2023 Gratitude, A Love Letter from Indy

Someone asked me if I liked living in Indianapolis. I won’t lie, I do. It’s an easy place to live. The cost of living is low. And, I genuinely love the Midwestern sky even when it’s a wintry gray; though, as I type this, instead of being a cold industrial hue, it’s the color of a vast, majestic ocean, even if the temperature hovers at fifty degrees. Plus, I’m a sucker for quick trip destinations and veering towards the offramp for quick drive-throughs. The small towns of Indiana offer studies of architectural nostalgia and dining, such as covered bridges, Underground Railroad sites, great barbecue ribs, and, strangely enough, pizza. 

That same person said, “…but you don’t love it.” And I won’t lie again, I don’t. I didn’t love living in California, with complications of wealth, fame, traffic and general mass population malaise. It’s a nice place, but for me, been there, done that. The only place I’ve ever loved living in is New York City. That’s a story for a different time. 

However, the Midwest, four years and a pandemic later, gives me a chance to take a leap of faith, but I’m doing it in gratitude as I write this by concentrating on writing, mostly around food and design. That alone makes me grateful for living here. In the marketing world, I’ve walked red carpets with clients and sailed the seven seas – actually, six – and met bold-faced names that now, when I mention their names some folks would go,” Who?” It isn’t essential in the scheme of things. Finding food, how we eat, what we eat, and don’t and just eating or even the act of not is important. 

As an aging gay man of color, – it’s challenging to find that bit of thankfulness sometimes in Indiana or anywhere. Being half-Filipino and Caucasian, I’m mistaken for being Latino, even by Hispanics. Then there is the terrible feeling of coming out every single day. Explaining, “No, my partner is a man.” Followed by the looks. However, the other day, I had a Caucasian woman of a certain age get testy with me, saying, “You’re a man. You can’t multitask.” That cracked me up and horrified me at the same time. All of a sudden, in her comment, I was straight and, apparently, a stand-in for anything male. A little sad, but I guess, to her, I was part of the patriarch at that moment. 

Of course, being over fifty – the horrors – it isn’t easy to make younger generations realize why it is vital that generations of us and I still stand, work, and have dreams. 

But I’m aware there are many like me, middle-aged, still finding our way. I only have to look at actors Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh, Samuel L. Jackson, KFC’s founder Harland Sanders, and Tim and Nina Zagat for inspiration who harbored hopes in directives, as in cities and towns across the globe. That’s the good thing. We have second – and third-endless chances of living into our middle age and remaking ourselves. Isn’t that glorious? 

That makes me appreciate the Hoosier State more. I’ve been given something new to accomplish instead of holding on. 

Favorite Things This Year: 

Book: Minda Honey’s debut memoir, The Heartbreak Years. Charming, funny and at times, disturbing story of a young woman finding her way in Southern California. 

Song: MMM by Romanian musician, Minelli. Simple ditty about a relationship gone awry and moving past it but it’s the intonation and musicality of Minelli that makes it fun: You know you did me wrong, Mmmm. It hit YouTube in 2022 but it’s an earworm that keeps giving me bops. 

Streaming: Netflix’s Glamorous with the influencer Miss Benny and Kim Cattrall. While the writing isn’t stellar, the cast is and sometimes that’s worth the price of admission. Besides, it takes place in New York City, provides fluff, good-looking folks and an amusing storyline with the lead a non-binary, non-Caucasian person.  

Life: Nick, my partner of a decade and our two dogs, Rufus, our French bulldog puppy and Jorge/ George.

Lastly, Indianapolis has become an unrecognized melting pot. On any given day, the streets and malls feature a large swath of various ethnicities and non-gender conforming identities. In turn, all this mixing of ingredients creates a new fusion of delectable deliciousness. 

 Recipe for Gluten-Free Asian Pear and Apple Pie

How to make the crust: 

1 cup of GF flour blend like King Arthur’s Measure for Measure or Cup4Cup

1/2 teaspoon, salt

1/2 teaspoon, sugar

Two tablespoon butter

Two tablespoon oil

1/2 teaspoon, vinegar

Use four to six tablespoons of cold water so that the mix creates a ball of dough. Roll into a globe and place the dough in the center of two pieces of waxed or parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll out so that it forms a circle.

Peel off the top layer of waxed or parchment paper. Spray a pie pan with non-stick spray. Invert the pan upside down on top of the dough, centering it as much as possible. Place your hand under the waxed paper, flipping the whole thing over, and press gently into the pie pan.


Two to three cups of ripe Asian pears, cored and sliced

Two to three cups of apples, your choice

3/4 cup sugar

One tablespoon, cornstarch 

One teaspoon, ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon, ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon of five-spice powder

1/4 teaspoon, salt

One tablespoon of lemon juice


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Place one pie crust on a greased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against the side and bottom.

In a large bowl, gently mix all the filling ingredients and spoon into your crust-lined pie plate. Top with a second pie crust. Pinch the top and bottom pie crust at the edges to seal and cut 4 – 5 slits in the top crust for venting.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Cover your edges after about 15 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning.

Cool on a cooling rack for at least an hour before serving.