where the magic happens

August 31, 2014 Leave a comment

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.

20140830a desk

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.

20140830b desk

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.

20140830c desk

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 :-).

20140830d desk

Happy Labor Day to all, however or wherever you labor!


boring ohio? not so much!

July 17, 2014 Leave a comment

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!

20140717a layover

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.

20140717b hidden waterfall

On the weekend, I took a handy bus to downtown Columbus and visited the art museum and riverfront park.

20140717c art

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).

20140717d corn

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

20140717e omen

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 :-)

20140717f home

summertime is naptime

July 5, 2014 Leave a comment

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!

20140705 naptime

iowa summer sunset

May 18, 2014 Leave a comment

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 :-).

20140518a convoy

I also got stay overnight at the old farm, and hang out with Mike and Kitty.

20140518b 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.

20140518c main drain

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?

20140518d kitten

Whatchoo lookin at?

20140518e kitten

But of course, the main event was Jake’s graduation. Here he is with Jeff, keeping it real after the ceremony. Congratulations!

20140518f grad

Iowa summer
chattering house wrens
discuss the sunset

20140518g sunset

big birthday wayback machine

May 8, 2014 Leave a comment

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!


neighbor of the week: a rushing rose

May 2, 2014 Leave a comment

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.


for joni mitchell

April 8, 2014 Leave a comment

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 :-).