Fish Designs
“SOMETHING FISHY” original watercolor painting by kayti sweetland Rasmussen

It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.

Sheila is tall. Neil is tired. In English we use the same word “is” to describe the two conditions even though one is a permanent attribute while the other is temporary.

Or consider the statement: Joan is quiet. What does that mean? Is she quiet by nature, an introvert, or is she being quiet today?

In Spanish, there are two verbs to describe the idea of being. Ser and estar both mean “to be” but with a big difference. Ser describes something that’s inherent while estar is temporary.

If you want to say someone is tall, you’d go with ser, but if you want to say someone is tired, estar is the one to use.

Each language is a different way of describing the world.

With Cinco de Mayo” arriving next week, those of us who thrill at the thought of tortillas, beans and rice and a few hot peppers thrown in, are already planning our menu. I have been thinking of fish tacos for one thing, so the other day we stopped by a taco truck here in town to buy what I discovered last summer to be the best fish tacos around.

Since we had last stopped there, a “gentrification” of sorts had taken place, with the truck turned into a new position, and a pebbled area to wait in. The taker of orders stood in a small window about 50 feet above my head. I could barely see her head. I asked for a fish taco, and she said “no”. I began a friendly conversation with her and discovered that she did not speak English so I asked for a “pescado taco”. Still no.

A very nice Mexican boy standing behind me chatted with her a bit, and assured me that they no longer made fish tacos. I settled for pork.

This year’s Cinco de Mayo will be a mixed occasion for our family. Our son-in-law who passed away last year on the 5th of May, was especially fond the celebration, so we will lift a glass of Modelo beer to his memory.


I fling tradition to the wind by using eggplant leftover from grilling for enchilada filling. These enchiladas play the old Red Enchilada song with a few new instruments.

Eggplant filling:
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2″ slices crosswise
Brush with a mixture of garlicky pesto, olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar
Grill or broil till tender, about 10 min per side. Cool.
2 onions, chopped and sautéed in olive oil.
Cut cooled eggplant into 1/2″ cubes and mix with onions.
Add 3 tsp. oregano. 1/2 tsp. salt
Cook for 3 minutes more

Soften your tortillas by frying in 1 Tbs. oil. Stack on paper towel before filling.

Warm a can of Red chile sauce preferably Los Palmas. (Or you can make your own, but I won’t bother you with the recipe because the canned isn’t awful.)

Dip the softened tortilla in warmed chile sauce, Place about 3 Tbs. eggplant filling, and 3 Tbs. grated cheddar cheese down middle. Fold over sides of tortilla and place seam side down in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Drizzle on more chile sauce and more grated cheese. Put in 350 oven 12 to 15 min.

(If you have left over filling it’s also good made into turnovers using some pie crust, I do this if I get tired of filling tortillas and want to hurry up and eat!)

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.


  1. “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” … wow, Kayti. This is THE question. Very interesting to learn of two words for “to be” in Spanish. Love your fish painting. Looks like fish lace.


  2. Which version of existence is to be assigned to those of us who are permanently tired?

    In England we have a special word to distinguish the egg plant from its fruit. The fine distinction is understood but carelessly applied. Admittedly, “aubergine” is a hard word to get your lips around.


    1. In answer to your first question Richard, “go to bed”. Maybe it’s catching. We seem to suffer the same quality each afternoon about 4:00.

      Aubergine may be a more demanding word than eggplant, but surely not difficult to get one’s lips around at dinnertime.


  3. That fish looks a bit like a wrasse. They nibble at coral and have sharp teeth. I could be wrong but the painting is right 😉
    Right from wrong is in English language a bit inaccurate. I could be right handed but left in left handed. But right is being right but wrong is not being left.
    I better stop. Getting inarticulate.


  4. 1. That fish seems to have mastered Darwinism – to blend in to escape predators in the tapestry. Beautiful.

    2. I find myself wanting to know more about Joan. The quiet ones always get me.

    3. For Cinco de Mayo, I just want to be anywhere isolated from gringos ordering dollar Coronas. Give me my people’s food and some peace.


  5. Another wonderful painting, Kayti! I have a recipe for eggplant enchiladas–I will have to compare yours with mine. Too bad about the fish tacos, though–they sound delicious.


  6. Oh, now you’ve done it. There’s a place down the street that makes with a Cuban slant, and serves them up with the best-ever black beans and rice. They make their own flour tortillas, so thin that there are two or three for each taco. Yum!

    I like the thought of your eggplant dish. We had lots of eggplant in Liberia, and it was often prepared in much the same way and then served over rice.

    But here’s my best-ever eggplant story. I was involved in painting my apartment, and was down at Home Depot getting some paint mixed. A woman showed up at the counter with an eggplant in her hand. She said, “Here you go. This is what I want.” As it turned out, she was painting the exterior of her house a dove gray, and wanted an eggplant-colored door. They couldn’t mix anything to her taste, so she went to the grocery, got the eggplant, and brought it back. They scanned it with their computer, and matched the color perfectly.

    Viva la tecnología!


    1. I laughed so hard with your eggplant story Linda! But—that woman wasn’t the first to do it. Years ago, during the 60’s when Harvest Gold and olive green were popular, we decided to have carpeting made to order. I wanted it to be the color of a can of curry powder, so I did the same thing; I took the can in and they dyed the wool and made the carpeting. It actually was a stunning living room with olive green silk sofa.

      I’m making fish tacos tomorrow to eat during the Kentucky Derby. I have 5 bucks on California Chrome. Wish me luck, he’s 5-2. I can buy more beans and rice.


  7. Happy Cinco de Mayo Kayti. I only know this after digesting your lovely post.. I love the fish watercolor (full of texture), your Joan, Margaritas, dear BIll, Ponies at the Kentucky Derby (california chrome was my pick as well) and quesadillas. My Joan watched the Derby with me. She was in awe that the trainer was only 77!:-) CIndy


  8. I’m glad I never chopped up that fish for tacos! I’m happy you liked him. What fun that “your” Joan thought the trainer was old! He’s just a kid! Seriously though, wasn’t it thrilling? To think this little pony who cost so little in comparison ran like the wind and left them all behind? Shows a comparison with the story of Seabiscuit? Small horse, old trainer, and in their case, a too tall jockey. Love it all and can’t wait for the Preakness and then the Belmont. Each one eis an 1/8 mile longer I think.


Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: