Saturday, June 25, 2011

157 - 159 Fun Things to Do!

157. After I posted someone else's picture of a heart-shaped cloud, I wanted to find my very own cloud heart to photograph. It took a while, and a lot of sky watching, but one day over a baseball field, triumph was mine! So it was the anticipation of finding one special shape that was the most fun thing to do!

158. Helping boys who are six, seven, and eight years old look for lightning bugs on a beautiful summer's night! What a privilege! Thank you, Andrew, Vince, and Nate

for reminding me of the fun of my younger youth and bringing unexpected fun to my older youth!

159. Look long and deeply into the center of a beautiful flower. Even flowers that you think you know will hold surprises for you in the middle if you look closely enough! This is the first year for having zinnias in our garden, and they have tiny little flowers in their centers, like an extra bonus delight!

Zentangle Challenge #27

This week's challenge was challenging! Using only two very different tangles, Dex and Vertigogh, which were introduced on the Zentangle newsletter, we were to combine them in one Zentangle. If you go to, you can click on the various names of people who entered and go directly to their blogs to see what amazing combinations they devised. It's really fun to try new ideas, and step a bit beyond our comfort zones.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Zentangle Challenge #26 - Spiral Out. Keep Going!

The first time I drew the spiral string on my tile, I immediately saw my old friend the snail start to appear! I have been making spirals since forever and somehow some of them evolved into snails some years back. When I had the opportunity to give my very first speaking engagement at a retreat about THE ARTIST'S WAY by Julia Cameron, I was thrilled and terrified. I rehearsed and rehearsed, but I knew I would speak quickly in my excitement, so I drew my spiral snails all over my notes

to help me remember to slow down. With this spiral challenge, I wanted to do a tribute to all the snails I have drawn over the years. For the first time, I had the urge to name her, too! I came up with Flo Slomo to remind me to stay in the "flow" and to go in "slow motion" when necessary.

My "Hope" spiral is one of the few Zentangles I have ever named. I knew as I was creating it, that it would have a name and that I would know what it was when I was done. I looked and looked, and then I saw it -- HOPE! I believe that almost anything is possible once we find that spark of hope. Then I noticed that Laura had part of a song lyric -- "Spiral out. Keep going!" That sounds like hope to me! Spirals are very important in my life in all kinds of ways. I have been looking at the other challenge submissions, and I can tell that they are meaningful to other people, too. I know that the spiral is a symbol of life, and I have always thought of the way that life proceeds is more in a spiral fashion, and not a straight line. Hooray for spirals! Thank you, Laura, for another amazing challenge!

153 - 156 Fun Things to Do!

155. Attend a graduation ceremony -- any graduation ceremony. But when it is a kindergarten graduation ceremony (and the graduate is my grandson, Andrew), then you have taken fun, pride, and darling to a new level!

156. Lately, when I have returned home from a trip, I have found a welcoming vase of beautiful fresh flowers on our kitchen table! I am already really happy to be home, and these flowers from my husband and daughter make my homecoming even more glorious! Thank you, Tom and Maribeth! Receiving flowers is definitely a fun thing to do!

153. Giving flowers is fun, too! You don't have to spend a lot of money either -- a single flower, even without a vase, is a terrific way to show that you care. It's even cheaper than a greeting card, and probably a lot more memorable! If you have a cell phone with a camera, you can take a picture of some flowers and send it -- that doesn't cost anything at all!

154. Keep your eye out for unusual car decorations -- bumperstickers, mirror danglies, antenna adornments. Some people really express their personalities with their cars.

148 - 152 Fun Things to Do!

148. Attend a kid's musical production -- that's my grandson, Nate, in "Seussical the Musical". There is no Broadway musical that could ever come close to the glory of a grade school performance!

149. Collect rainbows -- this summer I've seen five already! Tonight after I saw two within ten minutes, I knew I had a collection started. I have photographs of three of them! Last Saturday night I was with my friend who was performing at the Founders' Day AA Celebration in Akron at a local stadium -- first a thunderstorm, then a complete rainbow, and then a double rainbow! It was awesome and a fitting salute to the thousands of AA and Al-Anon members who had gathered together in honor of Bill W. and Dr. Bob.

150. Notice shadows wherever you are.

151. Take photographs of interesting shadows.

152. Make your own shadow show (children not required).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Zentangle Challenge #25

This week Genevieve Crabe took over the reigns from Laura, our Diva, and challenged us to make a Zendala. The plain outline she provided is intriquing by itself, and the idea of filling it with tangles was scary and exciting. I did rough drafts, looked at all my collected tangles, went out on the internet looking for inspiration, and thought about it when I wasn't near a pen or my tile. One of the fun things about these challenges is you get to expand your horizons in non-threatening ways. Everyone is so friendly, and there is a spirit of community on the challenges. I actually woke up yesterday morning half dreaming about what I was going to do in a certain space. Thinking about, and making Zentangles puts me in a wonderful creatively energetic space that enhances my abilities in other areas of my life. I am also much more agreeable when I am in a good Zentangle flow! Hooray for Zentangles! Thank you, Genevieve, for such a fun and interesting challenge!

147 - Read to Children!

When I was pregnant with my daughter, Maribeth, I used to read Winnie the Pooh to my belly because I heard that babies get to know the sound of their parents' voices when they are in the womb. I wanted her to hear wonderful words. When my son Kevin came along, we all were regulars at the library. Reading was one of our most fun things to do. It's exciting to know that even if you don't have a lot of money, you can always read! For years, I was the story lady at our local Borders Books and Music, and I loved looking out into a sea of darling and attentive faces all turned up to me.

Can you imagine how thrilled I was to start reading at my grandsons' grade school? I first started reading in Nate's kindergarten class. He's in second grade now, and I still read to his class this past year. Now Andrew is in kindergarten, and I have had the privilege of reading to his class this year, too. I have had so much fun going to the library ahead of time and pre-reading all the books to make sure they are fun enough to be allowed to have the chance to be presented to these wonderful children. I was so happy when Andrew's teacher, Mrs. Semelsberger, took a picture on my last reading day! That's Andrew in the yellow shirt, standing next to me. Hooray for reading!

Monday, June 6, 2011

146 - Garden with a Child (or Children!)

When my grandsons, Andrew and Nate, were three and five, I got this wild idea to take them to my favorite garden store and let them pick out whatever they wanted to plant in a circle garden in our yard. The only stipulation was that they had to be plants for a sunny location. We went to Graf Growers in Akron, Ohio, grabbed a double decker cart, and the fun began! They picked yellow, pink, white, lavender, hot pink, purple, orange, yellow, red and stripes!

Because their gardening background was a little limited, they picked flowers like Gebera daisies which in past years I only dared admire, but was afraid to buy. They were totally bold in their choices and the resulting garden was spectacular beyond my wildest dreams. Neighbors visited for days to express their admiration. People I didn't even know stopped their cars to yell out words of praise!

This is third year, and now Andrew and Nate are six and eight, and they are a little more discriminating so their choices were not quite as wild as that first year. Aunt Maribeth came along to share the merriment.

Graf Growers is the kind of place, where once they get to know you, they don't forget you -- so it was fun to arrive with Nate and Andrew and see Sharon and Kathy and have assistance with all our gardening questions. It didn't take long to fill up a cart this year. Among the plants that Andrew picked was a really unusual one with light green flowers. And one of Nate's favorites was a red striped geranium. And it is tradition that each one of us picks out our own pot of Gebera daisies. Andrew and Nate picked out the plants on Friday, and we planted today. I used to think about that circle garden in the winter, and wonder what I would plant, but I always came up with very ordinary ideas compared to my two junior gardeners! Hooray!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Zentangle Challenge #24 - Stripes!

One morning, I woke up dreaming about stripes in a shell. My beloved father-in-law was a shell collector, and he passed away many years ago, much to my chagrin. So shells are very sentimental and special to me. I thought about this shell for days, and looked at all kinds of tangles, just thinking what might work. I even did some sketches. But at the last minute, I decided to go with a variation of a simple tangle that I saw, and one that I made up called "barnaca".

I had already decided to do a Zentangle as part of my birthday present for my dear friend, Rose. I wanted to do a rainbow, so when I saw the challenge for this week was stripes, it fit in perfectly! After I added a little color, I couldn't resist adding a little sparkle. On the back, I put this quote: “We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” by George Bernard Shaw. Then I put the Zentangle on a holder that says "PLAY" to further emphasize playfulness! Hooray for fun, creativity, and play!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

145 - Spotting Rainbows

Recently I was watching a Little League game -- not just any game, one my grandson Nate was playing in! The skies were dark and threatening, and then they were blue and friendly. He was so excited to have the chance to participate in his first H League game, since he usually plays in I League with younger kids. Nate is 8 years old, and he was one happy and excited ballplayer that evening! There were 8 fans of his on the sidelines, and he did a really good job in every position he played. Right in the middle of all this -- I spotted a rainbow right beside him!

You can hardly see him in the picture (second boy in), and you can hardly see the rainbow, but it was just a few minutes in time that I will never forget! A Great Blue Heron flew right past the rainbow just before I took the picture, and that is my luckiest of all birds! Wow and wowee!

Then, just a few days later, my husband Tom and I were leaving a restaurant, and when we came around the corner of the building, there was a stunning rainbow! Of course I started taking pictures right away. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Tom was standing by the car fumbling with something. He was taking a photograph with his cell phone! We've been married over 40 years, and I don't recall him ever taking a photograph on his own initiative. To make it even more incredible, he sent the picture to me from his cell phone to my cell phone! Romance and rainbows, an unbeatable combination!