Zentangles and taxes.

I love shopping for books.photo-30  All kinds of books, but particularly those that promise to teach me something new in x number of simple steps. Those books jump off the shelves and into my hands as if they can see sucker written on my forehead.

The latest such book in my collection is all about zentangles. What’s a zentangle? I’m not sure I can explain it. All I can say for sure is that the word zen always appeals to me when I hear it or see it in print. I think I spend a lot of time lethargically seeking zen. The truth is that tangles better describes the way I live my life. So what can possibly go wrong if I put the two together? Hmmm.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines a tangle as a messy mass of things. That’s the definition I had in mind when I bought this latest how-to book. I’ve learned, however, that when speaking of zentangles, a tangle is a mass of things, but they’re actually quite neat; not messy at all. Hopefully, mine will be less messy after I’ve practiced more. The zentangle above is the second one I drew. The first was not worthy of publication. I’m not sure this one is either but it’s ever so much better than my first. I call it “The Accidental Booby.” I imagine you can see how it got that name. And yes, it really was an accident.

You may be wondering how zentangles and taxes managed to appear together in the title of this post. What could they possibly have in common? The answer is: probably nothing, except in my little corner of the world.

If you live in the US your tax day is April 15. Every year, hopefully a few weeks before the deadline, I start to fill out the questionnaire my CPA sends me and to be sure I have receipts, etc., to back up my answers.  I file all such papers in my tax folder throughout the year so I have everything in hand when the dreaded tax issue starts to loom like some Biblical scourge.

Let me tell you some things you may not know about me so you will better understand my dread. I intensely dislike dealing with numbers and/or money. I am much more comfortable with words and music and rainbows of color. Numbers make my eyes glaze over and my brain goes for a hike in the Andes if I have to deal with anything remotely mathematical for more than five minutes.

Do you see where I’m going with this? It’s late March. Time to get serious about filing my state and federal taxes. I’ve only recently started learning how to make a zentangle a day. (Actually, I haven’t yet finished one in a day.) I spread out all my tax information on the table and work on it as long as I can stick with it (about 30 minutes). I stand up, stretch, and go looking for zen. And you get the picture.

I’m happy to report that I had a very successful day. I finished the zentangle I had started. I organized receipts, did the necessary math for the tax preparer, and delivered my neat little package to his office so he could fill in all the blanks and get back to me in a few days with the bad news–how much I owe. Every year I puzzle over why I have to pay him when I’m the one who does most of the work. The answer, of course, is that I know his finished product will have all its i’s dotted and t’s crossed and I won’t have to worry about getting in trouble with Uncle Sam.

Someone should write a book about this. The title could be “Zen(tangles) and the Art of Tax Preparation.” The book pictured below is the source of my fledgling zentangle pursuits.photo-31







25 thoughts on “Zentangles and taxes.

  1. Hi Pat! This is what Peter (Berlioz) says about the finger (toe) shoes:
    “Those finger shoes give you the feeling of walking barefoot. They are especially good on grass and uncovered ground, but not so good on concrete.

    They were developed from the running sandals of the Tarahumara people of north-western Mexico and are described in the book “Born to Run”


    Those shoes are not cheap but the satisfaction they give is priceless.”


    • Thank you. I have that book. Since I live in the city, most of my walking is on pavement. Still, I’m thinking about trying the shoes. I go barefoot in the house. I might enjoy having the “toe” shoes for indoor wear.


  2. Please forgive me for being a stranger. You’re always so kind to stop by and see me. Truth is, and I choose not to write about it, but I’m still sparing with my hearing issues…trying to work, trying to just deal with life as a deaf person. Not easy. I’m grateful for writing and reading, and I do know how much you LOVE to read. We both are Ann Lamott fans and I’m sure have many other authors in common. I always pay taxes…Uncle Sam is a greedy old man, you’re last reader is right. Hope this finds you well and happy this Memorial Day 🙂


    • Hi Susannah. I’m sorry to hear about your continued ear problems. I haven’t had hearing problems but I have vision problems and I know how difficult it has been for me to keep up with blogging, both writing and reading. And responding to comments. I recently had eye surgery (a cornea transplant) on my right eye and will have the left one done in October. It’s a miraculous surgery. I wish there were a similar surgery for your ear problems.

      Speaking of Anne Lamott, I finally bought and read her latest book. I appreciate your recommendation. It’s one I will read over and over. Take care, my friend.


      • I’m so sorry to hear about your eye trouble. Bette Davis is right..old age ain’t for sissies. I’m learning this hands on. I’m so happy this procedure you had is so successful. And yes, Anne Lamott really helps. I reread her all the time, especially when I need a little spiritual comfort. Have you ever read Plan B Further Thoughts On Grace? It’s my favorite. The first story, Ham of God, will tickle you to no end. Thanks for writing to me,


  3. Thank you for a great post. Now you’ve hooked me on zentangles, a totally new word and idea for me.
    I’ll enjoy the zentagles and avoid talking about our Colorado taxes. And I especially won’t talk about the huge jump in my medical insurance. Nope…I’ll study zentangles…


  4. I like the idea behind the Zentangle as a form of creative expression, and a way to relax and just let it flow! The process would be a good stress reducer and at tax time, we need that! I’m glad you verbalized what I also think every year. We did all the work and we pay “you” how much? It’s nice to read your post today. Hope you’re doing well overall…apart from tax day! 🙂


    • Hi TWB. I’m doing well. Hope you are, too. Isn’t Zentangle just the coolest idea!? I love having a finished product, and if I’m lucky, I’m relaxed when I finish. Sometimes I have a little trouble letting things flow.


  5. I thought I was the only one who approached Tax Time like that. It’s not like we don’t have a heads-up a year before the time it’s due… or that we don’t have even a shoe box in which to throw the receipts and the donation list and the medical info and whatever we need in April that we don’t even think about until the following March. I had to mail my stuff to my tax guy this year–having moved away to another town last summer… had to pay the premium postage… had to go back to the PO some 2 days before everything had to be mailed in. No lines at the PO (smaller town, by far). and yes, i had to write a couple of checks–one for the Uncle, and one for the State people. And here it is May, and I had already forgotten all that until your post this morning…. And it reminds me that I promised myself that this year it will be different….. ;D


    • Hi Jan. I’m laughing as I read your comments. Sorry I brought up unpleasantness for you. I, too, swear every year that I will do better next time. Every year, I don’t.


  6. You describe perfectly my relation to numbers and maths, and my attitude towards taxes – and I love your zentangle. MUST get that book! Good to hear from you, Pat xx


    • Hi Uta. I find zentangles very soothing to do–when I relax and unclench my teeth. 🙂 I got a very small refund from US, but had to pay state taxes. North Carolina has a rather high income tax rate.


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