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Derwent Inktense pencils were used for the color on the pearls

Derwent Inktense pencils were used for the color on the pearls

“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.” Daniel Boone

The past few weeks have found me in a bit of a fog as I deal with the uncertainty around my health.  I just can’t seem to concentrate or retain information very well no matter how hard I try.  My visit with the surgeon last week didn’t do much to alleviate my brain fog.  Even the little information he was willing to commit to was a bit fuzzy around the edges.  “Two masses that look like one… Moderately suspicious with elevated risk factors.”  There was some peace of mind to be found though.  I am scheduled for biopsies this week and should have answers early next week.  That’s good concrete information for now.

The good news is you, my faithful readers, will be the benefactors of my brain fog.  I found myself waiting for my husband to return a rental car on a very busy Saturday morning after his first week on his new job.  As time dragged on, I pulled out my portable Zentangle kit (really a portable hard drive case from Office Depot) and started a new tile.  Once I finished the string of pearls, I wanted to try the tangle Leaflet by Helen Williams. I had watched her video last week for how to draw the tangle and thought I had it down.  Ah, not so, not so.  The brain fog you see.  I realized pretty quickly things were not progressing as they should, but in true Zentangle style, I just kept going.  In the end, I like what emerged and I think it may very well be a new tangle.  In that spirit, I recorded the step-outs to share with you.  This is a tangle that looks better if it is a little “wonky.”  Spacing can vary and the curved lines in step 2 do not have to match – don’t you love one like that?  A little bit of Leaflet, a dash of Betweed and a whole lot of my brain fog went into this one.  I call it A-fog.  I hope you enjoy and I would love to see what you do with this one.

Tangle A-Fog

Tangle A-Fog

 

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My Dad and stepmom

My Dad and stepmom

Lost Dog: 3 legs, blind in one eye, missing right ear, tail broken, recently castrated, answers to the name of “Lucky”

It’s an old joke, but it always makes me think of my Dad.  If he were a dog, this would describe him pretty well.  He’s been through a lot and is still here to tell the tale.

Dad was born in 1940 in west Texas.  As he says, only God and the jackrabbits would want the place.  He got a tough start in life, contracting polio when he was just a toddler.  He has a few memories of being in an iron lung at Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas.  His parents were too poor to go with him, so he remembers riding the trains with the soldiers and they would give him nickels and see him safely back and forth to the hospital.  On one trip home, he and some other boys were playing with matches.  His t-shirt caught fire burning up the side of his torso and past the elbow on the inside of his arm.  One of the other children put out the fire with a mop.  Back then, the country doctors didn’t know much about treating burns and would let the burn fuse and then cut it apart.  He eventually went back to Scottish Rite for proper treatment of the burns.  Casts and many skin grafts over several years left him with a massive scar and healthy respect for fire.  At the age of 13, during a surgery to put a plate in his foot affected by the polio, he died on the operating table.  He was revived and refused to have any more surgeries for his leg.  That plate is still in his foot today.

Don’t think all this held him back.  He was forever in trouble and full of mischief.  As the youngest of three boys, he got into everything his older brothers did and a little more on his own.  He and his cousin Alan were particularly prolific.  He tells about convincing Alan that they should give each other Mohawks.  Alan went first – and dad backed out of the deal once he saw the results.  His aunt was not happy with Alan’s new hair style.  In another prank, the boys stuffed some old clothes to make a dummy and put it on the toilet for Alan’s mother to find.  Needless to say, it scared her to death.  She thought a bum had gotten in the house and was using the bathroom.  Or the time the boys found a box of balloons (condoms), blew them up and tied them all over his uncle’s model T.  His teenage years were no better.  I think he had 97 speeding tickets the first time he lost his license.  His mother made the mistake of taking his car to the store and was pulled over before she made it around the block.

If you’ve ever met a polio survivor, one of the things that stand out about them is an incredible drive and strong will.  They were taught that if you don’t move it, you lose it.  My Dad personifies this trait.  Daddy has always been a hard worker and one of my favorite memories of him as a young child had to do with him taking me to work.  He drove a delivery truck all over Texas and would sometimes take me along.  We would sing “Hit the Road Jack” and he would buy me Cracker Jacks and YooHoo to drink.  I would stand on side of him with my arm around his neck and think I was the luckiest little girl in the world.  Always my champion, he still brags about the best “bowl” cake he ever ate.

When I decided to go to college for the first time at age 32, my dad and my husband were my biggest cheerleaders.  Just 2 days after the start of my first semester at LSU, my Dad suffered a massive heart attack.  He barely survived and would have several more over the next few days.  Stints were put in and blockages cleared.  By the time it was done, he had only 1/3 of his heart working, but he was still here and saw me graduate college with honors.  Within a few months of my graduation, he was diagnosed with a massive abdominal aortic aneurysm.  He was a poor candidate for surgery, but came through with flying colors though he says we better never allow him to be put on a machine again.  It’s been nearly 20 years since then.  He was there for both daughters’ weddings, graduations from high school and college, and the birth of both of my grandchildren.  He is a great-grandfather 6 times over.  He’s a master farmer on Farmville and loves doing jigsaw puzzles on his computer.  I get regular calls from my stepmom “tattling” on him for something or other.  The most famous incident was flipping his riding lawnmower and having to wait for the gas to run out to get out from under it – because he disabled the safety feature that would have shut off the engine. Some things never change.

Whenever I want to getaway and truly relax, I go to see my Dad.  When I’m with him, even at the age of 52, I am the luckiest little girl in world.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  I love you with all my heart.

Dad trying to cut a birthday cake I made for him.  I frosted a cardboard box.

Dad trying to cut a birthday cake I made for him. I frosted a cardboard box.

Dad and my youngest daughter.  I'm sure he was telling about her cheating on computer games.

Dad and my youngest daughter. I’m sure he was telling about her cheating on computer games.

My dad and his brothers - he's the cute one in the middle.

My dad and his brothers – he’s the cute one in the middle.

June 13 _03 “But God really did bless me, you know? He really said, All right. Come on. I’m still waiting for you. Get over here. Get over here.” Liza Minnelli 

It’s been an interesting few weeks filled with travel, work, life, an anniversary and my annual round of medical tests and doctor visits.  Much of it has been pretty ordinary with a few surprises along the way.  More about those surprises in a bit.

My husband and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary this year.  It’s hard to believe it’s really been that long.  He was offshore this year and I took some time to put together a nice post for Facebook that day.  As I scrolled through all the photos I have in digital format, I was struck by how few pictures exist of the two of us.  Especially in the early days of our marriage and there’s nothing from when we dated.  Considering the wealth of images available of my daughter and her husband, we seemed like real slackers.  But as I pondered this, I remembered something very important.  We came from the era of FILM.  You had to buy it, usually fairly inexpensive, but then you had to bring it somewhere (or mail it in) to be developed. Developing was always an expensive proposition and we were pretty poor in those early years.  Nor were our families big picture takers either – once again the expense was problematic.  What little money we did have to spare for those things focused on capturing our children.  The other thing that struck me was just much I change my hairstyle.  I tell people all the time that I am a poor candidate for tattoos because I can’t even settle on a hairstyle for longer than a few months.  I now have visible proof of that fact – at least a twenty year span of photos with no hairstyle the same.  A good many of the comments about the photos were about my ever-changing hairstyles.   I believe it’s mostly because I get bored, but maybe I’m really very vain.  After all, I am a Southern woman.  My husband pretty much looks the same.  After all, he’s a Southern man.

Surprises have been good and not so good.  After eight years with the same company, an incredible opportunity for a new job came knocking on my husband’s door.  Within a week, the deal was done and he’s very excited to start on this new adventure next week.  I am so happy to see him this excited about his work.  After 38 years of work in his field, that really is a rare thing. 

On the not so good side of the coin, there was a bit of unexpected news from all those routine medical tests.  Something was found on my mammogram.  Additional tests this week revealed a “cluster” and a referral to a breast surgeon next week.  Nurse daughter doesn’t like what she’s hearing and baby daughter is outraged that there is “no sense of urgency” from anyone. My granddaughter says it’s time to get busy with Zentangle. I’m taking the view that whatever is there won’t change in the next week and if it is bad, it’s very early stage.  I am choosing to embrace my quote for this week and know that God has blessed me, really he has. 

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