21 November 2006

On the road

I started "On The Road" by Jack Kerouac today, and travelling out West vicariously through the novel. In reality, and even better, I'm headed East.
:) LJS

20 November 2006

taste a little of the summer

It's almost been two years since my gramma died; and I am almost to the point emotionally where I can write about it. I'd like to write her a proper eulogy, I understand that people grieve in different ways, but I feel as if my gramma wasn't given her due respect. If I can practice here...I'd like to first give a bit of backstory.
One of my favorite Greg Brown songs is "Canned Goods"-the live version. I nicknamed it the "Gramma Song". Greg is such a talented musician that he brings out the beauty and charm and humor in the everyday. In this song, he sings about the summer and his gramma, and how much he loves and misses her. He also sings about going to her house on Sundays, something I used to do with my family when I was younger too. The live version rambles and roams- for 13 sublime minutes I am transported back to her home in Avon Lake with my own memories for company.
"Well maybe you're world weary and don't give a damn. I bet you've never tasted her blackberry jam."
I recently started being able to hear this song, because it reminded me so much of her. And it's such a lovely song, for such a lovely lady....

My gramma was the kind of woman whose wisdom and good nature are heralded in songs by folk artists. She was the woman who would be the first to kiss you hello, and the one to hold the "good bye" hug one more second longer. Her humor and positive attitude kept one smiling, even in the face of dire straits.
As a young kid, my gramma was the "cool one". The gramma whose inner child defied grey hair, age spots, shrinking bones and wrinkles. Her cars were cool; she drove without a seat belt but yelled at us in the back seat to "hold on to your gauchos" when making a hairpin turn at 40 mph. She got her hair done every Saturday at the hair dressers-wash and set. I wonder if her hair was a cloud to hold her ethereal beauty down here on Earth. It certainly looked like a cloud! She loved going to the mall and spending the day, wandering around and lazily eating a nice sandwich and some salad for lunch. She was a dynamic lady-and a cool one at that. She loved joking around and making funny faces for us kids. When she'd travel to Aruba, she'd wear a babushka to cover her bleached hair. She loved the sun, and the beach, and the warmth.
Gramma's Sunday dinners were legendary-they were a day to gather, a day to feast, a day to play. Sometimes she made spaghetti with her salad, sometimes we ordered McDonald's. Always we were together. She was at the helm of the ship our family rode on, and the glue that kept us afloat. Her sauerkraut was delicious and her salads were awesome-once I got to like lettuce.
As the years progressed, my gramma maintained her "coolness" but evolved into a woman whom I respected for her tenacity, admired for her unending capability to love, and loved because she loved me. I began to appreciate how devoted she was to her family, and how she embodied the philosophy that the wisdom of the heart does not always heed the warnings of the mind. She loved all, unconditionally and fully. She made a point to visit me in college with my mom, and those visits were uplifiting and fun. We always had a good time going to Wheeling Downs, or driving through Oglebay park or downtown, or hanging out to drink coffee. Even when I moved to Michigan, she came to visit me. She prefered the trip to Wheeling, because it was prettier. She was the only family member to visit me, outside of my parents and sister. Reflecting on it, I think that she wanted me to feel that I was still loved and still part of the family-even though I was far away.
That was just one example of her amazing ability to make people feel loved. It was as if she was a conduit of love, capable of sending love with just one wink of her eye. She was a stubborn woman-she insisted on taking care of you. She was genuinely touched when her love was returned; she loved spending time with her children and grandchildren. And, we loved spending time with her too.
As her time became shorter and shorter, we each said our goodbyes. In our own ways. How does one say "goodbye" to someone who has never left? But, hug me just one second longer, Gramma, one more hug...

"Taste a little of the summer, taste a little of the summer. My gramma put it all in jars...
Let those December winds bellow and blow, I'm as warm as a July tomato."

They still suck

OSU 42, UM 39

18 November 2006

LJS 101

This is post #101, so let's get back to basics. This will be known as the post where I rant and rave and kvetch; trying to make an argument for a simpler world.
Be it known that I'm blogging during the OSU-UM game, so I'll be posting updates. It's a bit after 3:30 right now. Goooooo Blue!

OK. So I got a copy of the latest issue of Yoga Journal-it's the last issue I'll receive in my subscription and I don't think that I'll miss it that much. In terms of guidance, I find that the magazine tries to impress people by using covers of very complex, very difficult asana that are NOT practiced by 99.9% of us yogis, their articles are not very enlightening, and there are too many ads!
I practice yoga in the Iyengar tradition-I find that Mr. Iyengar's approach to yoga appeals to my meticulous nature and when I need guidance on an asana or a bandha, then reading "Light on Yoga" has done more to help me than the magazine. So, because I'm no longer enjoying the magazine I did not renew. It is interesting that on the cover of this month's issue is the following headline: "Simple Living: The secret to being happy".

This headline struck me as...funny. Here is a magazine that, theoretically, espouses yogic principles-including satya (truthfulness). I did not realize that this magazine was entrusted to the magical key to eternal and universal happiness, and that secret can be yours for only $3.99! Not that I disagree with the principle of simple living. I have made an honest effort to live simply this year so I can simply live and I find that it's quite agreeable. I'm also reading "The Te of Piglet"-a lovely book-which is very reaffirming in me trying to see beyond the obvious, to see Things for What They Are.
But I do disagree with a magazine purporting to have the SECRET OF HAPPINESS-it reeks of consumerism, a catchy headline to attract viewers...the phrase "secret of happiness" is to new agey folks what two naked females mud wrestling is to the 18-22 male set. It attracts people-and I question the altruism of the article, and now the journal. There is more than a grain of untruth about their headline, and upon reading past issues, I find that "secret to happiness" is a common theme. In light of this, and other, articles that try to help people find their happiness I wonder...

Why is it that we distrust ourselves so little, and others too much when it comes to our happiness? Are we afraid of what our soul would tell us if we gave it an honest opportunity to talk? Are we afraid...of ourselves?

(Shoot! OSU won the coin toss, but SWEET! we're doing an awesome job on our 1st possession...inches away from the goal line! TOUCHDOWN WOLVERINES!!!)

A big shout-out to Tiff who is working to bring Skinny back. But, there's no bringing Fine Lady back-because she never left. Stop on by Tiff's casa, read her awesome musings, and send her lots of e-lovins.

(Fuck. TD #2 for OSU)

11 November 2006

Lady Jane's Scarlett Chili

I am exhaused, cooking in kitchen for nine hours. Now why would an awesome piratess such as myself hang in the galley for so long?


Below you will find an exhausive (and perhaps exhausing) account replete with recipes and photos. Though a piratess never EVER gives up her secrets, intreped and observant little Goonies have been known to sneak away with hidden treasures. Sooooo....

Gather up your hardware....

Et...mise en place, mais oui!

Step 1: Make chili paste

Step 2. Make the red sauce (Biased note: This sauce is also very tasty for enchiladas)
You'll need:
2/3 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
10-12 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 cup flour
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp Mexican oregano
2 tbsp LJS secret ingredient
8 cups chicken stock (6 cups if using liquid chili paste)
EITHER 2 cups chili paste or 2/3 cup chili powder (I highly recommend using the chili paste)

First step of cooking sauces? Make a roue!

In a large Dutch oven, Heat up the oil. Add garlic and onion, let cook for ~20 minutes. In the meantime....

Sift your dry ingredients.

After the onion is nice and soft, slowly add the dry ingredients. Mash for ~3 minutes, and do not scorch!

Then slowly add your liquids, and let cook for ~30-40 minutes. Plain sauce will be a bit bitter, and that's normal! Use a piece of bread of tortilla if you need to get an idea what the "final masterpiece" will taste like. And, trust me, it's gonna be gooood!

This is what it should look like...

Step 3: Lady Jane's Scarlett Chili:
You'll need:
~4 lbs diced stew cow or sirloin if you have extra $ (but if you have extra $, could you bail Hypey from Outlaw Land?)
3 large onions, diced
some white wine
40 oz mix of dark and light red beans (not flavored, rinsed)
3-28 oz cans of whole tomatoes, lightly mashed up

In a large skillet, saute onions in some olive oil. Deglaze with some white wine. In same skillet (after onions and deglaze are gone..duh), saute the cow. (Mooooo!) Deglaze with s'more white wine. Add the onions, deglaze and cow into the chili pot where the red sauce awaits...

Now...I'm telling you this to save you the heartache of scorching your chili. The first two hours are vital to the success of your chili. You MUST watch over this beautiful creation. Tend to it often (15-20 minutes). Lurrrrvve your chili, and it will love you.
If you are daunted by this prospect, I am here to tell you:
"Stop Whining. It's CHILI people, not your neighbors bratty 7 year old. It's OK to babysit this! You will be known the world over as a chili god if you follow my instructions. I have won honors and accolades for my chili, and I am taking time out of my pirating high season (heh, tourists) to show you the path to great chili. The least y'all can do is stir the damn pot."

Cook for 4-5 Barry White/White Stripes CD's. Throw in a run through of "A Love Supreme" for good measure and encore with a few beats from St. Germain.
About 30 minutes before it's "done", add in the rinsed beans.
Garnish with cheese, sour cream, etc...


Back off to loot the tourists! Chow, :) LJS

10 November 2006

Old School Crush

Is it just me or is Morrissey aging really really well? Meow. I'm digging the grey hair, very dignified indeed.
Also, I read recently that Ryan Adams produced "Songbird"-Willie Nelson's latest album. Sounds interesting, especially considering that Jack White did such an awesome job producing "Van Lear Rose". But then again...Jack White is a music god.
Ahoy! :) LJS

06 November 2006

Yeah OK Lance

Lance Armstrong finishes his first marathon in (barely) under 3 hours, and he doesn't know how we do it??

But only half muhahaha-ing because I've only done half of "it".

An amendment for those unfamiliar with the irony and wit of LJS bloggerhood (ahem, Sparky): I was being sarcastic when I was dissing Lance. The boy ran twice as far as I did and it only took him a half-hour longer to do it. Damn.