Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sick and Twisted

Click on the "Sick and Twisted" title for the video
What working in a prison will do to a girl's sense of humor!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Shooting Stars and stained glass

This has been an amazing couple of nights for deep dark starlit nights filled with stars just tumbling from the heavens. Of course, you have to be awake and outside to see all of this, but it is just beautiful! Then I had to get all philosophical and try to wrap my brain around how far it is from where I am to the next star and how far it would be from there to the NEXT star I can't even see (gave up on that--my brain doesn't stretch that far). Then I sidetracked myself off to the concept of life and death and how a shooting star has done both and here I was seeing something that had happened how many thousands of years ago and just now managed to make it into my view? and for how brief of a time? And then how the eternal clock really is different than an Earthly one....which was just too much deep thinking for me.

Driving into work super early yesterday (I had to go into work early to cover the office/pick up Mock for a shoot up in the Tower/get lessons mailed out/finish up my GED social studies unit---which was way more time consuming than I thought). Working in the middle of the bottom of a lake bed, in a huge ag area is always a pleasure, no matter what I say when it is hot.

Something is always going on. Today, most everything is being harvested, so there is a fine film of dust, hovering a foot off the ground.

What isn't being harvested is being tilled back into the ground, getting ready to be planted again. This is big farming and there is very little down time. When I was growing up, we couldn't physically work the ground like this---there just weren't enough of us.

But here, a crop is harvested, tilled up, amended, ripped, planted and the whole cycle starts up again. I'm sure not everyone notices but I do and that's why I like living here in the big flat middle of nowhere.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The one where I test and test and test some more

I'm testing all this week. I ducat a bunch guys and test them in visiting....about 30 at a time for an hour. One bunch comes in, goes out and another comes in. It's a 30 minute math test. If they don't show up, I drop them from my program and they get their recess card yanked.

Harsh, but that's the way of the world.

I have about 200 guys on the waiting list and every one of them is just one assignment and one test away from getting dumped. Miss either one and off you go.

I have about the same number of guys in the SHU just dying to get on the list...and it is tough to even get out there to get them tested. So once they are on the list, they make sure that they get their stuff turned in on time and show up so they don't end up with nothing to do. Getting mail every day is pretty much the only entertainment.

This year, I am hoping to get actual GED testing started out there---they test up in Pelican Bay, where the whole place is the SHU and on lockdown all the time. If they can do it, I can't see why we can't. I can teach circles around anyone in Pelican Bay.

With a sack on my head.

On a bad day.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The one where I get out the graph paper and the tape measure

I need a garage at the hotel. And a veranda on the back. And a place to put the elevator. And a place for the hot tub and a place to hang out the laundry.

Time to get out my #2 pencil.

We own the parking lot. I want some kind of secure fencing that magically opens so I don't have to wrestle with gates. It has to be the non-climbing kind, since I also don't want to come face to face with some gang banger smoking dope on my veranda. Razor wire, anyone?

I'm thinking that the elevator can come up from the parking lot and stop at the back veranda and you can come in the back door. There is a little utility hallway there that I was going to use as a mop room, but I could use the laundry room for my one mop, doncha think? How much mopping do you really think I do? (That would be little to none.)

That way, I could have a guest room in the back (which no one will ever use) and a guest room in the front (which no one will ever use). But it sure makes me look like I am a good hostess and what the heck am I going to do with the rooms anyway? Board them up? I already have the beds.

Anyway, I want a hot tub but I wasn't really crazy about putting it practically on Main Street. If I put it on the back veranda, we can put up lattice (it has to be the squared kind, not the diamond kind) and REALLY have some privacy...not only for the hot tub but also for the laundry on the line and the other untidiness of life. Ooh, maybe I can figure out a trash chute so I never ever have to take out the trash again.

The elevator is in pieces. We bought it from a department store in Maine and had it shipped out. We have pictures of it being taken apart and all the pieces are numbered. I'm pretty sure Mike can get it back together. Sarah's husband is an elevator guy; so is his Dad. They can help. So I'm pretty confident I won't be falling to my death. And it is only two stories. How far is that, anyway? The pulleys and stuff go on top of the shaft, so it's not like we have to excavate a big hole or anything.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Red Door for Ben

Ben's house is almost done ...the fireplace gets the finishing touches tomorrow; the shower door goes in; the washer/dryer/fridge gets delivered on Saturday: the final part of the new fence goes up tomorrow morning; the certificate of occupancy gets signed off tomorrow afternoon and he starts the big mooove on Saturday.

And it's paid for as of today.

The doctor's told me that if we could get him to 24, he would be safe. And now that he's 24, he has a house, so that he isn't at the mercy of a landlord. Tank is moving in with him, so he has both a buddy and a watchdog--something those two cats just couldn't manage to be. They are moving in with me, Mike and Rocket. Can't wait to see how THAT is going to turn out. Rocket hates Jackie, so I don't imagine that she is going to be thrilled with Big Head and Baby, nor they with her.

Lisi wrecked her car....well, some unlicensed, uninsured jump-out-the-car-and-run-dude in Dinuba ran into her. The car was insured, but she has a $500 deductible. Lesson #35: always have $500 in the bank if you have a $500 deductible so you can bail your car out of car jail. Just sayin'. Even if it's not your fault. Which it wasn't.

I had this week off and managed to pretty much do nothing except pay bills and drain the koi pond. It is amazing how gunky it gets and how long it takes, even now that I actually have a plan that works. I have a sump pump that drains most of it onto the yard and various flower beds---I have to set a timer and drag the hose all over the yard. Then when it gets down to the bottom, say the last three days of this, I have to put a hose in it to keep washing the gunk into the pump and not end up with a gunk only mess for the fish to be gasping their last in. The last day finds me sitting on the edge of the pond, book in hand with the hose and the broom trying the get the green stuff out and the clean water in, but not at such at crazed rate that my fish drop dead. I've gotten pretty good at it.

I have some pots at the waters edge that I'm going to put some pond plants in this spring. Another project is to get the filter going and put mint in pots in there, on top of the rocks. I'm wrapping the filter in bamboo and putting some ivy or something in baskets this year. The plastic is just to temporary looking. Time for a little change. I have some stone statues and a stone bench I'm going to drag down from the hill and put down by the pond.

The weather is starting to cool off a little, so I am a little more energetic as far as yard work goes. During the really hot summer I am totally useless. It is just no fun for me. Late summer, fall, winter, spring....I'm your girl. Summer? 107? Forget it. That garden better be on life support.

I'll go pick stuff because....well, it would be a sin not to. And it is better than getting into a hot car after work and going to the store, walking up and down the aisles, getting back into a hot car and driving home.

Because God forbid, I go home and then go out. Why? Because I spend ENOUGH time with people and once I am unleashed, I don't want to see anybody anymore. I love my kids. I love my friends. I just don't want to see anybody. That is why I live out in the country. (That is why Marji lives out in the FAR country and I need directions every time I go see her).