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

Comfort Food In The Time Of Corona

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Comfort Food in the Time Of Corona

“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness.” Eli Brown

Americans are cooking more than they have in the last fifty years. Not only are we cooking but we are maximizing what we already have in our kitchens and reducing food waste. We are buying fruits and vegetables that last longer and using up what we have in our freezer. With three meals at home every day, even I am making an effort to cook something. We are getting ideas from sharing recipes with friends and family.  Talking about cooking is a way for us to keep busy and calm ourselves during all this chaos. Here are some comfort foods from all of us. Special thanks to my friends and family for sharing their food with me.

Heritage Chicken, Baked Apples and Roasted Carrots

Eggplant Parmesan

Hot Dogs from Brooklyn, Homemade Baked Beans and French Fries

Tofu Stir Fry

Ham and Pineapple Chunks

Spanakopita

Turkey Meatloaf

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Grain Bowl

Lasagna

French Toast

Spaghetti A La Scarpetta

Braised Chicken Thighs with Spinach and Chick Peas.

Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, Gravy, Cranberry Sauce

Steak, Baked Potato and Tomato Green Bean Salad

Stay Safe,

JAZ

 

 

Ten Beauty Treatments You Can Make At Home

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Ten Beauty Treatments You Can Make At Home

“Believe me, if I looked good, it’s not an accident.”Nora Ephron

I don’t cook and cooking during the quarantine is a challenge. In the beginning before we were Covid organized, we were cooking with all the random stuff that we had in the pantry – like we were in a war or on a cooking competition TV show.

We are also doing our own hair. I am using this time to try and repair all the damage from styling, blow drying and coloring. I actually have time to sit and let the products work. My natural curls are slowly coming back. I am also doing the same thing for my skin.  Here is my attempt at cooking up some beauty products with random stuff we had in the pantry.

Hair Conditioner With Egg.
Ingredients – Two or three eggs (It’s a pandemic so I used one), 1 and half teaspoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. I just mixed it all together with a fork. I left it on for 15 minutes. This is my favorite one that i have tried so far. It isn’t too messy and my hair was much more curly than frizzy.

Hair Conditioner With Banana
Ingredients – One banana, three tablespoons of honey, three tablespoons of milk (I did not have milk so I used half and half) three tablespoons of olive oil and an egg. Mix all of these ingredients well and make a paste. Apply the paste on hair and leave it for 30 minutes and then wash it off. I had extra so I put it on my face and neck as well. It’s messy. My hair was shiny and my skin was very smooth. It did involve finding little shreds of banana around all day. I’m not running to do this one again -unless I use a blender next time.

Hair Conditioner With Coconut Oil.
Ingredients – One tablespoon of coconut oil, one tablespoon honey, one tablespoon lemon juice, two tablespoons of curd (I had no idea what this was so I looked it up and it sounded like yogurt so I used that) and one teaspoon of rose water. (I left that out but I’m sure it is something that is still on the shelf in the market since it doesn’t kill anything.) I kept it on for thirty minutes since I have time.This one did not work as well for me because I had to wash my hair too much to get it out but I might try it again.

Hair Conditioner With Vinegar
Ingredients -Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon of honey and two cups of water. After you shampoo, pour this on your hair and avoid your scalp. Leave it in. I’m a big fan of this one. My hair is  curly  and  not frizzy and I dont smell from vinegar.

Face Mask With Turmeric
Ingredients – One teaspoon of turmeric, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of yogurt . Be careful because the turmeric stains and yes your face will be bright yellow. You can pretend to be in the Holi festival in India- where Hindu people smear each other with colors to welcome the spring. I left it on till it dried which was about twenty minutes. This is a great mask. You will immediately notice a difference in your skin. Even the BF liked it.

Egg Yolk Facial I had only heard of an egg white facial but apparently the yolk is better for dry skin. I left it on for about a half hour. Easy to make, no mess and your face feels really soft after.

Mayonnaise Facial
Yes you smell like a tuna sandwich. It has oil and eggs which is great for your skin. I also put it on my body since I had time and had taken too much mayonnaise out the jar. It burned my face so i took it off quickly. I left it on my body for about a half hour. it was a very nice body treatment.

Face Mask With Orange Juice
Ingredients -Three tablespoons orange juice and one quarter-cup honey. Mix together and leave on for fifteen minutes. It is sticky and delicious and you have glowing skin when you are finished. I ate the rest of the orange after and it was really good.

Face Mask With Oatmeal
Ingredients – One tablespoon honey, one tablespoon olive oil, one egg yolk and half a cup of oatmeal. (I used less because I eat it for breakfast every morning and don’t want to run out) Stir well and apply to your face for 15-20 minutes. This is good but messier than the banana one. Watch out that the oatmeal doesn’t clog up the drain!

Mud Mask from Dead Sea I brought a tub of mud back with me from the Dead Sea. It’s great for the face and body.  Using it on the beach in Ein Borek and washing it off in the Dead Sea and then the outdoor shower is a lot less messy then in your bathroom. it is hard to get it all off.  Since I had plenty of time to clean up the mess,  I did it. The mud still works. My skin was smooth and soft. See what you have lying around.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Where Am I Going Next Really?

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Where I Am Going Next Really?

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” Joni Mitchell

Before the corona virus became a thing, I had written a blog about where I am going next. I hadn’t posted it yet. It doesn’t seem very postable at this moment.   I will probably be going to the place I should have been now. Traveling seems very far away.  So instead I started to think about what I would really want to be doing next. 

I want to eat in a restaurant with a comfortable ambiance, delicious food and great service. I want to be having an interesting conversation that doesn’t involve who is doing the dishes and what protein do I want to eat tomorrow. 

I miss museums, art galleries and street art. The white walls filled with art are as calming to me now as they were in my childhood. I miss seeing the city as an open canvas for urban street artists. 

As much as I love being able to go through all of Netflix, I want to go to the movies. There is nothing I like better than sitting in a dark theatre with subtitles. It combines some of my favorite things –  reading, movies and foreign countries.  The best thing is to be sharing a large tub of movie popcorn. I believe it has less calories if you are not the one who has actually bought it. I bring my own water because buying water at the movie theater is a rip off.  

I want to hang out with my girlfriends.The hour long phone conversations and daily texts are not enough. Most of my emotional and mental strength comes from deep bonds with the strong females in my life. I treasure the long conversations we have over lunches and dinners.

I miss shopping. I miss wandering into stores, picking up and putting down items I can’t possibly afford, talking to salespeople, and eventually settling on the item I had to have at that moment. I want to focus on a new lipstick or a beautiful dress to wear somewhere fabulous. 

I love theater. My mother is to blame for this. I normally prefer plays but with all this real life drama I miss going to see a musical. The very premise of  musical theatre defies all reality.  It attempts to imitate life (as theatre tends to do) and then suddenly, a character bursts out in song and everyone on the street knows the words.  Secretly, I  have always clung to the hope that I will someday be able to break into song at the market, department store, a parent-teacher conference,  a restaurant or during a mammogram and everyone will know the words.

Basically, I miss my boring life – the one I am always leaving to go somewhere different.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Living Together – The First Year

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Living Together – The First Year

“The best relationships usually begin unexpectedly.” Unknown

May First marks our first year of living together. Was it just a year ago that I was worrying about sharing closet space, how to split costs and who’s art would go where? I had deeper concerns also. Would we grow to hate each other? Would resentment fester over my messiness or his need for a lot of alone time?  Would moving in together end up moving us apart?

I also moved into an apartment after living in a house for many years. The walk up stairs are no joke when you have the dog and packages. The landlady lives underneath us – a fact that seasoned apartment dwellers would have taken into consideration. Parking is a nightmare.

Somehow we figured out how to exist together in a way that’s both scary and comforting, hilarious and serious, calming and nerve racking, and utterly unique in every way. 

Then Covid 19 arrived in Los Angeles. The virus that had felt abstract and in faraway places like China, Iran, and Italy was spreading across our city.  The fear of Covid 19 and what it would do to our relationship as we navigated the crisis during this first year of living together was real. Suddenly we were spending every single minute in the house together for weeks. We had two beautiful trips planned during this time that were both abruptly cancelled. Our conversations quickly went from where we should eat in Paris to how much toilet paper do we have left.

 At the start  of living together, I was worried that the mundanity of everyday life would kill all the romance and excitement between us. COVID-19, it turns out, has made our life even smaller and more mundane than I could have ever imagined. We barely leave the apartment except for special occasions like a morning or afternoon walk on the beach. We play word games when there is a lull in the conversation. I am usually in sweat pants or jeans and no makeup. We watch a lot of TV and have settled into an equilibrium over cooking and cleaning because there are no schedules to coordinate. 

In an unexpected twist of circumstance, COVID-19 will come to define this rather momentous step in our relationship. The crisis has also hit me with some much-needed perspective and gratitude. I feel lucky to navigate all of this with someone I love. At a time when public safety demands social distance, I feel grateful to have so little space separating us.

Self quarantined in our apartment, inundated with news and confusion about COVID-19, we are doing fine. Perhaps the real test of our relationship will come when the fears of COVID-19 subside and we once again have to decide if we will stay or move. Whatever we decide, I think we will make it through.

Stay safe,

JAZ