Soft >Snark

033CFCDD-EE35-4EE0-964C-CCE394688359

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.

If you enjoy these posts, please follow smagik.com and please share!

 

October 2019

IMG_1699 2

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.

fullsizeoutput_2747

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)

If you enjoy these posts please follow smagik.com and please comment or share!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

If you enjoy these posts, please follow smagik.com and please comment and share!

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.

Crossed Paths

A serval crosses the road in front of us, thousands of miles away from anywhere that a serval should cross the road. We stop the car and stare. Native to sub Saharan Africa, we are in northern New Mexico, driving home from an unsuccessful wild mushroom hunt at the Santa Fe ski area. He, or she, saunters across the road, in no hurry, in no way scared of us. What is it? Not a leopard, nor a lynx or ocelot. Three days later a serval is lured into a cage with a rotisserie chicken by the department of Game and Fish and our question is answered. How it came to be there, no one knows. An exotic escapee from someone’s nearby mansion? Possibly.

A friend sends a message about what big cat sightings might mean.

Caracal symbolizes timing, catching your dreams, and self-care. 

Caracal is an amazing jumper, the best catcher of birds of any cats. You can spring forth your desires, leap ahead, and catch your dreams when the timing is right.

Two days later, a coyote crosses my path in broad daylight. Through a patch of sunflowers, on its way to the river, a brief look my way and it continues on. Keep it light, the trickster reminds me.

Yesterday, a snail inches his way across my porch. A trail of dots in its wake. Slow and steady. Keep going, little dude. 

Timing. Patience. Presence. Keep it Light. Catch those Dreams.

If you enjoy these posts, please follow smagik.com and please comment and share!

Heat

It’s smokin’ hot outside. End of August, usually cooling down by now, a bit. The Amazon is burning. On August 18th Iceland held a funeral for Okjökull glacier, its first to disappear due to climate change. It’s hot outside but not as hot as next summer or the one after that.

And yet, life continues. The stock market makes the news. Presidential hopefuls discuss health care, taxes, tariffs, and sometimes the climate. Babies are born. Kids start school. We drive and eat and cook and camp and make things and go to work because, what else can we do?

The iceberg had been hit but we are all still on the boat and so the band plays on.

I planted a garden in the spring and, besides watering daily, proceeded to mostly ignore it. And yet, it grew. Chard, kale, tomatoes, basil, beets, and carrots. So forgiving.

How to stay engaged when it is all so big, so staggeringly big and important? What to do when it seems there’s nothing to be done? Small choices. Unplug your plugs. No more beef. Grow veggies. Hang laundry to dry. Use a ceiling fan. Ban plastic.

Lately I spend more time with young children and their parents than ever in the past. They have an optimism, out of necessity, that I latch on and cling to. No time for cynicism.

Keep going. Nature has a way of balancing and renewing. In this case I don’t know what that will look like but, don’t give up!

If you enjoy these posts, please follow smagik.com and please share!

Summmmmer.

img_5948-1

For the first time in fifteen years, I am having a summer vacation. Like the analog kind I remember from the 1980’s and early 90’s, pre- summer jobs. Hence the infrequent posts. The heat has turned off my ability to think clearly and I find myself wanting to read other’s words (books!!) rather than write my own.

Pools, oceans, tents, hikes, streams, hammocks, books, gardens…

974d358c-e939-4665-8127-3192d8b2f02d

Zucchini in the spiralizer, steamed lightly with tomatoes, basil, pine nuts and roasted chicken.  Smoothies blended with chard from the garden, peaches, and ice.

dfab01af-f1c1-4504-9d1d-cd2e747f20c8

Two weeks on Cape Cod, living out the summer of my daydreams. Ponds, rope swings, bike paths, and ice cream.  Surfer’s crowd each other as rare summer waves make an appearance on a Friday evening in Rhode Island. Thai food eaten in a VW bus in the parking lot at sunset.

ac3c5d50-c641-4469-a377-c13fd391bc17

Small wooden sailboats in a harbor, near Woods Hole, MA. I love them.

06f7c67d-9657-4c8d-9095-04c97a64623d

I’m home now. Late summer is upon us. Two weeks until school begins, though that feels exceedingly early. It’s hot and muggy in the desert. The monsoons are here. No plans to travel this fall, at least not far. Routine and rhythm kick back in. Jobs call. Vintage clothing to be photographed and sold. The occasional film set beckons.

It’s been a sweet summer dream. And now a new one begins.

If you enjoy these posts, please follow smagik.com and please comment and share.