My Senior Prom was 22 years ago today. Fuuuuuuu~ Thanks, FB. That’s what I get for tagging it with the actual date.


Two years since I was rear-ended by a semi and then selected an appropriate shirt to wear the next day. timehop


2015 Year In Review

The past couple of Years In Review have been pretty linear: able to be broken down into a chronology of main happenings, with other minor happenings thrown in. This year, there were a few main threads that seemed to tie the whole year together.

Abstract: I visited many health care professionals and got some lingering medical issues resolved (and discovered some new ones). The first half of the year was fraught with house and car issues. I rediscovered my love of film photography. And some other stuff happened, like gardening and being social and potty-training our son.

Now, for the long version…


Capellini with Tomatoes

capellini wih tomatoes

I was looking for a quick and easy way to serve my homegrown tomato crop over pasta. I searched online for tomato pasta recipes, and found a few that were similar enough that I realized that the cobbled-together idea in my head was completely legit.


One tomato, diced, sautéed in 1 tsp butter and pinch Splenda (or sugar). Serve over noodles with basil and Parmesan.


As soon as I took a bite, I knew I had to serve the tomatoes over angel hair pasta next time. Why? Because my stepdad Tom served his homemade spaghetti sauce over angel hair — or vermicelli, or spaghettini, but rarely spaghetti.

His was the first and only homemade spaghetti sauce I’ve ever tasted (to my knowledge), and his was the only spaghetti sauce I’d had up until then (age twelve) that included sugar. It’s definitely different than any sauce out of a jar. He also had a different method of serving pasta, where he’d mix a little of the pasta sauce with the capellini in the serving bowl, so it wouldn’t get sticky. I got out of the habit of drowning my spaghetti in sauce, and instead would just add a touch more sauce — and usually some meatballs or sausage, too.

I remember standing in the doorway of the kitchen in the little house he rented (Mom and I moved into the rented house with him when they got married), watching him watching the big tall pot on the stove, simmering the Roma tomatoes we’d harvested from our garden. Years later, after he and Mom divorced, I remember visiting with him in his rented trailer in Amish Country, and him serving up that same pasta sauce with capellini, in the same blue-floral serving bowl, with the same serving tongs and silverware we’d eaten with in the little house in Burbank.

My slapdash 30-minute meal pales in comparison to the depth of his spaghetti sauce, but still — every time I make it, the smell of cooking fresh tomatoes straight out of the garden combined with the sweetness of sugar (or Splenda) and the aroma of oregano and basil… I’m back in Tom’s kitchen again.

He’s been gone exactly 20 years this month. I hadn’t realized that when I sat down to write this. Amazing how smell and taste can trigger memories that seem like yesterday.

TBT: Ann Arbor With Aaron, July 2011

While I was preparing to mail in my last batch of film to The Darkroom to be processed, I found an old mystery roll sitting in a basket in the dining room. So I chucked it in the mailer and ponied up $11 to see what was on it.

Last time I did that, I got 30-year-old seagull photos from when my family lived in Florida. This time, I got four-year-old photos from one time Aaron and I spent the day in Ann Arbor.



The “Go Without” Challenge

My employer has established their own non-profit for the purpose of assisting employees in need. Anyone who works for my company can fill out an application to receive assistance — say, if their home got hit by a natural disaster or fire; or if someone is escaping domestic violence; or if someone in the family fell ill, or needed major surgery, or died unexpectedly. Sometimes life just takes a turn, and people don’t have the resources to cover basic expenses, even if they have insurance. That’s where my company’s non-profit comes into play: helping out with financial hardships outside one’s control.

Every summer, we have a pledge drive, and get the opportunity to make a one-time donation, or to sign up (as I do) for a recurring donation out of our paycheck. The pledge drive lasts two weeks, and always has a theme: being a hero for someone else, or walking in their shoes, or getting yourself in the picture. This year, the theme is The “Go Without” Challenge.

I know a little bit about going without. My family was never well-off while I was growing up, and was usually on some sort of public assistance. We didn’t go without food, or shelter, or anything major like that, but there were times when I was aware of going without certain things.  (more…)