Sunday, September 30, 2007

looking at this picture makes me very happy.

painting on friday was so good. alone, with only the sounds of autumn breezes, trucks passing on residential streets, and a barely audible distant radio. i had the day to think, with a paintbrush or roller in my hands. near the end of the day i took off my shoes (my boss had left me alone for most of the day). i felt the freedom and the outdoors--exactly what i've been looking for. i'm hoping for more of the same monday, when i do the last coat.

last night, powaqqatsi was so good. i recommend it. it's a movie with images and music and not a lot of words, but very beautiful, very moving at times.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

another day of work

yesterday i called up a contractor that i'd talked to a while ago, and he said to meet him today at 7:30 to work. this is good. we spent the morning doing some work on a kitchen, and I was very impressed by what he does. i got to do a tiny bit of the trim.

in the afternoon we went to a property he manages (owns?) and i got to use a weed trimmer to mow the back yard, then rake & bag the garbage. having never used a weed whacker before, i had a rough time, revving the thing too hard, and somehow using up the plastic cord way too fast. i probably used too much gas too. it was exhausting and dirty work. the upside was that i got to use those awesome safety goggles.

i guess i'll work for him tomorrow too. we haven't decided yet what i'll get paid but i have a feeling it will be low. i need experience desperately, so i guess i have to get what i get.

yesterday i was so worried about money that i called the office of temporary employment at rutgers university and interviewed for a secretarial type job. today they offered it to me. it probably pays twice what i'll be making. but it's not on the path.

the path is charted with images like these:

and dreams of one day making my own home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

'refried' beans & rice

this is cheap food, which i am interested in because after 3 days my employment has taken a bit of a hiatus. a delay in building permits...or maybe i just don't have the skills to be a good employee for them? i'm back on the trail, searching for employment.


in a food processor, mix:
2 cans black beans, drained
3 tablespoons or so of olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)

all of these amounts are approximate. if the spices seem a little weak, definitely add more. you want this to be a zingy experience. last time i made it, i lost control of the chili powder, which actually was a good thing!

this makes a tasty bean puree, which could be used in burritos, over rice, or even in a sandwich. it goes well with cheddar cheese.

i enjoyed a bowl of rice with the beans on top, and then cheese melted. very satisfying.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

mike writes

and i recommend:

What the Hell is wrong with most Christians

i especially like his use of the words inspire and expire (breathe in and breathe out).

day 3 of work as a carpenter's helper

i'm working for a man & his son who do kitchen remodeling (lots of cabinets). they also bought a run down house and are completely redoing it in order to either rent or sell.

the first day we worked on the stairs leading up to the porch of the house. i cut pieces of wood to the right width (using a table saw) and length (using a circular saw and chop saw). i helped to drill holes and nail tongue in groove pieces of wood to form the steps. we also nailed up white boards to the front of the porch to conceal the rough boards supporting it.

i do a lot of picking up trash, bringing the right boards, and getting the tools to the guy i work with. i dug dirt away from some columns, and i think more digging is to come when we work on the basement. at the end of the day i'm usually very sweaty and a little dirt-smeared.

today we spent the morning finishing a kitchen cabinet job in a pretty fancy apartment that faces the ocean. the cabinets have a bamboo face. i helped to put on trim and also to adjust the cabinet doors so they are straight and flush with each other and the cabinet body. i went back & forth unloading and loading tools in today's light drizzle.

in the afternoon we went to a different house and tore out some columns that are going to be replaced with columns of a different style. the house was lovely, and it sure didn't look like it needed remodeling. the kitchen cabinets are beautiful and look brand new, but the owners want something more their style. sometimes my employers save things they pull out of houses and re-use them. i felt like saving some of the boards i threw into the dumpster today. if i had a shed somewhere i could start a stockpile and end up with a house.

i think it's going to take a little while for it to sink in that this is my new mode of earning a living. the job doesn't take up nearly as much mind-space as teaching, although when we are on the job i try to always be thinking ahead: plug in the saw, bring a board, load nails into the nail gun, get the wood glue.

although i interact with my employers and a bit with customers, it's much more of a thing job than a people job. i am looking forward to being a more skilled carpenter. right now i do a lot of watching and assisting. i struggle with fear that i'll do something wrong. fortunately, the guy i work with is pretty relaxed and patient.

it's the start of a new school year, though, and living near rutgers i feel the beginning of a new year even though i'm no longer in academia. i'm feeling my way in this new phase of life, wondering what my goals will be, what i'll explore outside of work, what i should try to learn or accomplish. perhaps singing, pottery, writing? a bible study, or maybe waitressing on weekends?

well, for now i'm going to take a shower, because i really need one.