The Only Way Out is Through

1 05 2020

Weather: Mostly intermittent rain with smatterings of warmer temps- Mostly averaging in the 50s

We’re an interesting species. We’re all for proving how resilient we are, how strong we are….yet some people can’t handle being stuck at home for a month or so. Mum was right, no-one under 50 would have done well under War or Depression conditions. Sigh. 

Still….not going to compare apples and oranges. War and Depression didn’t mean we’d get sick and die if we left the house without precautions. We’re not in short supply of things, we’re just panicking. I saw someone comment that our system is not very sturdy if losing two weeks pay is enough to collapse our whole way of life, but there it is. We’ve become way too reliant on convenience, and any disruption seems to be nigh unto world ending. That’s kinda sad, to be honest. I get the worry about finances cratering, but…Let’s just hope this is a wake up call to everyone that what seemed stable was an illusion, and what seemed to be preparedness was in fact wishful thinking.

But let’s not dwell on the negatives. There have been a lot of positives this week. Mom made it through her first round of chemo, and seems to be doing well so far. I accompanied her to chemo and sat with her as we went through all the expectations with the oncologist. My fam is taking good advantage of Zoom and chat and phone calls to keep her spirits up. We get good advice from the medical professionals in our family and with the warm and extensive support from the community and family,  I have great hope she’ll get through all her treatments with the best safety net. Time will tell.

Bri is on “furlough” this week, so we’ve been attacking the yard, and we’re both working on getting our house the thorough spring cleaning it needs. Dust is ridiculous and clutter is getting to the “Honey, get the flamethrower” level.

The first two months of lock down have been bogged down in worry and anxiety, but a few things have been replaced by relief and a better perspective. Creativity is coming back and I’m finding I’m actually getting annoyed with the news and politics (I’m staying informed, I’m just not letting it bog me down.). I’ve got my emotions running a roller coaster as it is, so I’m doing my damnedest not to let anything make that worse.

There will be plenty of time for rage and repercussions later. PLENTY of Time. For now, I want to focus on keeping my little corner of the world safe and at peace. Mental health isn’t set aside because there is a physical health threat. Trying to keep the perspective of controlling what I can, and doing what can be done today as my guidelines. The rest can fall away.

Entertainment is fine, but spending the whole day scrolling or watching TV is almost more depressing than dealing with the realities. (I realize people’s mileage may vary on that, depending on where you live and how well you’re dealing with things, but I need to move more and get my focus back out instead of in. “In” is kinda of a black hole right now.)

If I’m online, I’m trying to utilize the time getting educated about something or learning a new skill. If I’m watching TV , I’m trying to stick to shows I’m actually interested in seeing, not just mindless channel switching. I don’t have the patience to binge anything, apparently. I’ve tried. Can’t do it.

The title I chose for today’s blog is something my mum and I have been using lately. Sometimes when you have to deal with something unpleasant, you look for alternative paths that can make the experience quicker or at least less painful. But sometimes there is only one path, and it will be painful for a short duration. Thus the statement, “The only way out, is through.” It means, get your armor on, gird your loins and grit your teeth. Focus on what life will be like on the other side of the unpleasantness. Deal with it. And just get on with it. It works best in situations where you know there is an end or a resolution. If it’s uncertain, that can make plowing through more difficult.

I have a bad habit of believing that there’s always another way, that there’s a backup plan, that things will work out. Sometimes that’s not true, and it’s a bitter pill for me to swallow. I’m always the problem solver, or at least solution seeker. I don’t just look for the easy and comfortable ways, but I do try to minimize the pain. I don’t like question marks, or maybes, or “let’s wait and see”. I’m not a “by the seat of my pants” person. Boring, I know, but I want structure and routine and a damn plan. I’m not averse to spontaneity or taking risks, but I want a little calculation and common sense involved. (Yes…BORING.) I’ve made some decisions and taken actions that people questioned at first, not seeing the short term gain. In the long run, they were proven to be prudent decisions and we were okay where others sank. This is how I’ve avoided several catastrophes in my life. Mind you, some calculated risks don’t pan out. Those are the lovely “Learning Experiences” we hear about. (Yeah, I hate those damn things too. )

So in the middle of this current shit-show, I’m doing what the data and evidence dictates, what science advises and what my common sense says is the best route to the quickest, SAFEST resolution. That doesn’t mean it won’t require sacrifice, pain and possibly inconvenience. But what in life doesn’t have a little of each of those? Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you something or has an agenda.

It’s far past time for people to understand that our entire system is not robust and efficient. It’s bogged down by shortcuts, and inequality, and bad decisions made by people with profit driven agendas. There are things that should have been changed to absorb some of this current damage, but the short term dictated money was more important, and the long term came along and smacked the shit out of companies and people for their lack of action. Until this changes, we’re going to keep running into these kind of scenarios.

We’re two generations removed from actual historical catastrophes (World Wars and the Great Depression). We hear the stories, but we gloss over the day to day things that were necessary to get people through them. (And some didn’t get through, even if they did try). We are a society of people pre-disposed to avoid discomfort at any cost.

Practicality is what is going to get us through. Along with some much needed innovation and the will to change things to fit what our world is today, not what the world was 20+ years ago. For an adaptable species, we are stubbornly resistant to adjust to the way things ARE.

It’s fine to be aspirational, because that drives creative solutions. But if you pair it with impatience or greed? Things get stopped before they get started. Shoot for the moon, but understand that it takes steps and sometimes, a few failures, to get there.

It’s fine to be nostalgic for the comforts of the past, but if you use that nostalgia to keep applying the old standards to new situations that don’t fit? You perpetuate and accelerate the rate of decline.

At some point, we are all going to have to accept that the world is changing, and much more rapidly than we’d like. And yes, things are going to have to change if we’re to survive the challenges ahead. Some things we take for granted are going to go away, and stomping your feet will not make the transition any easier. Some things are going to be BETTER, but you have to give them time to get there. We’ve been lulled into complacency to the point that just getting by is seen as sufficient, and demanding more than that is seen as greedy. All this while the world rots around us, sacrificed on a pile of greedy ambitions and ego driven decisions.

No one has concrete answers, but if we don’t even try, nothing will change. And IF we don’t change, at least to match the way the world is changing, or at minimum try to balance the damage with some balm, the world is going to move on without us, and trust me…it won’t lose sleep over that fact. Harsh truth is, we are only passengers here. And the transport system really doesn’t give a shit if we’re riding along or not.





Pandemic reboot in progress (Only took 5 weeks! 🙄)

20 04 2020

Weather: After 2 days of bloody SNOOOOOWWWWW!!!! 🤬🤬🤬, we finally got back up into the 50s and it’s a beauty of a sunny day out. 

So we’re still working our way through the raw and tender emotions of losing our feline friend to cancer, but the husbeast and I are trying our best to feel the feels, but not get drowned by them. Not an easy balancing act. We’re spoiling the hell out of Lady Fern, our remaining cat. She’s not quite sure what’s going on but she seems to find it all equally enjoyable and unseemly. (She is the Dowager Duchess of Castle Ellis)

As for the day to day, I’ve been suddenly showered with an excess of self- focused annoyance that I’ve been wasting a lot of time with my nose in my phone with only smatterings of small projects getting accomplished. Mind you, I’m not beating myself up for not having mastered quantum physics, or writing a novel or crocheting an entire wardrobe. (I STILL HAVE TIME!!!) But there is a notable sluggishness that has started to take over on both the physical and mental front that is of concern.

I’m starting a new regimen of physical activity now that the snow has finally buggered off and I have cleared space in my Craft Room to do some yoga and pilates. There’s plenty of space on our deck & back yard to do any exercises that require jumping or kicking. No more excuses. I’m sure the neighbors will get some humor out of watching me bounce around while swearing. (Being out of shape at 53 is not for the faint hearted!)

I have created a spreadsheet (because OF COURSE I DID!) to track projects that I’m working on and will keep them going though the end of the year.

It took a few weeks to realize what’s been blocking me for a while has been a whole bagload of uncertainty. With Snoots, with my mom, with other unfolding events that are too lengthy to go into- I’ve let waiting for the other shoe to drop to stop me cold in my tracks. So, I’m just letting out a breath and gonna start doing things. Pause things when there are other things that take priority, then go right back to them. I have am unreasonably deep need to dwell on things, instead of just taking care of business and moving on. Yes, when things have an emotional impact, you take the time with them (See Snoots). But life moves on regardless of what your dealing with. The stupid virus hasn’t really stopped the world from spinning or time from moving forward. It’s definitely thrown a number of spanners into the machinery, granted, but we can either stare at the chaos, or sigh and fix it to be more resilient and better functioning this go around.

On that note, I’m becoming very impatient with people who have the means to do things and are settling for complaining or making the situation worse. (I understand that there are plenty of people without those means — money, health or circumstances– but they are doing their best to keep going. I’m talking about people who do not lack those means. Innovation is SORELY lacking these days.)

Waiting for the politicians to sort their shit is a fool’s errand. Do what you can, no matter how small, to help those in your community. Be safe, and be smart. But it’s time for us to stop wasting time waiting for others to do their job. Enough. (I’m just salty because I want to do more, but I’m limited by some of those means.)

Anyway. I did some small things to improve my odds of moving and reduce my tendency to fall into the distraction rabbit hole. I deleted a game on my phone that had been sucking up a lot of my time. (It’s puzzle based and that’s like bloody crack-flavored catnip for my stupid brain). My phone has one of those “wellness” trackers that shows how much time you spend on individual apps. That was a bit of a kick in the teeth. 🙄😣 So, phone is getting set aside far more often and I’m doing my best to utilize the web for more self-improvement and writing.

Here’s to scraping off the ennui and getting my prodigious ass back in gear. No more flimsy whiny excuses. Time to start checking off the ticky boxes!


When the rain just won’t stop…the flood comes knocking.

16 04 2020

Weather: Winter was warmer than usual and now, we’re on a rollercoaster of warm and snow, back and forth….

I’ve fallen off blogging, with no real excuse other than ::widely gestures around me:: SHENANIGANS.

The plague has come a knockin’ and we’ve been under “Work From Home and Hunker the Fuck Down” orders for going on 5 weeks now. Michigan is doing the best it can, but we’re ranked 4th in the nation for confirmed cases, and that is without much active testing. The country is a mess, the feds are doing a shit job and we’re going to be lucky to hobble our way out of this. Still, life goes on, even in spite of this shitstorm.

Bri is working, thank goodness, but spends the bulk of his day on his work laptop at our dining room table, having numerous online meetings through the day, much to my amusement. We’re keeping in good humor and giving each other space, since we have the privilege of a house that has the room to do so. Still, there are moments where we start snipping at each other. Cabin fever is no joke.

I’ve been mostly sequestering myself in my office upstairs, though it’s in the process of being converted to a craft room. (I have more yarn and cross stitch thread than I can store right now. When did this happen?? I guess I’m a thread obsessive now. ) I’ve started re-working a manuscript, taken some courses on MasterClass (Neil Gaiman  & Doris Kearnes Goodwin so far), updated our website with new product, photo edited images of said products (hand made necklaces), and done my best to scale back my news and social media intake. Been only partially successful on that front. 😒

The title to this ramble is not about the Covid-19 running rampant through the country (and world) but is in reference to the hearty joke the universe has decided to play on me and mine. It’s not hard enough that we’re dealing with social distancing and grocery shortages and maddening levels of hand washing. Nope, the universe has deemed it perfect time to saddle my mom with breast cancer (thank goodness, caught early) and to call “times up” for my poor cancer ridden cat, Snoots.

Today we said goodbye to him, 6 months after his diagnosis of metastatic cancer. His quality of life had taken a sharp downturn in the last few weeks and finally, we realized he was just existing, and in pain.  We realized it was time to stop the suffering. We’re heart broken and are going to miss the big grey boy. He was well loved, but Bast has him now, and he is at peace. Our second cat Fern is pushing 15 but is in pretty good shape all things considered.

My mom will be starting chemo soon, then she has surgery lined up to remove the tumors. Her prognosis is good, but this is the worst timing for her to be immuno-compromised. My sister is having to do most of the heavy lifting there, since she lives closer and can get mom to her appointments. We’re trying to work out a scenario, with the doctor’s input, so I can go stay with her on some days through her treatment. We’ll see how it works out. Last thing I want to do is get her sick.

As someone who is dealing with a panic disorder, you’d think I’d be melting down at every turn through this. I’ve been weirdly calm for the most part, though I’ve had a couple anxiety attacks a few weeks ago. I don’t know if I’m just using my coping techniques well, or if I’m just so numb I can’t react to things anymore. For the sake of my sanity, I’ve been trimming way back on social media and news. Should’ve done this sooner. I feel better and lighter for it.

Starting this weekend, Bri and I are trying to get ourselves moving more. We haven’t been at the gym in a couple months now, and it’s showing. We try to workout at home, but we literally have so little space to do so. (Prompting us into rethinking the layout of our downstairs, complete with new furniture etc).

It’s long past time for getting back up and running on the creative front, and long past time to start a new outlook.

It’s sad that it takes a compounded tragedy and train wreck to jolt you into action, but there it is.

Flood waters are rising, but thankfully, we’re building a boat. Hope we can ride the waves and get back to land safely.

RIP Lord Snooty of Booty.  2007-2020



Time to stick a fork in 2018

29 12 2018

Weather: Cold but not normal cold. Upper 30s with a light dusting of snow.

It’s that time of year…the end, at least chronologically speaking, of 2018.

It’s been a bear of a year for many reasons, most of which I will mention but not dwell on. Mostly because I am bone-level weary and the year seems bound and determined to get a last boot in right at the end, as expected.

The last couple of years have been, to put it lightly, CHALLENGING. Health matters, politics, the weather, family trauma, finances… everything has been dialed up to 100,  with a baseball bat.

I was diagnosed with panic disorder this year, and have been in therapy to work on coping with it. I developed Gastritis this summer and ended up on a very restricted diet until it was under control. (Luckily caught it before it became an ulcer).

Bri and I both lost family members, and our aging relatives suffered a number of health setbacks this year, which was a constant source of concern.  

Now, at the end of the year, we have found ourselves facing some financial challenges that were unanticipated and we are scrambling to keep the boat afloat, so to speak. 

Still, even after all this shitstorm of shenanigans, I find myself facing the upcoming year with a weird sense of calm and – prepare yourself- Positive Outlook.  


Here’s the rub:  After 2 years of worrying about the worse case scenario, we’ve kind of had it happen in a number of ways.  We’ve managed to survive it all. And even though we’re ending the year in a rather precarious position, the prospects of it getting better are at a higher probability that we could have expected. Is it a certainty? Hell no. But having palatable options is a damn near sight better than having no options at all. 

On top of it, even with the health issues? We both got trainers and have been steady at getting to the gym, and we have improved our diets, so both of us have lost weight and are in better shape than we’ve been in for YEARS. I consider that a BIG positive. 

Mentally, I’m in a better head-space than I’ve been in a long while. It took a lot of work and I am fully aware that I am not cured, but the bouts of anxiety I have are becoming less and less frequent, and when I have one, it is not nearly as debilitating. Another BIG positive. 

The finances are what they are. Weirdly that’s never really been a source of anxiety. Money is a calculable issue that I can resolve with logic, math and spreadsheets. Boring but doable. It’s not an abstract concept to me so I feel it’s always fixable. It helps to have resources and alternate streams of income. (Selling items, making things to sell, online surveys, gifts from relatives etc). Also, I am an obsessive accountant and budget maker. I will squeeze pennies from places that others might miss and have no qualms sacrificing services to pay for necessary things. 

All in all , the only quandary that has me  a little nervous is the rust on my creativity.  This year has not been kind to my artistic outlets. Writing has all but ground to a halt, and although I’ve been much more busy the latter half of this year, the first half saw zero progress on any mosaics.  I have started to feel the tentative tendrils of motivation reaching out again, and have dug out my stitch-work and knitting to add it to the creative outlet stream. So now I have a few different things to focus on if I hit a wall. More is better in this area.  I’ve been slowly coming to the realization that my lack of patience is something that has inevitably hamstrung me for a while now. So patience and paring down my focus to what I’m working on at the moment is my new goal for the next year. 

In general, that’s what 2019 is going to be about- not creating new goals or setting new benchmarks, but keeping the momentum going, and herding all the cats into a more manageable line. Already in the process of getting healthy, so keep it going. Already in the process of making things, so keep it going. Already in the process of simplifying, and purging, and expanding my creative output….so just keep that shit going! 

Getting started is always the exciting part, but it’s also the most daunting. Keeping something moving once you’ve gotten it started is easier, especially if you can level the road and move carefully enough to sidestep the obstacles. 

I’m going to be focusing on slowing things down a little. Some of that has to do with physical limitations- My arthritis is making handwriting and working on mosaics difficult, but not impossible. I just need to be patient with my progress.  I’m also going to be focusing on quality and not quantity. With the insanely fast paced nature of our media/internet driven world, there is always a fear that you will miss out on an opportunity, or that you have to cater to the expected (insane!) time expectations of the convenience hungry consumers. I’m no longer going to worry about that. I will make things and they will be completed in the time it takes to complete them to my satisfaction. An item is only as valuable as the time and care put into it. Maybe I’ll only make 5 pieces of art in the time others could crank out 10. And I’m okay with that. 

Anyway. I realize this has turned into a bit of navel gazing, but that is what end of year blog posts tend to  do.

Here’s to 2019. I’m hoping to make it a very productive year, and to get my perspective back where it needs to be– on creating things and exploring this world we have, without the filter of a screen or others’ interpretations. 

Let’s all try to be more compassionate, and help others a little more. Let’s be kinder to ourselves. Let’s be the people Mr. Rogers wanted us to be. You can be angry for others and defend the more vulnerable, but leave space and time for peace and for gratitude for those who do the right things and contribute as well. 

Maybe it’s an idealistic way to live, but cynicism only gets you so far. 


2018: Gird your loins & Into the Fray We Go!

1 01 2018

Weather: Start of the year greets us with arctic temps (teens + subzero windchills), blowing snow & cloudy skies. Normal winter in Michigan in other words. 🙂 

So, in following up on the post I made yesterday, time to look forward. A friend had posted on Ye Olde Facebook about picking a word to focus on for the new year. I had a hard time picking just one, so I fudged a bit and picked two: Minimalism and Compassion. I mentioned yesterday that I also added Evolution. 

Minimalism is something I’ve been working towards slowly for the past couple of years. I’ve seen the movie (Minimalism) and read some good articles about reducing your material belongings. It is appealing to me at my age to own less. The oft quoted line from Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, – “The things you own end up owning you…”- really started resonating.  Husbeast and I have been trying to chisel down our belongings to a more manageable level. After moving into our house in 2015, we came to a rather swift realization that, even though we’d gone from a one-story house to a two-story house, we had actually reduced our square footage and lost a couple rooms. This meant we had additional decor and furniture with nowhere to put them. So we started parting with things. This year we’re gonna focus on accelerating the process.

This drive for minimalism is not just restricted to things, but also outdated routines and thought processes. I have a bad habit of complicating things, more than necessary, and that can ripple out and gum up the works exponentially. It has been a problem I’ve dealt with for far too long. So this morning, as I was putting together our morning coffee, I mulled over what was the source of this complication. Came to a rather easy conclusion that I spent a lot of time last year reacting out of worry or panic to things, and this lead to scrambling towards a sloppy, and usually half-assed, resolutions. So the change necessary here was to take a breath, be more patient and – instead of sending out scattershot, barely thought out solutions- start with patient determination, and take the time to actually resolve the problem. I am going to learn to accept that some things may not get addressed with my perceived (I.E. not real) urgency, but they will be taken care of completely, and hopefully, with the right amount of accuracy.  My anxiety attack last year could be easily sourced in this constant stress of taking care of ALL THE THINGS, RIGHT NOW.

The Compassion part of my focus is an ongoing process for me. I am not particularly judgmental. I try very hard to look at a person’s motivations rather than just respond to their immediate statement or actions. This does not mean any sort of  condoning or excuse is made for bad behavior or awful utterances.

I see far too many people who equate compassion with weakness or “letting people off the hook”. Neither of which is remotely true. You can condemn someone’s action yet still be compassionate. The lack of compassion I see most often is the “That person isn’t trying hard enough” to escape poverty, or unemployment, or disability. It’s enough to make me want to shake people. Compassion doesn’t excuse, but it does try to seek a better solution. It doesn’t blame, but it tries to understand the situation to help carve out a better path or make better choices. Sometimes compassion just requires you to listen, and not advise or suggest. Sometimes it requires you to observe and not get involved. Most times, it motivates you to do what you can to lessen the suffering of others. The latter part is what I intend to focus on. Whether by supplying support by my presence or my money or my knowledge, I will continue to do what I can to help where I can. Mind you, this does not mean I rush in unrequested. It means to be aware of situations and offer help where I can, if needed, or asked for.

On the last point of focus- Evolution- this is more an ongoing process for me that started a few years ago. This is the first year in a while where I have a clear idea of the person I want to become. (Not a mirror of someone else, or an emulation of them, but a better version of me.) I have a visual in my head, along with a skill set I need to acquire, and a set of personal goals that are much clearer than they have been in a while.

Resolutions are literally a re-framing of your fixes for your perceived problems. Some are new attempts to address long time issues. Some are new issues that require brand new solutions. They’ve come to be laundry lists of things people think they need to address and often, they end up erasing most of the list early in the year as their commitment fails or a new crop of priorities crop up to re-order their list.

That why I think the focus idea works better for me than the usual laundry list of vague categorical resolutions. I have an image of how I’d like myself and the world to be, and now I have some perspective changes and action steps I can put into place that will start a momentum towards both those goals: Reducing my physical burdens, providing some self-care, becoming more aware of those around me and their struggles, and scraping off the old image of myself for the new version that will aid in achieving my goals.

There are other details at work, but I’m not sharing them just yet. Some goals are not jelled in my mind enough to declare them.  We shall see how the year unfolds.

There are so many possibilities unfurling right now. And I don’t want to miss them because I’m bogged down in old assumptions, regrets and distractions. Too much new music, new stories and new art to experience and create. Here’s to 2018! Here’s to snatching back the reins in my life and MAKING things happen.


Half Century Birthday Postopalooza!

12 01 2017

Weather: Oh dear gods, it’s been icy and rainy and cold and weird for DAYS now!

Yup, it’s my birthday today. Fifty years old. My fingers actually creaked as I typed that. (I kid! Honestly I don’t feel remotely that age, so I suppose that’s a good thing.) 

Fifty years. I was born in 1967. It seems like so long ago and yet, not so much. What really puts weight on the years is that I remember events that current college students only read about in text books. I get that weary head shake thing that my parents used to do when I argued with them from books versus things they experienced first hand.

I get it. I really do. Not that the events were more or less awful or fantastic than the events that happen today. I don’t suffer from nostalgia in either direction.  But it’s the subtle difference of watching events unfold in front of you with all the context of being alive at the time, and reading think pieces by people who filter events through current lenses.

We tend to look backwards with a cursory eye, castigating earlier times with a sniffy condescension or raising them well above their deserved level of wonderful. Neither is right. But the babies born now will do the same to our current era, and the cycle continues.

The things that strike me now are less “old person shouts angrily at sky” and more “I’ve seen some shit, man. This is just the same shit with different set dressing.”

Maybe it’s just the shortening of our collective attention span or the voluminous stream of unexamined information that vomits all over us everyday.  I just see a lot of people being very focused on current events – VERY FOCUSED – until something else pushes it aside as the new important thing. I’m not immune, but I’m finding my tolerance for wading into a constant stream of anger and outrage does little to elevate my understanding of things, mostly because emotions can come at the expense of facts. Not always. Not every time. Just often enough that I’ve started just walking away.

Maybe it’s just the weariness that comes from years of trying to dig that old silver lining out of the big black fart cloud that people just keep adding to in lieu of helping you look for the shiny. It’s not blind optimism or false hope I’m trying to excavate, but a way to find a kernel of useful information that might help cut the cloud down to a manageable size. Sometimes there’re more options than just yelling at strangers or going along to get along. Most people think either of those options accomplish more than they actually do. Awareness is their purported goal, but it’s hard to be aware when four different people are yelling at you that their cause is the most important.

SO — this is turning into a rather sobering birthday post, huh?

Well, here’s something for happier thoughts. My goals for this year seem to keep circling back to a few specific things- firstly, I want to focus hard on getting back in shape. At least a shape other than round and squishy.  If I’m gonna last another half century, which I fully intend to, I’m gonna need to get this flesh suit into better shape.
Another thing I’m going to focus hard on is increasing my creative output. Last year there was a dearth of projects on my part, and the truth is I was in a weird distracted head space that comes from applied laziness and worry. There were other mitigating circumstances, but they would be excuses, and I’m kinda done with excuses.
I’m going to pick my battles this year. So I’m hoping people will not be offended if I sit out various stages of culture wars or trying to maintain a constant state of anger at every little thing that drifts across my timeline. Wasted a lot of time and energy I didn’t have to spare on that. There are plenty of people to fight other battles, so I’m not going to jump in on every single one of them.

One thing though -and this is something I wish more people would consider- A lot of people who you assume are ignoring important situations that are happening in this country, are in fact doing a lot of the warfare offline. Sometimes the most effective progress can be made where there are no eyes on you. Making phone calls to people. Showing up to talk to people. Sharing good info is always helpful, yes, but a thousand people unexpectedly making a phone call to an office will do more good than a thousand people signing an online petition.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned over the years, and it’s been a very harsh lesson to learn, has been to pause before saying or posting things. Verify that what you are sharing is actually true. Verify that what you are saying is necessary and not just noise. If 40 people have shared something, are you actually informing anyone or just mushing down the message in a deluge by sharing it as well? Ultimately intent matters across the board. Schadenfreude feels satisfying but is a hollow victory most times. I have no love for internet mobs, even if their cause seems righteous.

I’m going to try and make my next 50 years into something of a sharp campaign of being better. I want things to be better for everyone. I realize there are some people who are intent on working against their own best interests, and sometimes that is not something I can fix. I’m not interested in fighting people to change their minds if they are dead set against even listening. I’d rather try and set a good example, persuade people with good ideas, rather than bludgeon them into my way of thinking. I’m trying to be a better listener, and less of a talker. I am trying to be supportive ally and not a loud usurper. I have causes that I would defend to the ground, but I also am trying to let those who are better equipped or informed take the lead when it comes to discussion.

If this sounds like I’m defaulting to a passive state, you don’t know me very well. I’ve always found that sometimes working when eyes are not on you, gets more done. I might not get to claim any glory, headlines or trophies, but I get shit done when it needs getting done. I’ve always been a better shadow counsel than Queen. So maybe I’m not the loudest person in defense, but do not doubt my resolution or sincere investment in a cause.

So. Fifty years old seems to have stripped the thin veneer of placid courtesy off my personality. I learned a lot by watching Carrie Fisher. I’m no blunt instrument, but neither am I a coddler or enabler for bad behavior. I celebrate the endeavors of those who at least try to make the best of a shitty situation, but have no tolerance for those who would seek to better themselves on the backs of those less fortunate. I’ve got no patience for bullies or the histrionics of the over zealous, regardless of party, preference or fealty.

I know the next four years are going to be interesting (in the Chinese Curse interpretation of the word) but that in no way excuses anyone’s bad behavior. Mine included.

SO. Just to sum up my usual ramblings, I’m getting older, I’m less inclined to play nice if others insist on kicking the beehive and I’m striving to be the best person I can be, considering the circumstances. Hopefully that will be enough motivation and steel to get me through the rest of my life.


Kicking my own ass because it’s necessary.

4 01 2017

Weather: Gray, with hefty winds, which help the air temp drop into single digits. Had to pin my face on as the cold was insisting on tugging it off. High was somewhere in the mid- 20s though you’d be hard pressed to know it.

Work went quickly today. Home for lunch then I had a few errands to run- meds for the kittie and performing my monthly gas tank refill (it’s so nice to live close to where I work- 5 minutes away!) 

When I got home, the urge to just curl up and get under a blanket was mighty strong. But I tempered it.  Got online and did get sucked in for the duration. Damn it. Managed to pry myself loose and do some exercise. We have stairs to the second floor and a full staircase into the basement. I was doing a circular lap from the second floor into the basement and back up pausing to  do pushups between laps. The number of laps was pitiful but I did get my heart rate up to something resembling cardio. May do another round this evening. Trying to at least force myself into some semblance of accountability.

The title is not literal as I don’t have that kind of flexibility at the moment. However, I am a grown goddamn woman with a brain that can talk me out of doing anything I really don’t want to do. Even if the thing is going to benefit me. Stupid brain. So I sometimes take to berating myself like a drill instructor with an axe to grind. It works. I hate having my laziness pointed out. Granted it’s worse coming from others, but it still gets me moving, albeit with grumbling annoyance. The results will be the reward. I just need to start seeing some.

One thing that has become rather evident since I blew a brain gasket a couple of years ago: I seem to have lost some mental capabilities I used to pride myself on having. One is the ability to visualize things that I’m creating. I have to work very hard at this now. I can’t “see” things the way I used to. Husbeast gave me a couple of tricks to work around it, but it’s vexing that  I can’t do it on spec anymore. Another thing is my facility with words has taken a bit of hit. I can write, no problem, but speaking? I draw a blank a lot of the time and I have to pause and dig for the appropriate word. Do I think this is all due to the brain injury? Maybe. But I know some of it comes from the same short term attention span that a lot of the internet generation suffers from- too much information, all the time. I’ve been combating it with books, forcing myself to focus on the words. This was one thing I discovered last year. Where for years I was able to rip through a hardcover in a weekend and retain fairly good details from the book, suddenly I’m finding I have to re-read a page two or three times to get it. And my retention isn’t what it should be.

The good news (that silver lining that  I always insist on finding) is that a lot of this is reversible with training. And working at it. I have no doubt that with effort I’ll be able to get my brain agile again. Kind of like I hope my physical shape will get back to being more functional and a shape other than “sack of mushy potatoes”.

So today I managed to move, to write and after dinner I’m doing some sketches for new mosaic pieces, so there’s my creative output for the day. Still going strong.

And because you have stuck with this meandering musing, here’s some cat pictures for your troubles….(Left is Lord Snooty of Booty, Right is Lady Fern the Derisive.)


And here’s your Gif of Wise Wisdom type Stuff for the day:


Off to sketch and maybe tackle the Stairs of Jointly Torture.

New Year, New Perspective, New Challenges. Hi 2017! How Ya Doing?

1 01 2017

Weather: High: 38° This may be the first New Year in a while that has been unremittingly Sunny! I hope it bodes well for the year. It’s at least a good start!

So yesterday I posted my year end post, which as per expectation was about looking back. This is my new year post. It’ll mostly be about looking forward. 

As a lot of people have been already proffering up their goals and expectations, I see both some foreboding and some hope in generous proportions.  For myself, I am weighing in heavily on the side of hope. As I saw someone else say last year, Hope and Naivete are similar but not the same. Hope requires effort while Naivete is more based on expectation and assumption. So I’m placing my energies on hope for the short term, although I realize that in order for things to pan out in the positive, there will have to be some work to get there.

For my goals, a lot remain the same as last year: more art, more writing, better health. In general, be a better person. I am already working on the health aspect. (Took a  near 4 mile walk today. Yes in winter, in Michigan. It was cold, but sunny. No excuses.)  Art will start tomorrow, as I’m heading back into the studio. Have a lot of projects on deck and I’m being militant about not sliding into bad habits that include making excuses or being easily distracted. Time is a commodity I am not taking lightly anymore. I’m turning 50 in less than 2 weeks. Seeing people of my age bracket dropping dead of health issues in the past year has put a very sobering sword of Damocles over my head. Either commit to self care and make the effort to get things done, or accept the consequences, short and long term. I’m not willing to throw in the towel because it’s difficult. I rather like a challenge, though I will bitch about it in the beginning.

It’s also going to be a financial rebuilding year for us. We invested a lot of funds in house overhaul last year and this year we need to get ourselves a little more above water than just floating on the surface. (Sorry, living lakeside seems to make a lot of metaphors water related. :shrugs:) Some luxuries are going to be curtailed and some trips & expenditures we were contemplating may be back-burnered for the year. But, that’s the adult part of the equation. Sometimes you can play a little looser with the pocketbook , but there comes the time to pay the piper and you can’t put that off forever.

There’s a lot of uncertainty overall going into this year, what with political shenanigans and the usual global instability. But I think that part of my duty, as a good citizen of this country, is to be vigilant that rights are not eroded and that, as a nation, we don’t start moving backwards. I get that things like economics and foreign policy will always be on the pendulum, swinging back and forth, but I don’t agree that having all citizens of this country being treated with dignity and equality is something we should backtrack on. Moving backwards is despicable and only makes us look the villain, and rightly so, in the eyes of the rest of the civilized world. We’ve kind of fallen backwards in a lot of areas, and that is a little depressing. We’re better than that. We just need to realize it and work on it.

One of the things I think is going to be a big change for me this year is scaling back on social media. I’ve made this claim several years in a row, because I know it’s an ongoing distraction. Weirdly enough, I think it’s going to stick this time, only because last year was so unbelievably ugly that I was actually staying offline to avoid the fracas. Even people I agreed with were getting on my nerves. Social media is mostly my way of staying in touch with long distance relatives, friends and the swath of artists that I consider part of my community. Somewhere along the line, it turned into a loudspeaker of political and opinionated blather, until it was a nonstop stream of only that. I started getting bored, then increasingly annoyed with it. Now, I’m trying to decide if there’s a better way to reduce the signal to noise ratio or if I should just take an extended sabbatical. That remains to be seen.

Studio time is going to become a priority for me, because I’m totally buying into the art as rebellion idea. If the world is going to continue to be ugly, then I will combat it with the tools I have. I’m joining the #MakeArtNotWar Challenge this year. It’s a way to carve out time for my creative pursuits and keep me accountable. Also, I hope it will prompt me to blog more often, read more, write more and just in general generate more new creative output. Some of my fave people to interact with are musicians, writers and artists. Some of them wear all three hats (:cough: Ego Likeness : cough:). But regardless of their chosen medium, these people are always working, day or night, in the mood or not. That’s the work ethic I’m hoping to foster by doing this challenge. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo several years now and I always rise to the challenge there. Now I just need to stretch that commitment out for a year. The nice thing is I can fold my health challenge into this one, because self-care is part of the package.  😀

So in general I have some pretty lofty goals and challenges on the ledger. But I’m already in process on most of them, so they’re not unachievable. The challenge is not letting my commitment lag.

Hopefully, people will be along for the ride, but the truth is I’m doing this even if they’re not. Hitting the half century mark carries some deep implications for me. I desperately need to ingrain some good habits now. Here’s hoping I can make the grooves deep enough to stick.


Mood: Upbeat, but tired
Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: 2 cups of java. Probably some tea later. 
Work-Out Minutes Logged today: 1 hour & 20 Minutes (walked 3.5 miles)
Listening To:
Twenty One Pilots, Ego Likeness & the Hamilton Soundtrack on Spotify
Book Last Read: Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: CBS Sunday Morning & Sherlock (Soon!!!)
Latest Artistic Project: Writing:  Editing  Serpents Trilogy
Mosaics:  Holiday ornaments & working on  Nordic  Mandala


Time for that End of the Year musing we all dread.

31 12 2016

Weather: Winter is taking a slight break at the moment, as we’re in the 40s for the next few days. Then it’s back into the freezer later in the week.

We haven’t seen a shit-ton of snow so far ::knocks all available wood:: but the weather has been all over the place this year. Summer was cooler than expected, and drier. Spring and Fall both stretched past their usual dates. Not that I’m complaining. (I’m all for the cooler temps to be honest. )

So. New Year’s Eve. We meet again my friend. Been muddling most of the morning on what I wanted to write this year and considering the tenor of 2016, it could turn into a horror story right out the gate.

Truth be told, my personal life has been…okay. The world at large? Not so much. I’ve had idols die this year. (SO MANY OF THEM. WTF, Grim Reaper? Are you training some overeager assistant, because DAMN. )

Politically….the less said the better. The election was a mess. The candidates were unimpressive. The voters were their own worst enemies, if they even voted at all. Infighting made enemies of once allies. Buyer’s remorse seems to be setting in, since we seem to have elected a petulant child with a lengthy slam book in hand to the head of the table. The country by and large seems both weary and uneasy. Not good for what seems to be a fight ahead. Anyone who thinks things will turn around or are not heading into troubled waters should probably be in for some depths of disappointment.

I’ve kind of taken the tact of focusing on what I can do to work on issues locally- Neighborhood, city, community, state levels. The federal government has failed us on so many levels. It seems to have abandoned listening to anyone but those who line their pockets, and even those who would have good intentions are getting pecked to death by supporters who think good is the enemy of perfect. It’s not because I have any animosity to the government as an idea, because when it works, it’s fantastic. I also don’t believe “reducing it to a size that can be drowned in a bathtub” is anywhere in the vicinity of a responsible attitude. People do love their soundbites, don’t they? Regardless of how inane or dangerous the idea is. Sigh. Didn’t really want to turn this into a political assessment, but considering how the ugly side of politics has seeped into every fucking aspect of our lives, it’s hard to pretend it’s not a problem. I’ve seen members of families literally stop talking to each other over this.

Anyway. On less contentious things, I think that this year is the seed of a new creative revolution. Not because things seem bad, but because the underlying structure on how art is made, marketed and shown is shifting. The old label/publishing house/art market structure still exists, but is growing increasingly inadequate to sustain for most creative types out there. More and more people are finding ways to tap their communities for support, and use their own knowledge of their creative output to better market it. It doesn’t mean the methods are becoming more lucrative. But if your only reason for entering the art world is to make money, then I think you need to reassess your reasons. Money will come, but you have to be good at what you do. That takes time and effort.

The patronage model seems to slowly be making a comeback. People are selling directly to their fans and supporters. Commissions are getting done, because of the need for unique pieces of work or exclusive releases seems to be on the upswing. Pre-ordering something that comes from an artist you like and have faith in can sustain that artist. Granted this model works best for those who have an established fan base, less so for those who are starting out. This seems to be where a lot of new creatives are befuddled. There is no magic trick to being successful in anything. A lot of it is timing, some luck, but the truth is – and people for some reason hate hearing this -you have to WORK VERY HARD. Put the time in. Make the sacrifices. Rob Peter to pay Paul, so that maybe you don’t have cable for awhile so you can buy supplies or travel to a convention where you can sell your wares. Practice until you have reasonable mastery. Then keep practicing. There’s always a new level.

This year, I kind of stepped back from a lot of what was happening and just watched. I tried to observe what worked for some people, and what didn’t. I tried to listen when people did write-ups on their experiences, seeing if there was a commonality to the struggles versus their successes. What I didn’t do was join the Greek Choir of “this year is awful and everything is on fire” when it came to whether someone would be successful or not. I watched people who had more limitations on their time and finances become successful, even if it was moderately so, and people who had vast amounts of resources barely break even or fail.

So many iconic artists passed away this year. It’s really not the year. It’s just been overwhelming because there were a lot of trailblazers in there. Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher – on and on. One thing that all of them had in common was not stopping when things got difficult and not letting the zeitgeist dictate their creative output. The reason that all of them garnered so much respect and why their passing inspired so much emotional response was that we are invested in people who speak to us when we are feeling like outcasts ourselves. When we think the world is looking down it’s nose at us. When we are emotionally low or experiencing those downturns in our lives that inevitably happen. They speak to us. Some of us at different times and for different reasons. We have different favorite  albums, songs, performances. That’s because we needed them for different reasons at different times.

I know this is typically rambly of me, but if I had to glean one lesson from 2016, it was simply that time doesn’t care. It will pass regardless of events, or endings, or procrastination. It will not slow down to accommodate your sorrow, or inability to cope, or vast plans. We lost a lot of people. Some friends lost family. Some lost friends. Some lost idols. We are heading into uncertain times. We are standing at the edge of another year, but this year, things do not carry any assurances. We’re starting the new year battle scarred and a little less hopeful. Doesn’t mean we have to wallow. We can reverse the trend, but again, we have to put the time in.

If 2017 is to be anything more than just more of the same, or heaven forfend, WORSE, it falls on us to do something about it. Make the new year YOUR year. Step away from howling morass of social media politics. It is possible to be informed without having to get mired down in things. It’s possible to make improvements, to get your voice heard, and to express your hopes, desires and yes, disapproval. You will probably have to work harder to be heard. You probably will have to apply a lot more critical thinking when you read things, seeing that there are people actively trying to mislead you now. Most are easily avoided.

One thing I would advise to all: Even if something makes you angry, if a person is pissing you off to all ends– Don’t mention them by name. “Internet famous” has no downside anymore. Even if 90% of you are speaking about someone with disdain and anger, you are still making their name trend. And trust me, most of these jackasses care more about that than worry about your negative view of them.
There are exceptions, of course. If someone needs exposing, then by all means do so. (But make sure your accusations are founded, documented and make sure that collateral damage is not hitting innocent people. Internet mobs are less helpful than you think, although they feel good when you’re angry at something/someone. Yes, you have to make that effort. Otherwise you are no better than them.)


Yes, even our elected officials. (You notice I didn’t mention anyone by name above. Wasn’t necessary. You know who I was talking about.)

Sorry for the downer post, but it’s been a downer of a year. Still, there’s always room to head up and that’ll be the focus of my New Year’s Day post.


I’ll be back tomorrow for my thoughts for the new Year. 😀

Thanks for reading my write-ups this year. I truly appreciate it.