life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

Don't Talk Like That...

I write to find out what my heart thinks....

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

I am here to celebrate my life, to uncover my fears, to hold on to love, to grieve my losses, to laugh long and hard, and to learn how to live a full magnificent life with heart failure.

I am honoring my creativity, and exploring all of my emotions out loud ...before anyone can say....."Don't talk like that!"


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Thursday, August 16, 2018

It seems to be as much a part of who I am as my own right elbow!

Last summer I officially declared that it was the last Artist’s Way Group at the Casselberry Art House, I had done the same the year before at the Leesburg Center for the Arts.  I figured it was time for me to begin directing my time and energy towards my own passions. 

So, to find myself curating another Artist’s Way “Celebration of Creativity”…was unexpected…but here we go!  I do so enjoy being around other creatives, and did not really realize just how much until this came around…

It has been so very fun putting this together, of course having the artists step forward with amazing works and to hang was such a great help.  They are all awesome!  I am so very very lucky to have such an amazing tribe.  Is this the last time I do this? Maybe not…I thought last summer was the last!  I think from here on out I will participate in every opportunity the Universe puts in my path and revel in the health and strength to do them!  It seems to be as much a part of who I am as my own right elbow!
                                                                                     "Do it Again"  Steely Dan

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Just the Right Amount of "Sameness"

or….everything changes.

There is something very safe and comforting about “sameness”.  I am not saying that it is something that I aspire to; just there is a place in my life that I do like some repetition.  Until this past week,
I would have railed on and on about how I hated it.  But I am thinking that some “sameness” becomes the anchor that holds me in place and gives me a safe location to come back to.  I suspect what creative success I have had and my courage to travel the outdoor art festival circuit, maybe as simple as living in the same place for over 40 years.  Changes in my life and heart failure do not seem quite so scary when I have such a wonderful “anchor” to come back to.  So life goes on, but it goes on with a bit more color, enthusiasm, excitement, anticipation, and pleasure because I have just the right amount of sameness!

"Groovin"  War

Monday, August 13, 2018

...and would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

The beach week is over, unpacking and laundry are underway but I just had to stop one more time to enjoy some of the pictures and memories!  The boys were so much fun and so well behaved! What a joy to get to spend time with each of them!  And oh my… they grow so fast! The whole week was a magnificent day after day of smiles and laughs laced with great food, sun, and water, but there was also wonderful after dark “grownup” time with a few drinks and the best conversations!  It just could not have been any better. Thank you Skip, Jason, Steph, Oliver Owen, Steven, Cooper, Cathye, Jacob, Adrianne, and Larry, you all made it perfect!  Leaving this year was so so hard! Each time a yearly event or holiday comes there is a horrible voice in the back of my head that screams this may be the last time I get to do this.  That voice was really loud this year and that may be what made this year so extra special and at the same time incited the tears as we left, but I would not have missed one minute of it! (and would do it all over again in a heartbeat!)
"The Time of  My Life"  from Dirty Dancing

Friday, August 3, 2018

Without regret!

I really really wish I had figured this one out 50 or so years ago!  I have wasted so much of my life caring about what I did or how it looked like to others. Being a part of a group that just did not fit me,  churches, art groups, women’s clubs, political parties.   I admit I have always worked outside most of the boundaries, but if you only know how much courage it took if you only knew how I grieved about would they like me or my ideas.  How much time was wasted worrying about “them”?


Things have changed, and so have I!  I mean…what is the worst that can happen? I die?…and that is going to happen anyway….so why not! It is time now to do what I should have done 50 years ago, let go, enjoy, party. love, live…without regret!
"They" Jem

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

I do have my own crown and a crystal tiara!

and….I do have my own crown and a crystal tiara!

I will coordinate and hang what will probably be my last Artist’s Way Creativity of Celebration; however, I have to confess I thought I had done this last year, too.  It truly came as a last minute surprise, more like somebody at the city did not take our group off the yearly exhibition calendar…it does not really matter I am tickled to have the opportunity to do this again.  It has been a bit weird doing it without having the classes that go along with the planning sessions, so there is a bit of angst that comes along with this. In addition to the normal pre-installation worry,  I find my head and my heart reaching back and remembering all of the fun we have had over the years, the times I tried what I thought were really stupid things, umbrellas, kites, stools, clocks, boxes  etc… sure that others would make fun of me, but I  did it anyway.

 So I am not going to worry about what this body will or will not let me do….like it used to.  I am just going to go in there and do it…I am surrounded by people that will help me and not think I am weak or failing…. I am going to enjoy this!... I will not let this fear steal this magic experience from me! (until maybe next year….lol…)
"Reflections"  Marmelade

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Every full moon...

Women and the moon share common cycles, maybe that is why I am so affected by the full moons.  I know more babies are born, more crimes are committed and there are in general more hospital admissions, there must be something to it, but I know of no scientific reason, as of right now.  So I have learned to embrace the change of and the intensity of my emotions on the full moon.  I have never been able to understand it, but I know in my heart how powerful the full moon is.  If nothing else, it is a reliable point 12 times a year, that I can examine the feelings I hold on to, why I believe them. I have the strength to let go of those things that no longer serve my life.  And every time I let go of the negative I make room for more positive.  That is my joy every full moon!

"Moon Dance"  Van Morrison

Friday, July 27, 2018

I am NOT for everyone....

I am slow…but I am learning.  Raised in the South and a good Episcopalian the concept of someone, anyone not liking me was not even discussed.  It was my job to make them like me.  I was to dress properly, speak properly (never about money,  religion or politics), use impeccable table manners, do not speak until spoken to first, never ask for anything, wait until someone offers it to you and there were many many more ridiculous “rules”.  The only good women are Christian, great mothers, good cooks, and superb homemakers. I am none of these!  This was the plan as it was taught to me. In short, if you did all of the right things, everyone would like me and I would attract the “proper” friends.   Not being liked was a sign of failure on my part.

It was a different generation and the concept of being “liked” appears to have been a major part of all women’s roles!  So when I see a post like this, it reaches into my heart and gives me permission to politely continue on my own path,  I do not need anyone else’s approval and the older I get the more I realize I never did.  I am not for everyone, and it is ok!


I only need to spend my love, life, energy and time with those that “get me” and like me just the way I am.
"Song for a Friend" Jason Mraz

Thursday, July 26, 2018

I am brave, I am bruised and I am still breaking the rules!

and it begins…..yep…I know the next venue has a history of censoring nudes…but I have felt quite obstinate lately and really really having such a great time experimenting with female proportion and scale.  Enjoying having my hands in wet and gooey clay…loving the tactile part of this.  I am thinking perhaps this may have been the next natural step all along…even my 2D work was tactile and very textural.  If I keep is very Roman classical relic-y…they would not dare censor it?…
Well, they might…we will see? 

Right now I just have a need to break some rules! I am brave, I am bruised, but this is who I am meant to be…. this is me….

                         "This is Me" from The Greatest Showman 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Anything that vibrates is a GOOD thing!

Old faithful has sprung another leak, that is developing quickly into a major hole, which unfortunately matches the holes in the seat that I have managed to “mask” with a cheesy quilted seat cover over the past year or so. It looks like whether I am ready or not to give up my old faithful….it is time! As I was online looking at my chair replacement options I came across this chair (pic on right). It is the right style, and the right color…that is a plus-plus.  It was in my price range…big plus, but it is not leather…as my sister calls it….”pleather” or in another day and age “naugahide-ish” BIG MINUS….but then.....I read the description…it vibrates in certain places (lumbar, thighs, upper back) and has heat...all of the sudden it is SCREW the logical rational way of making good choices. Anything that vibrates is a good thing! ...and....it is on the way to my house! Delivery date is 8-1!
"Good Girl"  Julian Moon

Gnats Ass Opinions

You may….or may not have noticed that I have been much more vocal about my political opinions (and other opinions too). The first few times I publically stated my political opinion on social media, I felt like I was summarily chastised for even having one. My feelings were hurt. I mean, in my world, shouldn’t everyone agree with me?...lol…  My first, best, protect my ego option to avoid further public humiliation was to just be quiet, not speak up, just stop.  And I did.   That might be the end of this story, but then, you knew better!

As my heart continues to degrade and my own physical abilities show signs of significant failure, I find myself in a constant state of reinventing how I do things. It occurred to me that the one thing this disease has not affected nor had the ability to take away from me is my voice, actually my words.  If something as volatile and destructive as heart failure cannot take away my voice, why should I allow a bunch of small minded ignorant bullies on social media do it?  I mean compared to what I am dealing with now and will in the future, I cannot allow them or their opinions to be any more important or powerful to me than a gnats ass.  So stand back…I am just learning how powerful these words of mine can be!
"Me" Paula Cole

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

It is all about the "pan"...

Ok…ok…ok…I can be an asshole.  Not terribly proud of this “skill” but I have been told by many that my asshole talents are spectacular.  But...it is good to know that when an occasion arises I do have the skills!

In my own defense, I find that by leaving my emotions, anger, preconceived notions, childhood beliefs and negative connotations out of the listening process,  I have the opportunity to “hear” another’s point of view.  This does not mean I will agree with it, however, I will concede that every opinion that is different than mine has the opportunity to change or modify my own thoughts.  It is my opportunity to learn and grow.  My considerable asshole-ness arrives when others refuse to extend the same courtesy.

Different opinions push us all to think beyond, they press us into growth and force us to look at our beliefs from a different and perhaps more reasonable point of view.  At the very least we must truly consider how and why we formed and hold onto the beliefs we do have.  I have told this story many times in class.  When any new idea comes along and my negative knee-jerk reaction begins to surface…I pinch myself and remember this story.

A mother and daughter are preparing a big family meal, and the mother reminds the daughter to cut off the end of the ham before she puts it in the roasting pan and then into the oven.  The daughter asks why do we cut off the end of the ham and her mother replies that is how my mother taught me to do it.  The daughter unsatisfied with her mother’s answer calls her grandmother and asks why do we cut the end of the ham off before it goes into the oven.   The grandmother replies, my roasting pan is small, when I cut off the end it fits just right into my roasting pan.
"Moma Told Me Not to Come"  3 Dog Night

Friday, July 20, 2018

The only way to survive is laugh...

It is all giggles and grins until it happens to me….Holy Crap!!  After a week of wicked muscle cramps, and I am not talking about “charlie horses” I am talking about full on there is some kind of demon inside of me twisting, squeezing, stabbing, cussing, crying and physically contorting every muscle from my toes right up to my armpits MUSCLE CRAMPs!  Those lower leg calf cramps I have had in the past, where I hopped out of bed and limped around my bedroom cussing in the dark trying to stretch that calf muscle until it let go and relaxed…… were NOTHING…those calf cramps were the piss ants of muscle cramps compared to these “mothers”!

So, Ed (my hospice nurse and after this week, aka as my personal hero) knew just what it was and how to make it stop.  I was sure that the only reasonable answer to stop this mess would be a lifetime supply of free-flowing muscle relaxers …surprisingly that was not the answer.  Clearly, the reason I am not in the medical profession!  The cure was as simple as doubling up on the potassium and orange juice!  Last night I stayed down until 3:30 am, which before this past week would be completely unacceptable, but last night it was a little bit of heaven to sleep uninterrupted and cramp free for that many hours!

There is a full on medical explanation for this crappy new set of circumstances that unfortunately make perfect sense… but I will not bore you with that, quite frankly it bores me…all I need to know is “make it stop”.  I am now at the point of this lousy situation that the “fix” for one set of problems is often responsible for setting off a whole other set of equally vicious problems. It is a variation of that old saying “damned if you do….damned if you don’t”  And I am here to tell you… the only way to survive is to laugh.
"Heal Yourself"  Ruthie Foster

Thursday, July 19, 2018

There is some good news....

I have always been a rather political animal and that may surprise most people.  But it began more than 40 years ago in Miami.  We the younger generation (aka the hippie generation) staged “sit-ins” to get the 18-year-old vote. Up until 1972, you had to be 21 to vote. The 18-year-old young men were being drafted to fight and die in Viet Nam but could not vote in the country they were protecting and supporting.  I love seeing the activism rise again, I suspect those that participate now will also be “bitten” with a lifelong interest in politics like I have been or I can hope so!  When I look at the 2016 election statistics and see that 46% + of registered voters did not vote my heart breaks but my anger rages too!

In this day and age, it appears that a good part of our population did not have a civics class in school or if they did have forgotten!  This all began with Trump campaigning on promises that he did not have the authority or power to implement.  But a good amount of voters were apparently unaware of the constitutional powers of a president and believed those false promises.  He is still spewing lies to the country via Twitter  (and an occasional press briefing).  There is still a major part of our population that does not understand what is and what is not in the presidential scope of powers.

I thank our founding fathers on a daily basis for devising a system of checks and balances.  They seemed to have known eventually somewhere in history a Trump would arise and we would need the legal tools to control power out of control.  And they not only placed a “backup" system in but devised a triple check just in case more than one branch of our government fails us.  Executive, Legislative, Judiciary

We are watching the absolute failure of the executive branch, with cabinet member after cabinet member being fired and or quitting for gross miss use of taxpayer money or just plain incompetence on an almost weekly basis. There are secret negotiations and defending the policies of known US enemies, the berating and public bashing of known allies and a constant barrage of embarrassing presidential statements that arrive daily via twitter proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that he does not understand how our government works. And I can safely claim enough doubt in this administration without having to dip into the personal behavior of the president with Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, etc… The Executive Branch is unquestionably incompetent and at the very worst maybe downright corrupt.

Our first line of back up to prevent this kind of malfeasants is our legislative branch of Senators and Representatives.  Clearly, a vast amount of our Republican legislators have put their own political careers and re-elections behind the numerical popularity of the current administration.  They are ignoring the voices of their constituents and pandering to the president's whims and the corporate lobbyist campaign donations to hold on to the votes of the Republican base.  They have chosen money, party, and reelection over patriotism and what is good for the country.

Our last vestige of common sense is the Judiciary branch.  Against an onslaught of attempts to thwart their findings and shut down their investigations, they continue on.  I am now and will be forever indebted to their dedication to their jobs.  They seem to be our last line of finding the truth and restoring our honor.

However, there is one more check on this administration.  It is the biggest and best tool we have to make a change.  It is our voice and our vote!  only hope that they along with the 46% + that did not vote in the last presidential election I have to turn my finger around and point it at us.  We are ultimately responsible for this mess, but the good news is we also still hold the power to turn this around.   Mid-terms are around the corner ….Vote….

"Got to do Better"  Eric Bibb

Friday, July 13, 2018

Such an honor!

Overwhelmed and probably one of the luckiest people in the world!  I knew the City was doing an article about the summer AW exhibition but this is such an honor!  This great creative life has not only allowed me to generate an income (not millions but an income) I have met so many great amazing creatives and friends...it could not possibly get any better than this.....Such an honor!


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Practice, balance and focus...optimism...I hope

I am trying…I am trying but it is not that easy anymore.  Not that it was ever that easy….but holy crap…today’s political climate makes practicing reckless optimism more difficult than ever!   The wholesale negativity that is constantly slathered over our country adds a whole new layer of crap to cut through on a daily basis. The only way I can balance this out, keep the negativity of it from swallowing me whole is to create more… I need to provide some balance in my world.  Practicing reckless optimism, for me, means practicing more, different, challenging creativity.  It is the only way I have to keep from suffering through some of the horrific politics and human rights atrocities in this country. I have to keep some kind of perspective these days.  I am certain I would be in a constant state of depression or would have “checked out” completely if I did not have the creativity to fall back on to keep me balanced and focused.  Who would have thought balance and focus would be the words I would use to describe creativity?  But in today’s politically volatile environment, it is.  Now I understand from a whole new perspective, how and why the Renaissance happened.  History does repeat itself, the only question is which period of history is repeating and has anyone been paying attention?
"No Other Way"  Jack Johnson"

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

We might all learn...

This one really bites.  I have to admit my level of frustration has hit an all-time high in these divisive times.  But at the risk of undoing this lovely sentiment…it is really not any of the #1  issues, although that is what we want to blame, that truly drives me crazy.  It is the sheer amount of ignorance or the unwillingness to listen that is truly the reason for this discord.  It is the use of “holier than thou” religion to justify misogyny, ignorance, and prejudice.  If you study carefully, you will come to understand that the true root of all of this world’s hate, evil,  and every single war throughout history always, always boils down to one or both of these two reasons, and typically they are found working together…GREED and RELIGION!  I suspect greed is an ugly part of human nature and will be a dark part of each of us, a part that we all need to recognize and understand how harmful it can be.  But I believe that religion (almost every religion) is the tool that fans the conflict and convinces us it is ok to politically control others through fear...  Religion is the vehicle that spreads greed and fear.  The intelligent examination of the issue and thorough consideration of love, peace, fairness, and human feelings will point you to the right thing for all people…not just you or your group of common believers.  Joining a tribe of “like minds” because it feels better just to be accepted and liked is never the right thing to do. This is the same mentality, the need to belong, that encourages the hate and violence of street gangs.  Trust the “good” that dwells in all of us, that recognize our differences and celebrate, uphold love and appreciate another's point of view.  That is when we might all listen and learn something loving.
"I believe in Love" Indigo Girls

Monday, July 9, 2018

no stopping this time....

I seem to be in this heinous stop…start…stop…start pattern.  Frustrating as hell!  I get some energy up (often chemically induced, but I really do not care where it comes from or how I get it) and have this tremendous need to begin…something!  House cleaning, sewing projects, creating in the studio anything!  There is so much I want to do and so little energy to do it.  I have tried the slowdown…”little bits at a time” program, it really is not my style but it may be the last and only choice I have if I want to keep being active and productive!  The “spoonie” program (refer to a few weeks back) helps with this but it does not come easy.  So I am just going to start…again…and not stop this time.
"Don't Stop Till You Get Enough"  M Jackson

Friday, July 6, 2018

What else can I do?

I do not think there is anyone that has had a big ugly life change that has not looked around and said “what did I do wrong?” or “what did I do to deserve this?”.  It is not fair…and if you believe in karma… well, there you go!  I deserved this.  Then there is a part of me that races back through my entire life to figure out what I did wrong.  Every bad judgment,  poor decision,  mistake, blunder, miscalculation and/or misstep roars into my head screaming at my heart…” you did this and now you will pay for it”!

Sadly the one thing I have learned through this process is there is nothing I can do now …to undo what I have done.  The only thing I get to do now is forgive myself and I do not think that will bring me much peace, but I will forgive myself anyway…..what else can I do?
"Same Mistake" James Blount

Thursday, July 5, 2018

And...the lesson is...

Once upon a time…on social media, Facebook specifically, I posted a political opinion, not profane, not a particularly unprecedented idea but a political idea that I felt was worth repeating and expanding on.  The “trump trolls” (my personal and yes I know childlike name for the Trump supporters) arrived in mass and began verbally bullying, tormenting and haranguing …just like Trump himself.  My responses were respectful, clear and, founded in fact, their replies to me were negative, rude and wholly disrespectful of my opinion on my own Facebook feed. 

For a time,  I publically defended myself but to no avail, some of them are like rabid dogs and just do not let go or give up.  My solution was to just “unfriend” them.  The experience was really unpleasant and I decided to just not participate negatively or politically on Facebook anymore. The anti-democratic memes and unsubstantiated theories began to increase on my feed and I realized this may have been their original objective.  Perhaps that was the intent, to keep me and others from having free or opposing opinions and sharing them with others.  

I began to feel a little guilty, I mean am I being fair to myself if I only allow myself to participate,  hear and/or experience one side of an issue. I tiptoed back into political posts on Facebook and a whole new pack of  “trump trolls” began.  Again I tried to have a rational fact-based discussion, but this is not how they operate, they want to talk about the Clintons!  Really…with today’s volatile policies on immigration, foreign policy, and tariffs, they still want to talk about the 2016 election.  

And the lesson is: I will not withhold my opinions, they are as valid as anyone else’s.  If you care to have an open, thoughtful, positive dialog (even if it differs from mine), I am anxious to post,  listen and respond. However, if your purpose is only to bring up unrelated past issues, belittle and berate others that have differing points of view, I have an unfriend button and I am using it copiously.
"For What it's Worth"  Buffalo Springfield

Monday, July 2, 2018

On days like these...

Woke up this morning and really looked at me….saw the effects of the steroids are having on my physical body that was already way off the charts of normal…I do not need any help in the abnormal department.  I noticed all of the wrinkles and the gray hair (which I promptly took care of…thank you Loreal!) but the wrinkles and the round lumps and bumps I need to learn how to accept and maybe even love.  This video crossed my page, and it did make me feel a little better and I thought I should save it so I can easily look back at it on days like these.

When do we quit pointing fingers?

I may need my steroids adjusted …lol… feels like I am picking fights...all I can say is maybe it is better to grouse on the internet than at my family…All of that being said I would like to share a recent (yesterday) experience. 

At the end of last week, there was a Senate hearing with Chris Wray and Rod Rosenstein.  I confess I did not watch it all, only the highlights, but was absolutely amazed at how heated and non-statesmanlike the exchanges became…embarrassing even.  The bone of contention was about stopping the Mueller investigation and on some level impugning the investigative process and the Justice Departments work.  It was to that end, that I posted a meme on FB.  It was a picture of past politicians comparing the length of time they had been investigated and the number of indictments and convictions with the current Mueller investigations.  I thought it was an excellent way to compare and visually state the case that the current investigation has taken much less time, produced many many more indictments, and guilty pleas already and if nothing else that must clearly signify that continuing this investigation is important.  After all, if he is innocent there is nothing to worry about.

But NO…it brought out another hornet's nest of “Trump Trolls” whose only argument to anything that is happening politically is to march out the past administration actions as if that should excuse, explain and justify the abominable behavior that is going on in this administration. 

When do we quit pointing fingers and begin to work together towards positive solutions for real-life current political problems?  Open hearts and minds that confine discussions to current problems and solutions must prevail!
"Got to do Better"  Eric Bibb

Sunday, July 1, 2018

But for now I have internet and I am crossing my fingers!

WARNING  
GROUSING AHEAD!                      I am back!  After being told it would be 4 days before CenturyLink technician, and this is the 7th time in 6 months we have had to wait for days to have a repairman tend to a problem that could not be corrected by them “refreshing” our system from their office and that has worked on occasion. We decided it was time to change companies.  In this past year, I have taken advantage of “smart home technology with uses the internet.  We have Alexa placed in several locations throughout the house and I call (phone) via Alexa if I need help and cannot reach my phone.  And after passing out, (which has now become a part of this disease) we decided that a camera and a coded door lock would allow “Help” to get to me, even if I could not get to the door.  I also use it to turn lights on and off so I do not have to walk in the dark to get to the bedroom.  Yes, it is extravagant, but it gives me such peace of mind and allows me to stay as independent as possible for as long as possible. With such unreliable service, I explained that I  wanted to cancel them after 11 years (actually we have been with this company since 1978, but it has been bought out many times) CenturyLink replied I could not cancel them, I had a contract with them until 2019.  When I asked for a copy of that contract, I was transferred 3 times to a man that said it was a verbal contract and I had to have a court order to get a copy of it.  WHAT???? So I have opted to just not pay next month’s bill and return the equipment.  If necessary go to small claims court. That’s all!  And now I hope our new service provider has more consistent service.  But for now I have internet and I am crossing my fingers!
"All Right Now"  Free

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

C'mon Karma!

I do not think you need a rocket scientist to understand this veiled threat.  And probably calling it a veiled threat may actually and officially remove the veil…so… it is just a plain threat now.  But if you are going to post anything political on FB you have to be just a bit sneaky to slip past the “trump trolls”, fortunately, it is not hard to do.  But if they suspect they will feel the need to defend, they will wig out and will aggressively pursue anyone they think maybe be the least bit negative about this horrible President, his morals or lack thereof and his ability to lead anything…much less a country!  Over the weekend and yesterday,
there were a handful of instances where people and politicians were beginning to cave to their anger and push back.  There was a part of me that was more than delighted cheering them on from my chair in front of the TV, but then I realized if we stoop to his level, we are no better than him and will probably loose.  After all, he has so much more practice at being a bully, lying, name-calling, reneging on promises and pretty much doing whatever he wants to make himself feel bigger and better than everyone else.  We have to trust in the legal system and Bob Mueller, and trust that narcissists believe they cannot be caught and therefore screw up…and there is Karma.. C’mon Karma!
"Karma Chameleon" Culture Club

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Is it distorted synchronicity?

In my heart, I am hoping that what we are experiencing in this country has some “larger than I can understand” meaning.  I keep thinking that perhaps we had to get to this destructive and vulgar point as a country before we the people were motivated to do something about it. I worry there are many more historical instances of this kind of political decline falling into complete and utter depravity before sinking into total decay, never returning the country or government to the same or better circumstances for its people. Is this some kind of distorted synchronicity giving us a sincere warning before things get so bad we cannot turn it around?
"Change the World"  Eric Clapton

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Just do the right thing!

But if that is not enough, here is a direct quote.  This is not an attempt to be “holier than thou”, but simply an observation.  After the last few weeks and the immigration issue of separating innocent children from their families, Christians that have supported and upheld the recent Trump policies and appointments have been incredibly silent. This latest “policy and somewhat reversal” has clear and unquestionable instruction for Christians to follow. A well known biblical quote direct from Christ, and still, it was ignored.  I was shocked when Christians did not come out in mass chastising his payment to a porn star and others.  I stood back observing the churches reactions while they watched him lie, and berate and blame others for his misdeeds and still nothing. They continued to excuse and support.  Every now and again I hear a little rumble of discomfort with his behavior…but never more than that.  I do not understand Christians or Republicans and am proud to now call myself neither (and I used to be both)….I am just a human…trying my best to do the right thing based on love.  I think this is what we need more of. Stop hiding behind labels and just do the right thing!
"Breaking Silence"  Janis Ian

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Trump's Toilet

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

Sunday, June 17, 2018

In My Father's Eyes....





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

Saturday, June 16, 2018

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

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

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

Friday, June 15, 2018

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

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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

ooooops!

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

and the biggest is...expectations block miracles

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

Monday, June 11, 2018

Who knew it was so hard on the "HULK"

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

Saturday, June 9, 2018

so...just do it!

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

Friday, June 8, 2018

Take all your chances while you can!

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

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

Thursday, June 7, 2018

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

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


"Fumbling Towards Ecstacy" Sarah McLachlan

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I am smiling!

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

Sunday, June 3, 2018

We have hawks!

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

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

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

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Not just endure.....CELEBRATE!

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

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Glorious....

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

"Heal Yourself"  Ruthie Foster

Monday, May 28, 2018

I Want to to be a "Spoonie"

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

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

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


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

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

... I am officially a spoonie!

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

Sunday, May 27, 2018

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 25, 2018

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


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

" More of That"  Eric Bibb

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

42 more things to learn!

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

Monday, May 14, 2018

Rainy Days & Mondays

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

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

"Rainy Days & Mondays"  The Carpenters

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I promise.....no Gator games!

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

sooooooo.....worth it!

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

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

"The Secret of Life"  James Taylor