The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

Soulfish Parenting: Walking to School

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on June 29, 2011

Here is my letter to the Editor of The Californian newspaper that started a bit of a debate on Facebook recently:

Missing an opportunity to encourage walking

I am glad the city of Temecula is tackling traffic through an educational component at local schools (“School traffic fixes in the works,” June 21), but I see city planners missing a perfect opportunity to push for kids to walk to school.

Despite living in safe, bucolic Temecula, many parents do not let their kids walk to school. They cite traffic and crime (despite historic low —- and continuing to decline —- crime rates) as chief worries.

Ironically, these fears become a self-fulfilling prophecy as greenbelts and walking paths are deserted (so there are fewer friends to walk with or friendly neighborhood grown-ups looking out for others’ kids) while streets remain congested with frustrated drivers making yet another school run. Chances are, a child hit by a car on his way to school is hit by a parent driving another child to school.

We are blessed to live in safe suburbs with pedestrian-friendly access to most of our elementary schools. The majority of students attending the schools currently on the table live within walking distance. Our city should partner with the school district to encourage parents to give children the gift of arriving at school awake and alert, rather than spending every morning in an SUV or minivan idling in “the loop.” It is far safer and healthier for our entire community.

Juliet Grossman


Read more:


Possibly Boring Journals: Part 7

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on June 18, 2011

January 13, 1996, Camp Ramah  (Ojai, CA)

I’m at a women’s retreat.  It’s very spiritual, emotional and female.

I just came from a workshop with Rabbi Nina Bieber Feinstein on “Finding Your Jewish Name.”  I narrowed down some choices:

  • Sarah
  • Galit
  • Yael
  • Miriam
  • Batya
I want to get the book, “The Woman’s Comfort Book.”  We did exercises from it in the workshop “The Myth of the Jewish Superwoman.”  In that workshop I developed three goals:
  • make time for friendships/nurture  friendships
  • make time for solitude
  • get daily/weekly spiritual nourishment
I like the name Galit best.  It means “joy” which is what I want to live with more of.
Dinner tonight was:  Israeli style dinner – falafel, pita, hummus, tomato and cucumber salad, Greek olives, and apple strudel for dessert.  Very good!
January 14, 1997, Camp Ramah
My roommate in the dorms here is named Stephanie (Hebrew name “Shoshana.”)  It was funny at our “getting to know you” Friday.  We got into groups of 4, then 8, then 12 women.  We shared our names and what we do and don’t like about them.  We also shared our Hebrew names, and in our little group there were four or five Shoshanas.  They were all laughing.
Names:  Judith (need to read that story again-is it bad?); Yael (does it really mean “mountain goat” and is that bad?); Lena (shining light)
February 9, 1996, 5:00 p.m.
The days feel pretty crappy.  I am stuck in a rut of depression, boredom, and hopelessness.  I don’t know why or what would make me fee better.
I need to eat better:  cut back on all the candy and cookies.  I reach for them out of anxiety when I’m not even hungry for something sweet.
Maybe I should quit candy cold turkey.  It brings me down.
Lasagna is in the oven.  This is the meal I made for my first date with Scott.  He brought daisies.
February 12, 1996, 1:50 p.m.
I’m off to the gym.  Tonight it’s tempeh burgers with papaya salsa.  I made the marinade and salsa this morning and had a nasty knife accident with my thumb.  Ouch.  Garlic, ginger, and lime juice in a cut.
February 13, 1996, 6:25 a.m.
I’m making oatmeal.  I need to go to the post office to pick up “Legendary Abs.”
With this job, anything can happen.
February 17, 1996, 9:55 a.m.
I wonder how I’d feel about doing what I do for a living if I weren’t actually doing it?
Ted the interpreter came up to me in court and whispered, “I  look like I’m part of the system but really I’m not.”
February 21, 1996, 1:55 p.m.
On Sunday we went to Joshua Tree and hiked “Lost Horse Mine.”  Now I’m home sick, dizzy.  Scott saw a roadrunner.
3 p.m.
Quincy – score!  I just finished Remington Steele.  Feeling better.
April 3, 1996
I’m giving up coffee.  Yesterday I had a cup of General Foods Suisse Mocha which I suspect has very little caffeine.  Today I had lemon tea, naturally caffeine free.
April 4, 1996, 6:45 a.m.
Last night was the first seder which we spent at Myra and Moti’s house in Irvine.  Leigh and Nimrod were there with Gilad who is very cute and Leigh is 7 mos pregnant.  There was a lot of kvelling from Libby.
My vegetarian kishke turned out okay.  It molded into a really good texture.
My systems are all out of whack.  I think it’s coffee withdrawal.  I feel like my metabolism and stomach and brain etc are all operating at different speeds.  I’ll be okay.
April 11, 1996
I was going to be in trial but my client showed up in shorts.  He was sent home.  Now I’m in trial on a different case:  knife and  gun possession.  I stopped at Grape Leaves after Lake Alice for drinks and got a mezze with pita bread-yum!
April 17, 1996, 7:00 a.m.
I didn’t even get a chance to interview at Welebir and McCune. They called me to cancel because they already hired someone else.  Now I only have one resume out, to a social security appeals job in Irvine.  Better check them out in Martindale-Hubbell.
What’s going to happen?  I worry that I won’t make probation but then I think that might not be the worst thing that could happen.
I’m still eating way too much candy.  I weighed myself at the gym yesterday:  112 pounds.  I think it’s probably good.
If I can quit coffee, I can quit candy.  I can’t eat so much candy in court or in B_’s office.  Court is going to be hard.  I can stay out of B_’s office but I have to go to court.

Possibly Boring Journals: Part 6

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on June 15, 2011

Maybe there is something to creative visualization; look at this picture clipped in 1997 (when I was not yet married, didn’t have kids, and had long hair):

And look at me in 2002:

Well, things were up and down at work.  They had to be good sometimes or I doubt I would have stuck around for almost six years. Three or four, maybe.  But six?  I was so crazy.

August 23, 1997

I’m now a drug court attorney!  I worked in department 42 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week.  There was some panic (on my part) when B_H_ gave me back all of the Corona files on Thursday and told me I’d be handling both drug court AND Corona until J_W_ gets back from vacation to assign someone new but finally he assigned M_ to do Corona.  She keeps saying, “I hope I get fired.”

I am slowly but surely learning the ropes.  Felony sentencing is full of pitfalls.

J_ told me she and her friends plan to run at the UCR track next week.  I can join them.  They want to see Huff, the black drill instructor.  She is  coming to brunch and can tell me about him.

This was before “boot camp” workouts were popular.  Wonder if Huff is still around?

I continued to run and exercise all through 1997 though I was dogged with recurrent colds and a bad episode that was either a kidney stone or infection.

I missed work Thursday.  Being at home was B-O-R-I-N-G!  I cleaned the house to pass the time; it was that dull.  Not feeling well it was hard to concentrate on books or TV.  

I continued complaining about work, having insomnia, and ordering crap from infomericals.

June 15, 1997

I am trying to improve my attitude.  I know I have been a real pain.  My panic, fear, anger, and annoyance is not helping this situation.

Yesterday was a day of sloth.  Scott and I did NOTHING.  I didn’t leave the house except to sit in the sun for half an hour with a magazine.  Friday evening I had a massage while Scott went to Lake Alice to celebrate B_’s not guilty verdict.  R_ got a not guilty too, in Indio.  Both of them were on Friday the 13th.

This morning I woke up at 5:30 and took a 30 minute walk.  For some reason it was difficult and my arms feel fatigued.  Now I’m drinking a glass of fresh juice (Red Delicious apple, brown pear, and two cups red grapes, diluted with water.)  I need to return the juicer because it does not work well.  The “on” button broke on the second use of the machine.  You have to press it continually in just the right way or it shuts off.  Also, the pulp is not going into the pulp container, but staying on top where it causes a jam.

Juicing is overrated.  I made two glasses of juice and got it out of my system so to speak.

I found a bunch of plot ideas for stories in these journals.  I don’t know that many (any?) are viable.

May 16, 1997 (CACJ – California Attorneys for Criminal Justice – seminar at the Princess Resort formerly known as Vacation Village, San Diego)

Echo Schwartzbaum goes on a book promoting tour with her mother, Sophie Schwartzbaum, who is a media-savvy psychic.  Echo is also psychic, but all she’s ever wanted to be in life is normal.  

Echo Schwartz?  Echo Schwartzbaum?  I can decide later.

“Psychic Sleuth.”

Echo is 27, lives at home (with mom.)  Dad lives in San Francisco.  Echo is a UCLA graduate and works as an elementary school teacher.  She is single, no boyfriend.  Dates occasionally.  Solves mysteries including what happened on the book tour.

Our this one:

Tess, a young archaeology grad student, lives with her recently widowed father in an old Hancock Park estate.  She falls in love with her mysterious new neighbor, who inherits a house and moves in to fix it up.

Tess has always been a tomboy.  Her mom died in a car accident so she moved back to help her father out.  He is a grieving widower and a scientist.  Tess’s older sister is feminine and very flowery.  She is engaged to marry an accountant.

And so it goes.  I never wrote any of those stories though I found a draft of my post-apocalyptic story Anza and it isn’t bad.  Instead of actually writing these stories I was doing this:

UPS tried to deliver my Australasian College of Natural Studies course.  I have to wait until Monday to have it re-delivered.

I liked to save memorabilia, too, like business cards, notes, ticket stubs, etc.

I’ve been reading THE LATE SHOW by Helen Gurley Brown.  She has beauty tips from actresses, countesses and socialites.

Yup, I was 27.

Possibly Boring Journals: Part 5

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on June 13, 2011

September 29, 1997

I got back from Las Vegas yesterday in the late afternoon.  It was a fun trip.  We packed a lot into a short time.  I didn’t even arrive until Saturday morning, so I had a total of just over 24 hours there.  It felt like a lot longer!

On Friday night, Scott and I lit shabbat candles and did the wine and challah.  I am making a serious effort to return to shabbat.

On Saturday morning, I had a poached egg and leftover challah with apple butter to tide me over until the buffet.  Then I got on the road at 6:10 a.m.  It was still dark out and a bit foggy.  Ominous weather for driving, but the sun came up around Victorville and it was clear and beautiful out.  The weather all weekend was not too hot (in the low 90s as the high.)

The drive was uneventful.  I listened to my Aspen Wellness Group tapes (see what I mean about ordering crap from infomercials?)

I arrived inside the hotel at just before 10:00.  I looked for everyone at the Oz Buffet, then called their room and Mary said, “They just went downstairs.”  So I got in line at the buffet and there they were.  We were a total of nine:  me, Lily, Mom, Grandma, Tara, Mary, Marisa, Marilyn, and Libby.

We ate the brunch buffet and got all caught up with each other.  I ate fresh fruit, a bran muffin, a mini bagel, and a danish with tea to drink.  We sat for a long time then we went up to the room to change for the pool.

Libby walked me to my car to get my bag, which was nice because we had a chance to talk, just us two.  She’s such a fun woman and with a very young heart.

The pool was relaxing.  I bought Cosmo.  Lily had school texts for American Literature.  Grandma and Libby needed shade but everyone else had sun.  I used Marilyn’s “4” oil and Lily used “2” she brought with her and I covered my shoulders with a towel.  I definitely got color all over especially on my arms and face.  I got red on my chest but not too bad luckily.

We had poolside drinks, which is always a luxurious treat.  I just had a diet Coke, but Lily had a beautiful virgin pina colada with whipped cream. 

At around 4:00 p.m. we went up to the room, showered, and dressed to go out.  I shared a room with Lily and Mary.  I showered, shaved my legs and made up a bit.  I wore my purple sheath dress with black “leather” jacket and new strappy black heels.

We took the monorail to Bally’s then walked a block to Caesar’s.  Crossing the street, Lily fell totally down, twisting her ankle.  It started to swell almost immediately.  She was a good sport; it must have hurt.  We managed to get to Caesar’s for our 6 p.m. dinner reservation at Spago.

The meal was excellent.  I had a cheeseless pizza of sun-dried tomatoes and spinach with pine nuts and a glass of wine.  Their bread is lovely.  I even remembered to bring my camera and take pictures.

Libby actually ordered venison!  Later that night, she had to buy Tums at the gift shop.  It was blood-red at the center.

We got a bag of ice and an Ace bandage from security at Caesar’s, then browsed in the Forum Shops.  Then we got two taxis to take us to the Stratosphere (for the Marshall Sylver, World’s Greatest Hypnotist” show above.)

We eventually got back to the MGM Grand.  Lily, Mary and I went up to the room and Mom came in to ice Lily’s foot, which by this time was black and blue.  I looked at some photos that Diana sent to Mom from the Soquel High reunion.  They came out well.  Then we slept.

At 4:30 a.m. I woke feeling tense for some reason, so I read Cosmo in the bath.  When I got out I was able to sleep three more hours.

On Sunday morning, we all went to a little coffee place for a wake-up cup; I had tea and a bagel with jam.  Tehn we watched Mary and Marisa brave the Sky Screamer again.

Walking back into the hotel, we saw a booth where you can pose for pictures holding a lion cub.  CUTE!  Lily, Mary, Marisa and I all did it (separately, so we could each hold him.)  You hold him by his shoulders (LOVE!) and he is growly.  He is always in contact with his trainer except for the second it takes to snap a photo.  I’m framing mine to give to Scott.

We then had breakfast at the coffee shop.  I had a wedge of honeydew melon and several tastes of Marisa’s waffle (yum!)

Then it was time to pack up and drive home.  It took me four hours due to a gas stop in Baker ($1.56 – price gouging the weary traveler) and some spots of heavy traffic (Barstow area.)  I got home at 5:30.

Today it’s back to reality–work.  We need to pack this evening and drive to LA to spend the night at Lily’s because we fly to New York Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m.

I really feel like staying home and recovering from my kidney infection but I will be a grownup and not whine.

Possibly Boring Journals: Part 4

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on June 9, 2011

Some of these old journal entries are poignant, some are disturbing, and some are just plain funny.

October 5, 1997, Tappan, New York (staying at the home of Scott’s parents, Penny and Phil)

This morning I went downstairs to grab a bagel for breakfast and found that Penny put all the bagels and the fig bars in a big bag labeled “Scott.”  Dr Atkins’ book was turned to “Forever Slim,” a chapter about carbohydrate cravings. 

It’s hard to remember how much anxiety I used to feel in social situations.  From the same trip, I noted that I asked Scott’s sister to be a bridesmaid in our wedding:

I finally asked Bonnie to be a bridesmaid last night.  It was during dinner at a diner in the middle of nowhere New Jersey, after we all drove through Great Adventure Safari.  The topic turned to “Who is Scott going to have in HIS wedding party?” and since he’s not sure but I am, it seemed like an a propos time to ask.  I have been planning on asking her awhile, but no time seemed right.

Inlaw and family issues are of a running theme.  I was in my mid-twenties, after all.

October 3, 1997, Tappan, New York

It’s the second day of Rosh Hashanah.   I am ready to go back to California.  I feel like we use up all our vacation time coming here, and they don’t seem to appreciate it or even care.  Plus I have a feeling I’m going to be freezing today.  But I don’t want to wear the exact same outfit I wore yesterday.  I  will wear my puffy blue Land’s End parka over my linen dress.  Whatever.

Our itinerary on that trip included:

  • walk to synagogue
  • lunch at home
  • dessert party at the Stuhlbergs’
  • evening at home
  • read

And I couldn’t wait to get back to California to:

  • flight home to LAX
  • drive home 
  • pick up packages at post office (I had a real issue with ordering things from infomercials and catalogues and usually came home from trips to find packages waiting for me at the post office)
  • jog 3 mi.
  • change back work voicemail
  • clean apartment and read mail
  • yoga
  • listen to Marshall Sylver’s Passion, Profit, and Power tapes (decide which to start with:  Passion?  Profit?  Power?)Who is Marshall Sylver, you may ask?

    September 29, 1997

    We headed over in two taxis to the Stratosphere to see our show:  “Marshall Sylver, the World’s Greatest Hypnotist.”

    I forced myself to have courage, and joined a crowd onstage to be hypnotized.  I was initially hypnotized, but I wasn’t one of the twelve chosen to be onstage for the whole show.  (Frowny face.)  But it was fun to watch the show.  He had cool hip-hop style dancers in leather outfits.  The hypnosis seemed very real.

    Lily and I bought his audio series, “Passion, Profit, and Power” for $70, which we split.  It came with audios on quitting smoking and “Slender Forever” too.  I love stuff like this!

    Which do I want to work on first:  passion, profit, or power?  I want them all, really.  Maybe I’ll start with power.  It seems generally useful.