Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Ranks of the Doored

Last night I joined the ranks of The Doored.

Last night I was hit by a door while riding my bike. A door may seem like a non-threatening inanimate object but I assure you this one was prepared to go the distance and definitely won the tilt. I was making my way to The Counter, a great burger place on Diversey and Clark, when a cab door opened on my left knocking my handlebars askew and forcibly dismounting me from my bicycle. This isn't a story of massive injury. My cat-like reflexes kept me on my feet. However, Red Rocket and I landed about five feet from the collision point and the chain almost came completely off. After seeing a bike twisted like a pretzel a few weeks back from a run in with a delivery truck, I'm content escaping without any injury to me or Red Rocket.

Anyhow, it could've been worse. And I'm glad it wasn't.

Naturally, the cab driver looked at me like it was my fault. And he's right. I telepathically instructed him to drive in the bike lane and again telepathically instructed the passenger to open the door precisely as I passed by. Caught red handed... how are cabby's so smart?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Bakery? Unsanitary? Never!

Since releasing the announcement yesterday that I might someday open a bakery, there have been stirrings amongst our friends and relatives in support and offers of advice - all welcome, naturally.

However, several persons have said something that disturbs and somewhat upsets me. Apparently, upon hearing the potential name of my establishment, The Bearded Baker, those people immediately thought the name sounded unsanitary.  

One friend suggested a 'beard-net'. I countered with the option of wearing a bandana in bandit style. Yet still there is dissent. 

What is to be done? If I have a bakery will I have to swear off my beard forever? Woe, woe, and woe again. Let it not be so!

I might not take these accusations personally, but my beard does!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Full of Surprises!

Today I followed in the footsteps of my father, brother, and grandfather. A proud moment indeed.

Growing up my dad owned his own painting and wallpapering company. He also did a little remodeling, dry wall, siding, and if he really liked you, maybe some bathroom fixtures. Never electrical - the stuff's dangerous, leave it for the pro's.

Anywho, Jim's Painting and Paperhangning was my family's basket of bounty. Being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs, but I always respected my dad for doing his own thing and being really good at it. There are many houses in Minot where he can list off every color underneath the present shade because HE'S been the one to do it for thirty some-odd years. Now my folks are still being their own boss as owners and innkeepers of the famed Dakotah Rose Bed and Breakfast.

My brother, immediately after graduating from college, started his own furniture business and was also very successful. My grandfather, after leaving the service, opened a couple of laundromats and a car wash and had rental properties. On my mom's side there's a whole gang of farmers and ranchers, all doing their own thing. I guess we have a flair for independence.

Family history aside, something happened today that has never happened to me before. Something happened that opened an entirely new vista of opportunity before me.

k, I'll cut the drama.

I sold bread! Although most are unaware, I love to bake. In particular, I love to bake bread! I can thank my mom for giving me my start and I can even thank 4-H for giving me a little confidence in the quality of it. Most of all, though, I just love every part of making bread. It's an art, a stress reliever, and beautiful process. There are endless options. Countless ways to vary and change and make a recipe your own. I just think it's great.

While living in the dorm in college my greatest woe was not having an oven. Now that I'm in an apartment, however, I get to do all the baking I have time for. So now I'm turning out bread as often as I can and experimenting with recipes and ideas. It's awesome.

As if this weren't enough, though, my wife has taken the liberty to brag up my bread at work. Then she took some with her and we got the line I've heard before - "oh wow, you could sell that". But it was a variation of the line. This time it was, "Can I buy some?" This is entirely new territory.

So, I went to the store and got more supplies and this morning set out to make "for sale" quality Red Pepper and Roasted Garlic Cheese bread. And it was wonderful. They were beautiful little ten-inch oblong loaves with shredded colbyjack and roasted garlic cheese settled and melted into the scoring along the top of each loaf. What a delight!

So now (although I technically am not a business yet or have a license or a store or anything legit), I feel as though I am a little closer to being an entrepreneur too.

Only time will tell if this will actually turn into a really business future, but today I was paid for my skillful little creations and that felt pretty cool.

P.S. If it's not too early, I also have a name for my business. My store is tentatively dubbed, "The Bearded Baker".

Life Changes, pt. 2

Greetings World!

I've been remiss. Six months ago I put a single line in my last entry and then never explained myself. Most likely there is no one reading this who doesn't know the events of the last half-year, but nonetheless, I'll recount a brief overview now.

The short story: I failed to graduate from college when I intended and found myself confronting parts of myself that I had neglected and overlooked for some time. I wish I could say I was in over my head and no one would've succeeded in those circumstances, but that would be a lie. Rather, I reached a point of busyness and responsibility that demanded I rely on others and not just myself. I reached a point of breaking where I could refashion the manner in which I used my time and energies or I could watch everything crumble around me. I reached a point when I needed to be human and instead chose the route of playing God. I am not God.

Consequently, I watched much of my world crumble around me. I was blessed to be surrounded by persons who encouraged me to be present in my brokenness and receive the redemption that God wanted for me. As a result, as I stated in my last post, I once again began to feel.

I do not presume that I have gained the heights of sagacity an am now prepared to dish out wisdom, for that I suggest that you fear God and get some humility. I have learned however that in isolation, in the attempt to keep all the plates spinning on my own, in the madness of pleasing others and constantly striving to achieve titanic standards of perfection and excellence, I stop being human - and that's not okay. In fact, it's death. Death for me, and a death sentence of separation and isolation from my friends, family, church, and spouse. Not to mention from God.

So, I've began to heal. I am also retaking a few classes so I can finally graduate. This is a constant reminder to be present in this process of redemption. Had I got what I asked for back in April (an extension so I could turn things in late) I would have received pity, not mercy. And I would never have received the grace of learning and growing out of my insecurities and deficiencies.

This is a summary of that part of my story from the last six months. God has proven faithful, I have proven to be much more of a stubborn mule than I ever guessed. Praise God - he used Balaam's donkey and he sees fit to use me too.