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Master Plan June 6, 2016

Fourteen month ago (aka: April 2015, about two months into my recovery from death) I contrived a ‘master plan’ with a multi-prong purpose. Aside from the obvious of getting my affairs in order, I set my sights on recreating my life; making my surroundings most amenable to me; doing things I always wanted (but never had time) to do.

Thus the necessity to ‘clear the decks’, take stock, and renegotiate (with myself) what is ‘important’ to me… and what is not. Which, as I have pursued various means of ‘downsizing’, has provoked me to ponder the proverbial question: “What’s it all about?”

Why do we ‘do’ whatever we do? What makes one thing more interesting or important or worthwhile than another? And what it all comes down to for me is that once you have the comfort of a decent place to live and the security of knowing that you may reside there for as long as you wish and will always have sufficient nourishment, the only thing that makes anything truly worthwhile is feeling the warm-fuzzies that flow from convivial companionship.


Front entrance to the artisan workshop and gallery that my daughter and I put together so we could ‘yard sale’ our trash & treasure .

And for these last many months I have had the joy of working with my youngest daughter on a (HUGE) project: to de-clutter, reorganize and convert my backyard garage (pictured above) into the artisan workshop and gallery I’ve dreamed of since the day we moved to this household a decade ago.


Our yard sales have become popular with our neighbors who often consign clothing, books, and housewares to our yard sale.

We closed the shop over the winter, but reopened this past Sunday (June 5, 2016).


Our newly reorganized yard sale shop.

Though I know it may not look like it, the way we now have things set up, the left side of the above area now rather easily converts to 8′ x 12′ artisan workshop with workbench including table saw (not pictured) which are along the left wall, behind the hanging clothes.


Fancy dishware, athletic bags, home furnishings, hair curlers, school desks and gift baskets are among the ever-changing processional of oddities, goodies, and collectibles that parade through our gallery.

My daughter has dubbed the shop “Shaundeli” — and you can see more of the stuff we offer on our Facebook Page. We are planning now for the 4th of July weekend and invite you to come by for a visit and maybe to join us in a game of horsehoes…!!!

Because, like I said, it’s really all and only about the warm-fuzzies… <smile>

Anyway, the following pic is of the completed dinette-booth I created in the mid-cabin of my RV, which I initially set-up about 3 weeks ago save for the detailing, ie: since then I have fabricated and installed a ‘trim & support’ edge for the clear plastic tabletop, covered the (ugly green) cooler with a fabric skirt (which you cannot see in the pic), added a decorative (but durable) cover to the seat cushion, and topped it all off with a nifty decorative pillow.


My mid-cabin dinette.

So… it looks like I am ready for lunch on the road…!!! Now, to figure out just where I want to go…

Anyway, my Japan Chronicles shall continue next time with our visit to Hasedera Temple..(((hugs))) ~Christine






Sunday August 16, 2009

My Studio made marked progress today. Major movement of things to appropriate places. Twenty days (by my agenda) to having the project done, at least in the sense of having all my available resources (tools, supplies, workspace) in good order and having a yard sale of my excess over Labor Day weekend. 

My big project of the moment is figuring out how to get the locker full of refuse that accumulated in the course of cleaning to the local transfer station… which would be a snap if I had a pick-up truck… which (how blessed I am) my eldest son does… but his work schedule is the same as the hours of the transfer station, and thus he cannot do the deed for me. So we have to swap vehicles which hopefully will be tomorrow… but may have to wait until Tuesday.

Beyond that, tomorrow will be another day of modest labor with the objective of starting to organize merchandise for the yard sale, which means that I will be going thru every closet and cubby, winnowing wheat from chaff.  And I must say that I am mildly excited about all of this. It feels good, like the ‘right’ thing to be doing. And it always amazes me how, when I am totally in the groove of doing ‘the right thing’, things so sublimely come together as if by magical grace.

Today, for example, sweet Shawna and I had managed to sort and organize a mish-mash of lawn & garden equipment, household maintenance, plumbing, woodworking, and craft-resource things in a manner to enable us to relocate an old steel-cabinet sink to a place on a different wall where it will (eventually) be hooked up with drain and running water. And just as we were ready to move the beast, two young gentlemen friends of Shawna’s serendipitiously arrived and insisted to do the job for us.

Geeze, I love being a woman (grin). Not that we couldn’t have moved the sink… but it was so much easier for these two strapping young men. Thank God for the difference of the sexes!!!


My Studio August 15, 2009

Day 2 of cleaning and organizing what we have lovingly called ‘the shed’ since relocating to our pastoral premises 5 years ago. Tho it is much more than a shed, actually being a rather wonderful single car garage, set apart from my house by a comfortable yardspace and already having been set-up as some semblance of a workshop when we all moved in.

Five of us stormed this house like a lost tribe, parched from many days in the desert, immersing ourselves in an oasis. And since that day I have had held an image in my mind of what ‘the shed’ would look like when it was organized and set-up the way I envision it, which is as an artisan studio replete with the accoutrement to create mixed-media, involving tools like table and hand saws, drills, glues, putties, fabrics, odd bits of pieces of interesting metals, sometimes melded with computer aided graphcs and always an eye as much to making something useful as to making it art.

In fact as any true artist worth a tube of acrylics knows as an element of artistic gravity, art essentially cannot be made. Art somehow happens when the artisan assembles a variety of shapes, textures and colors in a unique combination.  The art magically emotes.

Also interestingly, the more intently we focus on ‘creating art’, the less likely it is to happen. That is, the magic of pure art must somehow coincidentally be stumbled upon and catching the artist off guard quite by surprize.

So that is the way I have seen ‘my studio’ — as a ‘created space’ in which this quality of imagineering can magically happen — since the day my horde moved in. And throughout that time, as the space was otherwise occuppied for storage or maintenance projects (usually somehow associated with my darling children <smile>), my vision remained and now is coming to life. Whe-e-e-e-e!!!!

Thus with September being my official 5 year anniversary here I am strategizing phase one of my master plan <grin>, which is essentially, as much as possible, develop ways for this house to support itself which, in acccord of my current bank balance, I have 90 days to do.

And so of course I shall too be seeking gainful employment and shall post my preliminary employment application to my LinkedIn profile and also here as a PDF after I’ve given it another read. I did submit it already to a couple of places on Friday, however, as it is necessary for me to seek employment with at least two prospective employers each week in order to be considered eligible for unemployment benefits… if I am ultimately qualified to recieve same… which I will not know for probably a month so I’m just gonna keep on truckin’ with my master plan and see what happens next.


A Stitch In Time… August 12, 2009

A lot of old sayings, no matter their relevance, have lost cognitive meaning in modern society. For example, I grew up with my elders cajoling me: “A stitch in time saves nine.” And I knew what that meant because my elders taught me how to mend and sew… a skill which seemingly today has fallen almost entirely to disuse, at least as my matriarchs practiced it.

Making it easier 'the next time'. By attaching info and tools necessary to 'get the job done' -- so long as whoever uses it keeps things together -- no one will ever have to waste time again 'looking up' or 'finding' what's necessary.

Making it easier 'the next time'. By attaching info and tools necessary to 'get the job done' -- so long as whoever uses it keeps things together -- no one will ever have to waste time again 'looking up' or 'finding' what's necessary.

The overarching lesson, of course, was to keep things in good repair; ready to be put to immediate service, because doing so made life (in the big picture) somehow easier.

But the small lessons were multitudinous, coupling abstract dimensions of creative invention with perfected-by-practice mechanical skills — ie: have you ever stitched-up a split crotch?

Today I shared a measure such ‘stitch in time’ reasoning with my youngest daughter, age sixteen. Our task, however, had nothing to do with sewing.

Our weedeater needed a fuel refil. Not a big deal, except neither of us knew the correct mix of oil to add to the gasoline and the person in our household who has routinely attended this duty (my youngest son, age 18) is not in residence with us anymore — thus we now get to learn ‘how to’ <grin>.

And actually, I pretty much know how to do such stuff, at least in the general sense. But I didn’t know the exact oil to fuel ratio to use with this particular piece of equipment, so I called a local dealer of our particular unit and was told the correct mix is 50-to-1.

The oil tells right on the label how much of the product to add to the gas, but the instructions were for 2-gallons of fuel and we have a one-gallon can, so we divided things down to arrive at the fact that we needed to mix 2.6 ounces of oil with one gallon of gas.

So far, this took about half an hour.

Then we looked around the house to find some sort of appropriate ‘scoop’ that was ‘just the right size’ to measure 2.6 ounces and found something that works.

This took another 15 minutes or so.

Finally, we were able to add the oil to the gas, mix it thoroughly,  fill the weedwacker and get done what we set out to do…

But first, by attaching the measuring tool and the mixing instructions to the gas can which contains the fuel-oil-mix, we made sure we would not have to spend our time spinning our wheeels looking things up and finding what we need ‘the next time’ the weedwacker runs out of gas, admirably illustrating the premise that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.