Saturday, September 28, 2013

YOUR HEARTS IN TEXAS; FOR RED AND SOUBY

When the Red Dirt Girl was in town this week I had hoped that maybe she would be able to go with me to see my pal Buddy, and meet some of my friends at a Buddy Whittington Show, and we would jam to Slow Rolling Train or Grits Ain't Groceries, or any other of Buddy's great songs..
But it just didn't quite work out that way. I hope when Souby gets to Texas here in just a few weeks that maybe they will be able to come up sometime and we will have some good fun and listen to some Buddy.

It was great to meet Red after all these years. We mention from time to time the fun we had in the early days where Red would put up some picture of a shoe, and I would build some kind of menu around it. It may sound far fetched, but it wasn't that much of a stretch once we got rolling. In fact, lets see if maybe I have a picture of a shoe handy....
OH! What do you know? We just happen to have one here!

The rule has always been in determining a Coral Snake from a King Snake:
"Red touch yellow, kill a fellow
Red touch black, friend to Jack"
So it looks like we are in business, especially if there are some black fishnets somewhere near.



Now all we have to do is come up with a menu for this shoe. This shoe is almost biblical. It reminds me of the verse in Genesis that says the serpent was the "craftiest creature in the garden, except the woman".

So, for an appetizer, we should go with a nice Rattlesnake-Leek Consomme', with some Quail Quenelles floated on top maybe.
For the entree I'm  thinking Filet of Sole (haha) ala Pompei, garnished with Seedless Green Grapes, Lobster Coral and Mississippi Baby Shrimps in a light White Wine Sauce.
For dessert, a chocolate Treasure Box, painted with Gold filigree, filled with White Chocolate Mousse on a Raspberry Coulis and seasonal fruits garnish.

I've still got it baby!

I went back and looked around, and found an excerpt from a long time ago, not about me or Red, but about the real star of this show, Sobriquet. Here is his place in the Land of Oz, that I had compared my pals here to at one point:


Soubriquet, whom we have not seen in these parts recently, I think we will call him the Farm Hand Hickory, I believe Hickory was building a wind machine and is the Scarecrows Kansian counterpart. Sobriquet has taken to giving us lots of Video Tech, and I miss his rambling stories. He is a parcel of information, but in between the Grit of his Gears I sense a tender Tin Mans touch.
Somewhere they will erect a Statue for Souby.


A statue for Souby! Who would have thought in 2008 it would be in Texas!

Anyway, it was such a pleasure to meet an old friend for the first time. Its really amazing how well you can get to know someone over time on the blogs when they present themselves in a genuine fashion. A few of us have come a long ways together.
As soft and sweet as I always thought Red would be, I was surprised to find that she is even softer and sweeter in person, if not even a little bit demure. She really IS a lot like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz!
This post is full of links to all sorts of places and I urge you to follow them to your hearts content. I dont think there is a way to tell the full story here, we lived it and watched it being lived. We really helped each other get through and get over.
Thats the trick sometimes you know, getting over what you just got through.

Oh, but back to Buddy and that Slow Rolling Train. heres a tune off his Dr. Wu Project. I'm not sure who wrote this song, but it really is a great song! They stop clowning around and get to the music at the one minute mark. Hurry home Souby. Take the fast train.





Friday, September 27, 2013

SOME KIND OF BROKEN

I know you are some kind of broken, maybe the kind of broken where everything seems ok, like a chair on which you let no one sit for their own safety and for the safety of the chair.

I know you are some kind of broken, maybe the kind of broken where the weather seeps in around the edges and you fall in love or fall apart and what’s the difference anyway, in the end.

I know you are some kind of broken, maybe the kind of broken everyone longs for in their life, the kind of broken that spills out over everything and everyone around you, a light that never turns off. 
— Peregrine (via youreyesblazeout)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

BUDGIE GOES TO CAMP

I have a Cockatiel. His name is Budgie. Last summer I had to send him to Outward Bound up in Oregon. It’s a boot camp for troubled birds.
I went to my therapist. I told him I was deeply troubled about Budgie.
He asked if I was troubled because of separation anxiety, or from having had to do some tough love, and essentially having to send Budgie to a Boot Camp.
“No” I said “I’m afraid I forgot to pack his swim trunks”

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

JUST DRIVING BY

I got up one morning and got dressed and looked up and it was only 7:05. I thought “I’m way early; wouldn’t it be fun to drive over by where she works and go opposite the way she comes , and maybe as I’m going down Forest Ridge we will pass head on, and I’ll honk and wave and smile, and she will honk and wave and smile, and it will be funny, and we will laugh to ourselves all day long about it. Then I’ll call her, and we’ll laugh some more, and I’ll say something really cool like “We have to stop meeting like this!” and she’ll fall even more in love with me, the crazy kooky guy that I am, fate having brought us together on our way to work in the morning."

Well, the next thing I know I’m driving in front of where she works. And I’m coming up to a stop sign right out front, in broad daylight, and suddenly Forest Ridge seems a long ways away. I feel pretty much hung out to dry, completely out of place, and I come to the realization that what I’m doing is really creepy.
I mean REALLY CREEPY!
And now I’m at the Stop sign, and sure as shit, there she is right across from me, and now I’m trying to crawl up under the dashboard, or down an AC vent, anything to prevent seeing her look right into my eyes with a creeped out look on her face as I sit at the stop sign in front of her workplace, which happens to be WAY OUT OF MY USUAL WAY of getting to work, and I suddenly realize they have a name for what I’m doing:
STALKING!

As we passed each other in the middle of the intersection, basically 5 feet apart, tops, I did such a good job of trying to crawl under the floor mats that I had no idea if she had seen me or not.
I couldn’t imagine she had not.
I talked to her that night and the next day, and the day after, and there wasn’t a clue as to whether she had seen me or not.
Which was a good  sign, a very good sign.
Then at breakfast a few days later, just as I’m about to wash a pancake down with a huge gulp of milk she says, just right out of the blue:
“ I saw a guy that looked just like you by work the other day, only his car didn’t have the big grill on the front!”


I might have gotten away with it if I hadn’t spewed milk and pancakes all over the table. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

THE LITTLE-BITTY BABIES, IN HIS HANDS

I’m really lucky. I only have a 10 minute drive in to work. There is not really a lot that can happen to you in that 10 minutes.
Up ahead this morning there was a school bus stopped. It had the flashing yellow and red  lights, and the STOP sign out. Traffic was stopped on both sides of the bus, and I was able to watch the bus driver do her business.

It seems this bus was equipped with a lift for a wheelchair, and at this particular stop, the woman driver was out and lowering it for a smiling young man in a wheelchair as his father looked on. Traffic was building on both sides of the bus as the lift slowly lowered. I watched the woman driver roll the young man onto the lift. The father handed him his lunchbox. I looked in the rear view mirror at the man behind me on his cell phone. I watched the oncoming cars, stopped now, motionless, except for the woman ahead absent-mindedly drumming her fingers on the steering wheel.

It was like the whole wide world had stopped, and would stay stopped as the bus driver secured the chair to the lift with a strap; that time would stretch itself out while the lift slowly rose. That for just five minutes the earth had stopped its rotation and this child in the wheelchair was the center of the universe, the most important person in the world, and I sensed that no one in any of the stopped cars was in any kind of hurry, that no one felt put out, and it made me feel proud to live in a country that would take this kind of care for one single person. To live in a school district that is able to do this. Maybe not all of them can, I don't know. 
Seldom do I get to notice such a manifestation of my taxes doing such good work.

My heart swelled, it really did, and now the smiling driver rolled the chair from the lift into the bus, and I wondered how the kids in the bus felt about taking a moment this morning, taking a moment every morning, to get their pal loaded up. I wondered if anyone said “good morning”, or helped get him strapped safely into his spot on the bus. I wondered if he was a good student. The lift disappeared into the bus, and the driver smiled at the boy’s father, who smiled back, then looked up to see me.

Me, also smiling now, having witnessed this act of care play out. She smiled and gave me a happy little wave, got on the bus and after a long moment the lights stopped blinking and the STOP signs disappeared, traffic resumed  and the world started back to its business again.
The whole world in His hands.
my moment of Zen.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

GOODBYE HAMBURGER HELPER

I have been teaching my friend Cara to cook. She’s never cooked before, thinking its really hard, and time consuming. It doesn’t have to be that way.  She said all she ever cooks is Hamburger Helper.
Good  God.

So for two weeks now she and another friend have come over, and I’ve shown her how to cook quick and easy and clean.
The first week we cut up a chicken breast and sauté in a little olive oil and added some zucchini and yellow squash and served it on top of some sliced tomatoes with fresh basil and some angel hair pasta. She did all the cutting and cooking.
Total elapsed time was 25 minutes.
About the same amount of time as it takes to cook the Hamburger Helper.
We used 1 pot for the pasta, and 1 skillet for the chicken and squashes.
You don’t always have to have sauce for pasta you know. Just a little chopped parsley and olive oil is nice. Just make sure you season it. I call it cooking clean, not just because you don’t make so much of a mess, but the flavor is just light, and fresh, and , well, CLEAN.


This week, we went a little deeper. We had Pork Loin with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, yellow squash and carrots.
First, I had her chop fresh parsley and rosemary.
Then she sliced the pork loin into medallions and we marinated it with the herbs, olive oil, and some garlic.
She cut the potatoes for mashed potato, and got them on the boil, the water slightly salted.
She cut the carrots, broccoli, and yellow squash…some good knife work with no blood, that’s good.
Then she heated up the skillet and started sauté on the pork medallions.
As they were browning, I explained to her  there was another way to do this.
 That this was the “ala minute’” way to do it, when she had no time, like just getting off work.
But with even less effort, she could roast the pork loin.
She could just season the loin, and rub it with the herbs she had chopped, then brown the whole loin on all sides in the skillet, throw some cut up potatoes and baby carrots in there with it, cover it and put it in a 250 degree oven for two hours.

“Lets say its Sunday afternoon, and you and your husband want to eat after the game. Just come in the kitchen at halftime, brown the loin, throw the veges in, cover and put it into a 275 degree oven. Go back to the TV in time for the 3rd quarter, and about the time the game is over, dinner is ready!”
She nodded her head. “Is it good like that?”
“Hoh-Hoh-Hoh! Is it good? Mais oui, madame! But yes!”

Then I told her to step aside from the stove, and I opened the oven and I pulled out the other half of the pork loin she had sliced up that I had put in the oven to roast two hours before!
You should have seen the look on her face!
She says “You mean you have me doing all this, and you already have dinner ready?”
I said “That’s how we learn, baby, thats how we learn!”

Of course, the roast makes a nice jus, and I pulled to cover off, and had her taste the juices in the bottom of the pan. Her eyes lit up.
“Oh, that’s good!” she said.

“Hoh-Hoh-Hoh!” I laughed in my best French Chef laugh. “You must learn to laugh “Hoh-Hoh-Hoh””.
“Hoh-Hoh-Hoh” she laughed back, and I had her get down on one knee, and I christened her with a wooden kitchen spoon, tapping her right, then left shoulder, and a third tap on her bowed head.
“I make you Sous-Chef, Hoh-Hoh-Hoh!” I said.


I had also made an Apple-Fennel slaw to garnish the pork with. Total cooking time for Cara was just about an hour, but we had leftovers enough for them to take home, and I ate the leftovers the next two nights as well. The pork loin cost about 9 bucks @ 1.99 a pound. That's less than a dollar a serving.

I got a message from Cara last night:
"I made chicken with cilantro and lime and zucchini and squash. I almost cut my finger, the knife chopped my finger nail instead. Cooking can be a bit dangerous"

Keep those fingers tucked in Cara, just like I showed you.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

GOODBYE SEAFOAM GREEN SWEATER

 My old blog buddy UF Mike hasn't been posting much lately, but he does do some music reviews at a DC rag, THE VINYL DISTRICT.
Today he did one on Elton John. Its worth a read, done in Mike's old unmistakable style, and it brought back memories for me. Click here to check it out.

I was 17 in 1974, and I had this job as a busboy at a posh restaurant at the local Ramada Inn. They had a swinging combo going on weekends, two brothers each playing piano, and chick singer, just like in the Fabulous Baker Brothers.  Only these guys were like 70 and 72 years old respectively, and they did Perry Como songs, and a great rendition of "Come Fly With Me". Standard hotel bar cocktail music ya know? And all these old fogeys, drunk on Mateus wine and full of well done prime rib would hit the dance floor after dinner.

I remember there was one old guy who was a really good dancer, but his partner, who looked to be about 90 years old and recently deceased, just sort of hung limply in his arms, and he swished her around the dance floor, her feet dragging the whole way. I remember watching this, and thinking that old codger must be a lot stronger than he looks.
But the high point of the evening was when they played "Benny and the Jets" on two piano's.
Man, that guy could really go, and his partners feet would fly up every time he did a tun, and her one arm he didnt have a hold of would wave out to the crowd. it was fantastic!



My friend Brad was a huge EJ fan. We would cruise the loop in his Ford Pinto with the Quad turned all the way up, and during "Funeral For A Dead Friend" Brad would reach over into the glove box, pull out a huge pair of sparkly sungalsses, and play keyboard on the dashboard with his eyes closed, blissful, while we begged him to put his hands back on the steering wheel and drive before the song came true for all of us.
 Brads mother had knitted him a sweater for Christmas that year  with a big "EJ" initialed on the front.  Brad waited in anticipation for this sweater and opened it Christmas morning. The colors were Seafoam Green and a kind of pastel Canary Yellow  for the big "EJ", and none of us really knew what gay was in 1974 , but one look at that sweater and we knew that what ever it was, that sweater was it. 
He only wore it twice.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

PRAYER IS A FUNNY THING



Surprisingly, we had good weather and a cool evening for the outside concert last night.It had looked like rain all day. Someone said she had prayed for good weather, and pointed upwards to the sky, giving thanks to God.

I was rude, and said sarcastically, “Oh Jesus, help me”. And it bothered me that I would do that. Its not what I’m shooting for. Its easy enough to be cynical about prayer for me. My program teaches me to be open-minded and willing about it. I don’t know if a prayer can change the weather, or stop Obamacare. It doesn’t matter. What I have learned is what a friends grandmother said so well… "Prayer doesn't change God, but it does change the hearts of the people who are doing the praying" I like that. I like that a lot.

When I first came to Narcotics Anonymous I hadn’t prayed in 25 years.
Then one day I got mad at work and started throwing stuff. I told my sponsor about it. He taught me a prayer, my first prayer in 25 years, and it goes like this:
“God, give me just enough serenity and patience to get through this situation with a little dignity left”
And it worked! After 5 years of learning to pray again, I still say it from time to time.

See, prayer for me keeps me from throwing a chair through a window at work. It keeps me from walking out of Albertsons with something I didn’t pay for. It keeps me from lying when it would be easier than telling the truth.
If I pray hard enough at the right time, it can keep me from saying hurtful things. I don't use that prayer near enough.
Prayer just might have kept me from running into a concrete wall at 70 mph on purpose a few times.
It helps to keep me from picking up that first drug.
Mostly, prayer helps me live the principles the twelve steps are about, and to improve my conscious contact with God as I understand him.

I was having breakfast with another addict this morning. I told her that the person in charge of the cookout today at the NA group had called a few days ago and asked where we could get a grill for the cookout.
I had told her “I’ll put the word out on Facebook for a grill”.
So I post a status that says: “Attention all my NA peeps- we need a couple grills for the Saturday cookout-please contact myself or Connie if you have a grill we can use”
You know how many responses we had?
ZERO! ZILCH!
So poor Connie had to cancel the cookout and order pizza.

As we were leaving breakfast, I said to my friend "Maybe I should have just prayed for a grill".
I said it in a sarcastic manner, another little slam on prayer, like the one I threw at my friend who had prayed for good weather.
But I got to thinking about the hundreds of responses you get on Facebook whenever you put out a prayer request, and it occurred to me that if I had asked for PRAYERS for a grill instead of a grill, we probably wouldn’t be having pizza today. If I had posted “Requesting prayers for God to provide a grill for us today”...
We would be having hamburgers and hot dogs.
On a grill. I'm sure of it. 

They call that faith.

See, the thing about prayer is that people respond to it. 
People respond to prayer. 
And maybe on some level, the universe does too.
They call that faith.
Prayer sure is a funny thing.
If there is anything you can ask for and always get a lot of, it's prayer.



"We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry that out."
Step Eleven

Monday, September 09, 2013

NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH



I guess this was before Makers Mark announced they were going to lower the alcohol content.
Reminds me of a trip to Toledo Bend where I hooked my wife in the top of the head while some sandies were schooling. We were hittin' 'em pretty good.
She said it didn't hurt, so I clipped the hook off the lure, and picked my rod up, figuring to take care of it when we got back to shore.
“What are you doing?” she says.
“What? You said it didn't hurt.”
“You take me somewhere right now and get this hook out of my head”
Women.
I guess this was before Makers Mark announced they were going to lower the alcohol content.