Birthdays are in the details

“Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.”~Ausonius, Roman poet

Another February 15th rolls to an end, another birthday for my husband curls up for a 365-day nap. Birthdays are in the little touches.


Bright balloon bouquets should greet very birthday boy and girl–no matter their age–when they walk through the door.


Pooh napkins and cupcakes for either chocolate/vanilla mood, complete with separate forks so flavor-contamination…or for sharing.


Don’t forget the Happy Birthday flags, a separate color for each cupcake.


To the last detail: birthday balloon bouquet tied with smiley face ribbon.


Don’t cover up words with a little red bow; let each one delight the gift. What’s fun without some Penn State-colored beads?


Hershey’s chocolates in a bedside kiss. Good night!


Retro love

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”~Martin Luther King, Jr., American leader

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately.

Do you remember any class in school where you had a creative writing assignment? If so, you may have stressed out about writing that first line. That’s when your teacher would say “Just freewrite,” which meant for the next however many minutes, you wrote whatever thoughts came to mind, without stopping.

Your pen. Remember those? Or maybe you wrote with a pencil. Regardless, it was–and still is–a stick that you hold in your hand that produces a visual image when pressed down on a surface. I mention this because I don’t think we do remember these anymore.

I watched a YouTube video the other day, and the host was a teenager or a girl in her early 20s. She created some art with her hands and then had to write some information down. “My cursive is terrible,” she wined. “I haven’t written in cursive since middle school. Looks like I have to practice my handwriting. It looks terrible.”

First, as a writer or blogger or artist, never apologize for anything you do save technical difficulties or natural disasters beyond your control. Even then, explain don’t excuse.


My husband shares my nostalgia in this gift to me (us)

What made her comment doubly bad was that she made an excuse for not using her talented hands to write. Much of society has lost touch with the tactile, with the real. I haven’t tangled in awhile–something I miss, and a whole separate topic–but I do journal by hand. No online diary for me, except for this blog. I write and edit my stories. I use colorful pens to make it more fun. Heck, what happened to crayons?

Twitter chats this week were retro: what books do you recall fondly from your childhood? Favorite high school trip? When did you see your first concert? What video game(s) rocked your world? For the record, my answers include:
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
–Cancun, Mexico (seriously!)
–Hall & Oates Big Bam Boom tour…you do the math
–Joust, Sinistar, Dig Dug, Mappy and Gauntlet

So I have been missing that lately, the delightful memories of youth. The times when I felt young and free and safe. What about you? Is there something you miss from long ago, or just from last year? Times change, but our memories do not.

I want to go home and color.

Birthday fun, flowers and Zentangle

“It is not how much we have but how much we enjoy that makes happiness.”~Charles Spurgeon, British clergyman

Happy Birthday to me!

Yep, that’s me, boldly proclaiming the day the world was graced by my presence (“Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace, Wednesday’s child…”). I was born on a Tuesday, just like today.


Pop-up flowers + yellow glitter smiley face = happiness

I never take work off on my birthday. Why would I miss the opportunity for the following exchange?

Random person: “Hi, how are you?”
Me: “I’m great! Today is my birthday!”
Random person: “Well, Happy Birthday. Let me buy you lunch/dinner/a Frappuccino.”

It’s been a low-key day, something I welcome after the long weekend past and the long weekend upcoming. Writing. Café Vanilla Frappuccino at Starbucks. Handmade pizza for dinner. Gifts and cards and a scrapbook kit, oh my! I wrapped the day up by tangling this week’s Diva Zentangle Challenge #184 while watching Major Crimes DVD, my favorite gift my husband gave me. And the flowers, delightfully fun paper flowers.


Tangle-ING Diva Zentangle Challenge #184

The tangle ING is simple: zigzag lines that connect together as triangles. I see a lot of possibility in this, but today I created a simple tile. Nipa was inspired by one of my Tuesday Tangled Lunch attendees today. It’s a fun, watery tangle, something flowing to break up the stark lines of ING.

A simple little Zentangle. A simple, relaxing birthday. Life is good.


Happy Birthday to me!

Somewhere over the Zentangle

“I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”~Lauren Bacall, American actress

Today, I am mortal.

My friend, Jane, said that to me last week, the day after my birthday. “Good morning, mortal girl,” she said at breakfast. It was September 10, so the celebration was over. But at that time, the entire event–Birthday Weeks for Sweet Pea–was not over. There was still so much to celebrate. After this weekend in Pittsburgh…yep…now I am mortal.

But still, celebration is in my sites. The Diva’s weekly Zentangle Challenge is to use color. Color! My husband encourages…no, nudges…no, strongly suggests…no, he, well, he just really likes my color Zentangle art. I knew he would be delighted with this week. He needs a cheer, too; he is fighting some cough-cold thing. But jeez…where do I begin?


I was delighted to find another tile splashed with Lumiere leftovers. Not quite the vibrancy of last week’s tile, but I like the subtle play of the green with muted golden tones. I hope that softness shows up in the image. I think it’s a nice look against the unshaded ink.

Inspired by the subtlety and wanted to shade, I chose to do a second tile shaded in color. Again, I saw this idea somewhere on the Internet, and just fell in love with the play. For this tile, I used the colored pencil,the same one that I distribute to my students in my Color Me a Rainbow Zentangle class. I want to show them–and myself–that simple materials can yield such amazing results.


Raiders of the Lost Nostalgia

“I’m making this up as I go along.”~Indiana Jones, action-adventure movie star

Plymouth, Michigan. Penn Theater, one-screen movie theater complete with red curtains that slide open to reveal the screen. Admission $3 and a small popcorn $1.50. Weekends are past current releases, December features Christmas favorites, and summer Thursdays are retro classics. The movie started a 7pm. This picture was taken at 5:50pm. See the line?  I got in line and the box office opened 10 minutes early to accommodate the crowd. The concession crowd, that is.


Another single moviegoer sat next to me and we talked about our recollections of Raiders and what that really meant to us, each of us. It wasn’t just a movie, although if you had to choose one for a desert island, this is not a poor choice.

It was a reminder that special effects can enhance a movie, not define it. It was the memory of childhood, the safe, the familiar, the comforting. It was about remembering seeing this movie or others like it 12 times as a kid. It was about mom and dad and friends. That’s what this experience was for me, as it was to the woman next to me. Based on the crowd composition, I’d say that was a factor to just about everyone there.  From my vantage point, there was one seat empty, and that was in the row in front of me.

I met an older woman who had never seen it. Countless groups of 30- and 40-somethings clustered in rows with their $2.25 medium popcorn and $1.50 drinks. Numerous families came with their young kids, despite that end Ark scene on the island. Why worry, after all? We all saw it and lived through it, and that scene is tame compared to the movie gore of today. Despite knowing the plot, that scene still got gasps and ewwwwwws from this mostly-adult crowd. I know I clenched my hands and held my breath more than once throughout. The audience clapped when the Paramount logo appeared and again at the end when the credits began to roll. That’s what makes a good crowd.

Nostalgia. I sucked in every moment of it.

How old are you today?

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”~Oprah Winfrey, American talk show host

At a scrapbook crop, some folks got to talking about kids, which turned into satire as we talked about age. As a newborn, it’s quite acceptable to age your child in months. After age 2, however, months become confusing. “My child is 39 months.” Can you right now instantly relate that? Months are the metric system in the ages of kids. There’s too much mental calculation to figure out something that could have been expressed as “My child is almost three and a half years old.” Technically, the child is 3 and a quarter years, and I did have to pull out the calculator to figure that out.


Birthdays are best with cupcakes

My friends have actually celebrated milestone birthdays, like someone’s 360-month or 480-month or 500-month birthday.

To that end, Happy ?20-Month birthday to my husband!

Birds and Zentangles of a feather

“I’m not out here to win a beauty contest.”~Kirk Gibson, American baseball player

Perhaps Mr. Gibson is not, but I am working on beauty.  My husband already says I’m beautiful, so I’ll go with him on that.  Today I refer to my latest Zentangle, my contribution to the Diva’s Challenge 121.  Just like every first Monday of the month, this week is UMT (Use My Tangle) week, and Birds on a Wire by Mary Kissel, CZT is featured.

I love birds.  I grew up with parakeets, which was the only pet we were allowed in our second-floor apartment.  Well, I guess we could have had a hamster or an iguana, but my parents had had parakeets growing up.  I turned into my parents at the age of 7.


Scrapper: Parakeet Extraordinaire, 1977

My favorite parakeet was Scrapper.  He lived with us the longest.  Bright blue body and wings, the blueish color of the cere, which is the skin above the beak that looks like a nose.  He was my parakeet, no matter who fed him or gave him water or cleaned his cage.  He imprinted on me.  He knew when I was due home from school.  Mom would see him fly over to the living room window, the one that looked out on the street, and he chirped and chirped until I got off the yellow school bus.I would walk up the stairs and he would fly to my shoulder and nip my cheek or tussle chew my long brown hair.  Yes, we let our parakeets fly loose in the house.  Yes, that made cleanup challenging, but the thought of having our birds’ wings clipped gave each of us a stomache.

Much like a puppy, he would follow me around, either on my shoulder or just flitting to the table when I did my homework.  When I was sick, he would sit on the top of his cage, staring down at me as I lay comatose or coughing on the couch.  Occasionally he would land on the couch or my head, nibble my lip or just stare at me, and they he would fly back to the top of his cage, waiting and watching.

He won Best of Show contests at our local Humane Society pet shows.  He did tricks, like roll a ball across the dining room table.  He talked; I forget now exactly what he said, but I recall “hello” and “pretty bird” among them.

He developed a tumor on his chest, a big red blob of tough skin where no feathers grew.  The vet said there was no cure; I wonder now if it was a form of cancer.  Somedays I could not look at him he was so disgusting and creepy, but I forced myself to because he had always looked at me when I was sick.  Apparently he died in the night, before I awoke, almost as if planned so I did not see that.  Mom collected him, we wrapped him in white tissues and ceremoniously buried him in the front yard beside the bushes.

Scrapper was not our last parakeet, but none were as personable and clingy as he was.  To this day, I cannot pass a pet store without looking at the parakeets, hearing their cheeps, watching their scrubbly little claws as they hop around on wooden dowels.

20130605-111303.jpgI have no fear of birds; I delight in them.  I don’t care much for the poop, but such is life.  When I see parrots or cockatoos on the shoulders of someone else–yes, there are some people who carry them around in Plymouth’s Kellogg Park, just like any dog–I always hope they are friendly enough to perch on a stranger’s finger or hand.  I imagine Scrapper, or at least having a bird in my life. When this week’s tangle was Birds on a Wire, I was so happy.  I, too, have seen streams of birds stretching on high wires, sometimes launching off and flying away in a black cloud.  I imagine Mary’s sight and how she developed this tangle.  My first time using it was not my best creation, although I do see some wired birds there and some swans.  Ahh is such an underused tangle, but I felt the need to add sunshine sparkles and clouds and wires for the birds to fly to, hence my choice of tangles.  The tangle, and the memories, bring happiness today.

Nine is just darn fine

“I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.”~Lauren Bacall, American actress


October 18. 1+8 = 9. That’s how many years I have been married. Happy Anniversary to us!!

Everyone says their spouse is the best, at least they should. “My husband is the most…wonderful, caring, thoughtful, sensitive, whatever…man in the world.” You can’t debate a woman who says that. Nope. So I won’t even go there.

I will say that he is my everything. That says it all.

Di’s Birthday Week ends September 11th

A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth. Instead of its bringing sad and melancholy prospects of decay, it would give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world.”~Maurice Chevalier, French actor

Here’s to a good life, to a good world.

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