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!"


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Monday, December 31, 2018

Shoving the box!

I spent so much life trying to make others love me.  I wanted so badly to fit into the box.  It just never worked. I always felt like I was begging to be noticed and never good enough, much less loved.  This past year, I have finally learned (and am still learning) how to let go of needing to be loved and agreed with.  It is a work in progress, but it is all good!  Afraid to disagree with anyone, I pushed my feelings down because I was sure people might not like me, ignore me and leave me, and some did! However, in all honesty, I have learned how to walk away, too. As I learn how to love me, the need for others to love and/or like me seems to dissolve.  The peace is very nice.

This late in life I am still learning how to love and respect me and my peace.  In some ways, it is much harder than I imagined it would be, and other ways easier…but it is always worth it!  I will be doing much more box shoving this year!
"Let it Go"  Micheal Franti

Sunday, December 30, 2018

…..wish I had done this all of my life!

I cannot speak for everyone, but for myself, I can definitely say my entire life was spent making decisions based on fear and what should not happen.  Like I should not look like I do not know what I am doing, I should not look like I do not know everything I need to know, I should not look like I do not know how to dress, raise children, decorate my home, balance my checkbook perfectly (every month), plant the perfect garden, be the all-knowing artist….and the list goes on and on and on!

And THEN, I had to deal with the medical industry….whoosh…that is the quintessential place where making decisions is always based on fear and how much money they can separate you from.  They will never let you decide to walk away from a test, medication or procedure.  And if you disagree, you get labeled non-compliant, which I suspect does nothing more than relieve them and their insurance company of all malpractice liability.  

Through, horrible medically self-serving advice, old age, and hospice I am learning that I have made decisions all wrong my entire life!  Now everything is based on NO FEAR, what I want to happen and how I want to feel!  …..wish I had done this all of my life!
"Bitch" Meridith Brooks (acoustic) 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

...and the studio is alive again

....and the studio is alive again!  I am loving the unexpected emotional tension that erupts while creating contemporary antiquities.  The challenge of engineering my very first horizontal armature was a bit more challenging than anticipated, and to be honest…still not sure…it was one of those “seat of my pants” operations, but then the seat of my pants has produced some of my best works.  Managing not just the technical support but the single point of balance…yikes…and that center of balance will be lower when she gets mounted on her “real” base…this one is very very temporary! There is so much “finishing” that is still waiting.  Then she will be mounted again on a custom canvas with extra structure and bracing that will support the sculpture and the base.  3-D on the wall…and not base relief!

        "Obeah Woman" Nina Simone

The voice of my soul....

Even when my heart is broken and dying it sings to me!  Yesterday I got to spend the whole day in the studio and all of the sudden while my hands were immersed in thick yummy clay I began to feel my heart coming alive and singing.  It gave me the courage to try something I had not done before and the audacity to move outside my comfort zone.  The need to move into and through my fear was both frightening and exhilarating as I nervously wait for the work to make it through the firing process, praying that it does not crack or break!

Another wonderful opportunity to thank my amazing heart!  Regardless of what is going on physically…it never fails me! It keeps moving me toward my soul and my destiny!
"You and Your Heart"  Jack Johnson

Friday, December 28, 2018

And the choice is mine!

It is kind of a “Come to Jesus” moment! This one kind of follows the “if you build it, they will come “ passage, which I reinterpreted into “if I plan it, it will happen”   Well, I can tell you all now….they are pretty much both BS. 

Now, the part about this quote that gives me all of the “after the fact” power I have found is absolutely truthful.  But if you bought into “The Secret”, “What the Bleep”  and vibrational attraction….I know…I know it really was a thing 20 years ago (and it seemed reasonably new age-y)  you may be screwed.

I expect good things always, I allow for the fact that things can (and do) go horribly wrong.  But just in case I try to be prepared to slog through the fallout.  In my opinion, real power comes from how I choose to survive or get to the other side. 


It is so very true, the only thing in this world we have control over is how I act and react.  So if that is all I’ve got, I think it is worth a whole lot more of my attention!  And then I really get to be the queen of my world!                                                                                                                                    
"Give Peace a Chance"  The Beatles

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Yes, No, Never Mind...it might just be the assholes!

Maybe it was not me!!! Maybe it was those around me!!!  Maybe it is seeing an end in sight, maybe it is just getting older and hopefully a little smarter, or maybe it just does not matter so much anymore.   But I will confess, I think what is bothering most people, and me for a great deal of my life are the really silly things.  They were the things that blew smoke up my skirt, frustrating me, making me crazy, that made me afraid or angry… and for the most part just kind of stupid!  I am not questioning how REAL those things feel at the time, believe me, I have lived a lifetime doing just that, and every now and again I get dragged back into the bad habit, but I am reminding myself not to spend too much energy on what I might feel  is really important now, because I know the time will come when I ask myself, why it bothered me so much.  I will also fess up that I still have a list of things that can drive me nuts for no reason…but as they come up, I am beginning to see them through a whole new set of eyes. 

I suspect some of my friends and family maybe feeling that I am becoming distant and less able to empathize but the choices just seem to be so much clearer now without the perfunctory obligations to do the “research”.
 
Quite simply…  There seem to be the same 3 distinct and Universal answers to every question. 

#1 YES…with all of the commitments and responsibilities knowing that…. yes is a promise, all in, no complaints, show up, follow the instructions,  spend the money,  follow through your agreements, Yes means no complaining, discussing or fearing something that only I can change. As Nike says….Just do it!

#2 NO…drop it, walk away, “no” means I do not get to drag around my or others “no” (or failures) for the rest of my life.  It may or may not impact my life, but I do not want to spend any more of my energy trying to change the feelings or beliefs about it…and I am not so sure I want to waste any of my time and energy having others try to convince me I am wrong (even though I may very well be).

# 3 NEVER MIND I have changed my mind!  (Or  the “cousin” ….do not really care) I believe there is a time and place that this is totally acceptable IF and only IF I have not spent hours, days, years of my life whining and complaining about a situation that I am not willing or able to do anything to change. it’s over…it’s done. 


I do have to remind you….#3 is a dangerous choice and once evoked must be immediately followed by a firm yes or no…Lingering in “Never mind” is dangerous! I know I spent way too much of my life right there, complaining, unwilling and afraid to commit to yes or no!
"All We Are"  Matt Nathanson

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Dick Tracy and Disgusting spots!

My amazing Merry Christmas “Dick Tracy” Watch!  Guess you have to be my Generation plus to understand what that means…but I can get texts (answering them is a bit dicey) make and receive phone calls and a bunch more that I am still learning how to do…it is a learning curve! But such a very cool thing that continues to keep me wonderfully independent!!!   And the red spots from the other day…Ed was here this morning, pretty certain they are nothing more than Prednisone side effects, weakening the small blood vessels….not a big deal (as I suspected)…but would be really nice not to have to look at them…it is kind of disgusting!! 
"Do You Believe in Magic" (or technology) Loving Spoon full

Monday, December 24, 2018

Enchilada Eve

I love how traditions begin….not the traditions that everyone follows because they are told this is what they should do, but the special ones, the ones with history and personal meaning.  Our Enchilada Eve was born from 2 separate things.  #1 we had all the turkey and ham we stand already and #2 My Sister Adrianne had planned to cook a Mexican Birthday Dinner for Skip (his favorite food, back in May 1998) that we never could find the time to make happen…when we were all home.

And then 20 years ago today... it was Christmas Eve and we were all home….so the much belated Birthday Dinner became Enchilada Eve and still is!  Although I really cannot do the Enchilada Eve production anymore my heart sings that my children have embraced the tradition and it will go on!
"Feliz Navidad" Jose Feliciano

Sunday, December 23, 2018

not liking the ugly!

…..and then this happened! 

After a not horrible day, but maybe not one of my best, I decided a nice long hot soak in the tub would be just the ticket!  After all, as far as I am concerned there is no disease, ache, pain, strain, headache, etc., etc. that a good hot soak cannot cure.  Candles and Christmas jazz playing only made it more healing!  But when I got out of that wonderful hot bath…there was this…on both arms…no pain…but what the hell??? Looks like I lost a wrestling match in the bathtub!  Again, no mention of this lovely in the heart failure handbook!  Somebody really needs to update that damn book… but I just looked it up on Google….how did we live without google??? It is petechiae, small bleeds under the skin….well duh!...I figured that out on my own.  But according to Google, not a big deal…in my case, the cause may be, heart rhythm drugs or low palette count (they took me off blood thinners a couple of years ago). Again grateful there is no pain…but really not liking the ugly!
"Body Love" Mary Lambert

Saturday, December 22, 2018

I don’t have any of the answers!

So my life plans went up in smoke years ago and when I didn’t have a plan B or plan C or even a plan fricking Z.  I reach the end of every year both grateful and angry because the holiday season and New Year’s strategies are stories of hope, victories and winning against the odds that I want to be a part of but realistically no longer not apply to my life.  Another year has passed and I did not accomplish the miracle “heal yourself” again. It feels like a horrible reflection on me that I was unable to find the magical new cure or a new strategy, it is still unknown. Sometimes the unknown and incurable scare me. Even in my “Google” world, I have to be OK with there are some questions that have no answers.
When there is no answer and I find myself emotionally beating myself up for not being able to find what does not exist!

So maybe it is OK that I do not have the answers….

Maybe it is OK that I have become a kick-ass chameleon, a fearlessly flexible force to be reckoned with. I get so frustrated when I struggle with little every day things like how do I reach that dish in the top of the cabinet but then I forget that I deal with big-ass life health changes the way other people change their socks. It is going to have to be OK that I don’t have all or any of the answers.

I recognize the changes in me that are far beyond just the physical and the practical. My level of empathy for others, their agonizing choices to live in and uplift the negative, my inability to tolerate other people’s BS, my faith and spirituality, even my politics.  And that’s OK.

I am learning is that it is not OK to keep trying to desperately cling on to the old me, the person I can no longer be, but I am almost afraid to become the person I could be, maybe it’s time I just let go of the old me….but that is the person I know…yikes!
"No Time"  Guess Who

Friday, December 21, 2018

I did....

If you know me at all, you know that I am a historical novel hound…mostly Tudor England, Renaissance Italy, and every once in while I am sucked into the Templar Legends.  I am always in awe of how some amazing writers can take a set of dates and circumstances and weave a story through them.  Then it is wild to see two-three- and often more stories using the same set of circumstances develop from the same set of accepted facts.  It is the only place where facts and fiction seem to literally “dance” together.  Now you know why I was so excited to see the movie “Mary Queen of Scots” that just opened. 

In my place, there are from day to day doubts about what I can and cannot do physically, and that is a huge emotional battle I have with myself!  Then I have a long history of “doing it for myself” so I do not have to depend on others.  This makes for one big-ass 2 part bitter pill to swallow!

But today…I did it!  I have never ever been to the movies by myself…and I did it.  I drove myself the back way (it was a morning show, who knew there was something earlier than an afternoon matinee) drug all of the flipping equipment, bought my own tickets and saw Mary Queen of Scots.  It was great, everything I hoped it would be, and I could see it again and again.  But this time I did it myself, and it feels better than just good…It is me...I am the one that needs to put my arms around my own life...and I did...
"Arms Around My Life" Janis Ian

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Old Expectations...


A tin tree and a new use for the treadmill!  I am not giving up but I am giving in to the reality that my heart and energy levels just can no longer support some of my “want to’s”, “should do’s” and “what everyone else does”. After 40 + years of a home slathered with decorations, lights and a fully decorated Christmas tree I opted to save some of that time and energy that was spent on a traditional Christmas.  This little tree is perfect!  It is in the living room so I can see it all of the time (instead of the front room, where I only got to see it as I was coming and going).  And leftover green jingle bells whenever I have the need to just jingle….and then I have finally found a new use for the treadmill! The perfect place to stack the wrapped gifts!...but the outside lights and the 9ft Christmas Penguin are still up in the front yard…. somethings just have to be!

Yes, it is a different kind of Christmas, and it has already been so much better.  The kind I have always dreamed of with the time and energy focused on the best part of Christmas…friends, family, reflections on all of the wonderful Christmases past without driving myself crazy, making it perfect, being exhausted, frustrated and cranky!  Insisting on doing it the way “it should be done” and I have always done it in the past feels like the unseen and impenetrable barrier that kept me from all of the magnificent “new” out there waiting for me to experience. Letting go of
old expectations, making new for the amazing, simple and new! …Jingle…jingle…jingle
"Details in the Fabric"  Jason Mraz

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Who knew that the path to having more (happiness) was in the act of letting go?

I know I have a couple more weeks before the official end of the year…but I was beginning to look back at what I did and did not accomplish!  Letting go seems to keep rising to the top of “feel good” accomplishments! 

It began when I took a class on cleaning and organizing.  As we paid off the mortgage on our 40-year-old home I looked around and saw 40 years’ worth of stuff.  Stuff that was not being used, although it HAD been loved, used, and used well, now it had become clutter.  It all held so many wonderful memories.  However, the clutter was becoming difficult to manage and was frustrating.  It was time to keep the memories but let go of the stuff, the stuff could be used by others that needed it, my memories live on without it.
 
The second “let go” lesson is negative people.  I know we all are negative from time to time, it is just human.  But I found there were people around me that seem to thrive in stagnation, chaos, and negativity. Again there are plenty of others that may appreciate the chaos but at this part of my life. It is not just frustrating and sad for me…it is physically and emotionally dangerous!  …I choose laughter, creativity, meaning, and growth…I am getting much better at letting go and I am becoming much happier!  Who knew that the path to having more (happiness) was in the act of letting go?
"Carry On"  Crosby Stills, Nash and Young

Monday, December 17, 2018

and that may be the best Christmas gift ever!

Yesterday….was the best family Christmas party ever and I am not being just nice!...
and I have thought a bit about why that is.  

Many things were just the same (same place, same people, eating, you know typical family Christmas stuff) and to be quite frank….I always went and always enjoyed but dear God how I worried and stressed beforehand. Were the gifts appropriate, would my kids stop and say thank you to the right person through the unwrapping frenzy, and please-please would they remember just 50% of the other manners I tried so desperately to instill?  Did I mention they were both boys and would celebrate and high five farts and burps?  Now if this was not neurotic enough throw in, have we dressed appropriately? (in this group that means no permanent stains), is my potluck dish good and/or big enough?, and then there were a lot of years that I just prayed our vehicle would get us there and back!  In other words, my Christmas mission was to show up, be the perfect family and leave without breaking anything or starting a family incident.  Enjoying myself or my family was nowhere on this list!  How does this happen?

This year was so different.  Of course, it has been a few years and there is some wonderful “payback
”!  Now, I get to watch my boys outside chasing their own kids and repeating chronic instructions to say thank you and excuse me. It is some validation that some (not all) of the manners we preached to our boys “took”.

We deviated from one of the “main event” plans!  Instead of individual gifts for each of the kids, I mean the years ago, 5 dollar limit had long since gone.   We (my sisters and I) decided it was a Christmas Party. Christmas Party favors and activities would be kid appropriate!  Although if you added up what was spent to buy all of the stuff for the Piñatas, we may have way overdone it! But oh my how fun it was to buy all of that “junk”!  Here is the thing, we were a bit nervous about whether the Piñata would work, I mean they have been here every year…they do have some serious gift expectations! But the Piñatas were a hit, all of them from age 2 to 15 they were in there laughing, whacking and scrambling through the loot…This may be the time to mention that some of the “loot” in the Piñatas really was “loot”,  it kind of insured high participation from all levels and ages! But it was so fun to watch and boy were they engaged in the whole thing….all of them!  Whew!!!  It worked!

So the kid’s manners and my gift purchasing/giving was no longer in the mix to worry about, and the vehicles do seem to be more reliable, the only thing to stress about was the potluck and the clothes with no stains. This year instead of making a dish I thought everyone else would like, I made what I liked… then….if no one liked it, I had some great leftovers that I wanted to bring home myself.  And the stainless clothes well…who cares now!

For the first time, really the first time I looked around and realized…THIS---THIS is fun, this is how a family Christmas party should be, I really had a great time…or maybe I am finally at a place that I do not worry or give a “rats ass” about what others are thinking or I will admit that “perfect family” performance, I was so sure was necessary, never really worked anyway! …. and that may be the best Christmas gift ever!
FA-LA-LA-LA
aka "Deck the Halls" Mannheim Steamroller

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Actually...NO CHANCE!

After weeks of personal political peace, there was a small but obvious eruption of opinionated white males.  These men seldom if ever have anything to say to me (online) until I post or agree with another’s negative opinion about the current president or ponder out loud how professed Christians can continue to support him.  No one will ever change my mind or make me feel that the disgusting cruel behavior and the spiteful threat in the White House can ever be justified. Why in the world do they think they have the responsibility of convincing me I am wrong?  I have never questioned or objected to their views on their personal pages!  I honor and respect their opinions by NOT reacting to their viewpoints.  I expect the same. I have no intent or obligation to listen to anyone use another’s behavior (Clinton) or a booming economy as a way to rationalize, convince and/or support through their silence the horrendous behavior of the indefensible. There can NEVER be justification for intentional cruelty and deceit!  
                     
"Imagine" Playing for change compilation

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

Participating

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

SNIFFFFF.....

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

...one 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 by...it 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.
These are REAL FALL LEAVES!
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

still.....fearless

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 lost....so 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