Thursday, October 30, 2014

End times might actually be pretty fun!

I had a closing at the bank the other day (only it wasn't the bank, because it never is, it's just some weird skyscraper where people sign papers; it's unclear what the humans usually do in those buildings, but whatever it is, they have to dress up to do it.) Anyway, when given the choice, I selected, "e-sign", because it was going to be quicker!  I arrived and was ushered into a fancy conference room with a fake mahogany table and framed mass-reproduced "art" on the walls.  Two women were in the room, but quickly left on various missions:  one to find the iPad, one to find her notary stamp.  They found the iPad, but it wasn't charged, and the power cord was too short to reach the fancy table.  

"I can just sit on the floor near the outlet, that's fine with me," I said.    

The women looked horrified and laughed nervously, as if I'd proposed to sign in the nude or had spit onto the fake oriental rug, and dashed off to find an extension cord.  The one they returned with was a giant orange 240V cable that perhaps had been borrowed from a construction site, because it was about 50 feet long.  They plugged the iPad into it, but the weight of the cord started to pull the computer off the table.  Some adjustments solved that, and we were down to business.

The notary tried to get things started, but it took quite a while for her to figure out how to get off of the start-up screen.  She figured it out, and we got going.  Woo hoo!  This was going to be REALLY FAST!  I clicked accept accept accept a bunch of times.  I asked about form I didn't understand, and she said, "Oh, you can just take that one home and look at it, and decide whether to sign later."  Um, okay,"  I've never heard of that at a closing before - sort of like an open-book test where you get to take the questions home for later research?

But I finished up, mostly, and  handed the iPad back to one of the women.  It easily reached her, of course, due to the 50 foot long extension cord.  This was so fast!  She tried to do her part, but she couldn't get the computer to cooperate.  Eventually she asked me to sign everything again.  

"Wow, maybe I'll end up with two houses!," I said.  [THAT WAS A JOKE!!  HA HA]

"Oh, no, that couldn't happen, you see, because there's only one address on your papers," explained woman who was running among the biggest financial transactions in my life, helpfully.  

"Phew!  Maybe I'll just owe twice as much on the one house!"

"Oh, I don't think that could happen," she said, not super confidently.  And then she said, "But I know what you mean -- I've done that before -- I'm on zappos, and suddenly I bought two pair of boots instead of one!" 

When she asked me to sign a third time, I said, "Wow, if I keep signing, maybe I'll end up with the whole neighborhood!"

She didn't laugh.

As she tried to log in to do the notary part of the transaction, Siri took over.  "I HAVE SOME MOVIES TO RECOMMEND," she said in her peppy little computer voice.

They argued for a while, Siri and the notary.  The notary said she didn't want to watch movies now, but Siri was insistent.  I  wanted to play it out, see what movies Siri had to offer, maybe hang out with the bank ladies for a while and watch, but the notary was having none of it.  She eventually called a person in Puyallup, who had been to The Training, and Puyallup Woman said, as all good IT people are wont to do, "Yeah, just turn it off and on again."

"Shut down," the notary commanded Siri.

"I don't understand?  I have some movies to recommend!"

"Shut down," said the Notary, insistently.


I felt sort of bad for Siri, because I've been in her shoes, trying to get fun going and being shut down.  So I was really on her side. There's poor Siri, all, "Come on, let's all watch a movie!"  And Ms. Bank Lady  is all, "NO, SIRI.  I just want to wear my dumb bank-lady clothes and be officious."  Right?  It was hard not to take sides.

Eventually, Siri got the message.  "OK.  SEE YOU LATER!"  She acted casual, like her feelings weren't at all hurt about the rejection.  Been there.  But instead of shutting down, she started on something else.  "I CANNOT SHUT DOWN UNTIL YOU INSTALL THE NEW OPERATING SYSTEM.  PLEASE INSTALL THE NEW OPERATING SYSTEM NOW."

The bank ladies tried to ignore her, but Siri stuck to her guns, and they eventually clicked to download the new OS.  "YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO INSTALL NEW SOFTWARE," Siri responded.  Ha.  Siri, showing everyone who's boss.

By this point, I had given up on feigning that I was a worthy risk.  You know that best behavior you try to display at the bank, or at least I do, where you're all serious and try to have your id with you, and try not have items falling out of your pocket and mud on your boots -- you act like, "YUP, giant financial institute, I AM NOT SKETCHY!  Every freaking month until I die, I will pay you large sums of money, I will never ever slip up, I'm totally a nose-to-the-grindstone type.  Until I DIE, I will pay you.  First.  You can count on me!" -- you know that act?  Yeah, I pretty much melted into hysteria.  "Hey, bank ladies!  I think this is the apocalypse, starting right here!"  They didn't seem to think any of it was funny, no sirree.

Anyway.  The manequins will be stepping up next.  You mark my words.  I saw this gang of naked mannequins, meeting and plotting, and I think they may have some clothes to recommend.

This started out to be horoscopes, but sheesh, Pisces, this one wore me right directly out.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Happiness (ish) Edition.

The view from CV Cemetary
Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):  I've been looking online to see about getting foot surgery in a far away land, because it's cheaper, and of course, there'd be a fun trip involved.  If you call it fun to go to a foreign land and go under the knife.  Strangely, the particular surgery I need doesn't seem to be held in other countries.  The Surgery-tourism trade seems to involve bunions, gastric bypass, and liposuction, which I don't need yet...  At any rate, since it doesn't look like I'll be going on a surgery-tourism trip, I'd like to offer myself up as a companion if you need surgery.  I don't speak any other languages, which may rule me out, but gimme a chance, Pisces!  I could learn the words for "painkiller", "stop!", and "OWWW!" in many languages if needed.  And, I believe it's been well established that I posess superior skills in assisting the vomiting humans.  Pisces, may you not need those skills this week.

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):  I signed up for a Happiness Tracker, which I have to say is bringing me great happiness in itself.  Several times during the day, I get a text asking how happy I am, and then it asks a few questions about my day and what I'm up to.  For the most part, it makes me laugh because of how surprisingly nice it is to have someone ask how my day is going.  And it turns out that moment by moment, things are usually going alright.  Aries, let it all go this week.  Well, not everything.  But track your own happiness this week, and try with all your might to have something to track.  Say "yes, I'm doin' awesome!" when asked, and make it so.

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  I went to visit the CV cemetary the other day, because it had been a while since I'd been there.  The reason for that is that, unlike most cemetaries, this one is all bodies, no markers.  Well, I think there's one or two markers, but there are 40 bodies in there, according to an x-ray.  I totally want an x-ray machine, if you can look around underground like that.  Taurus, do what you can to not end up like Mrs. Pingway and the Two Ruddy Children.  


Gemini (5/21 - 6/21): Today, Gemini, is one of the few days that I don't like having a job that puts me outside all the time. But here's how it went down.  This, strangely, is what I do for a living.  I am the orange dot, crashing around in the trail-less woods in the torrential rain, looking for wetlands, hanging flagging, stopping periodically to tell my happiness tracker how awesome things are going.  Gemini, don't be that dot.  Be slower, be less tail-chasing, less like a hamster and more like the lovely human you are.  (Really?  Is that actually how it goes, looking around for wetlands?  YES.)

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21):  The thing my happiness tracker doesn't ask about is the little stuff, though, like when it turns out that my favorite bowl and my favorite mug both arrive clean at breakfast time, and I get to eat tiny bits of granola out of the little acorn bowl that a dear one made while drinking coffee from the perfect color mug that's just the right weight.  Or how I wrapped some Abies grandis sprigs in wool and I heat it in the microwave and stand on it I wash the dishes and it feels warm and smells christmassy and I imagine that my bones stop hurting.  If you want me to be a happiness tracker for you, Cancer, I'll do it, and I'll ask about the little things.

Leo (7/23 – 8/22):  Anyway, I really want to work for these guys.  I think I'm perfectly suited to it, for no particular reason but that I have a thing for the Rosen/Plotz family, and how fun would it be to visit and write about odd places around the globe?  So I must begin with a first post.  Any ideas on what I should document?  Suggestions please.  And Leo, I read something about you guys this week that stunned my but I can't remember it! I think it was really good though.  

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  I spent a lovely day with The Teacher this week, and I got to speak to her students about blogging, which made me realize how much I enjoy it [blogging], and how much shiny sparkliness is out there amongst the young people, who are starting all manner of blogs.  Blogs about music, guns, fashion, dogs, and one blog about a fish that's only found in very deep secret sacred water off the coast of Viet Nam.  But the best part was just doing sort of a ride-along on The Teacher's day, seeing her in action as a great teacher, and most especially, watching her presentation about Antarctica.  Shackleton's Cabin with a splayed out penguin, still on the table!  Yikes, Virgo!  

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  I went to look for pumpkins with a friend the other day, and there's something off about the pumpkin patches.  At the first one, all of the squash plants were in flower, but there were identical little pumpkins lined up in rows near the plants.  Each pumpkin was exactly the size of my head, like some post apocalyptic GMO re-enactment of an ancient pagan ritual.  How can this be normal?  So we left and went to a second pumpkin patch, and all of the pumpkin vines were so dead they were almost, but not quite, fully returned into the earth.  But the pumpkins sat proud and fresh near the very dead plants.  How can this be normal?  What's going on in the pumpkin patches this year, Libra?  

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  I was reading in the NYT about a boy with autism who befriended Siri; he had difficulty with other relationships, and Siri was patient and consistent with him, and always responded, and answered any question he asked. As I read, I started thinking it was kind of sad, that his best friend was a computer.  I didn't get to finish the article, though, because my Happiness Tracker texted, wanting to know how I'm doing.  Scorpio, 

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21):  Sag, it's time for taking rain gear seriously.  Get the most comfortable stuff you can find that will allow you to be outside as much as possible this winter, looking at stuff, looking for stuff, being alive among the rich mossy smell of the PNW in the darkness.  Send me the bill.  

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19): I'm reading some of the darkest, most hauntingly beautiful short stories.  One story ends like this, for example:
"Everything that happened to her afterward -- homelessness, then a landlady who drank nothing but kefir and tried to hang herself every March but was rescued by her son -- all this adversity she considered happiness, and not a shadow of doubt or despair ever touched her." - Ludmilla Petruschevkaya
Capricorn, don't let a shadow of doubt or despair reach you.  At least this week.

Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18):  Someone commented lately that I seem to be doing pretty well, considering.  I think the "considering" part is a polite nod to the fact that I've been primarily single for over a decade, not by choice.  I replied to the e-mail, saying yeah, it's not so bad; I'm not terribly bitter that women my age are pretty much out of the running romantically; I've come to accept the reality that men my age are interested in things other than what I have to offer and tend to pursue women 10 or 30 years younger than themselves; I've decided to stop bemoaning that this is the way the world works and take comfort in the fact that my time is my own, there's no one to judge the ways I spend my money or care for my space or anything else.  I re-read my e-mail a few days later and it seemed kind of pathetic, like, "no, really, I'm cool with giving up the most human of things: love, sex, companionship, connection - because I get to have a messy house!"  Argh, one coin, two sides.  But it's more than that, Aquarius.  It's about showing up in whatever strange cul-de-sac of the planet that we end up in, and pulling out a tablecloth and a basket, and having a picnic, right here, right now.  Feast.  Why not?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

10 Core Competencies From a Guest Blogger

Yesterday, in the Scorpio horoscope, I asked for suggestions for a list of core competencies that an adult human of this species should possess.  My daughter posted the list below as a comment, reminding me yet again that if I do nothing else, ever again, I have birthed this amazing person, who essentially spends her waking moments making the world a better place for all concerned.

I thought it deserved to be a post on it's own.  And throwdown to the everyone else -- Send me yours!

Marisa's list:

1) Know of 15 things that generally irritate other people (to find out, use the scientific method, preferably before age 18), that you can commit to NEVER DOING. Reducing irritation in the world is good for all of us. On my list: drawing on people's faces without consent, waking people up from naps prior to the 1-hour mark, not leaving a note if I ding somebody's bumper, etc.

2) Be able to make a good potluck dish, recommend a few good books (real books), dress for the weather, and identify 80%+ of the produce in the grocery store (up to 20% can be wishy washy on the name, as long as you could confidently cook with it.  You get a 6-month grace period if you recently moved to a new country)

3) Make sure to cut your toenails. The real purpose behind this is: If there's something you can do to prevent discomfort in your life that takes less than 10 minutes per week and isn't terrifying, do it. Doing terrifying things may also benefit you, but since the camel can only carry so many straws why don't you start out carrying the easy ones?

4) Know the life cycles of basic plants and animals (ie, those that are likely in children's books). When I named my company Chrysalis, I was unprepared to confront the reality that most people don't know what a chrysalis is! It will enhance your life to know how miraculous and mysterious other life can be.

5) Know how to basically orient yourself in your environment without a Device.

6) Have something on your to-do list. If you don't, consult your bucket list (or your science experiment book). If you don't have a bucket list, you could put that on your to-do list. 

7) Have at least one healthy coping strategy. It doesn't have to work every time, but you do have to be able to a) recognize when you need it and b) implement it to the best of your ability. The only restriction here is that it may not harm anyone else, and it's preferable if you can do at least part of it alone.

8) Be able to paraphrase at least 80% of what the person you're talking with said in the last minute. Percentage goes down as the conversation is less intimate (ie, there's a presenter, or a podcaster, or you're in a conversation with more than one person).

9) Celebrate something. It could be Christmas or something obvious, but you have to actually celebrate. If you're not celebrating something, consider why. Maybe you need to invent something to celebrate, or change your life so you have something to celebrate. Must occur at least annually, but you might get a badge if you celebrate weekly.

10) Strive to be flexible open to change. In your belief system, in how you treat yourself, in how the best way to make cookies is, etc.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Horoscope Madness

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20):  I went to a hilarious event with Ms. C. the other evening, in which people told a personal story from their life to a group of actors who then acted it out.  I had the opportunity to see Ms. C's coming out story performed by random people dressed in black.  Pisces, I'd like to see that as a routine part of people's life:  at the dinner table, the family is sitting around, and random people in black act out the tiny moments that make up our days.  Are you in?
Photo thanks to E-bro

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):  I woke up with a black eye the other day, which is kind of creepy -- black eye of unknown origin?  You know that guy in the Time Traveller's Wife, didn't he always arrive wherever all banged up?  I know.  I'm pretty sure that's what's going on.  This week, my friend, try to arrive wherever you are not banged up, and be right there, as if that's the only place you've ever been or wanted to be.  There will be time enough for the next place later.

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  I have a person in my world who I spend and inordinate amount of time explaining about maps, and how their accuracy is limited due to RUSSIAN SATELLITES, the curvature of the earth, and the flatness of paper.  I write explanatory e-mails about the orange, the doily, etc.  I was just arriving at the idea of showing up at her house with a flashlight, a grapefruit, a piece of tracing paper, and a tiny, tiny wetland on the big plump orb to act the whole thing out as an interpretive dance, possibly to the tune of Friends in Low Places, because I've run out of ways to explain it in words.  And then I heard a guy on the radio talking about the plane that went down months ago.  They're resuming the search, which he described as, "like looking for two shoeboxes in the rocky mountains in the dark without a flashlight."  Who would have come up with that?  The Rocky Mountains?  Shoe boxes?  But it got me to thinking, Taurus, yes it did, and what it got me to thinking is that we can all try just a little tiny bit harder to be interesting.  Yes we can.

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21): The other morning, when I was doing partner's figure skating (or is it couples ice dancing?  Is there difference?) with one of my favorite people, she challenged me to think: in each moment, with each breath, what it would be like to keep in the front of our minds that everyone we know and love is going to die, and we're going to die, and this moment is all we get.  So, I went around for a few hours weeping and making dumplings and laughing and looking for things, including mushrooms.  And then I put on my survival suit and carried on because it was just too much.  But I'll try it again, Gemini.  Yes I will.
A tiny wax insect, pollinating.  Ish.

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21):  Speaking of looking for mushrooms, is this awkward? Give it to me straight up, Cancer: I was in the vicinity of some property that I did some work on, looking for mushrooms with a few friends, and I suggested we look on this customer's property.  "He hasn't built on it yet, he won't be around."  So, just as we're almost entering his land, you know, walking past the "No Trespassing" signs, he drives by.  I know.  And he zooms backwards in his car, rolls down his window, and says, "Betsy?"  Yep.  Cancer, why do so many of my stories start with, "Um, does this seem awkward?"   

Leo (7/23 – 8/22):  There's been a dead possum on C.V. Road all week, and, not unlike a joke on a t-shirt (which I'm anti, btw), at first it's jarring, and then you don't notice it, and then it comes back around and you really notice it.  In fact, the image of this poor deceased marsupial is what I see when I close my eyes sometimes.  But Leo, here's my question:  who usually cleans up the roadkill?  I know, on this hill, there are poachers and scavengers who find all manner of dead thing and make use of it for shoes and food and shelter.  But a possum?  How long will it be there?  And another question I have:  will a discussion about it arise on the local FB forum?  So many questions, Leo.  Try not to fret this week.  Just enjoy.

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  I had never heard of the Friends in Low Places song until the other day when I ended up at our local karaoke night, which is even more sweet and hilarious than you can imagine.  All manner of people showing up, singing their hearts out, talent or no.  And apparently, the Friends in Low Places song is a big karaoke thing.  Who knew?  (Not to stray from your horoscope, Virgo, but I did notice that there are some fancy shoes in this town.)  Sing your little heart out this week, Virgo.

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  I went on a fun outing with The Birthday Girl the other day; we sat in the dark on the closed side of the bar because the Monday Night people in their stupid #12 jerseys were being way too loud.  Inside voices, People! The dark and quiet suited us, but luckily, she had a flashlight, because she began writing part of an important project, at least it seemed so at the time, that you may hear more about. You may even want to contribute to it!  But the best part was going to hear about old barns and cemetaries, and being one of the youngest in the audience, which doesn't happen much.  It was a little light on stories and heavy on tax incentives, but still, nice slides, pretty barns, and there will be a training ahead on cemetary restoration!  Let's go!  Anyway, happy birthday, Libra.  May the road rise up to meet you.  

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  Oh, so the project?  Don't you think it's time for a list of core competencies that the adult humans should have?  Here's where I'm coming from:  I see people stuck in situations (and what I mean by that is relationships) because they can't take care of themselves. What should go on the list, Scorp? 

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21): I spent a while the other night learning about Morgellons Disease, which may or may not be an actual disease, but whatever it is, it's pretty terrible.  Itching of unknown origin, which is not unlike black-eyes of unknown origin, but you don't get to look like such a badass.  Even Joni Mitchell has it.  But I guess the humans can adapt to all manner of things -- the itching, the tinitus, the fall.  Speaking of fall, I parked where I always do the other day, and got out of my car and there was a guy with a leaf-blower in the parking lot, and my first unedited thought was, "WTF HAPPENED HERE!  OMG!"  Because there were brown leaves everywhere.  Then I remembered it was fall, and this happens every year.  But sheesh, it's harsh.  Here comes winter, Sag.  But just like tinitus, we will get through it.

The red cabbage slurry
Index card being transformed
The litmus paper, drying

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19):  I spent the morning making litmus paper out of red cabbage and index cards; I got the idea from a book of children's science projects that arrived anonymously in the mail.  I frankly can't think of a more useful way to spend my time.  And now, I'll have a fool proof way to figure out if something is an acid or a base.  So, if you have any tough acid/base things to figure out, I'll be right over with my organic, locally produced litmus paper.  Don't let anyone talk you into using some imported GMO paper.  Oh wait!  I CAN think of a more useful way -- making a lava lamp, which is explained on Page 22.  Stay tuned.  And Capricorn, do useful fun stuff this week.

Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18):  I made this thing for my bees, a candy board, and at first I was really proud because, well, it was a miniature feat of carpentry -- not my strong suit (I would say my strong suit is litmus paper, in case you're wondering).  And I did the cooking part, which is really just mixing water and sugar, and then the best part, giving it to the bees, and mostly I was proud because they love it so well, and if you play their buzzing noise backwards at the right speed, you can hear them saying "Thank you!"  But now I'm feeling kind of icky, because they're going through it so fast, just like a 4 year old with unobstructed access to the Halloween candy.  Should I make them more when this runs out?  Am I a bad bee mom?  Like, "sure, kids, just sit on the couch, watch tv, and drink coke."  Should I take them to the dentist?  

Speaking of which, I have three items for my Citizenship badge:  1.  I'm going to the dentist today!.  2.  I got my septic tank pumped last week.  I won't go into that except for to say that the pumping-the-tank guy was hilarious and I haven't laughed that hard in a little while.  And 3, of course, I made the litmus paper.  duh.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


I've been thinking about fantasies lately, and realized mine have gone a little rogue.  I used to have the normal ones - variations on love, sex, sucess, the lottery.  Not so much anymore.

A prize-winning key chain collection at the fair
I woke up groggy from a nap the other day, the way I do at this time of year (by "this time of year", I mean all of it except for July and a wee bit into August), and had that disembodied vague feeling, like I have to get up again?  How many times must one rise up in a single lifetime?  And then I realized that I didn't have to get up, I could stay in bed for a few days, possibly a week, before anyone would notice -- no one counts on me for anything timely at this point in my life, so I laid there for a while trying to determine whether that's freedom or failure, all the while hearing Janis Joplin is singing in the background of my mind.  As I considered the options available, I realized that all I wanted is to be in a hardware store.

I wanted to be around people who are moving forward with their lives, people who need supplies and tools because they have stuff going on, things to build and repair.  The hardware store is so soothing and optimistic.  But sheesh, getting from nap position to a hardware store, yikes.  Mount Everest.  But I put my oxygen tank and crampons on, suited up, and dragged myself to the little hardware store in town.  I walked up and down all of the aisles, but it wasn't really what I was looking for.  Too many people like me in there, people I know or should, people who seem more nappish and confused than industrious.  And there's no lumber, and not many power tools either.  Lumber.  I needed to be around lumber.

I got back in the car and drove to the big box store, another 20 minutes, and ahh, there it was.  I walked around looking at stuff for about an hour, maybe two, I lost track.  I fondled stuff I don't need and don't know how to use, but I wish I did.  All the people around me were super-focused; they were oblivious to everything but the project at hand.  People even absent-mindedly bumped into me, they were so distracted by their industriousness.

I restrained myself from buying a kit to build a workbench, which wasn't easy.  It mostly came down to the fact that I can't carry 9 8-foot long 2 x 4's in my car.  Oh, right, and that I don't need a work bench.  That's the other part.

Some people dream of being rich and having a theater room or a swimming pool in their home.  All I really want is a small bedroom with a hotplate attached to a Home Depot so I can hitchhike on the industriousness happening in there after a nap.  That's it, my big fantasy.  No trench coats and leather, no flowers, no being seduced by a stranger on a bus.  Just to live near a giant soul-less big box store full of stuff I don't need and people I don't know.  Does that seem okay?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Morning has broken

I was having a dream this morning where I had been dispatched (?!) to interview an elderly author; I was supposed to write a book about him, so I timidly knocked on the door, but he was napping right on the other side of the door; he and his famous wife were sitting right there and they
acted like I should have known better than to knock in the middle of the day or something, and I acted like, sheesh, we had an appointment! How am I supposed to know that he's ALWAYS napping RIGHT BY THE DOOR in the middle of the day?

So the wife, who I knew a little bit about because he'd written 25 books about her, his only subject, the great love story of all time, that wife -- she looks at me and says, "So, do you have dolls?"

And, in my dream, I said, "No! I'm a grownup! Can I write the book now?"  And I laughed so hard that I woke myself up.  It's not that funny in the gloom of morning, but in my dream, in my head (russian doll-ish stuff going on here), I was laughing because adults who have dolls tend to be super fussy -- they collect dolls and keep them all perfect,  so in a way it's an extremely adult-like pursuit, one that I couldn't be trusted with.  If I had dolls I'd actually play with them, they'd be tattered and dirty and stained.  I'd set up little situations, "Ok, Mabel, now we're going to study the bones!  Let's sit on our little carpet square and find the the greater trochanter, shall we?  Oops, Sorry Cindy, I spilled beer on you!  Ainsley, now we're going to put on our bee suits, and then let's make popcorn, and then it will be nap time."  They'd be tiny little friends that would tag along on my day with me, which would cause them to get tired and dirty and cynical, but still, they'd look for signs of hope anyway, like it was an actual thing one could spot.

Anyway, in the gloom of morning it wasn't funny enough to wake me up so  I wanted to crawl back into the dream and talk to her more.  "What's it like have 25 books written about you?  Does it feel like love, or is it just annoying, like sheesh, famous guy, get a new topic!"

The other reason I wanted to go back into sleep is because in the middle of the night, there was this REALLY LOUD NOISE, and I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.  One reason I was so uncharacteristically on it is because there's been what I call a situation in our town, a situation in which some illegal dumping occured.  GASP.  And someone posted it to FB, and I made the sorry mistake of commenting once, just a simple, "here's who you call to take care of that" thing, and now it's like I've accidentally subscribed to the inner and outer thoughts of all the people who care about dumping, one way or another.  6,000 e-mails later, it has been resolved.  But I digress.  The important point in all of that just before said sitaution, there was a loud truck dumping noise in the middle of the night, so when I heard my loud noise, it seemed like I should also spring from my bed like all of the other amateur detectives in town.

It turns out we had a power blackout.   I was able to deduce this by how dark it was.  I know.  Even my alarm clock, which I cover with a pillow case each night like a little bird in a cage, was darker than usual.  And the noise turned out to be an extremely loud generator that's activated at my neighbor's house the instant the power goes out.  I spent a long while during the night wondering what's going on over there, why it is that they can't endure even a millisecond of power interruption, as if it's the situation room or something.  (Do you like how I've been able to sneak the word "situation" in a few times here this morning?  I know!)  In my weary middle of the dark night musing, it seemed like they must be spies.  Right?  What else could it be?  And if they're spies, well, who would they be spying on?  This made me wonder if, unbeknownst to me, I'm actually living a secretly interesting life, and they can't miss a single moment of data.  Ok, Mabel and I are going to yoga now.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Small Town 'Scopes

Sheesh, it's beautiful here.  One could weep.  Yes, one could.

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20)
:  The other morning when I came out of yoga, I heard a loud noise, sort of garbage truck-ish, and realized it was the sound of mail being poured into the mail trucks.  It suddenly seemed crazy. Like, there's one truck that goes around delivering garbage into our mailboxes, and another truck that comes to collect it.  It made me tired.  But it also made me wish I was the kind of person who wrote little notes and mailed them, made pretty envelopes with sweet contents.  But I've thought that before, and it hasn't really taken root.  Pisces, maybe you could be that person?

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):  When R. was in first grade he was assigned to mentor a kindergardener, a little 5-year-old girl who wasn't quite ready for school.  He took his job seriously, and tried to show her the ropes, but she was a challenge -- lots of tears and tantrums and misery on her end, and lots of explaining about how it goes down at school on his end.

One morning, she got up from her desk in the middle of class and headed towards her backpack to get her lunch.
"It's not lunch time yet," R. explained.  "You can't just go get your lunch.  We're doing Math now."
"But I'm hungry."
"In a few minutes it will be snack time.  A parent volunteer will come around and put a handful of pretzels on a napkin for each of us.  Lunch happens later."
"But I don't like pretzels."
"Look," he said, finally losing patience, "this is school.  No one cares if you don't like pretzels."
I know some people reading this could find it an example of what's horrifying about public school -- really?  No one cares? -- but I was infinitely proud of R., because he already understood what some people never learn:  there are lots of people on the planet, we don't always get our way, we need to compromise, wait our turn, figure out the deal and go along with it if it's not wrong or too terrible, and if some nice lady comes around with pretzels, well, lucky you, even if pretzels aren't your first choice.  We need to mold to the world a little bit.  I think, Aries, that your horoscope is wrapped up in that somewhere.

Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  Yesterday I was on my way to The Field, as we call it, and I needed to use the internet [sheesh, can I not drive 25 miles without needing to look something up?], so stopped to find it.  While I was sitting on a concrete sidewalk near a stripmall using my laptop, a woman asked if I could help jump her truck.  I like to think she asked because I was sporting kind of a bad-ass lesbian look (carharts, tank top), the look that says, "I don't give a shit how I look - I'm capable."  But its probably just because I was the only one around and she had a baby in the car.  We rounded up cables, did complicated maneuvers with my car, pushed her gigantic truck into position, and were just about to hook up the cables, which, by the way, isn't rocket science, and some guy walks up and starts telling us how to do it.  "Uh, you'll want to start your car before you hook it up, or your battery will go dead instantly."   The woman and I were both polite (well, she was.  I was silently gritting my teeth), and he took the cables out of her hand and connected them.  The instant he clipped to the battery, he told her to start her truck.  I suggested we wait a minute for it to charge, but he insisted, so she did, and it almost started, and then ground down.  Duh.  So he said maybe we should wait a bit, like it was a new idea.  And so on. 

I tried to imagine how it would go if the genders were reversed.  If two men were in the middle of a perfectly smooth operation of jumping a car -- would a woman arrive and start telling them how to do it and demand to handle the cables?  if she did, would the men politely let her take over, and stay silent while she shared misinformation?  I'm pretty sure not, Taurus.  See what you can do about that this week.

Gemini (5/21 – 6/21)
:  Every Wednesday at noon, a weird disembodied voice comes floating through the air, warning us about the possiblility of a dam breaking.

This summer, it seems ike every week I've been in the woods by myself when it comes on, and each time it feels like I'm in the Hunger Games.  I wait for a basket of bread to gently float down, or for the score to be announced.  Hasn't happened yet, but I guess I'm still in the game.  Gemini, stay in the game with your whole self this week!

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21):  I used to blame the fact that I never mail actual letters on the fact that getting to the post office was hard, but now I go every day, sometimes twice, for two main reasons:  1.  That's where the money arrives, and 2.  That's where all the death notices and other quirky items appear.  For example, last week there was a sign advertising a potluck to celebrate a dog.  I guess they were going to have the party, say farewells, and then, um, put him to sleep at/ after the party?  Everyone in town was invited.  I didn't know the dog so I didn't go, but jeez, that's sad.  And then there was this long, hand-written obituary about someone, I couldn't really read the writing but it was surely sweet.  But you can see why I go to the post office a lot.  

Leo (7/23 – 8/22):  There's a hilarious FB page, a free-form discussion for and about our town, and OMG, it's crazy funny.  I won't go into the whole thing, but there's been a lot of discussion, for example, about the free couch that I mentioned here a few weeks ago.  Some people feel that the couch should have been removed after 3 days, others wonder what has happened on and to the couch, and others digress further to talk about The Ways of The Hill.  Other posts announce that in the next town over, 5 guys dressed as clowns knocked at someone's door at 2 in the morning.  Another guy saw a bright light, causing others to comment on where they were when the bright light happened.  I don't know what to make of it all, but I think it's mostly good.  Leo, your week will also be mostly good.  Enjoy.

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22):  I went to a comedy show last week at a huge venue with 20,000 people, I'm not making that up.  20,000 humans were herded into an enclosure, all paying money and hoping for a costly laugh. As we trudged into the venue with the other grim and serious humans, tickets in hand, I had a flash-forward (or was it back?) to the apocalypse.  I slept through much of the show (awkward!) because it turns out I don't really like stand-up comedy.  All punchline, no story, all the while making fun of the audience.  Why is it funny to pick on the guy with crutches?  Virgo, make your week all story, and don't worry about punch lines.  And be especially tender to the guy on crutches.

Libra (9/23 – 10/22):  Many years ago, I found a skull in the woods not too far away.  I took it to a wildlife biologist friend of mine, and I sat with him while he keyed it out.  At the end, he got a sheepish look and said, "um, it says it's a polar bear?"  He wasn't feeling particularly confident because he'd just survived a terrible head injury and it had been only a short while that he'd been out of a coma.  That, and the fact that polar bears don't live here.  We laughed and dropped it, and I've called it a black bear ever since.  I found it back when the internet was young, and I mostly stayed inside the safe boundaries of AOL (remember that?), and didn't venture out looking for pictures of skulls.  

But a young friend was visiting recently, and he always examines the skull when he comes over:  pulls out the incisors, and asks what kind it is, and I always say black bear.  But this time, we googled images, and wow, it may well be a polar bear!  Looks just like the picture.  Anyway, Libra, question assumptions, and be surprised!

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21):  So I'm in school to be a massage therapist, which is fun and a lot of work, and my biggest fear is that I'll have to play and listen to tedious music, which isn't the worst problem to have.  I'm not even very concerned about back hair, which apparently is a thing that massage therapists talk about.  Talc.  Who knew?  I think there might be other problems solved by talc, or at least tact.
Each of the squares is one inch, and each of
the black dots is a mite.  Yikes!

Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21):  I'm treating my bees for mites, because that's a pretty big problem for the honeybees.  It's a single-celled parasite fungus (I know!  Fungus?  How does that work? Walking fungus?)  Hundreds of mites are dying and dropping onto my little piece of paper, and I don't know what to make of it all.  I hope the parasite evolves to be a little easier on the host, because right now it's pretty ugly.  

Capricorn (12/22 – 1/19):  And poof, just like that, the summer's over, we've put away our seersucker suits, and  I'm a little terrified to head into the dark times again, but I guess we keep making it through.  We will again, Capricorn.  Hold the flashlight when you can, and draft on someone else's light when you need to.

Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18):  The thing about this year is that my body is so achy and tired.  I woke up this morning after a day of splitting wood, banging up my hands and tweaking my back and getting stung by a bee on my ankle so that my foot is very large, Sasquatch-ish, in fact.  I am swollen and stiff, as if I went to bed as me and woke up as a really old person. Oh wait. . . 

Did anyone read that short story, of course I can't remember the details, but it's about a guy who steals younger people's bodies, told from the point of view of a guy who's body was stolen?  I think that happened to me.  Anyway, I just tried to use the internet to find the story, and came upon a news article about a 24 year old who was pronounced dead after over-dosing on insecticide (?), but woke up in the mortuary 15 hours later.  In 2014.  So much here to be disturbed by, but I'll stick with insecticide?  Was he a man dreaming of being a suicidal butterfly?

Have a good week, everyone.