I am going to attempt to try the impossible.

I have been wanting to get back to my magnificent muse writings but felt I really couldn’t do another without writing first about my mom. I have been thinking about it for months and so many memories, lessons and thank-yous, it seems impossible to write the words that will encompass all of the love and energy that is my mom. So this will just have to be one of many so that I am not too paralyzed to start. Knowing that the gratitude and inspiration is never ending will allow me to begin. Perhaps this will be my new mother’s day tradition. Normally, I plant the sunflower seeds she sends me every year on Mother’s day, but that will have to wait until later week when the weather is better.


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My mom sends me sunflowers every year. What joy they bring!




My favorite picture of my mom and me.





It really feels impossible to know where to begin. There is just so much.

As I look out the window at the SNOW falling this May 11th.. (hey, it’s my half-birthday!)… my first thank you is that she taught me to love and care for my little corner of the earth. I am mourning the loss of all the iris, peony, and delphinium blooms that are now frozen. She would be just as devastated.

I could describe every plant and flower on our property in Virginia where I grew up. The rows of daffodils on the east side of the driveway, the dogwood where the cars were parked, the azaleas that surrounded the front porch, the lilies and forsythia along the fence row, the wisteria where our old english sheepdog would eat the bumble bees…. I can still see and smell it all. She created a natural, magical place for us to grow up. I loved getting to garden along side of my mom. At the end of the driveway, we would plant some zinnias and marigolds. I can see her long tan legs, her hair tucked behind her ear and her beautiful hands working the soil in my mind.  She now lives on a beautiful hilltop along the Blue Ridge Mountains, a lifetime away from the hilltop of my childhood. Once again, she has created beautiful spaces that match the view. I’ll be going to see her in a month and I can’t wait to see how her living canvas has grown and matured and what else she has created on her corner of the earth. Last year, I received a box in the mail full of plants from her own garden. Much to my surprise most of them are coming back this year. Hopefully the snow won’t kill them off. I love having plants that her hands cared for here in my yard. It feels magical.


My mom loves and celebrates the magic of childhood. It was simple but magical. And when I think back on my favorite memories, it was she who orchestrated them. The first one that pops into my mind was an incredibly hot summer day. We lived in an old farmhouse and back then very few people had air conditioning. We had some A/C units in our bedrooms that got turned on at night on rare occasions. It was so hot. Too hot to even really think. She got my sister, Jenny and me special coloring books. We never had coloring books, which I thank her for now. She gave me a Raggedy Ann and Andy story coloring book that had tracing paper between the pages. My Raggedy Ann doll was a treasure. I loved her until she was bald and I actually still have her. Someone will have to throw her away once I leave this world.  Mom brought down the huge fan to the porch, left us in our matching floral nightgowns and I think I sat and colored and traced that entire book. We sang songs into the fan to make our voices distorted, made popsicles from orange juice. I loved that day. I wonder if she remembers. She was probably running around taking care of my baby sister, Christin and was thinking that the dollar she spent on coloring books was a brilliant move to keep us busy and from whining.  At least that’s what I would have thought.  She took us on our own special days to raft the river or go to an art museum with just her. No siblings allowed. She celebrated us as individuals and allowed us to be exactly who we were. That has turned out to be the greatest of all gifts.

Of course growing up, I didn’t think she had it all right. I remember being furious that my sisters sometimes had  later curfews or that our punishments were never the same as another’s. I foolishly tried to call her out on this and she looked at me calmly and said that consequences and privileges would be as individual as we were and appropriate for that person. I was speechless. She, what I think is brilliant NOW and annoying back then, put all the responsibility right back on to us. As a single mom she had to take the brunt of it all. I don’t know how she did it. Even with her wonderful circle of girlfriends, who were our other mothers, she worked tirelessly. She managed to get her landscape architect degree, work a full time job, drive 100 mile carpools (no exaggeration… country living) for ballet, gymnastics and tennis and do her best to manage a 80 year old farmhouse and land…. believe me half of our childhood was spent cutting grass and my friend Jennifer and I would clean each other’s houses in order to have sleepovers! She got us on track for college which was mandatory, and made sure that we were strong, independent girls so she could send us out into the world. It took a lot of growing up on my part to really see ALL that she did for us. We understood to a degree the huge task she had in raising us, but not until we became mothers ourselves could we fully appreciate the endless work she did. And, I have decided that she must actually have magic powers.

She still creates her simple magic. Two years ago, my boys went to stay with her while I visited with a friend. They took mason jars filled with grass to catch lightening bugs, which we sadly don’t have here in Colorado. She let them put them by their beds as night lights and then they  released them the next morning. She gave them trays with different colored puddings and let them finger paint and them told them they could eat it.. but with their hands behind there backs! They thought she was crazy and loved every second of licking their pudding masterpieces. The boys now help her garden when they are there and she sends them pictures of how “their” flowers are doing. There are picnics by the river with rock skipping competitions and she won’t back down, not one bit. She has taught them, like she did us, to be curious as to what’s around the next corner. To want to explore and see more. And, because of this we have had some special, spontaneous, magical days.

But perhaps the most magical memory that she gave to both my sisters and now all of her grandchildren is the magic of sunset. When we were little girls we would have our bath after dinner and in the summer get to go outside with her to blow the sundown over the Blue Ridge Mountain. I remember feeling convinced that if we worked hard enough, we were actually the ones making the sun set. Afterwards, we would say good night to the sun, run under the maple trees to catch lightning bugs and then go upstairs to read before bed. It was a brilliant move to get us to bed. But, what it taught me is to take the time to slow down and be in the moment. I so clearly can feel every last bit of oxygen leaving my body as the last sliver of sun sunk down behind the mountains. I remember that it felt like bad luck to inhale at that moment. She now takes her grandchildren out to blow the sundown when we are together. There is nothing more magical than watching her with them in that moment. The golden color on the faces of the people who anchor me in the past and future and in pure love is definitely a magical experience to be right in the middle.


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My boys blowing the sun down at family reunion, Pipesteam, WVA.


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The sunset at Pipestem!


Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You truly are magic.

I love you.


I know I misspell a lot of words here and have all sorts of editing mistakes. In all honesty, I just sit, write and then send it out into the world,  as I would rather spend my time painting, gardening, reading or tackling my huge to do list than edit. But, I did not misspell the title of this blog post.

It is actually my favorite word of all time.  You won’t find it in the dictionary, yet, but it does exist. It is a special word that I believe has magical powers, especially when it comes from my son, Chachi’s mouth. It is one of many words that my boys have mixed up or gotten wrong as toddlers and little boys and it is the one word I refuse to “correct” because I think it is already so right.

Pretember can be used for both pretend and remember.  I will hear him say when he plays with his cousin Bo, “pretember that you are a cheetah and I’ll pretember to be a shark.”  Or he will come ask me, “pretemeber when we went to the farm and saw the baby pigs?” It is just the cutest thing to hear him say it. I will try to work a conversation to see if it will pop out of his mouth. Perhaps, what makes it even better is that Chachi is my strong, private, tough, super masculine boy with a sweet, high-pitched voice that melts my heart. So when that voice says “Pretember” it stops me in my tracks. I know he will lose the word soon. He is 6 and has no idea that he isn’t at least 10 or 11. As the third, who gets to share a room with his two big brothers, he has never realized that he is as young as he actually is and he does a pretty good job of keeping up.

A year ago, I was in the Evolve class through the Arts Incubator of the Rockies, based here in Fort Collins. To me it was a business class for artists, creatives, entrepreneurs… anybody with an idea, dream or passion. Between the classes that give you a road map of steps to follow and the one on one coaching sessions, I was able to take my pretend and set it in motion. I am just at the beginning of this journey into my dream of being a working artist, and as I sit here and remember the past year the word that comes to mind and best describes this how to keep moving forward is of course, pretember.

I am a wonderfully talented daydreamer. Sometimes, I am so grateful for the escape my daydreams can take me, other times, quite honestly, I scare myself, but the best is when I can turn them into healthy intention. When my pretend daydream leads to a goal, because it is too consuming to ignore, I have to pay attention and remember my passion for it is pointing me in the right direction… pretember.  The word feels like it hits me at a cellular level. The combination of pretending and remembering seems too perfect. Pretend you can reach for anything you set your mind, and more importantly, your heart too and always remember what your reason for doing so in the first place. Pretending and remembering at the same time seems to lead to action, carries you through difficult days, sparks new ideas and makes those wonderful daydreams a reality.

Happy Pretembering!! 



Beautiful in the Shadows

My eyes look like that of a Basset hound… red and drooping. Between the pine pollen and three hours of sleep, I feel the burn in my eyes like a mother with a new born. Fortunately, for me, I just dropped the boys off at school and a hot shower and a cup of tea will get me back on track.

But this tired was rewarded with the most glorious lunar eclipse last night.

It was magical. It filled my soul.

I set the alarm, but it wasn’t needed. I was too excited to sleep. When the earth’s shadow began to cover the moon, I went to the boys room to wake them up. (Something a mother of a newborn never does!) I had a flash back to my parents waking me up for a lunar eclipse while we were at the beach on vacation. I can remember the bunk room vividly and all of us on the deck watching while listening to the ocean tides pound the shore. I swear I could smell the salt air last night. I was mistaken, it was just stinky, sweat of my three growing boys.

My middle jumped up out of bed with a shot and was giddy and wild. The wolf is definitely his totem. My teenager, made his way slowly up the stairs and we remembered back to watching the lunar eclipse on the winter solstice two years ago. It was just the two of us and we ate a plate full of cookies and drank hot chocolate while wrapped up in blankets on the deck. That, too, was a night I will never forget; a favorite.

In our living room the south facing wall is nothing but glass. We rearranged the furniture and watched all snuggled up and decided to go out when the moon fully eclipsed. Chris shuffled in unable to sleep through Ry’s wild mood and our constant chatter. He didn’t say much, but I could see him smiling in the moonlight and the two boys carried on giggling and laughing over silly boy stuff. My sweet Charlie then appeared and climbed onto my lap and had the wonderful, imaginative observations that children naturally have. As it was near full eclipse, he thought the moon looked like a pig snout with a big white smile underneath.  His blonde hair glowed in the darkness and in that moment, I wanted to hold him forever.

Even the dogs joined us and took the opportunity to sneak in some extra attention. We talked about how we learned earlier that day that there was a 300 year period without lunar eclipses. So George Washington, Mozart, Napoleon etc. never got to experience the beauty of a full moon eclipse. We talked about Passover and learned a bit more about that as we waited. Ry continued to be as silly as ever and it was such a joyous moment in time.

As I looked at the beautiful glow of the moon, now a warm golden washed in burnt sienna and venetian red, I thought of my friend Lori and how many walls we created to be that color with glazes and plaster. It reminded me of the light in Italy. My friend Joy sent some silly texts of song lyrics and howling and I smiled as I  imagined her dancing ( I am sure she did) under this moon.

As we sat in the shadows, I felt like I could feel my heart glowing the same color. It was warm, full and allowed me to see and feel the beauty of being human and getting to experience the love these moments bring. We are told to shine bright and show our true colors, but tonight the moon taught me that in the shadow of something great, we may even shine more beautifully than we could ever imagine. And as I watched my guys laughing in the shadows of this magical night, they never looked more beautiful.

We all went out to the deck. What a perfect night. It was crystal clear and the moon, stars and planets looked almost reachable. The sky was the most perfect color of charcoal, the blue spruce’s black silhouette was only made better by the soft glow of Fort Collins below. It was stunning.

The guys one by one quietly made their way back to bed. I couldn’t turn away. Once cold, I went back and curled up in the chair in the living room and just soaked up the intense beauty and the quiet of the house. Never is there better medicine for the soul than a night like that.





Showing up

To my dear friends and family,

It’s up!

My first show in Fort Collins is now hanging. And my paintings are along side Valerie Savarie’s amazing altered books. I feel nervous, proud, excited and…… so very loved.


It is really surreal to me to see my paintings hanging together in an unfamiliar space.



My coach asked me last week what success would look like after Friday night. I guess after seeing them hanging, I hope that they evoke an emotion or a memory, and some peace as that is what the process of painting them brings me. And, I hope that there is a wonderful sense of connection in the coming together to share time and space around them. Community. That is important to me and I feel honored to be a part of this one. Through AIR Evolve Class, friendships, mastermind groups, my coach, my huge family, my spunky boys and my endlessly supportive husband, I have reached a goal and overcome some fears with all of the love, advice, and support I have been given.

Earlier this week, my son turned down an opportunity at school, mostly because he was scared to get up in front of others.

I completely 100% get it.

I tried to tell him what a great chance it was and that I thought overall he would not only learn a lot, but have a really good time. He struggled back and forth and back and forth and ultimately decided against it. I was sad for him, but I also understood that his fear is real and super powerful. I know how proud he would have felt if he had gone ahead and just tried no matter if he did well at the project or not. He would have beaten his fear back a bit and opened a new door. But he is 10. It has taken me 40 years to face many of my fears. I hope that I  that I can teach him showing up and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone has greater rewards than you can imagine. And, I hope that I can keep the conversation going so that he won’t waste decades of opportunities on account of fear.

I have been told I am “brave” (perhaps foolish)  sharing  here like I do. It is a very small fraction of the crazy that runs through my head. A crazy that I am learning to live with and embrace with my heart.  However, showing up here actually makes it easier to live the life I want. It helps me set intentions and holds me accountable. It has been a year since I decided to come out of the cocoon of my basement studio and into your worlds. Sure, sometimes I cringe and blush a bit at how much I share, as it is often more than just what is going on with my art. I hope that by showing you more than just the artist part of me, it helps to paint a picture of where some of my works come from. It’s a risk I am willing to take as it has made my relationships deeper, formed new friendships, opened doors to places I assumed I would never unlock and it feels good to live and paint from a place that is true to my core. Through sharing my joys, flaws, inspirations, failures, moods and adventures, others have reciprocated, making it easier to let go, easier to be in the moment, easier to find peace in reflection, easier to to set goals, easier to just be and be completely fine.  That said, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t lots of hard work involved, fears to constantly overcome or so much more to learn. There are days when the journey feels overwhelming, hopeless and frustrating and I don’t want to show up any more. And, of course there are days when it feels joyful, fulfilling and right. It has been a risk that has taught me so much about myself and rewarded me to have you by my side, helping me to spread my wings. I hope as a mother, I can do for my boys, what you have done for me and they won’t be afraid to go try.

So many thank-yous to all of you who have cheered me forward this past year. You showed up in front of me to pull me along, behind me to kick me in the rear when I need it and along side of me to share and listen. I really appreciate all the love and support you send my way. You  add depth, intention and color to my journey as a an artist and my journey as a human. I am ever grateful. I look forward to seeing  many of you on Friday and for those who cant’ join in the fun, pictures soon to follow! Cheers to you!

Gratefully, Catherine



242… but whose counting?

AH!!!!  A quiet house. The boys are on spring break, but all were invited to various different things today. The stars for this mom have aligned!

It’s been 242 hours since I was alone, but whose counting?

I know there is a lot talk flying around these days about introverts, so I know you’ve probably heard how much being alone is needed. I have been grateful for books like Quiet by Susan Cain that validates what feels so normal to me, yet in our fast moving/high energy world, I often feel so very off kilter. A freak.   It surprises most that I am an introvert, especially since I really do love people which I think is one of the bigger misunderstandings about introverts.  But I also really appreciate being (and need to be) alone.  I love that right now, I can hear the hum of the refrigerator, the ticking of the clock, the whir of the washing machine and the blue spruce branches brushing up against the house. White noise. I know that I need a big reboot when I don’t even want to turn on music. I have turned the phones off because they make me jump a mile high when I am in this quiet space. I feel like my nerve endings are finally getting a break from taking in so much information.  My nights have been restless looking for the time to organize thoughts, projects and life milestones, but with no clarity of a sleep deprived brain, it is just frustrating and at times panic ridden. It is hard to wait for these moments of solitude and even harder to create them. I struggle with feeling entitled and selfish when I take a needed time out to find that peace, but I also know that I have nothing left to give when I don’t. If only I had a gauge like a fuel tank for others to see that I am running on fumes and to please be patient why I go quietly get rid of the tired/bitchy girl who has taken over to protect the one who wants to love and be loved.

So now, this computer too gets turned off for the next few hours and I am going to go get lost in my paints and start filling up my tank again.

What do you do to fill yourself up?


Red Thread Thanks

Last fall, I was fortunate enough to sell  painting that I loved to a woman who welcomed it into her home with great pride and fanfare. I had planned to write about that day then, but I am glad I waited as the story had another chapter to be told.

I often find it hard at times to say goodbye to a painting as I send it out into the world.  For me, there is a lot of emotion and internal thought in them. My memories are carried within those layers of paint; blankets of thoughts and feelings. However, I have learned that the paintings tend to find where they are suppose to be. When I get the chance/privilege to talk with the new owner of my paintings, it is pretty evident and even magical how they find the right home.

When I delivered this particular piece to a home in Old Town Fort Collins, I was greeted with tremendous warmth and excitement. The new owner showed me where she wanted it to go and then asked if I would ” do the honors” of hanging the painting. I was happy to do so. Once it was up, she actually had tears in her eyes and gave me a great big hug. It was the best. She poured some beers and we raised our glasses and toasted. It made my heart soar. We sat and talked a bit. She asked me about my work and how I got to be a painter. I told her the Legend of the Red Thread of Fate and how it came to be a part of my life. Again, tears in her eyes. While we sat and talked, her oldest son, a freshman in high school, pulled a chair up right in front of it and just sat. Eventually, he too asked some questions and  I know my feet weren’t touching the ground. What a gift of love they gave to me as they welcomed my art with such ceremony and true appreciation. It really caught me off guard to be experiencing that moment but I was overwhelmed with gratitude.



This past week, she invited me along with my boys back to her home for another visit and to talk about a commission based off of Sisters Three. She proudly showed me her painting again and how it has become her reading corner. It was great to see it as it brought back fond memories for me, but it was clear it was a painting meant for her. I am glad I let it go.  I learned more about her this time and about her practice as a therapist for youth and families. It was a lovely visit and it went by much too quickly. She showed me that the red thread I had sent with a thank you note, was still tied around her wrist. I showed her mine and was so grateful that the red thread had done its job once again. Connection.

A few days later, I got a text from her asking if I had anymore of that thread that I could spare. She was going to be meeting with a group of 5 high school students who had a friend who passed away and she wanted to share the legend.

My knees felt weak and my eyes welled up. The familiar stab of sorrow in my heart.

I left the ball of thread on my front porch  which she later returned with a message that the session had gone well. The students took extra to pass along to other friends and loved ones. I closed my eyes and thought of those whose hearts were breaking. I thought of Laurel and her girls. I thought of my sister in law whose friend passed away last week. And I thought of all of the amazing people I get to love and be loved by.

I love that the legend is infinite. It has traveled so long and far already. How many times will it circle the globe?

I love to wonder who I still get to share it with and who they will share it with. It keeps me pushing forward in those days when I doubt myself and my path.  It reminds me that I truly paint (and write) to connect with my journey and  to connect with others.

Thank you for being here to take the time to connect with me. I really appreciate it. If you ever would like some red thread to pass along, message me your mailing address and I will pop some in the mail to you. Best, Cat


Sun Dog

A week ago, Chris and I were making our way back home from a trip back to Virginia. We now know how very lucky we were to make it home.

He had driven back to help his parents move out of their home of 48 years. The home he and his brother were brought to as babies and were raised.  The home where his parents worked endlessly and tirelessly to create the life of their dreams. Almost a half a century of memories made for my in-laws, Pat and Chris.  Birthdays, anniversaries, bridge clubs, garden clubs, woodworking in the barn, gutting fish out back, canning fruits and vegetables from the garden and fruit trees along with endless painting, yard care and maintenance. The house had rhythm created out of the day in day out routine they comfortably lived in. The Giglios’ signature was everywhere. From the birdhouses he built to her formal rose garden by the enormous dogwood tree or her ceramic rabbits sitting next to the gardening boots on the brick stoop.

I have been going to that house for 26 years myself. Chris had some fun parties as teenagers while his parents were off to the beach or taking Pat to college. I remember my first dinner with his parents at the round kitchen table. I was so nervous, I had changed over and over again only to show up with my shirt on inside out AND backwards. She thought it was just the trend. It was the 80s! HA! I helped Chris pull potatoes from the garden, we worked on our wedding decorations in their lawn,we brought our own babies there to visit and now they too have their own memories of the house.

By the time I arrived, most of the house was empty. It seemed so much smaller all of a sudden and  so very tired. On the brick chimney in the kitchen hung Mrs. G’s calendar. She has had the same one year after year. Her distinct handwriting neatly written across the days of upcoming birthdays, Chris’ arrival, and doctors appointments. Did she keep them all? I imagined them all stacked up and tied neatly together with a ribbon. I began my task of emptying out closets and moving the contents over to the new house. It shocked me how intimate it felt. I wondered if someday I would have daughter in-laws going through my closets. I began to wonder where they were now. Time will tell, so I sent good thoughts to all of those who will love my boys.

It was strange to be so aware of standing in the middle of my life… if I am lucky. I could feel it as I stood in my mother in-law’s closet. I was that young girl who fell in love with her son while at the same time a middle aged woman feeling grateful for so many memories but also the inevitable limits of time. And yet, I felt excited that I have so much more to look forward to as my children grow up (much too quickly) and create their own lives and families. How fortunate I felt to be able to look and feel backwards and forward at the same time. It made the present day so much more precious.

The next day due to snow storms from Virginia to Colorado we decided to load up and take off a day early. Before I left, Mrs. G. gave me one of her treasures. It was a painting of flowers done on slate that had hung by her bed for as long as I could remember. It was done by her father in law’s best friend. He had been a barber in Connecticut but loved to paint. I am so happy to have it. I will cherish it always.

Sunflowers on Slate- gift from Mrs. G.


We stopped by the house one last time. I could feel Chris saying goodbye. He took a few more things from the unwanted pile and the old butter-churn his mom gave him.  We left in a mess of snow and worked our way in-between storms. Down the Shenandoah Valley, up and over the mountains of West Virginia and across the beautiful rolling hills of Kentucky. It was so nice to have Chris all to myself. A rarity these days. We reminisced a bit, caught up from the days we were apart and listened to audio books when it all felt too much. The next day we knew we were heading into another snow storm. We managed to get past St. Louis before the snow and work our way beyond Kansas City. It was now dumping snow. We slowly inched along and Chris was nervous as I drove. The steering felt loose, but not knowing his truck that well, I chalked it up to the snowy and icy roads. We finally gave up at 1 as we crept along at 18 miles per hour with almost no visibility. We got the second to last room at a hotel and settled in.  For the parents of three active, loud and spirited boys, being stuck by ourselves in a hotel is not a bad thing! We enjoyed the forced time out and quiet.

Early the next morning, the snow has stopped falling and we took off in the dark.  I called the house to talk to Alex before he headed off to school. Just wanting to say  “I love you.”  The sky in front of us slowly began to lighten. I turned to see the sunrise and to my surprise it looked like there were three suns rising. I had never seen anything like it before. Apparently it is called a Sun Dog.  It was so surreal but beautiful. I felt like we must be on another planet.  I felt giddy.


Sun Dog – Acrylic on Canvas © Catherine D. Giglio

Soon, Chris realized that the steering felt loose and off. Again on bumpy snowy and icy roads and in the middle of nowhere, USA.  We kept going, trusting that Chris knew best.  I dozed off only to wake to Chris pulling off at the first exit he could. His eyes were a big and wild looking. By the time we got to the bottom of the ramp, the steering was completely out. Chris got out in the middle of the intersection and was underneath the truck asking me to pull and push the steering wheel back and forth. He managed to get the pin back in all while cars and semis were inches from him. I caught myself holding my breath. Now with a little bit of steering and a shit load of luck, we made our way to the Dodge dealership just a quarter of a mile away. It turned out, that when Chris had the truck serviced here in Fort Collins before his trip, they put the drive shaft and pin in upside down!!!! We were lucky that it was so long that it had room to bend. The mechanic, a huge man with a gentle face, came out shaking his head and looked at us and said “you two are so very lucky.” One more bump we could have gone flying off of I-70. He suggested that we go play the lottery right then. We smiled politely and nervously. I thought I would throw up.

Once back in the truck and only 6 hours from home, the adrenaline had worn off and I just wanted to be home holding my boys.  Again the clarity of the present by looking back in how extremely lucky we were and forward to the life we don’t want to miss. Talk about a slap of perspective. Later a friend told me that seeing Sun Dogs are a good omen. I agreed whole heartedly!!

We got home right as school was getting out. We loved on and snuggled up with our boys. The best hugs and kisses ever. I didn’t want the moment to end. With all 5 of us piled on the sofa, I felt so at peace and overwhelming gratitude.

Later that night, after they were tucked in bed, I unwrapped the painting of the flowers on the slate that Mrs. G gave me and hung it on the wall. I love it. It reminds me to be joyful, to receive and share love, to follow my heart, to be grateful for the memories, the here and now and gifts of the unknown. Someday I will take it off my wall and pass it on to someone else, perhaps my own daughter in law. It’s lovely to think about but for now I am going to soak up today.


Roller Coaster of……

click.     click.    click.  click.  click.  click.  click. click.  pause…….


Yesterday was such a roller-coaster ride.  Not on one of the new fancy ones, but the old wooden ones that rumble and creak convincing you that all of the rivets are going to pop and the whole thing is going to come crashing down. The ones that are older than I am, with no padding or extra bars to hold you firmly in place, instead you slam side to side with the person next to you. The ones where decades of chewing gum seem to hold the seats together.  It’s loud, a bit fearful, exciting, stomach churning, and for some reason you just have to laugh.

It is now noon and I am still in my pajamas… or jjs as they are called in this house. I just came in from moving my car off the street and into the driveway so I wouldn’t get (in all fairness) a nasty note from the postman.  When I put the car in park,  the sun was just beaming in and I couldn’t move. It felt like the greenhouses of my childhood. Warm and quiet. And for a bit I realized nobody knew where I was. I felt invisible. I sat there are stared at my gardens frozen into the ground, looked at the trim that needed to go up, noticed where I missed a spot painting the downspout, smiled at the little gnome happily keeping watch over our beautiful vegetable beds that Chris built and listened to the birds that were out soaking up the sunshine, too. I tried to process all the ups and downs of the 24 hours prior, but it felt too much to make sense of. I was saved from my thoughts as I watched in my rearview mirror one of my favorite families out for a walk, make their way up the street.  They were happily enjoying one another’s company. It seemed so simple; so connected…….so lovely.

I continued to sit in my muted world. I closed my eyes and turned my face towards the sun. I felt completely alone. Soon there were tears running down my face. It use to be pretty easy for me to tear up, but a few years ago, I felt like I used up my well of tears, so it caught me completely off guard. Where were they coming from? Exhaustion from a week of being sick and taking care of a child, thoughts of an old friend’s child going through cancer treatments, that the sky is so beautifully blue here… here was the roller coaster again. My brain and heart slamming side to side against one another as I went for this ride. Do other people do this? Or I am in denial my need of a padded room? (please don’t answer that!)

Soon, I heard the rumble of Chris’s truck approaching on his way home from the grocery store. I sat still as his truck pulled up alongside my car. He got out and loaded his hands up with the colorful bags and walked right along side my car. His face a foot from mine. He didn’t see me. Couldn’t he feel me staring at him? I was still invisible. I watched him walk through the front yard with his familiar gait. I wanted to call out and have him come sit in the warm car with me and enjoy the quiet, but I didn’t. I just watched his broad shoulders disappear into the house. I sat awhile longer now melted into the drivers seat thinking about how he and I have sat side by side for over half of our lives now, slamming into one another on our roller coaster ride. Sometimes laughing because it’s easier, sometimes screaming because the height is too high and the curve is too sharp, and yes, sometimes sitting alone in the seat and taking a few of the ups and downs alone.

I think I am going to go get dressed now, take a break from the ride and see if he wants to go for a walk.

Necessary layers

I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had a big, ugly canvas staring at me every time I walked into the studio.

It was haunting me.

It was too big and costly to throw away, so there it sat week after week, month after month tormenting me…. defeating me…. laughing at me.

Tired and sick….and ill-tempered, I walked into my studio this morning and was greeted for the last time by the beast. I guess I was feeling indignant enough to take it on. I couldn’t stand it another minute. So I made room on the floor, spread  a drop-cloth, retrieved my bricks  and slammed that sucker down on top of them. I got out paint cans and my big brushes and just obliterated the intense colors that stung every nerve in my body. I wiped them out. Back and forth, and back and forth some more.

AHHHHH~~~ gone. Why? Why had I waited so long to rid of that monster?

Slowly I began to make some sense of my brush strokes. I grabbed my water bottle and let gravity and the brush reveal a bit of the intensity underneath. A pops of red, greens and golds began to ground the new landscape that was emerging. I so delicately began to paint the hints of clouds.. wisps fading in and out. How calm I felt. No longer was I standing in a place of agitation and fury, but I now stood in setting of peace and calm. I turned on my music and got lost for awhile in the subtle shifting of the piece. I thought back to where I was when I first began the painting and how I struggled constantly with it; the expectations I had for it. Foolish, I know.

In some ways, I have changed a lot in the past year. I know I have learned a lot. As I have expanded more towards this path that I have dreamt of for as long as I can remember, I am aware of the boundaries that I have established to protect this dream. I am consciously aware now that I have precious few hours a week to spend painting and expanding my business. And, I have learned to safeguard that time while working on not feeling guilty for not volunteering as much, not having as much time play time with friends and not keeping up with chores and laundry piles. I realize that when I was first painting this piece, I was trying to do it all. Of course, I couldn’t. I let people down, myself down and wasn’t doing anything well, especially this canvas! This angry canvas was my mirror of exhaustion and frustration.  Those first layers were necessary so that I could recognize how off course I was. I can see that now.

As I continued to paint, I realize that I can feel myself letting go of the little things and working on setting better priorities. I can feel myself letting go of the expectations of others and focusing on giving of myself the best I can. I can feel myself letting go of anger and embracing happiness. I can feel myself finally settling into my trueness. And just like this piece, I am adding layers upon layers of  intention to become a more peaceful me.

Tomorrow, I will go back to it with new eyes again and get to see what the new layers bring. If only we could reset all parts of our life with some layers of paint.


Daffodil January

Monday morning came much too quickly for me this week. It was all I could do to put my feet on the floor. And, then to hoist my almost 6 foot frame to standing felt nearly impossible. Obviously, I am not much of a morning person, but that day the gravity force my bed held was formidable. After a fun weekend celebrating Chachi’s birthday and ignoring all reality, this Monday was hard on all of us. With Chris and Alex out the door (fortunately for them they are both morning birds) the two younger boys and I stumbled around grumpily getting dressed, lunches packed, breakfast packed, teeth brushed and finally locating and stuffing backpacks for their days. It was all a blur but the tasks are so sadly mechanical, that it is possible to pull off on a dark, winter morning.

Finally, ready to load up in the car, we headed outside. Much to my surprise in the handle of my car door, there was a bunch of daffodils waiting for me.  In a flash, the bright yellow of these happy flowers surged to my core. They looked almost neon against the gray landscape and sky and ignited a smile that I am still carrying with me. There wasn’t a note or hint of who left them. It was such a lovely act of kindness that brought pure joy and turned my attitude 180 degrees. I was so moved that someone was thinking of me, so grateful that I could imagine a number of friends who would have done something so nice and enjoyed wonderful memories of planting and picking daffodils for as long as I can remember. Isn’t it amazing how far an act of love can carry someone? Isn’t amazing how a pop of color can make a difference? Isn’t amazing how many beautiful little things are all around? I feel like I notice and feel them often but I am so very grateful that there are people who share their hearts and make everything brighter and better when I can’t see clearly.

After I dropped off the boys, I placed my joyful gift in a favorite lapis glass vase and carried them down to my studio. With thankfulness, I placed them on my work table and reached for my brightest yellow paint.