It started with a shirt. A lucky shirt. Daughter 2.0’s lucky Giants shirt.
Last night was game 6 of the World Series. The Giants were leading the series 3 games to 2, which meant that with a win the Giants would be world champions. It was a big game.
Daughter 2.0 has this Giants t-shirt, and when she wears this shirt the Giants win. If they are losing, and she changes into this shirt, the Giants win.
First pitch for game 6 was scheduled for 5:07 pm. 2.0 thought she had a voice lesson from 5:00 to 6:00. Turns out she didn’t have a voice lesson (her teacher was in Boston), but that’s another post altogether. Anyway, I drive her over to her voice teacher’s house, which is only a couple of miles from ours house. “You’re not wearing your shirt,” I say. “You better change into your shirt when you get home.”
“I’m saving it,” she says. “For tomorrow, when they will really need it if they don’t win today.”
“But we want them to win today,” I say.
“I know, but I’m saving it.”
We arrive home together (after we realize that there is no voice lesson) 1/3 of the way through the bottom of the first inning. Daughter 1.0 is sitting at the kitchen island with her homework spread out before her, the game on the TV. Jake Peavy (the Giants pitcher) appears to be in good form. I make the mistake of mentioning 2.0’s lucky shirt and how she’s saving it.
“They have to win tonight. Put on the shirt!” 1.0 orders 2.0. Daughter 1.0 is a rabid Giants fan. She loves them. She has bought, on iTunes, both the 2010 series games and the 2012 series games (who knew you could even do such a thing?), both series won by the Giants. She will often watch one of these games if she’s feeling sad, or stressed, or just because they make her happy. The night before, a travel day for the Giants, she re-watched Madison Bumgarner pitching in game 4 of the 2010 series. Like I said, she’s a fan. And like many fans, she’s superstitious.
“It’s my shirt, I’m saving it for tomorrow,” 2.0 says. You can see how this could escalate. And it did, quickly, ending with yelling on all sides and Daughter 2.0 in her bedroom with the door shut. I start making dinner and Daughter 1.0 and I grumble about how unfair it is that 2.0 won’t wear the shirt, for us, for the Giants.
That’s when things start to go very wrong for Peavy. It’s now the bottom of the second and Peavy gives up back to back singles to start the inning. Then the Royal’s Mike Moustakas doubles to drive in a run. It’s 1-0 Royals. Peavy strikes out the next batter but then loads the bases on a strange play by our first baseman Brandon Belt. Next batter, Nori Aoki, singles and drives in another run. Giants manager Bruce Bochy goes to his bullpen and Daughter 1.0 goes to her room. “I can’t watch this!” By the end of the inning, the Royals lead the Giants 7-0.
I’m not going to say it was the shirt’s fault, or Daughter 2.0’s fault for not wearing the shirt. Clearly a shirt worn by a 15 year old girl will not make the difference in a win or loss for the Giants. But in our frustration over the Giants’ dismal performance, Daughter 1.0 and I start to blame the shirt, and by extension, Daughter 2.0.
When dinner is ready, I call the girls to come to the table. It’s only the three of us because my Husband teaches a class on Tuesday nights. Daughter 1.0 fixes her tacos and sits at the dining room table. Daughter 2.0 hasn’t come out of her bedroom yet. I call her again, no response. I go to her door and knock. Nothing. I open the door and she is sitting at her desk with her back to the door, watching someone play the Sims on YouTube (really, watching a video of someone else play a video game!) and painting her nails. She has on her head phones and couldn’t hear me.
“I’ve been calling you to dinner! You can’t wear those in the house if you can’t hear me calling you!” At this point the Giants were down 8-0. I’m cranky.
Daughter 2.0 follows me into the kitchen and starts to make herself tacos. Daughter 1.0 says something nasty about the lucky shirt. Daughter 2.0 answers back with something nasty about Daughter 1.0, to which 1.0 says something equally nasty about 2.0, to which 2.0 starts to say something even more nasty to 1.0, at which point I explode.
I do something I’m not proud of, something I used to do much more frequently, but have been trying very hard not to do anymore. I swear I am trying, really trying, to model good behavior, but sometimes I revert right back to that screaming kid I was at age 7, the one who called my parents fucking asshole (where did I even hear that language?) at the top of my lungs, and threw scissors at my older sister, and wielded baseball bats meant to hit pinatas dangerously close to my younger sister’s head. I yell. “Enough! I have had it!” Now, that might not sound so bad, but when I say I yell, what I mean is I bellow in my loud, deep, growling voice (the voice that makes my poor dog put his tail firmly between his legs and cower in the corner) with my contorted face inches from Daughter 2.0’s (because she happened to be closer and the the one who had spoken last).
2.0 eyes grow wide. She blinks. I could see tears well and threaten to spill, but she manages not to cry. She finishes assembling her tacos and carries them to the dining room table. I fix my plate and join the girls at the table. We eat in silence, the TV muted, the Giants give up another run.
It’s only later, when the dishes are cleared and the Giants are losing 10-0 (the eventual final score in the game) that it dawns on me why Daughter 2.0 didn’t want to wear her shirt. It was her shirt, her lucky shirt, and she didn’t want it to lose it’s magic. She didn’t think the Giants could win with Peavy pitching. The Royals were Peavy’s achilles heel. And if she had worn the shirt and the Giants lost, her shirt would lose as well. And if they won? Well, no one would remember which shirt she had worn. She wanted to maintain the magic of the shirt until the last possible game.
When Daughter 2.0 left for school today she was wearing the shirt. Game 7. Go Giants!
It was Tuesday, and so tacos for dinner. This week I made soft shredded chicken tacos.
Two chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
1/2 an onion peeled and roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Small red onion, peeled and sliced
2 jalapano peppers, seeded and cut length wise into strips
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns and 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds ground in a mortar & pestle
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic peeled and halved
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2-3 ripe avocados
1/4 white onion chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1 clove garlic grated
Juice of one lemon
Soft corn tortillas
Shredded cheese (mixture of cheddar and jack)
Your favorite hot sauce
To make the chicken, place about 4 cups of water in a large sauce pan and add the 1/2 onion and teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and skim off any foam that rises in the first minute or so. Add the bay leaves and marjoram and thyme and partially cover the pan and simmer on medium for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the chicken breasts to cool in the liquid.
Boil the sliced red onions and jalapenos in a small sauce pan in salted water for one minute. Drain the onions and jalapenos and return to the pan with the ground black pepper and cumin seeds and the oregano, salt and vinegar. Add enough water to just cover the onions. Bring to a boil over medium heat and time for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. The longer these onions sit, the better they are.
Peel and seed the avocados and mash in a bowl. Stir in the white onion, tomatoes, garlic and lemon juice. Taste and correct for salt. We like our guacamole salty!
When cool enough to handle, remove the chicken breasts from the cooking liquid. Remove and discard the skin and pull the meat from the bones, shredding it with a fork as you do. I like to return the chicken bones to the cooking liquid adding more water, and simmer to make a chicken broth. After dinner I drain the broth and cool it in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning I freeze the broth in freezer baggies in 2 cups portions.
Wrap the tortillas in a damp kitchen towel and microwave on high for one minute to steam. Alternatively you can heat the tortillas on the stove top in a dry heavy frying pan on medium low.
To serve, place the chicken on the warm tortillas and top with the pickled onions, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese and hot sauce (or any combination)