November 17, 2005

Dream, Nov. 16 2005

I dreamed that I was with these folks in the basement of an old building, when one of them noticed an irregularity in a wall. They started digging at it and found a cave entrance that had been hidden. We proceeded through and found this huge cavern with a trailer in it. We went up to the trailer and opened it, and found boxes of stored food, as though the place were an abandoned fall-out shelter.
In addition to these items we found a person - alive - a girl who had suffered the removal of her head. Like Mike the headless chicken, she managed to live.
http://www.miketheheadlesschicken.org/

We led her out and everyone went to a picnic. Yes, a picnic. While there a really fat woman came up and started doing card tricks. Apparently the headless girl liked this though I can't figure out how she could have seen or heard anything. But she could communicate - by bouncing a small ball, which she was given. Somehow the number of bounces communicated what she was trying to say.

September 28, 2005

Gauley River Marathon Sept. 23, 2005

Watchis called me and offered up a chance to get on a raft on Friday of Gauleyfest, to go on the Marathon run - the entire 26 miles of the Gauley river: Upper, Middle, and Lower. Swimmer from BT (Steve) borrowed an Aire Super Puma for the trip. Along with us was a couple on a Shredder as our back-up/safety boaters. Cay Hill (sp?) guided the Shredder and told us the lines.

As most of you know, the Upper has 5 class IV+/V rapids on it. They are Insignificant, Pillow, Lost Paddle, Iron Ring, and Sweet's Falls. A few years ago a friend of mine, Leslie, was third person on a Shredder (bad idea) and almost drowned on Lost Paddle. She threw up water at the bottom of the rapid and quit kayaking or boating of any kind for a few years after that experience.

I was thrilled to get a "free" tour of the entire Gauley, and I knew that Swimmer was an excellent boater - he and Watchis Shredded the Gauley last season - but I was anxious thinking about the near demise of Leslie. After all, one of the reasons her incident occured was the overweighting of the Shredder they were on; and we were overweighting our raft. Never mind the detail that two of the other women on the raft were also raft guides and kick-ass paddlers - I was nervous. Also our raft looked so little compared to the 10 person monsters the commercial companies use. Anyway -

I will never forget going through Initiation and Insignificant. That was the biggest whitewater I had ever been in prior to that day, period. I watched the kayakers in front of us throw wave-wheels. It was beautiful, graceful, scary...

Coming into Pillow, we were (I think) going to try for the splat, and ended up hitting Taco, then hitting Volkswagon, and flipping the raft. I had dropped my paddle in the midst of all this craziness, so I just grabbed onto the raft. Then when the raft flipped I was still holding onto it spread-eagled. Freaking scary. Wonder if we make it on the NPFF dvd? My swim was in deep water, and thus friendly. We collected ourselves and the raft and headed on.

Lost Paddle - I just recall being told not to swim to either shore, both are full of undercut rocks, but to stay in the current until the bottom. This would have entailed a 1/4 mile Mr. Toad's Wild Ride through big ass holes and waves. But nobody took that swim - we had a great line.

Iron Ring - aced it. One shot drop.

Sweet's - IIRC, we were OK at the top but when Swimmer tried to steer the raft it wouldn't budge. Once our overweighted raft started tracking, that thing wouldn't turn. All of us but one popped out of the raft at the bottom. I had a bit of a deep swim here, but no problems.

After the big 5 my nerves got alot calmer! I knew that we were past whatever had chundered Leslie! And thinking back about it, I realize that this is one of my biggest fears about boating - that some incident or accident will take away my love of paddling. The river is a fickle mistress...

And here's the thing - I don't remember the other rapids after that. Nothing else was as thrilling, though it was gorgeous scenery. Well, I do remember Canyon Doors as being a particularly beautiful place. I remember that we had to stay the hell away from undercut Shipwreck Rock no matter what. And I remember seeing the hole in Pure Screaming Hell and feeling glad we weren't in it.
There were several awesome wavetrains, that tossed our entire raft up and down like a leaf. I love wavetrains!

To my surprise, I wasn't exhausted by the Marathon trip. My right thigh cramped for the entire Lower Gauley, and I was glad it wasn't happening on the Upper, because I found it impossible to brace with my right leg when paddling on the left side of the raft. If that had been the Upper I would have been out of the raft...

Anyway, it was a profound experience for me. Many thanks to Swimmer and the rest of our crew, for putting up with my nervous ass and letting me paddle with y'all.


ALTERNATE TRIP REPORT FROM KIM, one of the raft-guide/paddlin' chicks on the raft.

August 29, 2005

How to reduce a shoulder dislocation

Note: 2017:  This link works: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3810/psm.2000.11.1309?journalCode=ipsm20

This is a link to a site that explains the technique I used to reduce my own shoulder dislocation which occured while I was kayaking in Little River Canyon. I provide it in case anyone wants to learn this technique themselves. I do not recommend this technique to anyone nor am I responsible if anyone chooses to learn and use it. I can only say that it was highly effective in my own circumstance, and it is what I would do again.

NOTE:  I found the text of the link in an online paddlers' newsletter. Here is the text:

Self-Reduction of Anterior Shoulder DislocationBy Elizabeth A. Joy, MD
Found on the web at http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/2000/11_00/joy.htm

Anterior dislocations of the shoulder are relatively
common, and many techniques in the literature
report achieving safe and satisfactory reductions.
One such technique is called the Boss-Holzach-
Matter method (1,2)-- referred to in this article as
the self-reduction technique. With physician
guidance, this technique safely allows patients to
assist and control relocation of the shoulder. It is
atraumatic, simple, and quick; can be used by
medical and nonmedical personnel; is possible
without analgesics or general anesthesia; and can be
done in any setting, including a medical facility. It is
ideal for use outdoors or in the backcountry
where transport to a medical facility would be
time-consuming and difficult.
The self-reduction technique has been prospectively
studied and found to lead to a successful anatomic
reduction in at least 60% of cases (1-3). It has been
reported successful and safe even when a displaced
fracture of the greater tuberosity or depression
fracture of the humeral head is present.
This technique may be employed once anterior
dislocation of the shoulder is detected. In the patient
with a frank anterior dislocation, several physical
examination findings can be apparent. The
dislocated humeral head may be observed as a bulge
anteriorly and should be palpable as well. The
deltoid muscle often appears and feels flattened, and
the patient often holds the involved arm slightly
abducted and externally rotated. Range-of-motion
testing will generally show restrictions in all planes
because of pain. Patients with an anterior
dislocation are unable to place the hand of the
affected side on the opposite shoulder (positive
Dugas test).
Although neurovascular injury is rare in an anterior
shoulder dislocation, examination of sensory, motor,
and vascular status is essential. Evidence of
vascular injury constitutes a medical emergency (4).
As with many other methods of relocation, reduction
will be most successful when done as soon as
possible after injury. This should limit muscle
spasm. It is important for physicians to understand
that muscle relaxation is absolutely essential to
successful shoulder reduction. Helping the patient
to voluntarily relax the muscles about the shoulder
will facilitate reduction.
To perform the self-reduction technique, the patient
sits on the ground with the ipsilateral knee bent 90°
and hands clasped around the knee and leans
backward to reduce the injury. Although the
literature is silent on the number of attempted
reductions, it is probably reasonable to attempt this
method up to three times, especially if the patient is
having difficulty relaxing or following instructions.
After reduction, the arm is placed in a sling for
comfort.
Patients and sometimes physicians have the idea
that a violent maneuver is required to reduce a
dislocated shoulder, but in fact the opposite is true.
The shoulder wants to be in alignment. After
overcoming some muscle spasm, it will usually
spontaneously reduce as this maneuver allows.
Counter to what might seem intuitive, pulling the
anteriorly dislocated shoulder farther anterior
actually permits disengagement of the Hill-Sachs
lesion, which can lock on the anterior glenoid.
Spontaneous reduction follows.
Finally, one should consider postreduction
evaluation in either a physician's office or emergency
department. This is especially important if it is the
patient's first dislocation.
References
1. Boss A, Holzach P, Matter P: Analgesic-free self-
reduction of acute shoulder dislocation [in German].
Z Unfallchir Versicherungsmed 1993;suppl 1:215-
220
2. Boss A, Holzach P, Matter P: A new self-
repositioning technique for fresh, anterior-lower
shoulder dislocation [in German]. Helv Chir Acta
1993:60(1-2):263-265
3. Ceroni D, Sadri H, Leuenberger A: Anteroinferior
shoulder dislocation: an auto-reduction method
without analgesia. J Orthop Trauma
1997;11(6):399-404
4. Feinberg E: Glenohumeral instability, in Souza E
(ed): Sports Injuries of the Shoulder: Conservative
Management. New York City, Churchill Livingstone,
1994, pp 344-345
Dr Joy is an associate professor in the department of
family and preventive medicine and a team
physician at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.


.

July 13, 2005

Vertical Feet Climbed With Frog SystemTally

Lessee...

I estimate 60 ft. for Sheldon.
Another 60 ft. for the climbing tower at SERA.
80 ft. for Sherwood Mtn. Pot.
120 ft. for O'Shaughnessy Pit.
TOTAL: 320 ft. as of 7-13-05.


30 ft. in Fern Cave on 11-12-05
So it's 350 ft. now.

July 10, 2005

Sinking Cove Pulldown - July 3rd 2005

Howdy. I did something for the first time July 2nd, a Saturday night - a thru trip in a cave with 4 rappels en route. This is called the 'pulldown trip' in a cave in TN named Sinking Cove. However it isn't really a pulldown, because the drops are pre-rigged. Thus, we didn't have to carry rope, and descend down it doubled, and then pull the ropes down after us. Still... it was a hardcore trip.

We started to the entrance around 7 pm. I was told to wear as little as possible because the hike to the entrance is uphill, and the top half of the cave is warm. Thus I wore polypro pants, my cordura caving bibs, a NRS neoprene bra, and my kneepads.
I asked if I should wear my elbow pads, and was told by a guy named Shane that they weren't necessary. This is the last time, ever, that I am going to be talked out of wearing knee or elbow pads. My arms were bare during the entire trip, and this morning they are cut, scraped, and bruised. Very attractive. My family was appalled yesterday when I showed up for my brother's bbq. It looks like I was in a fight, which I badly lost.
Our group was Shane, David the trip leader, me, a man whose name I can't remember, and his two teenaged sons. The boys were cocky at first but by the end of the trip they were rather subdued in their demeanor. I think the fact that they were in shortie wetsuits with no elbow OR knee pads might have contributed. We also had a guy with us who I think is named Alan, who routed back to camp once he got to the entrance. He had changed his mind for whatever reason. I know he had done the trip before.

The first part of the trip involves four drops. The second part involves a low-air water crawl, and some swimming, so I brought my shorty wetsuit to change into after the drops.

After a steep 20 minute walk up a trail to the entrance, we had to climb down into it. This was kind of dicey. You have to hug a boulder and slide around it, above around a 15 ft. drop. I didn't like it.

Then we went down through some breakdown rocks, and through a little hole, to the first rope. It was a 56 ft. drop, very pretty. Then we went through a water carved passage that curved and dipped and was lovely. The walls are smooth from torrents of water coursing through over time.
My rappelling device is a BMS micro-rack. In fact all of us on the trip used micro-racks except one of the boys who used a figure-8. That is only the second time I've seen a caver use a figure-8.
The other three drops were also easy, and progressively shorter; the only 'interesting' moment was having to descend down a canyon by means of wedging yourself in the canyon itself and sort of controling your fall with the friction of your body. My elbow pads were sorely missed here.
The canyon appears to be around 20 ft. deep, but there is a hole nearby that goes another 60 ft.; I was advised not to drop my gear pack here because it was never to be found again.
After the last rigged drop I changed out of my climbing harness and bibs and into the shorty wetsuit. I had to carry my harness and bibs out in my cave pack, and since it is not a drybag closure I had to drain water out of it repeatedly because it would get ridiculously heavy. Now I know better for next time.
Anyway, right there we had to go through a tight crawl. This crawl is a filter for bigger persons who wisely opt not to do the pulldown trip due to the crawl. It was not too long, but it was very unpleasant. The floor of the crawl is rough, and I really tore up my arms in the crawl.
The secret to such crawls is to be patient and go slow. It is a real test of one's tendency towards claustrophobia. Well, I passed the test, again, but was helped by Shane's insistence on talking through the whole thing. Helped keep my mind off of the unpleasantness of it all. Shane, who had told me I didn't need my elbow pads, apologized over and over for telling me that. I kept telling him, "Wow, this really sucks; it would be soooo much nicer if I had my elbow pads"... got to really give him some shit... Anyway, we got through that, and to a little sandbar that you could sit up in. The stream bed passes by right there so what you do is take off your helmet, push it ahead of you, and use the wetsuit buoyancy to sort of float you, lay down in the water, and push along the stream passage with your - you guessed it - arms. However the floor of the stream passage was not as rough as the previous crawl. And it would have been easier in some ways if the water wasn't so low. When the water is up you can really just float. You take your helmet off because there is not room for your head above water with a helmet on. In the midst of this stream passage is an 'ear dip' - your only option is to turn your head so your nose stays out of the water, and crawl forward. During 'normal' water levels I was told it's a 'suck the ceiling' kind of experience. I decided during this part that my battery belt was catching on everything so I reached down and unclasped it from my waist - it drifted off and unhooked from my head light and was gone. I yelled back that I had lost my Tag-light battery belt and right then it floated right into Shane's face so he snagged it. I was stuck with using my backup, a UK 1w LED flashlight (that thing rocks, btw) but had another snafu. Prior to our trip I was attaching my gear together and I had run out of duck tape, so I had tried to secure the flashlight to my helmet grommet holes with paracord, and my knots came undone, so I ended up holding the flashlight with my right hand, my helmet with my left hand, and scooting through in the water with my arms.
I think this water passage went on for about 200 ft. After I got out of the water our guide David re-affixed my flashlight with some better knots, Shane came up with my big light's battery belt, and we went on.
There was one more 10ft. climbdown that, if it wasn't such a pain in the ass to put on all of that climbing gear again, and if we had had a rope, it would be appropriate to rig. There is a handline there which was more than useless. I found out how useless because I put all my weight on the handline and it just zipped through my gloves. I landed on my left ankle and was worried I had twisted it, but it's fine. Shane told us someone had broken his back there, so it's named after this person as, 'So and So's Downfall'. I have even thought that the next time I do this trip I'll bring an etrier to leave at that spot. It'd be my donation... the rigging ropes on the four drops are donated and replaced every year, btw.

Anyway, from there to the exit is an hour's worth of sloshing through water, and climbing on breakdown, but it's big borehole passage. Nearing the lower entrance the water gets progressively deeper until at the very end you must swim. Nice, because the water is very cold (not as cold as the Nantahala IMHO, in my wetsuit and polypro pants it was fine) and then you're out in the July heat.
This trip took us around 3 hours total.

Today I'm heading to the NSS convention in Hunstville. It's nice that it is only 2 hours or less away from my home, so I can come home and rest if I need to.
I tried to take pictures of Sinking Cove cave but being a wet cave it was very humid, so they didn't come out. Oh well.

This whole trip illustrated how much difference proper gear can make to a trip. Don't forget your elbow pads!

June 11, 2005

Paddling And Caving Tally, 2005

January 1st - Cartecay River for the Chili Run.
January 15th - Attaplex Cave.
January 22nd - Talucah Cave.
Februrary 12th - Camp's Gulf Cave.
March 5th - Mulberry Fork of the Warrior River.
March 20th - The Ocoee, Slice N' Dice park-and-play spot.
March 25th - Birmingham Grotto Guntersville Getaway
April 3rd - Clear Creek, Barnett to Jett, at flood stage.
April 16th - Mulberry Fork, low water with Panda and DB.
April 23rd - Hatchet Creek
April 24th - Coosa River, Jordan dam to Corn Creek.
April 30th - Blue Springs Cave.
May 1st - Sherwood Mtn. Pot.
May 13th-15th SERA Cave Carnival.
May 21st - Heff Fest, Nolichucky lower section for a race.
May 28th - The Nantahala Ferebee to above the Falls.
May 29th - Chattooga Section .5 of 4 (Bull Sluice bridge to Woodall). Level 1.4.
June 4th - 5th Hiwassee both days.
June 18th - Class on the Nantahala with Juliet of Endless River Adventures.
June 19th - Hiwassee with K1chik, Gauleyguide, and his friend Grant.
June 25th - Rolling Practice, Oak Mtn. Lake.
July 3rd - Sinking Cove Cave, pulldown trip
July 4th - 8th - NSS 2005 Convention, Huntsville, Al.
July 5th - Rebelay training, Grissiom HS gym, 2005 NSS Convention.
July 6th - O'Shaughnessy Pit, 120', Monte Sano state park, Huntsville Al.
July 7th - Shelta Cave, brief trip, Huntsville Al.
July 8th - Cleanup at sink above Natural Bridge Cave, Al.
July 16th - Bangor Cave, brief visit to the entrance to Green's Well, Survey of entrance to Maxwell Cave.
July 17th - Mulberry Fork. Level 1.5 ft. on the bridge.
July 23rd - Hiwassee, level one generator (yuck!)
July 24th - Hiwassee, normal level (two generators), from above Oblique Ledges to takeout.
July 30th - Locust Fork, Level 2.7, Hwy 79 bridge to Swann Covered Bridge. Trip Report
July 31st - Coosa, Level 6,000 cfs. Trip Report
August 6th - Guffey Cave
August 7th - Coosa, Level 8,000 cfs.
August 14th - Coosa, Level was supposed to be 4,000 but I think it was 10,000!
August 20th - Snail Shell Cave.
August 27th - Hiwassee normal level.
August 28th - Hiwassee normal level, put on at Towee Creek.
September 4th - Coosa Level 4,000 cfs.
September 5th - Oak Mtn. Lake.
September 10th - Oak Mtn. Lake. Handpaddling.
September 11th - Coosa level 6,000 cfs. Handpaddling. Trip Report
September 17th - Hiwassee normal level. Handpaddling.
September 18th - Hiwassee normal/low level. More than 1 but less than two generators? Is that possible? Handpaddling.
September 23rd - Marathon Run, the entire Gauley River.
October 1st - Nantahala River, minus falls. Handpaddling.
October 2nd - Nantahala River, minus falls. Handpaddling. Trip Report written by K1chik.
October 28th - Nantahala River, minus falls. Handpaddling.
October 30th - Nantahala River, Ferebee to above the falls, Handpaddling. PICTURES here.
Trip Reports here, here (shudder), and here.
November 12 - Fern Cave, to Helectite Heaven. Pictures here.
November 13 - Oak Mtn. Lake. Handpaddling And with a Paddle.
November 26th - Coosa, level 2,000 cfs.
December 31st - Toccoa, level 357 cfs.

SWIM TALLY, 2005

1. Screaming Left Turn, Chattooga Section 3.5, May 30th, level: 1.4. Due to: operator error. Not going far enough left in that left turn!

2. Three Chutes Rapid, Hiwassee River, June 4th, level: two generators. Due to: massively vertical ender with moon-walk on foot blocks. And carping on roll attempt.

3. Thread The Needle, Hiwassee River; June 19th, carped on roll attempt after failed stern squirt.

4. Put-In, Mulberry Fork, July 17. Tried to roll while under someone else's boat. Don't ask.

5. 360 spot, Coosa River, July 31st. Missed roll.

6. Below 360 spot, Coosa River, August 7. Missed roll.

7. At Coosa Put-in. September 11th. Missed handpaddle roll.

8. At lunchstop on the Hiwassee. September 17th. Missed handpaddle roll.

9. and 10. Gauley River. Swam out of raft at Pillow rapid and Sweet's Falls.

11. Toccoa, One For The Road rapid. Carped on roll attempt. What a way to end a year!

March 6, 2005

hey now.

Hey. Went to Sharon Lewis' building downtown and saw several bands, and celebrated my friend Heather Spencer's birthday. Great band - Trees with Bells, my friend Opal (or is it Katie now?) South is the cellist.
Thoughts - thinking about renting a space from Sharon, setting up my big ol' Marshall half-stack, and having - gasp - a practice room, at least for a couple o' months.
I haven't been able to practice through the Marshall since I quit the Ticks (and thus lost practice space) in 1997. The cabinet is in my kitchen and the head is in my bedroom. The power cord is lost somewhere in the mess. But damn, the thing just ROCKS. I promise.

February 15, 2005

February 15 2005

I am bored.
Seriously, fundamentally, I am bored. It's not that I do not have things that I do. I am busy most weekends. But I don't have a goal right now. I am meandering purposeless like a little flatwater stream whereas I prefer plummeting through a rock canyon like a whitewater creek.
Thus, right now I am watching movies.

You must understand. I haven't lived with a TV since June of 1996. I watch movies on my computer. I've never been a big fan of movies. I might see two movies a year in the theater, but several of my friends are movie nuts and watch tons and tons of them, at the theater and at home. So I am going to ask them what movies I should rent, because I have no idea what's out there.
Not that watching movies gives me any relief from my purposelessness. It's just something to fill the space, the empty space, that is my life.

January 29, 2005

Pasta with faves and ricotta

Pasta with faves, ricotta, and fennel – straight from my mom.


Green faves
If in a can, have to shell them.
But if in a jar, you can see that they are small, green, and no shell – prob. from Greece.

Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil until clear.
Pour faves in that and simmer.

Core fresh fennel and remove outer leaves, cut the very tops off until you get the tender part. Slice up the bulb and the top and all of it and put it in the pasta water – boiling salt water – until it’s fork tender, not mushy. Use a big pot to make this because you’re making a lot of food!

Cook ditalini pasta in the water. Drain the pasta when done and save some of the water – don’t drain it dry, leave it moist.


Dump the faves in the pasta pot, turn the stove back on, add some good ricotta a tablespoon at a time, as much as you want, and then leave it on the stove a bit because the ricotta is cold (from the fridge) and when it’s all warm, it’s done!

Serve with ricotta salata if you have it or parmesan.

January 20, 2005

my mom's bread crumb and stuffed artichoke recipe

Get some quality bread, Italian preferably. Not the stuff made at the grocery stores! The inside of that stuff is gummy. Get bread from a real bakery like Panera or Continental. Cut it into pieces and let it dry out thoroughly. But not stale...
...it's 2017 and I will say, if you get bread from a decent grocery store bakery it's better than it used to be.  
To make the bread dry but not stale, get a whole loaf of good fresh bread that is not sliced, and cut it so the insides will show, i.e. down the middle (longways) to expose the white. Then cut it again into big pieces. Then leave them out on the counter on a tray and check them, switch them around 'cause you might see one side get drier than the other. Leave them overnight for 3 days. You could always stick it in the oven and get it hot but not toasted, and then when you pull it out it will get dry quicker. Taste them and make sure they don't have a stale taste before you grind them up.
Grate the bread in the food processor.
Add 1 cup of grated cheese for every 2.5 cups of bread crumbs.
Add some green onion, maybe 3 per batch (as she said, all of this depends on how much bread crumbs you intend to make. Let's pretend it's a full bowl on a food processor. The green onion is an ESSENTIAL part of this recipe). Add lots of fresh garlic, a pinch of oregano, several fresh leaves of basil, and process these ingredients until fine and add to the crumbs and cheese mixture. She told me not to overdo it on the oregano, but not to worry about overdoing the fresh garlic. Too much oregano can ruin a dish; I'm not sure there can be too much garlic!
Buy a slice of cured ham, preferably Hamilton brand. Wash and dry the ham. For every 3 cups of bread crumbs add ¼ cup of ham diced into little cubes.
I didn't ask her about salt and pepper. The cheese and ham will add some salt. Taste the raw crumb mixture and see if they need any salt. You don't want them too salty!
You can freeze this recipe, and use it for alot of different recipes. We use it to stuff artichokes, bread pork chops and chicken...

For the artichokes - buy some nice looking artichokes that are not the pointy kind preferably - you know how some are more flat and round on the top? I prefer those.
Cut off the tops of the big leaves (use a knife to slice the top flat). You're just trying to remove the tips of the leaves that have thorns on them. Not remove most of the thing like non-Italians on TV tend to do. Leave the choke - it's easy to eat around. Cut the stems off so the artichokes will sit flat on a plate. Peel the stems and set aside. Spread the leaves and wash the artichokes thoroughly, then set them top down on paper towels to drain.
Stuff the bread crumbs into every crack and crevice on the artichokes. Spread the leaves and aggressively stuff the artichokes until they are huge. Set them in a big pot so they are tightly enough together that they will not tip over. You can put the peeled stems in here, too - they are yummy. *CAREFULLY* add some salted water to the pot, just an inch or two or three, not too much or you'll wash out the stuffing from the artichokes; not too little or they'll burn on the bottom. Drizzle some olive oil on top of each artichoke. Cover and steam until they are tender. Keep an eye on the water and add as needed to make sure they don't burn on the bottom.
When they are done - eat 'em! The larger leaves you must scrape with your teeth then set aside. The smaller leaves can be eaten whole. The choke cannot be eaten, but the heart of the artichoke below the choke is delicious.

January 19, 2005

My Mom's Suca/Sugo (Spaghetti Sauce) Recipe

>
> 2 - 32 OZ CANS OF ITALIAN BRAND ROMA TOMATO PUREE
> 1 32 OZ OR 2 16 OZ CAN(S) OF ROMA TOMATOS
> ½ TO 1 LB GROUND BEEF
> 2 - 3 EGGS
> ½ CUP ITALIAN BREAD CRUMBS (reference bread crumb recipe if you want the best)
> ½ CUP GRATED ROMANO CHEESE
> ¼ TO ½ POUND OF PORK NECK BONES OR SOME OTHER CUT IF YOU WANT
> 1 MEDIUM ONION
> 5 CLOVES GARLIC
> 1 OR 2 TABLESPOONS OF GRANULATED SUGAR
> 1/8 CUP OR SO OF FRESSH CHOPPED BASIL
> 2 TBSP. OREGANO
> 1 WHOLE BAY LEAF
> SALT & PEPPER (GUESS AND TASTE TEST AS IT COOKS)
>
> FOR MEAT BALLS OR MEAT SAUCE
> ADD ¼ TO ½ CUP OF ITALIAN BREAD CRUMBS, EGGS, 1 CHOPPED CLOVE OF GARLIC, 1 TBSP. OREGANO. 3 OR FOUR LEAVES OF FRESH CHOPPED BASIL TO GROUND BEEF AND MIX ADDING A LITTLE WATER UNTIL THE RIGHT CONSISTANCY AND EITHER MAKE MEATBALLS OR LEAVE AS IS. ps she never left 'as is' - always meatballs, and thus I do not like 'meat sauce' with it all crumbled up in the sauce -
>
>
> BROWN MEAT IN SKILLET AND DRAIN SET TO SIDE
> IN BIG POT SAUTEE ONION IN OLIVE OIL AND THEN ADD GARLIC UNTIL TRANSLUCENT
> ADD TOMATOS AND BREAK APART WITH FORK AND LET COOK 10 MINUTES ON MEDIUM HEAT
> ADD PUREE AND 2 CANS OF WATER (64 OZ)
> ADD SUGAR AND SPICES - SALT AND PEPPER
> COOK ONE HOUR ON LOW
> ADD MEAT AND MORE WATER AS NEEDED COOK ON MEDIUM FOR 30 MINUTES
> REDUCE HEAT TO LOW, COVER POT AND COOK FOR AT LEAST ONE HOUR
> STIR OFTEN AND CHECK TO SEE IF WATER IS NEEDED AND ADD A LITTLE AT A TIME - TASTE TEST BY DIPPING A BITE SIZE PIECE OF BREAD INTO SAUCE AND RESEASON AS NEEDED.
BE SURE TO STIR DOWN TO THE BOTTOM OF THE POT. OTHERWISE THE SAUCE MAY STICK, AND THEN BURN, ON THE BOTTOM OF THE POT.



Best served with imported sheep's milk Ricotta Salata, or Pecorino Romano; some good Italian bread, and a sort of skinny lasagne noodle like either Margheritina or Elina Piccola shaped pasta. You can also use something like a Penne.

January 9, 2005

Sunday January 9

I feel like shite. Sheeeeeit. I went to Rojo last night and met up with Keith and Lee. I drank several vodka and cranberry drinks. Urgh.
I was going to go kayaking today but a couple of things got in the way. First, it appeared that the local river we chose (Mulberry Fork) didn't get enough water to run. So I told my friends I was going to go to the lake and practice rolling instead. Then last night I found out that the river DID get water; someone posted on alabamawhitewater.com that it was at a great level thus the online gauge is wrong (probably stuck). But by then I had already called off the run with my friends, who both confessed that they really had other stuff to do anyway. Then my contact tore in my left eye, so it's scratched a bit (it is irritated this morning and making my nose run and generally contributing to making me feel like shite). So now it's not good for me to even go roll practicing because I could get my eye infected. I dunno. It's PERFECT for rolling - the forecast is to be near 70 whereas later this coming week it will be very cold; so say the prognosticators of weather. F Word. Of course, yes, the water in the lake is cold, so I would have to wear my drytop and fuzzy rubber pants and pogies on my hands.

Stuff going on: went to look at a lead on a cave in Talladega County. We will have to go back during the summer when it's dry to really see if it's a cave or not. It's in sandstone but could have limestone underneath. All of the water from this stream disappears into this place. It was too wet to dig out yesterday. Digging is required to push the lead.

I have borderline high blood pressure. I don't have the results of my cholesterol test yet. I have to lose weight and eat less salt and be good, and maybe in 6 months when I go back to my doctor she'll decide that I don't need blood pressure medicine (she didn't put it on me yet; I am hoping not to have to take more medicine). I like writing things in parentheses. (did you notice?) So I am following the South Beach Diet Phase II and also the DASH diet. I'll link the DASH diet because I bet you haven't heard of it before. It's a diet for reducing high blood pressure. The two diets are very similar. Essentially, it's this: You Have To Cook. And use healthy ingredients. Time is the issue, the recipes are yummy but they take TIME. No throwing frozen pizzas into the oven, or calling Pizza Hut either. No white flour, no white rice, no white pasta. As a person who used to eat either white rice or white pasta EVERY NIGHT, this is a challenge. Also no fried food. None of this is particularly hard, even not binging on pasta and rice, but finding time to cook is hard. I bought a set of nice kitchen knives and a Cuisinart as Christmas gifts to myself to facilitate the cooking part.

Hmmm other stuff: I get mopey about not having kids. I have been listening to the new U2 album alot. This lady at the cave lead (one of the property owners I guess) commented that she couldn't believe how I, and Dave's wife Valerie, show the grey hair we have instead of dyeing it. I am grooving on the Cruella DeVille look, however. I think my stratocaster is not staying in tune like it should. The high E string tuner has alot of 'play' in it for any kind of adjustment. I am considering buying some instructional DVDs on guitar playing.

I was pontificating last night, fueled by vodka and cranberry juice, on the fact that artists must associate their pain with the pain of the common man (to use a cliche) or their art is not a succesful communication of anything. What I mean is that artists tend to segregate themselves, mentally, from the 'everybodies' around them. We're 'special'. We're enlightened, gifted, better. After telling yourself this drek for years there comes a time when you realize that nobody else cares about what you are 'saying' with your art, even were you to pay for a giant billboard of it, or a screeching speaker set on the top of your car. Because, think about it: great art has a UNIVERSAL ABILITY TO TOUCH EVERYONE who allows the touch, of course. How can you touch everyone when you consider yourself above everyone? I have been thinking about this alot.



January 8, 2005

great eggplant recipe

peel an eggplant and cut it into slices about 1/2 inch thick.

preheat oven to 350.

put slices on a baking sheet OR two sheets of foil (what I did)
drizzle slices with olive oil.
shake Italian seasoning (herbs) on them.
squirt some lemon juice on them (not too heavy handed with this).
sprinkle grated parmesan or romano on them.

Cook 20 minutes or so.

YUM YUM YUM