To make a cube bookshelf

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Because she asked for a bookshelf, I built one. A simple cube bookshelf was the plan. Nothing fancy. Something simple and useful. Something to fit under the window.

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To begin with, I visited the local lumber shop for 1″x12″s and 1″x2″ pine boards. Also, I picked up some screws and finishing nails. Already had wood glue, left over wood stain and finish in the garage.

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If I was a master craftsman, I would have made the shelf without screws and nails. Due to lack of equipment (like a proper workshop with a bunch of clamps, a router, and maybe a tenon jig) and time (the ever elusive weekend commodity), dado joint shelves were replaced with two-inch screws and Gorilla® Wood Glue. The only power tools used were a cordless drill/driver, a sander and a jig saw.

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After everything was glued, screwed and sanded, wood stain was selected. The Minwax can of espresso stain was half full, and was sufficient to cover the bookshelf. The stain dried quickly, but I let it dry overnight to let it set.

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Two coats of wood finish completed the project. The bookshelf was installed in our living space with a vase of roses atop it.

Request for a companion cube bookshelf arrived. More wood was purchased and cut. Request for bookshelf with a honey-colored stain finish followed. A quart of Minwax wood stain was purchased. And so on.

Best intentions

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The intent was to watch the sun set and watch full, strawberry moon rise on the summer solstice.[1] But I fell asleep and awoke after 1 a.m. — cloudy, nighttime pondering of lessons in risk management.[2] A few hours later, I watch the light brighten the room[3] as I prepare for a morning walk.

NOTES:
[1] Bob Berman, “Summer Solstice Full Moon in June!,” The Old Farmer’s Almanac, accessed June 20, 2016 http://www.almanac.com/blog/astronomy/astronomy/summer-solstice-full-moon-june
[2] Gregory Orr, “Farther’s Song,” Academy of American Poets, accessed June 20, 2016 https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/fathers-song.
[3] Charles Simic, “Secret History,” The Writer’s Almanac, June 19, 2016, accessed June 20, 2016 http://writersalmanac.org/episodes/20160619/.

Confessions : 12

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01. Monday: the yogurt was a wee bit past its edible state. I ate it anyway.
02. Tuesday: the milk was a starting to go sour. I drank it anyway.
03. Stomach produced loud gurgling disapproval for two days.
04. I threw out the milk and yogurt, and drank ginger tea all day.
05. Last week: wore mismatched socks all week. To the office.
06. No one noticed.
07. Or did not tell me.
08. I aced this silly test [link]. It felt good to earn the “A+” badge. But it also made me feel stupid that even took the quiz at all.
09. Most lunch breaks I walk through the city.
10. Or walk along River Walk.
11. Or walk to the lakefront.
12. Or sometimes find a coffeeshop and read ghazals.

Previous confessions: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Ever have one of those days

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Ever have one of those days (or weeks) when you know you should have spent a few dollars to fix a small problem to avoid larger difficulty? And you did not.

Okay, maybe it is more like this.

Ever have a month so crazy busy that all the small tasks that should get done are not completed? And then the phone does not recharge overnight. Which means the alarm clock app does not wake you up. You are late for work. With a smart phone is about as dumb as a rock. And panic sets in when you realize you have to drive more than 70 miles to work without a mobile device? How are you going to make it through the day? The week?

When will the blessed power cable arrive from the magical land of Amazon?

That is when you realize, you will survive. It is just like the 90s. Completely unplugged. (Just like Nirvana’s 1993 MTV Unplugged session in New York City.)

Springtime in Milwaukee

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Yes. It is snowing. In Milwaukee. On Maundy Thursday.

Milwaukee Fog, tea latte

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It is not on the menu, but if you ask a barista for a London fog tea latte, in most cases, he or she will know how to make it.

And since Milwaukee is cloaked in dense fog, I asked the barista for London fog tea latte. He looked at me twice, smiled and said, “Yeah, I can do that.”

Judging a book by its cover

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For me, every book cover I design begins with pencil sketches that eventually lead to ink drawings. Actually, I suppose it begins prior to that. The author receives a pre-publication questionnaire from me prior to the design process. The questionnaire asks the author what is his/her elevator pitch, what are the pillars of the book (i.e. what are three main concepts/ideas in the book?), and what is the book’s key audience? There are more questions that help me prepare for the design process, but reading through that document helps me form an idea of who the author is, what the book is about and how best to represent the book’s content with an attractive cover.

Then I receive the manuscript a few weeks later and begin reading the author’s work. This helps try to envision in my mind an iconic poster image. For me, a book cover is the equivalence of a film poster. At…

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Ice Circles

20160223-184201.jpgAn ice circle, or ice disc, forms in slow moving water in cold climates.

Imagine my surprise when I spotted several ice circles slowly spinning in the waters north of the art museum on an afternoon walk. Beautiful. Like gears grinding away rough edges into glistening discs in the afternoon sun. The delicate slushy, glassy sound reminds me of wind chimes. But there is no wind today. Flags like wilted flowers hang on the poles around the war memorial building. A hawk is perched on a lamp post.

The noisy hurly burly of East Town’s traffic and many construction projects is a dim echo to the mesmerizing music of ice circles.

I could sit here beside those circling ice discs the rest of the day. Or at least until the sun sets.

But only a few minutes remain of my break. And there is work to be done — projects to complete. Matters of consequence.

With hesitation, I leave the spinning ice circles to perform their tranquil charms to the neighboring ducks, gulls and the lone hawk.

Everyone is Polish on Pączki Day

So, it is Fat Tuesday.[1] Meaning it is almost Lent.[2] In Milwaukee. Meaning it is Pączki Day.[3] And the office fun committee made sure those special Polish pastries[4] are available for staff in the lunch room.

Not from Milwaukee? Not Polish? A member of the fun committee smiled and said, “Everyone is Polish on Pączki Day.”

NOTES
[1] Fat Tuesday, also named Mardi Gras
[2] On Lent, fasting and feasting
[3] For a primer, OnMilwaukee provides a word on pączki and seven Milwaukee locations to enjoy the treat.
[4] Here is the correct pronunciation of pączki:

When you get to the top

When you get to the top

Some days, I walk to Grand Avenue — or rather, The Shops of Grand Avenue — in the afternoon. It breaks up the work day. Offers exercise. Occasionally lunch. Or coffee.