Friday, September 23, 2011

Doing the Two-step Forward, One-step Backward

We don't dance anymore but we do the two step by repairing/remodeling this place - otherwise known as Two-steps forward, One-step backward. Reminds me of a waltz while drunk.

Today, Sweetie replaced the bay window in our spare bedroom. This weekend we remove the 34 year old carpet and next week, if I have energy, I paint it. If I don't have energy I say to heck with the paint and set up my studio.

Sweetie said no excuses. I said, "I'll probably get sloppy standing at the easel and spatter paint on the walls as well as the floors." He didn't buy my excuse.

Oh well, one way or another, I'm closer to having a studio and it thrills me no end. Won't have to tolerate his cigarettes or cleaning up to make supper.

For inspiration, today I got three necklace orders while on Facebook. The extra cash will come in handy as next month we're officially disqualified for food stamps.

Then, while sorting jewelry supplies on the kitchen counter, Sweetie walks in the room to show me his wet socks!

He walked into the second bathroom and got wet feet. Last month we replaced the toilet so he thought it was leaking. Not so. After removing the toilet & stuffing a sweatshirt in the hole, he peeled the vinyl floor back. The water line beneath the floor has been leaking and found the path of least resistance - a crack in the linoleum. Further investigation revealed a wet underlayment. More work!

On another front, the new fiscal year brings with deep cuts in the Human Services Department. Assets such as vehicles, bank accounts, recreational vehicles, insurance policies and property (other than the one you occupy) can't amount to more than $5,000 when applying for food stamps. Prior to this fiscal year, assets were not counted for food stamps - according to my case worker. For the last four months we've received $229 a month for two people & used it to build our stock. Now we'll live off if again.

The cuts were bound to happen but a lot of people are in for a shock. I mentioned this to my caseworker and she said, "Food pantries and charities will have to pick up the slack."

I doubt that. Three local pantries that I've contributed to since moving here have limited distributions. One pantry will likely close.

Interesting times are ahead.

Meanwhile, we'll live pretty much the same and hope we receive our monthly land contract payment. If not, times will get downright scary trying to live on $557 a month!

As always, time will tell.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Art Infused Our Day

My friend and I spent five hours at an art fair today and still saw only two-thirds of the exhibits. Of course, we're going back tomorrow!

The covered bridge is part of the park where the art show is held. Music, food booths, 100 artist booths and artist demonstrations inside a historical building attract people from throughout the state as well as elsewhere. The weather was perfect. We'd packed spinach quiche and bottled water and savored our meal listening to bluegrass. People's dress was interesting and a reflection of the event. My favorite was an exhibitor who wore a black ankle length skirt that featured lace panels scattered over each 12-inch band. She topped it off with a sunflower sweater over a yellow tube top and earrings made of acorns. Her feet were covered in rubber pointed-toe cowboy boots that were hand painted! She said they wore well and were comfortable despite their three inch heel.

I want those boots!

The art show re-energized and inspired us to the point that we've both been writing in our leather bound journals. I had not touched mine in four years!

We were so excited to tell Sweetie about our afternoon that we squeezed in the door together both talking at once.

Thankfully, we noticed he had replaced two of the three windows in our guest room bay window! Once our guest leaves I'll empty the room, pull up the carpet and repaint the walls.

I came home wanting to de-clutter, move things around and re-purpose some other items. One theme emerged as I visited each booth: earthy colors and sturdy, natural materials. If an item utilized slate, granite, inlay wood, twigs, clay, wire or leather or recycled things I was mesmerized.

The fish pottery was my favorite piece at one booth. The fused glass tile I made Wednesday night. Anyone have a small kiln they want to give or sell? I'm hooked on fused glass.

Meanwhile enjoy the pictures. Treesong

Friday, September 16, 2011

Companionship & Creativity

Sweetie was 68 Wednesday. We celebrated with a Sweet Potato pie brought by my friend visiting from Flint. We spent the rest of the day talking about various issues, people we know and goals/dreams we have and munching on veggies and dip. Very relaxing.

That evening she and I went to a fused glass class that's relaxing and affordable. With the cost beginning at $5 for a sun catcher or $12 for as many jewelry pieces you fit on a 4x4 inch tile; to $45 for a 12 inch bowl, there's opportunity for all. At my previous visit I fit 7 pieces on a tile. Combined with the beads and jewelry findings I already have, I'll create one pair of earrings, two pins and four necklaces. If I sell all of them, I expect to make $125 in profit. Fine by me!

Thursday my friend read the first two chapters of her book to our weekly writing group and we critiqued it. Today the three of us are sitting in our pajamas with our computers and coffee just enjoying the day.

Tomorrow we go to a fall festival/art show held in a beautiful park along a river. Neither Sweetie or my friend have ever seen the place which has a covered bridge and beautiful trails along the river. I'll take lots of photos to capture the memory and perhaps one day do an oil painting of the river.

Then, surprise, surprise, Wednesday evening we sat here talking about inland lakes, old camps and bonfires. Sweetie, the man who's so intent on moving to Florida, says: "If we found an old camp on a river or lake, I'd be there in a heartbeat,"


A few minutes later my friend says: "I have friends who moved up near Oscoda and wish they'd done it years ago. Her remark reminded me of Presque Isle, north of Alpena. My father was career Coast Guard and we lived on Middle Island when I was born, then moved to the Presque Isle station when I was three. Grand Lake and Long Lake are in this area and I told them of my visit there the year before my mother died in 1997. Her parents had both owned property on Grand Lake which covers 5,662 acres and has 19 islands. To make a long story short, we were all online looking at waterfront properties and I found the cabin my maternal grandmother used to own as well as the acreage grandpa had. The more I talked about the area & the more Sweetie looked at maps, fishing reports, events (think wooden boat show) and nature preserves, the more interested he got. The upshot is, next month we're taking a color tour to where my life began!

Waterfront property in Michigan's Lower Peninsula is less expensive on the east side the further north you go. Forget the west side. It's over developed and expensive.

So, once again, time will tell. In the meantime, we're sure enjoying my friend's visit and adjusting ourselves to these cooler temps.

Take care, Treesong

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"I'm bored"

I hear that so much, especially online. Leaves me wondering how people can continue to live a "boring" life surrounded by so much.

Never, in human history, have so many people had so much. Aside from food, shelter, clothing and a few other items, most people in this world do have access to much more. Despite the financial perils of this era, most people are surrounded by plenty.

Maybe you're one who's lost your home or your job but I'd be willing to bet you still have a lot - or you're living with someone who does.

And yet, every day, people are bored. Especially the young.

I think the problem is bored people have too much stuff. They're surrounded by cell phones, televisions, computers, videos, advertisements, fast food and a sea of counterparts who haven't a clue about what to do with all their time.

They're devoid of imagination and programmed to look outside themselves for answers to any nagging question or issue.

Their behavior has degenerated to ceaseless attempts to prop up their insecurity and frustrations. These navel gazers have lost empathy and respect for their elders, the ill or handicapped. They have obvious disdain for the lowly janitor who cleans the messes they've made while being pseudo stars or VIPs. Imitating success is where it's at. Working for success is blah.

Sitting in a quiet room alone is to be avoided at all cost. Doing nothing is fine as long as they're surrounded by expensive techno toys, drugs, alcohol and other like minded kids wasting away because life isn't interesting enough.

Keeping busy, partying or mimicing the current craze is all they know. And getting old is a far off reality that few believe will ever catch up with them.

Like a young, drunk man told us recently: "If I ever get like you people I'll shoot myself."

More likely, one of his "home boys" will shoot him. It's happened several times this year. Yet, while they claim to grieve their friends, they continue the behaviors that helped bring them to that point.

A friend said we shouldn't expect anything different. They've been raised by people who bury their troubles in drugs and booze and had little time for their children.

Each generation has its "misfits" but today that designation seems to fit more people. Is it any wonder?