Oct 27

In Memoriam

I lost a good friend this week.

I’m not going to name names. It freaks me out to go public with something so private. Neither Facebook nor my blog are appropriate for that. Plus, he was one of the few internet holdouts… preferring to connect face-to-face with the rest of the world… when he wanted to connect.

And frankly, his name only matters to those of us who knew him.

But let’s put it this way; this person didn’t fit too well in life. I mean, life wanted him—he was loved by his family, and many friends. He was good-looking, charming, funny and fit. And even more than that, he had a special soul-level quality that was unstoppably loveable… inexplicable, really, considering he could also drive us all nuts. But at the end of the day–and usually somewhere before noon–we loved him, and extended our hearts and hands to him with ease.

But it wasn’t enough. Not because we didn’t try, but because he, and life, were just not a good fit. It’s as if the limits and rules of 21st century existence were just too much. As if duality had too tight a squeeze on him. No matter how hard he tried, a strange and ugly foot would emerge from beneath him and trip him up until he fell, again and again. It was more than addiction. More than stubborn pride. I’ve seen those things trip people up before. It was as if a deep wiring… perhaps from a childhood brain injury… just kept zapping him from the inside, striking him down, again and again. And falling doesn’t feel good after a while. Because people notice. And he couldn’t help but notice… and he began to judge himself. And it is that awful, final, human judge—the one inside—whose gavel hits the hardest.

About eight years ago, I drove him to a hospital because he wanted to hurt himself.  Before getting in the car, I said I understood what it was like to want to fall asleep and never wake up again. It would be like going back home. Like taking The Big Nap. I didn’t think it was crazy to feel the pull to go back to that peaceful place—the Big Yin– but that I wished he would stay with us and try to figure it out. That I would try to help him touch The Big Nap from this side without hurting himself.

I was thinking: Meditation. Eating better. Maybe going to a meeting.

But those just weren’t his things.

M tried for eight more years. He duked it out with duality, while holding in his chest a secret, dark desire to get the hell out. He was a brave, brave man for simply fighting that battle for such a long time. It must have been brutal. It was so easy for us—for whom life fits comfortably five days out of seven—to watch him from the outside and feel his unstoppable loveliness coming at us. To be the recipients of his jokes, or his tenderness, or his photos of funny dogs he saw, or little kids he knew. It was easy for us to say “it’s gonna be okay”.

But it wasn’t okay for him. It just wasn’t. For whatever reason, his drive to get out—to take that Big Nap—finally won.

I know we’re supposed to abhor a suicide. That’s just the Judeo-Christian way. But this lovely, lovely man… who touched my life in such beautiful ways… and whose struggle I was privy to… I refuse to judge his choice. I just refuse. Judgment was his problem on this side.

I love him. And I will miss him terribly. And I’m glad he’s finally free.

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I’ve known Mayumi Nishimura for 15 or 16 years. She was not only a teacher at the Kushi Institute (who taught me deep-fried, miso-stuffed lotus root–thanks!), but she was also the greatest head chef in the kitchen there. If Mayumi was cooking that day, you knew it would be gooooood.

Roughly ten years ago, word got out about her skills and Mayumi went off to cook for a singer named… um… oh yeah, MADONNA. She spent seven years chopping and sauteeing for the Material Girl and her ever-expanding brood. That gig bounced her around from New York to London to LA and on tours  around the world. If you think Madonna looks pretty good for her age, Mayumi, and the macrobiotic diet, have had a lot to do with it.

Here’s what Madge has to say about Mayumi:

“In the seven years you lived with us and cooked for us, your amazing food helped me to be a happier, healthier person, balanced in body and mind.  I feel better than I did twenty years ago.  I am very grateful to you for this.”   Yaayyyyyyyyyy!!!!!! I love macrobiotics!!!!!!

Because my mother lived in London, I got into the habit of seeing Mayumi whenever I was over there. We would meet to have tea at some fancy department store… sticking with the green tea and fruity desserts, of course.

Then, when I moved to Los Angeles, we bumped into each other here, and gossiped over agave-sweetened chocolate cake at Real Food Daily  in Santa Monica.

A couple of years ago, Mayumi moved back to her homeland of Japan, where she hasn’t lived in 20-odd years. I figured I would help her adjust by making her take me out for lunch in Tokyo. We bonded over the totally macrobiotic lunch (designed by LA’s Nadine Barner) at the Peninsula Hotel… SWANK!! Mayumi designed the macro menu there last year, so she knew the ropes.

Finally, last week, I giggled over soba and yuba with Mayumi at Souen in New York City . She was there to visit her daughter, who lives in Brooklyn.

I say all this because Mayumi has also written an amazing cookbook , which finally came out in English and which I highly recommend.  It’s call Mayumi’s Kitchen: Macrobiotic Cooking for Body and Soul.

It contains a great ten-day detox plan and a ton of wonderful recipes, including this one, great for fall:

Brown Rice Mochi Crepes with Stewed Apricots

1 tsp rapeseed or sunflower oil

2 cups grated brown rice mochi

Stewed Apricots

10 dried apricots, quartered

1/3 cup spring water

pinch sea salt

1. Make the stewed apricots: Combine the apricots, spring water, and salt in a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.

2.  Heat the oil in a frying pan and sprinkle the grated mochi in an even layer so as to form a thin pancake.  Cover and cook over low heat until the mochi melts.  Do not turn over.  Make 3 more in the same way.

3.  Serve the mochi with the stewed apricots rolled up inside or spread on top, or both.

Mmmm…  Enjoy!

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I’m not sure one can really understand Japan without experiencing it.  I mean, I’d seen Lost in Translation, read a novel by Mishima in college and heard many friends’ anecdotes…  I remember the Hello Kitty days (not entirely over, by the way) and I have a handful of close Japanese friends I’ve met through macrobiotics…  But I wasn’t prepared for this.

Japan is full, brimming over actually, with the weirdest stuff.  There are remote controls for the toilets  which will spray your butt, air dry your butt, and make a noise to cover up the noise your butt makes doing what your butt is designed to do.  There are ferris wheels on buildings, cat cafes , maid cafes, crazy arcades , Love Hotels, disposable underwear, individually-wrapped marshmallows  and plastic cases to keep your banana unbruised.  I could write five full pages about all the strange stuff before even mentioning the Ice Cream Museum, the English malapropisms on the T-shirts (I heart my coquetry) and the capsule hotel we stayed in that made me feel stuck in a Stanley Kubrick movie.

Oh yeah, and the food is unbelievable.  Although it’s been a challenge (one I’m not winning) to find macro staples like brown rice, Japan is exploding with food; ramen, sushi, soba , tempura, yakitori, and take-away bento boxes are all available everywhere.  Every train station is full of places to eat, every department store also laden with good restaurants.  We haven’t even touched the high-end places because they’re not within our budgets, but there has not yet been one unforgettable meal.  Even convenience stores carry rice balls and side dishes like hijiki.  Yes, it’s white rice and the hijiki probably has sugar in it, but it’s all there.  And if you’re a dessert person, this is the country for you.  In the basement of many department stores are basically what we could call food courts but the similarity ends there–I’m talking ACRES devoted solely to sweets:  Jellies, dumplings, cookies, cakes, candies and other cavity-making delights, all presented like fine works of art .  There’s even green tea chocolate painted with gold.  Oh my.

But none of that will give you a real sense of Japan.  I think it needs to be experienced, because it is Japan’s vibe which is truly lovely.  It is one of the most un-frenetic places I have ever been–massive throngs of people and high-pitched salespeople yelling “irashymasay” notwithstanding.  Every time Emily and I stood on a street corner staring cluelessly at our map, a stranger would arrive and ask if he or she could help us.  But more than that, the stranger would make sure we found our destination; there was a certain pride mixed with kindness in the gesture.

At a traditional hotel in Kyoto, we were treated like princesses, served a fourteen-course dinner in our robes and footie socks by a lovely kimono-clad woman. I then went downstairs for a bath in a big cedar box, which spilled onto the cedar-slat floor exactly the amount of water my body displaced.  The sound of the warm water rushing over the side was both a sensory pleasure and a symbol of the abundance I was experiencing.  As if the bath itself was saying “your cup runneth over”.  It was a soul-expanding moment of luxury.

Japan is full of those moments.  In fact, it’s all about them.  Every thing, every experience, every interaction, is designed to be beautiful.  Attention is paid to every detail.  Nothing is Japan is done without a refined consciousness that I imagine was cultivated originally in the exquisite temples of Kyoto… where the wind whistles over the tatami mats… surrounded by natural temples of bamboo… ahhh.

It is a country that still honors its craftspeople and their wares.  In a Kyoto department store, one whole floor was devoted to a recent celebration of local artisans; devoted laquer artists, leather workers, umbrella-makers, glass-blowers,  brush-makers, basket-weavers, print-makers, statuary sculptors… you name it, they were there, doing their thing.  And this not at some crafts fair, out in an abandoned parking lot.  It was taking place on the top floor of a high-end department store.  It seems the Japanese respect beauty and the work that goes into creating it.

Frankly, it makes the rest of us look like boors.

But before I apply to emigrate, I must remember what George Ohsawa said: “Everything that has a front has a back”.  And of course, after only 14 days here, I am seeing Japan’s front; I am a visitor, who speaks no Japanese, so my impressions are relatively superficial. I don’t pretend to even think that I have touched upon anything but an initial layer; every culture has its complexities, its texture, and its contradictions. I am sure Japan has depths and quirks I will never get to know. But for right now I feel like a kid who has discovered a gem the size of my fist—no wait–my head,and I am truly dazzled by its sparkling facets.


P.S. It’s taking too long to upload all the pictures… I will fill them in when I get back to the States.  Damn Japanese wi-fi!  I guess nothing is perfect.

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So I'm in Japan. 

I know.  JAPAN!!

I guess I never thought I would actually get here… it's funny how we carry around whole worlds in our heads–our future, goals, prejudices, fantasies–and then we get confronted by reality.  And reality is always SOOO different from these cities in our minds.  Different color.  Different feeling.  Different everything. 

First, let me say, I'm loving it here.  Even though Tokyo was hotter than hell, and moved at a ridiculous speed, there is a strange peace within it all.  It seems like there is a poise in the Japanese character that is inherently soothing.  It lets you relax.  It makes me realize that, in North America, many of us wear our personalities on our sleeves, pushing pushing pushing our "selves" into the public domain, dirtying up the collective with our ego pollution.  Japan is quieter than that.  You don't hear loud conversations on the subway.  You don't even hear cell phone calls–they're not acceptable.  Everyone basically keeps to themselves, whether that means playing a game on their phone or sleeping on the train, they are just a quieter, more polite crew. 

I'm old enough to appreciate that.  Maybe we should all spend our twenties in New York, and our sixties in Sapporo. 

I feel like a slob here.  EVERYONE dresses like they care.  It's strange–there doesn't seem to be one pervasive style (although "cute"–"ka waii" in Japanese–is a very big word here) but no one gets up in the morning and just throws on a layer of clothing mindlessly.  Like some redheaded macrobiotic bloggers do.  Everyone seems to have made conscious choices, whether it's the salary men in their suits, or the "rebel" setting his perfectly tousled hair, or the woman in the kimono, there is a certain yang committment to every choice .   

I've eaten some good food.  Not just the Japanese fare–excellent ramen, killer sushi–but I've been to a couple of macrobiotic restaurants that left me singing with joy.  There's nothing like a long flight, bad jetlag and 95 degree heat to make me appreciate the power of healthy food. 

We are now in Hokkaido, the big island to the Northeast of the main island.  We caught this evening's sunset from a huge ferris wheel.  Which happened to be on the roof of a department store.  A department store that included a bowling alley.  

I would post photos but my computer doesn't seem to want to do that right now. 

More to come… 

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I just don’t understand Strawberry People .  I just don’t.  I don’t GET wanting to eat a berry that makes me feel like I’m French kissing a cat .  Call me crazy.

This time of year is so hard.  My beloved raspberries  come out to play and I am once again reminded of just how deeply and purely I love them.  And then my ugly prejudice against Strawberries rears its head .

I can’t help it.  Strawberries get soooo much attention.  We’re just expected to love them, without question. Strawberries dominate the berry world like an arrogant, strutting bully.  Dare I suggest we live in a veritable Strawarchy? The dominant ideology of our culture is inherently pro-Strawberry and yet this discourse is rarely challenged.  So here goes:

Strawberries are the anti-Raspberry!  Whereas seeds cover the outside of the Straw, they are neatly and modestly tucked away inside the sexy, juicy bulbs of the Raz.  Whereas the Straws are firm and dry, a lovely Raz is soft and fuzzy.  Where Straws have this woody, white interior, the elegant Raz is brilliantly empty like Nature’s cute little thimble .  Just the right size to fit the tip of one’s tongue .  HOW CAN YOU GET BETTER THAN THAT???

I know this isn’t cool. Or PC.  I know it’s not all balanced and macrobiotic, in which the thinking is to accept BOTH, as the yin and yang to one another.  BUT I JUST CAN’T.  Strawberries are… wrong.  There.  I said it.  And the people who eat prefer them to my precious raspberry should be put in Strawberry Jails.  Guarded by thousands of Strawberry Shortcake dolls  .  And a lifetime supply of strawberry-flavored lip balm .   And their cell mate?  That’s right. … Darryl Strawberry.


Teehee.  When I pull my tongue out of my cheek, I will stick it in a… you guessed it… raspberry.

My advice to my fellow Raspberry People is to do the following.  Place half a cup of our ripe loved ones in a bowl.  Add a tiny pinch of salt.  Massage until about most of the berries become mushy (you need to get to the Raz juice to really enjoy the Raz).  Add 1 teaspoon of brown rice syrup and stir it in thoroughly.  Raise a spoonful to your nose… mmm… close your eyes… place this bright red nectar-of-the-Gods in your mouth and enjoy your inherently superior taste.


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When I was a kid, being curious  was the gold standard in my father’s house.  “He’s a nice guy, but he’s just not… curious” my Dad would say, about my, or a sister’s, prospective boyfriend.   That was the kiss of death.  He could be ugly, unemployed, a fascist… but lacking curiosity??? A dealbreaker.

I would always sit there, listening to this complaint about others and felt I should quietly stick up my index finger and interrupt: “Um… excuse me… I’m not exactly CURIOUS myself.”  But of course, I didn’t do that.  I feared expulsion from The Curious Family.  But I KNEW that I was not willing to haul myself up from the TV  to the reference library just a block away from my house  to get answers to any questions bobbing like apples in my head.  I wasn’t going to seek out some obscure text book  to satisfy some mental itch.  I mean, this was the 70s .  You had to put a little elbow-grease into information-gathering back then.  I was perfectly satisfied to build my mental world given the information afforded me by ABC, CBS and NBC .  I just didn’t go around bragging about it.

But you see, these days, with the internet, I’ve come to realize the truth.  I AM CURIOUS!!  I AM A FULLY-FLEDGED MEMBER OF THE CURIOUS FAMILY!!  I BELONG!!!!  I mean, I will leap up in the middle of a dinner party (mine, not someone elses–that’s rude) and google a factoid we’re all slobbering after.  I routinely hide my iphone under the table during a meeting to find out how old Ben Affleck is .  I can’t go to sleep at night until I know where Micronesia is .  I CARE ABOUT THESE THINGS.   And these days, all my little mental itches get scratched!   HEY DAD, I AM FREAKIN’ CURIOUS!!!

So I guess I judged myself wrongly all these years.  I was brimming over with curiosity!

I was just lazy .

I say all this because I’m blogging today about my friend Neil’s dog-training classes on DailyOM.  They’re called “How to Speak so Your Dog will Listen”.  I’ve written about Neil before and I really believe very deeply in what he does.  It’s like macrobiotic thinking applied to dogs!  And as I was giving this post a title, I thought “I wonder where the term ‘dog days of summer’ comes from?”

Why?  Because I’m… that’s right… CURIOUS.

And not only did I learn that we are smack dab in the middle of said “Dog Days” right now, but that they are called that because the brightest star of the Constellation Canis Major (Big Dog) , which is called Sirius (not the radio) is up to something a little tricky… get this:

“In the summer, Sirius, the ‘dog star’, rises and sets with the sun.  During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather.  They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, ‘dog day’ after the dog star. (from http://wilstar.com/dogdays.htm).

As Paris Hilton , who often carries a dog in her purse, would say:  Hot.

Check out Neil’s classes at DailyOM and enjoy these Dog Days.


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I love that macrobiotics has a long, rich history, full of great characters.  Much, much more than a diet, macrobiotics has a whole community of people who have devoted their lives’ work to spreading the word of healthy, whole foods and the personal transformations contained therein.  Nice use of “therein” eh?

Aveline Kushi was a pioneer .  She left her hometown, and then native Japan to come to America.  It was after Japan’s whole identity had been decimated by the A-bomb.  She had gone to study with George Ohsawa and he had encouraged her to go to America and teach with Michio Kushi, with the dream of creating one peaceful world .  She came over here in the early 1950s and they created a life together–with Aveline at the helm in the kitchen –teaching the power of food.

Michio and Aveline had their hands in the importation of tofu , futons , acupuncture  and the cultivation of organic foods .  Aveline’s cookbook is a macrobiotic bible .  Some of their early students include Dr. Dean Ornish , Gloria Swanson  and John & Yoko .  Their influence traces back to the beginnings of the health food movement.  LOOOONG before health food was cool.

Aveline passed away 9 years ago this month.  Every year since her death, a number of people have received the Aveline Kushi Award here at the Summer Conference.  It goes to people who have shown the same spirit and commitment to this work.  This year it went to Masao Miyaji and his wife Evelyne, who started Masao’s kitchen in the Boston area .  It is a restaurant that has served macrobiotic-quality food for many, many years.

Other recipients included Francisco (Chico) Varatojo  and his wife Eugenia, who started the Macrobiotic Center in Lisbon, Portugal.

Patricio Garcia de Parades, who I remember as the hottest guy at the Kushi Institute 17 years ago (BUT I CAN’T FIND A PICTURE OF HIM ON THE INTERNET!!! ARGH!), also won the award for his lifetime of service which has culminated in his running of the Kushi Institute of Japan.

And finally, Dr. Martha Cottrell, the coolest 81 year old I’ve ever met.  She should have gotten it just for cutting rug on the dance floor, but she’s also brought her medical training and experience to bear on the last three decades of her macrobiotic practice.  She was instrumental in bringing macrobiotic food and studying its amazing effects on a group of HIV/AIDS sufferers in the early ’80s.  When people just weren’t doing that stuff.

I didn’t know Aveline that well.  I met her after she had gotten sick and I remember her humility around that.  She said “Yin and yang… lifetime study”.  She was utterly gracious and grateful for all the care she received–macro and medical.  Although people were reverent towards her, she was utterly playful, even insisting on performing a kimono striptease  every year at the conference talent show.  That is sorely missed.  She had the teensy body of a hummingbird and the spirit of a proud, beautiful, lion .

My last conversation with Aveline took place in Boston, over the phone.  I was calling to find out if I could stay at the Kushi House that night, having landed in the city sort of by accident.  I had been reading the novel Memoirs of a Geisha which described what I imagined was the Japan she had grown up in.  I told her about the book, the culture of the geishas… how amazing Japan seemed to be… how it made me think of her.  She listened politely.  She took it all in.  And with perfect comic timing, she said:  “Ahhh… so nice… you become geisha?”

Aveline was a riot.

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Are you ready for the Kushi Institute Summer Conference? 

Every year, around this time, a bunch of macro freeeeeeeeks get together to talk shop.  15 years ago it was in Vermont , at Green Mountain College in a little town called Poultney.  There was a big ole tire swing that dunked hot macros in a cool swimming hole.  There was bulghur wheat and fruit spritzers  and talk talk talk about brown rice and beans and vegetables. 

The conference has moved around a bit in the last few years, but it’s finally settled in Palisades, New York at a lovely conference center  which actually has AIR CONDITIONING , which anyone on the East Coast will appreciate right about now.  I know it’s not the most environmentally friendly thing to flaunt, but there ain’t no swimming hole… although there are lovely views and walks, and the bulghur’s still good and the spritzers are cold and the beds are much comfier  and the talk talk talk has remained the same as always; mind-blowing, inspirational and life-changing.  I took my friend Hiram this year and he’s still buzzing from it.   

It’s a stellar macro line-up this year:  Tom Monte , Martha Cottrell, David Briscoe, Christina Pirello , Lino Stanchich, Ed Esko, Denny Waxman, and Michio Kushi himself .  The Big Kahuna.  And that’s just naming a few.  

I will be teaching Healing with Hypnosis and a Macro BBQ Cooking class.  It’s not too late to join: It starts July 22nd. Click here to register. 

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I used to live at the Kushi Institute , surrounded by people learning macro, talking macro, eating macro and dreaming macro 24/7.  There was never any denial among us that food was powerful, even magical .  That was the glue that brought us together.  In fact, we were so steeped in the food thing that I had a non-macro friend say to me once, as I gabbled on and on about gomasio and brown rice  and how it was all going to save the world: “Jess, I think you are in denial of everyone else’s denial!”  Ugh.  It made me want to throw my kukicha tea at him!

How things have changed.  Now I’m the one living a relatively quiet life, away from the Kushi Institute, listening to NPR and surfing celebrity-gossip websites .  I’m going to movies, and worrying about the oil spill  and generally being steeped in regular culture.  So it’s always an amazing thing to hang out with other macros and remember the actual “cult”  that I’m in.

I spent last night on a panel of macro “experts” at M Cafe  in Culver City.  If you’re not from Southern California, M Cafe is a reason to visit.  For the last five years, M Cafe  has provided gourmet macrobiotic food to the hip and trendy masses of West Hollywood, Culver City and now Beverly Hills Apparently Ellen and Portia  have brunch at the Bev Hills M regularly.  If they’re smart, they have the killer vegan benedict .

So M Cafe hosted this panel as an anniversary event.  It included chef Lee Gross,  Mina Dobic and yours truly.  Mina  cured herself of ovarian cancer–which had spread to the bones–25 years ago, having been given two months to live by her doctors.  The whole story is in her book, My Beautiful Life.  Since then, she has been a macro counselor to thousands of individuals, helping to save countless lives in the process (by the way, if you’re recovering from a serious health condition, you need to skip the rich food at M cafe for a while and contact a counselor like Mina.  See resources for a counselors near you).

Also on the panel was Lee Gross , who went from traditionally trained chef to Macro Masterpiece Maker.  After cooking for Gwyneth Paltrow  for a few years,  he went on to develop the original menu at M Cafe (click here to see the current one).   Eric LeChasseur (owner of Seed, another great macro joint in Venice, CA) was the original pastry chef.  Their mouth-watering M cafe fare has only gotten yummier over the years.

Between the three of us, we had a lot to say.   Mina’s schtick is turning lives around, Lee’s whole gig is seducing the body into radiant health via the tongue and I’m into inspiring healthy people to feel even better and to learn about the power of food.

We’ve come a long way, baby.  In the fifteen years since my friend confronted my denial of other people’s denial, things have changed.  Books have been published .  Big stars have blown the macro horn.  Medical doctors are taking up the plant-based diet charge with gusto .

It felt really good to talk to the group of people who had gathered for this panel–people who were curious and turned on by the macro thing.  I said at one point: “If you’re just getting into this and it feels like the most exciting thing you’ve ever come across and inside your head you’re silently screaming ‘omigod FOOD… omigod it’s like the BIGGEST THING… this macro thing is MIND-BLOWING!!! I’M SO EXCITED!!!!’ , don’t hold yourself back.  This thing is huge.  And I don’t just mean that the movement is getting bigger or that celebs are into it.  That’s just window dressing…

I mean it’s huge inside of you.  It will change your life.  Your body.  Your mind.  Your whole direction .  In beautiful ways you never anticipated.”  And I looked into their faces, so relieved and happy to have someone wave their freak flag for them .  And I looked inside the restaurant, which was full and BUMPIN’ with customers.

“Be excited” I said.  “You should be”.


By the way, Lee and I will be speaking again at M Cafe in Culver City next week; Tuesday, June 22nd at 7 o’clock.  To be a part of the action, and eat an amazing gourmet Lee-cooked meal, contact Cindy at cindy@thechaya.com

Here’s the recipe for M Cafe’s Scarlet Quinoa salad.  Mmmm… Perfect for summer.

Mina’s website has tons of recipes too, which are more traditional and medicinal.  Enjoy.

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I did it. 

Am I still here?

Okay, okay, it’s not THAT radical a move.  It’s not like I’m Sean Penn  and moved to Haiti. 

I just got off Twitter .  I didn’t do it because the whole concept of Twitter annoys me (although it does).  I didn’t do it because I was never really tweeting, having never gotten the knack of the pithy remark that is somehow worthy of transmission to strangers (but I wasn’t and I didn’t). 

I got off Twitter because The Library of Congress  is going to keep every tweet ever twitted, in perpetuity.

When I heard that on the radio , as I stood in my kitchen, it just hit me.  It was that little thing in my gut that probably should have been yelling at me for the last year or so.  It was the "NO FREAKING WAY" response to basically handing my life over to Big Brother.  And I don’t mean the TV show, although I am totally addicted to the British version of it , and even auditioned for it once. 

No, I mean Orwell’s Big Brother from 1984 .  If you’re too young to know what I’m talking about (and most of the twenty-somethings on the reality show of the same name have no clue where the name, or concept of Big Brother come from… they just think it’s an sort of evil, invisible family member… their ignorance makes it doubly eerie) I say to you:  google it.

Of course, I never tweeted anything of any importance.  Or anything that would implicate me in a crime.  Most of us don’t.  Most tweets are entirely and completely inane.  So why get my panties in a twist? It’s the principle of it.  When Uncle Sam  just scoops up a segment of the culture’s speech and owns it… when my musings go straight into a federal vault… I dunno.  There’s just something weird and wrong about that. 

And I’m totally denial that it begins and ends with Twitter.  Of course anything ever put on the web is, I presume to a geekier brain, traceable.  Armed with a warrant  and a resentment,  the powers that be could probably get a cyber map or your or my movements that would be CHILLING.  More detailed than anything Orwell ever fantasized.  God forbid someone should get their hands on my laptop  and see the sites I go to every day… what I bother to read about… who I email… that I’m obsessed with Sarah Ferguson and how she’s wrecking it for all us redheads .  It would be better than a CAT scan

Back in the day, we would walk around the farm, or the village, and just have thoughts in our heads .  Thousands of thoughts just floating around in the ole noggin .  If you wanted someone else to know of these thoughts, you had to tell them or write them.  And there were only about 30 people in your life who would give a rat’s ass about those thoughts anyway.  Most of whom you’d see at church  (or synagogue, or mosque), where you generally were discouraged from blurting out said thoughts.  So we were limited.  We lived in tighter circles.

And we were private .  And our nervous systems were calmer .  And no one had ever heard the word ‘blog’. Of course, there were different problems–very real problems–but one of them wasn’t that the federal government was collecting all your thoughts forever and for all time. 

P.S. I’m still on Facebook, but that creeps me out too.  I dream of deleting it.  Give me strength.

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