Monthly Archives: August 2007

Fork You: Krazy Kabobs

It seems like a year has passed since we filmed this particular episode, but in reality, it’s only been about six weeks. Thankfully, there is still time left in summer grilling season, so hopefully you’ll be able to use and enjoy some of these recipes. And, enjoy the view of Scott in a frilly apron. It seemed so natural on him!

An imagined visit with past and future selves

Sometimes I wish that I could send myself, the Marisa I am now, back in time a few years to talk to the me I was back then.  I would give myself a little reassurance that things would be okay.  I would be careful not to tell myself too much about the future, I wouldn’t want to alter the path, just put aside some of the pain.

I’d also like for a future version of myself to stop by and visit me now.  I’d make some iced green tea and we’d talk about the crazy things that have been happening in my life recently.  She’d listen lovingly even though she knew all the stories and their outcomes.  She’d rub my back when the last traces of upset got the best of me and I started to cry.  She’d occasionally get a sly smile on her face, enjoying watching me try to put some of the pieces together but know that puzzle wasn’t complete yet.

The future Marisa would assure me that everything has really worked out, even though it didn’t go exactly the way we thought it would.  After hours, an entire pitcher of tea, tears and hysterical laughter, she would look up and realize that it was time for her to get back.  She wouldn’t tell me what she was returning to, but I’d be able to tell by the look on her face that it was a good thing.  We’d hug good-bye and she’d whisper in my ear, “It will be better than you can even imagine” before fading away.

I’d sigh, missing her the way I miss my mom each time I get on the airplane to return to Philly, and then I turn and clean up the dishes.

Sleep, dreams and houses that birth cars

For the last few weeks, my sleep has been uneven and uncomfortable.  I would wake up nearly every night, sometime just before dawn, trying to shake the remnants of an unsettling dream.  This is unusual for me as I’ve always been one of those people who sleeps solidly and without interruption for at least 8 hours (when given the opportunity).  I’ve walked around in a sleep deprived fog since sometime around the end of July.

However, Saturday morning, something changed.  I lay in bed, stretching and enjoying the ability to roll over and stretch my back when I realized that I had slept well.   It felt so normal that for a moment I questioned the prior weeks of disturbed nights, but the feeling of being well-rested was so delicious that I knew they had taken place because of my level of appreciation.

I also remembering a dream that was strange but not unsettling.  In it, I had wound up driving my car into a house.  Not in the sense that I had smashed up the car or the house, but simply that I had navigated my 15-year-old station wagon down a road that led into the center hall of a large brick rowhome.  There wasn’t any way to turn around and the rear of the house closed around the car once it was inside.
The door frame in front of me was of normal width, so I couldn’t continue to drive forward.

I was beside myself with worry at being stranded, my means of transport parked on a hardwood floor, but the residents of the house seemed unconcerned.  I knew that there was a spot reserved for me on the street outside and I thought it was important that I get there as soon as possible.  They calmed me down and told me there was no rush.  It was communicated to me that eventually the house would be ready to make space for the car to exit in something that would resemble a birth.  They told me that I didn’t have to stay there with the car, they would be happy to take care of it while I was gone.  Then they opened the front door, handed me a bicycle and and sent me on my way.  I pedaled away, feeling relaxed and peaceful, knowing that it would be clear when it was time to return for the birth of the car.

I’m not entirely sure where exactly each parallel gets drawn, but I do understand that this dream is about knowing that things happen as they should and that often times it is impossible to rush the process.  Things are continuing to shift and change in my life and I guess right now I am supposed to rely on the help of friends, family and loving strangers in dreams and spend a little time trying a new way.  The bike as opposed to the car.

Does perceived stagnation precede change?

honey bears

I was reading an email newsletter I get daily that is designed to encourage and inspire members of the new age set, when this sentence jumped out at me.

Stagnation is often a sign that great changes are on the horizon.   

I’ve been feeling stuck.  Mired.  Unable to accomplish more than the bare minimum.  I realize that part of this is due to the fact that it is August and it is hot.  The world’s energy is flowing like honey that was stored on a chilly windowsill.  No matter how much pressure you apply to the bear’s tummy, you can’t force that viscous substance to move any faster to the cap (in situations like this, I tend to put the honey bear in the microwave.  Somehow I don’t think that that’s an advisable course of action for my life).

So it was sort of relief to get a little bit of reassurance that my perceived lack of movement could actually result in changes.  I am ready for a lot of things (both big and little) that seem to be just over the next hill, occasionally peeking up, but not staying within view long enough letting me get my sights set on them.

Things like writing/food video work that makes enough money to support me.  The possibility of a relationship that survives and thrives.  Enough comfort with my body as to be able to go to the swimming pool without putting in vast amounts of mental work in order to prepare.  The ability to go to bed early enough so that I’m not exhausted the next day.  Dedication to eat all the vegetables I buy before they go bad.

See, the big stuff and the little stuff.

Oh and the picture isn’t mine.

Apologies and shameless requests

blue pot

I’m finding that between my thesis (must graduate) and Slashfood (must make money), I don’t have a whole lot of energy for other writing at the moment. I’m not planning on packing it in over here, but please forgive me that I’m not filling this space with thoughtful goodness as frequently as has been normal for me.

Now that I’ve just apologized for my sub-par production of content I am going to turn around and ask you to consider giving some of your money away (seems fair to me). To my sister. You see, my rock star sibling Raina Rose is trying to get a tour bus that runs on used vegetable oil. Only she doesn’t have any money and is asking for donations. If you like her music and want to throw a couple of bucks her way, she’d really appreciate it. If you don’t particularly like her music, but enjoy the idea of her driving around the country in a french fry scented vehicle, she’d still be happy to take your money. If you are sitting behind your computer cursing me and calling her a dirty hippie, well, there’s really nothing we can do there. If you don’t have any money to give, but would like to send along good thoughts and wishes, those are happily accepted as well.

An unproductive day and lots of pictures


I didn’t get out of bed this morning until nearly 11 am, didn’t shower until a few minutes before 5 pm and didn’t actually walk through my front door until 6:45 pm (am I a grad student, or what). It was a fairly lovely, lazy day (although I did spend a few moments beating up on myself due to my lack of productivity). One of the problems with doing nearly nothing during the day is that I don’t generate any experiences about which I can write.

So, instead I offer a few sets of pictures. Both were taken last week. The first is a complete set of blueberry picking pics and the second is from Seth’s birthday/congratulations on winning the JPD award this year party. It was a nice evening with members of my church family.

Opening a bottle of water

On Wednesday, I was walking down Chestnut Street to meet some friends for lunch, when I walked past an elderly homeless woman sitting on the sidewalk.  I’ve often seen her in the neighborhood, wearing a long synthetic blond wig and looking confused.  This time she was sitting outside the CVS and holding up a water bottle, asking passersby if they wouldn’t please help her open it.  People kept walking by, not acknowledging her plea or even the fact that she was present on the sidewalk.

I was on my cell phone as walked past and didn’t pause at first.  But something in her expression stopped me.  I doubled back and took the bottle she held up.  It was slippery with condensation and I could see why she was having trouble.  I twisted the cap off and handed it back to her.  She thanked me and asked if I’d like a bottle of water for myself.  I turned her down, but thanked her for the offer.  She had a Philadelphia accent that sounded much like the one that flavored my grandmother’s speech patterns and I suddenly felt my heart pang for this woman who was reduced to sitting on the pavement in the summer heat.

The poem you see below was printed in Garrison Keillor’s Writers’ Almanac on Friday.  It’s not exactly a perfect match to the experience I had on Wednesday, but there was something about it that evoked a similar sense to the encounter I had.

Tell Me
by Anne Pierson Wiese
from Floating City: Poems.

Tell Me

There are many people who spend their nights
on the subway trains. Often one encounters
them on the morning commute, settled in corners,
coats over their heads, ragged possessions heaped
around themselves, trying to remain in their own night.

This man was already up, bracing himself against
the motion of the train as he folded his blanket
the way my mother taught me, and donned his antique blazer,
his elderly, sleep-soft eyes checking for the total effect.

Whoever you are-tell me what unforgiving series
of moments has added up to this one: a man
making himself presentable to the world in front
of the world, as if life has revealed to him the secret
that all our secrets from one another are imaginary.

Looking low for blueberries

blueberried Marisa

For the last few years, I’ve managed to get out to Portland during blueberry season. Not that I went out there only to pick blueberries, but it was always a highlight of the trip, as my family has been going out to the same U-pick farm on Sauvie Island for the last 15 years or so.

This year I went out to Portland towards the beginning of  May, which meant that I missed out on blueberry season (as well as the raspberries that grow along my parents’ back fence).  I knew that there were places to pick around here, but I felt almost disloyal to the Blueberry Patch (slightly unreasonable, I know) to consider picking anywhere else.

So I thought about picking and didn’t do it.  Many nights, I had a plan that I’d get up the next morning and go pick, only to sleep later than I had intended and put it off for another day.  A couple of days ago I realized that if I didn’t do it soon, I would totally miss the season and so I made plans with my friend Seth to go pick.

We headed out this morning, and after only a few wrong turns, made our way to Mood’s Farm Market in Mullica Hill, New Jersey.  They weighed our buckets, handed over a picking permit, said to turn left at the #4 sign and to pick towards the woods.  The bushes were pretty picked over, but we discovered that crouching down and looking up through the branches often revealed hidden pockets of blue gold.  We picked for about an hour and then spent a lovely half hour stretched out in the tall grass, by a small stream, at the base of the woods.

The picture is of me, showing off my blue-stained hands.


parents' wedding day

My parents celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary today. I called home around 1 pm to say him and wish them a happy day. My mom answered, we chatted a few minutes and then my dad got on the phone. He said, “Happy Anniversary” with enthusiasm, and then explained that with they way the timings of their mornings had worked out, they hadn’t actually spoken yet. So I got to be a part of the first recitation of their happy wishes to one another. Which was nice.

Last year I wrote a post that told the story of how they met, got engaged two weeks later and four weeks after that were married. Thirty-seven years later, it seems like they made a good choice.