Saturday, April 24, 2010

Testing from Cincinnati

Stephanie and I made it here and spent a pleasant day shopping for supplies for the photo shoot. I feel great except for the crown that just fell off my molar; nothing like a soup diet to keep you from bingeing on cashews and trail mix. Hope this post works- my first try from my iPhone.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


My santo is pissed off. This morning she whispered to me that she wanted to be a fado singer and hang with the Portugese sailors instead of being a saint. She wants a noisy, boisterous life.

So - the results of my doctor's appointment this morning to discuss my voice loss. Sadly, I've pretty much even lost the weak croaking that I had for awhile. The doc explained that because over 4" of the vagus nerve was removed there would be no "miracle nerve regeneration". That in fact as the vocal chord lies dormant it will actually atrophy and grow weaker over time.

Blech. Moving on to the next rock-and-a-hard-place. I'm scheduled for thyroplasty surgery on May 18th. What they do is open the last incision back up and put a piece of gortex into the side of the vocal cord that is paralyzed to push it over so it can close better. This should help me with breathing and swallowing as well as giving me a louder voice.

The yucky side of this surgery is that they do it without putting you to sleep. As in gag, cough, can't breathe, and so on. I have a helluva gag reflex already which caused me a tough night after the first surgery so I am a little put off by that but it will be worth it if I can talk again.

Some things we choose, some things we endure. Thank your voice today. Laugh out loud at least once for me. xo

Sunday, April 18, 2010

She's Baaaacckkkkk

I can whisper and croak. It wears me out but at least I am no longer completely mute. Stephanie and I travel to our photo shoot on Friday for the plaster book with North Light. I feared finding myself lost in a distant airport, unable to ask for help. But that will not happen now. I can ask for help. And Stephanie is going to watch over me like a powerful goddess. I am going to take the plunge. If I fall on my face I will tell you. But I plan not to wobble.

There are elves in the studio again. Wrapping up doll heads in plaster gauze. They are very strange and beautiful.

If you do this, lengthen the noses and slim down the cheeks so your scultptures evolve from the doll proportions of baby-ness. I got this idea over at Tory Brokenshire's blog where she and her friends altered doll heads with Sculpey clay. Brilliant, I thought. And then I got to work.

I want to make more santos. I love the way plaster chips and ages. Plaster, plaster, plaster. I'm even dreaming of it. No one that Stephanie and I know of has done a book on plaster. It is scheduled to come out early 2011. We will show you the good stuff and hopefully there will be a resurgence of this common and lovely material on the craft scene. It can do nearly anything.

This is my new life. I am a little whopperjawed but still vertical. It is fascinating, really. What we can do. All of us.

Inspired by Lynne, I stretched some plaster gauze onto paper and did a painting on that, scribing lines into the plaster and building up layers.

After the first day I had this and liked the freshness of it. The plaster showing through. Whites sparkling. Sometimes it is a mistake to kill all the whites.

But then heck, I wanted more texture, more color, more puttering. So this is the "flushed" version. I say that because her lipstick is smeared; I think her beau slipped into the studio overnight and they had a kissing session. Remember when you kissed the beloved for so long that your lips swelled a little and you got the razor burn? (sigh) not TMI I hope.

She is my angel with the broken wing.

And here I am taken yesterday morning when my dear Shellie, Steff and Nate visited (daughters and grandson) bringing me a lei and pineapples from Hawaii. As you can see I'm not too much worse for the wear.

The sun is shining in Portland and the chipper-shredder is humming away in the garden. It soothes me to know that life goes on no matter what. New babies, the sun rising on schedule, energy and vitality everywhere I look. 99.6% of the world is perfection, kindness, beauty. That's good enough for me. xoxo

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shakey Shakey

The voyage continues. I am doing well but the one thing that has taken me off guard is the loss of my voice, my breath, my energy. They are all related. My understanding is that part of the vagus nerve was severed during the surgery and so now half of my vocal cords are paralyzed. I think a similar thing happens during certain thyroid surgeries. One thing the internet specializes in are horror stories so if any of you have experience with success stories regarding voice restoration I would love to hear them.

The good news is I can swallow food, my tongue works, I only have a bit of numbness and crooked smile. I didn't have a stroke or nerve damage to my face. I am grateful for all of that.

I don't know how long I am going to be mending. My brain charges ahead with ideas and projects while my body tries to keep up. All in all I am feeling very good. Your prayers, messages and comments were the medicine that brought me through and I thank you for taking the time to send them.

And omigoodness is that quilt ever cozy and like wrapping your body in love. It's my security blanket.

I might be invisible for awhile longer; I am working at half speed if that. Still, I am woman hear me RAWR. (I love you all so much.) xo

Sunday, April 04, 2010

El Viaje

This is the first page in my new journal. Pisces on a journey, rich and strange. Not to a geographic place but to a place inside the body and mind; a balancing act of confidence and humility. A new place.

Jen came to visit on Friday and we painted all day together. She had given me an unpainted wooden triptych some weeks ago so I decided that was what I wanted to paint. This is the outside. I think of it as a moon viewing panel; what we see when we gaze inside and outside.

This is the triptych opened up. She is very insignificant in her boat now; waiting quietly.

Today our family gathers for an Easter celebration while Easter, the spring equinox and the 7th Day of Passover are celebrated by friends in other places. Our weather is dreary in Portland but our hearts are joyful for the coming season; it's always beautiful to watch the earth renew herself with stunning strength and energy. The baby goats are clicking up their heels and we're remembering all the Easters past when we hid eggs and made baskets. 

Thank you for all your well wishes. I've taken a little break from answering emails but I've found myself strengthened by the ones sent to me. Thank you and all joy and love to you on this promising, beautiful day. Namaste.