Sunday, March 27, 2016

Purple Day, In Case You Missed It, and My Ongoing Problem with Authority


I know you know I've got this great writing gig over at What you might not know is that Saturday (two days ago) was Purple Day. I'm not so into these days when we mark whatever hell is closest to our doors, but I do feel you can never be too aware of the effects of epilepsy, so I wrote a little personal piece for the website.

I'm no good at raising money anymore and am too mouthy to be much of a lobbyist. I have a problem with authority, to tell you the truth. In fact, even this past Saturday night, I had a deep and involved conversation with a developmental pediatrician who was compassionate, enlightened and a bit of a mansplainer, all rolled into one. I have to tell you, though, that despite my sharing Sophie's success with cannabis, he didn't ask me a single question about it. In lieu of doing anything constructive about this or perhaps admitting that the fault lies with me (I must sound dumb or offensive or crazy or something), I've decided that this is a rule and not an exception. His eyes didn't exactly glaze over, but he made more effort to disagree with me about my assertion that it's unethical to prescribe five drugs for a child with a seizure disorder that's already failed nine. When I told him that I've probably met or know of thousands of children with refractory epilepsy and have yet to meet one whose seizures stopped with the fourteenth or fifteenth drug, he disagreed and claimed to know some. To be fair, he admitted that it was often "the honeymoon effect," and his eyes flickered when I told him that Sophie had never been on a honeymoon so I was pretty certain that the cannabis wasn't working because of this phenomenon but was actually working, like, for real! I won't even mention the glaze his eyes took over when I casually dropped the little bomb that Sophie's seizures began after her initial vaccinations and worsened when she was vaccinated again while being treated with steroids.


The kind doctor is doing beautiful work with the disadvantaged and foster children -- and I'm cognizant of the fact that perhaps the fault lies with me and my ability to be persuasive and diplomatic and sensitive. Oh, and to be careful with that edgy, angry thing I do. I admit that when he declared his alliances with Various and Important Associations and Pediatric Monoliths, my own eyes glazed over.

The rift is enormous, you see, and I've no interest in vindication.

In any case, I can tell a story, can't I? My ability to do so is probably the only remnant of my sanity left after these twenty-one years.

Here's the link. Show it some love and share it if you think others might benefit.

Purple Day

Easter from Virginia

Sorry for the several days absence. Henry and I are on the east coast visiting some colleges. I've mooned around the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, my alma mater. I say mooned because I was so struck by emotion that I could barely speak. I was twenty again. The five years that I spent in Chapel Hill were some of the happiest of my life and pretty much unadulterated by anything other than some heartache over one boy or another and maybe that final D in Advanced Calculus. We're now in Virginia, staying in a pre-Civil War home on the Yeocomico River and later today will leave for Salisbury, Maryland.

I hope y'all have a happy Easter. Here's one of my favorite Easter poems:

The Palm at the End of the Mind

After fulfilling everything
one two three he came back again
free, no more prophecy requiring
that he enter the city just this way,
no more set-up treacheries.
It was the day after Easter. He adored
the eggshell litter and the cellophane
caught in the grass. Each door he passed
swung with its own business, all the 
witnesses along his route of pain
again distracted by fear of loss
or hope of gain. It was wonderful
to be a man, bewildered by 
so many flowers, the rush
and ebb of hours, his own
ambiguous gestures--his 
whole heart exposed, then
taking cover.

Kay Ryan

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I'm in the mood for

more Jack Gilbert:

to C

In the Beginning

In the morning when Eve and Adam
woke to snow and their minds,
they set out in marvelous clothes
hand in hand under the trees.

Endlessly precision met them,
until they went grinning in time
with no word for their close
escape from that warm monotony.

Jack Gilbert
via Collected Poems

Also, please read and share, if you'd like, my most recent article on It's about women and what happens when they gather together in a room:

The Wisdom in the Room

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Yeah, Baby

That's an honest to God, no filter added typical southern California sunset.  Yeah, baby.

Here are some shots of my baby. Long-time readers might remember that this baby was cut from the baseball team of his new high school, that he was heart-broken, that his mama was even more heart-broken for him, but that after a period of mourning, he picked himself up and threw himself into lacrosse. His high school started a lacrosse team this spring, and Henry is not only co-captain but playing some of the best lacrosse of his life. I am so proud of the man that he's becoming. No filter added.

Yeah, baby.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Coronado Island

My favorite coffee mug is broken. Even. There's a line on the inside, snaking from top to bottom that I saw afterward. When I poured the coffee into it I thought I'd missed, a pool of pale brown seeping out from under. The blue gazelle bled brown drops and no matter how many times I wiped, the blue bloomed brown. The mushrooms, the perfect green curlicues, all stained. I am tempted toward sad, the tears for the mug, my favorite, for blue and green bled brown. No matter. A slice of glass in the dishwasher, too, jagged and a chunk of ceramic hacked off the sink, a black scuff on the edge of the counter.  Chairs were thrown while I slept by the ocean.

We have a rat in the shed and the rat man is here with bait. It's like a granola bar, he says. His bald head gleams. He has three squares of plastic clover glued onto black boxes. They go off to die.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

I'm in the mood

Coronado Island

for some Jack Gilbert:

It Is Difficult To Speak Of The Night

It is difficult to speak of the night.
It is the other time. Not
an absence of day.
Bt where there are no flowers
to turn away into.
There is only this dark
and the familiar place of my body.
And the voices calling out
of me for love.
This is not the night of the young:
their simple midnight of fear.
Nor the later place to employ.
This dark is a major nation.
I turn to it at forty
and find the night in flood.
Find the dark deployed in process.
Clotted in parts, in parts
flowing with lights.
The voices still keen of the divorce
we are born into.
But they are farther off,
and do not interest me.
I am forty, and it is different.
Suddenly in midpassage
I come into myself. I leaf
gigantically. An empire yields
unexpectedly: cities, summer forests,
satrapies, horses.
A solitude: an enormity.
Thank god.

Jack Gilbert
via Poetry

Friday, March 18, 2016

My Conversion

I know some of you will be happy to hear that I saw the light last night. Note the labels that I used for this post: Bruce Springsteen, music and religion. Yes, indeedy. I worshipped for over 3 1/2 hours at the altar of Bruce Springsteen. I danced and sang at the top of my lungs, on my feet for nearly the entire time. It was joy in the form of thousands of people waving their snaky arms overhead, grown men hugging one another and little kids bewildered to see their parents acting so crazy. It was one more and then another and then another and then another, and we were all laughing and bouncing and jumping and doing one more. And then again. I only drank one beer, but I was in love with the universe. That's my whoop at the end of the clip when I was born again.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Take a Shower and Let Me Share Two Things

Whew. That was intense, no?

Last night, Oliver and I drove up the 101 in my new car to watch Henry play lacrosse. Did I mention that I have a new car? I traded in my Sexy White Mazda for a smaller, sportier Smokin' Hot Blue Mazda. It has a particularly good sound system that Oliver quite ably hooked our iPhones up to, and while we whiled (can I say that) in the tremendous traffic of the shitty, I demanded some Rolling Stones. Specifically Sweet Virginia, perhaps one of my favorite Stones hits. Did I mention that I love to sing anywhere on this little old blog? If not, I love to sing, and I really, really love to sing Sweet Virginia, right after that incredible plaintive harmonica turns into drums and then -- oh, Mick. Little did I know last night the storm that would be unleashed by Tina the Pharma Rep in the morning, but I think it might have been prescient that I belted out the lines with the profanity with especial vigor. I'm not talking about tryin' to stop the waves behind your eyeballs, either. After all, Oliver is nearly fifteen and needs to know that it's quite all right to scrape that shit right off your shoes.


Henry won the game and even scored a goal (he plays long stick defense and rarely gets the chance)! I acted like a woman possessed and even stomped my feet on the metal bleachers and screamed his name! I am so proud of him and the man he's becoming. Honestly, how lucky am I?

Here are the two things I wanted to share:

  1. My second interview is up on It's with my dear friend and cohort, Allison Ray Benavides. If I weren't differently inclined, I'd be the Alice to her Gertrude. Please check out the interview and leave a comment. Poke around and read some other  articles -- all written by a terrific bunch of people. Give that site some traffic so I can continue to earn my keep.
  2. I am going to see Bruce Springsteen tonight. Yeah. How about that?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dear Tina Turk, "Pharma Rep":

Something tells me that you're not really a Tina and might not even be a "pharma rep," but I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt and will address you as so. After reading your interesting comment to me this morning on my last blog post, I have a number of questions that go beyond my perhaps knee-jerk, immediate response to the comment. I'm going to bank on you actually being a pharma rep and therefore hope that you'll visit here and perhaps respond, again. This being said, I do hope that you'll refrain from attacking me or my family personally.

I'll remind you of your comment:

I am a pharma rep and it really is not like that. You sound too angry and maybe you should help for that. Pharma has been ragged on too much, and it is not true. I feel sorry for you because that anger and bitterness is in your body and the only person you are hurting is yourself. I can see why some people in your family get upset with your rage.

My first question addresses your claim to being a pharma rep and "it" really not being like that. Like what? In the blog post and elsewhere on my blog, I've mainly written about my experience with "pharma," and whether it's paying $16,000 for a vial of ACTH or $949 for a 30-day supply of Onfi or going through the slow and torturous process of weaning a powerful narcotic from my child's 75 pound body, there are very few emotions other than despair and anger to express. I am perfectly aware that pharmaceuticals can also work powerfully toward the good, but other than writing some kind of caveat, I'm probably going to just write about my own experience and expertise. That being said, have you read the latest ten-part series on Johnson and Johnson? How about the story of just how the manufacturers of Oxycontin managed to saturate the market with their painkillers, snow physicians about their efficacy and contribute to the raging heroin addiction problem our country faces? I can write about that from experience, too, as I have several -- yes, SEVERAL -- relatives currently addicted to opiates and heroin. The goodness of pharmaceuticals has eluded us. So, when you say "it really not being like that," I'm interested to know what it's really like. I know for a fact, too, that other minds would love to know.

My second question refers to your assertion that I "sound too angry" and should get help for that anger. Thank you for that concern, if you are, indeed, concerned. To tell you the truth, I did waffle a bit about that post and asked myself whether it sounded too angry. I have friends and family who were very much helped by pharmaceuticals, by painkillers used at the end of life, by antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, by chemo for cancer and so on. I am sometimes painfully aware of my anger, my biases and the ineffectiveness of being and seeming so. I feel conflicted about expressing my anger, but I also believe that anger to be a justified response to the hegemony* of our medical/industrial complex over those people who dissent. Perhaps it's also a response to the patriarchy's hegemony over angry women. It's completely and utterly justified in reference to the clusterfuck that is marijuana policy in this country. In any case, what would you have me do otherwise?

Finally, this isn't a question -- or even a defense -- but I am aware of the corrosive effects of anger as well as how, when directed wisely, it can galvanize and energize. I am gifted (by chance, by luck, by the universe) with a talent for stringing together words to express myself. I'm going to always strive for truth, for expressing the world and my life as I see and experience it. Sometimes, I'm going to sound like a bitch, a whining and spoiled first-world ingrate. I appreciate when people call me on that and promise to always accept that criticism humbly and work on it. Other times, I'm going to rage and rant despite the "anger and bitterness" in my body and take my chances on it "hurting" myself. Why? I'll answer that. Not a week goes by that I don't get a telephone call, an email or a comment on this blog from someone who is grateful for my expressing my experience because it so closely resembles theirs, and they don't feel so alone. That makes any slights to my body worth it.

My final question concerns your stated understanding of why some people in my family get upset with my rage. Dragging my family into it sort of blows your cover as concerned Citizen Pharma Rep. Or are you actually in my family, Tina?


*Thanks to my friend Allison Ray Benevides who taught me everything I know about hegemony. You can read her brilliant take on everything here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

House of Cards: A Whole Plant Manifesto

How do you follow up a post about the death of four children whom you actually know? Shouldn't there be a period of silence, of mourning?

Today, The New York Times published an article titled Marijuana-Based Drug Found to Reduce Epileptic Seizures. You see, the big guns at GW Pharmaceutical had been conducting studies, and these studies are confirming what we already know. Yeah, I think there need to be studies. I've got one going in my house and have been diligently studying for three years and seventeen years before that. One of the residual effects of dealing with all of this shit for so long is that I don't have even a fingernail's worth of trust in the system. And at risk of sounding like one of those crazy conspiracy people, I suspect all the big pharmaceutical companies are working their asses off to keep marijuana from being de-scheduled so that they can control the whole pie. Sorry about all the banalities, the pies and the fingernails, the houses of cards, but using trite language can be as effective and judicious as a good curse word.

I have learned that it's essential we talk about whole plant medicine. So, if you send me that article, I'm going to say, thanks, I saw it but I don't give a damn what GW Pharmaceuticals is doing. What I'm going to think is fu*k GW Pharmaceuticals and the horse it rode in on. Then I'm going to laugh my ass off over the big 'ole CDC announcing today that they are no longer recommending opiates for pain control.

Doctors Told to Avoid Prescribing Opiates for Chronic Pain

Meanwhile, I've had to halt the weaning process of the opiate that Sophie's been on for over eight years so I can give her a break from the agony.

What I do give a damn about is this story that I wrote for -- not my story, of course, but the story of brave and dogged people like Lindsay Rose Sledge.

A Passionate Mother's Reluctant Path to Lobbying.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Epilepsy as Killer

This is Oliver. He had Dravet Syndrome and died this morning, in his mother's arms.

This is Dani. She died from complications of epilepsy on March 10th, in her parents' arms.

This is Cyndimae. She died of SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy Patients) yesterday while napping on her father's chest after a normal day.

I don't even know what to say other than to bring these beautiful children to your attention, to ask you to bow your heads and send all your loving juju to their families. I know them all through this bizarre and wonderful community of people struggling with seizure disorders, cannabis and the fight for access. I've looked at their pictures, followed their ups and downs and spoken with their mothers over the years. These children are our children. Cyndimae, Dani and Oliver are our lights, even if extinguished.

The Quarterly Tiny Little Mother Mind™ Report

Someone said this: Science is more than equations or experiments. It is a window to humanity, a quest for understanding, and, often, a way of life. 

I poked raspberries in Sophie's mouth. She's a bird these days, less -like than ready to fly. She opens her mouth and reaches toward the plate, around me, ready for the next and the next. Her father took her to the dentist last week, but they had to leave without the cleaning because she was too rowdy. The strain of cannabis that we're trying and the dosage that we've tinkered with so diligently under the direction of Dr. Bonni Goldstein is helping Sophie. Yesterday, she had her first full-blown seizure in nearly ten days. That's some data right there, a pattern building. It's a fallacy peddled by neurocapitalists that we need more evidence. Here's what's working for us: less pharmaceuticals, more cannabis. Long-term effects are now.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday Inference

I spoke with a woman last week whose baby recently had been given phenobarbital as a first-line defense when the baby developed seizures. Twenty one years ago, I stood in the hallway of a New York City hospital and expressed concern about the effects of phenobarbital on the developing brain of my own baby. What's a couple points drop in IQ? the doctor said, and that was that.

I spoke with a woman a couple of weeks ago whose baby recently had been given keppra as a first-line defense when he developed seizures. The doctor said that a small percentage of people taking the drug get very angry and irritable, she said. Yes, it's called "keppra rage," I told her. About ten years in to her diagnosis and shortly before it was approved for use, Sophie took keppra. It did nothing for her seizures, I told the woman,  but she never developed any rage.  Last night, the woman texted me that the baby had another seizure. He has a cold, the mother told me. I had hoped the medicine would work. I said, Viruses are notorious for precipitating seizures. All bets are off.

My friend Allison has been treating her son with cannabis from the get-go. Would I have done so had I been presented with the option? Did I feel resentful of nineteen years, wasted? No more I am not a doctor, but...

Yes, she said. Yes, I would. Yes.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Greetings from India*

I get wonderful emails every day from all sorts of interesting people. Today I learned that I am the recipient of the Matthew Arnold Award for "sweetness and light in creative writing." The email that announced this award was easily the most wonderful I've ever received, and I thought in this otherwise bleak old world, that you would find it amusing, uplifting and maybe even life-altering.

Here it is:

a house of public relations
[Regd. under the Dept. of Hr. Edn., Govt. of India]

106, Santoshi Vihar, Meherpalli, Canal Road, Laxmisagar, P.O. - Budheswari,
Bhubaneswar - 751 006, Orissa, India

Dear Poet / Writer,

Greetings! Hope this letter finds you in a cheerful mood !

As well known to the intellectual world The Home of Letters (India) or
HOLI is engaged in literary, publishing and socio-cultural activities for
the cultural uplift of man. It acts like a platform to exchange sublime
ideas between the poets, writers, scholars and the intellectuals of the
world through its various publications, books, anthologies etc. It is a
House which organises small seminars from time to time (depending upon
finance) where poets, writers, scholars and the intellectuals discuss
various educational, literary and socio-cultural topics. It also awards
individuals for their high level achievement in personal or professional
life / for outstanding accomplishments in the literary, intellectual or
academic realm / for outstanding contribution to the fields of art, culture,
education and society / for their commendable contribution in promoting
world peace and universal brotherhood with humanitarian ideologies. Since
1997 HOLI has been playing a very significant role in the above fields.

You will be pleased to know that we
would like to confer upon you “MATTHEW ARNOLD AWARD" for sweetness and
light in creative writing.

The multi-colour certificate (20 X 14 inches in size) is beautifully
laminated on
WOOD and photo-framed (for
hanging on wall / for
placing on table or shelf), which will be sent to you by Regd. Airmail.
name will be published in one of our publications in future.

If you are interested to receive this WOOD-LAMINATED citation you may
send USD 150 (as
administrative, processing, packing, postal charges etc.).

*Mode of* Payment : Bank Wire
Transfer (please ask for our SWIFT bank details)

[[Pl note that on my Facebook timeline there is a photo album: THE
HOME OF LETTERS (INDIA) in which we have published 2 lists (pl. click
on the 8th and 10th photos) of persons on whom HOLI conferred Awards
till date. More such lists will be published soon]]

If this letter hurts your sentiment in any way, please just ignore it.
Frankly speaking, the aim of this scheme is to encourage writers / scholars
/ intellectuals to contribute more in the above mentioned fields and to help
them prosper in their own personal career.

As we publish books you may also send mss. for publication in book form. If
interested, pl. ask for details.

Best wishes for your creative / academic / professional life !

Stay well ! Thank you !

Faithfully yours,

Dr. Mandal Bijoy Beg

I'm off to wire in my money and receive my laminated award. Reader, tell me what you're doing today.

*Note to New Readers. This is a Public Service Announcement (as my friend Rebecca says). I actually understand this to be a wild and crazy spam, but I give it an A for effort.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Back to Regular Programming

This is the last bit of sweetness you'll see or read for today.

I've got the first of a regular column up on that I hope you'll check out. As I mentioned last week, I'll be writing regularly for them and eventually migrating over to I'll be doing interviews, human interest and news stories as well as features. The column I envision will be a series and will chronicle our own path toward healing. It's very exciting and a tad intimidating, and I'm reminded every single moment I'm doing it how positively revolutionary this all is. Honestly.

Today I read yet another article about another state's legislature dithering around with medical marijuana laws. I've listened to presidential candidates, "top" neurologists and so forth and so on speak gravely of the need for more research and their fears and concerns about everything from predictions of a sort of stoned populace driving willy nilly to children accidentally ingesting giant cannabis edibles and the country's morals literally going to pot.

Can I hear a sigh?

Can you smell the bullshit?

May I rant for a moment?

Call me crazy, but these doctors, lawmakers, politicians, pharmaceutical companies and pharmacists don't give a "rat's ass" about the "dangers" of marijuana or the health of children. They care about power and money. Diabetes is one of the nation's leading health scourges, isn't it? And the numbers of children diagnosed with diabetes has skyrocketed. Let's not even get into how many children, at ever younger ages, are being diagnosed with various mental health disorders and learning disabilities and then given drugs to "help" and "control" them, even as the numbers continue to rise and no real long-term studies of the effects of these drugs over time exist. Any child can go into a 7-Eleven or some other junk store and purchase a Coke or a Slurpee or any number of chemical and sugar-laden drinks that rival the size of a grown man's head and drink it down -- hell -- a few times a day if that kid is so inclined. I believe a Big Gulp has nearly 5x the amount of sugar recommended as a daily allowance. I suppose it's still arguable whether the grotesque over-consumption of sugar, particularly in processed foods and sodas, is at the root of the diabetes and obesity epidemics, but you can bet those big companies like Coca-Cola and McDonald's are rarely admonished or restricted from hawking their wares in ever more sophisticated ways to children. Hell, there's a McDonald's in the lobby of the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, frequented by disadvantaged families visiting the MediCal clinics and bald children in plastic red wagons pulling IV poles. Children's welfare, my ass. In Utah yesterday, the Mormon-heavy legislature passed a bullshit and arguably useless cannabis bill, despite the entreaties of numerous patients and families. Guess who wrote the bill that effectively sabotaged an earlier, more scientifically sound one that patient and family groups supported? A legislator who is a pharmacist. Guess who advised the legislator and helped to write the bill? A doctor who founded a company whose mission is "to make quality of life better through oral, non-psychoactive cannabis products." Guess who put out a special edict several weeks ago condemning medical marijuana? Prophet Monson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

 I'm not making this shit up.

Every now and then, you have to get up off your knees where you've been for months and years, begging the Powers That Be to help me, please please help me, and stretch to your full height standing and ask them to disengage themselves from religion, special interest, power and cash.   Every now and then you might have to scream at them.

So, consider that a scream.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Happy 21st Birthday, Sophie Girl!

March 8, 1996

I have never loved someone the way I love you
I have never seen a smile like yours
And if you grow up to be king or clown or pauper
I will say you are my favorite one in town
I have never held a hand so soft and sacred
When I hear your laugh I know heaven's key
And when I grow to be a poppy in the graveyard
I will send you all my love upon the breeze
And if the breeze won't blow your way
I will be the sun
And if the sun won't shine your way
I will be the rain
And if the rain won't wash away
All your aches and pains
I will find some other way
To tell you you're okay
You're okay
You're okay
You're okay
You're okay
You're okay
You're okay.

My Brightest Diamond

There'll be donuts at school and a big party on Friday night. It's been twenty-one years, people. Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunday Morning

Spooning crunchy little potatoes into my mouth, a sip of a latte, the whine of the boy next to me on the bench, his mother's soft Indian-inflected chiding. A couple walked in and up to the counter, his clothes rumpled, her hair a mat. I knew where they'd been, maybe minutes before. My own crumpled bed, the first night in twenty-one years where I lay without Sophie in the room across the hall. The house was quiet and the world was calm. The first morning, too. Hesitation to write it thus for all that is implied. Sex and death but neither. I might have woken once or twice, alert, then sunk back into sleep, she resting at her father's. Why must I always mark the days? I'm reading a short story and there's a boy and a school and a teacher and a drawer and in it some stars and I look up from my latte and see those tiny golden stars, foil on slick white, so many stars to a sheet to want to wait to earn. Stars unbidden and bidden, hidden yet.

Blanche McCarthy

Look in the terrible mirror of the sky
And not in this dead glass, which can reflect
Only the surfaces—the bending arm,
The leaning shoulder and the searching eye.

Look, in the terrible mirror of the sky.
Oh, bend against the invisible; and lean
To symbols of descending night; and search 
The glare of revelations going by!

Look in the terrible mirror of the sky.
See how the absent moon waits in a glade
Of your dark self, and how the wings of stars,
Upward, from unimagined coverts, fly.

Wallace Stevens, from The Palm at the End of the Mind, Selected Poems and a Play

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The New Job

Woman Writing

I've alluded to The New Job during the last couple of months, so here it is. I'm writing for a company called Weedmaps and their websites: and I'll also be helping to edit other material. It's full-time. I'll be posting several times a week -- interviews, columns, interesting stories that are all related to medical cannabis and human interest. The website is up and running and is an important resource for all things marijuana-related. The site is a work in progress, and eventually my writing will primarily be featured there. I can't begin to express how grateful I am for this job to have come my way, how perfectly it works out for me both financially and flexibly. I will work from home. If Sophie has a bad day and needs to stay home, I can still work from home.  Praise Jesus and hallelujah! Or shall I say praise Cannabis! The irony isn't lost on me that I am still a person who hasn't "partaken" in nearly thirty years, that I got this perfect job because of the often torturous path to healing for Sophie, that I can now parlay my skills into educating and inspiring other families to look at cannabis as a healing plant.

My first article, an interview with a wonderful writer, mother and dear friend and compadre is up today. You can read it here:

Making THCa at Home: An Interview with a Mother

Please leave a comment on the site if you feel like it. And I'd really love it if you'd give me some ideas and suggestions for future interviews, articles and so forth that I could work on. Like everything else in life, it's a grand collaboration, and I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Sebastiao Salgado

Oh, the news, the news, the news. It's hard to watch and harder to understand what the hell is going on, no? It's all so — puny. Pathetic. Lame. It makes one yearn for a Jonathan Swift to pen a satire. My inclination is to condescend, and who will be helped by that?

I think instead I'll tell you about last night. Last night I went to Santa Monica and met my Oldest Friend Moye for an evening with philosopher Pico Iyer and photographer Sebastiao Salgado. They were in conversation, sitting slanted toward one another in two big, easy chairs. Salgado came out first and introduced a slideshow of photos from his project called Genesis. The word slideshow is actually not an apt descriptor of what we experienced on the huge screen in the theater. While glorious music swelled and faded and then swelled again, we gazed on, literally, the wonders of the planet. This planet. Animals, both beast and human, landscapes and water and clouds and birds oh the birds. After a few minutes, I felt as if my back was pinned to the seat behind me, sort of like the amusement park ride called drunken barrel, where the centrifugal force and power allows you to stay suspended, the floor drops your jaw drops and everything, everything is spinning but you're absolutely still in wonder. Yes. That's what it was like.

Afterward, Pico and Sebastiao chatted and chuckled in their easy chairs, and we listened, rapt. Pico is a slight man with a quiet voice — he was exactly like I imagined he would be. Gentle. Quiet stillness. Salgado's accent is very thick, and I strained at times to understand what he was saying. When you strain like that, you can't stop straining because if you do, you miss everything. Do you know what I mean? He speaks with passion and humor and seriousness about the planet, about our need to go back to the planet, about our relationship to all living things, about healing the planet. He speaks of the dignity of all men and women. He shows us this dignity. He and his wife have planted over 2 million trees on his land in Brazil that was decimated by deforestation. Once a paradise and then a scene of barren degradation, his family home is nearly fully restored, a paradise again. We can all do this, he says. We can do this.

I felt exhausted at the end and exhilarated.

How can we pay attention to these pathetic, lame and puny excuses for human beings that are clogging our consciousness when so much work and beauty is out there to do and behold? Let's not. Let's heed Salgado. Let's go back to the planet.


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