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Too Much Reverb, I Can't Hear the Music

So I should have known better.  Once again I signed up for something I probably shouldn’t have.  My mind was cashing checks my body isn’t able to cash.  Well, not so much my body, but my lack of time.  Okay – backtrack a bit – this is all about my good intentions and giving myself a prod to contribute written work more frequently to my LJ page.  So, in that spirit, I signed up for this Reverb Project, which essentially involves responding to daily prompts provided by the subscribers and creators of Reverb.   The purpose is to review and analyze and think about the past year and to speculate, project and make plans  for the coming year.  All in written form on your blog.  Well, great.  Unless you’re like me and forget that December is one of the busiest times of the year and that having time for proper amounts of sleep is a struggle let alone composing thoughtful screeds analyzing my life from the past year. Yet another little index card to be chucked into the “What Was I Thinkin’?” cubby.  All that said – I am and have always been one to finish what I started.  I’m a determined , tenacious individual.  In my line of work giving up is a serious sign of weakness and can get you fired.  You carry on, you Make It Right - no matter what.  When you commit, you’d better fill both hands and go all in.

  So in that spirit, I will now catch up on 15 days of prompts from Reverb in less than three posts, devoting at least 2 paragraphs to each prompt.  I will try to make each response entertaining, but in the event of boredom, fatigue or just plain disinterest, feel free to click away to pursue the Huffington Post, porn or Netflix streaming.


Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

This is the prompt that threw me off the rails.  I thought about it for two days and by that time I was already behind and then things in Real Life got out of hand.  Every time I sat down to answer this particular prompt, I kept wanting to say that I let go of my wife.  But I couldn’t say it without seeming to be self-serving, or seeming like I was fishing for sympathy.  My wife died Spring of 09 and towards the fall of 2010 I quit thinking about her every half hour and even progressed to going nearly whole days without thinking about her.  You see? That last sentence just seems like I’m waiting for someone to pat me on the head.  I guess its because I don’t care for it much myself when folks post stuff on the internet about their health woes or going on and on about their dead relatives or pets.  But, in my case, if I answer the prompt correctly and honestly, the “whom” I let go of (at least partially) in 2010 was my wife.  Nothing else comes close. So there.

And no – I’m not going to continue with a second paragraph on this subject, because I don’t want to.


  Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you
  use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time
  for it?

As a chef, I make stuff every day.  In the last month alone I’ve made cassoulet, tarte tatin, tikka masala, chana dahl, jambalaya, etouffe, bulgogi, along with more conventional foods like pot roast, fried chicken, smothered pork chops and rice pilaf.  To name but a few.  The materials I use can vary from the mundane like salt, rosemary, russet potatoes and eggs to the exotic like shagbark hickory syrup, annatto seed, cape gooseberries, smoked paprika and chanterelle mushrooms. Now, setting aside cooking, there is something I’d like to make.

When I was a kid I liked to build models.  Plastic ones, wood ones, whatever.  My dad liked to tinker around with building flying model planes, slot cars and model rockets. It was something my brothers and I could do together with dad.  It was fun and lately I’ve wanted to get back into it.  Dad was also a first class car mechanic and re-built classic sports cars, which we all had a great time doing.  We’d start with some impossibly screwed up vehicle from the junk yard and six months to a year later it’d be something we could sell and start the process all over again.  However, I don’t have the room, the time or the money to devote to re-building a Jag or something, but I DO have room for some model building.  This year I’m going to give it a whirl.  Model building would satisfy my OCD tendencies, but be fairly stress free and mindless.


Community. __Where have you discovered community, online or
  otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more
  deeply connect with in 2011?_

Well, there’s Live Journal.  I’d like to expand my circle of friends here, but I hesitate to send friend requests unless I’ve spent some serious time on a person’s blog.  I need to do that and participate in discussions more so I can grow my circle of friends a little wider.  It’s a time-sink though and time is always at a premium with me, but I keep telling myself its time well spent.  I’ve participated in online socializing since the late nineties and I still have friends I touch base with from those years on the old school “bulletin boards”. 

In the Real World, I’m re-connecting with my volunteer circle of friends down at the local  rescue mission and I’m about to teach a series of cooking classes to some of the residents there that are in a jobs training course.  Also, I’d like to become more deeply involved in the writer’s group I belong to.  And that’s coming along – we’re meeting weekly now, which helps with my writing a lot more and keeps me inspired.  I’m learning how to write query letters now and intend on starting to shop my short stories around to agents later this winter.


Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and
what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you
different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful._

Okay – so here was another stopper question/prompt  for me.  This is obviously some kinda hippy-dippy, feely-meely query from the special snowflakes out on the West Coast.  The three chicks that started this whole Reverb thing are from the west, right?  If not, they should be, judging by this prompt.  Look – I’m from the Rust Belt, and around here we don’t go in too much for different and we try to suppress and if possible, imprison different wherever we find it.  And all that jazz about lighting people up and finding the differences that make you beautiful just sounds like code for smoking a bunch of pot and then touching yourself inappropriately.

Okay, okay, around here we’re not uptight about smoking a little weed, but there is a time and a place.  None of this Medical Marijuana, smoke-anywhere/anytime-you-want-to shit.  Here, you burn a bone while you’re tuning up your Harley, or watching Spongebob or listening to Led Zeppelin or spending the afternoon at the unemployment office.   Or watching the Lions lose on a Sunday afternoon.


Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010?
Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans._

I’m not one for parties.  I have to go to several corporate type things a year and they are always uncomfortable, stiff affairs.  Same goes for going to parties my friends invite me to – I’m just not good in that type of environment.  I don’t drink, so there is no social lubricant from that corner, and although I’m not opposed to smoking a joint – it is still illegal and besides – I‘m all my kid has right now so getting high is just not possible for her sake. Not a chance I’m willing to take.

However, I DID host a gathering of old friends over the Fourth of July holiday that turned out really well and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely.  Some of these friends I hadn’t seen in almost 25 years so it was good that we had 3 days to catch up.  I made all kinds of food – showing off – some of my buddies couldn’t believe I became a chef.  Last time they saw me, I couldn’t even cook an egg and was seemingly headed for a life filled with stints in jail and struggles with addiction .  They were pleasantly surprised.  These friends were all my clique from high school and college and as the cliché goes – it was like no time had passed at all.  And we even got into a little trouble by launching illegal fireworks off in the heart of the city.  I’m talking large scale fireworks that you’d normally see the pros using.  The cops showed about the time we fired off a huge carnation burst that exploded per-maturely about ten feet above the peak of my roof raining sparkling fire across my neighborhood.  It was spectacular.  The citation cost 50 bucks. Worth every penny.


  Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how
did it play out?

Biting the bullet and getting a newer car.  I was driving a ’93 Caddy DeVille, but my kid was getting her license and I felt we needed to get something  newer, more reliable and less of a gas hog.  Although I did love driving the Caddy – it was like a giant rolling barcalounger; the Caddy carried with it a lot of grim reminders of driving my wife to doctor appointments and eventually that final, awful morning when I drove her to the emergency room as she sat in the passenger seat, deliriously raving in the grip of pneumonia and septic shock. Indeed, the Caddy had more bad than good associated with it, which is probably why my kid was loath to drive it.

So I went from driving a whale to driving a guppy – I bought a used Honda Civic which both of us love, although I have to squeeze into it, so I have a plan formulating in the back of my mind to upgrade to an Accord just for the room.  Yes, the monthly payment is a pain and so is the insurance, but I keep telling myself I’m rebuilding my credit and when my kid needs to drive it somewhere I won’t have to worry so much about her getting stranded due to mechanical failure of some sort.