The Big Video Shoot

I have a Halloween story for you. Read the whole whole post, as its intertwined funny and natural; weird and supernatural. To start, apparently I have some verbal tics. On film today I learned that I start pretty much every sentence with “so, ok” and I discovered this in my first real live video shoot. I’ve learned that I am a big ham and love being on camera and that paradoxically, I get kind of tongue tied, let my sentences trail off and am really good at the teaching part, not so much at the look-straight-into-the-camera part.

Everything started out well and fine, except that my super enthusiastic kitchen assistant was a no-show and as of 8pm, I haven’t heard from him. This being the day after Halloween, I am equal parts annoyed, totally understanding and hmmm… I hope he’s okay. I’ll let you know how that all works out.

Meanwhile, we had big plans to shoot 5 solid videos.


We planned and we wrote stuff out, the order that things would be made and presented. I had a small script and what turns out to be a haunted knife.

Allow me to digress.

On September 19, I did a cooking demo at a farmer’s market upstate and Mark went to work catering, prepping lunch for one President & Mrs. Obama who would be in town for the UN General Assembly. He expected to be working late into the evening, so when I jumped in my car at 1pm I was surprised to have a voicemail from Mark, saying something benign like “Hey, give me a call.” I figured he was done early and watching football with his sister, as per the plan. I called back and when he answered, he immediately said “Everything is fine.”

We haven’t been married that long, but we both know well enough that this “fine” is not the same as, say, “Hey, what’s up.”

Turns out he was in the emergency room, having severed the tendon that connects the palm to the thumb.

Flash forward to last night. It was Halloween and we ventured into the Village and went to a wine tasting hosted by Craig McManus, a medium and wine store owner, at The Astor Center. After a powerpoint tour of the ghosts of Cape May and New York, and the very room we were in (punctuated by a hearty wine tasting) he walked to our table and asked, “Who is Mark?”

“You have a very strong female with you, an H…. an H… does that sound familiar?”

Mark nods.

“She is showing me that the side of her body didn’t work, that… that it was… it didn’t work…”

He nods again.

“She is telling me that you need to get your career together. Your professional life…” He laughs. “She’s telling me that she’s got the use of her foot back and she’s going to use it if you don’t pull it together.”

Truth: Mark’s grandmother’s name was Helen and she had a debilitating and heartbreaking stroke a few years before she passed away.

Then Craig turns to me and says “She says that you need to be writing more.”

Now, I am spiritual and scientific in varying degrees, depending on the day and the time of the month, but at that moment, you could have knocked me over with a feather. We’ve gone through the ‘what if’ scenarios and the most logical conclusion is that Grandmama Helen was talking to us. The weirdest part of this is that today, a day after, Mark told me that somehow while Craig was describing her body being broken in some way, he actually looked like her. Not in a way that he could describe – he didn’t change form, but somehow, he looked like Helen.

(I should editorially divulge that as I write this, alone in my living room, I am having the distinct sense of someone standing just beside me.)

So… where was I…

The video shoot, right. So I roped in my dear and super talented friends and we set up to shoot 5 solid new videos for this site. And we begin to roll.


Its super fun, I’m a ham. We come to some thematic conclusions like I am urban and farmer, but not an urban farmer and all of the film is going and I’m yapping away, cleaning an artichoke and ..

Turns out Mark was using the same knife when he cut the thumb that remains in a cast.


Happy Halloween and this knife and me and Mark and Helen and whoever else wants to make an appearence should get together. Meanwhile, I think this baby is getting framed and hung safely on the wall.


  • Julia Peterson

    OK, if she is standing beside you, that is great. I know she would be an admirer of both your writing and your cooking. She was a great cook, herself. My father maintained that in 50-some years of marriage, he could only remember 3 bad meals. But sometimes at the table he would say “Maybe this is the fourth…” Just for a joke.