Monday, July 6, 2009

July 4th fireworks like you've never seen them I was feeling a bit guilty about our July 4th dinner party. You see we advertised it as a rooftop barbecue with fireworks, great food, drinks, etc etc. There was even a picture of fireworks exploding over a city skyline on the evite. Shortly after I hit send and blasted said evite to my guests, I decided to look up the time of the light show for the Sunoco Welcome America Festival and discovered that in fact the fireworks on Penns Landing were the weekend BEFORE the party. Ooops. The main attraction in Philadelphia on July 4th was the Sheryl Crow/Roots concert at the Art Museum. But I was cooking my little heart out and hoping that my guests would be so busy eating and drinking that they would not much notice or care.

What unfolded was a magical evening. We were a small group up on the rooftop, and as usual when people walked in my shit was not together and I was still in the kitchen sweating and cooking, but that's OK, I was pretty much finished by 7:30 and was able to enjoy dinner with my guests, which is a world record for me. The menu; rainbow salsa and chips, proscuitto & melon, assorted olives and nuts, jerk chicken, coconut ginger rice, orange pan-glazed tempeh, grilled vegetables (Mark spent an hour out there on these and they were amazing), tomatoes and mozzarella, corn on the cob, a variation on caesar salad, blueberry cobbler and blackbean brownies with vanilla ice cream--turned out well and it made me happy when everyone kept emptying their plates and heading back for more. As the sun dipped we were treated to a fabulous sunset:

and then....with darkness finally upon us as we talked and ate and laughed into our wine glasses, it started. The first of the fireworks. First just a smear and sparkle of lights from the northeast, then a couple of bangs from north philly, and then....there were little sparkling lights everywhere....I mean everywhere. What ensued was this surreal eruption from every corner of the cityscape that encircled Mark's rooftop deck. It was incredible. We stood there and could not believe how much firepower one city could shoot up towards the heavens on one July 4th in 2009. I think all of us marveled at just how much we Philadelphian Americans love exploding things; while we took a guilty pleasure in how freaking cool it was, even if not quite environmentally sensitive. Even Mark, who had never spent a July 4th on his rooftop since he as always down in Margate, was really delighted by the show. Northeast Philly, by the way, far outweighed it's counterparts in the amount of chinese-made firecrackers it exploded that night, if anyone is keeping score.

Then Mark unveiled his anniversary gift to me: portraits of Gryphon, Madison and Chloe that he had professionally done while I was away at Cadence Camp. Can you imagine what this man went through carting 3 dogs off to Belmont Plateau to a professional photo shoot, calming 2 of them while each one was being photographed? And I had no idea! here I am realizing just how sneaky my innocent looking boyfriend really is....

It was an incredibly thoughtful gift and it makes me happy to know my kids will be memorialized long after they are gone. And to make the evening even more special, Colin decided to pose in front of each of the portraits in mimicry of each canine. Have a look:

here he is getting even more into his role:

see all of the pictures here.