Sadly I can’t find any ‘before’ pictures of what this side yard looked like when I started on it. Suffice to say it was mostly mud and moss and was, in a word, ugly. Seriously ugly. No one wanted to go here. Then about a year and a half ago, we had this brilliant idea. Big stone steps. But they would have to straddle the property line, so we had to get our (amazingly wonderful, totally awesome) neighbors to buy into the deal. Turns out that was the easy part.
We bought the stone steps — two 6 feet across and four 3 feet across — and had them delivered. They then sat in my driveway for a year or so. Staring at me. Mocking me. So I finally dragged then around to the side hill where they would eventually live. No easy feat, as the big ones weigh in at 1,000 pounds each, and the small ones at 500 pounds. They lay there in the dirt for 6 months. Still mocking me.
But while we were out at the stone yard buying more rocks for yet another one of my water features, I noticed this wonderful small brown pea-gravel in their “Bargain Pile.” So I bought 1.5 tons of it. It was all coming together. Time to start seriously working.
A week with me, my pick-axe, a shovel or 3, a couple of come-alongs, an iron pry-bar, and … Voila!
I almost forgot … the fountain/water-feature. Four years ago, while remodeling a bathroom, I took the old tub and sank it in the side of this hill so that I could make a water feature out of it. So while they were delivering the 1.5 tons of gravel, they also delivered another 2.5 tons of rock, and I finished that little project too!
Looking up the hill. There will be lots of planting to do, now that we have some actual soil over there, rather than the clay and gravel that is what passes for soil around here. My ribs and sides are still hurting from all the pick-axe swinging I did to dig drainage trenches, level out the areas for the steps, etc.
I love my new fountain. Mostly I built it so that my neighbors can sleep with their window open and snooze to the sounds of gently falling water. At least when the frogs aren’t screaming at full volume.
There is still some debris up under the deck to be removed, and a little more clean-up along the side of the house. I also have some lights to install on each step (once they arrive), etc. but it’s basically DONE. 6 1/2 tons of stone and gravel moved, installed, etc. That’s a lot of rock.
I’m thrilled. Exhausted, but thrilled. Now, all that’s left is the back yard. And the other side yard (which is larger, muddier, and going to need even more work). I want to build a pond at the top, a larger pond at the bottom, and a long stream running the entire length with a path — and bridges over the stream — down the whole thing.
That project will have to wait a few years until I replenish the savings account. Rock isn’t cheap. For now I think I’ll go buy a nice comfy Adirondack chair to put up there near the top of that fountain so I can sit there and read a book.
See that little round white speck over on the left? That’s the water tower on Baranca Mesa. I lived across the street from that for years.
This is watching my hometown burn all over again after it already burned in the Cerro Grande fire. Heartbreaking.
You remember Congressman Patrick McHenry, don’t you? He’s the North Carolina Congressman that called Elizabeth Warren a liar during a committee hearing. And he’s never apologized.
So when he posted more lies to his Facebook page about the deficit crisis — calling it all about spending and not owning up to the fact that it’s mostly about revenue, I commented. I called him a liar. Well, he is. And here’s what he did:
Patrick McHenry David’s comment has been removed for profanity.
That’s right, he deleted my comments. And banned me from his page. So when someone else calls HIM a liar, it’s profanity. But when he calls Elizabeth Warren a liar? That’s acceptable.
So now he’s a liar and a hypocrite.
Pass it on.
Once again, not much I can say other than ‘wow.’
You don’t get to “not believe” in facts. That’s not how this works. How stupid would you sound saying “I don’t believe in gravity”? Well, guess what, just like evolution, gravity is a scientific theory. Listen to how silly these women sound.
“I think everyone should be able to have their opinions taught”
“after all, it is a theory … “
The educational system in this country is a failure. And not because of the reasons you hear in the media. It is a failure because religious fundamentalists have somehow managed to convince people that the bible is facts, and science is ‘theory.’ And more importantly, they have managed to convince the vast majority of Americans that “theory,” when applied to science, means “haphazard guess.” This could not be further from the truth, but of course, that’s not how it’s presented.
Then you have the Texas State Board of Education enshrining ignorance in books by deciding what’s in or out based on whim and personal ‘belief.’
Look, what you believe is your business. But just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t make it not exist. If I don’t believe in cats, does that make cats cease to exist? No. Because the existence of cats is a fact. The Theory of Evolution, likewise, does not cease to be true just because you do not understand what a scientific theory is, and so “don’t believe” in it.
I will also point this out to those that don’t ‘believe’ in evolution. We see evolution in action around us every day, and I would venture that most, if not all of you, accept it as perfectly true. Things like super-bacteria developing immunity to antibiotics, etc. Right? Guess what? That’s evolution. Right there in front of you. Human evolution just happens on a much larger time scale such that it is very difficult to see. But just because it happens much more slowly, and you can’t see it happening, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
I think it’s high time we stopped using the word “believe” so much. I don’t “believe” in evolution. I understand its principles and know that the science behind it is solid and sound. I observe it in the world around me. It is fact. I don’t believe the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. It happens every day, and has been happening that way for billions of years. It is a fact. You believe in things that may or may not be true. So stop saying you “believe” in things that are true. And especially stop saying that you don’t believe in things that are demonstrably true.
Seems the last line of defense in this state, the only sane voice of reason left, is our Governor Bev Perdue. She keeps vetoing the ridiculous assaults on sanity and the citizens of this state that the Republican-controlled legislature keep barfing forth. Maybe now the residents of this state will realize why it had been so many decades since we allowed the Republicans to be in charge around here: they are unwilling to act like sane stewards of the people’s trust.
8 vetoes. Keep the veto pen warm Bev!
Most days it seems the only thing stopping the Republican legislature from repealing the entire 20th century is Governor Perdue. Just a few minutes ago, she vetoed the single most blatant attack on voting rights in North Carolina since Jim Crow, the Republican Voter ID bill.
North Carolina Democrats have been fighting this bill for five months. We need your help to keep up a coordinated defense of voting rights by making a small donation right now.
This Republican General Assembly, which will be turned out of office in a fair fight, is trying to change the rules to keep the people from being heard. Their attempts at rigging the elections, even before the voting starts, would make it more difficult for seniors, college students, newly married/divorced women, and African Americans to vote. The GOP silences those voices so they can manufacture a majority.
In July, the GOP-led General Assembly will continue to work on bills that propose to eliminate convenient early voting, Sunday voting, same day voter registration and reducing the time frame for early voting– all things fair government advocates and Democrats know increase participation in our Democracy.
The GOP sees our volunteers spreading out through neighborhoods and college campuses, registering new voters. New voters made up the margin of victory for President Obama in North Carolina in 2008 and they will do anything to keep them away from the polls.
The Republican agenda offers nothing to most hard working North Carolinians. Our North Carolina is better than that. Generations of us have worked and fought together for a hundred years to ensure that all people who are eligible to vote can do so without arbitrary hurdles. They know the difference between right-sizing government and doing what’s right by our people.
Thank you, Governor Perdue– for placing your full faith in the good people of North Carolina by protecting their right to vote.
Copyright 2010 North Carolina Democratic Party
220 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27603
919-821-2777 (Fax) firstname.lastname@example.org
Not sure I can add anything to this.
I swear I’m not going to turn this into a wood-turning blog, but lately it’s about the only thing that takes the edge off. Everything else has been leaving me pretty stabby lately, but there’s just something about taking a hunk of wood and turning it into something that soothes me.
My son and I spent almost 4 hours at the lathe tonight and I ended up with this:
It’s Orange Osage wood, and the pictures don’t really do the wood justice. It’s small — only about 5″ in diameter and barely 2 inches thick — but the richness and the color are amazing.
Next up is this block of highly figured American Maple:
It’s a 5″x5″x4″ blank. We’ll see when I have time to do it. If things keep going the way they are, I may have to spend lots more time at the lathe just to keep my sanity.
Note: I originally published this back in November on a different blog, but recently, well, it just makes sense to re-publish it here.
This started out being titled “Is Cancer winning?” because sometimes it feels that way. It really does. I mean big time. Is it winning? Only if we let it.
I have dear friends, and now family members, suffering from the effects of cancer. It seems everyone knows someone or is related to someone, or … ok, that’s just obvious.
Maybe I’m just wondering why it’s showing up so much in my life lately. And by “my life” I mean peripherally. Not directly. In some ways that would be worse. In some ways? I don’t know. Being so indirectly connected to it, yet being so directly affected by it, makes it harder, for me, to deal with in some ways.
I always want to help the ones I know and love, no matter what their situation is. But with this? All I can do — the best that I can do — most of the time, is stand helplessly by.
You say “call if there is anything I can do.” Are they not calling because there is nothing I can do? Or because they are so overwhelmed with the day to day dealings, the appointment, the prescriptions, the dashing back and forth, dealing with the insurance companies that want nothing more than to find a way not to pay for any of it, that there is no way to stop for five seconds and think what someone else can do.
I know that feeling. I know it very well. I have lived it, on and off, for the past 12 years. People said it to me when my son was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for weeks without end. But it was all I could do to keep myself fed and (sometimes) showered, taking shifts by his bed. And then the dozens and dozens and dozens of hospitalizations, trips to the ER, weeks in the Pediatric ICU, surgeries, etc. over the years. It is overwhelming. Stupefying. Each time.
The most frightening thing of all? What you can get used to. What becomes normal. I could do a sterile pediatric deep trach suction and not even wake up. Most of you don’t even know what that is. I can change a G-Tube when it pops out — and the catheter balloon burst — while boarding a plane with another toddler in tow. By. My. Self. I can change a Trach in under 30 seconds. All that was normal to me.
One of the parent support email lists I am on (I’m admittedly probably on too many) talked at great length about how parents of kids like mine almost always suffer from (undiagnosed) PTSD. For some of us there is no ‘Post’ about it. When the trauma is never ending, there is no ‘Post.’ But you learn not to panic. It takes a lot to make me panic now.
I can only imagine that this is what my friends and family are going through as well. It’s not the same but it is. And there is no training course for it. There is no preparation you can ever do. There is no way to ready yourself, or steady yourself, or do anything but withstand the utter onslaught of it all.
I had a conversation tonight about “what if it were your son or daughter that had cancer?” The answer is obvious: You do anything and everything for your child. You let no one stand in your way. It toughens you in ways you cannot imagine beforehand. It becomes all about what your child needs. No matter how old your child is. 3 or 30, 4 or 40, it makes no difference. Except if they are 30, or 40, you can ask them what they need, what they want, and honor those wishes, meet those needs as best you can. And anyone that detracts from those needs? That is in any way “in the way?” Toast. It’s not about anyone else. Or anyone else’s needs, or wants, or desires.
During that conversation, and for the first time in years and years and years, I couldn’t help but cry. Because I already know how all of that feels. It wasn’t cancer, but I know. The fear, the helplessness, the desperation. The ferocity of love.
I still want to help. But maybe the best I can do is just stand over here and try not to get in the way. But if anyone needs me, you know where I am. And you have no idea of what I am capable. More importantly, of what YOU are capable, when the time comes and the need arises. But if you need someone to stand next to you … Or to pick you back up off the floor, again … Or, as my dear neighbors so aptly put it, just to hold the bucket while you let it all out. I’m right here.
Adding: This saying keeps coming to me lately in various ways: You entered this world crying, while those around you smiled. May you leave this world smiling, while those around you cry.
I found this on Facebook earlier today and thought it was worth sharing. This shouldn’t need to be said, but sadly it does.
It’s about time that the responsibiity for preventing sexual assault landed where it belongs: on those that actually commit sexual assault. After all, we don’t put up posters about how to avoid getting shot, or stabbed, or car-jacked, or almost any other crime. But somehow it’s women’s responsibility to prevent a crime happening to them. This seems backwards to me. Women don’t ask to be sexually assaulted. Ever.
Especially in light of recent stupid things being done. Maybe we need a larger, more general poster about not doing stupid, sexist, racist, or generally idiotic things.
But seriously men, what’s the problem here? If you’re having trouble “getting a girl” then maybe, just maybe it’s not the fault of, you know, every woman on the planet. Maybe there’s something about you, your attitude towards women, and your treatment of women that makes them see you as threatening, creepy, annoying, irritating, etc. Try figuring out what is wrong with YOU instead of blaming an entire segment of the population. As a friend of mine used to say, “if you meet one a**hole during the day, it was probably just an a**hole. But if everyone you meet is an a**hole, well, then, guess who the real a**hole is?”