Time

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Time

 “Sure, everything is ending,” Jules said, “but not yet.”Jennifer Egan

Every day, most of us are passing time. We often pass time without thinking too deeply about how. When today is gone, it’s gone forever. Time runs through the roughest day. It runs through the best day too. While time is passing—what we choose to do, how we choose to be and who we choose to be with is up to us. We measure time in years, minutes, hours, decades and memories. Here are some of my  ways of measuring time.

 3 weeks until my next dental appointment.

6 months since I’ve eaten dairy or gluten.

14 years since my husband left me.

 2 minutes until I hear the words Mueller report.

5 weeks until I will be in Iceland.

3 and a half years since my dog Basquiat died.

1 week since i moved in with the  BF.

5 months until we leave for Uruguay.

2 years since my daughter got married in South Africa.

4 days since I’ve done qi gong.

15 hours and 20 minutes  until I can drink coffee again.

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Do You Suffer From Travel Envy?

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Do You Suffer From Travel Envy?

“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I still have to go, the more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough; to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom…is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”Anthony Bourdain

Travel envy is a real thing; I know because i have it. Nobody’s perfect. It is always difficult to write about negative emotions. Jealousy is definitely a would rather not have emotion.

When I read other people’s stories of  places that I have yet to see, I get that little ping. The little green monster rears its ugly head and all my travels pale in comparison to this place I want to go.

I realize that different people experience things at various levels and times that result from their actions and available means, but when it comes to travel  – all reasoning disappears. I envy those who have seen things and places that I have always wanted to see, but haven’t yet  or may never go.

I am normally not a jealous person.  If i was, I would get off social media. Isn’t social media one giant platform for bragging? That’s what it seems like anyway. All the baby photos, the food pics, the status updates about a new job/car/partner, showing off your engagement ring, your graduation ,wedding, new home, grand children –  what ISN’T a brag? A bombardment of achievements clutter my news feed on a daily basis. If you’re having a crappy day (or month), you’re going to end up feeling pretty shitty when you look at me exploring Myanmar. I get this.

When I start feeling the pangs of travel envy, my cure is to start planning a trip. This is perhaps the best and the easiest way to get over it. Now I have something to look forward to. Instead of watching videos and photos from other people’s trips, I start intensely researching my next destination. I take the focus off other people’s lives and focus more on my own.

I also start doing tourist things in LA. I make plans to try a new restaurant downtown, visit the museum exhibit I’ve been putting off, and explore neighborhoods that I don’t know very well. I live in a great city and there is always something going on.

I look at my photos from my past trips. I tell and write stories about those trips to remind me about all the amazing places I have already been. This all helps with the jealousy I am feeling. 

Even the most well-traveled person has someone else they are looking at and thinking  “now they are lucky–I wish I could go there”. In the last couple of years I have had  many people ask me some form of the question ‘how do you travel so often’?  And the thing is, I don’t think that I travel often.  I think that I sit at home thinking about traveling a hell of a lot more than I actually travel.  Yet people are envious of me.  Which is insane.

Travel changed my life. It isn’t about envy but about different ways of thinking. The world is too big to stay in one place.I need to remember to be inspired by other people’s trips to create more of my own. I have to remember that social media is about the highlights of people’s lives and not the lows. 

 And somewhere, someone will be  jealous of me in a few weeks  when I am hiking in Iceland.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Best Book Stores In The World

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Best Book Stores In The World

“It is clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying, and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down.” Agatha Christie

I love traveling. Some things I don’t mind skipping out on. Base jumping is always a pass. Art and Architecture is always in. I wish I had more time for fashion. But there are few things more tragic than knowing I strolled through the streets of a far off city and walked right past a book attraction I may never get the chance to see again. This collection of bookstores includes many I have seen and some that got away. I write this blog with a hint of regret as I am moving and once again I have to narrow down my collection of books.

Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France

This independent bookstore on Paris’s left bank was originally founded in 1919 by Sylvia Beach, and became a popular gathering space for famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound and James Joyce. It might seem strange for an English-language bookstore to have such an important place in the history of literary Paris, but many notable English-speaking writers gathered in the City of Light during the 1920s to work on their craft. These writers and artists became known as the ‘Lost Generation’ and Shakespeare and Co was at the center of their world.  In the 1920s, this was not only a bookstore, but also a lending library. Another reason Shakespeare and Co is so well-known in literary circles is for its famous sleeping facilities. There are over 10 beds in the bookstore that have offered a place of rest to young writers since the 1950s. The present-day bookshop isn’t the original shop which was shut down by the Nazis during the French Occupation in World War II. It was reopened at its current address in 1951. In 1981 the owners daughter, named Sylvia after Sylvia Beach, runs the bookshop and is a wealth of knowledge about the history of the building and the writers that have passed through this famous door.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Teatro Grand Splendid  was built in 1919 as a theatre for top-tier tango concerts. What a wonderful name for a theatre. Tango legends such as Carlos Gardel, Francisco Canaro, Roberto Firpo, and Ignacio Corsini performed here. In 1929, the theater underwent its first transformation to become a cinema, with the distinction of being the first in Buenos Aires to show sound film. Its latest transformation is the El Ateneo bookstore. The painted ceiling, detailed balconies, and stage are all intact. The private boxes are now small reading rooms. The stage is a café. The shelves fit perfectly around the theater’s original shape. The book collection is pretty standard and mostly in Spanish. It is an amazing place to buy a book or have a coffee on the famous stage.

Livrario Lello, Porto, Portugal

Once upon a time Livraria Lello was an old beautiful book store. The Lello book store was built in 1906 in Porto, Portugal by the Lello Brothers (Antonio and Jose). Their book store is one of the most ornate book stores in the world, mixing Neo-Gothic and Art Deco elements. Carved wood ceilings, a stain-glass roof, an undulating, opulent red staircase, and even a built-in wheel-barrow on rails for moving the store’s 120,000 books all make the Lello seem like a bookstore out of some fantasy-world. One day some lady named J.K. Rowling lived in Porto while working on her first book. You might have heard of it- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Livraria Lello is reputed to have inspired parts of Hogwarts. Since then, it has been inundated with Potter fans from around the world wanting to catch a glimpse and selfie of the bookstore’s interior.

Cook And Book, Brussels, Belgium

A unique restaurant that is also a bookstore… Or a bookstore that’s also a restaurant? The huge bookstore is located on the outskirts of the city. There are different bookstore entrances divided by themes. In the literature themed bookstore, the books are hanging from the ceiling and most of the books for purchase are in French. The cucina themed section has cooks behind the lunch bar and books filled in the salad bar. There are nine different bookstores and two restaurants. Be careful when hunger hits you while you’re caught in the middle of a good book reading. Bringing a book to the table while eating means that you’ll have to pay for the books and whatever else you consumed at the table.

Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy

This bookstore is close to St. Mark’s Square and opened in 2004. The name translates to “bookstore of high water” due to the store being plagued by Venice’s rising waters, which regularly flood the floors of the shop each winter. To combat the issue, the bookstore’s owner, Luigi Frizzo, piled all of the books into waterproof bins, bathtubs, canoes, and even gondolas in order to protect the literature. Books are everywhere possible and seem to have taken control of the space.

Selexyz Dominicanen, Maastricht, The Netherlands

This location of the Selexyz chain of bookshops occupies a thirteenth century Dominican church. The glorious interior is massive and includes an eating area.To maintain the integrity of the space, the architects built vertically, which means the three-story bookstore is not only impressively imposing, but also outfitted with neat walkways, staircases and elevators. A Frescoed vaulted ceilings soar over the book browsing activity.

Carturesti Carusel, Bucharest, Romania

Literally translated as the “Carousel of Light” in English, Cărturești Carusel is situated in a restored 19th-century building in the very heart of Bucharest’s Old Town. It has six floors, over ten thousand books and a bistro on the top floor. Built in the 19th Century by the Chrissoveloni family, the impressive columns and spiral staircases were once the headquarters for their banking dynasty. A few decades later, it was transformed into a general store. In the 1990s the structure had become unstable and the building was abandoned. It was later restored and opened as a bookstore.

Barter Books, Ainwick, UK

Barter Books in Alnwick is the most magical place for book lovers. It was opened by Mary Manley in 1991 and is now one of the largest second-hand bookshops in Europe. The store is situated inside a Victorian railway station which is a beautiful building with so much character. Those with a particular interest in the station’s history and architecture can take a walking tour. There are books everywhere and comfortable chairs, sofas, fires and even a train running on tracks above your head. Amazing quotes join bookcase to bookcase and there are beautiful murals to enjoy.

Livraria Da Vila, Sao Paulo, Brazil

The front door of Livraria de Vila is made of revolving bookcases. Once you get inside, you’ll notice books on every surface – on shelves from floor to ceiling, on nooks and crannies, and even on shelves carved into holes between each floor. In fact, this bookstore seems to be made of books.

City Lights,San Francisco, USA

As a reader, City Lights is one of my favorite bookstores. It is heavily associated with the Beat movement and its writers – Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and store co-founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The big story behind the store is the obscenity trial surrounding Ginsberg’s Howl And Other Poems, which City Lights published and sold in 1956. I wasn’t a huge fan of the poem but it was deemed obscene and the poem went on trial. Lawyers were interrogating academics over the literary merit of a graphic work. City Lights grew to occupy all three floors of the building with an outstanding selection of world literature, poetry, and progressive nonfiction that is as significant today as it was in the ‘50s. City Lights gives us a physical reminder that ideas and words will always be challenged because they are powerful. Of course I bought a copy of Howl.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Things That I Would Like To Find In A Hotel Room

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Things That I Would Like To Find In A Hotel Room

“The great advantage of a hotel is that it is a refuge from home life.”
George Bernard Shaw

I love hotels. Beds get made by themselves. Bathrooms are clean and shiny. The mission of a hotel is to make sure you feel so good that you will want to come back. Here is a list of what I would like to find in every hotel room.

Unlimited free bottled water.

Green tea and chamomile tea bags.

Unscented shampoo and soap.

Room temperature controls that are easy to understand.

More electrical sockets to plug stuff into.

Windows that open.

An iron and an ironing board.

Bath drains, shower handles and coffee makers that don”t require a phone call to reception to figure out.

Extra large soft bath towels.

Safes that work.

Comfortable bed with clean sheets and fluffy pillows.

Q tips ( i always forget to bring some)

Interesting room service menu. I  love anything served on a trolley that i can eat in my sweatpants.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Things That I Have Learned About Him After Being In A Relationship For Two Years

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Things That I’ve learned About Him After Being In A Relationship For Two Years

“It reminds me of that old joke –  you know, a guy walks into a psychiatrist’s office and says, hey doc, my brother’s crazy! He thinks he’s a chicken. Then the doc says, why don’t you turn him in? Then the guy says, I would but I need the eggs. I guess that’s how I feel about relationships. They’re totally crazy, irrational, and absurd, but we keep going through it because we need the eggs.”Woody Allen

He is great at birthdays, flowers and Christmas.

Never travel with him when he is writing. Even if he says “it won’t be like the last time.” It will. Travel anywhere with him when he is not writing. He is a great traveler. 

He has excellent musical taste.  If he says let’s go to this concert or hear this musician, I just say yes because I know that it is going to be good. 

Always tell him he looks terrific when he does. He likes that. However, when an outfit choice is questionable and you mention it – then you are shallow.  

He is a popcorn hoarder. I am a popcorn sharer. It is less caloric if you eat out of one box of popcorn. He does’not get that.  

He is very generous with wine. Sharing a glass of wine is totally fine. Sharing a second  and third glass is fine also.

He is not a casual chef. Each meal is a challenge and has to be the best thing he has ever cooked. Every dinner with guests is a chance to try some new difficult recipe he has never attempted,  It is always delicious but a bit stressful. 

My dog does not like him. He expects dogs to just like him. That is what dogs do. Not Banksy – he is jealous. It has been two years and Banksy still acts like when he gets back into bed he is attacking us and when he leaves the house  he is stealing something.

He gets bored driving down the same street. He prefers to drive the long route if that is  what his car navigation tells him to do.  If he asks how should I go, it is best if I don’t answer because he will only follow part of the directions.

He doesn’t like it when I tell him to turn left three times and he already knows that. He also doesn’t like it when I don’t say anything and he misses the turn.

If I mention that I like a song, he learns how to play it on the guitar for me. That is really sweet. He is like my high school boyfriend. 

 Relationships are not easy but we work at it.  I think it will  turn out that by taking a chance and moving in together  we will gain a lot more than we lose. Love wins.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Best Libraries In The World

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Best Libraries In The World

“I have always imagined paradise will be a kind of library.” Jose Luis Borges

Libraries are not just stern places where loud conversations – even accidentally – are greeted with cut-throat looks from the opposite side of the reading table. Libraries are full of stories and anecdotes waiting to be uncovered. Their architecture and interiors are often unexpected and sometimes even astonishing.

 National Library, Beijing, China

The National Library of China is the largest in Asia and one of the largest in the world  What makes it even more special? Its collection of cultural and historical literature is vast with more than 24 million books. If you’re not after literature or a place to read, then its collection of manuscripts and inscriptions may tempt you. Among its collections are manuscripts from Song, Shang, and Ming dynasties, stone tablets known as Xiping Stone Classics, tortoise shell inscriptions, and many ancient Chinese writings.

Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland

Founded in 1592, Trinity College is the oldest university in Ireland. Built between 1712 and 1732 the Old Library is the University’s earliest surviving building. The library houses Ireland’s National Treasure which is the Book Of Kells sacred manuscript created by Celtic Monks in about 800 AD which features the Four Gospels of the New Testament. It is decorated with metallic gold Celtic style writing, symbols and stunning artwork. Walking through the doors of the Long Room is suddenly overwhelming. IT is a 65 meter long gallery housing about 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books under a jaw-dropping barrel-vaulted ceiling.The weather being famously unpredictable in Dublin makes the library is a great place to stay dry.

Real Gabinete Português de Leitura, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This is Brazil’s most important library, a Neoclassical treasure trove chronicling the country’s history in more than nine million items. A highlight is the Teresa Cristina Maria collection: a 22,000-strong photo series, depicting key Brazilian events and notables. 

Joanine Library at University Of Coimbre, Coimbre, Portugal

Coimbra’s university, founded in 1290, is Portugal’s oldest and most distinguished university. The Baroque library was built between 1717 – 1728 and houses about 40,000 books which are – in part – protected by bats (bats eat moths). It is really impressive  The library is a Portuguese National Monument and is one of the oldest of the university.

Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève, Paris, France

Located opposite the Pantheon is the historic public library Sainte Genevieve. The steps have become somewhat famous after Woody Allen chose this location for his film Midnight In Paris.The vast collection of the Abbey  Saint Genevieve was in need of a home and it took seven years of construction in 1839 by architect Henri Labrouste. The public university library now holds around two million books and documents and the magnificent cast iron ceiling of the two story reading room is breathtaking.

National Library of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic

The National Library of the Czech Republic is part of the Clementinum, a massive complex of historical buildings that also holds the Astronomical Tower (a weather center since 1775) and the Mirror Chapel, a popular setting for classical music concerts. Regularly named one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, this Baroque marvel dates back to 1722. this The largest hall of the library is also the most impressive. Featuring a balcony with a highly ornate railing and stairs, the Library Hall is decorated in rich golds, mahogany woods, and ceiling frescoes by Jan Hiebl. The beauty is in the original details: the labels on the bookcases have been there since the 1700s and none of the features (including floors or wood trims) have been replaced since the library’s creation.The Library Hall is also home to some of the oldest books in Europe.

The Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Royal Copenhagen Library known as the Black Diamond juts over the canal. The interior boasts a huge ceiling fresco and canal views. The permanent exhibition, Treasures in The Royal Library, currently includes a Gutenberg bible, philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s notes, and Hans Christian Andersen’s diary.

Bibleoteca Vasconcelos, Mexico City, Mexico

This library was designed by Alberto Kalach and the construction was completed in 2007. Inside, instead of plain white walls and carpet, you’ll see transparent walls, mismatches floors, balconies and pathways, and books, lots and lots of books.

 The Library Of  Alexandria, Alexandria,  Egypt

The ancient library of Alexandria was built by the order of Ptolemy ll in the third century BC. It contained 700,000 books and was the greatest library in the world at that time. This was the first public governmental library in history. Any scholar such as Archimedes who studies in the library of Alexandria had to leave a copy of his writings in the library. This was one of the reasons the library was rich with books, researchers, and studies that were contemporary at the time. There were many theories as to how the library burned -one was that it was Julius Caesar. Centuries later, Hosny Mubarak made an international architectural design competition to build a library on that site.  The prize was sixty thousand American dollars which was won by Snohetta, a Norwegian architectural firm. The oval shape of the library from outside is a symbol of the continuity of life. The library is surrounded by a great wall that was made out of Aswan Granite and it contains writing and inscriptions in 120 languages. The objective of the new library is the same objective of the old library: to act as a public research library and to support the people of the Arab world and the Middle East to retain their old position as scholars and researchers in different fields of science.

NY Public Library, NY, USA

The New York Public Library  which opened in 1911  by combining the collections of the Astor and Lenox Libraries with a $2.4 million trust from Samuel J. Tilden that was given to, “establish and maintain a free library and reading room in the city of New York.”It was the largest marble building in the United States and  home to over one million books.The Beaux Artes building is located at Fifth Avenue and 42nd St. Two stone lions guard the entrance. Though originally named Astor and Lennox,  Mayor Fiorello La Guardia renamed them Patience and Fortitude during the Great Depression.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Coffee Addiction

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Coffee Addiction

“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.” Dave Barry

I started drinking coffee at sixteen when I began dating. I ordered a cappuccino in an Italian restaurant after dinner. It kept me up all night but I didn’t care. I was doing something very grown up – like alcohol and weed. I was in the experimentation phase.

 It evolved into instant coffee in the morning. Instant coffee was everywhere. Coffee was not a culture yet. It was just one of two caffeinated hot drinks with free refills. 

When I was diet conscious in college for no reason, I drank black coffee with fake sugar.  I could not buy artificial sweetener because I was not allowed to eat food with chemicals. I grabbed handfuls when they brought it to the table and hid it in my house.You could always find some Sweet n Low in my pockets. 

After I got married and moved to LA, I became a serious coffee drinker.  My plan was to arise at 4 a.m. and take some whole beans out of an airtight but never refrigerated container and  roast each bean individually over a wood-burning fire. This never happened. Every morning I ground those beans by hand not with a mortar and pestle but an automatic coffee grinder. I used a French press, waited four minutes and poured the coffee. I was going to be the kind of wife that made perfect coffee.

Starbucks and Coffee Bean stores were showing up everywhere.  I was a regular coffee user by then. Barista became an American word. They are sometimes nice and  sometimes annoying. There is nothing I hate more than when they correct my order in their own special lingo. They do it in a condescending way as if they are enlightening me that the correct term is Venti. I don’t want whipped cream on a soy latte. I’m ordering soy because I don’t want dairy. I don’t like anyone perky talking to me before i have coffee. I don’t come to Starbucks for questions. I come for coffee. 

After years of Starbucks, I found out that there is extra caffeine in their coffee. It doesn’t matter because it is three pm. I have to pick up my children from school and drive them to their activities. I am sooo tired. The morning caffeine has worn off. Is there a faster way to consume it? Maybe bathing in it? My children learn that I have a coffee dependence. I know the location of every Starbucks and Coffee Bean on the way to all their after school activities. “I just need to stop and get coffee”, becomes a familiar phrase that they hear all their lives.

Years later the best part about going to bed is imagining the coffee I am going to drink in the morning. At midnight, I think – only seven more hours to go. It’s more important to my body than oxygen or my left kidney. It is definitely a full-blown addiction. 

The unthinkable happens. For health reasons, I had to give up my afternoon, decades long, extra-large sized cup of coffee. I forge a special bond with blinding headaches, nausea and not getting anything done. I want to murder everyone I see holding a paper  coffee cup. The dog was worried about me. 

Eventually the symptoms disappear. The matcha fills a bit of the void. I’m more hydrated because I drink more water. I sleep more and my stomach doesn’t hurt. I can probably do coffee soon but the withdrawal was so severe that I never want to experience it again. Sometimes I go in a great coffee shop just to smell it brewing. I can crack at any time. But also I can change. Who knew?

Fly safe,

JAZ