Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lack Of Appreciation

I've been watching the construction work going on in front of my house this past week. We are getting new sidewalks that have ADA ramps and new paving for our streets. Despite the noise and the stench which made working difficult, I'm feeling rather patriotic and proud about this bit of construction going on. Our little town has needed this bit of improvement for several decades. 
  New ADA compliant ramps being constructed...
gives freedom to those who need this little bit of assistance.
 Framing the walk and making sure it will be level.
 Pouring early in the morning!
 Try walking through that all day long...
 Making it nice and smooth...
 Hand finishing...
 Here they come--ready to pave!
 See the flames? That's HOT!
 Do you see the clouds of fumes, stench, and heat? 
 Just some the crew following behind the heat and the stink...
But have a sense of humor and are good natured!
 I can't think of a more unsatisfactory position 
to have that's lonely and boring than being a flag person and controlling the traffic. 
Lady--you have my deepest respect because someone needs to be on point. 

I watched the men pour our sidewalk and talked to the guys.  After watching them for several days, I realized that their jobs are not easy--hot, sweaty, back-breaking hard labor that most of us would not want to do. Every one of them are grateful to have employment. Every single last one of them are proud of their profession and endeavor to make sure the quality and standard of their product is high.

So that's why I got irked--to put it mildly--when I saw two young women about to deface our sidewalk.  The sidewalk was freshly poured and we were waiting for it to cure so we could walk on it. When I looked out the window and saw one of these two girls squattting down with the stick in her hand, poised above that fresh cement, I exploded out the front door. She jumped back like she was caught with her hand on the hot stove. I dashed back in to grab the camera and took pictures.
 The two girls ready to deface the sidewalk...and ruin that hard work.
 What she started to do...
Before they decided to jump back into their truck and drive off, I told them I was rather proud of that sidewalk...that the new sidewalk represented freedom for me and that I would defend and protect that representation of freedom from anyone who tried to destroy it. One of those girls looked at me and sneered, "What---Ever!" So I told her that the new sidewalk meant my elderly neighbor can now walk the streets safely without worry of tripping. That's "What---Ever!" 

Am I getting old? Or am I out of touch? I can't remember being faced with such obvious need to destroy something that benefits everyone....and I think I'll leave the politics alone today.

Letting Freedom Ring in America Once Again... 

PS: I'll be out of touch for a few days while I finish my summer session classes. Be good to yourselves! 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Twisted Thinking...

Yesterday morning I woke to see construction equipment on my neighborhood block. I did my usual bitchin' about the noise, the stink, and the interruptions to MY planned day. Obviously, to those who know me, I hadn't had my first cup of coffee. Before an hour was out, the jackhammering got to me. I went to find solace in my garden in the back yard but I could feel the vibrations all the way out there. I realized I had to go back inside and comfort the crazed felines because this type of noise was probably making them a little bit dramatic.  Instead some of them were vying for window space so they could watch. 

Max: So that big machine is making the house shake?
Buddy: Yeah! Ain't it cool? We're safe inside--trust me!
Cuddles: Like Mom would let anything happen to US...We kittens are SPECIAL.
Gabby:  Like you're a kitten any more. Dad wouldn't let anything happen to you--but Mom is another story. 
Harley: Oh cool! Look at that thingamajiggy thing! 
Lacey: I wonder why humans feel the need to break things up? Ooooooooo another machine!
Ava: I wanna see--move over!
*groans and snarls as Ava forces her way to the front and center* 

Like I said--no drama--just feline curiosity.  

Then just before noon came the beep-beep-beep-beeeeeeep of the backup warning signals from the front-end loaders. I shut the windows and turned on the air conditioner but those things are loud. I mumbled through another cup of coffee, answered a few more phone calls. Then I realized I was looking at this situation from the wrong point of view. To figure things out, I took my camera and went outside to take some shots. 
 The jackhammer machine making the house shake, with its thunk-a-thunk-athunktatittat noise.
 Picking up old sidewalk pieces...
Busting up the sidewalk in front of my house...I apologize for the poor quality of the shot--I had to take this from inside the house while I was on the phone to a student.
 I needed to focus on the positive aspect of this neighborhood intrusion. What I was witnessing was a piece of reenacted history.  Do you know what part of history I'm referring to? 

You see those men down the street? I don't know any of them. Nonetheless this so-called intrusion into my life meant that each one of those men are working. That means they are making money. That means none of them will lose their homes or their families this week. And in today's economic crisis, that's a very positive aspect. At least this week, some small part of America is working and that helps our community and our country in many different ways.

And you see that trench? That means we are getting a new sidewalk that's been needed for decades. That will make my morning walks with my elderly-young neighbor safer for both of us.  I won't worry about us tripping over broken, chunked-up sidewalks any more and she'll feel surer about walking to get her needs met. To top it off, they are putting in wheelchair ramps at every intersection--so the people who need to use wheelchairs or walkers can also have more freedom. Those ramps will help those who have joint or back problems because they will no longer have to try to maneuver over foot high curbs.  

They're working on the street in front of my house as well. I believe repaving will begin next week. That means we are finally getting those potholes fix and the road will be brand new.  I realized that means less wear and tear on our vehicles--especially right now when most of us simply can't afford it. 

It's about to get political folks--skip on down if you wish.

This noise of this reconstruction of our neighborhood is the true sound of Freedom. It's not fighter jets and sonic booms and explosions and gunfire that rings Freedom's bell. It's this construction noise.  The attitude of caring for our own people so they can simply walk about their neighborhood is the idea of Freedom that makes our country great. It's not how much we can hand out in dollars of aid across the oceans and's what we do here that keeps people working. It's building that sense of community so its members can enjoy their personal freedoms as well as their economic freedoms. This is what makes the United States of America great. This is why I'm proud to be an American citizen and truthfully, it's been a long time since I've felt this sense of patriotism. 

America, the beautiful. Let Freedom Ring.  

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Greeny GiveAway!

This is about beads. Sorry folks but yeah...I'm in bead mode.  

Jen over at Jen Judd Rocks! is celebrating her success of being published!  I can't imagine being published once and here is Jen--getting her happy self published SEVEN times! Yeah you read that right! Woooooooohoooooo! I know a celebrity! Woooooohoooooooo! Congratulations Jen!

Anyway, she's giving away TWO beady stash giveaways! How about that? Check out her blog for details and go over there and toss your name in the hat to receive some bodacious greeny beads! Can I say bodacious? 
I like to spread the good news and the love--especially bead love. It's just a thing I have for beads--you know? Some people call it addiction, others say it's an obsession. I think it's a bit of both! 

Check out Jen's blog--she's wild and crazy and totally into beads. I like that about her! 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

When Creativity Sparks...

While everyone else was celebrating our independence day, I was in creative mode. While everyone else was grilling, putting together bowls of potato and macaroni salads, and getting ready for the fireworks shows from shore to shore, I was frantically putting together beads. It was frantic because I was fighting the sun setting and losing daylight. I needed to bead.

Now for those of you who aren't bead junkies, this doesn't seem like a bad thing. But for those of you who are bead junkies--and I'm proudly in those ranks--the need to bead becomes an obsession. The more you aren't able to bead, the more it fixates in your brain. The more you look at beads, the more clever ideas you could put together--if you only had: 
1) time 
2) didn't have these papers that needed to be graded last week  
3) and a gazillion household chores weren't insidiously chanting your name and begging to be done and 
4) you didn't have other depending on you for their my case...the cats and students. 

So while you all were out celebrating our nation's birth of independence, I was beading. 

A sample of what I put together...
 Yep--that's 11 pairs of earrings. But I wasn't done yet...
 There's three more pairs of earrings. But don't hang up the phone just yet...
 The two on the left are added to the count. I added the two pairs on the right to balance out the shot, but I beaded them back in late May or early June. So look but don't count them in the total--which we are up to 16 pairs of earrings.
 Seventeen, eighteen....
 Nineteen pairs of earrings! 

And it didn't stop there...I had to finish this necklace for my sister-in-law, who is remarkably talented herself.  
Later that night, while I watched a movie to help keep the cats calmed during the fireworks display booming across our town, I discovered I was still in creative mode so I finished this for my newest grand-niece--her baby poncho. Last night I finished the cap. I fondly remember Paddington Bear and loved his hat...I tried to style her little cap in that fashion.
 I'm good for now.  I think. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bloom Where You Are Planted..

Blooming cholla...


Garden angel... 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Flaw of Mine

I don't know if I've shared this bit about myself with you or not...but here it goes. I'm not a patient person. Patience and I have had this running battle for many years--all my life, in fact. I believe we were forced to live together as an evil experiment that is still being run. We don't get along very well at all. Sometimes I'll win a skirmish but mostly Patience wins. Think about it--how can constantly beat Patience at the patient game?!?!?! Every time I try to push forward or for progress or for anything--here comes Patience telling me "Just wait..." 

Here's an example of our dialogs:

Me: I need to go back to school. Now that I've made that decision, decided on my major course of study, I've decided I want to go for the Master's degree. In fact...let's skip all the crap courses and just head straight into the Master's program.

Patience: Be patient. You have to take those crap courses first...your Master's degree will come in time.

Me: I don't wanna wait! I'm 38 years old--I'll be--gee--I'll be like 40-something by that time...

Patience: That's why you need those crap courses--your inability to do some simple arithmetic proves you need the basic foundations first.

Me: I don't wanna wait--I'm a good student and I don't wanna be 45 years old before I get my Master's degree. So see? I can too do simple math if I have to!

Patience: Have patience. Start from the beginning and build your skills. Something tells me if you're really determined, you will get your Master's in record time...Have patience.

See what I mean? Ok--Patience was right--I was 43 when I graduated with my Master's degree. And Patience was right that I needed those crap courses to build the foundation of skills I needed. But still...

Anyway--now you know. I'm not a patient person. Remember the garden I wanted?  Dreamed about? Dreamed BIG about? I've been learning patience the hard way.  I planted the seeds and waited. The first signs of green were mostly weeds. I planted even more seeds, watered, weeded, and dangedit--WAITED. Impatience set in and I grabbed plants at the local box stores and planted them. And watched them get eaten by bugs and burned by  the drought because watering was restricted to once a week. 

I've been finally rewarded.  
 Zucchini plants mostly from seed. Yes--those are weeds I've got to pull. Again. 
Look what I spotted...a flowering zucchini. Woooooooooohoooooooo! There's still hope that these plants will produce actual fruits. Ok--vegetables. whatever...

 The pepper plants have buds on them! I'm so excited since they've been so difficult to keep alive. Yes--these are from plants I bought since the seeds never came up. I'm doing it differently next year. But still this is sooooooooooo exciting! I've visions of roasting peppers dancing in my head! 

My wax beans and my green beans are growing. I'm still waiting for the tomato plants to do something--anything!  The basils may have to be transplanted in the front yard where they have some shade. But I think I'm going to plant some pumpkin seeds and see how they do. Especially now that we've had lots of rain! 

Patience: I told you to just wait...Patience is rewarding! All you have to do is....

Me: Yeah, yeah, yeah--we've been through this already! And please don't say it!

Patience: ...have Patience.