do not do the math!) and then there were countless years of taking children and grandchildren to Disney World....I know how truly miserable it can be.  Disney maybe the world's happy place but not in the dead of Florida Summer! People are crammed in, hundreds and hundreds of "nap-less", cranky, over stimulated, fussy/crying children at 100 degrees and then there are the daily afternoon violent thunderstorms!  After all of this time.... I have finally figured out …. how smart people “do Disney”….From the 10 floor, in the air conditioning of a resort a mile or so away going “Ah there it is!  Close enough to see it… without all the heat and people and lines! I can see their wonderful fireworks every night with a glass of wine in my hand going “ooooooo-ahhhhhhh”.  In my opinion...This is the very best way to do Disney World.

I am on my first ever family “stay-cation”!  One of the few perks of living in Central Florida is that we do seem to be one of the most popular vacation spots in the world, so there were lots and lots of choices!  One family on the 15th floor another on the 6th and we are sandwiched in between them on the 10th  floor.  It is perfect!  We get to see each other as much as we want….or not.  Everyone has their own space, for family “game time” Darren and Jill have a suite, for fussy grands there is a quiet place to nap or just find some quiet time.  It just cannot get more perfect than this.  It is the most wonderful “stay-cation”!                                                                                   
"Don't Stop Till You Get Enough"  Micheal Jackson

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The List....

What Most people do not know about me....

1. Despite my desperate desire not to burden anyone and to maintain my previous level of independence, the truth is I am failing at it. I need help and I am afraid to ask for it. (and I hate giving in and accepting it.  It is like letting heart failure win.) 

2. I feel like I have to pretend. I pretend to feel better than I do. I pretend to feel more optimistic, less afraid than I am. All this pretending is done for other people’s benefit, but sometimes it leaves me feeling more alone in the long run.

3. While I may not be managing this illness in the ways I should, it is the only way I know how. The cartoon pamphlet in the doctor’s office taught me how to be sick, NOT how to be well. I need a pamphlet on how to be normal, productive and happy while fighting a disease that I cannot beat. Fighting for normal is demanding, exhausting, hard work but it is worthwhile and I am willing!

4. Resting is fantastic when it’s an option, not when it’s a necessity. I hate missing out on the good stuff. I want desperately to be productive.

5. I envy and appreciate all of you.  I know it is not nice to envy others, but I do. I really really want my normal life back a life like you have!  But most of all I am really glad I still get to do life. And as much as I whine….I really do appreciate every moment.
"You Are the Only Thing in Your Way"  Cloud Cult

Monday, July 17, 2017

One...

These are not my words….but they were so wonderful…

The capacity to be alone…
Is the capacity to love.
It may look paradoxical to you, but it is not.  It is an existential truth:  only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of the other person—without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other.  They allow the other absolute freedom because they know that is the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now.  Their happiness cannot be taken by the other because it was not given by the other.

Osho, Being in Love….

"One"  Harry Nilsson

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Climbing the goddamn mountain.....


Well, that kind of hits the nail on the head!  Oh,
how I hope I have climbed the mountain!  I have done so many things in this life that I wanted to do, but never, not once did I think I was good enough to do them.  Every single one of them scared the shit out of me.  But…. I want to keep doing them.  Right or wrong I think the simple fact that just the doing them is unexpected and continues to scare me and on some level is enough to make them worth doing.  I am going to climb the goddamn mountain. What else do I have to do?


"Better off Now"  Trent Dobbs

Friday, July 14, 2017

"There is no reason not to..."

I know that must sound horrible to most…but there are some perks to being in this position!  Well, maybe not the “naked” part….believe me no one wants to see that!  The raw honest fact of life is, I am not the only one dying….we all are.  I know that must sound ugly of me….but there is some kind of really weird sense of cosmic satisfaction that I am not alone in this, however, I get the feeling most think I am. I remember being with a dying loved one, it never occurred to me that one day…. it would be me. I am not the first among the people I know that will have to do this but I will surely not be the last.  I do not think it is early or before my time, it will just be “my time” and the great part is that for the first time in my life….I truly have nothing to lose.
 "You Had Time"  Ani DiFranko

Thursday, July 13, 2017

another can of worms....



Learning how to live through failures and disappointments is another can of worms.

I always felt the best way to deal with a failure or disappointment was to put on my big girl panties, never show (or share) any emotion, learn the lesson and move on.  I am learning that divorcing my feelings from my failures may not have been a good thing.  Oh, I will admit that it looked good and you all think I am so strong, I do like that.  Sometimes there is no silver lining, convincing myself that these failures are “lessons” and should be seen as only that without any feelings have not always served me well. I need to learn how to take the time to grieve the loss, admit the mistake, feel the sorrow, and acknowledge the hurt in its simplest form.  For me, that means NOT making up a story that justifies the disappointment or my feelings.

I need to learn how to truly feel and allow the sorrow and grief to move through me without needing to blame someone or myself.  I want to take more and more and more control over how I feel, it is truly the only thing that is mine and mine alone.


 "Same Mistakes" Echo Friendly

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

HELP WANTED: a fairy godmother with a serious sense of humor!

Qualifications-
Graduate of “The Fairy Godmother               Academy” preferred but will                         consider drop-outs

Duties to include but not limited to-
Serious sense of humor, rolling on                the floor & snorting required.

Capable of listening to chronic                     whining for hours on end.

Must be prepared to put up with                   AND ENCOURAGE a litany of bad               habits.

Although glass slippers and pumpkin coach magic is not required, stopping or significantly altering pain, shortness of breath. stopping chronic tiredness (without any side effects) would get you the job for sure!.

Able to produce handsome Prince every now and again would be nice. (no questions asked!)

Light housekeeping will be expected. (oh who am I trying to fool…I am a slob!) change that to serious housekeeping.

Full time position with a pathetic salary!
"Help"  The Beatles

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Teach me to trust...




Teach me to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit.  Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my sacred space and love beyond my fear and thus walk in balance with the passing of each glorious sun…..


When I do not feel well, my “go to” mode is to talk myself out of my own feelings.  I know how much of life exists in my mind and my attitude.  I have the power to make things worse or better based solely on how I decide to feel about it.  But when is it time to listen, trust and obey the needs of my own heart even when it is hard?


                                      "I'm Here, I'm Not Here"  Julia Stone

Monday, July 10, 2017

Reclaiming the pond garden....

It is so wonderful to have the sound of calming falling water back in my life!  The tall fountain was an indoor fountain given to me by one of my Artist’s Way Groups.  It stopped working years ago and regardless of my pathetic attempts to get it working again, I was unsuccessful. (But as I mentioned in a previous post…just could not get rid of it). The small copper frog bottom left in the pond was my outside fountain piece.  It was never built to function as a fountain.  I found him at one of my art shows and fell in love with his arm raised shooting a “peace” sign.  After speaking with the artist about what I wanted to do with him….he showed me how and where to drill holes to make him a fountain head….it worked beautifully. Both fountain pieces and parts are old and the copper in both of them has an outrageously wonderful green patina.  Unfortunately years ago, the hurricane came through and destroyed the covered pergola and fussy orchids that had happily lived under it finally succumbed.  I got sick, lost interest and eventually, my happy orchid pond garden became a big weed infested, unrecognizable,  forest with a hole full of water that served no other purpose other than breeding mosquitos.

I have had a few weeks of marvelous energy that I am attributing to a newly added med.  It may be all in my mind, but when these amazing little gifts of energy arrive I try very hard not to waste them!  Skip repaired the fence planks that came loose and helped with clearing away some of the weed.  I cleaned out the pond….GROSS… and we figured out how to rewire, reconfigure and reuse pieces and parts of the 2 old fountains, plus a new pump and “ta-dah” new fountain (kind of) …A few new plants and we are making progress. I still, have a long way to go, and I have to confess working outdoors in the heat is overwhelming at times, but I am truly loving reclaiming my old pond and garden.  (pic is kind of crappy, I shot through the back porch screen...Yikes!)
"Coming Around Again"  Carly Simon

Sunday, July 9, 2017

these stunning women......

5 out of 7 of the original VOG group (“Veins of Gold”, by Julia Cameron) got back together to spend a spectacular full moon evening with Tori, who was in town from Dubai…it was so great to see her and almost everyone from that group …plus a couple more!  I do not know how to specifically explain it, but being around creative women is always inspiring!  Once again, after much too long, the back porch was bathed in laughter, wine and candle light….oh my…. if that back porch could talk! I have had the wonderful honor of being in the company of other “not” artist women and I adore them but I have to say, creative women…are magnificently different!  

We can talk about ANYTHING! Politics, religion, art, family and the list goes on and on and on.  There is never any judgment or negativity….the support is unconditional.  Every opinion, every idea is met with the opportunity to learn something new, expand what I thought I already knew and in general it is a beautiful exercise in amazing open-mindedness!   Each idea that is different from what I think I believe is a chance to embrace a new point of view..to grow…to expand past my preconceived notions…hear about and embrace all diverse points of view from a different perspective without the fear of hurting someone’s feelings, making someone angry or not being accepted for having a different opinion.  This is truly one of the greatest gifts I have ever received!  Thank you, Universe for bringing these stunning women into my life!
"Dancing in the Moonlight"  King Harvest

Saturday, July 8, 2017

and.... I really did not expect that!

Another one of these “easily said” but..... I do love the sentiment! I am reminded every day that I am not getting out of here alive (but neither is anyone else!) …and before anyone says….”I am so sorry” DON’T! In some ways, it is a beautiful daily reminder to be in the moment!
This…whatever is going on at the time may never happen again…is life. I do not want to squander one moment. The every day little things become more precious and important to me. The big things like vacations and celebrations become the memories I get to make for others. OOOOPs…I take some of that back…The museums in NY were definitely for me! But the time has come to let go of the others opinions and embrace the silly, kind and weird of my every day!

I have lit the pretty decorative candles. I buy the “good” wine (not the stuff on sale at the grocery store) although in my defense, sometimes that IS the good wine. I use the “guest towels”. I sleep on the cool satiny soft "company" sheets. I pay for someone to mow the yard, so all I have to do is plant and tend to the flowers. I bought the pretty lacy panties, instead of the heavy duty cotton crotch "last a lifetime cast iron jobs" (that may have been a little TMI) and most of all I find myself saying NO to things I used to feel obligated to do a lot more.

I accept and spend my amazing energy on just the things that are important to me. But the real surprise is….I am amazed at how many things that I felt were daily chores, that I used to really hate doing, have become the glorious, strong, and beautiful stabilizing anchors for everyday life. They have somehow become my measuring stick of how my life is going and I cherish those chores more and more each day…In the kitchen.....I have even tried some recipes that have more than 3 ingredients!  I know… I know...please do not let that one get around, I do have a reputation to protect! It is the everyday little things that have become my big hidden treasures.  And.... I really did not expect that!
"Groovin"  War

Friday, July 7, 2017

just because.....I love fireworks!

yep...it is a video...give it a minute to load....it is worth it!


We were going to go on an Evans family cruise to Cuba...but...you know what Trump did and then Ed (my awesome hospice nurse) said: "I am not telling you not to go....but you will be technically out of the country, we cannot help you"....I heard that loud and clear....no further explanation needed. Although I was reminded that my last excursion to NY museums left me with lungs full of fluid and an ugly round of pneumonia.  So...we are going on a family "stay-cation"!  Living in the "resort capital of the world" does have some advantages!  We are going to the Grand Cypress Resort for a long weekend with ALL of the kids and the Grands...but not just that....I have made arrangements to have a room that faces Disney...and for 3 nights  I have front row...up high...seats to their fireworks....I can hardly wait....silly I know...but oh how much fun I will have!

nothing to lose....


Really!!! All these years of life, reading, writing, soul searching and introspection and Frank Zappa already had it all figured out….Frank Zappa?  Not Albert Einstein, Brene’ Brown, Socrates, Anne Lamott or Henry David Thoreau?  I really should have NOT listened to parents, teachers, priests, and  TV….  As a younger woman, I should have gotten into more trouble, be myself, and not care what anyone else thought. But I wanted so desperately to fit in, be good, be accepted and I was already punished so much for the smallest infraction that I was always scared.  I am still….always scared!  Scared to stand up for me, scared to speak out, scared of not being good enough, scared of being left out, scared of not being loved.  When you spend your entire life trying to fit in and embrace the unspoken but very established and mandatory qualifications of success it is very hard to let go!  Although historically we hold up and celebrate the rebels and the non-conformists of the arts, religion, politics, and science, we beat and punish our children into socially acceptable submission.  We are taught that the only aspiration needed for true success is to fit in and be what “they” expect. 

Now I am at a time when I just do not care anymore…I have nothing to lose…and maybe that is the secret…to truly be strong enough to not “fit in” and be myself, I must feel like I have absolutely nothing to lose. For lack of other things to call this part of my life…”nothing to lose” sounds right..  I really should be celebrating this as a marvelous new freedom! Although I suspect grieving all of the things I wanted to do but didn't, is a part of getting to that wonderful "nothing to lose"!
"In my Mind"  Amanda Palmer

Thursday, July 6, 2017

...and no one notices!

I have a confession…. 2 more bags tiptoed to the curb… I am somewhat of a hoarder… partly because I was an ART workaholic,  NOT a HOUSE workaholic.  I also blame some of it on my generation….we saved, fixed and passed down everything. But, now that I am home pretty much 24-7, I have been on a mission to get rid of anything we are not currently using.  Forty years in the same house has produced a bunch of outdated, broken (but might be fixable), doesn’t fit any more stuff. I have recently been really ruthless in my pitching and giving away of stuff and the house. My life does feel so much better as the clutter goes! (in the house anyway…the garage …..meh!)  Not everyone here is supportive of the new “simplify” life program I am on.  Even though “everyone” has no idea how much and where all of this stuff is!  Several months ago, while he was out of town I went through his drawers and pitched all of the excessively stained and ripped t-shirts and jeans that he was saving to work in around the house or paint in. (That in itself is a joke!) When he came home he did not even notice, but he did thank me for cleaning his room! BING!!!! The light bulb lit up over my head… I am on to something here!  I can avoid hours of arguing and negotiating by pitching small amounts at a time while he is not looking!  So every now and again, I randomly fill a garbage bag or 2 (or 4) and tippy toe out to the curb on garbage day or call Vietnam Vets (they pick up at the front door!) ….and no one notices!  shhhh…..
"Evil Ways"  Santana

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

He's baaaaack!



Oh, Thank you, Universe….My Ed is back!  I had to do 2 weeks with the “stand in” hospice nurses, while he was on vacation and I had no idea how much I adored him.  The other ones did the job ok….but not so much!  One was a day late, and one did not get my meds in on time and I spent the weekend halving the doses to make them last, figuring that half was better than none.  I did not plan on liking a male nurse, in fact, I really thought I would not like it at all, but he is amazing!  Not an alarmist, he is very calm and cool and he really works, coaches and keeps the meds at a level with me getting the best out of this life.  After the first 6 months with him,
I did not realize what a significant part of my life he has become and I am so happy that he is back!


"Baby, Now that I've Found You"  Foundations

damn "cutesy" quotes

Sometimes I just hate these damn “cutesy” quotes….just like saying them or believing them makes them so. But…. just in case and on the off chance they do work, I think this might be one on the top of my list! Notice that they do not say “do all of these things and you will be loved or famous or authentic or wealthy”. Although I suspect some might think the reason I post all of these things is that I am wise or have come to this truth through experience.  It does say that I could be that magical person.  Really?  Magic?  People have been considered “nuts”, medicated and put away for thinking they were magic.  Being myself is anything but magic and so much harder than these unrealistic quotes make it seem.  Perhaps I should not care what other people think, that is what I teach other creatives to do.  Am I a fraud?  Do I practice what I preach when I tell others, follow your heart, do what feels right and brings you joy and then I hide what hurts me?  I am told,” I do not let people in” that I do not share how I really feel.  And that has been happening since before I was sick.  I would let you in if I could, but I feel like I cannot risk it. I am fairly certain that most people could not endure the anger, the pain and the frustration I hide.  It is not that I do not love or trust others; I just do not have the strength to risk letting anyone too close because I could not bear to risk losing anyone or anything at this stage of my life.  I suspect you like the magical strong person that you think I am….not what I really am….but just in case I am wrong I will keep reading and trying to draw some life and wisdom from these “cutesy quotes”.
"They Know" Eric Bibb

Monday, July 3, 2017

but...it also bites me in the ass!

The crashes are the parts of me I want to share but are hardest to talk about or let people in when I’m experiencing them.  Some of it is because words cannot begin to express it, but also because it involves showing the unedited insecure parts of me.  It involves exposing my embarrassment, my shame…it involves being vulnerable. Lifting the veil of “I can do this” and asking for help is so hard. I am not good at being vulnerable and when it comes to my heart, I frequently squirm and change the subject or joke about it.  Part of me feels as though I have failed….. at life.

When writing here…. I might share a bit of my experience …but I never say as much as I need to, and rarely do I allow myself to be honest with you. I suspect, in some ways, it keeps me from being really honest with me, too. My heart failure happens in private and what I allow others to see is only part of me. The part of me that people see is the happy, smiling, in control me and it is still very much me, but it isn’t all of me. I have a mask I wear when I feel vulnerable and exposed. The mask is my lifeline when I am uncomfortable.
But it also bites me on the ass when I want to feel seen, heard and understood. 
"Strip Me" Natasha Bedenfield

Sunday, July 2, 2017

"a vibrant hope for the excitement of the unknown"

A little Sunday morning religion (or lack thereof). Every now and again someone who really means well, tells me they are praying for me. I smile and thank them but I am never really sure what that means. Does that mean they are praying for me to live longer, or live without pain, or maybe they are praying that when I die I am going to their idea of heaven?  For the most part, I admire their commitment to their faith, other times I am a bit frustrated that they feel that their religion will make me feel better.  The reality is that their faith...only makes them feel better and that is ok if it does.  To be perfectly honest, I am not sure what if any religion I am.  I know I am a believer in the Universe or some kind of undefinable spirituality and I do truly believe that love is now and always will be the unknowable answer. I only hope that that is the unknown that can only be known after death.  I see what I am living through now as just another part of life, a part that most of us are going to experience at some time.  And as far as what happens to me after I die…I do not know. All I can tell you for sure is that I do indeed have a gypsy soul and a vibrant hope for the excitement of the unknown...and I am good with this.  I cannot be afraid of what I do not know...I just hope, like everyone else that it is amazing!
"Closer to Fine" Indigo Girls

Friday, June 30, 2017

horizontal life pauses....

People that hang out with me have heard me refer to this as a “nap attack” a fairly new phenomenon in my life.  I have never been a great sleeper.  NAP...I had no idea what that was!  I was up on all of the hottest late-night programs John Stewart, Steven Colbert, and David Letterman (that one kind of dates me...well hell all of them do, now that I think about it) were my heroes and embarrassingly my primary source of what was happening in the world. Up until midnight + and up at 5:30 was the norm. I have always had oodles of energy and I loved it!  So this annoying demand of my body to just stop and drop is frustrating at best and downright maddening at others.  I know some of it is age but I know the biggest part of it is muscles and organs just not getting enough blood to function well and a combination of meds meant to relieve stress on my heart muscle and keep the BP low.  Naps have become absolutely uncontrollable and it sucks. I am totally ashamed of my lack of ability to keep up with just normal life. There are times I feel like a complete useless lazy slug. I beat myself up for not accomplishing all that I want to do and then promise myself “I can do better” only to find I don’t or can’t.  This vicious cycle only leads to more frustration and more emotional self-flagellation. I recognize it, I understand why it is happening and still, I have no control over it and I hate it!  Maybe If nothing else eases this insanity perhaps just calling it a horizontal life pause will help….if nothing else it does sound much more adult and sophisticated!
"Heal the Pain"  George Micheal

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cha-Cha...got any idea how to do that?

Most might figure this is nothing more than a "new age",  “woo-woo”, "feel good" way of being ok with, not going anywhere, standing still and static. 

I think maybe this is one of those things that make more sense when looked at from the “big picture” point of view.  How many times was I successful vs. how many times I bit the dust, fell flat on my face, screwed up, and in general just plain “missed the bus”?  I figured overall if I “break even” I am ahead of the game…but I am re-thinking that.  Perhaps the more I try and fail and try again means I am chocked full of more life experience and learning.   If I can learn how to metabolize those failures into a positive fun life learning experiences, it really will be like a wonderful life long Cha-Cha! Got any idea how to do that?


"Bang Bang"  David Sanborn

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

”You are as smart as ….whom”?

Embarrassingly….it is the result of another of those ridiculous Facebook quizzes….”You are as smart as ….whom”? I will admit to taking more than a few, and then deleting the results I do not like.  Plus....I am always looking for fodder to write about on this page and sometimes a goofy quiz is just enough to kickstart something.  I was particularly fond of this one, just because I admire this man so and I suspect the older I get the more I begin to look like him.  I have always been in awe of his ability to think in ways that were…are so wildly out of the mainstream.  He was also a huge proponent of imagination, constantly holding that part of the thought process as the most important.  Perhaps the arts and sciences are truly related!
"Think"  Aretha Franklin

Sunday, June 25, 2017

"be willing to split open"

Memories and feelings that I hold particularly close will often show up on this page but there are secrets in my heart that are mine and mine alone.  The pictures, poems, and quotes here are always the catalyst that provokes internal exploring and exposing. The advantage of turning over the stuff that scares the shit out of me, creates the tears of revelation and other times bring about eureka moments that make me laugh, is that all of it..... is my way of learning, out loud how I feel. Every single one of them regardless of the topic brings me closer to knowing who, what and why I am.  Maybe I should have been doing this all along in my life, or maybe everyone else knows how to do it without all of this writing, but I didn’t.   Maybe most of us have no idea how to understand who and why we are, and so we never do.  It would be so much less work and infinitely easier to allow parents, friends, family, society, religion, politics, doctors and the worst offender...pain...define who I am and how I should feel.  I suspect the latter is much easier. I have done both…. So, I will continue to write because it is the tool that forces me to think and learn, it is how I figure out how to be me. But there are some memories in my heart that will silently keep and live in their own most cherished way. All of them continue to make me think and learn how to be me.
"The Secret of Life"  James Taylor

Saturday, June 24, 2017

One I Admire...

"The Mask of Madness"  (oil on canvas 1943) Frida Kahlo
I love Frida!  I am not always enamored with her actual work, but I deeply admire how she metabolized her pain, her healing, her grief and her loss through creating.  It is not her images that move me but the story behind them. Her images are raw and often without much artistic merit, in my opinion.  But she did them anyway.  The purpose never was to awe us with pretty pictures or artistic skill. It is the way she took those emotions, gathered them up and then allowed them to pour out of her on to the paper and canvas. When I see her work, I can feel it.  Somewhere in my heart I know that this is the precise reason she lived so long, loved so well, with purpose and through so much pain.  Her heart, her head and her soul absorbed the aches and pains, as we all do, but then she was able to expel them through her work not giving them the opportunity to compromise her need for the life she wanted.  Frida’s life is truly the one I admire and would like to emulate.
"Hold on My Heart" Phil Collins

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

invincible.....

Maybe too honest….
maybe not honest enough.  

When I talk about this pain to others both physical and emotional, I know they are uncomfortable…hell…. I am uncomfortable telling them….I know they are…. regardless of what they say…I can see it in their eyes.  I do not want this!  I suspect that is why I am here….why I write....trying desperately to be invincible!

"Her Diamonds" Rob Thomas

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ups & Downs...but at the same time!!!

Ups & Downs…at the same time????   This week I am learning that I have a new kind of up & down…that involves ups & downs happening at the same time…and it is really weird…and incredibly difficult to explain!

Ed…the hospice nurse, in his delightful accent, has said several times over the past weeks…. “You are doing really good in the context of this disease”.  I do not really know what the context of this disease is, it is the first time I have had this, all I know is when I feel good, and when I do not.  In the context of this disease or any disease for that matter means…"can I keep doing what I want to do and/or is there any pain?” And there is truly very little pain… and nitroglycerin can relieve it in literally seconds… So as far as I am concerned, other than getting tired very quickly,  I am always doing good!

This week, it got different.  In the midst of some delightful personal “ups” (a huge wonderful class of Artist’s Way, sushi with friends, shoes I ordered through the mail that actually fit, bagel breakfast with my son and his family) I have run into raunchy debilitating downs with my digestive system acting up from top to bottom.  It is what is expected according to Ed, the nurse.  My organs are going to begin reacting to the disease and medications and making my physical body absolutely miserable.
But he promises me .....there are more meds ordered and on the way to help me manage this new set of challenges….

Emotionally UP and physically DOWN…at the same time… is a very weird and difficult emotional territory…
"Golden Slumbers-Carry the Weight"  The Beatles
And in the end,
the love you take,
is equal to the love you make,

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father’s Day to all of the Fathers in my life...Thank you guys!

Every time I reflect on one of my life’s accomplishments, I can’t help but realize that I achieved it because of something you taught me... Happy Father’s Day to all of the Fathers in my life!  And my life is full of them, my own father, my husband and both of my sons.  My life is surrounded by fathers, now in every stage of life.  Some have been in my life since I took my first breath, others will be here for my last.  It is an interesting vantage point.  I have loved and learned from each of them the lessons in life that have made me the daughter, the wife, the mother and the woman I am now…even the bad times have made me stronger.  Thank you guys, I am a better woman for having you in my life.
"You'll be in My Heart"  Phil Collins

Friday, June 16, 2017

but.... maybe it is not too late to be who I might have been.

I had pretty much given up on my art “career” when I came off of the art festival circuit.  I guess I had convinced myself that I had to make XX amount of dollars to be considered a successful artist.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought it would be better to be a “retired” artist AKA I have chosen to not be a successful artist, rather than admit I can’t physically do it anymore. The tumbling economy and recession were excellent cover!  I had attached success to money. I did what I teach in my classes.  I decided ahead of time how much money I “needed” and the specific amount of money that would make me” feel successful”. I was so very very excited when I reached that goal and the amazing feeling of accomplishment that comes with it, but I never ever considered what would happen to me when I could not do that anymore.  And in real life that is going to happen to everyone at some point.  So now on the back side of this, I have mustered up the courage to submit work to a new gallery, I do not expect anything…but holy crap just the act of submitting work again to a gallery is so frightening.  In some ways, I feel like I am backing up…returning to where I began but left to pursue a more lucrative path.  That path has ended, but the art and the work are still tugging at my life.  Perhaps it is time to create and submit the work, see this as a new path.  I am certain I will never be what I used to be, but... maybe it is not too late to be who I might have been...or maybe this is all part of my journey and it has a beginning a middle and an end.
"Same Mistake" James Blunt

Thursday, June 15, 2017

and I find it secretly magnificent!

I will have to admit, through all of the chaos, craziness and unbelievable things that are happening on a daily basis in our government I find it difficult to find the bright side…or anything positive.  However, this quote may be it.  Although I feel like I have always been politically active, I can admit that I have written more letters and emails to my Senators and Representatives, local reps and even the President in the past 6 months than I have all of my life combined.  There is a constant thread of political conversations happening online on the latest scandals and conspiracies. I see more people involved in politics than I have seen since the 60’s.  And as divisive as it feels right now, people involved, paying attention, participating is how this amazing government works.  It has been our indifference and the complicated aspects of politics that have turned most of us off and allowed the system to run amuck.  In some roundabout way, it way means we are paying attention and hopefully the government will soon be returned into the hands of people that truly represent their constituents…..and I find it secretly magnificent!
"King of Anything"  Sarah Bareilles

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

MORE of what excites and scares me!

This is the ongoing struggle for me…it seems like most choices on a minute by minute basis boil down to just this.  Behave, be dignified, elegant, honorable, gracious and respectable.  All of those things are considered good things, which in my mind meant that everything else must be bad.  After 23 years of facilitating the Artist’s Way, I still find little jewels embedded in the chapters and this week, the term “either/or thinking” hit me like a brick upside of the head. Because I have never considered myself as having any of those distinguished attributes, I subconsciously assumed I had just the opposite. In short…I was bad…I can “pull off” the good, I know how to do it, but I have to confess, it has not always felt authentic for me!  Seems all of those and more distinguished character qualities were embedded in me by parents, teachers, and religion for the single purpose of acquiring the percieved rewards of having others recognize them and see me as a “good” person.  No one ever asked if that is who or what I wanted to be?   I am not degrading any of those wonderful good characteristics.  I have just decided that I do not have to be either a good person or a bad person.  I am both…some good and some bad and that makes me just a real person.  My intentions are never to hurt anyone and that includes me. Good and bad, I plan to do a lot more of what excites and scares me!
"Ants Marching"  Dave Matthews Band

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This is a BIG deal!

I think….that this may be one of the biggest deals EVER and I forget to do it, on a regular basis. It may be the one thing we all need to do more of…a lot more of.

In my entire life and all of the southern manners that were drilled into me…no one taught me how to tell someone they are good for me, they light me up, they make me a better person, or how important it was!  I was taught to say please and thank you, respect my elders, be honest, do good work, company goes first,  don’t cuss, say pardon me when I burp, cover my mouth when I sneeze, do not chew with my mouth open and the big one….”Do unto others…..” But no one…and I do mean…no one told me to tell another person how great it is to be around them.  That just being in their presence makes me a better person!  Not my parents, grandparents, not my mothers (yes that is a plural) or aunts or teachers.  Not even the Sunday school teachers! I think the closest thing I ever actually saw that was something like this was inside a Hallmark card and it was this sappy “Thank you for being You” and I never really knew what that meant.

Every great moment in my life has been involved with connecting with people!  It is great, it is a huge big deal, it lights me up from bottom to top….and I am a much better person because of it!  This is a BIG deal!
"Shower the People We Love with Love"  James Taylor

Monday, June 12, 2017

I believe in angels!

I believe in angels but not the biblical, sent from heaven (or hell) variety. These angels’ wings are physically made by local Orlando creatives and worn by those whose only mission is to love and protect the family and survivors of Pulse.  Our Orlando angels arrived last year at the Pulse victims funerals to protect the families and mourners from the ugly angry signs of some Christians that came to protest.  I do not know who these angels are…but they touch my heart.  They are a living physical reminder to all of what true love really is.

They came again last night to provide another wall of love…..  Love is love. There are no restrictions, no boundaries, no color, no sex, no amount of money that can regulate or control it.  There is no religion, no God, no man, no woman that gets to claim control or exclusivity on love.  Love belongs to anyone that claims it.
"What the World Needs Now"  Jackie DeShannon

Sunday, June 11, 2017

What to say or when....

and so it goes…I have been incensed at least 42 times since #45 and I bet if you lined up all of my infuriated responses from end to end there might well be enough for a book. Then I realize I will change no one’s mind and I will only provoke more hate and most likely it will be directed at me….so I erase the post I have thoughtfully composed and move on.  There is no such thing as a spirited exchange of ideas, it is all about “I win” peppered with crude language and unsubstantiated accusations. Then I begin to wonder if my silence is seen as some kind of agreement, or that I do not agree with it but am not strong enough voice my opinion….I am never really sure what to say or when….
"Say"  John Mayer

Saturday, June 10, 2017

“to GRRRRR or Not to GRRRR, that is the question”?

 I believe....but not in #45.....  Yesterday, after watching the political goings on I prepared a rip-roaring rant and then….I realized that I had just allowed #45 to get me worked up, angry, and frustrated which I suspect was precisely his intent. On some level, it felt like he won.  He had made me pay attention to him and talk about him…..GRRRR….So I decided NO!  I will celebrate yesterday’s happy stuff instead.  Dr. Nandra came out to check on the fluid in my lungs, and it is much better!  No infection and he could not hear anything of note in bottom left lung….Woo-hoo!  Much more fun doing the happy dance than being riled up over coot #45.  I am still learning I cannot control what others do, but I can control how I feel about it!  It is all about “to GRRRRR or Not to GRRRR, that is the question”? I chose to feel good....I chose to believe in love!
"Shaking the Tree"  Peter Gabriel

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Despicable square holes


I am not sure if I am officially a “crazy one”.  It just seems to be all about who I am standing next to.  When I am with incredibly straight, follow other people's rules, non-creative people I do feel like the crazy one.  But then maybe it is just their “brand” of crazy is different from mine and there are a lot more of them.   I wish they all understood….there are parts of all of us round pegs that wished we fit into those despicable square holes.  But then I think, the real frustration does not come from NOT fitting in...it is so much MORE difficult to fit in.  I do not understand why anyone wants to fit in.  I don't think we set out to change anything, we are just trying to make it work for "us"....and sometimes, if we are really lucky we accidentally change something for the ones we are standing next to.
"Saving Myself"  Ed Sheeran

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

damn it...

…and again… damn it…fluid in my lungs!  Double up on the nebulizer…up the Lasix for a few days…..get the fluid out before it gets ugly! And orders to not over-do…what the hell is “over-do”…Let’s see I had a wild weekend of depravity …. teaching one Artist Way class,  last night I made a batch of yogurt and just regular house chore stuff….REALLY….I mean REALLY…which of these strenuous activities should I omit? Of course, if I get to choose…..yep you know it….the house chores!!!
I do not think it has anything to do with my over-doing…I think it just happens every now and again for the hell of it….just to aggravate me!
"F#@k it"

from my kitchen...and cows...holy crap!

I have a couple of “super cook” friends….aughhhh!  And I do not mean regular super cook I mean UBER super cooks…Not just out of the cookbook dinner recipes these freaks of nature “CAN” things…like they pick stuff from the garden then go through all of the picklings and "put them up" in mason jars that do not even have to go into the refrigerator! Last summer there was a full on pickle canning project, followed by assorted jellies and jams.  All I can do when they are in these cooking frenzies is sip wine and stay out of their way. I may make fun of them but they are a well-oiled machine in the kitchen.  So….when they began talking about homemade Greek yogurt, I automatically went for the wine bottle.  But then they told me it was easy and under my breath, I sarcastically asked: “Easy for who?”  I was given a sample of the yogurt dribbled with syrup and topped with fresh blueberries and she had my attention!  YUM…. THEN she told me it was 2 ingredients!  Well within my 3 ingredient rule…milk and a couple of tablespoons of yogurt (or starter culture)…Unfortunately, there is this God forsaken process that requires a thermometer and a strainer… but the yogurt was so good.  Amazon is really going to get me into trouble, but I ordered the thermometer and strainer and as soon as they were delivered I began the process.  You heat the milk, take its temperature, stir yogurt culture, wrap it up in a towel to incubate overnight!  I have never made anything edible that takes that long.  But I did it! And this morning I  made my own happy bacteria or yogurt on purpose….in the kitchen!  I know…I know…who would have ever thought…yogurt really does come from my kitchen...and cows...holy crap!
"32 Flavors" Anni DiFranko

Monday, June 5, 2017

I am RED!

So…RED seems to be the color of the day!  This morning I took one of those goofy Facebook personality quizzes and according to them, I am red.  I am ok with that…kind of sounds like me…But the day got “redder” when I went in for my 3 month GP checkup…
Now just about the time I think I have a handle on this disease and I think I know what I am dealing with…I get another rock thrown at me.  Today we begin routinely drawing blood to monitor anemia.  WHAT?  That was NOT in the handbook! But, apparently it is just another no “big deal” part of this, and I had a…Kind of “You have got to be “friggin” kidding me” moment.  The stinking reality is it does make sense.  As the organs began slowing down and struggling it does kind of make sense that they are unable to process the nutrients from the food I eat or enough o2 from the air I breathe…although I am “hitting” the O2.

And I wonder if this is it for the surprises or there are more waiting for me. ….but according to Facebook  “I AM Red?” and there is no stopping me either!
"Wonderful Unknown" Ingrid Michealson

Now you see it...







Now you see it-Now you don’t…or in this case it was the other way around. 

Our bathroom towel rack is a bit different from most but is every bit as effective as the typical towel bar. 

Anyway, it is a small bath and when seated,  I am only 2-3 feet away from the row of drying towels. So I noticed….I did not believe it…but there it is!  The kitties have their own cat doors and they bring me little “gifts”.  I have had several kitty talks with them expressing my extreme appreciation, but some of their “gifts” scare the shit out of me…clearly one of them has taken my expression seriously.

"Can't Get Next to You"  Al Green

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Best and the Worst.....

This is ALWAYS the best/worst evening you could begin to imagine.  The fact that this will be the 27th class of the Artist’s Way I have facilitated in 23 years, has absolutely no bearing what so ever!  There is one reoccurring nauseating, horrifying feeling that is ever present (well actually there are several) Am I good enough??? Will they like me???  Will they think I am fake???  and yes…there are more things that haunt me and make my stomach do flip-flops.  The smallest is having to do this with oxygen up my nose, teaching while “connected” is going to be a new experience and challenge.  And then you just have to know I am wondering “is this, my last class?”  I just had to do that in Leesburg and it was so hard…not ready to quit anything else….But for right now….I am excited about seeing all of my old creative friends….making new creative friends and the beginning of a great summer with all of them!


"Smile" Uncle Craker

Just an update....It went GREAT!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

You can dress us up (kind of)…but you can’t take us just anywhere…

Mary Clark, Kayla Herl, Terry Nickerl, Cheryl Evans
You can dress us up (kind of)…but you can’t take us just anywhere…unless… it is to the “fish camp”… in a trailer park…on Dead River…in Tavares. 

As we turned off the highway all I could think was OMG “Where are we going?” Although I had been thoroughly warned about what to expect,  there are truly no words to describe that “oh crap” feeling when we pulled off the highway passing by rusted out trailers that have seen better days,  grungy unkempt small cabins and “once upon a time-but not any more” bungalows. The only thing missing were the “Dueling Banjos” from the movie “Deliverance” playing in the background!

However, once seated on the dock in mismatched lawn chairs around a rusty metal table, under huge ancient cypress trees with giant clumps of Spanish moss hanging just above our heads the attitude was obviously relaxed easy old Florida at its best.  This place even displayed its outrageous colorful characters you could only find in cheesy movies about the South!  One indescribable fellow, that I never determined if he officially worked there or not, darted back and forth between the outdoor grill and the docks, shooing away the coots, egrets, herons and all of the other water birds that gathered looking for free handouts.  He looked to be in his 50’s and wore knee high glow in the dark yellow socks with big red polka dots, dirty high top keds, plaid shorts and a baseball cap!

AHH…. This is the Florida I remember as a kid. This was the real Florida “experience” that you could not possibly duplicate at an amusement park. This is the Florida where 3 slightly tipsy old high school friends and one delightful young lady can look out over a lazy river, sip cheap wine, swap old stories, had some of the best steak I have ever tasted and celebrated Mary’s 60 something birthday!  It was so much fun! 
"The Kind You Can't Afford"  Madeleine Peyroux

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

little bits and pieces of magic....


I know…I know…that is what I want to do, quite frankly it is what everyone expects us to do…but I am here to tell you it is not as easy as posting happy thoughts on a blog….if only!

Although I do have to admit from years of “morning pages” from the “Artist’s Way” I have learned and can attest to how amazing it is to get feelings down on paper (or in this case on a blog) it always does one of 2 and sometimes both things…It can get a destructive thought out of my heart, I can release the negativity, cleanse my soul…let it go! AND/OR I can emancipate my wishes, my happy thoughts into the world and allow the Universe the opportunity to respond…and who knows it may give me just what I am asking for.  It is simply waiting for me to ask.  So today I am asking to find and focus on the little bits and pieces of magic!

  "Bitch"  Meridith Brooks

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

By the way…none of this is covered in the handbook

And this is just what it feels like….a friggen’ monster connected to a can of gas (or machine when at home)!  It just sucks to have those “hickies” poked up my nose.  I know you see them…some will mention it and that makes me uncomfortable….others will not, but I see the disbelief (or repulsion) in your face and that makes me uncomfortable too! So it really does not matter, I am going to just have to get used to being uncomfortable if I want to go outside, or teach, or show my work, or go on vacation or do any of the things I want to keep doing….None of this is for sissies….physically or emotionally.  By the way…none of this is covered in the handbook.

"Beautiful" India Arie

…..especially the “no pants” part!

I just spent 3 days…in a row…in the house…NOT ALONE…grossly aware of another person in the house with me and am coming to the conclusion that I may very well be a budding recluse!  However, I truly do love being in the company of friends, family,
and other creatives…but for measured amounts of time!  It became rather confusing…and then this drifted across my FB page….AND I went “Ahhhhhh…..now I’ve got it!”…..especially the “no pants” part!


"Alone Again" Gilbert O'Sullivan

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Thanks for the Memories!

Damn Gregg…I was not ready for you to be gone…but, maybe you were ready.  I find myself aware of the possibility when it is time, if we are lucky, we are ready.  I wish I could count the evenings we spent together (or maybe not).  You were never really there, but your music, your feelings, your words were. Some of the most profound as well as the most ridiculous conversations I believe I ever had were sitting cross-legged on the floor in a circle with friends, passing a joint, surrounded by your music playing in the background. Your music, a doobie, and those friends are woven into some of the best memories of my life. Thank you for being a part of it. Thanks for the memories!

   
"Not My Cross to Bear"  Gregg Allman

Saturday, May 27, 2017

MORE energy...MORE energy

I see the doc, every other week now…perhaps it is a good thing that I really do like him…Unfortunately, like most everything I like, it is typically canceled, discontinued or moved to another location.  So it is with Dr. Nandra…I will truly miss him!  So….soon there will be a new man in my life!

The great news is I am doing much better!  The bumped up nitro has made such a difference in how I feel, however, the BP is cranky again.  It's an ongoing balancing act!   Now we work on controlling…water and air….More Lasix –less fluid.  More oxygen-more often, in theory, should help my vital organs and other muscles work more efficiently and maybe even more energy…Woo-Hoo!  I am all about this more energy thing!
"Overkill" Collin Hay

Sore Places

I found this amazing poet in my “online book pile”….which is much easier to take care of than my real book piles.  She touched so many parts of my heart the first read through, and even more the second time.  Her words, that seemed to have found some sore places in my life all of the sudden began screaming at me!  Perhaps this is what this blog is about….when I am afraid to speak…
"Things that Stop Your Dreaming"  Passenger

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I am perfectly capable of doing both!

Well, I try!  I have always been grossly aware of “other people’s” rules.  Clearly, some make a lot of sense, others not so much.  For example…. I will always stop at a red light, pay my IRS tax bill,  obey speeding signs, and seat belt laws.  Now, in all honesty, most of this rule following has nothing to do with my agreement with the rules but the punishment associated with NOT obeying.  In fact, I think that maybe why most of us follow rules. Getting rid of the “beliefs that keep me running around following the rules”  I suspect may be different than avoiding prosecution but if I am going to not “follow the rules others have set down” I am going to have to be very sneaky and/or prepared to face the consequences if I get caught! …and for the record…I am perfectly capable of doing both!
"I Should Have Known Better"  The Beatles