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.

“The Morning Show” A+

So, this past weekend, I started Apple TV’s “The Morning Show.”

And by the end of Monday, I’d binged the ENTIRE SEASON. And these episodes are not your average 41 minute ad-filled telecast. No, these are straight 60-75 minutes of, imo, brilliant television writing and beyond.

After I cheered for it getting itself on air – yes, if anyone could it’s Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, but it’s the fact THEY DID IT – I began to really think about its message.

While the obvious message is the lack of truth in “journalistic news” (and trust me, they’re preaching to the choir on this one,) but what REALLY stood out was the way they embraced the destructive culture of celebrity.

The importance some of the main characters placed on their position in “journalism” was like one who was fighting a war as leader of a third world country. These “news anchors” forgot who and what they were and instead believed themselves to be “above” things or at the very least, so incredibly important they could treat people like shit and be abusive.

And the way Witherspoon and Aniston had the balls to tell their OWN INDUSTRY to take a look within…

Exceptional women, no?

As someone who has had several jobs in the entertainment industry – assistant to Scott Rudin (seriously, look him up…), assistant editor on American Idol, script analyst at Imagine Entertainment for over a decade…. I’ve learned a thing or two about this business.

The entertainment business is a beast.

But to me, this was one show willing to unmask the absurdity and abuse that exists behind celebrity culture.

My take away – Be true to yourself and you will prevail, though you must be patient. Be true to the facade, and you will learn little truth, except that pretense comes with a steep price.

#themorningshow

The Sensitivity of Children

Life has been a whirlwind for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one, so maybe you can commiserate? I mean, damn, if things aren’t getting a little crazy up in the world. Most of it, for good reason… (the brilliance of the protests (yes!) but that is for another post…)

After a first-in-your-lifetime shutdown, are you coming out a bit different?

I know I am, that’s for sure.

I’m about to return to work as a server, but in a way that I haven’t done before now that COVID caused new rules, so I am struggling with if I can still do it. I have long wanted to stay in the restaurant business as I make my films and write my stories both for my love of food and wine and also for the tangible aspect of seeing people enjoying themselves and knowing I am part of the reason why.

For those who don’t know, in the past, I’ve worked entertainment jobs, such as assistant to Scott Rudin on the Paramount lot and assistant editor on season four of American Idol, both of which I chose to leave, because when I was working those jobs and similar ones, I felt empty. Like I was a cog in the entertainment machine, but not really making any difference, though it’s definitely worth noting Scott Rudin is a genius in producing original storytellers and I wish I could have learned more from him when I was his LA assistant, but, that’s for another story and sadly, I can’t go there. I signed an NDA.

Anywho, back to now. I’ve been going through a lot and I’m starting to feel empty again in my employment. Returning to a restaurant job where the industry has done a 180*, while also ending homeschooling my nephew two days a week, (BTW teachers everywhere, YOU ARE AMAZING AND SHOULD BE PAID WAY MORE,) coping with the death of my husband’s sister, polishing my first novel for agent submission, enjoying the visit of my sister and niece, all the while trying to make sense of the insanity we’ve allowed our government to become, has left me spent.

Yet somehow, today, when I hung out with my three year old niece, life felt special. It felt good. 

And that was all her.

It was like she picked up on my feeling down a bit and for the first time, came to me without me having to ask. She comforted me and all around enjoyed my company, when before she was a bit hesitant. And when I put her to sleep, having a three year old, caress your hand while she falls peacefully asleep in your arms, I felt true serenity.

And I thought:

Children know way more than most give them credit for. And they truly are the future. 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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

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

 

 

The Best Doctor Office Visit

The other day, I went in for my yearly woman’s doctor’s office visit, to a place I’d been going to for nearly a decade.

Once there, I learned I was assigned a new doctor. I’ve had a few over the years, all of whom I liked, but none like this….

She was a truly one-of-a-kind, special doctor that you see in the movies but thought never existed in real life.

I know. I sound like I have a school girl crush. But in all seriousness, she was so rare I want to celebrate and spread the word on how good a doctor’s office visit can actually be, and here’s why:

  1. She entered, shook my hand and spent TEN MINUTES talking to me about myself and my life. She read notes the previous doctors had written and used them to ask about her new patient – me! (And FYI – she didn’t read from the notes; she came it knowing them.)
  2. She explained Every. Single. Thing. she was doing, reviewing and/or touching.
  3. She told me a little about herself, making it so much more personable (and trust me, in the position one is in during these doctor’s visits, this is incredibly appreciated…)
  4. She read my chart and DID NOT ask if my husband and I were going to have children. Every time I go, I have to tell my doctor we are not considering having children and then, we have to go through the song and dance of them trying to make sure I know what that means at my age (after 35, pregnancies are considered “geriatric”.)
  5. She had warm hands and told me when things were going to be cold.
  6. She was chatting with me so much about my book and family traditions that a nurse had to knock on the door to tell her the next patient was waiting…
  7. She then took off her gloves, shook my hand and told me what came next. I told her I was very happy to have her as my new doctor and she smiled, saying she was very happy to have me as her new patient, looking me straight in the eyes.

Pinch me please. Did I die and go to heaven?? To me, it’s rare to have this kind of treatment and doctor/patient relationship.

If you are in the southern Beach Cities area of Los Angeles, feel free to message me to ask for her info. I have no idea if they are taking new patients, but I have never felt better about a doctor’s office experience than I did yesterday.

 

 

Family Is Love

Hi All!

I made a little one minute short film with my niece and nephews this weekend to submit for a filmmaking grant by Moet Champagne.

If you have a moment, please visit it’s site here to watch and vote if you like it!

Children are everything. Let’s celebrate them.

http://www.moetfilmfest.com/entry/family-is-love

Thank you!!

My first concert

The year was 1994. I was sixteen years old and had been immersing myself in music – cassettes at the time were the big thing. CDs were around but hadn’t yet caught on enough to knock out tapes. We all owned portable tape decks. The sporty yellow ones were really cool at the time.

Today, I was transported back to that time period because Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, died suddenly at the young age of 46.

She was my very first concert ever, where she was lead singer and guitarist for The Cranberries and they had just released their album No Need To Argue.

I’d venture to bet most people remember their first live music concert.

Mine was magical. The band played at a venue in Los Angeles that wasn’t incredibly large so there weren’t many “bad seats.”

The night was dark – it may have even rained earlier – and a friend and I had parked my Toyota Tercel in the over-priced parking lot before heading inside.

I vividly recall the energy of the room. I have no memory who opened for them but I do remember when The Cranberries took the stage, the crowd jumped to their feet and the room was captivated. The walls pulsed from the original rock music we all were witnessing. Dolores and band did not fail to deliver.

In hindsight, I realize why I liked her so much. She wasn’t like everyone else. She sang about the voices in our heads and looked the way she wanted to. She was so cool to me.

It’s incredible how music can transport us back in time.

Perhaps the power of memory is magnified when music is involved because there is definitely something about it that can stir the soul deep down, getting to a place not much else can.

As I watched the clip below of The Cranberries performing on Dave Letterman’s show, only a few months after I saw them live in 1994, I found myself not only taken back in time but also profoundly moved. Dolores’s voice had helped me through dark teenage times and was a source of enjoyment during a time period I didn’t much enjoy. (I didn’t care for highschool…)

Thank you, Dolores, and The Cranberries, for being a large part of the happiness of my youth. You’ve since remained a classic album among my favorites of favorites.

May you RIP.

The Cranberries on Letterman 1994

#thecranberries #doloresoriordan

Quick Road Tripping

I know I’ve been a bit silent on my blog recently and I apologize. These past couple weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, as I’m sure many of you can relate to as we enter 2018.

2018?!

How the hell did that happen? Wasn’t it just 1995? But I digress… Over the past four days, I traveled to Northern California to see my sister and her six-month old baby and then to one of my oldest and dearest friends, who is in a nearby city and also happens to have a six-month old baby.

I was in baby heaven.

But before anyone asks, here’s my response to why we decided to not have children.

This past weekend was fantastic. Hanging with little babies full of love is not a bad way to spend a long weekend, that’s for sure. And I was able to see a dear friend of mine who I don’t get to see anywhere near as often as I’d like.

Though this road-trip of mine (solitary btw, which I recommend for everyone, married or not!) was short and sweet, I did make some observations along the way that I would love to share with you, my readers, as I have in the past :)

Also, happy new year to you all!

Some observations from a short road trip from Southern California to Northern and back again…

  • get your gas where it’s cheap. Prices at gas stations can fluctuate several dollars within miles of each other.
  • bring a car trash bag. it will make your life easier.
  • ignore your phone. people will text and call but do your own thing when on the road. it’s freeing and a great time to be in your head…
  • san francisco drivers are no joke. they get the job done and take no prisoners. los angeles drivers either wait for, what my brother calls, “the golden invitation” for lane changes and such, thinking they own the road, or they cut your off and then brake. I am a Los Angeleno but SF has us here. The drivers there need and want to drive. Here, everyone drives whether they want to or not.
  • be careful of “Economy” car rentals. Though my car did what it had to, it had no key fob to open doors (I used a key, what?!), no arm rest, side mirrors adjustable only by hand (yup, it’s still a thing!) and the most annoying beep if you didn’t immediately put your seatbelt on.
  • sing out loud to your heart’s desire. it’s cathartic
  • And I may have said this before but it’s worth repeating. It’s incredibly easy to drive over 90mph. My advice- keep your eyes on the speedometer unless you want to fork over hundreds of dollars to the state.

 

#roadtripping