a Tiny description

a full time artist, stepmother, radio personality, and mom to an energetic Chug dog, tries to get through the days without committing a felonious act. My life is a rickety Zen circus.


Friday, October 02, 2015

So here's where it is... I feel like an unwelcome pariah in my own home. It's true. I opened my home to someone who needed a place to stay - cheap - for a few months. It became clear very early on that it was not a good fit. But since it's a family-ish member, I said Suck It Up. But today crossed so many lines in so many ways. While I am in physical pain, and mourning my marriage and wading through paperwork and worrying because I will no longer have health care and so many other monumental life changes, it became very clear that the opinion was that I was a silly little woman who has stolen my husband's greatest financial asset - the very house that the family-ish member sleeps in. How do you ask someone to leave? And now the Actual family member will be sacking out for a week as well, following an unexpected surgery during a visit here.
I have wrestled all day with feeling spoiled or mean or whatever. And I think not. For 15 years I was verbally abused and disrespected and ignored in my own house. I finally broke free, and after a year, had grown strong and fine into my own self worth and my own skin. I will not have that taken from me. I have worked too hard to regain mySelf, and I'm not starting over.  Friends avoid gathering here, sensing the discord, and being confronted with disdain themselves. THIS is the gathering place. THIS is what I sacrificed financial equity for...this house and the gathering of women. And it's ironic that a woman is causing the tumble.
It is not a good fit. My bones tell me...my constant agitation tells me. I am sad to have to say the words, and to cause disruption and chaos to another, but I no longer feel greedy or selfish when I need to care for my soul. And perhaps that has been the lesson in all this.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

am feeling disconnected.  itchy and jumpy in my own skin.  finding myself wandering the house wondering what the heck i was planning to do with the screwdriver in my hand.  feeling like an addict who needs to see a man about a horse.  or some horse. after a day of great and good accomplishments and housework, inside and out, i find it's too early to go to bed, but too sad to stay up.  henry barks through the window at a passing dog.  i think about my neighbor - older than me by a few years - single since i've known her.  how does she do it?  what does she do with all her minutes and hours and days? i feel ashamed to complain about loneliness while i live in a great and beautiful home.  yet the darkness makes it's way through the windows to the inside at times.  the sadness draws the darkness in.  i need to wish better…i need to be more careful for what i wish for.  i wish for things and they come to me…and i'm never satisfied - always finding the flaw…perhaps the problem is me, yes?  perhaps i need to stop wishing and realize that i have all that a wish could bring.  and yet.  even Henry has his shadows in the window.  should i wish for a distraction?  and what of it - what if it should come? would i wish for time alone? i try looking outward and it's just too exhausting tonight.  perhaps tomorrow.  or the next day.  but not tonight. tonight i come here raw and without pretension or pretending.  life on my own can be crushing.  i will wish for a partner - for a close compatriot - not necessarily of the marriage type.  more like a person to share those moments with, when you want to say "Look!" but realize there's no one to say it to.  yes.  someone who won't tire of my sometimes endless chatter.  someone who will help me lift the tent on my Big ideas.  now that would be an excellent wish.

Friday, September 25, 2015

totally underestimated the sadness of an email that begins:

We have your signed divorce papers back from the Court.

Monday, September 21, 2015

to try to condense the past week into one post would be a disservice.  so here are a few random tidbits.  It was another Full Circle thing…i was assigned the same cabin that i stayed in the very first year i went to this art retreat.  there were connections and wine and rooms filled with laughter - one more laugh and the walls would have given way - nails unable to hold the 100+ year old boards in place.  the workshop i had hoped would crack open the dead shell of my creativity - did.  and skipping ahead, the instructor lives a stone's throw away from the very first woman i went to these woods to learn from all those years ago.  true story.
it is difficult to return to a place where there are expectations - whether they be ones put on you, or ones you don as a uniform when you are in situ.  when i first arrived, those many years ago, no one knew me and i knew no one.  they say the further from home you get, the more like yourself you become.  true story.  but as i returned to that spot year after year, and met up with those original new friends, i picked up where i left off - not allowing myself tender new growth, and expecting the same experience.  it took a few years away, to be able to return as my true new self…soft edges, tumbled smooth by the years transitions…my true new self - who knew no one, once again, and decided to chuck the uniform and be my deepest self.  yes.
i learned to listen a bit better - still hard for me to stop the chattering at times.
i learned to let people be.  just be.  and…
i learned that i do not need to like everyone, even if i know they are simply expressing their pain in the only way they know how.
i learned that there is no need to overshare…in watching a mirror of my former self, i cringed, but knew there was no way to stop that train once it left the station.  i want that woman to know that she was welcomed, simply by being there - that there was no need to try so hard, and besides - who cares if someone likes you?  the ones you connect with are the ones that you have most in common with.  they are your tribe. and you don't need to try.  there is no point.
i learned that i need to have women around me…great swirling groups of creativity and laughter and good food and all the scents and smells of the marketplace - BUT i need my own private space to rest in.  (this is meant for my continuing life NOT my roommate, who was wonderful and interesting and wildly talented).
i learned that a car breaking down on the way home can create a much needed 100-percent down day of rest and laundry and art at home.  that a hard landing can be something to be grateful for (well, i'll get back to you on the Full gratitude after i get the bill from the mechanic).
i learned that i need to write down some of the stuff that comes out of my mouth.

i had the very distinct honor and privilege of watching another brave woman start at my beginning, and leave the week and the woods with wings on her feet.

thank you for this week.  i have a date with Henry now, and he really is excited about going for a walk.
be well…be grateful…be yourself.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

don't believe it!

Reports that I've abandoned this space are simply not true.  Well, actually, there haven't been any such reports, but I bet you suspected. Nope.  Just trying to find balance.  it's a tricky thing.  if you've ever tried to spin a ball on your finger, or a plate, or a few plates…that's what I'm talking about.  And it's all of my own doing, i know.  there are so many Things To Grab…too many opportunities to Not Pass Up…it's a harmonic convergence of sweet summer weather, and the freedom to choose.  and i've chosen it all.  so, something had to slip past me, and i'm afraid it was this blog.  but now, as the weather chills a bit, and the rainy days begin, and the leaves begin to find soft landing on the ground, now i feel myself begin to cocoon a bit…feeling slightly annoyed at a dinner party tonight, when normally i'd be celebrating the kinship around the table.  tonight i needed to melt a bit.  but there will be time for that later, and tomorrow.  having run all my errands today, i'll have tomorrow to do as i please, save for packing for my week in the woods.  Henry has more than plenty women to watch over him this week, and will likely be even more spoiled when i return.  i have my eye set on an artist grant, and am hoping it comes through.  details later.  Today i found a fantastic buffet/server…mahogany…and very similar to one i remember from growing up.  just some random thoughts.
this year, i have pushed myself to some very scary places in the name of adventure and comraderie…i've jumped over the abyss many times and always landed well…i've learned that there really is no such thing as a dragon - just a galoof with a lot of hot air…and no such thing as a Big Scary - only a bunch of little scaries standing on each others' shoulder under a giant coat…plink plink plink one at a time and they're gone.  but there is indeed such a thing as friends, deep in the heart and willing to swim with you and laugh hysterically with you and breathe well with you.  even in Ikea.  oh - and i learned that there is magic - yes!  and it may leave, but it always returns, because your magic is as much a part of you as brown eyes.  i have learned so much this year.  and i want to share it all.  and i will, but in bits.  but right now, i need to get dinner started for friends who will sit around my table and break bread and laugh and watch movies…share a cup with me tonight…as i raise my glass, i'll have you twinkling in my eye, and beating in my heart.  thank you.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Too many dots

on my phone calendar, when I add an event, it makes a dot on that day. I need only to tap that day's square to see what the dot represents.  If I have more than 1 event, then I have as many dots as there are things to do.  My calendar looks like it has chickenpox. Dot pox. Too much to do and no down time pox.  I wanted to go to an R&R retreat at Kripalu, but...no time. Seriously? So despite my abhorrence to rules, I am making one. Beginning 9/21 I will only plan 1 event per weekend. That will give me time to clear through events I've already booked. Just 1 planned event per weekend. Planned. That will allow time for cleaning, laundry and cooking. Cooking! It's soup and casserole and beefed up dinners time! A dinner party takes a good part of a weekend to pull off well...there's cleaning and shopping and chopping and cooking and setting a beautiful table.  I'm looking forward to having a monthly art-and-soup party, as well as a regular dinner.  So that's my plan, anyway.  The past few months have been a circus wheel of activity, and although it's been exhausting, I know the summer months come and go too quickly. Just the other day on our walk, the woods path was beginning to cover with leaves, and the pond is very quiet...no geese daring us to walk past their fluffy babes.  Those babes are now hard to tell apart from their mamas.  And they've all flown off.  I still open the windows for cool morning air, but the windows stay open well into the morning now, with no danger of letting in warm air.  In just a few short weeks, I'll be raking leaves. Pumpkins are already appearing in grocery displays and for sale. I love fall, but am sad to see summer wane.  It has been a good summer.  A mostly peaceful summer. And one of my favorites. Winter promises to be a good season this year, and I await its surprises. Henry is impatient for his walk, so off we go. Wishing you a good season today....

Friday, August 21, 2015

a mid-morning walk with Henry through my woods… there is a certain area that just smells so good - so earthy and woodsy…i stop every time and just take a deep breath.  and i realized that this is in the darkest part of the path…at night pitch black, even during a full moon.  At mid-morning, still mossy and damp and loamy.  It's actually the smell of downed trees returning to soil…and it struck me that in the darkest moment of life, there is a death of the things that no longer serve you…anything non-essential is stripped away…anything that no longer fits or is useful to you gets disregarded…situations that seemed bothersome and worth an argument moments before, now seem like a frivolous and ridiculous battle cry…in the darkest moment of your soul, if you stop. and take a breath. in all the musty, loaminess of things being broken down and seemingly destroyed - in that moment when you close your eyes and take a breath…may you smell the beautiful sweet smell of life anew breaking through the soil and moss, gentle as a fern…may you realize somewhere around your breaking heart - that darkness is necessary for a time…that the fire that destroys the forest makes it possible for a new forest to grow.  and may you have a henry to stop you while you listen and smell and realize in your heart.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

i have been busy like a honeybee in a hive…my sister-in-law is coming to stay for a bit, and that meant flipping the house,,,moving from my little nest downstairs, up to the new room.  that also meant moving my office to my studio.  which meant a total studio re-do, in order to make the perfect space for my desk, and the perfect gathering spaces in my studio.  my greatest gifts are my friends.  truly.  i am every day all the more grateful for friends near and far.  and it is my intention this fall & winter to have a once (or twice) a month art gathering with them…some artists, some not…but all willing to get sloppy in the paint.  my vision is: 6 of us gathered around the worktable gabbing and mucking in paint, while a pot of soup or a lasagna cooks away downstairs.  good friends, good food, fun art, hot chocolate, wine, whatever your pleasure.  I am so excited for it…introducing new and old friends.  i have learned that you need to curate gatherings…i have learned that all friends are excellent, but there are some combinations that work so much better than others, and a greater time will be had by all.  so that is what i'll do…mix the mingle.  i am so in love with the new arrangement of this space…i can finally face the big wall of windows while i work.  it was such a shame to have my back to them before.  it's been 15 years of living in this house and rearranging.  this feels perfect for now.
1 month from now, i'll be in the piney woods of New Hampshire…a place i never thought i'd be again. so much has changed this past year, and i feel as though my heart had become like a stone, and then was shattered open.  the bits and pieces have come together in a new and different way - much like my house - and it feels so fresh and new.  i am still under the protection of my pre-divorce settlement terms, and am grateful for these months to catch my breath and see what needs to happen in my new day-to-day.  i miss what once was.  i feel like we failed the process and one another - that we gave up when we could've made this life epic.  but, that's all water past.  to look back is to stumble on the present, and miss the future.
it's time to catch some sleep - Henry's flea medicine has given out and he's so miserable…so we've been awake for the past few nights.
good rest to you…..

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

walking Henry

today…early morning…smell of dawn in the woods…dew drops on leaves…mulchy smells…the pond tranquil, with just a few ripples from the gentle breeze…i notice my hand gripping Henry's leash.  i am already anticipating his recently acquired bad behavior when he spots another dog - lunging and barking and growling.  it has made our walks unrelaxing.  and my clenched hand is an obvious sign of that.  but he is a good boy, in general, and so peaceful and loving.  not sure why this has begun, but it started just before my husband moved out for good…was there something that happened in that last walk, off leash, in the woods? who knows.  but today, as we walked through this amazing gift of a place…the woods that heal my heart and stir creativity in my soul…today, i thought: what has ever happened that has been bad? he sees another dog, you pick him up and walk by, then continue.  easy peasy lemon squeezy.  so i stopped worrying about the "proper" way to walk a dog, and who's in front and all the Cesar Millan rules and such.  and. just. walked.  and somehow it got even more beautiful.  and of course, i translated that to everyday life.  holding the leash too tightly only makes you fixate on the thing you're clinging to…

in other news…you'd think i'd know it all by now, but au contraire.  the other day, my mom came to help me move my stuff from the downstairs bedroom, to the upstairs bedroom.  i'll be having a guest stay for a few months, and it's more private for them to take the lower 2 bedrooms and bathroom.  i had a baby girl tantrum.  it felt awful and weird.  and it wasn't until the next day, after i'd shut the downstairs bedroom door and stayed out, that i realized there was mildew in the room…i am very sensitive to mildew.  so it's a blessing to be moving upstairs.  i've been sleeping better up there, too.  but my eyes were so scratchy i wanted to gouge them out…and it made me cra cra, that mildew.  and tired. my recent torpor most likely caused by this insidious mildew.  so, culprit named, and soon i'll be away from it.  meanwhile, i've had to wash all the clothes that were down there.  not an easy job.

it is all so very good.

Saturday, August 08, 2015


I want to create space here in my home, and under my gazebo, for friends to gather…for the quiet to be peaceful in a group - not feeling like anything other than their presence is required…for the boisterous and gregarious to have their stories heard and respected…for all of them to gather at the same time, knowing that this is much more than a party - that it's a safe place for their heart.

more to come...

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

although i fully realize that MY life this past year pales in comparison to the year some of you have had…it is still my reality that it has been rough.  i am learning my weaknesses and shortcomings and failings and things that are downright ugly.  i am also learning strengths and my goodness and my ability to forgive and ask for forgiveness.  i am learning that 40 years is much too long to let a person or an incident have power over me.  as is 40 minutes.  or even 40 seconds.  i am learning that sometimes i can make a mistake (true!) and sometimes it's a biggie.  but i know my mistakes are not made with a malicious heart.  and i know that sometimes a mistake is not a mistake…it is a hard decision that had to be made, and wishing i could take it back won't help the situation or the future - it has to be what it became.
case in point: Purrl.  It was becoming more difficult to have him here - he was pooping on the rug every day at least once, and Henry found it delicious.  my house was a series of barricaded doorways to keep the dog out of this area or that area…my downstairs bathroom was actually a giant catbox.  and i'm not much of a cat person - being that i'm allergic.  Purrl mostly stayed to himself, but the pooping thing was too much.  i gave Perfect Stepdaughter (who is the actual momma to this cat) and exhusband 1 week to find a home for Purrl or one of them would need to get him to a shelter.  yesterday was the day.  and the whole shelter thing - i didn't believe either one of them would be that heartless.  ex said he was working on having a friend's daughter take him, and then came to pick Purrl up with all the various and sundry brushes, litter, food barrels, etc.  It was hideously and indescribably sad watching as Purrl panicked in the carrier, trying to get out, and Henry whined and circled the carrier.  Ex finally put it in the car and left.  i sobbed the whole way to work.  and in the baathroom once there.  But i knew Purrl would have a good home where he would get ALL the attention.  Later in the day, i got a text from Perfect Stepdaughter begging me to give her 1 more day to find a home for him…that her dad had told her that his person didn't pan out and that he was dropping the cat off with her.  I can't begin to tell you what began to wrench in my gut…Purrl wasn't a bad cat and deserved a VERY good home.  just not mine.  i suddenly looked around at the beautiful 4-bedrooms i have and felt very selfish.  i am still dealing with that.  i had called my mother sobbing like a child that i had a picture of Purrl scared and in a cage somewhere because of me. she tried to reassure me that i had made the right decision, but really (lightening bolt lesson) really what i needed was just space to grieve…someone to hold my tether while i drifted a bit.  letting someone cry copiously and blubber out their pain is difficult…to just stand and hold them in their grief. i am so so so grateful and blessed to have 3 people in my life who "get" that … who instinctively know how to let a person just grieve, and not have to calm them down or fix it or make them feel better…just let the balloon lose air.  as my mother spoke, i had to ask her to just stop…she was invalidating my grieving process…she was squashing a natural part of loving someone or something and losing that person (or animal).
and that was the lesson of the day.
this has been a year of epic sadness and grief for me.  not the worst, but right at the top of the list.  and this year has been do-able because i let myself feel the intensity of the good and the bad, and let myself learn the lessons that each had for me.
i look to God and say "okay, enough!" but suspect He has a few more tricks up His sleeve.  i need a rest, though, and i need my art to return to my hands.
my life has truly come full circle…back to the 90's, where my first husband passed away and i was alone trying to figure things out, with 1 dog and a fenced yard and working in radio at the very same job in the same company.
i will be on alert for neighbors bearing gifts and asking for dates this time around.
sorry for the ramble. please say a prayer for Purrl.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Last night, I held the past, the present, and the future in my hands.
Lately my mantra has been Live In The Moment, and I'm getting there...not racing ahead, not holding onto the past...just dancing on that edge of Nowness. But I now realize how important a look backward is...a chance to revisit, to make peace with those things that have clung to your ankle...the person who made you feel less than...the moments that haunt you at the strangest times.
What better place to do that then a 40th high school reunion? I never would have gone, but Ellen asked me to be her date, so how could I say no? As the hour approached, I remembered how much I hated these things (as if) and would've stayed home, but someone was counting on me to escort them.  I don't want to name names, because it isn't about the Who...more about the sudden realization that I am 40+ years past any hurts, slights, feelings of inadequacy, feeling like a square peg. And why I allow those things to remain a part of my history is beyond me...why I hadn't chopped the choking vine off my life quite some time ago is a mystery.  But by the time brunch was done on Sunday morning, I had a full sense of what belong in the past - to stay. All done without drama ... Just a gentle wingflutter and a reality settled in and a 40 year old ghost dissolved.
I will take the lesson along with me, but not carry the weight of the learning.
Wishing you empty baskets.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

word house

What You Speak
Becomes The House
You Live In.

Having been gifted a mondo huge-o box (i mean HUGE) of Chartpak rub-on lettering in every size and font ever invented, I realized it was a fantastic opportunity to put my favorite quotes on my walls.  so this morning, i continued to look through my book of Hafiz, rather than watch the next episode of Unbreakable on Netflix, as has become my habit.

I found the quote above, and it struck a chord.  it shall go on my wall by the front door.

I've been reading "Silence" by Thich Nhat Hanh, and this morning, he was talking about how our mind wanders and that leads to fears and unkind thoughts.  and i realized how true that was in my monkey mind.  so Henry & I headed out for a walk…without the cell phone *gasp* and without anything other than each other.as i got to my favorite part of the woods, i took in a deep breath of cool pine air, and let my mind wander as usual.  An owl suddenly flew across the path ahead of us, startling me back to the present moment.  and i realized i was not able to enjoy the Present Moment, because my mind was wandering away from it.  Hanh says to let you breath bring your mind back to the present, so i took another breath and stood for a moment looking at all the different textures of tree bark and hearing the cicadas and birds.  and then started walking again, but this time i was walking in that moment…how much more peaceful.  
years ago, before cameras in phones, and digital anything, i saw a cartoon that brings it all home.  a man and his wife are at a cocktail party, talking to another couple.  He has a white streak across his face, but is otherwise tanned.  The other man asks how their vacation was, and the tanned man replies "I'm not sure - I have to wait for my pictures to come back from the lab."  The white streak is obviously where he had held his camera up so much that it blocked the sun.  i realized how much we self-document…it's startling, really.  we send so much time with our heads bent over a phone, texting, or taking selfies or pictures of where we are, what we are eating, etc., and never spend time in the moment…experiencing all that the moment has.  Those moments smoosh together to form our path, our journey…are we missing out?  When i travel, i like to eat the local food, and see what the locals treasure, not necessarily the tourist view.  I take very few pictures, because there never seems to be a way to capture the essence of the moment.  maybe it's the fault of the person behind the camera! either way, i find that i enjoy so much more if i'm not worried about getting enough pictures.  and when you think about it - how many times do you actually go back and look at them?  it's the memory of the time spent that you treasure.
as usual i took a winding path to get here.  my lesson lately has been to live fully in the moment.  and it sounds easy, but for someone who has spent the past 30 years being hyper-prepared, it is not as easy as it sounds - my mind constantly does a time check, and a what-if check, and a what's-the-worst-that-could-happen check, then starts running down a list of things to do …in case.  it has made me an excellent producer in the radio/tv world, and event planning, but in an everyday life it becomes burdensome.  so a deep breath in, and a smile, and a moment in the moment.
Wishing you a simple moment of peacefulness today.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

happy in a Pharrell kinda way

I was talking to my neighbor, as we power walked for 75 minutes last night (mostly because we were lost)…and we were planning the annual neighborhood block party.  she mentioned how the dynamics of the neighborhood have changed, with one family moving, and another adding children and how it all still feels like a family.  and she was right.  we have the very best neighborhood - depending on each other for things big and small…having been a stable neighborhood for so many years, we entrust one another with garage door codes and babysitting and "just go in the house & open the fridge" borrowing.  a neighbor is just as likely to come home and find their lawn mowed, or dinner in their fridge, as they are to find an invite to a spur-of-the-moment gazebo party (at my house!)
i am so happy here.  and having a solid root system has helped me regain what i lost in the past years.  i truly am happy.  yes, there are moments of utter frustration and sadness, but my baseline is "happy."  i have a lot of unknowns to look forward to, like meeting my future ex-husband, or who knows what!  I'm good with setting limits, but without constructing a wall to go with those limits.  i feel like i can love freely - whether that love is as a deep friendship, or a serious relationship, or a puppy snuggle.  NOTE: not looking for #2 or any more #3's.  i don't feel the need to spend hours trying to figure myself out, or any such thing - right now, it's not about resting my spirit, it's about moving forward from the place i've been resting for far too long.  and making my own choices about…everything.  good or bad, easy or hard…the choices are mine, because there is no one else.  truth be told, there never was anyone else to make the deep decisions, and i think i was expecting way too much from a mere mortal :)  It was a good excuse for staying stuck.  and now, i need my feet to move.  to make a plan and a budget and live as full and wonderful as i can.  for that is my purpose.

Monday, July 20, 2015

dead…yet alive

the weekend was wasted.  mostly, but not all.  saturday was a joy - movie & dinner and too much shopping with a neighborfriend.  we were like 2 canaries let out of the cage.  poor Henry had to wait alone for The Longest Wait Ever since he moved here.
sunday, i mostly did nothing…i just stayed in bed till i HAD to get up, ran some very quick errands and went back to snooze on the couch.  what the heck?? i've been feeling like there's this great Before And After chasm.  you know what i mean.  and that things After should be easy and wonderful, that my Grand Purpose will appear and be fulfilled.  but that won't happen on the couch, eh?  and i got this wonderful email from Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch - who is always tapped in to my heart, it seems - and it said the exact words below, and i realized that it truly is time to Live The Dream…to put IT into action…to move forward with what i've known should be my purpose.  I have a strong assurance that there is a woman coming to me to help.  I have peace in my heart and perhaps am being too hard on myself for resting a day…there's just so much to do, to enjoy, to experience…to fly like a canary.  and now to Trish's words:

I died to the person I was
This is the story I am telling….
How alive am I, today?
How full
is my

Monday, July 13, 2015

I have no words.  Talk amongst yourselves.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Given a choice between the two, I'd rather be sad than lonely. Luckily, I have many more choices! And I choose happy. And fulfilled. And cuddling with Henry, spending beach days with some great friends. And I'm grateful for learning "lonely" ... Grateful to friends that call me, and that I call, to check in...grateful that I have the opportunity to know that it only takes a minute for a mood to go south..or grabbing "his" favorite whatever at the grocery store, then realizing he isn't there to eat it any longer.  And having someone to call as you choke on tears in the fresh fish department.  And knowing that they know they can call me from wherever, whenever, if something triggers the knowledge that choosing is something that needs to be done...that "happy" is never to be taken for granted.  And neither are good friends.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

being strong does not mean denying your emotions.  being strong does not mean ignoring your fears.  being strong does not mean you have uncertainty.  being strong is knowing that there may be moments when your hands shake, and a cold trickle of sweat tickles down your back and all you want to do is curl up in bed - but you don't.  you look the task at hand straight in the face and say "YOU deal with THIS."  booyah. (the booyah can be extra).
Yesterday, I found an owl feather along the woodspath - with all the owls in my woods, i have never found a feather from one.  and a huge & perfect feather, at that!  This morning, i sat in the morning's dewey stillness, with a mug of steaming coffee in my cupped hands, breathing in the cool air.  In front of me, an owl - silent and focused - swooped down upon an unsuspecting mouse, and without losing pace, flew back to his tree to eat his breakfast.  the owl…what about the owl rang clear and true to me?  I always know when there's an owl perched nearby - the smaller birds make a ruckus…alerting other birds to run.  they swoop at him, and generally pull in the welcome mat.  but the owl sits calmly and stays focused.  calm and focused.  an owl's eyes are fixed - they can't look to the right or left, up or down.  they must turn their entire head in order to change their view.  calmly fixed and focused.  eye on the prize.  knowing fully that the prize will be theirs…or another will come along.  either way, i've never seen a starving owl! despite all the clanging and disturbance and chaos and ruckus and DISTRACTION - fixed and focused.  eye on the prize.
a friend is going through some Nasty Bits, and we chatted over cheesecake.  I assured her she could do this thing, because after all - I did.
"But you're so strong," she said.
I've never thought of myself as being strong or brave or anything exceptional.  Never considered that i would actually finish the race.  i am stubborn, a trait my mother reminded me of constantly when i was growing up.  stubborn is not the bad thing she thought, though.  stubborn meant holding my ground and doing things my own way.  never quite fitting in - the odd fish out, as i wasn't going with the flow. yes -  i literally ran with scissors.  and had to stand in the kindergarten corner.  i have a picture of myself when i was a little girl, wearing my favorite pleated plaid skirt - backwards.  My mother wrote on the back "She was a stubborn girl today and wore her skirt backwards."  what my little brain couldn't express was that there was a metal buckle that hit my little chair right at the small of my back and it HURT.  so i solved the problem and turned the skirt around.
where am i wandering to with all this?  who knows.  but it feels good to feel enough to wander again. to not be afraid to poke in the corners and clear out the dust motes.
again, i am grateful for some of the Trailing Nasty Bits in my own life.  it isn't being strong or brave that continues in my heart.  it's a certainty that it won't kill me.  and if that's true, then i can still get back on my feet and walk to the finish line. I may rest a bit on the ground for a bit, though.  just go on ahead, i'll catch up.
husband (?) came over yesterday to box up some of his remainders to prepare for a moving van.  the days and times of the pack and of the move have both been an epic battle.  it has taken quite a bit out of me to have that kind of verbal violence and crush-em-at-all-costs-for-the-sport-of-it attitude back within my walls.  my body has responded in protest, triggering all sorts of pain and weakness.  but - and this is a big "BUT" - i was able to erase any any doubt from my mind as to whether or not this was a right choice…if maybe we should have tried harder.  and it refreshed within me how it feels to be put way way down.  i feel there is a Life Purpose in this for me…the Respite house need not be a multi-million dollar mansion and grounds - for now.  it might get there someday, but this may be Just Right.  and the road to get here was not as winding and convoluted as it felt, as i look back over my shoulder…it was exactly a straight line Point A to Point B and on.  so by receiving crap with a grateful heart, i am lessening the collateral damage within my body/mind/soul, and acknowledging on some level that i have arrived at the next Point where Something Truly Spectacular will happen.  It may take a bit, and it may look like Not Wonderful for a while, but stay grateful, knowing there is a purpose eventually.  and look back once in a while, with those eyes that are fixed on a prize…see where your perches have been, and the lessons and gifts they have garnered.  but continue ahead to Point B or C or D, as it may be in your flight.
i am ready to give a hand to lift another, as quickly or as slowly as they need the lift to be.  my home will soon be open to respite.  followed by flight.

bonus from my dearest Jonatha:

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Momma don't let your Cowboys grow up to be babies.
Today would have been my 15th wedding anniversary, and although the breakup was inevitable and a welcome relief to both parties involved, I never expected a nasty finish with bickering over what day desks will be picked up, and who is allowed in the house when. Really? Are we not adults, first and foremost? We have to continue on with our lives and hopefully not drag the junk of the past behind us. It is very difficult to do that when the other party is trampling on your zen. With cleats. The only solution is to lift my gaze and, like a bad dinner party, know that these moments will soon end.  Know that however badly the other person is behaving, that it's one of two root causes: either it's a power play - in which case, easy peasy...you don't engage in combat, simply continue as if all are in agreement and call the police if necessary. No game playing here. Or, the second possibility...the other person feels sad and bad and doesn't know any other way to express that, since this breakup was his doing. In either case, he's a tool. A Man would have respect for the other person AS A PERSON on this earth...no matter their past relationship.  I'm speaking only of myself, but using the confusing third party.  Sorry.  If there was physical abuse, there would only be one very clear answer...have the sheriff join you and you have 1 hour to move your crap out....now, GO. Verbal abuse and power plays are a bit trickier to negotiate, but no less destructive. I have given him the day to move, and even found him help to move the heavier things. Since that day would cut into his playtime and won't work, I will be moving the stuff to the garage, with said help, for pickup at a later date of my choosing.  That is my choice. There is more argue than stuff to argue about, and I won't have it. I will not.  This weekend, my house will become my home...my sanctuary.  It will be my space to decorate and worry about and host dinner parties and friends and struggle through all the physical maintenance. And hang art in.
Have a cupcake in my honor today, and I will toast your braveness...your day-to-day getting things done big and ordinary.

Monday, July 06, 2015

I've been feeling like a little slug lately in the mornings. My INTENTION was to rise & shine and go to the Y for some Aqua Fit fun, but before I can even open my eyes, I remember that I'd have to shave my legs and walk the dog and blah and blah and soforth... Next thing I know, it's too late to go. I am giving myself gentle space, without giving myself permission to squander these gorgeous mornings. Henry has been needing so much excersize too...he's getting roly poly. And snippy. I'm surrounded by animals that have no appreciation for their above-average standard of living.  My cat (actually Not My Cat) has begun pooping on the carpet in big stinky messes that the dog finds tasty. If you're grossed out by that, imagine having to clean it and smell it every single day. And Purrl knows better...he is just not getting the attention he got when my husband lived here. Ex Husband? Estranged husband? Whatever the title, tomorrow would've been our 15th anniversary. I will have a cupcake in that honor. Next weekend is his final-ish move out. I say "ish" because who knows what odds and ends will be left by accident to ambush me in a weak moment? I was still having some great weepy moments till things took a nasty turn last week. But back to me & the cat. Purrl is cozied  up next to me right now on the couch - a first ever.  Like he knows his days are numbered here. I hate the thought of taking him to the humane shelter. He is a good kitty, and deserves the very best home with lots of attention lavished upon him. And tuna once in a while but not too often.  But. I cannot be a slave to this house...these animals. There is a lot involved in maintenance, as it is.  And yes, a cat is no trouble -especially one with no claws and an easygoing personality. But my eyes itch constantly, and this misbehaving tells me he is deeply sad without someone to play with him. Which makes me feel guilty in my own house. Even worse, when my Nikki died, Purrl grieved deeply - sleeping on her blanket and coming to cuddle me. He stayed at the foot of the bed on Nikki's blankie for days, and followed me around the house. So now I feel worse trying to re-home him. But.  Ugh okay enough.  He'll probably walk into his new home (yet to be found) and be happier than happy.  Someone to play stair ball with him and brush him...he LoVeS the brush.
Enough ramble...time to start getting ready for work.  Pick one thing - and I absolve you from guilt from it...close your eyes...go!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

sometimes the loneliness leads to depression…but it's fewer and farther in between those times now…at first, i could barely make it through the day.  now, weeks go by without even realizing.  i am learning to be alone without being lonely - learning that i will be alone an evening, but the next day has activities and opportunities and obligations…like the little pup that's gently tapping his nose into my leg right now…"remember me??"  The loneliness no longer has an upper case "L" and it is certainly not the looming monster that will come to stay forever like a bad houseguest.  it is a moment's chance to catch my breath and sit with my thoughts and see what the next few steps are…a chance to still my monkey mind, and breathe purposefully.  But never ever go to WalMart on a saturday night.  no.  it's time to take Hen on his promised adventure - a new word he understands.  Be well, be gentle, be happy, and if you be lonely, call me...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"…you knock at the door of reality
shake you thought-wings
loosen your shoulders
             and open."

"…but don't be satisfied with stories
how things have gone for others.
Unfold your own myth,
without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage -
we have opened you…"

leafing through "The Essential Rumi" to find poems to paint on my walls this weekend.  These two will be awesome, plus my favorite Night Sky.  a quieter morning as a certain amount of Tetris goes on inside…feelings, thoughts, beliefs, hopes…all thunking down into a snug spot, fitting up against each other just right.
Still trying to find a home for Purrl.  he is miserable with the lack of attention, and has begun to show it by pooping on the carpet.  he has been such a good kitty - he deserves a quiet home that will give him loads of play time indoors.  my allergies are wicked, since it's rained non-stop forever, and i haven't been able to open the windows to clear the air.
hey - want a cat?
I mailed my check to new Hampshire today.  not sure what's there for me that made this great pull, but i will honor the guidance.
now - off to walk Henry through the shelter of the tall pines where the rain can't get us.  but the mosquitos can.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

a rainy saturday afternoon, as i get ready to meet a friend for dinner.  i love the rain…i sat out under the gazebo earlier, after i finished the laundry and dishes and grocery shopping & reorganizing the shelves in the medicine closet.  i try to keep busy :)
my friend, the chef from Ireland, gave me his cooking school cook book…a hefty volume, if i do say so.  an amazing gift.  and it started to reignite the urge to prepare love on a plate…to move about my kitchen with purpose, and set a beautiful table and gather folks for conversation…all that being creativity of another sort.  i am slipping into my new skin, these days…casting off the dark & heavy cloak for a lighter step, a less clumsy step…confidence and renewal has spun a golden shawl for me and i feel proud to wear it - the patched spots well earned.  so much was lost for no good reason, but it is certainly time to step out of the ring of destruction and move ahead, without looking back.  i reclaim my place in this physical house…making drawers and cupboards work for me…selecting colors that sing to my soul…finally hanging my artwork, and the artwork that i've collected.  my studio has a large area cleared and ready for work…still some outer areas to finish up, but the main part of the studio is usable once again.  and it is a studio.  not an office.  not The Big Room.  not "your room up there."  it's My Studio.  how long i'll be here - who knows?  but a good place to catch my breath, perhaps grow roots, perhaps move out for adventure…time will soon tell.
wishing you a cozy afternoon & evening - even if it's 100 degrees….

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"The space between
the tears we cry
is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more
The space between the wicked lies we tell
and hope to keep safe from the pain…"

did i listen to that song hundreds of times in the past few months…years…?

somehow, I've squeezed through that space, and have, indeed, found the trampoline to bounce out of the rabbit hole…yes.  everyday is Yes.  and more.  is it everyday easy?  au contraire.  some days are totally a joy and a wonder and candy frosting on an ice cream scoop of love.  somedays, it's just shit.  but that all meets at the median point of pretty damn good, my friend.  it's easier in that i know where the edges are, and i can step to them if i choose…or not.  i can listen to my body and respect it's needs.  there is no more martyr in my soul.  the strong intuitiveness has found it's voice in me again.  and now a new space occupies my need to make art once again…to restart and jump start and get the fire going - to dance and proclaim and cook a soul s'more over.  and that new space, despite all this oogly googly talk of dancing around fires and proclaiming, the new space is a calm, intuitive assurance deep within.  i feel the last gasps of struggle, as the need to KNOW what's ahead and control it fights against the certainty that all is well.  even if it isn't, all is well.  there is a reason and sometimes you just don't know why until after….whatever after after is.  and it isn't fake-it-till-you-make-it, or keep up a good face - because God knows mine has been streaked with ugly cries.  it's more that knowing, as you go through hell (and we all do) that there will eventually be a reason to be grateful for the fire.  and pray that you can get through quickly!
so the new space sounds more like this:

"…We are the night ocean
filled with glints of light.
we are the space between
the fish and the moon
while we sit here together…"

My favorite poem - soon to be painted on my new bedroom wall.

I am returning to a place that started it all in my soul…i am returning as a different person…i'm not sure why this absolute need to return, but it is a strong pull, and i've learned to heed that.  I thought that I'd put everything in those woods to bed, but i am new, and for reasons i don't know, there is something for me there, once again - perhaps a connection to make, perhaps to be someone else's connection, who really knows…but it is certain that i belong there this year.  and having had some amazing opportunities presented to me this season…none of them settled right within my heart - through no disrespect of the offering NONE whatsoever.  i would love to be on a private island with a private chef and all the art materials i needed!  and the offer was amazing - just come.  or travel to New Mexico…*groan of longing* or see the amazing goodness of a treasured soul on the Pacific coast - again, Just Come! thank you - from a deep place in my heart, thank you.  but it isn't where i was meant to be this season.  i will follow the leading of my gut, for once! and speaking of gut - time for lunch, and a walk in the woods and then to work.  Thank you for holding my place here these past months…for returning to check on me…did you know I held each of you in my cupped hands and brought my hands to my heart each and every day?  hard to believe but true.  and in that act, you helped me stay grounded…helped me re-remember that there's more to this than the moment, and that my life's worries had been traveled through before by you.  thank you for looking back and grabbing my hand…

Monday, June 22, 2015

so where were we???

here's where i've been...

in my woods...

just dandy - walks with Henry

henry finds a prize

 (mama deer walks thru my yard every day - sometimes with her spotted fawn!)


 (the new guest room, with Purrl NOT sleeping on the old white bedspread he's been sleeping on forever - choosing instead to sully up the new one)

 And I have….
Yes, it has been a long road, and i'll spare the cliches here, but i now know the meaning of being "pulled through a knothole backwards."  yes.  i have been breach born into this new life, and it has been as rough on me as the One trying to birth me.  The waters are deeper here, but clearer…and like the ocean's salty water, it buoys me…i feel held aloft on the tears I've shed…yes, i feel an entitlement to claim my spot here - something new.  not a boastful, smug entitlement, but an acknowledgement to the gift of the past few months and past 15 years - i have grown and become the woman i now am because of the that time. it's funny, when a woman would say to me "i'm divorced," it was'nt something that resonated in any particular way with me…just, oh - she gets to sleep in and make ice cream sundaes for breakfast if she wants.  now i know that those 2 words carry with it so so much more…so much that unexplainable...the tears…the fear of almost everything dissolving…the standing up and getting knocked down and standing, once again.  seeing some friends pull away, as if it's a disease to be caught…seeing some pull away for no real reason that you can imagine.  seeing some friends, old and new, stand so close to you that you can't possibly fall down, and taking your midnight calls to say the same thing over and over…i am so deeply grateful and so deeply aware of how blessed i am…love bombs and bath bombs and books and banners all helped me through.  a quick email or text arriving at just the right time…a trip south to visit a mermaid and laugh deeply at catastrophe. (side note: i have a painting that says "Catastrophe is sometimes a good thing."  amen.  So now my job is to find my place in this new world…what is my unique talent to bring to the world?  what is it that I want to do with the rest of my life?  i have a few nudgings, and it really is time to get the party started on them…i am scared and excited.  mostly excited.  and i miss you so very much….

Friday, June 12, 2015

I'm in too good of a place right now. Literally. Let me explain. This room I sleep in...this small-ish cozy corner that's decorated so nicely and has windows on two walls that peek out to the woods...wraps itself around me like a hug.  It's difficult to leave this bed, this room. Have you ever had a room in a house like that? Henry sits on the edge of the bed staring out at the squirrels and chipmunks, willing them to come closer ... Listening to the robins and warblers in the trees and bird houses posted just outside the window.  I've been trying to decorate and paint the big upstairs bedroom, to re-establish myself in the big California king bed. But it just makes me feel uncomfortable to think of it. Maybe I've gotten so used to the Tiny idea, that my head has reset. Who knows. But it makes sense to sleep the summer in the big room, because it has air conditioning. Once summer kicks in full force, I'll be glad for it. I am so grateful for choices. So grateful for my life right this very day. And learning to live a single day at a time...learning to LIVE in that day and not squander the time.  And I thank you for helping me learn. To walk next to me these past forevers and quietly let me go through the crazies and come back. It was reassuring to know that someone held MY golden tether so I wouldn't get too far away. And thank you seems so little.

Friday, May 29, 2015

i wonder how long it will be before my heart stops holding her breath…till a long exhale & relax comes…till crazy KidJoy returns and spontaneousness stays put in the crevasses?  i wonder how long it will be till i can sit.  just sit.  not have to keep busy.  just to keep from thinking or feeling too deeply…to just ping pong a bit.  soon, i think.  soon.  and meanwhile, the busy-ness has led to some fantastic voyages and excursions…some that may lead across an ocean…some in my own backyard.
Alis Volat Propris (She flies with her own wings)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

i'm getting closer to actually making art that people can see…that is, art that isn't just in my head.  one of the residual effects of all the chaos of the past year, and the fibro fog, and the Lyme disease is i simply cannot concentrate.  my brain flies like a monkey in a tree, and to sit and make art is not a possible thing right now.  but in my resting moments, boy do i make a gallery full! as i make each room in this house work better for me, i become more at ease…the kitchen has been redone shelf-wise, so that the things i use most are within easy reach - rather than on the tippy top shelf.  i post in quick bursts here, as my attention wanders, but that's also because it's incredibly warm in my studio right now.  as soon as i feel like working for real, i'll get the AC going.  it's frustrating, but i also am recognizing that i've been through some real changes and am likely to take a little time to re-center.  so.  all that being said - time for bed.  more tomorrow.  and if you've been promised some chocolate chocolate german chocolate caramel bars - i finally figured out how to ship them, and they'll be heading to you!  they kept getting melty and squished.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tiny Step redux

so it occurred to me…what if the Tiny Step Initiative was about a whole Big New?  what if it wasn't about a Tiny House at all, but a trick to get me to move move and move forward?  ah ha…..so the TSI begins again where it left off.  and boy do i have some ideas!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

yes - you.
and i thank you for traveling this journey with me…holding my hand, holding me up, holding me in sacred & sweet thoughts and prayers.  I feel like i've popped above the surface for air…gasping life back into my lungs…smiling again and laughing so hard at things that tears roll down my cheeks - different tears.  some more things i've learned:  not to be ashamed of tears, not to try to staunch them - but encourage them to freely flow…that it's really okay to let someone cry…to just be there with them and let them bawl, without having to fix it - just let them have their time…honor it, acknowledge it, and just make that little noise that Kim makes (sort of a mmmmm sound).  in the past 6 months, i have cried so hard and so long, i wondered if i might turn to dust and disappear, having leaked all the moisture from my body.  my heart felt like dust, of that you can be certain.  and those tears ran with the accompaniment of a howling, gut wrenching sound-gurgle-strangled noise that would just not be contained inside.  nice visual, no?  there were long days when the only way i could work was to remember this video that my brother sent me:

but now, i feel my girl power coming back.  i feel re-centered and re-ready to take on whatever's next.  i say that with one eye closed, you should know, because i am now very careful what i wish for.  lottery is one thing i wish for with no thought to consequence.
so because it is Africa hot in my studio right now - being too cheap to turn on the AC up here - and because Henry is having a throwdown with some animal on TV, i'm going to say good night, and thank you again.  i am now ready to carry your burden, should you need me to.  it's only fair.