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).

Zentangle Diva Challenge #243 – Less is Enough Edition

by Suzanne Fluhr on November 10, 2015 · 52 comments

[If Zentangle is a foreign concept for you, start HERE.]

This week, the Diva challenged us to produce a composition leaving 60 to 70% of the tile surface blank. She knew this would be an especially challenging challenge because just as “nature abhors a vacuum“, tanglers get twitchy when confronted with blank space on a surface that is “tangleable”. Even table tops and walls are not necessarily safe from a determined tangler.

I followed the instructions, but IMHO, the tile I tangled for this challenge looks unfinished. Here’s my rather naked looking Mooka.


Mount Tremper, New York

The foliage in the Catskill Mountains was past its prime, but the rural area was still quite pleasing.

I’m later than usual posting my response to the Diva’s challenge because I spent four hours today driving home from the Emerson Resort and Spa in Mount Tremper, New York where I attended Women at Woodstock, a weekend retreat for women of a certain age. My sisters were hoping I would get in touch with my feelings. Instead, I came down with laryngitis and could barely talk. Hmm. I wonder if that was psychosomatic. I did, however, meet a nice group of interesting, supportive women and was a good listener—-I hope. I also got to visit with a peripatetic travel blogger friend, Veronica James, who was one of the speakers at the retreat.

One theme of the retreat was conquering fear. Just getting there required me to conquer my fear of solo longish distance driving. It had been many years since I set off on a 230 mile road trip with just me, myself and I. Our younger son didn’t help by suggesting he wasn’t sure if our 12 year old Camry could make it. I obsessively carefully plotted my route and set out, surrounded by strategically arranged snacks and beverages within easy reach so I wouldn’t have to stop for sustenance. I managed to get lost within 45 minutes of leaving home.

Philadelphia and environs is fairly notorious for absent road signs. Apparently, we took them down in 1776 to confuse the invading British and forgot to reinstall them or something. On the way home, I took two unintentional detours. (Dear New Jersey Turnpike: Why do you have signs for Camden (NJ) and Wilmington (Delaware) and omit Philadelphia, the largest city in the Tri-State area?”) I finally resorted to the Google maps GPS enabled app on my smart phone, so the nice disembodied voice lady could tell me where to turn.

I learned to drive in Philadelphia where the opportunity to zip along on a highway does not usually present itself. The “super” highway cutting through the city, the Schuylkill Expressway, is affectionately known as the Surekill Crawlway. Therefore, I was amazed appalled at the number of times I glanced at my speedometer to see that I was approaching 80 miles per hour (129 kms/hour)—and was in the main flow of traffic with some cars whizzing by. During my trip, the posted speeds were 55 and 65 miles per hour. Quite literally, nobody was observing those speed limits. I only saw one semi-concealed state police car. With everybody speeding, I guess it’s too difficult for the police to decide who they should pull over and ticket.

Laryngitis and head cold notwithstanding, it was an enjoyable weekend and I think I have my driving mojo back. 🙂

Are you a confident driver? Have you ever participated in a retreat? If so, did you enjoy it? If you did the Zentangle Diva’s challenge, was it hard to put the pen down and step away from the paper?

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike November 10, 2015 at 4:56 am

I’m sure sorry for your laryngitis and head cold you were suffering from, Suzanne. But, I’m very proud of you for making that trek on your own! That is wonderful 🙂


Linda November 10, 2015 at 8:09 am

Your Zentangle design is quite “deco” and fabulous looking and would make a great cocktail napkin!!


Suzanne Fluhr November 10, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Linda, now that you mention it, the beads are an art deco theme—-kind of. I went on an architectural tour of the art deco district in the South Beach part of Miami. If you are ever there, here’s some info about the tour:


Suzanne Fluhr November 10, 2015 at 8:10 am

Thanks, Mike. I guess driving is my travel anxiety.


Carmela November 10, 2015 at 11:17 am

Lovely heart and beautiful pearls.


Suzanne Fluhr November 10, 2015 at 10:53 pm

Thank you, Carmela. As you know from your own experience, this one was more difficult than it seems.


Donna Janke November 10, 2015 at 12:01 pm

I think your Zentangle looks finished, but I can understand the desire to keep going with the pen. “When is it finished?” is a rhetorical question for writers and artists. I love your driving story. I am a confident driver in some circumstances, but not used to freeways. It took some time to feel comfortable and confident on them in the greater Phoenix area when wintering there.


Suzanne Fluhr November 10, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Thank you, Donna. I was concentrating on my “art” in this post, but knowing when to put the metaphorical pen down when writing (keyboarding) is also a skill that must be cultivated. Getting off and on super highways is probably most of my problem. You know, “Exit in 1/4 mile” and you have to cross two lanes of traffic and cross the drivers trying to merge onto the road you’re exiting. They don’t lay them out that way when they can avoid it, but space is usually at a premium in the northeastern United States, so highway planners are constrained.


Laurel Regan November 10, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Well done on the solo traveling! And nice work on the minimalist tangle as well – this was a challenge I found very difficult (and it seems that I’m not alone!).


Maddy Resendes November 10, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Lost within 45 minutes!! What a wonderful homage to your father. He would have been proud. I love the renaming of the Schuylkill Expressway (Surekill Crawlway – never heard that!). And I love your minimalist tangle. Is the designed based on the dried weeds/foliage in the photo?? Was it supposed to be a heart or did it just come out that way? Glad you went to the retreat. I am sure you absorbed stuff you needed to hear and perhaps the larynigitis was a way to force more listening so you could take things in! Anyway, bravo all round!!!


Suzanne Fluhr November 11, 2015 at 12:51 am

It wouldn’t have taken Dad 45 minutes to get lost. I realize I come by my sense of direction genetically, but I also inherited my wanderlust from him, so it’s all good.


Maggibee November 10, 2015 at 2:06 pm

I just love American place names. Catskills, Mt Tremper, Schuylkill Expressway. There are far too many L’s in that last one, even the Welsh would stop before that. As for driving, I enjoy it in the UK but leave it to my husband when out of the country and I do the navigating. We still get lost but he says you’re not lost if there’s still fuel in the tank. And your tile is really pretty. You managed to keep it small and simple and it works really well.


Suzanne Fluhr November 10, 2015 at 4:45 pm

Both those place names are actually Dutch. In addition to the easy ones like, New York and New London, we have place names left over from Native American words and other immigrant groups, such as the Dutch, German and Welsh. I used to live in Bala Cynwyd (yep, that one is Welsh) and Mr. Excitement and my first apartment together was on Wissahickon Avenue—a place name borrowed from the Lenna Lenape tribe that lived there.


Anja November 10, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Beautiful tile!


Yorkshire Tortoise November 10, 2015 at 3:46 pm

I love the black beads in your tile, so realistic. I must try doing some red ones trailing off in size like yours on my Christmas envelopes.

I am quite happy driving by myself, I love listening to BBC Radio 4, which is a radio programme over here that broadcasts such things as plays, book reviews, Women’s Hour (which is particularly marvellous), Gardening, Comedy half hours, all sorts of news programmes etc.

Mobile phones have made driving by yourself so much safer. My first mobile phone was bought for that very reason and the battery was the size of two bricks and you carried it on a strap over your shoulder, but I kept it under my car seat for emergencies. Of course now we have mobile phones, cars have become more reliable and you don’t have as many break down emergencies.


Suzanne Fluhr November 11, 2015 at 2:02 am

When we lived in England when I was 15-16 (1969-1970), I used to listen to BBC Radio 1 (classical music?) and the BBC Home Service. At the time, the UK still had troops in weird places like Tobruk.


HeidiSue November 10, 2015 at 8:30 pm

You make me laugh, with getting lost 45 minutes into your road trip. That sounds like me, only I do it inside of city limits, a LOT. In fact, I’m very dependent on the Wasatch Mountains. They are by far the dominant geological feature in this area, and they are to the east of the city, so I always know which direction I’m going…unless there is rain or snow, or it’s dark…any time I can’t see the mountains, and if I’m in an unfamiliar area…faggedaboudit. I’ve gotten SO turned around that I didn’t know I was going west, directly the opposite of what I thought. I had a client who called me the U-turn queen hee hee.

As for your art…LOVE it. That’s a terrific mooka with uncorked elements, or even a little bit like cirquital, but those shiny black pearls are DA BOMB. Ooh, it’s scrumptious!


Suzanne Fluhr November 11, 2015 at 2:06 am

I’m glad i’m not the only one. As my sister reminded me above, I learned how to get lost from a master, our father. I liked the way they do directions in Hawaii—not north, south, east, west, but mauka (towards the mountains) and makai (towards the sea) because all the Hawaiian islands are surrounded by the sea with a mountainous (extinct or not so extinct) volcanoes.


Patti November 10, 2015 at 8:54 pm

We drove the I270 corridor a LOT over the summer months and while the speed limit is posted at 55 and 65, no one – and I mean no one (except me) adhered to the speed limit. We did see people pulled over so I quickly learned to use the cruise control. And quite frankly, I use my GPS phone lady all the time because living in a new place I’d be completely lost without it and as I started to read your post, I thought, doesn’t she have a GPS phone lady?! 😉


Suzanne Fluhr November 11, 2015 at 3:35 am

I chose a route that the GPS phone lady didn’t like at first which is why I wasn’t using her because I wanted to go MY way. Bad idea. I don’t know how to use the cruise control on our car and I’m afraid I’ll mix up the pedals if I don’t have my foot on them the way I’ve been accustomed to since I got my license at age 18 in 1972. And I’m afraid it will get stuck in cruise control. There is selective policing on highways. It’s usually the cars with out of state license plates that get pulled over because those people are the least likely to want to come back to oppose the citation in the local traffic court. And, sad to say, but in some places, there is still the “driving while black” issue.


Christiane K. November 11, 2015 at 2:58 am

Beautiful!! I like the tipple in Mooka!


Judy Freedman November 11, 2015 at 9:20 am

Wow, very impressive. I was thinking of going but didn’t want to drive that long by myself. Next time we’ll have to carpool. Was it a worthwhile weekend?


Suzanne Fluhr November 12, 2015 at 1:05 am

I’ll share more about the retreat when I see you in NYC for the New York Times Travel Show. Thanks for stopping by.


Sala November 11, 2015 at 10:05 am

Okay, some questions to answer. First, I want to say that I love the Zentangle posts even though I have absolutely no confidence in my own abilities with visual art. AND I completely agree with you about the frustrating lack of signs and clear directions on the highways in the Philadelphia area. You are so funny with this truth! (I mean, really Philly? Get it together!) I remember getting onto the New Jersey Turnpike by mistake once and crying because the signs pointed everywhere except to where I could get off and go back home. I wound up stopping in a small rural area and asking directions from a cowboy. This is true. I couldn’t decide if he was going to shoot me or help me, fortunately it was the latter. It is still a very with me nightmare –a confidence shaking experience. And this after gaining confidence from driving through the state of Washington from SEATAC airport in the rain at one o’clock in the morning. I drove through towns that had me expecting Ichabod Crane to jump out of the trees. I arrived safely at my destination in my rental car and decided, after that experience, that I could drive any damn where! That was before the New Jersey Turnpike. Seriously. As for retreats, I absolutely love the opportunity to breathe away from the daily crazy. As soon as my health and strength are optimal, I intend to attend a retreat again. I’m already looking for the right one. You’re the best, Suzanne. Thanks for the post.


Suzanne Fluhr November 12, 2015 at 12:57 am

Thanks for your encouragement. And I’m glad I’m not alone in my bewilderment at the roads around Philly AND the New Jersey Turnpike.


1 Art Lady Kate Tangles November 11, 2015 at 10:20 am

Love your tile and the stories even better! Congrats on your solo drive. Had to laugh about the lost part. I think that we have all been there at one time or another!


Suzanne Fluhr November 12, 2015 at 1:10 am

The best part of being lost is being found and sometimes that takes longer than other times. I mean this both literally and metaphorically. 😉


Jean Chaney November 11, 2015 at 11:17 am

I used to be terrified of driving to places unknown myself. The first time I actually drove on to the freeway by myself without terror, my then young boys spontaneously broke out in applause from the back seat! Feeling brave, I pushed myself and drove my two boys to the Grand Canyon only to get lost in detours in Flagstaff. I sat and cried and my boys knew I needed to be carted away. (We did finally find someone who set us straight or I’d still be there.)
Anyway, good for you! I do like your tile, especially the nice shadows for your pearls!


Suzanne Fluhr November 12, 2015 at 2:05 am

Thank you for sharing your driving stories. I can imagine the scene with your young sons applauding you from the back seat for successfully merging onto a highway. Priceless.


nan @ lbddiaries November 11, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Yes, I’m a confident driver… as long as I can call Alpha Hubby and ask, “Umm, where a I? I got off somewhere!!” Then I tell him what signs I see and he gets me out of it. That disembodied voice is diabolical – the last time she asked, “Are you sure you want to do this?” I said, “Sh’s out to get you, baby – she’s angry because you won’t listen to her!!” LOVED your Zentangle up there – I think it looks really neat.


Elaine J. Masters November 12, 2015 at 12:43 am

Good for you! I’ve done a few solo road trips in the last year. Not fun always, as you found out, but in the long run a sense of accomplishment that can’t be earned any other way. I’ve begun depending on that disembodied GPS lady a bit too much!


Suzanne Fluhr November 12, 2015 at 1:20 am

I remember my first Garmin GPS which used downloaded, and therefore, sometimes out of date maps. All I can say is “Thank G-d for the disembodied GPS lady!”


Annemarie November 12, 2015 at 2:31 am

‘Conquering fear’; I would have liked to attend that retreat, because I do know some fears. I am one of the few without a drivers licence, just ride a bicycle. Be proud of what you did, Suzanne!
I like your Mooka tile and hope you feel better by now.


Ilse Lukken November 12, 2015 at 3:58 am

Beautiful Diva tile!


Ulrike B November 12, 2015 at 4:09 am

it’s so pretty


Jacqueline Gum November 12, 2015 at 6:27 am

First, I love the tangle. There is something really beautiful about the simplicity. Second, the laryngitis is suspect:) Laugh! I mean the cause of course. Only hope you didn’t feel awful. I drove a great deal in my career and still do. But I can appreciate how that might be a bit daunting if you aren’t used to it. So big kudos for that!


Suzanne Fluhr November 12, 2015 at 9:02 pm

If it were just laryngitis, I would definitely need a few therapy sessions to determine if it was psychosomatic. However, since I also had a wicked cough and head cold, I’m giving myself a pass. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) I love to go places, so I’d love to learn to love long distance driving.


Kristin Henning November 12, 2015 at 10:38 am

I like the combo Zentangle/travel post, and agree with Donna, knowing when to stop is in itself an art. Carry this over to driving, too. Once I’m going (and I love driving, on my own or otherwise) I practically need to be ordered or running on empty to pull over.


Suzanne Fluhr November 12, 2015 at 9:07 pm

I’m glad you’re not appalled at the melding of travel and Zentangle (or is it vice versa). I don’t think I’ll ever be the one begging to drive for just one more hour—or half hour—or 15 minutes. When our boys were little, they weren’t the ones asking if we were almost there. It was their mother.


cstocks/1xeritas November 12, 2015 at 11:36 am

First, I have to say I like your minimalist challenge tile; the little corner action helps to maintain structure and contain the enough-ness. Second, I sure do hope you’re feeling better. Third, your take on driving in the area is hysterical. We were just in Philly last month and the lack of signage is disarming! I love to drive and have logged plenty of miles solo, in pairs, family vacations with more luggage and animals than are fit to fit into any vehicle and cross-country treks. We are veterans of many a 10 national parks in 10 days vacations, or thereabouts.
I’m a third-generation Philadelphian and Gil (a New Jersey native) and I were cursing each other and the roads for being nearly impossible to negotiate. And the rest was under construction. We did get to LBI to clear our collective minds and that really helped. We are glad to be back in Arizona where we “get” the traffic patterns.
Have a brilliant day! Cheryl


Billie Frank November 12, 2015 at 12:51 pm

While I’m not a tangler- and like you Mooka- I really related to the post. I used to think nothing about getting into the car and driving for a day. Now I find it very challenging. I’ve also lost my city highway traffic mojo which I had to get back a few weeks ago driving solo in Phoenix. And the universe had a sense of humor- I got to deal with a back-up due to an accident and torrential rain for a bit. Re: Mt. Tremper- years ago I worked for the Woodstock telephone answering service- before answering machines were invented. Mt. Tremper Plumbing was a client. One day I misread the label on the PBX board and answered “Mr Tremper Plumbing.” My husband happened to be at my side and never let me hear the end of it. For decades every time we drive through Mt. Tremper he’s day, “Oh, Mr. Tremper.” Fitting memory for #ThrowhbackThursday.


Suzanne Fluhr November 13, 2015 at 12:44 am

You mean I actually know someone who has heard of Mt. Tremper, New York? You’ve lived in some pretty diverse settings during your life.

The only thing I hate worse than driving in the rain is driving in the rain at night. Hmm. Let me add driving in snow and ice day or night. That’s right up there in the hate column too.


Roz Warren November 13, 2015 at 8:02 pm

I give you credit for all that solo driving. In my youth, as a Detroiter, I thought nothing of hopping in the car and driving to Chicago, a mere 5 hours away. Now I don’t even drive downtown. Are you planning on posting more about the spa? I’m always eager to learn about good new spas.


Suzanne Fluhr November 14, 2015 at 1:38 pm

I didn’t use the spa facilities. This may sound weird, but the idea of going to a spa for me is right up there with going to the dentist for a root canal procedure. (I’m exaggerating, but only a little).


Devin November 14, 2015 at 8:17 pm

NJ Turnpike: FEH.

Your tile–lovely.


LezliB November 15, 2015 at 2:49 am

I’m so glad that I’m not the only one that gets lost out there in the big, wide world. My problem is that I live within 3 blocks of the “downtown” area and although I can find my way around most places, I absolutely CANNOT find my way around in the center of town. I have come to the conclusion that it’s because there are too many little ‘half-streets’ in the center of town. I live in Salt Lake City, where everything was originally set out in beautifully numbered street starting at the center of town and going N, S, E, and W of the LDS Temple so nobody got lost. But as far as driving goes, I could drive all day, forever, if I had the funds to do it…lol. But enough about that, I really like what you did with your minimalist tile this week. The Black Pearls add a lot to your Mooka and it doesn’t look lonely to me. Nicely done!


Suzanne Fluhr November 16, 2015 at 3:59 am

Philly has a little bit of the same problem. William Penn laid out a very nice grid of streets—but now most of them are one way and there are these little alley streets here and there. However, for walking, it’s still great.


Steve November 15, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Way to go! Diving without a co-pilot on superhighways without a c-pilot is tough.


alison abbott November 15, 2015 at 6:40 pm

When is it finished? The never-ending question for the artist and I think on of the hardest to answer. Your Zentangle looks wonderfully simple to me and finished. Driving sounds a bit like my Irish experience, which I know you also are very familiar with….


Jennifer Sparrow November 15, 2015 at 10:52 pm

Oh, yes. Travel anxiety is not unknown to me! I conquered mine by driving to Providence from NC for the CZT seminar last summer, in the pouring rain! I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one that has trouble navigating Philly. That was the worst part of my trip, too!


Suzanne Fluhr November 16, 2015 at 4:01 am

I wimped out and flew to Providence from Philly. I-95 is a mess around Philly and some of the cities north of here. They just tried to cobble together a bunch of roads and call it I-95, but things don’t always exactly meet up and they didn’t do a very good job with the signs. I-95—in the rain—shudder.


Melissa November 16, 2015 at 5:14 am

I absolutely love the black pearls (if that’s the right name) on your tile. They really look 3D. I thought many of tiles from this challenge look like borders – begging for some thought or verse to be written in the 60-70% white space.


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