Monday, March 24, 2008

A Couple of Smart Alecks Discuss 60s Rock Stars

Well, dear hearts,
It's the day after Easter. We made it through Holy Week. I took the coward's way out and didn't attend any of the Holy Week services. The week before I overdid and suffered a mini-relapse of the mono tiredness, so now I'm back to napping or at least lying down in the afternoon for a while, and trying to remember that if I don't take care of me, no one will.
The latest essay is about a new friend I have made via the internet, Susan Bardwell. She writes a column (among other things) for The Angleton Journal, an online publication...well, I'm getting ahead of myself here.
The Angleton Journal publishes on Mondays, and I just read Susan's column and found that we both told the story about how we became friends this time. I, being a coward, quoted her extensively in my column; she, being a Real Journalist, did not quote me, although I noticed my name is spelled wrong.
Oh well. Years of newspaper articles and funny checks have taught me to be tolerant of misspellings of the name. I always said I married Rick so that it would take less time to misspell my last name(Tuel), but then I ended up pretty much keeping my maiden name (Litchfield), so the opportunities for spelling errors abound. It's OK. Hear me, Susan? IT'S OK. Life improved so much after the "Richfield" gas stations went away that I don't care anymore. Up until then I spent a lot of time telling people, "Litchfield, with an 'L.'" As in la la la.
So, for a good time, check out Susan's column. Web link included in my essay. I don't know if it will post as a weblink - you might have to copy and paste the address. It's worth the effort. She's fun.
Sometimes I wonder why Texas looms so large in my life. My mother was born in Texas (Corsicana) and grew up there (El Paso). I've never been there myself, but I know I have relatives there whom I've never met, and I have friends there and friends from there. I'm going to have to go someday. The farthest south I've ever been is Albuquerque (yes, Peter and Trylla, I mean to go there again, too).
I've been singing this morning, playing guitar, working out chords to a song I wrote 24 years ago that changes from G to A flat in the last verse, and every time I play it I have to figure out the chords for the last verse anew. I only performed it once in public, on piano, and didn't change key. It's a good song. You'll hear it someday. Then I moved to the piano and sang a couple of airs from "The Messiah," alto pieces and one soprano piece to stretch the lazy vocal cords a bit.
Also took the dog for a short walk this morning, about halfway down the incredibly steep hill that comes up to our neighborhood and back up. He ate a lot of grass. I called him a lot of names because he kept getting tangled up in the leash and getting me tangled up in the leash.
And right now I'm going to go have lunch, a bean soup that was supposed to be chili but isn't.
Bean Soup that isn't Chili
Put 2 T. olive oil in a cast iron skillet, turn on low - medium.
Chop up an onion and saute it in the oil until it is transparent and limp.
Add one-two pounds of ground beef or turkey (mine was beef) and fry on medium, stirring the while, until meat is all crumbly and brown.
Season with one tablespoon of chili powder and two teaspoons of cumin, and mix.
Now you can do whatever you want with the meat/onion/spice mixture. The first night I made tacos. But to make the soup:
Put the leftover meat/onion/spice mixture into a soup pot. Add:
1 can of kidney or black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can of garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
2 small cans diced tomatoes (no flavoring)
1 can of water, or as much as needed to make it all liquid
Stir, heat, and eat. Gets better as the hours go by. I ate mine with Solenas tortilla chips and little chunks of avocado.
Life is so damn good.
My friend Alice is having surgery today; it's serious. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.
blessings & love & hugs & grace & peace
Mary

A Couple of Smart Alecks Discuss 60s Rock Stars

One of the great things about the internet, besides keeping in touch with friends and family far away, is making new friends whom you might not have met otherwise.
The last few months I’ve had a crackin’ good correspondence with a woman named Susan Bardwell, a writer who lives down in Angleton, Texas. She is a friend of Laurie Heath, who is the daughter of David and Jane Shepherd, who were my sons’ band and first grade teachers, respectively.
Dave and Jane thought that I might enjoy reading Susan’s stuff, so they gave me the link to her column in the Angleton Journal, an online publication that Susan and her husband Micheal put out down in Angleton, Texas. And yes, that is the way Micheal’s name is spelled, and yes, I do enjoy her stuff, and you will, too. Here’s the web page address:
http://www.weeklyjournal.net/index.shtml
Scroll down to Susan’s smilin’ face, next to which you’ll see her byline, S.K. Bardwell. Click, read, and enjoy.
Besides being smart aleck writers, we are close enough in age to compare and contrast cultural icons. I mentioned that I used to dance to Grace Slick’s original band, The Great Society, in San Francisco during the summer of 1966, and I didn’t think Grace Slick was that slick of a singer.
Susan wrote: “What I remember most vividly about Grace Slick was seeing her on a televised New Year's Eve concert many years ago…It was awful, I was embarrassed for her. Her voice was OK, but never struck me as being awesome, and evidently it didn't hold up well. Janis (Joplin), of course, is still big in Texas. Beaumont, which was evidently quite glad to see her leave when her career started, has a statue of her now. I never was mad about her, and I didn't care much for Jim Morrison, either. Loved Hendrix but when he died, I was just kind of put out - couldn't someone teach classes to these people on how to do your drugs without dying?
“The only star I ever wept for was John Lennon. “
Mary replied: “Grace Slick never was that great a singer, I thought, so I suppose it's not a surprise that she isn't one now. Janis Joplin: maybe you had to be there. Recordings never captured the power of her live performances. I've never seen anyone more electric. Jim Morrison: another electrifying performer (I saw The Doors at the Avalon just before their first single, “Break On Through to the Other Side” hit the charts), but as a person he was kind of an oaf, and I enjoyed the hits but never loved him like I loved Janis. I still don't get why so many people thought he was a great poet. I thought he was a legend in his own mind, and a lot of people bought it for some reason.
“Hendrix - a freakin' guitar genius. Saw him at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, when he returned from England and began his conquest of the states. The most delicious part of that came years later when I was watching the video Monterey Pop with my two sons, and Hendrix's performance came on, and when it got to the part where he put the guitar on the floor and set it on fire, I said, ‘I missed this part because everyone jumped up on the chairs and I didn't move fast enough, so I was stuck on the ground looking at everyone's back.’ My sons' two heads swiveled around and they stared at me goggle-eyed, and one of them said, ‘You were there?’ Well, yeah, I was.”
That was one of the sweeter moments of parenthood.
John Lennon – ah, what a loss. I could weep still. There is nothing I can say beyond that. So I’ll stop there.
If you want to know how Dave and Jane Shepherd are doing down in Hollywood as Jane pursues her acting career, check their blog:
http://home.mindspring.com/~shepherd2/sheptrek/index.html

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