As I sit and wait for the dermatologist to cut yet another basal cell carcinoma from my face (sunscreen, folks–it’s a must!) I’m thinking about how the summer sped by at warp speed. In contrast with last year’s scorching heat wave, this August has been remarkedly mild with cool mornings and highs of 75 in the afternoon. By the end of summer my garden is normally looking pretty ratty, but this time it seems to have sprung to life like a post-menopausal Renaissance. Everything is exploding with color and vibrancy! I’m hoping this weather pattern is an indication that La Niña is going to come through for Southern California after El Niño left us high and dry. Enough of this damn drought. Enjoy the flowers!
It’s been a rough week for our country. There’s been so much violence and hate lately. Yet after spending time in the garden this afternoon, I feel a great sense of hope as I focus on the diverse beauty around me.
While I’ve been horrified at what occurred in Orlando, I’m in awe of the outpouring of love from all over the world. It’s evident that love is so much more powerful than hate.
We are a remarkable nation of color and we are all equally vibrant!
It’s going to be okay. Love always wins, no matter what.
God Bless America.
I’m wishing for dark cloud and rainstorms, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying the little taste of spring right outside my front door. Thought you might, too.
Something happened on Tuesday that NEVER happens. It actually rained all day long–in JUNE! We are in the middle of one of the worst droughts in California history, and even though this half-inch or so of rain won’t do much to help our dire situation, it certainly was a welcome sight. It’s almost as if I could hear the parched earth sighing with relief. The grass already looks greener and the flowers brighter. I don’t want to jinx it, but maybe this is a sign that things are about to change. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Take a look at my happy flowers!
Today is the first day of spring and the proof is right outside my front door. Sorry to those of you who feel like you’re still stuck in the thick of winter, although I’m hoping these photographs might send some cheer your way. I so love this time year–the birds are busy composing their symphonies, the Liquid Ambar trees are fluttering their lacy lime green leaves and nature’s atomizer is spritzing the scent of Pitasporum and Star Jasmine in the air. Lovely! Now all we need is some rain…
Why is it that now that I’m an adult, summer moves by at warp speed? I remember when I was a child, those long days of June, July and August stretched out like a road with no end. I could go off and do whatever I wanted as long as I was home by dinnertime. School never started until after Labor Day.
I remember how all the neighborhood kids and I would ride our bikes to the beach and on the way home the sand in our bathing suits would scratch at our bodies like sandpaper. When we finally got home, sleepy from playing all day in the waves and cranky because we only packed a baloney sandwich on white bread and an apple for lunch, we would fight over who got to rinse off with the hose first because the water was warm for only a few seconds.
I remember how we cleaned the tar from our feet with a rag soaked in gasoline poured from an old metal can which turned our fingers orange from the rusty cap. I remember how our shoulders would be tender and pink from sunburn; how we would come home with more freckles across our noses than we had when we left that morning.
I remember how good my mother’s homemade meatloaf and mashed potatoes tasted and that I would even eat all my peas because I was so ravenous. I remember the sweet creaminess of a real vanilla ice cream cone after dinner. I remember hearing the crickets chirp while playing hide and seek in the street until the porch light went on and I was called in for the night.
Summer may be different for me now, but it’s still summer. I may play in the garden instead of in the waves. I may stay out of the sun now. But it’s still summer, and it’s still magical. And everywhere I look there are signs that it’s here for a little while longer.
Here’s my proof.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your lazy days of summer.
You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting on my blog as much as I have in the past, which I sincerely hope you don’t think is a good thing because that would be a definite blow to my already fragile ego.
I remember when I first starting blogging, I was so in the writing zone—I would post something every few days—my brain was constantly popping with ideas. After a while the posts went down to once a week, twice a month, and then finally whittling down to once a month if at all. You get the picture.
There are several reasons I’m not posting as often. Primarily, it’s because I’m spending what little time I can carve out of my busy day to work on my novel—which, I’ve just begun to realize, is going to take way longer than I thought. I’m up to twenty eight chapters with no end in sight. I never would have thought that writing a novel would consume me so deeply. It’s a very strange process where I feel like my characters are these horrible, rebellious little people stuck in my brain, fighting with all of their might to come out while gleefully taking me down in the process. I hate them at times but mostly I love them.
I’ve also stopped blogging as much because the truth is that I’ve begun to bore myself by writing about the same topics over and over. God knows that if I’m boring myself, I can only imagine how you feel. I can even hear your voices in my head: Please stop making me cry with sad stories of kids with cancer, or For god’s sake, stop going on and on about how happy you are now that you’ve hit fifty and I swear if you post one more picture of your flower garden I will come over and personally drive my car right over your flower beds. I know, right? Sorry. Even as I write this, I’m realizing that these words sound strangely familiar which means I’ve probably already written this exact post somewhere in the not too distant past. I’d go back and read through the archives to find it, but I’m way too tired to check.
The writing process is often agonizing. Lately I find myself trapped in these moods where nothing is ever right and all I do is moan and groan and complain and try to blame it on my husband or my kids or on the hormone situation (another topic beaten to death) and then I realize that I’m most likely grumpy because I need to let something out and the way I do that is by writing and sharing it with others. Through the act of writing I feel alive and connected with the outside world and even if it’s just a photo on Instagram, a line or two on Facebook (or Twitter, which I’m only now getting the hang of) or an essay on my blog, I feel more alive after hitting the “publish” or “share” button. If just writing a post on my blog makes me feel so satisfied, I can only imagine the high of publishing an actual novel, so I’m going to keep at it no matter how long it takes.
Talk about good timing. Yesterday, writer Elizabeth Gilbert posted this on her Facebook page and it totally resonated with me. Here is an excerpt:
I am a writer. If I have a story in me that I’m not able to tell, things will start going wrong all over my life. If I have a story in my head and I tell it, “I’ll get to you in 2015,” that story will start to rebel, start to act out, start to claw at the walls. That’s when the shit gets dark in my world.
Because having a creative mind is something like owning a Border terrier; it needs a job. And if you don’t give it a job, it will INVENT a job (which will involve tearing something up.) Which why I have learned over the years that if I am not actively creating something, chances are I am about to start actively destroying something.
And that ain’t good.
I believe that readers don’t need good writers, although that’s always a plus. The truth is it’s the writers who need good readers. Someone probably already wrote that somewhere and I should find out who it is and give them their due credit, but I’m way too tired to check.
Life can be crazy at times and I’m often too tired to do a lot of things, but I’m not too tired to tell you something important: I appreciate you for being my good reader. Because without you, I can’t share who I am, and then all kinds of chaos breaks out inside my head.
And that ain’t good.