Tuesday, June 26, 2007


On Sunday afternoon my Chevy Malibu (aka Paloma) passed the 100,000 mile mark as I drove into Chicago to meet up with a small group of good friends for a delectable dinner of tapas at Café Ba-ba-Reeba in Lincoln Park. As Todd aptly described it, we experienced a touch of gastronomic ADD as plate after plate arrived at the table with some new fragrant and flavorful dish to delight our senses. We enjoyed some tapas that were familiar to me, such as tortilla espanola, patatas aioli, queso de cabra, and datiles con tocino (which are melt-in-your-mouth-just-give-me-a-minute-to-savor-this dates wrapped in bacon that if you ever see on a menu you should not hesitate about ordering, trust me) and some new, among which my favorites were the ensalada de pollo al currri, pan con tomate y jamon serrano, and salmon a la plancha con ensalada de couscous tostaba. We ate and ate and ate, talked, listened, and laughed, all while sipping from our colorful glasses of fruity sangria. As we lingered at the table, enjoying cute little desserts and the strains of flamenco guitar, dancing, and clapping floating in from the next room, among the flavors of Spanish cuisine I tasted the ease and repose that is inherent in the leisurely meals of Europe. It took me back to my days in Spain, made me so grateful for the incredible blessings of the present and the people I am privileged to claim as friends--both around that table and around the world--, and gave me a sense of bright-eyed hope for what the next year might hold. Happy Birthday, indeed.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ode to Tomatoes

There are lots of things I appreciate about summer, but today as I sit here at my desk eating my lunch I am particularly thankful that summer is tomato season. I LOVE tomatoes. They're good in all their many forms and functions, of course, but in the summer I relish eating tomatoes in their natural state, fresh from the vine, perfectly ripe, cut into wedges and graced with a dash of salt. YUM.

I'm enjoying the tomato I brought for lunch so much that I almost feel prompted to craft a poem in honor of its splendidness. But, lucky for you, Pablo Neruda has already supplied the world with an excellent ode, so you will be spared my amateur adorations. Without further ado, Neruda's ODE TO TOMATOES:

The street
filled with tomatoes,
light is
its juice
through the streets.
In December,
the tomato
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
its ease
on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds
its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife
into living flesh,
a cool
populates the salads
of Chile,
happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding
of the day,
its flag,
bubble vigorously,
the aroma
of the roast
at the door,
it's time!
come on!
and, on
the table, at the midpoint
of summer,
the tomato,
star of earth, recurrent
and fertile
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

things I’m thankful for on june 21st, the first official day of summer

sunshine (and sunscreen)

muscles that cooperate when I work out

my iPod shuffle and the friend who gave it to me

a free northern lite cooler from caribou

the freedom to wear flip-flops to work

the fun of accessorizing and feeling girly

the friendly teller at the bank

my office’s water cooler…even though there’s no one to gather there and talk with me

friends that humor me when I spaz and allow me to verbally process

God’s gentle, calming reminder to trust and turn to Him first

plums and nectarines

answered prayers

finding the umbrella I thought I’d lost

aldi’s white mountain trail mix and its satisfying blend of salty and sweet

helpful people at the visa processing agency

an inbox full of birthday coupons for free food

the company of friends

roast pig for dinner

the prayers and support of many for my trip to Romania next month

Monday, June 18, 2007

Blog Posts I'd Write if I Had the Time

"Bananas Are Not the Enemy! and Other Things I Feel Like Shouting"

"Cicadas: The Hype & The Hum"

"A Call to Quiescence"

"I Don't Want to Move But I Don't Want to Stay Where I Am"

"Tears on My Tofu"

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Now that's a headline...

Pajama-Clad Cow Statue Stolen From Billboard

This story reminds me of the time I was walking to the dining commons for breakfast at Taylor and noticed that pranksters had deposited one of those enormous Big Boy statues in the library parking lot. I don't know how campus safety got it out of there (and I'm even more curious how the pranksters got it there in the first place) but it was gone by the time I left for class.