In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!


Friday, January 24, 2020

The Gift Of Time...

Cancer is a ruthless disease, taking too many people too early in their lives, shatters families, and causes so much suffering. But then all diseases do. I'm not going to tell you there is anything good about cancer, that would be utter bullshit. But when I was diagnosed I realized I had a choice in how I use the knowledge that I am dying soon. I had time to spend with people I care about, share with them how much they have meant to me, send some of my treasures home with them, reminisce and laugh about old times, and say goodbye. 

I did these things with an old friend yesterday. She is one of the first people I made friends with when we moved to Florida 18 years ago. She has one of the greatest smiles! Here whole face lights up, I love it. It was that smile that hooked me. We found we had so many things in common- love of plants and gardening, passion for dogs and parrots, our tendency to laugh at inappropriate things, and avid Spade players. And oh, how we howled while recalling the epic pranks we pulled over the years. 

She moved away for awhile and we lost touch. I often thought  of her and missed the great times we had. Then just about a year ago, Mike shocked me when I got up one morning by telling me he had just seen Jan when he had the dogs out. She bought a home one block away from us and was moving in! We picked up right where we left off- card playing, laughing, swapping plants, and making fun of the absurdities of life. Since my diagnosis, she checks in with me daily, no demands, just there for me. 

I wanted to make sure I had a comfortable afternoon to have a semi-serious heart to heart with her. So I made sure I was comfortable on my pain meds and  we spent the afternoon together yesterday.  It brought me a sense of peace to look in her eyes and make sure she knew how much she meant to me and what a special person I think she is. 

Jan has quirky taste like I do, we like unusual things that many people may not. So I was thrilled she agreed to give a few of my favorite creations a good home. 

Boudoir doll- clay sculpted head and torso, fabric sculpted body and limbs, beaded silk costume with hand dyed vintage lace. I'm not a skilled seamstress so she was a challege for me to design and create. 

Big Gecko- started out as a thin wire form. Slowly built up with layers of rigid wrap, and then clay. The final layers were created with various colors of mulberry paper that tediously shredded and then applied with a clear paste, strand by strand. 

His embellishments are a combination of copper wire and pieces of vintage jewelry finding I had bought in lots over the years on eBay and my ridiculous stash of beads. Never met a bead I didn't love. 

I think Jan and I will have more visits and maybe even a few more card games. If so, Jan and I will beat her friend and Mike like we always do. And if not, we had our afternoon. And that is a gift. 


  1. Thank you for sharing. What a gift you have.❤

  2. What an exceptional day you had. So happy for you!

  3. Damn, ROH! Those are masterpieces! I copied all the pics so I can look at them lots & lots. I love whimsy, & you are brilliant at it. Like I said, you're my fav artist. So glad you got to have such a good time with your old friend. I recently had a visit with a dear friend I met when I was 27. We hadn't seen each other in 20 yrs. She's 90! Her daughter brought her for a few days after Christmas. It was the best Xmas gift ever. Friends are treasures. Looks like you and I got lucky there.

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  5. Looking at your heart always brings a smile to my face. I do not know if I have ever told you how much I love your header. There is such a peacefulness about it. I picture myself one towel away feeling the beauty of the sea. Thank you for sharing your words and art. And as always sending you love, light & prayers. (Proofing my comment I realized I wrote heart instead of art, I decided to leave it as art does come from one’s heart)


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