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!"



Sunday, September 30, 2018 see through curious creative eyes

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

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

Friday, September 28, 2018

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

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

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

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Smack this ignorant jerk up side of the head!

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

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

ahhhh…..that feels much better...

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Starting with... unfriending idiots!

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

I am Wearing Combat Boots!

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

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

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

Monday, September 24, 2018

Tigger Did It!

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 23, 2018

...not there yet...

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

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Learning the lessons for myself!

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

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Plan A and spoon accountability

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Positive vs. Negative---Authenticy vs. Vulnerability

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This from an old white guy and I like it!

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

Monday, September 17, 2018


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

"Keep Breathing" Ingrid Michaelson

Sunday, September 16, 2018

You know the list....

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

"Time of the Season" Zombies

Saturday, September 15, 2018

It just feels so good!

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

It's Always Something!

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

Friday, September 14, 2018

No Comparisons!

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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

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

Damn…this is so disappointing! 

"Good Girl" Julian Moon

Ready for more!

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

Monday, September 10, 2018

Still creating!

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

Friday, September 7, 2018

New door!

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

"Blackbird"  The Beatles

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Wish I had more skills!

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

                        "Into the Mystic"  Van Morrison

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

In and Out...with a cookie!

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

Monday, September 3, 2018

Another one has come and gone!

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

just get up and go....

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