Let That Shit Go

Let That Shit Go

When I finally rid myself of my ex-husband (“Rodney” if you’re a WYGB fan) it’s because I let that shit go. I accepted that he would never admit he was wrong, that I would never recoup the attorney fees it took to get his ass out of my house, and that he would continue to lie about me being a “deadbeat” to anyone who would listen.

His bullshit didn’t matter, any of it. Because what he saw as the truth was so easily disproven. His lies were meant to protect his ego. And though they caused real harm to people in his orbit, the collateral damage would never mean more to him than his own opinion of himself. Eventually I accepted that the truth didn’t require Rodney’s approval, and I just let go.

But if 12 people had unanimously agreed on the record thirty-four times that I was right about Rodney? I wouldn’t have hated it.

With the latest verdict in a Trump trial just a few hours old, there are already people hedging. Cautioning others to stifle their joy. Doubting whether or not Trump will go to jail. But if meditation has taught me anything, it’s taught me to be fully present in THIS moment. Right now.

I’m not gloating, exactly. But it’s a hell of a comfort knowing even people who sometimes get news from FOX are capable of acknowledging the truth under pressure.

Also? Truth on the record does more for me, personally, than whatever sentencing awaits. Turning the light on Trump’s scattering cockroaches is Trump’s private hell. You can tell by how vehemently he disparages everyone who flips the switch to ON.

You can also compare Trump to your own Rodney, if you’ve ever dealt with one.

I once said that Rodney was Trump with less money and political clout. Nothing I’ve seen to date has given me a reason to change my estimation. They’re liars with the frailest egos and the feeblest self-awareness.

Anyway, if you’re invested in this outcome, and you likely are if you read my blog, know that your racist uncle isn’t mad because he thinks Trump didn’t commit a crime. (Most of the ones he committed this century have been recorded.) Your uncle’s mad because he thinks Trump should be allowed to commit crimes.

My advice: I know it’s disturbingly hard to watch villains evade justice, but if you let that part of this MAGA saga go, you can more fully appreciate the present moment. It’s a big deal, what’s happened. It’s solidarity and validation not everyone lives to see. Maybe don’t let that shit go.

Do Foxes Shed? And Other Randomness.

Do Foxes Shed? And Other Randomness.

You know, if we lived in a just society, Space Dunk Oreos wouldn’t be Limited Edition. They’d be available year round, and every time I ran out someone from Nabisco would show up at my door with a fresh package.

But sometimes things suck.

And sometimes they don’t. I was invited to do a review for CBD stuff by the marketers for a famously high comedic duo. And though I know they are reaching out to lots of people and I am not special, I feel special. The nostalgia, you guys.

It makes me feel like all this website SEO stuff is going to maybe help me pay a medical bill one day.

Oh, by the way, I had my routine 6-month brain MRI yesterday morning. And then I have a CT to monitor my wonky lymph nodes in the middle of June. Still no official appointment for the rheumatologist, but that’s out there too. Until I make more money on this website, I need your help sharing my GoFundMe.

Go here.

Share a link on your social media.

Tell people you know I’m a real person with brain cancer and not a scammer.

As long as we’re talking medical stuff: Dan’s insurance is a nightmare I’m too tired to discuss in detail. But if I had energy, I’d want to scream at the government to stop farting around with poor people’s Medicaid. It makes everything so needlessly complicated. If you’d rather us not get healthcare, commit to it. Stop jerking us around on the yo-yo and leaving us to wonder if he’s covered or not. It’s too bleeping stressful.

Mom had an MRI for her knee. Turns out she tore her ACL when she fell. She and her doctor have decided to give it some time and see if it heals on its own before jumping into surgery. So, TL;DR she’s doing okay, but under strict orders from basically everyone to be very careful.

Lastly, I want to share a picture of our neighborhood fox Dan snapped with his phone. I googled “Do foxes shed?” The answer is yes. They look sickly and malnourished when they shed. (I mean, it’s not like they can go to the groomer’s for a blowout when it’s warm outside.) It’s like when your healthy cat or dog has wet fur, apparently. They look emaciated, but they’re fine.

Update: He’s made himself right at home.

Easy Art: Zentangle Patterns for Everyone

Easy Art: Zentangle Patterns for Everyone

Easy art Zentangle patterns are abundant. In addition to the many original patterns taught by Zentangle Inc., CZTs and enthusiasts all over the world have created and named their own easy-to-draw Tangles.

Zentangle is easy to learn

Zentangle patterns are repetitive. You can fill a defined space on a page—or an entire page—with a single design if you want. And every time you recreate a pattern, you committ it to memory. It bears your signature style and is identifiably yours even before you sign it.

Learning to Zentangle is empowering

In Zentangle, as in all art, you decide what you want to make. The patterns start and stop wherever you want them too. You can plan your composition, randomly select your patterns, or draw whatever flows from your pen.

With no right way to draw, no wrong way to draw, and no mistakes, you create what brings you the most enjoyment. The power to create is yours.

Bijou Tile Zentangle Pattern Msst
Zentangle Inc. Pattern Msst
Bijou Tile Zentangle Pattern Printemps
Zentangle Inc. Pattern Printemps
Bijou Tile Zentangle Pattern Crescent Moon
Zentangle Inc. Pattern Crescent Moon

Start with the simplest patterns

I always recommend starting with a few of the original patterns from HQ. If you’re looking to make some easy art, Zentangle patterns like Msst, Printemps, and Crescent Moon are fun to draw and shade.

You’ll find tutorials for these and other patterns in my 9 Easy Zentangle Patterns for Beginners video featuring Zentangle originals.

For more videos in this series, see 9 Easy Zentangle Patterns for Beginners.

Easy Zentangle Meditative Art Postcard

Easy Zentangle Meditative Art Postcard

Originally published January 2020

It feels amazing to finally have posted the video for this meditative art postcard to my YouTube channel today. Bonus: I am making progress toward one of my 2020 goals!

The last time I posted a Zentangle video was April 2019—nine months ago. There are a handful of reasons why, but they can all essentially be reduced to a single source: brain cancer. Posting a new video is like throat-punching cancer.

Or, you know, something.

About This Zentangle

The meditative art was created for a new Patreon subscriber, and inspiration for it came from the official Zentangle channel on YouTube. I encountered the 3D-like spiral design on their Project Pack 07, Day 03 lesson. They used it with several other patterns, but I liked it so much I wanted to fill an entire postcard with it.

Getting this video recorded, edited, and uploaded to YouTube was a week-long struggle. I’m editing on a different computer now, and although I’m using the same phone to record footage, I had to factory reset it. So many tools and settings just—POOF!—gone.

But, easy or not, it always feels good to share another video with the world. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it inspires you create some Zen doodles of your own.

If you make Zentangle art too, please say so in the comments and let me know where I can follow you on YouTube or Instagram or wherever!

Materials

The following materials list includes affiliate links. If you use them, I might get a few cents. Your support helps keep this website (and me) going.

Blank Kraft Postcards

Arteza Watercolor Pencils in White and Dark Chocolate

Gelly Roll 08 in White

Pigma Micron 01, 05, and Graphic 1 in Sepia

Tortillon and Zentangle Graphite Pencil

Vitamin D Insufficiency

Vitamin D Insufficiency

To absolutely no one’s surprise, I’m running on insufficient amounts of vitamin D again. I happened to ask my oncologist if he could order the blood test last time I was in. It was on my list of things to do for my primary doctor, but I’ve been kind of busy being sick.

I guess you know it’s bad because I don’t feel well enough to go to doctor appointments.

Anyway, I have reinstalled the DMinder app on my phone to help me manage my supplements and sunshine. I was doing so well a few years ago. In the summer of 2021, I was up in the 70s, but I have fallen below 30 again. It sucks because I am photosensitive. (I thought this was because of medications, but now maybe something autoimmune is complicating things too.)

My articulating arm that holds my phone while I type broke this week. I got a new one, but it’s too hard to move or I’m too weak or both, so I might update less frequently. I’ve been contorting to make this one work for me, but I think it’s part of the reason my neck and shoulders hurt so much. I’ll get the non-matchy kind again, but it’ll have to wait until next month’s SSDI.

All of that to explain why this blog might be quieter than usual.

While I’m here, might as well post some birds!

The meadowlark might not be for real. I didn’t see it, and those damn starlings and their mimicry. Dan is not really into the photography thing right now, and he’s the only one in this house that can walk without a rollator, so he’s got his hands (and feet) full right now.

To end on a happier note, that Eastern Wood Pewee is one of the cutest things I have ever seen.

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Easy to Draw Zentangles

Easy to Draw Zentangles

It’s easy to draw Zentangles. And there are so many patterns to try. In addition to HQ’s original patterns, CZTs around the world have created beautiful patterns too.

Zentangles are easy to draw

Zentangle patterns are repetitive and meditative, meaning it doesn’t take years of practice to start reaping the benefits. Each time you draw a pattern, you add it to your repertoire. Like making words from letters, you can make gorgeous art one pen stroke at a time.

Zentangling is empowering

With Zentangle, you decide what to draw. The patterns start and stop wherever you want them too or wherever your string takes you. You decide whether to plan a composition, randomly draw patterns from a hat, or let your hand draw intuitively.

There’s no right way to draw, and no wrong way to draw. And because there are no mistakes, you have the opportunity to create what brings you joy. The power is all yours.

Bijou Tile Zentangle Pattern Floral Waves
Floral Waves by Svetlana Krasnobay
Bijou Tile Zentangle Pattern Pineple
Pineple by Mei Hua Teng, CZT
Bijou Tile Zentangle Pattern Heartlock
Heartlock by Candace Mok

Start with the patterns you like

Sometimes hobbies just come more naturally when you enjoy them. Like sports and exercise, you probably won’t keep at anything long if you don’t like it. Some of my early favorites—like Floral Waves, Pineple, and Heartlock—felt easy to draw because they were created with simplicity in mind, but they have an intricate aesthetic when they’re complete. You might think they’re too difficult to learn at first glance.

You’ll find tutorials for these three Zentangles and more than 50 others in my 9 Easy Zentangle Patterns for Beginners playlist. (Patterns are curated by theme into groups of 9 tangles for each video.)

For more patterns, see the ABCs of Zentangle.

Too Tired for Hope

Too Tired for Hope

I didn’t sleep well last night. Yes, again. I was overthinking the whole lupus-rheumatology thing, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t. So it’s back to moving the compulsive thoughts to the frontal cortex. I’m not feeling anxious, really. Just uselessly spinning the cogs, because I can’t do anything else.

On one hand, I’m tired of wondering what’s wrong, bitter about needing to. And on the other hand, I can barely use a fork because it’s too heavy, and wouldn’t it be nice to know why? Maybe even treat it?

I vacillate between letting myself hope for something better and believing the only thing I can trust is that medical pursuits are colossal wastes of time for me. All this time I should be living while the tumor isn’t growing, and instead I’m stuck in bed. Saving all my energy for getting to the toilet in time.

It’s depressing. And not just a little bit.

I made a document on my phone of all the symptoms I can think of, trying not to be dismissive of anything. If it’s caused by the brain tumor or a long-term side effect of chemo, I need to let the doctors say so. Maybe I’m ignoring something telling, writing it off as insignificant because I don’t know what’s what anymore.

The positive ANA test does point to something. Lupus or Sjogren’s Syndrome or Myasthenia Gravis. But I considered all these things before, years ago. And what showed up was a brain tumor.

When I first met my primary doctor here, she asked me if there was “anything else” after we went over my diagnoses. “Not that that isn’t quite enough,” she added. We laughed, because what else are you going to do?

I’m too tired for hope today. Someone else can do it instead.

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4 New Appointments

4 New Appointments

I started the day with one appointment and ended the day with four new appointments between now and early July.

My oncologist asked if there was any particular reason I didn’t do my infectious disease and rheumatology appointments. I explained that I was too tired, there were too many things going on, and I needed a break.

He understood but encouraged me to see the rheumatologist because of my positive speckled ANA results, and then he mentioned some soft tissue shenanigans and wondered about lupus.

Man, I am not Googling that shit again.

I asked the doctor if there was any rheumatologist he could refer me to in Illinois. I knew the answer. Dan’s been trying to get one for his psoriatic arthritis for a hot minute without luck. But I had to verify.

(For those who haven’t heard: if you’re pregnant in Missouri you can’t get a divorce even if your spouse is abusive. And that’s not even the half of it. Missouri is bass ackwards, and I hate the idea of my money funding that fuckery.)

“Should I send the referral? Are you OK with seeing one in Missouri?”

He held a finger over the mouse, waiting for my answer before he clicked.

“I guess,” I said. “I don’t really want to, but I guess I need to.”

So it’s, MRI, CT, rheumatology and oncology in the next 7 weeks. I’m not sure how that sounds to the able-bodied. But to me it sounds like pure hell. Heat, car rides, labs, tests, insurance, doctors. Ugh.

Book Review: One Zentangle a Day

Book Review: One Zentangle a Day

In 2018, I began my doodle art journey with the book One Zentangle a Day by artist Beckah Krahula. I’d seen some videos here and there of people turning meditative patterns into gorgeous art, and I thought to myself it looked like fun—drawing for the pure joy of it. Maybe, I thought, I could learn to Zentangle too.

Enamored with the oddly satisfying doodle art videos I’d watched on YouTube after my adjuvant cancer treatments, I decided to record my daily lessons along the way. I tried new patterns and then put them together. The results were not great at first. As I learned and improved, I realized I was also creating a really thorough review of the book.

So, if after this written review of One Zentangle a Day, you’re still undecided, there are 42 more videos on my YouTube channel to help you.

Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Price

$10.49* (Amazon)

Pros

One Zentangle a Day is great for self-paced learning. The lessons are easy to complete and leave you with a sense of accomplishment each day. Explanations are detailed without being cumbersome, and the examples for using the patterns to create your own art are inspiring.

  • Structured daily lessons
  • Detailed text accompanying illustrations
  • More than 50 patterns
  • Step-by-step drawing instructions
  • Inspiring examples

Cons

I might be slightly biased, because it was my first foray into the world of Zentangle, but it seems to me this book has everything. Well, except the pens and paper you need to get started with Zentangle doodle art.

  • It’s square and doesn’t fit nicely on my bookshelf

Videos

If you don’t mind spoilers, watch the videos in my One Zentangle a Day YouTube playlist. You’ll get a brief glimpse at some of the pages, and a chance to see how I approached the 6-week course.

Bottom line: my review of One Zentangle a Day is glowing, and I highly recommend it. Not only is it a fun way to learn to Zentangle, but it’s a great reference for when you need to go back to a pattern or want some ideas for creating your own Zentangle-inspired art.

Here are some of the Zentangles I created while following the lessons in One Zentangle a Day.

I plan to continue doing Zentangle book reviews as I have time and money. If there’s a book you’d like to see me prioritize, you can leave a comment with your suggestion or gift a book from my wishlist.

* At time of post publishing.

This post contains affiliate links.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in my Toothpaste

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in my Toothpaste

I’ll get to the sodium lauryl sulfate in my toothpaste in a sec. But first! Yesterday was definitely a day. Mom landed in the ER. (She is okay, but in pain). I got another rejection letter from a literary agent. And I broke my website.

Mom was trying to load some old patio chairs into her Jeep to take to the ReStore in Collinsville, but they didn’t load easily. She fell, putting a pretty substantial gash in her ring finger and giving her a torn meniscus.

The ER was hopping yesterday too, so she was at the hospital for like 6.5 hours, during which time I pretty much felt like a useless eater*. They patched her up but left her with her OTC acetaminophen and ibuprofen for pain. (That’s a rant for another day.) She’s fine, but I wish she was better.

If there’s good news here, I guess it’s that I have no shortage of mobility devices to lend her and my ADA walk-in shower will be pretty useful too.

While that was going on, I got a very kind rejection letter for Who You Gonna Believe. I don’t know if the agent’s assistant said the sample was charming (or that it had its charms—can’t remember the exact wording now) because I have a brain tumor or because it really did have a little something.

But once again I find myself awash in apathy about traditionally publishing WYGB and maybe that’s a sign? The more I think about it, the more I think I should definitely be excited about the idea of finding an agent, and I’m just not.

The rejection letter drove this home for me when I read a line that said—and I’m paraphrasing—we’re just not that into it and we’re going to pass because you deserve an agent that’s obsessed.

Hit me me like a ton of bricks, it did. I should be more excited. Otherwise what’s the point, right?

Which brings me to my website blunder. I read somewhere that my permalink structure wasn’t the greatest for search rankings. There are dates taking up space before the words in the URLs, and that’s not ideal. Not awful, but not ideal. So despite a warning in my settings that said “you should almost never do this” I changed my permalink structure for a few minutes and wrecked everything.

It’s better now that I have changed the setting back, but I’m still finding random messed up links, even after clearing my browser and site cache. I’m sure that will set me back a little bit in my quest to monetize the site. Oh well. That’s what I get for letting all those “you got this” remarks during treatment go to my head.

I might as well update you on the toothpaste saga since I’m here. Someone commented on my last post that the culprit could be the sodium lauryl sulfate in the toothpaste. Well, that’s easy enough to check. Mom uses a toothpaste without it, so I can do a science myself without buying anything new.

My mouth and tongue inflammation are down, but my lymph node hasn’t changed much. Overall, I’m breathing easier, feeling less fatigued, and sleeping better. I’ll keep going and see what happens.

Turns out SLS is in everything though. So if I need to pursue this further, it’ll mean changing more than my toothpaste. Cancer and its treatment break everything. I’m so not amused.

* Feeling like one sometimes is normal. Believing myself to be one is incorrect.

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