[Started Saturday Night Jul. 12] I am listening to Steely Dan (right now, Jack of Speed, over, and over, and over) drinking Schmitt Sohne Riesling on an empty stomach, and blogging while my husband cooks the amazing eggplant – olive penne pasta with fake feta (marinated tofu, don’t knock it til you try it, too damn good).

I did wash a load of dishes. I’ve earned it.

We’re going to see Steely Dan AND Tom Jones in Vegas in August. That’s what really makes me feel guilty. What have I done to deserve this? Both venues are smallish, and we have like third or fourth row for Tom Jones. I have already asked my husband if it’s okay if I throw my ‘knickers’ and / or room key at Tom Jones. He said that was okay, and then thought it through and realized that throwing my room key effectively meant throwing his room key… he said he would just go hang down at the casino. Why wouldn’t he want to share his room with a small dark Welshman– kind of a Welsh Ron Jeremy– really?

So I’ve played Jack of Speed probably too many times. Let me go find something else. Dirty Work kicks it off. Any Major Dude Will Tell You.

Here’s the thing about having a wonderful yard.

It is grinding, mind numbing work.

We’ve been ‘working on’ the rock garden beds around the east and north (front) side of the house for, like, ever. Six weeks ago I pulled an azaelea out of the front bed. A month ago we cut down some unwanted small trees and got the kids to start picking rocks out for a penny a rock. Last weekend we finally picked a small section to get done– and it was insanely difficult. We did less than half of that section.

It involved picking every single f-ing rock out of the bed, pulling up the landcaping fabric, clearing away a phenomenal amount of dirt– SO much dirt!– so many wheelbarrows full, one heavy wheelbarrow load at a time! replacing the landscaping fabric, pouring in phenomenal amounts of leveling sand, and throwing the rocks back in.

Then, it rained so now the numbing work includes WASHING the f-ing rocks. When the weather was dry it was no big deal, but after it rained– We couldn’t put them back in the cleared beds, with their sweet clean white sand, all nasty and muddy like they were. How insane is that– sitting the piles of rocks on our drive, washing rocks? It seems like we ought to at least have a zen breakthrough or something. I probably did… I dunno. Who can say.

I kept calling us the idiot family, although I am deeply proud of the beautiful thing we (re) created. I kept trying to think of a better way, but short of a front loader and a dump truck… I can’t think of any. My husband says it’s like being in the army, where they were assigned to move, break, or even brush paint large piles of rocks.

My little one spent all afternoon both Friday and Saturday sat in the middle of a big mudhole. She loved that mud. She had it between her toes, in her hands– all over the place. she was carting heavy buckets of it here and there, shaping it and mixing it and throwing it. It was amazing.  She was having such a great time.  She got her dose of nature and sensory riches this weekend, at least. It doesn’t happen enough.

So… it’s Monday 14 July now. Back to work. I still have Steely Dan in my head, but I also have very sore muscles in my neck, although how I used those to pick wash and replace rocks I have no idea… The side rock bed looks, with the exception of a few patches rain washed a bit of dirt back into, like a pristine river bed. Now we only have about 3x that much more to go, to do the front. Jeeze!