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August 29th, 2006

Aug. 29th, 2006

This morning's oatmeal addition: fresh blueberries.

Last night was faintly productive. lio came over to look at the porch and decided that it wasn't fatal, so he's gonna be doing the prime carpentry work while I pick up the slack in the remaining masonry and shill work that needs to be done.

Still haven't heard from the roofer guy. I think it may be time to go back and re-bid, since I'm a little concerned that he's not even returning phone calls.

Also managed to get a load of dish-laundry done, cleaned a part of the kitchen, and cooked a sort of fajita substitute (grilled chicken, peppers, onions, olives, jalapenos, and a mix of teriyaki and hot taco sauce with olive oil). The onions caramelized beautifully, the jalapenos disappeared into the sauce, and everything else maintained its shape. I added the sliced bell peppers late so they wouldn't lose their color, and I took a few minutes to strain and reduce the sauce (while I was cleaning the kitchen). The chicken is a little dry: I probably shouldn't have added it as early as I did since it was already cooked, but otherwise it's damnfinetasty.

Yeah, I used prepared sauces from the bottle. I know some of y'all food snobs frown on that, like using pre-minced garlic instead of fresh cloves, but we're talking something that only I am gonna eat, and it was more something that I could leave cook unattended with minimal preparation. Think of it as a much healthier alternative to grabbing a TV dinner from the convenience store.
It's like my faded granpappy used to say:

"Never shit in a foxhole. You never know when you might have to dive in."

He never actually did say that; it was more like "Mmmrflgl, klgrnmnnhy nmhrmlmmnnm" because he was pretty much insane by the time I ever saw him and the doctors had him doped up with enough thorazine to make a rhino snore, but it's what I would imagine that he would say were he actually to give great grandfatherly war-story advice.

Crazy Aunt Petunia would put it differently:

"Don't burn your britches before they're hatched."

Aunt Petunia was never one for keeping things straight in her head. Listening to her talk was always a fun trip into surrealism because as much as stream-of-consciousness was in vogue, hers was more a babbling-brook-of-unconciousness where she would switch sentences in midstream.

"Why, when I was your age, I used to have a ponytail that that little rat-fink bastard Timmy Boboscrin would try to dip into the inkwell, and we used to ride him along the trail down by the lake on Old Man Johnson's farm. Old Man Johnson would come out of his house with that damn blunderbuss he had, cursing up a blue streak, words that I'd never heard hide nor hair of when he'd come looking. In three years he never did find me under the chicken coop, but boy howdy did that stink to high heaven in a sandwich. Hand me the grapes, honey."

Toward the end, Aunt Petunia soiled herself a little too often, and all of her flower-print dresses were stained a dull grayish-brown color. Her house always smelled the same: wood smoke and bacon fat, even at the end.

She never had a TV, did Petunia. She had an old Philco upright radio, a console model with tubes enough to emit a warm, cheery glow that seemed able to pick up signals from everywhere in the world. I remember fondly late nights sitting in front of the radio listening to Jack Benny and the Grand Ol' Opry and Stories of Suspense that would chill my bones, and once in a while coming across strange foreign voices rattling off strings of numbers and nonsense words, and Petunia would get a drifty, faraway look in her eyes as she remembered lost loves from wild days spent on a tropical beach in the South Pacific.

That old house is gone now, swallowed up by a highway reconstruction project, the old farmland turned into a rise of condos that look like they were shat out of Salvador Dali's ass in piles and left to petrify in the noonday sun. I sometimes wonder if they ever found the big ol' stockpile of wartime ammunition that granpappy had buried out under the rockpile, or if one day we're gonna hear about some young kid that found the entrance tunnel and set off an explosion big enough to take out thre of the ugly shitpile condos.

I can always dream.

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