February 18, 2013

Turning to Stone

I am absolutely exhausted. There are many posts coming; they are written in my head but I have to actually stay awake long enough to be able to put them here.

I've been traveling a lot lately and there... is just a lot going on in my life. Some of it dealing with family, some with work, some with some volunteer work I do. All of it has hit critical mass and although I'm fine, doing what I do, sifting through it, punching off items on my to do list, I am pretty beat.

Odd situation of the year (for me): I was in a meeting with 150 women. I was one of the major players.

I never think about age. It is irrelevant to me. What is more important to me is 1) are you kind? 2) are you interesting? 3) can I learn from you? If the answer is yes to all three, I'm game. I don't care what you look like, where you come from, what your age is, or how you dress... nothing.

Just be you.

The bonus of this is I have a very eclectic group of friends. The odd side is... I sometimes find myself in these weird situations when I realize... I'm the odd man out.

Like being in a meeting with 150 women and realizing, that out of the blue, 10 days early, I'm about to bleed to death. After the realization I am not prepared, and a quick prayer of thanks that I'm wearing black, I scouted out the room to see if I could pull a woman aside and ask for an assist. A quiet muttering of, 'You won't believe what just happened to me..."

Except, of the 150 women, I realized... I was the ONLY pre-menopausal woman in the room. Everyone was well past that stage in their lives. Fortunately, I was able to salvage the situation, but that was the first time I ever really realized... most of my friends are 10+ years older than I am.

Yes. I laughed. Even at the horror of it.


So I am in the process of heading up a big project... placing a historical marker in St. Augustine where the first Christian celebration took place. I have vowed to the Director of the place where the marker will be placed, to keep it rustic. The marker won't be tacky on a pole. It'll blend with it's natural surroundings.

I've been working with a marker company to get the plaque made and my trip to St. Augustine was two fold, one for the meeting and two for checking out the marker situation. We decided to have the marker bolted on a piece of coquina.

Sounds simple, right? I got the name of a quarry and have been emailing him. I just needed to go up and get a good feel for stone.

Not all stone is created equal. Limestone will wear away. Granite was going to look too 'cemeteryish'. I found myself standing on some big rock declaring to him, "I love this one! Let's use this!" for him to respond, "Mmm. That's not coquina. I can't cut it."


Rock. Evidently some of it you can't cut.

So I'm bounding all over the quarry, standing on coquina, tipping it over, angling from side to side to see if it will fit my plaque, which we have now realized is MUCH bigger than we had anticipated. My wording for this marker is making this marker be 20" by 29".

Mark that out on a piece of bronze, add 3" to each side for play, and you are now looking at 26" by 35". That is a big dang piece of bronze.

That I now have to find a piece of stone to bolt it to.

So I finally found one, scurried to the top of it and said, "THIS! This is it!" to which he said, 'Oh yeah, that'll work....'

He walked around and around and then said, "Yeah. It's about 3000 pounds. We can chip away at it, get your marker to fit, epoxy it on, and then have a crane haul it over and place it..."

At which point my girlfriend and I nearly fell out, because in all the logistics we've been sorting through my head, 'hauling it by crane' hadn't come into play.

Also, 3000 pounds of coquina wasn't in the thought process either.

So I'm in the process of getting the marker made smaller, more manageable, and seeing if we can take this big rock down a 1000 pounds.

Or two.


I had to go to where the marker was to be placed to make sure a crane can fit, as in, 'no power lines or low hanging trees'.

Good grief.


When I wasn't at work today, I spent the day doing a lot of manual labor with my sons, lifting stones out of my car and getting a Rosary Garden started at the Church where my mother in law died.

It has been 13 years since she died, while leading the Rosary on the altar of her church.

My eldest is building a Rosary Garden at her church and it consists of a 16" x 16" paver for every Hail Mary and a different 16" x 16" for every Our Father. There are pavers in between for the 'string' of the rosary. All in all... we've been placing over 100 stones today. (There are five 'decades' in a rosary. Ten Hail Marys are said, separated by an Our Father.)

So with the lifting, placing, turning... I'm pretty beat.

When it's finished, I'll post a picture. A Rosary Garden is a Prayer Garden.

It should be nice.

Posted by Boudicca at February 18, 2013 09:23 PM

As a man, I feel bad for you while knowing that this is something that I absolutely cannot relate to. I've supported my wife and my daughter with regards to that, but it's never been an issue to which I can relate. Except to feel bad for you and glad you were able to resolve it.

Where in St. Augustine? I love that place, it's a Spanish flavored Edgartown (Martha's Vineyard). My aunt and uncle live about 45 minutes away and we try to get there at least once each time we visit. It'll give us something to swing by and visit on our next trip.

Ummm, if you can't get a single, solid piece to the spot, why not build something with coquina brick? Build the structure out of coquina or some other stone then attach the marker to the finished structure with anchors and bolts. The coquina would fit in with the native architecture of the place, though you could face it or part of it with white marble. By building it with brick you don't have to hassle with the crane as it will all be pieces that they can get in on a truck and then handtruck through the alleys.

I had a macrame rosary that I wore on deployments for the twenty years that I was in, with my bible in my ruck. Used them both. Repeatedly.

Posted by: marcus erroneous at February 18, 2013 10:01 PM

I know you don't really practice a faith...but you are doing more, so much more than some so-called 'good' Christians.

And your son building the Rosary Garden...dammit, I'm crying here. Y'all are such a beautiful family.

Posted by: Mrs. Who at February 18, 2013 10:03 PM

ME- Seriously, don't feel bad. I'm not kidding when I say, I was laughing when it happened. It was absolutely absurd. Twenty years ago? I'd have been horrified. Now? It doesn't phase so much... but this time... I'm still laughing. Good grief. I thought, "You can't make this stuff up..."

I've not put where this is going to be located because I don't want to get googled for it... but it's going to be at the Mission Nombre De Dios. Dedication is in June, I think.

I can't build it, but trust me, I went through that mental iteration. If I lived there, no problem. But it's 3.5 hours away and I've already made two trips and I probably have at least another before dedication. I can't leave it to someone else to build it for me. It's not fair.

So I'm finding a piece in it's natural state and this guy is going to chisel away the parts where my plaque will go and he'll affix it and work with the crane guy to have it delivered.

I think I chopped off about 3" in the long part... maybe 4. I might be able to get it more squarish...

Mrs. Who- I just have not found a place where my soul is settled... here. I was up north of here, an hour north, visiting a church that is about to be historically marked. It's an Episcopal Church (that's what I am) and as I walked through it, sat in the pews and listened... I realized... this is where I belong.

So I may travel up there once a month or quarter to go. It's an hour one way... but I fell in love and felt very quiet inside there. That doesn't happen much.

There is not a lot of quiet inside me...

Posted by: Bou at February 18, 2013 10:26 PM

You do mean Aluminum treated to look like Bronze, not real Bronze, Bronze, don't you.

With the metals situation it is right now, people steal real bronze. They're even making cemetery markers out of aluminum treated to look like bronze so it won't be stolen.

Look at Detroit ... they are stealing the copper wire used in street lighting.


That Rosary Garden sounds like an Eagle Scout project, no? ... and a fitting tribute to your MIL.

Posted by: The Thomas at February 18, 2013 11:42 PM

No, it's bronze. Trust me. It's costing enough... There has been some concern, but I think we're fine based on the location. It's not a public place.

It is his project. The first one he really wanted to do, became too big and impossible. It's a long story, but now he's a screaming Eagle. He has to get his papers in by 3 March.

Posted by: Bou at February 19, 2013 08:46 AM

It sounds like an old Chinese curse rather than the compliment I mean it to be, but you sure as heck have an "interesting life." Which I guess is why I read your blog.....

Posted by: George P at February 20, 2013 07:51 PM

I love how you can make me laugh and cry in one post.
Not to scare you or anything, but I'm 55., and still having some periods. Do you know how ridiculous I feel, standing in the feminine hygiene aisle, next to a teenage girl and knowing that she is wondering why this old lady is buying tampons? God has a weird sense of humor!

Love the idea of a rosary garden as a tribute to your MIL! My mom was so devoted to praying the rosary, one time when she went to the hospital in an ambulance, we discovered her rosary, caught on her undies, when we were getting her settled in the ER. Again, God has a weird sense of humor!

Posted by: Mary at February 23, 2013 12:29 AM

Mary- I know, right?! These teenagers are next to me and they have to be thinking, "For the love of God, does this never end?" to which I am mentally replying, "I'm pushing 40 years on this gig. It doesn't end..."

The Rosary Garden is complete. I'll be putting up pix.

Posted by: Bou at February 25, 2013 07:25 AM