Friday, December 31, 2010

december 31 - lessons learned

I have been a tad out of the loop these past two weeks ... or maybe it has been the last couple of months? I am finding it surreal to realize Christmas has come and gone (indeed, even the holiday decorations have been put away already) and I have little sense of it. Maybe things were a little too smooth? I did not find myself frantically shopping at the last minute and perhaps that level of holiday madness is what brings the season into high relief for me?

Or maybe it is just the usual end of year popping my head out of my hole and wondering a la the Talking Heads song: How did I get here?

Indeed, it has been a long, strange trip ... in a good sense. For this past year was my year of living with the intention of Fearlessness and Connection guiding me. Now is the place where I would recount all that evolved from that intention, but you already know, don't you? Instead, I am thinking about what I've learned about being fearless: that it is not about abolishing fears or doubts, but rather not letting fear freeze or disable me. When fear takes over, there is the natural tendency to make like a rabbit and be absolutely still. It is not a stillness where one is completely present; it is being frozen or stuck in a moment, in a emotion.

The antidote to this is to move, to take action. I've discovered I can experience fear but I can override the tendency to shut down. Some days it is just putting one sentence down in my journal. Or getting up from the chair and moving to my art table, sewing machine or yoga room. It is using action to distract my mind from its tendency to spin wild tales of humiliation and woe. And it is recognizing that to act and possibly fail is still far better than to do nothing and wonder "what if?"

I am reminded of a story told by Marisa Haedike's husband, Sean Hogan during their course April In Paris. Sean shared an experience he had as a kid when the coach for his sports team (was it baseball? Or basketball? I cannot remember) kept him on the bench, never letting him play in the game. His team lost and the other players were complaining about the game when Sean said "yeah, but at least you got to play!"

This year was my year to get myself off the bench and into the game. This year was the year of playing, of practicing, of doing, of taking action and reaching out to others to share that experience.

I wrote the following for a Wishstudio guest piece and it is my big A-Ha for the year (so forgive me the arrogance of quoting myself):

We all need to feel connected; to know who we are matters to another, and that what we do or say has value and meaning. I realize that all I do as a mother, as an artist, as a yogi and a teacher revolves around that essential need. In my life, I am coming to know this truth: that my story counts. By sharing my experience, I help to shine light upon your journey. And by encouraging others to share their truth, we come to understand our essential unity. That is, we come to know ourselves as lovable and loving. And in that space, we are unstoppable, anything is possible and we are fearless in our quest to better our world.

Cheetah babies

A perfect seque into repeating my word for 2011 is Shine. Years ago, my spiritual sister told me "you are totally unaware of the Light that you are." She has said this to me on more than one occasion. After a year of fearlessness, I am better aware of that light. I used to think it was easier for me to appreciate the light - the gifts - of others rather than my own; but I recognize now that if I cannot see my own light, I cannot fully see that of another. When I live with my heart wide open, loving, forgiving and accepting myself, the glow of Love shines forth from me. With that light, I am able to see the beauty and the light of others undistorted and unaffected by my needs or wounds.

I am excited for this New Year. I am ready to let myself Shine. And I am taking the lessons of the previous year - to continue to create, act, move everyday - and utilizing them to help me keep that light bright and glowing. One brushstroke, one photograph, one row of knitting serving to keep the fires alive and burning.

Lord Shiva, help us let go of the old; Lord Ganesha, help us move into the New.

Goodbye 2010 - you were a great year. Hello 2011. I am looking forward to spending time in you.

And for no apparent reason other than this is my mood - I feel the need to end the year with a little ukuele, George Harrison and a man in a gnome hat. Enjoy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Inspiration Celebration: holiday edition

If ever there was a week when inspiration was desperately needed, it was this past holiday weekend! At times it felt like the Grinch was trying to steal my Christmas, but thanks to so many creative and generous angels out there, Christmas spirit persevered here in Whoville and a merry time was had by almost all.

Okay, so a quick laundry list: after eating a boot, a slipper, a holiday ornament AND most offensive of all, the leather cover to one of my art journals, I declared Moose dog was not fit and took him in for more extensive (read: expensive) diagnostic testing. As I was waiting for the vet to call, it occurred to me that the recent rash of leather-binging had transpired in the two week period since he had been on medication to reduce inflammation in his stomach. Bingo! If ever EVER a doctor or veterinary wants to prescribe prednisone be very very wary! Basically, we were living with Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde in canine form. We are attempting to reduce his medication but in the meanwhile he cannot be left unattended. I mean, I had nothing better to do in the days leading up to Christmas, right?

Then the Husband went down Christmas eve and he went down hard. The highlight of our family dinner was Cowgirl running downstairs and shouting "Daddy threw up ... on the floor!" If you need a way to clear out party guests, you might try that line. Guaranteed to work.

So Christmas day was a quiet affair with a trip to the 24 hour Walgreens, removing the sockings which were filled with food products every time I had to leave the house and make sure no shoes were lying about ... thank goodness for chocolate and alcohol!

And in spite of all this, Cowgirl declared this holiday to be the best one yet! I have to agree. Crazy as the weekend was, so many have come out in support of my video entry for the Ford Global Challenge and Half the Sky Foundation and I am sitting here stunned by the generosity of so many. Thank you seems so small and so I am bestowing Angel status upon these shining souls who truly light up my world:

First there is Karen who has been drumming so much support on Facebook for me as she continues to cheer me on in emails and messages;

Connie for her continual support of all of my creative endeavors. This month she has been running feature pieces on all the artists who have participated in Fearless painting and today is my turn. And in my hour of need, she put out a special post to inform her readers about the Global Challenge.

book and card by Marisa Haedike of Creative Thursday

Marisa - whose book "Who are you going to be today Olive?" is all about being oneself and knowing that we each are special and have gifts to share (Cowgirl loves it!) - blew me away with her blog post for me about Half the Sky;

Mindy of Wishstudio immediately and enthusiastically replied to my email with an offer for me to write something for her blog this (I will keep you all posted!) Do check out her amazing giveaway of three scrumptious package sets of beautiful goodies sure to ease the transition into the New Year.

There are so many more angels in my life - indeed the air around me is churned up by the beating of all those wings - please know each and every one of you who has reached out to me via email, snail mail (oh my, YES! I am loving the mail!),or a comment or on Facebook has truly touched my heart and encouraged me to continue on.

And now for the visual inspiration from the previous week!

A beautiful postcard from Kristen in honor of us both declaring our intention for 2011 is to Shine!

This beautiful calendar by Sarah Ahearn which will provide me with a year's worth of inspiration;

Cowgirl's art - a new box the fairies gave her for Christmas (I figure if she is going to become a hoarder, at least she can hoard in style!)

And the best holiday gift of them all -

Made by Cowgirl at school, a tile depicting our family (sorry for the Photoshop blur of our name) and best of all, she gave us all bodies!

We all have the week off to recover and art projects abound so we are ringing out the old year and ringing in the new in an arty way. Hopefully I can return to the master bedroom after 3 nights in the guest room, although this morning's wake up call makes me want to linger a few nights more: I heard the door open and a little voice call out "where are my cuddles?!"

Now it is your turn: do tell, was Santa good to you this year?

(Shameless plug: This is the final week for voting for my video over on the Ford Focus Facebook page. I have a chance to win $10k for an incredible charity and so far I have over a hundred votes! You can vote everyday, so if you like my piece and want to support Half the Sky Foundation, please take a moment to
pop over and vote ... and then vote again tomorrow!)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Wishes

Warmest wishes for all this holiday season and beyond. May we all be surrounded by love and comfort and know Peace in this lifetime.

With love and gratitude ♥

xo Lis, Cowgirl, Moose & The Husband

Cowgirl found a loose tooth on Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Inspiration Celebration - Help me Dream Big (please vote!)

Okay, so there is mania and then there is true mania! As if the holiday season isn't jam packed as it is, I decided to create a video for the Ford Focus Global Drive being run on Facebook. (Yes, I know ... the irony of having to return to Facebook after my recent rants does not escape my attention.) The campaign is to show what I would do with $10,000 for a charity of my choice and why I want to be selected to test drive the new Ford Focus - get this - in Spain!

So casting aside all thoughts of sanity, dismissing rational theories about the nature of time (yeah, I am seriously trying to bend time to my will over here) I decided to make a video over the weekend. Totally doable, right? Add to that I was hosting a holiday party and needed to finish 6 sewing projects (I finished 4) and get stuff mailed (gifts, not the holiday cards I shot and processed in 2 days), I was being totally sane, right?

Did I mention the deadline for video submission and voting is December 31? No stress here.

Okay, it was doable but here is the part where I need all the help I can get: I need to generate votes on the Ford Focus Facebook page. While I have no idea about my chances of actually winning, my hope is to use this project as a sign of my sincerity to my charity, Half the Sky Foundation. You may recall, last summer Cowgirl and I participated in an Art A-Thon for Half the Sky and we raised $900 through our collaborative paintings. The mission of Half the Sky Foundation is to provide individual care and stimulation for the children living in Chinese welfare centers. Their stated goal is "to ensure every one of China's orphans has a caring adult in her life." To date, their programs have impacted the lives of 40,000 children.

I now have a new idea for a project with Half the Sky involving older children and photography and they are interested in my idea. But this program will require money to be raised. So I have to figure out this whole fund raising/grant writing process and success with the Ford Global Challenge would only enhance my credibility.

So here's where I need you my dear friends. If you are on Facebook, here is the link to my video on their campaign page: Nurturing Dreams. You will need to "like" the Ford Focus page first and then you can see my video and vote. Please remember to vote "Love It" and then, if possible, spread the word to your Facebook or blogging buddies. The more, the merrier. Feel free to link to this post or the Facebook page.

And leave me a comment here or on the video page because I could use a little nurturing love myself to get me through the rest of my projects!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Moment

ThisMoment - day 30

Today was the final post for THIS Moment with Mindy Tsonas. Given the natural mania of the holiday season and add to that a dog that continues to have "problems" (he ate a slipper this week ... something is up with his stomach and I am praying my vet will morph into James Herriot and uncover the missing link to this puzzle) I have been grateful for the commitment I made to myself to complete a practice page/art postcard each day. It has been helpful to look through my growing collection - 30 cards so far - and see how varied my days have been. Or rather, my awareness and perception of each day. Joy, celebration, confusion, exhaustion mark some days. But more than anything, the act of taking time to check in with myself, to pause and notice, that practice has revealed a deep reserve of Hope and Faith in myself and in my life.

Before the course started, Mindy asked each of us this question: When you clear away all the judgments, the expectations, the desires and needs and have-to's, what do you see in this very moment?

This has been the central theme to the course and what I have asked myself every day. And now I come to the end and realize my practice, my training and study of yoga is about the same thing: stripping away all that is not who we are (but what we misidentify as ourselves - our emotions, our thoughts, our experiences, our perception of our imperfections) we come to discover our true essence, our true self strong, shining, clear and enduring as a diamond.

When I take away all my anxieties, fears, doubts, false perceptions (like lack of abundance or worthiness) what is left behind?


This was my answer for Mindy over a month ago and it is my answer today:

When I clear away all the judgments, the expectations, the desires and needs and have-to's, what I see in this very moment in my life is love wrapping its arms around me; joy filling every cell within me; and gratitude spilling out from me as the blessings of life shine brightly in front of me.

And laughter, lots of laughter at the sublime craziness and beauty of life.

This is the gift of being present. This is the gift of being alive.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

december views: it's all about pacing ...

doing a little bit, every day ...

... when i can remember.

and always, making celebration my intention.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Inspiration Celebration: blizzard of sorts

We actually did have a blizzard warning this past weekend. The actual snowfall was slight, but the steady, high winds pretty much shut everything down. It was actually a blessing given the abundance of started projects cluttering up the house - and my brain. For what I am noticing is the more I do and the busier I get, the greater the flow of new ideas that bubble up in my consciousness. Does anyone else have this happen? One idea leads to another which would be wonderful except the new idea appears while I am in the middle of another project! The challenge it seems, is to know when to seize hold of the inspiration and run with it even if that means disrupting other work; and when to hold tight, trusting my resources and enthusiasm will not wane and the project will happen in due time.

I think it's called "The Da Vinci Effect." (you know, Leonardo began a lot of projects and never really completed anything - at least to his satisfaction.)

So right now I am scrambling to complete many projects while jotting down the ideas that seem to be bubbling up like clouds in an unstable air mass. (DId I just insult myself?) I am finding creativity is equal parts inspiration, discipline, and stick-to-it-ness. I find myself lounging in the recliner about to watch an episode of "Lost" (yes, we never watched the series when it was on and now are up to season 4; "Spooks" a.k.a "MI5" is another favorite series of the moment) and realizing I can run upstairs to get my knitting. I lounge a minute longer and then recall how pleasurable it will be when I can see my progress after an hour and that gets me out of my chair and grabbing the needles and yarn. And so I finished Cowgirl's sweater which she loves:

Here she is eating her morning egg. She would eat a hard boiled egg every morning if I let her. She does not eat the yolks but she does cover them in copious amounts of black pepper. I have never known a child to love pepper the way she does! I will look over and see her food blackened by a layer of pepper and even though I always think she couldn't possibly eat that - she gobbles it up.

I managed to get a few cards out in the mail and the law of karma held true as I received this lovely card from Anne at Songbird Sisters:

art post card by Anne Johnson French -
i am so excited to be developing a Buddha-themed collection of art images!

And even more mail goodness came my way as I this arrived today from the U.K. from a Squam cabinmate Nicola:

art calendar by Nicola Taylor of The Drama Queen's Guide to
Changing the World

I am officially a calendar girl - and I got to keep my clothes on! (That's me in the middle the last morning at Squam taking in the sunrise - the morning after my skinny dip!) Nicola is a fantastic photographer and wickedly witty blogger and I am honored to receive a calendar full of her glorious images.

Speaking of images ... it has been challenging taking pictures these days. The constant cloud cover means less than inspiring light but I am nothing if not disciplined (thank you Yoga for years of mat practice) and I've tried my best to participate in december views:

december 8 - pajama day at school

december 9

december 12

This later image was inspired by a poem that seemingly popped into my head as I was driving home from yoga class (see what I mean about inspiration manifesting everywhere?)

You fold into my arms
nesting your warm, animal body
against mine

feeling the heat of you

all anxieties, worries and concerns
puddle away

leaving behind
the flame of Love:
the glow of being loved
and the radiance of holding, knowing and loving

Is inspiration finding me? Or is it by regularly exercising my creative muscles, I am moving through the world with sharper senses and a wider perspective? Even this drawing by Cowgirl gets my juices flowing:

How do you tend to your creative muscles need for regular exercise? Now is the season to begin anew!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekly Reflection (Week 49): nuturing our talents

As I was cleaning up the dinner dishes, Cowgirl plunked herself upon a stool at the kitchen island to do some coloring. As an art historian, I cannot help but notice my daughter's work moves through distinctive phases. First, there was her Blue period followed by a Rainbow period and then a Dinosaur period. Now she working on a Transportation series. There are her Train pieces utilizing an Asian scroll-like format (many sheets of paper taped together) and more recently, Truck Books (incorporating staples - a new favorite rivaling her love for scotch tape.)

in "Blue Thunder" the artist draws upon her previous exploration of the expressive power of blue, incorporating a new investigation inquiry into speed and power as exemplified by the truck and car.

She was drawing away while I busied myself with the dirty dishes, pots and pans (perhaps a Kitchen Series is coming?) Then she asked us to help her spell out the words "Once upon a time." This is a typical scene:

Cowgirl: "Mom, how do you spell Once?"
Me: "O"
CG: "Got it!"
Me: "N"
CG: "Got it!"
Me: "C"
CG: "Got it!"

And so on. (The husband and I argue about the pacing of our spelling out loud. He fires off the letters while I wait for her "got it" before going on to the next letter. I find my brain seizes up when people recite letters or numbers quickly. The worst is on answering machine messages where I have to replay over and over, the numbers always getting transposed in my mind.)

Before long, The Husband had taken a seat by her and together they completed her story book. Cowgirl dictated the sentences, while daddy helped edit and then write out the words. Watching them together, my heart melted. It is such a joy for me when Cowgirl takes an interest in doing art with me and I saw the same pride and pleasure on The Husband's face as he assisted his daughter. You see, I forget that the husband teaches writing (screen writing) along with film production to university students and that, in fact, he is a writer. And in that moment, I realized we are a family of writers.

cover art for "The Orange Car"

"The car used fire rockets to go fast and not get hit."

"Then the car shot back at the bad suns. They were hit and shrunk until they were gone. The car was happy and jumped on a bump to fly away. The End."

When Cowgirl first came home at age 23 months, she spoke just a few words of baby babble and possibly simple Cantonese. Her first English word was "Woof" followed by "Up" which had an Italian inflection to it as I taught it to her saying "Uh, Uh, Pah, Pah" and so it become Uh-Pa! She didn't say much more and we actually discussed whether we should be concerned about her speech. Of course, we are a talkative couple and - you guessed it - quickly we had a very chatty child on our hands.

We are also a family of readers, so it should come as no surprise that Cowgirl is interested in writing her own stories, making her own books. Her first full sentence was "We like dogs." (By now I am sure you are noticing the theme here ... again, no wonder she refers to herself as "C Dog.")

And now she has a number of her books filling the tables in our home. She is becoming more adept at reading and writing words by sounding the letters out and with this new skill, her talent as a story teller is blossoming. I am proud of her joy and sense of accomplishment as she works on her creations. I am also coming recognize the importance of my sharing with her the thrills and pride I experience in my work. In thinking about all this, it is dawning on me that among other things, I too am a writer.

I'm not sure which is harder for me to say - I am a writer or I am an artist? In my heart, I know I am both, but saying so feels awkward and presumptuous. But if I want my daughter to be comfortable embracing her talents, I need to become comfortable doing so myself. I need to practice acknowledging the gifts and the talents that I take great efforts exercising. And it is effort; I know that talent is not a matter of total ease but of perserverence, commitment, passion and practice, practice, practice.

Also essential is taking time to celebrate and appreciate our accomplishments. To do so gives momentum to continue on. As the year draws towards its conclusion, I look back over my list from last January of "Things to Do in 2010." I am stunned to see so many items on my list have been realized or are well on their way to becoming a reality. Some are rather mundane: sew an apron, knit Cowgirl a sweater, wear more dresses. But some are pretty major: attend Squam, be involved in a big creative project (21 Secrets), take a painting class (BIG), skinny dip (at Squam in a frigid lake!), start a women's circle, and connect with some of my "idols" (classes with Marisa, Sarah, and Susannah.)

Connection was a major theme and intention for me in 2010. Another goal was to have my writing and images appear in places other than this blog. And today I am proud to announce I have a guest post up on The Mortal Muses blog for the theme "where i live." Having my work appear in other blogs is like having someone want to hang your art work in their living room. It is one thing to display my pieces in my home, but to have my work accepted into another's space is a huge form of validation. I realized this morning that I have had my work appear in four other blogs and that is a feat I would never have imagined myself capable of achieving. And I don't mean to say that my work isn't worthy, but for me to put myself out there and ask another person "would you read this?" or "would you consider this piece, this image?" is a HUGE accomplishment for me.

In fact, I have another dream project that just received some positive encouragement. I cannot go into the details just yet, but it is an idea that involves art, photography and underprivileged young people utilizing these formats to validate their perspectives, their experiences. I write about this because I almost let my idea whither away. It came to me last summer and I wrote to a couple of people about it, asking for advice on how to proceed. I got no feedback and over time, I let the doubts and the obvious logistical challenges damper my enthusiasm. Then I was in contact with a person whose organization I had hoped to contact for this project, but for a different matter. I was sending an email and it hit me I should mention my idea to this person and ask for feedback or a name of someone who I might contact. I sat at my desk, the angel of enthusiasm and passion shouting "write it! write it!" and the devil of doubt and self-effacement whispering "You can't do this ... you don't have the skills ..." and the most insidious of them all "now is not a good time ... wait until you are more ready for this." I wavered for an instant, and then I typed out my idea and hit the send button. The next day I got a response that my idea is great and she wants to discuss it at the January planning meeting with other departments in the organization.

The story I all too often tell myself is "what I do isn't all that important or big." I am coming to realize, I cannot maintain that lie any longer. For beyond anything I might achieve for myself, there is my impact upon my daughter's life which becomes more apparent every day. She moves her hands like me, she uses similar verbal inflections and facial expressions and now there is her sense of herself and her identity which is directly related to how I think and express my sense of self.

apparently, i am also an ice [cream] truck

Hello, my name is Lisa and I am a hard-working, passionately engaged, and dedicated writer, artist, and mother.

How do you describe yourself? Is it a nurturing or a destructive description? Who do you aspire to be?

(Thank you for the inquiries and well wishes into Moose's current health challenge. He has been doing much better and while we still do not know the cause of his stomach ailments, he is responding well to medication and a convalescence's diet. That said, he has had cravings which lead him to devour the top 2 inches of Rick's boot! So he is recovering from the effects of shoe leather moving through his system. And in a twist of either poetry or perversion, I found myself paying for his last vet's visit - a barium swallow test with x-rays! - and thinking "there go my new black boots." Well, someone got a black boot!)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Inspiration Celebration: No Regrets

painting inspired by the question: how my life would look if i had no regrets

Ten years ago, I quit my full time, going nowhere but the insane asylum job and took a month off to study yoga and earn my teaching certificate. Needing to cobble together an income, I re-entered the academic world and became an adjunct instructor in art history (another thing I "trained for" and then abandoned; a post for another day). I taught two sections of the survey course for two separate institutions. One semester I was teaching survey one (ancient through medieval art) at one university, an hour away from home and survey two (Renaissance through Modern) at the university here in town. My schedule was Monday & Wednesday, survey one; Tuesdays and Thursdays was survey two.

One class was 90 students and the other was 50. Not having taught for ten years, my brain and nerves were pretty wired. I recall one day standing in front of an image of Monet's Haystack paintings and for the life of me, I could not think of the word "haystack." I believe I called them "muffin-like objects" because that was the only thing that came to mind. After a few weeks, I was hopelessly confused. Am I in ancient Rome today? Or am I supposed to be talking about the French Revolution? When in doubt, I would just talk about contrapposto until I figured out which class I was in.

All of this ramble is my long-winded way of saying I am in a bit of a muddle not knowing if I am coming or going. But a good sort of muddle. A creative chaos if you will that has me excited to get up in the mornings and exhausted when I go to bed at night. I am a one woman band banging a drum, blowing a trumpet, smashing cymbals between my knees and following a monkey. I don't know if I will get to everything I have on my list, but I will make a racket and hope for some music in my attempt to dance forward.

So Cowgirl was getting dressed for school and her dad asked if she had a sweater to put on as it has gotten extremely cold here. I informed him she had none as she had outgrown them all and she turned to me and sweetly requested that I knit her a new sweater. So guess who went out that day and bought yarn?

The pattern is called Quicko Cheapo so I think I am perfectly sane in undertaking this project. I still have the yoke to knit and then the button band. Of course, there is extra yarn and someone needs a new hat ...

I am on a postcard/art card making frenzy (a True Renaissance if you will; the postcard IS my Sistine Ceiling I believe ...)

And then there is this proof that what we put out, we receive in spades:

an envelope filled with goodness! art work by Mel

Mail art from the amazing Mel for me!

art work by Mel

And equally inspiring, mail art from Mel's daughter Savannah for Cowgirl:

art work by Savannah

How adorable is this little critter with movable feet?

art work by Savannah

We were both smitten! Cowgirl's art for Savannah is ready to be mailed off once I find an envelope big enough (I have mentioned her passion for tape but not her favored format du jour, the scroll or portable mural. I also need to translate the stories behind the pieces. Be patient Savannah!)

I've started a journal for Cowgirl which will include art work and writing. This is one of those projects that has knocked about my brain for years now and it is time to just do it! (She has already made numerous requests for versions of my art to be included. Ah, the eternal struggle between an artist and her patron!)

in progress: the front page of the journal

Keeping me going are my daily card/pages for THIS Moment. We had another week with Moose dog at the vet's (poor guy - he had a 10 hour day when he went in for a barium swallow test and is being treated for gastritis. It has been a long and expensive week (yes, as I handed over my credit card to the vet's office I did think "there go my new black boots." Not that boots would love me as much ...)

i am loving the book Drawing Lab by Carla Sonheim for inspirational exercises. Thank you Bodhi Chicklet for the suggestion!

And because this is running on waayyyy too long, here are my December Views rounding out my week. Is it time to talk about groin vaulting and flying buttresses? Oops, sorry, we were discussing Chiaroscuro and Caravaggio ...

December 4

December 5

December 6

And honestly, I can say ... I regret none of this craziness. In fact, I am embracing it all!