Category Archives: Blog

One-Dish Dinners: Doable, Delicious Paella

 
I wouldn’t exchange my childhood in the Philippines for anything. The whole family sat down to supper just about every night: my grandparents, mom, dad, and my two brothers. But every Sunday, all my mother’s brothers and their families would arrive in the afternoon and stay till late into the night. Those suppers were extra special. Sunday suppers meant not just fiesta-worthy food (and lots of it!); they also meant hide-and-seek or capture-the-flag games that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. Yes, Monday was a school day, but we didn’t care. We would have played until the sun came up if the grownups let us. (They sometimes did.) Continue reading One-Dish Dinners: Doable, Delicious Paella

Lessons Learned

 
It’s been seven weeks since the fire and while progress has been made, some things are stuck at a standstill. We finally got the go-signal to begin demolition and cleanup, after weeks of failed attempts to figure out the cause of the fire. It will be a relief to drive up to the property without having to see the pile of rubble. The recent severe weather here, however, has pushed back our demolition plans. I am both eager to get it done and dreading it. But I continue to remind myself that every day is one day closer to being back home again.

The fire has taught us many things. Valuable things, both practical and life-changing. We have learned volumes about the depth of love that exists in friendship, the kindness of strangers, and how easy it is to make that leap from stranger to friend. Many people have told us how strong we are, how resilient. But we can’t take credit for that. What we are inside, we owe to our faith, and where we fall short, the people around us—both far and near—bolster us up, lifting us higher than we can stand on our own. Continue reading Lessons Learned

Happiness

Happiness is having a loaner camera and lens to use, which makes it possible for me to share this short photo list with you.

It’s realizing I sent the photo above, along with the rest of her wedding pictures, to a bride in record time—a mere 3 weeks after her wedding, and only a few days before the fire took all my image files. Continue reading Happiness

Thankful

 
It’s been less than two weeks since the fire, but it feels much longer. Our days are spent trying to take care of the most important tasks, like replacing our identification documents, purchasing the essentials, and coordinating with our insurance agent and the State Farm adjuster so that we can continue moving forward. They gave us a few addresses to check out, places we could move into for the 10-12 months it might take to rebuild our house. Continue reading Thankful

Family

 
This is a post about loss and riches. About tears despite immense gratitude. And about the kind of love for neighbor that binds us all together.

But first, let me tell you a story of how four little girls made a grown woman cry. It was two days after the fire, and Tom and I were on the way to the house—or what’s left of our house—to pick up our mail. On our way there, we passed our neighbor’s house, and his daughters had a cute little lemonade stand in front of their house. Continue reading Family

In an instant

 
Last night, my head was preoccupied with last-minute work on a special project and putting the finishing touches on a post. My husband Tom and I had also been discussing the logistics of possibly attending BlogHer Food 2010 in San Francisco. These were the things that weighed on my mind.

A mere hour or so later—an instant, really—we were outside, in our shirts and shorts, watching our house crumble as it was engulfed in flames. I’ll never forget that hissing and crackling noise as my husband’s home of almost 30 years practically disintegrated before our eyes. Continue reading In an instant

Details

 
The last two weeks have seen me busier than I’ve ever been in a long time. From a weekend beach wedding shoot to re-designing my blog to a little potluck that we put together, I’ve barely had time to sleep, let alone write.

While the never-ending activities have left me with a deficit of words, what I do have is a surplus of photos. And I’d really love to show you some photos from the wedding but that’ll come later. The bride gets first dibs on seeing the shots.

Instead, I’m going to show you photos of that wee little event we organized: the Big Summer Potluck. The wonderful Anderson family of Three Many Cooks graciously welcomed everyone to their beautiful home for this event. I am told that I spoke a bit about photography, and that I might have even made a little sense. My mom was in attendance, bless her, and although I figured it was for moral support, something tells me that she was there to block all exits in case I decided to make a run for it. Continue reading Details