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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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Trump's Toilet

WE are all being dragged down.  His blatant misogyny, his recent cruel immigration policies, his manifest greed, his chronic disrespect of allies, his embracing cruel dictators and his outrageous narcissistic behavior, in my opinion, are seriously compromising everything this country holds dear.  Today is the first time I have seen him cave to public opinion and only because even the Republicans could not stomach the cruelty he wrought on these immigrant children.  It was the final moral outrage!  He was willing to trade the lives of children for a political advantage to push through funding for a frickin’ wall.   I can only hope this is the crack in the Republican Party and its constituents that make all of us finally see how dangerous this man truly is.  He is like the sick arsonist that lights the fire then shows up after the fire department has arrived to watch the destruction.  This has to stop!  If you have not written your senators or congressperson….do so now,  we cannot be dragged into the Trump Toilet by his narcissistic antics and our complacency.
"Got to do Better"  Eric Bibb

Sunday, June 17, 2018

In My Father's Eyes....





Happy Fathers day to all of the marvelous men in my life!   
                                                                
"In My Father's Eyes"  Eric Clapton

Saturday, June 16, 2018

If you are going to throw out a bible to quote....

You may think I am bashing the bible…and maybe I am….what I would like to point out is that is that you (Mr. Sessions and Ms. Huckabee) do not get to march out the bible any and every time you think you need to rally the Republican base to get behind your policies.  And by the way…where are all of the Christian believer’s outrages?  Why do they sit silently in the face of this Draconian tyranny against women, children, and families seeking political asylum?

Matthew 25:40   ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  If you are going to throw out a bible to quote or march one out to rally around…why not this one?  The bible is full of conflicting ideas that could possibly support any idea. The slave owners of the 1800s were able to find enough biblical evidence to support their rights to own people.  How can anyone throw the bible out as an excuse for indecent, destructive and cruel behavior?  What it all boils down to is we…all of us are paying through our tax dollars to fund this atrocity through our elected officials and the actual border patrol employees carrying it out….in the end, WE are all responsible for this!  We will all be remembered throughout history for this insane cruelty!
"We Got to do Better"  Eric Bibb

Friday, June 15, 2018

Is this the strategy, to shut up those that still have a conscience?

The age of intelligent political discourse sadly seems to be over.  So many times I have wanted to speak up, share my opinions, but the “Trump Trolls” and the “Religious Right” scare the hooey out of me.  I do not understand how they defend a man that pays off porn stars, separates families in need, tries to cut off health care for people with pre-existing conditions, defends current gun laws that continue to be the source of innocents dying, embraces a dictator that kills and starves his adversaries, calls his opponents childish names and then call it biblical?  And when I ask that question, the answer always comes in berating and belittling me and my question.  When I speak my mind on a public site, there will be no less than 15 people that never say a word to me at any other time, feel the need to comment by to shaming me in public for having my own opinion.  So I find myself not saying anything, which in some way makes me feel like they have won.  Is this the strategy, to shut up those that still have a conscience?
"Say Too Much"  Dave Matthews

Thursday, June 14, 2018

ooooops!

Oh, sister…I have a million of them!  If I had one spectacular claim to fame it would have to be the monumental amount of really stupid mistakes I have made.  Some I have been able to tactfully sugar coat, others were just too blooming big to even try to cover up.  Although I have to admit regardless of what I have done, who I have offended, or how badly I have behaved my “go to” is an instant creative cover up or in the worst case scenario just out and out deny.  That might be the way to go if I were good at it, but I am really bad at the spur of the moment eloquent fibs and clever cover-ups,  and what’s more, I know I am bad at…but still in the panic of the moment…. I think I can pull it off!  And get caught every single time… So in an effort to save what little dignity I have left… from here on out instead of wasting any of my creativity on poorly constructed denials and cover-ups…I am just gonna’ say….yep that was me…I did it….OOOOOPS!
Awe....F_(#   IT!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

and the biggest is...expectations block miracles

Sometimes we all have got to do ugly things!  But I think that ugly sometimes is nothing more than an imagined expectation!  And here we go again…it is all about expectations!  Per my medical care/social worker…it was time…to finalize these ugly plans. Not that I am going anywhere anytime soon, but just to have this done while I am in full control….Apparently, they recognize what a control freak I am!  I expected that making my own “final” arrangements was going to be a tear-jerking sorrowful event…actually… it turned out to be rather interesting…not scary at all!  This part of the planning process has always been…an after the fact chore…when there is grief clouding the logical thought process.  Turns out I had several people, things, art and artists in common with the owner and he was just easy going down to earth….not doom and gloom.  It was an experience, not as bad as I thought it would be. And the most important thing is I am so very relieved that it is over!  
I am adding a new line to this quote…"and the biggest is... expectations block miracles!"
"No Sugar-New Mother Nature"  Guess Who

Monday, June 11, 2018

Who knew it was so hard on the "HULK"

and….just about the time I am doing the happy dance …finally kicking the ugly respiratory, lungs full of crud and fluid….they cut back my steroids to the normal dose. ….taking away my “HULK” and the dance comes to an end!!!  With the extra steroids, I feel great, I can take on the world, and kick-butt at the same time. This is the second time (well I do take them all of the time now) that I needed extra help and they doubled the dose for a week…aka THE HULK DOSAGE.  I have taken the “HULK” dose and then had to come off of them before….The first time was unexpectedly noticeable and I was not a happy camper but it was not horrible. This time it was pure-D - Holy Crap horrible.   Saturday I was just out in la-la land somewhere, yesterday I woke up with my eyes swollen shut and an upset stomach and just plain shakey…it is Monday and so far everything is open and working….Hope I am done with that!  Phew!  Who knew “David Bannon” had it so rough!
"Strong"  One Direction

Saturday, June 9, 2018

so...just do it!

Standing here, in this place I can honestly say that the most spectacular life-affirming things I have done have been done through fear,  all-consuming, what the hell was I thinking, wet my pants FEAR.  As uncomfortable and painful as it may seem, it is the one thing I have to go through time and time and time again to have a good life.  Without fail, every worthwhile thing I have ever done has begun with paralyzing fear.  First gallery exhibition,  first outdoor art festival, the first class I taught, first Artist Way Weekend retreat, and several other medical earth shaking fear filled events.  I have learned that each time the fear arrives….and it always does… I need to look back and remember that without this fear, there will be no growth or joy…and that is what life is about!  It does not make the fear any less horrifying, but I realize that this fear is just a part of it! So just do it!
"Shine One"  Eric Bibb

Friday, June 8, 2018

Take all your chances while you can!

It's a video..and it will take a bit to load...but it is worth it!

I loved this video, it has shown up on my FB page a few times over the past year...Now I can see it whenever I want to or I just need to be reminded that my work has value.  That turning pain into something beautiful is a rare and wonderful gift.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Replacing "I'm sorry's" with "Thank You's"

Clearly, I have not yet mastered this skill.  But it is kind of a new one.  I understand exactly what is being said, I just never thought how easy this could be.  I go to the “I’m sorry’s” first and every single time!  I have even had people ask…Why are you sorry?  The answer is always….I don’t know…I think I am being empathetic with someone I care about …but now I suspect it is a lifetime of I am not good enough, I must have caused or contributed to your pain...but I did not mean to hurt you...slipping out any time someone is suffering…and I just keep apologizing for it.  But replacing sorry’s with thank you’s…I think I can do that!


"Fumbling Towards Ecstacy" Sarah McLachlan

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I am smiling!

Finally…finally…finally…I am beating this! But I will tell you…I think the secret has less to do with my body or the antibiotics finally overcoming the bacteria but the steroids doing whatever it is they do that bring me back to life.  If I were going to be addicted to anything….they would be it!  I do not care how or why it works...I am just thrilled that they do.  It truly makes a difference in my life and energy and oh how I am smiling this morning!
"All Right Now"  Free

Sunday, June 3, 2018

We have hawks!

Last year, before hurricane Irma, I watched a pair of hawks build a nest in the top of a neighbors tree.  It was fun to watch them work so furiously!  I never saw any chicks so I had no idea what stage the new hawk family was in when the storm hit. When it was all over the nest had literally disappeared.  In the past few weeks, I have noticed hawks, maybe 2 of them, but I have not seen them at the same time.  It/they have really stuck close to the house.  I do not know if they are perhaps the babies that may have survived the storm or the parents returned to try again…But boy oh boy….we have hawks!

The hawk spirit animal indicates that you have the tendency to use your vision and intuition. The hawk symbolism is rich and varied, and it encourages you to see situations from a different and higher perspective.
The hawk symbolism is about focus, and it signals the time to remove the distractions from your life. You may be too busy making a living that you have no time to experience and enjoy the little things that make you feel alive. It carries with it the symbolism that comes with taking flight and reaching the skies.

The hawk meaning is for you to pause and take a breather, because you never know when it’s going to be the last breath you’ll take. While you can, spend as much time with your loved ones doing the things that you love!
"Turn, Turn, Turn"  The Byrds

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Not just endure.....CELEBRATE!

She knows…she knows!  I know!  I know what it feels like to by the middle of the day flopping into a chair not thinking this rotten body cannot do one more thing….but at some point, things change and at the end of the day I endured.  So I do not trust what I think I cannot do.  I stay open to, not just endure but to celebrate all of the great stuff in my life!  And it is a wonderful thing!
"Galileo"  Indigo Girls

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Glorious....

Well…maybe not totally glorious...but having a modicum of glorious this morning!  No fluid in the bottom of my lungs…no fluid around my heart but still a mess of junk in my lungs…So I am going to call it glorious…It would be even more glorious if I did not feel like crap.  But bumping up some meds and little more glorious is on the way!  As for the unstructured wish….please….please….make this stuff just go all way.

"Heal Yourself"  Ruthie Foster

Monday, May 28, 2018

I Want to to be a "Spoonie"

I suspect anyone living with a chronic illness understands how it feels to take literally pounds of pills, to ignore or struggle with depression, or wrestle through the simple tasks of life. If the illness happens to be “invisible,” even good friends and family can have a hard time truly understanding what it feels like. I am never sure how to respond to greetings of “you look great”. I am truly convinced that if you have not experienced a long-term chronic illness that this may be really difficult to understand.  I can only assume that looking good means that I am not emaciated and that I have all of my hair.  Even I have to admit that is a pretty low bar to get over to the “you look great” category!  I will take it anyway!

I play games with myself.  One is I get up and get dressed every day, does not matter how I feel….period.  Get up...get dressed in street clothes.  I make the beds.  I do the house chores.  This is my last vestige of normal.  I used to hate all of these things; I did not realize what a blessing it was to just simply have the energy to do them.  I never had a grasp on how to manage my energy…there was always energy (that was never an option) my challenge used to be finding and using my time well.

Today I was introduced to a visual way (of course that appeals to me) to manage or actually be aware of my energy level and to choose how I want to spend it.  There is a group out there that call themselves “spoonies”.  They apparently have the same problem I have about managing energy.  The give themselves a bouquet of spoons that represent a full day of energy and then subtract the spoons as their energy is spent, providing a  clear visual picture of what I can or cannot do without wearing myself out or making myself sicker.  I think I am going to try this….clearly, I need to do something to get this energy thing under control!  Besides, it gives me a great excuse to find and collect some very cool artsy spoons! Woo-Hoo!
"Shine" Jason Mraz


Never mind!  As it turns out I already have funky spoons I found at a second-hand store quite some time ago. They were labeled as "tasting spoons"  I had no idea what I was going to do with them a couple of years ago so they have just kind of sat around..

But now I know  exactly why they came into my life  With a wine glass (I have plenty of those) to hold my bouquet of funky spoons

... I am officially a spoonie!

Stay tuned...I will let you know how it works!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Rituals, Appliances and Installation Manuals....Oh My

One of my official titles still remains “chief cook and bottle washer” but that title only applies in the presence of an automatic dishwasher!  

When we moved into this little house 40 years ago…there was no AC…no clothes dryer (everything, even the mountains of diapers went outside on the clothesline), no microwave oven, no color TV and no dishwasher.  Over the years and several well-timed protests combined with serious budget belt-tightening, we were able to move into the modern era.  Our kids laugh when I tell them this story and then they sarcastically ask how deep the snow was when I walked to school. Now it seems that one by one the precious appliances are just wearing out and in need of replacement. As most of the Christmas, birthday and other holiday family rituals have moved on from our house to the boys own families homes, the one ritual that does seem still remain is installing a new appliance. 

The new replacement dishwasher was a wonderful walk down memory lane and a wonderful reminder that some things will never change.  There is the predictable hunt for the right tools and the boys refusing to even consult the installation manual while grousing about the appliances design flaws! My job, as always, was to simultaneously monitor the work and the installation manual, occasionally pointing out the paragraph that would explain the current problem.  I had forgotten what an exciting important family ritual the installing a “new” appliance had been.  And again how absolutely wonderful it was to have tools and “mystery” parts strewn about the house.  The delightful memories of past ritual installations are almost as exciting as once again to have the dishes done….not by me!  
"Do it Again"  Steely Dan

Friday, May 25, 2018

Sometimes you just need to look for a little weird and break some rules!


…this is kind of what happens when I have had my wings clipped and required to rest (which even I will admit was not hard to do this time, my head kept saying go…go...go and my body said… oh hell no!).  But then there is the internet…I decided to really explore...I mean the real internet not Facebook, email or the news feeds...maybe even attempt to be productive! Holy crap, the things I got done and the people I have met!   I ordered a new dishwasher to replace the one that bit the dust, and it has already been delivered this evening, I did a little shopping for grandkids birthdays coming up this month they are being shipped directly, bought and listened to a new book and found a few new chat buddies. The degree of that weirdness has yet TBD, but in the meantime had some great interesting discussions, but then I love weirdos!  No way could I have accomplished all of this in one regular human day.  It was like breaking all of the rules while still behaving and following the nurse's instructions...it is a win-win. Naughty and nice at the same time… It was great.  However, tomorrow we need to install that damn dishwasher…there may be some rule breaking…oooops! Sometimes you just need to look for a little weird and break some rules!

" More of That"  Eric Bibb

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

But...What if I do not want to stay on the porch?

But what if I do not want to stay on the porch?

And here I am again….What I want to do and what my body will do are 2 entirely different things… So here I sit, lay, wallow, suck on a nebulizer, swallow even more pills, if that is possible and in general feels like crap and I wasn’t even running with the big dogs, it was more like just waving at them from the porch!  The most heinous part of this wretched
disease is that I really do feel like doing it, yes I am a bit slower but there are no emotional or physical “stop sticks” in the road to keep me from doing what I love and want to do, just big old thumping clubs that show up after the fact as (and this seems to be the favorite) lungs full of fluid and in the case again….pneumonia…Damn it!

This damn disease has no fucking rules….what DID WORK last week might not work this week…. and from the other direction WHAT DID NOT WORK last week might work this week.  There are no heads up, no clues and very few telltale signs ahead of time that give me any warning…It is maddening!  Do I just lay around and fade away slowly afraid to try?  Afraid to live?  This is the absolute worst part of this!  What it does to my head, is 3 times worse than what it does to my body!
 "Broken Things"  Dave Matthews Band

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

42 more things to learn!

And just about the time I think I am getting so close to figuring just one thing out, it blows up in my face….and I still have at least 42 more things I would like to figure out.  Lessons come in no specific order, nor do they come with a set of instructions or a neon sign with an arrow pointing to “here is the lesson” you should take away from this experience.  So I wade into situations with my head and heart open and for the most part, I have never regretted it.  Some lessons are much harder than others but I have yet to not learn something from even the very worst experiences. And so it goes…I continue to learn about me.  At my age and this point in my life, I am still learning how to make decisions that are good for me, and how to control some of my bad decisions that are made solely on my need to be liked and/or loved by others.
"Jagged Little Pill"  Alanis Morisette

Monday, May 14, 2018

Rainy Days & Mondays

I think that when it rains first thing Monday morning, that whining would not only be permitted but encouraged!  And they are predicting days of rain, I am already exhausted and feeling quite “moldy” after 2 days of cloudy schmutz…now it is full on raining!

This past week I have had a couple of come to Jesus moments and it is becoming difficult to handle emotionally and physically.  This business of how much I can do “comfortably” is such a weird thing!  To be quite frank, I have never really understood exactly what that means.  Not certain I know yet. What I do know….is that I don’t know…Are you confused yet?  So am I!  It seems that I am hitting a serious wall and what I want to do is getting frustratingly compromised with the price I have to pay afterward.  Even when I make serious efforts to mitigate the amount of “after effects” they seem to be getting more and more debilitating and the price my body demands I pay for it is getting higher.  The wicked part of this is….I want my life to be active and full, my desire to be normal always overshadow my ability to make better choices about what I can physically do. The physical price my body demands after the fact is getting bigger and uglier each time I try to live my life!  I want my old life back!

"Rainy Days & Mondays"  The Carpenters

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I promise.....no Gator games!

Into the second week of this online class…and damn the instructor is making me think!  I hate when that happens!  I am so lucky to have this class “Art & Healing” through the nursing school an UF.  What surprises me regularly is the thought-provoking “woo-woo” this well respected medical academic institution is embracing as part of healing.  For the record…There is a part of me, deep in my gut, that knows creativity/purpose and healing are connected but I just have not figured out how or why!  I do not want anyone to confuse my “healing” with the obvious characterization of physical healing of the body. My interest is in spiritual healing of accepting life as it is, not as I would like it to be.  I have seen so many that I know and love, throw away what I suspect maybe some of the best most profound parts of the end of life, trying in vain to heal the body, while their beautiful spirits wither and darken in the desperate futile fight.  And another “for the record” tidbit...the spirit, for me, does not include wings and a flight to a happy place in the sky spending eternity in the bosom of my family actually that seems a bit closer to hell than heaven. I do not pretend to have any idea what the afterlife is going to look like. I know what resonates and feels right in my heart. I know that quite frankly none of us will know, we can believe but we cannot know, about the afterlife if indeed there is one, until we get there. Worrying about it, studying about it, praying for it, is not going to change what actually happens.  That is ok with me….actually, it is one less thing to do and think about.  It gives me so much more time and energy to figure out how to live, love and enjoy all of the wonders of the miraculous life I have now!  For now, all I know is that there is some connection between creating.  And creating covers a multitude of activities, cooking, gardening, making music, writing, teaching, making unexplainable connections with people and animals, actually, almost every activity we enjoy and are somehow connected to can be experienced and called creative or purpose). Knowing there is a connection between purpose/creativity and spiritual healing is one thing, understanding how it works and how to bring it fully into my life is another.  I am looking forward to this class continuing to "challenge" how I think! My only hesitance is I can see my #2 son rolling his eyes when he finds out I have "defected" to UF  but I promise I will not go to any Gator games! 
"I'm Here, I'm not Here"  Julia Stone

sooooooo.....worth it!

Oh dear lord…I am such a weenie! The crap involved in going out and doing something this fun is absolutely embarrassing, exhausting and sooooo worth it!

But there are always lessons to be learned…lol…Uber to and from…tickets, dinner reservations, portable oxygen tanks and a wheelchair is a flipping bunch to keep up with.  (pssst…I do not recommend cocktails for the wheelchair pushers…lol!) And OMG!  Roads around the Amway center were under construction and  TORN UP.  We ended up having to walk a block or 2 to get to a place where the Uber driver could actually get to us…Can you imagine having to tell the driver we are 3 old ladies with a wheelchair in downtown Orlando at 11:30 at night on the corner of Central and Hughey.  The Uber driver could not get to that corner either although we thought that particular corner was an excellent plan (who Knew???)  Any way….The most amazing Uber driver parked his car a block away and WALKED down the street to come find us!  Thank you, Mario, from Venezuela you are the bomb!  Thank you to Terry, Holly, and Mario that put up with the ridiculousness that surrounds me…you let me keep going…and going…and going.  I never get to know when it is the last time, and do not want to miss a thing…  Ed was here this morning….applauded my tenacity then shook his finger and said
do whatever you feel like doing….but do not overdo…You may have gotten really close to “overdo” last night…But again….James Taylor and good friends…the brush with that elusive “overdo” it was worth it!

"The Secret of Life"  James Taylor

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Guess where I am going?

Good friends, good food, too much wine, my favorite 70's singer songwriter.....and Uber...

What do I need to heal?

I think I know the answer…it is in the mechanics of just how one goes about accomplishing it that I get fouled up. When I asked the question, I was met with a very quick answer, love yourself just like you love others, like my children or my husband.  REALLY???  That is the worst answer ever.  Not because I do not love them with all of my heart, but mostly because, when I look back 90% of my actions were based on what I was taught a good mother and wife and love should be…and I was so bad at it!  The house was always a mess, I could not keep the boys clean, the dirty laundry was stacked in mountains, and the clean laundry rarely made it into the drawers, the kitchen sink was always full of dirty dishes, and my list  reasons that screamed I was bad at this role as mother and wife were evident no matter how hard I tried.  I was always exhausted and felt like if they loved me they would see me failing… drowning…. finally, I went to work to do something…anything that others would see I could be good at.  I was good….and now that I am not working I am desperately looking for something anything to define myself as good…but this time I have to define “love me” without the aid or advice of anyone else. Now I have to really do the work!
"All We Are"  Matt Nathanson

Monday, May 7, 2018

it was not gossip…it was real…

I grew up in this town, grew up and played with the Knowles kids. I remember the gossip that we were all forbidden to talk about, but often when the grownups were having their cocktails we would sneak up hiding there close enough to overhear the gossip discussions.  Our house was particularly designed for just such covert operations!  Back then it just seemed to be normal.  We would slink back without notice. When I try to explain to my grown children how it was when I was a kid…I wonder if they could possibly believe the stories I share with them.  I think everyone should read this…it was not gossip…it was real…Wondering if we are heading back to these times.
"Breaking Silence"  Janis Ian

There is a possibility.









And this journey begins with me embracing the prospect that I am worth it.  All I have to do today is acknowledge that there is a possibility!


"Reflections" Marmelade

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Seeing the oxygen masks drop...

The ever-popular airline speech analogy about putting the oxygen mask on yourself first before you can help others is a clear picture of you must be good to yourself first.  It is a concept that is fairly easy to realize intellectually but emotionally, it is a different story.  Especially if you are a woman with children that has been well versed in the good family values of children and family first.  Of course when you do not have the money to do anything else...I became respectable by default. I was a good person, mother, wife and  I waved that flag for years.  As the children left home and had lives of their own moved on to teaching artists, and still had a flag to wave proving to others my “goodness”.  Please do not get me wrong, I loved every moment, I do not regret a single moment, but as life changes again I am realizing that I used those roles to define who I was, to me.  I did not have the courage or the knowledge to assess my own self-worth. for myself, I depended on others to make that determination.  I accepted and sought out others opinions of me to define who I was.  Now the journey requires that I figure this out on my own, with no audience no flag and it is as scary as seeing the oxygen masks drop and not sure what to do next.
"Bitch"  Meridith Brooks

Friday, May 4, 2018

It ain't pretty...

I am in week one of the UF Art Healing course and have really been looking forward to it.  It did not look like more than the typical art therapy things I have seen and rejected.  The first week the instructor wants us to do an art journal and already I am disappointed…not this again….I have done the art journal thing several times and they have always been wonderfully insightful, but after 3 or 4 journals (that does not include my writing journals) I am pretty much over the journal thing.  But I was committed to giving this a shot, so I let go of my crappy attitude!

Already this is horribly impactful.  What is different this time is the title of the pages…and they are
 really making me look at me and I am here to say….sometimes it ain’t pretty!

                    "Me" Paula Cole

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Can't be my driving force!

A “friend” said they felt so much better than I had made the high tech changes yesterday, installing a video camera on the front door and keyless lock. She said she had been concerned about how much I was home alone and how much “safer” I must feel now….WHAT?  That had never occurred to me!    I tried to explain that these decisions were not about afraid of being alone they were all about me taking care of me.  The changes were made to get the GOOD IN, not keep the BAD OUT!

I know how easy it is for fear to take over my life and my decision making processes.  Fear is my “wolf blowing at the front door” all of the time.  I, like most of us, have been subtly trained to think this way.  We are all inundated with benign advertising but there is also the very obvious fear-based ads and politics. We seldom recognize our own fears being used against us to sell a service or product. It has just become the norm that our fear or more politely said….our safety is the only reason needed to justify any purchase.  Who could possibly argue with our need to be safe?  It is the universal green light to purchase anything for any amount of money! I do not want fear to ever be the reason I do or do not do something….especially something that will make my life more fun, more independent and more enjoyable!  

I realized that many of my past important decisions were made based on fear….not any more….not for me…All decisions, from here on out, are based on joy and how much pleasure they will bring and how much good I can let in.  Fear just cannot be a part of me anymore!  I have to remember and keep focused on “FEARLESS” as one of my “core desired feelings”.  I do not want to spend my life with fear being my driving force.  I want my driving force to be joy, laughter, and love!
"She is Not Afraid"  New Direction

Sunday, April 29, 2018

High Tech Changes...

A video doorbell…and I have to say after 40 years in this house I have never had a real doorbell much less a video/audio doorbell and a keyless lock too, just what I needed…another “secret code”!  But now if I need help and cannot get to the door I can still answer the door and even give you the key code to come in without moving.  Totally and completely horribly lazy…Woo-hoo!  And here is another perk I can detect salesmen, Jehovah Witnesses,  Scientologist, Mormons or any other people that feel like they need to save my soul or sell me something.  It is kind of like a two-fer” bonus.  My plan is to avoid uninvited door knockers, stay safe and independent as long as possible…
"Changes" David Bowie

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Delicious Synchronicity!

I am feeling like I am getting a little warmer!  I have had such restlessness lately.  I chalked some of it up to the fact that I have finished doing the art exhibitions I had planned on doing this season, I am not teaching  Art Business or Artist’s Way and the little facilitating I have been doing on Second Sunday’s have not been well attended.  It was like the universe was trying to tell me it is time to move forward, but I just cannot get my heart wrapped around what is next so I slip back into the world I knew.  The world I knew does not seem to “want” me anymore.  My “go to” is always creativity. 

In my heart I have just felt if I could marry my spirituality to my creativity I would have an AH-HA moment.  They have always been linked in ways I really never understood, I just know that they are.  I have begun  “ Swedish Death Cleaning” under the assumption that if I simplify, organize and get rid of all of this junk cluttering my life that I would make room for new inspiration to arrive.  I signed up for a free college course about creativity, I have combed the internet for art therapy, ordered a new workbook by a local artist.  I feel like I have been a desperate fisherman casting out my line and reeling it back in time after time with no catch…and I just keep casting….but still I know that art, creativity, and spirituality are connected.

I am not complaining, it has been so frustrating feeling like the dots are so close together, but I just cannot seem to connect them.  And then today, synchronicity finally seemed to nod its head at me when a free art therapy course from the University of Florida showed up in my inbox.  It seems to have a much different base focused equally on the creative and the spiritual healing..not just touting how many patients have had higher treatment and remission successes, but concentrating on preparing and healing my spirit….and it is just starting.  Thank you synchronicity…. thank you universe….I am getting warmer!
"Funny the Way it is"  Dave Matthews Band

Lay down…feet up…pass out...in that order!

The official report is in...Last Monday's close encounter with the bathroom floor was Syncope ….sometimes they just need to talk to me in “real people speak”  in the meantime here is the official  – Wikipedia explanation… Syncope, also known as fainting, (well DUH!) is a loss of consciousness and muscle strength characterized by a fast onset, short duration, and spontaneous recovery. It is caused by a decrease in blood flow to the brain, usually from low blood pressure.

So here is the crappy part, it is just another part of heart failure and as the disease continues I should expect it to happen more often.  Again, I would like to point out…. this rather disturbing little detail was NOT in the Heart Failure Handbook!
    
Part of this week’s nurse discussion was to think back and get very clear about just how I was feeling before I blacked out. Lightheaded, disconnected, confused ( I could not remember how to brush my teeth) explains it, however, differentiating regular confusion from “holy crap” you are about to pass out confusion may take a little practice.  I have been taught that the best way to deal with this is to be very aware of the “feeling” at the onset and “GET DOWN” before I fall down…the danger is not in the actual losing consciousness but hurting myself in the fall (I had a really sore and banged up knee and understand that one completely).  All I can do is mitigate the possible damage by being in a safe place when I pass out! 

So the official treatment is... lay down THEN faint…rather than faint and fall down.  Who knew????   Lay down…feet up…pass out...in that order.... Got it!
"Counting Stars" Gardner Sisters

Friday, April 27, 2018

Damn Girl!!!

Most everyone is aware of my quasi-hoarding issues by now.  They are only “quasi” because I managed to smash all of the stuff in hopelessly crammed closets, cabinets and behind or under anything that stood stationary for more than 2 consecutive days!  I suspect my cooking and cleaning DNA is genetically linked and horribly deformed, that is if they exist at all!

In my own defense, of which there is gracious little to offer, I have been taking an online class "365 Organizing" with Suzanna Kaye and Spark Organizing. She has been my teacher, my coach, my support and all in all an incredibly patient angel!  I am about 3 weeks in…the kitchen cabinets, my bedroom closet, hall closet, linen closet all have doors that I no longer have to get a running start to push closed….but it is now time to begin in the studio….AUGHHHHHH!!!!...I was going to start last week and although there was a physical reason I had to postpone it several days…even I will admit I was a bit relieved for the respite!

The day before yesterday, it began, on a limited basis.  I managed to avoid the overwhelming job of taking on that entire studio by cleaning out the small closet behind the studio door that truly had not been opened for at least a year. An overhead projector, VHS Camera, 35 mm camera, and a boom box just some of the latest circa 1980 technology!  A very small closet not more than 30 inches wide produced 4 garbage bags of donate and 3 bags of trash…..That little itty-bitty closet was packed tight!!!......DAMN GIRL.....what was I thinking??? Why was hanging on to all of that stuff???

"NO" Meghan Trainer
And this is the song I have to sing the whole time I am cleaning out closets!
"My name is "No"
My sign is "No"
My number is "No"
You need to let it go
You need to let it go
Need to let it go

Thursday, April 26, 2018

"Healing" It is not what I thought it would be!

I am not special because I am dying…I think I am special because I have learned what healing is….and it was not what I thought it would be!  Typical healing is what the body does.  It does it, without much participation on my part.  Healing is what our body was built to do!  Have you ever really watched a cut on your finger heal?  It just does!  No guidance, prayers, special medical intervention necessary.   But the real and the most critical healing happened in my heart and head!  There will come a time in every single person’s life that healing slows or quits happening because of age, or disease or an accident.  Fighting and struggling to hold on to something that is guaranteed will happen to all of us is really just kind of ridiculous!  But a whole lot of people have figured out how scared we are to die and they are making a bloody (no pun intended) fortune off our fears! 

Healing is accepting reality and being prepared for it and that is going to look different for each of us.  For some it may be being at peace with the concept of life after death, for others, it might be living in the now and for even others, it is going to mean fighting and hope that a miracle will happen and they will continue the life they knew. 

I have no claim on what it is for others, nor do I expect others to agree with or accept my life decisions.  All I know for certain is that when I became comfortable with death I was healed from most of the fear. Life got so much better, fun, open, forgiving, easy, important, challenging, adventurous, loving and the list goes on and on.  Real healing happens in my heart and soul and is about learning, accepting and being comfortable with the fact that life has limits, but death does not.  Keeping our hands tightly gripped on what we think we know keeps us from opening them to accept all of the amazing gifts available to us!  It really is much easier than most of us think it is!

                "You Had Time" Ani DiFranko

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Flat Squirrels

Long ago and far away…. I had an accountant!  There was a time in my life that I had a need and I could afford an accountant….at the same time!  I know…I know…astonishing but true!  Although he taught me so much about money and business the advice that I will cherish for the rest of my life was his scolding me when I was dragging my feet about making a business decision.   Every time I feel myself procrastinating I can hear his voice in my head “Cheryl…not making a decision…IS MAKING A DECISION”. I had really never thought of my stalling as doing anything more than just plain “NOT DOING ANYTHING”.  Somehow I had justified not doing anything or not making a decision as not having any consequences.  In other words, as soon as I made a decision, that decision was up for public scrutiny, criticism and open for consequences…before that I was good.  No complaints, no judgment, no consequences are what came along with no decision. But he was right and I was oh so wrong!!! There comes a time when decisions, right, wrong or indifferent must be made.  And holy crap how I still hate that and flat squirrels.
"Can't Rush Your Healing"  Trevor Hall

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Not a good look for me....

As it turns out, the bathroom floor is not a good look for me. Not that I was ever planning to have to have that as a “look” but apparently Monday morning my heart and my body thought it was something I should experience.  Full on…. lights out… pass out!  The only thing worse would have been doing that buck naked! I was at least spared that indignity; I was at the sink starting to brush my teeth. Apparently, this kind of thing just happens every now and again to cardiac patients when blood pressure drops quickly and dramatically.  They really need to include this little bit of drama in the handbook under  “this could happen to you, if you have heart failure” for goodness sakes!  No one ever mentioned this as a possibility!  Not that it would make me more ready for it.  But Jeeze…. by the time Ed (the nurse) arrived which was in less than 10 minutes (thank God I do not have to do hospitals anymore, this would have been 2-3 day testing bonanza of testing for them).  I was still pasty and sweaty but my BP was on the rise, still 94/56 but incredibly low for me.  The biggest side effect seems to be I somehow messed up my knee, some swelling, and yeee-ouch-ness, but can walk. It is more like a sprain or a pull, either way,
it sucks…It all sucks!  Spent yesterday in bed legs elevated and off all high BP meds to encourage higher BP (that is a first for me)  and on O2, today I am allowed to return to an “edited” version of normal.  Whatever that turns out to be!
 
"I'm a Mess Righ Now"  Ed Sheran 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

I'm Fine



Fine has a new definition!  Recovering from a tummy virus or a head cold or a sore muscle or a host of other maladies shared a common theme.  I would get better, it would go away, I would recover, I would be fine!  Now those little life aggravations require I really really really have to holler back…
I ‘m FINE…I’m FINE!

"Closer to Fine"  Indigo Girls

Friday, April 20, 2018

a gift, a reminder, a lesson...


Keeping my eyes open so beautiful little things about life can slip in without me working or begging for them.  The best gifts are never expected, they are surprises.  I was taught most of my life that life, jobs, friends, and good things would never come looking for me, I had to “beat the bushes” go out and look for them.  And to some extent that is right but it negated synchronicity and the opportunity for the universe to offer its unexpected gifts.  It placed the “I do not deserve” mentality in the center of how I thought.  When the universe “offers” answers I have to be able to recognize them. I have to have the strength and energy to open my heart and eyes enough to move toward those beautiful gifts….but I also have to recognize that as some of the things that comfort me and I have actively pursued begin to slip away,  it may be to make room for other important gifts to arrive.  I did not deserve this beautiful little wild iris in my backyard to arrive it just did without any effort on my part, a gift, a reminder, a lesson that all I had to do is open my eyes and see.
"Digging for Your Dreams"  Indigo Girls

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Later....

Will I ever get this right?  I am in the process of “minimalizing”.  And to be quite frank with you…it really is not minimalizing in the strictest definition, it is just getting rid of stuff I no longer use.  Decluttering is really a better word.  There has been a never-ending litany of  decisions and questions as I go through closets and cabinets….the one that comes to mind the most is “What was I thinking when I bought that?” ….and the item goes to the donate or pitch pile.  Then 2 weeks later as I rifle through the drawers or shelves looking for something I realize …ooops it no longer lives here. Well, I guess I did not really need that after all….My right to wrong ratio is about 50/50 and is about the same in life as it is in decluttering.  The end result I am looking for is to “let go” and live a simpler and freer life. I will admit it seems to be working. But I suspect that it will take some practicing and getting used to. It may be one of those things that will really be realized in the later....and that is ok too!
"Don't Give Up" Herbie Hancock, Pink, John Legend

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

My Magic!


Protecting who and what I am cannot be influenced by how others see my value.  It does not matter who it is….friends, family, religions, experts, or the medical insurance industry.  I cannot allow it to matter.  Protecting my magic, means I decide how to spend my time and energy.  It is now and always will be my choice.  There are now times that I have to let someone, that does not know me make a huge decision for me, and it is so difficult! My life has value….that is my magic and I will not allow them to take it from me regardless of their decision.

"She is Not Afraid"  New Direction

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I cannot change them, the change has to be in me!

Today (and perhaps for a while) I may have to really really tune into my need to create.  I may need to figure out how to create a new life without the support of my hospice team.  The amazing group of people that have watched over me weekly.  The new insurance company is questioning my need, citing my lack of hospital admissions in the past year as being proof of being beyond their hospice criteria. WHAT????   This is where I would like to point out the outrageous flaw in this benchmark for hospice care!  Without hospice…mostly what I have is palliative care is exactly what has kept me out of the hospital…and I do hate hospitals!  Anyway, I have already cried, screamed punched my pillow.  But the reality is I can waste my time trying to fix or convince a company that has absolutely no interest in my health only in their financial obligations to the stockholders.  I may need to step up to the plate, get really creative and spend this energy I am wasting on being frightened and angry to open my heart and mind to figure out how to figure out how to move forward with my life.  It is not always fun…but I had no idea just how hard it was going to get.  The lesson has been…. there is nothing about the business of death that is any different from any other business. And the bottom line is my money vs. their money.  Life has nothing to do with it!  I am the only one that can create the life I love, and I cannot allow them to take it away from me....but I have to admit I am feeling overwhelmed!
"Look What You've Done"  Bread

Monday, April 16, 2018

My Birthday Promises to Me!


"Birthday" Beatles

Age does matter!


yea…
NO…
Some 21-year-old jerk made up  "Age only matters if you are a cheese"!  As long and as hard as I have tried to convince myself that age is just a frame of mind…there is indeed a point and time that my body has begun to speak much louder than my head…and my body is definitely winning.  But the battle is still raging.  I figure as long as I still “think” I can do it, that may be all I  need to do at this point!  Anyway….Happy Birthday to me! 


"When I'm 64"  The Beatles

Sunday, April 15, 2018

I Get Stronger....

There are so many things I wish I had done so much better!  I wish I had not cared about what people thought about me a long long time ago!  There would have been fewer days of beating myself up for not being good enough. But perhaps that was the re-direction that put me on the precise path I needed to be on. I am gaining the strength to not care about what others think now.  I have the courage to do whatever makes my heart sing (when this body allows).  I no longer care if it is right or wrong according to others…  all I need to feel is the right or wrong in my own heart and I cause no pain to myself or others.  For right now….I do not expect anyone to agree, nor do I ask anyone to.  Now I know,  I was never really rejected, it is part of my journey to learn the right and wrong of my own heart and as bizarre as it may sound to most…as my body fails….I get stronger!
"This is Me"  Kesha

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Holy CRAP… I did not do it!

Holy CRAP… I did not do it! 
Apparently, I hold the same degree of fear from the US Dept. of Justice as I do for the IRS.  In other words I do not do anything to rattle their cages, I hand everything in on time, I follow all of the rules (which you all know….is not my style) and have an overly healthy respect for anyone or any federal agency that could pretty much “f” up my life with so little effort.  So when I received an official notification from the US DOJ…I think my heart skipped at least 3 beats.  You would think by now, with all of the really scary stuff I have had to deal with in recent years, I would know the official universal instructions of  “How to deal with really scary stuff” by heart…. step one:  read first with non-emotional objectivity …then…adjust the panic level accordingly.  But NO... not this time… a big fat official letter from the US DOJ and I instantly go into a full-bore panic before even opening it, before reading the first word, or even while reading and after reading (because I was too damn panicked to clearly understand…what I was reading)!

I have groused miserably about the amount of business, bookkeeping and dogging insurance companies for NOT paying legitimate claims, filed in a timely manner, while I continue to get threatening collection letters from, labs, doctors, hospitals, etc…etc… (They just paid a claim from 2016.... my frustration is real!) I will confess that from time to time I may have been a bit militant in achieving my objective.  There might be a distinct possibility I could have said or done something that might be interpreted as borderline hysterically threatening…but I am not admitting to anything!   So….You can see that I did have a somewhat, however small, legitimate reason to panic!  I have always admired how a well-placed “hissy fit” can be a good thing and every once in a great while I would be successful…but never had I drawn the attention or examination from an attorney much less The US DOJ.

As my sheer panic abated,  it turned out…I am not the perpetrator (whew) but an official VICTIM listed in a Federal Court Case….WHAT?  Two employees of Florida Hospital have been charged and indicted by the Federal Government of selling official records of patients, and I am one of the victims  listed in the:  CRIMINAL DIVISION CASES…United States v. Tanganica Corbett & Kevin Weaver II…Court Docket No.: 6:18-cr-00035-RBD-GJK-1 (M.D. Florida)…Court Assigned: This case is assigned to Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr., U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Courthouse, 401 West Central Blvd., FL 32801). 

I am still investigating how what and why I should do. I mean they have sent me pages of victim statement forms and I have no idea what if any losses I have suffered.  One would think that actually managing being sick while keeping up with the business of being sick… that there just could not possibly be anything else to deal with.  WRONG….and there are no self-help books or manuals for this! 

But just for the official record….It was not me, I did not do it…I am innocent…and, in the end, …that is all that matters!
"Respect"  Aretha Franklin

Confessions of a Closet Hoarder....Part II


And they have new homes…As the cleaning and organizing continues I feel lighter and freer as I see things I do not use any longer leave my home making space for new and wonderful experiences to happen. It was not like I was being crippled by or am not capable of functioning in a muddle… as an artist, I suspect it is another one of my superpowers
!  But I also notice TV hoarders” ever complained about how much stuff they had, they just kept stacking.  Yikes…The point is,  I did not expect this kitchen organizing overhaul to make such an impact on me personally and it has been a great wonderful freeing surprise! And here is another little “kind of sick” but control freak( Closet Hoarder) confession….If I wait until I have no choice of what happens to my stuff, then I get no input about who gets it…not that there is anyone clamoring to have my discards…but being able to give my unused dishes away to a group of semi-related kids (cannot figure out how this one works on the family tree) just starting their own independent lives has been such a great unexpected feeling of joy.   Another wonderful and unforeseen but magnificent confession of making life simpler!
"Wonderful Unknown" Ingrid Michealson

Friday, April 13, 2018

Are you a 6 or a 9?

Yep…I knew when I titled this, you would read it!  But I thought this was a wonderful thought provoking image.

Over the past couple of weeks of the “Cambridge Analytica/FaceBook” Congressional hearings, I have realized how many posts are incredibly one opinion or another with extremely suspicious origins, especially in regards to political issues.  I have decided to hide, delete, stop all posts that come without any personal comment or thought shared.  It seems that if the post was important enough to share then it should be important enough for the poster to expand, explain or share why they think this way.  Not just a request to share and repost to incite or goad..  It appears that is just how some divisive and ridiculous ideas are spread. I am always anxious to hear different points of view, but I would rather hear it from people I know and admire, not a meme that I have no idea who or where it came from.  I find now that many of the other posts, games, ads, pictures, and memes of unknown origin (in other words I am looking at the noted source) are being deleted too.  It is not that I have anything to hide or do not want to keep anyone “stealing” my personal info…If they find it interesting; I would be tickled to have them steal it. But…I do have control over my own Facebook experience and I would prefer that it be entertaining, funny, educational, uplifting, thought provoking and/or just plain good.  In this instance, I get to decide what is a six or a nine.
"Good Riddance"  OrtoPilot

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Magnificent side effects!

I have made a habit of NOT looking up every medication I am on and the side effects…I know right away when there is a crappy side effect. I do not need to look it up! And then most of the time when I complain, I am told that the benefits will outweigh the side effects and my body will adjust.  This is mostly the meds that just turn me into a walking zombie. But last week after having the semi-regular fluid in lungs, wheezing, breathing yuk the steroids were doubled! And WOO-HOO! Yea BABY!  If I were to become addicted to anything, you can keep the lousy opioids….bring on the steroids.  Better breathing, and an amazing amount of glorious energy...this stuff is the bomb! So you can imagine how disappointed I was when Ed came and pronounced that my lungs were clear the wheezing is down, and after Saturday we are cutting the steroids back down to the normal dose, I have to stay on the nebulizer…but damn…the steroids are nice!
"Baby, Now that I Found You"  The Foundations

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

83%...a C...Average

If I got a school grade it would be about an 83…a C…average…the story of my life….average. 

Making my bed. Who knew I would get points for making my bed…crap!  But for the points, I could do it.

Know Your Worth. I think this may be a trick question!  How do I figure this one out?  I do not think it is my financial worth…thank goodness.  But how the hell do you measure or feel your own worth?  Isn’t that something that will depend on what other people think or measure?   I wrestle with this one all of the time and still do not have it right.  I get all uppity and cocky and claim I am worthy only to have one person criticize or not give me the attention I need, like the internet/cable company people, the Post Office people etc. etc…and my self-worth is in the toilet and then I get hurt and angry.  It is a real work in progress.

Forgive Quickly. Forgiving it seems to be a 2 part process for me and I am missing part 2.  Forgiving part 1 is to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake… and then part 2 is to go on with the relationship as it was before.  Part 2 is the part I fail at.  I mean I will forgive, part 1 but I am bad at giving anyone another chance to hurt me.  I am often accused of not being there emotionally, cutting people out, or not letting people in.  That is my armor…I cannot afford to be hurt again. I will never be ugly or rude to someone I have forgiven or bring up the past, but I will not put myself back in the position to be hurt or angry again.  I have learned my lesson.  I have got the forgive part, but I just cannot seem to forget.

Let go of what does not make you happy.  Well, I thought I was pretty good at this until I began going through closets this week and realized for the better part of my life I was holding on to memories by holding on to stuff.  I somehow thought that if I had something I could remember.  I would no longer use it or wear it, but I was not going to let go of it either.  I would even go so far as to purchase something just so I could assign a memory to it.  Letting go is a new experience for me, but I think the momentary pain will be worth the freedom from all of the stuff.
"What a Wonderful World"  ("I don't claim to be an A student")  Same Cooke