Thursday Wisdom – Thanksgiving

Here in the states, it’s Thanksgiving day and many of us are getting ready to overeat and hang out with family and friends. I was going to post an after Thanksgiving day report, but my neighbors have already started to put up their Christmas lights so I’ll be out early trying to compete with them and won’t be on the computer. Well, here we go, everything about turkey day:

Interesting fact – Thanksgiving is not celebrated in the county of Turkey.

Just read that the police arrested a turkey, it’s suspected of fowl play.

My wife has asked me to stop telling Thanksgiving jokes, but I told her I couldn’t quit “cold turkey.”

You know you’ve had too much Thanksgiving dinner when you have to let your bathrobe out.

Did you hear that the turkey joined the band? Well, it already had drumsticks.

Which side of the turkey has the most feathers? The outside …

Why are cranberries red? They saw the turkey dressing.

The turkey ask for a glass of wine, so I gave it a goblet.

Remember, life’s a gourd, and then you pie.

Did you know turkeys can jump higher than a house? Yup, houses can’t jump.

Remember to set your bathroom scale back 10 pounds for Thanksgiving.

The pastor has asked me to stop bringing my turkey to church – it keeps using fowl language.

Last year on my way home from Thanksgiving I got pulled over by a cop. Apparently I exceeded my feed limit.

Finally, there is always something to thankful for on Thanksgiving – even if it’s just not being the turkey.

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Threshold is the single word prompt for the church’s writer’s group this month. I struggled with this one a bit and ended up writing two pieces. I thought a poem would be nice, but then I didn’t really like what I wrote so I did something with more prose in it – you might call it a prose poem. Still, that one wasn’t exactly what I was thinking of so I just took both writings to the group and read them both.

The first piece is titled, Threshold while the second piece is titled, Threshold. Please read them and let me know which you think is the better piece, Threshold or Threshold. Spoiler alert: the writing group thought Threshold was better …


0.7 volts.
The minimum energy required for a transistor to start working.
Once crossed, amplifiers amplify and music is heard.
Below the threshold lies silence and a gentle breeze.

divides the two worlds.
From the portal he stands
looking towards her.
An open barrier he can’t cross
a word and a step
takes flight leading to the next

a rock sits at the summit
for eons unmoving
a push beyond inertia
sets the rocky cascade.

Standing at the end,
Looking back will we look back
at thresholds crossed
just fall through the last door
with our song unsung.


0.7 volts is the semiconductor threshold.  Below this voltage, diodes, and transistors won’t conduct electrons and radios, phones and computers don’t work.  Set the circuit so that the voltage across the diode is above .7 and current flows – amplifiers amplify, computers compute and all the high tech magic comes to life.

Threshold, that energy level needed to overcome inertia.  You can push on a table, but it doesn’t move until a certain minimum force is reached. A boulder on a mountain top might sit there for centuries until just the right force comes along and sends it crashing down the hill.  Your car idles at the stop light until you move a small muscle in your foot, unleashing the power of the engine. 

There is an emotional threshold, an intellectual threshold – a minimum effort needed to start a relationship or learn something new.  Ever need to call a plumber? Think of the effort to find one, call, make the appointment, and then wait for them to arrive.  Sometimes we just let the faucet leak instead of making that call.

How many new friends have I not made because I couldn’t take the effort to say, “Hello.”  How often do we miss out because we won’t move our hand, meet a glance or take just one step?

Threshold, that thing on the floor. That thing that defines a door – a separation from one place to another and one time from another.  I remember being 18 and having the feeling of standing on the threshold of life.  So many doors to choose.  Picking one meant rejecting another.  Joining the Navy would end my life at home while going to school would take me to a safer high tech career.  Even today I, I look back through the portals I have past and wonder if I stepped over the right threshold.

It’s easy to second guess the past.  The view on the other side of the door is different – the room changes as we enter and walk through to the next decision point.

Doors can be walked through, but they also enclose us.  Threshing is the process of removing grain from the stem and a threshold keeps the valuable grain on the threshing floor.  Some doors are slammed shut on us – death of a loved one, loss of a job.  Some doors we close. Sometimes a door needs to be shut and barred to protect us.

Sometimes a threshold shouldn’t be crossed. Violence, anger, and hate take us to rooms that tear us down, render us less than when we entered.  Some words can’t be recalled, some doors won’t close.

0.7 volts, the minimum energy we must spend to start the current of life flowing.

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Friday Wisdom – Quilting

Today was the quilting group at church so here’s everything I know about making quilts:

I know a guy who writes songs about sewing machines – He’s a Singer-songwriter.

Sorry, but I don’t write many sewing jokes. I keep running out of material.

A little known fact: Christmas trees are bad a sewing. Yup, they keep dropping their needles.

Just hand over the seam ripper and slowly walk away …

Just know that when I give you a hug, I’m really checking to see if that fabric is wool or polyester.

My grandmother once told me, “as you sew so shall you rip.”

Did you know that Captain Picard of the Enterprise was an avid quilter? He was always saying, “Make it sew.”

I won’t say that quilts are superior to comforters – I refuse to make blanket statments.

One the quilters told us how she won a million dollars, but I suspect the story was fabricated.

I was going to tell you a joke about a blunt needle, but now it seems pointless.

Did you hear about the quilter who was also a standup comic? He left everyone in stitches.

I was embarrassed on the sewing forum website last night – I asked a question about embroidery on the wrong thread.

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Wednesday Working – Counter tops and Birds

The last week has been warm here in Reno so I’ve had a chance to use my table saw to cut some full sheets of plywood for a bunch of projects. I’d post pictures of me cutting plywood, but that would be boring as the picture of cutting a 3/4 inch sheet looks a lot like a picture of me cutting a 1/2 inch sheet. Not that running wood through the saw isn’t exciting — it is. At the end of every cut I look down and hope I don’t see blood. As useful a machine as it is, the thing scares me each time I use it.

I’ve been making bench tops and shelving for some of my storage projects and most of what I did on the table saw went into my new shop cabinets:

The counter top for the cabinets, complete with tools starting to accumulate on it.

The center unit of my cabinets now has a top and that hole in the wall will soon be pegboard for hanging tools. The two tall units on the sides only came with two shelfs so I’ve cut a few more:

A stack of shelves waiting to be installed.

For now these will be used as adjustable shelves, but the long term plan is to make these pullout shelves so stuff doesn’t get lost on the back of these deep cabinets.

Out in the shed I made a new bench top for my marquetry bench:

The new bench top.

A year ago I bought this rolling metal frame to use as a movable bench and drawer unit. I’ve cut some of the plywood parts for it and have started to build it out:

The rolling cart about to get its new top.

And finally, I’ve completed six of the eight birds in set one and cut out enough blanks to get started on the set two of eight birds plus some Christmas ornaments.

Six birds are done, one has all the inside cuts and one is waiting for me to get to it.

That thing in the lower left on the green mat is a scalpel that I bought at a quilt show. It has a number 11 blade and I use it to cut veneer for marquetry and the blue tape I use on the blanks. I did get a new magnifying lamp for the scroll saw, but failed to take a picture of it. It is much better than the one I had.

That’s it for this week. If you need me, I’ll be in the shed.

Posted in woodworking | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments