Spanish sun, where have you gone?

Spain 2017

The summer is fast departing and little Roxy and I have still not reconciled with the fact our time in Spain has ended. The thought that it’ll be another year before we again see our beloved summer place is too painful to bear.

Back in June, Roxy and I were all too eager to board the plane that would take us to the magical place we visit every year. We were more than ready to join the throngs of sun worshipers who congregate at the beach located just across the street from my mother’s apartment.

Alas, that time is no more.

I inhale deeply as I wait for my coffee to brew. Within minutes, its enticing aroma fills the kitchen. I allow my little moka pot to rest on the burner and feel the bewitching scent swirling around me.

Closing my eyes, I recall the gastronomic paradise we’ve left behind. Plates full of steaming paella, colorful and aromatic, dance before my eyes. Baskets of golden churros, accompanied by steaming mugs of hot chocolate, beckon me from afar. Spanish vino and a multitude of tapas seem to whisper, “Where have you gone?”

I sigh deeply. We’ve only been back a few days and already I yearn to be back.

I miss the ocean waves that lulled me to sleep every night. I miss the smell of the sea outside of my window. I miss the frothy waves that cradled me on my afternoon swim. I miss the warm sand between my toes.

Looking at my tanned skin, I realize it won’t be long before my skin turns sallow and its golden hue is gone.

Summer.

That time of the year when I’m allowed to pause.
That time of the year when I hit the reset button.
That time of the year when I beckon the sun’s rays to charge my emotional batteries.

I sigh nostalgically as I remember the many “dolce far niente” moments Roxy and I experienced. Slowly sipping my coffee, I realize we should all be so lucky to experience these kind of moments. They’re good for the soul and prompt the body and mind to relax; to take a break from the daily conundrum.

Indeed, my Spanish summer is behind me but this doesn’t mean I will not hit the pause button as fall approaches. And that’s because the older I get, the more I realize the only way to move forward is to take breaks along the way.

I refuse to be a marathon runner. Instead, I scribble my name in the short distance category. Why? Because something tells me that whatever awaits at the finish line is going to be the same no matter what.

Taking in this new found notion, Roxy and I settle comfortably on the couch. We may not be in Spain but this doesn’t mean we can’t have a “siesta” (nap) and dream of “chorizo” and Manchego cheese.

How was your summer break?

XOXO,

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Can someone pass the bruschetta?


cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Felipe Neves

Last night, as I carried out the preparations that would ensure an eve of much deserved rest and relaxation, I heard the worst sound a woman hell-bent on unplugging can possibly hear–the phone ringing.

Carefully placing my wine glass on the table, I hurried to pick up, all the while praying it was a telemarketer asking if I wanted to buy a time share in the Cayman Islands.

But alas, such was not my luck.

I had barely said hello when I heard my sister screech, “Do you know that So and So just got back from skiing in Austria? Skiing! In Austria! And the bitch came back with a tan! I tell you Bella, life is passing us by, sister. Passing us by!”

I braced myself and made a grab for the wine glass, certain it was going to be one of those conversations.

Taking a sip of my wine and a bite of my bruschetta, I settled comfortably on the couch.

“We’re in our forties! In our forties, I tell you! And what have we done with our lives besides ruining our shapes and acquiring stretch marks from giving birth? Nada, I tell you! Nada!”

For some reason, she was repeating the last phrase and/or word of everything she said.

I poked a breadstick into the humus and tried to chew quietly.

“And these kids! If we could at least say, my son the doctor or my daughter the rocket scientist, but hell no! We’re lucky we can say, my son the student! Really, how long is it going to take them to get their Bachelor’s degree? I’m already fifty thousand dollars in the hole! But even so, I’ll consider myself lucky if my firstborn gets a job as a manager at Best Buy.”

I inhaled the heavenly scent of olive oil as I dipped a piece of crusty bread in it.

“And you! All that slumming you do, dressing like a homeless person, and for what? Yes, Bella, mark my words. The angel of death will soon greet us and all of this sacrifice will be for nothing!”

I grabbed the tiny spreading knife and spread brie on a cracker.

“I had dreams, you know. You had dreams! You were going to win a Pulitzer! And me? I was going to discover the cure for Alzheimer’s. But the way this is going, we’ll be lucky if we get Alzheimer’s so we can forget how we pissed our lives away. Pissed our lives away!”

I slowly inched for the wine bottle and poured myself a second glass.

“I was going to live in a fancy house, drive a fancy car, dress in fancy clothes, and walk a fancy dog. Instead, I’m stuck in this money pit with a leaky roof, drive a second-hand passenger van, wear whatever’s on clearance at Target, and my idea of walking the dog is putting him out on the doorstep and telling him to pee and scratch the door when he’s done.”

I bit into another bruschetta and repositioned the cushion behind my lower back.

“And you! Your idea of action is walking Roxy in the forest wearing those hideous sweatpants and that old polar fleece jacket that’s full of dog hair! I cannot believe you’re not upset by all that is happening to us. Or I should say, NOT happening to us. We should be on the arm of men like Gerard Butler or Jim Caviezel, dining and wining on the Amalfi Coast. Instead, we’re lucky if Laurel and Hardy take us to the drive-thru at Mickey D’s!”

I slowly unfolded my cloth napkin and delicately wiped the corners of my mouth.

“Where did we go wrong, Bella? Where? We’re educated women. We speak three languages. We graduated Magna Cum Laude, for the love of God! We dated good looking men. We were good to mom, dad, and nana. Why does the Universe hate us? Why aren’t we the ones returning with our dentist husband from a skiing holiday, sporting a freakin’ tan? Why, Bella, why?”

I reached for the wine bottle and poured myself a third glass.

“Bella? Are you listening to me? Have you heard a word I’ve said?”

“Woman, I have heard every word you’ve said. Are you done?”

“Yes, yes I am.”

“Are you feeling better?”

“Much better.”

“Good.”

“Next week, same time?”

“You betcha.”

Does venting help you feel better?

Who wants to experience dolce far niente?

Long before Julia Roberts learned its meaning in the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love,” the Italian phrase “dolce far niente” was a favorite of mine.

The sweetness of doing nothing.

And dolce far niente is exactly what I’ve been doing today.

As I sat on the balcony staring at the ocean waves, I thought, every individual should experience dolce far niente sometime in his or her life.

Sadly, this isn’t the case for everyone and I’m left to wonder, why not?

Why can’t we pause from time to time to just be?

What prevents us from experiencing a moment of bliss composed of doing absolutely nothing?

What or who tells us we’re not deserving of halting the madness of daily life to sit back and relax?

After all, we don’t have to be on vacation or even have an abundance of free time to practice dolce far niente.

It doesn’t cost any money, nor does it have to be practiced in special surroundings.

All we need is to believe that we can jump off the hamster wheel to take a dolce far niente break.

Why?

Because it feels good to halt the daily grind to revitalize ourselves; to take a deep breath; to take in our surroundings; to admire a sunset.

Dolce far niente.

Some call it bliss and others, a state of nirvana or ecstasy.

Who would’ve thought that doing nothing could result in something this wonderful?

And yet it can.

But only if you allow yourself to disengage; to disconnect.

Only then can you experience magic.

As I hear the roar of the ocean, look out into a never-ending sea of blue, and smell the salt in the air, I sigh deeply.

Dolce far niente.

Are you ready to experience it?

Are you ready to accept that Earth won’t stand still if you choose to take a dolce far niente break?

Don’t waste another minute doing and instead, achieve respite in not doing.

Why?

Because you’re worth it, that’s why.

When was the last time you took a dolce far niente break?