Plan to add at least 1.5 hours to prep, startup, and cook times.
Invest in meat probes with a wireless system.
Prepared rubs are good, but homemade rubs have more meaning.
Charcoal burns differently from brand to brand. High end charcoal lumps burn hotter and longer. Don’t use lighter fluid. Get a chimney starter and use paper.
Don’t be tempted to peek at the meat! If you must peek, be prepared to lose temp, especially in smaller grills. Also, don’t be tempted to fiddle with the coals or the air vents. Cheap grills are like cheap cars: quirky, need TLC, and prone to unusual swings in temp. If you know your cheap grill well, and like it, use it. I have a cheap grill and a competition grill. I use them both, sometimes at the same time.
Wood smoke is flavorful. Cut your pieces ahead of time, so all you have to do is feed the fire. Cut more than you think you need. You’ll likely use all of it.
Patience is a virtue, especially when smoking meat. Low and slow is the key to tender, juicy pork that tastes like heaven. Don’t pull the meat just because it’s close to the right temp. It will not be nearly as tender.
Trim the butts. YouTube has tons of videos on how to do it.
Good tools are a must. High temp gloves work well, but keep them dry. Wet gloves conduct heat.
I use a good grill tool with the slinky end. I heat up the grill, scrub it down and then rub half an onion on the grates.
Last, but not least, nothing will go according to plan. Make a backup plan.
I don’t know about this low grade depression anymore. It’s more like physical suppression of all creativity and energy.
Brain: check the mail
me: screw the mail
Body: but I want to go outside and at least sit for a while
Me: are you high? It’s hotter than the devil’s crotch crickets out there, and my skin itches all the time, anyway
I’ve more or less stopped watching TV except for baseball. Social media is my go-to for mindless entertainment. I think so little of myself anymore that even when friends engage, I feel unworthy of their attention and hurry to brush them off. Writing even this much feels more intrusive than a pap smear and just as uncomfortable.
So, procrastination is a symptom. I have endless creative tools at my disposal, and I sit. Or sleep. I did start working on my retirement goals, and one of them is to have an extra hundred dollars a month. I started two small investment accounts that in five years, will yield about two hundred dollars a month if I continue to set aside money now. Passive income has become the mantra of the retirement world. I’ve come to embrace it myself, even though my funds are extremely limited. Anything I do creatively is just gravy-or casino- money. My soap is still here, my body butters are waiting to be made, and it comes down to willingness. Writing this down serves myself notice that I literally have my dreams at my fingertips and to just do it.
Nothing but a dream of getting out to the place where horizons are buildings, people, noise, hurry, excitement, HAPPINESS
Leave behind silence. Leave behind ceaseless wind. Leave behind a curve of unspoken secrets of those back there in the quiet terror
Keep close. And late at night, take out in a spasm of regret the splashes of ugly memories on those who would rather forget. In the silent aftermath of desperate longing for absolution, the spill of harsh kitchen light and tickticktick of the stupid clock that sees all and knows nothing.
It never goes away, those dark grindings of heat and cold that pass through landscapes alive with voices crying
A passing train offers golden squares of light where people are laughing and talking and pretending to be normal but nobody is really normal
Another generation of lust and dust yearns to find the horizon of freedom in the western sky
1 pkg Uncle Ben’s ready brown rice, or 2 cups of cooked rice, whichever works. If you use cooked rice, you will need to double the wet ingredients
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. ketchup
water or chicken broth to thin the stew, but I like mine pretty dry, so there’s that
couple of dashes of hot sauce
dash of lime juice
In a pan, turn the fire to medium, add the oil and chopped onions. Stir around until you can smell the onions, but don’t let them get brown. If you do, that’s ok, but you want to release the flavor, not kill it. Til they get soft, I mean. Add the drained tuna, stir around until it’s heated. Add a pinch or two of brown sugar. It seems to bring out the freshness of the tuna without overpowering it. Now, turn down the fire to low, add the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Sometimes, I will throw in a tablespoon of mustard if I’m feeling pungent, but it’s not necessary. Heat all that up and add the rice. Stir it up til everything has a nice reddish brown coating on it. You can add the thinner if you want, but I do like mine dry so I can roll it up in a flour tortilla or wrap. You can add cheese, but I don’t see it adding much more than filler. Now, sour cream or unflavored greek yogurt? Hell, yes. It’s done. Just a dash or two of hot sauce and some salt and pepper to taste. You want to taste everything and have the heat waiting behind the door. Not to jump out and scare you to death, but just so you know it’s there. On the plate or in the tortilla, add a squeeze of lime juice if you want. It’s quick, filling and cheap. Throw some chopped lettuce on the side of your plate or in your tortilla without any dressing, and eat it all together. Crunchy texture goes really well with the rest of it.
I washed my sheets yesterday. I moved my bed a foot. I cooked for the first time in two months-no, three. I threw away one more useless item.
Good night’s sleep by my standards means that I woke up fewer than ten times and fell asleep again before the night clerk at Hotel Anxiety rang the bell. I had a good night’s sleep.
No clean sheets, though. They are drying now. I slept on a bare mattress, contrary to every tenet of home training I had. I did drag the covers off my absent roommate’s bed (she’s temporarily in a nursing home. I hope.) and her cat immediately found a corner of the blanket to knead and suck. That poor feral baby slept against my legs all night, her delicate ethereal weight letting me know that she exists in a sad, grieving place of confusion.
Two cups of black coffee have a sedative effect. Feral kitty and and Black kitty settle in: her at my calves, him down my back. I think they like this routine.
Lunch is leftovers. I wanted a fish sandwich. I’m lying. I wanted two fish sandwiches. The echoes of depression voices channeled by my mother, filtered by my guilt, amplified by my depression keep me at home, in slippers, the clothes I’ve slept in for four days, and well, shit, it’s Monday.
Tomorrow might be better. I might be able to slog through the mud and fog again. Today, today continues.
I put a new roll of toilet paper . . . On the holder. It felt like I’d completed a workout in the rain barefooted.
Depression is a catch-all term for a whole plethora of symptoms relating to the psychological and physical inability to function like normal people do in the real world. Allegedly. We depressives tend to not talk much about the various ways our depression will sabotage our efforts to function. I like to write. I like to create. Mostly, what I do is nothing. My bed calls me, dirty sheets and all. And every time I crawl under the covers, right before I sigh with exhaustion, I think, I should change the sheets and throw these in the washer and take out the trash and wash the dirty dishes and clean the kitty pan and . . .
Two hours later, the nap has succeeded in making me feel worse. I still can’t move, though. I should hang up those clothes. I should go visit my friend in the nursing home. I need to write. I have some orders I could be working on. Those dishes aren’t cleaning themselves. Those sheets are getting sadder by the minute.
Depression lowers the immune system. Being the misanthrope I am these days, about half the time I go out of the house, I get sick with something: bronchitis, stomach viruses, strained tendons, 6-5 and pick’em.
My truck had four active recalls on it when I took it in for work. 24 hours later, I felt like a new deckhand working a tuna boat on the Atlantic in January with a violent storm blowing in. My cat curled up on my head, all 17 pounds of him, purring like a kitty generator. I firmly believe that my fever would have lasted at least another day if not for his medical intervention. As soon as I started sweating, he moved down to my icy feet and draped himself over them until they warmed up. Three days later, I’m still not well physically. Kitty did check on me last night, delicately licked my eyelid, and settled down for a nap on my painful shoulder, purring contentedly.
The first glimmer of a break in the clouds just happened a few minutes ago. You see, I try to listen to comedy bits, and they say laughter is the best medicine. It’s actually more like a vitamin supplement: the placebo effect temporarily supplants the depression. This small window of not-feeling-hideous could be used to wash the sheets, I suppose. I’m going to try it, see if this actually makes it to the bedroom. If it does, Ch. 2 might be a progress report.
They were a time of anticipation, of warm drinks and crispy nights where the stars all glittered with a promise of exciting adventures just around the corner
Life happens, as it does
Loved ones went away. Jobs shifted. Hometowns got shabbier. That bell ringer became annoyingly aggressive in front of the store. Instead of good will towards all, the mantra seemed to be, what’s in it for me?
The pandemic of sadness and grief settles like an ice fog over everything.
I want to tease out all the components that contributed to this and cleanse them of darkness, but
I lovingly hoard each dirty, grimy piece because they are mine alone. They are my companions, for good or ill. Perhaps one day, when the first daffodils poke out their heads from the cold ground, I will try to travel lighter, with less baggage and more kindness.
Until then, let me grinch and grumble, toast my irks, feed my peeves. After all, this is a time of giving, and it’s my gift to myself.