Call of the Coffeemaker

coffeeFive high-pitched beeps, each just short of a second long, sounding in regular succession. This is preceded by a gurgling sound that I don’t always hear. That depends on where I am. The beeps, however, are just piercing enough that I will hear them.

Five electronic beeps that sing a melody-less song of hope. Signaling that the rich Colombian elixir is ready. That elixir which chases away the 4 am cobwebs and stirs the blood.

Five electronic beeps, “I am ready for you, master. Come, partake of me. Fill your cup and drink me in.”

A five note siren song, drawing me to the kitchen, a mug, steamy warmth nestled in my hands as I trod the dark hallway to the den, my desk, my work.

Oh, the song of the morning. Long before sunrise. Invigoration that prepares me for creation, for study, for contemplation.

I hum a song of gladness, of gratefulness, to The Maker, for the maker of coffee.

Let the day begin.

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New Personal Best

birthdayThis morning I celebrate a new personal best.  It could be measured in a number of ways.  Today marks 21,915 days (including leap year days) of life.  Or I could say I’m celebrating 20 years of life — for the third time around.  Or I could say I’ve broken into the realm of hexagenarians (but if you repeat that, make sure it’s spelled correctly!)  Or I could just come out and state that today I turn 60 years old.  No, let me rephrase that: 60 years of age.  You are only “old” when you give in to that mental image.

I will say that I am surprised I’ve lived this long.  I have not been particularly gentle on or cautious with my body and the joints and sinews do remind me of this carelessness.  There have been a couple of times I wasn’t so sure my sojourn through this world wasn’t over.  But God did not see fit to release me yet, so I stood up and walked on.  In fact, today I am feeling better than I have in quite a while.  To continue the analogy, there is a spring in my step.  There are fewer pains to plague me, and I seem to have encountered a refreshing of the mind in the past week that has me once again humming and singing to myself, and to God, throughout the days.  I credit that to the Holy Spirit, who is writhing around in me more than normal, holding out the promise of something good being about to happen.

Normally I don’t look forward to birthdays.  I don’t hide from them either, just try to brush them off as merely another day.  But this one is sort of a milestone.  A personal best similar to when 200,000 miles rolls up on the odometer and the wheels haven’t fallen off.  There is a sense of accomplishment in it that fuels my desire to make it to the next milestone.   But today, I’ll take a few moments to relish this one and celebrate a little. Tomorrow I’ll set out on the trek toward 70.

Each Day is a Sentence

each day is a sentenceEach day in our life is important and it’s a shame that we waste so many of them. I’m guilty too, we all are. Occasionally I read about some extraordinary person who claims to live every day to its fullest, wasting nothing. The most successful people around claim to wring the most out of every hour.

I don’t know that it’s necessary for everyone to be one of these Ultra-A Types, but we do need to be aware that each day of life is important. Each day becomes part of the foundation upon which our tomorrows are built. Each day we add another piece to the structure. We choose whether the day will be one of regrets, accomplishment, or sloth.  As we build, we shape the eventual outcome. Continue reading “Each Day is a Sentence”

You Can’t Have That

Can't Control everything_Let Life HappenMarie drove our truck to work, as usual, but I needed some stuff so I borrowed Mom’s car.  I wasn’t going to be hauling lumber or anything.

I wanted a surge-suppressor, power strip for my new desk. I’d found one on Amazon: a Belkin model with 8 outlets spaced so at least one will work with a power brick and not cover another plug and it has a 90° wall-plug so it will allow the desk to sit closer to the wall. Good price too, but will take a week or so to get here and I have to pay shipping unless I order $35.00 worth of stuff to get the free shipping. I didn’t need $35 worth of stuff and it really rankles me to pay $6.00 shipping on a $9.00 item.

I looked on the (cringe) Wal-Mart web site. It showed a 6 outlet model of the same brand. It was on sale (being closed out, quantity limited) but it showed the Newport store carried it and had some in stock.

Wal-Mart was my first stop. Continue reading “You Can’t Have That”

Life Is Too Short For Regrets

regretsRegrets do serve a purpose.  When we regret having done something, we learn from it so we can move on and do better.  It’s when we decide to pitch a tent in those regrets and live there that they become destructive.

No matter how bad we messed up, wallowing in our sorrows will not help us, or anyone involved in the situation.  Reparations may be due: make them.  Apologies may be required: offer them.  Then move on.  At some point we have to lay aside regrets and get on with the business of doing better. Continue reading “Life Is Too Short For Regrets”

The Writer’s Corner, A Work Space of One’s Own

Writers DeskI have always said that a serious writer needs a work space of one’s own in which to write. For one thing you need a place that is out of the main flow of family life where distractions abound. For another, if you work on the dining room table, you are always having to pack up your stuff and move out of the way. This is not much of an issue if you only write short pieces and have little in the way of notes to keep up with. But if you write longer or complex pieces – or a novel – you use a good bit of material you must pack away every time you pack off.

I have an office of my own in the building that is my woodshop: an old mobile home a 100 foot walk from door to door. That room served as my office for furniture making: communicating with customers, designing furniture pieces, ordering parts and materials, bookkeeping, and file storage. It also had a mini kitchen (tiny fridge, toaster oven, and a coffee maker) so I didn’t have to trudge through snow, rain, and mud to get home for lunch (and mess up the house).

This had many advantages. Continue reading “The Writer’s Corner, A Work Space of One’s Own”

Firewood Splitting Assistant

Tim is a friend of ours.  He used to be our next door neighbor and would help me cut and stack firewood, but a couple of years ago he and his wife were offered a great deal on a house she had always admired and they moved down the road.  He’s still one of my best friends, just a more distant neighbor.

I had the truck today — because I was doing a dog transport for the local animal shelter — and decided to stop in and see Tim on my way home.  We talked for a while.  His dog made it known that he needed to go out for a walk.  As we were leaving, Tim said, “Hey!  Do you want some firewood?”  He pointed across to the far side of his property where recent winds had broken off a small maple tree.  He’d already cut it up but had no use for the wood.  We use firewood for heat, so I’m always glad of a gift of firewood, especially when it’s already cut up and ready to load!  I thanked him and loaded it up.

firewood loadI figured I’d back the truck in to my loading dock, roll the wood splitter out onto the dock, split the wood as it came off the truck and stack it. Since it’s green wood, I won’t be able to burn it this year, it needs to season first. I’ll stack it on the far end of the “ready to use” wood stack and hope we don’t burn through the whole stack this winter.

Blondie Boomer Noises150205(2) 800x500Before getting started, I went inside to check messages and check on the dogs. While I was inside someone in the area decided to start some target practice with his blunderbuss.

Blondie Bear is terrified of gunfire.  (Read More…)

A Snooze Button for My Brain

snooze buttonDaylight savings time ended last night and we turned back the clocks before we went to bed.  A good thing right? We get an extra hour of sleep!  Or most do.

If you depend on an alarm clock to get you up in the morning: congratulations on your extra hour of rest.  I haven’t used an alarm clock in close to two decades.  I have an internal clock that wakes me each morning between 4:00 and 4:30. Usually.  On some occasions, when I was feeling poorly, it lets me get some extra rest.

It worked reliably for me this morning, my eyes popped open as my brain played reveille – time to get up!  I checked my watch (reset to standard time): 3:00.  “No, no, no, Brain, remember: the time changed.” Continue reading “A Snooze Button for My Brain”

The Good Old Days

good old days
A poor family

Every generation looks backward as the world marches resolutely forward and pines for The Good Old Days.   However, those old days were not always as good as we like to think.  Even modern Good Old Days had their drawbacks, but as we go further back we find life was not always as pleasant as the romanticized books and movies make them out to be.  Here are just a few examples of life in the 1500’s which explain the origins of some of our idioms.  Continue reading “The Good Old Days”

Well, Here We Go Again

A couple of years ago, maybe a little longer, a tree root grew under the water line that runs from our water well to the pressure tank under my workshop: 80-some-odd feet distant.  As the root grew, it pushed upward on the water line.  This would not have been an issue had it happened most anywhere along that 80-some-odd foot span (in fact it probably has happened several times) but because it happened right next to the well head, which does not flex at all, the PVC water pipe fractured.

We didn’t know that at first.  The water line (and the well head for that matter) are underground.  It had been raining a lot, and the ground gets wet when it rains a lot.  But when the rains stopped and the ground refused to dry, I began to suspect something.

well repairI hired a plumber who specialized in well work to come see what was what.  The biggest problem was that I wasn’t even sure where our well head WAS.  The fella who installed it (long ago) cut off the head pipe below ground and buried it.  I had a rough idea, but that was all.  The plumber watched the way the water moved and found some burbling that indicated pay dirt — or pay mud.

He cut out a piece of the PVC and installed a flexible metal line between the PVC run and the well head so the line could “give” as tree roots bullied it.

Read More…