About jaynezak

"I havent been everywhere, but it is on my list." I can eat anything raw. I can go to the bathroom standing up. I am fluent in hand motions and can speak Spanish in the present tense only.. Though directionally challenged, I can find my way in any airport to the gate and the luggage terminal. I must be an airport savant. I can cram more things into a suitcase than it is supposed to hold. If I have a few drinks, I forget that I cant speak the language of the country i am in. I still carry travelers checks for an emergency thought no one will cash them anymore. I make sure to learn how to say coffee with milk and no sugar in every language. I have accidently used tap water to brush my teeth in countries that you shouldnt and I am still here to write this. I have been to the gynecologist in Greece, the dentist in the Kyushu Islands in Japan and the emergency room in Edinburgh twice ( that trip was with my kids). Heels are my walking shoe of choice. (though I always have the appropriate shoes with me in case I need them) Ive perfected speed shopping and no matter how many bracelets i buy as gifts, it is never enough. Im afraid on small planes. I always have another trip planned (even if it is just in my head) before I return from the one I am on. Those are my credentials. Fly Safe JAZ

Elections And Protests Around The World

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Elections And Protests Worldwide 

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” Alan Moore

In Guinea President Alpha Conde amended the constitution from a presidential term of five to six years, to stay in power. 

In Uganda, 76-year old president Yoweri Museveni, previously too old to be eligible for reelection, changed the constitution to gain eligibility to run again in February 2021. 

Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned in November after weeks of protests and death threats. 

 Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced this week that he would disband  the  Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) which is part of the  federal police, following mass protests sparked by a video of the officers killing a man. SARS has also been accused of other killings, extortion and torture  especially of young people.

In Lebanon, protesters argue that while they are suffering under an economic crisis, the country’s leaders have been using their positions of power to enrich themselves, through kickbacks and favorable deals.

Namibia has been rocked with protests over the death of a woman in April. Gender-based violence and domestic abuse  are persistent problems in Namibia. Police responded to the SARSprotests with tear gas, rubber bullets, batons and arrests sparking further violence.

Protestors in Iraq have also been calling for the end of a political system that they say has failed them.

The Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan plunged into political chaos and riots after opposition groups seized control of Parliament and released their imprisoned leaders in protests over parliamentary elections they called rigged.

Protests against alleged government corruption have also taken place in Egypt. 

In Hong Kong protestors demonstrate against police brutality and for universal suffrage. 

In Belarus, security forces used violence in an attempt to disperse protesters who were demanding an end to the country’s long term dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

And in America,  President Donald Trump has cast doubt on the integrity of the election and repeatedly refused to say that he’d accept the results if he loses. Police grapple with the threat of right wing militia groups and a president who has called for an “army of poll watchers”  placing an unprecedented strain on police for election day and the violence and protests expected in the days after the results.  The toxic political climate, combined with the COVID-19 crisis and the national reckoning over police misconduct, is putting a lot of strain on everyone. Gun stores in the US are empty. 

I never thought I would say this about an American election. Stay safe, be brave and vote.

JAZ

America

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America

“We can’t all be Washingtons, but we can all be patriots.” Charles F. Browne

Did you ever have to write that essay about what America means to me in school when you were growing up? Here is what I would have written.

I was brought up to believe that I was so lucky to live in a country of great opportunity, where we all can thrive with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I was taught that I lived in the greatest country in the world, filled with a powerful police force and military who risked their lives to protect us.

America was the country of freedom of speech, freedom to educate your children and freedom to be whatever you wanted to be – to make something of yourself. It was the freedom to go to a doctor or dentist to stay healthy, the freedom to practice any religion, to love who we wanted to, to pursue any career that we chose and to make our own decisions.

This is why I have always cherished and respected the land I live in. I know that life in other countries is many times worse than it is here.

America should not be about division or hate, as it has seemed in recent times. America is not perfect, and we have many improvements to make, but we can better ourselves together.

I was always proud to be an American and have voted in every presidential election since I was able to. To me America is a land of freedom, democracy, equal rights and the rule of law. America is a land where the majority rules, but the rights of the minority are honored and protected. America is the leader of the “free world” and an advocate for democracy, human rights and responsible environmental footprints at home and abroad. America stands at the forefront of the fight against tyranny and oppression wherever they may occur. These are the principles and ideals that make America great, and that makes me proud to be an American.

This election season, I encourage every American to think about what America means to them, and then vote to support and uphold those principles and ideals.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Best Take Out Meals I’ve Eaten So Far

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Best Take Out Meals I’ve Eaten So Far 

“It’s easier to be faithful to a restaurant than it is to a woman.” Federico Fellini

Cooking and takeout during the pandemic became both sustenance and escapism and still involves a lot of conversation. Being at risk, I’m not comfortable in restaurants  with masked and gloved waiters, unmasked patrons and tables closer than six feet apart.  It’s hard to order a lot of my favorite foods as takeout- because things become soggy, mushy or dry out quickly.  Restaurants are struggling to survive so I am trying to support them. Here are some of my favorite takeout foods in no particular order that travel well.

Spicy Tuna#2   Yumi Sushi

The first time I ate here, I asked for recommendations from Midori, my now favorite waitress. She said to try the Spicy Tuna Roll number two. One day the chef was eating wasabi chips and wondered about incorporating them into a sushi roll and the result is a salty, delicious, addicting roll. Everyone I introduce it to becomes addicted as well. All the food is good,  Whenever I am in Beverly HIlis, I want spicy tuna #2. It makes it home easily to Venice. I usually have a few.  https://www.yumisushibh.com

 Margarita Pizza   Pizzana

The margarita pizza at Pizzana got rave reviews from the late Jonathan Gold. I couldn’t eat gluten for a while and I have to say that their gluten free, vegan cheese pizza was satisfying. But now I feel better so I cheat once in a while and have the regular margarita pizza. You can order  it half cooked and heat it up at home . Getting a reservation in Brentwood was rough in the beginning, Now they have two locations and plenty of takeout, so it is much easier to enjoy their food. https://pizzana.com 

Achiote Chicken Taco   Valle

I’m obsessed with the Achiote chicken taco with salted cabbage at Valle. Valle took over the former MTN space on Abbot Kinney in Venice.  It is Oaxacan Mexican food. They make tortillas from scratch. I order extra and have them for breakfast. I do this on Uber Eats and the food comes fast and it is not soggy. Their guacamole is delicious and fresh and their chips are also homemade and perfectly salted. The other dishes are good as well. But right now for me, it all about the chicken taco. https://vallevenice.com

 Chinese Chicken Salad Chin Chin 

Chin Chin Chinese Chicken has been in my life since I moved to LA. My children grew up eating it and I brought it to every school event. This combination of shredded iceberg lettuce, chicken breast, scallions, carrots, toasted almonds, and brown and white crunchies mixed in a red ginger dressing always hits the spot. It travels well and you can even leave it unmixed in the refrigerator for a day if you have to. It’s a perfect takeout food. https://chinchin.com

 Gluten Free Zucchini Bread With PB and J And Kreation Juice  Kreation

I’ve had a hard time with gluten free bread. It is usually expensive and bad tasting or so sweet  and white that it feels unhealthy. As a treat I love to have the gluten free zucchini bread at Kreation with Peanut Butter and Jelly. PB and J is my favorite food. It is an American classic. It is said that the average American will have eaten at least 2000 PB and J sandwiches by the time they graduate from high school.  I mix their yellow Serenity and  green Margan juice together to go with It. It always feels like a special morning when I get to start my day off with this.  https://www.kreationjuice.com 

 Cold Soba Noodles   Yabu  

Yabu serves really delicious Soba noodles. I recently discovered  this in my quest for good takeout so I have not eaten in the restaurant yet. I also love the light fried tofu. Soba is a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour  and is particularly difficult to make by hand. There is a Japanese tradition to eat  soba noodles on New Year’s Eve to wish for health and long life and I am going to incorporate that into my life now that I have found a good place to eat it.  Till then we will enjoy the takeout. http://www.yaburestaurant.com 

Sushi Bento Box Shunji

Michelin star, Omakase restaurant Shunji  started making sushi bento boxes when they were allowed to open for takeout. We found that the 48 dollar sushi box is more than satisfying though sometimes we add some uni for a treat. If you eat it as soon as it gets home, it holds up pretty well. The sushi still feels super fresh. We are regulars now. http://shunji-ns.com

Pastrami Sandwich  Daughter’s Deli

I am also addicted to the Pastrami Sandwich at Daugher’s Deli. Daughter is the daughter of Langer’s Deli, a restaurant in DTLA that has been there forever. It serves the most famous pastrami in Los Angeles. The sandwiches are lean, delicious and a normal size so you don’t feel like it is a super splurge to eat it. I don’t live near there so i have not had it as much as usual during the pandemic but when I am in West Hollywood  – I am there. The sandwich holds up for takeout and the bread doesn’t get greasy.  I  get the Noi – just pastrami and mustard on gluten free rye bread and I am happy. (I was hungry)  https://www.daughtersdeli.com

Pretzels and Brownies Spero Bakery

Food photography has taken on a whole new dimension on Instagram. The Pandemic has forced people to find creative, safe solutions for take out food.  More chefs and bakers are selling food on Instagram by posting on the app and taking orders. Spero has expanded to other desserts but right now for me its the brownies and pretzels. Its so easy and they deliver on Wednesdays and Saturdays all over LA. @sperobakery

Stay safe,
JAZ

Vote Around The World

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Vote Around The World

“This process of election affords a moral certainty that the office of President will seldom fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”Alexander Hamilton

Stay safe 😷😷 and PLEASE VOTE,

JAZ

 

Drive Through Art In The Time Of Corona

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 Drive Through Art  In The Time Of Corona

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” Elizabeth Edwards

Drive through attractions are an innovative solution to the social distancing challenges presented by  Covid 19. Drive In movie theaters are making a comeback.

The Van Gogh Exhibit in Toronto, Gogh By Car, is an immersive drive through experience of art, light, sound, movement and imagination. It sounds like fun.

We had our first drive through art experience this past weekend. The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, Hyundai, and the Hollywood Palladium got together and developed a plan for something special. Driven: A Latinx Artist Celebration was free with online tickets.  

Now that the pandemic has closed public restrooms (not that I even want to use them),  going anywhere involves liquid intake planning. It did not help that it was 110 degrees in Hollywood and I could have used some water.

Our tickets were for 12:00 pm on the first day of the exhibit. I believe it was the first time slot. Lesson one about a drive though art exhibition would be don’t go on the first day so they can iron out the kinks.

It took us fifty minutes to get there after a large morning coffee. We then had to wait forty five minutes. Even though they said you cannot leave the car, I got out to try and walk my dog. At least one of us could pee.

When we finally got in there, it was really cool.

I’m a fan of Hispanic Art so the paintings were interesting to me.

The artwork was by Judth Hernandez, Denise Lopez, Steffano Alvarez, Carlos Almaraz, Diana Gomez, Patssi Valdez, Chiachio and Giannone, Norbert Rodriguez and Delmer Mejia.

There is a playlist that you can access on your radio while driving through the exhibit.

It was such an inspiration to see the way that the artists and curators have demonstrated resilience and creativity by pivoting to a drive-through experience during this challenging time.

. Drive ins are the perfectly distanced social events. I hope there will be more of these.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Sedona, Arizona

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Sedona, Arizona

“Wow Even the rocks in Sedona meditate!” Ilchi Lee

Plan to be amazed.  As the sun started to set, the red rocks started to glow in the light.  We sat on the hotel terrace restaurant with Mexican food and margaritas, watching the color of the sky change with rocks. I would have forgotten that there was a Corona virus except for the masked waiters. 

As you drive through the mountains to enter the town, you can clearly see the outlines of Sedona because of the distinct shift between the typical brown/beige desert surroundings to the intense red color of these rocks.  

 We had a very different  trip planned the week everything closed for quarantine in March to the Mii Amo spa in Sedona.

This time we were masked and social distancing so the spa was out of the question for us.  Everyone else was using it. The most dramatic red rocks of Sedona’s Boynton Canyon  set the tone for an experience beyond compare.

  Enchantment Resort is a little pricey but there isn’t a more beautiful hotel to stay in.

When we arrived it was crowded and no one was wearing masks, except the staff. It felt unsafe as far as the virus was concerned. All the rooms have beautiful views of the red rocks so just hanging out on your terrace is amazing. The rooms are “casitas” and have both a kitchenette with a table and an outdoor table and grill. You have different options for  room service both cooked and ‘raw” if you want to do it yourself.  Somehow with all the different hikes, spa treatments and activities that they have,  we were able to avoid crowds of people and eat in all the restaurants at off hours, hike, walk and feel safe.  Doing yoga, qi gong and meditation on the terrace facing the red rocks was a spiritual experience.

  The Bf was off hiking and mountain biking.

The activities at Enchantment were limited because of safety. There were no large classes or group hikes. You had to hike on your own or hire a private guide.

Our guide was George, a 76 year old Apache who started the mountain biking experience and cut many of the trails that people hike on.

There was no one more concerned with masks and social distancing than George – except for me. He was horrified by all the hikers who don’t wear masks.

With his Apache spirit he guided them away from us and made us wait for the air to clear when a group passed by.

It was a special treat to see “The land of the red skin” with him.

And then there are the stars. Sedona has strict rules about lighting at night because the skies are ablaze with stars. Being a city girl, the night skies are one of the marvelous splendors of the area. 

We will definitely come back to Sedona to have the full experience when this is over. But during these uncertain times, finding beauty is a necessity. 

Stay safe,

JAZ

Road Trip In The Time Of Corona

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Road Trip In The Time Of Corona

“That’s why I love road trips, dude. It’s like doing something without actually doing anything.” John Green

The world changed in March 2020, when the country — and the planet — shut down to help slow the spread of Covid 19. For most of us, the pandemic signaled the first time we were asked to shelter in place, maintain our distance from our friends and family, forgo handshakes and hugs, and cover our faces.  

Being at risk, I have been home for six months. The California wildfires changed all that for me because I am violently allergic to smoke and was getting sicker and sicker from the air. We decided to drive to Arizona.  Venturing outside brought up very mixed feelings. On one hand, I was excited to go on a trip to anywhere, have room service and eat in a restaurant.  On the other hand, I had adapted to being at home and felt safe there. The virus is still very active and it was scary to change what I was currently doing for fear this would lead to getting the illness. But I had no choice.

We jumped in the car the next day. When you’ve been inside for a long time, it feels strange to go out. Eventually we had to stop and get food and use our first public restroom in six months. We were armed with masks, gloves, alcohol spray and  hand sanitizer. As difficult as it was to get used to lockdown, it is just as difficult to come out of it. We drove by a crowded restaurant and decided no way.  We saw a Subway. It was not crowded and everyone wore masks and stood six feet apart. The bathroom was clean. I ordered my favorite-turkey on whole wheat with pickles lettuce and tomato and then I put potato chips in it to go. It tasted like the best sandwich I had eaten in six months.  I felt the sensory overload of being in a restaurant for the first time..The second rest stop was super crowded. Everyone wore masks and kept social distance. I felt so much anxiety about being around all those people. 

We got to the hotel in Arizona. The staff wore masks and gloves. Everyone had to wear a mask when indoors. There was an automatic temperature checker as you walked in.

Automatic hand sanitizers were everywhere.  We had our choice to carry our own luggage or  park our own car and a bellman came to the parking lot in a golf cart. We ordered room service.There are no checks to sign. 

The next day we hiked and we were shocked that no one wore masks.

We decided to venture out to the restaurant for lunch.

The tables were eight to ten feet apart and the restaurant was not crowded. There were individual ketchup packets and individual water bottles. I forgot how it felt to sit in a restaurant and have someone serve you. What a treat that I used to take for granted. (first waiter in six months!!!)

We were upgraded to a room with a small swimming pool and large outside area so I was totally fine to hang out there. (the view)

We went to the restaurant for the rest of our meals.

I changed clothes for every meal.

Being in sweatpants  for six months  has made me appreciate my clothes.

If you are like me, and worried about safety and the virus, The Four Seasons in Scottsdale is a great place to start going out again.I felt very safe and was able to relax and heal. 

There has been a lot of talk of a ‘new normal’ – but normal is changing and uncertainty, and managing risk, is going to be the reality for the foreseeable future. New normal’ for most of us will mean ‘what we need to get through today, or this week – it’s going to be very difficult to predict what the course of the rest of the year will look like.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Things I Have Learned from Yoga, Qi Gong and Tai Chi

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Things I Have Learned from Yoga, Qi Gong and Tai Chi

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. “Eckhart Tolle

There are many studies about how Yoga, QI Gong (a form of Tai Chi) and Tai Chi can improve your health. People have been doing it for thousands of years so it must have some benefits. I’ve been doing it regularly in quarantine and have not had any of my usual health problems so there might be something to it. Here is what I have learned so far.

Look at everything-not just one thing.
Did you ever notice how people can look at the same thing and see something totally different? Learning to see something from all sides, without judgement, to see beyond our own assumptions is something to strive for – especially the way the world is now.

Change hands-change responsibilities.
You can’t change your circumstances but you can change how you look at them.

Is a balance posture strength or submission?
We look for balance to live a life of quality. A balance posture requires steady feet, a steady mind and a sense of weight control. It isn’t one thing. It takes both strength and letting go to balance in the posture and in life.

Your speed does not matter. How far forward you can go does not matter. Forward is Forward. Your speed at doing anything is personal. Sometimes a slower pace will get you further. There’s always a pace you’d rather be experiencing, but it might not be what’s really happening right now.

You are not going to master every movement in one day, master what you can in a day and just keep doing it. Persistence is the only guarantee to master anything. Feeling defeated is also part of mastery.

Focus on the movement not the results. Whether good or bad the focus is always on the action itself. As humans we are not always satisfied with our present circumstances. We believe that only through results can we secure a pathway for a better future. Things in life may not actually turn out the way you want to. Be happy that you are working to achieve your goal.

Breathe in and out and be available to what unfolds.
We don’t always have to have a plan.

Move slowly with intention.
It is true that ”slow and steady” wins the race. You won’t miss out on anything by doing it mindfully.

We do the same thing day after day. Each day is a different day and each side is a different side. There is always more to be found by exploring the same thing over and over.

Where can we let go? Sometimes you have to let go because things are too heavy to carry with you. It can take just as much strength to let go as to hold on.

When two or more gather together, the practice is more powerful.This comes from the Bible. “When two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” We find it in Mathew 18:20 .The idea that is commonly promoted is that if there are two or more people gathered together who agree on something, and they ask God for it in prayer, then he will answer their request. Sounds like a plan. We can use all the help we can get these days. We are better, together.

Stay safe,

JAZ

After The Virus Is Over With A Little HELP From My Friends

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After The Virus Is Over With A Little HELP From My Friends

“The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits.” Albert Camus, The Plague

What are the habits, behaviors and routines you will keep doing after The Big Q is over? What sorts of things will you continue to do after all this?

I will continue to do QI Gong and meditation every day to control my anxiety. i will also deep condition my hair every week. it is so healthy now. JZ

I don’t have to be so regimented in my life. CL

What I hope continues after the pandemic are virtual meetings. I love the convenience of logging in from anywhere in the country and the fact that you do not have to dress and drive to a location. My zoom book club meetings have much better participation now. EM

I don’t need to go to Drybar for my hair every week because I can do it myself. DG

We absolutely will continue getting food deliveries from Costco and other markets. What a blessing. I’ll also continue subscribing to Broadway HD — in memory of your mother if for no other reason. Have been watching some amazing plays. I’ll also continue taking walks every other day when the weather and air quality allow it, and exercising at home when I can’t do it outside. No more gym membership. And now that I know that I can redeem my Marriott points for Amazon gift cards, I won’t feel so pressed to use them to stay in hotels. LM

Meditate and do yoga and not be in such a hurry all the time -hopefully. MU

I will continue to bake bread (I’ve gotten really good at it and it’s therapeutic); make my own yogurt because it’s so much better than anything I’ve ever bought and it’s stupid easy); write postcards and letters to friends and family; cut my own hair (most of the time);  be more tin touch with people who matter to me; purge, purge purge. Finally, now that I’m unemployed, I am trying to find a way to be self-employed. EF

Make my own bed. Clean my patio. Go to Whole Foods for meat, chicken and fish. Keep walking 4-5 miles 3 or 4 times a week with friends. Watch Turkish soap operas as they are so good and full of art and great design. NC

I will probably always wear a mask on a plane now. GW

I will continue to shave only once a week; walk two or three miles a day 3; cook more, eat out less; practice guitar an hour a day; use my girlfriend’s homemade face lotions and body scrubs and play the NY Times (highly addictive) Spelling Bee puzzle. CW

I’ve been zooming – and since 3 of my best friends from college (the 4 of us were roommates) all live in other cities, we will probably continue to zoom together every 2 weeks or so. It’s been fun to “see” each other, so I will propose that we keep doing that.DG

I will probably continue wearing some sort of mask outside .I love all the extra washing and hand sanitizing so I will definitely keep it going. LA

I will take the ability to slow down, to appreciate what I have, to recognize that not all motion is progress.HM

Stay safe,
JAZ

Proverbs From Southeast Asia

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Proverbs from Southeast Asia

“Any water in the desert will do.” India

Proverbs and old sayings reveal many aspects about the cultural  traditions of a society. Proverbs originated from indigenous people who handed down these wise old sayings over the centuries, generation to generation. Many proverbs serve as advisory tales and wise counsel. Here are some things you might learn when visiting Southeast Asia.

“Calm water does not mean that there are no crocodiles” Indonesia

“Those who can’t dance blame it on the flute and the drum.” Thailand

“Don’t play the violin for the buffalo to listen to.” Thailand

“Don’t let an angry man wash dishes; don’t let a hungry man guard the rice.’ Cambodia

“Don’t bargain for fish that are still in the water.’ India

“Without a woman’s help, a man cannot set up a tent.” Tibet

‘Live with vultures, and become a vulture; live with crows, and become a crow.” Laos

“When it rains, collect the water” Myanmar

“To take revenge on an enemy, give him an elephant — first he must thank you for the gift, and then the elephant’s appetite will deplete your enemy’s resources.’Nepal

“When you are shopping for a cow, make sure that the price of the tail is included.” Sri Lanka

“Be careful of the teacher you choose and the water you drink.” Bangladesh

“You can dress a monkey in a suit, but it is still a monkey.” Pakistan

Stay safe,

JAZ