Word…

With just over three weeks left in the month, year, and decade, how’s your 2020 word search going?

I think I landed on mine today. Though clear about the feeling I want to encompass in the coming year, putting all of that into one word was proving tricky. Until today, when out for a walk and boom, there it was.

I’m going to mull it over for another few weeks, just to make sure, but… it resonates.

How’s your word coming along? Can’t wait to hear your choices.

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Wash Over

I have had some great reminders lately of just how fleeting feelings can be. First, I feel uncertainty build, followed by discomfort and the need to figure something out, so I can feel comfortable again. This leads to anxiety because I can’t force the figuring out process which leads to panic and frustration. Going well so far! And then, just like that, it settles down and passes and I can hardly remember what all of the hullabaloo was about.

Repeat.

I am currently sitting on a bench watching waves roll onto the beach and back out again. The sky blends seamlessly into a grey ocean, no horizon line. They roll in. They roll out. Seagulls fight over bits of bread a man below throws their way.

Nothing to figure out. Nothing to do but trust that when you need to know or to act you’ll know what to do and that, until then, just being is enough.

You get there by realizing you’re already there.

Eckhart Tolle

Gratitude

Let everything happen to you

Beauty and terror

Just keep going

No feeling is final

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Have you seen the movie Jo Jo Rabbit? With moderately high expectations, we saw it last week and… go, go, go now! Go see this movie! It ends with this quote and really, what more needs to be said?

With so much gratitude just to be alive, watching history unfold before our eyes.

Wishing you and yours a very happy, healthy, and peaceful Thanksgiving!

Soft >Snark

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Tired of all my usual radio stations, last night I landed on Magic FM and Delilah’s syndicated call in/easy listening/dedication show. My desired cool girl sensibilities usually cause me to scan past 99.5 as quickly as possible, but last night I stopped to listen; a mom discussed the heartbreak of asking her addict son to leave the house, a husband wished his wife happy anniversary, and a step-mom wished her step-son a happy birthday. I began to cry. People from across the country in need of connection and a soft place to fall and this DJ gave them that opportunity.

As I wiped away tears, I couldn’t help but think about how hard life is and how, if there is anything that brings you joy or makes it just a bit easier, do it!!!  The past few weeks have been full of breakups, evacuations, health concerns, legal problems, addiction, turmoil, uncertainty, fear, and melancholy just in my immediate circle of friends, family, and colleagues. And that is to say nothing of the world wide protests, climate change chaos, corruption, anger, and frustration seen and heard on the news.

Heavy.

I used to judge much of pop music as easy listening fluff, not deep enough for my obvious depth. I had no interest in anything I might hear playing in a mall. Now, please, just give me those love songs! I find myself craving a kind of analog simplicity found in old movies and music. Connection that has nothing to do with the digital age version of that word. And softness. As life intensifies, my compassion grows and my tolerance for snark in any form shrinks. Who has the time or the energy?

There is a humility that comes with age. It is not easy, this life thing. Everyone is doing the best they possibly can and  if they could do better, they would. We all are and would. So, go easy.

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October 2019

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It feels like October outside; cool, cold in the shade, crisp, clear. I looked at the weather app on my phone this morning…90 in LA, 58 here. Sweater weather. A cold snap coming in two days, possible snow flurries just to the north.

One year since I moved back into my house. Two years since I sat in a Trader Joe’s Parking lot in LA, wondering why I lived there. Outside it was 103 and people bought pumpkins, sweating through sundresses. Three years since signing the lease on my Silver Lake apartment, since the Cubs won the World Series and since waking up without Trump as President. Four years since I returned from being on location in New York. And five since a Fall trip to Amsterdam and Italy.

October.

Does time actually speed up as one year begins to wind down and another barrels towards us or does it just feel that way?

As I begin to look back over the year, I realize my 2019 word came true (as each previous year’s word has) and my desire for connection and an integrated life did manifest. I feel grounded in my life, city, connections, and relationships and, because that desire proved illusive for so long, no part of me takes that for granted. It has been a year of learning curves, new people, negotiations, children, and conversations.  Only by comparison do I realize how solitary my former life was and how much of it was conducted in my head and through my writing, rather than out loud.

I had so much to say here and lately feel that I have so little. Instead of writing, I bake the best gluten free/ grain free chocolate cake. I take photos of vintage clothing to sell on knockaboutvintage.etsy.com.  I go to Saturday morning soccer games and for afternoon bike rides. I drink tea with friends. And then I realize it’s October and think “Whoa! That was quick.”

But, it’s all good.

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Gluten and Grain Free Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

3/4 C pumpkin puree

3/4 C almond butter

1/4 C + 1 T cocoa powder

1/3 C maple syrup

1 t pumpkin pie spice

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 egg

1/4 C chocolate chips

1/4 C chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat Oven to 350

Grease one 8×8 baking pan. In a stand mixer (I used my blender or you can use a wooden spoon and a bowl), add all ingredients except chocolate chips and nuts. Mix on high until batter is smooth. Mix in nuts if desired. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes. Enjoy!!

I am also in love with Pamela Salzman’s Grain Free Zucchini Chocolate Cake and Grain I Free Cinnamon Apple Cake (Pamelasalzman.com)

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Free, Free, Eee, Ack

“I’m free, I’m free” yelps the little balloon, joyfully.

Up, up and away he flies.

A crisp October morning. Blue skies.

“Let’s go north, let’s go north”.

But, the wind has other plans.

South he blows. Away from the irrigated, green fields of the North Valley and the Rio Grande River. Away from the lavender fields of Los Poblanos and the calm beauty of Corrales.

“Wait, wait,” he says. They told me to go north. I’m never supposed to go south. Or worst of all, east. Mountains.

Towards the Shell station he blows. Up and over the Frontage Road, the Target parking lot, and then, the thing he’s been warned about all along… the freeway. Cars swerve below as distracted motorists attempt photos while driving.

“More heat, more gas,” he gasps. Oh, no, he worries, they’ll never let me fly alone again.

A traffic jam has formed below. Cars stop on the freeway, waiting to see where he might land. A child in the backseat of a minivan waves.

Other balloons are heading his way. He’s not alone.

One last push and he makes it to the median. A grassy space just big enough for a basket and a deflating balloon.

His chase crew’s truck is near. The walkie-talkie crackles. A family pulls over and asks to take a photo with him.

“Sure,” he smiles. As the family piles out of their station wagon, his crew’s truck arrives. “That was close,” they say.

And just as he hopes that mom and dad will never know, he looks up to see them floating by.

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Grounded

Balloon Fiesta 2019

Like an army waiting to attack, balloons wait, tethered. Across the desert, under an opaque and dense layer of fog, the first and only of 2019.

Sometimes there’s nothing to do but wait. Chill. Sit. See what comes.

The sun burns through, too late.

There’s always tomorrow.