Baby, it’s cold outside

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The outside air temperature this morning, when I woke up, was -6°F. Won’t event mention the windchill factor. The window completely frosted over. It is December. Wonderfully cold and beautiful.

Almost wanted to spend the day in bed composing a new list of twelve Advent poems to accompany the ever popular post Advent Poems (or the 12 days of Christmas poetry). Here’s one Advent poem I am considering for a new list.


The birth of wonder[1]
by Madeleine L’Engle

When I am able to pray with the mind in the heart, I am joyfully
able to affirm the irrationality of Christmas.

As I grow older
I get surer
Man’s heart is colder,
His life no purer.
As I grow steadily
More austere
I come less readily
To Christmas each year.
I can’t keep taking
Without a thought
Forced merrymaking
And presents bought
In crowds and jostling.
Alas, there’s naught
In empty wassailing
Where oblivion’s sought.
Oh, I’d be waiting
With quiet fasting
Anticipating
A joy more lasting.
And so rhyme
With no apology
During this time
Of eschatology:
Judgement and warning
Come like thunder.
But now is the hour
When I remember
An infant’s power
On a cold December.
Midnight is dawning
And the birth of wonder.

NOTES:
[1] “The birth of wonder” by Madeleine L’Engle. Published in the book WinderSong by Madeleine L’Engle and Luci Shaw.

Thanks to all the new Advent Poems visitors

Just wanted to say thank you to all the new visitors to this blog!

When I composed Advent Poems (or the 12 days of Christmas poetry) and other related posts and podcasts, I had no idea that they would be the most visited posts each year. For a single post to bring in thousands of visitors a month is amazing.

Again, much thanks to new visitors and hope you enjoy the seasonal poetry and podcasts!

Time to gather ’round the radio

maxresdefaultThe powder milk biscuits are ready. Rhubarb pie is cooling on the counter top. A bottle of ketchup is on the table. Getting ready for this week’s radio broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion with Chris Thile.

The family chatters about what to expect of the show. Jack White is on the show. Will they still have “Lives of the Cowboys” or “Guy Noir”? Will there be more music and less comedy?

The expectation is high for this family. Who listens to the radio as if it were the Super Bowl or something like that?

Cube bookshelf construction continues

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OR. This is not Minecraft, but there are a lot of cubes.

Can you have too many bookshelves? Well, by request, I built two more cube bookshelves from 1″x12″ and 1″x2″ pine boards. It was a fairly simple matter to draw out the blueprint for these shelves based on the previously built cube shelves.

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Managed to stain both shelves this past weekend. But as the outdoor temperatures cool, the drying time is longer. And I ran out of coffee. Plan to finish the cube shelves with a coat or two of poly.

Cube bookshelf expanded

Received a request for a cube bookshelf to fit under . . . read more ->

The final page


The final page of a sketchbook is a peculiar geography. . . read more ->

Singular possessive or plural possessive

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Do people still diagram sentences?[1] Is writing still important in . . . read more ->

Afternoon walk


Somedays a walk to the river is a remedy. Amid . . . read more ->

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/.