Blogger’s Block

Not sure anybody has noticed but I haven’t been blogging lately for far too many reasons, with one excuse quickly spilling over unto another. The family health crisis, though far from over, has become an ongoing issue rather than an immediate crisis with all we can do is offer occasional help and wishes for the best.

Winter has almost set in and the weather makes it challenging to get out birding on a regular basis. It doesn’t help that there aren’t too many birds out there even when I do get out. Hopefully, the birds that overwinter in Puget Sound will begin to return in greater numbers when it gets colder up north. I am just now beginning to see the Horned Grebes in Port Orchard and have yet to see a single Goldeneye or Merganser.

Long term, I’ve shifted my personal focus from ideas and reading to immediate tasks like renovating the garden and remodeling the house. Lael and I spent most of the 2017 summer tearing out our backyard lawn, making raised beds, and rebuilding the fence. That renovating continues to today. I’m in the process of replacing the blind at the end of the deck. Gavin and I spent a recent weekend replacing the front deck.

I spent most this summer fixing up my woodworking shop in the garage so that I could build new bathroom cabinets to go with the Ikea medicine cabinets and track lighting that I installed at the beginning of the summer. I spent time learning some new tools like a Leigh Dovetail Jig and a Mortise and Tenon Jig. I replaced all the drawers and cabinet doors before hiring someone to replace the countertop and the sinks. That left me with the task of replacing faucets and the under-the-sink plumbing. Accomplishing those tasks reminded why you don’t see too many 76-year-olds still working as contractors.

One of the greatest dangers of remodeling is that once you discover how much you like your new ______ you see other things that could benefit from a quick refresh, things like a shelf between the Ikea medicine cabinets to match the new cabinets below. When it came to replacing the dingy shower — been there, done that— I decided it was time to call a contractor. Kohler will be putting in a new shower between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have to do some more research before deciding if I want to put in a new bathroom fan or have a contractor do it for me.

Once I finish the deck divider I’ve said I will build a new cabinet for the TV that matches the cabinets I built while living in Vancouver a lifetime or two ago. When I built those cabinets I couldn’t have imagined having a large-screen TV. Now it’s hard to imagine not having one. A new smart TV is a pretty good incentive to make sure I have the cabinet completed faster than might otherwise have been possible.

Many years ago I discovered that gardening and woodworking offered a respite from teaching high school English. The most frustrating part of teaching is that you hardly ever get to see the results of your work. It’s difficult to know if you are doing a good job or a bad job, and it never seems like you’re doing as good of a job as you want to do. Gardening and woodworking offer concrete proof of how successful you’ve been.

I’m no longer teaching, but maintaining this blog sometime feels a little like teaching or, worse yet, talking to myself. I never regretted teaching, though I left the field as soon as I could retire and have never looked back or considered substituting to supplement my retirement, and I don’t regret blogging. It has introduced me to some of the most interesting people in my life, people I share common interests with. I have no interest in or intent of giving it up, but writing has a lower priority right now, and it might take a while for me to rediscover the joy I once took in sharing my readings or my outdoor experiences.

9 thoughts on “Blogger’s Block”

  1. We all have cycles of busy, and times when our interests changr, or our physical limits do. At this time of life, when we know how blessed we are just to, as my husband says, “wake up on the right side of the grass” we can be forgiven for doing just as we please. I spent a lot of years pleasing a lot of people, so now I spend time on art, and reading, and games, and still have time to do some pleasing of others and working to help others get to a place they can learn to please themselves. I miss teaching because there are not too many young people .my life at the moment, and young people can have such surprising ways of thinking about the world.

    I think you take some stunningly lovely pictures that leave me breathless before all that is so beautiful in the world. I like to be reminded that all is not dark and there are people busy making a good life and take time out of that to share what they can to enrich other lives. Thank you for all the loveliness you send out, whenever you can send it. You live in a beautiful place. Enjoy it!

    1. Sharing nature’s beauty is probably the main reason I continue this blog. Hopefully it encourages others to get out there and, even more importantly, encourages others to make efforts to preserve it for future generations.

  2. Thanks for the background on yourself Loren. I feel special to have gotten this post, and on a larger scale to have found your blog (don’t remember how) and start following it.
    I almost was taking your posts for granted as “life” got in the way of me also. Although, I have a few of your bird pictures saved as desktop backgrounds on my computer. I would like to say that your blog has gotten me excited in birding since I started following it (probably about two years ago). As a matter of fact, I got a nice pair of binoculars from goodwill recently that I plan to take on hikes, hunting, etc- to no doubt find cool birds. (I saw a pair of sand hill cranes doing a mating dance this spring and will never forget seeing that. I also met a friend whose parents introduced him to birding basics. -two experiences I’ve had and appreciated “more” since following your blog).
    I have a sister who lives in Seattle and I think I recommended she follow you. But I think my reaso. For telling you that is because I feel a certain familiar appreciation for your blog by having a sister who lives in the pacific NW. I also started a blog about hiking the ice age trail in WI. (
    Thanks for your thoughts and pictures!

  3. Health.. . Change of focus… I can relate to these reasons for not blogging!

    I’ve just broken blog silence too with a longish post. It raised my eyebrows to scroll down my FB page and see you,’d done the same!

    Odd, how doing stuff like carpentry and DIY gets more daunting as we get older (and I’m only 60!). I was thinking about this. If one does the same things and make the same movements repeatedly, other movements become harder, I think. I used to do quite a lot of diy a few years ago – then I started working hard at the piano. Oddly, after a couple of years I found the prospect of, say, putting up shelves daunting! It was as if my brain had been reshaped (as it probably had) . I could do it if I really had to but it didn’t come automatically. Playing scales did!

    I know what you mean about teaching. One probably achieves a great deal but sometimes, because the students move on and we usually don’t see the long term results, it feels like running a bathtub without putting the plug in! Of course, hopefully it’s an illusion.

  4. I’ve stopped by a few times to see if there was new blog post up. So, I’m glad to see one here. I understand taking time away from these pages. It’s good to be doing other things that don’t require our presence online. I’ve noticed that this year we will probably have the fewest posts on the blog since we began in 2005. I’ll be happy whenever you post again and show us the beautiful things you have been photographing. Until then, be well and take care.

  5. You are not talking to yourself. I love this blog and send it to friends almost every time I open it. I can guess, too, that your teaching years had and are having far-reaching results that you cannot fathom.

    Keep the faith!

  6. Glad to see your post Loren.. me too am glad that I hit upon your blog …. I’m 54 and you have inspired me to carry my camera whenever I go out…. would love to see your remodelled garden tbough… ..😍

    1. My wife has repeatedly shown the progress on Facebook, so I haven’t shown it but I certainly enjoyed it this summer when we had record numbers of bees, butterflies, and birds. I’ll try to get some pictures in the Spring since most of the plants aren’t that attractive right now as we head into Winter.

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