Thursday, July 28, 2011

My 301st post

Tonight I was a little early for a little gathering at a certain friend's boyfriend's gift shop in downtown Hot Springs. Since it had been one of those days where there were a ridiculous number of back-to-back technological snafus in the morning and the heat of the afternoon was so intense it put me in a psychadelic state of being where I was sweating like a wild lady sasquatch and thinking crazy thoughts, I mixed me up a stiff one on the rocks after work (and after a cold dippy-poo in the creek) and decided to get my Relax on. To kill a little time before the 9 pm gathering, I took my little highball on a slow walk through Hot Springs, whose main street was surprisingly quiet and devoid of people. The evening air was warm and perfect- the height of summer.
When I got to the bridge over Spring Creek, some movement caught my eye, and I spotted a skunk emerge from the creek bank and scurry up the hill. Relaxed and slighty buzzed from the whiskey and the day's heat, I immediately transistioned into stalking mode and followed the critter silently across another ditch and through the parking lot behind the outfitters store and the rafting company. So focused was I on the skunk that I didn't notice a posse of ole boys hanging around outside the Town of Hot Springs maintenence center. They startled me by speaking to me, and I wondered how long they had been watching me stalk the skunk and if they thought I looked weird. Apprently me chasing the skunk was nothing to them though, because they proceded to let on that they knew exactly where the skunk goes every night and exactly what to do to avoid getting sprayed if you catch a skunk in your live trap (something that's actually been heavy on my mind this week). I was also told by one of these fellers that if you catch a skunk, you can go on and take it to the vet and have it's spray glands removed and "it'll make you a good house cat."
Thank god for Hot Springs.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wildlife Enthusiast Gets "Wowed" By Coincidence

Thirty-something Hot Springs resident and self-proclaimed wildlife enthusiast Dana Nagle was in for a surprise this morning when she stepped outside. Little did she know that political fashion would meet herpotology in an unexpected crossroads of perfect timing.

Thinking it was a normal day with much to get done, Nagle dressed in one of her sun protective gardening blouses. This particular shirt was still adorned with a button that local business owner Daniel FP Gallagher had recently given her.

The button, which reads: Mutants for Nuclear Power, caught the thirty-something's eye (hee hee) while she purchased some Irish tea at Gallagher's local store a few days ago. Not typcially being inclined toward opinionated bumper stickers or buttons, Nagle found this particular item to be humorously naughty.
"I thought to myself, that's pretty funny," explained Nagle.

Imagine the lady's surprised when she stepped out of the cool house into the midsummer humidity, donning the smiley cyclops button, and discovered a one-eyed box turtle in the driveway.

" He was a healthy, mature male!" exclaimed Nagle. "There was no indication that he ever had a left eye- no eye socket there- nothing!"

Nagle admits that her interest in one eyed smiley faces and one eyed turtles is partially fueled by a recent dream she had of a hedgerow of baby human cyclops.

When she relayed the story at the local store where she originally saw the button, it was speculated by some of the store employees that perhaps the turtle had been walking in circles for some 30 years.

"He's probably been out there walking in circles for 30 years," speculated one jolly male employee.

When asked what she thinks of the whole episode, Nagle supposed that there is a whole world of natural anomolies out there waiting to be witnessed. All we need to do is open our eye.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mount of Mitchell

Did you know that Mount Mitchell is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi? The way I figure it, it is clearly important to set aside a day to go on up there and be as close as realistically possible to the heavens for a while. Now, I'm typically a hard core fan of the under-appreciated mundane moments of holiness-the beauty found in the shadows of the daily grind, but the majestic awesomeness of the heights of Mount Mitchell cannot be ignored. Looking out over the mountains to the north, south, east and west, I was blown away by the stunning beauty of my home terrain, the southern Appalachian mountains. It was thrilling and intimidating to be at the top looking down on a world of ridges, valleys and coves below, each holding its own life communities, microclimate, and essence.

Below Mount Mitchell, the Toe River flows clear and cold, its numerous pools and boulders inviting and refreshing come midsummer.

A day a year, I travel to the mountain and the river, marvelling at the power of the elements, drinking in the goodness which is summer in the mountains, and remembering things that are important to remember.

Here are a few glimpses of the day:

(Anyone know this groovy purple mushroom?)

Angelica unfolding:

My sweet godson after he rocked going under water in the Toe River!

Friday, July 8, 2011


There were three problems:
1) A back bumper on my trusty little Toyota pickup that was rusting plum off (and being held on by a single thread of tetnus with a yellow strap),
2) Lovely summer drives through the mountains (aka- commutes) were being disturbed by annoying tailgaters, particularly ones of the teenage boy and redneck lady variety, and
3) My busy summer schedule had me feeling a little too confined to my proverbial "box."

The solution to these three diverse and seemingly unrelated problems came to me as a single item with a wide array of delightful implications...

A new good-damn bumper.

First, a quick backstory: For approximately the last year and a half, I have been hassling my friend and co-worker Zoe, who is a lady of many talents, to make me a new bumper. First she was planning on it, but then she moved out of her metal working shop and it seemed impossible to do. I still hassled her a bit more about it though, and finally she said, "Dana, I can't make you a bumper." I mostly gave up on the idea, and just let my bumper rust and rot as I drove through the mountains, day in and day out.
Then one day earlier this summer, Jenna my sister saw my bumper and exclaimed, "Dana- what the $%^* is wrong with your $%^-@#$* bumper!" I told her that it was rusting off. I went on to tell her that originally Zoe was going to make me a new one, but that it wasn't going to work out because she didn't have a workshop anymore. Jenna, being the true and trusty good dedicated sister she is, had my back. "Do you want me to call Zoe for you and take care of it?" she asked. I said sure.
A two minute phone call later I was next in line for a custom made bumper. For those interested, the phone call went a little something like this:
Jenna: Hey Zoe. (pause) No- it's not Dana, it's Jenna.
Jenna: You need to make my sister a new bumper because her @#$%-ing bumper is falling off!
Jenna: (in a real sweet and sing-songy voice) Thank you Zoe.
Jenna: (in that same sweet and happy voice) I'm doing preeeeety good Zoe.

Simple as that.

In no time flat, Zoe had produced a bumper for me that:
1) saved me from that awful jury-rigged eyesore of a rusty piece of crap that I was rolling with on my tail end for so long
2) hooked me up with a bad ass piece of converted weight-lifting equipment and old car parts that I'm hoping one glance of will have even the boldest of tailgaters reaching that foot for the break, and
3) hoisted me out of my proverbial "box" for two exciting and unforgettable evening sessions of bumper work in two unique locations.

Session one: The removal of the old bumper and prep work for the new bumper
Location: The driveway, back porch and kitchen of Zoe's shared punk house of amiable chaos and prolific creativity
Tasks accomplished: Old bumper removal involved some manipulation of rusty bolts, some metal cutting with an angle grinder and some old fashioned sweating and grunting (paired with ample giggling); new metal brackets were fashioned and measurements were taken for the welding of the parts
What I did: Examine the floor to ceiling art displayed on all walls of the house while making commentary, ask a lot of detailed questions about the art and the housemates, take pictures, laugh a lot and hand Zoe tools when needed
What Zoe did: All the work (and laugh a lot)

I left at dark that night last week feeling pumped up from having spent an evening out of my little world and jazzed about the upcoming bumper installation session...Read on.

Session Two: The welding of the bumper
Location: Deep Six Cycles shop in south Asheville-
Tasks accomplished: Holes were drilled in the new brackets after measurements from Session One were confirmed correct; Brackets were resized to accomodate smooth tailgate opening and closing; New bumper was "tacked" to brackets on the actual truck sight; Welding was completed on a table in the shop, and bumper was secured to truck with bolts
What I did: Look around Tom's shop curiously while asking both him and Zoe a plethora of questions, take pictures, listen to death metal and Johnny Cash, check out Tom's motorcycle friend's brown recluse bite, tell stories, occasionally hand Zoe a tool
What Zoe did: All the work; be a bad ass

Much chuckling and marvelling at the world beyond my little cubby-hole of a life was done all evening. I felt like a tourist on a staycation over there in the motorcycle shop, and I relished every minute of it, inhaling deeply the refreshing smell of motor oil and auto parts and admiring the craftspersonship of both Zoe and her metal mentor Tom. One of my favorite things to do is watch someone work, particularly when that person loves their work.

There you have it. The lovely new bumper. I may be dreaming, but it seems to me that since it has been on, people behind me have been slowing down just a little bit before passing my slow granny driving ass. The only things I have left to do are spray the bumper with some rust inhibiting finish product, figure out a way to grow some tiny succulents back there on the new boy and hook Zoe up with delightful treats for a long time to come.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My American Locale

Fourth of July Weekend in Images...