Archive for May, 2010

Lost in design…

Monday, May 31st, 2010

I woke up this morning and completely was having a brain conundrum about the trim in the new office space. It looks so different with carpets and track lighting.

But it’s sooooooo cool.

I have a giddyup in my step I haven’t felt in years. And it’s so close to being done.

When a plan starts to come together

Friday, May 28th, 2010



Friday, May 21st, 2010


This photo doesn’t do it justice, but THAT(!!!!!!!!) is the yellow I wanted for the big ceiling above the loft in the new office. Perfect. I am so excited. All of that time to find THAT yellow and it worked!

The other awesome thing is that we nailed the primer (knock on wood) and it isn’t bleeding into the sheetrock. Can you just hear the giddyup in my step at 4:30 in the morning?

Today we are off to buy lights, flooring and molding. Saturday and Sunday is more painting.

But the scheme is particularly important to me because I want the colors to all be “just so.” I designed this sucker. I am relying on what I thought it would be in my head, and it feels rather fate-tempting to see if I got the colors just right. I know this is just yellow, mixed my way, but I am very happy because this was the hardest one, I hope.

RGBY and two whites. It’s going to make sense when you see it in person. The loft and the use of the loft makes it hard to photograph or describe. But John said it best today when he was having a smoke: “It will look like a Dr. Seuss book when you walk in, and then seem really normal once you’re there.” YES!!!!!


Friday, May 14th, 2010


So now we’re getting close to the hard part…finishes.

These photos are a little out of date, but they give you the idea of my source of the most recent angst.


I wanted to make the outside of the new office completely gaudy, right down to a pink door and green wall. I thought it would be funny. Pilar talked me off that ledge. So it lookes like the outside is going to be pretty much picked by her and dictated by what we paint the rest of the house this summer. My problem? I don’t like her palette or taste.

Funny that we can be together 20 years, and this is the one very serious thing we just will never see eye-to-eye on. Ever. It’s the elephant in the room. She wants conservative 100-percent, I want conservative with artsy “POP” on some trim. She wants beiges and browns, I want blue and greens.

So that leaves me to do whatever the hell I want in my interior. It’s like a nice consolation prize.

I have four walls in the lower level, loft walls, and the trim, which includes the sides of the loft in the foreground of the photo.

It’s a little hard to tell from the photo, but the space on the inside is very cool for what I want. I’m going to use half of it for painting/drawing and half for writing and working on the computer. There is also the hole for the loft ladder. The general effect is that it has a “cave-like” corner away from the windows, no southern or western window exposure, and a very airy northern exposure with a window.

So, here’s what I’m going to try and do…I think…ok, caveat here…

I haven’t commited to the shot. That’s golfer parlence for not being sure as you look down at the ball and you’re holding a five-iron when maybe you need a seven-iron and you might end up 30 yards too long.

But when you walk in the door of this place, I want it to explode in color. But I also want to have the art space be vidually very seperate and different. We’re only talking 12×16-feet. So what I think I’m going to do is make the blank walls and the ceiling below the loft SUPER DUPER white. Then the lower floor where the window on the left is is going to be SUPER DUPER green. And then the wall with the window on the right is going to be SUPER DUPER blue. Ceiling above the loft? Easy. SUPER DUPER yellow. And then to top off the creative palette…that trim around the windows and the beams below the loft…SUPER DUPER red.

See where I’m going? Good. I don’t. Not committed. Yet.

But by reasoning is sound. The room you see when you walk in is very different than the room you see when you get under the loft. The red you never see except when you enter, for instance. When I draw or paint, it’s just a white room.But if I turn around, it green and blue with a white ceiling. And if I walk to the door, the yellow in the ceiling will just peek out.

But it is just like that golf shot. I need to walk into the store, find my paint chips, and just commit.

The best part of any of this is that if it sucks, I can just wait until someday when I have the money and energy to paint it all again. Just like golf…mulligans are ok.


Friday, May 7th, 2010

I have had three people ask me recently if I “ever sleep.”


And actually my sleep patterns aren’t ridiculously weird, just not status quo. I usually take a nap during prime time TV, wake up and work, sleep for six hours, get going in the morning, and I’m out the door around nine.

But it did get me thinking…among my friends with kids, we’re pretty spoiled that Big A’s class doesn’t start until 9:30 a.m. Some of the elementary schools in the district start almost two hours earlier!

So then it got me thinking…I have had this work late, take a siesta approach pretty much about half of my life. It seriously goes back to when I worked at the News Tribune and would be out until two, show up sometime during first or second period in high school,  shower at school, go all day, do sports/drama/debate/etc., head home and nap and then head back to work until 2 a.m.

It’s almost exactly the pattern I have today and pretty close to the pattern that has dictated my life with various jobs and schedules. Between travel and working from home, I have gotten away with a pattern that I have never really had to change a whole bunch year-in and year-out. I am hard-wired to get primed up for doing things at 1 a.m. the same way I get sleepy for a nap at 7 p.m. Even in college I never had a class before 10 a.m. and I worked until two or three in the morning six days a week, with a healthy nap while watching re-runs of “Maude” on Channel 38 at two in the afternoon.

Although I’d like to think this isn’t a sleeping disorder, I have suspicions. My journalism stuff happened during a growth spurt, and I think I ended up with this “problem.” I’ve had to struggle against it (how’s that for a victimized dramatic way to put it) at times, but generally it works.

So I look at Annalaan starting school at 9:30 and think, “Uh, oh.” Boy is she in for a shocker when junior high starts in three years and school starts at 7:35. And I am a terrible role model for it. I’ll feel her pain. I feel my pain, too…I haven’t been up that early days in a row unless it involved hunting, skiing, fishing, or being sick.

So, yes I sleep. But there is something in my head that just trips, and probably well for the rest of my life, endorphins at off hours. I’ve never had a circadian routine that was “normal.”

It’s three. That’s even late for me. Shuteye time.

Really…I have been doing a lot of writing and finishing my shed (MAJOR blather alert)

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

I have not been blogging very well. I am doing a whole lot of nothing, kind of, I guess, because I am writing and figuring out how to get my shed finished. 

The shed seemed like such a simple project. I would order up a prefab building, 12×16, put a couple of windows in it and steel door, run some wires, add lights and a desk, and then have a place I can paint and write and work to my hearts content. A real home office.

I was so naive six months ago when this crazy plan was hatched. I have since learned that do-it-yourself-led projects are just a time and money pit when you’re learning on the job. I know I knew that before, but I for some reason I had this complete optimism about it suddenly.

I am still hoping I will be moved in less than two weeks from now. (See, I am still optimistic.)

There are three main reasons this project is important.

First…I need a real office and we need to get our house back in order like a real house. Simple things, like the bedrooms being bedrooms, kitchen being a kitchen, family room being a family room. Stuff like that. Our living space the last couple of years has blurred all of these lines to the point that we even get confused about the vernacular when we say “something is in the so-and-so room.” In fact, I’d go so far to say that the only place in the house that is definititive for any particular activity is “Annalaan’s bathroom.” So getting all my work stuff and projects and storage boxes out of the way is a major first step. Huge. Whether it’s work or art or writing, I tend to spread out too much, and I need a cocoon to be my “space boundary.”

Second, is the fact I play music loud and get distracted by TV when I’m working. There will be no TV in the shed for the immediate future. I need to break my TV habit. I get going on something and the next thing I know I will be really interested by how a particular episode of “Rockford Files” ends. It’s got to be all the same synapses firing that makes people fat. What’s the one thing I never had free and easy access to when I worked in a real office? TV. But I am putting a nice stereo in the office…I mean…I can get off crack and still enjoy fine wine, right?

Finally…I really, really want to play with the art more. I want to be messy with it. I want to be messy with it in a place that I am the only one that cares about the mess, or the smells (fumes) or how it’s all set up to do it. I don’t want anyone to touch my stuff, even just a few inches to find a magazine under a canvess…I want a completely control freak environment to be creative in. I want to decorate it myself, paint it the way I want, and then have the freedom to change that anytime. My current “office space” is in a high traffic, high profile area.

Some people invest in large cap European mutual funds, but I’m investing in me.

So, where does this all go?

When this blog started all those years ago, it was called “Movin’ Out” (see link–>). I had no plan. Quit the job and just figure it out as I went. Some of those things went really well, a lot of them were disasters. If I had do-overs I’d take them in a heartbeat. That’s not regret, just reality. I got into some serious time on some serious dead-end endeavors. But I also learned a shitload. In my head, though, I knew I was really going to have to get my act together and make a bold move in a direction. So…

I dunno.

It’s the very definition of a sudden mid-life crisis that was like the Iceland volcano where they saw it coming for years and then it just clobbered air traffic all over Europe when the aviaion authorities panicked like it was out of the blue. I saw this coming. I could feel it in my gut…I just don’t know.

I think I know. But I don’t know how to do it. So this is problem number two with my current kharma funk. I see it, I feel it, but I am frozen (hopefully just for a moment) or figuring out how what I see and feel it a way to answer the question, “So, what do you do?”

The last year that question has haunted me. What do you do? It was easy before. Consulting, writing and art. It paid some bills. Things seemed good. Kept me relevent. No worries.

Then it just all hit a big slump. I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t doing art, and consulting, even on a retainer, made me feel like a loner. Before that I was a marketing/PR person, before that a journalist and before that a political helper. All things that are still there. But it’s almost as though I have become too cynical to act on any of them.

So what’s the one basic, BASIC thing I can go back to? Writing. What have I never tried that I was curious about? Fiction writing. How do I do that? I have no fucking clue other than to just start banging away, find people that will help me edit the first crap, and charge ahead.

Th other basic thing is art. I just have never committed myself to it; I mean just really put myself in a position to futz around with it and see what I could do. I’ll never paint Rembrandts or look like a Dutch master, but maybe I can do Mattisse or Van Gogh…I understand colors and balance and light and dark. Maybe it’s more about abstracts. Is there a Mondrian inside of me? I’ve had people frame things that had no meaning just because it “looked right.” Am I a cubist? A fauvist? A neo-plasticist? Frankly, I have an idea, I just haven’t had the space to play with it enough to figure it out.

The hard part comes with the fact that I hate self-promotion. Whether it be consulting, writing or art. I can’t stand the meat grinder of it. I have no problem promoting other people and things I believe in strongly, though. Hell…I sold out “Love’s Cleaner” complete Puyallup Fair supply for three weeks in two and half days one fall. I am just too freaking self depreciating to promote myself, though.

How’s that for a blather?

So the shed is kind of my Alamo. I may lose with it, but I am going to put up a hell of a fight getting the creative juices going and producing things out of it. I mean, Bowie got a knife named after him and Crocket had a Disney TV series. Hell, Santa Anna has the desert winds named after him.

OK…that was a TERRIBLE analogy…but it sounded clever when I started writing it.

The point I was trying to make is that I have to give this creative stuff one last really good shot before I get all corporate and business again. Just one last stand. I understand there is more money and fame (I may not self-promote well, but I do have an ego) out there if I commute and become part of the mainstream business world again.

And the shed studio is my last stand to try and have a little of both from the comfort of my backyard.