Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Tamale Guy

One of the best things about going to the annual local craft beer festival with my husband is the food trucks. More specifically, the tamale food truck.

It's hard to find good tamales in Washington...   But the tamale food truck makes some really good ones, and takes me back to when we lived in Southern California and my favorite thing about where we lived.

The Tamale Guy Hunt.

We lived on the north end of Corona in a cute little residential neighborhood, that was about a 45 second drive from being in the middle of cow country.  Cold mornings were not without their own special aroma.

But, if I got a hankering for tamales, I could throw the kids in the car and drive around Cow Country, looking for the Tamale Guy.

I'm pretty sure the Tamale Guy wasn't here legally. I'm pretty sure the Tamale Guy didn't have a business permit.  He didn't speak English. He was never in the same place twice. And he sold tamales, that his MIL made in their kitchen, out of the back of his van. Also, sunglasses.

The extent of our relationship was a lot of smiles, and me pointing at a clipboard to tell him how many I wanted.  There was never a line for "ALL OF THEM."

And he was pretty much my favorite thing about living where we lived. It sure as heck wasn't the drive into Orange County.  I would happily have brought him with us if I could.

I really miss the Tamale Guy.

Friday, May 10, 2019


I said the other day that I've been forced to start arising for the day at 5am because my dog has to go outside.

What I didn't say is that I don't mind that much. I sort of like having a couple hours in the morning to myself before everyone gets out of bed. I feed all 97 of our pets. I have the time to get a cup of coffee and quietly sip it while I wake up -- without having to talk to anyone.  I have time to pull a writing prompt out of the jar and percolate on how I want to answer it. I have time to answer it. I have time for a cup of coffee or two more, if I want.

All in the quietness of the morning -- save for the paws scrabbling across our hardwood floors in Early Morning Kitten Wars.

Some of my teenagers have gotten on this weird sleep schedule which we're in the middle of retraining.  Which meant someone was still awake when I got up at 5am yesterday, ready to talk and vent.  At 5 am. Before I had had coffee. Quietly waking up was not happening. Writing was not happening. Grumpy hormones might have been happening.

So, in the afternoon, I took myself to my favorite coffee shop, laptop in hand -- FOUND A TABLE (Gold, I tell you. GOLD.) -- and wrote.  By myself.

One child was at school with the Teenager Car. One child was at home with nowhere to be. The third child was also at home with no work on her afternoon schedule. I was not expected home.

when are you coming home? the text read. 

What followed was a sad exchange in which the teenager professed boredom, lack of transportation, desire to go to work for which she was not scheduled, and.... oh right, more boredom.

will you be home by 2:30??

I sighed.  A good mom would probably go home. 

probably not. I texted back.

Because sometimes self-care looks like stubborn obstinancy.

Thursday, May 9, 2019


At the beginning of the year, I reflected a lot on the topics that I have felt the most drawn to writing about over the past almost-ten years -- and I sort of revisited them in 2019 versions. I tried to think about where I have been and where I am now -- and how my thoughts have changed and evolved -- or even stayed steady -- in that time. I thought about how I've changed and grown, and where I see myself as still being a work in progress.

My last one, as it made sense in the story arc, dealt with forgiveness.  Both forgiveness of others and forgiveness of myself -- two places that I always feel struggle.

I thought about what forgiveness is and what it does and what it's for. I thought about it opening up a door to being able to have a sense of peace. I thought it being a way to let go of anger and bitterness. I thought about how not finding it becomes a stumbling block to your own healing and your own health.

But, because I knew that I wasn't quite there yet, I didn't really think about what comes after the forgiveness. I think that forgiveness is mostly a requirement for reconciliation to take place. But, I don't always think that reconciliation is necessarily the best next step forward for every situation. Sometimes forgiveness is the precursor to simply moving on, and not to starting over.

In its most recent form in my life, my hurts have stemmed from various manifestations of someone I cared for just not being who I thought they were, or who I wanted them to be. And once that road to forgiveness was walked, nostalgic instincts aside, I found that I was happier with distance. Forgiveness was necessary. Reconciliation was not. And, excepting some nagging regrets, I am happy in that place.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


So, basically, I sleep like an old lady now.

The problem isn't really me. The problem is my dog, who I love and adore.

Last year, when my kids were all in high school like normal people, I got up at about 5:30 every morning to get them ready for school. So, Lexie (the dog) learned that 5:30 am was breakfast time.

This year, all my kids are in some form of alternative schooling and they no longer have to be at the crack of early. The dog, however, is still convinved that 5am is time for breakfast. She gets up, sits beside my ear, and whines until I get out of bed.  If that doesn't work, she yelps at me.

Mostly, I think it's that she's old and can't go much longer than that before she has to pee.  As a woman with the smallest bladder in the world, I sympathize.

So, my normal wake-up time EVERY MORNING is now 5am.  Which means, if I am going to get any kind of rested sleep at all, I have had to walk back my bedtime to 9pm.

Like an old lady.

Pretty soon, I'm going to be eating dinner at 4 in the afternoon.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019


I began last year, after reading a lot of Brene Brown, with a desire for 2018 to be my year of authenticity.  I wanted to be braver. I wanted to be more honest. I wanted to be less afraid of showing people who I was.

I thought that meant being more vocal about it all. I thought it meant shaking off shackles I had put on myself. I thought it meant feeling free to walk my own road without caring what anyone else thought. I thought it meant not apologizing for who I was and being brazen about it.

And then, unplanned things happened in my relationships with people that I didn't feel I could be brazen about. I had real issues that I needed to work through... it's just that this wasn't the space that I could do that in. I didn't want to hurt people. I didn't want to create any more gossip than necessary. And if that's what you were looking for, I think that you were probably frustrated with me.

I had to find different ways... but they were quiet. I needed sounding boards, but I needed sounding boards that would be gentle but honest, understanding but real, supportive but firm. Fortunately, I had those. Some had been in my life for a long time, and some had come into it probably for just that purpose.

At the end of the year, as I looked back on everything that had happened and everything that I had wanted it to be, I felt a sense of failure as I re-read that first entry of the year. The pulling-in that I had done, the self and other protection that I had tried to create -- it seemed like anything but authenticity.

As I think about it now, I think I was wrong. But, I think it was more about my internal authenticity than anything else. It wasn't about being outwardly brazen about who I am. It was about bringing who I am and the values I hold important into an internal balance with the choices I was making and the people I was involved with.

My tangle with authenticity wasn't quite what I expected it to be -- but I think that perhaps it was what I needed it to be.