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!)

“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

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.

Going Dry – Come Along With Me!

I don’t know about you, but being home more has made me drink more.

And boy, do I love me some wine but while enjoying it is lovely, abusing it is not.

But damn, it’s sooooooo easy to have one glass and then, just keep going, right?

So, in these times, with moderation flying out the window, it’s at the point I need to reassess. And after a particularly alcohol-fueled birthday weekend, my husband and I decided we would give our livers a break and go dry.

For. A. Month.

For some, this may seem like no big deal. For me, it is a big deal.

I’m on Day 5 and feeling good but it’s Friday and the weekend is starting and I’m not gonna lie… it’s not going to be easy to go without that glass of wine on my patio with the book I’m reading, or sipping a Moscow mule at weekend happy hour with my hubby or enjoying a glass of bold red with Sunday pasta.

But, in order for me to reset so I can get back to moderation of having drinks at those times and not at, say, 3 on a Tuesday, I believe I need to go a month without any.

And that’s where I’m at.

Day 5 and going….

 

 

This is Friendship

I’ve had many jobs over the years and have made friendships along the way. Very fortunate to have come across some amazing people in my time and with social media, we all have a place to keep in touch and keep each other posted on what’s going on…

While no two friendships are alike… some will fall naturally into the “see each other when you see each other” and it’s lovely. Then some, you genuinely make an effort toward seeing and then there are those who become family.

One such friend, who falls into the last group, recently lost a family member. She lives a couple hours from me so our visits have become yearly and sometimes, even less. We try to catch up on the phone a few times a year but life happens and sometimes we go longer than we should.

Well, randomly, last week, I couldn’t stop thinking about this friend of mine, who again, I haven’t seen or spoken to in many months. I even thought I saw her. So I texted her a simple “Hey, I miss you.” Lo and behold, she texted me back expressing the pain she was in from the death of a loved one, that just happened.

I said, I’m coming to you. Give me a day and time.

And though we hadn’t seen each other in two years or even chatted in almost a year, we fell immediately into sync and didn’t stop talking for four hours.

Our faces have aged a bit and gone is the 20-year-old invincible attitude, but in their place, is understanding, history and love.

Many years ago, this friend could have walked away from me. I would have if I were in her shoes, considering the selfish way in which I’d conducted myself at the time…

But instead, she loved me more.

“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.”

-Henry David Thoreau

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

Saying Goodbye When It’s Time

I said goodbye to a friend this week. And no, before you think the worst, no one died. Only the realization that two people should not put each other through trouble anymore. When expectations of what being a friend means differs tremendously between two people, it’s time to end the pain.

And that’s okay.

Full disclosure, a regular question to me over years would go like this –  “She’s doesn’t seem that happy with you. Why are you friends exactly?”

While differences can be part of the fun, if those differences cause someone pain, well, time to cut the cord, no? It’s okay not to be friends with everyone.

I mean, come on… different strokes for different folks.

It’s quality. Not quantity.

Friends compliment life. And when necessary, they challenge you. But if they try to make you something you are not, to fulfill their needs, then… is that friendship? What’s worse is if they try to make you feel bad, over and over again, for being yourself, then it’s clear they’re not happy with you as a friend and again, why are we friends exactly?

Not easy, though. Especially when dealing with human emotions.

But I’ve learned over the years that friendship is whatever a pair defines it to be. I have been blessed with dear friends I’ve retained since my teens. And while we may go a year without talking, we know we care about each other as life moves swiftly and we go in different directions.

Friendship is what you make of it. If both people really want to be in it.

“Real friends were the kind where you pick up where you’d left off, whether it be a week since you’d seen each other or two years.”

 Jojo Moyes, One Plus One: A Novel

 

 

 

 

 

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