A Day In West Roxbury, MA

I laugh at myself when I consider what I’ve been doing with my life since retiring almost 10 years ago. It would seem that I’ve acquired a new hobby, going to VA clinics and hospitals. LOL

There’s the main VA hospital in Providence, RI where I had my cataract surgery. Then there are three VA clinics in Worcester, MA, the Lincoln Street main clinic, The Plantation Street clinic where my Podiatrist and Optometrist are located. The third clinic is on Lake Avenue and contains mental health professionals as well as Dermatology clinics.

Spreading out I’m seeing Dermatologists in the main VA hospital in Jamaica Plains outside of Boston who did my Basal Cell Carcinoma skin cancer surgery and a 2nd Podiatrist who performed surgery on my diabetic ulcers that used to live on the bottom of both feet.

Now I’ve just added two more specialists, a Urology department at the West Roxbury, MA VA medical facility as well as a Cardiology department at the hospital. When you go to any VA discipline you get the whole team as they also teach new doctors while they work on you. I’ve found this with Optometry, Urology and Cardiology.

The VA medical system in Massachusetts is the best in the United States that I have had the privilege of using. They are thorough, caring and never mention cost or talk about charges. I have 100% medical coverage that includes all prescription drugs and supplies. You should see my collection of bandage supplies due to my foot surgery.

I know the VA isn’t as good elsewhere in the U.S. but I’m grateful for what they have done and continue to do for me. They have literally been lifesavers on many occasions. They also don’t mind dipping into the civilian medical system if necessary. I’ve had custom orthotics made for my shoes as an example of their generosity.

I get to my appointments by three methods; I drive myself, I take free VA shuttle buses and I get free medical appointment drivers from the Senior Center in Uxbridge, MA where I have lived for 4 years since moving to New England. My local VA office in town hall reimburses me for all my deductible copayments on prescription drugs. That can add up to over $100 a month easily at a time. I’m eternally grateful for their help as I live on just Social Security and a small pension earned at Boeing Aircraft/McDonnell Douglas for my 13 year tenure.

No Miter Picture Frames

I’m always looking for new ways to do the same job. As long as the appearance and strength aren’t compromised making things differently has its advantages. Making picture frames is a good example of utilizing different techniques to making attractive frames to display your treasures.

Conventional miter joints in the corners makes for an attractive frame but lacks long term strength as wood shrinks or expands over time. A common solution is to add splines to mitered corners as reinforcements.  A second method is the simplest, butt joints. These can be made strong by utilizing pocket holes in the corners, making a very strong joint. The issue here though is the additional work to cover or hide the screw holes on the backside of the frame. A third method is to half lap the corners, cutting half the material from each mating piece, creating a very strong frame because of the huge gluing surface created. The half lap method can also be combined with mitered corners creating additional gluing surface and eliminating the need to add spline joints in the corners. My final method of making frames is using narrow strips of wood half lapped to add a decorative element as you can vary the wood species and color of the pieces as seen in the illustration below.

All these methods described can be made with power tools or hand tools. The more intricate frames require good layout skills and careful cutting to look good. I like the challenge of using hand tools that can make beautiful picture frames without the use of any metal fasteners.

No Miter Picture Frames

All Good Things Must End

I knew it from the first 10 minutes of last night’s Ravens/Patriots game. We would not leave that place as an undefeated team. Our glaring weaknesses were open and raw. The Ravens have a unique quarterback with a skillset beyond our taunted defense. I went to bed early last night before the first quarter was even half finished.

Upon awakening this morning I asked my Echo what the final score was and the results confirmed what I had sensed. We were beaten soundly! Next!

Veterans Day

It’s all over the internet – What do you think of veterans day? or What are you doing for a veteran today? or What freebies are being given to veterans today?

Personally I plan to sleep my way right through this “special” day. I would rather hear “What are we doing to never make veterans”? When are we going to keep veterans out of harm’s way by minding our own business at home? When are we going to stop fighting other people’s dirty little wars?

I don’t “celebrate” veterans day! I think the idea of celebrating stupid wars created by stupid politicians is fundamentally wrong! I’m going back to sleep now.

Not Pneumonia – Fluid Buildup

During my doctor’s appointment today I was informed that I don’t have pneumonia but instead my lungs have filled full of fluid. In the past I suffered from congestive heart failure due to super high blood pressure, 255/150. My organs were being squeezed by excess fluid surrounding them. I have to reduce that fluid buildup or risk serious complications. It’s been one week since I initially was tested at my doctor’s clinic. I was placed on 4x the strength of water pill, Furosemide, that I have been taking for years. I feel much better now and my blood pressure was 140/66 today. That’s quite acceptable. I also lost 10 pounds in that one week without dieting, meaning that I dropped most of it through fluid loss. Cool! I’m ordered to keep up the same dosage and come back in 3 weeks to see how I’m doing. That works for me. Maybe I’ll be able to get back in my pants again! LOL

More Woodworking Plans

Christmas will be here before you know it. I’m making plans for my simple gifts that I always make by hand to add that personal touch, a labor of love. Now that I have 30 board feet of hickory hardwood in my apartment I have many possible nice ideas. Below would make an excellent personal gift that would be very attractive without breaking my bank account. I hope to dive into this one day project shortly.

Coffee Tray

Unusual Talent

I thought some of you might be ready for something different. This young Russian guitar player is quite unique in his style of play. Tell me what you think.

My Favorite Animal

I’ve been an animal portrait photographer for 50 years. I’ve travelled the world capturing exotic critters few have ever seen in real life face to face. Folks that see my photographs occasionally ask me what is my favorite animal to photograph. I show them hundreds of kitty cat pictures.

Now understand kitties come in all shapes and sizes. The wild cats such as lions, tigers leopards and mountain lions are but a few in my collection. The smaller cats are loveable too! Examples would be Caracals, Ocelots and Bobcats. I also love domesticated kitties. I’ve always had house cats as pets. I think they’re all beautiful!

Kitty 2

New Woodworking Wood Source

Any woodworker worth a toot is always looking for cheap sources of wood to feed his/her hobby. There are tons of YouTube videos showing the thousands of uses for discarded pallets. I’ve been known to dumpster dive myself if I see anything made of real wood being discarded.

Now I’ve discovered a new source for great hardwood that includes samples, flooring. The wood in particular comes in random lengths that is 5 1/2″ wide and 1/2″ thick. It falls into the category of “engineered wood”, a sandwich of the real wood affixed to sturdy hardwood plywood underneath. It also comes with a tongue & groove installation feature that makes it great for making panels, table tops or just wider planks.

The two samples I ordered fall into the hickory hardwood family, one light colored and the 2nd dark. So far I’ve ordered one box of the lighter color that includes 30′ of random lengths of the flooring. It’s beautiful material, flat and extremely hard, in the 5000 rating for such things.

I have plans to use it for everything including workbench tops, picture frames and boxes for everything. I’m going to start small with a project like a miniature Japanese toolbox that will house a unique stainless steel paring knife I intend to give someone as a gift. It will only require $5 worth of material that includes the knife but will look like something much more expensive. It’s a labor of love.

I can’t wait to get started on using my new material for projects. I must wait to recover from the double pneumonia I’m suffering from right now. 😦 Sawdust when you have difficulty breathing is not a good idea. LOL

Cali Samples 01