Sunday, May 16, 2010

None for tea, but two for BBQ

It feels like summer is finally here. The birdhouses on the front porch are overflowing with tentants (sometimes literally - rip little unfledged baby) and yesterday we had our warmest day of the year thusfar. Despite my failed last minute BBQ scheme (the first few people I invited all had the temerity to have other engagements, so I lost interest and will plan better next time!), it turned out to be a lovely day. My little white dog woke me up early enough that I had my grocery list and shopping done by noon and was already making a mini-BBQ for my mom and me. On the menu: Black Bean and Mango Salad, Raspberry Shortcake, and Country Ribs.

This is probably something everyone but me already knew, but being relatively new to doing the barbequeing, I discovered my new favorite way to make ribs last summer. If you boil them ahead of time, they are so tender they fall off the bone AND they hardly require any grilling time at all. To sweeten the deal, boiling them renders the fat, which makes them slightly less artery clogging, which means you can put more whip cream on your dessert and without inflating your health risk. Silver lining with nary a cloud in sight!

I am still tweaking to find the perfect blend, but so far my recipe is to fill a large stock pot with water, a couple tablespoons of pickling spice, a quartered onion (yes, an onion - I still think they are the devil's condiment, but am willing to accept their utility for some recipes), a whole bunch of garlic (the more, the better - crush it a little before throwing it into the pot), a bay leaf or two (or whatever herbs you like), a bit of salt and boil the ribs in the for an hour and a half or so. Then all you need to do is baste them with your favorite sauce and throw them on the grill for a few minutes. After that, all that's left is to drink a mojito made with mint from the back yard and enjoy! Aaah summer!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gentlewoman's Agreement

So I've been trying to think of something to talk about as part of the gentlewoman's agreement I struck with Jen back in April. Per the terms, we each agreed to post five times a week. We even renegotiated at the beginning of May declaring amnesty for all slackers (aka people like me), restarting the project and setting the blogging bar at four times a week. We are nothing if not flexible.

While I have thought about posting at least four times a week (sometimes even more, champion thinker that I am), the actual doing it has not happened. I'm telling you, when they finally invent the program that translates good intentions into organized writing, I am going to be SO freaking productive, you won't even believe it! There is probably a lesson here for optimistic, encouraging people like Jen: Never enter into any kind of accord with a known slacker. She can be happy that is was just blogging and not a suicide pact or something like that. It would really suck to be the one who follows through on that, while the other person is all "Oh, I don't know. I'm too tired to kill myself today. I think I'll go eat Cheetos and watch American Idol instead. Maybe tomorrow…"

The thing is that I am just not feeling like I have much to say lately. Sure, I think of things, but then when it comes to posting them, I think "Why the hell would anyone else be interested in this? Isn't it a little narcissistic to think that my navel gazing is so fascinating? Why don't I just keep a journal?" Then, yesterday I followed a link from Freewill Astrology to Jason Mraz's blog. And I read it and thought to myself "Except for being talented and famous, what is so special about him?" Don't get me wrong, I love Jason Mraz, but...

Why can people like him incite themselves to sit down and play, but I can't? One of my sometimes slightly pretentious writer friends (and sometimes judgmental shithead) is happy declare that some people are just serious about their art and some are not. Frankly, I think there is more to it than that. Creativity and self-expression shouldn't be vehicles for oneupsmanship. Sometimes we are just blocked. A vessel with a clogged spout is not necessarily an empty one.

I still don't know what I have to say or why or even if it will be of interest to anyone. Maybe it doesn’t have to be. Maybe it is just about the self-discipline to power through it and form a habit. Maybe it is about stopping to really look at the crazy, beautiful world around me and writing about it, because that will inspire me to play and create things that fill it with just a little more beauty. Sometimes maybe you don't have to understand. Sometimes maybe you just have to do and see where it takes you.

P.s. In totally unrelated news this made me laugh.