22 May, 2017

I'm a Shavee

    For the past three years I have participated in an event designed to help gather funds for researching cures to childhood cancers. I am a ‘Shavee’. I can hear you saying, “Well that’s all fine and dandy but what the heck is that?” I’m so glad you asked.
First of all let’s start with what St Baldricks is. Here's a LINK.

    St Baldricks has been around for seventeen years and has become the largest private funder for researching cures to kids cancer in the nation. It's also the organization I shave my head for.
Here’s how it works, and I encourage you to visit their website. It has a lot of great information on it, so don’t just take my work for it.  In the last seventeen years four hundred thousand volunteers have done this and the results are very real. Real change happens as a result of these acts. The St Baldricks organization has given two hundred million dollars to cancer research. 

     In case you’re wondering what the number one killer of children in the U.S. is it’s cancer. According to their press release 1 out of 5 children with cancer won’t survive and a good number of the ones who do have major after effects for the rest of their lives.

They have many different grant types and grants going on at any given moment. Scientists looking for treatments as unique as the person receiving the treatment.

Here’s a photo of us bald and beautiful and here’s a link to my page which you can still donate too.

After St Baldricks 2017

I don’t get any of the money. They don’t give me anything but a bald head and a smile.
If you’re curious about where all the money that gets donated goes to here’s what I found on their press release
71% goes to funding
26% goes to the events
3% is administration.

Here is a link to my own page there. I just want to say again that I’m not seeing any of this money. It’s going straight to the St. Baldricks organization.

Thanks again for considering, and if you feel moved why not sign up for an event or start one.

See you next week when we chat about the bed in the van.

08 May, 2017

Beans & Rice Humble, Modest, and Good.

The best thing in the world to eat

     My ultra-favorite things to eat are always easy, simple, and humble. Now you ask what food is humble McDonald's? Nope, I never go there. In my mind a humble food is something that isn’t to big for it’s britches. Now I’ve nothing against highfalutin foods I even like some of them. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for instance. Okay so I’m joking about those. I just really enjoy simpler things. I feel more grounded when I eat that way. For instance beans and rice, in my opinion, are the best thing in the world to eat.

How about we make some today?
The cheapest cooker I could find.
     As you can see from the photo’s I love using a rice cooker. I can’t really say which one is the better one. In my research I found the cheapest one and got it.
I use a ½ cup quinoa and a ½ cup jasmine brown rice, then I put two cups of water in (with a little more just for fun).
The beans are simple too. These are red beans from Trader Joe's drained, rinsed, and tossed in the same pot.
 Pretty sweet huh?
All the stuff you need.
     Hey before I forget if you have chicken broth, or veggie broth toss it in. Also garlic is good with everything. Except ice cream. Do that at your own risk.
Then we push the little button down and wait for it to be finished.

     Let's talk about veggies now.
I’m using some frozen veggies which I nuked and then tossed into the mess.

While it’s waiting let's listen to the Grateful Dead 5/8/77. It’s considered among the best bootleg shows of all time. Don’t forget to ‘Smile, Smile, Smile’.

In conclusion we have quinoa (a super grain which has been around for forever), rice, and lovely red beans perfect with frozen veggies and/or fresh ones.

Hey thanks for popping by it’s great to see you. 

That little circle thing is the quinoa.

Oh much better now!
Thanks and I’ll see you next week when we chat about putting the ceiling in the van.

All my best

01 May, 2017

A week, A van, & a dream

     Today we’re going to talk about my vacation. I got a week off and it was beautiful. Now in April in Minnesota you can get anything as a matter of fact as I write this it’s the last day of April in 2017 and there is a Winter storm watch for Northern and Central Minnesota. Nothing like that happened on my days off though. It was a beautiful time and I got a lot of stuff done.
I put a sub-floor in, a laminate floor on top of that, painted and finished the walls, and built a counter top which I sunk my homemade sink into. There’s a blog about that sink here. All of this got done in a week.
     Before you tell yourself that I must have all of this experience doing this sort of thing let me assure you that I don’t. I don’t know my ass from my elbow when it comes to construction and constructing things. I did however make it a goal to learn as much as I could about it while doing fun stuff in life. Hence the van. The sub-floor that I built, and I’m sure that I did it wrong, was made with plywood cut to the shape (more or less) that the floor of the van was in. I did put this sticky stuff that I bought at Lowe's which I forget the name of. It’s suppose to keep heat out and take the noise down. It was a lot cheaper then that name brand stuff.
Now I saw pictures of people doing floors like this and they had this special tape they put on the boards to make the pieces hold together better. Eh, I used duct tape.
                             ****shrugs shoulders and makes a funny face****
I don’t know if it’ll work. I just did it. Afterword I got to thinking. I probably should have made sure that the floor was level which is something to remember for next time. 
     Then I started putting the laminate flooring in. Now everyone will tell you it’s super easy. They’re lying; however, having said that I will also say I’ve done harder things. Think post hole digging in August then think a lot of post hole digging in August and you’ll be on the right track.
Okay the laminate wasn’t super hard, but it had challenging parts. I think if someone does it a few times they will get it quickly or if someone has a nice square area to put it in you’ll be fine. A Chevy Express 1500 is known as a curvy lady. She is not square anywhere.
     Elissa, and I also finished with insulating, priming, and painting the walls as well. We found the primer and the paint in the basement. We used them when we painted the house a couple of years ago. We have the same green on our windows and edging. 
     The counter-top was relatively easy. It had it’s tough moments, and I’m sure would have been screwed up without the help of my neighbor who asked me if I was going to be using a guide when I sawed the board. I had no idea what that was so he showed me. Then he changed the blade on the circular saw I got at a pawn shop. Imagine my surprise when I realized that cutting the wood could be easy and not have burn marks with the new blade.
I built the legs for the counter from what I figured they needed to be to hold the top, and I was right. I got the shape, the support, the size everything right.
     Next came the hard part. I had to drill the holes which would become the cut out for the sink. I measured like three or four times. This wood was my baby. I had sanded it, and preened it with mineral oil I didn’t want it screwed up with one miss measured hole.  Eventually I got it drilled, and cut out but I had to keep cutting and slowly widen the hole for the sink. I did it slow and took my time so that it would work well. Elissa was right there helping with her eye’s as well. As you will see in the video it turned out terrific.

Now the next steps are to start building the bed and begin putting the ceiling together. Keep tuning in to see how this goes.


24 April, 2017

The Historic Water St. Inn

Our trip to Stillwater, Mn and where we stayed. It was at the Water Street Inn.

    A few weeks ago my wife and I stayed at a little place called, “The Water Street Inn”. It’s located in Stillwater, Mn and has a great view of the St. Croix river not to mention a marvelous bridge. In the video you’ll see our room, but the video pales to the glimmer of the real thing. If you have a vacation or a longish weekend coming with your partner please go. It’s set up just like it was ‘back in the day’. Which day? Well,  I’m glad you asked.  As you walk in you notice that dark wood tones that were a staple around the turn of the century 19th to 20th. There is a full size grand piano and large ceilings. The grandness welcomes you instead of pushing you out like so many other places. You know the ones I’m talking about. Anything the Trumps or the Kardashians would stay in. The places where the first thing you think about is money and everything is sterile, modern, and boring.  No, this place is not like that. It is welcoming and joyous. It oozes history everywhere you go. Stories and people from the past walk through your mind like ghosts telling you their stories. There is an Irish pub with live music on Friday’s and Saturday’s, a restaurant, and outdoor seating.
    Our room, as you’ll see in the video was at the end of a hall with corner windows. We could look in two directions and one of them had a balcony which looked out on a street and the cute architecture that Stillwater is known for. Our bed was something you’d find in an antique store. It was a rich dark wood with carvings on it’s carvings. There was a gas fireplace (which is a luxury to us), a giant bathroom, and a very large shower stall. Now don’t worry about it just having a shower because it also had a ….wait for it….a jacuzzi (also a luxury for us). Why we didn’t even know to wait till the water was over the jets to turn them on. Water went everywhere and you heard the both of us screaming with laughter.
    We ate at the pub that night. I had a giant burger that had corned beef and sauerkraut, and Elissa had a baked mac and cheese thing. Both meals left us sleepy,  so upstairs for a nap and then out the door to explore the nightlife.  The pub was much the same as the rest of the hotel. Lot’s of rich dark wood, a wonderfully old bar, great staff, and a spirit that streamed of Backus flavored adventures. By the way they had a shelf with tons of board games.
    After a touch of a nap we went out exploring, but because it was a Sunday night we were just out of luck. That night we ended up at Stillwater's food co op called, ‘The Coop’. It’s a lovely place with good prices for great food.
    The next morning we had a lovely breakfast and then went out to explore the town. We were a little early (everything seemed to open up at eleven am) but had a good time nonetheless.
Stillwater is a mid-sized touristy summer river town with it’s history and historic buildings you will have tons of things to do and check out. Don’t forget to stay at the historic Water Street Inn when you go to visit, and yes they have off street parking. 

17 April, 2017

The Road to Memphis

The Road to Memphis

     On Sunday the ninth of April in 2017 I went to my first blues competition. It was a very jovial, bouncy, happy group of people who simply adore the Blues. I had been building up this sort of nervous anxiousness since I entered the competition, and it all drained away as soon as I entered the door of the bar where everyone was.

     This week I'm going on about the competition, who is throwing it, the contestants, and the winner. Next week I'll going on about where we stayed afterword. It’s a lovely place in Stillwater, Mn called, “The Water Street Inn”.

     The competition is called, “Road to Memphis’ because the winner gets to go there and compete in an international blues competition organized by the Blues Foundation (link). Which I think will be great when I win next year. Imagine going to the place where so many great musicians from all over the world are going to play and be able to throw yourself into the mix with them. I think it would be very influential to do and be apart of.

     The Minnesota Blues Society(link)  is an organization that’s mission is to keep the blues alive through education, celebrating the culture,  and promoting the past, present, and future of Minnesota blues music.  They are apart of a larger organization which I’ve mentioned called, ‘The Blues Foundation’ (link).

     The contestants this year were all terrific musicians, and I am so grateful to have been able to be apart of it. Brother Jon duo consists of two members of a larger group called, ‘The Brother Jon Band’ who were winners of 2016 Famous Dave’s Battle of the Bands. The next was Louisville White Lightning Curtis  duo. They played a tremendous set and had people dancing in the by their tables. Mixing covers and originals for a fun porch stompin good time.
Javier Matos  opened the show up and ended up winning the day with his fingerstyle old tyme originals. At one point in his show his son came up on stage and being the good dad I can see he is Javier let him sit on his lap while he finished the show. I wish him luck (like he needs it he’s terrific) and the best of days. Finally I was the last for the evening and I also took second place. (Yes, I am counting it.) I used my prewar Gibson L-1which Tommy Benz at Brickhouse Music in River falls, Wi put a none destructive jazz pick up in. It performed super. People seemed very engaged in my music, and stories. The crowd even asked me about certain songs, and remembered them enough to tell me which ones were their favorite. People even danced and all had a great time.
     In the end I met several new people, played and heard some great music and am glad that I was able to hang out, listen to such great musicians.

Thanks gang for allowing me to join you on stage.
Here you will see a video of the show. I was only able to get a few minutes of each competitor and a few minutes from my songs too.

All my best
Trevor Marty

27 March, 2017


     The salesman fog. It's like a spell they cast on you when you are vulnerable. I don't mean vulnerable like you've gained a little Winter weight and seen yourself in the window, or an old school bully called you that thing he always did and gave you a momentary PTSD type flashback. Nope, I mean the kind of vulnerable where you're driving with your life partner just trying to stay out of the house and not realizing how open to change you really are. They can smell that sort of thing like blood in the water, but in this case it's money.

     This is the sort of happy go lucky day that my wife and I experienced about a month ago. It was another in the long line of cold Winter days and we were trying to stay out of the house to keep our spirits up. While driving around we found ourselves at a car lot. 

The little red light came on in my head, and I heard my voice telling me to beware.

     Now before I go any further let me explain something. When I use the words, 'Kung fu' I don't mean it in a beating up bad guys sense. No, I mean it in a more general sense. You could use any term you want. How about ‘The Force’, or Witchery, maybe Mental Acuity’? All that matters is that when we were visiting that car lot there was a master in residence and it wasn't me.  A salesman with such power that he was able to take proud and self-proclaimed 'Cheap Skate' and turn him into a blithering idiot. He came out and started chatting with me. Now normally when they do this I pull out the trusty old “grumpy face” and give it to them. They leave us alone and we can go about our business, but like I said we were in a vulnerable spot. A place in ourselves that was ready for change...or something. I just kept chatting. 

The little red light amped up and an alarm sounded in my head, but his witchery was stronger then my alarm bells and I listened to the siren's call. 

     Yup by now I’m sure you’ve guessed it. That was the day we abandoned reason (not to mention our old beater of a car which we still feel bad about) and purchased a new one. It’s a 2012 Toyota Prius V. The 'V' isn't for five as I thought but for versatile. It’s suppose to mean it has more space. They call it the station wagon of the Prius line.
Here’s a picture of our faces. I know we look happy here but really we’re just hypnotized.

Don't let the smile fool you. We were under a spell.

     The Prius has a computer that would make Star Treks USS Voyager NCC-74656  jealous. It monitors the miles per gallon that you are getting and updates itself every five minutes. I bet even seven of nine couldn't do that. Thus far it says we are getting around forty, but I’m testing it. We gassed up and zeroed the odometer, so far we’ve gotten over a hundred miles and it’s not quite at a quarter of a tank used yet. I guess that’s pretty good, but I’m stubbornly holding onto my grumpiness about buying it because I feel like it. Grrr.

It does have a sexy profile though doesn't it?
Not much for clearance though.
Those two indents are how you lock the silly thing.

     The video will show you a few other of the things that are sort of neat about it. I do have to say though that it’s got a nice stereo, and it does fit all of my music gear with room to spare. 
Have a great day friends and don't go into car lots.

20 March, 2017

Update on the van

How about an update on the van to rv project?

This is a smallish one and it’s all about making a butcher-block counter top.
We went to Lowes and got a nice piece of Aspen and then I put food grade Butcher Block oil on it. In the video you will see that I have six layers of it on the wood. It’s a very pretty wood and with the oil on it I think you’ll agree it’s brilliant.

Have a great day.