A well-worn bag and a reminder of Icarus

For nearly 14 years I’ve carried with me an aging reminder that there is value in striving for growth; growth in relationships, the workplace, my faith…and growth in myself.

Before your imagination runs wild I’ll tell you the item is just a bag, and not a particularly impressive one by the modern standards of bags. It’s rectangular and woven from a synthetic blend, with just three pockets with zippers (two outside, and the main one.)

I’ve carried in it my audio recording gear, books, snacks, and more, from Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, to a Ricola herb farm in the Alps, to many coffee shops (just regular coffee shops.)

When I received this bag from a week-long radio reporting seminar from The Poynter Institute, I didn’t realize the symbol it would become, and how much I’d appreciate it.

Continue reading “A well-worn bag and a reminder of Icarus”

Daddy’s not invincible: coping with trauma

A baby's hand is pressed against a bigger father's hand.

Her screams cut me deeper than she meant them to, but the facts were clear: I was deficient, and this helplessness was a new layer to my trauma.

To her I’m a constant; one of two people she knows to rescue her from the hunger she can’t yet understand, and the fear of loneliness she knows only by instinct.

But in this state —without use of my arms after a vehicle crash— I could feel the vulnerability of not fully acting as the big, strong daddy my 7-month-old needs me to be; the one who can lift her the highest, and embrace her the tightest.

Or the one who comforts her when she cries.

I maneuvered my fractured left wrist to her one side, and my separated shoulder and damaged right arm to the other, as I bent into her bassinet as deeply as I could.

With every ounce of my strength and coordination, I pulled her small, emotionally-exhausted frame to my chest in a kind of desperate bear hug.

By the time my wife returned to the room my daughter had calmed.

But I had not. Continue reading “Daddy’s not invincible: coping with trauma”

Baking Vlog Ep. 8: Stop trying to be perfect

It’s been a while since my last Baking Journalist episode. I had been mulling over the topic of not being perfect, or needing to fail, to make progress in journalism and in bread baking. 

And then I was hit by a car.

I couldn’t bake, or type, or do many of the things we don’t often think about every day. All of the sudden I had a lot of time to think about those things, and so much more. 

Continue reading “Baking Vlog Ep. 8: Stop trying to be perfect”

Thoughts on a bread baking renaissance in the pandemic

Bread seems to be having a renaissance: amid the coronavirus pandemic, people seem to be buying bread (if they can find it), flour, and yeast at unprecedented rates. I’ve been a bread baking and journalism evangelist for a good while, and I was honored to talk little about my journey so far, and about home bread baking on the radio recently.

I was a guest (not the host!) on the Sound of Ideas with my friend Mike McIntyre. I transcribed some of my bread thoughts for you, in case you missed the show. If you have any other ideas, please get in touch! Continue reading “Thoughts on a bread baking renaissance in the pandemic”

The Baking Journalist in Edible Cleveland!

In a month that brought some pretty serious lows, I’m really honored to have The Baking Journalist project featured in Northeast Ohio’s preeminent food magazine Edible Cleveland!

Lisa Sands and photographer Laura Watilo Blake stopped by my humble abode while talking, baking, and (hopefully) enjoying some of my basic breads. It really was a pleasure to share this project with them and their readers.

I was a little apprehensive that my breads wouldn’t be good enough, or my kitchen wasn’t big enough, or whatever. But Lisa said Edible Cleveland likes to talk to real people, creating and enjoying food. I definitely qualified!

Laura Watilo Blake makes my bread look better than ever before!

It may be a little while before I can bake like I had been doing, but I’ll keep trying. This experience has definitely put some wind in my sails. Continue reading “The Baking Journalist in Edible Cleveland!”