A Hard Days Night

A great long while ago, when the earth was filled with magic—but people no longer sacrificed babies— there lived a college student named Laloma who was gifted in the ways of botany. Her mother referred to it not as a green thumb, but a green soul. Laloma was on her way to the edge of town, to finish her grant proposal—which had a deadline of midnight and the promise of illuminating her future and helping the dark humus of the earth and wild flowers blossom. Her grandmother’s cabin lay on the fringe of town, where the mountains met the cedar. She’d spent many summers with her grandmother in the creek behind the cabin, scooping water with her hands just to smell, listening for the different bird songs. Fingers in the earth, experiencing the moisture that was innate and would provide the perfect balance for growth. The evenings she had daydreamed to the hoots of owls who had returned from their missions whole. Grandmother would whisper things in her ear like, “Never forget that the earth longs to feel your feet and to trust yourself. People who say moist is their least favorite word are played out at best…”

She was really tired. She put on her grandma’s cape made of feathers and lit a fire. She had not been going to bed early and working on her proposal in recent days. A man who looked like he was dripped in sunlight, with an elastic body, a penchant for speedos and took great care of livestock had come rumbling into her life through her Farmersonly.com dating profile in the last weeks of her grant deadline. The cowboy promised to show her the time of her life if she came out that evening. He could even pull some strings and she could judge the squash championship at the county fair—she would be in charge of measuring the squashes girth. They could celebrate with a late trip to the hot springs he knew of (she had only heard rumors of)—off a dirt road off a dirt road. He had a bottle of wine he’d been saving, he said that it was very fine—from a year the oak was especially hard.

Her ovaries did flips thinking about it. It wasn’t too late to go to the county fair. She watched the darkness outside—the moon was not in sight. It was no time to harvest crops. She put the fire out. She wept. And then a sound on the roof. An owl had landed. Somewhere a wolf howled as if to remind her she was already home.  


Podcast Notes: Talk Straight and Sit Crooked.

Notes from Podcasts this week.


Don’t Die with Bob Forrest episode 106. I loved everything about episode 106, I love when the guys critique celebrities/ musicians—many whom they know. “Where are the songs about the suicide epidemic? Or the homeless problem in LA?”
*People don’t care about your feelings, they care about the actions you make.
*You aren’t at your peak and you’re going backwards too.
*John Lennon was a turd who’s been mythologized.
*The importance of advice from caring friends who really know us—if we are open to receiving it. Better than a paid therapist or our parents.
*When you are in the moment creating a song it feels good, later you realize the lyrics really aren’t that good, but it’s okay.

I listened to the GOOP podcast interview with Ray Dalio from a few weeks ago. I liked it. I didn’t completely understand how his company meetings involve visible stream of consciousness of all the employees, but the idea of greater transparency in business is intriguing. I also liked how Gwyneth reiterated something I heard in another GOOP interview from a few weeks ago—when you tell someone you need to talk straight to them, you are really calling their highest, best self forward to listen. And you can tell people that too, “I need to talk straight with you and I need your best self to step forward to listen”. LOVE this.

PS I recently skipped the annual Hulaween festival. It has come to my attention via Reddit that at least one person died at Hulaween 2019 from completing suicide. Hulaween has remained quiet and not publicly acknowledged it. It’s 2019, suicide is an epidemic and remaining silent about it, although perhaps good for investors of the festival, is shameful and not helpful.

Skincare hacks, CST for cancer and mega synagogues…

Let’s start with the shallow: I went to Ulta today to buy some “Almost Lipstick” by Clinique because Jackie Schimmel touts it and she could sell me anything except $300 overalls and a shoe subscription service (The Bitch Bible Podcast). The saleswoman was grilling me a little about my skin care routine, which was not uninvited, I was really happy someone had linked up with me when I walked in. When we got to under eye moisturizer, I told her, I do have one… She continued a bit and motioned to see my eyes, so I confidently took my sunglasses off. I have been going to bed early and generally taking good care of myself. I could tell she was impressed. “Yep! Sleep really helps with preventing bags under my eyes”. I told her.

After my Intro to Lit class, (fascinating/ forever altering the way I watch and hear children’s stories / fairytales), I visited a dear friend of mine from HIGHSCHOOL who is staying nearby for cancer treatment from a reputable N.D.
A very common approach to massage is to rely on force for change. Thus “deep tissue”, the intention that something according to the client/ therapist think needs to be pushed out. It’s an approach with a lot of opinions. Subtle body work has less of an opinion and relies instead on listening and being present with compassion. And the body LOVES being listened to. It’s easier to be a compassionate therapist and not “take on energy” when you are like a screen—allowing movement in and out, grounded in listening and observing the body, rather than using force for an expected effect.
Also when the body relaxes deeply, it can heal itself. But a LOT of people THINK they want force or DO want a lot of force in their bodywork. It has a place, but I tell you it can’t go as deep as the subtle work. Slower is deeper, faster is slower.

I will continue to work with Beth as she regains her strength. We were taught to do a compliment sandwich in school but it was challenging for me. Her cranial pulse was one of the weakest I’ve ever felt. But I am encouraged by her feedback after—she said it was the first time she has felt comfortable in her body in a long, long time.

After I called the Chabad and registered for Hebrew classes and had a deep conversation with the front desk: I was not raised with many Jewish rituals or traditions, but my mom’s side of the family is all Jewish. We talked about what it means to come home in different senses and to always continue to learn and be unabashed in the pursuit to learn, even when others know so much more.

I mentioned visiting a large reform temple in Sarasota for Shabbat. I was greeted at the door with, “Are you a member”?

I was invited by a friend who was, a thick packet was handed to me and I was asked to sign in with my contact info. This reminded me of when I had first moved to Sarasota and was inquiring with a Jewish affiliated preschool about their program,—the woman I spoke to on the phone told me the cost of tuition for members, then how much it cost to become a member at the synagogue.
In these situations I did not feel welcome to participate in the Jewish community. I felt like it cost money to be Jewish.

Perhaps the Mega Synagogues that sustain on heavy membership fees would do well to greet people with something like “Hi, have you been here before?” or my personal favorite is the Korean greeting, “Have you eaten?”, perhaps that is a stretch.

I have tattoos, have been called a Jewish shiksa and once thought a kiddush was a siddur book. And I feel welcome at the Chabad. I am very grateful for how welcoming the Chabad’s have been, and I appreciate the ritual, tradition, values and community they offer—membership is rarely, if ever mentioned


The more I study fairytales the more messed up I think Disney is. I have decided I will take my daughter to Disney for the first time when she is old enough to read the uncensored versions of the classic fairytales. You know: cannibalism, domestic persecution, fathers wanting to marry/ shag their daughters etc… Things that really happen, when the choices are so grim the characters become radically self reliant. Capitalism sure is the happiest place on earth though, isn’t it?

Keep it Alive (My Israel adventure)!

The leap to go to Israel for the first time with Momentum this July was made possible by; excellent babysitters, planes, trains, automobiles, the Jewish Federation of Sarasota and the lure of the most incredible hummus I would ever taste. My boss encouraged me to go and told me it would be, “the trip of a lifetime”. In truth my expectations were low, I had no idea what I was getting myself into and heard a rumor I might find some really unusual restroom facilities. This was not a vacation in which we would escape from the world; it was a skillfully planned opportunity to create real connections for Jewish mothers from Sarasota (many who had barely met before) and beyond.

Art in Tzvat

The experience of being in Israel itself was for me, dazzling. The care and thought designed to honor our important work as moms, and on top of all the other perks of such a trip—to give us practical tools to return with. It was as if Momentum and Israel were mothering us. There were 16 of us in the Sarasota group and several similar sized groups from South Florida, Miami, Chicago, NYC, Israel, Thornhill & Toronto, Ontario—when we were all together for major seminars or celebrations, it was more than 100 Jewish women. 
Sarasota donned green trucker hats with ‘SRQ’ embroidered on the front and hit the ground running with our knowledgeable tour guides—through Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, Masada, the Dead Sea etc…We engaged with our ancestors, who dreamed and prayed for the nation of Israel for thousands of years. We walked in silence to the Kotel, where at sundown the wall was still warm to the touch. 
The spiritual energy of Israel was complimented with daily opportunities to reflect in our journals and seminars from a variety of speakers on topics ranging from: courage, relationships, body image, the power of prayer and always served with refreshments and plenty of laughs. We toured a Mikvah in Tzvat where we met a real life Mary Poppins! During our transitions between places our tour bus was alive with budding new friendships as we mingled together and with other groups, exchanged childhood stories and received good quality serenading over the audio system. 
Jerusalem was abundant with Hashgacha Pratit or Divine Providence moments. We called these “HP moments” for short. These HP moments tilted at us unbidden, like cloud bursts of synchronicity as if to say, we were exactly where we needed to be. My HP moment looked a little different than the others and happened during our tour of the Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. Our tour guide Rabbi Ken Spiro said, “You know we should be proud of being Jewish. It isn’t always comfortable, but it is always meaningful”.

View of Israel from Yad Vashem.

I can’t tell you how much I needed to hear that in that moment before going outside and seeing a view of Israel with trees fluttering in the wind. The Momentum women’s trip philosophy/motto/hashtag is that “it starts with women”. If you inspire a woman, you inspire a family, when you inspire enough families you inspire a community and so on. The challenges of navigating parenting and practicing Jewish values with grace and grit is not work cut out for one person, we need human connection and support. For the next year our group will meet monthly and continue the discussions relevant to embodying Jewish values as mother and women. To put it simply I have returned from Israel with greater solidarity, an expanded sense of goodness in people, more appreciation for Shabbat with my family and more questions than ever. 

Momentum Girlies back home at our second gathering with Rabbi Glickman

Flowers on my Table.

“I’d rather have flowers on my table than diamonds on my neck”. —Emma Goldman

Hi I’m Emma, I’m also a single mom. I’m not sure where I first heard the “6 month rule” for introducing a boyfriend to your kids, I think it was my well meaning friend.
Emma Johnson recently wrote AN awesome ground moving, shame smashing article, “When Should Single Moms Introduce a Boyfriend“. Emma takes a close look at some of the antiquated attitudes towards mothers dating. “Making a giant deal out of introducing kids to a romantic partner suggests that dating — whatever that means to you — is shameful” (Johnson). I am here for this.

Haikus for the Seasons

REVISED! I love the feedback my (new) writing teacher gave me.

A winter downpour
Waterfalls frozen in time
Listen, waves of ice


Sunshine like champagne
Daring March seeds pop open
Drunk on morning mist


A loon echoes night
Summer dreams skim deep water
The old song of home


Howling winds fly south
Damp leaves cascade streams of gold
The harvest moon soars

On Bill Scheffel & Mary Oliver

A few days ago my friend created a group to memorialize and remember our friend and teacher, Bill Scheffel. I want to share about him and what he meant to me. But I don’t want to be a grief groupie. Others were much closer to Bill and yet he was a HUGE and life changing person in my life. He was such a loving person, he lived a good life and towards the end his quality of life deteriorated greatly with increasing mental health obstacles. He died on July 8 (my brother’s birthday) through self-immolation, in his car in a remote area of Boulder. Some schools of Buddhism may view this not as suicide but of service. I’m not so sure about that, but in searching the details for anything that makes sense, I can appreciate that he did it in his car because he was California baby until the end. He was and is so loved and missed. May he be free and at peace.


Bill was my writing and meditation teacher at Naropa University. He taught me how to write and how to sit like a dignified person moving as openly as my breath. We both left Naropa at the same time and corresponded for more than a decade via email, as well as sometimes seeing each other at workshops and my brief dabbling in his online I-ching class.

Know this: he taught me that writing moves like butterflies, jazz and God. And that meditation and connection to the earth offers a sense of protection.

One of my favorite Bill quotes is from a workshop he taught at the Shambhala center in Boulder a couple years after we met. He said “Luxury is experiencing reality, smelling the cow shit.”

I always imagined I would study poetry with Bill, one day.  It’s a missed opportunity now… With the news of Mary Oliver’s death (in the words of my friend Meesh she was a mystic fucking poet) —I want to share my favorite Mary Oliver poem.  It’s so good I have a line from it tattooed on me (the last line). I looked up this poem because my friend Mario had these lines from it written on his djembe at Naropa and I remembered it years later when I finally googled it:
and a sense
of loss—a memory
not yet of a word,
certainly not yet the answer—
only how it feels…

Photo from Bill’s sukhavati (Buddhist death ceremony)

To read a more detailed and beautiful account of Bill’s life and read some of his poetry visit The Chronicle Project.

DREAMS by Mary Oliver from Dream Works

All night
the dark buds of dreams

In the center
of every petal
is a letter,
and you imagine

if you could only remember
and string them all together
they would spell the answer.
It is a long night,

and not an easy one—
you have so many branches,
and there are diversions—
birds that come and go,

the black fox that lies down
to sleep beneath you,
the moon staring
with her bone-white eye.

Finally you have spent
all the energy you can
and you drag from the ground
the muddy skirt of your roots

and leap awake
with two or three syllables
like water in your mouth
and a sense

of loss—a memory
not yet of a word,
certainly not yet the answer—
only how it feels

when deep in the tree
all the locks click open,
and the fire surges through the wood,
and the blossoms blossom.

Believe it or Nattō

I remember the first time I tasted nattō. It was not on the menu. My roommate Niki, at Naropa University, inquired with our server at Hapa Sushi. Niki was cooler than me—a golden girl with a Volvo station wagon. She introduced me to midwifery, pairing gouda with basil and told great stories about hiking through Big Sur. She was into nattō . “It’s got this stringiness, like cheese” she said pulling at the long sticky strands unique to nattō wrapped in sushi rolls. I wanted to be into it, so I ate it too. The rest is history.

seasoned natto
seasoned natto ready

Nattō is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with a special strain of bacteria called Bacillus Subtilis var. Nattō. IT IS NOT TEMPEH. Say it with me, nattō is NOT tempeh. In Japan, nattō is sometimes eaten as a breakfast food served with mustard, soy sauce and green onion over a bed of rice. To make nattō the Japanese use special low temperature, moist ovens they use to ferment the beans to perfection.

So why would you eat Nattō? It has been touted for being a nutrient dense source of PROTEIN. It is one of the food’s richest in vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 plays an important role in bone formation and eating nattō may prevent osteoperosis. It’s also useful for blood clotting and heart health. Nattō also has substantial amounts of iron and vitamin c! Also there is the street credit

You might find it with the cooks in the back of your local Japanese restaurant if you ask (and unless your server is Japanese they may not know what you are talking about). Most Asian groceries carry it frozen.

When frozen, it looks like this:

frozen natto
Frozen nattō

The frozen packets are great aside from usually coming in styrofoam. Included usually is two packets of seasoning: one a kind of spicy sweet oil and the other a kind of mustard. Once the nattō is room temperature, it mixes with the packets easily and tastes especially good served with warm rice.

In Candice Kumai’s book, Kintsugi Wellness (which I LOVE) I was very excited to see a recipe for enjoying nattō. I made it and found the flavor for natto to be underwhelming Without serious flavor nattō reminds me a bit of stale farts. If you are a beginner to nattō I would recommend using the seasoning packets that come or doing an intense spicy/sweet mixture of mustard, hot sesame oil/ honey/ tamari soy sauce.

Bon Appetite!


Keeping It Simple/ Wabi Sabi

If it weren’t for the great podcasts that have permeated my life in the last few months, I’m not sure I would have pulled on my recycled yoga mat sandals and buttoned up my big girl Gucci-Goodwill jeans to write for the enjoyment of writing (online) again. It feels EXHILARATING! TITILATING! Bouncy and juicy and…

It’s a long story but I used to own mysterious-cow.org and ambrosia.nu when I was a teenybopper. My e-mail list had more than a 100 subscribers—mostly people I didn’t know! I wrote all kinds of things; I was in grade 7 and 8, living in Manhattan and going to an Outward Bound affiliated school (!). I wrote about what I observed and the city was constantly moving with inspiration. I also dabbled in obscene Hanson fan fiction (it was VERY funny and not serious)… I talked about my orange juice…I wrote because I enjoyed it!

Thanks to Lauryn and Michael’s podcast, The Skinny Confidential: Him & Her Podcast I discovered, Candice Kumai’s podcast “Wabi Sabi” and her amazing book “Kintsugi Wellness” which I will be working my way through and writing about whenever I want. I really appreciate Candice’s podcast, she is firm but encouraging with us that we need to work hard, take care of ourselves, support and encourage each other and take leaps of faith. “Wabi Sabi” is a Japanese term meaning the art of appreciating the imperfect. Perfectly imperfect. Candice is so funny and graceful. I love her impersonations of her Japanese mother and how she clarifies she is talking about Barre not a bar.

Wikipedia: In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

The Japanese do this in architecture, art and reflecting on their values. I don’t need to nail it every time, I just need to show up and try.