In 2001 and 2002, I was in a an all-girl garage-trash rock band. We all had little to no rock band experience, but plenty of experience with music in general. Before our first practice, our fearless leader Kristen Bailey made a tape of influences: The Cramps, Wanda Jackson, and some of the most obscure and creepy music I had ever heard.
We played bars, farm hoe-downs, and basements from Nebraska to Chicago. When the bassist, my sister Jen, decided to get her vet tech degree and move away, the band broke up.
I’ve been taking care of Sam’s garden, and this weekend I picked 60+ jalapenos off of one of her plants. The plant started tipping over it was so heavy with fruit. (I’ve got a cooler propping it up right now.
Between that bumper crop plant and a few other plants, I picked 99 jalapenos this weekend. I sliced and removed the seeds during the Razorbacks game, and ended up making the jalapeno salsa and easy jalapeno jelly from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preservation.
Notes on these recipes: the salsa recipe says to boil for 10 minutes. This makes everything in the salsa completely limp. As long as you know that, and still don’t mind, this will be a good hot salsa. It is not going to be a salsa one can eat a bowl full at a time. It will be a good salsa mid-winter when my husband wants to burn my eardrums out with mostly pepper, but slightly-tomato-with-some-cumin acidity.
The jelly recipe required 2, 3oz. bags of pectin. This is the firmest jelly I have ever made, and in licking the pan, the flavor was an awesome sweet hit at the front of the palette, with a slow burn working up for each additional lick. I can’t wait to schmeer this on some rustic bread or a Ritz Cracker with some cream cheese.
I did not add any green food coloring to the jelly. I did double the amount of jalapenos, and possibly, I over-pureed them, creating a butter-colored froth. Adding them to the boiling mixture, everything started to bubble and froth to the point where I had to remove the mixture from the heat or risk burned pepper-sugar vinegar crusting to my burners.
I think it was about this time of year in the fall of 1995 that the Beatles Anthology II came out. I was walking down the hallway talking to some guys I played video games with and I was drawn in by the simple melodies. I asked who the band was and some smart alec told me it was the latest Beatles Anthology, and I believed him. The poppy, faux-british-accent-laced tunes were actually from a band called Guided by Voices. I initially wrote them off because they sounded like a super christian evangelical band, like Blessed Union of Souls or something. I soon fell in love with them.
In 1995, I was underage and hadn’t been to many rock shows. If I had been just one year older, I could have seen the band play in Chicago or Lawrence, KS. When the next tour came around, I could get into the bars, but the entire band had been replaced by the lead singer, Bob Pollard. I went to go see the band anyway, and over the next few years, I ended up seeing over fifteen shows in Lawrence, KS, Columbia, MO, Omaha, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Iowa City, and Chicago. (I feel like I’m missing some festival dates, and I also had tickets to a Grinnell, IA show but it was canceled.)
The band went through many lineup changes and finally broke up a few years ago. This year, one of the record labels GBV worked with turned 21. Matador records had a gigantic party with three nights of bands that would make the 22-year-old version of me swoon. Guided by Voices took this as a chance to put the old lineup together and go out on the road.
When tickets were about to go on sale, I called up my friend Katie and said that we must go see them. She agreed, and we settled on the Atlanta show, as it is a direct flight for both of us, and a weekend show! Now we find out that our friend Dave who now a professor of creative writing at the University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa will also be at the show!
I’m so excited, I’ll get to see tender moments like this:
The band also rocks out with high jumps and kicks:
Here is my rendition of that song. It may be slow and sad, but I’m actually very excited about it all:
Recently Stephen Colbert spent a day trying to pick beans with immigrants, and he couldn’t keep up. In honor of his attempt, and in honor of the awesome green and purple beans my former immigrant neighbor planted, I pickled beans this weekend.
Thanks Sam, the beans are awesome!
In the middle of October, we’re still experiencing 90-degree heat! The tomatoes are starting to ramp up again, and the basil is going strong. Some of Sam’s raspberry bushes even produced some fruit!