life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

Don't Talk Like That...

I write to find out what my heart thinks....
I am here to celebrate my life, to uncover my fears, to hold on to love, to grieve my losses, to laugh long and hard, and to learn how to live a full magnificent life with heart failure. I am honoring my creativity, and exploring all of my emotions out loud ...before anyone can say....."Don't talk like that!"



Thursday, February 28, 2019

What the fuck is “too much”?

Had my weekly checkup yesterday and the “yuk” of the past couple of weeks have either settled into my new normal and/or have gone away (the crappy cold I caught)!  I count that as a good!  But no visit from my nurse seems to be complete without my weekly finger-wagging speech about doing too much.  Under my breath, the question is always… what the fuck is “too much”?  If I can do it, is it too much?  I mean...the alternative seems to be to sit quietly, do nothing and hope like hell it will help me live longer!  I am who I am!  I have already given up Art Festivals and teaching because I understood and had serious physical symptoms that keep me from doing them.  It is not that I am not aware of what this heart and body can do...hell I have to live in it!

I am not giving into this disease.  It is going to do what it is going to do.  I cannot fight or beat heart failure but I can choose not to lay down and allow it to take over my entire has robbed me of enough already!   I am not stupid I know how to be careful, but I am still living my life! 
"I would rather have 2 weeks of wonderful than a whole life of nothing special.” Steel Magnolias

"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" The Beatles

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Does it really matter where I get my “feel good” as long as it feels good?

Got the IKEA organizing “bars & buckets” up.  Quite frankly I cannot pronounce what they are officially called in the catalog, but they were inexpensive and they already look and work great!  Getting all of the boxes of sewing paraphernalia off of the desktop
and adding another light…aughh…is there ever enough light anymore?

Yes, I know, oodles of wonderful rehabbing, updating, organizing, repainting the house, replacing the chimney, …one of my dear friends ratted me out when she knew exactly what I was doing, “getting my house in order”…and she is right about that. I understand that when my insides feel so crappy there is a great deal of need to “fix” the outsides, but it works, and it does feel so much better.  Does it really matter where I get my “feel good” as long as it feels good?"
"Fumbling Towards Ecstacy" Sarah McLachlan

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Wonderfully Empowering!

Little “jewels” like this one slip into my life, of course, there are a lot more and more often with the advent of the internet!  But I am grateful for each of the little pearls.  I am never sure exactly which ones are really based in fact, but most of them are worth thinking about!

This one was surprising, and perhaps even answered a ton of my own questions.  This is not to say I am blaming my parents for my own shortcomings.  I suspect they did what they felt they needed to do.  Although I will confess the focus of their attention was rarely on the children. A very unhealthy mother that left me when I was young followed by a second round of parenting that only doled out attention when it benefitted their social standing, or we had misbehaved.  I was personally accused of breaking up my family, not being pretty enough, too fat, and constantly told I was to do nothing but be quiet and stay out of the way, I had caused way too many problems for them already.  All may have been true, but in today’s world what I endured may have been classified as emotional abuse.  I have battled self-worth my entire life, but not absolutely certain that most of us do not have some form of that “demon” working in our backgrounds! 

The long and the short of this quote may be just recognizing where my raging lack of self-worth may have come from, realizing there is nothing that can be done to undo it and finding the courage to live in the NOW and celebrate all of the good I have accomplished on my own.  I think we all may be, to a certain degree, products of our pasts…but realizing we can do something about it is wonderfully empowering!
"More-o-That"  Eric Bibb

Sunday, February 24, 2019

That is what the storms are about!

The storms….AUGHHHH!  The storms used to be occasional and unexpected, now they are almost predictable!  The biggest issue I have to face on a fairly regular basis is “Am I willing to physically pay for my choices?”  Sometimes the answer is unequivocal…YES!  And so…. I cannot complain about how my body is revolting to last week’s amazing Nude Nite.  Used to be I would have a 50/50 shot of coming through unscathed, now not so much! On the backside of a BP "lockdown" spike which does seem to be sliding back down into “my” normal range but still nursing a nasty cold that came on precisely at the 7 to 10 day viral incubation period that apparently is the result of the steroids compromising my immune system. So, some shake their heads and ask why would I risk it?  Because it is who and what I am, and Nude Nite is an amazing annual celebration of the human body and I might not get another chance to be a part of it.  Some things are worth the storms, they make me stronger by reminding me of who and what I am.  That is what the storms are about!   
  "Beauty in the World" Macy Gray

Thursday, February 21, 2019


I do admit that it is a bit melodramatic, but when I am confined to the house and little or no activity, I might as well be in lockdown.  The hardest part of this disease is not knowing.  I know that sounds ridiculous and it is hard to explain.  As I have said a bazillion times I am so lucky that heart failure has little pain (not like cancer).  What it does have is overwhelming and frustrating exhaustion!  And to make it even more difficult this fatigue is not constant.   What is not functioning today, may function tomorrow and vice versa.  There is no early warning system. So, I had the most phenomenal 3 nights at the Nude Nite Exhibition, would not have missed them for anything, loved them, had a great time but apparently, the “payment” has come due.  The heart numbers “ratted” me out on the weekly nurse visit, although in my own defense I had no idea.  I knew I was a little “tired-er” but not to this point.  The question that is a constant swirl in my head, as well as nurse Ed’s is what and when is “living” well?  Lockdown is precariously close to my quality of life red line!  The lockdown good news...I got the income taxes done!
"Shake Me Like a Monkey"  Dave Matthews Band

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Never too late!

This pretty much sums it up.  I am very aware of how many people just do not get me and it really is ok…well it is now. 

There used to be a time where I felt like I needed 100% approval from 100% of all the people all of the time.  When I first accepted the premise, “no one would like me all of the time” it should have been very freeing, but I felt part of my personal growth process was to learn why they did not like me. I spent hours of my life examining them, examining me and the hopes I could fix it. But the best I could come up with is we were different. No one needed to be "fixed".  None of us are all bad or all good (well maybe every now and again I would run up on an all bad, in that case, you just run like hell in the other direction). There is no such thing as 100% anything! Every now and again there may be a fleeting moment of it, that is only if we are lucky enough to recognize it when it zips by, but it will not stay.  Husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, friends, and neighbors will never agree or understand each other all of the time.  The only thing I have to understand is if and when the relationship becomes hurtful and toxic for me I need to hold it at arm’s length.  But I will never let go totally. I can never give up on the possibility that love can turn everything around at any moment…it is never too late!
"Never too Late"  Michael Franti

Monday, February 18, 2019

I think it is my superpower....wicked and grateful at the same time!

3+ glorious nights and days of Nude Nite have come and gone!  And my celebration of I can do it, creativity, a wonderful smidgen of naughty, and art of every possible medium, but with a single theme, has now entered into recovery mode with yesterday’s full day nap!

Thanks to all of my friends and family that truly understand how important this part of my life is and facilitated all of my desires to be a part of it again!  I am so grateful! I think that is my superpower....wicked and grateful at the same time!

"Good Girl" Julian Moon

Saturday, February 16, 2019

"F#(k" Heart Failure

Where else but Nude Nite….. could you be a part of an interactive installation?  A couple of years ago there was the most irreverently awesome confessional! I did NOT participate in that one…I just watched and strained to hear what was being said behind the curtains of the artistic confessionals (and that is exactly why I did NOT confess) I was not the only one listening!  This “unburdening” was much more anonymous but not at the same time.  We wrote on then tore out “Funk and Wagnalls” Encyclopedia pages and threw them in the coffin to be burned on Sunday! I had not seen or heard of Funk and Wagnalls since the 70’s! I need for the"universe" to know and to see this disease is not going to destroy my spirit, I get that it will eventually claim my body and I have no choice about that…but my spirit and my love…that is MY CHOICE....Heart Failure cannot take those from me …although it tries to on a regular basis…Fuck Heart Failure, you will not win this one!
"The Secret of Life" James Taylor

Friday, February 15, 2019

First Night-Nude Nite 2019

  The art and the people there is just nothing like it....there is more coming this is just the first night!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

....horrible paralyzing fear is always going to be a part of my journey

Delivery Day is like all of the bubble gum I have stuffed in the cracks of my life are beginning to give way!

The drive to the “Nude Nite” venue feels like a slow walk to the gallows. A litany of questions unravels inside my head, as I get closer and closer.
“Do I belong here?
"They must have made a mistake."
"My work is not good enough!"
"If I turn around now and run, they will never know it was me.”

At the venue….Without emotion or approval, they ask my name, have me sign the legal documents, and hand me a brown manila envelope with my name on it, it contains a lanyard and comp. tickets.  I gather up the paperwork and artwork and walk into the gallery area where no one notices me, it is a simple matter of fact business transaction of dropping off art.  The curators will make the decisions later where and how all of this artwork hangs and the Installers will set about the job of building pop up gallery walls, gallery lights and hangover 200 pieces of art for opening night in less than
36 hours. It is an amazing feat!

I go to the empty spot I was directed to and stand long enough to take a deep breath, before setting my work down.  I feel everyone in the room is watching and knows that I am just plain not good enough to be here! After I set my work down and unwrap it, I finally feel brave enough to lift my eyes and look around.  All of a sudden it is not about me anymore! I am surrounded by the energy of incredible artists, artwork, massive amounts of glorious unimaginable talent, images that take my breath away and a feeling of incredible satisfaction and belonging envelopes me. I am surrounded by magnificent creatives and their work and energy.  Like storm clouds clearing, my breathing slows and my heart calms. At that precise moment, I know this is exactly what I am meant to do.  This moment is what makes all of the fear worth it…It is that fleeting but so very real moment that I feel the universe wrap its arms around me and lovingly tell me…this is who and what you are. I am embraced in the "knowing" like a big warm hug. This is why I am alive.

This horrible paralyzing fear is always going to be a part of the journey.  I do not think I will ever get used to it. I just have to know it will be there every time I deliver artwork for an exhibition.  I have to do the work, show up and move through the fear.  For this, I am rewarded with the unquestionable understanding that this is who and what I am in the world.  This is the amazing gift of being an artist that I do not think most people will ever have the opportunity to understand….
"Naked" Lakshmi

Monday, February 11, 2019

Letting Go of Cetainties

And so do a whole bunch of other things…I am just now figuring this out!  I have been measuring my accomplishments, my worthiness and everything about me based on the certainties of how and what I used to be and what this body would do.

I get that creativity requires the courage to “let go” but I confess, there are very few of my works that have not been created without some of that certainty.  It could be the colors, the subject, the presentation that is created for the sheer need to be certain it will be liked. Even when I am pleased with my work, I stand back and wonder how much better it could have been if I did not care whether others liked it or would buy it or not.

This letting go of “certainties” is what I need to do a lot more of!  It is not like it worked that great in the past…why do I think I need it now???

"I Can't Make You Love Me"  Adelle

Sunday, February 10, 2019

I do not even have to get a running start!

From day one I have had a “love-hate” affair with the “stuff” that identifies me as “sick”.…love when it helps me breathe, park closer, see who is at the door without getting up, stay longer-drink more at gallery openings.  Hate...hate...hate that I need them and that they identify me as weaker than.

There is another one...CRAP...  A ramp at the front door…NOT for me but for grocery wagon.  Trying to get in and out of the front doorstep
had gotten to be such a production.  Trying to muscle that wagon full of groceries over that step was a hysterical joke!!  Now I can go up, over and in and I do not even have to get a running start! Maybe it is not all bad, sometimes maybe even a little bit good...but just a little bit.
"All That We Let In"  Indigo Girls

Friday, February 8, 2019

...but I really liked my old software!

Pre-emptive computer crash…. First of all, I would like to make a declaration!  I am not a computer geek although I do know how to do a bunch of things.  I have a slow learning curve but once I’ve got it…I have got it.  This means that a 6-year-old laptop I have just now gotten a good handle on how, what, where, when to use it…FINALLY!  And then the son of a bitch begins to slow down, crash intermittently…all signs that the end is coming!  The rush is on to find an affordable replacement before I lose all of my files.  With the help of my amazing techno son. The new extremely affordable refurbished machine has arrived but apparently, I have no choice but to be forced into the world of updated software…but I really liked my old software and I knew how to use it! This is going to take another 6 years….at least!

 "Got to Get You into My Life"  Beatles

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Pay Attention!!!

I have always adored Brian Andreas’s  “Story People”.  They/he just seem to know how to communicate simple and profound messages wrapped in non-threatening whimsy. This was a big one that dropped onto my FaceBook page.

#1  Yes my real life really SUCKS right now!
#2  I know complaining does not help…but sometimes…
#3  And…because I am a big believer in “synchronicity” what is happening has really smacked me upside the head!

So 3 does seem to be the magic number.
#1  Two of my small sculptures were juried into the Nude Nite Exhibition,
#2  I was asked to participate on the city’s Art House Expansion Planning Board (including a dedicated 3D building)
#3  A VOG art sister calls and says the Sculpture Guild has had a renaissance I should come check it out.

I think the universe maybe SCREAMING at me.  Pay Attention! "You cannot have what you used to have, that is gone forever, but is a gift...physically "doable" new...different...challenging...creative...what more could  you possibly want?

"Carry On"  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

a short leash....

Sometimes it can be just this simple.  As for me, I was always waiting for the time to be right,  until I had enough money...until the kids were older...until I was thin/pretty enough... until I was SURE I could not fail.  This was long before I learned there is no such thing as NOT failing. I made an almost full-time job out of concocting ways to not be perfect enough to be anything other than plain, unexceptional, and commonplace.  It was what I was taught to strive for, a life filled with no chance of failure.

All I have to do now is be brave enough which is pretty easy when you have nothing left to lose. So if failure and imperfection bother or offend you, you might want to step back, I have some time to make up for and I am on a short leash!
"In My Mind"  Amanda Palmer

Monday, February 4, 2019

Becoming "reversible"!

It is Monday morning, which really is not an excuse, but since it is available I will throw it out there as an underlying reason for this morning's conundrum.

After getting dressed this morning it took about a half an hour before I realized my pants were on backward!  My first horrified thought was how did my front side and back side become interchangeable?  AUGHHHH! However, In my own defense, there are a few extenuating circumstances, they are the “stretchy” variety of jeans and sometimes it is just easier to do the pull 'em up dance rather than engage with the zipper and button to get them on and off. But it is quite a shock when there comes a time when you truly need and expect to “engage” with your zipper and it is not there.  

I had to face the horrible truths.  And I am not sure which is worse, Am I just forgetting how to dress myself, or is my body truly becoming “reversible”?
"Ride This Out" Imaginary Cities

Friday, February 1, 2019

It’s a conundrum…but probably NOT what you think?

It’s a conundrum…but probably NOT what you think?  
I have decided it may be my last Nude Nite, and feel that a particularly outrageous outfit is in order!  I am not particularly wild about the style, it is rather ho-hum, but love the print of this quasi-coat.  I ordered it …from China…it did not come…it did not come…I emailed the company, the email was returned as undeliverable…. And I was broken hearted but it is why I use PayPal. I lodged a complaint, they intervened and I was awarded a full refund…I was so sad, but happy that I got my money back and the lesson to NOT order stuff directly from China!  

Then yesterday this arrived…from California..not China…no invoice, no return address!  WHAT!!!!  Have an email into PayPal to figure out what to do now…but I am itching to get at it with my scissors and sewing machine!
               "Details in the Fabric" Jason Mraz