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January 31, 2006

The not so daily but still daily spirit

Hey, just because I'm not blogging daily lately doesn't mean I'm not alive. Or does it? haha. Either it's time to renew my focus or renew the name of my blog. Andy was talking on his blog about how busy he was and how his blog has suffered and if we wanted to know what he was up to, we should check out his other sites where his time is all consumed lately. I know how he feels.
Now I'm all consumed in other activities. Someone else asked me about motivation. Yeah, my motivation lags a little when I'm tired, but mainly I don't have a motivation problem I have a time problem. I have too many things going on, like Andy. But it's all good. Andy I know exactly what you are going through, but don't worry. You are a Godsend even if you just show up once a month. It's better than what we did not have. And you've already made my day by showing up. ;-) And Nathan, I'm still thankful for you too. It's not everyone who will do something just because a friend needs help. That means a lot to me. Imagine a world full of people like you. It gives me great hope.
I've noticed that in the blogging universe, like everything else in life, other things sometimes have to have a higher priority. Too little time I think.
Learning Priorities and knowing what is important in life IS one of the reasons I'm here. It's one of the things we all have to learn isn't it? How can we be trusted with a fortune when we cannot handle a pittance? How can we handle a universe full of galaxies and populated planets when we cannot handle our own home?
One of the things I've tried to tell people, is that yes, no matter what position you have, no matter what your job is, what your obligations are, or hobbies, you are a spirit and human all the time, and the two are inseperable. So when we get so frantically busy, and our priorities get challenged, we have to remember to look at the big picture, how to live and love and continue the process of living no matter what we are doing. It's a good life. Andy you are doing great and I love your activities and your blogging. I think you got your priorities straight.
As for me? Haha, I'm still learning. Today I'm blogging. Tomorrow I'm at the bike shop. It's all good.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:20 PM

January 28, 2006


Tonight was a great night, I thought. We had our annual meeting for the non-profit, community bicycle education and recycling center. At the annual meeting the officers of the board of directors are elected by members. We had over 20 some members show up and a few very cool visitors. We ended up having pizza from a local place, which was very good. I hope the best for the Spokes Pizza people in their pizza oven problems which forced them to close for the weekend. That stinks. Their pizza is some of the best.
At tonight's meeting there was a lot of energy and enthusiasm. There was a lot of talk about what's going to happen this year. It's all good. Then after the meeting we were all bubbling over with enthusiasm and good spirits and hung out in the shop talking about all of the high hopes for this next year. Karl hooked up a new light for the pedicab and it's bright! other people began grabbing bikes and working on them while other's sat around chatting and socializing. It was cool.
Now I'm home and exhausted by a couple of days of really hard work and focus. In two weeks we have our first board meeting with the new board of directors. I'm excited about the possibilities and what we will do this year, and how that will effect the ongoing mission of this organization. This is really a rebirth and refreshing of the spirit.
I'm not bored with the bikeboard, haha, but I am enthused and encouraged.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:46 PM

January 27, 2006

A really good day for all things bicycle

The only thing on my mind right now is this Annual Meeting. I hope everyone can make it. Everything is falling into place and we have pizza and refreshments lined up. Now I'm off to get a good night's rest. :-)

Posted by carl1236 at 9:00 PM

January 26, 2006

Nothing but Something happened tonight

Often life does not work the way we plan or the way we think it should. For some reason I got the Grease Pit meeting date mixed up and missed the meeting. I went and talked to a few people there and then got to see part of the rehearsal for the new play at the Bedlum. I have to go see this play! It looks really fun, with good music. It's called, "Big Ole's Theatre for the Revolutionary Arts: The first 100 years." Ok. But it looked cool watching them run all over the stage and act crazy. I am happy that I went there tonight just to see that.

Then I ran over to Spokes Pizza and found out they were closed for the weekend due to a broken oven! So sad. But, um. We are supposed to have Spokes Pizza for our meeting on Saturday. Now what's going to happen? I have to order standard delivery, ordinary pizza. So sad. But it's free, come on in to the shop (Sibley Bike Depot), Saturday 6pm. Let me know if you're coming so I order enough pizza. I'd love to meet you and show you what I've been so busy with. I'll show you my art studio too if you're interested in that. I don't have a picture on this site, but here's your chance to meet me in person. hehe.

Anyway, on the door of the Seward Cafe, there was another note that said the Go Club was meeting at Hard Times Cafe. I had never been there before so I decided to go check it out. I was looking for someone I knew from Spokes and couldn't find him, so I got a yerba mate tea (one of my favorites) and hung out watching a young guy named Matthew teach a couple people how to play Go. Then they were done and I jumped at the opportunity to learn. Matthew is a great teacher and patient. I actually won our first game by one point. That kind of beginners luck and observation is dangerous, because it gets us hooked. haha. But at least I know where to find the Go players to play with.

After work today I was riding home and saw that I was passing by my own bus in downtown as it was stopped at a stop. I decided today would be a good day to race the bus home, haha. So I started booking it as fast as I could and pulled out of downtown fairly quickly. I was about a mile away from where I started and way ahead of the bus. But I was already exhausted and decided that since I had the lead on the bus, I'd stop at the next bus stop and wait for the bus. So I did and got a ride the rest of the way home on the bus. I didn't plan on that but it was a good idea and I had a nice conversation with the bus driver. I'm glad I did it this way.

Oh, and tonight I saw that Dee posted a comment on my blog, but her link did not work so I fixed that. Check out Dee's Blog, "I have a Headache." I so understand a lot of what she is going through!
I didn't accomplish anything I set out to do tonight, but a lot happened. And it was good.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:10 PM

Blog Games

Let's not get too d... serious. Life should be fun too. Here is a blog game that Lyman started, for you bloggers, try it out:

Grab a Book -

Here are the rules:
1. Grab the nearest book
2. Open the book to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences including sentence 5 (#5,6,7) on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it. Just grab what is closest. No cheating.

Here is what I found in the book nearest me, which had more than 123 pages, some were shorter books:

"Now here's another surprise: The Piri Reis Map isn't the only one to have used these ancient alien schematics; instead, it seems that charts were made all over the earth at a very ancient time with uncanny precision. For example, maps have been discovered from the 14th century that show Greenland under its thick ice cap; others show a land strip that joins Alaska and Siberia, which has been covered by water since the end of the glacial period; and a cartographic document copied from an older source and carved on a rock column in China was found to date back to A.D. 1137.
All these documents boast an accuracy that couldn't have been done at the time that they were drawn, since all appear to have used spheroid trigonometry."

So there. Blog games. I'm reading some interesting things and can only guess what books they came out of.

Posted by carl1236 at 12:57 AM

January 25, 2006

Sun, Moon, Fire, Water, Trees, Gold, Earth

A Star falls past the moon,
A fire probes depths of baren womb,
A watered tree begins to bloom,
reaching up to air and sky,
to breathe and live and fly,
yearning the fire of birth,
with aching veins of gold,
longing to melt and flow,
while roots are wed to earth below.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:42 PM

January 23, 2006

That was strange feeling

Taking a few days off from blogging was really strange feeling. I've been doing it almost daily for almost two years! can that be? Wow. Anyway, just to let you know what it feels like to NOT blog now, it's kind of like that feeling you get when you've misplaced something and know it's there somewhere. It felt like I was missing something the whole time, but couldn't quiet find it or figure out why I felt that way. It's definately habit for me to write now, which is one of the reasons I wanted to do this blog in the first place. But not writing for a few days made me feel a little out of balance instead of bringing me more balance as I cut back on my activities. Next time I'll cut out something else. One reason is because the whole time I was not blogging, I still had things I wanted to say, and instead of blogging, I wrote thoughts in my notebook instead. So I might as well share and expand on my thoughts online if I'm going to write anyway, haha.
So, more blogging to come...

Posted by carl1236 at 10:35 PM

January 22, 2006

Fuk the Photograph Smile

Today I was reminded of the Julian Lennon Song, Photograph Smile. I went to see my old Russian friends who I met 5-1/2 years ago when they first arrived in this country. For the last few years we've been meeting only once per year around the New Year. He told me that once per year was not enough. He needs a friend in this country. Yes, he's right. I had basically sent them a photograph of me smiling and waving goodbye when what they really wanted was a friend to share their lives with.
yeah, in all my relationships, I want you not the photographs with perfect smiles.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:37 PM

January 18, 2006

I'm on blogging vacation

There is too much going on in my life right now, and I've decided to take a few days off from blogging. I'm staying up too late in an attempt to get everything done, and having to get up too early. So I need more balance in my life right now. I'll return to sharing my life with you on Sunday night. Enjoy the rest of your week!


Posted by carl1236 at 11:50 PM

January 16, 2006

Ride Lightly

Tonight I had the pleasure of riding home in about an inch or two of snow. And I had my Schwinn Suburban bike with slick road tires! But it was ok. In most cases the tires cut right through the snow and I had good enough traction. But in the places, especially on side streets like where I live, where the tires have packed down the snow, my wheels started slipping. Here is why I think: The car tires packed down the snow and made a semi-firm surface of packed snow. Then when I rode over those tracks, my bike started riding on top of the packed snow, then sank into the snow, not quite reaching pavement. I learned to avoid that and go for the fresh snow where my tires effortlessly cut through.
I still think knobby tires are the way to go in conditions like these, but I have not put them on my wheels yet. So that's where it's at. Winter may be over before I decide to just do it. Haha. It's all good. I like riding in the snow.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:28 PM

Tread Lightly

You know, in all of life we can choose anything we want to do and have any beliefs we choose. We are changed and influenced by our environment and experiences. And one common thing in life with most people is that aging effects us more profoundly than most other experiences. We are mellowed by age or gain more wisdom, hopefully, and we begin to fall apart physically. Friday was my 43rd birthday and actually I'm in better shape than I was a couple of years ago, but the process of aging is definately taking place. When I cut my hair on Friday, I noticed a distinctive grayness to it. Then I overheard a young woman talking about men, relaying to her friend about how she would never date anyone over 40! It's a simple rule and probably a good one for someone so young. I'm not in the dating scene but you can imagine how I felt for a brief moment that I was viewed as 'Too Old.' As we grow older, we don't really see ourselves as 'too old.' We see ourselves more as we were when we were young men and women, but hopefully wiser and more intelligent.
This post is taking on a different angle than I originally intended by the title, Tread Lightly, but I think I've included a good bit of background on why I think we should 'Tread Lightly.' Treading lightly means to leave as little damage in our wake as possible. In camping terms it would mean to leave our environment better than when we moved in. Treading lightly in life and with other people usually only comes with experience and a certain amount of humbleness and respect. If we don't have that, have we really learned anything in life?

Posted by carl1236 at 2:43 AM

January 15, 2006

Hiawatha Cyclery

Today I visited Jim at his new bike shop. So far so good Jim! I like what I'm seeing so far. And I'm looking forward to trying the new iFlash light system for my commuter bike. Batteries are a pain. Generators on the wheel are a pain. Bulbs burning out are a pain. I have high hopes for this system of LED lights with magnetic pickups on the wheels. To me this type of system makes better sense than what I currently have and is exactly what I've been looking for. Jim is selling these lights and I plan on installing mine tomorrow. Then tomorrow night on my ride home, I'll see how well they'll work for me. I'll make sure to write something up about them soon.
I am a bicycle commuter and use the bike as my primary mode of transportation. There are a lot of things I'd like to have but you know, I can ride a bike pulled from a dumpster with no lights and all bent out of shape. Riding a bike for transportation is mostly attitude. Equipment comes out of necessity then, based on what will make our ride smoother and easier. But the main thing is getting out there and doing it.
I like Jim a lot and I support locally owned small businesses. There is plenty of room for more businesses like Jim's and it will only improve our cycling community and atmosphere in the Twin Cities. In a couple months I'll blog more about Hiawatha Cyclery and other shops in the Twin Cities. Yes, they are out to make money, and it's good to support the local community bike shops who are really interested in the bicycling scene and helping their neighbors to succeed at bicycling.
So, the reason I went there today? To give you something to anticipate....haha. I have the pleasure of painting his window! So next week on Saturday I'll be riding over there on bike, loaded down with my paints and creating a nice sign in the window. Next week I hope to be able to post a picture of my handiwork along with an update of how my new lighting system is working. I've done other window paintings before, and I look forward to doing this one to freshen up my experience.

Keep on Cycling!

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM

January 14, 2006

Accepting and being kind to ourselves

To be whole and balanced I believe we need to have a nurturing and loving attitude toward ourselves also, not just toward other people as we are so often taught. We can be harshest sometimes with ourselves. But think about it. Use logic. It doesn't make sense to be too harsh on ourselves and get cruel with ourselves when that is exactly what we fear others doing to us. So we go and do exactly what we don't want others to do to us? Doesn't seem too healthy. Of course we should recognize it if we are jerks and need to allow change in ourselves. This is also part of becoming whole. When we are nurturing and loving toward ourselves, we are looking out for our spiritual, emotional and mental health as well as our physical well-being. It's tough though when we are self-defeating. I wonder why we do this to ourselves. Often it's because we are running or hiding from parts of us we don't like or where we feel inadequate. But isn't it being kind and loving to ourselves that we can accept that part of us and allow it to be changed or healed that will actually make us whole?
A very creative friend recently told me about his struggle with doing artistic interior designs, which he's really good at, and managing his business, which he's exceedingly stressed out about and not so good at. For dozens of years he kept deriding himself and attacking himself for his lack of business sense and his perceived shortcomings. It was a very loving, nurturing and courageous thing for him to do when he finally accepted himself for who he was and realized that it was counterproductive to his well-being to constantly attack himself, and even go into long bouts of depression over it. Recently he decided to change his strategy and let go of some things he's been trying to do on his own, like managing his business affairs by himself. He sought out a business partners that were much better about legal and legal and financial affairs and concentrated on doing better designs. But not just ignoring that he felt like he was inadequate in these areas, he did not waste the opportunity and breathing room his partners left him, but instead allowed himself to try to be better at it himself, without self-attacking and started taking more interest in learning and developing that side of himself. He became more nurturing and caring about his emotions toward himself and learned to not consider it a failure in himself but a chance to accept who he was and stop knocking himself down. Instead his life became a process of becoming whole instead of always feeling like less or lacking.
Another friend keeps saying that "we cannot change ourselves, we can only be changed." I believe the truth in this statement is in how we accept ourselves and be kind to ourselves, allowing change to happen. Instead of attacking ourselves and saying things like, "I'm worthless." or "I'm no good at anything." We say things like, "Yes, I'm having trouble managing my finances, but I'm really good at my art. What can I do about it? I want to continue doing my design work, so how can I do that and do better at my finances? It's ok if I can't do it all. I should get help in this area of my life." Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to admit things we are hiding from or running from, when if we would only say it's ok, we could allow others to help us and change us. But our self-confidence erodes and we condemn ourselves without a process of healing and nurturing ourselves. I want to be whole and accept myself for who I am. It's a big step in the right direction of living a happy and fulfilled life.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:42 PM

January 13, 2006

Falling Asleep

Last night I was waiting for the computer, which my daughter was using and I fell asleep on the couch while reading.
I missed blogging, but by the time I woke up again, it was 5am. Too funny. But I decided it was better just to go to bed and get a couple more hours of sleep. So I went to bed and woke up at 9am to the smell of crepes. Wow, what a smell. I got up and had a fresh cup of dark roast and ate crepes and fruit. It was a great morning. Oh, yeah, and I took today off because it was my birthday. It was nice to have another Friday off. I have to admit I took every Friday in December off too. It's been nice working 4-day work weeks! This weekend however was an added bonus. I get Monday off as a holiday, so I get two 4-day work weeks by taking one day of vacation!
Anyway, today I was planning on doing a lot of things for the bike shop. But I was playing by a different set of rules than other people involved and ended up getting going at 3pm. We met at the shop and went to Minneapolis to buy some locking metal cabinets for the shop to lock up new inventory. It took us a long time to look through this warehouse and finallly make the purchase of two of these cabinets. I think they were a good deal, so we are on the right track. Inventory control is good,.
This post is really about flexibility. I wonder how things would have turned out if I was a hard-nosed hypocrite? I would not have tolerated the 'take it as it comes' mentality as another person I'm working with. In life I think it's important to always, ALWAYS remember what is really important in life. Yeah, business will get done, but human beings are more important. If my partner in the bike shop runs on a different mental clock, I need ot understand him as a human being and learn to work with it, if I value his role in our group. I do. So it's a matter of looking at my own expectations. So I do and found out that today was a great day! Because of this guys' friend in the salvage business, we got two locking cabinets for well under market value. So instead of spending 150 dollars, we spent 90. Good. More money to carry out our mission.
Now I'm falling asleep and better get to bed again... haha. The mind is willing but the body is weak...

Posted by carl1236 at 10:51 PM

January 11, 2006

The Birth of a Bike Blog

Announcement for all of you bicycle enthusiasts and anyone interested in the community building aspects using bikes as a tool for working with people: The Sibley Bike Depot has a new blog! I didn't create it, but I'm one of the authors. It's another way to communicate not only our mission but our daily interactions with people at the bike depot and the many interesting things that go on in the community and the bike shop. The Sibley Bike Depot Blog.

The Sibley Bike Depot (Minnesota Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance) is having it's annual meeting on Saturday, January 28th, at 6pm. This is the meeting where the members vote for the board of directors and I'm volunteering to be President. One of my major missions is to revitalize the mission of this non-profit organization and to get new, fresh blood involved. Everyone is welcome to attend. We are having free pizza at 6pm so RSVP would be helpful to know how much to order:

Something very cool is riding the streets of St. Paul and Minneapolis. It's a new year and a new group of fresh people to do good things. See you on the 28th!

Keep on riding! If you do come to the bike depot for our annual meeting on the 28th, please introduce yourself to me and let me know that you read about it here on my blog. I'm happy to meet anyone that reads this blog!

- John

Posted by carl1236 at 11:13 PM

You can be a hero too

The commercial says, "You can be a hero too. Take your family on a Walt Disney World Vacation." Is that what it takes to be a hero? Due to the expense of it, a Disney vacation is usually a one-time shot, maybe twice in a child's youth if their parents can afford it. Is that being a hero? Or is it buying a moment of entertainment? In raising children, I think a true hero is one who is spending time over the long haul with their children, teaching morals, values, skills, compassion, love for others, etc. It's a parent who sacrifices not to entertain, but to develop their children's ability to live and survive in this world and still have a good heart. This is a problem with commercialism I think. It tries to sell us on what we will be if only we will buy what they are selling. We will be heros if only we will buy a Disney vacation. We will be heros if only we will buy a Hybrid Car. We will by a hero if only we give diamonds for presents. Commercialism then becomes a matter of what we spend becomes what we are. If we buy into it we are accepted and loved, if not, we are seen as 'less.' Should we value 'purchasing' our heroship? Should we be valued for how much we can buy for our family? That is a modern perception of who we should be and what we should value and our advertisers tell us so. Let's all go to Disney World and be heros. When we come back from our fantasy vacation, we will be better people, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, virtuous and unfailing in our desire to help others. Let's all buy a nice car and we will be nicer to other human beings and masters of the environment. We are saving the world after all by spending 30,000 dollars on a car that saves a little gas. We are heros if we buy diamonds for our wives for christmas. It's a superficial view of what a real hero is I think. A real hero teaches and lifts up another human being. What is really important in life after all?

Posted by carl1236 at 10:47 PM

January 10, 2006

The sudden urge

Tonight at about 7pm or so, I was riding my bike through downtown St. Paul on my way home. I was just passing by an intersection and the Aroma's Cafe sign caught my eye. I've seen it before, but never had the need to stop in. Tonight however I had this sudden and urgent urge to take a detour and stop in for a treat. This coffee shop is not right on the corner and I couldn't see in from where I pulled up to the stop sign, so I didn't know why I was being 'pulled' in that direction. I parked my bike and looked in the window and to my wonder and surprise I saw my friend Kurt! I haven't seen him since November I think. So I parked my bike and went in and said hi. I ended up staying and eating a bite and having some coffee. We really enjoyed talking and made plans to meet again next week on Tuesday in the same place to play some chess and watch some student films they'll be showing.
Then when I began my journey home again, I was feeling pretty good. I was happy. But as I was passing the street where my bus runs, I felt this huge pull to go to the main bus stop and see when my bus came. It's several blocks out of my way, so I had to make a concerted effort to go that way. I kept telling myself that it would be a pain going back up the hill from that location, but I did it anyway. There at the bus stop I saw my friend Melvin with his bike. His bike was missing a pedal but he was riding it all over like that! I told him to stop by the bikeshop for a new pedal. He was happy to see me, and I was happy to see him. I ended up riding the bus home just to keep talking with him a little longer. Melvin's a good guy. We made plans that he would come into the bike shop on Saturday for a new pedal. Both times tonight I had this sudden urge to detour out of my normal course. I listened and it was amazing. It was totally worth it! Oh the mysterious, amazing thing this life is.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM

January 9, 2006

Fear = Alone

The more fear we have, the more alone we feel. When fear controls our hearts and minds, we have a really hard time loving others, let alone loving ourselves. Because of our fears of ourself and others we distance ourselves. The fear of being alone creates the reality of being alone. We are alone because we have great fear and it controls our hearts and minds. As it controls us we cannot see there is another way, but there is. It involves letting go of our fears, letting go of the things we create that do not help us; letting go of the things we create that seperate us from each other and from ourself, making us feel so alone. When fear speaks to us, we can so easily be blinded. We can embrace our fears and then let them go.
I am no longer afraid of losing my job. I have already given it up in my mind, yet now my job is getting more interesting and challenging. I still have not resolved the issue of having an abusive boss, but maybe I cannot resolve it. At least not without help. But now, since I have let go of my fear of losing my job, there is no power over me to make me feel small.
You know how fear can screw up relationships. When we are constantly afraid of losing someone, it usually happens. It's better to just live your life according to who you are inside and all that you know is good and right, and not worry about 'losing' something we cannot control in the first place. With people we cannot possess them yet we want to control them. But we have to learn to let that go or they will let us go.
Fear pulls down life, instead of building something new. Fear says we are alone, yet we are not. Unless we fear and are alone.
It is so lonely being alone, unless we are not really alone. As soon as we begin to fear, we begin to be alone. But if we do not feel alone while we are alone, we are not really alone.
No Fear.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:12 PM

January 8, 2006

Reading and Laundry Day

Today was seriously a day off for me. I did laundry and read. I'm on book six out of seven in the Chronicles of Narnia. Next weekend I plan on being done and seeing the movie. This morning I sat and read in the coffee shop and a friend said that I should write children's books, then he gave me an idea for a story. It was 'The squirrel who ate cherry pie.' He then proceeded to tell me the story about a squirrel who somehow found a way into their house and ate the cherry pie that was sitting on the counter and how when they saw it, it had cherry pie all over it's face! It was a funny story but then he kept telling about this squirrel and how they had to figure out how it was getting in and blocked the hole. Then His story telling turned for the worse and the squirrel ended up getting hit by a car and died, flattened on the road in front of their house. Uh, yeah, like that would make a good children's story! haha, I jokingly called it 'Greg's grim farie tales' and we laughed about it. He said, 'yeah, my stories tend to end up kind of dark." But I got thinking about it and after reading C.S. Lewis, I'm not sure I could write a story for children. My mind doesn't work like that I think. My imagination is good, but I don't think like a child mostly. I'm constantly surprised at how and what kind of things C.S. Lewis describes in his books, in order to make it interesting to children to read. It's almost like he wrote a story, then read it aloud to children and told them that whenever they had any questions at all, to interrupt him and ask it. Then he explained it to their satisfaction and wrote that down and added it to the story. As I was reading his book today, I kept thinking more and more about how good this book would seem to children. I'm enjoying, because of the way the stories are written. There are some things to me that are not logical, but then again, that's part of the reason only children can go to Narnia. They are the ones with the ability to believe in such places, creatures and magic.
Overall today was relaxing and I even got a nap in and did three loads of laundry. I'm all caught up now. Tomorrow starts another day! I needed another rest day and today was it. I feel much stronger and healthier now with more energy. Amazing what a little rest will do. Now I'd better not ruin it by staying up any later. I'm off to bed.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:29 PM

January 7, 2006

Learn to relax Max!

The wooden cat on our end table got knocked down and broke his leg. He's looking up into the air, and now he looks like he's praying to God asking to have her leg fixed. It's kind of cute looking but sad. It's a good thing I have Gorilla Glue. I know who knocked these little wooden cats off the end table and his name is Max. Max is a mix of Norwegian Elk-hound and something else. He's a really cute Luck-Dragon looking dog that still acts like a puppy, even though he's a year-and-a-half old now. Max is the cutest thing since sliced bread but his tail is uncontrolable and spins in a circle. It's like a little cyclone. I didn't see the accident happen but I can imagine. Dogs and cats you know. In fact I know our two dogs gang up on the cats while we are away. It's a game. They can hardly conceal it while we're here!
In life I want to say to some people just like I want to say to my puppy max, you gotta learn to relax Max! Just set yourself free! And then we don't have to use gorilla glue anymore to repair the damages left in the wake of your hurricane tail. Learn to relax Max! ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 7:17 PM

January 6, 2006

Wow, I'm tired

Last night I went to a meeting held at Spokes Pizza. I just love that place! Good pizza and good friends and good atmosphere. Anyway, by the time I was done there and got back home to St. Paul it was well after eleven something and I blogged then read some more in 'The Chronicles of Narnia' book. It was fun reading and I ended up staying up until 2am or so. I fell asleep only to be woken by the alarm shortly after. I had to be to work by 7:30 this morning. That was harsh! But I showered, brought coffee with me in my little 20 oz. insulated container and had a nice ride into work. That woke me up a bit. Then once at work, I checked my email and calls, grabbed my laptop and rode off to the wastewater treatment plant. I spent the whole day there and luckily my clothes don't smell too bad. Usually there is a residual smell on everything. I know, too much information. But it was a great day and we accomplished a lot. Then at about 2:45 I went back to my office, put away my laptop, checked my email, answered some voicemail, shut down and left at 3:30pm. I went to my art studio, grabbed my little cash box to get it opened at Kat Keys. That's a strange story in itself, but anyway, I had to get that open to get the keys out, since they were taped inside and I had to make a new key for the bikeshop for our new treasurer. I got that done, grabbed some dinner on the way and headed back to the bike shop. Once there I helped take care of an emergency and then finally I ate some dinner and got started on my artwork in my studio. So it was a busy day for me, and there was no time to condiser how tired I was. Now I'm feeling it after riding my bike home and cooling off a little. I'm really feeling like I will fall asleep as soon as I lay down. I think sometimes our occupation of time takes our minds off other things, and that's why we fill up our time. But tonight I forced myself to slow down and do my eggs. I got two eggs done though and had a lot of quiet thinking time to myself in my little pocket studio. By the way, I will be in the St. Paul Art Crawl displying my eggs, woodcarving and paintings. So I have to do a lot of artwork in order to have things to show. But back to slowing down... Doing this kind of work in isolation is meditative. I think about all kinds of things while doing these eggs. And at times I'm so focused on what I'm doing, that I don't think about anything else. It's a really nice and much needed break from an otherwise stressful day. Time to think. I think time to think is the missing ingredient in our lives when they become so frantic. 'Slow down you crazy child, you're too ambitious for a juvenile.' That's what I sing to myself whenever I feel like things are going crazy. Now I'm exhausted, mostly from lack of sleep, but I feel good. It feels good to slow down and allow myself the time to do artwork and meditate on life.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:01 PM

January 5, 2006

Giving up the boat

Well, tonight I knew there was a reason I hung out at Spokes Pizza longer than usual. After conducting business, one person in the group mentioned he was learning to build/restore a sailboat. I have a 1967 (I believe) Johnson X-Class racing scow sitting in my driveway waiting to be restored. I gave it to him if him and his friend want to take on the project. He was excited and had sailed an X boat before. They are pretty fast boats and fun to sail. Good for sailing on our lakes. It's a wooden sailboat that was made right here on White Bear Lake by Johnson Boat Works. Honestly, I really want to restore that boat and have put it on hold so many times and now I'm deeply involved in running a bike shop so have no time to restore this boat. So I'd rather see it go to someone who can appreciate it and will restore it. I made him promise if he doesn't restore it and sail it he has to give it back to me. It's up on a cradle and covered with tarps so it's not hurting it by me waiting to have more time. But I'm also excited if he takes it because then I won't feel bad that it's just sitting there waiting. If you know what I mean.
Isn't life full of priorities. It's one of the toughest tests or challenges that we have in life. And choices (or prioritizing our activities) are rarely clear. There is a lot of grey area in our priorities, and much of it is not so important as life and death, and prioritizing our activities becomes a matter of what we feel is the best use of our time now. Right now I feel like I won't get to the boat for at least 2 years. The bike shop and artwork and family is more important to me right now. So, I'm giving up the boat. And I'm happy about it. Is giving up the boat like giving up the ghost? No, I think it's more like giving someone who has the spirit to tackle a huge project like this the opportunity to do so.
Now I'm back to my original plan to build my own friendship sloop from a set of plans I bought in 1981, which I've carried with me all these years. It will be a fun project someday. When I'm making that a higher priority. So far I haven't though. It's ok, my boat will come out eventually. I like working with wood and sailing, so maybe down the road as I have more time I'll set myself up in a boat shop and go to it. Hmmm. bikes 'n' Boat'. Has kind of a ring to it. Maybe I need to build a pedal powered boat. haha.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:57 PM

January 4, 2006

Resolving problems

Tonight at the bike shop one man became frustrated with his brakes and began yelling at us and calling us names. He had reached his limit and his frustration was overwhelming. So I talked to him, and asked him how his broken brakes were our fault. He said it wasn't our fault his brakes were broken. Then I asked him if it was his fault his brakes were broken, and he said no. Then we talked about how frustrating it was and that I understood that. But at the same time, he could not take out his frustrations on us. In the end, he got his way by having someone drop what they were doing and fixing it for him. But sometimes, things become overwhelming and we just need relief from it. Like this man and his brakes. He told me that he would have thrown the whole bike outside over the railing if he didn't get it fixed, that's how frustrating it was for him. So, Dave fixed his bike in about 20 minutes and he was happy and had brakes again. And he apologized for taking out his frustration on us and we shook hands. Then I rode through downtown with him and another guy on the way home. You know, I really understand frustration, and I don't know anyone who likes to be the receiving end of it. We cannot take out our frustrations on other people. And it's helpful to try to see the source of frustration in other people. Usually there is a good reason for their frustration and it's a start in finding a solution. But first we have to be willing to face the insults, see beyond them and hear what the diffulties are. I think sometimes we cannot resolve some problems with other people, but sometimes we can. But we must be willing to hear and listen. I'm glad we shook hands and made up and rode off together.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:36 PM

January 3, 2006

Where do I begin?

When I'm creating artwork, deciding what to do and how to do it is one of the hardest parts. I have an idea, but to translate that into a piece of artwork it's like going through mental gymnastics and slow torture at the same time. Then once I decide, I have a plan. And once I have a plan I can do it. Today it took me a while to create two new designs on eggs, which I won't be able to start coloring until Thursday. And tonight as I was examining the two I finished yesterday, I see I need a new method of totally clearing out the insides without wrecking the dye on the bottom edge of the egg. Waxing over the bottom portion of the egg works pretty good, but after I thought the insides were cleaned out, it continued to drip a little and left a blob near the bottom, covering part of the design. It's too bad, but I researched and discovered someone else who has had this same problem and the solution is a new kind of drying rack which I'll have to build ASAP. I just wrote a note to myself to get the right size nails for this. They have to be long enough and skinny enough to go into the bottom of the egg and support the whole egg so it's suspended above the base. This allows the entire contents to continue to drain, while the pin acts as a wick to draw the remaining water and egg out and downward so it doesn't collect around the hole until it builds up enough weight to fall. Anyway, tonight I got two more eggs drawn so I'm excited. The studio effect is working. I'm isolated there and there are no distractions. Hyper-focus definately works for extremely detailed, time consuming artwork like this. And they are beautiful. I love creating beautiful things.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:12 PM

January 2, 2006

Revealing a bad design

Well, today I removed the wax from the two Ukrainian Easter Eggs I made and the first one I did was kind of a disappointment, mainly because it was an experiment in design and it didn't look very good. I had these big white diamond shapes on them and those were the only things that were white and they stood out too much and detracted from the more intricate designs on the rest of the egg. So I spent the next couple hours experimenting with the bleach and dyes trying to fix it. I didn't fix it but I did learn a few things and created an acceptable, new design. It kind of looks like a turquoise egg with etching on it. The color is not even but it adds character right? Haha, it was a creative learning experience and I can always use that egg which is quite a nice color as a background egg to show off the others.
Sometimes we get into things and start working with them to reveal a mess underneath that wasn't readily visible from the outside. A lot of things we get involved in could turn out this way. But I've found the process of creatively fixing things is a great experience. We don't have to throw it out or get disgusted and quit. Often I look at things as opportunities not failures and then it becomes an adventure. This is artful living that I'm slowly becoming more accustomed to. When a bad design is revealed, it's not time to give up, it's time to begin.
In the book I'm reading, The Chronicles of Narnia, I finished book four out of seven, Prince Caspian. The characters echoed this idea in one part of the story. I'd like to say that it's that easy in real life. It takes practice to be creative and I guess that is what we are doing when we try to fix things that are revealed to not be working or show up as ugly to us. We are practicing being creative. I think the more we do this the easier it gets to find creative solutions and create beautiful things out of what could have been complete failure.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:40 PM

January 1, 2006

Old Dye Doesn't die, it just congeals

Tonight I started working on Ukrainian Easter Eggs again and used some colors that I haven't touched in a while. They are in Jars and sealed up. They last for a long time in the Jars but there are two things that happens to the dyes when they get more than a couple years old. First they congeal on the bottom. It's like a thick, syrupy, rubbery blob that won't remix in with the water. Secondly, the dyes no longer work as well. I have to leave the eggs in the dye much longer to get bright enough colors. So, I may just pick up some new dye packets soon and start all over with a fresh batch of dyes.
On a positive note, I just used my new electric kistka for the first time and I loved it. It's a little akward to hold with the cord attached, but the wax goes on smooth and it's much faster work then trying to keep the tip heated by candle as I have been doing for years. So I'm hooked after one use. I did two eggs tonight. I still have to remove the wax and blow out the eggs tomorrow, so it will be an exiting day for me. As I've said before, removing the wax at the end of the process is the best part of the process! It reveals the image underneath all of that wax and it's beautiful. It's like opening up a really good present.
I know this is kind of a transition, having an art studio of my own, seperate from my home. There are many reasons why I chose to do this, which I won't go into now, but I did discover that there is a logistics problem. It'll take some getting used to. For instance, I brought all this stuff in there thinking I had everything, but I needed some paper towels or napkins for removing the eggs from the dye. I didn't have any. I did have a rag though, so I used that. But I was getting different colors of dye transferring from the rag back onto the egg. That's not good. Anyway, tomorrow will present another issue. Blowing the egg out requires a sink. I'll have to leave my studio and go to the bathroom and blow out the eggs, then go back. In my own home there is a lot of infrastructure I took for granted. It is interesting though and there are no challenges that can't be resolved with creativity. One major advantage that outweighs the disadvantages is that it's a great isolation cell with no distractions. Once I'm in there working, I'm working. So, I got two eggs nearly done tonight. After I finish with these I'll start posting some pictures online of my artwork. Next weekend I'll have to go get some new dye packets. For now, I'll use colors that are still good.
In the Chronicles of Narnia, I just finished reading "The Horse and his boy." I'm really enjoying reading this series of Children's books by C.S. Lewis. It is very artfully written. Now it's bedtime. Tomorrow is another day of revelations, in the book I'm reading and the eggs I'll be removing wax from.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:31 PM