March 29, 2018

“Selamat pagi” A“Good Morning” in Malay. Malaysia is an amazing country filled with amazing people.

My favorite time of year is spring! I love it when the flowers start busting out with the new growth after the grey nakedness of winter… its like mother nature just gets all slutified and flirty all at once. Yesterday, I was putting together a new “Bridge Over Pond” as the other one is fixing to fall into the pond. Whenever the breeze went a certain way, the Wisteria’s purple and white blossoms fragrance just about knocked me over …so pretty! You Go Girl!

It was fun breaking out my old Wok for the first time is many years last week. The key to great stir fry is very fresh ingredients prepared a head of the cooking. The Taiwanese Chicken sort of thing was very tasty. I have adjusted the recipe I posted to include more baby Bok Choy and specified ‘Fresh” ginger. You see, I do not use fresh ginger enough so I use it and then freeze it. Frozen grated Ginger is fluffy and flavorful but not as flavorful as fresh ginger. So if the recipe calls for a 1/4 cup fresh ginger and you are using grated frozen Ginger, then up the amount to 1/2 a cup. So if you haven’t stir fried in a while get out your Wok and go for it with the Taiwanese Chicken, Sort Of, every one here thought it was very tasty.

This week I learned some stuff:

• I am a back of the tube guy! Which is funny because when I was a little guy, I was a front of the tube guy. I remember my brother and I doing Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who got the first paste out of the new tube. Pat had a fondness for Rock so I won most of the time and got to put my own first dents in the tube and they were always at the front near the cap. Somewhere along the line I became a devout back of the tube guy. I am now the guy that rolls the tube up to get the last of the last out of it. I have no idea how I got this way!
• Today, we celebrate and remember the Americans who fought its longest, most unpopular and first fully televised war, as March 29th is Viet Nam Veterans Day. It was March 29th, 1973 when the United States withdrew from South Viet Nam. Thank you for your service to all of our folks who served during the Viet Nam era.
• I have felt for a long long time that there is such a thing as Karma. We kind of earn the luck we have. I don’t agree with those that feel you have to let life or God or Allah slap you around and just accept it. We have some control. I feel like that if you start out leaning forward towards others with an open heart and mind, you get little attaboys along the way. If you have earned good Karma, you find parking spaces easily, strangers feel ok about smiling at you and stuff you lost comes back to you. Its not a precise thing. You can fuck it up at anytime by being small, spiteful or hateful even for a moment. It takes longer to turn it up after you let it go too. I think my Karma is doing pretty good as I lost my wallet and got it back intact this week. I also got completely done with ATT!!!. It took them almost 2 months to sort it all out, but I got what they say is the “final” bill, down from over $900 to $125. I wrote the check and crossed my fingers. Be gracious and graceful as you try to pay it forward.

Website Update:
• Second week for the New Vocabulary Quiz!!!
• I added a new French Chicken dish for you guys this week. Yum! I also added a slow cooker Pot Roast that was very tasty.

Writing, Ceramics and Painting Update:
• Worked on Chewy’s canvas some more. Working with acrylics seems harder than before. I finalized the designs for my next 3 ceramics projects – I mentioned the trivets before…I have the designed now One is a peace sign, one is an image of Urge II, my former trusty steed VW Bus that I gave to Sean in High School and the last in Blue Meany. It should be fun!
• I have been kicking around this watercolor painting in my head, lately. I did a smaller one of the String Of Pearls once before but didn’t care for the result. This is my daughter’s favorite plant. Her uncle Larry introduced me to it back in 1975 and I was hooked! If you want to learn more than you ever wanted to know about this plant check this out. There is even a short video on how to propagate Senecio Rowleyanus. I thought that I might try to take it too a bigger format like the shamrocks last year. Might be cool.
• The very weird and ugly remote control holder thingy has been glazed. I may go to a night class this week as my Friday Classes have been cancelled due to Good Friday and Easter.

• I had the chance to watch “Leave it to Beaver” on our rerun channel here. There was so many things that reminded me of when I was a little guy, it was fun.
• Not recycling all of the styrofoam we get has been bugging me for a long time. 2 million years our landfills will be just piles of foam goop. I did some searches (now that I am a retired old fart, I have time to search for foam recycling places) and found a place near by so I am now saving up my foam. You know if we were really saving the planet with our recycling the folks that do the other recycling would have figured this out and save it up for us. No they only want the stuff that they can make money on. Sometimes it would be nice to have a government which acted like the adults in the room. Just sayin…

Music Update:
Go to this week’s UJT Radio program.

• Adele — Someone Like You — This was the song that stole my heart. This lady was so charming in her shy rough cockney way can sure write and sing a song. I could listen to her self depreciating interviews over and over as long as she sings more beautiful songs.

• Tim Flannery — Rollin — Tim has a way of putting it out there for all to see and hear. Thanks to my buds, John, Saint Jan and the Lad’s Dad for turning me on to this singing boy player. This little song is from his “Traveling Shoes” album.

• Venice — The Way I See You — As long as I am being grateful, I thought I would throw these boys into the mix. This song is so spot on for me. This is from their “What Summer Brings” album.

• Tedeschi Trucks Band — Until You Remember — There is something so compelling to me about this band’s music. I love her vocals but the sparse tight instrumentation is so powerful. This one is from their “Revelator” album released in 2011. That whole album is great!

• Matchbox Twenty — Bright Lights — Over the past 2 years, I have featured MB20 for you all on UJT. I am guessing you all might have figured out that I am a huge fan. I was a bit surprised at first that I hadn’t featured this song. But then they have given us so many great songs to choose from. But I mean you just have to love a song with the lyric, “I got a hole in me now. Yeah, I got a scar I can talk about …”

• Jackson Browne — The Road — Another surprise for me when I did the searches, I haven’t featured this old favorite of mine. This and that little ditty by that fella, Bob Seger. who sang “Turn the Page..” are the best Road songs that I know about. This is another great song from Jackson’s 1977 release, “Running on Empty”.

• Warren Zevon — Keep Me In Your Heart — Warren was a special soul. He was the flavoring for so much good music. I miss him still. This one is a pretty good epitaph song from his last release in 2003 called, “The Wind”.

• Nitty Gritty Dirt Band — Mr. Bojangles — This one has always been one of my favorite 12 string songs. I learned how to play it back in 1975 right after I bought this beautiful Suzuki 12 String down on Hotel Street in Honolulu. My boy Sean was the first to hear me sing and play it while his mom took the clothes to the laundromat at the apartments we lived in Waipahu. It was hard to tell if Sean liked it or not, he was screaming when I started to play and was still screaming when I finished. But their were tears in my eyes, even though I missed the same chord change twice. I thought I might end this week’s selections with another sweet sad song about things passing by while you are still loving them. The best you can hope for is still being in love with your life right up to the last moment and feeling grateful for the dogs and people that loved you back with all their might. This old favorite was written by Jerry Jeff Walker but these boys did it better than anyone, I think.

That’s it… Do the best you can;  Laugh every chance you get;  And always remember …  The best is yet to come! 

As always, thank you for being my friend!

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