Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our Travels Begin



As I put my last items of necessity into my luggage, I zipped it up and secured it closed. 

“What on earth am I doing?”  I said to myself under my breath.  It’s just a vacation.  Just a vacation.  I kept telling myself that.  We didn’t have any plans to start our travels, but my second cousin’s wife, Carrie, came to visit my mom in California.  She lives in another state, and during our brief meeting I asked her all about raising her child in such a different place.  “Come and visit us anytime, and we will show you what it means to live in the country.  We would love to have you.”  I don’t think she knew we would take her up on her offer so quickly.  My husband jumped on the idea.  “Let’s go visit, Janna.”

I felt afraid, afraid to be exposed to something I might be attracted to because I didn’t want to want it.  I was secretly hoping that this trip would point us back to the beginning point of our journey.  We would conclude that there was no place like home.  I would tap my shiny red shoes together at the heels, and open my eyes to find myself living in my “dream” neighborhood, sipping ice tea, as I waded my feet in the heated pool before me.

Splash.

Pool water hit me in the face, waking me from my daydream.  But it wasn’t pool water at all.  It was goat’s milk from my daughter’s sippy cup.  Yes, goat’s milk.  And yes, it tastes disgusting, gamy, goaty.  My poor allergy stricken daughter.  She doesn’t like the taste either, and so it seemed to splash me quite frequently from her rejection of it.  “Honey, stop throwing your gross milk at me,” I said with a serious face.  I could call it “gross” because she was only two years old and for all she knew, the word “gross” meant “fantastic”. 

We finished packing ourselves and the kids and dropped them off at grandma’s house.  They would be watching t.v. for the next 3 days.  I hate t.v. and I seldom allow my kids to watch it, but I have come to realize that grandmas love t.v. and can’t be with their grandchildren without it.  My mother and I have fight about this every time my children are dropped off at her house.   

As we drove away from my parent’s house, I looked back at it.  There sat the house I grew up in since the age of 3.  It was the same, never changing.  The infamous tree shaped like a gigantic mushroom sat right smack dab in the middle of their front yard.  My mother could never find the strength to cut it down, even with my urging.  Instead she had my dad continue to shape it like a very big, unattractive button mushroom.  I wondered if that tree was there when my grandparents lived here, in this house, before my parents bought it from them almost forty years ago.  The house was in the worst location, the busiest, most hectic corner of the neighborhood.  I glanced down at the corner as we drove past it.  This was the very corner on which my grandparents stood waving goodbye to my mom, dad, and my 2 year old brother when they drove away in a U-Haul truck, traveling to another state to make it their home.  It was their chance to get out of California, and they took it.  Their journey to open land and beauty only lasted a meager 2 years and here would come that U-Haul truck once again, and there would be my grandparents standing on the corner waving to them, welcoming them back home.  I heard about it often as I grew up.  “I once lived on beautiful land and milked my own goat.”  Ahh, delicious goat’s milk.  It wasn’t a cow because my brother was allergic to milk.  As you can see, it’s a genetic thing.  My mom would continue, “I was so lonely.  Oh, so lonely and cold.  Our heater didn’t work.  But it was beautiful.” 

And so I found myself driving to the airport to visit the same state in which my parents lived once long ago.  My dad nervously reminded me before we left, “We did this, Janna.  You are going to love what you see, but if you move there, you will be back.  Just like us.  Everyone comes back.”

I wondered if that was true.  Does everyone always end up coming back?  According to my dad, the answer was a definite yes. 

We were going to visit and stay with distant family members that I barely knew.   If I had ever seen them, it was when I was small, and I didn’t remember.  Once thing I did know was that I was named after one of them, and I heard about it all of my life.  “We named you after Janna because we loved her so much.  She would ride up on a horse bareback.  Did you hear me?  Bareback.  Amazing!  She would wrap her hand around the hair of the horse’s mane and hold on for dear life.  She was adventurous.  She could keep up with any one of her 5 brothers.” 

How dangerous.  How scary.  Why?  What was wrong with a saddle?  And she would milk a cow?  And touch the teats?  Eew. 

I was off to visit a way of life I had never known. 

Oh, I hope no one makes me milk a cow and touch the teats, I thought to myself as we neared LAX.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mom Jeans

Once a week I take a moment to interrupt my simple life journey for extra bonus material.  A recipe, decorating ideas, a tip, or a post to make you smile.



We all know what Mom Jeans are, and if you are reading this and you don’t know what Mom Jeans are, then you might be wearing them.  

Mom Jeans are pants that a designer created in the 1980s, and this designer, whomever he or she was, must have been laughing their head off at the sad joke they were playing on every mom in America.  For the Mom Jean was quite an invention.  To create a pair of pants that makes someone look as if they are 3 sizes bigger than they actually are takes a reasonable amount of talent and genius.  And how did they do so?  Well, it was rather simple. 

All that was needed was to create a pant with a waist that would sit well above the woman’s bellybutton, therefore resulting in the appearance of an enlarging of the gut area.  Did you just have a baby?  No, it’s my jeans.  They cradle my abdomen area ever so intently, resulting in an enhancement of this area.  Just what a woman wants to bring attention to. 

And now for the hips.  How can we make them look bigger, wider?  There must be a way.  And there was with these amazing jeans.

What about the thighs?  Add extra material around the thighs.  Wait.  More.  More.  More.  Okay, that looks great.  Her thighs will look huge.  She will look fantastic.     

Lastly, the tapering of the legs to make sure the woman looks shorter, midget like. Because women want to look shorter.  

There! Voila’!  You have Mom Jeans. 

Every mom in America in the 1980s was baited, brainwashed, and bought a pair. 

Including my mother. 

“Mom, how do those jeans make you look so big?”  I asked my mom sincerely.

“Oh, Janna.  Stop it.”

“No, Mom.  I am not kidding.  You really aren’t that large.”

This arguing over Mom Jeans went on….

and on...

For years.

All the mothers of the 80s eventually figured out what they were wearing by walking past a mirror in the mall and looking at themselves.  I remember seeing the moms’ faces, jaw-dropping horror, embarrassment, when consciousness finally came to visit them.  All that time they spent in the gym! when all they needed to do was burn their jeans.

Then came the 90s, and my mother was the only mother still wearing Mom Jeans.  She was the last mom to receive the memo that these pants were a mean joke. 

My mother ignored my pleads, she disregarded my cries, and she trampled on my advice.

But hope was about to visit me!  One day I happened upon an intervention. 

My husband and I were watching Saturday Night Live, which we have on and off for years, and to my sheer delight, I laid my eyes upon the skit that would convince my mother the truth about Mom Jeans. 

I invited my mother over to my house, and I sat her on my couch facing the t.v.  Gently, tenderly, I said to her, "Mom, I have something I need to show you, and I want you to pay real close attention to it."

I was so excited to finally have another source besides myself to wipe away the Mom Jean blindness from her eyes.  This would be it.  We would burn her jeans together.  It would be a wonderful mother/daughter activity that would bond us together forever.

The video played.  I watched my mom's face intently.  I was excited to witness first hand the unveiling of the blindness of her eyes that was 10 years overdue. 
This was my only hope:
 




The video came to completion.

There she sat silently staring at the t.v.

"Mom?"  I called out her name.  Her response might be more dramatic than anticipated.  Maybe I should hug her, hold her, pat her on the back for support.

And then she spoke.

With her jaw dropped open wide, she turned her head to look me in the eyes, and said with all seriousness,

"I need to go to J.C. Penny and get myself some of those jeans."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tick. Tick. Tick.

 



My husband and I watched as the children soaked in the rays of the sun while shoveling sand into messy hills they called “sandcastles”.  All of their faces were pale white from the extra emollient sunscreen I had just applied.  You can always tell when I am the one to apply the sun protection.  The evidence is white faces and bodies adorned with thick globs of partially rubbed in lotion.  How can the sun’s harmful rays penetrate through clumps of white liquid?  - the best application method ever.  We were in our backyard- the beach, and we were in our glory.  This was a time that would not last long.  We wanted to immerse ourselves in it. 

A timer had been set.  A timer for one year.  It began ticking.  I could hear it in the back of my mind. 

Tick. 

Tick. 

Tick. 

It would ring before we knew it.  I suspected it would startle me when it went off as timers always do.   

I look at my oldest son filling buckets with water for my little ones to dump in the sand.  They are so precious.  I want what is best for them.  What mother doesn’t?




My husband and I were both silent, the wind roaring through my hair, muffling the sounds of the squawking seagulls, the waves, and my child’s cries.  We both sat deep in thought, staring out at the loud rumbling waves.  Crash.  Crash.  Crash.  The life I had planned for myself for the next 50 years came to a crashing halt.  My body felt relaxed as I sat with my feet pushed deep down into the warm sand, but my mind was anything but.  I felt uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable with not knowing where life was leading our family.  I am a planner.  What woman isn’t?  And what woman doesn’t feel a bit uneasy when there is no plan? 

Where do we move this family?  There was no job pulling us to a certain location.  My husband could work from anywhere.  Should we just pull out the map and do a little eenie-meenie-miney-mo?  Okay, let’s move there?

How do you make a decision with no direction?

What is it that we actually want?

Neither of us knew.  Therefore, we sat in silence gazing off into the distance with nothing to say.


Little did I know, our traveling search was about to begin.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Re-Anchoring





Anchors are good.  They keep you feeling safe and secure.  When anchors shift it feels as if your very world is being pulled out from under you.  I was experiencing a shifting and a distancing of anchors, and life was uncomfortable because of it.

What if all of this unraveling of the securities in my life was about something deeper?  A need to re-anchor.  Not in new friends and other relationships or new activities or a new found self, but a need to anchor myself in my three top priorities- God, husband, and children.  I needed to reevaluate my life before God and prioritize as He would have me.  I felt it time to increase my focus on Him as well as in this little family of mine. 

I had held onto things, people, commitments that kept me teetering between two lives, my family life and my social life, one foot in and one foot out of this family.  I was always ready to attend some social gathering rather than spending time for exclusive family time.  Family time doesn’t always tend to be the most relaxing.  It can be a little, hmmm, what’s the word?  Maybe stressful?  Maybe overwhelming?  Maybe nerve-racking?

“Honey, can you pull our daughter out from underneath the restaurant table?”

“Stop eating sand!”

“Don’t eat your boogers!!!”                                 

“Stop pulling your sister’s hair!”

“Stop hitting your brother!”


Would I rather be out with the girls?  Maybe? 

As one of my friends wrote in a comment a few posts back, “My anchors have always been my friends and co-workers. I've been struggling lately with changing that anchor to my family. I often times think that others matter more than they really do. I would like to get to the point where I can say, yes...let’s move, as long as I have my family, I am good.”

I believe that God, in His infinite wisdom, was slowly allowing an unraveling of my previous anchors, and He was guiding me to re-anchor where I should be anchored-  in Him and in this family of five.  My husband and these three little people were my life.  But in reality, they weren’t my life. 

I remember a close friend of mine who moved away with her family.  They moved to a place far away from anyone familiar to them.  I remember her saying, “It was so good for our family, so bonding.”  I put her statement deep within one of my mind’s files, and I wondered what it really meant.  Bonding with just your family.  Was my family not bonding the way she was talked about?  Did we need to bond more?   How do you know if your family needs more bonding? 

****

We all piled into the minivan for a night out with just our family.

As we began to drive away from our house, my oldest son hollered from the back of the van, “Is it just our family going, Mom?”

“Yes, it is just our family.  It is Family Fun Night.”

“So does that mean Grandma and Grandpa aren’t going to be there?  And none of our friends will be there?  It is only us?”

“Yes, this time it will just be our family.”

“Ah, man.  That’s boring,” he answered in a very disappointed tone.  My younger son moaned in agreement with him.

My husband and I glanced at each other with looks of concern.

Our family needs bonding.

Maybe we could all use some re-anchoring.

Into this:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Anchor- My Crazy Family


The Crazy Family
This is before the birth of my third baby.



We vacationed two nights, three days, for our annual family vacation to The Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland.  The perfect setting.  The perfect place.  As we were in the hotel room, supposedly spending quality time together, what was my family doing?  I walked into the room.  My older brother, his wife, and my husband were all concentrating on each of their computers propped on each of their laps.  The television was on; no one was watching it.  My younger brother, two years younger than me, was playing a video game on his ipod with my two boys perched on each side of him looking on intently.  My heart sank and I wondered to myself, so this is a family vacation?  Where is the bonding?   Where is the closeness that a family should share?  My heart longs for a deeper connection with these loved ones.
 
This family is one of the anchors I say I cannot move from.  I see them on holidays, and every once in a while I see them for family dinners.  I love them.  They can make me laugh to the point of tears.  I wish I saw them more.  I wish my children knew them more deeply.  They live within minutes from us, but we see very little of them.

There’s my brother, the one eyed uncle. 



He is my free spirited younger brother who lost his eye as he was victimized while repossessing a car.   He wore an eye patch over one of his eyes for months.  Arrrrr.  A pirate for an uncle, only a dream come true for my two small boys.  I have a picture of my boys with homemade eye patches next to their uncle.  This brother of mine is a thrill seeker, jumping from planes and spending many of his nights on the edge of mountains.  He spends his life proving that no one can control him.  We get the picture, Brother.  Now come down from that cliff.

Then there is my eccentric older brother and his wife. 


He is a successful photographer.  You would think that this means great free family portraits, but he hates taking family portraits, so getting him to take a picture of me, my husband, and children does not happen without a fight.  This older brother of mine says that he loves children when they turn 10 years old.  He says it will be then that he will spend time with my kids and do "cool" things with them.  Until then, he is constantly scaring my toddler by staring at her and doing a gun hand signal while saying "hey".  He attempts interactions with my children by sharing hilarious jokes with them that only an adult can understand.  My children mostly pause, stare at him with blank faces, and then turn and run to continue what they were doing.  We anticipate the day when our children turn 10 and activate this amazing uncle who is caged up until then.

Here he is explaining to my son the difference between socialism and capitalism.


This older brother of mine is married to his really hot wife whose name is prefaced by the word “Raw” on her website.  Don't be confused or alarmed by the name she goes by.  The name "Raw" before any woman's name could probably be misunderstood for a different kind of line of work, however, she is as wholesome as ever, and eats only raw food.  She is tall, skinny, and strikingly beautiful with her fire red hair.  She is afraid of children.  They are awfully loud and overwhelming to this quiet gentle soul.



My dad- Mr. Type A.  He is a realtor, a very successful one.  He is a force not be reckoned with.  He sells residential homes and can outsell anyone this side of the west.  I went to an awards night with him once as his date.  We both left arms completely filled with 6 very heavy over sized trophies.  Typical picture of my dad- he is on his phone.  We could be in the middle of singing happy birthday, and the phone rings.  He picks it up, sits right where the action is, then he shhhes and snaps his finger for everyone to quiet down.  I don't think he ever wants to step out and miss anything, so all of his calls are taken front and center where all the action is.

"Yeah!  Disneyland!"  Shhh.. I'm on the phone.


Then there is my mom, the artist.  She is sweet, thoughtful, giving, and hilarious.  She is so funny, but she doesn't know she is funny.  So when you laugh, she looks at you in a questioning manner and asks, "What?"

 Here she is relieving the pressure of her varicose veins at Disneyland.


She can't remember a story unless it is a sad story.  Her memories of sad events and happenings are constantly being triggered by conversation.  You could be laughing at something funny and then in a moment’s time, you are crying because the funny thing reminded my mom of a sad story that she felt she needed to share.  So, needless to say, sometimes being with my family is like riding a roller coaster ride.  You could be laughing hysterically one moment then crying hysterically the next moment.  My tear ducts are extremely sensitive, so you will find my face a mess of tear streaked makeup after spending it with my family. 

My family is one of my anchors, but this anchor that I love and adore is as busy as we are.  I wish we were closer.  I wish my children knew them better.  I wish there were more than holidays and quick passing hellos. 

The anchors that I gave as an excuse to my husband for not being able to move seem to be becoming unearthed. 

What if we did move away?  I know I would get less time with these loved ones, but would I get more quality time with them instead?  Would I get to spend longer chunks of time with them?  Focused time?  Before we moved to the beach house, I saw my dad everyday.  I am so close to my dad.  Our relationship has become one of friends, best friends, but I began missing him.  He became busier than ever once we moved.  We were out of his daily routine.  I began going through withdrawals from him and his daily visits in my life.  I began to miss that father of mine.

 
Models


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Decorating Children's Rooms According to Lindsey

Lindsey is one of my very good friends, and boy, does she have a sense for decorating.  Every time I walk into Lindsey's house I feel like I am walking into a magazine.  From her children's bedding right down to the burp clothes she chooses to wipe the drool from her little one's lips, everything she picks out is adorable. 

The Toddler's Room



A Comfy Place to Read a Book



Simple Yet Functional Storage

A Perfect Way to Display

A Shadow Box of the Most Precious

A Handmade Mobile

Vintage Toys

The Boys' Room

An Area to Play



The ABC's

Organizing School

Simple Style

Unique Lighting

Ready and Awaiting the New Arrival!

The Perfect Color Scheme

Style is in the Details

Oh my word!  Look at the mobile!

Copies of Vintage Books Framed

Simple, Clean Storage



Lindsey, I am amazed at your abilities to make children's rooms so dang adorable.  Any child would feel welcomed and at home in one of these rooms.  You need to keep having babies so we can see more of your baby style abilities.   

Welcome home to your new arrival!  What a wonderful place to come home to.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Sisterhood


This is not an actual picture of us.  These people are probably very old by now.


It was the time in life where adolescence meets adulthood. 

I was in my early twenties, just out of high school.  A group of girls had evolved into a clan, a sisterhood.  There were four of us.  These were the sisters I never had, the sisters I had always longed for.  These girls knew me inside and out.  These were the best of friends and the best of times.

One by one we met our princes.  Courtships developed into marriages. 

There was just one hitch. 

All three of my best friends married three brothers.

A family was formed.  My three “sisters” became real sisters.  

Without me.

It wasn’t a big deal at first.  It was exciting.  This sisterhood would be guaranteed to exist for a life time.  What could be more special?

A weekly family dinner, birthday celebrations, an annual Christmas slumber party, “Auntie,” “Uncle”- titles with adoring meaning.  Familiarity and bonds that only a family could share. 

I watched from the beginning.  The bonds evolved before my eyes.  Unknowingly and accidentally, I drifted further and further from this surrogate family that I once felt a part of.  I did not attempt to replace it with other friends and people.  I had no desire to.  Could anything compare to the bonds I shared in these friendships? 

The distance felt like a hole in my heart, a hole that kept growing.  Loneliness became the norm.  I felt pain.  A lot of it.  And soon the emotional pain grew; I could hide it no longer.

I broke. 

No one to be faulted.  I had tried my best to fight it.  I looked for the manual “How to Be Best Friends with Your Three Friends Who Became Sisters,” but to no avail.  Maybe I will write it someday for all of those in my same situation.  Do I expect someone to understand what it felt like?  Probably not, I mean, how common of an occurrence is it when someone's best friends all marry brothers and become sisters?  I can hardly go back in my mind, for a tinge of pain surges through my mind when I go there.  I questioned whether or not to reveal this part of my story, but I feel it is important to explain where I have come from to understand where life may be taking me.

I want to be sure and state that it was of no one’s intentional doing.  My friends could not feel the distance coming as I could.  They couldn’t see it or understand what I was going through.  No one understood what was happening.  It was life taking its course, like a rapid river suddenly moving in another direction.  I tried with all of my might to row against it, to fight the swift current.  These relationships were changing and no one knew how to alter course.  It was unintentional, but it was unstoppable.

Fate had decided.   

By moving to the beach house I had moved only a few miles away, but inside it felt like one thousand. 

These sisters were my anchors.  I was drifting. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Anchors



Everyone has anchors.  Anchors are what keep us living in a particular place.  Anchors can be friends, family, a job, a life style, a home, anything special that keeps you in a specific area. 

My anchors are my people.  I have heard that there are two types of people, people who are like dogs, who don’t care where they are as long as they are with their people.  Then there are people who are like cats.  They are connected to a place and are happy and comfortable as long as they are in their “place”.  I am like the dog.  I can’t leave my people, and I would never consider it, but things have been slowly changing over the years, shifting my anchors a bit. 

I have found one thing to be certain in life:  change.  And as much as we fight it, go to bat against it, run from it, change will eventually rear its head and demands its course upon our lives. 

At this exact time in my life, my relationships have been shifting, changing without my realization.  When I did realize it, it was too late.  

The foundation that I have built my life upon is becoming shaky.  I hold my hands out, trying to regain my balance, but to no avail.       

My friendships with the people with whom I have been best friends for 15 years are changing, growing apart, and all participants have done everything in their power to stop it.  The very thing I have been holding onto so tightly has begun to shift and alter within the hand I am holding it.  The tighter I squeeze, the more shifting takes place.  One of the main anchors that has kept me from moving has become unsteady.  Life is running its course, and I am attempting to stand firm in its way.  

I agonize over even considering leaving my most precious relationships, but at the same time, I feel as if my heart has been pulling away from them no matter how hard I fight against it.

Sometimes I think, and deep down I know, that there is a bigger hand at play.


To understand the depths of these relationships, a bit of history must be revealed.
 





Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How Do We Simplify Even More?




We began simplifying our lives through the process of pruning, but it wasn’t simple enough.

How do we simplify even more? 

Do we become Amish?  Hide away from the rest of the world?  Will we have running water?  Toilet paper?  Aleve?

Is that the only way to live simply?

We made it our theme, our goal.  Simplifying your life sounds so easy.  So simple.   But something is making it difficult for us to simplify our lives here in Southern California. We thought long and hard about this.  Do I think it is possible to simplify in Southern California?  Yes, I do.  I have a dear friend of mine who lives a simply life, right in the smack dab of L.A.  She amazes me how she keeps life simple for herself and her family.  I am not sure that I,  personally, can do it here.

What are the things that make life in So. Ca. the opposite of simple?


Commuting.



There are so many people.  So much traffic.  The shortest distance I drive is a 15 minute commute.  On an average, every car trip we take is about a half an hour long.  My friends of older children warn me that I will become a taxi mom as soon as they start school, sports, and other endless activities.  I am already starting to get a glimpse of this.  I drive my son to school, half an hour there, half and hour back, and I repeat this commute for pick up.  That is a 2 hour drive every day.  This would be less if we lived near the school we attend, but that comes with a price, the price of living in that particular neighborhood. 


Cost of Living.


The housing market here is unbelievable compared to elsewhere.  The selling price of a home makes it very difficult for one parent to stay home to take care of the kids.  Mortgages here make a family feel like they are held down by a pile of bricks.

I have friends who have moved out of L.A., and the homes they have been able to purchase are amazing!

Beautiful, brand new, significant sized homes.

Amazing, safe neighborhoods. 

Land.

Imagine having an amazing house.  Being able to stay home to raise your kids.  Being able to have savings in the bank, and being able to save for retirement.  Is that even possible?  It hasn't been for us.


Endless Choices.    


The town center.  The mall.  Costco.  The four different grocery stores I frequent.  Clothing stores galore.  If the store exists, then it is here.  Banana Republic, Gap, Victoria Secret, Anthropology, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Forever 21, and the list goes on and on and on.

Shop.  Shop.  Shop.

Return.  Exchange.  Return.

Commute.  Commute.  Commute.  Driving across town back and forth to make my final purchases.

These things take a lot of time and energy, more than I realize.


Obligations.


We have an endless supply of events and obligations.  We live in Seal Beach.  We go to church in Long Beach.  We send our child to school in Cypress.  Our friends and family live in La Palma, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Costa Mesa, Mission Viejo, Yorba Linda, Temecula, and Palm Springs.

We have many obligations. 

A church pot luck, game night, a marriage seminar, Biblestudy, Wednesday night Kids' Club, date night, couples' night, Moms' Night Out, moms’ group, coffee dates, birthday parties, birthday parties, and more birthday parties.

We haven’t even started doing sports yet. 

I love the social part of life, I love the people in my life, but my calendar is ready to explode! 



All of these things take up a significant chunk of our time.  Commuting.  Cost of Living.  Endless Choices.  Obligations.  I don’t want to cut any of it out.  And if you asked me to continue cropping, I wouldn’t know what else to prune. 

As much as I want to be able to simplify my life here, I just don’t think it is possible for me.  I know myself; there are too many distractions.

My husband asked me once again, “Can we consider moving elsewhere, Janna?  Can we just look and see what’s out there?” 

I surprised myself this time by responding, “Yes, Dan.  I will consider it.” 

At least we will get to go on some vacations to check out what is out there.  Traveling sounds fun.  We haven’t been able to get away for much needed husband/wife alone time.  I am beginning to like the idea.

But deep down, I wonder if I could really leave my people?  I could leave the weather, the endless amount of stores, the conveniences available here, but I don’t believe I could leave my people.  They are my anchors for staying put.  Yet, if I really start to think about it, some of my key relationships have become a little shaky lately.  The anchors that keep me here are not as stable as they used to be.



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Salmon Tacos with Mango Salsa

Gluten free.
If you need a dairy free option, omit the cheese.



Mango Salsa:
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 ripe mango, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
1/3 cup chopped red onion
¼ cup canola oil
1 large avocado, chopped
            ¼ cup chopped cilantro

How to cut a mango:

The seed is in the middle, so you have to cut straight down along both sides of the seed. 


 Press the knife all the way down to the skin, but be careful not to cut through to your hand.


Push the mango inside out so you can easily cut the chunks off using a knife.


To make the Mango Salsa combine the mango salsa ingredients above in a medium sized bowl.  Keep refrigerated.    


Now for the remaining ingredients.

Salmon Fish Seasoning:
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. salmon fillet
½ cup shredded jack cheese
Corn tortillas
Canola oil


To make the Salmon Fish Seasoning, combine the ingredients from the ground cumin to the pepper.  Set aside. 

Wet the salmon with the 1 tablespoon of oil.  Sprinkle the seasoning evenly over the fish.  

Over medium high heat in a skillet, fry the fish until lightly brown on one side, then flip to lightly brown the remaining side.  Take a spatula and break up the fish into small pieces.  Sauté until fish is cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan over medium-high heat, fry one tortilla at a time in about 1 tablespoon of oil for about 1-2 minutes on one side until crisp.  Using tongs, flip the tortilla and bend in half to form a "U" shape; fry both sides of the "U" until crisp.  If oil begins smoking, it is too hot.  Set fried tortillas aside on paper towels to drain.  

Fill taco shells with salmon, mango salsa, and cheese. Enjoy!