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A few things to know about Louisiana: 

  • Possums sleep in the middle of the road with their feet in the air. 
  • There are 5,000 types of snakes, and 4,998 live in Louisiana. 
  • There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 live in Louisiana, plus  a couple that nobody has seen before.
  • Squirrels will eat anything.
  • Unknown critters love to dig holes under tomato plants. 
  • Raccoons will test your crop of melons and let you know when they are ripe. 
  • If it grows, it sticks; if it crawls, it bites. 
  • A tractor is NOT an all-terrain vehicle. They do get stuck.  
  • Onced and Twiced are words.  
  • It is not a shopping cart, it is a buggy. 
  • Fire ants consider you their picnic.
  • People actually grow and eat okra.
  • “Fixinto” is one word.  
  • There ain’t no such thing as “lunch.” There’s “dinner” and then there’s “supper.”  
  • Sweet tea is appropriate for all meals, and you start drinking it when you’re two.  
  • Backwards and forwards” means, “I know everything about you.” 
  • “Jeet?” is actually a phrase meaning “Did you eat?”  
  • You don’t have to wear a watch because it doesn’t matter what time it is, you work until you’re done or it’s too dark to see.  

From: www.spicycajun.com

For the Diva Challenge this week, Laura Harms asked for representations of the place we live.  Gumbo, the swamp and sugar cane all come to mind for my home, south Louisiana.  This made my tile pretty easy to accomplish.  I also think of the crazy culture down here – maybe it’s the humidity (we blame everything on the humidity.)  Take a look at www.spicycajun.com for some more fun stuff about life down here and a few great jokes too.

I have also decided to share my gumbo inspired tangle: Okra.  Bon Apetit, y’all!

 

 

“Sometimes I think my life would make a great TV movie.  It even has the part where they say, ‘Stand by. We are experiencing temporary difficulties.’ “~Robert Brault

 

 

My Zentangle habit has been on standby for quite some time due to a shoulder injury that just refuses to cooperate with modern medicine.  I have been busy booking some fun things for myself to do in the meantime.  Hope springs eternal and my shoulder has till August to get with the program.  I’ll be attending the upcoming CZT Workshop in Providence, RI with Rick and Maria.  I can’t wait to spend some time with them and the next class of CZT’s.  About a week later, I’ll be hanging out in Dallas for a long weekend with fellow CZT’s sharing knowledge and ideas at a workshop hosted by CZT Angie Vangalis.  I’ve also contracted with LSU to teach two Zentangle classes for their Leisure Class program in October.

 

With all that coming up, I’ve decided to work through the pain and get back to tangling.  You might say I’ve augmented my ongoing physical therapy.  It takes me a long time and I’m working at larger scales (experiencing vision problems too) but I’m happy to have my Sakura pen in my left hand – tangling away on this week’s Diva Challenge.

 

Laura Harms challenged us to use the tangle Cadent this week.  While it doesn’t have to be a monotangle effort, there is something to be gained when you push the tangle as far as you can go on a single piece.  I really like Cadent.  It appeals to the orderly piece of my brain with its grid-like organization, with a little twist of whimsy in the curved line connections.  I struggle with tangleations on this one though.  I think it’s because I like the tangle so much just as it is.  For my challenge, I decided to see what would happen if I used Cadent “in the round” with circles as my strings.  This little deviation made a big difference as I began to think about how I would change each iteration and a technique I will use again when I find myself on standby.

 

My very own Tangled Toms

redux [ri-duhks] adj. brought back; resurgent: the Victorian era redux.  www.dictionary.com

Forgive the little detour, but I have big info to share.  So…who knew you could look up a word on dictionary.com and actually HEAR the correct pronunciation???  I just discovered this nifty little feature as I was double checking the definition of “redux.”  Call me a nerd, but I am so excited about this!  It doesn’t take much.

Now on to my subject for today.  I finally finished my own Tangled Toms!  You may notice a touch of the new official Zentangle tangle Springkle on one of them if you look closely – contact your favorite CZT to learn this one. These were done with a Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric.  Several of my fellow CZT’s recommended this pen highly for tangling on fabric and I wanted to give it a try.  The ink does flow very smoothly – I think it has to do with the hard tip on the pen.  The Sakura Identipen I used for Maggie’s Toms is more like a felt tip.  I’m not sure the lines are any sharper, but curved lines seem to be easier to achieve with this pen.  My only complaint – I ran out of ink about halfway through the second shoe.  I will admit to having bigger feet than my granddaughter and there are a lot of solid tangles on mine, but I was a little put out since I had to order another pen and wait for delivery.  Overall, I like both pens and will likely use both depending on the surface.  I would, however, recommend the Sakura pen for kids since they seem to use even more ink than I do and a lot of Maggie’s friends are raring to get tangling on their own Toms.  And I am off to listen to some more tricky pronunciations…

Side view of my Tangled Toms

“A man’s face is his autobiography.  A woman’s face is her work of fiction.”  ~Oscar Wilde

The perfect quote for what I am sharing today.  I saw a cute idea on YouTube for a Sephora-inspired make-up brush holder while searching for the best way to clean make-up brushes.  You see, I have LOTS of make-up brushes.  Two of everything to be more specific.  Since I travel a lot, I have a set that stays home and one that’s always packed and ready to go.  I loved this idea for my at-home brushes, but the container was way too small.  Trolling the floral aisles at Michael’s yielded a nice, long oval glass holder that seemed to fit the bill.  Of course, I had to tangle it up a little bit.  While I am pleased with the final result, I would make a few changes if I tackled tangling on clear glass again.  Of course, that doesn’t change the function, so I still achieved my end goal.

Tips and Tricks:

  • The pen I used was a Sharpie Oil Based Marker – Extra Fine Point – Gold.  I really wanted the extra fine point and had great luck with the oil-based Sharpies on my file cabinet seen here.  If I were to do this again, I would choose black instead of gold.  As you can see from the photos, the metallic is difficult to see on the clear glass with the filler I used.
  • Be sure to clean the glass well before starting and either wear soft cloth gloves or wipe often to ensure the ink adheres well.
  • Slow and steady wins the race.  Working on such a slick surface requires slow strokes to allow the ink to flow properly.  Trying to go too fast will give patchy results in your lines.
  • Work away from the lines you just drew.  Left-handers, like me, are used to working this way as we often drag our hand through the ink.  But it’s worth a reminder anyway.  As it is oil-based and you want to lay a thick layer of color, this type of ink takes a bit of time to dry.  Patience, patience.
  • Strong lighting is essential.  It also helps to hold the glass at an angle to minimize glare.
  • Line the container with a towel or cloth.  This helps to create a “color” background to work against.  Also, without it, you can become very distracted with the tangling on the other side of the container once you work around to the other side.

Have some fun – remember there are no mistakes with Zentangle!

                            

Tangled Toms

Easter Fun Facts

Americans spend approximately 2 billion dollars on Easter candy each year.

Each Easter, approximately ninety million chocolate Easter bunnies are sold in the U. S.

For more Easter trivia and tons of other interesting tidbits visit Critical Thinking

Finding a few Easter gifts that are not candy can be a real challenge.  There are those mandatory treats that MUST arrive at my house on Easter morning.  First and foremost is the biggest hollow chocolate bunny to be found for Katrina.  She nibbles a little on Easter and then puts it in the freezer to snack on throughout the year.  This has been going on since she was a little kid, disgusting, but true.  For Kristi it’s all about the Peeps.  She’s a bit of a purist – only the yellow chicks will do.  These days she doesn’t eat very many, but I found a three pack of chocolate dipped Peeps.  We’ll see how she likes them.  To be on the safe side, I visited the Just Born website and ordered her a T-shirt and Peep socks.  She loves wearing crazy socks with her scrubs, so these will be a hit.  My new son-in-law, Jacob, loves all things sour.  Big bags of Sour Patch bunnies will be waiting for him.  Kim loves that old classic, Reese’s Peanut Butter eggs.  Robin’s Egg Whoppers run a close second for him as well.

Jack just loves it all – he’s the easiest.  No searching high and low for exactly the right bunny for him.  A basket full of sugar makes him happy.  Throw in a few Wimpy Kid things and he’s good to go.   Maggie, however, flirted with disaster this year and almost ended up with an empty basket.

After playing board games for a while last night, both kids announced quite loudly that they would be going to bed since the Easter Bunny would be coming soon.  Maggie tiptoed back into the family room and tells us “Just so we’re clear, I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny anymore, but I don’t want Jack to know.”  Ah the sophistication of being 12 years old.  “Do you remember what I told Katrina?” I ask.  “OH!  ‘If you don’t believe, you don’t receive.’  I BELIEVE!!”

Months ago, I bought a pair of white Toms to tangle for a class.  I got her size, since she has been pestering her Mom for a pair for quite some time. They were always intended to be her Easter gift.  She has been eyeballing those shoes, lusting after them.  She even advised me that purple ink would be the very best look for the tangles.  I’m sure those Tangled Toms were uppermost in her mind when she ditched her 12-year old arrogance and became a believer again, at least for this year.

About Tangling the Toms: I just used the stitching on the shoes as my string – it lends itself very well to section off the shoe.  The purple ink was done with a Sakura Identi-Pen.  The ink is waterproof, good for fabric and the pen has two points.  Shading was accomplished with a Fabrico dual marker in #181 cool gray.  The brush end works really well for shading on fabric.

“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.”  Henry Ward Beecher

Two things to remember about squirrels from the website A Squirrel Place:

  1. A squirrel’s brain is about the size of a walnut.
  2. When a squirrel senses danger, its first instinct is to stand motionless.

One of my colleagues arrived home from our week-long meeting to discover her home had been invaded by a squirrel.  The critter had ample time to enjoy the luxurious digs.  Convincing him to leave wasn’t easy and he took a dip in the pool for good measure before conceding defeat.  I got a great laugh out of the story and was reminded of my own squirrel tale.

It was a lazy Sunday morning of movies with my daughter, Katrina.  During silences in the dialogue, I kept hearing scratching noises coming from our fireplace.  We had birds get in there in the past and I thought that might be the case again.  The fireplace was equipped with glass doors, thank God, so I could see inside, but the “guest” couldn’t get out.  We both inspected from every angle, but only the gas log was to be seen inside.  “Mom, you are imagining things.” she huffs as she heads upstairs for a nap.

Later that afternoon, I’m hearing noises again, but this time I spy some movement in the back corner – a squirrel, a really big squirrel!  How on earth am I going to get this thing out without getting bitten?  Since my husband is gone, I make a quick call to my neighbor.  He arrives with pillowcase and wire coat hanger in hand.  The plan is for him to poke the squirrel with the hanger, open the doors and me to catch him in the pillowcase.  I don’t much like this plan, but it doesn’t work anyway – reference fact number 2 above.  After about an hour, the squirrel is now quite angry, chattering loudly and not budging from his corner.  Animal control is not open on Sunday, but a call to the local police dispatches an officer at my house.  The two men confer and decide to try more of the same, unsuccessfully.  The cop sits down to think and lament that we can’t just shoot it.  In the meantime, I manage to find someone with expertise willing to come out on Sunday for a hefty fee.  I am just about to agree when Cop #2 arrives.  He heard the news on his radio and couldn’t believe it was true.  He assures me HE can get the thing out, don’t pay the expert.  Said expert overhears this boast, laughs and tells me to call him back if I need him.  Now my daughter has come out of her lair upstairs and begins to video the entire event with her cell phone.  Cop #2 retrieves a “grabber” from his patrol car and the three men now confer around my fireplace to develop a plan.  Having a brain bigger than a walnut, I open all the doors to the outside and close all the interior doors in the house just in case the squirrel has other ideas about that pillowcase.  Just as I complete my round, there is huge commotion and much shouting in my living room.  Mr. Squirrel made a break for it, exploding out of the fireplace and crossing the room in one leap.  He made a complete circuit of the house at a top speed, finally zigzagged out the door, sooty footprints marking his path of escape.

Needless to say, the three men were full of pride having successfully evicted the squirrel.  I don’t think they ever realized how ridiculous the whole thing really was, but I did and Katrina had it recorded!  We very considerately wait for them to leave before taking a look at what she captured.  What a disappointment!  We see the three men gathered around the fireplace, then I hear my daughter’s voice “Oh ^&*$!!!!” and then nothing but the ceiling.  “Well, he surprised me when he jumped out at me!”  So we have no video documentation, but a heck of a good story.  I’ll leave it to you to decide who won the battle of the brains.

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!

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.

 

My girly piece for this weekend

“A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend. ” ~Author Unknown

What a great weekend I had with my grandchildren!  We got off our “art class schedule” when their mom had to have gallbladder surgery, though they asked often when we were going to do our art again.  Mom returned to work on Friday, so we had a full weekend together.  We pulled out our supplies on Friday night, wrapped the table in our ugly vinyl tablecloth and dabbled a bit.  A visit to Michael’s and the grocery store on Saturday morning for more supplies and sustenance.  Then lots of fun the rest of the day and most of Sunday.  Both kids completed one piece and have another much larger piece in progress.  I also revisited a very ugly background I had done and saved it and then added a little Zentangle for good measure – I can once again hold my head up.  We all agree it is much improved.

Part of my plans for the weekend included trying out a new recipe for Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken.  I was careful to use the rice noodles they like and that are safe for me.  However, I did not reveal that the cheese was goat cheese.  While they painted, stamped and played, I whipped up our dinner.  Both kids loved the dish.  After they finished off seconds, I shared that the reason it was so yummy was goat cheese.  Maggie’s reaction was exactly as I expected.  Jack, however, gave me a very solemn look and asked ” How do you milk a goat?”  I replied, “Just like you would milk a cow.” A look of horror now, “Through the penis?!!”  Oh lord, WHERE does he get this stuff!  I explained there are boy goats and girl goats, only girl goats are milked and they are called nanny goats.  “Oh.  Well then that’s okay.”  Not the lessons I thought we were learning, but valuable nonetheless!

“The life of a designer is a life of fight: fight against the ugliness.”— Massimo Vignelli

For the past couple of weeks I have been working to get myself “organized.”  Trying to adapt to my revised job responsibilities has me completely at sixes and sevens.  A webinar by David Allen reminded me of my past, those times when I was on top of every little detail.  I used his process outlined in the book Getting Things Done. Realizing I had lost my process and my good habits, I dusted off my copy of the book and have been slowly working to get back on track.  While my issue is really about process and not so much organizing my space – I did that sometime back and have been able to maintain it – I realized that one problem with my office was that my desk has no file drawers.  I have resisted putting a file cabinet in there.  I really like the way my office looks and didn’t want to introduce a metal eyesore to one of my favorite rooms.  But the need for function has driven me to reconsider. One of my dealer friends offered me a great deal on exactly what I needed – FREE.  I like free, but this thing was in my least favorite color – putty.  Black would be better, even grey, but putty – yuck!  Ultimately function and free triumphed over ugly putty and it came home with me.

Sharpie oil-based paint markers and Zentangle were the tools I used to banish the ugly from this plain, putty file cabinet.  I may add a little more pizzazz to it later, but I’m calling it done for now.  Now I just need to get the thing loaded up with my files.

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