Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Hello all.
This is part of what I have been up to
I mentioned in passing that someday I'd like to learn to carve wood.
We had been watching a woodworker's show on the tube.
A man showed how to carve claw and ball feet for a nice coffee table.
So I opened my mouth and expressed my interest.

Randy has a quirk or two.
One of which is that he likes to drive the truck and not tell me where we are going.
It amuses me. He knows it.
I frequently find myself in the truck just going with whatever happens to show up.
I did not think much of it when he pulled into his favor
ite woodworker's store.
We have been there numerous times for a variety of tools.
He makes furniture and toys after all.

Once inside, he stopped at the desk, which is pretty much what one normally does in this shop anyway... then a clerk helps you to locate the special tool you want.
This time, and it is the day after I uttered my desire to learn to carve,
Randy asks when they will have another beginner carving class.
As luck would have it, it was less than a week away.
Randy signed me up and paid the ma

Now I have many times uttered desires to learn or do this or that.
I'm not very good at following through on them.
Randy is.
Off I went to carving class.
They had tools, the wood and the teacher.
I was given a funny shaped piece of wood with rough sawed edges at odd angles.
In the middle of the table sat a cute little carved rabbit.
There were 3 men there about my age.

I sat by myself to one side.
The teacher came and drew lines on my funny piece of wood and handed it back to me.


The other students were flicking off bits of wood on their blocks.
I looked at the finished rabbit and tried a feeble scrape or two at my lump.
Nothing bad happened, I glanced around an
d continued to shave off bits.

Three ladies showed up.
They did not use the tools there.
They had fancy expensive carving knife sets all rolled up in snappy leather pouches.
Soon I was surrounded by chatty women who seemed much better able to pull a rabbit out of a block of wood, while I might as well be trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

The teacher had mercy on me and came by to rough out my bunny.
This is a matter of getting rid of the excess woo
d that the saw didn't cut away so that you can get down to the heart of the matter.

I felt like a dufus.
Everyone else had a good grip on what was required.
I struggled and strained and kept looking at the finished rabbit like it might tell me what
to do.
It did not.

One of the women with fancy knives leaned over and told me
"It's worse than heroin."
I nodded, bewildered.
Just what exactly was addictive here?
The desire to feel like a dufus?
I did not think so!

However, I continued to scrape and try to bend the wood to my will.
About that time my knife slipped and I managed to cut myself.
This was celebrated by all and a bandage was gleefully bestowed.
I was there after referred to as "the cut one".

That was in the first hour.
This was a 3 hour class.
By the second hour I could see that a bunny might just be in there,
if only I could get to it.
What I held looked rough.
But it had ears and a tail and you could se
e there would be big buck teeth at some point.
Then I reached the spot where rough begins to take shape.
I lost track of time and worked.
I stopped hearing the women chat around me.
The teacher came by to check on my progress.
This time, no suggestions, he simply handed it back.
I said "What do I do now?"
He said "Looks like a finished rabbit to me."

I looked at it. He w
as right.

I was amazed to see that it was done.

I left the class room and headed through the store.
One of the clerks stopped me to look at my carving.
He told me it was good for a first try.
Well what else was he supposed to say?
They do want me to come back and carve some more.

I took my creation home and handed it to Randy, who is fond of calling me a "silly rabbit" when I do something nutty.
Yeah, it happens often.
So I tossed it in his lap and said
"Here's a silly rabbit for you."
He has it sitting on the mantle like a prize.

The next day we went to the same store and bought me a detail knife, some pattern books, a kevlar glove... to avoid cutting myself... and a thumb protector.
I began the moose at the top of the page.
When I reached a point where the detail knife would not allow me to get to a place I needed to go, we went back to the store and looked at all the other carving tools.
I picked out a nice gouge and so began my collection.

The worst part is that the chatty lady with the spiffy tools is right.
It is an addiction.
Once I start to carve, I lose time.
The next thing I know,
I've forgotten to eat or the sun is gone and darkness has fallen.

I think it is sometimes good to have an obsession.
A place where you can let whatever stress drags you down in the course of the day... like job hunting...
and let your mind fade into creation or occupation.
I'm no where near good at this.
But I enjoy it.

So here is my question for you...
What do you enjoy getting lost in?

By the way, we set the date finally.
May 21, 2011.


  1. can you carve me some false teeth?

  2. How amazing, Ananda! What a fun way to lose yourself. I can't imagine doing such a great job at my first effort at anything :-) I like how Randy makes your dreams reality. And...May 21?!?!? Holy cow! That is almost here!

    Oh, and I mostly enjoy getting lost in books. Very passive :-)

  3. Well, well... congratulations. And you tossed that date in so offhand. Heh, heh.

    There are so many things I can get lost in... a book, prayer, music... listening or playing, my own thoughts, a long walk...

    Sometimes if I combine these things with driving, I get lost literally as well. I just listen to the music and drive, forgetting I'm going somewhere. I come around eventually and say "Where the hell am I, anyway?"

    Years ago I worked in a factory making marine pvc... ship's bumpers, basically. After you set up the furnaces to run, if you were making large stock, there was a lot of sitting around. The extruders would throw off lots of unusable junk as they and the dies came up to temperature. Once the machines were running, a lot of us would sit and whittle at the pvc junk to kill time until we needed to refill the hoppers. You can definitely get lost in that. Those days were pleasant.

    Running thin stock was another matter entirely. Those days, we scurried around... like rabbits ;-)

  4. This is GREAT stuff. I love it when someone latches onto a new hobby and then shares their enjoyment with us all. Love it.

    And, yeah, what Cricket said. Nice slipping in of the date at the end. Congrats!

    Music does it for me more than anything else. I can spend a couple of hours playing bass, or mixing some recordings, and I look up at the clock expecting to see that ten minutes has gone by instead of the couple of hours. Writing, too, I suppose, although you necessarily have to stay somewhat mentally engaged to accomplish anything worthwhile.

  5. billy pilgrim-- Ha! Do you prefer rabbit or moose teeth?

  6. billy pilgrim-- Ha! Do you prefer rabbit or moose teeth?

  7. laura b.-- Thank you. Oh, I know exactly what you mean about books. When I read I don't even really notice the words after the first few moments. I just go there.

    Yep. Almost here. :D

  8. laura b.-- Thank you. Oh, I know exactly what you mean about books. When I read I don't even really notice the words after the first few moments. I just go there.

    Yep. Almost here. :D

  9. Cricket-- I have done that too... been driving along and suddenly I am somewhere other than I thought. It used to scare me if I drove through the tunnel and didn't recall doing it.

    Ha! What a great story about carving the pvc goop.

    All of those are great escapes.

  10. Suldog-- Thanks! My life has a soundtrack. Music is always there behind me but I like it best when I am enveloped in it. As for writing, that can also make time fly by.
    I am surprised by how much I enjoy carving. I think that like writing, you have to be very focused for the time to fly that way. It seems like music takes over, but maybe not. Maybe that is all about focus too. Of course, I'm a listener, not a music maker.

  11. I'm so glad you have such a supportive partner. And yay for the date.
    And yay for carving!! I did some stone carving in Zimbabwe and it was really neat. I would love to do more. Actually, I really want to learn chainsaw art, though that is less easily continued once you learn it.
    Sorry no job yet.

  12. Good for you all the way around!

  13. Oh, good for you! And you are too hard on yourself - that was your first class, of course you weren't going to whip the thing out as quickly. The end result looks great.

  14. Wow, that is amazing! Well done!

  15. That's pretty good for a beginner. You have more perseverance than I do at carving. I, too, expressed a desire to carve and Mr. Cube bought me a set of carving tools. My first project was a Star Trek combadge and I cut my finger. That was years ago and I haven't carved since.

  16. Very cool ananda girl. I like it. Congrats on finding a fun thing to do. I recently started collecting big, flat rocks so I can stack them in my rock garden to help me relax and get lost.

  17. sorry i'm so late getting here. i think the rabbit is adorable. what a gem that randy is for compelling you to get started carving. i'm glad you've found a new hobby to enjoy. i get lost in books for sure.

  18. Nothing like learning something new to make you feel like you're living instead of marking time. Good for you. I can't wait to see what you make.