Thursday, April 30, 2009



It will be tomorrow, but I remember it as though it were yesterday--
The long drive to grandma's house. Just like every summer, captivating and warm.
Restless at times, but well worth the stuffy drive to play in the hay loft, chase the sheep and collect the speckled chicken eggs. I picture the oak tree with my initials carved in its ancient side as it spreads its branches over the grassy lawn.

Then I remember the boy--no man--who sat in the wrong seat next to me; his blond hair shagging over cobalt blue eyes. Sheepishly he had to move to the row behind me when the flight attendant directed another passenger to his seat. We met again at baggage-claim when he helped me with my overweight luggage, introducing himself as Tanner. "Mel," I say with an automatic smile. His hair reminds me of the straw in grandma's loft when he brushes it aside to see me better.

It took a week for him to build up the courage to call me. Of course, since I worked two hours north in Detmold; I never expected to see him again. Children are my passion; my distraction. But the sound of his voice filtering through the trac-fone brought his face to startling clarity. "Can I come visit you?" he asks. My weekends are free. And he is willing to visit a complete stranger.

The flowers are a riot of pinks and purples lining the summer lawn. The huge oak shaded us as we stand before a hundred people, ready to commit publicly to one another. My small tanned hand in his, dark hair brushed aside and veiled in white. His shaggy mass now cut neatly to match his crisp white shirt and checkered gray vest. Mouthing "I love you," he winks across the foot-and-a-half spanning between us. A light breeze swirls around us, scattering the flower petals down the aisle. Grandpa sneezes from the front row, handkerchief brought to his nose.

I breath deeply, the scent of summer grass filling my nostrils, releasing the butterflies from my belly. They take flight with the rose petals--some catching on my dress, others floating to sights unknown. Our eyes are locked--his a deep blue sea, mine the color of melted chocolate, liquid and pure. He squeezes my fingers as he says those two words:
"I do."
A thrill shoots up my arms. I don't know if it was from the pressure of his warm touch or those short reassuring words, but my soul sings to the heavens. Before I have a chance to blink again, his lips capture mine...

But this is no sweet remembrance. No memory exists, only potential. The images fade into the future of tomorrow as I lie awake anticipating the long drive to grandma's house.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My life in food....

Lumpia and Banana sauce

Lumpia is one of my favorite things to eat. Unless you're Filipino (or know one), you probably are not familiar with this word. It's kinda like a Chinese spring roll, only better. Much better. Lumpia means delicious. Tasty. Fried in a crunchy wrap filled with the most amazing combination of meat, vegetables, and seasoning. All of which are a mystery to all but the chef.
I remember begging my mom to make a batch of lumpia as a child. But it was always a rarity. Took too long to wrap and always made the house smell like a fryer, she said. But I loved that smell. I loved watching it crackle and sizzle in the frying pan as oil enveloped the thinly wrapped roll. She always put diced ham, cheese, and onions in ours. It's what made it different than any other Filipino lumpia. It was Americanized. Sometimes the stuffing would fall out in the pan while she tried rolling them over for even frying. Mom would always get frustrated that her hard work was breaking apart in a boiling pan of oil. But I loved it. I loved fishing out the stuffing when she wasn't looking; greedy enough for that fried taste that I would risk grease splatter for ham and onions.
Anytime we made it, we had to make enough to fill our freezer. It was a special occasion like no other -- spending hours watching mom roll them into tight little spring rolls, fry them 10 at a time, then lay them out like bacon on a paper-toweled plate to soak up the extra grease. It was heaven. Mom didn't have time to make lumpia very often, so we made sure it would last at least a few weeks -- all tucked away in ziploc bags in the freezer.
As soon as they were cool enough to eat, I would snag several from the platter and hungrily bite into one, the smell of fried cheese and onions tantalizing my senses. Lumpia has to be eaten with rice. And it has to be dipped in banana sauce. I call it Filipino ketchup. Banana sauce just sounds funny. Oh, and I forgot, you have to eat it all with your hands. No spoon, fork, or chopstick. This is the real way to eat lumpia. It's the only way.

Just to get things started

Hello everyone! (or no one...however the case may be). This is my first attempt at blogging on a real blog site, so we'll see how it goes. I never really thought about doing one of these until sitting in class today -- yes, Content Pedagogy inspires me in the strangest ways -- and I figured, why not? I am not quite sure yet what kinds of things I will post, but they will definitely be random musings. I also want to use this as a way to further develop my writing style and exercise my creative muscles, as small as they are.
Feel free to comment and let me know how I'm doing. I love feedback!