Ramadan Halftime Report

We’re more than halfway through Ramadan now… What have we done? How have we performed? Where have we fallen short? What can we do to improve in the next half?

Well, I’ve lost my temper, lost my nerve, lost my focus, and failed in innumerable ways. I’ve spent most of my non-working hours trying not to catch up on sleep, and the rest of the time split between eating/drinking, working on photography projects, taking care of chores, and generally not making worship a priority.

Could I have done better? Maybe, but I didn’t and I can’t go back now.

What can I do differently? Can I modify my activities to include more worship, while still taking care of my responsibilities and chipping away at projects? Can I further modify my sleep schedule (or modify my work schedule and consequently sit in traffic) to accommodate more tarrawih? Can I take the extra 10 minutes it will take to perform wudu and pray 2 rakat of qiyam when I wake up in the middle of the night? Can I turn off the radio and spend my commute time reciting Quran and making dhikr? Can I start repeating some dua and dhikr during work and rest time (“la ilaha il Allah,” for example, can be said without ever moving the lips and could theoretically be recited anytime I’m not talking, eating, or sleeping)?

In sha’Allah.

And whatever I do, In sha’Allah , I need to focus on the quality of my worship, rather than just trying to cram in as much as possible.

May Allah guide me to be a better slave in the last half of Ramadan and in the coming years. May He accept my (and all of our) fasts. And may He grant me many more Ramadans to worship Him and many more opportunities to draw closer to him. Amin.  Continue reading “Ramadan Halftime Report”

the doors

the doors

episode vi: The End.

With just less than a week until Ramadan, Allah enabled me to finish with the doors.

As in episode v, I started by lightly sanding, then wiping down the doors, before adding a third and final coat of varnish.

From a distance, they look good. Alhamdulillah.

But don’t look too close… I left some drips in there in a few spots…

And let’s wrap this up with a mention of a few of things I used: Spar Urethane (and enough leftover to varnish the doors once a year for 8-10 years…); a nice dark stain; some natural mineral spirits; a handy-dandy step ladder; some shop towels; a couple of high quality brushes; some empty paint cans (one for stripper, pictured in an earlier episode; another for mineral spirits/cleaning brushes); sandpaper (in 60, 80, 120, 180, and 220 grit—suck it up and use actual paper and sweat… the sandpaper sponge things look like they’d work ok, but in practice they’re not great, and for a door like this, a mechanical sander is not really practical); and everybody’s favorite blue painter’s tape.

And one more thing: clean your brushes. Tap out as much mineral spirits as possible, then wring into a towel you don’t care much about. Then coat with dishwashing soap and massage under hot water. Wring into a clean towel and hang to try.

Warning(s): stripper, mineral spirits, stain, and urethane varnish are volatile and not good to breath in. Use with proper ventilation and keep children away as much as possible. Also, with your oil-soaked rags: hang them to dry thoroughly, don’t leave them in a pile in the corner, or all folded up somewhere—they can purportedly combust spontaneously.

Thanks for tuning in!

And last, but not least, a couple of comments on the Foxy/Robusta combo I used throughout this project.

It’s one of my favorites: pleasant border, interesting tones, good color. But I just noticed something: there are hairs, or threads or something in the lens or film filter… you can see them clearly in many of the door shots. I noticed them when preparing these posts, and thought there was something in the iPhone lens for a bit. So watch out for these, should you use this combo.

Continue reading “the doors”

the doors

July 14 marked a turning point… we were finally going to start getting somewhere.

the doors

episode iv: sometimes a little stain is a good thing

First, as it had been a week since the doors had seen any action, I Dyson-ed, then wiped down the doors with mineral spirits (and none of that synthetic stuff: I had learned my lesson), and then it was time to get serious:

the doors|123|©JamesECockroft-20140615

A friend and I bought matching shirts one day out together, it may have been 1999 or 2000. I got a bit of paint on mine in 2004 or so, and it has become my de-facto let’s-get-messy shirt.


Staining is easy: paint on, wipe off; paint on, wipe off. The hardest part was getting in all the cracks.

Continue reading “the doors”