Online Classes

Sunday, August 30, 2009

River Dance at the Tree House

Hey guess what everyone??!!

I found a really good deal on some clogs and a DVD that teaches you how to clog! I'm so excited, and can hardly wait to get started. The thunder of tiny dancing feet will sound great on my expansive wooden floors.

Opie and I are going to dance our little hearts out up here in the tree house. I think I'll invite some friends over to clog with me each night. We could literally dance allllllllll night long!Gee... I hope it doesn't disturb the new people who live down below me too much...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.

The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... (I'll see you again one day, Miss Frankie)

Author Unknown

Thursday, August 27, 2009

55 Miles Away From PTSD

I spent most of yesterday editing the pics from Tuesday at Dorri's farm. In the middle of the editing I had a revelation--one of those revelations that stop you in mid thought, and demand you ponder it.

The trip out to the farm was the farthest I've been in a car
since January 1, 2009, the day my grandson was born.

In spite of it being the happiest moment in my life being there for my son's first child to be born, the back and forth trips from the hotel and hospital on busy, confusing freeways with narrow lanes triggered a major setback with my PTSD. Superman could barely peel me out of the car one night to just get me inside to our hotel room--it was that bad. After 8 months of battling PTSD from the car accident, that episode put me over the edge, and on a long term disability leave from my beloved career.

I have not been back there since. My son and his family live approximately 120 miles from me. It may as well be 2500 miles in my mind. I have shed a barrel of tears over not being able to just get in the car and drive to see them. I've wondered sometimes if they thought I just didn't want to see them. I look fine from the outside but PTSD is something you can't see. There's no bloody gash on my forehead. But I can tell you there may as well be. My kids post pictures regularly of my grandson, and themselves. This has been like a carrot for me to keep trudging ahead.

I didn't actually drive out to the farm. I was a passenger. It really doesn't matter with PTSD if I'm riding or driving. Every time I anticipated going out there, I'd freeze up mentally. It was too far. At the end of last week I sent Dorri a message requesting to come and shoot some pictures of her parents before their grand celebration planned in 2 weeks for their 50th wedding anniversary. Of course she agreed. Dorri loves her parents as much as I love mine. She still calls her mother, Mommy--just like I do with my Mommy.

I had some fears about making the drive--actually any drive. My normal mode of operation [which is actually my abnormal mode] is to chicken out before the day comes of a function, outing or event I have agreed to attend, and cancel. My mind has been so tweaked with fear that I can actually get sick, physically ill in anticipation of leaving the house. So in actual fact, PTSD has chained me not only in my mind, but also inside the four walls of my tree house. The very fact that I kept the date and went the distance is no less of a miracle than me surviving plunging off that 70 foot bridge nose first.

On the trip over to the farm we went the back roads. It's always calmer for me on back roads but at times I can still work myself into a fear frenzy. On the trip back we went on the freeway. NOW this is a major, major accomplishment. I had a few moments of my head jumping into the beginnings of a panic attack. My faithful co-pilot, Dylan, patted my knee, and arm, whenever I expressed a vehicle scaring me. She spoke calmly to me, and assured me we were fine. You see we've both come a long way together since the accident. We hold each other up when one of us feels too weak to stand.

If you haven't looked at yesterday's post yet, please do. It's mostly pictures so it's an easy read. So many of you who have been faithfully following me [thank you from the bottom of my heart] commented on how much fun we [me] were having. Those pictures really said so much. I was more relaxed on Tuesday than I've been in a very, very long time. [and it wasn't just the wine....] I'm getting better people. I'm really, and truly, getting better.

The revelation: I'm almost half way there [riding or driving] to my son's house.


Because I know when I get ALL the way there I'll get to put on my monkey pants and a monkey hat to play with this little cupcake.
Yes, I'm 55 miles away from PTSD and 65 miles closer to smooching some baby belly!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Photo Shoot Sample

I love this amazing couple beyond words. Just a couple weeks shy of 50 years of marriage, you can see the love in their body language, and their hands. This is just a sample of some of the shots I took. I have another full day of shooting to do which I'm thoroughly looking forward to doing. Below are a few of me and my girlfriends playing on the farm between takes. I'm playing with some new editing software. It's like a candy store!

~~~ Enjoy~~~

I was mimicking a dead scare crow.
It looked like it died from being impaled by a melon.
[don't ask me where the scare crow had been entered by
the melon unless you really, really, ReALLy...
truly wanna know...]

Monday, August 24, 2009

Staying in Motion Until It's Time To Start Packing

Red Poppy 16" x 16" acrylic

I've had to rearrange my plans to show my work at one of our downtown galleries. Getting sick slowed things down, as well as the current re-routing of my studio, and nest. All is well. I'll let everyone know when the reception will be after I confirm a new date with the gallery owners.

Poppies in a Field 16" x 16" acrylic

Below is what I'll be painting next.
It's from a series of shots I took of blues singer Bekah Williams from Cincinnati, OH.

But I'm happiest to announce I am doing a photo shoot for my very dear friend, Miss Dorri of her mother and father tomorrow. They are celebrating their 50th anniversary next month. Visiting Dorri, and her family, on her farm is always a treat. I am honored to call them my family and I've been officially adopted. Officially! I'll post some of the shoot after I finish. [with proper permission, of course...]

Below are some pics from the last shoot I did a few Easter's ago.

She is even more beautiful in person. Her smile can light up a dark night.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Love Letter in My Mailbox

I found this in my mail this morning. I believe it was yet another green light from the Universe/God/Higher Power I am right on course. All is well.....

On this day of your life, Lille, I believe God wants you to know...

....that obstacles are not opposing you, but merely and

gently re-routing you.

It is important not to view that which stands in your

way as your 'enemy.' It can often be your best friend,

sending you on a detour that takes you around what

could have been your biggest stumbling block.

Send a word of gratitude, then, for anything that seems

to be 'opposing' you now. All things in life happen for

good. Trust God about that.

Love, Your Friend....

Thank you, Nolly Posh, my precious friend down under who often guides me by her peaceful, loving examples of who I want to be spiritually when I grow up. Her recent post led me to discover another road map to help me find my way to become that person. If times allows, please read other posts Nolly has written. You'll feel her love, sense her sincerity and will be inspired by her ability to sparkle like a ray of sunshine in spite of personal health challenges that seek to cloud her world with discouragement. She is every bit the most courageous woman you'd ever want to meet.

More info below about Neale's best selling book.

The N.Y. Times Bestseller
When Everything Changes, Change Everything:
In a Time of Turmoil, a Pathway to Peace

By Neale Donald Walsch

"A dear one has died. Or a romantic relationship has ended. Or a job that was once going to be your career has just evaporated. Or your child has left home. Or you've moved to a new town. Or you're suddenly facing a health crisis, or a financial crisis, or a crisis of faith . . .

. . . whatever the circumstance, you are sure about one thing: Nothing will ever be the same.

Deep sadness, even bitter negativity, can sometimes follow. What to do then? End the life you've been living? Yes. That's the startling answer from modern-day spiritual messenger Neale Donald Walsch in a book that will touch the lives of people around the world with the same uplifting hopefulness as his Conversations with God.

When Everything Changes, Change Everything speaks to the heart of every person who has lost their bearings in the aftermath of a major life change—and to those who would help them. A strikingly clear, imminently and immediately useful text, it offers God-inspired insights on the way to move on and a breathtaking reason to do so. Here is a practical application of the fresh perspectives of the New Spirituality, with wonderful tools for healing and living and a brand-new definition of God that could make every mystery of life clear up overnight."

~~~Excerpt from Neale's website

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What'sThat Smell?

Last night we stopped by the Tree House to pick something up on our way to Superman's Fortress after helping Dylan install a new door knob at her place. Superman ran in to get it and came out with a face that looked like these grapes.

I was like "WTFeline.... Did Opie have an accident?"
[which of course he never does. Sweet baby but I couldn't imagine what caused Superman to look so green]

"You better come inside and check this out." He said.

"Is it cigarette smoke? I asked, cautiously exiting the car to go inside.

"No, it's not that. I don't know what it is? Except it smells worse than an old fart."

Oh geez, I think, to myself. What now???!!!!

I opened the door and was greeted by a pungent smack to my nostrils.

"Cabbage???? OMG the neighbors from Carnie-Ville were boiling cabbage. One of the hottest nights we've had all summer, and they're boiling frigging cabbage!


This came on the heels of vacillating all day, and second guessing my plan to leave the Tree House... I was kicking myself after seeing so many people coming through to see the Tree House and them saying, "What are you? Nuts? Why would you want to leave this????"


Life is hysterical.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Smoke on the Water...

I've been wading through a lot of anger this past month. I would not be moving if it weren't for the new people who moved in below me. Last night I was woken from a deep sleep [again...] with the smell of cigarette smoke filling my bedroom. Despite 5-6 times of him being told not to smoke in the building, he still does. I feel a bit childish now but last night I did a bit of stomping on the floors, or rather walking heavily. VERY heavily. The woman doesn't smoke and I believe he must sneak a smoke inside after she's fallen asleep. Too lazy to get up and go outside on the deck to puff. I wanted to make sure I woke her up with my foot tromping. Next time I'll put some bad ass boots on. I actually typed that.... Yikes.

I understand addictions. I especially understand nicotine addiction. I have had the same demons wake me up at night to sneak a cigarette. Nicotine has caused me to get out of my hospital bed with an IV pole attached, in the dead of winter (wind chill well below 20) to smoke outside wearing only my hospital gown, hospital issued non-slip socks and a blanket thrown over my shoulders. I stood there freezing, puffing, and avoiding the glares people gave me driving or walking by. I was close to getting frostbite on my fingers and face just to have a cigarette.

So, yes, I understand the power and hold a white filtered kiss of death can have on you. You know it's slowly robbing you of life, and yet it feels like gold between your fingers in the middle of the night when you cannot sleep. A cigarette is so small, and yet so huge. It was during one of these freezing treks outside the hospital last December that gave me the will, the courage and the wisdom to quit.

No one knows [unless you've quit, too] how hard it was to return home to the tree house and work through all the triggers here that constantly reminded me I should be lighting up a smoke. The triggers were everywhere, and constant at times. I wore a nicotine patch, and ate Ativan like candy on some days. But I did it. I'm celebrating 9 months of being smoke free.

So when my world was invaded by a smoker I got mad. And I became afraid. The fear of being seduced in a time of weakness by the smells of tobacco is a genuine concern. And the constant stress this has caused is also a concern. I have literally cried every day for weeks now in sadness at my peaceful, slice of tranquility being blown up in a cloud of smoke. But my sanity, health, and well-being has more value than than living on a lake. [at least that's what I'm telling myself LOL]

In order for me to find some peace about moving I've chosen to call on my greatest resource to help me make it through the night, and the next 3 weeks--my sense of humor. Here's a few more reasons the season for lake living is withering away. Hopefully this will be even funnier one Day.... [I hope...]

  • I went out on my deck last week and much to my dismay saw a rope nailed from one tree to another. On this rope was a bevy of underwear, blowing in the breeze. Mind you we live right next to a major boat ramp so every boat going by saw the flags of bras and granny panties hanging like a party from the trees. [Ahem... doesn't this woman know I'm the only one allowed to hang my undies out for every one to see??? Oh wait that's on my blog... not for a make-shift clothes line....] Cup of coffee, cool breeze, and Grandma's undies tainting the pristine views.... I have pictures. Dare I post them??? Go ahead beg me... [insert wicked smile]
  • Superman & I came back to the Tree House one evening after dinner with plans to lie out on the grass on the point of the island to watch the meteorite showers. When we arrived we found that they had strung lights from every possible tree on the island, the flag pole, and their deck railing--all jury-rigged together with orange extension cords. It looked like the Midway at a carnival. Hello people we live on a lake! Bug City if you use mammoth sized light bulbs near the water in mid-summer. I can no longer see the lake at night because the island is lit up like a frigging used car lot. Hence the carnival music I had playing on my tunes for a few days. remember the Chevy Chase movie about Christmas, and all the lights? This is what their deck looks like. I kid you not... The island could now pass for an airport landing strip. This could be trouble because the Tree House is in the flight pattern for a fairly large airport 10 miles south of here. Yikes!
  • They have three vehicles, and are only given 2 assigned parking spots. Last weekend he had a fourth car parked here all weekend he was doing repairs on. Told ya... a car lot. Or the graveyard for Cash for Clunkers.
  • They are having a big party this weekend, At least I've been fore-warned. Gulpity-gulp...
  • I want to rent a huge industrial strength fan to blow the smoke back down on them from my deck. Monsoon wind-like conditions suddenly kicked up on the lake. Craziest thing.....
OK I'm done now. Simply put it's time to go. I would rather believe I am on the horizon of something wonderful waiting to show itself to me in my future than being kicked out of my nest by force. I'll work to keep my sense of humor intact, and my boots ready to slip on. Hee Hee Just kidding.... I'll make Opie put on roller skates & practice leaping over barrels. [I have wood floors] My bad...

I'll be filming the tree house, and will post the video for everyone to take a tour soon. Opie is practicing his opening welcome. He always greets our guests with a warmth, and sweetness that is akin to a red carpet being rolled out. Purely adorable.

Next up, when I get a few pictures of my new place, I'll hold a contest to name it. It will be open to you, my friends, and followers to name. I will award the winner with a piece of my art work. I will add pics as soon as I can. It's a white cottage like bungalow that sits on top of a hill. Get your creative thinking caps on...

I need your help & encouragement to make this move away from the Tree House a fun-filled adventure. All anyone really desires is a simple life, and I'm going to get me one of those! It's already on my Dream Board.

Thank you everyone! Comments are encouraged!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vlog Trailer

The Tree House has been invaded.
Opie & I are hanging on to the sides of the nest for dear life.
We are being pushed out of the nest by......

Oh dear, it's too soon to tell but our beloved island appears to be under siege
by carnies in a bad Fellini movie....
Opie & I may need to be smuggled out on a UPS truck.
I'm serious, Folks. Things are getting strange on the island.

Film at 11:00
~~Stayed Tuned~~

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jumping out of the Tree House onto a Trampoline of Dreams

I have always believed in the power of believing, visualizing, and that our thoughts do effect the condition of our lives. I also know it's hard sometimes for anyone, not just me, to keep energy moving in a positive direction. There have been times in this last 15 months since the auto accident that I've had limited vision or hope about my future, and wondered to the point of immense grief if I would ever be "normal" again or pain free, and, especially, emotionally free from the PTSD.

I've learned PTSD has affected me in more ways than "just getting into an automobile" again. It's nearly immobilized me at times from ever leaving the house again. Isolating myself felt more comfortable than taking a risk to go outside in the world where "something "bad" might happen to me. It all comes down to not feeling in control. And I hate not feeling in control. I fight it, and resist changes that I don't know what the outcome will be. That's why driving on the freeway can be so difficult at times. I can drive myself nuts worrying what those other drivers are going to do next to me.

But other areas I've become more protective about is my personal space, and I realized how important my privacy is to me. Many of you know I live on a beautiful lake, right on the water's edge. I have windows on 3 sides that overlook the water. Huge windows on an entire side that let the light in, and I can nearly see to China out those windows. Nearly... I can see an incredible amount of nature from here. It is like I'm on vacation every time I come home.

My life is about to undergo another change. At first, I felt this change was a cruel blow to my serenity, and my peaceful tree house abode. I share the building I live in with other people. It is a really unique, one of a kind maze of units, each one with their very own distinct layout and feel. I have the Queen's Castle, "The Tree House" [my name for it], the Penthouse. Everyone who walks in here wishes they were me. I mean that. Last month my very dear neighbors who had become like family to me, bought their first house, and moved away. I am still in shock they are gone. Happy for them but sick over them not being a few steps away like they'd always been.

My fabulous landlord [and I do mean he is the best I've ever had--EVER] was able to immediately rent their place which is directly below mine. The new people are smokers. Heavy smokers, and some other things I won't go into detail about but I will say their presence has tipped the nest right out of the tree house for Opie Taylor & I. We share the same venting system. They've been told not to smoke by my landlord [they are NOT complying] and even when they smoke on the deck, it all filters up [I should say balloons up, clouds up, fogs up] to my deck making it difficult to sit out there & enjoy the beauty of the lake.

I have worked so hard to stick to being a non-smoker having kicked the habit mid December 08. I'd quit right before the auto accident, too, but wienied out after a month. Then I was in the accident, and that made me smoke like a train going over the Grand Canyon with Thelma and Louise inside riding shotgun with me. I simply cannot risk breathing in someone's else smoke and being triggered every, single day. I've been heart sick about this. And for the first time since I moved in here, I do not feel like I am coming home. It's become an apartment, not my beloved tree house.

But this has led me to a new revelation. Change can be GOOD!

The real gift of being stopped "dead" in your tracks in life by an abrupt directional change you had no choice over, is that it can appear to be negative, when in actual fact it is the very thing you needed to wake you up to living your life. Really "Living" it. It is a sign I should not be trudging along in the same-old-same-old routine [ruts], and need to be "awake" to gifts the Universe is sending me. I am being called to new things, new places to accomplish my 101 Creative To-Do List, and move me out of the past.

I found a SWEET home in the country that sits on a hill. SWEET! SwEet! sWEEt!!! I'll post more on this after I find out if I've been approved to be the watcher of the sky on the hill over looking the lilies in the valley. Yes, there are lilies in the valley and lining the driveway leading up to my castle in the sky.

Who'da ever thunk it????

An unexpected shift from the Universe, that appeared to be the worst situation, may indeed be the trampoline, I get to jump on to kiss the baby blue sky.

I'll keep you posted!!!! Hmmmm, that reminds me..... I gotta get Opie Taylor a parachute so he can jump out of the nest onto the trampoline. And some goggles.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shhhh... the stars are singing....

We all have a song in our heart that is ours alone; our own unique harmonics and vibrations. Yes, everyone. Even babies sing. We call it cooing. I think we just forget how to let our songs flow as we "grow-up" or because we get bogged down in life, and by life. Some people's songs are sung out of tune, from their toes, from their bellies, loud and free. I love to hear songs that are sung like this from the heart. And I've always loved people who sing or whistle freely, like no one else is around or they don't care if anyone likes it or not. They sing because their hearts cannot contain their inner joy. If we could only bottle that pure rush of joy, or burst of happiness singing brings, our world would be a better place.

I have always loved to sing. But I, too, am guilty of burying my voice under the burdens of day to day struggles of trying to survive. I stopped singing professionally 11 years ago. It was not planned; it happened abruptly as my life took a necessary turn down a different road. I grieved its passing as a death. If you'd have asked me prior to my singing career coming to a halt how I'd feel about that happening, I would have told you I'd shrivel up and die without being able to sing, perform, or live my musical dreams. But I didn't. I'm still here. I still have a song in my heart. And I believe I have a new song rising up to meet me. I'm humming again.

My daddy played guitar, and sang, with Johnny Horton, Hank Williams SR, and Hank Snow. My mother sang back up. My family on both my mother and father's side were musical, and talented.
I guess you could say I was born with an orchestra playing in my heart, and a choir of angels pounding out a tune with each heartbeat. My son carries the musical torch now. And he does it brilliantly. I could not be prouder.
Jake writes, plays guitar, [lead, rhythm and bass] drums, some keyboard, and sings. I believe my greatest accomplishment in life was giving birth to him so his gift could be experienced by all who hear him or read what he's written.

Lately I've been hearing a chorus chirping in my soul, and have felt a longing to write the melody I hear floating to the top of my heart. This is good, people, because it means my spirit wants to clear the pipes, and let a rusty, scratchy but sWEEt note reverberate from its core.... even if it's only for me to hear~

I know some of you will say, "Oh, I can't sing a note." Or, "I wish I could sing." But you can, and it's not the ability as much as it is the availability to let your heart rock and roll as free as a bird. If you listen to birds many of them were not born with a voice of a canary. They were just born with a song larger than their tiny, feathered frames. I wonder if we all woke up singing like the birds do if there would be so much illness, and wars, and depression, and hatred, and intolerance, and abuse.....etc., etc., etc.... Music builds bridges, and heals hearts.

So, I say.... Sing while you're driving as Loud as possible. Put your sun glasses on, and don't look to see if anyone is watching you in the car next to you. If they are, they're probably enjoying seeing someone tap into something fun [rather than road rage] and probably wish they could do the same thing. Who knows you may be the nudge from the Universe they needed to let er' rip.

When I'm singing out loud it's a good indication that I'm feeling good,
and when I'm not feeling well, I probably need to sing louder.

When Jake was about two years old he said the most profound thing [as babes often do]... We'd been out for a walk one evening, and as we walked down the driveway he suddenly spoke up,

"Sssshhhhh. Listen!! The stars are singing!"

In the fields surrounding our house we heard the sounds of crickets, and frogs-- humming in tandem with each other--loudly, and sweetly at the same time. Yes, even the stars sing, and their song is the most beautiful song I've ever heard.

~~FYI~~ I'm feeling so much better.
better, my friends.

~~~Thank you all for your words of encouragement, and written hugs while I tuned up my spirit and body--all of which was like a concert from you to me. You all rock in my eyes!!!!~~

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Flicker of Sunshine at the Tree House

I know you all must think I fell off the face of the earth. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was not feeling up to my usual sass. I'm still working on finding a big jar of, "Sass In a Glass".

Please hang in here with me. My body and I are having a tug-o-war. I'm muddied up a bit but I'll be back very soon with my dimples flashing a neon smile. I just needed to take some ample time to allow myself to mend. Sometimes that's the hardest thing to do. I want it yesterday.

I also want to apologize for not getting over to everyone's "place" to see whats' been going on in your wonderful worlds. My poor brain has had the hardest time even reading, let alone comprehending what I've just read. This, too, has been hard for me. I so enjoy visiting all of you. So please keep the welcome mat out for me. I will be there soon with a huge dollop of cheer.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.....


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Part Three: Why Cats Wear Monkey Pants

I've saved the best for last. I have proof of the evolution of monkey pants. The missing link. The sweet truth.

When hurricane Hannah separated two white tigers from their mother,
Anjana came to the Rescue. Anjana, a chimp at TIGERS in South Carolina ,
became surrogate mom and playmate to the cubs, even helping with bottle
feeding, according to The Sun. But here's the truly amazing part:
Anjana does this all the time, having raised a leopard, and lion cubs.

And this is why cats wear monkey pants. They were raised that way.
Simple as that....


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