Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Diva Challenge: Curvy Gridlock

This week's challenge was to use some of the gridded patterns but not make the grid lines straight and the boxes even. Piece of cake for me since I can't draw a straight line to save my soul.  Here is my entry:

And here are my meeting notes from a particularly inspiring meeting last week. Don't worry, I take real notes too, but doodling while listening really increases my focus. It keeps the artsy side of my brain entertained while the listening side of my brain is doing it's thing. But anyway,  you can see that I use curvy grids in this one and almost all of my tangles. I love to tangle in compartmentalized way, in the grid, but I don't like it to be too uniform. Sigh.  I am nothing if not an enigma wrapped up in a mystery, shrouded in a conundrum. 

Thanks again, Laura for a wonderful challenge!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Diva's Open Space Challenge

I haven't been able to get to the Diva's Challenge for a few weeks now and I've missed it. I check every week to see what it is, which just makes it worse I think. But things have calmed down a bit at Chez Bee so this is my week to jump back in the pool!  This week's challenge was to leave some open space in your tangle. I am not an open-space leaver by nature. I like to cram every available inch with inky goodness so this was indeed a challenge for me. Here is my entry.

In other recent works....

This is what I mean by cramming every inch of the tile. Friend and Zentangle teacher extrordinaire, Sara MacGregor turned me on to the joys of tan tiles and brown pens. The highlighting is graphite,soapstone and white charcoal. I really liked the richness in the result. Sorry about the blurry pic.

This one is a commissioned piece for a friend I used to babysit back in the before times. It's a gift for her mum so Shhhhhh. 

And with all of the recent crappy weather, I've been uber-dreaming about spring. This is a Valentine I made for my Grammie  on paper that I dyed myself. It didn't help. We just got another 5 inches of snow yesterday.

But don't despair!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Tiny Offerings: The Life of Bentley

It's a hard life, the life of Bentley. First you are feeling kind of punky and the next thing you know you wake up in a strange place with a foot-long zipper of staples in your belly. You've now traded feeling punky for being sore and tired. Your Mum makes you stay off the furniture. She says it's for your own good, so you won't hurt your incision, but you know it's all a plot to finally convince you to stay off the sofa that she's been battling with you about for years. And the piece de resistance is 'the cone of shame'. Your belly is shaved. Your front paws each have a shaved bracelet around them. You look like an idiot and  then she goes and winds a plastic satellite dish around your neck every time you are out of her sight.  What gives???

The worst part of the cone of shame isn't the fact that you can't gnaw on your toys or get a drink of water with it on. It's not even the fact that it's clear plastic so you can't see it and keep bumping in to things you just know you used to be able to get much closer to...No, the worst part is the tiny offerings. Every time you wake up the cone is full of cat toys. At least you think it's tiny get-well offerings,  but it could just as well be the result of him practicing his 3-point shots in the middle of the night. That darn Cooper!

Oh he's been the very picture of the caring baby brother since you came home from the hospital. He has investigated your wound thoroughly but hasn't licked it with that sandpaper tongue of his; this fact alone you are eternally grateful for. He stops whatever he's doing  every 10-15 minutes; be it taking a nap, eating or playing, to check on you, sniffing your nose and giving you a kiss before going back to whatever trouble he was getting into. Sometimes, if he's not really busy, he'll swish out your ears which feels good...But you sure wish he would stop filling your damn cone with catnip mice, feathers and sparkly pompoms!

The fact that he waits until you're sleeping ticks you off. It's like he knows that if you're awake he wouldn't get away with that foolishness. He couldn't reach into the cone and even if he could the toys would fall out. No, he waits until you're conked out from that 'special ham treat' Mum keeps giving you. It's got funny medicine-y smelling, little, round, white things in it but, Dog help me, ham tastes so GOOD. He waits 'til you're lying on your side, head on the floor, out like a light, and then he starts in lugging toys to put in the cone! The cone is an accessory all on it's own, Cooper and I ROCK it!!! It doesn't need to be gussied up with feline gewgaws!  WTH!!!!

Yep, it hasn't been a good week, but things are starting to get better every day. Won't be long before the stitches are out, the cone is off and I can start plotting my revenge. Pay back is a female of my species! We'll see how he likes a dog bone on his fuzzy blankey! Look for an entry entitled "Big Sloppy, Slobbery Offerings: The Life of Cooper" soon!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

It's Groundhog's Day!

This Groundhog's Day was not a routine day at all! And I'm thankful that I don't have to repeat it like Bill Murray did in that movie that time. It started on Friday night. Bentley ate his supper. We played with his penguin toy for a while and then he laid down for a snooze like he always does. About 8:oo PM, he got up with difficulty and just stood there. I asked him if he wanted to go out and he very slowly made his way to the door. The stairs seemed to present a problem and he seemed wobbly. Given his history of knee problems, I thought he'd maybe hurt one of them or something. He got up the stairs to bed but then lay down in a way that was atypical for him. Huh. Weird.

I got up several times in the night to check on him and he was sleeping but I could wake him so I thought whatever it was could wait until morning. At around 5:oo AM he needed to go out and it was evident at that point that something was very wrong. I sat with him and waited for the vet to open at 8:oo. My friend, Mel, back in Kittery, Maine was a G*d send, consulting with me over Facebook about his symptoms and what it could possibly be. That kept me from climbing the walls until I could call my local vet.

At 8:oo AM I got through to the vet. They weren't taking calls at 7:55, or 7:58.  I tried. I was redialing like I was trying to win a radio call-in contest. The receptionist was very nice and said to bring him in at 9:30.  I told her I didn't think he could wait that long and she said it was OK to bring him in right away. It was snowing a blizzard and the roads were a mess, but we made it there in about 15 minutes. At this point, I had to lift his 80# self into the car as he couldn't get in himself and it was evident that this abdomen was swelling rapidly.

When we got the the vet, the 8AM appt. had cancelled due to the weather and they took one look at the normally exuberant but now lethargic, Ben and got him in for an x-ray right away. His spleen was basically taking up his entire abdominal cavity. They sent me immediately to the Veterinary Emergency Services offices over in Middleton, who took one look at the x-rays and said that his spleen would have to come out. Now. Leaving him there to go home and wait for word was one of the harder things I've had to do in this lifetime. Especially after giving the instruction so not wake him up if they discovered that his belly was full of metastasized cancer.

They stabilized him in the morning so that he would be a better candidate for surgery and started the surgery process at about noon. At 5:30 PM I finally got a call that he was out of surgery and was awake, alert and upright. There had been a golf ball sized tumor in the spleen that had ruptured it. It had bled and then miraculously clotted and contained itself within the spleen, which had ballooned to the size of a volleyball. When the vet touched it, it basically dissolved and filled his abdomen.  They needed to clamp everything off as soon as they could to keep him from bleeding out. He needed a transfusion due to the large amount of blood loss.

They told me afterward that if I had waited even an hour longer, Ben wouldn't be with me now. The spleen would have totally ruptured and he would have bled out. Someone was looking out for us that's for sure. First the blood clotting and 'holding steady' for just enough time  the fact that he and I have the kind of  bond that made me 'just know' something was 'very wrong' and insisted he be seen, Mel's support from 1500 miles away, and the amazing staff at VBS who quickly diagnosed the problem and skillfully fixed it; all of these things saved his life.

And now we wait. They sent the tumor away. It will take 4 days to learn if it's cancer, in which case he will have 4-6 months left, or not cancer, and will be just fine. The fact that they didn't find anything visibly metastasized in his abdomen gives me hope.

So even though Bentley's spleen came out on Groundhog's Day , it apparently didn't see it's shadow and go back in, so the good news in this whole mess is we only have 47 more days of winter! See, Old Ben is working for us all, even in the middle of a health crisis!