life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

Don't Talk Like That...

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


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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

He has to....GO!!!

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

3 Days of Peace & Music

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

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

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Holy CRAP...I made it!


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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The last one...

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Redirecting...every chance I get!

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

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

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What I can and what I will...

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Maybe it is time to use my imagination first!

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

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

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

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

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

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Barefoot in the studio.....

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

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Past-Present-Future


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

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

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