December 28, 2017

“Mi li’ote” ! Enjoy this hearty “Good Morning” in Tsotsil, a Mayan language spoken in the Mexican state of Chiapas

I hope that Santa was good to you all that the Christmas elf pooped in all the stockings of those who voted for Donald Trump and his ilk. Lets join together to close the door on what has been a personally horrible year of loss and disappointment. There have been too many tears shed this year. Too many tragedies and not enough triumphs. I hope you will also join me in greeting 2018 as a new beginning for all things right, honorable and generous of spirit. Also this is a good time to commit to being safer next year… create or update your family emergency plans, DNRs, Organ Donation forms, VOLs, and wills so no matter what happens your family will be more prepared than it was last year. This week take all your donations to Good Will or your church or wherever you donate to before the new tax year.

Are your neighbors friendly? For the most part, we just say hello …sometimes offer to help with groceries from the car… but we all are also kind of distant too. I couldn’t tell you any of their first names nor I suspect could they tell you mine. But we all get along well enough. Yesterday, BJ was bringing in our trashcans and the neighbor next door presented him with these lovely iced cinnamon bun things. I am not sure why after all these years this is the year they do that but it was sweet literally and spiritually. So now that they started it, I am making a pecan pie for both those folks and the retired BT Chief who lives across the street. Paying it forward..wonder where it will go?

A couple of lessons from this year:

When you run out of something that you use all the time and get a new one from the pantry or the drawer, put it on your shopping list and buy a new one. Don’t wait till you are in the middle of the recipe, repair job or shower to remember that you really need one of those.
If you wash your white undershirts all year with your other colored stuff they will get grey. If you separate them out and wait for enough whites to wash a whole load, you will be naked for a couple of days. Its undershirt on an old geezer. Who cares if it is grey.. better than being seen naked at your age.
Dogs are easier to live with and harder to live without than most people. One of the shittiest things among many shitty things that happened this year is loosing my old dog, Chewbacca. Unlike most dogs or people, he never said much but he was always a good friend to drink with. I am thinking that after Christmas I will go down to the pound and find another old friend to love for a couple more years.
Bitching is a fruitless and useless act of humanity. It is addictive and pervasive. People will dredge up old bitches if there aren’t any new ones handy. The good ones they will repeat, over and over..knowing the whole time that it is a completely and utterly futile act of self dilution and delusion. I have a theory that somewhere deep inside each of us who needs to feel a little or a lot bad about something… so we bitch about things that simply will not change. No matter how much we bitch about it or post stuff in FB or Twitter about it … People will only use turn signals reliably when no one needs to know they are turning. They like the left hand lane because all those other idiots are doing all that passing on the right in the others. Please don’t start on politics or taxes, again. Well now, wasn’t that a nice long bitch about bitching? It never ends…
How about you..any lessons you would like to share with the class like the note the teacher caught you passing in 4th grade…come on ..share 🙂

This week I learned some stuff:

• Pop Quiz! Coriander and Cilantro are products of the same plant. True or False ? They taste nothing alike. Cilantro is a much loved leafy herb used as an addition too and garnish for Mexican and other foods. Ground Coriander is a staple spice in Indian foods such as curries. Both are wonderful additions that enrich and enliven many recipes but I had no idea that they came from the same source. So if you said, “True” then you are really smart person who can go ahead and cook some good stuff now.
• December 28th is also National Card Playing Day – a good day to start up your very own Bridge Club or Cribbage Click or Spades Society or Hearts Herd or Go Fish School… well you get the idea.. go play some cards today!

Website Update:
• Last week for the New Vocabulary Quiz!!!
• Added a new reciepe for a General Purpose Dry Rub ( as opposed to a Bar-B-Que specific rub for example). This flavorful mixture of herbs and spices will give all of your meats a flavorful crust.

Writing and Painting Update:
• We didn’t have classes this week. I forgot some bonsai pots that were in various stages of completion in ceramics class. I have no idea what happens if you leave them there between semesters but I am afraid that maybe a broom, dustpan and trashcan maybe involved.
• I have been really messing up my writing schedule with all the end of year stuff going on. I intend to refocus and commit to a higher degree after Christmas.

• Christmas Newsletters. I enjoy reading these things a lot. Some times they are highlights of year of “normal” living. “Jimmy’s two front teeth grew in this summer so he can eat corn again” or “Brenda joined the choir at our church this year and everyone noticed the improvement on Sundays” or someone did something completely normal and because someone thought enough of you to send it to you, completely enjoyable as well. Maybe next year your gang will dazzle us with your team’s highlights and make us feel like we were there. Cause we are… when we read your stories we are there with you all. Thanks for sharing.
• Have you got BIG New Year’s Eve plans? I don’t. We typically never do anything remotely big on New Years Eve. The last time we went out was in 2000. My wife and I were with our friend Jack wandering around a chilly and almost on purpose boring, Geneva Switzerland looking for the Big Millennium party. I was working Y2K so I had a SAT phone on me. No one called. We walked home and began a new century. This year I will probably find out about it after my Netflix show ends.

Music Update:
Click here for week’s UJT Radio program: 
• Al Kooper & Mike Bloomfield — Albert’s Shuffle — This one goes out to my poker buddy, Lou, who apparently has excellent taste in music:) This one comes to us from 1968’s Super Sessions album. Side One featured Mike Bloomfield and side 2 had Stephen Stills because Bloomberg failed to show up for the second day of recording. Just some fine ass blues to help you welcome 2018.
• Bob Marly & The Whalers — One Love/People Get Ready — Reggae as good as it gets. Simple music, simple message but it seems alright to me.
• Eric Clapton — Stones in My Passway — This one comes from his 2015 release, “I Still Do” produced by Glynn Johns. This was Eric’s twenty-third album and I agree. He still does.
• James Taylor — Fire and Rain — From the Vinyl!!!! I almost always end up with tears in my eyes listing to this sweet sad classic from one of my personal musical heroes. Thanks again JT.
• Joe Cocker — With a Little Help from My Friends — Each year, I take stock in my life. Inventory the goods and bas and tally up my score. I ALWAYS come out ok because of the friends I have made. This is one of those anthem songs for me. This was the music that was playing when I switched from Dumb Ass Kid to Dumb Ass Man with a half-assed plan to fix the dumb ass part. Its been a journey and I have enjoyed every minute of the ride even though I am less proud of some of those moments than others. But I only made it this far, because I had a lot of help and patience from my friends. Thank you!
• Venice — The Point — This is a great song from our friends from up north of San Diego. This one just makes me smile and a little more grateful for being a dad. The greatest job I ever lucked into.
• Don McLean — Vincent(Starry Starry Night) — A sweet love song about one of my favorite painters.
• James Taylor & Mark Knopfler — Sailing to Philadelphia — This is a great story song about a part of my favorite nation’s history. These unlikely partners make some beautiful music together.

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: