Friday, January 31, 2014

Twenty-two things I learned from my friend David Bosnick, who died yesterday.

1. Family comes first. Always.
2. Teaching is truly the best possible profession, and it’s dumb to lose sight of that for a day or even a minute.
3. It’s ok to say things are dumb.
4. Redi-whip is actually kind of delicious, and nothing bad happens when you eat it.
5. Stand up and speak up for what you believe.
6. Walk out of a bad meeting when necessary.
7. Hair can be surprising. David’s often was.
8. Long underwear can be dapper if it’s red, and red looks particularly snazzy under a blue oxford cloth shirt.
9. You can’t be any more sorry than you were the first time you said you were sorry. Apologize and move on.
10. Stay true to your original love story, especially if it's a good one.
11. It’s ok to be romantic.
12. Love your kids deeply and completely, but don’t take them too seriously.
13. Don’t listen to anyone who insists on talking about stuff they don’t know about.
14. Somebody’s got to be the bad guy.
15. Sometimes it’s you.
16. You need a really, really big van. I still don’t know why, but I trust that his was necessary. I can’t ask him now, so I trust.
17. It’s ok to be sarcastic.
18. It’s necessary to be sarcastic when you’re dealing with middle schoolers.
19. One of the most important things a teacher can do for a parent is to tell the truth.
20. Much of what seems ordinary is actually hilarious.
21. No warning. It’s what we knew about death all along, but David’s death has taught me that there truly is no warning, it will not come at a good time, and you will not get a chance to say good bye.
22. When you go, the story of who you were will be taken up by those left behind, so start a good story.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

rock work

I've been noticing and thinking about rock walls lately. I found this lovely old stone fence at Bowman Lake State Park last week, along a hiking trail that I was fortunate enough to be hiking by myself. This was one of the best preserved sections of the fence, and many other sections were falling down. I like how it rewards closer inspection. 

I imagine that the work required to build this wall would have been both intellectual and physical. It would have been hard work to haul the rocks around and stack them up, but I don't think it could have been done quickly. It would have required time, observation, and reflection, a careful sussing out of the characteristics of individual rocks. 

Even though we don't typically build rock walls to keep our livestock in anymore, we still need rock structures, and I am seeing them everywhere. I also found this culvert on a different hike at Bowman Lake. This one wasn't constructed quite so carefully, and the rewards of closer inspection are those of introspection about technology and the state of craft and skill. 

I don't know anything about how a structure like this gets built. It looks like it requires machines, probably powered by fossil fuels, and the skills involved are those required to operate the machinery, rather than the careful consideration of a natural material. I also suspect that the wire frame is assembled elsewhere, possibly far enough away to require a very significant investment of more fossil fuels to transport. 

There is also this: a lovely stone wall and a set of steps in my neighborhood. The gentleman who lives here and maintains this wall is not young, but he is hale. I took several walks in the neighborhood and I watched his progress over a week or so. It looked like thoughtful work, and I think the result is lovely. After the wall was finished, I noticed him up on his roof, pointing his rock chimney. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

everybody's got a porch

Just because our porch is done doesn't mean there aren't other porches in the neighborhood that need a little love. We have been working together for the last week or so on our neighbor's porch columns. It's been good to have a project that has a definite end point.

Because we were hired to do the columns and only the columns, we don't have to worry about the floor, or the ceiling, or the railings, or anything else. Just the columns. This makes it much easier to get it done in a timely fashion.

So in between rainstorms, we've been walking over to our neighbor's porch to make it a little better, bit by bit. All the houses in our neighborhood are about the same vintage, so they all have lots of old wood and old paint.
Here I am scraping away, with my trusty sidekick watching out for squirrels, other dogs, neighborhood kids, and other assorted creatures. Contrary to appearances, I am not the main prep person when we have a big painting project. I definitely do put in my time with a scraper, but I don't like to sand, and I am likely to call a surface prepped long before Joe is willing to do so. He's more thorough, and he's the one who did most of the sanding, filling, and more meticulous prep.

I am the painter. I like to paint, and I like to be fussy about it. That's me putting on the primer coat, with the color scheduled to go on tomorrow, assuming the rain looks like it's going to hold off long enough.

Here's a thought: would it be cool to have a Ravelry sort of thing for people who are into DIY on their houses? It wouldn't be for professionals, just for people trying to do a decent job fixing and remodeling their own houses. It could be a place to share pictures, discuss products and techniques, get ideas, solve problems. Would you use it?