Skip to main content

How to Leave in 24 Hours

Packing
Packing for L.A.

Itinerary


On the way to Santa Fe you get a phone call. It's for your husband. You overhear snippets and wait patiently. There is interest in another script. Real interest. 

Driving talk turns on a dime from the grocery list (where you just added butternut squash in bumpy cursive) to the wisdom vs. craziness of dropping the day's plans and booking a flight to LAX. 

You sit quietly in the hot car, squinting at the blur of sunbaked sage along the highway while your husband thinks it over (and inside you are jumping like a kindergarten inmate, yelling, Why not? Let's go! This is everything you've dreamed of- script meetings, casting conversations- but, really, it's his call).

You do your best to embody Zen detachment.

What do you think? he turns and asks. 

You just smile. He knows what you think. You've been bitching about being under-stimulated for weeks, getting all gloomy again. There are more phone calls. Then suddenly it's a go.

You're leaving in twenty-four hours.

You start picking through dirty jeans and shirts. Distracted by the early morning slant of sun warming the tumbleweeds, you leave the laundry to grab a camera. Five minutes later you notice the bowl of ripe tomatoes on the blue tiled counter. You can't just leave those. So you wash them gently, slice and toss them into a roasting pan with olive oil, herbs and cloves of garlic. You add a splash of balsamic vinegar.

You slide the pan into a low-heat oven.


Tomatoes for slow roasting
Tomatoes ready for roasting.


The house starts to smell like an Italian villa. You fold and iron and fold. You plug in your iPod Shuffle and choose 250 songs (no Sting). You think about Santa Monica and the last time you saw your son, Colin. You add some of his songs to your mix. Then you notice the roses you photographed this week (they have seen better days). You empty the pitcher. You get distracted by the beauty of the dead petals and dried leaves against the white garbage bag. You grab your camera.


Dead Roses by Karina Allrich
Still life with garbage.


You air out the luggage that has been in storage since May- sliding it into the bright afternoon sun (you'll have to tip it sideways later to scoot a frantic lizard back to his usual vertical perch on the adobe wall). You wonder if the tomatoes are done. It's been two hours. Or more. You peek into the oven and inhale the slow roasted garlicky dense tomato scent.

You try not to panic about what the heck you'll eat for the next week (staying at the one hotel where you could get a last minute reservation in your price range- there's no kitchenette, no microwave). You imagine bags of chips and jarred salsa dinners. You hope Real Food Daily will have choices that are gluten, onion, bean- blah blah blah- free.

But you don't really care.

Somehow it will all work out. Or maybe you're just deep in denial, you think to yourself. You breathe.

Then there's the last bit of autumn roasted green chile to think about. And half a bag of small gold potatoes. One big mother of a sweet potato. And one lonely uncooked organic burger. Might as well make a green chile stew before you hit the road.

So you heat some olive oil in a pot, toss in some chopped onion, garlic, and crumbled beef, and sprinkle said ingredients with cumin and chili powder and stir until browned, humming a K T Tunstall tune. You throw in cut up gold and sweet potatoes and the last of the chopped roasted green chile. You stir up some organic beef broth and pour it in. A dash of agave. You let the stew do its stew-y thing while you contemplate which pair of sneakers to wear on the plane- Rocket Dogs or Skechers? Tough call.

You'll decide later.

There are toothbrushes and socks to be packed. But first, a glass of white table wine. Then a bowl of green chile stew.

This is the part of the movie, you think, when she looks at her husband sitting by the window, back lit by sweet light, and your chest aches in recognition. You see, the thing is, you always knew it. In your heart you just knew. Those movies everyone told you were fantasy? The on-screen or off-screen marriages that crackled with mutual admiration and no bullshit and you pined for that while those closest to you clucked in favor of sticking with your marital misery because - and I quote- No relationship is perfect and every marriage takes work?

Then why, Dear Reader- this time around, after twelve easy years- does it just keep getting easier? And life just gets more interesting? It's all about the risk.

And trusting your gut.

Whether it's making up a soup or reevaluating your career choice, or facing down familial opposition and sexual inertia because you actually believe in true love- it comes down to this. 

You have this minute. 

This second.

So. 

What are you going to do with it?



xox Karina

TRENDING

Sunbutter Cookies

Here's an easy gluten-free cookie recipe made with sunflower butter- a post-modern peanut-free take on those retro peanut butter cookies your Aunt Lizzie used to make. You know, with those jars of Skippy peanut butter (or was it Jif?). Instead of using traditional peanut butter in this recipe, I used sunflower butter, which has a golden nutty flavor not unlike peanut butter, but slightly different. Kinda like peanut butter's wacky, geeky brother. You know, slightly nutty. Fun. Like a bright new bike. And they taste so good you just might want some more. Now, please. I adapted this recipe from a peanut butter cookie recipe (submitted by Erin Smith) to Beyond Rice Cakes , an easy, fun cookbook (especially for teens and students) by Vanessa Maltin, director of outreach and programming at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness .

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Scones

Sconelicious. You heard me right. Because I know what you're craving.  I'm craving it, too. Something indulgent.  But not overly indulgent.  Sweet.  But not too sweet.  Something warm and tender, and laced with the autumnal spices you've been shaking and dashing and pinching with abandon.  Something using up that leftover half cup of pumpkin sitting in the fridge. Are you with me?  Are ya feelin' me?  Then let's get sconed. Karina xox

My Favorite Gluten-Free Pumpkin Recipes for Fall

My Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Recipes For Fall... The bittersweet, textured beauty of Autumn has always gripped my heartstrings, pulling me in deeper, connecting with some invisible part of me, so much more so than Spring. Much more so than summer's flirtatious pleasures. And Winter, well. She is a dark and icy mistress. That relationship has always been complicated. So unlike my truly, madly deeply love of Fall. Bake on, my friends. Tis the season for pumpkin. xox Karina

Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Apple Cake

As soon as I buy apples and start daydreaming about my favorite fall confections- imagining clear, cool evenings on Cape Cod and Miles Davis' haunting rendition of Autumn Leaves . September turns golden and sultry with a hint of rain, reeling me back into the closet to peel off my boyfriend jeans and fresh new flannel shirt. Faster than Gordon Ramsay can mock sashimi, Yours Truly is grabbing faded summer shorts and my favorite Patriots t-shirt to bake barefoot. See what I do for you? So go ahead, babycakes. Enjoy this new apple cake recipe. Share a slice or two amongst yourselves. Don't worry about me here in my hot little Hollywood apartment. Really. Go. Have some cake. You'll love it. Apple kisses, Karina xox

Pumpkin Polenta Recipe with Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

Vegetarian pumpkin polenta with salsa fresca. The first gifts of Fall have arrived. Time to dig out the Crock Pot and your favorite flannel shirt. If you can find it, that is. It's got to be around here somewhere, right? You used it wore it to death last year. Or was that the year before? The harvest moon is playing tricks with your memory again. The crows outside in the oak trees caw like the crows in tomorrow's dream. Days turn into weeks and lunch turns into next month's breakfast. Hours spill through worm holes of time like so many episodes of Lost . And the Buddha imagines the universe. And gets it close to right . We're talking atoms, people. Particles of teeny tiny specks of even tinier teenier fragments of a single point of something so small the naked eye perceives it as invisible. Yet the Buddha perceived this. In 528 BC. I ponder this as I walk in a stream of brittle bronze oak leaves. The succession of days that adds up to a life is only a

Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins

We found canned organic pumpkin on the store shelves this week. So be prepared for pumpkin recipes. I, for one, Darling, can't get enough. Pumpkin is my favorite fall ingredient. Maybe because it cozies up to gluten-free flours so well. It adds moisture and depth to g-free baked goods. It flirts with cinnamon and ginger like the sexiest, inscrutable movie star. You know what I'm talking about. It's not overt. Or blatant. It's not over the top. It is subtle. Secure. Pumpkin doesn't demand to be admired. Because it doesn't have to prove itself. It's not a bully flavor that crushes gentler flavors in its wake. It doesn't bark and claw to be Top Dog 24/7. It doesn't have a deep seated need to own the room, to dominate, to control the ingredients it shares a bowl with. Pumpkin goes with the flow. It likes vanilla. And it likes chocolate. You could say, it's bi-flavorful. Which happens to be a quality I admire. Even embody and

Gluten-Free Baking Tips + Substitutions

Need wheat-free gluten-free baking tips? Help is Here. Here's what works- and what doesn't- in quirky Gluten-Free Baking and Substitution Land. From Karina, Gluten-Free Goddess®. Baking Substitutions for Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free and More Notes on GF Flours: Gluten-free non-wheat flours generally fall into three basic weights- light starch, all-purpose medium, or heavier whole grain. A blend of medium and heavy flours with some starch mixed in to lighten, tenderize, and help bind the batter or dough works best, and tastes best (too much starch can result in a gummy texture). Light, starchy GF flours include sweet rice flour, white rice flour, and the ubiquitous gluten-free starches- tapioca starch, cornstarch, potato starch (NOT potato flour, which is whole different animal) and arrowroot starch. Medium flours are akin to 'all purpose flour'- these include sorghum flour, certified gluten-free oat flour, and superfine brown rice flour. If you cannot find sorg