"According to Chinese numerology, the number one is a yang number which is ruled by the sun and represents independence and individualism. Two is a yin number which is ruled by the moon and represents symmetry and balance. When placed together, the number 12 brings harmony to the yin and yang, balancing the feminine energy of the moon with the masculine energy of the sun. So, what we can gather is that 12/12/12 equals lots of harmony." more here

I like that!  yin and yang in harmony?  good stuff!  I woke up thinking about today "the super special not for another 88 years will this kind of date happen."  pretty kewl and kind of whoa!  like I probably won't be here in 88 years.  ok, for sure I won't be here in 88 years.  I also thought that I would really want to make sure I remembered to be grateful while I was still here.  somedays I think I am grateful and then other days my thoughts suck like a big old hoover vac.

so in honor of this unique day I bring you: 

12 things I am grateful for today

 1.  grateful that I woke up and am still alive.

 2.  grateful for morning puppy kisses.

 3.  grateful for my new coat keeping me warm in the freezing cold while joey takes forever to     do his deed.

 4. grateful to my hubby for wide open days and hidden clocks.  aka "I work from home"

 5.  grateful to my friends and family near and far for their endless love and support.

 6.  grateful for stories that remind me that I am not alone.

 7.  grateful for surprises in the mail.

 8.  grateful that my dad has more good days than bad.

 9.  grateful for the most amazing son ever who gives the best hugs.

10. grateful that I took a second chance on love and found the most beautiful soul.

11.grateful for friends who call me up and will listen to me while I cry and love me for who I am.

12. grateful for the strength to carry on and faith in what the future holds.

what are you grateful for today?

and we are back!

art studio by the pool
did ya think I was still at the beach?  yeah, I wish I was!  this is not a fun season for me.  some people say "oh you must suffer from seasonal affective disorder".  uh, no!  I suffer from "I hate the frickin' cold, snow, sleet and all the clothes that you have to wear to cover yourself up and keep warm so that your nose won't all of the sudden fall off".  is there a name for that?  our home at the beach will be purchased soon and all of this white stuff will be a memory!  thank YOU santa!
derwent ink sticks and water brush a la lounge chair

art studio in the room, on the floor
SO the beach was a hit and half.  the travelling art supplies were used and not used.  some did not travel well.  like the new tube watercolours that I bought that apparently contain honey.  WTH?  so they leaked but thankfully I packed them in a ziploc bag.  I discovered some new techniques while playing around in the travel journal.  LOVE those kind of accidents!  I did not spend a lot of time creating page after page of stuff.  I spent a lot of time listening to the audio books, writing and working on my travel journal.  I had a lot of fun with that this time around.  did some sketching, lettering, doodling and added bits and baubles from our travels.

I have a huge basket filled with travel journals from all over.  anytime I feel like I need a get away I go and dig some out and sit down and read all the goodness and it takes me back to that time.  at times I giggle at some of the stuff I wrote or pasted onto the pages.  some of the travel journals had pages for my son and husband to write their memories on.  we had a daily top five and those are incredible memories there for me to read again and again.

I had the thrill of trying out glass blowing with some of my new friends.  little did I know when I started to blow that I was being punked.  after putting my lips right where a mexican stranger previously had his (this hit me when it was too late!) I began to blow and kept blowing till it burst.  awesome!
glass blowing heaven
I drank a lot and too much.  everywhere you went there were people offering tequila shots.  I love tequila.  I love the little shot glasses they come in.  I love margaritas and the combination of the smooth tequila, lime and salt is well - heaven in a glass. una mas! 

notice one is almost empty, don't judge!
on our way back to where all the magic began in 2009 we stopped at a blanket making factory.  hello!  I was thrilled to have the chance to operate the loom and try my hand at making a blanket.  awesome X 2!  they also had an outdoor oven where they baked us some fresh sweet rolls.  mama happy!
just another day making blankets
reality is back with a boom and I can't believe it is december and we are days away from christmas.  it boggles my mind and hurts my heart.  it will be a difficult year.  our family said good bye to two amazing women this year and you know how important women are!  mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, friends and all their beauty will be deeply missed.  I am being pulled in all different directions and all I want to do is cash in my west jet credits and fly away.

beautiful pacifica sunset
so santa all I want for christmas is some comfy bamboo pj's, a warm blanket, a cup of hot cocoa with those really good marshmallows and a candy cane by the fire.  and maybe a tequila or two...

not together cause that would be gross!  thanks santa!
my future home

away we go!

back to the beach for this girl.  I love to travel - I do.  although this trip was agreed to with much reserve.  I wasn't sure if it felt right.  so much happened this year and who am I to be whisked away to the beautiful ocean?

travelling art kit
worries about my dad and how we will handle christmas this year without my mom.  it is kurjata christmas which means we will be trekking north to be with the big huge wonderful family.  it will be wonderful to see everyone again.  to see their smiles, the new babies and to comfort each other with all that we have been through and are going through this year.

pencils, scissors, tape etc.
so this get away had me on edge.  worried.  angry.  sleepless nights and nights filled with weird dreams.   dreams of dead people and scary dreams.  planning parties, workshops and appointments for when I get back.  I am still battling whatever this cough thing is that got a hold of me in september and has set up house in my system.  being sick does not help to build excitement.

assortment of paints and mediums
as I packed I kept telling myself that this would be a time to slow down.  no rushing around.  take your time.   I plan to sit still and quiet my mind.  I plan to listen to the ocean and let it sing its song to me.  I plan to write.  write and write and write and get all of this junk out of my head and onto the page.  with the sun kissing my skin and the sand tickling my toes I am gonna let myself go and let go.

all packed up and ready!
 with all the slowing down this girl had to bring along the stuff that makes her happy.  my art supplies!  I have it down to a science when it comes to packing light and still having enough stuff to let myself create everyday as I say.  
journals, reading, inspiration
I have some good audio books to keep my going while my fingers are busy.  we have some natalie goldberg (of course!), anne lamott (could listen to her over and over and have!), pema chodron, debbie ford, marianne williamson, deepak chopra, danielle laporte (she has a new one coming out soon btw!), brene brown and annie dillard.

to read I grabbed "old friend from far away" by natalie goldberg.  it has some great prompts in it and I just love this woman!  "the places that scare you" by pema chodron (recommend by linda - thanks girl!) and "poemcrazy" by susan wooldridge (more writing!).

with plan in place I keep telling myself to stop planning!  ha ha!  it is such a merry go round in my head right now.  which way to turn or just throw in the towel.  so many thoughts and questions fill my head and I am aching for some answers and some direction.  let's keep that in mind as we let go - shall we?

I know it may sound silly to think that I can go away and transform in a week.  I know it could happen just as well here.  I know that you might be saying to yourself - she is going to the beach and sit still?  what about the tours and all that there is to see?  oh not to worry.  I will be partaking in a few sights, sounds and tasty treats and ice cold drinks but I want to savour it.  I want it to fill me up and I want to fold it up and put it in my pocket so that when I get back I can pull it out as a reminder.

I am not expecting a grand epiphany or anything but I do NEED to calm down, sit still and inhale some good air.  I am a junkie for the ocean.  the combination of the water, the sun and the sand just makes me feel whole.  I always say that the stork dropped me off in the wrong continent!

be well and much gratitude for all of your kind words and suggestions.  it warms my heart to know that I am not alone and we have all been there or are there now.  you matter!  you are loved!  peace

perhaps you should...

this may turn into a deep post.  it may not.  it may seem like a joke to some.  to others it may awaken something that has been dormant.

since the passing of my mother I have been working on my routine.  is that the right word?  routine as in - what did I do "before" mom was sick?  what did my life look like before I opened my journal and the first to - do was "mom"?

I have been reading - alot.  not so much novels per say but good juicy books full of good things and not so good things and things to think about.  some of the ones I have been through or are sitting on my nightstand are:

this I know by susannah conway

return to love by marianne williamson

untie the strong woman by clarrisa pinkola estes

tibetan sound healing by tenzin wangyal rimpoche

my most recent read is the secret of the shadow by debbie ford.  so I am reading away yesterday while waiting for the hair colour to cover the grey and I was gob smacked.  I was in the middle of a salon reading and wanted to scream "what the fuck?"  that was the first thing that came to mind and then it was more along the lines of "holy shit" and "absolutely true".  It felt as if debbie ford had jumped off the page and was holding my hand and having a conversation with me.  not a welcome conversation, but nonetheless stuff I should hear.  I mean I've heard it.  we've all heard it.  do we listen?  do we ignore it and carry on?  yeah, that one!  that's me!  I live in my story.  we all have a story.  we all have something that continues to show up in our life and keeps us from getting to the other side of our dreams.  it may not even be a dream but a goal.

fine I'll speak for myself since it is "me" that I am trying to find.  I've felt lost lately and according to many justifiably so with what I have just gone through.  except that I keep telling myself that I can't live in this story for much longer.  I am running out of time.  life is short - as I have seen countless times this year.  the time is, for certain - NOW!

the words that struck me in debbie's book as words that I could hear out loud were the ones that talked about our stories and how so many times we reach out to try to "fix" something in our lives.  we buy self help books, see healers, go on a diet, start meditating and so on when really all of this is kind of a band aid that yes will help heal the sore, but new sores will pop up.  it is beneath the surface that we shall go.

there are stories in this book that were - ya, done that!  I didn't succeed and therefore YOU were right along - I really am good for nothing.  we are so hell bent on being right and not having it all that we give up living the life of our dreams.  some of us start to use our excuses as truths.  we start to believe that what we are saying is actually true and a fact when in reality it couldn't be further from the truth.

I don't know if any of this makes any sense.  it is all still so fresh in my own mind.  I keep rereading the chapter on "reclaiming your power".  one of my favourite lines:

"even if you've been living inside the story that life has done it to you, when you can say, "I'm doing it to me," you will have the power to stop it or do it differently.  the voice of power says, "I'm doing it, I created it.  I'm responsible for it.  I can change it."

if you have read this book or are interested in reading it I would love to hear your thoughts on it.  I haven't even finished it cause I keep going back and rereading parts of it that spoke to me.

"I can change it" has been replaying through my mind.  which essentially means that "I have the power".  I like that.  for so long I felt so powerless when it came to mom and her illness and decisions that needed to be made.  plans that needed to be rearranged, cancelled or needed to remain still.

yesterday my stylist and I talked about dreams and plans and such.  often we talk about "getting away".  like "getting away" makes it all better or something.

I shared this with my husband the other day - "yeah, so we go away.  we lay on the beach for a week, soak up the sun and kick back and then we come back to all this bullshit".

it was hard for me to say that out loud and even harder still for me to write it, but it is my truth right now.  I want what is right here in front of me to be my "get away feeling".  

and as amy and I talked about building forts and beds covered in mounds of pillows and mattresses on the floor I started thinking about how things could change around here.  I can "change" IT.

round, round, we go...

I lead the program last night at our monthly calligraphic meeting.  this years theme is "26 letters" and I have taken that theme a bit further by adding "letters" or snail mail.  I have the honour of organizing the programs for the year with various ideas on how to decorate an envelope.  there will be a variety of instructors to come who will share their unique take on "letters" or "snail mail".  we are hoping that this will spread our art of lettering throughout the community and encourage members to spruce up their mailings.  with all the technology lately it seems like no one sends mail like we used to.  how wonderful would it be to find a lovely decorated envelope in your mailbox?  I wanted to share with you what I lead the members with last night.

I took some circle punches and created stencils to use.  then I locked myself in the studio with the stencils, pencil crayons and let my mind play with different ideas for circles.

the first idea I had was to draw a fine wavy line down the left hand side of the envelope.  pick a couple of colors and draw two more wavy lines.  then taking one of the circle stencils I used half of the circle to create a design.

remember spirograph?  that is what came to mind when I started layering the circles into a flower type shape.  you could add more circle flowers and stems too!

next I created a scallop border all around the edge of the envelope using half of the circle stencil and alternating colours.

the next idea was quite simple.  three circles on the left hand side of the envelope.  I used primary colours, but then thought it would be fun to create a "traffic light" design too.

how about polka dots all over the envelope?  you could do an assortment of colours and add some metallic touches here and there.

then I stopped to grab a cup of tea and saw the honeycomb pattern on the side of honey bottle.  hey!  so honeycomb pattern it is.

and my favourite thing is to create colour wheels.  I use them in my journals and art pieces quite a bit so I grabbed the big circle stencil and slid it around a bit to give it an imperfect look.  then just quickly drew the divisions and filled in the colours.  my sample went missing but here is a colour wheel I did in my journal awhile back.

now some of us like the more structured designs and so using the same idea as the wavy half circle I created half circle stripes.  

 and finally I thought how about using circles as outlines for the letters of the name of the person you are sending it to?  

 and for the lettering use your own printed letters and add circles!

with all these ideas in mind the members are encouraged to come up with some more ideas, decorate an envelope and send into the society for display at our next meeting.
go grab your circles, pencil crayons and play!  I would love to see what you come up with!

diy recycled gift bag

I love wrapping gifts up all fun and fancy, but let's be real.  most of the time the wrapping gets tossed out with the bathwater.  my solution to this is to recycle as much as possible.  yes, that ribbon on your package may be the very same ribbon that was on the gift you gave me - deal.  I thought I would share one of the ways I use those paper bags from take out or shopping trips.

I started with a bag that was a doggie bag from the latest birthday dinner.  I painted some gesso on to cover the logo and to have a good base to start with.

 did some doodling, scribbling and used stencil letters.

 added some paint.  colour!  circles!

 collage using old sheet music.  drew in the shape of a boat.

added some lettering "seek adventure everyday". tissue paper from anthropology purchase and ribbon from gifts gone by.

don't forget the other side!  I started with the same process as the front.

happy birthday!

this was a fun, quick project and I hope it encourages you to reuse for your next gift wrap!

faves on friday

busy, busy, busy is not even big enough of a word to describe how I have been lately.  SO many challenging and exciting things happening around here.  meanwhile I do encourage breaks and during my down time I found some gems.  enjoy!


you NEED to check her out!  story academy has me so pumped!


pure beauty!

this one hit too close to home.  same name and same disease.  support if you wish!

and finally I can't get this out of my head!

faves on friday

this friday collection was inspired by this.

beautiful and inspiring...

my new hangout!

a remarkable story of courage and conviction...

saw her, heard her, met her, LOVE her!  watch her here.

and he is my new music addiction.

twenty two years

it was twenty two years ago today when we made our way to the hospital for your birth.  you were two weeks late and still quite comfortable in your cocoon so they had to induce me.  I remember the doctor breaking my water.  "not much there" she said.  I worried that you would be all wrinkly from the lack of fluid.  is it ok that there isn't that much fluid?  I was not brave enough to ask those kinds of questions back then.  I was just twenty five and so unsure of my own skin that I wasn't sure how I was going to be a mother.

the day went on trying to urge you to come.  we walked the halls.  checked how many centimetres and back to the bed.  up and down and all around, but nothing.  I remember listening to the other mothers across the hall wailing and screaming bloody murder.  I thought to myself that is not going to be me.  we are all good right now.  and then the first contraction came and I thought I would die right then and there.  it was strong and hard and whoa!  "what the hell?" I yelled!  the nurse came and assured me that we were on our way.  the contractions had begun and we were in it.  okay, I was in it and everyone else was running around getting machines and instruments ready and calling the doctor and your father was calling the family.  oh he was so excited to see you.  he called you "eddy" from the moment we found out I was pregnant.  I kept telling him there was no way we were calling you "eddy".

the doctor came and it became apparent that she would be unable to deliver you.  they needed to call in another doctor.  what?  I held on to my tummy, to you, trying to reassure you that we would be fine.  laying in the bed feeling absolutely helpless and half naked I turned into a mother bear.  I never knew it would come like that, but it did.  that mother instinct that people talk about.  hurt my baby and your ass is mine!  the second doctor came in and then an entourage of nurses.  it was so crowded.  push!  oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.  the baby is not moving.  forceps!  no!  OH MY GOD!  the pain that went down my leg was so unbearable that I screamed wildly and no one knew what was happening.  there was a pause and then the doctor said if I didn't give one last good push that we were headed to a C section.

and I think at that moment you and I were ready to release from each other.  I believe that you stayed inside me for as long as you could so that we would both be ready to walk this world independently.  your birth brought forth a fire in me that I never knew I had.  the strength and courage that came afterwards changed the course of our lives forever.

and so you came.  you didn't cry.  you just looked at me with a look of "hey ma, what the hell?"  oh I cried.  I cried at how beautiful you were.  I cried while I counted your fingers and toes and stroked your cheek where they caught you with the forceps.  you were so tiny.

and here we are today, twenty two years later.  from the moment you were born I have been overjoyed at watching you move in this world.  your first word, your first step and all the firsts.  all that we have been through together and how through it all you have grown into an amazing man.  from your first inhale I knew that the world had no idea what was coming and you have made me proud throughout.  thank you for choosing me to be your mother.  thank you for so many beautiful moments and memories.  thank you for learning from me and teaching me.  thank you for being - YOU!  

one month

there are moments when I think she is still here.  I get up and start to plan my day remembering that I need to go and see her and then I realize that she is not there anymore.

routine is a funny thing.  for some routine is what keeps them going, keeps them breathing and reassures them that they are good.  if that routine is disrupted you are left with an aching to find that new routine, new direction, new purpose I guess.  you start the lists of things to do and proudly check them off one by one as they are completed.  for me the checking off makes me feel like I have accomplished something.  I know, I know that is what the list is all about, but really it is an exercise that I do daily and when I check something off I feel better.  I feel like I contributed to something.  it's part of my routine.

in her final week mom's routine and ours became dictated by her, her care givers and each other.  when the decision was made to begin end of life care none of us wanted to leave her side.  we wanted her to know that she was loved and we were here by her side and to not be afraid and we are taking good care of you mom.  we are not going to leave you alone mom.

one of the most important things was to insure that she was not in pain at any time.  they would have her pain meds coming every six hours and then every two hours if needed a smaller dose.  what would happen though is that we could see her start to curl her toes, knees to her chest in a fetal position and she would start lifting her arm up.  I could feel her getting agitated and restless and so we would stay and demand the extra shot every two hours before she started getting restless.  I would ask the nurse if they thought she was in pain.  no, no, do not worry she is not in any pain.  I found it hard to believe them and asked that the doses be closer together without me continually having to demand it.  

those final days and nights had us all worrying and fretting about each other.  did you eat something for breakfast dad?  yeah.  are you going to get some lunch now?  I'm here, you go, I'll stay here till you get back.  did you sleep last night?  I'm coming back now, did you need anything?  the nights had their own routine.  every two hours they would come in and flip her position.  sometimes they would wash her and change her gown.  then the injections and sometimes they were just coming by to see how she was doing.  how was I holding up.

It was hard to sleep while all I could hear was the hum of the oxygen machine.  it was so hot in that room.  there was a fan on the counter and one on the floor.  the window was open but there was no breeze.  her roommate snored loudly and there I lay in the middle not believing what I was living through.  not knowing if I just shut my eyes for a moment if she would be gone when I woke up again.

whenever they came in to change her position I would leave the room.  I headed outside for some fresh air and just to enjoy the quietness of the early morning.  I would return and she would be wrapped up like a newborn baby.  I would start to peel back the layers and lean to give her a kiss.  I'm here mama.  it's nadia.  I love you.  those first few days her breathing was smooth and it seemed like she was finally resting comfortably.  as the days went on and her speech began to fail her she became frustrated.  she would gather all her strength to say "I love you too honey".  when my dad would bend down to give her a kiss she would struggle but pucker up and give him one back.  it was heart breaking and beautiful all at the same time.  the love those two shared was an incredible gift that I was able to witness time and time again.  what an example they gave me of what true love looks like.

the last couple of days she was unable to speak at all.  her eyes wide open and her mouth as well.  I kept holding on to the belief that she could still hear us.  she knew we were here and we gathered around telling her we loved her and it was okay to go.  we will be fine mama.  I will make sure dad is fine.  I will take care of him.  go, mama, rest, it's ok.  we all said good bye.  we all gave her permission to die and yet she was still hanging on.

the final day before she died was the hardest of all.  I felt like I was pushing her to die.  it was an awful feeling.  doubts flooded into my head.  what if someone made a mistake?  what if she wanted to tell us something but couldn't?  what was she waiting for?  I thought she was hanging on for dad.  their love so strong.  their bond tight.  I couldn't imagine how it felt to know that the one you loved so deeply was about to leave you and you would never be able to hold them again, kiss them, touch them.  michael sensed fear when he was by her side.  I thought maybe he was right.  maybe she was afraid of what was next.  the unknown.

they finally moved her to a private room.  there was a beautiful breeze coming through the window.  lots of room for us to pile in and comfort each other.  we talked about memories and laughed about some of the silly things she had done.  we replayed the mass for her on the tiny tape recorder my dad had brought in.  it was recorded in italy where my nonna lived.  an outdoor mass that they gathered for annually to praise the madonna of water.  there was one part where mom's voice came on.  she was saying good bye to someone.  her old voice.  so clear and so full of life.  it was eerie to hear her like that after so long.

michael sent me home for the night.  after days of sleeping there he wanted me to have a good rest in my own bed.  I didn't want to leave her but I knew it was all catching up to me.  I needed to rest.  I needed to refuel for the next day, the next night, the next...

then the call came early in the morning that she was gone.  michael had woken up and went to check her and she was gone.  the nurse was called and she said she had just checked her a few minutes earlier and she was fine.  she was gone.  I called dad.  I got in the car.  I thanked god for ending the suffering and for it being early enough that the roads were bare and that the rest of the residents would still be sleeping.  we were able to see her without any disturbances of the breakfast crowd or staff flying around.  it was quiet.  she was at peace.  she was finally at peace.

many hours were spent by her bed writing in my journal.  I felt this urgency to get it all down before I forgot it.  I practically filled it by the time she was gone.  memories of her as a child, her as a wife and as my mother and nonna to dan.  stories she had told me and details I didn't want to forget.  it became an invaluable tool when I went to compose the eulogy.

writing also kept me busy.  I was focusing on the words as they flowed out of my pen.  what was happening to her with each passing minute was in my eyes a suffering that no one should have to endure.  what we watched as she slowly faded away was what I feel no one should have to witness.

the pain is still fresh.  the picture in my head of her laying there still clear.  I keep having dreams of her healthy and running around again.  life goes on and time will pass and so too shall the awful images.  I feel like my dreams are willing me to remember the young vibrant woman that she once was.  I feel her with me whenever I think of her and as I start to rebuild a new routine I feel her guiding me.  thank you mama.  thank you for always have been there to guide me.  fly bird fly.

faves on friday

some things that have made me go hmm...

I remember when I was a little girl mom had a typewriter that she would type all of her letters on.  she was a two fingered typist and if she made a mistake she would back up and XX through the error.  she double spaced and always had a black coffee and cigarette beside her.  I loved the typewriter and loved typing class.  probably the only class I got an A in.  I loved doing the exercises in class and would sneak the book home and practice all night on our typewriter.  I was so excited when my friend brought me one of her found typewriters this year.  I have been clicking away every since!

there is SO much goodness here!  I think I gained ten pounds just reading the recipe for pumpkin cupcakes with salted buttercream frosting and the peanut butter chocolate rice crispy treats.  yum!

I'm not a meat eater but I think I could tweak this by making a ricotta spinach filling.  imagine how it would stand out at a pot luck.

skateboarding keeps popping up in front of me.  oh I spent hours on the board when I was younger.  I wish I would have kept some of my old skateboards.  I wonder if this ole girl could still do a kick flip!

Transit Skateboards - Feel at Home - Trailer from Transit Skateboards on Vimeo.

I love this!

fan of TED?  you will love this!

and to end a beautiful poem:

italy 2010

today we would have celebrated her 45th birthday.  I have thought of her often during these last few weeks.  at the home begging her to hear me and take mom.  take her so that she does not suffer anymore.  please, tammy, please, help!

on the porch when I did not know what the next step should be.  when I threw my hands up in the air and let the tears pour out of me.  I called for her.  what do I do?  what should I do?  how can I do this?

when tammy was diagnosed with breast cancer her courage came shining through.  her smile made it seem like - meh, this too shall pass.  she was brave and beautiful through every step.

when the team was formed to walk 60 km for two days to raise funds for breast cancer she was the one up ahead making it look like it was a breeze.  her brother's knee was bugging him.  her sister changed shoes as her feet were hurting.  and I was just weeks shy of my first marathon so I had been training hard but I had ice packs on my ass.  the three of us walking behind her trying to mask the pain.  how could she do this?  she turned around at one point and said to me "you ok?"  I couldn't believe it!  "am I ok?" I said.  "I am ok because you are showing me that no matter how much pain and suffering you went through you are still here.  you are not giving up.  you've never given up!  and yes, I am ok and I love you and let's keep going."  from that moment on she became my angel.  her beautiful smile and her strength kept me going.

when I finally did run the marathon and "hit the wall" as they say I could feel her on my shoulder.  her strength and her support telling me I could do it.  keep going...  and I did and I finished and she was there all along.

this past october was a celebration for five years cancer free!  woo!  december on the beach with family.  and a new year in january.  new goals, new dreams, a future of possibilities.  2012 we are gonna knock you out of the park!

and then came the call.  at first I thought it was her father.  he had been in and out of the hospital every month for the past year.  no, no it is tammy.  it is tammy.  those words brought me to my knees.  the cancer is back.  they've admitted her.  they are running tests.  they are...."I'm coming" I said.  on my way to the hospital and I still am not sure how I made it there in one piece.  all I could say was "why?" why and WTF?  there must be some mistake.  she is going to be fine.  she went through this once before.  why?  how can it be back?

when I saw her laying there I could not believe my eyes.  "hey" I said.  "wtf?"  I held back the tears as best I could.  I hugged her tight and told her "you got this".  yes, she agreed.  "why?" we both said together.  her answer was "I guess I didn't get the lesson the first time".  people say everything happens for a reason and there is always a lesson to be learned.  phft!

again through it all she was brave, she was strong and she amazed me.  the night we said our final good bye she told us not to cry.  she said it was alright.  she told us to take care of each other.  it ripped my heart open to leave her.  to know that I would never hug her again.  see her smile so bright and her giggle each time I told her I loved her.  how beautiful she was.  a true beauty, inside and out.

she continues to be there for me.  I can feel her on my shoulder.  she is helping me to get through all of this.  I can feel her pulling me back when the red flags pop up and her gentle push when I should be brave and go forward.  thank you tammy.  thank you for always being there!

happy birthday beautiful tammy!  I have my bellini ready!  cheers to you!  you incredible courageous and gorgeous woman.  I love you!

for mama

ciao bella
march 11, 1939 - july 20, 2012

faves on friday

this week has been hot, hot, hot!

I treated myself with one of these.

just finished listening to this - awesome memoir!

starting today this is sure to inspire and I am excited to see artists from all over the world.

movie of the week was this.

what are some of your faves?

faves on friday

I have fallen in love with lena dunham!  thank you jenny!  "tiny furniture" was right up my alley!

the funny thing is once I saw her name at the start of the movie I knew it was the same girl from this:

I've been enjoying listening to the interviews from here!

since I am not able to attend in person I was super thrilled when they started on-line workshops.  just finished up with alena and gearing up for sarah.

I have not been sleeping much lately as I am dreaming about an adventure with one of my sistas.  it also includes two nights with this beautiful man.  oh my,  I may never come back...
meanwhile have a listen!

tell your story

once upon a time I discovered rubber stamps and many, many years ago while I was in st. louis I made a long trip to find a stamp store.  I fell in love with her designs.  the following year the stamp store moved to her family's home and another long trip to buy more of her beautiful stamps.  but this trip was different.  I was beside myself when I was able to meet her and watch her create beautiful art using her stamps.  it was my first experience watching an artist work.  I was in love and  I remember how kind she was.  she showed me her work and I remember her desk and her tools and how she was surrounded by materials to create with.  at that moment I started to dream.  I dreamt that one day I too would have a space where I could play, create and perhaps inspire others.

during that trip my husband and I met her family.  over the course of the next few years we spent many moments together and it became more than a story about an artist and her art.  we became friends and every year looked forward to our trip to st. louis to see them.  she supported me and encouraged me.  she was always generous with her time and her artwork.  over the years I watched how she evolved.  new ventures and additions to the family.  I will never forget the time we spent together.  unfortunately our yearly trips stopped as my husband no longer had business in st. louis.  we fell out of touch for awhile, but with the beauty of the internet and blogging I found her and we reconnected.

and again I am in awe of her talent and her desires and how she continues to dream and evolve.  she is always supportive of others art and aspirations.  just as I remember her way back when.  kind, generous and that beautiful smile that lights up a room.  I am sharing her story with you and hope that you will support her too.