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“Guilt is a Handy Tool” – the Chisel Bird

May 1, 2020


Every morning a small, gray bird plants himself outside my bedroom window and starts a high pitched chirp, like an avian Paul Revere warning the British are coming. His ear-splintering chirps sound like a chisel hitting a brick or a stone. I call him the Chisel Bird. I lay in bed thinking, There’s Dad. He’s come back as a bird with a chirp so loud he can wake the friggin’ dead.

I say this because my dad was a hard working mason and the king of discipline. If you had something to do, you got up and got it done, no matter how long it took, how hard the work, or how much you hated it. Brick by brick was how he approached everything in life.

If I had to wake up early as a kid, I always relied on Dad. He’d be up BEFORE the appointed hour, and if I didn’t get up fast enough, he’d come in again and again to jostle me. As a teenager, it took three or four jostles, (I didn’t dare push it past four) but as I got older one, was enough. Even when I visited him, in my 50s, when he was in his 90s, he’d ask if I needed him to wake me up if I had an early appointment.

Maybe living alone for too long is getting to me, but I have a hunch that even death cannot stop that man from trying to keep me on track. I think he’s making sure I do all the things I keep saying I want to get done.

I posted the video below because I wanted you to hear what the Chisel Bird(clearly not his real avian name) sounded like, but of course, when I recorded the video and downloaded it, the audio went soft, so now he just sounds like a little chirping bird. Trust me, he is not. If anyone out there knows what kind of bird this is, please let me know.

A muted version of the Chisel Bird

So, as you may have guessed, guilt is killing me because I feel like I haven’t accomplished enough since I’ve been furloughed. I’ve been writing, cooking, cleaning, working on organizing my emails and blog information like crazy this week, even getting up and walking in the morning and at night — just so I can accomplish something — all because of a stupid bird, guilt, and a very disciplined father.

Is it really my dad? Who knows? But, if the Chisel Bird/Dad is knocking himself out to wake me up early, then the least I can do is try to make good use of this time. My excuse has always been that I never had time to finish all these projects I wanted to finish. Now I’m screwed because I have all the time in the world.

I’m trying to keep the Netflix watching down to a couple hours and only after I’ve actually accomplished something. Trust me, there’ve been plenty of days when I haven’t, in spite of the Chisel Bird’s best efforts. But I do think he’s helping. Whether or not, he’s actually my father reincarnated as a feathered alarm clock remains to be discussed, but nothing would surprise me. Since I’m convinced my mom came back as a gigantic Pooty Butterfly, (just click that link and you can see the blog post)I have no doubt my dad could do the same.

The good news here is, I’ve been cooking too, so I’ve been wanting to tell you about this easy-peezy make ahead spread for garlic bread and sauteeing veggies! You just mix up minced garlic, minced parsley, and butter. You can freeze it, then when you want to make garlic bread, soften it in the microwave. Slice a loaf of bread in half and spread it with this butter, garlic, parsley mixure and sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan cheese. Broil it in the toaster oven 5 to 10 minutes, and you’re set. It’s absolutely delicious.

You can use it to sautee veggies too! It’s great with zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, or warm it in a saucepan and pour it over steamed or baked potatoes.

Garlic Bread (Make Ahead) Spread

Yields1 Serving

 9 medium cloves of garlic
 ½ cup butter (softened)
 1 cup finely chopped parsley (lightly packed in the cup)
 ¼ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (or Parmigiano Reggiano)

1

Soften the butter in the microwave about 15 seconds. Put it in a small bowl. Peel the garlic and finely mince it. Set it aside. Finely chop about 1/2 a bunch of parsley so it's about 1 cup full - slightly packed. Add the garlic and parsley to the butter and mix well.

2

Spread the garlic, parsley, butter mixture evenly on both halves of a loaf of crusty Italian or French bread sliced in half lengthwise. Sprinkle the bread with grated cheese. Broil for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

3

You can also use this mixture as the base for a sautee of any vegetable like zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. If you do make broccoli or cauliflower, you should steam them first, then place them in a saute pan with the butter mixture for a few minutes to finish them.

Ingredients

 9 medium cloves of garlic
 ½ cup butter (softened)
 1 cup finely chopped parsley (lightly packed in the cup)
 ¼ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (or Parmigiano Reggiano)

Directions

1

Soften the butter in the microwave about 15 seconds. Put it in a small bowl. Peel the garlic and finely mince it. Set it aside. Finely chop about 1/2 a bunch of parsley so it's about 1 cup full - slightly packed. Add the garlic and parsley to the butter and mix well.

2

Spread the garlic, parsley, butter mixture evenly on both halves of a loaf of crusty Italian or French bread sliced in half lengthwise. Sprinkle the bread with grated cheese. Broil for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

3

You can also use this mixture as the base for a sautee of any vegetable like zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. If you do make broccoli or cauliflower, you should steam them first, then place them in a saute pan with the butter mixture for a few minutes to finish them.

Garlic Bread (Make-Ahead) Spread

  • Reply
    Fran Tunno
    May 5, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Thank you Emilyann. He was, and you are the only person who has commented on this post so far. Maybe guilt isn’t a good thing to talk about now. My cousin feels the same way, which makes sense since our dads were brothers! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.

  • Reply
    EmilyAnn Frances
    May 5, 2020 at 12:11 am

    Your Dad sounds like he was the family’s early bird. I enjoyed your humor mixed with the love in your memories.

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