Monthly Archives: August 2008

Four generations on a single statue

Heart breaking eyes
Saturday afternoon, I got a call from my mom’s cousin Amy. She was at Rittenhouse Square with Derek and Sabrina and was wondering if I wanted to join them. I was sitting at the dining room table when the phone rang, eating a turkey sandwich and reading the weekend newspaper. I quickly finished my sandwich, packed up some cubed watermelon as a treat to share and headed to the park with my camera in hand.

I found them on the 18th Street side of the Square, watching Derek trying to throw a ball for a newly befriended dog. After he said good-bye to the dog, the four of us wandered around the Square until we worked ourselves over to the courtyard by the goat, which has always been the spot where all the parents and young children gather to play.

It’s a place where my own grandmother played, when she was 6 or 7 years old. For a brief period of time, somewhere around 1921 or 1922, my grandmother lived with her siblings, their mother and step-father Fred, in a tiny rowhouse across the street from Rittenhouse Square. It was fun to get a chance to see Derek sitting on the same statue that so many members of my family have enjoyed as children.

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Several weeks ago, I answered the Cookthink Questionnaire. It went live last week, and so if you happen to be one of those people who has an unquenchable thirst for greater knowledge about me (I believe my parents are the only ones who actually fall into this category), you can read it here.

Fight or flight

Over the last few weeks I’ve been riding my bike more. I took it out last night to pick up a to-go order at Lee How Fook (by far, my favorite Chinese restaurant in the city). It was around 7 pm, and the sun was coming down at that slanty angle that makes it hard to see more than an arm’s length beyond your nose. I had the food tied firmly into the white basket attached to the back of the bike and was negotiating the streets and sidewalks in the blinding light. As I coasted down Race Street, thinking how peaceful the city seemed and how much I enjoy the last summer when the streets empty out, movement to my right caught my eye.

I slowed down, trying to make sense of what was going on. It was a cluster of young men, all of whom looked younger than me. Two were on the sidewalk, feet pedaling in an attempt to gain traction, while the other’s held on to arms or bit of clothing. It took my brain several seconds to realize that what I was seeing was a fight. Two guys were being beaten ten feet from me and I had nearly come to a complete halt. Stunned and uncertain what to do, I gaped for another moment. Suddenly, a movement from the scrum of bodies seemed to be headed in my direction and I realized that I needed to get out of there as quickly as possible. I pushed down firmly on the pedals and left the fight behind.

I felt shaken for the rest of the ride back to my building. As I put my bike away and lifted the food out of the basket (unharmed although a little soup did spill) I realized that I had never before seen a fight. Growing up, I went to schools where students were more concerned with the status of their GPA than whether or not they had been disrespected. I typically travel the safest streets Philadelphia has to offer and when I happen to pass through the less savory neighborhoods, I do so in a car or in the protective company of friends.

The experience hasn’t left me permanently rattled or questioning whether I still want to live in the city (I love urban life and hope that I never have to chose to give it up). However, I do think it’s interesting that due to lack of experience, I did not initially recognize what was happening. That innocence has made me to realize there was a huge hole in my instinctual flight trigger.

I also hope that no one was permanently hurt. I didn’t even realize until after I was home and unpacking the food that maybe I should have called the police. Although knowing the Philadelphia police department, that probably wouldn’t have done anything.

Spending, releasing and a very large coffeemaker

Yesterday afternoon, I left work feeling sort of itchy and restless, like there was soda water running through my veins. I wanted run out and buy things, just for the experience of the acquisition. At the same time I also wished to get rid of everything. Wisely, I tucked my wallet down towards the bottom of my bag and took the quickest route home, so I wouldn’t be swayed by the tug to spend money. When I got home, I put my bag down and dug into the front hall closet, dragging empty bags over to be filled. When I was finished, I had a giant pile mounded next to the front door and had jettisoned a rice cooker, a small japanese steamer, an enormous bag of scarves (I don’t know how I came to possess so many), several baskets and a 20 cup coffee maker.

My grandparents used to entertain frequently and used that giant coffee maker at least once a month for dinner parties and family brunches. I used it at the luncheon we held in the apartment after my grandmother died, as well as at two or three dinners I hosted for church groups over the years. Of all the things I pulled out to give away this time, it’s that overly large, impractical coffee maker that I’m having the hardest time letting go. It’s been at least four years since I plugged it in, and I the majority of people I know these days aren’t big coffee drinkers.

However, it takes up valuable closet real estate and doesn’t care a proportionate amount of weight so out it goes. If anyone is in need of a sturdy, giganza coffee maker, let me know.

A Summer weekend

Mood's Farm Market
I’ve been a busy girl of late. Summer is rapidly drawing to an end and I’ve been scurrying hither and yon, trying to wrap my hands around these waning days. Saturday morning, I got out of bed earlier than I do on my work days, in order to go out to New Jersey one last time to pick summer fruit. Between us, Shay and I picked nearly 10 pounds of blackberries. I also bought a dozen ears of the sweetest white corn I’ve tasted since I was last in Iowa and a peck (as in a bushel and a peck) of hail-kissed white peaches.


I had to hurry back from New Jersey, in order to be at home when the new refrigerator arrived. When the original, turquoise fridge broke down sometime in the early nineties, my grandfather ordered a new unit through the building. It was a basic GE unit that held 15 cubic feet of foot on three wire shelves. Storing food in it became a 3-D version of Tetris, always requiring unsafe stacks and much rearranging, even do something simple like remove the milk. Scott was never able to find anything in the fridge and so several months ago, we started talking about getting a new one.

Last Saturday we ordered it and this Saturday it was delivered. It was a tricky thing getting it into the kitchen, and I nearly vomited when I realized that it might not fit past the bar in the living room. Luckily, the men who delivered it were experts in the field of getting large appliances into small spaces and after some careful planning and measuring, were able to make it happen. If ever someone could be infatuated with a household appliance, I feel twinges of love for this hulking white box in my kitchen.


Saturday night, after hours spent arranging and re-arranging the kitchen in order to find homes for the items the new fridge displaced (we had to take down a cabinet and my spice shelf in order to make it fit), I baked up a double batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (some had pecans and some did not). I did it in part to try out the review BeaterBlade I was sent last week and in other part because some weeks ago I promised Scott cookies. My baking honor was at stake, and so I had to deliver. They have proven to be delicious cookies, despite the fact that I was so preoccupied with getting good pictures of the beater spinning around that I forgot to put any spices in the batter.

Box of tomatoes

Sunday morning, I once again got up earlier than is reasonable, this time to have breakfast with Shay, AnnElise and Joy. Joy is moving out to Ohio to go to school and be with AnnElise and so we gathered at Sabrina’s in the Italian Market for one last meal before they got in the car to head west.

After we said our good-byes on the corner of 9th and Washington Ave., I bought a gallon of olive oil at Claudio’s and a bag of red chili flakes at the Spice Terminal. They made me realize just how dead my previous jar of chili flakes had become, as every time I open this new bag, the air in the room becomes fire-y and my eyes start to tear. These new purchases tucked into the back seat of the car, Shay and I made our way to the Headhouse Square Farmers’ Market, for what has become our weekly habit of food shopping (half an hour) and sitting on the curb with coffee (for me), lemonade (for her) and conversation (for both).

Later on in the afternoon, after I was back at home, the weekend of minimal sleep caught up with me and knocked me into a two-hour nap during which I was mostly dead to the world, save for the five minutes that I somehow talked to my mom on the phone.

The weekend ended with an impromptu meal of pulled pork sandwiches and corn on the cob with Thad and Angie. We came home with a bag of produce from their garden and that refreshed feeling that comes when you manage to squeeze one last bit of enjoyment into an already full weekend.

True blog love, according to CBS 3

Scott and Marisa, interviewed on CBS3

Scott and Marisa, interviewed on CBS3

Last Thursday, I got an email from Nicole Brewer, the reporter for, asking if she could feature Scott and me in her column. Friday morning she came over to the apartment to film us and Monday morning, there was an email in my inbox with a link to the piece. It’s cute and focuses on the story of how we met through blogging. Just click on the image above and it will take you to the story and video.

Enjoying life, mis-matched shoes and Neil Diamond

Enjoy Your Life

Last night, sitting across from Scott at Vietnam Palace, I realized something about him. He hardly ever complains. I, on the other hand, am something of a champion complainer. As we talked about the differences in our personalities and the ways in which I almost seem to require something in life about which to bitch, I realized that I don’t want to be that person. I have no interest in being the girl who must have something to be irritated about. After dinner, as we walked home, we stopped at one of the bakeries in Chinatown for a treat. Scott got a piece of cake and I got a mango bubble tea. Looking at the cup the bubble tea was served in, I realized it said, “Enjoy Your Life.” I’m trying to take a cue from the cup and do just that.

Two different shoes

Sunday night, we went to see Neil Diamond play at the Wachovia Center. I had gotten free tickets at work (Scott is something of a fan) and so it became a fun, fairly cost-effective activity. We were in a bit of a hurry that night when it came time to leave and so I rushed to put shoes on so we could head out. I didn’t bother to turn the bedroom light on as I shod myself and so didn’t notice until we were already outside our apartment building that I was wearing mismatched shoes (it’s my own damn fault for possessing so many pairs of Dansko clogs). I didn’t have time to run back up to the apartment, so I stayed mismatched for the duration of the concert. It ended up being something of an unfashionable evening anyway, as it was pouring out and we got thoroughly soaked while walking from the subway to the Center. Scott was so saturated that he bought a Neil Diamond tee-shirt to change into. I guess that’s the place to be wearing such a tee-shirt. Sadly, there’s no similar excuse for my shoes.

New faucet

In other news, we got a new kitchen faucet. The old one was a no-frills model that originally came with the kitchen. It was dirty past the point of easy cleaning, a little leaky and generally aesthetically unappealing. Scott and I took turns getting this one installed (he did the majority of the work, although I did loosen a few key bolts) and I love it. While we were at it, we installed a pump bottle to hold dish soap. My sink area has never looked so good.

Written while being filmed

Right at this very moment, Nicole Brewer from CBS3 is walking around Scott and me, taking B-roll of us sitting on the loveseat in the living room, typing away on our laptops. In order to keep typing, I’ve started this blog post so that it looks like I’m doing something.

She emailed us yesterday, asking if she’d be able to interview us for her segment on, Behind the Blog. In the interview portion, we talked about our relationship, how blogging brought us together and how we created Fork You.  What an odd thing. Most people aren’t asked to reflect on how they came together on camera.

Uh-oh! The composter just started making noise! It looks like we’re off to the kitchen, to pretend to cook for the camera.

Thirty-eight years and counting

Morris and Leana

Last Friday, my parents celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary. It’s an impressive feat, especially given the fact that they had known each other just six weeks on the day they got married. My dad was 21 and my mom had just turned 23 six days before. After the wedding, they drove from San Francisco to Virginia, getting to know the other person’s quirks and habits, held together by a marriage license and a two-door Karmann Ghia. There were times in the first year (as well as some of the years between now and then) when they weren’t sure that it would work and that the commitments that held them together wouldn’t be enough, but somehow they always managed to make it work.

Recently they were at a party, where the majority of people in attendance were closer to my age than theirs. Someone turned to my mom and asked her how they had done it for so long. She thought for a minute and said, “You have to just keep working at it. Oh, and make sure to take some separate vacations.” Sounds like good advice!