Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ayahuasca Purging

I've been over this before, but someone on a forum I occasionally post to wanted to know if it was better to purge, puke, or hold it in and try not to puke, after they drank ayahuasca. As nearly everyone, most of the time, purges about 30-40 minutes after they drink ayahuasca, and as that purge is potentially the most important element of drinking ayahuasca, at least sometimes, I thought I should weigh in. Here's my response to the general blog of what purging means and whether one should allow it to happen or try to prevent it.

I sometimes feel as I'm just purging liquid. But more often, I'm purging what starts as slow motion re-enactments of sins I've committed against others or those committed against me which I have held on to for no good reason. Sometimes I watch the act--cheating on a girlfriend when I was young, lying to someone when I was a child or adult--50 times in slow motion, painfully, until I suddenly have to purge.
I think the medicine roots around for things you have hidden, sometimes well, sometimes not, and then gives you the chance to rid yourself of their weight. It's an unseen weight, something we don't know what we are carrying around but it's as real as a 20 pound dumbell hung around your neck. You don't need it. Get rid of it. Be lighter. Remember the pain you caused or that was caused to you, but forget the actual deed: we need to remember to learn; we don't need to carry the pain around forever.
I urge my guests to feel free to purge: Sometimes when they challenge me I hold my hand under their mouths: I've never had a guest puke more than I can physically hold in one hand. There's no food in their system to come out. There might be an ounce of bile and two or three ounces of ayahuasca, but that would be a lot. Nonetheless they see enormous amounts. It's as if they are purging bits of dry sponge that they envision expand as they are eliminated and the contact with air makes them grow to huge things. I feel the same when I purge, but I know that physically it's never more than maybe two, three ounces of physical matter. The rest of it is psychic: Heavy, loaded, but not physical.
So purge away and clean yourself of things you needed to learn but which no longer serve you. Let yourself be freed of unnecessary weights holding you down.
Sorry if I've overstepped my bounds here. This is a topic-one of many, granted--that's very close to my heart.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oy Vey! Being a Dad is Sometimes Difficult

Well, last Winter, while I was in Peru, Madeleina heard of, looked up and then went to audition for a Fort Worth Independent Charter School, the Fort Worth Academy of the Arts. Or "For the Arts", I'm not sure which. She auditioned on flute and when I returned we got a letter letting us know she'd passed the audition but that they were only taking a couple of new flutes for the band so she was on the waiting list.
Summer came and went and no word. All month Madeleina has been at Marching Band School, something between bootcamp and football pre-season. She was at school for three weeks from 8-11:30 AM doing exercises, running and then learning routines. From 1-5 she was indoors practicing songs with the band on her flute. These were hot days: We averaged, according to my heating bill (which I think I mentioned in an earlier post but which was read wrongly), a high temperature of 108.9 for July 2-August 2, and then it got hot: We hit 113 a couple of days, a couple of 110s and so forth. So she'd start practicing at 8 AM when it was only 94 or so, and then finish when it hit 105. Of course, it was warmer for her as she, and the other hundred or so kids, were working on concrete.
The school finally relented for last week, the last week of Marching Band School, and had the kids come in from 6:30 AM till 11, so they'd beat some of the heat.
By the end of it Madeleina was totally in love with 4-5 hours of doing laps, pushups, running in place, marching. Last night she came home and proudly, and I mean proudly, showed me her band shirt.
Then this morning I got an email from the Arts Academy: A slot had opened up and she was in if she wanted. They needed an answer today. That stopped my work cold. I tried to calculate it. It's about $800 in fees despite being a public school, plus $200 in books and $200 in extras. Then, as it's 25 miles from my house, that's 1 1/4 gallons of gas four times a day for dropping her off and picking her up. That comes to 25 gallons a week, at say $3.40 each, or about $80 a week for gas, just to get her to school.
Then there is the time: I timed it today and going, with absolutely no traffic and all the lights in my direction, was 33 minutes. Coming home an hour later, with light traffic and missing a few lights, was 45 minutes. So let's say that's about 160 minutes daily, barring heavy traffic or bad weather. That's nearly 3 hours.
Still, it wasn't going to be right to just say no and then not tell Madeleina. She'd earned the slot in a tough school, after all. So I took her out of school and brought her in; we spoke with the principal, hoping there might be other kids from this neighborhood attending the school with whom we might carpool. Unfortunately, there are none.
Which means, even if I would give up nearly 3 hours of my work day daily to get her there and back, I would have no one to get her there in January and February when I'm out of town and working in Peru's Amazon. Chepa already has Sierra in school--kindergarden--and has to get her there at pretty much the same time Madeleina would have to be in school 25 miles away. Which would mean that even if she wanted to do it--and she would if needed--Chepa would have to get Sierra ready more than an hour early, and put Alexa in the car as well--and drive them with Madeleina to Madeleina's new school before returning to drop Sierra off. She could just leave Sierra at home with Alexa and sometimes Taylor Rain, but that's not really her style.
So after hours of deliberation and twice driving to the fantastic new school's campus, I had to tell Madeleina that it just wasn't a realistic option.
At least not until she's 16 and can drive herself there.
She wasn't happy with me. I don't know how to save it. Nobody from at school lives within 15 miles of us, so no carpool. I ain't rich, so no private car to take her and bring her back. I'm out of town two months every school year and for several days here and there during other times while I'm on a story.
Sometimes being a dad is more difficult than I wish.
Sorry, Madeleina.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Response to Some Responses Regarding Ayahuasca Dieta

Okay, so my last word wasn't the last word. A couple of people took umbrage at my saying that the Ayahuasca dieta--no salt, no hot peppers, no pork and no sex--was made up by white guys in the last decade or so. See previous post, a couple of posts down, for that one.
I felt the need to clarify.
So I did.
So here is what I wrote about the responses to my response to the question of "Does anyone here reject the idea of a traditional ayahuasca dieta?"

Ah, the sting of having my ideas smashed to pieces....Double cut pork chops slathered in rich gravy indeed, Richard! HA! Those will kill you even if you're in shape and not doing medicine.
I don't think you guys were particularly railing against what I was saying. Steve, the fact that the diets differ for different groups makes my point, I think. Yes, there are restrictions. Yes, being quiet so that you can hear the spirits whisper is vital. But ayahuasca is of the jungle, part of the jungle, not apart from the jungle. And those who use it traditionally, remember, don't even drink, or if they do, do it rarely. People like my mother in law, father in law, aunts, uncles: They all drank a few times in their life, but the drinking was for the curandero, not them, as a rule--with a few major exceptions, like coming of age, getting married, that sort of thing. How it was among truly indigenous before outside influence, I can't say; I'm only speaking for modern indigenous (the few I know who utilize ayahuasca) and regular mestizos who live out on the river or in the poorer sections of Iquitos.
The point I was trying to make was that so many gringos are now doing ayahuasca, many with an eye on becoming a curandero, that the dieta has become a sort of one size fits all: No sex, no salt, no hot peppers, no pork. And I object to that. I just think most of that can be explained away by circumstance. Which is not to say that concentracion, as Wind points out, is not vital to someone trying to learn the medicine, trying to conquiste the medicine, to win it over as an available ally.
But there is more to the story than one size fits all. As I noted about chile peppers: Those who grow them sell them; those who can't grow them cannot afford them. Yet Jairo, whom Wind speaks about, and who is my late teacher Julio's son, always has hot peppers in lime and toronja juice with his simply boiled fish. Yet he told Wind not to eat pork for 30 days. But if someone on the river has a hindquarters of boar to sell, he'll ask me to buy it and then enjoy it, sometimes just a couple of hours before drinking ayahuasca, after a long day of cooking the medicine in unbelieveable heat. He does not--and I know few who do--recognize wild boar as pork. And Wind, a vegan who eats a lot of raw food, would not be generally surprised to have a lousy stomach from eating cheap pepperoni, I wouldn't think.
Again, this does not downplay the importance of a dieta, just the idea that one size fits all.
Here's an example, not related to ayahuasca, but related to general jungle magic on the same level. During certain times of the year hunting is very bad for the indigenous Matses. That is the time when they set traps deep in the jungle for tapir--the only animal large enough to feed a couple of families of 20 or so that might make up a small village.
First time I saw a trap set I had to stay maybe 100 yards away, because Pablo, the headman/curandero of the village, didn't want my stink anywhere near it. So he set the trap while I watched, strapping a sapling to a tree and pulling one end of it across a moist muddy area, then affixing it in place and putting a spike on the end of it. It had a trip line so that if a tapir walked into the mud the sapling would break free and the spike enter the heart.
Once done, he chewed a lot of leaves and spit them on the trip line to eliminate his human scent, then we left the area.
During the next few days, Pablo did copius amounts of sapo--five good burns three times a day, I think--and we didn't eat meat at camp. We saw monkeys, we saw sahino--boar-- one day, but he didn't hunt them. I asked why. He said it was because he was getting strong enough on sapo to project his animus, his spirit, into the trap as a female tapir, to lure a male tapir into the trap, and if he hunted any animals, the spirits of those hunted animals would tell the real tapir that the female luring him into the trap was Pablo, who had recently killed them.
Now there were two exceptions to that rule: The Matses could eat both river turtles and sloths during hunting season. Why? Because the large river turtles, both the charapa and the tarakaya (sp??) were so arrogant, that even if you killed them they wouldn't stoop to talk to other animals or animal spirits.
They could also eat sloths. Why? Because while sloths are among the biggest snitches in the world, they talk so slowly that by the time they explain what's going on the whole season for trapping is over.
Point of that story? If you met Pablo during that time and watched him not hunt boar or monkeys that crossed his path, and you didn't know the circumstance, you'd probably make a note to the effect that "Matses don't hunt boar or monkeys. Very curious."
Which would be totally incorrect in the big picture but correct from your view.
And that's how I see the standard dieta that claims, in bold letters, "no salt, no hot peppers, no pork, and no sex."
To me it's simply too big a hat to fit everyone. And historically, as Steve Beyer points out, it's not a "one size fits all" for different indigenous tribes. They might all have a dieta, they might all have regulations for an apprentice to ayahuasca, but each tribe would be different, depending on their circumstance. What would be the point of a 300 pound white guy not eating salt for 10 weeks while he was in the jungle? He'd simply die. So that would not fit him.
But to get that guy to hike 10 days in the deep green, eating lightly, listening to the forest, well, hell yes, that's a great dieta, even if he needed a salt tab once in a while to keep him from dehydrating.
Double pork chops smothered in gravy with rum and coke? Not hardly. Fried food? Sheer poison, no matter what you are doing or where you live. But then, even Wind, after eating all his food and his father's left overs, was sent out on a several hour walk without water/food and had ample time to eliminate/absorb all those fresh bean/fruit/veggie calories long before he drank the medicine.
So I'm not disagreeing with the idea of a dieta, I'm disagreeing with us white guys/gals who have decided to make rules for something which is a lot older than us and has been around a lot longer than we have been visiting the Amazon trying to learn about the medicine.
Thanks, gorman

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Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2000 10:25 am
Location: Joshua, Texas, USA

First Day of School Sadness

Well, it was first day of school around here. Madeleina started 9th grade and I was sorry to drop her off because she's such good company. And I've had a lot of her company lately, what with going with me to Peru and all. So it's sad that I'm sitting in an empty house again. And it was sad--though I was proud--that she didn't need any help from me to go clothes shopping yesterday. "Dad, why don't you just go and have a drink with Dave at Wild WIngs, watch a little football or something and then come back in an hour or so, okay?"
Growing up.
Sierra started school today too: She's in kindergarden now. My daughter-in-law Sara bought her a bunch of nice clothes and I bought her school supplies while Chepa and the girls (Sierra and Alexa) were visiting their grandpa in Michigan for a couple of weeks. And Sierra has been dreaming of this day for as long as she can remember seeing Madeleina heading off to school.
Madeleina and I went over to Chepa's this morning to see her off: She looked so beautiful, so lost.
And then so was Alexa, who was not heading off to school. Chepa called me an hour after school started and I could hear Alexa sobbing in the background. Just sobbing. She's never been without her sister before.
To calm things down we all headed over to Sierra's school to have lunch with her. I got there first, and when Sierra came in to the lunchroom with her class a few minutes later, she hardly looked at me, just went straight to a table and sat with other kids. She didn't even join us when Chepa, Alexa and little Taylor Rain joined me. No siree. She's a big girl and all we might do is embarrass her.
So that was that. Nice that everybody's growing up, but sad that I still get growing pains when they do.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Last Note on Ayahuasca Dieta

Not to bore you guys, but once again the question of the dieta, the diet, has come up on a board on which I occasionally post. I was trying to stay out of it but it's just too juicy a topic for me to keep my hands off. So this was my response to a topic with the title of "Are there any of you out there who reject the traditional dieta?" or somesuch.
My entry:
At the Shamanism Conference in Iquitos last month, I raised some eyebrows--to say the least--when I flippantly answered a question about the dieta with something like, "the dieta was invented by white people 10 years ago."
I was flippant, but I don't think I was wrong.
I don't think most curanderos I know, among the older ones, ever adhered to any dieta as we know it. Not for the purpose of association with ayahuasca, anyway. Nearly every one ate a decent meal after they had cooked the medicine in the heat all day and before they served and drank it. I never saw one turn down a cup of coffee with milk and sugar just prior to the ceremony, nor salt if I happened to have it.
BUTTTTT, here's how I see it--and I recognize that it's my way of seeing it. And I might be seeing it through odd glasses since I never heard the term dieta until about 2002, when Hamilton, from Blue Morpho, said he couldn't shake my hand because he was on a dieta and forbidden to have contact with other humans. For him, I'm sure that was the right thing to do. And maybe others have been doing dietas for hundreds of hears. It's just that I find it odd because in the first 17-18 years of drinking the medicine it never came up.
Still, I think I can explain a lot of it to you.
Let's look at the primary things people discuss when talking dieta: no salt, no chile peppers, no pork, no sex.
SALT: In the jungle, prior to Fujimori, in the mid 1990s, supplying every tiny village in Peru's jungle a community metal boat, motor and 40 gallons of gasoline every month to ensure that people could get their goods to market, most river travel by locals from villages to towns was by dugout canoe. Once there was a community boat--a peque-peque with a 9hp motor--time to get from say, Aucayacu to Genero Jerrera, was cut from 5 hours to 2. The return upstream was cut from 6 hours to 3.
Subsequently, things people had rarely had were accessible.
In addition, in 2004-2007 or so, the Chinese brought in inexpensive peque-peque motors. So where there had pretty much only been a Briggs and Stratton available, and that was $1,300 US or so--out of the reach of nearly everybody--suddenly there were $250 motors available. A decent peque-peque motor can be had now for $180 (I just bought a 5 hp last month for a friend, so I know the price).
What does that mean?
Well, it means people go to town frequently. It means they bother to catch the large catfish, like zungaru and don seillo and can get them to town for sale in just a couple of hours. Prior to the availability of Fujimori's boats or cheap Chinese products, it was 11-12 hours to get to town and back. Which meant no fish would make it fresh. They had to be salted. So if you went to town to buy salt, you rarely used it on your food. No. It was what afforded you the ability to bring your fish, and hunted meat, to market to earn money for batteries, flashlights, an occasional shirt, a new machete. So salt was a very tightly held commodity despite it not costing very much.
CHILE PEPPERS: Chile Peppers in the jungle take a very particular type of soil to grow in. Not many places can produce them, hence, a kilo of charapitas (the primary jungle chile, the little yellow hot one) goes wholesale for 30-40 soles, and retails out at more than 100 soles when sold by the half-sol.
So nobody had chile peppers to begin with, and if you did you certainly didn't waste them when they brought in a week's pay (basic pay in Iquitos for working stiffs is still about 12 sols a day, though 20 sols is minimum wage and just a little less than police and teachers get). Pay on the river, for helping out building a house or whatever remains about 5 sols. So no one who grew charapitas would waste them on themselves and no one who didn't could afford them. So no chile peppers.
PORK: Essentially, the same as chile peppers but in spades. Pigs grow to be a couple of hundred pounds, even in the jungle. If you have pigs, you can't just eat some of it. You got to eat the whole thing. So when you raise them, you raise them for sale, not for food. So of course you don't eat pork in the jungle. BUT the dieta generally says nothing about eating sajino or wangana, the two peccaries in the jungle, and those are definitely pork. And majas, while a rodent, is the most pork like meat you'll ever find. All of these are staples of everyone who can trap or otherwise kill them, including every ayahuasquero and curandero I ever knew.
SEX: Well, I'm not sure how to explain this one, except to say that since all the curanderos I know have multiple girlfriends, wives and lots of kids--yes, there are exceptions, but not many of them out on the river--I'm not sure anyone pays attention to this. I do know that during intense periods with the medicine it never crossed my mind to have sex. That was a distraction. I mean, if you are going to be sleeping with your arms around a tree, getting bitten by all the bugs, bats, insects and everything else that protects that tree--in order to get to know it you have to get past those protectors--well, the last thing on your mind is sex. But I know of few people who've ever really slept with the plants to get to know them. Most just drink their essence and call it a day. But I do think sex is distracting and I also think that Ayahuasca has a very human trait of jealousy.
Now if what I'm saying is right, how did the dieta idea come up? Well, I think--and I've seen some videos from the 1980s and 1990s that show this--that gringos ask leading questions and then get answers and believe them to be correct answers. "When you were studying to be a curandero, did you eat pork?"
"When you were studying to be a curandero, did you....."
And so forth. What the questioner didn't ask was whether the person did those things when they were not studying to be a curandero. Because in most cases the answer would also have been "no".
I don't mean to downplay the importance of concentration in learning the medicine. I don't think you can be flip about it at all. But I don't know that what white people call dieta is anything that traditional people did specifically for ayahuasca: I think it was just part of living. Most curanderos, after all, were just fishermen or farmers who fished. They ate--and still do if they live on the river--boiled or grilled fish and plantains several times a day. It's their comfort food and it's their real staple. They'll eat rice if you give it to them but they wouldn't choose it over a good boiled plantain more than once out of the several meals they eat daily.
Even my team, my fantastic team, while they love my jungle guacamole and stir fried veggies, want plantain and fish at least 4-5 times daily. They typically go through 4 razimos--full arms of platanos with roughly 80 platanos each--in 6 days. So they really like them.
I don't think there is anything wrong with doing a dieta, mind you, I just don't think it's traditional. I think the white guys made it up asking leading questions.
On the other hand, most curanderos have told me that they have spent quiet time in the jungle, alone for weeks for the most part, unless someone was making them food, and that part of things I think is vital. Won't make you a curandero--that's something you're born capable of or not--but will help you get the most out of the medicine.
As noted at top: This is just my opinion and I totally respect those who are gonna say I'm full of it.

Doing a Song/Prayer

Okay, so sometimes you got to send something good to someone who needs it. I think it's part of the responsibility of having been shown other realities by the spirit of ayahuasca. SPOILER: If you think I'm crazy now, wait till I get on with this. So you might want to quit right now.
Now, once in a while someone asks me if I can have a healing arranged for them. Generally, I say that that's difficult, as Jairo, Julio's son and the person who runs the ayahuasca ceremonies for me and my groups in Peru, is difficult to get hold of from here. It involves getting in touch with people who will try to reach him...very long distance. So that's generally the end of that.
But several months ago it occurred to me that I might have a responsibility to try to coordinate those things I've been taught with those beings who are what I call my guardians, and perhaps they could effect cures. It seemed to me that I had to try, anyway. At the worst I'd be wasting my time. At best, something good would happen. And in between, it probably would be a little good, at least, to have that person have someone send concentrated good intentions to them--a nice force of electricity or something that wouldn't do them any harm. I mean, who doesn't like having people spend time dwelling on them?
Not that I knew what a prayer would be.
Anyway, I decided that a prayer would involve the medicines from Peru, a request to God--or whatever/whomever the big big force is to me--and to the spirits, guardians, magics and the spirits of my teachers--four of them gone now, including Julio, Pablo, Bertha and Everett--to ask for a little help in making the prayer/song have some power and oomph. It would also include a song.
I didn't know what song, but I knew that if I smoked myself with mapacho, thanked the four directions, was happy to be alive and willing to do the work, that a song would come out.
Somehow it all came together and I found myself smoking, singing, shaking a bundle leaf rattle and trying my best to suck out the sickness from someone.
At first it was for a day. Maybe one-half hour.
But things being things, I realized I needed to give it more time. So last Spring I did a 10 day song for a couple of people. Every day a different song came out and even now they change daily. And then when I came back from Peru and was asked to sing again by someone, I did a three day sing. Then a two day sing because life interfered and as I'd stalled on the third day--because it's a lot of work--I missed the third day of that. And just now I've finished a 4 day sing, though I think I will do one more day tomorrow because there seems to be some more work to do.
So here I am, an agnostic, trying my best to get the universe and many of her spirits to help me out while I try to heal some people from hundreds of miles away without the benefit of modern medical knowledge or even active plant extractions to give them. Crazy, huh?
Somehow this is a very different post than I meant to write. I meant to write about something funny that happens at the end of the song. The thanking part.
Years ago I went, after trying to be allowed to attend for a long long time, to several Southern Ute Native American Church peyote prayer meetings. Bertha, a wonderful woman who became a great teacher of mine though we never had a lot of time together, was the matriarch. Her brother Everett, was a Roadman for the meetings--the curandero--as was one of her sons.
The meetings took place in a tee-pee, at the center of which was a fire in the shape of an eagle, the firebird. We would sit around the outside wall of the tee-pee with the fire in the center, the fire-tender at one side of the door, his assistant on the other side of the door and the Roadman at the opposite end of the tee-pee from the door.
I've never been great at sitting cross-legged for long spells, and so it was fairly uncomfortable for me to sit for hours. I'd move around during the ceremony, shifting to keep my legs from falling asleep. The medicine was passed regularly, as was the water drum--a small kettle with water in it covered with hide that gave it a fantastic sound as those who were initiated played it and sang their songs.
During the night there was one break, about 15 minutes, for people to use the bathroom in the nearby house or just to stretch their legs. Other than that there really was no leaving the ceremony. So by the time 10 hours had gone by and morning was coming alive, it felt like it was time to meet the dawn. But that's not how the ceremonies went. That was when the medicine stopped being passed and the official ceremony was over, but that was just the beginning of the Thank You's. Someone would start: "I want to say thank you to the Great Father for allowing me to attend this meeting. And I want to thank all of you for sharing in this meeting that we held to help X with his/her problems. And I want to thank the Roadman for bringing his power to this meeting, and to the fire spirits for carrying my wishes through the tee-pee roof and into the air so they could reach their destination with all my power in them. And I want to thank grandma Bertha, without whom none of this would be possible...."
And I would, at least the first time, think that was that. But no. The person would go on to name their relatives, one by one, who couldn't attend. And they named their dead relatives whom they missed. And they thanked the medicine for giving them strength to admit to wrongs they'd done--and then we heard the wrongs, in detail--and then they thanked their home and the land and their animals--one by one--until you wanted to strangle them.
And when that person was done, someone else would start and do the same, then someone else, until half the people in the tee-pee had thanked a combined thousand individual people and things while the other half of the people in the tee-pee were ready to take out shotguns if anyone else dared to do any more damned thanking.
And now that I've been doing the song, I see how that happens. You think you're finished. You've done the work as best you can, as best I can, and then you just want to say, Hey spirits! Thanks for helping out! but I find myself starting to name my guardians and then deciding maybe I ought to do a quick prayer for my brothers and sisters, and suddenly I'm thanking each, along with their spouses and kids and grandkids and then Chepa and all of the Gormans here, and then I'm thanking the universe for being alive and for having this home and then.....and then I just want to take a shotgun out just to shut me up.
So there it is. 25 years removed from those Native American Ceremonies--it seems like yesterday--and I finally know why those people have to say all those thank you's to everyone and everything. It's because you're so in that moment, so in that state where you love everything, that you can't resist thanking as much of it as you can think of.
I'm glad it's come full circle on me. It's just great to be alive.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Another Decent Recipe

Okay. So today was a continuation of yesterday, which was not all that great. My little green truck has a new clutch but cannot pass inspection on emissions at the moment. Italo has changed several things to the tune of a few hundred bucks, cost, and it should pass. But the last time we took it to the inspection place, a couple of months ago, before I left for Peru, we were stopped by the police for an out of date inspection sticker and fined $245. A judge whom I've written some not great things about in the past said he basically forgave me and then lowered it down to $225. Thanks.
So I'm intimidated about trying to get the thing passed again, particularly if they're gonna sit right next to the inspection station--where I also change oil--and wait for guys like me to come in with late inspections.
And then about 10 days ago the clutch began going on my other green truck; the new one, 1998, which only has 184,000 miles on it--the other one has 299,994--and I had to rev that baby way over the top to get her to move off the red light line. Once she got to 60 she was fine: The problem was she spent a gallon of gas and was burning out the damned motor to get there. I'd asked her to last till I had a free day to fix her and she did: Italo got hurt playing soccer and had to take a couple of days off of work, so he was free to drive with me in his car to the mechanic to drop it off yesterday. I love my mechanic. I hate my mechanic. For years every bill was $473. The last two years, every bill is between $700 and $850. He's good but who knows? I believe in people but don't trust human beings, if that makes sense.
So I called Rick and asked if he could do a new clutch in one day and he said he'd try. We dropped the truck off this morning at 8:15 and it was done at 3:45. $741.43. Damn.
The clutch works but that's a lot of dough. Darnit.
Here's the thing: Rick's is about 5 stoplights past Walmart, which is where I shop daily. I shop elsewhere too, but that's where I check blood pressure, walk a couple of miles around the store a few times, say hello to people and so forth. But I don't go back to Walmart if I'm already past it. So today, picking up the truck, I was past it and just continued on from Rick's with the new clutch and light wallet to Two Bucks, where I got my four minis of bourbon and then headed home.
Home, I checked sales of my book and saw I was down 10 for the month. So if you're gonna buy it, buy it now and get me up to a reasonable $500 monthly royalty check, okay?
Then I asked Madeleina what she wante for dinner. The fridge held chicken breasts, short ribs and a couple of pieces of farm raised Atlantic Salmon.
She opted for the short ribs. So here's the meal:
Turn on oven to 325.
Heat heavy saute pan. Put in a little oil, Flour the short ribs, braise at high heat with salt and pepper.
Transfer braised ribs to glass corning ware. Add a bit of water/chicken stock to meat bits in pan along with 1/2 red onion, sliced into half rounds. Pour over meat in corning ware and place in oven.
Fill small pan with cool water. Add a little sea salt. Slice 4 medium red potatoes and place on heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil with minced garlic (if you know how I cook you'd know there is always a small cup or jar of chopped garlic sitting in olive oil for just such occasions. Add 2 cups of good chicken stock that you happen to have in the freezer, left over from the last time you made a good chicken stock--at least once a week, okay?
Put another pan with salted water on: Put in florets of broccoli, cauliflower and chopped asparagus. Heat, cook, drain.
When the ribs are done, about 45 minutes, take them out of the oven to cool. Pour juice into saute pan with earlier drippings. Add 2 tablespoons of minced garlic--drain the olive oil as you have enough oil--, heat. Add one whole diced red onion. Add a whole diced organic beefsteak tomato when onions and garlic are done. Add one diced poblano chile if in season. Add the kernels of one ear of sweet summer corn left over from last night and cut from the cob nicely.
Sautee all veggies in juice. Add 3 or 4 ounces of extremely reduced chicken stock--just chicken jello, really--and reduce while cooking veggies. When veggies are close to soft, add your favorite barbeque sauce and mix. This is the lazy part. Then add salt/pepper and whatever else the sauce needs.
Drop meat into sauce and slurb it all around for about 15 minutes until the meat is entirely inundated with the crispness of the sauce.
Serve meat.
Drain and serve potatoes.
Put cooked veggies in what's left of pan drippings and saute for a couple of minutes till the veggies are hot and flavorful.
Serve with fresh watermelon slices, very cold, and good water and a glass of champagne.
Wear a bib. It's messy but good.
Have a great night, everybody.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Something About Medicine

Okay, for some of you this post is going to seem quite off the wall. I understand. For some others, who have worked with plant medicines, or spent time meditating and are familiar with the other realities, it might not be so crazy.
I've a good friend...well, I've a client from a fairly recent trip who has something very unique about him. Madeleina was absolutely taken by his demeanor and basic generosity of soul. So was I.
He did medicine on the trip to Peru with me, and then stayed on for months. He's still there. And he's done more medicine. And he wrote me about a month ago that he had an ayahuasca dream wherein he met a man--a spirit that looked like a man to my friend-- smoking mapachos, the black tobacco cigarettes that are common in Amazonia and vital to the rituals there. And this man was in a sort of dark museumish place. And my friend was at first startled and a bit frightened but relaxed when the man told him to "look around" a bit, to see if there was something interesting there. Now to me, that's a special thing: To get invited to look at things that seem magical to us in ordinary reality, but things we can sometimes utilize to help people in ordinary reality, is a pretty fantastic thing.
Later in the ayahuasca dream, my friend met a little girl--a spirit that my friend saw as a little girl--who told him some things about some of his past experiences and then told him she would be with him always to help him. Again, to me that is very special. That's a guardian. As someone raised Catholic, and as a former alter boy, we would have called them guardian angels. As an adult I know they're real. They're the ones that keep you from stepping out in front of that bus you simply didn't see, the one that would have killed you. And they're the ones that make your car stall utterly unexpectedly just before someone runs through the light in the opposite direction going 100 miles per hour. They protect us. Why? I've no idea. I guess they're assigned or find us curious or get something out of watching us blunder along on this plane.
But my friend got one. Very very good.
And so, that led me to write him this note. It was about his responsibility now that he's got a place to find things people might need and a spirit who's volunteered to help him.
Dear X:
Just reread this for the 8th or 12th time. How fucking wonderful. Invited to
> explore. Given a guardian to answer questions. I hope you understand what a
> rare treat this is and treat it as such.
> I've just finished the second day of a prayer. That involves cama lunga,
> mapacho smoke, florida water, a shacapa, and some invisible things. I sing
> and call on the magics, red magic that moves through all the blood of
> everything in the universe; green magic, which moves through the verdancia,
> the trees, and rivers fish, earth and and snakes; white magic, which lights
> the world with stars and suns and moons and the light inside people, and
> black magic, the deep deep magnetic field, the magma that holds all things,
> large and small, together and keeps them moving in a way that allows the
> entire universe, known and unknown, to keep moving in rhythm--I call on the
> magics to help heal someone or something that has asked me for help. I can't
> help. I'm just me. But the guardians can help and I need to pray to call
> them. I need to sing. The song arrives when I need it. That's one of their
> gifts.
> Sometimes healing happens. Unimaginably.
> So treat your guardian girl with love and respect. She's offered her
> help, as has the man smoking mapachos who said you were free to look around.
> LOOK AROUND. Dream him, dream his space. Learn his space. He might have a
> million secrets you need hidden there.
> Just be joyful you've been made aware of helpers and thankful you have
> them. Use them, don't abuse them or you might lose them.
> It might also become a burden to you someday: People will know you have
> power. You won't have power but you will have helpers and people's souls
> will recognize that and ask you for help. You will need to help when it's
> appropriate. That often interferes with what you had planned on a given day.
> But that becomes your job.
> I don't mean to rattle on. I mean to tell you something I know about my
> circumstance and think you might have been initiated into something like it
> as well. And so I have to tell you what I've told you. It's part of the
> unspoken pact.
> I will finish my three day prayer for my friend and a few others
> tomorrow. It will be inconvenient because I have a serious deadline for a
> story. So what. The prayer is what I have been assigned to and it's bigger
> than my deadline. Though actually, the prayer will not interfere. It never
> has. Sometimes I can spend an hour or more and look at the clock and see
> that not 5 minutes of real earth time have passed. And if tomorrow I'm told,
> somehow, that I need another 10 days of prayer, I will do it.
> There are leaps of faith out here.
> Take good steps with your gift and she will walk with you always.
> And don't tell too many people--unless you write a book--because they
> will think you crazy.
> I hope I'm not being arrogant here.
> Peter G

Monday, August 15, 2011

In the Dark, As Always

I'm often in the dark. People don't imagine that, I suppose, because of the way I carry myself. But I'm often in the dark. Particularly with Chepa. You know, just when I think I know, she turns the world on its head. Last week, after the kids told me she was going to Indiana and on to Michigan--to visit her boyfriend, and then to take the kids to see their ailing grandpa--all was good. Then on maybe last Wednesday, the day before she was to leave, she asked me to make dinner for everybody and then set the menu. I was fine with it as it was lime-chicken with veggies, fresh corn and I forget what else. So when dinner time came around and she wasn't there, I called. She said she'd be right over. Cool. I started the chicken. Soon after, Marco showed up with the girls, Sierra and Alexa, and my granddaughter Taylor Rain.
Seems mom was not coming over: She'd forgotten to mention that her boyfriend was coming into town and that she'd really asked me to make dinner so that I could babysit while they had some private time.
Okay. Didn't like that but did like seeing the kids.
Then Chepa showed up, said she was starving, and proceeded to eat. I went out for a smoke. Then Chepa left. Then I went back inside to do dishes: nearly all the chicken was gone. Seems she'd made a to-go plate for the boyfriend.
I was in the dark. See what I'm talking about? Just when you think you got it figured, you wind up babysitting and cooking for the boyfriend. What the heck?
I'll mention it to her when she returns from Michigan. Provided she returns. For all I know they've all flown off to live in Morocco or Bali by now. I wouldn't know. No one has turned on a light.
Right now I'm in the dark again.
I'm reading a major study as the starting point for a cover story for my local alternative weekly. The study, several hundred pages long, was written purposely to keep people like myself from understanding anything in it. I know that, which is why I know it will be a good story. If I can decipher it. Right now, I'm in the dark. I've got to learn a whole new language of sorts just to begin to get it. Then I'll have to go to the experts to interpret what I can glean. I know the people who did the study are dirty; I know their short form conclusion will not be what's actually written in the study. I also know that they know that few people will bother trying to understand the whole several hundred pages. So I'm in the dark.
And I'm in the dark with Madeleina these days too. Pretty much ever since we've come back from Peru she's challenged me on things every day. She'll ask me if I've signed certain papers yet and I'll say "no, not yet, darling." And then she'll get exasperated and say, "Dad, they have to be signed and you have to sign them now!"
"When are they due?"
"I think next week."
"Well, then I've got time."
"No, dad. They have to be signed now..."
Anyway, the first several times she did that I wound up screaming or wanting to scream. So I asked the powers that be for a little insight, a little light to be shed on my darkness.
And the powers that be were nice enough to do it. They told me, or let me see, or however it happens, an answer. And the next time Madeleina started in on something, rather than responding negatively, I said: "You know that you and I have been arguing for the first time in your life lately..."
"I know, dad. That's because you're stupid sometimes..."
I bit my tongue.
"I know I'm sometimes stupid. But here's the thing: Until the last couple of months you didn't know that. Plus, until we came back from Peru, for your whole life, you just gave me your papers and I took care of them. You didn't even read them. But now you're 14 and you're reading the papers and you're freaking out and imagining that I'm so stupid that if you don't get on me things won't get done. But here's the thing, Madeleina: You've got to think back to the first 13 years. Did you get fed? Did I remember to go to the store to buy food, remember to cook it, remember to ask you for input on what we ought to eat? Did I get all your school books--I mean along with mom, of course--and get you to school and remember to make you good lunches? Did I get all the paperwork done on time?"
"Am I supposed to answer that?"
"Yes as a matter of fact."
"Well, okay, so you didn't mess up..."
"So why are you so suddenly sure I am going to mess up now? Why do you think you won't have the dress for the quinceniera or won't get your band stuff paid for or won't get the medical papers filled out? Have I gotten so old so quickly that if you don't yell at me I won't remember anything?"
She started to laugh. "You might have Alzheimers, dad. You never can be too careful...."
"Don't wish that on me, girl,"
"I'm not. I'm just saying, maybe all that pot you used to smoke burned out your brain...."
"Not hardly, baby. I think the truth of the matter is that you're suddenly becoming a grown up and want to challenge me. Cause if you're grown up, then I must be old, and if I'm old, I won't remember anything, so you have to save me..."
"Something like that."
"Well, forget about it. You're welcome to be smart as you like, and you're welcome to fill out any paperwork you like, but it's gonna be a long time before I lose my edge. So have a little faith, eh?"
It was a nice moment of light in the darkness.
This morning she got up while I was working on the computer and came into the office/living room and crashed out on the couch behind me. She was so beautiful. She was just my little girl again for a little while.
And then she woke and remembered that she had to read Dickens' Tale of Two Cities and burst into tears. She doesn't understand a word of it. Not surprising: His writing is as complicated for her to understand as the report I'm reading is to me.
So I asked her to bring me the book--after I fed her scrambled eggs with cheese, cantaloupe and a juice made of fresh strawberries, a banana, orange juice, spring water and a little milk--and I began to read it to her. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...."
It took us nearly an hour to get through the first three page chapter. She simply has no context. So when we were done she yelled in frustration: "So why didn't he just write that it was 1775 and in England and France everything was freaking chaos and the only people who didn't know it were the kings and queens of those countries? That's it. Then end. First chapter done."
Actually, I don't know why he didn't write that. He really does write beautifully, but it's pretty incoherent for kids who've grown up with computers and who say things like RTFM as if it's English (it means Read the Fucking Manual).
I guess everybody around here is in the dark sometimes, eh?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

2012 Amazon/Machu Picchu Trips

Okay, time to weigh in on next year's trips.
(Madeleina, who is cutting two heads of garlic to refill my garlic/olive oil cup, just cut in to say "Remind me to take a shower tonight!", which I will do, but where is she going to take a shower? I mean, it's heavier than it looks....)
Anyway, I'm doing 4 trips in 2012. Two of them will be 21-day long trips--in January and June--covering the jungle and mountains and Machu Picchu and include Ayahuasca and San Pedro and magic shrooms and the Matses' medicines, sapo and nu-nu. Bit trip. Expensive but worth the price of admission.
Those two trips can be done wholly or in part, either jungle or mountain. Cost is $4400 for the 21 days (not including airfare or alcohol or walking around money and some meals) but including everything else, from boats to hotels, to my team, to entrance fees to trains, to ceremonies.
The other two trips are 9 1/2 day jungle intensives: Get ready to bare your soul to the universe cause these are fantastic and intense. These cost $1800 and include everything but airfare and walking around money.
All four trips will change your life for the better. My team, the river, the jungle, the Amazon sky, the mountains, the medicines, the ruins.....hell, all I've got to do is get you to the right place at the right time and then get the hell out of the way and let the rest do the magic. And what magic there is! Ask people who have been there. I wouldn't do these trips if I didn't love doing them. And I love doing them.
Dates: The January 21 day trip starts on Saturday, January 7, and runs through the morning of Saturday, January 28. The jungle portion alone runs from Saturday, January 7 through Thursday afternoon, January 19 and costs $2400. The Lima/Cuzco/Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu end of things runs from Thursday evening, January 19 through Saturday morning, January 28 and costs $2200. Both together cost $4400.
The June 21 day trip, starts on Saturday, June 2 and runs through Saturday morning, June 23. Cost: $4400. Jungle only: June 2 through Thursday afternoon, June 14 with a $2400 cost. Mountain portion only runs from Thursday afternoon, June 14 through Saturday morning June 23 and costs $2200. See above for what's included and what's not. Essentially, your spending money for gifts, your alcohol, some meals and your airfare are not included. Everything else is included.
The February and July trips are both 9 1/2 day jungle intensives. We'll do magic shrooms, ayahuasca twice, sapo and nu-nu, go night canoeing, bathe in the river, walk in primordial swamps, hike in pristine first growth canopy, collect plants to eat and plant medicines and whatever else we can squeeze in.
The february dates are Saturday, Feb 4, through the morning of Monday, Feb. 13.
The July dates are not set yet as they are set to coincide with the start of Alan Shoemaker's Shamanism Conference. Generally we start around the 7th of July and run through the 16th, but that changes depending on when the conference is set.
Cost for either jungle intensive is $1800 and includes everything but walking around money, airfare and any alcohol you consume in Iquitos (no alcohol in the jungle, please).
These are pretty fantastic trips, I think.
So anyone interested, please contact me at and we can go from there.
And thanks for listening to this advertorial.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Where Are We, Death Valley?

Whew! Not to kill you guys with two blogs in one day, but I just have to mention the temperatures here. Today was Dallas/Fort Worth's 33rd consecutive day of 100 degrees F or more. No rain for a couple of weeks prior to that or during those 33 days. A place up the road burned wildly from what's believed to be an errant cigarette butt tossed from a car. It's that dry here.
But it's also hot. Last few days, very hot. Last week it was 104-106. You know, hotter than it ever gets here but bearable. Yesterday hit 110. Today, according to the radio, hit 112. It will drop to 108 by 7 PM, and then down to 100 or so by midnight. That is not sittin' on a porch swing weather by any means.
Tomorrow might hit 113, which is, I think, the highest temp ever recorded here in the Fort Worth area, and about what Death Valley does during August. We are not supposed to be anywhere near Death Valley hot. We're north Texas, a central state and several hundred miles from the most northern Mexican border. So if we're hitting 112, it's hot.
And you know what? Not having air conditioning in the car, well, you really feel it. I've done two showers and changed three shirts today. My badly insulated house is at 84 degrees while the thermostat is set at 70. And I almost need a sweater in here after working outside for 20 minutes. Can't wait to see the electric bill. Fortunately, I'm in a co-op, so that while they'll charge me $500 for the month, they'll also send me $25 in co-op earnings. Perfect.
Tomorrow Madeleina are going to take my truck out from under the carport and let it sit in the sun. Then we're gonna fry an egg on the hood and she's gonna narrate and make that her new video on, under madeleinag. It ought to be good.
Next nine days look to be more of the same though a little cooler. From up to 113 tomorrow to down to 103 (highs for the day) a week from Friday. Nice and sunny though.
I'm not sure it's good to be sucking down all this superheated smog, you know? Just sayin'...
I am giving the goats and Boots a lot of water with ice in it. Everybody seems to like that. And I'm putting Boots' chicken legs in the fridge to cool them before I serve him (two pounds of chicken daily....sorry, chickens!).
I knew it was going to be hot today when I stepped from my house to go to my car for smokes at 8 AM and the temperature, in the shade, was 94. By 1 PM it was 102, and when I just came back from driving to town, at about 6 PM, it was still 106. That's in the shade. No sun whatsoever, on a porch surrounded by plants. So maybe the 112 was a little less than the real temp.
Ah, well, the good thing is that when it cools to 85 by 4 AM, and the house cools to the 70 degrees the AC is set for, well, it feels so icy cold that I put a blanket on and go into the best damned sleeps I've had since I left New York in the winter of 2002.

Get Real Lucky, Sometimes

I get real lucky, sometimes. And I don't forget to say thanks to the guardians. Today's luck came at the end of a chain of events that didn't seem to have anything to do with each other.
I was working this morning, trying to track down the answer to a question that I need to make my next column of Drug War Follies for Skunk magazine shine. Comes up around 1:15 and I think, what the hell, let's just go to Fort Worth, pick up my paycheck and some fresh fish and call it a day.
Just then a guy I'd promised to call a couple of days ago called. It was related to a new story. I didn't answer and was ready to leave when I thought, what the heck, just call him and get that done. So I did. We spoke about 45 minutes when Chepa burst in and gave me an unexpected hug. I told the guy I'd call him back tomorrow. Chepa, it turned out, was having lunch with her sisters on some salt fish I brought back from the Amazon for her and she wanted some Margarita mix--left over from the wedding--and some ice. I told her I didn't have any ice but she said that Sarah had told her I still had a couple of bags in the freezer in the garage. So I said, let's go, I'll look.
On the way to the garage Chepa pointed out that Little Goat Guy had gotten his cord all tangled up with the tree swing and told me not to forget to fix it later. He's been back a few days and is still tied up because I have not finished closing all the holes in the fencing around the property that the goat made last year.
So I came back in, brushed my teeth, and suddenly Marco showed up. He was looking for his wallet. Well, I helped look, which led us to a large closet in his old room, the floor of which was covered in college texts and notebooks that belong to someone none of us know. So I decided to clean that out, and wound up with a big box of garbage. Too much garbage to leave in the house, so I brought it out--Marco had meanwhile found his walled in Italo's room, where he and Italo and changed into tuxedos for Italo's wedding--and put it in the garbage area.
And while I was doing that I saw the bale of hay and bag of goat feed I'd bought yesterday. The hay had been annoying since one of the three rear window panels of my 1998 Ford Ranger is broken and the hay was being sucked in so fast while I was on the highway that there was a virtual hay storm in my car. So when I saw that hay, I was going to leave it where it was, but then the little goat, Minute, saw it from across the fence and started braying for it. So I decided to roll it over to where the goats were and let them have a feast. And when I got to the fence gate, I realized that Little Goat Guy had wildly exacerbated his position to where his tongue was turning blue and his eyes were popping out of his head.
I left the hay where it was, raced over and undid the collar so that he could get his breath. In a few minutes his eyes were back to normal, though he didn't try to move until he'd had some fresh water and a few tiny mouthfuls of hay.
Now this is why I talk about the guardians: Left to my own devices, I never would have needed to get that ice, and Chepa would not have pointed out that the goat was tangled up. And even later, left to my own devices, I would have left him tangled until I got back from the city. But of course he would have been dead long before that. But by Chepa coming for ice, then Marco coming to look for a wallet, which wound up producing the garbage that led me to notice the hay still near the truck, which led me to feel guilty for not wanting to do the work to get it to the goats....well, that's what saved the goat's life. And I don't think that was luck. I think that was the guardians pulling the strings to get everything in place to save that beautiful goat's life.
Thanks, universe. You're the best.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Alone Again, Naturally

Okay, so for the second time since I've been back I'm alone tonight. Chepa and the kids might surprise me with a visit for some watermelon and grapes but I'm pretty much alone. And while I was alone all day--except for bringing the kids donuts this morning and visiting them for a little while to see poor Madeleina after her first marching band practice practically dead on Chepa's sofa--Dad, when you make a mistake you have to do 20 pushups and I can't even do one!--well, I've been alone all day. Which meant I got a story done for the Fort Worth Weekly and nearly finished my column for Skunk magazine as well. Extra cool.
Lonesome, but cool.
Did get a reasonably nice check in the mail--which comes promptly between 4 and 5 PM daily--from the June sales of my book at Amazon. Nice to know it's still selling 100+ copies a month, which is pretty much what it's done since it came out last year. I would love it to go wild and sell 50,000 copies one month but still, some people are reading it. And lots of those people write me. I've got a lot of super excellent letters from strangers who found it a great read. Good. That's what I was hoping for.
Here's a story: When I was a fairly young teenager I was writing a lot of poetry--oh, the angst of youth and pimples, blue balls brought on by necking with Kathy O for hours and never being allowed to go further, and not knowing there was an end to masturbating until I'd actually had real sex with a girl--some of which I'd read to my mom. And my mom, pretty astute lady, would ask me what this or that line meant. And I'd explain. And then she'd say--and we probably did this half-a-dozen times over the years--"Well, are you going to explain that to everyone who reads your poetry? Because if you are, you won't have a lot of readers, it'll just take too long. So why don't you say what you just told me in the poem in a way that I and others can understand? Then you can sell your work to lots of people and not worry about having to go to their homes to explain it."
I hated her the first time she said that. It was so cold, so cruel, so on the money.
When I grew up I gave up poetry but always write so that everybody knows that the heck I'm talking about. I think. Or I hope. Or that's what I try to do, anyway.
And so I think even people who don't know about ayahuasca could have a reasonable change of reading my book and getting something from it, just like people who come on my trips to the Amazon and don't drink ayahuasca or do the Matses' medicines sapo and nu-nu still get a lot out of the trips.
(QUICK AD: Upcoming trips in January and February, then again in June and July. Sign up now cause I'm gonna sell out to excellent people! ALSO: Time to stock up on the book, Ayahuasca in My Blood--25 Years of Medicine Dreaming for your early Christmas/Hannukkah/Kwanzaa/Tribal Solstice presents).
Anyway, so I'm alone. But I did good and pulled the trigger on Madeleina's new flute. It is a beauty: a floor model from Taylor Music in South Dakota--from Geimenhardt, supposedly a good flute maker. it's open-hole with a B foot and a Gizmo key and comes with corks for the open holes. None of which makes sense to be but makes it easier to swallow the $895 price tag--which is a freaking bargain from the $1350 or so it sells for completely new.
I'm just thinking of my friend Phoenix, whose father bought him a cheap little guitar when he wanted to play and told him to learn enough to earn something better. Phoenix plays beautifull and so I suspect his dad was happy to shell out the bucks for something that could make his kid's music sing. I feel the same way about Madeleina. She's spent hundreds and hundreds of hours practicing, learning, and now needs to move up from a beginner's flute. Good for her. She earned it with her practice and she also earned it working with me in Peru for nearly two months. So I bought it with a thrill running up my neck rather than a knot in my stomach.
I'm getting distracted thinking of the tiny new potatoes I have on the stove. I better go check them.
They look fine. I'm cooking them in water left from cooking asparagus and then spinach. It's got real good sea salt in it, and a little garlic oil (the garlic has been soaking in the olive oil for 48 hours) a bit of chicken stock from chicken last night and then a few sprigs of cilantro. They're gonna be good boiled potatoes.
And I'm still in love with sword fish so I've got a piece of it--sorry fish. I won't complain if one of your brothers eats me. I know it will hurt but I will deserve it--in a bit of the same garlic oil. It's nice and low right now. And then, probably boring you who know the damned recipe, when it's browned on one side and nearly done on the other, I'm gonna add garlic, tiny diced red pepper (half a pepper as I'm dining alone), three diced slices of red onion, and half a tiny bottle of capers, with the juice. Maybe a teaspoon of butter to bind it all together.
The sides are maybe one of the tiny potatoes, asparagus (parboiled then sauteed in a bit of butter and good balsamic vinegar) and spinach (parboiled and later to be cooked in garlic and olive oil). I know, I've done it 100 times. But I still like it. And I never had it with the potatoes before.
And I'm gonna eat that feast in front of the television while watching Nicholas Cage and Eva Mendez in Ghost Rider, an insane movie that I happen to like watching every now and then, if just to watch Cage ride a flaming Harley custom up the side of a high rise.
Okay, so that's the single life. Not fantastic, but pretty rich if you milk it. I could do worse, right?
It's all good. I hope you're all having a great night, wherever you are.