Mostly I wish I never had to sleep

I’m about to fire up my 3rd kiln load of tiles. The first batch was 3″ squares. The second load was also the 3″ squares mostly except for a few slabs of shapes. This 3rd load is  all slabs-o-shapes. The slabs-o-shapes are about 3- 4.5 inch slabs that I score into shapes. Rectangles, squares, and triangles. I find that when fired and glazed I can use my special stained glass pliers to break these slabs on the scored lines into mosaic tiles one by one. My plan is to make buckets of organized tiles, buckets of red triangles, green rectangles, green triangles, yellow squares…. you get the idea.  I am just going to keep making these colored shapes and then it should be easy to put them together into patterns and mosaic.

And the 3″ squares with little patterns and multiple colors?  I think those could be bathroom tiles. I could line them up in the bathrooms….There is the problem that my last calculations showed I’d need over 20 kiln loads of squares to do one bathroom and I have done basically 2 kiln loads and have moved on to mosaic exterior tiles…. How will I even accomplish the 40 something kiln loads to JUST tile the bathrooms?  I don’t know. I don’t think about those details. I don’t think about how long it takes to design and paint multiple coats and colors on each little tile and then multiply the kiln loads by the months and think about the 5+ years it could take to just tile 2 bathrooms like I want. I make sure that I doubt my math skills to have the correct data and that I focus on making tiles every day and not the thought of the years and years and years ahead of me just to accomplish the bathrooms. And if truly the bathrooms would take that long then making mosaic tiles for the entire building is obviously more than I could do in the years of life I have left… I don’t think about that. At all. Never. Ever. I think about how I want to fill my first bucket with tiles. Orange squares or green triangles. I want to start filling some buckets and get into the details later. Maybe I can figure out how to employ others to help one day.

My days lately are flat out pieces of art in themselves. My day starts at 4 or 5am when I wake up and lie in bed thinking about it all. I will myself back to sleep if possible for a bit but am usually wide awake by 6:15. I swim 30 minutes. I get the kids off to school. I paint a mural.  I eat. I work on tile and collage and a table top. I respond to emails, I order stuff online. I work on a tabletop for the new LSE. I write. I go score or make tiles.  I move tiles to the kiln. I prepare a piece of wood for a painting or collage. I paint. I collage. I prepare wood for a table top. I epoxy a table. I eat. I hang with the family. I work on table top. I write. I make an audio journal. I clean my desk. I go to the studio and make slabs or move tiles. I go to bed awful late, like between midnight and 1am usually. I lie in bed for an hour thinking, trying to blank my mind but thinking. I wake up at 4. I start all over.

Somewhere in there I failed to mention I check in at work or I work. I bus tables and run food. I make pizzas. I email managers and/or employees. I work on the plans for the new building. I make phone calls. I organize events. I draw T-shirts and bumper stickers. I think about the menus a lot. I redesign menus.  I talk about maintenance, food orders, catering, or bookkeeping. I manage the details and think about problems and potential solutions. I make jokes. I listen to podcasts.

I like it like this. I fill my days like puzzle pieces in a 5000 piece puzzle. I work on the blue part, or the edges for a while. I come back later and work on the brown bits. I fit pieces in all day so from start to finish I am efficient, productive, and enjoying myself. That’s the thing…. I like what I do a lot. I wish I never had to sleep. I like getting in the bed a lot and I love sleeping. I often dream wonderful dreams of flying and tricks of flight, and challenges and overcoming fears. I often have wonderful fun exciting dreams and occasionally I have the troubled confused stressed out dreams. The restaurant is running badly. We have moved to a new location. There is confusion, incompetence. I worry.

And there are the fitful nights. I wake up sweating and anxious. I can’t seem to sleep but I wake up a hundred times. Am I asleep at all? How do I keep waking up if I am not sleeping? Why is my mind so engaged?

But mostly I welcome the pillow. The crickets sounds and cool night air coming in the window. Mostly I love the quick nap and the recharge. But then again, mostly I wish I never had to sleep. Think how many years I could shave off my bathroom tile project if I never had to sleep? I like sleeping but often my heart beats fast in bed, thinking of all the things I want to do. Wishing and waiting to get up and get more tiles made, more paintings done, more pizzas made and more people served and satisfied. I enjoy so much about my days but they are all so short and packed full. I would love to employ a crew of artists. I would love to create something as amazing as the City Museum in St. Louis.

acupuncture helps me

i feel better today. i feel like i am coming out of my funk and into a good place.

i got back in the studio today. i got excited about starting a new art project but need to finish my current one first.  two more stained glass windows and i can move on to the next big project in the studio. and i’m halfway done with the first so it could be a couple weeks and i’ll be ready…. to clean out the glass, or store it neatly in the corners… and ready the studio for making tiles.

yes you read that right, tiles.  i want to make a thousand million tiles in different shapes and colors for mosaic.  i want to mosaic the entire outside of the new lightnin salvage so if i start making tiles now i can have a lot ready for when the building is done.  i want it to look like a temple of some kind, some sort of crazy vibrant colorful temple or church or mosque or whatever those buildings are covered in mosaic.

i’ve never made tiles but i know a woman who has.  she knows clay and has a kiln so maybe we can work on a mosaic tile factory in 2017.  i am so excited about the idea i can barely stand it.

doesn’t take much to turn me around 180 degrees…. a good session with my acupuncturist and then an idea that i can obsess on in my studio that can result in something visually stunning if i pull it off.

anyway, 12:54am means no more top secret information for you, dear and gentle reader. no. got to get that beauty sleep if i am going to become a great mosaic tile maker soon. i am not 100% back in the swing but i feel like i am over the hump and rolling downhill at a mellow speed.  it’s a long slow incline and i am slowly sliding on a large sheet of cardboard, hopefully to fall into a pool of chocolate pudding at the end. i’m only at 55% but i’m headed in the right direction now.

 

the second fire

what is it that i am supposed to be learning from fire? seems as if one fire in a lifetime would be enough to teach whatever lesson a fire is supposed to teach. but a second fire, more than 5x bigger and more devastating, within 5 years of the first?…. where is the closest cave i can crawl into and hide??

the first fire was really just smoldering wood in a wall without oxygen and lots of scary smoke. the crumbling old drywall being pumped with heat from the 3 high stack of 500 degree pizza ovens, slammed against an old wall with dry sappy heart pine studs. not a real fire, just a smoldering wall.

the fire damage was minimal but the firefighter destruction in the hunt for the source… the smoke and the thousands of gallons of water that followed…. took out the entire kitchen on a random tuesday night.

the second fire caught who the hell knows how? on a random monday night when the place was closed and locked and alarmed and shuddered. a different building but a fire starting only 30′ from the first, and 4 1/2 years later. this fire went unchecked and went to fully involved in 15 minutes. the 6 trees slammed up on the back wall were ablaze. the 2 gigantic rainwater collection tanks melted into a water-like pool of plastic. the entire building turned to ash, leaving only the heartiest and thickest of the metals, but so many dumpsters and snow shovels full of ash and memories.

10 years of artists and musicians and customers and kids… over 10 years of traditions and collections. the sign says “junk museum” and “5 and dime.” under that roof was a party 5 nights a week for a decade. more birthday parties and field trips, anniversaries and family gatherings than can be successfully counted.

no, the second fire spared the kitchen and took the stage. left the diners and stole the spark. did not touch the dining room but burned up the vibe.

the second fire made people scared to come. are they afraid now? are the depressed? do they think we are still closed? had the gift shop and lounge finally become the main attraction with a pizza joint attached on the side? because that is what i have always wanted and dreamed of and worked for. to make the gift shop/ junk museum lounge bar and live music venue a roadside attraction and destination of its own. it’s not a pizza joint with a gift shop next door but the other way around. the main attraction is this freak show place. the dessert is the dinner next door.

so i finally remembered tonight that my entire story has been based on leaving something i imagine can never be outdone and outdoing it a few times over somehow and against the odds. i lived in a shack i built on an tangerine grove in citra. a wall of windows, a treehouse above… a ring of bricks and fire pit out front…. a decorated a warehouse in tallahassee that was once a punk club called planet 10. i made rooms and a labyrinth of multi layered junk that could have inspired tom waits and george lucas to collaborate. lanterns and stacks of rusty debris, quilts and fabrics, wicker and an old dentist chair…. lightnin salvage was another one of those places. a created space with a countdown timer attached. a visual feast with a hidden bomb. the train track overhead, the 10 years of pinecone awards, the 14 years of collected reading glasses left behind on a table in a pizza joint. a wall of iphones, a chandelier of keys, and rows and rows and rows of old hose and bike tires as the insulation from the beating summer heat. and now i am left to prove i can do something better. i am left to show i still know what customers want. i have the “blank canvas” everyone is telling me i have but they are all watching to see how good i can paint.

i am pissed. i am so depressed i am pissed. i am depressed that insurance will be a bitch my whole life. i will continue to pay through the nose for insurance and i will continue to be a very safe person and careful and deliberate. i will give more to insurance than i will make myself. if i have another fire i will not rebuild. i will die then. i will curl up, move away, hide, run and die. i cannot keep dealing with fire. i have a right to relax for a minute. i get to rest soon, right? i get to stop dealing with all this stress and anxiety and depression right?

i’ve always believed and said that “everything happens for a reason.” silly dime store philosophy. well, this second fire? it has me really wondering. did i do something wrong? is there a lesson here i am oblivious to? why the fuck do i have to deal with this shit when everything was going so good a month ago? how can i lose another huge chunk of my life and business to fire? how can i rebuild AGAIN? a man only has so much to give the world.

fire

another fire. can’t sleep. anxiety. my muscles are all sore.  my mind never rests now. business is down 50% since the fire. if you walk behind the restaurant where LSE was it’s depressing.

i got up to write and ended up texting with this old friend who now lives in china. we went back and forth an hour and now i don’t need to write.  i don’t know what i need. i feel like i need some drug that could deliver me from all of the anxiety and stress and tension i feel right now. have been feeling for 10 days.

my life was going along so good. now i feel like i just want to go away somewhere.  escape. that’s what i long for right now.

i used to love going to work. now i hate it. i get no comfort in sleep. i toss and turn. i don’t sleep. i lay there.  i sleep a little. i’m hungry. i’m always hungry. food does not satisfy me. beer and wine don’t taste good. the couch isn’t comfortable.

maybe i should go right now to ihop and order as much food as possible. i’m so hungry.

 

on a roll

After a nice summer of some travel and some leisure, I got back home and hit the ground running. Get my mom moved into a new place. Get the stained glass window factory cranked back up. Fix the things around the house. Paint the bedroom. Find a routine.

Today it’s all clicking and ticking. I just installed my third stained glass window after my summer slow down. I have a new one drawn and half cut out. While it could easily still take into 2017 to finish the project, it’s easier now to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It truly has been a tunnel because it isn’t very often I start a project I know will take me a very long time. I projected it would take a year to do the stained glass project and it will more likely be 1.5 years. That’s a big project. Big because I work all the time on it. I put in 25+ hours on it most weeks I suspect. I’d say an average of 4 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s important to me and it’s also fun. I love watching the vision come into focus.

I’m also trying to get on the paintings. Every year for over 20 years I have a show of new paintings. This year will be no different but I was pretty far behind on my paintings.  I would say I “usually”  do 12-20 paintings per year but the stained glass project stalled out the paintings to where I only had 3 after the busy summer of fun but I’ve made time to do 2 more and now working on a new one which will bring this years total to 6 by the end of this month I suspect. It’s not that the number of paintings really matters, but what does matter is that I can have a show of my new paintings and the walls don’t look bare. Nobody would really care but me but I care an awful lot. I would like to have 8 and it seems that may be possible at this stage.

However, the paintings/ collage this year are not that great. I am usually very excited about my work and even when I know the viewers won’t know or care they are excellent, I am pleased with myself for the quality of work. This year is quite different. I have been unhappy with each piece, although they look fine they just don’t make me excited. I have not been “inspired” to make another after each one I finish that is… meh.  Maybe because my heart is more in the stained glass right now, or maybe it’s the constraint I have given myself of working in symmetry, but I feel like I was in a rut…. until tonight.

And really that is the whole reason I came here to write. I was thinking to write about the challenge and excitement of my new painting but then I thought maybe I should go in the yard and record. I could easily talk for 10 minutes and make a new podcast about the challenge of this new simple painting and the good feeling of being on a roll, in the groove and with fizzy kombucha again.

But I figured it’d be sorta boring either way and writing is more acceptable boring than audio so I went with this. So 2 things that have me most excited and then off to my new pillow.

1. early in my painting days, in my 20’s, I would once in a while do a painting in 2 colors that was more like a drawing painting almost. I would use 2 colors very similar in tone (usually orange and brown) and paint weird things that seemed to disappear at dusk or dawn. This disappearance was like the best magic to me. I could look at a painting  and watch it slowly vanish as the sun set and not appear again until the sun hit the horizon. These paintings were so strange and most people would never see anything interesting in them, and most people would not get excited that they could vanish like that. So what?

But I don’t paint them for others but for myself and I have never lost my excitement over this phenomenon. The favorite painting I ever did is called Dusk Dawn and is 2 paintings in one and is 2 colors. I painted it in 1999.   It does not disappear so much because the orange is brighter and the brown is darker. But just the two colors makes me love it in a way that is hard to explain here near midnight when I have already said too much. Sometimes I say “I should do a 2 color painting” and then I start to but soon add a third color because it is so easy and I forget the challenge and reward a 2 color painting brings me. So in my funk of not being pleased with my paintings this year I decided to do a 2 color one. I started yesterday and worked on it for hours. It looked like crap. I was not sure it could ever look good but I kept working on it. Tonight I worked a couple more hours and it’s a struggle. It’s hard to just switch between the 2 colors and find a way to make something worth looking at. But I hit that place tonight where even through the challenge it was fun. I started to see that it kept calling me back and I can even sortof see it when I’m not looking at it. I think about it when I’m not painting it. That’s probably the sign of a good book and definitely the sign of a “good” painting, whatever that means.

So I cannot say it will be good when it’s done but it has excited me about a painting for the first time this year which is a rare and sad thing to say because usually I just live for painting all the time. It carries me week to week. I think about them and enjoy showing them off a little and photographing them and finding homes for them. This has been an off year but honestly even the paintings I don’t like end up having a fine life and often look better with time. A friend has one hanging in his house that I hated and I saw it yesterday and it looked beautiful. How did that happen?

And #2. And I really need to wind this up. Much too longwinded tonight… My kombucha. I was ready to give up making it because it has not been fizzy since early 2016 when I had let it go too long and it was taken over by fruit flies and I had to start over. I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong and right before giving up I figured it out. I had been letting it ferment for too long and thus a second fermentation was not allowing it to carbonate. I don’t entirely understand it but when I changed the ferment from one month to 2 weeks the stuff started getting fizzy again and finally tastes amazing. Oh it’s a relief because I really do love the stuff I am drinking tonight compared to hating the stuff I was making last month. It’s like it’s all coming together man. I can have fizzy as hell satch sour soda while I struggle and enjoy painting my mesmerizing 2 color symmetrical mandala. The struggle is a pleasant sort in which I feel progress and see solutions. Painting is simply a problem solving endeavor after all. Problem solving at its most elegant. And 2 colors?  Simple, elegant problem solving and really hard also.  It’s not something I should try and explain. It’s just my strange secret world.

 

 

Pizza

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It’s too late to start writing I know that but I start writing anyway. It’s a problem. I do things I know I shouldn’t do, like order popcorn at the movies right after eating dinner, or eating a second dessert when I am just being gluttonous. Or having pizza AGAIN when I know I should eat a vegetable once in a while. I’ve had pizza from 4 places in the last week, and at least 7 times. I ate pizza at this new place V Pizza twice. Once to try the pizza and once I went to try the wings but tried their gluten free pizza also. I went to the food truck Humble Pie one lunch, because I was craving some pizza and wanted to try something different. I’ve eaten at my own pizza place several times, and one night had take out from my place at a friends, one night a leftover a calzone from the frig.

Today I drove south of Ocala to buy a new mixer for our baker because she overloads all the mixers and has gone through 4 or 5 in the past 13 years, and when I got to the restaurant with it my wife was there and she asked to see it. I am hoping this is a more powerful mixer and maybe will last us a long time. I spent more on it than the other mixers.  Anyway, I open the door of the car to show her quickly and close the door and she says, “Why does your car smell like pizza?” and I was busted. I had stopped at Domino’s on the way back from Ocala because I had gotten some free pizza coupons and haven’t had Domino’s in some time. She was shocked, but she shouldn’t be. She knows me. But when she asked where I got lunch the other day when I had eaten at Humble Pie I avoided the question and changed the subject and she never caught on, so she doesn’t know about that time.

If I didn’t feel so guilt I might go to Pizza Hut tomorrow because I had Pizza Hut as a kid and I like to have that pizza every year or so to remember my childhood. I’m on a roll so why not keep going?  We’ll see.  It’s always best when I can slip it in some afternoon and she doesn’t know. She wants me to be healthy, my wife, and so she gives me shit for eating pizza too much. I understand. It really isn;t good for me.

But back to my regular rambling about sleep and trying to get enough and my bedtime (which I feel like I must mention on every post to explain my brevity and hurried tone…) it’s almost midnight and I didn’t sleep good last night and need to get my teeth brushed and make a plan for tomorrow, which means gather some stuff, make a list, mentally prepare a minute for my day, so I can’t tell you about the stained glass I’m working on, the paintings I am not getting done, or the slow pace of my progress which is only slow for me but not compared to normalness. I am wishing and hoping that I make time to write and maybe make a new podcast, and sleep more, in the coming days and weeks. But I also want to make time to jog, swim, and do some general stretching and I know the challenge of “making time.” It’s something I’m not good at. I find time now and then but I find it so hard to make time. Mostly it just rolls right over me like a herd of buffalo. Good night and good luck in finding something better to read than this.

Oh and a quick P.S.: getting this off my chest might help me sleep better tonight. Apple is getting on my nerves.  Not even the headphone jack thing that so many people are mad about. I could care less about that.  No, my pretty new computer SUCKS since I installed this new OS and my phone sorta sucks too and I’m actually considering buying an android phone and a Windows computer. I can’t believe I just said that. I have been using a Mac for I don’t know- 15 years now? but I just can’t take it.  iTunes is so bad, my computer and phone sort of seem shitty. It’s a long story and I don’t have time to tell but mark my words, Apple is not on the up and up. They are screwing up in a lot of ways and I wish there was a third option for me right now but it’s like the Trump Clinton thing. We only get 2 choices. you know what I mean.

nothing

here i am again with nothing to say but something made me come here.  it’s as if i have stuff bottled up i guess. i feel a little bottled up but don’t know what to say.  i have a million things i could complain about but that doesn’t seem appropriate. i mean, it would successfully get it all off my chest before bed but i would just feel ungrateful and like a loser for doing it.

the restaurant is running better than ever, at least from my perspective. maybe it’s the 13 years under our belt, or the longevity of great employees, or  maybe the managers have just gotten better at managing.  Maybe the whole thing just started to click, maybe my expectations went down a bit, maybe it’s just raw luck, maybe. i don’t really know.  it’s hard to put a finger on it.  to explain with words exactly why everything seems easier this year, better.

so this development has me spinning a bit, not so much wondering what to sink my teeth into but trying to understand time and how to enjoy the days getting to all of my ideas and goals. i have so many things to do. so many things to build.  if i stop to think about the things i want to build i get anxious of course.  what else is there in the face of so much mind visions? anxiety thats what.

i know, or at least i think i know, that i must get to the building of whirligigs.  tall funky ones, small simple ones. bright colored ones and bland brown and green ones. i don’t know exactly where i can put them all but something tells me i’ll find places for them in between and over there. maybe they can rise up skinny-like between this and that? maybe they can fill in that one spot, and be on top of that other thing? but that’s a long distance radar, practically a telescope to the future, a microscope to the far reaches of my inner mind. before that is so much more stained glass, and paintings, and glueing things to places.  before that is a fort at the repurpose project i started so long ago and never got back to.  before that is a trophy tower sculpture that practically keeps me up at night with excitement. trophies.  i want to build something with old trophies but i don’t exactly have the vision yet.  i’ve been thinking about it and trying to see it, and trying to build it in my mind but i know i need to get the materials together and start. what a day that will be.  it may come this fall on a cool morning when the weather is really shifting to fall.  the day will come when i load up some old concrete chunks in my element, and pick up a few bags of quickrete from lowe’s and then pick up a box or two of trophies.  i’ll mix the cement, i’ll lay down some concrete chunks, i’ll cement in a trophy and then repeat it all.  i’ll likely think of other things to stick into the cement and look for something that is repetitive, very available, not much useful anymore, and goes good with trophies. writing about it makes me want to start tomorrow but i can’t.  i have an agenda here.  an agenda i tell you.

it’s been years since i’ve had tattoo work done on my arms.  i only have tattoos on my arms but i have 3 on each arm. i started when i was about 20. and then every few years i add just a little bit.  a line here and there, a few lines, the designs get bigger and weirder. but this has been a long spell without thinking about them much. maybe 4 years. tomorrow i am going in for some new lines. some new colors too. i’ll get a little done to 4 of them if it goes like i hope. i like tattoos and i don’t.  i would not recommend them to a 20 year old because we change so much over our lives and the tattoos just get dull or fuzzy. in some ways i wonder how they came to look like they do and other times they seem like they were just meant to be there exactly as they are, flaws and all. anyway, tomorrow is one of those tattoo days. fun. it’s sort of a marking of time for me for sure. the marking of a passage between this and that. a skinny tall whirligig that sticks up between the bushes of my days.

oh gosh it’s 11:37 already.  time.  i wrestle it every ding dong day.  i wish for more. i race it. i stay up too late and get up too early.  i act like tomorrow is my last day on earth and i’ve got to finish my list.  i am going to try and catch up for all the sleep i didn’t get last night. because i was finishing that stained glass in the studio, and then laying awake thinking about all the stuff i wanted to do today.

a bad night

Restaurant business…. You know the deal. It’s tough. It’s intense. It’s up and down. We have our share of problems too, even though we have exceptional staff and have ironed out a lot of the issues over our 13 years of seeking to improve and evolve. But essentially it’s more about people than food. Sure, the food has to be good and consistent and high quality but the people are more complex. Tonight we had an employee not show for their last shift and another employee quit, just walk out after getting yelled at. The first guy had given notice but when we said we could cover his shifts before the 2 weeks was over he said no. He said he wanted all the shifts. But then he called someone to work thursday for him. and friday too at the last minute. then saturday he just didn’t show, answer his phone, or nuthin. saturday is by far our busiest night, it can be more than twice as busy as other nights. So right away things were off kilter and stressful. We’re down one and we’re slammed.

I won’t get into the details of the other guy walking out. because it would just be my side of the story and that would seem unfair.  but yes i got mad and yelled at a guy and so he left.  it’s sad.  sad for him. sad for me.   it may end up being great for him and great for me who knows?  but it’s always sad to see someone go under stress and anger.  i’ve come such a long way in learning to deal with my stress and anger, but i still cannot accept outright defiance of clear orders.  i don’t run a co-op.  i make the decisions and expect folks to do as i ask.

So it’s sad.  sad to have a guy we liked screw us by not showing up.  he has friends there. he let us all down.  doesn’t he see how this hurts the whole team?  and the other guy, the one who walked out… he has a wife and kid and new apartment.  where will he work now?  what craptastic job will he get? he made $19 an hour with me, i will say that.  he had been with us 3 years.

right about the time shit was hitting the fan in the kitchen, somehow 2 things were not made on a ticket with 5 things on it.  so 20 minutes later when the food is coming out and we realize we are short 2 items we have to re-make those and now the table is eating in shifts.  everyone at the table is done by the time the last person gets their food.  shitty.  i had to go apologize and that is never fun.  “sorry we screwed up folks. we’re having a bad night. ”

then near the end all of the plumbing backed up. so there’s that to handle on monday.  at least it was a near the end of the night and we’re closed monday and can handle it but…

restaurant bizness.

it can get so thick.

Ireland

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My kids are both going to camp for 2 weeks soon.  The first time they’ve both been gone at the same time. So I am planning a little getaway to Ireland. I have always wanted to go there, because they speak Irish and I know it’s so green.  I am excited.  Just me and my lady. So cool.  The restaurant should be fine without me. Let’s hope and pray.

When I travel I like to find a little out of the way location.  Off the beaten path.  A little town and cottage to dig into, explore around. One little place to see.  Hopefully I’ve picked the right little spot. But you know life is thriving in every corner of the World. There is something to see and learn in any little corner or nook you can settle.  I won’t be hitting all the Lonely Planet spots, eating at the best Ireland has to offer, or seeing the best views. Honestly I can go to Google and see some great places.  But I will be enjoying my company, my surroundings, and something different.

Maybe I’ll find time to write and shoot a picture of this or that. Stay tuned.

When I was young and I traveled I made ZERO plans. I got a one way ticket to Europe in my 20’s and had no idea what I was doing. I hitchhiked around, fell in love, and had some of the most romantic times of my life so far. Now there is more information than should be allowed. And while I did book a round trip ticket (So I can pick up my kids from camp, ha) and while I did comb through some AirBnB rentals to find the right spot, I won’t do much more to plan.  I’ll go with a good attitude, a smile, and some excitement. Because I think the best traveling is where I discover the road each day. I wake up and figure out what’s out there. It’s always worked for me and why should it stop working now? I don’t want to let my age make my travels too predictable. It’ll be an adventure just like it was in my 20’s when I drove cross country, then caught a ride to Mexico, then a train back to Colorado and a bus back home. Or when I went to Atlanta, Alaska, Asia, Europe and Jamaica. Never once did I know where I was going or what I’d find and every time I was pleasantly surprised and more addicted to travel.

I am so thankful that my pizza joint has gained such popularity and allows me to do something like this now, 13 years later. I never imagined I would be able to leave for 10 days but now I feel sure things will go fine without me. The staff is responsible and hard working and I can take a break from my normal routine. It’s really hard to describe how thankful I am… To my employees and my awesome customers too. I am living a dream life. I am doing everything I ever wanted to do and more. And I am happy.  So happy.  Thank you.

just stuff

I’m gonna be honest with you, as I always am.  Probably too honest really, because I know I over share and while that feels fine late at night, it always seems strange and foreign in the morning. I don’t know why. There have been so many times I say things late at night out on the internet and then wake up and think, “Did I really say that?” and go and delete whatever it was. And you might think I have just had too much to drink at night but you would be wrong. It’s not about the beer or wine or whiskey so much as the late night tired mind and body vs the early morning freshness of mind and body. Well actually the body has little to do with I think, it’s mostly about the mind. IN ANY CASE, I have had this dilemma lately where it’s too early to go to bed and too late to go to the studio and so I’ll start off by explaining that.

Many evenings I get done with work and get done with hanging with the family, and get done with checking and responding to emails and checking news headlines, and I get stuck. It’s too early to go to bed. That’s not to say I can’t just go to bed early because I can, but when I do I find that I wake up 5 or 6 hours later and am restless and end up getting my sleep cycle out of whack. For example: if I go to bed at 10 I am likely to wake up at 3 or 4. I think it’s because my body mostly wants to sleep in the 5-6 hour range. Waking up at 4 I should just get up and go get stuff done. But I don’t. I lay there and toss and turn and wish I could keep sleeping and wait for the sun to rise. I tell myself I will just get up at 4 and go to the studio or start some project but I never do. I think, “Oh it’s still so early I can get in a few more hours of sleep.”  But that doesn’t happen. One of my goals is to actually get up when I wake up and try to see what I can find to stay busy. I can go to the studio and paint or work on stained glass, I could write. I could draw. I could work on an audio journal. Those are basically my go to things I do. I really don’t read or watch videos or whatever normal things most people do. I sometimes think about how nice it would be to sit and read a book or watch a show but then if I ever try I get entirely bored.  Anyway, I have learned that going to bed at 10 just messes up my sleep.

If I go to the studio I find that it is best to have 3 hours to work. The first hour to two hours is getting into the thing and the third hour goes by in what seems like minutes and everything gets done. I often go to the studio at 10 even though I know I don’t have the time I prefer but many times I am ready to go to the studio and it is 10:45 or 11. Not enough time to really even get into it. I know I should and I could just as I should and could get up at 4am and get things done, but I don’t.  My favorite time to sleep is midnight-6. I usually sleep straight through and enjoy the half hour of laying there awake waiting to get up. But if I don’t go to the studio at 11 and I want to wait until 12 to sleep and I am eager to stay away from mindless computer surfing (which always feels like a time waster) then I am stuck with writing.

That’s why I am here. It was 10:45 and too early for bed. I refuse to waste time surfing the web mindlessly. It is seldom I find any inspiration there. The studio work I have to do needs a bigger block of time and so I write. If I am confused about why I don’t get up at 4am when I am clearly awake?  and if I am perplexed about why things I say at night seem stupid in the morning? Well, neither of those things seems as puzzling as the fact that I decide that writing about my sleep habits is the best thing I can think of to do with my time. Why do I often think that opening up a page and stream of consciousness writing will be the solution to my problem of not being sure what to do next? Why is it that I think that the navel gazing exercise of explaining my mind workings in excruciating detail will be either worth reading or worth writing? And for a guy so caught up with efficiency and purpose the only real benefit to this exercise is adding a post to the list, pushing another post down the page, and getting my mind good and empty in hopes of a better nights sleep. Because I will say that often my best dreams come when my mind is empty. My best ideas come when I’ve cleared the closets and shelves that are my “to do” list. I think I  need a whole new paragraph to expound on that:

When I want to do a big project at work, I feel compelled to clean up and clear out all the little things that I’ve had going on. I must finish. I have a shelf full of junk people have dropped off and I can’t take on something big until that shelf is clear. Empty. Ready for new junk. When I unload my mind anxieties with writing then I am able to have the most wonderful dreams at night. I often have dreams where I am flying. I am soaring like a bird above the trees and buildings. I am traveling to faraway places. I am having fun. I am sometimes even showing off my abilities in flight. I only have these euphoric dreams about 4-6x a year (more and more lately though) but they are so intoxicating that I can still enjoy a taste of them now, weeks and months later, and I still remember the feeling. This is the first time I have associated the idea of clearing out my mind with good dreaming but I know it must be a factor because when my mind is full I wake up with night sweats and anxiety. Who could fly around if they were anxious and with a load of crap on their minds? But getting my ducks in a row means clearing and cleaning. I have always hated that we throw so much stuff away in life. We spend our days consuming and filling up garbage cans and landfills. We stupid small humans should not stack up trash around us but instead use the trash to make our world more interesting and colorful. So there is the root of my compulsion to glue things up as they come in. And because I do people bring me their junk and now I am compelled to find a home for it all. To decorate with the junk that comes my way. I’ll glue up the plastic pieces that seem to have no meaning and no use. I’ll glue up the strangers beer can collection. I’ll clutter the page with the words stuck in my head. I’ll keep unloading the words until they form sentences and paragraphs.

I’ll keep glueing junk to the walls until they have a purpose more meaningful than a landfill. 

I’ll keep writing until my words find a meaning bigger than my bedtime. 

When I attack a project I go full on without a plan. I always open a page and start writing with no idea what I’ll say. When I make art it is just me starting something that seems right and finding out where it leads. I often am very unsure of myself in the middle but I always know that if I keep going I can find the resolution. If it’s not working then I just keep going until it works.  My wife makes fun of the fact that I often work in a hurry as if I’m about to “get caught.” I do feel like I have to hurry but mostly because I have so many more things to get done. I do wonder if I’ll run out of time before I get it all done… you know- die. What if I never got to finish all my stained glass windows I want to do? What if I never got to paint the murals I want to paint?  What if my book remains unfinished? What if I never build the huge sculpture thing I want to build under the airplane? I’ve got to go fast because yes, I could get caught. and also I could die. I could die getting caught or I could get caught dying. What will be the last blog post on here?  What will I have said and what will I have left out?

The artist in me wants to leave a lot behind. As an artist I want the things I make to outlive me by a mile. I am here to make things with my hands. I am here to throw out ideas and chase my tail for a spell. I am here to entertain, to spread light, and to inspire.

I am here to talk in circles and draw in squares.

It’s not like I have a choice. It’s jut who I am. I want to be the loudest invisible man you’ve ever not seen or not heard. I want to write things that no one reads but that are out there to be found if they are needed.

And now it’s 11:52 and my mind is almost blank. Maybe I can have one of those amazing dreams tonight. Maybe if I lay there and think about my breathing instead of what I need to get done tomorrow. Maybe if I can get the last few words typed out here by midnight, and think about flying as I fall asleep….

Maybe I’ll sleep straight through until 6 and get up and feel rested and wonder why I wrote all this crap. Maybe I’ll always have good dreams.  Maybe I’ll make something tomorrow that will be the best thing yet.