Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Written in 2009:
    I am really trying hard to be positive. Most days it's easy but stress is vile and pessimism is poison and when people try to bring me down it's difficult to stay on the optimistic track.
    The first step for me is to not take things personally. Everyone is in their own emotional bubble and the negative vibes that seen directed at me are really just manifestations of craziness going on inside them.
    No one is perfect. Most people are good. I do believe that.
    But sometimes I will be having a great day, rays of sunshine all over the place, birds chirping it up and some happiness vampire will blatantly smack me in the face with a jerk stick. Now its personal. My bones tell me to smack back, fast and hard. Usually I can manage to remain calm. Cooking definitely helps. And chocolate. And wine. And pot.
    Then there are those times when a full blown vendetta is in order. This goes beyond someone just being an ass, when someone goes out of their way with your worst interest in mind and does something so blatantly dick that it's easy to never be their friend again. It's cut throat, but a good way of keeping nasties out of your path. 
   Now vendettas are definitely on the negative side of the spectrum but sometimes it just feels right. I think it comes standard when you have even a hint of Sicilian DNA; its called the "crazy chromosome" and I definitely got some of that from the Rocco. When it creeps in, what's a girl to do? Channel away those bad vibes. And the best way to do that: baking!!!
    Now that I got that out of the way, I am going to be baking some Red Vendetta Cupcakes. They will be bloody and viscously sweet and a way to funnel out the icky feelings that go along with carrying out a vendetta. Oh sweet vendetta, why must I suppress you?        
    Because by feeling vindictive I am actually hurting myself. They will never experience the grossness I have inside. I would rather love them and forgive them, even if they don't know it, than be hurtful back. So I am going to get abusive on my hand mixer and beat on my oven and bake the pain away and say one more thing to them: I LOVE YOU! I REALLY DO AND THATS WHY IT HURTS SO BAD THE WAY YOU HAVE TREATED ME! Talk about wearing emotions on your sleeve! I'm such a sap!

I never posted this back then. Probably because I never made those cupcakes. But today, over two years later, I ran into one of these friends. We were so happy to see each other at first sight, and he apologized. It was purely awesome. I never forgot how much it hurt to have them hate me, and its good to have them back in my life, even if it's just a short run in on the street. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Jew Dog

I figured out my Halloween costume. While perusing photos from last year's McGolrick Park Dog Halloween Costume Contest from the McGorlick Park Flickr pool, I found this gem. This is why I love Greenpoint. The caption was just that, two simple concepts. Dog + Jew = Jew Dog. Amazing discoveries are found around every corner in this town. And since October 31st marks my 1-Year Anniversary of living in Greenpoint, this is the perfect costume!
Jew Dog
Jew Dog

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oh Wafa! You bring tears to my eyes...

A few years back when Wafa opened her itty bitty shop in Forest Hills, Queens, I was there. She was 4 days into it and I curiously walked into some of the most delicious, satisfying and nutritious food of my life, and met Wafa, one of the warmest loveliest people I've ever met. I wrote a huge story about her new place, obviously raving about all of her delicious home cooked dishes.
It was a matter of time before it became a legendary Mediterranean food temple.
Serious Eats, Village Voice, Chow Hound, New York Mag have all raved about Wafa's.
Marcy recently told me Wafa moved, closer, and into a bigger space.
With grapes leaves on my brain I went to a local spot in my new hood, hoping to find a place only a thirty second walk away that would be as good as Wafa's. The interiors were cozy and the owners were friendly. My first sip of rosewater was delightful. I wanted it to be so good. 
Wafa is a tough act to follow. Disappointed and saddened that I couldn't write a positive review about the place on my new blog (so I opted to not write a review) I took a trip to Queens and enjoyed dinner at Wafa's new place that had the same perfect flavors as before. I was so proud. I did like how the old location had a glass case to preview all the goodies but she expanded her menu and has fried cauliflower on it! And of course, the baklava was out of this world, eat the whole container amazing!
I told her how the other place was of no comparison to hers.
"Its not Mama Wafa's!" she said and gave me a huge hug in her new huge kitchen.
I had a hard time not ordering everything on the menu and I took a big goody bag back to Brooklyn. 
What a nice place to enjoy when I go back home.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm moving...

Hello dear friends of Morta Di Fame! I have some exciting news. You know I moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, from my old boro of Queens. And the blog waned. I realize why. I didn't have the same material I had when I lived there. By material I mean my crazy Sicilian family, but in particular the stars of the show Nonna and Rocco! My Mom Marcy, the only normal one, is keeping me abreast on the craziness going on there.
A new woman moved into the downstairs apartment below Nonna. The poor woman is very scared and regretful because not only does she have Nonna, the self-titled Commander of the House throwing her weight around but she has Nonna's second in command, Josephine (her caretaker) trying to steer the ship.
Normally the two are at odds about ridiculous Italian court TV shows but this time they are teaming up, and its getting ugly. When the new woman tried to pay her first months rent with a money order, they scoffed. "We don't accept those here," they told her. As if they are running a convenience store.
"I don't like her," Nonna says.
"But why?" Marcy asks.
"She has ripped jeans."
Ripped Jeans? This coming from the old woman who knitted sleeves onto a my dad's 70s maroon puffer vest and who use to make me scrunchies. Style is apparently very important to Nonna.
I promise to keep you posted on these stories but my focus has shifted to a new and bigger endeavor that I am inviting you to be a part of.
While walking around my gorgeous new McGorlick Park in Greenpoint, I wished I had a blog where I talk about all the amazing goings on and rad people in my neighborhood.
Serendipitously, I received an email from Justine, the founder and owner of the beloved Greenpointers blog. She was putting it up for sale because she was moving to Harlem. Its not like I don't have a million other projects going on but I bid and I got it!
What impressed me about Justine, aside from her kick-ass Brooklyn accent, is that she wasn't interested in the highest bidder but someone who would continue to develop the blog, which is my new job! That's top of my photography position at Polo and my art organization Ugly Art Room.
The welcome from my new neighbors and readers has been amazing and I hope you can be a part of it. Please check in:
A post you may really enjoy is the Greenpointers Espresso Tour in which three other judges plus myself toured Greenpoint and tasted over 19 espressos to find THE BEST ESPRESSO in Greenpoint.
Even if you are not from Greenpoint, there is a lot on there you will enjoy, including recipes, reviews, art and music, funny stories, great photos, and not just from me but from a slew of other talented writers and photographers from a variety of backgrounds.
Morta Di Fame will now be reserved for my crazy writing plus a sounding board for the new blog, which has been so far a really interesting experience, like the debate among original Greenpointers on who is a "real" Greenpointer. Am I still in Queens? So stay tuned...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thanks Mom. For terrorizing me

"I hate the smell of funeral homes," I told my Mom.
"You mean the flower smell?" She was driving.
"No the quiet. How you have to be quiet."
"Well you don't really have to be."

She turned.
"How old was he?"
"That's pretty good."
"That's 12 more years for me," my Mom said.
I went hoarse. Thanks Mom.
For terrorizing me before I go into a funeral home!
I knew his name was Ignazio, I thought.I didn't know. Eddie's real name was Ignazio.
We told his family, "he looks good." Surprised.
As if anyone looked good dead.

He was the best looking corpse I had ever seen.
"Not put through so much," my Mom said.

I tried to rub the sad looks off their faces.
I rubbed their arms and shoulders. Then walked away.

I told Eddie's wife Rose the stupidest story to make her laugh. Rubbing.
"Rose, Eddie was wearing the cutest sailboat pajamas the last time I saw him."
That's how bad the story was.