9/11 Memorial

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9/11 Memorial

“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.” David Levithan

Maybe it was from a sense of obligation, to pay tribute to the lives lost; or a need to see the site of the World Trade Center tragedy to try to comprehend something that 17 years later is still hard to grasp. Maybe it was because I had just come from seeing Auschwitz in Poland. Maybe it was because I worked in Lower Manhattan when the World Trade Center was being built. But while planning a visit to New York, there was never a moment I considered not going to the 9/11 memorial and museum.

Inside this immense expanse of the museum, you’ll find various artifacts on display such as pieces from the planes that struck the Twin Towers, one of many fire trucks which assisted in rescue efforts, a three-story metal beam covered with missing posters, photographs, and messages of resilience named the ‘Last Column’, as well as a retaining wall that survived the destruction of the original World Trade Center.

There are the smaller but just as significant artifacts like damaged fireman’s helmets, World Trade Center ID’s, faded subway cards, police uniforms, and dust-covered shoes.

The museum is thoughtfully divided into several exhibits, with the main two being the Historical Exhibition in the North Tower and the Memorial Exhibition in the South Tower.

The Historical Exhibition is filled with artifacts, photographs, first-person accounts, and archival audio and video recordings. This exhibit is made up of three sequential parts: the Events of the Day, Before 9/11, and After 9/11.

The Memorial Exhibition is situated within the original footprint of the South Tower, and contains portrait photographs of the almost 3000 people who lost their lives in result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the bombing of the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993.

The Memorial is located where the Twin Towers once stood. There are now two large grey chasms in the ground from which water cascades down all four sides before gathering in a pool and finally plunging into a dark void in the middle.

On the brass rims around these twin pools you’ll find stencil-cut names of every person who died in the terrorist attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001.

you are encouraged to touch them.

I did not know anyone personally who died that day. My son had just been dropped off for his freshman year in college in Boston. His father had taken that flight back to LA on American Airlines the week before. My mother who lived nearby had gone to a concert at the World Trade Center that Sunday. On September 11 at six am Los Angeles time, I was in the airport at American Airlines (three hours earlier than New York) waiting to get on a seven AM flight from LA to Boston because I had gotten a call a few hours before that my son was in the hospital about to have his appendix out.

“There but for fortune go you or I” Phil Oaks.

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Beyond The Streets

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 Beyond The Streets 

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” Banksy 

The “Beyond The Streets” art exhibition in DTLA is my idea of what heaven will look like.  https://www.beyondthestreets.com.  It is 40,000 square feet of industrial space filled with street art. Roger Gastman has followed  his 2011 show at the MOCA in Los Angeles, Art in the Streets, which was the U.S.’ first-ever graffiti and street art retrospective with this one. It was extended till August 26. Artists include Banksy, Invader, DABSMYLA, Dennis DTLAHopper, FUTURA 2000, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy,  Keith Haring, FAILE, Kenny Scharf, VHILS,  Guerilla Girls, Shepard Fairey, Takashi Murakami, and many more.  Yes, I’m going again.

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summer 18 (479 of 484)

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ranch Advice

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Ranch Advice

“These people have learned not from books, but in the fields, in the wood, on the river bank. Their teachers have been the birds themselves, when they sang to them, the sun when it left a glow of crimson behind it at setting, the very trees, and wild herbs.”Anton Chekhov

I visited my friend’s ranch and winery in Creston, California for a few days. Here are some of the lessons  that I have learned.

When you take an egg from a hen, pet her and leave one egg for her to sit on.

Have empathy for those around you even if they are chickens.

Feed the animals early in the morning. It even says that in the Bible. Feed the animals before yourself. Once you are responsible for something, you must take care of it.

Every time we went hiking or rode in the four by four vehicle. Bandit ran along side of us. The dog ran all day long, stopping to jump in the lake or horse trough to cool off. Bandit is not afraid to get down and dirty rolling in the dirt to dry off. What are we so afraid of? We don’t always have to be clean and perfect all the time. Physical exercise and activity is scientifically proven to release endorphins, making us happier. That’s why  Bandit  looks happiest when he is running.

 The white dogs, Blanche and Stanley (named after Donna’s parents) protect the house all night long and sleep during the day. They have a purpose and they are faithful. There are no ulterior motives, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges.

The fourth dog Lizzie  knows the importance of family and quiet time which is something we all need. She sits in the four by four with Barry when he goes out. 

Looking at the sheep, cows, horses  and their babies, connects us back to how simple life is supposed to be.

Just assume that every gun is loaded. It’s the first rule of gun safety. Guns on a ranch are tools. It is the crazy person that was able to buy the gun legally that is the problem.There are  certain things that you should always be careful around.

You were so close. Try again. I think this one is self-explanatory.

 Pass the bush and turn right at the tree. It’s taken me a long time to learn the importance of good directions. Know when it’s time to make positive changes. Proactively make the change for yourself or they may be made for you.

An alluvial fan is a fan-shaped deposit of sediment crossed and built up over thousands of years by streams.

In dry areas they help with irrigation. Beauty and art take time. 

Hiking up a hill for me is harder than going down but going down is tricky. The secret is to be unaffected either way. 

Being in nature, deepens our human connection to the world. It just makes you feel better to pay attention to the sights and sounds of the ranch.

It helps to have a Fernando. Everyone should have someone in their life who is kind, helpful, responsible, intelligent, creative and there for you. It is good to have people around who support what you do with or without a plan. 

If a gate is closed, leave it closed. If a gate is open, leave it open.

There will always be closed gates or doors but others will be open. Have faith and keep moving forward.

Thanks to Donna and Barry whose hearts are even bigger than the ranch.

And Maureen (camper of the days) and Mike for making it such a fun trip.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ten Things That I Want To Do In NYC

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Ten Things at That I Want To Do In NYC

“New York has a trip-hammer vitality which drives you insane with restlessness if you have no inner stabilizer.’ Henry Miller

From 1892 to 1954, more than 12 million people entered the United States through the Ellis Island Immigration Center. This place was the first point of entry for most immigrants, My Grandparents came through there. Its’ a good time to see and contemplate an era when the United States answered the pleas of refugees for a better a life.

Big museum plans. The Whitney Museum has moved downtown to a cool  space in the Meatpacking District. The Metropolitan Museum Of Art  is leasing the space for its Modern Art call the Met Breuer. Giacometti is  at the Guggenheim and a there is a great  photography exhibit at MOMA. Henri Cartier Bresson is at the International Center For Photography.

NY is a city of foodies and chefs. There are so many  restaurants to try. I will let you know how I do.

Take a walk through Central Park. It was always our bit of nature in the city.

There is the best shopping in NY. I want to visit my favorite department stores, Bergdorf Goodmans, Barneys and Henri Bendels. I also loved shopping in Nolita, Chelsea and the Lower East Side.

There are so many Street Art  Walking Tours  to choose from. Painted murals, graffiti, mosaic installations, sculpture, art embedded in the pavement, stencils and stickers are found all over the city. 

I grew up seeing  Broadway and Off Broadway Theatre in NY several nights a week. We have our tickets and I can’t wait.

How cool is this? Apparently they built Highline Park on an  unused elevated subway line on the  West Side. 

I’m glad to have the opportunity  and privilege to finally visit the 9/11 Memorial. 9/11 is not a past event; terrorism and acts of violence continue to be a current part of our everyday life.  So, the museum is a visit to a horrible act of the past, but one that continues to persist and be a part of the modern world. 

Visiting Lincoln Center and my mom. My mom asked that her ashes be strewn over Lincoln Center so she didn’t miss anything-especially the opera. She said that she wanted us to stop by and visit her and see a show in NY. 

Fly safe,
JAZ

March For Our Lives

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March for Our Lives

“It’s the children the world almost breaks who grow up to save it.” Frank Warren

The faces and organizers of March For Our Lives were almost all under nineteen years old. They were able to get 800,000 people on and off of Washington D.C.’s Pennsylvania Avenue in three hours. They attracted A-list celebrities. They turned out marchers at more than 800 satellite events held around the world.

Gun violence disproportionately affects people of color. Their death rate is ten times higher than among white children. I marched in the westside neighborhood of Santa Monica, California. Thousands turned out to protest for serious gun control reform. Most of them were white middle class to wealthy people. It is true that some of us had been silent when it affected children of color in neighborhoods far away from ours. But many of us have never been silent when it came to stricter gun control laws. Today, no one who cares for the future of children, can afford to be silent.

Chants of Never Again and NRA Has Got To Go echoed down Montana Avenue. I don’t think anyone expected the huge turnout that showed up. The organizers had not been able to get permission to close the street but the large number of marchers just took it over. The big rally was downtown.

There were so many small children, elementary and high school students. It is their generation that has to go through the fear of school shootings and have lockdown drills. Parents, adults and seniors marched in support of the kids. We did not fight hard enough for stricter gun control laws and trusted the system. We let them down. Now students feel that they have to try to change it themselves.

A young girl carrying a sign that said Am I next? said to me, “I think it is bad killing anyone, but especially the kids.”

It is clear from these demonstrations that most of the American population are at the point where we want serious gun control laws with extensive background checks. We child proof our medicine bottles, baby proof our cabinets, have mandatory car seats for kids and seat belts. Our goal has always been to eliminate as many potential dangers from children as possible. Gun control doesn’t hurt our freedom. It protects our children.

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Fly safe,

JAZ

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.” Jon Stewart

On Thanksgiving Day, I would ask my family what they were thankful for. My mother used to do that. It was a tradition – something I wanted to carry on from my childhood.  Thanksgiving is a day to remember to be grateful. We never prayed before a meal but one day a year we said thank you. 

I hadn’t spent Thanksgiving with my mother in many years. Our families lived back East and Thanksgiving was the holiday that my in-laws came to visit.  My sister-in-law loved to cook Thanksgiving dinner and we had it at their house. Since we were not cooking, we had Thanksgiving movie before going to dinner. There are always big movies that open on Thanksgiving. That was our family holiday tradition.  

When our life changed, Thanksgiving became one of those days that we didn’t know what do with.  We didn’t have a tradition anymore. There are so many expectations and family issues that come up with holidays. It is hard for me not to have a plan but I try to let go of that now.  Sometimes I do it at the house and sometimes we go somewhere.  We spend it with other people’s families or we do something by ourselves.  I miss the security of having a tradition but I have learned to go with the flow. Whatever we do, it always turns out to be fun and delicious – different, but fun. 

My mother died on the weekend before Thanksgiving so I am always a little sad now around the holidays.  Wherever I am celebrating, in my head, I hear my mother’s voice asking, what are you thankful for today?

Here is my list.

Sunsets. I can see the sunset on the beach every night.

The way the light hits my house in the morning.

My dog – even though he is not the same as my first dog.

My kids are happy, healthy and doing well.

 Morning coffee.

I’m still traveling.

Having an amazing day in a country not your own.

A great walk through the Venice Beach canals to have lunch.

Opening a beautifully wrapped present.

An interesting conversation.

The feeling I have in an airport.

Someone who makes me laugh.

A good hair day.

Fun with my friends.

A great movie,  museum, play, ballet or TV show.

Dessert.

Kindness.

Walking or driving by a beautiful street art mural.

Having an amazing meal.

Pizza night.

Great music and  rock concerts.

Getting lost in a book.

Healthyish.

Writing something that I’m proud of.

My favorite jeans.

Shoes that do not hurt.

The endorphin rush after exercise.

Still able to have some of my photographs and art.

Hitting every green light on Venice Blvd on the way home (especially at Lincoln Blvd – the world’s longest red light)

Happy Thanksgiving.

JAZ

How I Learned To Play The Piano #metoo

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“There are about forty cats and dogs on my property.  One cat can open doors. All those animals see us going in and out of doors every day but only one animal learned how to do it. He jumps up on the door handle and it pushes down. The door opens. He walks through.  If I didn’t see one cat open doors, I would never know that a cat could do that.”    Al Wei Wei“

When I was ten years old I was molested by my piano teacher. I did not know how to handle it or how to stop it. I knew that I did not want to talk about it to anyone. In my ten-year old wisdom, I decided that I could handle it for five months until the end of year concert at Carnegie Hall. Everyone knew that I wanted to play there. I would “choose” in the summer to stop taking piano lessons. If I quit before, there would be too many questions. Eighty per cent of childhood sexual abuse happens from family members or someone you know. It is usually not done in a scary way.

I remember this day. After the concert I thought – I did it.  This is finally over and no one knows anything. My mother walked into the bedroom and said, “Everyone was so good at the recital. Next year I will start your brother and sister with piano lessons.” I blurted out, ”But you will go with them. You shouldn’t let them go alone.” My mother thought that was a weird response. I wouldn’t explain and she wouldn’t stop asking. Several hours later, I put my face under the covers and told her.

Everything happened really fast after that. My father went to his house to kill him and my mother took me to the police station. That was so much worse than being molested. I remember lying on a cold metal table having my first physical exam with a lot of people and police in the room. I was staring at the ceiling with the exposed light bulb and ugly green paint, pretending to crawl out of my skin and be anywhere else.

My father had walked into a large family dinner with his accusation and the piano teacher sued us for slander. My parents counter sued. Now the story that I did not want to tell even once, got repeated many, many times to lawyers. This was not going away so quickly.  If you were wondering why women don’t talk, telling was definitely much worse than not telling.

The lawsuit kept getting postponed. The story was repeated and practiced every time we got a new court date. I kept thinking that if I had not told, it would have been buried in the dark somewhere and not following me around for years. A kid can only carry so much before it starts to unravel. I was lucky in the way that my family stood behind me and never doubted me for a second  – even though the neighborhood turned against me for a while.  He was the best piano teacher the area. I wasn’t the only one it happened to. I could see it in the eyes of kids who had heard the story. I have found that victims can recognize each other. But no one else was talking-especially after they saw the reactions. Predators pick their victims carefully. I had taken piano lessons for two and a half years before it happened. They know who lacks confidence and who won’t tell. The people who it didn’t happen to never understand that.

I was fourteen years old when I finally went to court. He was found guilty and his punishment was that he had to stop giving piano lessons. Sexual abuse was not even a category for children until 1984. He was eighty years old and died a year later.

I was not the same person I was before. I had learned at ten years old that anything can happen when you are in a room alone with a man.The dark side had taught me the signs to watch out for.

Men seem to be much more shocked than women about all these current sexual accusations. It is called living in the world while female. Every woman I know has sexual harassment stories.  I have these stories but I have learned not to be the victim ever again.

As a child, you feel that the best way to survive something is to do nothing. As a woman up until now, it has been the same. Telling your stories, makes you a survivor and not a victim. It makes others feels that they aren’t alone. But the scars never go away.

When I had kids I wanted to be a stay at home mom because I had a working one at a time when mother’s didn’t work. It was also because I knew the world could be unsafe for children and I wanted to protect them. I sat in every private dance lesson with my daughter. I had them take self-defense classes and put them in programs like kid power. I forced myself to give my children piano lessons. i interviewed many teachers.  I rented a piano and stuck it in my open dining room (where it did not fit). I could see it from any angle in the house. Once a week, I relived the story with every wrong note. Luckily they gave it up after ten months.

I never listened to classical music. I never played it for my children. I thought  that I did not like it but I had forgotten until now that he used to listen to it. The music made me feel invisible. Your mind sometimes puts memories that are too hard into your unconscious to protect you.  I listen to it now. Eleven years ago I got a dog who loved classical music. I downloaded music for him to stay alone and realized how beautiful it was. I have recently added some piano concertos. I am ready to let it go. It wasn’t my fault. I was ten years old.

Fly safe,
JAZ