Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Surgery and Recovery

It has been a long time since I posted- in some ways seems like a year.  Ron had his open heart surgery March 31st.  There have been some big bumps along the way but we are making it- he has his second cardio rehab appointment today.  I am posting the spreads from the he time we got the surgery date until the most recent posts so this will be a big post- I suppose I could break it up but I am just going to do it all- I will try to put the dates with each one. I am including the words I included with each post I did to the journal group.

March 21 at 2:39pm
WE got the call today- Ron will have surgery the 31st- next week! So many emotions. It will be a big surgery - they will be replacing a valve and doing a by-pass. I titled this spread Breathe. I need to work on my breathing anyway- and I need to revisit my mindfulness books. Thank you for your thoughts & prayers. Also thank you for your continued comments on my journal work. Your love and support mean so very much.

March 27 at 4:22pm
This will be my last spread for a while- need to get several things done tomorrow and Wednesday as we head over Thursday. This spread was inspired by one I did in a journal for a class that Brian Kasstle John Arbuckle and I taught on Whidbey Island a couple of years ago- This one is very different from that one but a similar feel. The two men represent Ron and I- we have been together 40 years we met though in 1970 lots of history together- when you are in a long term relationship you see things together your heart is linked and we can finish each others sentences. Through this stressful time he knows when I need to be help or given a hug and the same from me. Thank you all so very much for your love your prayers your words of encouragement - this has brought me to tears again but it is so amazing i just can't thank you all enough. I will give updates as i can. The title is Shared Souls.

April 1 at 4:05pm
Things are coming along-Ron is in a room now out of ICU and most of the tubes are out thank goodness. He took a very short walk today and they want him to do 4 tomorrow. To give you an idea of what an amazing man he is- he's just been through a major surgery and he says how very lucky he is and is so worried about the doctors trying to save people's lives in Syria. Thank you so much and he was so moved by all the comments from this group. So Much Gratitude.

April 2 at 10:13pm
Well time for me to try to finally get some sleep. Thank you all for your loving comments of support. Today was a challenge- got there to the hospital this morning to find that they had not given Ron any pain meds since dinner the night before- the surgeon was there when I arrived and she was angry about that- Ron is hearing impaired and has hearing aids but we think his hearing loss is getting worse...anyway that is on his chart and on the white board in the room- the night nurse missed it as when Ron has his hearing aides out which he does when he is sleeping he can't hear anything. So of course my trust level plummeted. Just thankful I didn't channel my hateful mean mother. It got better as he has been able to take 5 walks today- pain is still an issue but lots of progress today. I got back to my room tonight and i just hit the wall and couldn't stop crying. It will be ok just emotionally exhausted. This spread helped- and some friends from home had called and asked about Ron's food restrictions as they are making some meals for us. Thank you all as I do feel your love and support and I am trying to be good to myself- I am not superman and it is ok for me to lose it a bit I will be there with a smile for him in the morning.

April 6 at 5:02pm
Thank you for all your love and support- I am truly moved- means so very much. My whole sense of time is off these days. It has been a hard time. We got back from the Hospital Tuesday late afternoon. Hard drive but so wonderful to be back home but Ron had a very bad night- and the next morning was not looking good then after lunch he said his heart rate was very erratic and he was lightheaded and was having trouble breathing- so off to ER we went- They were terrific there- the ER nurse was so good and the ER doc was very good- he called the surgeon in Fargo where the surgery was- the drug he is on to keep the heart rate steady needed to be increased- so 2 IVs later and another round of tests and a chest X-ray- we were good to go- 5 hours later. So today was the first full day here and he had a long nap and slept hard he has slept little since surgery- The stress has been more than I have ever experienced- when he went to nap I made sure he was OK and headed to the studio. The spread is inspired by the song Human by Aquilo. I fits in many ways This is on their new album, Silhouette is one that I find myself playing over and over.

April 12 at 11:00am
The healing process is not a straight line. Some steps ahead and a couple back- I am thankful for this- that he is here and healing. It has made me really stop and look at our time here on this planet in a different way. Have been thinking about all the experiences we have had over the past 40 years together- the joyous ones and the challenging ones- Thinking about that really helped the day of the surgery- giving thanks for the love in my life- truly honoring that time together. So the past helped anchor me into the present- perhaps that sounds odd but it does. Before all of this heart valve stuff was discovered we were focused on the future the plans for the move to New Mexico. That will still happen- but not worried about when- as right now we are in the present and happy for each step forward in the healing process. Thank you all again for your kindness your thoughts your prayers.
This spread is titled: Time Dance

April 14 at 5:34pm
It's a beautiful day here today- really has a spring feel- We were at the clinic today for a lab and the two week check up- that went very well- things are healing and he was able to stop one of the meds. cardio rehab starts Monday. So for sure on the mend. This spread is: The Measure Of Healing. It takes time- patience is hard sometimes but it is happening- getting a good report helps lift the spirits which in turn helps with the healing. I wish you all a wonderful weekend.

Today's spread was inspired by a passage I read in the book I am reading right now- I LOVE this book. Blessed are the Weird: A Manifesto for Creatives by Jacob Norby. Ron can't drive yet so while he had his cardio rehab today I read and this passage just really thrilled me. It's long but read it if you have time.
You know that crazy heart of yours? The one with the lightning crackling and moon light shining through it. The one you have been told not to trust because it often led you off the beaten path, the one so many have misunderstood your entire life.
Trust it. Feed it. Grow it.
It is your greatest treasure and will point the way to your highest destiny. It is the voice of your soul.

The spread is titled Crazy Heart.

18 hrs April 18
This spread is inspired once again from that book,Blessed are the Weird: A Manifesto for Creatives by Jacob Norby. I will share the passage at the end. There is a wonderful reference to weaving. Weaving is such a wonderful metaphor for many things. Once upon a time I did some weaving and found it to be relaxing and I taught it to my 6th graders when I was teaching elementary art. This is the passage that inspired this spread I titled Imagination Loom. He says just painting but I know it holds for all art forms- journaling, drawing printing collage and so on.
Artists who use paint to show us the world through their eyes are magicians. They are weavers who pull threads from their surroundings and from within themselves and use the looms of their imagination to weave something greater than a mere copy of what they are using as a subject.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Recent Journal spreads

There are the most recent journal spreads I made in the last week or so.  Once again the copy is what I wrote when I shared them with the journal group.  This time I will start with the oldest to the newest-  and will include the dates.

March 16 at 3:18pm
Thank you for all the good thoughts and prayers- . We got not good news from the angiogram yesterday. Ron will need to have open heart surgery to replace a valve. We hope to have our consultation with the surgeon next week - the doctor yesterday said this is not an emergency but needs to be done soon as possible. So we hope the surgery will be scheduled soon after that- long recovery. Moving plans on hold. So today's spread is dealing with that- The title is: I don't Feel Like Making Lemonade.

March 17 at 3:25pm
Ok you are fair warned this is a rant- for the people that said I am just gloom and doom well it is looking more and more like what is happening. Trumpcare will kill people plain and simple. Before it was legal for Ron and I to get married i couldn't carry him on my insurance and and he had cancer- the expensive insurance that he did have with a 15 thousand deductible was suddenly dropped he had cancer they didn't want him anymore- it was before The affordable care was passed and they couldn't deny you with a pre-existing condition. - he finally found someone that would insure him for 4 thousand a month with a 12 thousand deductible. I say make the members of congress have what they are suggesting for the rest of the country. Buit then most are already millionaires so they could still pay for it-
And taking away meals on wheels- WTF? My mother-in-law was able to stay in her home because she received meals on wheels and didn't have to cook because she could no longer Ron and I paid for it but I mean how cruel- and not I just read free lunch at school for kids that can't afford it isn't worth it. Who are these monsters- where is the humanity- gone from our government. This spread is about the worry about health care.

March 19 at 2:26pm
I have been mulling over something that someone here said to me a while back- that I just talk about gloom and doom- well sometimes it really does seem like that's what it is in this country now-I know there are many wonderful things and this group certainly is one of those wonderful things. Seeing your expressions here feed my soul- I love seeing your wonderful works from happy ones to the serious. The collective energy from this group is the medicine that will get us through these times. I was thinking about the tale of Chicken Little. Many of you know that one- (well maybe the older ones like me LOL) The Sky is Falling The Sky is Falling- In the tale chicken little was wrong it was just an acorn hitting his head- but I do fear with the current plans to destroy the EPA that the sky very well may be falling- I care deeply for this country and for the environment world-wide. We need to stop the madness or the world will not be fit for the grand children to live in.

Keep Knocking and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who's there. Rumi
That is the quote for this spread. I do have to knock pretty hard sometimes but I do still have joy.

March 21  at 2:39pm
WE got the call today- Ron will have surgery the 31st- next week! So many emotions. It will be a big surgery - they will be replacing a valve and doing a by-pass. I titled this spread Breathe. I need to work on my breathing anyway- and I need to revisit my mindfulness books. Thank you for your thoughts & prayers. Also thank you for your continued comments on my journal work. Your love and support mean so very much.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

More Journal Work

I am trying to keep sane with the health issues here- (my husband's angiogram is tomorrow) and the very scary things happening in Washington. I am going the include the copy for each spread that I  wrote for the journal group.  Orly Avineri's group A Stand for Art Journaling  is a wonderful supportive place to share  journal work. So the references to comments and such were to that group.
The spreads will  go from newest to oldest and were done in the last week.

This is my spread from this afternoon- Some of you have asked about some images that reappear in my journal work. I like many of you I am sure- am drawn to certain things and use images of them a lot- collect pictures of them. The house - house shape- is big as I find it important to me- some people have stayed in their area where they grew up but we have kept moving around-we are hoping to move to the SW if we get the good news we hope on Wednesday after my husband's angiogram. Anyway the house shape is a symbol of warmth- safety- nest. I also use windows chairs and birds a lot- they all have different meanings for me- it's like my vocabulary- these inconagraphical (is that a word?) images I have used for decades really. Anyway this spread is called Discontented Man.. It is hard to feel contented in these current times- we all try to go about our lives but there it is on our mind- and that added to waiting on a medical test- well it is hard to find an easy chair or to stay seated.
Today was productive- well in the studio- I guess the house work can wait. I had some fun and this cold is getting better. I a couple of years ago took a beginning class on Sketchbook Skool- Danny Gregory started that. I use to draw a lot- then fell out of the habit- I am feeling the need to do more again. This spread was taking drawings I already had and scanned I printed some out and cut them out. The drawing I did of myself is a contour drawing.

I want to first thank you all for the supportive comments- I realize some found my spread to be a bit much but sometimes that's exactly how things now feel more than a bit too much. Your comments mean the world to me. Here is a quote that inspired today's spread.
When you come to the edge of all you know, you must believe one of two things: either there will be ground to stand on, or you will be given wings to fly. O.R. Melling.
Given the times not so sure about ground to stand on but I am very honest when I say this group has given me wings. Thank you all so much.

I am so angry that I can hardly think straight- seeing the rising hate- families tore apart deported, people that were born here not allow back in- This government has turned this into the United States of Rejection. Replacing the health plan it their version that pads the rich and makes it out of reach for so many- and the arts- We are in sorry shape. I just can't wrap my head around how they can be so cruel and gut everything unless it will make them money. Hate groups have been emboldened. I just watched a very scary news video of one group excited for the liberal genocide to begin. It is hard to keep the dream of a loving nation alive. So I did this spread it helped for a while. So very thankful for this group- an artful loving sanctuary The United States of Rejection.

This spread is called Dream Construction. I was thinking about how we can make our dreams into reality sometimes- One has to make the dream as real as possible in your head- I think many of us are doing that- dreaming of an end this nightmare in the country. I am also dreaming about a new neighborhood in New Mexico. It's March 9th and our actual temp for tonight is to be 14 below zero- windchills they say will be 30 below-

Well I will try to not write book here but this spread today was very cathartic for me. Things sometimes get to be a bit much sometimes- many of you have major challenges as I have read about some of them. I have come down with a really bad cold- I haven't had a cold in years and this one is a doosy. Things seem to have really gotten even more insane in Washington. So worried for my friends that depend on The affordable care act. We had a lab today- I am amazed that my lipid panel was all in normal range- Ron has the angiogram next Wednesday fingers crossed. Then we will know if we are able to resume plans to move. I did this spread in a Dylsions journal with black pages. The chair is a dollhouse chair that I set on a hosta leave- I did a whole photo shoot in Minneapolis of dollhouse furniture in the garden we had. Just came across some of those. This quote is for this spread:
Some days you just need to jump into the vortex and let the universe do its job.

Today was a very gloomy day here- fog drifting in and out- I don't do well with this kind of day- and Ron is sick with a cold and we are hoping he will be better for the appointment at the clinic Wednesday. I needed to write today so filled the background with writing- lots to process. I need to lose weight to help with my overall health and cholesterol. This has been a battle forever- at age 64 one would think I would have it together but I will once again and have lost 12 pounds in the last month. With the craziness in the country right now and this health stuff it has been a challenge as my way to cope has bee to self-medicate with food. So far so good- the body in the spread is an ideal and I have never had that- needing to be realistic -   Update as of March 14th- I have now lost 15 pounds!


Thursday, March 2, 2017

March Already?

Things have been a bit intense of late.  Ron and I went in for screenings- vascular and heart on February 15th- well the news was not so good. We both had Calcium CT Scans- we both have  plaque.  And the scan said for me that I had a 90% chance of there being a blockage. What I said????  We eat healthy  I mean really healthy and we exercise daily. Ron's numbers were not good either. We met with the cardiologist and she wanted us to stop exercising  And ordered a stress echo for us.  We had those- well they wouldn't let Ron take his as they didn't like what his heart looked like resting.  He has an angiogram in a couple of weeks- they did do a very detailed scan- I was told my stress echo was normal and can resume exercise. that after being told from the first scan I was in danger- Hoping Ron's comings tests and procedure has a good outcome.  It is so easy to take one's good health for granted. As if the terror in Washington wasn't enough- this health stuff has made for a very challenging time.  Like I usually do I turned to my journal to express and vent my fear and anxiety.

 I played the new Ryan Adams album a few times-when I was making this spread. He is a great story teller- sort of country- and for some he can be a bit on the melancholy side- Sometime when I am feeling sad or broken or scared I play music like that. To some that may sound odd but for me it is like wrapped a comforting quilt around me. This spread was inspired by a verse in his song Prisoner and it  was dealing with our first test results. That is also the name of the album. Here's the verse:
There's this one bird
Lands on the sill beside the bars
How can something born with wings
Ever know freedom to truly be free
Clock don't know what your memories do
They're stacking up beside the bed
I count 'em every night inside my head

This spread below is about the worry about tests. I copied my EKG and used that in this one.  The spread title is Test Anxiety.

The next spread below was done while we were waiting to have our Heart Calcium CT Scans.
That Rumi quote really drew me in.

Well I got my stress echo test back and I am so very thankful it is normal can resume exercise and still have to deal with my cholesterol but that's doable- Ron has a angiogram in 2 weeks. So we will know then what is happening there. So still very tense and the journal spreads today are dealing with that fear. With the internet we have almost too much access to information but of course we have researched what the test will involve- and the risks and all of that.  The spread below is called 
Angio Worry

Heart health weighs heavily here at home and it's hard to just let go and shake it off- Journaling does help- In all the research we have been doing I have seen this imagery and have saved and printed it out and cut it all out and so these have been in a pile on the studio table- not much left of the pile after these past couple days.

This last spread below is out of order but it really fits anywhere.  I need to try to more of this- and it is hard to sort fake news from real news at times.
Looking for Good News

Sunday, February 19, 2017

More Journal Work

I have been spending a lot of time in my journal- finding that is the best way for me to get my emotions out of my head and onto a spread.  I can't seem to do  other art for right now at least.  I have posted these spreads in other art groups but those are closed groups so some of you may not have seen those.  I will include  what I wrote  about each spread. These spread were created from February 8th to the 18th. This first spread below was done on the 8th- the last was done yesterday the 18th.

I am in a group on Facebook, target resistance: first 100 days that is doing art to express ourselves using targets in the work some where. No Where To Run is the title- yes this is a political post do if you get offended please scroll by- Ted Cruiz has or plans to soon introduce legislation that will allow people to deny services to LGBT people and other groups including Muslims because it goes against their religion- so if my husband was hurt and went to ER and the attending doctor had an issue with gays he could refuse to treat him- so yes I feel like a target.

The next spread is Dive into the Fray. I am trying to do more active things not just signing petitions but actually calling my representatives and joining groups and giving money to organizations that are helping people. This was done for that Target group.

This spread is Be Brave.  This quote really says it all to me right now: Be strong enough to stand alone,
smart enough to know when you need help and
brave enough to ask for it.

I spent the morning going through things on the tables in my workspace and got things sorted and picked up a bit and couldn't resist sitting down again. This is really an illustration to this small story. Sharmon Davidson Jennings shared the story on her blog. I am in a facebook group Target Resistance-The First 100 days. It's a group for doing art that deals with our reactions to what is going on in the country right now. The only rule is you have to use a Target somewhere in your work. Here is the story.
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.”
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
“The other is good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Well with all the hearings happening in several states about why people should be able to discriminate because serving a gay person or a Muslim or other religions because it is against their religion is demoralizing. And the anti-woman tone from several lawmakers is also so disturbing- where are we headed? I filled the background of this spread with Love is Love over and over and over- it was cathartic and I believe that Love is love. I included the face of the statue of liberty- I can only hope we continue to have the liberties that we do now.

This spread is dealing with something I think a lot about- in the past I am amazed at all the vintage photographs of men being affectionate with other men- perhaps some of these men were gay but in my research I found that it was common then for men to be openly affectionate with one another- friends- holding hands and hugging. Why did this change to the point now where men have been beaten for holding hands or kissing. This spread is my wistful look at the past.
Well yesterday was a Wake Up call and that is the Title of this spread- cliche as it may sound. Our clinic recently had a screening for heart and vascular health- they sent me the results of my vascular scan yesterday but I didn't see the notice until yesterday morning. I am so glad we decided to go for those scans- they are able to tell now if you have a calcium build up in your pipes. Turns out I do and I will have to meet with a cardiologist soon- mine isn't super severe but is enough that I will have to deal with it. Some medical intervention will be needed. I already eat a very healthy diet and exercise at least 5 times a week sometimes 6. I do know part of this is hereditary. So yet another reminder that everyday really is a gift.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

One Day At A Time

I will share a few journal spreads here.  I have been doing  a fair amount of journal work- it's sometimes the only way I have to release the anger- rage sorrow and  fear that I have about our country right now. The tone is so hateful in the states as well.  I just read in Iowa they have frozen the minimum wage and have made it illegal for cities to raise it.  Where is this coming from-  I am so upset and feel that the moral compass for this country is missing- it certainly is in the white house and congress.  Sharmon Davidson, a terrific artist I have met online had this on her blog today and I think it just might be the subject for a journal spread soon.

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.”
“One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
“The other is good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

This First spread is The Search for America's Missing Moral Compass. I am raging with the approval of a woman that bought her way to the Secretary of Education. She hates public educations knows nothing about it but because she contributed so much money to the evil bastards this is what we get- as a career educator is just enrages me- they have NO caring at all for the children and students of this country- everything has a price tag now.

The next spread is Where is the Hero? I am hoping for us all to be heroes in doing all we can to make this government one that is for the people and not just billionaires and haters.

I love this quote-It was the  inspiration for this spread.  I am so very fortunate to have friends that have really had the keys to doors of mine that didn't even realize- I mostly have all open doors now.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hard to Take

I am finding it hard to deal with the rapid pace of changes that this hideous administration is pushing through.  I am  still amazed at how selfish people can be and it really does feel like an evil force has grabbed our nation- but the incredible marches on Saturday- and thank you all for your marching-  that was huge and it was around the world.  I( am doing what I can- writing emails, signing petitions, donating to groups on the national level.  And I make art.  I have to-it's how I speak best.

The spread is titled what else but : RESIST!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Art for Activism and Expression

I recently had a very difficult experience.  I posted the journal spread in my last post in a private Facebook art journal group.  Well a firestorm erupted- seems there were a few and just a few that felt politics should not be a part of the work shared there- I was accused of using the group to advance my political agenda.  The comments went on for hours (there are over 6,000 people in this group) Not once did I say this is what you should do or this is what you should think but only expressed my own feelings being in one of the targeted groups from the new administration.  Well I was very much supported by the group as a whole I am happy to say.  My friend Laura Tringali Holmes, a terrific artist living in New York started a Facebook group: Target Resistance: First 100 Days. This is a public group and the art made there is using a target somewhere in your art You can read the specifics on the group page.   This is the piece I submitted for that group. Title:  They Didn't Ask to be Targets.  This is a digital collage.    .  

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Sad and Scary Day

I have been trying hard to not let this horrible thing that will happen today January 20th consume me. It's hard knowing that the people soon to be in control care very little about the majority of the citizens. It really is about power and money on a foundation of greed. Many of us are targets- women, people that are not white male and and the target group I am in- The LGBT community. One of the  most troubling things were reading that Trumps pick for supreme court justice thinks gays should be jailed. Then reading that he intends to get rid of the National endowment for the arts. Most all of you reading this know the importance of art- for self expression for healing art is another language. I taught art for 36 years from elementary through university age. I have seen first hand how art has literally saved lives. As I felt my heart start to race I stopped what I was doing and went to my journal. Please join me in putting loving intentions out into the universe. This will help us to move through this scary time. Sending love to you all.