Thursday, May 31, 2007

Poetry Thursday: Rivers

River Haiku
river of knowledge
hereditary bequest
enriching my life

Charles River at Elm Bank in Wellesley

Ode to the Charles
meandering river
exploring towns along the way
trees bend as if to
dip a branch into the water
herons prowl the banks
in search of lunch
kayaker paddles your water
in search of exercise
turtle basks on rock
in search of warmth
reader sits on shore
in search of solitude
artist sits to sketch
in search of beauty
river flows on
in search of ocean

Charles River in Waltham
More Poetry Thursday
More river pictures in my flickr account

Thursday Challenge: Peaceful

Early morning at Wakanda.

Larger View: here
More Thursday Challenge: here

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Simple

A little late to the party...

I'm in the midst of building a table for a woodworking challenge (details here). The deadline is Thursday. As per usual I'm going to be cutting it close (no pun intended). My goal for the weekend is to complete the construction of the table so I'll have time to put finish on it before I have to post pictures of the completed table.

On the to-do list were:
  • dovetailing the drawer parts
  • adding dadoes to the stretcher for the shelf
  • finishing the jig I designed to cut plugs with
  • adding dadoes to the sides of the drawer
  • attaching the drawer front
  • easing all the edges (rounding over or chamfering the edges so they aren't sharp)
I figured the dovetails would be simple. Several years ago I purchased a dovetail jig. I figured that having a jig would make cutting dovetails easier. I'd pulled out the jig earlier in the week and though the instructions were somewhat lacking it looked simple enough.

When I cut the drawer parts I made a bunch of extra pieces so I would have test pieces with which to set the jig up. Six hours later I had a lot of sawdust, and a pile of much smaller test pieces. What I didn't have was a completed drawer. I just couldn't get a precise enough fit using the jig.

After much deliberation I decided to cut my losses and put the skills I have to work. You see last year in a workshop class at the North Bennett Street School I learned to cut dovetails by hand. I haven't mastered them yet, but I can make a pretty serviceable dovetail. I considered other joints, but dovetails are what I wanted. So I pulled out the drawer parts and started marking out the dovetails. After 4 hours (last night and today) of hand sawing and chisel work I had completed the drawer joints.

Here's one corner. A nice simple dovetail.

The moral of the story - don't overcomplicate situations. Keep it simple.

More Sunday Scribblings.

My woodworking blog

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Shutterday: Moon

Looking up in the Great Hall at the Wild Center (aka Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks). The image on the ceiling cycles from sunrise to moonrise and back.

Larger view: here
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Friday, May 25, 2007

PhotoHunters: Colorful

Skylight at Xcaret a park in the Yucatan of Mexico.
The butterflies pictured represent the species which you can interact with in the nearby butterfly house. Directly below the skylight is the underground river, which you can swim/float through. This was taken from the balcony. This shot was taken during our honeymoon in 2004.

Click on the picture for a larger version.
More PhotoHunters here.

PhotoFriday: Futuristic

The Stata Center at MIT designed by Frank Gehry.
This photo is a couple of years old, there is _definitely_ no snow there now (it was 92+ today).

Larger View: here
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Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Oak Forest

The squirrels were clearly busy last fall, planting acorns in our yard. I pulled about twenty little tiny oak trees last night. There are still plenty for anyone who'd like to join in the fun.

Poetry Thursday: Conversation

It’s hard to talk to you
makes my heart ache
and my eyes fill with tears.

I’ve imagined you countless times
the feel of your hand in mine
the sound of your laughter

I’m sorry we never got to meet
never got to know each other
never got to explore the world together

We meant to, later
After we’d had time to settle
But time was not on our side

So I sit and imagine who you would have been
And who I would have been
And try not to have conversations that bring tears to my eyes.

Skunk cabbage is not a good snack.
I’ve never eaten it,
but once when we lived in the big brown house
next to the deep gully
some bullies made your mom eat it.

Usually the gully was a fun place to be,
full of trees and rocks,
and unexplored possibility.

The gully could be a deep dark jungle,
or a planet far away in the galaxy.
You could hide in the gully,
Behind a tree, under a branch,
where no one could find you,
until you wanted to be found.

But always up on the hill
was the big brown house,
the one your grandmother loved,
and still loves.

In the big brown house was
warmth, and love,
cookies and hugs,
all just waiting for you
when the adventure was over.

For more Poetry Thursday conversations go here.

PhotoSharks: Silver

fish tail outside sea food restaurant

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More PhotoSharks: here

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesday Morning Poetry

For unknown reasons on the way into work this morning, poetry kept popping into my head. I even had to pull over to write some of it down. These are almost haiku, but they don't fit the syllable patterns.

looking at his lawn
grass surrounding ankles
neighbor stands forlorn


morning commute
river beckons
eager for paddles dip

One Deep Breath: Viewpoint

Wabasha Street Bridge, St Paul, Minnesota

Pausing on the bridge
water glows in setting sun
signaling night fall

This week's prompt at One Deep Breath is to take a "position of observation" and share what you see from your own unique viewpoint. It was hard to pick one picture to write about. This picture was taken in November 2006.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Looking Out

Looking out the window at my office. It was a gorgeous day, and the colors of this city scape appealed to me.

Larger view here.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Masks

Many years ago I worked at an art college. Each year the entering students were given an assignment to create a spirit mask and bring it with them to orientation. The mask had several purposes - it was an opportunity for the entering students to show their artistic talents and to reveal a bit of themselves.

The primary means of feedback from faculty to students in the college was through critiques. At various points in the course of the year the students would present their work to their fellow students, their professors, and sometimes to visiting artists. In most departments the critique was an interactive process with the student there to explain the techniques, and thought processes which went into their work. The spirit masks also provided the new students with their first taste of the critique process. In small groups the students presented their masks beginning the dialogue which would carry them through their college career and on into their life as artists.

Orientation ended with an exhibit of the spirit masks with a reception for the college community. It was always interesting to see the work of the incoming students and to try to figure out what they were trying to say with those masks. And I've wondered what those masks would look like at graduation time - what changes would be revealed.

I've never made a spirit mask, but because of my exposure to them during those years, I have thought about it. I don't easily reveal myself - I hesitate before "coming out" (although marriage has made that easier), I don't reveal my innermost thoughts. I worry too much about what others think of me. I wear a mask every day. What would I reveal if I made a spirit mask? How would I explain it? What would people think of me then?

More Sunday Scribblings

Friday, May 18, 2007

PhotoHunters: Cooking

One of the great pleasures of our summer vacations at Wakanda is having the time to bake bread. Several summers ago our pal, Kama (now an almost 16 year old) joined us for an afternoon of bread baking and board games.

PhotoFriday: Large

This is Nipper, the RCA dog. He appears on the label of old RCA records, and on the top of this building in downtown Albany, New York. When I was a child I loved seeing him sitting up there. I hadn't been to that part of Albany in years until I attended a conference downtown last fall. When I realized that Nipper was just down the street I made a special trip to take some shots of him.

Larger View: here
More PhotoFriday

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Movement

D making his getaway.

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PhotoSharks: Delicate

My garden last summer.
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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day, Mommy

Me on my sister's first birthday which makes me not quite 3.

Friday, May 11, 2007

PhotoHunters: Five

There were many ways I could have gone with this prompt - numeral 5s from uniforms, or class banners (85 and 55), my 5 year old nephew (who would insist that he is in fact 5 3/4), and then I stumbled upon this picture. It's the same little boy - I think he was about 1 1/2 at the time. I don't know what he was saying although I can fast forward to now and here him saying "well actually" with just that expression on his face.

More: PhotoHunters

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sunday Scribbling: Second Chance

The Wellesley College softball team is playing in the NCAA Division III New England Regional tournament this weekend. They got off to a great start yesterday, blanking College Misericordia 8-0.

Today's match-up against the women from Tufts University was tougher. Wellesley's pitching was not as precise as in the last few games (two no-hitters and a one-hitter). And today the breaks weren't going Wellesley's way. Catcher Kara Wong got picked off second base and later in the game was thrown out at the plate trying to score the tying run. Tufts got help with two excellent plays from their right fielder - an over the head catch of a deep fly ball off the bat of Beej Grundlock, and a diving catch, the kind that makes the highlight reels on ESPN, on the next play.

It was an exciting, if disappointing game. As one of the players said after the game "losing sucks, but losing and having to study sucks more" (Wellesley finals start next week.)

What, I'm sure you're asking, does this have to do with second chances? Well, this tournament is a double-elimination tournament. What this means, is that to be eliminated a team has to lose twice. So, Wellesley has a second chance. They'll take on Keene State tomorrow. After all the work that has gone into getting here it is nice to know that all the teams get to play at least two games. And their family, friends, and random fans get to cheer them on a little longer.

I think this concept of double-elimination could be useful in other areas of life. I know I could use a second chance every now and then.

Update: Wellesley held off Keene State 2-1 in a game that started nearly 2 hours late because the previous game went to 11 innings. Beej Grundlock pitched a great game, and Jenna Harvey came in in the bottom of the 7th with the bases loaded and 1 out to save the win. Wellesley then took on Emerson in the nightcap (scheduled for 4pm the game started at 6:45). Wellesley's bats came alive and they won 5-1. Kara Wong had 2 - yes 2 - out of the park home runs, and took out a loud speaker with a foul ball.

Tomorrow (Sunday) Wellesley takes on Tufts at noon with the winner of that game facing Rhode Island College for the championship.

Sunday Update: Tufts eliminated Wellesley from the tournament 5-0. It was a sad way to end the season, but what a season it's been. Three cheers for the women in blue!!!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

LensDay: Modern

Marriott Hotel & Marina, San Diego
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Haiku: Sleep

hotel sounds disturb
toss and turn, sleep elusive
my own bed calling

Inspired by One Deep Breath, and Monday night in a hotel.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

See It Sunday: Red

Amy's well loved red sneakers.

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More See It Sunday

Friday, May 04, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Ocean

When I was about 7 my parents gave my aunt, who lived in the heart of Kenmore Square in Boston, a couple of cots. My aunt was visiting my parents but the cots wouldn't fit in her VW bug so my mother loaded them into the back of our station wagon, and then loaded my sister, brother and I into the front and drove them to my aunt's house. I distinctly remember that this was explained to us as a quick trip - drop off the cots and head home.

We arrived in Boston in early evening to, as I remember it, the hubbub that is Kenmore Square when the Red Sox are playing at home. Since it was dinner time, the adults decided that we needed dinner. I don't remember what we ate or where. Just when I expected that we were about to be packed into the car for the ride home it was announced that it was too late for us to go home and we would have to stay the night.

This was quite a surprise, particularly since my aunt lived in a very small one bedroom apartment. But she did have those cots which were the reason for the trip. So the living room was lined with cots, and from some secret stash my mother produced pajamas for us all.

I don't remember much about the morning, but the overnight was not the last surprise. We loaded back into the car with my aunt and headed not home, but to Gloucester and the sea shore. We ended up at Good Harbor beach and from her secret stash my mother produced bathing suits and towels. Having grown up more than 100 miles from the nearest ocean beach, I'd never seen the ocean let alone put so much as a finger into it.

I was also deathly afraid of water (I realize that comes as a complete shock to anyone who knows me now). Wading was my limit. Even the best efforts of numerous swimming teachers, and the swim coach colleague of my father's, who wielded a heavy metal boat to try and coax my face into the water hadn't convinced me that swimming was a good thing. The swim coach used a heavy metal boat which he told me was Popeye's boat. He would drop the boat a little farther from shore each time in an effort to get me to put my face into the water. I became adept at contorting my body so I could pick the boat up without getting even my ear wet, but still would not put my face in.

When faced with the tumbling waves, the likes of which I had never seen before, I became enchanted. I didn't worry about getting knocked head over tea kettle by a wave, or about being dragged out to sea by the receding waves. No, for an afternoon I reveled in the beauty, and power of waves crashing on the shore. I leapt over waves, and let them break across my feet. I had to be dragged from the waves, lips blue with cold. For an afternoon I made peace with water.

It would be several more years before I made a permanent peace with water. I was ten when I learned to swim, but once I learned there was no stopping me. The only thing that kept me from a Life Saving certificate is that I am uncomfortable diving more than a couple of feet below the surface.

I don't spend much time in the ocean these days. I'd much rather spend my water time in fresh water. But I do remember that first ocean adventure. And to this day if I head for the Gloucester sea shore I end up at Good Harbor no matter where I intended to go and no matter how clear the directions. I don't usually get lost. I have a very good sense of direction. My psyche just insists that The Beach is Good Harbor.

More: Sunday Scribblings

It is entertaining to me that there is a pulse in the blogosphere which leads to similar prompts from a variety of meme sites. One Deep Breath's prompt this week was Sea and now Sunday Scribblings has served up Ocean. And the photo I picked in response to LensDay's Smooth prompt was of an ocean beach. Makes me wonder what we'll all be thinking about next.

Tanka: Sea

nestled in the sand
unaware of my presence
no secrets you tell
what adventures brought you here
beautiful ocean treasure

The prompt at One Deep Breath this week is sea. Despite living less than 20 miles from the ocean, I do not spend much time there. So, I had to dig into the pictures from my trip to California for inspiration. This shell was on the beach on Coronado Island. We left it where it lay.

See American Tanka for an explanation of the tanka.
More: One Deep Breath
Larger version of photo: here.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Noisy

Action shot of an MBTA train.

Larger Version: here
More: Thursday Challenge

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Lensday: Smooth

surf smoothed sand
Coronado Island, California

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More Lensday.