Tag Archives: past

In my youth



I’m painting (on canvas) for the first time in months, listening to a playlist on Spotify that depicts my life and times in words, songs.   “Rocky Mountain High” just played, which was, I believe, our 8th grade graduation song.   John Denver got me through MUCH in my youth.   The, what seemed insurmountable problems of youth, which seemed so very difficult, something like a blemish on my face, or my favorite Levi’s not clean for a date, etc.   I think about it sometimes, as I drive by the local high school and see these YOUNG KIDS and I question, “Was I really ever that young?”    And then, putting into proportion the immense deep feelings I had for a kid that I had hoped would last into adulthood.  I’m laughing now.  IF ONLY relationships were that easy!  ha!    But it’s nice to think about being so young, so innocent.  And certainly the woes of that time were real, and feelings are so deep because you’ve yet to experience life, to experience loss, to experience the pain of broken hearts or dreams.    I’m not meaning to sound cynical, not at all.   I guess I’m just saying, the innocence and naivety are covered with blankets of protection of our youth.

I’ve often written about music.  How important it is to my well being, to my mental health.  I simply don’t know how I could ever live without it.    In thinking about life’s necessities, and if I were given only one luxury, would I choose music over art?    I think I probably would!  And yet art is so important to me, ingrained in every aspect of my being.   I’m so fortunate that I have known passion for such.   I’m grateful for that.  I’m grateful for where my paint brush has taken me in life, and all the good it has brought me to.

Now, a song by Toni Child’s “I’ve got to go now”.   A song about a woman in love with an alcoholic, who tosses her and his children aside for the almighty bottle.   This song actually relates to the three major relationships I’ve had in my life.  All alcoholics.  The first, who physically beat me, the second who emotionally did, and the last, the one who gave me so much, and likewise, took so much of me when we parted.     “Must be addicted to all this pain, because I keep coming back for the shame.  Dear God give me the strength to leave, I’ve got to keep going, keep going this time”.   Powerful song, and an epitaph of my past relationships.    Listening to this song does not always make me sad.  Shat it does is get me in touch with the courage I have mustered in my life.  The starting over, the strength and fortitude that comes when you say goodbye to the one you love, because you know, if you stay, you will die before he.

Now, “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks.  I LOVE this song.  It’s been, what I call, my “recovery” song.  Questioning, seeing, surviving.  “Oh, mirror in the sky.  What is love?  Can the child within my heart rise above?  Can I sail through the changing ocean tide?  Can I handle the seasons of my life?”   I go to this song when I am questioning,  seeking strength, seeking guidance.  Doubt becomes certainty, becomes strength, endurance, and then even on top of that becomes the silver lining of it all.  “But time makes you bolder, and children get older, and I’m getting older too…”   Life, learning, lessons.   I’ve become the person I wanted to be, when it comes to morals, standards, strength.  And how did I do that?   Only after the landslide took me down.

Life these days is pretty straight forward.   I am working hard on myself, and my home.  I am focused, aligned, very content with my life.  Change is coming, I’m not afraid of it, nor am I afraid of how it will change me.    I’ve got a track record now.   All the difficulties have thickened my skin, but not my heart.  My heart is strong, my thoughts are clear, and damn, I just had pistachio ice cream!

Music?  A necessity for me.  I have an italian friend who says she couldn’t live without olive oil.  Me?  I couldn’t live without music.   What’s your necessity?

And now I’ll close as “Rhythm of my Heart” Rod Stewart, is playing.”The rhythm of my heart is beating like a drum, , with the words I love you rolling off my tongue, Never will I roam, for I know my place is home, where the ocean meets the sky I’ll be sailing!”  Have a great weekend!  Chase your desires, your dreams, or hell, just get yourself an ice cream, and sit and listen to your favorite tunes.    Love to you…





“Donna, have you listened to music today?”  My friend Shawn would ask me, when I was having a particularly hard day.  “When are you going to realize it’s your muse?”

This was about ten years ago now!   No!  I know I loved music, but I really had no idea how powerful it was to me.  But he was and is right!

One of my favorite “materialistic” items is, indeed my Bose Wave which I worked very hard to acquire.  I LOVE music.  And I like to listen to it and hear every instrument, every word uttered.   Even my computer speakers are Bose!   I want to hear MUSIC, damnit!

These days, free streaming is available and it’s just awesome how much music we have within our reach, easily, affordable.   If I am out and about and I hear or think about a song, I will note it in my “notes” on my phone, and when I then sit down again at the computer I look at the songs I wanted to add.  It’s amazing how many long forgotten songs you can come up with!

When I was in grade school, in a small town in New Hampshire, we had a Chinese music teacher.  Her name was Mrs Chang.   “Okay students, it’s time for moooosic lessons!”    It was one of my favorite parts of the school week!

I’m always amazed at how powerful music is to my soul.  Always.  Which makes me laugh.  Because that just means it gets better and better!     Driving down the road, listening to music, I can feel 18 again, or recall people, places in my life that have for whatever reason, disappeared.   It can reach within the aging skin, harshness of yesterdays, or todays, and find my buried spirit.   How about you?

At 15 I started working, and the first thing I bought with the money I made was a pioneer stereo.  Oh my god!   I thought I had died and gone to heaven!  Having like minded sisters and brother who equally loved music, and parents who introduced us to it, there were sometimes five stereos going at once.    I have a huge smile on my face right now, thinking about this.

My sister introduced us all to “CCR –  Creedance Clearwater Revival”.  Oh my dad didn’t like that music, but my mom did.   Every single one of us younger kids (three) spanning 10 year age difference was a fan of CCR.

I jumped in my mom’s car yesterday, and she had Bob Seger playing.  It brought back very fond memories for me.  He’s one artist I have found hard to find on feeds.  Anyway, I had every Bob Seger album, cassette (Thankfully I came into stereos when 8 tracks were going out!), and when then came out on CD, my sister would come and steal them, leaving the jackets of all, so I wouldn’t know it!    To this day I smile.  I love that we all had this connection.

Music…. my muse.   It can raise me up, and certain songs can drop me pretty low, if I allow my psyche to go there, so I don’t!   But I know what songs I can listen to if I need the added push to be able to cry.

I have heard a few times over the course of my life that if you are singing, you cannot be unhappy.   I don’t know about that, but I do know it can get me out of some dark places and instantaneously seat me in a better place, or in a creative place.   And when I get to singing, yeah, you know, I think it makes everything better.  It doesn’t take away problems but it surely adds spark and quality to my life!

I can get through anything with music on my side!   And I can easily spend an afternoon searching for music from my past online.  How quickly hours can go by when music is part of it, for me anyway.

What am I grateful for today?   Mooooosic!!!!!!!!!!!      Thank you, all artists!


But I digress…..


The constant fall of rain is watering my flowers gardens today.   It also made for a great morning to sleep in, to which I did, to which I enjoyed.

I slept longer today than I should have, but it felt good and since rising I feel better than I did earlier when I was up to let the dogs out.

Yesterday while sitting outside I watched a jack rabbit (believed to be momma) hop around.   Fortunately the dogs were inside at this time otherwise I wouldn’t have seen her.  She has several babies which are sweet!   I guess my neighbors dogs have been bringing home bunnies.  I don’t think he hurts them, just brings home the “catch of the day”.    Typically I have bunnies living underneath my shed.    I am endeared to their presence and the many blue birds that have nested in the bird houses I put up hoping for their return.   This year has changed.   I still have blue birds but not as many as usual.   And the sweet bunnies that used to take refuge under my shed are now under my neighbors shed, replaced with a mother skunk and 2 babies underneath mine.  UGH!   They are very hard to get rid of, for obvious reasons.   The shed is filled with canvas, artwork, I can only imagine how they would smell should they all decide to spray.  Once in a while I get the faint smell of one.    Joy oh joy!

Amidst change, how I handle situations that once sent me over the edge, I find myself more quiet than I have ever been.   I don’t always, but still frequently, have music on when I’m in the jeep, and as I sit here writing this, I am at peace with the pitter patter of rain and the soft sounds of this keyboard.   I like the quiet.  I really do.

A friend of mine told me over a decade ago now “Music… music is your muse”.  Well, one might think that I could or would have figured that out on my own, but I did not.   When he said that I started to “test” his theory and he was, indeed, correct.   Why is it that I can sing songs from the 70s and 80s verbatim but not remember why I went into another room?

With the summer heat rolling in I’ve unpacked what summer clothes I have.   Upon changing into Capri’s the other day I noticed my legs were as white as my refrigerator.  Oh boy!    Scrounging through my collection of crèmes, lotions I found some of the ‘instant’ tanning.    Nothing like the days when I was in high school and it would turn your face bright orange, they have finally perfected it to a rather pretty shade of burnt orange!   I’ve never been good with this stuff, always in a hurry and not careful about application and this time was no different.   The next day when I was getting dressed I looked at my feet.  My goodness, it looked like someone finger painted my toes and feet!   The good news is, if you rub hard enough, the “instant tan” disappears!  So I was rubbing my toes pretty hard before I went out in the public!

Friends posted that they are going to Disney for a day or two.   I am so happy for them.  I am so jealous.   I love Disney and the few times I have been there.   I think five, to be exact.    It really is a magical place.   I always get confused as to Disney World and Disneyland.   Florida, okay?   Walt Disney and I share a birthday.   He was quite the visionary.   I have read that he filed bankruptcy on several occasions before achieving success.   I am not sure which ride I like best, my favorite park is MGM Studios, I love Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted House and too many others to name.   I DISLIKE, however, “It’s a small world”.   By the time I get off that ride I’m ready to hit someone!     The Tiki Room was another least favorite of mine, though I know that has long since been retired.   Carousel of Progress, also retired, was another favorite.   Disney was the first place I found I could go and think of nothing but what was in front of me, living in the moment I guess.   All worries were cast aside once I entered the theme parks.   I hope one day I will go there again.  It really is a magical  place.   I always have looked at the props and thought how fun it would be to design and paint them.  Imagination run wild!  What a legacy Walt Disney left, what a legacy!

I can’t help but think about the “Carousel of Progress” as I drive by childhood homes, stores which have long since been replaced by strip malls, stores, automotive stores.   A couple of years ago the “Kipling Theatre” was torn down and an Aldi’s grocery store replaces it.  Rudyard Kipling lived here.   The theatre was named after him.   While walking into Aldi’s the other day I thought about the many wonderful memories that were housed in the now gone theatre.  Jim and I went to the movies every Friday night for several years.    The Kipling Theatre was one of two in the small community.     It’s been hard for me to let go, to let my memories be distant.  I’ve held so tightly to them.  When we split I thought my world would never be the same again and that was indeed true.  Learning of his death caused pain of epic levels.   While entering the grocery store I thought of how all things end.  I thought of how he had moved on, and while I did not give much merit to this, by this time his alcoholism had progressed to levels too uncomfortable to think about, I thought of how I must move beyond all the pain of my past.    Watching the theatre dismantled reminded me to dismantle my pain one brick at a time.    Life can be so very hard.






Time is the answer to all of this crime….


As I type this I feel a cool breeze flowing through my hair [what am I eating?]… and see the white crap piling up outside.   If this keeps up I’m going to have to quit claim my house over to the guy who plows me out.    Should probably feed him, he’s been here so frequently lately.

It took me an hour and a half to get home.  Normally this would take 15 minutes.   I must say, however, that I didn’t come across any twirps who go 90 mph because they have 4wd and think they’re untouchable.  Reminds me of a sad day for me when I left my sisters.   There was a hell of a snowstorm.  I was crying, not knowing if I would see her again, her life was coming to close.    Around the corner passing me, which was surely a double solid line but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt… the roads were totally covered with snow…a guy in this BMW SUV with the license plate “STYLIN” .     I just shook my head, continued creeping slowly for safety.  Around the next corner there was Mr. “Stylin”, upside down in the opposite lane.    He be styling alright!   I think the only thing that got hurt was his pride, his ego.  I have seen this scenario many times.  I have 4 wheel drive, and I am not exempt from ice.  The trick is I KNOW that!

The weatherman got the 100% chance of snow right today, though the accumulation of only an inch was hogwash.  ENOUGH SNOW ALREADY!   It is below freezing too.     Just not a good mix.   Because the snow plow took out my mailbox I have to pick it up at the post office.  I didn’t stop today, too dangerous to try to get out of there.  Visibility stinks and its at a 4 way intersection.

When the hell is groundhog day, anyway?

Conquering my past.   This was discussed today in therapy.   I never looked at what I was doing this way.  When my therapist said that I smiled.. Yeah… Yeah!   I’m conquering my past.  It is no longer holding me hostage.  Well, the majority of the time.    I have good days and bad, like everyone else.  Everyday I think of my sisters, Jim.  Everyday I miss them.  Sometimes the reality of their passing can drop me to my knees.   I “forget” so to speak.   It’s sort of like that as a breast cancer survivor, too.    I sometimes am “shocked” to the reality that I had breast cancer.  I do not dwell on this, but one day I was calling Mass General Hospital Cancer Center and when they answered the phone stating such, it smacked me, too, across the face.  How many women have I known and lost to breast cancer?  How many woman have I loved and lost to breast cancer?   Another time I was heading to radiology at the hospital from my primary care providers.  It’s all in the same area, just different buildings.  As I was walking over I glanced at the form my pcp had given me for admissions.   On the form was a “suspected diagnosis” or whatever it is for insurance purposes.   It read “breast cancer metastasis.  Talk about a reality check.

I learned last week that another childhood friend passed of breast cancer.  She was 5 years younger than me.   All too green are the memories of family members and their own bouts with cancer.   In my family we have two gene mutations.  BRCA2+ and HNPC (Lynch Syndrome).  Every member of my immediate family has had cancer. most 2 different cancers.  Two of my three sisters have died of Ovarian Cancer, my youngest and my oldest.  Prevalent.   I made it to 47 before diagnosis.    Always green are the difficult memories of treatment, mostly for my sisters.  My own diagnosis wasn’t nearly as threatening as theirs.  I guess it’s because I felt like I had some semblance, some control over my own.

As I was driving home today I talked to my sister.  I do this a lot.   Her passing at 38, 10 months from the date of her diagnosis, was one of the most difficult times of my life.  At times it still can be.   We were a year and a half apart, close.   Some days I’m confident that I will see her, feel her again, other days not so much.  Those are the days that are the hardest.

Loss, so frigan hard.  The toughest terrain I have ever walked in my life.  It seems every day one of my facebook friends has lost someone important..parent, child, sibling, spouse.  Every time I read one of these posts I try to leave validating words.   I know too well there is nothing I can do or say that will take away their pain.  There are some things that I could say callously that will cause further pain for them.  Knowing the difference is key.  Even after so much loss, I still have the potential to say something stupid, but that is about me.  I want to walk away knowing I’ve in some way helped them, and know too well, cannot do so.  Yes, we can be kind, validating, help them by sitting quietly with them, letting them sit silently or talk.   The first few months are such a shock.    I know I wasn’t “right” when grieving.   It’s another whole mind onset.   There is little clarity, a heavy broken heart, and static that keeps my soul restless, in pain.   But I digress.

I guess I started talking about this because of the topic of “conquering my past”.  Loss is a painful part of my past.  One would think it would get easier with each passing.   It doesn’t.   I think time teaches us how to coexist with the pain, the reality, the loss.   There will not be a day in my life where I don’t think of those I’ve loved, those that I lost.  I still talk to them like the crazy old woman who others see as talking to themselves.   I’ve been around enough to know that this isn’t it.  But in the meantime it just doesn’t seem to be “enough”, walking through life without them.

With each past painful thing I release I am freer.   It loosens up my life or death grip of the memories and sets me free to remember the better times.   Death is such an abstract event.   Such is life, such is life.  I remind myself how fortunate I am to still have my parents, to still have my remaining two siblings, and so many other family members and friends.    It really is all about the present moment.  If I’m clinging to my past I am not in my present moment.  Sometimes it’s just too painful.

I fool myself sometimes.   I think “I have plenty of time to finish my book”.  Reality is, I don’t know that.  None of us do.   In a warped sort of way I think by procrastinating I will live longer, as if to escape the deuce.  Not true.

Now I shall go enjoy my afternoon.  I will stop moaning about the weather, release the thoughts and feelings that make my chest feel like a tightened up, clenched hand, and try to bask in the positive.   There is much in my life to be positive about.

I remember when my youngest sister died, I thought “How do I stop loving this person?”  Hindsight is always 20/20.  You don’t.  It’s amazing that even through their absence, the love continues to grow.  It’s actually quite beautiful.     Have a blessed day, thanks for taking your precious time to read this blog…time is our most precious commodity.  When I am sick I am frustrated, thinking “I wasted another day”.   I have to remind myself that I am a human being, not a human doing.



Tossing the cape of fear…


Today’s lesson:  

Life goes on in spite of my willingness to accept it

Today I am grateful for a warm place to live, food in my cupboards, comfortable clothing and shelter and food for my animals from this frigid cold. 

I’m halfway between what was once familiar and Lord only knows where. I stand on the tips of my toes in hopes to see glimpses, hints, the destination of what lies ahead for me.  I cry for the loss of love and the love that I have yet to find. I find the temptation to reach back to the “comfort” of yesterday ironic, given that many of the things I now seek to find “comfort in were clearly unwelcomed and unpleasant. Why must change be so frightening to me? Why, when all of my life I have been given what I need, given signs leading me forward to the next adventure, the next chapter of my life, why should I doubt now?

I do not think we can live simultaneously in comfort and courage. Which shall I choose? More ironic is that which I appear to be unwelcoming now, will one day be the comfort in which I seek again! Will I chose comfort, or will I choose courage? Is there really a choice? I know the sting that comes from looking back to a reality that no longer exists.

Earlier in life I saw glimpses of what I thought would be my future, most of which came true. Earlier in life I didn’t steer clear of what I have “known” I am here to do. The older I get, the more distance I have placed between the two. Shouldn’t it be the other way? Is my learned behavior, learned fear, learned pain, blinding me, diverting me from what I know in my heart I should do? Yes, I know my life has purpose, and I am gifted with knowing what some of that is. Right now is a bit rough, as it’s reached a point where the best of intentions are no longer enough. I have never forgotten my first time on a ski trail. An adult fearful of the steep slope while youngsters, barely as tall as my thighs, flew by me, singing! They had yet to learn the dangers, the fear of the danger…they were clearly in the moment. They had yet to place and wear the exceedingly heavy backpack filled with maps, signs, insurance in case they become lost or hurt.

I feel the energy, the change of friendships, family. I both feel and see the change of what maturity has taught me. I must accept or I will be dragged. Is this really the manner in which I want to welcome my present? My tomorrows? When I have continually and timely received all that I have ever needed to move forward, my faith has been tried and true. Therefore I am asking myself, is this exhilaration that I am feeling, or tribulation?

Just as I see the branches on the trees change through the seasons, I know the existence of seasons of our lives. I’ve still the memories of what I thought, and still do, were clips, clips of my life guiding me to the next part of this journey. Why am I turning to fear, in essence placing a ball and chain on myself that could not possibly and will not stop the changing of seasons only serving to weigh me down bearing all with no protection!

I needn’t be dragged, I needn’t be afraid, I needn’t know what lies ahead, all I need to do is be willing, show up, and let the clips flow together, which will make up the film, the story of my life. I am and always have been given what I need.

Do you think I’ll be served popcorn?

Today the piece of my art I am sharing is…

update 007

Help, it’s Fall and I can’t give it up!



<p>The air is warm, the wind is eloquently blowing leaves off the beautifully painted trees.&nbsp; I caught myself today doing the very thing I complain about with others.&nbsp; Old Vermonters would call them “flatlanders”… though I don’t.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; On my way home from town I found myself stopping dead in my tracks several times if not to catch a glimpse but also a picture of the beautiful views surrounding me.&nbsp; I love New England (please remind me of that this Winter when I am bitching about it).</p><p>&nbsp;</p>

As I watched the leaves drop from the trees in a manner that was reminiscent of the feather in “Forest Gump”, I found myself smiling, enjoying the perfectly laid out landscape in front of me. This, I said to myself, is living mindfully. Envisioning the fallen leaves as people and things passed, they still lay on the ground as evidence that they were once part of foliage’s prime.  The vibrant, moving colors swaying above and over me with the wind, the reds, yellows, greens of the leaves still clinging to the branches, these are what kept my attention, I looked to this as the “here and now”, the present.  Overhead were grey skies, cloud which I didn’t focus on, just acknowledged.   Even if I wanted to, it would be hard given the colors present surrounding me.  The grey skies signify winter, winter is in in our near future.  Not to be focused on, dwelled on, feared, but again, acknowledged.   Living in the moment, not the past, has been one of my biggest challenges in life.    How do I find balance between the present, the past and the future?

With all my attention on the colorful trees, I took deep breaths, reminded myself of the fragility of the present.   In a few days the trees will be bare, the ground will be covered with foliage gone by, and a new present picture will surround us.   This reminded me that everything, too, shall pass, so enjoy this lovely moment, live in the moment, in the present.

I wonder how many people have not driven on an old back road.  A road so narrow if someone was driving in the opposite direction one of you has to pull over to let the other by.  Ah, country living, I am a country girl for sure.

Inspired by all that has encircled me on this incredible day, I shall now go pick up my paintbrush in hopes that the pulchritudinous of this experience flows from my heart, through my hand, onto canvas….  (Guess what the word of the day was? :))

Todays metaphor: The ground is my foundation, my past; Eyesight, what is in front of me, today; The sky, my future, blurry, obscure, unknown.