7 Things Learned While Helping My 3rd Grade Nephew During Distance Learning (AKA Zoom)

Being in Los Angeles, we will likely be one of the last cities to let the kids go back to school, in my opinion, based on the past year. They are going back everywhere around us but not yet for us, says the LAUSD.

Because of my flexible schedule as a furloughed server and freelance writer, I volunteered to help my 9 year old nephew do his Distance Learning. He has a lot of energy and last year, I saw how it was going with being taught in front of a computer screen, so I vowed to do my best to help. I sit with him during the entire zoom two days a week and go through his google classroom with him daily. I check his homework. His teacher knows me well.

My nephew tells me I help all the time, and continually thanks me for it through his words and actions. I’m fortunate he does. Because let’s just say it has not been easy. His love and education are what keep me going. I get a lot in return and have no regrets.

On that note, allow me a brief interruption….

To teachers everywhere who are working around the clock, in chaotic times with unclear directives, I bow to you. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

7 Things Learned While Helping My 3rd Grade Nephew During Distance Learning (AKA Zoom)

  1. A child’s love is truly the best gift out there. It’s raw, real and has true purpose.
  2. I am 43 years old and cannot do third grade math. In fact, it makes me rip my hair out.
  3. I thought I was a better speller than I really am.
  4. Does the five-second rule still apply with parents today when a snack is dropped? If not, huh….. well… too late
  5. I’ve seen more boogers to last a lifetime. A few even placed in my hand for observation.
  6. Nine year olds have a weird body movement clock. They can’t stay still for longer than a minute.
  7. And on that note, their attention span is so minimal that I truly wonder how they remember anything at all. Unless it has to do with video games. Then, they can focus for hours on end. Which is equally amazing.

11 Unintended Lessons learned from being home due to COVID

Unless you’re on the front lines of the pandemic, which includes all those deemed essential workers, then you’ve pretty much been in some form of isolation or alteration of your home lifestyle because of COVID. Some are in total isolation, and some are in quarantine, some are saying F U to the rules, and others are in a thousand other potential scenarios.

Point being, we are all dealing with COVID in some form, and it’s on a global scale – GLOBAL! Isn’t that fascinating, in-and-of-itself that it’s a global pandemic, and we are in a time period where global communication is instant?

But I digress…

While dealing with being furloughed from my restaurant job, I’ve had to change my entire lifestyle. And while doing so, I’ve noticed a few lessons learned that I thought I’d share…. please add any of your own in the comments!

11 Unintended Lessons Learned From Being Home Due to COVID

1. It’s important to rotate your couch cushions… or at the very least sit in different spots. Not only for firmness, but no one needs to see where your butt’s been spending a lot of its time.

2. You can actually forget to shower for days.

3. There is an INSANE amount of content to stream. And good shit too!

4. Days of the week can lose their meaning. I’m thinking of creating SunMon, a 48-hour period of easing out of one week and into the next.

5. I should not expect to get a callback when applying for a grocery store job.

6. There is an INSANE amount of content to stream. And good shit too!*

7. I have absolutely no desire to wear a bra. Ever again.

8. Working in pajamas is something we should seriously consider, if not only for the comfort but for the ease of having less laundry to do.

9. Children adapt WAY quicker than adults do. Like incredibly so. We should study it…

10. The absolute best thing about Zoom is that you only have to prepare from the waist up. But of course, connecting us all is cool too.

11. If money stacked up as quickly as dishes did, DAMN – we’d all be bajillionaires!

*(Yes, this was written twice, that’s how much good shit!)

Socialization is key

In this age of Corona, being around others is something more rare than it is plentiful.

For some, who work in jobs that still exist, they ARE still around others, socializing a ton, like those in food service, delivery, healthcare and ride sharing.

And then there are those you are around because you’ve been around them since day one of the Pandemic and what they have, you have.

And some who don’t give a shit and socialize like it was 1999.

Regardless of what group you fall into (and there are a lot more,) what I don’t see is an end in sight. Even with a vaccine, no one can be forced to take it. And even if it was tried to be implemented by force, a civil war would likely happen and then the virus would dominate.

I’m thinking we have to figure out how to just deal with this new reality before our economy tanks even further.

And while, I’m a believer things will change after the election (like kids back in school, flight routes reopening and the like,) it’s not going to happen overnight.

And I fear for the ones lonely in this process.

I fear for the kids who no longer know where their friends are. Or if they even still have any.

I fear for the communities that need others, like AA, churches and the like.

But what I fear most is that we are becoming a society who fails to understand socialization is part of what makes us human.

After having lunch with a couple girlfriends today, whom I haven’t seen since this whole thing began, I was left thinking 1) how much I need to socialize with others and 2) how humanity is cherry-picking what is okay and what is not.

What say you?

Quitting Alcohol For A Month – I DID IT

First and foremost, I’d like to give BIG THANKS to all of you who came along with me for the past four weeks – supporting me, checking in and sharing your own stories.

I used it all as a crutch as I walked on this path with urges in the shadows.

I know it sounds cliche but this was one of the best things I think I’ve done for my body. And it’s not all in my mind. Here’s an interesting article about the benefits a body gets from going a month without alcohol… pretty dang cool if you ask me, not to mention the other benefits you get as well, like saving money and time.

But it’s not easy. (Like most things worthwhile.) For me, the hardest part was actually starting. The beginning felt really long but by the third week in, my brain began to think differently and that’s when it got really good. Not gonna lie, though. Temptations were a big part of the process so if I can offer any advice it’s to prepare for those with a strong network of support, a fierce mind-over-matter-determination, and a willingness to see your ugly side so you can do something about it.

But what I think can really help anyone considering going dry a month (or more) is if I be incredibly honest about my experience, so here goes. I’m going to do it as a pro/con list. ***Fair warning though, I’m not going to hold back…

PROS

I lost 5.5 pounds, as the scale tells me so consistently.
My sleep has NEVER been better; and by that, I mean I don’t wake as much, it’s more restful and mornings feel way more vibrant.
I pee A LOT less.
I spend more time with my husband doing active activities. Rather than go to a happy hour, we opt for a bike ride.
Mental clarity is way sharper.
My skin is glowing, according to my husband.
My face doesn’t look bloated, according to several people.
My allergies got better. Not sure how, but they did.
According to my app Dry Days (thanks for the recommend Judy!) I have saved almost $250 dollars. (!!!)

CONS

A few days in, you get bloated. Like, really bloated.
Agitation is the name of the game. You will have to allow yourself to feel it.
Sadly, your bowels get way out of whack. Constipation city for the first few weeks.
Depression hits on weekends (and randomly at 2 in the afternoon on a Tuesday.) I binged TV shows that held my interest and made me laugh (Schitt’s Creek & The Golden Girls) and read a shit ton of books. (4 just this month!)
I felt A LOT less social.

That’s pretty much what I’ve come up with. If anymore pop into my head, I will add. But as always, thank YOU for joining me and I’d love to hear about any of your experiences :)

Quitting Alcohol For A Month – Day 24!

If there was a time I was going to cave, it was this past weekend.

Heat wave, Labor Day weekend, pandemic and the anniversary of meeting my husband eight years ago, Sept 3.

But I didn’t.

I stood strong and channeled more self-control than I think I ever have before.

People were drinking everywhere… and my favorite thing to do in a heat wave is enjoy a cold glass of sauvignon blanc with a good book by the Pacific Ocean. I had the book, in fact was finishing it, and the ocean, but I needed to teach myself the wine was not necessary, just a compliment.

And I did.

But what I’m most proud of is the fact I didn’t let the no-booze change my plans. My hubby and I went on a bike ride along the coast and even stopped at a boardwalk bar for snacks. I tried a Heineken 00 – no alcohol beer – and it was quite good!

So, here I am. On week four and feeling good. Down five pounds and my sleep has gotten so much better. I’m sleeping through the night without waking up multiple times and I also don’t feel bloated, like I would after a night of drinks.

Next week, my month dry will be over.

24 days in and it doesn’t seem as long as it had when I started. And while I’m not going to be sober, I know I have changed. My thought process for wine is different and my body is loving the results of being alcohol free.

Thank you for coming along with me. Stay tuned for next week, when I list everything, all the good and the bad, to expect from a month dry, as according to my time doing it.

Quitting Alcohol For A Month – Day 16

I really want a glass of wine, but I’m not gonna do it.

That’s been something I’ve been dealing with lately and this whole going dry thing has really put my self-discipline to the test.

There are so many lovely moments to have a glass of vino, from enjoying it with hearty pasta dishes to sipping a glass by the roar of the Pacific Ocean, from relaxing with a drink after a long day to toasting alongside others after a hard week comes to a close.

But what I’ve realized is that those things don’t NEED wine. Wine just compliments them.

So, I’m resetting my brain essentially to see alcohol for what it is – a most delicious treat that needs to be handled delicately.

Even if one isn’t addicted, it’s very easy to abuse drinking. And the pandemic had made it far too easy for me to indulge…

So, this is where I’m at.

Day 16 dry and feeling pretty damn good… despite the urges.

Thanks for coming along with me!

A Beginning

I know I’ve been writing a lot about children lately… Perhaps it’s because they’re the only ones leaving a good impression on me in recent times…

The world has been shook, that’s for sure. And how the pieces fall in that wake will leave many consequences to come.

Philosophically speaking, we must ask ourselves “What world are we leaving future generations? And more specifically, speaking of where I live, what is the America to come?”

Pandemics disrupt. It’s what they do. But rather than bring people together, it has created an even greater chasm between those of differing opinions and since everyone thinks they are right, how will any meaningful change occur that isn’t politicized to death?

So, I want to pose a BIG beginning solution…

What if, instead of caring about what side of the political team you’re on, consider being on team humanity? And from that premise, perhaps then, we can begin to discuss how to deal with this pandemic and move forward toward individual prosperity rather than our standard of government/big business crony capitalism political BS.

With movements such as #blacklivesmatter and #metoo, people who have been disenfranchised are finding their voice and starting to be heard. There is tremendous power in understanding each other… and that’s where I think we need to begin because differences will always exist, and that’s a fact.

And children. Oh, let us learn from them!

The other day, I was hanging with my 8 & 10 year old nephews. We decided to do movie day but both of them wanted to watch something differently. As Aunt, I said, okay, I’ll write the name of both movies on slips of paper and we’ll randomly select. Knowing I was playing with fire since one of them would not get the movie they wanted, I hoped they would see that both options could work but a decision had to be made fairly.

Well, I was in for a surprise.

The 8 year old won. His choice was “Godzilla” while his brother wanted to watch “StarDog & TurboCat.” I watched the “one who got his choice” eye his older sibling, noticing the disappointment in his brother’s face. A moment later, the 8 year old  suddenly said, “No, it’s okay, Aunt Tina. Let’s watch StarDog.”

Both myself and the 10 year old snapped our heads toward him and said, “Really?” “Are you serious?” To which this beautiful child said, “Yeah, it’s okay. It will be a fun movie too.”

Moral of the story… Even if you get your way, it’s not always the best choice to make.

 

 

 

 

We, Adults, Have A Lot To Learn

Anyone else about to deactivate all their social media platforms because of the amount of vitriol, ignorance, sanctimonious crap that people keep projecting?

I am 42 and I have never seen America more divisive and nasty.

Here’s the thing, we can research and make informed opinions, but unless you’re an expert in the field you are discussing, should you really be speaking from a place of 100% knowledge? And then, to build on that, why pick on those who disagree with you? Do you really think THAT is the way to bring change?

I think what’s happening here, if I may, is there is an abundance of misdirected anger, wrath, unhappiness within oneself, and it has found its outlet.

THE CORONAVIRUS.

Yes, this virus is very real. But why is the pandemic bringing us apart rather than bringing us together?

If I may pose a theory,  expanding on what I wrote above, is that people are unhappy but rather than seek comfort in humanity, they shun it. They pick the worst and highlight that. They seek the ones who disagree to pick fights, so they can feel “better”, and rather than learn and grow, regression is at an all time high.

It’s not cause I’m saying so… just look around you.

Clearly, it’s much more difficult to understand people who are different than us than it is to seek comfort in those who agree with you, so the latter is the favorite. But no population will ever think the same and while that is a great thing, it also causes chaos.

Welcome to humanity.

Look, I don’t have the answer to give to end this all, but I will offer this true story as a beginning to finding the answer:

I was reading a book at a hotel pool. There were two children playing in the water – maybe ages 10 (girl) and 7 (boy) – along with their grandmother. When a family entered the pool area, the girl saw there were two boys coming in – one in their age group, one a bit younger. And so, she turned to her brother and said, “Look, we can make friends!”

 

Thankful

With the craziness of a pandemic and justice for #georgefloyd protests, life has been turned in all directions. And with good reason. Police are being called out for the horribleness that their force has become, and slowly we are seeing a desire for true serving and protecting citizens (despite the color of one’s skin) in a way that has never happened before.

For that, I am grateful.

Those in the police force are being held accountable for their actions. And no, you are not God, despite what you think.

For that, I am grateful.

Religion – which is a choice, despite those who believe their way is the only way – is slowly being understood as a personal choice rather than a forced way of living.

For that, I am grateful.

It is no small measure to have mass amounts of people supporting black individuals for justice. It is long overdue. And we are changing for the better.

For that, I am grateful.

A revolution has been brewing and is coming to change the destructive ways the US has grown. Lobbyists be gone. Wall Street preference be gone. It’s starting… (sadly, I think the FED is delaying consequences as long as possible.)

But… for the former, I am grateful.

Differences between gender, race, sexual preference – that is the beauty of life – and should be celebrated, not admonished. And finally, we are figuring that out.

For that, I am grateful.

#blacklivesmatter #metoo #schittscreek

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” – Buddha

 

 

Music as Memory

Sunday funday… wait, what day is it? Oh yeah, it’s Sunday… phew

Here in Los Angeles, we’re on this permanent lockdown of sorts, so pardon me…

But yes, let’s return to Sunday Funday even though days of the week don’t matter that much to me right now…

Anywho, my husband and I are preparing to BBQ so randomly, I decided to listen to some music I used to listen to ALL THE TIME, and when I say all the time, I mean it. My iPod was permanently attached to my ears from ages 25-28, which would explain my hearing loss but I digress.

Music was everything to me then. I was single, living alone and working my ass off in post production and filmmaking. I had little time for anything else but music was my constant. And listening now to some of those songs that comforted me then, ones I listened to on repeat like Death Cab For Cutie’s “Transatlanticism” or “Fool on the Hill” by the Beatles or “Goodbye to Romance” by Ozzy or any LCD Soundsystem album, is like a blast to the past.

Music is a time capsule unlike any other.

I flashed to the walks I would take to the bank and having an answering/fax machine or printing directions when I was going far… it all came crashing back and it was a wave of love… love of another time, another way of living, a younger me who I think would be proud of the 42 year-old-me, though if I told her about this pandemic and Donald Trump was president, she would have laughed like I was crazy…

And speaking of crazy, music is a God send, no? Pardon me as I go listen to Flaming Lips “Do you realize??” and remember Silver Lake days of indie rock music, Barefoot wine and MNRC – Monday Night Record Club.