A Yes In a Sea of No’s

Any writer can tell you part of the process of being a writer is seeing and hearing the words “thanks but no thanks” over and over and over again.

And damn, it can be painful. Over time, I’ve become rather numb to it, instead focusing on and believing in the work that I do, though also assessing feedback – compliments and constructive critique – and acting accordingly. Notes from generous editors have at times made my work all the better. The hard part is figuring out which notes to take… but I digress.

While splashing around in this sea of no’s, when a YES comes your way and a piece of your writing – in this case, my flash fiction – gets published, it can be one of the most meaningful experiences, especially when the publisher gets what you’re trying to do.

My YES came from a fellow WordPress site – 100wordsofsolitude.

100 Words of Solitude is a project started by writers and professors in an effort to capture individual perspectives on what the world is currently experiencing. They’re selecting 100 pieces of 100 words each from writers all over the world and they have generously accepted one of mine and published it yesterday.

It’s a micro piece of fiction where I attempt to explore the disconnect in the age of Coronavirus. I would love to hear your thoughts!

And a big thank you to the curators at 100 Words of Solitude for finding meaning in my work and sharing it with others.

My Little Buddy In The Age Of The Coronavirus

Having been laid off from my job while the world pauses, I’ve found some extra time on my hands. And in an effort to help my family, I’ve begun to aid in the homeschooling of my eight-year-old nephew.

Now, my nephew and I were already close. I’ve been watching him since practically the day he was born and over the years, we’ve developed a special bond. When I enter my brother’s home, my nephew is the first to great me with a huge smile and a loud, “Hi Aunt Tina! Come play!” or “Hi Aunt Tina! Come look at this!”

And while I am 42 years old, there is a young 10-year-old girl in me who loves to play and have fun. Seriously. I’m a champ at Nerf gun battles, hide ‘n find (a take off from the original hide ‘n seek, which my nephews and I made up,) coloring, board games (especially Battleship!) and soon, if my nephews have it their way, video games.

But back to the beginning. I’ve been helping homeschool. And I must say, TEACHERS, YOU ARE GODS. Thank you soooooooooooooooo much for what you do. You help the future way more than any Congressman/woman and should be paid accordingly. And they patience you must have! I am in awe.

So, yeah. I’ve been helping with homeschool and also babysitting more than normal and because of this, an 8 year old has become my new little buddy.

When I told him he could call me whenever he wanted, I began to wake up to text and phone messages asking if I wanted to play Roblox remotely – me on my phone, him at his home while we chat over FaceTime. He made sure to install it on my phone on a visit  and then proceeded to give me a tutorial. When I struggled, he said, “Aunt Tina, do you know what patience is?” I smiled and said, “Yes, I do” to which he replied, “Well, then you just have to have it.”

Words of wisdom right there.

When we finish our school lessons, he asks how much time I can stay to hang out. We are currently watching the first season of Clone Wars, which is very well done btw, and also love to go outside and plant flowers in the backyard and fill our bird house with birdseed and more. His smile brightens my day.

And the last time I was with him, I was doing laundry and he opted to stop playing and join me, just to chat. He told me about his best friend at school and how they get in trouble and the big spider he saw the other day in the backyard, that had hair!

I will miss these days when all goes back to “normal” but I’m happy to know enough to cherish them as they are happening.

To see a big smile on an eight year old’s face is to witness real happiness.

To receive a hug from a child without asking for one is to know real affection.

To make a child happy and comfortable by embracing who they are is to teach real confidence.

To have a child call upon you because they consider you important is to understand the essential.

And to wake up to a phone message from your nephew asking where you are and if you want to come over and you alter your day to do so is to experience real love.

Thank you Fair Bear (my nickname for him,) for all you are and all you teach.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Wonders… 5 Ways We Are Changing For The Better From The Coronavirus…

My past few posts have been a bit depressing so I thought for this one I’d write about the ways I am seeing the world change for the better, due to the pandemic at hand.

Sure, we could argue till we’re blue in the face about how this all started, how governments are responding, how people are acting, but seriously, what good would arguing do?

“Love is saying ‘I feel differently’ instead of ‘You’re wrong.’” – Unknown

And as someone who loves difference of opinions because it’s the best way to learn, I am going to ignore that noise and focus instead on some good things I’ve noticed come out of the #coronavirus and well, that’s something to shine a spotlight on, isn’t it?

5 Ways we are changing for the better

We’re so damn clean.
Anyone else notice how sanitized people and things are getting? I mean, how can that be a bad thing? Hand washing and covering your mouth when you sneeze and not breathing on top of people… all wonderful traits that are getting instilled in people as they become routine.

The pause leads to thought.
In a weird way, the world is pausing. The wheels have largely stopped and because of that, what was once the norm is now anything but. We’ve been forced to find a new norm with stay-at-home orders and loss of employment among other things. But with these new limitations, we are led right to an important aspect of our life. Our HOME. If it’s your temple, you’ll take comfort in your design. But if on the flip side, you don’t like what you find, well… isn’t that in itself a gift because now, you see it as it is and can do something about it? When one is busy, it’s way too easy to ignore important things.

We’re learning what’s essential.
By definition, essential means what is absolutely necessary. And we are learning what that is! In a world filled of an abundance of distraction, eye candy and material goods, this lesson is not one to be taken for granted. It’s a gift to be able to stop, see what one really needs, and then progress from there to form a healthier state of being. And isn’t it interesting to find out what you do really need, when all bling and glitz and distraction is removed?

Gaining awareness of what teacher’s do and how grossly underpaid they are.
Full disclosure, I have no children by choice. But I am seeing those who do have children, are getting a big taste of what teachers actually do and how incredibly challenging it is to teach children. Perhaps now people will think about where state money should go (not with words, but with actual action and legislation) as the importance of this position has been elevated and revealed for all to witness. Education does not have pharmaceutical lobbyists but imagine if it did….

Letting nature breathe.
Sadly, it had to be forced upon us by a global virus, but a ray of light through this storm is the fact nature has been allowed to do as she would without our massive intervention. The environment is not infinite, despite what the 1980s/90s thought. And allowing it a chance to reset, enjoy itself without our intrusion and just breathe a sigh of relief to be allowed to do so, is perhaps the very best gift this pandemic has given us. Has given the world. And well, that’s pretty damn good.

What positive observations have you observed? #coronavirus

 

Sunday Meditations… We have an opportunity here… #coronavirus

First off, thank you to those who are working their assess off so the rest of us can remain healthy and safe. YOU – those in healthcare, emergency services, grocery and delivery – ARE the REAL HEROES in this scenario – not the government. THANK YOU SO MUCH

That said, I’ve been thinking about the opportunity that we as individuals, citizens of all nations, have been given because of this virus.

Yes, the virus is killing people but….

it’s allowed the world to breath.

THE WORLD.

Do you understand what that means? Because I can barely grasp the significance myself at first thought…

Animals are returning to their natural habit… smog is clearing and here in Los Angeles, it’s downright gorgeous (that’s where I live.. tell me about where you live please!) Dolphins are abundant here, before yes, but now so are whales, right by our pacific coastline.

And then priorities… how have they shifted? Family and loved ones are the top while careers are put on pause. It makes you think about how you spent your time before…

What will happen when the virus is vaccinated and people try to live on? The world will be different from here on out, no matter who or what you believe, but what’s important is how different YOU are when this is over… at least, that’s what I’m thinking for myself.

Because I’ve changed.

Already.

Have you?

And despite the understandable financial struggle, I’ve watched nature live without much interference by man and that has paid me plentiful.

And now, I wonder…

Can we can rise from this, better than ever before, knowing now what’s truly important….

Things or People?

Truth or Money?

#coronavirus #thechoiceisours

Tuesday Thinking… Where We Are At #Coronavirus

I’ve been thinking a lot about where the world is at. Face masks. Self-Isolation. Quarantine. (there is a difference!) Social Distancing. Non-essential businesses closing to stop the spread. The spread of something that started with an animal in China. And what do we learn? So little… And what comes… the typical bashing of Trump (ignoring what Congress is doing,) being angry at China and going to the extremes based on emotion rather than logic.

Perhaps this will be controversial to say but someone has to say it:

The government is the problem.

Yes, it’s easy to say Trump should have done this, China should have done that… but if you study the past fifty or so years, the timeline builds to this. Capitalism never having a chance with corporate welfare and insane backhanded deals. Congress making loads off the people, not only through their insider knowledge (which they declared was okay to have… of course they did!) but with making sure their lobbyists and those with money were set BEFORE the people.

This is simply a consequence revealing itself in times of distress… Remember what happened when the banks/stock market screwed themselves? The government to the rescue! Man… it could have gone such another way in America.

Sigh.

But… I do believe the virus is targeting those who allowed this… think about it. Children are barely affected…. THANK GOD, BUDDHA, ALLAH, etc….

I know this is a time of pandemic. But one has to ask… if we truly had a government of the people, by the people, would we have come to this? And why is the wealth so concentrated among BIG BUSINESS and GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS? Will it take this devastation to return to our constitution…? To a government meant for the people, not the elites who declared themselves so?

And if that is the case, could that be the silver lining in all of this?

 

11 Things I Discovered While Staying Home #coronavirus

It’s been weeks since we’ve all begun to “social distance” ourselves from one another and opt to stay home except for the bare necessities. And then came the orders to do so… FYI I’m in Los Angeles, one of the worst hit but we’re doing okay, relatively speaking, as we shut everything down early on…

During this time of being homebound, I’ve made some discoveries that I’m thinking I might not have, if this virus never came about…

Inspired by John Krasinski’s Some Good News, I thought I’d pass them on, not only to share but to commiserate and laugh as a whole. I’ll be ignoring the basics, like how fast a bottle of hand sanitizer can go or the fact toilet paper is a hotter commodity than food, and sticking with more, let’s say, odd ones…

11 Things I Discovered While Staying Home #coronavirus

1. There is in fact a limit on how much I can sleep a night when given the freedom of zero alarms – eleven hours!

2. Showers can become such little priority that, well, I won’t even write how long I went without noticing I hadn’t taken one… (hint: how many sides to a square?)

3. I love the hell out of my husband. He’s my best friend who makes me laugh from the gut. Now, I know. This should have been a given, not something I am just now discovering, BUT as someone who loves, loves, loves alone time, this could have gone two ways when forced to be together nearly 24 hours.

4. It pains me to say this but reality tv is insanely awesome to binge on. I can not get enough of Married At First Sight. 

5. I miss my job. Truly. And again, this could have gone one of two ways….

6. My OCD (yeah, I’ll admit, I’m clinically diagnosed) has finally served me well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Most of this COVID protection shit, I’ve been doing for years…

7. The Couch. All hail the Couch.

8. I’m a pack rat in the oddest sense. I throw most things out but adore hoarding free samples, receipts from every damn thing I’ve ever purchased over $50 dollars and office supplies. Clean out your stuff and trust me, you’ll learn a thing or two about yourself…

9. There is a BIG difference in having kids and not having kids. HUGE. MONUMENTAL.

10. Bad habits can be more dangerous than this flippin’ Covid-19.  B.E.W.A.R.E.

11. Nature always wins. So, why do we keep betting against it?

Monday Moments – Coronavirus

This will be one of my free flowing posts – for those who are new to my blog, I sometimes write in stream of consciousness – as I attempt to capture what the heck is going on….

It started as a virus China was struggling to contain. soon though, it spread like a racehorse around the globe, catching many by surprise. toilet paper seemed to be the hot commodity for some unknown reason. shouldn’t it be food? schools began to close, jobs were lost (i was one of them.) warnings abound. social media blew up. why does everyone think they are experts when it’s clear they haven’t even researched what they’re arguing? this event gives an excuse to release anger. that is what scares me the most, more than getting this virus. we can battle back and forth about what should or shouldn’t be done but what good will that do unless you are in a position to do something? is anyone else thinking this is a wash and rinse cycle happening on a global scale? maybe mother nature saying a big F U to humanity. i mean, look at what we’ve done to her… is this payback? and if so, don’t we deserve it on some level? that said, i fear for the elder generations… their weak systems, yes, but more the way they are being treated. why must youth be so revered when it lacks in perspective and too often, wisdom and strength? being home isn’t so bad. it’s quite lovely when you love the one you’re with. i can’t imagine if you don’t. divorce will likely be a result… speaking of results, what will this world look like when we come out of this? that is THE question. to guess, many places will not reopen. unemployment will skyrocket and the government will provide handouts, sending us into TRILLIONS of debt. and that will be the next big F U… it isn’t sustainable. oh the humanity

 

I lean Libertarian and voted for Bernie – here’s why

I have to start by explaining that I despise labels. I believe deeply that they’re limiting, regressive and make way for group-think rather than individual thought. With that in mind, I am not registered for any political party – as pure non-partisan as they come –  as I vote for the person, not the party.

This is the premise I begin with when voting.  And to give some perspective, I identify mostly with the Libertarian party more than any other party. A lot of my political activity does involve this party, more than any other, as I firmly believe in minimal government.

So then, how does someone like myself end up voting for Bernie Sanders, a man believed to be a Socialist?

It’s a puzzling question I’ve received from those who know me, and it’s an important one, so I thought I’d address it on my blog.

The reason is actually more simple than most think, but first a little story…

I worked on Ron Paul’s campaign in 2012. Even went to Nevada, where his party put me and a bunch of others up in a hotel to canvas streets, work the call bank and more. It was there that I got a real glimpse into political parties and the machinations of the voting process. It was also during this time that I began to learn about what both parties were involved in and while in principal, they may stand for seemingly different things, in practice, they weren’t all that different.

I wasn’t a Republican but Ron Paul was, so that was the party I was helping. Here was a man, with a strong political career, who spoke out about the truth of government and fought hard for individual liberties.

The worm hole was opened for me. I delved deep into voter suppression and fraud, false media narratives, corporate welfare and so much more. I learned that both parties spent taxpayer money – either at home or abroad – against taxpayer wishes. I learned both parties believed strongly in corporate welfare, never allowing capitalism to have a chance, and when the big banks were not allowed to suffer the consequences they created with the help of the gov’t, who stepped in to help them? The gov’t! With taxpayer money!

That was it. I was done. With both sides.

I learned in order to make real change, the big beast that is our government was going to have to change. It all became so obvious that the parties are made to pull the strings on the voters, both sides, and they make rules to benefit themselves and those who have money to hire lobbyists. They are not about the people, no matter how much they claim to be.

So….

I began to vote for individuals who represented the people, regardless if I agreed with their stances or not, because my top priority became to end the relationship between government and big business. In my opinion, it is what killed the middle class and made the elite class that now runs our country.

Enough is enough.

At first, I too thought Bernie Sanders was a socialist dying to take from the earners to give to those who chose not to earn for themselves. But as I learned more, I realized that yes, he wants sweeping changes that expanded gov’t, but how was that any different from the Republican or Democrat presidents before him who did the exact same, just without transparency and under guises of capitalism though was anything but?

I realized Bernie is transparent and a true representative of the people by being so. It’s clear from his actions – his political fight against Big Business/backhand corporate welfare deals and his anti-war stance – that he will use his position to help the people he represents. And stop sending us into war.

As sad as it is, it’s become as simple as that for me.

I want transparency. I want a president working for the people, not the corporations who sponsor him/her.

And with the pickings so slim, my only chance of achieving this for America is with Bernie Sanders.

Who would have thought?

#seethingsastheyarenotwhatotherstellyoutheyare

 

 

 

Monday Moments – RIP Kobe

Monday Moments – RIP Kobe Bryant

For those who know me, basketball is among the least likely topics I’d write about. And while I don’t feel qualified to speak anything about the game itself, as a Los Angeleno for nearly thirty years, I do feel qualified to speak on Kobe Bryant’s connection with this city, which I now realize is incredibly deep and heartfelt.

I went to the gym today and people were wearing Lakers caps and Kobe jerseys. The TVs above the machines played photos and sports footage in remembrance. And at the grocery store, I saw a little old lady walking around in a Laker’s long sleeve shirt. On a street corner, a man swung a sign that simply read “Kobe.” Billboards along the 405 displayed RIP Kobe messages and at the laundromat, where I sit writing this, faces are glued to NBC coverage on Kobe. Staples center is filled with those grieving and while there is no denying that Kobe was far from perfect, there is also no denying that he had moments of near-perfection.

Los Angeles is in mourning.

So, I thought back to my own memories…

I remember hearing everyone in the early 2000s talk about the smug kid who rocked the court and had gone to the NBA straight out of high school. Kobe is one year younger than I am, so I remember this as someone of the same age as himself. While I could barely make it to a 9am economics class, I remember talk of Kobe and Shaquille O’Neil like they were another McCartney/Lennon Duo – a force to be reckoned with.

I remember the Laker’s being Phil Jackson’s team and Kobe being his superstar. That team became Kobe’s team, where he spent his whole career.

I remember the unity that was felt in the air when Kobe did his thing and brought the Lakers to victory after victory. It was his name that was spoken the loudest. It was his name that was called out when people shot hoops. Over the years, Kobe Bryant became a central part of Los Angeles – in its history, its people and its love.

For a city of mostly transplants, it’s a rare thing. From my experience, people in Los Angeles have love of teams from their hometown or where they went to college. Anyone remember when LA Raiders jerseys were considered gang-wear and banned from schools? Yeah, not exactly the team spirit you want.

But the Laker’s were different. They had Kobe, a constant for 20 years. And that gave Los Angeles something to connect with in a city of disconnect.

RIP Kobe

RIP to all those who perished on that helicopter

RIP to a part of LA’s history

#kobebryant #mondaymoments

 

 

Revisiting Sex And The City Fifteen Years Later

The other day, I decided to turn on Season 4 of Sex and the City. No reason for selecting that particular season, only that I saw it on my Amazon Prime homepage and thought, wow, it’s been a hell of a long time since I watched the show that meant the absolute world to me way back in the early 2000s, so why not put it on while I decorate….

Well…. one thing led to another and I watched the entire season – all 18 episodes – in a matter of five days.

And yes, I will admit, watching in hindsight makes me realize it wasn’t as far-reaching or convention-defying as I thought it had been but still… at the time, it pushed boundaries the status quo imposed and allowed women to explore their sexuality and individualism in a way no other show had before. It empowered a whole generation of people.

And it showed women were not the lesser sex; simply a different sex than the one who had been dominating.

For all I mention, I will never forget this show. Sex and the City made me feel not so alone, not so crazy to want to explore life rather than have children right after college (or ever, for that matter) and defined us women as strong, powerful humans with the expectation to have every right a man has. It didn’t show us in the kitchen or watching children, it showed something else I will state after a quick story….

Post college, my dear friend would recap entire episodes since I didn’t have HBO (or a TV for that matter, haha!) She would detail every moment, every scene, and I was captivated, waiting until I could make it over to her place to watch what we had just discussed and dissected.

Watching the show present day, however, showed me the difference in which I viewed the material, especially in relation to marriage.

When I was in my twenties, or even early thirties, I wasn’t sure marriage was for me. I thought perhaps I liked my independence just a tad too much to be good for someone or have someone be good for me, not to mention I had determined children were not going to be in my plan, so that was limiting in selecting a partner as well. You’d be surprised how many men want children. Not just women.

Exactly the type of material Sex and the City explored, right? Which is why I loved the show so damn much. It was almost a religious experience for my friends and I, but that’s another discussion…

Now, though, having found a man whom I genuinely want to spend the rest of my days with, I realize Sex and the City no longer confirmed my singlehood, but rather, what it really did, at its core, was show us CHOICE.

And I will never forget that it did that for me and still does. And I’d imagine a ton of other women would agree. I believe it gave us, in particular me, a voice that marriage, kids, sexuality, all of it, was a matter of choice, not a predetermined route to be defined by society or religion or anyone else other than the person(s) involved.

So, thank you Sex in the City, and Sarah Jessica Parker, and all those who created the show, for having the courage to do so when it wasn’t in vogue or so readily accepted, and while, sure, if the show was made today it would be different, what it was is precisely why it was so perfect at the exact time it was made.

It helped paved the way to be where we are today.

And that is a beautiful thing. At least to me.

#sexandthecity