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 raunchy disease. My words always help me understand that in this life there will be times that are crappy painful and unexpected but tucked in there are the amazingly wonderful, too. That is when I realized the only control I have over any of this is how I chose to experience them! I realized that I could understand, celebrate can survive even better when I could express these feelings with my own words of courage, humor, and grace. I am the Queen of my own life and the choice is mine!

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!"


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Thursday, November 30, 2017

and....I do love what I do!




Each day, as I go into the studio…this,
is my mantra!  It is always so much easier to fall back into my old habits and feelings.  Grind out the work, make sure it is perfect and ready and flawlessly framed while forget to enjoy how much I truly love this life, the talents I have been given and the ability to do them.  When my time comes, I want to say without reservation or regret that I used up every moment every talent I was given!  and…I do love what I do!


"The Secret of Life"  James Taylor

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

In the studio...I still sparkle!

It is a great time of year for gold gilding!.  That probably will not make sense to very many but trying to gold leaf anything is dicey at best when at any moment the AC might click on blowing that incredibly light fragile sheet of gold leaf will be blown into oblivion.  That is all it takes!  In the summertime…the AC goes off and I guild as long as I can stand it before the heat and perspiration overwhelm me.  It has been perfect weather for no AC and a good thing too,  every single original as well as every print ….each one of them,  has hand applied gold leafing.  

It has been awesome “no AC” gilding weather and I am having a  blast  “sparkling” in the studio! I may not "sparkle anywhere else, and that is ok...but in the studio....I still sparkle!


                        "Silence is Golden"  Tremeloes

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Simply fighting to keep doing what I love....



I have on several occasions tried to explain the difference between sick/emotionally exhausted and physically exhausted.  Make no mistake…they are both equally debilitating.  One of the most aggravating parts of heart failure is that it literally robs you of all of your energy and eventually it wants to take away your ability to do what you love, too.  I do not have to do anything as dramatic as fighting a disease that I will not win….I am simply
fighting to keep doing what I love doing!


"More o' that"  Eric Bibb

Monday, November 27, 2017

THIS.....is the hardest part

I used to be able to flop and cut glass like it was second nature....today I had to have help. I am learning to find ways to do what I used to be able to do by myself, but still, I need help. I have such a hard time asking. It reminds me that I am not the woman I used to be. And...this THIS is the hardest part of this!






But there ARE some things I can still do and I am very grateful!  Two in their frames and 2 more frames built!  I can....

"Ave Maria" Guy Farley
 (from the movie "Modigliani"

What if....




I know what they want to hear….
I know because it is what I want to hear. 
I know you are afraid…
I know because I am afraid.

So...let’s pretend, even if I am lying…


"Changes"  David Bowie

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Number 5!




Number 5 is off to the publisher…it has become my personal…woo-hoo …I have made it another year!
Here is the link 
it will be a week or so before the box arrives.


"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"  The Beatles

Saturday, November 25, 2017

I would rather say what I am than explain what I am not.

I imagine there are oodles of people that think being “not-a-Christian “ is deliberately choosing to be evil and go to hell.  But, I suspect those same people might automatically assume I am Christian if I claimed I was “not-a-Jew”,  “not-a-Muslim” “not-a-Buddhist” or “not-a-Hindu”. There are some parts of each of those practices that I embrace wholeheartedly. There are other parts of those same religious tenets and doctrines that I cannot wrap my reasonable head and/or emotional heart around.  With an open heart and an open mind, I have yet to find any one thing that makes a particular religion more holy, believable or evil than the other.  The most frequent common denominator for religious belief is how we were raised and what we were taught as children, rarely is it our own mindful intelligent investigations. I am always astounded when a religion validates its relevancy with the fantastic, magic, unbelievable, fairy tale myths and fables.  Perfectly intelligent, rational and matter of fact people will embrace these stories as fact without question.
I will admit, for the most part, claiming what I am not, almost always makes others see me as evil or at the very least damned.  I am quite simply a spiritual person, that thinks (which is much different from knowing) that there is something that we do not yet understand that is bigger more powerful than our humanness. I admit to not knowing what it is but I am intelligent enough to come to a rational decision about what it is not.  I truly enjoy embracing the mystery of not knowing and I have no problem respecting another’s  beliefs as long as they can honor mine as well.  I am open to all rational possibilities but this is my only bottom line….. science and religion cannot be at odds with each other…they must function in accord.  In my own rational opinion, when the 2 exist in harmony…. we will all find grace and peace as humans.
 I would rather say what I am than explain what I am not.  I am conscious, aware and spiritual.

"All that We Let In"  Indigo Girls

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A "Used" Thanksgiving Post from 2013...but still valid (and I do not have to think up anything new!)

There are some women and most men that have been born and survive daily without the desirable “cooking gene”. Science has not yet unraveled the mysterious set of circumstances that prevent the cooking gene from developing in the normal human being. This DNA anomaly is a lifelong condition that literally millions of people live through daily! The most glaring evidence of this condition is an irrational fear of the kitchen, followed by panic outbreaks in grocery stores and an inability to follow recipes. For those of us living daily without the cooking gene…..Cooking is just another household chore, just one-step above cleaning the toilet.

You can only imagine how terrifying Thanksgiving is for women (and most men) that suffer with “NCG” (no cooking gene). The entire annual holiday that is dedicated to cooking. Yes, they tell you that it is about giving thanks and being grateful, but that is a clever ruse.

To alleviate the stress brought on by Thanksgiving and NCG our small family will not be celebrating Thanksgiving in the traditional way! I will indeed be giving thanks, but not by using every pot & pan in my tiny kitchen, cooking bad food all day, washing, soaking and scraping all night, then stuffing a refrigerator full of leftovers that will probably spoil before they are eaten and eventually be thrown out. And of course the worst part, the incredible guilt I feel because by the end of Thanksgiving Day I have truly hated the entire experience, and am anything but thankful.

This year we celebrated Thanksgiving on Wednesday evening, said grace irreverently over a bloomin onion with a very tall glass of really cold beer, a perfectly cooked steak with all the trimmings, all cooked and served by someone else! A perfect evening spent in the company of dear friends and family with good food and marvelous conversation, my perfect picture of Thanksgiving.

So today, I celebrate Thanksgiving Day by gloriously reveling in all of my incredible blessings with interesting conversations, funny stories, being creative, watching parades and football
…..But.... there will be no cooking!

For all of my loved ones, family, and friends, near and far, I am truly thankful, you are in my heart today and every day!

Update: This year we will be having a traditional T-day and the "official Thankful Blooming Onion" the day after....woo-hoo....bring it on...a 2 day Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Eve....NEVER EVER involves doing anything in the kitchen!


Hold on I am coming!  Wait...is there going to be beer?

I am about to have a traditional Thanksgiving!  I am not sure I will know how to …act!  The good news is it is a small dinner with just our immediate family, at their house…There will be NO cooking (maybe some heating up) I can do this! The official Turkey dinner has been cooked and ordered from "Gobble-Gobble" on the internet and "Four Rivers" restaurant…YUM...I adore my daughter-in-law; she has this program down pat!   No big production just enjoying being with each other and of course, playing with our first granddaughter!  I have to admit I am seriously mourning my semi-traditional Bloomin’ Onion and beer day before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving observance.  This always gave me all day Thursday to do anything I wanted to do, which I must confess NEVER EVER involved doing anything in that kitchen!


"Hold on" Same and Dave

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Because...THE god (or gods) said so!

I have no problem with people of faith practicing it.  I do have a problem with people that use faith as a justification for their (good and/or bad) behavior.  Why can’t people do the right thing for no other reason other than it is the right thing, that it will not hurt others, that it is respectful and honorable?  I am more shocked now than ever when horrendous behavior is revealed in our politicians and people that profess a faith still vote for them…Trump set the standard Moore is following in his footsteps...and the religious continue to support this heinous behavior.

Christianity as well as most other religions…past, present, ancient, foreign and domestic advocate doing good for 2 reasons…#1 The “Pay-off”…living forever…heaven…72 virgins…happily ever after…in the bosom of your loved ones….etc. etc.  Pick your religion and I can pretty much guarantee there will be a Pay-off. (Typically after you are dead so there is never any verifiable proof)   #2 And, if you do commit an offense intentionally or not ….you can bully, pay, sacrifice, ignore, deny, repent or in any way silence or appease those offenses you have committed you still get the Pay-off! Just make sure you can justify it.  Because…. clearly THE god (or gods) said so!

"One Tin Soldier" Coven

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Whatever Comes Next!

Each day is the promise of a new lesson…Yesterday’s lesson was a repeat…clearly, I need to work on it a bit more….why else would it keep showing up in my life.   It is the lesson that even my best-laid plans can be screwed up for absolutely no fu#@%ing  reason…  It is like every now and again the wicked heart failure monster reaches out and grabs me…saying “no way bitch…that is not happening” and the more I fight to move forward the tighter the grip until I have no choice but to give in to this disease.  Those are the days I just have to throw my hands up, with a promise to myself, that tomorrow will be better and I will be open, fearless, and excited about whatever comes
next…I am not quitting!
  "Bruised but not Broken" Joss Stone

Saturday, November 18, 2017

....or it is a sign....

Adventures come wrapped differently.  I am loving working again in the studio, spending time with a part of me that I thought I had lost and I am looking forward to showing my art at the winery!  But tucked in this adventure it seems like another one might be brewing. And YES I know I should not look up medical things on the internet…but after the second night of excruciating leg cramps I was desperate.  Leg cramps are one of those frustrating things…you know it is not going to kill you…but good god they are painful!  I have blamed them on needing more potassium (and taking another potassium pill night before last did seem to help) then I accused myself of being on my feet too much in the studio standing on concrete floors, I was even a bit suspicious of the hot bath I took that night to relieve the aching lower back.  All of them possible causes and combined a very likely cause of leg cramps.  Yesterday my legs felt like I had run a marathon, tired, achy and wobbly…so Tylenol and lots of quiet computer work, I stayed out of the studio, but last night the damn cramps woke me up again it! This morning in a frantic attempt to figure out how to stop this…I went to the Mayo site on the internet….I know…I know…bad move! Mayo lists muscle fatigue as a common cause- that fits…It also mentions other causes as pregnancy,  definitely not  (not unless there is a really really big star in the east)…age, well crap that figures, age factors in every stinking diagnosis….diabetes, that is a negative…and then kidney failure and my heart sinks.  Is this the culprit? Ed (the nurse has been carefully monitoring kidney issues lately). I think I will make this a combo self-internet driven prognosis and just see it as another adventure….maybe it will not work out…but it can be an adventure, if that is what I want it to be!  That or it is a sign to stay off of self-diagnosing internet sites!! 
"I Saw the Sign"  Ace of Base

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The "business of dying" is NOT for sissies!

My last meeting with my dearly loved hospice social worker was this week…She is being transferred to another district….even in hospice/palliative care…business often comes before patients….not often, but it does rear its ugly head from time to time.  Patrice’s last visit came with a “checklist of business stuff” I have not done yet….ughhhh….Did you know in the state of Florida, I need to make a statement of where I want to die, home vs medical facility (or hospice facility)…well, I need to do that and fill out and file a quit claim deed to the house, and of course arrangements for my removal.  All of this in addition to keeping up with bills and medical insurance!  And although my ACHA “Florida Blue” policy is still available this year…they have discontinued Hospice as part of their covered service! I do not have any time left for being sick and I still have a bunch of stuff that I WANT TO DO!  The "business of dying" is NOT for sissies.  One more for the "who knew" column....there really does need to be a class on this somewhere!
"You Had Time" Ani DiFranco

Leaving my light on ....love what I do!

It is so very exciting to watch new editions of my work being born!  After this month’s humiliation with copyrights I gave to a calendar publisher, I am determined to get it right and as absolutely as close to the colors in the original as possible.  Giclee’ prints are wonderful in that the control of the color can be so precise!  Because of the texture of the originals, the typical printing technique of producing prints from a high-quality photograph just did not reproduce well.  The flat photography lost the feeling of texture the originals.  We discovered that developing reproductions from direct high resolutions scans capture the depth and shadows of each of the wrinkles and cracks caused by the process of the paper movement as well as colors and shapes to create and bring the most realistic feeling of the texture in a reproduction.  I am leaving my light on...oh how I love what I do! 

"Light On"  Mark Ballas

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Making more!


Pulling prints…. actually pulling some out of the storage boxes as well as color balancing and “pulling” new prints of some of the new images.  There are so many of the older print images that are getting close to the end of the edition.  When I first printed “Blue Nude” and the single fruit series I could not begin to imagine that in my lifetime I would ever sell 200 of any one image!  There is such a warm place in my heart when I think of how many of my images are “out there” in the world and I am only inspired to make more!

"There She Goes"  OrtoPilot

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Home is where EVERYTHING is!

Well I know that should make me feel all warm and fuzzy….but there is art everywhere! It means that I either need to sell some of this stuff, give it away, cannibalize some of the unsold pieces or god forbid…throw it away. I got militant yesterday! Frustrated by the lack of space…I decided to pull apart 2 of my giant “MONOLITHS”. 6’ x 12” x 12”…yep those are the right numbers…big tall square painted columns. They were at “Nude Nite” a couple of years ago. Regardless of how great they were, I needed the space...I was going to just pitch the whole mess once it was broken down…you know the old saying…” get rid of the old, to make space physically and emotionally for the new exciting ideas to arrive”? Well, it kind did not work exactly like that. Once the canvas was removed… I folded them up (who knows maybe I can reuse it someday)…then knocked the wood 3D stretcher apart…you know they could be built into something else too! So maybe it should be about recycling…yea that’s it! Recycling! Home is where my heart and art are! Home is where everything is!

"Don't Let Me be Misunderstood" Cat Stevens (Yusuf)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thought provoking conversations!

Second Sunday Artist Salon! I do not think there is anything more powerful or spiritually uplifting than like minds having a wonderful thought-provoking conversation!  And so it was, tucked among some of the bravest, creative people I know.  Two hours flew by, and we probably could have gone another 2 hours without blinking an eye!  It was a great evening…I am so lucky to have so many wonderfully talented people in my life…There is nothing more magic than a group of intelligent people that read the same information, can add their own opinions and “spit” an idea or a concept back out into the group in the form of marvelous conversation.  How lucky I am to have such amazing creative friends!  Thank you for such an inspiring evening!
"Something to Talk About"  Bonnie Rait

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Big Magic Ideas....

I enjoy reading other people’s ideas and how they handle the challenges of living a creative life.  I want to be perfectly clear…I do not always agree with everything they have to say, but I typically find at least one “jewel of wisdom” that applies to me in some way.  I found my common ground with Elizabeth Gilbert in the first chapter!  Unlike most self-help gurus that advise us to feel the fear and do it anyway or just ignore it, I loved her thoughts about it.  She believes that fear is an inseparable part of creativity!  Instead of bullying it or ignoring it, her idea of inviting it along and expecting it to come along on this journey makes more sense to me.  Perhaps because I am tired of being at war with my fears and what feels like the 50-50 split of wins and losses I have had.  As this disease progresses, I continue to feel that my “losses” to my fear continue to grow and dictate conditions of my creativity.  This time I am inviting the fear to join me, acknowledge it is here and respect the lessons it may have to teach me.  But…this is my road trip…I am driving this creativity/life vehicle and fear may not touch the roadmap or the radio! 
"Fast Car"  Tracy Chapman

Saturday, November 11, 2017

I am most alive when....

I am in....It is official…the push is on!  New works in the studio…color separations and calibrations for S/N prints, shameless self-promotion and then there is framing to be done not to mention the resurrection of the tent…that magnificent old tent that has seen more miles and art shows than is imaginable!  If that tent could talk, it would tell you the story of my life and love of art and creating. It covered me and my art through some of my most frustrating struggles and my greatest accomplishments.  Even with all of the physical work…I am ready to be whole again. I am most alive in that tent surrounded by art and artists!

"All Star" OrtoPinot

Friday, November 10, 2017

Choose the Mess!!!





Mess and magic are my mantras!  Not the typical ohm and peace! Tried the ohm and peace…it works…kind of.  But "Oh My" the magic and mess come so easy, I can conjure them up in a heartbeat!  Although I confess I am still working on "brave". Chicken shit is my natural fall back position!  The studio is a mess, there are old prints strewn through the living room (choosing the best of the worst unsold) and a basket of rolled vellum paper, scissors and glue in a basket on the dining room table.  That is my mess and my magic!

"Awaken Me"

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Challenged!!




It really is all about the perspective!  I have no idea what I was thinking when I took this on!  It is like figuring out the one point perspective on a spiral was not hard enough….now try dealing with the light…It will either turn out great…or be the world’s biggest mess…it has yet to be determined.

However even I will admit that I am loving being “challenged”!

                     "You Might Die Trying"  Dave Matthews

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

practice...practice...practice...

It is not about the “fuck no” it is about the “practice”, but the “fuck no” got your attention, didn’t it? 


I thought several months ago all I had to do was declare it is now time for me, to fulfill what I need to do creatively.  I needed to spend some time with who and what I am by practicing my art.  I thought all I had to do is holler “fuck no” it is now time for me and it would happen.  But here is the ugly truth…Not only have I had to make time for me but I have to go into the studio, kitchen, porch (where ever I am… creating) and do it.  Just because I made time…does not make the desire “to do” return.  I have used “no time”, “not well” and “too busy” as an excuse not to do.

The muse is not magically returning because I have walked away from of any of these or the tons of other reasons I concocted…it only arrives when I go in the studio and work!  Making the time is just one of the parts of my creative life I knew this already…I have to take back my life by actually going into the studio and practice, practice, practice my art!

"Got to Get You into My Life"  The Beatles

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

faking perfection....

and…..I do it so well! 
It would even be more fun if those magnificent mistakes made me money rather than consistently costing me money, time and friends…
to-date I have not figured out how to do that…
but if you have any suggestions….
bring them on! 
I am the queen of "faking perfection"!


"Where are You Going"  Dave Matthews

Monday, November 6, 2017

The choice IS MINE...

…. I love this, grabbing my crown. This has been an up and down battle, just about the time I really I do have control…the whole thing disappears and I feel like I am back at the mercy of the crazymakers, the doctors, the government health care again. 

Perhaps that is the “unexpected”! And possibly it is not so unexpected; every year when it is time to renew my health insurance through AHCA, it is certain to rear its ugly head.  So I suspect what I have to do is to be more aware of when the shift begins to happen…..from me dealing from a place of weakness to a place of strength.  I need to make the choices from a place of gratitude and strength and not allow others to choose for me.  I cannot let it get to the point that I feel so helpless again.  Putting my crown back on…getting myself back in control!
"Angry Eyes"  Loggins an Messina

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Full Moon VoG Women!

It began almost 7 years ago, the most amazing group of women artists got together every week, with wine, goodies and chocolate and the Julia Cameron book “Veins of Gold” (VoG).  We worked through major life-changing events, cried, shared, supported, hugged, laughed and oh yes…drank a little wine!  We finished the book and still gather from time to time to slog through life, sharing creative challenges and accomplishments.  Full moons and fire always seem to be an occasion for us to celebrate!  An amazing group of women that more than once have literally saved my emotional life!  When we are together…I am free, I am safe and I am spiritually raised! I do not think I could survive without them.  Filled with wine and goodies, bathed in moonlight and the warmth of the fire...that instant bond returns and all of the sudden I am filled with strength and energy! VoG women, you are the creative loves of my life! Thank you!
"Shine On"  Eric Bibb

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Picking up my big girl panties and moving on!

One of my images was chosen for a calendar…the right is the image I sent…the left is what was printed in the calendar. I was prepared for some variations in the color, I mean I was pretty sure that a calendar printer may not have a well-trained person at color separations like you would find in a fine art publisher…but…I was not prepared for this!  I was so frustrated, embarrassed and yes angry!  But not angry with the promoter or the printer…I was angry with me!  I was angry and broken hearted that I had signed over my copyrights for someone else to use my image without maintaining some control over the finished product.

There was a great full moon as I drove home last night …when I realized this was a very inexpensive (did not cost me any money) lesson from the Universe to never let control of my images go to someone else (unless they pay me and pay me a lot, a whole lot, my embarrassment is worth something!!) Lesson learned!!! Picking up my big girl panties and moving on!
"Shaking the Tree"  Peter Gabriel

Friday, November 3, 2017

Don't need to make a bad decision right away!

It is that time of year.  For 5 years this time of year arrives after weeks of nail-biting worry, I am hoping above all hopes that my AHC (Obamacare) will remain the same. Every single year the Insurance company I chose left the state of FL…and not little no-name insurances either….Humana, Aetna, Humana (they came back after a year), Blue Cross, and Florida Blue.  

Yesterday I worked up the nerve to open the Market Place website…and yes Florida Blue is still with them….but they have dropped hospice coverage! Oh, did I mention I love hospice and palliative care.  No hospitals...no tests..no relentless doctors visits...they come to me! They are wonderful...I do not want to lose this medical support.  When it comes to health care (under 65) I just cannot catch a break with insurance coverage. However, do not misunderstand my insurance rant…I am still incredibly grateful that something has been and hopefully still is available to one that is uninsurable.  I will figure out something…but for now, my brain needs a short break to digest all of the insurance jargon I have already consumed…I know I know.... the deadline is much shorter this year, thanks to malicious politics I have until Dec. 15th ...... I do not need to make a bad decision right away!
"No" Meghan Trainor

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Yes....I am scared shitless!

Maybe I am crazy….maybe I shouldn’t…but you know I will!  I have not told anyone really because I do not want anyone talking me out of it.  A huge part of my life has been missing and I need to get it back!  I have spent the last few years doing everything I was supposed to do…well, kind of…and watching my life and my art fading.  It has been miserable and I want it back!  I know I am pushing, I know it is probably not a smart thing to do, but I would so much rather be sick doing this than sitting in the house with the TV playing, wasting this amazing life….I was accepted…The Lakeridge Winery Wine, Chocolate, Jazz and Art festival Dec 8-9-10 and I am doing it!  So I am back in the studio, covered in chalk pastel and smiling from ear to ear…..but just in case you were wondering…yes…I am scared shitless!


"Bruised but not Broken"  Joss Stone

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

and.... I am August! WHAT ?

Several months ago I entered a contest to have one of my images in a calendar.  Never heard anything back, not even a rejection letter…I am used to those!  So life moved on and I forgot about it.  But the day before yesterday I got an Email reminder about when and where to deliver my art for the Calendar Art Reception.  When I returned the email, thinking perhaps a mistake had been made, my inquiry was returned with a copy of the acceptance email sent last month that I had never received…maybe during the hurricane power and internet outage.  I deliver this morning and the opening is this Friday, where I will sign copies of my image along with 11 other artists.   The image was accepted and has already been printed as the August calendar image.   Oh by the way…I win 5 free copies of the calendar, but the future sales are for a good community cause. There was something maybe.... prophetic or just cathartic about associating my art, my life to the future...even if it is only a calendar.
"Wonderful Unknown"  Ingrid Michaelson