My day officially started with me leaving my lights on when I parked my truck at work. You see, I drive a wonderful little 1994 Ford Ranger pickup, and back in the olden days, cars and trucks didn’t have fancy sensors and computers that would automatically turn off headlights. I love the truck and wouldn’t give it up for the world, but I’m prone to “Nutty Professor” moments that make me forget the little things in life, like turning off headlights, while I ponder the great mysteries of life, or trying to solve work problems, while I drive to work.
Fortunately, one of my co-workers arrived almost two hours after I arrived and exclaimed, “You must have a really good battery because your lights are still on!” She was right, on both accounts.
I made the long trek through the warehouse and went outside and turned off the lights and whispered a silent prayer. Lo, and behold, when I cranked the engine, the truck started like a champ! Indeed! What a battery…especially since I had put the poor battery through the same sort of torment four or five times during the last few months!
I felt unbalanced and slightly out of control for the rest of the day. Some might use the phrase, “getting out on the wrong side of the bed”. I told myself that I was in for a real treat of a day! Sometimes, the life unbalanced leads to unexpectedly good things. Other times, it can lead to a chaotic mess that wreaks havoc on everyone and everything in your wake.
On the way to work I listened to the CD “Fragile”, by the band Yes, and when I was driving home, I was listening to the CD “Bloodletting”, by the band Concrete Blonde. Anyone who knows anything about these two albums, or bands, should pick up on the notion that my day was a little off kilter.
I recently took on a new assignment at work. It’s been exciting and rewarding, and it has been a refreshing challenge. Sometimes I feel like an Olympic swimmer, and twenty minutes later I feel like I’m barely treading water. That sort of back-and-forth sensation might make other people nervous, but those are the waters I enjoy swimming in the most. Swimming at peak performance and swimming to survive are both exhilarating experiences.
As I drove home, listening to Concrete Blonde, I thought of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing”.
Stevie Ray Vaugh was no fool. His covers of Jimi Hendrix songs were nearly perfect. He paid homage to the brilliant, raw power chords of Hendrix and he lovingly reworked them, (and then mastered them), and the end result was like a swinging hammer draped in satin and silk. I have nothing but admiration for Jimi Hendrix and his contribution to the evolution of modern music, and to my endless enjoyment, but I have to say, there’s no cloud in the great blue skies that Stevie Ray can’t fly over!
Listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn’s rendition of “Little Wing”. Tight. Clear. No Lyrics. This is a cover song like no other. Slick finger work, up and down the fretboard. Jazz and Rock and Electric blues, all wrapped up with strength and subtlety. What a tribute!
My journey was nearing an end and I realized that I needed to finish the work week with a good dose of pizza. I pulled into the driveway, went inside, laid my wallet and keys on the counter and immediately started the pizza dough. I always make two or three pizzas and tonight I decided on three. I knew two of them would be traditional, Italian cold cuts, beef with mushroom, but the third was still a mystery.
It wasn’t until I pawed through the refrigerator a few times that the third pizza became clear, in my mind. I found 2 ounces of crumbled blue cheese that needed to be used and wondered what I might pair it with. About a half hour later, while the dough was still rising, I remembered I had a smoked chicken thigh, left over after last week’s grill, and I knew I had found a perfect match. I imagined the finished pizza in my mind, and I knew that a slight drizzle of Sriracha sauce would complete the deal.
There aren’t a lot of blue cheese aficionados in my family, which is a subtle way of saying, I like blue cheese and most of the family tolerates it, or detests it, so I thought this might be a good way of promoting my old friend, blue cheese.
The pizzas came out of the oven, one by one, and they were sliced and presented, side by side, on the kitchen counter. We all grabbed some slices and sat down at the table and quickly jumped into lively conversation.
My son briefly discussed plans about moving into a house with his friend. My daughter gave us an update on her boyfriend’s recent bout with Covid, and my wife had just finished a phone conversation with her 80-year-old aunt who wants a pair of red ballet slippers.
The dinner, and the conversation, was going well. Until the cat made a sudden and unfortunate appearance.
Our cat came from out of nowhere and skittered across the kitchen floor, leaving a slimy trail of poop behind her as she fled, out of sight. That killed the entire family dinner instantly. Some of us jumped up to go after the cat. Some of us ran to grab Clorox wipes to clean up the mess. Some of us just gawked at the trail of mess that was left for us to clean up.
Two minutes later, my son and daughter were removing plates from the dinner table, wrapping up leftover pizza in aluminum foil, and washing plates. Dinner was officially over, and I, the slowest of eaters, still had two pieces of uneaten pizza on my plate.
“What about the pizza?” I selfishly thought. “Does anyone want to say anything about the sort of genius mind that could come up with the notion of a pizza made with char-grilled chicken and blue cheese, with a delicate drizzle of Sriracha sauce?”
As I sat there at the table, still trying to eat the last few bites of pizza without thinking about cat poop, I realized that this is all part of the game. It’s all part of the deal. It’s family at it’s best. It really capped off a weird and funky day, quite nicely. I really couldn’t have asked for, (or expected) any other sort of ending to this topsy-turvy day.
So, now as I write, the clock finds its way to midnight and I pass from Friday to Saturday, in the blink of an eye, as I listen to Vangelis : Blade Runner soundtrack (Esper edition). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3fz6CC45ok
R.I.P Vangelis – Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou! Your masterful compositions will never be sidelined or sullied by a ridiculous cat!
It almost seems anticlimactic now, but here’s my recipe for grilled chicken blue cheese pizza:
Homemade pizza dough (see some of my previous posts on pizza, or use your own recipe)
1 grilled chicken thigh (grilled bone-in, skin on, then deboned, skin off, and chopped)
2 ounces crumble blue cheese
2 ounces Mozzarella cheese
½ cup marinara sauce
I roll out the dough and pre-bake in a 400º oven for 10 minutes, flip over, and bake another 5 minutes.
Add sauce to the semi-baked pizza
Add the grilled chicken
Add the blue cheese
Bake at 400º for 10 minutes
Slice and serve!