I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter weekend.
I’m going to do something a little different today. This blog post is going to be a letter to you, instead of a story with a beginning, middle and end, all wrapped up in a bow.
This is where I’m going to tell you all the random stuff happening in my world right now, and so I’ll just get right to it.
My husband has been doing this thing where he sometimes deviates from my thoughtfully-crafted breakfast menu’s, meant to fuel the kids before school, and it drives me crazy. My meal plans have breakfasts like “egg and toast in a cup with strawberries” or “avocado toast with melon slices,” written on them, however, he chooses to serve them bizarre things utilizing leftovers. He proudly calls this “Jeremy’s efficient use of culturally skewed, non-traditional breakfast foods” and maintains there is nothing weird about serving roasted chicken and green beans with onions for breakfast. Or heating up a leftover Cubano sandwich, dividing it four ways, then adding in some over ripe avocado and banana slices on the side.
I’m like…I have everything for a broccoli feta scramble in the fridge, but whatever.
Sometimes, when we’re out to eat and there’s a half a leftover cheeseburger on the table, Jeremy will proclaim “we need a box!” to the waiter and then say “’I’ll give that to the kids for breakfast tomorrow!” And I just crinkle up my nose in distaste. Because yeah, it’s fine but WHY CAN’T THEY JUST EAT EGGS OR DRINK SMOOTHIES FOR BREAKFAST LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE?? Doesn’t it make more sense that I’d send the leftover burger with someone for lunch instead of serving it for breakfast??
I’m just saying.
I get secretly worried when I’ve got leftover balsamic roasted brussel sprouts and carrots from dinner because Jeremy HAS FOUND IT FIT BEFORE, to add ROASTED CARROTS into a SCRAMBLE.
“This isn’t right” I tell him.
He just beams at me, terrifically pleased with himself.
In other news, It took an act of God to get me to write this blog post and not devour my book instead. My Husband’s Wife is the first novel I’ve read in a while and so far, I like it a lot. I haven’t finished so I can’t recommend…yet. I can’t because I’ve been burned too many times. Most mysteries let me down. Writers seem to think it’s okay to have the “plot twist” be some “cheat,” like writing a character one way throughout the whole book but then telling you at the very last minute that they actually aren’t that character at all, but rather are living a double life they never told you about, after writing them COMPLETELY SANE AND NORMAL for the whole book. No hints. No clever clues. Just a total cheat. I hate that. I’m looking at you, Big Little Lies.
And YOU, Girl on A Train. Don’t even give me that “I couldn’t remember” crap. I am not impressed.
I don’t know. I’m a mystery book snob, I think. I mean, I must be. I enjoyed the books I just criticized, but the conclusions left me unsatisfied. This is why I don’t read fiction as much as non-fiction
I’m not done with My Husbands Wife, so there is still room for a let down, but the story is complex and well-developed and it does have me turning the pages rapidly, so I have high hopes. My only fear is that they will rush the ending too quickly considering I am more than half way through and I still don’t know where it’s all going.
I talked to my sister about this conundrum last week. What are the components in a novel that thrills you? What are the things that make it a page turner? What are the ingredients to a truly satisfying ending? I think I really need to study that and then write the book I want to read. Easier said than done, I’m well aware, but then my juices started flowing and I started to think why not make a murder mystery set in the small ski resort town I live in? And then base my characters on my real life friends and then wonderful, crazy things can happen. What things?? I started asking my sister.
“I want to read about an affair!” she said. (she is going to kill me for writing that because, like any good writer, I have taken her quote completely out of context and neglected to explain why she said that, and what other suggestions she had which were much less morally questionable.)
This is my sister, for context. She doesn’t aways look like this. I took this picture because when I saw her I said “why do you have two buns on the top of your head with wild hair and glitter eye shadow and huge heart earrings? to which she responded “oh. I’m dressed for Tokyo.” To which, I didn’t know what to say. “Is that a thing?” I said “to dress for Tokyo? Like a hashtag or something I missed?” She smiled and said “No. it’s not a thing. I just decided I wanted to dress like I was in Tokoyo.” And this is what you need to know about Kaylee. Randomness runs in the family. Also, this has nothing to do with my book story.
In the end Kaylee and I decided that affairs made us sad. But what if there was a way to trick the reader into thinking there was an affair going on but it really wasn’t? Then we don’t have the moral issues. Characters who have affairs are rarely likable anyway. And then what if we could make it super obvious with tons of clues that are non-clues and you think the whole book that this character is cheating on her husband but then you come to find out that she’s actually a widow and her husband isn’t alive and it’s this big “Sixth Sense” like reveal and you can’t believe you didn’t pick up on it before. OF COURSE HE’S DEAD! That part when the main character comes home and notes the dead husbands coat on the rack? You will go back and be like “oh! I just thought the author was telling us that the husband was already home and ignoring his wife but REALLY she just hasn’t packed up his things yet!” And…And…it sounded better in my head, okay?
I don’t even write fiction. I’m transitioning now…
You can abruptly transition in a letter like this, but not an essay. I’m taking full advantage.
We went to visit our new house a few times last week. But we visit our house multiple times a week every week so this is not really “news.” It’s coming a long swimmingly! Cabinets are going in, the stone on the fireplace is done, and concrete floors are looking great. I can’t wait to move in. About two months left. I’m counting the days!
In other news (another random transition!) I failed my family last night and didn’t make dinner. Instead of going the grocery store to buy food, I accidentally went over to my sisters house and stayed for three hours. Oops.
So today, to make up for it, I’ve got pork loin “carnitas” in the slow cooker. I can’t buy an organic, clean pork shoulder in my town, which is so sad because that’s what’s needed to make real carnitas, but the loin will have to do. It’s looking very pretty in there with all the onions, garlic, jalapeño and fresh lime and orange juices.
photo caption: pork in the slow cooker before I added in the chicken broth.
If you want to make this, it’s super easy. Just add two pounds of pork loin into a crock pot. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder and 2 teaspoons salt. Then top it with 1/2 a sliced yellow onion, 4 sliced garlic cloves, 1/2 a sliced jalapeño, and the juice of one juicy lime and one juicy orange, then add enough chicken stock to submerge the pork a little more than 3/4 of the way (if the pork doesn’t have enough liquid to cook in, it will be dry). Then cook it for 6-8 hours. After it’s done, shred the meat with two forks (it should be muy, muy tender—that’s “very” for all you non-Spanish speaking folks). Traditionally, carnitas would have a crispy crust in places, so in order to mimic this, I’ll put a little olive oil in a big pan and heat over medium high. Then I’ll add some of the shredded pork in a single layer to crisp it up on one side before serving (this works if your pork is a little on the dry side, too. The olive oil helps bring back moisture.)
I serve carnitas either one of two ways:
The first is to just heap the carnitas into a corn tortilla and top with pico de gallo and THAT’S IT. It needs nothing else because its so delicious, you see. However, sometimes I serve it how my Grandma and Grandpa Burgos used to by making burrito wraps out of it. Take a flour tortilla and first do a layer of refried beans, then the pork carnitas, then sprinkle with jack cheese, and finally add a little sliced avocado. It’s really good.
So, dinner is covered. I feel accomplished.
For breakfast, I’ve been getting these blend your own non-fruit smoothie packets from a local shop called Joose a couple days a week. Nothing against fruit, as I had an apple for a snack yesterday, I’ve just been on a kick of no fruit smoothies. This particular mixture is a blend of: plant protein powder, pecans, cacao powder, coconut oil, maca powder, spirulina, vitamin e, probiotics, spices (cinnamon and nutmeg), and herbs…but it tastes like creamy cinnamon chocolate with a little salt which maybe sounds gross, but it’s not. To blend, I usually add a 1/4 of an avocado to help keep the smoothie from separating, along with an almond/coconut milk blend and water. It’s bueno.
Okay guys, I’m going to go ahead and wrap this up.
I know. I’m going to stop writing words and your relief is tangible. I can feel it before I’ve even pressed “publish.”
In all seriousness, thanks for hanging out and I’ll see you back here next week!
PS. Just a heads up. My fortune said this so…yeah. It’s probably going to happen. I’ll say I knew you back when. I kid. It’s actually quite interesting because the second I opened this and read my very first reaction was “No! Please no! It sounds horrible.” About the fame part. Not the fortune part, just to be clear. But still, I wouldn’t have guessed that.