25 Things About Me

1. I was born in Los Angeles, August 24, 1967. Virgo. I think I’m an Aries rising, but I could be wrong. I live in Santa Monica in a rent-controlled apartment we’ve had forever, which we better never give up or it’s adios California.

2. I am BFF with my daughters Maya 24 and Mina 20. When they were younger, I would have kicked down any mountain that got in their way. But they’re good at clearing and setting their own paths on fire now.

3. If I were born a boy, I would have been named D’Artagnan. If Maya had been a boy, that would have been her name. And I hope that one of my girls — if they choose to have kids — will name their son, D’Artagnan. 

4. I wish I had written Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

5. I don’t have a car and my vehicle of choice is an electric bike that I call the DWagon. It can hold 350lbs. It can go 25mph. I’ve ridden both of my adult children on it at the same time. It drives like a high-end minivan. 

6. I can still beat the neighborhood in HORSE because I have a bad-ass set shot.

7. On Valentine’s Day 1998, I married a handsome tennis teaching pro named Julio. I chose Valentine’s more out of practicality than romanticism. Less holidays to remember — also I don’t feel like I’m giving in to a commercially-driven holiday because it’s my actual anniversary. See? Always thinking. We’re still going strong.

8.  I’ve been a strength and fitness coach since 2012.

9. I was hired to be a salsa dancer for the movie Mambo Kings circa 1991, but I didn’t take the offer. I was too scared to leave any of my three jobs at the time for something that seemed frivolous. Sigh.

10. My greatest athletic accomplishment was when me, Julio, his brother, and his uncle dominated some pick-up basketball courts in Queens right before Jul and I got married. I was on fuego that day. During the last game, I scored the majority of the points including the winning shot where– as the ball left my fingers tips — I said, “Game, motherfucker.” I’m still a legend to Jul’s brother and uncle because of that one day.

11. Since the age of 42 until present, I’ve completed in five partner, low-level CrossFit competitions, one triathlon, a couple 10ks, a few 5ks, one triathlon relay, a bikini bodybuilding competition, and a trail half marathon. They have all been super fun.

12. I was a semiconductor broker for 20 years. It was a wild, dynamic boys-club of an industry and it was fun in a soul-sucking, wolf-of-wall-street, not-saving-the-world kind of way. It almost crushed me and still I gained a lot during those years.

13. The last semiconductor brokerage I worked for was shut down because the CFO embezzled $16M. That kinda sums up that industry in a sentence.

14. I used to be obsessed with college hoops, and I ran the biggest March Madness pool in the semiconductor industry. I even wrote recaps of the games like I was a sports columnist; these recaps had a following. Anyway, in the early days of PayPal, people would send me entry money to the pool via PayPal with comments like: “thanks for running a great pool,” which caused PayPal to shut down my account; seizing the pool money. I had to sign an affidavit stating I would never gamble through PayPal again, and I eventually recovered the money. Doh!

15. The best concert I ever saw was Mary J. Blige, No Drama Tour, 2002. 

16. Though Sade at the Greek in 1990 on my 23rdbirthday was insane.

15. I saw the running of the bulls from a rooftop in Pamplona, Spain when I was six years old. I remember the terrifying sound of hooves trampling cobblestone and I remember the poor, staggering bull in the ring, stuck like a pin cushion, his bloody tongue unrolled and swaying to the side of his mouth. I was sick to my stomach, gutted and confused while adults stood and cheered over me. 

16.  I’ve been vegan since 2004. 

17. In 3rdGrade, I signed up for the school talent show, unbeknownst to my mother. I attended a catholic school so the nuns had to approve the song I wanted to sing, which was, “I Am Woman,” by Helen Reddy. The nuns and audience thought the song and my performance were cute and funny, but I was dead serious about everything.

18. I’m a big Kung Fu and martial-arts movie fan. My favorite is an obscure Thai movie named Chocolate about a 13-year old autistic girl who avenges her mother one elbow to the head at a time.

19. The older I get, the less my body tolerates bullshit; shitty food, too much intensity, too much rest, too much this, not enough that. In reality, I love the high-wire act of simplifying it all and finding perfect balance. I’m always in search of some optimalness.

20. Speaking of which, between the time I was a broker and a fitness coach, I was on my way to becoming a professional vegan baker. I did a 40-hour vegan baking intensive at NGI in New York City under Fran Costigan, and I spent countless hours in my kitchen experimenting and testing recipes. I donated stacks on stacks of cupcakes to Farm Sanctuary for events. I baked for all school holidays. Eventually my stomach couldn’t take it anymore — who gets sick of cupcakes and cookies!? — and I returned to my fitness and athletic roots.

21. In 1989, I cooked Chicken Kiev and rice & beans for Sting.

22. I was baptized as a Seventh Day Adventist – full-emersion — on my 18th birthday at a church in south LA mainly because the choir saved me from destroying myself at the time.

23. I used to love the Guinness Book of World Records. At age 10 I decided I would take on the Catch the Coins Off the Elbow Record which, in 1977, was thirty-six coins. I lined up pennies on my forearm and practiced incessantly. Most of my time I picked up pennies off the floor and between furniture that had exploded off my arm when I didn’t catch them in my little hand, but one afternoon when channel 11 played The Planet of the Apes as the 3 o’clock movie, I caught all 36 mother fucking pennies. I was like, Holy Shit, I need a camera. I looked down at the Guinness Book of World Records to figure out how to record my record, and the words “silver dollar” caught my eye. The record was for 36 silver dollars not pennies. My window to be a record holder closed. Now the record is something crazy like 400 pennies or some shit.

24. I have a lot of fitness certifications. That’s cool, but they all mean nothing if I can’t connect; with people, to purpose, to myself. So connection – in every sense of that word — is what I work on most.

25. Above all, I fiercely believe in the underdog.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. AllisonI. says:

    See? Always thinking! Man, I love you! Never heard the Guinness Book of World Records story but I want to hang out with that penny catching competitor (or at least admire her from afar). I could live forever on that basketball victory with Julio’s brother and uncle. Great stuff as always. xo

    1. Danette says:

      Love you, too, girl xo

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