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Diva Challenge 55 in my Tangle A Day calendar

“It is the little bits of things that fret and worry us; we can dodge a elephant, but we can’t dodge a fly.”  ~Josh Billings

Today has been a bit trying.  I’ve been uneasy all day, worrying over this and that.  Maybe the terrible weather is part of the problem or maybe not.  Maybe it’s just the contrast after a couple of intensely focused and productive workdays to find my thoughts bouncing around like rubber balls.    Trying to get my thoughts to settle, I decided to tackle the latest Diva Challenge.  Maybe I could tangle myself back on track.

Laura Harms challenged us to use the Moebius strip in our tangling for this week.   I have always loved the Moebius strip and have a bracelet with the word for “mother” engraved in 32 different languages.  It is also the symbol, along with the color purple, for Moebius Syndrome.  Laura’s little boy has Moebius Syndrome, so it is a cause very close to her heart. I don’t use color all that often, but since the color purple represents the syndrome my Prismacolor pencils were calling.  Not to mention as a LSU alumni – I love purple, live gold 🙂  I got a little carried away with those pencils, visible manifestation of my inability to focus today.

So, where did the quote for today’s post come from?  My inability to focus yet again, but it made me smile.  I couldn’t settle on anything to use, much less write about when I saw this quote.  Immediately my thoughts turned to my husband’s basset hound, Bandit.  He passed away the day before Father’s Day last June.  He was a sweetheart of a hound dog but a bit of a character.  He was terrified of two things – cameras and flies.  He just ran from the camera – much like dodging an elephant.  But flies, oh my.  His wrinkles would deepen and that frown would come out.  Bandit would park himself in a corner and track that fly’s every movement with life or death intensity – an expression on his face that was the very epitome of worry.  He was smart enough to know you can’t dodge a fly.  I think there’s a lesson to be learned from that old hound dog.

A very rare photo of Bandit taken in 2010


Diva Challenge 54 - Purple Haze

“The process of maturing is an art to be learned, an effort to be sustained.  By the age of fifty you have made yourself what you are, and if it is good, it is better than your youth.”  ~Marya Mannes, More in Anger, 1958

For some reason it seems someone, usually me, is always sick on my birthday.  This year was no exception.  I spent my birthday in a hospital waiting room.  My gift the successful removal of a blockage and gallbladder for my daughter after two days of tests and waiting for the “emergency” surgery.  I shared encouraging stories with a brother and sister waiting to see their mom, tangled a little and thought about life in general.  I was especially grateful that my husband resisted bribery for the gluten-free pizza he brought to the waiting room while I was in pre-op with our daughter for waaay too long. Hospitals are not very friendly for people with food allergies and gluten intolerance.  I hate cold food but that was the best cold pizza I have ever eaten!

I decided to use my Tangle-A-Day calendar by Carole Ohl to capture my “thoughts” for those days – particularly my birthday.  When I went to scan the images for this post, imagine my surprise to find my birthday week blank!  I know I was a little distracted, but I’m positive I tangled those days.  Oops!  It seems I tangled February 18 – not January 18.  Oh well, I know what I meant.  They say the mind is the first thing to go.

After getting through the year I was forty-nine, I was relieved to reach fifty.  It has been a year of exploration, understanding, creative growth and spiritual maturity for me.  I suppose that’s part of the reason this quote by Marya Mannes appeals to me.  I have come into who I am meant to be and I like this woman, even if she is over fifty.

Tangle A Day Calendar - my birthday is really Jan 18.

My finished mixed media piece

“I’m creative – you can’t expect me to be neat too.”  ~Author Unknown

I must confess to relief that the holidays are behind us once more.  It’s the same every year for me.  I love the anticipation, preparation and celebration but by the time it’s all over my only thought is “enough already!”  Impatient to get on with regular routines and pick up on things left undone while I was in holiday mode, I find myself with a sort of mental ADD.  Like a grasshopper, my thoughts jump from idea to idea rarely staying on anything very long.  A mental hangover from the overload of things to do during the season.   I’ve noticed my grandchildren haven’t had that problem.  They have adhered themselves to all things electronic to the point of overload.  They especially like to hole up in Bear’s Man Cave, only coming out for food and water.

Knowing I would have them for the entire weekend, I resolved to find a way to pull them out of the cave and away from the wonders of Club Penguin enhanced by the stack of gift cards they received for Christmas this year.  Strathmore is offering a series of online classes for 2012 – FREE.  I decided to enroll in the Mixed Media workshop.  After watching the videos, I knew this would be a stretch for me and would draw both kids like flies to honey.  It’s a messy approach using just about everything but the kitchen sink.  Zentangle is neat, requires few tools and supplies and is controlled in approach – that’s what appeals to me about it.  Nevertheless, I gathered various supplies and announced to the kids we would be doing art on Saturday afternoon.  What ensued was a messy, disorganized and thoroughly FUN afternoon for all of us.  Each has a unique approach to the creative process and clear ideas of what they like and don’t like.  This messy, anything goes approach was perfect for them – though I struggled mightily.  The contrast in the three pieces reminds me a lot of my Zentangle classes.  We used the same supplies and had the same instruction, yet each piece is unique.  We all agreed to move forward with the entire workshop as a team of three and packed up our ugly vinyl tablecloth along with our supplies in preparation for next weeks lesson.  Even better, Saturday was a day free of the cave and electronics.  They never even missed it.  Mission accomplished!

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