Stuffed shells. I used to see that on a pink hot lunch order form in elementary school. I would get it every time it was on there. Love will do that to you when you’re a kid. Later my fifth grade teacher informed us that we order from the leftovers from the high school/middle school hot lunches. I was very grateful there were still stuffed shells available by the time the pink form got down to us. I think stuffed shells were also my first dive into the Italian pool. That’s all it took and I’ve been swimming in that pool ever since.
Instant noodles. I guess I’m thinking more specifically of instant ramen. And even more specifically, the Kang Shi Fu brand. That one was mom-approved until instant noodles weren’t in general when she found out they are “bad” for you. By the time I was 12 I had finally learned how to make some on my own and I would happily make some for myself right after school. Hey, I was a growing kid and after a long day in school I would be so hungry I needed a snack before dinner. But even though I know now it’s the not a healthy snack, every once in a while I get a craving and I just have to have some.
Hot dogs. Processed meat. My grandma was watching me once when I was seven and she let me have three in a row because she saw how much I loved eating them. Mom wasn’t too happy about that, but I ate them all. Later on she did tell me to stop eating them and I did pretty good on that for the most part until every once in a while when it’s in front of me at a potluck or a chili bowl event. Once while living in Columbia I wanted to make myself a quick dinner before heading to a Zumba class with some girl friends so I picked hot dogs.
Donut holes. Seven in Chicago and my teachers up to that point were known for bringing us Dunkin’ Donuts every once in a while to treat us. The easiest thing to bring in for a whole class of second graders was the holes. Later on when I tried a donut for the first time I realized I will always like the holes better than the donuts. Now when I look at a donut hole I remember the excitement of positive reinforcement.
Conclusion: We may know what is healthy to eat and what is not once we grow up, but it’s the food and snacks we discovered in our childhoods that still taste so good so many years later no matter how simple or the nutritional value or lack thereof.
The hardest part is knowing you will never walk through the Orchestra doors again to come give me a hug and ask how I’m doing, even more than it was for me to visit you in your home for the first and last time and see you in your skeletal state. I wanted to be positive or say something uplifting, but I lost it as soon as I saw you that night looking like my dad did right before he went. You comforted me when he went. You comforted me when I was having a hard time at work. You did stuff like that for anyone you got to know and helped any Orchestra member work on their craft with you if needed. You were that kind of music teacher, one who was not just a music teacher. And that was just with the musicians you knew. The next day I heard someone sobbing in my car on the way home after work. Your record was on. I wanted to comfort her, the one that was sobbing. But my ugly cry was clouding the road and I couldn’t stop the sobbing because life’s not fair when it comes to cancer. I laughed at no jokes at work. I spoke to no one unless I had to. Nothing was worse than realizing the sobbing was coming from me, the girl who hates to be sad, who hates it so much she has to listen to Britney Spears to get back in a better mood. In less than two weeks later you went. My sobbing had become uncontrollable at this point. Then those of us who could make it said good-bye to you on a Monday night. But it’s not really good-bye. It was a celebration of your life, the way you left your mark on this world. It’s not about the numbers, but when I looked around and saw so many people there, it was a testimony to the way you spread joy to everyone you came across and made friends wherever you went. You were that kind of follower of Jesus. I didn’t lose it until one of your best friends in the Orchestra went up to the podium to share your funnies. There were so many, laughter came shooting out of my belly like a dragon and that was the beginning of the end of my sobbing. It was like a switch turned it off because I finally got it. It’s not about being sad because you’re gone. We will see you again one day. It’s not even about the way you played your sax so beautifully and humbly. It’s about the fact you lived a full life with the time that you had. You prioritized your family and friends because life is meaningless if you don’t appreciate those around you. But it all comes down to your love of the Lord, which is what motivated everything you did on this Earth. Now if I have a bad habit I want to break I’m going to think of what you said at the music convention to the trombonist before I start something I will regret: “Don’t do it, man!”
A drizzly morning. No bears though. Only mamas. Backaches. Crush thinking. (As per usual.) More sleep needed. One stop for lunch and groceries. Good finds at good prices. Fast cashier. (And polite.) Nervous stranger. Wondering why I have this effect on some people. Pimple on chin. Thank God for face masks. New pajamas. Clean sheets. Dreaming of going to bed on time. And caramel lattes.
I don’t know when I started listening to K-pop, but I’m pretty sure I found it on someone’s Xanga once upon a time. So it’s been a while, but I do know that I listen to it as a way to have some pop music playing in the background that won’t distract me since I don’t know Korean. Well, I don’t know Korean except for the few words I learned from watching “My Sassy Girl.” Which words? Let’s just say I was asked once why I am threatening the death of Korean squirrels. XD
I listen to K-pop off and on, but lately I am on again and this time it’s Hyuna. I am liking her newer stuff more than her older stuff, but her music videos, especially her older ones, are still too provocative for my taste. So I try and pay more attention to the translated lyrics and the music. Amazingly the lyrics are different from what I expected and I know a lot of Asian pop tends to sprinkle in some English words here and there without really knowing the definitions of those words, but I like Hyuna’s twist on how these words are used. For example, calling a love of flowers a “flower shower.” I like that idea now and I can credit it to Hyuna. (I like the music video for this song. She looks more pretty and ladylike rather than provocative.) She also sings about not being cool, which I think is vastly different from all the songs out there saturated with tints of how cool the singer is.