LA

Ten years ago I packed my car and made the first of what would be dozens of drives from Albuquerque to Los Angeles, and back.

The 4th of July, 2008, and 119 degrees in the Mojave desert. I stopped outside of Needles, California, to get gas and a chocolate dipped cone at Dairy Queen and had to eat it in one bite to prevent vanilla from melting down my arm. That night I made it to my then boyfriend’s apartment, overlooking the lake in Echo Park, in time to watch East LA explode in an illegal frenzy of fireworks. Though I’d visited periodically in the year we’d been dating, I remember feeling like a country mouse in the city. That night I lay in bed as police helicopters circled the park outside the window, shining their searchlight inside, looking for someone. It was hot out. I didn’t sleep.

In the years that followed, I became comfortable in LA, joined their costumer’s union, and created a routine between the two cities, mixing slow and fast paced, laid back with competitive.

And then, two years ago, I became tired of that routine and wanted to shake it up, develop a new one, have an adventure, try something new. LA seemed the safest way to do that. The truth is that even in my need to break free I was practical and conservative.

Recently a friend asked me if I thought of myself as a romantic. Yes, I replied. Though a practical one. She laughed. I’m the same, she said.

I make lists but they go something like this-

Watch sunsets.

Learn to make bread and yogurt.

Get a dog. Name her Pearl. If a girl.

Dig in the dirt.

Open a little shop.

Etc.

You get the idea.

And then one day, a few months ago, one of my many lists became one of pros and cons. LA/NM. Uh oh. As soon as I started writing, I knew another move was in my future.

LA Pros-

Fun, exciting, interesting, creative, accessible, museums, concerts, stores, classes, friends, The Moth, live theater, earn more money, inspiring…

NM Pros-

My cute/inexpensive house, family, friends, quality of life, low overhead, dog yard is ready, garden, air quality, commute times, mountains, spend less money…

LA Cons-

Expensive, hate paying rent, need a roommate or boyfriend just to afford renting a house with a yard, much less ever buying one, traffic, air, have to work too much…

NM Cons…

Slow paced.

I groaned. Do I really have to move my stuff down 60 stairs again, less than two years after my dad helped me move it up in a blinding rainstorm with no electricity?

Yup.

A friend asked me today if I will miss LA? I love LA! I will miss it. But, the truth is that my ego will miss it more than my soul.

I also know that it is here, hopefully not falling into the ocean anytime soon, and I will return to work and play, just not to live.

And so the adventure continues. And, yet again, the only constant is change.

Stay tuned…

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Joy

I love this time of year; the week between Christmas and New Years Day specifically. With its mix of excitement, melancholy, nostalgia, and anticipation, it can be an emotional roller coaster, a purge, an adventure, or whatever else I decide to make it, usually a big stew of all, good and bad.

At the moment, I am streaming LA’s KCRW, baking banana bread to give to neighbors, making lists, cutting up magazines, and trying to stay present in the midst of the year end hoopla. It is a strange phenomenon, how quickly one year can go by and all that can happen and change within that year; simultaneously stretching and shrinking time.

For 2014, I chose the word Happiness. I hoped to make decisions based on this word and to keep it at the forefront of my mind. Three months in, on my 35th birthday, I added the word Congruence. How did my stated desire to be happy line up with my actions and vice versa? By mid year, I felt it working. Through a combination of events and choices, I felt more grounded in my life than I had for years.

As I look towards 2015, there are many words that jump to mind; presence, adventure, fun, love, or creativity. But, the one I’m going with is Joy. Hoping to build on a foundation of Happiness, Congruence, and Presence, I want to bring more lightness, spontaneity, fun, and joy into the mix. Goals include board game playing, cocktail mixing, road tripping, camping, writing, landscaping, dancing, traveling, sun bathing, recording, and letting go of all preconceived notions of how “it” should look or be. “It” being life.

I recently read a horoscope in which the astrologer referred to Empire Building and advised me to think about the type of empire I’d like to build. So, here it is-

The Smagik Decree for 2015

Official Mood= Happy and Content
Official Drink= Hard Apple Cider
Official Hobbies= Refrigerator Poetry, Swing Dancing
Official Goals= Radio School, Improve Spanish, Travel Somewhere New
Official Mantra= Let It Go
Official Trips= X Country Road Trip, DC, LV, ?
Official Color= Gold
Official Texture= Sand Between Toes
Official Economy= Prosperity
Official Exercise= Stretching, Skiing
Official Food= Steamed Artichokes, Dark Chocolate
Official Animal=Goats
Official Event= Birthday Party with PiƱata
Official Slogan= Lighten Up and Look Around! It’s all Good!

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Looking Back

Life is funny and seems to have an unending need to keep us on our toes. Recently looking back on some old posts, I came across “When is the time?” from July 23rd, 2013. Ten weeks ago I came up with a plan for my autumn, based on a job I committed to for the winter and spring and the desire to take time off before my life was once again consumed by a movie set. Looking back at the list, I was shocked that I’ve actually accomplished, or am about to accomplish, almost every item I wrote down. There have been many days that I’ve felt completely aimless and like I had no plan, and it’s only looking back that I realize I’ve actually-

Booked a trip to surf camp in El Salvador with my sister and her family, where I’ll also be able to practice Spanish.
Written (almost) every day.
Discovered a swing dancing venue with weekly dancing.
Read many, many of the unread books on my shelf.
Cooked every day. (Reheating is cooking!)
Spent time with family.

Seems the only two things on the list I won’t be doing this fall are returning to Mexico or taking a German class. In addition, I started submitting stories to magazines, completed two writing classes, joined a book/wine/supper club, and began to build some form of the creative and social life I’ve been missing when each of my film jobs wrap.

The ironic part is that the job I was counting on, that gave me the guts to go through with my plan and not worry about the lack of finances, ended up falling through. That isn’t uncommon in the film industry and I just have to trust that another will come along at the perfect time (November!) I know I wouldn’t have been brave enough to turn down several jobs in the last few months, in order to complete my list, if I didn’t think I had that big job coming. But, oh well! I’m glad I took this time and have to believe it’s all going exactly as it should.

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