Go Straight Through

In between housework chores yesterday I finished reading Vincent Shih’s The Taiping Ideology. Interesting in and of itself, the book is also fascinating as a snapshot of Chinese studies in an American university during the late 60s. It was published in 1967, so Johnson’s escalation in Vietnam was well underway, which meant Communist China was a bad guy as far as a lot of Americans were concerned. The fact that the party line in China views the Taiping Rebellion as an early attempt at class revolution makes it even more interesting. Teasing out implications and looking for signs of academic one-upmanship is one of my very favorite things.

The footnotes were pretty amazing, too. I love footnotes.

So that was my weekend, other than (finally) laying more concrete for the garden walkway on Saturday. For those curious, we’re using this heavy plastic mold. It takes an 80lb bag of concrete for one, with a little left over, so every fourth or fifth there’s enough for another full mold. The kids and I have our mixing, filling, tamping, and lifting down to an art now. You can definitely tell how we’ve gotten better as we go along.

We laid eight bags of concrete, well over six hundred pounds of lifting and shifting. That’s our upper limit; it took us an hour and a half and we were all pretty much done by the time cleanup was finished. The larger part–the patio extension–may have to wait to be fully finished until next summer, but we’ll get the part around the upper garden boxes done before the rains move in this autumn, just on weekends, six to eight bags at a time.

It’s a good thing we can all work together without killing each other. Kind of like when we painted the loos–close quarters, hot work, tempers liable to fray. But the kids are fascinated by the concrete process, and seeing the end result gives them both a glow of accomplishment. Me? Well, my back is okay, but my arms and legs are noodles after each session. The glow of accomplishment is kind of overshadowed by the need for ibuprofen and the urge to wash concrete dust off in a cool shower.

And today, of course, there’s an 8km run dialed up. I should get out before it’s too warm, and see if my legs have forgiven me for all the lifting on Saturday. There’s a particularly intense scene to write today, too. I’m not sure if my protagonist is going to get a crossbow quarrel in the back, and the only way to find out is to go straight through. As usual.

Over and out.