The Unfortunate Thing About Being Me. And Also, A Project.
First, I want to thank those of you who shared the things you keep around for when you’re feeling blue in the comments of yesterday’s post. They were touching, heartfelt, and most important, they made me feel like much less of a freak.
The unfortunate thing about being me sometimes, is that there are so many things I want to be, that there’s never enough time to learn it all, and I pretty much end up half-assing everything as a result.
I’m so terrified of writing anything “real,” like a book, or a polished magazine article, that I don’t even half-ass it. I no-ass it. I don’t ass it even a little bit.
But for everything else, I always just go part-way. I learn a little bit of a language. I learn a little bit about photography. I learn a little about cooking. About cleaning. About DIY projects and crafts. I can work on websites a little. Edit a little in Photoshop. Train my dogs to drag me only a little way down the street when they take off after a squirrel.
In my very first blog post, I talked about a career counselor I had in college who got angry at me when I refused to write a paper for him that detailed my future career goals. The problem is that I didn’t know what I wanted to be, so how could I possibly write a paper about it? Add to that my abhorrence of making plans, my compulsive need to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, and my debilitating fear of commitment, and we have the ingredients for mixing together the indecisive, flighty, and noncommittal soup that is my soul.
I swatted away that counselor’s insistence like he was some pesky, know-it-all, gnat. I somehow knew that if I just followed the direction life seemed to be taking me, everything would work out as it should, and some dream career would eventually fall on my doorstep.
That didn’t happen.
Nor did I turn into a “master of all trades,” like I somehow thought I’d become. The thing is, becoming a master of anything takes time, determination, and commitment. (The exception, of course, being some sickening child protégé who only has to look at a piano before he composes his first symphony, but I’m not talking about that because frankly, it’s depressing and unfair.)
This is all probably pretty obvious to most people, but it’s taken me a bit longer to figure that out.
Mrs. Maetzold never gave me a “Speedy Learner” certificate, after all.
And now we know why.
And, as much as I’d like to think that I can just start making myself a schedule or a list of goals and everything will start falling into place, I’m pretty certain that once it’s thoroughly mixed, the ingredients of my soul soup can’t really be separated again. So I guess that would make it a compound — not a mixture — for you chemistry buffs.
So I’m going to continue to carry on, learning things bit-by-bit as I tend to do.
What’s the latest little project to catch my attention?
It’s making these:
You’re probably wondering what that is.
That is a map of the city of Malaga, Spain, that I printed on card stock and then cut out the streets to give as a gift to our hosts when we visited them there a couple of months ago.
See, since I’m out of work right now, we wanted to give them something nice-yet-inexpensive to commemorate the time they’ve lived in that beautiful city. Since I love maps, but nice ones are expensive to buy, I thought I’d make them one.
First, I used Mapquest.com to zoom into an area of the city I wanted to print. The closer you zoom, the more complicated the streets tend to get. Then I saved the image and used a photo processing tool (like Photoshop) to crop it to slightly smaller than the size of my frame (or the inside of the frame mat). Then I opened the image in MS Word or Publisher, reversed it, and printed it out.
NOTE: It’s important to reverse the image so it prints backwards. That way, then you cut it out, you can flip it over and none of the print lines or colors show.
The next step was tedious. I used a craft knife and a mat I bought at Target to cut around every road.
Sorry for the blurry photo — I took this with my camera phone. I went through a lot of wine and episodes of Sex and the City to get this done. And I might have thrown a mild fit when I set a new blade for my craft knife on the paper and some kind of oil that was on it seeped through and ruined my 75% completed piece and I had to start over.
But we don’t like to talk about that.
Finally, I put a piece of scrapbook paper behind it as a backdrop and stuck it in a frame.
Cut-out map laying on scrapbook paper.
Framed map closeup.
I’ve done some earlier versions, but the above map of Malaga is by far the most intricate.
Map of Austin, TX was made for Aaron and Bec, our hosts in Costa Rica who are finally realizing their dream of starting a life in Austin. (Sorry, photo taken with my camera phone.)
Map of Durham, NC where my friend Alaina and her husband are starting their family. This is in a see-through glass frame. (Sorry, blurry photo taken with my camera phone.)
And finally, Malaga, Spain.
I’d like to make some of these for our own home and the places we’ve traveled, and I’m sure I will be making more as gifts. The great thing is that it’s sentimental for the recipient, and they can easily change out the frame, mat, or scrapbook paper to reflect their own personal style.
Is this a project you think you’d tackle yourself? What kind of gifts do you like to give people? Also, if you’re interested in having me make one of these for you because you simply don’t have this kind of time, let me know because I do have the time and I do need to generate some income.
Is this something you’d hang in your house?