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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Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Cape is NOT working for me!






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

"The Lazy Song"  Bruno Mars

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Moderation is a concept....

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

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What comes next...

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

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Shine on!

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

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The next day...

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


"Morning Girl"The Neon Philharmonic

Friday, August 25, 2017

Today I just need to do fearless!

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


"Wild Thing" Troggs

Thursday, August 24, 2017

There...I said it....

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Allowing new things to arrive!

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

"Goodmorning Starshine"  Oliver

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The best gift ever!



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

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

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

                             "Mother's Chimes"

Monday, August 21, 2017

They were meant to be something else...


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

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

                                    "Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology"  Jack Johnson

Moon Shadow 2017 Eclipse Day

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

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Lights On!





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

                "Light On" Mark Ballas

Friday, August 18, 2017

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


Breakfast of Champions!

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


"It's a Beautiful Morning"  The Rascals

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

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

so others will think....

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

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

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

"Better Off Now" Trent Dobbs

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

He has to....GO!!!

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

3 Days of Peace & Music

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

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

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Holy CRAP...I made it!


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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The last one...

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Redirecting...every chance I get!

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

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

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What I can and what I will...

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Maybe it is time to use my imagination first!

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

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

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

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

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

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Barefoot in the studio.....

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

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

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