Category Archives: dad

Wake Up Call!

The past couple of weeks have been quite a doosy! (sp?) During the last week of March, on Tuesday/Wednesday I started having heart palpitations that really freaked me out! I have had them before, but usually just once in a great long while. Last week they started and didn’t let up. I had a bit of stress on Thursday and started having chest pains. Even more freaked out, I told my husband who immediately took me to the emergency room. Because we don’t have health insurance, we have to go to the local University hospital. This is an awful place to go to the ER! I figured with chest pains I would get back to see a Doctor right away, WRONG! It was over 12 hours before I was finally lead back to a bed at 4am in the morning. They ran every test possible and apparently my heart is healthy, thank God, but they still couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.

Now, for those of you who don’t know it, my dad died almost 4 years ago of a heart attack. He was only 64 years old. His first heart attack hit when he was 59. So, needless to say, I was a bit shaken. Perhaps I have always had a fear that this would happen to me, perhaps I caused it with my worry. Or perhaps I have inherited my father’s heart issues. We still don’t know. I go back tomorrow to get a mobile heart monitor which I will wear for 2 weeks. After that I will go back for another echo cardiogram stress test. Update: I now have my heart monitor and will be wearing it for 4 weeks, not two.

This scare was my wake up call. I have always been pretty healthy, last time my cholesterol was checked it was 93 for crying out loud! Of course that was 5 years ago and I have since turned 40. After my gall bladder surgery 2 years ago, we stopped eating so much meat, in fact, we usually eat vegetarian and recently switched to organic fruits and veggies. I have slacked off on my exercise routine lately and we have been doing a bit more social drinking than usual. However, as of that visit to the ER, I am back to my regular exercise schedule and eating right. The Dr. also suggested meditation which I have tried to do regularly, but now I’m back to everyday with that as well. Working on staying stress free as it seems stress makes it worse. Now that I’m wearing the heart monitor in my everyday life, it’s interesting to see how often my heart rate goes up.

Once again, I have been reminded of the brevity of this life. My sense of urgency has been renewed and I am working on getting back on track with certain goals I made for my art. Recently, I have slacked on those goals and let everything slide. NO MORE! It’s time to live my life to it’s absolute fullest!

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If they could see me now…

Today is one of those days. Actually, it’s been one of those days for the past month. 2012 started out full of energy and positive outlooks, but by the middle of January, I fell into the deep pit of lethargy and self pity. I am pretty good at faking it, my outer demeanor is usually pretty happy. Unless you live with me. Then you know the real me. The insecure, scared, never lives up to her own expectations, hypocritical me.

I have been thinking about writing a blog about this for weeks. Knowing that if I could just get this dark side of myself out in the open and expose her weaknesses then maybe, just maybe, I could get past this “phase” of the moon (or sun or whatever universal force is weighing me down). I don’t like to be this way, I feel like I’ve gone back into the body of that teenage mom I once was, the one who had no self confidence and hid out in her living room watching TV all day and night because her life was such a mess. That teenage mom who could totally relate to the Jerry Springer show and even contemplated going on the show at one point! I KNOW I’m not that person anymore, but every once in a long while, she comes back to haunt me. WHY?

These are the days I wish THOSE people could get a peak into my life. You know THOSE people, the ones who go on and on about how lucky I am to be living my dream, spending my days painting and creating and BEING and ARTIST. They always say it like it’s all fun and games, like I have some rich husband (for those who don’t know, I’m married to a musician!) who pays for everything and I never have to worry about ANYTHING. Well folks, newsflash, it’s not all fun and games and I spend more time worrying and beating myself up than I do painting. In fact, I spend a LOT of my time painting AND beating myself up. At the same time! That’s the real reason why most of my paintings are so upbeat and happy….I’m trying to convince MYSELF! It’s the cheapest form of therapy I know!

To be fair, that isn’t always the case, I am happy more than I’m not, I’m just exaggerating because it’s been this way for a month and it feels like forever! I used to feel like this a LOT more than I have in the past four years. Strangely enough, it was the death of my dad that made me a more happy person. Sure, I grieved for years, but his death made me appreciate everything more. It reminded me how short life is and how we only get this one chance in our lives to DO something.

The issue now is, I feel like I’m slipping back in to the old me and I don’t know how to stop it. Painting gives me a temporary reprieve but unfortunately, I cannot spend 24 hours a day painting. I don’t know, now I just feel like I’m whining. My mom would tell me I’m depressed and it runs in the family and I should just admit to the fact that I can’t escape it. FOOEY! I don’t believe that!

See….just writing this post has already made me feel better. Looking at myself from the outside in reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for AND that I am merely human. GASP! I admitted it! I am merely human. 🙂

Following Your Dreams! (my story)

“Follow your heart

where ever it takes you

and be happy

Life is brief and very fragile

and only loaned to us for a while

Wake up every morning

with the thought

that something wonderful

is about to happen!

~ author unknown

I have my parents and grandparents to thank for always encouraging me to follow my dreams. I knew I wanted to be an artist from the age of 13. Though they asked once or twice, “how are you going to support yourself”, they never doubted that I could or WOULD do it! Now I realize, not everyone is that blessed! I also had plenty of other people (step father, in laws, friends, teachers) telling me I was crazy to go for a career as an artist.”Why not just wait until you retire to pursue your art?” “You can always do your art as a hobby”, “you should have something to fall back on” etc etc. Every time I heard something like this it just drove me more, motivated me to “prove them all wrong”. That’s me, always been a bit hard headed, stubborn, ready to take on a dare!

I have always felt an inner drive to be an artist, like it was something within me that I could not deny. No matter how hard I tried to “grow up” and do all the things people told me I “should”. Like “get a real job”, or “go to college for something practical”. As I got older I learned some valuable lessons on listening to others instead of following my heart. My heart knew all along what I was “supposed” to be doing.

After going to college so I could “have a career” as a Computer Aided Drafter, I worked in the field for almost 3 years. Though I had a great salary, benefits and a regular business work schedule, I was completely miserable! I had nightmares almost nightly about dying, being chased and shot down, falling off cliffs, etc. I had all but given up my art after spending five years selling my prints all over the world. I finally checked out a book on dreams and interpreted my dreams as a sign that I was killing my soul, I was on the wrong path, I wasn’t living my dreams in my waking life, so I was dying in my sleep every night. That was when I decided I needed to get back to my purpose in life, back to following my dreams! I walked out of my job one day and never went back, literally! I just told my boss I wasn’t feeling well and left! I later sent him an email telling him I wouldn’t be coming back. He was very understanding and told me that my job would be there if I ever wanted to come back. That was over 11 years ago!

After my dad passed away in April 2008, I started reading books on spirituality, the law of attraction, love, awareness, etc. I have discovered since then, for me anyway, life is all about following dreams, following your heart and living life on purpose. God/Universe/Divine, whatever you call your higher power, gave me these gifts to SHARE! My purpose is to use the gifts I was given, they were given for a reason. What better way to show gratitude for those gifts?

I truly believe EVERYONE has a purpose! Everyone has a reason for living, a gift to share! The pure joy of this thought is the fact that we all have different purposes, we all have different dreams, like no two people are alike, no two dreams are alike. Your inner self KNOWS your purpose all you have to do is LISTEN! I would like to be one of the people who encourages you to “Follow your dreams”! If I can do it, anyone can!

“The only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams is you” ~ Tom Bradley

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” ~Gail Devers

Gallinas Canyon

The whole gang, left to right, back row first, my sons Nate and Jeff, Aaron and I, oldest son, Bryan and front row, brother Travis, his wife, Charlene and family friend.

Once again it’s been too long since my last post. So much going on! I’m finally back in the studio at work after two weeks of home improvement projects and a wonderful camping trip.
July 30th thru August 1st we went on a camping trip to the Gila Wilderness with a specific purpose in mind. Along for the trip were my husband, Aaron, three sons, my brother, his wife and a good friend of the family. Gallinas Canyon is a place we know well. My dad took us there many times as kids and then as teenagers. This was also the last spot we camped with my dad during the summer of 2005. Camping has always been a favorite past time in my family. This time we were there to set my dad free, to spread his ashes in his final resting place.

One of the last times I saw my dad we discussed what would happen after he passed away. We discussed where he would want his ashes spread. Of course he told me he didn’t care, he won’t be here so it doesn’t matter to him. When I mentioned the canyon to him, he agreed it was a good choice.

Wednesday the 30th we arrived at our camp site and set up camp. The weather was beautiful, the creek was running with lots of water and we found a perfect campsite at the end of the road. We spent the first night around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and playing music. My brother improvised a marshmallow song that was too funny! My dad always loved listening to Aaron and Travis playing guitars around the campfire.

The next day, after eating a yummy camp breakfast of Chorizo and egg burritos, we set off on a hike down the canyon to find the perfect spot. We had to cross the creek several times and in several places the water was up to our knees. The water was cold but refreshing. Our old 21 year old dog, Rusty, decided to follow us on the hike and had to be carried across most of the crossings. The canyon narrowed more and more as we continued down. At one spot we had to climb up the canyon hillside to get across a waterfall section.

We finally found a huge rock sitting in the middle of the creek with a small waterfall beside it and decided it was the perfect place. Just before we took out the box containing dad’s remains, a Monarch butterfly flew by us and hovered over the waterfall as if to confirm “this is the place”. My brother and I took dad’s ashes out and together we emptied them over the waterfall and into the rapid water below. 
No one really had anything to say, it was a melancholy moment and we spent some quiet time giving each other hugs and saying goodbye to dad.


On the way down the canyon we had passed a spot with a swimming hole and small cave area. This is where we went back to enjoy a dip in the cool creek water and take a break before we hiked back to camp. We found a tree there and left a small memorial to dad. My brother had brought some teaching pins of my dad’s and we carved his dates into the tree below them.
It was such a wonderful feeling of closure once we returned to camp. We had now laid dad to rest in a beautiful place and it felt as if he was there with us. 
Dad would have truly enjoyed the second night of camping! Sometime in the evening a big, dark cloud drifted in and settled over our camp. At some point my sister in law and I decided that it was time to get ready for the rain, and just in time! We got everything put away and the rainfly on the largest tent fixed just before it started to pour! It was one of those crazy New Mexico monsoon rains that went on for about a half hour and in no time there was water running through the camp and directly UNDER the tent we had taken shelter in. The best part was all the loud thunder and lightning. Dad loved thunderstorms.
Anyway, to make a long story short, we made it through the rainstorm, although everything was damp. The next morning we packed up camp and had to find someone to give us a jump start as the batteries on BOTH vehicles died. We made it home in one piece and since the trip I haven’t felt sad about losing my dad. I just think about the awesome place we laid him to rest and how much he would have enjoyed the camping trip.

Speechless


People who know me well may find it hard to believe I could ever be speechless, but it’s true, I’ve had a down month and I tend to shut myself off from the outside world when I’m down. It’s been a while since I posted a blog and I figured it was about time.

I’ve had dad on my mind a lot this month. I think the shock is just wearing off. 
It’s not getting any easier, in fact, it seems to be getting harder. I’ve tried to move on and get back to my regular routine, but whenever something reminds me of dad, which is a LOT, I get all choked up and feel the pain all over again.
I like to paint happy, cheerful, colorful images. I like to be a positive person, happy and grateful. It’s hard to paint and think like that when I’ve never felt so sad. I hate to whine, and that is the main reason I haven’t blogged recently. I don’t want to sound like I’m whining. 
People tell me it takes at least a year to get past the grief. I guess I should be kinder to myself. I wonder if I’ll ever get past the grief.
I have gone back and forth about posting this blog, too personal and all that, but I needed to get it out.
Above is a progress photo of the painting I’m currently working on. It is a 48 inch square canvas. I still have a ways to go on this one!

I grieve

This is a great song! Thanks to Sus for reminding me of it! I first heard it on the City of Angels soundtrack, which btw, is one of my favorite movies of all time. Check out the video at the link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O18A4RugiMs&eurl=http://www.last.fm/music/Peter+Gabriel/+videos/+1-O18A4RugiMs