News for January 2014

If I Had A Hammer… I’d Bake Bread

You can’t help but be saddened by the news of Pete Seeger’s death. You don’t even have to like his music to like that guy. I myself do like his music. I think he was punk rock. Or maybe I think punk rock is folk. Either hitherto hee-haw way he was a heckuva guy.I love his way of getting things done. By song, by deed, by honesty. He risked his life to sing his songs at times. Inspiration. Makes you wanna hammer in the morning.
Long time friend and collaborator Micah Taylor and I are embarking on a new venture on Wednesday. It’s called Brake Bread. It’s a bike delivery bakery. We bake it, We baguette, We bike it. We have two trial weeks of delivery and then we evaluate if this is really possible.
And of course it’s possible. It’s a move towards being local and sustainable and all that crunchy granola who-haw (not to be confused with hee-haw) hipster hippy co-op friendly lingo we like to throw around and occasionally act upon.
We have to figure out pricing. That’s not nearly as straightforward as one might think. Keep in mind: I hate money and dealing with it. I like to make money and spend it. (See how this might confuse some?) Not to mention one of the key components of sustainability: You gotta sustain it.
And let us not forget, that as awesome as the bread may be (and I think way awesome) we’re not just selling bread we’re selling a story.
I think it’s like field of dreams. I think people will support Brake Bread that don’t even live within biking distance. I think they will because they like the idea of two guys baking bread and delivering it to their neighborhood. Doing things slow. Meeting the neighbors. Getting to know people and making connections between maker and the taker.
Part of this theory is that I’ve been realizing more and more that we’re not bound by the stories we’re told to live out as much as we are set free by the stories we choose to live out.
I want to live out a story where I do things I love with the people I love. (For me the starting point is recognizing that I am loved.)
I want to do things simply. Corny? Maybe, but I can’t find much fault in being simple.
Because as it turns out I’ve got a hammer. And a bell. And a song.
Not to mention a bike and 50 pounds of flour.So… do you want to be a part of it?

Posted: January 29th, 2014
Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: 4 Comments.

Exploding Outhouse Meditation.


As you may know I live in MN. It gets cold here this time of year. On Tuesday the high was around 8 I believe. I have a lot of odds and ends gigs right now trying to scrape together whatever scraps there are for scraping. Its not that bad as it turns out. One of my gigs involves working with my wife. It’s great. She has an office now. It’s a couple miles away… maybe 3, but not far. We had a meeting and she had the car (the one that works in winter) so I biked there. I just ordered studded tires but they haven’t arrived yet. I’ve found that low tire pressure helps on the ice. I bundled upon bundled. Bonus – she works by a golf course with groomed cross country ski trails. So I strapped my skis (a gift from Bill) on to my bike so as to follow up my meeting with some time on the trails.
Like most of MN I have mild depression. It sucks, but it’s manageable. One of the keys to keeping myself sunny-side up is exercise. For many years that has been running. But my right knee always bugged me. I switched to some of those no-rise barefoot style shoes and after breaking them in – or rather my calves – I was able to up my mileage pain free. They don’t work for everyone, they worked for me though and so there’s that. On Thanksgiving day I ran a trail half marathon with my Dad. At mile 10 I bruised a bone on the sole of my foot landing on a random shrub stump on the trail. It hurt but at mile 10 most of my body did so I just kept truckin’ Turns out I couldn’t run on it for a month. I was able to keep swimming and doing workout videos – which we all know is the pinnacle of awesome. I kept happy. My friend Jim got skinny skis and the glide on the trail was perfect for my foot so I did that. Then while loading a sled on top of our car after Christmas I slipped from the door frame and cracked/bruise/busted a rib. It hurt. It hurt to sit. Or bend. Or lay down, or cough or sneeze or just about anything. I still went out skiing a couple times. That didn’t help it. And sledding made it worse. And I couldn’t swim ’cause how it affected my right arm. It still hurts now but not nearly as bad. I can almost sleep on my right side again. Celebrate the small things.
All that to say it’s hard some days to stay positive. I’m grateful that it’s healed to the point that I can bike around town and ski and all that stuff.
My Grandpa died right before Thanksgiving. He was 106. His name was Art. I’ve been thinking about him and life a lot. I’m 36. I’ve got another 70 years to be me. I might as well get used to me.
Minnesota is an incredibly active state. You can put up with the cold or you can embrace it. The winters I embrace it I’m less likely to end up in counseling. It’s also so creative here. But you get that in a lot of cold places. Iceland has great music festivals and amazing bands. And people dress for the weather.
Depression is a great source for creativity too as long as you don’t go cutting off your ear or sticking your head in an oven.
My grandpa made little knick knack things in his retirement. Norwegian weather rocks. That sort of thing. He did it in the days before pintrest. Heck, he was retired before the internet came out. He also remembers the first time he saw an airplane. I’ve got a little interview with him from a few years back. I’ve been looking at it on my desk thinking I should type it up for all the internet to see. But maybe it should just stay on my desk.
I strapped my ski’s to my bike as I said and I headed to the meeting. And after the meeting I headed to the golf course. There was one lady getting in her car and I had the bike parking all too myself. Halfway ’round I saw an older man with pants stuffed into red hiking socks and a purple bandana around his neck. We smiled and chatted and he skied off the course, I’m assuming in the direction of his home.
I have some of my Grandpa’s knick knacks around the house. A bird house hanging in our living room, a clothespin rigged up to smash a quarter – it’s a quarter pounder of course. And my favorite is the exploding outhouse. It’s a beauty. I’ve been making a few of those myself. I’ve made seven. My goal is to make 20 by the end of the month. I’ll sell them just like my Grandpa did. $20 and you can have one of your very own. Or maybe I’ll just keep them.
When you sing Taize songs the key is to sing past the point of boredom and it becomes a meditaton.
After four outhouses it gets a little boring. I think at 10 or 12 I’ll move into meditation.
I’m grateful that I live in a place that’s within biking distance of skiing. I’m grateful that I can hodge podge a living that allows for exploding outhouses.
And all the creativity of this cold cold neck of the woods. As I work through these outhouses I’m writing songs and recording demos. I’m getting more small pay big fun gigs with Welaware. Next Wednesday I’m baking 20 loaves of bread and delivering them by bicycle with my friend Micah.
Another friend and his wife are expecting their first kid. The ultimate creative maneuver.
So it’s all dark and gloomy and that will always be but there are glimpses of life and you get to ride your bike and the winter can’t say no. And your body will fail you but you still find a way to move inside or out. And depression is real and no lie a killer and I’m surrounded by people that see all these sides of me and still love me even when I get grumpy about exercise or line up my french fries to create a little order or don’t get up in time to sit in front of my happy light. And I love them too. And I love it when they tell me to lie down and read a magazine. Or how after a long day with a bike ride, a ski, and another bike ride a friend calls you up to go night skiing. And so you go for it. And you have a great time in zero degree weather laughing as the snot freezes to your balaclava and you lose site of the trail when the clouds cover the moon. The cold and the dark aren’t going away but that doesn’t mean they’re winning. Even if I did arrive by car.

Posted: January 22nd, 2014
Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: 4 Comments.

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