just my thoughts


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imagine

Photography is an extension of every thought that I have. – Trent Parke

I love social media.  Where else can you have conversations with people who fire your own imagination to new heights through an ongoing exchange of fresh ideas and innovations?  For years I have watched people online who brought their own thoughts to life through their art, and by sharing their work inspired me to areas of thought I would never have experienced without the exposure to social media.  This has been what has driven and influenced my own work.  I am passionate about art in all its forms.  The one thing that makes being human unique is the ability to experience and enjoy creativity in forms too numerous to mention.

As a child I got that exposure through books, then movies and television.  With the advent of the computer age, there has been a veritable explosion of sharing, at a speed that is mind boggling.  I can’t say mind overload is unique to social media and computers, because even as a young child I would read so much so fast that my eyes would go blurry.  The main difference between past and present is that I am now more keenly aware that there is no way to experience it all.  For someone who loves to see and do new things, this has created anxiety and sadness at times, the fear that I will miss something, the knowing that I do miss so many things.

But juxtaposed against the anxiety and sadness at what I can’t see or do, is the joy I find in everything that I get to experience and learn.  The joy greatly outweighs the negative emotions, and keeps me pushing myself to use my imagination.  The joy that has led me to try to capture my life and thoughts, to share with others, but most especially for my family to have.  I find a lot of comfort in the thought that someday my grandchildren, and their children, will be able to see what I saw, and know me through what I have done.  That is my hope.

It is why I write my thoughts, and put what I see and think on canvas and in photos. It is an extension of me.

Just my thoughts….

…imagine life is good, and it will be… ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter


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tunnel vision

Been looking at this tunnel for months now.  This year hasn’t been the best, but I really can’t gripe much, because it could be worse.  Yes, things can get worse.  I’ve had those years too.  It’s been a while since I felt like pieces of the sky were falling, and hitting my head, but this year has taught me that it is time to bring out the safety helmet before the next piece of sky whacks me.

I don’t mean to sound negative, and I am sure that there are plenty of oh woe is me blogs out there, and I am really not that type of person.  Mostly I’ve been numb and just not dwelling on this cancer in my breast.  I am good at avoiding stuff. When things get tough, I have a knack for just not thinking about a problem if there is nothing I can do about it. I have to say, this problem has given me pause though. Time to think about where my life is, where I want it to go, and things I haven’t done that I want to do.  We all think about things that way sometimes, right?  I mean, I know I can’t be the only person who has felt these things.

I feel like I have kind of skipped all those stages of grief that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about, and just went straight to numb. As numb as the armpit and shoulder where the lymph node was removed.  I’m glad for small things, like finding out this cancer has a 94%ish cure rate, and that the lymph node was negative.  It almost makes me feel ashamed for feeling this numbness.  But it is there, and I can’t make it go away, so I am focusing now on the light at the end of the tunnel.  And allowing myself to be numb for the moment.  Thinking as I watch the clock tick away and the hours go by until this next surgery later this morning to remove the cancer cells that were missed, and that the tissue biopsy revealed.

So I look at Goliath and wonder what it will be like to have a breast with a crater in it, dread being put to sleep and the loss of control over my own body, dread the discomfort and pain afterward because I am so effing ready to be well again, and not this recovering surgery patient.  I want my effing life back, things back to normal.  I have SHIT TO DO.

So, hurry up sunrise, and let’s get this show on the road.  I have a life to live.

the light at the end of the tunnel

 My parting shot is a favorite Pink song, that exactly fits my mood right now…(alert, explicit language)…

Is there anything in life BETTER than rock and roll????  

 …life is good, dammit, so raise your glass!!… ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter


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favorite places and spaces in my mind

tea time

The prompt for July 3rd that caught my eye at Friday Reflections has had me thinking for days.  How could I pick one favorite place?  There have been so many of them.  I think about all the places I have traveled, the things I have seen and done.  How could I possibly whittle it to one favorite?  Janine Ripper at Reflections From a Redhead described her favorite place so colorfully, I was ready to pack a bag and leave right then.

But picking my favorite place?   It finally dawned on me.  The place that is my favorite of all is….

the grapes of cath

my mind

That’s right.  All the places I have visited, the things I have seen, are all trapped in lovely memories.  They are stored away, like a filing cabinet full of cards and photos, and I can revisit and think about them whenever I want to.  This ability to pull memories and close my eyes and be there is something I have always done.  It is especially helpful right now, at this moment in my life when there is so much going on with so many people in my life that I often wonder what will happen next.

watercolor, pen & ink

Today, I have pulled out a memory of one of those places.  My sister Vicky’s back yard (garden for those of you who don’t call a yard a yard) and one of the most peaceful places I have ever been.  It is a place I can sit quietly, looking at the flowers, birds, bees, and listening to the breeze blowing gently through the trees, stirring the leaves to a soft rustling sound.  It is a place I have painted, photographed and long to be when things are overwhelming.  It is my morning refuge, my favorite place to drink my tea and think about all the vagaries of life.

vix, watering her plants

It is a place I return to at least twice a year…and where I will return once more in October of this year.  Until then, I have my memories, filed away in my mind to pull out and relive over and over whenever I feel a yearning for peace and quiet.

morning in the garden

   

 

the perfect rose

 …life is good. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter


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finding the glass slipper

It’s been a bummer kind of week.  I have a not fun week coming up next week, and I was mulling it over in my mind this week, and getting kind of cranky in the process.  Then I went to the movies last night with Wretched Daughter, my youngest, and one of my nieces.  We had been planning to see Magic Mike XXL, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The first Magic Mike movie had been ok, but was a bit on the heavy side, taking itself way too seriously.  This second time around it was played lighter, more for laughs, and about ten minutes into the movie we were having a great time.  The script was a good match with the acting, and there were some classic lines in the movie.  There were also 4 women sitting in the row in front of ours, having as good a time as we were.  I think we were all stomping our feet, hollering and dancing to the music at times.

And as I watched the movie, and laughed with the girls around me, I forgot all my worries and just enjoyed the moment.  And what moments those were!  The music was good, the guys were luscious and the best part of the movie was Joe Manganiello’s hunt for the perfect glass slipper.  To find out what that means, you will have to see the movie yourself.  I’m not about to spoil it.  As far as I am concerned, gorgeous Joe stole the show.

When the movie was over, the women in front of us stood up, and the one closest to us said “come on, we are headed to Atlanta to a male review.  We can be there in 2 1/2 hours.”  When the three of us started laughing loudly at her tone and sound of determination, she grinned at us and said “y’all are welcome to go too”.  We were still laughing when we went out the front door on our way home.

Life isn’t perfect, but there is always something good to focus on, and something to make you laugh, if you let yourself find it.

…life is good when you spend it laughing. ~cath
  i am @jonesbabie on twitter


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ambulance chasing

June 26, 2015 was an important day for Stevie Wonder. Due for the first checkup since nearly dying in April when his pacemaker had to be replaced after an epic failure to pace his heart (read about it here), he was understandably nervous because he had developed atrial fibrillation after the new pacemaker was placed in his chest.  His recovery from the second surgery was a bit rough compared to the first time.  I tried to reassure him that he was doing ok, and just had to give himself time to heal.  He was a bit whiny about the whole thing in my opinion, but I think that was because my patience was thin from dealing with my own breast cancer and surgery, which was taking place almost simultaneously to what Steve was enduring.


The twins were staying with us for a few days, so they went with us to the clinic. We were going to wait for Gramps to get all his tests finished, then go eat a late breakfast. We left at the crack of dawn for an hour long drive to the clinic. Duncan used the seat belt as a hammock for his head so he could sleep.

Duncan in a head sling

As we walked into the clinic (it was attached to the main hospital), I was explaining to Maddie what an echocardiogram was and the way I watched Gramps heart beating on the monitor when he was in ICU, before his pacemaker was put in. Her response to what I felt was a brilliant description was: “Disgusting!”.

the long wait

 As we sat waiting, we talked, and I played a few games of checkers with the kids. Time passed…one hour, then two. As we began our third hour of waiting the kids were about to mutiny from hunger and thirst.  So I took them to another part of the clinic to get some juice and a snack.  As I was digging money out of my purse to buy juice for the kids, Maddie (who was standing near the hall) uttered the fateful words: “There goes Gramps”.

I figured she meant he had walked past and was headed to the waiting room looking for us.  I said as much, and that was when she lowered the boom: “No, he wasn’t walking, he was on one of those rolling tables.”

“WHAT?” I said.
“He was on a rolling table Grammy.”
At this point I looked a little panicky because I was caught between putting a $1 bill in a machine for a snack for Maddie, and taking off after the gurney. Maddie made my mind up quickly when she said: “I don’t need a snack Grammy!”
So we took off down the hall. The hall took several turns, like a snake. Maddie had run ahead to scout Steve’s location as I brought the rear up with a still sluggish Duncan. She would get to one turn, I would shout at her “CAN YOU SEE HIM?”, she would shout back “YES I CAN”, and then we would advance to the next bend in the hall.

In my mind the whole time was that SW had collapsed during the stress test, and they had come looking for me to tell me they were transporting him to wherever they needed to go to fix him, and couldn’t find me because I WAS BUYING EFFING SNACKS FOR STARVING GRANDKIDS.

After what felt like a mile of scouting, reporting and running, I ran out of steam as I made it to the last bend and saw the end of the gurney and a nurse waaaaaaaaaaaay down the hall just going out of sight. I decided we would go back to the waiting room and wait until someone found us and told us the bad news.

So we sat there, they split Duncan’s honeybun and drank their juice and I fidgeted like I had ants in my pants. About an hour later, Steve walked in the door of the waiting room.

bubba gramps

WALKED.  I jumped up and almost shouted at him “ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?”
He looked at me like I had lost my mind and said “yes”.
I said “did you go by on a gurney about an hour ago?”
“No” he said.

Then it hit me.

I had been chasing a stranger down the halls of the hospital. I asked Maddie how she knew it was Gramps on the gurney. She said: “because he had white hair and was wearing a mask like Gramps does when he is sleeping.”  Steve saw my face and knew something was up, so I had no choice but to tell him what had happened.

He started laughing.

He was still laughing 4 hours later every time someone called to check on him and he got to tell the story again.

an anticlimactic end to the morning, at Waffle House

I thought I had finally lived it down until Steve said a few hours later:

I would have loved to see what happened if you’d caught that gurney and saw you’d been chasing a stranger down the hall.

Steam started coming out of my ears at this point.

I am now the victim of another Steve story, which grows with “embellishments” every time he tells it.

…life is like chasing gurneys, you never know where you are going or what lies ahead. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter


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book launch: Living an Alive Life! by Tara Schiller

I have the privilege and honor to have guest blogger Tara Schiller here today, on a very exciting day for her! Today is the launch of her book, Living an Alive Life!  Tara is an author, life coach, business woman, and mom of four who will help you discover your true self, and live your life with purpose.  In Living an Alive Life, Tara shares her life experiences as she provides valuable exercises to help you discover how to live life fully as the person you are intended to be.  Please take the time to read Tara’s post here, and to visit her blog, Absolutely Tara.  Without giving away any spoilers, I will say that I discovered it is ok to be selfish.  (I was surprised about it too!).  I had several AHA moments as I read Living an Alive Life, and I know you will too!  Read on, and learn how  you too, can life life fully.  (You can also follow @taraschiller on Twitter.)

From Tara:
If I could tell you one thing, it would be that you are amazing. And that you are absolutely and completely worthy of love for anything and everything that you are. I’d tell you that all those parts of you that you feel are ugly, bad, or worthy of shame, are in fact, what makes you so uniquely beautiful in the first place. Because you’re interesting. You’re full of character, and emotions, and life.
If you could see your heart through my eyes, you’d see perfection alone. You’d know that anyone who didn’t love you was completely out of their mind, and you’d feel sad for them because they missed out on something great in their lives by not knowing you.
But even if I told you these things, would you believe me? Would you take it in and protect it with your life? Maybe for a minute.
The reality is, most of us aren’t able to see ourselves this way. We’ve gone our whole lives being told what makes us accepted by others and what drives them to reject us. And since our mind is wholly devoted to protecting our heart, it has produced an acceptance gathering projection so we can feel loved.
But the problem is, we don’t just want to be loved, we want to be known. Being known is what connects us, not only to others, but to ourselves.
The mind doesn’t like that idea, because it can’t control how others react to our true hearts. It can’t create a good and bad master list and ensure we behave accordingly. And if it can’t do that, it won’t be able to protect us from rejection. The mind hates rejection. And so we aren’t known by others, and we aren’t in touch with who we truly are.
How do we overcome this? How do we retrain the mind to value the truth about our hearts over the acceptance of others? That’s what my book is about.
In Living an Alive Life, I focus on retraining the mind to value your true self, then turning those discoveries into something real and tangible with an actionable plan, and dealing with the emotional obstacles that will surface along the way.
If you go through this process and learn to value your truth, you will be able to live a life that fits you, not one that you’ve been told you’re supposed to live. And when you can become who you truly are, you will come alive. And an alive version of you will leave the world in awe!

-Tara Schiller


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life, washed down with cherry garcia

These thoughts go hand in hand with #FridayReflection prompt:  Reflect on the following quote: “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” – Janis Joplin

When life throws me a curve, I head for my standby coping skill…music.  Lately it’s been music from my past, and last night it was the Grateful Dead.  I decided I needed some ice cream to add to my cope plan (that is my weapon for extreme emotional punches to the gut).  And my go to flavor is Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. I grabbed some, and then spotted my newest coping obsession beckoning enticingly from a shelf on my way out.  I swear I didn’t intend to do it, but suddenly they landed in the cart.

So last night was a time for ruminating, minimal communication with my family to keep them in my loop, and just vegging with music and a sugar high.  Because let’s face it, the Grateful Dead still effing rocks, and Cherry Garcia slides soothingly across your tongue.

Along with a big ahhhhh of a bite of Banana Hostess Twinkies, a new flavor in a cake that is as big a part of my past as the Beatles, Disneyland, Santa Monica Beach and on and on.

And I realized as I slurped, chewed and listened, that what is happening is a bump in the road, and not a mountain. So it is time to deal, and move on, not to whine or worry.  Time to focus on the present, and let the rest take care of itself.

Sometimes, when you are grateful to be alive, all you need is the Grateful Dead in your ears, and some Cherry Garcia to wash it down.

…life is good with a little cherry garcia on it…  ~cat
i am @jonesbabie on twitter