Mindbending tacos

tacos without rulesI’m kind of fond of places that use rules loosely

A couple of weekends ago I was out of town with Lindsay when I got a random text from Zack:

Zack: Have you been to 180 Tacos?

Me: No.

Zack: One of the best places I’ve ever eaten.

The conversation continued when I got back in town the next day, because Zack was still raving about that meal. He went there with one of his former mission companions, Dave. In the past the three of us have enjoyed talking about good places to eat around town when I had a great time introducing them to a couple of new places that popped up while they were serving in England. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Dave–maybe almost a year even. Zack told me today that the funniest part was when Dave pulled up to meet him at 180 tacos the first thing Dave said,

Why didn’t you bring your mom?

I love that.

So today when I was picking Zack up to come hang out with us for the day (he does that, isn’t that fun?), I mentioned I was hungry and he asked if I wanted to go to 180 Tacos. I did. We got there early, which was great, because Zack said it’s usually really busy. It was good because I had time to take a look at the menu and figure out where to start. The menu is organized by a handful of different “genres” of tacos, if you will. I decided to go for one of each. (They’re street tacos, so plan on trying at least 3.) You have your choice of corn or flour tortillas. Then you choose which of about three different tacos per genre. I chose the steak asada, the chile orange shrimp, and the mojo roasted pork. As I placed my order I was already thinking about which ones I want to try next (the answer is you always get at least one chile orange shrimp and I really, really want to try the salted cod fritters). Oh, and when they ask you what you want on your taco, the answer is always, “Everything.”

The service was friendly and quick. Everything about this place is simply all about the food, and I can live with that. Because the tacos I tried were delicious in every way. The ingredients are fresh. The flavors and simple. The variety and mix of flavors is original and, well, mindbending. And you should go eat at 180tacos.

tacosTop to bottom: steak asada, chile orange shrimp, roasted pork mojo

Thanks Zack!

It’s about that time

spiral jetty

You know. Time for my annual giveaway for the dear and faithful readers who bear with me through Nablopoblahblahblah. I just tried a new scent tonight. Gingerbread. That one won’t be ready for four weeks, but I think I’m in love. In the past couple of weeks I’ve also made Applejack Peel, Pumpkin, Green Tea Lemongrass (with a pomegranate kick), Peppermint, and Winter Grapefruit.

In any case, you know the drill. Leave me a comment for the chance to win two bars of my homemade soap. You have till Midnight on Monday, November 25th.


On becoming a dementor

A friend of mine is dealing with the beginnings of dementia in one of her parents. My experience with dementia is limited to brief periods of dementia in both of my grandparents. My grandfather’s was fairly constant but it was only shortly before he passed away. Disturbing nonetheless. My grandmother’s seemed to come and go depending on how well her health was. It was still unsettling when she was confused or somewhere else, but at least she always knew who I was. I don’t know much about the medical condition, just that the thought of it puts fear in my heart. I’ve had friends who’ve taken their parents in only to have to deal with their parents, who are not at all themselves, treat my friends’ children horribly. The heartbreak in this aside from the hurting kids, is knowing that hurting children is the last thing the aging grandparents would want to do.

My heart has been heavy with sorry and worry for my friend and her mother, for I love her mother, too. And I’ve been mindful of the challenges and complexity inherent in caring for aging parents. Because every time you see it you know it’s what’s around the corner for you–becoming old and ill and crazy and having your kids perplexed over how best to care for you, most likely when you’re still holding desperately on to the delusion that you’re perfectly fine. My memory has never been particularly sound, so I’ve always been afraid of becoming demented (because when I do, if I’m aware at all of what’s happening to me, that’s what I’m going to call it).

So I was rather startled the other day when a sister working in the temple gently grabbed my arm and said to me, “Don’t ever get dementia.”

Three happy things

Can we just make this (almost) Wordless Wednesday? Because these three things need little explanation.

Rachiel This girl is home. When she saw me she said, “You cut your hair!” And I said to her, “You grew your hair out!” What I love most is that when her parents told her she was getting released tonight at 6pm she grabbed her name badge with both hands and said, “I don’t want to.” And how she sang her favorite hymn to her father oh so sweetly in Spanish while curled up under his arm. And also that she said she wants to come hang out at our house because she will be so bored without anything else to do. Welcome home Hermana Asay!

May I remind you that it is November 20th in Utah? There were rows of these still blooming on 5th South in downtown SLC right next to the dried and fallen fall leaves. They were so lovely and unexpected I had to pull over and capture them.

It goes without saying…

Don’t bother me, I’m reading

I’ve been putting off reading Ender’s Game. You know, because everybody’s read it already. It’s on my to-read list. I was just saving it for later. But now there’s a movie coming out I need to hurry up and read it already. Except that there is no time. I’ve had it since last week but I couldn’t start it because I was involved in a ginormous project at work and knew better than to start it before the deadline. Then I needed to scrub toilets and wash clothes and towels and clean the kitchen sink.

And stuff.

So I started it last night. Zack, remembering all the Harry Potter books I read in a day, said, “I’ll bet you’ll finish it by morning. But I had a meeting with the big boss today and wanted to be at least semi-conscious for it so I did not stay up all night. I didn’t even read it the three times I woke up in the middle of the night because that would have required light and also would have defeated my purpose of at least pretending I was sleeping. So I thought I would read it this morning. At least a little. But then everybody needs stuff. Like a ride to school. Then a ride home from school because I’m sick. And then something to eat which I can’t fix myself because I’m sick. And then my backpack which I left at home when I came home to do my own laundry thankyouverymuch. Normally it might be toobadsosad on the backpack except that I support students who study and work hard at school. So I drove the backpack up to BYU only to have my kid tell me the backpack I brought was his brother’s (the one who came home from school sick). And by the time that was all over it was time to get ready for work.

It’s only 7:50 and I’m so tired I’ll likely fall asleep, but you’ll have to excuse me. I’m off to read anyway..

If I had a minion or twenty

HAHAHAHAHA! In the midst of laundry and dishes I sit down to write tonight and I’m totally stuck. No memories tugging at my head. Tired of writing about myself, but when I thought about writing about any one of the number of people in my life I often feel like writing about I couldn’t start for fear I’d have to write about everyone and I didn’t want to leave anyone out.

I finally got desperate enough to go to Blogher for a prompt and the website is down! I think it’s a sign. Speaking of signs, I found a minion in my fridge tonight as I was rotating the milk. I thought about taking a photo of it stuck down in the bottom right corner between the shelf and the back of the fridge. But then I knew you would know how dirty was my fridge, so I did not.

But then, after Blogher stood me up, I went to a bookmark I have for a post that listed 5 Best Writing Prompts. To be honest, at least one of them–the one that interested me the most, of course–is no longer in service either. But I clicked on one of the links and this is my prompt:

Screen shot 2013-11-18 at 9.40.53 PMprompt and photo courtesy of http://writingprompts.tumblr.com/

If I got a set of minions for a week the very first thing I’d do is take a picture of them and post it on Instagram. Then I would–obviously–get them to clean my fridge. I’m not quite sure they would be effective at that or even very cooperative, as from what I understand minions prefer evil villain masters to fifty-year-old mothers of four who work part time. In any case, I would also take them to work for a day because several of my coworkers are awfully fond of minions.

I tried to think of some dastardly deed to have them do, but I like my family and I like my neighbors and I like my friends. So what I’d probably do is try to spin my to-do list into something full of evil and foreboding and see if I could trick them into putting my laundry room in order and handling all my stacks of mail to be sorted and shredded. Those two things alone would rock my world.

Finally I would probably make them clean my children’s bedrooms for spite. Not sure whose spite, really, but spite sounds like a powerful motivation for a minion, so maybe I could talk them into it.

What would you do if you got a set of minions for a week?

Words matter II, or, everybody has a story

I love having this space here to get words out of my head and try to capture moments, places, people, and events that are meaningful to me. I know it’s small and simple and most of what I write here is only relevant to me. And I’m ok with that. Because what I really love is the power of someone else’s story. Especially when that story is told well. Two such stories come to mind. Both made me think. Both made me cry. Both made me want to be a better person and reach out to someone else. That’s what it’s all about.

I can’t link directly to the first one, but here’s the best I can do. Scroll down until you see the beautiful and very pregnant girl whose story begins “What are the flowers for?” I was so moved by her story–the loss, the sorrow, her courage to tell her story, and what I hope is hope for her future–but this is the line that struck me hard: “I’m ready to give the pieces of me to others.” I replied to the post quoting that line followed by “Oh sister. Welcome to motherhood!” Because that’s what it is, isn’t it? But that’s not just relegated to motherhood. We give a piece of ourselves every time we reveal ourselves to someone else in order to connect with them in some way. Every time we love. Every time we serve. It’s risky every time. Not so much worrying about what we will get back, but worrying about what someone else might do with the piece of ourselves we gave away. Still chewing over that one, yes I am.

Here is the other piece of writing that punched me in the heart today. I cried like a baby. And then I cried like a baby again when I was trying to share a part of this story with the Primary children in sharing time today. Because I’m kind of feeling if anyone needs to discover and develop their spiritual gifts and be prepared, it’s the rising generation. In any case. I can’t even explain why this hit me so hard. But I’m moved by these sisters’ courage, their faith, and their strength. I’m moved by the thought of their parents and families anxiously awaiting news of them. I’m moved by the despair of their mission leaders as for a brief moment they thought, “There were supposed to be 10.” I’m moved by the miracles that got them out of their watery prison alive, then eventually got them to the airport, then got them on that plane to safety. I’m heartbroken by the unimaginable death and destruction, grief and desperation they must have witnessed. I too want to remember and hold on to this hope:

“It was such a terrible thing we witnessed,” Sister Smith said. “But I learned so much about how people will come together to help others, expecting nothing in return. I saw that from other missionaries, and I saw that from the Philippine people. It’s a lesson I hope I never forget.”

Words matter

Today was a rough day. The specifics aren’t necessary, but I was reminded in a very personal way of the power of words. I once tried to articulate once how I feel about words–using the right words that mean what you want to express, using words that build (thank you Richard Bradford for the reminder), but also not using words carelessly–but my own words did not suffice and are lost in cyberspace in some old draft or another.

I was trying to make arrangements for something and was frustrated at every turn. Normally such a thing wouldn’t phase me, but today the sting of mean directed at me from forever ago–yet another version of “You are not enough”–swelled up in my head and in my heart and tore at me. I thought I had forgotten, but I realized the grave wherein I’d buried the words was far too shallow. At first I let the words beat me down. Then I remembered a recent and very personal call to forgive for the words that wounded. Clearly I’m still working on the forgive part. They say time heals all wounds, but I wonder if the forgiveness won’t come until after the healing or if the healing will come when I can fully forgive.

In any case, as I walked outside tonight to the wonder of freshly fallen snow, I embraced a brief moment of calm and clarity, and longed for the peace of gentle words and pure communication.


On the night when it rained stars

Some headline or another I just saw reminded me of a time when I was a teenager. Our congregation used to have an annual campout and my family would always go. It was not unusual for all the older teenagers and young adults to gather in the middle of the opening in the trees to hang out, tell stories, and play games before sleeping out under the stars.

One year I remember we stayed up most of the night staring at the sky, which appeared to be falling. I recall maybe having seen one or two “shooting stars” in my entire lifetime, but here they were falling from the sky right and left. We’d never seen anything like it. Looking back now, I’m sure it was a meteor shower–perhaps the Leonid meteor shower. But that was back in the day when we had no 24-7 news cycle in all places and in all times to inform us of such events. While we were definitely in awe, some of us were also a little freaked out thinking it was the end of time.

In any case, it was a night to remember for sure. And now I do.

Some mint fields that I used to know

(Before I forget: Here’s a link, as promised, to the blog post I wrote about one of our students. He works in the office right next door to mine and is truly a great kid: http://blog.flyuvu.com/2013/11/14/uvu-aviation-student-travis-foss-earns-pilot-slot-with-utah-air-national-guard/ (you’ll have to copy and paste because the pingback was making me crazy so I deleted the link.

spiral jetty

Zack came over tonight and we scrounged through my oils to find some Christmas scents so we could get in another double batch of soap in time for a Christmas fair at which he wants to sell all sorts of Stuff Zack Does. (Because the stuff we ordered from what has been the most reliable supplier in the past has still not even shipped and won’t make it in time for the soap to cure before Christmas, GRRR.) Winter Grapefruit and, one of my favorites, Peppermint straight from the Willamette Valley. Possibly from the very fields I used to hoe (which I hear in my head to the tune of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”). Remotely possibly, nonetheless.

As we were stirring in ground oatmeal and the cranberry seeds (don’t you wish they would stay that lovely red–especially in Christmas soap? I do!) I was reminded of the time my friend Shawna and I went to the Spiral Jetty. It was the best day.

Making soap with Zack is a lot of fun and I hope he has loads of success at his Christmas fair. We’re going to make Artisan bread next. I can’t wait!