Monthly Archives: July 2007

Coincidences, both near and far


I got an email from a friend today, with a picture attached. She and her husband-to-be were recently on vacation up in the Pacific Northwest when, on Bainbridge Island, they spotted this poster, advertising a concert featuring my sister and her friend John. Unfortunately, they were scheduled to come back to Philly before the show (wouldn’t that have been cool if they had gotten a chance to see her perform on Bainbridge!), but they were tickled by the coincidence.

Speaking of coincidences, yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours over at La Va cafe doing some work and drinking iced tea. I had been sitting there over an hour when a woman behind me and over a few tables asked the people around her for the wifi password. I spoke up, along with the woman behind me. As I turned around, I realized that the woman sitting directly behind me was actually my friend Ashley. We had been sitting back to back for a considerable chunk of time, without realizing that the other was there. We chatted for nearly another hour, until we both had to get going.

Missing mezuzahs


It turns out, Mrs. Stein was right and I was wrong. When I got home on Friday evening I checked and discovered that my mezuzah was in fact missing. Which boggles me slightly. Where did it go?  Did someone take it? I think I would have noticed if it had fallen, because it would have been on the floor by my door. But since I didn’t notice that it was missing, I might not have.  Last Tuesday night some friends helped me move a bed into my apartment and maybe we knocked it down then, but again, wouldn’t I have noticed it next to the door jam? It also could have gotten knocked down when my old roommate moved out at the end of June.  It is a mystery I may never solve.

However, but some quirk of fate/timing/birthday gifts, I was given a mezuzah for my birthday back in May. It’s particularly appropriate one for me, because the front is printed with the word love, written in Hebrew. I do like to label things love and so I like the fact that my home now wears the same message.

I think I need to write a little note to Mrs. Stein and tell her that while I didn’t take the mezuzah down, it was missing and I appreciate the fact that she mentioned it to me.  She was pretty pissed on Friday, so it seems like a good idea to try to smooth things over.

Handbags, scooters and muzuzahs

When I walked out the door of my apartment this morning, I think I entered some sort of strange time and space warp.  On the very crowded elevator, an elderly woman from the floor above me kept turning around and smacking people with her very large handbag.  She wasn’t doing it intentionally, but it was as if she was entirely unaccustomed to carrying around something that large (although it was old and weathered, like she’d been using it for the last 17 years).  On the 14th floor a very tall man got on, and she managed to apply her handbag to his behind in such a way that he turned around and looked at me, with a combination of shock and appreciation in his eyes.  I couldn’t find the words to express that it hadn’t been me and ended up babbling incoherently for a few seconds before just closing my mouth and looking at the floor.

Finally free of the elevator, I headed out to Market Street, to catch a bus down to Old City.  I just missed one and was going to head down to take the trolley, when I noticed the blue light flashing, indicating that they weren’t running.  I stood there for several minutes before decided to take my chances on Chestnut Street.  Halfway down the block, I looked back and saw a bus shoot down the street.  Turning forward, I also saw one leave the stop I was headed for.  I then waiting another fifteen minutes before the bus came at the new stop.

Boarding the bus at my stop was a woman who has lived in my building for years.  She has cerebral palsy as well as some learning delays.  She recently acquired a scooter to help her get around, as the walker she had used for years had become too hard for her.  However, the scooter has also proven a challenge for her, and steering it onto the bus was a Herculean effort.

After watching this woman spend a full five minutes trying to get her scooter into place, getting increasingly frustrated and embarrassed as she struggled, I took a seat at the back of the bus and was immediately accosted by a Mrs. Stein, a woman who lives down the hall from me (it’s like I live in a small town, not the 6th largest city in the country).  She accused me of removing the muzuzah from the door of my apartment.

The muzuzah is a symbol of blessing and protection that Jews are supposed to place on the entrance to their homes within 30 days of buying or renting a property.  The muzuzah on my door was put there by my step-grandfather when he married my grandmother in 1969 (he was slightly observant, my grandmother wasn’t at all).  My apartment is the only home I’ve ever lived in that had a muzuzah on the door.  I’m a Jew by birth but not really so much by practice.  However, there is a large Jewish population in my building, I respect the traditions of the community and so would never think of removing this symbol.  I tried to assure Mrs. Stein of this, but she was adamant that I had taken it down.  Finally she huffed and turned her shoulder to me, to let me know that I had been dismissed.

She got off the bus a few stops later and I watched as the bus emptied as it traveled east.  The woman on the scooter struggled even more mightily getting off the bus than she had getting on.  I reached into my backpack and managed to send my computer cord flying into the aisle.  Finally, nearly an hour after I walked out my front door, I arrived at my location.  It was the longest and strangest 17-block trip I’ve ever taken.

Eight tidbits about yours truly

First Eric tagged me for the “8 things you don’t already know about me” meme, and then when I was checking my inbound stats tonight, I discovered that Leah also marked me for participation.  So I guess I better get to it.

1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and that they should read your blog. (Although, chances are, I won’t be doing much in the way of tagging.  From the way this thing is sweeping the interwebs, I think just about every blogger in town has already done this puppy).

1. I cover the TV in my bedroom with a scarf, because I feel like it’s watching me while I sleep if I don’t.

2. Hanging on the wall next to my childhood bed was a small quilt.  For years, I would pick my nose and wipe my boogers on the wall under the quilt.  One day my mom took it down to wash it and freaked out at the colony of dried snot that I had managed to accumulate.  She put an end to that particular practice post haste.

3. My first kiss occurred on stage, when I was 12 years old and in Bye, Bye Birdie at summer camp.  My second was during a game of truth or dare (although I had a huge crush on the guy, so it definitely counted).

4. I arrange my books almost entirely by size, as I like the shelves to appear neat.  I always know where things are, however it would be difficult for others to find things as there really isn’t much of a system.

5. When I was in the 5th grade, I wore a grey felt fedora to school every single day. That year, I was also obsessed with the Beatles, when everyone else was listening to Paula Abdul and the New Kids on the Block.  Needless to say, I didn’t fit in too well in those days.

6. The only time I’ve had anything I wrote published in a major newspaper was when I was 11 years old.

7. I played the flute for five years, until I got braces and it suddenly became very hard.  However, I’ve always regretted giving it up.

8.  I have not moved in over five years.  This is the longest I’ve lived in one domicile since I was 8 years old and my family left the house in Los Angeles I had been born into.

Hopefully that wasn’t too boring.  I tried to go for new (and potentially embarrassing) facts that I hadn’t written about in the past.  I’m not up for tagging at the moment, but if you haven’t gotten anointed by some other blogger and would like to join in the fun, put up your own 8 facts, let me know that you did it and I’ll put up a linky list.

Fork You: Sassy Salsa, Groovy Guac

The second episode we filmed up on Jen’s roof deck about a month ago. It’s more timely than ever, because there are some seriously gorgeous tomatoes hitting the gardens and markets these days. Go forth and salsa!

Dreaming of desert islands (and not in a good way)

I woke up this morning from a dream in which I was stranded on an island*, far away from home, with no way of contacting anyone I loved and let them know that I was still alive.  This is the third time I’ve had a dream like this recently, although it’s feeling more like a series than repetition of the same dream.  I remember saying, in the one this morning, “The last time this happened, at least we found ourselves on a island with other people.  This time there’s no one!”  My dream self didn’t, even for a second however, ponder the improbability of being stranded on small islands in the middle of the ocean, more than once in a lifetime.

I kept trying to send out text messages, hoping that I’d be able to get a cell phone signal (although if I had a signal, why didn’t I just call someone?).  But the phone was destroyed, having spent far too much time in the water to be usable.  I was with other people, but in the dream I wasn’t to fond of them, and in my waking life they are unknown to me.

I’ve been awake for more than an hour now, and I still can’t shake the residual feelings of this dream.  Images from it hang over me although the details are rapidly erasing.  I’m not sure what it means.  Is it backlash from all the changes that have happened in my life recently, a sort of psychic processing?  Or is it an indication that more change is a’coming?

*No, I do not watch Lost, nor have I seen any commercials for it recently, so I do believe that my dreams remain unaffected by broadcast television.

Momentary pangs of missing Portland

This afternoon, I was sitting on my couch, talking to my mom on the landline and waiting for the rest of the Fork You team to come over for a planning meeting, when my cell phone rang.  I walked over and picked it up, noticing that the caller id read-out said that it was my dad’s cell phone.  I told my mom who the other caller was as I flipped open the phone to answer it and she laughed, saying, “He must be calling from the family room.  I’m in the computer room.”

I answered and, with a phone on each side of my head, said to him, “Hey Daddy, I’ve got mom in my other ear.”

He laughed and said, “Well then, I’ll just hang up and get on the other phone.”

We stayed on the phone for a little while, soaking up the cross-continental family time.  He told me about the job interview he had today (all signs point to yes) and she told me about the wedding gift (a handmade pottery bowl filled with freshly picked blueberries) she was taking to the party that some family friends were throwing for their recently married son and his new wife.  The groom is a guy I’ve known since I was 9 years old.  We were friends at church for most of our childhoods and so I sighed and said, “I wish I could go too.”

In my head, could see my parents nodding in agreement at that statement, sitting in different rooms of the house.  My mom said after a moment, “Oh honey, I do too.”

I have never for a moment regretted my move to Philadelphia.  I love my life here and things get more interesting and exciting every day.  But occasionally, when my sister has a concert or an old friend gets married or my mom goes blueberry picking in the Columbia Gorge on a beautiful, cool Oregon day, I briefly wonder what I’m doing so damn far away.

A little more local media attention

I came home yesterday evening to an email in my inbox that was drastically different from the ones I normally receive.  It was from a producer at the local ABC affiliate here in Philly, telling me that they really like my website (not this one though) and would like to feature me in a segment that they do on the Wednesday 11 o’clock news.  It’s called What’s New on the Net, and focuses in on cool things that people are doing on the internet in the area.

After I read the email through twice (the smile on my face getting broader and broader with every passing second), I called my parents.  In a somewhat serious tone of voice, I simply told my mom I needed to read her an email.  She was worried at first, but by the end, she was shouting to my dad to get on the phone and making me read it again.

I have an appointment to meet with a local reporter on Wednesday afternoon to do a brief interview.  Hopefully I won’t embarrass myself too much.

Friends, biking and licking the container

This afternoon I rode my bike out to Manayunk. I took the Schuylkill River path to Kelly Drive coming and going. On the way out, I passed my friend Trisha on the path, just behind the Art Museum. We weren’t in a good place for stopping and so we just shouted hello and goodbye and kept on our ways. On the return trip, in almost the exact same spot, I rode past another friend, this time it was Virginia. She didn’t see me until I shouted her name, but then laughed and yelled hello. It still wasn’t a good place to stop, so I didn’t get a chance to talk to her either, but I’ve enjoyed the coincidence of seeing two friends, two hours apart in the same spot, for most of the evening.

DSC_0105.JPGYesterday afternoon I met up with Scott so that we could walk over to Headhouse Square. There we met up with Roz and Bart and proceeded to help out with the set-up for the Good Food, Good Beer event that was part of the Buy Fresh, Buy Local week that wrapped up today. We worked in exchange for free passes to the event, and so after two hours of manual labor, there was much eating and drinking (Owen and Alex stopped by as well). The picture you see there is of me laughing, after licking clean the insides of my blueberry cobbler container (I make my parents so proud). If you are interested, there’s a whole set of pictures of the event here.

I also spent some time with my cousins this morning, went up to the pool on the roof of my building for the first time all summer, wrote briefly about heirloom tomatoes and made a really awesome salad for dinner (a post about it should be appearing soon on Slashfood).