Stairing

It’s true.

I am often compelled to take an awkward photo – one that I’m not even sure why I’m taking. One I obsess a little over – to delete or not. So, it ends up safely staying on my phone, saved to my cloud, downloaded to my computer; lingering with no real use or draw.

Until one day, when I find myself without words. Unable to form sentences of condolences, I scroll through unreasonably hoarded memories searching for inspiration, a photo prompt, anything that will spark the conversations I have to begin.

I found it filed under spring’s May adventure. I went for another reason; saw what I wanted to see. It wasn’t as impressive as I’d imagined. Truthfully, disappointed, I moved on to try and find a more engaging reason to make the trip worthwhile. Leisurely exploring gifted me three themes: architecture, modern art and whimsy.

I took the same route down as I had going up; on foot, on stairs – noting to myself perhaps there’d be a picture in it, later. Hours later, travelled down, I turned to evaluate that thought.

I found that ‘later’ came with more impressive light and a focal exclamation point. I likely took a dozen and a few views. Hard to tell, because I whittled them down to the three I was having trouble letting go. This time, I looked a little closer. Somehow, a connection sparked between the three photos and the three recent events that needed those words I was looking for.

I still don’t have the words. I do, however, have the hope of heaven and a picture that  paints a thousand words.

2018 07 17 holding onto photos jakorte

with love for BD 06-23-18, JS 06-28-18 & JK  07-11-18 their families and their friends.

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

Micro Snowball

I have “The List.” People laugh at it, accidentally. I never show it to anyone, on purpose.

When you’re me, or anyone else who has to do it all by themselves, you’ve had plenty of experience wondering where the time goes. You also know exactly how long each chore should take. “Should” is one of those operative words; an ugly estimate based on past experience or those methodological time-saving articles in magazines that scream at you from every newsstand or browser launching pad insisting whatever-it-is really shouldn’t take that long.

So, on Friday afternoons the listing starts. Actually, it’s perpetual, but I get down to the real nitty-gritty when the weekend looms. Dedicated intervals for rising, grooming, eating, cleaning, showering, chore-ing, bringing down laundry, bringing up the paper towels, kitty maintenance, cooking, walking, mail clutter, advert clutter, email clutter, garbaging, bill paying, budget monitoring, gassing up, shopping, volunteering, all seem doable. Weekdays, I’m a Generalist. Generally, I should empty the dishwasher that cycled on Sunday.

I would, but Monday nights are reserved for creating and accidentally deleting the weekly One Brick Detroit Newsletter. In my opinion, it’s quite a bad design to have the Preview button located three hairs away from the Start Over button. It’s also a bit of a flaw having the Get HTML button located in the near same spot on a different tab.

Tuesdays are devoted to Knabble. It’s rare that I haven’t already formulated an idea, jotted notes or pre-written a rant that needs a kindness modification. It can be crazily comforting to bang out epitaphs, outright curses and words that my feminist, religious, karma-enlightened or easily offended acquaintances would balk at for lesser language. The most time-consuming part of Tuesday nights is the creation of those art slides. The art isn’t that hard; finding something intelligent to say, quoting myself without pretentiousness is a labor. That and making sure the words are in the most appropriate font, on the most appealing angle, and the most firm color.

I took up Chiropractic Wednesdays in July 2013. Nothing feels better after an adjustment than an additional pamper. To me, taking time to read three email accounts, click-through the My Points links, opening every inspiring forward and “just checking” to see if what’s is on sale is on sale enough for me to consider considering its value. I am learning to question everything and calculate if it will or will not add deep lasting value to my place in this world. I can easily pass up flannel nightgowns, mail-order chocolates and trendy clothing. I’m still working on the chicken thing.

Thursday is “Gee its Thursday Already?” day. I walk on Thursdays; and Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes twice. Occasionally, Wednesdays, but there’s no guarantee. Maybe on a Friday; maybe.

Fridays are a true 50/50. Mostly because I am already conjuring up my micro list and knowing there’s only a snowball’s chance in hell that I will accomplish 10 fifteen-minute tasks that evening. The goal is to get through the little stuff. The little stuff always snowballs. Sweep the kitchen floor leads to mop the kitchen floor, but only after clear and wipe down all the counters and the stove and the microwave for any stray stuff my weekday wipes may have missed, and only after dinner because I’m going to make more mess. Dinner has to wait until the ceremonial purge of overripe produce, limpy vegetables and whatever I made a lot of and am now tired of eating. The vacuum sealer sucks because it no longer sucks. It does seal, but that defeats the purpose, which is to remove the air and avoid freezer burn crystals.

In all likelihood, the sweep and mop will roll over into Saturday, after Dance Walk, after the Post Office, after the market, after restocking and after lunch. Vacuuming and laundry are 80/20’s. There isn’t much that keeps me from those, unless a card needs to be made or a volunteer event calls or it’s the one Saturday a month when my body demands a catch-up for late or sleepless nights.

Saturday’s leftover list slides into Sunday. Sunday always includes prepping produce and baking proteins to last the week; running the dishwasher post. It’s also the day I look at The List and realize I have not managed to do those things that I wanted to do after my self-obligations have been met. My grand visions for fun future become dreamy-futuristic next-weekend hopes.

Responsibility is a good thing. I need to hold myself accountable. I need to make a better effort to tackle 1 or 2 little things each evening. “Start somewhere,” isn’t as easy as it sounds. I dislike half-finished anything – chores or crafts or commitments are full-on experiences for me. Ordering – a back-track to a logical start – squeezes me out of time every time. The reality is there are no little things, just a back-log continuum that thrives on relation .

I recognize it’s self-sabotaging to refuse to begin because there’s no predictable conclusion. I also know a snowball when I see one.

Quote for the Week:

planning is easy 10 14 2014

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

A List I Could Live With: http://www.home-ec101.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Home-Ec-101-Chore-Chart-Take-3.pdf

Tip Abundance: http://www.pinterest.com/jeepmaiden/cleaning-tips-tricks/

At Least Cut the Clutter: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/the-simple-guide-to-a-clutter-free-home/

 

Evolution, Part 5: Wind + Down

I wouldn’t say I was feeling down. I couldn’t call it disappointment, either.

It was a very good day. It just wasn’t the day I had imagined.

I was pleased to have kept my commitment; pleased to have made a small difference.

The spiritual service moved me to tears. I managed to hold back most of the lonely decompression that follows the end of a mission.

Community disengagement is a let-down; leaving, returning to steady, known apathy.

The short-set mingling morphed into tired walking; across the street to cars, and rest rooms and t-shirt purchases.

 

I cannot tell you it was a well-thought out thought; it wasn’t.

I cannot tell you why I said what I said, feeling the way I did.

I cannot tell you I knew the person just a step behind me.

I cannot tell you I recognized them; not from work, not from lunch, not from praise.

I just skipped a step, falling back a foot, turned and said, “This may have been one of my best birthdays, ever.”

I didn’t realize we’d stopped walking; we were talking.

Quickly: about birthdays and kites, tulips and art, a fight two sisters had in their mother’s hospital room.

The leaving chill evaporated; son-powered enthusiasm soaked in.

Suddenly we were last in line, thanking GOD and Jesus for a beautiful day.

Followed by a question with the only possible answer: Yes.

 

We sat down there, in a day-safe neighborhood, in the dwindling late afternoon, deep in portfolio.

A simple medium; graphite and recycled paper = pencils and abandoned pages.

I’ve never mastered the achievement of negative space in any medium.

Pencil, pen, crayon, watercolor – all take foresight. A clear tear is not easily added to a pencil portrait.

Devils that didn’t look like devils, doorways to the wrong place, wallpaper with eyes, a gang logo, a sister, a mourner, a life; questionable looks from passersby.

 

I stopped when I saw her, speaking to me of loss and prayer and grief and release; echoing loneliness caught by loneliness.

I didn’t ask who she was; simply served a compliment.

A few pages later, the counterbalance caught me. Separated, two portraits sharing one instance, one hand on each shoulder.

I knew they belonged together. When offered, I cried.

I knew they belonged together. Speechless to the insistence, I cried a little harder.

 

“If it’s going to make you sad, make you cry, I won’t ask you to take it. If it will bring you joy, please…”

 

I looked up from the shadows, buildings by setting sun; patience was waiting, not signaling time to go.

But we knew it was, so carefully, the gift was rolled; secured, presented.

We hugged and hugged again, and when my breath came, I grasped for more –

With nothing to offer, except for this; “I hope to see you again, someday.”

To which was replied; “It’s all up to Him. GOD’s will be done.”

 

So, I fought the breeze, and crossed the street, and wiped the wind tears away;

I could not, then, and still cannot answer; “Whom was ministering to whom?”

 

Quote for the week:

Sometimes we must plan in advance barry curry art oct 1 2014

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Beginning Charcoal:  http://www.artinstructionblog.com/charcoal-drawing-basics-techniques-for-beginners

Detailed: Interpretation of Art; http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/36433/art-philosophy-of/36256/The-interpretation-of-art

Art as Therapy: http://medicalarttherapy.com/using-art-as-an-outlet/

steps

worn, grey, nothing special

yet, salvation’s stairs to some

moved to still and stay

absorbed by art, homeless

outside the protection of fences,

it shouldn’t have been safe.

exposure sat me there, and kept me there,

and brings me back with every blink

an unnecessary repeat, what I didn’t think

was true, isn’t. yet.

 

Quote for the Week

where you're at

Enjoy this week’s discovery links:

Concrete secrets:  http://www.romanconcrete.com/Article1Secrets.pdf

You Don’t Have to Be Local. Just available:  http://www.meetup.com/One-Brick-Ann-Arbor/members/?op=leaders

Reducing Fear:  http://www.wikihow.com/Have-No-Fear