Sunday, February 17, 2008

Rosie's Kugel

Rosie's Kugel: a Soul-Tested Recipe

Generously butter a 9x13 pan...have it ready to receive
Empty your oven of all pans and large serving dishes (optional, but a definite in my kitchen)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, hot and ready
Boil wide egg noodles (12 or 16 ounces) in plenty of salted water until al dente
Drain the eggs noodles, cool a bit and slide back into the pot
Empty in a can of crushed pineapples, juice included
Scoop out & into a pint each of sour cream and cottage cheese,
Full fat, pa-leeeze
Measure in sugar to taste, usually less than 1/4 cup
Drop in 4 eggs, freshly cracked
Douse with cinnamon while singing an aria
Now, and this is the secret, gently combine all ingredients
while thinking of the loved ones who will be enjoying it

Pour into the ready-to-go buttered pan
Wiggle it a little to settle the mixture into place, filling all corners
Cha-cha to the oven and place it in the middle
For one hour.

This treat is best pipping hot, topped with a dollop of sour cream and those strawberries I forgot to tell you to thaw. Get the frozen ones for the juice.

Kugel was a breakfast treat in our home, but certainly works well as dessert.
Mom liked to start the day off sweetly.

Ranting Rights

Ranting Rights, written on a pink-violet lightbeam....

I don't trust you, she said
I don't trust you alone with my children
Hmmmm, that always worries me
when she says weird things like that
Naive me wonders 'What?! Why?!'
for a while
and then I'm reminded of the truth
A truth that apparently hasn't been adjusted
massaged toward a healthiness
gently dismantled.
She's already done what she fears
I might do.
But I wouldn't
And she would.
She did.
She passed a legacy of hurt onto her child
telling him ugly details
from her point of view
her side of the story
making me the bad guy
planting anger in him.

Earlier as we were yelling about the past
I asked
What do you tell him
when he asks why he doesn't see family anymore?
No response.
I asked again.
Nothing, she blankly (and guiltily) replied
Now if I were to call her a liar she would get all pissed off
but apparently she is
She passed her anger on.
Hell of a gift.
Is that your legacy?! screams my heart
Your heart of gold is poisoned by righteousness
You tyrant!
You martyr!
You're full of fear and you say that's the way you are
That's your excuse.

What a pitiful display
of desperate power
fueled by anger.
You're afraid of being hurt
so you hurt first.
You haven't a clue how to heal.

There's a space in your being
for courage to confront
that is empty
awaiting some speck of consciousness
some awareness
a self-honesty.
It's okay to learn.

Thank you for the multitude of opportunities you give me
to rise above
to expand my heart
to re-frame ugly feelings into healing messages, at least to me
to practice, practice, practice loving someone who doesn't self-examine
to detach so that I may have access to a child I that where your power lies?
Your lovable soul is buried under such excrement.
I'm here to practice in front of you
I pray you notice
a different way of being
with healing results.

If you weren't my sister
who I used to love
you'd be burnt toast.

There. That feels better.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Leon Russell Review

FEBRUARY 2, 2008

I knew I would find the time to wear these funky, far-out Doc Matrens. Lacing up my zebra boots, donning patchouli in honor of hippier days, I beat it down the highway, trippin' on a local rock n' roll station warming up for Tightrope, A Song For You, Lady Blue, Delta Lady, This Masquerade and more.

Third row friend and I were poised to be entertained and to voyeur the mysterious flow of passion of a legendary, talented performer. Enter Leon, eye-catching and dapper as ever with cascading white hair and beard resting on a white suit. Hat in place, shades on, he was here. After the first song I determined that Leon might as well have been a cardboard cutout. Okay, he's aged. Haven't we all. A quick scope of the rows behind me proved that. Gray everywhere. I needed a little expression of passion, but maybe that wasn't Leon's style. Gratefully, the other musicians were animated.

The drummer, oldster that he was, was expertly flailing away, the fire of youth still flowing. He kept an ambitious beat.

Lead guitar guy's long and lean fingers deftly pinpointed quick melodies and expansions of musical thought. Dark, worn jeans stuck to his long skinny legs, almost revealing the music pumping through his veins.

The bass guitar, now he was fun to watch. Every part of his body writhed in beautiful visual concert when he laid his hands on his guitar. I fell hard for his passion.

The keyboard (besides Leon's) was adored by a justifiably self-appreciating, long-hair who, I think, was blind. He never looked at the keyboard....but he did look inward. His facial expressions told a story of pure pleasure at what he was able to do, and his closed-lip, broad smile seemed to revel in acknowledgment. His fingers moved freely like a bird flitting, lifting and landing easily, the mechanics well-ingrained. This guy knew his instrument. He felt it. And he let us know that.

Oh, haven't I mentioned the sound yet??

I was so engrossed in the visual performance because I was aurally overwhelmed. It was too loud to hear. My discrimination picked through the murky, messy collage to find Leon. I could only locate him with ears held tightly shut. And then I felt like Randy on American Idol: "Dude, you're really pitchy, man." Happily, there were sweet moments in his soulful ballads when my searching heart was thrown a life-raft and I connected with the sound I remembered.

Then something like a prayer was answered. Leon moved. He lifted his dark glasses and looked at us. Sensitive and bright, his eyes lit up a kind face.....and beat a path to my heart. I like seeing the man behind the music. I need the human connection for a little meaning.

With the connection to The Man made, I was as content as I could be considering I was having to survive the highest decibel level from each instrument on stage. Sound check anyone? Sooooooooound cheeeeeeeeck!!!! I took a quick glance at my friend to see how she was faring. Pre-concert, her smile filled her face, rosy with the expectancy of a musical treat. Now she looked bland with facial features being drawn, almost disappearing into a silent scream of "Get me outta here!" I turned to check out the rest of the audience behind us. Gray heads were numbly bobbing.

The noise friend was first up and first out while me and my zebra boots followed, albeit wobbly from the quiet after-shock. It was a night to remember.

Grateful acknowledgment to Jackie Wessel (bass guitar/vocals), Chris Simmons (guitarist/vocals), Brian Lee (keyboards/vocal), and Grant Whitman (drums) who, in a better-suited venue for a musical concert, would most assuredly have been the treat of a lifetime. Nothing takes away from the talent and heart of the creative genius of Leon Russell. Love your songs, Leon. You are a friend of mine.