I taught teens how to cook #15w

I taught teens how to cook #15w

"And now we're going to EMULSIFY. Can everyone here say E-MUL-SI-FY?" The children dutifully repeated me.
It was a 'Parent and Me' cooking class at PCC here in Seattle for 4-5 year olds, roughly 10 years ago.

"We're going to squeeze a little lemon juice and dijon mustard." One of the parents gave me a look like "no, no mustard for my kid!" I ignored her pleading glances and squirted some into her kids container and gave her a look back that said "zip it." Her kid kept stirring and didn't complain but the parent remained tense.

"As we pour the oil into the mixture of lemon, garlic, mustard, and honey

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I met Marianne Williamson #13w

I met Marianne Williamson #13w

I couldn't afford to attend the conference so I volunteered for it instead. It was 1997, Ram Dass had just suffered his stroke and could not speak anymore which had the staff abuzz. It was a gathering of the biggest authors in the spiritual/metaphysical field. I had read many of them but I was really excited about one.

When I was still in a college, I discovered a book, A Women's Worth by Marianne Williamson on the bargain table at the University bookstore. I loved that book. I still love that book. It's one of the few I've carried from city to city, apartment to apartment and kept by my bedside. She spoke about women finding their voices, speaking up. 

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I'm treated like an idiot #12w

I'm treated like an idiot #12w

For years I’ve wondered: Why am I treated like an idiot because I have a vagina? If you removed everything else and put my brain in a tank that gave out information, would it be taken more seriously than if it was housed in this body? (Answer: DEFINITELY.)

When can I live in a world where some schmuck at a store doesn’t look me up and down, linger on my breasts, and patronize me when I ask a question?

How do I get treated like I’m as smart as any man?

I launched two different websites, posted over a dozen videos that got thousands of views, been on the news, spoke with senators, helped mobilize activists, raised 14K, launched ACA Sign Up Events, hired staff

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I drank to forget story #11w

I drank to forget story #11w

I like to party. The first I got drunk I was with a friend from high school in my parents basement. I loved it. 

My head was always too full of questions, ideas, stories, confusion, irritations. And the booze helped it disappear.

I was starting to notice how men looked at me. Not boys my age. But MEN, eyeing me up and down, ogling my red hair, my breasts. 

We live in a world where a DOCTOR is allowed to FINGER little girls

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He slithered his arm around me story #10w

He slithered his arm around me story #10w

And said, “See, I can touch you whenever I want” as he groped my breasts while spooning me from behind in bed.

We were already broken up. But he clearly wanted to prove something. Tears streamed down my face.

I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. Julie Negrin! Tough girl! Badass!

I wish I could share the next part of the story by saying I hopped up and screamed at him to get out!

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I love to travel alone story #9w

I love to travel alone story #9w

I tried not to trip on the cobblestone streets as I walked through Poland. It was late at night and I had my huge backpack on, making me a vulnerable target. It marked me as a tourist plus I couldn’t run with it dragging my ass down. 

I couldn’t find the front door of the youth hostel. This was in the 1990s before smartphones made everything easy. I’d been traveling through Europe on my own for weeks and had discovered that most hostels had strange entrances off the beaten path. You can think it’s either nuts or brave, but I didn’t even carry a travel book back then. I would just trust that I’d run into someone cool who would advise me on where to stay next. I can’t believe I did that!

I started to get nervous. I couldn’t find the entrance and it was getting later and later, so I broke down and asked someone for directions.  

They looked at me quizzically and pointed right behind me at a huge well-lit building that looked like a hotel.

Ahhhh, THAT is my hostel! It was

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I can not shut up story #8w

I can not shut up story #8w

I lied about something. You know by now how important it is that I’m honest with you. I may be off by a year or so in my stories, but everything I share is how I remember it and can be verified by friends.

But I did omit the truth during a story I shared last summer. I mentioned how a (male) friend asked me “How did you know kids and cooking and food would become a thing?” And I wrote “I said I didn’t know, I did what interested me.”

It’s taken me months to be honest WITH MYSELF about how that is a lie.

The truth? I HELPED MAKE KIDS AND COOKING AND NUTRITION A *THING* - yes, that’s right I’m giving myself credit, which as you have figured out by now, I struggle with. So much easier to put myself down! It’s so innate to downplay things. Plus, people love to hate women who tout their accompaniments. 

If a man does it, he is confident, not cocky. I hate this double standard.

I’m not saying I helped make it a *thing* by MYSELF. Pam Koch (Columbia Univ), Lynn Fredericks (Family Cook Productions), Alice Waters (Edible Schoolyard) and a woman in Texas (whose name is escaping me) and I are a handful of pioneers that started doing the kids and cooking work in the 90s. 

How do we make it into a *thing?* We

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I couldn't enjoy my body

I couldn't enjoy my body

I woke up to my friend asking me what I what kind of cocktail I’d like to drink. Still half asleep, I muttered “I don’t day-drink.” She just laughed and went back downstairs. I was visiting her in Charleston with another friend from Seattle. I could the clinking of glasses downstairs. It’s around 2003.

We’d bought tickets to an all-day concert with Jack Johnson as the headliner. The plan was for us to go on the boat with some of her friends, come back and get dressed for the concert. I was secretly glad about getting off the boat after only a couple of hours. I knew my pale skin wouldn’t be able to handle all day in the sun.

We had a blast on the boat, it was a GORGEOUS day. I’d never seen this area of the country before, so it was cool to explore. 

At around 3pm, I casually said “doesn’t the concert start now?” In response, “Yes, Julie, chill out…we’ll get there.”

6pm rolls around and we FINALLY

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I closed down my heart

I closed down my heart

“I want a girlfriend,” he said, “but not you as my girlfriend.” oooooohhhh, stake through the heart. “In fact, I’m thinking about asking [mutual friend] out.”

We hung up the phone and whatever was left of my broken heart shattered into a million more pieces.

I don’t think men understand how easily they can crush our souls. 

He was a close friend in my twenties. We’d talked on the phone every day for months after my other relationship ended. 

I really let him in, to see the *real* me, during a really, really vulnerable point in my life. We talked for hours. We shared everything. 

When he made a move, I thought we’d be boyfriend/girlfriend. That’s all I’d experienced. I knew I wasn’t every guy’s cup of tea. But the ones that dug me, didn’t let go.

I didn’t realize how scared he was. All I thought at that time, which seemed to fossilize in my heart was: If he didn’t want me, then who would?

I kept dating but with every relationship

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I was a mouthy girl

I was a mouthy girl

My older brother and I were fighting in the kitchen of our Redmond home. I was around 8 years old, which would put my brother at 11. We were arm wrestling while standing, fighting over who knows what - probably some food related. We were always fighting over baked goods.

My Papu, my mom’s father, entered the room. Him and my grandma often drove up from Tacoma for Sunday night dinners where my cousins would join us from across the street, and other family members would pile into the house for an impromptu barbecue or my mom’s famous spaghetti. 

He tried to separate my brother and me who were really into it. This was around the age that I stopped being so shy. It frustrated me how small I was, surrounded by five roughhousing boys, so I began to do things like curse  Knowing I’d lose this fight, as I always did because he was much bigger and stronger, I hollered what I thought meant “fuck you” in Italian - courtesy of the movie Grease.

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I should have kissed him

I should have kissed him

I sat in a small English pub by myself sipping my beer. It was the very last night of my year of traveling, working on kibbutz and crashing with friends in Europe. That particular night, I was staying with a friend’s sister in London. I was 25 years old and wanted to have some fun before I headed back to grad school and reality. 

Suddenly, this super cute guy is walking towards me. Much taller than I prefer (I’m barely 5 feet tall so…), dark-haired and adorable, he ambles even closer while I hold my breath.

He smiles at me and then sits down next to me! He starts chatting with his friend who is on the other side of him. I remember thinking this shit never happens! His friend had a blond shaggy beard

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Do you have a boyfriend?

Do you have a boyfriend?

“What have you been up to?” an old friend as at a local restaurant in Seattle.

I paused, took a deep breath, and blurted out, “I’m working on my master’s degree in nutrition, I managed to heal that digestive disease I’ve had since 17! Which was really hard!! I traveled abroad last year and I’m juggling a couple of part-time jobs now while in school”

I smiled broadly, knowing what was coming next and dreading it.

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

My smile wavered. I’d just mentioned healing a disease, acquiring a degree, and traveling the world, but none of that was valued as much as my next answer.

This is what I wanted to say: “I went through basically a divorce from someone I loved madly, followed by being dumped by my best guy friend and then a brief, disastrous engagement with a European man who was not nice to me. All by the age of 25. My heart has been shredded, faith tested, my spirit wrecked. All I want to do right now

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I hated being a redhead

I hated being a redhead

I have no memory of not being touched by strange men - of ALL ages. My hair, silky and bright red was too shiny and hard to resist. This was especially apparent with men who loved redheads.

I was far too little to understand what a “fetish” was but somehow I did.

It was clear that they couldn’t stop themselves. At the grocery store, at the playground, it did not matter. They’d have a specific gleam in their eye while they touched my hair and exclaim, “what beautiful hair you have.” Ew. 

I hated being a redhead. I hated how it made me stand out. I hated how strange men would touch me. I hated how they leered at me throughout my life. 

In my late twenties, I developed more noticeable curves and larger boobs. That plus the red hair ended up as the archetype for “tavern wench.”

Men LOVE to cop a feel with the tavern wench!

One date literally reached across, unzipped my jacket and started touching

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I was born a fighter

I was born a fighter

I was born with two crooked feet. I had a metal bar between my leg for MONTHS to push them into the right form, as well as some seriously orthopedic shoes to bend them in the correct direction (which you can see in the photo).

The doctor told my mom I’d “outgrow” the deformity. But thankfully, she was as skeptical of doctors then as she is now and insisted they give me treatment. 

It was 1971 and my mom had just gotten her first credit card in her name. The Civil Rights Movement was winding down. My dad, mom and older brother lived in a small house in Ravenna in North Seattle. 

I was a tiny redheaded runt. But feisty. Tot this day, my mom and dad have never figured out how

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New Stories Coming: Gen X is Changing the World

New Stories Coming: Gen X is Changing the World

ANNOUNCEMENT: NEW STORIES COMING #womenrising

"I remember seeing a man carrying a baby in public for the first time," I said to a younger friend on the phone earlier today. "I was at an airport in my early twenties and of course, in my progressive family I'd seen men hold kids, but never in public. That's how much the world has changed in the last 25 years." All she said was "woooooahhh."

I was born in 1971, smack in the middle of Generation X. In eighth grade, we watched in horror as the space shuttle blew up. I was a freshman in college when the Berlin wall came down.

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My cooking buddy on kibbutz

My cooking buddy on kibbutz

His name was Boris. If it wasn't for him, I would have never learned to speak any Hebrew. He was 17 years old and had just immigrated from Russia to Israel. There was a group of us from all over the world that lived in a dormitory on kibbutz.

Kibbutzim (plural) are Israeli collective communities that are generally based on agriculture. 

Our entire group would work somewhere on the kibbutz for all or part of the day. And then we took Ulpan classes where we learned Hebrew. 

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My Online Memorial "30 Stories of Life Before Disability" #JulesStories

Transforming from an independent, able-bodied working gal into a dependent, unemployed disabled person has been the most traumatic experience of my life. Worse than chemo. Worse than surgery. Worse than anything.

At least during those experiences, I knew they'd be over in a finite amount of time. They would end, and I'd either live or die. 

This. This has been the biggest mind-fuck of all. I kept thinking over and over again that I would get back to my old self, or close to it. So many times, I used the analogy of trying to swim back to shore. For years, I kept swimming toward a shore that seemed to get further away instead of closer. 

It was only this summer that I realized that I wasn't getting any closer to that shore of my previous life because I would never, ever get there.

Instead, I was marooned on an island for the Disabled. It's been the most humbling and eye-opening experience of my life.

When I felt like I couldn't go on this past summer, it was because I couldn't go on WITH THAT SAME OUTLOOK/PERSPECTIVE/PERSONALITY of the able-bodied person I was. I had to let her go. And embrace the outlook/perspective/personality of my newly Disabled Self. That's the only way to get through this.

I felt like I had to honor the woman I used to be before I let her go. So I wrote 30 stories from my able-bodied life leading up to 2013. Here are links to each post

Photo #1 I was miserable when I was hot

Photo #2 I felt like an alien

Photo #3 I like being aggressive

Photo #4 I hate the drug prednisone

Photo #5 I so weird

Photo #6 I lived in Lake Placid

Photo #7 I worked on a kibbutz

Photo #8 He wanted to buy me

Photo #9 I visited concentration camps in Poland

Photo #10 I went to grad school

Photo #11 I was a disco angel

Photo #12 I've always been a mama

Photo #13 I was one of the guys

Photo #14 I went to Costa Rica alone

Photo #15 I lived in NYC on 9/11

Photo #16 I loved being slutty

Photo #17 I landed my dream job

Photo #18 I was on the Today Show

Photo #19 I got a tattoo in Brazil 

Photo #20 I was an awful dater

Photo #21 I jumped out of a plane

Photo #22 I was on Sesame Street

Photo #23 I started my business

Photo #24 I worked for Dr. Oz

Photo #25 I became an auntie

Photo #26 I spoke at conferences

Photo #27 I went to the White House

Photo #28 I published a cookbook

Photo #29 I got melanoma

Photo #30 I moved to California

Thanks for reading this far! I'll be sharing more stories in the near future. Right now I'm doing everything I can to prevent the government from repealing the Affordable Care Act so I can stay covered and alive! 

Stay tuned for the next batch of stories.... 

Much love,
Jules

Today is 3-year Chemo-versary

Today is 3-year Chemo-versary

Today is the anniversary of my last day of chemo. It's so strange to me that it was three years ago. I remember being so scared of the chemo, of losing my hair, of what it would feel like.

Now, it feels like a million years ago. I'd shave my head again now, doesn't feel like a big deal. In fact, it was kind of fun playing around with different styles. I'm a million more times afraid that I'll never get to eat anything close to normal again than I was of chemo. But of course, fear changes with every new crisis.

I had 18 weeks of Taxol and 7 weeks of Carboplatin. I had an adverse reaction to the Taxol the first time so that's why I ended up with an extra dose of the Carboplatin. Most ovarian cancer patients get six weeks of each with two week breaks in between.

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IT IS MY RE-BIRTH

IT IS MY RE-BIRTH

Dear Former Self,

Looking through old photos of you has been insightful, painful, entertaining and bittersweet.

I think I’d forgotten how much fun I had making things fun. And that I didn’t always used to feel scared all the time.

I miss that strength, that optimism, that belief that it’s all going to work out somehow someday.

It’s hard to remember it. It feels like a teeny tiny string in the palm of my hand that’s attached to my former self, my former life.

All this time, I’ve held onto it for dear life. Feeling like if I let go

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I moved to California

I moved to California

I was only paying $600 for the one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. I don't think I'd even get a closet for that in Seattle now.

The reason I was paying so little for this place was because it was an old-school rent controlled place and my friend was splitting it with me. She needed a place for her stuff since her boyfriend's (now husband) place was so tiny.

I didn't want to officially move back to Manhattan. But how often does a cheap, furnished Manhattan apartment fall into your lap? It was the middle of the recession and all my work contacts were in NYC.

As ready as I was to get out of New York, I knew how lucky I was to have that apartment (thank YOU Jess!) and plenty of work. People were throwing me gigs left and right. But I was laid up! 

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