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!"



Thursday, December 13, 2018

Unlearning and discovering!

Remembering who I was “before the world got its hands on me” just sounds like the most amazing place to be.  I am not certain I know exactly where that time in my life that may have been.  But I do remember times as a teenager that I had such energy, courage and dreams.  I recall the short spurts of time when the highs were so high, but the lows were horribly low, too.  Each time there were highs it was because I broke the rules, felt free and imagined how perfect the rest of my life could be if only the restrictions were off of me.  Perhaps that was a taste of “before the world got its hands on me”.  

Returning to me will be less about remembering and more about unlearning and discovering.... and this time…I will not let anyone or anything get its hands on me!

"Take you Higher" Sly and the Family Stone

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

a whole new meaning....

Every now and again a friend or acquaintance, one that does not know me well, will come across the newest  "snake oil"....cardiac meds or therapies they have tried or seen on the internet.
Everything from shooting electrical currents through me to ingesting hydrogen (h2) bubbles.  I appreciate that they want to help, but I have learned the hard way, that people with terminal illness (which by the way is all of us, no one gets out of here alive!) are scared to death of death. 

They….we….I….become desperate to the point of doing anything at any cost to avoid it…It has been my experience that they are all costly, emotionally painful and for the most part, the only thing they really accomplish is separating me from my money.  The end result will ultimately and always be death.  How much quality time can anyone buy? How much is it worth?  Although it is incredibly interesting to me…that the most religious believers of the perfect afterlife, the heaven that each religion defines as its own idea of perfection, are typically the ones that fight hardest to NOT go there.  Accepting death is just a part of life can be the most freeing thing any of us can do for ourselves.  Truly understanding that there may be “something somewhere incredible waiting to be known” takes on a whole new exciting meaning
"Closer to Fine" Indigo Girls

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


This has always been a “no-brainer” quote…it gets a little tricky when we are the ones that have to figure out what the word “participate” means.  This week I have learned that there is a whole new way of participation…It is NOT PARTICIPATING! Life has placed several choices in the past few days that I have had to make deliberate choices or take specific actions to do the “right” thing…but I am learning that the right thing and the thing that is better for me… may not always be the same.   And that is not what I was ever taught!!

It took thought, love, and tears to not participate.  I have learned that participating relentlessly might mean making the choice to NOT participate at all.  Actually, it is about recognizing circumstances that I have no control over, and understanding me wanting it to be different does not change the reality.  Learning to accept the things that I cannot change and hopefully I become changed for good.
"For Good"  from Wicked

Monday, December 10, 2018

my way of thinking....

We all have our ups and downs!  But there are some that seem to choose the downs, although I have no idea why.  I suspect we have all had times that the downs have come rolling over us and the act of preparing for them and protecting ourselves becomes automatic.  Maybe they are in a constant state of anger and fear…I am not certain, but it does break my own heart to watch some really choose to make themselves miserable because they have just forgotten how to be grateful or to see all the great gifts they have.
I was given the opportunity to get back in touch with an estranged family member through a friend.  I am sure I could have done that at any time, but it would have taken some effort on my part, and I have just not done it. It was just his overwhelming negativity that not only consumes him but that he seems to have chosen to live in and then expects others to remedy.  His life has a repeating history of devastating the lives of those that come into his orbit.  There is some part of me that would like to be back in touch with fond memories of the past, make peace and say goodbye.  Other parts of me are afraid I will be pulled into that destructive orbit and I am frightened I do not have the additional time and energy needed for that.  And so…it may be all about “my way of thinking”.
I am choosing a happy life and old fond memories.
"Galileo"  Indigo Girls

Saturday, December 8, 2018


In the late 90s the boys were on their own and the wonderful family holiday ritual marching from Christmas tree lot to Christmas tree lot choosing and then having a family vote on the perfect Christmas tree had fallen by the wayside.  We did what I suspect most old parents do, and that was to replace the yearly ritual with a small “fake” tree.  The boys were absolutely disgusted with me for following such a traditional ho-hum old people path…but in my own defense, it was easy!  It was that very first year of “fakeness” that I discovered although the tree was cute and easy…it had no smell.  There were a few years I tried to fake it with candles and sprays….and yukkkkkk! So when this gift of a live wreath appeared…I quickly decided not to do the expected and hang it outside on the front door…but to hang it inside and have this wonderful smell inside again this year!  Big SNIFF!!!!!  AUGHHHH…..
"It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas"  Michael Buble'

Friday, December 7, 2018

Filling these stockings!

Sounds so easy….NOT!  As long as we “tow the line” or do not “make waves” this is easy, but step outside the lines and look out.  They do not come right out and say it, ( I think it is because they think I am sick and dying) but I can see and feel the disapproval!  What I really need to do is figure out how to use this to my advantage…I could get away with all kinds of great stuff!   BWA-HA-HA-HA!  Look out!  I am going to have a great time filling these stockings!

"All the Right Moves" One Republic

Thursday, December 6, 2018

pesky side effects...

…and sick of being sick…although I have to say, this is really not like being the kind of sick I have always typically thought sick was.  Sick typically came on violently, I would feel like crap, could not do anything for several days, but then after some medical intervention or just time (as the illness would just run its natural course), it would get better.  This is different!  Yes, there is medical intervention but it never gets better, only not as bad, as fast…so basically I am just bitchy and sick of being sick…the underwear and responsibilities are just pesky side effects. 

I just have to continue to remind myself that as frustrating as this is, I am one of the very lucky ones. Severe or chronic pain is not a big part of this….for that, I am very grateful!
"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"  Bee Gees

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Scared the be-jesus out of me!

When you have a long-term chronic illness, typically big ugly symptoms do not just pop up… those buggars are much more insidious.  They creep up in small increments that are barely noticeable, then all of the sudden, they are evident and frustrating.  But yesterday….holy crap yesterday…while doing just some regular stuff I had a “MOTHER” of all… shortness of breath assaults…I could not breathe, simply leaning over to put away a basket of coat hangers in the bottom of my closet and boom. It was worse than any I have ever had, (or could have even imagined)  and of course, then there was sheer panic!...that never helps!  So I go into recovery mode….while I can…. “Hurry… O2 on…lay down….NO do NOT lay down…that made it worse…sit back up…try to take in slow deep breaths…not happening…nitro under the tongue…thoughts zooming through my head….is this it? Do I call someone, OMG can I even call someone. “ Panic is such an ugly thing….then I recognized the panic and tried to just calm down concentrate/meditate on my breathing… finally, I was getting air….Cannot tell you if it was the nitro, the meditation or the damn attack just ran its course…but it finally ended.

This morning when Ed came, my O2 is back to normal 99%...but apparently leaning over with that little bit of exertion set off what looks like is just another part of rather normal and expected heart failure crap.  I need to recognize the events that make this happen and then learn how to control that suspect activity….AUGHHHH!  Me and the word “control” that is never a good thing!
"What's Going On"  Marvin Gaye

Waiting is always the hardest part!

It feels like I have spent so much of my life “waiting”!  I know…I know …there are some things you just cannot rush….but then I think there are other times that I should have definitely NOT been patient, tolerant, or understanding…Maybe I should have stamped my foot, slammed the door, hollered louder to assert myself and make my point.
…and then along comes an evening like last night, where we anxiously waited with an excited little one for the arrival of Santa to drive by with a Firetruck…The “drive by” lasted a total of 5 seconds, and that is being generous, but when I think back…but the real joy was in the excitement of waiting.  There was so much joy in the anticipation.  That exquisite delight has always been available to me.  Perhaps the joy of anything may very well be directly related to waiting and anticipation I just need to be able to see it.
"Do You Beleive in Magic"  Lovin Spoonful

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

There are times that I stand up for myself…I am still desperately looking for the balance necessary to maintain my life and independence and not hurt people’s feelings that want to help.  I am not good at it yet…but I am working on it. Then there is the political thing and the religious thing, which for the most part in the past I would just knuckle under to preserve the peace.  What I know now is that every time I preserved the peace for others, I denied my own opinions and another little piece of me died or worse made me angry with myself for being so weak.  It ate up my self-esteem.  Keeping the peace of others has cost me dearly! But now there is something in the air and I need to love and take care of me…but it still sounds so selfish...
"Something in the Air"  Thunderclap Newman

Monday, December 3, 2018

willing to burn...

I spent so many years trying to be something I was not, conforming to all of the social rules.  When I failed, which I did on a very regular basis, I would be hurt and angry.  I did not understand that I always had a choice, I never had to “behave“ or do what they told me to do, of course, that does not now or ever give me the permission to deliberately hurt someone else, but it also means I do not give them the permission to hurt me either.  I was led to believe that if I was a good mother, good Christian, good wife, good homemaker that I would be happy.  It does not now….nor has it ever worked like that.  I felt guilty, not good enough, everything was my fault that what they told me did not work.  They were wrong…all I ever had to be was be the best I could be, make horrendous mistakes and say I am sorry, then start again.  I just needed to be me and not care what others thought! I wish I had been willing to burn much earlier in my life. If I could pass anything down…that would be it…be you….regardless of what they tell you… be willing to burn for what you love.
"Ooh La-La" (wish I knew what I know now....when I was younger)  Rod Stewart

Thursday, November 29, 2018 does not exist without the other!

I have to admit, contrary to this quote, there have been times I discredited my own gut instinct. If I had always listened, and/or obeyed that first knee-jerk instinct, there would have been so many things I would never have done…art shows, gallery exhibits, teaching etc…etc.
…Some of those first-time instincts were screaming…wrong, failure, they are going to laugh, you are breaking the rules! But...there is an instinct that has just as much power. It is the power that keeps some directed, focused, hungry and often times willing to sacrifice anything to reach it. I suspect “instinct” or “want” or “direction” or “passion” is the magic ingredient that must be present. It is the part of your gut that sees the possible failure but is willing to risk that failure to learn. I have watched absolutely, unbelievably, incredibly talented people go on in life… but thoroughly frustrated and stuck. They have such amazing “tools” but somehow are missing the instinct or passion to risk failure to bring those talents to complete fruition. I often wonder if it is that frustration that pushes someone to turn back into a specific religion or someone else’s beliefs and immediately inhibit their own abilities to grow and develop all of their own magical potentials.

What I learned is MY GUT INSTINCT was the combination of other people’s/religion/ beliefs desires for me mixed with a very small part of my own…When I was able to separate what were my wants and needs and what were other institution’s and people’s expectations of what I should want and need, I finally began to experience my own desires and passions. So many become married to tradition and other people's acceptance, and will never understand, but some…you might know them as the great artists, musicians, mathematicians, physicists (those that broke the established rules) and so on that will continue to astound and inspire human potential and creativity. They are the evidence that each of us has that same power.  I will never discredit my gut instinct again, but I listen carefully and long enough to hear both sides of instinct... the fear and the passion..knowing they must both be present.... that one does not exist without the other!
"And Your Bird Can Sing"  The Beatles

Friday, November 23, 2018

Moon Child

I do not think after all of this time, there is anyone that does not already know how I love full moons!  They never fail to amaze me, excite me and make me feel full of miraculous energy. There are all kinds of reasons this may be, everything from some seriously scientific explanations to some really airy-fairy ones.  It really does not matter to me!  Whatever magic it is…it is significant and has been acknowledged, celebrated, entire civilizations have built around it and honored it with countless creative works.  I need no serious answers just a beautiful regular reason to celebrate life…I am a moon child…
"Moon Dance" Van Morrison

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Turkey Day memories....(aka things I have done to NOT cook on Thanksgiving!)

Long ago and far away…sometime in the early 1990s, Philadelphia, and long before I had enough smarts to say NO, I had an up close and personal experience with the Thanksgiving day parade!  Yep, me and 10 other grown-up idiots and a160 member high school marching band that my son was part of!

There isn’t a Thanksgiving….that memories do not come flooding back as one of the most harrowing experiences of my life.   160 Florida teenagers on the Philly streets at 6:00 AM in 30-degree snow flurries for a 9:00 AM parade. We were woefully unprepared, extremely underdressed and I can truly list this as among the top 3 coldest I have ever been in my life!

I used to sit and watch the parades on TV with the kids as they marched around the coffee table with my upside down pots playing them like snare drums with my cooking spoons.  It was so fun to see them march in their own parade!  It made even me, excited about experiencing the “real” thing when the opportunity arose many years later.

However, once you have been a part of the organized craziness of lining up a huge televised parade with all of those bands and floats in the worst circumstances ever…all I can say is…I now know why they invite different marching bands each year…no one…and I mean no one would voluntarily return.  It is one of those Thanksgiving day experiences that you mark up to…glad I did it..the band kids had a blast...but…this is the goofiest thing I ever did to not cook on Thanksgiving!
A thanksgiving day parade...

Give thanks doing what you do best (no kitchen required!)

There are some women and most men that have been born and survive daily without the desirable “cooking gene”. Science has not yet unraveled the mysterious set of circumstances that prevent the cooking gene from developing in the normal human being. This DNA anomaly is a lifelong condition that literally millions of people live through daily! The most glaring evidence of this condition is an irrational fear of the kitchen, followed by panic outbreaks in grocery stores and an inability to follow recipes. For those of us living daily without the cooking gene…..Cooking is another horrifying household chore, just one-step above cleaning the toilet.
You can only imagine how terrifying Thanksgiving is for women (and most men) that suffer with “NCG” (no cooking gene) of an entire annual holiday that is dedicated to cooking. Yes, they tell you that it is about giving thanks and being grateful, but that is a clever ruse. It is about cooking and eating! So where ever you are, whatever you are doing I hope you will enjoy it, do it well and give thanks in the way that you do best (no kitchen required)!

"Honky Tonk Women" Rolling Stones

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Strategically calculated misbehavior!

This is not to say that I do not do significantly stupid stuff now, but just not quite as bad as in my teens where I could have quite possibly been walking a fine line of legality and I am not even going to broach the moral and social issues!    I cannot imagine how any young person escapes unscathed in today’s world of everyone knows everything!  My saving grace may or may not have been moving out of the area, getting married at 21 and no internet!

I left home the night of my high school graduation because I just could no longer stand the gossip hounds, busybodies, and the know it all’s of a small town.  I did not run far, but I did run to a larger metropolitan area where I was completely anonymous, there was some culture (although at the time not much, but more than where I came from) and I am ever so grateful for living in a more educated politically “blue” area….but the buggars all still have internet and misbehavior has to be strategically calculated…that is....if I do not want to get caught!
"Good Girl"  Julian Moon

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

or, in my case the "wine" person

Or in my case, the “wine” person!  Thanksgiving has never been one of my favorite holidays…well, let’s call a spade a spade…I absolutely detested Thanksgiving.  I never ever understood how me working all day in the kitchen, which I hate and am bad at could possibly be classified as a holiday…cooking, serving, cleaning and then going to work the next day…big fun…NOT! But for years and years and years, I did it with a smile on my face.  Nowadays…going out to dinner or to someone else’s home with a bottle or 2 of wine is a much much better definition of a Happy Thanksgiving! So lucky to have grown children close is a wonderful thing...and I am free of cooking Thanksgiving Dinner!
"I'm Free" Imagine Dragone

Monday, November 19, 2018

That simple...

That may explain it better than most!  Unfettered by rituals, rules, and regulations that were designed for social, political and religious structures that are thousands of years old, a spiritual person is free from the irrelevancy of archaic rules.  Free to follow their hearts and love.  It is just that simple…

"Peace be Upon Us" Sheryl Crow

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The "what-if's"

Breathing is a good thing… 2 weeks of wheezing and hacking are finally ending!  Holy Crap!  Each time I have these fairly routine rounds of pneumonia they get harder and harder to whip!  This time it took 2 rounds of antibiotics and upping the steroids.  The great news is that I have a nebulizer (which we doubled) and Oxygen at home.  The equipment and weekly nurse visits keep me out of the hospital, and that is the best thing! Hospice is awesome!

It feels great to just feel good again and so looking forward to taking some of my life back!  On the “damned if you do-damned if you don’t” program we have decided to keep the steroids at a higher dosage.  They do seem to make my life stronger but they come with a “what if” kidney side effects down the road price and more of an immune system compromise.  But the risk is worth it!  This choice is an easy one for me (and apparently easy for the docs, too).  It is all about life NOW…having the best most productive life I can get right now…After years and years and years of the “deny pleasure, patience is a virtue, wait, save” program, it feels kind of strange to work from an opposite point of view…but it also really does feel kind of good, and I find myself wondering why I did not think this way much earlier in life, not all of the time….but more of the time… I think I would have been much happier!
"Good Life" One Republic

Thursday, November 8, 2018

"voice of reason"

Kind of what happened yesterday!  I have been struggling with a raunchy infection in my lungs, just breathing has been a challenge for more than a week now….ahughhhh!  The first round of antibiotics brought some relief but it did not take long for the symptoms to return, coughing and breathing even more difficult, and beginning to involve my head and ears this time.  When Ed came first thing yesterday morning and after the standard poking and prodding…announced your lungs are clearer, but we have a long way to go.  NO SHIT!  Dr. EVANS….me…. recommended another round of antibiotics and increase the steroids I am over this and so ready to be done.  After Ed spoke to the real doctor…we are going with more antibiotics and upping my daily steroids….yikes…following my recommendation!  Could be trouble! When I am the voice of reason....
"Die Trying" Dave Matthews

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I am ashamed....

My heart is broken and my embarrassment is even worse. I am ashamed of Florida’s political ignorance. Mortified by the white people and money myopia, as a racist prepares to ascend to governor and Medicare con man goes to Washington, I wonder what has happened to people’s honor?  Although, how much more should I expect from the land of “The Villages”, Willis McCall and bible thumping trumpian Christians?  It does feel like am flying a whole new flavor of racism, and maybe I am.... but do we no longer hold people accountable for their actions?  I guess the new rule is to do what you want if it feels good, if it gets you what you want, blame others, lie, cheat, and steal. It does not matter if it is right or wrong.  Are honorable and decent the tenets that only apply when they are convenient?  The one thing that brings some comfort, is the Democrats became the majority of the House and it is returning the country to a 2 party system and a quote by a CNN reporter. “We no longer have a one-party rule - now there are more female, younger, warmer, browner, Muslim,  Native Americans in office.”
"Time Has Come"  The Chambers Brothers

Monday, November 5, 2018

The worst it can do is suck!

The weather is a bit cooler; I have literally done NOTHING for almost 2 weeks…It was time!  The little outside grill sits on this small counter height old table.   Years of being outdoors and having a hot “drippy” little gas grill have really taken a toll on the wood top. It seemed kind of silly to refinish the wood but some old tile, broken plates and grout put a new face on it.  Feels good to do something…even if is bad!
"Light On"  Mark Ballas
Oh...I have been playing with new watercolor crayons.....

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Maybe next time asking for help will not be so damn hard!

For my northern friends...the only way I know it is fall in FL when the
grocery store pastes construction paper fall leaves in the produce department.
And just about the time, I think maybe, just maybe I might be getting a tiny grip on what this journey and dying is about…it slips away from me.  The most magnificent friends and family have offered and have asked me to call if I need help….and I have promised that I would let them know when I need it…but then it occurred to me that I cannot let them know when I need help, because quite frankly, most of the time, I do not know myself.

So when she called and asked… I said yes…I did not want to say yes. I am afraid to need help, to give up any of my independence. “Help” to me feels like being weak, or quitting, or not being good enough.  And OMG I hate it.

But today may have been the best thing I have done in such a long time!  She picked up my groceries, the one thing I really was not supposed to do, but then she brought me homemade leftover roast beef, fresh green beans and carrots and roasted potatoes…so so good and some great REAL FALL “turning” leaves from up north. One of my “Bucket List” trips to see the leaves turn, that I screwed around and waited too long to do!  She taped the leaves to my front window and “poooof” Fall is here!…. Thank You, A….you made my day!  Maybe next time asking for help will not be so damn hard!
"Summer Song"  Chad & Jeremy

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


So I apologize....this is a re-run from 2013...and I just really needed some fucking fearlessness to fight another round of pneumonia.  Fought like a crazy woman to keep it at bay...and I I have to depend on this spectacular body and another round of antibiotics to prove to me and the world I am stronger and better than this...and I am still laughing, living, loving, creating, dancing (well that may be questionable) and still incredibly, wonderfully, magically grateful for this life...I am not done yet!

The world does not expect me to be happy, powerful and loved.

I take away the power of unrealistic and false expectations,
every time I smile, giggle 
and do something I am not supposed to do!

Laughing, living, loving, creating, dancing
and incredibly grateful every day!

fucking  fEaRLeSs…..
"All Star"  Cover by OrtoPilot

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Time for my sacred pause...

Have no idea who the author is, it just arrived on my FB page.  It was just the message that I needed today.  Sometimes struggles sneak up on me when least expected.  It was detected yesterday and today it is a whopper.  There are pieces and parts of me that my heart just struggles to support and it just takes one little blip in the program to throw everything off!  So today I have got some wonky lungs and the nebulizer is on double duty, the hopes of cutting down the prednisone are nixed and we are back on the heinous lockdown program….Damn, I hate when this happens…It just must be time for my sacred pause…
"When Angels Cry"  Janis Ian

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

and it sold! 
It has been so exciting to be a part of this charity art auction!  One local artist wanted to “do something” to help some of the incredible devastations of Hurricane Michael…and so he invited 173 artists to join him and we began a week-long online auction with the hopes of raising $20,000….As of this afternoon 3 days in…we just hit $80,000.00.  It is just amazing how wonderful people can be even in the midst of the political stink we all seem to be stewing in.  And on top of that, my art ego was in dire need of a little kick in the ass.  I have spent the best part of my life creating and selling art.  I loved it! As that part of my life has come to an end, …so have my own feelings of self-worth.  This was so nice to have my work sell again…to feel validated again as an artist, to be who and what I love.  This did so much good in ways that I did not expect…and it is truly wonderful!
"Belly Belly Nice"  Dave Matthews Band

Monday, October 22, 2018

I have created something!

I do not know how to say it any better. It does not matter what happens now,  I have been given the amazing gift of knowing that I created something…I created a whole bunch of somethings and every single one of those somethings was nothing more than my heart singing how happy it was… that is why I am here!
"Shaking the Tree"  Peter Gabriel

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Any day now…you could be in my shoes!

I will not vote for one single Republican, because every single Republican voted against me (except one, and unfortunately he died).

When some of you ask why am I so involved in this election? It is because the quality of my life literally depends on it.  I have a pre-existing
health problem and am an ACHA (Obama Care) Insurance participant.  It is the only insurance that will cover me, and I pay dearly for it, well over $400 per month that is estimated to go up to over $500 a month if it stays the way it is.  I am not complaining about the cost, although I would love for it to not cost so much.

I rarely share publically that I am in end-stage heart failure, in hospice care and my insurance pays for their amazing, loving, supportive palliative care!  If the Republicans win…and impose their current health care proposals it means I will have a much more painful difficult medically unsupported and harder death…it is that simple.  It is that ugly.  The quality of my life depends on my insurance and hospice...and every living Republican Senator voted against me.

Any day now…you could be in my shoes!  So I vote with and for my heart! I hope you will, too!
"Heart of a Hero" Cathy Heller

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