Jazz

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I’ve watched all the Ken Burns documentaries.  Some in part, others in their entirety-some of those multiple times.  “Jazz” belongs in the latter category.  It’s just stunning.  This 10 part series shows you the genesis of an American art form.

The common thread that runs through the series is the life, and influence of Louis Armstrong.  The mark that “Pops” left on the world is hard to fathom.  I’m not a religious person, but that man makes me believe that he was a gift to the world.

Even if you’re not a fan of the genre, it’s worth the watch.

If you’re a PBS subscriber it’s available on their app, iTunes and many other places where one can consume media.

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The cold, dark days of Winter

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Many of my writing ideas come from daily interaction with people in the store.  When the weather is like it’s been here lately (read: COLD), interactions are few and far between.  What’s a guy to do?

My relationship with winter has changed as I’ve gotten older.  In my 20s and 30s I would wear shorts in the bike shop all winter long.  I spend a handful of years skiing upwards of 20 days a season.  I rode my bike in temps down around (and sometimes below) 20 degrees (F).  Not.  Any.  More.  Dammit.

Couldn’t I ride my bike indoors? Sure.  I have done this in years past.  I could also stick a fork in my eye.  It’s just too mind numbing for me to even contemplate.  It will take a couple of weeks to get my legs back underneath me come Spring, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay.  I have no one to keep up with but myself.

The flip side of this is I’m getting older (aren’t we all?).  It’s not necessarily a great idea to just let myself go to pot during the winter months.  Again, what’s a guy to do?

My solution should be body weight exercises.  Air squats, push ups and stretching (maybe even yoga-gasp!).  All these things could keep me mobile during the long, dark winter.  Then again, I could go back to binging shows on Netflix.

If you live in a cold climate, keep the faith.  Spring is nigh.

I was a guest on a local podcast last month.  We talked about cycling in the city of Indianapolis.  If you have an interest, you can listen to it here.

 

 

Eating well doesn’t have to be hard (or expensive)

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I love seafood.  I mean LOVE it.

One of the things I’ve been trying to do lately is get more “bang for the buck” in the things I eat.  As much as I love steak, locally raised, grass fed beef is expensive.  The same can be said of pasture raised chickens when compared to the birds in the grocery store.  Fresh seafood is problematic living in the land locked middle of the country.  The whole thing can be challenging.

I bought a package of frozen mussels at my local grocer for…….about 3 dollars.  Was it organic?  I don’t think so.  Were the mussels raised in a nurturing environment?  I would guess not.  Were they delicious?  Absolutely.

Bi-valves are packed full of all kinds of nutritious goodness.  Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, Omega 3s, Vitamin A and Vitamin B12 are just a few of the good things found in mussels.

But what about the bread?  Usually what remains of the water, butter, garlic and whatever other spices you add would be sopped up with……bread.  That’s a problem (for me anyway).  I love it, but it is not my friend.  Thankfully, there is someone in the house that not only loves me, but is hella good at baking.  These yucca rolls make for a perfect vehicle for transporting said juices to your expecting, gaping maw.

Have a problem with eating animals?  I know there are some of you out there.  The argument could be made that it’s more “ethical” for vegetarians to eat bivalves as they don’t feel pain.

Mussels are super easy to prepare.  Bringing the water to a boil is the longest part of the procedure.  The next time you’re looking to add a little variety to meal time, why not give them a try?

Bon Appétit!

Defining “Ancestral Living”

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I’ve been trying to come up with a way to describe the way I would like to live my life.  “Ancestral Living” is the only one that (currently) makes sense to me.

Make no mistake, I’m not talking about living in a mud hut, and giving up modern medicine.  It’s trying to achieve a balance between the way, I think, we are genetically programmed to live and our current technologically advanced world.  At the risk of repeating myself, my goals are:

Eat real food:  This is pretty easy to understand.  The more research you do on processed foods and sugar, the more you realize that they shouldn’t really play any part in your life.

Time away from screens:  I’m a gadget guy, always have been.  But staring at screens all day long can’t be any good for you.

More time outdoors:  Just going outside for a short walk has the ability to recharge you.  A couple hours (or overnight) in the woods is even better.  I did some hammock camping late last summer, and I’m anxious to do more.

Read more (books):  I recently rediscovered the library.  It must be because I’m getting old!  The power went out for about 3 hours a couple of days ago.  I was glad to have an actual paper book to read.

Waste less:  Just so we don’t get it twisted, I am by no means some sort of soft hearted soul trying to save the world.  Just going back to cloth napkins instead of paper towels has had an impact in what we throw away.  It’s also reduced the grocery bill.  Those things are expensive!

Have more conversations:  I wrote about this a couple of posts ago.  We run the risk of losing our ability to truly communicate with people if all we do is text and email.  So many small details are lost.

Given the time of year it could be easy to see this as some sort of resolution.  I don’t really do those.  Instead it’s just a reminder, for myself if nothing else, to stay the course.  It’s so easy to come off the rails.

Christmas is about a week away.  If you celebrate, I hope yours is Merry and Bright.

Barefoot in the winter?

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I dabbled with “minimal” footwear about 3 years ago.  The Vibram 5 fingers were all the rage-that may be a bit of an overstatement- and I really liked them.  I enjoyed the feeling of being connected to the ground, and I did notice greater strength and flexibility in my feet.  But, let’s be honest, you can’t just wear those things everywhere……well I couldn’t.  After the first summer, they went on the shelf.

Fast forward to this last summer.  I got a pair of Bedrock Cairn sandals, and wore them nearly every day.  I rode my bike in them, I backpacked and hiked in them.  I would be wearing them right now if the temps hadn’t dipped below my comfort zone.

As the weather got cooler I went back to some “normal” shoes.  Not surprisingly, they didn’t feel right anymore.  There was too much heel lift, and not enough room for my little piggies.  So what’s a person to do?

Thankfully I’ve found two minimal shoes that I think will take me though the winter months.

First the Hana from Xero shoes.  The Hana is a simple canvas shoe that uses a lacing/heel tightening system similar to a huarache sandal.  The 5.5 mm sole provides enough protection and adequate grip.  These shoes are super light (stated weight for a mens size 9 is 8oz.).  You barely know you have them on.  The more I wear these shoes, the more I like them.

The Hana will keep my feet covered, but wont do much for really cold weather.  I started looking for a boot that would, hopefully, get me through some snowy conditions.  I recently bought a pair of boots from Vivobarefoot.

The Gobi II Winterproof has a seam-sealed, insulated, water resistant canvas upper and thermal insole.  I’ve been wearing these for about a week.  They do seem warmer, and we’ll see how they fare as I wear them through the winter.

Have any of you experimented with minimal foot ware?  Full time minimalist?  Let me know if you have any favorites.  I’m always on the lookout for new shoes!

Chris