Friday, June 26, 2009

Drive

I'm getting really desperate now for posting subjects. Actually, I've thought for some time about doing some kinda instructional posts. Well, I don't know that 'instructional' is the right word but anyway, just everybody-needs-to-know-these-things posts. And not that I think that you all out there are stupid or anything but it surprises me sometimes what a lot of people (especially some women) are just not aware of. And not that they don't care or are not smart but they just usually don't have to deal with these things. But you need to know how to do things just in case. So, I know a lot of women don't deal with much as far as auto maintenance because their partners usually do this but you should still know how and where things are. One thing that surprises me is how many people, even men, run with their tires under-inflated. Do you know what pressure they should be at? Where do you find that info? On many newer vehicles, it is conveniently located inside the gas cap, as in the photo above.
Of course, it is written on the tires but I always find it hard to read. I'm usually standing on my head trying to see it because the tire is turned wrong. Another place you can find such info is inside the door. There is usually a tag with all the auto info (VIN # etc.) on the body of the auto that you will see when you open the door. All the tire info, recommended type and pressures etc. is here.
And of course, keep a tire pressure gauge IN your vehicle and know how they work. The men that I have worked with have always insisted that I learn how maintain and even repair various things on my vehicles and I'm glad that they have. I have never had anyone to do this for me and I always astounded when I hear girlfriends or other women say, "oh, I don't deal with that; my husband takes care of it!" How does that work? I think I lost my instruction booklet when I was a kid. Or ate it or something. I don't change my own oil anymore because of the disposal issues but you should know where all that stuff is; oil, transmission, coolant, etc. Know when it is recommended that ALL your filters are changed. Most people just think about changing the oil and air filter but there is also a fuel filter.

So, I'm really going to make a concerted effort to get started back on the stained glass window for the bath. Last weekend, Cat Daddy was home, so Friday night and Saturday were spent having a little fun but this weekend, it's back to the grindstone! I need to really get back to making progress on the house. Of course, I've been making good progress on the land and things like that lately but I need to concentrate on finishing the house.
I'm also going to ask again if anybody has anything they want to ask or see a post about? In fact, I challenge all you lurkers out there to comment! I see lots of regulars but get so few comments and I'm not complaining but I see the blog as a conversation of sorts. And it seems really one-sided lately. I'm not that interesting; ya'll need to talk too! I don't mind if you comment anonymously; I won't get mad. And remember, I'm a construction worker and everybody knows we don't have feelings! lol!

*REM

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lay Down Sally

Okay, the title has nothing to do with anything but I just couldn't come up with a relevant song title! So, not a lot has been going on and I'm running out of photos I took before Allen took off with the camera. I took a few with my phone but to get them onto my 'puter seems to be a real pain in the rear, so that's probably not going to happen. I'm still working as of this week. Still just playing that by ear. Our company has basically run out of work, except for just a couple of small jobs, so no one is really sure what is going to happen. I'm grateful to still be working and if it can last just a little longer I can pay off one last bill.
I have been running the excavator just as much as possible and wish I had photos or video of that but.... maybe later. I have reworked a bit of the drive, dug up a bunch of stumps and small "trash" trees to make a nicer area for good trees. I've planted several hydrangeas along the drive and cleaned up several old brush piles. I also started clearing an area for a chicken coop and re-cleared along the power lines so that the power company won't spray their noxious chemicals. Dug some drainage ditches along the drive and also artfully (ha!) placed some big boulders in areas to make it easier to mow. I might have done some more but can't remember right now.
The past couple of days I have been working in the garden though. The weeds have taken over so that I just gave up on pulling and mowed it! It's pathetic. I don't know why I plant a garden. I think it is mostly a waste of time for me. I think I would do better to use the time working on the house but something always compels me to plant at least something. I did harvest 2 more heads of cabbage and a couple of onions and it won't be long before I have a few tomatoes. But still, I wonder often what ever possessed me to think I can do all this by myself. It's way too much and I think that I will just half-ass do everything for years, because there is too much, rather than do just a couple of things well. If the house ever gets finished that will be a lot off but that is so far in the future it just seems unreal. I'm not really down but I guess I just feel like I'm chasing my tail, so to speak. I never seem to make a lot of progress. Well, I can only do what I can do.
I've been watching 'The Outlaw Josey Wales' tonight. One of my favorite westerns but I'm a big Eastwood fan anyway. I love it when he spits on the dog's head. 'Unforgiven' is another favorite and probably 'The Shootist". What would you say is the best western? And the best line from a western? One reason I love Eastwood's so much is they always have at least one good line in every movie. In 'Josey Wales' I think it is, "dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy." Ha!
Well, we'll see what tomorrow holds. I found a beautiful feather in the creek the other day when I got home from work. If I can remember I'll show a picture of it later. I'm not sure what bird it would come from but maybe one of you will know. I suspect it is a hawk feather.

*Eric Clapton

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How Long Blues

How long, baby, how long
has that evening train been gone?

how long
how, how long
baby, how long?

I've written this post over in my head countless times I guess, not quiet figuring out the angle from which to start. I never meant for it's subject matter to become a continuing topic. Certainly not for this long. It was just a couple of funny stories to begin with and we got a big laugh out of that. Both here and at work. Then a couple of odd coincidences that made me think, 'hhmm, that's weird.' Then many more odd coincidences, even to the point that other people have begun to say, 'hhmm, that's weird.' Now, he has become something of a comforting presence, a distant sentinel of sorts that watches over me or simply bids me to smile on days that I may not normally be inclined to. Now, before you all think I've lost my mind, let me explain a little.
If you have read this blog for any time at all, you know I am referring to the Switchman. And if that topic offends you, I won't be hurt if you leave. When I left the railroad job I was certain I would never see him again. In fact, I told him so. That was why I wanted to say good-bye. I can still hear his words just as clear today as when he said 'well, you never know. We might run into each other somewhere'. My efforts to get away from him started even before I left the job really. I tried to get sent out of state. Tried to alter my route, hours, schedule, whatever over the course of being sent to several different jobs in an effort to avoid him. And it would work for a bit sometimes. Then one day I'd look around and there he would be, a slight smile and wave and just as quick, he'd be gone. I have thought, at times, that I should not even write about the subject as many people would not believe that there is not more to it. But I have been truthful about the whole thing. Last week, when I saw him in my town, was the first time since leaving the job that I have actually stood in front of him.
One thing that strikes me as funny is that, there have been a couple of men I've met over the years that I have tried to run across after a job was over. Couldn't find them anywhere. I cannot ever remember running into someone, even a fraction as much, that I don't even work around anymore. Oh, after 10-12 years I see some of them again, like Dale.
Funny thing too, is that the times that he pops up is when I can use a friendly face or helping hand. Days when I was discouraged about something or feeling lonely. After the fiasco with Dale, and the ensuing feelings, I have run into the Switchman more than ever. Even to the point where I have needed physical help he has, in a way, been there. When I was still at the railroad the Switchman gave me a rather extensive first-aid kit. Yes, I know that's a weird gift and the guys ragged me about it but it was what he could get his hands on and he always seemed concerned about me traveling so much by myself at the odd hours that we do. So, twice I have injured myself here at the house and that first aid kit saved the day. The first time I had just moved into the house and had not yet bought such supplies and then just lately I cut my hand open to the point I thought I might need a couple of stitches but the more complete materials let me bandage that up just fine. There is a couple of other instances with other things he gave me but we'll just let it go with that.
When I was able to speak to him last week I actually had presence of mind enough to tell him about some of this. We laughed and he agreed that it was all kinda odd but he almost seemed slightly hurt that I would try to avoid him. I told him of my frustration and that it was hurtful to see him sometimes. He is a very calm man and he looked down at me, or maybe through me, with those deep, blue eyes, and softly said, 'it shouldn't be'. I had no response. He was right and I was slightly ashamed for making some of it into such a big deal. He asked me to please, not alter my routines, just go about my business and if we saw each other, we would just wave and smile. I quietly agreed. Later, I thought back to some of the times on the job when I would get pissed off about something and be throwing a little rant. One of the guys would say, 'go get the Switchman and let him talk to her; he can calm her down.' And he still can.
So, since our little agreement I believe we have crossed paths every day either going to or coming from work. When we were on the job it became a little ritual that when they started moving the first trains of the morning, he would always hang on the side of the locomotive, wave to me and say 'good morning'. So now, even after a year and a half of leaving that job, life would have it for whatever reason, that we are still able to wave and say 'good morning'.


*old classic but favorite version by Clapton

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Soak Up The Sun





Hope everyone is having a good weekend.


*Sheryl Crow

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hang On Little Tomato

These photos are a little old so the 'maters are much bigger and there are lots of them at this point. Yum! Can't wait! This is either Rutgers or Cherokee Purple. The Rutgers are a new one for me but I have high hopes as they are heirlooms and supposed to do well in our heat and humidity. The other heirlooms I have tried just can't seem to handle it. I am trying to keep the garden going, although at times I am not very enthusiastic about it. I hate to be that way but it just seems like a lot of effort for just me. I can take some of the produce to the guys at work though.
I have several heads of cabbage ready now. I am in the process of eating one and it is very good! I took Molly's hint and sauteed half a head with a little butter, salt and pepper. I did also add a little chicken stock let it steam for a bit until it was good and tender. Excellent! Two of my great readers from Mobile, AL stopped by Saturday (or was it Sunday?) and I gave them one head of cabbage. I have excellent readers who are very sweet to email or call or come by. Ya'll are great and make me feel a lot better when I need it.
If I get some time, I hope to try to make some sauerkraut. I think I'll have plenty to work with.
This is one project that I finally was able to complete with the excavator and was very happy to have it done. I have a few of piles of topsoil stashed in various places around the valley and I was able to use the excavator to load my pickup with soil and bring it over to this flower bed that runs along the drive. I had already filled half of it by loading the soil in a wheelbarrow and pushing it about 100 yards over to the bed. Not fun. Good exercise but I've got other things to do. Anyway, two pickup loads and I completed this one. I also brought some large rocks over with the machine and strategically placed them about one end. Well, more like that seemed a good place to dump them and after rolling them around a little I decided they looked fine where they were.
Now I just need to clean up some of the roots and sticks that I raked out of the dirt and just threw in the drive. And fill in all that empty space with new flowers! I have a small collection of echinacea on that end and would like to add to that. The lavender on that end is also doing great! I harvested a large bundle over the weekend and still have one whole plant to go. The bees are going absolutely nuts for it too.

In other news, I'm still working as of this week. I found yet another heart-shaped rock at work. I wish I had a photo of this one but, no camera. I have taken a few pics with my cell phone but guess I need a cable to get them to the computer? I could email them to myself but I bet that costs a fortune. Maybe I'll figure it out.
Allen made it safely to England but I haven't heard from him since. Hopefully, Cat Daddy is coming home this weekend and so I'll have a date. Hhmm, gave Grendal a bath. I guess that's it.
The excitement of it all just overcomes me sometimes! Phffft! Haha! Actually, I had a good time over the weekend, in between severe thunderstorms!


*Pink Martini

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Closest Thing To Crazy

Okay, some of you may be getting tired of reading this ol' story but dammit, this has really just got me flabbergasted. I don't know what to think. You know I mentioned a few posts back, how that I had run into the Switchman a few times lately on the interstate and that I had literally started going in a little later to avoid seeing him. That may be silly but it just bums me out sometimes. Well, hell, if I'm not running into him now, here in my little town where I live! It seems that every time I try to avoid him in one area, he pops up somewhere else. I came to our downtown to buy gas, something I don't normally do, and go to the bank, and as I was pulling out of the gas station, he drives by! So, he signals me and pulls over into an empty parking lot and we talk for a while (about work). I asked him, "what in the world are you doing over here?"
"Oh, I've had to come over here several times lately to buy lumber."
Seems the lumber yard nearest to his house doesn't carry the length boards he needs for a project he's doing, but the lumber yard over in my town does. !@$#!
At least this time, as I stood there and talked to him, I don't think I acted like a complete idiot.

For some reason this old joke keeps coming to mind and has for some time now: these two good ol' boys, Zeb and Joe, decide to go bear hunting. So they get out in the woods and actually find a bear but it chases Joe up a tree. The bear shimmies right up behind him, with Joe climbing as fast as he can. But they eventually reach the top of the tree and then the awfullest hollering and growling and shaking commences with the two of them going 'round and 'round in the top of that tree. So, Joe yells down to Zeb and says, " Shoot it, Zeb! Help me!"
"But I'm afraid that I'll hit you Joe! Ya'll are rolling around so, I can't see which is which!"
" Dammit Zeb, just shoot up amongst us, one of us has got to have some relief!"

Oh, I forgot! Also, when I saw him, I was wearing both the T-shirt that my company gave us for the railroad job and the baseball cap that the Switchman had given me. That was the first time I had worn that hat in over a year.


*Katie Melua/ I also just happen to stumble onto this song, which is quiet lovely and you can listen to it here. I was not familiar with this song and, once again, somewhat flabbergasted when I read the lyrics.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Hard Times

Well, we're not having to pawn our clothes to pay the rent yet, but, things are not looking so good for our industry. Our company has had several layoffs lately, on various jobs, and it hit my job today with them laying off everyone. Except me. Well, the foreman and superintendent are there too. But it leaves me to do all the rest of the work. There is still some welding to do so that's why I'm still there, but it seems to me they could have kept one other man, at least. We still have a little mud to pour, a bathroom to frame and various things. I told the foreman today if my heart explodes in the midst of all this to please, drag me outside so I can see the light of day and not let me die on the nasty floor of that warehouse.
So, I don't know how long I'll be there. I may get it next week or I may be there until September. I can't believe I've been on that job for so long. I'm sure that it is to pay for some of my sins! lol!
Today was a little stressful with the welding I was doing. My job right now is to weld up these really heavy, steel barricades to keep the forklift operators from running into and destroying various equipment and shelving. But I'm fabricating these things while the forklifts are working. In the areas in which they operate. So, I'm the target until I get the barricades up enough to stop them. Most people don't realize that a welder is blind and mostly deaf to what's going on around them while they are welding, so I must rely on my fire watch helper to watch out for me. Plus, I'm having to weld behind a screen (to protect the warehouse people!) so the forklift operators can't see me. If they just hit me with a forklift it will probably just mangle me a little but if they catch me between a lift and one of the barricades it will probably crush me. Usually I am out of their way but there was one period where I was out in the open. If I could have willed those rods to burn any faster I would have been done in just a couple of minutes.

I may not have many photos to share for the next month as Allen has borrowed the camera and taken off to England to visit his brother and family. I took a bunch of pics before he left and downloaded them, so I do have a few for now. I have gotten much done with the little excavator but still have much more to do. Those machines are SO nice to have. It's just small enough not to tear up the world and still get stuff cleared and graded.

My garden is doing okay and the cabbage are starting to come in. I harvested this one yesterday. It's very nice and I'm pleased with it. Haven't eaten it yet but it looks good and I have 8 more, I believe.

I'm still in the world of roller coaster moods. Some days are okay and some just suck. But I'm okay. And thanks Barry, for sending Ronnie by to check on me. I appreciate the thought. Ya'll are sweet. I'm okay but I'm still down about some things. This past year has just been so....weird and upsetting. I guess I think about things too much. I wish I could just not care. Not care what happens. Does my life or actions affect anyone else? Who cares? Not care which way the wind blows. Maybe one day I'll find an outlet for this.
I guess the Joplin post sounded really horrible. I think she reads much sadder than she sounds. I've been listening to a lot of blues lately but they actually make me feel better. Like B.B. King says, " There are sad blues and there are happy blues, but all the blues make you feel good!"

I don't know if any one noticed but I have redone the sidebar and header descriptions. I like the header but not sure if I like the sidebar. Maybe I'll change it some more. I have a couple of stories to tell ya'll if I can put them down in a way that makes sense.

*written by Ray Charles but favorite version is by Clapton.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Lookie what I got to play with today! No, no, not the truck; what's on the back of the truck! One great perk to working for a construction company is getting to borrow the equipment if it's not out on a job. Of course, this is one of the older models but hey, even a wore out excavator can do an enormous amount of work. I've got lots of rough patches around the places that need smoothing, stumps to dig up, the driveway to work on and some swales to cut for water diversions.
The fellers from the warehouse delivered it this afternoon and I just have to keep fuel in it and make sure it stays greased. Maybe I'm weird but these machines are such great fun to use. If Dale was still around he would have been laughing his head off at me though! I'm okay at operating but can be a little clumsy with it until I get a little practice back in. Dale is the one that actually taught me, years ago, how to operate all such machinery and he is absolutely one of the best operators I have ever seen. Funny thing because he told me he always hated running a backhoe.
You may notice also, in the foreground there, a new stack of siding. Yes, I am working on the exterior again and determined to get that finished. Of course, I have to take advantage of the machine while I have it and get as much done with it as possible. I might get to keep it for a week or two but they might come get it Monday also. Just depends on what's going on with work.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Thursday, June 04, 2009

'Splain

From a couple of questions I got, I thought I would divulge a little info about the photos in the last post.
The heart rock is another one I have found just this week on the job. Sitting at break, I happen to look down at my feet and there it was. One of my buddies at work said I should sleep with it under my pillow one night and see what I dream about. Hhhmmm. I might. Just to say, I rarely ever dream about people I know. Usually I dream about buildings or animals and such.

Yes, that is razor wire in the second photo but no, it is nowhere around my house. All of the photos have to do with work and the warehouse where we are working is very tightly secured. Tall fences and razor wire encircle the whole place. They are serious about protecting their food. The job is in a very bad part of Birmingham also and I suppose, especially nowadays, so much food sitting around is very tempting to some.

The boots (and all attached) are mine. I haven't gotten even 10 months out of this pair and I really need to buy another. It is so hard for me to find work boots small enough for me. And yes, I've checked on the internet. They don't even make the style and type, brand etc. that I like in women's. I still end up buying men's. But that's OK.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Work Me, Lord

Work me lord, work me lord.
Please don't you leave me,
I feel so useless down here
With no one to love
Though I've looked everywhere
And I can't find me anybody to love,
To feel my care.
So ah work me lord, whoa use me lord,
Don't you know how hard it is
Trying to live all alone.
Every day I keep trying to move forward,
But something is driving me, oh, back,
Honey, something's trying to hold on to me,
To my way of life.
So don't you forget me down here, lord,
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,
Ah, ah, don't you forget me, lord.
Well I don't think I'm any very special
Kind of person down here, I know better,
But I don't think you're gonna find anybody,
Not anybody who could say that they tried like I tried,
The worst you can say all about me
Is that I'm never satisfied. whoa.


*the incomparable Janis Joplin/ she says it so much better than I can.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Roam

One day recently Allen and I were setting the ladders and pick boards back up on the house, so I can finish painting, and I saw this little guy tearing a blue streak across the ground nearby. Well, maybe he wasn't going that fast but he was moving on, at least for such a small thing. I guess it is a baby snapping turtle, due to certain physical characteristics, and I wondered what he was doing roaming so far from the creek. I've seen the females come out of the creek and lay their eggs (if fact, it's that season now) and they don't stray that far from the water. So, did he take a wrong turn or do they spend the first year or so on dry land? I took him down near the creek but didn't put him in, as I wasn't sure what he wanted. But he is at least in the vicinity if he wants the water. I always imagine the turtles and frogs (or whatever) that I try to "rescue" and put in an area that I think they should be, thinking to themselves, "dammit, I spent all day getting away from here and now this creature has put me back!"
He seemed resigned to being in my grasp and content just to wait it out. I know that feeling. What a cute little bugger though with those enormous eyes.

Several people commented in the last post that I seem to be out of my funk and such. Well, maybe. I'm still up and down. The main reason that I was recently thinking about shutting the blog down is that, for the past, I don't know how long, I just seem to be whining and moaning about crap all the time and I can't stand the thought of being that way. I realize that life doesn't always go right and crappy things happen but I don't want that idea to overcome me. Good stuff does happen and most of the crappy things are to teach us important lessons. Or at least, that's my opinion.
Anyway, I have always had a restless streak in me and sometimes it still comes out, usually when I get really tired and wore down. The whole thing with Dale, which was sort of a kick in the teeth, has still got me down. I'm sure there was some reason for the whole thing but it eludes me for now. I've thought, if I get laid off, that I might go on a road trip somewhere. I don't know. So, my posts may still be sporadic. I did have a very nice time on the date this weekend. I've been out with him before and we've been friends for a while, so it's good for a distraction. Rurality caught me dragging in at 2:00 a.m. when I emailed her about our 'weed walk'! (damn time stamps!) LOL! That was also a great time and I was very happy to host several local bloggers! We must do that again! Rurality posted a great record of the event too, so you might skip over there for that.
I've gotten a few things done around the house and am working on some art too. I'll try to post soon.


*The B-52's