January 31, 2015

Inspiration. It comes to us from time to time, and often from the unlikeliest of places.

Every morning I have an Internet ritual. 1. Facebook. Checking in with my peeps, and with what they’re reading and doing. (Back here in a moment.) 2. Confession:  From the login page I find out how many of you have read what I’ve written. 3. I read the local newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star, for the obituaries. 4. First stop at the New York Times, after a review of front page headlines, is the obits. If you want to learn about interesting people, read the New York Times obituaries. And, sadly, it’s from today’s obituary of Craig Ramini that I got the idea for this piece.

Craig Ramini, Who Followed His Heart to Buffalo Mozzarella, Dies at 57 is the headline. Now, I’d never heard of Mr. Ramini before this morning, but not because I couldn’t (and shouldn’t) have. In Go Ahead, Milk My Day, written by Sam Anderson for the New York Times Magazine Food & Drink Issue on October 11, 2012, Mr. Anderson profiled a man, 10 weeks younger than me, who decided at 52 to become a water buffalo farmer and Mozzarella di Bufala maker. Cancer killed Mr. Ramini way too soon, but he’s left a mark with his cheese, and with his willingness to follow his dreams. (Both pieces are worth your time.)

I don’t think cheese-making is in my future. Nor sadly, do I find myself making bread anymore, despite having been very focused on it for a while. I’m in a mostly gluten free zone right now, shedding pounds and sluggishness. Do, though, stay tuned for information about fruitcakes. I was inspired by some mail order catalogues, and am exploring a part-time, high end fruitcake venture. (If you have any ideas for a name, I’m all eyes and ears. Email me at

I mentioned Facebook also, and it’s to FB to which I return. For at least two or three years I’ve noticed a Facebook pattern among my friends. They use the ubiquitous site differently. Some people tell us where they’re eating, often with art. Others post pics of their friends. Some people share their triumphs and tragedies. I have a few friends who are totally focused on one subject. And some share links. No bright lines here, and no value judgments from me about how people use FB, but I do see patterns.

With that introduction (and with thanks to reader JWK, who shared the link on FB), you must watch this tampon commercial. Really, you must watch it! The production values are amazing, and I can’t think of a more important message for our children, boys and girls both, about how they see themselves and others. The messaging resonates with adults too!

I know my readers pretty well, so I know that by sharing the commercial I’m mostly preaching to a crowd which gets it, already. That said, not everyone we know is quite so enlightened. So if you watch the video and it speaks to you—and, especially, to those of you with daughters—share it. (And for anyone who’s still thinking “Wait. What? Tampon commercial?” you only know about the Always connection in the last frame.)

So I’m left with space for a few parting words. They comes from a preacher and a rabbi. The preacher is the late Rev. Forrest Church, son of Senator Frank and Bethine Church. His creed? Want what you have. Do what you can. Be who you are. And the rabbi is Geela Rayzel Raphael, from a Reconstructionist congregation in Pennsylvania. Her words? Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting “Holy Shechinah…what a ride.” I fail plenty, but do keep these words of advice close, always.

Go forth, and thanks, as always, for indulging me!

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