There were no art classes – because of the holiday – for over a week. For some unexplained reason I began to wonder why I was taking drawing classes. Previous to retirement the only “extra-curricular” activities I did had a purpose – professional enrichment, teaching others, meeting requirements etc. I have no desire (we won’t talk about talent) to exhibit or sell nude drawings . . . For some reason, simply seeking personal enjoyment seemed strange at best and hollow at worst.
I’m still not sure why my disquiet and only share it wondering if you, too, have questioned just doing something simply for self-enjoyment?
* * *
This model was known for his muscular, regal bearing. He has lost weight and thee is a vulnerability that wasn’t apparent before.
As a psychotherapist I knew that one of the biggest pitfalls of all relationships* was “seeing” others through the clouded lens of our own eyes. We humans tend to think everyone feels as we do and should understand what we know. It’s hard to take someone else’s position because we live in the bubble of our unique experiences and interpretations. In psychological terms it’s called projection. I was surprised to see this phenomena in artwork.
During the breaks in life drawing I noticed that many (not all) drew the model in “their own image”: Short students tended to draw the models legs too short; stocky students drew her a bit too stocky and; muscular students created muscular images.
Although all art, whether dancing, singing, painting etc. is ultimately a “projection” of the artist I’m wondering if what sets apart renowned artists from amateurs is a true reflection of the artist rather than an “accurate” rendition of the subject?
To read about the pitfalls of relationships click here:
The challenge I had as a therapist (not to mention as a human being) was to look beyond surface presentations, what I “thought” I knew and see my client’s situation/feelings/thinking not only from their perspective but within a larger framework.
Being a therapist was a gift. It forever helped me understand that perception always informs and colors my experiences, to look for larger patterns and see beyond what appears “obvious”. Most of the time I can see blessings behind every tragedy, and opportunities created with every mistake & mis-step.
Drawing, too, is about perspective. This session the class was so crowded I had to sit closer to the model stand than usual. It forced me to draw what my eye actually saw rather than what I thought I saw. For example, In the first drawing the foot (or my outline of the foot) is as long as his head – simply because his foot was closer to me.
Bet you can tell what was eye-level to me in this next drawing!
This last sketch was a 2 minute quick warm-up which always begins the drawing sessions to help our hands loosen up and draw what our eyes actually see not what our brains think we see.
The art of perspective is not limited to art.
Michael Davis Ford’s Theater part 2
(Watch the secret service behind the President trying not to laugh)
With all the turmoil in the world I appreciate more than ever anything that makes me laugh.
‘THE JUGGLER‘ is worth another watch – even if you’ve seen it before.
Only those of us over 50 would probably recognize the people in the front row.
Thanks Sharon M.!
Been curled up in a fetal position for 14 days (but who’s counting?) My cold has traveled south (undoubtedly looking for warmth) into my bronchials. I don’t want to talk to anyone, see anyone, do anything and my guilty pleasures are no longer pleasurable. The ever-present fibromyalgia fatigue has morphed into exhaustion and if I had the energy I’d invest in stock in Puff’s-plus-lotion-tissues stock options.
BUT Glory be! I’m not being a wimp!!!! “Those feelings are a real thing called “sickness behavior,” which is sparked by the body’s response to infection. The same chemicals that tell the immune system to rush in and fend off invading viruses also tell us to slow down; skip the eating, drinking and sex; shun social interactions; and rest.”
“Those messages are so powerful they can’t be ignored,” says Philip Chen, a rhinologist at the University of Texas, San Antonio. But that doesn’t mean we don’t try. Symptoms like a stuffy nose are obvious, Chen notes, but we’re less aware that changes in mood and behavior are also part of our bodies’ natural response to infection.”
This model always poses with “warrior” gear – helmets and swords and leather belts, fake arrows and red capes.
I undress him with my eyes cuz I don’t like helmets and swords, leather belts, fake arrows or red capes.
Don’t tell my husband I’m learning to undress men . . . he thinks I’m learning to draw.
Heart disease, not cancer, is the #1 killer of women. I learned that and other invaluable information on Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters blog.
Over the years I’ve “stolen” and reposted many a wonderful post from Carolyn Thomas. Her blog, Heart Sisters, has been one of the few I’ve followed for years. I have forgotten what led me to her blog but once I read both her compelling stories and the up-to-date information on women’s health, in particular heart disease, I was a Carolyn-groupie.
Apparently Johns Hopkins was a groupie too when they asked her to write a book on Living with Heart Disease. My guess is that her down-to-earth writing coupled with up-to-date research and information appealed to Johns Hopkins as much as it did to me.
Here’s just a sample of info found on Carolyn’s blog:
“Did you know: Women generally fare far worse than men after experiencing a cardiac event? One possible reason is that it can be confusing to make sense of warning symptoms when they do hit. Women are also less likely than our male counterparts to seek immediate help at the first sign of cardiac symptoms. Instead, we end up:”
- toughing them out
- waiting to see if they go away
- blaming them on stress, muscle soreness, indigestion or other less serious non-cardiac causes
I can’t say enough good things about Carolyn – you’ll have to read her book and her blog to see for yourself what fabulous advocacy and education Carolyn has provided since her own “widow-maker” heart attack. (Full disclosure: we are not related, I’ve never met her in person, and I don’t get a kick-back!)
Buy a copy and give the gift of life to a woman you love . . . maybe it’s even yourself
Save 20% when you use the code HTWN when you pre-order the book from Johns Hopkins
Order your copy click here: Johns Hopkins University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press is the publisher and here’s a fraction of what has been said about Carolyn’s Book:
“[A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease] gives women the knowledge they need to become their own advocates in a health care system that continues to be weighted against them.”
“This book brings a needed focus to a leading killer of women today and is a must-read for women and their loved ones.”
“If you are a woman, or love a woman, this is a book for you! Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of women. Here is a book focused on women’s cardiovascular health. It is all here—prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Read it for the people you love.”
“This work is an important contribution to the discussion about heart attack and misdiagnosis in women. Thomas’s personal story—alongside the stories of millions of other women—provides a needed reminder of recognizing one’s symptoms, avoiding denial, and seeking medical attention. This elegant book is a unique addition to women’s health books and a necessary read for women and the people who care about them.”
Thank you Carolyn for pushing through your own symptoms to write a book of this magnitude.
To all Human-beings: It’s time for my Halloween ORANGE-ALERT.
Don’t be mean!
Don’t you dare
make others stare
your precious pup
Please be fair!
just let us wear
our own hair.
To All my Canine Cousins:
Be on the look-out for your human coming back from the store with suspicious articles of clothing and paraphernalia that is NOT THEIR color, style or size. If they start sweet-talking you or offering you treats RUN for your life & HIDE.
No matter how many times I HAVE TOLD HUMANS not to humiliate us because they want to be amused it happens every year. I prefer to think that Humans just aren’t very smart and have no memory retention beyond a few hours rather than the possibility they are simply insensitive creatures with no regard for our feelings.
Freddie Parker Westerfield, PIC&C
Protector of Innocent Creatures & Critters
“Get busy helping someone else and see — over time — the things you might have in common, instead of only the things that might divide you.”
“Remember what can happen when we love our neighbors as ourselves. There are storms that bring us together and storms that divide us. We have a chance now to choose. Harvey already has reminded us what we’re capable of, when we come together.”
“The recovery ahead will be long. Our neighbors need to know they can count on us. The families affected will need our help and our attention as the work of rebuilding unfolds. If we hold our focus on the important matters at hand, we can use the power of the people to create that world we all know exists — if we will simply give it life.”
Read entire article by Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States.
Everything in life ministers to our development. Our lesson is to study and learn… Tests are either stumbling blocks or stepping-stones, just as we make them.
Dirty words. Stub my toe on the sharp metal caster and you’ll hear me spew lots of dirty words. Crap, kocker, damn it, dreck. It hurt, damn it, I’m allowed to holler, and I don’t have to be nice about it. In English and Yiddish, I holler all the bad words. Feckuckteh caster.
Lenny Bruce, the rebellious comedian who loaded his dark comedy with language considered obscene, made seven particular words famous by virtue of their being too dirty to speak aloud. So of course he did, and was arrested for his defiance. Cover your eyes if you’re the sensitive sort because I’m going to list them here: cocksucker, cunt, fuck, motherfucker, piss, shit, tits. Bruce’s real crime was pointing out the hypocrisies of our culture but the words got him in trouble. He was too vulgar for polite society, no matter that society was too brutal for the underrepresented and downtrodden. Bruce was no angel, and many people lost sight of his legitimate demand for free speech, the very thing we now take for granted. Today, his seven dirty words hardly raise an eyebrow, so often are they hollered through the night.
An infant’s first word is “mama” or whatever word in her native language aligns with that individual. Fathers have been trying forever to get the first word to be “dada.” But the first word ever uttered by the very first human who found she had a voice box that allowed more verbalization than a huff, grunt, or yowl? It was “fuck.” Had to be – standing small and alone in the African desert, she found the world terrifying, she saw her life in peril, and she said what we all say at such realization. “Fuck.”
Here are dirtier words, much dirtier: abandonment, abuse, arson, betrayal, bigotry, deceit, drug trafficking, exploitation, false accusation, forced starvation, genocide, holocaust, human experimentation, human rights suppression, human trafficking, incest, lying, misogyny, murder, prejudice, racism, rape, religious persecution, sexism, slavery, terrorism, theft, torture, war, xenophobia – sadly, I’m certain there are more. This is the real dirty language. Still, language is benign. Add music and every word sounds like sugar being spun into cotton candy. To be offended by dirty words but ignore the acts they identify is akin to disdaining the menu but still ordering awful food.
You can put in all the asterisks, ellipses, blank spaces, bird calls, or underlines you want in order to grant your writing a measure of gentility, but face the facts. You may swear upon your holy books, mutter amens and hosannas, grovel on your knees, pledge your honor, and promise repentance. None of it means a thing without follow through. Every writer, humanitarian, philosopher – every decent person accepts the same truth. Words are harmless, scratches in the dust even when howled under duress. It’s the acts that are horrific, and the reality that these acts take place every single day all over the world – the acts are far worse. More hurtful, longer lasting, intentional.
Writing these words does not make writing a bad act. Writing them brings the implied actions to the attention of a public that often wants to hide behind prayers, lattes, and cell phones. There is no indecency in words. The indecency is in the fact that so many engage in the actions described by the words. When we eliminate these bad acts so completely that to say one of these words engenders genuine confusion among all people – what does that mean? I can’t understand words that don’t relate to the human condition anywhere in the world– then we can label them as really bad words.
Words can lead the ignorant to understand the complexity of past events, so write. Words can warn or instruct, so write. Write the truth in any and every way you can. Employ words that hoist power, and worry little about words that bear no weight. Even if they’re ugly. Worry about acts that injure, abuse, kill, threaten, maim, enslave, bludgeon. If the dirty words you write make someone see the other side, feel the pain, and change their behavior, you’ve done your job. If the dirty words you raise on a poster cause the government to enforce justice, you’ve done your job. If the dirty words you speak arouse the pulse of the apathetic public and encourage them to find out the truth for themselves, you’ve done your job.
Call me a dirty girl. I yearn to be that and more. I will not stand down. The only thing I own is my integrity. Pen to paper. Truth to power.
Here in fact are the very most vile, horrendous, and disgusting words in English, and they can be translated into any language and still carry the same inherent evil. I hold out my hands for the cuffs. Arrest me. These are the dirtiest three:
GUILTY AS CHARGED
(Check out Sharon’s Blog: Ink Flare)
Last day of life drawing for this semester. I’ve missed several classes, something I would have been loathe to do in my high school and college years when I never ditched nor dropped a class.
I distinctly remember the first time I stopped attending a class simply because I no longer enjoyed it. Wish I could say it was a daring and rebellious move . . . it was a community college class that I was taking just for enjoyment. I was in my 40’s and high time for a bit of rebellion . . . don’t you think?
But I digress . . . here’s the best of the last sketches . . . in my opinion
All these sketches were 20 minutes or less. I’ve discovered that my attention span is smack dab in the national average of 20 minutes. Ah . . . the things you learn in drawing class.
Ai yi yiii – ever look up a word in the on-line “Urban Dictionary”?
I looked up “hatch” and was “blown away” by the uses . . . many of which I can not put in print on a G-rated blog . . . most of which I had never heard of nor heard spoken.
Why look up “hatch”, you wonder (or not)? In art class the focus was on hatching – an art technique where lines are drawn in various forms & intensities to create shapes & shadow.
These two quick sketches were done prior to Easter. Eureka! I thought: Hatching and eggs were perfect for an Easter blog post.
Then I got “hatched” – another fibromyalgia flare-up and I missed a week’s worth of art classes.
I’m still not feeling good and not pleased health issues keep hatching . . . but this chick got off her fibro-inflated rear and went to class this week.
I’ve been hatching . . .
P.S. Thanks Peggy A. for doing all the scheduled posting on CATNIPblog!
Not too very long ago, I thought that really good artists (writers included) got it exactly right the moment they laid pencil to paper. When I write posts I spend exponentially more time editing than on the first draft. When I draw I correct and correct and correct some more.
Not too very long ago, I learned that this is what 90% of artists, writers, dancers, singers etc. do . . . adjust, correct, redo, undo . . . and it never will be perfect. It’s knowing when to stop and move on.
It’s a great metaphor for life. We keep adjusting, correcting and practicing, knowing we can’t get it perfect . . . just better.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this model. She has curves.
Much more fun to draw than muscle & bone.
Warm-up poses, 5 minutes
I’m baaaaaaack . . . sorta . . . missed all my art classes, missed church . . . cancelled The HeART of Spirituality workshop cuz I’ve been feeling puny. (And when I am feeling puny I eat, watch the cooking channel, download recipes and read all I can about what not to eat in the hopes that I will follow that advice.)
The only constructive thing I’ve done is work on the NEW BLOG Catnip with my good friend and colleague Peggy Arndt.
(Peggy is a retired psychotherapist too AND an artist and author. I’ve never caught Peggy feeling puny and eating since she’s within a pound or two of the same weight she was when we were in high school together. If I didn’t like her so much I’d hate her.)
Between the two of us we have amassed decades of information on neuroscience and behavior and relationships . . . and eating . . . and addictions. We’re going to share all that on a new blog called CATNIP (but I digress . . .)
While I was researching for CATNIP this article caught my eye . . . here are some excerpts:
By Barbara J. King*
“The average American eats more than 33 pounds of cheese a year.” (Thirty-three pounds is about the amount of weight I’d like to lose. I need to stop eating my American share of cheese.)
“This is according to Neal Barnard, physician and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. And that’s a problem, he says, because it’s helping to make us overweight and sick.”
“Loaded with calories, high in sodium, packing more cholesterol than steak, and sprinkled with hormones — if cheese were any worse, it would be Vaseline …”
Some foods are fattening. Others are addictive. Cheese is both — fattening and addictive.”
“Barnard explains that dairy protein — specifically a protein called casein — has opiate molecules built in. When babies nurse, he notes, they’re getting dosed with a mild drug: “Milk contains opiates that reward the baby for nursing.”‘
“It’s no different with the cow’s milk — or other mammalian milk — from which cheese is made. In fact, Barnard says, the process of cheese-making concentrates the casein”
“Call it dairy crack.”
“. . . Barnard notes that vitamin D may play an important role in protecting us against some types of cancers. Citing prostate-cancer data, he suggests that because dairy products are high in calcium and calcium intake can slow down activation of vitamin D, cancer risks may increase with cheese-eating.”
“The National Dairy Council (or cows who would rather be milked than molded into meat patties) does not endorse Barnard’s descriptions of cheese . . . and points to research from Harvard School of Public Health that shows no association between cheese and long-term weight gain.”
“However, if one’s goal is to lose weight, there is something to be said for not teasing yourself with occasional doses of the very food that caused the problem in the first place. (I might add sugar and refined carbs to the list . . . might?) Better to end that bad love affair. If a person is concerned about asthma, migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, or other sensitivities, one soon loses all desire for the food product that caused the problem.” (So far THAT argument hasn’t worked with me.)
(Maybe every time I feel puny I should picture myself eating 33 pounds of VASELINE . . . )
Read the entire article and click HERE.
*Barbara J. King is an anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary. Barbara’s most recent book on animals is titled How Animals Grieve, and her forthcoming book, Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat,
The Cheese Trap, How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy by Neal D., M.d. Barnard, Dreena Burton and Marilu Henner
March 1st will mark two years since I retired. Now that I have all the time in the world I have much more time to procrastinate. During retirement I have fine-tuned my procrastination skills.
I also have a continued quest for self-improvement. In between TV shows and relaxing I squeeze in reading articles and watching videos that inspire me to develop better habits.
Here’s the latest video which I found so inspirational I turned off the TV.
After listening to this Ted Talk I decided to do a trial run before my actual two-year retirement anniversary.
I’m going to treat the things I keep saying I’d like to do like a flooded basement. (you’ll have to watch the video). So! here’s what my emergencies are for this coming week:
- Do something everyday (as opposed to doing nothing)
- Cut out sugar from my eating “habits”.
I’ll let you know next week . . . or two . . . how I did.
It’s the Year of the Rooster – I was born under the Chinese sign of the Rooster. Always thought it to be a curse I was born under a sign that wasn’t fertile enough to lay an egg or two.
According to my friend Sharon Bonin-Pratt (whose last post inspired this post) People born under the sign of the Rooster are hardworking, funny, trustworthy and talented.
I’m not hardworking, at times am funny, almost always trustworthy, and have latent talents that get laid but never hatched.
This Rooster year started off with a cold virus that delights roaming the cozy recesses of my sinus passages. It’s day 11 (but who’s counting). I’ve been a total slug – no energy, no resolve which gives me a perfect excuse for not making New Years’ resolutions.
(The truth be told, I never make resolutions for the New Year – learned long ago that when I inevitably fail to keep a resolution it leads to feeling badly.)
What energy I have has been directed toward resolving to be more creative this year.
In preparation I’ve been obsessively reading everything I can find on how to break my creative block and stop procrastinating.
Most everything I read about procrastination indicates that we procrastinate when we don’t want to do something that is not enjoyable. Being a master procrastinator I also procrastinate with things that bring me enjoyment.
For inspiration, I read blogs of people who write, read or draw daily – all things which bring me enjoyment. I feel badly I’m not like them which leads me to read articles on procrastination and meeting goals (I know how to set them, just not meet them).
Finally the article below has liberated me! I know what to blame:
My dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is lazy . . . not me.
“What is it exactly that helps us be creative? What fuels us when we get into an especially productive work flow? What makes the hours disappear when our brains focus on a task?”
“What, in other words, is happening in our brains when we’re being creative?”
“Cognitive neuroscientist Heather Berlin at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai says we know a little bit about what’s going on. Berlin studies the neuroscience of imagination, creativity and improvisation. And for those people who might be facing writer’s block? “There’s really no prescribed medication,” Berlin says. “There is no real magic pill.”’
Instead, she says, creativity depends on which part of the brain you might be using.
“When [people] are improvising, there tends to be a pattern of activation where they have decreased activation in a part of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex,” Berlin says. “And that part of the brain has to do with your sense of self, your sort of inner critic, making sure that your behavior conforms to social norms.”
“Translation? When you’re at your most creative, “basically you lose your sense of self,” Berlin says. “You kind of release your inhibition. The second you become too self-aware that comes back online and you lose that flow state.”’
“In addition to losing inhibitions, people who are in a creative state have increased activation in a part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex, which has to do with the internal generation of ideas. In other words, the ideas are coming from within.”
“Some people, when they’re in the flow state … a lot of people say ‘It feels like it’s flowing through me. It’s coming from someplace else,’ you know, ‘It’s coming so naturally I don’t even have to think about it,’” Berlin says. “It’s called liberation without attention. You can only keep a certain number of variables in mind when you’re thinking about something consciously. But if you let it go, you actually can come to a greater understanding because the unconscious can do much more complex processing.”
“For those suffering from creative block, Berlin has some practical advice:”
“You have to take in all the information and then go for a walk,” Berlin says. “Go out, do something else. Because those people who sit there and just obsess over thinking about it too much, using your prefrontal cortex you’re actually limiting yourself. So letting it go can actually help you get over, let’s say a writer’s block or a creative block.”
I’d go for a walk but I have a cold. Maybe some other time . . .
I admit I’m obsessive about steering clear of people who are sick. I’ve been “known” to remove my groceries off the counter and go to another check-out if I see a clerk sniffing or coughing. With fibromyalgia everything lasts longer and is more severe so I go to great lengths to avoid people who even appear to be sick.
My husband caught a cold 2 weeks ago and I’ve assiduously washed everything down – counters, door knobs, light switches and my husband – with disinfectant.
Turns out I was disinfecting the wrong person.
I woke up yesterday with a scratchy throat, a headache and feeling even less chipper than I usually feel in the morning.
The Queen gave me a cold
How do I know, how am I told?
This cold is a dignified one
no snorting, sniffling nor dripping a ton
My makeups impeccable, not a hair undone
Despite a sore throat and my throbbing head
staying all day, aching in bed
I shan’t complain
For how often does one contract
a ROYAL pain.
“But at 90 . . . she is exercising caution as she recovers from a heavy cold which she’s had for at least 12 days, (12 DAYS!!!! ) and which is bound to have left her feeling pretty miserable. (tell me about it).”
“She hasn’t yet had an opportunity to go outside and explore her 20,000 acre private Norfolk estate. (So true, so true)”
LONG LIVE THE QUEEN . . . and me too!
P.S. Wash your hands after reading this post – I’m contagious . . .
It’s been a rough year. Maybe it’s the media bombarding us with political enmity, flood, fire, war, death, illness . . . but it does seem rougher than usual. My resiliency is running low.
To put things in perspective on this last day of the year I remind myself that this earth has been around billions of years and I am standing on a planet hurtling through space and haven’t fallen off . . . yet
The earth is moving about our sun at a speed of nearly 30 kilometers per second, or 67,000 miles per hour. Our solar system–Earth and all–whirls around the center of our galaxy at some 220 kilometers per second, or 490,000 miles per hour.
“There are anywhere between 200-400 billion stars in the Milky Way and an estimated 100 billion planets. Around one in five stars are like our sun, and astronomers have estimated that about 22% of them have planets the size of Earth in their habitable zone, where water can exist as a liquid. This means there could be 8.8 billion planets within the galaxy capable of supporting life (not accounting for composition of the planet or its atmosphere).”
“God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”
‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith
Only 15 days till Chanukah! 15 days till Christmas! 22 days till New Year’s! Time for my yearly reminder on how to keep sane.
- Instead of buying a tree watch your friends decorate (and take down) theirs
- Convert to Judaism
- Sit in the lobby of a 5-star hotel and enjoy EXPENSIVE decorations.
- ADOPT a pig, instead of eating one.
- Make dinner potluck, you supply the paper plates and plastic cutlery
- Christmas dinner – Start with dessert and forget the rest.
- Sit on the beach in Bali.
8. Go to bed on the 23rd and get up on January 3rd.*
9. Only buy presents for Jesus.
10. Put a cover on the outside chimney opening so you don’t have to put out cookies and milk.
11. Watch your friends decorate (and take down) their Christmas tree.
13. Stay in a 5-star hotel for 8 days and nights.
15. Instead of gambling with a dreidle at home go to Vegas
16. Don’t give presents, do good deeds
17. Go to bed on Thanksgiving and wake up on New Years**
19. Eat macaroons with Ben & Jerry
20. *Remember! Stay in bed until the 3rd, unless you’re Jewish.
21. **If you are Jewish, go back to bed.
Peace on Earth & Sanity to all my Friends!
Friday: Spent all day and evening in the ER. I was EXTREMELY light-heading, threw up, missed my art class and spent 24 hours in bed thinking I’d feel fine in the morning . . . WRONG.
Saturday: In the morning the room was moving and I wasn’t. Every time I moved I threw up and there was nothing to throw-up since I hadn’t eaten anything (You have probably created a nasty picture in your mind . . . just make it even nastier).
The ER was even more fun. Throwing up, drawing blood, 2 CT scans (to make sure it wasn’t a stroke . . . it wasn’t) and finally, after 4 different anti-nausea medications and drips, I stopped throwing up.
Sunday: I’m still dizzy and have to hold on to things to walk (it’s a bit wonky to type) but the good news, the GREAT news, is I’ve not thrown up. The bad news is I’m still dizzy . . . and grey-haired.
To my friends and acquaintances who suffer with Ménière’s disease. . . I have new compassion for you!
P.S. For those of you I confused . . I don’t have Menieres just plain Ditzy.
Edward Albee died the other day at 88. He was a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright. He intensely disliked it when asked what his plays were about but finally explained:
“If anybody wants me to say it, in one sentence, what my plays are about: They’re about the nature of identity. Who we are, how we permit ourselves to be viewed, how we permit ourselves to view ourselves, how we practice identity or lack of identity.” Edward Albee
Most of the models in the life drawing classes have been posing for a long time. They come equipped with props and pillows and strike dramatic poses that I defy anyone in “real” life to take . . . unless you’re an exotic dancer.
Art teachers explain that drawing isn’t about what the hand is doing it’s about training our eye to see what it actually sees rather than the internal image of what we THINK we see.
Right now my drawings are about trying to learn to view shapes and shadows, lines and limbs . . . and hopefully have my hands follow. Someday, it would be nice to say the same thing Edward Albee said . . . that my drawings are about the nature of identity.
The weather is changing
my body rearranging
Help! I’m in a fibro flare
including my hair.
Sharon Bonin Pratt is a writer, an artist and a dear friend. I think she also is psychic. I’ve been not feeling great and the subject of her last post was just what I needed. AND it’s dedicated to ME!!!! What an honor!
Shari inspired me to look for a smile (SEE THE VIDEO).
Here’s a sample from Sharon Bonin Pratt’s Ink Flare:
“Who can laugh without relaxing? Isn’t that why some of us (not me of course, and certainly not you, but other unnamed folks) pee their pants when laughing raucously? Losing all control is not a bad thing, even if you must change your whitie-dities, because when you’re having that much fun – who cares about all the rest? Oh, and it’s contagious! In a good way, not like the flu, but like having enough cup cakes for everyone in the world. So now I not only feel good inside my own world weary bod – I feel good because everyone around me also feels good. Motto for today: Spread cheer – laugh out loud.”
Read her entire post – Sharon Bonin Pratt’s Ink Flare
Sara Blakely’s embrace of failure has helped make her the youngest self-made female billionaire in America. She invented Spanx (body-shaping undergarments – the modern version of the corset and girdle).
When she was growing up, her father would often ask her the same question at dinnertime.
“What have you failed at this week?”
I was AGHAST – failure!? What a horrible father. Everyone knows we are supposed to focus on and revel in success. She went on to say:
“My dad growing up encouraged me and my brother to fail. The gift he was giving me is that failure is (when you are) not trying versus the outcome. It’s really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life.”
What a novel idea! Embrace failure as a sign of taking risks, learning and growing. Failure is a victory not a defeat.
“The fact that I had never taken a business class, had no training, didn’t know how retail worked,” she said. “I wasn’t as intimidated as I should have been.”
I read her interview just before my life drawing class. It was liberating!! I gave myself permission to fail at trying to draw perfect likeness, perfect proportions, perfect shading.
My new motto: Fail Away!
. . . it’s never too late to become the oldest self-made billionaire in the United States.
The theme for July is “Journey”. Held a special 4 hour – yes, count ’em FOUR hours of creative energy – workshop yesterday. The participants focused on a painful experience, what strengths they developed as a result of the pain and how God’s love or “the universe’s grace” touched them.
People could share as much or as little as they chose. It was a wonderful group of women. (All you men, where are you?!!!!)
Take a look at a sample of wonderful paintings and mini-journals the participants created yesterday!
To see all the paintings and journal pages click HERE!
“Everything in life ministers to our development. Our lesson is to study and learn… Tests are either stumbling blocks or stepping stones, just as we make them.” Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith
Sorry, I’ve been blogged-out for so long. I know, I know, yet another sorry-I’ve-been-gone-for-so-long-post.
BUT I decided today is a brand new beginning. “BUT” literally and figuratively. (For those of you who are squeamish scroll down to the nude part because I begin with the BUTT . . . mine to be exact.)
Just had a colonoscopy. The bad news – I didn’t have a very good day yesterday. The good news – I lost 4 pounds. The bad news – I have wasted today sleeping. The good news – I don’t remember a thing.
Now that I’m squeaky clean it’s time for a new start – Going to go back to cutting out (maybe down) on refined sugar & carbs and cutting up on the internet.
Here’s my latest sketches. I start with my favorite:
I woke this morning feeling like a truck hit me, threw me onto the train tracks where I was run over by a locomotive.
AND lo and behold . . .
. . . today is National Fibromyalgia Day. I’m in no mood to celebrate but the Fibro-Fiends that dwell inside me are having a ball!
I’m too tired to write an entirely new post to post on this post so I’ll just post part of a post of a post that I posted sometime ago. . . . .
“I look normal, I act normal (relatively normal). However, I feel exhausted much of the time, my body aches from head to toe and my brain sometimes has trouble remembering or concentrating. Please don’t tell me to exercise more, eat better, try acupuncture or go to a new doctor. After 20 years I’ve tried just about everything there is to try that I can afford, swallow or legally do.”
“I don’t even care anymore what you call it: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, malingering . . . it’s just tiring being tired much of the time. I push through it otherwise I’d have no life. But the price for pushing can be days of crashing so I pick and choose my commitments.”
There’s a free on-line Fibromyalgia Summit. If you’re interested in hearing the presentations click here: http://www.healthrising.org/blog/2016/05/11/three-days-may-fibromyalgia-summit-almost/
Confidential: Send me your prayers because tomorrow I’m leaving for an Unitarian Woman’s Retreat where I’m facilitating 2 workshops. (I am not planning on taking my Fibro-Fiends with me. Please don’t tell anyone because if the Fiends get wind I want to leave them home they will be angry . . . very angrrrrrrrrry . . .)
What did I learn today in class? Drawing is just like life!
I used to think that great artists, good artists got it right on the first pass. It’s taken me 7 decades to understand that all artists continually make corrections. Draw, adjust, erase, draw, redraw, erase . . .
Luckily, it only took me 5 decades to figure out that life was about continually making corrections. That reminds me . . . I need a new eraser.
Here’s my sketches for today – One is loose and the other uptight
“Syrian kids who passed through Milan’s Central Station last year did something very Italian: create artwork. While they waited for trains to take them to northern Europe, Save the Children offered them a chance to draw. They could depict whatever they wanted, says psychologist Vittoria Ardino, president of the Italian Society for the Study of Traumatic Stress, who analyzed 500 of these images.”
Scroll down to last drawing to read one of Ardino’s reflections on the drawings.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama
“God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”
‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith
“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”
1 Corinthians 1:10
“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you
If you do not act on upon them?”
Here’s one of Vittoria Ardino’s reflections on these drawings:
“There’s so much happening on this piece of paper — which is maybe a reflection of the child’s chaotic inner world, Ardino says. A flying creature is part butterfly, a common symbol of freedom. But it’s also part gun. A plane dropping bombs is covered by a face that’s half-human and half-fish (or actually, a big fish devouring a smaller one). A flower droops over a series of squiggles, which Ardino believes represent human bodies. All of that points to a child feeling powerless — but “trying desperately to find light,” Ardino adds. The face is surrounded by sun, and an oversized ladder or staircase leads away from the houses. Ardino suggests this is the child’s attempt at answering a critical question: “How can I escape?”‘
Click here to read Ardino’s reflections on all 7 drawings.
I tend toward the depressive end of the “depression vs anxiety” scale. There are very few things, besides snakes, heights and being suspended in the air in gondolas, that make me anxious. I rarely worry about them . . . unless I’m on a hike in the mountains, it’s rattlesnake season and the only way I can get down is a gondola ride.
After watching this video . . . I’m worried that I don’t worry enough . . .
In my life time I’ve been whacked
I’ve been blindsided
and been sacked
Now I’m included
in the pantheon of the hacked
So if you are my hacker
please know I AM pleased
you used a younger picture of me
as a tease.
“More proof she’s losing it . . .”
If you’ve received weird messages from me on Facebook they are NOT me.
(well, some of the weird things are from me but they are ALWAYS from a BLOG POST)
Do NOT click on any links saying you have won money or I have won money – It’s a scam.
Here’s the situation and the problem:
- Someone has hacked into my account and then created a bogus page with my picture and name and sending messages/friend requests etc. to my Facebook friends.
- I RARELY go on Facebook and have NEVER chatted on Facebook. (Facebook, frankly, drives me crrrrrrrrrrazier than I already am.)
- People think I’m on Facebook regularly because my blog AUTOMATICALLY puts blog posts on Facebook without my doing anything.
- I’ve spent 3 days trying to figure out what to do: I’ve changed my password, gone over everyone’s profile/page who shares my name on Facebook, sent numerous messages to Facebook, changed my settings, deleted, unfriended, defriended . . .
- THANK YOU TO ALL my Facebook friends WHO HAVE ALERTED ME and are still my friend!!
If I can’t get it resolved I will close down my Facebook account and you will have to subscribe to my blogs to continue to receive weird messages from me.
My dear Curious to the Max followers,
I imagine there are millions of you (I have a big imagination) who wait with bated breath and quickening heart beats for my posts – I shall call you Group Numero UNO. You are keenly aware (due to your breath and heart rhythm) I’ve been bloggingly absent. The rest of you (group 2, small “g”) are scratching your heads (or other parts) and wondering what I’m talking about because your lives, breath and hearts have gone on nicely without my posting.
For Numero UNO: I just have lost my mojo, my energy, my focus – not interested in writing, reading, gardening, e-mailing, blog posts started and abandoned . . . I’m giving credit to a fibromyalgia flare-up because fibromyalgia should be good for something.
For the second group: I am LOST, DEPLETED, SUFFERING and you probably don’t care . . .
On a serious note (not that I wasn’t serious before) fibromyalgia along with many other chronic conditions has a mind of it’s own and takes over at unexpected and unpropitious times. After over 20 years of living with this condition I’ve still not got the hang of it. When I feel decent I go, do, get overly involved and then crash for days, sometimes weeks (or months, but who’s counting).
To better manage what energy I have I’ve decided to do half of the ten things I currently need or want to do:
- Complete half the alphabet for the on-line daily blogging alphabet posting challenge. (I’ve half a mind not to even do the challenge this year and repost what I wrote LAST year).
- Brush half my teeth each day (I’ll alternate halves – half in the morning and half before bed)
- Clean and dust the half of the house I can’t reach.
- Stop watching the Super Bowl at half-time.
- Eat half the pan of brownies I’m making (half today and half tomorrow).
That’s half of my plans so I’m not going to write the other five.
My New Motto (you can borrow it):
Live half my life with gusto, let the other half rest.
Changing behavior is VERY hard work. I think conserving energy is very important in this hectic world and that’s why I’ve always tried to avoid toooooo much behavior change toooooo fast.
HOWEVER, as I get older there is less and less time to do all the things I want to accomplish. So this year I’m determined to keep my resolutions.
My 2016 Resolutions:
- I will think a lot more about how I could get a lot more organized.
- I will read more real life stories about how women lost weight and successfully kept it off.
- I will focus more on doing things that come easily to reduce the amount of wasted time on figuring out how to do what is difficult.
- I will stop dwelling on what I resolved to do in 2015.
- I will spend 2016 getting ready for 2017.
Wish me luck!
I wish you a HEALTHY 2016 filled with LOVE.
When you’re stuck in the middle tween naughty or nice
here’s free advice to add some spice
Be sure to indulge in all things obscene
(as long as the police don’t intervene)
You can’t live twice . . . so shake, rattle ‘n roll . . . them dice
Visual journaling is more fun for me than written – I rarely reread my written entries but can look at the visual pages and know instantly what was happening, what I wanted to express (and things I wasn’t consciously aware of expressing!).
I also rarely reread what I write on the blog but the last post on gratitude stuck in my mind. So here’s my gratitude page AND the process I used . . . in REVERSE ORDER!
Added squiggly lines and pastels
Smeared gesso (white paint works too) over the magazine images to blur them
- I don’t like working on a white page so I spread paint on the blank page. Cut out about 20 pictures
- Focused on my “gratitude” and picked pictures that caught my attention.
- Pasted them down. Didn’t matter they got wrinkled – just adds texture!
Can you figure out what the focus of my gratitude was?
My brother Rick told me about The Greater Good. Everyday I click on 6 of the sites. With every click I remind myself to feel grateful to be living in a free country where I have access to things much of the world does not have.
It’s free and every click counts toward making this a better world.
(plus there are some cool free-trade things to buy that help people around the world)
Click on Greater Good and subscribe to get a daily e-mail reminder to be grateful. Here are a list of the giving sites.
Research shows that feeling grateful doesn’t just make you feel good. It also helps – literally helps – the heart.
“A positive mental attitude is good for your heart. It fends off depression, stress and anxiety, which can increase the risk of heart disease, says Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Mills specializes in disease processes and has been researching behavior and heart health for decades. He wondered if the very specific feeling of gratitude made a difference, too.”
“He recruited 186 men and women, average age 66, who already had some damage to their heart, either through years of sustained high blood pressure or as a result of heart attack or even an infection of the heart itself. They each filled out a standard questionnaire to rate how grateful they felt for the people, places or things in their lives.”
“It turned out the more grateful people were, the healthier they were. “They had less depressed mood, slept better and had more energy,” says Mills.”
“And when Mills did blood tests to measure inflammation, the body’s natural response to injury or plaque buildup in the arteries, he found lower levels among those who were grateful — an indication of better heart health.”
“So Mills did a small followup study to look even more closely at gratitude. He tested 40 patients for heart disease and noted biological indications of heart disease such as inflammation and heart rhythm. Then he asked half of the patients to keep a journal most days of the week, and write about two or three things they were grateful for. People wrote about everything, from appreciating children to being grateful for spouses, friends, pets, travel, jobs and even good food.”
“After two months, Mills retested all 40 patients and found health benefits for the patients who wrote in their journals. Inflammation levels were reduced and heart rhythm improved. And when he compared their heart disease risk before and after journal writing, there was a decrease in risk after two months of writing in their journals.”
“Mills isn’t sure exactly how gratitude helps the heart, but he thinks it’s because it reduces stress, a huge factor in heart disease.”
“Taking the time to focus on what you are thankful for,” he says, “letting that sense of gratitude wash over you — this helps us manage and cope.”
“And helps keep our hearts healthy.”
Much is required from those to whom much is given. –Luke 12:48
He that give should never remember, he that receives should never forget. –The Talmud
Have you missed me? Have you EVEN noticed I’ve not been blogging? Well, I’ve been mishuga, fermisht and verklempt.
In my never-ending quest to feel better . . .
The short version: Went to an endocrinologist because I thought some of my exhaustion might be due to an adrenal problem. They took a quart of my hard-earned blood and I peed in an “orange juice container” for 24 hours to be told my adrenals are fine but I have Hashimoto’s disease.
Whaaaaaaaat??? I’ve never been to Japan and don’t even speak Japanese. Seems my immune system is eating my thyroid all up. Put me on thyroid medication and said I should have about 20% more energy. With my continual state of exhaustion 20% sounded good.
Three months later . . . maybe 10% more energy. So endo doc suggested I take Topomax, a tried and true medication, that will put my brain into deep sleep (my brain stays in REM sleep and I don’t get restorative sleep – that’s the main reason I’m so exhausted all the time). I researched it and checked it out with my fibro doctor who said it was worth a try.
NOT ONLY DIDN’T THE MEDICATION PUT ME INTO deep sleep it didn’t even put me into REM sleep!!!!! I was up for 3 nights and 3 days. Couldn’t even nap. My brain thought it was a stimulant. I couldn’t think straight, walk straight or talk straight. I’m just barely beginning to feel normally exhausted.
I told my fibro doc what happened on the medication. She gave me a new diagnosis: WEIRD.
Thanks to Carolyn Thomas and her excellent blog Heart Sisters I recognized a heart attack in progress.
In my writing class this morning the woman next to me got up unexpectedly and left. On return she said threw up in the bathroom. A few minutes later she said she didn’t feel good, hot and sweaty, and thought she should go home. Something told me to ask her if she had chest pain.
I interrupted the teacher and privately told him she had heart attack symptoms. He immediately had the facility call 911.
The woman kept repeating she was ok, in great health, played tennis 4 times a week, no history of heart disease in the family, ate well and would be fine. Even after the paramedics came she kept questioning whether she needed to go to the hospital.
Because I’ve followed Carolyn’s blog I know common symptoms for women having a heart attack:
“Women often have different symptoms of a heart attack than men and may report serious symptoms even before having a heart attack, although the signs are not ‘typical’ heart attack symptoms. These include:”
- neck, throat, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort
- shortness of breath
- nausea or vomiting
- anxiety or “a sense of impending doom”
- light-headedness or dizziness
- unusual fatigue for several days
This woman had three symptoms PLUS, by the time the paramedics arrived, pain radiated to her jaw.
I insisted she go to the hospital and she could blame me if everything was ok.
Everything was not ok.
Click & Read this: Words matter when we describe our heart attack symptoms
Assignment from my writing class – “An incident when you were treated unfairly or you treated someone else unfairly.” I think I covered both . . .
Unfair Treatment – Body, Mind & Me
By judy westerfield
“More! More!” my mind screams at me. Her desire reverberates throughout my body. Once again, I’m caught in the middle between body and mind, between hedonism and health.
The three of us — body, mind and me — have been together a very long time. Over the years the mind has grown bolder, louder. To keep the peace I usually do what she says, even though it’s often based on want rather than need. Today is no exception.
For the second time in less than an hour I retrieve the half-gallon carton from the freezer.
“More! More!” She is unrelenting.
“Calm down. “I’m scooping as fast as I can.”
I ladle from the carton to the soup bowl — 1/3 less fat, 120 calories, $2.99 on sale — spoonfuls of vanilla, chock full of chocolate chunks and ripples of golden caramel. Hard, too hard. I like it soft, just this side of starting-to-melt. Ten seconds in the microwave will do it. I’ve perfected the timing.
“You will just have to wait 10 seconds.” I can be firm.
It’s creamy, cold, sweet and glides deliciously from the lips all the way down to the stomach.
“Ahhhh. Mmmm,” the mind purrs and declares it to be an invention ranking right up there with the discovery of fire, the wheel and Tampax.
The bowl is empty. She points out that there’s more in the carton, purposely left out on the counter, which is now just the right soft consistency.
“120 calories per serving . . . 12 servings per carton . . .1,440 calories,“ she calculates. “We’ll just skip dinner.”
* * *
“Why? Why?” My distended stomach cries out, pushing painfully against the waistband of my pants. Hips expand, thighs grate together, intestines grumble while impolitely relieving themselves of gas as I walk to the trash to throw away the empty carton.
The body unfairly treated, yet again, by me. And the mind . . . she’s still screaming . . .
“Fear is just excitement in need of an attitude adjustment”
~ in a very wise fortune cookie
Snakes are #1 on my list. What’s yours?
I should go out in the garden and eat worms. I’m exhausted. I hurt all over. It’s hard not to have self-pity. I TRY to limit my public and private kvetching because I know it doesn’t help . . . me or you. There’s scientific basis for the harm we do to ourselves when we talk about trauma – any kind of trauma.
If you or anyone you know has a “story of pain” (physical, psychological, social, economic etc) read Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters excellent post. Here’s a teeny taste:
Rehashing a traumatic story/event does some of the following:
- puts our system on high alert
- triggers inflammation
- triggers the fight/flight response
- triggers shutdown mode
On the flip side Carolyn talks about the benefits of sharing with close friends:
“Dr. Laura Cousin Klein and her team found that the credit for women’s unique stress reactions may belong to the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “lovehormone”). It’s the body’s own wonder drug – released when we nurse our babies, for example, as well as during a woman’s stress response. It’s instinctual, it buffers the fight-or-flight response and it encourages us to tend children and gather with other women instead – what’s called our tend-and-befriend response to stress. This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone—which men produce in high levels when they’re under stress—seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.”
Read the entire post “I don’t want to talk about it“- a Judy’s-Must-Read-Blog-Post.
A Daddy-longlegs spider lives in my bathroom. It might be a Mommy-longlegs as she’s quite petite. My eyesight isn’t good enough to tell her gender. Even if I could I’m not sure what to look for . . .
I let her live there peacefully since we have a lot in common. She’s discrete, I’ve never seen her entertain overnight visitors and quite tidy as I’ve never found any droppings of left-overs from digested meals. She leads a very monastic existence as do I (on occasion).
I’m not afraid of spiders (except those bigger than my thumb). I try to steer clear of them because when I get bitten by one I have a painful, very painful, allergic response. There is a legend that Daddy-longlegs are deadly venomous spiders which, after careful research, I found not to be true:
“Daddy-longlegs spiders (Pholcidae) – There is no reference to any pholcid spider biting a human and causing any detrimental reaction. If these spiders were indeed deadly poisonous but couldn’t bite humans, then the only way we would know that they are poisonous is by milking them and injecting the venom into humans. For a variety of reasons including Amnesty International and a humanitarian code of ethics, this research has never been done. . . . Therefore, no information is available on the likely toxic effects of their venom in humans, so the part of the myth about their being especially poisonous is just that: a myth.” http://spiders.ucr.edu/daddylonglegs.htm
I hesitate to get too chummy or name her because one day, should she decide to venture down from her post on the window near the ceiling and try to share my counter space, I might have to kill her.
(And with that, I sound like much of the world fighting for and protecting territory. Perhaps it’s not so mysterious why we don’t have world peace?)
Penelope and I met a few years ago. I went for a carton of milk and there she was, an albino pig, in a grocery store. She was in a dangerous situation – it was only time before she ended up on the meat aisle. (OIY VEY) So for $9 I took her home with the milk.
I gave her a bit of color and a bow and she went to live in my therapy office.
How to Live Life to the Fullest
by Penelope the Pig, CPT, RET
EAT greedily all the delectable things life gives you.
WALLOW in what’s soothing & cool.
SNORT at those who are not loving.
CELEBRATE how delicious you are.
PRAY you will not be eaten before your time.
May you all PIG OUT on LOVE,
Certified Pig Therapist, Retired
Those of you who are regular readers know I’m a fragile flower. I blame it on the fibromyalgia (at least fibro is good for something). My system goes on overload if I watch, read, see, hear ANYTHING that is violent, sad or frightening. I went to the Minion’s movie and it was too violent . . .
So when I watch TV it’s either HouseHunter’s International (lookie-loo travel), The Hallmark Channel (always a happy ending) or the Golden Girls. Sophia is my new role model. She is wise beyond my years . . . and we have similar taste in food:
“I hate Jello. If God wanted peaches to be suspended in mid-air He would have filled them with helium.” Sophia Petrillo
Haven’t blogged in a while. The last few weeks have been rough – the fibro-fatigue-fiends frolicking fearlessly. I’m looking for my mop.
mad, sad, fatigue, fear
sweeping away sanity
the broom of my brain
dust storm of feelings
tiny particles of dirt
blowing through my mind
wring out the debris
clean clear water, bucket brain
gratitude mop up
I am fascinated by our newfound ability to study the brain in real-time. For most of my life the only way the brain was studied was by autopsy.
For decades, I’ve explained to clients that “feelings” are not psychological constructs but a neurochemical phenomena. I had no proof – just trickles of brain research I read. Now that I’m retired the evidence is mounting. I’d love to be able to say “I told you so!”
In psychological “terms” the proportion of outward behavior is a measure of internal feelings. Examples: Do you know some one who is a “control freak”? Of course you do.
The more someone tries to exert control over everyone and everything it is usually (read “always” – I’m trying to be “politically correct, ahem . . .) a direct measure they internally/unconsciously feel out of control. People who “feel” in control don’t have to prove they are in control – they can collaborate, give others credit etc.
Know someone who is a narcissist – the earth revolves around them, not the sun? Of course you do.
The more a person needs to boast about themselves, point the finger of blame at others etc. . . . the more insecure they are. Read about some interesting brain research that substantiates this that on a neurological level.