Gratitude In The Time Of Corona

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Gratitude In The Time Of Corona

“Enough” is a feast.” Buddhist proverb

Some days are great. Things go as planned and you bounce from meeting to appointment to lunch and you feel wonderful inside.

Then there are the other days. Like being in the house for four and a half months quarantined with no end in sight – wondering  if things will ever get back to the way they were in the old world. There are days when you do not feel motivated at all.

I’ve done gratitude lists before.  Writing five things I am grateful for in quarantine became rote because I did the same thing every day. I realized that if I wrote one thing a day and really thought about it, it worked better. Here are some of the things I have written down. Maybe they will resonate with you during these times.

The easiest thing to be grateful for is having a roof over my head. I live in an area with a lot of homeless people. I fear it will become worse from this virus.  I choose not to take this for granted.

 I am grateful for easy access to good drinking water. We can’t really drink from the faucet like in Iceland or New Zealand, but we do have tap water that we can boil in our homes. One eighth of the world’s population do not have access to safe drinking water.

 I recently read that the  ancient Greek philosophers  started their day outside in Nature to feel calm and grateful.  I try to spend at least a few minutes having coffee outside looking at the beach. Being in “prison” for four months with people not wearing masks here, has made my relationship with the beach complicated. But every morning, when I sit and look out at the ocean, I am so grateful that I get to see this and smell the ocean air to start my day.

I am grateful that everyone I know is healthy. They have either recovered from the virus or not gotten it.  While I do my part to stop the spread  of coronavirus by staying home, others are going to work, risking putting themselves and those they love in danger of exposure. My gratitude toward these front-line professionals not only is well-deserved, but it also helps relieve stress which suppresses our immune systems.

I am grateful for the time to read good books. i wasn’t allowed to watch TV as a kid and getting lost in a book was a familiar feeling. Now with so many options for entertainment, focusing on a book is harder.  But now I read every day and when a book grabs me in, I remember the feeling I had as a child. 

I am also grateful for access to the internet during this time.  Can you imagine going through this without the internet? We are able to order food, medicine, clothes and any random thing we can think of – mostly with free shipping. We can take classes with our favorite teachers, talk to friends, family, doctors  and work on ZOOM.  We have access to a crazy number of TV shows and movies from all over the world. We get theatre productions and we can still look up every thing that comes into our head. There is instagram and facebook to stay connected with the world. 

I am grateful for Banksy my dog. He is my constant companion through this time and is endlessly entertaining. He keeps me sane during this time of social distancing. 

I am grateful for small kindnesses. A person who actually puts on their mask when they walk by me, a pretzel delivery from my daughter, a funny youtube video sent from a friend or the perfect eggplant parmesan prepared by the BF all help me get through this.

I am grateful for my friends and family. We are all in this together and when we are reunited it will be even more special.

I am grateful to be spending this time with the  BF.  Day 145 is definitely different then Day 1 in quarantine. It is our first year of living together.  What we were able to tolerate easily before is a bit different now. Trapped in close quarters, tense moments are inevitable. But we get through it with communication, laughter and hugs and we are really lucky to have found each other.

Stay Safe,

JAz

It Is Like Your Mom’s Facebook Page

It is Like Your Mom’s Facebook Page

“Can we go back to using Facebook for what it was originally for – looking up exes to see how fat they got?” Bill Maher

I heard two twenty-somethings having this conversation I didn’t hear the question but the answer was, “You know, it’s like your mom’s Facebook page.“

Hmmm. They couldn’t be talking about me. I’m totally cool and of course, you are too if you are reading this. I’m a parent and I love parents. But Facebook does broadcast our lives across the internet. Here are some things that might be bothering your kids.

1.The good news is that your parents have actually learned how to work a computer. As soon as we get on Facebook, our first friend request is always our kids. Your kids grudgingly accept because they have no choice. How do you not accept your mom’s friend request? Mine had rules. “Do not like or comment on my page.” Without those rules, I would have commented on every one of their Facebook statuses and retagged their photos on friends and relatives pages.  I would have left embarrassing personal messages for everyone to see. That is what they believe. Then we add their friends who also don’t really want to say yes but do.

2. There are parents who post way too many pictures of their kids. I get it. B being a parent is life-changing. I have flooded social media with many photos of L and K at different stages of their lives. Moving brought out a ton of the old photos. I have no ground to stand on. When I’m not posting my kids, I’m posting my dog because you know the internet needs more cute dog photos.

3.There is always an alarmist in every group of parents. Giving overprotective parents who don’t use Snopes a social media platform is a disaster of misinformation. “If you don’t post this legal copywrite, Facebook can steal your photos”. I mean don’t you think they can do that anyway?

4.Bragging on social media is part of the deal. “Look at my son’s cute Harvard sweatshirt.” “Really, fifth grade already?” “I love our family matching outfits.” “My son in law has another song out.”Everyone has a perfect life on social media.

5. And then there is commenting which could be worse than bragging. “Oh, your son or grandson is walking at one year. Mine walked at eight months. All kids are different.” “Where are you getting married? My daughter got married in Africa but everyone is different.” “Your daughter is a comedian, that is so cool. My son is working at Google and has great insurance’ ”Oh, you traveled to New Zealand alone? Here is a photo of me with my family in New Zealand.”

6. Facebook is a safe place for parents to vent their frustration about their kids. “Anyone else sitting in the emergency room at 11pm because their son decided to climb out the window?” “Here is a photo of my son driving cross-country on his motorbike.” “Here is my daughter crying on her first day of camp.” “Anyone else’s kid’s college dorm room look like this?”  We don’t want advice from other parents. We just want to vent about our kids who are also on social media. 

7. Hipster parents and ”cool” parents (There is no such thing’) Hipster parents are always showing photos without kids. Here we are in Cabo or Vegas, having dinner at Nobu, at yoga, training for the marathon etc. If they do pose with their kids, everyone is hipster dressed. Older parents are always doing something cool. Here I am at a rock concert, climbing a glacier, at Hamilton (everyone posts that photo-including me finall),, at the Vanity Fair party, in Hawaii, Paris or on Safari.

9. Perfect Facebook Families. They have beautiful houses, smiling faces and luxury cars. They travel all over the world together. Their children are flawless and brilliant at school or in their careers.  They either look like supermodels or haven’t aged or gained a pound since they had kids or became grandparents. They have beautiful family dinners and holidays.  No one has ever seen them fight or worry about anything.

The reality is once we started joining in large numbers, Facebook stopped being cool. I guess like your mom’s Facebook page is not a compliment. I believe that this has been the downfall of Facebook and why the teens and twenty-somethings have moved to Instagram, Twitter and Snap Chat. These are things that many of us have not mastered yet though I love Instagram. When you are in high school, parents are the least cool people imaginable.  We stay on Facebook because it is a comfort zone and most of our friends aren’t on Twitter or Snap Chat.  Parental embarrassment on Facebook is becoming less of an issue because everything is always changing on the internet. 

Fly safe,

JAZ

Facebook Messages From Around The World

Facebook Messages From Around The World

“Can we go back to using Facebook for what it was originally for – looking up exes to see how fat they got?” Bill Maher

Facebook has given us the ability to simultaneously connect with our best friend in the first grade, our cousins all over the world, assorted friends, relatives, acquaintances and people you have met once. With the click of a button I can see that someone I thought that I had left behind long ago had a double cappuccino for breakfast.

Like all technological advances, whether it is good or bad for you depends on how you use it. I happen to love a Facebook birthday. I like waking up to see people who I barely know or haven’t seen in years have wished me a Happy Birthday. I make it a point to do the same. It has its critics. Facebook not people are remembering the birthdays. It is a step above doing nothing, They still had to type it. i can do the once a year thing. But lately I have received these kinds of Facebook messages.

Two of your friends from Viet Nam are celebrating the Autumn Festival.

Three of your friends from Mexico are celebrating Mexican Independence Day.

Am I being rude or culturally biased not to wish them Happy Autumn Festival? Am I committing some Social Media faux pas that I don’t know about yet by not saying Happy Independence Day? Will they be getting a message that says eight of your friends are from America. They are celebrating Veterans Day. Send them a message.

I’m getting the idea that Facebook loves sending notifications so we can spend more time on Facebook. There is definitely a way to manage these notifications. For me, it involves more time, on the internet to figure it out. It is just easier to wish all my Japanese friends a Happy Cherry Blossom Festival.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Things That I Will No Longer Do On The Computer While I Am Blogging

Things I Will No Longer Do On The Computer While I am Blogging To Have More Time For Reading Books and Travel Stuff

“It is named the “Web” for good reason.” David Foster Wallace

I will not look up old boyfriends or people that I used to date.

I will not look on facebook at people who are no longer my real friends. This includes people that I was never friends with who happened to go to my elementary school, high school, college and grad school. This also includes people who used to be friends with my kids, parents of my kids’ friends and people their age that they were not friends with.

I will not watch youtube videos of people that I used to know.

I will not google relatives who no longer speak to me. I will not google other people’s relatives.

I will not look up anything that has to do with the Real Housewives franchise. Teresa and Joe will have their trial, Kathy will make her cannolis and the Atlanta housewives will be cray cray without me. I will not look up the American Idol or the Voice contestants.

I will not google every random ailment that comes into my head. This includes the weird spot on my hand, cramp in my left leg and rash on my elbow.  Neither one of my kids have blood clots. Hypochondriacs (and I include myself here) stay off the internet!

I will not google every random thought that comes into my head.

I will not try to find every single song I like on the radio and put it on my ipod.

i will not buy anything that I think I need in the middle of the night.

I will not read menus of restaurants I have not been to yet.  I will not read menus of restaurants that I have not been to in a long time. I will not read menus of restaurants that I did not like to see if they have changed.

I will not google every “what if” scenario that could happen to me in whatever country I am going to.

I think we had a lot more time before computers.

Fly safe,

JAZ