More Zentangle Patterns and a Little Home Improvement

More Zentangle Patterns and a Little Home Improvement

There’s a new video up on my channel: 9 Easy Zentangle Patterns for Beginners – Freeform Curves. I ran a poll asking my channel subscribers what interested them most, and an overwhelming majority said they wanted to learn how to draw more Zentangle patterns. (I’m not abandoning other video styles, just prioritizing accordingly.)

This past week, in an effort to distract myself from cancer thoughts (they’re like shower thoughts, but more disturbing) I decided to get out the Prismacolor Premier pencils again. My goal was to complete Tangled Yogi’s Ladybug Love Zentangle tutorial. She uses colored pencil in almost—if not all—of her video tutorials. I posted these process pics on Instagram and Twitter already, but I like looking at them, and, you know, this is my blog.

I never thought I’d be so enamored with colored pencils, but then I got good ones. And I started learning how to use them. Look at the intensity of that color, baby! I’ve also learned that quality paper helps. This tile is one I cut from some larger sheets of the same bristol vellum I used for the Riptide class.


I’m not sure what, if anything, we’ll get done around the house this week. We ordered new exterior shutters, but in addition to Dan and I both managing disabling health conditions (Oh yeah, insurance denied coverage of the medicine Dan’s doctor prescribed and then also denied the appeal. Good times.) removing the old shutters and attaching new ones just seems, like, hard?

We need a handyman. I hate that word, by the way, but am too tired to think of a better one right this second. I know there are all kinds of them around, but I am also too tired to do that level of vetting. I just want to automagically know this singular person who is like, “I will fix everything that needs fixing.” For me, vetting service people is an activity that ranks right up there with talking to customer service representatives and cleaning the litter box.

However, I am occasionally capable of small projects if I have help. For example, Dan and I recently installed new porch lights on the house. Here’s the front one. That’s a new mailbox too.

There’s still a ton of stuff to do though. The ultimate goal is to get the house in shape to sell while also making it more livable until we move. The timeline for all of this is virtually non-existent though. Sick people don’t make plans. Our bodies won’t let us do things most of the time. Plus the money thing is always a problem. If you know, you know.

I feel a not insignificant amount of pressure to get the house in good shape to list, despite everything being uncertain and knowing it’s not in our immediate future, just because houses are selling like toilet paper in a pandemic right now. One two doors down from us sold in about 48 hours for a decent price, and I can’t help but be terrified that the SELL NOW bubble is going to pop before we’re ready. I still have nightmares about dumping that shithole condo in Indianapolis. It. took. forEVER.


One really major thing that would be awesome to do is update our main bathroom. It’s all original fixtures, in terrible shape, and far from accessible. I manage, but not with any peace of mind. (Please don’t suggest grants for the disabled unless you have actually applied for one, been awarded the grant, and you are not a veteran of the armed forces. I have a better chance of finding an actual unicorn for sale at Walmart than having anything I need actually covered and I can tell you how I know.)

I’m starting to get grouchy now, so I’ll stop here and go message another oncologist about when chemo is supposed to happen.

Until later, friends.


How to help

Exercising Artsy Parts: Jesse Lane Art Workshop

Exercising Artsy Parts: Jesse Lane Art Workshop

Dan keeps calling me an artist, and I keep saying all I did was follow directions. Though I guess I did exercise my artsy parts.

But guess what?! I completed Jesse Lane’s Riptide online art class this weekend. I’ve posted some process photos on Twitter and Instagram if you haven’t seen them yet but want to. I’m particularly proud of myself for sticking with the real-time instruction, because class went from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Thankfully there were lots of breaks, including an hour-long one around lunchtime each day that helped me get through. In total I spent a lot more time participating in this class than the Zentangle one in March but it was easier on me because of the built-in downtime.

Jesse walked us through his process for drawing small sections of one of his pieces. Just these two little areas took up the entirety of both days. But I sit back and think to myself, “Whoa, I did that!” It’s a good feeling. Of course I’m also thinking about all the little things I wish I’d done instead. Some of it is nitpicky self-criticism, and some of it is just acknowledging where I can improve down the road.

This class was the big thing I was hoping to get done before starting chemo again, and now that I have, I feel a little bit better about the idea of doing Temodar again. Although—don’t get me wrong—I will never enthusiastically swallow those pills. Also, my doctors still haven’t called me about when, exactly, they want me to start. I know I should probably give someone a call and ask what gives, but words can’t express how not eager I am to do that at the moment.

If you’ve never done chemo before, it might help to think about how reluctant you’d be to schedule your own root canal…and then multiply that feeling by cancer to the infinity power.

But enough about that. I want to thank everyone who’s doing kind things for me at the moment. It makes a whole lot of heartache feel manageable. From Linda, who let me have her spot in this art class, to Liz, who sent me that set of Golden Girls Pop!s, I’m grateful for everyone who’s taken a second to help cheer me up.

That also applies to everyone supporting my fundraising on GoFundMe. I’m inching closer to reaching 2% of my goal (and my goal is huge, so even 2% feels like a lot). My tweet about the campaign has been shared 86 times! However horrible I feel dealing with this cancer crap, I feel a little less like I’m doing it all alone every time someone reaches out to say they’re rooting for me.

Others have asked about alternatives to GoFundMe because the site takes a small portion of donations in fees. That doesn’t feel excessive to me, because of the platform it provides but I do also have Paypal, Venmo, and CashApp. Here’s a list of all the ways you can financially contribute if you are so inclined:

Venmo: @EmilySuess
CashApp: $EmilySuess

Thank You for Being a Friend

Thank You for Being a Friend

Fun fact: I can sing the entire Golden Girls theme from start to finish. [Singing] Thank you for being a friend…

When Dad died at the end of March, I went to stay with my mom for about a week. Grief kept us wide awake at night and utterly exhausted. So we started watching reruns of The Golden Girls until we just couldn’t keep our eyes open a second longer. Some nights it worked, and some nights it didn’t. But Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and (especially) Sophia made us laugh when we desperately needed a little break from being sad.

When I went back home, I found out I could stream the show on Hulu, and I’ve been falling asleep to it every night since. It’s become something of a ritual. I’m almost scared to try sleeping without it. I know that’s a bit ridiculous, but sometimes you don’t pick the things that bring you comfort—the things that bring you comfort pick you.

I casually mentioned to Dan that it would be great if Funko Pop! made a Golden Girls set of figures, and he was like, “I’m pretty sure they do.” He sent me a couple of links the next day, and I mentioned on Twitter that it was a good thing he didn’t show them to me the night before when I had taken an edible and was more likely to spend money we didn’t have.

Next thing I know, a Twitter friend was asking for my address. “You deserve a happy,” she told me. And then a couple of days later, I was the proud owner of the Girls in their bowling best. Thanks, Liz!

Look. At. Them. I’ve long admired Funko Pop! figures, but I’ve never been a collector because: cancer. The excessively practical side of me was just like, “Emily, you do not need toys with giant heads. Even if they’re adorable caricatures of your favorite things. Even if they are wearing bowling shirts.

When I was young my parents were on a couples’ bowling league in our small town, and I used to love running around the bowling alley with the other kids, buying candy at the concessions counter, and watching the older kids play video games. There was a point for a little while that my dad was in so many leagues that he was at Posey Lanes four nights a week. When we went through his stuff in the basement, we even found a couple of kitschy plaques and trophies.

Anyway, bowling makes me think of my dad. The Golden Girls make me think of my mom. I guess that explains that.

Incidentally, my brother sent me the Deadpool Bob Ross Bobblehead Funko a while back, and it was my first and only full-sized Pop! until the Golden Girls arrived. (The keychain version came with the DVD copy of Deadpool 2. At least I think it was Deadpool 2. My memory can be hit or miss.)

I took him out of the box and filmed this short clip just so you all could enjoy the bobble too. It’s delightful!

That’s all I’ve got for you today. Just comforting stuff. I still haven’t heard any more from the doctors about starting Temodar again, but I kind of don’t want to call and ask where we stand on that. It gives me more time to prepare for things financially as well as get some stuff done around the house that needs tending to. If you’d like to help by contributing to my GoFundMe, I am grateful for your help. And if you have already donated or shared the link on social media, thank you for being a friend!

Thoughts from Treatment Limbo

Thoughts from Treatment Limbo

Today’s featured image is a picture of Boomer and me at my mom and dad’s during my first round of treatment in 2017.

It’s not quite 60 °F here, and there’s a gentle rain falling this morning. We avoided major storms last night, and considering how we fared during the storm seasons of 2019 and 2020, I’m very grateful. Although I know we’re just getting started this year…

Dan and I are in the middle of getting quotes to have our shutters and a little bit of trim work painted on the exterior of the house. We moved here in 2015 and have always needed to do the paint, but you know (or maybe you’ve just heard) how it goes with cancer in this country. We think medical bankruptcy is not just acceptable but ideal.

While Dan and I aren’t going to be moving any time too soon, we are 1.) prioritizing projects with resale of this house in mind, and 2.) being realistic about how long it will take us to get it ready — especially with treatment looming in the not too distant future. With treatments like chemo, you don’t know exactly what to expect. Sometimes the world just stops while we wait out the side effects.

It doesn’t bring me any pleasure to say this, but I made another GoFundMe last night. I just guesstimated what this round will cost and what further disability might look like for me as time goes on. I am on Medicare now because of disability and I anticipate chemo will put me squarely (roundly?) in the middle of the donut hole this year.

Of course, I know raising $100k from my friends and family is not likely. This is not my first medical fundraiser, and there’s a pandemic and all. But maybe people who look at the campaign will think of these costs next time they vote for someone who runs on maintaining the status quo — where people don’t deserve things like affordable cancer treatment. Maybe someone will look at that giant, scary number and think, “What if it was me?” Because it totally could be.

I was diagnosed at 36.

Anyway. On today’s agenda, I plan to do a load of laundry and then swatch some new colored pencils. My lovely Zentangle friend, Linda, gifted me an online art class that happens later this month. I used part of my Patreon funds for May and a couple of gift cards to get my first set of Prismacolor pencils. I might also hunt down another YouTube tutorial from TangledYogi333. She almost always colors her Zentangles with Prismacolors and I think it would be a nice exercise to get warmed up with.

I still haven’t done much planning for a new YouTube video on my channel, but I’m getting there. I need to organize my studio space first, which at this point will be a bit of an undertaking. I also have some ideas for Thank You card designs swirling in my head. I have a couple of those on my to-do list as well.

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