Saturday, 29 August 2015

Zentangles and Other Matters

If you want a good laugh at Shoshi’s expense, hop over to the Gutless Bag Lady blog (link at top of RH side bar) and see her glamorous new underwear lol! Now all she’s got to watch out for is that she doesn’t get knocked down by a bus.

I’ve got an exciting new project in progress, and as soon as I hear that it’s OK to do so, I shall be blogging about it.

Meantime, I have got my Zentangle kit out again, and have drawn a few more of the ATC-sized cards for my Zentangle album. I realise that I haven’t updated my Zentangles on my blog or on Flickr and I will need to go through them all to see exactly what is missing, but in the meantime here are some that I am pretty sure are not uploaded, and the ones I drew today.

Recent Zentangles 28-8-15

Kringel was one that I discovered online today, and which I know is going to be a new favourite border tangle. There are lots of variations, and it’s pretty easy to draw too.

Another new favourite is “That C Thing” (I love the name!) which I also discovered today – it’s basically “C” shapes with wiggles on them, and circles to fill in, and the whole thing looks like a joyous bubbling sea, hence my art work! This is a fun tangle and dead easy to draw.

The final new one from today is another really fun one – “Kitty” – again, dead easy – I did this card in a matter of a few minutes. I know Zentangles are not strictly speaking supposed to be representational but I couldn’t resist this one! The others are all ones I did some months ago or even as long ago as last year. I shall be uploading them as individual images once I get organised, and you’ll be able to see them more clearly.

It’s definitely more than high time I got back to tangling. I should have been doing it throughout my cancer journey, for its calming benefits and the lovely feeling of “being in the zone” but somehow it’s taken a back seat lately. It’s definitely something I can do on the recliner with the laptop open beside me for looking up new designs, and eventually I’ll get a whole lot of new and useful material for my album.

I’m definitely feeling better today after my last chemo session – this time (treatment #5) I’ve definitely been worse affected than before, and still can’t shift the horrible sour taste in my mouth. My friend Shaz says that pear drops are good for that, but I told her that would be just replacing one horrible taste with another!! I hate the things! Anyway, apart from that, it’s been the same old effects only more so – devastating fatigue, generally feeling terribly unwell (although not nauseous thank goodness – the meds take care of that), peripheral neuropathy – and this time I noticed a loss of sensation in my feet – and not being able to keep awake. Dreadful brainfog too.

I am going to tell them all this when I see the oncologist on Thursday of next week, and they are always particularly interested in the neuropathy because if you don’t watch out, it can become permanent. I’ve been told we’ve got a bit of leeway as far as the chemo dosage is concerned and they can still reduce it a bit more, so I’m going to ask for that. The increased steroid dose this time seems to have made no difference at all, and with the cumulative effect of the chemo, I’ve definitely been worse this time. At least I’ve now got a clear week to get some things done, and there’s a pile of stuff awaiting my attention in the studio – and I can’t wait to get stuck in!! After this last session being so horrible, and knowing that I’ve still got 3 more to go, I’m beginning to feel pretty frustrated now, because in each cycle there’s really only one week when I feel well enough to do anything. I have to keep reminding myself not to say “still got 3 to go” but instead, “I’ve only got 3 more to go!” which sounds a lot more positive. Words are so powerful, aren’t they. Spoken aloud, they can change one’s whole attitude.

One great thing, Beatrice, our older cat, who seems very sensitive to my chemo and won’t normally come near me, has been all over me these past 2 or 3 days and can’t get enough of me! Very flattering, especially when my hubby’s in the room because those 2 are joined at the heart and she usually runs to him, given the choice! It’s nice to be back in her good graces again, but not sure how long it will last after next Friday when I have chemo #6.

I’ve been busy putting stuff on my new laptop, and this evening had an extremely frustrating evening where nothing seemed to go right. I tried posting my first blog post from the new laptop and it wouldn’t publish, saying it could not connect with the remote server. I tried everything I could think of, and then did a google search for the problem, which came up with several suggestions, none of which seemed to work, but eventually, after trying one of these, and also re-downloading the latest version of Windows LiveWriter (the blog writing software that I use), and then discovering by chance in one of Windows Edge’s (IE replacement with Win10) deeper menus that “use proxy server” was checked, I unchecked it, and suddenly all is well – so I’m not entirely sure what I did to put it right!

I am delighted with the new laptop so far. It came with Win8, and as soon as I started setting it all up, I was asked if I wanted to upgrade to Win10, which I did, but didn’t need the installation file I’d saved on a memory stick from Microsoft for the free upgrade, because it all happened seamlessly as part of the set-up process, and I never even had to encounter the dreaded Win8 for even a second! I can’t tell a lot of difference between 10 and 7, except for a slight change in the start menu, and a cleaner, crisper looking interface which I really like. It seems to function in the same way (mostly!) and so far all my software is working OK without any hitches. It should run a lot more efficiently, and certainly, with the added power onboard, this laptop is staying remarkably cool and I don’t think I shall need the laptop cooler mat. It’s also very quiet, even when the fan is running.

When I first got going, I was aware that there was a pre-installed free subscription to a paid-for anti-virus program which came with HP, so I didn’t bother to install my free AVG anti-virus which I’ve used very satisfactorily for several years now. As soon as I got on the Internet, weird web pages started appearing without my say so, and I started getting some unusual pop-ups in my notification area, and before I knew it, I was absolutely swamped with malware, and spent many hours wrestling with this – as soon as I got rid of any of it, more started appearing! I felt as if I was under a sustained attack by locusts, or wrestling with a very large and bad-tempered octopus, until I thought “Blow this for a lark” and bunged AVG on asap, and after that I was able to purge the system of most of the rubbish, and with a bit of online help, delve deeper into Firefox and my control panel and uninstall the rest. Some of the Internet settings seem to have been upset – whether by this or because of some default settings (which gave rise to my Blogger problems this evening) I don’t know, but I think I’ve got it all sorted out at last! A slightly rocky journey, but we’re on the way now.

Rather than just dumping all my data onto the new laptop’s hard drive, I’m taking this opportunity for some serious spring (late summer?) cleaning and getting rid of a lot of old rubbish, converting a lot of photos from png format to jpg (which reduces the size to less than half) and organising my now considerable collection of photos and videos into a more rational system (there really wasn’t much of a system before!) so that I can actually find things now! It’s a long job and I’ve so far only scratched the surface, but this is an ongoing job that I can cope with when I’m dealing with chemo effects, once the most devastating stage is behind me in each cycle.

It’s a fun new toy, and is running a LOT faster than the old laptop which really is on its last legs now, with various bits of hardware starting to fail (e.g. the DVD drive). It’s many years old now, and was 2nd hand when I got it, so high time for a replacement. It’s still working, so I’ll probably keep it on as a spare, and for storage – unusually it has 2 hard drives and each is about 300 GB so some useful space there – one can never have enough HD space in my opinion! If I do decide to ditch it in the future, I shall extract the HDs and put them in caddies to use as external USB drives.

The new laptop has a 1TB hybrid SSD (split between a conventional spinning HD and the new Solid State HD) and 12 GB RAM so it’s working a lot faster than the old one. Considering that I spend a large portion of each day on the recliner, on the laptop, which is my lifeline to the world as a virtually house-bound person,  think this is a good investment that should keep me going for a good number of years!


  1. Oh dear what a palaver sorting stuff out on the new laptop. Glad you got it sorted now.
    I use AVG too (as probably most people do) and I now use the paid version.
    I love your zentangles. Especially the Kringels. I love doodling as you know. I've never done proper zentangle. I haven't got a book on it but I think it starts as little squares.
    It's interesting how animals are so sensitive. Is it their heightened sense of smell? I don't know.
    Only three to go! Yay! You're counting down and soon you'll feel a lot better and can slowly build up your strength again.

  2. Ooo, new laptop! I love having new toys... I bought an Android tablet with my Christmas present money - it's great! Hope you have managed to purge all the junk/malware that downloaded itself - it can be a real pain. I've had the same malware load itself on my laptop twice - both times after I downloaded a specific thing; I won't be using their website again! AVG is good - I was using that until we got BT internet, which comes with McAfee (also good).
    Enjoy your new laptop - and I hope you soon feel more sparky after the chemo. X


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