Monday, January 16, 2006

A funny thing happened on the way through my weekend...

I woke up Sunday (? it's all a blur) to the sound of yowling. It's a familiar sound. Many's the time when, as a youth, I had to get up in the dark before dawn to go outside and find the standoff between my cat and some other would-be usurper of territory. My male cat was fairly huge, so there was never any chance of a change in territory ownership, but the less bloodshed the better.
So imagine my surprise when, many years later, I am lying peacefully in my soft, warm bed in BG and I am suddenly hearing that sound something like the cross between a baby's cry and a screen door hinge. In fact, I tried to convince myself for about five minutes that it was, in fact, a baby...across the street, next door, somewhere upstairs, but none of my business. I spent another ten minutes pretending that the cats weren't in my yard, weren't close to me, weren't my business. Then, I spent another five thinking they might go away.
Wwwrrrrrroooowww. Yep, nope, definitely my business.
So I get up, and sure enough they are ON MY PORCH. Seriously. Of all the places in BG to have a turf war, why my front steps? I guess, in retrospect, I'm lucky they weren't throwing their voices the way my cats used to do. They had a knack for sounding like they were inside the house. Anyway, I reflected for a moment that they might be in the middle of Garfieldian wooing, and lacking a fence they'd chosen my steps, but as I opened the door the orange one hissed at me (I've "met" this cat before, and he's actually really gentle), and, really, who wants cats doing the deed on their porch anyway? I got the orange one off the porch via a complex "Git" + snapping hand motion, but the black one had wedged itself behind my flower pot in the corner, and there was really no way to get it off since my screen door and flower boxes sort of blocked an escape. I just prayed that it would be gone when I got up, which was successful.
Then I got back into my nice, warm niche and started giggling. I'm actually pretty good at reproducing the turf war sound and the extra-angry turf war sound, and it's amazing how quickly I knew, even from the depths of sleep, what was happening. It's nice to know that some things never change. And it made me a little more appreciative of the AKC Eukanuba dog show I've watched bits of this weekend (you go, Alaskan Malamute).

The Non-Adventure Adventure
So my adventure this weekend ended up being not to have one. Not coming in to the office Saturday or Sunday was quite a big leap for me. I finished the moth project and the shadowbox project, and nearly finished the frame project. The frame probably looks the best of the three. The shadowbox is fine, actually, also, but the moth didn't turn out exactly as planned. The structure and mache medium were perfect, the collaging less so, but interesting, and the paint...well, I'm not a painter. One color wasn't quite right, and besides that I went a little overboard on the first wing i did. Acrylic paint made into glaze is kind of unwieldy in terms of pigment consistency across a non-smooth surface. I wish I knew more about painting.
I often find that's true with my projects. I have small skill in a lot of areas, moderate skill in some areas, and expert skill in very few. I suppose that sounds normal said that way, but I think I have small skills in a lot more areas than most people, and less expert skill than most. In other words, my knowledge is spread out, and it's not always an advantage, especially when it comes to projects or activities I enjoy. I might be interested in too many things, and projects often don't turn out like I want. They don't have the delicacy of practice, knowledge, and control. There's a big difference between craft for fun and art, and I guess I wish they'd come closer together more often.
Take cooking for example. I love being in the kitchen and cooking or baking. In fact, I especially love baking, and my cookies are adequate for colleague and friend/family consumption. But I don't think I'd ever win a prize at it. I'm good with recipes, and what I cook is usually edible, and sometimes even delicious; but very few of my actual experiments knock my socks off. A notable exception was last night when I made pork ribs for the first time. I called my Mom for advice and sort of smushed her ideas with Betty Crocker's and came up with something that, to me, tasted amazing, and was actually pretty easy. I'd feed it to a boy. And that's actually a pretty big deal; boys will eat just about anything (at least the right kind of boy will), but I get very nervy about what I give them. The first time I made steak, for instance, was for a boy, and that was stupid. I needed to practice it. Now I make a great ribeye, as long as I remember not to overcook it. And even then it tastes good.
*sigh* Jane of all trades, master of none.

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