Things we should be more thankful for: WATER

First I want to thank ,my loyal followers and readers for taking the time to read my blog posts. Secondly, I would like to apologize for being away for so long. I owe you an explanation.

I was deeply touched and truthfully, devastated by the tragedy of Newtown. Those who are closest to me know that when a tragedy occurs, it affects me to the very core of my being and soul. When Katrina happened, I cried and hurt for weeks. I felt useless. I did what I could from the state I lived in but I wish I was right there in the devastated area where I could offer my help, my hand, a shoulder to cry on.

Newtown was no different. What the families of those poor children went and are still going through is unimaginable. For days, I felt hopeless and helpless. I also felt angry and frustrated  at what I was hearing on the news, reading on Twitter and Facebook or anywhere else. To me, there was no explanation for what happened. I honestly did not turn on the TV much during that time. There was no point for me. I did read stories on the internet but I could not bear to listen to newscasters turn on their sad voices. I understand things have to be reported but there is nothing that will ever make us feel better. There is nothing that will ever give us peace of mind. I do agree that now is an opportunity of review gun laws, mental health and most importantly ourselves as a society. We need to take a good look at ourselves in the mirror and start fixing what is wrong.

Now on to this new topic which I have been so eager to write. Water.

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On Thanksgiving, it is custom to go around and say what we are thankful for. Obviously we are all familiar with the generic things being said. We are all thankful for our health, our jobs, our family, the food sitting on the table but we rarely talk about every little thing we use on a daily basis that makes our lives so much easier than it is in other countries or it was decades or centuries ago.

For me, the thing I am thankful for everyday (aside from my loved ones) is water. My time for giving my thanks is usually when I shower. I feel extremely thankful and humbled every night. There are people in the world who never felt water go all over their body in a shower. For some people, water is so scarce or unclean that accessing water alone is a luxury. There are nights when I am so lazy, I feel like taking a shower is a burden. Then I end up showering anyways and want to smack myself for even thinking of such a privilege as a burden. The minute the water hits my shoulder, I feel better. I feel like the luckiest person on the planet and then I take a few minutes to think of all the ways I am gifted throughout the day. We use water countless of times. We wash ourselves in the morning and night and through the day every time we wash our hands and go to the bathroom. We brush our teeth. We wash our clothes. Water helps us get rid of impurities. We all know the feeling when we are parched and someone hands us a glass of water that feels like the best thing on Earth. Water is a miracle. Water is life. Without water, we could not have evolved and be who we are. Without water and most importantly access to water, we could not thrive the way we do. When I think of how water gets to us in California, it is pretty amazing. States like California and Nevada are extra lucky and blessed. We are not meant to have water. We had to use our intelligence and technology to get water to us. This is not to be taken for granted.

 

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Water is so common, we use it so much that it becomes a basic thing and as every basic thing, we take it for granted. Without water, we couldn’t have our tea or coffee that makes such a difference in the way we start our day. Without water, cooking could be really difficult. Imagine making pasta or rice without clean water. If I go 48 hours without a shower, I feel so disgusting and uncomfortable, I have a hard time thinking and doing things straight. When my water gets cut off and I cannot wash my hands, I get a little panic even though I know I can wash my hands with the water I saved especially for emergencies. I am spoiled. like everyone else. I waste, like most of us. I feel guilty about it all the time. I picture people in Africa who have to walk so many miles to get just a couple of gallons of water. They have to walk in what would be unbearable heat to us, just to do it again the next day. Some people die from drinking unsafe water. That’s how lucky we are: we never have to worry about dying from the water we drink. We never have to really weigh the pros and cons and take risk every time we take a sip.

The good thing is that there are a lot of things we can do. First thing is to be aware. If we can be thankful for what we have and be aware of how precious water is, we are moving forward. We can try to conserve water in any way possible, take shorter shower, turn off the water when we are brushing our teeth or cooking, not wash our cars so often (enough vanity, who cares if our car is not so shiny), monitor when we water our lawn, follow our community and government regulations, etc. We can also become more active and join or/and support non-profit organization who provide solution to conserve water and/or bring water where it is actually needed like third world countries.

Below is a list of some organizations you should take time to look at.

The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is a policy institute that seeks sustainable solutions to the world’s escalating water crisis. SIWI manages projects, synthesizes research and publishes findings and recommendations on current and future water, environment, governance and human development issues

http://www.siwi.org/

Just a Drop is an international water aid charity, which builds wells, hand pumps and boreholes in 31 countries in the developing world.

http://www.justadrop.org/

Water.org is a nonprofit organization that has transformed hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America by providing access to safe water and sanitation.

http://water.org

Charitywater.org is bringing clean water to people in developing countries

http://www.charitywater.org/

Water Conserve is a Water Conservation Portal dedicated to protecting and conserving drinking water and ecosystems worldwide – with a genuine Internet water search engine, constant water news and link tracking, and biocentric commentary.

http://www.waterconserve.org/

Founded in 2000 by leading journalists and scientists, Circle of Blue provides relevant, reliable, and actionable on-the-ground information about the world’s resource crises.

http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/about/
ClearWater Initiative is a U.S.-based 501(c)3 nongovernmental organization that strives to provide clean, potable water solutions to populations in need and educate the public about the importance of clean water.

http://www.clearwaterinitiative.org/

Do you feel forced to follow tradition? An epiphany on Epiphany!

After a few weeks of writer’s block, it finally hit me. Don’t you love that moment when something comes to you and all you want to do is grab a keyboard ( *smiles*) and write a blog post about it. Well here it comes. I had my epiphany, ironically enough on Epiphany!

One of my readers figured out some of my origins after reading my blog post about eating consciousness. No wonder, all that mention about eating rabbit and cow’s tongue and liver as a child gave it away. Yes I am partly French. My whole adult life, I have had issues with how to keep up with traditions. As I mentioned in previous posts, the first dilemma came when we had to figure out whether to celebrate Christmas or not. Well I figured that out. But there are so many other things. For me and my husband, a few issues come to mind. First, we’re not Catholic but both had at least one Catholic parent, then when it comes to me, I was raised in a home where food WAS a national TRADITION! I’m not joking. So, even after having figured out that we didn’t have to celebrate some religious holidays, food is always a reminder or even an excuse. Like today. Today is Epiphany. I grew up celebrating Epiphany. My mom was not really a practicing Catholic but in France, it was tradition to get the Galette with the fève inside. Whoever got the fève was crowned King or Queen. Also, every time you would visit someone during the whole month of January, you would have to bring a galette. Whoever got the fève was the next one to buy the galette. It went on until the end of the month. We also have until the end of the month to wish Happy New Year. Anytime afterwards was bad taste.

I continued all the traditions I grew up with (well most of them) because it is heart warming and I wanted share my culture with my family and kid.

After a few years, I now find those traditions more as chores and duties. I went to bed last night thinking, “oh shit, tomorrow is Epiphany, I have to go get a galette I guess” excuse my language but that is really what I thought. I started wondering where I would get it, where the best one is at, which store has the cheapest…. AND because of my new vegan diet, I honestly had no desire to even eat it. It was Christmas all over again. At Christmas, I bought a bûche de Noel but I wasn’t excited about eating it. I looked forward to my vegetables a lot more.  Traditions are legacies, I get it. But we change, people change, so why do I feel so guilty by just thinking about NOT getting a Bûche de Noel or a Galette? I think it is because all those things were fun for me as a child, but I am not a child anymore and I could care less if I eat a galette on a Holiday I don’t even believe in. I am a closeted double hypocrite. So here, I am out. I am not Catholic and I celebrate Catholic holidays just because I did when I was younger even though it was mostly because of the fun and for the food and now I force myself to do it for my kid.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like traditions but after a while, it is time to move on. For example, we used to celebrate Easter, but now we no longer go for the Easter egg hunt. We graduated from that tradition. I never baked beignet on Mardi Gras like my grandmother used to. That’s ok. I don’t make crepes that often either which probably explain why I am not rich since the tradition is that if you make crepe on a certain day, you’re supposed to be rich all year. I think I have to stop being so hard on myself. Another reason why I kept those traditions for so long even when they annoyed me was because my mother would make me feel guilty about not being in France anymore. I think she was afraid my kid would not have enough reminders of where we came from. That could not be further from the truth. We all know where we come from and we cherish it. What is more important though to us is who we are today as people. Who we are is not defined by traditions. I love my origins and I will always cherish them but I see myself more as a part of the human race than as a National of a specific country or a follower of a specific faith. We did a great job raising our child that way. This might anger some people, but I find it wrong to force kids to say the pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag every day in school. We love our country very very much in our house. 9/11 was one of the worst days of our lives. We love our American People but we do not need to assert it that way because we feel we alienate the rest of the world. Traditions are like history to me. They have to be remembered and people choose to remember history in their own ways. Some express their opinions loudly, some join parades, some make movies about it, some light a candle quietly in the privacy of their home. The way we choose to honor our traditions is up to us and we shall not feel pressured by anyone, not our parents, not capitalism (hello Valentine’s day around the corner) or our government. So I am officially over the guilt.

The other very important thing to remember is to forever create new traditions. It is actually the most fun. I have countless ideas every year which turn into beautiful new memories and traditions and it makes me happy to know that I am continuing to write our history.

 

Now for all those of you who wonder what I ended up doing: well, I did it. I went out and bought a Galette des Rois. When I came home I wrote this post…out of frustration. Now I think I will actually enjoy it more but I will no longer do anything just because I have to follow some tradition.

 

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My thoughts exactly: what the problem really is.

I was going to finally sit down and write a post about the Newton massacre, our gun law discussion, video games, etc and the relationship between all of those things but everything I was going to say has already been written so, please click the link below.

 

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/celebrating-prince-peace-land-guns

My kind of Holiday afternoon fun at home: movie and homemade treats

When I come home from work on the weekend, I like to sometimes just stay home, watch movies and chat with my family. This time of year, it is even more fun. We watch silly Christmas movies and laugh. Today we also baked. I made these amazing Gluten Free Cranberry Oatmeal Almond Orange Zest scones. Unfortunately I cannot take credit for them!   I found the recipe on this wonderful website. Please stop by to thank Amie at www.thehealthyapple.com if you make it. It is such a healthy recipe. Everyone will love it!

orange zest scones

  • 3 cups gluten-free oats
  • 2 Tbsps chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 cups dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp. fresh orange zest
  • 1/3 cup silvered almonds
  • 3/4 cup Coconut Milk
  • 2 Tbsps lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar

For more accurate directions, please visit the website above.

I changed the recipe just a little bit. I ran out of chia seeds 2 days ago so I omitted. I added flaxseeds instead. I added vegan chocolate chips this time also and I decided to make them scones instead of muffins.

To go with this, I made my homemade pumpkin drink. Instead of buying the Starbucks holiday drinks, I like to make them. I do not drink milk or soy milk so at home, I make my yummy hot drinks with almond or coconut milk. I add some can pumpkin until almost to a boil, add some honey and agave and I’m ready to enjoy my favorite drink this time of year. I sometimes add nutmeg and cinnamon. No artificial pumpkin syrup!!!

I hope you try it. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

More than a detox

Here I am. 42 days later. I did it. I fasted for 6 whole weeks. I achieved something I doubted I would ever accomplished. I never thought it would be impossible but I had doubts. I mostly thought it was going to be a long painful process. On the contrary, it was rather easy. A little too easy. I fasted on fresh juices and water. Some days I would really only drink water or coconut water- my idea of speeding things up. My reason for this fast was to detoxify my body, ridding it of toxins I felt were clogging my body and mind. I had last done a 21 day fast about 2 years ago. A most recent one was a week fast. I wanted to push it as long as I could so I figured I’d aim for double the longest one I had done. Breuss juice fast is 42 days so I decide to do my own version of that, just not as strict. I didn’t do as many enema, and I didn’t have just one type of juice. I do not like fruit juices too much however so I pretty much stuck to my veggie juices. Now that I am done, I am already thinking about my next fast. See, I do not feel this one was enough. I could continue longer but I think I would rather take a break and go on a new fast in a few months.

So, besides the definite cleansing, what did I get from this amazing fast? Well, I got clarity. On a lot of things. I feel that I am more accepting of myself. I judged myself, got over many things and accepted myself. I also now care less about what people think. My whole life, I felt the need to be accepted by everyone. If not, I somehow failed or there was something wrong with me. This, obviously, is deeply rooted in the way my family made me feel. I always felt I had to prove something. I oddly feel a sense of relief. Nothing specific occurred. I simply feel more at ease.

My fast also triggered some fear in me, but it is good fear. I came to a great realization that I could very well fall back to old habits. This fear as well as the incredible achievement I just accomplished definitely will keep me in check. I think that my fear of failing me will probably keep me on track, at least for a while. Disappointing myself would be very depressing. This fast required a huge amount of self-control which I had. I cooked, but did not eat. Temptation was not really an issue. When you commit to a fast, cheating is out of the question. So now, I ask myself, if I had this kind of commitment for 42 days, if I was able to resist eating some of my favorite, not so healthy food, why would I not be able to do the same now? I refused to poison myself for 6 weeks and I need to take this discipline and keep it for my entire life. See, my problem with food was always an emotional one. It is not that I do not make good choices, it’s more an issue of self-control. If I like something, I’ll eat more than I should. If I don’t feel good, I’ll eat because I will fool myself into thinking it will make me feel better (when in reality I know it won’t). It had come to a point where I was fully aware that something was bad for me, that I would only enjoy it for a few seconds and then immediately feel bad about it. That is an addiction and I knew that. I needed to break up with food. I had no fear about fasting during Thanksgiving. I almost did it on purpose. I knew I had to look at food in the face and be ok with not eating it. It’s like any other disease. You only know you are cured if you can look at it and not touch it. An alcoholic knows he is stronger if he can have a bottle in front of him or even friends drinking and not be bothered by it.

I wanted to write this post for myself primarily. I think that if I ever feel bad habits creeping up on me, I will come back and read this and hopefully it will give me the strength to not succumb to temptations. Last time I did a longer fast, I was doing good for quite a long period of time until some life events happen and sadly fell off the wagon. I sincerely hope that this will not happen. I know that my love for food will never go away and I know that my roots will always tempt me to eat certain food that are not necessarily good for me ( cheese, butter and chocolate are my main problem) but what I need to remember is to have balance. If I can master balance, then everything will be ok. Achieving balance is a very hard thing for me. I am a black or white kind of person, right or wrong. Ask my husband! I think I ought to watch The Little Buddha again. Knowing is nothing if you cannot turn it into action. I need to turn this whole idea of moderation and the Middle Way into life, and especially in my eating habits!

Do you have issues? With food? Anything? Did you ever fast? Please share with us anything you think would be valuable to us.

Blessings

Buddabamama’s Favorite Things 2012 edition (1st Edition) ;-)

Hello Everyone,

It was expected of me to write a blog about the school shooting tragedy. I am, after all, an activist. I am pro stricter gun laws and restrictions. I am all for taking care of our people/ each other, better. I am for better health care including better mental health care. I am for and against a lot of things. I however, feel that the past few days have only brought up more anger. I have been angry myself, stirring up some conversations on Facebook. When something tragic happens, we usually come closer, but in this case, because of the nature of this tragedy, our country is divided. The gun debate is on the table once again. Hopefully this time, we can come up with a compromise. But as I have and will mention in future posts, gun laws are not the only thing to change.

Instead of discussing all the things that we can do, change, better, etc. I would like to follow my kid’s advice and write a positive post, after the fast post, the things that frustrate me post, here is a things I like post. Hopefully you will find some things you like too among my list of fun things. Some I discovered years ago, some just recently. So, a la Oprah style, here are, my Favorite Things:

* Let me start with a website I discovered just a few months ago. It is called Inhabitat.

“Inhabitat.com is a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the  innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture  and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.”

Inhabitat is a great blog for anyone who is environmentally conscious, likes cool eco-friendly ideas. They have many sections such as fashion, products, art, technology and architecture.

* Mumford and Sons. My favorite band this year. I just love them so much. ok. I have always had an obsession with British, Scottish or Irish music. If you love bluegrass, folk music, mandolin and banjo, then Mumford and Sons is for you as well!

* HOMELAND. If there is one DVD I would recommend to buy this season, it would be season 1 of HOMELAND. Season 2 just ended too so it will be available shortly. Best show on Cable for sure.

* Favorite documentary this year: HAPPY and BUCK. Buck is more than a Horse documentary, it is a documentary for humanity. It is a must see. Watching it just makes you a better person. It teaches you love, forgiveness and strength.

*Favorite movie this year: well I have unfortunately not been able to see what would probably be my favorite movie: ARGO. Ben Affleck is a fantastic director and I know Argo would be my favorite. But ok, there were some really good movies that did not get enough credit. The Magic of Belle Isle was one of them. Moonrise Kingdom was another one. Butter was hilarious.

* Favorite new app: PINTEREST. Also: POLYVORE.

* Favorite new scientific show: Through the Wormhole

* Favorite new healthy product: E3Live

* Favorite new chocolate: CHUAO Chocolatier. Available at Whole Foods also.

* Favorite new product that I have not bought yet: MICROSOFT SURFACE. I went to the store to play with it and I admit, it is pretty cool. It has all the features a cool smartphone would have but it’s a computer!!!! I want! Someday….probably in 5 years when I will have a ton of other cooler stuff!

*  Favorite hair product: Shikai

* New alcoholic discovery: Leblon Brazilian Rum You can use it as Rum or Tequila. Pretty good stuff!

* My weird obsession this year: Adam Levine. I never used to like him or Maroon Five but now I love them and him! The Voice has shown us a great side of him I had no idea existed. I would love to meet the guy.

* Favorite new actor discovery this year: Tom Hiddleston Deep Blue Sea, War Horse. He gives amazing performances. Also, he is British….

* Favorite actress in 2012: Jessica Chastain. I absolutely love that woman! The Help and The Tree of Life were two of my favorite movies this year and her performances were to me in both movies, oscar worthy. I am excited about Zero Dark Thirty.  Jessica Chastain is going to be big, just watch!

* Best TV comedy: yes, still, of course: MODERN FAMILY

As you can see, I am not a materialistic person, I cannot really think of many products I have to share with you. I guess if I had a show, I wouldn’t have too many things to give away like Oprah! Sorry for that….or Am I?

Not. Really.

Need to escape and recharge!!!

Sometimes living in a big city can be overwhelming.  There are many advantages to living in a city like Los Angeles, New York City or Chicago. We get exposed to many different cultures, food, people, entertainment, product availability, more tolerance, etc but we also can easily get lost in the pace of things. Lives in big cities are fast paced and sometimes crazy. We don’t seem to have time to stop and smell the roses any more. We are so absorbed by our schedule, getting from point A to point B, making it to the office on time, taking the kids from school to their activities. Even weekends are full. Some of us work on weekends and don’t even have time to relax. Yes, living in a big city might indeed mean that we have to have 2 or 3 jobs. Living in Los Angeles or New York City can cost an arm and a leg. So why do we do it?

Well, apart from the things mentioned above, I think city living is just a dream for avant-garde people who just need to feel alive and need to be on the move all the time. It is also suitable for liberal people who might feel stuck wherever they were living before. They move to a big city because they might feel like they can blend in more easily and be more accepted. Some would never even consider living in Los Angeles because they are actually trying to avoid the melting pot. Some embrace diversity while some would rather stay in their comfortable environment. I do not see anything wrong with either people. I think that we have to be wherever we feel most comfortable. Traveling of course is a good thing to become more aware and accepting but finding a place that feels like home is a very important part of our Pursuit of Happiness. Home is not necessarily where you are born and raised. Home is wherever you feel happy and comfortable. Some people grow up in really small towns and cannot wait to leave. Others are content and would never entertain the idea of leaving. Small towns can be warm and safe. They can also be claustrophobic for those who cannot wait to get out. It all depends on your personality. You have to follow your instinct or gut and just go wherever you feel happiest.

For me, Los Angeles is great. It is full of people from all over the country and world. I like the mix. I like the diverse landscape. Everyday I feel extremely grateful to be able to witness nature’s beauty. Southern California has mountains, valleys, the oceans, desert, and well, a lot of freeways. That is probably what I resent the most about Los Angeles. Driving is a pain here. People do not drive very well here and it is the major cause of frustration here if I had to guess. Los Angeles is way too busy, too fast paced. As much as I love living in LA, I also have days where I really hate it. I am a pretty simple person. I do not care for all the fashion and materialistic things some people seek after. I like my quiet time., I don’t like going out to all the clubs LA has to offer. I don’t like crowds. I am a non conformist as you saw in my posts. I like doing my own thing. I love people and I like socializing but I don’t always do it in the most expected manners. I find it difficult to make true friends here. Too often, people say, “yeah let’s do something” “Let’s make it happen” and it never happens. I talk to many foreigners who come to Los Angeles and who tell me the exact same thing. They feel that people are fake here. I admit, I do understand them. I sometimes feel that way too. Coming from the Midwest where people are a lot more warm and fuzzy, LA can seem a little cold. Actually, not so cold, just fake. People who were born and raised in LA are not necessarily like that but those who come here with a special goal in mind sometimes are so focused on what they came here to do that they become  very insensitive to everything else. Manners have been lost. The “I’ll do anything to get what I want” attitude is real here. Then there are all the people who get so absorbed by the L.A. lifestyle that they lose touch with their roots and what it means to be a good person. LA is superficial and it is a little easy to fall into the trap.

Many times, I want to get out of here. I suffocate and need to escape this crazy city. This week is one of those times. I need a vacation from Southern California. We could get out of LA and travel to Big Bear or Mammoth, etc but what would be the point since we would end up where all those Angelenos escape to in December. A trip to the Midwest or Anywhere but California would be nice. It won’t happen anytime soon unfortunately but it would be rejuvenating. I always say that California is like its own country. We feel so detached from the rest of the United States. That is of course mainly because of the time difference with the rest of the country. We get everything 3 hours later that most of the US. If you want to watch a show, you better stay away from Twitter or Facebook because most likely someone will spoil it for you before you get to turn on your TV. I really hate that. Also, people in Los Angeles have such a different lifestyle than the rest of the country that it feels like we are so separated from everyone else. We are a bit strange here. We are ahead for many things but that is not always a good thing. I think we do things that are not always seen as normal in other parts of the US. Los Angeles is very liberal. We eat tofu, we have froyo shops everywhere and finding an actual ice cream place is a challenge nowadays. We have vegan restaurants on every corner. People skateboard to work. We wear flip-flops all year round, even if it is 50 degrees outside. Women go to Dry Bars just to get their hair done (no cut!). They get their nails done once a week. We drink so much alcohol to survive our crazy stressed lives than we have liquor stores on every corner and 5 cents sales at BEVMO. Happy hour is the most popular word during the week at the office. We are obsessed with deals, like Living Social or Groupon. People go tanning all the time, even though we get sunshine almost 365 days a year. I’m an actor, director or producer are the most common responses if you ask someone what they do for a living.  So, yes we are laid back here. If you drive around the coast, you will witness some pretty laid back attitude, the cool surfers, the stoners, etc but that’s not all LA. LA is also full of cliques. You have the extremely rich, the extremely poor, the homeless, and the ones stuck in the middle. You have the stress of everyday life. You have the superficial crap that no one really thinks about. If you are not born here, most likely, there is only a certain amount of LA you can tolerate. After a while, you will need to take a mini vacation from it. Most people do. People get out of the city or state ALL the time. I think it is a mandatory thing if you want to survive. I am an exception. I can’t really afford leaving LA so I am stuck here, for now.

In the meantime, I turn on my music, I try to block things that bother me. I try to talk to family and friends who are not from LA. I attempt to create my safe heaven. Sometimes I find myself daydreaming about what people are doing in other states. What are people doing in small towns…? Thinking of simple things brings me back to center and peace. I try to just enjoy the most basic things. I also watch a lot of documentaries. A recent one if HAPPY. It is such a great documentary that reminds you about how we should all live. Happiness in usually never wrapped in a package. It is never visible. It is impossible physically hand in happiness. Happiness comes in the strangest ways…To find happiness again when we are too overwhelmed and stressed out, we often have to recharge….elsewhere.

Where are the angels in the City of Angels?

Here I am at home, sitting in my very uncomfortable 15-year-old couch, but warm and happy. I just came back from my job which I am lucky to say I love. A lot of things have changed since I first arrived here in Los Angeles. As I was driving home, I was talking to my family about the short conversation I had just had with a homeless man while I was waiting at the cross walk. I talked to him and gave him some money. He smelled and was obviously in need of help. He was holding a sign that said, “Happy Holidays”. He wasn’t really begging though. But his eyes caught mine and so I started to talk. I asked him if he slept outside and he said yes because there was no room in the shelter but he was waiting from friends in Jamaica to be help him. I asked him what his story was and he said, “oh it’s a long story”. It was my turn to walk and so I talked to him for a few more seconds and then crossed the street. I said, I hope things would turn for the better and wished him a Happy Holiday. He said the same and wished me a Happy New Year. I now regret not staying to talk longer. My family as usual was sweet to me when I told them the story and said I felt bad for him. They said to me, ” At least you were nice and you helped him”. It’s true. Most people pass them on the street and ignore them as if they were trash. I always smile to homeless people and talk to them if I can. Today reminded me of an essay I wrote after being in LA for just 5 months. My husband remembered it. So there it was. I decided I would go home, find what I had written back then, post it and see where I was today. I wanted to see if anything had changed.

So here it is and please read all the way to the end to see my comments about what I feel and think now!

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It’s been almost 5 months since I’ve arrived in this heartless, dysfunctional, delusional city. We came here because we thought it would be better for all of us. We were full of hope that we would fit in here better than where we came from. Perhaps our thought was the illusion. All I can seem to focus on since I have been here is how ugly, mean and sad things are around here. I see the ugliness in people’s face, in their behavior, in the way they drive, talk, and ignore each other. My soul has been aching for 5 months and I am not sure how to make it stop. I came to work one day, very distressed after having experienced a very disturbing chain of event. I attempted to explain to a coworker why my heart was in despair. I told her about the feeling of discomfort and misery I have had since January. She looked at me and said: “I used to be like that too, I used to cry everyday, but after a while I didn’t see it anymore. I don’t hear or see things anymore. It will get better, you will get used to it.” Then I looked at her and said: “if you knew me, you would know that I will never get used to it”. Indeed, I know that it is impossible for me to be numb to what is around me and that is exactly what she was trying to convince me would happen with time. This is the core of all problems. When people first come to this city, they most likely feel the same thing that I have been feeling but they only allow themselves to feel this way for a short amount of time. They become desensitized. Or rather, they desensitize themselves. A good example of this came from another coworker of mine who gave me an advice one day on how to be happy in this city. He told me to create a sort of cocoon, to create my own happiness with my family and just focus on that. Apparently, that’s what he did, and it undoubtedly works for him extremely well. In my opinion, the only way someone is able to live that way, is by desensitizing himself to the point that things don’t look the same anymore, or aren’t even there at all. Or is it that these people have made some kind of mental agreement with themselves that if they let themselves feel, they would lose their sanity or comfort? What has happen to human kind? Humans are “feeling” beings but at the same time, they have the need to protect themselves from what is hostile or unacceptable to them. Humans feel but they are also intelligent. At times, their intelligence takes over their senses and attracts them to selfish behavior. Some would say that the need to create a cocoon for themselves is simply a defense mechanism that every species has. But who says that it is impossible to protect ourselves and at the same time help each other? I, like everyone else in this world, feel the need to protect myself and my family from danger, but I also have this incredible feeling that I was put on this earth to make it better and to help people. I was born with this amazing ability to feel other people’s pain and rejecting this ability would be an insult to who I am and an insult to mankind. I am able to see, hear, taste, smell, touch and feel and yes sometimes, most of the times for the past 5 months, it is very unpleasant but what am I to do about it, just repress all those senses? Don’t get me wrong, I do look away, and walk away from uncomfortable situations, but every time I come out of it disturbed. I cannot just move on or forget about it or block it like my 2 co-workers were able to do. Instead, I go home and wonder how I can go on. How can I witness pain, suffering, chaos and insanity and sometimes evil, and just manage to go on. How can I be surrounded with all this everyday and just ignore it, pass it by and go home to my cocoon everyday? What kind of human would I be? My feelings overcome my intelligence and my ability to block things.

For years now I have been looking for my purpose in life, just like everyone else has. I have been aching inside for a long time. I have this strong feeling of sadness and pain inside of me. I cannot watch the news without feeling personally touched by what I see. So many times, I just want to go help people personally, but I have no plan. When Katrina happened, I sat there watching the horror on TV, crying most of the time. I wanted to scream at the TV and then pack my bags and go help those people. But I couldn’t because of my own family who needed me and because me leaving to help those poor people would jeopardize our financial stability.

When I arrived in LA, the aching feeling resurfaced almost immediately. How can a city have come this far? What happened? How can this be possible here in America? This question sounded so familiar, the same question everyone had been asking for days when Hurricane Katrina happened? People in L.A seem to have lost touch with reality; many have created a life of disillusion for themselves. They live in a fantasy. The entire city seems to be out of touch with the rest of the country. L.A is a selfish, rough, desensitized city and so are many people who live here. I do understand it is a way for them to survive here. A good majority of people come here to follow their dream and in their journey to attain their dream, they simply forget to be sensitive to others. They walk on a straight line and force themselves to not look aside by fear it would destroy them.

Well, just like I was telling my coworker that day, if I do not look, if I let myself be desensitized, I will be destroyed. How can I create a cocoon for myself, go home at night and not be touched by how many homeless people I saw on my way back to my cocoon?

Sometimes, I do envy those who can pass by the ugliness and chaos and just not feel. Sometimes I wish I was numb. Perhaps my life would be easier, perhaps, it would be meaningless. Perhaps, I would have a job that interests me today if I was numb. I have a college degree, I speak 3 languages; everyone was so sure I would have a good job by now that pays well but look at me today. Every job that I have had seem so meaningless to me. Working in a store, working at a hotel, this is not what I want but it’s all I can get. Everyday I wake up with deep sadness and I feel as if I am wasting time. I wish I could use the hours of my precious life, doing something that matters, help people, tell stories of the people who are passed by everyday by those who go home to their cocoon. Sometimes I wish I could start a revolution. I wish I could expose the world’s misery because I do believe that exposing the truth and misery in a major way is the key to re-sensitizing people. Remember during Katrina, how much people were affected by what they saw. How many people donated to the Red Cross, made in kind contributions, drove to New Orleans to help. That is I believe because of the dramatic impact the media had on people. Of course many turned their TV off after a few days but those who didn’t are the ones who made a difference. Those who allowed themselves to bring the tragedy into their home allowed themselves to suffer as well. Accepting the pain and suffering and allowing it into their homes is the first step to become compassionate. Turning off the TV, ignoring the homeless person on the way home, is unfortunately a way of keeping the status quo. As hard as it can be to feel other people’s pain, it makes us better people. It makes us think more and eventually find a way to make life a little more bearable for all of us, not just us as individuals.

Finding my peace will be finding a way to everyday make a difference for someone who is suffering. My heart and soul will not be content until I find a job that lets me be who I am. I wish I could afford to drop my meaningless job and go do what I want to do but the status quo prevents me from doing that right now. I moved to L.A and now I have to settle here and beat the monster. After 5 months of searching for a place to live and hundreds of people denying us because all they rely on is a piece of paper called a credit report, I must have faith that I was brought here to finally find a way to everyday make a difference to the world. My husband, daughter and I have been victims of people’s stereotype, blindness and fear and I truly hope we soon find a place to settle before we find ourselves on the street like nearly 90,000 people in the city.  If we make it here or even if we don’t, it would definitely have made my conviction stronger and will have brought me closer to making a difference. I just hope I find the strength to keep going and I hope one day someone gives me the chance to make a difference at a broader level.

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It’s been almost 7 years since I wrote this. I am still the same person and still believe everything I said. I think what has changed is that I have become stronger from everything I have encountered and found a way to ease the pain I experience by being such a sensitive human being. I am sensitive to pain and suffering. That has not changed. I am a very aware and conscious being. I always side with the less fortunate, the poor, the struggling class, the minorities. I somehow have found a way to deal with my sadness and sometimes anger towards the system. First of all, I am not afraid of speaking my mind. If I see something disturbing, I will denounce it. If I see I can do something, I will do it and encourage other people to do it too. I also decided to volunteer my time. I joined the American Red Cross and did hours of training. So basically, the way for me to deal with the suffering was to be there first hand where suffering was. I am part of the Disaster Team. I stay locally because I do not have the luxury and finances to be dispatched to out-of-state but I am always asked and will go when I can. This gave me more power over my feelings. It gave me purpose.

As I said back then, I always felt like I had a bigger purpose in life, that I needed to help people and so I found a way to do just that and I do whenever I can. I am sort of a good Samaritan in so many ways. I help people stranded on the road, I find myself in weird situations where I end up being the one giving someone CPR, etc. It is quite odd sometimes. I still think it is horrific how many homeless people live in Los Angeles and how a few blocks down, there are stores and shops with products costing an unnecessary arm and a leg.  Social equality has always been important to me and I personally think we do it all wrong in America. I think social equality goes hand in hand with racial equality as well. I think we need to educate our children better in school. We need to bring everything back to basic humanity. Teaching humanity and compassion should be the most important subject and very first thing taught in school. Instead we desensitize our kids. That is a whole different topic which I will gladly discuss.

Caring makes us vulnerable, it’s true but as a society, I think we would definitely benefit from having more caring people. Strength and compassion can go hand in hand. It does not have to be one or the other. Strong caring people can lead and change the world. Real change happens in the heart first. I know it sounds so cliché but “Be the change you want to see in the world” is a good line. If you want to see more happiness and compassion, you need to do be compassionate yourself. Avoidance never leads to anywhere. Just because your little cocoon is comfortable does not mean it is safe. Putting yourself in someone’s shoes will make you realize that there is a lack of understanding and love in this world. I recently watched a documentary called the Human Experience which I highly recommend watching. These two young men went around the world and put themselves in the shoes of many different people, the first ones being homeless people. This taught them so much. It made them better. It transformed them, brought back humility. We all need to feel discomfort and feel pain that others feel, otherwise, we become no better than what we use on a daily basis, ROBOTS.

SOUND OFF

A guide to better eating consciousness

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, let me explain. This post is my input, my two cents about meat-eating, vegetarianism, and veganism. I grew up eating meat, probably like most of you. Not only did I eat meat, but I hate some rather strange meat. My mom cooked meat 3 to 4 times a week. We would mostly have beef. Cow’s tongue was my brother’s favorite so unfortunately I had to eat that. We would have steak, roast beef, hachis-parmentier, which was similar to Shepherd’s pie, spaghetti a la Bolognese, etc. I never liked the taste of beef so my mom would have to get me chicken breast instead. We’d also have rabbit, duck, lamb, chicken, and fish on a regular basis. At Christmas time, we would have foie gras, all sorts of fish and fish spread, turkey, quails, etc. Wow. Now that I think about it, it sounds horrible. But wait, there is worst. Once my dad took us to a restaurant and one of my family members ordered kangaroo. So I tried kangaroo. I think that was peer pressure. Eating escargots and frog legs was peer pressure too because I neither do find them appealing nor tasty. My mother would eat liver and my uncle once invited us over for Christmas Eve and we had to eat blood sausage. I nearly vomited.

meatSo that’s my background. Raised a meat eater! In college, once I was free from my mom’s cooking, I stopped eating beef. The only time I would have beef again would be when I was pregnant and had horrible meat craving. I knew I was pregnant before the test confirmed it because I kept wanting to go to go out to eat a hamburger! But mainly I switched to chicken and fish. We cooked meat maybe once a week. I had significantly reduced my dairy intake as well since I realized that all the discomfort I had during childhood was coming from me being lactose intolerant. I would still eat some cheese and butter though. I didn’t consider being a vegetarian until 2002 when I unfortunately went through a health crisis. Once I returned from surgery, we started eating macrobiotics. My husband and I read the Cancer Prevention Diet by Michio Kushi and had our eyes open for the first time. The book was fascinating to me. I had just gone through a horrible ordeal with a tumor and I was convinced that food and stress had caused it.

I felt blessed in a way to have gone through that because it gave me a new perspective on life and food. I stopped eating meat when I went macrobiotics. For those who do not know, macrobiotics is a lifestyle that is pretty much 60% grain, beans, vegetables, no meat, no sweets, no alcohol except for beer that is sometimes allowed. It cuts all the refined food, sugar, artificial anything from your diet. It is NOT a raw diet though. Our family pretty much ate macrobiotic from that point on. Our 2 year old at the time learned to eat healthy and ate everything put in front of her. Then, I got tired of it so we ate, mostly macrobiotics but cheating once in a while but grains, beans and veggies were still our main source of food. I tried to be entirely vegetarian but I could not tolerate the soy burgers, tacos, etc. Those were evil to my body. It would make me angry and make my breast triple in size. Because my tumor was an ovarian one and I had major hormone problems, I decided to never touch soy again. Soy is very bad for you unless it is fermented but there is only so much natto and tempeh you can eat. I do make delicious lettuce wraps with tempeh and you can pretty much use tempeh in any dish you would use ground beef or ground turkey!

macrobiotic diet

macrobiotic diet

Fast forward to us moving to California where the real change happened. California is an amazing place to live if you want to eat less meat. We are so lucky to have so many farms and so many fresh fruits and vegetables. We have farmer’s markets everywhere, on any day of the week. Vegetarian and Vegan restaurants are on every corner and you can pretty much substitute regular milk with soy, rice or almond milk in most places (I said MOST!). Things really changed for me when I watched Earthlings. The documentary shows how animal are treated before  and while they are being slaughtered. There are many other documentaries out there, such as Vegucated that will show you the same ideology but Earthlings is the most shocking. We cried when we watched it. When I was done watching it, it was so easy to give up meat. I was personally shocked about the kosher meat industry. Watching the secret footage inside the kosher plants just made me sick. I realized back then that it was hard to even trust kosher or organic food. The only way to really avoid being part of these horrible practices was to become a Vegetarian or at best, a Vegan!

TRY VEGETARIANISM, Give peas a chance. Coffee Mug by MMKfan

TRY VEGETARIANISM, Give peas a chance. Coffee Mug by MMKfan

Now, becoming a vegetarian was easy for me. I do not like meat that much. I really only liked white meat but after having to prepare a turkey for the first time, I had no problem giving that up. There is nothing more horrific to me than cleaning a turkey and preparing it. I was so grossed out by the raw meat smell, I never touched it again. Everytime I would get a rotisserie chicken, I would be annoyed by the fact I had to dismember the poor little dead animal for my own eating pleasure. So, see, I always felt kind of bad. I grew up with my grandma killing rabbits in front of me, peeling their skin and then handing the tail to me for good luck and was always a little petrified but it was part of life. Being a grown up now, and having more awareness, I realize that we do not need meat to survive. A nice part of Vegucated is talking about our historic need for meat, etc. People will argue that we are carnivore but I disagree. We can very well survive and thrive on other food. We will not only reduce our carbon footprint but we will also be more humane to animals. My grandma had a farm, she had two dairy cows. She loved her cows and treated them well. As a child, I thought it was cool to be on the farm and watch my grandma milk the cows. I saw a baby cow being born. I also would walk the fields with my grandma, boots on, walking in the muddy trails until we reached the field where cows were awaiting their lunch. We would feed them, pumping water, etc. My brother, cousins and I would play games in the hay or around the farm. It was the best. I would pick up fresh eggs from the hens. I would watch my grandma make her own cheese. Farms are no longer like this. Our demand for meat had made us partner in crime with the farming factories. The more we eat, the more crowded animals will be. It is not human for pigs, cows, chicken to be thrown on top of one another while they are waiting to be slaughtered. Many get diseased or die before they are even massacred. There is some raw footage in Earthlings and Vegucated that will most likely shock you. I know it shocked me. The viciousness of some of the workers is disgusting.I sometimes ask people to picture this: imagine it is far in the future. We have been colonized by a foreign alien people who sees us as “their animals” (for the record, I want to believe that if ET life does make it here, they will hopefully have more wisdom that us), gathers us, puts us in farms, artificially impregnates us women so that we can keep lactating for them (because we all know that colostrum is the best for your baby…right…hopefully I do not need to spend a whole hour on this simple fact). Imagine the sadness and suffering we would go through when they take our child away from us. Imagine hearing how they killed our baby boy for meat. Imagine getting sick and not having care or being killed because of it. Picture yourself next to a fellow human, asking each other, why are they doing this to us, there is so much other kind of food they could eat. Why do they think we are less than them? Maybe the ET people thinks we do not feel pain, maybe they think we are less than them because we do not communicate in the same way. But how do they truly know? Think about it. That is what we do to animals when we send them to slaughter, eat them, or drink their milk.

Listen, I am not a mean person. I even think Peta’s approach is a little too strong (I still support them but sometimes distance myself from them). I am aware of how hard it is to be a vegetarian or for me a vegan. My goal is to be a Vegan but I love cheese and butter too much. I never liked cow’s milk and eggs so that’s easy for me. I have been baking without eggs and milk forever. What we do is what we can. We try to do our homework before we buy a product. I still think I am irresponsible for eating cheese, knowing how a poor goat has to have babies just so I can eat yummy cheese, but I am a work in progress. We limit the amount of goat cheese we eat. Only once in a blue moon will we have regular cow’s cheese and we always try to get local cheese. It costs us an arm and aleg but it is only a small price to pay for the cruelty animals had to go through to bring us that cheese. We also mix it up and do eat other type of cheese such as nut cheese. Butter. Well I can go without it but again, I go through phases where I have to have it. Otherwise, we use olive oil and grapeseed oil for high temperature. We stay away from corn or canola oil. Earth balance is ok so we would sometimes have that. So as a general rule, we eat cheese and butter for cravings and treats. Being a Vegan is not easy. I mean, if you love chocolate, it is difficult. I am a chocoaholic and Lindt is one of my favorite. The creamy milk chocolate bar is out of this world and I feel bad about it because it has milk in it. Don’t get me wrong, I buy vegan chocolate….and it’s good. I can bake with vegan chocolate but around Christmas time, I gotta have my Lindt. It is easier to avoid gelatin and buy vegan clothes or shoes for me than avoiding chocolate!My point is that nobody is perfect but what we can all do is do our best. Some of us can be vegan in a split second. Some people can only be vegetarian. That’s ok. I would recommend however to just at least try to get the most human eggs and milk. It is possible. Do your homework, call the companies you shop from and ask questions, visit a farm. If you eat meat, do the same. Eat organic and from a local farm. If you do not adopt a vegetarian diet, at least try to make up for it by reducing your carbon footprint and encouraging others to do the same. The time you will give will somehow compensate. nmm-button-500-300x300

I am not one to judge those who eat meat if they do not know what truly happens. Buying meat is so easy. It’s prepackaged and no one thinks how an animal’s life was taken becaused of it. A lot of us would rather not know because the truth hurts too much and once we know and continue eating meat, we become active participants in the mistreatment of animals. Awareness is important. Educating ourselves and our children is important so that we can hopefully change our attitude. Children who are raised vegetarian find it easy. The more we can raise vegetarian or vegan children, the more we are helping our planet and saving future generations. I think that taking children to see animals (not in a zoo!) in sanctuaries is a great idea. They usually befriend the animals and see that they have feelings. My kid is the one who made me stop eating lamb because she burst into tears when I explained that lamb was a baby sheep. Ironically enough, I had gone through the same ordeal as a young child but was desensitized because of my meat eating culture. Us, those who grew up eating meat might always have challenges but we can do our best as long as we have patience. Do not punish yourself if you cheat. I once had to have meat. I felt my body needed it. I did. I was so mad at myself but then I though, oh well, I will not do it next time. Temptation will always be there if you once loved meat. One step at a time. Start by reducing your meat and dairy intake and then slowly move to a more vegetarian diet. You will not become vegetarian overnight. Also you need to allow yourself to explore all the yummy dishes you can make while being a vegetarian or vegan. It does not have to be boring or bland. Trust me. I make the most out of this world desserts and dishes! Sometimes people don’t realize they are eating vegan desserts!

In my next posts in this categories, I will go into more details about how you can live a happy Vegetarian or Vegan life. I will share recipes, ideas and more links.

Leaving you with a few other documentaries to watch:

Forks over Knives

Food, Inc.

Food matters

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead  

Lunch Hour

Farm Sanctuary in NY

Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, Inc.

American Sanctuary Association

MY PET PEEVES: Driving edition

Ok. I am having some technical difficulties today. I had finished  a yet amazing post and it disappeared. None of my revisions show anything. It is a bit strange. So here I am again although I do not expect this one to be as nice as the first.

Anyways, I had been sort of expected to write a blog about driving so here we go. Before I start listing those pet peeves of mine, let me give you some background about my driving experience. Having lived in Europe for a while, I had to learn how to drive a stick. I also took many hours of driving lessons. I had an amazing driver ed. teacher. She taught me many tricks, to be safe and how to always let crazy drivers go in front of you. She would say to me, it’s better than having them behind you. I agree. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to drive in Europe, Canada and here at home. I used to live in the Midwest before we moved to Los Angeles. I can tell you that there is no comparison between the way people drive there (or even DC where I used to travel a lot) and here in our beloved city.

I think the reason people drive crazy around here is because we all come from everywhere and anywhere and so when you put a bunch of bad drivers with different habits in one place, you get the mess that we encounter everyday while driving in our City of Angels.  We have at least 5 lanes  on our freeways.The biggest issue I had when I moved here was how there were pretty much no rules on the Freeway. I was terrified to change lanes. See, where I come from- the normal driver land- the left lane is reserved for speedy drivers and the right lane for slow drivers or people exiting or merging onto the freeway. Here, you can find someone driving 55 miles per hour on the far left lane! No one follow the rules. It’s like being on a racetrack. You will never know who’s coming behind you out of nowhere, speeding, passing you and then cutting you off. So imagine what it is like when you come from a place where everyone follows basic rules, put their signal and show courtesy. I was in sheer panic the first few weeks, and then, I became one of them. It is a bit like Survival of the Fittest. If you don’t blend in and do like everyone else, you will not survive our California freeways. If someone is slow in the wrong lane, then put your signal and pass them. You have to have eyes everywhere if you drive on our freeways or you will surely get into an accident. It is rough out there. You can’t count on anyone to do the right thing. Instead you should count on everyone to do the WRONG thing.

Here are some of my biggest pet peeves about driving in LA:

* Obviously, people who drive too slow in the far left lane. I will usually go on the far left lane if for example I am driving from the Valley to let’s say Burbank and will start merging down to the right lane when my exit is coming up. There are no good reason for a slow driver to be on the far left lane so move over people.

* People who do not put their lights on at night, or when it rains. This just happened to me this morning. It was raining cats and dogs this morning here in LA and it was really foggy as well. I flagged 2 cars today and they were both happy I reminded them to turn on their headlights. The first girl barely noticed me. Of course she didn’t. SHE WAS TEXTING! Can you imagine, texting while driving 65 miles per hour on a wet road in foggy conditions, without headlights on, on the 666 aka the 405 ? I barely saw her in my rearview mirror. People can be so unsafe.

* People who have a hard time staying in their lanes. If it’s late at night, I assume they’re drunk or tired and might call 911 if I think it is indeed a drunk driver. If people cannot stay in their lane and swerve into mine during daytime hours, I’m sure it is because they are texting or eating or whatever. Still it pisses me off.

* People who cut through continuous lanes. There are plenty of good reason why the DOT creates those lines at critical locations. It might be a construction zone or a low visibility zone. People cut through those lines all the time and potentially put drivers in danger. Sometimes, you jut gotta respect the rules!

* Drivers who do not drive the speed limit. Period. Driving slow is almost as dangerous as driving too fast. I once was behind a car that was driving 40 miles per hour. It is actually illegal to drive that slow on the freeway.

* Drivers who do not use their signal! It takes what- a second to lift that little handle on the right side of your steering wheel up or down to let us know where you’re going? So don’t be lazy and just do it.

* Those impatient drivers who try to get into your lane even though they knew way ahead of time they had to get on it. I’m talking about those turn right or left only lanes or the ones to get onto the freeway. That literally happens to me every morning. They end up slowing everyone down because of their selfishness and impatience.

* Not being friendly and courteous to buses, mailman and trucks. Seriously people, let them go. They do so much for us!

* Not being friendly to motorcycles. Just because you’re jealous that you can’t get where you want to go as quickly as them doesn’t mean you should be mean to them. Safety first.

* Not being courteous in general. It doesn’t hurt to be nice and let someone go in front of you if they gave you fair warning. If someone signals me, then go ahead. Also be nice to those trying to merge to get to their exit or those who enter the freeway. We all have to do it so be kind to your fellow drivers.

* Drivers who block driveways or crossroads. COME ON! Really? No. There is just no excuse. Even if it doesn’t have a sign warning you not to block the road, just use your brain and wait a few feet behind.

* People who liter. In LA, you have no excuse for throwing your cigarette buds out the window. 2 words for you: BRUSH FIRE. People who liter in general are just disgusting. Here is an idea for you. We have something called trash bags you can put in you car. Auto stores have all kind of cool accessories for your car that you can attach to the back of a seat, etc. So please be clean and don’t trash our roads.

* Pet owners who keep their beloved pets on their lap in the driver’s seat. This is dangerous for themselves, their dog and everyone else. It is very distracting.

* People who text, put makeup on in their car. KEEP your eyes on the road! I got sandwiched between two cars at a stoplight because the car behind wasn’t paying attention. Here is a tip. We have amazing technology now. Most phones have speech to text or vice versa, safereader that will read your emails, texts, Facebook status. There is also a cool thing called SPEAKERPHONE or BLUETOOTH. Android has a cool app called car mode. Att has a drive mode app that lets people know you are driving if they call or text you.

* Drivers who do not know how to park. I went to the store the other day and 2 cars where taking the equivalent of 3 spaces. People, make an effort to stay within your space. It is not very difficult to do it right.

* People who drive big SUVS and do not know how to park. Here is a hint: if you can’t parallel park it, don’t buy it. If you can’t park it without using the space next to you, don’t buy it. If you’re single, don’t buy it. Why do you need such a big car if you do not have kids or a specific business where you have to load bulky things all the time?

* Young drivers who think their car is a party space. Keep your eyes on the road youngsters. Party when you get to your destination

* Old drivers who really shouldn’t be driving anymore. I hate going to Beverly Hills where I am often stuck behind a Lincoln, Buick or Cadillac driven by an entitled old person who breaks every law possible. They are so obnoxious. A hint: if you’re too old to keep up with everyone else, take the bus.

I am sure I have many more to discuss but this is it for now.

Now it’s your turn, what DRIVES 😉  YOU crazy?

HAPPY  SAFE DRIVING