Basically, Fish Tacos

One year, while Sweetman and I were visiting Captain Ahab and The Nana down in Florida (before children – Sweetman calls them The Ignorance Is Bliss Years), we went out for dinner.  We all agreed we were in the mood to hit our favorite Mexican joint.

As we went around the table giving our orders to the waiter, there was a surprise order. Nana’s. She ordered “Fish Tacos”.  I choked on my Margarita. Sweetman spewed his beer.  We both looked at each other in horror. Ahab just shook his head sadly.

Now, I grew up in sunny South Florida.  I ate fish here, there, and everywhere.  I did not, however, grow up eating fish in my tacos. This order took me so completely by surprise that I didn’t even know how to process it.

“When did you start eating fish tacos, mom?” And, more importantly, WHY?”

“People change, dear. I really like them. You should try them.”

We agreed to disagree.

By having more margaritas.

Later that night, Sweetman and I awoke to the gentle soothing sounds of The Nana hurling. All Night Long, as Lionel Richie would say.

“It was that Margarita, I tell you!”, she kept insisting.

“Mom, I had the Margarita, too.”, I tried to remind her.

No matter. She wasn’t having it. It just could not be her beloved fish tacos.

That night held many lessons for us all.

The Nana is a horrible liar.

Sweetman and I would never be interested in “trying” fish tacos.

Ever.

Margaritas are evil.

Take your pick.

So I found it surprising to be having this conversation with Sweetman last night:

“Honey, what do you think about trying… now keep an open mind here… black bean and salmon tostadas, one night?”

And just when I I thought the recipe couldn’t get any worse, he started rattling off the list of ingredients, prefacing almost each new one with “Now, we don’t have to add that one.”, or “That one might not be a good addition.”.  He mentioned words like “cabbage” and “pickled jalapenos” and some other things.  I think I tuned out after “salmon tostada”, to be honest.

But this is how it goes around here between he, who cooks, and me, who… well… doesn’t.

If he thinks that being adventurous is adding cabbage to a perfectly good tostada, who am I to judge?

Engineers do those sorts of things.

“So, basically, you’re asking me to eat fish tacos?”, I challenged.

“Yeah.”, he admitted.

“Only if you serve it with Margaritas.”, I demanded. “Then, I’ll have a culprit.”

“Deal.”

I guess people do change.

And, once again, my mother is right.

Yes indeedy.

*And, though my stomach turns even as I write this, if this is your cup of tea, Sweetman found the recipe for these “Black Bean Salmon Tostadas” here. You’re welcome.  Or… I’m sorry.*

How To Be a Stellar Procrastinator

It’s been a rough couple of weeks around our house. We’ve had strep throat rip through the house twice.  Good times. And just prior to that, we sent The Nana and Ahab home with colds and ear infections.

We like to send people off with parting gifts.

On another note, being stuck in bed allowed me to get the majority of my Christmas shopping done early.  I felt pretty great about that until I dropped the kidlets off this morning and came home to a room full of boxes that now needed to be opened, the contents wrapped, and All Of The Boxes broken down and taken to the recycling center.  That just makes me six kinds of tired typing about it.  I think I’ll tackle that one tomorrow.

Or not.

I still have seven more days until they absolutely HAVE to be wrapped.  I am nothing if not a Stellar Procrastinator.  Oh, yes I am!

In the midst of all this mess, I borrowed Sparkles’ vacuum cleaner… and broke it.  You wouldn’t believe how if I told you (but it involves finally having a vacuum cleaner with enough power to say… clean the house, and being so ecstatic about it that I went into a very uncareful cleaning frenzy. Or something along those lines.)

The vacuum cleaner was so awesome, in fact, (and cheap enough that Sweetman agreed to it), that when I bought Sparkles a replacement, I bought one for myself, too.

I’ve been a vacuuming fool ever since.

Seriously.

A fool.

Because there are approximately 10 family members’ worth of gifts to be unboxed and wrapped.

But I don’t think I really need to vacuum in there today.

That Turkey Would Have Kissed Me

Thanksgiving_Creationswap

As we gear up to celebrate Thanksgiving and show our deep gratitude for all that God gives to us, does with us, and holds back from us, I wanted to share a different kind of story with you. I’m in the mood to reminisce, as I’ve got The Nana and Ahab under my roof for the first time in close to ten years, this Thanksgiving.

The Captain loves to tell this story. And, although he felt no small amount of frustration when it happened thirty years ago, he can look back and laugh about it now. Time is gracious that way.

This old dog used to hunt.  Yes indeedy. She surely did.

To be fair, I should say that I did the best I could with what I had at the time; which was a skill-set that, as it turns out, doesn’t work well with the skill-set required for successful turkey hunting. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…

Once upon a time, The Captain decided to take me Turkey hunting with him and my brother.  As a tween with a bit of a tomboy streak, I was thrilled to score an invite to the annual Turkey Hunt and to hang out with my father in his favorite environment (the great outdoors). I was also going to get the chance to show off my newly acquired skills with the twenty-gauge shotgun.

Now, these skills were hard-won with a couple of bruises to my shoulder (kick-back hurts!) and plenty of ribbing from my brother on my inability to come within a good foot of the actual targets during practices.  Persistence paid off, though, as I finally proved my ability. This also earned me the coveted invitation.

Under normal circumstances, I’m sure the men in my family would have had no problem tuning me out.  The thing is, we were in the middle of the Everglades on a hunting camp attempting to lure turkeys with no other noise than the sounds of our turkey calls.

If you know me at all, you can already see where this is headed…

We were in full camouflage and completely concealed by the Palmetto and myrtle bushes that we had cut to blend in with our surroundings.

And we were quiet.

The mission we were on required silence.

Silence is hard for me now, as an adult.  You can imagine how hard it was for me as a tween!

And so, as the turkey calls ended and the wait began, it quickly turned into a much-too-long and much-too-quiet wait for me.

I got chatty.

And when a hoped for turkey finally did approach, I couldn’t contain my excitement – so I whisper-shouted it’s arrival.

I do believe that turkey looked at me that day and saw an angel. We could almost hear him say, “Praise the Lord! He sent me a human! That talks!” And Ahab swears that if that turkey had been able to, he’d have blown me a kiss as he hightailed it out of there.

You see, that turkey knew that he had received a stay of execution, because of me.

I can make all sorts of parallels to my life in Christ, here.  I could tell you how God adores time with me, how He loves to see me put the gifts He’s given me to good use, or about the time that He commuted my own life sentence with one final cry of “It is finished!”. 

But, what I want you to know, is that I am thankful for the time He’s given me with my family here on earth, too.  I am grateful, this Thanksgiving Day, for the days He’s numbered for me and for the opportunities He’s given me to love on them and be loved on by them.

And, as for turkey hunting? You’ve probably already guessed that my mouth and I were never invited on another turkey hunt again. 

The Captain also likes to add that since The President releases a Turkey each Thanksgiving, he did too.

Just… not intentionally.

Happy Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!  I’m praying that you are surrounded by friends and/or family that you hold dear.  (And by lots and lots of pie!).

Because I Can

Dear Sweet Children,

I know that you are a little sad that Daddy had to leave Florida to go back home to work.

I am too.

But, that’s what happens when you become an adult.  You have to stop All The Playing to do some work, too.

Don’t you stop playing though.

Play lots.

No. TONS.

Get real tired, okay?

And I know that you are a little nervous because I am going away for a few days.

But, you are going to have So Much Fun with The Nana and Captain Ahab – because they love you so.

And you will be going on such a grand adventure with them before we meet up in a few days.

I need you to know, though, that I will miss you both to smithereens.

And, do you know why?

Because I can.

You need to know all of this, sweet children.

Because, I’ll be calling to tell you that, “I Love You So Stinkin’ Much”, really soon.

Because I can.

And I do.

So…

Eat your strawberries.

Stay hydrated.

Be polite.

Go potty FOR THE LOVE.

Say your prayers.

Give The Nana a few extra snuggles (I think she’s going to need them because she’ll be missing me).

And remember that I Love you BOATLOADS and God loves you even more!

Until I See You Again,

Mama

P.S.  Ahab is going to try to get you to go to sleep without your noise machines.  Humor him, okay?  He’ll catch on after that first night.  Promise.

Captain Ahab, I Love You

Ahab and I have always had a tender and precious father-daughter relationship.  It hasn’t always been roses, of course. Just ask him about the terribly hurtful stage I went through when it didn’t feel “comfortable” to hug and kiss him anymore.  (That lovely age of 13 – it should be banned.) 

I now see the redemptive power hindsight has, though.  Looking back on the behaviors of my parents, through the lens of adulthood, provides a new understanding of All The Rules.

Clarity is an irony.  It’s only in looking backward that I understand more clearly the path I want to forge with my own family, moving forward.

That path, in large part, is because of the one forged by Ahab for his own family.

He may be a Fishing Guru, but what he really excels at is this:

 “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves…”

Romans 12:3 (NLT)

He may have been rough around the edges, but, with Ahab?  What you see is most definitely what you get.  (Nana – stop that sighing. Right now!) I learned to take myself, and the things of this world, a little less seriously from him.  (Unless, of course, we’re talking about the battle plan for the two Sport Lobster Days in the Keys each July. Then?  Then, it’s Get Your Game Face On!)

Ahab taught me how to laugh in the face of danger (“That shark over there? He isn’t interested in you.”), how to go after something you want with determination somethin’ fierce (“Well, get after it! And don’t quit until it’s done!”), how to find the joy in simplicity (“Aw, that’s nothin’ but a thing.”), how loyalty should mean something (“We take care of our own!”),  and how laughter can bring some much needed levity to A Situation (“Hair on your upper lip you say?  Well then, we’ll just call you Harry and the Hendersons from now on.”)

And he taught me love.

“Aw, you’re just sayin’ that cuz it’s true.”  Indeed I am!

I love you Captain Ahab.  Happy Father’s Day!

He always can make me laugh.

He always can make me laugh.

Do you have some fond memories of your father, step-father, uncle, or grandfather?  Please, share! And spread a memory or two.  I love hearing other people’s stories!