Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fresh Sounds

You might want to check this out.  Give a listen to the 10.21 show, it's pretty good.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Eat It: This F-ing Goodness is Good For You

Olive oil in a good-sized skillet.  Onion, salt, sweet yellow/red and green pepper, garlic, in the typical amounts (like, however much you think you want).  Squash, about six cups, baked (butternut, good; lakota, better; chioggia, primo).  One cup good feta cheese, one half cup fatty chicken stock (since it happened to be right there) plus a quarter cup or so of water (from the feta), depending on how moist your squash isor you want it to be.  Should be soft enough to stir without strain.  Salt, fresh ground pepper.  Combine all, sprinkle with cayenne or paprika, cover and bake at four hundred degrees until "puffed" or cooked through.  Remove lid, top with one cup sunflower seeds, salt as necessary, and bake at the top of the oven until seeds are slightly browned.  Let cool to eating temp and........Mm, tasty!!  

(Credit where due: this is not entirely my own, but a damn good variation on a recipe from Molly Katzen's Moosewood cookbook.   Also, this makes a pretty big batch.  Could cut it in half or less, and still have plenty.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

To Fall

A few thoughts, on this warm and sunny day:
It's been a gentle Fall here, and despite how dry it's been this year, the colors have been holding quite nicely for the past few weeks, steadily deepening in hue like overripe fruit, apricots and peaches and cherries (oh my! indeed), glazed with the sweet crispness of caramelized sugars, slowly burnt to perfection by the flames of the post-Equinox sun.  There, in the distant woods, oak bark the color of wolves, leaves tough as leather and red as blood tremble over the bare bones of birch that lie scattered on the forest floor, as hungry fungi gather to feed on the rotting remains.  Here, in the city, avenues are littered with the golden confetti of honey-locust leaves and the cracked shells of seed-pods dropped by catalpas and Kentucky coffee trees.  Rainbows of sumac have faded, once-fiery maples have dwindled to a warm pastel glow, roses are burnt to crimson, blackberries have gone brown, and it's time to ready my home for winter.

Good weather and prior procrastinations have to conspired to hand me many chores to do today: clear the gutters, rake the yard, put the plants to bed, tamp the broken fence, clean up the walk, wash the outside windows, clear all the corners and edges in anticipation of ice and snow...  There are vegetables in the garden and the fridge to take in and put up, the back steps need mending, my car's leaking oil pretty seriously now, and there's painting to do, fixtures to hang, paperwork to complete, the furnace and ducts need cleaning, the floors need scrubbing, someone needs to go to the store and make a few calls, among other things... I'd hoped to plant some bulbs on the boulevard, with a nod toward Spring, and lay down a warm cover of wood mulch for the Winter... all of these tasks being, more or less of little or no consequence, I suppose, but still a fair amount to do on one's own.  I'd be grateful for a hand today, but will endeavor instead to get through what I can, knowing that there is only to do the job that lies ahead of you, each one to the next, and to commit oneself to honest work, in the labor of love.  My little home has served me well, and surely deserves a bit of Tender Loving Care.

So, up the ladder I go... Here's hoping I don't fall and crack my head.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Getting down to it

Well, children.  It's about time.

Where have I been, for the better part of this year?  I wish I could tell you...

So today I pissed off my crazy neighbor, by putting up the last section of fence that's been patiently waiting around in my garage since last Fall.  I also trimmed a few inches off of her spruce tree, without asking, since it was hanging over the chain link...  She, in true Minnesotan form, didn't bother herself to come out and just talk to me about it, but instead displayed her displeasure through some passive-aggressive door slamming and yelling out a nice loud "goddamn it!" from inside the confines of her home.  Yeah, part of me was like, okay, I guess that was sorta shitty of me, not talking to her before just going ahead and doing it, but another part of me was like, fuck you, crazy cat lady.  We already talked about this fence thing and if you have a problem with it, then you know where to find me.  It was bad enough talking to you about it in the first place, not because it's such a touchy subject but because you're clearly not "normal".  Do you really want to share a yard with me, drunken smoking wack-ass hippy nuisance that I am?  I'm just trying to give us both a little privacy, and the fact that your cat likes to come over and roll around in my yard and lounge on my doorstep isn't any reason to get all bent out of shape.  And yeah, by the way, he loves me and you know it.  So get over it, and go take some more lithium.

I tried to do the right thing, though, maybe sorta kinda, by writing her what I felt at the time to be a sincere apology for being so inconsiderate, and offering to explore other possibilities if she's really that unhappy with the fence.  In all likelihood I just destroyed any potential of our entertaining an ongoing congenial relationship, but the truth is that I don't really care.  We're not going to be friends.  And I'll be damned if I'm going to take the fence down.  She should be glad I haven't put up a real one.


As I was saying, it's about time.  Time to vacuum up the cobwebs (and underwear.  so that explains where all the suction went.), clean out the closets, fill up the larder and batten down the hatches... Winter's on its way.  Fall is well past its peak now, and somehow I've all but missed the changing colors this year.  Suddenly I'm busting out the down vest, plunging my naked feet into (oh-so) shearling boots, and day-dreaming about snow... probably a little premature, at this point, and I really shouldn't go getting my hopes up.  Chances are, this drought will continue through the end of the year, at least, and I will have to seriously consider, once again, what exactly the fuck I am doing, continuing to live in this state.  But I can't help hoping for heaps and heaps of it.  Snow, that is.

Speaking of our problematic state.  I went out for a walk this evening in the brisk autumn air, so sweet to breathe when it wasn't polluted with the stench of noxious laundry fumes and exhaust, just cold enough on the back of the arms and tip of the chin to keep the pace up, and I encountered this rather prominent sign, along the way:

At first I thought, hey.  That's pretty effective.  And then I thought, well, yeah, but also more or less lost on everyone on this stretch of road, except in that it might make them feel that much better about themselves for voting "no" (fuck no.) on the two referenda on our ballot this year.  I'm not saying it's not important to nurture a sense of solidarity but in this particular case, after first considering the psychological impact and then the actual reality, all I could think was, that's a pretty negative message, on the whole.  A giant "NO" sign?  Really??  Come on, people, we should be able to do better than that.  But then again, there's something empowering about saying "no" to something that's just wrong... So yeah, ok.  No.  Fuck no.

And then there's that the "O" in that "NO" looks a lot like a hula hoop, and it just so happens that last night, in my rather small living room (wearing open-backed heels on a shag rug, no less.  ridonculous!), I discovered the pure pleasure of spinning two at the same time, each of different diameters, and I have to tell you, it was out of this world.  To feel something that, um... orbital? whirling around this little body and be able to keep it going... Totally my favorite new thing.  And I was alone, by the way.  Just enjoying myself.

So where have I been, for the better part of this year?  

If only you knew.

Peace and love to you, children--aren't we all?--and look for more in the days to come...