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Auraknot and Bunzo
Diva Challenge 102

“The key to successful aging is to pay as little attention to it as possible.” Judith Regan

So here I am, another year older.  I’m happy to report my birthday was much more relaxed than last year.  I spent most of my birthday week with my work team mates at a regional meeting.  Connecting with my friends and colleagues and sharing ideas and catching up are the best part of these meetings for me.  I have a long list of “stuff” and ideas to implement prompted by the diversity that always breeds creativity. My birthday itself was a long and very productive work day (thanks to that list of “stuff”) followed by a lazy evening with my husband at home.  Much better than the hospital waiting room where I spent my birthday last year.

For the last few years, my husband has been using the occasion of my birthday to gift me with a special Zentangle related trip just for me.  It started with my first certification seminar with Rick and Maria in 2011.  This was a much needed break from the chaos in our lives at the time and a chance to heal my spirit.  Just as my work meetings allow me to reconnect with friends and colleagues and refresh my thinking about my work; these trips offer me the opportunity to refresh my creative spirit and connect with my Zentangle friends.  This year it will be Tangle U in Northampton, Mass.  I am sooo excited to have this opportunity to meet so many of the rock stars of the Zentangle world I have only admired through their books an blogs. 

I’ve never been one to make very much of my birthday.  I think it’s because my birthday falls just after Christmas and seems pretty anticlimactic. I have friends and family who begin announcing and celebrating their big day weeks in advance.  Other are so caught up in the number, fudging what it really is, to the point they lose track of their real age.  To each his own.  I’m okay with the number, 52 this year, and I rarely raise the subject of my upcoming birthday.  I had to think a few moments when asked by a team mate about the date last week.  Being remembered with a little note or simple “Happy Birthday” is great, much more is a little embarrassing.  What I DO celebrate is one more year to enjoy my Dad, treasure my children and grandchildren, and thank God for good health and a sharp mind.  And be grateful to have found my other half so early in my life.  He’s my polar opposite, preferring sports and numbers, early mornings and a “do it now” attitude.  The man possesses no inclination toward creativity, though he appreciates art and beauty and has the sensitivity to encourage me to explore and enjoy those things he doesn’t understand. What more could you ask for in a mate?

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Zendala Dare 40

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ZIA Baby Name gift

Ten fingers, Ten toes
She’s laughter and teardrops
So small and brand new
And amazingly angelic
She’s sent to bless you
She’s one special Baby
The best of life’s treasure
And will grant and bless you
Many hours of great pleasure.
Author Unknown

Today is a special celebration for us as our first grandchild, Maggie, passes a milestone and becomes a teenager.  She has had a challenging couple of years, surviving what should have been a fatal head injury just a few days after her eleventh birthday two years ago.  If you are unfamiliar, the story is here.  There has been a lot of healing for all of us this year, but especially for Maggie.  I began speaking on behalf of victim families for a local program called Sudden Impact sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake Hospital and the LA State Police.  Maggie agreed to an interview for the Children’s Hospital magazine as part of a much smaller article on the Sudden Impact program and is featured in the Spring 2012 edition of Wee Believe Magazine.  She was then invited to dance at a Children’s Hospital Fundraiser where she met one of our local legends, Coach Les Miles of the LSU Fighting Tigers football team.  The two hit it off when she challenged him to a “split off” and she recently met up with him at the season opener radio program.  The next thing we knew, she was invited to practice with the LSU Golden Girls (her goal is to make that elite team in college) and the Tiger Band before the Washington game – all this on the weekend of her 13th birthday.  They surprised her with a birthday card, signed poster, and a special Golden Girl shirt they had made for her.  The Girls then took her over to the Pep Rally at the P-Mac where Mike the Tiger bowed and gave her a kiss on the hand.  Her day wasn’t over yet, they surprised her with an invitation to march down the Indian Mound on campus in the pre-game parade to the stadium with them.  Can I just say, this little girl was over the moon happy as she shared every second with me late last night.  Once again, she was touched by angels – this time wearing purple and gold.  I can’t thank Coach Miles, the LSU Golden Girls, the Tiger Band, the LSU Cheerleaders, and Mike enough for giving Maggie the gift of new and happy memories for a time of year that can be challenging.  They truly do Love Purple, LIVE Gold!

The ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) I have posted today is for another special little girl, the baby of a friend of our youngest daughter and his wife.  She got a tough start, but has proven to be a strong little fighter from the beginning and a blessing for her parents and family.  I have held back on posting as I wanted her parents to be the first to see it.  The piece was framed and delivered to the proud parents today.  I love doing these as few decisions get more thought or are more meaningful than choosing the perfect name for a new baby.  Best wishes to little Jensen and her very lucky parents.

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!

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.

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