Smize

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1. After a gorgeous and warm early spring, it is snowing today. Not unheard of for April, but a 40 degree drop from two days ago. Buds hide and try to stave off a hard frost. I am grateful for these beautiful flowers.

2. I ventured out to the grocery store this morning and now have a fresh loaf of rye bread. I am eating toast as I write this and it is possibly the best thing I have ever eaten.

3. My creativity has returned, albeit in ways I didn’t expect.  I began sewing again after a many year hiatus and it’s one of the few things that prevents my mind from going into pandemic anxiety spinout. Masks, masks, masks, a skirt, another skirt, and more masks. Using my hands to calm my brain.

4. People must be getting bored of their sweatpants because after not selling any vintage clothing on my Etsy site in well over a month, I just sold three things in one day.

5. Raking, planting, digging, and pulling weeds are some of the few activities I seem capable of completing.

6. Health care workers are applauded nightly at 7 o’clock and it makes me cry every time. Thank you.

7. Thank God for KCRW, KANW, and KUNM radio stations. Great music, interesting and insightful news and interviews, these radio stations save me on a regular basis.

8. Chalk art. Huge fan.

9. The meme/tweet/humor/post game is strong. Thank you.

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10. I look forward to reading all of the forthcoming scientific studies about what happens when the entire world stops at once.

11. I now wear a mask in public and am working on my “smize”(smiling with my eyes), though find many people avoid eye contact all together. Fear has caused my desire to control the uncontrollable to rear its head in unexpected ways and I am sure I’m not alone.  Last night, after taking a quick tour of all of massive problems we now face, my anxiety chose to focus on fear that the United States Postal Service could go out of business and  I knew that no matter how many letters I began to write and send, they would likely not be enough. I love real mail. I realize the privileged position I am in that my immediate safety, hunger, and finances are not the cause of my insomnia.

12. Food! Cooking! A daily smorgasbord of recipes and photos of bread, pasta, soups, and veggies bombard me every time I open my computer. I love it. We made baguettes last week and, for a first try, they weren’t bad. Everything tastes good with butter.

13. Seeds and baby chickens sell out everywhere. Those able to, now bake bread, plant gardens, and sew. I grew up doing all of these and it feels like a homecoming of sorts. Helping to homeschool a first and third grader 2-3 days a week feels totally foreign and I resort to arts and crafts.

14. There are more helpers than haters in this world. I am sure of this. Amidst the chaos, the love is so visible and triumphant. I have faith in people.

15. Dolphins and fish in the canals of Venice. Bears waking and emerging in an empty Yosemite. Sheep wandering deserted streets in Wales. Was this pandemic simply nature’s way of getting the break it needed while giving us the warning we need? A glimpse of things to come, should we continue on our current trajectory.

…Judging by the speed with which the public heeded the orders to shelter in place, it seems we all knew we needed this stop. There will be no going back to “normal”, of this I am sure. Normal never worked for too many. Normal left too many out and behind. Mile long lines of cars wait in line for Food Banks while just a few miles away equally desperate farmers plow over crops they are unable to sell because of mass disruption to our system of distribution. It is hard to find the silver lining in such suffering, but I do believe we are being given an opportunity; to turn towards each other, even if from six feet away, to slow down instead of always needing to keep up, and to remember our interconnectedness to each other and to the earth. Yet again, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. To all of the doctors, nurses, moms, dads, grocery clerks, mailmen and women, essential workers, scientists, mask makers, comedians, journalists, optimists, recipe swaps, memes, movie makers, governors, restaurant owners, authors, puzzle designers, meditation instructors, food bank donators and volunteers, artists, thinkers, and to those choosing to act rather than react, Thank You.

Don’t forget to Smize.

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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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Rhubarb

 Sometimes it raining out, you’re just beginning to feel normal after two weeks of being ill, you are going to a potluck the next day, and while playing Words With Friends the word rhubarb, albeit missing an ‘h’, pops up and you decide to put on your apron and bake.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble.. .Super springy and will make your house smell fantastic. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/strawberry-and-rhubarb-crumble-358595

And it’s a great excuse to put on that apron you don’t wear very often. Or, if you need a new one, check out the vintage inspired ones at  fresastudio.etsy.com

Bon Apetit!

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