Crows and fish

Aries (3/21 - 4/19):  I was sick for a few days -- I mean, really sick in a way that I had no doubt that being in bed was appropriate -- not the sick that happens sometimes when I want to lie in bed, but think maybe I'm just being lazy.  Anyway, it's kind of a poor girl's vacation, and I rather enjoyed it.  I listened to a million podcasts, and discovered a few things.  Most importantly, Aries, was this: I used to listen to lots of current event podcasts, like Slate and the NYT.  I've shifted to... (almost embarrassed to admit this.  Almost.) true crime.  Because the news is too disturbing and gets me agitated.  I hate how much the phrase, "let that sink in" is being used for dramatic effect, so I won't use it, but it is sad that I have turned to murder podcasts for their relative calming value, when compared to current events.  Can this be happening?  Aries, be bigger than the news cycle, better than you thought you could be, stronger, kinder, and more resilient than anyone imagined for you.  Do it.  It's what we need from you, and you're ready!  You were made for these times.
Taurus (4/20 – 5/20):  While lying in bed looking at the cobwebs and disarray, I realized that I can see how people become hoarders.  They don't start that way; it begins with a little busy spell, maybe a few too many hobbies, haven't yet found a spot for this or that, and suddenly, you're Miss Havisham goes QVC.  As I lay in bed this week, I could see hoarding creeping up on me, a silent killer like high blood pressure.  Cobwebs and dust and stuff that doesn't have a place to call "away", so it lives out, because I'm about to make something with it.  I rose up from my sickness resolved to confront hoarding, and spent all day decluttering about 10 square feet of my house. I feel so proud and full of good cheer and feng shui juju that I'm a bit unbearable right now.  I have previously pictured hoarders as Shopping Channel people, and I'm not any sort of channel person at all.  But we are all at risk, Taurus.  Beware.

Gemini (5/21 - 6/21):  I started my decluttering by getting rid of every last Christmas thing I owned, and I can't believe what a burden has been lifted, Gemini.  All of these supposedly festive orbs and baubles, wrapped in tissue paper for some tree that's never going to happen, all the tangled strands of lights, and the fuzzy little lamb ornaments, all deposited at the Value Village donation area.  Woo hoo!  Rejoice! For my clutter will be reborn as someone else's holiday splendor.  Gemini, be your own holiday splendor.  Saint Patrick's Day is coming up!

Cancer (6/22 – 7/21):  I recently had dinner with R. and asked him what the most interesting thing that had happened that day was.  Without missing a beat, he told me a fascinating story of being in a bathroom stall at Goodwill when some guy came into the room and started accusing him over the stall of stealing the yeller's iPhone, saying that the police had been called, the phone was tracked, and so on.  It was weird and random, and in the end, nothing really happened, but it was a great story with suspense and intrigue and a plot.  Soon thereafter, I had occasion to use the restroom myself at the restaurant.  When I emerged from the stall, a woman was doing full-on dental hygiene at the sink.  She had a kit with toothbrush and paste and floss and maybe other stuff too.  I tried to wash my hands and keep to myself, because that seems appropriate, right?  But she looked right at me and said, "Hi!  I just got braces!"  "Congratulations," I replied.  She looked to be in her 60's, and went on to describe how the braces are supposed to be invisible, but she wondered if I could see them.  I didn't explain about my dim vision, but stared at her mouth for a minute and said, "Nope.  Can't see a thing in the braces area."  She looked pleased and continued with her flossing, and I was awkwardly mesmerized and watched for a while.  Eventually I realized that maybe I was being creepy, so I left and rejoined R.  "Guess what?  I have my OWN bathroom story to tell," I revealed.  And so it goes, Cancer.  One story merging into the next, as we each try to make sense of our world and share it with our loved ones, trying to create meaning out of the random bits that link us to one another, one bathroom episode at a time.

Leo (7/23 – 8/22)
:  Sometimes I have so many tabs open that I lose track of what I'm doing, and days later come back to an article I was supposed to read.  I notice that there's always an article that proclaims, "Trump Whitehouse in disarray; lots of key people resigning or getting fired."  And I get confused, like wait, how long have I been asleep?  Do I have a beard now?  Because they've been reporting this for months, maybe a year.  Did anything happen with all of this yet, Leo?

Virgo (8/23 – 9/22): I've been doing lots of "off-the-mat" yoga lately, which is where the real challenge lives, and I'm grateful to my incredible yoga teacher every time I remember to breathe and be in the moment and try to imagine living with grace and kindness EVEN WHEN I FEEL SUPER TRIGGERED OR TERRIFIED.  Like when I had to get a stupid crown on my tooth because I'm a grownup and handle stuff before it comes collapsing down on me, at least that one time.  And they took this silver filling that was installed in the 80's and drilled it out with heavy equipment and drilled my tongue too because it's in the way, and there was blood and pain and I could feel the novacaine creeping down my throat, and it seemed like I wouldn't be able to swallow for much longer, but still, I thought of Sara and imagined breathing even if I couldn't actually do it.  And when they charged me $1500 because I don't have insurance, I paid, as if it were no big deal, as if I were delighted to spend the money that way, like a day at the races or something.  (That sounds like I'd have a bonnet.  But no.)  But I can conjure Sara's calm twinkly voice saying, right here, right now, we're all okay.  And it's true, Virgo. 

Libra (9/23 – 10/22): Speaking of random things, why is it so hard to recycle batteries?  Every single household has batteries this, batteries that, all manner of things powered by the batteries.  And they cost a bunch of money, and last about 15 minutes, maybe 20 if you're on dim, which isn't a metaphor, and then they build up and build up until our houses are full of them because we have no idea where to take them, but we know it's wrong to throw them out. The closest place to my house is like, 38 minutes away, and I know the 38 because of the internet, and I also know that it's through traffic, and ACROSS THE RIVER, where I try not to go, because I like this side better like some weird troll.  Why doesn't the garbage company have a special battery day every so often?  Why isn't there a drop box at the post office near the obituary handbill spot?  (And not to stray from the topic, but it's weird -- lost dog posters can go anywhere EXCEPT for the spot on the post office door where only the obituaries go. And obituaries can ONLY go in that one spot.  Is that a rule?)  I hear in Germany that there are battery recycling buckets on every lamp post. That's what we need here.  Without the lamps, because it's too bright out already.  Although Orion has been spectacular this week.  Libra, you should be spectacular this week too!  Give it a try.

Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21): There was such lovely weather yesterday that I was able to inspect my bees; all 5 hives made it through the winter and still have honey and are in good spirits.  They're excited about getting out again just like the rest of us.  Even though it's so depressing right now because you want to do stuff but jeez, it's blowing and raining and dark and cold -- in a way, Scorp, this is the best time of year, when all the hopes you have for the spring and summer haven't yet been dashed.  You're still going to have a fabulous garden and get in shape and swim every day and climb a bunch of mountains.  It's all going to come together this year, for sure.  Make it so.  Or at least enjoy this hopeful point in the year.
Sagittarius (11/22 – 12/21): Yesterday I told this story and when I was finished, someone said, yikes, I would have been too embarrassed to tell that story about myself.  The men in the room seemed to look at each other knowingly, like, yeah, she's an idiot, but I just don't have it in me to care anymore. The story was about being in my 20's and living on a sandbar in Puget Sound where I spent my days making a sundial and weird amusement park out of shells and other objects that washed up, and nearly losing our only boat through my own stupidity, and then taking a really stupid risk that involved swimming a mile in 45 degree water to get it back.  Sag, swimming will be upon us soon enough.  Wait for it...

Capricorn (12/22 - 1/19): I just finished reading My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward, and I dunno, for such a catchy title, it didn't do much for me.  The author seemed whiney and full of both purpose and self-pity, a terrible combo, and I never felt like he connected with his wife at all.  Maybe because she's suffering from psychotic delusions, but i think there's more to it than that.  He mostly seemed to resent her for the inconvenience of it all, which granted, is understandable.  But still.  I wanted it to be like The Eden Express which was so damn good, at least that's what I remember.  I also remember the tiny snowflake storm by Richard Brautigan being delicious, and I re-read it last week while stuck in a little snowstorm, and yup, it was still good.  (Click on the link already!)

Aquarius (1/20-2/18):  This planet has become like that house with too many guests, and we need to meter things and tax things and basically use the tools at hand to stop overuse, and the humans are like, "You're not the boss of me.  If I want to drink from a plastic straw and toss it into the ocean when I'm done, by god, I'm doing it."  Aquarius, what to do?  

Pisces (2/19 – 3/20)I remembered this thing that happened when I was about 7 years old, but as soon as I started telling it I thought wait, is this even real?  Here's what it is:  I remember going with my family to a city for a weekend, I think it was Chicago, and getting paper clothes when we got there.  Did that really happen?  I have this memory of my sisters and I in matching flowered paper shifts.  Or maybe it was an episode of That Girl that I inadvertantly stole and incorporated into my own strange memory machine?  Does that make me crazy?  Or, does it make me That Girl?  Pisces, I drew a fish for your birthday time.  Enjoy.


  1. Betsy- you never cease to make me laugh and make me remember things (That Girl? Richard Brautigan, paper dresses) and make me think. You are amazing and I'm just glad I live on the same weary planet you do. At the same time.

    1. Aww, thank you! It's a good time to remember Richard Brautigan. :-) xoxox

  2. You nailed Taurus for me, Bets. Have I told you lately how I love your posts? I do. And your paintings. How did you get that sort of crackled effect in the crow picture? They are all beautiful, but if I can have a favourite, it's the shell :)

    I hope you're feeling recovered from your illness now. Keep on with the decluttering. We don't want our kids doing it, do we? And by we, I mean myself, and if you want, you can join me.

    1. Aww, thank you Jennio! The crackled effect on the crow is because it's painted on cardboard and the texture comes through. I'm glad you like them! And yes, we will not leave giant messes for our kids to deal with! That's the plan! :-)

  3. And you hit Leo on the money again. How do you do that? Too many open tabs and a beard since 1980. I am afraid to shave in fear of what I will find 38 years later. Everything changes and nothing changes.

  4. You are amazing and I'm just glad I live on the same weary planet you do. At the same time.

    สมัคร D2BET

  5. Thank you for the birthday fish. It's beautiful. Paper clothes. I remember that there were paper clothes. That idea died out for obvious reasons.

    But still there are paper clothes at the doctors and I always feel very vulnerable in them. What if the roof leaks and the paper gets wet? Or snow comes in the window and I'm only wearing paper. The doctor isn't wearing paper anything, at least I think so.

    Anyway, do trees dream of becoming paper clothes? I doubt it.

  6. That was weird---I thought I had to re-subscribe to your blog because I hadn't gotten notices lately. So I did and the page said, "Welcome back," and then it said my answer to the Captcha was incorrect, but all i had done was tell it that I am not a robot. I'm not. And then I clicked subscribe and it said I was already subscribed. So maybe I am or maybe I'm not, but I'm glad I'm back, or that I never left. Don't know which. And we should stop using plastic straws.


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