all poetry books on sale (Kindle)

All three of my poetry books are on sale for the next week! Kindle format only, $0.99 each. Click on the links and choose the Kindle format. Enjoy.

 

 

crying

Growing up I thought crying was a bad thing, because it indicated grief or hurt. And it usually does. And for most of my life it usually was the reason to cry.

I also thought crying was for babies. Did I cry much as a teenager? I don’t remember, but I do remember being angsty and frustrated. If I knew why I was so angsty and frustrated I think I would have cried. Because it usually was because of a grief or hurt.

Now I’ve learned that crying isn’t always a bad thing. Crying can be a healing force, a release of the grief and pain, not an indicator of carrying pain. Crying can be the balm to finally close up that wound that time didn’t heal. Crying can be a sign of maturity.

Context is always the key for anything, including crying. When you’re young you may not understand context, but as an adult the hope is to grow emotionally and understand context properly.

On a related note, I recently read the script for this old classic movie, Kramer Vs. Kramer. While reading it I wanted to cry at certain scenes, and I bet if I watched the movie I would cry a lot.

poor character

It was the afternoon/evening rush hour. A line of cars waiting at a short signal. This street is always packed during this time. As I walked by, I heard one car honking a very long honk. It’s when you hold your hand down on the horn and not let up. It’s shorthand for extremely angry/agitated.

I wondered who could be so angry (or possibly deaf or dead at the wheel) when there was simply a line of cars and I saw no accidents or anyone hurt anywhere. Where was that honk coming from?

An elderly lady in her silver car.

Complete with handicap tag, she was waiting in line behind a red car with two younger women. She partially opened her door, pulled her cane out, and started banging on her door to get the red car’s attention. She also started yelling obscenities at them. I was amazed that an old lady could be so grumpy, so mean, so ugly. She wasn’t in an accident. I think maybe the red car pulled out in front of her in the line of cars inching toward the intersection.

The women in the red car were distressed. I didn’t want to stand around and watch this ugliness from the old lady. I felt sorry for her because I knew what it was like to get really mad for other people’s driving, especially in Los Angeles.

But that degree of ugly made me think of an episode of “The Mind of a Chef” where a NYC chef said it was hard for her to love people of poor character.

It’s easy to not love people of poor character. Not hard at all.

It does take a miracle to love people of poor character. And we need lots of those on a daily basis.

the fall

This week the weather was summery, with highs in the 80s. It’s already September. On Monday I was thinking how long until the weather changed and then the next day the highs were in the 70s. The weather has changed. The kind of change where in LA you can wear shorts or not. Wear a hoodie in the evening. Perhaps skip the flip-flops for socks and shoes. Et cetera.

For me, I’m wearing the shorts, tanks, and flip-flops as long as I can.

I also did some “fall cleaning” of my phone. I have years of photos and videos and backed them up to my computer and then deleted about half off the phone. I suddenly have many gigabytes to take more photos and videos without worrying about running out of storage or having the phone freeze up when there’s not enough free space. I felt cleaned, pruned, detoxed, indexed.

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Don’t forget that there are families who could still use some help, post-hurricane. Take a look at this post and donate. It will go toward helping them rebuild their lives.

 

Help these Hurricane Harvey families rebuild!

I’ve added more families who have lost homes, cars, and belongings from Hurricane Harvey. The amount of devastation is unbelievable. These are families I know personally or are friends of my friends. All real people, families with children and/or pets or single parents or single people. So many have lost everything.

You lose a lot in a flood, even when you put what you can upstairs (if you have a second floor): shoes, clothing, photos, rugs, furniture, cabinets, carpets, flooring, appliances, cars or trucks, etc. You name it, it probably got stinky sewage-contaminated flood water in it. If the item can’t be bleached, it’s gotta be tossed.

If you can donate even $5, which is the price of one Starbucks or one cheap meal, it will help entire families get back on their feet and have a normal life again. Five bucks doesn’t go a long way by itself, but a bunch of people giving five bucks will go a very long way.

1. This is Maria, who has four children with her husband. They lost everything. Maria’s relatives all live on the same street, and they lost everything too. Help them get back on their feet.

https://www.youcaring.com/mariagomez-934201

2. This is Jessica and David, who have three kids and three dogs. They didn’t lose everything because they had a two-story home, but they lost a lot, including David’s carpentry workshop. So their income is greatly affected due to the workshop damage. They also lost both of their cars due to flooding. Help all of them by donating here.

https://www.gofundme.com/hurricane-harvey-help-vass-family

3. This is Heari’s family. She takes care of her special needs brother and her diabetic father. They lost everything. And as a working schoolteacher and head of household, she needs your help. You can donate here.

https://www.youcaring.com/hearikam-934129

4. Jacob’s apartment was flooded with six feet of water. He doesn’t even know if he can go back to his place yet to salvage anything. He basically has to buy everything again and start from scratch. He may also have to relocate. Help him out here:

https://www.gofundme.com/rebuild-jacobs-home

5. The Chan’s house was flooded and they have already begun the repairs, but this single mom and daughter need help in the long run to pay for all the repair expenses. It’s not cheap and it would be nice to have walls again and to have furnishings again. All that stuff piled outside is flood damaged and has to be tossed. All that trash used to be their belongings less than two weeks ago. Donate to their fund here:

https://www.gofundme.com/hurricane-support-for-nan-narissa

6. This young couple has nothing left but their dogs, a few shirts, some jewelry, and a few photos. Everything else is gone. Can you imagine having no clothes, no car, no computer, no your-favorite-thing, no kitchen, no anything except these few items? I can’t either! Help them get some sense of normalcy back:

https://www.youcaring.com/sebastianornsteinandkristinnaidysh-930881

7. And I have a friend in a northern suburb of Houston called Kingwood working directly with families for support. 100% of your donation will be used to directly help families. You can send PayPal donations to Cleaneatingmom1@gmail.com  

 

how to help Hurricane Harvey families

Many friends I personally know were affected by Hurricane Harvey, from getting a few inches (which still ruins a lot of things and requires stripping walls down to the studs), to over 9 feet, which ruins the entire first floor and parts of the second floor.

The emotional trauma is real, but the support from neighbors to strangers to celebrities has been the healing balm for a very deep wound. However, recovery is a long road and it’s going to take more than the immediate needs like food, shelter, and a shower to get back to a normal life. It’s going to take money.

I think it’s better to give donations to a family directly than to a non-profit organization. There are pros for nonprofits, but like any organization, there can be delays. And they may not be offering help beyond the immediate needs. The federal government may help with long-term needs but that always comes with red tape. Insurance: even more red tape and many did not have flood insurance because many areas were not considered flood-prone zones. That’s how bad it was; it wasn’t even considered cover-able by insurers.

So, if you want to help a family affected by Harvey, consider these two families. They are real people, real families with children who have to live through this. School hasn’t started yet because of the storm. It affects everything. Help by donating and you will know exactly who it goes to.

This is Maria, who has four children with her husband. They lost everything. Maria’s relatives all live on the same street, and they lost everything. Help them get back on their feet.

https://www.youcaring.com/mariagomez-934201

This is Jessica and David, who have three kids and three dogs. They didn’t lose everything because they had a two-story home, but they lost a lot, including David’s carpentry workshop. So their income is greatly affected due to the workshop damage. They also lost both of their cars due to flooding. Help all of them by donating here.

https://www.gofundme.com/hurricane-harvey-help-vass-family

 

heavy heart

I can’t write about anything else except Houston, Texas, and how the city has endured the near-biblical proportions of flood water by Hurricane Harvey.

I’ve got friends and family down there and was watching things happen in almost real-time via Facebook and live stream of the local news. Each pic posted of rising water, an evacuation, or the weather forecast made me cry deeper tears. My body was in LA, but my mind and heart was in Houston.

As other people were oblivious or not caring as much due to not having a personal connection to the town made me angry. How can you post about your random thought, a stupid judgmental tweet, or blabber on about your career goals? It seemed so heartless. Even worse were those who were criticizing whatever about the response from afar. I realize haters just hate.

But I had to take a breath and take a step back. How invested was I when other natural disasters hit the country or in other parts of the world? It was easy to judge, not easy to let it go.

I have many other thoughts about this, but will stop or else it’ll get ugly. A friend who is also a Houston local and graphic designer has these t-shirts for sale. All proceeds go toward relief efforts set up by the city mayor.

https://www.bonfire.com/hell-or-high-water-we-love-hou/

the best and second best movie review

I watched “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and the sequel “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and like most movies with sequels, the first one was better than the sequel.

I remember when I saw the trailer for this movie a few years ago and wanting to see it. How refreshing it was to see something about old British people going to a new place in the golden years of life. It would be an adventure for a twenty-something, but how much more for a senior citizen? It was a sweet and charming movie, and for some reason I wanted to cry in certain parts. Not because it was a moving scene…well, maybe it was moving, but it was so subtle I didn’t know it was deep until I felt the verge of tears. No tears were ultimately shed but heartstrings were pulled.

So of course I want to see the sequel and see what happens to this group of elderly and hodgepodge mix of personalities. It wasn’t too bad because they added in a few Americans, most notably Richard Gere, who happens to still be handsome at his age? How is that possible?

What stood out immediately was when you heard an American accent in the midst of the variety of British and Indian accents. It cuts through and it can sound really abrasive. Not to say the American cast had unappealing voices; they actually had great voices. It’s the contrast that really stood out and once you heard a few lines by Gere or the other Americans it settled into the soundscape and the story carried on.

The biggest disappointment was in plot holes. It never explains how the second hotel was ultimately acquired. It was hinted at but it was such a leap and the wedding scene at the end seemed to take over the last act of the movie. The festivities had one scene addressing it but it was a stretch in itself. I sigh a big sigh because it would’ve tied up that story a lot better.

Other little things were not as strong but perhaps because there were more characters in this film than the first it had difficulty wrapping up everything in a timely manner. It’s possible that in being a British film it was being so subtle and indirect that in their eyes it was complete but to me it wasn’t enough.

The film does show India in it’s vibrant colors so it does make me want to go visit someday. I mostly just want to eat all the food there.

cat men

There are two people I follow on Instagram that are both British middle-aged men in the creative arts. One is an actor, one is a cinematographer/filmmaker. I really like their work and therefore it seemed logical to follow them on IG.

Of course, this makes it possible to learn things about them that are not related to their profession. I’ve discovered that these two, who probably have not (but possibly have) met each other, are both deeply devoted cat lovers.

Many of their IG stories and posts have cats in them. Images of their own cats or shelter cats, but they are definitively cat men, which I find amusing but more baffling. I guess it really makes me think if dogs are man’s best friend.

This could be a great reason for these two to meet, to talk about their cats. Which sounds utterly boring to me, but would be a paradise for them.

I still do not like cats.

triple movie review

In one day I watched three movies on Netflix. Yes, there will be spoilers.

Star Wars: Rogue One

The Queen of Katwe

Philomena

Overall, I liked them even though there were things I didn’t like in each film. What I noticed was that each film has a female lead and the co-star was a non-romantic-interest male actor. Maybe Rogue One was somewhat romantic, but not enough to say it was so. There was a hug but no kiss, thank goodness. It would’ve ruined the movie.

Rogue One was really boring for most of the movie. It’s as if every SW movie must have the same scenes in it, repeating themselves in every film as long as they make a SW film. The best part was actually the last act of the movie (which was very not-SW like), with the principal cast of rebellion fighters. They brought a freshness with their different faces and skills. Even the robot was refreshing with his distinct personality. Yet why did almost everyone have to have a British accent? That seemed to distract me.

I actually liked how each of Jyn’s gang of rebels died in the film. It was heartless how everyone had to die, even Jyn and Cassian, truly tragic. It seemed like a hopeless movie for these characters. Oh, but then they get you in the end with the last shot of the movie with Leia saying “Hope,” as she holds the plans for the Death Star in her hands. In that sense it portrayed the brutality of war. However, this is SW, so it can’t ever get that tragic.

After seeing Rogue One, it did make me want to see the original SW trilogy again. How is it that those three old movies still seem fresh while every SW movie made afterwards seems derivative?

The Queen of Katwe is based on a true story of an African slum kid who becomes a chess champion. It’s a really sweet feel-good movie. There were many scenes where I just wanted to cry, maybe because I miss Africa and want to go back someday. The ironic thing is that the screenplay was written by a white American male telling the story of a Ugandan girl. The scenes sometime get confusing and bumpy with the time jumps in the beginning, which make it hard to get the viewer settled in. After that it gets better and you can just enjoy watching a story of a girl who shifts her place of belonging from where she was born to where she was born to be. That really is the best message of the movie.

Philomena is also based on a true story of an Irish-Catholic woman who searches for her son 50 years after the nuns who took care of her during her teenage pregnancy forced her to give him up for adoption. The news reporter who helps her is her non-romantic co-star and a pretty good foil for the Irishwoman, played by Judi Dench. It’s a British film, so it’s a lot more subtle in everything, from action to dialogue to climax and ending. Sometimes it really frustrates me, but I’m sure every British person is deep down frustrated by having to be so reserved.

The best part is the character contrasts of the Irish mom and the British reporter as Catholic vs Atheist and some of the discussion about religion is good but like most of the movie, it doesn’t get too deep into any topic. It mostly touches on the main themes so you can think about it without having to preach to you. Religion, God, adoption, family, what’s important, what you believe in, forgiveness, etc.

This post is now too long and so I’ll wrap up saying I ate some ramen today at a place that’s highly rated and popular, but after I tried it I had no idea why it was considered good. Overrated and overpriced. I only went there because the place I originally wanted to go to had shut down and I didn’t know it until I saw the empty restaurant and a couple legal notices on the door. A sad day for ramen. But tomorrow ramen will rise again.

Price: $16.14
Was: $28.99
Price: $7.99