Our dog, Lucy, seems confused and anxious. She’s taken to never ever letting us out of her sight. If we leave the room to go wherever, she follows us. If we leave the house, she whines. She’s aging, so we understand. Maybe she’s just getting a little anxious. I don’t know though. Her behavior seems purposeful and deliberate.
“I think she’s worried about people disappearing,” I said. “Olaia, left for college, and is now on her own. Jaimito is in his third year of university. Javier just left this summer. Our household is down to just Asier, Laura, and me now. There used to be 6 of us, now we’re down to 3. And Asier is at school during the day.
“I think she thinks something is wrong, and she’s worried we keep disappearing. Why would anybody ever leave the pack, she wonders? The pack is where family is. It’s warm and safe and comfortable. It’s where you have your friends. It’s where you get foodies. It’s where you get pets and love. WHY WOULD ANYBODY EVER LEAVE THE PACK?!?!?!
“Someone is taking them!
“So I think she’s worried something is happening to us. There are three people missing. What is going on here?! Where did they go?!?!? I better keep my pack close to make sure nothing happens to them, she seems to say.”
Family at the grocery story today.
“Hey Asier, do you think we should get penne pasta for tonight?”
“Ay papi, it sounds wrong when you say it.”
I had said “penne” (from Italian) like the word “pene” (from Spanish), which means penis. Asier picked up on it and let me know.
“Papi, in Italian, you say the double n like this payn-nay.”
“Oh, yeah?” I repeated it. “Payn-nay. Payn-nay. Thank you Asier. You know so much, my little Italian boy!”
So in the spirit of St. Patrick’s day, Laura whipped up a delicious dish of corned beef and cabbage. The interesting part was the conversation about how the dish came to be, what goes in it, and the dynamic of families that might have shared it together. We meditated on the Irish immigrant families in America that didn’t have access to their preferred pork, and suffering economic hardships, resorted to using cabbage as way to extend the cheap and somewhat familiar corned beef. Add some onions, carrots, and potatoes and it’s a complete and healthy meal.
“You know,” Laura observed, “I just cannot believe that nobody mentioned garlic in this dish.”
“I know, who doesn’t put garlic in a dish like that. It’s sacrilegious,” I replied. “Throw it in. It’s a family dish.”
“Should I add some corn?”
“Oh yeah, definitely, a hint of sweetness, and a native American staple, peasant food with a dash of this and a dash of that, borrowed, available, and left over.”
It doesn’t necessarily look great, but ours was delicious.
The verdict: I don’t know about you, but I could happily survive on family style poverty food.
I was chatting with Jaimito and Javier in the car this evening and we were talking about the feelings of love and new relationships. I mentioned a relationship I had that fizzled out because it went too fast. I remarked that with Laura it took two and a half years for there to be a spark. It was a slow burn.
Jaimito piped up, “It’s like good ribs.”
I paused, not quite getting it.
“Daddy, good ribs are cooked slow and low. So true love is like good ribs.”
We all rolled. “Jaimito, that’s going in my blog. Truer wisdom has never been spoken.”
Jim: So, the glaring difference I see is that you should be able to give more stories about Brett other than, “He’s a good guy.” I know some good people, and if you asked me what I thought of them, I’d have stories that would demonstrate their character.
Javier: Daddy, maybe Brett is the kind of guy that has dumb friends who can’t even invent a good story about him.
All of us: ROFL!!!!
Asier: Daddy, what should I do with my Pokemon cards?
Me: I dunno, Asier. We should play…
I trailed off a bit, because I knew where this was going. Asier has been fascinated with Pokemon this past year, but his interest has begun to wain. We hadn’t been playing the card game with him. I’ve put him off. His brothers have put him off. So he’s been a little down about his whole Pokemon phase coming to an end as he begins to outgrow it.
Asier: Yeah, but I haven’t asked… it’s because I want you to play for the love of it.
Me: Asier, you are the dearest sweetest self-aware little boy in the world. I want to play, because I love you!
Olaia and Jaimito took part in a music festival this weekend. Their encore was this beautiful rendition of “En Mi Viejo San Juan.” Pardon the stupid wind in the microphone. I have to learn to take a better mic when I go to these things.
We all spilled out onto the terrace, excited to see a lunar eclipse. “What is a lunar eclipse,” someone asked?
“It’s when the earth passes between the sun and the moon,” I replied. I could almost see their little brains all working out that orientation.
I snapped a picture, and by accident got a decent exposure.
Olaia with her telescope, I with my camera, we fiddled, and fussed over our gadgets in search of that elusive moon. A hoard of mosquitoes attacked my ankles increasing my agitation as I blindly toggled and switched buttons in the dark. Damn it, I needed to read the manual again. I wanted to capture what my eyes could not, but the camera was foiling me. Olaia scolded the boys for bumping the table as she lost site of the moon yet again.
After an hour of dancing between my camera and the pool to soothe my ravaged ankles, I got another as the eclipse was peaking.
By this time the boys has already abandoned their posts and gone to bed. I don’t know how to say this, but it was fun. The worst mosquito, equipment inexperience failure, in the dark with your family is better than just about anything else.
“Hey daddy, would this be the night the water benders would be weak?”