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

Don’t Defund The Police – Fix Them – And This Time Make It Stick

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Don’t Defund The Police – Fix Them – And This Time Make It Stick

“In my own lifetime, I want to see the fighting cease. In my own lifetime, I want to see my sons enjoy the fruits of peace. While I’m still here, I want to know beyond a doubt that no one can lock us in or lock us out. We have climbed higher. much higher than I thought we’d climb. It’s a long journey, and even though the end’s in sight, there’s not much time.  I want to know we haven’t built on sand, in my own lifetime “ Sheldon Harnick “The Rothschilds”

The Police  Force is considered to be the most corrupt of governmental  institutions world wide. Fundamental systemic changes, including anti-corruption reforms, are needed in countries all over the world to prevent police abuse.

George Floyd’s death is the latest in a long series of brutal encounters between the American police and the people they are supposed to serve.

We need to make meaningful changes to address police misconduct.  When something calls attention to their faults (like murder), they implement change for a while. As public attention shifts and politics moves on, the police reform efforts eventually stop. 

We need to get rid of qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is a judicial doctrine that protects officers who violate someone’s constitutional rights from civil-rights lawsuits unless the officers’ actions were clearly established as unconstitutional at the time.  Just throw it out and make them as accountable for their behavior as the rest of us are.  They have clearly abused that privilege.

Police officers should keep better records of what they do and how they do it. Why were they in a high speed chase down the freeway? Who got injured along the way? etc. They looked like an invading army during the protests and many instances of unnecessary brutality and meanness were reported. Was any of that investigated? 

The most important thing to spend money on is better police training and screening. Train parking enforcement to deal with most traffic violations. Get rid of traffic cops.  If I get stopped outside of Beverly Hills and West Los Angeles, police act very differently. I did not need four officers with guns surrounding my new car because it didn’t have a front license plate at the time that law changed.  When I yelled at them for doing that and scaring my daughter (and me), they took forty five minutes, to write up the ticket. (Yes, I know what white privilege is but once I am in a non white neighborhood, they think I am Hispanic or Muslim).  Screen for psychological disorders, racial and  gender prejudice, homophobia, bullying, depression or violent, angry personalities. Get rid of stop and frisk and racial profiling.

 Police see the worst of humanity, the most depraved, and they do so at risk to their own lives. I think they are so used to thinking everyone is a bad guy and might have a gun and kill them, that they lose their humanity.  They treat certain neighborhoods as war zones and seem to forget human beings live in them.

 Police are rewarded  for “collars” (arrests – yes I’m obsessed with watching Law and Order) and how many traffic tickets they give in a month. What if they got rewarded equally for people they helped and the kindnesses they did in a community? What if they got rewarded for the humane way they dealt with lawbreakers?  They seem to have a problem telling the difference between an African American man walking home from work or a student running  home from college and a criminal. So it is best if they find a better way of dealing with arrests. Make their pension not a guarantee but based on constant re – evaluation.   

This “Blue Wall Of Silence” has to stop. This is the informal rule among  police officers not to report on a colleague’s errors, misconducts, or crimes, including police brutality. It has to be part of a new kind of training.

 Somewhere during the quarantine of the corona virus and the protests against police brutality, an African American friend sent me a picture of her brand new grandson. We have to do better. We have to fix this and keep at it this time. No more slacking off when things quiet down. 

Stay safe,

JAZ

Idioms Around The World

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Idioms Around The World

“When life gives you lemons, squeeze them in people’s eyes.” unknown

Idioms are sentences that sound ridiculous to everyone but the native speakers who use them. They are phrases that mean more than the sum of their words. Here are some of my favorites from different countries

Australia
“He’s got a kangaroo loose in the top paddock.”
He is a bit crazy.

Germany
Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof. “I only understand the train station.”
I don’t know what he is talking about.

Cuba
Se formó tremendo arroz con mango! “This turned into a serious bowl of rice with mango.”
This is now a big deal.

Portugal

Quem não tem cão caça com gato. 
“He who doesn’t have a dog hunts with a cat.”
You do what you need to do, with the resources you have.

Italy
Ogni morte di papa.”Every death of a pope.”
Once in a blue moon.

France

Les carottes sont cuites “The carrots are cooked!”
The situation can’t be changed.

Norway
Å snakke rett fra leveren.“To speak directly from the liver.”
To tell it like it is.

Poland
Bułka z masłem.
 “It’s a roll with butter.”
It’s really easy.

Thailand
ชาติหน้าตอนบ่าย ๆ “One afternoon in your next reincarnation.”
It’s never gonna happen.

Russia
На воре и шапка горит.
 “The thief has a burning hat.”
He has an uneasy conscience that betrays itself.

Japan
花より団子 (hana yori dango). “Dumplings instead of flowers.”
Choose something useful over something pretty.

Sweden
Det är ingen ko på isen
.  “There’s no cow on the ice.”
There’s no need to worry.

Netherlands
Lets voor een appel en een ei kopen. 
“Buying something for an apple and an egg.”
You bought it very cheaply.

Indonesia
Kuman di seberang lautan tampak, gajah di pelupuk mata tak tampak.
“A germ across the sea can be seen, an elephant on the eyelid can not.”
You can see other people’s faults more clearly than you can see your own.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Returning To The Places You Love

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Returning To The Places You Love

“I believe that each person has a favorite place, a tree, a mountain, or a beach which they want to come back to, even if the return can only take place in the boundaries of their imagination.” Sana Szewczyk

I’m always afraid to return to places that I love. There’s a danger for me that comes with returning to these places. There’s always an underlying fear that on a second visit, it doesn’t feel the same; that either I’ve changed or it’s changed or maybe both.  There are so many places in the world to see, how could I justify a return visit?

 I have revisited countries but I focus on different cities and I just spend a short time in the cities that I have been to. I often find that second and third time visits are much more relaxed, spontaneous and enjoyable. Going back to a place lets you dig a bit deeper and uncover another layer of the place.

I’ve already done the famous sites and waited on the long queues. The nice thing about return visits is the I can concentrate on exploring the off the beaten track parts of a city. I don’t feel bad about spending an entire day shopping, eating and drinking since I did the museums and tourist thing on the last visit. 

If I visit during a different season, the city can have a whole different feeling. Many cities are transformed for special events like festivals or holidays at certain times of the year.. Bad weather, bad luck and bad choices can turn you against a destination that might deserve a second chance. 

I cancelled two trips over the last few months in quarantine. I don’t know when i will actually be able to travel again. Researching trips, which is something I do extensively when I am home, is not an option right now. When the world feels so uncertain, maybe it is just  easier to reminisce about the past than to plan something new. Istanbul, Venice, London,  Sydney, Tel Aviv  anywhere in South America, Portugal, Croatia and Japan look pretty great to me right now.

Stay Safe,
JAZ

Why Didn’t The Police Stop The Looting?

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Why Didn’t The Police Stop The Looting?

“Until you guys own your own souls, you don’t own mine. Until you guys can be trusted every time and always, in all times and conditions, to seek the truth out and find it and let the chips fall where they may—until that time comes, I have the right to listen to my conscience, and protect my client the best way I can.” Raymond Chandler, The High Window

In April 1775  Major John Pitcairn upon reaching Lexington and finding the colonials, in what he perceived to be an “unlawful armed assembly,” ordered the colonials assembled  to “Lay down your arms, you rebels, and disperse!” He was “reading them the riot act.”

In England before the American Revolution, almost all felonies were punishable by death. That is  no longer the case. Crimes such as theft, burglary and robbery no longer carry the death penalty, and are generally punished by imprisonment or by some form of probation. 

The death of George Floyd, a black man suspected of passing a suspicious $20 bill at a grocery store in Minneapolis by a police officer was inhumane and also illegal. It set off protests, looting and riots across the country. 

Experts say that looting is a side effect of the condition causing the protest. But this time in Los Angeles, it looked different. Splinter groups broke off from the peaceful protests and began rioting and looting.

There was a lot of twitter chatter about going to Beverly Hills to loot. The footage was disturbing, It looked like criminals with hammers and kids of all races who had been in the house too long and were laughing at the smashed  windows, taking photos and grabbing stuff. It was like a release valve had opened up. No police and no parents. “Where are the jewelry stores?” was heard throughout the video. 

I can’t speak for the whole country because this time I watched Los Angeles News. In the Fairfax Melrose area, certain stores were targeted and then it became a mob mentality, free for all of looting and fires.

The looting of Downtown, Santa Monica and Long Beach was even more disturbing. It went on for a long time and there was definitely the realization that no one was going to stop them. It was organized with cars circling the areas and people running in and out of the stores and cars. 

We received an email that a protest in Venice on a main shopping street was being organized by looters and the one on the beach was organized by protestors. 

Small businesses shouldn’t have to pay for the anger caused by the police. We all support the protest. The business owners quietly cleaned up the glass and opened their doors with sparse merchandise  to empty streets. Their businesses were already pummeled by the corona virus. We don’t know how many of them (us) will recover from all of this. Please support small businesses in your neighborhood. They need your help now.

It looked like the police did not want to put themselves in harm’s way or to hurt someone else over loss of property. The police backed off and let the looters have at it. After all, it was only someone else’s property or livelihood that was destroyed or stolen.

Stay safe,

JAZ

What Kids Said When Donald Trump Won – A Reminder

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What Kids Said When Donald Trump Won

I thought it would be a good time repost this one.

What Kids Said When Donald Trump Won (November 2016)

“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“I don’t think he will make a good president. He doesn’t know how to use his Twitter account and so I presume he will be hopeless at nuclear codes.”

“If Donald Trump deports my mom can I come live with your family?”

“He seems very bossy.”

“This is a hijab. It’s really hot. I don’t sleep in it. If you have questions, ask me. Don’t say terrible, scary things.”

“I don’t think he will be on the list of good presidents in the history of good presidents in the US.”

“If the president says bad things about Mexicans, then other people will too.”

“If he is a bully, how did he get to be president?”

“I woke up to find out that Trump was President and my sister was using my expensive shampoo.”

“I really like it here. I don’t want to leave.”

“Will I have to be a slave?”

“He might be a good president if he controls his anger.”

“Will I have to wear numbers on my shirt?”

“I’m not speaking to white people today. It is their fault,”

“He gets angry and interrupts people. He goes bankrupt a lot. I don’t thing that is good for a President.”’

“I’m worried my brother who has leukemia will lose his health care.”

“I am hopeful that Donald Trump will not end the world or the country.”

“He got the most votes. He won fair and square.”

“I hope he is a great president and he doesn’t build a wall and send my friends home. I hope he is the best, kind, amazing president.“

“I’m scared people will hurt me because I am a girl.”

“I’m ok with the outcome as long as he makes America better again.”

“Black people don’t vote for white people unless they’re like cool. He said what people wanted to hear, and they voted for him. Also, don’t tell anybody this, but I cried in the bathroom this morning when I found out.”

Children are listening, Speak to them. Let your intelligence and not your fear guide your words.  Hear them. Listen to what they have to say. Make them feel safe.  Read to them.  Encourage them to read books by authors and  about people who are different than you are. Teach them about the world.

Fly safe.

JAZ

Annoying Things About Travel That I Miss

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Annoying Things About Travel That I Miss

“People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.” Clarissa Wild

Traveling the world is not as easy as it looks. It is not always luxurious and it doesn’t always make you a better person. Social media puts a lot of pressure on you to make it look effortless and fun at all times. It is still the best part of my life and I miss everything about it. I even miss all the annoying things. Here are some of them.

Packing. Packing cubes, Packing lists and packing sox in my shoes.

Miniature bottles that sometimes leak.

The Journey  Are we there yet? Especially not so easy to get to destinations.

One Night Hotel Stay. It is a connection thing. I arrive too late and leave too early to see anything. Whatever I need no matter how I plan, is usually on the bottom of my suitcase. 

Airport Hotels that are not attached to the airport. This always includes traffic. 

Long Layovers.

Flight Delays. In some countries, there are no explanations and no one seems surprised or aggravated that the plane is late. Planes leave when they leave. Hakuna Matata is a real thing.

Airport Security  Because I have to travel with too many health related liquids and a doctors note-I am often treated like a terrorist and have almost missed my plane a few times.

Airplane Restrooms Whoever designed the interior of a plane clearly forgot to include a restroom and threw it in at the last minute.

Walking down the steps from a plane that has landed on the tarmac.Its super hot, super freezing, raining or snowing and the right clothes are in your checked luggage. Also my carry on is very heavy. 

Arrival Jet Lag. I suck it up and power through. I can sleep when I am home.

 Bad Weather – especially animals lining up in pairs rainstorms. 

Cruise Ships in the  summer emptying thousands of people into a small destination at the same time.

Getting Lost. You would think  that with all the hand held GPS  navigation and my love of asking directions and hand motions, this wouldn’t be on my list but it still is. 

Unsafe Drinking Water. After seeing “Slumdog Millionaire” I now have to worry about fake sealed bottles of water and make sure to drink a reputable local brand.

Sleeping under a mosquito net. A mosquito net means that you are sleeping near a lot of bugs and very far away from home.  Worse  than that, is lying in bed in the night and finding a hole in your mosquito net. 

Adventurous street crossings. There are many cities where people ignore lights or they do not have them. Only the confident survive. Make your move and keep going. 

Dirty Travel Clothes by the last week of my trip. 

I miss it all.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Living In the USA-Deaths, Pandemic, Riots, Protest

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Living In the USA-Deaths Pandemic Riots Protest

“Race doesn’t really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don’t have that choice.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

I really believed the world was getting better with prejudice and racism. It looks better than the world of my childhood. Change is slow.

 But I’m wrong. It is not only these isolated, violent incidents that has made me sit up and take notice. Traveling, having friends and now family with different skin color has forced me to re-examine my beliefs. My hope is that our life experiences are universal now, but they are not.

 I believed that having a black President had changed things. I wished my mother who volunteered for Dr King could have seen this. But the hate it unleashed, which continued to be fanned by the  president we have now, is frightening. 

Those of us who ”don’t see color” (because we don’t have to) are forced to when we see a photo of a white cop killing a black man for no reason. George Floyd joins an ever-growing list of Black names who died unnecessarily while police performed their ostensible mission of protecting their community.  It’s a list of names too long to fit on this page. Each of whom was a person, with loved ones, dreams, and lives to be lived.

The photos of the people wearing masks while they are rioting or protesting, in the middle of a dangerous pandemic, makes me believe we have hit rock bottom. We seem to have a president who doesn’t care about our health or our safety.  Maybe we have all had enough. Maybe we can finally start to see what is really wrong in the world and can begin to change it. The path toward justice is always long and hard. We continue to fight for what is right no matter how bleak it seems, because that is what good people do.

Stay safe,

JAZ

PS. A family member’s business was broken into and badly looted tonight. Another family member was locked in their store watching burning police cars and the looting of neighboring small businesses.The videos were disturbing. Young  people – black, white, Hispanic and Asian were breaking windows, laughing, taking selfies and looking for the expensive stores. They were carrying shopping bags not protest signs. Looters are not protestors. Looters take advantage of a situation for personal gain.They are not looking for justice. They are looking for free stuff.

 

 

 

To Mask Or Not To Mask – That Is The Political Question

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To Mask Or Not To Mask – That Is The Political Question

“Nothing is more real than the masks we make to show each other who we are.” Christopher Barzak

i was unprepared for the quarantine. I was still packing the weekend before for a trip to Arizona. Yes, we were in the empty market and getting help from more prepared friends and family.

But what I did have were masks. I am allergic to smoke and pollution. I have always been told that masks won’t save me around a fire because the particles of smoke are too small and get through the masks.

The only thing paper masks are protection for, the doctors would tell me, are germs. That is why doctors wear them. I still have them because they are a line of defense against smokers and pollution. I have different kinds, including N95, in the hopes that someone invents something besides a gas mask that will work for me. It looks like, I have been preparing my whole life for this virus.

If  you have a cold or allergies in Japan, you wear a mask so you don’t pass it on to other people. I was there during the bird flu scare and everyone wore masks. There were no laws or fines, you just put on a mask out of of respect for yourself and others

. I didn’t get the bird flu nor did a lot of people because everyone was taking precautions. (They did kill a lot of birds.) I’ve seen first hand that masks work.

Trump doesn’t wear a mask. He gets tested every day for the virus and it is a test where he gets the results quickly. We had to wait several days for results when we needed testing. I’m sure there is a ventilator and a doctor on call at the White House should something happen. He does not have to worry, as most people do, if there is room in a hospital for him should he need that.

Now he is taking hydroquinine preventively. My chemical and smoke sensitivities are autoimmune related. My doctor recommended hydroquinine.  He said it had a 10 or 20 per cent chance of working on what I have and I had to be on it for a year to see if it worked. I got some more medical opinions. I decided the odds were too low and the side effects too many to be on it for a year. Hydroquinine is also a malaria drug. The fact that the president would take a strong immune illness drug with side effects, that might work in case he gets the virus, instead of suggesting masks is crazy to me.

The beach near where I live opened last week. Three quarters of the people who come here are not wearing masks. It feels unsafe to me now on the weekends so I don’t go out.

It is frustrating because most of the people don’t live here and may behave differently in their own neighborhoods. I’m sure they put on masks if they visit their parents.  They are biking and jogging, not wearing shirts and sweating. The bikers are not social distancing.

On the beach they run in and out of the water unaware of people walking by. It certainly does not appear to be as mandatory here as other parts of LA..

The mask is being seen as a symbol of blindly submitting to government authority or taking a political stance to some, and a sign of safety and compassion to others. It seems to be about people’s age and individual tolerance of risk. Since we don’t know if we are carrying the virus and we don’t know what immune deficiencies other people have, why is it so difficult for Americans in this unprecedented time, to behave with politeness and kindness towards others and wear a mask?  We all want this to be over.

Stay safe,
JAZ

The  Best And Worst Thing About Quarantine With A Little Help From My Friends

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The  Best And Worst Thing About Quarantine With A Little Help From My Friends

“The best way out is always through.”  Robert Frost

BEST: I’m doing qi gong, yoga and meditation and a beach walk every day. It is helping my anxiety and I sleep great. WORST:  I cancelled two trips and I’m not traveling.  JZ

BEST is cleaning my desk, watching great tv and finally finishing a series. WORST is not being able to hug & kiss my kids, missing my friends and working out in a gym! EH

BEST is being with my dog 24/7. WORST is cooking three meals a day for my husband. SR

 BEST is that I don’t have to get dressed up and put on makeup to go to work. WORST is not going out to eat, to the movies, a play or concert with friends and not having home cooked Sunday dinners with my kids.  Oh and not having my housekeeper!  JL

BEST is pretty easy.  My immediate family and girlfriend are here all day.  WORST is my fears for people who are facing huge problems  and also some personal health fears.  Just thinking about the worst list makes me sense my blood pressure increasing.  LA

BEST is catching up with friends and relatives virtually. Also more time for reading, Spring cleaning and watching Netflix. WORST is not going to movies, the Grove, shopping, church, and hugging friends. EM

BEST:  As an extrovert, I was delightfully surprised to find that I no longer suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), because there’s not much to Miss Out on.  Instead, I can be fully present and do one thing at a time. WORST: My husband has “underlying health conditions” that make true isolation necessary for him, which means I have to be extremely careful, too.  So my time outside is limited. LM

BEST is getting a lot of sleep, having the time to try new recipes and beauty products and catching up on movies.WORST is being alone, stuck at home and not seeing, hugging or kissing friends and family. It is worrying about losing jobs, money and the future. NC

BEST is remembering what I am thankful for.  WORST is thinking that I will never travel again.TN

BEST is eating good food and watching good movies and TV shows.WORST is not seeing my friends and getting fat. DB

BEST is the confirmation that I definitely married the person in the world I would most like to be quarantined with. WORST is the constant low-level non-specific anxiety.  LO

BEST  is that I am finally getting rid of shit in my house.WORST is that I can’t spend time with my mom.This Sunday is her 95th Birthday. SF

BEST  is spending all this time with my boyfriend, just the two of us.WORST  (aside from missing personal grooming – Brazilian wax, fillers etc) is not getting together with friends for a meal. CL

BEST is getting to sleep later in the morning  and reading the whole NY Times. I’m even doing the Friday and Saturday crossword puzzles.  Also, having the time to reconnect with people in my life that I haven’t seen or heard from in a long time.WORST is that I miss seeing the people in my life. Zoom just doesn’t cut it after a while. HM

BEST is slowing down and having time to do a new project.WORST is isolation. MU

 BEST is that life is way simpler and more meaningful. Time is slower and faster and I am more aware of how precious life is and that what really matters most doesn’t need a new pair of shoes, dress or anything else to make it special.WORST is not being able to touch, hug and kiss family and friends. My daughter is pregnant and I worry about her. DG

 BEST Being with my family all the time.WORST Being with my family all the time MA

BEST is learning to cook.WORST is having the Corona Virus. AA

Thanks for the help.

Stay Safe,

JAZ

Covid 19 – The Best Thing That Has Happened To My Dog

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Covid 19 – The Best Thing That Has Happened To My Dog

My dog  has waited his whole life for this moment in time. His dream come true is that we now have the same life and spend every moment together. 

We sleep in.

We have breakfast together.

We go for a walk every morning. 

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We do Yoga.

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 We get a new Corona hair style.

We meditate/nap.

We do sports

We  cook at home and have delicious table scraps every night. 

We get into bed and watch TV.

We go to sleep.

We start over again tomorrow.

Stay safe,

JAZ

 

 

Stay safe,

JAZ