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 am here to celebrate my life, to uncover my fears, to hold on to love, to grieve my losses, to laugh long and hard, and to learn how to live a full magnificent life with heart failure. I am honoring my creativity, and exploring all of my emotions out loud ...before anyone can say....."Don't talk like that!"



Monday, October 30, 2017

Not the "perfect girl"

I was broken long before the heart attack…but no one including me recognized broken.  The best way to explain it….is spending every moment of my own life living up to other people’s ideas of what a good person does, judging my own self-worth by the amount of money I could generate.  It wasn't that anyone forced me to think this way, but I did choose not to think for myself...I just plain did not know how.  What I did figure out how to do was own my own business,  chronically volunteer at the kid's schools, Jaycees, City Advisory boards, multiple Arts Organizations executive positions and Arts boards to increase my own pathetic ideas of other peoples ideas of success.  Between this I did a horrible job at keeping my house, raising my children and taking care of me.  It wasn’t until just recently as I have resigned from boards, most other volunteering and facilitating that I have had the time to figure out what makes me.  I am recognizing how much I needed to be put back together…most people never knew how broken I have been or how hard I was working to make myself whole again.  I no longer need the critical world, I know better than anyone exactly where my cracks are.

"Perfect Girl" Sarah McLachlan

Sunday, October 29, 2017


Harper calls this her “pump-pee-doo”  the pumpkin tutu Halloween costume!  These are the times I do not ever want to miss!  Making a pumpkin tutu and being a happy part of this is the most amazing heart filling time!  This is what I will miss the most!  But.... not now….not now….Now I am reveling in the smiles!

"Isn't She Lovely"  Stevie Wonder

Friday, October 27, 2017

Halloween Time Warp

The pumpkins are out and the spookies will be spending the weekend preparing for Halloween!  I say it every year…and I will say it again this year.  There is some weird time warp that happens at Halloween. I will blow out the candles and turn off the lights Halloween night, then go to bed.  When I wake up it will be Christmas Eve!  It is crazy how I loose time!  Maybe it is being busy; there is always so much to do.  Maybe it is because it is such a happy time of year spending time with friends and family.  I have no idea but I am celebrating the beginning of the season and preparing for the time warp to begin!
"Spooky"  Dusty Springfield

Thursday, October 26, 2017

There is no such thing as AA…(Artists Anonymous)

When you are an artist in your heart, it is an addiction.  The addiction is not what I am creating…it is the actual act of creating.  

In the act of creation…there is an “altered state of consciousness” if you have ever really gotten into your work….you know what I am talking about. I will be working on a piece and “lose time” I could not tell you if it has been 5 minutes or 5 hours!  And then there are those magic times when in that altered state, art literally falls out of me!  Things I have never done before easily develop on the canvas/paper as if they were just waiting to materialize. All they needed was my attention….talent, sketching, studies, planning are unnecessary.

I am hopelessly addicted; it is my drug of preference. There is no such thing as AA…(Artists Anonymous).
"I'm Here, I'm Not Here"  Julia Stone

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

My time is precious...

The hard part has always been determining what was important.  For years and years and years, unfortunately, I had trouble figuring that out.  I put my job, the house and what other people thought above everything.

I never even got close to mediocrity and as I struggled for the impossible. The people and things I loved that were truly the most important were often left to fend for themselves.

It is time to love….time is precious.

"Never too Late"  Micheal Franti

Monday, October 23, 2017

I am fine...I can do this...This is why I am here!

 I had a bad day this weekend and all of the sudden I began questioning EVERYTHING!   The “What were you thinking?”, “It’s not too late to back out.”, “Have you gone completely NUTS!”voice started in on me... And I froze, I gave in, I grieved and ...I quit. Then I wondered who am I without this? The answer is I am a nothing... not Cheryl. My art is how I connect to the world, my life, my feelings...I have to do it. I stopped for a moment…took a deep breath and remembered….I can do this…I am fine..This is why I am alive!

"Ain't No Mountain" Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell

Pumpkin Princess Progress....... Report #3

And...we are done...ready for Halloween!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Maybe this is the magic we are all looking for!

This may be one of the best things I have ever done!  If I had always lived like I was dying, I would have been so much happier!  Knowing that you will not live forever brings an incredible ability to re-focus on what is important and what is not.  It forces me to filter out the meaningless “noise” that I let into my life.  It is the emotional “noise” that sucks up my time, my energy and causes an emotional spinning in place, never moving forward.  It is important to me that I continue to move forward until it is physically impossible to do so anymore
. So I really do not want to seem to be anti-social I am just learning how to move forward by figuring out what and what not my specific time and energy can change.  I am discovering where I fit in this world and how I can best serve the world and myself at the same time… Maybe this is the magic we are all looking for!
"Maybe There's a World" Cat Stevens

Friday, October 20, 2017

A POLYMATH...who knew???

I can waste time better than anyone I know!  So taking FaceBook quizzes is always a good time waster and every now and again I get a giggle or I learn something. I had never heard the word POLYMATH and now I find out that I am one.  Who knew!!

"Hello, there you modern Leonardo Da Vinci! 
You were not confused, not even for a second! 
You easily passed this double tricky test. We tried to confuse your brain by mixing up the colors and their names - but you didn't fall for it! You probably think it was rather easy, but no no, the "average brain" will find this test extremely difficult (just share it with someone and ask them :)
This means that just like Da Vinci and other polymaths, you have a wide range of interests. You are smart and logical, but also creative and artistic. You love your "alone time", when you can gather all your thoughts and ideas, but you also flourish around people and get inspired by them. You project a strong and positive energy of intelligence, calmness, honesty and generosity - and this is exactly what makes so unique."

"Belly Belly Nice"  Dave Matthews

Pumpkin Princess Progress....Report #2

Day one
I had to do math…I was in shock…can you imagine?  Somehow I had to figure out the circumferences of a circle for a gathered waistband and hem.  Then I measured made a pattern and began cutting fabric, although I will tell you right here and now tulle does not qualify as fabric, I am not absolutely certain it is thick enough to even be considered  Kleenex.  There is very little actual sewing compared to the amount of tulle “herding” but after several hours at the sewing machine gathering and gathering and gathering it is beginning to look like a pumpkin princess!
Day two
Waistband and elastic is in and all of the satin hand sewing for the bows at the shoulder (bows not ties on shoulders yet)  and back are done!  It is really beginning to look like a little pumpkin princess!
"There She Goes" OrtoPiolt

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Happy Heart Day!

It is my Happy Heart Day…The anniversary of my heart attack…Since then I have had open heart surgery, which brought on a TIA and a bout of kidney failure, then a defibrillator implanted in my chest and am now with hospice….but if you think I am dying…NOT!  I have been through A LOT….but through it all my big strong beautiful wonderful heart keeps beating, keeps me alive and keeps me loving! 

So later today I will paint happy messages on my chest, give my myself presents (2 used Nora Ehron Books, her last 2) and there will be laughing and dancing and celebrating because it is happy heart day!
"Shine On"  Eric Bibb

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pumpkin Princess Progress....Report #1

The “Pumpkin Princess” officially begins today!  There are yards and yards and yards of orange and green tu-tu tulle, you just cannot have a limp or droopy tu-tu. And here is the confession…I have never made a tu-tu.  I have waited all of my life to make ruffled things for a daughter or a granddaughter and finally…finally…finally….here is my chance….and I am a bit nervous.  Stay tuned for more “Pumpkin Princess Progress”  or how to survive 40 yards of orange tulle. BUT please do not think for one moment that this is going to be one of those “How to” tu-tu!
"Spooky"  Classics IV

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Modified adventure is better than no adventure!

Been there….done that…both of them!  I will pick adventure every time.  However,  that adventure thing has to have a few modifications…and it almost becomes a just bit less than an adventure …is there such a thing??? I guess modified adventure is better than no adventure.  Because I am here to say the routine thing…it is definitely lethal!

"Boogie Shoes"  KC and the Sunshine Band

Monday, October 16, 2017

So....Why does it still scare me?

Because I am afraid.  Duh!!

As if it was not horrible enough to be regular afraid of things like…they will laugh at me, my art is not good enough, I am not good enough, I am too short, too fat, too old, not pretty enough….you understand this list could quite easily fill this page!  Oh, but these were just frivolous fears compared to the “Mother of all Fears” that took hold in the last few months.  It is the fear we all have and just will not talk about!  There are all kinds of different variations on this topic but they all dwell down to a similar theme “it might kill me”.  I remember in classes I facilitated, every now and again a creative would confess they were afraid they would die with all of their art, music, words still inside them.  And although it made great sense then, it makes even more sense now for me.  Unfortunately, that reason to move forward ran into another impermeable wall of my own building…just doing it will kill me.   That by merely participating in what I love will somehow impact my health and hasten my demise.  And so…what if it does? Live being who I am or a phony.  Thinking that being a quiet, still, do nothing person will prolong a life that I am not enjoying I will live longer….and the question I have been asking is...why?  I knew early on that I would not exchange quantity for the quality of my life.  So why…having embraced quality of life does it still scare me?
"Black Bird"  The Beatles

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Taking firm hold on what I can control...

yes…. it does make perfect sense….. for normal people but if you are a certified “control freak” THIS is a big ass deal!  I am not sure exactly how I got this way.  I think it may be a little DNA, it may be that for most of my life I felt like I have had no control or so little that it made no difference to anyone. As I found little bits and pieces of things I can control...I tend to REALLY take control of it…and I do enjoy it!  I learned early on that creating my art was not much more than me taking control and I do mean total control. I decided what the image was and I could manipulate it with line and color and feeling at my own whim.  What a wonderful way to cut my “control freak” teeth on!  So for a while now…I have truly been out of control of my own life.  This heart has taken over my life, I realized it has taken control over all of me.  And now I feel like I have to fight my way back…the best way I know, the way that is comfortable for me, the way I have complete control of…through my art.  Yes, I am letting go of what I can’t control but I am living fully now by taking a firm hold of what I can control….my art.
"Vincent" Don McLean

Saturday, October 14, 2017

I am doing it ...if they let me in!

And so…I think I have the opportunity to do one more art show…close to home…3 days…maybe not a lot of sales…but then again I really do not care.  It is all about me doing it one more time.  I can sit here and wish and grieve or I can get up and do. My heart is going to get worse anyway…The fact is, it will not get better by doing nothing.  I would much rather be doing something I love.  It is going to kill me doing nothing or doing what I love.  I want to be in love with my life!  I want to do and be surrounded with who and what I am. 

The local winery is having a 3-day jazz, wine, and chocolate festival, it has my name written all over it! 

I do not want to be stupid either, it will not be like in years past when it was week after week of pounding pavement, turning the work around, reloading and loading.  I have time…it is a one-time thing.  So the first move is to make sure all of the tent canvas is totally dry after the “flood”.  Yep…I am doing it…(if they let me in, that is). 
"Do it Again" Steely Day

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Irregular Reminder

Friday the 13th is extremely superstitious for me, but not the way most think!  Friday the 13th comes at odd sporadic times through the year…you cannot count on them in any certain month and you really don’t expect or look forward to them.  They just arrive!

Amazing, wonderful, inspiring events arrive in my life the same way.  I cannot plan on it, but when I least expect them, they show up.  All I have to do to participate in these little miracles is keep my heart and my mind open enough to recognize these incredible gifts, and be willing to cooperate, move, interact and participate with them.  Allow them to ignite me!  That is what Friday the 13th is for me…The irregular reminder that these gifts are coming and they will surprise and shock me.  I have the power to magnify the miracle of my gifts by simply recognizing, accepting,  and celebrating them!  Friday the 13th is my irregular reminder!

"Superstition" Stevie Wonder

Thursday, October 12, 2017

And they are STILL working on the music links....stand by...may be this time it will be repaired forever!!!....One can only hope!

Enter....the AIRY FAIRY!

This business about “that little voice in my head that comes out of me sounding like my parents or doctors, my husband, etc…….”, my “inner child” and the opposite my inner “critic” is still weird to me.  I am not sure I want all of these people in here with me!  

I really did need to get a grip on anything that had this much power over my decision-making process.  One word caught my attention!  POWER!  Through every situation, I found I did not have the power to control how I reacted, or how I felt, that those negative feelings seemed to come automatically without any input from me and I hated it. I continue to spend time understanding how these things influence me and my decisions on a daily basis.  I find by sitting still…taking a breath and observing a situation from the outside, I can separate from all of those pre-programmed things in my head.  I give whatever you want to call it God, Energy, the Universe, Light, Vibes a chance to enter the situation and give me the power to make the choice that is right for me, regardless of what those others think.
Enter my POWER…..the Airy Fairy!  I love her!
"I Wonder What She is Doing Tonight"  Boyce and Hart

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

it does seem to help....

Here is the good news-bad news…The good news is I rarely have much physical pain.  I mean there is the pain but not the horrible got to have pain meds kind of pain. I am so so incredibly grateful I do not have that kind of pain.

The kind of pain that invades my life is emotional pain.  That is the pain that doctors do not want to see and they never want to talk about, although they know it occurs and are happy to prescribe Prozac the moment you mention it.  I knew early on…medicated and emotionally handcuffed was not how I wanted to do this. Believe me, this is definitely not the easy way, but for me, it is the best way. I want to do this bare-fisted, celebrating fully in my accomplishments, the people and things I love dearly and grieving, too!  I do grieve the life I will not have.  I am learning that, I have to grieve that alone, it is very difficult to find someone that really understands that, and until you have your own future compromised by a terminal disease I think it is a very hard thing to do.  Friends and family that want so badly to help often get caught up in their own pending grief.  It is not their fault, it is just how it is.

I have learned when I focus on today and celebrate the life I have had…. I can just about beat the pain, but I have to accept it too! So, I like spending time alone, I take each day as it comes, push my limits, celebrate my accomplishments, and remind myself daily that I cannot change the past…. and the future cannot hurt me, not right now, anyway…I have things to do.  I think I will always have to acknowledge and accept the pain, it does seem to help.
"If You Could Read My Mind"  Gordon Lightfoot

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

But #3...I've got that one!

This all sounds so good and although I have made really good attempts at numbers 1 thru 6, the only one I can truly check off as done it….is  #7…Question Everything.

Here is the rub….questioning does not get me any closer to the answers. Although I will confess that it does separate me from “herd mentality” thinking.  1 thru 6  are all good. I appreciate the good advice, and I agree with every one of them…but other than #6 reading…I would appreciate some specific actions to help me accomplish them. 

But #3…I’ve got that one!

"Hammer & Nails" Indigo Girls

Monday, October 9, 2017

Yes, yes and yes....

Yes, yes and yes….
I choose! 

I could not have said it better so I am not even going to try!

"Fight Song"  Rachel Patten

Saturday, October 7, 2017


Oh…this explains it!  I am a selenophile!  I have always had what I feel like is more than a normal relationship with the moon, especially when it is full.  I feel stronger, in tune with my own body, more energy, more creative, more assertive, more in touch with whatever that little voice is inside of me is.  I am not sure I can explain it any better.  It is not an overwhelming feeling…I am not going crazy and heading out and howl at the moon, but it is a definite shift in positive energy and I like it.  I am kind of sad this month, it has been overcast and cloudy for the past few days and although I can feel it, I have not been able to see the October Harvest full moon but I will be dancing anyway!

"Dancing in the Moonlight"  King Harvest

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Time just does not make it go away/...

I miss you more than words can begin to express.
You made me crazy at times, you made me laugh, you showed me the world and the most incredible art I have ever seen. A day does not go by that I do not think of you...or an evening at about 8 after your evening wine....I still wait for for the phone to ring.

I thought that as time went by it would not hurt as much and then this day comes around and I am overwhelmed with love and grief...I still miss you so very much!

                   "By Your Side"   Ben Taylor

Keep Breathing......

We owned a sailboat for over 25 years, it was always equipped with a bilge pump…it was a just in case thing…just in case the boat started taking on water we would not sink.  We never had to use it…but I wish I still had it….This morning at 5 AM I woke up to Skip screeching…..CHERYL !!!!….a pipe burst in the laundry room sometime in the night, and probably early in the evening, judging by the 4” of standing water in the studio, laundry room, and front storage room he was standing in.  It has been a day but I will win…..eventually! Just Keep Breathing!

"Keep Breathing"  Ingrid Michaelson

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

It is time for a "First Time"!

I suspect this may be one of the big secrets of life!  Not always doing the same thing over and over until it is perfected, but having the guts to unapologetically go out and try new things with the knowledge that failing miserably is a distinct possibility!  It is time for “a first time”!

"The Secret of Life"  James Taylor

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

But I Get What I Need...

Sometimes the same themes tend to arise and repeat themselves,  as silly as it might seem….I see that as the universe trying to get my attention.  It always works! In the last few weeks, I have had several great things happen to me.  Some I had wanted and had totally given up on, others I was hoping and hoping but fairly certain would never happen.  I am learning that putting my intentions into the world does not always give me just what I want, but in these cases, it was not just what I wanted but what I needed!  Thank you, Universe!

     "You Can't Always Get What You Want"  Ituana
Roling Stones Cover

not protecting your rights....

The NRA is not protecting your rights ! They are nothing more than a money-grubbing gun manufacturer lobby that is using fear that you might lose your gun.  Is your gun worth the innocent lives? Is it worth it? Are you going to bow your head one more time and do nothing?

"For What it's Worth"  Buffalo Springfield

Monday, October 2, 2017

"do it with a heart wide open"

Just seems appropriate for a Monday morning….whatever it is….”do it with a heart wide open”!  When I heard this the first time I thought I knew what it meant…then I was not sure. For me, I think it physically took a broken heart before my heart could open.  It becomes a little clearer as I move forward. I think a “heart wide open” is one that accepts failures not as catastrophes but as lessons to move forward. Even the most amazing successes are nothing more than lessons…life is the lessons we learn...the goal is not to have the most money, stuff, kids, friends, or love…but how much you gave of yourself to the world.  If I give what I love the most...even if it is just a little at a time, I will be fulfilling my purpose in this life.  It is what we contribute to the world the thing that brings us the most joy when we give ourselves, our gifts back to the world.  Art, music, building, taking care of others, teaching, and the list of life’s gifts goes on and on.  It is truly unlimited, and each of us, every single one of us has a gift.  How we use it (or not)…. is based on what we think or what we were taught to think by those, even though they love us dearly,  did not understand this concept.  If we are lucky our soul, our source, the universe, the higher power or whatever you believe is the source of that little voice in each of us will insist that we each search for it on our own and find it…We have to find it……and then give it away.  Searching is part of the journey. Most organized religions want to be responsible for your searching and your journey and have a preprogrammed destination.  But in my opinion they got it backward; they said we should give to receive. That feels like it sets up the giving with the expectation of getting something in return. True gifts are given without expectation. The reality is until we have searched and received…we have nothing to give. From this inside out thinking a fulfilled happy life becomes as simple as the balance and experience of searching, finding and then giving away “with our hearts wide open”. 
"Say"  John Mayer

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Waters Rise....

On the way home from St. Augustine we came down A1A…it was a stormy day and there was no hurry. It is always such a nice drive along the beach even on a rainy day.  I expected to see some of the areas of A1A that had been repaired after last year’s Hurricane Matthew washed it away.  I was anxious to ride by and see if my favorite Flagler Beach “haunts” are still there.  There had been no reports of  A1A damage from Irma although I was sure there might be some but not like Matthew, which was not that surprising since that storm came from another direction. But there was damage and unbelievable beach erosion south of Flagler. All of the seawall and all of the dunes have been flattened….This was high tide, and the water was so close to the road A1A!  In all of the years of driving this road…I have never seen anything like this. It was heartbreaking. The waters rise....everything changes, I just did not expect this much….
"Waters of Babylon" Don McLean