Posts Tagged ‘magic’

tl;dr Mr Man has mad shopping mojo.

Those who know me know that I am not a big shopper. Maybe I’m hard to fit or just hard to please, but shopping trips typically mean returning home empty-handed after hours of “maybe” and “nope, sorry” and ”almost, but.” Frustrating, made doubly so by the fact that I only shop when I really need something. Like an outfit for a fancy writers’ gala.

So when Mr Man and I headed out to search for black-tie-worthy wear last week, my expectations were low. Typically, we go shopping for me and I find exactly nothing, but Mr Man magically stumbles upon that thing he wasn’t even looking for in the perfect color and fit, no hassle necessary. I call it his shopping mojo.

This time, he offered to transfer his mojo to me.

It doesn’t work that way, I said. Magic isn’t something you can just hand off to someone else, like an ice cream sandwich or a toaster. I wish, but no.

Ok, he said, but let’s just go see what’s out there. I’m sure we’ll find something that will work. 

I agreed, (not so) secretly braced for potential disappointment.

But then a miracle occurred! The dress I saw online was actually in stock at the store around the corner. It fit. And it was on sale, as was the matching necklace. Unpossible! For what was possibly the first time ever, I had an excellent shopping experience.

I remained unconvinced about the magic mojo, though. Pure coincidence, I said. Or at least, just scale-balancing after my previous bad shopping karma. It can’t last, surely.

And I still needed shoes to go with the dress.

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Today, we went out again, this time on the hunt for that most elusive of prizes, the cute yet (relatively) comfortable dress shoe.

Not a chance, I thought. I mean, I found some possibilities online and they looked good, but would they be in stock when we got to the store? Would they feel as good as they looked? Would the heel be manageable, the color match, my feet agree that three years in slippers was long enough?

I don’t know about that last bit but we got to the store and there they were: the perfect shoes, elegant and comfortable (relatively), with a low yet still stylish heel. (Chances of tripping on my way up to the stage? Minimal, and that’s really all I can ask for.) While they did not come in silver (as a sci-fi writer this did, I admit, cause some sadness) they were available in always versatile black. 

Mr Man’s mojo had struck again. And as I was about to check out, Mr Magic had one more spell up his sleeve. 

Look, honey, he said, here’s the same style in an even cooler pattern. There’s only one pair left but I think it’s your size?

It was. And because Mr Man’s mojo is top notch, that funky cool pattern was also on sale. Now I have an outfit I feel good in and I didn’t have to drain my Gringotts account to do it.

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And that is how I discovered that you don’t have to be born with magic. It can also be shared. 

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Photo by xandtor on Unsplash

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Behold my magical powers. Yes, mere hours after I committed haiku cast my spell, it is snowing. 

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Photo by Tadeusz Lakota on Unsplash

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It’s firefly season* again, and I am there for it. 

Fireflies as a species are under pressure but there’s a lot we can do to help them. Short version: Turn off the lights and get (your yard) a little wild.

Tonight, dim the lights. Find the darkest patch of green you see. If it has tall grass and lush, moist undergrowth, even better. Wait.

Do you see it? That yellow-green flash of light? Bioluminescence, they say. 


Also magic.

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* To be fair, June is actually prime time for firefly mating in most areas but given good weather and habitat they can be seen throughout the summer.

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Photo by Evan Leith on Unsplash

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“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.” 

― Carl Sagan

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Photo by JoelValve on Unsplash

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One of my favorite reads is the terrific* Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews.  

Here’s the first book:

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) by Ilona Andrews

This husband and wife team also have a number of other great books, all starring kick-ass women willing to go to any lengths to save what needs saving.

The writing is excellent, the plots fresh and unpredictable in the best ways, and the characters, even the bad ones, are complex and well-drawn. (The authors are particularly adept at helping readers understand, and at times forgive, even the darkest characters.)

What’s not to love?

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So when I decided it was time to learn how to make a vintage-style travel postcard, I thought of Atlanta. Not the vibrant city it is now, but as Kate sees it after magic returns to the world, complete with mysterious denizens, vampire Casinos, witch jungles, shapeshifter Keeps, ruins and one lone high rise. 

Welcome to Atlanta.

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Original photos by Shashidhar SMorica PhamHidayat AbisenaMichael DenningCory GazailleToa HeftibaAustrian National Library & Christopher Alvarenga on Unsplash

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* Feel free to disagree with me, I don’t mind. Just know that I am right;)

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I’m not that great. Not really.

I mean, I’m mostly nice (with just the right amount of geeky snark), I make a pretty terrific brownie, and try to be a good partner, daughter, friend, neighbor, and co-worker, but I haven’t started a food distribution center to feed first responders this past year, or learned a new language or solved the medical problem that’s stumping a family member’s doctors or crossed off everything on my to-do list or single-handedly saved Ontario’s bees. At some level, I feel I should have done all of those things and more, but no.

I’m not Melinda Gates, Mother Theresa, Jane Goodall, José Andrés, Greta Thunberg, Jonas Salk, David Suzuki, world-changingly great. 

Sorry, supportive parental units. You tried.

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And please don’t take offense, but you probably aren’t either. I bet you are kind and thoughtful and a good hugger with excellent taste in music and a winning smile who looks out for pets and children, but you aren’t, say, Malala. By definition, most people aren’t. 

So I’m not extra special super amazing. You’re probably not extra special super amazing. And that’s ok.

Because together, we are magic.

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What makes a society great?

I submit to you that we regular folks have far more impact on society than we’re given credit for. The median is the best indicator of a curve’s central anchor, not the outliers.

Yes, innovation like the automobile, vaccines, or the personal computer can upend the ways we live and work, but those events happen within a context. 

That context is the one we build every day, with every action, big or small. Have I sent out Mothers’ Day cards, let myself off the hook for not sending those cards sooner,* waved at the neighbor, picked up that annoying plastic bag stuck in the cedar, fed the birds, voted, donated to a nonprofit doing good work, planted for pollinators, baked for our mechanic, followed traffic laws, ignored rabid commentary designed to monetize my attention at the expense of democracy, and generally done my best to help steer the ship to a better place?

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What we do matters. Maybe I’m not extra special super amazing, but that’s ok. I don’t have to be. I can still be part of something great.

We all can.

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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* Sorry, Moms!

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Book Magic

Does this happen to you? Sometimes I read a book and it’s bad. Maybe I learn a few things about what not to do, but the characters are too stupid to live or the author wants me to root for an ass, the story ends too early or too late, or some essential plot point is broken. This drives me a little bit nuts.

I finish the book and am left not with the happy satisfying end of story feeling, but with bad book juju. Is that a thing? It should be.

I’m left a little cranky, and nothing is as it should be.

My drink is too hot or too cold. Lunch tastes weird. My clothes fit funny. Even cookies don’t have their usual delicious snap.

Until I find a new book, a good book, and all is right again:)

Just me?*

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Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

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* Of course it’s not just me:) This is why authors work so hard to provide a satisfying reader experience. This is also why I reread books I know I love.

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Somehow this day has completely gotten away from me. I’m still cranking away on day job stuff, so I will leave you with this magic wand. Which I will need to finish off all the items still on my list:)

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One wand, maple. The magic is up to you.

Have fun getting things done!

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I always wanted to be able to draw. In high school, I had a friend who was a wizard with a pen. It was a form of magic, really, the translation of life to page. I could just about manage a creditable human eye and that’s it. It’s match was beyond me; the second one was never quite the same. I spent a good bit of my time in French class trying to improve (apologies to my French teacher) but eventually gave up and turned my hand to personalized on-demand poetry for my classmates. (It’s amazing what you can do with a hard deadline.)

I was better at the poetry. But I still wanted to draw, at least a little.

Thank you, computer graphics!

I’m not a wizard, but I was able to fill at least some of that gap with Illustrator, Photoshop and the like. And of course I write, another way to translate life to the page.

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In art and life, find a way to do the things that call to you. The path may not be the one you expected, but it can take you to your destination just the same.

My personalized monogram in the style of Tolkien’s glyph.

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Some photos beg to be story prompts, don’t you think?

Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.

― John Muir


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