Archive for October, 2011

The Topsy Foudation “Selinah”

This is the remarkable video from Topsy, an organization I love. The Glass Contraption whom I worked with introduced me to Topsy when they did two clown residencies here.

“The Topsy Foundation partners with rural communities, empowering people infected with, and affected by, HIV and AIDS, through medical care, social support and skills development. The Topsy Foundation has a future vision of flourishing rural communities, where a generation of young people, who in spite of the impact of HIV and AIDS, are productive participants in society.”

Note: Quote taken from Topsy Foundation Website. See link for more information.

I hope you are as inspired as I am by this video. Hope is out there, it doesn’t cost much, as low as 40 cents a day according to RED can purchase the medication that can have this affect on a life.

~ Ramona


10 2011

On The Road Again

My bags are packed and I’ve been ready to go for some time now. My life is back to being on the road, this time for work.

I might not be in as exotic locations as Nairobi or Luang Prabang, but to me the stops in the next few weeks seem just as foreign – the Midwest of America – Cleveland, OH, Dearborn, MI, Chicago, IL, Minneapolis, MN, and Kansas City. The trips are for work so most of the time is spent in conference halls and hotel ball rooms, but it is a taste of the country closer to home and one I have never experienced before.

We had a dinner our first night in Cleveland at a local restaurant where the waiter inadvertently insulted our choices and us the entire night through. We found it rather humorous and a welcome sign to a new state. We closed the restaurant at 10PM and no cabs could come to pick us up so we ended up riding home in the back of the truck from one of the waiters in the restaurant. We wished we could say the truck was filled with pumpkins but sadly it was just us in a truck bed of a stranger, but fun all the same.

Days later and having seen nothing beyond the hotel and its parking lots, we drove out of Cleveland late at night past Toledo and signs for Chicago. We hugged the side of Lake Erie and drove into Detroit after midnight with Eminem playing in my ears (yes, I know it is a cliché, but I do love Eminem). We drove through Motor City and past Pontiac, General Motors, Chevy, and Ford. Again nothing much was experienced past the hotel lobby but we did make it out late our final night to experience a taste of authentic Dearborn, MI. The only authentic local recommendation past Benihana and T.G.I. Fridays was the restaurant Miller’s. A 70-year-old institution with only one menu on the wall “Hamburger, Cheeseburger (Velveeta mix), Chicken Sandwich, Fries, and Onion Rings. NOTHING ELSE”. Great local beer and an etched deer head on the mirrors behind the bar, we were all ecstatic to experience this true piece of Americana. The restaurant still runs on an honor system, no bill, you tell the bartender what you ordered and pay. LOVE IT! The burger was amazing. Voted as one of the 100 best burgers of America, it was just what I wanted on a cool fall Michigan night ,with game two of the world series on the screen, can you get any more AMERICAN!

I head out again for more exciting locations and long hours of work but I have to say I am excited. My appetite has been whetted. I want more.

I read a marvelous article in Travel and Leisure October 2011 by Guy Trebay. He talks about the drive and passion for travel in today’s world. It is a moving account and a true rousing testament to seeing the world around us whether it is as close as Cleveland, OH or as far flung as Amboseli, Kenya. He describes how for good or bad “…Destiny always seems close when we travel…” and for me it always does.

When I was two or three years old my mother began to prompt me with “Ra, what is your destiny? Ask yourself every day because you know it is inside you and I don’t want you to lose it.” I remember being frustrated if not at two and three than by my teens when she continued to say the same thing. And sadly I think I did lose my destiny or spent too much time thinking about it. But as Mr. Trebay said, when I travel I don’t think about it or many other things, I just live; I am just in travel and that is the gift. A burger in Dearborn and Crickets in Siem Reap are both life assuring.

So once again, I am as Willie Nelson sings “Goin’ places that I’ve never been. Seein’ things that I may never see again” and I am pleased to say I have done and seen them.

Safe travels wherever you are, and enjoy whatever you are eating,


10 2011

Mama’s Kugel Recipe

When you lose an important person in your life you don’t lose them all at once but it seems in waves; you never stop remembering and you never stop losing. Sometimes you remember something about the person that has gone unnoticed for so much time; and just as unexpectedly sometimes you can’ t recall something.

In the days and weeks after my mother’s death it felt like the continued loss compounded – the loss of the body, the loss of the presence of the person I counted on and continued to feel close to, the loss of my own security or assuredness in the world. There was the loss of items given away sometimes in haste. There was the loss of the stories never spoken or the questions falteringly never asked. And for my sister and I there was the food she cooked. We couldn’t figure out if she had written certain recipes on loose paper or heart shaped post-it notes somewhere amidst the cash she hid in dust covered books. Yes, I have her fabulous chocolate mousse recipe!

The immediate weeks after my mother’s death, we found eating was a chore and a responsibility to keep ourselves alive; all we wanted was to sleep and hope that this experience was just a horrible dream. The Jewish high holidays came and my sister asked if I had our mother’s Kugel recipe or knew if she had it stashed away somewhere. I didn’t know, we lost again in a breath something else from the woman we wanted more than anything to hold onto for dear life.

We have lost so many more times in the moments between those immediate days of grief – some things have been larger and some smaller. We have both become stronger since those tremulous days. I did make a version close to my mother’s Kugel that year, we ate it appreciatively although we noticed what we missed more than what it reminded us of.

It can only happen if one loses that when something else is found later it means so much more than if it was always a part of their life. So it is with my mother, but this is not a story of how I found her again, she is still sorely and sourly missed here on earth. This is the story of how a piece of her can someday reappear and resurface with no notice. It came to pass because after way too much time my very archaic computer recently took its last bow and I was made to get a new sweet apple in my life! Yes, I had been typing on a computer so old that the very connections to it had been replaced and I think they were showing versions of it in the Smithsonian.

With my new computer in hand I had to transfer all of my files over and noticed my mother’s e-mails were too old to transfer. Another loss, sigh. So I went into my old and beloved computer and manually saved all of her messages. I read her disjointed notes – her subject lines of:

holding my own, i hope

mom running away……

the waxing moon or is it waning????

they cut down my TREE

A new breath…things found. And there amidst all her lowercase ramblings I had avoided looking at but couldn’t bare losing, I found something else…

mama’s kugel recipe…

With this new jewel found I made my mama’s kugel recipe this year for the Jewish holidays. I savored the flavors she sent almost as much as I savored the way she sent me notes on the moon or her running away.

Below is her unaltered recipe; I will say this time I made it with cottage cheese and Greek yogurt and it was delightful!

mama’s kugel recipe

a pound of egg noodles, about 4 eggs, one half cup of brown sugar, some vanilla, a pint of sour cream, and some cottage cheese or some yogurt and sourcream, or just cottage cheese, you can play with this as all in this recipe, so first you cook hot noodles, then after you drain them you throw a little butter to coat them, then you have in another bowl, your eggs, sugar vanilla, maybe some cinammon all blended together, you put that in the bowl and stir, and then you fold in the creamy things like the sourcream stuff, and then you can put raisins, or chopped up dried apricots, or golden raisins, my favorite, and you then blend together, and bake in a 3;25 oven,  you bake it in a rectangle pan that you have sprayed well with that pan stuff. also if is is too brown on top put a sheet or tin foil over it,  i like to play with this alot over the years, it is good hot, warm and cold, and room temperature, it is verey rich so thin slices cold are lovely to eat from the frig…..enjoy and good luck… oh it bakes maybe a 45 to 1 hour……

I like to think of my Jewish mama with a kerchief on her head is still out there somewhere and sending me recipes. I like the finding of things more than the loss; but had I never thought this recipe was lost I never would have found it so happily years later.

And just because this was such a somber post for a rather brilliant fall day, I thought I would include a few pictures from a recent day trip to Cold Springs, NY with my friend Gina. Because yes, there is always another cup of tea to be had and another hat to try on in life.

Cheers to you and every hope you can have more found in life than lost.

From my mama and me,

Ramona Sky

Photo Credits: Photo 1, 2, and 8 by Gina


10 2011

Eliminate The Real F Word Video From ONE

If you are as sad by the F word (famine) as I am, check out the new video from ONE and then sign the petition. Drought is caused by nature but famine is caused by human kind. We can put an end to it by saying “we are F*%@ing done with Famine”.

30,000 children have perished in Somalia in the past three months. These young lives did not need to die but due to lack of irrigation, lack of drought resistant seeds, and a region lacking in peace and security, this is the devastating end.

It only takes a moment to sign the petition here. Let your voice be heard and don’t let the F***** word go unnoticed.




10 2011