Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stranger In A Strange Land

This...is my world. Cold, hard concrete.

Steel that holds things up.

Steel that tears things up.

Many, many hours alone, though working in a crowd.


Yesterday the ol' plumber foreman approached me to talk. I was surprised because he has never said so much as 'good morning' to me before. He asked if I was married and if so, what did my husband do for a living. I laughed, I knew kinda what he was getting at, and told him I was divorced, a long time so.
"Well, I saw you welding all morning and now this afternoon I seen you doing carpenter work. Hell, I'd hate to be your husband. You being able to do all this stuff and me just standing around."
He wasn't being mean and I didn't take offense but I knew what he meant. I've heard it before many times.
"Yeah, apparently a lot of other men have the same opinion 'cause I have a heckuva time finding anybody to date!"
He laughed. "I can see why! Damn intimidating!"

I look down at my bright pink tee shirt and matching gloves. Ya, right.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Laughing With

Well, things just seem to keep sliding downhill for me but I'm not going to let it get to me. Not yet anyway! In an effort to redeem myself I'm just going to leave ya'll with a funny joke today. Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying. This was sent to me by a good blogger friend but I am not sure if he would want everyone to know it was him, so I'll just let him be anonymous. He is also apparently one of the very few men I don't piss off or disgust regularly.

A man wakes up in the hospital bandaged from head to foot.

The doctor comes in and says, "Ah, I see you've regained consciousness. Now you probably won't remember, but you were in a huge pile-up on the freeway. You are going to be ok, you will walk again and everything, but your penis was severed in the accident and we couldn't find it."

The man groans, but the doctor goes on, "You've got $9,000 in insurance compensation coming and we now have the technology to build a new penis. They work great but they don't come cheap. It's roughly $1000 an inch."

The man perks up. "So," the doctor says, "You must decide how many inches you want. But I understand that you have been married for over twenty-five years and this is something you should discuss with your wife. If you had a five-incher before and get a nine-incher now she might be a bit putout. If you had a nine-incher before and you decide to only invest in a five-incher now, she might be disappointed. It's important that she plays a role in helping you make a decision."

The man agrees to talk it over with his wife. The doctor comes back the next day, "So, have you spoken with your wife?"

"Yes I have," says the man.

"And has she helped you make a decision?"

"Yes." says the man.

"What is your decision?" asks the doctor.

"We're getting granite countertops.


*Regina Spektor

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Say A Little Prayer

Due to a hectic work schedule and such I haven't been making my rounds of my blogroll on a real regular schedule lately so today I checked one that I hadn't visited in about a week or so. It is written by a young woman who lives with her husband on a little homestead in the mountains. I was horrified and saddened to read today that her husband had killed himself last week. It upset me so badly. I cried all morning. For her, for him. I've never met these people and only commented on her blog a couple of times but it's funny how blogs are. You kinda get to know these people some and feel some connection to them. I thought that perhaps I should not even speak of this here, as it is technically none of my business. I'm not involved or anything and I don't have the right to talk about other people's lives. That's one reason that I'm not stating who's blog it is, although I know some of you read it and will know who I'm speaking of.
But I just feel so bad for her. Of course, it makes me think of my brother and so I know some of the pain she is going through. It's a pain like nothing you can imagine. Please say a prayer for her and the family or send good thoughts if that is more your beliefs. I know first hand this is a subject that makes many people very uncomfortable but I have to say one other thing. If you ever know anyone that is unfortunate enough to experience suicide, please take a moment to say a few words to them or even send a card. This woman seems blessed enough to have many good friends and family that are very supportive but I remember very well when my brother killed himself. Most people would not acknowledge it. I had two former boyfriends who called me to express their condolences and two other acquaintances sent a card. That was it. I cherished those cards and words very much and they did help. I read them over and over. It was odd that they were from people I really did not expect to hear from and my 'good friends' never said a word. It was like my brother was not worth acknowledging. Yeah I know that a lot of people don't know what to say or are afraid of saying the wrong thing but to ignore it is worse. Sorry to be a downer again but this just makes me so sad.

I have often wondered what it would be like to meet the other bloggers I read and the people who read mine. Of course, I have met a few and we even get together some for dinner when we can and have a lot of fun. But what about all those spread out all over the world. I wonder, would it spoil it to meet these people? Would I be less inclined to write about certain things if I 'knew' who was reading it. There is a certain freedom to anonymity. Or would it make it better? To put a face with the comments left on my blog. I do know what some of you look like but it's different to meet someone in person. You know, there would be some that you would probably think you would really like and then after meeting think, what an asshole! lol! Or maybe vice versa. Some you may think you would not like and turn out to really get along with. At any rate, what an odd way to connect to people. But it does work I guess.


*Aretha Franklin does a nice version of this song.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dragon Queen

Alright, I've been tryin' to come up with some kind of great enlightening or informative post about some interesting subject or project but I'm coming up empty so ya'll are just going to get a rant instead. As you all my have guessed by now, I'm not one of those perpetually happy, morning-rising chipper folks that grin so much it makes you want to smack them. While I am generally happy and easy going, I sometimes succumb to just being damn grumpy and this is one of those times.
I thought ya'll might like the pics of the dragonflies though. They have returned in full force this spring, much to my delight. I counted 10 or more flying around this one flower bed the other afternoon and their increasing numbers seem to correspond to a DEcreasing number of deerflies, the spawn of the devil.

At any rate, back to my rant... I don't know if it's the half a dozen former work buddies of mine that have died recently or our increasingly unstable work situation or just the feelings of isolation that have me frustrated lately. Friday, two more of our guys got laid off. Hippie was one of them and to top that, his brother passed away on Tuesday. I felt so bad for him. And things are just not looking any better for our future. We are not getting any more work. I don't know if I'll make it to the end of this job and we're on an accelerated schedule at that. I need to just go ahead and retire from construction. My back hurts a lot of the time and my shoulders are sore this weekend from toting those big steel braces you saw holding the tilt panels up. I like my work and I also enjoy it because it affords me company, somebody to talk to, but I can only be friends with the guys to a certain extent, you know. I can't call them at night just to chat or whatever. Well, a couple of them I can but I don't really want to pursue that. I need a partner here. Hell, I need to get laid. And then afterwards I need him to rub my back. And no, that's not all that I want but hot damn, it's a big part. I mean honestly, life's too short to go without. I would love to have a decent man to care for and fuss over. But there's the rub; decent. Hard to come by. I get men looking for a mule to wait on them or those that just want to prove they are more man than me. Pfft! If I could take all my fave buddies from work and roll them up into one guy, one single guy, that would be great!! lol! Yeah, right.
And don't give me that crap about I need to get out more. I have tried, I assure you. I have tried all sorts of stuff and still do but when I get off work I don't exactly feel or look like going out scoping for guys. The steel toe boots are not a big draw for most men.
My guys did bring me some presents this week though. I got a stick and a fifth of some really good moonshine. I don't drink much but occasionally like a little whiskey or a beer. Hey, it was a pretty cool stick! No laughing. I have also received bones and rocks. They are such sweeties. Sometimes I have to watch what I say I like or would want though or I'll end up with a truckload.
Good Googlymooglies, I am fucked up. There is no where or no one that I completely fit in with. A little here and a little there but no where completely. Well, it's been that way all my life so why should it change now.
Oh, and to top everything off; I have been invited, by one of my great readers, to exhibit a piece of my pottery in a clay invitational in Berea, Kentucky and so last weekend when I started to work on something, my wheel decided it was time to screw up. Well, in my haste to fix it I kinda screwed it up more so now it is completely non-functional. Thankfully I can borrow Fred's to throw some stuff but it's going to be down to the wire. I'll get it done though, no matter what. This is a very nice honor to be asked and one I don't want to pass up.

So, I just had to get all that off my chest. I colored my hair today also. Was sick of looking at all that gray. It came out a little more blond than what I was hoping but, what the hell! No one will hardly see it anyway as I have a hardhat on most of the time when I'm out in public.

There is still a little bad weather hanging around but I think most of it is past and nothing of any significance here. I did think I heard a tree fall somewhere behind the house but it must have been up further in the woods.
Well, I know this post sucked but I'll be back to my normal, sweet, angelic self (snort!) soon! Hope everybody is having a good weekend.

April Storms

Well, I was going to do a post on some bits and pieces of various things going on lately but this morning has brought us some fairly severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes. I have been out this morning trying to cover as much of my garden plants as possible because they have said there is 'moderately severe' hail associated with this front. I hope not. Right now it has gotten very dark and the rain has started. There is also a tremendous amount of lightning on it's way and while I was out in the garden I could hear the rubble of the thunder off in the distance. The radar was just solid white from the amount of lightning strikes approaching this side of the state.
We had some storms come through last night, which woke me and Grendal up, but these are supposed to be far worse. I hope all of my readers that are in the area of these storms come through okay. I'm going to go now and shut everything down. I have surge protectors but they don't always work. I'll be back!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Not That Bad

I would like to say I injured my lip in some incredibly passionate lovemaking session but, alas, the reality was rather stupid and boring. Friday evening Allen called and wanted me to go get some ice cream with him but my truck was loaded down with a ton of gravel so I asked him to bring some to me. So, he did and I scooped us both out some into bowls and then stuck the spoon in my mouth. I know you may see where this is going and are cringing. Well, the spoon froze to my lip but I didn't really feel that and I pulled the spoon out. Part of my bottom lip came with it. And yes, that does hurt about as much as you would think. I also bleed like a stuck hog but once it quit bleeding it has not been that bad. It swelled up some but it's not too bad now.
Later I was eating some popcorn and felt like I was crunching something other than popcorn. It was a small piece of back molar. That tooth had been filled in the past and just a small piece broke but now that's one other thing to fix. It doesn't hurt or anything.

As far as the birds. I was sitting out on the deck one day, I think Saturday, enjoying the sunshine after eating lunch and decided it was a good day for some sunbathing. So, I was reclining in a chair on the deck and I just about drifted off but was vaguely aware of birds chirping rather intensely. All of a sudden, I felt something jumping up and down on my head, making quite a fuss. I sat up quickly and two little nuthatches flew over to the handrail, not 2 feet from me, and proceeded to give me the evil eye. I couldn't figure out what they were up to. They did it again a few minutes later and then I looked down and saw two little miniature versions of the adults looking innocently up at me from below. Apparently, the babies were on the initial test flight and had landed on the deck for a rest. The young ones were just running all over the deck exploring and ran up to me as well, unaware of the distress they were causing their parents, who proceeded to take it out on me. I just laid back down and ignored the whole bunch and they eventually flew off. The little babies were so cute though with their big, dark eyes peeping up at me. They didn't seem scared at all.

Now, Fred has been planning this trip to Ecuador for some time and he finally left Monday morning. I was not real thrilled about it and not because I'm some kind of killjoy, but because Fred is 84 and not in the best of health and he went completely alone. Now, I know Fred is a big boy and all that but it still worries me. I hope he has a good time though and doesn't get mugged. Hell, with his luck, they'll probably proclaim him governor.

Update! I have received a couple of emails from Fred. Right now he is in Quito, doing fine and seeing some sights. I think Friday he moves on to another city and will be there for a couple of weeks.

I've been working like crazy but don't seem to be getting a lot done, although I know I'm making some progress. Still in a little bit of a funk just due to being overwhelmed and alone too long. We'll see. Got to go to bed now. They did change our hours so I get an extra 30 minutes of sleep in the morning. Woo hoo!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's Only Life

This weekend I managed to rip off a piece of my lower lip, break a tooth, get attacked by birds and Fred ran off to Ecuador....
Oh, and none of these incidences were related. In case you're wondering.

So how was your weekend? Better than mine I hope.


*Kate Voegele

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sometimes


Sometimes

Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail,
sometimes a person aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some people become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen to you

~ Sheenagh Pugh ~

The Warmth Of The Sun

To me it is always extremely hard to capture, in a photo, that quality that exists in the early morning sunlight. This photo is an example of that failure but shows a beautiful sunny day nonetheless. I hope to spend most of it outside. Hope you all are enjoying your day and I plan on posting some decent stuff soon. I guess the weather has just gotten me out of the mood to stay inside!
Have fun today!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Working Hour

We dubbed this the Leaning Tower Of Hippie. You can't actually see him though because he is down in the footing putting the rat sill down for the form but he's there. Don't worry, they did plumb it up after the form was placed around the steel.
I am forever fascinated with the shadows cast by the different materials and shapes that we create with them. I hate that I got that stupid lift in the pic and to have cropped it out would have taken too much away from the patterns. Oh well.

Tomorrow is Friday!!! Yippee!!!


*Tears For Fears

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)

I can't remember if I have ever put up a pic of this view of the house from the garden, but I like it. I like to see the house and the stone wall and all at once. Of course, you can also see all the crap strewn around the house too. Just overlook that! I believe we are back on a regular 40 hour work week now so I have been getting home in time to do a little work around the house. Now that it is warm I see so many things I want to do but then I usually end up getting a little overwhelmed. It makes me sad to know I am the only one enjoying this place. I would like to share it.
I have managed to plant some more things in the garden and I even did a little caulking on the siding. I need to get back on the schedule of doing at least something, even something small, on the house every day. I went for a little walk-about first thing after I got home and went down to the old dam to see if I could unearth a little more flagstone. I need to see if I can get the Bobcat up to the top, if the grade is not too steep. I could uncover a lot that way.

While rummaging for flagstone I did uncover this guy (or gal). Is this a toad? He was about 4 inches from nose to butt.
FloridaCracker, I have not forgot about the land survey you wanted to see! I am working on it and hope maybe to get that posted this weekend. I guess I have been a little overzealous at work lately because my back really begins to complain after I sit up at a desk or computer for more than a few minutes. This is one reason why my posts have not been as frequent or as long of late. And this one is about done now. I need to go relax a little and look at the inside of my eyelids for a while. Hope everyone is enjoying nice weather wherever you are.


*Garth Brooks

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another Man's Done Gone

No, this post is not about my vexed love life; it's about yet another old carpenter passing on a little before his time. Awhile back I mentioned that two old laborers I used to work with had passed and yesterday we found out that ol' Dominecker, as we called him, had died on Saturday. His son found him sitting on his front porch, dead. He had only been retired about 8 months I believe. They had wanted him to go to Georgia for that big industrial job but he finally admitted that those sorts of jobs were just too much for him nowadays and so he went on and retired. Dominecker (yes, like the chicken) wasn't his real name, which was similarly spelled, but that's what everybody called him because his real last name was somewhat hard to pronounce for a lot of people.
I would like to say a lot of warm, fuzzy things about him but he just wasn't that kind of guy. His favorite pet name for the guys, especially the apprentices, was "dumbass". He was an ornery, stubborn, aggravating old fart. And I'm being nice really but he kinda grew on ya. Kinda like moss or something itchy. He was the only man we knew that could (or would) chew tobacco, smoke and drink beer (or coffee) all at the same time. You think I'm kidding; I'm not. Needless to say, his health habits were atrocious and we had sometimes theorized that he had actually died some years ago and was just too damn stubborn to admit it. He was one of the oldtimers that helped give us construction workers our bad reputation, something which probably made him very proud.
He was also our only other certified welder, besides myself and I worked with him a few times on welding projects. He was actually very personable and nice to me and confided to me once that it always made him real nervous to have to weld structural steel, which would be inspected. He was afraid his welds would fail and hurt someone.
One of the guys mused at lunch today that he had probably gone out on his porch Saturday morning to yell or shoot at something. Probably. I just hope it was quick for him and not painful. We'll miss you Dominecker, mainly because we know it will irritate the crap out of you.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Heavenly Day

Today was an absolutely beautiful, gorgeous, lazing in the sun day! I hope it was as wonderful where you are. I just puttered around the house working on whatever came to mind.

My back had decided that it is angry with me for moving some of those big, steel braces you saw on the tilt-up panels at work, so I couldn't do anything particularly strenuous. In fact, even though I thought I was taking it easy, by the end of the day I was reaching for the Aleve again so I may have to rest more tomorrow. I did manage to mill up the very last of the cypress for the exterior trim on the clerestory area. However, I am still going to run short and will have to make a run to the lumber dealer to get more. That's fine because I also want to have him mill my shelves for the pantry. Now that I am working again I'll have the money to purchase these things. I did hope to install this trim tomorrow, now that I have it primed. We'll see.

I took a little time in the morning to plant a few new species of flowers along the retaining wall where I park. Most of these are natives I have just gathered from my land but I did buy a few that will stay small and I thought would look good hanging over the rock edge.
Please make strawberries this year!! I fertilized these well this year (with an organic fertilizer) so maybe they will produce. They seem to be getting off to a good start anyway.
And look at my fig tree!! I have two actually and this one has a wee little fig on it already. See it down towards the bottom? I fertilized these also a few weeks ago and they seem to really be winding up for a growth spurt. This is their third year so they should be really taking off soon. I don't care much for preserved figs but I LOVE them fresh; right off the tree.
My apple trees are also getting off to a good start this year and I purchased 2 raspberry plants and planted them within the garden fence. I think I need to add about 2 more for a good crop.
Well, tomorrow is supposed to be just as nice a day so I plan on staying outside as much as possible. Hope you all are having a good weekend too.


*Patty Griffin

Friday, April 09, 2010

Tell Me 'Bout It


OK, so I have a question for you all, or at least the men. I put the video up of the panel being set because I thought that would be something kinda neat and interesting and got several responses to that effect from the women....but not a peep from you guys until Jim finally said something. I'm just curious, why? I thought that would be something you guys would think was really cool. No? Head has been reading the blog a little lately and he even commented to me the next day that he thought it was funny only the women responded.
Of course, given my current state and history, it's obvious I have no idea what men find interesting or compelling! So I guess maybe that answers that!

The video is good but it's still not quite like being there. Trust me, when those things start moving, it gets everybody's attention; regardless of how long you've seen it done. In fact, a couple of the guys fussed about me posting this pic on Facebook because I caught them all standing there propped up, watching. (Generally speaking we not not supposed to stand around or ever sit down on the job.) In this instance it was kinda hard not to watch though. The reason the crane is extended out so far is because he had to pick that one panel up and over the others you see to the right; it was something to see.
We are very cautious though and respect the materials we are working with. In fact, we don't really set them. They have a specialized crew that comes in (a subcontractor) that actually sets them, although we do assist. They get paid much more to risk their lives. I have participated in the past but now that is something for the young boys to learn. I've done my share. It was kinda interesting that me and Hippie have been on the most tilt-up jobs but our foremen, who are all young men, had never been on one before. They needed the experience. We were just very happy that all the panels came out real pretty and none of them stuck or broke.

So, was it boring to you guys or what?


*Joss Stone

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Building A Wall

I have never tried to post a video before so hopefully I've done this correctly. I think maybe I did not shoot this in the correct mode because it seems to be taking forever to load. I will try something else tomorrow. I thought some of you might find this interesting. Most people never get to see something like this and I just think it's so freakin' cool.

video

I shot a couple more but they turned out kinda distracting. Hippie was talking to me and laughing and I have a horrible recorded voice so that one is not going up. Anyway, these panels are not some of the biggest we've ever done; the one you see being picked up is only about 25 tons.

I have managed to plant a few things in the garden lately. I'm going kinda slow just because of lack of time and I am adding what amendments to the soil that I can, tilling a row at a time as I get new stuff to plant. My strawberry bed is looking good. Maybe I will actually get some this year!

I'm kinda in a crappy funk again right now and even though I have some topics I want to write about, I feel that they may be colored by my present feelings so I will wait a day or so. I have realized that my job specifically sometimes causes these funks. I enjoy my work and the guys I work with but sometimes it can be trying for me. I try hard not to get sad but being alone in the world gets to me on occasion. I hate to admit that, as I am supposed to be the big independent, modern woman but crap, it would be nice to have a back rub every so often, maybe somebody to eat supper with. So anyway, I'll try to get some non-work related, non whiny posts up soon.


*Pet Shop Boys

Monday, April 05, 2010

What's New Pussycat?

I'm not one to keep many sweets around the house but I got a terrible craving for a banana split one day. It was very good.
Our native redbuds are finally in full bloom.
The new peonies and....they have ants on them!
I'm hoping some bluebirds move in.
I have never seen the watercress get this big. It is still cool enough for it to be tasty.

I'm working on some informative posts; maybe I can get some time soon. Oh, I was informed that the article was picked up by the Associated Press so, if I understand that correctly, I could be appearing in a newspaper in your area! Not likely, but maybe! I have seen it picked up by about 3 other Alabama newspapers.

*Tom Jones

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Thinking Out Loud

Wouldn't you freakin' know that now that I have a few new readers, due to the article, I can't think of anything to write about? Of course, I've been so busy with work there really hasn't been much going on to write about and when I do get a little time I am usually so tired I just can't think straight. I read over that last post and saw that there were a couple of sentences that didn't even make sense! Dang ya'll! Somebody could have said something.

I have a few subjects I would like to write about but just haven't been able to get complete thoughts going. Since I do have a few new readers would any of you like to ask any questions? Anybody want to know anything? hhhmm? Longtime readers know this is my stalling technique for when I have writer's block but I'm serious too.

I did manage to work a little in the garden so far this weekend. I got my strawberry bed weeded and some tomato seedlings planted. I hope to do some more tomorrow. I've got some potatoes and brussel sprouts I want to get in the ground. I hope to do a better job on the garden than I did last year. Oh! I tested my soil and it is basically sand I think! No wonder things haven't done well. There are very little nutrients in it despite my adding cow manure and such the past couple of years. I need to add a lot more.
So, my family had our Easter dinner today since my minister brother will be too busy tomorrow. One of his big work days you know. I mean, for his church; he works every day. That went okay. I cooked asparagus and they actually were all good sports and tried it, even the kids. So, tomorrow I will have all day to just work around the house and they say it's going to be a very nice day, weather wise.
Well, I don't have any exciting adventures or hot men to tell you about. I guess those two things would actually constitute the same subject wouldn't it? If done right anyway. My sister's family has once again found a guy they want to set me up with. I have my doubts but hopefully it will go better than the last one they found, if they ever get around to doing anything. I have kinda lost hope in that area right now. I think it's a lost cause for me.

So, anyway, maybe I will have something for ya'll tomorrow. Hope everyone has a very enjoyable Easter Sunday or Passover or just a nice spring weekend, whatever the case may be. May we all celebrate the renewal of life.