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

Corona Days

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Corona Days

“She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”  Zelda Fitzgerald

It is twenty something days in. I often lose track of what day of the week it is as every day is the same. I’ve developed a bit of a corona schedule for my day. They are not always  in this order and sometimes I mix it up – nor do I always get up at 8. 

8:00  Breakfast and internet time. I try to work on my blog for a bit but not traveling makes it more difficult. Play some scrabble. 

9:30  ZOOM Yoga every Friday with Michelle Azar Aron or her face book yoga  on other days.  I haven’t done yoga in a year and a half and I can feel it. I try to switch off every other day with Pilates so it doesn’t hurt so much.

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/351065504?pwd=SnV3UzIxd2xVNS9ieUp0aGtHNkJWQT09

Meeting ID: 351 065 504 Password: 914811

11:00 Tai Chi / Qi Gong with Olivia Rosewood. Olivia is doing a 15 minute Qi Gong Tai Chi warm up which is a great way to start the day. 

https://www.facebook.com/oliviarosewood

11:30 if I can get it to work, I do another twenty minutes of QI Gong breathing  with Samuel Barnes on his face book page .

12:00  Spend time brushing my dogs hair because he is starting to get matted and dreadlocks are forming. After, we go out on the deck and run around. Today i spoke to a nice man at Mobile Groomers who told me what tools and shampoo to buy to detangle my dog and taught me what to do. This should be interesting.  He felt that cutting the nails and expressing  the anal glands was above my skill level. He was right. Soon I will learn how to color my own hair.

12:30 Lunch  is whatever we have in the house. It usually involves peanut butter.

1:00 I am taking this Yale class online.. It is an interesting time to be taking it but when do you have this kind of time? It is called The Science Of Well Being and I’m really enjoying it. I spend one to two hours a day on it.

https://www.businessinsider.com/coursera-yale-science-of-wellbeing-free-course-review-overview

2:00 This  is a good time to get  dressed or at least change into a different pair of sweat pants,  clean up the house and make the bed.

3:00 We go for a walk with the dog on the beach or  the Speedway. The Speedway is less windy but more crowded with bikers and skateboarders. It is easier to navigate the six feet thing there than on our less crowded but very narrow streets. Everyday we have more  and more quarantine gear. Almost everyone is wearing masks now. The bikers freak me out because they come so close. It feels good to get out of the house. 

4:30 Meditate for half an hour. 

5:30 Treadmill and some TV for half an hour. We don’t walk so fast because I have a little dog who likes to stop a lot.  I’m binge watching the Gilmore Girls- anything light  and mindless to avoid the constant corona virus news coverage. 

6:00 Check in on family and friends – some I haven’t seen in a long time but I find myself thinking about people and wondering how they are doing.

7:00 Dinner.  The BF has taken on the quarantine cooking challenge and our dinners are always creative and delicious. We have made it more interesting by comparing dinners with a couple of friends. It is not supposed to be a competition but…… We are also trying to support our favorite restaurants that are still open by doing some take out.

9:00 TV and Reading. Three seasons of Silicon Valley and Unorthodox. Now we are watching Top Chef.  I have read Angle Of Repose and currently Americanah. 

We have started Corona Catering for our respective kids. It is nice to do something for someone else during this time. There  is a lot of me time. But instead of hair, skin and nails it is more about calming my brain, being grateful and being in the present. I wonder what changes I will make in my life and what new habits I will  take with me when this is over. 

Stay Safe,

JAZ

 Travel  In The Time Of Corona

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 Travel  In The Time Of Corona

“Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you from getting me sick” unknown

Eventually all those people stocking up on supplies at Costco are going to have to leave their houses and the Corona Virus will still be here. It will lighten up in the spring and summer as viruses do, and come back in the winter. It is something we will learn to live with like Aids and Airport Security.  If you have not been addicted before, hand sanitizer is the new normal. Someone you know or maybe you will get it and next year there will be a vaccine and things will calm down.

The decision to travel or not is a tough one. I just had to cancel my month long trip to Germany and France in mid April.  The first part was a tour with the Jewish Heritage Museum though the Alsace region. I was particularly excited to go to the baths in Baden Baden – a bucket list thing for me. Afterward, I was meeting the BF In Lyon and we were traveling to Marseille, Cassis, Aix and later staying in a beautiful winery in the region. We would  have  ended up in Paris for a few days. It was a lot of planning and involved planes, trains and cars. I have not cancelled part two yet. 

I know it is the right thing to do at this time but when it comes to travel-all reasoning disappears. I have terrible travel envy and the cure for me is planning a trip. I always have something to look forward to and now I don’t – other than maybe not getting sick and dying – which is big. 

At the moment it feels like I am sitting at home thinking about traveling a lot more than I am actually traveling. 

I’ve always had anxiety and lived my life in fear so this collective fear doesn’t feel strange to me. The best we can do is to wash our hands and avoid people who are coughing. I’m germaphobic so I do this anyway. I was way ahead of my time with social distancing.  I am no longer weird and can proudly touch things with my elbow and not hug hello. 

Life is tough and unpredictable .No matter how well-thought-out your plans might be, they’re bound to be disrupted at some point. Don’t take it personally, it’s just life and like everything else this will pass.

And by the way, thanks for freaking out and buying all the toilet paper.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

How To Not Get The Corona Virus

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“Wash your hands like you just got done slicing jalapeños for a batch of nachos and you need to take your contacts out.”Unknown

As the Corona Virus spreads around the world, health officials are saying washing your hands a minimum of twenty seconds with soap is helpful to prevent infection.

Here are some things  you can do in your head for twenty seconds while washing your hands.

Sing Happy Birthday twice.

Sing the chorus of Jolene. Dolly Parton.

Recite as much of the Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll as you can remember or any other poem you had to memorize in school.

Sing the first verse of God Save the Queen, the British National Anthem.

Hum Grieg’s In The Hall Of Mountain King.

Sing the chorus of Africa. ToTo.

Recite the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence or any speech you had to memorize in High School.

Hum Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

Sing Mambo Number Five. Lou Bega.

Sing the chorus of Raspberry Beret. Prince.

Hum Ravel’s Bolero.

Sing the chorus of Truth Hurts. Lizzo.

Hum the March Of The Toreadors from Bizet’s Carmen.

Sing the chorus of Owner Of A Lonely Heart. Yes.

Say the famous Star Trek speech. “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Fly safe,
JAZ

Planning A Destination Spa Vacation

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 Planning A Destination Spa Vacation

‘Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”Anne Lamott

If you haven’t done a spa vacation, (especially if you are a guy), you need to drop those prejudices. It is not just rose scented facials, Swedish massage and regimented activities. 

These days the options for activities are so varied. There are so many different kinds of destination spas. The focus can be on life style, de-stressing, trying new forms of exercise, and there is nothing wrong with having a great massage every day.

The minute I walk into a spa, my body and brain relaxes. When your skin looks better in a mirror after a facial,  you do feel better. It’s all about pampering and unwinding. 

It is best to plan as much as you can in advance so when you get there, you don’t have to think. If you are a person who wants a lot of relaxation time, schedule less activities. If you are a person like me, who wants to try everything, your day will be full. Go with the flow of the spa you are at and try those signature activities that you can’t do anywhere else. Remember to leave your cell phone in the room and stay in the present moment.

I don’t always have to be lost in an airport or navigating a foreign city to have a good time. I’m privileged to be able to travel any way that I can. Luxury travel to one place involves the choice of a cheaper trip next time. Curative travel is good too. It helps to incorporate wellness travel into your world.

I’m about to educate/brainwash the BF as to why he needs to do this for his birthday. He is skeptical and pretending that it sounds great. Self care is incredibly important. He will come back rejuvenated and ready to take on the world again – but he does not know that yet.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Do Vegans Have Less Friends?

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Do Vegans Have Less Friends?

“I don’t like vegans, either. Bunch of whiny zealots. A cow or a pig wouldn’t give a damn if a person died… animals tear apart other animals while they’re still alive, but we aren’t so cruel, so vegans should learn to shut up. Vegans use palm oil and never think about the forests and endangered species at risk from that… and they all exploit the world in other ways, buying their computers and their sweatshop clothes and their Starbucks coffees.” Rebecca McNutt.

I returned from my last trip with a stomach bacteria. I did not get the bacteria there but have probably had it for a while. The cure is an antibiotic that will kill everything good and bad in your body and a weird strict diet that will not feed the bacteria for at least six months.  The bacteria caused several food allergies as well. The easiest way for me to eat these days is to be a Megan.- a meat-eating vegan. (albeit not in the same restaurant) 

It turns out that the  people who live a plant-based life style understand weird diets. I notice that many  people eat alone in vegan restaurants. I am not talking about the  hipster or Hollywood vegans that eat at the trendy vegan restaurants or have their vegan chefs prepare something.  I’m talking about small local restaurants. 

Most social gatherings revolve around food and the isolation of having a strict diet when your friends do not, can make it easier to eat alone. Dietary restrictions are annoying in social situations. I hate the constant deliberating and discussion  that i have to do with waiters in restaurants. I’m not normally that person. 

All vegans are not just focused on not eating dead animals. Some of them probably have eating issues or do it for health reasons. I sit alone in the restaurant and watch the other diners. I play my airport game of trying to figure out who everyone is.  Classic vegans.

 I look  at a man focused on his non dairy fettuccine alfredo and think that he is definitely a Bikram yoga instructor slash dog walker. The two woman who gush over their buffalo tofu sliders are life coach feminists with instagram accounts dedicated to their different  acai bowls. The woman  sitting over there in the corner is probably a two years sober tarot card reader who runs 12 step meetings.  The anorexic reiki healer cutting her food in many small pieces is pushing it around her plate while she talks to her friend, the mantra chanting, meditation specialist. The man next to her heads the community  vegetable garden and makes his own candles. 

Clearly these  people  have no idea how much I am missing cheese, coffee, sushi, fish,  bread and good dessert.  I make fun of vegans because I will never be cool enough to give up the occasional hot dog, hamburger and dairy products. I will never stretch regularly or be a healthy vessel of joy and peace. I make fun of them because I am not disciplined or good enough to be one of them.

Then, I look at myself in my flannel shirt and baggy jeans. I am drinking the now trendy celery juice  (yes i know you are supposed to drink it when you wake you up to cleanse your system but i just can’t)) and eating kale, brown rice and tempeh.  I see a man looking at me. He is  thinking that I just biked over here from a winter solstice ceremony and have a formally abused dog named Chakra. I am probably on my way to my alternative medicine doctor for acupuncture.

Fly safe,,

JAZ