Green Tape

Jeff was a crafty fellow.

Not that you could ever tell that by looking at him. In fact, if you didn’t know him well, you’d probably never even suspect; latch hooking, beading, Christmas Ornaments.

He loved crafts, and was talented, too. I have a Dream Catcher Jeff fashioned from a kit, adding his own touches of shells and beads.  It’s hung in every place I’ve called home on my own since 2006.

Among the other treasures I’ve carried with me and moved 4 times, is the wedding one.

Like so many other “it’s so easy,” projects that really seem that way in print, it was a little more complicated and a little more time consuming than we had imagined.  We worked on this feat of engineering together.

We started on a Saturday afternoon, which turned into an evening. After 5 hours, I wanted to abandon the idea . “We’re never going to get this,” I pouted showing him another limp, feeble and ugly attempt.

“Look,” he grinned, proudly holding up the one he had just finished. “We’ve almost got it!”

I admit it looked way better than any of the ones I had attempted, and considering he was waving it around a bit, it held together way better than the dozen or so attempts.

I agreed to give it one more try, this time, we split the pieces up. I did my assigned part, and Jeff did his. And just like that, we had one that looked like it was supposed to and didn’t fall apart when it was put down and lifted back up.

We spent hours lazily multitasking. Doing a few here and there, or parked on the couch watching NASCAR or American Idol or Antiques Roadshow or This Old House, working for an hour or so, or until our fingers were sore.

I had the first 3 steps. The 4th step took two of us working together. Jeff was the finisher. Wrapping each stem in green floral tape required the most patience and the most finger-work.

And, yes, I still have one, and, yes, that’s it pictured below.

The kisses are close to petrified, and the cellophane is leaving little trails of disintegration dust behind… but it’s still a treasure to me.

Quote for the Week:

2016 06 07 Maybe we didn’t need to split the parts jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Prob a Better Way: https://www.hersheys.com/celebrate/valentines/craftdetail.aspx?id=6

Dude Craft: http://www.dudecraft.com/  Jeff would have loved this, and we’d probably own a 3-D printer by now…

Knitting Saves a Man’s Life; https://www.yahoo.com/makers/will-knit-for-food-crafting-literally-saves-123155753715.html

Paths, Altered

Here’s what I’ve been leading up to: I spend a lot of time looking down.

For the past few wonderfully warm months, it’s been at sidewalks and I’ve been mostly noticing this.

It hasn’t exactly been three years in coming. The first year was the struggle year. I fought to get out there. I fought to keep moving, keep challenging. Eventually, I noticed. Flowers, trees, blue skies, an occasional name scrawled in cement, a lot of cracks, uneven and uninteresting surfaces.

The second year, I pushed some more; booked longer jaunts, explored new neighborhoods, occasionally stopping to take pictures; fascinated by flowers, trees, blue skies, shadows, fences, a lot of cracks and uneven and now interesting surfaces. Sun glare left me snapping a lot of blind cellphone shots. Always, later, enjoying both the fun and frustration of reviewing the results, because even if what I meant to capture wasn’t the subject, sometimes something cooler came out of it.

As autumn came around, I searched for card-worthy photo-opportunities hoping to find the one sunset-hued tree-lined street or that one huge majestic oak. Looking down lead to great discoveries; a perfect leaf brilliant against grey dappled paths, an impressive impression pressed into wet cement likely by a hard-driving rain, piles piled up on lawns or swept into the street, hugging curbs in groups of brown haphazardly flecked with near-hidden yellows and oranges, reds and variegated prematurely released greens.

This year, traveling the same paths, everyday has taken over.  Embossed concrete company names and dates, chalk art, paint art, cat feet, dog feet, bird feet, squirrel and chipmunk and raccoon prints, and shoe stamps. There were way more people-were-here foot statements than previously noted. I was surprised by how many. Really.

Attributed to inconsiderate via abuse, patterned imprints in repeat and array, made me wonder.

Could there really be that many destructively intent sidewalk users? So many egotistically minded semi-eternal foot-printers? So many post-Kilroy era jokers laughingly adding “I Was Here” footnotes?

A slight step-back from the shadow I cast and a minute of reexamination made me think again. Maybe that’s not it at all.

Maybe there are kinder, equally plausible explanations for this side-walked trample.

Runners, confident, in the zone, might move eight full steps into the wet before they realized it. (Slightly jealous of this notion.)

Walkers, missing clues might misjudge liquidity levels. (Perhaps, if I wasn’t wearing my glasses…)

Bus stop standers waiting for buses or trying to sprint-step step-around navigate. (Glad, my commute hasn’t come to that, yet…)

Whatever the reason, whoever you are, accidentally or on-purpose, you’ve given me pause for thought, photographic memories, and left an impression now sparked with creativity.

It’s been an interesting, observational summer. Looking forward to walking an equally inspiring fall.

Quote for the Week:

2015 08 18 shadows on the sidewalks jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Was Here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilroy_was_here

Walk in the Rain: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/30/artist-sidewalk-art-appears-only-when-wet_n_6957470.html

Cure This: http://www.engr.psu.edu/ce/courses/ce584/concrete/library/construction/curing/curing.html

To Which I Say

It’s like this:

A friend stops by to ask what has happened the last two weeks of a television drama because while they were on a cruise, the power went out at their home, the DVR failed and they need to catch up. You don’t see how you can easily catch them up. The details are important, but will take forever, and the last episode’s ending isn’t going to change. So, you summarize as best you can, picking and choosing the points that matter.

Another episode or two in, your friend will come back to ask why or how, shaking their head that you failed to convey the exact right detail that could have helped them figure it out on their own.

So, that’s the way it is for these last two weeks. I can’t catch you up. I don’t want to, and you don’t know it but you don’t want me to, either. There are unnecessary burdens in the details; even in missing ones left off the story line.

Resources stand on my shelves. I’ve glanced their way infinite times, but I’m still absorbing reality so while abstract may redirect my mind, the heart of the matter comes first.

I have learned frantic speculation doesn’t help. I have learned tempered reaction doesn’t help. I have learned immediate blameful introspection doesn’t help.

I have learned with enough evidence or time, or time and evidence, any unbelievable wrong thing can become believable and right.

I say within the sanctity of love, in two languages for honor, the prayer that deserves to be said:

Blessed, praised, honored, exalted, extolled, glorified, adored, and lauded be the name of the Holy Blessed One, above and beyond all the blessings, hymns, praises and consolations that are uttered in the world. May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us. May the One who creates harmony on high, bring peace to us and to all.

… to which I say, Amen.

Quote for the Week:

with enough evidence or time 05 05 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Zen Lessons:  http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/lessons-healing-after-loss

Supporting: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief-loss/supporting-a-grieving-person.htm

The Origin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish

Arms Too Short

Stuff. Everywhere. What doesn’t fit, what does, where? Logic and logistics.

I’ve discovered that I am very good at hiding: tucking away in cabinets, behind closet doors, in drawers, file cabinets. Perfunctory parts everyone owns and no one needs to see, those are well-placed for me.

I’ve discovered I’m not very good at upfront, first impression, walk-in.

Not because I’m secretive, but because I want to put so much out there, you’ll know me by these obvious things. I can be overwhelming that way. Throwing all my colorful cards up in the air thinking you’ll get the idea as each floats past in glitter-globe slow-motion. I don’t doubt I’d be more impressive with less; I just don’t know how to do less.

Luckily, I have a secret weapon. A very patient secret weapon who understands I’ve had issues with stuff, and letting go. Who easily skims perfect pieces; they just rise to the top when she shuffles.

I’ve been hauling well over 30 years, with the intention of one day; some day.

Last Saturday was supposed to be the day, but I was overwhelmed with kitchen. A few days of standing center, rotating drawers and cabinets did nothing but make me dizzy. It was where I needed to start. Patience’s imported logic took over, and then it was over. Over and easily done, not so much by me, which I’m sure simplified the process.

Walls. When you don’t own them, you don’t use them. Temporarity makes that make sense. Security deposits and patchwork are too much of a hassle. Patience helped me use a wall the last time, succinctly covering up as much of the cornflower blue and pink flowered shiny wallpaper as possible with color chicken camouflage. I’d seen her work before. I knew what to expect, and I was incredibly expectant, as well as well-rested so I wouldn’t have to crawl to the couch and rest this time.

I’ve been taking my new walls very seriously. I want the vision. I want specific. I want to project well-planned permanence. Pride my collections to start conversations as if I’ve been rooted my whole life. Which meant I would best move aside, step back as assistant to the master, and watch the magic occur.

There is beauty in balance and we can’t easily find that ourselves. It’s impossible to see what our presented lives will look like until we are across the room. Up close and personal isn’t synonymous with open-mined segmentation. So, moved and assessed. Considered and configured. Experiment with ease.

Not everything fit, and probably some of it shouldn’t have,anyway. It was beautiful to watch such intense care taken with my life; and to whole-heartedly love the final presentation.

The overages are still resting, open-boxed on the living room floor. Not great works of art, just magical moments in time. Like the pen and ink inconic – melding star and fish and faith, so representative of exactly where we stood in our lives, different but overlapped. We loved it so much we bought it for the café-wall asking price of $10.00, which was way more than the 2 cents we barely had to rub together. The others hold time equally, as well. Place-cards I never pass without thinking, “There’s a place for these here, somewhere.”

I found that place today, in my over-sized nubby sweater, with my too short sweatpants and my frog-faced non-slip, grippy socks on the way to the basement. A little-used space, needed for necessities, and scattered memories that will make me smile. It actually wasn’t my idea. Nannee Vincze’s basement stairwalls held similar things, utilitarian and timeline. Stepstool, newspaper clippings, hammers, campaign poster. I thought it was odd, but the passage was just that: a daily passage through good times and significant times on the way to the laundry or deep freeze. Daily.

 Quote for the Week:

There is beauty in balance, though not 03 31 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Color balance: http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/color/combine-colors-like-a-design-expert

Design balance: http://hatchdesign.ca/principles-of-interior-design-part-1-balance/

Life Hack balance: My apologies to Patience. I knew about this; I forgot.

lifehack

Catch Up

Truth is, I no longer have the energy to go back and recount details. It’s actually unfathomable to me that this adventure is still a work-in-progress.

I just wanted to hire someone who would do what they said, when they said they would do it, finish when promised, and for the amount agreed upon. So far, only one has come through – ProTect Painters. They’re awesome; I’d recommend them. There’s still potential for others, but I find I’m adjusting my shoulders a lot, signaling defeatism. Shrugging up and down is hard on the neck  muscles. As is toting purchases to and from Lowe’s, Home Depot, World Market, Sherwin Williams and The Tile Shop. In and out of carts, car trunks, up flights of stairs and ramps, down flights of stairs and ramps with the only upside of having downsized.  At this point, I’m willing to magnify every tiny plus, and this exercise in returns has helped lower me down few pounds.

The unhappy prospect of reliving the past two month, coupled with face-to-face requests announcing others simply don’t want to hear any more about my trials, and the suggestion I stop talking about it. The first was just selfish forthcoming of a regularly single-minded person. The second may have had a bit of validity. The internet’s been abuzz with reasons, data and charts exclaiming, vent as an anger dilution-solvent does not dissipate the strength of bad feeling; rather it perpetuates them.

Temporarily subscribing to this theory, rather than torture myself or you, I’ve decided a pictorial  might be the best way to track the ups and down, the good, the bad, and the unfortunately permanently ugly. I say “permanently” mostly for the drama effect. Of course I can correct these things, as soon as I win the lottery, or perhaps get an amazing tax return for having established ownership.

So here goes: Part One – a bit of a re-cap, just to remind myself that things were actually worse. Closed October 29th. Interviewed contractors November 5th. Projected move-in date: December 17th.

First Up: Bathroom Demo.

Buying into self-demolition wasn’t hard. The estimated savings was a $3,000.00 chunk of labor, and the excitement of an easy DIY. After a while, (about two weekends) of painfully slow progress, I determined I was being a little too careful  with my destruction, and I wasn’t all the comfortable working with plumbing. A few You-tube sessions later, I called in reinforcement. Two days, and a good deal of laughter later, the bath was as bare bones as possible, except for the tub. The original cause of concern was what may or may not lie beneath the old chipped steel behemoth. I figured the contractor was going to have it easy: take out the tub, inspect the floor, install a shower. Boom, done. This would be preceded by flooring, followed by flooring, followed by painting, followed by fixture replacing, and moving.

Progress Pictorial:

starting point                                     concern

20141105_090119 beginning 20141115_181402 tile concerns 2

tile # 1                                                   a few more

20141115_181745 20141115_183512

 um, that’s my putty knife                     what’s left of putty knife

20141119_124240 20141119_123738 (2)

um, there goes my mallet                  shower shark

20141119_125109 (2)  20141128_122959 shower shark

piles of tiles                                                         down to studs

20141123_151946tubday3 20141128_173242 to the studs

sink                                                      less sink

20141128_173341 sink start 20141129_135417 minus toilet

no sink                                               5 layers of floor

20141129_135724 sink out 20141129_141332

less layers                                           un-finished floor

20141129_152316 5 layer floor 20141129_172227 Down to the end

what was found                                     new shower

20141130_164404 under tile 20141202_164750 shower in 1

                                                                       plumber: all done and tested!

 wait, what’s with the bump-out?                 me: really? how’d ya do that w/o hardware?

20141217_085556 shower in wall bump  20141204_090609 shower in tested

what bath floor was supposed to look like      left side =  hall / right = supposed bath match

 20141119_112615 floor # 1 20141231_104627 no match

ordered new floor of solid-ish grey…   delivered with a “slight dye-lot issue.”

 20150107_132712 floor # 2 20150121_130949 more floor

sink, I think                                         still trying to choose paint to replace

                                                               the seafoamingatthemouth color

 20150123_170441 sink i think 20150123_171954 paint samples

 Quote for the Week:

Question as frequently as needed 01 27 2015

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

ProTect Painters:  www.protectpainters.com/

Shower install $ : http://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/plumbing/install-a-shower/

How to Try on Colors:

http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/try-on-colors/color-matching-services/

Abandon Intentions

Intentions. I always have them. They’re my “but…” sort of clause to everything.

They’re my “I meant,’” “I should;” my excuse for misuse, of term and promise.

I forgot my drop at PF Changs. Lunch was interesting and fabulous, grouped and longer than planned, and I completely forgot to bring my abandonment with me. I adjusted disappointment with the rationale that I would have had to wait until the restroom was empty, which wouldn’t have been likely with the full house of diners.

My next intended target was the pet store. After considering the melee likelihood of right-before-Christmas work and shopping traffic, I never even tried. I thought I’d come up with a better idea, anyway.

Christmas Eve Day at the Chiropractor, someone would find my starry pin. I was leaning toward the bathroom again, but this bathroom is just a one-person, regular door lock bathroom; there’s be no in-out traffic. I excitedly placed it prominently on top of the paper towel dispenser, and took a picture for posterity. I immediately reconsidered for perceived cleanliness concerns, wondering if I would pick up a “gift” in a restroom. I might, but I also didn’t want it to be found while I was still there. I tagged my pin, and it wouldn’t be too difficult to figure out where it came from. That would be embarrassing.

I re-pocketed my prize. Even though I hadn’t used it, I ceremoniously flushed the toilet. I figured it might seem assumedly gross to anyone who had watched me go in, or would see me come out, if that sound was missing. Then, I washed my hands, because I’d touched the toilet handle.

There was no chance for hallway stealth, either. Every chair was unusually filled with Christmas Eve day drop-ins. At the risk of causing concerns for my health, I would revisit the restroom on my way out, reclaim my drop spot, and be done with it. No one passed by on their way to the exit while I was waiting for a room to open, but a staff member pointed to a doorway and told me I could go in. The occupied sign was flipped, but it wasn’t really empty. As a patient was still gathering her belongings, I saw another, easier, possibility!

I would simply leave my abandonment in the table-room after my adjustment. It would be much more appealing to find a random present there than any random lavatory. I’ll be a little slow putting on my coat. I’ll hesitate a moment, and when left alone, quickly set it on a waiting chair, and stealthily slip out. I couldn’t help but wonder which one of the waiters would be gifted. They all looked like pleasant people, albeit in a bit of pain. Glancing over my shoulder gave me a glimpse of whom it would be traveling home with, and a satisfied internal glow. It was done! Abandoned, to surely be found, and I was happy.

With one hand on the exit door, seconds away from complete and true success, wishing all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I was flagged down.

A cheerful staff member stood waving a recognizable little packet in my direction. “Is this yours?” she asked, adding, “It was on a chair in the room you were in.”

I felt my jaw drop and managed to mumble, “It was supposed to be there.” “Was it a gift for the Doctor?” she asked. “No,” I replied dejectedly, “No.” I probably should have brought one as a gift for her, or at least a holiday card, or something. “It was supposed to be there,” I explained again without much conviction, followed by the compelling need to explain the details of these supposedly anonymous random art drops, which mine was no longer.

“Should I give it back to the lady who found it?” she asked. “Yes,” I said, “unless she doesn’t want it, then feel free to keep it, or pass it on, or whatever….”

And that was that. I don’t know if the finder kept it, or if someone else might have loved it. It might come up at my next adjustment appointment, but I hope not. I wish I’d thought fast enough to respond differently. Perhaps, if I had said, “Yes,” I could have reclaimed it, re-headed for the restroom and re-ended the abandonment fiasco in exactly the same spot it had begun twenty-five minutes earlier.

Instead, I abandoned the situation, thinking what I’ve been thinking about every little thing since my early October luck-slide began. Every attempt to attempt anything in a reasonable way in a reasonable amount of time has been met with the Universe’s loudest protest, to which I have repeatedly shouted back, “Really?! It shouldn’t be this hard!!”

Lessons for me: Good intentions can be miresome, and even happy-ending stealth can make you feel guilty of something.

I’ve been scrolling for “mail call” two weeks now. The find hasn’t been reported. I know for a fact it was found, so I’m a little bogged down by the disappointment that comes from a craving for gratification. I’ve since learned that it’s not cool to tag items for recognition, or, for that matter, pumping for sales.

I’m sure I’ll do it, again, hopefully more anonymously. Hoping it will become easier with knowledge and repeat, because “intention” should never be followed by “was.”

Quote for the Week:

My intention is best followed by is 01 05 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

 

Links:

Buddhist Solutions – How To Give Without Return:  (watch until at least 20:00)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Krhmz-dau0s

Paulo Coehlo – Give Love, Seek No Reward:

http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2011/12/08/give-love-and-seek-no-reward/

Not Only at Christmas:

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/acts-of-kindness

Goodly Abandon

For the greater good, I’m going to abandon the condo crises (plural) for a few days.

Mostly because I can do nothing about being stuck; partly because I’ve been told I’m starting to look like Grumpy Cat. Grumpy Cat has been internetly credited with obviously unreal verbalization of issues scarily close to my heart. While I find her amusing, and adorable in a weird way, I certainly don’t want to be permanently associated with an unusually high level of grump. Even though, admittedly, my recent level of grump has been unusually high.

It’s easy to ask, over and over, “Why Me?” I’m not amused by the “God only gives you what you can handle” rote. I think there’s been a whole lotta name confusion. I theorize my name has made it onto the “little tests” list one too many times. I supposed that’s what I get for changing my name so many times.

It’s easy to believe we have been abandoned; that we are alone. It’s infinitely easier to feel this way during a forceful holiday season. We abandon good sense. We over-spend; we over gift, we over please. Lineal, I cannot image Mary and Joseph not feeling abandoned. Why would God not have a room saved for them? Why didn’t someone last-minute cancel a reservation or change a plan to make way for a comfortable evening before an uncomfortable birth?

Perhaps our view of abandonment in context of negativity isn’t all there is to say. Moses was abandoned. Laid down in bull rushes, carried to greater care and cause; a life redeemed. Our view of abandonment as negativity isn’t all there is to say. Holding on is only a precursor to letting go, somewhere between Moses’ “Let My People Go” and that song that even those of us who have not seen the movie cannot ignore.

My Let-it-Go list will never see paper. I’ve heard its cathartic, but I can’t go there. I should have let some things go a long time ago.

I enjoy art as a consumer and creator, despite the fact that 15 years of creating and tweaking the same design, has given the same result year-after-year. Steadily unsuccessful at craft shows, I thought my luck would change if I wasn’t standing there like a nervous ninny hoping to make enough to cover the cost of the table. I thought I’d lucked out when there was interest and a generous offer to set them alongside other creations. It was disappointing that only 3 out of 51 sold, and that the plain, brown-paper hatbox I meant to decorate more than a decade ago remains crammed full of unchosen pieces.

There’s a put-off that’s been stress-listed for months; falling lower and lower, not even warranting a check box after so long. Weighing every little task against sleep, I’ve abandoned hope, and so much more. December’s Art Abandonment theme popped up in my feed three weeks ago and made me smile.  Noted and forgotten.

It passed by again today. Starry, Starry Night re-played, conjuring Don McLean, VanGogh, and painful artistic poignancy. It’s not unusual to love the things we create. The disappointment begins when these things do not love us back.

It’s important to pay attention when a blank mind begins to buzz, repeating until understood, waiting for that click of a moment, turning into “I know it’s in there… exactly what is needed.”

Today is my first day of goodly abandonment – a simple thing that could make a spirit bright.

They say timing is everything. I certainly hope so.

 

Quote for the Week:

It’s not unusual to love the things we create 12 23 2014

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Positive Abandonment: http://michaeldemeng.typepad.com/art_abandonment/

Where to Find Good Stuff: http://www.artfaircalendar.com/

Let It Go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moSFlvxnbgk