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My first Zendala Tile

“I think I may be getting a wrinkle.” my grandson, Jack, on his 11th birthday when asked if he felt older

Most of my week was taken up with meetings and travel.  While most people would find this a drag, there are some benefits too.  Air travel  offers opportunities to catch up on reading and long meetings allow me to tangle a little here and there.  I usually read from my Kindle, but this time decided to catch up on some work related reading.  Bonus points when my boss asked who had read the latest issue of 360 and I was one of only a handful to raise my hand.  This was one of three team meetings held each year.  These are always packed with training and updates, but for me the real value is connecting with my peers.  I am the only employee for my company in the state of Louisiana, so for the most part I am the lone ranger.  It was great to catch up with everyone, share ideas and problems, and just have some fun at a funky bowling alley in downtown Houston.  We also celebrated our company’s 100th birthday at this meeting with champagne, cake and an inspiring video you can see here.  Happy 100th Birthday, Steelcase!

Early dismissal from the meeting for me since a team-mate and I had a very important work event in Baton Rouge on Thursday evening.  We co-sponsored a table at the gala to raise money for OLOL Foundation and their Children’s Hospital.  The OLOL Foundation does some great work in our community and it was a pleasure to sponsor such a worthy cause.  We had just enough time to fluff up the hair, fix our makeup, don our ball gowns (tux for the hubby) and get to the party.  We were beginning to sense a theme as we tip-tapped in high heels and evening dresses past the bowling tournament being held in the same complex as our event.  A delicious meal by Chef John Folse and fabulous concert by FOREIGNER made for a great Thursday night.

We were awakened by the phone ringing on Friday morning.  Our oldest daughter was calling to tell me that Jack was dressed and waiting for his birthday phone call.  Years ago, I started singing a truly horrible song to my girls on their birthdays to wake them up.  My singing voice is bad, but I do my best to rise to obnoxious for this song.  It has become a tradition they treasure, waiting  for the call now that they don’t live at home.  My grandchildren have joined the birthday song club.  So we hang up and I call back, asking for Jack.  After I sing his song and he quits giggling, I asked if he felt any older.  He gravely replied “I think I may be getting a wrinkle.”  Happy Birthday, to my favorite Buddy!

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Diva Challenge - Fengle

Spring is not the best of seasons.
Cold and flu are two good reasons;
wind and rain and other sorrow,
warm today and cold tomorrow.
~Author Unknown

Spring has certainly sprung.  I have been fighting a nasty case of the flu made even worse by the high pollen counts for about 10 days now.  We’ve also had an extended period of terrible thunderstorms, rain, tornadoes and flooding in south Louisiana for the past week.  Not the best combination of circumstances for creativity, but I’ve done a lot of tangling between naps and coughing spells.  Plus there was a conference call or two thrown in for good measure.  My Tangle A Day calendar is great for those!

Over the weekend, I tackled a few “projects.”  One of my favorites is a tote bag I have had for over a year.  I used one of the coloring pages from Sandy Steen Bartholomew’s new book Tangled Fashionista and I am so pleased with the result.  I wasn’t procrastinating, just looking for inspiration.  Shrinky Dink plastic was next on my list.  That stuff really shrinks a lot!  After a many false starts and rejects, I finally ended up with a pair of ZIA earrings that I would actually wear.  Plus my grandkids had a great time watching the stuff curl and shrink.

Rick and Maria recently published the instructions for a new tangle, Fengle in their newsletter.  CZT’s have had the instructions for a while now, so I’ve been practicing this one.  It is definitely a tangle that improves with practice, possibilities unfurling each time you draw it.  Laura Harms’ Diva Challenge this week is to use this new tangle, Fengle.  I took up the challenge on the first day of spring so color was calling.  I did several versions of the challenge, all with a bit of color.

Finally it’s Friday, the sun is shining and I am on the mend.  I have my shipment of Zendala tins and those lovely round tiles are calling to me… ahhh Spring!

White on black tile completed after this weekend's technique class.

(Upon being denied a loan from his bank) “That’s it!  I’m gonna take everything I owe to another bank! Then they’ll be sorry” David “Possum” Redmond

For some reason my late father-in-law has been on my mind for the past few weeks.  To me, he was the epitome of the Cajun people of Louisiana.  I never miss the show Swamp People because Troy Landry reminds me of my father-in-law.  He loved Louisiana, beer, his wife, automobiles, cards, casinos, Disney World, his dog, good food and his family – not necessarily in that order and subject to change depending on the day.  He had a sharp wit that managed to be funny without offending and loved to laugh.

Known to family as “Honey” and friends as “Possum”, David Redmond was from a very tiny town in deepest south Louisiana – Montegut.  Most folks down there have nicknames traced to childhood and his was no exception.  He was a preemie and so tiny, his dad would put him in his pocket – just like a ‘possum carries its young – thus the nickname “Possum”.  “Honey” came from his wife, then all six of his kids and finally their wives and husband began using that nickname.  Honey adored kids and often said they would have had twice as many if his wife could have managed it.  He often told about trying to find a little “alone” time with his wife after being offshore for a week.  With six kids clamoring for daddy’s attention, he would remove one coin from a roll of pennies and toss the remainder into the yard with the instruction to the kids “You can’t come inside till you find all 50 pennies.”   As parents, he sometimes drove us all crazy.  “Don’t punish them children.  I can’t stand it.”  To him, there was nothing his grandchildren could do wrong.  In short, he was a perfect Peepaw.  Though he wasn’t past pulling a fast one on them.  For years he collected dimes, telling the kids if they brought him 15 dimes he would give them a dollar.  They fell for it every time, even after they learned how to count money.  He once taught my niece his version of the Our Father prayer – “Give us this day, our daily beer…”  He got in a lot of trouble with my sister-in-law when her daughter said her prayers after a visit with Peepaw.

Not being Cajun or even from Louisiana, my early married years were interesting.  My maiden name was Snodgrass, a very uncommon name in southern Louisiana.  After the wedding, he told me “About damn time you changed that name.”  My “Texas” cooking wasn’t always a hit with my in-laws, though they were amazed when I made mashed potatoes from real potatoes.  Red-haired, white as a ghost, shy and a Texan to boot, being dropped into this rowdy gang of anything goes Cajuns was like landing on Mars.  My unlikely champion turned out to be Honey.  Our first Thanksgiving was apart as my husband was offshore for the holiday.  He gave me a song and dance story about his pitiful Thanksgiving with only ham sandwiches to eat.  I swallowed it hook, line and sinker.  Honey saw how upset I was and immediately called my husband to rip him up about teasing me with the final words, “Don’t you ever make her cry again!” and promptly hung up the phone.  One of my favorite memories of him.  Along with the time he told me I was so skinny I looked like a thermometer.

Honey was a cancer-survivor from a time when that was very rare.  He was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in the 1960’s – a virtual death sentence back then.  He went to MD Anderson in Houston for treatment, losing most of his scalp and lymph nodes in his neck.  He got clearance in 1977, the year I joined the family, to discontinue his annual check-ups with them.  They considered him cured.  He never did, making his annual Houston trip until he suffered a stroke just days before his appointment in 1999.  Ever competitive, he “raced” my 7-months pregnant daughter to see who came home first – him or his new great-grandchild, Maggie.

Honey passed in 2003.  I have no idea how many people came to pay their respects, but it must have been several hundred.  We had to ask that flowers be stopped the day before the funeral, there were just too many for the church and we were hauling them to the house by the pick-up truck loads.  It was a wonderful and affirming experience to see that others saw what a special man he was too.  I told my husband years ago that I knew what he would be like when he got older, just like his Dad.  He replied, “I think that’s pretty damn good.”  I was right, and so was he.  We miss you Honey.

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Bridal portrait taken just after the thunderstorm at Houmas House Plantation

“Recalling days of sadness, memories haunt me.  Recalling days of happiness, I haunt my memories.”  ~Robert Brault

My goodness!  Where has the time gone?  It has been too long since I last shared anything with my virtual friends.  I’ve been a very busy girl as we move into 2012.  Teaching, speaking, working, remembering and being interviewed today.

I am coming to the end of a series of workshops this weekend.  It has been wonderful to introduce newbies to Zentangle and we’ll explore color and drawing on canvas this weekend.  My husband and I celebrated after my most recent class with dinner out and have plans to do the same this weekend.

I served as “wingwoman” for my 10-year old grandson on Valentine’s Day.  He wanted to make some good memories for his mom by surprising her for dinner that night.  I picked him up from school and we got busy.  We bought roses (yellow was his choice), a musical card, a stuffed monkey and candy.  Card selection was an experience as I steered him away from “You Sexy Thing” and assorted other inappropriate choices aided by two men in their work clothes looking for the right card for their ladies.  He got all spiffed up, put the cash to pay for dinner in his pocket and was his mom’s surprise blind date.  She told me later he was the best date she ever had – with amazing manners.  Plus, he tactfully scolded the man on his phone at the next table: “You really should put your phone away,  This is supposed to be all about her tonight.”   The man laughed, agreed with him and turned off his phone.  Ah, the boy remembered his coaching and those etiquette lessons from good old Kacki.

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Mother and son on their Valentine's Day date.

In late February, I was approached by the hospital where my family was treated after their accident to speak for their Sudden Impact program. “High school sophomores get a chance to hear from troopers, trauma nurses and victims impacted by unsafe driving. The goal is to prevent kids from driving distracted, impaired or driving without a seat belt”  My story resonated because they all lived because of their seat belts and also illustrates that you can do everything right but still be affected by another’s poor choice.  I have spoken twice with several more dates leading up to prom season.  This was so much more difficult than I anticipated, but worth it if even one kid makes the right choice when faced with a decision.  This has led to my interview today for the hospital’s Wee Believe Magazine.  One more piece of the silver lining from that black cloud in September 2010.  You can read more about that story here.

Finally, last September and October, I promised to share bridal portraits in a Plantation, Pictures and Puddles and Wedding Day dawns.  My friends, I finally have official photos to share.  AND. drumroll please, an incredible teaser for the wedding video. I hope you enjoy sharing a few of our happy memories.

I want to acknowledge the wonderful professionals who helped me pull off a truly perfect wedding day for my daughter and her new husband:

Photography: Chris Genovese Photography

Video: CV Films

Flowers: Fred Heroman (Katrina’s was one of his last weddings, he retired the next week)

Rehearsal Dinner and Reception: Boudreaux’s (Jeanne was a joy to work with)

Groom’s Cake: Amazing Cakes

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