Sunday, September 27, 2009

Too Much Good...

Call me crazy. It seems to me that if you take a good thing and mash it together with another good thing, you should end up with a super good thing. What followed was a journey through my very being as a food lover. I love rice. I love beans. Join me now as I tell you my journey through the monster known as... Rice and Beans.

I didn't eat beans until recently. I love them now. little sacks of awesome. But now I eat them and I am curious how to use them better. I decided that I must love rice and beans so I set out to create it. The first attempt was with Caribbean style. Basically it is beans prepared and flavored with coconut milk, Cinnamon, assorted other spices and rice is then added.

This is an odd flavor. sweet. dessert like. in a word? unsatisfying. I didn't like it. It was just not a combo of flavor that I enjoyed. not to mention that I used a whole pepper with seeds and didn't get a bit of spice. oh and fun fact, the coconut milk burns acrid, bitter, and black if you over cook it even slightly. Ok, moving on.

I was at a grocery store chain which I will refer to in code, Hole Foods. Hole Foods has a cafe area where they pride themselves on food options for all people, including a vegan food bar. They had a rice and bean dish there and I grew intrigued. The product!? miserable. poor flavor, over spiced. The dish was savory and cold. unappetizing and disappointing. So, I heated it up. Slightly better, but on a whole, the flavor was the same. No dice.

Why was this so hard? I wanted to just get to basics. Bag of beans, check. Ham hock, check. Lets do this. I just boiled the beans with the ham hock until the beans were tender. I cut the meat from the bone and returned it to the pot and added the rice to the salty, meaty, hearty mixture. With a top off of water and a return to boil, it was ready to cook.

This was great. Delicious. Meaty, not too salty. It was just as god intended it to be. Just rice and beans. how hard was that? I think that in the end its nice to know that two rights can make a wrong and that to each his own. I may not have liked the other options but its important to keep trying. I will try more in the future, but this is a start. I will continue to delight in life's most delicious flavors.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On Love...

"I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is" - Forrest Gump

What does it take to fall in love? Is it a journey within the eyes of another, or a look within oneself that makes it love? What does it mean to love? They say, "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all". I cry foul play at this sentiment! To love is to be open, to put your heart within the scissors blades and place the grips in the hands of another. Can you decide that you are in love or will love choose you? I dare say that I have chose the woman, but I did not choose to love her. Quite the contrary. I found myself in love with her. Love comes to man and makes him sing. A touch, a smile, a kiss, or even the frown beneath the eyes of a disapproving stare, all confirm what your heart knows already knows is true.

In reality, a candle holding the night at bay from the wind has more a chance than love. Chaos. Two people run the roads of life hoping their paths connect. Disorder. Worlds within a world, trying to understand those they meet when they barely know themselves. Passion. The recognition of your ability to be strong and, at the same time, weak with another. Is man the sword and woman the sheath? But what of, "The souls recognition of its counterpoint in another"? Does this mean yin for yang, or is yin for yin possible? A dance, then, founded in challenge, a relationship that demands progress; only the best will do.

What is love to me? Mutual association. My very being, split in two. An explanation of who I am which at first demands the description of another. Completed by another person, myself in them and they in me. To remove that piece means unthinkable pain. Reducing a soul to pieces so that one can try to start over. Is it best then to move on when uncertainty nears? Spare yourself the torment, collect your tears and whats left of your dignity and let that person go? I would sooner burn my house, the symbol of my safety and happiness, to the ground than, "let" that someone go.

Symbols. A representation of something more. To love is to make a person into a beacon which shines with the light of everything good in your life. Could you throw away your childhood blanket, bear, or other item which you held so dear? Would it be any easier if these symbols spoke, moved, and knew you better than you know yourself? I know that out their, out the window of my life, I am imperfect. But with love, I shine immaculate and without fault. How can one desire that feeling to leave?

At times, however, the heart cries. You feel the scissors tighten as you stare through tears, pain flowing through your very being. A short tone, a cold shoulder, bitter indifference can all erupt from your lover to you. However, you hold fast because you know that with a smile, a mere whisper, you will feel relief and more. You can forget the darkness fore it makes the light shine brighter as you dare to fly again.

Without love, is this feeling possible? Meetings of the heart are the moments of Kings and Gods; should mortals have to suffer for such arrogance as to dare to love? Human nature and free will cannot be changed or controlled. It is in each of us the power to choose our own life. I do not wish the control or command of anyone else. I'm just a boy who's been in love. That's all I'll ever be.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Seems Impossible...

Have you ever had one of those days? For that matter, one of those months, years, lives? Sometimes it just seems like no matter what you do, you cant get ahead. Life will challenge. You never know what is going to happen until it happens, but then what? I always see things as sink of swim. But you can just see how things are stacked so that if you so choose to sink, the world will put its foot down to speed things up.

Well I say no more. I heard a great philosopher make a life statement that made me think. He said, "We will eat that elephant one bite at a time". The philosopher was my dad. He is no philosopher. And it made me laugh more than think. What a way to picture things.

You see, its all about perspective. Did life give you lemons or lemonade? I know, I'm sorry. I'm as tired of that adage as you are but hey. I am currently being trained at work. I sit in a room and learn and get paid. Its boring, its redundant, its tailored to the simplest denominator... but wait. I'm getting paid to sit. I'm stealing.

This is a little exciting.

Each hour ticks by and my Grinch smile curls and curls and curls. I put my finger tips together and eye ball my instructors... the fools.

obviously this is ridiculous, but hey. I had fun. Fun. Change the way you think. Your fired? big whoop, you complained about that job all the time, go do what you want. your poor? learn simple pleasures? Campfires and beer are just as good as movies and steak. When I find my fridge empty at dinner time, I don't cry. I get creative.

Life is an elephant. Maybe yours has his trunk sky high in the symbol of good fortune, or maybe yours is sitting (I said SITting) on your face. All you have to do is take a bite and make your way to the top. may take a while, but you can do it. One bite at a time.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Axiom #2

The meaning of life is to find the very best of whatever your into and surround yourself with it at all times

Since the beginning of time itself, life has existed. This can mean the life of a split second, crying out with its moment in the grand spectrum of time as it dies away just as quickly, the life of the universe, post big bang, an awe inspiring clock work of sophisticated and powerful forces colliding in the most dazzling and violent ballet ever written, or even the life of simple bacteria which one day will grow and evolve into a race of beings that can one day type their thoughts of their one celled ancestors upon their personal keyboards. Yes, life is not just how we know it and it is everywhere. The real question is, why? What is the meaning of it all? Well I don't know the answer to that. The lesser famous, but just as important question is more explicit. What is the meaning of our lives?

Day after day, we humans wake up and proceed upon our lives with an almost animal instinct to remain active. But why? What is the point of it all. Most people will interrupt their one of their days for at least one moment during their cosmically insignificant time and wonder why they are on this earth and why they must toil endlessly. Why is their life significant?

I'm here to tell you why. Of course I could preface this with many, "in my opinions...", and "maybes", but that's not the case, this is what I believe so I will proceed with my facts.

Your life is significant because it is yours. Its the only thing that can never be taken from you. Your past, present, and future, are a book which you are writing. You may be helpless to change events or location, but your attitude, your thoughts, these are all yours and no one can touch them.

That is why, as Ive stated, the meaning of life is to make this story as personal as you can. If you love beer, then try every last one until you have found your favorites, then drink them. If you like skiing, go to as many mountains as you can and find the one you enjoy most and love it. If you love God, then love him for ever, if you love sin, then go out and fill yourself to the top. This is not however an invitation to impede the life of another. Your purpose is not to convert, to harm, or change. Just be open and share. Smile when they say no, and be helpful when they say yes.

If you cant afford these things, then work to get them. Dream of how to make your perfect toy, food, boat, car, your perfect life is not far. Make a plan, earn them. I bet its even better that way. Take the first step towards a life you can be proud of.

Life is here for your enjoyment, if you are upset, mad, sad, or in general displeased, then you are playing the game wrong. The rules are simple, the odds in your favor. Your favorite thing is waiting. Go enjoy it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Razor Thin Line...

I just made a great Clam Chowder. It was thick. It was creamy. It was flavorful and meaty; everything a clam chowder should be. The truth is that I never made a clam chowder before. I am ever growing in my culinary talents and some stones are still being turned. For instance, I have made Rues for gravy but I have never made one for soup. I was scared, I was nervous. I watched it bubble on the stove like a hawk. As Ive said, Ive done it before, but never for a soup. What if I messed it up?

The rue was fine, of course, the soup delicious, the dinner complete. I know what your thinking. If I never made one before, how did my clam chowder turn out so well. Ill tell you.

It was stolen.

I went online, I found a recipe, and I made something I have never made before. I didn't tell people I made someone else's soup, I told them it was mine. Home made. Did I lie? Truth is, I actually used two extra slices of bacon, an extra potato, and removed the onion from the original recipe. I also changed the spices. So, if the difference between two peoples recipe can be a secret ingredient, then how do we define ownership? The fact is that when it comes to a recipe, there is no owner. I changed it, I own it. The moment I deviated even a spice or two I took it for my own.

That's the power of creativity. Why say 'yes' to anything handed to you. Take the frame, use the advice, but in the end its you that makes your world special. If you like spicy, make spicy. You don't have to follow every direction to the letter. Get out there and make your life something that you can enjoy. Make it unique. Just like you.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Like a Pheonix We Rise...

Summer is noticeably coming to its chilly end. The Days of heat, although relatively few these past months (where I live, at least,) are dwindling to cool afternoons and great "picnic" weather. The life of the world is being reflected all around me.

As I look out into my yard, I see what is becoming of my garden. The once bushy, lush, green patch out my door is becoming thin and sickly. The Tomato plants which once stood as six foot ever mindful monitors of the life developing within its caged walls now fall over and become brown as the last of the fruit it produces is plucked from it by my hand or by ground hog. The zucchini plants which disappointed me are shrinking and you can see that their time is coming to an end. My garden, synonymous with the attitude of nature is smiling its last smile, producing its last effort to prolong itself through seeds, and bidding a fond farewell.

The truth is that that garden will never be there again. Those plants die and the dirt changes and even if I mimic it next year, the garden I have this year will be gone forever. Like these plants, humans too wake up day after day, year after year, and look at themselves in the mirror and see the same face they saw yesterday. This face, however, is not the face they had a birth.

So when did we change?

We can see that we are as gardens. same body, same parts, and same scheme as we have always had, yet we change and that's all there is to it. I am not the man I was when I was 10, so I must have changed along the way. Its best to embrace the things we have now and look foreword to the changes of the future. It will make everything easier if we allow the "new" to enter us and embrace it as if it were a long lost friend.

I have noticed change in my life; I am now an uncle to a healthy happy young boy. I was not an uncle a few days ago, but now my life has changed forever. I didn't even feel it happen.