Archive for the ‘projects’ Tag

01-29-2016 Journal – A Creative Motivational Block!   2 comments

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I hate to admit this but I suspect I’m suffering from something akin to writers block. It’s a first for me and it’s puzzling.  In all my years of writing reports, letters, and thousand of blog posts I’ve never had a problem thinking of ideas and putting them to paper. That’s why this current creative hiccup is so bothersome. 

I can’t find any mentions of this malady anywhere so let’s just call it a "creative motivational block". I’m still having all of the creative ideas I could ever want or need but my ability to sit down and get them started has become more difficult.  I have of dozens of ideas everyday that are inventive, interesting and unusual but it seems to take forever to put brush to canvas or pencil to sketch book.  It’s maddening.

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The second part of my problem is really not a problem at all. For the first time in my life I’m financially able to spend the necessary money to obtain the supplies needed to do these projects.  In years past it was difficult at times to come up with funds which forced me to step outside the box a little and use materials I never thought possible. Maybe the best part of my projects in the past was that ability to overcome those challenges and still get the job done. I really don’t know for sure.

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As always the ideas keep coming and while some of them sound good in my head they’re eventually discarded. Others are easy to do and all it requires of me is to sit down and get started. That’s the bloody rub. 

I’ll be ready to start a current project when all  of a sudden more bright ideas come to me and I get sidetracked by them.  I’ll stop to write a few notes on the new ideas and the interest in the other begins to ebb.  It’s a vicious cycle that I’m trying desperately to put a stop to with only moderate success.

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I feel at times that I’m so concerned with getting my ideas exactly the way I imagined them that I’m losing the ability to adapt to changes that always seem to come along.  I’m in the middle of a project now that I’ve been fiddling with for a few weeks.  I’ve thought it through over and over again and visualized it to completion. It’s ninety percent complete but I’m lacking that final push.

I’ve always loved challenges but this one is a doozy.

01-07-2016 Journal–2016’s First Salsa Day!   Leave a comment

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What do you do when you’re bored?  Everyone seems to have a few ways of dealing with boredom and so do I.  When I’m bored it’s usually being bored with the people around me and occasionally with life in general.  Over the years I’ve  had a very low tolerance for boring people up until the time I finally became one.

It’s only January seventh and I’m already going a little crazy being stuck in the house for most of the day.  I read a quotation once upon a time and it’s stuck with me over the years.  I’m not sure who the author of the quote was but I still find it pertinent all these years later. “Everyone is a bore to someone. That is unimportant. The thing to avoid is being a bore to oneself.”

Help Me!  I beginning to find myself really effing boring.  I plan every year to have a sufficient number of chores and projects to help me through these long winter months.  My biggest problem this year is I’m not the least bit motivated to do anything. The situation started becoming a real problem this week which forced me into taking immediate action yesterday.

The one thing that always helps me to get my mind right is to cook something. I made a quick trip to the supermarket and picked up all of the necessary ingredients and spent one evening watching Netflix and dicing jalapeno peppers, Serrano peppers, and habanero peppers. Then dicing piles of red and white onions, sweet bell peppers, parsley, and cilantro.  Yesterday was to be the first Salsa Day for 2016.

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‘First prepare the jars and lids.’

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I started by adding all of the ingredients together and allowing them to cook slowly. Then the hard work began as I seasoned and tasted, seasoned and tasted, and using a variety of hot peppers set the level of heat I was looking for.  I wanted this batch to be as hot as possible but not so hot that people couldn’t eat it.  It took a while but I was pleased with the results.

I also love the flavor of beans and use some combinations of them in many dishes. Since the salsa I was making is Roasted Corn & Black Bean I needed a way to add bean flavor without having the salsa look like a three-bean salad. I took three varieties of beans and pureed them into a heavy slurry. I slowly poured the slurry into the pot and hoped for the best. I also hoped that slurry would thicken the consistency of the salsa as it cooked.  I really didn’t want to use tomato paste because the flavor is almost too strong. 

After all was said and done here is the result.  Thirteen quarts of Roasted Corn & Black Bean salsa that’s hot enough to make your head sweat and bring tears to your eyes.  Just the way I like it.

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My boredom disappeared almost immediately and one thing is for certain. The flavor of this salsa is as far away from boring as you can get.

Bring on the chips it’s time to eat.

09-19-2015 Journal–Random Unimportant Acts!   Leave a comment

Today’s posting is just a little of this and a little of that, nothing earth shattering by any means.  With Fall and the holidays in my immediate future I’m just taking a few deep breaths and resting up for the on-slot to come.  I’ll need all of my energy to deal with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and everything that entails.

Topic one is the ongoing Dish Network table project.  I was able to complete the first two coats of red paint, the staining of the base, and the creation of the coax cable pieces needed to make it a little more interesting. It’s coming together fairly well with only a few minor problems that were easily dealt with.

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The hard part is coming.  I finally have the finished version of the mosaic for the table top laid out but getting it installed perfectly will be a challenge. 

Topic Two is the garden cleanup.  Yesterday I removed many of the plants that have been producing for most of the Summer.  The cucumbers, zucchini’s, beans, and kohlrabi’s made their way to the compost pile.  I left the tomatoes and peppers alone for now.  In another two weeks they too will be gone.  All in all 2015 was a very productive year for us.

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Topic three; After working in the garden for a while my better-half and I made a quick trip to Federal Jacks restaurant and micro-brewery in Kennebunkport. I was in dire need of seafood and a large cold glass of Goat Island Light beer. Here’s the view from the second floor dining room overlooking the harbor.

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And last but not least here’s a cold glass of Goat Island Light. As I’ve stated many times before, I’m not a beer drinker.  After all these years I finally found a decent beer I can occasionally drink and enjoy.  I never thought it could happen but I’m glad it did.

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09-13-2015 Journal–Rainy Day Projects!   Leave a comment

With the season change looming and with a few days of rain expected, it’s time to get back to work on some of my side projects. One in particular needs immediate attention because I’m running out of time to have it done by November 14th.  It’s a weird but special gift for my better-half the beer connoisseur.  On top of being a beer expert she’s also a collector of sorts. Over the last twenty-five years she’s religiously saved bottle caps from every type of beer she’s ever tasted.  We ended up with a garbage bag filled with hundreds of beer memories (bottle caps) but had no idea what to do with them. 

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It’s funny how things fall together at times. Just as I was cutting our ties with the Dish Network by removing their equipment from the side of our house, I had a revelation.  I took the dish and all of it’s component parts, reconstructed them into a sort of interesting but weird side table.

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As I was working on the table I looked over to the corner of the workshop and saw the bag of bottle caps.  It was then I decided to use the colorful and interesting bottle caps to create a mosaic top for my Dish Network Memorial Table. What better gift for a beer connoisseur than a one-of-a-kind table for her to sit her beer on.

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I used a floor-leveler compound to flatten out the dish interior a little and then got to work on the mosaic top. The wide range of bottle cap colors surprised me a bit but made the job much easier.

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Two coats of high gloss paint will make it pretty and mounting it  on a wooded base will keep it sturdy enough for everyday use.  Then it’s adhesive, bottle cap placement, and a decorative grout.  I’ll post my future progress  (if I have any) and hopefully this thing will be finished in time for the birthday celebration.

01-02-2015 Journal – Welcome to 2015!   Leave a comment

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Well we’ve all survived another year.  I guess we should be congratulated but maybe not.  Over the New Years holiday I made the mistake of catching up on some TV watching. I should have known better but as always I thought there might be something interesting on. How stupid am I?

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I was working on a project and had the TV playing in the background. I was excited about the project since I’ve been working on it for more years than I care to think about.  I was working intently but my subconscious was inundated with three hours of religious doom and gloom. The "End of Days" and "Armageddon" we’re just some of the topics I was hearing and it depressed me enough that I turned the channel. I then found myself in the midst of a mini-marathon of the Walking Dead program which for me was even worse than the religious nonsense. 

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The bottom line was that I disconnected the damn TV and fell back on the good old reliable music that I love.  I recently created a new playlist which is killer. It’s a collection of three of my all time favorite female blues singers, Anita Baker, Billie Holiday, and Amy Winehouse.  It was absolutely wonderful with Billie singing Loverman,  followed closely by Amy singing Back to Black, and then Anita bringing it home with Sweet Love. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

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Back to this crazy project of mine.  Over a ten year period back in the nineties I created a collection of collages containing articles and things from my life. Some were four feet square with an variety of other sizes as well. I called them my life panels.  I always intended to have them framed and then put together to create a wall.  Here I am twenty-five years later and even though they’ve been in storage for all of that time they still look pretty good. They’ve never been displayed at all but have moved from place to place with with me awaiting enough wall space to put them up. 

This current man-cave of mine has slowly turned into someplace special but I still don’t have enough wall space.  I solved that problem this week by turning my life panels into the ceiling above my computer desk. The picture that follows was taken as I was lying on my back on the floor looking up.

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What better way to start 2015 than to resurrect my life panels and to display them proudly.  I can now lean back in my chair and see more than twenty years of my life displayed for my enjoyment. Happy New Year to me. . . .

AND TO YOU!

03-27-2013   2 comments

I’m a bit tired today after yesterday’s drywall work.  If you’re expecting anything spectacular on this blog today you’re sure to be disappointed.  I often hear people on their blogs complaining about writer’s block. I’ve never had that problem but I seem to be suffering from a block for which I have no name.  It could possibly be called an ‘artists block’ or a ‘remodeling block’, or even a ‘get-the-hell-out-of-bed block’.  I’m feeling like a big giant lump with no motivation to do anything except write about how lazy I’m feeling.  Which for the record is mighty effing lazy. At the same time my mind is racing and I’m visualizing work that still needs to be completed on the remodel tomorrow.

Unfortunately for me when I’m working any kind of project I’m consumed not just by the work that I’ll be doing but by constant mental activity that I can’t turn off. It can also make sleeping extremely difficult.  Even after having my better-half tell me to take the day off, I struggle.  I should be relaxing and enjoying my down time but for me there is no real down time.

She’ll be talking to me about work or family and if I’m lucky I may get every other word or just a general idea of what the subject matter is.  I suspect she thinks I’m getting forgetful but that isn’t the case at all.  It also isn’t that I don’t care or I’m not interested, I’m just focused on my tasks at hand almost 100%.  It’s totally out of my control for the most part and it’s something I’ve resigned myself to dealing with.

Even as a kid I was consumed by my painting, sculpting, reading, and once I started something I kept at it until it was completed.  Especially my art work.  I’d start a painting and would work around the clock with little or no food or drink until it was finished.   I love that feeling of being in the moment and just staying there as long as possible is a real pleasure for me. 

At times I have difficulty getting a project started and will procrastinate a little. It’s not that I don’t want to do the project, it’s because I know that once I start I probably won ‘t be able to stop.  You could be in the same room with me and during those times you cease to exist. Even my surroundings in the room become a blur except for the piece I’m working on.  It can be maddening when interruptions occur  and I lose my temper and become difficult. 

I thought in my younger days that this compulsion would lessen as I grew older but it has not.  It’s been both a blessing and a curse over the years but I’m certain I would miss it if for some reason it just disappeared. I guess I’ll do my best to relax today but both my better-half and I know what I’ll be thinking about.  Tomorrows project.

03-26-2013   Leave a comment

Another winter in Maine is finally taking it’s last freaking gasp and will soon be gone. I have only one thing to say to that, "Good-bye, Good Riddance, and Go Away".  In my opinion it’s overstayed it’s welcome by at least two weeks already.  It’s much like a house guest who stays too long causing you to start out liking them, then disliking them, and finally detesting them.

I’m sitting in bed refusing to get up and start another day with the same mind crunching routine which I’ve fallen into of late.  I first wake up slowly out of odd and strange dreams which usually amuse me, but not today. I make a bathroom pit stop, feed the cat, get my coffee, and return to the bed with my IPad.  As I begin writing I’m also thinking about my work list for the day and cringe a little.  After ten minutes I return to the kitchen for another cup of coffee and more visualization of the tasks ahead of me.

The room remodel has taken over my days but is much c.loser to completion than this time last week.  Ninety percent of the drywall has been installed with the final sheets in place by this coming Friday.  Then it’s a few days of sanding, priming,  painting, putting up the new fixtures, wall plugs, light switches and baseboards and then DONE.

In order to complete these kinds of projects you really must have the proper motivation or it could stall and never be completed.  That’s the job of my better-half. I’ve called her many things over the years but for right now she’s my motivator.  Part of her skill set is knowing just when to tweak my nose about things to restart my engines and then haughtily walk away pretending she doesn’t care in the least.  Some people might call that passive-aggressive, but not me. I call that motivation with a twist. For example I hear things like this, "Oh honey the room is really shaping up and the drywall looks amazing.  It always surprises me that you are able to do this work as well as you do. It looks like there’s a bit of a gap between those two sheets.  Is it supposed to be that wide? Will it make the drapes I just bought look like their hanging crooked? Don’t forget to fix that before we start painting."  And so it goes!

She has no subtlety at all.  She started a week ago arriving home from her shopping trips with questions about what furnishings would look best in the new room.  What kind of older, cool looking vanity she would purchase for her huge collection of makeup and lotions.  She dragged me out one day to just visit a few stores for an hour or so.   I ended up looking at throw rugs and other assorted furnishings for the new room.  She’s about as subtle as a hand grenade.

Regardless of all the gamesmanship the room will be completed at least two weeks ahead of schedule.  Hooray for me because I’ve been assured and promised there would be no more major projects until next Fall.  The translation of that promise is actually this, "Honey, I think the living room is looking too peachy. I’m really sick of that color and maybe we should change it out before any of the summer guests arrive.  What do you think?

Like I said, subtle!