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 (pamelahodges.com) 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,
David