‘Life Admin’

Decisions, decisions. Shall I let go my woodworking tools, or will still have use for them?

This is what my son calls it. When my well-structured time (writing and blog-posting) grinds to a halt, and I need to take care of big stuff that has somehow all conspired to happen in the same couple of weeks. That’s when I’m doing ‘life admin’.

So in the past week and the 2-3 weeks to come … I need to go for a Covid booster, and expect a couple of days of side effects. Have been for an eye examination, the optometrist said might as well wait with the cataract operations as you’re going to the cataract capital of Australia. Fine, I said, I’ll wait. And maybe go to the dentist.

Still on my health-jag, I recently began a comprehensive exercise program. This one has to stick. It means time-tabling … something I’m not good at … at least half an hour a day. Being the eternal night owl, for me that is in the late afternoon. Easy to run out of time. It’s taken me two weeks to complete the Week 3 activities. And not only because I run out of time.

Fatigue after chemo is big, and definitely a thing. So, some days I’m really better off communing with my lap-top rather than my milk-bottle weights doing a Strength Workout. Yesterday, I did the Warm-up and could not go on to do the Cardio Circuit. I’ll have to do that today and the Strength Workout tomorrow. That gives me a free day for my Covid shot.

I’m doing more down-sizing to prepare for moving to Cairns in a few weeks, some 2000 km up the coast, into the tropics. Down-sizing means getting rid of stuff. Making decisions about what to keep, what to let go. Books mainly. But also the tools …

The most stressful thing is organizing a place to live in up there, and wondering when to start with that? Do I really want to pay a bond (four weeks rent) and four weeks to hold it for me? I’ll be traveling with the family. They’re going beginning December. Three more weeks to get it all together.

And then there’s my house down south being sold. Rising interest rates and continual rain with its danger of flooding in that town has made this a nerve-racking time. Although the house itself hasn’t flooded, the yard shed and garage have all recently had a 30 centimeter inundation.

And finally, Lodestar has a chapter missing. Chapter 31, as a matter of fact. Kes doing the river miles. Getting infill on his tattoo, and discovering Show Town’s perfidy. I’m writing it from the notes that I have found amongst all the digital files and paperwork, in between all the other stuff going on.

‘Life Admin’ …

3, Half Shaman in Space

Some good scenes in this, some nasty events, and all the sometimes hard-to-understand stuff in between where I tried to explain what life was like in the alien starship, also known as the “Octahedron”. If you’ve been reading along, you’ll have met this starship in Earth Girl, a mysterious object hanging low in the sky.

In this installment of what was to have finalized the trilogy, Jeb the half shaman meets Kosi Lionhair, the once-upon-a-time Earth Girl. Jeb and her people are in survival mode. As the human ‘face’ of the starship’s bored alien AI, Kosi causes Jeb and her people plenty of grief in the name of fun. A dramatic mix.

What follows is a taster … I’m having to learn a few more moves in the Compile section of Scrivener

Chapter 1: Entry
I’m aware. I’m awake. My breathing sounds loud. The space I’m in sounds big, so I’m not in the shuttle. I fall … but only a short distance. My legs seem too long.

I feel around me. Carpet or something under me, my hands and my thighs. I don’t hear Mongoose breathing beside me. I don’t feel him.

Snap! I open my eyes. Mongoose isn’t beside me!

I’m wearing a thin white tunic. Mongoose isn’t beside me!

I kneel up. Stand. I’m in a group of animals, still-as-statues, sitting or standing or frozen in a leap. Each on its own brown carpet square on a raised area in a huge white hall. What is this place? Where’s Mongoose?

Tiled white walls. White ceiling. White floor below the … carpeted podium? Among the statues I see animals I know. There’s a meerkat. A puma. A bear. A woodchuck. An orangutan. They are all life-sized.

No. They are all the size of human beings! There’s a thylacine with a front paw that is a different brown to the other. In the square next to the place where I was, is a mongoose. Sweat springs from me, is soaked up only where the skimpy tunic touches me. Everywhere else it rolls down me. I’m clammy in seconds. My heart hammers in my chest.

To be continued

Installment 2

Dryad after the Clear-felling, mixed media by Rita de Heer

This gig … of dumping 20 years worth of my work online … is turning out to be harder than I thought it could be. I had real trouble today just going to a File, saving it as a pdf, then inserting it here. This morning I first trapped myself thinking up a good title for this project. “A Broken Universe” sums it up quite nicely, I decided, since I could never get the timeline to gel.

I spent a couple of hours chasing through my Documents File for the long version of the Half Shaman in Space for Installment 3. As if it matters whether I post long or short, or anything in the order of the events, or anything.

But it does. There seem to be a few readers out there. Installment One did quite well.

Could only find a very short version. And I edited a couple of Files. And I did Delete a few odds and ends. Not a wasted day. Finally found what I was looking for in the Trash. Did retrieve it.

But anyway … installment two of the whole story is Half Shaman. One of the two published volumes, as it happens. Go to this Page for the details. https://wordpress.com/page/ritadeheer385131918.blog/1007

‘Story Debt’ Installment 1

In an effort to pay off my story debt, I’ll be posting links to all the stories set in this universe, that I worked on from 2000 to 2020. Most are second and third drafts, or in beta-reader mode. None have had a final professional edit. I have no energy, or time, to finish, edit, publish or market them. Those years are done, as I have explained in the blog.

Earth Girl was to have been the first installment of the saga …

Learning Lego

Yesterday I was reminded that Bosley & Co need at least 2 more hard hats to be able to pass building inspections. Off went another order to BrickResales.com.au for hard hats, a few other building site necessities, and a trio of frying pans for the new outdoor dining setup. LBT’s (Australian delicacy: lettuce bacon and tomato sandwiches) coming up.

While most of the structures I build are MOCs, aka My Own Creations–for the ongoing story– every so often I buy a set for what I can learn from them.

This week, I tackled the (shown above) Campervan Model #Lego60283. Took me a couple of thoroughly enjoyable hours to put it together at the same time learning two techniques that’ll help me keep the interiors of my own models accessible.

First there is the camper’s easily lifted off roof. This has made access to the vehicle’s roof spaces so easy, I’m planning to use the technique for some of the apartments in Bosley & Co’s proposed multi-storey build.

Starting with the ground-floor cabins, I discovered that once you put a roof on a place, the windows and doors are too small for adult fingers to access the interior. Furniture, for example, that needs to be installed inside, has to be done during the build, or the build carefully dismantled and done again with extras included.

In that mode, there are cabins on the site that have been built three times. Jackie and Jed Cranedriver’s now very fancy hut is a case in point. Version One looked like a grey box. Version Two had some color in it.

Third time, this time, it has a swing-open wall similar to the one in the camper-van. I love it. Though it will take further study to get the colors matching where they are meant to. I can foresee a fourth rebuild.

Jackie Cranedriver on her newly built cabin.

The Hardware Store Rebuild:

Part One of a ‘Bric-Fic’ Fantasy

Despite the optimistic style of the title and subtitles, this is a story about ‘trying’ to publish a bric-fic fantasy. It’s been a zig-zag journey of dead-ends, so far, and I wrote this paragraph last because even WordPress is not productive when asked to do something a little different.

I’ve always wanted to name a new genre, and here it is. Little did I know it’d be in the arena of AFOLs (Adult Fans of Lego) but that is also what I am. An AFOL.

The genre has been in existence for a while, I’m sure, since the Lego Group has been going 90 years, and I can’t be the only one who’s ever seized on these bricks and the mini-figs to tell a story. But it’s hard to find them, to compare my work, without a genre label.

Let me know if there is a term already out there?

After producing a slideshow on my desktop, I’ve been trying to find a good place to publish. I’ve tried a FaceBook Page, an Instagram account, and a WordPress slideshow with varying success rates. None of them more ideal than daily FaceBook posts on my Feed.

The slideshow block on this site likes photos, but finds captions harder to deal with. It’s another learning curve of the two-steps-forward-one-step-back variety. Something like a muddy path.

A gallery of photos and text boxes may serve. We shall see.

You can see in the third pic that the caption continues beyond the bottom of the page. Conclusion? A gallery will not do. The ‘captions’ are often too long.

I need a structure to input once, not one that needs me to scroll to the place where it exists, for every photo and every caption, copy, then scroll back to where it’s wanted. Wondering now if a table will work …

Nope! A prefabricated WordPress table does not stretch or accommodate photos and long captions, the way a word processor table does. Lucky last for today, I’ll try the column block:

Scene 8:

“After I dump the foundation blocks, fetch what?”

“Park the run-about and help me install the blocks.”

“But Boss, the scaffolding is cluttering up the yard. I should get that first.”

“But Dan, nowhere here to put it until we get the blocks in place.”

Scene 9

Beep. Beep. Beep.

“Tip them out. Dan, I’ve got Drew here to help me. You go wrangle the forklift attachment. One of the sparkies will help you get the electrics connected.”

“Right-ee-oh, Boss. Hey Drew, don’t let him run you ragged!”

“Boss and I are good, Dan. We’re brothers.”

“Well, that’s good to know!”

And that is it … the ‘column block’ feature stops working after two photos. It lets me input more text, but refuses another photo.

THE END

Snail-Mode

My Trusty Pack-horse by Rita de Heer (Day 12 of #Inktober 2021)

Yesterday, in snail-mode, I struggled to get out of the house, onto some transport — bus, train, cab, car-share. All coming with timetables, places to catch, and the last one impenetrably with a forgettable password and a pin. No-one else I know has trouble signing up to Uber!

When my eyes and mind are greedy, I start making promises to come here and there, this event that meet-up. I have great intentions. But, physically — 15 months post-chemo — I’m capable of about half of what I sign up for.

So, yesterday. Snail-mode is when I’m slow. Though it was a lovely day outside, sun shining with a nippy little breeze in the shade, I signed off on the event. Did not catch any of the above transport. Did not visit, nor explore further, my favorite building in Brisbane. Emailed the organizer my abject apologies.

And so, since the sun still beckoned me outside, and I didn’t want to dwell on the cop-out — what it felt like — I loaded my trusty pack-horse with my three-week-overdue books, pushed it to the Stones Corner Public Library. A good walk of four kilometres. The sun a benison.

No Cure for Being Human, by Kate Bowler, 2021, Penguin Random House, one of my new borrows, is the most amazingly appropriate book for how I was feeling.

In Health and in Sickness

These almost-gone tulips startled me with their sere beauty. A good metaphor for how I feel sometimes … almost-gone; learning to love myself in better times and worse.

The previous couple of weeks or three I sat around with a cold, fatigue, a heart scare, more fatigue. Knitting was it while I was forced to sit around. Fatigue is a thing to be borne. There’s no hurrying it. It can be calculated. Six days of sickness, 12 days of fatigue.

In between all that, I spent the day in an Emergency Department to have my heart checked. Which meant blood tests and an ultrasound on my legs to check for blood clots. Nothing eventuated. It was just a scare, that’s all, I was told. These are the kind of diagnoses meant to comfort a patient.

This patient went home, not forgetting to ask for a copy of the the blood tests. Getting that was the best part of the day. The blood results confirmed to me that my continuing semi-isolation is in a good cause. My white blood cells are still well below what’s needed to fight off disease, platelets also very low, and red blood cells only just dragging themselves into the average range.

‘Imitation or Representation – Art Philosophy’ by …

https://artistcoveries.wordpress.com/2021/03/18/imitation-or-representation-art-philosophy/

My semi-abstract representation of an imaginary creature …

Dryad, After the Clear-Felling, Rita de Heer, 2017

Finally I learned the difference between imitation and representation in art. Thank you, Judith. These concepts have been bothering me for quite a while. When I first started to learn to paint with watercolors, I had to relearn everything I knew. About paint, how to apply the paint, how colors work when you overlay them on other colors, and how to represent the subjects I’m interested in.

I can say ‘represent’ with confidence now. I’ve always represented semi-abstract subjects using acrylics, pen, pencil. I’ve made embroidered, macrame and knitted hangings, and used a darkroom to change my photographs.

[I’m telling you, mobile phones are amazing. Can do everything I did then in the dark room, in the comfort of my arm chair, or on the bus. You know what I’m saying.]

Since I got interested in fungi about thirteen years ago, I have flirted with the idea to perhaps practice botanical drawing or painting. That would mean going back to the life drawing classes I studied in a Visual Media strand long ago … the pure art of imitation, copying the subject of study, stroke by pencil stroke, onto the paper.

Lately though I’ve been asking myself whether I’d have the patience for that now. It’d even more like meditation than laying water colors on paper. Not that that’s a bad thing. But am I ready to let go what I’m still learning?

Artistcoveries

Recently I mentioned the connections between art and philosophy — a branch of study referred to asaesthetics. On this point, which deals with beauty and taste, I’m content to go with the conventional wisdom that says beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. You like what you like. I like what I like. Sometimes we’ll be in agreement as to what is beautiful and note-worthy; at other times we’ll have very different opinions. Still, all is well. We’re each entitled to our opinions.

My study oftonalism, however, has brought me a bit deeper into philosophy and art. I’ve been reading more about the life and work of Asher B. Durand, one of my favorite artists. Several years ago as I first began oil painting, I read Durand’s collection of “Landscape Letters”. While I enjoyed his essays on art, I was beset with questions. I…

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