632: The URGE

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Art is creative endeavor by humans.

That means that your own brand of creative counts.

Whether you craft in food, flowers, hair, homes, stone, metal, clay, fiber, plastic, paint, paper, words, or whatever other medium you choose to express that inner muse you and only you contain – it counts as art, even if others don’t view it that way. For that matter, even if you don’t view it that way, it is art.

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That means, you fabulous, wonderful, driven-to-create human: YOU are an artist.

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621: House, interrupted

Hubs and I are fixing up a foreclosure house we bought. I SAY “we,” but most of it is me. He helps when asked for the heavy stuff, or the stuff I cannot do by myself, but mostly, it’s me. He says that’s because I am in charge of the house – which, technically, is mostly true. Still – he lives here, too, and abdicating all responsibility for the stuff that needs doing is pretty annoying sometimes. Still, when I am working, I do admit to getting in my solo groove – I suppose because there isn’t any other alternative? And, getting it done myself does mean it is done to my standards, which might be the whole crux of the matter.

Over the months since we bought this house, we have had the roof replaced, the kitchen gutted and redone (new cabinets, kitchen appliances, flooring and ceiling), more flooring, a hot water heater, washer/dryer, more flooring, painted walls and ceilings and trim, bathroom caulking, painting, new doors, new locksets and deadbolts, more flooring. More trim. More painting.

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Lighting fixtures, more walls, ceilings and trim painting. Curtains, drapes, sheers, rods, brackets. More painting. Salvaged kitchen cabinets that now are storage for a craft room that someone else might use as a bedroom or a nursery. Caulking, running trim, painting trim. Sweeping, hauling debris. Calling for repair, and more estimates. Running to the store for more materials. Again.

There’s always something else to be done: paint, hemming the window treatment curtains, straightening up, cleaning up, unpacking, sorting, putting away, not to mention the usual stuff, like a load of laundry, or repairing garments that have popped a seam, lost a button, or pulled loose a strap or snap.

If I sit down, I pretty rapidly become a cat’s bed, since one of the two resident felines claims my lap. Nothing gets done unless I do it.

If I sit down, nothing else gets done. It waits on me.

It is a darn good thing that this isn’t a contest with any sort of deadline.

603: Work, and more work

I go to work every day, even when I am ill, because it is harder to do all the preparation work beforehand than it’s worth it to be out sick, especially when I am actually sick. I have stopped going to the doctor and dentist on school holidays, though. Usually, if school is out, the doctors and dentists are also closed, anyway, and occasionally I NEED a day off when I actually am not sick – that is worth doing the prep work for.

Lately, I have been finishing my straight eight, and donning working clothes to put in another shift remodeling our newest purchase: a new-to-us, but not new house. We have gutted the kitchen in preparation for the installation of new cabinets, counter tops, trim, and appliances, and have installed the new flooring and painted. The new ceiling and lighting fixtures, and the floor molding, go in after the cabinets are installed.

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Lately, we have been on our knees…not praying exactly, unless you count praying that this piece of flooring will install properly in line with the others already laid. It is a good time for reflection on the vicissitudes of life, when you are on your knees, praying or not. I heard once that being on your knees is the most powerful position you can assume – and I assume they were thinking of prayer. I do tend towards a less than pristine mindset, and being on your knees is good for lots of various things, including prayer. Nonetheless.

I think the next few days I will work on painting. I can do that standing up. I’ve been on my knees dealing with those stubborn flooring planks a little too much lately.

556: Hope

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Every day, I hope.

I hope it will get better, that it won’t hurt so much.

I hope that I will be able to slow down and not be at everyone else’s beck and call.

I hope that I can say no. And mean it.

I hope that I can sleep until I want to get out of bed, instead of rolling out every morning before dawn because I have obligations to meet.

I hope that I make it through the next six weeks of no-money until I get paid again (a yearly problem, and January has thirty-one long, cold, and dark days).

I hope that Christmas will again just pass, without requiring from me efforts to be social that I just do not have the resources for.

I hope and I am chagrined that I still hope.

I hope that the house I currently am spending all my free time remodeling (paint smears in my hair and decorating both my forearms, random punctures, scratches, and broken nails) soon will become a respite and sanctuary – a place of peace and repose.

I hope that it will get better – that it won’t hurt quite so much.

I hope, even when it appears fruitless to hope.Hope-2-570x379

I hope.

 

 

322: But mom, I want to HELP……

untitledI have regularly made banners and wall hangings as part of my drive for creative expression. I never really cottoned onto the fact (before now) that these creations were accomplished while I was at SCHOOL, and were not made in my personal living space, which is shared with felines. Multiple felines. Who have fatal curiosity – FAR worse than human children. The term laptop was originally coined to describe feline behavior when their person was engaged in any other task besides kitty loving. They cannot STAND it, not being the center of attention (similar to human children).

So. I have this seven-foot long, four-foot wide piece of fabric that I am painting spread on the largest work surface in my home, which happens to be the kitchen table. Serious miscalculation error number one. First, it is in the kitchen. This means that the assorted fur children are already disposed to be overly interested, because this is the FOOD ROOM. Duh, stupid kitty mommy-type person.

Second, I am PAINTING this banner, instead of appliqueing it, or using some other method which does not use liquid colorants. This virtually guarantees paw prints. Paw prints were NOT part of the original design for this banner, although I am rapidly revising my original plans……..

 

 

227: Running Into a Brick Wall

Our school is putting on a performance of Annie, the musical, in a few months. As the resident art teacher, you’d know that I would be asked to help out (read make) the sets for this play. One of the requested backdrops for various scenes is a brick wall for the orphanage that Annie lives in for a time, before she is rescued by Daddy Warbucks.

This is Morocco. They have fabric stores, but they are all in larger cities at least an hour’s drive away. And there is, of course, no budget for this play – it IS a school, remember??? So, where do I get fabric for the backdrops? I go to the local souk, the flea-cum-farmer’s-cum-yard-sale weekly event that is held here in Ifrane on Saturdays and Sundays. The bigger souk held in my own town of Azrou (which I’d rather go to because it is cheaper), is held on Tuesdays, and guess when our school, in its infinite wisdom, chose to hold its weekly faculty meetings in the afternoons after work, effectively preventing ANY of us from EVER being able to go to the souk there?

Anyhoo, I went to the souk I CAN go to, and purchased four white sheets, hoping that would be enough. Then we went to the auditorium where the play will be held, and I got to spread out the sheets on the floor to see if they would be enough – no. EACH one of the three backdrops required for this play will need four sheets – 12 sheets in all. So, I went to the souk again the next Saturday, and bought four more – all that were offered. It IS a flea market, and what’s there, is what’s there each week – no guarantees. This still leaves me four sheets short. I am short-sheeted, no pun intended.

I still got started on the work, though, since I hate to leave stuff until the last minute. That is why it is so annoying when someone brings me something in the morning that they tell me that they need by the afternoon – of the same day. DUDE. Did you not know for some time that you would need this, and you waited until the last possible minute to ask me to do it??? I’M BUSY – do it yourself. I have a previous committment. Not sure what this committment was, but I got one, and because of it, I am not gonna drop everything else to do this little job for you that you waited until the last minute to get to me. I did not give birth to you, so I have no vested interest in helping you out.

I have completed one sheet’s worth of brick wall, and have sewed on (by hand) the second width of wall, and started painting the bricks on it, too. Bricks are boring. I work on the computer until I get bored (I AM ADD, after all) and then I paint bricks until I get bored with that, then I go back to the computer. Slowly but surely, the brick wall is taking shape, and I am getting my papers graded at the same time. If I can only get the students not to “help” me paint, I might actually finish this brick wall on time.

208: The Return (yet again) of the Black Slime

a href=”https://dirtdaubber.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/stupid-006.jpg”>Anti-moisture, anti-mildew paint....right. Anti-moisture, anti-mildew paint….right. Sort of – we painted the mildewed walls of our Moroccan masonry-built apartment with moisture-resistant, mildew resistant paint. Well….I can claim a partial victory…sort of like Vietnam. The stuff is growing back: ding dong, dad gum it. AAAUUUURRRGGGGHHHHhhhhhhhh.

Bathroom, too

Bathroom, too

*sigh* After all this work. OK. I messaged my dad in the US (handyman extraordinaire) and asked him how to moisture-proof a mansory structure so it did not condensate so badly on the walls. He’s got 70+ years of experience doing that sort of thing, and is still getting around and about with alacrity and agility. I should be so lucky!

Other than periodically attacking it with bleach solution, I am pretty well just stumped.