July 27th, 2017

Mwaikaleni!! (A “Good Morning” that you might hear in Zambia, Congo or Tanzania.)

Slowly returning to “Normal” except Tippy is still back in Miami. I got to all my classes this week for the first time in a while. I am getting caught up on some chores/projects that have been languishing.

This week I learned some stuff:

• I am enjoying my ceramics class a lot more than I thought. I also am gaining a deep and wide appreciation as to why my bonsai pots are so expensive and what fine craftsmanship I have seen. It seems the simplest design is a lot harder than I thought but I am making progress (so they tell me)
• I learned that AARP’s free movies is a great deal. Not only did we get to see a great movie ( The Zookeeper’s Wife) in a very comfortable theater (with a full bar!) but they had a lot of good information as well. I even got my very one Vial of Life magnetic holder for the Refrigerator!!
• Every one close to me knows that I am far more courageous or adventurous than I am smart. This is true in almost all of my endeavors. I developed a method of making food by studying the way chefs and cooks that I admire cook a particular dish. For my own, I will choose those ingredients and methods that seem to be the best to me from all of the ones that I have read and then I will improvise using my own methods or ingredients that achieve the same end but provide a flavor or texture that I think is more to my liking and tastes. This method has enabled me to take on very complex dishes successfully..but it’s not always on the first try or even the second. My first attempts at Paella turned out to be beautiful seafood floating on rice that had the consistency of small pebbles. My first attempted Beef Wellington had the unfortunate appearance of a beautiful fillet with leprosy. Well, this week I attempted another dish for the first time. The whole time I kept thinking that there was something wrong. I was right. In combining my ingredients from various other recipes, I forgot to take into account the differences in number of servings planned for each one and ended up with a Aroz Con Pollo where the chicken was kind swimming through the rice. It was all very flavorful but with so much liquid the rice got mushy and was very soupy in the end. Oh well, if you constantly challenge yourself with new experiences and goals, failure is always one of the options:) The Maduros were good and we used the chicken in Jessica’s wonderful Chicken Enchiladas. I think I know what was wrong and we will try again next week.

Website Update
• Week 2 for the New Vocabulary Quiz!!! Woohoo!!!
• This week I also added the lyrics for “Missing You” from John Waite.
• I continued to updated the new site with UJT Updates, numerous recipes, quotes and Interesting Humans. I also would like to request everyone who finds a typo or a mistake or something that was just to hard to do to use the “Please Tell Us!!??” page.
• As part of the website rebuild, I have decided to include a photo of each dish with each recipe (I know, I know… Duh! Why didn’t I do that on the old site!). Anyway, this has led me on a cooking adventure that I highly recommend…cooking all of the recipes that I love enough to share with you all and taking the pictures along the way.
• This week’s “Interesting Human” is Nikola Tesla. Probably the most amazing mind that you may have never heard of. He invented AC induction motors, wireless controls. x-rays and inspired much more.

Writing and Painting Update:
• I got to all my classes this week!! Woohoo! I fixed a pastel painting that turned out pretty nice, started a new painting and am building a new bonsai pot.
• I worked on Artifacts a little bit and felt really guilty about not getting Grandpa Stories republished yet.

• I remain amazed that Trump supporters are still sipping the Kool Aid that always them to accept ever 140 character pile of bullshit that he tweets. The Republicans had no plan except to ensure that Obama or anyone that thinks like him was not elected again. They created the crisis in health care by failing to fund the Obamacare start up as designed. They just sat back and let premiums climb and insurance companies withdraw from the marketplaces for purely political reasons. It all was about winning for those that fund them. They had years of endless repeal Obamacare churn time to develop and an alternative. They did not. Even today they have no idea how to live up to their promises to provide health care for all Americans that covers pre-existing conditions at reduced premiums. There are no better ideas in Trumpland and their never were – just bigger lies and more non-specific promises. The fix to Obamacare that no one wants to talk about is to fund the start up as planned and adjust the carrot and stick options over time to ensure full participation.
• Stuck. There is this Keanu Reeves movie that I like called, “The Replacements” about a football strike that enables a bunch of washed up, has-been or otherwise imperfect players a chance to play pro football. In the move their coach, played by Gene Hackman, asks the team to name their fears. After a lot of simple-minded discussion, Keanu’s character latches on to the coaches point – Quicksand – where no matter what you do it just seems to get worse – like moving when you are stuck in quicksand. Life gives us lots of opportunities to get stuck like that in long term – high value relationships. We know each other so well. We know all the buttons to push and the other person does too. So you get stuck in this dance of pushing buttons and you cannot quite figure out how to stop. This has happened to me and it is happening to a good friend now. I remember a book that helped me understand it. It is written by what I call a “FemiNazi” but that doesn’t mean her book doesn’t offer a substantially valuable tool set for us mere mortals to use to recognize the Dance and maybe even avoid it sometimes. It is called, “The Dance of Anger” by Harriet Lerner, PhD. If you’re interested, here is a link to where you can read it online or download it for free.

Music Update:
This week we worked in a nice mix of old, new, soulful, and spiritual music that I hope you will love as much as I do. Click here for week’s UJT Radio program:
• The Who — Baba O’Riley — Teenage Wasteland is a land we all must travel. These boys captured what that was like pretty well. Its a great song from their, “Who’s Next” album.
• John Waite — Missing You — This song was my theme song for a period in my life. I still get teary whenever this one comes up. This one comes from his, “No Brakes” album.
• Plain White Ts — Hey There Delilah — Sometimes a song will come along and for whatever reason, it just grabs you and won’t let go. This one was like that for me. This comes from their . “All That We Needed” album.
• The Doors — Riders on the Storm — I have been thinking about the Philippine Islands a great deal this week. I was there in 1975 and fell in love with the place, food, people and music. The Filipino bar bands could cover any top song and make you believe. This song was popular then and you could hear Jim Morrison and the boys wailing two or three times in the course of walking down the main drag out across the bridge to Subic Bay Naval Station. This one is mostly Ray Manzerk’s great electric piano work carrying another Morrison poem to new heights.
• Sarah Jarosz — Take Me Back — Attending my little brother’s funeral also afforded me a chance to visit with some old friends who live in the same area. As they patiently, let me grieve they played me some beautiful music so I got to meet this sweet lady. This one is from her, “Undercurrent” album and is about a pretty a song as you can sing.
• Nickel Creek — Smoothie Song — I got to see this song performed live and was completely blown away by this brother, sister and friend trio. This song is a completely impressive instrumental from their 2002 release, “This Side”.
• Nickel Creek — When You Come Back Down — I had to play a song with their vocals as well. Their harmonies are so beautiful. This on is from their self-titled, “Nickel Creek” released in 200o and produced by Allison Krauss. This too is impressive music/
• Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – On the Way Home — This is one of my favorite cuts from their great 4Way Street live album.

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!

Under the Jacaranda Tree URL: http://www.jfmccann.com