change of seasons

the seasons of change are in full swing at the beach home. the air is crisp and during my morning walk with the pups my feet were cold. it is time to start thinking about socks - yuck! I am trying to soak up the last few days of warmth. the summer went by in a flash and was filled with so much change. I guess I foolishly believed that once we were "settled" that things would start to slow down and we would fall into a new routine. ah, but life has a way of keeping you on your toes and challenging you at every turn, turn, turn.

I started the day off slow. I've been rushing around far too much. some days I feel like a robot. I go through the motions and when I finally get that tiny bit of time I quickly fill it up. what was it like to have those moments of calm, quiet and thought? so this morning I chose to give it to myself. ease slowly into the day. no rush. everything will still be there when I get there, when I get to it, when I fix it. a hot bowl of oatmeal, fresh air and the beautiful colour filled sky are mine to savour before I need to put myself together and face the day.

I shared last night with a group of creatives. it was wonderful to sit and brain storm. to hug and laugh. to eat good food at a snails pace if you wish. I felt the little flutter in my belly. that fire that has been burning low. the warmth starting to get me going. was this just what I needed to get into the studio and start playing again? I am holding it close to my heart and although there is a part of me that wants to plan for time and gather supplies and start sketching ideas there is the other part of me that says "let it go". it will come. it will happen.

how do we release into it? how do we let go of the control we SO seem to WANT? how do we accept that it will happen? - IT WILL!

I am having the same thoughts and feelings for my mom. after an exhausting weekend of trying to get her to eat and drink and her not sleeping and watching my dad fall apart in front of my eyes it was decided to take her back to the hospital. she is now awaiting placement in long term care.

as I write that last sentence tears come to my eyes. what will become of our family? will the changes be good. I have to believe that we have made the right decision although it all seems so final.

I have no idea what is to come. I am asking as many questions as possible. I am being patient with mom's repeated requests of water and ice. I scoop up the thick juice and ask her to please take it. I don't know how much of it she understands. a maze of doctors, nurses and therapists with questions, concerns and care plans. I feel this responsibility to take care of her, protect her, fight for her. were these same feelings present in her when I was a child? I struggle to let go and let it happen.

I look into the mirror and remind myself that I need to take care of me too. I need to protect myself and fight for myself. it is like stepping into a new role. so many changes and while in the centre of this whirlwind I am grateful for these quiet moments where the only thing that is changing is my foot position on the stool.

might as well be mayonnaise in a tube...

after all these years of trying diet after diet to reduce my junk in the trunk I think I finally found THE DIET to end all diets. I'm pretty sure I nailed it and I look forward to seeing you all at the book signing.

ok, let's get serious here shall we? get your pencils out and take some notes! first you have your mother sent home from the hospital against your will. she is put on a "thick" diet which means everything she eats needs to have a pudding like consistency to it. second you team that up with a fragile father (got one of those?). third you tie it all up in a bow and voila you have three very unhappy italians.

the first italian being the mama who could eat an elephant under the table. this woman has always had a roaring appetite, lick the plate clean syndrome and no leftovers policy. she adds mayonnaise to everything! green beans, eggs, potatoes, and has a funny story of craving it when she was pregnant with me. of course she has nothing to show for it! she has never had a weight problem and was quick to point that out to me on several occasions (refer back to the first sentence). now she can only have minced mountains of food and thick liquids. yup! water, coffee and tea all need to be thickened.

second italian being my father who was convinced that he could take her home and do it all! he loves this woman to pieces and the mere thought of dropping her off at a nursing home shames him. he is not that savvy in the kitchen. he likes kinchucky (his words not mine) fried chicken and caesars pizza as a quick meal. for breakfast he stands at the kitchen sink with knife in hand cutting bread, salami and cheese and having a few quick bites before she beckons for him. late last night he admitted that he could not do this anymore. hallelujah!

third italian being me. I agreed with the doctors and wanted her relocated, but my parents declined. it is what it is and we need to get through this. I am a vegetarian and the sight, smell, touch and taste of meat makes my stomach twirl. come to think of it many things make my stomach twirl. heavy perfume, dog puke and changing a babies diapers to name a few.

and so I depart this morning with starbucks and vita mix in hand determined to make my parents life easier. what in the hell was I thinking? we started off with rice a roni - the san francisco treat! it was in the cupboard and seemed like something that would have some taste to it. pair that with some lovely pureed green beans and I was still holding down the chai. then the canned salmon was opened and ooohh little throw up in my mouth. then the ragu with pasta. still okay, but then the chicken was cooking in the pan and the salmon was sitting on the counter and the green beans looked like something that came out of my dogs butt the other day and the rice a roni was cooling. too many smells! dad dug into the pasta. good thing cause he probably skipped his kitchen sink breakfast this morning. mom was up and starving for food and attention so I served her up some salmon, rice a roni and green beans. looked good enough? then she yelled for water. I mixed her up some thick water. she said we were trying to kill her. she told us the doctors were crazy. I started spoon feeding her to get some of it into her and because it also had her meds crushed up in in it. she yelled "vaffanculo". do I need to translate? my mother sat there and had the balls to tell me to fuck off.

I was done. I went outside and took a few breaths and then I started laughing. I had to keep it together cause I know that inside my father was trying his best to calm her down and explain to her that we are not trying to kill her. yay for me that I can add that to the memories of my mother. I knew that someday soon it was coming, but I never thought she would actually say it to my face. so I go back inside and tell her that this is what the doctors ordered. she can have thick water or she can have nothing. she started with the hand wave and you guys are all crazy and I just want a sip of water for christ's sake! broke my heart. we gave her about a tablespoon in a glass and told her to savour it cause that's all she was getting. and so the stomach turns...

I should have offered her some mayonnaise. it does have a pudding like consistency to it!

letters to my loved ones...

dear sparky,

I remember the day you came into our lives. you came from someone who no longer wanted you and we welcomed that cute face into our family. since then you have been quite the character. you have never failed to amuse us with your unique personality. you are now 14 years old and I understand that your kidneys are failing and you have cushings disease. I feel awful that I have to drag you outside to do your thing when all you want to do is eat and sleep. I hate to ask but am wondering if you could perhaps be patient with me and give me a nudge when you need to go outside. sometimes I miss the signs and then I end up yelling at you. I'm sorry for that and I will try to be a bit more on the ball.

dear joey,

the day I found the ad on the internet and wondered about this faceless puppy who somebody abandoned. I had to meet you and as you ran into my arms I knew it was meant to be. you are loved for being so cute it's disgusting and your puppy kisses always make me feel loved. thank you for being a snuggler and for sticking close to my side. thank you for waiting patiently for sparky as we take one more walk around the block for him to find the perfect spot. you love everybody and you are always happy. please never change.

dear mom,

who would have thought that you would end up with a rare disease. one that there is little information about and no treatment. you always took care of everyone. you always helped out whenever someone needed something. please forgive me for not being able to take care of you as I should. I feel awful for not moving in and running the house as you once did. I can't. I won't and I need that to be okay. please see that dad is doing the best he can. he is doing things I never thought I would see him do. he is an amazing man and he deserves to be taken care of too. please love us no matter what.

dear dad,

how do you do it? why do you do it? you have nothing to prove. you are amazing just as you are and always were and will be. there is no need to break yourself down in order to prove your love. you can let go and it will be okay. no one will love you less or think that you are weak. please I'm begging you, you need to take care of yourself. you deserve to live while you live. I love you and will never meet a man who loves as deeply as you do.

dear family,

I'm sorry for not being the happy go lucky spirit that you wish for me. I have no idea how to juggle all these balls. I appreciate all your love and support. I only wish that I too give you the same. I know that sometimes all I want is for you to listen and all you want is to fix things. some things cannot be fixed. some things can not go away. the reality is that I have things that I need to take care of and I am unable to do so without the occasional breakdown. thank you for being there to love me despite all of this. thank you for holding me and being silent. sometimes all I need is a hug. you may never know how much I love you - forever, no matter what and MORE.

dear friends,

I so wish I could find the words to express how much it means to me to pick up the phone and have you take care of it for me. no questions, no judgement - done. thank you for the texts that happen at just the right moment when I needed a reminder that I am worthy and I can do anything! thank you for the e-mails that remind me to take care of myself first. thank you for the laughter and for listening to me time and time again as I have yet another pity party. thank you for the hugs, the love and the surprises in the mailbox. nothing is better than a getting a gift when it's not even your birthday! you are a treasure in my life!

dear universe,

"Stunning rebounds, life altering transformations, and miracles of every shape and size, all follow a fairly simple 2-step formula. First, there must be a connection made in the unseen. Second, there must be a leap in the physical."

what does this mean? this unseen connection? what's that? a leap in the physical? are you serious? will my body jump up and ram into something thus connecting? please dear universe the last thing I need right now is flying through the windshield and connecting with a tree. life altering transformations? wtf?


yours truly,


thank you tuesday...

Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around The World from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

this song brought me to tears today. back from a visit with mom. she is back in the hospital. she fell again and hit her head and now they are trying to get the inflammation down and take care of the pain. tests and more tests. change of meds.

I go and visit her everyday. I think if I miss a day and something happens I would feel awful. she is so confused right now that she doesn't remember who visits her. then she will have a memory and it is like she is back. I am not sure if it is the fall that caused this recent confusion or if her dementia is setting in. I do know that I am scared. I just want to make it all better for her. I bring her flowers to brighten her room. she always said fresh flowers are a waste of money - they die. I brought her a piece of black forest cake - one of her favourites. she couldn't see it. she took her spoon down to the cake and missed it completely. I wanted to cry right then and there. I wanted to yell at her - MOM!!!! the cake is right in front of you. stop this! get it together! come back! I don't think I could bear going to visit her and her not know who I am. to have her reach out for me and not know me? so much of her is gone. studies say she may also lose her speech, her sight and her ability to swallow. I spoon fed her the cake. I swallowed hard as I choked back the tears. it kills me to see her slowly fade away...

I have no idea what the future holds for her, for us, for anyone, but today I am thankful. I am thankful that she is still here. I am thankful that my dad is getting a break. I am thankful for my amazing husband who is trying so hard to take some of my stress away. I am thankful for my wonderful son who with his hugs, his smile and his beautiful music makes me want to be here. I am thankful for all my family and friends who each in their own special way know just what to say and do. it is a hard day, but it will not be my last day. I am not alone with all of these people standing by me...

and we're back!

a summary of our adventures over the summer...

we packed up our lives and crammed it all into a box. it was hard to believe that all we owned fit in there. we let go of so much old, unused and unsuitable items. I remember thinking that at the end of the day it is just "stuff". we are not defined by what we own. let it go...
we moved in with my parents for two weeks which was both a blessing and a curse. a blessing because we have two dogs and we were able to make ourselves comfortable and help dad out with taking care of mom. a curse because after we left they were heartbroken and I felt pulled into all different directions.
on to our next adventure at what we like to call our "beach home". we have been dreaming about living in a condo for a long time. for over two years we searched, planned and waited and finally our dream came true. we are working on settling in, making it our own and still dealing with touch ups, fix ups and heat! goodness it gets hot in this place!
we headed out of town to celebrate the union of these three. every time I look at this picture I am reminded of our own wedding. walking hand in hand with dan in our arms.
we had adorable visitors stay with us.
we took a plane to reunite with family who I haven't seen in over 20 years. we shared stories, laughter and tears. similar to my italy trip last year I couldn't believe we were together again and loved spending time with them. we met new family, new friends and celebrated another wedding. my heart is full and grateful for each and every one of them.

so if you are in california and you have a friend whom you only know through the internet and she offers to come up and meet you what would you say? HELL YES! after many years of knowing her online I was finally able to give linda a hug in person. she caught my attention after the release of journal revolution. she is real, she is true and not to mention - adorable! she is a great friend and I had so much fun spending the day together doing starbucks, eating tacos and chatting about life and art. love that girl!

and NOW? back in the swing of things or swinging things around. just taking a moment to appreciate this wonderful and glorious life!