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!"



Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Not While I am the Queen!

I have recycled this one from my FB page...but thought it was worth posting again....

So….I am thinking there may be some that still do not understand how my Facebook page works. In the real world, I have very little control over what happens to me now.  But Facebook is NOT the real world…This page is “Facebook Cheryl Land” and I am the absolute queen and ruler of all that I and others post here! I am not a newspaper or TV network required by law to give equal time to all sides.  If you choose to be negative, combative, pessimistic, caustic or just plain disagreeable on my page… I will delete… I choose for my page to be positive, constructive, encouraging, peacefully active and just a little deliciously witty wicked anytime I think I can get away with it.  The one thing I have learned… above all, is that I have never solved one problem in my life with fear, hate and/or negativity and will not allow it to begin here or now!  Not while I am the queen!
"Think"  Aretha

Sunday, October 14, 2018

So Damn Easy

Most of the time carrying their expectations and their beliefs had become such a habit; I did not even realize how much crap I was carrying around. Nor did I realize how important it was for some of them to convince me that their way was the right way or the only way.  I know now…  I do not have to defend me, I do not have to convince them. I do not need a team or a congregation.  I just have to be me….why do we make it so hard….when really …It is just so damn easy.
"Wonderful Unknown" Ingrid Michealson

Friday, October 12, 2018

I am peaceful but I am NOT powerless!

Quite frankly, it took about all I had to screw up my courage and unfriend then post like yesterday. I really do want to be the one that everybody likes! 

Yesterday’s unfriendings included a family member and  Artist Way tribe members. They know me and deliberately posted very negative remarks anyway. It would have been one thing if they publically posted “I disagree with you” and here is why… but that was absolutely NOT what was done.  My space was used to spread their (or in this case others) fear and negativity. It was an unbelievable display of how powerful and ugly negative can be, as I really do not think this is how these people really are, but then maybe I am wrong. But they were negative words in my space...My heart was squealing…standup …do not let them use me and my space to spread this!

I do not expect nor do I want everyone to agree with me.  Dear god what a boring world that would be!  But I do not expect anyone to deliberately be ugly or rude because they do not agree with me either.  It boils down to simple honor and respect for another’s ideas, especially when they do not harm. I am not tidy, predictable, or holier than thou but I am not powerless either.   
"Take Me As I Am"  Mary J Blige

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The marvelous UNFRIEND tool....

AHHHHH! another “Trumpian” election season!… and I just unfriended 3 more…

I truly have no time or life to waste on the people that choose to spew political negativity. If you do not like what I have to say, you are not required to respond. Please feel free to ignore me, delete me, unfriend me, snooze me for 30 days…to be honest I have done that many times to many of you…

However, please note, that I have always respected your opinion and have never ever posted anything negative on your page…

If you cannot value or respect my opinions with dignity, Facebook has given me a marvelous tool, UNFRIEND. I have learned how to value myself, my life, my time, and my glorious happiness by using it. 

I prefer to fill this little corner of my life with intelligent dignified people, that can respectfully share real difficulties and ideas. They are filled with positive energy, life-affirming, problem-solving discussions, and unbelievable open-mindedness mixed with a little outrageous wicked humor whenever we think we can get away with it! I am so very grateful that there are more of you in my life….Thank you!

"Reach Out in the Darkness" Freinds & Lovers

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

More than just regular old undiagnosed bipolar....It's friggen' Multi-polar!

At least once a year, I feel the need to pay homage to what I feel must be my 432nd round of undiagnosed multi-polar-ness. It is so much more than just BI-polar, it is the full round of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief!  The book does not explain that you will go through these steps again and again and again if you have a long terminal illness. Successfully working through all of the steps once, only offers temporary quasi-nirvana… it never ever sticks!  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance run their way through my life on an almost routine recognizable basis.  I will celebrate and revel in acceptance each time I get to that point, only to find that after a while “acceptance” is friggen’ depressing, at which point I choose denial to pull me through the depression….and there you go…I am off on another round of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief!  I guess as an artist, I see no particular value in doing these steps in the prescribed order, so the bargaining and anger, are dealt with as they arrive but I do recognize them and I do have to work through those damn buggars again and again too!
"On a Carousel" The Hollies

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

That hits me the hardest....

The things, whatever the hell they are, fly into my life, out of left field, kick my feet out from under me and while I am still laying on the floor wondering what the hell just happened, those damn things disappear and I am left in a rumpled mess of fear and pain.  And believe it or not…it is not the mess, the fear or the pain that makes it so bad, it is the least expected feeling of overwhelming exhaustion that it leaves behind that hits me the hardest. 

"Death With Dignity"  Sufjan Stevens

Monday, October 8, 2018

Holy Crap!

I have no idea about what that specific magic shit is…I just know somewhere in my heart I am supposed to do it. And to make it worse I do not know magic!  All I know is that I am compelled to keep writing about this.  I always thought it was more about me, getting things out of my head and seeing my thoughts become tangible in written words.  Almost makes it easier to figure out really difficult thoughts and problems!  It used to be, that I did not share this blog with anyone, I mean it was on the internet but I did not announce it….and a lot of people found it anyway.  It is much easier now.

I do not care what people think of me anymore…
Holy Crap!….. You know what? ……..
That might be MY MAGIC!

"Magic Bus" Hollies

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Being me...

I will not be what anyone else thinks I should be.  I will not allow anyone or anything to take my power from me.  My power exists in my heart and my soul, not what other people think of me!  I do not have to agree with anyone if I do not feel it is right. That is the only explanation needed.  And if I happen to be wrong, which it might very well be, then that is my choice, I am responsible for my thoughts, opinions, and actions and I am willing to suffer the consequences. I no longer need to listen to others points of view unless I deem it necessary for my own knowledge and growth.  So I will continue to allow or delete people, comments, statements, posts into my life that are positive, factual, truthful and uphold not only my power.  I am taking my power back! Oh...and I got on that Orlando Eye...rode it to the top and I win!  I am not afraid!
"Living in the Moment" Jason Mraz

Saturday, October 6, 2018

...a box of Depends before I go!

The first thing you all need to know is that I am scared to death of heights!  Not long ago I spent a very scary few days on one of the top floors of a downtown hospital recovering from open heart surgery.  It was definitely not a “stress-free” environment as far as I was concerned and my entire focus was to get out of there.   Out of my very high and very huge picture window, I could see most of Orlando and way out to I-Drive.  A great view…unless you are afraid of heights, which meant I stayed on my side of the room, never getting close to that damn window!  From my safe side of the room, I spent quite a bit of time watching this thing turning slowly and muttering to myself….who the hell in their right mind would pay to get on that thing? 

Well today, the answer is me.  In the last few weeks (and I suspect from now on) a good part of this life is going to be about battling fear.  I was coached by my amazing hospice nurse Ed, to not waste my energy fighting the disease (which seems to be what everyone wants me to do) and I will admit, it is frustrating to fight day in and day out and still watch my body losing the war. But I need to live and learn how to make the most of what I have!  This week I decided that fighting this disease is a futile battle, but fighting the fear that surrounds it may not be!  My focus, my battle is to take control of the fear!  And I am beginning by conquering this fear of heights!  

At 7PM this evening I will be in one of those gondolas, just Skip and I, at sunset, medically approved aides, champagne and chocolate, facing down this fear!  Although, I have to admit I may need to pick up a box of Depends...before I go!
"Higher Ground" Stevie Wonder

Friday, October 5, 2018

On this anniversary...

This is my favorite picture of my mother, not just because in my eyes she is so beautiful, but because for years of my life it was the only image of her I got to see.  Every summer I looked forward to spending a week with my grandmother and my Pierce family but what I really looked forward to most of all, was seeing this picture of my mother that sat on the top of the corner bookshelf in her living room.  It was always in the same place. 

There were years I was not allowed to see her ask about her or know whether she was even alive.  I was just a little girl. I was told I should not want to know about her, my other siblings did not want to know about their biological parents, why did I?  I was told she left me; she did not want me, she did not care for or love me, why should I want to know, see or even love her? I was made to feel bad and ungrateful because I wanted to know and love her.  I was reprimanded for asking and eventually was afraid to ask, and that fear quickly turned into guilt that I was not strong enough to ask.   Somehow, the sins and the mistakes of my parents became my own shame, for just wanting to know. 

This picture at grandmother’s house could take that fear and guilt away, if even for just a little while. I was always more than a happy little girl to see my grandmother but even more so,
to see my own mother’s beautiful image and not feel the shame and guilt of wanting to see and know about her even if just for a little while in the summers. This is that very picture…the picture that could melt my guilt and shame …And on this anniversary I just needed to say….I miss you so much.
"There are Places I Remember"  The Beatles

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

no longer doing what I have always done...

This was another one of those statements that would come up regularly in class and I find that even though I am not teaching now, I feel like I still need to remind myself!

In the past, I would bend over backward to hear everyone, even when we did not see eye to eye.  It has always been my practice to treat everyone with dignity.  Dignity did not need to be earned, it was something that I felt should be afforded to everyone.  I always received dignity back from those I offered it to.  That is not the case anymore and it is heartbreaking.  I have watched political discourse move from educated open-minded discussions to out and out mudslinging, rude name calling, overt lying, with fist pounding anger.  I have watched the Christian religion hijacked by partisan politics. I have witnessed human decency deteriorate and my heart is breaking.

Although in the past I have “unfriended” fanatical 45 supporters, I have always tried to see both sides of the story. But no more…I am settling into my tribe, of like-minded people. Negative, ugly speakers, that mimic the rude self-serving behavior of bullying, I am immediately “unfriending”. I do not need to be exposed to their spiritual venom.  It is damaging to me, it is damaging to this country.

What I always did was, be kind ….I will not stoop to the current level of human bashing, but I will not expose myself to it either.  What I am doing different, is walking away, ignoring, unfriending, unfollowing the ugly speak and wrapping my spiritual heart around others that see and uphold fairness, kindness, honor, and respect.  There is a very strange but unexpected and wonderful empowerment that I feel pouring over me…no longer doing what I have always done.  
"Strip Me"  Natasha Bedenfield

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Where the cracks are....

Put your feet up…it’s going to be a long one! I have been consistently sidetracked with all of the political crap going on.  First of all, even I will admit it is easy to get caught up in the drama, and second, it is a great way to focus on anything other than my life, my heart and my art…and quite frankly they all kind of suck right now!

The “Sunday Morning” program day before yesterday had a segment on Gilda Radner’s documentary “Love, Gilda” and I was intrigued.  I always loved her on SNL roared at her characters Roseanne Roseannadana, Lisa Lubner, Emily Lutella , Judy and more.  She always stole the show!  I was overwhelmed by her death from ovarian cancer in the 80s and admired Gene Wilder’s tribute to her life and death by establishing Gilda’s Club but I never worked up the courage to read her book figuring it would just be too depressing…I cannot explain why the documentary was less threatening and depressing….but that is how I felt, so I rented it and watched. I realized quite by accident or design, I had used a Roseanne Roseannadana quote as part of my daily writing a few days ago. Sometimes the Universe just dumps lessons in my lap, and all I am required to do is listen and participate. It does not take much to recognize the big ones...all of the sudden it felt like "Gilda" was jumping up and down, wildly flailing her arms in the air screaming look at me...look at me!

Gilda journaled, recorded, photographed and left notes as she worked through her disease…and all of the sudden I loved her even more, not because she was funny but because she summoned up the courage to figure out why she was funny and how she protected herself with the humor.  She even used it to protect herself from cancer. Yes, I have written my way through most of this disease, but there was no way I would post all of the gory details she was brave enough to, and forget photos….although as I look back there are a few, and they are every bit as disgusting as I recalled they were or wonderfully edited so you only see what I want you to see.  Digging that deep, being that vulnerable takes more strength and courage than I think I will ever have.  I am afraid to look at my own steroid induced “moon face” in the mirror…as if I was not round enough as it was.  (Please do not think I am fishing for an “it’s not that bad” argument” …I am not) but I have through Gilda, figured out how and why I handle things the way I do.

Most people think I am so brave….I am ready to admit that I am not.  I am scared shitless!  But I am really good at getting out in front of it…in in front of you, the people I know and love…as well as strangers before anyone has a chance to criticize or assume I am less than, feel sorry for me or even think that I am any different from…. Then I realized I have done that my entire life. If I can stay ahead of the criticisms and can point out my failures and imperfections, laugh at myself first then no one else has a chance to.  I have been so desperate to protect myself that it has just become automatic, I did not even think about it.  It was the unconscious response to all difficult life situations and it has worked my entire life.  For the most part, it has been a wonderful way to move through life, but it is getting harder now…a lot harder.  It takes much more effort and energy and I am often frightened I will not be able to do it for much longer.  I am not ready to be this vulnerable…and so I will continue to maintain my “wall” the best way I know how…but now you know where the cracks are.

"Breaking Silence"  Janis Ian

Monday, October 1, 2018

...the little bit I might still have

Yea…and it gets even worse…I get excited about new dishwasher soap pods, staying awake past 10 PM or any delivery from Amazon.  I see a recital of TV commercials that promise to erase wrinkles, improve memory, and increase joint strength…and yet… there is nothing for maintaining my cool.  However, even I will confess, I am not entirely sure how much “cool” I had in the first place or that it can be enlarged, augmented, boosted or amplified …but my “cool” is desperately drooping and I am absolutely certain I do not want to give up
the little bit I might still have.
                                                                                        "No Such Thing" (as the real world)  John Mayer

Sunday, September 30, 2018 see through curious creative eyes

Passionately curious is a trait I find in almost every artist.  In my classes, I often explained that anyone can be taught the techniques of drawing, painting, sculpture, etc.  What makes an artist great is the ability to “see”,  to really see an object, situation or feeling and then give it a fresh new form or interpretation.  It is curiosity that propels the desire and ability to look at how one shape influences another, where one line lies in relationship to another, or how color varies with light. It is seeing the many independent parts that make up the whole. That visual information is internalized, digested and mixed with the artist's emotions and then re-emerges as an image, a story, a dance, a piece of music… curiosity is at the root of every creation.  I have had the interesting opportunity to watch that same intensity of creative curiosity wrap around the current political climate.  Artists/creatives seem to use that same level of intense study and observation in forming their own political opinions. I know that every artist’s opinion is a product of “seeing” from many sides of the situation. When I engage in a political discussion and ask, why, there is no hesitation. Creatives know and can verbalize precisely what they have seen, and how it produces the opinions they have developed. They never try to convince me that their opinion is right, only appreciative that they can share their thoughts.  In contrast, the most politically vehement expend all of their energy by becoming louder, ruder and more belligerent, in an attempt to prove they and they alone are right. They assume loud repetitive defensive positions without the facts or even logical assumptions to support them. They deny themselves the opportunity to “see” another point of view and so the important conversations…just stop.

To my creative open minded tribe, you have my unending gratitude for sharing your unique well seen political ideas that have been carefully formed through your passionate curiosity.  You consistently open my mind and subject me to new ideas, you teach me every day! Thank you!  My hope is, the more people begin to see through curious creative eyes, the less combative this threatening political season will become.
"I Think I see the Light"  Yusuf/Cat Stevens

Friday, September 28, 2018

but I still have my voice and my vote...

Yesterday and today, and perhaps the next few days I am watching an embarrassing display of this country’s congressional dysfunction.  What screamed loud and clear is that my country is run by temper tamper throwing privileged white men with a president that has not only provided a horrific role model but has sanctioned appalling, crude, unacceptable, and misogynist behavior that is typical of bullies.  Our Democracy is broken and the men we chose to defend it are now using it to their own personal political and financial advantage.  They have abandoned the constituents and the constitution they swore to uphold.  They now serve themselves and a political party over us…the people.  It is clear that the executive and legislative branch of our government and the checks and balances instituted by our forefathers are failing us and one of our last functioning hopes of re-establishing a democracy that we hold dear …is our judicial system. Yesterday was the obvious and blatant attempt to overtake the third and final check of our constitutional rights as Americans by distorting the Supreme Court. 

The last remnant of hope we have to reclaim our democracy is our vote.  They may have put a proverbial hand over Dr. Ford’s and most women’s mouths… but I still have my voice and my vote. I will proudly be using both of them against this terrifying dysfunction.  I hope you will too!
"Got to do Better"  Eric Bibb

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Smack this ignorant jerk up side of the head!

Take that book and smack this ignorant jerk up side of the head....please!!! 

Women are glorious, strong, and should never be submissive or silent!  We are magic! 

ahhhh…..that feels much better...

Normal has never been what I have aspired to.  In fact, I would say for the most part it has been just the opposite.  If it was normal,  I seemed to be almost repulsed by it.  So here is what scares me …when you get sick…the one thing you want more than anything is to be normal again.  This is the unspoken conundrum…if at my source, I do not want to be normal….why the hell, when it comes to this disease,  am I trying so hard to be like everyone else…normal?  What the hell was I thinking???  Normal ….I never was normal…I do not know how to do normal!  And I suspect if by some strange reason I did figure out what normal was…I would probably hate it.  What I need is for life to be amazing mind-blowing, stunning, unexpected, astonishing and extraordinary…..disease or not….ahhhh…..that feels much better!..I can do this!!!
"Unwritten" Paula Cole

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Starting with... unfriending idiots!

That about says it all.  I am not required to be nice, pay attention to, or keep people that choose to be ignorant in my life..  If you have an opinion that is different than mine, that is great, but I am just exhausted from dealing with clusters of sheer ignorance.  So, I am taking time to take care of me. I am discovering where I belong and empowering my tribe. I am embracing my life and living the best way I know how!  Starting with unfriending idiots!
"Walk the Walk"  Eric Bibb

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

I am Wearing Combat Boots!

Really... the next time you get a combative political meme posted on your page…put your big girl panties on and track it to the person that posted it.  I will bet you… their page is full of pictures of happy people, birthday parties, recipes, and family vacations but  NOT one political meme…Nope,
they save those for us! You will rarely find the first hint of political involvement.  I suspect it is because they do not want to take the chance of appearing anything less than perfect on their own home page, it is that “Leave it to Beaver” Eddie Haskell thing.  But, on my personal page…no problem…they have appointed themselves the political authority and their job is to tell me in front of all of my friends, I am ignorant and wrong.  You will note, these trolls appear out of nowhere, perhaps a friend of a friend of a friend or an old schoolmate never heard from “accepted” friend but they will never ever post on your page any message of family news, recipes, encouragement, congratulations or personal support.  The only posts you will receive from them are rude and crude with the determined mission of shocking and intimidating my own readers, and making themselves feel better by trying to make the rest of us feel embarrassed and wrong.

Having your own opinion is one thing, and I respect that, even if, and sometimes especially because, it is different than my own.  However, regurgitating and reposting someone else’s opinion on my page because you are too lazy to have one of your own or lack the commitment to post or defend your own ideas is nothing short of mob mentality bullying.  If your opinion is important enough to write on my page, then why is it not posted on their own page? 

I am pulling out my combat boots, and giving notice I will no longer tolerate any politically belligerent person reposting a Facebook meme that has not been fact-checked or telling me what someone else did in the past (Bill, Hillary, Obama). If you will not research and defend your political beliefs on this medium then do not bother trying to influence mine!
"No" Meghan Trainor

Monday, September 24, 2018

Tigger Did It!

it is what happens when you leave underwear out on the clothesline.!
Narcissistic blame shifting has been around for ages, it is nothing new!  But the latest Trumpian politics and Facebook memes has brought it to an all-time high and somehow legitimized it.  When my boys were little we had the most marvelous neighborhood character!  Tigger!  Tigger was an only child, he had absolutely no fear and to date one of the most creative kids I ever knew! Tigger was often at the root of most of the boy's suspicious activities! When they were pressed for the facts of what happened…I was always tickled when the first words out of their mouths was “but Mom….Tigger did it”.  It was not a case of blaming him but it was offered up as a legitimate reason justifying behavior they knew was wrong. 

The point I am making is, I expected and admired those efforts from 10-year-old boys, however, it never mitigated the offense or the punishment. When I see this same tactic employed by adults trying to make a political point I am disgusted and grow impatient with their childish ineffective arguments.  Perhaps they think that we too will revert to a childish impulse response and engage on their level of immaturity. 

In today’s world if you plan to defend this president, Republican behavior or this administration, grow up and present your case with adult reasoning and facts.   Because somebody else did it, did not convince me 30+ years ago with 10-year-old little boys…it certainly is not going to work now!

And Tigger…where ever you are…I know in my heart you are spectacularly successful …because you always had the nerve to do it, you stood up and owned it and never blamed anyone else!

"Express Yourself"  Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

Sunday, September 23, 2018

...not there yet...

I am more exhausted, frustrated and for the most part angry at this body. My body has developed a nasty habit of having its own exclusive agenda that is not known (or accepted) by my head.  And herein lies the biggest problem I have right now…my head makes plans that my body will not carry out and in the past week has outright revolted!  You would think it might be easy to make the appropriate adjustments, but it is so much harder than all of you think.  One of the big reasons is…I do not want it to be like this…denial used to work so much better.  In the past, fear has always been my most aggressive personal adversary.  I am used to plowing through a problem mostly by convincing myself I am worth it, that the fear is not real, just a negative thought and most of the time I could wheedle through it, if for no other reason than to fool all of you and by osmosis fool myself.  Heart failure is now at the stage that it does not care if I am worth it.   Maybe…figuring this out is part of the disease is my “despite everything I can still grow” lesson and maybe eventually I will be proud of it…but I am not there yet!
"Let it be Me"  Indigo Girls

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Learning the lessons for myself!

Being different is an amazing wonderful challenge.  I recognize that there are people that are drawn to my different and I do appreciate them and then there are others that I sincerely make uncomfortable and they disagree with me. Some, out of legitimate reasons and  “for my own good” will try to corral me into the “the normal pen".  Please know I do appreciate that it is done out of love and concern, but mark this down and refer to it often…”I do not want to spend the rest of my life in the normal pen”.  So if you love me or even like me just a little bit…let me experiment, succeed,  test, push, fail, win, and fall down all on my own…then if you need to, help me get back up, and laugh with me about how stupid (or fun) that was.  Please… I need to experience life and figure this part out on my own, I want to learn all of the lessons for myself.
"Fumbling Towards Ecstacy"  Sarah McLachlan

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Plan A and spoon accountability

I do not remember being formally trained to manage things like my finances, my time, my household but I can tell you that eventually, I figured it out by the seat of my pants…and I did it well (most of the time, anyway)! I still have significant struggles with this relatively new concept of energy management.  Energy management only becomes a problem when you cannot do what I and other people want me to do.  In the past my own energy (or lack of) was never considered, you do not stop until the job is done…period…that was the official energy management plan.   Like money and time, I am great at spending it…not always so good at saving and conserving it.  I began using the “spoonie” method several months ago.  Visually creating a spoon bouquet in my wine glass, adding and taking away spoons that represented units of energy. It is a wonderful visual cue of how much energy I had used and how much was left.  It worked great at first, I loved the visual aid. Because clearly, I cannot figure it out on my own!   But as all control freaks will admit, when plan A begins to limit me…there is always something else to manipulate that will get me to my end goal.  My easy shot was really easy…just forget to move the spoons, my visual aid always told me I had more energy to spend and I can keep going, unfortunately, my body no longer participates with my devious plans and is holding routine revolts! 
It is back to Plan A and spoon accountability...
"Coming Around Again"  Carly Simon

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Positive vs. Negative---Authenticy vs. Vulnerability

I did not get this lesson growing up, I must have been absent that day!  I often wonder if I had had the strength to be myself earlier in life, would this march toward authenticity be such an uphill climb?  One of my favorite authors, Brene’ Brown made the correlation between authenticity and vulnerability and it was an AH-HA moment!  As much as I desperately try to be authentic I was equally determined to NOT allow myself to be vulnerable.  She observed that one cannot exist without the other.  DAMN.  I had emotionally “stacked the deck” for a no-fail result. I could not allow vulnerability to be a part of this.  It would leave me open and defenseless, and that could never be a part of the strong successful life and death I had planned. There has been something that keeps me from really being authentic, being myself, and letting go.  I acknowledge it and I understand it, but the fear still lurks around in every the tiny dark corner of my head and heart. I am afraid vulnerability is the only way through this and it is so scary!
                                  "The Fault in Our Stars" Troye Sivan

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This from an old white guy and I like it!

Old white guys and Bible-thumping Christians are in charge! They are not the adequate representation of today's American population.  I am not a man basher or a Christian hater but I often do not understand either of them.  As I watch the Kavanaugh hearings reopened, I watched the behavior and avoidance of the Republican Judiciary Committee members. (aka old white men)  It was shocking and we all need to call them out for their gross unfair behavior towards women.  It is clear how skewed our political system has become (or still is)…They have forgotten our country is for the people…all of the people, founded on equal rights for all (including our own bodies), freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  It scares the hooey out of me that a handful of old white Christian men (who absolutely benefit from us losing those rights) will be in charge of the hearings. I will be writing more letters!  (I might be on a couple of “watch” lists by now!) No one can demand I give up the great things I have right now, not for religion and not for politics...nor should they be able to unfairly control the wishes of the American people, their health and happiness...and that includes women, brown people, non-Christians, and the LGBT.  This country belongs to all of the glorious different ones of us and it belongs to us now!
"Got to Do Better"  Eric Bibb

Monday, September 17, 2018


11:30 am Monday morning…not dressed…and basically trying to embrace some serious slug-nish!  Please do not get me wrong, I do slug very well, it is just I typically do it fully dressed.  That way I can fool me or anyone else that might drop by.  Today I just threw in the towel...and as ridiculous as this sounds…I am feeling guilty about it!  I feel like I  really need to be doing something.  Something productive!
Where the hell does all this guilt come from? 
I am guilty about how much my health care costs, guilty that this is going to hard on my children and grandchildren, guilty there is a ring around the toilet bowl, guilty that I don’t cook like I used to (and that was not very much then, now it is absolutely non-existent)…I am just steeped in this pity pot of miserable guilt!  I need the guilt-free slug-nish!

"Keep Breathing" Ingrid Michaelson

Sunday, September 16, 2018

You know the list....

It is not that any of these things cannot be changed but most people refuse to even acknowledge they have the power to do so.  In some cases, they reject the notion that it is a choice.  I have often wondered if we are just lazy, it is much easier to accept the judgment and beliefs of others because to do any otherwise would take time, introspection, research and work…it might even challenge the accepted.  And here is the most terrifying part we will be outside of the tribe. Banished!   We risk being pointed out as different…identified as not like the rest of them, clearly not as good as they are and in some cases, I might be considered as dangerous.  But I will promise you, if you have done the homework, looked deep into your heart, listened to and researched other's points of view and have come upon your own thoughts…you will never regret it!  In fact, if you pay attention…you will see that the greatest people we celebrate and uphold did just that.   Einstein, Mother Theresa, Picasso, Mandela, Malala, Edison …you know the list….

"Time of the Season" Zombies

Saturday, September 15, 2018

It just feels so good!

I am so ready to pop some "Frida" flowers in my hair, grab my drum and dance...oh my goodness dance! Love these women's energy!

It's Always Something!

I do not usually report the day to day medical part of heart failure...But…it has been one hell of a couple of weeks!  However, it is Saturday and I am still here…a little rougher around the edges both emotionally and physically but today it began to feel like I have gotten through this last hic-up and will be moving on without much significant change.  Last Wednesday I was officially medically classified “end stage” and that was an emotional bomb! It is a big ridiculous leap from terminally ill to "end stage" do not ask me will just have to take my word on this one. I mean I knew it was coming but it was still a surprise. With that pronouncement came the prudent medical need to turn off my “safety net” implanted defibrillator.  It was a really easy thing to do physically but a really hard thing to do emotionally…I am truly leaping without a safety net, now.  No sooner did I get those changes under my belt when my body staged an unprovoked revolt and my electrolytes went haywire, which launched another round of those OMG muscle cramps that begin at my little toe and go right up to my armpit. At the risk of sounding melodramatic (which by the way I can do quite well) I will confess I do not know of anyone that has died of muscle cramps, but dear god...after a few of those mothers, you want to.... they are wicked painful! Even after surviving the night, the entire next day it feels like I have been put through a turn of the century washing machine wringer…and it took almost 2 days to get through this one. But it is Saturday....the new meds are on board, the defibrillator deactivation has been without incident and I am still here…I got this sneaky suspicion that from here on out it is going to be the Gilda Radner mantra "If it isn't one thing--it's another!  It's always something!"
"Everyday is a Winding Road" Sheryl Crow

Friday, September 14, 2018

No Comparisons!

Most will think this is not a big deal, I never thought about it much before now or maybe never knew how.  Most of us assemble our self-worth based on what others think.  That is how we were subliminally taught to do it. Making up my own mind about my own value was never ever part of the self-worth equation. The unspoken method of determining my own value was comparing me to others.  It was how much money I made and spent, how smart I was, how strong I was, my physical appearance and for me personally, I can add it was how many came to look at, liked and bought the pictures I made. (Before that it was how well my kids behaved, how well I kept house, what kind of car I drove, my job…etc..etc...) Quite frankly you could pick out anything and I would immediately “compare myself” to the rest of the people to determine my own self-worth. I never looked to me or my own thoughts to establish my own value and I suspect there are many who do the same. So, here I am at this stage of my own journey and in some ways, it is the weakest part of my life and other ways the strongest part. I guess the point I am making…is for the first time…really…I am having to figure out my own self-worth without comparing.  And…I will not lie… It is not easy.  It feels like trying to accurately figure out the size of a room without a ruler.  So, if from time to time it looks like I am pushing people away, the reality is I am just trying to figure out who I am, for myself,  no comparisons (no rulers)!
"All We Are, We Are"  Matt Nathanson

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

You "Gird 'em" your way...I'll "Gird 'em" my way!

I have used “Gird Your Loins” hundreds of times as kind of a joke…it just sounded funny…but my imagination was so much better than this!  In my somewhat crude, unhealthy and naughty mind…I was picturing a robust over the top version of a chastity belt encrusted with jewels and the look was completed with a brocade superhero cape!  

Damn…this is so disappointing! 

"Good Girl" Julian Moon

Ready for more!

There are literally tons of inspirational quotes that when read makes me think….ahhhhh... good one!  I promptly acknowledge how nice it sounds, and then that wretched “censor” slithers into the back of my head, whispering “yes,  it is nice but it does not apply to you”.  It is immediately followed by a litany of “whys”.  I would look so stupid. I am not good enough. I am not smart enough. They would think I am bad…and the wretched negatives go on and on and on!  Maybe that is why I keep posting them, hoping they will eventually sink in, and I will really believe them…but this one…this one today smacked me upside the head….really hard!  There are so many things I did not do out of fear but there are many others that I fought through my fear and did them anyway…Some were colossal screw-ups and some were the times of my life! When I look back, those are the days both good and bad that I remember,  they are the ones that define me.  The good ones make me laugh...the bad ones remind me of spectacular life lessons. I am so ready to have more “screw up my courage”, just go for it, days to remember!  I never want to say “I wish I did that” again!
"You Might Die Trying"  Dave Matthews Band

Monday, September 10, 2018

Still creating!

The pastel images I create are just a small part of it…as this disease keeps moving forward, I have had to find “other” creative.  The pastels are no doubt the most marketable and I do truly enjoy making them but the physical labor required to frame them is more than I can do now. I would frame every one of them, from cutting and joining the wood molding, cutting the mats, and the glass before applying the gold leaf and building the shadow box that the art lives in. It is a lot of work but has always been a labor of love.  Now it is time to find something that allows me to explore and restore that does not challenge my physical strength beyond what I am capable of. I have dabbled in sculpture, and recently picked sewing back up and I am enjoying both.  But I will confess when I see my pastel work I am reminded of how good I used to be, and how I never really understood that.  Maybe I was just too busy restoring my soul to notice at the time…but it must have worked….I am still here and still creating!
"The Secret of Life"  James Taylor

Friday, September 7, 2018

New door!

One door has officially closed, I have had my “meltdown” and washed it down with a nice bottle of red wine and my sister… now, it is time for me to really consider that there is much more to this journey than I ever thought possible. It is not going to come looking for me, I have to go out and find it on my own, and that in itself may be the greatest most exciting part of this journey!

"Blackbird"  The Beatles

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Wish I had more skills!

How can I know?  I guess what I really would like to know is…does anyone really know? Or do they just pretend like I do?   When we spend our lives avoiding darkness and pain…I mean most of us do not deliberately launch into pain, but we spend so much time and energy avoiding it, covering it up or fearing it. What if someone taught us just a little bit of the “how to’s” of working through life’s emotional problems and disappointments.    Buck up, don’t be a baby, why do you think you are so special, everyone goes through this, why do you think you are different…I can go on, but I will spare you.  How about instead of all the accusations hurled at those already in pain, we were taught coping and communication skills.  I think every public and private school from kindergarten through college should teach critical thinking and coping skills!  I am peddling so hard to “feel safe and steady within myself”… learning how to cope and communicate at the same time and screwing it up at least 90% of the time….wish I had more skills!

                        "Into the Mystic"  Van Morrison

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

In and Out...with a cookie!

One in and one out...The new fridge is in and humming, still peeling the plastic off of it and there is a ton of will probably never be this shiny again!  And scheduling is underway to turn off..the defibrillator…and for the record I do not think the SICD defib was ever shiny!  But I confess that there was a great deal of emotional comfort knowing I had a “safety net” if something cardiac went sideways.  So pretty soon I am going to be leaping without a net…and it's a little scary.  My heart is getting too weak to be “jump started” any more…and that has been a real emotional but realistic blow…as noted below it is not a new development, we have talked about it…it is the intellectual, least painful, smart thing to do... I had no idea it would affect me so much or that I could be such a weenie!  But, I sure do like my new fridge and I am a tough cookie... I can do this!
"I'm a Woman"  Koko Taylor

Monday, September 3, 2018

Another one has come and gone!

Another year has come and gone, the man, the Temple, and many other art installations have been burned or hauled away.  The people (burners) have left the temporary Black Rock City, and the crew that stays on the playa to return the desert to its pristine state will begin. Every year being able to be a part of this “digitally” through live streams and this year being able to submit a memory to the temple wall made it even better!  I felt more connected to the artists and makers that go out into the desert and create for the sheer joy of creating and being seen.  It reminds me that my art does not need to sell or be liked, to just create is all I need to do to be a part of it…Thank youBurning Man 2018... my spirit is renewed! 
"Hammer and Nails"  Indigo Girls

just get up and go....

For the best part of my life, I thought getting out the front door was a monumental exercise in gathering my “shit”  purse, phone, keys, lists and drink cup….and oh yes the kids!   9 times out of 10 even that insignificant list required 2 trips to the van because I had forgotten at least one thing. Now there is at least a half hour of preparation, another 10 minutes of loading and then the obligatory 2nd trip into the house, because I still forget something, and then other times I suspect that second trip is just out of habit.  The free and easy days of just “running” to the store, “dashing” to the corner or any other description of a quick errand are gone!  Dear god, I miss the days of just get up and go.  I thought I had way too much then!  and then...I thought all of this crap was supposed to make life easier....NOT!
"Hold on, I'm Coming"  Sam & Dave

Friday, August 31, 2018

where is the line?

This is the place I allow me to let it all hang out.  Typically I reveal my emotional state, lessons I have learned or just my peculiar left-field observations in a raw stream of thought writing…rambling…no rules, no subject out of bounds and no emotions off limits.  But this week I have come across something that caught me off guard, although it shouldn’t have. That has been the double-edged surprise! It caught me off guard! How the hell did that happen?  Is this the real beginning of emotional vs rational intellectual.  I have been unable to share this week’s event, quite frankly because I have not processed it yet...Damn...I hate that word “process”!  It is the perfect socially overused excuse I find myself using to avoid exposing my own vulnerability.  The past few years have been one hell of a journey and for the most part, I can emotionally flip my crappy experiences around with some sound intellect and a little humor into life-affirming lessons to myself.   But this one has me stumped and I worry ….have I been oversharing?  Have I just found that line? or does it even matter….
"Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying"  Jerry and the Pace Makers

Thursday, August 30, 2018

…and then there are the days that life will just march up and smack you up side of the head!

…and then there are the days that life will just march up and smack you up side of the head!                    I somehow manage to elude most of them, but one of them snuck up on me yesterday and took me out.  It was not a disastrous incident, in fact, quite the opposite.  It had been discussed and a reasonable intellectual decision had been pretty much made months ago.  But the outrageous (and not so pretty) emotional meltdown began when it was deemed medically time to implement that decision.  I am telling you…none of this is for sissies, and I have the best medical and family support EVER…I cannot imagine doing it any other way!
"Tubthumping" (I Get Knocked Down)  Chumbawamba

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Are you drunk?

Wish I could claim authorship on this one…but it is really funny… “Are you drunk?” Sometimes the best stuff is simple and rather understated!

…RED FLAG…here comes the bitching….I have decided that I need to devise my own little questionnaire to post on a daily basis. I really like this one just need to tweak a few questions.   This is going to sound horrible because I am so truly grateful to have so many friends and family that love and care about me, but (you knew the “BUT” was coming)  each and every day I must be asked at the top of every conversation…”How are you feeling?” or  “Did you see the nurse today, what did he say?” and  ”How is your BP, heart rate, energy, tummy, swelling, breathing etc….etc?” (pick one)   You get the picture… Rarely does a conversation begin with “What color are the PJs you wore last night?”  “Want to go to_______?” (not sure I could go but it’s nice to be asked) “What are you working on in the studio or at the sewing machine?”  Or EvEn…. ask me  “Are you drunk?”  When an illness becomes part of your life every day, every once in a while, I just want to forget about it, pretend it does not exist.  Perhaps my questionnaire’s first question should be, “Do I want to talk about it?” or perhaps  “Am I childish?” may work,  I am teased and accused of that fairly often anyway!  Every once in a while let me drift off into my own goofy fantasy… I get a belly full of reality every day and it seems to be there whether I participate or not…there are times I would rather NOT, but I do not want to hurt your feelings either…and I do appreciate that you care.  xoxoxo
"Bitch" Meridith Brooks (acoustic)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

...then it is ok.....

Maybe it is the full moon…maybe it is Burning Man week…maybe it is the new book I am reading….but I am feeling empowered!  I used to read things like this statement and think how selfish.  I was taught early to that making others happy was my most important job as a woman.  Husbands, children, the family were all to come before my needs and wants.  And eventually, after years that translated in my heart to I am not important. Then all of the sudden I realized that I am important…I am worth being important to me and if it turns out that I am the only one that feels that way…then it is ok.

"Waiting for my Real Life to Begin"
Colin Hay

Monday, August 27, 2018

Sure wish I had done it sooner!

For the longest time…I kept my personal feelings off of FB.  Actually, I was (and still do to a certain extent) using FB as my primary marketing tool.  I would have risked losing potential customers by posting personal or political opinions. 

Things have changed, and the further I go down this road, the more I realize that my voice and opinions are still unaffected by this disease and I plan on using the “hooey” out of them!  What has been wonderfully remarkable is that all kinds of interesting, eclectic, thought-provoking and fascinating people and posts have appeared and I am asking why did I have to get to this point to really speak my mind?  (because I was afraid they would not like me….now…it doesn’t matter if you like me or not!)  It is the most exciting breathtaking freeing feeling!  Sure wish I had done it sooner!
"Light on"  Mark Ballas

Sunday, August 26, 2018


This time of year, every year I swoon and I wish I were in Black Rock City at Burning Man. It may be one of my biggest regrets....I never went.  First, it was just sheer logistics and money and now my body could not, or would not tolerate the harsh environment.

Burning Man is an annual week-long experiment of radical self-expression. They create a temporary community in the middle of a Nevada dessert dedicated to anti-consumerism and creativity.  The Burning Man art festival, which attracted more than 70,000 last year, always culminates with the burning of a large wooden sculpture of a man.  I am now and suspect I always will be a pseudo burner, there in my heart and imagination watching the festival on its’ live feed and admiring the mind-blowing art installations from other’s photographs.   

Friday, August 24, 2018

I am still here....

On a daily basis…I ask myself….”What Next?” I mean it may sound silly, until you are in this lousy boat.  Like do you start any long-term projects or relationships? Well Hell…do you start anything at all?  Will I get to finish them? I have asked myself that a thousand times …ummm,  that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I have thought about it many times, at least…the emotional part of this is worse than the physical part.  There are all kinds of explanations for the causes and how to deal with the physical stuff…but the emotional part…there is nothing.  Well, that may be an exaggeration, too.  There has been some support from hospice, like getting the final legal stuff and funeral crap in order, and that is a good thing, it does bring me some peace. The “real” this is how I feel or I want to feel is sorely ignored.  Hospice has a program to help my friends and family members deal with this…But I am in the corner screaming….What about me?  It is like the world is shouting, just shut up, it is uncomfortable for everyone, no one wants to hear about this.  But I would give a million dollars to know that someone else feels the same way about their own end of life that I do.  Grieving the life I will not have, while I am still here…It is crazy isn’t it?
"Have a Little Faith"  Michael Franti

Thursday, August 23, 2018

I Felt like trying anyway!

Everything comes with a price tag…after a spectacular week at the beach with all of my boys and then a masterful art opening with friends and family the bill came due.  And I am finding my body has less of a “bank”.  I will confess I would much rather “do it” or at the very least, try and pay for it later.  I am always afraid that if I wait, I will not get the chance again and there is already so much in my life that I regret not having done!  Today I turned a  corner and was just beginning to claim my energy back when a small Ray of sunshine poured into my life and I felt like I could do anything again…well, I felt like trying anyway!  My life is just full of those wonderful unexpected gifts!  Thank you!

"Try"  Mandy Harvey

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

It's enough...It's plenty!

Sometimes I come across something that just says everything  I wish I had the words for…
this is one of those times….
"Give Me Peace"  George Harrison

Monday, August 20, 2018

Another Soapbox Moment...

Here comes another soapbox moment!  I think we (collectively) do not understand the difference between “curing” and “healing”, and there is a HUGE difference!  Our medical industry has become so proficient at “fixing” just about every human malady that we have confused those 2 words, and virtually eliminated the concept of healing!  What used to be life-threatening pneumonia…is now “cured” with 4 days of antibiotics.  Healing has been lumped in with curing and lost its amazing meaning and concept! 

8-18-18...18 Artist's Way Alumni celebrating 18 years of the Artist's Way at the
Casselberry At House, and donating the new door to creativity!
and yes...we are wearing tiaras!
In my world, I have found that curing is what happens to our physical bodies.  Medications, surgeries, treatments, diets and all other alternative therapies will either eradicate or relieve the symptoms.  But healing is what happens to your mind, soul and/or spirit!  Curing presupposes that your life and your body will return back to normal or the way it was.  The reality is sometimes that does not happen.  It is simply the way of things.  But in a world of rampant litigation that assumes that anything less than perfect is cause for legal action.  I am not saying that there are not situations that litigation may be the way to address irresponsible medical doctors and facilities, but there is a big big difference between negligence and a human condition that cannot be cured.
Healing, on the other hand, is available to every person and physical situation.  It is a process of accepting our physical problems will always exist and life goes on. How we choose to move through it IS a matter of choice! Healing is the process of understanding the cards that have been dealt and still playing.  We have all seen a poker player “bluff” his way through a terrible hand and win anyway! Healing is a choice! Doing things and participating in activities you do not think you can do and then not only getting through them but enjoying them is healing.  I have accepted that I do not need to do things as well as I used to and that can be horribly frustrating and depressing, but doing them anyway has become the most “healing thing” I could possibly do!

Healing does not come from the doctor, the hospital or a bottle of pills…it comes from the heart and soul….you just have to choose it….and I choose art and creating and being around those that celebrate creation!
"Heart of a Hero"  Cathy Heller
This is one of my most favorite 
dance while no one is looking songs, 
yep... I am dancing right now!