Tag Archives: Simplicity

Things that can be carried on a bike (#680 & #681)…

#680 (above)…A camera, an extra lens, a tripod, a pair of work clogs, a pair of pants, two books, a gym bag full of wet cloths, and $23 in groceries.

#681 (below)…A case of wine and slightly more than $80 in groceries.

Urban Simplicity.

Photos from a Vigil…

Tonight a few hundred people gathered in Delaware Park to remember the very short life and tragic death of Maksym Sugorovskiy. I rode my bike. It was a beautiful night. But I couldn’t help but think how incredible it was that all these people–mostly strangers, including myself–gathered in remembrance of this innocent child. I took a few photos because despite the crowd of people the park looked so lovely and peaceful. It in itself looked sort of innocent.


Urban Simplicity.

Seven fading flowers and a quote…

As every flower fades and as all youth
Departs, so life at every stage,
So every virtue, so our grasp of truth,
Blooms in its day and may not last forever.
Since life may summon us at every age
Be ready, heart, for parting, new endeavor,
Be ready bravely and without remorse
To find new light that old ties cannot give.
In all beginnings dwells a magic force
For guarding us and helping us to live.

Serenely let us move to distant places
And let no sentiments of home detain us.
The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us
But lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces.
If we accept a home of our own making,
Familiar habit makes for indolence.
We must prepare for parting and leave-taking
Or else remain the slaves of permanence.

~Hermann Hesse

The Glass Bead Game

Urban Simplicity.

Seven fading flowers and a quote…

As every flower fades and as all youth
Departs, so life at every stage,
So every virtue, so our grasp of truth,
Blooms in its day and may not last forever.
Since life may summon us at every age
Be ready, heart, for parting, new endeavor,
Be ready bravely and without remorse
To find new light that old ties cannot give.
In all beginnings dwells a magic force
For guarding us and helping us to live.

Serenely let us move to distant places
And let no sentiments of home detain us.
The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us
But lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces.
If we accept a home of our own making,
Familiar habit makes for indolence.
We must prepare for parting and leave-taking
Or else remain the slaves of permanence.

~Hermann Hesse 
The Glass Bead Game

Urban Simplicity.

A Bicycle for Mului (updated)….

Joe and Mului (small)

Update…So we surpassed our goal in a little over an hour! Amazing, it really is. With all the negativity that is portrayed in the media each day this outpouring of generosity is really moving to me. Thank you. According to the website it will take about ten business days for the funds to reach me. When they do I’ll post pics of Mului on his new bike. Peace, and thanks again.

 

Hello Friends,

This is a picture of me with Mului, a co-worker. I am trying to raise $325 to purchase a bicycle for Mului. He is new to our country and works very hard to support his wife and young daughter, but he needs transportation to get to work. Right now he either walks or takes a bus. A bicycle would be much quicker and also offset the cost of a two-way bus ride everyday. $325 would be enough to purchase a bike, a good lock, and proper lighting. Contributions will not only help a person in need but also a local business as I will purchase the bike from a local independently owned bike shop. Click here if you’d like to help. Thank you for your consideration,

Sincerely,

Joe

 

 

Urban Simplicity.

A Bicycle for Mului (updated)….

Update…So we surpassed our goal in a little over an hour! Amazing, it really is. With all the negativity that is portrayed in the media each day this outpouring of generosity is really moving to me. Thank you. According to the website it will take about ten business days for the funds to reach me. When they do I’ll post pics of Mului on his new bike. Peace, and thanks again.

Hello Friends,
This is a picture of me with Mului, a co-worker. I am trying to raise $325 to purchase a bicycle for Mului. He is new to our country and works very hard to support his wife and young daughter, but he needs transportation to get to work. Right now he either walks or takes a bus. A bicycle would be much quicker and also offset the cost of a two-way bus ride everyday. $325 would be enough to purchase a bike, a good lock, and proper lighting. Contributions will not only help a person in need but also a local business as I will purchase the bike from a local independently owned bike shop. Click here if you’d like to help. Thank you for your consideration,
Sincerely,
Joe

Urban Simplicity.

Tomorrow will worry about itself (because a little bird told me so)…

So this is interesting, or funny, or coincidental, or whatever. Without revealing too much personal information, these past few months have been difficult for me financially. And yesterday I was stressing about money (but what is money…just pieces of paper, right?) so I did what I often do and took a long walk with headphones and music. This usually helps. It did for the most part (I also stopped for a beer). Anyhow, on my way home I passed a bank that had recently closed (it seems weird to see a bank close; I didn’t know they did that) and the place where there was once an ATM machine was covered with plywood and had this graffiti on it. I laughed aloud to myself; I’m sure I looked like a crazy person to passersby. Anyhow, I thought I’d share this and a bit of scripture which came to mind as well.


 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:25-34

Urban Simplicity.

 

Tomorrow will worry about itself (because a little bird told me so)…

So this is interesting, or funny, or coincidental, or whatever. Without revealing too much personal information, these past few months have been difficult for me financially. And yesterday I was stressing about money (but what is money…just pieces of paper, right?) so I did what I often do and took a long walk with headphones and music. This usually helps. It did for the most part (I also stopped for a beer). Anyhow, on my way home I passed a bank that had recently closed (it seems weird to see a bank close; I didn’t know they did that) and the place where there was once an ATM machine was covered with plywood and had this graffiti on it. I laughed aloud to myself; I’m sure I looked like a crazy person to passersby. Anyhow, I thought I’d share this and a bit of scripture which came to mind as well.

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:25-34

Urban Simplicity.

A sort of churchy sort of environmental post (but not really, but maybe)

Okay. So if you’ve been to this blog before then you know a few things about me. One, of course, is that I like to ride bikes, a lot. Another is that I like to bake bread. And likely another thing you know about me–though it may not come across quite as overtly–is that my spiritual life is very important to me. I am a deacon in my church and am in fact attending a part-time inter-faith seminary and, if all things go as planned (fingers crossed), I will be an ordained interfaith minister this coming June. The reason I mention this is that I recently came across this suggested carbon fast for Lent, which begins next week. But I’m jumping ahead as I sometimes do. I really believe that if you are on a spiritual path (or not) it is nearly almost impossible not to care for the planet. For me spirituality and environmentalism are inseparable, as is the care for our fellow humans…no matter what background, skin color, gender, or sexuality preference. We are, in my eyes, all one people. It’s for this reason I am proud to be a member of the denomination, The United Church of Christ (UCC), which is in fact one of the most liberal and progressive denominations, if not the most. Anyhow, as Lent approaches I have been thinking of what discipline I would take up (I am not in the mindset of just “giving something up” for the sake of giving it up, I’d rather add something in return, such as an activity or spiritual discipline that can enhance my inner life). Anyhow, I came across this carbon fast and thought it was a pretty good idea (though I do some of these things already). Here’s an excerpt from the post…

“During this year’s Lenten season, members of Honolulu’s Church of the Crossroads United Church of Christ will leave their cars at home and instead walk, bike or use public transportation one day per week. They will pledge to start a garden or shop at local farmer’s markets more often this spring. They will wash the majority of their laundry in cold water, and advocate on behalf of energy conservation and renewable energy policies.”

Anyone, of course, can take this personal pledge. If you sign up you will get an email every day offering small suggestions to lower your carbon footprint on this planet that we all call home. Anyhow, in the event you missed the link, here it is again

Urban Simplicity.

A sort of churchy sort of environmental post (but not really, but maybe)

Okay. So if you’ve been to this blog before then you know a few things about me. One, of course, is that I like to ride bikes, a lot. Another is that I like to bake bread. And likely another thing you know about me–though it may not come across quite as overtly–is that my spiritual life is very important to me. I am a deacon in my church and am in fact attending a part-time inter-faith seminary and, if all things go as planned (fingers crossed), I will be an ordained interfaith minister this coming June. The reason I mention this is that I recently came across this suggested carbon fast for Lent, which begins next week. But I’m jumping ahead as I sometimes do. I really believe that if you are on a spiritual path (or not) it is nearly almost impossible not to care for the planet. For me spirituality and environmentalism are inseparable, as is the care for our fellow humans…no matter what background, skin color, gender, or sexuality preference. We are, in my eyes, all one people. It’s for this reason I am proud to be a member of the denomination, The United Church of Christ (UCC), which is in fact one of the most liberal and progressive denominations, if not the most. Anyhow, as Lent approaches I have been thinking of what discipline I would take up (I am not in the mindset of just “giving something up” for the sake of giving it up, I’d rather add something in return, such as an activity or spiritual discipline that can enhance my inner life). Anyhow, I came across this carbon fast and thought it was a pretty good idea (though I do some of these things already). Here’s an excerpt from the post…

“During this year’s Lenten season, members of Honolulu’s Church of the Crossroads United Church of Christ will leave their cars at home and instead walk, bike or use public transportation one day per week. They will pledge to start a garden or shop at local farmer’s markets more often this spring. They will wash the majority of their laundry in cold water, and advocate on behalf of energy conservation and renewable energy policies.”

Anyone, of course, can take this personal pledge. If you sign up you will get an email every day offering small suggestions to lower your carbon footprint on this planet that we all call home. Anyhow, in the event you missed the link, here it is again

Urban Simplicity.

La Leña

It’s odd, I think, how autumn has sneaked up on me. It seems like it was just hot and humid and sunny (like it was for the better part of this past summer), and now today I received my annual delivery of firewood (not to mention that it is cool and damp outside). Four cords, that’s how much I get every year. I know to some (who heat with wood) this doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is to me. It’s enough to carry me through the fall, winter, and spring months, and still have a little left over. I just have a small wood stove that is an auxiliary heat source, not my main heat source. But when to weather is cool or slightly cold–not frigged–it is enough to heat most of the house, as it is tonight. The wood stove is strategically placed next to my office space in the front of the house and is currently blazing away. It’s bitter-sweet in a way. While I love the change of seasons I lament the loss of summer (and another season gone by…the passing of time). The picture above shows the wood after it was just dumped off the truck…in the very spot where I grow my front yard garden. Normally I have my teen-aged son help me haul it down our narrow alleyway to the backyard and and stack it, but today he had school (I usually have it delivered on a weekend)…lucky him. When he was leaving for school I asked him if he was glad that he didn’t have to haul and stack this year; his answer…”um, yes.”

Urban Simplicity.

Just Four Ingredients (OK, Five)


“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

That beautiful loaf of bread pictured above was made with the four basic bread ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt. The best part is that it was made with 100% whole wheat flour. That’s the reason I added a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to the recipe (the fifth ingredient). Whole wheat flour has less gluten…the bread dough’s muscle, if you will. Anyhow, this is easy to make, really delicious, and super healthy. I hope you try it, even if it’s hot out. For more detail directions, with many more photos of the bread being made, click here.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

Makes 2 loaves

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
————————
4 cups whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 cups water
————————
3 teaspoons instant yeast
3 teaspoons kosher salt

In one bowl make a preferment by combining 2 cups of whole wheat flour with 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons of instant yeast. Begin the autolyse in another bowl by combining 4 cups of whole wheat flour, the wheat gluten, and 2 cups water. Stir each bowl just enough to combine the ingredients, taking care not to get yeast into the bowl with the autolyse. Cover both bowls and allow to rest and ferment for 30-90 minutes, during which time the preferment will begin it’s job multiplying yeast and fermenting flour, and the autolyse will soak the grain, swelling the gluten.

After an hour or so, combine the ingredients from both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and remaining 3 teaspoons of yeast (add the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl). Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover it loosely, and allow to ferment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Deflate the dough and allow it to ferment an additional 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it into 2 or 3 pieces. Shape into loaves and place into lightly oiled pans (or shape them fre-form and place them on baking sheets). Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size and when gently touched with a fingertip an indentation remains.

Bake the breads for about 30-40 minutes, adding steam to the oven a few times (either with ice cubes or a spray bottle) and rotating the breads every ten minutes. The breads are done when they are dark brown and sound hollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans and allow them to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing. 

Just a quick note…

Just a quick note to say a couple things. The first is that I will be away from my computer for the next week or so, thus postings will be sporadic if any at all. But also, I just wanted to say thanks for visiting and subscribing to my meager little blog (s). Over the past year readership has doubled and for that I am very grateful…it makes me know that I am not typing away into an empty void. Anyhow…be back soon, please stay tuned.
Until then…peace.
Joe

Pictures of Water and a Few Other Things

Today it was hot, humid, and overcast. To get a breath of fresh air this evening I rode the short distance to Erie Basin Marina and drank a couple beers while I listened to free live music and snapped a few pictures. The marina is a crossroads (or more specifically, a cross-waters) of the Buffalo River, the Erie Canal, and Lake Erie. Click any image for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.