Seems A Bit Fishy

A few items have sneakily taken up residence in our home lately. I’ve been stopped in my tracks as I come upon them. “What are you doing here?” I ponder, and then realize they didn’t grow legs and walk into the house- its not them, it’s me.

The surprising intruders:
1.  Salmon (a mildly thick filet- fresh, with the skin still on one side)                                                                                                                                    2. Dog leashes (yes, plural)

These seem a bit out of place because we do not own a dog and because while we eat fish, we don’t order or choose salmon as our fish of choice. I have never cooked salmon at home and despite it’s tremendous and timely popularity with most women, I wasn’t motivated by a Pinterest baked salmon post this week. I was clueless on what to do with it, and how to do it well, but up and bought it anyways after seeing a great deal on organic salmon in the grocery ad.

I went to the store Thursday, with salmon on my otherwise normal list and was still unsure of whether or not I’d make the actual purchase. As I tiptoed past the seafood counter, completely foreign territory for me, I got caught by the store’s fish guy. He was eager to help guide and gloss me through my first salmon purchase. I asked a lot of questions. He asked me to smell it (it was supposed to smell like fresh watermelon) and reminded me of the power of freshness at such a good price. With low expenses in our weekend plans (no plans either Friday or Saturday night) I thought , “What the heck, we will feast on this pink beast at home as a family.” And last night, we did! Drew and I loved it and the kids ate all of theirs without a single gag. I fact, Eli said, “Yum!” after bite 3. They chose BBQ sauce as their dipping sauce but hey- they ate salmon!

I think we will be dog owners some day- Andi and I dream of it at least! Right now, I’m highly involved with 2 dogs, neither of which live in our house. I am a daily dog caretaker. I turn left and head 3 half- houses away to Ellie’s around 1pm  every afternoon. Ellie is a black and white sheepdog- she’s well trained and deliberate. I unlock the kennel and get out of her way. Up the stairs and she’s out the door to pee. She runs right back down to her kennel, I offer a head rub and a treat, and I’m out of there.
From Ellie’s expedited routine I head back across the cul-de-sac to the other half of my house. My duplex neighbor just got a Lab-mix puppy for Christmas. Cooper is all puppy- playful, eager to please, skinny, spastic, and highly distracted. Each day, it takes him til the last minute to remember this is indeed his chance to empty that full puppy bladder! With C0oper- the leashes at my own front door come into play. His owner prefers the expand-o-leashs but I struggle with controlling his energy and not getting tripped up with those models. I borrowed a strict leash from my in-laws that I keep at my house and bring over to walk cooper. He pulls like crazy however, and after a particularly adventurous day when I decided to walk Cooper and my kids round the block- picture Andi almost clothes-lined by his crisscrossing leash antics and Eli way up ahead- staying the heck out of Spaz’s way and riding his scooter in peace- I decided I wanted to try a gentle leader to help Cooper and I be able to cooperate and achieve our mutual goals. So, I borrowed another leash and leader. Now there’s a pile of dog leashes by the front door of my dog-free house.

ALL if this to say, I’m surprised by myself. Part of having salmon and leashes means I’m simply living when and where I am. I’m evolving and growing up as a cook (and I’m bored with baking the same ole stuff) and I’m willing to chat with seafood managers and risk $12 to possibly provide a healthy, flavorful and different meal to my family. I’m invested in my neighborhood and pleased to get paid for a service that serves my neighbors that I can pretty easily provide. New routines are  not rocket science I know. Invitations and opportunities to risk in something new will always enter our lives. This week however, something made me stop and look around. A practice of paying attention is a discipline I pursue.

Perhaps this is the genesis of us becoming salmon eaters. Maybe these leashes are a sign that I’m trying too hard to change someone else’s dog. But it could be a sign that right now I get to take daily walks with a puppy who appreciates our time together outside. We both release pent up energy and breathe fresh air. The leashes remind me I’m sharing life outside the walls of my house- making deeper connections with neighbors. The salmon pushed me to talk to seafood guys, they came out and around the counter to help me. I left the grocery store having been really paid attention to, really helped. Small steps to slow down and grow a little bit. And really, I can’t be that overly invested right?- it’s not like there’s a copy of Cesar Milan’s  book on our coffee table.

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