It Can’t Be Done


Trivet - from one solid piece of wood

My friend, Terry, is a brilliant woodworker.  He makes utilitarian objects like cutting boards and trivets, cupboards and shelves, doors and ceilings, and the frames for my pictures.  He also likes to take on the projects that all the other carpenters turned down, the ones that prompted them to say, “It can’t done,” a phrase often followed by the command, “Call Terry.”

Yesterday, I got a chance to see some of those kinds of projects in the home of a local designer (David) whose imagination has no bounds and who asks for things no one else even thinks of doing.  I was there to take pictures for a website upgrade that Terry is working on.  When I asked to be shown the things that Terry had worked on I heard, “Terry did this.  Terry did that…”

The front entry to the house is the tamest of the projects – a custom-made door as well as the architectural pieces framing the door including side brackets for hanging lanterns.

Front Entryway

Take a step inside the house and your mouth drops open.  We entered a side door which took us directly into the kitchen where a new project was under discussion – converting an old cupboard and drawer to make room for a wine refrigerator.  While they discussed that, I was directed to photograph a section of panelled ceiling over the stove and a pair of curved cupboard doors under the sink.

David's House-17
Panelled Ceiling over the Stove

David's House-10
Curved Cupboard Doors under the Sink

One of the designer’s favorite things to do is to find carved pieces from around the world, then use them in unusual ways. One such piece was round – a disk perhaps 2 feet in diameter. It was to be cut into quarters to go into the corners of the diningroom ceiling. But that was not enough! Terry was to turn a column and add designs that would compliment the carving on the original disk, then cut the column into quarters to go under the disk pieces.

David's House-6
Ceiling Detail in Diningroom

(David does all the finishing, including gold leaf on these!)

David's House-7David once found himself in rather a dilemma. He had two vases like the one pictured here, but only one table on which to place them. He asked Terry to make a duplicate. I don’t honestly know whether the one pictured here is the original or the duplicate. They looked identical to me.

David's House-12I’m not exactly sure what Terry did on the carved screens for this window. All I know is, they were too small and some magic had to be worked with enlarging that involved matching the carving on the original. I couldn’t tell what was original and what was added.

In a similar project, a wooden valence for above a window was not long enough. David had a couple of matching wooden carvings that almost made up the extra length, but frames and decorative pieces with carved fish and pineapples, had to be made to match the center.

Wooden Valence

But now, for the piece that blows my mind: the fireplace in the livingroom. The white fireplace surround was made from wood by Terry and finished in a stucco-like white by David.

Fireplace in the Livingroom

Now look closely – not at the fireplace surround itself – but at the housing for the statue that sits on the mantel. David came to Terry with a box of wooden pieces resembling Tinker Toys, a pair of carved lotus flowers, four matching carved diamonds, and an idea.

David's House-15
The “Tinker Toys”

I visited the shop a couple of times when Terry was working on it. He explained to me what it was going to look like, but I couldn’t visualize this:

David's House-1

I’m not sure even Terry could visualize the finished product with David’s gold leaf and gem finish!

David's House-3While I would not choose such lavish surroundings for my living space, I can certainly appreciate the home David has created for himself. I feel honored to know these two: David for his no-holds-barred creative design and Terry for his ability to make those designs happen.

I don’t know if David has a website. I can put you in touch with him if you are looking for a designer.

If you have the designs and just need the craftsmanship to make them happen, call Terry.  His website is

Letters from Home

Maddie wanted cowboy boots for Christmas.  I didn’t dare buy them and put them under the tree because (a) invariably they wouldn’t fit, and (b) I would never pick out the right style.  So, I gave her an IOU and shortly after Christmas, we went to a country-western store so she could pick out her own.  That’s when it started.

On the way home, we tuned in a country-western radio station… to make the boots feel at home… yes… that was our actual rationale.  We had never really listened to this type of music before, but strangely, we found ourselves liking it.  The songs were about homey kinds of things.  The singers articulated the words so that I could understand them.  The tunes were singable.  Who knew?

Since then, I’ve had the radio on that station rather frequently.  I even assigned it to button number 2… right next to the NPR button.  When I get tired of talk, I can switch to music.

A few days ago, I was listening to the radio on my way to work and found myself wiping away a tear over John Michael Montgomery singing Letters from Home.

I don’t know any servicemen or women… but I found myself wondering what I’d write if I did have a loved one on the other side of the world serving our country and humanity… Probably just everyday stuff… probably just chatty news from our day to day world… And a lot of I-love-you and I’m-proud-of-you and Stay-safe kinds of things. I composed imaginary letters in my head as I drove.

A week or so ago, I got a phone call at work. The local DAR chapter would be having a luncheon and the speaker they had lined up had cancelled. Would I fill in with a program about Audubon? I was happy to oblige. When I arrived, there were note cards at each place setting. After we ate, the mistress of ceremonies explained that their chapter was participating in Project Patriot. She encouraged each of us to write a note to a serviceman or woman. The cards would be collected and sent off in a care package.

Some of the guests at my table had a hard time getting started and weren’t sure what to write.  Not me.  I knew exactly what to write… because I had practiced it in my head while driving a few days earlier.

LolliI told my mystery person that it was the end of February and it was still snowing.  I told how much my black-mutt-dog loves the snow and how she bounds fearlessly through it on the trail of deer and squirrels.  I told about tracking mink and river otter and finding my awesome antler… and I said how proud we are of our service personnel and how grateful we are for the work they do.

I don’t know who will get that card or how they will react to receiving chatty bits from a complete stranger…  But it felt good to write it.


I have two:

Moose:  a very old cat who likes to lay in front of the refrigerator, because it’s warm there.

Lolli:  a good hiking buddy… but never satisfied.  The walks are never long enough, the biscuits never plentiful enough…  She’s a rotten dog…  (in the nicest sense of the word).

I’m practicing with a 50mm f1.4 lens I rented from  I like the narrow shallow (thanks Dave) depth of field on these…  and no flash!  Works great in very low lighting.


I have been increasingly dissatisfied with for my mail.  Stuff isn’t getting delivered:  to me, and from me.  It all seems to have happened when they “improved” their interface.

1 – Do you use  If so, are you experiencing recent trouble?

2 – If you don’t use, what email DO you use and how satisfied are you?

Much as I hate the idea of switching, I’m ready to switch!

Celtic Festival

Couldn’t resist going to the Celtic Festival last Saturday.

Opening Ceremony 3

I know I have some Scotch-Irish heritage…  Perhaps I lived in Scotland in a former life?

Opening Ceremony 1

Somehow, when those bagpipes start playing…  goosebumps… even stinging tears in my eyes…

Opening Ceremony 2

The highland games intrigue me, too…

Highland Games

One of these two guys won the “Bonniest Knees” contest at a previous festival. Can you guess which?
Who has the bonniest knees?

It was this one: the one who loves his mom:
He loves his Mom

Your Help is Needed

Please add Tom (aka mon@rch) to your prayer list.  It seems he has left blog-o-mania to join World-of-Warcraft-mania.  Have you noticed his lack of blog posts lately? Had the obsession already started back on July 5th when this photo was taken?

Come back to us, Tom.  We miss you.

Learn more:

Bodies Know

Spring, You Crack Me Up!I checked my Sit Spot Journal…  As early as March 1st I was already complaining of fatigue.  Did I listen?  Did I turn that into changed behavior?  No!  I continued to work my 40 hours per week, take care of family and friends, do my Sit Spot challenge, host a cast party, go see a play that started at 8pm when my regular bedtime is 9pm, drive 8 hours to pick up my daughter, etc., etc., etc…

This week, I pay.  My body said, “I know how to make you listen!  Take this!”  And on came the chills and fever.  “And that!”  Wracking cough.  Stuffy head.  “And a little bit of this!”  Runny nose.

And so, my colleagues are covering for me at work.  And I’m sleeping a lot.

If only I had listened before it got to this…

Lens Rental

RandG_029I learned in this post from Tom that it is possible to rent lenses.  It never occured to me to think about it!  When Bob asked me to take pictures of his show, I knew I couldn’t with the kit lens that came with my camera.  So I went to, read all the reviews, and decided to rent the Canon 85mm f1.8.

All in all, I was pretty pleased with most of the shots I got.  Next time, though, I think I will try the Canon 50mm f1.4.  I love that I can try these lenses out without having to buy!  This is fabulous!  (I still need to learn more about Photoshop to adjust a few things… But hey…  One step at a time!)

I think I’ll rent a macro lens for wildflower season… and a zoom lens for dragonfly season…

See more photos from Jamestown Community College’s production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at my Flickr site, here.