Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recent Work

Here's a little photo journal of a recent project. You might have to become a fan of DoubleMRanch Design on Facebook to view it. A small price to pay.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Projects

Paula cutting off the duct-tape form

So I cleaned the house and went for a walk in the sunshine and got on with things as planned and as a bonus I felt less hateful. My sister-in-law came over and wrapped me in duct tape, not once but twice. Our motivation was to make a dress form, mannequin for me. I am a tall woman which means finding clothes that fit me properly is a challenge. So we came up with this plan to make a form in tape, cut the form off and then stuff it. It went well and was a pleasant experience, everyone pitched in. I can now make some clothes and be able to fit them properly. I am not sure what to make first but it will be interesting to be able to approach the process more strategically. How we dress ourselves is integral to how we see ourselves and in the recent past I have lost my way a little, living as I do, working at home, being a mom. It's not that I don't care how I dress I just approach it in a more utilitarian way than I once did. I learned to sew watching my mother, I took home-ec in the 9th grade and I almost went into fashion design, my room mate in college was in the fashion design program. Sewing appeals to my ability to make dimensional things and to think spatially. I love fabric and yes I love the feeling you get from being complemented on your attire. Ah vanity. Here I go, stay tuned.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Feeling a bit evil today. A little hateful. I have just hosed off my back patio for the umpteenth time because it was covered in peacock shit. I hate the peacock. I want to eat him, or stuff him. Actually eating would be better because then he would be gone. If I stuffed him I would then be doomed to move his almost lifelike body around my life until I drew my last breath, knowing my inability to get rid of things. I now seriously question the likely-hood that he is my mother incarnate. She was tidy and would never litter my yard with stinky piles, there is no symbolism here. He is a freeloader, a malingerer. The house is a mess and this is what's eating me. I need to clean and I don't want to. I have really been enjoying time in my office lately, working and plotting. It's been a long time since I felt this deep love for what I do and I want to engage myself fully but my domestic responsibilities are suffocating and distracting me. I made my bed today but even that task wanted more from me than I could reasonably give it. I smoothed the sheets and pulled up the duvet but I noted to my dismay a subtle imbalance in the distribution of the feathers under the coverlet. If I had more interest I would have pulled off the quilt and shaken it repeatedly, redistributing the feathers evenly throughout and returning the two to the bed so that the vast plain of bedding was evenly puffy. I am in the living room and this depression on the bed in the next room is weighing on me. The kitchen is chaotic, the dining room table is awash in mail, magazines, notes from school, tile and empty bottles of wine begging to be recycled and yet I blog. I need a wife. I need someone to come in and keep everything in order so I can do what I please, what a luxury that would be. Whining aside, I'll probably clean for the next two hours as I generally do on Thursday mornings and then I will work and take a walk and feel fine once again. Thanks for listening.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Chair similar to the one I am discussing.

Sometime at the end of summer I realized I needed to shed a few things from my home. I know spring is often the time that people experience that need to clean and organize but I am slower on the uptake. For me fall is a time of renewal so I think this is why the urge to purge struck me. Additionally, I needed to make room for our new tenants which meant emptying out my guest room. I have been trying to absorb the overflow in several ways but there are a few things that seem to need to just go. For example, how many saddles does a person who no longer owns a horse need? I have two. One Western, from my childhood and one English, from recent times when I bought a horse in-utero after my mother died and I had some money to spare. I have tried to sell this saddle without success and now it is in my living room, being shifted from spot to spot. I want to get rid of it but there is a part of me that holds out hope that one day I will be able to use it again. It's worth a reasonable amount of money and has been barely used which should itself be a testament to exactly why I don't need it, even when I had a horse I barely used it so why should I expect to use it in my now, horseless state. I sold the horse 6 yrs ago but the dream lives on.

The other thing now occupying space in my living room is a danish modern chair that belonged to my parents, most recently to my mother. I need to quantify "recent" here. She died 13 yrs ago. This chair and one similar to it have been in my possession since then. One of the chairs is on loan to a friend. The remaining chair is functionally useless. The design is a minimal marvel, it has a lovely teak frame but the chair back itself is not supported by the frame and so sitting upright in it is impossible. The shape looks great but as soon as any weight is applied, you might as well be in a chaise lounge. Throughout my youth I recall innocent visitors to our house who were drawn to this chair were warned of it's shortcomings. Basically no one sat in it, ever. One of my mother's boyfriends attempted to fix it once, using some L-brackets to strengthen the connection between the seat and back but I had the chair recovered at some point and this work was undone rendering the chair once again fragile and useless. I must add here too that we are not small people. My entire family is tall and reasonably heavy. So I have this bloody chair in my living room and it's useless and I can't seems to part with it but I must. I feel that getting rid of it will be like giving away a bit of mother, a bit of my youth. In Smithers where I grew up we were anomalies I think. We had all this stylish, highly uncomfortable furniture, now called mid-century modern. We had a sea grass rug that covered the linoleum tile, if you spent too much time on your knees, you'd come away with deep grooves in your flesh. It was minimal and cold, unfussy and not that inviting but the parents dug it. The family couch, which needs recovering is in my office. I have a drop cloth on it and the dog sleeps there daily.

Why am I hanging onto all this stuff? I may ride again, I may not. I am certain that if I do, the horse I ride will probably have it's very own saddle. My living room is small and Mark bought me an Eame's lounge chair and ottoman for my birthday one year so I have a chair to sit in that does not throw me into a full recline or require any explanation as to how to use it or what to expect once you have sat in it. Chairs should be that way, you should just be able to sit in them without any trouble. But still there is this nagging feeling I have that I am being wasteful, getting rid of these potentially useful things. I have considered giving the saddle away, both the saddles in fact, and also this chair to a person who does upholstery and who could potentially fix it up and sell it as a useful item. But, it's a hurdle to step over to say a little good-bye to the past. Would my mother mind if I abandoned the chair? It's not her, it's an object and not even a very useful object. Probably not. Sometimes just the act of writing it all down is useful in helping me see the lunacy of what I am clinging to.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekend Update

It's been a tough weekend in suburbia. Eddy is deeply under the weather which is very concerning. For me it raises all sorts of issues about how long can we go on looking after him if for example he began to refuse to walk. He likely just has a common cold but even the most simple ailments in the elderly can be a big problem. His weight had gotten a bit low and we had started to get that under control when he began to slow down at the table. He forgets he is eating and stops and sits staring at his food like he has no idea what to do next. He often says this, what's next? A loaded question. His usually cheery demeanor has vanished and has been replaced by a strange look of fear and concern. He doesn't feel well and he knows this but to him it must seem more dire. He won't talk much and is slow to respond when he does which drives Mark crazy.

We took a few walks over the weekend to different places as a way to calm our tired worried nerves. We went down into the deep ravine below the powerline in Abbottsford but it was an uncomfortable place to be. It's very treed and the trail is winding, they are a few ner'-do-wells who potentially hang out there so instead of feeling relaxed I felt sort of scared and vulnerable. Probably will skip walking there in the future unless we're armed. (hah) On Sunday we went up to the Dyke which was better. I ate my samosas while Mark threw the ball for the dog at the rivers edge. We walked a good distance along the trail and it felt better but we still mostly talked about Eddy, if we got off the topic Mark brought us back with his concern, saying I hope the old guy gets better.

My feeling is that he'll be okay, he might take a little while to get back to his baseline. The tough thing is with each illness he becomes more checked out. We just have to take it as it comes, we have no plans for the future beyond the next few weeks. We'll keep Eddy home until he gets better, even the routine trips to my place can be tough because the set up there is so different. So we'll visit here a bit more often and see what happens.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Image from the Cowboy Junkies show

My underpants are on inside out. It's not a big thing of course, they work just fine either way but I think their inside-outedness is indicative of other things. It's fall now and the mornings are a bit darker so looking for the tag on your black underpants is a challenge. Underpants barely even have tags these days, it is the fashion now for companies to print this telltale information directly onto the fabric which makes finding it tricky if you don't have your glasses on yet.

September has come and gone, Pearl is back at school, I am back in my routine, rising in the dark, fumbling. We've been working like maniacs on our rental renovation so the issue of whether my underpants are on correctly is a super low priority, it's not as if I put them on on the outside of my pants where the drywall guy might notice and be concerned. No one noticed them at the Cowboy Junkies concert I went to on Thursday with a dear old friend who has recently relocated here from California. We talked about the band at intermission, the 25yrs they have been together and what it might feel like to perform the same songs over and over, needing to please a loyal audience who hasn't bought one of your records since The Trinity Sessions. I thought about what it meant to be a practicing artist for a similar number of years, striving for new avenues of expression. The show was good, understated, the music emotive and dark red in hue.

Mike sits facing Margo who moves the most of the five of them but still not so much. Her head bobbing forward hiding her face but revealing the top of her head, exposing her light roots, she is over 50 now. They're his words she is giving life to, not her own. She talks about their website and the new records they are working on, a tribute to Vic Chestnut among them. Art and commerce at play as always. I wept a little for the past when I first heard this Canadian brother sister act.

When I woke up the next morning for a second, I forgot I had been to the show as I have become so used to my normal routine of being at home night after night. Waking in the morning putting on black underwear beneath yesterday's clothes in a dark room, going through my day and laying myself back down at night in the same black room. I remember that I look forward to the sameness of it, maybe the Junkies feel the same way as they play the first chords of Misguided Angel. Like slipping into a dark familiar space, knowing what to expect each time.

Occasionally there is some tiny shift, a little bit of inspiration or lightheartedness in the moment. Something out of place that causes you to stop and think. I laughed out loud at the absurdity of my inside-out underpants, as I did at the surprise sight of a woman, passed out at the concert, lying down on a bench in the mezzanine of the plush Mt Baker Theater with her too short skirt riding a little too high on her ample thigh. Sweet.
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