A Better Year

I often have long debates with myself about this blog. I am at odds with myself over what this blog really is about. Is it about my life and the seemingly constant shift in my own, personal purpose for being? Is it an artist’s blog about how I view my work and where I find inspiration? Inspiration and art is so much a part of my personal life that the two can’t be easily separated. So my feeling is that to share the art, I have to share the artist. That feeling leads to the inner debate over how much of the artist should I share? Where do I draw the line?This internal conflict have caused me to abandon many of the posts I have begun to write over the years and leave the entire blog apparently abandoned. Every time I abandon a post, the next post is harder to start, because I doubt the likelihood that I will actually publish. That sucks.

I guess the biggest hang-up I have regarding what not to post is the fact that in the time since I started this blog it seems as though my household has faced a barrage of tragic events with such small windows of reprieve that to write much about my life may come across as a bit, well… pathetic. And who wants to publish a personal pitty party? Not me.

But I have posted some of our past tragedies and have even put some of our shortcomings on public display. Each of these posts described obstacles faced in 2012.

The overwhelming magnitude of 2013 was so much greater than the prior year that I haven’t found a voice with which to express the catastrophic events we have endured. My pride has kept me from admitting that our own poor judgment and the fact that the most paralyzing of the losses were once again created by the few people we chose to allow into our very isolated lives. When my sweetheart and I were forced to be away from home for several months, the handful of people we believed could be trusted completely managed to deprive us of every last material thing we owned. We returned home to find there was no home, no contents of our home, no vehicles and the inventory of our shop had been stolen as well. By the end of the summer we were left with the clothes on our backs, our chihuahuas and eachother, plus a criminal police report that law enforcement refused to acknowledge because the thieves were people we knew. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, much less publish.

The reason I mention any of it now is to provide a backdrop for the photo I am posting today. My sweetheart came home last month from a short walk through the neighborhood, looking for the good stuff people in the lovely city of Dallas throw out, with a small bounty of goodies. Among the loot, I discovered a 4-compartment for drawer organization and instantly knew that it deserved to be made into something more. I used duct tape to attach a piece of fiberboard to the top of the unit as well as create a hinge which allows the fiberboard to flip up, creating an opening through which access to the compartments can be accessed. The final result is a combination craft box and lapdesk/portable workstation. The final touch was added during the last week of 2013: a Zentangle-inspired reminder that this year doesn’t have to be as tragic as the two before it. I hope that prediction is correct; I can’t take much more adversity this year.

I hope you will leave a comment and let me know what you think of it. Don’t forget to pin it to one of your Pinterest boards, please. I appreciate every single pin you post from this site!

So….. (drum roll)… Here it is: Better Year, by yours-truly:

Better year artwork

“This Year Will Be Better” Zentangle-inspired DIY craft box

Know Who Your Friends Are

Don’t Give Up!
No matter how much time has passed since your last entry don’t be discouraged, what’s important is that you write in your journal today!

~By Rachel Bruner, About.com Guide

Hi, again! Sooooo much has happened since my last post! I hardly know where to begin. No—I doknow that I should start by offering my honest gratitude to those of you who have been with me through my absence from this blog and those of you who have not been with me but are here now to see where this repurposing notion will take me from here.

And now: time for a little catching up, I suppose. Let’s see, when I last posted I was well behind on my vow to publish images of the apartment(s) I share with my sweetheart. While I hadn’t managed to post the tattle-tail images of the tendency to hoard that I share with my sweetheart, I did manage to take a few pics to share with the morbidly curious among you. After all these weeks, the photos are online (the first gallery, below) for the world to see the stuff with which we had cluttered our world prior to the second week of February.

Even I can admit that these pics may seem a little redundant, but I didn’t have the chance to finish taking photos before our household was struck my an unexpected and life-changing event that nearly cost my sweetheart’s life. By a miracle, my sweetheart is still with me, but the initial result of the unexpected event was more than 40 days of in-patient care at our regional Trauma I hospital, a quarter of that time my sweetheart spent fighting for his life in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit.

Looking back at the clutter that had given me so much grief prior to the second week of February the mess doesn’t seem so unmanageable. Very little in life seems unmanageable prior to the event which sent us to hospital-hotel for so long. But we did learn first-hand the truth behind the adage that says “you find out who your friends are when you’re down in a ditch.” The three people from whom we expected the most help and support—taking care of the little things like caring for our dogs and keeping our home safe and secure—during the six weeks we were sequestered at the hospital flat-out robbed us blind within a day or two of the tragic event, and other “friends” riffled through what was left of our hoard under the guise of “securing remaining valuables” on our behalf rather than packing our things onto a moving truck as they had agreed.

I don’t think you can imagine our heartbreak when we set foot in our home for the first time after 6 weeks of inpatient care we learned that in our absence we had not only been served an eviction on each of our apartments, but we were on our own to pack up and move our possessions under a three-day deadline. A small sample of the state of our possessions as we discovered them is documented in the gallery below…

We did manage, miraculously, to load out the apartments into a storage unit by way of a U-Haul truck before the constable arrived with a trash out crew on the deadline date, and we are both still here, alive and well and together. We are calling that a win, despite the “help” of our “friends.”

Now we are determined to keep that win working for us going forward. We have both come to terms, I think, with our psychological quirks and we’ve decided that we are going to make those quirks work for us rather than try to force ourselves to work around them. To that end, we’ve just rented a 2500 square foot warehouse (including two office rooms and a shower/restroom which are all topped with sub-flooring that will function as living quarters) with permission to build-out the interior to suit our residential needs.

There’s a lot of work ahead of us between moving our things from storage to the warehouse and constructing our living quarters. We’re pretty strapped for cash after all we’ve been through, but our plans for the living quarters are based upon building most of it from salvaged and reclaimed materials. Beyond that, we’re facing the set up and operation of what we hope will be a rewarding salvage, repurposing and resale business. Our major obstacle will be transforming our mustang convertible into a truck and trailer for the business. It’s all pretty exciting but a little bit scary, too. We’ll keep you posted on our progress… We shouldn’t have any trouble coming up with photos to post as we work it out. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by again.