Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

It must’ve been a sign.  The first song to play when I hit the “shuffle” button in the music app on my cell phone this morning was Lessons Learned by Aaron Lewis.  It’s a great tune, nice music, and showcases the rich, smooth lower range of Aaron’s singing voice very well.  A big thanks is due to my cousin Brian for introducing me to this guy’s music.  If you’d like to hear the song, one of the YouTube links is here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BqSYUQI4Ck

While my day hasn’t turned out as rough as some of the things mentioned in the song, it is what came to mind just a few minutes ago, and I had to laugh.  You see, for the past year and a half, I’ve been buying fresh milk from a local Amish farm, and lately started using some of it to make my own yogurt in a crockpot.  This week’s batch didn’t set up as it should have.  Not wanting to waste the protein-rich yogurt-flavored milk (buttermilk?  not sure . . . never bought any), it seemed that using it in a fruit smoothie would be the next logical step.

My hand blender has a canister attachment for chopping small quantities of nuts and fruits and the like, so in went the frozen mixed berries, some flaxseed meal, a few chopped dates from one bag and the last few pitted dates from another.  I fit the lid on top with the connected handle that encloses a powerful mini-motor, and pressed the button a few times.  The contents were looking roughly pulverized.  But hey, wouldn’t they be easier to pour out if there was liquid mixed in?  (Yes, you can close your eyes and shake your head, here; this is indeed where it gets ugly).  I ladled in a bit of the liquid yogurt and quickly discovered why the canister is touted as good for dry ingredients . . . the lid is most definitely not of the tight seal variety.

OK, then, Plan B.  I grabbed a small mixing bowl from the lower cabinet by my knee, poured the remaining contents of the canister into it, and swapped to the wand attachment of the hand blender.  After all, it’s just like a regular blender, just smaller, right?  WRONG! Maybe one of the pitted dates got wedged underneath the edge of the blade guard and left too much space between the blade and the bottom of the bowl, I don’t know, but the resulting mess looked like an eruption of Mount Smoothie had taken place in the southeast corner of my kitchen.  Splotches and bits of smoothie ingredients were everywhere.  Why hadn’t I just gotten out the old reliable Oster blender in the first place?!

Suffice it say that after K.P. duty was complete, the real blender did a fine job.  The smoothie tasted good, was filling, and probably nutritious.  And maybe–just maybe–I learned a little something in the process.


Tunes for a Tuesday

Tunes for a Tuesday

Do you have a favorite song from days gone by?  You know the one . . . when it just happens to pop up on the oldies station of your car radio, and you’re all alone, you crank the volume way up and just grin.  Maybe you drum your fingers on the steering wheel, sing along, or perhaps shed a tear at the memory it evokes.  That song.

Music has always played an important role in my life, from Ragtime piano rolls played on the antique Stark upright in our basement when I was a child, to the sing-alongs we had with Daddy when he got out his guitar and mandolin; the Sunday morning church hymns and the various musicians who frequented our home over the years.  Maybe we didn’t get to run wild up and down the block and get into dirt-clod fights on the vacant lot, but we sure had music!  (Personally, I think the risk of a hidden rock in the dirt clods makes those fights highly overrated).

Now and then I clean the pile of debris off the clear plastic cover of my Technics turntable (Yes! it still works!) and get out some vinyl.  The first 45rpm single I bought was “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John.  My first album was a collection of Gene Autry songs.  Thereafter followed a mix of country and rock (and country-rock!), blues and religion and a few movie soundtrack tunes. If you were ever a collector of vinyl record albums, you’ll recall the thrill of a pulling out a liner sleeve that had lyrics to all the songs, credits for musicians, composers and lists of back-up singers. A veritable treasure trove of musical information!

These days I listen to a lot of those same songs, but from the convenience of the iPod setting on my phone. It’s easier than flipping the record over and restarting the needle every 20 minutes or so, and I can take it with me all over the place.  No pops or skips or episodes of the same three words being repeated over and over and over . . .  But now and then I do miss those liner notes.  I guess that’s what Google is for.

Ok, then, let me hear from you; what are your favorite oldies?