Write or Draw or Paint?

Let’s hope no one was holding their breath after my last post because that was quite a long wait. I’m sorry for that. I hadn’t intended to take a hiatus. In fact, I had intended to write more! Instead, I fell into a funk for a couple of weeks and did not feel like posting anything.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I have not been completely devoid of creative output. I decided to revisit the One Zentangle A Day book and do it all over again.


I’ve also decided to revisit Downton Abbey. I stopped watching it a couple of years ago after the tragic death of Sybil. I knew there’d be more tragic death to go through, but I decided I was already feeling rather low so might as well indulge myself in misery.

My evenings have mainly consisted of sitting on the couch and drawing while Downton plays in the background. Clearly, this leaves me with no time to write.


Dave recently began working second shift, which means that he is not home in the evenings. I don’t think this has been the cause of my mellow emotions lately, but it probably doesn’t help. I’m sure it is a combination of the darkness of winter and the fact that I am on the edge of a virtual precipice. (So dramatic…)


I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I feel like I am ready for a change. I can’t yet share what that change will be, only that I am not entirely happy where I am right now. I can either steel myself to carry on and soldier through the current situation, or I can make the effort to change the thing that is really dragging me down lately. And once I’ve made that change I will tell you all about it.


This one took a long time! Like, four episodes of Downton Abbey!

As much as I am always talking about change and embracing change and blah blah blah, there is a great part of me that also wants to just dive under the covers and avoid anything that is going to be difficult. I find that the more I push myself out of my comfort zone, the easier it gets to try new things… but conversely, when I let myself start slipping back into the comfort zone I find it harder to get up and get back out again.

I am ruled so much by my emotions. I guess that was obvious when I said I didn’t write for the past two weeks because I didn’t feel like it.

I’ve read that people who are dedicated to becoming writers make time to write every single day, whether they feel like it or not. Same as artists who paint or draw every day, whether or not they’re in the right mood.

Pretty much the only thing I do every day regardless of my mood is basic bodily functions and important grooming tasks such as teeth brushing. Everything else is entirely subject to whether I feel like it or not. I’m not sure if that’s anything to be proud of.

In other news, last night my coworkers and I went to a paint bar in West Hartford. It was supposed to be a group outing/team building sort of moment, but half our group bailed. Whatever!

In case you live under a rock, a paint bar is what it sounds like. A painting studio with a bar. Artists lead the group in making identical copies of a painting that has already been created by someone else. Wine, beer and snacks are available.

Being a trained artist, I was a bit skeptical going into this, though I confess I was looking forward to blowing my teammates out of the water with my mad painting skills. However, since the two people who I had intended to impress ended up not even showing up (painting is for losers!), that was a moot point.

The painting we were to do was this winter scene with a snowman standing on it’s head, with stick legs popping out of his bottom ball. Ok, it is kind of cute, though probably not something I would have painted if given another option.


Did you know that snowmen have legs?

I’ll admit that I did have fun doing it, I mean, of course I did. Even though it wasn’t original art, I still enjoyed smearing the paint around and everything. The paint was really low quality, like, crayola or something, so it didn’t behave as nicely as I would have liked. But I guess I can’t have expected them to break out the professional stuff.

In the end I decided that it was fun, especially for people who don’t have an art background. You get to create a painting in two hours while you drink wine and hang out with your friends. The instructors were nice and helpful. Obviously if painting is really your thing, you have to put your ego on the back burner and just know that you will not be creating a masterpiece.

Painting was never really my favorite creative outlet. But doing it last night reminded me that I *do* enjoy it, when I give myself the time. Maybe I will try my hand at it again this year. The last time I painted anything was in 2009, when my boss at the time commissioned me to paint his beloved dog, Bully.

Bully done

Bully, 2009


So in the end, perhaps it is good that I don’t always feel like doing one thing or another – I certainly don’t have time to write, draw, watch Downton Abbey and paint all in one day!

It’s Only Tuesday

I’m not one to wish the days away, but going back to a full work week after two nice, long holiday weekends is rough.

Last night I gave my 6th Toastmaster speech. I might be starting to get the hang of it. I spent a ton of time preparing a PowerPoint presentation to accompany my speech, which was on the art of Zentangle. One of the slides was a mini slideshow of some of my favorite pieces. Other slides showed the various steps of creating a Zentangle. It was gold.


One of many Zentangles

I arrived early and took pains to rearrange the room so we’d be facing a blank wall where I could project. We got the projector out of the closet and set everything up. The projector had one of those old connectors with the weird trapezoid shaped plug with all the little prongs in it. My computer doesn’t have a port for that kind of plug.

My heart fluttered for a moment. But wait! There was a USB cord in the case with the projector!

The projector was on, shining it’s bright blue glow on the wall. My computer was on, with the PowerPoint open and ready to perform.

But no.

The cord did not seem to comprehend that I wanted it to transmit the presentation to the projector. Various meeting attendees offered suggestions. Try Windows P! Function 8! Hail Mary!


There would be no presentation to go with my speech.

If I wasn’t still chilled from the 9 degrees outside and if I had functional sweat glands, I would have been sweating like a sinner in church.

Instead, I contemplated my choices. One, I could gather my things and leave at my earliest convenience. Or two, I could work with what I had.

Fortunately, I had considered the possibility of technical difficulties while I was preparing my speech, so I brought the book I had planned to mention, plus my Zentangle travel kit and a bunch of tiles.

Because I’d been rehearsing my speech so much, and also because Zentangle is near and dear to my heart, talking about it was easy. I was still pretty nervous with having to think on the fly and I really had no idea how I was doing on time, since I’d timed my speech to go along with the slides. But it all worked out okay. I used the book as a prop and I used the items from my kit as props, and of course, the main attraction, the Zentangle tiles.


During the break, I spread the stuff out on a table and a handful of people came up and looked at them and talked to me about it. So that was cool, and by then I was so glad to have gotten the speech over with that I didn’t care about the technical issues. Ok, I cared a little. I spent a LOT of time putting that presentation together and no one got to see it.


All in all, I’m happy I completed the 6th speech and I realize the fact that I got thrown a curve ball only served to educate me further in the importance of being prepared for anything. Only four more speeches to go and I will get my Competent Communicator Certification! Woo hoo!

I’ll close with my brilliant closing line from my speech last night:

I hope this brief overview has inspired you to try your hand at the art of Zentangle!

Embrace the corny. 🙂

Austin Trip, Day 1

Hello! I made it safely to Austin. I am going to try to make this quick, as I’ve been up since 4 am.  Really, that’s only an hour earlier than usual wake-up time but somehow it seems extreme.

I always feel a bit degraded when I go through security. Shoeless, belt less (which for me means nearly pantsless), posing with my arms up in the scanner.  It’s just awkward. Actually the most awkward part for me is the scramble to put myself back together once everything comes through the X-ray machine. I usually gather my belongings and walk to a bench so I can put my shoes on without trying to balance my carry-on and my backpack all at once.

Anyway. For this trip I decided to bring some zentangle tools. I wanted to keep it light, so instead of bringing my sketchbook plus all my pens and stuff, I pared it down to a handful of paper tiles and just the essential pens. I remembered I had a little pouch I’d been given at the Denver airport, which just so happened to be the perfect size to carry all my stuff.


My travel Zen kit. Thanks for the pouch, Denver!

I also had two fresh Brené Brown books to listen to. The first one turned out to not actually be a book but a speech. It was called Men, Women and Worthiness, the experience of shame and the power of being enough. It was about shame, obviously, and how it is the root of a lot of issues that people have, such as perfectionism, addiction and even aggressive behavior.

While I listened to that, I dew a couple of zentangles. This one is my favorite of the day:

I’m always trying to use all the colors in one drawing.

The other audio book I had was The Gifts of Imperfection. I only just started that one toward the end of the trip so I’ll comment on that later.

So anyway, here I am in Austin. We went out to a wine bar called The Grove for dinner. It was really good and had a cool atmosphere.

I’m so beat now, I’m going to drop my phone on my face if I don’t put it down now.

So long.


Auf Wiedersehen.



Leaving on a Jet Plane (Again)

A quick update! I made it back from Vegas without any issues. I’ve been busy with work and with life at home since then. Meaning to post and then getting discouraged for some reason or another.

Right now I’m taking a quick break from housework and cooking before I start packing my suitcase once again. Tomorrow I am flying to Austin for meeting. I’d thought Vegas would be my last trip this year but alas. 

I do enjoy traveling and getting to see new and different places. Don’t get me wrong. But it’s definitely more fun when you can do it with someone else. I’ve gotten used to flying alone but it is kind of strange, especially when it seems like everyone else is with family or friends and they’re all happy to be going to some fun destination or other. 

I’m not particularly good at socializing with random strangers either. I pretty much never start up a conversation with the person next to me on a plane or in an airport waiting area. I’m not mean or rude. I smile and make eye contact and I might say hi to the person I’m sitting next to but that’s about it. God forbid I ever am seated next to someone who actually wants to chat. 

Sometimes I wonder what interesting people I might actually get to know if I wasn’t such a mental hermit. 

Ah. I’m in a mood today. I would like to write something deeper and more heartfelt. There are a lot of “feels” to write about. I am saddened by the terrorist activities in Paris, and in every part of the world where these things happen. I’m sad because my cousin’s wife just died from complications from a brain tumor that she’s been battling for two years. I’m frustrated that I  don’t feel like I am moving towards any of my life goals. If anything I am slipping off course. 

I downloaded two Brené Brown audiobooks to listen to on my flight tomorrow. That should straighten me out! 

Peace. Love.



Sunday Funday Post: Zentangle

Two things I have been getting right lately are that I’ve been meditating each morning and I’ve started Zentangling.

Day 4

Day 4 tile

Whatsy-tangling, you ask?

Zentangling. I first heard about it sometime last year, when my friend Kristina posted some of her drawings online and mentioned that she had been doing it to relieve stress. I was immediately jealous that she was posting cool artistic pictures and I wasn’t, because hello, *I* am an artist!

I continued to doodle all over my meeting notes at work, and on scraps of paper during phone calls, but I rarely broke out my sketchbook at home. I wanted to know more about this Zentangle business, but it was just one thing too much. So for Christmas, I asked Kris (my brother) to get me a book about Zentangle.

et voila:

One  Zentangle a Day

As you can see by the book cover, this is a six-week course in the art of Zentangling. I am so into it right now, that I’ve actually done it more than once a day on a couple of days because I just couldn’t wait to do another one.

Day 2 - morning

Day 2 – Morning

Day 2 - Evening

Day 2 – Evening









It’s been like rediscovering a part of myself that I lost. Drawing has always been such a part of me, but sometimes I neglect it. I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, and I don’t give myself the time to sit down and do what I really love. When I was in high school, my art teacher made us do weekly sketches. We’d turn them in on Friday and then over the weekend he would hang them up on a bulletin board for everyone to see on Monday. He would rank them, so there’d be first, second and third place, and then a bunch of honorable mentions. If I remember correctly, the really bad ones didn’t even make it on the board. This brought out my competitive streak in a major way, and my goal was always to get first place. It usually meant that I would stay up ridiculously late on Thursday nights to complete my submission, but it also meant that by the end of senior year, I had a ton of great drawings in my portfolio.

So anyway, I think getting myself to stick to this six-weeks of Zentangle, will be a great help in getting myself back on the wagon. It’s amazing how it’s already ignited the fire in my belly. What I like about Zentangle is that you only need 30 minutes a day to do it. It is a form of meditation, because as you’re drawing, you’re only thinking about the pen and the paper, and everything else is irrelevant in that moment. At least, that’s how it is for me, and that is why I have always loved to draw.

Day 3

Day 3

I’m sure it’s not something that everyone would be interested in, but if you’re like me – an artistic soul trapped in the routines and demands of a non-artistic work life, I highly recommend that you check this out. If you’re one of those people who thinks they can’t draw, don’t let that stop you from trying this. I mean, look at the drawings I posted – they are all just variations of lines. Just let your hand do the walking.