Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What a lovely day!
Today was day one of my "weekend" for this week. I took half advantage of the nice weather, but also spent half the time sitting in front of the computer. Tomorrow is supposed to rain, so I'm glad I did what I did today and that I can spend day two of the weekend in the kitchen--cleaning, baking bread, and replenishing the pizza crust coffers. I do need to get to the store at some point though because I am simultaneously out of garlic and salad greens. One of my body's reactions to spring weather is wanting SALAD ALL THE TIME. I got myself a bottle of some pretty kick ass organic red wine vinegar at Whole Foods last week (it was on discontinued sale--too bad as it's delish!) and have been faithfully making my own oil and vinegar dressings, or lemon and olive oil. There's still a bottle of ranch in the fridge if I feel like I really need to go there, but the fresh light oil and vin dressing has been doing me right. Tonight tho---no salad. I'm a little freaked out about it.
So, this morning, I got up around 8am and played on the computer a little bit, then had some puffed wheat and coffee. After breakfast I came back to the computer and got to work doing some press for the D@24 show. I wrote a press release and sent it to the local papers--nothing yet, but hopefully somebody will want to write a little something about the show/record. I don't think I mentioned here that I cancelled our trip to Boston for Easter Weekend---there was no possibility of a Saturday show, and I just didn't feel good about driving all that way to play 25 minutes or so at a punk rock showcase. So our actual debut will be at the pub on April 17th. Though apparently Alan and Ernie have decided to go to Boston and play the showcase show as an accoustic duo. That's funny. It's a lot easier for them to get to Boston from NYC/Philly than it is for us to get there from Pgh. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the Pittsburgh show, and then we got to Erie and play on Saturday at the Beer Mug. Just like the old days.
After doing the press, I threw some laundry in, and then I got myself showered and ready to greet the out of doors. I took a nice walk to Home Depot for some organic potting mix for seedling starts. Was hoping to find a nice strawberry pot, but the only ones they have come with a "kit" and I don't need all that business. Apparently Big Lots has them for cheap. Hopefully we can check that out sometime this weekend.
I got the newest issue of Natural Home because I am magazine fetishist, and then I picked up some moonflower seeds. My plan is to plant morning glories and moonflowers in the planter along the front of the porch and let them twine up through the rails. That should be nice. I really hope the moonflowers will grow--I think they are so lovely but I'm worried that it might get too cold? They're basically a tropical, right? Well, we'll see what happens.
Walked home and had some curry for lunch and then I got started with the seed starting project. At some point yesterday I had the BRILLIANT realization that our attic has enormous south facing windows with big wide ledges. Why it took a year and a half for me to realize this I can't tell you, but rest assured it was a big deal when I did. I moved a short shelving unit in front of one of the windows and now it is a little greenhouse, overseen by my light up alien. It's great. I cut up all the egg cartons we've been saving and filled them with potting soil, and then filled up all the little pots I saved from last year. I started a whole bunch of seeds I saved from last year---mostly peppers of various kinds, some seeds from our yellow doll watermelon from last year, and some pumpkin and squash. Then I broke into the packets I ordered from Territorial--a couple kinds of basil, brussels sprouts, kobocha squash, and then some really old cherry tomato seeds that I don't have much hope for but who knows, right? No harm in trying. I also started some celery and scallion seeds I got from Lotus Foods in the Strip. It was a total weird impulse purchase, but I thought I might as well give it a whirl. Everything I've read suggests that trying to grow celery in Pittsburgh is a losing battle. My motto for the garden is to try everything and not get too disappointed. I'm getting started about three months earlier than last year, and last year was far from a total bust, so I'm confident it will be a beautiful and bountiful garden.
The little babies are safely installed in their upstairs greenhouse. It reminds me of VC Andrews a little bit. Ha.
I planted some culinary herbs (chives, parsley, dill, cilantro) in little pots for the south facing kitchen window, and I have a nice sized rosemary plant growing there too. I think I want to put it in the garden SOMEWHERE so it can become a giant woody perennial bush, but I'm not sure where just yet. Rebby is talking seriously about getting the nuisance trees removed this year before they get too many leaves, and that's going to totally change the whole landscape. We could even plant fruit trees! Home Depot has some black cherry and dwarf peach and plum trees that call my name every time I walk by. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. Right now I am going to keep my rosemary in the kitchen. And hold off on trying to establish an asparagus patch from seeds I got at Lotus. That seems to me just like laughing in the face of God, but again....why not? The seed pack was only a dollar. I want to find a nice permanant spot for them though just in case they do actually grow and then I can be a SPARGEL FARMER! hee hee hee.
It was about 5pm by the time I finishd the seedling project, and still plenty light for getting some things in the ground outside. I went out and gathered some sticks to make garden markers, which I did while listening to John Cougar Mellencamp on Fresh Air. His voice has gotten super gravelly to the point where he sounds almost Kris Kristoffersonish. He's apparently got a new album all about spiritual enlightenment that I want to check out. I finished my markers and drank a beer and then got out there in the garden in my overalls and green crocs. The raised bed is just the right height for me to kneel beside it and reach all the way to the middle--cool! The soil was all light and airy and super easy to dig with just my fingers. It was awesome. I put in beets, arugula, carrots, radishes, chard, cabbage, drunken woman frizzy headed leaf lettuce (just for the name, right?) a mesclun mix, daikon radish, spinach, and snap peas. I think that's it! In May we get to plant kale, collards, broccoli, cucumbers, CORN! beans, patty pan squash, mustard, shallots, onions, bok choy, turnips, and some herbs. And then at the end of may, the seedlings! We're going to just get some tomato plants from the nice lesbians at Garden Dreams rather than try to start our own---theirs are so nice and they have tons of heirloom varieties. I am hoping to get some more interesting mints too.
I'm so excited about growing our own food.
We've got some potatoes sprouting under the cabinet that I think I will just cut up and throw in the middle of the raised bed---I sort of inadvertently created a little hill in the middle and it would be a perfect place to grow potatoes, I think. Sweet potatoes too.
I've got some flowers on the horizon too---sunflowers, of course, and hopefully some echinacea, marigolds, the morning glories and moonflowers and nasturtiums, and some bergamot. I also have a packet of honeybee attracting mix that's left from last year that I'd like to scatter somewhere. My ultimate fantasy is to dig out the ugly shrubbery in the planter at the very front of the house (next to the sidewalk) and replace it with some nice sweetheart rose bushes. That's a far off project though.
Once the trees come out we'll have to rethink everything. And I've got a handmade garden bench coming sometime this summer too I need to plan for! I wish I had more time.
Speaking of time, it's about time I got to bed. And for the record, I wrote this entry while voluntarily listening to John Coltrane--Soultrane, specifically. I went on a radical departure downloading spree on emusic this morning and ended up with John Coltrane, Gregory Isaacs, and Horace Andy. I'm diggin it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

From yoko ono's flickr:

In 1972 ,the night McGovern lost the election, John and I were invited
to a party at Jerry Rubin's apartment in the Village. It was a gathering
of New York liberal intellectuals, some artists, musicians and many
journalists. John became totally drunk and pulled a woman into the next
room and started to make love. Nobody could leave the party because all
the coats were in that room. We were all sitting there trying to ignore
what was happening. The wall was paper thin and you could hear the
noise, which was incredibly loud. A considerate musician put a Dylan
record on to offset the sound. But that did not drown out the sound
coming from "the room." In the middle of all this, a New York celeb
woman chose to make conversation with me. "I don't know how you feel
about him... but we love him. He and his friends... what they did...
but especially John... we all respect him tremendously. He's a great
man... he is a wonderful man..." It was something like that she kept
repeating to me, with an angry look as if to blame me for not rejoicing
for what was happening in that room. Then there was a long silence.
Some woman quietly went into the room to retrieve her coat. Others
followed. When John finally came out of the room, he said, later, that
he had never seen me looking so pale. "I could never forget that face,"
he used to say for a long while.

Something was lost that night for me. Living with John was a very trying
situation. But I thought I would endure all that for our love. I used to
think that our love was a secret thing between us, so it didn't matter
what people said... let them. Our love was higher than the highest sky,
and deeper than the deepest water. But was it? Now it seemed that there
were some clouds I hand 't noticed and the water looked murky after the
splash. Jerry thought it was terrible that I couldn't "forgive" John.
McGovern lost. All of us were totally devastated. You can imagine how
John felt about it. It was a real blow to us. So he was drunk, for
heaven's sake!" "It's not a matter of forgiving him or not forgiving him.
I would not use that word. It's more like I can't 'forget' what happened.
Call me a prude, but it just hit me in the wrong way." Inside, I felt
like a shattered raggedy doll.

Man, that hit a little close to home. I have been feeling sort of "down" for a few days...probably a combination of the weather, impending hormonal storms, rough times at work, my girlfriend going away for a week, feeling a cold coming on. But when I read that a couple days ago it stopped me in my tracks and I don't think I've really recovered.
Anyhoo....today rebby unloaded a truckful of dirt into our raised beds. She also scooped a bunch of sweet, delicious compost out of our compost machine to mix in. We were so very excited by the miracle of compost! Intellectually I knew what was supposed to be happening but seeing the thick black lovely stuff coming out from where we throw our lettuce stems and coffee grounds was like a little blessing.
I wasn't much help because I am feeling extremely weak and feeble from this illness. I'm slamming the kombucha and ginger tea because I gotta brunch tomorrow and I don't have time for this shit. So. Hopefully I can raise a little energy to plant some seeds either later today or tomorrow. Wish me luck.
In other news, I had my first Korean BBQ experience last night, at Sushi Kim. It was a nice time and everything was delicious but I think I ended up eating just as much rice, kimchee and lettuce as meat. It just seemed like too much to me. While there is absolutely no danger of me reverting back to vegetarianism, I am definitely moving towards the whole using meat for flavor instead of main philosophy. That being said, I read an amazing article in Mother Earth News this month about grass fed meat and how reverting back to a pasture based farming system could literally save the planet. The older I get, the more I trust my gut about stuff, and my gut tells me that farms with a mix of vegetables and animals are the best kind of farms to have.
Also, I think I'm gonna have chickens by the end of the year. Every month Mother Earth News tells me how easy it is and I am getting more and more convinced.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Oh what a beautiful world!
It's 10pm on Monday night, and I'm listening back through some podcasts of Gavin Newsom's radio show. Right now I'm listening to the episode where he talks to the Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights about the gay marriage ruling. Previously I listened to his interview with with Michael Pollan (awesome!) and Rachel Maddow (sexy!) I am all aflutter in love with this mayor, despite the fact that he has done some silly stuff. In general, he seems to really have his heart in the right place and follows through with actions, despite the possibility that they are political suicide. Bless him.
I've also been listening to Stephen Fry podcasts which are just all lovely language. It's a good time to have a computer. I've recently become a fan of podcasts and am actively searching for other good ones. Please clue me in to your favorites!
This evening I made a super good pizza---fresh mozz with basil, tomato, red onion, sweet peppers, mushrooms. I totally forgot to put garlic in, but it was still good.
Somehow the crust was even crisper than last time--yummy! And Wednesday is my day off, so it will be time to refill the freezer with pizza crusts. I feel like a whole new person now that I've adopted the pizza dough in the freezer lifestyle. I was able to put dinner together in like 20 minutes. Yum.
I also really, really wanted beer even though rebby has given it up for Jesus, so we stopped and I took a thousand hours to decide on a Great Lakes variety sampler. I came very close to just getting a case of Sierra Nevada but in the last minute I realized that I like variety. Of course, I ended up sucking down a Burning River (pale ale) and it was exactly what I wanted. Delicious.
After pizza and beer we watched two episodes of How I Met Your Mother--one new, and one old one that was funny enough for me to want to watch again, and then I went through my box of seeds that came today from Territorial. I organized them into seeds that need to be started indoors, seeds that can thrive in partial shade, and seeds that go right into the garden in direct sun. Rebby is going to get a bunch of organic dirt this weekend and then we can dig in--literally! I'm really excited to grow a bountiful delicious garden. We're talking about doing some really serious tree removal that will make more of the yard useful for gardening...even if we don't get to that, we've got the bed we did last year and a new raised bed frame rebby built last weekend. So the garden will be at least twice as big as last year.
On a whim I bought some asparagus seeds at Lotus last week. I have no idea if that will really work but it's worth a try, right? I've just got to find a good spot where they can be left alone for a year. I also want to get some horseradish roots to grow somewhere too, so I don't have to do the dance of guilt with the guy from Goose Creek Gardens again this year. And garlic! I can't forget the garlic. I didn't manage to save any from Blackberry Meadows like I planned so I'll have to wait till they show up at the farmer's market again. It won't be long now!
Speaking of farmer's markets, on Saturday we went to pick up some sweet delicious meats. We got some ground lamb, some ground beef and stew meat, and pork chops and bacon. It was really wonderful to see our pig farmer again, and he was excited to tell us about the new litter he has and was even going to show us a picture on his cell phone but then the line got too overwhelming. I always feel bad for him because he really would like to just have a real conversation with everyone, I think, but his pork is just so damn popular that he has to turn it into a business transaction.
I guess that's a good problem to have. We had amazing bacon and then pork chops for dinner on the grill, and then the next night rebby made me some bacon cheeseburgers and it was warm enough to sit outside.
So yeah, I'm kinda loving life right now. I'm not going to write about any downer things. I'm really looking forward to my day off to do some spring cleaning and mail some packages! And hopefully write some more too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

beautiful and deadly

beautiful and deadly, originally uploaded by alienspice.

had a lovely time in the strip this morning! It wasn't nearly as rife with vomit, empty beer cans, and green beads as I expected. In fact, it was positively CLEAN! those strip merchants get up early.
I got some nice handmade locally soaps, restocked my corn and flour tortilla supplies, a huge blob of fresh mozzarella for further pizza making experiments, and some surprises for a few friends far away.
I also got this bottle of Cheerwine, my absolute favorite sparkling beverage (besides straight soda water) It's made in North Carolina and normally only available in the South, so when I saw it in the Penn Mac cooler I snatched it right up. It's a nice heavy glass bottle with that gorgeous logo and NO HFCS. It does have "artificial wild cherry flavoring" but other than that it's all natural.
Unfortunately, I got so excited that I sucked it down super fast and now I'm a little light headed and nauseous. I ate a big piece of bread though and it seems to be helping.
I might have a little lie down, and then it's dishes, laundry, and perhaps a little yard work! Hope you are able to enjoy the weather wherever you are!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Good evening.
I find myself right now trapped in the solipsism of temporary agony. By which I mean, my back hurts. I stole that gorgeous phrase from Russell Brand's interview on NPR. He put on a nice show of vocabulary for the intellectuals, and was hardly cheeky at all (but of course he couldn't help it a bit)
I have spent most of the past couple of days, when not breaking my back in the kitchen, either reading Russell's book or watching/listening to interviews from his sort of awe inspiring American press junket. He did seemingly hundreds. New ones are popping up every day. And while I'm glad to have 'em, it makes me feel a little sorry for him. Especially the last couple where he just looks so tired. I'm glad it's not my job to be witty and charming for hours on end every day.
What is my job, on the other hand, is making food for people for hours on end every day. We've been going through some more staff turmoil and it makes for long days and extra doses of advil liquigels. And my new nighttime friend, Advil PM. Gosh golly gee, that stuff is a miracle worker. Rebby is currently in Ohio to hang out with her cousin who is back from the war temporarily, and I have to say I am kind of glad she's not around because it gives me the freedom to do very little when I get home other than sit in my chair and play bubblespinner or watch youtube videos till it's time to go to bed. I know I SHOULD wash some dishes and I SHOULD do some laundry and kee-rist, I SHOULD take down the christmas decorations(don't be shocked!) but I'm really feeling exhausted right now and after dumping all my energy into work I really can't get it up for taking care of the house. I'm looking at this as a sort of crisis management scenario, a solipsism of temporary agony if you will ;), and I know that very soon it will all be better. We've already got two new trainees going and might soon have a third. I'm feeling positive about the light at the end of the tunnel but right now, at this very painful minute, the light seems pretty far away.
Spring like weather is helping. I am getting excited about planting stuff! I just placed some orders for the laptop butchershop pickup next weekend...it's a sort of pre-order farmer's market where we will be able to pick up some organic grass fed ground beef and lamb, as well as eggs and delicious bacon. Yum yum yum. I think my energy will really improve after seeing my favorite pig farmers again. That means winter is over for reals.
So, depsite all this hobbling around like an old woman, I did manage to prep up some pizza dough on Saturday. I did another caramelized onion, apple and fennel with goat cheese and ate almost all of it up for dinner! Sunday after brunch I went to Whole Foods and dropped a nice chunk of change on vegetables, sausages and dairy products.
Oh, and sweet, delicious coffee. Anyway, I got home and popped a ball of dough out of the freezer, thawed it, and threw down one of the best pizzas yet: caramelized onion, garlic, arugula, grape tomatoes, merguez sausage, and goat feta. I timed it just right so that it was hot and fresh out of the oven to eat while watching Alice Waters on 60 Minutes. She's great, but I think she would drive me crazy in about twenty minutes. She sounds like she lives on a cloud somewhere far, far away. I love her ideas, and I don't disrespect her idealism, but her actual voice is pretty loopy. Anyhoo, part of the story involved interviewing hottie mcmayor Gavin Newsom about the victory garden he let Alice plant in front of city hall. He loves the gays AND the foodies?!?!? He is totally my mayor boyfriend now. I hope he can become governor, though I am pretty doubtful. Bless'im.
So, almost by accident I realized that yesterday was the 10th anniversary of my divorce decree. Now, my marriage had been over for almost a year previous to that, but it seems like some kind of significant milestone to have been un-married for 10 years. It's longer than I was married, for a start. It makes me a little sad that I have a hard time conjuring up memories of being married. Unfortunately, with the exception of my travel journal I kept while we moved across the country, the only time I ever really wrote in a journal was when I was pissed off about something, so the only memories I can access on paper are difficult ones. I know there were a lot of good times, but when I think back it's really hard for me to isolate us as a couple from all the other people who were constantly swirling around. Which ended up being a big factor in the dissolution, I think. Amazing to think about how different I am from how I was then. The future was so abstract and I really didn't think much about it. I certainly would not have predicted I'd be where I am now... I think I've grown into a better person. I've had some very trying times in the past ten years, but also some very good ones. And I'm happier on a cellular level than I ever thought I could be.
Everything works if you let it, as a wise person once said.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Oh, friends. What a week it's been.
I'm on day 5 of my current 6 day week, and I am definitely feeling it in my old lady bones. Well, more in my old lady lower back muscles. Yowza.
The recent weather developments have helped a lot though---I've been soldiering on quite happily instead of spiraling into despair which would be more likely if it was still all grey and snowy. Today was colder, but still some sunshine. The last few days have been glorious sunny warm and I have spent them in the kitchen. I'm afraid to look to see what the forecast is for Wednesday.....if it's anything but freezing I'm gonna be out in it, somehow.
So, let me work backwards. Right now I have my first ice cream of the new year going...Chocolate Chip Baileys. Yum. I'll let you know how that turns out. This evening I made a really stellar chicken stir fry for dinner over buckwheat noodles...I gotta tell ya, it rarely occurs to me to do a stir fry and then when it does I am all "why don't I do this ALL THE TIME!?!?!" and then months go by and the cycle repeats. In any case, this stir fry had gorgeous broccoli and carrots and red onions and ginger and little yellow and orange peppers and some chili garlic sauce and soy sauce and sesame oil and a little hoisin for good measure. Boy was that good. Before the stir fry I did some Whole Foods shopping (I seriously need to stop going to Whole Foods every other day. Mostly this week it's been work related but of course I can't help getting stuff for home too and really---we've got plenty of food. Argh.) and also I restocked my wine rack. I've been trying to become a wine snob(wait, no. wine connoisseur) just by randomly picking bottles under $20 to take home. For the most part, I only do red, but this week I got a bottle of white to try. I'll report back on that as well. I am always happy with a dark sludgy Malbec or Syrah, but my new favorite is Tempranillo from Spain. It's really pretty and both light and heavy at the same time. Just trust me, I know that doesn't really make sense.
So anyhoo, life in the kitchen this week has been pretty nice. The weekend, though BUSY, was not crushing like some recent weekends have been. Our International Women's Day Brunch celebrating Women Chefs was fantastic! We made a Red Onion and Mozzarella Frittata with Marinated Mushroom Salad from Anna Thomas' Vegetarian Epicure (book II) Anna Thomas is sort of the godmother of gourmet vegetarian, and also a very successful filmmaker. She wrote and produced El Norte and My Family, Ma famiglia, as well as cowriting the screenplay to Frida by Julie Taymor.
Next up was the Revolutionary Spanish Omelet with Garlicky Kale and Tahini Dressing from Vegan With a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I was REALLY skeptical about that thing but it turned out fantastic. Her tahini dressing recipe is also really good, and tahini on top of roasted garlic kale=genius. Then Sarah Kramer (How It All Vegan)'s Apple Cinnamon Cornmeal Hotcakes....excellent. I am almost always skeptical of Sarah's recipes because they seem TOO simple, but these hotcakes (once I adjusted up the griddle to the correct temperature) were fantastic. There are oats in the recipe in addition to cornmeal and wheat flour and the oats just kind of melted into the batter and gave a nice chewiness without being really oaty. yum.
I really wanted to represent Yamuna Devi, because her enormous 700+page Lord Krishna's Cuisine is one of my favorite ever cookbooks. I made Pounded Rice Uppma with Potatoes and Peas, and we served it with a Minted Strawberry Cucumber Salad. I really thought folks would be scared of such a weird combo, but it was a popular seller. And SO GOOD! I'm definitely thinking about bringing back the Indian night at least once a month. There are still hundreds of recipes in that book I have yet to make!
Ok...the last entree plate we did was from Judy Wicks' White Dog Cafe Cookbook--Provencal Egg Salad with Spiced Lentil Tomato Soup. Oh my goodness. This egg salad has basil, red onion, capers, nicoise olives and AIOLI. It's over the top! So good.
The soup is lightly Indian spiced with cumin and fennel and mustard and then has little french lentils and tomatoes and spinach. I did the egg salad on toast points which look very chichi and made for a beautiful plate.
We also did up some desserts: Vegan Gingerbread from Louise Hagler, the soy expert from The Farm in Tennessee (again...reading the recipe we were all like "huh?" but it turned out fantastic! especially with a little Soy Whip on top ;) and Nigella's Ginger Bread and Butter Pudding with dark rum and sultanas and all that English excess; and my favorite, Gabrielle Hamilton(from Prune restaurant NYC)'s Cornmeal Poundcake with Candied Rosemary. Amazing. We didn't sell a whole lot of desserts but luckily the cakes freeze well so we can sell them by the slice in the pastry case. The ladies out front had an all female soundtrack going and we handed out Women Chef Trading Cards (which some people, unfortunately, thought were coasters....;(
and had a good time. I have tons of trading cards left, though,,,if you want some, just let me know!
I don't think I ever mentioned how we had a big two page story in the Edible Allegheny Magazine, did I?
They haven't updated the website for this issue yet, but I'll let you know if the story goes online. There is a picture of me and Leslie and a few pics of Jilly and one of Hayden at the pass, and in the story I am referred to as "hardcore locavore." Ha! I love it. Anyway, I think we've been getting some attention from the story and lots of new people are coming in to the restaurant. It really makes me want to ramp up my local sourcing and recycling/composting projects for the new year, in addition to special dinners and more baking and maybe getting some grab and go stuff together so that we are not completely overwhelmed when the hospital opens. In May. Yikes!
Lots of projects, both at work and at home. Currently I am dealing with just keeping the back up fridges stocked. We've got some new folks coming in, though, so once we get them trained up hopefully I can move out of constant prep and back into planning and organizing. Wish me luck.
What else? Oh, D@24 practice day two was better because Steve was there, but also kind of lackluster because the rest of us were all hung over. Next time we will keep the vodka to a minimum. ;) It was really fun though, and I think the best way to get over the nerves of getting together again after ten years. Now that we've got that out of the way, the next practice weekend should be more relaxed. I think we've got the songs down for the most part. Apparently we have to learn "Whipping Post" by the Allman Bros now. Ha.
So around the homestead rebby built a nice big raised bed frame. I am having a hard time trusting that we're all done with snow and frost, but it does seem to have shifted into mighty temperate weather. I haven't really gotten out there at all myself to see what's going on....I hope my lavender, mint, oregano, marjoram and thyme survived. They were all super mulched with a lot of dead leaves, just like in the forest. I'm curious to see if we get any volunteers in last year's garden patch. I know a lot of cilantro seeds dropped and I was sort of tamping them down and letting them be. I've got my Territorial Seed Catalog all marked up...it's time to get that order in! I'm psyched to grow some corn. Just a little bit. And this year I think I'm gonna put morning glories in the front planter along the porch. It should keep them contained and I think they'll look nice vining around the porch rails.
I'm also thinking of ways that we can employ our friends doing some work around the house. I'm always on the verge of giving to charity, but recently I've realized that a lot of people I personally know need some help and if I can bring it home and keep it local....hardcore locavore that I am, I want to do it. So hopefully we can get on the painting soon and get my bike fixed up and get some garden furniture made and help our friends through tough spots at the same time. Mother Earth News would approve, I think.
It's a different day now (Wednesday, the coveted DAY OFF!) and last night rebby and I went to The Fajita Grill for dinner. I have heard all sorts of lackluster reviews of the place, but our meals were pretty good. I had chicken mole enchiladas and she had chipotle chicken burrito. The really awesome thing about the place though is that a)they have pictures of Frida Kahlo and Diego everywhere and b)they had walls painted in the same colors I want for my kitchen, so I got to see what it looks like in action, so to speak. I'm even more excited to do it now. That's a LOT of color, but my kitchen is big enough to take it. I can't wait.
OK, time to get my day going. PS...the Bailey's ice cream is off the chain good!
PPS I'm on the twitter now! look for me at alienspice. I joined it exclusively because Russell Brand asked me to. :)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Practice Weekend, day two.
It's 9:30am on Sunday morning and I have no idea when the phone is going to ring announcing the arrival of my bandmates. It could be any minute, it could be several hours. That's the way it goes in rock'n'roll. I suppose I should have tried to form some sort of vague plan, but I was in no shape at the end of the day for that. Sigh.
So yesterday morning I got up and worked myself into some excitement. Rebby and I cleaned the house a little bit and then I set to work on pizzas. I'm working my way through all the pizza dough recipes I have in all the cookbooks on all my shelves. The first one I did was from The Greens Cookbook and while it was OK, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. This batch I used Sheila Lukins recipe from The New Basics Cookbook, except I added some sugar and more salt. It seemed REALLY soft when I was working with it, but after adding a little more flour in the shaping stage, it turned out great! I made one with tomato, basil, and mozz and one with caramelized red onions, fennel, apple and goat cheese. Since rebby gave up beer for lent, we were rockin bloody marys. We were all set.
The boys arrived at about 12:30, so close to on schedule I was amazed! Steve couldn't make it for day one because of his class and radio show, so it was just Ernie, Alan and me. We had pizza and made drinks and they got their gear set up in the basement. After about an hour we all headed down and got down to business. I was so apprehensive, but once we got started it became absolute second nature. Just about every song came flooding back effortlessly. A few of them we had some trouble with....a couple cases where we couldn't remember all the words, or one of us just couldn't quite put our finger on what we used to play. For the most part, though, the body memory took over and it just flowed. The old familiar tuning problems reemerged, and I really remembered why I used to smoke so many cigarettes. There was just nothing else to do behind the drum kit while they tuned between every song. But I managed to hang out and keep myself amused with a constant infusion of bloody marys. Courtesy of our roadie/sound tech rebby. She was running wires and recording and taking pictures and filling drinks all day. Bless her.
We practied solid for three hours, and then we took a break. Only to discover than we had consumed all the vodka in the house. Which meant we had to take a field trip to the vodka store, of course. By this point I felt a lot like I was tripping, and the world outside of the basement felt very surreal. We made it through, though...got a new giant bottle of rain vodka and headed back for more bloody marys.
Round two in the basement was just as good as round one...we hit our stride and even though I am often loathe to "jam" in practice, it really felt right. I have always been more able to just close my eyes and go with it in Dead at 24 than any other band I've been in. I just really groove on the guitar sounds, I guess.
Anyhow, we did another solid two hours and then we had pretty much gone through all the songs. We emerged again at about 6 and had more drinks and then sat around talking for a while. During this sitting around talking period, I started to realize just how strung out I was. I was really, really, really tired, and really, really, really wired, and even though I had switched to water I felt a little like I was swimming in some sticky goo. The conversation had turned to drugs and as it's not a subject I like talking about, I was pretty much sitting in the corner zoning out.
For some reason we decided to go back to the basement, and I realize now that was the big mistake. I should have insisted on a nap.
This third go round was just too much, and it really didn't go well at all. We couldn't really get our groove back, and after a few songs we gave up.
I had been looking forward to a night at Gooskis for a couple of weeks...the new metal band featuring my friends Ben, Matt and Eric were having their premier show. I wasn't so jazzed on the other band, but I was really looking forward to a night out. When we got out of the basement the third time, rebby said that leah had requested we all stop over there before the show, so I got changed and ready. It was 8 o'clock.
I really, really should have relaxed a little bit. We could have stayed here for another hour and things might have been very different. But I ushered us all out, and by the time we got to Leah's I was starving. She was hungry too, so we ordered pizza. More pizza! Woo. As the minutes ticked by I became more and more and more squirrelly...I was starting to understand exactly how a baby feels when it wants nothing more than to go to sleep except that there are so many things happening around it that it's impossible. I couldn't really focus on anything, so I just let the conversations swirl around me. I really belonged in bed, but I was still holding out the hope that I'd make it to the show. Once the other folks showed up at the house and the general volume got louder, I realized that was probably not going to happen. By the time 10pm rolled around I was a basket case, and when Rebby asked if i was ready to go to the show I couldn't really answer her. I just had to get. out. of. there. We walked onto the porch and I told her I didn't really think I could be around any more humans that night. So we came home and went to bed.
I'm really sorry that I missed the show, but I'm not sorry that I chose to take care of myself instead of putting myself in an uncomfortable position for rock n roll.
That's what being a grown up means to me.
Today I feel really great and I am definitely going to lay off the booze. I've got an arsenal of soda water in the frige. It's coffee and water all day for me today, boy.