Tag Archives: Zentangle

Personal Irresponsibility

I have an issue.  Maybe several.  I forget to do things.  Not just the little things like picking up my shoes, but big stuff.  Things that are on my list right now include paying the trash bill which is probably overdue and leaves me hoping that the trash and recycling get picked up today, registering and getting a license plate for a new car we bought in May whose temporary plate has expired, and confirming my son’s registration for Driver’s Ed for this Saturday.  I don’t know why I do this.  These are things that should be easy to get done and I just don’t do them.  The husband gets so angry at me.  I understand why.  But it just doesn’t help.  I don’t do the things I should.  I even make lists of things to do and don’t do those I don’t want to.

I do it with little things too.  Food burns while I am spinning or knitting because I have completely forgotten about it.  Laundry goes sour in the washer because I feel like I am done with laundry.  Then next time I feel like doing laundry, I have to start by rewashing the load in the washer.  I start a bunch of things I never finish.  My kids don’t think I am reliable all of the time.  This is the part of my personal irresponsibility that hurts the most.  They don’t see me as a mother who keeps her promises.

A lot of this has to do with Fibromyalgia.  I hate to make excuses, but when it comes to my kids and my husband, I forget what we talked about yesterday.  I have horrible pain one day that prevents me from going to the store.  All I can do some nights after I get home from work is crawl into my bed and sleep until the next day.  Right now, I am in one of these phases.  Work is taking all of my energy to get through.  My pain levels are very high and I am unable to concentrate.  I don’t know what to do or where to go.  I know I have an appointment with my rheumatologist coming up.  The thing is, that before I started this job, I was sleeping well, had good energy, and my pain levels were very low.  Do we blame the weather pattern we are stuck in, me drinking a couple of beers over the weekend, the job?  All of it?  It’s hell, you know.  And I can’t fix it.

Today’s drawing is tanglepatterns.com String 033 – http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/12/tanglepatterns-string-033.html

String 33
2015-02-05; tanglepatterns.com, String 033
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Does Fun Equate to Food?

Today, in a few short hours, I will be leaving home for the weekend.  I am going alone – no husband, no kids.  I made it through the birthdays of the week and the band concert without pulling out any hair.  But now, I am getting ready to pack up the car and head on down the road.

Here is my conundrum:  Strict diet vs. delicious Yarn School food.  My strict diet is now 100% gluten free because I have found that it really does affect my Fibromyalgia and how I feel.  I eat specific foods at specific times.  The feeding schedule at YS is not really what anyone would call normal.  Coffee is turned on by whomever is up first – usually around 6 am and is gone by 8:30.  And there is no more.  There is no formal breakfast – waffle batter and a waffle iron, yogurt in the fridge, bread for toast, maybe some whole fruit.  Then lunch.  Lunch may happen around 3.  And it is usually a carb and fat laden choice of food – homemade mac-n-cheese, BLT sandwiches, etc.  Delicious? Yes, but not timely or within the parameters of what I eat.  And dinner?  Fuggetaboutit! 9 or 10 pm if you’re lucky.  BUT — the conversation and camaraderie is part of the experience.

So – am I strong enough to sit with the group of campers and watch them eat?  Do I take a small plate and find food that isn’t TOO bad for me?  Do I skip meals altogether and eat my own food at my own timing?  Every party I have ever had at my house has been centered around the food.  In fact, we almost never even leave the kitchen.  In my poor little brain it seems that food and fun have been linked to one another.  Part of my dieting is to sever that link and let food be food and fun be fun and ensure that I don’t have to have food in order to have a party be a party.  I think this is the most difficult transition I am making in this diet.  For Easter, we went to brunch and I ate too much.  Next weekend, we will be heading to a family baptism and a friend’s graduation.  Guaranteed eating events.  It is so difficult.  Even if I make ‘good eating choices’, I will probably be eating more than I normally would.  And there will be desserts.  I can’t be alone in this struggle.  Obviously America has an obesity problem that I am trying to stop being a part of.  My plan is to stay the course, eat on my schedule, and avoid the food that I should not eat.  Thank goodness yogurt is on my list of things to eat, because this is the best homemade yogurt ever.

Anyone have any thoughts or advice on this?  Have you been there?  Let me know.  I want to know there are others on the same life raft as me.

Today’s drawing is tanglepatterns.com String 26: http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/11/tanglepatterns-string-026.html

String 26
Nov. 2014; tanglepatterns.com, String 026

Haiku and Zentangle

Sometimes I like to write Haiku – seemingly so simple, but still not simple.  Other times I like to draw in Zentangle fashion – seemingly so complex, but still not.  So today, I give you one of each.

Fog (smog?) laying low
Buildings fuzzed through a hazy
Yet beautiful Friday

Today’s tangle is String # 025.  Oy.  Love this one.  Link to the string: http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/11/tanglepatterns-string-025.html

String 025
11-17-2014; tanglepatterns.com, String 025

I Art; Therefore, (Part 2)

About 2 months ago, I wrote a post about Art and what kind of arts and crafts I participate in.  I am pretty sure this is a theme I will revisit over time.  So here is Part 2.  Musing on Art and Creativity and the like.

I started my journey with Zentangle at my previous contract job.  I get very restless in meetings – especially pointless meetings where I have about 30 seconds of participation and 29.5 minutes of listening to stuff that doesn’t pertain to me and I don’t give a crap about.  I started carrying a small spiral bound notebook to these meetings and doodling away.  People always comment on how talented I must be and blah, blah, blah…  Really they are just scribbles to keep me awake.  And keep me from stabbing someone else or myself in the eyeball with my pen.  Side note:  Really happy that I am no longer at that contract job!

I started trolling the interwebz for doodling methodology (don’t laugh, I know it’s a little bit compulsive!) and found Zentangle.  From there, I found tanglepatterns.com which is, by far, one of the best uses of a blog format I have ever seen.  I have been using this site for inspiration for almost a year now and I am on the site at least once a day.  I researched Zentangle – the structure around ‘strings’ and the minimalistic use of non-representational design and black ink on white tiles or white paper.  I bought a small (5×7) sketchbook and started with String 001 and have been slowly moving through them.  I am now up to String 045 or something around there.  I post a Tangle on my blog with almost every post and maybe someday I will catch up to current.  I mostly keep this sketchbook at work and work on it during lunch and breaks in my day.  Tangling returns my mind back to center and gives me back my sense of control when I feel like I am losing it.  While it would seem that it is a waste of work time, it is actually the opposite.  I am able to let my subconscious mind work out a problem or come up with new ideas.  That is how my brain works.  Tangling is actually very productive work time – I solve many problems while I have pen to paper.

At home, I have other pens, sketchbooks, paper.  I work on canvas sometimes with permanent markers and go outside of the prescribed Zentangle strictures.  I am now to a point where I am going to start doing some drawing in color and that excites and scares me some.  Funnily – I think ‘What if I screw it up?’  I think that is what non-artist think about trying art in general.  They are afraid to make a mistake or to make an ugly picture.  Part of being an artist is realizing that some of your work will be more successful than others.  By more successful, I mean that what I wanted the outcome to be is closer to what the outcome is. To make art is a process, a progression, an opportunity to learn.  And that is why I Art.  It makes me who I am.

Today’s tangle is String 022, link – http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/10/tanglepatterns-string-022.html

String 022
Nov. 2014; tanglepatterns.com, String 022

Motorcycle Madness

You know how sometimes themes just present themselves?  Today is about motorcycles.  I think we’ll start with a little back story though.  I have a niece who is an adult.  In the lottery of parents, she lost big time.  Her dad is my brother and was the non-custodial parent for much of her childhood and her mother brings a lot of issues to the table.  My brother does, too, but at least his issues are not drug and child molesting boyfriend related.  I have always tried to be present in my niece’s life and be a stable adult role model.  About this time last year, she and her husband decided that being married to each other was not a good idea.  The husband and I knew that St. Louis was not a good place for her to stay – she had no family, no support system, and a set of in-laws who would run over her if she let them.  So we took her in along with their 3 year old daughter.  I am happy to say that she is doing well now – divorced, with shared custody of the baby, fully employed, living on her own and she has a new boyfriend who is much more stable and deserving of her than her ex.

As I was leaving work last night, the Niece calls and says that the Boyfriend has been in a motorcycle accident on the freeway and she is on her way to pick him up.  Oh, dear God.  He can talk, he is refusing an ambulance, he is alive.  I call the husband and arrange for him to pick up the baby at daycare (we are listed as the only people besides the Niece who can pick her up).  I go to pick up new clothing for the boyfriend as he would not fit into anything at my house and they will be coming to pick up the baby and we will feed them.  It’s what we do – feed wayfaring strangers. Or relatives.  In the end, his motorcycle is totaled, but he just has a major case of road rash on his hind end.  He will be feeling the pain of that one for a while.  He is very, very lucky.  And I am grateful.  I cannot go through another motorcycle related funeral.

This morning, to bring this full circle, I am about 2 stoplights before my parking garage for work and there is what can only be described as a motorcycle gang in the parking lot to my left.  One man is going from stopped car to stopped car handing out a flyer. April is Child Abuse Awareness Month and they represent B.A.C.A. – Bikers Against Child Abuse.  This organization is amazing.  Please look them up at www.bacaworld.org. If you know of any child who is or has been abused and needs an advocate, contact this organization.  I wish they had been around when the Niece was living with her mother and her child-molesting boyfriend.

Today’s picture is tanglepatterns.com string #021 link – http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/10/tanglepatterns-string-021.html  Again, I hope you like it!

String 021
11/12/2014; tanglepatterns.com, String 021

It’s a Slippery Slope, My Friends

Arts and Crafts are a slippery slope.  You walk into Michael’s, JoAnn’s, Hobby Lobby and see all the stuff.  And it all looks so interesting and easy to do.  Today, I want to tell you about my fall down the side of a steep hill.  Or a jump off of a cliff.  Really, it’s all the same, isn’t it?  But let me start by saying that I was a crafty child and my undergraduate degree is in art.  So the leap was an easy one to make when it came.

I have, in my adult life, always been a quilter.  Quilting is a beautiful expression of art in fabric.  And I am a purist – piecing by machine, quilting by hand.  So my production level was very low.  I did produce some amazingly beautiful pieces – one of which was done entirely by hand, piecing included.  It was a baby quilt for my best friend’s first baby who will be graduating from high school this year.  It is still lovingly referred to in their home as ‘Aunt Maura’s quilt’ and is now put away as an heirloom.  The pride I feel when I hear that is worth every minute spent. In the last five years, however, fibromyalgia has taken over my life.  And most specifically my hands.  The movements and the grip necessary to quilt are no longer possible for me to do.  The devastation I feel about this loss is indescribable.  One of my life’s goals was/is to complete a whole cloth quilt.  I have one started and I just cannot continue.

At Christmas about the same time I was struggling with the realization that my hands were unable to quilt, my sister-in-law offered to teach my daughter to knit.  We bought her a kit for Christmas and Sue began to teach her.  I decided that since Sue would be leaving to fly back home, I should probably learn to knit so that I could help A1 if she should need it.  Ha.  I say again, Ha.  It turned out that the way Sue knit (she’s a thrower) did not work for me.  I was completely confused.  Several hours and YouTube videos later, I was knitting.  And A1 had long since given up.  An addict was born.  I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some needles and some slightly better yarn than Red Heart Super Saver and began making.  And knit and knit and knit.  Many YouTube videos taught me how to do new and exciting stitches.  And then I found Ravelry.  Oh, the love I feel for Ravelry.  Seriously.  I found my people.  They were so passionate about fiber arts and so encouraging about how easy it all was.  (Damned enablers)

Around that time, we moved from Iowa to Kansas.  The house we bought had a baby grand piano in the living room corner when we viewed it.  As we were moving in, a nosy neighbor (I have gotten to know her enough now to call her nosy) asked if we were going to put a piano in the corner also.  No, I replied.  I thought a spinning wheel would look amazing there.  What?  What just came out of my mouth?  I don’t spin.  I don’t want to spin.  There is enough yarn in the stores to knit with!  Within three months, I had a spinning wheel and was starting to produce my own yarn.  I really don’t know how that happened.

By this time, I have several thousand dollars worth of fabric, sewing machines, knitting needles, yarn, spinning wheel and fiber.  And as I am walking through JoAnn’s or Michael’s, a book on crocheting Granny Squares jumps (I swear it jumped) into my cart.  Crochet?  What the hell?  So, now I have crochet hooks and I am studying diagrams on crochet stitches and putting together granny squares.  Guess what?  You can produce a square faster by crocheting than by knitting!  I’m sold!  Today I am working on a blanket for my dad that is going to consist of the International Maritime Signal Flags.  And a star shaped afghan for my husband.  And maybe another blanket just because.  It turns out, I can crank out crochet blanket yardage really quickly using the yarn in my stash that I was unable to knit due to hand strain.  Slippery freakin’ slope.  Next, I think I may want to get a loom and try my hand at weaving.  The husband might just leave me at that point though.  So I am holding off on that for at least a year!

Today’s drawing comes from tanglepatterns.com String 012 – link: http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/08/tanglepatterns-string-012.html  Really not one of my favorites.  But I did promise to give you everything.

String 012
9/12/2014; tanglepatterns.com String 012

On Being Selfish

I can be a very selfish person.  Yesterday, for example.  I had a job interview early in the day after which I came home and did nothing.  No laundry, no dishes, no cooking, no cleaning.  I had a kid home sick from school and I still managed to spend a majority of my day sitting on my sofa doing exactly what I wanted to do.  I love it when a plan works out!  The sick kid spent most of her day sleeping so I was able to crochet and finish a square of the blanket I am making for my Dad.  I did a first sketch of a large drawing that I want to do.  Of course, that being the first sketch, there is a long way to go before it is ready for any kind of public consumption.

I have had two job interviews this week – one on Monday and one on Tuesday.  While the positions look fairly similar on paper, the impressions given by the hiring managers in each interview was very, very different.  I have one in mind that I would prefer if offered both and both were to come back with equal pay and benefits.  Which they won’t.  Of course the one I would prefer is a longer commute, would have lower pay, and less room for advancement.  However, it would not require travel, long hours, being on call, or the high pressure of the other.  Obviously, I have not been offered either one and may not be offered either one.  I have to wait and see.

With all of the stress I have been under, I have scheduled a two hour massage for later this morning.  A two hour massage.  Is there anything on this earth that is quite that indulgent?  Now, I am not spending my non-existent money on this.  It was a gift certificate from Christmas and this is how I am choosing to use it.  In two hours of selfish relaxation.  Time for me to let my mind go completely blank and feel the stress leaving my body.  And then after that, I plan to come home, sit on my sofa and knit or crochet or draw.  Nothing that will increase my stress level again.  But first, I MUST get into the shower and shave my legs.  I’d hate to have anyone see them looking like they are.

Today’s drawing is tanglepatterns.com String 011.  It is a little busy, but I do like this one!  Here is the link to the string: http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/07/tanglepatterns-string-011.html

9/11/2014 String 011
9/11/2014; tanglepatterns.com String 011

Cleaning House

I just got off a phone call with a recruiter for a job.  It is probably a good job, but I will never know.  I turned it down when I heard two things “finance” and “50% travel”.  One of those would have probably done it for me, but both?  No chance.  I am not in a position where I can just turn down chances at jobs.  I have been out of a job for over 5 months and every month I don’t have a job, money is coming out of our savings account to pay for our bills.  What does this have to do with cleaning house?  I am in the process of cleaning my mental house – sweeping out the cobwebs and organizing my closets.  Part of this cleaning is to realize that I am not just looking for a job, but I am looking for the right job.  The right fit for me and for those in my life.  Luckily, I do have two more interviews set up for the coming week.  Each of these sound like a much better fit for what I am looking for.

Part 2 of Cleaning House involves cleaning my yarn stash.  I have in my stash several skeins of some pretty bad yarn.  It is much loved by many people and is very popular at the big box stores.  However, it is not pleasant to knit with, it splits like nobody’s business, and the ends fray so badly that they must be knotted as soon as they are cut.  I have about 12 skeins in 5 or 6 different colors – mostly blue and tan.  It has been sitting in my stash for over a year, bothering me because I didn’t want to knit it and couldn’t figure out what to do with it.  I saw a pattern online yesterday for a blanket made out of this same yarn.  It is crocheted, so I pulled out a skein of yarn and started it.  Guess what?  It crochets up beautifully, quickly and easily!  So I’m off to the races.  I can clean out a dozen skeins of yarn that I don’t want to have in my stash any longer.  Woo Hoo!

Today’s picture from tanglepatterns.com is String 010, link: http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/07/tanglepatterns-string-010.html

String 010
9/9/2014; tanglepatterns.com String 010

I Art; Therefore,

It feels so funny to say “Oh! Thank goodness it’s Friday!” when I don’t have a job and the weekend brings not a lot different than the weekdays.  But I am happy it is Friday.  Perhaps it is the difference in energy given off by the family that makes me feel that way.  I just sent A2 out to the bus after having a serious conversation about art and artists.  It seems that she is passionate about Van Gogh and is doing a school art project based on one of his paintings.  We discussed how he (nose wrinkled) had only part of one ear left and how troubled souls can be makers of great art.  What would have happened to Van Gogh if he lived now in the availability of high quality pharmaceuticals?  Would he still have been the great and influential artist that we see him as today?

That brings me to my point today – why do I create the objects, the drawings, the yarn that I do?  I don’t know if there is ever a good answer to Why? in creation.  Because! seems to be the right answer most of the time and the rest of the time is Why not?  I remember always being a crafty, coloring, doodling child.  But I also remember my mother dismissing anything I made and always feeling like I was lacking talent.  That feeling took years for me to get over.  It also led me to parent my children differently – never wanting to leave them with the impression that I thought their art or creation was somehow lacking.  Are they going to make millions or be a childhood prodigy? No.  Does that matter? No.  As a knitter, there is a common conversation among my fellow knitters – process vs product.  Most often for me, the act of creation is greater than what I get in the end.  I think this is the reason that I never have a difficult time in giving away a project that I spent a lot of money and time in creating.  I am attached to the process of the creating rather than the product of the creation.  Once in a while, though, I do find something that I just have to keep, where the process leads to something that I do want to keep and treasure.  And sometimes I start out thinking that I am going to make something that I really want to own and end up not liking it at all and then giving it away.  No, not liking is not the right term.  I think that what I mean is that it is not what I thought it was going to be and I would prefer to share it with someone else.

Today I plan to do a little drawing and a bunch of knitting.  I am to the point on a sweater where I will be putting the sleeves on scrap yarn and then joining the sweater to knit in the round.  I would like to make some good progress on it today.  I do have my great-niece spending the day with me, so I foresee watching a lot of cartoons and maybe she and I will do a little kid appropriate yoga.  Man, I love Fridays.

This brings me to today’s art of the day.  It is tanglepatterns.com String 009, not one of my favorite finished drawings.  Link: http://tanglepatterns.com/2012/07/tanglepatterns-string-009.html

String 009
9/8/2014; tanglepatterns.com, String 009

P.S.  I am going to be making some changes to the layouts on the Tangled Gallery and the Fiber Gallery.  So don’t be alarmed!