Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Why is it that wandering is considered a bad thing? Do you ever get so caught up in habits that you don't experience anything new? Do you ever rebel from your normal routine because you are burned out or tired? I subscribe to the philosophy of "love what you do & don't worry about what everyone else is doing". If you want to take a break from life & wander, it is OK, as long as you are happy. If you want to follow the same routine every day with the same breakfast, weekly dinners & theme nights, so be it, but enjoy it.
I took a break from writing because I found myself becoming negative when there are so many incredible things in the world & around me but while taking my sabbatical, I learned new things, met new people, had great experiences & feel rejuvenated, so in my mind, the wandering was therapeutic.
Remember one thing, it is your life so don't let everyone else tell you how to live it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Fever

I love this time of the year & it isn't because there is no stress. Quite the opposite in fact. What do we buy for Johnny or oops we gave to much to Jill & now we have to buy something else for carol. We need baked goods for 12 people & 50 cards for the rest of our friends but we always forget somebody & then as if waiting to see if they get something first, a card shows up the day before Christmas & its to late to send out a card without looking like these friends are an after thought.
we spend to much, we eat to much, we stress to much about where Bill will sit at the table because nobody like his poor eating habits or bad attitude.
Oh yes, these thing do happen & if you are reading this & act like you don't know what I am talking about, you are delusional & completely disconnected from the events around you. Hmmmm this may be the way to be, delusional?
As those who know me have figured out, I used made up names to protect myself & that is because I know that if I used real names & real situations (wink), I would be very stressed out come Christmas day, when nobody would talk to me.
With this little expose of the joys of Christmas, how on earth can I love this time of year so much? Well lets look at it. We are all in the same boat, so for the 2nd day next to Thanksgiving, we all know what each other is doing & become part of this world wide fraternity, where we are all connected in one common cause. We may do it differently & there are some who aren't participating but the majority of people get into this & we are one.
people smile more, they laugh & talk, it is great. You go to the store & people are singing or chatting it up about new recipes or who is coming over for Christmas. We want to know how each other celebrates Christmas & we share our tricks for how to get out of some of the family gatherings we should go to. Some celebrate Christmas eve with one family & then Christmas day with another. Some do both in one day & some can only swing one. Some don't go anywhere & choose to stay home & relax on this one of very few days off in a year. I love to hear what some people do for traditional events. I know people that go blow the crap out of things with shotguns every year & although I am into blowing stuff up, with the cost of bullets or shotgun shells because of Obamas mission to eliminate guns, I am not spending the money to shoot anything that isn't attacking me or my family. There are families that do a crossword puzzle every Christmas, play games, go to movies, go to church or have a family play that is planned by some aunt that feels she missed her calling as an actor & is living out her fantasy as a director/actor.
You may or may not believe in Christ of whom this holiday is about but whether you do celebrate Christmas or not, you have to feel of the love people have for each other & bask in the kindness which is everywhere you look, like a field being blanketed by sunlight as it effortlessly rises above a hillside while everything it touches warms by its touch.
I do love Christmas & hope that you can feel the spirit of love that it brings so that you also can find peace & happiness during this chaotic time in the world. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


There is nothing on this earth that irritates me more than when people rant or rave about something in print & then sign their name as ANONYMOUS. I literally want to find those spineless people & drag their sorry butts into the public, to let those who stand behind their name, tar & feather them. I understand donating something or providing charity or good deed & choose to be anonymous but when you enter an arena or fighting for a cause & choose anonymous as your name, you are a disgrace to the human race. I have been in many battles & always use my name behind the cause that I choose to champion but without fail, there is always some poor excuse for a human that chooses to fight in secret so nobody will see who they are. Oh yeah, maybe if people find out your identity they will not want to be your friend or will judge you harshly. Well duh. if your friends or the public think your spineless comments are in error, maybe you should reevaluate your stance because you are probably misinformed or wrong. Regardless of whether you get castigated in the arena of public opinion or not, get some backbone & stand up for what you believe, using your name & not the pansy name you have been using of anonymous. I have been beat to a pulp by public opinion but I don't care what the public thinks about me as long as I am true to my beliefs & my values.
If you are anonymous, you don't exist, so go away & leave the rest of us alone because you are nothing along with your anonymous point of views.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Do I or Don't I

Have you ever had occasion to make a decision that you really couldn't win regardless of which direction you went? For example, I have made decisions on a School Board that were both wrong but they happened to be my only options. The angst I felt was beyond unbearable & have at times haunted me to this day. What do we do when faced with "no win" decisions in our life? I am not sure that I have an answer for you except to say that, in my case, I have to choose what allows me to look in the mirror.
Life, just by the nature of diverse opinion, creates situations in which we must stand behind our convictions or beliefs or we must compromise our beliefs for what is best for the whole & that causes an environment of controversy & heartache.
we can stand firm on what we feel but the outcome will be that we are standing with a few but that the problem is never resolved or that we become embroiled in a battle of wills, with neither side ever forgiving the other.
Once again, I don't have the answer but I know that hatred over a point of view seems to be worse that compromise at least in the event that it is not moral or ethical & in that case i feel we need to fight to death to protect what we feel is essential to our moral & ethical beliefs.

Monday, December 7, 2009


When I woke up this morning it was snowing & there was a couple inches of snow on the road, making it an adventure getting to work because some commuters hadn't planned for snow & were off the road trying to figure out what to do. Those that were like one of my employees, faked sick & took the day off or at least that is the story I will use.
As I look out the window of my office, with snow falling gracefully from above onto a billowy blanket of new fallen snow, it becomes a surreal moment, mesmerizing me with the incredible beauty & although hypnotic, the realization of how dangerous it can be if stranded becomes a very possible realization.
Falling snow to me is like the flickering flames of a warm fire dancing in the dark, you can't help but fall into the hypnotic trance of watching these flames begin from the red hot fire & disappear into our imaginations.
Snow falling reminds me of days gone by as a child, when once my brothers & sister at the sight of snow would grab all the winter clothes & out the door we went to sled up & down the street while hitting each other with snow balls any chance we could. The problem was, that the fresh snow makes horrible snow balls because it doesn't compact well, which was probably good so as to avoid a fight from hitting somebody to hard.
We didn't care what we were doing as long as we could play in the snow & the day it snowed was always the most exciting because you are caught up in the experience of snow falling all around you. We made snow forts, snow angels, tunnels, we even jumped off our two story house roof if there was enough snow on the ground. The problem with this was that as kids we underestimated or overestimated how much snow was needed all the time, causing all kinds of problems. If there was not enough snow we would go right through the snow to hard ground & it would hurt really bad but if we jumped off when the snow was over a few feet deep, we would get stuck in the snow & couldn't get out without help, allowing the neighbors or brothers to do all kinds of annoying things before they finally got bored & pulled you out. My brother thought it would be funny one time to dive into the snow drift from the roof, head first & yes, it was a scary moment for him but hilarious to those watching because his legs were flailing around above the snow but all you could see was about 2 feet of his legs.
Working in the snow isn't my favorite thing to do so I guess, once the playful childhood games were over & the reality of life set in, snow wasn't quite the enjoyment it once was even though I still feel the urge to go out & jump into the snow or to build a snow fort, I don't think it will happen any time soon but no promises.
The one thing I can do though is sit here & watch the beautiful snow fall while it transforms me back to my youth & the enjoyment I experienced playing in the snow, free of care & free to play until my hands were so cold I couldn't feel them.
May we never forget those things we enjoy even if but for a fleeting moment, sitting at a desk, watching the snow fall through a window.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Gone Wild

I love to cook & every Thanksgiving have been given the task of cooking the turkey because I won't tolerate a dry turkey & everyone knows it. Now I have tried all the different ways of cooking the perfect turkey which includes, deep frying, ovens, smokers, roasters & boiling. I have used brine's, marinades, injections & all types of secret recipes from the food network, family, friends & even a few old wives tales.
I have however conjured up my own recipe & if the turkey is under 25 lbs, you will have a turkey as tender & moist as the very best chicken you have ever eaten. I have had chef's tell me that they wanted me to teach them what I do because they like it so much. Now I know that people give compliments all the time when they get free food & don't have to cook themselves but I am not really a big turkey fan & find that I really like the flavor of my turkeys along with how moist they are.
I have an interesting story recounting this years Thanksgiving turkey which weighed in at 36.7 lbs & no, this isn't a typo although I have plenty with my two fingered typing.

I take my turkey & do all the normal prep work, like start my defrosting a day or two in advance in the refrigerator because Heaven forbid you might get some bug from defrosting wrong. I then take everything out of turkey & rinse it in clean water. I pat it dry & let it stand for about an half hour while I prepare my cooking barrel. yes, I have an old 55 gallon barrel that I designed & built to be a smoker. I add 10 lbs of Kingsford briquettes in the bottom of barrel which sets on a rack that is a few inches off the bottom. I never used pre soaked briquettes because they have a oily residue on them. I then add my electric starter to the briquettes until they start to have some flame.
While waiting for the flames to appear, I get my turkey ready by taking melted butter & rubbing it with my own dry rub consisting of sage thyme, chili powder, garlic salt, Lawry's season salt, dry mustard, salt & pepper with a little brown sugar. I reach between the skin & the body of the turkey & do the same.
I place sliced apples, oranges, garlic, & onion under turkey in a roasting pan filled with chicken stock, mixed with more of my dry rub spices & some apple juice or orange juice. I place the lid on the roasting pan or cover with tin foil to keep the moisture in the pan & in the turkey. I then set the pan on a rack about 3/4 of the way up my barrel for 1.5 -- 2 hrs. make sure the lid is on the roasting pan & make sure the lid is on the barrel.
I check for my 165* at thigh joint, next to body. I then add 10 more lbs of briquettes while lid is on roasting pan. After a few minutes I take lid off roasting pan to let the turkey brown. If the bath the turkey is cooking in is getting dry, you can add more at this time & baste the turkey.
your 20lb turkey may be done at 2hours but don't take out of smoker until you reach 165 degrees. I know we are told to reach 170-180 degrees but this is way overkill. You now continue basting at half hour intervals & checking temperature. If it is taking longer to reach desired temperature, put the roasting pan lid back on to keep moisture in pan & turkey. If you do everything correctly you will cut down your cooking time in a conventional oven by 1 to 2 hours & this will be the most flavorful & moist turkey you have ever experienced.
My son called this year because he couldn't get home for Thanksgiving & said that he didn't realize how different my turkeys were from others until he had turkey at some friends house this year. he may have been just making dad feel good but "it did".
Now we get into this years monster turkey. We had a traditional 20 pounder but the neighbor shows up with a turkey just under 37 lbs that they were given as employees of a turkey farm. I didn't know turkeys could be so big but I can assure you, they do. I began to stress out because this monster didn't fit in anything I owned & outside of using a chainsaw to cut it in half, I didn't have a clue what to do but I knew that I couldn't serve dry turkey.
An advantage to living in a small town is you get to know a lot of people & I went to the Murphys Hotel to ask the owner if I could rob his kitchen for a giant roasting pan. He said yes & then gave me his ideas on what to do which included piecing out the turkey & cooking seperately which was considered. I still thought the pan was to small so I went to Ironstone Vineyards massive kitchen to find two pans that were big enough but I was concerned how I would get this monster in my barrel.
I found that my concerns proved to be valid as when I got home & began to place the pans into my barrel, they didn't fit. I was finding myself a little bit screwed if there is such a thing as being a little screwed? I racked my brain for a solution with less than 18 hours before the timer begins on this adventure & then it struck me to get 3 of those funky aluminum roasting pans from the store. they were flexible enough to mold to the turkey & if I added 2 or 3 inside each other, they would be sturdy enough.
I boiled 1 cup salt with a gallon of water along with sage, thyme, brown sugar, salt & pepper. I then added a couple gallons of cold water into a 5 gallon bucket. I added the turkey & let the brining process work overnight, hopefully breaking down the meat & tenderizing it with flavor. The next morning I rinsed turkey with fresh water & let sit.
I could just barely get my citrus, apples & chicken broth bath in the pan & knew I need more moisture in the barrel to keep the meat moist so I filled 2 small camp pans with broth mixture. I placed one on top rack next to turkey & one in the briquettes on the bottom. Now I just had to do what I have done every year & hopefully I would have the same results.
I checked my temperature at 2 hours like I always have done & added 10 more lbs of briquettes but the temperature of 140 to 150 of which I usually expected was at 70*. I gave myself 5 hours just in case but was beginning to sweat it when at 4 hrs & 10 more lbs of briquettes, I was only at 140*. I couldn't rush it but I knew that the chances of a moist turkey were fleeting by the moment & I was not very optimistic. My options were none, except to tell the guests to cover the turkey with gravy & cranberry sauce & that was my exit strategy.
We received a call about 4.5 hours into this from one guest, saying they would be an half hour late. I was greatly relived to have an extra half hour & at 5 hours & 165* I pulled the turkey out which needed a small crane. I then wrapped it in tin foil & placed it in an ice chest to continue cooking while becoming moist by sitting in its own steam bath.
At 2:30 I pulled the turkey out of the ice chest & set it on a cutting board to rest for half an hour. The juice was running everywhere & after I cut the first slice of breast meat of which I don't really like because the breast is always more dry, even though this process negates this normal problem. this meat had a beautiful pink smoke ring about a 1/2 inch deep into the meat & tasting incredible with the moisture of turkeys past.
I sighed a breath of relief & served the turkey which received rave reviews, with everyone taking large bags of turkey home for later.
After 20+ hours of worry & 5 hours of cooking, the entire eating experience was over in less than half an hour & I needed two aspirin to relax of which I finally did.
yes, there are 37 lb turkeys but my advice is not to get one, they will only cause you stress because by the way, it didn't fit into our oven either. Happy cooking & you now have my secret to the perfect turkey that you can add to the thousands of others you probably have.
Gobble Gobble

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Innocence Lost

When does it happen that innocence becomes a vague memory of a once distant quality or personality trait? What is innocence? I watch my grand kids & I see innocence in everything they do but when I see adults or teenagers, not so much. I don't know for sure but I think innocence is a state of mind, free from corruption, trials & greed. When I see a child, I know that they are not responsible for any actions because they don't have pre conceived motives or desires of hatred, lust, greed or retaliation. Most adults however have some or all of these traits along with coveting, unforgivness, jealousy & envy.
When do we lose innocence & are there adults that are innocent? I think we lose innocence when we are betrayed, hurt by others, lied to & for the most part, been involved with any type of turmoil, tragedy or hardship. I believe that innocence is purity of heart & that adults can have innocence, it just isn't as profound as with children.
Innocence should be sought after because it is what allows us to be free & if we have lost it we should do what we can to find it again. If you arent sure how to get it back, just do what children do because child like is a virtue & child like is innocence.