Category Archives: Essays

Sweet Memories

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We picked berries everywhere. On the way to school. In between games of hide and seek and fort building. After bike rides. During daydreams.

We cradled berries in our hands, did our best to avoid the thorns.

Blackberries, marionberries, black raspberries, huckleberries. We didn’t know their names, just their tastes. How did we learn they weren’t poisonous? We just knew. We rarely washed the berries or saved them for later. We never got sick.

No matter how I long I live in the city, berries bring me back to wildness.

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Smoked Salmon & Summer Berry Salad

Smoked Salmon and Summer Berry Salad

As I often say to my son: Life is a series of transitions.

This time last year I celebrated a major milestone. I had exercised at least five times a week for 52 consecutive weeks. I was in perhaps the best shape of my life, and I immediately committed to another year of fitness and health.

Halfway through my personal challenge, my dad passed away.

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Filed under Essays, Recipes, Savory

Forgiveness and Father’s Day

My dad drives me crazy. Not in an endearing, “Oh, Daaaad” TV-sitcom kind of way. More like a he-makes-me-want-to-punch-a-hole-in-a-wall feeling.

Every year, I dread Father’s Day. Friends post sweet photos and memories on Facebook of their fathers. They talk about the lessons their dads have taught them, how their dads inspire them, and how their dads are their best friends.

I have nothing like that to share. And it hurts.

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A Jar of Gratitude

Around this time last year, I was practically bedridden because of a major knee injury, our housing situation was uncertain, and I wasn’t sure where my career was going. I was depressed, anxious, and worst of all, I felt stuck.

During this period, I noticed a lot of people on Facebook posting about gratitude jars. It was a simple idea: every day, write down things that you’re thankful for on slips of paper and put them in a jar.

I don’t know why, but something about this interested me. Stirred out of my torpor, I got a really big jar, and I committed to writing down three good things that happened each day. I would make it my New Year’s resolution and start January 1.

Shortly after I started this practice, an amazing thing happened. I was able to walk normally—without crutches or a cane. It wasn’t a miracle and largely due to my amazing physical therapist. However, once I started to focus on the positive aspects of my life, other big things started to happen. I got an amazing job offer. I went on an unexpected fabulous trip to Costa Rica. I started cooking again.

I have faithfully put three good things every day in my gratitude jar, and by the end of the year, I will have over 1,000 things that I’m grateful for in my jar.

On New Year’s Eve, I plan to literally count all of my blessings and read all of the good things that happened in the past year. Then I’ll get a new jar ready for 2014.

Today I’m living with my family in a new house, I have a great job, and I’m starting to run again.

I am grateful that I have much to eat and much to love.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Gratitude jar

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Filed under Essays, Holidays, NaBloPoMo 2013

The Zen of Pancake Flipping

This morning I made my son pancakes for breakfast. I really did not have time to do this. I woke up later than usual, I hadn’t showered, and I had to drop him off at school, and get to work. Continue reading

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Filed under Essays, NaBloPoMo 2013

My Eternal Meal

If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what meal would that be, why, who would make it, and who would eat it with you?

My friend Laura posed this question as a writing prompt for National Blog Posting Month.

I considered the memorable meals I’ve had in my life. I remembered beef bourguignon in France, a Cherry Fizz cocktail served tableside, salt and pepper pork chops.

And I came to this conclusion: Continue reading

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Filed under Essays, Filipino food, NaBloPoMo 2013

It Gets Better

When I was 12, I had a frizzy, layered perm. I was overweight and had to buy all of my clothes in the “husky” section. If that wasn’t bad enough, my mom didn’t think it was appropriate for girls to wear jeans so I wore polyester slacks or dresses. I was horribly nearsighted, and ugly, enormous glasses covered nearly half my face.  I was weird. I loved taking tests, Broadway musicals, and reading.

Sometimes cruel kids would taunt me and call me a nerd or a fat cow. They would tell me to watch out because the dogcatcher was coming. But mostly I was invisible.

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Filed under Essays, NaBloPoMo 2013