Day 362 – It’s About The Cows

Here we’ve been all these days and I’ve been saying it’s about the apples.

Let me see if I can explain.

About a year after I finished college I ended up following a boy to Colorado. I had fallen big time – nothing else would have made me pick up my few belongings get into my grandmother’s Oldsmobile Calais and drive 2000 miles away from my family.

The boy was handsome and rugged and very involved in the mountaineering community of Boulder, CO. I was so completely intrigued by this set of people and of course by him that I threw myself into a life that was foreign and challenging. I had just graduated from art school and here I was trying to keep up with extreme athletes, skiers, and yes, even people who’d climbed Mr. Everest. I kid you not! What was I thinking? Well, as many of you have seen – I become focused on something and I don’t turn off to it easily. So, I started running the trails around Boulder, learned to rock climb, and back country ski. Each endeavor was enormous to me and it came so easily to them. I was proving something to myself – or trying to – I wasn’t succeeding. I lagged behind in every task. I could never find my wind (the reason I quit track in High School) I injured myself non-stop etc. etc. You are all shaking your heads – you know the drill because my body, my genes knew I had AS, it would just be years until I found out why I couldn’t do these things. It was frustrating to say the least and it eventually ended the relationship because really – I wasn’t worthy of the “group” or this silly boy.

One day near the end of my stint in Boulder, a large group of us went to hear Reinhold Messner speak on the CU Campus. I had to be explained who he was with many eye rolls. Reinhold Messner is thought to be the greatest mountaineer in history. He is renowned for making the first solo ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen. Yes – amazing person to hear speak.

Although Mr. Messner has a long list of ascents his talk was mostly about one fateful day in 1970 when he and his brother attempted the first climb of Rupal face of Nanga Parbat – tragically his brother Günther Messner died on the decent. It was obvious to everyone in the captivated auditorium that although he would continue to climb, the tragedy was always there haunting him and in his mind on every trek. With his heavily accented English he spoke of how you can do everything in life to be prepared for contingencies but that life simply comes down to the “cows.” To a stunned and confused audience of Messner worshipers – they all nodded and agreed. I sat silently with a smile on my face. So strong was the misunderstanding that it became the biggest topic of discussion after the talk was over. You could hear people saying “what was he talking about cows for?” I couldn’t believe it actually. People wanted to believe and hang on each and every word of this amazing man that they ended up missing the context of the powerful message. Life doesn’t come down to cows; it comes down to CHAOS! That element of science, of life that cannot be predicted. Once we can accept this – we can handle anything that comes our way.

Guess who was in that auditorium that night – guess who I may have walked right past. The chaos would show up in it’s glory for us and we’d be married just a few short years later.

So, when you’re feeling like you just wish you could wrangle life and make her go your way. Remember that there is no controlling chaos – not so sure about cows!

Until tomorrow.


Day 362 was created in acrylic. A cow with an Apple Bell.

***I wonder if Reinhold Messner ever thought he’s make such an impact in the life of an artist who crossed his path by sheer – chaos!

Day 314 – A Good Man

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred FourteenI have been blessed with a good man.

He is someone who I can laugh with, share my day, my successes and failures, and someone to lean on in the difficult times. Don’t get me wrong – we’ve had our times and our disagreements as all marriages do.

Doug has dealt with the ups and downs of this last year right by my side. He has been my biggest support in this; he lives this daily with me and he has on a few occasions been very concerned and upset that perhaps I’ve put too much of myself into this journey. You see, he was there when I couldn’t move, when I didn’t want to get into the car to go anywhere because every little bump caused me horrible pain, and he was there when I was humiliated by neurologist from Stanford who laughed at me when I was desperate for an answer.

So…  he watches over me and is a voice of reason for my passions and drive. He does not want to see me go back to those days if there is any way he can prevent it – he will – even if that means tough love on occasion. But I want to tell you all that Doug Visscher is my hero. He is a man who has stood by me and loved me in my worst of times and I adore him. I couldn’t have asked for a man to love me more. We have weathered some big storms and we are stronger because of them.

Today was difficult day and he brought me flowers. I love getting flowers, what woman doesn’t but I loved the ones today the most of any he’s ever given me because these flowers said “you are going to be ok & I love you.” And I know that as long as I have my good man next to me – that those flowers are right.

Until tomorrow.


Day 314 was created in Letraset Pantone Tria Markers and a touch of watercolor.

In The Studio


1. In The Studio – Photo of the flowers that inspired today’s apple image.

2. Apple Recipe of the Day – Apple Oat Bran Muffins

3. Interesting Project – Embroidered Car Doors



Day 306 – Silver Intuition

Art Apple - Day Three Hundred SixColors have meaning just as flowers do. I was drawn to use Silver tonight.

Silver is thought to be incredibly attracting of increased intuition and inspiration and you should surround yourself in this color when wanting to get to the truth in situations.

Until tomorrow.


Day 306 was created in silver acrylic.

In The Studio

1. Countdown – 59 days to Apple-A-Thon!

2. Apple Recipe of the Day – French Apple Tart

3. Interesting Article Of The Day – Talk about making a commitment to your art!




Day 285 – Affects of Effects

Art Apple - Day Two Hundred Eighty FiveI’ve had a wonderful time in Maine!

I loved being home and I was so lucky to spend so much time with everyone. The affect this visit has had on my mental state has been tremendous! I had hit a place in my project where I was feeling very burnt out and overwhelmed. By being home with my family it makes me just realize even more that it is time to return. I’ve been away for almost 20 years and my spirit soars in Maine in a different kind of way.

I was speaking with my 14 year old nephew Jarod about how the effects of places and spaces have an affect on our psychies, our emotions, and our well-being. Where we feel at home is due to the people in our lives – I’m at home wherever Doug is – but a type of place or a city or a specific home can have enormous power. I’m ready to find a way to move back and be in the place that feels good and with my family who I’ve been separated from for half my life.

I am headed home to Doug today – he is my home.  But after this amazing trip I think I have him convinced it’s time for a change for both of us.

Until tomorrow.


Day 285 was created in mixed media: graphite, india ink, watercolor, and acrylics. I then ran the image through a creative effect filter in my graphics software and completely changed the look. One image created by hand, another by magic. The affect of the effects are quite stunning. Sometimes in life we need change – because when we do – amazing results can happen.

In The Studio

1. Countdown – 80 days to Apple-A-Thon!

2. My process photo from today.

3. Apple Recipe of the Day – Blueberry, Apple and Rhubarb Crisp.

4. Interesting Article of the Day – New genetic study of Ankylosing Spondylitis.



Day 284 – Give It A Try!

Art Apple - Day Two Hundred Eighty FourI grew up in a home where we ate a large variety of foods. I didn’t have a choice about what was for dinner, we ate what was put in front of us and if we said we didn’t like something – well too bad – we were expected to have a “no thank you helping.”  We had to have a taste of everything.

It instilled in me a desire to try all foods – at least once. I know that I do not like sea urchin but other than that, there is pretty much no other food I’ve tried that I would say I don’t like. In the last few days there has been a great deal of discussion about favorite foods because my Dad’s birthday was coming up and we all get to have exactly what we want to eat on our special day. Dad decided he wanted Crab Cakes and flourless chocolate cake! We had a delicious meal and a great time celebrating and visiting which was so special for me since I leave for home tomorrow.

In the spirit of trying new things… we were at the farm stand getting some shell peas to go with the crab cakes and I noticed a soda in the small refrigerator called Vermont Maple Soda. I was intrigued and for a mere $1.59 I could quench my curiosity. I cracked that baby open and took a big swig. Humpf… YUCK!!!

But now I know. I will always give it a try – that way you know. Hopefully at 42 yrs old I won’t ever have to have a “no thank you helping” of Maple Soda ever again!

Until tomorrow.


Happy Birthday Dad!

Day 284 was created in acrylics.

Day 283 – Reminisce & Plan

Art Apple - Day Two Hundred Eighty ThreeWe took the ferry home from Vinalhaven this afternoon.

It was another perfect day in Maine. We took the 1pm ferry to get back to my parents home in time to set up my paints on the screened in porch. Although it was hot – the breeze was refreshing and rustled the leaves in the tree tops. Nate and his girlfriend Marisa arrived and I handed them each a sheet of paper; they both sat down and created beautiful and unique apples. The apples my family have created are amazing gifts to me.

Three generations sat around the table for dinner – how lucky we are that spending time together is a gift and not a chore. We laughed, reminisced and laughed some more. We talked of trips we had all taken, of Vinalhaven, of plans for the future.

Our lives are all at such different stages – what a blessing to have family come together to reminisce and plan. Times like these are something to share and cherish.

Until tomorrow.


Day 283 was created in acrylic paint.

Day 271 – Caution Wet Paint

Art Apple - Day Two Hundred Seventy OneWe all have the family stories we tell over and over again.

Usually they involve Murphy’s Law, a fit of hysterics, or childhood antics. I guess this story involves all three of those!

When I was around six we lived on a farm outside of Montpelier, Vermont. It was somewhat isolated up a hill off the main road and with only one other house nearby. My parents bought it knowing it would need some “work” and one of the projects was painting – isn’t it always.

I’m not sure why my Mom thought it would be all right to place a 7 and 4 year old in front of a can of paint and place brushes in their hands and  just run inside for a moment to fetch something.

I swear that Jay Jay started it!

When my Mom came outside we were completely covered – I’ll never forget the sheer joy and giggles – so much more fun than painting the side of the house. We were ushered (that’s putting it in kind terms) inside stripped, bathed and sent to our rooms where we proceeded to sit in our individual door ways and continue the giggles. Mom still gets exasperated in the telling!

Until tomorrow.


Day 271 was created in drop after drop of acrylic paint – some swirled together for effect.

In The Studio

1. Countdown – 95 days to Apple-A-Thon!

2. My process photo from today.

3. Apple Recipe of the Day – Star Spangled Apple Pie

4. Interesting Article of the Day – Apples To Apples – The Apples For AS project was featured today on


Day 267 – Letting go

Art Apple - Day Two Hundred Sixty SevenAll the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. – Henry Ellis

When people suffer from a chronic disease that causes pain like Ankylosing Spondylitis, we are very often given advice from people about how we can be cured. I can’t even begin to explain how frustrating this can be. If I only ate the right diet, took the little known herb, or simply stretched and did yoga daily – well then my AS would vanish huh? If it were only that simple.

I do believe there are a lot of small things that can add up to feeling a tiny bit better – not cures – but little things that when added up make the pain subside some. I eat healthy including… apples! I ask others what works for them and listen to suggestions, and I look for ways to reduce stress. The worst kind of stress for me is emotional stress – it has been a difficult thing to recognize and acknowledge but it is very true so I try very hard to minimize it.

I found this article that has a list of some ways we can “let go” – if by doing so we can feel less pain – no matter which kind, it might be worth a read through. I was a great reminder for me to let go in order to hold on to my health. I hope you find some value in it too.

Until tomorrow.


Day 267 was created in acrylic paints.

*** The US Apple Association announces National Apple Month!



Day 263 – Stormy Weather

Art Apple - Day Two Hundred Sixty ThreeIt poured today!

Now, this may not be big news but it was very odd for late June in Colorado. We get brief intense thunderstorms often with hail in the summer months but it rained all night and to about noon today. I loved it! The smell of rain on a summer morning makes me think of home and summer camp and makes me want to curl up with a book with a kitty on my lap.

Until tomorrow.


Day 263 was created in acrylic paints. I often use small plastic tupperware containers to mix paint – the left over acrylics build up over time creating a thick layer and since it is basically plastic on plastic I was able to peel the build up out in one piece. I cut out a shape of an apple and attached it and created a stormy rain effect.