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I like being alone.  I was thinking about it today, after listening to so many people talk about feeling lonely during this pandemic-induced isolation.  My experience has been somewhat different.  I can feel lonely in a crowd of 10,000 people, yet not lonely at all by myself.  Isolation, for me, is a relief.

I love going to the movies alone.  I love eating a nice meal at a restaurant with just myself and a great book or the New York Times.  I feel overwhelmed with comfort and joy when I walk to the Will Call window at a Broadway theater and say “Price, just one.”   There’s freedom and deep joy for me in getting to be present without having to be anything to anyone else.  Maybe part of that is that I’ve spent – certainly my career – but also most of my life being a person other people need me to be.

When I write it down, it sounds weak, but it’s actually a bit of a superpower.  I remember getting a call from a producer, telling me he had a monster of a jackass lead actor, and he NEEDED me to wrangle him for a network presentation.  He said I was the only actress he knew who could literally get along with anyone and make this guy look better.  Bad Boy Narcissists?  Not a problem.  Hair-trigger Abusive Addicts?  Sign me up.  Self-Centered Control Freaks?  That‘s my specialty.   I will never choose to work with anyone like that for an extended period of time (and, thank God, I’ve never had to), but I can – for a limited time – make just about any potentially volatile situation ok, both in life and in work.  

You’d think I’d grown up with people like that in my family, but I did not.  I was a very quiet little girl, surrounded by a ton of siblings and family who all, for the most part, got along.  I think I just realized early that, having no clue who I actually was, life was more peaceful and I was happier when I simply gave other people who or what they needed.   If I didn’t feel strongly one way or the other, what’s the harm in letting other people have what they want?  

But it’s a dangerous road.  As the chameleon perpetually adapts, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern her true color.  Does she even have one?  What color is she when she’s standing alone, surrounded by nothing?   

I suppose that’s the road I’m on now – coming to know who I am, when nobody’s around.  Analysis doesn’t help me.  That just keeps me inside my head or inside someone else’s research, searching for THE ANSWER.  The best advice I’ve ever received came from my dear friend, Nicole.  I was stressed and anxious about an uncertain time coming up, and she looked at me intensely and said, “Stay curious.”  So that’s where I try to live.  On my best days, I’m curious about where I’m going and where the world is going and what’s going to happen and how I can help.  On my worst, I’m trying to predict and control, and that’s pure crazy-making.   Today, on my little brother’s birthday, I’m hopeful and peaceful, knitting a Christmas gift in my big, thick glasses and my favorite socks, and, honestly, I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Mirror, Mirror

When I was a kid, I remember studying World War II, and asking my Dad how so many people could have united behind Hitler’s horrific vision.   He told me, with tears in his eyes, that it was much easier to unite people in hatred than in love.  I walked through the world for many, many years, with a deep belief that human beings are not “basically good,” as Anne Frank wrote.  According to history, human beings are basically suggestible.   The loudest, angriest voices seem to have had the most sway over the masses.

Over the past few years, I’ve watched the group-hate mentality screaming all over this country.  Whether people are united in hatred of other races or other socio-economic statuses or other educational levels or other religious beliefs – it is unity in hatred of the other.  Not me.  Not the way I think or look or act or believe.  Not me.  The others are wrong.  The others must go. 

I recognize that I am someone else’s other.  I represent something or someone that somebody hates.  I’ve certainly read it at times on the internet, and I was reminded of it just last month.  I was having some yard work done for my mom in Oklahoma, and one of the guys working recognized me from television.  He was so excited to tell me that he and his wife loved my character, Mary, on The Ranch.  I thanked him, and told him I felt honored to have been trusted with playing her throughout her story – first as awesome, filthy comic relief, and then, as her addiction progressed, as a woman in hopeless terror, hurtling toward self-destruction.  He said “Yeah, in most of your tv shows, my wife and I are rooting for your rich bitch character to DIE and just, I don’t know, get choked to death, and then finally we’re all hoping you DON’T die.  You know?  We were just so used to hoping you’d DIE.  That was so cool how much we DIDN’T want you to DIE!”  Call me sensitive, but hearing, face to face, that two people had snuggled up in their living room, hoping I would DIE was a little unsettling, even if it was just a character I played on tv.   I was off kilter for the rest of the day, thinking how easy that was for him to say, and how innocuous it seemed to him.  He didn’t wish ME dead, but he wished MY KIND, the kind of people I had portrayed, dead.   

 I, too, have wished people dead in the past few years.  I felt justified, because they were spewing hatred and violence and anger.  But am I not guilty of the same thing by screaming with my friends and family about them and wishing their leaders and their ways of thinking dead?   THEY preach hatred.  THEY preach violence.  And yet I lie awake at night, imagining “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” ringing out across the land while flags fly at half-mast, and dancing around a funeral pyre of books about the art of the deal.

So I am guilty as well.  The hatred dripping off the people I hate has infected me too.  Feeling justified does not make me feel any more peaceful when I lie down in bed at night.  This morning, I read “It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness.  To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worthwhile.”

So today I will try to do better.  I will try to remember that we are all in this together, even when we are diametrically opposed to one another.  I will drive along a crowded street and recognize the absurdity and deep delusion of my perpetual inner monologue, “everyone ELSE is traffic.”

Drop the Funk

I am through with my sad funk.  Enough.  Spring is here.  It’s Earth Day.  This morning, I literally stopped to smell the roses . . . and the wild fennel . . . and the thyme . . . and the arugula flowers.  It’s time to wake up and move forward.  I read a great quote this week by one of my favorite musicians and songwriters of all time, Melissa Etheridge.  She said, “The key to hope is knowing that fear is just a lack of imagination.”  I’m sick of being scared of the news and corrupt politicians (that term seems, sadly, redundant) and forest fires and mudslides and environmental catastrophes and contaminated food systems and terrorism and North Korea and automatic weapons and spiders and heights and sharks.   Enough.  There is a time to vote and to act and to speak out, but that time is not every waking minute of every day — or at least it can’t be for me, if I want to stay above water.  If I’m not moving forward, I’m moving backward, and that is not how I choose to live today.

I can’t control everything, but I can control me.  I can choose to stretch and smile when I wake up, instead of grabbing my phone to check on what fresh hell has transpired while I slept.  I refuse to finance fear with today’s precious energy.  Nope.  No more.

So I started my Earth Day with this beautiful glass of green.  It’s guaranteed to wake up your belly and fill your brain with the good stuff it needs to triumph over all of those fears . . . well, maybe not the sharks.


  1. One big bunch of kale/chard/spinach, washed well
  2. One scoop of plant protein powder (I love PlantFusion, Vanilla)
  3. 2 T. ground flaxseed or flax oil
  4. 1/2 frozen banana
  5. 1 T. maca powder
  6. 1 t. cinnamon
  7. Handful of ice and about 1/2 c. water

Blend well and enjoy!



A Total Piece of (T)Rump

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I do not generally write about politics.  It’s such an absurdly complex subject, I leave it to the educated scholars, dedicated screamers and the professional comedians.  I am so troubled, however, by the tenor of our entire society, being played out during the current presidential race.  The tone of hatred, fear, anger and blame terrify me to my core.  In recent years, I’ve been reflecting a lot about my father’s experience as an Army Infantryman during World War II, and many of the life lessons he passed on to me.  I remember one night when I was in the seventh or eighth grade, sitting down to do my homework.  I was having some trouble with history, specifically 1930’s and 40’s world history, more specifically Mussolini.  I took my troubles to my Dad, and I said — “I can’t understand how anyone, let alone an entire country, could get behind this maniac.  He preached nothing but hatred and anger, and he was so obviously completely hell-bent on serving only himself.  No one would have supported him.”  My dad hung his head, put his hands on his knees and took a deep breath.  He looked up at me and said, “Peanut.  You’d be shocked at how easy it is to unite people in hatred.  It’s a hell of a lot harder to unite people in love.”

I watched snippets of the Republican convention, but, honestly, my soul couldn’t take much of it.  I felt the darkness, the fervor and the intense anger coming right out of the television set.  We are going to get what’s rightly ours, and we’re going to destroy the people who took it from us!  That was the message.  Who are they talking about?  All of Wall Street?  All Mexicans?  All Muslims?  All immigrants?  All Americans who aren’t screaming angry?  I have no clue.  The global hatred and fear pervaded all boundaries.  I’m not sure who the witch hunters are after, because it seems like they’re after an awful lot of people.  Given the historical behavior of the angry mob-mentality, I fear anyone could be demonized at any moment and triumphantly burned at the stake.

Part of me blames our entertainment culture for what’s happening in our society.  Lose 10 pounds in one week!  Whiten your teeth in 15 minutes!  Win a million dollars on a game show tonight!  Become the next American Idol!  No need to practice or work or persevere!  Just win!  Collect your money/fame/beauty/power!  NOW!

Shows like American Idol, America’s Got Talent and Dancing with the Stars ask viewers to call in or text their votes for the contestant they believe should win.  They’re “voting,” get it?  Americans are so used to casting “votes,” our entire political voting system has been diluted.  Remember in middle school when some kid would run for office?  They’d stand up at a podium or on a gym stage and tell the other kids they were gonna insist on chocolate milk at lunch or whatever pressing issue would make the assembly cheer.  But, honestly, we all knew it was a popularity contest.  If you lost, as I did, that meant you weren’t as popular as the other guy, no matter how vehement your campaign promises were for getting that weird rotten banana stench out of the lockers.  You were, as Donald Trump is so fond of calling people, a loser.

Now, I watch my fellow Americans supporting a vile, hateful, truly horrible message from a narcissistic, grandiose, puffed up bully, and I can only ask myself — is this just because he’s reality-show famous?  He’s entertaining?  He’s the cartoon we are familiar with, so we vote for him?   People are cheering and screaming “U S A!” as Donald Trump spews venom to the masses, as if this were the message our founding fathers were praying for in 2016.  Are you kidding?  Donald Trump is our next leader?  To where?  Where are we going that we’d choose a buffoon so inexperienced in politics, so wildly undiplomatic, misogynistic and just plain mean?  Are we voting for a reality show contestant or for the highest office in our country?

I read about an interview Mark Singer did with Donald Trump shortly after his second divorce.   There was one quote that didn’t make it into the article that absolutely blew my mind.  I wanted to make t-shirts.  I wanted to scream it from the mountain tops.  But the truth is, it wouldn’t be news and no one would notice.  I’m not the first person to find a shocking, horrific quote from Donald Trump.  Hell, turn on your television.  He’s probably making one right now.

Hitler united the German population in a quest for the Master Race.  I have no clue what Trump is trying to unite people in, other than hatred and unrest.  You wanna read the quote I was talking about?  Here goes:

“Let us have a dagger between our teeth, a bomb in our hands, and an infinite scorn in our hearts.”

Can you believe Donald Trump said that?  You do?  Yeah, I would too.  That was actually a quote from the fine, benevolent leader Benito Mussolini.  But it certainly reflects Trump’s worldview.  No.  The real quote from Donald Trump was this:

“You really want to know what I consider ideal company?  A total piece of ass.”

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***If you want to read the original New Yorker article, go here:


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I’m not even sure how to start this.  I grew up in Oklahoma, way out in the country, on ten acres of land.  We had chickens.  We could walk and walk and build forts and forget where they were and build more the next day.  We were so lucky.

When I was a kid, my family listened to the seasonal tornado reports on the t.v., and tried not to panic.  We had a closet under the stairs where we went during the serious tornado warnings, when the sirens would actually go off.  My mom and dad always said we’d be protected if it got bad, because they’d drag a mattress over our bodies if the storm got really close.  But it never happened.  In fifteen years, we never had to drag the mattress over our bodies.  We were lucky.

One time, we had a close one.  When I was 8 or 9, I remember an afternoon — or maybe it was evening.  You see, when a tornado is coming, you have no clue what time of day it is.  It’s just gray.  Infinite gray and ominous.  There’s almost NO movement in the air, but, like those moments in a horror movie, when the music builds, and you know the monster is coming — you can feel the danger.

We felt it.  Danger.  If we were dogs, the hairs on the backs of our necks would have stood up.  I’m pretty sure the hairs on the back of my neck stood up anyway

We stood on the back deck and looked at the sky . . . and then we saw it.  We saw the funnel.  We saw it forming.  It was alive and it was dark and crafty and mean — mean as a black, slithering snake.  It was coming after whatever was in its path.  We shivered and prayed to God we were not in its path.  As we watched, it formed and started moving away from our house, so we relaxed.  And then we had dinner, like nothing had happened.  I think we had taco salad.

Yesterday, as I listened to the news, I sat waiting, denying and praying.  Waiting to hear from my family.  Denying that they’d have to get the mattress and hide in the closet.  Praying for their safety.   I am not religious.  I don’t name what I believe.  But I believe.  I believe so strongly.  And I prayed.  Because I believe this universe, whatever your religion or beliefs, is built on energy and thoughts and love and the electricity that emanates from all of us – so I sent it out as strongly as I could.  I prayed.  Hard.  I could not live without my family.  It doesn’t matter how far away they are or how long it’s been since we’ve talked – they are me.  Our connection is beyond visceral.   My love for them is infinite, and I know they love me equally.  I found myself mentally making a violent argument to the heavens, arguing that my family MUST be saved, because so many people would be shattered if he/she/they decided to take the souls I loved so much.  Then, I started making deals:




My prayers were answered, and my family is safe.  Did my prayers work?  Did I pray harder than someone else?  No.  I did not.  My family got lucky.  So many other people did not.  I feel devastated and horrified and relieved and guilty for feeling relieved.  I watch news reports of Moore, Oklahoma, 5 miles from my mom’s house, and I see what looks like a war zone.  And yet there was no enemy, was there?  Was it God?  How could God let this happen?  How could this be pre-ordained?  It doesn’t seem possible.  Why?  How could He have let this happen?  I have no idea.

I wish I had some wisdom.  I wish I could give a cerebral, beautiful, thoughtful, calming explanation for the massive devastation that has happened in my home state, but I can’t.

I know that the past 48 hours have made me realize how incredibly fortunate I am.  I know my family and I were spared.  I know that this horrific tragedy has pulled my life into perspective, lickety-split.  Problems that seemed overwhelming no longer loom.  I pray that it’s awakened others.  I pray that we all take a step back and breathe and help.

And I thank the universe for every breath.


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How’s that for a smile, huh?  That is the face of my Uncle Bill.  For most of my childhood, Bill lived with my grandparents, but, when my grandparents died, he moved in with his sister, my mom.  So Uncle Bill became a part of our everyday lives.  He had the energy of a puppy, the joy of a four year old kid and the capacity for love of . . . well, there’s just no comparison.  It doesn’t exist.  Bill had an infinite capacity for both giving and receiving love.  He taught me how to really HUG and how to love unconditionally and without hesitation.  He didn’t know how to be dishonest.

Me:  “Bill, did you take that last cookie, when you knew I was saving it?”

Bill:  (Without pause) “Yes.”

How could anyone get mad at that face?

This July, Bill will be 59 years old.  Most people with Down Syndrome develop Alzheimer’s, if they live into old age, and Bill is, sadly, not the exception to that rule.  He’s lost a lot of his awareness, vocabulary, and his mental and physical abilities, but he’s still able to live at home.  That’s because my mom has been caring so beautifully for him twenty-four hours a day, for the past twenty-five years.

My mom, as a full-time caregiver, has had one absolute saving grace in recent years — a facility in Oklahoma called Full Circle.   It’s an incredible place, where families can take their elderly and disabled loved ones for the day.  It’s like Summer Camp for Grandma . . . except it goes on all year long, and it’s staffed by angels.  It’s such a happy place.  Any time I walk into Full Circle, I feel like I’m at a party.  They engage the clients with music, art and numerous activities, sort of like a little school.  Most importantly, however, the staff members give them love and understanding and infinite patience.  I am always amazed at the pure light that radiates around this staff.  I am beyond thrilled to support this organization in any way possible, knowing how vital Full Circle is to both my mom and all of the families it helps.

So I’m writing about my Uncle Bill to encourage anyone looking for a worthy organization to support to consider donating to Full Circle.  The funds they receive go directly to their operations.  They are not bogged down by bureaucracy, and they don’t spend tens of thousands of dollars on red carpet galas at fancy hotels.  They use all donations to keep the lights on and the doors open.  They’re having an open house/bake sale tomorrow, and they’ve received a corporate pledge to MATCH any funds they receive, so timing is crucial.  I can’t be there tomorrow to buy brownies, but I can send a few bucks online.  If you want to see your tax-exempt dollars going directly to people in need, I urge you to give Full Circle some serious consideration.

Writers’ Block

How ironic that I’m writing in the middle of writers’ block.  So, I’ve semi-abandoned my blog in the past few months as I was working on “real” writing.  I wrote a television script and a couple of short stories and am now working on two wildly different screenplays.  So, in the process, I decided to ditch the writing outlet that actually brings me joy beyond compare?? Huh?   This blog is the place I can write and feel release.  And feel fully human.   I hear songs in my head when I write this blog.  Maurane when I’m feeling contemplative.  Natalie Merchant when I’m needy.  Colin Haye when I’m unfulfilled.  Annie Villeneuve when I need a moment to escape.  Melissa Etheridge’s most recent album, INDIANA, when I’m feeling unruly and need to scream.  And always, Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten.”  It’s a total cliche, I know, but it’s such a beautiful reminder that at every moment you can start over.  START OVER.  Push reset, as I tell my 5 year old.  You may have had a crap morning, but just push RESET in your brain and have a gorgeous afternoon.   And when you’re in the midst of writers’ block, blast music, chop some veggies and FEEL.  Just feel all the good and the bad and the, frankly, ugly of the inner workings of your brain.  It may be chaotic, but it’s all yours.

So here I am.  I’m holed up, writing.  And I need food, right?



I harvested my dwindling winter garden and set to work.  Um.  I’d like to take credit for my creativity and zest for creation, but, as I said, I’m BLOCKED.  So I simply shaved all the vegetables — celery, beets, carrots, scallions — and tossed them with olive oil, lemon zest and gorgeous, crunchy salt.  Then, I cooked some green, French lentils in a bit of tomato paste (and browned it thoroughly, thank you, Mario Batali, for the tip), added a splash of water, and let them simmer.  I scooped up the lentils alongside the veggies, put a dollop of Greek yogurt and a hefty downpour of Nutritional Yeast (please see past postings on the brilliance of NY) on top.  Finish off the whole mess with a bit of reduced balsamic vinegar and a generous drizzle of fresh walnut oil and you, my friends, have got a meal.  No need for slaughter.  Just electric, exceptional food, straight from the source.

Gotta go.  I’m suddenly inspired . . .





July 19, 2012

Well, it’s here.  I don’t know if I ever thought this day would come.  15 years.  It’s been 15 years since I last felt my dad’s hug.  15 years since I heard him sing “Mares Eat Oats,” and watched his eyes crinkle as he cracked up.  When he died, I didn’t think I’d be able to go on.  I didn’t think I’d be able to love again or laugh, and I certainly did not think I could ever have a child – because she would not know my dad.  And then a wise man told me – your father will know your daughter before you do.  She will come to you, still warm from his arms.  And I was comforted.

Today, I don’t feel comfortable.  I miss him.  I wish he could spend time with my daughter and hear her tell a joke and give her one of his crazy hawa-raspberry kisses he used to give me.  If he were here, he would scold me for not taking better care of myself and praise me for being a good mama, and he would hug me no matter what.

My dad was born in 1924.  He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and he shouldn’t have made it.  But he did.  He brought home a purple heart and a set of US Army-issued dog tags I wear with pride.  He survived a horrific war, against enormous odds, and found the strength to go on and thrive.  He had me and all of my brothers and sisters, and he was PRESENT.  He didn’t live in the past.  He worried about the future, of course, but he allowed himself to indulge in the present.  He snuggled the babies and danced with my mom whenever Glenn Miller played.  He sang old radio novelty songs and, even when I was 25 years old, grabbed my hand to cross a parking lot.  He taught me that mistakes are what make us who we are, and, without them, we would be boring.  He taught me to be honest, and he taught me how to pray.

The curse of having an incredible father is the intense, soulful pain of not having him forever.  I once knew a little girl who, when teased, would say “That hurts me in my feelings.”  Not being able to talk to my dad and rest my head on his chest and feel his arms around me hurts me in my feelings.  It makes my guts twist and my eyes storm, and it doesn’t go away.  It abates at times and I can put it in a closet for a bit, but it doesn’t go away.  15 years sounds like a long time, but it feels like he was just here.


When I was a little kid in Seattle, my family sponsored another family to come over from Vietnam and live with us.  It was the ‘70’s, and my dad heard from my uncle that there were Vietnamese families with kids who had to get out of there NOW.  I’m not quite sure how it all went down, but I woke up one morning to Xich, Neim, Bang & Kim living under our roof.  I already had seven brothers & sisters, a million uncles, aunts, and an army of extended family & friends, so, at the ripe old age of four, the arrival of another family just seemed like more of the same to me.  And, although we didn’t speak the same language, the little girl, Kim, immediately became my best friend, playing Barbie’s and blocks and racing each other up the hill to the Aqua Club for swimming.

Now, Xich and Neim, while beyond grateful, did not like to accept charity and insisted on doing SOMETHING for our family while they settled in.  So, they cooked.  A lot.  My mom would sit down with Neim to make a phonetic shopping list in the morning.  Then she’d pull on her muumuu, wrap a scarf around her curlers and buzz out to the local market in our wood-paneled station wagon to hunt and gather.  Because we lived in Seattle, there were a few Asian items in the grocery store, but, because it was the ‘70’s, those items usually came sealed in tin and labeled “Chung King”  (Ever had a CANNED bean sprout?  Yeah.  Tastes just like Saigon, right?)  My mom did her best, Neim adapted her recipes, and we all ate very well.  My mom still loves to tell the story about when my niece, Rachel, who was born when I was three years old, first learned to walk.  She’d just started trying out that wobbly toddler walk and was practicing in the kitchen.  She tumbled again and again . . . until she caught sight of Neim’s fresh batch of Cha Gio.  Rachel reached for the platter, clutched a tiny spring roll in each of her chubby little hands and set off for her high-chair . . . and she DID NOT FALL DOWN.  The little fried rolls were all she needed to give her the strength and focus to walk.  Ah, Rachel, sweetie, I swear, I feel that way sometimes today.

I’m not sure how much my mom wrote down about Neim’s cooking.  I do remember one tattered recipe for “Fried Bananas” that was measured not in tablespoons or cups, but in numbers of “big spoons”.  My mom kept that old, swirly-handled Corning “big spoon” for decades – in fact, now that I think of it, that woman owns over 2,000 jigsaw puzzles.  She may still have that damn spoon.

When I got pregnant with my daughter, I had the fleeting burrito craving and the occasional mango-obsession, but my go-to for almost ten months was Vietnamese food.  The first craving came like a crazy, rogue wave on the beach – I NEED VIETNAMESE FOOD.  I didn’t even know WHAT I wanted – -I just knew I needed those flavors and that feeling of home with a capital H.  It had been so long since my preschool days in Seattle, I wasn’t even sure of the names of specific dishes anymore.  So I would show up at restaurants, clutch the arm of the server, and use my toddler Vietnamese pronunciation to try to get what my belly wanted.  Even when the result was not exactly what I remembered, the combination of fish sauce, lime, chili & sugar would jolt my soul back to my childhood . . . and I felt comforted.

But there was one dish I could NOT find.  I clutched numerous waiters’ arms and passionately described an egg crepe – a luscious eggie, creamy crepe, filled with bean sprouts and maybe something else I couldn’t remember, with fish sauce and lime . . . maybe a bit of spice.  Nobody knew what I was talking about.  Then, one day, while having my nails done (I KNOW, it’s a cliché, but there ARE a lot of Vietnamese girls doing nails in L.A.) I asked Tiffany if she knew what I was talking about.   “Banh xeo” she said.  “But there’s no egg.  Just turmeric.”


So I learned to make Banh Xeo.  I mixed the rice flour with coconut milk, added tons of turmeric and other spices, and I made that chewy, spicy-sour, unctuous explosion that my baby-body was screaming for.  And, as with most of my insane-o-preg-o cravings, I had three bites and I was finished.  But I was HAPPY.  I knew it was exactly what my body and my soul needed to finish building this beautiful baby.

I cook Vietnamese now from time to time, and I always feel a bit of suspense when I put any of it in front of my little girl.  When she grows up, will she remember?  For me, the taste imprints of those early days are so strong.  After all, they are my first memories of life on this planet.  I wonder what will happen, many (please, God) years down the road . . . what will my sweet girl be craving?  What will her body yearn for as she builds her own child?

** I will now take a five minute pause to sob at the thought . . . **

And I am consumed with the knowledge that I am responsible for so, so much in her life.  None of this parenting business can happen by accident.  The responsibility is too great to not take care.  So I will pay attention.  I will lead by example.  I will show my daughter what my parents showed me – that we give.  We give so that others may have the opportunities we have.  We give for no other reason than that, for that moment, we have what someone else needs.  And it feels so good to share.

Here’s my recipe for Banh Xeo.  It ain’t perfect, but it’s pretty damn good.



2 c. rice flour (available at Whole Foods and many grocery stores)

½ c. unsweetened coconut milk

2 1/3 c. cold water

2 t. turmeric

1 ½ t. sugar

½ t. kosher salt

¾ t. curry powder

3 green onions, sliced


4 T. oil (I always use olive, but you can use canola or peanut)

½ onion, shaved

8 oz. shrimp, tofu or 1 c. cooked beans

4 c. bean sprouts

2 c. mushrooms, sautéed and drained


1 serrano or jalapeno chile

1 clove garlic, sliced

3 T. sugar

2/3 c. warm water

2 T. fresh lime juice (DON’T substitute lemon – it’s NOT the same)

4 T. fish sauce


2 T. finely shredded carrot

1 c. chopped or torn cilantro

To make the batter:

Mix all ingredients together, set aside.

To make the sauce:

Mix everything together and let sit for about 30 minutes to mellow. (If you’re not a big raw garlic fan, as I am NOT, blanch the whole clove in boiling salted water for 30 seconds, cool and then slice).

To make the filling:

Mix the onion, protein (shrimp, tofu or beans), in a bowl.  Over high heat, saute ¼ of that mixture in 1 T. of the oil in a hot, nonstick pan for a few seconds.  Pour 2/3 c. batter over the sautéing filling and swirl like a crepe to the edges of the pan.  Pile on 1 c. bean sprouts and ½ c. sautéed mushrooms on top and then turn your heat to low to finish cooking – cover for about 5 minutes.  When the sides are crisp and a little brown (maybe 5-7 minutes), fold side over and slip out of pan.   Sprinkle with sauce, garnish and enjoy.

**If you’re pregnant, please feel free to take a nap afterward.  After all, you’re building kidneys and lungs and such – you deserve a snooze.

Some Like It Hot . . . VERY Hot

I have a confession:  I’m in love with my water bottle.  I call him My Baby Blue, and I constantly marvel at his incredible design, beautiful color and, so help me God, STAYING POWER – he stays hot for AT LEAST 5 hours, and that’s longer than any girl truly needs.  I take him everywhere with me – to work, on errands, on cross-country trips on location, to bed, of course.  Ooh, I can’t wait to take him to France with me at the end of the month!  My pre-dawn swim workouts would be absolutely unbearable without knowing this gorgeous hottie is waiting for me in my bag, full of still steaming yerba mate, ready to warm my chest and belly.  I wouldn’t DIE without him, but I’m such a happier woman with him in my life.

The flip side of this cutie is that he knows how to keep a drink cold as well.  I load him up with lemons, cucumbers, fresh water and a few ice cubes, and I’m set for a day at the beach.  Did you read that?  AT THE BEACH.  My baby can sit in the hot sun and stay as cool as . . . well, as the cucumber water that he’s guarding.  My heart flutters at the memory of playing catch with my little girl at the beach for hours, until we were both hot pink and bleary-eyed, and who do you think rescued us from certain heatstroke?  Not daddy – no, he was miles away.  You guessed it —  True Blue.

Now, my husband’s not an idiot.  It’s not like he’s actually JEALOUS of a BOTTLE.  In fact, he usually laughs and makes a total mockery me when I launch into rapturous wonder at the Nasa-esque technology or, more likely, divine intervention that has made this little phenom possible.   However, a man can only take so much.  I swear, the other day, as my nearest and dearest was unloading the dishwasher, I caught him shoving a certain blue bottle to the very back of the cupboard.  I suddenly realized I had a bit of a Sophie’s choice on my hands.  What could I do?  Give up my love for my love?  It made no sense.  There had to be another way.

Ta Da!

* – The beautiful Bottle and Spa Water book are both available at, and, no, this is not my company and they’re not paying me to scream their praises from the rooftops.  I’m just a huge fan!