Posts Tagged ‘Amy Tiemann’

what goes around

April 3rd, 2010    -    3 Comments

If you have a moment to spare this weekend, please cycle back to the Huffington Post and catch my first blog post there: 4 Reasons Laundry Leads to Happiness (Having Clean Socks is One of Them).

For a half-hour escape, listen in on a podcast interview with me posted over at Mojo Mom. Listening to it even convinces me I’m sane! At least I’m not talking about the iPad, and that gives us all a headstart on peace and quiet.

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Proof of an alternate universe

June 22nd, 2009    -    8 Comments

Me: I have to pick up the dog poop in the yard before Amy Tiemann comes today.

Him: I just picked it up on Saturday.

One day soon he should get a dog.

Not now, I’m working

June 2nd, 2009    -    39 Comments

It’s the full-time job of a writer to keep reading, so I just finished two delicious books to send your way with a chance to win and a 100 percent guarantee that either is worth buying anyway. Leave a comment below to enter the giveaway. But let me whet your appetite first:

Eve: A Novel of the First Woman – You will love this sumptuous tale of Eden’s Eve and her troublesome family. Ever since I read The Red Tent I’ve been convinced that bible stories could bear retelling from a woman’s point of view, because then they become stories I want to read. Author Elissa Elliott made this tale real and recognizable to any woman. I’m no biblical historian, thank heaven, so nothing stopped me from appreciating the sheer magic of the fiction. This is Elissa’s first book, and writer-to-writer I just can’t imagine how she made the whole thing up. Let this inspire your deep wondering about who we really are. I have a hardcover copy to give away.

Mating Rituals of the North American WASP – Now for a different slice of the apple. Here’s a love story spun in a wickedly comic way by Lauren Lipton about a girl who wakes up married to a guy she doesn’t even know, gets engaged to another she hardly ever sees, and dates someone she can’t even stand. I know, it sounds dangerously close to reality, but unlike my life story, this one will be a movie. Funny, smart, likable and the perfect fit for any summer tote bag. Let this inspire a day at the beach, the pool or the hammock. I have a paperback copy to give away.

Leave a comment including a way to reach you through your blog or email. I’ll draw the winners (and I’ll decide what you win) after this Friday at 6 p.m. PDT.


Our hard-working winners: Latisha for Eve and Kristin H. for Mating Rituals. Good job!

Calling all summer readers! There are more words of wisdom in store at the Mother’s Summer Reading Salon with Mojo Mom Amy Tiemann and me on Tuesday, June 23, 7 p.m. at Sierra Madre Books. Learn how a little light reading can change your direction this summer.

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The mother at the end of my block

April 7th, 2009    -    4 Comments

Just a few months after my daughter’s birth, I saw another mother on the corner at the end of my block. – Momma Zen

Amy Tiemann’s second edition of Mojo Mom is born today. It is an updated compendium of thoughtful questions and resources about rebuilding a healthy life after you become a mother. I just read it for the first time, although it was the second time. That’s what I’m told the second birth is like: not like the first, which you can’t remember anyway.

There is a story about me and Amy that I’m not sure she knows. And the story is this: she is the mother I met at the end of my block. We all have this mother. Another mother that you meet in a jolt of recognition in those first desolate months, the other mother to whom you will reveal yourself in the mutual reflection of empathy and acceptance. The mother with an extra ziplock bag of Cheerios in her stroller when yours have run out just as you start the steep homeward climb.

Amy was that mother not for the birth of my baby, although our daughters were born within weeks of one another. Amy is the mother I met on my block for the birth of my book.

A few months before the birth of Momma Zen, I started casting a crazed daze about the neighborhood. I’d started and finished the project in a creative cocoon, oblivious to what was already out there, unaware of what anyone else had written first or best. I highly recommend cocoons for all transformative processes. It is nature’s perfect way and thankfully requires no recommendation from me.

I ordered Amy’s book, her baby, just to confirm that it was not my own. We can all envision the movie-of-the-week hysteria that would overtake us should someone else leave the hospital with our baby! I read her book to check for family markings: the ear lobes, the nose, the big toe, and came away convinced. She had hers; and I had mine.

In the years since I have confirmed that and more. Amy has her own inimitable approach to this bottomless topic of life as a mother. She has a scientist’s mind, a seeker’s eye and a mother’s heart. She is overwhelmingly generous, kind and reassuring. If I am the priest at your bedside, she is the doctor. Believe me, you want to see the doctor well before the priest arrives.

In her book, Amy asks the questions we may be afraid to ask ourselves. They are practical, not spiritual, but can seem quite impossible and intangible in the early years. Questions about work, time, space, money, childcare, self-care, power and politics. Mojo Mom will leave you energized and activated, not agitated and polarized, as so much mommy talk can.

As life would have it, as it always will, Amy and I have walked these blocks, these years, in each other’s continuous company. With mutual respect and humor. As life would have it, as it always will, we will soon be walking the blocks in my very neighborhood when Amy comes to visit me in June. She and I will host a Mother’s Summer Reading Salon at Sierra Madre Books on Tuesday, June 23.

Can you believe it? I can’t, but I can trust this life exactly as it unfolds, as surely as you can trust yours and everyone in it.

Buy Amy’s book for any mother on your block this Mother’s Day. The block is both bigger and smaller than you think, and no one walks it alone.

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Covering the ground

April 2nd, 2009    -    9 Comments

This Saturday I’ll be giving the dharma talk at the Hazy Moon Zen Center. Come and join our morning program of sitting. And if you don’t know how to sit, then take our beginner’s class. We will all be beginners on Saturday.

This weekend Georgia and I leave for Amsterdam where we’ll be seeing the sights and making some of our own at a Zen Mama workshop on April 8 co-sponsored by Lof magazine for working mothers. They are giving everyone who comes the Dutch copy of my book and a piece of cake. Come for the cake! I am already so deeply impressed by the hospitality and sincerity of my Dutch hosts. We have a saying in Zen, “covering the ground where you stand.” It is the signpost of self-mastery. I feel as though I can do this one lying down, and laugh my head off.

Laugh and the world laughs with you, I’m out to prove.

I’ll be popping in from time to time next week, especially to offer my up-to-now untold personal testimonial about Amy Tiemann’s fantastic new edition of Mojo Mom, debuting on April 7.

Kom voor de taart!

Photo by Denise Andrade

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Rules for waiting, and a giveaway

March 15th, 2009    -    32 Comments

Spoiler alert: Blame it on the early stages of a woozy flu, hormone depletion, sleep deprivation, or the dark bluster of the Ides. This post is somewhat post.

The other day I was talking to my friend Amy Tiemann on the phone. On the phone, that’s right. How very 1.0. And she and I were in mutual agreement that life in these times can be summarized as follows: “How can people live in this world without going insane?”

Ain’t that the truth? But it’s not a new thing. More like an awakening to the way sentient beings have always been. These days the race to the next next next next new thing seems like a 75 rpm refrain. Rpm? How vintage! Everything is in an accelerated state of obsolescence. We cannot get to the next thing fast enough. As though it leads somewhere else, somewhere other than here.

Newspapers? History. Banks? Yesterday. Jobs? Obsolete. Conversation? Over. Time? Out.

These days you read a lot in these parts about Is the Blog Dead? I’m old enough to remember when that question was leveled with far more gravitas as Is God Dead? It’s spelled differently but it’s the very same question. It’s a kind of intellectual diversion from the real question; the only question there is which is Am I Going to Be Dead?

Or as I ask myself, Am I Going to Be Dead before I Twitter?

This is the kind of chatter, or should I say tweeting, that just exhausts me. I’ve been present at far too many revolutions already. They last a blink, a nano, before they crest into the oblivion beyond. Oh ye of unrelenting enthusiasms, aren’t you tired yet?


I’ve been reading far too much about Jane Fonda. I can’t quit. Ever since I read this profile in the Times about her brave return to Broadway at 71, and picked up on the fact that she was chronicling every inch of the ascent on her daily blog and Twitter. I’m obsessed with her, and it looks like she shares the obsession. Fonda is the icon of obsession for my generation, but she always seemed to hold herself at a remove. She always seemed to immerse herself in the great matter and the real questions. You can now read that in her dotage, for instance, she dotes on a dinky fluff-dog. You can read about her self-doubt and insecurities and think for a minute she’s just like us. Then you see pictures of her A-list BFFs: Redford, Tomlin, Hanks. “Oooooh I am so happy. I’ll twitter during my breaks.” She never stops, even though of course one day, and relatively soon, she’ll stop. In the meantime, she’s miniaturized herself, at least in my view, into 140 characters. To say that she is connecting with other people in this self-directed way is to say that these people from another story in Sunday’s paper are “making love.” Nothing could be farther. (Made ya look!)


Last week I had a disturbing and provocative dream. My husband, daughter and I were groping our way, on white-knuckles and knees, up a Sisyphean incline. It seemed we were going somewhere. Inching forward, sliding back, defying gravity. Ah yes, to the beach! At the peak of this grueling pitch, you could see the endless sky and ocean filling the horizon beyond. The massive swells and darkened depths. My husband and daughter hurried ahead, carefree. I had reservations. Gripping a paper shopping bag, I was anxiously collecting things you might think you need for a day on the sands of life: snack crackers, juice boxes, water bottles, seedless grapes, string cheese. I was desperate to fill my bag. Not yet, not yet! As I clutched after snack wrappers, my family disappeared into the downward slope. Just then the sea rose up to a perfect, towering vertical tsunami like the height of the stock market in October 2007. Everyone, everything would be swallowed by it. Everything would go.

This was no day at the beach. This was the answer to the unspeakable question.

Also last week I got an unexpected delivery in the mail. A special book, Rules for Old Men Waiting, a debut novel 23 years in the making, sent from a bygone friend. This friend is an elegant and erudite fellow from the old school. Someone who has illumined my life with intelligence and manners. I haven’t heard from him in awhile. The note with it said, “I just finished this book and thought of you throughout. I found it be richly told, wonderfully crafted and lovingly profound. That’s you.” Maximized in 140 characters.

I’m reading it now. And when I finish it, I’m going to return the favor to someone who has made it this far, on white-knuckles and knees, to the precipice of this post. I’m going to share the wisdom I’ve been given, the gift of true friendship, a living connection, with one of you. Because that alone is what keeps the world sane.

Leave a comment and take your prize. It is bittersweet fulfillment to know this chance won’t come again, and to let it go.

Update: The book has gone to Kelly, who has a short time left in a long wait.

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