Can You Hear Me Calling Out Your Name?

“All we have are these specks in time where everything makes sense. And I will try to cherish each one.” –Everything, Everywhere, All At Once.

Doing the most, while doing the least with Sass HerAss.
Doing the most, while doing the least with Sass HerAss.

How was Burning Man? It was epic, inspiring, challenging, rewarding and all around bitchin’. I met wonderful people. 2022 was my 3rd burn and my 1st since becoming a mom 13 years ago. A lot changed since I last went. This was my first time being single on the playa and in many ways, it felt like my first time at the best city in the world—for one week—Black Rock City.

I had dreams about being back on the playa during all my time away, pleasant dreams of exploration and discovery—the message—that I wasn’t done with Burning Man and Burning Man wasn’t done with me. Burners are by and large problem solvers and dreamers. I often feel weird in the default world and then I am reminded so clearly on the playa: I am not that weird.

I took a car / plane / bus to get to the playa with all that I would need in tow. I arranged to pick up water through the BurnerXpress bus program with a collapsible water container and carried it to my camp slowly. It’s humbling to carry your water. Art imitates life at the BRC post office with a slow-moving line and broken air conditioning. I attended my first wedding at the Lamplighter chapel, which was incredibly beautiful and did feel otherworldly on a dusty planet. I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure Hamlet at the Burning Globe. My favorite art installation was the Fluffy Cloud.

I overslept and missed the Rufus Du Sol set and felt glad I had slept. Then I learned the Rufus Du Sol set had been a hoax. This reminded me that there is no FOMO. Everything happens perfectly as it should. My favorite memory outside of the temple burn and bartending the LL with NotRoach was sunrise after burn night, dancing on stage at Playground with Finch and my new favorite DJ, Bender. I also found my friend Sage! I had not seen her in ~16 years, she lives in Australia now!!!

Some of my favorite quotes:

“Burning Man, we are so inclusive, we even tolerate Christians.”

“The Lamplighter Lounge…is kind of grungy.”

“I hope she was an undercover cop, that honestly would be the best scenario.”

If you build things with a water feature, people will pee in it. Build it with a flat surface, people will fuck on it. Build it with height, and people will climb it (and fall from it).

This was my first time watching the temple burn (which happens on Sunday, the man burns on Saturday and it is a chaos of sound systems and art cars and fireworks). The temple is a contemplative structure, lovingly crafted, where people honor departed loved ones with messages and mementos. It is burned in silence. I didn’t leave a note in the temple, but I did read other people’s notes. One person, thanking their grandmother for raising them and being a light in their life along with a photo of said grandma, “I miss you every day.” Another person wrote “FUCK FENTANYL” and on and on. As I watched it burn, I felt proud of myself for getting myself all the way there by myself, even though I was met mostly with disbelief or misunderstanding about wanting to be there. And then I felt how I had broken my own heart that summer (side bar–I really thought I would never meet a hilarious, charming, financially stable guy ever again HAHAHA). I felt how many times I have let myself feel less than. With my family, with friends, with work, with romantic relationships. Things are hard. But they will get better. I sat with this discomfort and cried. The stranger next to me offered to hold me and I accepted. I cried harder. Then he recited the Hawaiian prayer, Ho’oponopono, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” And it was perfect.

When we were done the stranger in a sand-colored toga asked if he could smell my underarms. I declined. Oh Burning Man.

At the Reno airport dusty shoes and bags could be spotted everywhere. My connecting flight in Dallas, I saw a few dusty shoes on the shuttle through the terminals and around the airport. By the time I landed in Sarasota, nary a dusty pack in sight. Back to regular, non-mutant vehicles I went.

I was unprepared for the amount of people online who had never been to Burning Man who were shitting on it when I came home. Mainly criticizing how wasteful it is, or one former FB friend called the people who attend Burning Man to be a waste. Most of the emissions at Burning Man come from people just getting there (hi, it’s me)! So this is really just making a case against vacations and travel. It would be interesting to do a study to estimate how much energy people are actually not using in default by being at Burning Man. Unfortunately, people see people in nature with vehicles and fire and don’t want to compare actual energy numbers to the many people going regularly on vacations because these are established norms. It’s not a perfectly clean event, it didn’t start that way and it only has tried to do the best it can. EDM festivals can have just as many people and everyone is guzzling energy the entire time. Or there are football games—which last one night, host 80,000 people, support a barbaric and cannibalistic sport and leave a sea of trash behind.

As soon as you start to advertise that you are trying to do good and make ethical choices, you will be questioned and ridiculed a hundred times more often than if you never tried in the first place. People want to make Burning Man out to be that we are just terrible self-indulgent people, it’s very clickbait. Have your critiques of course, but the majority of the 80,000 people are somewhere between decent and outright good, open-minded, and caring folks. They might be ignorant sometimes but they are willing to learn and grow.

We don’t see nearly as many articles about tourism in places like the cenotes in Mexico, indigenous land where asshole, entitled Americans litter and abuse the land every day. We say nothing when a family of four flies to go on an ocean cruise, we have all decided that’s fine and not newsworthy. Oh well. Unbeknownst to me when I was dancing at sunrise with Bender, his dad was also there. Back in the default world, he reflected on how amazing it was for his dad to see him play at Burning Man, after all the years where he didn’t really understand what his son was doing. His take home message from this and for me, was that you don’t always need to understand your children, you just need to support them.

If you are thinking about going to Burning Man, may I suggest reading about the 10 principles? Also watching this video, Black Rock City, The Most Unusual Town on Earth. And here is The Complete Burning Man Guide for First Timers.

Fuck yer burn!  


Three Dates

This is a short story I wrote at Antioch University, called Three Dates.

She hadn’t been to bed with a man in three months. She was twenty-one years old and had spent the summer of 1983 on the French Riviera. There, Leah sensed the possibility of a new kind of life that waited for her. Back in the City she got the job she wanted, an apartment and a cat, and she mingled with men from the art/ music/ theatre scene, but without the sense of optimism from the summer. The idea of having a relationship with a man—stretched her imagination after so many years at a woman’s college focusing on her studies. She was open to all the categories of relationships that did not serve in the long run: I want some human connection, I want drama—I don’t have enough drama. And lastly—and this Leah was sure was her favorite, this is just too good to pass up.

She was living alone for the first time, in an apartment, south of Houston St. As she approached home, the silhouette of her cat, Minou could be seen in the window. The neighborhood dealer muttered, “smokesmokesmoke,” as she approached.
“Still looking for your dog, Smoke?” she joked.

The dealer recognized Leah, this was the first time she had responded to him. He changed his pitch, “Cocaine…White girl drugs,”

Leah laughed and let herself into her building’s foyer. She passed as white, with blonde hair, green eyes and delicate facial features, but was aware of a nagging maternal voice that reminded her she had spent most of Shabbat shopping for her date that evening, and not resting. She collected the mail and was out of breath by the time she reached the 5th floor. Minou the cat pressed against her leg and complained until she offered a scratch. A street rescue with one eye, when she tilted her head just so, Leah thought Minou resembled Olivia Newton-John. Leah had so far preferred to use the little money she had left over after rent, for clothing and art. She and Minou had been surviving that week on bowls of chickpeas and discount shark meat.

Leah was to meet for a first date later with a man her friend Beverly knew from work. All she knew was that he was a successful banker, “Peter, not Pete.” Beverly had encouraged Leah to accept hospitality where she could find it, now that her parents had cut her off. Beverly had explained that there was a circle of high earning men who would happily pick up the bill three times for beautiful women struggling in the arts. But after the third date the woman was expected to “give back”, if they made it so far.

She flopped down to look through the Saturday mail with her legs up on the ottoman. The red Eero Saarinen womb chair—a graduation gift from her grandmother, was her only furniture beyond her bed. Barnard College was already requesting alumni donations and there was the October issue of National Geographic. And there was a postcard. The front of the postcard was from Antonio Gaudi’s, Park Guell in Barcelona. Leah held the postcard. She knew without flipping it over, it was from Alejandro. A warm feeling coursed through her and she hugged the postcard to her chest. They had met the old fashioned way—on the dance floor in Nice, one evening in July, David Bowie on the record player, lets face the music./ and dance. She placed the postcard on the end of her bed as a treat to turn over after the first date.

She opened the National Geographic magazine to a piece about the praying mantis. A study had found that if the female praying mantis was malnourished and starving for food then she almost always killed the male after sex for food. In cases when the female was not malnourished, she almost never killed her mate for food. Leah dumped the rest of the shark meat in a bowl for Minou. The phone rang at exactly 4 pm, Peter wanted to confirm the details for their date.

“Grand Central Station,” she answered. There was a long pause. Then, sensing that he didn’t get the joke, she offered, “Peter?”

“Oh! Beverly said you were a funny girl. I’ve never been out with a funny girl before,” he said. He talked through his nose. “I made reservations at the River Park Café for us at 7pm,”

Yes, she had been there once before. Yes, she would be dressed formally and ready to be picked up at 6.

She began the ritual of getting ready but did not sing along when “Total Eclipse of the Heart” came on the radio. She had bought a bright blue Thierry Mugler dress that day and it clung to her figure with contrasting sharp shoulders. She added a black turkey feather bolero for warmth, white heels, a blue clutch and a red lip.

The buzzer buzzed promptly at 6. Peter, to her surprise, was not wearing a turtleneck as she had imagined, but she suspected he owned many turtlenecks. He wore a black jacket, and a burgundy tie with his dress shirt. He had a hawk like appearance and stringy brown hair that was receding. His face softened when he saw Leah. They shook hands. Peter’s hand was clammy.

“Leaving Manhattan for a first date, you are brave,” she told him inside the car.

“How long have you lived in New York?” he wondered.

“I grew up in the city,” she replied.

Their driver turned on the windshield wipers as an evening mist formed. They drove past Thomson Square park which was a homeless tent city. Peter tried to pull up his pants a little more and suck in his gut while he talked. He was a Yale graduate, wanted to go to more concerts, wasn’t a big reader, lived alone on the Upper West Side.

Tucked under the Brooklyn Bridge like a secret garden, was the River Park Café restaurant. Peter lent Leah his arm to steady herself on the cobblestones. He walked with his feet turned out, like a penguin. A crisp water breeze blew past them and lanterns flickered.

They got a table away from the crowd. It was cool and quiet in the corner. Peter ordered a delicious bottle of wine. It was the kind of place where the waiters wore suits and scraped crumbs from the tablecloth when you weren’t looking. Peter went for the pork belly and Leah went for the steak. Peter continued to talk. Leah continued to drink. Leah was a secretary? She was not, she was an assistant to an editor for Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine.

The steak tasted good in her mouth and she drank it down with the wine. She declined to taste his pork belly and this was how Peter figured out she was Jewish.

“The chosen people,” he boasted.

She ordered a cocktail—a dirty gin martini.

“Oh, you like it dirty?” Peter asked.

There were too many funny responses to this to choose from and Leah did not feel Peter deserved any of them. She replied instead to his commentary on the Jewish people.

“The true test of chosenness is how humble you are,” the words clung in the air. Peter looked quite besotted with her and she considered ordering a separate steak to bring to Minou.

“So Peter…You are good with money, what’s your best financial advice you can give me?”

“Don’t spend your money,” he snickered. Leah leaned back slightly in her chair, and smiled daintily.

“Maybe you could give me some more detailed financial advice. Maybe you could write it on my body with a marker, so I would absorb the information to help me build a better portfolio.”

Peter considered.

“I could probably do that…Just you wait, you’ve never been with anyone like Peter,” he undulated his tongue, remnants of pork bouncing in the back of his mouth. He would be a sloppy kisser but she felt lonely for male attention, and fine dining. She remembered the post card on her bed, a reminder that a great man could love her. She remembered too, the female praying mantis, in the honorable pursuit of survival. There would be a second date and third date. Maybe even a fourth.


A great long while ago, when the world was full of magic and the animals could talk, Quito (which means the center of the earth) was the name for the entire Republic of Ecuador. Quito is now the capital of Ecuador and host to some 3 million people and a four-hour flight from Miami. It is in the same time zone, and uses US currency + Ecuadorian change. A lot of US $1 coins are in circulation, which as an original Canadian made me feel right at home.

Catholic Church in Quito

I went to Israel in 2019 with Momentum (for parents with children 18 and under being raised Jewish), which you can read about my experience, here.  Out of a group of 14 women, 3 of us accepted the invite from Marnies to experience Ecuador, where she purchased a condo with her family in a small fishing village.

What is in Ecuador? Well, let us begin with what isn’t in Ecuador—salmon and Starbucks for a start. There is salmon but due to the pacific ocean keeping at 80 degrees the entire year, salmon must be imported from Chile and goes for $40 a lb. Ecuador is known for its roses, coffee and birds (they have more than 50 varieties of hummingbirds). They said no thank you to Starbucks when it wanted to move in, but KFC is popular in the cities.

This was was my first but not last time visiting South America. I think I worried it would be difficult to communicate, or people would snub me for being yet another American who isn’t hip and no habla espanol solomente lyrics from Shaquira—escucha me? I also wasn’t sure about eating guinea pigs (we have three at home), which I would have tried if my friends had, but was spared this time.

Me not eating guinea pig.

We flew out of Tampa at 8am and were in Quito by the afternoon. We stopped to gaze inside one of the newer Churches—built in the early 1900’s before arriving at our 4 ½ star hotel, Mama Cuchara. Cuchara is Spanish for spoon. After we finished enjoying our dinner at the hotel restaurant (the local potato soup, “lorcas” was so delicious), we returned to our room to find the decorative pillows neatly piled in the closet, two gourmet chocolate drizzled coconut deserts left for us along with glass bottles of waters and a sweet note to enjoy—bon provecho!

Our fabulous tour guide, Gina, told us about the roses. Because no matter what time of year, in Ecuador (which literally means equator) the sun rises at 6:33 and sets at 6:33, the roses grow straight up, vying for even more photosynthesis. They believe women have a better touch for tending the roses, thus mostly women are employed at the rose nurseries just outside of Quito, and they have daycare on premises available for the employees. Ecuador has the amazon basin, the Galapagos, the Andes mountains and the pacific coast as well as hot springs. The Galapagos are something you need to plan a year in advance to visit, with a guide (which is required) and be prepared to spend around $5,000 per person (which includes meals). But we did learn about a park they call The Fake Galapagos, Isla De La Platas. Whale watching season is in the summer and people come from all over for a chance to be whale perverts.

After a delicious custom breakfast at the hotel, Gina and our driver, Santiago picked us up and we began the trek to the Cloud Forest, two hours away. We stopped at a hummingbird sanctuary along the way where we saw dozens of hummingbirds or colibri.


Due to the high altitude of Quito and feeling out of breath just going to get breakfast a few steps below our room, we opted to do the zip line instead of the hike in the Cloud Forest. Cloud in Spanish is, mindo. I used the zipline as a private opportunity to communicate via shouting my praise to Gd—namely THANK YOU FOR MY LIFE and I love you, as I slid over the broccoli trees. I agreed while zipping that even though it is scary, once home I would try my hand at opening my own business since I had been holding back some of my natural gifts, which my friend had recently pointed out, is really doing a disservice to the world. I started shouting “Oh pordios!” upon my re-entrance from the zipline. We had a lovely time with Mindo Aventura and 10/10 recommend this.

After Mindo Aventura we went into a small-town Gina described as “hippie” and I told our driver, Santiago in universal speak that, “YOU DA MAN!” and also practiced a line my friend Michelle had given me in Spanish, which was directed at no one in particular caused Santiago to grin from ear to ear, something about eating shit.  

We ate lunch (breaded fish with fried plantains and one of Ecuador’s national beers) with stray dogs quietly roaming the restaurant looking for scraps and affection. Down the street we took a tour of artisan chocolate being made, and learned all about the cocoa plant and chocolate (which means drink of the Gods) making process. Between tasting samples of chocolate we refreshed our palates with fruit pieces. We drank the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.

We flew domestically to Manta (49 minute flight) on the coast. In Manta our driver Miguel waited. We stopped at a bodego to get groceries along the way and I learned that my friend Rebecca would not eat cheese from a bodego, because she’s from New York.

San Clemente, Ecuador

My favorite part of San Clemente was buying things from a small store and the cashier and I using broken English/Spanish to communicate and a lot of body language. International travel reminds me, how so much of our communication comes from intention and not just words. I also enjoyed seeing a family of four on a scooter and a man with a large dog on his. A note of caution: the sun is no joke in Ecuador and I recommend being prepared by dressing like a beekeeper, all the way down to your feet. The indigenous cultures in South America can be traced to ancestry from other parts of the world and Ecuador’s Inca ancestry can be traced back to Mongolia. There are noticeable influences in the art and even in the faces of the people when you learn this. On the way back to the U.S we made one last stop at the official center of the earth tourist attraction which had a lot of history about the indigenous population as well as reminders of when porn used to be on pottery. The people in Ecuador were so warm and live so simply. I can’t wait to go back and take my daughter.

Near the center of the earth!

Don’t You Love a Liberal Arts Education!

I recently wrote about circumcision as bizarre cultural appropriation and other historical and spiritual connections to the practice from my Jewish perspective. It was published on the Antioch University online magazine, The Odyssey. The best part is I received college credit for it and learned a lot along the way. You might learn something too (pretty much guarantee it). I almost titled it “All Penises Matter” but decided to break the journalism rule and use a pun in the title, The Nuts and Bolts of Circumcision. I did much research on this, I was so sick of learning about penis by the end. Ch-ch-check it out.

The 11th Biggest City

The most important detail I can offer you about London, Ontario Canada is that it is the 11th biggest city in Canada. This is a great piece of information, and if I meet you at a music festival, and you are adamant to know, not just where I live currently, or where I am from—beyond my mother and father, and I tell you—the 11th biggest city in Canada, the beauty of it is that no list available online goes beyond the 10th city. I have been calling it the 11th biggest city since I was a teen, I’m not sure who told me this info or why it became perpetuated adamantly, but it will be the 11th biggest city in Canada until the day I die.

I’ve never been to the real London but I like that I grew up with a Picadilly St. as well as a Thames river, I’m told we have better dental work over all in London, Ontario.

My first and last year of highschool in London they changed the laws in Ontario to permit women to be topless in public. On the way home from my last school dance as a freshman in the summer, my friends and I tested this out and walked home sans bra. We watched as a car sat at an intersection while the light turned, green, then yellow, then back to red again. My parents had gone to Italy for a couple weeks and I was home alone for the last few weeks of school and the beginning of summer before we were to move. My brother and sister were still on the west coast for Uni. It was without adult supervision and hanging out topless in my childhood backyard and our pool, with my friends I heard feedback about my boobs. My boobs were something other girls wished their boobs looked like. In gym class our changing room had just been one open room and we always changed in front of each other, no big deal. In my backyard though we could really take stock of each other’s bodies, laugh and admire. A few months later I moved 20 minutes outside of Boston and the changing rooms were in individual stalls, a nod to the puritans who helped build the state, the body was no longer a fiesta, but something to lock in the shadows.  

I grew up in the 11th biggest city in Canada, and I speak French not because I am French, but because I went to a French immersion school, because that is something the Canadian government offers through out the country. My brother and sister learned to drive stick shift on my dad’s BMW with a license plate that said ‘FECUND’, but being many years younger as a “surprise” I didn’t learn to drive until we moved to Winchester, MA. I learned to drive a stick shift on a Subaru with no special license plate. But because the Boston area is made up of many areas without street signs, plenty of round a bouts and unapologetic drivers, I learned to drive and parallel park like a boss. It was the only way. I’ve hardly revisited Winchester since I graduated high school, and I am happy to report I did not peak in highschool but something interesting that happened was that I used the comedy from the elections I enjoyed at my high school in London to Winchester and took them by storm. The highschool office candidates were all dressed up in tweed and ties when I took the podium the first year and proceeded to talk a lot of nonsense, with a fake resume as a vice president of a mini-taco cereal company, thus qualifying me to be vice president of my class, “So vote for me, or don’t if you don’t want to.” I urged my classmates. I won that year, and the next. I avoided running for class president because it was a lot more work. Then mid-way through senior year the president was impeached for plagiarism and I became the class President. The joke was definitely on me trying to avoid responsibility, but these days I like to think I am in on the joke.

All We Need

It is a balmy but pleasant early evening on Sunday, March 27th when my dad cruises up in the Prius to pick me up at Tampa General Hospital. He had last seen me two days earlier when he dropped me off to give birth to my surrogate baby. He’d hugged me goodbye, wished me well and assured me I would be feeling lighter the next time he saw me. As I hop in the car, several pounds lighter, my dad asks me to tell him everything. I grin. My dad is a retired OBGYN, I used to laugh about his job when I was younger and I thought my sterling silver sperm earrings were so cheeky, but as an adult he has counseled one friend after another with his compassionate listening skills—from complications after terminating a pregnancy to an aggressive doctor who wanted to perform a hysterectomy on my friend. My friends all tell me how lucky I am to have him, but when you are 35 and live with your parents, it is sometimes hard to see.

My dad has a way of driving on open roads that makes me feel they I am on a landcruise and the  scenery becomes romanticized with questions or nods of contentment from him, and it’s smooth as he moves around drops in the road. With the palm trees whizzing by us, and my dad acknowledging the plot twists in my birth story with technical terminology for when a baby is “sunnyside up”, I have a small a-ha moment. My family is not pleasant to sit down and have meals with. In fact meal time is the single most stressful and chaotic event in my family. From my parent’s ever-changing restrictions on what they can eat–from the latest best seller on the NY Times list, and our clashing palettes, to my mother’s new found tendency to talk with her mouthful—a habit I find disturbing and stomach turning. It’s just not happening for us in a way that so many families seem to enjoy. One of my favorite poems by Joy Harjo paints the kitchen table as being central to life, she writes, “Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table” (Harjo). I wonder for a moment if I should date an Italian with a big family and a big table.

When I get out of the car at home, in my leopard print wrap dress, I brag to my mom about how I birthed the baby without even tearing! My mother is flabbergasted, as she still clings to the idea a woman has two options in a vaginal delivery: tear or an episiotomy. My midwife laughed when I told her. I just massaged my perineum with evening primrose oil in the days and weeks before labor to help the tissue elasticize and accommodate the baby out of the birth canal. There isn’t any scientific data on this of course, but it worked for me last time, with my “keeper” as the children you are raising in your family are identified in the surrogacy world. My birth with my keeper—my daughter was 10 years ago.

“How is that possible?”, she asked. “I’m superwoman.” I tell her confidently. “But, I do feel like I got run over by a truck now.”
“Well,” my dad says, “You did get run over by a truck, an 8lb 6oz truck.”

The only time my parents are squeamish about the details of the birth, is when I talk about what I am going to do with the baby’s placenta. A nurse at the hospital accidentally referred to me as the mother of the baby, I corrected her that I am more like a cool aunt, and technically the placenta is the baby’s first mother. And I realized in talking with my doula, I did not want to consume the placenta. Most mammals who eat their placenta are probably malnourished and the placenta also functions for waste to be stored. I think burying my placenta under a tree will do nicely. My parents ask not to hear about it. Even though my friend helps me bury it several feet down, under a moringa tree, I discover the next day the tree had been partially dug up and the placenta was gone. What my parents don’t know is that somewhere in our neighborhood there is now an animal with a very shiny coat running around.

Memories You Call Home

The basics are to write what you know to be true, and if you are famous or intend for a mass audience to read your story, change a few details and/or throw the word ‘allegedly’ or ‘maybe’ in there so the reader does not take it to be a reliable concrete story/ you don’t piss people off. In Schwartz’s essay, there is the mention of Frank Court waiting to publish his memoir until his mom died, and perhaps that is the real test about how truthful a work is—what would your mom think? Would she be mad but know it to be true?  

Just like love, the more we study memory, the more it studies us. My writing and meditation teacher, Bill Scheffel at Naropa spoke about dynamic impermanence—which is made up of three points: there is what we think we know, there is what we perceive, and then there is the way things actually are.

I happen to have a really good memory, down to the exact wording of a quote from years ago. But the more I read these days, the more I think a lot of detail is unnecessary.

The emotional truth behind a story is something, but what about a somatic truth? About the way something feels in your body?

As a Jewess I light a lot of candles. My daughter also loves smores. Over the last couple of years I’ve developed a kind of shudder around flames. When I noticed it the other evening, and paused, I felt a memory for an event I was not present for. Bill Scheffel was a teacher, mentor and friend to me and on July 8th 2018 he completed his life by lighting himself on fire in his car. A devout Buddhist, he had researched self-immolation and believed it to be a way to die that benefited others, that surpassed enlightenment.

My friend Melina and I drove out to the spot where he died when we flew out to Boulder for his suhkhavati—a Buddhist death ceremony. It was quiet and beautiful, with a view of the foothills of the rocky mountains. It was early morning when he killed himself and he used an accelerant. This was a very intentional way of dying. When I light a flame now, there is a memory without words, only how it feels in my body. I try not to think about the specifics of it too much, but I still wonder about the moment he lit the flame, the space before the sound, him sitting in his car, because he was California baby, until the end.

One of the mind training slogans from Bill’s teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, is to regard all dharmas as dreams. Another word for dharma when it isn’t capitalized could be ‘phenomena’ or the basis of reality. The essence of this slogan is, to let go of fixed ideas. But I will always remember Trungpa for his encouraging talk about basic goodness and that everyone must love something—this is the point of tenderness where compassion can root—even if they only love tortillas. He would tell his listeners to cheer up and do a good job.

Recently I was super pregnant with a baby that was not mine (surrogacy) and found myself awake at night thinking about all kinds of people I had encountered and known in my life. And I fantasize sometimes about being wealthy enough to hire a private investigator and track down my best friend from 1st grade who moved away and the French boys at camp and then holding a massive party where I pay to fly everyone in and have the best time ever.

I once read an article about what happens when people are close to dying, it is common to dream about people they knew when they were young, neighbors or childhood friends etc… And so I think wisely, some part of me must be preparing to die, remembering all these people.

But at night when I remember to recite the bedtime Shema, to thank Gd for my life and to ask for love and protection for the growing, changing list of people in my life, the earth,  I pray that all the people I have ever met will know that I appreciate having known them. That I wish them the best , that they are precious, and life is too short not to keep going. I can relax and let it go, at worst, the earth is waiting for me to come home, once I have remembered to remember. 

Emma Knows Nothing.

If I stop flirting then I am dead —Ramona Singer.

Since my last break up, I have read a few books, participated in dating groups with a coach, listened to hilarious podcasts and conferred with wise friends. I’m here to share the notes I’ve taken specifically for online dating, may it be of benefit.

Put your thinking caps on. Go for a walk. Nature. When you are ready, take pen to paper and ruminate on, *attraction of shared values* in a partner. What would that look like for you? What values are important to you? What values do you find attractive in another? Be present. Scribble about what really matters. Then make a refined list of 3-5 non-negotiables in a partner, your deal breakers so to speak. These can be positive or negative—must haves and/or must have not.

An example of a non-negotiable on my list that I have clarified this year is, must have a strong sense of purpose. Ambitious direction in the career / why-am-I-alive realm, is there nothing sexier?

Allow exceptions to physical “types”, remain open and curious, and with the safety of the non-negotiables list keeping you in check, experiment.

You may have read about creating a “funnel”. The idea of this is to create a 3 tier system with potential relationships. Ranging from the foundational layer of casual friends you flirt with, to the maybes, to the very strong potential candidates. With a funnel system you will be receiving attention, care, concern, and it keeps your cup full and prevents attaching / pressuring.

From G.L Lambert:
Second guessing, waves of emotion, are part of the process.
Don’t text too much.
Don’t over-share.
And don’t write full blown sexual novels.
Be disciplined.

There are lessons in rejection. Some people are brought into your life to remind you that you still have work to do.

Filter Questions (especially for the ladies): This is very important!!! After some small talk/ witty banter but *before you exchange phone numbers*, filter, filter, filter! Value your time by knowing the important stuff. Make this playful, tell them you have some questions for them and if you like the answers you’ll leave your number tomorrow, etc… If it’s not a match you can thank them for their time but say you don’t think you’re a match, all the best! Save these questions to an easily accessible place on your phone.


Where do they work?
Where were they raised? Both parents? Siblings?
Any children?
When was their last relationship?
What does their typical day look like?
What is their skill set?
Do they drink, smoke etc?
Who are their friends?
What their weekends look like?
What their hobbies are?

Your Profile:
There is no need for more than a few sentences about who you are and what you are looking for. Be bold, be bright, be brief. Use 3-4 photographs taken within the last 6 months, where you look great and like your badass self.

Book recommendations for women:
Any book written by G.L Lambert
Book recommendations for men:
The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida (the chapters are like one page long, it’s so good).
Man School: Relating with Women in the #MeToo Era by Matthew Solomon

Ladies let them impress you:
Subtly Hint:
1.     You are a high value woman, fun, vibrant and full of life.
2.     Other matches are possibly on the scene and might be enjoying your company.
3.     You are thinking about them and wish they were enjoying life with you. 

Meditate every day. Own your shit. Have fun!

Sourdough as Basic Goodness.

Always say yes to sour bread and salty butter.

A few months ago I started to bake sourdough and my relationship with this ancient art has become an infatuation. In this past year of flings with not one, but two Pedro Beakman’s from Bend, Oregon, I have learned I like having a muse. A muse form offers itself to my appetite. A combination of warm potential does the trick; the right words or ingredients. Moments of bliss: human connection, wildness, beautiful.
I do more squats and wake up early. I write more and take my vitamins.

The language of sourdough excites me, it’s primordial, basically good with a hint of what Bill talked about as the dralas: starter, fermentation, bubbling, rolling, feeding, kneading, window, rising, banneton basket, tea towels, flour, scoring, crust, waiting, satisfaction, nourishing, butter.

I wake up early on the days I am going to bake bread. I don’t set an alarm, sometimes I even stir in the middle of the night—if I fell asleep without feeding my starter. This sourdough hasn’t even checked all the notches of artisanal sourdough bloggers lists (and those lists are long)–yet wabi sabi baby, it feels so good to hold the loaf of sourdough bread I made and open (once it has cooled) and the smell of fresh bread…

The starter I have is 7 years old, given to me from a friend. I use a woven banneton basket to let the second stage of the dough rise, then when it’s ready to bake I flip it upside down. I have slowly and thoughtfully accumulated accessories which are simple but essential to the process including cotton tea towels and heavy stainless steel measuring cups. And something borrowed too: my late grandma’s Le Creuset holds the sourdough as it bakes, first with the lid on, then with the lid off. There are many stages with sourdough.

Other things I love about sourdough: the subtle tips and tricks–sometimes passed down in obscure ways (the rubber band trick). But it’s also very forgiving in nature. So I don’t have a huge mess, when I am washing a jar I’ve transferred starter from, I stand outside next to my garden and use the hose, offering the sludge back to the earth.

PS #defundthepolice #blacklivesmatter


Sometimes I wonder: what it would feel like to be in a body with a straighter spine, an almost perfectly even bite–all the back teeth on both sides touching when clenched, a body without tattoos for strangers to comment on and having never gone to bed with anyone if drunk.

How wonderful though to be 34 and able to sit on the floor and doodle paint knock off Matisse shapes.