I Love Cooking

I love cooking.
In the past 7 years, the variety of my meals have waned to the point of staple-making: i.e. rice & beans, pasta, deli or pb&j sandwiches, and baby carrots. There are other dishes that I make frequently, but this list covers the majority of my day-to-day cooking. I have tried incorporating my style into these meals, but my kids spot the difference right off. Without getting onto a parenting topic, lets just say that they simply don’t like my embellishments.
Lately though, for no reason it seems, I’ve become more comfortable in preparing whole meals of my food rather than a single serving. Feels good to prepare a meal for the family. It brings such satisfaction to see my food being enjoyed as apposed to being snarfed. Eating a simple staple like rice and beans (with virtually no other ingredients) is all well and good, but rice and beans needs more.
I don’t follow recipes, but rather my nose. I’d it smells good, add it. This general rule has led me to prepare mostly single pot/dish meals. Stir fry, salads, pastas, rice dishes, et. al. I don’t mind a bowl as my primary dish ware. I don’t mind the American 3 course meal either, but thinking that is the only way to serve a meal is sorta ridiculous. My tendency for the all-in-one dish stems from the simple fact that if the ingredients on your plate taste good together, cook them together. Oh, I love having fresh broccoli on the side of a good pasta dish, but for the most part I mix my ingredients up.
Another recent development is my delving into the realm of baking and crock pot use. I find I can make a mean flatbread now. I am grateful for my recent surge of culinary creativity and invite you to create some good food yourself.

73° Mostly Cloudy
400–498 Madison St, Ithaca, New York, United States

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Day One Entry: Jul 28, 2013

A photograph’s photographer
spends their time behind the lens continually composing, framing, and capturing a mood. Whether it be of a jovial or melancholy nature matters not. What matters is getting that moment or scene to harmonize with an emotion.
I just returned from a photo shoot that in some ways reinvigorated the artistic side of myself. I was asked to provide a series of photographs for my singer-songwriter sisters. They both have a similar flair about them, but each brought their own style to the shoot. As an outdoor shoot, the natural lighting was key, and thusly was able to enhance profiles and bring out curves that would otherwise go unnoticed. I love getting the subtle nuances of someone on ‘film’. At one point I felt my creative eye spot things that I would have normally missed. I was on fire. The way one of them smiled or moved their eyes or the playful shadow dancing of light off on of them was acutely registered and captured. I did my best to get the mood set and eased onto the role of a portrait photographer with minimal resistance. I could be a great photographer. I think I am. It just took a renewed session with a couple beautiful people to get me there.
The weather was just about as good as you can get. Oh, and the lighting! My god was it perfect. Just before sunset. Golden. The venue was in and around Ithaca Falls and included a few prime locations such as down in front of the falls itself – always a good spot for portraits. Gets your hair tousled just right!
I finished the session feeling inspired. And that is a wonderful feeling indeed.

72° Showers Nearby
401–499 Madison St, Ithaca, New York, United States

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Day One Entry: Jul 21, 2013

And to think I almost didn’t make it.
The Annual Fingerlakes Grassroots Festival of Music And Dance has been going on for 23 years – since 1991. I have had the lucky fortune to have attended every one save for 1 in 1994. And since I was at the mercy of my dad at the time, the family had gone to Cape Cod that year, so no real regrets there. But I digress.
This was the year that I was prepared to not to go. But I was kidding myself. I had to go. So, on the last day, I packed up some snacks for the boys and went.

Best flip decision ever.

There has always been a swirl of emotions and a flood of memories when you walk through the gate for the first time. This year, as I was holding both my boys, hands, I remembered my first year going by myself. That was a good year.
I led the boys around and down through the morning shuffle. Most of the festival-goers were still sleeping last night’s events off. Saturdays were notorious like that. We pass by the Dance Tent, which was filled with yogis. We eventually arrive at my favorite venue: the Grandstand Stage. It became custom after 7-8 years that the Grassroots Chamber Orchestra started off Sunday with some classical. It was a good show. Woke people up.
After about 5 hours, the boys were getting squirrelly, so I took them to another tradition – Not My Dad’s, an ice cream shop just across the road from the festival. Emily met us there and picked up the kids, leaving me to my own devices at the festival. I haven’t been on my own there in over 8 years. It was strange, yet invigorating to walk through the Trumansburg Fairgrounds solo.
I thoroughly enjoys my slow, meandering; music-induced, aimless wandering. I got to listen to some amazing musicians craft some amazing music with their instruments of muse-infused badass-itude. Pure ecstasy in creation it was. And even though I was only there for one day, it felt like I missed little. In the 23 years I’ve been going to this thing, I can honestly say that I enjoyed myself most during one of my I-Town friend’s set at the Cabaret Hall. Alan Rose and The Restless Elements. They rocked. Bar none one of the best sets I’ve seen in quite a long time.
As the evening wore on, the heat gave me a dehydration headache. Coupled with my age, I was fading fast- I had to get home. I said my farewells to the festival, knowing I’d be back next year without a doubt, and sauntered out the front gate happy and content.
It’s how all festivals should end.

77° Mostly Sunny
Trumansburg, New York, United States

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…Sunday, Bloody Sunday…

..Many thanks to U2 who continue to inspire me…

{in the tune of Sunday Bloody Sunday}

I can’t read the news anymore
Oh, I can’t cry anymore
To make it all better

How long…
How long must I see this shit
How long, how long…
‘Cause tonight… I need some relief
Tonight

Broken dreams for my children’s fate
Bodies strewn across the judge’s bench
I need not turn on the news
It makes me seethe with rage
Makes me seethe with justified rage

Sunday, Bloody Monday
Tuesday, Bloody Wednesday
Thursday, Bloody Friday

And the news just came in
There’s so much gone, but let me explain
The hole is dug within the system
And the families of sisters and brothers
Buried apart

Saturday, Bloody Sunday
Monday, Bloody Tuesday
Wednesday, Bloody Thursday

How long…
How long must I see this shit
How long, how long…
‘Cause tonight… I need some relief
Tonight

Friday, Bloody Saturday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Wipe the blood from your hands
Wipe the blood away
Oh, wipe that blood away
Oh, wipe that blood away
(Sunday, Bloody Sunday)

Sunday, Bloody Sunday, Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday, Sunday, Bloody Sunday

It’s not true we are immune
When fiction is fact and Reality TV
And today the millions morn
We go on and on while tomorrow they die

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

The real news came in
To claim victory Common Sense won
On and on…

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday…

Day One Entry: Jul 13, 2013

Sitting outside Ithaca Coffee Co., downtown, and listening to the sounds of morning deliveries and the buzz of activity. I liken it to an anthill or beehive readying for a big project.
Although my hometown isn’t as big as New York City or even Binghamton, I find the level of city-noise, or “ambient noise” just right. I can still hear birds chirp and squirrels chittering.
I must enjoy the goings-on of the morning more often as they remind me that the world doesn’t stop. At all.

Hello there, old friend.

I wake my laptop gently, with just the soft pad of my fingertips, coaxing it away from any electronic sheep-dreaming that may have occurred since it went asleep.  I swirl my thumb along the trackpad, wiping away a few dust particles.  I know how much my laptop appreciates that.  As it collects itself, displaying itself to me, I am greeted with the standard protocol: the login screen.  I smile.  I have gone through the motions enough that this minor routine only allows for myself to get collected.  A few deft keystrokes later, I press the return key : Access to all that is me in digital form.

I logged on this evening to write about something.  I was going to wax poetic about “returning”, but decided against the metaphysical topic for now.  Tonight I shall wax less-poetic about such things as whatever thoughts seem appropriate (or rather more coherent in nature.)  …  nah!

I really did intend to write about something.  It was to be about the reason why I felt like putting to words what has been on my mind as of late.  Now that I’m scribing my own thoughts down, it seems trivial.  I mean, seriously – when have you ever explained to anyone why you want to write?  You just do.  So that is what I’m doing – Just writing.

I will say that getting back on the proverbial horse feels fantastic.  When thoughts converge with feeling and time meets with music – you can have quite the enjoyable time getting your mind to talk to paper or a screen.  I know this is happening to me right now, and it’s amazing.

The music I’m listening to is a collection of game soundtracks that strike many minor chords.  These notes resonate with me profoundly.  I can not describe exactly why this is so, but I know it is true.  I also tend to be in a god mood for writing when I’ve accomplished something else in my life.  It could be as simple as finishing a book or the dishes, but the sense of getting shit done does wonders for my creativity.  I also know when I should write when the kids are asleep.  That is more of a life necessity than a presser of creative juices.  One thing is constant these days during my fits of flow:  The music must flow as freely as the scribbles or pixels.  I tend to set up a general theme or mood to play before I get into the heart of the subject.  I ease into my prose with light strokes of airy ambiance and gentle urgings from a set songlist.  After I get going, I tab out, change up the playlist accordingly, tab in, and continue with whatever was getting my mind so whirled up in the first place.  At the waning stages of my writings, I lean to some long, drawn-out orchestral or electronic piece to wind myself down.  Like now.

*

without so much as a glance,

i smooth my ideas into place

as a potter would her clay.

*

Thank you for reading.

Inspired Story

I was perusing deviantArt the other day and stumbled upon this gem and felt moved to write a short story.  So without further ado:

Amazing Art is Amazing

“The Ravine” by jjpeabody – http://jjpeabody.deviantart.com/

Citadel Cvern was tucked away within a stones throw from the Unknown Wilds.  The only thing that kept it from being overrun by unruly beasts and bandits were the Ravine Walls.  They alone kept the evil at bay with little effort.  

That was until man intervened.

The building of the land bridges during the 2nd & 3rd Eras of Man provided essential connection to the surrounding region, yet introduced new hazards over the centuries.  With the completion of the first bridge, crossing the River Cværl, the bandits the usually inhabited the locale made it customary to bother the passing travelers and caravans as they traversed the archway.  Nothing was without cost.  The citizens of Cvern paid well enough for goods that the hired hands saw the loss of a few mercenaries as trivial.  The second bridge, completed during the end of the 2nd Era of Man, proved to be less fruitful of an investment.  One century of toil and staving off the local beasts, left the bridge in somewhat of a precariously completed position   The railings were never properly secured and the moulding that held the massive stones to the walls were quickly slapped together, leaving them crumbling within a decade.  It was the second landbridge that did in the citizens of Cvern altogether as it allowed for the beasts and bandits to walk right up to the Citadel’s front door.  A siege lasting nearly a year, wiped out the living men and women of Cvern.  Within the grand Citadel Cvern lies only ash and moss.

A sapling was planted by a young apprentice who witnessed the battle.  It grew up in relative seclusion, as bandits and beasts cared not about trees, as they were used to close quarters of rock walls and ravine dwellings of the Unknown Wilds.  Little did they know that that tiny sapling would grow into a stunning specimen of Querlus (commonly known as Strongtree or Ironwood).  One day, a young boy will find that tree and imagine himself a hero.

That day is today.