Posts Tagged ‘daily prompt’

cemetery walkIn response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Gone, But Not Forgotten.”

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There are no words.  There is no explanation.

I went with my mom on a boat to Boston

I went with my mom on a boat to Boston

To visit our friends.  It is on a big island.

To visit our friends. It is on a big island.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Gone, But Not Forgotten.”

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In Aber Falls, North Wales

In Aber Falls, North Wales Dreams and fantasies 

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DP: Picky tongues

The daily prompt:You have to choose one flavor that your sense of taste will no longer be able to distinguish. Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami, spicy (not a taste per se, but we’re generous): which one do you choose to lose?


Bitter.  I would like to give up bitter, please.  

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I am the quiet suburban soccer mom.  I am the responsible one who picks up her children (mostly) on time, who has a strict schedule every day, who does her best to manage the grind of the routine.  I feed everyone, mostly things that I know they will eat rather than what I think is healthy, granted.  But my impulse – what would my impulse be if I gave in to it? 

I would go.  Just one bag, one backpack, and go.  I would hike and travel and take trains and buses and boats and the occasional airplane. To India, to Africa. I would look into the faces of children and see their similarities to my own. I would study the psyche of every person I came across, and bash my suppositions against the truth. I would just be.  I would explore this gray humanity that I seldom feel a part of.  I would look for the color in the world again. I would throw out all schedules and responsibilities and let the world scribe itself onto my memory.  

Seriously, though.  As if I would ever.


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The daily prompt is: Simply Irresistible.  What dish can you  never turn down? 

My temptation dish is Lumpia. 


I don’t know how much of this is because of the emotional associations I have with the dish, and how much of it is just because it is the most amazing food in the universe.  Entirely unhealthy, entirely delicious – I can never turn lumpia down.

The first time I had lumpia, it was at my friend Lina’s house.  Lina, who I’d met through my friend Rosemarie, is a beautiful Filipina woman who can cook the heck out of lumpia.  I remember there was a group of us gathered at Lina’s house, some holiday or other was fast approaching, and we were there to cook lumpia so that it could be frozen and given as gifts to whomever wanted some.  We all sat around the table.  Rosemarie and Lina showed me how to roll the lumpia, how much of the filling to place in the wrapper, how the thinner rolls tasted different than the thick ones, what the optimal level of filling versus wrapper was.  Lina had prepared the filling in advance, and she stood at the stove frying the rolls we wrapped as quickly as we were done wrapping them.  The apartment was filled with amazing scents, the laughter of all of us as we worked, the amount of lumpia we ate versus what we ended up rolling – I have few memories more dear to me than this one.  And I was hooked on lumpia from that day forward.

There was a funny, short lady who ran a food truck that would come to my work every day at EMWD.  She would sell three rolls of lumpia for one dollar.  I went every day on my break to get some of her fabulous lumpia. Then I started to get really heavy, so I stopped. 😀

When I moved away from California, and split up with my ex, my roomate Mary was Filipina as well.  She didn’t make her own lumpia, but whenever she would go to Florida to visit her family, she would bring back a batch of frozen lumpia just for me.  And then when I met my husband and we moved to Ohio, the fabulous Jungle Jims International Market sold frozen lumpia.  I would make it a treat to buy a package – only for a holiday, or my birthday.  But it was still my favorite dish. And one of my favorite memories.

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I thought it would be dirty.

Blame it on my youth.  Blame it on my naivete, or on the fact that Russia was a gigantic, scary propagandized place for a blonde, blue-eyed California teenager.  I was only 16.  I was sheltered in the way that only a young person from a warm, affluent, paradisical land can be; Wasn’t every place like California? Didn’t everyone have sunshine and air conditioning and the ocean only minutes away? Even if not affluent, we always had plenty.

And then I was travelling, my first big trip away from California.  And it was a big trip; half a world away, to Moscow, for a foreign exchange program.  It was 1988.  The wall was still up.  Soviet Russia still held its thrall on the US, as a mysterious communist nation (which I didn’t even UNDERSTAND back then, it was just a strange, scary thing that was NOTWHATWEWERE). Russia was the boogeyman built on propaganda.

I’d been raised on Cold Wars, on Gorbachev and Reagan and the rhetoric of world leaders who used each other as the threat to subdue their own populations.  I expected poverty.  I expected grime and dirt, and people lined up in the streets for a loaf of bread.  I expected chain gangs of people, working hard labor for their meager salaries. This is what I’d been programmed to expect.

What I found was the same thing I’ve found in every city I’ve visited since.  I found people, and beauty, and laughter.  I found artwork, and science, and literature, and history. I found national pride, and curiosity.

Today, a friend of mine posted a brief video about the method the Olympic committee in Moscow is using to get people excited for the upcoming games.  For one brief moment in that video, I saw some of the stunning interior shots of the Moscow Metro system – and was instantly transported back in time to July 1988, when I stepped into those underground tunnels for the first time and felt…awe.  I was not in a subway, a metropolitan train line, like we have in New York or Chicago or Boston.  I was in an art gallery, a museum, a gorgeous Baroque era mansion – this was not the dirty I was expecting. This piece of mundane, everyday city life in Moscow was BEAUTIFUL. It showed pride and exceptionalism and a population that cared about their city, their country, and themselves.  I found this throughout the city – in its parks, in its shopping areas, in its streets and in its gutters.  Clean, maintained – even in the poorer parts of the city.  These were not the boogeymen I’d been taught to fear.  They were a population of people, with different values than the ones I’d been taught, yes – but mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and daughters and sons.  Happy.  Smiling.  Hard working.  As afraid of us as we were of them.

I haven’t been back to Moscow since – I’d like to see how the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of Capitalism has changed things – but I do now know that I’ll see that same magnificent Metro when I do make it back there.  My travels since have taught me that I will see the same people – the people I’ve met the world over in my travels.  The people just like me.

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