October 13, 2009

Dust to Dust

I just had the sad responsibility of telling my Mom that Louise Hefter passed away.  Louise was one of "the moms" when we were growing up.  And she and Gerry were founding members of Israel Academy, loyal supporters of my Dad's, and true friends of our family.  The news was very hard for my Mom to hear, and hard for me as well.

Louise was such a special, wonderful person.  Always smiling, even in the craziest, nastiest times.  People always say that kind of thing about a person, how special they were. But Louise really was something else.  She always made people feel so comfortable and loved.  And everyone loved her.  It's hard to find the words to describe her old-fashioned supportiveness.

Funny what comes to mind at this moment.  When my father died, there was bedlam in our house, and among our large community of friends.  The funeral was huge, the crowd at the meal afterward was enormous.  But in the middle of it all, Louise took the time to make her famous eggplant parmesan just for us.  Now that I know how time-consuming it is to make, I really appreciate her dedication in the middle of all the craziness that week, to make us that dish simply because I asked for it. There might have been more important ways for her to allot her time at that moment, but maybe not.  I will remember that meal forever, the comfort of the food and the love that went into it.

Louise is the first of "the moms" to pass away.  Of course, several of the dads are gone, but this is a new hurt. It feels scary as well as sad. Time keeps moving, and we just have to use it as well as we can.

Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet.


October 11, 2009

I'm a dot-com!

Okay, I finally did it.  I decided a long time ago to register my own domain name and pay for commercial hosting. But I never did it, mainly because I couldn't decide on the domain name.  With Yahoo closing down Geocities later this month, my existing website is going to disappear, so now the pressure was on.  This indecision's killin' me.... so I asked some friends their opinions:  EstherBeads  or CrownJewels?  Can you guess what the results of this little poll were?  You guessed it -- a tie!

What to do? What to do?  Did a little more research today, and found that the Crown Jewels thing is a little sticky, although I think I could have CrownJewels.net.  Made an executive decision to go with EstherBeads.com and I registered the domain name and ordered hosting service.  Yay!  So now I'm all grown-up, just like the big kids.  All I have to do now is get the website established, and then upload all those ridiculous pages.  I should start over from scratch, but I just don't have the time right now, and I want to have something there when people come home from the 10/25 show with my card in their hands.

Slowly, slowly, I'm getting there.  After the first of the year, I'm going to get serious about re-doing the pages, and getting shopping carts for myself and for the ORA site.  Dream big, little girl!

October 8, 2009

Respect the Flow

Okay, we have stopped procrastinating, and hired a contractor to work on the flooding problem. They are excavating along the front length of the house, and will seal the whole foundation with a series of super-duper high-tech materials to prevent future flooding.

But you have to also address the fundamental problem, and it's fascinating to see what previous attempts are revealed as the excavation goes deeper into the ground. (See how I'm making this sound like a positive experience?)  There was some kind of tar applied to the house, but either it wasn't very well done, or it just disintegrated over the years.  There is also a long French Drain, which is a good idea, but was incorrectly done. (See my earlier comment on incompetence.) There are holes in the foundation itself, apparently from bolts which rusted over the years.

You have to respect the flow.  The water is not going away. The rains will not stop. And the house will (we hope) continue to sit on the side of a hill.  So you have to plan for those things, and accomodate as well as you can.  We will replace the French Drain with a properly built one, possibly expanded to cover more area.  That seems to be the best way to spread the water around over a larger, deeper area. And the series of insulations they're applying should protect the foundation from the inevitable moisture.  And the trees which had to be removed will be replaced with more appropriate bushes, placed a little further away from the house.

The cost of respect?  Pretty much the same as the cost of disrespect: astronomical.  And rising each day.  Sigh....

(Painting:  "The Sound of Many Waters" by J.E. Millais)

October 2, 2009

Grapes and Mangos

I started my drawing class, and the teacher insists that everyone can actually draw. We'll see about that. First assignment was to copy this picture of grapes. Most people's grapes looked more like mangos to me, and some looked like bowling balls! I guess we're not quite there yet, but it was better than I expected.

October 1, 2009

Incompetence Everywhere

Can there really be that many incompetent fools in our world? How does the world continue to function? Sigh....