Monday, July 13, 2020

First Find of the Season

Words can't explain why, but I still get excited when I find one of these guys:
My first find of the season.

This year it's a reminder that no matter how crazy this world is (when has it not been) I can still find child-like joy in nature. 

Here are some other random thoughts:

How do you keep going?  Take one day at a time.

The only thing you can control is how you spend your time. 

"None of us know what will happen.  Don't spend time worrying about it.  Make the most beautiful thing you can.  Try to do that every day.  That's it." -- Laurie Anderson 

"Turn on, tune in, drop out" is a counterculture-era phrase popularized by Timothy Leary in 1966. In 1967, Leary spoke at the Human Be-In, a gathering of 30,000 hippies in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and phrased the famous words, "Turn on, tune in, drop out".

Writer Austin Kleon has a new phrase for these crazy times, "Log off. Mute all. Carry on." 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kunn  

Saturday, July 11, 2020

I will not argue with strangers (or friends) on the internet.

"Think for yourself!" goes the old cliche.  But, as Austin Kleon writes, "But the truth is: We can't.  We need people to help us think.  Interacting with people who DON'T share our perspective forces us to rethink our ideas, strengthen our ideas, or trade our ideas for better ones."

I can't tell you how many times I've recently found myself typing a comment to someone's post on the internet.   "Listen, you idiot . . ." is how they usually begin (at least that's the hidden meaning when I literally start with, "With all due respect . . .").

When you think about it, thinking independently of other human beings is impossible.  Thinking is social.  Everything you think is a response to what someone else has thought and said.

Maybe, instead of like-minded people, we need to start hanging out with like-hearted people?  People who are open, have the habit of listening, who are generous, kind, caring, thoughtful . . .

Writer and thinker Alan Jacobs suggests hanging out with people who, when you say something, actually think about it -- rather than just simply reacting.

Reacting.  I've been doing a lot of that lately.  And, fortunately, hitting the delete button.  Time for me to CHOOSE to seek out the people with whom I feel a like-hearted connection.

All the others?

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn


Monday, July 6, 2020

Early Morning Walk

 “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Decided to take a walk this morning before I did anything else.  I had a motive.  

Yesterday, I noticed that the neighbors up the hill have a “crop” of unique mushrooms growing in their yard:  Fairy Rings!  And, I wanted to snap a photo before they were mowed down. 
My Research Department (Wikipedia) says:  A fairy ring, also known as fairy circle, elf circle, elf ring, or pixie ring, is a naturally occurring ring or arc of mushrooms. The rings may grow to over 33 ft. in diameter, and they become stable over time as the fungus grows and seeks food underground.

Just something beautiful to take notice of today. 

Mind the Fairy Rings!

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Daylilies Take 3

I thought I was finished writing about daylilies.  After all,  they're not that interesting.  But . . .

I thought today would be just another average June day.  And maybe it is, but it's awesomely foggy out there this morning.  You know, one of those mornings where you walk up, look out the window and think, "Wow, that's different."

So, I just had to go back and take one more shot of the daylilies (they're not yet awake this morning).

Also curious, the yard is full of these delicate-looking spider webs (at least I guess they are delicate and I guess they are spider webs -- what do I know). 

Just a couple of observations.  Treasures.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Daylilies Take Two

Shortly after I posted yesterday's blog, this happened:

Now, this is the creek in its "normal" state:
 And, surviving underneath all that floodwater -- once again:
A tree with strong roots can withstand the most violent storm, but the tree can’t grow roots just as the storm appears on the horizon.     
Dalai Lama

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Lesson from Daylilies

It’s that time of year:  “wild” orange daylily time.   Everywhere you look — including along the ditch in our back yard.


According to Ray Allen, Founder of, Daylilies, the most popular perennials of them all.

In the United States and Canada, it all started with the original "wild" orange daylily.  In fact, many North Americans think the tough old orange one they see in old gardens and along roadsides is a native wildflower, but it really isn't. No daylily is native to North America; most hail from Asia. But that old orange Asian species, called Hemerocallis fulva, is still popular, and it's everywhere. In fact, in its homeland, China, and Korea, it's more than just another pretty flower; the buds have been roasted and eaten as part of the Asian diet for centuries.

These things are tough.  Really tough.  If you want to go to the countryside and rob a few from the ditch bed, you’ll need a strong shovel and a stronger back.  Maybe that’s because they are no stranger to adversity. 

Over the past couple of days, we’ve had some pretty torrential rains causing flash flooding.  I looked back the other day and daylilies were completely submerged in rushing, debris-filled water.  Still, even after another storm last night, there they are in all their orange glory.  A little bent over, but nothing a day of sunshine won’t cure.

An old zen saying goes something like, “What the student calls a tragedy, the master calls a butterfly.”  In this case, it’s called a daylily.  Good to think about as we travel through these rough and winding roads these days.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, June 29, 2020

i.e. Bitter / Better

The difficulties of life are intended to make us better, not bitter. 
-- Anon

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Rainbows and Mobbing

Dateline: Our House, 4 A.M. 
Hooting sound right outside our window (at least it sounded as if it were right outside our window).

Hooting:  “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?”

I love this distinctive hooting call of the Barred Owl — even when it rattles me out of bed at 4 A.M.

Turn the page a couple of hours.

This morning’s “coffee on the deck” session was shared with a host of other birds.  A rainbow of colors (though I doubt it had anything to do with Noah’s Ark, Gay Pride, or NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon’s old team).  This morning’s lineup included: Goldfinches, Chickadees, Cardinals, Eastern Bluebirds, Blue Jays, Pileated Woodpecker (heard in the distance), and WAY up in the sky a small bird harassing a larger bird like a WWI aerial dogfight.

What’s up with that?  Have you ever see that before.  Truth be told, I’ve seen it a few times — just never stopped to think about it.  Turns out that there is a name for it:  Mobbing!

Smaller birds chase predators out of their territories so that they will be safer. Mobbing usually does not harm the larger bird, although you may see blackbirds or kingbirds making contact with crows, hawks, or herons as they drive them off. 


Been seeing that a lot these days with humans.  Funny thing though, we humans seem to do it not to protect and feel safe but to destroy. 

Guess our little birds back in the nest are on their own to try to make sense of it all.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, June 22, 2020

Summer Solstice and . . .

We just reached the Summer Solstice.  The official start of summer and the halfway point of one unusual year.

Headline the other day:  Rare solar eclipse darkens Asia on the summer solstice.

Eclipse darkens . . .  How appropriate.

In many ways, it has certainly been one dark first half of 2020. 

One of the latest phrases that have been coined and entered our daily lives is "Phase."   You know, as in "Indiana is now entering in Phase Three of returning back to the new normal."  (Haha, other States  are only on Phase One or Two).

Anyway, all this reminded me of the sun and the moon.  They don't give a shit about what's going on down here, they just keep on keeping on. Which reminded me of this saying:

Over the years, I've seen a lot of art that includes the sun and the moon -- and not given it a second thought.  2020 has, to me, given the images new light.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, June 15, 2020

I'm Too Chicken

Fortunately, Suzanne and I still believe that this world can be a pretty cool place to get out and explore.  Especially little family-owned businesses that have been created and survived by generations of "roll-up-your-sleeves-and-work-tirelessly-to make-something-out-of-yourself-and-for-your-family" kind of business.  You know, the kind of places that generations of families from the community have supported through thick and thin.

Well, this certainly has been a "thin" sort of year.

Dateline:  Ireland.  Well, Ireland, Indiana. 

We pull up to a small, brick restaurant right on Highway 56 outside of Jasper.   Opens in ten-minutes or so.  There are already of few people waiting to get in.  We get out of the car to the unmistakable aroma of fried chicken. 

The Chicken Place wasn't always the Chicken Place.  As the story goes, it used to be Leinenback Cafe.  However, so many people were calling information and asking for the number to that wonderful "chicken place" that the owners just decided to go with the fried flow and change the name. 

The History by current ower:
I would like to welcome you to the famous Chicken Place located in the heart of Ireland, IN. Originally opened its doors in 1948 by my Great-Uncle Amos Leinenbach as Leinenbach Cafe. Chicken Place is a staple of the Ireland community and its fine people. The chicken recipe was my Great-Grandmother's and is not found anywhere else but right here. We take pride in serving you the best food possible and to provide you with a fine dining experience. We are glad that you have chosen our restaurant to spend your evening with us and thank you for your business. Great food and great times are found right here at the Chicken Place.
So true. So true!

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Just a thought

I can make you rise or fall. I can work for you or against you. I can make you a success or a failure.
I control the way that you feel and the way that you act.
I can make you laugh … work … love. I can make your heart sing with joy … excitement … elation.
Or I can make you wretched … dejected … morbid.
I can make you sick … listless.
I can be as a shackle … heavy … attached … burdensome.
Or I can be as the prism’s hue … dancing … bright … fleeting … lost forever unless captured by pen or purpose.
I can be nurtured and grown to be great and beautiful … seen by the eyes of others through actions in you.
I can never be removed … only replaced.
Why not know me better?

Written by Bob Conklin, a successful author, highlights just how powerful our thoughts can be.

Just something to think about the rest of the week.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, June 8, 2020

Hippocratic Oath

The Hippocratic Oath is an oath of ethics historically taken by physicians.  It's named after the Greek physician Hippocrates (460–370 BC) to whom the oath is traditionally attributed.

Basically, as I understand it,  the first vow is "First do no harm."

Another equivalent phrase is found in Epidemics, Book I, of the Hippocratic school: "Practice two things in your dealings with disease: either help or do not harm the patient".

Now, my father was no physician, but he did have a similar philosophy -- "Make it better than you found it."

Imagine if everyone in the world took that oath.  Wow!

Now, I understand that "it" and "better" are subjective.  And what one person believes is "better" can be completely opposite than what another believes.  But, what if we at least agreed to "First do no harm!"?

"First do no harm!" 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, June 1, 2020


Can't turn on the television or social media today without a vision of gloom:  pandemic, murder, anger, hatred, looting, burning, us vs. them . . .


Today, I see a lot of people going into battle with no vision of the larger picture. 


"Vision is the world's most desperate need.  There are no hopeless situations, only people who think hopelessly."  Winifred Newman


Maybe if we have a positive vision for tomorrow,  the world becomes a better place today?

Sitting on the deck at 5:30 A.M. listening to the birds.  Dozens of species.  All singing.  

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Sunday, May 31, 2020


Spent some time in Owensboro, Kentucky visiting family.  Later, we learned that we had just missed a peaceful march protesting the deaths of blacks at the hands of police officers.  The march, for a time, closed down the "blue bridge" that links Indiana and Owensboro. 

A bridge.  Isn't that a wonderful symbol?  To stand strong it must be anchored to a solid foundation, which gives it stability and longevity.  But it must also be flexible, to adapt to changing conditions -- and span where you are to a better future. 

I don't know if these people had that in mind, but I do hope for the vision of a better future. 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Saturday, May 30, 2020

What would compassion do?

Even though I try not to watch news reports, occasionally events happen that I just can't hide from. Not hide exactly.  I just choose to try to not get emotionally involved in things that don't concern me.  On the other hand, if everything is connected then everything should concern me.  

Creates a sort of a riot in my mind.  I'm sorry, I should have said that it creates a protest in my mind.

So, I was thinking about this Minneapolis situation. 

Just a question:  What would a response of compassion brought forth?

A police officer acting with compassion toward the suspect?
A community acting with compassion toward the police officer (allowing justice to be served, or course)?

Seems that compassion brings a community closer, while anger does the opposite.  Does a community need anger and hatred to survive?  Or compassion?

Yes, I know:  Easier said than done!

Easier to beat and kill a man than to act compassionately.  Easier to burn a building than to build one. 

Maybe easier isn't the answer.

Just some random thoughts this morning.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Festival of Casualties


Doing some desk cleaning on this rainy day.  Came across this:

Got me thinking about all the Festivals that have been canceled or postponed due to this Coronavirus situation.  Hundreds.  Including

The good news is that Jeffersonville, Indiana's Abbey Road on the River -- "The world's largest Beatles-inspired music festival" has not been canceled, but postponed to October.  More information at

When this is all over, I'm going to make it a point to get out and seize some festivals.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Uncertain Times?

Seems that there are more and more advertising copywriters out there who have fallen in love with the phrase, "These are uncertain times."  Or some variation.

Question:  When have you EVER lived in certain times?  

I haven't. 

I think that's why it's so important to remember EVALUATION and DIRECTION CHANGE are so important in the process of a project -- and life.

Yes, we live in uncertain times, I'm certain. 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Monday, May 18, 2020


“What’s the secret of success? Right decisions. How do you make right decisions? Experience. How do you get experience? Wrong decisions.” – John Wayne

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Ben Franklin and Turtles

 Dateline:  Yesterday

I finally got out and about to enjoy one of my hobbies:  Muzzleloading.  Basically, shooting old-time muzzleloading rifles.  A group of us got together (at safe, social distances) to "plink" steel targets in the woods. 

On the way to the campground, I ran across (not over) numerous turtles.  Turtles!  I haven't seen box turtles in a LONG time.

That got me thinking about something old Ben wrote about living the advantages of adversity:

To be thrown upon one's own resources is to be cast into the very lap of fortune, for our faculties then undergo a development and display an energy of which they were previously unsusceptible. 

Sort of like that old box turtle:  Thrown upon one's own resources.  Those guys sure have lived a LONG time on this planet.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, May 11, 2020

Random Thoughts

 A lot of people and a lot of the news frustration is focused on blame and fault.  "Now, what's the course?"  "There is no plan!"

That got me thinking about those hurricane models we see -- even within a few miles of landfall.  With all our technology and historical knowledge, we still come up with models like this to predict the course:

Fact is, we're in the middle of a shit-storm.  What's its course?  Simple answer:  It's a mystery. 

But, there is one fact that is NOT a mystery.   It seems to me that if I can't solve it, at least I don't want to be part of the problem. 

The question for me is, how am I going to share my time and talent?  How am I going to use my unique spirit to create some happiness for someone?

No matter which course this crazy storm takes. 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Thursday, May 7, 2020


Borrowed from the internet somewhere.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

May the Four Synchronicity

So, yesterday I posted a May the Four (Beatles) be with you!

After spending the afternoon doing some landscaping for a friend, I decided to relax on the new back deck with a beer from a variety pack I purchased a few days ago.  I hadn’t really looked at the box and have never had it before. 

Look at the name of the sample I pulled out.
How’s that for synchronicity.

Carpe diem Life,

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Back On Track and

Carpe diem Life!

Indiana has announced its "roadmap" for getting back on track.  In fact, Gov. Holcomb used that "roadmap" and "course" language in his address yesterday.  In many ways, it's the Carpe diem Life map.

Choose where we want to be (back to normal)
Action List (what we'll need to get there)
Resources (people, businesses, hospitals, testing, information...)
Persistent Action (beginning May1)
Evaluation (evaluating each step along the way)

Direction (are we still on course or do we need to take a detour?)
Improvement (what can we do to improve the current situation and future events?)
Enjoy the process (stay calm and find ways to help yourself and others during this process)
My Responsibility (it's each of our responsibilities to stay safe and to keep others safe)


Be safe out there.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Divided we stand, united we fall.


Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, April 24, 2020

And now a word from . . .

H. G. Wells

Adapt or perish, now as ever, is Nature's inexorable imperative.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn  

PS My twin brother turns 60 tomorrow.  It's got me thinking of my own life.  For years now I've been looking in the mirror and asking who that old man is looking back at me.  How the hell did this happen?  Hell, I still recall going through puberty and anxiously checked for hair and ZITS!  

The zits are gone -- so, too, is most of my hair.  At least on top of my head.  Ears, nose, etc. is another story.  

Robert Fulghum says that his reflection of the man in the mirror is the oldest ritual of his life.  A sacred habit. 

Me?  Not so sacred. I try not to look anymore.  

Thursday, April 23, 2020

New Take On Ancient Story

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe so, maybe not.  We shall see.” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.  “Maybe so, maybe not.  We shall see.” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy for what they called his “misfortune.”  “Maybe so, maybe not.  We shall see.” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.  “Maybe so, maybe not.  We shall see.” said the farmer.
 - - -
Of course, today’s version would continue.  One day — about a month or two too late — the government announced a deadly disease called COVID-19.  Everyone at first said, “Quarantine or you’ll die!”  The old man replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.  We shall see.”
Then, after a few weeks, mobs of protesters screamed, “End the quarantine.  Open the economy. It’s the right thing to do!”  The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.  We shall see.”

The economy was opened up, people gathered and celebrated.  One morning neighbors knocked on the door of the old farmer and said, “The economy is open.  We can bring our crops to the market now.  We’re saved!”  And the old farmer replied . . .

Of course, he didn’t reply because he died a horrible death last night. 
Was it because of the opening of the economy?  “Maybe so, maybe not.  We shall see.”

Carpe diem Life,
David Kunn

Monday, April 20, 2020


This is how crazy this whole "no live sports" has gotten:  I've been hearing a long of people talk about this ESPN ten-hour special on Jordan.  Why ESPN would want to dedicate that much time to the capital of Amman is beyond me.

Quote of the day:

“Lots of people wait around "for the right time." People don't know that there is no such thing as a right time. Time is never right nor wrong. The only negative factor of time is that you can lose it and the only positive factor of time is that you can seize it.”
C. JoyBell C. 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn  

Saturday, April 18, 2020

An open letter

To my friends who love to bitch on social media,

Seems like all those "Stay Calm and . . . " posts I used to see have been replaced with "Stay Panicked and Bitch!"

Here's one:  "Hi, I'm the government.  If you think your problems are bad, just wait till you see our solutions."

I'm not saying that all the "solutions" that our government -- and governments around the world -- have come up with to combat this war we're in are all perfect -- but damn!  Just imagine having to sit in a room and create the plan that is going to get us out of this mess?  Hell, I'm having a hard enough time taking care of my own life, family, house, etc.

We're in uncharted waters here.  And if we're brave enough to try to navigate those waters on behalf of our fellow man, we're going to sail off course from time to time -- perhaps most of the time.  But I'm begging you to keep an open mind.  I know I don't have a solution.  Do you?  If so, I'd love to hear it.  In fact, please share it with the world. 

"Only he who does nothing (except bitch on social media) makes no mistakes." -- old and new proverb

I really don't know very much; however, I do know that if you take actions to the best of your current ability, sometimes you succeed and sometimes if you keep an open mind, you just learn. 

Keep calm and persevere!  And stock f'in bitching!

David Kuhn
Carpe Diem Life

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Here's My Sign

So, yesterday I completed my second "101 Things To Do During This Quarantine" list -- it includes the 26 or so things that I didn't get done off the original list.

One of the items is to read from my 21st Century Dictionary of Quotations book.  
Literally (and I can literally use the word "literally" to literally describe what happened), this is from the first day's reading:

"Who begins too much accomplishes little." -- German Proverb

What is this old German to do? 
 Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Angels Don't Fall From Heaven

Had this idea for a song. 

"Angels Don’t Fall From Heaven"  By David Kuhn

Angels don’t fall from Heaven
Angels rise up from the Earth
Angels sometimes just stay hidden
‘till the world starts to hurt

Angels don’t fall from Heaven
Angels masked in plain sight
Angels, when the world goes to hell (when the world grows darkest)
Appear in the light  (come to the light)

Brothers and Sisters
What have you done for your fellow man?
When I was a stranger
Did you reach out a helping hand?

When I was hungry 
Did you give something to eat?
When I was thirsty
Did you pour something to drink?
When I was sick
Did you try to heal me?
Did you show your faith
By your good deeds?

Angels don’t fall from Heaven
Angels rise up from the Earth
Angels sometimes just stay hidden
‘till the world starts to hurt

Angels don’t fall from Heaven
Angels masked in plain sight
Angels, when the world goes to hell (when the world grows darkest)
Appear in the light  (come to the light)

Angels don’t fall from Heaven
They’re just like you and me
Showing our faith
By our good deeds
Angels don’t fall from Heaven

- - -

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

C A R P . . .

When this “Great Quarantine of 2020” started I didn’t think it would seriously go much past Easter.
I was obviously wrong.  A lesson: hope for the best but plan for the worst.

So far, not the WORST. We still have our health and we’re still working some — at a hospital, which creates some anxiety, but . . .  still thankful.

So, how did I do on my original “101 Things To Do During This Quarantine” list?

76 out of 101 -  finished or at least a strong start. Considering all the extra time I’ve had, that’s pretty weak (though I did get a considerable list of things accomplished that weren't even on the list). Unfortunately, the latest news reports say that I have time to redeem myself in the coming weeks.

I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ve created a new list (The C and A of Carpe diem Life plan).
It’s now time to P!

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, April 10, 2020

Thursday, April 9, 2020

A View From Space

I’ve always been fascinated by space.  So, when I ran across this article and video, I just had to share it. Even if you’re not into astronauts and living in space, I believe that this will be extremely valuable to you — especially over the next days and weeks.

How to survive self-isolation, according to an astronaut
By Georgina Torbet March 22, 2020

With so many of us staying home and practicing social distancing due to the global pandemic of coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, people are thinking about how to stay sane and achieve some goals while stuck in self-isolation. To help with this, retired Canadian astronaut and national treasure Chris Hadfield has made a video offering advice on how to cope with isolation.

It’s a topic Hadfield has plenty of experience with, having served as commander of the International Space Station and having spent a total of 166 days in space, dealing with cramped conditions and limited social contact.

“I’ve spent a little time self-isolation onboard a spaceship,” Hadfield began his video. “It’s an extremely dangerous environment up on board the space station, and yet we find a way to thrive and be productive that far away from our normal lives.”

He offered four tips for those struggling with self-isolation:

    1.    Understand the actual risk. Hadfield said that generalized fear is not helpful and that people should look to credible sources to find out the real level of risk that they personally are facing based on their particular situation.
    2.    What’s your mission? Hadfield suggested people pick a mission or think about their objectives, and try to decide what they hope to achieve and what they want to get done.
    3.    Look at your constraints. As well as the need to stay away from others consider factors like financial resources and your obligations.
    4.    Take action. Once you know what you want to achieve and what your limitations are, you can start acting, whether that’s taking care of family members, learning an instrument, studying a language, reading, writing, or any other activity. “It’s a chance to do something different,” Hadfield said.

- - -

Here is a link to a video (I hope it works for you):

If not, just Google :
Chris Hadfield - An Astronaut's 4 Tips To Survive Self-Isolation

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Grass Time

Planted grass the other day.  Turned the soil, added nutrients, spread the seed, watered.  Where’s the grass?  Seriously, WHERE IS THE GRASS!

I thought about calling the grass seed company; however, I know that they would just patronize me --  say something like,   Be patient.  Give it time!

Patience? Give it time?  

Damn, didn’t I learn anything in freshman Biology — other than my lab partner Tony had a huge crush on Shelly (who didn’t) who sat in front of us?

Okay, back to the grass.  I do remember planting something in little paper cups and spending weeks observing.  Watering.  Observing.  Nurturing. Observing.  The ecstasy of actually seeing something starting to sprout and blossom (sort of like the courtship of Tony and Shelly).   It was all a mystery. 

Today, sitting around in the Quarantine classroom, it's still all a mystery. 

Question: If I were to start a landscaping company, what would be a good tag line?

“No job is done until we say it is”
“Our customers are so happy with our complete work that they tell us we need not come back - ever!”
“It may not look better, but it looks different!”
“Sure you can get better service, but you won’t pay more!”
“Our work looks sort of okay from Google Earth”
“Your neighbors will ask, "Who the hell did that to your lawn?”
And an idea from my friend Jim:  "The grass is always greener on the other side -- because it is!"

Maybe, while we all have downtime to let the grass grow under our feet, it’s a reminder that the world right now doesn't so much need judgment as it does patience.  After all, it is how it is and not how I believe it should be. 

True, I  can’t rush the tiny seeds in the paper cup -- or planted in my lawn.   But, I can work at being patient and giving it time.

After all, time is a pretty great gift.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, April 7, 2020


Went for a walk around the neighborhood the other day.  And I noticed an odd phenomenon -- teddy bears and pictures of rainbows in the front windows of some homes.  Why?

Turns out that parents are spreading the word over social media, asking people to place stuffed bears and rainbows in their windows to create a social-distancing-approved scavenger hunt. The teddy bears idea was inspired by a popular book and song for preschoolers called “We’re Going On a Bear Hunt.”

Both the song and book start out:
“We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. I’m not scared. What a beautiful day!”

The bears and rainbows scavenger hunt is a good reminder for kids (and adults) to look for the good in the world at a time of uncertainty and worry.

When I got home,  I searched the grandkids' toy box and found this cute (yes, this old man said "cute) red bear with a heart with the word LOVE.  

I've been putting it on the mailbox right next to the street.  Why risk having it missed by putting it in the window.  LOVE.  Some bears should be very easy to find.   

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Real or not . . .

So, there's a story going around the interweb thingy that goes like this:

"History repeats itself. Came across this poem written in 1869, reprinted during the 1919 Pandemic.
 This is Timeless...
 It was written in 1869 by Kathleen O’Mara:"

Again, I don't know if it's the real deal or not; however, it is pretty good.  So, I'll play along:

And people stayed at home

And read books

And listened

And they rested

And did exercises

And made art and played

And learned new ways of being

And stopped and listened

More deeply

Someone meditated, someone prayed

Someone met their shadow

And people began to think differently

And people healed.

And in the absence of people who

Lived in ignorant ways

Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,

The earth also began to heal

And when the danger ended and

People found themselves

They grieved for the dead

And made new choices

And dreamed of new visions

And created new ways of living

And completely healed the earth

Just as they were healed.

Allegedly reprinted during Spanish flu
 Pandemic, 1919
A photo that was taken during the Spanish flu.

A real story or not -- Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It IS what it's cracked up to be!

Scene:  My mouth
Dateline: Yesterday

When you hear the word “cracked,” you probably think of something that’s been damaged. However, in some parts of the world, the word “crack” or “craic” can mean things like news, gossip, or fun. Some might also define it as “banter” or “to talk.”

So, sometimes something isn't at all what it's talked up/cracked to be.

In my case, my tooth was definitely what it was cracked up to be: cracked! At least a portion flaked off causing major irritation where my tongue kept rubbing against it.

Called my dentist knowing what I'd find -- taking emergency cases only.  But, they did offer a temporary solution:  Orthodontic Wax.  Just roll up a little, smash it in where the chip came out and no more irritation.  Orthodontic Wax -- It's definitely what it's cracked up to be.  At least temporarily.

When things aren't what they're cracked up to be, seek solutions!

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Just a few Quarantine Photos

I managed to knock out of few more "projects" yesterday, including going to St. Joseph Cemetary to clean headstones, weed eat (that's cutting weeds, not actually eating them), leave some flowers for Grandma Louie. 

We also went to Lake Lynnvile where I reconfigured a rack for the canoe and got out and paddled and fished.  Here are a few images from yesterday's self-quarantine:

 The whitetail and I kept our "social distancing."
 The fish and I did not! I wished it a long life and returned him (that's one HUGE paddle, by the way).

Just a reminder that while many, many businesses are closed -- NATURE IS OPEN!

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, March 30, 2020

Day 7

The thing about list-making — even 100+1 things to do during a quarantine — is that one thing leads to another.  101 turns into 202 which turns into 404 . . .   The magic of compounding.

I’m going to step back and officially call this Day Seven of the mandatory quarantine.  And, as of this morning, I have knocked out 37 items.  That makes me right on track to complete 101 things by Easter.  I have unfortunately discovered that there are a few items that just aren’t going to happen.  For example, number 45:  Lose 2 lbs a week.  Hell, I’ve gained 2 lbs.  WTF?

But, I’ll endeavor to persevere.

I started a new writing, grammar, usage, and style book.  On the first page under “Finding a Word’s Part of Speech,” it says, “To find a word’s part of speech, check your dictionary.”

Wow, I can’t wait to read the other 227 pages.  People say that the Bible is the greatest book ever written.  The dictionary has got to be a close second.  

From the Zen Guitar book:  “Those who train here I regard not as students, but unsui.  In Japanese, unsui means traveling monk or truth-seeker.  Literally, it translates as “cloud and water.”

That's sort of how it feels to be in self-quarantine:  Floating, flowing, at once with and without form.

And from Jack Dee:  I hate people who think it's clever to take drugs . . . like customs officers.

And from Albert Einstein:  Nothing happens until something moves.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Saturday, March 28, 2020

100. 101. Whatever it takes!

Nefer prove you’re on wurk!

I noticed yesterday that I created a list of 100 things to do during the self-quarantine, but titled it “101 Things To Do” — That’s okay, I’ve added plenty to the list as I’ve gone along.

For example, yesterday I spliced the cord back on my circular saw.  Doing something as stupid as cutting the power cord in half is definitely a “Serenity, Courage, Wisdom” lesson. 
Synchronicity:  The first lesson on COMPASSION (#19) yesterday was Start by Practicing Self-Compassion.

A few other items knocked out yesterday:

Hung pictures back up on the walls that we had painted (#13). 
Cleaned out the kitchen junk drawer (#81 -- Turns out that I had to anyway to find the picture hangers that I threw in there when we took everything down!)
Started the garage cleaning -- yet again (#25)
I started to re-read the book Zen Guitar by Philip Toshio Sudo.
With the help of Curt, I started adding cords to This Too Shall Pass Away.

So, not as much I as I could have, but still ahead of the game. 

A few lines I mined from books:

A committee is a group of people who individually can do nothing, but together decide that nothing can be done.  Fred Allen

Birthdays are good for your health.  Studies have shown that people who have more birthdays live the longest. 

If a man wants his dreams to come true, he must wake up! — Anon. (That Anon. guy or gal must have been one smart cookie because I see a lot of quotes from him or her.)

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, March 27, 2020

Day 3

So, yesterday was officially Day 2 of the Great Quarantine of 2020.

I accomplished my quota of items from my “101 Things . . . “ list.  In addition to some that I’ve started and are, hopefully, on-going good habits:

Created a guitar practice schedule (#2)
Finished the first grass cutting of Spring (#11)
Printed a few articles on compassion — versus buying a book — which I’ll start today (#19)
Video Chat with Grandkids and daughter who live 3 hours away (#23)
Hung new hallway light (#15)
Changed out the ceiling lights in kitchen and upstairs (#58)
Windshield wipers on truck (#75) (or maybe I did that the other day?)
Cleaned out —somewhat — the shed (#96)
Finished cutting up an old fence with a circular saw until I just couldn’t cut anymore (#8)

Oh, and I added one:  YouTube how to replace cut power cord on the circular saw! (Long story made shorter).

Today’s joke comes from the great Henny Youngman:  I’ve got all the money I’ll ever need if I die by four o’clock this afternoon.

And, I’ll leave you with this in these uncertain times:

“These are uncertain times, so come buy a new Jeep” (No, wait, that was basically a car dealer commercial I saw last night).

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow” — Swedish proverb

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Quarantine Continues

Today’s quote was sent to me from the 17th Century.  Mr. John Dryden (English poet and playwright) writes, “Dear Casey . . .” (oops, wrong program).  John writes, “I’m a little wounded, but I am not slain: I will lay me down to bleed a while. Then I’ll rise and fight again.”

Thank you, John, for the inspirational words. 

So, yesterday was officially Day 1 Quarantine and the start of my “101 Things To Do While Quarantined” list (though I did get ahead of myself and knock out a few things the other day).

Here’s a list of a few things I started.  A couple, believe it or not, I actually finished!

Cleaned my desk
Created a banjo practice schedule
Practiced banjo
Started the banjo book I received the other day
Cleaned out the truck and added a mat (something I bought last year)
Started a new firewood rack
Cut the front, sides, and most of back
Started a song titled “This Too Shall Pass Away”
Took a thirty-minute walk
Listened to “Please Please Me” by the Beatles

I’ll continue today and see how far I get!

From a few joke books:

Which painting in the National Gallery would I save if there were a fire?  The one nearest the door, of course.  — George Bernard Shaw

Insult:  He wouldn’t dare to eat his heart out — he’d break his teeth doing it.

I mentioned that the TV Series I choose to catch up on is Columbo.  This from Bill Vaughan:
Perhaps the crime situation would be improved if we could get more cops off the television and onto the streets.

And finally, my brain just logged me out due to inactivity and now I can’t remember my password!

Stay safe out there and Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Day 1 of ?

So, today is the first day of the rest of my quarantined life.  Yesterday, I came up with 101 Things To Do During My Self-Quarantine.  Now, assuming that this thing lasts till Easter when we can all “rise from the dead,” that gives me 18 days to get to 101 — five or six items a day.  Some are physical, one-time actions; some are an on-going life change.  Some are ten-minute projects; others will take a day or two.  But, it’s a list set in digital stone, so I might as well get started.

In no particular order, I’ve already knocked out

46. Write this Blog (on-going)
44. Watch a Steve Martin plays the banjo video
50. Find a worthwhile TV series to watch  (okay, it might not be “worthwhile, but I’ve rediscovered the old Colombo series)

Oh, I did look this up:  TV series are usually Italicized and song titles are in quotation marks (albums would be italicized).  So, that knocks out

37. Learn how to properly punctuate song titles

85. Update my Christmas Gift Savings Can ($1 a day)

93. Currently listening to “Please Please Me” (on-going)

80. An interesting line from a banjo book I started:  “To be blunt, we’re talking about the flotsam and jetsam of the banjo world who have been washed ashore, limp with failure.” — Wayne Erbsen

Yesterday, I knocked out 2/3 of #43.

91.  Items from joke books I'm skimming: 

“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” — H. L. Mencken

“An autobiography is a book that reveals nothing bad about its writer except his memory.” — Anon

“What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?  A) A flat minor!”

Insults:  "All his life he’s been a sinner, but he’s taking harp lessons."

You all be safe out there and Carpe diem Life,

David Kuhn

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

101 Things To Do During Self-Quarantine

While I still have shifts to cover at the hospital, I will be spending a lot of time at home.  Here my list of 101 Things to do during my self-quarantine.  In no particular order:

1. Clean desk (since I'm sitting here looking at it while I typle this)
2. Organize guitar practice schedule
3. Tune the guitar and practice guitar daily
4. Organize banjo practice schedule
5. Tune the banjo and practice daily
6. Switch my closet from Winter clothes to Spring
7. Have campfires under starry skies
8. Continue to cut up an old cedar fence we had taken down last year
9. Build garden planter boxes out of (see no. 8)
10. Plant flowers
11. Cut grass (first cutting of year usually takes four times as long)
12. Builtd firewood rack and restock wood
13. Hang pictures on walls which were recently painted (the walls, not the pictures)
14. Completely clean house after painting projects (top to bottom)
15. Hang new light in hallway
16. Seal or ? our firewood box in house
17. Wash kitchen cabinets and touch-up / repaint
18. Clean up and paint bathroom vanities (if new countertops are still coming)
19. Read a book on compassion
20. Enjoy deck — especially at night
21. Find recipe and make energy bars
22. Make craft kits and send to grandkids
23. Learn to FaceTime with kids / grandkids
24. Continue to work shifts at hospital
25. Clean and organize garage
26. Go though boxes of my parents stuff
27. Minimize my stuff
28. A place for everything
29. Everything in its place
30. Organize magic tricks and learn a new one
31. Create cartoon stick figures characters and create a comic strip
32. Clean out truck
33. Wash and wax truck
34. Ride bike
35. Write a song called “This Too Shall Pass”
36. Or “This Shit Shall Pass”
37. Learn how to properly punctuate song titles (quotes, italics, ?)
38. Find a way to be of service during this time (in addition to my hospital shifts)
39. Update my journals (grandkids and kids)
40. Work at cabin, boat out, fish, canoe . . .
41. “It’s not too far away, but it’s not close enough” - about the end of all this
42. Study Kreg Jig system and master
43. Deliver Jim’s Christmas Gifts (bat house, hang a decorative tile, clean his workbench area)
44. Watch a Steve Martin play the banjo video on YouTube
45. Lose 2 lbs. a week (diet and exercise)
46. Write this blog
47. Update my family and friends directory
48. Finish the 2019 family videos and send to grandkids
49. Copy 2015 (somehow missing from master files) and home for master
50. Find a worthwhile TV series to watch
51. Call on my muzzleloading pistol (sent off for repair)
52. Put new strings on guitar
53. Cook a new Mediterranean recipe from cookbook
54. Write more songs / cords to lyrics I’ve written
55. Send to Essence Brothers
56. Build three more decorative trees (Amy, Lucy, Abby)
57. Start carving again (spirit faces, owls, learn something new)
58. Change out lights in kitchen and upstairs hall
59. Doodle
60. Organize my “tiny treasures” cabinet
61. Start “Tiny Stories” project
62. Buick started, run, drive
63. Build cabinet insert for kitchen
64. Build plate stand
65. Plan patio wall area
66. Plant grass where needed
67. Build canoe rack at cabin
68. Fishing license
69. Wink, wink
70. Heat strip off at cabin
71. Roof cleaned and gutter cleaned at cabin
72. Cut grass for neighbors
73. Visit St. Joe and spring cleaning
74. Spring flowers for Grandma Louie
75. Windshield wiper on passenger side truck
76. Organize Patoka Valley Long Rifles files and stuff
77. Box and donate stuff to Goodwill or ?
78. Continue to learn new recorder
79. Cut Lucy’s after bunnies have left
80. Receive Amazon banjo book and CD - Read
81. Clean out kitchen junk drawer
82. March Patoka Valley Long Rifles newsletter
83. Really learn to play a Hank Williams song
84. Go through Master To-Do list
85. Update my Christmas Savings can ($1 a day)
86. Create a “Ten-minute Projects” game
87. Floss daily
88. Set up archery bow and shoot
89. Read Robert Fulghum essays on-line
90. Study music theory (for guitar and banjo especially)
91. Read a joke book
92. Take a 30-minute walk every day
93. Listen to all the Beatles albums
94. Clean out To-Do Cubby in desk
95. Re-read Zen Guitar book
96. Clean out shed
97. Plant gourds (try again this year)
98. Planters and ? around deck
99. Table and chairs to Lucy’s
100. Marvel that I actually accomplished 100 things!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Imagine that God appeared before you today . . .

Imagine that God appeared before you today and asked you the following questions.

This from Chris Prentiss's book The Art of Happiness:

First, answer truthfully the following question.  Would I want this to be true:  "Every event that befalls me is absolutely the best possible event that could occur."

Second, the more difficult part, is to truthfully answer the question:  Will I give that a chance to be true?

Whatever is happening!

Just something to think about.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

I have no answers except "Belum"

Interesting Times.  With more questions than answers.
And one thing I've observed is that Americans want answers - NOW!

I'm reminded of an essay that Robert Fulghum published way back in the '80s.  "In Indonesia," he wrote, "there is a word in common use that nicely wires around the need for black and white.  Belum is the word and it means 'not quite yet.' A lovely word implying continuing possibility."

I think we need more Belum these days.

Q) Do you know exactly how you're going to stop this COVID-19 outbreak?
A) Belum

Q) Do you know if our economy is going to collapse?
A) Belum

Q) Do you know when it will end?
A) Belum

Not yes or not, but within the realm of might be.  Maybe so, maybe not. We shall see.

Q) What are we going to do with no NCAA Tournament, no concerts, no restaurants, no . . .

Belum.  But, here are a few suggestions:

No NCAA?  Get a basketball and shoot some hoops at a playground.
No concert?  Pick up an instrument and learn to play something.  Old Vaudeville joke:  Q) Do you play the violin?  A) I don't know, I never tried.
No Restaurants?  Get our your mom's or grandma's recipe box and fix a dish. 
No gyms?  Take a hike.
No movies out?  Get out the video recorded and make one with your kids or grandkids. 

Q) Is it as hopeless as the media would like us to think?  A) Belum

In the meantime, Carpe diem Life!

David Kuhn

Thursday, March 12, 2020

I will not Reason & Compare

"I will not Reason & Compare," said William Blake; "my business is to Create."

You are like no other being ever created since the beginning of Time, you are incomparable.

So, why should we use all our creative power to write, paint, play music, or whatever the Creative Muse inspires us to do? 

"Because," wrote Brenda Ueland, "there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money. Because the best way to know the Truth and Beauty is to try to express it."

Wow.  I think the world can use that advice today.  I know I can.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The River Will Begin to Flow

Planning is important.  After all, it's part of the Carpe diem Life philosophy.  But, when it comes to storytelling via your writing, art, music, etc., you might find it better to work first and plan afterward.

Again, Brenda Ueland:  For when you begin such a huge edifice of words, your heart fails you.  It's too hard.  It will never get done, it is too complex and frightful.  No, write what comes to you now.  More will come later.  The river will begin to flow through you.

Tell the story first!

You write, sketch, noodle first because every word must come out with freedom.  If this is done the project/art will be alive. 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Vomiting On The Page

“No writing is a waste of time – no creative work where the feelings, the imagination, the intelligence must work. With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good.”
 ― Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence, and spirit (1938).

Somewhere in that book I first came across the idea of vomiting your first draft as quickly as COVID-19 makes you run to the toilet! 

Pamela Hodges ( wrote an interesting article on the subject. Here are a few notes I stole from her  -- what she calls a "Vomit Draft."

Vomit is Disorganized:  Literal vomit is not neatly organized like the food was originally presented on your plate. A vomit draft is similar to digested food in a toilet bowl.

Vomiting Prevents Hesitation:  Like a virus prevents hesitation, approaching your writing like vomiting allows you to avoid the internal editor, fight resistance, and get the words on the page.

The Slow Dance of Perfection: Write first, edit later. Vomit now, clean up later.  It’s called the vomit draft, too, because it will both stink and be pretty much everything you’ve got inside you. But in there is beauty and success and everything you ever dreamed of.  Go ahead, vomit.

Celebrate the Vomit Draft: Celebrate completion, not perfection. Celebrate your imperfect vomit draft -- maybe with saltine crackers and Sprite like my Mom use to give me when I was sick.

Brenda Ueland would tell you that this applies to all art -- writing, music, painting, etc.  Be careless.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Be reckless. Create your vision and imagination with enthusiasm and joy!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Monday Morning Pep Talk

Here is a Monday Morning Pep Talk to Me:

Everybody who is human has something to express. Try not expressing something today and see what happens.

Everybody is original if he speaks from his true self.  Not from the self he thinks he should be or other think he should be.

Self-trust is one of the most important things in creating (writing, painting, music, etc.).

CREATIVE POWER and IMAGINATION are in everyone and so is the need to share it with others.

Today, break through my shell of timidity and CREATE!

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Don't let these two old farts (though the one of the left looks like me) get you down:

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Shaker Philosophy Take 2

“Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her invention nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.”
     — Leonardo Da Vinci

Each Shaker cabinetmaker did his best to make a functional piece within the limits of acceptable design, but not merely copying exactly what had been done before.  Sort of an undesigned design. 
Architects and artists who study Shaker buildings and furniture come to the same conclusion:  The very best of design is timeless -- and that true luxury can be found in simplicity and utility. 

And always balance.

It’s really something that can’t be told, it must be lived.   
Simplicity — Utility — Minimalist Designs  — Balance

I’m not sure I’ll ever get there, but it’s a worthy goal.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

I'm Back to Shake You Up

I'm back!

Been too long since I last wrote.  But, I'm back.  At least for today.
The above images are from our recent trip to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky (Kentucky's largest National Historic Landmark).

In 1805, Shaker missionaries travelled to central Kentucky from New England.  Within the year, their converts, the first Kentucky Shakers, began to gather near what would become the village of Pleasant Hill.  Shakers, a celibate, religious society, is an interesting study; I encourage to take a trip to Shaker Village to immerse yourself in their world -- if just for a day.

A couple of their big professions are SIMPLICITY and ORDER -- something I'm woefully in need of.  Maybe that's why I'm so fascinated with their lifestyle.  I'll pass along notes and thoughts about the Shakers from time to time.  This is one:

"The world at large can scarcely keep pace with itself in its styles and fashions which last but a short time, when something still more worthless or absurd takes its place." -- Brother Owen Haskins.

Just something to shake you up and think about.

Carpe diem Life,