8 years ago I was reeling from a failed job and marriage. I was unsure about what direction my life was going in. I cried a bit and then was lifted up by the words of friends and long telephone counseling sessions with my sister. To say the least, it was a personally embarrassing point in my life but one of the most necessary and defining ones as well. From there I stood up and moved forward and promised that I would put myself in a position to receive the things that made me happy and fulfilled my life. Personal happiness was the focus of of 2009 and 2010. I even started a blog called “La Buena Vida” or the good life in Spanish. It documents how I was living my life through pictures and words. The year after my divorce I threw myself a party and called it My Independence Weekend. I invited any and all to come celebrate living and personal freedom. That weekend I wasn’t looking for Serena and she wasn’t looking for me but we both had put ourselves in a position (mentally and physically) to accept and receive things that made us happy by at the very least pushing the things that hurt us out of the way. That weekend was captured on my blog in the following post. I love going and reading it every year and happy that it will be waiting for our son to read someday. Put yourself in the position to receive the things you feel you deserve.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!!!!!!
As I said before this weekend was never about celebrating a divorce, because a divorce really isn’t something worth celebrating. There is a lot of anger, guilt, frustration and a bunch of other negative words involved. Celebrating a divorce would only be dwelling on something negative in the past. This weekend was about celebrating my life and living it the way I want to with the people who make me happy. I plan to live this next year the same way I did this one, with love in my heart, good food in my stomach and whisky in my glass and while next February 20th I may not feel the need to go all out like I did this year, you can be sure I will at least raise a glass….or few. – This Guy, February 2010
Pulled Pork Sliders and My Independence Day Weekend posted February 2010
Independence Day…..Those two words bring up some of the best images and thoughts stored deep in our memory banks of great times spent with friends and family. For me as a kid it was either heading to Stamford, CT for a family cookout and listening to my uncles talk down south jive and sip Miller High Life while my aunts gripped Champale and sang “We Are Family” to an old school two-step while snapping their fingers in unison or a party at the Buzzeo’s before sneaking a cooler of beer into the Waveny Park in New Canaan, to watch the fireworks. Although it’s my favorite, the Fourth of July it is not the only Independence Day celebration worth throwing a party. Jamaicans light a splif on the August 6th to celebrate their break from the British, my friends in Afghanistan fire AK-47s in the air on August 19 after saying goodbye to the United Kingdom and on February 20th Toriano Fredericks (me) was granted Independence by the Honorable Judge Jeffery Colbath of the Palm Beach County Fifteenth Judicial Circuit.
I know some of you must be thinking I am completely out there to be celebrating the one year anniversary of my divorce. Sure its a little strange but by definition Independence Day is an annual celebration commemorating the anniversary of a nation’s assumption of independent statehood, usually after ceasing to be a colony or part of another state, more rarely after the end of a military occupation. If you don’t get wrapped up in that fancy jargon like “nation”, “colony” or “statehood” you can see how it fits. And for me Toriano’s Independence Weekend wasn’t much about celebrating a divorce as it was celebrating my own life, the relationships I repaired, doing things that made me happy(all year) and having the least drama filled year I can remember.
Nothing says Independence like a large piece of pork being slow cooked, so Friday afternoon I tossed all the usual suspects in the crockpot with a pork butt and let it go to work. After picking my sister Neisha and her friend Serena up at the airport she insisted that we stop by a Picasso’s Pizza in Delray Beach and get their jerk wings for the party. She used to live here in South Florida and was ranting about these wings and I felt her passion when she came walking out of the place with the tray in hand and a bone in her mouth. The ride from the airport was a precursor of how this weekend would go as the three of us laughed about god knows what the 45 minute trip from Ft. Lauderdale.
Later that night as guest began arriving you could hear the door open then laughter at the ring that greeted them, softly nestled in a cream-colored coffin with red candles and red carnations. Things start getting hazy after Henry showed up with the “Columbian Mind Eraser” Aguardiente (Cristal). Henry’s new party name is Henry AguardienteHands because every time I turned around he had that bottle attached to his mitts and he was tilting some into someone’s shot glass (if not mine, I guess that’s what I get for wearing a shot glass around my neck). After eating wings, pulled pork sliders and playing beer pong the limo showed up to start the bar crawl portion of the evening. Things now get even more hazy and I am still confused on how we only made it to one place (Rum Bar) in three hours. From pictures and eyewitness accounts acertained that after we got back home, the hot tub was hot, there was a minor fight, and a late night trip to Spearmint Rhino all played their part in a great night. Those are all the details that need to be discussed publicly and it was an incredible start to Independence Day Weekend.
To start day two and the actual Day of Independence, I made potato, cheese, bacon and sausage (you can never have too much pork) omelets only to realize there was no way my stomach was going to let me eat eggs. Saturday was a busy day, starting out at a large cigar event in West Palm Beach called The Great Smoke 2010. My high school buddy Garsy has become friends with cigar maker Rocky Patel and was able to get us free tickets.
It was a high-class, nicely put together event, with music from a Blues Brothers cover band, catered food and premium whisky, beer and cigars to help suppresses my hangover. My only regret is that during the previous night festivities I had lost track of my camera and was unable to get better pictures (camera later showed up monday in someones purse).
After the Great Smoke, Garsy and I parted ways and Neisha, Serena and I prepared for the main event…The Jay-Z Blueprint 3 Concert. We were running late to the concert because we had meet my friend Ian in Sunrise and on this one night all three of our GPS devices were not working correctly causing us to embark on a Broward County tour. By the time we hit the beer line at the arena the place erupted and the show started. Although we missed the first two songs (not to mention the opening act, Trey Songz), the show was amazing with a live band playing the whole set. After the show we felt like it would be wrong to just drive by Ft. Lauderdale and not go out so we hit a club/hookah bar which there is no way I could remember the name of. It was a fun night of dancing and people watching (aka laughing at people) then about four in the morning my sister looked like she couldn’t take it anymore and we made our way up I-95.
Sunday, not having much left in our tanks, we took it easy for the most part. We rolled down to Delray Beach to walk on the sand then had some food and Mojitos at Boston’s on the Beach. I ate a huge hotdog that came on a giant fresh made soft pretzel roll (I have plans to recreate this). We made our way to Lake Worth and there was a sidewalk art festival with the street was closed off and artist drawing their masterpieces on the pavement with chalk. We closed the weekend out at Havana Hideout (of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives fame) listening to acoustic music and reminiscing on a unforgettable weekend.As I said before this weekend was never about celebrating a divorce, because a divorce really isn’t something worth celebrating. There is a lot of anger, guilt, frustration and a bunch of other negative words involved. Celebrating a divorce would only be dwelling on something negative in the past. This weekend was about celebrating my life and living it the way I want to with the people who make me happy. I plan to live this next year the same way I did this one, with love in my heart, good food in my stomach and whisky in my glass and while next February 20th I may not feel the need to go all out like I did this year, you can be sure I will at least raise a glass….or few.
INGREDIENTS(as adapted from Good Housekeeping)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup(s) ketchup
- 1/3 cup(s) cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup(s) packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup(s) tomato paste
- 2 tablespoon(s) sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoon(s) Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoon(s) yellow mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
- 4 pound(s) boneless pork shoulder blade roast (fresh pork butt), cut into 4 pieces
- 12 soft sandwich buns or ciabatta rolls, warmed or 24 small dinner rolls
- Caribbean Cole Slaw
- 1/4 Franks Hot Sauce
- garlic salt
- 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
* I use this as a base recipe to get started but this will require more seasoning and hot sauce after the pork is pulled and returned to the pot. So constantly check and season to your liking, that may mean adding more brown sugar or mustard or hot sauce*
In 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow-cooker pot, stir onion, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, paprika, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, garlic and pepper until combined. Add pork to sauce mixture and turn to coat well with sauce.
* You may also add the ingredients to a plastic bag or bowl and let the pork marinade until ready to cook.*
Cover slow cooker with lid and cook pork mixture on low setting as manufacturer directs, 8 to 10 hours or until pork is very tender.
With tongs, transfer pork to large bowl. Turn setting on slow cooker to high; cover and heat sauce to boiling to thicken and reduce slightly.
While sauce boils, with 2 forks, pull pork into shreds. Return shredded pork to slow cooker and toss with sauce to combine. Cover slow cooker and heat through on high setting if necessary.
*At this point taste the pork to see what you need to add. For me its more hot sauce and garlic salt. Have the lid half off so some of the liquid cooks off if your pork is watery.*
Spoon pork mixture onto bottom of sandwich buns top with slaw and replace tops of buns.
|As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might.”|