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Father of two, woodworker, writer and teacher
Recent Activity
Today I have something to say. ​From everyday activities to the heights of craftsmanship and technology, working and creating with our hands defines our humanity as much as mind and language do. Our ancestors came out of the trees and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2018 at Mondaugen's Chicago
I haven't blogged about my furniture work, but it seems time I start. At one point, I tried to start a furniture blog, but that fell apart with time demands. But I have started to add recent work with commentary... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Shortly before leaving Japan, I told one of my students that I was moving to Chicago. His eyes grew wide and he stared. "You will be killed!" was all he could say. I was very proud that he had used... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
And I did not come to Japan to have my forehead shaved. Frankly, I haven't gone anywhere to have my forehead shaved. As an item of personal hygiene, it has never crossed my mind. It’s just not shaveable territory. Walt,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Every day I walk to school past the Noda Mountain Cemetery. It is very large and very old. And on my way back at night, I pass it again. The cemetery is set in, or has become, a very old... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
And I did not come to Japan to be gored by wild boars, either... Frankly, this notice, which arrived in our mailbox this morning, was kind of the last straw. I feel a bit as if the universe is making... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
First of all, I did not come to Japan to be a model. Secondly, I did not come to Japan to speak French. Nor did I come to Japan to eat at a Denny’s or its equivalent. And yet…. I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Tsutsujigaoka is a little suburb of Kanazawa, a collection of maybe a hundred or so houses pinched between a very large cemetery uphill and another suburb downhill. It’s not a particularly affluent area, but in my meanderings around Kanazawa I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
When civil dudgeon first grew high, And men fell out they knew not why; When hard words, jealousies, and fears, Set folks together by the ears, And made them fight, like mad or drunk, For Dame Religion, as for punk;... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
I’ve just learned about Anpanman, and thought to share.... Anpanman is a beloved Japanese cartoon character for very young children whose name roughly translates as “Red-Bean Paste Bun Person.” He is famous all over Japan and is really big with... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
We are walking home after the last class at about 10 pm, bundled up and under umbrellas. It’s dark and a light rain comes down, mixed with patches of snow. The temperature hovers around 2 or 3 degrees Celsius. Thankfully,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Wyrd oft nere∂ unfægene eorl, þonne his ellen deah Fate often spares an undoomed man when his courage avails Being doomed suggests someone is paying attention. That has never sat well with me. After all, their neglect is your freedom.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
I am staring at a sign, which I believe represents the train I am supposed to get on. But it is all in Japanese. And I cannot understand it. The train number is right, but the time is wrong. Is... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
“Um, ahem, Tsumetai miruku o kudasai.” As I read from my phrasebook, Aiko, the beautiful opthamologist, looked at me with big eyes. “What? In bar?” She smiled and giggled. “Hmm, no. Ok, then how about Watashi no hobakurafuto…,” she stared... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Shopping for Christmas gifts back last year, I wandered into the audiobooks section at Barnes & Noble. It dawned on me -- what perfect gifts! Everyone loves a great book to salt the time wasted driving places! No more surfing... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2017 at Mondaugen's Chicago
You see, I’ve written a new book about making doors, available here, and, of course, that process got me thinking. On the shelf in my shop have a copy of Henley’s Twentieth Century Book of Recipes, Formulas and Processes: Containing... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2016 at Mondaugen's Chicago
In Memoriam: a Meditation on Meaning W. Kendall Coor 1964-2015 Always remember. The first star hangs between his feet. Now-- W. Kendall Coor died on July 22, at a quarter after 7 in the evening. He was not in the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2015 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Right now, I am in a very small hotel room in Tokyo with a mosquito. Now and again, I hear it, or see it. I leap to my feet and chase it, slapping at it with inept aim, knocking over... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2015 at Mondaugen's Chicago
“I’d never do … like that. Hell, see people … barely knew back then…. I’ve always given my high school reunions a pass. Not worth … old times … trouble. Aren’t … just for showing off?” Richard’s voice, breaking up... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2015 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Cue scary music: I’ve begun to learn that I have a relationship with knives that I do not have with other objects. Cue happy music: It’s not what you think, though it is kind of odd. No, I’m not a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2013 at Mondaugen's Chicago
No woodworking in this post--I've been out of the shop recently, traveling on other business. So that's what I'll write about today. So I have a six hour layover in Beijing airport, and a few hundred yuan in my pocket.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2012 at Mondaugen's Chicago
So yes, I fully admit it. The basement bookcase never got built. All you aspiring woodworkers have thoughtfully moved on to other blogs. Everyone else has moved along as well. And I just have not had the time to cultivate... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2012 at Mondaugen's Chicago
Until I can make up my mind about which wood (understanding that you'll just make it out of whatever you want), I should introduce you to some of the other, non-wood characters: Ziggy and Jiggles are the family dogs. And... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2011 at Mondaugen's Chicago
I haven't been able to get to the lumber yard yet, in part because I've busy with other work, and in part because I don't yet know which wood the bookcase should be made of. White oak is an old... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2011 at Mondaugen's Chicago
My house suffers from a basic problem: too much stuff and nowhere to put it. The problem largely stems from a double infestation of teenage children that we have been unable to manage for several years. To drive them away,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2011 at Mondaugen's Chicago