Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Frank McCourt

Ever heard of this guy? You should. He led one of the most humbly fascinating lives I've ever encountered. Well, he and Ayan Hirshi Ali are probably my 2 favs in the "live's stories" dept.

Anyways. I watched him give a speech in front of the pennsylvania assembly house, and all he did was talk about his life.

Not about conquests, or about accomplishments, per se.

I mean, he talked of how a grade school educated dockworker immigrant from Ireland decided to walk up to the admissions office at NYU, and convince them that while he never attended high school in Ireland or anywhere, he deserved to get into NYU.

He did, and he did.

What an inspiration.

But the whole hook of the story, was the story.

People gathered just to hear him tell the story.

Not to "ooh and aah and count his wall street accomplishments".

No one really gives a rats ass about that, to be honest. Well, except for others who are trying to obtain wall street accomplishments.

I ain't one of them.

So I was thinking today, while it was raining, and I was waiting out the rain in my truck.

I wonder if anyone will ever gather to hear ME tell stories, about my life, or anything?

I also thought "I need more tragedies before anyone will come to listen like they did for (the late) Frank McCourt. People like tragedies. "

Yeah, I think with quotation marks.

I think about a lot of things while I'm doing things that dont require an awful lot of thought.

People like stories, but everyone is trying to fill their heads with crap about this or that.

They just want stories. How many of you turned off Paul Harvey when he came on the radio, saying "oh he SUCKS, I don't want to hear this.........."

Yeah, me neither. The moronic radio personalities who feel compelled to share their insights on current events? I cant get to the dial quick enough for them. Click gone.

Some musicians lives I've read about, are at least as interesting as their music is good. Stories of their hardship , the persistance in their belief in themselves, (when "experts" told them to get a real job), and their long climb up to success.

Who CARES how you live after you get there? We ALL would live like that, given the opportunity. How you got there is the story.

Unfortunately, we went from a people who headed west in connestoga wagons into the great (HOSTILE) unknown, to a people who can't BEAR the thought of living for a week, without a healthcare plan. And worse than that, we have become a people who live their lives, for retirement.

Think about that.

I don't know what any of this means, I just wanted to give you something to read, and this is it. A book.

Oh yeah, they made a movie about Frank McCourt's life, too.

Its called "Angela's Ashes".

Great story.

Even better to hear it told in person. (READ it)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Love is in the Air.......................

So we're sitting around at lunchtime today, when this one chap...........who is a cross between Grizzly Adams..................and his grizzly, comes off with "My wife can't WAIT for trapping season to begin".

I said, "Chuck, you ought to get down on your knees every night and thank God Almighty that he made a woman like that, and that you two actualy met...."

Chuck, you see, is a guy who didnt think there was anything wrong with making up a batch of "woodchuck stew" for a christmas party. And, he didnt tell anyone it WAS woodchuck stew, was too late.

Like I said, grizzly Adams. When Chuck said he got married, I immediately knew two things.
A: there IS a God, and
2: He can do anything.

Then after work, another guy comes up to me and says "wait till I tell you about the girl I met...."

And I mean the guy was beaming, and if you've read the past few posts, I'm saying that that is a good thing.

But this guys not all mushy like me.

God couldn't have made a better woman than what he was describing. I mean for HIM.

(I already have the perfect woman, and she reads this. I'm married, remember? )

Oh man now I gotta back-peddle like Lance Armstrong going over a cliff.........................

Anyways, it struck me as odd that guys would get all mushy while scratchin and swearin and being guys, is the point.

Its fun to see.

Manly men getting yanked around like they're being towed behind a boat, and smiling while they're bouncing every which way.

Go0d stuff.



I've always been goofy like this.

I just like em randy.

(Thats a joke, for those of you who know what randy means. Drama queens dont like randy)

All the time.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Cat Scratch Fever....

I can't win.
Even when I get to go back to work............well, I gotta go back to work.
They missed me. Like Nor-leanzers missed the rain after Katrina I'm guessin'.
Judging from the comments like "How the hell do YOU get a vacation!?" and "You weren't HERE last week!?" I'd say they were all traumatized.
At least their minds werent idle. The local rumor mill was in full operational mode while I was away, and it took all of 15 minutes at work to hear it/them.
Apparently, the reason for my injury/malady/infection/trip to the shore, was because I got accosted by the mascot kitty on the job.
I gotta give em credit for this one, its creative. And this time, the rumor didnt stop at the bottom of the office steps like normal "hired help" rumors. This one made it all the way to the top, and had enough weight to warrant a visit from my boss, on the site today.
"So I heard you got scratched or bit by the kitty..." he said.............(insert deer in the headlights look right about here)
"huh?" was my poignant reply. "Who the hell said THAT?"
Then the "eep opp ork's" started flying. "um, I mean.....Uh, no one in particular" fingers pointing in about 12 different directions.......
Its not like I was fingered for the Brinks job or anything, but what the frick!?!?
Talk bad about MY kitty will ya??
I just laughed, actually. And I did say "you gotta give them credit for this one..."
I'm figurin the reason for the visit, was that my boss had already had a battery of lawyers working on a workman's comp counter suit how it wasn't the company's fault that I got scratched by the jobsite mascot (while supposedly working). And all that.
I just smiled and thought "unfrickinbelieveable". Cant even get injured without it turning into a scandal of some sort.
I was going to say "its not like I got PAID when I didnt work", but thought better (for a change) and let it all go.
Blindside me once, oh well, blindside me twice, shame on me.
I didnt get reprimanded or anything, it was just a weird conversation. Kinda like him saying, "you're the best employee I ever had, and here's a great big ole fat bonus", and then in the next breath, he says "get the hell outta here, I've had it with you".
Dont know which way to turn.
Just smile and numbly walk away.
At least the kitty came up to me today. IT was happy to see me. And it didnt even know I stopped and got some friskies before it came up.
I actually got to pick it up today, and it didnt scratch me or gouge my eyes or tear my heart out or anything.
well................there IS this one mark..................but we wont tell anyone. It might start a rumor or something.
Back to work. Not as funny as I thought it was going to be.
Weird, weird day.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

High Noon

Thats the movie thats on right now. An old western with Gary Cooper who as the hero of the movie, has a date (at noon) with destiny. One vs. everybody.

No relevance whatsoever, except I had a thought to bang down here, and didnt have a particular title.

I've learned to go with what I've got.

We attended a shin-dig at a nice country club today, and were seated with some nice, but complete stranger-type people.

I wasn't feeling very celebratory, due to whatever reason, but it was a nice time for nice people.

We sat at the table and exchanged the usual pleasantries with our table-mates, but one guy in particular seemed to be on the Wally-World Promotion team. It was all he talked about, even including pulling up a video of Main Street U.S.A. on his I-phone. He talked of the rides, the attractions, the shows, the places to stay in the park, and the best time to go there.

He even mentioned that they are running a lot of promotion packages, and that you can really get a good deal...................

I said that I saw some of the promotions being run, and the guy asked "oh, is THAT what you do for a living?" I said "no, I just pay attention to things".

"Oh". He said.

"What do you do?"

I told him, and the conversation immediately and permanently shifted.

We then received a different sales pitch, to which I replied, "the reason I dont like Wally World, is because of the crowdedness and the fakeness of it all, not for those reasons.

"I like Sanibel Island, and the Florida Everglades. I'm THAT kind of person".

Once you're pegged, you're pegged, and nothing you can do will ever change that, it seems.

You are how people see you, not how you see you.

Ideally, its the other way around, but until and unless you are independently wealthy or king and imperial dictator, it is what it is.

So you listen to successful people who "own a condo RIGHT there in Disney" explan the virtues of, and the need FOR, children to visit the place.

So I shut down, which is better than over achieving in an attempt to make a point that I may have felt was necessary to make.

Its ok I suppose, to each his own. You'd think I'd be a little thicker skinned by this point.

But you know me.

Oh yeah, the movie.

Gary Cooper's character was saved by the woman he loves.

All men need that, y'know. We hero types can take care of 9 out of 10 bad guys, but that 10th one who has the draw on us, will get us if that woman doesnt step up and save us.

you can lead a horse to water

but you can't always get him on the trailer.
Something happened to me at work years ago, that while quick and apparently insignificant at the time, it has stuck in my memory like a bad nanny-coker's tatoo.
Allow me to set the stage (again).
I was working on a property in the country. An estate, really, where all seemed perfect. Horses, barns, riding arenas and an old farmhouse (restored). Like Rockwell done well.
The lady of the house (a perfect match to the setting) was attemting to get her horse on a horse trailer, but the horse wanted none of it.
I watched the tug of war go on for a few minutes when I got up, walked across the yard, and offered my assistance. She asked me if I had horses, and I said "no, but me and dogs get along pretty well", and with a weird look, she said "ok go ahead".
Now she was tugging and pulling and pushing this horse to no avail, therefore I imagine that the bar she had set for what this "hired help" could accomplish, wasn't very high.
I just walked up to his head and began stroking is face, and talking to him. After a minute or three, he let me get my hand on his bridle, and I continued to talk to him.
Another minute or three went by, and while still talking, we started walking towards the trailer. When we got to the ramp, he stopped cold, so I did too, but kept talking.
A minute or three later, I tried to walk, but he didn't, so I stopped.

See how this is working?

On the next attempt he still wasn't really sure,
but he got in anyways. Coupla 3 minute sessions, and he was trusting enough to get in. She (the lady of the manor) didnt want to close the door with me inside, but I assured her that we were ok, and that she could.
We were.
After I crawled out, she thanked me and asked if I had any experience with horses, but again, I said I was a dog person, but my daughter had an arabian.....................
"Oh, YOU have a daughter? How old?" she asked.
I told her that she was 15, (I think, I cant remember how many years ago this happened)..
and then SHE started talking.
She started telling me of the tragedy that was her daughters life, and subsequently her family's life.
Three or four sentences into a relationship, and this lady of the manor was dumping on me like I'm dear Abby.
What does one say? You'd think I'd know by this point.

How do I keep getting into these messes?
No good deed goes unpunished, I suppose.

What I got out of it, and from thinking about it, is that while everything may appear like Churchill Downs Perfection, it isn't always so. There's a lot of behind the scenes stuff, that the camera doesn't tell us.
And sometimes we can get the horse to do what we want, just by asking it to.

Friday, 24 July 2009

saving the world

Some people tell me I can write. Mostly they say they like the funny stuff, and who doesn't? Especially nowadays.
If you went back to where and why this blog thingy started, you'd have noticed that it was very different from what it morphed into.
All those previous passions are still very much intact, but nobody wants to hear the rantings of an (albeit correct) madman. My wife told me last night that I should use this gift in conjunction with my political passions, but those two never seem to come close to each other. Once I go down that road, its a whole different me that comes out.
I'm looking at a stack of American political/history/current events/world politics types of books in front of me, and having read them and connected many of the dots that elude a lot of people, there's very little humor in the picture that is formed by those dots.
But people want to laugh. Thats as not addin' up as it gets.
"Good morning Mr Phelps. Your mission, should you accept it, is to get people to realize that the sky is indeed falling, and you must make them laugh in the process.... Good luck Jim......"

Yeah, and you thought YOU had a tall order to fill.

So I got to thinkin' and readin' and googlin' and such..........................
I found this guy who made this political cartoon. He's misguided as hell, and has both feet in on the Dark Side of issues, but he uses humor (well.......) to get his point across.

I gotta find something funny in having our freedoms stripped away like Michael Jackson's fortune after the funeral.
I gotta see something funny in watching some "health care expert" on the Today show join the propoganda fray, and attempt to convince Americans that we really NEED to submit our freedoms and very lives to a panel of bureaucratic experts. You know, government experts.

I don't know if I can find it.
I'm terrified, to be honest, and most people dont even realize the ramifications of it all. Most people are trusting and relying on a media that is hell bent on keeping the dots as unconnectable as possible.

This saving the world thingy is going to be harder than I imagined. People are more inclined to believe experts and talking heads on TV, not some goofy dirt merchant on the injured reserve list.

But I got you to laugh, and to think.
I opened up myself to you(se) to get you to trust me, in my insight and my judgements.

And here you thought I was just being mushy.

My wife tells me that people are more inclined to listen to what's being said if its said in a certain way.
I say its a matter of trust.
You may have spent the past few or dozen or whatever years studying the economy, your degrees, or your business.
I've been studying THIS. I've been neck deep in this puzzle that is this administration and this movement of his. It didnt start with the last campaign, or the last election. It started around 1900.

Trust me.

I promise to try and make you laugh, while scaring the frickin bejeebus out of you.

Trust me.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

still doesn't add up

Well, if you're gonna get hurt, this is the way to do it. I'm assuming there are no boss-types reading this, because I can hardly get family members to waste their time here.
Like the old saying goes, a day at the beach beats a day at work, or something like that.
Call it R&R. Call it therapy. Call it a comp room at the Hilton in A.C., and every one of them would be correct.
So I'm sitting at the Hilton Tiki Bar in the afternoon, (not addin up) getting serviced with drinks by Hilton-ettes, when this GUY walks in. I noticed THIS guy. Tall (maybe an inch shorter than me)
well built (but not powerfully built like me :-), and dressed like a J Peterman catalog model carrying a Guess? shopping bag.
Yep, three dollar bill, but he turned the head of every woman in the place. Even the older jewelry hangers. So naturally I thought (first) I could take this guy WITH my dominant arm in a sling............................ BUT, the clincher, was "he cant write like this".
Women LOVE writers.
At least thats what they tell me. Words melt em.
Yeah, 30 years too dammed late. Thanks a lot, girls. All I can hope for now, is to save the frickin world.
So a mystery bite turned days off, turns into a beach trip and all the amenities....................yeah, I'd say that none of it adds up.
Especially the bite part.
Still dont have a clue what happened, and still not much relief from the antibiotics or whateverthehell I'm taking. Except for the crankiness. Supposedly "irritability" is a side effect .
I should have started taking these about 30 years ago, at least then I'd have an excuse.
I think kids clothing should come with that warning label. "causes irritability, Especially if placed in a car with individuals wearing said clothing, for more than 15 minutes, and increasing in intensity exponentially after that". Yeah, that'd be truth in advertising right there.
Well, the good news is, nobody got ejected from the vehicle, nothing got caught on camera, and the kids had a trip to the beach. I'd call that a win win win.
Oh, You dont have little kids? Or are yours those disgusting polite and quiet types?? (I always look for shock collar marks on those kids)
Now I Love my kids, (they're all alive, aren't they?) but you knnow how it is.
Like Bill Cosby said, "they're all retarded". Unquote. Dont crucify me, thats HIS line.
Their job, it seems, it to push us parents over the edge. What comes after that is uncertain, but I'm pretty sure thats the immediate goal.
Notice where I am in the picture. Notice that teensy weensy little cluster of colored blips in the distance. Uh-huh, my wife and kids. (My wife was the one yelling "JUMP!")
Aaaaaah, the sound of the sea. The distance between me and the screaming little cherubs. And the sound of the sea. THATS, a vacation. Combine that with not having to drive, but instead this time, I was the one with the I-pod shoved in my ears, turned up to warp-factor three. Ah bliss, with only muffled screams, flying objects, and occasional jerks of the steering wheel to interupt me.
Imagine my wife getting mad at ME, when I politely mentioned to her that its AWFULLY difficult to read, dear, with you driving so erratically and screaming so much. "Its no good for your blood pressure" I added.
Geeze. Try to be a nice guy, and you get "the look".
I cant win.
I go and sacrifice my body by getting bit by SOMETHING so the family can get a little R&R, and STILL I get in trouble.
Nothing adds up.
I think I'll eat my fudge...........................................

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

a Frickin Bug......................

So I'm sitting in the doctor's waiting room, and I think "great. This is what it'll be like sitting in Gods waiting room..."
"SO why are you here?" I say to someone next to me, wearing an old american army uniform......
"I died on D-Day", he says.
"So what are you here for?"
I say to an executive looking individual, dressed in business attire.............
"I died on 9-11".

Then someone axes me, "What about you?"

"A frickin bug" is my reply. Yeah, that'd be my luck. A frickin bug does me in. Not cutting a live 16,000 volt power wire, then jumping into a muddy hole and picking it up, oh no, that'd be too logical.
Not cliff diving or helicopter repelling from or car accidents or being caught 20 miles off shore on Lake Ontario in a storm so bad it'd make george clooney crap his pants..................
Nope. Not those or a hundred similary stupid incidents in my life.
I die from a bug.
Perfect ending to a drama queen, eh?

Remember that broken finger?
Turns out it wasnt broken at all.
Oh it still hurts like hell, and my entire hand is all swollen up like he Stay Puff marshmallow man's hand, but nothing is broken.
It seems a tiny insect (with its maniacal little fangs so small they barely left a mark), caused a reaction in my body that necessitated a visit to the doctor.
Now understand I go to the doctor about as often as some idiot co-worker unleashes a skid of railroad ties on my arms.......ok maybe thats not a good analogy.
Point is, this frickin HURTS, and I cant use my hand. Doctors orders, for 5 days.
I said "doc, you gotta be kiddin me. I have kids. What am I supposed to do, KICK em?"

Oh relax, its a joke.

Kickin' leaves marks, I know beter than that.........................

Doc says that any useage of this hand will increase the risk of the infection spreading, and if I think 5 days off work is bad, how does a month in the hospital sound!?!?!?!
Good point doc.
It sucks, but its a good point.

So here I sit, for the next 5 days, with nothing between my mind and yours, except...............well, nothin'.
Hopefully for you, maybe it'll come up with something interesting to read.

Pray for a disaster to befall me. Those can be hilarious.

I got a sneaky suspicion that this bug bite is just the begining...................................
Maybe I'll go down in the basement and put on my old hockey gear, you know, "just in case", for protection and all. God knows I could use some protection.
Just Like Noah, I wont be the stupid looking one when the sky starts falling on me.


Monday, 20 July 2009

Last Call For Apples

Progress. Its a wonderful thing. 6 days into it, and the difference between before I got there, and now, is noticable.
The kitty is much better, f'rinstance. Well, better fed, and he now has a little stone hut on the edge of the property to keep him (her?) safe from bigger, meaner, meat eatin' critters at night, or when Cruella DeVille the cat hater client comes around...............
The kitty wont warm up to me though . Not like I want it to devote its life to me, but gee whiz, a rub on my leg and a purr "thanks" would be nice once in a while.
Oh it comes a-runnin' when I come up the steps in the morning to work, but it just wants to eat. The minute I bend down to attempt to pet it, its off to kitty kastle again.
Before work I stop at the Sheetz and get a coffee, a string cheese/slim jim kind of snack, and a can of kitty food, for our mascot.
I know I know, the whole reason for starting to take care of it was because it needed taking care of, not for any return affection.
But gee whiz. A crumb would be nice at this point.
Ok, I'm a little cranky today.
I broke my finger. I think. It hurts like hell, is swollen, inflamed, and with that hand, I couldnt squeeze the toothpaste out this morning. Hitting stones with my mallet with the same hand all day long will have an effect on one's disposition, I suppose. Its not the kitty's fault.
She also doesnt know that I will only be on the job for 2 more days, and then after that, its on its own. The other sentimental types from the company left the site last week. Now, its just me and kitty. Next week the "work release" crew comes in. (shudder)
Yikes. Maybe getting eaten by a coyote or getting goodyear disease on the road isn't so bad after all.
Hard not to get attached when you "adopt" or put effort into something, y'know? Dogs anyways. Not so much with cats, but this one is special.
I'm a Labrador guy, and dont want any other type of dog.
I was working on a job when someone offered me a Lapso-Shitzu mop thingy puppy, and knowing I would
A: thrill my kids, and B: give my wife gray hair, I said "sure".
Its the kids and wife's dog. I dont claim any responsibility or affection for it, cuz its just a footwarmer, and it expects to be treated like royalty. I buy its food and the kids provide it with all the attention its little royal heart desires.
Point is, I reserve my affections for dogs that I have a relationship with. Not just because. Dogs I bond with through things like working /training together and sharing sandwiches in duck blinds in snow storms and such. Guy and dog stuff.
Stuff that bonds and binds us. Not footwarmin and "ooh lookit how cute I am with a bow in my hair....." Good grief.
This kitty doesnt think it's royalty. In fact, the other day I noticed that it actually felt good enough to play, and thats a very big improvement. It was rolling around and chasing rock chips I would roll towards it (man I hope the bosses arent reading any of this).
This kitty will never expect fancy feast in a crystal server. 9 lives right out of the can, and its all happy to see me. Or the 9 lives. I havent figured that part out yet. Life support, or bonding?
I suppose it doesnt matter.
Its all about the kitty.
Gee, I should have gotten in touch with my feminine side a long time ago, this is fun.
Or not. Better to have waited till now, when I can defend myself better.
Anyways, everybody wants me to bring the kitty home.Well, of course except my wife. You know, the reasonable one.
I'll give the kitty a couple more days to warm up to me.
Too bad the kitty cant read, eh? :-)
Years ago I planted an apple tree for my mom, and the thing grew like a weed, upwards, but never made even one apple.
So one day I went out to it and said "alright tree" (I called it tree cuz I didnt name it, I'm NOT crazy after all.....)
"I'll give you till NEXT year to grow some friggin apples. If not, its the fire pit for you....."
The Next year, we had a bumper crop. (true story) Fertilizer shmertilizer. Show the trees who's boss.
I'd do that to the kitty, but I cant.
I already named it.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Letting go of the wall

There was a place where we used to go to swim and "hang out" when we were all younger.
Actually, the place is still there, but its private now, so this generation of misfits cant go there to enjoy the beauty of it.
There is a waterfall on the Lehigh River, just downstream from rt 115. Its a spectacular place, with a big (15 or so ft.) thunderous waterfall, and a deep "hole" into which the afore mentioned misfits used to jump and dive into.

We all knew that you had to jump "just so" because there was an underwater ledge that was invisible from above the water, and if you hit it, we surmised, it would be all bad.
One day, I got the courage (stupidity, sudden lapse of all sense whatsoever......) to dive in head first, but what the heck, I knew where and how to do it, so.................
I did. And I hit the water like the aflac duck launched across a yard..................and as I hit the water, I held my breath for two reasons. The first being obvious, and the second being sheer terror.

And for good reason.
I got out of the water, and noticed my toes were all bloody, and they hurt like hell.
I missed that portruding ledge alright, for the most part. Except for my toes. They wacked that ledge and paid the price for it.
THAT, is what you call a close call. Maybe 6 or so inches different, and I'd have gotten it right in the name of the father.
But, being a slow learner, I didnt stop there. A year or two later on my journey to top the last stupid move, we were once again swimming, but this time in a nice, safe, suburban inground swiming pool. We were warned to "dive shallow", because it was a short, small inground pool, and someone previously hit the bottom.
Yeah, not a good combination.
Standing on the diving board, I remembered the warning/instructions, and let er rip. "watch THIS girls," I thought and entered the water like....well...a dorky teenager. "ok, dive shallow", I thought as I dove in, and then swept my arms to pull myself up to the surface..................and I hit, this time, right in the name of the father.
Then my neck snapped, and my mouth hit full force on the bottom of the concrete pool.
As I lay on the bottom I thought (and I'm not making this up) "this cant be good, I gotta get outta here...."
But my body couldnt do what my oh-so-eloquent brain was suggesting. The whole neck snapping thingy.
I'm not sure of much after that point, but I do remember someone holding me outside the pool while I spit teeth out, and then its all blurry......

So I dont dive much anymore. Fool me twice, and its a done deal.
I'll take up a safer sport, like Ice hockey. Sounds reasonable, right?
Being stationed in North frickin Dakota, and doing things like repelling from hovering helicopters for fun and profit, I figured ice hockey was not only logical, but safe by comparison.
Skating is like flying. Probably a lot like surfing, without the sharks and girls in bikinis. Freedom and exhiliration, all while getting to crush other like minded freedom and exhiliration loving individuals in the process. What a sport.

Many years after my swimming mishaps, I'm in the locker room with teammates getting geared up for the nights game.
I come off with "I got some bad news and some good news today. The bad news, is that I had my first colonoscopy. The GOOD news, is that I'm definitely not gay."
I learned that night there are some jokes that don't go over very well in a room full of naked men.
I learned a lot that night, as it turned out.

So I'm 40-something years old, and headed up ice (I cant remember if I was chasing or being chased with the puck, but I'm certain there was a fast 20 something stud in the picture providing my need for increased speed.....)
anywho, I'm flying like the wind, and then, yeeeeeeeouch. I leap off the ice in excruciating pain, hit the ice in the fetal position, and slide.
Headfirst into the boards.
Whomever was chasing or being chased by me, skated by and yelled "CLEANUP ON ISLE THREE" (a little hockey humor there), but I was stuck there, not sure what the heck just happened. A ref skated by and asked if I was ok, and I spoke (whispered) "yeah"
Then I crawled, ala snoopy behind enemy lines, across the ice and back to the bench.
There I undressed, and found the problem to be that my upper thigh (you know, THAT area), was completely black. I ripped something but good. My hamstring was sprung. So much for freedom and exhiliration.
Now all my gear sits in bags in the basement, but every once in a while I look at it, and remember why and when. No, its not a yoot thing, its a heart thing.
I'm not afraid of the pain, but I need to be physically fit for my work, or I cant work. Being the bread winner means everybody suffers if I dont bring home the bread. What I do affects others, so decisions are about more than just exhiliration and freedom.
Yes, I want to skate and play again, but theres a lot of risk involved. If I dont get hurt, its as good as it gets, but if I do, then its all bad.
While driving yesterday, I saw an old teammate jogging , so I stopped and talked to him for a while.
Yesterday got me thinking about all this.

How many of you go to the ice arena and rent skates, only to clip clip clip around the ice, while holding onto the wall?? You know, like a three year old in her fathers shoes??
That aint skating.
Let go of the wall.


Fallings not so bad, by comparison.

Just make sure you dont hurt someone else out there in the process.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The doctor is in....................

Some people are "helpers". Its in their nature. Its what they do.
Me? I fought and kicked and cussed my way so I could work all by my damseff, and now people come up to me and ask me, "Whats the meaning of life"? (With a couple freakin fricks thrown in just for effect).
Gee, here, lemme put this 150 lb stone down and get right back to you................
I sat down (relax, any boss-types, we GET breaks, y'know)....and we had a chat. Two dirty (albeit fit and strangely enticing) dirt merchants discussing the meaning of life. Again with the mental images. Most people dont think construction types HAVE conversations like this. Mostly, we don't, but the world aint what it used to be, so I suppose I should get used to this.
What a 15 minute conversation. We talked about A-theories and E-theories and aliens and quarks and negative energy (ooooh I just go the attention of the educated crowd). It was pretty interesting, especially given the setting.
Now I admit that the kid was a college student sumer help worker, but still.................its not what I expected to have to answer when this day started out.
God knows that there are enough shiney objects to keep my mind occupied without some discombobulated kid coming along and making me FOCUS for a while.
He said he's a geo-physicist student, and he likes to understand "things" from a scientific standpoint.
I said you cant understand faith from a scientific standpoint, thats why they call it faith and not science. He laughed at it, and then he got it.
(neato, I snuck one by a geo-physicist student)
We talked about Tesla and his energies theories and the Philadelphia experiment and we talked about current events as they pertain to ancient prophecies. He thought he was confused, then I showed him there are things he never even heard of yet, to be REALLY confused about...................
The kids a complete mess, and where does he go for help?
To the guy on top of the hill, cutting stones under a tent, listening to kenny chesney sing "something sexy about the rain".
Makes sense, right?
Note to self........find a can and write "advice, 5 cents" on it................
Oh yeah, and get more kitty food.
Turns out the kitty is getting better, the client is a huge Obama supporter, and she HATES cats.
Now THAT, adds up...................................

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

broken hearts and kittens

theres a testosterone tester for ya, huh?
Tonight, someone very dear to me called me and told me that her love is leaving her.

What do you say?
We talked as best we could on a phone a hundred something miles apart from one another.
Hugs are what works best in these cases, but the right words help, too.
I didnt have too many, I'm afraid. Shakespere would be hard pressed to alleviate the pain of a broken heart, an ill equipped dirt merchant is like the proverbial fish on a bicycle.

I tried honey, I tried.
I know how bad it hurts, trust me I do.

I'm not that old.

It will be ok, despite what it feels like now.

Trust me.

Normally, I work alone, or at least alone on jobsites.
Not this time.
Its like a major construction site, with machines and dozens of people and proucts being moved in every day.
Like a frickin sleeveless shirt circus.

I'm on a seperate section of the project, doing my thing. Now you have to understand that I make one HUGE noisy mess doing what I do, and it was a real shocker to see a teeny tiny little kitten stumble into my work area.
I wear ear protection due to the racket my stone saw makes, and this pathetic little kitty just stumbled up and laid down in front of me.
It had a cut in its ribs, and its eyes were all crusted over.
The poster child kitten of "spay and neuter your animals".
Lets go back to the setting.
Machines, BIG machines, guys working moving earth and rock and doing guy stuff. (y'know, cussing and scratching and such)
And heres this pathetic little kitty.

One guy goes out and gets some kitty food and some medicine spray for its wound, to keep the flies off of it.
I cut up two coffee cups, to make food and water bowls.

You'd swear Pamela Anderson Showed up to take donations for the SPCA or somethin.

Sometimes it just doesnt add up. Do what you can, and dont try to figure out the "Whys" all the time.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Joe and Rose

Yeah, two posts in one day, and the day I complain about people posting everything about their lives on facebook.
30 seconds after I posted the faxebook post, I see flashing lights in front of my house. Then behind that, a SUV with a coroner placard on it.
My next door neighbor Joe, was a union painter who just retired this year. In fact, I said to him just a few weeks ago, that I hoped he would be able to enjoy his retirement.
As neighbors go, he was as good as it gets.
Quiet, friendly, offer you the shirt off his back if you needed it, and would occasionally get my atention by yelling my name across the fence, just to give me surplus produce from his garden or smoked salmon from his fishing trips.
Apparently. Joe went out to his garden last evening, and died there.
Joe has a friend named Rose who would spend many days here with Joe, and Rose is as nice a person as Joe was.
Some (the usual suspects who have never loved, perhaps) questioned their friendship, but their closeness was evident. They loved each other.
I saw Rose a few moments ago, and she sobbed on my chest as she told how sorry she was that she didnt come here last night "so that he didnt have to lie there all night, alone..............."
She is heartbroken.
No other details matter.

Life is short.


Talk about not adding up.

Bear with me, as I'm a wee bit technologically challenged. Being new to Facebook and how it operates (and even what the heck its all about), is a bit of a mystery to me.

But its a great place to accumulate friends. They come out of the woodwork the moment you join up.

Making friends in real life is a lot harder, and a lot more complicated than it is online.

Apparently the only criteria is that you have something (ANYTHING or anyone) in common, and voila, friendship.

If it were only that simple in the real world.

I've yet to encounter anyone who wasnt positively giddy on facebook, and even those who were on the lower end of the giddy scale, seemed to be headed to giddyville on the express track.

Whats my point? I dont hang out with giddy people. Besides the fact that most of them voted giddily for B.O., giddiness annoys me.

I wonder if these friends will help me when I need my garden tilled, or when my car breaks down?

THOSE kinds of friends, we all need. And, they dont have to be bothered with me sharing what I had for a mid-morning snack today, either. Like they care.

Like they have nothing better to do than read about me stubbing my toe a minute ago, or that I opened the fridge and found nothing desirous inside..........................Oh the Horror.

My friends are like me. They're doing stuff. And not telling all their friends all about it at every turn. (No, this is NOT the same thing. I space it out).

I never "woo-hoo" in real life. Do you? Lotta woo-hooing going on on facebook. I think it has something to do with the giddness and all.

maybe I really AM missing the point. God knows giddy people sure appear friendly, so maybe THATS the secret.

To woo-hoo and tell everybody all the mundane occurances of your life.

Geeze, and here I've just been wasting your time with "we're all gonna die, the country is in the toilet, and flowers. and such".

Stubbed toes and descriptions of yesterday's salads it is, from here on out.

Or not.

I dont even care about salads and stubbed toes.

The inside of my head is like Times Square these days, the last thing I need to do is start focusing on salads.

Its hard enough the way it is to stay focused.

I'll end up stubbing my toes or playing whack-a-mole with my fingers while setting stones at work..

Or something.

I'd better stick to the End of the World and my general purpose drame queen stuff.

Can I get a woo-hoo?

Thursday, 9 July 2009


Know why I like em?
Its because they're not here very long, and they ask us to siddown and notice something valuable (for cryin out loud) before its too dammed late, and they're all gone.
Its because everything is aligned against them, from climate to insects to diseases to soil conditions to you name it, yet here they are again.
They're delicate, and yet tenacious.
Beautiful, and tough.

Like me. :-)

Like people in general.
If you dont slow down and notice them, pretty soon they're all gone, except they wont come back next spring or summer.
Once people are gone, they're gone.

I sat and talked for hours with a friend tonight, and it was a night well spent.
Its a friend I'm still getting to know, but one of those people you just "click" with.
We talked about our mutual interest in flowers, and our mutual philosophy of life. That struck me as odd, when I thought about how different we are, in age in background and accomplishments and all that. Sort of a frog and a princess kind of relationship. But still we click.
We sat and watched hummingbirds feed on Monarda flowers all evening, and each time one buzzed by, it was an event. It was appreciated, and noticed .
We could all survive rather nicely on the small things in life, if we werent so easily distracted and overcome by the shinier things.

Coming off a tremendous tragedy in her life and struggling through major physical ailments, I felt like just hugging her all night, but she just talked and talked and talked.
Sometimes, I found out, people just need to talk, and tell us of their accomplishments and meaningful events in their lives.
Sometimes, our job is to merely listen, and to learn.

And to watch the hummingbirds feed on the flowers.

Nice work if you can get it................................

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Tight Joints

Well that got the Jamican Contigent perked up.


The first stone I laid was a large one, but feeling full of vim(?) and vinegar, it didnt feel all that heavy.

The last stone in the puzzle (upper right photo) was tiny by comparison, but it kicked my butt. It could have been the fifteen hundred in between, but today, chiseling the last stone, I was spent.

Whats it been, 3 weeks since the post about the first stone being laid? Its been a long 3 weeks.

Once again, I've learned a lot in the process. Or at least learned something.

Like hard work is always worth it.

Like most people appreciate hard work, and a job well done.

Like pats on the back are always welcome, especially from the right people.

There are worse things to be told, than "you're good", thats for sure. Especially when the right people tell you that you're good. Little things stick with us forever.
Like having an 83 year old retired contractor tell you "man thats some fine work".

Hard work isnt easy though, and nothing worth getting, is ever easily gotten, is it?

There are days when you dont want to do it at all. There are days when you want to be somewhere else. ANYWHERE else.
Those are the days that define you.

I know everybody feels that way with their work, but I believe its different when theres no one else to hide behind, nowhere to hide, no slack time to hide in, no easy day to recouperate in. Just lay the predetermined amount of square footage, the end.

On or near the last day of the project, I go back and review some work that for whatever reason, isnt up to par. There were a few stones that had to be replaced or relaid, but not too many. 3 out of 1500. I can live with that. Thats not bragging, thats just saying that even a A.D.D. riddled troglodite can stay on target when there are no shiney objects to distract him.
And I LOVE shiney object. No, really. Sometimes I'm fortunate I dont lop my toes off because of distracting shiney objects.

My wife brought me lunch one day, and complimented me on how nice it looked.

(tick tick tick)

then she said, "How come you dont do such nice work at OUR house??" (boom)

(hang on, I gotta yank a dagger out of my heart...)

No, she said, "these joints are really tight and everything is so perfect..."

"Yeah, well, thats what you get when you pay money for me to do something"

and before the words were even done being out of my mouth, I had to make sure my foot didnt garble up the sentence too much.

So I thought about it.

Why is it that we dont make sure that we do our best work at home?

Why do we worry about impressing others, whose opinion of or value to us, is far less important?

Is it because they pay us?

Very few of us save our best work for those who are most important to us.

At least thats what I've read.

And thats what I'm guilty of.

Give the customers what they pay for, and save my best for home.

Sounds easy enough, but the paying customers get me first, and I dont feel my best by the time I get home.

I believe they call that a connundrum.

Even when I finish a project, I learn I gotta start all over again.

At home.