My Philosophy of Food:
- Create food for yourself and loved ones to make you smile inside & out.
- Use seasonal produce and fresh ingredients.
- Learn a few basic techniques that are highly versatile.
- Minimize kitchen clean-up.
My Philosophy of Life:
- Take responsibility for your life.
- Create your joy.
- Surround yourself with people who lift you up.
- Learn from others.
- Share what you know.
- Sing, in the key you were given.
Who I am:
I live with my husband Joel (my Novio). We’re grateful to live in a neighborhood that’s both green and friendly in Los Angeles.
When I’m at farmers’ markets, I can’t always resist caressing the goods. As my brother-in-law noted in his wedding speech to us in ’07, “Joel, watch out, you might lose her to an eggplant.”
So I welcome you to join me in this adventure. For old friends and new, here comes a bumbleberry breeze wafting into your kitchen.
You can reach me at:
This week, I celebrate an anniversary that completely humbles me. It is 38 years since my first dialysis treatment. Even though my kidneys slowed down to the point that I needed and continue to need this therapy, it is this very therapy that opened the door for me to go on. To go on with school. To receive my degrees. To teach. To learn. To help others. To fall in love. To turn my attention and creativity to my life-long passion for food.
There are always pros and cons. For years I made the case for compartmentalization in my life. My rationale made perfect sense. I didn’t want to be known as the kidney girl. I was, of course, wanting to be defined for who I was and not for a body part. And one that didn’t work. Give me a break.
But that took me only so far. I had experiences that no one in my peer group in high school was having (and oh, how I didn’t want to be having them). But I was seeing and experiencing things that were informing how I viewed the world.
I, who had always been excited about food, was, as a young girl, suddenly dealing with limited amounts of daily fluid, protein, salt, potassium and phosphorus consumption. To ensure that I was keeping myself as well as possible, I learned to weigh foods that were sources of protein (on a rickety postage scale, no less!) until I could eyeball any piece of meat, poultry or cheese and automatically know how many ounces it weighed and how many grams of protein it contained. The same with fluid. I could eye a glass of liquid and know immediately how many ounces or milliliters it was. I had gone metric at a tender age and knew about portion control long before it was fashionable. Big-Gulp-sized portions were banned from my life decades before those portions became a political issue.
No doubt, some of the hurdles have been tough and some periods dark, but through it all, I learned some incredibly important skills that have served me well. Skills like asking questions, being inquisitive about processes, sticking with a problem-solving approach. All of which add up to development of a strong commitment to taking responsibility for my well-being, my joy, and to the greatest extent possible, my life. And along the way, people came into my life who have been amazing teachers, mentors, supporters and friends.
Eventually I realized that compartmentalizing my life was having the opposite effect. I didn’t like holding back. I wanted more integration. And once I moved toward greater personal integration by doing non-profit work educating, advocating and offering others encouragement, I began to feel whole inside. By the time dialysis was part of my life for twenty years, I was on the conference circuit, speaking to physicians, nurses, dieticians, clinical administrators and patients.
After intense and deeply satisfying work in the renal field for more than a decade, I needed a break. A year ago, I opened a new door and found a wonderful creative outlet through the world of food blogging. A place where my glee for food could find a home. In my first year as creator of Bumbleberry Breeze, I focused on the food, taking a break here from the rest of my life as I developed more ways to create delicious and healthy dishes. Long ago, I learned to manage my dialysis therapy in ways that gave me the freedom back to enjoy a far greater variety of foods than in the early years of my life with dialysis.
Over the past year, I wrote anecdotes and mused about memories that the foods I featured evoked in me. But I was holding back and I knew it. However much I was putting out there, I was holding back even more.
And now I’m feeling that oh-so familiar tug to integrate once again. So here I am, in the spring of 2013, at the close of Passover, a time of renewal, ready to take that leap again.
I invite you along for the ride. Send me your comments, your questions. I promise I’ll be real with you. Thanks for stopping by.
How did that happen? A year already? And here we are, dear Readers, as I celebrate 39 years of doing dialysis – the gift of my life. And I’m back doing talks again at conferences on how to live a good and joyful life while doing dialysis. Because I don’t believe in waiting for everything to be perfect to engage in life. Have you realized that it just ain’t gonna happen? In the words of the great Roseann Rosanna-Danna, “There’s always something…” And we can create a good life along with that variety of somethings.
So be well.
Back in 2000, when my third round of having a kidney transplant was a no-go, we were all disappointed, and by that I mean my friends, family and doctors. When I was back in the hospital and it was clear that the transplanted kidney was already damaged beyond repair after just a few months, my dear nephrologist, Frank Strauss, came into my room. He stood over my bed and gazed out the window. “Why aren’t you screaming at me to do something?” ” Because I know this is beyond your control — if there was anything you could have done, you would have done it by now.” Yes, I was as disappointed as everyone else in my life, probably more. But I also knew there was a lot more to me than the presence vs. absence of kidney function. “Don’t worry, the kidney is going but I’m not. There’s dialysis and I’m going to do the best possible treatment I can to keep me well. Frank looked at me incredulously. “Why are you comforting me? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?” I love that man. Not only an outstanding doctor, but an all-around outstanding guy.
So here I am, almost 15 years later, working on a documentary about overcoming adversity and creating a good life for yourself. I just launched a brand-new website to go along with the film, called Life On the Bridge. Click here to go right to the website of the same name (lifeonthebridge.com). There’s a saying that life is 10% circumstance and 90% attitude. My journey screams that out to me and I hold on to it. I share that journey with you.
Be well. Be strong . Be HERE.
First cut of the documentary LIFE ON THE BRIDGE is HERE!!!! Check out where it will be available by looking for updates on http://www.lifeonthebridge.com
It’s June of 1975. I started kidney dialysis a mere 3 months before. I’m called for my first kidney transplant. I feel nothing but elation. This is my ticket out of this dialysis nightmare. The doctors keep repeating that all I need is a transplant and I will be fine. All that’s running through my 15-year-old mind is, “I’m about to get my life back!” Pure anticipation and excitement – picking up where I left off.
Fast forward to me on the operating room table. Someone is coming at me with a mask to put over my face. I smell the noxious fumes, and am being told to breathe slowly through my nose.
Suddenly, reality hits. What am I doing?! I want to bolt out of there.
And all of a sudden, a small voice inside me says, with utmost resoluteness,”Remember This Moment.”
Now, 40 years later, I see why.
Life On The Bridge has its first public screening on August 30. See http://www.lifeonthebridge.com for info.
I’m about to begin the next chapter of my journey! I have had the wonderful opportunity to screen my documentary, Life On The Bridge (see above) to a variety of audiences over the past year:
- a film festival in NYC
- medical centers
- medical conferences
And then earlier this year, something inside was tugging at me, like a little kid tugging at her mom’s skirt saying, “Hey, I want this!” I’ve always loved Jewish learning, studying the Sacred texts that’s got timeless wisdom tucked inside. And I’ve always loved helping people, in all kinds of ways.
I started researching and checking out local programs, going to Open Houses, talking with faculty, and Boom! It was as if a lens clicked into focus