Saturday, December 14, 2013

Deadline approaching!

January 1st is fast approaching! I have two weeks left to complete my SlideRoom submission for entry into UCONN's Masters in Fine Arts Program. Choosing 20 pieces of my artwork is harder than I first expected. I'm trying to select my 'best' work, which is hard in and of itself.  'Best' is subjective and is governed by personal taste.  I have some pieces that demonstrate a high technical ability, yet lack in conceptual content. While I have other pieces that are aesthetically pleasing, yet are not part of a unified body of work. Hmmmmm....which do I choose?

So far, I have many of my pieces laid out around my studio for consideration. Whichever pieces make the cut, I'll then have to take high quality photographs of them and upload the images to UCONN's SlideRoom, where my work will be judged and critiqued as to its worthiness. UCONN will then make their top selections and invite the candidates to the University for a one on one interview in February 2014.

This process began the beginning of this year.  I have had many people help me along the way. Some gave needed critiques of my art, while some shared their wisdom and gently provided guidance. I've received many words of encouragement and nudges to keep me working. (Sometimes outright shoves!)  I am indebted to all those who gave valuable input for writing my Artist Statement of Purpose. I would not have had as strong a package without all of your support. I am eternally grateful.
Thank you!  Thank you! Thank you!
The process is not complete yet, I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude.
Whether I am selected into the Masters in Fine Arts program or not, this experience has matured me as an artist...and THAT'S what is is all about!

My goals: Selecting work that demonstrates
-my technical abilities
-well thought out original conceptual ideas
-cohesion - works together as a group
-my diversity in media execution (oil, watercolor, acrylic, clay, video, mixed media)
-my selection of diverse subject matter (landscape, abstract, portraiture, still life)

Criteria from UCONN's website:
Portfolio Review
A portfolio of 20 pieces should represent your best work while demonstrating independent thinking and the diversity of your experiences in the visual arts. The portfolio should include drawings from direct observation. Your strongest area of work should make up the largest proportion of your portfolio.  The portfolio also may include works in:
 -Drawing (this includes traditional drawing techniques on paper as well as drawings done on a number of alternative surfaces including sidewalks, cardboard, interior and exterior walls. Examples must reflect a basic understanding of observational drawing. Pieces other than renderings of action heroes and Anime lookalikes are encouraged.
-Artist books (all types and sizes)
-Sketch books (all types and sizes)
-Painting (this includes traditional stretched canvas as well as painting on a variety of surfaces including murals, interior and exterior walls, wood panels and all types of paper)
-Photography (it is important to know that digital photographic images will be evaluated on composition, subject matter and image quality.  Some awareness of how the digital format is functioning beyond the straight forwardness of taking an image (for example a sunset) or by using a filter in Photoshop and submitting this an artistic, creative image needs to be reflected in the images.
-3 Dimensional/Sculptural works (this includes traditional sculptural work as well as collage, installation, wearable art, clothing, jewelry, functional ad non-functional ceramics or three dimensional work of any kind)
-Prints (images that are being created by using various traditional and non-traditional printmaking techniques)
-Digital Imagery (will digital technology is available to most everyone in this culture, we recognize it as a tool for creative practice, the technology itself is not the end result. It is important to know that digital images will be evaluated on composition, creativity, design, subject matter and image quality with some awareness of how the digital format is functioning beyond simply what the program can create and submitting this an artistic, creative image)
-Mixed media (collage, installation)
The portfolio should be the best possible collection of your work. For example, if drawing is your strongest area, then drawings should be the majority of the work in your portfolio. The portfolio can include finished pieces, work in progress, and sketchbooks. Applicants submitting digital photographs also need to submit images of other forms of image-making as well. It is not necessary to mat any of your work.

Friday, December 13, 2013


I saw a dear friend today. My spirit was recovering from yesterday and I did not feel like going anywhere. I'm glad I pushed through with the centering thought to encourage someone else. I ended up the one encouraged.
As Ladybug spoke, I found myself remembering all the fun we had while working together teaching in a 5 th grade science program together. I missed working with her. She talked about so many interesting things. One thing that stood out....she shared the insight about how you never know whose life you touch in profound ways by doing the simple things. In her younger years she would visit with a friend who apparently didn't have many friends, but Ladybug would extend herself to this person by just sitting with her and listening. After many years this woman came to her and thanked her for her friendship and told Ladybug how her actions changed this woman's life. It was a lovely story.
While just listening, I began to feel encouraged. 
Friendship is a beautiful gift. I'm blessed to have the type of friendships that can easily pick up wherever they left off, even when we don't see each other often.
I hope not so much time passes before we see each other again.
Ladybug you are beautiful inside and out!

Unexpected comfort....

I am blessed with two incredibly compassionate and insightful children.  Wisdom flows from their lips. 
Yesterday was a rough one for me. There were many personal issues that came to head. I had a couple incidents that affected my business in a negative way. It was an unexpected hit. I found myself dealing with several other difficult situations. So by the end of the day I was spent and feeling deflated. At one point something minor happened and the levy broke. 
All patience failed me....and the floodgates opened. I cried. But not just any cry. One of those gut wrenching, hiccups afterwards kind of cry! I erupted! Tears and snot and strange noises came out of me. I hadn't cried like that in a long time. It reminded me of when I was a child. I literally could not stop crying.
Madi and Wave heard me and came to my room. They immediately began comforting me. The wisdom and support that came from them, moved me. My son knowing I was sad because something I worked hard on was destroyed, told me a story of how he would build whole worlds on the computer and they would get deleted by someone. He'd be disappointed. Then he'd pick himself up and start building again.
Madi put her arm around me and began to tell me that in life we are going to be disappointed sometimes, but we just have to find the strength from inside us to keep going. She told me that I was a strong person and I'd get through it. She explained that sometimes even when you work hard things are not going to always workout, but that since I'm dealing with the pain, the next time I'm in a similar situation, I'll know how to deal with it better. She then told me to ask God to help comfort me and He will...and with that my 11 year old twins kissed me and ran off to play. 
During all this I gained control of my heaving cries and listened attentively. Wisdom oozed out of my babies.  Amen 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My inspiration....

Most days I'm pretty focused naturally. Lots of people attribute the military, for my being highly organized...I say it's my OCD! In any event, I can manage to get a lot done fairly quickly. I look to my kids for inspiration to give my best in all things. They watch closely what I do and modeling behavior is important to me. My heart wants the best for them.
Juggling their needs, the family schedule and my goals is challenging.

Right now my mind races. The holidays are upon us and the twins are so excited! Work is going better than I could have imagined! It comes with lots of responsibility. My goals for the Art Workshops have increased and I need to complete the proposal for the spring. 
Madi and Wave are maturing beautifully. Their character is strong and steadfast. I'm proud of how they take on leadership roles with their peers and at the same time, they are loving, compassionate and empathetic. Parenting is a challenge and the rewards are great! 

However, my greatest challenge right now, is my application for UCONN. I reflect back to the beginning of the year. That's when I started actively getting my entire studio upgraded and ready to accommodate the demands of graduate work. I'm currently at the very last step in the process...SUBMISSION OF MY ART FOR THEIR PORTFOLIO REVIEW! I need to submit 20 pieces of my best work. 
There have been a strong few who have helped me tremendously get to this point. Whether it was help with writing my Artist Statement, organizing my studio or just plain lighting a fire under me to motivate my intentions, I have a great support team! I'm eternally grateful for all the help I've received and continue to receive.
I'm filled with nervous energy....I'm giving this my best. It's funny in a way, that one of my challenges is having so much art to curate for the 20 pieces. Selecting my best work is hard. However, I'd much rather have the problem of having TOO MUCH artwork to choose from than not enough!
I have a January 1st deadline for the 20 piece art submission into UCONN's Maters of Fine Art program. Once I complete my submission and "hit send", UCONN will contact me in February as to whether I am accepted into the Graduate Program. I pray I get in.
Well, it's time to workout and start my day! Peace

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Life old friend.

It was a splendid evening of drawing in the evening Life Drawing Class at University of Hartford. It's been a long while. I'm definitely alittle rusty, but I thoroughly enjoyed being in the moment. There was nothing on my mind but the model in front of me and the swift moment of my hand as it glided across the page.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Position of strength...

Hmmmmm.... It's two am. I can't sleep. When my mind is busy there's no stopping it. I'm up thinking about my new role at Montessori School of Greater Hartford (MSGH) teaching the teachers through Art Workshops I've created. Then, like before, I go into the classroom and demonstrate art techniques using various mediums. The children gather around asking questions simply observing the process. When the feeling hits them, they begin their own compositions. It's a beautiful process to witness. The hours I spend in the classroom with the children is my anchor.  It allows me to freely create in an environment that is open to free association art production. Teaching is like breathing in this environment.

So why so much unrest?
As usual, without intention, my plate is full. I seek balance for ALL the areas I try to do well in:
*give my best at MSGH.

*practice my sign language.

*learn Spanish.

*consistently read to my children.

*doing creative projects with my own kids.

*help others through sharing my gifts.

*work on the video production ideas I've started. (Hand Over Fist, art tutorials, Year of Silence project, MSGH promotional video, family photos)

*publish my Art Workshops.

*CONSISTENTLY produce personal artwork to show. While gracefully handling the rejection from juried show submissions! (Note to self... STAY GROUNDED! You create for the love of it, NOT to please the masses, or even please that single juror who does not see value in your work. The value is inherent in the process of creation. Write this on your heart and you'll be fine.)...and celebrate successes. 

*And of course, exercise extreme patience in waiting for the verdict on the looming graduate application to UCONN's Art School for a Masters in Fine Art. Every fiber in my being wants to embark on this journey to obtain my MFA. I'm finally ready...but will the judging party think me worthy?

Instead of sleep, I'm going to paint. 
Good night.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The details don't matter...?

That's how it is with life...right? At first glance the instructions seem simple. All that is required is laid out step by simple step. But the real work comes in the small details.  That's what makes it all come to life... the 'small details'. School? A spouse? Children? A house? Career? Love?
Aren't these the choices that make it all come together? 

I think I'm stuck. I'm still trying to figure things out.  I've never arrived or finished the drawing.  I'm still taking the stick figures of my life and embellishing them with small details.
I should be ok. After all, I am an artist. Right?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Applying to UCONN

I have undertaken the rigorous and highly competitive application process for admission into UCONN's graduate program for Fine Arts.  I want to gain entry into the program for the fall semester of 2014. I am working hard on my application. UCONN' s Art School only accepts 5 applicants a year into the program!

I have written my Artist Statement of Purpose for UCONN and would love any constructive criticism. The statement should stand out and should tell the program's admissions committee all I would like to bring out in a personal interview. Include reasons for undertaking graduate work, ultimate plans,  and answer the questions who am I, where I've been and where I'm going in relation to art.

Please click the link below and read my attached statement to give any constructive criticisms.
Thank you for your time. Peace

Artist Statement

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Realizing I still have potential....

Recently I had been hit pretty hard with challenges is a few of my relationships. I can't even say that all the situations are resolved. However, I have entered in a space of resolve. 

I noticed that after the rejection, I pulled back. I went into myself a little. The criticisms I received altered my the point of shutting me down. Not something I'm proud of.

I noticed how I put my writing on hold by only "thinking" about what influences my world. I noticed how I shied away from sharing events in my life that my family and I engage in; something I would do naturally because I love them. I even entered my studio LESS...sacrilege!  I noticed how I actually thought to myself , "few really care about my existence or what I have to offer". (that alone can be immensely damaging)
Simply because I felt the sting of criticism. Really? 
My best friend would say to all that..."#%&@ 'um!" Although humorous to some degree I do not share that sentiment.

We will always find ourselves at the mercy of unjust criticisms. People will always find "what's wrong with me". I will be judged, talked about, told off, shunned, and out right rejected. It's the way of the world.

Luckily, I did not stay in that mindset for long...(long enough though). Long enough to say to myself, "Are you crazy Michelle?!" What you offer is light to the world, kindness, acceptance, love and peace. That does not mean it will be received. You can count on Man to NOT receive your gifts. That does not mean I should emulate Man's behavior or Love Man any less.

Something that helped change my perspective is a book I just finished reading. It's written by a friend of mine from church. The book is entitled, "Redefining Love" by Richard Binns.
The basic premise of the book is how our worldly definition of Love is so skewed that what we sow and reap is equivalent to hatred. We need to re-learn what Love is from a spiritual stand point. I have to say the book is gutsy and "in yo face!". Richard does not hold back in telling how far Man is off the mark. 
"Redefining Love takes an in-depth look at God's love and the amazing response that is expected from those who are called His children." -Richard Binns

I like to be challenged mentally and spiritually. It's where the real battle lies to improve one character. 

As I Gallery sit and gaze upon so much beautiful art on the walls I am reminded that God gives us so many talents to share. Not just the obvious talents of painting, singing, or playing an instrument but talents such as patience, grace, kindness and having a listener's ear. God has endowed me with multiple gifts to share with the world. And share I will.
My true character is refined as I share my gifts in the face of rejection. What really matters is for me to stay consistent in my beliefs and to show Love NO MATTER WHAT! 
I still have potential....

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Embrace the possibilities...

In woman there seems to be this common thread of the ability to multi-task. I am no exception. In many circles I am known to always have a "full plate" if you will. Juggling teaching, family commitments, the kids social calendar, marital duties, spiritual growth, helping friends, social agendas, creating artwork, personal enrichment and the like. Frequently I am told, " You are always busy.".
So as I sit quiet and content in my mother's living room, I can appreciate the calm stillness. My mind contemplates the state it is in and I can say for the first time in a very long time, "I truly do not have a lot on my plate....its practically empty".

It is summer. I do not teach during this rest. Our household has no plans yet for any type of vacation. The kids are in camp all day. Stacy continues his ambitious work schedule. My immediate circle of friends has suffered a reduction leaving my social calendar WIDE OPEN.

However, the one constant that seems to never leave my plate is creating artwork. How refreshing the light fare of a clear mind with paintbrush in hand. The thought of the creative process freely flowing without being crowded brings an electrifying excitement. I begin to embrace the possibilities...

Friday, July 12, 2013

When the rain clears...

This was the view during this mornings run.
No matter what challenges you may face, if you get up to see the sunrise, YOU WILL BE INSPIRED AND MOTIVATED TO DO GOOD! The Universe is

Thursday, July 11, 2013

You asked for it is!

There is nothing more rewarding than to be presented with a challenge and overcoming it! Recently I had three friendships put my integrity through the wringer. Tough conversations were had as well as tears shed. However, ultimately I had to work through these issues in the fashion that truly brings me producing artwork.

One piece in particular visually describes my intimate struggle and I am fortunate to be able to show this piece at the Canton Gallery on the Green. I actually have two pieces represented in this 53rd Anniversary Exhibition.

So for so many who frequently ask me, " When and where can we see your artwork?", here is your opportunity. Please join me at the Opening Reception.

The Canton Gallery on the Green is located in Canton. Please read the invitation for time details.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Whose Afraid of Virgina Wolf?" (1966 black and white movie)

An Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton classic..... "Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolf" is a character study into the crafty lives of a bitter middle-aged married couple. It artfully displays the interplay and 'button-pushing' that borderlines torture the couple engages with one another.  They get so carried away with their liquor induced games of destruction they reel in another unassuming young couple and toy with them psychologically.

The movie exposes the hidden, twisted fantasy verses reality that exists in the private lives of couples. People married for many years know all the in's and out's of their mate and just what to say to reach their most vulnerable places....even to the point of potentially destroying them. However, annihilation of one means certain death for BOTH!

There are many scenes in the movie that are favorites of mine. One of which is when Elizabeth Taylor reaches an epiphany on where they went wrong in their relationship.  She forcefully snaps her fingers and keeps repeating, "It went snap!"
Her passion and drama thrusts through the scene with diabolical force.

I currently feel that same type of eye opening epiphany about life in general. People create mental prison for themselves all the while desiring freedom. Our prisons come in the form of time constraints, schedules and unrealistic expectations. Living free is living in the moment. That is the only real place change and freedom exists.

I love character study type movies that have limited settings and focus more on body language and dialogue of a few cast members to flesh out the core of the movie. Another movie of this type is "Castaway" 2000 with Tom Hanks.
As is "American Buffalo" 1996 with Dustin Hoffman.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Life moves....just not in my belly.

Every Friday is "Pizza and a Movie Night" in our house. The kids live by it! No matter what is going on it's something consistant everyone can count on.  Sitting back watching a movie (usually an animated comedy) and devouring yummy pizza without any attention to calorie counting!

Coming from a busy week and non-stop day AND receiving the sad news today of NOT being pregnant, pizza and a movie sounds  especially great. A chance to sit back and veg....think about nothing but the moving pictures in front of me.....

Bloodwork in a few hours...

What seems early is really my normal studio hours. I get up at about 2am to enjoy the quiet serenity of the art studio. I find it is my most productive time, when the whole house is quiet and asleep.

I just finished working on a piece and getting my lesson together for my students today. However the big event for the morning is the pregnant test. In a few hours at about 6:30am I will meet up with Shelly at UCONN medical to get bloodwork done for the pregnancy test. Typically I will get a call back just after mid-day to let me know if I am actually pregnant and the embryos are growing. Shelly and Kevin are anxiously waiting for the news that they are on their way to having a baby or not.

I'd say I'm excited, but it's in a more reserved way. I naturally don't get too nervous or excited ahead of time. I'm a more in the moment girl! Once I get the news THEN you see an overt response from me.

So for the next couple of hours I'm going to get some rest...and patiently wait. It is completely in God's hands. What will be will be!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I'm still learning...

A quoted segment from the book I'm reading....
"The lessons you are meant to learn are in your work. To see them, you need only look at the work clearly - without judgment, without need or fear, without wishes or hopes. Without emotional expectations. Ask your work what it needs, not what you need. Then set aside your fears and listen, the way a good parent listens to a child."
-Art & Fear

Words that strike a chord inside me. Although I am reading this book because it directly relates to my attitudes towards my art. I see clearly how these words apply to how I can handle myself in my personal relationships as well.

When I re-read this segment with that in mind a truth about those words pierces me!  Without emotional expectation, judgment, need or fear you have to change how you move. Accept more, listen more, learn more.  Something happens when you make the shift from saying what 'you need' opposed to asking what 'they need'. Your focus becomes outward, making room to be filled up thus deminishing any 'need' to begin with.
I can be better.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Music to my ears!

Baby girl, YOU INSPIRE ME!!!

I'm pregnant..... Sort of, kind of!

Yesterday was filled with excitement, hope, anticipation, joy, love and nausea!
It was a big day for Shelly and Kevin! This is the second cycle attempt at getting pregnant. Last year's journey ended with sorrow filled tears. The two embryos placed inside my womb turned into a "blight ovum" - basically an empty embryonic sac miscarried at about 5 weeks. This year we approach the process with cautious optimism.

To all of our amazement, this year's transfer falls on the exact date as last year's - March 4th. Something that typically does not happen. The in-vito process itself can be surreal. It takes much of the mysteries of pregnancy and thrusts them into the foreground. You become intimate with little details that an unassisted pregnancy is not concerned with. For example, having bloodwork drawn every three or so days, I learned very quickly the delicate balance of  Lupron, Estradoil, Progesterone and Estrogen patches have on my body. Hormone levels and timing are everything. I became familiar how 456 Estrogen the day before transfer is a good thing!

This time around - the same as before - Shelly and Kevin have two embryos ready for transfer, both three cells old. So there is a definite possibility of twins. Having a set of beautiful 10 year old twins via the in-vitro process myself, I am mentally, physically and spiritually ready to be a gestational carrier for my step-sister Shelly.
I say that with assurance and then day one of implantation I'm taken down by waves of nausea for the entire day. It was as if someone was wringing out my intestines to dry. I started off eating crackers and drinking ginger ale, but after hours of that and no relief I decided to eat 'normal'. I slowly pulled apart porgies and chomped down collard greens. The real relief came when I slurped down a McDonald's smoothie!

I feel much better today. I'm comfortably propped up in bed for the next two days where I will spend my prescribed bed rest reading, writing and "rithmaticing"! The only thing left to do now is 'patiently' wait 11 days for the first pregnancy test and pray everything works out this time and I carry life to term for the anxious couple. God be with us!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How do you NOT know you're getting braces?!

Some days just take you by suprise.
For me it started on my way to work. It was a cold rainy morning. I'm at the light - daydreaming waiting for the green. I wasn't thinking about anything in particular or anything significant when suddenly I'm rear ended! The car behind me overshot their breaking distance against the slick wet road and bangs into my rear bumper. I instinctively check my rearview mirror to see what's going on. Its just me and the other car on the road.

I get out of my car to check things out. Clearly it was a minor hit with neither car suffering any damage. The adrenaline rush was the most outstanding part of the hit. I walk over to the other car and a woman looking disheveled is apologizing profusely! She has her window rolled down and I touch her hand asking if she is ok. She shakes her head yes. I return a smile to reassure her that everything is alright and tell her to be safe and have a better day.

I go back to my car and wait for the light to change. Now I'm back on my route to work a little shaken and very aware!

That was enough to get my attention however it doesn't stop there. That was just the start. The rest of my day looked more like a chapter in the novel, Lemony Snicket's - A series of Unfortunate Events...
At work I was faced with multiple deadlines and had to unexpectedly drive across town running errands for an upcoming school event.
And then once back in class the paper mache zebra I was making fell apart before my eyes.  The kids were sympathizing over the sick looking animal. I had to just quit and take the thing home for major surgery. (That NEVER happens...frown)

It gets better....
It was lunchtime and I was on my way home to rest and regroup when the alarm on my phone screams its time for my orthodontist appointment. This visit was supposed to be the last of a series of visits to fix a tooth that was falling forward. 

Instead of being signed off with a great smile the doc is very concerned with a troublesome tooth that won't budge and suggest drastic measures.  Some technical garbidy goop talk later my mouth is being pried open. I must have been in a daze cuz the next thing I know there's a wire being afixed to my teeth. I honestly didn't realize I was getting a bonefide set of braces put in my mouth! The doc then rattles off  (almost as an afterthought)  all the foods I can't eat and how now my food needs to be cut into small pieces! That was the only preparation for my new metal mouth!

Who does that...wake up and not know they are getting braces that day?!

I at least got to get the hot pink elastics!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Art & Fear

"Writing is easy:
all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead."
- Gene Fowler

I'm instantly and magnetically drawn to a new book I borrowed from an artist friend of mine.
The book is titled, "Art & Fear - Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of ARTMAKING" by David Bayles & Ted Orland

I'm barely through the first chapter and I'm jumping out of my skin with excitement! There are books that seem to be written JUST FOR ME!  This is one of those books.

The book is about getting artists out of their own way in order to produce art. Its about learning how to tear down any barriers that prohibit creativity. Its about finding yourself as an artist in the face of rejection, "...finding nourishment within the work itself.". It is about Art & Fear.

I'm giddy with excitement!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saying what people WANT to hear.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that in this phase of my life folks are still able to pull the wool over my eyes.  I've managed to maintain some of my gullible innocence of my youth. Sometimes to my detriment.  I tend to lead a fairly open life (what I choose to show).  What you see is what you get with me, trying to choose my words carefully to mean what I say. My openness however does not mean the people I deal with are going to play with their cards facing up too.  In some cases I have been bamboozled!

I'm slowly learning that true integrity is a hard characteristic to come by. People tend to play word games to protect themselves from potential confrontation. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say leaves you exposed.  There is nothing to figure out. Truth is laid bear for all to just deal with. That's no fun.  Its as if we like a little mystery in our interactions no matter how great or small.  It is my contention that an honest response is the best response. No matter how raw and honest the truth is, you're able to deal with it.  There is something real about the statement, "the truth shall set you free."  It really does. After the truth is revealed all that is left to do is accept it and move forward. You can try to fight it all day but in the end you can't dispute it. You can't change it . You can't take it away. Conflict comes when you try to resist truth. You will never win. Truth is so real and final it stands alone and doesn't need your approval.  It is so final that it actually frees you from anything binding you to it, so you can just accept it and move forward. Then only thing more final than truth is death.

However being human we think we can outsmart truth, bend it, hide it, turn it, twist it to suit our needs. We think we are so clever because we have picked up the tactic of saying what we think the person wants to hear so we get what we want. Little white lies they're called. On a small scale, we cause harm by saying things like, "It'll only take 20 minutes." knowing full well the duration could be well over an hour. In the end this leaves the person frustrated and may trust you a little less.  However, you may not get what you want if you go right in saying, "This may take over an hour."  You could run the risk of the person choosing to change the course leaving you in the inferior position. We like all costs.  We want to keep them in control with our watered down truth, to keep them from moving in unpredictable ways. So saying something slippery seems solid. (say that three times
Now on a larger and more harmful scale proclaiming, "You are the love of my life." to two separate people on two separate occasions is really exercising our ability to cleverly control lives. Is there truth in the statement? Sure...for the moment they are saying it. However the person on the receiving end assumes its all about them.  Keeping things at bay seems to get us what we want.  I'm sure you can imagine how unpredictable someone would move once finding out that truth. The white lie here seems to keep things calm and smooth and predictable. However let the floodgates of that one get out and its tsunami city!

In both cases the person is being told what they want to hear and the person delivering the message knows it! The flaw is that although that may be desirable for the person to hear, what they really need and want is the truth. Let's give people the real options to respond to our truths, no matter how challenging the truth may seem. Morphing truth will always come back against us no matter how big or small. Living by integrity is a hard choice unless we really believe in the benefits and freedom of truth. You live free when you accept truth and move forward.

I'm actively trying to adopt the words of my best friend,  "Accept what you are given and resist nothing".

Monday, February 18, 2013

Milestone - (in vitro 2nd cycle)

Things are moving along quickly this cycle.
I've been on Lupron for just about a month. Trying to track my body's response to the medication is tricky. Initially I did not feel any different. This week however, I had some symptoms I'm not sure if they were caused by the medication.

I had my baseline ultrasound and bloodwork on Wednesday, Feb. 13. My lining was a perfect 3mm thick and blood levels right where they need to be. So right now the plan projects embryo transfer on March 4. There are two multicelled embryos ready to thaw and implant. We will implant both embryos.

Ok...February 1 - 12  I was on 10 units of Lupron. Throughout that time I did not feel any affects of the medication.
February 13 I dropped down to 5 units of Lupron. Still normal.
February 14 I continued with the 5 units of Lupron. My movement at school was typical, however, I developed a slight headache in the morning and by 2pm it turned into a full blown migraine. I ended up going to bed by 4 pm until the next morning.
February 15 I added 1 estrogen patch along with the Lupron. My head was pounding in the morning but had subsided to a normal headache by the afternoon.
February 17 I put on a fresh estrogen patch and continue with the Lupron. My headache never went away but its only slight. Nothing to stop me from my everyday tasks.

I'm excited about this cycle and a little anxious. I have a list of things to accomplish before March 4th. Typically I will be on bed rest for about three days after the transfer so I want to make sure things are in order at home and school before then.  Plus I want to respect Shelly's feelings. She definitely wants me to do the least amount during this pregnancy. That can be a challenge for me as I am used to having multiple projects going on at the same time. Time to s-l-o-w down.
That's why I'm making a mad dash until March 4th!!! Smile

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

You are what you eat...and think.

What motivates our dietary choices?

Let's say for the last 5 years your doctors visits have reaped the same result: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, over weight, diabetes and lets throw in asthma!

Sounds like alot right? But is it ENOUGH to have you change your lifestyle? If you really like chocolate cake, what's gonna stop you from eating it? Who's thinking, that one piece of chocolate cake is really all that harmful? We have selective memory. We don't think about how many "one" pieces of chocolate cake we've had over the years over the amount of carrot sticks!

It seems to me that unless a life threatening EVENT occurs, all the warming signs in the form of numeric physiological tracking does nothing for a person....just as the term "numeric physiological tracking" does nothing to get us closer to really understanding the problem. Who understands all those bloodwork numbers anyway...other than the doctors themselves?

So lets throw in the mix another term to help confuse things even more.  What about the bioenvironmental factors (those little external forces)? Lets say as a child your parents were really good parents and to show their sweet affection for you they would bake your favorite dessert....chocolate cake. Seems harmless enough, right? Chocolate cake now is no longer just a yummy treat. It represents all the love and affection of your youth! Every yummy bite is jammed packed with sweet memories. A constant reminder that you are special and you are loved.  And you are special....every clogged artery, labored breathing, imbalanced sugar insulin ratio, and fat cell in your body is special.
How do we "put the fork down"?!

Why wait until things get so bad they land us in the ER? We suffer...our loved ones suffer. Somewhere a shift in thinking is necessary. Its not only our life that is affected. Taking care of ourselves and eating healthy is a consideration not only for us but for the ones we care about the most.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A wise person once said....

Sometimes people say things to you or about you that you don't like. If it is from someone you love and admire, the words can cut deeper than a two edge sword, crippling you.  The real challenge is getting to the truth...the heart of the matter.

There is a grain of truth in even the most gruesome of lies. Its hard to see that truth if your vision is blocked by emotion.

I recently was told I lack perspective, unable to control my emotions, insecure, abusive, unstable, unappreciative, just taking and wanting more and more and more. From this angle I am hideous and unworthy of any kind of friendship or grace. That type of wordplay could cause someone to ponder, "What drawer did I put the razor blades?".
What someone sees in you as the core of who you are is a reflection of your actions they witness and judge. It is not the whole picture. It is a side of the truth. Whatever incidents lead to that opinion it is best to keep the incidents isolated. Sweeping Generalizations are damaging. Taking the depth of a person and reducing them to a harsh word is meant to destroy.

I am all those things at different times. Its not who I am as a whole. It is not the core of my existence. However, to hear it in the context of ---that is who I the point where dread befalls the person in hearing from me...the lines of truth can get blurred if my lense is clouded by emotion.

So back to the heart of the matter...the truth. For my own sanity and health I need to be better in all those areas. Even if to stay consistent and be above reproach. To learn and grow. To have what I believe reflected in my actions. Watch my life and doctrine closely. And continue to openly look at myself honestly even in the light of the most horrible of opinions. An ample amount of humility is always good to have around too!

I'm learning that 'perspective' drives opinion. Its where the person sits that guides their words. However, angles are askew.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Who left the ironing board out?

Have you ever been over someones house and it looks like a tornado just flew through? And we're not talking about a mess that is made from general living and the person just hasn't gotten around to doing the chores. This mess I'm speaking of could easily be highlighted on the next episode of  "Hoarders"! Things everywhere...bulging boxes stacked atop one another; bags full of 'needful' things strewn about; mountains of clothes pile high creating an obstacle course the envy of even a Tough Mudder competition. Every conceivable surface has something on it. Standing still is your best option because the thought of navigation breaks you out in a cold sweat.

Now the chaos is not isolated to things. There could be a gang of unkempt kids tussling about oblivious to their third world conditions. They are busy screaming about who touched who as if personal space is a holy sanctum. Let's throw in a few pets for good measure creating the look of the food chain: a couple mange dogs fighting over a sock, a fat cat lounging on top of the fridge, an unknown number of hamsters in a habitat that looks and smells like a trash heap, a lone goldfish in a bowl where the water has evaporated so much he can barely swim about, and who could do without some sort of reptile? An iguana, tucked away in a corner with a heat lamp warming his sanctuary protected from the clutter by a thin layer of glass. (I think a bird would be over the top...don't you?)

Then there is the noise! Why is the TV and Pandora blaring? Sounds are rising and falling in fierce competition so that the alpha can be heard. Suddenly above everything, the head of the house, clearly the one responsible for establishing this environment yells out in an authoritarian query of control,

This applies to how some people think and react in confrontation. Avoiding the obvious. Instead zeroing in on a fatal flaw of yours. A passage from the bible describes it well.
Matthew 7:3-5
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Let us be mindful to keep our own affairs in order before we are quick to point out another person's shortcomings. Then we will have the clarity to help one another.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Under construction...

Sometimes we just have to get ourselves together. It's well worth it to slow down; pamper yourself; get your hair and nails done; nip and tuck if you have to! Smile

What you say matters...

Words whispered in an ear can take down the toughest of giants.

"You over think" "You're crazy" "You're bringing that on yourself" "That's all in your head" "You're the problem" "You don't know what you're talking about" "you're exhausting"

Do people really know the power in words?
You can build up or tear down.
I'm waging war against negative verbiage! I know I don't like to be deflated with destructive words. So in the like way I do not need to use language negatively towards others.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world"-Gandhi
That is my charge.
This sign was posted in one of the classrooms at school and really moved me!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Know who you're dealing with..."

The age old dilemma of relationships. The reason Shakespeare and the bible are timeless. There is nothing new under the sun.
"People stuff" I call it. The ebb and flow of human interaction. I may rely on intuition where my counterpart relies on logic. Where is the common ground? There is so much that is not said and expected to be understood and then there are times things are said and no understanding can be reached. We are a troublesome lot.

I'm probably putting all my eggs in one basket here....but I heavily rely on my best friend for mental comfort. However not being the emotional type their response is more of distance and lack of interest for all things charged emotionally. So I'm left misunderstood and frustrated. I'm supposed to know they are not emotional and they are supposed to know I am emotional....yeah, good luck with that one.

Today was a challenge. Nothing too hard....just a bit of a reality check. I had my first of many doctors visits to begin the process of the embryo transfer for my step-sister. Although I am ready physically, mentally, and spiritually....and excited to offer myself in this way, I had to take a moment to digest the upcoming calender. Having gone through this before there is definitely a certain understanding of how the process will go.  But when I looked at the calender of medications I am to start taking, I was instantly flooded with memories of painful injections and hormonal mood swings!

My life will now be in the hands of a team of doctors mapping out my every move. Coupled with my step-sister there every step of the way rising and falling to the occasion of every appointment.  Yes, I was hit with the reality of things being well under way. So whatever I needed to do to be ready...had to be done already!
Like I said, I just needed to take a moment....and here it is.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Early morning...can't sleep. The first place to gravitate when this happens is the art studio. 

There has been a recent surge of creative energy pulsating throughout the studio. Projects that had been lovingly started and quietly abandoned are now receiving the TLC they desperately deserve. Many projects have already been finished, delivered and checked off their prospective lists. The current group of art being worked on brings me JOY! I wanted to get to it long ago but my crazy OCD mind works in specific ways....
I needed to visually finish some of the smaller projects and commissions. Pieces of work that were not as personal in nature but more for the client. Clear out the clutter visually and in my head so the flow of creativity can freely channel through me during these more demanding pieces.

I'm EXCITED! My current work embodies the combination of different mediums and concepts. A long time I had yearned to produce work that took into account the many facets of my creative interests. Rich layers of ideas flow over the canvas melding with materials effortlessly executed. There is realism, abstraction, fantasy mixed with paints, paper, cloth, 3 dimensional elements and anything within my grasp that fits to get the point across all living harmoniously on one surface. Finally a place of creation that mirrors the plethora of options that swirl inside of me. Just as the play on canvas consists of multiple layers emerging and hiding, bold  in some places yet subtle in others, full of energy and life so is my own personality represented. I feel confident this current body of work displays closely where I am as an artist. There is depth. It is well worth further investigation....I shall learn more about myself and others in the process.

Art is life...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013...the year is almost over!

It is day 15 of the first month of the year 2013. Already so much is swarming around in my head, it feels like there is not enough time in the year to accomplish it all. Silly coming from a person who proclaims LOUDLY, "Time and Space are relative!". My strength is in the moment. So when I begin entering the realm of future thought I instantly get overwhelmed. My freedom is nabbed right under my nose. Time to move within my position of strength.

It IS possible to live in the moment AND plan my future without losing my free spirit in the process. So here goes... The following is a list of adventures I will undertake in 2013.

January: Begin the exciting journey of becoming a surrogate for my step-sister. Currently she has two frozen embryos waiting to enter my womb.  

January til December: Apply to UCONN for graduate school. Proposed entry September 2014. Need: Application, Artist Statement, transcripts, standardized graduate test, financial application and portfolio review.  

March: Heart of Montessori art show (first ever). Showing student art work since September 2012 from the classes I taught.

May: MSGH (Montessori School of Greater Hartford) Gala video - produce and edit, Donation of artwork I created and a donation of three free art lessons to auction off at the Gala .

Saturdays: Teach private lessons for students at Artpeace Studio.  

Dream/Goal for the year: Personal art show at a local gallery.  

Upgrade Artpeace Studio: Revamp website, updated business cards, organize digital files, network digital files, update resume, and gain remote access to digital archive (examples of artwork)

At first glance the list for 2013 appears overwhelming, however as I live in the moment, when real change  happens, it becomes clear I am already equipped with everything needed to accomplish my goals.