Sunday, May 19

HOMIES

i'll eat three potatoes.
i don't give a sh!t.
but they'd better be flavorful.
i mean,
if you hate flavor, you're probably a jerk.
that's a thing.
especially with potatoes.
if a spud is expert with minimal effort,
then it's gonna be exxxplosively elite with a little work put into it.
mmhmm.
check the teleport:

HOMEBOYFRIES!
dudes,
these jauns were a revelation.
and easy?
it was just a little cuttin', and a little tossin', and some baking,
and the whole thing was ready to rock my socks off.
three potatoes, russets, wedged up.
tossed in a bowl with olive oil,
and smoked paprika, and pink salt, and lots of cracked black pepper,
and cayenne, and hot smoked paprika,
and GPOP, AND some turmeric.
i had that, and a quarter cup of chopped red onion,
and a few quartered sweet red bell peppers,
all flipped around and coated in the spicy hottness-
baked in the oven until they got to that golden crissspy outer excellence.
mmmmmmmmmm.
i had the oven preheatin' for a loaf of homemade sourdough-
...that's 460℉ of convection heat.
and the single layer i arranged, on foil, were roasting as the oven got hotter.
no wasted time.
just breakfast boomfire for my face.
and obvi, i had to also turn it up just a little bit more.
i'm sayin'- too much is the right amount.
scallions and cilantro sprankles took it to eleven.
...and that smoky spicy ketchup?
alright.
ketchup is usually a bummery bullsh!t condiment.
but with smokiness? and heat?
it adds a little bit of something good to the mix.
for now, i'll allow it.
it's organic no-sugar ketchup, with sriracha and liquid smoke.
nothing special.
i added sriracha flakes.
i added a little smoked hot paprika.
i was just messin' around, but it was still pretty good.
-
what?
it's just potatoes?
hey now! you shut your gosh-danged mouth.
it's never just potatoes.
it's saturday morning majesty and it got me up and at 'em.
the rest of the day was determined to bring me to my knees.
life, love, work, communication, concentration....none of that was going well.
but, at least i started with potatoes.
i might have to have some today, too.
especially since everything that was wrong yesterday didn't magically
fix itself under the light of the full moon.
everything is hard. everything is heavy.
at this rate i might not have nearly enough potatoes to even make it just until noon.
fortune has it's own path, i'm just fumbling around trying to find it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, May 18

SLEEPING BEAUTY

what a beautiful baby girl:
c'mon.
s'cute.
i'm just gonna leave that right here.
i'm pretty much positive it's impossible to have a bad day 
when you can look at a magic cherub like lilli.
so, really,
i guess all i can add is: you're welcome;
NQNS

WEATHER!

i've got a few sniffles brewing in my deep nostril area.
that's what you get when you snuggle up to a whole gang
of little sick ones.
mama and two out of three kids have that nose unit feeling rough,
and now, so do i.
yesterday, it rained a whole bunch.
and that was cool.
today the freakin' wind has been blowing nonstop since before dawn.
yup.
under the weather is the theme for this weekend.
-
it's the middle saturday of the month,
and i've got just one tattoo on the schedule, and it isn't very large.
that's a sad sour salty side effect of the latest outbreak of cancellations.
it's also an unwelcome but common occurrence in may.
f'real.
the may is historically a dry-spell month for y'boi.
college kids are back, but aren't making summer money yet.
summer people are waiting for their kids to get out of school.
the weather is a total butthole,
and whenever it isn't raining or frigid (which is admittedly rare this year)
the mutha-F*ing bugs are ravenously biting all the bloody holes they can chew
their way into on everybody.
word.
may is NOT invited.
we've got belated april showers every week,
and winter's echoes are here....it was snowing on the peaks a couple of days ago.
plus, today's wind is definitely fired.
like, pack your sh!t and go, bro- nobody asked you to blow through and bum us out.
seriously,
let's get some sunshine and some warmth up here in the woodsly goodness.
i've got fires to light, and leaves to rake, and whole rooms to clear out.
there's a sumptuous sunroom full of allocated exxxtras,
and all that stuff has been sitting over the winter and into the spring,
so clearly, it's non-essential equipment and as such can get tossed, donated or burned.
the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress needs a lotta TLC,
and that starts with stripping some of this superfluous stuff out of the house.
*
sorry for not having a picture of food.
i wasn't feeling it.
i had red lentils and tricolor quinoa, with GPOP and turmeric.
that isn't pretty.
i added a whole head of steamed broccoli.
that didn't help much.
i tossed two veggie burgers on top.
my iron, and my protein and my vitamin D were off the charts,
but my food matched my mood-
...ugly.
***********
AMPERSAND TATTOO smells really good.
and it looks F*ing cool, too.
there's no reason my house should be anything less.
so, tonight, instead of making fancy dinner,
maybe i'm gonna light some candles, vacuum the rugs,
and maybe wipe off a window or ten....
spring cleaning is a real thing,
it's just harder to stimulate the urge to start when it still feels like winter.
ha.
*
am i rambling?
maybe.
did i have three types of caffeine yesterday?
definitely.
did that help me stay awake?
indeed it did, and it kept me motormouthing my way through the whole entire day-
and it kept me revved up and roaring,
right up until i cruised to the top of dundee hill,
and tucked myself away in the rain,
soaking in the spirit and memory of my most favorite road
in the whole woodsly goodness.
that was sorta nice.
hey! did you know it's a full mutha-effin' moon tonight?
F* yes it is-
and as such is there a wild werewolfen warrior poet
pushing his way up and out of my pores,
shapeshifting from the sparse-haired and hapless homebody
into a berserker barbarian battle-beastly bigmouth?
yup.
straight out of my cast-iron roiling boiler,
there's thousand degree blood pumping from my nose to my toes,
and i can feel the electricity tingling from my soul to my soles to my scalp.
i'm all fired up,
i'm all ready for another 'nother saturday of serendipity and cultivated coincidence.
i've got blood, love and rhetoric, all at once, coursing across time and space
on a collision course with circumstance and consequence.
-
the recap:
weather: terrible.
may: lame.
food: ugly.
house: dirty.
work: barely.
attitude: anxious.
moon: full.
it's all really happening.
it's not much, but it feels like a lot;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, May 17

CUTENESS!!!

little teeny tiny itty bitty baby feet!

AAAAAAAAAAH!!!
this little lilli bean is too dang cute.
she's a squinky, squeaky, squirmy little squiglet,
and i love her to pieces.
there's something about your baby's miniature fingers and toes.
seriously,
if your heart doesn't want to jump out of your chest and explode in glitter fireworks
when you see those teentsy little nails?
you're no good, and you need to get your punk A* some professional help.
babies, neighbors.
i can't stand it.
how does anybody contain all these huge feels,
especially for such little people-ish bundles of discovery.
everything is new to them.
every. single. thing.
and they're just sleepin' and eatin' and slowly becoming something a little bigger,
in small sips and spans,
while we stare at their perfect faces.
...and her perfect face makes my knees rubbery and my eyes wet.
a whole wild gang of sweet children, and their sweet mama, all in pajamas,
and me with too-tight of pants on, dancin' around and enjoying ourselves.
it's good.
it feels good.
it IS good.
they're all good, from the source to the latest installment,
i appreciate their gentle hearts and their sweet souls.
i didn't know i could rekindle so many huge emotions,
so many long years after harvest and maple showed up.
but here i am,
and it's all really happening, all over again.
love doesn't come easy to me, but i feel it so strongly all these days.
i'm just saturated in gratitude for the few truly great people in my life.
i have those wild, raging stormswept savage gypsy werewolfen
nearly-full moon feels, i guess;
never quiet, never soft.....

TOASTED!

sourdough slabs.
lime-kissed, pink salted, black peppery, sriracha flaked mashed avocado.
tomatoes.
radishes.
pumpkin seeds.
pea shoots.
shredded carrots.
purple cabbage.
that's how you do avocado toast like an expert:

F* yeah!
it's like a fancy salad on a bread plate on a regular plate.
i like it a lot.
it's the bread that makes it go to eleven.
that exxxtra good bread, man.
it makes everything so much better.
and fresh veggies are always invited.
it's good for you:

WORD.
i'm just sayin',
what else do you even need?
it's got all the good stuff, and good stuff what your body wants;
never quiet, never soft.....

THROWN!

cohen threw up.
awwwwwww, man.
hmm?
i mean, it happens.
he got out of preschool early for feeling under the weather.
and what with me being his very special homeboy, i went to pick him up,
and on the ride home he was mostly okay.
but, we had to go back out again to scoop up embry from school,
and then he wasn't so okay.
however,
after he got it up and out, he was back to being okay again.
how ok was he?
*THIS* ok:

hahahahaha.
what's wrong with me?
seriously, he just threw up an hour before....
was i trying to get vomit on my face?
and on cali's head?
no way.
but i also wasn't about to miss an opportunity for big fun, either.
f'real.

i'm sayin', they were having a blast,
but i was suddenly braced for a barfatorium explosion!
haha.
man, i act like i know what's up-
but really, i'll risk airsickness for a plane ride on my jumbojet feet.
-
lilli was busy looking at lights next to us,
the boy and i spent a minute with his littlest sister:

C'MON!
all the big boys have to be nice to little girls.
rules is rules.
we made dinner, we played on the swings,
we laughed, and we danced,
and we spanned time like a whole family of experts.
i'm forever grateful for this opportunity to learn so much more about myself,
and to get to know this group of good guys.
...no bad guys, bro.
breezy has really made a magic batch of babies,
and i really like those little dudes;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, May 16

CRABTREE!

he's dumb.
he's half deaf.
he's my homeboy.

yup.
it's crabtree the terribly bullsh!t bull terrier!
it seems like he's been an especially snuggly affectionate little dude lately,
and i feel like shouting him out,
instead of my more common shouting AT him.
he hasn't gotten any smarter.
he doesn't sleep any later.
he's always hungry.
he never listens (mostly because of the deaf thing, i hope).
but he's my little guy,
despite making zero percent of my time management effective in the least.
babies are better.
kids are cooler.
women are far more wonderful.
and somehow he's still happier to see me than anybody else.
that figures.
he doesn't even get to have any of my expert cooking.
it's just the same dry dog food every damned day,
and yet he's STILL psyched.
never in my life did i think i could really love an animal.
i mean, being vegan, i technically show love for ALLLLLL the animals.
i'm sayin' like on a personal level, day in and out, as a family member.
sure, he's like a miscreant little brother.
i always wanted a little brother, so i guess you get what you get;
never quiet, never soft.....

CARCIOFO!

artichoke hearts!
they have somethin' special going on.
if you like 'em, you already know-
if you don't, you maybe just need some help to appreciate their merits.
i took a can of 'em, drained 'em,
dredged 'em,
breaded 'em,
fried 'em,
and put 'em on a pizza.
mmmhmmm.
check the teleport:

HEARTS!!!
and spinach,
and caramelized onions,
and cooked manly marinara,
and homemade cashew mozz',
an fresh basil,
and fried garlic sprankles,
and arugula on top.
too much is the right amount!
-
so, how'd i make the artichokes?
like an expert.
duh.
c'mon.
don't be dumb....but here's a recipe-
-
in one bowl combine:
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk;
2 T nootch;
2 T ground chia/flaxmeal.
stir it up and let it thicken.
-
in another bowl, mix together:
1/2 cup flour;
2 T fine cornmeal;
1/4 tsp ea GPOP;
dried oregano, basil, thyme, sage, black pepper, pink salt, smoked paprika;
2 tsp nootch;
-
drain 1 can of whole artichoke hearts (that's like 6 ish)
halve them, pat 'em dry, dunk those hunks in the wet,
roll 'em in the flour,
and let 'em hang out for a second or two while you fire up 1/4 cup of oil
in a pan over high heat-
fry 'em until they're crispy, flippin' 'em to make sure there's no raw flour,
and drain any excess oil off whlst they cool on paper towels.
that's the move.
*
the dough was standard, but with one upgrade- exxxtra wheat gluten.
uh-huh.
a teaspoon of that binding protein made a world of difference.
the crust was crisp and bubbly and dope as heck.
it proofed all day, and it baked at 485℉.
that's two cups of king arthur flour, 2 tsp sea salt, 2 T olive oil,
1 pkg active yeast, 1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast, and 1 tsp gluten,
with a cup of warm water,
in your stand-upright mixer on lowish speed,
with the dough hook corkscrewin' around,
for 11 minutes, before a covered all-day bulk rise in the fridge.
it's how home dough gets done, duders.
*
the chee'?
easy easy.
1 1/2 cups raw cashews;
1/2 tsp  sea salt;
3 T nootch;
1/2 tsp ea. Garlic Powder and Onion Powder;
1 tsp lemon juice;
3 T tapioca flour;
1 cup boiling water,
all in your food processor, pureed until creamy,
without any gritty nut chunks-scrape it down if you've gotta, but get it consisitent.
add that to a small pot, and stir it over high heat to thicken it....
it happens quickly, so be alert.
this is it.
hearty vegan homemade chee' in a hurry.
for being so simple, it sure does taste great.
*
if i'm using breaded fried anything on a pizza,
i want cooked sauce.
mmhmmm.
that's a thing.
cooked sauce makes it feel like it has more body,
and has more balance,
and i think i'm decreeing that that's the right move-
and you know i LOVE i good decree.
rules is rules, and marinara with fried food is one of 'em.
i think that's a good usage of mandatory standards, neighbors.
i could do it with just crushed tomatoes, but then i'd be F*ing up,
and i'm not that kind of A*-hole.
...

WOW!
and there's lots of spinach on the bottom,
arugula on top,
dark green basil in between...
yup.
i like vegetation, bruh.
caramelized onions? don't mind if i do.
they're the best ones for pizza, at home,.
restaurants make 'em too marmaladey, and i don't endorse that.
save the slime for snails or some sh!t, b.
f'real.
-
my dude weird dylan enjoyed this with me.
i was glad for the company.
it'd been a minute.
and new pizzas taste better when shared.
i think that's also a thing.
***********
after a brutal weekend of bummery bumhole booty bammer tattz,
and also the alarming absence of attendance at AMPERSAND TATTOO,
i had no cancellations the last few days.
in fact,
i took a few walk-ins while i was at it.
mmhmm.
i'll always make time for new clients,
and for a little extra movie check magic time.
a grand don't come for free, but one grand also isn't enough-
and acting too busy to work harder is NOT dope.
in fact, it's kind of a bullsh!t move.
when is enough enough?
never ever ever EVER.
the object is forever gonna be MORE.
that's just how it is around here.
however,
saturday is WIDE open.
and that's not especially cool at all.
maybe something elite will arrive between now and then,
but more likely, it'll be something else.
hey, man...they pay the same, so i'll be glad for whatever it is.
i like my job. i like making art. i know those aren't the same thing.
i'm still grateful for the time i'm given to do both;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, May 15

TUESDAYS, Y'KNOW?

dudes,
street tacos!
yeah.
what's the difference between street ones and house ones?
i mean, i eat every taco in my house.
but, the answer, sort of, is that the tortillas are a baby bit smaller,
so you can fit one more down the hatch.
yeah!
or, maybe even two more.
ha.
i know that's not exactly true.
but the sack of soft flour flaps i got said street taco size.
so, that's the report as it stands.
yup.
check 'em:

YOOOOO!!!
red lentils, jasmine rice, red onion, black rice, red chili,
yellow sweet baby pepper, cilantro and scallions....
what?! F* yes. i made taco crOmbles out of beans and rice, bro.
....delicious.
-
f'real though-
in a 1 quart pot, with a pat of butter,
saute 2 T red onion, and add:
1/4 cup jasmine rice;
1/4 cup red lentils;
2 T black rice;
1/4 tsp ea GPOP;
pink salt, black pepper....
simmer it for 15 minutes,
then add:
1 T minced scallion greens;
2 T chopped cilantro bits;
2 tsp finely chopped red chili;
2 tsp yellow sweet baby bell pepper.
how expert is it?
well, it's muh-fuhh'n purple, for starters.
that's pretty damned expert.
uh huh.
*
plus refrieds, always, with the nootch and the onions and the butter.
i mean, rules is rules.
you need the beans, neighbors.
they make the hottness happen.
-
and radicchio, and cilantro, and that superfly escabeche, man.
yeah.
quick pickled mixed vegetables are always invited.
i mean, radish and onion and garlic and carrots simmered
in salty apple cider vinegar with a splash of agave.
ALLLL the good things,
and some texas-style ho'sauce too.
mmmmmmm.
-
and cilantro, red onion and lime kissed tomatoes?
c'mon.
that's how you do good things for taco tuesday.
i mean, they got salt and pepper on 'em, too.
and they're SO freakin' good.

that's burly super-fresh hot fire for your face!
hmm?
yeah, i had SIX of them.
i don't feel sorry about that.
nope.
not one little teeny tiny little baby bit.
too much is the right amount.
shoutouts to eating a lot of tacos.
in fact, if you're eating a responsible number of tacos?
i think you're weak, and i respect you a little less.
don't be sad, be better, and eat more tacos.
that's it.
***********
typing about things.
pushing up.
walking the dog.
tattin' and too'ing.
making dinner.
curling up in a very small ball.
that's today's schedule.
it isn't very glamorous, i'll admit,
but that's what you get on another 'nother grey and frosty wednesday
in the semi-awakened woodsly goodness.
it's cold and busted and nobody is out or about,
so we're working with limited resources to make somethin' out of.
that's fine.
i could've maybe used some brighter spots to seek out,
but at the same time, maybe the dark days are just incubating some extra-large
personal growth opportunities?
i think that's a thing.
i mean, that's how it is with seeds, right?
ok, then.
i guess i'm just a nut (which is just a better seed, really),
and i'll sprout when the weather turns.
then we'll see what comes next;
never quiet, never soft.....

PAINTED!

fisherman?
oil painting?
tiny details made into tattoos?
yes, yes, and yes.
i do all of that.
check it:

WORD.
the smallest little guy with a creel of fish.
he was just one of many small paint smudges in a bigger painting
full of water and boats and stuff.
does it look blurry? maybe a little.
that's because it's just splotches of ink!
mmhmm.
but it was a lot of fun to make.
f'real.
it's not a regular tattoo, and it's not the same ol' internet search bummerism.
my client's family member painted the original image forever and ever ago,
and nobody from that side of the tree approved of tattoos at all.
i like that part the best, actually.
hey!
come get some interesting tattoos.
save me from the bummers, bro.
thanks in advance;
never quiet, never soft.....

Tuesday, May 14

PORRIDGE STORAGE!!

so i asked myself:
'self,
do you think all these white girls eating oatmeal with stripes of seeds on top
are actually onto something, or are they just F*ing around?'
and i though, there's only one way to know for sure-
so i made some myself.
yup.
that's the direct route to knowledge, neighbors-
check the fancy-oatmeal-type teleport:

THE VERDICT IS IN!
superfancy unnecessary exxxtras *are* more expert
than a bowlful of plain beige blops.
i had a feeling that'd be the case;
after all, too much is the right amount, y'know?
yeah.
even my spoon was nicer than normal.
i made scottish oats-
burly ones, for burly folks.
y'know?
those are the sharp shards of cracked groats that aren't rolled into thick ovals.
but,
i also added a handful of the very old fashioned flatty jauns as well.
why not, right?
besides, i like a bit of variety in my morning porridge, people.
soaked up with a pat of vegan butter, and a glug of real new hampshire maple syrup,
and unsweetened coconut-almond milk as the liquid base-
this was already a powerful pile of heroic morning nourishment.
for real.
and then i went and yoga-lady'd it up.
fresh strawbz, frozen bloobs, flaked coconut, pepitas, pecans,
and cinnamon sprankles.
F* yes.
stovetop-type cookin' is what i do.
no package oats over here at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
i'm not being a snob, i just want those barbarian battle oats,
and they don't come in microwave-ready single-serve sacks, son.
if you wanna get exxxtra, y'gotta BE exxxtra.
so i do what i must to get what i need.
....well, if only real life were as easy to accomplish goals in as fancy breakfast is.
ugh.
ANYway,
you can see that it's much sexxxier than just some sand-colored paste.
and i like that i can take classics and activate a bit MORE hottness.
after all, nobody needs ugly food in their life.
i'm gentrifying my inner self one spoonful at a time.
ha.
***********
i've got a lot of unfortunate cancellations ahead of me.
i hate that.
nobody saves money for a cold grey rainy day,
especially not if it's a whole F*ing month of that.....
and it sure has been so far-
yeah.....may is a real A*-hole.
has been for decades.
it's like the junior league disappointment month.
november kind of ties it for worst place, but with more years of experience,
it wins by virtue of seniority.
however, may is an up-and-coming megabummer of a calendar page.
may NOT.
that is what it feels like.
but it'll be june soon.
too soon, and not soon enough, simultaneously.
the year is speeding past,
the days on and off are a whirlwind,
and i need a minute or twenty to catch up.
i doubt that's likely, so maybe i just need stop with all these feelings?
maybe pack 'em back up in the cast-iron vault,
and let the secret universal plan work it's own magic?
or maybe i'll just head over to AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and do a whole bunch of tattoos instead....
provided there aren't any top-secret cancellations poppin' up last minute;
never quiet, never soft.....

SHARK ATTACK!

you think you like sharks?
do you like them enough to get a hand-destroyin' jaws jobstopper tat?
oh.
so you only sorta like sharks.
that's cool.
but i did a tattoo yesterday for a full-blown savage stormswept shark fanatic
and that's taking shark attacks to eleven:

daaaaaaaaamn, duders.
these people out here at AMPERSAND TATTOO doing wild sh!t.
hmm?
wait until it heals.
that mitt is a swollen hoof of horror at the moment...
but it's all part of the plan.
y'ever see the jaws movie poster art?
that's this, only with simpler TEEF, accounting for hand-tat hardships.
and not for nothin', but you could be getting black devil sticks on YOUR fingers.
instead you're too busy getting roman exes and vees and ems or whatever...
that's fine, but, cool tattoos make everything much better;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, May 13

BABY BABY!

no mothers day without babies.
and this baby is bee-yooo-teee-fulllll:

HEART EYES ALL DAY!
omg,
watching mama and baby together is forever amazing.
i get damp eyeballs about how beautiful they are together.
i guess i was way too young to really appreciate what a wonder all that is.
ugh.
that makes me feel really F*ing terrible about the past,
and cautiously hopeful for the future.
i don't know much about what's in store,
but with a Positive Mental Attitude i'll tackle whatever comes next.
it's NOT all good, but it's all really happening,
and that lilli-baby really is all good;
and mama is SO good at momming that i'm just impressed.
i repeat myself often.
sorry about that.
but, i am impressed and i am full of love;
never quiet, never soft.....

BERRIED ALIVE

i made a gluten-free vegan mixed berry mothers day pastry creme tart.
yup.
i thought maybe breezy might like something like that.
or, at any rate, if she wanted something cute,
she could have a slice without worrying about the consequences 
of an insidious wheat insurrection.
mmhmmm.
i try to be sweet and bring sweets at the same time.
wanna see what i came up with?
ok, check the teleport:
YOU'RE A TART!
the crust is pretty good.
the filling is definitely somethin' else.
and both pieces are sweetened with monkfruit,
so y'boi could keep up with this sugarfree month,
and still stay expert with the baked goods.
word.
blood oranges, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and red seedless grapes!!!
plus lemon zest sprankles to pretty it up.
obvi, y'gotta sprank it.
rules is rules, neighbors.
fruit is SO dope when you aren't eating candy.
like, suddenly, an apple is a magic spell that brings me to great joy.
ha.
anyway, here's how it's made:
-
*
GF CROMBLE CRUST!
-
preheat your oven to 350℉.
-
in your food processor, combine:
1 stick (8 T) vegan butter;
1/4 cup granulated monkfruit stuff;
1/4 tsp salt;
1 cup bob's ap gf flour;
2/3 cup mama's gf almond flour blend;
1/4 cup bob's 1:1 gf rice flour blend;
1/2 cup gf oats;
1/4 cup unsweetened flake coconut;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/4 cup non-dairy milk.
pulse that into a coarse crumb dough,
and press it into a high-walled 9" fluted tart pan, or whatever pan you have handy.
bake it for 15ish minutes, and set it aside while you activate the filling.
*
-
*
GF PASTRY CREME MAGIC!
-
in a blender or food processor (maybe the one you just used, even)
whip up:
1/4 cup tapioca;
1/2 block silken tofu;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 T lemon juice;
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk;
1/2 cup monkfruit powdery sugar pretendness;
3 T powdered freeze dried strawberries.
add that to a 2 quart pot, and stir it up over high heat until it's thiccc and sticky.
dudes,
this stuff is legitness, and it has all the italian pastry goodness you could as for,
with no milk, no wheat, and no sugar.
wow.
-
spoon it into the crust, smooth it out, and refrigerate it before you drop the fruit on top.
i bet this would blow minds with some of that coconut whipped creme.
that has sugar in it, so i'll just have to wonder...
but, also, i'm pretty frickin' sure it would've turned it up to eleven.
*
i want closer connections.
i don't know how to make 'em, much less how to keep 'em.
but i tattooed two brothers yesterday in the morning
who live together, by choice, on their own, and work together all day,
and work out together and be all sorts of encouraging about it,
AND get tattooed together, too.
they're weirdies, but who the F* isn't, right?
it just got me thinking about people, and places, and things,
and how outside of AMPERSAND TATTOO,
there's the tiniest starburst of overlapping circles that compose my ghost ring
of spirit and memory.
i've always heard other people say: just be yourself.
except, that only ever seems to have the exact opposite effect when i do it.
like, being myself is specifically what keeps my contacts distant.
encouraging?
umm, nope. not in the least.
i wouldn't know who else to be.
curious, really, that the most extreme and extravagant amplified elements of my perspective
get lumped under the umbrella of my nom de plume: albie rock.
and that's for sure less than half of what's going on at any given time.
the smallest choice cuts and top-tier best parts of me are the least advertised.
if they were available to everybody, they wouldn't be special.
and i hear about how special i am a LOT.
although, i don't think it's meant the way i take it.
that's ok.
i'm still taking it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, May 12

MAMA!

hey! 
it's mothers day.
call your mom,
or, if she doesn't have a phone, for whatever reason-
she's amish, or deceased, or off-grid, or somethin'-
send her some love however you can,
and keep those heartstrings and heartbeats hummin'
with gratitude and generosity for the life-bringin' nurturers who 
made you and me and everyone we know.
i'm especially thoughtful today, with a new baby. 
and i'm so lucky to know the supermom 
who delivered her and her siblings and cares for them with expertise 
that borders on the uncanny, although she's the first to tell you that nurture
and structure are the assets she employs for her success.
so, here's to breezy, and all these small ones she raises so well.
-
and shoutouts to my ma, for sure.
forty-something years of momming,
and we wouldn't have lasted ten minutes of it if it'd just been my dad in charge.
that's no joke.
we're fortunate to have somebody with her determination 
in our corner when we were growing up.
nurture may work wonders with some kids,
but with my sisters and i, i think nature wins every time,
and that couldn't have been an easy ride for my mother.
she did a good job, and we really owe her one (or two) for the trouble we caused.
-
and i gotta give thanks to harvest and maple's ma, too.
they're great people, and they certainly didn't get that from my DNA.
i mean, that 50% werewolf curse i carry was diluted a lot with their mom's influence.
-
i don't know many moms.
that's weird, but also true.
of the moms i DO know,
most of them are probably doing it wrong,
even if they're doing the best they can, or that they know about.
so,
i consider myself fortunate as F* that the closest ones to me 
are also the most competent and capable.
call your ma, and tell her thanks.
it isn't easy.
it probably isn't fun.
and it certainly isn't restful.
thanks, mom.
thanks, moms;
nqns.....

PROM!

maple star is a good lookin' person.
i'm not just sayin' that because i was involved in the initial creative process.
i'm sayin' it because i have eyes.
senior prom is a big deal,
and this black dress beauty positively brought glamour to the party:

wow!
that's gorgeous.
and i have an impeccable eye for what's good,
so you'd best believe i'm not just talkin' sh!t.
i mean, c'mon:

yeah.
my eyes are wet about it.
and my heart is bursting with pride at the lovely person i'm lookin' at.
inside and out, maple has that sweetness like her namesake.
and her sister has become supportive in ways that make me lose my mind.

friends!!!
shoutouts to harvest for being a real big sister even though she's clearly smaller.
blood is pretty thick, and these two share some that's bonded like tar or somethin'.
as they've grown up, they've grown closer, and i'm thrilled about it.
my hope is that they'll be there when lilli is big enough to need prom help, too.
they'll have plenty of time to prepare for that.
and in the in-between, these two grown up women are steadily wowwing me
on a daily basis.
i'm grateful for these children,
and doubly so for how good they are;
never quiet, never soft.....

FRITTERS!

i dunno.
maybe i want fried things more because i'm off that sugar?
beats me.
however,
i made something pretty freakin' expert for dinner,
and i'm pretty happy with the results.
fritters, man.
little veggie cakes that're all browned up crispy-like 
and ready to get dipped up in a SAUCE or two
mmhmm.
i'll do some double saucin' when the option is available.
check out what i came up with:
WEEE-OOOOOO!!!
fritz, neighbors.
sizzled up in half an inch of hot oil, in a tall-walled pan, man.
but, like, what's IN 'em?
i'll tell you-
-
*
FRITZ!
-
in a small pot, boil up:
1/4 cup tricolor quinoa;
1/4 cup red lentils;
1 cup + 2 T warm water, 
for 15 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.
-
in a big ol' bowl, combine:
1 shredded potato;
1/4 thinly slivered red onion;
1/4 tsp sea salt, and black pepper;
1 cup minced spinach;
2 T minced scallion greens;
3 T chopped cilantro;
1/3 cup chickpea flour;
1/2 tsp turmeric;
smoked paprika, paprika, crushed red pepper, cayenne;
1/4 tsp dill seed;
1 tsp tamari.
-
add the quinoa mash, and form up a tasty, pasty fritter dough.
i got 10 little cakes in total.
they're F*ing good.
i mean, there's a lotta flavor, a ton of texture, and potatoes, too.
what's better than that?
not much.
i fried 'em on both sides until they were super golden.
it's easy with turmeric in there, y'know?
they're already golden.
ha.
and the garnish activation was key-
radicchio, pea shoots, scallions, and cilantro sprankles.
i do like a pretty fritter, homeboy-
c'mon, right?
and with my spicy grange sauce?
(that next day garlic marination brings the tang up to eleven, for sure)
damn, son- that's molto tight and hella delicious.
the only thing that made it even MORE awesome?
another 'nother sauce, boss.....
homemade vegan sriracha mayo with smoked paprika 
and sriracha flakes up top....
yummmmmmmmmm.
that's ferociously flavorful.
too much is the right amount
and that applies to quantity and quality.
i ate the F* out of these tasty yellow dudes.
which also means i got that stomach ache action.
yup.
too much does that to you sometimes...
***********
six cancellations in two days!
gross.
shoutouts to clients who actually show up,
and bigger shoutouts to clients who show up with good ideas.
it's a double-edged kind of a thing-
i didn't have to do any bummery tattoos,
but i also was 'working' at not working...
and that's lame.
but,
that gave me some time to make AMPERSAND TATTOO a little nicer.
there were a couple of creepy spidery cobwebs that accrued in the
most out-of-the-way corners, and that worked up my appetite,
which in turn forced me to go hard on the fritter scene,
which benefited me tremendously.
it's all connected, i guess.
hard days and long nights and good food, and tough calls,
and all of that competent interactive participatory communication
between the wider waking world and the small conscientious subconscious
that drives me forward into the future.
if you're making an appointment, please show up.
if your idea is a bummer, please don't make the appointment in the first place.
waiting all day to NOT do that idea i wasn't into at all is twice as bad.
thanks;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, May 11

FRY DAY

feel awful falafel friday?
that's expert.
but, what about if it was also activated with fries?
and maybe way too much oil so that feelin' awful is a guarantee?
F* yeah!
i doo-doo that greasy sh!t
check it out:

HEY-A HEY-A FALAFEL!!!
crispy turmeric and herb chick pea fritters.
homemade yeast-raised flatbread.
hummus.
exxxtra-lemony tahini.
from-scratch fries.
custom sumac-attack ranch-style SAUCE!
neighbors, these are the flavors you want in your face.
look:

DAAAAAAAAAAAYUMMMMMMMN.
you want recipes?
i got those.
-
*
FLATBREAD!
-
in your hook-equipped stand mixer,
combine 1 + 2 T cup king arthur flour;
1/4 tsp sea salt;
1/3 cup warm water;
2 T unsweetened plain non-dairy yogurt;
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast.
knead that into a shiny ball for ten or so minutes,
cover it and let it double in size, about 30 minutes.
divide it in half, and on a floured surface,
roll out a couple of ten inch circles.
heat a large skillet up, on high heat, until it's a superheated searing surface,
and one at a time, lay those flour flaps on there, letting them brown in spots as they rise.
two minutes each side, and you've got reliably pliable flattieboys to build on.
expert.
*
i bought the hummus.
don't be mean, it's good stuff,
and it has those sesame seed sprankles in the middle.
i like that.
it's a nice touch and it makes me wanna never buy any without 'em.
-
the tahini was made with love, and black pepper, and sumac,
plus a lotta lemon and a little warm water.
do you like tahini?
i mean, it's delicious, and it's essential to a good falafel,
but maybe you are a weak little watery diaperbaby, and can't get into it?
i dunno, duders.
i think tahini is pretty great, and i hope y'all are on board with that sentiment.
make yours however you like it-
but if it isn't lemony as hell, you might be effing up.
-
parsley,
and cilantro,
and scallion greens,
and slivered red onions,
and cucumber strips.
salad stuff gives these sandwiches a bright springtime fresh taste.
you don't need to include green things, per se.
however, without 'em, you are definitely an A*-hole.
yup.
that's a thing.
y'know what else is a thing?
spicy potato wedges for your enjoyment.
word.
-
*
FRIES!!
-
cut two skin-on red potatoes into thick strips,
and add 'em into a mixin' bowl, with 1 T olive oil,
and add in:
black pepper;
smoked paprika;
cayenne;
sumac;
Garlic Powder & Onion Powder;
dried thyme;
pink salt.
toss it all up to thoroughly coat 'em,
and arrange them on parchment on a baking sheet,
and roast them in your oven-
i put 'em in whle the oven preheated to 425℉,
and when they were all good and golden and crisp-edged,
i knew i was getting into something great.
how expert were they?
SO much so that i only had exxxtras for about 0 seconds.
i was shoveling them into my mouth as fast as i could, kids.
mmmmmmmmm.
*
that's a lot of good things, but it isn't ALL of the good things.
nope.
there's still two MORE.
ha-
too much is the right amount, man.
that's how i've learned to live with the warrior poetry in my reclusive soul.
i don't like much, and i don't do many things,
but the things i like i like the most, and i do those few things A LOT.
it isn't glamorous, but it's honest, albeit infuriating to both myself and others.
do i wanna go do some other things?
nah, bruh, i'll pass.
but do i wanna make SAUCE?
absolutely i do.
-
*
GRANGE SAUCE!
(it's basically just like ranch, i guess)
-
in a high speed blender, combine:
1 large clove raw garlic;
1/2 block silken tofu, lightly squeezed to drain a bit;
1/4 tsp GPOP;
1/4 tsp dried dill;
1 tsp scallion greens;
one shake of dill seeds;
cayenne, sumac, black pepper, pink salt, & red pepper flakes all to taste.
1 T fresh curly parsley;
1 tsp lemon juice.
pulse that stuff up until it's thick and smoothish.
you want those little dots and specks of color all up in there,
but also, you want the consistency to be spreadable.
no chunks, but don't turn it brown from emulsifying the herbs.
is this the truth?
yuuuuuuup.
in fact, it's THE TRUTH.
you want that big pickle flavor, but with even MORE going on??
i know you do.
this is how you accomplish it, buddy.
SO expert, and SO dope,
and there's enough for tomorrow's dinner, too.
nice.
*
what's left?
man, c'mon...
FALAFEL BALLZ are still on the menu.
you fryin' 'em deep?
ok.
fill a pot 1/3 with oil, and get it HOT as F*.
you fryin' 'em shallow?
ok.
get a high-walled pan, and fill it 1/4" with oil and get it HOT as F*.
-
moving on, here's how i made this new-new ballz-deep recipe:
-
*
F'LAFFZ!
-
in your food processor, combine:
1 can drained chick peas;
1/4 red onion;
3 cloves fresh garlic;
1/3 cup chopped parsley;
1/3 cup chopped cilantro;
1/2 tsp cumin;
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed;
1/2 tsp thyme;
1/4 tsp sumac;
lots of black pepper, and cayenne pepper, and crushed red pepper;
1/2 tsp turmeric;
2 tsp tahini paste;
3 T chick pea flour;
1 T ground chia/flax/hemp seed blend;
1 T lemon juice;
pulse it all up to make a rough paste,
making sure the sides get scraped down at least once.
what you should have is green and yellow hamden warrior 'dough'.
i got 27 balls' worth of falafel from this mixture,
so, however big that works out to, they're like jusssst under 2" +/-.
i squish 'em a bit, and they spread anyway when they fry.....
you want 'em brown, and you don't wanna put more than 1/3 of 'em at a time
into the oil, or it gets too cold, and that's if it doesn't overflow at first.
be careful.
hot oil is a real A*-hole and it will wreck your whole life.
i mean it.
pull 'em out with a wire spider ladle,
and let 'em drain on some paper towels,
and top 'em off with that tahini, and that granger danger sauce,
and also with some sriracha.
do you put ho'sauce on your falafel?
i hope so, because that's a thing that has to happen.
mmhmm.
rules is rules.
***********
does all of this sound like a lot of work?
it is, kinda,
especially if you're new to making radical vegan kitchen magic happen.
however,
for me it was a welcome distraction after a b!tchsap-drippin' friday at work.
who got a big no-call/no-show?
yep.
yuck.
and what's better than a no-sunshiny cold wet day of dwelling
on life and love and loot and lunch?
ugh.
i didn't need more time to think.
i needed actions to take.
have y'all ever tried to be personally creative in the midst of a hurricane of feelings?
maybe that works for you.
not me, though, bro.
i make art when i'm happy, not sad.
i don't need interpretive imagery to define my deepest dark depths.
it's my joyous heart that makes playful illustrations and happy skulls.
so,
when i've got feelings to eat, and no tattoos to do,
it's the WORST, because all there are are thoughts....
and sure, thinking is doing something....
just not something tangibly useful.
and i need results, not ideas.
all that pent-up energy needed to travel outwards,
and falafel got the go-ahead as the outlet.
it's sunny outside today, at least-
but we're in a muh-fuhhh'n wind tunnel.
so we're still losing out, just more brightly.
wind brings change, and answers, and war,
and i really would rather not have any of those today.
some warmth, maybe.
some work to do, certainly.
some people who i care about being much much closer by, absolutely.
but we're gonna work with what we've got,
and it ain't much, but it's all there is;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, May 10

LOADED

pizza party for one?
yuuuuuuuuuuuuuup.
another 'nother pizza pie for me-
just me and my big ol' fatman appetite gettin' busy with that double dough dopeness.
full disclosure, though, neighbors:
i used store dough.
i did.
i got a couple bags of that sourdough storebought pre-made
the other days for calzones with the small kids.
and they're small people, who wouldn't eat several bags' worth of dough.
so i had exxxtra.
and i wasn't about to waste it, man.
here's the thing- it was good, too.
yeah, homemade is expert, but this stuff had it's own excellent effect as well.
look:

C'MON!
that's that 'my-oven-kinda-sucks-at-heatin'-up-so-it's too-dark-now' outdoor photo.
ha.
f'real though.
my oven has lived a hard life, gettin' hot af too often,
livin' under commercial-level demand in a residential setting.
-
dear my oven,
                do better.
                                 
                              love,
                                     albie.
-
ANYway,
the dough held up it's end of the deal,
and i came through with the cooked marinara sauce activation,
and that minced daiya chee'.
rules is rules, bro.
mince it or don't even bother using it...
and i had sliced multicolor peppers, to pretty it up.
-AND steamy broccoli florets, for nutrients.
-AND slivered white onion.
-AND dry-fried baby bella mushroooms.
-AND deeply delicious brussels sprouts,
sauteed in olive oil, and splashed with a spoonful of tamari
and a few craxxx of black pepper
and a dash of liquid smoke to give em some handsome flavor.
-AND fried garlic sprankles.
...
the cooked sauce really had somethin' special.
it's not normally my go-to, but i've been enriching my pizza experiences
with different little upgrades and variations.
480℉, a hot stone, convection magic,
and a hard eye towards eating all my feelings.
***********
i tattooed a whole bunch of repeat clients yesterday.
yeah.
i'm pretty lucky that they come through,
and even luckier that most of 'em really do take an interest in me,
and my life, and AMPERSAND TATTOO, and in our time together.
i only really get to know people through tattooing.
my other hobbies include making art at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress;
walking my dog at odd hours through my neighborhood;
making other art when there aren't clients at the studio;
and cooking food at home by myself.
if it wasn't for the shop, and the interactive participation
and the investment of time by my clients,
i'd likely just be a for-really-real hermit of hard-styles and heavy heartedness.
awwwwwww.
fortunately, they keep coming back and that's pretty cool.
i am grateful for the time they spend,
(and those movie checks)
because that makes all of the rest possible;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, May 9

G-KNOTS

did i eat a dozen homemade garlic knots for dinner at 8 o'clock?
yup.
how good were they?
molto italiano level eleven hottness,
and verrry garlic-centric, as well as totally expert.
that's no joke.
check 'em out:

DAMN.
garlic on garlic on garlic, with a little more garlic just to let 'em know.
ha!
garlic knots and masculine marinara from the future.
you want this recipe?
i have it, and i'll share it...
-
*
G-KNOTS!
-
in your stand-up mixer, with the hook up on it, combine-
1 cup king arthur bread flour;
3/4 cup king arthur all-purpose flour;
1/4 cup + 2 T semolina flour;
1 cup warm water;
1/2 tsp ea GPOP;
3 T active sourdough starter-
let that all soak for thirty minutes,
then add:
1 pkg rapid-rise yeast;
1 1/2 tsp sea salt;
1 T finely minced fried garlic sprankles;
1 T olive oil.
knead it for 11 minutes,
until it's a shiny ball of slippery smoothness...
wrap it up in a bowl and refrigerate it for 12 hours,
slowwwwwwwwwly proofing it up-
-
preheat your oven to 385℉
-
stretch your dough into a log,
divide it in half, and then in half, and then in half,
and then divide those quarters in to halves.
that's 16 hunks of dough.
on a floured surface, stretch 'em out and tie 'em in knots.
arrange 'em on a parchment sheet,
on a baking tray a.k.a a cookie sheet,
so they can rise while the oven heats up-
i dusted mine with GPOP, black pepper, and nootch.
mmmhmmmm.
and then i baked 'em up for fifteen minutes,
then raised the temperature up another 30℉,
with that convection oven swirl...
man, that part was dicey, to be honest.
should i have just made the oven hotter initially?
maybe.
how long did i bake 'em for, in total?
no idea.
i wanted them to brown up,
so i was just waiting around like a jerk while the light failed.
also,
when they finally got golden, and i pulled 'em out,
i basted those bad knotty boi jauns with a whole bunch of melted vegan butter,
and they sizzled, dudes.
yup.
and then they got a lot MORE golden.
then it was time to turn 'em UP.
too much is the right amount, obvi-
exxxtra fried garlic spranks,
AND parsley tidbits, too.
word up.
*
and marinara for that somethin' somethin' elite.
i mean, really, neighbors.
just garlic knots
that's weird.
how about a little vegetable nutrients for cryin' lout loud!
...delicious.
here's a marinara recipe.....YUM.
that's good for you.
***********
i ate a dozen blops of bread.
semi-sourdough salt and buttery knots.
i don't care, man,.
when you're feeling feelings, nothing goes down better than carbohydrates.
especially when you're a week deep into a no refined sugar situation.
i think carbs are not great for you?
i'm not sure, but it's just that exxxtra sugar that i'm avoiding.
and i DO like bread.
probably more than the average human, even.
i'm eatin' knots, i'm tied up in knots,
it's like that death therapy in what about bob?.... y'feel me?
i'm gonna untie some feelings,
and i'm also probably going to eat more bread.
i don't know what else there is to do;
never quiet, never soft.....

INTERFACE

y'ever breathe in another person?
i'll tell you somethin'-
breezy and that little baby smell like goodness.
hmm?
no.
i mean, they smell good, yeah.
but they smell like goodness.
my head gets dizzy when i breathe in deeply all snugged up in their necks.
y'all sniff necks?
you should start.
i think it's called nuzzling? i dunno.
but my whole body just wants to spend all day every day going broke laying around
just snugged up with those short ladies.
yep.
we're exchanging electrons and radical atomic interlacing loveliness in proximity.
lilli knows i don't have that milk,
and she is NOT impressed by my presence sans nutrients.
however, mama knows i'mma get her some of that icy frozen coffee magic,
so she's slightly more receptive to my deep breathin' soul-absorber love huffing.
speaking of lilli-
look at her face:

c'mon.
and do you remember two weeks ago?

...right?!
her whole little beautiful head has got little beautiful features that're really shapin' up.
damn she's a cutie.
just like her mama.
*
and then there's three MORE kids, running around wild in these streets.
and also, being verrrrry sweet.
and also also, they've got a lot to say.
when there are three runnin'-arounders doing exactly that,
that little bitty baby sit-stiller seems SO much calmer.
i mean,
even when she's squeakin' and kickin', she is still relatively stationary.
there are never enough snugs.
there are never enough hugs.
there's always a lotta laughs.
there's nothing but love.
we all interface with the elements, and each other, and it's definitely good;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, May 8

TWO WEEKS STRONG!

two weeks old already!
what the heck?!
my itty bitty little lovely lady lilli is something special:

what a beauty, what a sweetheart, what a good baby!
i don't think i've ever seen more than one picture of my dad holding me.
i don't actually even know if i'm remembering that right.
if there's a bunch, i don't recall.
i do know that i want all the pictures of all the kids, all the time.
a record of everybody, interconnected and involved,
actively participating in life as it unfolds.
lucky for me,
breezy is 100% on point when it comes to real-life documentation in photographs.
i like that:

awwwwwww.
she looks at me like she just can't quite figure out what the heck is going on.
...and she's very alert and observant in the short bursts of wide-eyed wakefulness
 that occupy her in between milky sips and sleepy snoozes.
also,
she is very small, but not this small:

it's all perspective.
lilli is gaining weight.
she's got a firm grip, and the kickiest legs on the block, too.
she's healthy, and that's all due to her mama having innate
and attuned skills at expert-level momming.
i know i've said it before, but she's positively MADE for raising little babes.
it's so great to see her at it.
i'm impressed and i'm infatuated and i'm inspired and it gives me SO many feels.
f'really-real.
my whole heart hurts about it.
*
and speaking of feelings-
my old man has been gone for a whole year as of yesterday.
i haven't heard his voice telling me some kind of terrible advice for a year.
hell, i think my impression of him is becoming a caricature of accuracy without
an infusion of his raspy, wheezing wild ideas and wholly inaccurate assessments of
how real life works.
i miss it all.
the same seven questions during every morning phone call.
the loud argumentative television news personalities interrupting every family function
from the screen in the living room.
the angsty stricken face of literal disgust at the mention of broccoli.
the custom shoes he kept that didn't fit.
the vampirical long-on-purpose fingernails....
he was such a character, he was such a weirdie,
and he had a huge,lasting impact on my entire life.
okay, so true story-
i did the literal non-exaggerated exact opposite of every single piece of advice
that he ever gave me, which, incidentally was always unsolicited.
also, by example, i lived my life as a photo-negative opposite of his as well,
with certain and measurable success as the result.
damn.
i carry a whole lot of gratitude for our time together,
but it's that trial-by-fire tempered steel kind of a feeling.
if he'd been soft and sweet, available and engaging,
i would never have had the fuse lit to be the person i am.
and the wildest sh!t?
we overlap in action in waaaaaaaaay too many ways for two men
who had so little in common.
i see him in so much that i do,
and i see him in so much of what i don't do, too.
those echoes of influence shaped me from the jump.
i remember being jealous of how much he liked my sisters.
maybe he just related to them more.
they certainly shared more positive experiences in what i'd consider negative behaviors.
don't misunderstand me.
growing up, i don't think ANY of us liked each other.
it wasn't easy, and that many super-strong personalities were bound to make friction.
that's the thing though-
nature wins.
yup.
that DNA  is powerful stuff,
and we all forged new paths from that forgeworld cauldron of fire and force.
you can't change what you're made out of, you just get to pick what you do with it.
i'm grateful for the time we spent as two adults,
as two men,
as abrasive sh!t-talking hammerheaded hamden warriors,
as unique individuals doing our damned best to find SOMEthing to unify our time together.
it was literally never easy.
the effortlessness of others was never going to be how we did our things.
and that's not bad.
it's not a measurement of quality.
it's reality.
we had hard styles, and hard times, and harsh language, and hard feelings,
and all of it couldn't stop us from finding time for each other almost every single day.
THAT'S the real truth.
he told me a lot of things, and i heard 'em all.
jeez, he repeated himself a LOT.
there's a definite family resemblance there.
i may not ever have as close a kinship as my ma did with him.
i may not have the memory of him that my sister does, either.
but i still love him, and i miss him;
never quiet, never soft.....

TACO TUESDAY!

y'ever had those real-real tortilla jauns?
no?
those mexico-style double stackers are dope.
if i'm gonna do those corn tortillas,
i'm gonna have to do 'em like they were meant to be done.
check it:

TWO tortillas per taco.
that's authentic.
the rest is radical vegan crOmble nerdism.
-
so that's eight soft corn circles, toasted.
and cilantro, lettuce, red chili, jalapeno, white onion,
and AVO-F*ING-CADO.
plus a lime juice/red onion/cilantro/tomato pico de gallo,
with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
-
AND that crOmble is pretty expert, too.
1/4 cup black rice.
1/4 cup black beans.
1/3 cup gluten-free veggie-'meat' crumbs.
smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, lime, and tamari,
plus GPOP, and a true-life little onion and garlic, too,
sauteed in a hot pan with a splash of oil.
simple af, but delicious as heck.
-
and did i douse 'em with ho'sauce?
yep.
texas pete is on the menu.
what? you want some fancy ones?
ok.
when you make yours you can go wild.
these only needed a simple tangy tart spice upgrade,
so i acted accordingly.
you don't HAVE to go crazy to have something fancy.
i mean,
don't let me stop you just keep in mind you can take it easy, too.
i won't judge you.
out loud, anyway.
***********
spanning time with my people.
it's important.
like sunlight, or vitamins, or clean air.
the small ones are happier than the big ones,
the big ones have more to say than the small ones,
and the fully-grown ones are quiet and unhappy.
but, i still make time for everybody.
it feels sometimes like i only have cursory connections at a peripheral level.
i know it's more than that, but, is it, though?
i mean, really, we only care as much as we have time to.
and i deeply understand how time is the single least cooperative element
in the known universe.
so, i take time, and i make time, and i spend time, and i invest time
in all the people who intertwine their space and their faces with mine.
it will never be enough,
and it always feels like i'm operating at a deficit.
work goes too fast.
days go too fast.
drives take too long.
mornings are over before i finish my cuppa tea.
and i've got all these feelings about all these people,
and i've got all these things i want to do,
and all these things i need to do,
and some of both, and a lot of neither,
and it's ALL really happening,
a counterintuitive clockwise spiral downwards-
there's a bottom somewhere at the end of this tunnel,
and i'm hoping that it's working more like a wormhole leading to a new thing,
and less like i'm just some dumb A*-hole wasting time.
the only way to find out is to keep going;
never quiet, never soft.....

A-TOAST

when the avocado scene at the grocer has a new feature
called 'ripe now',
with nothin' but dark-green-skinned ready-to-go jauns
right there, begging to get scoopled and mashed and spread on toast?
well,
man, you'd be a real A*-hole to miss out on a perfectly ripe butter pear, y'know?
and am i an A*-hole?
nope.
i got homemade bread, and smooooooth avocado,
and i got to work.
check it:

IT LOOKS A LITTLE HIPPIE, BUT IT TASTES FORTUNE 500!!
mmhmm.
i get expert with it.
sliced sweet baby grape tomatoes, and crispy, crawchy mini cukes!
pea shoots and cilantro sprigs and pink salt and black pepper and sriracha flakes!
olive-oil toasted pumpkin seed sprankles!
c'mon.
i even freaked it off with scallion and red onion magic.

YEAH, NERDS, THAT'S TOUGH!!
i mean, we WANT flavor.
that's the point.
-
and lemme tell you-
those slices of white mountain oatmeal sourdough, fresh baked from scratch?
WORD UP.
the bread is important, too.
check it:

...dark and crusty,
with an open crumb and a lotta love poured in and kneaded through.
good bread makes better people,
and homemade tastes better.
not every loaf is the world's best,
but when they're right, they're righteous.
and those're the ones that make me crave that TOAST, bruh.
***********
easy breakfast.
simple food.
brighter days.
longer nights.
it's all really happening.
from sun up to well past dark,
there's so much to do.
i tossed out bags upon bags upon bags of stuff yesterday morning,
and it's barely noticeable.
that's frustrating.
mostly, because i have all these things, and with or without 'em,
the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress looks the same.
i gotta break down some barriers, or break down the walls,
but there needs to be change for the better...
and getting rid of possessions is a start,
but that's lessening....and we know the object is MORE.
too much is the right amount,
i think it just needs to start being better stuff.
y'know?
so, that's the next phase of the voyage to self-improvement.
better stuff, better actions, better art, better life;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, May 6

CINCO

tacoooooooooooooooos!!!!!
F* yeah!
cinco de mayo is still not mexican independence day.
nope.
and mostly, especially in monocultural locations like the woodsly goodness
it's a day for white people to wear sombreros and drink margaritas, i guess.
not for me, though.
i don't eff with alcohol.
but i sure as heck make a LOT of tacos.
i went with a batch of six for the fifth,
and i ate the hell outta every last one of 'em.
mmmmmm.
one more is always a good idea, y'know?
too much is the right amount.
that's a fact.
check 'em out:

PALABRA, boi!!
we got a LOT of stuff on 'em.
and that's the right way to get into it, isn't it?
you'd best believe that's the only way, neighbors.
if you don't take the taco scene on your plate to eleven,
you're doing it wrong.
that's a fact.
y'see all that?
it's expert.
it's vegan.
it's what you want.
it's what i've got:

c'mon.
lemme just tell you about how many coronas and margaritas
and modelos and dos equis is had:
ZERO.
yup.
that ain't me.
it's okay not to drink.
in fact, i'll never ever ever get on board with that bullsh!t.
but i go way harder on taco time than a lotta folks,
so maybe i'm at least doing something right.
what's on 'em?
well, you can see-
sliced jalapeno.
diced red chili.
cilantro.
shredded purple cabbage.
scallion.
minced white onion.
black olives.
AVO-MUH-F*ING-CADO.
and lime-soaked red-onion-activated quartered sweet baby tomatoes.
that's all the uncooked stuff.
and ALL of it is stacked on soft flour tacos.
yup.
rules is rules,
and those are the best ones and that means they're the only ones.
*
and that wasn't even everything.
no way.
i've got some black beans and corn-
that's half a cuppa beans and half a cuppa corn,
plus a tablespoon of cilantro stems, a couple of tablespoons of minced onion,
some cumin and ground coriander seed, black pepper, smoked paprika,
a splash of oil and a little pink salt, all stirred up and fried until the beans wrinkled a bit.
^
that's great stuff, for being so simple.
*
and of course, the big action was the pepper and onion packed,
buttery nootch-boosted GPOP and ho'sauce enhanced refried beans, bro.
yeah.
all that stuff is awesome.
and when it all touches?...it's brilliant.

mmmmmmmm.
with fresh lime squeezed over 'em?
damn, dudes.
*
i ate them with enthusiasm.
i had to bury a whole lotta feelings underneath all those legumes.
six fattie-boombattie circles of super-stuffed softness did the trick.
and afterwards crabtree and i went for a woodsly car ride through the
backroads of this little vale.
it'd been a minute.
honestly, we used to crush a stumpy smoky smoggy stink-stick,
so it was a little weird, even after a year and a half to skip that part.
he was bored almost instantly,
and i was surprised to see how much had changed in this timeless forest realm.
turns out,
when you just go home and stay home every single day for three seasons,
the landscape changes enough to be noticeable.
i had the fullest bellyhole,
and that weighed me down while i buried myself under blankets upon my return
to the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress.
i'm filling out a whole bunch of mothers day cards.
i LOVE cards.
when exactly did i become your great aunt?
man, i dunno.
but if i see a hella tight card, i gotta have it, and i gotta send it.
i had no idea i was getting so old.
but here i am with all these folded heavy paper messages,
and that's proof of it.
feelings and sentiments and written words.
that's my morning;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, May 5

BONUS

eh.
i made another 'nother pizza.
a nighttime pizza.
an exxxtra pizza.
a simpler pizza.
wanna see?
ok:

PEE EYE ZEE ZEE AYY!
wet dough, high heat, good sauce, fresh chee', and few sprankles.
there are shallot chips and fresh cracked black pepper and fried garlic
and fire-roasted tomato flakes.
the dough was fairly cooperative for a sloppy wet one with a short proof.
1 1/2 cups of king arthur flour;
1 1/2 tsp sea salt;
2 T olive oil;
3/4 cup warm water;
1 pkg active dry yeast;
1 tsp bread machine yeast...
kneaded with a dough hook in your stand up mixer,
the drill is always the same-
11 minutes of beat it up time, and a rise.
i use my seasoned steel sheet, and the stone,
and 485 luscious fahrenheit degrees.
it's pretty expert.
and i feel like i want to eat more pizza.
see that chee'? that's from scratch.
see that sauce? that's homemade.
that's how you do it.
and if you're gonna do it? DO IT.
yes, i ate two pizzas yesterday.
too much is the right amount.
i'm eating feelings and fillin' emotional holes.
i can't say it works,
but i can say it was delicious.
sometimes that's the best you get;
never quiet, never soft.....