Monday, August 26, 2013

Diva Challenge: Tipple Tangle Pattern

Given my last post, this week's Diva Challenge is especially apropos.  It's about the meditative process of Zentangling, more than the design.  This is one of the things I did on Saturday. I drew the piece below purposefully, slowly and mindfully. It took a long time and I enjoyed every single moment of it. It's amazing how much you can clear your mind and relax by just putting pen to paper  and drawing one stroke at a time.

I actually did this before the challenge was issued but only by a couple of days. Since it matched the criteria and it has lots of 'Tipple' (the pattern that looks like little bubbles) I decided to submit it. I hope that's not cheating

I apologize because I can't remember who recently posted about exploring Maori culture and their tribal symbolism.* I was very intrigued by that and based this design loosely on that idea. It was created on a piece of  12" x 12" scrapbook paper that has a neutral dot pattern on the background. I traced one of my dinner plates in the middle with pencil, and then I took a medium nib Sharpie and just let loose. I finished it with highlights and accents using a white Jelly Roll pen. I'd love some constructive criticism about the overall design and how it makes others feel. Although it's very dark and concentrated, it gives me a feeling of serenity because of the overall roundness of the design and because of the process by which it came into existence.

Thanks again Diva for another WONDERFUL challenge!  Keep 'em comin'!

*Thank you Joke Broekhans Geers! She let me know it was the amazing Margaret Bremner who was posting about Maori designs the other day. Cheers!

Perspective, perspective, perspective...

I've had a string of bad days lately.  Sometimes I forget to take care of ME and get so worn down that I forget that it's my choice to NOT wallow in self-pity and loathing. I can let go of the angst and anxiety, and walk away from the drama of others in my life...and my OWN self-created drama.  I forget that I can CHOOSE to be happy.

On Friday I suddenly remembered again and pulled my head out of my butt for the first time in quite a while. I decided to get up extra-early and bake some lemon bread since I haven't baked in forever and I love it. I decided to enjoy my work instead of slogging through it, and I set aside an hour to read in the garden in the evening.  I ate healthily and sipped tea all day. It was glorious! It was a conscious effort and there was a lot of redirecting my monkey-mind, but as the day went on, I started to relax.

Saturday, since I was on a roll,  I decided to play hooky all day. I  decided to read,  knit, draw or whatever else brings me happiness for the entire day.  Chores could wait.  EVERYTHING could wait. I spent the entire day just being in the moment and enjoying it tremendously. I opened the house up to like-minded friends and had fun visiting with folks who dropped in.

In the evening, I cuddled with the these two and watched Life of Pi on HBO. I had tried to read the book when it first came out and two different times after that and just couldn't. I couldn't get into it. I can count on one hand the number of books I haven't been able to read over the years; 'Life of Pi', 'The Corrections', 'House of Leaves'...  I can't remember the thousands of books I HAVE read, but the ones I can't read I remember...and hold a grudge. That said 'Life of Pi' the movie' was A-MAZ-ING cinema-graphically. I regret now that I didn't see it in the theater on the biggest screen available. Three hours of wonderful storytelling and eye candy. Sigh. 

There was absolutely nothing different about my life on Friday and Saturday than there had been any day in the past few weeks. I still had the same issue, insecurities and problems. The lone difference on Friday and Saturday was my attitude Sunday was a drama-filled day again, but I was better able to handle it having recharged a bit. How many times do I have to relearn this lesson? I KNOW that I have the choice to be happy, but it seems to slip away from time to time forcing me to go through H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks- for a while until I get straightened back out.  

Dear Universe,
Please help me to remember all of the blessings I have in my life. Please remind me to recognize and show gratitude for the beauty around me. So many people have it so much worse than I do. I am incredibly  blessed and my troubles are small in the great scheme of things. Please help me to remember that my attitude and my reactions to situations is always my choice and ...


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Decision Doodling

I'm in one of those phases in my life where I have  some of decisions to make; hard decisions. And I don't like it one bit lemme tell you. In order to settle myself and sort through the pros and cons, I've done a couple of larger doodles lately. I uploaded pics of them from my phone to Facebook. I save them from there and transfer them here. For some reason, when I send from my phone to my email, the picture gets partly eaten on the way. Great! Another hard decision! What new phone to get!

Anyway, a dear friend who is like a sister and just moved to Texas, saw them and named them for me:

Too High Falootin' To Be A  Lone Star 

(Apparently, to move to the Texas, you must memorize the fact that a  Lone Star has EXACTLY 5 points. Not  3 or 4....and definitely not 6 like the abomination above. Then they beat it into you that all stars must be  the State Approved 5-pointed Lone Star. Any doodler who attempt to doodle a star other that the official  state design  is kicked out of The South altogether and has to join the Witness Protection Program. And don't even think about eating Pace Salsa ever again. I'm going to have to do some heavy atonement and begging , not to mention drawing copious amounts of correct, 5-pointed stars, to even be allowed into the state if I ever want to visit!)

She just put 'Snakes on a Plane' under this one. I wonder why?

Goodnight All!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Diva Challenge: Dex

Just a quick drive by before I turn in for the night. Here is my Diva Challenge entry for this week. The task? To use only one tangle-Dex.  It wasn't a hardship. It's one of my favorites. Especially when I can draw it in space! 'Night All!

Cooper the Climber No More

We were having a bit of a problem at our house with Cooper climbing the screens to catch his favorite crunchy treat, the Musca Domestica . That's the common house fly for those of us whose palet isn't as cultured as Cooper's. It's all cute-like now that he's only 3 # but will become a problem when he gets bigger. A friend told me to get a squirt gun and squirt him with it whenever he starts climbing. Didn't sound wrong. So I went to Farm and Fleet and bought the only squirt gun they sell, a little hand-held number, felt good in the hand, good grip, good trigger. $3.49 and it was all mine. I got it home, loaded it up and lay in wait for the first signs of screen climbage. As luck would have it, I didn't have to wait long.

In my defense, regarding what happened next, when I was a kid (in the before times) there was one kind of squirt gun.  It was a little opaque-colored plastic pistol-usually blue or red. It took approximately 36 hours to get enough water through the impossibly small hole on the top to fill it because there was a little plastic dingus attached. No one knows why it was there because it certainly didn't keep water in. The thing leaked like a sieve from the hole and every available seam.  When you pulled the trigger, an anemic little dribble came out of the end of the barrel. Honestly, the leaking seams had more water pressure. Two 'shots' and the whole thing fell apart, started to biodegrade and that was it. Playing with a  squirt gun. Big fun.

So imagine my surprise, when I pulled the trigger on this bad boy and literally blew poor Cooper off the windowsill and onto the floor looking like he's been in a tsunami. Holy Crap! I'm lucky my aim wasn't better or I would have drilled a hole straight through him. I spent the next 10 minutes alternately cleaning up the 30 gallons of water that came out of a gun (that I only put one cup in to begin with) and consoling Cooper who ran to ME for help, apparently so traumatized that he didn't remember I was the one that pulled the trigger in the first place.

I was relaying this story to a friend over the weekend who suggested that maybe a mister bottle was a kinder, gentler way to go. Cooper wants to know where this friend was BEFORE I purchased the fire hose water launcher that soggied him up! I don't think I'll have to worry about it because he won't go NEAR the window sills now.  Apparently you never know when a rogue wave will happen by and take you out. There is something to be said for pulling the band aid off quickly!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Cooper Conundrum and This Week's Diva Challenge

Bid'ness first. Here is my Diva Challenge for this week. The challenge was to use the tangle 'Henna Drum' by Jane MacKugler.  You can see the basic tangle here.  I usually don't like my work while I'm doing it or right after I'm doing it. I will go through old pieces later and think 'Hey, I kinda like that', but that's after my knowledge of the mistakes and things that didn't go like I thought they would have faded. This one I actually liked while I was doing it!
I'm not sure why my camera makes my backgrounds have a bluish tint. This design is much more striking on the white paper it's drawn on.  Oh well. Last week was a pretty stressful week, it was nice to sit down with this and relax. Once again. The Diva ROCKS!

Exciting news! Tonight I am meeting with some Madison Zentanglers in what I hope will become a regular monthly group. One of the artists will be Diane Knauff from Stone Art Angels, who I was lucky enough to have as a teacher when I attended the Zentangle retreat in Mineral Point last fall. If anyone in the Madison area is interested in attending, comment me and I will send you location and time. The more the merrier! This technique really is relaxing and has enriched my life tremendously. You don't have to be any kind of artist to do this. I've proven that! It's just repetitive pen strokes for meditation and relaxation. You don't have to show a soul your finished product if you don't want...just reap the benefits of the Zen, baby!

In Cooper news, as he grows, we are finding out more about him. We suspect he is part porcupine and part flying squirrel because of his penchant for surprise acupuncture and hang-gliding, even though the vet insists he's just a Maine Coon cat. He apparently has acid flashbacks of some kind because one second he's calm, cool and collected, and the next he's completely wigged out and bouncing off the walls all wide-eyed, and Halloween-kitty like. He has some kind of a gravity-related super power.  One minute he's defying it by flying through the air with the greatest of ease, and the next minute he apparently uses it to increase his 3# weight ten-fold as evidenced by the herd-of-rhinos clatter he makes when he runs from one end of the house to the other over and over and over. And over. And over.

This weekend we had a family meeting to discuss the fact that one of us is consistently knocking over the recycling basket for no apparently reason.  We narrowed it down to Cooper who was remarkably un-remorseful, unrepentant, and since being id'-ed , hasn't modified that particular behavior one bit. Lord knows what he has against being eco-friendly. And the piece de resistance was when we discovered last night where all the missing objects (a sock, Kleenex, pens, a book mark, a recipe card, a gum eraser, post it notes. etc.) have been going lately. Apparently we can add 'pack-rat' to the number of species that make up our dear boy.  He had a little nest of objects he's pickpocketed in a den he's created under the bed. Some of them are bigger than he is! No wonder he rushes out and attacks any toes that come near the bed. He's protecting his hard-earned stash. 

Sigh. I'm just glad we adopted him and brought him into our family since he is apparently incapable of being a normal, contributing member of  regular society. He fits right in at our house. I saw a tee shirt the other day that said 'We don't hide the crazy in our family.  We give them an ice tea and set them out on the porch to mingle.' I swear it had Cooper's picture on it!

Sturgeon Bay Speed Racer

I was in Sturgeon Bay over the weekend and went to see the Third Ave Playhouse's matinee of Shooting Star with Doug Mancheski and Amy En...