“No fair! You know all my secrets!”

Well, yesterday (Wednesday) was really exciting. By some cosmic coincidence my pregnant yoga student had a baby girl a few minutes past 5 p.m.—the same day and time of her weekly prenatal yoga class, just like I joked might happen. But not in the yoga room—in a birthing room. While my student was delivering, I met a kindred-spirit, out-of-town, vegan Facebook friend (and her darling husband) for the first time in real life at The Farmer & the Cook. And then, to top off the evening, I went to bed with the man of my dreams, Colin Fletcher, The Man Who Walked Through Time. I have not yet learned to manifest bags of gold, but somehow every book I’ve ever wanted to read magically appears on my doorstep—usually without my even having to ask. It almost makes me believe in the Law of Attraction.

While waiting for the freshly made potato soup to finish cooking, I got acquainted with this exotic couple, Viktoria and Augusto Nieva-Gomez. Viktoria already knew all about me from reading Fishing on Facebook plus all these posts. “No fair!” I said after we hugged. “You know all my secrets. Now tell me yours!”

Viktoria and Augusto both have strong accents, so first I asked where they were from. He was born in Mexico, she in Austria, and they met eighteen years ago on Christmas eve in a Brazilian restaurant in Germany. I love romance, so I wanted to know all the details, and to my delight Viktoria turned out to be a high-energy chatterbox—a writer’s dream come true. If I got the story straight (and I hope they feel free to correct me), they fell in love in Europe and then got married in a beautiful Native American ceremony in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they knew no one but everything fell into place.

It was great fun to hear about their life together, first in Mexico and later in California. As Augusto periodically spoke up to clarify a point, I noticed that I was unconsciously scanning the room. Although I was listening intently, my eyes were wandering. Maybe it was the sweet energy between Viktoria and Augusto, or the looming full moon on the horizon, but my eyes fell ever so briefly on one or two men sitting at nearby tables who suddenly looked attractive. It took me by pleasant surprise.

Still waiting for the potato soup, nut loaf, and other vegan delectables to appear, the subject inevitably turned to how it is that some of us, raised on the delicious childhood tastes of ham, sausages, pork roast, hot dogs, and crunchy fried chicken, come into the awareness that these are sentient beings we’re eating. I heard myself saying that custom can accustom people to any atrocity. People in some foreign countries sit in a restaurant and order various dog-meat entrees, freshly killed from the crates of dogs stacked nearby. That is the custom that they’re accustomed to. In this country, our custom dictates that it’s perfectly normal to celebrate religious holidays by eating pigs and lambs.

To further spice up the conversation, I brought up the idea that some of my distant Indonesian ancestors were probably cannibals. I mentioned that I had recently read about an elderly man who claimed to have eaten humans and, when asked “What do they taste like?” replied, “Very much like pigs.” Which doesn’t surprise me, as their physiology, to the best of my knowledge, is closer to humans than that of any other animal.

When our food arrived, the subject turned back to romance and relationships. Because Viktoria was a bona fide “real reader” and not one of my editors or longtime acquaintances, I was thrilled to hear that she rolled on the floor with laughter while reading my dating memoir. She had not only shared the book with friends but mailed copies to Switzerland and Germany! She told me how she had loved my description of Earth Cafe Raw Vegan Chesecake as being “the only real treat on the planet with no calories.” And, since it turned out that she and Augusto were visiting Ojai to celebrate her birthday, she surprised me with a piece of “Strawberry Fields Forever” Earth Cafe cake, and a box of Lulu’s Maca Buttercups, a handcrafted raw chocolate cup that actually tastes surprisingly like Reese’s peanut butter cups, only filled with sprouted almond butter. It was a totally delicious, delightful evening, and then I fell asleep with Colin Fletcher on my chest . . .


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