Quote of the Day

“There seems to be three ways for a nation to acquire wealth: the first is by war . . . this is robbery; the second by commerce, which is generally cheating; the third by agriculture, the only honest way.”
Benjamin Franklin

Quote of the Day

I like the David Reports. There is a new report out, questioning quite powerfully the role of design, asking for a focus on life cycle instead of lifestyle.

"Let’s face it; design is now a major source of pollution, as process and a phenomenon, design has degenerated into a state of aesthetic proliferation that has reached accumulative and destructive levels, in terms of loss of meaning, value, and identity."

This is from Thriving Too and I really good thing to cogitate upon with a lifelong friend. Yea, I get to do that with a friend arriving in an hour or so. I have known her almost 44 years! A dialog about life cycle versus lifestyle with a lifelong friend - who leads a very different life than I.

More money demands . . . and other stressors

So, I will have to pay $800 out of my pocket because the job took longer than the GC bid. Fuck.

The part that is galling is the attitude that I should consider myself so damn fortunate - like it has been a goodwill mission. Double Fuck. Go buy yourself a cookie. The plants in the window last night were from my neighbor's collection. Here I thought he'd bought them. They left Windex and paper towels along with a layer of dust everywhere. That can all go with them when they leave.  I'd told the GC last fall I had figured out how to move everything and drape a barrier. He assured me they would put up visqueen. Didn't happen. Today they are putting up drywall. Maybe they'll get it taped and mudded. Or not. I'd rather they'd just wrap up, clean up and go - so I don't have to pay for it. I do need them to finish the outside flashing and finish work at the windows' edges. No leaks permissable.

Lots of things pushing my buttons today. PTA president, parents and the 5th and 6th graders I planted with all morning. I am shit with the kids. My heart is not in the actual hands on, face to face aspect of what I do at the school. I do it with a sense of humor and low stress, but I don't feel the burning mission. A few really connect, many others don't. Let's face it. Many, many kids don't have a clue what the garden experience can bring - tangible or intangible. I want to do planning, documentation rather than volunteer recruitment or working with the kids. Doesn't help that there are only 3 or 4 of us for any and all projects. And I am the only one without work or kid conflicts. Guess what that means? Bingo.

Just to remind myself, the following text was taken from the Edible Schoolyard (our template) and we used it in the proposal and in campus signage here.  Click to embiggen.

Almost There

When I got home around 6:15 pm I found these plants arranged in the windows and the windex on the sink. This was the GC's touch to make me happy. I am beginning to believe the windows are a reality. Check out how the sunset shines into these beautiful glass spaces! Too beautiful . . .

One Window is Up.

I had this picture at hand to show the contractor what the structure looked like below the drywall. This is a shot from my original remodel 5 years ago this month. But, I took off this morning for the school and the men pulled off all the drywall anyway to expose the structure. As it turns out, these guys want to seriously beef up the structure inside, outside and around the window's frame. Well, okay. It is probably a smart idea because the trains that run all day and night do some real earth shaking to my little home. And the home's construction is most comparable to a tin can.

It is slow going. Here are some shots of the partially installed side window. Tomorrow will mean the 6' wide back window I hope.

Lately I have grown really impatient with the men I've been working with who fuss endlessly with minor details. It feels more OCD than simply doing quality work. This is true at the school and at home.

Death of Our Young

In two weeks I'll be remembering my daughter, Angel. March 27th would have been her 40th birthday. A terrible waste. She shot herself and I will never know the tipping point, the trigger within her teenage angst that caused her to end her life.

I think of Angel when I think of the US military attacks on nations in the Middle East, Iraq, Aphganistan, Pakistan and all the dead infants, children and teens. This includes the loss of young American lives too. I think of Angela when I see the earnest young fighters and farmers - mouning parents in Gaza. And the dead around the world because of our country's military, economic and corporate interests. I grieve for the dead, for the young lives wasted and destroyed. Dick Cheyney lives and that is all kinds of wrong.

Tonight the following tribute to the growing numbers of dead in Chicago moved me to tears. Oh, and it is in part because this very theme moved my Angela like no other. The racism in the United States is our national shame.

Be Still My Heart

Here are my new garden windows. These were delivered last Friday. (That's my neighbor's place in the background. He too is doing rehab work adding a room). I actually was thrilled even though I have been at this project since April, the windows are oversized from my design and the finish is *shudder* white vinyl. It will be fantastic to have dual panes, abundant light and a wonderful growing space. Be still my heart. In my world of 270 something square feet - this is like an added room.
On Friday the workmen (grunt workers without any authority or volition outside of the supervisor's direction) arrived and waited. I was at the school and my son tried to let them know they could begin. Another hour and then the supervisor appeared. Then another wait and the GC came, measured, talked and went to get the windows.
I purposely found a contractor who would work with me to essentially put a square peg in a round hole. At least a half dozen times since last summer he and I had conversations and he measured the damn trailer. I could have made my life simpler had I drawn a plan, elevation and some section details to illustrate squared off framing needed for the rounded roof to accommodate the window. But, these guys work on million dollar homes and know what they are doing. I think some of the stumbling, stuttering self-consciousness is due to me watching every step of the way. Whatever.

The thing is they started too late in the day. They had to put plywood up to close the newly made opening. And, they won't be back until Tuesday because it's the super's birthday. Gotta' love it. Thank goodness we are having deliciously wonderful weather. I just need to relax and go with the flow. Eventually it will all come together.

Post Script: While this was going on I checked my mail. I got a thick envelope filled with IRS notifications (read: lien threats) because I owe $80 from 2006 - with interest it's $110. Fuckers. How stupid is this? I live on no income for years and the moment I have my first social security check the ringwraiths come for me. And Dick Cheyney isn't jailed for all that he owes the IRS or has robbed the government blind. (I just chose him as the poster boy for the 1% at the top who have plundered the nation without any consequences.)

5th Anniversary

Chile's news of a home offer being accepted reminded me of the rainy day 5 years ago when my son and I started the demolition of my little trailer. We went gangbusters tearing the shit out of this place. I filled quite a few dumpsters. I paid for the first two loads and then just started using the park's dumpsters. What a disgusting mess of a job. Also, it really took a lot of strength and I found I was unable to give certain tasks the heave ho needed.

Join me as I reminisce.  I'm trying to think positive thoughts about my garden style windows arriving and being installed tomorrow or the next day. Please . . .

gross black mold and other vile things . . .

I just realized I am wearing the same sweat clothes I bought that month. They are now sun bleached and covered in paint. Oh, and lots of holes. I chuckle that I thought I looked so old and fat. Just goes to show how one must appreciate each and every stage. I am much older and fatter.

Quote of the Day

"The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy; and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it."
— Edward Dowling, Editor and Priest, Chicago Daily News, July 28, 1941

Quote of the Day

He's back ...  Van Jones is finally speaking again after the smear campaign that forced him out of the White House. As usual, the man brings inspiration with his words. Via Democracy Now

Van Jones: “And I know one thing. We have people in every community in America, right now, watching this program, who don’t have jobs, who are suffering, who are afraid, living in economic uncertainty. And I know there’s a future out there for them, where they get a chance to make the products of tomorrow. If we want the jobs of tomorrow, we must make the products of tomorrow. There’s somebody right now who’s in Detroit, and they know how to make cars. There are skilled machinists, but they’re idle. Let them make the wind turbines and the smart batteries and the solar panels to re-empower this country. Let them work. Give them hope. Give them the opportunity.”