Introducing The Albino Asian Cookbook

The Albino Asian Cookbook is a longstanding passion project of mine. Having grown up in the Philippines, I love Asian food, and I love to write. This project combines those affections.

This is a short collection of my favorite Asian recipes, dishes I’ve tinkered with over the last decade. This is quality over quantity. I eliminated a large number of recipes that I simply wasn’t satisfied with.

Several recipes are simple and easy, while a few are complex and labor intensive. Either way, these are the meals I find myself returning to year after year. Continue reading “Introducing The Albino Asian Cookbook”

The Saga of Our Aquarium Fish and How They Died

When I decided to resuscitate my childhood aquarium hobby for the benefit of my young children, I failed to realize how tangibly I was bringing death into our living room. This reboot started out much better than before, though more expensive, because as an adult I have better funding and no mommy to tell me, “No.”

I spent months searching for a stable aquarium stand of an appropriate height; I wanted my toddlers to be able to inspect the fish easily and safely. I struggled over the decision between a glass or acrylic tank because acrylic tanks were safer but had largely gone out of style and availability. Eventually, I settled for glass, reminding myself that my eight siblings broke bones, split lips, and nearly hacked off fingers, but never once broke an aquarium.

From there, the decisions were smaller and more arbitrary: Would I use gravel or substrate? Did I want artificial or live plants? Which heater was least likely to malfunction and boil the fish? I made up my mind and placed my Amazon order because going into an actual pet shop to buy your aquarium in 2017 is passé and because I’m an introvert married to an introvert with tiny introverted babies—we don’t leave the house much. Continue reading “The Saga of Our Aquarium Fish and How They Died”

A Lesson in Faithfulness

When I was a kid, I used to read the post-Exodus stories about the Israelites complaining in the desert and think, “What idiots.” Didn’t they remember the ten plagues or crossing the Red Sea? Didn’t they eat the manna from heaven every single day? How could they forget? With all the self-assured spiritual confidence of the missionary kid I was, I knew that I would certainly never do such a thing.

Now I’m thirty years old, and I find myself identifying with the Israelites. Sometimes their complaints were legitimate, directly tied to biological necessities like food or water or not wanting to die battling giants. Yet I’m reminded that their attitude rather than their complaints seems to be what got them into trouble. Their needs may have been valid, but the way they expressed them wasn’t acceptable to God.

My wife, Abigail, and I just had our fourth child in our five years of marriage. The addition was going remarkably well. My mother-in-law stayed with us for a couple weeks while we got our bearings. Grandma left, and everything was going perfectly, or at least as perfectly as life with four children can go.

Then I started to get sick, along with all the children. Baby Lily stopped sleeping well (for a newborn) at night. Then my wife started having nursing complications and an intermittent fever, which caused her significant pain and basically put her out of commission. Continue reading “A Lesson in Faithfulness”

Surviving Asheville, N.C.’s Purgatory on Asphalt:  How I Crushed My Near Accident Occurrences and Became Saner in the Process

Call me crazy, but I’m rather attached to living. I’d rather not end up mangled in the midst of a mixture of metal and fiberglass melding at the end of high speed collision. I’d rather not get maimed as well, and now that I have kids, I feel especially obligated to stay alive.

However, living in Asheville, North Carolina makes this reasonable goal more difficult. I learned to drive in Wichita, Kansas, a flat city on a grid with a terrific road to car ratio, where traffic or an accident meant a few minutes delay. Then I moved to Asheville, North Carolina.

Asheville is basically the inverse of Wichita. The city is built around mountains, rivers, and the Biltmore Estate, with narrow roads placed where they fit, meaning there is no predictable or convenient pattern. Compounding the problem, Asheville is an established tourist destination with an exploding population. The tourists and new residents in addition to the over population and the now insufficient transportation system create what I like to call purgatory on asphalt. Continue reading “Surviving Asheville, N.C.’s Purgatory on Asphalt:  How I Crushed My Near Accident Occurrences and Became Saner in the Process”

A Promise Fulfilled

It was my last semester of college. I began the term by getting rejected by a woman I’d wanted to ask out the prior year. There were circumstances that prevent me from asking her out sooner, so instead of getting rejected and simply moving on, my feelings had grown in a stilted, one-sided manner for six months. In short, I was infatuated.

When the rejection did come, it struck deeper than it should have, and in the melodramatic way emotions can work, it put my dream of having a family someday in doubt.

At the same time, I was uncertain about what I would do after college. I was aging into a new level of responsibility and freedom, but instead of excitement, I felt fear. Continue reading “A Promise Fulfilled”

Learning to be Mary in a Martha World

I have O.C.D., so it’s an understatement to say that I value order and cleanliness. When I was in high school, my friends joked about being afraid to enter my bedroom because it was so clean. When I was in college, I negotiated for the neatest roommate I could get. I’ve spent the last several years as on automotive detailer because I’m so obsessive about cleaning. However, having kids doesn’t fit that personal disposition.

Most Christians have heard the story about what happened during one of Jesus’ visits to Mary and Martha. Martha was the responsible adult. Martha cooked and got the house presentable, while her sister, Mary, sat at Jesus’ feet and listened. Yet when Martha finally complained to Jesus about Mary ignoring the work to be done, she received this answer:

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

I am Martha. I’m an objective-oriented person rather than a people-oriented person. I like results. I want to achieve the goal, and although I can achieve a lot as a lone wolf, I resent being taken advantage of and having to carry more than my share of the burden. Continue reading “Learning to be Mary in a Martha World”

My Maturing Relationship with Vomit

My children vomit while riding in the car like it’s an Olympic event. This first occurred with my eldest child half an hour into a three hour trip. Rather than turn around, I stopped at the nearest Walmart, and my wife bought trash bags, a new car seat, and clothes. We stripped Lizzy down, put the contaminated clothes and car seat in a trash bag, and continued on.

I was furious. This was not part of the plan. Besides, I’m an automotive detailer specializing in abused vehicles, and our car was now an abused vehicle. In addition to the extra hundred and fifty dollars we paid and the malodor perfuming our car, I was going to spend part of my weekend detailing for free. Continue reading “My Maturing Relationship with Vomit”