Saturday, December 28, 2013

The InBetween

christmas, with all its glitz and glamor and excitement, has passed in a flash.  the paper has been torn and recycled, the tree is nearing its inevitable end and the lights don’t seem to shine with quite the same intensity as each day stacks up on top of the previous one.

 the new year, with its promise and possibility of things to come, is not here yet.  soon, yes… but in the meantime we are blessed with a whole week to navigate the transition. 

 so i am sitting here, in this in-between, and wondering.  about the ways i could have made better use of the precious time that was gifted to me this year.  ways i could have made wiser choices, shown more compassion or taken better advantage of opportunities.  these are fleeting thoughts though, because i am not about regret.  only so far as it can point me to a better future.

and i do feel very much in transition.  some of the pursuits i have been involved in have stopped or will be stopping soon. the events of the last couple of months have taken their toll and i’m not yet back to functioning with full capacity, creativity and confidence.  i still don’t have use of my studio (it’s complicated…)

i’m choosing to view this as an opportunity.  things have been slowly inching back to “normal” around here and, believe me, i have a new appreciation for life that is simply normal and ordinary.  the future is wide open.  i feel poised, on the brink of something, but don’t yet know what it is.  scary and exhilarating all at the same time.

i haven’t even been able to settle on a new “word of the year”.  while other years, an appropriate word pretty much landed on my outstretched wings and i took off with it, this year is different.  lots of uncertainty, lots of questions.

so i move forward…. beyond the in-between and into the unknown.  one foot planted firmly on the ground and the other outstretched..  pursuing the things i love, day by day, and trusting that it will fall into a pattern that makes sense.  grateful for the lessons of the year and ready for the new ones.  2014 – bring it on!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Finding Joy

well, it’s no secret by now that i have been facing a series of challenges lately.  it began in october with the demise of the retreats.  that hit me hard… both personally and creatively and left me wondering what direction i should be going in. 

The ugly reality

 next was the finding of termites and mold in my little studio.  it has been partially torn down and the contents and furniture piled haphazardly in the house, making it hugely challenging to stay organized, not to mention produce any real pieces of art. the re-building will be time-consuming and expensive. 

Leaving the hospital after 13 days

The happy reunion

  then on November 20th, life REALLY changed, when i became the full-time caregiver for my husband, who had double knee replacement surgery.  man, was i clueless about what this would entail!  you see, as caregiver, not only do you have to attend to the care, comfort and convenience of the cared-for person, but there is the re-arranging of the house and furniture, equipment set-up, helping with daily tasks and therapy, meals, errands, appointments, icing, medication, communication with all interested parties, AND attending to all the tasks, duties and responsibilities that the cared-for person normally does by himself. 

the sad truth is that i was so blindsided about the ways my own life had been suddenly and negatively impacted that i wasn’t always a very cheerful and effective caregiver.  i wasn’t coming from a place of strength.  i struggled through each day, doing the tasks at hand, feeling depressed and disorganized.  not the best cheerleader for a person needing hope and encouragement. 8=(

New reading

i’m not here to tell you that i now have the secret and everything is hunky-dory.  it’s still a daily challenge.  the progress is very slow and sometimes frustrating.  my life continues to feel limited and chaotic, especially trying to deal with the holidays on top of everything else.  but i have managed to re-institute some of my little personal practices.  i am actively seeking out small moments of joy and it’s helping.

 the days have been so beautiful and it just takes a moment to notice that.  i am now responsible for long, daily dog walks and i’m actively trying to find the joy in that.  friends have been so supportive and that’s a beautiful thing.  and the holidays?  they do have so much joy if you are open to it. 

we all know in theory that adversity is our greatest teacher. in the midst of it, i find it difficult to be the student, but afterwards i am open to reflecting and exploring and i know i have many things yet to learn.  


Friday, November 29, 2013

3 Part Thanksgiving

yesterday was broken up into 3 distinct parts.  the first i was able to spend my myself (with my sweet companion, of course). i haven’t had a lot of down time, with all the hospital frenzy, so it was lovely to have a bit of time to think, write in my journal, reflect on the many wonderful blessings in my life and even do a little bit of art.  there was also time for a lovely, long walk at the park with my girl.

the middle of the day was my hospital visit.  at this point, it’s a much more upbeat experience than just a week ago.  stu said the turkey dinner was the best hospital meal so far and, with the great progress he is currently making, the talk now is all about moving forward and the possibility of going home soon.  he is doing 3 hours of therapy a day and has a wonderful, positive attitude about the whole experience.  it’s impossible to visit a hospital and not come away extremely grateful for every strength and ability that we take for granted on a daily basis.  it has all been a bit of a crash course for me, since neither of us has ever spent the night in a hospital.  learning…

Day 10 and counting...
Happy Thanksgiving hospital style

progress - re-learning to walk


the latter part of the day was spent feasting with friends.  i’m so very, very grateful to have wonderful friends who put such variety and love into the dishes they create, not to mention deliciousness!  it was an amazing feast and just what i needed after spending the last few weeks immersed in conversations about medical issues.

Pomegranate martini

My nametag in English, Farsi and Greek

Toasting with pomegranate champagne

Our generous hosts, Abbas and Mary

Mary explaining the latest additions to her incredible mosaic wall

Center of the labyrinth

all in all, a perfect mix of a day.  i’m a grateful girl.


Saturday, November 23, 2013


i’ve started this post several times, but stopped, not knowing what direction to take it.  i know ‘tis the season to be grateful, but the fact is, things have become pretty challenging over here.  

my studio is torn apart.  what we thought was just a little mold on the baseboards turned out to be a completely rotten floor…. wet and riddled with subterranean termites.  this after just 3 years… everything is out, thrown in bins and stacked in my bedroom, the furniture in the living room, with a few supplies set up  so i can prepare lessons for my art journaling students.  just yesterday i found out it’s even worse than we thought.  the walls may have to come down too.  the guy that did the work is busy and not available right now....

 stu is in the hospital recovering from double knee replacement surgery.  he made the decision to do them both at once, an opening came up and he jumped on it.  no time to attend the information class.  what we thought would be about 3 days in the hospital is turning into more like 13.  he gets dizzy when he stands, can’t do the therapy and is dealing with the pain.  there are many frustrations associated with hospital life and we are both finding out as we go.  he just called me with a new list of problems…. it’s tough to see those that we love uncomfortable, struggling and in pain. 

apparently the hospital lost his 2 cell phones.  there when i left, they disappeared, possibly fell in with the dirty laundry.  contacts, info, etc. all gone.  not sure what is going to happen with this....

bailey is not used to being without her daddy.  nervous and confused, she clings to me and is not a happy camper being left home or in the car, so i feel torn.  yesterday was cold, blustery and rainy and it was difficult to even take her for a walk.

there’s more, but i’m thinking this is enough for one post.

 seriously, i do not like complaining and that is not my intention, but i’m committed to being honest and i'm feeling a little like i’ve lost my studio, my mate and my regular way of life in one fell swoop.  everything has changed.  it's hard to do the stuff i normally do.  i know it’s all temporary and i’m extremely grateful for that.  and i’m determined to be grateful for all the other wonderful things in my life as well.  i will get there.  i am making that promise to you and to myself.  thanks for listening.... that's a gift in itself.

pics from a happier time recently in the mountains...

Thursday, November 14, 2013


my brain seems to be bouncing around like a tennis ball.  i can’t concentrate and am having trouble getting things done.  it all began last week….. reeling with the disappointment of the retreat falling through, i decided to take myself up to the mountains for a few days, as i occasionally do.  

in the course of finding a place to stay, i ran across this 1928 hunting lodge with 7 bedrooms.  for sale.  clark gable stayed there.  looked like such an amazing place and setting that i could not get it out of my head.

when i got up there, i went to a real estate office.  i got permission to visit the property and walk around.  i pretty much fell in love.  later i was able to see the inside.  rustic, vintage, quaint, yet updated and homey.  perfect.

 i came back one more time and walked the grounds.  the possibilities started trickling into my consciousness and have not yet left.

there would be many, many hoops to jump through. it may be purchased by some rich investor and all fall through.  but i feel that i need to follow through with this energy i am feeling.  my dream would be to live in the lodge, sponsor my own retreats and classes and make it available for others to do the same (um, yes, i realize i said i wasn’t going to do it anymore…)

 in the meantime, while getting all of that set up, the lodge could be used as a vacation rental on weekends to generate some income.  piece of cake, right?  since i first wrote this, even more obstacles have materialized, so it’s not looking all that promising, but a girl can still dream, right??