I used to be an avid runner years ago (hard to believe these days, but yes, it’s true). I ran constantly, obsessively, and I’d even dream about it. I frequently entered competitions and felt like a total bad ass when I placed in my age category and was overly hard on myself when I didn’t (don’t worry, my eyes are rolling AT MYSELF right now). Not sure all of that constant running was healthy to begin with, but then injuries and life got in the way, and probably thankfully, that obsession ended (after several years of guilt that I wasn’t running obsessively anymore).


This is me during a half marathon in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2013. It was a good day to be obsessed with running. (As an added bonus, since the race was in Downtown Louisville, I got to run past some of the sites I had excavated previously. By then they were under concrete, buildings, and asphalt — but hey, the memories are cool!)

Anyway, I realized the other day that woodturning is not an obsession in the way that running was (note to all: passions are good, obsessions not so much), but there is a connection between the two.

I love to talk about woodturning, think about it, and generally strategize about what I’m going to try next. But unlike running where I was limited to my physical make-up (madness?) and fitness, I get to be creative (also madness?) and interact with wood in such a way that it’s always something new. There are wins and losses, but even the losses are learning experiences (or at least that’s what I tell myself when yet another chunk of wood I put on the lathe turns out to be a rotten, punky mess).


A slew of “losses” starting from the top left: 1) A piece of random wood full of holes and knots that started quickly falling apart the moment I put it on the lathe; 2) a group of recent “crappo” pieces as I like to call them – one of them would have been a nice pen cup but my drill press decided otherwise; 3) a sad African mahogany bowl that I accidentally removed the base from on the left and a beech wood bowl that had unfortunate cracks (and no, I was not going to fill them with colored resin); 4) the sad African mahogany bowl right when I destroyed the base while it was still on the lathe (I could fix this thing by making a new base, but I’m probably not going to — I’m using it as “cup” to hold pieces of sandpaper these days); 5) and finally, the most punky piece of spalted wood (red sycamore) that I’ve ever encountered. Terribly tragic.

Many of you know I got a new, much bigger lathe, and it’s been really fun to try out new things on it. I could go into how cool it is to have a machine with 2 hp and all the mechanical details about it, but I’ll spare you for now (at least in this blog – I make no promises if I see you in person, haha). Saving up for this beast and being able to buy it a few weeks ago was better than any race I ever participated in.


I call my expression in these two pics “lathe giddiness.” I was like a kid that had just seen Santa for the first time. Screw running — this is way better, haha.

I just can’t wait for the weather to get warmer so I can prop the shop doors open and enjoy the sunshine while I work rather than wear 8 layers of clothes and run several heaters at the same time. I think General Sherman will appreciate that, too, since he’s had few opportunities to assist and be on guard of late.


The General at his post a few days ago when it was actually sunny and above 40 degrees outside. He’s as anxious as I am for Spring to arrive.

Anyway, I hope all of you are well and enjoying whatever passions you have in your life. Until next time…thanks for stopping by!