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!"



Saturday, September 14, 2019

if one more person tells me...

Spinach Artichoke Ravioli Bake
The last of your leftovers….I struggled with your goofy food preferences all of our lives…you would eat little meat except for fast food hamburgers (which only proved my suspicions about was that really meat in those burgers), ham sandwiches, an occasional steak, and NO leftovers. Leftovers was not a problem when the boys were home, but when it was just the 2 of us, recipes for just 2 people were difficult to find. I would make the full recipe serve half then freeze the rest, bringing it back to life weeks (or months) later.  For some reason, “leftovers” in your mind seemed to be a “time thing” if you saw the same food within a week it was officially a leftover…and a no go!  More than a couple of weeks and you were good with it.  I always thought I was tricking you, but you had to have known. 

Last night for dinner I had the last of your sneaky leftovers. It was somewhere between a funny memory and celebration of you but it quickly degraded into tears and mourning your loss all over again, just from a different perspective.  I keep asking myself will this pain ever stop, is this weird?  

And if one more person tells me that we all grieve differently and for individual amounts of time, I think I might hurt them….I just need to know what will normal look like and will I ever get through another day without the pain and the crying again?
"We May Never Pass this Way Again"  Seals & Croft

Friday the 13th....DONE & DONE

Is this the New normal….old people hampers, wheeled trash cans, security cameras, Friday the 13th, attorneys, full moons and all without the love of my life?  The only thing I want desperately to change is the one thing I cannot.  Most of this other crap is just stuff that I have got to do and I truly hate it all…except for the full moon…Full moons have always been a source of strength for me, and perhaps that is how I ended up in the attorney's office signing wills, establishing life Deeds, and other dead and dying business, etc.…etc. of Friday the 13th.  There was an unexpected ending…. At the end of the day a young man and dear friend of Skips stopped by.  This was an unlikely alliance that developed into one of the most unique friendships that I have ever seen. It was more than just friends/workmates and more like grandfather/mentor and young strong intelligent man…a perfect compliment, sincere respect for one another and they truly just liked and enjoyed each other.  But more than that he was the young man that literally held Skip in his arms as he died. Although I was “told” what happened, never by the one that was actually there and the story was quite different and so very touching.  It was a bit of a shock to hear things I had not heard before but in the end…much better to know that Skip did not die alone. I truly believe now he waited for Kevin to get there, and he was in the arms of someone that cared deeply about him and that had the strength and intelligence to do what needed to be done. Thank you again, Kevin!
"I Try"  Ben Taylor

Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday the 13th....

Friday the 13th has never really been a big deal for me….until.  And I am still not sure.  In legal preparation for my own death that had been suggested by hospice, we had transferred all of our joint assets into Skip’s name with the intent of avoiding probate and all other legal transfers.  IT BACKFIRED!  Skip died without a will and everything in his name.  It has been a legal nightmare, but today it is finished and ready to be filed with the courts and for me to sign and execute my own will…and I am re-thinking this Friday the 13th business.
"I'm a Mess" Ed Sheeran

Thursday, September 12, 2019


Rings...Mine were not perfect and sometimes lost  ... but always without a beginning and without an end.

Over the years, besides my wedding/engagement ring there were 2 more rings that I wear that are truly significant to Skip and I but that is another story.  I had misplaced ...lost my wedding /engagement ring several years ago.  When they implanted the SCID defibrillator in my chest I could not wear metal during the surgery or for several days afterward., and then again at some of the monthly recalibration sessions in the cardiologist's office.  I always left my other rings in Nana’s antique teacups in the china cabinet, but afraid to forget or lose my engagement/wedding rings I but them away in a “special” place that I would not lose.  It was such a good special place that I forgot where it was...and that seems to happen a lot more recently.  Over the years although I worried and wondered where they were, always afraid they had accidentally been really lost, but always reassured myself they would turn up.

There has been a new and rising need to find them since Skip died.  I wanted desperately to have that feeling of a new love and the ignorant excitement about beginning a life together at 21 and 23 years old.  I cannot explain right now exactly how or why, but Skip is still in the home that we spent together for 41+ years together.   He does not talk to me with words, nor do I see him. With my eyes, but I “feel” him.  He is everywhere.  The house is full of him, in the furniture we built together, the tiles we laid, walls we painted, doors installed and on and on and on….it is as strong and as close to tangible as I have ever known.

Yesterday, after working all day, cleaning the clothes out of his closet and chest of drawers for the charity truck to pick up, my fingers swelled (per normal) and I moved my rings to smaller fingers before they got stuck.  As soon as my empty ring finger was “naked” he showed me where our wedding/engagement rings were. ...and that is exactly where they were. This part of us is back on my hand….and although there was a definite beginning and lots of stutters and screw-ups, we will have no end.  And that sparkle that catches my eye reminds me of your smile.

"Ghost" Indigo Girls

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

My Heart Just Knows..

You might think I am nuts, and there may be 42 other explanations, but my heart knows what this is.

This silly mobile hangs over my bed. The mechanics of the mobile is a Guggenheim Museum souvenir gift shop goodie my Mother bought when we were in NY 10+ years ago.  She added some of her homemade artsy chachkies and gave it to me as a gift.  Later, I added the whimsical irreverent angels that she would tie to my Christmas gifts. It hangs over my bed and it felt my mother watches over me as I sleep.  

All of this hang from the ceiling fan pull (the fan part turns on at the wall, but if I want the light on, I have to pull the short-chain). I could no longer reach over the bed to pull that chain.

I found this old bell partially buried in the yard.  It had been a part of an old wind chime that had broken in a storm years ago. I just knew if I cleaned it up it would make a great "light pull" chain extender. It was a rusty mess after being outside in the ground and even after I cleaned it up  I could not break loose the rust inside enough to loosen the ringer. I finally gave up and felt that it really was not important, I just needed something that I could grasp to pull and turn on the light…ringing was not necessary.  So the whimsical mobile and the silent bell have hung there for several years, protecting me as I slept and making it a bit easier to turn the overhead fan ceiling light on and off. 

Two days after Skip died, that rusted bell just began to ring.  Sometimes it barely tinkles other days it rings loud and hard.  But Skip talks to me, on and off, all day, every day. I do not understand the language, but I know the intent just by the intensity or softness of the ringing.  He is still here with me, in a way I do not truly understand, but it does not matter, I know it is him and it is the most loving, cherished, comforting feeling.  I wish I could explain it better.  My heart just knows.
"One Less Bell to Answer"  5th Dimension
Yesterday was a quiet day alone, in his room going through his drawers and closet, sorting and having my own quiet tears and memories of when he wore it last, what he/we were doing, bittersweet remembrances.  I could hear his bell in the next room, not certain if he was sad I was having to do this or telling me it was ok and wondering if and when this pain will ever end.  

Friday, September 6, 2019

Not in his shoes…On his shoes

The most amazing things about Skip were not the things he did in public for others to see but all of the little moments. Yesterday, as I begin again, to sift through his things to give away, or donate, or keep, or…I just do not know...I ran across his old top-siders.  They were worn out; the stitching was coming loose and the soles were reduced to cardboard!  He got new ones some time ago, and I thought this pair had been pitched. But there they were in the bottom of this closet behind tons of “stuff” and I do not think he ever intended anyone to find them! There were the shoes that he and Harper (the first and only granddaughter, after 4 grandsons)  drew on Thanksgiving 2017. While the 2 of them were chalk drawing on the porch waiting for turkey dinner to be done, Harper reached over and began drawing on this shoe.  Rather than telling her “no, we do not draw on our shoes” He took his chalk and drew on his other shoe. These are the gifts and the memories, he continues to give me. I do not ever want to forget and I want everyone to know, he was so much more than most people ever really knew.

"Daughters" John Mayer

Monday, September 2, 2019

...with time

This storm is adding to the challenges of being alone for the first time in 46 years.  I feel like I am being “tested” and it sucks! The fact that the storm is just dragging and we are in a state of limbo just ads insult to injury.  Although I take some solace in the fact that the storm track is better than it was, however being 40 miles away from the coast (as the crow flies) any little change in track can make a big difference…I just want it to be over!  I did get a thumbs up to “stay in place” and not have to spend the storm at a Hospice House, they have much sicker people than me.  I have a safe room, a wonderful new big generator and a portable AC, and my big window is boarded up. I will get through this, but I need Skip here with me…I know this is going to take time, but it just does not seem to get any better. I keep trying to believe that with time…

"All Alone With Something to Say"  Bonnie Rait

Saturday, August 31, 2019

I do not know how to do this….

About the time that I think I am ready to begin moving into a “new normal” waves of grief, guilt and just plain fear overtake me and I fall apart all over again.  It takes the smallest unexpected thing to ignite the insecurity and grief.  Yesterday a wonderful thoughtful picture sent from an artist friend of Skip helping us sweep up the confetti after last years Artist’s Way Celebration of Creativity.  It was the same exhibition I was going to last night and my first real social outing. All of a sudden I was incapacitated and melted into an emotional pitiful blob.  I was determined to be strong and push through…I did go, I just could not stay…I was overwhelmed and afraid…I am just not ready.  I am not ready for a world that he is not in…I do not know how to do this…
"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?" Al Green

Friday, August 30, 2019

Nothing in this world....

There is absolutely nothing in this world that came close to preparing me to suddenly and unexpectedly lose the love of my life, the man I spent the past 46 years with, the father of my children, my best friend.  There are no words to describe the pain and the loss and the feeling of being so alone, even though my life is filled with people that love me and loved us. The hole in my heart and my life just seems incomprehensible at times…but I know somewhere in my heart that there is no choice but to move forward, honoring him, making him proud of me by being strong. 
I love and miss you so much….
"I Will"  Ben Taylor

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Perhaps I need to re-think this spanking thing!

It was such a weird day!....I have been wrestling with this really pesky issue of holding fluid…disgusting amounts of it! My heart just is not strong enough anymore for my kidneys to do their job.  I really do look and feel like “Sponge Bob Square Pants”.  One of the ways I handle some of the physical changes and my creative frustration is by sewing new clothes…I may look and feel like crap on the inside…but honey…I still want to look good.  I have a “stash” of fabrics…I confess that I may be a serial “saver” (a.k.a. hoarder) I have a laundry basket that is full of fabrics that I have picked up over the years with no particular plan in mind…Usually, it was a “sale” I just could not pass up. These recent sewing projects have made great use of them.  I have made quite a few simple summer dresses, but this week I  made a pair of simple elastic waist loose (comfortable) shorts.  And proudly put them on in the morning…only to have them fall off of me and I do mean fall apart and fall off of me…the damn fabric had apparently rotted while sitting for years waiting for me to decide what to do with it….This was truly a first for me! Rotten shorts!....who knew…and what’s more, how did I not realize it while I was sewing?  JEEEZE!!!

Then the nurse came… And there are more med changes…that is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it usually means I will be a bit more comfortable or have a little more energy, but what it does always mean is that my heart is getting weaker. AUGH!!!

And then finally…my laptop (8 months old) crapped out!  Yesterday’s error message….and a new one for me was “NO BOOTABLE DEVICE”.  Luckily, I have a computer Guru for a son!  I described to him what happened before the rude error message and he instructs me to close up the computer, turn it upside down on my lap, then smack it a couple of times on its backside….  ARE YOU FRIGGEN’ KIDDING ME!!!

And it worked…(the hard disk apparently had just gotten a bit out of “flat” and was not spinning). 
The only thing that I was able to fix, make work or feel better about is literally
the thing I spanked! 
Perhaps I need to re-think this spanking thing!

"Won't Get Fooled Again"  The Who
3 things... shorts did not fall apart in front of anyone
...if these meds work it will be sooooo much better
...the computer works.....YAY!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Making NEW ones...

This is not an “OH POOR ME”…although I will admit I am really good at that!  It seems to be turning in to a confession to myself about why all of those wonderful class “inner child” talks, suggestions, exercises never ever worked. Actually, they were horribly depressing, there was nothing in my childhood that felt loved, supported, good or freeing. Rather than admitting that to me or anyone else, I would just smile and BS my way through the discussion and then walk away from it.  This morning this unedited quote popped up on FB…and without anyone here to even see, I began the “knee-jerk” smile and walk away performance to cover my real feelings and theatrically produce the appropriate emotions.  There is absolutely nothing in my childhood that I loved, not dancing, flowers or fireworks.  There were, however, several unsuccessful suicide attempts.  Never any counseling, just parental punishment for doing such a stupid thing, then threats that if I told, everyone would know it was my selfish way of getting attention that did not work. If others found out they would think I am crazy.   I was shamed and told I would never have any friends or boyfriends if I told anyone…I never told… 

That is not what I want to “call back” to enrich my life.  I am learning that through music, more listening than playing (but doing that too) I do not have to bring up old memories and pretend they were good, they were not! I know trying to forget them still does not make them go away. BUT… I can make new ones…happy ones…loving ones…and I think that will serve me well!

"Just Like a Woman"  Eric Bibb
3 things
...Living in the past will not help the future
...accept that it happened and it made me stronger
...admit it and then let it go, when you can

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Those surprise gifts!

There are so many things that become more and more difficult to do, but then… there are some things that I used to feel like were more of “just got to be done” chores that are now glorious  little reminders that I still have value, that “I can still do it!”…well...not fast… maybe not as dramatic, but still… doing it!  These little successes evoke some of the most wonderful memories of what I used to be able to do!  These are the unexpected gifts that arrive on crappy days when I am so frustrated that I could kick a puppy!  These postcards even arrived in a brown box with tissue paper packing, the universe was making certain I knew it was a “gift” just in case I was too wrapped up in my own self-pitty to recognize it!

"The Kind You Can't Afford"  Madeleine Peyroux
3 things
...look for and appreciate the wonderful things I can still do not get weighed down with the "I can'ts",
...celebrate the "I cans!"

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Just so you know…no one has ever asked me…

Just so you know…no one has ever asked me…but if they did, this would be such a great answer!
Although I have always wondered why all of my life, I have had a gnawing obsession to write, teach, create, laugh, be brutally honest (this one is more recent) and share. This short quote provided a little light into my curiosity and maybe even answered my “big why”!  Being me, contributing to the world, having a purpose has nothing to do with education, religion, wealth or anything else I thought it should.  It is all about me letting go of my own or other people’s preconceived limits. I am the answer!

"Let it Go" Micheal Franti
3 things...
Maybe I do not always have to have a WHY...
if I feel the need...
do it

Friday, July 26, 2019

Who Knew????

On a recent Van AC repair, I was told that my perfect, absolutely no sign of wear tires needed to be all replaced…they were rotting!  WHAT??? I knew my driving had been seriously reduced, in fact, for the most part, it has been discouraged, but I still need to go to and yes even enjoy my weekly pilgrimage to Walmart to pick up groceries (not shop for them, I do that online, just pick them up) and the freedom to run around to the corner store, at will, for emergency “Ooops I ran out of’s”  You know…toilet paper, milk, toothpaste, paper towels, cat food…etc. etc….  Somehow this ability makes me think I am still tremendously independent (and keeps the cat happy)….and I am not giving that up, not yet!!

But good lord….never have I had to deal with my tires literally rotting before I could wear them out…and I have worn out some tires in my days!  Mark this one in my book of “Who Knew?”…and yes I now have new tires, I still have at least a couple of places I need to go to!

"Will it Go Round in Circles?"  Billy Preston
3 things...I did not appreciate what a gift it was to
WEAR things out!
I will not complain about it, I will notice when I do 
not have the time or energy to use things up!
Hanging on to independence is so important!

Stand Back!

There are all kinds of parts of me that I never really allowed to emerge out of plain old garden variety fear.  Now…I really do have something to be afraid of…everyone’s biggest fear! …death…  I am finding that most of the time I am good with it, can even make jokes about it. After all, it is not like any of us have a choice…we are all going to die at some point.  And to be quite frank with you, I do sometimes look forward to the time that I will not have to deal with the exhaustion, frustration, and pain!  I am way ahead of the game in that I pretty much know how and where, and being the control freak I have always been…this is a good thing!  The rest of these parts of me that I am exploring and exposing. Love….wild heart…feisty spirit…my curves (which have taken on a whole new definition, with the introduction of massive amounts of steroids)… and of course, pure chaos ( do have some experience with this one!)  are just a few of the new and glorious parts of my life!  
Stand back!
"Take a Walk on the Wild Side"  Lou Reed
3 things...fear has been my "boogey man" my whole life...
it was created by me and others opinions, never based in fact
I am still afraid, sometimes, but not like I used to be!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Jumping in it or dodging....

Holy Crap…I am already at Plan 32-B! Here is the thing I have learned about “plans”.  Some plans I made were amazing!  Others fell by the wayside because they were too hard, stupid, crazy, expensive, or I was too chicken, then I spent an outrageous amount of time beating myself up with the “I am not good enough” club.  But the plans I made for the other people were the most colossal and chronic failures! So my advice to myself is now “NO plans” Taking life as it comes, jumping in it or dodging them, just like I did in the schoolyard game of dodge ball.  Either way both keep me busy and seem to work!
"Games People Play"  Joe South
3 Things...I did, in fact, make some plans
some of them even worked
I barely plan for me, what made me think I 
could do that for anyone else?

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Before it does....

But...Every now and again…I feel the need to just go back and “touch” the things that are bad for me, could cause great pain and I  know would never ever work.  I have wondered if it is the need to stand so close to something I know could destroy me while I witness that I still have the strength and knowledge to walk away before it does. Maybe it is some strange need to test fate, like standing on the edge of a cliff or waving a red cape at a bull.

When I am not sure of my own strength and resolve for life it is what I need to do.  Letting go is not just about loving myself, it is a daily practice reminding me how strong I still am!

"Where Are You Going?"  Dave Matthews Band
3 things...It may not be the smart thing to do, but 
I get to still remind myself how strong I am. It will be
ok for me to fail as long as I learn where my boundaries are
and failing is what I do best...and I have learned a lot!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Old (Wo)Man....

It comes more frequently now, but never this much… at the same time…on both arms…ugly as sin, but there is absolutely no pain or soreness.  Now, because it seems like frustrating the hooey out of me is one of the things heart failure does best….I can point to any number of aches, pains, cramps and assorted other complaints and there is absolutely no physical evidence of anything being wrong.  

What the hell???

"Old Man"  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
3 things...there is not a whole lot of pain, I have a warm and comfortable home and a wonderful family!

Passing through...

Just beginning Hayden Herrera’s biography of Frida Kahlo, and already exposed to so much I did not know about her life and struggles, then as by some sort of coincidence, I run into this video of my old abandoned Elementary school, all followed by my weekly visit from the hospice nurse.

None of these things should feel connected in any way…but there seems to be a thin almost unrecognizable thread of familiarity running through each of these events.  While reading about Frida’s overwhelming health struggles and how she bravely identified, camouflaged and/or handled them, I was literally jerked back into some of my own emotional battles when a quite detailed YouTube video of the abandoned Elementary school I went to for 6 years spontaneously appeared on my FaceBook page.  Some parts of the building I knew immediately and could associate a personal event with, others I did not. I passed through and was awash with long-forgotten memories.  There were some good ones here, but what did surprise and overwhelm me were the saturnine ones.  The ones that I had long since filed away and forgotten.  Then the hospice nurse knocks on the door and the weekly checkup identifies some possible new advancements of this disease although I am reassured that my heart “numbers” are still good and he still considers that I am stable…but there may be new meds and treatments to begin soon.

…and I wonder is the universe “suggesting” that I pass through old pains and injuries, looking at them from a different point of view?  Is it time to deal with the abandoned grief…perhaps through my art…like Frida?
"We May Never Pass This Way Again"  Seals and Crofts
3 things...I have gotten good at recognizing synchronicity,
I have an outlet to express difficult feelings, 
I am alive at a time that I have all of this
amazing technology to do it! 

Monday, July 22, 2019

It is the chicken way, but it is some thing….

Still, adore this quote from a Neil Gaiman speech!
It is what I have wanted to do with this part of my life more than anything else, but am not always very good at it.  I get caught up in the negativity, I find myself drawn to repeating the things I was successful at early in life, so that I do not risk failure.  And I become silent at times, to not upset others when I just want to scream at the top of my lungs.  And still….I cannot figure out, who, how or what frightens me into this kind of submission.

I suspect this is why writing these words helps… Here…I expose my head and heart through written words…I expose some of my vulnerabilities.  I am baring my weaknesses to the universe without any consequence…

It is the chicken way, but it is something….
"She is Not Afraid"  One Direction
It is the turn it up so loud,  I am not afraid, I got this..
 dancing living room when no one is at home song!  

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Happy Moon Man Day!

Happy 50th!  I remember where I was… I remember this shining spot of excitement! Looking back, I find it so very interesting that in the midst of some of the country’s most deeply harrowing and violent political times, this magnificent milestone occurred!  We saw our friends drafted into the hopeless Viet Nam War, passionate protests for peace, Kent State student deaths, and the assassinations of 2 great men that made us believe that unity, peace and equal rights were truly possible. We (as a nation) we also accomplished the greatest scientific achievement.  It was such a positive and exciting moment, sandwiched between some of this country’s horrific times.  Today I have many of the same feelings I  had all those years ago, hoping with all that I am, there is another shining moment of this caliber on our horizon.  However, with this current administration, they have no idea what it is like to fuel courage, imagination, and comradery with a mission like this!
"Moondance" Van Morrison

Friday, July 19, 2019

That part I will never be disappointed by!

It was not until I was truly in my late 40’s that I began to realize that I did not care what other people thought.  It took me that friggen’ long to figure it out.  They did not care about me; they were all too busy making themselves look better.  As soon as I got how truly unimportant I was and how many people were really not paying attention to me or my life…I began to come into my own!  I honestly questioned and changed how and why I did everything, I created prolifically, I showed and sold my art profusely and for the first time…I created a life around me, rather than me creating around life.  It is a difficult concept to explain in a paragraph or two.

But I do know of all the things I did wrong…my art was and is still the greatest gift I have received and given.  That part of my life I will never be disappointed by!
"Music in Me" Paula Cole

Thursday, July 18, 2019

With a Club!

This goes for everything, not just imagination!  Lacking deadlines and other “have to do’s” I find that motivation to do anything takes much more effort.  Of course, a good part of that is due to my physical restrictions.  But most of this frustration is coming from my own acceptance of them!  Until just a while ago I bucked those restrictions, forcing my body to do things (and at that point, I still could) but paying the physical price afterward (aches, pains, fluid build-ups, and killer muscle cramps).  Then another decline and the ability to DO them at all happened.  It was not “do” them, then pay for it later…It was just plain no strength to do them at all!  That brought on some of the most horrendous frustration and depression I have ever experienced! 

Acceptance has a whole new meaning.  I always felt that acceptance was going to be all about the actual death, but it is about accepting what this body can and cannot do anymore.  I suspect the actual death is going to be the easiest part of all of this.  It is the day to day frustrations that make me emotionally and physically crazy!  When I am working so hard to make this part of life some of my best, I have to live with the fact that it is not just about making up my mind to do it.  This physical vessel I live in is no longer cooperating.

It is only my imagination, my words, my thoughts that go on unaffected and I plan to keep chasing them with a club!
"Pure Imagination"  Glee

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Losing My Religion!

I wrestled with this one especially when it came to “losing my religion”!  I felt like if Christianity no longer held the love I could believe in or made any sense to me when they put ego and power first, then I have to find something to replace it.  I desperately searched, read, and studied.  I needed to make certain that my soul would move on to a good place.

Then all of a sudden it hit me! Religion is all about what happens to me and everyone else after we die.  They are all based on the premise that if we follow their rules we will be rewarded or punished AFTER we die. Something neither I or anyone else has any scientific knowledge or proof of.  Organized religion is made up, based on the questionable stories of a few people and it is about the emotional control of people, money, politics, and individual egos. 

There are going to be spiritual things about life and death that we as humans will never know until we actually experience it.  We as a race of people have been making up stories explaining things we do not understand since we arrived on this planet. There may be some science we are not yet aware of, explaining some of these stories, but we do not know it now.  The automatic emotional default we chose to believe in should never be thousand-year (and more) stories.

Being comfortable with NOT knowing, it no longer leaves me vulnerable to the fears of not being Christian (or anything else for that matter). It no longer controls how I experience life and death…those things are now my complete responsibility. I cling to provable facts, the splendid feelings in my heart and soul and it is amazing!!!  “Not knowing” is the most freeing thing I have ever allowed myself to do!

"Losing My Religion"  R E M

Notice the Difference???

Never thought of it like this!  It made me stop and think, and that does not happen very often!  When I first read this, I saw it as an either/or scenario, but what could possibly be bad about repeating a cycle that was wonderful?  Yes, I get that there is no growth, we just keep repeating but there is also the “you know what you are getting” factor and sometimes that can be a good!

I will definitely begin noticing the difference! Cannot guarantee what my plan will be, but I will notice the difference!

"Reflections" Diana Ross
3 things...
My AC works Great... I get to DRIVE to pick up my groceries...our first joint SS checks came today!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019


I taught this in every class at least twice a year and sometimes more.  Now it seems like it is the lesson that I need to give myself.

I recall asking students how can we expect to create wonderful new art pieces, relationships, and lives with the same old information and tools that got us here in the first place? Can we really expect that same “stuff” is going to create new, different, and effective lives?  Then to make things worse, our typical “fix it” first step is to go out and get MORE stuff for our minds.  We read how-to books, take classes, join groups and religions, and get all kinds of advice about how we need to change things,  but really…. we are just pouring more stuff on top of the old toxic...not working stuff.
At the risk of sounding really crude…when our plumbing is stopped up and nothing flushes…Do we force more shit in it to get it flowing again?

We need to literally “flush” out toxic thoughts and thinking to allow space for the new ideas, life and creativity to take hold and grow…
"Never Can Say Good-Bye"  Micheal Jackson

Monday, July 15, 2019


It is scary and awkward when I realize that I am so different from before.  It is so easy to slide back into a life where the “fit in”with the rest of them,  conditioned, routine, and programmed reactions seemed appropriate.  It is so easy to let my emotions hook me back into old feelings and behaviors, and even though it feels good and comfortable to “fit in” for just a while, those feelings collapse quickly leaving me in a pile of regret and pain. It just does not work anymore…

There are indeed situations that no longer deserve my time, energy and attention, but then there are others that seemed to be begging for me to speak up. I am learning how to value my life and my voice, striving to use both of them for good and growth!  Failing more times than I succeed, but still trying!

"Waiting on the World to Change"  John Mayer

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Just need to warm up my throwing arm!

Of all of the “spiritual” healing…I confess I was curious about crystals, but I never really “got” it.  They are pretty, I love looking at them but I was never able to keep up with which one did what and I never felt any of the magical power they are supposed to hold. But this one I “get”!  Just need to warm up my throwing arm! 

"How You Like Me Now?" The Crew
Phew.....I have been a bit militant lately...Bwa-ha-ha

Thursday, July 11, 2019

I am important, I matter, too

I understand that most people may not “get” this, but my life is full of sound reasoning supporting it.  As an artist, framer, small business owner I spent a significant part of my life “marketing” …vying for your attention and dollars.  Marketing is the business acceptable code word for begging for your attention.  I paid professional PR companies to do it for me, I paid to be judged to get my work in art festivals, I paid (consignment) to be in galleries, I paid for logo designs and websites for classes I taught.  I have spent a lifetime “chasing” people with my money and time to like me. I smiled, agreed, shook hands, laughed at horrible jokes, diplomatically tiptoed around every inflammatory issue so I would not offend anyone. It is not surprising that some of those habits/or aversion to those habits spilled into my personal life over the years.

My life has been about getting people to like me and my work, it did not matter what I thought about myself.  So now this late in my life, I am finally learning that I cannot make anyone like or love me…I am just now figuring out that I am important, I matter, too.

"Breaking Silence" Janis Ian

Monday, July 8, 2019

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

When I was younger, and oh how I do mean younger…. Miami in the late 60’s, every rebellious wannabe hippie teenager had to play guitar and sing folk/protest songs. We would spend hours together with friends and unknowns singing and playing in the parks.  We thought we were protesting the war, singing for peace and seeding a new generation of love. It was such an exciting creative time!  That guitar defined us and who I was.   And then I was suddenly pulled back (via custody issues) to that small town I was so happy to escape several years before. It was traumatic on every level a 16-year-old could imagine. 

I am not certain what (if any small town gossip) had spread about why I left, but I can only imagine.  And at the risk of sounding like a worn-out version of Cinderella, there was indeed a wicked stepmother involved.  So, I can say without hesitation there were stories.  I would get hints and wisps of them now and again, where they came from will always be a mystery, but they were there.

My only friend was that guitar.  It was the only place that I could melt into happy times and Miami memories.  I would spend hours and hours alone in my room playing.  Remembering and longing to go back to where I felt I belonged.  I did not fit in where I was anymore, and I never would again.

A lifetime has come and gone, and the need to just be normal, just fit in is overwhelming at times, but my best friend is still here, maybe it is time I slip back into those happy times!...but it is going to take some work!  My memory stinks, my fingers are stiff and the callouses on the ends of my fingers are long gone.
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"  The Beatles

Sunday, July 7, 2019

We have to look for it...

As much as I detest the latest political atmosphere, I have to admit, it has ushered in a new yearning to study and understand.  In the past when comparing political figures at election time, I looked at their past voting records or their platforms and plans.  If they aligned with mine, they got my vote, regardless of party affiliation.  What I knew intellectually was that even if “my guy” did not win, I trusted in his (or her) basic honest desire to serve the constituents and the country. The system, the constitution was working and I trusted it.
Somewhere in my trust of the system, or perhaps plain apathy or naivety, I did not see things change. I suspect most of us are like that.  I did not see the lobbyist filter in, the Gerrymandering become more and more ridiculous and many other tell-tale signs of the horrific changes that were coming.
And then there was Trump.  I kept telling myself that the RNC would never support such an unqualified and questionable candidate, they did.  That the RNC Convention would never elect him as the Republican candidate for president, they did. Surely the women and the Christians would rally against a man that openly “grabbed women’s pussy”, they didn’t. And surely the American people would never elect him, they did! (Well actually it was not the American People, it was the Electoral College).  When all of that was said and done and the shock wore off, I knew I still had the system and the constitution, I don’t…he has subverted even that.

I still wonder why good people continue to uphold and put their faith in a man that in addition to all that we do not know….pays off porn stars and playboy models for sex, that bankrupts 4 companies, has a history of not paying his bills, calls people names, and imprisons innocent children under horrible conditions.

We cannot fight him by arguing with each other….I suspect that is how we got to the place we are now.  Those that support him have some reason that I cannot understand or condone.  We cannot change their minds they have been blinded by greed and fear.  

The rest of us must look for and learn to find the good that binds us.  “Hate will never drive out hate…only love can do that”.  We have to look harder at each other to find our common bonds to form the movement that will overcome. I still believe that good and love will win in the end….BUT
we have to look for it and we have to work for it!

"Imagine"  John Lennon

Friday, July 5, 2019

Without examination...ooops!

When something challenges us, the automatic response is to defend, even before we listen to and/or hear others.  The next step in today’s world is the need to chide, bully and make fun of anyone that thinks differently. Although bad now, in the past proclaiming the wrong God or even the right God but wrong religion would get you burned at the stake.  I am grateful that we can all have our own opinions, just make certain they are your opinions, not someone else’s.  Look, read, study, be informed, before you regurgitate someone else’s point of view that you do not have the facts and evidence to defend.  People that chide, bully and make fun of others are displaying their own desperation of not having credible evidence or facts to substantiate their argument. That speaks more to their own lack of conviction and knowledge than your own.  Do your own research and critical thinking and express it with confidence without putting others down….but we all slip up every now and again when emotion takes over…..ooops!
"All the Right Moves"  One Republic

Thursday, July 4, 2019


The PBS Capital 4th was so wonderfully inspiring...Keala Settle and my favorite song were so much more so today than ever before...I have goosebumps!
I am not scared to be seen! I make NO apologies!
I am not a stranger to the dark, Hide away, they say
'Cause we don't want your broken parts, I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say, No one'll love you as you are
But I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me
Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away 'cause today, I won't let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that's what we've become (yeah, that's what we've become)
I won't let them break me down to dust, I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come, And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me
This is me
and I know that I deserve your love  'cause there's nothing I'm not worthy of

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down, I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
This is brave, this is proof, This is who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come (look out 'cause here I come)
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on)
I'm not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I'm gonna send a flood
Gonna drown them out
This is me

one picture...says it all...

Yes...I know this is rude and crude, and I try so hard not to stoop to those levels, but today, the 4th of July, I could not stand to be silent.

Why can he find the money for a self-aggrandizing parade, but not for all of our VETS that are still without homes and medical care?

Why doesn't he sign an executive order providing toothbrushes, soap, nutritious food for immigrant children?

He finds the money when he wants to when it serves his narcissistic needs. But the needs of the working common people, the poor and those who served this great country are never his primary concern.

This is just how I feel about him and his hijacking our (we the people's) 4th of July Celebration to promote himself and the military power he thinks is his alone.

"American Woman"  Lenny Kravitz
(Love the original, but this one is great too!)

Monday, July 1, 2019

...the magic, fantasy and the lies we tell each other.

I spent some time recently marveling at all that is available on the internet/TV if one is disposed to entertaining themselves by watching documentaries about all different perspectives of specific events in world history.  

Somehow, someway my entire academic world history education boiled down to wars, dates and famous historical figures.  Never were the events “married” to one another, never was there an indication of how one historical event influenced another or how religion prejudiced so much history.  I wondered if I was just not paying attention or was there an institutional effort to keep religion unchallenged by the events of history.  Perhaps the same was happening from a Christian point of view.  My Sunday school stories were never attached to a specific point in history, and rarely to the social, political or cultural conditions where they may have occurred. 

My heart aches from the recent inhumanity against innocent children held at our southern border. I am overwhelmed by the pure evil that is upheld and condoned by this government and silent Christians. I have never believed in the Biblical stories, myths, and magic. But I have held the actual love and teachings of Christ at the center of my own personal being, always wondering why it was necessary to surround the unquestionable power of that love with such ridiculous fantasy, outrageous magic and from an academic point of view, scientific lies. As I begin looking at history, from different points of view the one thing I am certain of, is religion has always and historically been incapable of separating itself from ego, politics, and power.  Religion is incapable of practicing the virtue it advocates, but it is historically flawless at repeating the atrocities.

And we allow it to continue through the magic, fantasy and the lies we tell each other.

"World Without Love"  Peter & Gordon

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The secret lie detector test...

Heard Rev. Al Sharpton say this on a TV news program this morning...referring to one (or even ALL ) of Trump’s tweets. I about fell out of my chair laughing!.....Perfect analogy!

This man’s tweets remind me of the behavioral confrontations I had with my pre-adolescent boys many many years ago. Without exception, the louder or more ridiculous the protests the more likely they were covering their own guilt. Those 2 things are always in direct proportion to their degree of guilt...This is just one of the Mom secret lie detector tools!

Why are there matches in your jean pockets?  (they are not mine!) 

Why is your bicycle in the driveway?  (I did put it away, someone else was riding it!) 

Why is your wet bath towel on the floor?  (I did hang it up!)

If you apply just one or 2 of the basic Mom tools to Trump tweets, you will know that his emotional and moral aptitude is that of a pre-adolescent boy!
"Liar Liar"  Castaways

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

just citing the quote below!

Brought up in a small town in the “genteel” south, the value of a woman was definitely associated with her ability to stay in her Christian based “gender” role by “pleasing”…physically, socially and emotionally.  The unwritten but well-known rule was that expressing a different opinion or speaking up for one’s self was asking for disapproval, condemnation and ostracizing.

Living outside this community (and I suspect it may be the same for any small community) for well over 45 years now, I had forgotten how prevalent this was and I was overwhelmingly surprised at how widespread it still is! The past couple of years it has become unbelievably evident by my own FaceBook experience how deeply ingrained these antiquated and damaging feminine roles are!  I wonder if this is how so much of this dehumanizing destructive Republican right continues to hold some of its power? Are there some in my generation that still need to be “pleasing”?

When I post my daily quotes, which I have done since 2010, my intention was to simply begin my own day by putting something positive out into the universe. They have always been met with thumbs up and smiles….but recently, as I have been moved to express some of my respectful and fully researched moral outrage at the current political horror.  I notice that 99% of those posts have been met by negative and chastising men of my generation (or typically older) from that very same small southern town that I did most of my growing up in.  These responses from long ago acquaintances that I can barely identify have taken up the mantel of reforming me by name calling and other negative remarks that are clearly intended to publicly embarrass, chastise or reprimand me.  They are never intended to share educated differences of opinion or participate in intelligent statistical evidence or even engage in non-threatening humorous political satire. For a while, I decided that I could not handle all of the negativity and just quit posting anything other than my daily quotes.  Then I learned how to use the “delete” “unfriend” and “block” features on FB.  My opinions are valid, I do not expect everyone to agree with them.  I am an artist, I am used to it.  Not everyone likes what I paint or create, I do not feel the need to chastise them for not appreciating or buying my work nor do I allow their opinions to compromise my own creative talent (although sometimes that part is hard). If you do not agree with my FB political observations, please feel free to invoke the very same FB tools that I use…” delete”, “unfriend” and “block” me or even…GOD FORBID…. consider engaging in positive discourse.

As heart failure continues to restrain my physical body, it will not inhibit or compromise the strength of my thoughts or my voice.  I will not allow small minds and rude comments to handicap me further. I do not waste my time on responses to FB punitive rebukes ….  I will keep posting!
However, and happily…In the interest of full disclosure…I do know there are many intelligent, respectful, wonderful, creative, perceptive men in this and other small communities, I know some of them and I truly appreciate you even more than I did before!
"Chain of Fools"  Aretha