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   Siding the free library is a lengthy process.  I had already turned a nice 6"x8'x3/4" piece of pine into 1/16"x8'x1/2" strips.  Most of the board turned into sawdust as the saw blade is 1/8".  Despite my table saw being a construction grade saw, it did a great job of creating these thin slices.  I had at least 30 strips sitting in the bedroom for sometime before this project was ready for them to become siding.  Along the edges I glued some 3/4"x1/4" trim.  This squares up the corners as well as gives some nice guide for the siding.  Then it was a long process of putting the siding on.  The 1/16" strips are thing enough I can use metal sheers to cut them, so that is nice.  I get them fairly close, usually within 1/32", and then use 80 grit sandpaper to file the wood down the rest of the way.  For placement I use a hot glue gun to tack the siding down.  A small bead every 4 inches or so seems to do the trick.  Then I cover the edge with wood glue which will permanently hold the strip in place once dry.  The hot glue dries much faster--within seconds--which is why I use it.  The long strip of siding that span the entire side require clamping when done.  I'll usually do several rows and then clamp it to keep it from bowing out.  The process takes awhile, but it is turning out to look how I want.

December 24, 2014

The Elmwood Park Free Library

   Long weekend, so time to get some work done.  I haven't even announced the project yet despite working on it for two months.  This is the Elmwood Park Free Library.  Here in Middleton free libraries are all over town.  These are generally just little boxes with a door.  We decided our free library should be just a little more complicated.  So we decided to make a model of our house for the free library, and for the last couple of months it has been taking shape.
   Today I glued in all the windows.  The window frames stick out 1/4" and I clamped some 1/4" plywood on either side of the window as a reference.  This is enough room so I can place glass behind each one.  Since the free library is holding book and will be sitting outside, it's important the windows keep the water out.  So this setup should allow for that.

On December 2nd, 1994 I was invited to go roller skating with my friend Shane on what seemed like a random Friday night after work. I was still in my work cloths when he arrived to see if I wanted to go. He had a car load of people whom I had come inside while I changed. When I came back down I had grabbed my camera and snapped this shot of the group.

Steffanie, Sheila, Shane, and Sunshine. 
December 2, 1994.

This is one of the earliest pictures I've taken for which I still have a copy. That night at the (now nonexistent) Crescent Beach Skating Rink I had my first true introduction to roller skating. While I had gone once or twice before it was this night that I decided I was actually going to learn to skate. Everyone else could skate proficiently, and while I could propel myself in a circle around the floor that was about it. At a time in my life where I had very few friends (most of whom were 800 miles away) roller skating once a week became the one of the only things I look forward to. While I'm sure those in this picture didn't know it at the time, they changed my life that night. In the months that followed I became more closely acquainted with them, and their friendship gave me something I had almost none at the time: a feel of acceptance. I've found that good people often help others simply by being themselves, and usually have no idea what important contributions they make to other's lives. I am very grateful for the ones who have been in my life.

Roller skating became a staple of my life for many years and I went almost religiously every weekend. Most of the major milestone were obtained in a month or two. When I did go to a skating rink I was there to skate. I was almost always on the skating floor, and a couple hours at a time I did learn how to skate. I became quite proficient although how good I am is relative and hard to quantify. I've skated in several states at many different rinks and I always enjoy critiquing a new floor. When I use to travel regularly for work, I liked to find a rink near by. All of my recent road trips have included a stop at a skating ring or two.

At most rinks, like Fountainblue Skating Arena in New Cumberland, Pennsylvanian; Gresham Skate World in Gresham, Oregon; or Crystal Palace Skating Center in Las Vagas, Nevada; I'm one of the few who can skate proficiently at all.

I was once kicked out of a skating rink in Philadelphia for skating backward. I was attempting to support a friend who could barely stand on skates, and the tough guy owner was all attitude and authority. When I called him out, I was thrown out. Not having anything to loss and never one to back down in the face of an authoritarian I wasn't quite on my way out. I remember him commenting “keep talking” and so I took him up on the offer and threw verbal insults at him all the way to the door.

Other than the Skate Nazi of Philadelphia I've never had a problem anywhere I've skated. Once in Indianapolis I was patted down before an adult skate night. In Nebraska I saw a young girl break her wrist and no one seemed to have a clue about what procedure to follow. In Monroe, Wisconsin I kept running into the back wall. It was painted black and the rink was much smaller than I was use to. At the Franklin Skate Club, in Franklin, Indiana I met some of the best skaters I've ever seen. It was at a small random rink and not something I wasn't expecting. Several of them were doing things I've never seen anywhere else, even still some 8 years latter. Impressive, especially since it seemed there was nothing special about this place at all. Even the guys at the very competitive rink I visit in Denver had nothing on the people of Franklin, and they treated skating like it was a sport to be mastered to win.

These days I don't skate nearly as often and go through periods of staking regularly or hardly at all. But it is interesting to think about how long I have been at it.

   This is the pond that feeds Wingra Creek just after the dam on Lake Wingra.  There is about 2-3 inches of ice on the lake (at least by the shore).  I stopped for this shot on my bike ride back from work.  The temperatures going into work were just below freezing, and probably much the same as I rode back.  Winds were calm.  I couldn't seem to find a good balance for my gloves.  With the lining they were too warm.  The lining by itself was fine in the morning, but too cold on the ride back.  But the leather exteriors seem be what I was looking for.  I stopped for lunch at my usual coffee shop on the way back, but the radiator that is usually my good friend wasn't really producing any heat.  So I wasn't able to dry anything for the rest of the ride.  However, my new wicking undershirt dried off during my stay and that was nice.  So when I returned to my ride I wasn't cold.  However, I think I've come down with a cold as I was riding very slow and just didn't have the push I needed.