Saturday, November 30, 2013

Alchemy and Irony

Alchemy is magical transformation, like turning lead into gold.  Irony is when what exists is the opposite of what we expect.  Today is both alchemic and ironic for me.

The alchemy occurred while creating a new outfit.  A few weeks ago, I bought a pretty orange top -- with ruffles! -- at a thrift-store.  I wasn't sure what I'd wear it with but I figured something suitable would emerge.  Then yesterday, while walking on Main Street, I saw a cute peplum floral skirt on an outdoor rack.  I used to be too embarrassed to shop for women's clothes on the street -- you can't get more public than that -- but I've gotten over such shyness.  Now, I'm proud of who I am and if a bystander has a problem with me engaging in lawful behavior, that's their problem, not mine.  Their negative opinion means nothing to me.

Anyway, alchemy!  The two pieces mesh like they were made for each other.  In fact, they could be mistaken for a dress.  I like their combination.

To emphasize the vibrant orange color of the ensemble, I surrounded it with white tights, white shoes and white jewelry.  The white directs attention to the delicious orange.

Irony?  Where is the irony, you ask?  It's here... 

Dressing up is perhaps the greatest joy in my life.  It makes me profoundly happy.  Sharing it with you guys is integral to that joy.  The irony is that the free time I have to engage in this activity (weekends) is when you guys are off doing other things.  Most bloggers post and comment during the week and disappear on weekends.  Yet that's when I'm dressing up and posting.  Oh, well... ironic.





Friday, November 29, 2013

Cara's Closet

I like Cara and have been following her blog for years.  What I like most about Cara is that she's a real woman.  By which I mean that she's authentic.  She is an individual with her own choices about behavior, presentation, fashion and life.  Cara doesn't conform to any societal role: she is herself.  I respect that.

When you read someone's blog for a long time, you get to know them.  With Cara, you can sense her intelligence, her strength, her uniqueness.  Those traits aren't as common as you might believe.

Some women have told me that their relationship to femininity isn't easy and has a long history.  Pushed into a prescribed role from birth, these women find femininity to be an ill-fitting suit.  For them, the choices are difficult -- rejecting conformity risks social criticism; adopting unnatural behavior feels inauthentic.  It's rough terrain to navigate. 

As someone with a lifetime of analogous struggles (publicly suppressing my attraction to femininity and displaying fake masculinity), I relate.  Boy, do I relate.

So I've often detected glimpses of Cara's difficulties in blogged descriptions of her life.  And been intrigued by them.  And sympathetic to them.

Today, Cara posted her reflections on this subject.  Her thoughts are profound and important.  And they came without any warning.  I opened my Bloglovin reader this morning and saw... my face!  And not on my blog!  I instantly knew something was up.

Cara uses me as an illustration of her point and I believe she's right on target.  Despite being the least-likely candidate for feminine presentation, I strive to achieve it with grace and poise.  In so acting, I celebrate the feminine in all of us.  That effort resonates with some women, including those who've had their own struggle with gender and presentation.  I'm extremely happy if I can give anyone else confidence and strength; that's a wonderful effect to have on the world.

Go read Cara's blog!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday.  Are you seeing family or friends?

The news is reporting bad weather around the country which is making travel difficult.  I hope you don't face that.

Many people will shop this long weekend.  I might do a little, but nothing serious.  I'm not sure why people get up early Friday to stand in line and combat crowds.  It seems unpleasant.  And I certainly don't understand why people would ruin their holiday by shopping on Thanksgiving. 

What are your shopping plans?

Monday, November 25, 2013


Here are some pictures I took recently.  The first one shows a rainbow I saw.  The photo doesn't do it justice. 

Have you ever seen a rainbow?  Aren't they glorious?



Saturday, November 23, 2013


Today, I watched "42", a movie about Jackie Robinson.  Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play baseball in the major leagues.  This film about his life, released in April, is well-made and moving.

For the first six decades of baseball's history, the sport was segregated: blacks were not allowed to play in the major leagues.  In 1947, Jackie Robinson was hired to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers in a surprise move by Branch Rickey (portrayed by Harrison Ford in the film). 

Robinson's debut was rough: at first, his fellow-teammates tried to keep him off the team and signed a petition against him.  Later, during the season, Robinson was thrown at by pitchers (he was hit more often than any other player) and he was repeatedly and brutally taunted by opponents and fans.  One man, the manager of the Phillies, became infamous for openly and viciously abusing Robinson on the playing field. 

With great restraint, Robinson refused to combat those assaults.  That was the smartest thing he could do.  Any retaliation would have been harshly criticized and would have jeopardized his (and future black players') participation in the sport.  Robinson's mere presence on the field was inflammatory to many people.  They needed little excuse to shout for his ouster.  Robinson gave them none.

Bigotry is ugly.  It combines ignorance with stupidity -- and I use those words in their technical, not pejorative sense.  Ignorance is not knowing something; stupidity is not caring about the limit of your knowledge.  People are wrong to judge others by projecting traits they believe belong to a racial, religious or gender group.  We are individuals.

Confronting and overcoming prejudice is hard.  This movie explores how it was done in baseball.  Moving society from one attitude to another generates some friction.  A sport closely studied by a large part of the population, baseball was influential in affecting popular opinion on race.  Many historians cite the integration of baseball as one of the beginnings of the modern civil rights movement.

To its credit, Major League Baseball has honored Jackie Robinson's exceptional courage and skill.  In addition to inducting him into the Baseball Hall of Fame, MLB permanently retired his number (42).  Now, every April, there's a baseball game where every player wears number 42 in tribute to Jackie Robinson.

Do you know about Jackie Robinson?  Whether you do or don't, I strongly recommend seeing this movie.  The history it depicts is important and continues to affect our lives today.

Know Your Peppers

I love to cook and I love spicy peppers.  Recently, I've been combining the two.

Today, I was in a new gourmet store which has dried peppers from Mexico.  I bought the "Dried Chile Ancho" which are actually dried poblano peppers.  Here's a picture of what they look like on the left.

Ancho peppers are sun-dried and as healthy as nature made them.  They have mild to medium heat with a sweet fruity flavor; the flavor reminds you of cherries and prunes.  The peppers are used often in Mexican cooking, such as mole (which is a dark sauce containing peppers and chocolate -- yes, chocolate!).

Not all peppers are spicy.  Anchos, for example, are quite mild.  I add them for flavor, not heat.

Two other popular peppers you should know are spicy.  They are jalapenos and habaneros.  Jalapenos, despite their reputation, are only medium-heat.  I eat them raw and whole.  They have a nice vegetably flavor which matches their green color.  You can toss a few in any dish to improve its flavor.  They add a modicum of heat.

Habaneros are another story.  They are at the top of the pepper pile.  They are very, very hot.  Let me say that once more, as a warning -- they are very, very hot!  One small pepper will make an entire pot of food searingly hot.  Habaneros are what I received as a gift recently and what I used to make hot sauce.  I turned thirty of these potent suckers into less than a cup of hot sauce, meaning the sauce is intensely spicy. 

Do you ever cook with peppers?  Or hot sauce?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Grooming Down Under

When I was young, nobody shaved or waxed... um... down there.  It wasn't even an idea.  Sure, some might trim a bit, but the idea of being bald would have been seen as bizarre.

At some point since then, things changed.  Now, a recent study reports that 49% of women shave or wax to be completely... um... hairless.  51% don't do that.  Studies also show that men are starting to follow women's lead and shave their private areas.

What are your thoughts on this?  I apologize if the subject is too private, but I admit I'm clueless on why people do what they do.  Your thoughts might help me understand.

The Invisible Girlfriend

The world is so odd; you can't make this stuff up.

There's a new service being offered to men who are tired of being nagged by family -- it's called "the invisible girlfriend."  The service provides tangible evidence that you're dating a girl even though she doesn't exist.  You can use the evidence to shut up your mother and other relatives who nag you about not having a girlfriend.

There are three levels of service.  For $9.99/month, you get interactive texts, automated phone calls and an "emergency interaction button."  For $29.99/month, you get a Facebook relationship with her, real voicemails and random notes and gifts.  For $49.99/month, you get live phone calls and the opportunity to create her background story.

Of course, with none of these plans do you get an actual girlfriend.  Just proof to pretend you have one.

Are there men so beleaguered by their relatives that they need this?  And would be willing to pay for it?  That's sad.  What do you think?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Cure For The Blues

I believe bright colors can lift our spirits.  They worked their magic tonight.

Yesterday, while sitting at a stop sign in Gina, a distracted driver plowed into my rear, pushing me forward about five feet and crumpling my bumper.  I'm okay but Gina will need a little cosmetic surgery.  The experience made me blue today.

Then I remembered a cute colorful top I bought last week at a thrift-store.  I built an outfit around the top and doing that elevated my mood.  I added a green skirt from my collection and popped on some new neon-colored bracelets.  Pretty flats from Payless seemed appropriate.  And orange lipstick fit the color-scheme.

Here is the outfit.  It made me happy which is a lot for clothes to do.  What do you think?





Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Back In The Old Days

Back in the old days, you didn't press a button on your phone or iPod to listen to music.  You had to work at getting sound.  Ironically, it is the work I miss.
You would pull a record out of your collection, lovingly admire its cover-art, slide the vinyl album out of its paper sleeve, run a brush around the grooves to clean them, blow off the dust, place it tenderly on a turntable, lift the needle and settle into a groove of musical delight.  If it's a double-album, you'd shake the pot seeds out of the crease in the cardboard album-cover.
I missed those experiences so... I bought a turntable!  There used to be dozens to choose among, now the stores carry one or two, if any.  I picked up a cheap Sony ($120) and attached it to the sound system I already have for my TV.
Even though I have an old record collection (about 80 albums), I went to one of the few record stores still existing to see what they had.  I was shocked -- the albums of my youth are 25-cents!  Wow.  They were expensive forty years ago; now, they cost less than gum.  I picked up a dozen.
Playing records is an unexpected treat.  The process is deeply satisfying.  You feel like you are earning the music.  Today I played early rock 'n roll songs from the "American Grafitti" songtrack, then some old Barbra Streisand, "Fiddler On The Roof" (original cast with Zero Mostel), ZZ Top and Sha Na Na.  Of course, I cranked it up loud.  Loud!

Have you ever played vinyl records?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lou Reed

I dislike obituaries in mainstream media.  They always sanitize a person's life, casting negative things in a positive light, often to the point of actual misrepresentation.  For example, the current accepted acclaim for women is to be "feminist" and obituaries about women often try to squeeze them into that mold despite the truth.  When Helen Gurley Brown died last year, newspapers and magazines contorted themselves to call her a feminist even though Brown would have spit on the word.  Her life's work aimed the opposite direction.

So I've hesitated up to now to discuss Lou Reed.  The hagiographic accounts of his life omit reference to the reality that he was a pain-in-the-ass.  A difficult man whom many disliked, even his friends (e.g., Patti Smith).  And yet...

I enjoyed Reed's music when I was young.  For a decade (mid-60's to mid-70's), he produced important work.  His songs were significant musically and culturally.  What I like most about them was their subject matter -- he wrote about social outcasts and drug-use.  The former rarely get kind treatment and the latter was described with surprising accuracy.

Reed was, in truth, a poet who had the ability to write incredible lyrics.  His skill in crafting beautiful phrases is legendary.  When he applied that talent to the disenfranchised, it was a surprise.  People seldom recognized, let alone celebrated, drag-queens, sexual deviants and odd folk.  Yet he did.

Artists are often imperfect people.  And art is sometimes borne in low places.  By universal account, Lou Reed was a tough person to know.  But he had reasons for why he was the way he was.  Lou grew up a bisexual boy at a time and place where that was condemned (Long Island, NY in the 1950's).  His parents, trying to rid him of homosexual tendencies, subjected Lou to electroconvulsive "therapy" during his teenage years.  He was strapped to an ugly machine and electricity was pumped into his brain, causing intense pain and memory loss.  Naturally, he was bitter about those experiences and they colored his outlook on society.

Reed's talent was in his writing.  He had a terrible singing voice, made tolerable only because he authored the words he sang.  You did, however, become used to it.  Like you do with Tom Waits or Bob Dylan.

Times have changed.  Today, drug-use isn't popular.  Back then, it was.  Hugely so.  Everyone did drugs and youth culture celebrated drugs.  Of course, many people were harmed by their use of drugs but its risks were ignored in the counterculture.  (Yes, "counterculture" was an actual word used back then to describe what young people were doing.)

Lou Reed used heroin and wrote about it.  Honestly and accurately.  He described the ecstasy of heroin without romanticizing it.  He hinted at the life-threatening risks it posed -- he himself suffered from hepatitis for years, caught from a dirty needle.  And, ultimately, the liver-failure that caused his death (at the surprisingly old age of 71) was related to his drug-addiction.

If you want to know what it's like to do heroin, go into a room alone, turn off your phone, turn down the lights, sit back in a comfy chair and crank up "Heroin", a 13-minute song Lou performs live on the "Rock & Roll Animal" album (his best, IMHO).  The song starts easy with floating melody, then hardens.  It increases in tempo, and the beat starts to pound.  Soon, your body is reacting to the music like it does to the drug -- with visceral excitement.  You head toward an ecstasy you know is mixed in its blessing.  As deep as the pleasure is the sense of death, of your body being torn both up and down simultaneously.  In Lou's words,

     I don't know just where I'm going
     But I'm goin' to try for the kingdom if I can
     'Cause it makes me feel like I'm a man
     When I put a spike into my vein
     Then I tell you things aren't quite the same

     When I'm rushing on my run
     And I feel just like Jesus' son
     And I guess I just don't know
     And I guess that I just don't know

     I have made big decision
     I'm goin' to try to nullify my life
     'Cause when the blood begins to flow
     When it shoots up the dropper's neck
     When I'm closing in on death

     You can't help me not you guys
     All you sweet girls with all your sweet talk
     You can all go take a walk
     And I guess I just don't know
     And I guess I just don't know

     I wish that I was born a thousand years ago
     I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
     On a great big clipper ship
     Going from this land here to that
     I put on a sailor's suit and cap...

     Heroin, be the death of me
     Heroin, it's my wife and it's my life
     Because a mainer to my vein
     Leads to a center in my head
     And then I'm better off than dead

     When the smack begins to flow
     Then I really don't care anymore
     About all the Jim-Jims in this town
     And everybody putting everybody else down
     And all of the politicians makin' crazy sounds
     All the dead bodies piled up in mounds, yeah

     Wow, that heroin is in my blood
     And the blood is in my head
     Yeah, thank God that I'm good as dead
     Ooohhh, thank your God that I'm not aware
     And thank God that I just don't care
     And I guess I just don't know
     And I guess I just don't know

Both Rolling Stone magazine and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame include "Heroin" in their lists of the Best 500 Songs of Rock 'n Roll History.  Deservedly so.

Lou Reed wasn't perfect but he was talented and his songs influenced millions of listeners.  I was one of them.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Adding Flavor To Coffee And Tea

I drink copious amounts of coffee and tea every day.  They can get a little boring.  I spice 'em up by occasionally adding some flavor.  "With what?, you ask?"  Let me explain...

I like to add real flavor, not artificial chemicals.  You can do this easily with by buying real spices.  My favorite spice is cinnamon.  I buy it in 4-inch sticks from a wonderful company named Penzeys.  They sell both in retail stores and online.  They stock amazingly fresh, potent spices from around the world and sell them at low prices.

There are two different types of cinnamon.  Cassia cinnamon comes from Southeast Asia (China and Vietnam) and has the sweetness most of us are familiar with.  The other type of cinnamon comes from Ceylon and is much less sweet with a complex citrus flavor.  My cinnamon sticks come from Sumatra in Indonesia.  They grow wild on the government-protected slopes of Mount Kerinci.

You just pop a cinnamon stick into your cup while the coffee or tea is brewing, leave it in for as long as you want, and you can re-use it 8-10 times before it loses potency.

Other easy ways to add flavor to your drink are using honey or maple syrup instead of sugar.  Yes, maple syrup!  It's tasty.  I never heard of anyone doing this but I tried it and it works nicely.

If you want your drink to have an exotic flavor, crush up and add cardamom seeds.  They're fragrant and often used in tea from places like India.  They aren't hard to find and are inexpensive.  The flavor they contribute is unusual and pleasant.

The impetus for this post was a new discovery.  A gourmet store just opened near me offering items I've never seen before.  One is Dark Muscovado.  It's a type of brown sugar that has a deep wonderful taste, similar to molasses.  While normally used in baking or manufacturing rum, the sugar can be added to coffee or tea.  It gives a lovely molasses/gingerbread taste with equivalent sweetness of normal sugar.

The Dark Muscovado I bought isn't expensive and comes from Mauritius, a small island off the coast of Africa.  It has character and deep flavor.  Give it a try!

Do you add anything to your drinks?  What?

Saturday, November 16, 2013


This is the cake I received at my birthday party two weeks ago.  I didn't know they could put edible photographs on cakes, so it was a nice surprise.  That's me, as a child, on my father's police motorcycle.

While the hoopla over my birthday has ended, the many gestures of friendship and gifts I received linger.  I delight in seeing them in my home.  The gestures remind me that there are people who love me, which hasn't always been the case.  We never have too much assurance of being loved.

My friends Nicole and Jamie gave me a bouquet of flowers for my birthday which, truly, is the nicest collection of exotic flowers I've ever received.  Here are pictures of the bouquet both fresh and as it exists today.  I find aging flowers to be poignant -- their striking beauty still present and their visible decay a stunning metaphor for the atrophy we all suffer from albeit as a slower pace.  It's impossible to be in your fifties and not confront physical decay.  I use that reality as an incentive to take good care of myself.

Another gift which had a time-delay arrived yesterday.  Six close friends who attended my birthday party chipped in and gave me a gift-certificate to my favorite motorcycle store.  I used their $150 certificate to buy an incredible fleece jacket that cost $157.  I probably wouldn't have bought it without their gift-money but I needed one badly and the stars aligned perfectly.

Because fleece jackets are now so cheap, many people buy them.  Most jackets, however, are cheaply made in China of poor materials and they fall apart quickly.  The one I bought is made in the U.S.A. with exceptional skill.  In addition to being super high-tech, the jacket is specifically designed for motorcycle-riding. 

When you buy gear for motorcycling, you learn the tangible difference between high quality and cheap.  High quality gear performs well and lasts long.  Cheap doesn't.  Motorcycle riding places intense strain on everything you use, so that difference emerges quickly.  I've had good boots last four years; I've had cheap boots last three months.  Literally, three months.  You don't "save" money by buying cheap.  Plus, there's the safety factor -- when I crashed my bike in 2003, my $600 helmet absorbed most of the blow and has a deep gouge in it.  The helmet performed its job; a cheaper one would have transferred more of the force of impact to my skull and I might not be writing this now.  Buying the best gear increases your chances for survival.

A cool place I buy most of my motorcycle gear is called Aerostich, located in Duluth.  Their stuff is great.  Not only is it stylish and high-quality, they have a sense of humor.  Their catalogs often have fake listings for products they don't actually sell and it's amusing to see people guess which products aren't real.  They once offered yellow banana-shaped plastic containers so you can carry bananas on your motorcycle without damage -- and people called up and tried to buy them. 

Anyway, my new fleece jacket is lighter than others but warmer due to its superior material and construction.  Its fit is intentionally designed for motorcyclists and conforms to your body as you lean forward with your arms outstretched.  (Discomfort from conventional clothing is something you instantly feel when getting in riding-position.)  The jacket blocks 98% of wind which, on a bike, is critical; air seeping inside your clothing transports coldness more than anything.

Plus, and I admit this openly, it has eminence.  Experienced riders recognize products from Aerostich and infer that someone smart enough to buy them is someone worth knowing.  I and other experienced riders instantly size someone up by the gear they wear.  We know that cheap, flashy jackets and helmets imply their wearer is a newbie or a squid.  Anyone wearing gear from Aerostich has our respect before they've opened their mouth.

Do you ever buy good quality clothing?  For a hobby or specific use, like skiing or a fancy party?

P.S., My favorite birthday card I received this year is shown below.  It's actual leather!

Friday, November 15, 2013

My Friends Are Awesome!

I don't know what I'm doing but I must be doing something right.  All the energy I put into friendships and blogging comes back to me in greater quantity.

For example, last night I arrived home after a hard day of work.  I was tired, dispirited.  Looking through the mail didn't help... but, hey, what's that?!  A package?!

My friend Carrie, who has a nice blog called "Petal By Petal", sent me a birthday gift.  An alligator-print scarf with pink in it.  How cool is that?!  Badass and feminine!  She nailed me.

I'm wearing it here with a top recently sent me by the only badass Southern belle in Tennessee, Megan Mae.  She, and Carrie, made my day.  I may be a simple gal but my friends know how to make me happy.  *smile*


Thursday, November 14, 2013


My friend Michi is an artist of many talents.  In addition to doing professional photography, she also draws and creates beautiful illustrations.  I own two of her pieces, one was a gift and another was purchased from her Etsy store.  You can see them here.

For my birthday, Michi made a new illustration for me, shown below.  In addition to hanging it on my wall, I want to share it with you.  Isn't she talented?!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Breaking News

Before admiring my new gown, I want you to go visit Aya's blog.  Quick!  Right now.  Put down your cup of coffee and go read her words.

Aya demonstrates her worthiness for the Bloggy Award by using the occasion to reflect deeply on a matter personal to her and relevant to the rest of us.  Her examination of that subject is intelligent and thoughtful.  Reading it, we benefit from her ideas.

I have two motivations for the Bloggy Awards -- first, to recognize and reward exceptional efforts in blogging and, second, to promote connections and friendships among bloggers.  Both goals appear to be happening.  Thanks, Aya, for your contribution in this direction.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Big Girls Rule

I have friends who are big and small.  In fact, I have girlfriends who are really big and really small.  Friends come in all sizes.

A nice thing about big gals is we can share clothes.  If you're a size 12 or less, I'll never fit into your clothes.  I dress with the big girls.  (That sounds like a biker boast; perhaps we should start our own Big Girl Club and wear "colors" to scare people.)

The reason I mention this is because yesterday I received a package in the mail.  From Hollie.  Hollie is a Big Girl.  She's one of our charter members.  Hollie swaggers when she walks and little girls shrink in terror at her approach.

Just kidding.  Hollie is really a sweet woman.  Proof of that is this -- Hollie has a glamorous gown she wore once to a fancy occasion but has had little use for it since.  Contemplating who might benefit from the gown, Hollie thought of me.  Me!  I'm proud to be a big girl, especially if it gets me pretty clothes.

Here is Hollie's gown, with Ally touches.  What do you think?




Sunday, November 10, 2013

Big Gals In The City

I'm lucky to live in New York because when other bloggers come to visit, they can easily include me in their plans.  It feels like I'm on the NYC tourist checklist: (1) see Times Square; (2) visit the Statue of Liberty; and (3) eat brunch with Ally.

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Gracey, a blogger from Oregon whom I never imagined have the chance to see in person.  Gracey is in town for the first time and she invited me to join her for Sunday brunch.  We went to my favorite restaurant where we ate Cajun omelettes, drank endless cups of strong coffee, and dished about other bloggers.  Your name came up.  :)

Gracey and I share a trait -- we're both tall (at least, for women).  Gracey humorously calls her blog "Fashion For Giants".  In truth, she's only slightly taller than me; if I'd been in heels, we'd be the same height.  (A little wish-fulfillment there.)

Gracey has natural poise and beauty.  On top of a charming personality, that's a winning combination.  We chatted easily about numerous topics, starting with our similar experiences of being large in size.  Gracey directed me to good stores to shop.

I admire strong, independent women and Gracey sits comfortably in that category.  She's as confident in person as she is on her blog.  We should all be so fierce.

Gracey has been blogging about the same amount of time I have (3-4 years) and if you haven't seen her blog yet, you should.

Here are some pics from my day.  The weather was perfect for being outdoors.




Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dangerous Food

I love hot sauce. But I never knew you could make it. I thought hot sauces had to be bought, in bottles with funny labels on them.

A friend gave me 50 habanero peppers recently which she'd grown. These suckers are super-hot. One of them will spice up an entire pot of food to the breaking point of human endurance. I've gone through 15 of them so far and wondered what to do with the rest since I can't eat them any faster. Then I realized we live in the age of the Internet. So I went online and found numerous recipes for making hot sauce. I took 30 of the remaining peppers (reserving five for future cooking) and turned them into Ally's Batch No. 1.

The process was not without incident. While cutting the habaneros, I rubbed my eyes and -- OMFG, I'm blind!! My eyes burned intensely for ten minutes. My sight came back but the whole area remained inflamed for about an hour. No amount of washing or bargaining with God relieved the paIn.

I finished making the hot sauce and am now bottling it for my enemies. One drop of this stuff will remove grease stains from your driveway. Two drops will cause cardiac arrest.

Life is full of adventures, isn't it?

For those who are interested, here's how I did it.  I chopped and seeded the thirty habanero peppers, then sautéed them with minced onions (one-half of a big one) and chopped garlic (five cloves) for five minutes.  I added two cups of water and a dash of Tamari soy sauce, and cooked the mixture at high heat for 20 minutes.  After letting it cool down to room temperature, I pureed the concoction in a food-processor while adding 1/3 cup of vinegar.  Voila!

Here are some pictures of the procedure.  Warning -- DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!