The Slow Down

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What the what is going on?!

This week I learned that there is such a thing as a bomb cyclone, that entire trains can be blown off of their tracks by high wind, and what happens in the aftermath of a blizzard induced multi car pile-up in which, Thank God, loved ones were uninjured. And, just yesterday, I saw a car unexpectedly catch on fire, had to cut someone out of a coat in which they were stuck after the zipper broke, and later found myself in the orange barrel lane of an interstate that went down to one lane without warning (I was not alone in this predicament).

What is going on?!

As a lover of astrology I’d be inclined to blame it all on the current Mercury retrograde, but really? The Ides of March perhaps, that notoriously unlucky day on which Caesar was assassinated in the Senate, after he failed to Beware.

Coming on the heels of a week in which most of my circle, myself included, were sick with some version of cold, flu, or allergies, was this week simply another sign to slow down and take it easy? A reminder of how little we are in control of and of how quickly things can change from “normal” to chaotic and uncertain?

On March 14, 2009, I was putting clean sheets on the bed after getting home late from a party and as the rust colored fabric billowed in the air I thought, for no apparent reason, “tomorrow is the Ides of March, I wonder if anything weird will happen?” The next morning I received a call telling me that my former boyfriend had died in a car accident the night before, right around the time I was making that bed. I was devastated. Fifteen days before my 30th birthday, it set the tone for my thirties and what would be a strange decade. As I made the drive from LA to New Mexico for the Memorial Service, the Mojave Desert was carpeted in yellow flowers, something I’d never seen before  and haven’t seen since.

One year later, on March 15, 2010, I was caught in a blizzard driving to Las Vegas, New Mexico, for the first day of shooting the Coen Brother’s film “True Grit”. What should have been a one hour drive became four and, little did I know, they closed the Interstate just after I made it through. So, most of the crew was stuck in Santa Fe anyway and it didn’t matter that I’d made it past multiple accidents and to the motel, crying.

Is it just a crazy time of year, a time best spent by resetting and slowing down, before Spring’s warmth and greenery begin? Time to til the soil and prepare, before planting? A slowdown meant to recharge and ready us for Summertime trips, hikes, and projects?

After a few days of below average, freezing temperatures, today is gorgeous, sunny, and wind free. The energy is calmer. I spent the morning digging up old plants, getting my hands dirty, raking leaves, and preparing to plant seeds soon, once it’s warmer. Dirt always grounds me, no pun intended.

The past two weeks have been a needed reminder to slow down, notice the beauty, rest, prepare, heal, and take a moment to appreciate our precious and bizarre time and lives, never taking any of it for granted.

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Forward>Backward

IMG_1071I was recently granted one of those rare opportunities to step back into the past for just long enough to see how much everything has changed. As Zora Neale Hurston wrote in her book Their Eyes Were Watching God, “there are years that ask questions and years that answer,” and, after so many spent in the question phase, it is a relief to feel and see  answers popping up all over my life.

I spent February in Los Angeles, working on the same TV series I spent half of 2018 on. Same characters, same costumes, same locations and crew; and yet my life has totally changed in the six months since we initially wrapped. No more Silver Lake apartment or weekends spent wandering aimlessly. No more dating or existential beach walks during which I wondered what to do next; Should I look for a new place to live in LA? Move? Give that boring guy a second date? So many days, weeks, months spent going in circles, trying to figure it all out in my head, trying anything to alleviate constant anxiety. Until one May morning, last Mother’s Day weekend, I woke up and knew it had to change. I was unhappy and the beach walks weren’t working. It was time to throw it all up in the air and stop trying to force anything.

I started meditating every day. I stuck with heart opening mantras in the hope that my heart always knows which direction is best and would guide me in ways my head only ever pretends to.

And the answers began to come…back to my little house in the desert…back to part time work and hiking and making and cooking and creating and love and to family and connection. I fell back in love with the life I had taken for granted just a couple of years before.

And then February, 2019. Back in LA. Back for a quick taste of what I left behind and all I could think of was how I couldn’t wait to return to the desert, to the man, house, yard, couch, family, and to the life that happened as soon as I stopped trying to force the answers.

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HBD, Smagik!

Six years ago I created this blog as an exercise to find beauty in the everyday. It was a dreary, February day and I needed a self induced push and reason to get off the couch. By creating the goal of finding or eating or going to or doing something beautiful, delicious, fun, and joyful everyday, my life began to take on these same qualities. Small, everyday, easy to take for granted moments took on a new significance simply by being noticed and appreciated.

Thank you for joining me on the journey! And here’s to many more years of Adventure, Joy, Connection, and to finding the beauty in all of our everydays!

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@smagikstudio

Detached.

Back in LA for the first time since I moved and ever having lived here feels like a dream.

Back to staying in friend’s guest rooms and houses while here for work. Back to making the 12 hour drive across the desert, to looking forward to seeing and being near the ocean, to making lists of favorite restaurants where I must remember to eat while in town, to being homesick, and to seeing this city from a detached perspective. Back to seeing it as a temporary adventure rather than a chosen home. Back to the existential question “what am I doing here?” that follows me here in ways I can’t answer. Back to my favorite used clothing store, Crossroads, in Silver Lake, to the best lamb sandwich, eaten while sitting at the Bowery Bungalow bar, to traffic, to the smell of jasmine literally blowing in the wind, like a perfume Albuquerque can’t imagine, and back to work.

I like LA. Love might be too strong, but like very much. But, being back reminds me of how totally ungrounded and unanchored I felt living here. The connection I craved always just out of reach.

Family, home, dirt, love…

Drinking a beer after a long week back at work, watching others do the same, I feel nothing but gratitude for all of the twists and turns of the last few years. I’m happy to have learned to navigate this city, to feel comfortable and confident working and being here. But, I’m most grateful to the little interior voice that, upon learning all it needed to, called me home.

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Buen Provecho

In early December I came across a post on Volunteermatch.org by the non-profit usimmigrantcafe.org looking for volunteers who like food and to write. Um, yes, please! They describe themselves as “A nationwide non-profit platform showcasing immigrant restaurateurs in pursuit of their American Dream.”

Just that week, I’d spoken with a friend about my desire to become involved within the immigrant community. I wanted to do what I could to help and express gratitude to those who I believe make this country stronger and who, at various points in the distant and not too distant past, every member of my entire family had been a part of.

I responded to the ad and learned that the site was looking for people around the country to interview and tell the stories of immigrant restaurateurs within their communities. Writing and food?! Me, me, pick me!

It was up to the writers to choose the restaurant and the interview subject. I asked a few friends for suggestions and ended up interviewing Kattia Rojas at Albuquerque’s Buen Provecho Restaurant. She makes a great Costa Rican tamale, among other dishes, and recently opened a restaurant in the newly remodeled El Vado Motel. I wanted to know more.

Here’s her story.

Buen Provecho!

http://usimmigrantcafe.org/2019/01/26/buen-provecho/

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Water Birds

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There is a preciousness to water in the desert that the birds seem to understand. Instead of heading to the beach every weekend, which I still miss, I now make almost daily trips to walk along the banks of  the Rio Grande. I’m slowly making friends with its ducks, geese, and cranes.

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Next week I’ll make a quick trip back to LA for the first time since moving home. Besides earning a paycheck, I am most excited to walk in the waves and say hello to my old friends, the gulls, pipers, and pelicans.

It will be good to say a quick hello, before heading home to the cranes.

 

 

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