When I look into his guilty face
I’m not sure just what he did
And I hear this theme song in my head
“Here’s looking at you, kid”
Oh what a Zentangled web we weave, when first we practice to…Zentangle. If you haven’t heard of Zentangle, don’t feel bad, most people, especially non-art people haven’t either. To sum it up, Zentangle is glorified doodling. No special talent or fancy tools are required. The only things required to get started are a fine line permanent marker, paper, an open mind and a little time. There are many websites, blogs, books and videos available to help you along the way if you want to get more involved, but it’s not necessary.
Today, the lovely TOTS, Table Of Talent Sisters met for a Zentangle mini-workshop guided by our girlfriend, Sherry. She gave us a few pointers, passed around a book and some sample pages, and after a couple hours, we were all “Zen masters.” Shapes, repetitive lines and patterns became beautiful works of art. If you like to doodle, look into it. You’ll love it!
Here’s my first attempt.
This is Sherry, our talented instructor and girlfriend.
Somewhere in the lunacy that is my life, I lost a day…again. How do you lose a day? I’m doing it more and more lately. I knew yesterday was Tuesday. I go to Zumba on Tuesday. I went to Zumba at 8:30. My plan was to have Tuesday be my “Tips from Toni Tuesday” for my blog. Well, by the time 10 pm slithered by, I was convinced that it was Monday night and I had already posted Monday’s blog earlier that morning. But, NOOOOO!
To my horror, when I glanced at the Dallas Morning News, there it was, in black and white…Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Well, at least it wasn’t 2033. I haven’t pulled a Rip Van Winkle, at least not yet. (Trivia Note: Rip slept for 20 years, not 100.) Then, I remembered my phone conversation Monday night with my son. He told me that Saturday, he went to his buddy’s 30th birthday party. I asked, “Rob was in the same class as you, how come he is so much older?” He kindly informed me that he was born in ’83 and it’s 2013, “Do the math, Mom.”
Oh, man! I lost a year. Most people would be concerned for their sanity. Not me, I like it. When everyone else is getting old and grey, I’ll be comfortable in the knowledge that I am so much younger than all my friends. Yes, it’s a good thing!
So, here it is. Better late than never.
TUESDAY’S TIPS FROM TONI
If you have any of those silicone baking pans for cute cupcakes, they make great ice cube trays. But, instead of freezing water, use lemonade and then you can pop them into iced tea for a lemony tea. Or you can freeze different juices and add to drinks, and they won’t dilute your beverage. Plus, they look cute! Make sure you place them on a cookie sheet to freeze because they are wobbly. After they are frozen, you can wrap them individually in plastic wrap and freeze a whole bunch and put them in a ziplock bag and keep frozen.
They come in all kinds of cute shapes for the ladies, and they even have footballs, soccer balls, golf balls, etc., for the macho guys who don’t care to have roses or butterflies floating in their manly martinis.
There are no hard and fast written rules for manners. We learn from our elders, parents, teachers, and friends. But, what about those idiots who wouldn’t know kindness if it came up and smacked them upside the head with a two-by-four? Were they raised on Mars?
Example one: I went to the post office today to mail three big packages. An elderly woman walked in behind me after parking in the handicapped spot. She waddled over to get an envelope from the wall and proceeded to fill it out at the side counter. By the time she finished, there were four people in line, so she waddled to the end of the line. I was next to be waited on, so I looked back and said, “Mam, you go ahead. You only have one item.” Her eyes lit up and she shuffled forward and thanked the others in line. That is just common courtesy and respect for our elders. I’m hoping to teach by example.
Example two: While I was driving home, I was in the right lane. I could have made a right turn on red, but NOOO! The car in the middle lane on my left, had inched up so close to the intersection, that I couldn’t see oncoming traffic. He couldn’t go, but he made it impossible for me to turn. I usually hang back when I’m in that situation.Then, don’t even get me started about those Pac-Man drivers that zig and zag in traffic, with less than a cars length, they cut in front of you and you are forced to slam on the brakes. Then, ten minutes later, they end up right next to you again. Manners dissuade you from displaying a particular digital acknowledgement.
Example three: I have found that most drivers in the state of Texas believe that turn signals, stop signs and red lights are totally optional. I once asked the mechanic at the car dealership if turn signals were removed before shipping new cars to the state of Texas. Then, there’s the four-way stop etiquette. The rule is…stop quickly for a mili-second, then step on the gas. It doesn’t matter that three other drivers were stopped before them. No common courtesy on the road.
Example four: But, on the other hand, when a woman walks toward a door, men will open the door for her, tip their hats, or help her lift a heavy bag when a woman is struggling in the Walmart parking lot with a twenty pound bag of dog food. Here in Texas, they say, “Yes mam and no sir.” The only thing I can’t figure out is why the huge discrepancy. Perhaps, there are different rules for manners on road than there are for kindness to the elderly and women. Oh yes, it seems that the older or the prettier the woman is, the kinder and more helpful the man is. That’s just universal.
There are sisters, and then there are SISTERS. There are the girls and women in our lives that we are related to by blood, and then, there are the girls and women who are often closer to us than any DNA molecules could possibly achieve. I’m talking about GIRLFRIENDS. There is no sibling rivalry, resentment, jealousy, or quarreling, only love and sincerity.
Don’t get me wrong. REAL sisters are wonderful, but girlfriend-sisters are REAL. This way we get the best of both worlds. The reason I’m feeling nostalgic is, the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the TOTS. The Table Of Talent Sisters here in McKinney,Texas. We all met by chance at different times, and our numbers have grown over the years. We started out with two friends and now we are about ten or more.
We did not name ourselves. We’re wonderful, but very humble. Not! About four or five years ago, a group of us were sitting at Spoons Cafe in McKinney,Texas. We are all artists, writers, photographers, and creative souls. Whenever we met for lunch, we would bring show-and-tell and share our latest endeavors. Our usual waiter, Collin, would often squat down next to us to take our order and admire the latest masterpieces. One afternoon, he just shook his head and said, “You ladies are just one table of talent.” Lightbulb moment! We decided to call ourselves the Table Of Talent Sisters, TOTS for short. Thanks, Collin! The rest is history.
What’s really wonderful about the TOTS is, we share everything. If we learn a new craft, we share. When a girlfriend has a birthday, oh my goodness, it’s like part and present city. At our last Christmas gathering at Snug on the Square, we took up the whole back room, and a very large U-Haul was needed to cart away all the handmade gifts.(Well, maybe several large shopping bags.) Then, if someone experiences a loss or illness, we’re there. When one girlfriend is hurting, we all cry. “In sickness and in health. Till death do us part”, GIRLFRIENDS RULE!
They say the best way to influence your children is to teach them by example. But, what if children are trying to teach their parents by example?
I always tried to be a good example to my two sons. I like to think that both my husband and I are kind, generous, and all around good people. My sons have turned out to be genuinely wonderful men, and yes, I’m prejudiced, but I think everyone would agree.
Here is where the table have been turned. Both my sons are vegans, and have been for quite a while. Where did I go wrong? They eat mostly fresh fruit and vegetables, and very rarely eat junk food. This means no meat, fish, eggs, or dairy. Basically, it must come from the dirt to the table. This from the little boys who begged to have hot dogs or burgers everyday if they couldn’t go to McDonalds.
I have been scolded and schooled on the evils of meat, milk, dairy products, eggs, etc. “Mom, do you know how they treat and butcher those animals?” I’ve been given many Christmas gifts of books and DVDs on the subject. Their well-meaning gestures and pressures have influenced me somewhat, but my bad habits and taste buds are not completely convinced. Sometimes it’s a good thing that they live hundreds of miles away so they can’t check up on me all the time.
All their advice is sound and reasonable, but I can’t do it all cold turkey. I drink almond milk, gave up soda (most of the time), basically no desserts (unless it’s my birthday, or someone else’s birthday, or the girl scouts are selling cookies), I’ve cut back on meat consumption. As my mother-in-law used to say, “Better like nothing.”
Thank you, boys, for trying to lead by example. Maybe if you lived a little closer and visited more often, you could be better role models. Hint..hint!
FEED THE HUNGRY AND FEED YOUR SOUL
Did you enjoy my blog on Friday? Of course not! I forgot to post it! I’m such a space queen, or perhaps it’s old age or sensory overload. Either way, I was so busy replying to emails, commenting on blogs and posting pictures on Facebook, that I plum forgot to post my blog.
Friday was such a cool day, too. I ran a bunch of errands, stopped at Papa Murphy’s to pick up our traditional Friday night pizza for after art class. I had my shopping cart parked outside the window at Papa Murphy’s, and I stopped to take a picture of Miss Karri and Justin, who prepared my pizza. I told them, “You never know when I might need a picture for my blog.” When I walked outside, my cart was being rescued from the middle of the parking lot by a young Albertson’s employee. I guess my cart got tired of waiting for me, and was heading over to my car by itself.
When I returned home, I unpacked the groceries and packed up my car for my senior art class over at Towne Creek. Everyone was excited because we were going to paint glass bowls for the February Empty Bowls fundraiser at St. Peter’s Church in McKinney. We had a few people still sick, so the group was small. A couple teenagers and their little sister were visiting with their grandma in the hallway, and they popped into the activity room to see what we were doing. Well, to make a short story long, we invited them to join us. Their grandma and mother sat and visited while the girls painted. They loved the fact that the bowls would be given to attendees of the fundraiser for their $20 contribution to help feed the hungry and less fortunate.
The bowls turned out great, everyone had fun painting, and the group learned new painting techniques. The grandmother, Patricia, who had just visited with us and didn’t want to paint, was so moved by our gesture, that she insisted that I accept $10. She knew that I supplied all the materials, paints and snacks every week, and she wanted to show her appreciation for what we do. After a long argument, I graciously accepted her donation, but told her that I was going to buy more bowls with her contribution, and hopefully next week she would join us. These senior residents have very little money, so $10 was a huge gift. I was humbled by her generosity.
I always tell everyone that they are welcome to join us. When you share the gift of art, you share the gift of friendship. I have made the most wonderful friendships that will last a lifetime.