Posts Tagged ‘resolutions’

Goals, Dreams, Hopes

“Do what makes you happy”

I have already accomplished one goal (website debugging) and my artist friend, Mary, has pointed me in the direction of another (making cabochons), so I figure I am starting the year in good form. That, and I didn’t have a hang-over this morning.

WRITE. Blog more often. Edit some long standing manuscripts. Keep up my personal journal. Send letters and cards more often (snail mail, the real deal).

PAINT. Bigger, better, more often. Take a class. Acrylics, gouache, oil, maybe even watercolors. Pastels. Colored pencils. On canvas, on metal, on wood, on ceramic, on glass. Maybe even on a wall or the side of a bathtub. Definitely on the stairs.

WEBSITE. I can check off getting it debugged. I paid someone else to do that this afternoon. After that, it will be maintaining and adding new content. (The website is different than this blog – I’ll post the link at a later date. I want it debugged first.)

CREATE. This is different from painting. Sculpt. Experiment with textures. Make more masks. Costumes for cosplay. Faerie houses. Polymer clay creations. Send my paintings off to make cards and cabochons.

GARDEN. Every opportunity. New plants. Harvest berries and grapes and apples and make jams, apple butter, and just plain eat the harvest. Vegetables. Kill weeds naturally Encourage birds.

PHOTOGRAPHY. Every.Chance.I.Get. Have the camera at the ready and my phone (love that macro lens on mine!) charged at all times. Experiment. Birds, flowers, insects. Food, beer, and what my coffee cup is up to at any given time.

My coffee cup painted Italy/T-Rex one morning. The designs are often interesting. I post the pics on Instagram.

INSTAGRAM. Follow more. post more. @thejacidawn Build my art business.

REMODEL. I have my Pinterest account full of ideas. My husband, when I showed him some of my ideas, said, “I’m not the handyman you think I am.” I replied, “I didn’t think you were going to do these. I am.” Because, yes, you are not a handyman – after 39 years of wedded bliss, I have this figured out.

My projects include: painting the press-board stairs after I pull the ugly carpet off of them. Paint the bathroom floor or tile it. Trim the parquet in the kitchen. Paint the kitchen cupboards with chalk paint. I have more in mind, but I’ll start there.

DE-CLUTTER. This is huge. We need to clear out the “collectibles”. The vintage, the odd, the antique. I have books (paperbacks) that I can let go of. I have boxes of stuff that needs to be put into scrap books. I’ve already cleaned my closet of work clothes (I’m keeping a pair of black slacks and a simple black skirt for professional events or funerals). I see either an Etsy or E-Bay store in my future.

That’s the short list. I start tomorrow morning. (C’mon – today is a business holiday. And I already paid for a clean up of my website. #goalaccomplished )

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I have decided not to post my resolutions this year (well, maybe ONE – at the end of this post). I’m too busy reveling in fewer working hours and loving the new job.

One thing I love about the new job is that I leave for work much later now. I used to race the other neighbors out of the ‘hood at 0-dark-thirty. They all headed south on our street and I turned north. I suspect we all eventually went north, but I was the only one who deliberately headed out to use the Little Bridge (Oregon City Arch Bridge) in order to avoid the mess of traffic on I-205.

Friday, the 2nd of January, I stood out in the cold, scraping ice, when my next-door neighbor from the south side came by. He was walking his dog, Levi. Levi is a blue merle cow dog of some sort – not quite an Aussie Shepherd. Phil doesn’t really live next to me: his mother does. Phil stays there when he isn’t working.

We stood and caught up a little on life and then Levi wandered over and peed on our newspaper. I started laughing. Phil looked embarrassed. Levi looked satisfied.

The paper is wrapped in a plastic sleeve to protect it from Oregon rain (and dog piss, apparently). I assured Phil that it was OK and I carried the paper up to the front porch (sans plastic cover) for my husband. (My husband said, “Well, a guy has to have something to aim at…”)

Today, I headed out with Harvey for a walk and we met Phil at the same place: the end of our driveway. This is the first time Levi and Harvey have officially met each other. There were sniffs, some tail wagging, and at least one excited whine. No growls, no hackles bared: the dogs like each other. Then Levi went and peed in the same spot the newspaper had been the day before.

Phil told me that today was not a good day for his mother. Virginia had an upper respiratory infection and can hardly breathe. She has dementia and this is the main reason Phil hangs around. Two years ago, his father, Bob, passed away after a massive heart attack. Bob was a great neighbor and I wish I had known he passed when he did – I would have gone to his funeral. But I didn’t learn until months later when I met Phil out walking around the block. Since that day, whenever I meet Phil out there, we talk about hings: his mother, his divorce, my husband’s brush with Atrial Fibrillation, the economy, and the weird neighbors to Virginia’s north (and directly behind us).

Later today, I was outside taking down all of the Christmas lights and decorations. I heard a friendly, “Hi Neighbor!” and turned to see Joe.

Joe is one of The Neighbors directly behind us and to the north of Virginia. There are three of them, all siblings. The sisters and Joe. I don’t know the whole story on them, but they are all on disability of some sort and they rent the place from the guy who refuses to fix the fence his tree squashed 7 years ago.

The guy who owns the place is a certified A-hole. His tree dropped a number of large tree-sized branches in a wind storm: one damaged Virginia’s roof and gutter, and another crushed the chain link between our house and his rental. He owns the fence.

In Oregon, fences are owned by whoever built them and what property they lie on. We have four neighbors who own fences around our property, and we own fence on one neighbor’s property. Three of our neighbors are awesome and responsible (and, actually, WE replaced the fence that Harvey ate because it was OUR dog who ate the fence that belonged to the other neighbor).

Landlord Guy refused to pay for the repairs to Virginia’s house and he refused to repair the fence between our properties (despite the fact that his renters have a large dog and we have two). He did not make points with Virginia’s husband, Bob, or with us. I put up a bamboo screen and wired it to the broken chain link fence. Works quite well.

The sisters are … strange. One loves to landscape and she’s done an incredible job in the rental yard, BUT – she landscapes in her bikini. Think Twiggy at age 60. Hence the bamboo screen.

The other sister has a pet tortoise that she calls a turtle. It’s name is “Precious”. Precious lives in the backyard in the summer. We eavesdrop on conversations that go like this: “Precious? Where are you? Oh, there you are. No, don’t eat that, Precious. You’re a bad girl, Precious. Precious, I know you love me…”

Then there’s Joe. Joe introduced himself shortly after moving in. He’s bipolar and on disability. He had a large German Shepherd named Max, but Max disappeared after a friend’s pet bunny was discovered dead in the yard (“Max! How could you??”). Max was replaced by a brindle pit bull whose name I forget. You can see Joe and the pit bull walking all over town.

I have been told that one time S.W.A.T. invaded our back yard as they surrounded the rental. This story was relayed to me by the other back yard neighbor, Joe’s neighbor to the north. I don’t know where WE were when this happened as it was apparently quite entertaining. This particular neighbor has no love loss for Joe’s sisters and their many “guests”.

We all agree on one thing: we all like Joe.

So here was Joe today, being pulled around by his brindle pit bull. I stopped what I was doing to say “hi” to him and to exchange pleasantries. He asked about our dogs. He was going to his mom’s later to watch football. And he seemed genuinely surprised (and pleased) that I remembered his name.

Joe is odd but he’s not a bad guy. His landlord, however…

Anyway, I thought it was kind of cool to see my neighbors and talk to them. Sometimes you can live in a place and never know your neighbors.  It’s so easy to go there in this day and age.

New Year’s Resolution

So – here’ my biggest resolution. There are smaller ones, but this is the one I want people to hold me accountable to.

I want to BE THAT PERSON. The person in the link who is the “heartwarming” example of humanity. My friend, Cindy, told me on Facebook that I am already that person, but I don’t think I am – yet. This is my goal.

We live in a troubled, hateful world. If those of us who live in the world where this blog can be posted and read – freely – would only resolve to BE THAT PERSON – we could change the world just a little, teeny, tiny bit. Be kind. Go out of your way. Treat others as you would love to be treated yourself.

Speak to your neighbors.

Love you all.

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I only made two resolutions this year. I figure if I keep one, I’ve got a 50% success rate going.

#1 is to finish that family tree. I was working hard on it in 2010 and 2011, and then my dad passed away. I sort of lost heart. I know it was a season, however, and bought a filing cabinet just for the research he sent me and I set it up close to my desk so I could follow through when I did decide to pursue it again. I’m ready now.

That’s the thing with grief: don’t try to rush it. Let it take its course. You’ll never fully recover, and that is perfectly all right. Don’t measure yourself against other people’s standards.

#2 is to seriously declutter. WE have too many rocks, bottles, little antiques, dust bunnies, and other odds and ends. I cannot do too much about my husband’s clutter, but I sure as heck can control mine.

I think.

Because the Christmas tree is still up (and will remain up until this coming weekend), I can’t do too much yet. We live in a small house and the Christmas boxes need to be stored before the real decluttering can begin.

But – there’s always a ‘but’ – I can start in my studio. I rearranged furniture so things are more ergonomic and so there’s more floor space. I should have thought of this angle a long time ago. I can only show you one half of the room because it’s a work in progress.


First up: the office space. Everything is close, but not too cluttered. Reminds me, I need to sit down and pay bills tomorrow evening.

The space where my desk is could be the closet space if we ever decided to finish this room and make the house into a legal two-bedroom home. My desk also sits on top of what was the original stair case. Before the house was remodeled and brought up to code, it probably had those steep, narrow steps to the upstairs and possibly two small bedrooms up here. The remodel took out that stair case and eliminated both upper bedrooms. This room is not a legal bedroom in Oregon because there’s no actual closet. It’s large enough for a king-sized bed, but… rules are rules, I guess. (It was Chrystal’s bedroom when she lived here and it doubles as the guest room, so there.)

I digress.


This is what I really wanted to blog about. I have been storing junk in the display case. Today, I rearranged the sculpture supplies and put my precious items into the display case. I bought that sucker at a yard sale for $5. It does have lights inside of it, but there’s some great big spider lurking behind the rabbit on the left and I’m not sticking my hand behind the display case to plug the lights on. Not without rubber gloves, I’m not.

It’s probably not a Black Widow (we don’t have those here in the Willamette Valley – too wet – unless one smuggled in), but it could be a Brown Recluse and I’m not going there without rubber gloves. Whatever it is, it makes a helluva strong web fiber.

All my supplies are labeled and stored in the plastic units along the wall. Canes in the old family laundry basket in the corner. (Canes & laundry bin are part of my inheritance. Can you believe my family knew how much I loved that stupid laundry bin with the black-and-white contact paper that they made certain I left Nevada with it? Yep. I “see” things in the contact paper. Probably should blog about that sometime or go see a psychologist.)


These really have nothing to do with decluttering. They *are* the clutter. I “rescued” the tennis rackets from my dad’s basement. The blue one was mine. I was never any good at tennis. My girlfriend, Lisa, and I used to go to the tennis courts and pretend to play tennis just to talk to guys. But I couldn’t bear to part with the rackets when I found them in Dad’s basement (one is my brother’s racket).

The figurines were on a shelf at Goodwill this summer. I couldn’t resist. I bought them for a couple bucks and then wondered what the heck am I gonna do with those?? Tonight, as I set up my photo shoot, I stumbled onto the answer. I’ll cut out some of the netting on the rackets and attach the two climbers to them. I think it’s going to be a great project.


I have long wanted a china hutch to display my Trail of Painted Ponies statuettes. I’d have a lot more if my family could only remember that I collect them. (hint, hint).

The second shelf absorbed some of the items my mother collected (the boots, the vases) and a few things that have come my way.

I didn’t picture the bottom shelf, but it has many of the antique bottles we have collected over the years and the “furniture” I am collecting for faerie houses I plan to build “sometime”. In other words, more clutter, but clutter I can’t bring myself to let go of.

We all have clutter we can’t let go of.


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