Back to music in mid-February 2017 (plus thoughts for the evening)

Had a nice evening. My former stopped over for dinner (the first time in many months since he’s been over here) and to spend time with the kitty. She adores him. They have their own little games they play that I just can’t recreate for her in as exciting of a manner. Tonight I decided to try my hand at a recipe I haven’t attempted in probably 5 years now: Chicken Pot Pie Stew. It comes together in a crockpot cooked on low for about 5 hours. Into it went two skinless/boneless chicken breasts, 1 can of cream of chicken, 1 can of cream of potato, 1 bag of mixed frozen vegetables, a small bag of tiny potatoes cut into halves, seasoning salts, fresh-pressed garlic, nearly 2 cups of milk, onion powder (should’ve added more of that), salt and pepper — served with biscuits on the side (went with Immaculate Baking Co.’s organic flaky biscuits since they are tasty and so much easier than attempting to make homemade biscuits — will leave that to my Grandma, great as hers always are). Turned out well enough. Not fabulous but pretty darn good. Easy meal for a winter night (though it doesn’t feel like winter here lately, crazily enough for this month when we’d normally be knee-deep in snow).

Headed back to his place for a few brews while watching the show Cops. Heh  Yeah, we’re super-cool like that. cool  Chatted about memories from Memphis and New Orleans trips and he reminisced about his run-ins with local cops back in the day (nearly two decades ago). Casual Friday night chit-chat before he headed to bed to rest up after a long, hard work-week. And now I am back home with a few tunes on the brain, per my norm.

One that keeps running through my mind this week is Moby’s “One of These Mornings”:

Beautiful song. Comes back across my radar from time to time.

While over at his place I did read a couple articles in last week’s newspaper, and come to find out the two main stories on the front page both relate with a woman I used to volunteer alongside in that Quaker peace-community organization years back. She’s a Hispanic woman from a South American country (if memory serves me right) who offers counsel to other local Hispanics (who make up our largest minority in this city and state). There’s local talk about trying to turn our public schools into “sanctuaries” for illegal immigrant students. These are K-12 schools, not colleges as I’ve heard about in states like California. But one article stated that the agreement they arrived at does not block school officials from cooperating with federal immigration officials if ever contacted by them, though they have yet to ever be contacted by ICE officials, the article reported. So it appears to mostly be a symbolic gesture in that regard, which I don’t have a major problem with so long as it’s not taken too far beyond that. I’m cool with the Hispanic residents we have around here and have never had trouble of any sort with any of them. Seem like fine people to me. Many of them work very hard and aim to stay out of criminal mischief, so that’s good. BUT problems do arise when it comes to the question of receiving government aid and whatnot — it’s a matter that will have to be reckoned with and sorted out as time goes on. Just so that it can be resolved and handled in an effective manner, hopefully.

Anyway, there was a fairly large protest staged downtown recently, come to find out, where reportedly hundreds of migrant Hispanics and Muslims and their allies showed up trying to press for more “sanctuary” measures in this state. Heard about it the other day but rarely go downtown and so didn’t see the protest myself. This woman I used to volunteer alongside with is proving to be a focal point in these stories because she provides legal and social aid to Hispanic immigrants, some of whom she claims are receiving more discrimination “over the last 9 months” (to quote from the article) than ever before in this city. Hard to imagine since I’ve never heard anyone here locally express anything but respect toward our Hispanic residents (and people do seem to love to tell me their racial grievances behind closed doors). Have heard some grumbling about some of the Muslims here, but that’s obviously a separate matter since they belong to completely separate cultures and religions. The concerns she relayed didn’t sound terrible. No beatings or attacks. Claims of some bullying in schools, whatever that might amount to. We’re a relatively crime-free area, particularly on this side of town, and so I’m imagining some classmates probably said some rude stuff to one another over the Trump election. As is to be expected among youths. We weren’t any nicer toward one another in the ’80s or ’90s, I promise you that much.

Still, I can see where she’s aiming to make her organization and her position within it seem more relevant in light of current mainstream media hysteria. Not that she seemed to have many local stories to work with or at least didn’t describe specific cases where we might become alarmed. All this pushing for “sanctuary” protection from the federal government is kinda odd though. Our state has been good about taking in refugees in the past, and we’re overall a pretty dang friendly community. Lots of caring people around who aren’t squalling to have people deported — quite the contrary. Myself included, when it comes to law-abiding Hispanics in particular. So when she says that some of her people don’t feel as safe here anymore, I’m wondering how much of that has to do with their perceptions changing due to current events in the news. Because locally we seem to be very abiding and helpful and not looking to sabotage these folks’ interests for nefarious reasons. Probably couldn’t ask for a better community than the one we’ve stumbled upon here. I know my gratitude has been growing since relocating to this area a little over a decade back. Good economy, plenty of job opportunities, friendly residents for the most part, low crime rate (compared to plenty of other big cities), greater respect for social freedom (in terms of choice of religion, political views and sexual orientation, especially compared to small towns in the Deep South), good quality utility companies and road crews and the like, etc. PLUS the cops and city councilpersons interviewed in the articles expressed care about hearing from their ethnic communities and stated they shouldn’t be afraid to report crimes regardless of their immigration status. This is probably the best a lot of us out here can hope for, so why people keep complaining over every little thing they can find to niggle about (on the front page of the local newspaper, no less) remains a bit of a mystery to me. Not saying that in anger, just in earnest.

Sometimes we’re better off counting our blessings. For they too might be gone one day…

Returning to music. Ground Up’s “People”:

Footage there was from my last South-bound trek back in 2016. Probably already posted that song on here before, but it’s still playing regularly in my car.

A song I have yet to entirely tire of, Red Rider’s “Lunatic Fringe”:

Lunatic fringe
In the twilight’s last gleaming
This is open season
But you won’t get too far
Cause you gotta blame someone
For your own confusion
We’re on guard this time
(On guard this time)
Against your final solution …

We all contain gremlins. Bad ideas, bad inclinations. Troublesome desires at times. Rage and wrath. Comes with the territory of being human. Good to ponder on that during calm moments too.

“Lord Have Mercy On Me” by Junior Kimbrough:

Another playing regularly in my car in recent months. Never tire of that one in particular. A prayer in a song.

“Burnin’ Sky” by Bad Company:

That one plays in my car regularly too.

Another personal favorite, “Ride With Yourself” by Rhino Bucket:

Footage there shown from my 2013 South-bound trek.

Another good one, “It Keeps You Runnin'” by The Doobie Brothers:

“Song to the Siren” by This Mortal Coil:

Very pretty song. Solemn and humbling. Like a prayer unto itself.

“Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve:

Loved that one since it came out in the late ’90s. Never tire of it.

I can’t change my mold. No, no no …

Have you ever been down? …

Another I rarely tire of, “Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles” by Captain Beefheart:

Far as I can see she loves me …

I can’t see what she sees in a man like me, but she says she loves me …

Hmmm…

“Mea Culpa” by Enigma:

Sometimes we prove to be the “bad guys” in other people’s lives, whether we set out to do so intentionally or not. Stupid decisions can leave marks for many years, come to find out. Doesn’t require an external authority to teach one this lesson either. And sometimes our pain winds up being our best teacher. Hard lessons learned can prove to be a godsend.