Archive for the 'Me' Category



27
Dec
12

Fa ra ra ra ra …

Joy Tsin Lau, 1026 Race St. Try David's Mai Lai Wah or Tai Lake instead.

Thumbs down to Joy Tsin Lau, 1026 Race St. Try David’s Mai Lai Wah (1001 Race St.) or Tai Lake (134 N. 10th St.) instead.

We should have known that, on a night like this, when all our first choices in Chinatown had a long wait to get in, the restaurant without a line would probably not be all we hoped for.

It was Christmas. Jeff and I were excited about having a night out with friends in Chinatown on Christmas with chopsticks and fortune cookies and red lanterns and silly tropical cocktails.

My mom laughed when I told her. She recited that little bit of good-humored racism from A Christmas Story. “How does it go?” she said. “Deck the hars with bars of horry…”

But the place we chose turned out to be nothing to laugh at. Continue reading ‘Fa ra ra ra ra …’

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22
Nov
12

Celery and onions

The official start of Thanksgiving every year was not picking up the turkey and Libby’s pumpkin pie filling and canned cranberry sauce from Farmer Jack’s (as we called it back home). It was not the raucous bus ride home from school on Wednesday, the freedom of a four-day weekend spread out before us like a feast. It wasn’t even the America’s Thanksgiving Parade broadcast from downtown Detroit.

The official start of Thanksgiving was always the aroma of celery and onions sautéing in butter as my dad started cooking the stuffing for the turkey. It was better than an alarm clock or a nudge to the shoulder to draw me, groggy and pajamaed and rubbing my eyes, from my bedroom.

A lot of recipes start out that way, sautéing onions, celery, some herbs. But no matter what we’re making, no matter the time of year it is, that scent — heavy, sweet and ambrosial — always means Thanksgiving.

Continue reading ‘Celery and onions’

10
Nov
12

‘And you put it in here?’

“And you put it in here?” I heard her ask as I hopped off the last step down to the subway. She was pointing at the change slot on the turnstile.

The man in the booth answered. I couldn’t hear him, but I knew what he said.

“You put it where it says ‘coin return’?” she asked.

No. That’s the coin return button, he explained.

A newbie. Marvelous. Continue reading ‘‘And you put it in here?’’

26
Sep
12

Jeff and Eric’s wedding sermon; 9/18/04

Jeff and Eric's wedding, 09/18/04

Jeff and Eric contemplate love, their future together, and the color of water, surrounded by friends and family in Minneapolis on Sept. 18, 2004.

Jeff and I recently celebrated the 8th anniversary of our commitment ceremony — let’s just say it: our 8th wedding anniversary — on Sept. 18. Sandwiched this year as it was between the unions of four dear friends, Mark Galante and Erik Sisco (Sept. 15), and Brian Dillard and Charlie Smith (Sept. 23, also my birthday), the anniversary was made even more special. September is getting to be quite a month!
It seems appropriate to revisit the sermon Jeff’s dear high school friend Mark Havel wrote for the occasion, on that bright and cloudless September afternoon, in Deming Heights Park, on the tallest hill in Minneapolis, the City of Lakes.

Sept. 18, 2004, is with me every day, and this sermon still makes me cry.

When Jeff and I began planning things for today—most of which happened over the telephone and by e-mail—he joked that somehow water was becoming a recurring theme for the occasion. The “flowing water of life” we just heard about in the poem by Rumi, and the “Wood Song” and “Water is Wide,” which we’ll hear in a moment, carry the theme pretty clearly. Jeff seemed to think it an appropriate motif to latch onto somehow, being in the land of 10,000 lakes and all. (Now I’m wondering if it had something to do with the shower at The Saloon …) I’m not going there, but I did decide to run with it, anyway.

And, the first thing that popped into my mind was the title of a book by James McBride called The Color of Water. It’s a book about a biracial boy growing up in the ’50s and ’60s, in New York and Delaware. He was raised by his eccentric, white, Jewish mother who converted to Christianity when she married his African-American, Christian father. Because of the time in and circumstances under which they lived, you can imagine that race and religion were very much a part of his coming of age and self-understanding.

And as he came of age, as he struggled with his identity, as he wondered about how and where he fit into the world around him, the boy asked his mother one day about what God’s spirit looked like. For me and for all the theology I’ve studied, his mother’s answer was as strange and as simple as it was profound. She said simply, “God’s spirit doesn’t have a color. God is the color of water.” Continue reading ‘Jeff and Eric’s wedding sermon; 9/18/04′

31
Aug
12

Lessons in salesmanship

When it comes right down to it, I just can’t say no to free beer. But I almost did.

Having decided to stay home on a Friday night, I stopped to pick up a six pack on the way from the subway stop.

This was one of those mix-and-match places, where you can build a six pack out of $3 or $4 bottles and walk out $20 or $30 lighter, or you can just grab a pre-made six pack of something cheap and basic. I knew I shouldn’t be spending any money, but I figured I’d just get some lager for $8.50, one of the cheapest options there. So I quelled my guilty conscience by reasoning that going out would cost even more, so in a sense I was coming out on top.

Outside the shop, I saw a man standing with a stack of post cards in his hand. I avoided eye contact, because I was sure I didn’t want what he was selling.

“Want to save $10?” he asked, holding out a card as I tried to pass him by.

Continue reading ‘Lessons in salesmanship’

20
May
12

More than meets the eye

I had a dream last night that the planet was invaded by an alien species of robots that could change shape. (I’m going to get on the phone to Hasbro immediately. We could make a mint!)

I was in a mountain cabin near “the city,” and I could see them approaching from below. A band of survivors came and took over my place as a home base.

I didn’t like their techniques, so I hatched a plan to escape and strike out on my own (like an idiot).

It was the dream of a 12-year-old boy, but it felt SO real, and I woke up in a panic.

17
May
12

No plastic to go

My vegan wrap was something of a mess that day.

I’m not vegan. Nor am I remotely a vegetarian. I just occasionally take advantage of other people’s dietary principles to find something light and low-calorie, but filling and delicious, for lunch.

I would have taken it cold, but the girl at the cafe had thrown it on the panini grill so resolutely, so automatically and with no room for questioning or debate, that it seemed unthinkable to say anything against it. Anyway, once something has started heating, you don’t want it to take it half-heated. You might as well go all the way.

When I unwrapped it at my office and took the first bite, a dried-up chickpea fall onto my desk. It left behind an indentation in the tortilla, so I guessed it had been stuck to the outside and likely had cooked on the grill that way. Probably the order directly before mine had come undone or lost a few bits and pieces as it was removed.

I picked up the chickpea and ate it.

Then I was surprised by a dried cranberry. It was stuck to the tortilla like a jewel. I took it with a bite as if it belonged there. Could I really say it didn’t belong there? No big deal.

I don’t like to be particular, but I amused myself with fantasies of a different me — one who might be bothered by a stray chickpea in his lunch and an errant dried cranberry encrusted on his tortilla. Continue reading ‘No plastic to go’




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