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Woodsman and the Sea | Family
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Swan Mossberg in the companionway

To new beginnings

As 2014 drew to a close it was time to reflect upon what a tempest the year had been. It brought the loss of both my beloved uncle, and my wayward father.

The passing of my father I see as a release. He led a hard life and his body had lost its ability to heal. My uncle, however, I look upon with more tragic eyes. He had just decided what he wanted to do with his retirement, buy an Airstream and explore the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. His death seems unfair, not to me but to him. He spent every New Year’s that I can remember sequestering himself somewhere peaceful and reflecting upon his year. This year I’d like to take the same time that he used to, but I haven’t been able to fit it into my schedule yet. A cruel twist of fate I suppose.

A resolution I do tend to put forth is to resurrect this blog. It’s been through so many iterations, so many domains, formats, platforms & themes. I like where it’s at right now, how it looks, what it says about me, my life. It started life as dartanyonrace.com, then moved on to toomanyshinythings.com & now it’s current form.

There is more to be said on this concept of beginnings. More resolutions, new thoughts, old thoughts that are becoming clearer, but I will leave you with just this one for now. I miss my uncle Swan.

A fickle mistress

I don’t think I suffer from depression, but then again I’m not a doctor. I do think that I am affected by sunlight, or the lack there of in the winter. What I have found historically is that when the days first start getting shorter, I get cranky, but as the holidays near, I find my grove again. That’s not happening this hear.

 

I am sure that there are extenuating circumstances; I’ve got a big project going for a client I love to work with, the eldest boy spent a good deal of time over at Children’s Hospital having spine surgery, I’m not happy with my holiday light choices …

 

All things and more seem to be conspiring to leave me feeling wanting. I have a bunch of things in my head that I can’t seem to make any real life progress on. Some things that popped into my head, and just as quickly slipped out before I even had the chance to write the idea down. It’s just got me feeling … overwhelmed? underwhelmed? uninspired?

 

I think this happens. I think that when you are a freelancer working in a vacuum on a big project that spans weeks and months that it’s easy to not feel a sense of accomplishment. I’m not sure what to do about it.

 

 

 

I want to find my grove. The better half has the house all prettied up for Christmas. Sitting in the living room immersed in the casual holiday flare she is going for this year, leaves me feeling warm. She’s filling the kitchen with yummy smells. The kiddos are starting to get excited. The pups seem to be happier with the chill in the air. Still, even with all of that, my grove hasn’t found me yet.

Hello world / Goodbye world

Hello much ignored and often maligned blog. It’s been a while, years nearly. 511 days exactly since I callously stopped posting here, and yet somehow again, after such a hiatus, I am drawn back into posting here again. I guess that’s the circular nature of life.

It’s perhaps that very circular nature that has compelled me to want to write here again. On Sunday the 9th of February 2014, I lost my uncle Swan. Svante Edwin Mossberg was just barely retired, had only just recently decided “what he wanted to do with his life

Coop at the end of day 3 of work.

The Chicken Coop [Part 1]

Howdy y’all. I’m gonna take a little time and tell ya about building my new chicken coop. It’s not my typical post, but it might be becoming more of what I like to talk about.

First a little back story. On the 23rd of February The little lady picked up 3 chickens [a fourth came the next day]. To say I was annoyed was understatement, but you can read her perspective over on Season for Cake. I didn’t really want anything else to READ MORE

Set it all on fire

I think I may have come to a realization, and I am willing to bet that everyone else already knows this, but … The biggest hurdle to creating change is our minds own resistance to breaking our well established patterns.

I had every intention to make last year, a year of transformation. It started well, I found some motivation and support. I was moving towards my goals of being healthier and lighter. By a stroke of luck I was able to head to Italy to do some biking. Feeling great, and inspired. But right in the middle of the summer I was involved in a car accident that sent me spiraling down. I didn’t feel like I was hurt too badly in it or anything, but after a few days, a pain in my neck was keeping me from sleeping. I figured I’d get over it soon enough and that would be that, but it got worse. During the days, no pain, but any time I’d lay down it was terrible. I don’t know if you’ve ever been sleep deprived, but I am telling you it’s not fun, and I am not good at it. After a bit of time, I decided it was worth getting some medical professionals involved. Unfortunately for me their immediate advice was to stop riding until I could get my neck back into shape. All of my progress and motivation was quickly replaced by anger and a sort of sleepless craziness.

I seem to have buried my lead though. The problem wasn’t the car accident, the problem was how I saw [and to some extent see] myself. In my head, I’m the smart, fat guy who can talk a great game, but rarely plays. I let the accident be an excuse to fail, because it was much easier to fail by something out of my control than to fail on my own. I stopped pursuing my goals of racing in some cyclo-cross races last year, I stopped eating right, and threw my hands up in the air, saying look at what this stupid guy in a big truck did to me.

No more. It’s time to set it all on fire. All the notions I have of myself, all the habits I’ve developed, all of the excuses I know how I can fall back on. Time to destroy them all. I think I’ll even build a symbolic fire this weekend, maybe even burn some things … who knows.

I now know this:

The manner in which you see yourself, your beliefs regarding yourself is what you “send out” into the world…and the world receives your message and provides you with that which you have conceived of and for yourself

So my time is now. To start again, a new, fresh. I’ve got some goals going forward, and why not make them real by writing them down.

Goals:

  • Get outside – I just finished reading Last Child in the Woods, and I now consider it a moral imperative to spend more time outside, with the family or alone.
  • Stop eating crap – Yeah I know, shouldn’t be mind blowing right … but there it is. I’m going with much less processed, no xtra sugary things, and a basic concept of if it didn’t exist 150 years ago … I’m not going to eat it, diet.
  • Be a better human – Be the kind of person my mother wanted me to be. Be the kind of person I want my children to be.
  • Lead by example – I’ve always felt like a moral person in my head, but looking back over my actions, I didn’t always make the best decisions [that’s a whole other blog post, maybe we’ll get into it later]. Live how I think people should live. I am my brothers keeper, time to start looking after him

I’m sure there will be more, and I’ll update the list as time passes. I realize that there are about 4.5 folks who will have gotten this far in such a rambling post, and I thank you, but if you’ll excuse me now, I have a fire to build.

Long Overdue

I was sitting here this morning thumbing back through some recent photos. Looking out into the overcast day, allowing my memory a little freedom, I quickly recalled that none of this summer’s events have managed to make it to my often neglected blog. I am going to spend the next couple of posts going on about some of this past summers high points and low points, but in the meantime, a brief summation … READ MORE

It’s time for a Walkabout, or maybe a Rideabout

For the longest time, I have felt like I needed something. Like I needed to go and talk to the trees, stick my feet in a river, listen to the wind, and count the stars. I grew up out in the country. Where on a cloudy moonless night you can’t see your hand 2 inches from your face. I have lived in the city for well over a decade now, and I have only recently realized I was missing a connection to mother earth that I didn’t even know that I had lost.

There exists something, in the Aboriginal Australian peoples … (thanks to Crocodile Dundee for our deep cultural understanding of Australia) called a walkabout. A trek of young Aboriginals where they would trace the ancestors paths. To me, I see it as a journey out in the world without your “stuff”, where you can connect with your ancestors, spirit guides, gods, or what have you.

This idea has been in my head now for about 18 months. I’m not talking about one of those 6 months sojourns that people go on. I’m thinking an extra long weekend, to maybe about a week. Just head out in to the woods, the mountains, the desert, I don’t know that it matters, I just feel like the requirement is that I not be able to see any man made light sources.

These guys just did a rideabout in Australia, and put it all on film. They went from Sydney to Melbourne on fixed gear track bikes. That idea seems crazy to me, but the spirit of this trailer is the spirit I am looking to find. Have a look …

I think I’ll be watching that when it comes out.

So what keeps me from going on my walkabout? Well realistically it’s all about money and time (isn’t everything). I only get a couple of weeks of vacation a year, and I really want to spend those with my family. So when the choice comes up for a trip with those I love, or clamoring around in the forest, I always go with them.

So what’s a guy to do? I would rather spend my free time with my family, and I want to spend my work time enjoying work. However, I am beginning to think that I might really benefit from a few days– out, with my thoughts, and wind on the leaves. I feel like I might come back a better version of myself which my work mates, and familial bundles of joy might really appreciate. Hmmm …

Bad Blog Man

Firstly … if you are a subscriber, I apologize, profusely.
What kind of person doesn’t update their seldom updated blog for 4 months? How do I expect to keep anyones attention, or inspire action, or even reaction … I have no idea. I’ve been bad. I know. I’ll do better.
A few things on the horizon …
A summer retrospective.
A long term, conversational review of the Raleigh Sojourn (a clue, I still love it).
Random thoughts on how throughly messed up education funding in this country is.
and last but not least, the annual publishing of the kid’s wishlists (alright that one is mostly for my mother 🙂

Fatty needs our help

Many people who read my blog, or know me, have heard me talk about The Fat Cyclist. I have often referred to him as my bike idol, my virtual guru. Seemingly trying to find fitness and health, through cycling and having some similar hurdles to me, aka kids and utter lack of time.

I rode in the Seattle Livestrong challenge this year to help show my support for Elden’s (Fatty’s) wife, Susan, who has been battling cancer.

Elden has managed to let all of his fans & friends in on his life in such a way, that leaves me speechless and choked up reading his last few days of posts. See, Susan is not doing well right now.

I am hoping that you will go over to his blog, and show him and his family any support that you can. Leave a comment, or just read, but please send him whatever good vibes and prayers that you can.

Fatty I am willing you all the strength that I have. You are in the thoughts and prayers of myself and my family.

IMG_0390

Bike to School Month – Tune Up Day!

I had so much fun helping to organize a “Walk & Roll Wednesdays” program, trying to encourage the children of Sanislo Elementary, and families, to find ways of getting to school that don’t involve driving. So, with Feet First, and the Go! Project we have organized this little effort to persuade folks to walk and ride. Hopefully it has shown the other drivers in the community that the roads around our schools, don’t just belong to them. The goal being for them to take notice that there are a lot of children in the area and encourage them to slow down, in addition to encouraging our families to leave their cars at home.

Well, long story, short (shorter anyway) we’ve had some special things for the kids on a couple of mornings, this morning, we did some light tune ups on the bikes of the kids who ride to school. Mostly just tighten bolts, clean chains, nothing major. But it was my little brain child, and I don’t think it could have gone any better. We had what looked like about 20 kids come to school on two wheels. Which was ’bout a 1 trillion percent increase (dartanyon math).

I need to give a huge giant thanks to the 2 fine gents who helped to tune up the kids bikes; first Scott from my office, and Stu the awesome proprietor of Sanislo’s favorite bike shop, Alki Bike & Board.

I’d also like to give a Big ‘Ol thanks to Jen Cole from Feet First, and the Go Project.

The Sanislo Tune Up Team (from L->R; Stu, Me, Scott)
Me banging on some elementry schooler's bike for bike to school day.

Me banging on some elementry schooler's bike for bike to school day.

Our practicing expert bike wrench putting on the finishing touches

Our practicing expert bike wrench putting on the finishing touches

Summer Streets

This Bike to Work/School Month has not gone so well thus far. On the days when I had the time to bike the weather has been a major disappointment, and on the days that it was nice out I undoubtedly needed to use the car.

Luckily one of my very favorite summer events is coming around again, this time with a new name. What was formerly car-free days (now summer streets) has got it’s calendar for the whole summer up online.

I really love the idea of having some sort of permanent street system that truly allows for pedestrians and bicycles to feel safe. I am sure it stems from the people paths (that if I recall correctly actually allowed for cars, but made darn sure they were going slow), that meandered through the cottages next to one of my childhood homes in Shawnee, PA. I also recall with great fondness the little central business district up in Ithaca, NY that converted to a no car zone …

Without further reminiscing here are the details from the Seattle Climate Action Now Site.

2008 Car Free Days

Walk. Bike. Shop. Play. Breathe. City streets are being opened for people to have fun, celebrate the spirit and personality of their community and support local businesses. Each event is organized by a local organization. Because Celebrate Summer Streets are community driven events, they can be whatever you want. Ride a bike, skateboard and play music, and get to know your neighborhood businesses.

Read the City’s press release about Summer Streets.

Visit a Street Near You

This year the city is supporting art walks, farmer’s markets, parades, fundraiser 5K Walk/Run events and more by expanding these local events to include Seattle Summer Streets.

From April through September 2009, be sure to check out the following Summer Streets celebrations:

Join the Celebration

In addition to attending Summer Streets events, there are many ways you can get involved:

Browse photos from 2008 Summer Streets

FAQs

Find out answers to your general and resident and business-related questions.

Contact Us

For more information on Celebrate Summer Streets, please email us.

Friends … I need your help!

Yesterday was the 60 days out mark, for the Seattle LIVESTRONG Challenge ride. I’ve been getting in more and more training, and am pretty confident I’ll be crossing the finish line come June 21st. Where I am sorely lacking though … is in the sponsors and donation department. Aside from my own starting donation, I have received exactly 1 other donation (thanks Mike!). I know it’s a tough year, and that cash is tight, but I need to see some cash flow … Whatever you got! 5, 10, 20 … 100 bucks. Whatever you can afford, I’d love to see it come into my page, please.

For those of you not familiar with the LiveStrong Challenge it’s the main event fundraiser for the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s fight against cancer.

I’m desperate for help from you though …. I have faith that I can pedal that far, but I need all my friends and family (heck, even strangers) to sponsor me.

Please, Go to my LIVESTRONG Page and donate. Anything you can, anything at all.

http://seattle09.livestrong.org/dartanyon

I am riding in honor of my grandfather, my morfar, he died of cancer several years ago, and I remember thinking then that I wished there was more I could do. This is what I can do today, and I am hoping that you can join me in my fight!
My Morfar