Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Year of…

A blogger friend of mine who is a designer starts off the new year by setting a personal theme. Each theme has been challenging and difficult to quantify like the Year of the Rock Star, of the Year of the Turkish Delight, but, perhaps, that’s what the ideal theme should be; a general direction. Go west, young man!

Today, Beth Cherry wrote:

2006 is the Year of the Butterfly.

I've given this a lot of thought. This is a big year with a lot happening for a lot of people I know, and the common thread is transformation, a movement from one state to another. The thing though that is most important to me, more important than my graduation and subsequent life change, will be the birth of my niece in February.

What then, is better than being born in the year of the butterfly? The butterfly represents freedom, creativity, divine inspiration, and change. I hope that it will be a year filled with beauty and a new, lighthearted perspective on life.

It's going to be a good year.

Now, that’s what I call a theme! It sets the tone for the entire year. I think it’s such a grand idea that I’m going to declare a theme for the year, too.

More about that later.

Meanwhile, a conversation overheard last night, New Year’s Eve:

“I’d love to sing in a band. But, I can’t sing. Although, I do love karaoke, but I’m too shy. So, by the time I’ve had enough drinks to sing, I can’t stand. And then it’s stand or sing, stand or sing. What to do? I finally figure it out, but, then, everyone’s gone home.”

I laughed until I cried. Then it was laugh, cry, laugh, cry.

The topic of conversation last night was, of course, the weather (what else?) but in particular what a mild winter we’re having here in Houston. It must have been 80 degrees F last night and people were commenting all night how hotttttttttt it was while fanning themselves furiously.

Everybody complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it.

I say embrace the heat. Sweating can be a vocation.

“Hi, what do you do for a Jay Oh Bee?”

“I sweat.”

“Professional or amateur.”

“Pro circuit. I travel with the PSA.”

“Wow, I never met a Pro before! What’s your average?”

“I can hold a bead of sweat on the tip of my nose for 90 minutes. 110 is my personal best back in Oh-Two.”

Low whistle, “Whoa, baby, 90 minutes! That’s awesome. Hey, you got any tips you could share?”

“Yeah, I’ve got one I could share out. I wax my spine. Not the whole back, just the spine. Then I can control the sweat like millions of tiny, hairy tributaries all over my back feeding the main channel. On a good day, say late July, I can deliver about a pint of liquid off my tailbone alone,” I paused for effect, then continued, “without breaking a sweat!”

Yep, if I could just learn to shake like a dog I’d be Olympic material, for sure.

OK, I’ve been sitting here for 15 minutes, now, trying to find a way to bridge between vocational sweating and black eyed peas and I’m just out of ideas at this point, so there’s nothing left to do but dive right in.

Black eyed peas eaten on New Year’s Eve or Day are a Southern tradition. Whether it’s eve or day doesn’t matter to me at this juncture because I didn’t prepare them last night. Eve is moot. And, I can honestly say that I’ve never before written those three words together.

I don’t have a recipe for my black eyed peas. The only constant is that I use dried peas and not peas out of a can. That’s because I can then call myself a gourmet and be snooty about it.

Anyway, I quick-soak my peas by bringing them to a boil, turning off the heat and letting them sit for an hour or so. Then I add whatever I have at hand. This year I had a smoked sausage, an onion, some strained tomatoes and the usual assortment of spices: garlic, onion flakes, cayenne pepper and grey sea salt. All that stuff will simmer in the pot for a few hours.

Meanwhile, I’ll rustle up some cornbread and fix a large salad to go along.

Finally, my theme for the year.

2006 is the Year of Discovery.

When I announced this theme a friend of mine asked “What are you going to discover?”

Well, if I knew that it wouldn’t be discovery, would it?

Personal discovery, though, is more to the point. I have some books on the back roads of Texas so I’m going to discover some countryside new to me. New restaurants are high on the list. I’d like to discover a new author, someone I’ve never read before. I’m going to try to read one new blog, at random, each day.

Two hundred years ago Lewis and Clark returned from their voyage of discovery. This year I set out on mine.

It's going to be a good year. You're all are invited to come along.


Anonymous said...

Mmmmmmmm. Black Eyed Peas... Why don't we yankees have any great regional traditions like Black Eyed Peas on New Years????

I think the secret ingredient you forgot to mention with that recipe was the single drop of Texan sweat from your brow as you stir the peas.

I'm half-Texan myself. I just know these things. (Of course, a TRUE southern belle wouldn't use the word SWEAT. We "PAR-SPARE.")

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

you better be right about this being a good year, or i'm going to be very upset, and possibly cry. oh, wait. i do that anyway.

Antique Mommy said...

Any black dyed peas recipie (canned or dried) + Rotel = Yummm! Oh, yes and put fresh corn in the corn bread batter. And maybe a jalopeno or two.

Can't wait to see what you discover this year Bill.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely (and somewhat frightening) theme for this year. And thanks for the invitation to come along -- I think I will! ;)

MeBeth said...

Good luck on the road to Discovery, I can't wait to read about the journey!

schmims said...

Every time I hear the phrase "moot point" I think of the Friends episode where Joey says, "Moo point. You know, like a cow's opinion. It doesn't matter." Cracks me up every time!

The Queen Mama said...

Year of Discovery. Sounds great to me. Have been lurking for quite some time, and finally had to tell you:

1. Really enjoy your writing
2. Think you must be somehow related to my hubby. Your passion for things culinary is matched by his. He discovers a new recipe at least a few times a month. I was a lousy cook before I married him, and now am up to marginally sub-par. Quite an improvement.

Discover on!