Monday, September 27, 2010

Mind, Body & Spirit

Friday we went to our son Peter's CD release party for his band April to Fall

Brian, left center, and my son Peter, right, are April to Fall;
Jeff and Jen contributed considerable vocal talent
to the new album "Straight Line to Your Heart"

Click this link to go to their site where you can listen to clips of the tracks on the album. Their sound is similar to Morrissey, with pleasing strong vocals and acoustic guitar, though in other venues they rock it out when Peter plays his electric guitar. I am not here to sell you anything, but you can figure out at the site how to buy the album on iTunes. I don't know yet how they are selling the CD. At the gallery at the site see photos of Peter and Brian I shot in my studio that Don and Peter converted from a chicken coop. At times I have felt that this studio - l'atelier - where I don't really create anything, except deep sleeping breaths in my hammock chair, is the center of the universe, my kilometer zero, so I'm happy this special place is featured at the center of the CD cover, below. The party was in Rochester, Michigan, which has a homey 100-year-old downtown. (Downtown Rochester photo found here.)

Brian and Peter inside the CD cover -- a photo I took in l'atelier

Besides the big celebratory joy of one of Peter's musical ventures, I was geeked to finally tour and eat in the first-and-only certified organic restaurant in Michigan, Mind, Body & Spirits. The upstairs dining room was the venue for the party. Mike, the owner, is also the one who started the record label (Lazy Day Records) releasing its premier album, April to Fall's "Straight Line to Your Heart". Mike has his entrepreneurial hands in several companies, all of them organic in one way or another.

That's Mike in the middle, with Dennis, my niece Amy's husband, to his left;
I don't know who the gentleman looking at the woman with the camera is - nice smile!

Last October, Mind, Body & Spirits was awarded the Certified Organic Restaurant status (the first and only one in Michigan). Mind, Body & Spirits is one of just thirteen restaurants in the U.S. that not only serves organic and locally grown food, but is also where each and every aspect of the physical building and furnishing is eco-conscious.

I ate certified organic rib-eye steak, though I eat beef only a few times a year;
the finger-length potatoes and Bernaise sauce were YUM;
(I didn't eat it all, there was plenty for lunch the next day)

From their web site:

Mind Body & Spirits was built to inspire and help people…


Our 100+ year old building, which was renovated using many of the latest and century old technologies to operate as sustainable as possible, continues to provide a public classroom to progress our children and adults through its education.


Being a certified Organic restaurant, we only use the purest ingredients for our menu, and as our customers consume our seasonally inspired dishes it will help their bodies on its natural path to wellness without compromising the flavor or your pocket book!


I truly believe that when a person consumes food made with a “conscience” or love, your inner spirit begins to burn stronger….and I will toast to that with a nice glass of organic wine!

My inner spirit was flying around the room as I took pictures. Snapping photos really is a good way to sneak around and nose in and get closer to people you want to get closer to. They don't mind you doing that if you have a camera, at least that's what I've found. I just ate up their smiles.

Everything in the restaurant is made of recycled and/or sustainable materials, from reused and reconstituted brick, to bamboo and cork floors. Every piece of furniture is made from sustainable structural materials and fibers.

 Jeff, Lindsey and Andrea chatting
on furniture made from recycled and sustainable materials

The heating and cooling system is geo-thermal, which means plumbing goes 10 feet deep (3 meters) and water circulates through the earth with its core temperature of 55°F (12.8°C), naturally cooling the building in summer and heating it in winter. There are solar panels on the green roof. Mike would like to get off the electrical grid eventually, with a wind turbine and solar panels providing all the power they need on site.

The roof terrace is covered with tiles made from recycled tires. Vegetables are grown in pots, used for the menu and also for decoration, though the nasturtiums, peppers and tomatoes below are a bit summer-weary now that September is almost done. The tables and chairs on the terrace are manufactured from recycled plastic milk bottles.

 Roof terrace tiles made from recycled tires;
I think maybe a few glasses of wine have dribbled on these tiles

My niece Amy (Ginnie's daughter), next to terrace furniture
made from recycled plastic milk cartons

Potted terrace plants of vegetables, now a little summer-worn

My favorite part of the building is the greenhouse. To go to the restrooms, you have to walk through this space, which is brilliant, since part of Mike's vision is to educate not only the children of Michigan about renewable practices, but also adults. The "wall of water" consists of tubes full of standing water that absorb heat from the sun through the greenhouse windows, then radiate it to keep the greenhouse warm. The solid cement brick wall to the right in this photo absorbs the sun's heat in the winter months when the sun shines lower through the windows. I'd like to go back during the day, for lunch and a daylight tour.

 Wall of water lining the greenhouse

Don stands by the wall of water, which absorbs heat 
from sunlight through the greenhouse windows
for heat in long cold Michigan winters

Herbs and other plants for the restaurant are grown here in the greenhouse.

Amy is standing by the rain water receptacle;
rainwater is used to water the plants.

The quick composter takes 200 pounds of food garbage a day (vegetable and animal matter except bones), then dehydrates it. The water removed is used to water the plants throughout the restaurant, and the dried matter is composted further, since it is still too "hot" to be used by farmers. Restaurant staff set it out every Saturday morning for residents and farmers in the community to help themselves, and compost it for their own use. Have you ever seen a restaurant without a dumpster out back? Mind Body & Spirits has no dumpster. They recycle everything. The restaurant Director of Operations, Ed, along with his dad, take the leftover cooking oil from the restaurant and make bio-diesel for his 1970s Mercedes Benz, which smells like French Fries while he drives.

Quick composter-dehydrater

Dehydrated and composted food ready to take out back 
to the receptacle for pick-up by local residents and farmers

Among the savory food, the groove-inducing music of the band, Peter's musical accomplishment, family from Atlanta and friends from around Michigan, all wrapped in cozy intimacy, and the eco-consciousness of the restaurant, I was energized and stimulated in mind, body and spirit all the way until midnight! Me!

But will I be able to stay up all night for the Willow Ball? Two late nights in one week. Maybe Willow has a sofa, like this one I had my feet up on . . .

And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use.  And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried:  "Look at this Godawful mess."  ~Art Buchwald, 1970


Ginnie said...

When Amy wrote last night that she had seen you and Don, Ruth, and had heard Peter's band, I loooonged to hear and know more...little knowing I would see and read it all here. I'm in heaven with this post, because I feel the visualization of everything Dennis had previously told me was finally here. Talk about vision. I wish them all incredible success...the kind that multiplies their vision!

Now I will find out from Peter how I can buy the CD for when I'm there at Amy's in October! Congratulations to YOU for your fabulous, impressive photos!

Lorenzo said...

Music, good eats in pleasant environmentally-aware surrounds, a peek into your atelier … lots of delightful morsels in your post today. I liked your musings on taking photos of people as a way of drawing them out. Funny, we put a camera between us and them, and it suddenly becomes easier to coax a smile. I also learned that we use the expression “kilometer zero” in English. The term is used quite often here in Spain, both literally to describe a location with respect to Madrid (which is smack dab in the middle of the fairly square shaped country and thus the home of the famous kilometro zero plaque in the Puerta del Sol), and figuratively as the center of everything and anything.

Ruth said...

Boots, I thought about you many times Friday and pictured you asking Ed a lot of questions about the workings of the restaurant's phys plant. I get inspired every time I hear Mike talk about his dreams and visions. You should have heard him introduce the band. How many restaurant owners are so passionate about so much?

I wonder if Dennis grabbed a stash of CDs before they left . . .

Ruth said...

Lorenzo, I think people are far more comfortable with cameras now than they used to be. Everyone has one, it seems, and maybe that makes a difference. I had to make a conscious decision not to pick mine up at Lesley's wedding last summer. I loved it when my sister Dee Dee asked if she could carry it around, and she found wonderful shots of people that I never would have seen otherwise.

I had not heard the kilometer zero term until Paris, which apparently is right where the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore is. You probably know that when you purchase a book there, it gets stamped with a circle that has "kilometer zero" written inside. I'm now interested to find out that there is also a kilometer zero in Madrid!

I hadn't called my atelier this until today. Before, I had called it the pivot of the universe.

George said...

This was a great way to start the day, Ruth, seeing people have fun and receiving a little education simultaneously. I haven't had a chance to listen to your son's music yet — will do that when I return to my computer a little later — but he is a handsome and interesting young man, undoubtedly drawn to creativity like his mother.

I loved the tour through the restaurant. If we are ever able to reverse the disastrous course we are presently on as a world, it will come through the dedication and commitment of people like the owners, operators, and employees of this restaurant.

Have a great week, and thanks once again for your lovely comments on my site and Bonnie's last evening.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Ruth, I'm so happy to see all this environmentally friendly living. Individuals are the ones who are going to make the change...

Congratulations to your talented son, so glad to see him so focused on his music. .... now I want to go and see photos you took in your l'atelier!!!
all the best!

Ruth said...

Thanks, George. When Peter discovered the guitar at age 12, he was infused with passion and began studying the great rock guitarists and taught himself their techniques. He had a few professional lessons too. But mostly he is self taught, and I don't feel I am an overly doting mother to say he is one of the great talents out there. He doesn't just have technical skill, the music is now his language, his way of meeting the world. I hope all his dreams will come to pass.

I agree with you about individuals being the ones who need to step up and make things right. I don't know what building this restaurant, and maintaining it, with these attentions costs, but I'm grateful that Mike believes it's worth every penny.

I hope you enjoy Peter & Brian's music if you listen.

Again, I loved reading (it felt more like listening to) your interview with Bonnie. These last few months I have felt a poignant deepening in my blogging experience, thanks to you and others.

Ruth said...

Gwen, I think your comment was posted simultaneously with George's, and you both said it takes individuals to change how things are. It's like Don Miguel Ruiz's 5 agreements in my footer - we can change the world by starting with the world in our own heads. As we allow our shape to change from what is dictated by business and advertising, as we simplify and focus on the essence of all that's around us, it can't help but make meaningful differences. You and John (and Max) are showing that with your stellar example of living as artists and laborers who respect the land you live on. I am so blessed that you are in the world.

Thank you so much for your congratulations to Peter. It makes me smile thinking he was in your town not so long ago, buying a certain pair of mother of the bride earrings . . .

Susan said...

Love the post (Peter will be as proud of you as you are of him), love the music, love the restaurant! I'm downloading the album as I'm wriiting this. I love the tongue-in-cheek history(About) section of April to Fall's website. Very clever and sweet. Jaye will be impressed with Peter's alter ego (Clapton), as he is his guitar hero, too.

Next time we visit Michigan I want to eat at Mind, Body & Spirits. Most definitely.

Ruth said...

Susie, thank you. Yes, Peter already let me know that he loved the pictures. You might have seen the album at Facebook too?

The About section is temporary, but in a way I will hate to see it replaced by the truth. :D

It would be a real treat to meet you and David at Mind, Body & Spirits. I thought of you constantly while we were there, and while I wrote this post. All this means so much to you, so we must do it. We will arrange another tour with Ed so you can ask your own questions, which will be great to listen to with the answers, because your knowledge is much more extensive.

George said...

I've now had a chance to listen to Peter's music, and it's terrific! I'm not just saying that to please you, my friend — though God knows that I would walk through fire to do that — it really is extraordinary, very accomplished for someone of Peter's age. I actually relate to this a bit, because, while it was not revealed in the interview, I once had my own rock and roll band in high school, a band, however, that was never as good as April to Fall.

Ruth said...

Dear George! Oh that's wonderful, thank you for listening, and does it make sense to thank you for liking? (and for wanting to please me at such a cost, yet I feel the same . . )

Well of course you were in a rock and roll band! I am not at all surprised. With what you've said about your spiritual and physical adventures in your youth, being in a musical group makes complete sense for another way of expressing what was so wildly growing in you and in so many in those days.

May I say that while April to Fall is a wonderful group, perhaps it does not completely showcase Peter's talent, though I thank you for recognizing it nonetheless. His first love is the blues, and I dream for him that he will be able to play with BB King on a stage somewhere, just for a few minutes. Peter's other band, Lord Huron (, is also on the verge of exciting things.

Pat said...

Wow - what an interesting post! First of all, I listened to the music - it was great! I like their sound!

That restaurant was amazing with all it's recycled furnishings - I was really impressed. Growing their own vegetables, the water system, everything is so well thought out.

Your photo of the guys in your little hideaway looks marvelous!

Claudia said...

They have a great sound, I really like it! So much so, in fact, that I went ahead and purchased the CD on iTunes. It will be a welcome change from the Beatles no.1 CD the kids have been playing non-stop in the car for the past month.

Love the pictures taken in your atelier. Really good pictures of the event as well, had already seen them in facebook. You must be so proud :)

Never been to a restaurant like Mind,Body&Spirit. Looks good and the concept is very cool and worthy. There should be more places like that around.

Babs-beetle said...

Lovely CD - music and the cover.

What a great restaurant! I would love to eat, and spend time there. The food looks delicious too.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the music. My favorites are Alleyway and Wire crosses.

That restaurant looks soooo cool! I need to go there when I go to Michigan!

Bonnie said...

Look at that beautiful boy of yours! You must be so proud. What a great place to launch a CD - thank you for the tour. It must take a considerable investment of money to set up a place from top to bottom in such an Earth-friendly way. I'm sure the rewards roll in later and a great satisfaction is immediate.

Sidney said...

Congratulations to your son's music CD !
Cool...great looking musicians and their music is good too!
I guess we will hear more about them in the future !

Jean Spitzer said...

Congratulations, to you, your son and his bandmate. Looks like a great party.

Oliag said...

My goodness, where to start....why at the photos of course! I went to the April to Fall site before I finished reading your post and wondered if you took those gorgeous portraits...I thought so:) They really are stunning...and the models are so handsome:) I liked their music on first hearing and will download the album for sure...(do they still call them albums? I can't change now). I love the blues! Love their sense of humour too....played with Mayall? How wonderful to have a gift.

All that and a wonderful, environmentally aware restaurant too...

ds said...

Peter's music is so... Happifying. I'm all lit up inside. Will swear on whatever you choose that I heard his guitar & his riffs are dazzling. (The rest of the band is rather good, too ;) )

You absolutely hit my "mind, body & spirit" with this post, Ruth. The music, the photos, that extraordinary restaurant. Sigh...
Sometimes I wish I lived in Michigan.

Terresa said...

Thanks for the tour, what a lovely locale!

The recycled flooring looked great, I'd like some of that for my back patio, and the greenhouse, I've always wanted one of those, too, but on a more humble scale. Going over to check out Peter's music next!!

Margaret Bednar said...

Will have to check this restaurant out when I am on my annual trek with six kids from NC to Petoskey, MI. We shoot right up 75, so it is a distinct possibility if we hit it at the right time.

My son is a senior in HS at a college - UNC School of the Arts. He is pursuing drama and LOVES the guitar - acoustic, electric (upright bass). Pretty much self taught on the guitar. (Years of bass lessons and piano and voice). I will have to purchase this CD for him and see what he thinks. He loves rock, writes poetry - fun kid (even if I wasn't his mom, I would say that). Your boy seems like quite a gem too. :)

Terresa said...

Just stopping back by to rave about April to Fall. Love their sound! Circles, Alleyway, and I Don't Want To being my top 3 favorite songs, but they are all ***excellent***.

If/when they ever play Las Vegas, let me know, I'm there!! :)

Sandy said...

Wonderful post and congrats to Peter. Loved it all.

Gwei Mui said...

What an amazing restuarant - this is the way forwad isn't it. To be abl to see what can be done if hyou're willing tothink a little outside that blasted box! The whole evening looks so divine I hope the CD does well will be popng over to the website to have a listen later on today probably in my lunch break!

rauf said...

beautiful design Ruth. The concept is noble. wish others follow too.

The pictures are like a documentary, full of life. The a bit of carpet on the inside picture of the CD shouldn't have been there in the frame. The picture has a great impact none the less. i keep going back to that picture. Hope the CD gets rave reviews, i think it will Ruth. love the title song. 'Live on' sounds a bit like Bob Segar. Alleyway and circles are haunting melodies Wire crosses and 'i don't want to' is lovely too.

Amy said...

Thanks for capturing these photos and sharing the tour with us, Ruth! It was so wonderful to see both you and Don and to share a lovely dinner. So glad you liked the restaurant as well!

Deborah said...

Ruth, this is absolutely remarkable. What a shining example these entrepreneurs are - the musicians and the restauranteurs, both. I wish your son and his friend all kinds of success with his CD and musical career. It's a tough one to pursue, and I admire anyone who has the self-belief and resiliance to do it.

I've never seen anything even close to the committment made by the owners of this restaurant. I'd love to have a meal there, but since that's not likely to happen, I did get a pretty good idea of how tasty it was from your photos. They should be showcased nation-wide, to show the naysayers that it is possible to respect the earth and still do good business. I'm so impressed.

Jeanie said...

Ok, if you'd just written about the release, I would have been thrilled! Anyone who will have Jen S. with them is probably someone I would like and I'll look forward to linking. You must have been SO proud. Any mom would!

But then to continue with such an amazing visit -- beautifully photographed. That herb room captured my heart! Sounds like a spot I must someday visit! Thanks for the tip!

Kate said...

What a rich and wonderful post. I really like Peter's music and wish them all the best of everything. And I love the up close and personal look at the restaurant that you've given here.
You don't really need to know the manual settings on your camera!

thanks, Ruth.

Ruth said...

Pat, thank you for your mahvelous comments. I wish we could have a blogger hook-up at Mind, Body & Spirits. Wouldn't that be rowdy? Maybe April to Fall would play the gig free-of-charge, ha.

Ruth said...

Thanks so much, Claudia. Wow, I am so tickled you like the band and bought the CD! I'll tell Peter. He was happy with the post. I'm very pleased you like the pictures, seeing as I am in awe of your photographs.

Ruth said...

Hi, Babs, it is good to enjoy living, and this was a super pleasurable evening.

Ruth said...

Kanmuri, I haven't seen you in a while, I'm glad you are here. I really like Alleyway too. Yes, if you're heading down to Michigan, I'm sure you'd love it, and you can walk around and take a tour.

Ruth said...

Bonnie, thank you, I am very proud. I was in a state of euphoria Friday, as I always am when Peter is performing. There are some venues, like at a park, where I stand at the stage off to the side and close my eyes and listen to him.

Ruth said...

Sidney, thank you, kind sir. It is wonderful to have you stop by with your congratulations and wishes.

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, Jean, I can't believe I stayed up that late.

Ruth said...

Oliag, oh you're wonderful, you knew I took the pictures, and you want to download an album. Yes, they are still called that. I think when they produce a CD, one album copy is also made. I know, the About section is entertaining, isn't it? They'll change it to real bios one of these days, and it's sort of a shame. :)

Ruth said...

DS, you have such a way with words. :) I wish you lived in Michigan big time. If you ever come this way, I trust you will tell me so we can connect live and in person. You don't know what a treat that would be for me.

Ruth said...

Terresa, I like how the terrace tiles are flexible and easy to move around. And you can hose 'em down. I'm really geeked that you like the music! I like the ones you picked, I think Alleyway is my favorite. Hey . . . Vegas, now there's a thought. I wonder how far you are from there.

Ruth said...

Margaret, oh, I forgot that you go to Petoskey regularly, you lucky woman you.

That sounds tricky and smart, to be a high school senior in college, wow. If you give him this CD, I'd love to hear what he thinks. Peter is something else. I remember when I worried because he didn't have any passions, and I asked my mom what I should do. She said I shouldn't worry, he'll find something. And he did, and how. I don't think he's gone a single day without playing one of his guitars since he was 12, and he'll be 28 next month.

Ruth said...

Hi there, Sandy, thank you for adding your congrats to the air here. I'm glad you enjoyed your stop.

Ruth said...

Gwei Mui, it means a lot to me that you want to listen to the music, your friendship is valuable to me. I never get enough of these performances of Peter's. I'm a dorky, swoony mom. He doesn't seem to mind me getting down on the floor for pics either.

Ruth said...

rauf, I thought of you many times at the restaurant, because of all the recycled things you purchased for your refurbished studio and flat.

I like those songs too. Some of them we've lived with a long time, from a previous CD. Alleyway is fairly new, but circles is old. Live On is new too. Brian writes the songs, he's been doing it most of his life. Peter does the arrangements.

Ruth said...

Amy, seeing you and Dennis a second time this year at one of these gigs is too much fun! That was a fabulous dinner. Too bad we didn't stay the weekend all posh with all of you. :|

Ruth said...

Deborah, I tried to find something online about the 13 restaurants that have been noted for this uniquely high accomplishment, without luck. Ed Begley Jr calls this one of his favorite restaurants. :)

Ruth said...

Jeanie, you know Jen? We need to talk. I had the privilege of taking some photos of the band while they recorded in the studio, and I got to listen to Jen record for about an hour. It's a very interesting experience. I wonder if you know Glenn, the studio owner . . .

I think you and Rick would really enjoy Mind, Body & Spirits.

Ruth said...

Kate, thank you, I'm tickled you like Peter's band. I will pass your best wishes on to him.

I suppose if I never learn my manual settings, it won't hurt anyone. :)

Vagabonde said...

I listened to the music and loved it – it is very melodious with a nice weave of voices. Your son is very talented – but then he had good genes. I was amazed also at how dedicated the owners of Mind, Body and Spirits were – the food must be excellent. I wish I knew a place like this around here, you are lucky to be close to them.

Ruth said...

Vagabonde, they're pretty songs, aren't they? Brian is a good songwriter. Yes, Peter inherited much from his grandmother, all the grands I think.

I would so like to go to Mind, Body & Spirits with you, enjoy a nice organic lunch, a glass of wine, and a long afternoon of conversation. Downtown Rochester is charming.

Montag said...

You make such great stories; great in conception and great in execution. I am covetous of your skill.

dutchbaby said...

First, is there anything that George has not done in his life?

I adore this post and I'm so sorry I came late to the show. Your Peter looks like the strong silent type. I married one of those. I can understand how he uses music to communicate to the world. My husband becomes more engaging as soon as he has a video camera in his hands.

I visited April to Fall's website. I chuckled at the "About" section. The power of positive thinking definitely works! I enjoyed the music here too. Peter has amazing depth and breadth of talent.

The restaurant is awesome! More and more restaurants here in California recycle their oil and the cars who consume it proudly announce this fact on their doors and bumpers.

I find the oval recycled coffee table to be urban chic!

BTW, I took your name in vain on my Willow Ball post.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Montag, that means the world to me.

And I am covetous of your intellect.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, thank you so much.

George, I know! He's a Renaissance Man.

Peter is reserved, yes, and very controlled yet engaging when he needs to be. Music is Peter. Peter is Music. I don't really know any other way to say it.

I can't wait for the day when all these systems work together, and we can all drive recycled fuel and participate easily and readily in conservation. Wow, that sounds like such an outdated word, but it still works.

I love your willowness, and I'm still recovering from my own indecency sharing my undergarments!

cathyswatercolors said...

Hi Ruth, I have been so overwhelmed with the wedding and work,work,work, that i missed a few posts. This post is so important with your son's album ooops CD release party! So awesome! Beautiful son and wonderful sounds. I will be able to listen to them with more intensity this weekend but i already love them. Rochester release party , we seem to dance around one another.... oxox peace god loves peace, she told me so...

Montag said...

I can't believe I missed this. I don't think I was out of town. I remember looking at the pictures. What happened to me?
I have eaten at Mind, Body & Spirit; found it really good. It was actually what it purported to be and I liked everything.
Of course, I spent a lot of time across the street at Red Knapp's drinking malts.