Gosh, it's been a long time since I've posted here, and man were the flies bad this summer! Sometimes, it's necessary in the Happy Go Lucky Lifestyle to drop off the face of the earth, get a new job waiting tables where you can meet a whole town, have your third beautiful baby girl join the family, dig in the dirt growing some chickens and vegetables, join the volunteer fire department, get to know your neighbors better after a shooting incident and send your wife off to the Caribbean on a girls trip for her 30th birthday. Now that the weather is getting chilly and two daughters nap while the third is at school, here I am again at the keyboard to tell you about it. Well, not all about it, but a micro Jackson Pollack smattering howdy do shout out to anyone to who cares to listen.
Well that second sentence there sums it all up pretty well! I've been busy, and in my free time I've been fine tuning some dietary changes, reading Kevin Bleyer's Me the People (reviewed fairly I'd say by NPR's John Wilwol here - I didn't actually finish it), planning the 4th Annual St. Croix Scenic 50 mile ultramarathon, hoarding pennies, and answering Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson's call to action. Well the two year old is awake, so I will call that it for now with best wishes for an amazing day and more to follow soon.
With the uptick in life speed lately, I've been a bit preoccupied with time. After months of watchlessness, I am again wearing a wrist watch. Fortunately some of the mania seems to be subsiding and balance could be establishing itself, if somewhat precariously. I've backed off the 45 hour work weeks, I ran a couple miles on Monday, and I have found a few minutes here to write out my thoughts on the economics of time. Like any opportunity, the effective maximization of time's benefits takes recognition: recognizing when time is ripe for the taking, or found unexpectedly, recognizing one's own priorities such that time is made for what is truly important, and finally recognizing the spiritual/psychological benefit of wasting a little time now and again.
I have a to-do list like semi trailer dragging around behind me, but I am currently enjoying an equilibrium of productivity and unfinished projects, family time and gainful employment, activity and relaxation. Of course this placid experience of balance is most likely the tipping point (The Tipping Point - fantastic book by Malcolm Gladwell) to the next rush of life. So here's to hoping I can ride the wave like a zen life surfer... aka Happy Go Lucky Matty Daddy.
Now to fold that laundry and maybe clean out my car before the baby wakes up!
It was a snowy day on the east coast following the blizzard of '78 when my Happy Go Lucky adventure began, and each year it seems I die a little death and am reborn again in commemoration of the anniversary. This year has been the smoothest transition in recent memory of one trip around the sun to the next. I have more than ever for which to be thankful and have as much cause as ever to believe that the coming year holds tremendous good fortune and fun. May the next year be filled with the continued blessings of peace, love, and happiness.
Life has been a deluge for the past month and a half since my last posting. The flurry of the holidays never subsided, but rather seemed to mark the pace for the new year. I am extremely grateful for the many gifts and blessings that have found their way into my life amidst the torrent: family time, new employment opportunities, travel, and hatchling plots to highlight a few of my life's notable boons. All in all there is far too much to include in this brief post. At the moment, I write mostly to state my intention of returning to my pet project here at www.HGLMD.com invigorated by the rich experiences of the past few weeks. Thank you all who read my musings. I am looking forward to sharing more of my Happy Go Lucky adventures in the coming days, weeks, months, etc.
Have the best day ever!
Seasonality - Season with Personality or Spicy Personality: Baking, Snow Sports and Old School Commercials
I woke up in a cloud this morning, literally - total white out. We got maybe an inch or two of the fluffy white stuff to put us in the Christmas spirit, and as the sun rose in the sky it became evident that today would be 'splitter' as my climber friends of a decade ago were fond of saying. (A quick google search didn't turn up much in the explanation of this term, but I take it to mean a cloudless blue sky. Any disambiguation in the comments with regards to this term would be much appreciated.) So, today became the day for my four year old's first adventure on skis. After 30-40 minutes (Do I exaggerate? Maybe a little, but not much.) of dressing, bundling, mittening, hatting and the like we were out in the brilliant sunshine and fresh snow. In spite of the requisite screaming and crying from both the four year old* and the one year old (She fell off the stationary sled face first into the snow.) we had a very satisfactory adventure.
Aren't they cute! You could send them to college just by actively engaging our sponsors.
*So, my four year old is one of those observational learners, who often meets the direct instruction of mom and dad with abrupt fits of screaming and crying. She loves to watch others learning and then figure it out on her own, whereas direct instructions that do not meet with instant success are very challenging.
So we reached our limit shortly after making it around the side of the house and had a sleigh ride back. All in all, I call it a total success. Much like yesterday's baking extravangaza, though not without it's hazards.
I donned my mother's old apron, which doesn't fit as well as it did when I was ten, to bake some of my family's traditional recipes. I even got to use my ulu to chop the walnuts and find out just how sharp it really is. (Ulu Tip: If you need a hand to keep the nuts in the chopping bowl while you chop, there are too many nuts in the bowl. KEEP HANDS CLEAR OF BLADE!) Though a little slower going with only one thumb, I still ended up with close to six dozen delicious treats to share with family and friends this coming week. Yum!!
For all you voyeurs out there, here is a peek in the bag of goodies I'll be heading out with tonight:
Well, that just leaves old school commercials. Up until I saw this one shared by a friend of mine (I'm still not sure why.) I might have wished you a Happy Go Lucky Christmas.
Now the only thing I can think of after watching that, is to wonder: Will we look back in five or six decades and view present day processed food commercials in the same way? I hope you are all happy and healthy this holiday season. Have the best one ever! Peace.
It seems like I've been living life through a kaleidoscope lately, and while confusing at times, it's probably best described as awesome. The plumbing situation was resolved successfully, our landlords love us (or at least appreciate us relative to past tenants). I came upon an extremely distressed motorist and helped push her car out of the snow onto the road, whereupon I noticed the severe front end damage, hysterical emotional distress, and the trajectory of her vehicle's path off the road; so I called in her plates to the local sheriff's office. I followed my wife's lead with a bout of the puking disease; fortunately the children have been spared thus far (knock, knock, knock). Somehow I experienced a 24 hour flu in the span of eight hours. It was a truly incredible, if not enviable, experience, the details of which are not fit for civilized discussion, but I was able to incorporate much of what I related in my previous post and breathe through it.
After this past week's craziness, a shift behind the bar seemed like a breather, and I was off in time to catch my friend Rob playing music at the roastery. I was treated to an evening of music with friend's. One of whom had his son in attendance who found a glove which prompted me to inquire as to my wife's lost black leather glove of weeks ago. Random story short: my wife's glove was in the trash (mostly dry paper goods) because they had finally decided that after weeks they weren't going to keep this lost glove around any longer. After brushing off some cocoa powder, I am confident that I will be a hero for reuniting a favorite pair of gloves. Life is funny (not always laughably enjoyable, but definitely entertainingly peculiar), big or small.
Simple. Unavoidable as a living being. One of the most powerful acts that everyone has available to them. Breathing with awareness and intention is the most beneficial step you can take for mind, body and spirit.
When the Happy Go Lucky Tank is running low I breathe.
Screaming children, spilled beverages, mountains of laundry, and almost any other situation I can imagine benefits from some nice deep breathes.
There are long standing traditions of exercise based on breathing. Yoga, Tai Chi (or more broadly Qigong), meditation, all rely on attention focused on breathing to align the body and mind with health.
So, as puking disease strikes my household and I await the plumber with the contents of my closet on my bed (the access to the pipes is in my closet), I have the power of breath on my side.
Have a nice deep breath, relax your body as you feel the energy flowing to the tips of your nose/fingers/toes, and have the best day ever!
Here is my morning view cruising down the road:
Pretty darn amazing! I like to get out on foot and wander in the wilderness for hours, days, or weeks, but when I have other priorities keeping me in civilization I sure do appreciate when this is what I see through my windshield. Of course my windshield is not that clean, so I had to hang out the window (we pulled over and stopped) while my four year old is saying in the back seat, "Can we GO now!"
Now, I have time to write in the middle of the day because my girls are tuckered out from a morning at the pool. We invested in a year long family membership at the local hot spring fed pool, and I am determined that we get our money's worth. So this morning I spent an hour and a half in 98F degree water with a 100 meter swim in the cold pool (80ish degrees F). My one year old inevitably falls asleep in the car on the way home, but today I brought enough snacks to fill her up for a long nap (2 hours and counting). The four year old even fell asleep in the car on the way home. Life is good. Happiness is that simple. Have the best day ever!
I worked at the local roadhouse, The Coyote Cantina, tonight. While I end up serving tables more at this time of year than tending bar, which is my job title, I've got beverages on the brain. It was a fairly slow night, but I was graced with a table of beautiful young ladies (my wife and two daughters). It made me think of some principles of bartending that I figured I might as well share. But first a word from out sponsors...
Confession: I've never been to any bartending schools (or bar tending schools, as is more grammatically correct; however, most people commonly use bartend and bartending as a single word. To complete this tangent, I'll point out that bartender, the noun, is grammatically correct as one word. Go figure). I haven't taken bartending classes online or otherwise. I don't hold a bartenders certification or bartenders license, but I do have 20 years experience in the field which, being in my early thirties, I relish. I have long enjoyed mixing (and tasting) a variety of concoctions. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about beer, wine, mixed drinks, and have worked as a tea tender and barista in addition to a more common pourer of libations.
At any rate, what these three lovely ladies brought to mind as regards drinks is the importance of basics. Personally, I find the virgin cocktail to be a perfect proving ground for testing the basics, but first... I wish this didn't need to be said, but keep it clean. Polished glasses and a tidy work space do wonders for effective beverage service. As Happy Go Lucky Matty Daddy's mother used to say, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness."
Now that we have that out of the way, why is the virgin cocktail such a quintessential demonstration of one's bartending skills? Well, I'm glad you asked (or rather I asked rhetorically on your behalf). Without the inebriating effects of alcohol to conceal one's skill at mixology, there is only the cocktail itself, and it begins with a name. While Willy would have us believe that a rose otherwise named would still smell as sweet, I assert that a Virgin Margarita or Virgin Sea Breeze (the drinks of choice for my table of sirens) tastes much better than sweet and sour mix with sprite or watered down cranberry juice.
Virgin Cocktail Bartending Tip: Most mixers are overly sweet because they are designed to be mixed with alcohol. Use something light to cut the sweetness like soda water, sparkling water, or even just some flat water. Brought to you by our sponsors:
Finally and most importantly, cocktails (and especially virgin cocktails) should look amazing, special, extravagant, and generally wow! It is commonly mentioned in the culinary profession that a dish is first enjoyed with the eyes, and drinks are no exception. (This is where having a tidy work space comes into play. You wouldn't want to view the Mona Lisa from the middle of a landfill, would you?) Fresh fruit, colors (from various juices or syrups) salted or sugared rims, decorations of all sorts make a drink stand out. Consider the Shirley Temple. It's essentially still a lemon/lime soda, but boy does a little color and some cherries transform it into an AFFAIR!
Well this random rant of mine on virgin cocktails appears to have run its course. Sorry for the lack of pictures. I'll be sure to include some when I open my bartending academy. In the meantime, thanks for reading, enjoy your sipping, and don't forget to share the Happy Go Lucky with your friends. After all if you can't have the best day ever, at least have the best cocktail ever (virgin or otherwise)!
And hey, please share your favorite cocktails in the comments section below!
I thought it was about time I spiced it up around here. One of my passions is food and drink, but I have yet to delve into the topic here. Why? Well for one it can be more contentious than religion and involve a lot of politics, not the kind of devisiveness I am eager to entertain here. As a for instance, President Obama recently signed into law spending bill H2112 which among other things now allows the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the US. According to polls 70% of you reading this will think that ain't right (if your not downright outraged.) But what if you consider the effective torture of horses being shipped to our northern and southern borders to be sold into countries where horse slaughter for human consumption is legal? Is the lesser of evils ever an acceptable choice? Then there is the question versus conventional or organic, small & local versus large scale farming, fast versus slow food, vegetarian or vegan versus omnivore, and on and on. I don't think there are a lot of choices that can be made one-size fits all for over 300 million people (never mind 700+ billion).
All that is to say, I'm going to test the waters of an often contentious topic with a relatively tame facet (now that I've already ruffled some feathers): Hot Sauce!
Before getting into the recipe for my first batch of hot sauce here are a couple disclaimers:
No horses were harmed in the production of this hot sauce!
This is a vegetarian recipe and might even be vegan if none of the equipment or trucks used to harvest or transport the ingredients didn't run over any animals. But how can we be sure?
Hot sauce is hot! BE CAREFUL where you put your fingers after handling spicy ingredients (i.e. face or below the waist)!
Okay, here we go. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at the king of hot sauces, Tabasco, read those three ingredients and thought, "dang, that can't be hard!" And it's not. It gets a little trickier when you are looking for an exact flavor consistently. So if you read the Tabasco history pages on their website, you will find they are pretty meticulous about their process, using salt from local Avery Island and growing at least the seed for their peppers on the island.
Well I haven't cracked Tabasco's secret recipe, but I've come up with something that tastes pretty darn good. You don't have to wait three years, and it has some KICK!
Equipment you will need: a blender, measuring cup, tablespoon, a wide shallow bowl, small plate, and something in which to boil water.
Ingredients you will need: 13 dried red chilis, 1 Tbs minced dried garlic, 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, 1 Tbs chardonnay with some oak to it, 1 Tbs lemon juice, 1 Tbs salt. Here is a picture of what I used:
Place the garlic and chilis in the shallow bowl and cover with boiling water. Then place the small plate over the chilis so it holds them down in the water.
Let the garlic and peppers soak for at least 20 minutes (go check your facebook, tell your friends about my blog, follow some of my sponsors links, BUT REMEMBER: if you go to the bathroom, have an itchy eye, or need to grab something out of your child's mouth, BE VERY CAREFUL AFTER HANDLING CHILIS.)
Now, place everything in the blender and let 'er rip for 2 minutes or so, until everything looks nice and evenly blended. That's it. Now to play around with the recipe, try some other types of peppers mixed in, and burn the heck out of my taste buds. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, have the best day ever!
Happy Go Lucky Matty Daddy
Man, Husband, Father, Amateur Athlete, Food & Beverage Enthusiast, and Whatever Else the Moment Inspires