Another Busy Week

And not accomplishing much of anything. ūüė¶

I’ve been working on all the usual stuff around here. Still looking for work. Spending hours filling out online applications for any offshore job I happen to see posted. I’ve been talking to one company for a couple of weeks now, but they don’t seem to have any idea of when they might (or might not) need me. It’s very frustrating, but at least they’re still talking to me. That’s more than I’ve had in over 18 months now!

We finished up working on one apartment and got it ready to rent. I thought we had it rented before we even finished working on it, but that fell through. I think it will go pretty quick (I hope so). I’m still waiting for the roofers to fix a leak and the levelers to honor their warranty (good luck!!).

I have one more apartment over there that needs work, but I need to wait til the rents start coming in before I can afford to start on it. It doesn’t look like it needs as much work as the last one, but I never know what I’ll find once I get started. ūüė¶

I had some good friends come down and visit. We pigged out at the Chinese buffet and had a good time catching up on everything.

Other than that, I finished 2 paintings in class on Tuesday. I took them both to Hobby Lobby to get them framed. One of them was finished in time for me to enter it in the People’s Choice show (I’m always amazed at how many really talented people we have around here in this area). The other won’t be ready for at least another week. I think they both turned out OK, but especially with the lighthouse, not really what I was¬†trying¬†to do with them.

I wasn’t quite finished with the lighthouse when I took this photo. I’ll get another when I get it back with the frame.

I went to my usual political meeting Tuesday night. We’ve decided to re-start our project to get the BWA to¬†remove the fluoride¬†from our drinking water. It really doesn’t do anything for your teeth by drinking it. It only helps if you apply it topically (like with toothpaste). It’s really not at all good for you. Yeah, I know, most people will read that and think I’m just another tin foil conspiracy theorist. I think there’s more than enough evidence to show it’s not really necessary for good teeth (or any other reason).

So, I spent some time researching that. I also got a writing assignment for Great Escape Publishing. Whoo-whoo! Another byline!! I really need to find the time to query more publications. But that takes a HUGE amount of time! I was very hopeful when I applied to¬†Big Grey Horse¬†when they said they were looking for Texas writers. I think they would’ve contacted me by now if they were interested. ūüė¶

I’ve been working on my yard the last few days. In between the rain. I’ve got the front yard about 25% finished now. It makes a big difference when I pull all the clematis vines off and put a little mulch out. All my citrus trees are starting to bloom. The grape vines are starting to leaf out. The strawberries are coming back!

Today I took a break and went to the movies. I go to the matinee when it’s cheaper. I wasn’t sure what to watch, either Logan or Get Out. I decided to watch¬†Logan. It was pretty good. One of the X-Men movies. A pretty good action movie featuring Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine fighting the forces of evil in the shape of another mutant (Boyd Holbrook as Pierce).

I don’t want to spoil it, since it really was pretty good, but it’s not all blood and guts. There was actually a pretty good story. I’m sure there will be more sequels down the road. ūüôā

Tomorrow is the biggest day of the year around here.¬†St Patrick’s Day Parade¬†at Surfside Beach! I have to get up early so I can get down to the beach in time to check everything out before the judging. Take a¬†look here. Once the parade starts, I’m done with that! Time to wander off to the various parties. ūüėČ

I hope the weather cooperates. It’s calling for 90% chance of rain tomorrow. ūüė¶

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Color Your World: 28 Almond

Today’s color for Jennifer’s¬†Color Your World¬†challenge is:¬†almond. Here’s a reference…

A lot of these colors look alike to me- almond, apricot, peach, desert sand- mango tango and burnt orange- copper and antique brass. Can you tell them apart? I sure have a hard time! Why do they need crayon colors so close together nobody can tell them apart unless they’re studied under a microscope?

I always thought part of the fun of drawing/painting/being creative was learning to blend the colors you had to make the ones you wanted. I’ve been trying to learn to paint lately. I sure as hell don’t want to go buy every color I might need to make a painting come out. That would cost a fortune! I’m learning the color wheel and how the different colors relate to each other.

It’s a challenge to make just the right color to make your painting ‘pop’. It’s fun too. Here’s an example of what I mean. I painted this a few years ago, when I was working as an AB on the tankships running up the West Coast to Alaska. Of course, I didn’t bring any paint with me. I scrounged around in the paint locker til I found what I needed.

I made that whole colorful undersea scene with only a few colors of deck paint. I know I had black, white, signal red, yellow, international orange, green and blue. That was pretty much it.

I must sound like an old geezer, ‘well sonny, back in myyyyy day, we used to color with only 8 colors in the box!’ I actually got the 64 crayon box later when I was growing up, but did I ever use all of those colors- nope. Does anyone use all of the¬†120 colors¬†this challenge is based on? I think I would have a hard time using up a whole box of crayons myself. ūüėČ

Anyway, here’s my entry for the challenge color of ‘almond’…

I took this photo in November while I was traveling around Turkey. I had a great time wandering all over Istanbul and Cappadocia where I took this photo of one of the many ancient¬†rock churches at Goreme. It was a lot of fun scrambling around amid all this history, seeing how the people lived and worshipped all those years ago. I only regret that they didn’t allow any photography inside (even without flash). I really would have liked to have got a few shots of the beautiful frescos inside. I’ll just have to be satisfied with the internet. ūüė¶

Decisions

I might not be on here for a few days. I’ve got a hard decision to make. I got laid off of work last September (2014). I’m not eligible for any help (unemployment) since my last job was overseas. The offshore oilfield still shows no signs of improvement and probably won’t til the price of oil stabilizes above $60/barrel.

Everything I’ve tried to do to earn money since I’ve been laid off has not worked. No one has been interested enough in buying my beach house to even take a look at it. I haven’t sold one piece of¬†art¬†except a small 4×6 photo for $10. My writing mostly hasn’t been interesting enough to an editor to be worth a reply. None of the jobs I’ve applied to have been interested enough to call me back, except Dominos Pizza for $6 and change/hour.

Beach House- For Sale- Fishermans Delight!

I still work doing the emergency management training¬†if¬†they have a class and¬†if¬†they put me on the schedule. That hasn’t happened since the end of October. Nothing coming up til the last week of January.

I’m really starting to worry about my situation. I’ve managed to save some money, normally enough to last being laid off, but I¬†never¬†thought it would¬†ever¬†take this long to find a job! ¬†My friends tell me to ‘sell some of my stuff’. They don’t realize I’ve been trying to. No one wants to give me a fair price and I’m not willing to just give it away.

The decision I’ve been wrestling with is to take a job as a ‘safety attendant’, working in the plants around here. It’s ‘local’- I’d only have to drive 2-3 hours back and forth every day. My truck is getting to the point where I don’t want to put it through that (1997 F-150). It’s a 12 hour/day job, every day. Until the job ends. Then you’re supposed to be able to collect unemployment til they call you back again at some point. It pays $14/hour.

That would (barely) cover my bills¬†(if¬†I don’t have any time off- no down time for weather, etc). It would mean I’d have¬†zero¬†time for anything at all but eat, sleep, shower, work. For weeks, maybe months on end.

I have to spend all day Wednesday-Thursday in ‘training’ in order to get certified to do this job. Same thing I’ve done for the last 30+ years, but never needed a certificate to do it offshore (yes, it’s amazing that¬†they¬†don’t require it too, but actually let us do a simple job without spending hours in a ‘training facility’ on the beach!). They give us the same training, they just call it something else at every company. This place doesn’t even pay for the training.

I’m thinking I should at least go to the training. Maybe I can find out more about the actual conditions of this particular job from others there?

The other choice is: to just give up. To quit ‘working’ altogether. Forget about trying to keep my documents current. Forget about looking for work. Stop spending hours filling out online applications for jobs that don’t exist and just chill. Relax and work on my art. ūüôā

an example of my art- star fish in pastels

Spend that time figuring out how to get the hell out of this ratrace and find somewhere that I can afford to live with no job. From previous travel and research, I know already that almost everywhere is cheaper than the US. My only real concern is how long can I make it without any income from work at all? I’m (only) 55. A¬†very, very¬†long way from being able to collect on social security (if¬†it’s even still there).

If things were like they were when I started this career, it wouldn’t be an issue. I could take off for a couple of years and when I was ready, just ¬†jump right back in to work. That’s not possible any more.

When I was taking my walk tonight, I figured the absolute minimum I would need to just keep my license current would be $10,000 and 5 weeks of time! We have to¬†re-take a hell of a lot of ‘training’ now and it seems they require more of it every year. That’s really a very, very low estimate.

So, if I do decide to quit. I won’t be able to come back. Ever.

I¬†hate¬†the thought of that. I LOVE what I do! I’ve spent almost my entire life at sea and I don’t want to leave it. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars to get my license. I hate the thought of just throwing all that away.

It gives me chills even to think of giving it up forever. I really don’t know what to do. I’ve been in this limbo for months now. I can’t concentrate on trying to make a living with my art (writing/photography/painting) since I’m distracted all the time trying to look for ‘a real job’. I think I might quit for a while, but then I remember theres no coming back if I do.

This really sucks!

I keep hoping that someone will come through with a real job for me! A job where I can do what I’ve been trained to do already! A job that I’m good at. A job that I actually LIKE!

I’ll call them all again tomorrow, see if there’s any hope at all. Keeping my fingers crossed.

one of my favorite paintings- I did this on the ship using deck paint!

Ongoing Arts

It’s been a busy couple of days around here. I got an email last week about today’s¬†Sunset Sip¬†going on tonight in Freeport. I was interested in entering some of my art in the show. I found out the information I needed a couple of days ago.

I spent all day yesterday getting my photos ready. Signing them, matting them, and framing them. I met the lady in charge of the operation (Jennifer) yesterday afternoon in her Freeport office. She has some stunning artwork from previous events decorating the place.

She kindly showed me to the Heritage Ballroom, and then helped me set up in the entry. I brought my big painting of the underwater scene I had painted one winter when it was too rough to go outside on the tanker. I’ve had it hanging on my living room wall ever since. I do¬†really¬†like it. I think it turned out pretty good, especially considering I was using the ships deck paint (and a little wonky from the fumes on the last part- after I had to move it to my room).

Most of the rest I’m bringing are photos. I’m also in the show at the¬†Brazosport Art League ¬†Gallery next to the college. I’ll pick up the ones I have there now and¬†bring a few more¬†to enter there.

Once I do the trade at the BAL Gallery, I’m headed to a photo shoot with the¬†Brazoria County Models & Photographers¬†out in West Columbia for the Day of the Dead. That should give me some awesome photos! The models are all great to work with and I always have a lot of fun. I hate to cut it short, but I’ll have to, in order to get back to Freeport in time for the¬†Sunset Sip.

I’m looking forward to this event. I’m sure to meet lots of interesting people. I hope I get a chance to wander around and check out everyone else’s work. They’re having a zydeco band, a¬†brewery, a¬†winery, and all kinds of food.

I’ll have to tend to my booth, so not sure how much time I’ll have to look around. After all, I do¬†really¬†want to sell some things too.

PS- if you like my work, please let me know. I can have it uploaded and put on all kinds of things. Check it out…https://society6.com/captainjillsjourneys/collection/jill-friedman

Paints and Politics

Tuesdays are usually busy days for me. I get up early so I have time to check email, take out the garbage, eat breakfast and get out of the house by 9:00.

I’ve been going to take painting classes at the Art & Science¬†Center¬†every Tuesday morning (if I’m not able to go to work in Houston). I’ve missed quite a few classes, but I can still see some improvement.

I have only completed 2 paintings so far. I’ve started a few others, but not close to finishing them yet. I don’t really like any of them very much so far. One friend of mine told me she really liked one abstract (mess) I was working on. I thought about it for a while and then turned it into an alien jungle scene. Kind of reminded me of something¬†Rousseau¬†might have done. Here’s the before…

I had it framed and gave it to my friend. I wasn’t all that surprised, but she liked it better before I added to it. She thought I ‘ruined it’. Here’s the after…

Which one do you like best?

The other one I’ve finished was the 1st one I started in this class. I’ve really been trying to learn how to paint water. I found a picture in one of the art books in the classroom and tried to get the technique down. It didn’t turn out much like my reference, but I think it wasn’t too bad for my first try.

Today, I was trying to finish up a couple of others I’ve been working on for a while. This will be my last class since I’ll be at the¬†TBEX¬†next Tuesday. I still have a long way to go on both of them, but I think they’re shaping up nicely.

I especially like this one (below), the photo doesn’t really do it justice. ūüôā

I really get the feeling like I’m out there on the water. I wish I really was. ūüôā

So, that’s what I do Tuesday mornings.

Tuesday evenings I go meetup with my friends from the local¬†Campaign for Liberty¬†group (ex- Ron Paul meetup group). We like to talk politics over dinner at a local restaurant. Lately we’ve been meeting at the¬†Bella Roma¬†on highway 332, next to the old skating rink. They serve large portions of pretty decent Italian favorites (pizza, pasta, etc). I usually get either ravioli with Alfredo sauce or the Philly cheesesteak sandwich. The Italian Cream Cake and Cheesecake for dessert is good too.

Lately we’ve been talking a lot about how we’ve managed to come so far from our beginnings as a free country. Last week we were watching a slide show, but as we kept stopping to discuss various points, we didn’t finish the whole program before they started closing down the place- it didn’t help that we had one¬†extremely¬†socialist guest. ūüėČ

I do like to argue, but this guy put me to shame! I think the only thing we all agreed on was that the ‘banksters’ were screwing us and the entire world.

The more I learn about what’s really going on, the more frustrated and depressed I get. At this point, I think the only way possible to really¬†live¬†as we’re meant to- is to get completely out of the ‘system’. I don’t know how to do that, or if it’s even possible any more. All I know is that I’ll never accept the way things are now (even tho I feel like I’m beating my head against the wall most days).

So, I go to the meetings on Tuesday nights, just for a change- to talk to a few people who mostly do ‘get it’. Yeah, we still argue about things, we still struggle to understand- but we try mostly to inform people. We’ll never fix what’s wrong with this country or the world as long as the vast majority prefers the status quo.

Yeah, OK- call me a ‘conspiracy theorist’. But what if it’s¬†true?