Sunday, April 23, 2017

What I Was Thinking

Quite possibly some of you might've been wondering why I would ever think of moving into a senior housing situation, after reading last week's blog post...being that I'm as independent-minded and self-reliant as I am.

The reason was, five years ago when I put myself on the wait list for that place, I was living in and operating out of a place of fear ~ fear of what would become of me, fear of the future, fear of not having enough money to live on, fear of going forward into my later years on my own.

I've changed a lot in the past five years.  I no longer have any of those fears, even the fear of not having enough money although I'm still very low income.  True, the overriding reason I've been seeking another place to live has been financial.  But I learned quickly, last weekend, that giving up my independence to save a hundred bucks a month isn't worth it -- at least it wasn't worth it in the case of that first place.

So I'll see about the second place when it becomes available.  But it's going to have to be pretty perfect to get me to leave Rose Cottage at this point.

In other news, I've been doing a bit of watercolor.  May be I'll post a couple images next time.  I really do love it, but I haven't had a lot of time to devote to it.  Seems like there's never enough time to do everything I want to do, even at this point in life, where all my time is my own.

Hope you all have a great week! 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Privacy and Priorities

I got a call this week about an apartment available in the low-income senior place in Fortuna where I'd been on the wait list for five years.  Some of you might remember that two years ago I turned down a place there because I simply wasn't ready to move into "the last place I'll likely live."

Well, I made it to the top of the list again, so they called.  Before actually seeing the place, I kind of figured it should definitely go for it...but after seeing it on Friday and thinking about it for 24 hours, I decided not to take it.

For one, it's just too small.  Despite the fact that it has a bit more square footage than Rose Cottage, the layout is such that I couldn't get everything I have in there...and I'm not downsizing again to fit into a tiny living space that ultimately wouldn't support who I am.

The process, though, enabled me to get a handle on my priorities at this point in my life.  In my price range (read: very low income), space is always going to be limited in any future rental.  So there'll be trade-offs ~ and what I clearly realized is that I'd rather have room to have two studio tables and lots of shelving, than a dedicated bedroom that I'd hardly spend any time in, and/or space for a kitchen table and chairs. 

In the schema of my life, those things aren't really important.  What IS important, is that I have adequate space to create.  So I'm willing to do without those "luxuries," in order to continue to be who I am.

Most if not all of those senior community places are designed for a different kind of senior, a senior person, perhaps, of a slightly different era.  Someone who spends most of their time sitting and reading, or watching TV, someone who eats primarily prepared meals or takes many meals at the senior dining hall at the complex, someone who participates in the kinds of group activities inevitably profferred by these places.  I'm not that kind of senior.

Everyone I know who's my age or older has an active life of one sort or another.  Even though I no longer travel, and even though I spend a significant amount of time alone and don't partake of most of the cultural offerings in Humboldt County, I am active in my own way.  I'm always doing or making something.  I'm up and about a lot, inside and outside a lot in clement weather. 

And then there's the privacy thing.  I'll always be an introvert, I'll always choose to spend most of my time on my own, I'll always prefer not to do things everybody else is doing, I'll always be as self-reliant as possible.  It's not necessary for me to live in a community of age-related folks merely for the company or so I don't feel isolated.

So, all that said, I have an application into another low-income senior place, one that's newer, where the units have many more amenities.  The wait there could be another two years, since I just applied last week.  When I get the call on that place, I'll check it out and do my due diligence.  If it isn't going to work for me, then I'll simply stay here in Rose Cottage for the duration. 

It's costing me more here than either of the two senior communities would, but I've got to be comfortable.  And despite it's small square footage, lack of space for a bed and kitchen table, Rose Cottage perfectly serves my creative self.  I've got good neighbors and we're our own little neighborhood within the mobile home park, a killer view of the Eel River Valley mere steps from my front door, a great view of the sky from my west-facing windows, it's quiet, I'm completely independent and alone when I want to be, and BeeGee is happy here.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Go Fish!

I've finally got around to cutting out fish photos from a tropical fish book I got a while back.  To save space in my tiny digs, what I often do is tear or cut out the pages of a book that I know I'll use, and jettison the rest of the book.  That's what I did with these fish and a bunch more.

I've done a lot of paper cutting recently.  It's very relaxing, a kind of meditation in its own right.  And then my bins are full of ready-to-use collage fodder.

The second image is my last collage in my fourth travelers notebook insert.  I'm readying the fifth to begin using.

The rain doesn't want to stop in northern California...although April is often a rainy month anyway.  We have days of still-wintery cold temps with a bit of sunshine, then it'll rain again for a couple days.  Big sigh...

But overall, life is grand.  Have a great week. xx

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Natural History

I've always been a lover of natural history, but I never really indulged that love until I started doing these collages back in December. 

Natural history books with illustrations are what I am constantly on the lookout for now.  I will use books with photographs, as opposed to illustrations, but I much prefer the latter.  I never conceived of a good use for these images, until recently.

Some images I'm finding online, when I haven't found a book source for them.  If you're not familiar with it, check out the Biodiversity Heritage Library on Flickr.  All images there are copyright-free and can be downloaded and printed on an as-needed basis.  Save them to your computer in the "original resolution," and images will print perfectly.

Another place I've found images is in those Dover books of illustration and design, many of which come with a CD.  I've borrowed a few from the library, copied the contents of the CD onto my computer, and printed images when I've needed them.  These images are also at very high resolution so they print well.

I've also been indulging my love of washi tape recently.  I found a seller at Etsy that I particularly like buying from, because he has such a wonderful selection of tapes available.  His shop name is ZakkaLover.

I'm gravitating toward watercolors now.  I've started following a number of watercolorists on Instagram as well as a couple artists on YouTube.  I've tried a number of different brands of paints in the last few months, and finally settled on a small set of half-pans by Prima, and a larger set of tubes by Mijello Mission Gold. This week I'll get some GOOD paper, Arches.

I've almost always skimped before on my supplies (well, except for Golden Acrylics), but I'm done doing that.  Life's short; use the good stuff.

Anyway, I'm not sure yet what I want to paint, but I likely won't do a lot of representational stuff...much like with acrylics.  I want to experiment with the medium, more than anything.  And experiment with interpreting what I see, physically or in my mind's eye.

I did try watercolors once, way back in the late 1970s.  I was on Maui then, and I used to see a gal paint at the beach I frequented.  So I took a class at the art center on Maui (Kalua Nui).  I used cheap watercolor paper at the time, that much I remember, also that I was trying to be too literal.  I think watercolor is a medium where you have to be able to see things ~ or at least be able to translate them to paper ~ more figuratively, more loosely.

So I'm going to give watercolor another go.

The images below are some of my recent outgoing mail.  I'm collaging on the backs of the envelopes as well, most of the time.

Have a wonderful week.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Sunny Side

Today is purportedly the first day of spring...and it's raining, for a change.

Today is also the first day of the rest of my life, as it is for everyone else.
I've decided to start my life over, to begin again from right where I am.

That old script ~ the one where all I see everywhere is limitation, the one where the options appear to be few, the one that says "This is who I am and this is the way it has to be," was never my script to begin with.  I didn't write it.  I'm not directing it any longer.

Everything (well, many things) with me has always been heavy, portentous, serious, laden with shit (fear, shame, guilt, yada yada yada).

Enough with that.  I've got the rest of my life to live.  I've had more than a lifetime's fill of psyching myself out.  I just want to live the rest of my life in peace, and be who I am without constantly apologizing for myself needlessly.

This is who I am ~ a great person, talented, creative, smart, intelligent, competent, productive and compassionate, with a good heart.  I'm authentic, I'm sensitive, I always work to my best ability, and I try to do the right thing always.  What more do I need? 

Friday, March 17, 2017

False Spring

In this possibly-the-wettest-winter-on-record in northern California, we had an intimation of spring for a few days, several days ago.  The temps were in the mid- to high-60s, the skies were clear and sunny, I sat on my patio, I wore aloha shirts and flipflops.  But now it's raining again. Winter will end at some point in the near future...eventually.

Totally different subject ~ now that I am no longer following anything political, and by that I mean I went so far this time as to even cancel my print subscription to The Nation, in addition to ditching Facebook again, and Twitter, all of which were my only sources of news...with those obvious distractions gone, I am feeling less connected again to the world.  This is where I'd post that cartoon, if I had access to it, that says, "My desire to know what's happening in the world is directly opposed to my desire to stay sane," or something like that.

It's better this way, of course, the sane way.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Way Better

Glad to report I'm feeling much better...if only because I decided to stop following what's happening politically.  It's all so aggravating that it was literally making me sick, but there's nothing I can do about any of it.  It's just what's so, now.

A deeper equanimity comes when we learn how to be with our life as it is, not as we would like it to be.

Self preservation guided me to turn away from all that and focus on my life, the life I've been given to lead, the life where I can have some impact on things. 

And all is well here in my tiny corner of the universe.  I have a lot of blessings, and no real complaints.  It's all working.

In addition to this week's collages, I've been working on a series of gift tags with bird collages on one side and bird stamp collages on the other.  To give away to my peeps.

I really love making things and giving them away.  I typically keep one or two pieces from any group of things I make ~ tags, ATCs, postcards, etc. ~ and distribute the rest over time to penpals and snailmates.

I've had better-than-usual luck this year finding good stuff at estate sales, book sales and the like ~ see photos below.  Perhaps it's because I have a specific focus now in what I'm looking for, or possibly it's just luck.

Most of the stuff below is from a recent estate sale.  The second image is a haul from my fave used bookstore in Eureka.  There was an earlier estate sale as well, but I must have deleted the photo of my goodies from that one.

I have more ephemera and images from vintage books now than I'll ever use.  Some of this stuff also goes to snailmates, who always send me some of their finds in exchange.

What a lovely world it is, exchanging precious things with kindred souls around the world.

And the Fortuna Library's annual book sale is tomorrow.  I'll likely not stop collecting materials now, even though I have enough.  The thrill of the hunt for good stuff is great fun, and I have no intention of depriving myself of enjoyment.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Not Good

Not much to say.  Just watching in horror as the rules, regulations and rights of this previously-relatively-civil society are stripped the issues that divide this country become deeper, wider and everything that has held this country, the world, this planet in precarious balance is being dystopia begins to set in.

I haven't been sleeping well.  I've had heart palpitations quite often, lately.  I feel less than great these days...although not sick with anything nameable.

Except perhaps disgust, dismay, distress, disquiet...