Monday, January 21, 2013

"so long as we seize it together"

It has been increasingly difficult to maintain this blog over the last year.  For the first eight months of 2012, I was overwhelmingly busy with my theater life.  Other than the summer event of the siding, there was little of note to report on the house.  It’s easy to understand how blogging would fall Life's in priorities. But more than anything, I think it may have been the bizarre course of the presidential election that took its toll on my will to write.  The lunacy of that misbegotten group of candidates, the seemingly unending series of freak shows called ‘debates’ - drained my will to believe there was anything to write about.  The ugliness, the name-calling, the bigotry and the sheer idiocy from a “party” that is not an actual Party at all left me wondering who we are and by extension who I am and so made me wonder did I want to be who we are and do I want to be who I am. 

I have lately come to realize that it has become more and more difficult for me to know what is going on in the world – more difficult to discern fact from fiction or real news from propaganda.  One glance over to that party that is not an actual Party tells me I am not alone in this.  We may all be suffering the consequences of a failure of real information in The Information Age.  It is all too exhausting.  The cynicism and duplicity of the GW Bush administration made it easy to doubt our future and to lose hope in what we all thought we stood for.  We could be forgiven for believing in the hope and change promised in the election of 2008.  But the ignorance and lies and misinformation/disinformation coming from the Right for the past two years have nearly drained me of my ability to articulate my thoughts and impressions of the world we live in. Indeed, it’s all pretty much drained me of my will to care about the world; drained me of my interest to know about the world; nearly drained me of my will to be in the world.  And then there was Newtown.  And then the spectacular displays of idiocy that followed.  

Aforementioned idiocy in only one of its many forms

Save us. 

And today the President said it out loud: "We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate." 

and "... preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action." 

Thank you.  

While we are still in the first month of the New Year, let me embrace a fresh start.  Let the President’s speech today do its job.  Let me be affected by it.  Of course the speech was supremely tailored rhetorically but nevertheless, it asked us all to aspire to what I hope we would all aspire to – compassion, shared responsibility, equality for ALL.  Let me take on my own responsibility then in this - I will hit the snooze button on my cynicism and disinterest in all things outside myself.  I will try to again enter the world and engage.

I know I cannot save the world.  Maybe it is enough to let the world save me. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

So . . . What Have We Been Up To?

I completely forgot where I left off.  I've been wanting to blog.  Thought about blogging. Felt too overwhelmed to start up again.  Too much to cover.  Not enough time.  Barely any energy.  Kind of the story of my life, really.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to keep up with Red Hill – for better or for worse. 

When we left off in my last post, we had stripped the old aluminum siding off our poor old 1909 Craftsman.  We ended up deciding on the James Hardie siding.  We just knew we didn't want to face regular painting.  And who knows what horrors future homeowners might visit on a 1909 house with the original wood siding.  Stucco?  Seriously, I would want to wish seriously bad karma upon anyone who might put stucco on our house.  I crossed my fingers and hoped that fiber-cement siding was not a mortal sin.   

After the old siding came down, the house got wrapped -

Just as a special treat for the neighbors, a porta-potty.  Nothing says "Welcome to the Neighborhood" like a porta-potty.  

And the Kitten gives the laundry duct work a good review.  

This part won't get new siding. Apparently it would be too complicated.  This will only get a paint job.  Once it's done, we can barely tell the difference.  

Then the painting starts -

Actually, before the painting started, we had to choose the paint colors.  The siding itself came in a limited number of pre-painted colors.  The trick was to choose the trim color that would go with the green siding that we'd selected and also with the red framing of the windows.  See that yellow?  How indubitably yellow it is?  I thougt it was supposed to be something called Honeydew, not outright "yellow."  I'm not a big fan of yellow.  How I ended up selecting "yellow" as one of the colors for my house is a mystery that will always haunt me.  The greatest mystery might be how I have had ten years now to select house colors and then waited until the last minute to make a decision - under quite a lot of pressure.  Men with paint brushes were ready to paint.  My big, bad show was just about to close but it wasn't closed yet so I didn't have time to run around collecting paint chips and researching historic Craftsman colors (though Zeus only knows that I've been saving magazine articles about exterior Craftsman colors for years.)  

Anyway, K gathered up some paint chips; we lined them up in yard in sunlight and we made our choice - Honeydew.  Then, once the yellow was applied to the trim we were "Whoa!  That's not what we thought we were getting."  It was so sunnySunny is definitely not something that I want to say about myself.  Sunny is not who I am.  Sunny is not who we are.  I crossed my fingers and hoped that once the the second color went on, the sunny quality of the yellow would be softened.  

Or, at worst, we could just wait out the paint until the trim needed painting again.    

Even the contractor later expressed his doubts about the yellowness of the yellow. 

Then the new siding went up.  I don't remember the name of the green - maybe it was Mountain Sage from James Hardie? 

And as we hoped, it all came together - 

and the yellow seemed to work - or so I, perhaps delusionally, believe.  

There was still a lot to do before the porta-potty would leave.

Next up - horrible, dangerous, not-to-code steps leading up to the porch.