Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Good Roast Beef Sandwich

Okay, so it's the day before New Year's eve. Tonight Madeleina and I, and Marco, if he comes over, are having swordfish again. I cannot get over the flavor--although I'm going to hell for killing those beauties and will soon be a vegeterian--or more likely a nut-arian since lately I tend to feel ill when thinking about killing animals and vegetables to eat.
That said, last night Madeleina didn't want chicken. I was going to slice chicken breasts very thin, then marinate the pieces in Peruvian spices (achote, vinagre, dried hot peppers, oil, garlic) and then roast them.
Instead, I made her a roast beef sandwich.
Here it is:
Turn oven on to 350 degrees.
Turn one stove top burner on low.
Get a nice loaf of good french bread with sesame seeds.
Cut a piece that you think will be appropriate for your sandwich.
Take a red pepper, and clean it, then put it in a saute pan with a touch of olive oil and pepper and cook on stove top burner till both sides till done. When done, peel skin and eat that (just because we're pigs).
Cut the french bread open, pull out excess bread.
Put Hellman's Mayo or Miracle Whip, your preference, on both sides of break. Like a shmear. Don't be cheap.
Place mayonaise'd bread open in oven.
Remove bread when toasty warm and the mayo or Miracle Whip is melting into bread and bread is starting to brown.
Put paper thin roast beef (substitute ham or cucumber slices for roast beef as you see fit) on both sides of bread.
Salt and pepper roast beef or ham or whatever.
Place bread with roast beef or ham or whatever in oven. KEEP OPEN.
Take a nice red onion and slice thin. Put two/three slices (optional) in pan with red pepper when pepper is near done.
When roast beef is done and bread is at next level of browning, remove from oven. HOT. Be careful!
Take red pepper and sauted onion and put on roast beef.
Cover with pepperjack cheese or good cheddar or even better, horseradish cheese. Put cheese on both sides of sandwich.
Place in oven till cheese melts.
Remove from oven, close, and then eat.
Enjoy, everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Here's Madeleina, In Living, Crazy Color

Well, you've read about my Madeleina. You've thought you met her. But you don't know the half of it. Last night, she and a friend decided to have a sleep-over and make a youtube video. And so they did. While I was sleeping.
So here is Madeleina's first youtube video. She's got two/three others that will quickly follow. You can look her up on as madeleinag. If that doesn't work, look for MadeleinaG.
Here's the url to the first insanity:
And yes, she's worth every moment I have with her.
If I was in Hollywood--and note that I am copywriting this idea as we go--I would write a sitcom based on dueling siblings who are trying to go viral on youtube. Trying to outdo each other, or the several of them, while the dad and mom, or just dad or mom, go insane as the kids record every second of their lives trying to become youtube stars. Those who make it make millions. Go viral just once and you are set for life./ That's what kids are aiming for these days, rather than good blue-collar or city government jobs. At least the clever ones.
So here is my Madeleina. Enjoy her wonderful insanity.

The Michelle Obama Weight Debate

An awful lot has been written about Michelle Obama's push for better foods in schools, more recess in schools, more exercise in schools and an overall push for intelligence in exercise and food consumption that will lead to healthier lives for an awful lot of folk. And less insurance cost for all of us. (NOTE: I'm a smoker, so I'm a bad guy here.)
The debate is silly. When I was a kid, John F. Kennedy, soundly disliked in my home, took Dwight D. Eisenhower's Council on Fitness to the next level, and Johnson did the same, and millions of high school kids had to participate in a physical fitness program that had us running a mile, sprinting 100 yards, climbing ropes and peg boards, doing sit-up and push-ups and so forth. I thought it was fantastic, and even my father, who didn't like either Kennedy or Johnson, approved of that government intrusion into our lives.
So Michelle Obama's pushing for better foods in schools than what my sons and daughter have been offered--corn dogs/pizza/breaded fried chicken nuggets (I made them nearly every lunch they ever had just to keep them away from that crap)--and more exercise to begin to control childhood obesity is hardly something new from a resident of the White House.
But, say so many writing on boards all over the net: She's just the wife! No one elected her!
Absolutely. But Laura Bush's reading program came from someone who wasn't elected and that didn't seem to cause such a stir.
If one really wants to look at a First Lady who pushed her own agenda, one need only look at Nancy Reagan and her Just Say No (to drugs) effort. That effort led to the now-debunked DARE program in schools--which we saw actually caused a serious rise in youthful drug experimentation. It also led, by extension, to the demonization of those who didn't Just Say No, which produced the Three-Strikes Yer Out! sentences, a refusal to make needle-enchange programs available nationally--a calamitous error, gave the Feds the public backing they needed to implement mandatory-minimum sentencing, which caused the jail population to swell to the point where the insidious privatized-prisons became the norm...And generally messed up the lives of millions of people who wound up with felony convictions and long prison sentences for absolutely no societal good.
I railed against Reagan then and for years and still rail against privatized-prisons and their lobbying arms and the demonization of non-violent drug users.
But I see more vitriol about Michelle Obama pushing veggies on school kids and encouraging them to play outside each day than I ever did about Nancy Reagan effectively hijacking the criminal justice system.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jim Beam and Me

I don't keep liquor in the house. Haven't for years because when I do I generally drink it. All of it. What I do is buy 4 minis of Jim Beam at the liquor store daily--none on Sundays--and that's the limit.
Yesterday was an exception. I was on a road trip to Mexico for a few days on a new story and picked up a bottle of Beam at a duty free shop in Reynosa. Had a few drinks at the motel before bed. Did the same the next night. Brought the rest home. So I had it in the house. Just under half a quart. Much more than 4 minis.
Had a drink or two before dinner. Had a drink while I made dinner, which was steak with rice and broccoli for Madeleina, and salmon with diced red pappers, garlic and sesame seeds for me. With rice, spinach and broccoli.
Only I didn't eat dinner. Sometime in there the Beam and the exhaustion from the trip--mostly the Beam--caught up with me and I fell asleep while cooking. So I turned off the things on the stove and went to bed.
Or so I thought.
Woke this morning wondering what exactly happened between turning off the things on the stove and going to bed.
Madeleina very cheerfully reminded me just a few minutes ago.
"So dad, were you drunk last night?"
"Yup. Sorry..."
"I thought so."
"Did I do anything bad? Any screaming or yelling?"
"Nope. You were hilarious. First, I saw you sleeping while you were cooking. And by the way, the steak was not cooked well enough. Plus, you took out a pack of sausages after you turned the stove off and tried to cook a sausage in a cold pan, then you took a bite. That was raw sausage dad and you're probably gonna be sick today..."
"I saw that in the pan this morning. Neatly cut in half. I thought maybe your mother came over and decided to cook, then decided against it..."
"No dad. That was you. You already had chicken for Boots in the oven, salmon for you, steak for me and then you said you really wanted sausage..."
"Was that it?"
"Not completely. After you took a bite of the sausage you fell asleep standing by the sink. Then you woke up and picked up the big black flashlight"--she demonstrated--"and started drinking it, like this"--second demonstration of me holding the butt end of the flashlight to my mouth, head tilted back--"and then you said 'it's empty, I guess', and then you put it down.Then you fell asleep standing next to the counter. Then you walked over to Marco's door and sat down on the floor and went to sleep for about an hour. Then I woke you and you went to bed. That's why I thought you were drunk, because you don't usually fall asleep standing up--like three different times--and then try to eat raw sausage..."
"I'm sorry kiddo."
"No, it was pretty funny. Wish I had a video camera. You'd be a U-Tube star this morning..."
"Cross that camera right off the Christmas list..."
"Is that why you don't keep liquor in the house?"
"You got it."
"You know, you keep writing about me and everybody on the blog. So, you know, you should probably write about your embarrassing thing too..."
"Oh, shit. Yeah, you're right again. I'll do that now."
"Oh, and I put your plate in the microwave if you're hungry...the steak was way undercooked but that salmon was just fantastic!"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reagan, Trickle Down, My Madeleina

My daughter Madeleina, 13, got off from school early today and just a few minutes ago came into the kitchen while I was sweeping and asked: "Was Reagan a good president?"
It was sort of out of the blue and probably prompted by a mention of him on the television or computer.
"No, he was horrible. An awful lot of people loved him though."
"Why don't you?"
"Well, you've heard me talk about his team's work in Central America, right? I mean..."
"I know, I know," she said, cutting me off. "Presidents shouldn't encourage foreign rebellions over duly elected governments as happened in Nicaragua on Reagan's watch. Particularly if it involves permitting the sale of enormous quantities of cocaine to US citizens, the profits of which are then used to buy arms for an attempted government overthrow. And especially particularly if those US-citizens caught using that government okay'd cocaine are going to be incarcerated for long periods of time in prisons. Particularly privatized, for-profit prisons, which also began to occur on Reagan's watch. I have heard all that before dad. Like a million times. So why else don't you like Reagan?"
"The money. His idea was that if you gave huge tax breaks to the rich they would open factories and provide jobs to the middle and poor classes. He called it trickle-down. I think it was more like pissing on everyone who wasn't rich."
"Sound like a good idea to me. What's wrong with it?"
"Well rich people often don't open factories. They invest their money, they guard their money, they build themselves mansions... none of which really produce a lot of jobs."
"Building a mansion does..."
"Yes, for one construction firm and some contractors for a few months. On the other hand, if you give those tax breaks to the middle class, they start to buy cars. And when people, I mean whole groups of people, millions of people, start to buy cars, that makes jobs for all sorts of people. And then they have money and they want apartments and houses and that makes all sorts of jobs for other people. And then all those people with jobs start needing more stores and restaurants and middle class people open those and give more people jobs...."
"Why don't rich people open stores and factories and restaurants?"
"Some do. But a lot don't. I mean, if you had a few million stashed away and you could invest it with a bank and get a guaranteed interest--profit--or open a factory which might or might not wind up making you money, or a restaurant, which in most cases will lose money, which would you do?"
"So why do middle class people take chances and open factories and restaurants?"
"Cause it's their chance at becoming rich. If it works--and it's a lot of work to make things work right--they win. And if they're lucky, they win big. And then they take their money and invest it. Or build a mansion. Generally."
"So Reagan's plan basically sucked?"
"Totally. Robbed from the poor to give to the rich."
"Screw Reagan! Long live the middle class!"
"Now you're talking, kiddo. That's my girl."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cheap Shot

Well, a couple of years ago I posted 117 times. This is my 117th time this year. Which leaves me open to post one more time to break the record. Now I'm not saying I was very clever this year. I'm not sure what happened. I was just living and life was passing fast. Whether it was the flesh eating staph infection that took a couple of months or my work in Peru and the Jungle, or taking Madeleina with me to the jungle or coming to grips with Italo and Sara not needing me anymore, or pure stupid pride on being named best journalist in Texas for the second time, or simply trying to raise 9 people on $29 grand...who knows. But this year steamed by.
And so this is a cheap post, just to match my highest number.
All I can say of value is that this morning I got up at 4 AM, and by noon was hungry. So I made a simple piece of sauteed swordfish--garlic, onion and capers--with grilled tomato, and then this evening roasted a duck on celery, red onion and baby carrots. Seasoned with salt and pepper. Cooked at 340 rather than the recommended 375 but for 3 1/2 hours instead of the recommendeds 2 1/2 for a 7 pound duck. Added lots of orange juice from fresh oranges. Pulled off the juice and put it in a small pot in the freezer to separate out the fat (normally would do that by sight with hot grease, but was trying to teach my son Marco a simple way to eliminate the fat). Fat removed, I made gravy with the fatless drippings, lots of orange and some good raspberries I had frozen while fresh.
THat was a good sauce.
Kids loved it.
First time I've made duck in years, since the kids refused to eat duck when I last made it, maybe 10-15 years ago. Tonight they devowered it.
Man, that was good.
The babies are acting like a wildfire in the desert, jumping all over the place, taking turns feeling the pain.
And that's what I got. Not a lot.
Peter G

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hello, Everybody

Hello, everybody. Just checking in. I have been working so much lately, and with the New York trip and now getting ready for the Peru trip and trying to finish up two cover stories for my weekly before I go and getting my column in--which is due tomorrow--well, I feel like I've abandoned you. I don't mean to. And life here has been as good/crazy as always. Last night little Alexa, Chepa's baby, wanted to get tickled. So she started in with Mr. Peta Garman butthead!
Which got her tickled.
And then again: Peta Garman butthead!
Which got her tickled again.
That went on for 10 minutes until Sierra, Chepa's four year old, noticed it.
"Alexa. You can't say Peta Garman butthead. That's not right. You have to say Mr. Peter Garman ButtHead!"
Which got her into the tickling frenzy. And they both kept at it until I was exhausted. Even Madeleina and Marco started in because they wanted to get tickled by dad too.
And then there was the ice cream fight the other night, where Chepa bought the ice cream and I suggested that eating it was just like putting it on your hips--though she's getting pretty thin and could use a few--which wound up with her bombarding me with ice cream to the accompaniment of: "So, you don't want to eat it? I'll just put it on your fat belly!"
Which of course the kids thought was grand because it meant there was a lot of free mint chocolate chip all over the kitchen floor.
"Mom! Keep throwing it. This is good!" was Sierra's refrain, while Madeleina was all about: "Mom, you're disgusting. Just give it to me and forget about showing off to dad. You hate him anyway, remember?"
So we've been us and we've been okay. I've just been to busy to see how nice it's been, but it has been nice.
So know that I'm with you, I'm just dog tired.
And not nearly ready for Christmas. I got to go to Mexico for a story on drug gangs on the border in a few days and won't think about that fiesta till I get back. Whew! I'm living a good, fast, crazy freaking life. Guess it's just what I need.
I hope you're having a slightly more relaxed time than I am right about now.

Monday, December 13, 2010

This Just Came: Nice About My Book

Selfish post, I know. David Jay Brown just published this review of three new ayahuasca books, including mine. in the new issue of the MAPS newsletter. If I posted something like this before, I apologize. But what the heck, I'm proud of it, so I'm posting it here.

Drinking the Sacred Jungle Juice: Three Ayahuasca Book Reviews
By: David Jay Brown, M.A.
Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon
By Stephan V. Beyer University of New Mexico Press, 2009 532 pages, paperback, illustrated, $29.95
Ayahuasca in My Blood: 25 Years of Medicine Dreaming
By Peter Gorman Gorman Bench Press, 2010 252 pages, illustrated, softbound, $25
Fishers of Men: The Gospel of an Ayahuasca Vision Quest
OBy Adam Elenbaas Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, New York, 2010 288 pages, hardbound, $24.96
OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS, I’ve been reading a series of books about ayahuasca- based shamanism and will be reviewing three of them in this Bulletin. Each of these books explores this fascinating phenomenon from
a different angle, and each of them offers a unique perspective on the magical landscape associated with ayahuasca, a powerful psycho- active brew made from several plants found
in the Amazon. The brew is prepared from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, which contain harmala alkaloids, and is usually mixed with the leaves of a dimethyltryptamine (DMT)- containing species of shrubs from the Psycho- tria genus. The resulting brew contains the alkaloid DMT, which is a strong psychedelic, and MAO-inhibiting harmala alkaloids, which are essential for making the DMT orally active.
Stephan Beyer’s Singing to the Plants is the most thoroughly and systematically researched of the books I recently read on this subject, and although it’s the most scientifically objective of the three books, like the other two, it also captures some of the author’s personal impres- sions, experiences, and insights. However, unlike the other two books, which are more personal stories, Beyer’s thoroughly explored analysis of ayahuasca-based shamanism is encyclopedic in scope, and it serves as an academic reference book that carefully catalogs the important anthropological aspects of the traditional and culturally-blended ayahuasca- based healing ceremonies in the Upper Ama- zon. According to Bonnie Glass-Coffin, Ph.D., Singing to the Plants will “be recognized as the definitive work on this topic.” In Beyer’s comprehensive volume he sees the ayahuasca healing ceremonies as primarily
being a theatrical art form, a type of perfor- mance that combines costumes, props, music, conjuring, poetry, movement, plots, suspense, stagecraft, dialogue, and sleight-of-hand stage magic. “The ceremony,” Beyer writes, “like other compositions in art, dance, and music, does not contribute a single message sent intact to receivers; it relies instead on the spectators to make meaning of the performance.”
Like all psychedelics, ayahuasca has a ten- dency to increase both suggestibility, as well as a sense of enhanced meaning, and when this experience is combined with the proper type of ceremony, or guidance by an experienced shaman, it is often reported to help the body heal itself from a variety of difficult-to-treat illnesses. The body’s innate ability to heal itself from illness is often brushed aside in medical research trials as “merely” the placebo effect. However, with ayahuasca-based shamanism the body’s innate healing ability takes center stage, where it seems to become magnified, and there are numerous stories of people who have had both long-standing medical illnesses suddenly and miraculously vanish, or vastly improve, after an ayahuasca healing ceremony.
Peter Gorman’s 25-year personal journey with ayahuasca, which is chronicled in his book, Ayahuasca in My Blood, reads like a page- turning, action-adventure story, and his exqui- sitely described experiences with the sacred jungle juice certainly stretched the boundaries of what I thought was possible into paranor- mal realms. It’s hard for someone raised in the West, with a materialistic mindset, to read Gorman’s book and not shake one’s head in disbelief, wondering, “how could this really happen?” He describes absolutely incredible
encounters with nonhuman spirit entities and transcorporeal shamans, psychic experiences with remote viewing and telepathy, contact with the dead, and striking synchronicities that confirm his ayahuasca visions.
The wise and generous shamans that Gor- man worked with, the spiritual allies that he gained, and the plant teachers that challenged and educated him are all described in fascinat- ing detail, intimately woven into his personal story about the many years that he’s spent living in the Amazon. Gorman, who was my editor at High Times magazine years ago, was one of the first Westerners to start spending time in the Amazon. As Dennis McKenna said, “Long before ayahuasca tourism became a pastime for rich gringos, Peter Gorman was knocking around Iquitos and the Amazon... This is the intensely personal story of an old- school jungle rat for whom ayahuasca is not just a hobby, but a lifelong quest.”
Like Gorman’s book, Adam Elenbaas’ Fishers of Men is also a personal journey and a spiritu- al quest. This inspiring book—which engages the heart and challenges the mind—alternates perspectives between Elenbaas’ childhood in Minnesota, where he grew up as the rebellious and hedonistic son of a Methodist minister, and the jungles of Peru, where he purges the “toxic waste” from his troubled youth during shaman-guided ayahuasca sessions. Elenbaas’ eloquently-crafted passages that describe his ayahuasca journeys, and his emotionally-grip- ping and unusually honest testimony, makes for a very unique coming-of-age story. Along with Beyer and Gorman’s books, I highly rec- ommend Elenbaas’ work to anyone interested in learning more about ayahuasca.
All three authors discuss the important role that icaros (the songs that are sung by the shamans during an ayahuasca healing cer- emony to invoke particular plant spirits) play, and I read repeatedly about the vital roles of purging, blowing tobacco smoke, and sucking transcorporeal phlegm and evil “magic darts” out of ill patients. I also came across a lot about of discussion about brujos, people who learn a little about ayahuasca-based shamanism, and then use that powerful knowledge for selfish reasons or personal gain. Apparently, there are long-standing rivalries in the Upper Amazon between these brujos and the more healing- focused shamans, where ferocious dark ener- gies and nefarious magic darts” are reportedly exchanged in a kind of psychic warfare, which almost sounds like the witches battling it out in Bed Knobs and Broomsticks.
Thus the three books explore both the light and dark sides of ayahuasca-based shaman- ism. Like any form of power or technology, ayahuasca, it appears, can be used to both
heal and harm. Whether it opens up a portal into other dimensions, where interspecies or spirit communication become possible, or whether it merely amplifies the body’s own ability to heal or harm itself through mys- terious means, almost everyone who tries it agrees – ayahuasca is pretty powerful stuff. So when ayahuasca-based sessions are motivated by jealousy, revenge, or less than noble human emotions, the result, it seems, can be quite dangerous. But with the proper mental set, and the right ceremonial setting, it appears that an ayahuasca experience can also be a doorway into amazing new worlds that offers profound life-changing insights, miraculous healings, and lasting spiritual fulfillment. •
David Jay Brown, M.A
maps bulletin • volume xx number 2 27

Thursday, December 09, 2010

My New Huffington Post Blog

So here's my new Huffington Post Blog

Obama Cave? I'm Concerned About Social Security

Okay, what I'm most worried about is not my president's abdication of power to the Repubs in the Tax War. I know he didn't just capitulate, he caved. And that bothers me, especially from someone who claims to play basketball. Personally, I was never a very good b-ball player. I never had game. But I'll tell you what: You shot over me or pushed by me or fouled me a few times and well, next time your feet left the ground I was at your knees, taking them out and watching you fall hard on your face. That's basketball. That's the way it's played in New York parks. Don't push me, don't embarrass me. Because sooner or later you will have to leave your feet for a jumper or a rebound and you are not gonna have any feet to come down on. Deal with it.
So I'm not sure Obama does have game, regardless of what he says. Now, if he'd have agreed to extend tax breaks on everyone for a year, well, maybe. Because that would mean it would come up again while he was president. But two years? That means it doesn't have to come up till after the next presidential election. And there is a very good chance he won't have to deal with it then. Which is too bad because he means well. Just doesn't apparently have the stomach for the job. And mind you, I'm rooting for him.
That said, the even worse part of the cave or compromise or whatever you want to spin it as, is the 2% reduction in payroll taxes for social security. That has me frightened. Because while that helps mollify the middle-class today--as in $10-$20 bucks a week, about the cost of a pack of smokes in New York--it is going to lend a great deal to the people who say social security is underfunded and should be privatized. And even more to the people who consider it a government handout.
Handout? I started paying social security when I was six years old and went to work at Louie's Candy Store in Whitestone. I worked probably 12 hours a week for him and paid maybe $15-$20 a year in social security. I'm a journalist and so have never paid much. But after 53 years of paying into it I've accrued enough to earn a few bucks when I'm old enough to collect in a few years. If I don't die first. So there is no government handout there. That's my money that's been saved and invested and if I live to be 80 the social security bank will probably still win on betting on my lifespan.
Add to that the millions and millions of illegals who pay social security on fake cards on which they can never collect and the social security bank ought to be worth trillions more than will ever be needed to pay back the workers who paid into it.
But to cut back on the payroll tax to fund it, in my view, really just gives ammunition to those who want it privatized. They'll point to the new tax cut as a reason it's not sustainable. They'll be lying, of course, but a gullible American public will buy into the lie.
And to have my president, my Obama, walking into that obvious trap, signals to me that he's a deer in the headlights. Too frightened to move. And I am disappointed in him for that. For tossing my money to the wolves. I thought he was a ball player who played in city parks in New York and Chicago. Evidently not. Because if he had, there would be a lot more people walking on crutches in the Senate right now. If you can't win, the least you can do is submarine people so they know you were at least serious about playing.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

So Today I Got Asked a Crazy Question

Okay, so today I got asked a crazy question. Someone I know is a publisher in Canada. The cost of shipping a magazine across the border is higher than you can charge for the magazine, so while cross-border subscriptions look good on paper, they lose money except for advertising revenue.
Anyway, when this publisher started publishing and told me about that, I suggested he rent an apartment in the company's name on the US side of the border, and then once a month have an employee drive the US destined magazines over the border into the US and mail them using the company's US address. Seemed pretty straightforward to me--though I also suggested he contact a lawyer to make sure it was legal and all that jazz.
So I guess he did that. Or thought he did. Until today, when he called and said he needed a little favor. He said he was paying a courier to make the cross border trip once a week, but that with handling fees and courier fees he wasn't really saving anything. And worse, when magazines were returned for wrong addresses or such, the courier always sends them back to Canada, costing even more.
So he asked if he could use my address. Just for the returns. Then I'd go through them and email him and tell them what the postal service had written about why they were returned--"no such address"; "Person moved" or what not.
I said, "Just for the one magazine?"
He paused. "No. I got to be upfront with you. We also have a line of porno mags. We have 43 titles, then we have porno books and videos. Straight, gay, fetish, you name it...That would come to you as well..."
My turn to pause. "You know I'm not necessarily liked in my town. I mean, I've gotten some people reprimanded, some people fired for corruption, that sort of thing. And I'm thinking that if my home became the place where your porno came, we'll if I'm not under the microscope yet, I probably would be pretty quickly."
He said he understood and that was that.
He hung up and I had to laugh. I can just see me trying to explain away box loads of heavy fetish porn to the local gendarmerie while I have Madeleina and Chepa's babies here half the time. That would go over real big, eh? Probably about 400 years in the pen worth of big.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Yeah, Well, While You All Were Living....

Yeah, well, while you all were living, so were we. Marco, Madeleina and I hit Manhattan on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Hated giving up the left over turkey and a bunch of the other stuff, but kept the stuffing and gravy and had it for breakfast this morning. Man, you should have been at my house for breakfast! Wow! That was good. And I might just have it again tomorrow morning at about 10 AM, which is about five hours after I wake up. First though, I'll have my dark coffee/dark decaf mix. Maybe three cups while I read several newspapers. Then I'll go rake the front lawn--the hell with the others--and then I'll be in the mood for that rich rich stuffing with that turkey dripping gravy.....If you got time, be here. You won't be sorry.
As for New York, well, we saw the whole family, and I mean my four sister, my brother, and all their spouses and kids and grandkids. And we had hot dogs at Papaya King on 86th and 3rd Ave. And we had Pizza at Arturo's on 85th and 3rd, and then at Joe's in the Village. And we had sushi and we had real New York Chinese food, and we had fresh bagels with a shmear twice! HA!
And then we walked five miles daily, through Central Park, past the Alice in Wonderland statue to the zoo, to FAO Schwartz, to the American Museum of Natural History, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Everywhere we could. Madeleina saw a real Broadway show, Phantom of the Opera, one of her favorites, and got a red-haired wig that looks freaking awesome. And Marco got to revisit playgrounds he used as a kid and climb rocks he used to think were so very hard to climb but now were easy.
And I spoke at Webster Hall in front of 400 and sold some books and think i acquitted myself well, talking about ayahuasca and then working the room. And I kissed an old friend and she liked it.
So New York was just as perfect as it always is. What a town! Every five minutes you see 300 different types of people, and almost none of them fat. They just walk too much to be grossly overweight. Not like here in Joshua where one out of four people at Walmart uses an electric cart because they weight 300-500 pounds. And I'm fat so I'm not pointing fingers, but if I lived back in NYC I'd lose 20 in a month just walking up and down subway stairs or climbing tenement stairways.
Anyway, it was grand. It was perfect. I know you all rooted for us and thank you for that. You made it come true/through. And Madeleina and Marco and even I got to have some closure on the city we loved but left too quickly and for the wrong reasons. That was important. And it was important that they kids--as well as I--got to see the family, got to remember that we are part of something large, mostly Irish, and wonderful. There is some Latin, a little German, some Italian, a bit of Austrian mixed in, and on my kid's side--and probably on the Irish side as well--a bit of Black too. So it's a good mix. And one smile from any of them is worth a novel from most other people.
And I got closure too. It was too long I was away from home. And I don't mind being where I am. And I never worked better than I do now. And I love my little broken house and my yard and my animals and all that. But New York is home and my family is home and while grown up men go where they are needed, there is still a soft spot for the family you grew up with. And they hit it this last week. Like darts.
It was a grand few days.