Front deck refresh

Now that the backyard privacy fence is complete, time to refresh the look of the front deck, starting with the broken latticework underneath, which used to look like this:

Original pattern

Here are some of the patterns I’m considering, reusing the old lattice work strips where possible:

Star pattern

Galaxy pattern

Geometric patterns 2

Geometric patterns

Modern art pattern


Or if I’m really ambitious, I’ll turn it into a wood-and-metal mixed media display, something like this:

Mixed media pattern


Merlin and Erin would have selected one design for me, I’m sure…



…after they watched the butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, birds, chipmunks and squirrels, of course.





What the cabin in the woods looked like under construction in April 1987, still with the same latticework today in 2014 — time to bring the deck into the 21st century!:


What is creativity?

I let my many moods/personalities wander my thought trails as undisciplined and uncontrolled as I can.

In my thoughts, a character who believes only in practical, no-nonsense, utilitarianism struggles for attention with the no-worries, anything-goes, live-and-let-live ambling wanderer who believes nothing is absolute.

Giving time to both characters without a desire to balance attention to them is tougher in some moments than others.

What is true randomness in the thinking process?

How is it related to creativity?

What is the discipline to physically manifest the completion of one (of many) project(s) one mentally creates on the fly?

If it wasn’t for hunger and other body functions like the itching numbness in my buttocks, could I sit here for days at a time watching the weeds and trees grow in my yard during changing weather patterns?

Tasteful or tasteless?

I have no problem letting my thoughts wander afield, knowing the energy spent generating thoughts reduces the energy spent acting upon them.

For instance, the day Merlin died — in fact, mere minutes before his life passed before my eyes — I drove over to the local supermarket and bought a cardboard container of fried chicken.

Seven pieces: two breasts, two thighs, two wings and a drumstick.

Can you see where this is going?

While my wife held the crying Merlin in her arms, I prepared a dinner plate for her of a chicken breast and banana pudding. I went ahead and prepare my plate, too, so that when my wife finished eating I could hand Merlin back to her and I could eat.

Merlin died before my wife finished eating.

I’m a sentimental old fool. I can sit here and remember so vividly as Merlin’s eyes dilated so completely I knew he was dying the moment Janeil handed him to me, as if he was taking in every last bit of the world he could just before he said goodbye.

But I digress.

After Janeil finished eating, she asked to hold Merlin [blog entry delay — Erin wants some turkey]…

When she held him, she looked him and said, “I think he stopped breathing.”

“I know.”

“Yes. He died a few seconds ago but I was too much in shock to say anything.”

She nodded. “Well, what do you want to do?”

“Bury him.”

“I know that. I mean right now.”

“I guess we can put him in a box.”

“There’s a box of my scrapbooking supplies on the stove. You can use it.”

I emptied the box and placed Merlin’s stiffening body inside, placing his loose head on the lip of the box as if he was just reclining in it for a moment.

I set the box on the sofa between us and went back to get my dinner plate of potato salad, cole slaw, cowboy beans, a chicken thigh, wing and drumstick.


While seated on the sofa, I ate. Tears welled up in my eyes. I looked past Merlin to my wife. “I’m trying to eat and not think.”

“Uh-huh. I know.”

It wasn’t just the thought of my dead buddy beside me that got to me.

It was other thoughts, too.

Like what does fried cat taste like?

Does it taste like chicken?

How much meat is left on Merlin’s bones?

No, no, I’m not supposed to think thoughts like that.

I’m civilised!

I’m not supposed to wonder if I placed Merlin’s body in the crawlspace, would unknown creatures strip his body down to the skeleton like the mice and chipmunk skeletons I’d found down there through the years?

I once made a recycled art homage to Damien Hirst using cat food boxes and cans, simulating a cat carcass cut in two. Would I dare use Merlin’s skeleton as an art exhibit?


After all, people have their favourite pets stuffed and put on display in their homes. Hunters mount the decapitated heads of their kills on walls.

Best remain still, my wandering thoughts, and finish my meal.

There’s always tomorrow. Seems like a pretty good idea to me.

After I buried Merlin that evening, I returned the next day to place rocks on his grave, arranged like a dinosaur skull…look sideways and you’ll see it.