Tool Collector or Woodworker?

I sometime need to stop and ask myself if I am a tool collector or a fledgling woodworker. I’ve managed to duplicate the power tools I own with the hand tools necessary to do work the classic way. There are advantages and disadvantages to both skill sets.

I love working with my hands! Using hand tools is quiet, nearly dust free and very precise. The warm fuzzy feeling I get from making projects with just hand tools is very rewarding all in itself. I built my mobile workbench using just a Japanese backsaw and a screwdriver in just one day.

I grew up learning how to make furniture and crafts with stationary power tools. My shop in Ferguson, MO had a table saw, radial arm saw, floor stand drill press and hand built router table. I built heirloom quality baby furniture as gifts to nieces when they had their children. These solid oak pieces are still in use after 25 years and many babies later.

Now in retirement I’ve rebuilt my tool collection to include both power tools and high quality hand tools. I’m new to the use of bench planes, chisels and precision hand saws. I’ve converted my marking tools from pencils to precision marking knives & gauges. I now use high quality combination squares and straight edges. At this point I have it all.

Now I just need to find the thrill and enthusiasm to use all this on future projects, not for others, but for me. I spent my whole life building stuff for others so now I’m being selfish and concentrating on myself. The list of people who want something built is endless. When you ask them to join in the project by lending a helpful hand the list suddenly disappears. ๐Ÿ™‚

We I die someone is going to get a really nice collection of tools from my estate. I wish there was a beginner woodworker who could benefit from my tools when I’m gone. Playing it forward to the next generation is my idea of life as it should be lived. Maybe I could contact some of my favorite online woodworking schools and will them everything. ๐Ÿ™‚




Being Crazy Is Driving Me Crazy

Never a dull moment in my life! Since being committed to the mental ward of a local hospital my activity level has quadrupled. I Have VA medical appointments at least once a week with psychiatrists, mental health pharmacists, dermatologists, podiatrists and optometry specialists. I’ve been poked, prodded, cut on to remove a growth on my foot and drugged with antidepressants. Who has time to be crazy? LOL All these appointments are my list just in the month of October. Thank goodness for the VA’s online website that has an appointment calendar, a prescription drug list that allows me to order refills and a personal message selection that allows me to communicate with all the medical professionals caring for me right now.

I’m on a first name basis with my medical driver, Sally, who takes me to a some of my appointments in three separate VA clinics in Worcester, MA. She also took me to my cataract surgery appointments in Providence VA Eye clinic and hospital in Rhode Island. There were three follow up exams for each eye. For each eye exam they dilated my eyes which is why I needed transportation. Thank goodness my Senior Center in Uxbridge provides this service!

So my friends all over the country have noticed that I’ve stopped posting on my blog site. I wonder when all these medical appointments will slow down so I can get my regular life back? VA medical has performed miracles in the past 6 months so I’m not really complaining but simply explaining why I’ve been negligent in posting on a regular basis. Did I mention that I’ve also switched churches in the past 2-3 months? I love my new Vineyard denomination church in Hopkinton, MA. It’s a half hour drive from home. I’m trying to become more active there so that’s more time adding activities to my To Do List. Never a dull moment!

Anyway I wanted to let you know I’m doing fine. My vision after cataract surgery is better than at any point in my life. My ten year growth is drastically shrinkingย  thanks to my 3rd VA podiatrist, Dr. Lee. I’m getting help with my depression with two doctors that psychoanalyze and medicate me. All is well! ๐Ÿ™‚

Living With Depression

I suppose the title of this post is it’s own answer. To win the battle with constant depression you must first live. I’m in treatment for long term depression that steals all the reasons I need to live. I have no energy, ambition or drive. I tend to go out for breakfast and immediately jump back in bed and sleep all day long. I have abandoned all the hobbies that I love and can’t think of a single reason why I should continue living.

I’m not speaking about anyone else here. This is my particular crisis and it’s been going on for nearly half my 69 years on earth. My parents went out of their way to make me feel worthless, stupid and doomed to spend a life alone. After 3 failed marriages I can’t help but think that curse has followed me my whole life. Growing up I felt the need to constantly prove that I was worth a shit, that I mattered. This made me a demanding perfectionist who excelled in everything I did yet left me empty, still considering myself worthless.

Now I’m 69 and have lived alone for over 20 years after my last marriage. In retirement since 2010 my life has dragged me away from friends and relatives strictly because of money. Living on Social Security and a small pension my choices have forced me to move constantly as my fixed income is never enough to make ends meet. Rents and medical expenses alone have drained every penny I have to the point where now just keeping food in my apartment is a struggle, I’ve been living on oatmeal and eggs for a week. Tomorrow is payday.

I have an appointment, one of three, with a psychiatrist at the VA Mental Health Clinic this coming Wednesday. I don’t want to go because I’m past the point where I want to talk with anybody. I’m ashamed to be depressed, suicidal. I sit here with a veterans crisis hotline card right in front of me. Again, I don’t want to talk to anybody.

The followers of my blog may have noticed my sharp decline in posting lately. I’ve been so depressed I don’t want to run off anyone with my problems. I’ve practically given up photography, my passion for the past 45 years. My woodworking tools sit idle. I can’t just seem to do anything i love now.

I’ve been put on Sertraline, a Zoloft like antidepressant. This is the first medication I’ve ever taken for my depression. After 6 weeks I feel nothing, no different than before I started taking it. I have another appointment with that clinician in October as well. It seems that’s all I do these days, sleep and go to doctor’s appointment. How thrilling is that?

So forgive me if my posts are few and far between. If you want to leave my blog behind I certainly understand. God Bless!

Attack Of The Travelling Trots

I think we’ve all had this happen in our lives. You get all dressed up for Sunday church and suddenly your body screams that you’re not going anywhere. You’ve got an awful case of the trots or diarrhea. You can’t drive, you can’t walk. You’re stuck at home sitting on the throne until your body decides it’s empty. That was me this morning. I missed church. I missed any plans I might have had as my digestive system decides it’s normal again. What caused it? Who knows? All I know is that it happens and you are down for the count. Hopefully it’s a once in a while occurrence that won’t happen again anytime soon.

Underwear News

This post might not be very exciting to some but for me it’s good news. I recently received a $40 WalMart gift card for my voluntary participation in a medical study. I have been receiving these cards periodically and using them to build a new wardrobe for myself. The last 4 such cards have been applied to the purchase of 4 pair of Haggar dress slacks & jeans as well as 5 Van Heusen dress shirts.

With the arrival of another $40 card I think I have more than enough nice new clothes to replace my aging, threadbare Wrangler jeans and T-shirts that are all frayed on the collar. So with this latest card I changed direction and ordered $40 worth of Fruit of the Loom and Hanes boxer shorts, underwear. 9 pair arrived altogether in a wide range of colors and patterns, all tagless. I can finally throw away most of my older version of these undergarments that all have worn out elastic waistbands. Hooray!

Folks at my senior center have noticed my change in clothing in the past 6 months, complimenting me on my “new look”. When they discover that everything was totally free they are curious how I managed that. I told them the truth about the medical study I joined and their periodic rewards for participation. Some want to know if they can be a participant and receive these gift cards. I explained that they don’t have the qualifications. They then become huffy and want to know why I qualified and they can’t. Simple, I told them, all it takes is to get committed to the mental ward of a psychiatric hospital and then be approached by one of the mental health students involved in this study. The room got very quiet as there were suddenly no further questions. LOL

This is a true story. I am being treated for suicidal depression and psychoanalyzed by a mental health doctor. I’m now also on antidepressants, Sertraline, to help control my drastic mood swings. This is one time where it paid to be crazy! ๐Ÿ™‚

New Shorts


I was counting on having my new Veritas small plow plane in my hands by Friday night. At least that’s what the UPS tracking site promised. Unfortunately UPS routed my package through Shrewsbury, MA, the place where packages go to die. The service out of that UPS Service Center is terrible. I’ve completely lost two Amazon packages that went through that center. They are always late, sometimes dropping packages on my doorstep after dark. Since shipping is free with my Amazon Prime account I can’t complain as much as if I was paying for shipping. Now my Plow Plane has been pushed back until Monday for delivery. It still might not make it to me until Monday night. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Veritas Small Plow Plane

Hand Tool Gem

I love woodworking! I’ve been involved with wood my entire life. My dad built houses from the ground up with his own two hands. When I was old enough to pick up a hammer I first had to discover the difference between being right hand or left handed. I had my first tool belt when I was three.

As a result of this close connection to all things wood I have sawdust in my veins. I love tools of any kind but shy from all thing mechanical and lean toward the woodworking hand tools. I’ve been building my collection carefully for years.

Since moving to New England three years ago October 03 I have built a nice collection of premium hand tools that includes saws, chisels and bench planes. Without a steady job I must save for each precious purchase. Gone are the days at Intel Corporation with my $1500 paychecks that allowed me an instant indulgence every few weeks. Now it takes months of saving for nice tools.

I do plenty of research before each purchase. There are some premium tool makers located very close to me here in New England. Lie-Nielsen Toolworks is in Warren, ME and Veritas is right across the border in Canada. Both make top notch hand tools. After checking with Lie-Nielsen about plow planes I was forced to switch allegiance to Veritas who is the only maker of a premium small plow plane.

A plow plane basically cuts grooves along the grain of a board. Grooves are used everywhere in woodworking. From picture frames to drawer bottoms the need for grooves is critical. A plow plane cuts these in a few minutes without sawdust or any noise. You provide the power. A skate or fence allows an edge guide for the correct placement of the groove with an adjustable depth limited that stops the cutting action when reached. An assortment of replaceable blades of various widths is available. I look forward to this purchase less than two days from now.

Veritas Small Plow Plane

No More Share Your World

Although I will certainly miss Cee’s “Share Your World” challenges I can understand her desire to move on to other challenges that life has brought her way. We all need change in our life and I’ve gone through some fairly radical one recently. Now in psychiatric therapy for my years of depression sure has me scrambling to meet all the appointments. I’ve been on antidepressants for nearly a month now and feel no different than before starting them. I see my VA medical health pharmacist on Sept. 11 to see what’s next.

I wish Cee, her cute doggie and her companion all the best life can give. I’ll always love your photography Cee.

Looking Forward To Sunday

Even though I’ve been retired now since 2010 I still look forward to getting up Sunday mornings, putting on my finest clothes and attending church. Keep in mind my finest clothes are a pair of Haggar dress slacks and a Van Heusen dress shirt it’s still my best. I don’t own a suit or sport jacket and certainly there are no ties in my closet.

I consider gathering with like minded people as we worship God together as a form of recharging my life battery. We share what all God has done for us recently, testifying to each other how good and great God is. We sing and praise our Creator as we lift our prayers and praise toward Him. We have gathered together as a body of believers to invite Him to join us in remembering His sacrifice for our sins.

Worshiping in this manner reminds us of our sinful nature and how blessed we truly are to be in His presence. We lift our prayers together as a congregation knowing the power of answered prayer. I go home after the service refreshed and renewed, ready to face another week knowing God has my back.

Taking A Stand

With the upcoming midterm elections right around the corner the onslaught of political ads have begun. Women candidates are flooding the airwaves with commercials attacking incumbent politicians who don’t support gay marriages or who vote against abortions. In a way I’m grateful to these candidates for taking sides and advertising their intentions. That makes it easy for me to choose who I will or won’t vote for.

I am 100% against abortion for any reason. I believe those who abort an unborn child should be tried for manslaughter. The unborn need an advocate and therefore I will vote against anyone who advocates the taking of an innocent child’s life. God chooses when kids will be born, not women.

In addition I will vote against gay rights. Homosexuality is forbidden by every bible I’ve ever read. That sin is mentioned many times throughout the bible as an abominable act by depraved individuals. I will not support the gay lifestyle or practices in any way. Period!

My vote will counter one liberal vote in the upcoming election. It’s all any one person can hope for regarding voting.