A lesson in patience

Ivory Hut: A Lesson in Patience

I learned quite a bit about patience this morning. Patience, heeding warnings, and moving on. All before finishing my first cup of coffee.

Disclaimer: I realize the previous paragraph makes it sound like I experienced a monumental epiphany this morning. On the contrary, this post is not deep, profound, or philosophical in any way. It is about memory cards and coffee. If you manage to extrapolate something more from this, that would be entirely accidental on my part. But yay for you!

You know how they say you should always eject a device from your computer first before disconnecting it? Or wait until the camera finishes powering down before pulling the memory card out? Then one day, to your horror, you accidentally do just that. But nothing happens, everything looks fine. Whew. Second time! Still good. And you get complacent and think, they’re just fear mongering. Like that time your aunt warned you that if you made a face and were struck by a gust of wind, your face would freeze. Or that if you left any grains of rice on your plate, your future husband would have that many zits on his face. (Don’t even ask.)

This morning, after 3 months of practice—another lesson in patience right there—I poured what was probably my best ever attempt at latte art (not the one you see above, and you’ll understand why in a second). Excitedly, I whipped out the big camera to document it. Took a few shots, checked them on the camera screen, then impatiently grabbed the memory card to transfer to my computer. Also, because of said impatience, I drank my latte while it was still hot. Because it’s coffee. And coffee is good.

When I got to my computer, I loaded the card and fired up Lightroom. Waiting. Waiting. Then there it was: last night’s pasta. What? Where’s my latte? Where’s my pretty, fairly symmetrical, almost-graceful rosette? Eject the card, and reload. Still the pasta. Re-eject and re-reload, because sometimes I actually believe that doing the exact same thing multiple times makes a difference. Nada. I even transferred the card back to the camera, hoping to find my shots there. But no. Still the pasta. I stare at my half-empty cup of latte on the table, sheepishly apologize, and assure it that everything is fine. That even though we were the only ones who had ever seen its prior glory, that doesn’t mean it was never beautiful.

Then I gulped the rest of it down and moved on. Because it’s coffee. And coffee is good.

Moral of the story: Please be patient and wait until your camera finishes writing to the card and powering down before yanking that card out.

Moral #2 of the story: Talking to your cup of coffee is not strange as long as you don’t do it in front of other (normal) people.

Photo model: Latte from the other day.


Yellow blaze

Ivory Hut: Yellow Blaze

One gray summer day, in a part of Connecticut I’d never been to before, I took my mom hiking up a mountain.

We drove up to Mt. Tom State Park, saw a sign pointing to a trail, and started walking. It was a cool morning and we explored the woods, happy to be alone together. I gave myself permission to feel and act like a three-year-old, happily going anywhere at all as long as Mama was holding my hand. I may have even skipped a little.

But soon our steps slowed, became more hesitant. The path felt less beaten, and before us was a mass of tall grass that looked like nothing had touched it but mist and brief bursts of sunlight. We looked at each other, not knowing which way to go. Finally, we turned around and found our way back to the car, certain we had gone the wrong way.


The Ivory Hut: Roots (Chiang Rai photo)

I think I’ve been wanting to write a book since I was six years old.

(I almost said five years old, but I’ve been noticing that five seems to be the default age my memory coughs up when I want to replace the tired “as far as I can remember” phrase with an actual number. Not that nothing ever happened when I was five. I know for a fact that I began playing the piano at five. I probably also told my first lie when I was five. “Yes, Mama, I practiced piano today.” Five is a safe age to use because it feels believable to have been at least marginally self-aware at that age. But if I keep using five for all my “since I was a child” stories, I’m afraid I’ll wear it out. Only so many things could have happened when I was five, I know. No kid could have been that busy. So today, I’ll say that I’ve been wanting to write a book since I was six.)

Of Hope and Expectation, and Finding Color Again

Bangkok flower market. From 'Of Hope and Expectation, and Finding Color Again' by ivoryhut.

Finding color again. It was a phrase I heard Penny De Los Santos utter back in 2010, when she spoke about the darkness that filled her world after a personal loss, and how eventually, a trip to India brought color back into her world. It was a phrase that resonated loudly within me.

For the past 3 years, I’ve been struggling to to re-awaken my motivation for many things that used to bring me great joy: writing, creating recipes, music, and making pictures. I tried many times, failed many times, then eventually stopped trying. Life got too busy, providing me with a convenient (albeit valid) excuse to put everything else on hold while we worked on rebuilding our home. Even when I resolved to try again, everything I did felt forced. There was no flow. Nothing seemed right. I wasn’t looking for anything to come easy; I merely wanted what felt familiar and natural.

Finally (an update)

ivoryhut fire and construction

It’s been a while since I last posted an update about the fire and I thought today would be a good day for that. First, I want to let you know that the generous contributions from everyone helped us buy a used car that Tom and I now share. We lost three cars in the fire and only received compensation for two of them (the third was a historic car that had no fire coverage). Since our other two cars were just about 10 years old, we didn’t receive much from our auto insurance company. Thanks to everyone’s donations, we were able to buy a used Honda sedan. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of my old Honda, but I cherish it so much more because every time I look at it, I know I’m looking at a precious gift from all of you.

about me

I write, cook, play music, and make pictures. Not necessarily in that order. I was born and raised in the Philippines, and it shows. That means I eat rice with every meal, love my cousins like my own siblings, and firmly believe that avocados are best eaten with cream and sugar.

If you want to learn more about me, here are 43 things I'd like to do. Here's a little something about my name, in case you were wondering. Here are some other places you'll find me:

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The Ivory Hut: My Quick and Easy Chicken Adobo

Chicken adobo is the Filipino dish most people are familiar with. Here's my quick and easy version that requires minimal prep work and only one pan. Perfect for busy weeknights.

The Ivory Hut: Homemade Nutella Baking Chips

Yes, I made my own chocolate chips. Nutella chocolate chips, to be exact. Then I made cookies. Lots of cookies.

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One summer night in 2010, our house burned to the ground and we lost everything we had. This is the story of what happened and how life and hope can always rise from ashes.