Introducing …

Soundtrack: (adlibbing/improvising)
Hermes: Yiassas! Coming to you almost live from somewhere in Greece, welcome to Stoned Kitchen! Thanks so much for joining us for this blogcast episode called….
Soundtrack: (does the drumroll thing)
Hermes: …”Introducing Stoned Kitchen”

Haley: and me. Yiassas! Hello everyone! Here in Stoned Kitchen, my “everyday name” is Haley. Sometimes, when the spirit of the muse moves me, I go by my “goddess name,” Thalia… Regardless of what you call me, I guess you could say that I’m Stoned Kitchen’s head cook or “she-chef” as my friend and sort of all-around soul sister/ good fairy, Pepper, recently put it.
In eSKay and in my “real life,” I’m an American ex-pat. That basically just means I’m an immigrant from a rich country – or was. I’m not so sure about how wealthy the USA is at the moment…but more on that later I imagine.

I was born in 1963 in a small town in south Alabama. When I was 11, my family moved to Ft. Worth, Texas. A couple of years later, we moved again – but “up North” to “Yankee Land” in Ohio (near Cleveland). After finishing high school there, I returned to the South again to study at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, where I majored in Speech and Dramatic Arts and minored in Journalism.

After graduation, I worked as a reporter in “TV News” at the NBC affiliate in Birmingham for a few years. Then, I got “fed up” with the “news business, ” quit my job, and moved to New York City pretty much on a whim – but one that turned out well. (Long story.)

Me as a “TV-journalist” circa 1987

In 1996, I relocated to Europe full-time “for love.” Another long story…
At present, the place I call my home is in a small village on an island in Greece where right now, we are all living in the “Time of Corona,” and also what appears to be a time of great change – like most other places on the planet, too.

When the Corona pandemic began, the government here in Greece reacted quickly and decisively (and to date, successfully) to stop the virus spread. So-called non-essential businesses were shut down on March 9th, 2020 and a week later we were in so-called lockdown.
For some reason I can’t explain, the “Corona Crisis” and resulting lock-down phase here in Greece, prompted me to finally buckle down and complete a project I’ve been “playing with” and working on (occasionally) for six years now. Part of that sudden burst of “the time is now” energy has been getting this website ready to meet the public. I couldn’t do it all own my own, though. I’m a self-admitted high-tech idiot. Amazingly, this launch of stonedkitchen.org is receiving a lot of fabulous, international help from friends of mine living across the globe.

Hermes: Tax offices around the world take note: All of Haley’s friends who are pitching in with Stoned Kitchen are volunteers at this time, so no money is changing hands! Also, health authorities and law enforcement rest assured: All of us trying to help Haley with her “turn fiction into reality project,” are carefully following the new physical distance social guidelines or PDSGs.

Haley: Yes, we are – and hope you are, too!  In Stoned Kitchen, we call these keep your distance rules the “two-meter tango” (Soundtrack !)….or the “six-foot shuffle.” (After so many years in Europe, I’ve “converted” whole-heartedly to metric, but know others haven’t – yet.

Personally, I think most of these physical distance guided dances should be kept up regardless of what happens with Corona. That’s because when you think about it, a nice safe physical space between people brings some fabulous extra benefits. For example, they prevent having a shopping cart rammed into your heels while standing in line waiting to pay for your groceries. PDSGs also make it a lot more challenging for someone to pick your pocket, nab your handbag, or even grab you by… a body part without permission. Not to mention, well, just helping to prevent nasty things like the common cold

Hermes: While we’re on the topic, in Stoned Kitchen, we believe hand washing should finally be here to stay (just please folks, remember to turn off that water when soaping up!) Furthermore, we see protective mask-wearing as a new global “healthy fashion” trend. (For some wonderful tips on “DIY masking-up,” see our guest post from Pepper!) Also for our friends who like to toke the herb, or use other devices for inhaling it: Be safe, and no passing the torch except amongst your most intimate “same household” partner.

Haley: (whispering.) And even then… but, Hermes, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Miamou: (Me-ahh-móu) “Haley” does that a lot. You get used to it when you live with her…

Haley: So you might be wondering (I hope so!) “What is Stoned Kitchen?” I’ve asked myself that a lot, too, over the past six years, as this sub-standard screenshot shows.

A beginning….that got bogged down for a while…. (Screen shot from the eSKay Files from 19 March 2020)

The text you cannot read here says: “What is Stoned Kitchen? That’s a great question that I’ve been trying to answer for about four years now…It’s a book, it’s a story, it’s a bunch of ideas to help save the world and have fun doing it!”
I wrote that description on a whim the day my friend Minnie was visiting (back when your friends could safely come over to your home.) She had kindly agreed to show me some of the basics about “How to create a homepage.” Oh, how I’d love to post a photo from that day when this dear friend gave me some of her valuable time and professional skills just because she believed in me and my project (and is a fabulous person!) I need Minnie’s permission to post a pic of her, first: But in case she says “yes,” I’ll just quickly “special effect” her….and if you don’t see it here, you’ll know I deleted it out of respect for Minnie’s wishes – or that Stoned Kitchen has been hacked! Yikes – perish the thought!

Miamou: “Haley” knows she needs to move on, but isn’t sure how to. (yawns aside) And she’d better not try to special effect me! Ah my little human…so worried about how to share with you that she’s written a book.

Stoned Kitchen is based partly on her own many lives – and in it, she gave herself the name “Haley Zimmermann.”At least she let me keep my own real, public name…the one she chose for me, in another lifetime, in another country…I don’t know why she’s using her “Haley” name here, or Minnie’s Stoned Kitchen name, either. I suspect she’s just “trying something out” again, or maybe has once again gotten cold feet, or just needs a dose of Dutch courage… Maybe she’ll change her mind – humans do that all the time…or can, when they want to, if they are motivated, and honest…

Haley: I’ll just admit it up front, since there is no way to really hide one’s true identity in the modern world: “Haley Zimmermann” is the main character in my reality-based novel. Haley is also in essence, me, just condensed and molded into “book form.”

Miamou: (aside) You also made her a little thinner, with less grey hair, and well you’re 57 now…and on the day you “created” Haley, you let her be 51 – and she hasn’t aged as much as you have!

Me: That was way back in January 2015! I know this, by the way, only because I have a record of it in my ever-growing collection of Stoned Kitchen files. And how time has flown at times, dragged at others, and drifted, floated in between since that day seemingly long ago, when I finally sat down and wrote the first words of my “reality-based fiction” novel. I gave it the working title Stoned Kitchen and wrote the first page: Then, I put it aside, since I was busy with other things. Over a year later when I turned back to it and began what I promised myself would be “writing in earnest,” I added the subtitle “or how a slightly illegal po(t)cast helped save Greece.” (Note today, I keep wondering if that was arrogant of me or, who knows, perhaps prophetic.)

I also made myself this motivational poster as part of a coaching session a friend offered. I also gave myself the first of what would turn out to be many “self-imposed deadlines”-which I would then go on to break. I even took this blurry photo of my poster hanging on the fridge in the “real” Stoned Kitchen. That poster has been amended many times since…. and I just tried “painting out” the author’s name to conceal it – for now. Hmm.


Anyway, from the beginning, I named the character based on myself, “Haley.” And after first assigning the name “Rickert” to the character inspired by my real-life husband, I changed my mind and decided to ask him to name himself for Stoned Kitchen purposes. He chose Daniel, Dan for short. It’s a much better choice than “Rickert,” and I have forgotten how I even came up with “Rickert” in the first place. For more, explore the ever-changing list of Stoned Kitchen Gods and Goddesses also known as the cast list, or list of characters found under “The Book,” on the homepage.

Miamou on the eSKay desk in May 2020 as efforts to “piece together ‘The Book’ cover get underway! The first “finished” version of that collage is pictured below.

MIAMOU: (who yes, really is a cat) As usual, Haley is getting side-tracked. Let’s just gently remind her to focus, backtrack away from getting lost in the past and future, and resume her purpose, which was??? (Other than learning how to resize photos and play around in WordPress, that is….)

Haley: So right! Almost everything you’ll read (if you ever do) about Haley in Stoned Kitchen applies to me, too. Indeed, my very own real-life mother (whose live voice I have not heard in over 20 years) agrees. In an email I received from her in early-summer 2019, she wrote to me,
“I read all of [the] second beginning of your book. I hated I didn’t have the next chapter. I felt that role was truly you, Haley.”
That I would ever receive such a message from my Mom came about in wondrous ways that had included me – very spontaneously – sending my conservative and long-time estranged (from me) parents one of the meanwhile many draft versions of the novel.  When I told Dan about this last summer, he shook his head and asked: “Why did you do that?”
“Because I’m me,” I replied half-jokingly. (And because Dan is who he is, he let it go at that.)

Anyway, this just goes to show that among many, many other things, Stoned Kitchen is a story about marriage and relationships and friendships, and furthermore, of reconciliation, and peacemaking, forgiveness, and live-and-let-live, with side-trips to refugees, politicians, cannabis use, a police raid, the rise and maybe fall of the 45th President of the United States, the novel Coronavirus pandemic, and meanwhile, the uprising and movement for racial justice and equality in America (and beyond). Oh. And there’s lots about Greece, too – and recipes.


In case that turns you off about wanting to perhaps read it, those are just my ideas about the story. I still don’t know exactly what Stoned Kitchen is all about. I really enjoy writing it, though, (mostly) and living it is a dream (mostly.) SK’s gracious test readers from across the world have said lovely things, about it, too, but well, if I shared them here, it might seem like bragging. There is already far too much of that in the world today as it is!
Besides, I’ve decided not to talk about the book (that much) anymore, but to let it “come to life.” I kind of have to do that because: In the “meantime” since I started writing this book, some of the fiction I dreamt up, has actually turned into reality for me and my husband Dan
Miamou: and me!
Haley: In real life! This has kind of scared me a little since not all the things you imagine happening – especially to yourself – are things that you really want to come true. Believe me! More on that later in future blogcasts, as well as posts about imagining and realizing the kind of world most of us would not mind living in.

For now, though, I need to wrap up this “Introducing” post and turn to other things, like checking the news (and fact-checking it, too, unfortunately,) putting the final touches on another work project, and getting a pot of hearty, lentil soup filled with veggies and just a little smoked pork for flavor on for our dinner. I’m afraid I can’t write that crisis cooking “One or two pot” post now because Miamou (in present reality) has just jumped up onto my desk and is urging me insistently to get up and go feed her…

Miamou: (meows) Humans can be so long-winded (makes cat clear throat sound). Hermes? Can you get this episode done?
Hermes: Stoned Kitchen kindly requests that if you haven’t already done so, please have a look at our Covenant of Use, and don’t forget to check out this episode’s “Get Higher” task below. Stoned Kitchen also has a strange but special request: If you think you know Haley’s “real name,” please play along and keep the secret for a while.

Hermes: She’s planning a big “Name Reveal,” and also conducting an experiment to test Facebook and Google (among others.) It would be great if you’d avoid being a spoiler, or letting the cat out of the bag!
And one more gentle reminder: Please do not kill messengers, like myself, or Dr. Fauci, or people asking you to wear a mask, or a person jogging, or, or well, anyone.


Miamou: Including me, by starvation!

Hermes: (ignores her) Stoned Kitchen’s real-life chief author and creator is an American writer, translator, proofreader, and English teacher living and working in Europe. She’s married (happily) and hopes to stay that way as long as possible.
Stoned Kitchen, or how a slightly illegal po(t)cast helped save Greece is her first full-length novel – and a work that is hoping to find an agent and/or a publisher.

However, as the fate of Stoned Kitchen remains in the stars, she’s decided to use the novel’s main character (and her “alter-ego” – Haley Zimmermann – to help get some of the book’s messages out now in the form of these Stoned Kitchen Blogcasts. Who knows what they might accomplish, who knows what tomorrow holds, but as the planet we live on keeps turning in these turbulent times, Stoned Kitchen’s main mission is to encourage us all to find common, higher ground, help each other give up some really stupid things humans are doing, and choose a few visions to work jointly on to make them come true.

Ideally, we can even manage to have a fine time doing it! Pipe dreams? Utopia? Let’s see! Until next time, thanks for joining us and yiammas from Stoned Kitchen!
Soundtrack: (adlibs or improvises. We almost never know what Soundtrack will be playing in our lives anyway!)

A new dream creation in progress from a Greek artist (who is a friend of mine, but not sure they want to be mentioned here at this time.) Further work on “The Globus” is on hold at the moment, too, due to Corona travel restrictions, etc., but it’s still turning in the wind somewhere in Greece. Photo: 1 March 2020

Caption change on 16 July 2020. Stoned Kitchen is thrilled to announce (with permission) that “The Globus” pictured above is the brainchild of Christos Tousis and realized in a joint venture with Stoned Kitchen’s own “Dan” (who still wishes to keep his real name off the internet as much as possible.) Stay tuned for future developments!

Hermes: Many episodes in Stoned Kitchen conclude with what we call a “Get Higher” task. Here’s the first one for the new eSKay blogcast. We call it “Envision: Think about what dreams or visions you would like to see come true. Write them down. Envision the kind of world you would like to live in. If you like, share some of them with us here and/or on your social media pages, your “platform,” or just with people you care about. Old-fashioned talking to each other is a great place to start!

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