Saturday, February 28, 2009

Zentangle Challenges

I have been zentangling (in between keeping a story in rough draft form) for my group.  The first is for a bookmark swap.  We were only suppose to do one or two, but I got carried away (they are small after all) and did four.  Two will go out with the swap and two will be saved for future use/giveaway.

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Then we had some challenges for the month.  The first, was “Twisted” and it was interesting to try and draw something which was twisted and looked like it was twisted, more 3-D than 2-D.

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So that aspect of this challenge, was, well, a challenge.

Then we had four others, of which I did three.  The first, was “Black Magic”.

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I was a little concerned about all the white space.  After all, shouldn’t it be ALL filled in?  But after working on it, letting it sit, and coming back to it, I like the white space in the bottle.

Next one was one I actually started on first, was “Stars Get In Your Eyes”.

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This is suppose to be pairs of eyes (see the eyelashes!).  And I was rather proud of my efforts.  However, Texter looked at it and thought I was drawing sombreros.  Oh well, different people look at things differently.

There is a third one, which is suppose to be a red and black zentangle, I am currently working on.  Hopefully, I can finish it up this weekend or during work next week.

I have really enjoyed my zentangles.  They are something I can do easily between calls at work.  They are very addictive and calming also.  And easy to carry around, just some paper and black pens.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oops….Two “New” Authors

Sometimes I am on top of what’s new.  And I will admit I am not a fan of “Oprah’s Picks” because they make me think too much.  I want a read where I can escape and relax and enjoy for awhile.  I really like books I can pick up and put down and not have lost the thread of the plot.  I would say about 95% of what I read fits into that category (I do read some “deeper” things sometimes, usually when a close friend says I have to).

So, that said, I have two “new” (to me) authors I have discovered.  The first one, Stuart Woods, I found by way of a book someone left at work for anyone to read and I picked it up and read it.  He is a mystery writer of a couple of different series (which happen to interlock at one point).bloodorchid

I have not been disappointed in the books I have read of his so far and I checked out a pile from the library, so I have plenty to read of his.

While at the library, picking up more Stuart Woods’ books, I found this on the shelf,  The Diva Runs Out of Thyme

By Krista Davis, this book was a really fun read and a little drooling over the cooking going on in the book while solving a mystery doesn’t hurt.  So now it’s back to the library to get more.  You can never have too much of a cooking diva.  And the antagonist in the book, Natasha, is a hoot.  We all have people in our lives, who always have to be “better”, have more, be better off than we are and they are our cross to bear.  Such is Natasha to the main character, Sophie.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Words = Sword

February’s challenge is about WORDS.  The first thing which came to mind after seeing this challenge was SWORD.words into swordHow words can protect or hurt, just like a sword.  Words can cut sharper and deeper than any metal sword ever could.  And leave scars just as permanent.

Or they can protect and shield.  Some words/sword are there just for show, while others, plainer and more common, are there to work and do the day-to-day job.

I painted the watercolor paper with a couple of layers of purple acrylic paint and used some words I had pulled out of magazines over the years.  Tore some strips of paper from a book on different papers I had been “saving” (don’t we all have stuff we are saving and never use).

Played with some white pens I bought for the wording.

When I thought about “sword” I thought of my tarot deck and the swords in there, so I pulled a picture of the Queen of Swords.  Is she defending herself and family?  She is a strong woman you don’t want to go up against.  Because even though her sword is being held in a fairly neutral position, it can quickly swing into play for defense.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pretty Princess Party (say that fast 3 times)

Last night was OD’s belated 18th birthday party.  She asked her closest friends over for a party.  Ok, now get this…..

She’s 18.  The party was to run from 5pm to 8pm, because anything longer and she gets “cranky”.  They all had to dress up as princesses and the theme was Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (her and my favorite fairy tale by the way).R0013671This is what Texter and I did to the 4 foot pin-up of Belle.  They are removable  as OD will be adding them to her room.  Of course, I will not laugh the first time she walks into her room in the dark and scares herself thinking someone is standing there.

R0013632 OD is the center “princess” and the rest are her “court” (one was missing at this point).  I find it really neat they have been friends since middle school (6 years now) and I think they will be a group of people authors write about.  How 20, 30, 50 years later they are still in touch and know what each other is doing.  It’s really neat.

What was even nicer?  Poogles’ (on the far left) parents treated themselves to a 42 inch plasma TV as an anniversary present to each other.  Now what to do with that other TV?

R0013670Yep.  That’s it.  Twice as big as our old one and just fits on the shelf.  I know why people are going to plasma TV's.  People got tired of trying to move these heavy old beasts.  So how do you get a 10-ton TV up 2 flights of stairs?  You get the computer chair which has no arms and rollers and roll it into the parking lot.  With the screen (the heavy part) facing the back of the chair and 2 people holding it, you carefully roll it across the parking lot and up the sidewalk to the stairs.

Then, with 7 people in long dresses and heels giving you advise, you and non-partying daughter carefully lift the chair up 1 stair at a time, rest on each stair.  When you get to a landing, you stop, stand upright, breathe deeply, rub your back, push the chair over to the next group of stairs and repeat.

We did get the TV into the house (obviously) and onto the shelf.  Now my goal in the next couple of days is to figure out where on my desk/filing cabinet I can fit the old TV.  Currently, I have a really little TV a friend from work loaned me so someone could be in the living room and someone in the bedroom and watch TV.  I enjoy sitting at the computer and doing “stuff” and being able to watch TV.  OD comes in a lot of times to “bond” and to watch TV with me (make that kick me off the computer so she can use this one and talk to me at the same time).

By the way, the Jeopardy question on Saturday night was “Character from Shakespeare” and just about all the princesses had taken the Honors Shakespeare class last semester.  OD aced the answer first! 

 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Kind of Valentine

I have always thought it a little silly to be someone’s Valentine only 1 day out of the year.  I feel someone should “Valentine” me all 365 days of the year (could be why I’m not married now) and not just “remember” me 1 day out of the year.

In the park behind my apartment, there are several benches all around the 2 mile loop.  This is the only one which is something other than a sturdy, wooden bench.  On it is a plaque…..

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It’s a bench set out to remember an individual and their dog.  What makes it even more special is this….

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There is a crepe myrtle planted next to the bench.  And it’s decorated for Valentine’s Day.

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This is the kind of Valentine I want to be to someone.  Everyday, in all kinds of weather, sturdy and offering a place of rest.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Weird Random Thoughts

Have you ever had those weird thoughts that just pop into your mind?  Things which on one hand seem really logical, but on the other hand seem really odd.

For example, if there is a place labeled “body shop” why can’t I just take myself there, have them hoist me up on the lift, and fix my body?

Or, and this has been a thought for years now (it gets scarier), but I have dry skin.  I know I should be drinking more water and that would probably help out with the dry skin.  And not take baths so hot.  But you know those big urns they show in old “Arabian Nights” movies?  Ones that are about 5 feet tall.  I want one filled with warm oil that is gently swirling around.  Like a whirlpool bath, but with body oil and not water.  Then I want this clamp to come down, grab me by the top of my head and just lower me into this urn.  And there I float for a couple of hours, just soaking up the oil.  Of course, if there are some buff, male body slaves there….oops, better not go there!

 

Monday, February 09, 2009

More of Don Carlos….

If you think the first photos of OD as Don Carlos were bad enough….turns out the camera did not eat the pictures.

So here you are….

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With the red rose.  For some reason, cutting the stem down was out of the question.

And then there is….

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How suave can you get?

And….

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We can tango with the best of them.  Actually “Don Carlos” did tango in a school production, so she he can tango.

And nothing defines a “man” like hair on his chest….

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Fabio eat your heart out!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Better thing…and I did it uphill

Ok, my middle name is PROCRASTANATION.  I can put off anything (except childbirth….especially Texter, but that’s another story).

So today, Sunday morning, I am up at a late 5:22 am (slept in folks!)I walked the dog and saw 2 fleeing deer in the dark.  Dealt with the disappointment of the coffee maker burping my coffee all over the counter rather than into the pot, started a 2nd pot of coffee and read through some emails and generally planned today would be my “art” day (I did some chores yesterday, ok!).  I have a list of things I want to do, get started on, finished up and generally trash my room in doing these things.  Open up the windows, let the light in, ignore the girls…that sort of “Sunday” thing.

Noel was laying on the end of my bed, glazing out the window and whimpering.  She was looking out onto the pathway which leads to the park.  Of which, she has made 1 trip around on Friday night, 2 trips around on Saturday and in my mind I was going to walk again this morning.

However, yea olde Procrastation reared his ugly head (I have a picture of him somewhere….will have to find it today) and I was talking myself out of the walk.

Now yesterday, I walked 2 laps and basically only did it because I had promised someone I would meet her there and we would walk.  I had slept like crap Friday night and did feel great Saturday morning, but I went anyway.  So it is was Sunday morning and I slept fine and I was justifying putting off or not walking at all.

But bundle of energy, whimpering dog talked me into it.  So at 7:45am off we go.  Now there was also a method to my madness of walking at 7:45am.  LESS DOGS IN THE PARK!  Less dogs mean less pulling.  And sure enough that was the case.

The sun was really just getting started.  The wind is brisk and a little high.  I am in my 2nd pair of sweat pants….the other pair, which I wore yesterday, are equally as big and stained.  If I get taken to the hospital in these….everyone will be embarrassed.  I just need to get some new exercise clothes is all there is to it, especially since I am now exercising!

Anyway, normally I go counter-clockwise around the lake.  The reason?  My side of the park is higher than the other side of the park.  Therefore, there is a series of hills on this side of the park.  We are not talking Mt. Everest here, put they are inclines.  By going to the right on the path, I go down the majority of the hills, making for an easier walk.  TODAY I WENT TO THE LEFT!

As a reward, this is what I got to see in the early morning sunlight, peeking out of the grasses in the marshy part of the lake.

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See him (or her) there in the middle of the picture?  The heron who’s morning I disturbed by stopping and taking his picture.

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Then he decided he had enough of this fool woman who was whispering “wait, wait” to the dog while trying to move around and take his picture.

Further around the lake are a couple of curly willows they have planted, complete with wire guards.  We do have a beaver issue sometimes in the park.  It is so neat to be so surrounded by neighborhoods to have this spot of nature.  I love willow trees, especially the curly ones.  And I like the curly ones in the winter when you can enjoy the branches to their full benefit.

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I was paced for part of my walk by one of the swans.  Since my batteries gave out (the camera’s, not mine) before I could take his picture, you won’t see how magnificent he looked.  Of course, when I stopped to take the picture he started swimming toward us, looking for a handout.  Swans are like some people, beautiful to look upon at a distance, but nasty up close.

So not only did I go for the walk I was talking myself out of (and my exercise commitment for the day is over with), but I took the harder route.  So hopefully my decision this morning means I am actually a “smaller” person, if only by a couple of ounces, than I was earlier today.  Now let me get my cheerios and strawberries!

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PS.  Texter was asleep when I left.  I get back and am greeted with “where have you been?”  Like I am going to run away with the dog and not come back….I might run away, but the dog ain’t coming!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

My Daughter – Don Carlos…..Man of Love

don carlos This is OD, surrounded by her his “women”.  The high school recently had a masquerade and OD and her his friends went. 

It’s my fault OD is turning into a man……it’s all the dress up she did as a child which I encouraged by buying old prom dresses from Goodwill.  Sigh…what’s a mother to do.

Actually, it was rather entertaining, watching her draw “chest hair”.  It’s apparently hard to draw looking down at your own chest and trying to draw it while you’re laughing….and being laughed at.

don carlos 2 She was her friend’s “date” for the evening.  Much to my delight, none of the girls are dating anyone, or at least not seriously, so it is just the “girls” hanging out together.  She even went to Kroger and bought a red rose to give her “date”.  Unfortunately, my camera ate the pictures of her posing with the rose between her teeth.  Bad, hungry camera.

don carlos 3

 

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Armchair Traveler

I love reading books about living in other countries (a dream of mine).  I first started, as is almost obligatory, by reading Frances Mayes and her Tuscany books.  Peter Mayle followed.  Since I have visited (decades ago) Venice, 1000 Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi followed.  I have since read her other books.

So when I saw I’ll Never Be French by Mark Greenside at the library I snatched it up.

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And I have to say I was not disappointed in the least.  First off, the book is very readable.  So many times I feel I have to wade through pages and pages to get anything enjoyable out of the book.  (That means I read for enjoyment…..I want to be entertained!)

Mark Greenside takes an area of France, Brittany, far from the sunny Provence everyone else seems to be living in and makes it a location you want to visit, if not move to.  Brittany is on the northern coast of France and not part of France you typically hear much of….except if you watch the Tour de France and watch them cycle through.

The thing I really enjoyed is despite his not speaking French, he was so in love with the area he took a big jump and bought a house there and made it seem very doable.  And he made the people he met and interacted with lovable.

Hhhhmmmm….Tuscany, Provence, Fair Isle and now Brittany….so many places, so little time!