Saturday, November 27, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately. Been listening to the voices from the past and feeling the breath of change as it flows through me. There's been a lot of miles on this frame. A lot of energy and pain have passed through this vessel. I've had more adventure than most in this life and in truth, I've probably experienced more joy and happiness than legally allowable. There's a balance on the threshing floor.
I've made peace with God on His terms. I've seen His hands extended to and through me in ways that are far beyond my understanding. I've watched as His Spirit spread her wings over those who stood with me and against. I've understood hidden things spoken in unknown and rarely recognized tongues from beyond the veil. I've enjoyed kicking the adversary in the balls and feeling the protection of Job as the bastard reaches but cannot touch without permission. I've walked upright within the shadow of death and have felt the protection of creatures within the light. I throw my throat to the enemy and laugh out loud. "Come and take me. I've won either way." God's grace and satisfaction are all that I desire. I hope I haven't bored Him.
I have a wonderful wife and companion who has stood with me for nearly 30 years. I've basked in her beauty and have been challenged by her gentle walk in Christ. She is the only earthly home that I have. Without her I am half a man, incomplete and grasping. She is the burning hearth, the warmth of healing, the voice of friendship without judgement. Maureen is my spell-check. She's got my back. And I've got hers. Three chords are stronger than one.
Since I was a child I've always felt like an outsider, a stranger misplaced in a world that didn't want me. Unnecessary. Never quite good enough. The punchline to the joke. Somehow I missed the script and wasn't equipped to take on the things most people made look so simple. I was the last kid picked for basketball. The weirdo. No invite to the party. The one who got beat up after school while others watched. The one beaten with boards and the strap where others couldn't see. I was the stupid one, the image of humiliation. The discard. I'm not alone in these feelings.
Thank God that He loves taking the junk, the weak and the empty and making it into something far greater than imagined. Watching the transformation has come with a ring side seat...and a full length mirror in the center. I am constantly amazed at His unmerited favor and His eternally adoptive love and care for this laughing stock. The remolding process is miraculous and stunning to behold. Someone once told me that "little is much when God is in it". Of this I am a witness. Anything good that I've ever done, created, accomplished or have become is due to His relentless design and detail. Been there. Became that. Becoming more.
Major character flaws are still there with new ones to follow. This comes with being human. There will still be lots of "I'm sorry" and "Please forgive me" on the road ahead. Humility is earned while it's learned. There's still a lot of ME left to sift.
In some circles I'll always be an outlaw. No biggie. I've always been blessed with others to ride next to. Sometimes we travel together for what seems like a life time. Sometimes we head off for different towns. And sometimes we get into gun fights with each other. When the sun sets though it's all been worth the ride. I'll always been thankful for those that I've ridden with be they friend or foe. Iron always sharpens iron. There's plenty of tales to be told, with some of them being the stuff of legend. I was there.
It's getting cold outside again. Autumn always brings out the inner man in me. Things taste better. Laughter seems louder and the value of God, my family and friends more dear and sweet. Winter is coming but with a the festival of lights and feasting that points to our eternal hope, a time to reconnect to our potential and our willingness to give love and care. Again the cycle and seasons balance each other. There is order in the universe.
My hands are getting stiffer in the joints and sore. They crack and pop when I need them most. Sometimes they lock up and I have to massage them free again to continue the work. Man, that hot cup of coffee feels good in my grasp. Was that my breath I just saw leaving my lips or something more? Either way I win.
I hope when I lay down on that day that I'm not too tired to notice the final transformation. I can't wait for Death to pull up in that shiny limo. He better not be late. I've got a dinner date to keep. Until then I've got a whole bunch more living to do.
There are moments when you just need to stop and ponder, think out loud, blog and take note of the journey. You've got to savor the immortal and the mortal. You've got to drink of sobriety and dance in the darkness. You've got to rejoice in the pain...and the promise. The joy of the Father awaits and is here even now.
In these things I'm most thankful.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
BEHOLD!!!! Now you can make the perfect Thanksgiving Turkey just like Chris Yambar does at his house! Hot, moist and full of flavor. (But enough about Yambar! Let's get to that turkey.)
You'll need to gather the following items: turkey, 8 apples, 6-8 oranges, olive oil, seasoning, stick butter, roaster pan, aluminum foil, paper towels, stove, sink and other items that are mentioned below.
1) Buy any size turkey and thaw it completely. Look, if you can't do this, then go to Denny's or your Mom's house. Loser.
2) Wash, core and cut up 8 apples and 4 oranges. Simply cut the apples into four pieces. Leave the skins on. Put them aside in a big bowl. Trust me.
3) Look at the wrapper and note the actual bird weight, how long they tell you to cook it based on that weight and at what temperature. THEN write that info down and take off the wrapper.
4) Pre-heat your oven to the temp you just wrote down. Most stoves will beep when the desired temp has been reached. This takes a few minutes.
5) Reach into the bird and remove the giblet packet and neck. Some people love this stuff. Me? I always put the neck and liver aside for later on. The heart is too tough for me, but maybe Grandpa might like it. Cats love a little liver if chopped up fine. We'll get back to this in a minute. If nobody will eat this, then simply pitch it with the wrapper.
6) Rinse your turkey inside and out with cool water. Do not use hot water. Do not pat dry. Trust me.
7) Place your turkey in metal or aluminum roaster pan that it has big sides. You're gonna want to catch all the juices. GRAVY! You can put the white-meat breast side up the traditional way OR face down with the dark meat on top. Putting the breasts up top is traditional and great for table display. This does tend to dry the bird out a bit even if you're a master baster. Heh. Putting the breasts down allows all the succulent juices to drip down and surround the white meat, making it moist and flavorful. Rather than serve the traditional way, we always pre-carve our cooked turkey and bring that to the table so we can dig in FAST! You decide. Let your freak flag fly! Some like the legs hiked up while others ... never mind. Either way wins. (Is it getting hot in here, or is that just my oven?)
8) Take some olive oil and pour it into your hands. Pour some onto your turkey. Then rub it all over, top and bottom. You'll want to catch all of it, EVEN the inside. I always leave some hot water going in the sink to rinse my hands when I'm done. Paper towels, too.
9) Get your shake-on seasoning and liberally cover the inside of the turkey, then the outside top and sides. The bottom will take care of itself with the drippings. See? We use a combination of local and national brands. Most of you can get Adobo or some kind of Cajun seasoning at your market. I love doing the inside with the national brand and doing the outside with Ohio regional favorites like Chipotle Dry Rub from Quaker Steak & Lube or good old Uncle Bill's All Purpose Seasoning (garlic, salt, onion, pepper, basil, and oregano).
10) Now stuff those apples and oranges into the turkey's butt and neck pouch. Fill it with as much as you can. Jam it! Cut more if you have to. This is important because this fruit will baste your bird from the inside and mix its flavor with the seasoning, oil and natural juices from the turkey. Wait until you taste that gravy!
11) When you hear the beeper of your stove, then you know that it's time to cover the turkey with some foil and put it into the oven. Be sure to note the exact time you do this and add the exact cooking time per pound that you read on the turkey wrapper. Set a timer.
12) Before you close the oven, feel free to slip the neck down the inner side of the pan. You can add the liver, too, or fry it up in butter in an egg pan after you've shut the oven door. I consider it a primal hunting victory treat. Grrr!
13) Sometimes I add some raw washed carrots and a whole peeled onion on the sides of the turkey. I just like whole cooked carrots and onion this way. This, too, will add to the sensation of your gravy. This is completely optional.
15) You'll want to keep the foil on until at least the halfway point in the cooking process. This will keep heat and fluids trapped inside and not dry your turkey out.
16) Now if you're like me (and who isn't?!), you love your turkey skin crispy. YES! CRISPY! After the halfway point in cooking, take off the foil and pitch it. Pour melted butter over the turkey and put it back into the oven again so it keeps its heat and keeps on cooking. Microwave 1/4 of a stick at a time and do this every 30-40 minutes until the bird is ready to come out. On the final butter bath, dust turkey with some more seasoning. This will bake right on.
17) When the bird is ready to come out for carving, make a box or 2 of Low Sodium Stove Top Stuffing. Let it sit with the lid on until the guests arrive.
18) Take the bird out, let it rest for a couple of minutes and carve it anyway you like. It's your dinner party, man. You could be eating with the Queen of England, the Flintstones or that fat guy from Lost for all I know. You decide how to do it. When you're done carving, scoop out the fruit and pitch it.
19) Take all the drippings and strain them into a bowl. This will get all the chips and pieces out and make for a smoother gravy. Or don't. This is your gig from here on out.
20) Here are your gravy options:
A) You can pour the gravy back into the turkey pan or into another pot and slowly whisk in some flour or cornstarch until it thickens the way you like it. Add the flour a teenie bit at a time and allow it to thicken. Do this over a low heat. You don't want to blow this by burning or making it too doughy. It is way better to have gravy a bit soupy than a starch wad. The flavor will be a knock out!
B) You can skip the whole pan thing and dump it and the stuffing into a big-ass mixing bowl and toss it together. But you'll miss out on adding it onto your turkey meat.
C) You can serve the cut turkey meat on a platter, the stuffing separate and have the gravy for both.
21) Pray and give thanks.
22) Add a can of cranberry sauce, some green beans, corn, bread and butter and some pumpkin pie with whipped cream and you're taking a siesta 30 minutes after super! You may want to rub some cocoa butter on your warm, bulgin belly at this time. Let Grandpa drive himself to the hospital as his heart stiffens. What do you care? He'll die with a smile. You will have some of the best turkey sandwiches of all time for the next few days, too.
23) There you have it. The real pilgrims probably ate tree bark, each other's dirty clothing and their own children as they froze to death back in history. But not you! You had the best turkey of all time!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Hello, America. I know you are out there.
Some of you are hedging at work just like our officials are in Washington. The only difference is that they get paid hundreds of dollars for each smoke break they sneak. Instead of shooting zombies on their computers with the speakers down so the boss won't hear, they are keeping young soldiers in harm's way in foreign countries who clearly don't want them there. Each step they take could trigger an explosion that could blow them limb from limb. A handful of seasoned high-tech black ops would have taken care of our situations, but we've decided to put high school- and college-age kids into the meat grinder instead. Vietnam taught us nothing. "More brains" indeed.
Right now you're trying to keep your children in new school clothes while the elected are trying to find out how to get hookers out of theirs. With your money. You don't even get a DVD of it. Only the news people get to see that footage... and show it for ratings when the time is right.
Social Security has been robbed by "borrowers" that have no intention of ever paying it back. Now they want to cut those who want to use their supplemental nest egg out of the picture completely. The only reason why this system has problems today is because it's been plundered for decades.
Our elected officials actually legitimized known corporate, banking and Wall Street thieves who admitted outright to swindling American citizens out of their life savings and homes. When they were caught red-handed, an act that would have continued to this very day if not for the whistle blowers, they were bailed out with more of your savings... with more of your money. They didn't even ask us if we wanted to do it. Or our children. This is true terrorist activity.
Hey! Let's increase taxes on the wealthy who actually lived the American dream by seizing opportunity and sweating to obtain success. (Face it. You're jealous.) This way we can use their money to keep the work dodgers comfy in bed until 3PM each day when it's time to buy more party supplies. Providing assistance to the downtrodden is one thing. Creating a society of deadbeat grifters is another. They can't even pull their pants up. Who pays for the cell phone apps for that gang of bottom feeders? Oh, I'm sorry. Those people are "entitled." My bad.
Note: A no-loopholes flat tax for every American, a three-cents-on-the-dollar service tax on all consumer goods purchased, and a 50% import tax increase on all American-owned companies who have taken their business beyond the American borders may be some quick ways to erase the national debt; do away with the IRS and bring jobs back to the USA. Incentive works both ways. Food for thought. Radical? Sure. Got a better plan? Call your elected nut job in Washington and tell him about it.
With our system foreigners can come to America and find a way to make a solid living and even send money home to help their families overseas. People born here need help to sit around and bitch about how their monthly government handout check doesn't provide enough for them to live on. How are they supposed to pay for their new X-Box games, stylin' mall clothes, tricked-out cell phones, nail jobs and hopped-up pimp rides (with expired plates and no insurance). The man is definitely keeping these peeps on the down. That's why they throw trash out the window while driving, too. THE MAN!
I'm constantly amazed at how stupid we've become as Americans. We are supposed to be a beacon of hope to the world. A higher standard. A better way of life. We are becoming a 234-year-old blown experiment. It's very patriotic to wear shirts that remind us that "Freedom Isn't Free." Supporting the soldiers who protect our nation is the right thing to do. I'm all for it. But what about protecting the very internal way of life that they are laying down their lives for? When I see all the self-destructive government and business activity, that's one thing. That's what internal change and progressive revolution are for. When I see a nation of willingly mindless consumers who exist far below their potential in society crying about needing more assistance to party, I get kinda pissed off.
We need to tighten our belts, sacrifice our comfort zones, put less of an emphasis on amusement and entertainment, pick up some trash, get (one, two or three) jobs, make public and personal education a premium, paint the freakin' porch, and stop letting the world that we live in every day become a cesspool of decay and stupidity. When that happens, we'll not only be better and more productive citizens, but we'll also have a voice to call the corruption of our handlers into hardcore accountability. We don't deserve their respect. We don't even respect ourselves. Getting mad at somebody else is always easy. Getting mad at ourselves first, well, that's kinda crazy, yo.
I was going to write something sorta fun but had to make a U-turn along the way to vent a little. Trust me: there's plenty of time and place for smartass political satire and comedy. I'm all about the good times. I'm also all about making the good times "better" again, too. (Shhh! I don't actually think I'll ever get elected as President of the United States even though I'm probably the best looking dude on the bill and would give our grandchildren something to talk about to theirs. I'm not counting myself out either. America may deserve me. I'm just not going to let that stop me from whipping up a batch of smack-down brain food for the zombie masses. Sometimes I bring a steak to the party. Other times I bring a stake. That's my job.)
I love America so much I'd have its baby.
But with the current state of the Union I'm probably more inclined to wear a condom instead.
God Bless America!
I'm CHRIS YAMBAR and I approve this message.