Saturday, December 20, 2008

What ? December...

Somehow November was missed. Or just a blur. I did manage to work on my things to do list:

1. Visit Chris - what an adventure ! Arrived Friday. Their apartment is so oddly great. Quite appropriate for them and that is said in a good way. We attended a neighborhood Halloween festival on Saturday. It was like stepping back in time. Saturday evening attended Murder Mystery presentation at the Benjamin Harrison House. Sunday drove to French Lick and spent the evening at a resort built in 1900. Totally restored and amazing.
3. George Brown Convention Center for Thanksgiving. Encouraging to see so many volunteers.
4. Worked on card designs. There will be a book/craft sale at Unity Church in March and I plan on testing the market.
5. Got a cool long sleeve shirt ~ only cost a pint of blood
Still on the list:
Theatre Seating. Thanks to freecycle, picked up a line of 5 wooden theater seats from the old Freeport High School Auditorium. They date from they 1950's and do show wear. The laminate wood needs to be reglued and the metal cleaned. A coworker has system to sandblast so I'm going to give it a try. Objective on the wood is to maintain as much of the carvings from the students as possible.
There are more projects such as cleaning the black lagoon {pool pump off since the hurricane} and finish backyard - but those are for the spring.
And now on to work !!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colorful day

Now that the remnants from prior tenant have been removed from back yard {large child’s playhouse and two metal racks for storing wood} along with balance of branches and trees damaged by Ike, it was time to work in the back yard. It was a colorful day ~ red roses in front yard in bloom, planted six red oleander hedges, yellow bell bush is blooming, purple bruises from moving the chimnea, white bite marks from fire ants, and these really strange red bugs having a convention on the leaves of the Chinese Tallow tree. With exception of putting brick trim on my “patio”, work is completed until spring.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nearly a month has passed

Cleanup in the area is in the final phases ~ excluding Bolivar and Galveston of course. Plants and trees are recovering. The pear tree in my yard responded by blooming again. Cannot imagine there will be enough time to produce another crop but it is good to know the tree is going to be viable.
Next week I will be traveling to visit Chris and Jenny. It has been five months since our time together in Washington D.C. I’m curious / anxious / ready to see his new home in Indianapolis. I think the only down side of the trip is their weather. Already it is in the 40’s at night there. Compare that to our nighttime temps of low 70’s.
I, as so many people, am ready for a change in the administration of this country. With that in mind, created a short movie using Bob Dylan’s song, The Times They Are A-Changin’.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You know you are in the country…

When you step outside to enjoy a cool afternoon and hear the sound of a tractor in the distance. And that tractor is bailing hay two doors down the street. The machine is making the huge, round bails. Odd to see it running down the acreage, pause, and then expel this huge roll of hay.
Prior to Ike, rather than put boards over their window, a homeowner in Danbury rolled bales of hay up against their home for protection. Due to downed power lines, I was not able to visit the place to see if the home did ok.
My yard is clean !!! The crew worked for two hours yesterday with chainsaw, backhoe and a dump truck. While they were there, the property owner had them remove three nearly dead sycamore trees. I’ve worked with the crew for five years but never had an opportunity to really see them in action. It was as if they had been choreographed ~ they interact, give hand signals, dance around each other. Everything went so smoothly. Even the one near miss when a branch fell close to one guy it appeared to be part of their “routine”. They laughed it off and moved on. I did attempt to assist but only managed to get in their way.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cleaning up after Ike

With exception of some major branches beyond my capabilities, the backyard is cleared of debris. And I learned where fire ants take shelter ~ in the tall grasses near the sycamore trees. Also learned how to really piss them off: find their hiding spot with a lawn mower. They do get aggravated when their mounds are destroyed. Gained a few bites/welts out of that lesson. They gained a feeding of fire ant poison.
Company crew will be working today, Sunday, to continue clean up in Danbury. One resident supplied a complete bbq lunch for them yesterday. The neighbor kept insisting it was no big deal ~ his attitude was the brisket had to be cooked or it would be lost. Needless to say, the crew did not see it that way.
Weather has been cooperative for the clean up and restoring electricity. High temp during day is mid-80’s with low at night of low 70’s. Good mosquito growing weather. The spray trucks have been attempting to get out but no spray planes yet.

Friday, September 19, 2008

After the storm

This morning, I heard a train whistle again. This is the first since last Thursday. Sounds of the country now include the rumbling of construction equipment and chain saws. The fresh air now has the smell of firewood as people burn the trees and branches that are in their yards thanks to the storm. I’ve wandered the streets in Danbury and seen so many trees knocked down but amazingly very few actually landed on a house. There is one small house that had a huge tree in the backyard. The tree split right down the center and fell to each side of the house. Absolutely amazing.
I lost power on Friday night and it was restored on Sunday. There was an article in the Houston Chronicle about the power being returned in the city. Due to the infrastructure, one side of a given street may receive power while the opposite side is still in the dark. The woman that was interviewed said she has a guilty feeling for having electricity while her neighbor does not. I know the feeling. Many of my coworkers still do not have electricity or running water. The crew is working on cleanup projects (Danbury, the local mall) so my shower is available to them after work.
There have been “PODS” {points of distribution} set up in Danbury and Angleton to supply water, ice, and meals. The volume of assistance is overwhelming. It appears that as horrid as Katrina was at least lessons have been learned. Those lessons are costing some hurricane victims some challenges though. FEMA is delaying living assistance a bit longer than it should.

Luckily I can say this must be a short post ~ I have to go to work. Another wonderful thing. The owner of the company {and landlord} has been wonderful. Assisted so much in insuring my home {his house} was operating ok and he is out there hustling work so we can all stay on the payroll.

Photo is sycamore tree in backyard that got "topped". Photo taken at sunset on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Moving on

The dirty deed is done ~ literally and figuratively. I’ve moved from the place I called home for seven years. Left behind is the little house with the huge trees and the rumbling of trains. No more train car changes in the middle of the night that shook the house. That noise has been replaced by the occasional distant sound of a train whistle announcing the approach to Danbury, Texas. The sounds of my neighbors ~ a herd of rescued donkeys and a few horses ~ along with the noise of the tractors traveling the roads to the hay and rice fields were distractions as I attempted to stay focused and place things in my new house, trying to make it a home.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It has been a while...

You have to acknowledge that you have a skewed priority list when you get approval from the property owner to begin to move items to new residence and those items are plants and yard art. I chose today to begin moving those items ~ decided to start this chore when the temps are hitting 100. Never claimed to be the sharpest pencil in the box. I manage three loads in my car. Laughed at myself when I started loading rocks, slate and bricks. Can’t say I’m one brick shy of a load {actually, you can say a lot of bricks shy. The rest will be moved next weekend.}. I’m going to “hire” one of my coworkers [who happens to own a truck] to help move items, till the dirt and layout my new brick and concrete block patio. I would like to duplicate the current layout. It was a comfortable size the difference will be there are trees available for shade.

Until today, with exceptions of minor bursts of zeal, I have avoided the move. Yes, some things are packed but it has taken a lot to accept the move. Mind keeps gyrating around the thought “three in, one out”. There were three of us for the move in July 2001. There will be one for the move in August 2008. Granted I’ve been on my own for six years and Chris has been away for four [college and move to D.C.] but this move is the clincher. Deep breath……..
As I prepare stuff to be moved, found another diversion. More items that I had mislaid and they scream to be used on cards. This will link to latest creations using these items.
Person that owns company I work for also is a farmer - has 300 acres planted in corn and is assisting in harvesting Milo as well. I visited the farm the day for initial harvest. This is the video created from the photos.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Returning to my version of normal

The atmosphere around my homestead is beginning to return to what I consider normal. I had the wonderful adventure of visiting with Chris the first weekend of May. Of course, it is most important to me to see Chris, but it was an opportunity to revisit Spring. The azaleas were in full bloom, trees beginning to show their varied coloreds. Absolutely perfect. We attended the Kinetic Art Sculpture race in Baltimore hosted by the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM). It was quite a display that included a flying pig, 99% chimp, fire truck and so much more. From the website:

Pilots (Kinetinauts) compete for the most coveted MEDIOCRE AWARD (finishes right in the middle) and the highly prized NEXT-TO-THE-LAST AWARD (finishes, well, next to last) and serious prizes including ART and ENGINEERING.

The teams were also encouraged to bribe the judges. What an absolute hoot.

Another project is now underway. Decided to move. All of 7 miles {door to door} from my current home. I know the exact distance because it is the house owned by the company I work for. Yes, it will put me at my employer’s beck and call just by proximity, but it has advantages as well. Definitely cut down on fuel costs. And the preparation of the move is forcing me to let go of many things emotionally and physically. Going to be a most interesting venture in a multitude of ways.
oh...and uncovering goodies I've picked up along the way and now re-purposing them.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Playing with puzzles

I purchased a puzzle of the U.S. with the intent of using it with mail art. Once I assembled the puzzle which covered the dining table, realized again that I need to pay attention to details ~ like the size that was published on the box. From that brain-cramp evolved just playing with the puzzle pieces and enhancing them. It started as making mail art based on thoughts “what is a puzzle”. North Wind, Dream, Love, Home, Garden, Time. Granted, some puzzles are easier to grasp ~ home, garden ~ but it is still remarkable to watch how they progress to that one moment of today - not the puzzle, but the subject matter. Mail art is not an option ~ended up with too much bulk.While playing with the puzzles, I received “junk mail” that was not entirely junk. International Masters Publishers mailed out samples that included Mona Lisa, The Water-Lily Pond, The Grand Canal, The Plains of Heaven. The pictures are on a textured board and measure 13-1/2 x 9-1/4. Since the puzzles grew to a point of not being mail art, I thought these pictures would be a good background. With two exceptions, these will not be going postal.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy and Good Friday

I live in a home that was built in 1936. Bungalow style. Entry is direct into the living room leading to a short hallway with the door to the bathroom and bedroom on that hallway. Slight turn to the left the entry to second bedroom. Hall leads to the back door with entry on left to the kitchen. Pass thru the swinging door in the kitchen to the dining room, left thru the French doors and you are back in the living room. Doors are all decorated with the original glass knobs. {side note: be sure you understand the mechanics of these knobs before disassembly. There is a slight risk of locking yourself in your room with no logical means of escape – let your mind wander on that thought.}. All of the windows are on the rope and pulley system.. The ropes are long gone and the windows have been either nailed or painted shut. With one lone exception. One window in my bedroom can be opened and propped to stay open. With that window open along with the entry doors opened to the screen fresh air flows through this little house.
What this is all leading to is the second day of Spring.
I left for work at 6:30 this morning bundled in jeans, light sweater, boots. Now 10 hours later, shorts, t-shirt and bare feet. I cleaned the patio off and just enjoyed the spring breeze, 75 degree temperature, and breathed in the aroma of mowed grass and cut wild onions. To add musical accompaniment, the ice cream truck passed by playing the theme song from The Sting.
This is the second day of Spring.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day..

Attended the Village of Surfside St. Patrick Day Parade yesterday. As is usual for the village, nothing went as planned. Scheduled to start at 1:oo pm at the city hall. Last minute change to begin in the opposite direction at Stahlman Park. Parade commenced at about 1:45 ~ actual viewing time {allowing for the gaps and gaffs} 30 minutes. Good thing all the bars in the town had each created a float or it would be substantially shorter.

Weather has been spectacular ~ high's in 80's. Supposed to rain next week which is normal for spring break.

Creative outlet of date is postcards. Have been experimenting printing on inkjet transparencies. Main challenge is layering and using the correct glue / adhesive. This is an example:

The question: How would you describe your workplace ?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Another case of too much of a good thing. I managed to cull the photographs from this weekend and still yielded in excess of 250 that I just cannot bring myself to delete. They will remain on my computer and be called on during future overcast dingy days to support a feeling of peace.
I did at least separate them into formal photos from the Dallas Arboretum and just out there in the country photos. In doing so, decided the Arboretum photos lent themselves to a movie using music by Kenny G.

Monday, March 3, 2008

It was not my intention for I had set plans and a tight schedule, but I found myself looking for Spring this weekend. Friday evening was the "Pasta Palooza" {don't you love the name ~ let your mind wander and see a tornado of pasta twirling upward} at Unity Church with a single seating a 7 pm and Saturday the North Texas Irish Festival at Fair Park. I knew that schedule. I do pride myself with being on time. BUT...cramming five days of work into a four day schedule played havoc with me on Thursday. I could not bring myself to pack, plan, pay bills, drop Dude at the kennel. So the original departure time of 8 a.m. became 11 a.m. And then, once I reached the 70mph speed (in other words ~ I had put a great enough distance between myself and the pollution of Houston where they believe they will control air quality by reducing the speed of vehicles), I watched as time slowly rolled back two weeks. In Brazoria County, the trees have an aura of green. The auburn / rust colored buds are breaking out into full blown leaves. As I traveled north, the aura became a faint haze. I knew I would take some time on Saturday morning to visit my former home in Garland. I just did not realize how that would lead to ... and lead to ...

I visited fields and cemeteries that had the beginnings of Spring. And I then visited the structured gardens of the Dallas Arboretum. What an amazing place !! Spring is definitely seen in the tulip trees, daffodils, and tulips. Next weekend will be the annual event "Dallas Blooms". The first weekend may not meet expectations ~ especially as the weather predicted for this evening includes a chance of snow. I did finally arrive at Fair Park at 1ish. The music, crowds, oddities were in full swing. Friends and I toured the stages, listening here & there at 30 minute intervals. Enjoying Blue Moon beer. I departed by 5ish knowing I had to face a 5 hour drive on Sunday. OOOPS. Did I say 5 hour ??? It turned into a 9-1/2 hour drive ~ "HiHo" {my car - as in Hi Ho Silver} and I toured many abandoned building, cemeteries, found the "FORBIDDEN ZONE" {and have a photo to prove it} and Paradise (again, photo to prove it ~ and discovered you need a pass card to enter ~ but isn't that what Christians have been trying to tell the masses ?}.

I know I live "in the country". Forty five minutes from civilization (and I use that term loosely when referring to Houston) yet it is not country enough. Country is riding along the back roads and having the drivers in their pick ups giving the one finger salute - - no, not the middle finger. The simple raising of the first finger saying hello. Even one gentleman riding his mower gave me the finger.
I've added photos...going to attempt to add link here.
First the the movie: