The Heat Age

Living in the suburbs, I enjoy proximity to many hiking trails, where I observe its sickness at close range. The waterfall that use to be, at Eaton Canyon, is now only a trickle. In former times, it was always spring in southern California, now it’s a perpetual summer, with migrations that are off, frosts are late, harvests erratic, and the thaws early.

This morning I laid down fertilizer which got me thinking about the concern I feel about our environment. Most people think of me solely as a city girl but I also have a love and reverence for nature. It’s a haven- a place where I get in tune and I’m able to turn to it like medicine in a time of crisis.

Though the landscape is a mixture of green and brown from our long drought, and some of the foliage bright, our fish come from polluted waters, and some northern areas have not seen snow.

Yet we elected a president who has a fundamental denial of climate change, and citizens are left to cope with a legitimate fear of the future. If we along with our livestock and plant life do not have adequate water our earth will be devastated. We can no longer afford the luxury of looking away.

In the last decade, I’ve followed the harrowing environmental data. Recently, on an ninety degree November day, my crimson roses unusually fat and healthy outside, I felt my anxiety bloom into a timeless state of mind, as old as our struggle for survival as a species. Scientists are nearly certain that we’ve eliminated our ability to reverse course of our habitat.

Just this spring, I sat in my living room and watched a plump robin hurl itself over into a window pane, fighting its own visage reflected in the clear glass. This seemed to be a metaphor of anxiety to me, fighting a demon of your own creation you can’t touch or name, exhausting yourself with nothing to show for your labor.

I’ve often wondered if we currently are experiencing another archaeological period, one that hasn’t been classified yet, but rather than it varying from continent or region, we now share a world climate- The Heat Age.

On a book dig, I recently pulled out my copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy. I’ll share a story from a Chinese sage that echoes the exit of Hell, “How shall we escape the heat?” the sage is asked. His answer is unsettling: “Go right into the middle of the fire.”

How do you feel about global warming? What actions are you taking to do your part and for sustainability? I invite you to share.

A Portal of Change

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It seems that the word, “power “ is the one to watch out for this week. We all have it, it’s not relegated to only the politicians. And we all possess the power to create. We create daily by the words we use, the thoughts we hold and the actions we take. If your triggers are being pulled, remember that things happen as a reflection of the desires of people.

When words thoughts and actions are not positive and uplifting unfavorable consequences occur. The best way to change an outcome that you are not pleased about is to pray. Sometimes the best you can do is pull back or walk away. Any healer knows this. fm

While we go through change this week, we have the opportunity to clean the slate with the power on 11/11 by virtue of two power numbers and again next Monday, November 14 when the full moon that peaks will be closer to Earth than any other since 1948.

The full moon won’t come this close again until 2034.

The scientific term “perigee moon” refers to when the moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit. When a perigee moon coincides with the full moon, the extra-large, brightly lit moon is known as a supermoon. NASA says this month’s supermoon will appear 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than a typical full moon.

NASA reports observers will be able to see a “moon illusion,” which makes the moon look exceptionally big when viewed through foreground objects like tall buildings.

This moon will reach the crest of its full phase at 8:52 a.m. Eastern time, and perigee will occur within about an hour to an hour and a half of that time, but it should look exceptionally big and bright throughout the night.

So what does the mean for us? If you are impacted by the full moon keep in mind that energy is building ….there’s an explosive outgoing aspect to a full moon. All of nature grows and is more vital. It can be a powerful time to release, cast out, unburden yourself, purge, etc. Celebrate your emergence by stepping out of an old skin, identity, behavior, attitude, relationship. A ritual helps you by marking this inner transformation in a formal way.

What if you miss this month’s supermoon? You’ll have one more chance next month when the last supermoon of 2016 will rise in the sky. However, it won’t be quite as close as November’s, which NASA says will be a “showstopper.”

In a Dance of Awareness

 

compost

A few years ago I decided to participate in creating a natural planet so I began to compost. It’s nature’s most rewarding soil amendment. When you keep yard waste and kitchen scraps you yield a great harvest, and in my case, acorn and summer squash. And, you prevent more waste from going to the landfill, thus the rewards are two-fold.

Time or money invested in your garden’s soil always brings the best returns since it’s healthy and nutrient based. It’s easy and inexpensive and now I’m doing a happy dance on this warm spring day as I reap the fruits… I mean, vegetables of my labor- the volunteers that sprouted unexpectedly.  I find these surprises one of the best side-benefits of composting.

In case you’re interested in composting all you need to begin is:

  1. the right mind-set
  2. an indoor bin with a lid to store in a dark place such as under the sink to keep your kitchen scraps; such as egg shells (not whole eggs), fruit and veggie peels, shredded paper, paper towels, coffee grinds, tea bags- this is your Brown Pile
  1. an outdoor bin such as a wheelbarrow to keep twigs and grass clippings, raked leaves-this is your Green Pile

Balance your “greens” and “browns.” Greens are high in nitrogen while browns are high in carbon, so you need to add a mixture of both for the best compost.

I use a shovel to dig about 4 inches then I layer brown material followed by a thin layer of soil from my garden. Add about 4 inches of green material followed by another thin layer of soil. Alternate layers until the compost area is full, moistening each layer with water as you go. Add enough water to maintain the bacteria vital to composting but not too much, because it can create a stinky, slimy mess.

It’s important to turn the compost at least once a week with a pitchfork to provide adequate air circulation. Depending on the materials used, turning frequency and other conditions, you should have nutrient rich compost within six to 12 months.

It’s that easy. Mother Nature will do the rest.

Weaving the past

On Linkedin it was assumed because of my many New York contacts that I’m a New Yorker. I lived in NYC for a short-time then was forced to make a move to New Jersey. I worked two jobs. I worked so I could see Broadway, off-Broadway, and off-off Broadway. I walked constantly. From one block to the next, I could go from fashion mecca to ghetto. I met people who loved books as much as I did, worked for a publishing house, a literary agent, or worked for Allure.

But it was too expensive and hard to live there, and truth be told, it was dirty, and I didn’t like it. I saw no similarities from the beauty of Europe with its enormous trees, bike paths and picturesque gardens that I had lived with to the concrete jungle of NYC. To me Manhattan was more of a culture shock than a foreign country. Everyone was on a money hunt. Fake furs, fake jewels, fake leather goods; knock-offs and beat-up American cars waiting to escort riders so they could feel like big-shots.

I knew if I wanted to write, I had to be there. Even then, I lived with roommates which I had never had before, because I love living alone and need silence to create. I wasn’t crazy about being in a run-down apartment building in which most people had six or seven locks on their doors even though the building was so old and had rotten door jams it didn’t take much to simply kick the doors in.

When I moved back to Southern California, I would only need one job. In Los Angeles, you could find an apartment to live in in which the stove doesn’t interfere with closing the front door. You can live inland more cheaply and a short drive will get you to the beach, mountains with snow, access to beautiful hiking trails with awe-inspiring vegetation. There is the much-needed time to occasionally stare at the wall for an hour or two and think. You can easily grow succulents and any other kind of plant because it’s so warm. There were cultural creatives who wanted to get to know each other, spiritual meditations, readings, theaters, international films, and musical venues.indexAnd there was the ocean. How could I have left her for so long? That big pool of the unknown, full of beauty, danger, possibilities. I went for walks on the beach, even if you don’t live near the ocean or go there as often as you’d like, her presence is always felt. In Southern California, she lives right beside you, free, undefined, infinite. The sticky air, and her briny smell makes you never forget she is with you.

In Pasadena, I found streets with Craftsmen and Spanish bungalows that had been there forever still snuggled into funny crevices in the hills of the Arroyo. There were charming little restaurants with views, not too big so they stay within the scale of the community.

Maybe it’s because I was born in the city, I felt at home. I know the history from fondly researching it, the feel of the people, the little nooks and crannies only locals know. Setting is really important in fiction. I try to make it as much of a character in what I write as I can, and I want to deeply understand it.

When I was growing up, I couldn’t wait to bust loose. I thought the suburbs were for the bland of taste and I was an arbiter of style. But then Pasadena became like an old friend or relative I had to reject at one time and get away from so I could see her more objectively. Once I was back and more mature, my feelings became unconditional.

Have you ever left home only to find yourself back and surprisingly grateful?

London is calling…

Library Feed 004 Library Feed 002

Walking Coco every morning I choose a different path. I can’t tell you how amazed and delighted I was to see this in my neighborhood.

In 2010 I saw a version of the traditional bright red phone booths in England, transformed. Inside shelves had been installed stocked with books, with an opportunity for the reader to choose a book and swap one out. A free public book exchange is not only aesthetic but smart! An obsolete phone box becoming a mini library and at the same time not ruining a history but rather finding a modern feature and alternative use. There isn’t anything about the old merry country that doesn’t resonate with me (well except maybe the food). My life there must have been lean, but pleasant. london

Let me count the ways

I’ve never been one to miss a place. When in Rome has been my motto. When I first moved to Las Vegas I thought I landed on another planet. It was too isolating for my taste and I missed the social life I had lead in Pasadena. In part because of work and because of my husband’s classical singing. As a journalist covering the Arts and in Public Relations, I enjoyed the combination of writing by day and being social at night. I had the opportunity to chat with people once their guard was down and evaluate things intuitively, which gave me writing material, if I chose to use it.

Some family members thought I’d love returning to LA. The relationships I had with people prior to leaving just aren’t there anymore. Out of sight, out of mind. I’m fine with that since I know energy shifts and changes. It’s a universal law. On my return, there were no sounding bugles, no welcome mat.

The last two years in Las Vegas were happy ones. As I expanded my base, I volunteered for the Obama campaign, formed a book club, made connections by volunteering at PBS, spoke at schools, and formed a circle of comrades at the doggie park, so that we could watch each others’ pets. And there was Madhu and Baba, my wonderful friends who held Satsang. I was their welcomed guest speaker. When you know that what you have to offer is wanted, it gives satisfaction and fulfillment. And fulfillment is often times what a writer/artist/creative doesn’t get for stretches (months, and even years) at a time.

I know by the number of people who read this blog, although they don’t comment, that live in Las Vegas, this post if for you. I can’t count on Facebook since most who use it don’t understand “reciprocity.”

DoWrite.ContemplatingThis is what makes Las Vegas a city worth appreciating.

Distances are relatively close. Driving is a breeze and the roads are smooth, not filled with pot holes. Traffic warning systems are everywhere and have digital meters that gauge in minutes various exits.

Beauty. There are no ugly unsightly cables or telephone poles from the last century with dragging cables infested with bird remains. Instead everything is underground to make you appreciate the swaying palm trees.

Weather. Sure there’s a long summer with quiet AC’s. In CA many homes don’t even have an A/C! There is a winter minus the snow. I loved wearing sweaters and coats.

Cleanliness. There is no graffiti, everything works, and is well-maintained. I recall seeing sidewalks hosed down and freeway walls scrubbed. I am amazed at how dirty  (in need of paint, dilapidated, and bug ridden) everything in CA is. It’s plain filthy!

Space, quiet, privacy. If you want a home office, say the word. It’s the way people live, with space. And noise; you won’t find it in a residential area. Let your creativity soar in your private girl/man cave!

Customer service. Once you are known you get all kinds of perks. I had an on-going discount at Barnes & Noble. I could ask for a discount at the register at Macy’s and presto, 20% off. In CA, I ask for this and am looked at with disgust. Bottom line; no one wants to give you anything—given the fact that I’ve been a card-holder for aeons of time, employees won’t go the extra mile.

You get invited to “free days,” some of these include, IHOP, Golden Spoon (frozen yogurt), Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone, Chipolte, Mimi’s, Ceci’s Pizza, Einstein Bagels, and the list goes on.

Quality fine dining from renowned chefs. You’ll have to fly to New York or Paris to get that anywhere else.

Beautiful parks with lots of family activities. Currently the only park I have been to is Lacey Park in San Marino where there is an admittance fee.

Gyms are plentiful in Las Vegas, with top of the line equipment and staff cleaning all day, every day. In So CA I went to my Gym’s pool and nearly curled over from nausea when I saw a sign that read; if you have diarrhea, don’t use the pool.  I stayed away and could swear the water now looks brown.

Homes present comfort. My kitchen was big and had a island, a must for buffets, wrapping presents, unloading groceries, cutting out a pattern, doing arts and crafts. Granite counter-tops, two linen closets, closet space, a private WC, a pantry, broom closet, a separate laundry room, guest bathroom are the norm for most homes.

Educational facilities. Schools are rich with with current books, manuals, computer equipment, etc. No ghetto chain link fences like I see now.

Small-town feeling. Once you get around and get to know people the isolation sheds, you see the same faces at events and you become someone special.

Aveda Institute. No one need have bad hair in Sin City. The School offers their wonderful natural products with quality service that includes a head massage, with $15.00 cuts and 20.00 dye jobs. In CA it’s 110.00 for both. 

Cable. Cox Communications was not cheap but I could call and renegotiate my price for current specials. In almost 10 years, I had Internet problems twice. In CA, I have connectivity problems twice a week. 

PBS. Shows and the International selection were outstanding. In So Cal, the selection is awful with local shows from the early 2000’s and one staid commercial.

Parking is free everywhere. Valet is available and is based on your generosity. Whenever it was too hot, I’d use it and was treated like a Queen. Hospitality is key. During my CA absence parking meters went from 6 to 8PM, got a parking ticket in WLA for 65.00. Good-bye birthday money.

The Arts. The Smith Center which I swooned over, offers free parking and is a world class performing arts center . They offer deals on ticket prices. LA use to do that. No longer.  Arts are for the privileged few in LA.

Pet Control. No loose dogs on the street. You cannot adopt a pet without a chip-it’s mandatory. You also will get a bag of food, a temporary leash and have to sign a form that states you will never let your pet go w/o food or water. LV breeds responsible pet owners. You also cannot allow your pet into a dog park until they’ve been fixed. In CA there is not this level of respect or awareness.

So the next time you complain about life in Las Vegas, dear reader, hold your tongue,  go through my list and be grateful.  Your comparison city may or may not have some of my features, but my point is this- you won’t appreciate it until it’s not there anymore and things are better than you think.