Jan 4, 2021 | Life, Recipes, Relationships | 3 comments

 I don’t know what love is.

Oh, for crying out loud, quiet down.
Of course I know what love is.
I know what hearing “Momma” sounds like.
I know how I feel when I trace the eyebrows of my babies as they fall asleep.
I know the feeling of a transformative meal.
I know what it feels to touch the outstretched hand of a friend.
But love?
Independent, healthy, (semi) unconditional, consistent, love?
I don’t know.
I’ve had a boyfriend since I was 12.
Of course, my need to be Seen and Heard was fulfilled by kissing boys that didn’t know how to kiss (and neither did I), followed by…
Well, I’ll save that for another time, but if you use just the tiniest bit of imagination, I reckon it will take you to a place where I found myself wrapped in, and underneath, just about anyone that would have me.
And then I got older and the boyfriends got serious and they turned to housemates and then when that person didn’t work out because they were never meant to be in the first place, it was okay, because oftentimes the next thing was already lined up.
I’m really showing my colors here, hey?
Former colors, if I may.
And then somehow, I was 32, I hadn’t been single for more than a couple months since I was 16, I had two babies, existed in a wildly unhealthy relationship, and now…
And now what, you know?
Understand that this is rhetorical.
I don’t need an answer to Now What because the reality is, I don’t want or NEED a Now What.
I don’t want to fix, I don’t want to try, I don’t want to help, I don’t want to mend.
Unless we’re solely speaking of self, and then that’s all I want.
I want to Help me and Fix me and Nurture me and Soothe me and convince myself that I am interesting and worthy enough.
I give a lot of advice on any given day, relationship advice even, and sometimes, even with my Practical Brain, I try to compute what *actually* happened.
Like, did Your Person sabotage the evening just because they didn’t feel like going? Did They leave you hanging when you shared something intimate? Does Your Person actually make you feel like they are proud of you, or are you just saying that because social media says you should?
I write about a lot of things that leave my skin feeling scratched, and my Dark Spots exposed, but this was painfully uncomfortable to write. I suppose it’s the thing I am currently doing my best to Write Through and examine, and it alludes me.
Have I become so inadvertently jaded, that when someone tells me they feel Nurtured or Seen that I wonder, “To what extent.”
I. Hate. That.
And this was really hard for me to admit to myself. That I am a skeptic. That I think, “At what cost”?
My once-romantic-heart feels disingenuous and I find myself scratching my head and simultaneously rolling my eyes.
I said-
I. Hate. That.
Do you ACTUALLY feel Safe? Heard? Welcomed? Do you feel Treasured, or are you lying in order to cope with your own questions you don’t want the answers to?
This isn’t an invite. I’m not interested in looking for, exploring, or finding the answer, these are just things that press on me.
Aside from The Love Of Mothers, I don’t know what else exists right now, and I’m content with not rushing to an answer.
You know what IS love for me right now? Cooking while Baby 1 plays underfoot (literally) and Baby 2 sleeps soundly in bed by himself, with the soothing sounds of construction whispering through the windows, and our neighbor listening to Pink Floyd. Love to me is something warm with scents that fill my home. Love today is this posole.
Yield: 6-8


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 1.5-2 lbs pork shoulder/butt, cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 ounces dried guajillo, stem removed and seeded
  • 2 ounces dried ancho, stem removed and seeded
  • 1 Roma tomato, quartered
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 medium white onion, quartered cheese plus more for serving
  • Water or stock to cover + more to thin as desired
  • Salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 cans (16 ounces) hominy, drained and rinsed (depending on how thick you want it)
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus additional wedges for serving
  • For serving-
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Sliced radish
  • Mexican oregano
  • Diced white onion


    1. In a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat oil on medium heat.
    2. Liberally sprinkle pork with salt.
    3. Turn heat up to medium high and sear pork on each side, approximately 4 minutes each side.
    4. Remove from pot and set aside.
    5. In a separate pot, set the heat to medium low, add the chiles, garlic, tomato and onion. Toast, don’t ROAST, everything. The skin of the tomato and the chiles should just begin to blister, about 10 minutes, flipping and stirring often. You want to get a little color on everything, not scorch it.
    6. Once things are thoroughly toasted, pour water or stock over everything to ensure everything is covered.
    7. Add cumin, a generous sprinkle of salt, and oregano. Let it begin to steep, and then transfer back into your heavy bottomed pot that you cooked the pork in, scraping the bottom to loosen any browned bits that have stuck.
    8. Bring to a boil and reduce to a very low simmer. You want to steep, borderline simmer, not boil everything.
    9. After thirty minutes, carefully pour the entire contents of the pot (ITS HOT PLEASE BE CAREFUL! Do this in batches if you need to) into a blender and blend really well until there aren’t chunks. 
    10. Here is where you can do as you wish. A lot of people prefer to strain the chile mixture through a fine mesh strainer. I get it, Chile skins etc, but I-
    Don’t care
    I don’t have time
    It doesn’t bother me
    So, as you wish.
    11. Once it’s strained or not, add pork, chile mixture, hominy, juice of one lime and a generous sprinkle of salt back into the pot.

    12. Bring to a very low boil, reduce to a simmer, and let it cook with the lid on for at least 60 minutes. It’s done when you stick a fork into a piece of pork and it falls apart on its own. You can take the pork out and shred it or leave it in bigger pieces, your choice.
    13. Here’s where you also have another Choose Your Destiny moment. I like my posole very chile-forward so I don’t usually thin mine out. If I do, it’s with a minimal amount of stock, approximately 2 cups. If you like it thinner, do you. Like to be smacked in the mouth? Save your stock for another day.
    14. Ladle into bowls, top with cabbage,  generous amount of white onion, sliced radish (if that’s your deal) extra lime, and a sprinkle of Mexican oregano. 


  1. Kim

    I am so incredibly amazed by your strength. You are a treasure! 💕

  2. Mary

    You are doing it right. Ask all those questions. Give yourself time for the answers. They may come or the questions may fade.

  3. Ellen Burton Brown

    Ava: I think even at my age (just turned 64) that I am constantly searching, revolving, and trying to figure out who I am. Just when I think I understand something or come to realize the truth, things suddenly change. Again, I am in a state of flux. Like you, I sought to validate myself through relationships and forced relationships to happen, but on my terms. Then, ‘poof’ they were not the right person, they were something I wanted but they did not want me. I longed to be married with children but that never happened. Parents have died, my sisters and brother have created their own families, and I still long to have my “own” thing. A family to spend holidays with, create memories but now I am too old to be married, as I am too set in my ways.


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