Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lie In Our Graves

Long time readers know that from time to time, I do some restoration work around the state. Today I finally had the time, and good weather, to do a job that I bid on some time back and was able to finish in one day, so it was extra good. I have actually done work in several historic cemeteries and working in such places always causes me to reflect on so many things. This is a very old cemetery of much historical significance, very near the downtown Birmingham area. Everyone here from princes to paupers. Several Alabama governors, mayors and one very well-known madam from the early 1900's.
The fence here is what I repaired. Sorry no pics of finished work. A friend of mine who is a stone mason did the stone repair. He is actually the one who introduced me to cemetery work. This mess is the result of a car wreck; someone going too fast around the sharp curve that runs by here. Probably being chased by police. Unfortunately, these grounds are located in a very unstable part of town so you have to be aware of the situation and on the lookout for suspicious/ dangerous behavior.
We also repaired one other spot in the fence that was the result of frozen turkeys being hurled through the air at a high rate of speed. 18 lb. frozen missiles that wrecked havoc amongst the tombstones and fence area. Seems a fellow stole a transfer truck full of turkeys right before Thanksgiving in a nearby area, the police gave chase but he could not quite make the same sharp turn. The truck flipped and spewed the turkeys all over the streets and cemetery. The overseer here said he kept finding turkeys strewn about for days afterward.
The grounds are filled with beautiful, old monuments of all kinds. Saddest I guess, are the varieties of lambs that usually mark the graves of children. It is such a pretty place that often times people come just to walk or sit and relax under the enormous magnolia and oak trees that cover the grounds.
Many of the markers and mausoleums are in dire need of repair but grant money or donations by patrons are hard to come by. Many of the graves are so old, that the families have long since passed away or moved from the area, these distant relatives forgotten.
But many are in fine shape and the architecture of the structures are a fascination in that you will rarely see such craftsmanship in modern times.
I can't help but to wonder about the people, that I know I am stepping over, as I go about my work. Did they live a happy life? Did it end tragically? How will I feel about my own life when I know my time to lie here is drawing close? If, I even live long enough to think my time might be near.

I can't believe we would

Lie in our graves

Wondering if we had

Spent our living days well.

So, consider this a reminder; spend your living days well, the best you can. Hug and kiss the one next to you. Laugh at stupid things. Be silly sometimes. Forgive everyone and pray that they will forgive you. Life sucks sometimes for everyone. I learned that lesson many years ago but when it's over, and it always passes too quickly it seems, there ain't no gettin' it back.

*Dave Mathews Band

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Move On Up

I finally finished one section completely!! Wooooooohooooooo! I know it's not much but don't pee in my cornflakes, I'm over three-quarters of the way finished with the north side!! I got Allen to help me move the pick board down to the other end and am ready to finish installing the rest of that siding. It's not much; only about 6 boards high, I think. I would be working on that now but it has decided that it is monsoon season here again and is coming a real toad-strangler as I type. Tomorrow is supposed to be very nice though, so I may get to work on it then. And now I can finally take those stupid boards down that are nailed up there on the right! I really need to do a drawing of the house as it should look completely finished. I know lots of you probably think the house looks kinda weird (and it does some) but so much of it is missing it's hard to tell what it will (hopefully) look like. I can see it in my head but that doesn't help and you wouldn't want to go in there looking around, believe me.
After I do a little house cleaning, I think I'm going to try to work on the stained glass window again, since it is so rainy. I really need to get that out of the way.
I'm going to inflict one more photo of the sunflower on ya'll! I just love this thing. It's like a field of flowers suspended in the air. This is actually two separate plants. I believe they are perennial. I hope so anyway, but don't know if they spread or reproduce themselves easily or what.
And this looks like the coral mushrooms that the elusive Ron wrote about several times. Sorry for the crappy pic; it's not really in focus but by the time I discovered this it was pouring outside and, I'm sorry, but I'm not quite THAT devoted to ya'll as to get completely drenched. lol! At any rate, this one was about 3 or 4 inches across and there are a bunch of them growing right behind the house. I had not noticed them in previous years. Many sources say they are edible, and quite tasty, but when it comes to being poisoned, I'm a little on the weinie side so I won't be sampling these unless I could get a true authority to verify. Some sources I looked up said there was a similar 'shroom that was poisonous and some said nothing else looks like this. It was a little confusing. They are rather firm and not gelatinous and don't turn colors if bruised, so I think they are probably okay to consume but I think I'll wait. I would like to know however, because if they are good, I've got a freakin' mini-farm about 15 feet from my deck.

*Curtis Mayfield

Friday, September 25, 2009


One thing I really enjoy about being off work is that I have time to take a walk in the morning and just enjoy the coolness of the air and see what's new. After all that rain and flooding we are now having some beautiful weather! The Maximilian sunflower is really going nuts in this sunshine. The photo just doesn't capture it well though, or rather, my ineptness with digital images. The early morning sunlight is SO brilliant it kinda obscures everything.
This is a native species that grows abundantly around here. It is commonly referred to as 'Wahoo' but other names include Hearts a Burstin' With Love. I like that one! It is a medicinal herb and was once used as a substitute for digitalis, as it helps regulate the heart. However!, it can be dangerous so should be used with caution and only by those with much experience in herbal medicine. I just think it is pretty and unusual.
I thought the structure of this ant hill was interesting also. I had just mowed the little bastards down last night so they are in the process of rebuilding. We'll see about that. I have to grudgingly admire their construction skills though. I only saw a few workers milling around, not seeming to be actually doing anything and yet somehow, their structure will suddenly be standing tall one day. Not completely unlike our job sites! I wonder do they have a fat superintendent riding around the site, drinking coffee constantly and cussing at everyone?
The view as the sun peaks over the hill. I am finished with one section of the north side of house and ready to move the scaffolding down to the other end! Yea!! Well, just as soon as I right those window screens that I installed upside down yesterday. As my eyes gradually forced their way open this morning, my focus was drawn to the north side windows and the emerging sunlight. The realization of what I had done with the screens was my first welcoming thought of the day. *sigh* Won't take but a minute to remedy though.

The bizarreness that is my life continues. Some of it I will write of later. I really thought the 'Man had gone but once again he emerges when I least expect it, along with others. Life is such fun.
Hope ya'll have a good day! Oh, and I have a new follower! Welcome! This is an event for me, unlike some of you fellow bloggers that have like, 60 million readers! lol!

*Paul McCartney

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Who'll Stop The Rain?

Grendal is getting so desperate to go outside she is willing to endure the humiliation of sitting under an umbrella. The rain has not been terribly heavy, just never-ending it seems, so there is a space under the eaves that stays somewhat dry and she stays smushed up against the side of the house. I put my umbrella outside the door to wash off and she thought it was a good place to sit for some fresh air. She didn't want her picture taken but, ever mindful of my faithful readers, I convinced her this was for the greater good.
This morning it had stopped for a while so I thought I'd jump on the chance to go for a walk. Lika was a little impatient with me. What are you waiting on?! Walk! We go for walk!
you can see in the foreground one of my dying lavender plants. Don't know if this is due to so much rain lately but many of my other flowers in this bed have turned black. Must be some kind of fungus or mold. I hope they survive.
Despite so much rain, the creek is really not up very much. It has been such a slow rain that it is soaking in I guess. The soil here is very sandy and allows that I suppose. The large plant on the upper right is that beautiful 'kiss me over the garden gate', which was just getting ready to bloom when the rains came and washed all the blossoms off.
What's left of my flower bed by the drive. Many of the plants have gotten sickly this year. The very tall plant there is a Maximilian Sunflower. I have been waiting all summer for this thing to bloom. It is well over 7' tall and covered with buds. Hopefully, the sun will return soon and let them all open.
Thanks for all the well wishes for Mom! She got out of the hospital Saturday and is doing better. Any subsequent tests will be done in Birmingham.

I think I mentioned that I am laid off again and hope to stay that way for a while. I asked my last boss and personnel director to keep it kinda quiet that I am out of work! I hate to say that but I really must get this siding finished before winter. I had hoped to do a couple of art shows this fall but work has all but screwed that up completely. All deadlines are past or shows just too close to be able to produce any work. Now, if it will just stop raining! I am determined though, to work on it, even if I have to do some in the rain. My eaves are wide enough to keep most of the rain off of me! I hope everyone else is dry (not parched) and not being washed away!


Saturday, September 19, 2009


My mother has been in the hospital for the past couple of days and everything else around here is just going nuts, so I'll be back after things calm down. Hopefully, in a couple of days. Mama is doing okay; they were just running some tests but I'm busting her out of the hospital where she is today and we are taking her to Birmingham.
My brother lives a couple of hours away and my sister has been very busy with her family so I have been taking care of things. I also did get laid back off from work yesterday. Woohooo! now, if it would just stop raining, I might could get something done on the house.
Oh, yeah, Rurality's birthday is tomorrow so ya'll might drop by there and leave some wishes! I think she is out of state on one of her soap selling adventures.
Be back soon!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Work In Progress

Not much going on around here due to work and rain but I thought I would post a little something. I have planted a few new things above my new retaining wall, as I think it has about settled in. We have gotten so much rain lately that I think it is all washed in well. It should be anyway! Mostly I just transplanted some native ferns, hydrangeas and some flowers over to the wall. I did buy a few junipers and found a beautiful white rose that I might buy later. It's name is "Popcorn" because of the abundance of small, white blossoms.
I also did a little more work placing rocks this weekend but am trying to focus on the house. I have gotten some more work done on siding also.
Work has been rough; didn't get home until about 7:00 p.m. tonight. We are about finished with our part though, so hopefully I will be laid off again soon. I hate to say that but I really need the time!
Lika got bit by a snake on his snout but he is okay. He got a dose of Benadryl for the swelling and round of antibiotics. He seems just fine. They say the bite itself can get infected so that is why the antibiotics. He looked so pitiful with his head swelled up.
Well, sorry for the boring post but maybe something new soon. One update: that butthole plumber came in Monday mouthing off and the electricians jumped on him with all fours! It was so funny. He hasn't said much since. Fortunately, we don't get many guys like that.

*Mary J. Blige

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady

The photo has nothing to do with the title there but ya'll know how I hate to put up a post without some kind of pic. Plus, I thought this was really cool how the spider took advantage of the little cubby hole created under this old root I collected.
Anyway, this has been a very rough week at work. I hope next week is much better. I often brag about how good the men are that I work with and how great they treat me and all that but this week was one of the rare times that some of them acted like real dickheads. Excuse me for that language but that pretty much sums it up.
I'm working with Daddy Rabbit on a small health clinic and I am the senior carpenter. Until Thursday I was the only carpenter and Daddy Rabbit has had to spend a couple of days at another, bigger job and so, has left me in charge in his absence. I think that is part of the deal, even though I don't tell anybody what to do or try to boss anybody. I'm just there to frame some walls and put in wood blocking. If one of the subs has a question I do consult Daddy Rabbit to see what to do and the sub must go by what he says. I just relay the message.
The electricians are real nice guys but one day the foreman comes and says I have put a stud in his way. I asked where and he showed me. He said it should have been about 8 inches in the other direction; I put it in the wrong place, according to him. I tried to explain he was measuring from the wrong end and he gets all pissy and says,' just forget it' while giving me that, 'you're so stupid you can't understand' eye roll. So, the plumber actually tells him he is measuring from the wrong end ( I laid the studs out starting from an existing wall, as you should). Finally, he sees his mistake and then becomes very apologetic and is very helpful to me after that. Well, that's not so bad but then it's the plumber's turn.
The plumber missed getting his pipe in the wall with his stub-ups in three different walls. This isn't complicated and he has detailed drawings but he missed 'em anyway. I actually moved one of my walls over about 3/4" so that his pipe will be in the wall and he won't have to deal with it. His other pipe is going to be in a cabinet so that will cover up, but his third pipe, I can't help him on. I tried to see if we could move something but Daddy Rabbit said no. So, now he gets all pissy with me cause I ask him to actually move his pipe so that it will be inside the wall. Imagine that. We even held off framing that side so he would have plenty of access to get to his pipe but that wasn't good enough. He comes blowing in at the end of the day on Friday and just shows his ass and tries his best to make me look bad in front of the other guys. I just firmly told him he was going to have to stub out further in order to get through our framing. He continues to mouth off so I just walk off and go back to framing my other wall. He does what he needs to and stomps out. I know some men are really irritated when they make a mistake and to have a woman correct them but there is just no need for that kind of behavior. I know I'm not always right but I suspect if I were ever promoted to the actual position of foreman, I would have to deal with this kind of crap more often.
The funny part, and what does make me feel some better, is that as every one of the other guys left, they each either apologized or made a point to wish me a very nice weekend. And he heard every one of them, even his own helper, because he was the last out. I have been in this business long enough to know to just let stuff like that roll off my back but it's still kinda irritating. You know, just because you got one doesn't mean you need to be one.

*Helen Reddy

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Killing Me Softly

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been making a renewed effort to get out and meet some people and all that. Trying to socialize and go out with some new men. I do not want to sit at home and stagnate or seem as though I'm stuck on someone from the past. I am an intelligent, rational woman. I can meet someone new. There are scads of good men out there, you know?
So, a man sees my profile on Facebook (we have a mutual friend) and asked to meet me. I have to admit I kinda put him off at first, even though he seemed nice enough, I just didn't feel we had much in common. He asked again a week or so later, so I said, what the heck? We emailed each other a little and I said, why didn't we just meet for coffee or lunch? Now, this is unusual for me because normally, I won't meet a man unless I have spoken on the phone with him a couple of times but my friend said he was a nice guy, so I thought, why not? He agreed and asked if I would meet him for dinner. I said okay and we went out last night. Now, I'm getting to the point of this so ya'll just bear with me. And by the way, I don't give out personal info (phone # etc.) until I know someone more.
So, we are in this restaurant, chatting away about stuff and I'm enjoying getting out and trying something new. I'm feeling like I can expand my circle of male acquaintances and meet some totally different people. He lives over an hour from me, no family in this area and he's a judge, so we are not anywhere near the same spectrum in our occupations. And then somehow, from somewhere, the subject of trains comes up. Over 75 years ago, my company got it's start building for the railroad.
He jumps on this subject; his eyes light up! Just so happens his father worked for the railroad all his life.
Did I happen to know where ****** yard was? well, as a matter of fact, that was where we built that job. Oh, his father was assigned there!
Did I know what a yard conductor was? well, yes, I did. (that is what the Switchman is.) Oh, his father was a yard conductor; he stayed there and built the trains up!
So, he goes on and on about all the jobs his father did; conductor, union boss etc. etc.; all the exact same jobs the Switchman held and after comparing the time lines and such, I concluded that it is very possible that the Switchman was a cub under this man's father and probably replaced him after he retired.
He even commented that it was kinda funny that I would have worked out there where his father had spent so much of his life. He seemed happy to have had the opportunity to talk about his Dad and remember those things. I, on the other hand, didn't think banging my head on the table was appropriate and so didn't let on to any further information.
You know, when you are working in a rail yard, the locomotives move very slow and are astoundingly quiet. You wouldn't think something like that could slip up on you, but they can. You'll just be working along, your mind on other things and then slowly, you realize you hear a slight rumbling and turn around to see this thing sliding up beside you with a tall, handsome man smiling down at you.

* I always loved Roberta Flack's original but The Fugees do a killer remake.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Let's Get It Started Part 2

Some of ya'll might remember that way back in February I took several cuttings from my existing lavender plants to attempt to start some new ones. This is how they are progressing so far. I had five to begin with but am now down to three. That is my fault really, not due to the plants just not making it. When they were still in their little starter pots, I got kinda bad about forgetting them and would let them get very dry between waterings. So, I accidentally let two of them dry up! Oops! So, I figured these had established their roots and transplanted them into the new bed about 6 weeks ago. That way they would not be put at risk of drying out so much. This has worked well and they have really taken off! They have a very nice new green growth and look very healthy. This transfer could have been done some time ago but I got lazy about it. When they get a little bigger I will transfer them to their permanent home, which seems timed about right as one of my old, large lavenders is not looking so well. I believe it is slowly dying and will have to be discarded.
Anyway, this method with the willow water seems to work well. I tried a couple of sprigs and put the willow snips right in the jar with them and they did not work at all. Seems it's best to soak the willow for a while and then discard the twigs, just use the resulting water.

The changing of the weather is becoming a little more obvious here. It's still plenty warm but the mornings are a little cooler. The sun is also just beginning to makes it's reappearance into the house. This morning there was a sliver of sunshine running along the floor, down the length of the house. That still fascinates me! It's so cool!

Hope you all have a great Labor Day and hopefully I will get much done on my window. Post photos of that soon!

*The Black-Eyed Peas

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ain't Got Nuthin'

Nothing but some whining maybe! I hate that I have not posted much lately but there is just nothing going on around here. Well, besides going back to work and that somehow, seems to swallow up all time between driving to and from and getting ready for etc etc.
It's been raining for the past several days so not much going on for the outside of the house. I plan on continuing my stained glass work today and tomorrow. Hope everyone has a fun time with friends and family tomorrow also.
For the past 2 weeks I have been trying very hard to get out and meet some new people and expand my socializing. It sucks. I went out to dinner with a nice man last week but nothing there. I have come to the conclusion that I am socially incompetent. I try to make all the appropriate gestures to show my interest (but not too much) and otherwise be involved but it's just not working. I have no idea how a woman is supposed to act. I mean, I know how to be a lady but as far as whether you should ask a man out or let him, blah, blah, blah. And I don't think a lot of them really understand that I can't stay up talking until 10:00 at night when I have to get up and pour concrete at 5:00 a.m. the next day.
I'm glad that you all are here but can't know me in person and see how screwed up I really am. For all my physical talents I have no personal skills. So, don't envy me that I can weld and do all this other crap. In the end it doesn't mean much.
Okay, before this goes further downhill, I'm going to end here. I've missed hearing from all you out there and will try to post more. I was recently reading another blog and they were talking about the advantages and disadvantages of blogging and all the psychological implications of such. It was very interesting and thought provoking but they made one comment that I did not agree with. They said that the friends made here could not be 'real' friends because you can't be there in person with them. I don't know that I agree. I miss you all if I don't hear from you in a while. You all often lift my spirits and make me feel better. Ya'll make me think about things in different ways, from different viewpoints. And I have even received actual gifts from some of you, which I cherish very much. Isn't that what 'real' friends are, whether you can actually touch them or not?


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Say What You Will

I hope you all will excuse me for abandoning my blog of late. I believe I mentioned that I have been called back to work. It will probably last for a couple of weeks and that is fine with me for now. Work has not been particularly hard; I guess I've just had trouble finding much time once I get home from work. Last night had to be an early one because we started pouring concrete at 5:30 a.m. Well, we were supposed to start then but the pump truck was late so I think it was more like 6:15. We are building dental facilities inside of an already finished and operational health clinic, so running a pump hose down the hall and through people's offices was interesting. And then it got stopped up immediately. And then the damn thing will jump when the first mud starts flowing out the end and you have to hold it down to keep it from banging into finished walls and such. It's a lot of fun.
Another fun thing is that the clinic is smack in the middle of a very bad part of Birmingham, so we have to be careful not to get shot. If you think I'm joking just read Birmingham's crime statistics. We try not to stay outside much unless there is more than one of us and you can't leave anything outside. They stole our wire mesh for the concrete. We laughed about that. We were not sure what they thought they might do with it, but they got it anyway. But the thing is, we are building this clinic for the indigent and it is a very nice facility with very good care.
Over the years I have been sneered at by a variety of people for being a construction worker in general. They're low-lifes, you know. I've mentioned this before. One day I'll have to tell ya'll some of the actual incidents. I've been sneered at for doing this work and wasting my college education by not fully pursuing the more astute and lofty ideals of a full-time artist. That's really contributing something to society, you know. I myself have, on many a freezing or broiling day, questioned my own sanity. But when I see the elderly and the children of various races come into our buildings to receive good care, that they could otherwise not afford, I think well, maybe I'm just where I need to be. But don't get the idea that I think I'm all that. I'm just one of a crew and we work together to build these things. I am proud however, that my company chooses to build these type of facilities and not things such as strip malls and other disposable buildings. We build many types of buildings for health care, education and industry. Things that help people. God forbid they ever bid on a Wal-Mart. I'll quit if we get it!
Anyway, I hope to get much work done over the long weekend and so will have something to post about. So much to work on it's hard to decide what to do first!

*Eric Clapton