The Volunteer

We’re in the middle of Summer. People are taking their vacations before the new school year begins. Families are out of town. Churches in our area are starved for volunteers to fill in for the regular staff in all departments.

God bless the folks that step up to the plate, regardless of their age or abilities. It may have been decades since they last played their instrument of choice. Still, they raised their hand, trying their best.

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord”!

The Volunteer


Woodworking: Scrabble Coasters

I’ve been developing new woodworking projects that could provide me with simple but unique Christmas presents. I’ve come up with all sorts of ideas to try, determining the best looking, least expensive hand made gifts folks might enjoy.

Drink coasters are nifty little gifts that everybody uses. They can be made utilitarian, attractive and tailored to the individual. A set of coaster displaying hall of fame golfers, baseball stars or Rio olympic athletes would be special to a sports fan. How about coasters made up of scrabble pieces? I happen to know a crafts person who loves scrabble. A set of 4 coaster with different 4 or 3 letter words on it would be unique.

There are two ways to approach the scrabble coaster idea, glue the letters on a thin piece of Baltic plywood and coat the coaster with a protective coating or photograph the scrabble words and transfer the color photograph to the Baltic  plywood directly. I like the last idea best because it isn’t as messy and would require the purchase of wooden Scrabble pieces to glue on wood. The photo transfer of scrabble words only require a cheap color photo copy of the individual coasters and some Mod Podge glue/sealer/finish to transfer the photo of the scrabble tiles directly to the wooden coaster. It’s all good and not very expensive.

I happen to have 24 1 ft squares of Baltic plywood in my apartment. I can make a dozen 4″x4″ coasters out of every sheet. I’ve got a public library with a color photo copier less than a quarter mile from my apartment. I might have to give this a try just for the fun of it.

Now keep in mind you can dream up 3 and 4 letter words to places on these coasters. I can make them up like the one below in photoshop. They look authentic because they will be authentic when transferred onto wood.

Scrabble Square


Overcast Skies Provide Better Lighting

A break in our heatwave has also provided overcast skies. That causes me to reach for my camera, especially when Al’s flowers got a bit of a watering early this morning. If you look closely you can see the Gladiolus covered in droplets.

Gladiolus 07

Gladiolus 10

Temporary Reprieve

It’s been a rough month for hot weather and humidity. Even now at 3:00 a.m. in the morning it’s 95% humidity and 73 degrees. There’s no wind, zero mph. Our high today will only reach 77 so at least we won’t return to the 90s for at least 4 days. With just a fan it’s hard to cool down my apartment because of that extremely high humidity.

Our forecasters have been talking about big rain on Friday and Saturday. We’re in such desperate need of rain due to a prolonged drought this Summer. Only stupid people would complain about an all day soaker at this point. I define stupid people as those so spoiled by their central air conditioning and watered, kept lawns that they’re not really in touch with reality. Stick them in my one room apartment this past week and then ask them what they would think about a refreshing shower to clear the air, water the lawns and plants and give our dry tinderbox landscape a little relief.

The older I get the less I can tolerate this kind of weather. If I could wish for something it would be a new window air conditioner to cool down my 200 square foot unit. It’s the same old story, money. I’m saving every penny for my roadtrip to South Carolina this September. My budget has so little wiggle room that I must set my sights on only one thing at a time. This is life in the slow lane called retirement. Still I’m grateful for what I have. I’m in a nice apartment with all my utilities paid for by Uncle Sam. I have full medical coverage from the VA and a decent car in good condition to get me around. Gas prices are slowly dropping to under $2.10 a gallon here in the Blackstone Valley. Life is good!

I haven’t been very enthusiastic about going anywhere to take new pictures lately. My enthusiasm and energy and wallet are all low at the same time, the perfect storm. So I look forward to the possibility of rain during the next few days. Don’t be surprised if my neighbors catch me sitting outside in shorts and sandals if a shower comes around, 🙂



Share Your World – 2016 Week 30

Share Your World – 2016 Week 30

Do you prefer a bath or shower?

What a coincidence this was asked! For the past 4 months, since moving into my public housing unit, I’ve only been able to take showers. I actually prefer showers so it wasn’t a big deal that the diverter valve didn’t work. Maintenance knocked on my door this morning and two plumbers had a new valve installed in 5 minutes. Now I have the option of a bath or shower. Now if I can only figure out how to get my 260 pound body down in the tub and then get out afterward I might be tempted to soak in a cool bath. Ah, the trials and tribulations of getting old! 🙂

If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which one would you choose? Why?

Wow, that’s a tough one. I have plenty of hobbies like photography and woodworking but I have all the camera gear I want and my housing unit is too small for big shop tools so I’d like a go at my local supermarket to stock up food supplies for the next 6 months.

If you could be one age for the rest of your life, what age would that be?

110 🙂 You figure it out!

List at least five movies that cheer you up.

  1. Up – A great animated movie that had me rolling in the aisles.
  2. Despicable Me – Another animated film that was loads of fun.
  3. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World – That movie had me crying in my heat holding onto a Korean man sitting in the seat next to me.
  4. Nell – One of the best made movies of all times. Warm fuzzies all the way around.
  5. Young Frankenstein – A classic comedy with Gene Wilder & Marty Feldman.


Alright, I’ve Got A Bathtub

I moved into my public housing unit April 04, 2016. As of today I have a fully functional show & tub in my bathroom. You see the tub’s diverter valve stuck, allowing the water for showers but not for filling my tub. I bumped into one of the project’s maintenance guys yesterday and he and his sidekick took a quick look at it. They sent two plumbers to my front door this morning. Professionals make all the difference. They had a new diverter valve installed in two minutes. Thank you for good maintenance! 🙂

Now We See Red

Today’s flower of the day remains Gladiolus. This time there was a brilliant red variety adding its intense color to the show.

Red Glads

My Expected Beauty Appears

Right outside my front door, not more than 5 feet away, stands a tiny postage stamp sized flower garden. It’s no more than 5’x5′ yet lights up the neighborhood with its gorgeous variety of seasonal flowers. I saw the photo below getting ready to burst open and couldn’t wait for this blazingly beauty to appear.
Gladiolus 03

Remembering Those Who Have Passed

With the death of Conrad, a male polar bear, I was reminded of all of the animal deaths I’ve known of since starting to go to the Oregon Zoo nearly 10 years ago. I know the collection of animal photographs I’ve taken before their passing is not a complete list. Tusko, a male Indian elephant and father to many of the herd, left us after suffering for years with a bad leg. Since I can’t confirm that any of my photos of that herd contained one of Tusko I left him out.

Zoo populations, just like humans, get old, sick, frail.Certain animals have shorter lifespans than us. Personally I don’t think the powers in charge of the Oregon Zoo did a good job introduce younger animals into their population. They have become known as a geriatric zoo, with a number of their animals touted to be the oldest individuals in captivity.

So here’s to Conrad, Lucifer, Kutai, Tusko, Gus, Ralph, Citation and Nicole (Nikki). Here’s a tribute to all of them for providing us with years of enjoyment.


Al’s Gladiolus

It’s so refreshing to walk out my front door that leads directly to Al’s flower garden 3 feet away. Gladiolus are in bloom right now and Al has planted a variety of colors that surprise everyone each day. It was partially overcast as I took out the trash this morning so I grabbed these shots of the Gladiolus before they ran their course. I wonder what color will pop up tomorrow?

Al's Gladiolus