Am I Prejudiced In America?


Am I Prejudiced In America?

“People who insist on dividing the world into ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ never contemplate that they may be someone else’s ‘Them’.” Ray Davis

I decided to repost this blog. Our culture is splintering. Racism is out in the open and as it is challenged on one hand, it is championed even more on the other. We are all in this together and until we understand this ourselves, we cannot begin to be healed.

Donald Sterling said he was not a racist after making racial slurs. This made me wonder how you decide if you are a racist. I took some online tests. According to the internet, I am not. But I already knew that.

The more serious question for me as a“tolerant” liberal is, am I prejudiced? And if so against who? There was a period in my life where I would only have pretty friends. Was I vain and shallow or prejudiced against ugly people?  My daughter told someone I would never have a fat dog. Does that make me a bigot where fat dogs are concerned?

In Germany, I loved the beer, sausages, pretzels, art and scenery. But I did find myself looking at groups of older Germans picturing them in Nazi uniforms saying Heil Hitler. Do I discriminate against old Germans?

Growing up in New York City, I was surrounded by different immigrant populations.  I heard many foreign languages daily.   In fact, my friend and I would often converse on the subway in a made up language and watch people try to figure out what we were speaking.  I have lived in LA and Miami so I am very comfortable around Spanish-speaking people. But how would I feel at Anderson Cooper’s family reunion (according to not reliable Wikipedia his ancestors have been here for a long time)?  Does that qualify as a prejudice against non recent immigrants or people who were here before the Civil War?

I think I would probably be fearful visiting a small town in the South or Middle America alone.  Would that make me intolerant toward Americans who don’t live in big cities?

I love intelligence, hate math, like creative types, dislike politicians and hate divorce. Does that make me biased against stupid people, people who leave their families, mathematicians, people with boring jobs and the government?

Many Americans have a bias against the elderly. Was I one of them? My mother once told me that people talked down to old people so I try to be aware of that.  I’m getting older. Now I look at them and think which one am I going to be? I’m definitely nicer now that it concerns me.

What about unconscious prejudice? Those are cultural lessons that we have learned over a lifetime. They can be passed on by mass media, parents, peers and other members of society.

Children as young as three can pick up prejudice without even knowing what it is. When my son was six he brought a New Kids On the Block lunchbox to school. Some of the older kids teased him and called him a faggot. He came home crying. I explained it as a very unkind word to my six-year-old. My three-year old daughter heard all of this. A few days later, an adult friend who she adored said he couldn’t come to her birthday party . She was upset and angry. She thought of the most unkind word she could think of, the one that made her brother cry and she called him a faggot. He happened to have been gay and though I tried to explain it, he never spoke to us again.

As a Caucasian person, I see racism in America as much better than when I was growing up. But the African-American , Latino, Gay, and Muslim communities say different things. So I listen, read and learn more. I try not to walk in their heads with my dirty feet as Leo Buscaglia would say. I keep traveling. The further out of my comfort zone I go, the more tolerant my world becomes. The tolerance along with education and understanding, is the beginning of acceptance.

Fly Safe,


Ten Good Things



Whenever a person I care about dies, I think about that book The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. it is a story of a child who has to.find ten good things to say at the funeral of his cat. When someone I love dies, I immediately start thinking of their ten good things. It is a ritual I do and it helps me get through those first few hours. We lost a young family friend recently.

  1. Chelsea was funny. She didn’t always mean to be funny and sometimes it was meant for shock value, but Chelsea could always make me laugh.
  2. She was a great reader and we often talked about our love of books.
  3. She was a good guest. I did have to stay up with her long after my daughter fell asleep at sleepovers, but sleep was never my thing. It was good training for my non sleeping god daughter.
  4. She was kind. I never heard her speak badly about anyone. 
  5. She was quirky, different and had such an interesting view of the world. I’m always attracted to people like that. 
  6. She was always ready to try any new treatment to get some relief from her challenges. 
  7. We both liked theatre, museums and trying new restaurants. One time I took her out to dinner when she was a freshman in college. She acted like she hadn’t had a meal since she got there and I was a foodie. We ordered five main courses and finished them!!!!!!!
  8. Chelsea was very intelligent, creative and fun. 
  9. She always looked perfect but was ready to get down and dirty when it was play time. 
  10. Like the kid in the book, I could only come up with nine things that I wanted to share. I guess the tenth would be that she fought an epic battle against a mind that was filled with depression. 

Your kids are not supposed to die. It goes against the rules of nature. It isn’t supposed to happen but it does and it’s hard.

Fly safe Chelsea,


New Normal


 New Normal

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” Camille Pissarro

No one would describe me as a corona virus optimist, though I do think about traveling next summer. I don’t see face masks, face time or zoom going away any time soon. I hear terms like the great reset for what to do with your life now.  There is no part of our lives that will remain untouched from this virus and quarantine.

There were so many things we took for granted or simply did not notice. Experiences I have when traveling, like drinking a cup of coffee, have never felt the same at home. For the past year we have slowed down. Many of us are no longer on the move. I appreciate being able to do simple things now that i used to take for granted. Here are the first ten things I have done since getting the vaccine that did not seem noteworthy until I couldn’t do them anymore. 

I made a non emergency dentist appointment. I no longer have to be scared of the elevator which is always filled to capacity. 

I had lunch at a friend’s  house inside. We were supposed to meet at the park but it was raining. There was no parking so I ended up nervously using her valet parking. I am terrible at parking so valet is something I miss a lot. We had really bad  takeout food.  It didn’t matter  because we were so happy to do something normal. 

 Friends and family have come over for lunch and a beach walk. – mostly outside but the weather has been cold  so they came in. 

I went for a walk on the Venice Canals with a friend. (I’ve avoided them because the sidewalks are narrow and people around here don’t wear masks). We walked to my favorite Cha Cha Matcha which luckily is still there (as opposed to many other businesses on the street that are gone). I had my first drink in a plastic cup that I did not make myself in almost a year.

We had a birthday lunch and movie for my six year old goddaughter.

 Acupuncture is something I do on a weekly basis  and have not done in a year. !!!!!!! I realize I don’t  need to do it so much but it was great to finally be able to go. 

i had my first outdoor  restaurant lunch at one of my favorite sushi places – Yumi.  I tried to support them during the pandemic and did takeout whenever I could. They were also the last restaurant I went to before the shutdown.

Beauty day – manicure, pedicure, waxing, eyebrows, hair color and blowout. 

I got a new car. I did not feel comfortable to test drive or go around to different places. I hope I like it. 

We are going to a hotel in Santa Barbara for the BF’s birthday next week. It will be dinner not cooked by him  in a restaurant without sweat pants or jeans, massages, and walks on a different beach. We had to cancel the big birthday trip at the beginning of the shut down so this feels hopeful. 

Are you also appreciating the normal things in your life that you used  to take  for granted?

 Stay safe,



To The Vaccine


To The Vaccine

“There is no glory in illness. There is no meaning to it.” John Greene

It is safe to say that 2020 was a year like no other. In the early days of the virus, information was changing daily. At first, I too was on the fence when I learned the vaccine was going to be fast tracked. I try to take a more natural approach to health care. But as my father used to say about religion, we are people of science. I was tired of the quarantine and too at risk to take the surprisingly cavalier approach to Covid that many of my fellow humans did. I was getting the vaccine.

 The rollout of the vaccine was not easy in Los Angeles. There were stories of people paying lots of money to get them. The next group after health care workers were seniors who struggled with disappointment and frustration as the website crashed, vaccines ran out and appointments filled up quickly. It was much worse than trying to get Hamilton tickets. was a mess. I heard stories of people in other states who had actually  been sent appointments or called as opposed to filling out the same forms over and over only to be told that there were no appointments.

At one point the city stopped giving them. I could not get one. My friend had two appointments. I decided to try and use her extra one. It was at Dodger Stadium which at the moment is the world’s largest vaccination site. It is a drive through and you never leave your car. The BF waited five and a half hours for his vaccine two weeks before. I went very early in the morning and was nervous. I had made sure that they sometimes accepted walk ins and had a way to register in person. There was momentary confusion about the appointment not being in my name, but eventually they let me have it. I was in and out in forty minutes. 

I’m not sure if we are ground breakers or guinea pigs but the only thing I felt as the first shot went into my arm, was grateful.  The historical significance of that moment was not lost on me either. I found myself quite emotional thinking about all those who have died of COVID-19 and how many more lives around the world will be lost until the vaccine is available to everyone.

Stay safe,


Taking A Break


“Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.” Douglas Pagels

Today I faced a difficult decision. I need to take a month long break from blogging. Decisions don’t happen automatically. If you blog, you know that taking a month off could be brutal for your audience and traffic. People get used to reading it and then they don’t.

I wanted to write a travel blog and though blogging through the pandemic has been helpful, it isn’t what I want to write about – or live through. Well, I do want to live through it. I get excited about writing and researching trip ideas. I love telling the stories of my travels. I like thinking of my life experiences in stories.

But I feel with no new trips, (not even to the mall) my ideas are getting stale. Though my dog is an endless-source of fascination for me, I’m sure you are not that interested in hearing about us. You must be feeling as bored with my dinners at home every night for ten months as I am (though they are always delicious). Memories of trips are fine but I have covered those.

I think in a month we will have a better idea of where we are in this pandemic. With our new COVID plan and a new president the future looks better. I hope you will be here when I return. Thank you so much for reading .

Stay safe,


 Ten More Foreign Films


 Ten More Foreign Films

“Where must we go, we who wander this wasteland, in search of out better selves?”  Mad Max George Miller James McCausland

After ten months of isolating, most of us have exhausted the list of films and TV shows we wanted to watch if we had the time. Lately foreign TV shows and films with beautiful photography are a way of traveling for me. Here  are some that I have watched or rewatched that you might like. Most can be found on Amazon Prime.

Shoplifters  Japan

Winning the Palm D-or at Cannes is more prestigious in some circles than the Academy Award. Shoplifters is a quiet story which asks the question  what is a family?  This family lives together in a poor section of Tokyo relying on the grandmother’s pension and shoplifting to survive. As the film unfolds, secrets are revealed and your conventions of morality are tested.  This is my personal favorite of all the films.

Parasite Korea

I rewatched Parasite.  If you have not seen it, I think it is brilliant. It is a mix of black comedy, classic thriller and drama. There are twists and turns at every corner. Parasite tells the story of the Kim family.  Struggling to make ends meet, the Kims decide to con a wealthy, unassuming family into hiring them in various household positions while posing as completely unrelated, highly qualified individuals. The very best films are those that become more and more impressive the longer you think about them and Parasite is an intelligent and layered narrative masterpiece. The Academy got it right this time. 

No Chile

No is a true story of the ad campaign that helped persuade Chileans to cast their ballots against the dictator General. Augusto Pinochet. After eight years, due to international pressure to legitimize his government, Pinochet allows a referendum on whether he will be allowed another eight years in office. This movie dramatizes the “No” campaign devised by young advertising executive René Saavedra, played by Gael García Bernal. This young media type apparently proposed to take their resistance to tyranny and sell it like some Pepsi alternative to Pinochet’s Coke. It is a fascinating and heartfelt study of democracy.  

Honeyland  Macedonia

Honeyland is a documentary about a wild beekeeper in Northern Macedonia. Hatidze lives in an abandoned village with her frail mother and no electricity or running water. It is beautifully shot and for whatever reason you can watch this poor, caring, optimistic, brave woman and her bees for hours.  Lucky for the filmmakers, during the three years of filming, a family moves in next door  which adds more drama. The story tells of the delicate balance between humans and nature and should not be missed. 

Timbuktu Mauritania

 Timbuktu is a poetic response to the jihadist occupation of the title city and its imposition of Sharia law. It is the story of a city shattered by  bigotry and violence. At the center of this is the tragic story of one family: a herdsman, Kidane, his wife, Satima , and their 12-year-old daughter. Kidane angrily confronts a fisherman who has killed his cow with terrible results. There are beautiful, visual moments that give us scenes from the life of a traumatized nation. It is a difficult film to watch because it depicts a future that no one wants to see. 

Aquarius Brazil

Aquarius revolves around the story of Clara a retired music critic who is the last remaining tenant in her beautiful beachfront apartment building in Recife. She refuses to be evicted by the company who now owns and wants to demolish the building no matter what they do to her. Clara is a woman who refuses to be confined by age or circumstance and I think this is Sonia Braga’s best role since Kiss Of the Spider Woman. The film is a story of past and present with social and personal conflicts seamlessly intertwined. I loved this character.

Force Majeure Sweden

An avalanche erupts during a middle class ski break in the Alps. The father seems to only be looking out for himself not his wife and kids which emphasizes the marriage problems. Mid Life Crisis mountain man and his young hippy girlfriend arriive which reflects on their relationship. It  is a dramedy about how we cant control nature or our lives and is being remade into an American film called Downhill.  I recommend the original.

Ash Is Purest White  China

Ash is Purest White is a love story between Qiao and Bin in an ever changing China. It is their on again off again love story which would make her a victim but she ends up being strong and true to herself. It is a bit long but the photography, history  and poetic aspect of the film is beautiful, The character of Qiao, is  played in a spectacular performance by Tao Zhao.

White Material France

Amid turmoil and racial conflict in an undisclosed African country, a French woman fights for her coffee crop and her life. The film explores colonialism and its lingering effects and the poisonous nature of violence. No matter how much Maria  played beautifully,  by Isabelle Huppert believes she is African, or that her son is African, she will always be an outsider because of the cultural, historical, and racial issues that exist between her and the locals. Her identity and the “white material” of her life are what the rebel army is hoping to eradicate. It is a haunting, unromantic portrayal of the land and the people who inhabit it. 

Il Divo Italy

Il Divo” tells the shocking story of Giulio Andreotti, an Italian senator and later Prime Minister who many believe was behind the murder of several journalists, mafia members, and fellow political figures. It is a great performance by Toni Servillo. It tells an abundance of information that we as Americans probably don’t know but it doesn’t matter because the purpose seems to be just to show the scope of Andreotti’s power and evil. It is weirdly  both strange and mesmerizing. (if this one doesn’t show up, click on watch this video on you tube)

Stay safe,


Where The F Is That Waiter And  Other Things I Haven’t Said In Ten Months


Where The F Is That Waiter And  Other Things I Haven’t Said In Ten Months

“Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things. “ Frank A. Clark

Remember what normal  used to sound like. Here are some things I have not said in ten months.

I think our seats are right over here,.

Can you believe this traffic?

Check please.

There’s this new place I want to try for brunch. 

Can we meet for a coffee and talk?

The plane is late.

Airport security hates me.

Are you packed? 

I’m getting my hair blown out. 

Where’s my passport?

I’ll pick up milk on my way home.

I will be in Beverly Hills today – Do you want to have lunch?

The gym is so crowded.

See you in class.

i have acupuncture at 2:00. 

Did you shut your phone off?

The movie starts in five minutes.

I’m going to the spa.

I’m at the nail salon.

One large popcorn no butter.

Do you have change for the valet? 

Where do you feel like eating tonight?

Let”s grab drinks. 

Can we meet for a coffee and talk? 

Does this look good on me?

Here, taste this.

I want to see that new exhibit at MOCA before the ballet.

When can we have dinner?

I’ll  pay cash.

I hate the mall.  

Where’s the restroom?

Sorry, I’m germaphobic.

Stay safe,


Antisemitism, The Far Right And Me


Antisemitism, The Far Right And Me

“Tolerance is not a synonym of weakness.” Satyendra Singh

Growing up with the children of Holocaust survivors, I learned it is always an anxious time to be an American Jew. If there isn’t a genuine threat to my safety, my brain can easily invent one. 

The BF says it’s because when my grandparents were being raped and pillaged in Eastern Europe, his grandparents were looking at real estate on the Eastern Shore. We have different anxiety levels.

According to the AntiDefamation League, antisemitism is up and growing over the last five years.

In the past, most antisemitic acts were random acts of violence from  personal hatred of Jews. But lately, the acts are from extremist, political ideology. Most recent acts of Antisemitism are being committed by the Far Right -in particular, white supremacist groups that are embraced by the Right. 

It’s mind-boggling to me that the Jewish Orthodox community has embraced a president who said that the group in Charlottesville who shouted “Jews will not replace us” had some very fine people. He shares the same conspiracy theories about George Soros funding immigrant migration that some synagogue shooters do. 

Antisemitism seems to be the backbone of most far-right groups and conspiracy theories. It certainly is behind QAnon and growing more so. The claim that rich Jews, including the Rothschild banking family, secretly control the world has long been a recurring feature in antisemitism and is behind QAnon theories. I was told that as a child as one of the explanations for Hitler’s popularity. I remember looking around my working-class Jewish neighborhood wondering how anyone could believe something like that.

The age-old anti-Semitic story claiming that Jews kill Christian children to harvest their blood for ritual purposes is making a comeback. I have a personal connection to that one. My last name means “holy seed” because my ex-husband is a descendent of a group of rabbis who defended a Jewish person accused of killing a Christian child to use his blood for a Passover service. They were ultimately killed in his place. I certainly didn’t think I would be hearing that ancient one again. QAnon sounds more and more like a rebranded Nazi cult. I didn’t hear Trump come out against them either.

Antisemitism has been called the world’s oldest hatred. It’s been used throughout centuries to explain all the bad things that happen in a society. It becomes more prominent in times of economic distress and political unrest. My mother used to say that the world needs someone to blame for their troubles. We have a lot of troubles right now. 

Antisemitism is on the rise in Europe as well. It isn’t just “hillbillies raising a confederate flag.” This isn’t an isolated hatred. Don’t stay silent. Two Qanon supporters were elected to Congress this year. Isn’t that how the Nazis started? No one took them seriously and look what happened.

PS I wrote this blog post on Monday.  On Wednesday among the many ugly, white supremacist groups storming the capitol were Nazis.  Carrying swastika flags and wearing shirts that said things like “Camp Auschwitz STAFF, work brings freedom” and “6MWE” (which stands for “six million weren’t enough,” a reference to the number of Jewish people killed in the Holocaust). The Nazis made themselves right at home in the Capitol stoking  fear and sending a clear message of the hate and violence they represent. They were not patriots, Jewish Ivanka.

Stay safe,


Twenty Five Things I Want To Do in 2021


25 Things I Want To Do in 2021

“Speaking of the happy new year, I wonder if any year ever had less chance of being happy. It’s as though the whole race were indulging in a kind of species introversion — as though we looked inward on our neuroses. And the thing we see isn’t very pretty… So we go into this happy new year, knowing that our species has learned nothing, can, as a race, learn nothing — that the experience of ten thousand years has made no impression on the instincts of the million years that preceded.”  John Steinbeck

Well, this will be different.

 Get a corona virus vaccine and go back to traveling and my normal life. 

 Stay healthy.

I want my children, family and friends to stay healthy. 

I hope small businesses and restaurants  get through this.

 Not check what crazy thing Trump did today.

 Eat in a restaurant with my friends and family.

 Rent a house in Portugal.

Get a massage.

 Take my trip to France and Germany that was cancelled. 

 Stop being afraid every time I leave the house.

Go to a film festival or music festival.

Get acupuncture.

 Go to a spa.

See the Grand Canyon.

Continue Qi, Gong, Yoga and Meditation.


 Go anywhere.

 Go to the theatre, ballet or a concert.

Go to Nicaragua, Costa Rica or Belize.

 Go to the movies and eat popcorn.

Fly on an airplane.

Go to Marfa.

 Go shopping in a store.

Go to the Galapagos.

Leave the house without alcohol spray, hand sanitizer,  wipes and a mask. 

Fly safe, Stay safe, and Next year will be better!!!


Pandemic – Nine and Half Month Check-In


Pandemic – Nine And A Half Month Check-In

“In the end, everything will be okay. If it isn’t okay, then it isn’t the end.”Unknown

The Bf bought me a beautiful necklace for Christmas. It’s not the kind of thing you can throw on in this pandemic casual world. I looked at it and wondered when I would get to wear it. For a moment I thought of how much protective gear I could get if I returned it. My presents to him were much more practical things that he could use now. 

This made me think how much the pandemic has already shaped my life and how it will continue to shape it.  Luckily, human beings have the ability to bounce back. Covid 19 highlighted the mess that the US is in. If we had been better about standing together and helping each other, we would be in a much different place now – mentally, physically, and economically. 

I have lived in LA for many years and the landscape has changed greatly.  It has become more gentrified, crowded, and expensive.  Many of my favorite stores, restaurants and bars have closed. 

But what if the change happens all at once? 2020 has been unprecedented.  At the moment restaurants, gyms, bars, hair and nail salons, theaters, and dance clubs are all closed. Small businesses are open but people are not supposed to go to them. 

There are many places in LA that have closed during the pandemic and many more will continue to close. I have tried to do takeout a couple of times a week throughout the pandemic to support local restaurants – even though in the beginning it was scary.  There has been no reason to buy clothes or accessories. I do my own nails and have wash and wear hair. I don’t have much need for dry-cleaning. I exercise on Zoom.  I order everything on Amazon. When I do go out, I drive by more and more for lease signs on small businesses and stores. I see more homeless camps on streets that did not have them before. 

We need to make more of an effort to support our local businesses or they won’t be here when we come out of this.  Here are some things we can do.

 Delivery apps like Grubhub and Uber charge large fees to restaurants that are already losing money. Curbside pickup is usually available and safe. Try to pick up your own food directly from the restaurants. Don’t forget to tip. It’s not just restaurants – local farms are struggling as well. Sign up for a local farm box. It will mean less trips to the store, less  people handling your food and fresh healthy produce to help your immune system. Order from Gold Belly. Many closed restaurants are shipping all kinds of food products throughout the country. 

 Shop local.  Depending on your risk factor, put on a mask and go into a store that follows safety rules, or call and do a curbside pickup. Buy gift cards to use later. Many small businesses have put their stuff online and you can do that as well. Give businesses a shout out on social media. It’s free and helpful. 

Donate to a cause or help prepare food for those laid-off workers and their families during this time.

Above all stay home when you can. You will be protecting yourself and others. The pandemic won’t end when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve but help is on the way -Hang in there and Happy New Year.

Stay safe,