Sunday, November 30, 2008

Community Puzzle

This is another in the "stuff we made" series. While were not directly involved in the creation of this large community puzzle on display in the lobby of the school where we did a craft show this weekend, I did design the original community puzzle. The challenge from a local school back in 1993 or so? was to create a universal puzzle piece (about 4"x4") that could each be decorated by kids, teachers, and staff at the school, and then put together in any order. The first one was cut on our CNC router from MDF, and was a great success... I found a small picture of the original.

For that one, each person decorated the piece with something about their family.

I decided that this was a great product idea, and I decided that making them from real puzzle board was a better idea, and the Community Puzzle was born. The largest one to date that I know of was 16,000 pieces. The folks at St. Gregory's School, chose to create one large image shown above. The folks who did the one below, each did their own puzzle piece in their own style, and then put them together. I sold the Cummunity Puzzle to a friend back in 1998, and it was quite successful. It was then sold again in 2007 to a company that specializes in training programs. They are still available at a very reasonable price, and are great for schools, church groups, parties, weddings, etc... everybody just gets creative, and you end up with a very memorable puzzle! I've got a few still sitting around that I'd let go for $10 each plus shipping.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Turkey Day Gang

From the left - Wyatt, Me, Maeve, Anne, Maya, Cheryl, Deanna, and Casey!
Mom woke up not feeling too well, so she and Dad are missing... :-(
I guess I have to admit it -- Wyatt is just a tiny bit taller than me now!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Baby Brother

David Barton Olney - 9 days old, on November 12th, 1950!
Thanksgiving, 2008 - I'm grateful for all the wonderful people that I'm related to!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another one for Dad!

By now I had appeared. Looks like I might be about 2? That would be 1947? We both look pretty pleased Dad will know where this was taken. Looks like a cemetery on the right behind us ... some sort of shed or house behind to the left. My guess is somewhere around Naples, NY?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A surprise for Dad

This is my Dad - Mel Olney - at 14?
Back of picture is labeled - "2nd. Year High School"
Some old pictures showed up recently, and this is my favorite.
A couple more favorites will show up here soon!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Family Farm

This is more like a wind garden, but every little bit helps! And this one got going ahead of the big wind farm! Located in the village of Cohocton, NY.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Toy Train

I've been meaning to start a project to blog about the artwork in our home. We have made a lot of the stuff ourselves... Don started making toys about 36 years ago. Cheryl and I have made more stuff for the last 13 years or so, and we have traded and/or purchased many other items made by friends at craft/art shows. These will appear in no particular order, though I think I'll start with the toys.

Today's item is a toy train that I made back in the late 1970's. It sits on a small shelf over a closet in the room I call my office at home. Made from scrap wood from the Overhead Door factory in Cortland, NY, it is 27" long. A couple of notes about this train. As with many of my early toys, it is a simple design, shapes bandsawn from the wood, with limited added detail. In this case the only added detail is a smoke stack, and 4 little peg people, and wheels of course. In the picture below, you can see that I put small pegs through the wheels into the axle to be sure the wheels stayed on. Expansion and contraction causes these pegs to slide out a tiny bit over time if the toy just sits on a shelf, but if played with, every rotation of the wheels pushes the peg in. If you click on the picture above to expand it, you can see that the peg in the front wheel of the coal car has worked its way out a bit.

Most of my work over the years has had simplicity and safety of production as a primary element of the design. In the case of this train, I totally blew it when designing the coal car. I was quite wedded to the single piece construction concept, which made the making of a hollow area for the coal a problem. My solution - while holding the cut out shape on the table of the radial arm saw, I pulled the saw out into the wood multiple times, moving the wood over a bit each time, until I had hollowed out the curved area you see in the picture below. The curve matches the diameter of the saw blade. To my credit, I had a stop on the arm of the saw so that it could not come out too far, but still! I never let anyone else do this part of the work, and while the radial arm saw bit me very well one day in 1973 or so, there was never the slightest mishap making this piece. I have lots of my old toys, but this is the only copy I have of this train. There was also a simpler 3 car train, but I don't have any examples of that one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Six Seventy Nine

Cheryl and I both fell in love with Stefani Tadio's wonderfully detailed and colorful paper and thread art. She is pretty cool too!

Thought I could link to her pictures, but I guess I did it wrong. I'll try to learn to do that later, but click here to see a nice selection of her work.

And, in the very cool way of the universe, there are cosmic connections too. She and Steve live on the next road over from where I grew up in Fairport, NY. I haven't visited yet, but from the description, I think I could see her house from my old back yard? She lives right next door to the Bilger farm, and across the road from the Wagner farm! My school bus drove right by her house every morning on the way to school, from around 1952 to 1963!

And in another one of my favorite smiles I get from the universe, her house number is the same as an apartment building I lived in back in my radical sixties days! 679

She wrote some pretty nice stuff about us in her blog.

Thanks Stefani! For your cool work, your friendship, and your kind words ..... I'll get to work on those punches soon.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Not too bad!

Well, the scans are done. I can eat now, and drink a lot less ... though I feel quite thirsty. The 96 minute scan yesterday was not too bad. I had Juan put a table beside me so I could lay my arm out to the side instead of over my head. While that was not comfortable, it was quite a bit less uncomfortable! I looked at the pictures afterward, but of course had no idea what to look for. Pretty cool to see my insides though! At this point somebody does some computer enhancement to add colors, etc. which should tell the doctors something about where we go from here. All in all an interesting experience which I could well do without, but for which I am most grateful!

Much thanks to Lynette and Juan and to the unknown folks who will prepare the images for the Doctors!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yes We Can!

These new pins are to encourage continuation of all the work we did on the election! We just got started nicely.... we've picked a great leader .... now we need to do the actual work.

I'm also going to take that phrase and apply it to my life. Not that I haven't been doing that right along, but it seems an especially important sentiment right now. I'm toward the end of a week of having a series of scans to determine the exact location of the cancer in my body. It has been a week of drinking a gallon of liquids every day. I'm sure you can easily figure the number of trips between the refrigerator and the bathroom?

The prostacint scans are very interesting, and sort of uncomfortable. The actual scans are pretty much nothing.... just lie there and let the "camera" take a time exposure image of the gamma rays emitted by the little radioactive prostate cell seekers! ------- But you have to lie very still! Not too bad on the 20 minute one, but the 69 minute one is sort of a bear! Tomorrow is the last two scans, but since the radioactive guys weaken over time, they need to extend the time for the scan because there are a lot fewer gamma rays... should be fun?

Yes I Can!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My neighborhood hospital and constant friend for the next few weeks.

About a year ago, I was feeling much like I feel now. I had gone from "perfectly healthy" to "not too sure" very quickly when my PSA was quite a bit above my normal when I had my August physical. While the surgery that followed that cancer diagnosis was very scary, and the recovery took a lot longer than I had thought it would, the results seemed good. Two successive PSA reading of ZERO - as expected - with no equipment to make prostate specific antigen I had no reading!

This year's August physical and PSA reading gave me another startling experience. Instead of ZERO, the PSA was now 0.16 (a rise from the .1 that I had been told was "the same as 0" ???) Another test a few weeks later showed .3, and I was definitely back on the worried side of things. Those numbers seem very tiny compared to the the numbers we males usually hear, but remember - the equipment for making that stuff is gone!

A bone scan and a CAT scan both show that nothing serious has spread, but this week I am in the middle of a much more extensive prostacint scan that is supposed to locate the small number of cells that are in there making PSA. This will undoubtedly be followed by a round of radiology treatments to knock out those little unwanted visitors! The path of that little beam of radioactive rays will be carefully planned based on this scan.

Once again, I'm confronted with a scary diagnosis, along with a lot of assurance that the planned treatment is the best option, we have caught it early, radiation has a very good track record, with low chance of recurrence, etc. Once again, I feel confident, but the "but" is a little bigger this time.

I'll repeat what I said in that December 2007 blog entry:

Any positive thoughts, prayers, or spells will be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

Just for fun!

This one is for Mom - the collector of Bunnies!
An exciting note --- I've gotten comments on 9 of the last 10 entries :-)

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Thought I'd get to work today on the first campaign button for 2012!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voting Day

Cheryl, Dad, and I walked over to the polling place today.
Results not in yet, but we did our part!

How lucky we are to live in a country where this is the way we do things!
Two stories from the voting line. The woman behind us in line told us about a patient of her's who had signed herself out the the hospital "against medical advice" in order to vote. Another guy at the other polling place in the room, was talking to the inspectors about how he could get his Mom from the hospital across the street over to vote!

Monday, November 03, 2008


If you don't have any other reason to vote, you can share mine!