Friday, December 13, 2013

This is so good.

Make a basic risotto, a la Jamie Oliver, only about a half recipe.

When you get down to adding the last cup of stock, throw in around a cup of diced ham and a little more of cauliflower (small florets and some stems), and just before the last of the liquid has cooked off, add about a cup or more of peas, before you stir in the parmesan and butter.

Total yum! And so deliciously easy, you'd be a fool not to try it...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Big Sky

It's been a while since we had a death in the family.

I went to see the movie Nebraska with a friend, tonight, after enjoying a lovely meal and a couple of glasses of wine, followed by a deliciously decadent dessert (on the house, no less) and a cuppa decaf for us both.  No one's taken me out to dinner in some time, and though this wasn't technically a "date", it was still a delightful substitute for one, requiring no further negotiation than a steadfast commitment to put on our boots and go sledding together sometime soon.  Thank goodness for good friends who happen to know where I can get a good haircut.

The movie was touching.  It was an apparently low-budget film, shot in black and white, starring a few familiar faces and many unfamiliar ones, several of whom were older folks with a lot of wrinkles on their faces and little if any acting experience.  There were a few mildly hilarious moments, and many softly heartbreaking ones, in this story.  We'd chosen this movie over a few others because I wasn't up for anything too serious or dramatic, and the table next to us gave it a more promising review than our runner up.  As chance would have it, this particular choice turned out to be, for me, quite a bit more poignant than I had thought to anticipate.  

The story followed an old man who was aging, addled and increasingly fragile, as he traveled from Montana to Nebraska, on the road to his Old Age.  

Watching the telling of this story, I was reminded of so many aspects of family, and home... This may not be a movie for someone from New Mexico or South Carolina, but the language of the Great Plains speaks to those of us who have lived even only on its edges, from Western Minnesota through the Dakotas, to the Rockies, North and South, and of course in the Heart of It All...wherever that might be.  Old farms and small towns, windbreaks and hay bales, dirt roads following fences to the's all wide open.  Scale is relative.  And relatives are non-negotiable.  

The scenery was familiar, from the shoulders of the highways to the contours of the landscape to the geometry of small town life to the expressions of each family member to the shape of the clouds to the delicate gestures of an ailing man to the love in a sideways smile, and I realized more than once, with tears rolling down my cheeks, that this coming weekend--and the past two weeks--may be more of an emotional journey than I'd thought I was on.  I'm to sing, with my two dear and lovely sisters, at my grandpa's memorial service this Sunday, and although the event will indeed and truly be a celebration of his life and Love, there is still to be acknowledged the passing of a great man, who is and ever will be dearly missed by all of us, his family.

I don't wish to eulogize my grandfather here, tonight, but only to voice my gratitude for the company of a loving friend, and for the grace with which the Universe offers us insight, compassion, and peace, that we might have the sense to share it, in our time.  

And thanks also to you, dear reader, for your thoughts. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Only in my dreams.

I woke up this morning at around six, or a little earlier.  I’m not sure of the exact time because I’d set my phone on the dresser at the foot of my bed last night, so as to keep the radiation a little further away from my head while I lay sleeping.  Having recently watched a thought-provoking documentary about how electromagnetic radiation interferes with, well, All Life, I figured it’s the least I can do for myself since I could not possibly consider actually giving up my mobile phone or wifi, or all the other wonderful forms of electrical pollution that humans have devised, in the pursuit of our rapid demise.

On second thought, I’m almost certain of the time and I’d say it was six on the nose.  (It’s just a feeling I get, can’t really explain it but mostly it turns out to be right.)  For the next hour I lay in bed, mostly awake and musing on love and existence, until my alarm went off, at which point I promptly dismissed it and fell back to sleep.  I’ve begun to wonder if I should just stop using an alarm at all, or employ a different sound every day, because I seem to have a classic conditioned response to its ringing, i.e., when I hear it I don’t want to get up, regardless of how awake I am at the time.  I do often wonder how it would be, and how long it might take, to rediscover our true circadian rhythms, living in unscheduled time…

Anyway, as usual, that last hour of fragmented sleep brought with it a number of telling and lucid dreams, which I shall not detail here except to say I’ve never biked along and down a grassy muddy rocky riverbed in the rain before and that was a pretty fun ride.  Unfortunately, the person I had traveled by bike to see was gone by the time I arrived, off riding some other trail (I found out), but we met later, in the company of some family and friends and their children.  I woke up to a dark brown bat, flying around my living room.  Only in my dreams, of course.  There aren't any bats in my house, far as I know.

Monday, December 9, 2013

As of now

I still have my pride, if not my vanity, and I can't help feeling like today would have been a good day not to have someone just go ahead and cut my hair way too short.  Oh f-ing well I guess.  I'm sure it'll look great a month from now and it's not like I have any important events coming up, or like anyone in the world besides me could possibly give a shit.  It looks just fine, and I'm over it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I fucked up the beer.

I put the last hops in right as the truck pulled out of sight through the kitchen window and then shut off the stove, as directed. Watched the Vikings lose to Baltimore (4 touchdowns in the last 2 min!) and then walked back into the kitchen to find--much to my consternation--that I had not actually turned off the stove, and the wort was still boiling and had been for at least a half hour. Bummer to say the least and I was not happy to say the least.  First (and last) time I've ever done that so I don't really know what to expect. Chances are the beer will be fine and drinkable, especially with the amount of dry hopping that's called for, but the finer qualities of the aroma and flavor hops have no doubt been lost, and it's possible that a little sugar was scorched.  It's funny how much difference not fucking something like that up can make on any given day...  Poop!  Poop and triple poop!!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I think we might sing this

How to honor who my grandfather was, to our grandmother, to our family, to each of us and all others?

My younger sister suggested that we change the phrase "one people" to "one family".  I am still thinking about that.

May you rest in peace.