ceramic, steel 14″h x 4″w 1995

This time of year I just have to talk about dirt.

I learned about the earth from my grandmother who fussed about in her garden;

Privately, contentedly,

Hunched and bent to the ground.

She tended her roses

Far better than her children.

She heaped silent appreciation toward fragrant lilacs

And blue-red raspberries

Never caring a whit about the state of her fingernails.

We worked together, she and I.

Turning the dark, worm- laden soil;

Ever impressed that after the impossibly long and stultifying winter

Nature decided once again to leave her seed pods

And shrunken tubers

Dropped to the side like a tattered dress

And reveal Herself

Utterly naked and unashamed

But for perfume.

Nothing To Do…

detail of painting
Funny, watching this some part of me remembers:

Perfect Movement

“SHE” 24′ x 4″, 2000, ceramic, graphite

“What if perfect movement was overrated?
What if sensuality and getting to know one’s self didn’t have anything to do with perfect movement…..”

Daniel Villasenor

As I continue to navigate my life

I find myself enjoying the luxury

Of space and time.

I am blessed with a lovely place to live.

Where my interests used to be queued up behind

Art and artists, beauty in form, the next acquisition, participating in my community with the intention of holding my place to ensure I was not forgotten,

I sit now in my sunny window and look at birds as I pet my dog.

I next get down on my purple mat and feel the love for myself because I can make the transition from upright to prone and back again when I chose.

Today I am able.

I breathe

And go deeper into the eons-long holding pattern

Of a woman/women reaching for perfection.

Sometimes I think I have been given the task of carrying and transforming

The sorrows and disappointments

Of every girl

Searching for a voice

Resembling music

To charm and spin

And thus- exist.

Here I am now- on the floor stretching like a newly awakened babe;

Perfect in her imperfection sounds maudlin, doesn’t it?

Rather this:

I’ve got this tune on my lips

Peppered with unpolished and primal sighs,

Releasing old stories.

I’m striking the set.

The old movie is over.

What is next is next…

I’ve not a clue.

But it will be true.

I Love You

textile design, 1985, pigment on wool flannel

I love my bed (this is not my bed pictured here..).

I love my bed but I don’t want a steady diet of her.

The very thought of it scares me, frankly.

The past few days have found me with a fever which elevated my body temperature

Significantly enough to render my musculature inert (read: I could not lift myself out of bed).

Nap-time is great. Sap-time is not.

In the night I tried to get up only to slide to the floor in a heap.

Now- this is scary shit.

Cold floor.

Dramatic out-loud conversations with myself.

Some tears but mostly it felt like taking the SAT test from long ago:

WHAT is the answer to the question of how to get up?

I had my phone and knew I was essentially safe.

It took me a couple of hours to get to my knees and then to do what it took to return to bed.

It was a long and messy voyage.

I was not humiliated because there was no one there watching

Except my dog

Who came to check on me every so often but left me there to figure it out knowing she could lend support

But hangin’ on the cold floor with me for who knew how long

Was not in her plans.

Which was ok by me

Because I needed my fullest accessible ‘push through’ energy to do what I had in front of me.

Here I am a few days later..

Back to the Cathy who can do all kinds of stuff.

Heat (fever, outdoor temperature) is the vampire MS negotiators face

Which bares it’s teeth in sometimes surprise visitations

And leaves it’s teeth marks on our neck

As a parting gift.

Following an experience of having to surrender and redraw the map in moments like these

Gives me a leg up on the life-skills needed to die a little every day

In order for the REAL CATH to please stand up (or whatever) and be counted.

This, to me means stepping out once again with a newer sense of humility, the honest-to-God knowledge of the impermanence of things (with and without pissiness about it), gratitude for my victories such as they are and the sense my heart is more porous and able to be moved in deeper ways.

When you (we,I) do the work of dying a little everyday to who we were

Taking lots of naps is very good medicine.

My Easter

“SPIRAL” 11″ x 11″ x 4″, m/m

I love the story of Easter.

Suffer. Die. Get another go.

It is the metaphor of the time which interests me.

Recently, I attended an art exhibition of a dear friend who also deals with MS.

She is the epitome of beauty in every way; her art, surely..though her paintings are not pretty or lite.

More the complex richness of humanity built into unapologetic strokes of paint.

The stress of the opening went straight to her legs. As I arrived in the parking lot I saw my friend clutching the arm of her beloved partner as they walked ever so slowly and with the greatest of dignity

Into the well attended event.

I found an out-of-the-way spot to unload my wheelchair and put on my own courage and dignity as I found an accessible route into the crowd.

There she was just inside the entrance.. seated, greeting a friend, their foreheads leaning in to touch one another, eyes soft and closed.

This particular moment was plump with tears just barely held back from the stress of what it took for my friend to pull it together and show up,

Appreciation in the witnessing of the gorgeousness of the two women in communion

And the gears turning of us, her compatriots wanting to support her in any way we could.

It was her devoted partner who suggested she sit on my lap and we would enter the throng of gallery-attendees powered by my chair.

The two of us followed him as he parted the sea of people before us ensuring safe passage.

During our journey I whispered in her ear: “We will never have an uninteresting life.”

And there you have it… my Easter..

Suffer. Die a little (to who you were).. Have another go at it…


It disappoints me when I am sharing a meal with someone at a restaurant

And my dining companion neglects to treat our server with respect.

The absence of ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’

Before or after a request

Literally makes my heart sting.

“I want the steak.”


“May I please have the steak?”

One is a demand with no recognition of shared humanity.

The other: a relationship.

When I am disappointed in this way I leave the situation with the intention to beef up my own civility skills.

Disappointment has served it’s purpose for me.

I experienced it and felt the hollowness and then moved on in my day prepped with the mission to connect deeper myself.

I had a craving for carbohydrates recently.

I ate a gluten-free muffin.

Later that afternoon I could not walk.

I am fully aware that ANY kind of sugar has this effect on me


There I was.. reduced in muscle strength, life energy and possibility.

I sat there.

And sat there some more,

Waiting for the effects of the thing to move through my body and reclaim my recognizable energy level.

I disappointed myself.

I caved.

The next day I got up and made sure my diet was sans-sugar and anything else I know will curtail my life force.

I re-doubled my efforts in the clean eating department

And felt actual gratitude for the disappointment I encountered the previous day

Because I re-entered life

With a deeper commitment to live it well.