Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dang Me! I Lack Discipline

I'm still struggling to find the discipline to blog regularly.  I've been thinking a lot about how I talk much less than most people I know and I wonder how all those people find all those words.  I wonder if writing is easier for garrulous folk.  I don't speak a lot because I don't know if I what I have to say is worth hearing, which I guess is the case for most things said in this world.  I'm still going to stick with this blog because I know that the switch will click and soon I will be a writing machine.  For now, I'm resorting to cheap tactics to post regularly.  Today I went through some posts I started but never finished.  Here's one from March of this year: 

I've been reading a lot of Raymond Carver and thinking about drinking gin.  I've also been trying to write and make sense of the thing I do called blogging.  I've also spent a lot of time reading about writing and different methods writers use to write, which allows me to avoid actually writing.

A while back, I read this anecdote from Johnny Cash's autobiography.  I copied the passage down because it meant something to me at the time.  In the passage he shares this incident about driving in the California desert with Roger Miller:

Out in the middle of the desert he told me to pull over, then jumped out, and ran off behind a Joshua tree with a pad and pencil.  When he came back he had a fully written song.

It was "Dang Me."  He'd hidden behind that tree to write it because he knew it was just too hot a song to be created with me or anyone else anywhere near him.  He had to bring it into the world all by himself, like an Apache woman giving birth.  When he came back and sang it to me off the pad, I saw his point.
That's all I wrote, so now I will finish the post.

I guess, I was intrigued with what this anecdote says about writing.  It's a solitary process and sometimes you have to distance yourself from everyone and everything to for the wheels to start turning.  I guess, generally this is true.  During the past few weeks I've been experimenting with just writing whenever I can because it's not always possible to set aside chunks of time to write.  I've taken to scribbling down words or phrases that tickle my fancy.  

Did Navajo women really give birth alone?  Or is Johnny Cash is full of shit?  Saying Johnny Cash is full of shit seems blasphemous in my world.   

be good and do good,

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sausage in Wilson, Kansas

Most out-of-staters see Kansas via I-70, and the interstate is no way view a state. To appreciate any state, it's best to leave the interstate and explore. The next time you're out on the highway and you're looking for adventure, visit Wilson, KS. There in the Czech Capitol of Kansas you'll find two of my favorite things in the world: kolache and sausage. As soon as you step inside the downtown grocery store and the scent of wood smoke working it's magic on the store's sausages hits you, you'll know the two-mile detour off the interestate was worth it. Load up on sausage, it's the type of treat that can physically and spiritually sustain you all the way to the west coast.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Crustless Raspberry Custard Pie

I have a recurring dream where I'm at a party, and instead of hobnobbing with other guests, I'm sitting under a buffet table, concealed by a tablecloth. I'm left alone to eavesdrop, and I'm eating an entire pie with my hands. I'm quite content, which is a feeling that pie and solitude usually inspires. Someday I will live this dream.

Crustless Raspberry Custard Pie


  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (pref. Greek-style)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 12-oz fresh raspberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, yogurt, vanilla and almond extract until very smooth. Add in flour mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. Add raspberries into filling mixture and gently stir to coat. Pour into prepared pie plate, shifting raspberries around with a spoon or spatula to evenly distribute them in the pie.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until custard is set and a knife inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean.
Allow to cool before slicing and serving.  Serves 8.

pie oh my,

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dining as Routine

I'm at home for the summer, spending my days with my daughter. Our day is divided into chunks of time where we focus on household chores, academic pursuits, and general fun. Two weeks ago we each began the day by making a list of five goals we would like to achieve in June. Writing two blog posts a week is one of my goals. I want to gain some momentum with this blogging business.

Today I thought I'd share an excerpt from John Feinstein's book A Season on the Brink, which gives readers an insider's look at legendary college basketball coach Bob Knight. The idea for this post percolated in March as I listened to Coach Knight provide color commentary for the Big 12 Men's Basketball tournament, and I kept thinking about the following passage in the book:

At home, the team eats in the student union, in an elegant third-floor meeting room. Everyone, players and coaches, wears a coat and a tie - everyone except Knight, who usually arrives in slacks and a sweater. The players sit at a long table and eat spaghetti, hamburgers without rolls, scrambled eggs, pancakes, and ice cream. They drink orange juice or iced tea. The meal is always the same, home or away. Everyone gets vanilla ice cream - except Knight, who gets butter pecan.

Initially I thought the pregame meal was ridiculous. The meal makes no sense. It's something a father from the 1950's throws together for the kids when mom is out of town. Where are the vegetables? Then I started to reflect on the meal and the purpose it served, and then I began to reflect on my own dining eccentricities. Specifically, I thought about my lunch ritual at school. For the past two years, 98 percent of the time I ate the following for lunch.


Yogurt and Uncle Sam cereal. Uncle Sam cereal won't have prominent placement in most cereal aisles. It will be tucked away from the sugar-infused throng of traditional breakfast cereals. It's a stodgy cereal consisting only of wheat flakes and flax seeds, healthy goodness to fuel the body. Some of my colleagues probably think I'm crazy. Some probably marvel at my monastic allegiance to this meal. You would think that a food blogger would mix up his lunch routine. Today I'll close my post by listing three reasons this lunch routine.

1. At school I get only 15-20 minutes to eat lunch, and since I hate to rush a meal, I choose something that can be casually enjoyed in the allotted time. Time (specifically, lack of time) stresses me out. I don't wear a watch because he ticking of a clock and the realization that my days are numbered evokes stress and neurosis in my bones.

2. This lunch routine provides me with self-discipline. I love to eat, and who knows what I would look like if I ate whatever the hell I wanted to eat for lunch. I'm already a little heavier than I'd like to be, so I tether my health to this anchor.

3. I think, the stress of being an introvert in front of a classroom of teenagers dulls my appetite. I don't require a big meal, and I prefer to be light and nimble in the classroom.

I just wanted to get the blogging ball rolling with this post.

take care,

muddy waters