Saturday, September 14, 2013

Haciendo Tortillas (Making Tortillas)

The other day I was lamenting the fact that there are no fresh tortillas in Marion. I never learned to make tortillas in Mexico because you can run down to the corner 7-11 (and there is a 7-11 or Oxxo on ever corner) and pick up a package of fresh hot tortillas.  Here in Marion the best tortillas I can find are at only one Hy Vee (Iowa's version of HEB) which come uncooked and I put them on the comal (a flat rimless pan). They're OK but I still would like to buy a package of the hot and fresh stuff. Asi es. Don't get me started on the nearly nonexistent jalapeƱo section at the store. And if I every buy anything exotic like tomatillos or serrano peppers, I bet 10-1 the clerk will ask me what they are. Anyway, back to my tortilla story. As I said I was lamenting the fact that I can't find good tortillas so I asked one of my Saturday adult students if his wife could show me how to make them. As I related the desire to make tortillas to Will  (he's another story for another time, but I will tell you he's from Reynosa, Mexico), he interrupted me to give me some very important information. Apparently one should not say, "Quiero hacer tortillas con la esposa de Florencio" which translates to "I want to make tortillas with the wife of Florencio".   It's a perfectly good sentence but it has another meaning in Mexico. When two women are making tortillas (hacen tortillas) it means they're in a lesbian relationship... not that there is anything wrong with that.  Basically I told Florencio that I want to get lovey-dovey with his wife and somehow he kept a straight face.  I won't make that mistake again. Just like I won't order "camarones sin ano" - shrimp without assholes - again.

The Oboe. Oh, Boy!

I hate to be one of those apologetic bloggers so I must hate myself for saying I feel bad about not writing more often. I have a lot to say. Being silent is not one of my stronger points. Last spring I applied for grad school at the University of Northern Iowa. Surprise, surprise, they let me in.  It was more like an oh, shit, what the hell were you thinking moment when they accepted me. I am midway through my second class in linguistics and I am proud to say I got a 94/100 in my first class. Facebook has taken over for the immediate need to say things like when my nephew recently decided to take up the oboe. Do you all know what an oboe sounds like?  Check out this youtube video.

Yup, that's what I am listening to as I write. A stepped-on duck. A stepped-on dying duck. He already plays the piano for which I have to listen to Christmas music through March until I scream ENOUGH ALREADY. And then when he joined the school band, they put him in the percussion section so I get to hear pound, pound, pounding of unsteady beats (I'm used to that - my son Brian played drums for 13 years). At least he doesn't get to bring the crash cymbals home. Then I found this website for oboe jokes that I yell to him above the screeching sounds. I played flute in the band. We all knew that oboes were the butt of all jokes.

All kidding aside, the kid (he's in 9th grade) hatched the plan and did all the footwork to start oboe lessons. He is the class vice president and he is thinking of going out for basketball and tennis. Did I mention he had straight A's last year? And straight A's so far this year. Can't complain about any of that. I won't complain about the oboe when he stops sounding like a dying duck.