World Press Freedom Day


The Old Art Studio - Random Shelf


I just watched something on the Beeb News site that caused me to catch my breath and to tear up a bit. It’s here and it’s amazing. It’s a brief video about Zehra Dogan. Two minutes and forty two seconds.


To see the lengths a person is willing to go to for her truth, for her art – I am astounded. To see how brave someone can be in the face of oppression and inhumanity is inspiring.


Our world is pretty fucked up, friends. I don’t know why. I really don’t. But I do know that seeing others stand up to those who would destroy us is fuel for the decent, for the just. I needed this little boost today. And I am grateful.

Down Every Road



A light went out this week when Merle Haggard passed away on his 79th birthday.


I have loved Merle Haggard’s music since I was a child. And the song I’ve loved most wasn’t written by him – “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” – but could have been. I don’t know why, as a kid, this song appealed to me. Maybe it was the way the chorus started on a high note and ended low. Maybe it was the line: Down every road there’s always one more city. As a struggling child, that sentence offered hope (even though the rest of the song is so sad). I don’t have an answer as to why I loved it. I just did. Still do.


The photo above is of a page in my personal scrapbook, which holds ideas, wishes, longings and things I want or have wanted for myself. I pasted in the Merle Haggard photo (from Rolling Stone) some time in the 1990s. I was beginning to write songs and desperately wanted to find truth in the process. I suppose I could have chosen any of a number of idols to emulate on that front, but for me there was only one: The Hag. I believed him when he sang. His truth seemed to come through in his songs. Even now, when I tackle an artistic endeavor – be it a painting or a blog post – I aim for a level of truth. And I still hold up Merle Haggard as a guide.


Several years ago, Mister surprised me with tickets to see The Hag. I don’t remember if I cried or not that night, but I didn’t just meet me, so I probably did. And that’s okay. Because sometimes you get to live out a dream, which is a big deal and worth tears. Seeing Merle Haggard perform live was definitely a dream come true for me. And I loved it.


Based on what I’ve read, Mr. Haggard told his family he was going to die on his birthday. Maybe that was a rambling from an ill man. Maybe it was fear. Or maybe it was knowledge gleaned from living his own truth, his way. I don’t have any answers on that front, either. And it wouldn’t matter if I did.

Evaluate Your Life Day



I don’t make up this stuff. I only share it…


Today is Evaluate Your Life day. And if that sounds daunting, well, that may be because it is. I mean, if I’m going to sit down and evaluate my life, how honest am I going to be? Do I process my “truth” while wearing rose-colored glasses? Or do I hold up a tell-all mirror and face the facts?


Some may think I wear rose-colored glasses year-round. And that may be accurate. But I love seeing the world with a happy glow. And as someone who’s dealt with many of life’s dark shadows, I can honestly say I prefer the joy, thank-you-very-much.


So okay. I can do a little evaluating today. And I can even be honest with myself. And because I know I’m going to face the world with at least a half-smile on my mug, I can deal. Let the evaluating begin!




Sometimes I don’t feel much like an adult. Sometimes I don’t feel like a kid, either. During those times, I feel a bit like I’m stuck in limbo. And I don’t quite know what to do.


I’m not a gal who thinks “stuff” will cure all ills. I’m well-versed in that approach, as I was raised in that culture. But I don’t buy it – figuratively or literally (not even during this season of excess). I also don’t believe in putting my head in the sand, as if ignoring life will lead to everything working out. I’ve witnessed more than a few friends choosing this non-action, but it isn’t for me.


There have been times when I’ve faced challenges and I’ve chosen poorly. (Many times, actually.) I wish I knew why I continue to fail myself and others, but I haven’t a clue. I could blame my less-than-I’d-like-to-be moments on my humanness, but that well has been tapped so many times it’s nearly dry.


The truth is – while I may have my moments of feeling steady in living this life thing, I’m really just a novice, and a farkakte novice at that. I’ve done a lot of work to overcome the ugliness of my youth and I’ve accomplished a great deal. But the mountain before me looms as large as ever and it doesn’t matter how much ground I’ve covered. There’s still a lot of climbing to be done.


I share this because I’m in the middle of trying to figure out how to be a better person while not sacrificing my Mikki-ness. I mean, how do I interact with other souls and maintain my own? How do I communicate with folks in a positive manner, and still project honesty? In short – how do I speak my truth, encourage others to do the same and not get hurt or hurt anyone else in the process?


I am mortified the answer may be “I don’t.” It frightens me to no end to think that life means constantly being hurt and hurting those we love. I don’t like the idea of any of that pain. Thinking there’s no way around it is almost more darkness than I can handle.


I suppose these sorts of feelings are what lead some of us to quit. To give in. To file for divorce or terminate a friendship.  Don’t get me wrong – I know those tough choices are often made for very legitimate reasons, but don’t we sometimes choose to walk away from muddy ground instead of doing the harrowing work of getting through the muck and mire? Who could blame us? Muddy trenches suck. And even if a gal is wearing hip-waders, she still needs strength to pull herself through – one sticky step at a time.


Still, I’m not giving up. For even when it breaks my heart, I love life. And I love my nearest and dearest more than words can convey. So I’ll keep showing up, and showing up, and showing up. I’ll keep trying to toughen my skin while softening my words. I’ll endeavor to let things roll off my shoulders and to not add weight to the shoulders of those I love. I’ll keep trying.


And maybe some hot cocoa wouldn’t hurt. There’s magic in a cup of cocoa, you know. I’ll take all the magic I can get.

Oscar! Oscar!



Aw, yeah! It’s that time again – the Oscars! Tonight! My favorite awards show – period!


If you’re not into the Oscars, I’m sorry. I just can’t help it, and don’t have to! I’m super excited to celebrate movies! I flippin’ love movies!


Personally, I’m rooting for “12 Years a Slave” as best picture. It was a hard, hard film to watch, but it was also magnificent and true. That movie reminded me to acknowledge the truth, even when it hurts. I am still in awe of the film and its performers.


If you’re rooting for a fave, I’d love to hear which one!


For now, I’ve got to work on my up-do. When I sit on the couch later, watching the big show, I want my hair to be stylin’ and profilin’… That’s just how I do. Get it?

Sweet, Sweet Sleep



I slept better last night than I have in weeks. What’s the story? I think I actually paid attention to my intuition, acted from my heart, and was truly honest with myself about my (ahem) feelings.


That isn’t a dirty word, friends. Our feelings can be very real indicators of our truth. I know that when I stray from what is honest and right for me, the incongruity manifests somewhere in my body and produces discomfort, if not downright pain. By paying attention to my feelings, I can dig a little deeper and try to figure out where I got off path. It isn’t always an easy process, but more often than not, it’s a navigable process.


So I’m trying to remember to do a gut-check before making decisions, and I’m trying to heed my honest feelings. Because y’all, most of all, I’m trying to sleep through the night. For reals.