Thursday, June 24, 2010

Changing stations

Even though FM radio is mostly crap nowadays, I still listen. It gives me something to listen to as I'm driving, and once in a while, I hear something I like.

But other times, I hear something that makes me want to change the station even though it's something a song I normally like hearing. Tonight was Pearl Jam, a band I have liked ever since they 'broke' in 1992. One of their songs came on the 'classic rock station' (which is crap because stuff I first heard in my 20s CAN'T be classic rock can it?) but I had to change stations anyway.

The Pearl Jam song made me instantly think of someone once close to me. PJ is her favorite band. As I said, I like that band too, but tonight, I just did not want to hear it. At all.

Are there songs or bands you like that make you want to change stations when you hear them on the radio?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A good sweat for a good cause

Spent the morning and part of the afternoon working up a good June sweat in Dixie. By the time I was done my clothes were soaked but it was for good cause.

Cut the grass at the work first with a push mower. I get paid to do it and it doesn't take that long. Today was the typical cutting and spraying of weed killer on the spots the mower can't get to. (There is not much in life I like less than using a weed-eater grrrr)

After I'd shut off the mower and was spraying Roundup around the building, an incredibly beautiful young woman who works at the salon next door came out and stopped to talk to me. She must have seen me when I'd stripped off my shirt, wadded it up and used it to wipe the streaming sweat from my face and brow.

"Are they making ya work outside in this heat?" she asked, hands on her hips.

I said, "Yeah, but I'm used to it and they pay me for it. And besides, doing it today meant I got to stand here talking to you, so it's all good!"

She grinned, looked away for a second then looked back with her gorgeous smile, batting her eyes. "I'll see ya later Rob."

Ahh. Hell yeah.

From there I went to my parents' house to finish the job I'd started a couple of days ago: a new blueberry bed.

Landscaping and gardening is a passion of mine. Like all other things I am passionate about, I insist on doing it right.

The 90-foot bed used to be blackberries and asparagus but the plants have been played-out for the last few years and overtaken with weeds and undergrowth. I'd already killed that, burned it and tilled up the bed.

Then I'd spread out landscape fabric over the freshly-tilled dirt to keep weeds from coming back ever again, and planted the 7 blueberry plants. They're 'rabbiteye' blueberries, as we call them down here in the South. When ripe they're about as big as, well, a rabbit's eye! haha

Today I rolled out soaker hose (for irrigation) from plant to plant the length of the bed, and put down pine bark mulch on top of the bed. That will make watering easy for my parents.

From here all they will have to do is turn on the water once a week this first year until the plants are established. Then, all they'll have to do in years to come is pick the delicious blueberries.

Like I felt good to work up a good sweat for a good cause. I'll have something to show for it. I'll get money for the grass cutting, and there will be pounds of fresh berries for years and years to come at my parents' house.

The photo of me with the newly-completed blueberry bed is OK. Just too bad I don't have a photo of the girl from the salon smiling at me.

But hey...I always like photos for my blogs...who knows what I might write about next?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Was in need of catharsis a few days ago, and got it. All it took was digging out a music CD from the back seat of my car at work.

It was Soundgarden's Superunknown. I've owned it since it was new (circa 1994) and have listened a whole bunch of times. The CD in the back seat with several others and it just happened to be the first one I grabbed.

Like I said, I know this one well and it had not been that long since the last time I listened. But on track 10, The Day I Tried to Live, something inside me clicked. I wound up listening to it three of four times in a row.

Not sure why. The lyrics are quite dark and don't really speak to my situation (or do they? )

I keep coming back to the one verse:

The words you say never seem to live up to the ones inside your head/The lives we make never seem to get us anywhere but dead.

The vocal performance and music are also dark, but with hints of gleam throughout. Maybe that part fit my mood and that's why I kept re-playing it.

Hell if I know. I do know I felt cleaned-out after the repeated listens. The CD is still in the car stereo. And the song is still stuck in my head!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Signs

I used to be one of those people who thought astrology was...out there. I knew my sign (Pisces) but never thought much about it. Other than, anybody who took astrology seriously was, well...out there.

For about the first half of my life I knew nothing of The Signs other than a weird-looking calendar my grandfather put up every year. For each day it told which sign was in effect: The head, the feet, the loins, the legs, etc. It also had the phase of the moon for each day, complete with the time it rose and set.

I figured out 'The Signs' were what I knew as the Zodiac from reading horoscopes in the paper. Next to the comic strips. I asked him why in the world he had a calendar with the stars and moon positions for each day.

Born in 1913 in Western North Carolina, he told me the signs were useful for planting and harvesting his garden. When he was a kid, the garden was important because it meant you'd have food to eat. He learned what it was like to be hungry during the Depression.

Of course when I asked him about the signs it was the 1970s and he, like most people, bought his food at the grocery store. But he still grew a fairly humongous garden every year and he still used the signs.

Paw said he thought astrology as it pertained to people, such as their birth sign meaning anything, was a bunch of malarkey. Actually I think 'hogwash' was the word he used, and I agreed with him. The very idea, that the moon and stars affect the way people are, the way they think and what they do or should do...

When I was 20, I bought a copy of The Foxfire Book. It told all sorts of things about the way the mountain folk lived, the folk who grew up at the same time as my grandfather. I found out later I was distantly related to some of them.

In addition to how chapters about how to make moonshine, how to build a log cabin, and other 'affairs of plain living,' there was a whole chapter on The Signs. The people interviewed when the book was written used the signs because they knew they worked. Their daily lives and what they did to survive, depended on doing things right. They knew about the signs because the knowledge had been passed down through the generations before them.

The signs were used for other things besides planting. There were signs for just about everything they had to do to live...such as the best time to slaughter a hog, cut and cure meat, preserve vegetables, cutting back undergrowth, making lumber, cutting firewood, hunting, pulling teeth, weaning a baby...and yes, even the best time for lovers. (Leo is the sign for that BTW...funny I remember that one haha)

The part that struck me about that chapter was my realization that, those people didn't believe in the signs because they thought they were cool. They didn't plan important things in life around the signs because they had been convinced or swayed by flaky mysticism or set of myths.

They had kept using the signs because they knew it worked.

I put away that book after I read two or three times through, and thought about it a lot. But I didn't forget what it said.

Fast-forward about 23 years to a string of conversations with a friend about astrology, and her asking me to look up what phase the moon was in on my GPS...when it rose, when it set, whether it was waxing or waning. Of course Paw's calendar and The Foxfire Book was the first thing I thought about.

Then came comments about how people are based on their sign. I remembered her having called me 'a total Pisces,' before, so I finally caved and looked up general info about my sign.

Some of those are kinda general, some make me wonder, and some make me think who the hell has been spying on me.


"Understanding" is a most appropriate keyword for this gentle, affectionate sign. Easygoing and generally accepting of others around them, Pisceans are often found in the company of a variety of different personalities. Their willingness to give of themselves emotionally lends to an aura of quiet empathy. A Pisces is comforting to be around. Although not likely to be the leader, this sign's presence is strong and vibrant for any cause into which they put their hearts.

*sigh* guilty as charged.

Friends and Family

Gentle Pisceans make some of the best friends there are. In fact, they often put the needs of their friends ahead of their own. Loyal, dedicated, supportive, and compassionate, Pisceans will take on any problem. Big or small, when a challenge arises for family or friends, they will be there in every capacity possible to make things better. Deeply intuitive, Pisceans can often sense when something is askew long before anything is said.

Pisceans are expressive by nature and don't hesitate to let those around them know how they feel. It's not surprising for a Pisces to write a song for someone or to buy a gift that is heartfelt and meaningful. They prefer others to be as open with them as they are. Communication with loved ones is considered most important.

Career and Money

Intuitive and often dreamy, Pisces natives are most comfortable in positions that bring their creative natures into humanitarian causes. Some good careers for this sign are lawyer, architect, veterinarian, musician, social worker, and game designer. The key phrase for this sign is "I believe." It's important for the Pisces to feel strongly about personal endeavors.

Yeah. I believe (and care) a little too much for my own good sometimes. Shit, most of the time.

Inspired by the need to make a difference in the lives of those they touch, Pisceans are most charitable and will often go way above and beyond the call of duty. Sensitive, deeply compassionate, hardworking, dedicated, and reliable, this is one sign that really knows how to get to the heart of the matter. They can be excellent problem-solvers.

For the most part, Pisceans don't give Money too much thought. They are more concerned with their dreams and goals than with Money. Yet because this is oftentimes a component to reaching their aspirations, Pisces natives will ensure they have the Money they need. They can be of two minds in this area. On one hand, the Pisces will spend, spend, spend with little thought, and on the other hand, they can become quite miserly. Yet in the end, there will always seem to be enough to do what they want in life.

Love and Sex

Deep within the Piscean beats the heart of the die-hard romantic. Loving, tender, and exceptionally giving, this sign cherishes intimacy deeply. They are passionate lovers that need to feel a real connection with their mates. Quick flings and superficial interludes do not do well with the Piscean whatsoever. In relationships, they are fiercely loyal and doting. They love to give gifts and to make the other person feel like a million bucks. Nothing is too good for the Piscean's love interest!

*sigh* guilty as charged. Again.


Each sign has a part of the anatomy attached to it, making this the area of the body that is most sensitive to stimulation. The anatomical area for Pisces is the feet.

Ruling Planet
The ruling planet for Pisces is Neptune. Considered the planet of intuition, Neptune rules dreams, illusion, music, spirituality, mystery, second sight, intangibles, and the love of poetry.

Pisces is the natural sign of the Twelfth House. This house focuses on limitations, hidden strength, frustrations, and the subconscious mind.

Opposite Sign
The opposite sign for Pisces is Virgo.

Pisces is most compatible with Cancer and Scorpio.

The color of choice for Pisces is sea-green.

The Perfect Gift
Beautiful inspiring colors that make a home more beautiful, a day spent sailing, a romantic starlit dinner, a song or poem from a loved one.

Spiritual themes, time alone, visual media, time to sleep, romance, music, swimming

Absorbing toxic people and situations, cruelty of any kind

Intuitive, compassionate, artistic, gentle, wise, musical

Can be a victim or martyr, fearful, overly trusting, sad, desire to escape reality

Charismatic marks
Soft, sometimes frail to medium build, face easily shows emotion.

Best environment
On or near water, especially the sea. The movie theater.

OK so now that I've inflicted all the many characters on those who made it this far...What do I think about all this astrology stuff?

There's something to it. I can't say I believe it all, but I don't disbelieve it, either. I still don't read my daily horoscope, or consider the sign of a woman in whom I'm interested romantically...but I do have the astrology site bookmarked in case I need it later.

And my grandfather? He's 97 now. And the little company in the mountains still prints those calendars. Next time I see him, I am going to ask again about The Signs. And if he knows anybody who he trusts for an astrological reading.