Thursday, December 27, 2007

What We Ate This Christmas

We went to the 7pm mass on Christmas eve. We usually go to the quadralingual midnight mass but we knew that we had to get up early the next day. The 7pm mass was in Spanish and ended with my favorite seasonal song...Los Peces en El Rio. In English this is The Fishes in the River. It is an old song. The author is unknown and the tune may be Moorish in origin. The fishes want to see Jesus born but Mary is doing her laundry and hanging the clothes on some rosemary bushes.The song starts out slowly. After each verse the tempo increases until at the end it is very fast and everyone is clapping to the beat.

So mass was over and after a few words with Padre Mateo we went outside into the cold Iowa evening. I had dipped my finger into the Holy Water and rubbed it on my throat to ward off cold germs. We were hungry as we had not eaten before mass.

Most restaurants were sensibly closed by then. We drove by Jose's Family Restaurant at 14th and Pierce. It use ti be called King Taco and was owned by another Jose. We stopped by and my wife asked me to go in and see if they were serving champurrado(hot chocolate with cornmeal and cinnamon). They were so we decided to eat there. We ate too much. In addition to the champurrado we each had a big platter of food. My favorite part of the meal were the fresh handmade corn tortillas. We went home and called family members in Mexicali, Tijuana and Guadalajara.

The next morning we slept late. We got up and started cooking. My wife was the head chef and I did the chopping and mixing. We made chicken thigh tamales. We made sweet tamales with pineapple, raisins, prunes and fresh ground cinnamon. We then made posole. The red kind not the green kind. Posole is made from hominy and pork. Red homemade salsa makes this soup red. I cut up cabbage, radishes, cilantro and onions which are used as a garnish. It is served with tostadas. You break them up and put them in the soup. While we were making it the neighbor brought over some fudge with walnuts. we promised the neighbor ladty some tamales.

A few hours later the family came over and we had a party. Unfortunately the tamales were all eaten up. We will have to give the neighbors some from the next batch!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Interruption

Trying to sleep it off.
Knock on the door.
It's that fat cop again.
Same as last time.
Won't you be.
Won't you be.
Won't you be my snitch.
I don't know nothing.
Leave me alone.
Back to bed.
Can't sleep.

Old Story

Laying face down in the dark alley.
He tried to remember her eyes.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Primate's Belief System, Part 1

Do not sleep with your head to the north as it will cause the decay of the body.

Always carry a sharp knife.

Eat rosemary to help the memory.

Honey will kill some small bad things in your body.

Know how to start and tend a fire.

Bee stings hurt.

Know how to use a map and compass.

Remember the old songs.

Chew food well.

Know how to find north using the sun or stars.

Everytime that you put something in your backpack take something out.

The end is near.

The end is not near.

Learn to walk in a straight line.

Walk in circles.

Remember where you bury things.

Change talismans when they no longer work.

Eat garlic everyday.

On nights when the moon is gone and the stars are out, stand facing the north star with your legs apart and arms outstretched and feel the earth move thru the sky.

The sun sets everyday.

The sun rises everyday.

Share food.

You do not own anything.

The gift moves.

Anger is the enemy.

Eat yogurt everyday.

Tell the stories at the right time and the right place.

There are many directions.

Save some rice to give to the birds.

The opposite is also true.

There are no straight lines.

The answer to the question "What 3 prime numbers when multiplied together equals the Sheharazad number?" is 7 x 11 x 13=1001.

The moon is full every 28 days.

Know the length of your stride.

Mint tea helps relieve stomach gas.

If it is snowing, then your dreams will have a white background.

Shadows disappear.

It is not written.

Chamomile tea will help you sleep.

The rich and powerful are not.

There are no last words.

There are many last words.

Tea and coffee should be made strong.

The crusty rice on the bottom of the pan is tasty.

Here I am.