Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Home Improvement Version 28.212

The big old house we bought years ago keeps insisting that we do something about her sagging good looks, and this summer it's the kitchen that's getting all the attention.  The poor old kitchen, with its 50's style metal cabinets, the plywood paneling "improvements" to the door and drawer fronts, and the poor lighting and electrical setup, has been crying out for years to be upgraded.  But nothing has bugged me more than the wonky floor that dropped more than an inch just from one side of the back door to the other.

The floor culprits were several--stones and cement packed between the joists on one end that over time heaved up the floor, and on the other end plumbers and electricians who sawed away joists to nothing.  Add to that the fact that the kitchen was at one time expanded out over what I think was a little porch that sloped away from the house.

Nice mix, huh?  So now I'm at the stage where the floor is (mostly) flat and level, with the subfloor in place and electricians on the wait for me to put in new joists for the ceiling.  Cool.  It's been slow going, with lots of other stuff going on, but we're getting there.

Note that we'll also enjoy some warmer floors in the kitchen, so notorious for being cold in the winter!
Stones and crumbled cement are now removed from the inner wall and work continues on planing joists to even them out. 

Note the light colored areas where new joists are in place or old ones planed to level them out. And insulation!  

Solid floors, 3/4 inch tongue and groove wafer board, glued and solid.  No squeaks!  
Now on to the ceiling!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jack Walters and Toyland at the Madison Public Library Today

We've had a good spell of writers appearing from the woodwork in Madison.  Eve Fisher, Eric Johnson, Jack Walters, and Ben Jones have all been acknowledged for their contributions to mystery and history in the past few weeks, and the attention continues tonight as Jack Walters discusses his book Toyland and how to get a novel from the inside to the outside.  Starts at 7:00 pm.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Long Long Winter

The winter this year seems to drag along like an old blanket.  It makes me think of the Robert Bly poems about the winter and cold, one of the few poets who approaches the effect of winter on the psyche.
Our winters in South Dakota require a changed mind about how a person lives his life, still retaining a connection to the patterns and seasons of nature and the cycle of death and rebirth.  It's NOT always sunny in South Dakota.  Sometimes, it's damn cold, and the wind blows, and we huddle against it.  That takes some work, and planning.  One day, you might be planning to get outside, take your skis, get in a little exercise, and enjoy the sunlight.  After all, it's the weekend!
But that morning the wind is hurling last week's snow through the air, and an outing loses its savor.
We learn to roll with those disappointments.  We recognize that we are small, we need warmth, and we sometimes need to bow to the seasons and protect the heat our bodies make.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Farewell Wave to David Bowie

In 1975, after graduation from high school and joining the Army, I ended the year being shipped off to Germany (West Germany in those days before the wall fell).  Music was at the background of much that I did then, whether it was on the radio or played through some other form.
In Germany it was the thing to have a good stereo to play music on, and I quickly began to set up a stereo that reproduced good sound.
On that stereo in 1975 and 1976, there were three albums that got a lot of play.  They were Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run album, The Four Seasons album Who Loves You, and David Bowie's Station to Station.
One of my favorite songs on that album was "TVC15."  What did it mean?  I didn't know, but that song always got me jumping, feeling better, made me want to dance and move.  See if it works for you!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

One More Marathon

Let's just say the resting up from a marathon has continued beyond what was necessary.  I've been essentially lackadaisical in my return to running.  Two days after the marathon in the Twin Cities (3:59:02, thank you very much), I got out and did a few miles with the pooch, but since then . . . nada much.

But I'll come around again, and maybe once again I'll toe the line as in this photo from the Star Tribune.  Dillon Dwyer and I are visible just above the start banner to the left, him in a black shirt, to my right (your left) and me in a green shirt with a white hat.  Both of us appear to be looking down.  Anyway, that's us.

It was a beautiful day for a run there, and I enjoyed the heck out of the entire event.  I ran smooth and easy enough, with little niggling things that didn't amount to much in the way of sore legs, tender feet, and all.  Carrying some extra pounds was no help.  But that's the way she goes, right?

We'll see about next year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Change is in the Air

There's no time like the fall.  Early fall, when the leaves still hang greenly from their treelimbs.  When each day grows shorter so sunset comes nudging up against the end of the day like a puppy who loves you more each night.  When morning too comes later and later, night expanding so darkness seems as though it might swallow the day.  It is the end of things.  It is the winding up of the season, the end of growth and the reminder that all things come to a close.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

D and J Do Europe

The wife and I recently spent about five weeks in Europe.  Want to read about it?  Check out our travel blog here.
We had a great time, visiting seven countries (and setting foot in a couple more), tasting the fare, drinking the local stuff, and hob-knobbing with the natives.