1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Hump Day Zentangle Challenge #32 – Best Laid Plans Edition

by Suzanne Fluhr on May 23, 2020 · 3 comments

colored mandalas

If you share my Boomeresque age demographic, you have learned, probably repeatedly, that the Scottish poet Robert Burns had it right when he wrote in his 1786 poem, To a Mouse, that:

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

This sentiment was echoed by Woody Allen some 200 years later when he said:

If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.

While we’ve all experienced our plans derailing no doubt multiple times during our lives, this time feels different because the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have people all over the world, simultaneously saying, “Now what?” as in “Now what do we do since our plans have gone so seriously awry?”

Alternative planning is difficult because there are so many unknowns, and even possibly the dreaded “unknown unknowns”. Does my job still exist? Will there be any children’s summer camp? If so, can we still afford to send the children there? Will they be returning to a brick and mortar school in September? What do we do about childcare if we are able to return to work outside the home, but the children are expected to do remote learning? We have 3 kids and one lap top computer. How are they all going to be able to “attend” their virtual classes simultaneously? Or, if you’re empty nesters like we are, when can we reschedule the trip to visit our son in Mexico City? At our high risk ages, should we even be contemplating getting on an airplane?

U.S. states and countries around the world are trying to figure out how to lift their Stay at Home orders so their economies can “safely” return to the new abnormal. Epidemiologists have determined that the majority of people who test positive for Covid-19 are asymptomatic, yet still capable of infecting another person.

In the U.S., the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended we wear face masks to cover our mouth and nose when in public as a measure to protect others. Somehow, even mask wearing has become a political issue in the U.S., with some Americans taking the position that being asked to wear a mask to protect others infringes on their Constitutional personal right to liberty. As an almost (but not quite all the way) recovered lawyer, I would frame the issue for the Supreme Court as: “Does a state’s responsibility to protect its citizens in the time of a major public health crisis outweigh an individual’s 1st amendment right to be an a$$hole?”

Meanwhile, I’m still not sure what the new abnormal will look like for me because of vertebral compression fractures that continue to cause pain and limit my mobility even within the confines of our 3 room apartment. Vertebral compression fractures should heal themselves within 2 to 3 months. Therefore, Mr. Excitement and I were hoping my back problems would resolve with the “tincture of time”. Unfortunately, it has been over 4 months since my back problems have essentially confined me to home.

After I have new imaging studies, we will be able to consider whether there are any medical procedures available to reduce my pain and mobility problems. I’m grateful my pain is largely relieved at rest in bed, but the hope is I’ll be able to attain meaningful pain relief sufficient to allow me to resume some version of a “normal” life.

Enough about the new abnormal and back pain. Fortunately, one activity that my back condition hasn’t halted is that I am still able to tangle even though most of my work of late is Zentangle™ Inspired Art rather than the creative meditative process of the true Zentangle method.

Hump Day Zentangle Challenge #32 – Mandalas (Zendalas)

In Sanskkrit, the word mandala actually means “circle”; however, in the Hindu religion, it is imbued with religious significance. For me and many other tanglers, it is a circle filled with all manner of tangles. For this week’s challenge, I’d like you to work on a mandala. It is possible to draw a circle on an official 3.5 x 3.5 inch tile and then use that as part of your string. It is also possible to purchase  “official Zendala” tiles already cut into circles. (Affiliate link). You can also purchase Zendala tiles with a string (affiliate link) design already pre-printed, leaving you to decide what tangles you use. I mostly use circles I draw with a compass. I then use a Helix Angle and Circle Maker (affiliate link) that is basically as a round protractor to mark off the size of even sections around the circle. This device also let’s you create circles within your original circle. I sometimes use it for this purpose although I often just resort again to my compass. 

To date, my most ambitious mandala project used Zentangle 3.5 x 3.5 tiles. In size it is 6 tiles by 7 tiles. I used only a black felt tip pen, a shading pencil, white shading chalk and Sakura gold and silver metallic gelly roll pens. (affiliate link)

Zentangle mandalas, Zentals

 I’m now working on another zendala mandala mosaic using 6 x 6 inch Strathmore Bristol vellum tiles that I pre-painted with watered down acrylic paint. It’s a work in progress:
colored mandalas

Finally, here’s a mandala I did in black and white on a 6×6 inch tile:

mandala in black and white

The border type tangles I used starting from the outside: phirst. The next one I made up, but I figure it must be a published tangle somewhere. (Can anyone provide that information?) Next in is one of my favorites, Sand Swirl, then the ever elegant Akoya, and Coil. The tangle in the middle square and the tangle outside the circle is Knightsbridge.

I hope you don’t dislike working with mandalas/zendalas. Admittedly, if you want even patterns, just preparing your string can probably demand too much of your brain to allow for the meditative aspect of the Zentangle method.

Share Your Work

Please share your responses to this week’s challenge with us in the Hump Day Zentangle Challenge Facebook Group and/or on your Instagram, Twitter or Flickr feeds. Use the hashtag #hdchallenge32 on your social media posts. If you’re not a member of the FB group, ask to join and I’ll be happy to add you. The more the merrier. Please also feel free to leave the URL to your blog or website if you post the challenges responses there.

Carpe Diem. Stay safe out there. 

You may share your work for this or any challenge at any time—even next week, next month, next year, ad infinitum. Participation in the challenges need not be linear in time.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin May 24, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Your Tangles continue to inspire. I’ll get there someday. Lots of time on my hands right now. I once saw a sign on a church announcement board that said, “Man plans and God laughs”. I thought it odd for a church to quote but in this context, it really makes sense. We’re all befuddled right now. I had plans to do many things that are now on hold. Schools are struggling with how they are going to set up classrooms and should children wear masks. I am a therapist in day cares. Children wash hands often enough in some but the toys will have to be washed daily and who knows if they should be disinfected. I am not surprised that people argue over the issue of masks. They are necessary but if our leader doesn’t wear one, what kind of role modeling is that? People wore masks during the 1918 flu pandemic. Businesses didn’t close however. Having closed everything for a while most probably saved lives and kept people from getting COVID-19. But the suffering of closed businesses and lack of money or the ability to get food for many is a lot to bear.


Suzanne Fluhr May 24, 2020 at 5:53 pm

It’s complicated. We’ll see what happens as we gradually reopen the economy.


Ken Dowell May 24, 2020 at 7:07 pm

Just sending best wishes that your back pain improves. I have a brother-in-law who had compression fractures in a couple vertebrae last year and they did in fact heal on their own, although more slowly than his doctor predicted. So hopefully you’ll have the same experience.


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