DAY 1 (4/12/14)

Precipitous event. Reflecting on short conversation with Meredith R. about quality of life and needing to limit screen time. She has a great blog, Queen of All Wild Things.

I emailed 18 people I care most about to let them know I’d deactivated my account.

Still want to look at iPhone while nursing.

Read more books to the kids. And want to keep reading more to the kids. 

DAY 2 (4/13/14)

At 5:34am, I realize I had developed a Facebook trigger finger. My thumb looks for the Facebook app icon on my iPhone when I’m done checking email. Now I go to Words With Friends or look at some news channels. It’s taking time to eliminate the habits I’d formed around it.

Also, what will I do with all the status updates I compose in my head??

11:35am When I deleted the Facebook app, I moved the Netflix app button into its place. My trigger finger has hit the Netflix app button a few times today.

Got some news from Drudge Report. Spent more time looking into my baby’s eyes and watching her move. She’s rolling, and it’ll be no time before she’s crawling.


David’s asleep next to me. Note the time. I’m all ready for bed, too. This is because this week was brutal. David’s work schedule; Adela was sick for three days; Bliss hasn’t let us sleep…

I am playing Words With Friends, and emailing. What I’m missing is that thing that constantly refreshes, in an unpredictable way, that makes me feel socially connected and up-to-date. It’s the constant refreshing and updating that’s neverendingly (I know that’s not a word) addicting.

I’m hoping my concentration improves and that I can eke out even a little creative output. That would be swell.

This evening, David came home with roses.

I feel some sense the world is spinning without me. It won’t miss me. It may barely acknowledge me when I’m back.

Every relative or friend I emailed to say I’d deactivated my Facebook account said, “Great! Awesome idea! Awesome for you!”

Here are some actual samples:

“I think it’s a Damn good idea. I know where to reach you. You can run but you can’t hide, MEESH.”

“Well! Awesome. Talk to you soon!”

“Brilliant idea. You know I’ll be in touch :)”

“I’ll miss your insights!! But will be in touch definitely.”

“Wow! Impressive! Let me know how that goes!!”


“I hope this means you’ll be devoting more time to creating your next writing class.”

“Yay, happy for you!”

“Good on you!”

“That’s going to be quite the detox! Hope all is well.”

“I have pretty much decided to do the same!  Though I am not going so far as to deactivate…just not checking.”

“What spurred this on? Hope you’re getting healthy and detoxing!” 

DAY 3 (4/14/14)

I miss posting photos.

DAY 4 (4/15/14)

Anyone who watches a baby sleep is a fool. They should be sleeping too. 

DAY 7 (4/19/14)

It’s been a week. A friend just wrote,

“How amazing good for u to have the insight and wherewithal to do that! We should all suspend FB sometimes!!!! U miss it?”

I don’t miss it as much as I thought I would. I would love to hear what friends who aren’t in touch via email and phone have been up to.

The Facebook diet is one piece of a larger attempt to simplify my life and clarify my thinking.

DAY 9 (4/21/14)

Every day I invent a great status update, or crave connection or feedback on an idea, and I think, “Is today the day I’m going to rejoin Facebook?”

But, no. I haven’t accomplished enough.

DAY 10 (4/22/14)

Today, I took a peek. Well, my husband told me he posted this:


And I wanted to see what kind of responses the post was getting.

I returned to find more than a hundred notifications. Most were people’s family photos, some were creative and enlightening links, and, of course, my husband’s Adventures in Entertainment Reporting. (He’s had some amazing actors in his studio lately. He’s on the radio in New York and across the country daily. Some TV, too. I’m proud of him.)


Incidentally, when I asked him what he thought of my choice to deactivate my Facebook account, he said, “It’ll last 3 days.”

Well, it lasted 10 days, and proved to be refreshing. Clarifying. Like a spiritual neti pot. 


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Married, with OCD

My husband’s attempt to publicly shame me while I was not logged into Facebook actually drew some handsome compliments, in a twist of fate. Also, who knew this was a thing? THIS is what drove me out of hiding and compelled me to break my Facebook fast.


Sweet. Only in New York!




I do the same thing. Fucking dry cleaners.


She has great handwriting…


All I could think while reading this “what perfect printing.”


Awesome note. I heart your wife. And, her architectural handwriting is superb.


I take those and put them in my wife’s bag.


Damn dry cleaner. Creating marital strife coast to coast.


OMG! My husband does the same thing! HAHAHA


I think I love your wife.


Argh… My husband does put them in my bag! I hate them!

Wallet w:dry cleaning stubs

That note is truly a work of art. Like most other artwork, it will serve no practical purpose.


I think Adobe should release the new “Blaustein” typeface on the market immediately. Oh, and don’t think we all didn’t notice the *ruled* post-it notes, not the silly free-form, unlined ones.


Best handwriting.


She’s giving me ideas!!


OMG!!!! My husband leaves those things all over the place! Drives me nuts!!!


Love that, stealing it.


Great handwriting. Is she a cartoonist?


Looks like interior decorator handwriting.

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I am happy with no more than a tenuous connection to reality, such as quiet music playing in the background, something only touching my ears, no vision in my eyes, shallow breath in my lungs.


I crave that floaty feeling, hallucination, silence, and sensory deprivation, so that my imagination may fill the empty balloon.


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I’m Back!

I’m back! While you weren’t looking, David and I had another baby, and named her Bliss. We really did it. Bliss Blaustein was born at home October 5th. She was brought earthside in a lightning bolt, and our midwife missed the birth. So, we delivered her ourselves. Birth story to come.

Now this:

I decided I spend too much energy on Facebook and resolve to write more for the blog in the coming year. Like, love, or other, please feel free to share your thoughts in comments. As a bridge from Facebook, I’ll share here what I shared over at my page the other day. I’ll deliver always original, always honest, sometimes-hopefully-possibly-entertaining content. Heart thump. Peace sign. Love to my loyal readers.

- Michelle

Ways I’ve Discovered To Occupy a Toddler

- Sink Full O’ Bubbles

- Mound of Flour on the Kitchen Counter

- Tub Full O’ Bubbles

- Bubbles on the Deck

- Bubble Wrap

- Bubbles Anywhere, in All Forms

- Skype with Unsuspecting Relative or Another Toddler

- Leaves

- Rocks

- Sticks

- Stickers

- Window Markers (Awesome!)

- A Pet Who Doesn’t Bite

- A Phone Call (Complete Torture for the Callee)

- Decorating Mail to Send to Penpals

- Tissue Paper

- Bowl of Water (On the Deck)

- Crystals that Make Rainbows When Hung in Windows

- Flashlights

- iPods (Sometimes)

- Kitchen Utensils

- Large Exercise Ball

- Pad of Post-Its

- Plants to Water and Groom

- Junk Mail to Open

- Books

- Dinosaurs

- Figurines of All Kinds

- Fruits and Vegetables to Sort and Stack, Then Eat

- A Puddle on the Floor and Some Towels to Clean It Up With

- Musical Instruments

- Removable Anything (Jelly Stickers Are Fun!)

- Cars, Trucks, Trains, Wheels

- Food to Dip into Condiments

- Indoor Picnic on a Picnic Blanket on the Floor

- Costumes

- A Microphone

- Tubes

- Send Toddler to Bug Daddy

You might notice balloons are not on this list. They’re really bad for our ecosystem. Follow Facebook page “Balloons Blow” for conscious reporting on the subject. We also try to use single-use items sparingly.

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Nature Writing Workshop taught in a natural setting in Westchester County, NY

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Let the Music[ian] Play!

I filled a glass syrup jug with water and whistled for Adela’s amusement, presenting it like a really neat trick. Then I said, “Wait! Let me show you what happens when I put MORE water in! What do you think’s gonna happen?”

Adela answered, gleefully: “The sound is gonna come out higher!”

Did she intuit that? Is she a musician? Am I too easily stupefied?

It’s not just Adela; I believe in the innate wisdom of children and see shreds of evidence that genius is endowed at birth, and fades, erodes, gets clouded over the more layers of culture are laid on top of it. Most important of the faculties we’re equipped with is INTUITION. We, in our new age movements, in our coaching circles and manifesting meetups and writing workshops, ply an ounce from the breast of our own INTUITION and celebrate our AHA! moments.

But imagine a steady stream! That’s the brilliant mind of a child. It runs clear and unpolluted, until…

Well, it looks like this family has a handle on cultivating intelligence—allowing it to flourish and fruit to its potential by leaving it undisturbed—call it Wild Intelligence.

The Family Who Sent Six Kids to College by Age 12

Anatomy, biology, acoustics, entomology, medicine, structural engineering… We’re hypothesis-forming machines, and there’s an existential frustration that accompanies unanswered, or untested hypotheses. There’s a buildup of residue.

I’ve seen two recent posts on different Facebook parenting group pages by parents who ask, “HOW in the WORLD do I get my TODDLER to stop asking WHY?”

And I’m thinking, the question is, how do I get my toddler to NEVER stop?

The GOOD thing is, residue can be removed—either by returning to a familiar primal or precognitive state, through immersing in nature, dunking in the ocean, hugging your mom, swinging on a swing… or by leaving your comfort zone for a new sensation or sport that demands your full participation (a.k.a., flow psychology as defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).

I’m just buzzing with excitement over every one of our child’s discoveries or proofs; I’m staring into a mirror that reflects my own evolution, so it’s a self-study, as well, of how I got to be who I am; how the world shapes us; and maybe reminds me of some innate potential I’ve let become obscured by clouds.

Almost every parent is motivated to correct for mistakes that have been made in our own lives, and to filter information and chemicals that may reach our child—with my own body I filtered Adela’s intake for the first years of her life. And why not add intelligence-boosting “vitamins” to her “diet”?

In the most recent case, we’re inheriting a piano! I am absolutely thrilled, because David and I have been hoping for a miraculously priced, used upright piano to float into our sphere. We saw a flyer and phoned, but it had already been taken; we point wistfully to piano stores as we pass them, and wonder aloud whether they sell reconditioned pianos and how much one could possibly cost; we admire our friends with uprights in their living rooms… we’ve bided our time until our chance to play came. Sure enough, a fellow synagogue member is giving away a white upright piano, and we just need to get it moved THIS WEEK! (I need a Kickstarter campaign just for that. But anyway…)

Here it is:


Posted in Bliss, blog, Family, Home Improvement, Nature, New York, Parenting, Psychology, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cookies That Will Capture Your Heart!

There’s something magical about these soft chocolate cocoa cookies. When I made them Saturday, and my husband came home from covering an event, he ate six of them!

So, I made another batch.

When I gave one to our cleaning lady to try, her eyes widened and she clutched her chest. “These remind me of my grandmother’s cookies!” she said. She went on, “My heart is beating so fast! I’m going to cry. I haven’t tasted anything like this since I saw her. It’s exactly how she used to make them!”

“How long ago did you see her?” I asked, and the answer was fourteen years. Her “mamita” is 95 and on life support in Colombia. She called her cookies “negritas.” Clara closed her eyes and swayed, and savored every bite, moaning with pleasure. At the same time, tears glistened on her cheeks. Never has my cooking had such an effect on someone. I imagined a day in the far distant future when I would taste a combination of ingredients, textures, and aromas that evoke a memory of my dear mother and her fabulous cooking. Books and films such as “Like Water for Chocolate” have portrayed the transcendental power of cooking, but I’d never experienced it firsthand. (Though certain smells, like a particular laundry soap, can whisk me back to breezy mountaintops of Nicaragua where sheets line dry beside thatch-roofed huts…)

I packed the whole batch into a tub for Clara to take home, and will share the recipe with her. And I made another batch last night. They’re disappearing. When I described them to my sister in an email, she said they sounded “dangerous.” She’s right; they are dangerously delicious. And so easy to make! Total time including prep and baking is 25 minutes.

1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup cocoa (I used Ghirardelli’s unsweetened)

1 large egg

2/3 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

Some chocolate chips


1. Cream butter and brown sugar; add egg.

2. Sift dry ingredients and add to butter/sugar mixture alternately with milk.

3. Add vanilla.

4. Stir in chocolate chips.

5. Drop by spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet. (I treat with a fine mist of Spectrum Organic coconut oil spray.)

6. Bake 8-12 minutes at 400°F; do not overbake.

7. Ice with chocolate icing, if desired. I sprinkle vanilla sugar on top.

Internet Photo

Photo by mcgex 112908.

My Photo


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