It was a simple question, really. But I honestly had no idea. It was a busy day in the middle of a busy week. Neither of us had put much thought into food.
“Isn’t there some chili left in the freezer?”
Well, yes. It is quite possible that one of the unmarked containers in the freezer is the last of the chili. So I took what I thought was a quart of chili from the freezer and set it in the sink to start defrosting while I went about the rest of my afternoon.
We spent much of our free time last week taking stock of what needs to be done around the house before winter settles in. Beyond the usual furnace check-up and window insulation, our kitchen needs painting and the bathtub faucet needs adjusting. So we’ve set aside a few days next week for the anticipated multiple trips to the home improvement store. As usual, I spent the day playing “catch-up”.
When Love got home, he inspected the container that was defrosting in the sink.
“Honey. Are you sure this is chili?
Well, no. I wasn’t entirely sure what was in the container. There are six other quart containers just like it in the freezer. Three of them are chicken stock, two are chicken noodle soup, and one is potato leek soup. All of them are a pale yellow. The one defrosting in the sink was a beef stock brown. So it was either chili or stew. — I told you guys I like to cook.
As I entered the kitchen, Love was holding the container an inch from his nose. His eyes squinted as he turned the mysterious concoction in his hand, trying to identify it’s contents. He pointed at some small shapes visible through the plastic.
“I think these are mushrooms.”
There’s only one way to find out. Let’s heat it up and give it a taste. So I emptied the slushy mixture into a sauce pan and set the heat to low while I finished up the project I was working on. Ten minutes later, Love called from the kitchen.
“I don’t think this is stew, either.”
Now I was really confused! I got to the kitchen and took a look. In the pot was a brown stock with mushrooms floating around and very little else. I could identify some chopped onions. Maybe. But nothing else. We stared at each other for a minute before bursting out into laughter. We threw the mystery sauce away and ate some leftovers for dinner instead.
I still can’t tell you what was in that container. I honestly have no idea.
Since both of us were still in the mood for chili, the next day I made a big pot of it. And if there’s any left for freezing, you can bet I’ll put a label on it.
Well, it’s that time of year again. Kids are back in school. Persephone is returning to Hades. The leaves on the trees are transforming into a kaleidoscope of colors. And a chill is beginning to creep over those of us that live in the northern hemisphere. I’m not gonna lie. This six foot, two inch, manly man is a winter wimp! — Don’t laugh. I can be manly. I have power tools! 😎
Anyone who lives in a house knows the ongoing ritual required to maintain it. We make endless checklists, and then make multiple trips to the home improvement store because we forgot the list. Our South Philly home doesn’t have gutters or shingles. We don’t have a lawn or a garden that needs to be winterized. What we do have is that wretched mainstay of cheap post-war architecture and design, Aluminum Windows. I want to know whose brilliant idea it was to put aluminum windows on a house where winter temperatures can dip below freezing? And if that wasn’t bad enough, the designer, in his or her infinite wisdom, decided that marble would make lovely window sills. — Because, apparently, aluminum windows don’t make the house cold enough.
Our first winter here was an eye opener.
When you’re just getting started in a new home, and your relationship is all shiny and new, your mind isn’t on the little details like window sills. So imagine my surprise one morning, while going about my daily bathroom routine, when what felt like a waterfall of cold air descended upon my lap. — Brrrrrr! Talk about wake up calls.
Whose brilliant idea was it to install marble sills on aluminum windows?
We tried our best to be conservative with the thermostat but our heating bills were predictably high that winter. So we made a list. We took a walk through the home improvement store and made a list of all the things we could do to avoid freezing our butts every winter.
Now, every autumn, I get ready to install what we have lovingly come to call White Trash (or ‘Ghetto’) Storm Windows.
When September turns into October, I apply the double sided tape around the perimeter of each window. I learned the hard way that if you wait until winter settles in the tape won’t adhere properly to the cold aluminum, which has a tendency to sweat due to the temperature difference. The only downside is the ribbon, printed with the Frost King logo, that surrounds each window. But that’s a small inconvenience when you remember the cold flow of air descending upon your lap from the bathroom window.
When temperatures fall in a few months, we’ll apply the plastic to the windows. Until then we’ll try to ignore the little orange snowmen marching around our window frames.
Someday we’ll get new windows. It’s on our to-do list. Until then, we’ll be the couple that lives in the South Philly house with shrink wrapped windows. 😉
I have been in a foul mood all winter. It hasn’t helped that Mother Nature also seems to have been in a pissed off mood. Seriously. It’s almost May and we’re still dealing with temperatures as low as 30°F a few nights this week. Will someone please make Ma Nature a cup of espresso or something?
When I’m in a foul mood, I tend to stay away from people. It’s a lot better that way. Otherwise I wind up snapping at folks for no reason. It’s not pretty. Like so many others, when I’m in a bad mood I turn to music. What usually works for me is Pink Floyd’s The Wall (1979). For some reason, the Waters, Gilmore, Mason and Wright classic has a way with working out my aggression. It’s amazingly therapeutic. But I couldn’t seem to shake it this time. The winter was brutal. I still have a cold that just-won’t-go-away. On top of everything, cancer took three close friends within a two month period. It’s essentially why I haven’t been writing very much. Three funerals in such a short amount of time sends me right back to the early 90s, when everyone I knew was dying. I sat at my keyboard on more than one occasion to try to express the feeling of loss, but it was too overwhelming. I’d start a draft but then lose focus, which is what this post is about to do if I don’t guide it back to the point. 😉
On a mindless surf though YouTube, I stumbled onto Bette Midler’s cover of ‘One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show’ (Rose Marie McCoy, Charlie Singleton) It’s an old favorite. In this video, she’s performing it at the 1998 Billboard Awards.
It’s a fun song. Bette’s Studio version is better but, as with all of Bette’s live performances, there’s something about the attitude she projects on stage that brings a song to life. I guess it’s the same for most singers.
Because Bette Midler is a vocalist, she’s introduced me to many great artists. I’m always searching for the original singer of composer of any particular song she might have made popular. So of course I wanted to know the who, what, where, and maybe even the why of One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show. The earliest version that I was aware of is the one made famous by the truly wonderful Big Maybelle.
Truly, Big Maybelle doesn’t get the attention she deserves.
My appetite whetted, I wanted to know more. Who was this Rose Marie McCoy? Did she record a version of One Monkey? So… I checked everyone’s favorite source of misinformation, Wikipedia!
Hmmm… It’s not at all like Big Mabelle’s version. It’s good in it’s own right, but where Big Maybelle’s classic is about a woman tellin’ her man, “Buh bye! Don’t let the door hit ya on your way out!”, Stick McGhee’s version is about making your way through life without letting things get in your way. The themes are similar, but… Now I was on a mission.
According to Wiki “…another version was recorded by Joe Tex in 1965. In 1966 it was covered by The Animals.”
Here’s Joe Tex…
…and here’s The Animals.
It’s hard to choose between the two. I can see the appeal of The Animals but I like the rawness of Joe Tex. The most glaring thing so far is that now there are three completely different versions of this song.
But wait, there’s more!
“In 1972 the all-girl group Honey Cone took its altogether different version to number five on the R&B singles chart” – Wiki
Here is Honey Cone on the Sonny Bono Show
If those funky outfits aren’t enough, there’s a coked up DISCO version by Jessie Rogers. I’ll spare you. If you really want to hear it, you’ll have to click the link. I think it’s a little too peppy, If you ask me. 😐
So, what does the phrase “One monkey don’t stop no show” really mean? To me it’s fairly obvious. It’s another way of saying “Life will go on” or “This too, shall pass”. But could there be more? One could find himself deeply entangled within the interwebs, searching for a deeper meaning, but I gave it a go.
Curiosity killed the cat. …and kept this blogger up all night.
In their wordpress post, Yeah, But do you know what that song is actually about? #1 The guys at Old School Record Review put it perfectly. They wrote in part, ““one monkey don’t stop no show” is a perfect lyric for pop music because it shares so much in common with the music itself. It is ambiguous, emotional, catchy and supports introspection and interpretation.” They’re right, of course. Music is art and art is open to interpretation.
But what’s all this have to do with my pissy mood?
Haven’t you figured it out yet? Winter is over. We’re almost halfway through spring. Love and I are shopping for new plants for the tiny patch of concrete behind our tiny South Philly home. With spring comes a new chapter. Hopefully a little brighter than the last, but it’s new. Life goes on.
If you follow me on twitter, you might recognize the image on the right. It’s the very first picture I took of the cardinals in my neighborhood. It was a huge surprise for me to discover we had cardinals in South Philly. Seriously, I’ve lived in (or around) Philadelphia all my life. I have never seen a cardinal in the city.
This last picture is my favorite from Saturday. The border around the image was not added. I was shooting the cardinal through some house plants. I also had the blinds down because I was trying not to scare the cardinal away. The final result is pretty cool.
As the adage goes, it’s the little things in life that sometimes make you the happiest. For me it’s true. I may not win the Powerball anytime soon, but as long as the cardinal comes to visit once in a while, I’ll be happy.
Dear readers, the following post was intended for publishing on Friday, the seventh of February Unfortunately, as I was recovering from surgery, my close friend Fran passed away. I’m posting it anyway, along with an addendum, because it illustrates the kind of winter I’m having. 🙂
So… I had Lithotripsy a few weeks ago. Was it painful? Not really, but I do feel as if someone kicked me in the back. The forecast for the day of surgery was heavy rain turning into wet snow by noon. Great! My other half was thoughtful enough to reserve a room at the small hotel where he works. So, instead of having to wait in the rain for a bus at 4:30am, we could walk just a few blocks to the hospital.
I’m fortunate to live in Philadelphia, a city that has one of the largest and best healthcare networks in the country. We have Hahnemann, Jefferson, Temple, and the University of Pennsylvania health systems all within the city limits.
I was the first patient Monday morning. Lucky me! The staff was thorough. At every step of the way I was asked to recite my name, date of birth, allergies, and the Magna Carta, then recite it all once more as I lay on the OR table. This was my fifth kidney procedure, so I’ve gotten to know most of the Pennsylvania hospital staff pretty well. One of the pre-administration lab technicians has a wicked sense of humor. I guess you’d have to if you spent your day stabbing patients in the arm in search of a good vein.
So I was laying on this strange operating table with a cutout underneath in which a water filled gel pad that emits sound waves protrudes. The doctor maneuvered me over the gel pad. The technician strapped me in. The anesthesiologist joked with me that I keep coming back for surgery because of their excellent selection of anesthetics. I don’t remember anything after the oxygen mask was placed over my face. I suspect the anesthesiologist slipped me a Mickey.
The next thing I knew, a nurse was hovering over me with a big smile. “How do you feel?” Like I want to go back to sleep. “Fine”, I said. I really did want to go back to sleep, though. I also wanted some more of whatever it was they gave me for pain. The chorus of The Floaters’ classic “Float On” comes to mind.
“Float. Float on…”
After an hour or so of “recovery time”, I was wheeled out to the lobby where the reality of the day’s snow accumulation stared back at me. While waiting for a cab, we saw a bus and took it.
It was good to get home.
I made myself comfortable on the sofa to wait for love to return home from the pharmacy, bearing gifts of antibiotics and pain killers. You know when you think everything is okay, but you feel just a little off? Not anything major, just ever so slightly off center. That’s how I felt. The more I moved around, the less like myself I felt. Maybe I’d be better off laying down in bed.
I turned on the TV, changed into some comfy clothes, and climbed into bed. That was all she wrote. I was out! Gone! I awoke the next morning stiff and achy and determined not to spend the day in bed.
I still feel a bit sore, but I’m doing well and trying not to use the pain killers too often.
A week later, we took advantage of the break in the snow by climbing up and inspecting the roof and gutters. Because I have a longer reach than Love, I laid down on the roof and reached over the edge to attach the Roof & Gutter De-icing Cable. As I reached and stretched, I heard what sounded like a snap, followed by a sharp pain in my rib, which was pressed against the edge of the roof. I’m not gonna lie. I panicked. After a few moments, I took a couple of deep breaths to inflate my lungs. There was pain, but nothing that indicated a broken rib.
So, if you need your walk shoveled or someone to carry your groceries in from the car, please be kind enough to ask someone else. I think I’m gonna lay low for a while. 😮
We’ve all heard of Washington DC’s famous National Cherry Blossom Festival. It happens each year at the end of March, and runs for a few weeks into April. It’s a beautiful way to welcome the spring. But you don’t need to travel to D.C. to witness Demeter prepareing for Persephone’s return.
Here in Philadelphia, the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom.
It’s not just about the flowers. The Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival also features Martial Arts demonstrations, Dance and Drum performances. and a Cherry Blossom 5K. Some indoor activities on Sakura Sunday (April 14th) include origami, calligraphy, and sending messages to people in areas affected by the 2011 tsunami.