All posts tagged: daily blogging

A Cacophony of Collective Nouns

A pride of lions. A school of fish. A flamboyance of flamingos — yep. I had a bee in my bonnet today (not a hive of them, mind you) about collective nouns. I love them. They’re poetic, they’re nonsensical, they’re fun to think about. A shrewdness of apes. A parliament of owls or — alternatively, if you’re feeling more sinister than magisterial — a looming of them. A prickle (!) of hedgehogs (say hiya to my son, Hedgewig). I can’t tell you why I’ve been thinking about collective nouns. I’ve been drowning in words lately, for all numbers of reasons, and so it was only a matter of time before I dove into collective nouns. According to this oldish article via Medium, there’s not really an answer as to where they come from, collective nouns just… are. Which is frustratingly vague! Apparently, there’s a paradox between actual popular usage and assumed common usage — aka, a text claims the thing is a thing, so it is — between how these things come to be. Linguists …

On Citrus Season

Growing up, calamansi was my favorite little fruit. My mom used in so many Pinoy dishes — in our house, there was always a bit of calamansi steeped in some soy sauce, or sprinkled over garlic rice. The fruit was so sweet, the pith so tart and slightly bitter. When we didn’t buy it from the Filipino grocery store, my mom would just pluck some kumquat from our backyard tree — deceptively similar but different. It didn’t matter; I loved how either would explode with electricity upon biting into them. The kumquat tree didn’t fruit year-round, but eventually it would and I’d happily grab the little fork-caged fruit picker and collect some of the thumb-sized, oblong fruits. We even had tangerines, and a lemon tree, which only ever produced one sad lemon in the entire decade we lived in that house. Scent is a time machine. Every time I smell a kumquat or a calamansi, a part of me returns to that bitter little house on Pepperwood, where I played with my brothers outside and …

Dispatch | 11.17.19

Raise your hand if you’re tired. That seems to be the current collective, universal state of things. Tiredness knows no creed, no political party, no religion. Tiredness is in the water, it runs to our marrow. And it shows no signs of abating. As the world turns increasingly dark — from here in the U.S. to abroad (see Turkey, Hong Kong, Bolivia etc. etc. et al) — it’s hard to find relief from the news cycle. The impeachment hearings are must-see TV and social media is constantly alight; who even knows where we stand on Brexit? Hilarious memes and astrology posts bidding us to look into ourselves and the stars are barely a balm, but there’s so much tiredness to overcome. And then there’s the domestic front! The dishes pile up, a mountain of laundry is never quite tackled, and my research/writing/pitching to-do lists get longer. I know it’s something of a cliche, but “adulting” is so much. The reality is, there are some days I can’t bring myself out of bed, but please allow …

Tree-lined paths in Brooklyn, New York; Columbus,Ohio, other places

We Should All Be Forest Bathing

Lately, I’ve spent many weekend mornings wandering passed towering steel tracks and shuttered auto shops on the way to Highland Park. Situated on the border of Queens and Brooklyn, Google Maps reveals its a large island of green surrounded by cemeteries of all kinds. Jewish, Christian, non-denominational. It’s not quite an escape from the city — the sounds of the Jackie Robinson expressway and nearby church bells commingle with those of the birds, insects, and wind in the trees — but walking the leaf-strewn paths allows me to ponder and process the current state of things. Wiki tells me that Highland Park is one of the tallest points in Brooklyn (makes sense, given the name), but more importantly, it’s a verdant escape from its humming urban surroundings. For me, it’s the perfect place to practice the art and science of forest bathing. What is forest bathing? I first heard about “forest bathing,” or shinrin-yoku in Japanese, from a podcast Hurry Slowly a couple of years ago. The idea is that by disconnecting from modern life …

Signs of Life Well-Lived in Columbus, Ohio

There’s a particular genre of food writing that I just love, that always gets me right in the feels: Odes to grocery stores. But not just regular, American-style supermarkets, with glaring lights, wide aisles and wild shoppers. Definitely not places Whole Foods, or Fairway, or Wegman’s, or even the Jewel-Oscos or Associateds of the world. I’m talking about international stores, once dubbed “ethnic,” a word which has since (thankfully) fallen out of favor. Whether they’re a one-off mom-and-pop shop in a suburban strip mall, or they’re part of a larger chain — H-Mart, Seafood City, Patel Brothers — the presence of an international-focused supermarket in a community tells me so much about a place. Who lives there, what kind of food nourishes that community, the families and lives of a region, even how time and place have shaped that city or town’s economies. On Saturdays, my family went to 99 Ranch Market in City of Industry, or Greenhills in Diamond Bar — both about 45 and 30 minutes, respectively, from our home in Orange County. …