Friday, July 22, 2016

on the eve of destruction


I've been avoiding all things political for weeks months!, scrolling past everything that even smacked of politics, to the point of staying off FB because even scrolling past I am still inundated with the headlines and the meanness and fear and demonization and hatefulness and the total lack of compassion or decency or even politeness that has infiltrated this country, all of that seeps into my consciousness and it's like a bad taste in my mouth, an oily tang.

I rarely comment on news postings now and I have mostly stopped reading the comments altogether. I have enough trouble finding good in human beings as it is and if social media is the mirror of society that it is purported to be, I'm not likely to change my opinion any time soon. Few know how to be civil or even care about civility. It's a race to the bottom to see who can be the most vile in their comments. If they aren't insulting your integrity simply because you don't agree with them then they are threatening you with violence and if you are a woman, then it's double down in the most crude way possible. This is America today.

The Texas Republican party had their convention last May and voted on their new state platform that consists of 266 items. Last time one of the planks in their platform was being against teaching critical thinking in the schools because it might cause children to question their parents/authority for real. Some of the things they voted on to include this year are the complete repeal of the Voting Rights Act; the phase out of Social Security and, of course, the immediate repeal of the ACA; abolishing the IRS as well as the Departments of Education, Energy, Housing, Commerce, Health, BLM, Transportation, and the ATF; the right to just ignore federal laws they don't like; abolish the minimum wage; the demand for a Constitutional Convention so as to gut the basic principals of this country and allow them to hate on those icky other gendered people and deny them equal rights cause their god says so and run them out of town on a rail, so to speak, as well as chucking the whole separation of church and state thing so that they can impose their twisted form of religion on the government and through the government; and of course being totally against abortion, outlawing it completely as if that will stop it from happening. The petition to secede did not make it on the list but only just barely.

Now the national Republican convention is over and Trump has the nomination. Every speech given was full of lies and full of fear and finally Trump himself got up there and promised not to lie and then stood up there and lied or if he actually had a raw fact correct, it was presented in such a way as to be totally misleading. I'm not going to analyze his speech. Plenty of people have done so already pointing out the falsehoods and the inaccurate extrapolations. That anyone would vote for this man is scary. That he might actually become president of this country is a nightmare. That one of my brothers-in-law is a Trump supporter leaves me speechless on the one hand and aghast that I have been such a bad judge of his character all this time on the other.

It's not that Trump lies, which he does and mostly, or that he's unrepentant about it. It's not that he hasn't floated one single bit of policy or plan on how he would accomplish all his aggrandized statements of 'making America great again' aren't we still the richest biggest superpower? or 'getting America back' code for 'making America white again', which he hasn't. It's not that he hasn't any idea of what it takes to govern having never been in any kind of public office rich people don't govern, they give orders although all that is certainly extremely important. It's that he is completely unsuited to hold the office of President.

This is a man who in an interview before the 2008 crash said he HOPED the bubble would burst because then he and people like him would make a lot of money. He HOPED that thousands/millions of people would lose their homes because of bad banking practices so that he, Donald Trump, could make a lot of money. This is a man whose endeavor after endeavor has failed and oftentimes filed bankruptcy, who always managed to protect his money and so the fall was taken by everyone else. This is a man who has built his empire and his fortune by screwing over his contractors by not paying them or by paying them a pittance of money owed. This is a man who imports foreign workers so he can pay them less. This is a man who blames the opposition for jobs and industry lost and who has his gear made anywhere but in America. This is a man who is saddened because protestors can protest without the police or paid 'enforcers' bashing in their skulls so he encourages his followers to do it instead and then offers to pay their legal bills. This is a man whose supporters give him the Nazi salute. This is a man who lusts after his own daughter. This is a man who sics his lawyer on anyone who disses him with the orders to not just get even but to destroy the perpetrator. This is a man who cannot talk about anything but how great he is. This is a man who in his acceptance speech promised he would protect LGBTQ citizens from FOREIGN ideology but said nothing about domestic ideology and whose party platform calls for legalizing discrimination against the LGBTQ community. This is a man who casts everyone who isn't white and male as somehow deficient or evil or a criminal. This is a man who has chucked political correctness aside to 'say what he thinks' and in the process has legitimized hate, racism, and violence against those that are hated. This is a man who gained political support from people by threatening to ruin their careers if elected if they didn't support him. This is a man who has hinted that he will hire someone to do the parts of being President that he doesn't want to do.

I'm going to borrow from this essay: http://www.vox.com/2016/7/21/12218136/donald-trump-nomination-afraid and I suggest you go read it and this is not the only essay I have read that has come to the same conclusion.

He is vindictive, a bigot, a sexist, a liar, a narcissist, he admires totalitarian dictators for their 'control', he never apologizes only attacks, he surrounds himself with yes-men, has not bothered to learn anything about policy, he is, for all his wealth, incompetent, he is a bully whose only response to any criticism is to demean in the worst possible way the perpetrator, he incites and encourages violence among his supporters.

He painted a picture of this country that makes me wonder if we are living in the same country.

Two things have leaked out about what he plans if elected. First he will seek to change the law so that he can purge (fire) from every corner of government anyone who does not agree with him. The second thing is that he has claimed that he will bring the 'lawlessness' rampant in American society to it's knees on Jan. 20, 2017 as soon as he is elected. Coming from a man who admires totalitarian dictators and who thinks anyone who isn't white and christian to be a terrorist or rapist or murderer, how do you think he plans to accomplish that and who is he going to target first? Because there will be seconds and thirds and whether you are a citizen or not won't matter one bit to him.

If Trump is elected President, you can kiss your constitutional protections goodbye.

But it's not just the citizens of this country at risk, it is also our position on the world stage. This is a man who has said he will use torture without hesitation, he will authorize the use of deadly force against the families of suspected and known terrorists, he will not necessarily come to the aid of our NATO allies. He will have the nuclear codes fer cryin' out loud. And wouldn't that feed his colossal ego, pushing that button.

This man is in no way intellectually or emotionally prepared to be the President of the United States and he is making no effort whatsoever to become so. 

And an alarming amount of people are ready to vote him into office.




Tuesday, July 19, 2016

unexpected day off


I finished the last full size drawing for the A&M job yesterday so today has been sort of an unplanned day off that I didn't quite know what to do with so basically I got pretty much nothing accomplished. Took the dog to get her nails trimmed. Now I have to get copies and make working drawings, diagrams that show the sequence of the pieces to be removed during the actual carving of the glass. Which I don't do. This diagram has to translate what I think to a list of ascending numbers. Not that the guy who does it doesn't understand but because it makes it easier to map it out. Then, finally, I'll be ready to cut the stencils.

Here's another picture of the yellow ginger just because it looked so pretty this morning.


It's finally gotten dry enough for the pecan trees to start dropping the little barely formed pecans, about 3/4”. That or it's just the time of year when the trees get rid of some of the excess pecans which seems to be July. 


It appeared to be just the one tree by the barn, I noticed yesterday, the one that has lost four big limbs in the last several years. This morning I walked out to see that it has lost another big limb.


Huge white puffy clouds filled the sky yesterday and it was dark to the north and east with thunder rumbling in the distance. Unfortunately for us, the storm dumped it's water on the city and passed us by. As it turned out, it rained all around us as I could see the downpour later to the northwest.


While we didn't get any rain then (two small showers today), it did keep the temperatures down some and gave us a partial rainbow this morning.


Every morning I have to go out and check the water lily pond because there is usually a couple of toads in there and they can't get out. I have found a drowned one on occasion. Yesterday I checked the pond and there were 9 toads in there. So now they have a little ramp. Not too pretty but there weren't any toads stuck in the pond this morning.


Rumor has it I may be getting a functioning kiln soon. The new controller board should arrive today and I've got 9 molds waiting to be filled and fired. It's been 5 months since the meltdown!


  



Sunday, July 17, 2016

my dedicated day of worship


I took down the tea cup bird feeder that usually hangs outside the window I sit in front of sometime early June. I looked up one day to see one squirrel on it and two more waiting in the shrub. I was getting more squirrels than birds. Not only that but the dog would go berserk every time she saw a squirrel on the tea cup, jumping frantically at the window. During the next several weeks and up until I left for Scotland, the squirrels were coming to the shrub every day, many times a day, looking for the tea cup. Sorry guys. I'm going to hang it back up in the fall and hopefully, they will have sort of forgotten about it especially with pecans being available. In the meantime, I have the totem bird feeder out in the middle of the yard which I just put on a higher/longer piece of rebar so I can see it easier.

It's Sunday, my dedicated day of worship, and by worship I mean work or wander in the yard planting and weeding and feeding and trimming and watering and in general nurturing the natural world. Right now (now being about 2 PM) it's 95˚, 43% humidity, 40% cloud cover, and what it really feels like is 103˚. I have to stay in the shade to be able to do anything out there at all so I am limited on what I can do when.

I raised the aforementioned bird feeder, moved another of the glass flowers to the fence in the Little Backyard; dug up, separated, and repotted the large clump of ox-eye daisies; pruned some stuff, gathered up all the pots with dirt but no plant and emptied those, got the little pump working again for the water lily pond which is full of little baby minnows. But now it's even too hot for shade work.

The yellow ginger, less affected by the heat, is tall and blooming while the white ginger looks sere and droopy by mid-day. 


There are six bloom heads producing flowers, the most since I moved it from the city house.

The morning glory bush is sprawling across the yard since I didn't cut it back after winter, a big mistake because it will plant itself. It's still a favorite and I'm going to plant one on my absent neighbor's property, maybe.


The flowers, like morning glories, close by noon.

Minnie, more than ready to come in out of the heat, jumped in my lap, climbed up and over my shoulder to lay down across my neck, straddling the back of the chair.






Friday, July 15, 2016

re-entry



Well, I've been back almost 2 weeks and I have supervised the installation of the residential job that's been waiting for a couple of months and still did not get the door panel in because of damage to the molding caused by the contractor's people who removed the existing glass. So now I'm waiting to hear when they get that repaired.



I finished the second full size drawing and started on the third for the A&M job and ordered the glass.


And I had an appointment in the city this week for a new job (two shower enclosures and a toilet enclosure) and they want it in the fall.

I've also spent a considerable amount of time watering the yard. It is so hot and dry. We've had no rain since a week before I left. And I've set up the pool but haven't been in it yet.


So I'm back to the real world and my real life, keeping the bird feeder and bird baths full, watering the yard, walking the dog, going to yoga, and working. This will be my life for the next several months.

Before I left, I did a post of things that were blooming during the first half of June which was supposed to self publish while I was gone. It didn't so here it is.

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Today, Friday the 17th, is 5 days in a row without rain. Three days after the last rain the ground looked like this...


Unreal, right?  It's even worse after 5 days.  Everyone around here is noticing the same thing. Already having to water. The pots certainly as they dry out fast but the stuff in the ground as well. You'd think all that water over the last two months would still be evident.

Well, the altheas (rose of sharon) 


and day lilies are just about done 


while the red crinums 


and white spider lilies are coming into bloom. 


The butterfly weed is robust waiting for the monarchs return in the fall. 


The gingers 




and plumerias are coming into bloom from all the rain and makes it smell sweet at night 



and the star of india that was struggling in the ground for years has quadrupled in size since being put in a pot and is blooming for the first time since it froze to the ground 3 years ago. 


My rangoon creeper is also blooming for the first time after being in the ground for 3 years.


There's more, the plumbago, the roses looking scraggly, the yellow angel trumpet, the orange cosmos which previously has only bloomed in the late summer/fall and this year started blooming almost immediately and have continued as they have grown tall, the yellow bells, the black eyed susans.







Sunday, July 10, 2016

10. our last night together and Edinburgh


This series starts with “1. I'm home”. All the pictures can be clicked on for larger versions.



After we presented our efforts to the group and talked about our experience and cleaned up the studio, we met back at the Bayview Hotel, where we began this adventure, for one last dinner, lobster and crab caught that very day. Hanging out in the bar, waiting to be called for our dinner, George, retired fisherman and past harbormaster, showed us how to weave nets and splice ropes. Nancy and I had to try our hands at it.



Sam, the son of Michael, the on site go-to guy at the center, played the bagpipes for us while we ate.




Goodbyes said, hugs given, the evening ended.

The next morning as we were scattering to the winds, Nancy and I took one last walk waiting for our ride to Wick where we would once again board the puddle jumper to Edinburgh and then go our separate ways.



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Our little plane back to Edinburgh was late and so it was later when I got to my hotel where I had to spend the night because the earliest flight out wasn't until the next morning and so instead of the four or so hours I planned to spend in town, I spent only two. As it turned out, two hours was plenty because I was tired with the last nine days catching up to me.

Once checked in, I hopped the bus to town and wandered up and down the Royal Mile, around Edinburgh Castle, in the Royal Gardens, and through the grounds of a church, and Princes Street, often in the rain. Having no guide, I simply looked without knowing what I looked at.

the castle built on an old volcano

the church at the castle end of the royal garden



private residence at the far end of the garden

he was playing Amazing Grace





part of the Royal Mile



wildflowers growing on castle rock

another shot of the castle

back in the garden

the castle



Weary and hungry, I caught the bus back to the hotel...

as I got off the bus and as it drove away I'm searching all my pockets (6) for my glasses and not finding them. Fuck, fuck, fuck. I have left my glasses on the bus. Resigned to having to buy new glasses when I return home I reached up to sweep the hair off my forehead and...encountered my glasses on my face.

...for dinner and bed to rise at 5:30 the next morning to get my cab to the airport, which brings me full circle to post #1.