Back on track

The past two days have been rough ones, with me staying up late and getting out of bed later.  I think I’ve watched close to 15 hours of Mad Men in the past three or four days.  I seem to be having down periods fairly regularly, adding to the belief that I have some hormonal imbalances, or something.  I really should start keeping a mood journal and try to track it.  I learned some statistical analysis tools for my last job; I might as well put them to use.

But, it’s my first week without a job, so I’m going to give myself some slack.  Besides which, I realized that I need to think about my project with Mesfin more before implementing.  By allowing myself that time, it means that I’m more likely to do a good job (or at least a competent one).  As for the project, it’s a landscaping gig for his house.Image

For a first time job, it’s a pretty ambitious one, and it’s starting to scare me now that I’m actually implementing it.  Among the challenges: 

  • The slope is too steep to walk on comfortably and is rather slippery with gravel/loose dirt, making it difficult to work on.
  • There is almost no topsoil left on the slope.  My suspicion is that it was washed away over several years.
  • The subsoil is extremely clay-rich and has almost no drainage.  I filled a hole with water and once the dirt quenched it’s immediate thirst, the water pooled for at least an hour (I didn’t check it after that).
  • The slope is a north facing hillside, and thus gets limited light.  Plus it’s downhill from a veritable forest, so shady is standard fare.

In my agreement with Mesfin, I told him that I would only try and use native plants.  Now I just need to find some drought-resistant, soil-fixing, partial-shade-loving plants to fill it up.  I’ll post pictures of my design when I’m finished drawing it — infrastructure is mostly decided, but water system and plant selection not so much.

I’ve been trying to spend more time with myself without distracting my mind with media: sci-fi when I have a good book, but my choice obsession for the moment is Mad Men (entertaining, if a bit depressing at times).  Sunday night, I went to “Church,” a Sunday night jam session party held in a West Oakland apartment.  I came, I befriended, I jammed till 3 in the morning.  It’s clear to me that I need to learn more songs on the guitar that no one knows, or more songs that everyone knows.  More songs, whatever the case.  Last night, after cooking with Ross, who is a complete whirlwind in the kitchen, leaving piled dishes and food scraps everywhere, I went on a midnight bike ride to the edge of Alameda.  It was a full moon, and I wanted to see it reflected off the water of the bay.  I lay in the ecotone grass, and stared at the sky for a full hour.

Of course, the whole day up to that point was mostly wasted.  I was snappy and short with everyone.  Altogether an unpleasant person to be around.

Today was better.  Although I got up late (around 11am), I managed to get some serious research done and do some planning for Mesfin’s.  Afterward, in the late afternoon, I banged (bung?) my head against the design wall for a few hours, trying to find a good way to cover up the compost bin I built last week.  The bin is made up of recycled redwood from a deck I salvaged, and is burly and beastly.  I’ve had a number of compliments, and it is pretty, but I haven’t finished the lid yet.  I figured this was no problem, and had slapped down some plastic bin lids, but this did not serve as an effective barrier to the pernicious possum I found rooting around in there this afternoon.  A small one by anyone’s standards, I picked it up by the tail and stared it in the eyes as it first played dead, then hissed at me.  I imagine he (she?) thought she was being intimidating, but I found it rather adorable.  “What am I gonna do with you?” I said out loud — I don’t imagine he understood me, but I figured if I “abused” him a bit while he heard my voice, he wouldn’t want to come back, and would learn to avoid the yard where I speak so often.  So, I softly swung him side to side a bit before dropping him and chasing him through the fence to the neighbors (keep in mind that possums naturally hang from their tails which are actually quite strong and prehensile).  Whatever the case, it became clear to me that I needed a lid.  And I could NOT figure it out!  By the end of the day, I stacked a bunch of wood over the thing, with the expectation that people could remove and replace boards as needed.  I’ll finish it up by the end of the week and post pictures.

So, it looks like I’m back on track.  I was mostly happy today, and expect to be for the next few, and then, inevitably, another slump.  Perhaps an acupuncture session is in order, as it seems my qi is imbalanced.  My kidneys/gallbladder/spleen/anonymous insides have been hurting lately too.

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