An Open Letter to My Facebook Friends List:

I wanted to thank you all for helping me sort out the Cooking of the Turkey in the Roaster Thingy that goes on the Counter minus the Rack Thingy I couldn’t find. You are all geniuses and I wanted to let you know our little dinner turned out wonderfully.

Or not.

Actually, the tutkey turned out okay. The pre-dinner conversation was fucking fabulous. I’m a writer, so obviously, the evening was a total WIN.

Keep in mind that the following transcription is mostly true because totally true would mean I KNEW it was going to be this good and I’d have had my phone on record and that would mean I’m psychic and why would I be bloging FOR FREE THEN? So, let’s jump on to the convo, shall we?

The sweet potato casserole I made that never made it onto instragram. I must be slipping.

The sweet potato casserole I made that never made it onto Instagram. I must be slipping.

The Scene: Thanksgiving, Somewhere in Maine with Lots of Snow and a few Moose, 2014. The Husband has returned from work and dinner is *not* ready to go as he’d hoped.

Him: turkey smells great. How long till we eat?

Me: 2 hours later than you are hoping.

Him: Why?

Me: Because I got it going 2 hours later than you told me to.  Obviously.

Him: What the hell, woman? Can we start with the pie, then? I only ate half my lunch to save room.

Me: No pie. I was too busy asking FB if could cook the turkey in the Roaster Thingy that goes on the Counter minus the Rack Thingy I couldn’t find. Don’t worry, 27 friends liked my confusion and 19 commented, which is the only reason you aren’t giving thanks for peanut butter and jelly right now.

Him: Twenty-seven, huh?

Me: Or five. Whatever. The Queen of Spain says I’m good. That’s all anyone needs to know.

Him (checking the turkey): UPSIDE DOWN? You put the turkey in Upside Down? Who DOES that? And what does Facebook have to do with my lack of Pie?

Me: I had to wait for people to COMMENT, yo. You know how the Internet works, right? And what the hell? Upside down? What are you talking about?

Him (speaking deliberately and now enunciating every.single.syllable lest he scare the jumper off the bridge):  Wait. The Queen of What? Pauline, look at the turkey. Can you tell me where the breast went ?

Me (indignant): I went to high school with royalty. Jealous?

Him: Not really. Just hungry. The breast? Show me. (Calm down, people. He was pointing to the turkey.)

Me: (Looking. Processing. Y’all might wanna thank The Husband for not making you wait … ): Ummmm…

Him (reaching into flip the bird over): It’s RIGHT HERE, babe. (And yes. He pointed. Multiple times. As he turned the bird “right side up”, his eyes saw something else apparently even the manliest of men already know, and when he picked his jaw up from the floor, he said…) and so is the plastic. (Dramatic pause) …and all the bits normal people pull out of the Turkey before stuffing it.

Me (meeting his raised eyebrow with my own): We agreed we weren’t stuffing the Turkey.

Him: That’s all ya got?

Me: Is it edible?

Him: Yes, thank God.

Me: Exactly. And now that we’ve acknowledged the true meaning of today, do me a favor.

Him (grinning): Yes?

Me: Shut up, sit down over there, and give your little girl a kiss. I’ve got a conversation to transcribe before we eat.

END SCENE

Prologue: I didn’t finish baking till 9. They had a few store bought cookies for dessert. and yes, the upside down turkey was delicious

 

 

Follow the words, y'all

 

Sometimes I like to look up the search terms that lead people to Aspiring Mama. Usually this happens after a random conversation I have with a real person like The Husband or my kid or the one neighbor who’s house I can see from the end of my drive (as opposed to the pretend people that live inside of my iPhone).

Today’s foray into RandomSearchTermLandia was spurred on by Monday’s blog post showcasing my girl and her daddy in their kilts and The Husband muttering something about his legs being all over the internet again. When I called him Kilt Daddy and told him to show me his Irish, he totally thought he was getting lucky later and, sadly, I had to tell him that was gonna have to wait for me to finish writing for the day. It took him a minute before he was all Who is this Kilt Daddy?

Reason # 9,487 I usually write nonfiction

So I showed him. Since publishing the original post two years ago, that very term has been one of the most popular internet searches leading readers directly to Aspiring Mama. Other winners include

*Advice Columns of Satire

* Funny Stories About Maine

* Pictures of Finger Monkeys

* Do Cats Blink

* Multiple Women Naked Bodies

* How Much is a Baby Finger Monkey?

*Autosucking

and

* Broken Legs or Sprain Ankles of Famous Persons

 

Just remember, y’all, while Google may be telling you the truth when it shows you The Husband’s sexy legs when you ask it for the Kilt Daddy, Google is a damned liar about the finger monkey expert thing. That, my friends, was one blog post from way back when that was the first thing ever pinned by a reader and how I learned Pinterest had been invented.

Oh, and that one about the broken ankle? In my defense, there was a lot of meat on that sandwich.

 

 

 

Mirish is A Thing. The quick history lesson is that many Irish fought for the Mexican army during the Mexican-American War in the mid 1840′s. The result is is blending of cultures that doesn’t get a lot of air time in history classes.

The Husband is the son of a Mexican-born father and a Canadian-born mother of Irish decent. That makes him Mirish, according to the (also Mirish) cousins who’ve married into the family. I’m willing to bet, however, that he’s the only one who went out and bought an authentic kilt at a Renaissance fair a few years back (and has actually worn it.)

March, 2012

Back in 2012 — when we lived in the desert, The Husband and I packed up the kid and drove the two hours to the closest Ren Fest for our fix. Before moving from Michigan, you see, we were festival regulars with the whole costumes pieced together because it was our thing. We both loved it. We couldn’t go as often in Tucson with two hours being a slight headache, but we dived in with our usual geek-couple gusto and left with a kilt for him…and one for little Eliana. Of course, I made him put it on (he added his Ren Fest boots because they kick-ass) because there was most definitely going to be a blog post. I just needed a picture first.

That’s when I caught the first moment. Eliana stood next to her Daddy and just as she looked up with those adoring eyes of hers, I clicked. I melted.

Fast forward to today’s St. Patrick’s Day, 2014. Eliana and I went holiday-themed-craft-crazy and watched too many Irish step dancing videos on YouTube. It was a blast. But nothing tops the moment her daddy walked in the door after his work day.

“DADDYYOUREHOME!? she screamed. NOWGETYOURKILTANDWHERESMINESOWECANGETREADYFORSAINTPATRICKSDAY” 

The Husband stopped dead in his tracks and glared at me because I’m the one with the blog. I just shrugged. I had nothing to do with this, I told him. You’re the one who reminded her I’ve got a kilt, he said back. That was last week,” I said, smiling.

Not my fault the child has the memory of an elephant. I got the iPhone ready for a few pictures because I couldn’t have planned it better myself (and I wasn’t about to miss photo and internet documentation). Whether or not I looked guilty was totally beside the point.

After changing into the kilt, The Husband walked into the living room in his socks, thinking he was off the hook with no more being asked of him. He got the idea when Eliana ran into our room and came back out with a pair of his black cowboy boots. He put them on as she beamed. Now, she told him, they had matching kilts and were both wearing fancy boots. She tried talking him into a pair of leggings he doesn’t own so they could super match, but he managed to convince her that he was totally okay with his socks poking out the top of the boots. No matter how badly either one of us accidentally fucks up this parenting thing, she can never claim her daddy didn’t love her enough.

The Husband is a smart man. Without having to tell him, he knew exactly what I wanted before I said anything. We chose a spot, they stood up against the wall, and I clicked away, knowing I was going to throw away 14 of the 15 shots I had just taken. Or maybe 20 of the 21. I still didn’t have the one I needed.

Without much direction from me, he assumed his usual stance and guided Eliana into place. Turn her head a bit…look up at me…put your hands on my waist…

March, 2014

She did as she was asked because the child has grown up with a smartphone camera in her face and complying just makes life easier.  I held my breath until I saw it.

Not yet. Cute, but no. Almost…

WAIT!

Right…there.

Two years in between. And my heart melted all over again.

 

 
You know those stories that are never funny when it’s happening but always hilarious later? Yeah, that happens to me all the time. Here’s a little gem from an incident from way long ago. The Husband and I were a shiny-new married couple and I was still in the early stages of learning how to cook because I love my mother but I came into this marriage with zero culinary skills. Trust me on this one, y’all.
***
“It tastes like pureed fire ants,” I said, dropping the pizza slice I had been trying to force myself to eat. “Just throw it away. You don’t have to eat it to make me feel better.”
He blinked, not unlike a deer looking into a fast approaching set of headlights. If he stayed still long enough would the car not see him?
“Are you sure?” He was understandably hesitant. Who could blame him? Before him sat his new 20-something wife who had just spent hours in the kitchen working on a homemade pizza with a made from scratch sauce recipe that had gone horribly wrong. The look of doubt on his face when I told him he was off the hook told me he was pretty sure he had signed something legally obligating himself to pretending to like anything I set down in front of him…at least until I gained 10 pounds and the pressure was off.
“Yes, I’m sure,” I said. I refused to let myself cry. Just because I had baked a pie so God-awful that I couldn’t even swallow a bite without wanting to vomit didn’t mean I couldn’t hold on to a bit of dignity, right? “It sucks. Just throw it away.”
He didn’t have to be asked a third time. The garbage disposal was erasing any remnants of the nightmare I had prepared and the plates washed before I could wipe away the tear that was dangling from my bottom lashes. Instead of breaking into hysterics, I threw back a glass of wine and poured another.
Seeing me visibly relaxed, my husband decided it was safe to speak. Specifically, he wanted to know what the hell had happened in the kitchen. I wasn’t in the running for my own cooking show based on my culinary talents, but I knew how to follow a recipe.
I leaned back against the kitchen counter to think where I had gone wrong while sipping my wine. I compared my shopping list against the ingredients listed in the recipe. I went over my steps and the recipe directions. It all checked out.
Except…
“This is probably what did it,” I squeaked out, realizing my mistake.
“This” was my mother-in-law’s homemade dehydrated habanero peppers, more affectionately known as Death Dust. A little goes a long way in a stockpot full of chili and a lot makes a single batch of pizza sauce taste like, well, pureed fire ants.
“How much did you use?” He asked. “You know you’re only supposed to throw a pinch of that stuff into anything if you want to add some heat, right? A pinch.
He demonstrated for effect.
“Well, I started with a pinch. Then I thought a inch was for pansies so I added more,” my voice breaking. “And now I’m a horrible failure and can’t cook and please don’t tell anyone about this ever because Oh My God did that pizza taste like…like…”
“Pureed fire ants?”  What a good husband. Thanks for reminding me. 
“Yeah, that.”
He laughed. I cried.
And then we called for take out.

 

 

Remember when...

 

We’ve lived in this house since May of 2013. We aren’t even close to being  completely organized. Our basement is a mess of boxes and garbage bags full of out of season clothing and stuffed animals Eliana has outgrown. If we’re missing anything from our last move (the fifth in four years), we wouldn’t know it.

Our old landlord called yesterday to let us know we had left a box behind and was kind enough to meet The Husband to hand it off yesterday. Inside, we found memories we didn’t realize were missing.

There’s one of me at 21. The  Boyfriend that eventually became The Husband had whisked me away for our first romantic weekend getaway to Mackinac Island. Truth? Yes, it was a weave and no, he didn’t know it yet. When the truth eventually came out, he was visibly relieved. Turns out the tracks connecting the weave to my scalp had left a lot of unanswered questions in those wild with abandon moments during which he ran his fingers through my hair.

I made a wish...

Monkey toes.

She was so tiny when she was born. Long little limbs. The longest fingers and toes I have ever seen on a newborn attached to the daintiest pudge-free baby feet ever to have existed. She was six pounds and 21 inches with a perfectly round head that made everyone who saw her assume she was a c-section (she wasn’t).

I remember looking at this picture when I first saw the proof. It took a minute to realize that my baby’s ankle was positioned just above my arm and her toes stretched far below.

“We’ve given birth to a monkey, I think.”

And the nickname stuck.

 

Upon a star...

My mother’s parents were killed in a car accident on their way back from a trip to Mexico when I was 10-months-old. My grandfather had been a native of Guadalajara (which, I guess, explains my hair), and my grandmother had been American-born but raised, for part of her childhood, in northern Mexico. My mother  was supposed to have gone on that trip with her parents but had decided at the last minute to stay home. I was just baby; too young to leave with family.

At 19, my mother buried her parents.

I lived in my paternal grandparents’ home in Detroit for the first three years of my life with my own mother and father. My mom likes to tell the stories like how my Guelo was feeding me beans and rice at six-months-old and how I called my Guela “Mom” and called my mother “Dorothy.” I remember going to Bingo with Guela and I remember translating an entire conversation between my grandmother and a postal worker dropping off a package while home alone with her one afternoon.

My grandmother died when I was six, leaving my sisters and me with one grandparent. He was  just over  five-feet-tall and was a big, round belly. In my entire memory, he is retired, always balding, with sharp, hazel-green eyes. His voice is gruff, his English choppy and so heavily accented it’s impossible to understand. He commands respect and once drove an old station wagon and had a dog he called Come Cuando Hay which literally means “Eats When There Is.” Every Sunday we ate dinner at Tia and Tio’s house and every Sunday, Guelo left with a bag of bones and meat scraps and leftover beans and arroz. That’s when Come Cuando Hay could eat because there was.

Guelo called us his cabronas. His little assholes. To me, that’s just proof that anything in Spanish can be made into a term of endearment if said with love and a smile.

Andale, mis hermosas cabronitas.

Come on over here, my beautiful little assholes.

And there it was.

Love and a smile.

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