This is Labor Day weekend, so I thought I’d show you all where I labor. This is actually my new stand-up desk that Nancy and I designed and constructed recently. For the last few years, I’ve been using a jury-rigged stand-up desk I made from plastic tubs and bottom-side-up wicker baskets. It’s been working well enough I decided to make it permanent.
The new desk is made from a pair of reclaimed vintage windows that Nancy found at Hippo Hardware, Portland’s go-to wonderland for salvaged everything for the house, and from 1″ plumbing pipes from A-Boy Supply, our friendly local hardware store.
The lower level is made with the horizontal pipes cut so that the window frame can sit firmly and be supported along its full length, while the upper level is designed to “float” while securely holding the laptop and secondary monitor. Everything is set to the best ergonomic range, and it even worked out that I have a side pipe perfect to be a “caddie” for my work telephone headset.
My previous desk was back in the narrow back room that’s been my office for the last 8 years, but the new desk fits into the main room so I can be around Maggie and Hank during the day. That way I can be in work conference calls while petting the puppies, which is especially nice given their reduced mobility these days while my work schedule this year has been so full. Having the guitar within close reach is cool too :-).
Happy Labor Day to all, however or wherever you labor!
In July I spent a couple of weeks in Columbus Ohio, doing some training with coworkers in a new team there. I figured it’s Ohio, right? It’ll be boring and flat, with nothing to do unless you want to drive everywhere. Turns out, though, not so much!
I discovered that the area where I was working was actually very walkable, with plenty of interesting things to find. For example, Hayden Run Falls is hidden just a few yards from a busy six-lane road on one side and a suburban neighborhood on the other.
On the weekend, I took a handy bus to downtown Columbus and visited the art museum and riverfront park.
And then one day, strangest of all, smack dab in the middle of the area of office parks and corporate buildings I was working in, I came across this “field” of ten foot tall concrete ears of corn. According to the helpful plaque, corn has been cultivated in Ohio for 1800 years, and the site itself was an actively farmed cornfield up to 1963. Now it’s part of Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park (named for the last farm’s owners).
In the interest of full disclosure, that day I also discovered the downside of walking when you believe the forecast that thunderstorms won’t arrive for another hour . . . To quote Dr. Seuss:
You never yet met a pet I bet
as wet as they let this wet pet get
So Ohio turned out not to be boring at all. Still, it was nice to get back home to Portland, where things are nice and calm, and not the least bit weird :-)
When the puppies were younger they’d usually get three walks a day and take one nap; now that they’re 14 it’s more like three naps a day and one walk. If my work schedule allowed, I’d probably be following their example!
Back in the midwest for my nephew Jake’s graduation, I had a chance to help Jeff and Dad move some of the planting equipment from one farm to another. From my position at the back of the convoy, I could ponder the old dog-sledding saying, “If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes”, which in this case means gravel dust :-).
I also got stay overnight at the old farm, and hang out with Mike and Kitty.
Taking a walk around the farm, up on the hill behind where the old house used to be, I came across an odd valve handle. I’m sure it’s been there all along, but I don’t have any memory of it. Which is strange, since I don’t know how I would have overlooked it when I was making detailed maps of the farm as a kid! I decided to leave it alone, rather than inadvertently opening (or closing) something important.
I also visited Beth and Russ’ place, where Emily and Paul showed me their new kittens. Here’s one of the shy ones – knock knock, who’s there?
Whatchoo lookin at?
But of course, the main event was Jake’s graduation. Here he is with Jeff, keeping it real after the ceremony. Congratulations!
chattering house wrens
discuss the sunset
Today is Hank and Maggie’s 14th birthday! Instead of paying attention in a post-lunch work meeting, I did a little browsing through some old pictures to remind myself how tiny they used to be. And as soon as this meeting is done, I’ll go back out to give them some chin and ear scritchies and a few birthday treats :-).
Spring 2000: Maggie and Hank on the day they picked us out, taking a quick nap after romping in the grass with their brothers and sisters.
Maggie: “I’m ready for my close up”
Summer 2000: Hank and Maggie and their favorite toys (as long as they lasted!)
Summer 2000: Hank in mid-romp
14 years later, May 8 2014: Birthday evening naps, because being 14 is hard!
Out on a walk I just saw the first rose of the year blooming in the neighborhood — but at least it waited until May! :-) I’m guessing it was triggered by the couple of hot days we just had, earlier than usual for the season, or maybe it was just in a hurry to be first. Probably by this time next week there’ll be roses everywhere.
There’s an abandoned parking lot along the river path not too far from our house. It’s been unused for as long as we’ve lived in the neighborhood, as far as I can tell.
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that saplings have started forcing their way through the seams in the pavement. Give it 50 years and maybe it’ll be a forest again. For now anyway, it’s a mossy wonderland. So at least sometimes, paving paradise doesn’t have to last, and you don’t even have to go to the “tree museum” to see ‘em; good news for Joni Mitchell :-).