Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Writing challenge: your stop on the waterbloggers’ food tour

Beer can chicken is just the beginning

People have reacted positively to my previous post on beer-can chicken, and there have been a few food-related comments on other blogs that I frequent, leading me to believe there is an interest in this project.

It would be fantastic for all of us to get together in sort of a global progressive dinner, where we meet weekly or monthly, each time at a different waterblogger's home waters, and enjoy a meal together.

Alas, such a scenario is not merely figuratively but literally fantastic, defined as "characterized by fantasy." It's not likely to happen in reality, unless one of us suddenly becomes obscenely rich and finances everybody else on the journey. So we will have to do with the virtual world and share our imaginations. Thus I propose this writing project. Here is the scenario:

A horde of your fellow waterbloggers has come to your home waters to join you sailing, paddling, or doing whatever other sort of water recreation you do. It's the end of the day, and they are now all tired and hungry. What do you serve for dinner?

There are some requirements. For one, it needs to be easy – if all of your fellow waterbloggers are tired at the end of the day, so are you, so you don't want to spend great lots of effort slaving over the food. It should also be really yummy. And it has to be prepared on or near the water – on your boat, in your marina, or using whatever facilities are close to hand wherever it is that you are.

Give us a detailed description of that dinner, so even if we can't come to join you, we can imagine the experience. Include recipes if you wish, so we can prepare the food ourselves and pretend we are in your company as we enjoy it. If you have a blog, put your entry into a blog post and give a link in the comments here; if you don't have a blog, paste the whole entry as a comment. Deadline for this challenge is midnight Sunday, June 20.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Beer can chicken

An insanely easy recipe

One of the challenges in cooking a chicken in an outdoor grill (whether charcoal or gas) is getting the outside of the chicken nicely browned and crispy while keeping the meat tender and juicy. If you wrap the chicken in foil or a bag, the skin stays pale and soggy, but if you leave the chicken uncovered, the meat often dries out.

Beer can chicken solves the problem. First, you season the chicken, inside and out, with whatever herbs and spices you're in the mood for -- pick seasonings that complement the side dishes you plan to serve. Then, open a can of beer (you can drink some of it if you wish, but leave at least half in the can), and slide the body cavity of the chicken over the can. Place the assembly in a barbecue grill over medium-low heat, close the lid, and cook 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the juices running down the outside of the beer can are clear. If you wish, during the last 15 to 30 minutes, brush the chicken with your favorite sauce -- barbecue, teriyaki, or whatever.

As the chicken cooks, the skin crisps up nicely, and the beer evaporates to permeate the meat, keeping it moist and tender, as well as imparting some flavor.

Gerald and I cooked this up at the marina at Heron this evening. Lots of people asked us where we got this recipe. Thing is, I couldn't say. I think I've known about it pretty much all of my life, possibly courtesy of my Arkansas relatives.

Nowadays, you can even get a metal frame that holds the beer can and keeps the chicken from tipping over (as pictured above, courtesy of Life on the Water Magazine). You can find one in many mail-order catalogs.

Yeah, once in a while, rednecks come up with a good idea.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Trying to return to normal

Whatever normal is …

It's been more than three weeks since Marty disappeared beneath the waves, and three days ago, his body was recovered. Eventually, the medical examiner should be able to answer at least some of the questions about his death.

As time goes by, I'm getting better. The summer term at the community college is about to begin, and getting immersed in work should help. Also, as the events surrounding Marty's death fade into the past, they're not so painful any more.

We had a couple of Gerald's buddies visiting up at the cabin this past weekend, and they're both just fantastic guys who really made the weekend a success, helpful, courteous – their parents should be proud of them. We even had a bit of comic relief when the State Parks people put the ranger boat into the water and forgot to put in the drain plug; Gerald's buddies helped to save the day, along with the current NMSC dockmasters.

But I do still get spells. I have thoughts and memories, and sometimes I find tears leaking from my eyes even without a triggering event. I took a nap, and I had a dream that I was riding in Marty's truck with him. There was no conversation; he was just driving and smiling that smile.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

A word from Zorro

Larry sent out this email and asked me to post it here as well.

Subject: RE: Our loss
Date: Mon, 17 May 2010 04:12:08 +0000

To all of you who either called, emailed or in person expressed their condolences and offer support on the tragic loss of Marty, thank you very much.

I would especially like to thank Bob Miller and his wife Christy, Carol Anne and Pat Byrnes, Rick Keffer, Dave Ampleford, Ron Crom, Rich Strasia, Dan Holden and Barb and Trent for the support and love they showed on that Saturday night and days that followed.

I would also like to thank and commend Jon Pillars' son, Jarred, for his heroic attempt to save Marty.

Marty had sailed with me for 9 years and was the core and strength of Team Constellation. Since that time we met 9 years ago, Marty has been club champion in either the Performance Fleet or the Etchells class for all of those 9 years; he has also won numerous regattas aboard his beloved "Windependent." Marty had not only won international regattas in the Caribbean, but also competed, with success, at the highest level of competition in the Etchells class on Constellation. Much more important than all of this, he was a loving and devoted husband and father, a PhD. Marty had a very successful professional life.

I always thought of my time with Marty as "the pleasure of his company," for it was truly a pleasure to be with him. In a time when the world can be not a very nice place, Marty was a rare gem.....a truly nice man, loyal, genuine and sincere. I loved him like a brother and will always treasure the time we had together. I will miss him dearly.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

A few words about Marty

The memorial service for our friend was this afternoon.

Marty was a sailor. He died sailing. For those of his family and friends who don't know sailing, I'd like to try to explain what sailing meant to him, and what he meant to those of us who sailed with him.

For me, the universe changed that day. We knew something was wrong, but not what. Larry was sitting on his boat, hunched up, looking like ice. He said, "Marty's at the bottom of the lake. He went under; he didn't come up."

That did not compute. Not Marty. Not the ever-so-reliable Marty that we could always count on to be there when he was needed. Not the quiet, supportive Marty. Not the gentle, understanding Marty. No. It couldn't be. He couldn't possibly be gone.

But he was.

Marty was the most loyal sailor ever to sail with Larry on Constellation. He was devoted to the team. He showed up for every regatta, unless he was traveling somewhere with Paulette. We could count on him. And he always brought sandwiches; one of the bonuses when I sailed on Constellation was that I knew I would always have lunch – even if Marty forgot to leave the mayonnaise off mine.

As crew, Marty was the most devoted. He never gave up, never slacked off. He gave everything to running the boat, whether it was getting drenched on the foredeck or hauling lines in the cockpit. He may not always have been graceful – I gave him the blog nickname "Twinkle Toes" as an ironic comment, and at the end of one rough day I came off the boat with a bruise on my calf with the exact tread pattern of his boot – but he always put his whole self into what he was doing.

Off the water, Marty was also the best crew a skipper could ever have. He gave generous gifts to Larry for the boat, and he once traveled to El Paso to attend an awards ceremony in Larry's honor.

Marty also had his own sailboat, Windependent. He spent hundreds, possibly thousands, of hours working on that boat. It was something of a running joke among Larry's crew – this isn't exactly a high-performance boat, and there's always something breaking. But a couple of years ago, Marty had done a major overhaul, including replacing the mast. Some of the very best sailing experiences I've ever had have been on board Windependent – most especially the 2008 Anniversary Cup. That was a peak experience, a crew and boat tuned to each other, like a symphony orchestra – and on that day, the only thing that broke on the boat was one of my fingernails. We won the regatta. The euphoria from that day lasted for months.

Marty was quiet, easy to overlook. He tended to fade into the background, especially when louder people were around. But he was always there, a quiet presence, observing, with a knowing smile and a twinkle in his blue eyes. I loved seeing that smile. I don't know that he ever knew that I saw it.

Everybody loved Marty. In a sailing club, as in any organization, there will be people who don't get along with each other, who have personality clashes. But as far as I know, nobody ever had any beef with Marty. I've never heard anybody say anything negative about him – ever. He just didn't have conflicts.

Losing Marty has left me with a hole in my heart. Yeah, we can come out with the cliché that he died doing what he loved. And there's some truth in that, and some comfort. But it's not enough.

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Poetry Corner: Anonymous

Boy, does Anonymous put out a lot of good stuff …

It was a week ago today that a dear friend and sailor was lost at Elephant Butte Lake. For his fellow sailors and also for his family, this has been a very rough time. I generally hate the word "closure," as it gets so over-used, but in this case, that's the word that best describes what we're all waiting for. As the search continues, we're all in a sort of agonizing limbo.

A relative of mine posted a verse of poetry by Author Unknown on my Facebook wall that really captured what I felt. When I went on the Internet to find more about it, I found that the verse came from a longer poem, and there are dozens of variations on it out there. This is one that I like.

If Tears Could Build A Stairway

If tears could build a stairway
And memories were a lane
We would walk right up to heaven
And bring you back again

No farewell words were spoken
No time to say goodbye
You were gone before we knew it
And only God knows why

Our hearts still ache in sadness
And secret tears still flow
What it meant to lose you
No one can ever know

But now we know you want us
To mourn for you no more
To remember all the happy times
Life still has much in store

Since you'll never be forgotten
We pledge to you today
A hallowed place within our hearts
Is where you'll always stay

Fair winds, Marty.

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Friday, May 07, 2010

White Russian recipe

We'll all be drinking these in memory of our friend

The White Russian is a cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and milk, cream, or half and half. It was the favorite of our friend whom we lost last week. It was featured in the film The Big Lebowski and, according to Wikipedia, is the official cocktail of the IBA.

While looking up information about this drink, I found out that white Russian is also a type of hamster, horse, or marijuana. Interesting what one finds on the Web.

White Russian Ingredients

3/4 ounce each vodka and Kahlua liqueur
1 1/2 ounces cream or milk
ice cubes, optional

White Russian Recipe

A White Russian recipe is simple and making a White Russian drink is very easy. Just mix together the vodka and Kahlua in an old-fashioned glass. Then float the cream or milk on top last.

Ice cubes aren't necessary, but can be used. White Russian drinks are best served in chilled glasses, though.

Makes 1 White Russian cocktail drink

For variation on your White Russian recipe, try using vanilla vodka instead of plain vodka in your White Russian ingredients.

Thanks to Angela Harris for the recipe.

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Monday, May 03, 2010

RGSC official announcement

This is the official email sent by the RGSC regarding this weekend's incident. To protect the family's privacy, names have been removed, and I can not at this time give more information than is provided in public records.

It is the Rio Grande Sailing Club's deepest regret to report a tragic accident and our apparent loss of a dear friend, kind man, and generous sailor.

We will all very much miss him.

Much is still unknown and up in the air. Trail Boss has undertaken the job of coordinating news and will provide information as it becomes available. We don't know yet when that might be. The accident has come as a terrible shock to the family, and they need private time during the difficult wait for news.

The next planned regatta weekend, the Joshua Slocum single-hand race and Jack and Jill his and hers race, has been indefinitely postponed.

Please be patient and keep the family and friends in your prayers and best wishes.


Rio Grande Sailing Club

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