pugilist’s moon

The Native Americans might have called it the Snow Moon, or the Hunger Moon, but last night I decided that a more accurate moniker would be the Pugilist’s Moon. Last night’s full moon and lunar eclipse, possibly exacerbated by the “close” passing of Green Comet 45P, wreaked a fair share of havoc on us.

Yes, I do believe somewhat that the lunar cycles have an impact on our human behavior. We really are just big sacks of liquidy stuff charged with some mysterious electrical current and I’ve been friends with enough teachers, social workers, and emergency medical folks throughout my adulthood to know that many of them dread full moons. Especially full moon Fridays. My teacher friends on FB started expressing concern several days ago.

So this week:

I got into a huge fight with Jax. This isn’t actually unusual because Jax & I are both very opinionated, strong-willed people and even when we agree on a basic issue, we can still argue over semantics or the details of it. Normally I don’t mind this much because I always know where I stand with him and vice versa. There’s never any hidden undercurrents of dissatisfaction – it’s all out there, even the minor stuff. But this week’s was a little vehement and nonsensical even for us. Neither of us were really sure what it started with. We made up but post-fight I was laid low with a stress migraine the day after.

My credit card got hacked (AGAIN) for the third or fourth time. I always know what it’s about when the company calls me – “did you authorize such-and-such an outlandish charge in Florida [[Texas]]?” It’s always either Florida or Texas. And it’s almost always either a gas station or Wal-Mart. Sigh. “No, I did not try to charge $564 at Wal-Mart in Fort Worth.” “Can we Fed Ex you a new card to your home on Monday? Will you be home?” “No, I work full time.” “Okay, we will put it in the US mail. Good luck paying cash for everything over the next 7-10 business days!”

It’s a damn chip card too. But I guess I should just be happy that they catch it so quickly that I’ve never had to open a bill and find a charge for Skoal, Budweiser, and a flat screen television from a Wal-Mart in Bumfuck Arkansas.

The last and worst was Miss L’s elementary school dance last night. The PTA worked so hard to decorate the school and it looked lovely. They had cake and photo booths, a DJ and dancing, all the kiddos dressed up in their Sunday best. The joint was jumping and I was trying to knit in the darkness, humming along to Gangnam Style, when I became aware of a change in the atmosphere. I could sense it like a drop in air pressure. When not knitting, I was trying to keep an eye on L amidst all the crowds of kids and parents, and being told off roundly every time she caught me “following” her. Anyway, I packed my sock and needles up into my Moomin bag and set off into the hallway to scout things out. I quickly realized there was a very unfortunate argument between three sets of parents and two crying children, and it was devolving with lightning speed.

My fear, ever-present these days, is that the environment is so highly charged, and so toxic with resentment. So many people now feel emboldened to say whatever despicable xenophobic Go Back to Whatever Country You Legally Migrated From For No Good Reason thing, typically beset with racial epithets, this so-called president has inspired them to, and so many on the other side of the issues have quivering antennae set to pick up on any hint of that even when it’s not there and immediately leap into I’m Going to Punch a Nazi Resistance mode,  disagreements can turn very ugly very quickly. In all fairness, I doubt this had anything to do with any of that. But add a crowded hallway full of children and the only thing I want to do is grab my girl and head for the nearest exit. The principal did an excellent job of containing the dispute in her office, but the content was serious enough that the police were called. This was, as you can imagine, the Most Exciting Thing to ever happen to a school full of sugar-hyped elementary kids, who goggled out windows and raced up and down crowded hallways spinning ever more ludicrous tales and only contributed to the surreal atmosphere, the disbelieving feeling that pervaded me of “this can’t happen here”.

It was an extremely unfortunate way to end the dance, which people worked very hard on and was only meant to inspire joy and happiness and a sense of community for our little ones, and I’m appalled at the behavior exhibited by adults. It is completely uncharacteristic for the beautiful, diverse, multicultural environment that our elementary school exhibits.

I can now only hope that that ol’ Pugilist’s Moon will let us recover from this upheaval. I will be hiding in my bedroom with Emmett madly cleansing my chakras until it’s over.

good friday

The last couple of weeks at work have been an exercise in patience and stamina and so I was absolutely thrilled to bust out of there yesterday afternoon. I cleared the decks sufficiently and am now on Spring Break for ten days.

Michigan weather has been damp and chilly, although I did take a break on my lunch hour earlier this week to visit a sunny, warm spot not so far from where I work. The University of Michigan Matthei Botanical Gardens conservatory was a peaceful place to relax and soak up some rare rays for a few minutes.

04.2015 shakespeare

I haven’t been taking many lunchtime breaks lately, as I’ve been pretty dedicated to retaining the habit of working out even though I can’t run. I have been off running for 9 weeks now and am starting to cautiously experiment with more weight-bearing workouts. I walked over the weekend, and have been doing more challenging spin sessions, with some standing climbs and intervals. I can definitely feel the weakness in my left leg and know that I will have to be very patient in bringing it back. I don’t plan on running until the end of April but between now and then, I’ll be ramping up my spinning and walking and getting back on the elliptical.

In reading news, I finished ‘Revival’ by Stephen King. He is one of my all time favorite authors – I know how he is regarded in literary circles but there is no one quite like him for taking me by the hand and wholly involving me in a story. I can’t put his books down. Admittedly, I feel his best days are quite behind him – the last book of his that I didn’t feel at least slightly let-down by was ‘Bag of Bones’, and my favorites of his came much earlier than that – ‘The Shining’, ‘The Stand’. ‘Revival’ was okay, but his endings are very patchy for me and always have been. Some endings are wonderful – ‘Salem’s Lot’ and ‘The Shining’ come to mind, ‘Pet Semetary’ and ‘Carrie’ as well – and others are just eye-rolling. The deus ex machina in ‘The Stand’. The kids in ‘It’.

I’m now reading ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton and am not sure I can hang with it. It’s oddly interesting in a stiff sort of way, but it hasn’t caught me yet, and a book of that length will require some spark of passion to push me through. I haven’t given up yet, though.

I just finished listening to ‘The Buried Giant’ by Kazuo Ishiguro (I bought is as an Audible book) and it was wonderful. The end of it made me weepy; the marital relationship depicted is one that I have pretty much given up hope that I will ever have in my life. I generally understand that my path is taking me in different directions, and I am content with the journey I’m on, but that loss is still a little melancholy at times. Anyway, I digress – in keeping with the Arthurian theme, I’ve just acquired ‘The Crystal Cove’ on Audible for my commutes and workouts, and am enjoying that as well.

Apparently April is going to be quite a rollercoaster ride. My dreams have been off the hook nutty this week, filled with unexpected messages from my subconscious. I’ve dreamed in great detail about a mentor that I’m worried about, received a warning about another friend, and identified an area of lingering aggression. Regardless of how some people roll their eyes at dreams, they are a deep way that your mind speaks to itself, and processes events and relationships that your top-level mind can’t or doesn’t want to address, and for that reason alone, they are worth paying attention to.

Even the boys are feeling unsettled.

04.2015 scrapping

Sometimes telling them sternly to ‘love each other!!’ does no good.

So the long weekend is dedicated to relaxing with family – and on Monday, three for the road (more to come, she said mysteriously).

For the last few years, I’ve reserved Good Friday as a day of peace, baking and starting garden seeds, and today will be no different. The little one & I may try our hand at hot cross buns and I am sure there will be pictures. I hope wherever you are and whatever faith you hold, you are with people you love and are loved by. xoxo

homesteadin’

I know at some point the thrill of home ownership will wear off, but right now it’s still a mix of apprehension and terror and excitement and pride. My favorite days are those when I can wake up (even with a summer cold like yesterday) and tumble out into the yard and just putter around. There are always weeds to pull or tomatoes to examine or plants to water or birdfeeders to fill. I also am lucky to have an ex-husband who is still one of my closest friends and doesn’t mind coming over to remind me where the weed whacker is hung or supervise a Major Undertaking.

IMG_20140809_131145I’d intended to use the ‘chainsaw on a stick’ (!!) to remove several large dead branches from one of our pines, so GB came over to make sure I didn’t cut an appendage off. My male friends at work had also expressed a lot of skepticism about my ability to do this on my own without maiming myself. Needless to say, I was determined.

Unfortunately, the awesomeness that is ‘chainsaw on a stick’ ran out of fuel midway through the cut of the first and biggest branch. I couldn’t leave it half-cut as it hangs over the back door and I had a terrible image of it giving way and falling on Miss L as she dashed out someday. GB said dubiously, “There’s always the hand saw” so out it came, along with the stepladder. I think at this point he was deeply regretting being involved in this venture and since he’s recovering from a minor injury, he couldn’t just do it himself.

I climbed up on the ladder and worked away on it and laughed at how weak my arms are while he shouted encouragement and then it was done! It came down nicely and I went on to do three other smaller ones on the same tree. I was covered in wood chips and had a glow of pride.

“I feel like a homesteader,” I told him, which made him laugh as I live in the city, but hey, homesteading can even take place in a backyard, I think.

I have a big pile of pine branches in the back that I am excited to cut up and stack for the winter wood stove. I might wait to refuel the ‘chainsaw on a stick’ for that, though.

Reminder: Full supermoon in Aquarius tonight. Mystic Mamma astrologer Kelley Rosano has a wonderful and inspiring commentary on this event and a great message. “Love you more than the need for approval; love you more than the need for others to support you.” I love that message of self-care and internal balance and acceptance, it fits in nicely with my August goals.

xoxo friends!

sunburns and root beer

Miss L and I arrived in the land beyond time – Up North – and have officially started our vacation with a beach day yesterday. There was a bit of debate until we decided that Peterson Road Beach in the Sleeping Bear was the right place for us. It’s a winding drive through the woods along  a narrow dirt one-track, and the beach itself is much less crowded than other Lake Michigan beaches. It was cool and sunny and perfect, the water is still ice cold.

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I got a little sunburned and later in the afternoon I had to stop at the A&W in Frankfort for a root beer. The A&W has been there for as long as I can remember, since I was a little kid coming up here for vacations, and everyone knows that root beer is the best summer afternoon drink for sunburns.

It’s been a heck of year already, and this vacation feels like such a gift. I’m glad I’m safely here for yet another major astrological shift. I know I sound like a wingnut, but every time something happens in the sky, I honestly do feel like my boat has been tipped yet again and I’m swimming in a rough current. According to Mystic Mamma, tonight’s Full Moon in Capricorn will be another big one:

“This year began with a New Moon tightly conjunct Pluto, square Mars and Uranus. That was a harsh chart. It all but guaranteed a year in which skeletons tumbled out of closets and ulterior motives and ruthless ambitions were released into the general population like a rapidly mutating virus. A series of frustrating retrograde planets in the first half of the year ensured we would have to work very hard, against incredible odds, to accomplish the smallest things; even harder to nudge the dial monitoring our soul’s growth even one point into the black.
“This Full Moon, hovering again near the same celestial companions, signals a turning point. After six long months, we wish to squirm out from under Capricorn’s stern and melancholy thumb. Whatever your prison, you are gearing up for a daring jailbreak. New Year’s resolutions about earning more money, getting in shape, or finishing a novel seem a little trivial next to the overwhelming desire to end whatever is hurting us.”

Today we’ve planned some bike riding and farmer’s marketing. My sunburn already feels better, thanks to all of that root beer.

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invaded

For a short week that started out with a vacation day (which was mostly spent driving downstate and cleaning the house), it has been distasteful in many ways. For starters, I should have listened to Susan Miller when she warned that if I chose to make any changes to my appearance – such as buying new clothes, etc – I should keep the receipts or wait til July. Unfortunately, I chose to color my hair, not much I can do about the strange coppery stripey shade (which I am grimly calling “Mercury Retrograde”) until I can set 20 minutes aside to recolor. Or should I wait til July to do that, too? I’m not sure it can get much worse.

I had to give a presentation yesterday and public speaking is definitely not my forte. When I was younger, I had massive phobias about it, and was terrorized at the thought. In this job, though, I have to put my big girl pants on and get it done, and to my surprise, when I put my mind to it, I can definitely do it, and do a passable job. I just don’t like it. It’s distasteful to me. Projecting an outward image, pushing my energy out to a big group of people, letting them feed off it, is draining and unpleasant for me. It makes me feel scrutinized and invaded and uncomfortable.

This morning, less than 24 hours after giving that big presentation, I had an appraiser come to the house and was reminded again of the uncomfortable feeling of being invaded. She was perfectly nice, even when Emmett jumped onto her shoulder, as he is wont to do with me. I was horrified – he is a wingnut. I locked him in the bathroom and he yowled and violently rattled the door the entire time she was here. He sounded like a tempest in a teapot and his brother Sarge stretched out on the hallway rug and stuffed his paws under the door to either soothe him or mock him, not sure which.

I am a crazy cat lady, I told her, trying for a laugh, and she merely politely agreed and went on with her clipboard. Again, a very nice person but who wants someone looking in your rooms and closets and putting a dollar value on your fortress of solitude? Talk about feeling like you’ve just had your pockets turned out.

I guess just another day and a half and I can call this week done and spend the weekend recovering and paying attention to all of the little details in my life that make me happy and recharge me. Go for a run, work in the yard, encourage Miss L’s marimo to divide so I can make one of these, drink some wine, and read some Travis McGee.

star signs and scrolls, the moon and my birthday.

When I was on the brink of adolescence, which happened later in those pre-historic days than it seems to happen now, I spent a lot of pocket money at the Printed Word, our local bookstore. There were wire racks of paperbacks lining the walls, and a long center row of lighted magazine racks. It had its own dry, papery smell. There was an old-fashioned cash register behind a heavy glass-topped counter, and next to that cash register was usually a box of cigarette-sized colored paper horoscope scrolls, tightly encased in plastic sleeves.

For a time, I rushed to get a scroll weekly, and pored over it with great intensity. It was an amazing mystery, a magic significance akin to the secrets of tarot cards or prophetic dreams. For a couple of dollars, you could understand all kinds of hidden things about yourself and your destiny and the world and stars around you. Your lucky days, your lucky numbers. Who might have a crush on you. I mean, that’s a lot of awesome insight for a bargain price.

I haven’t thought much about horoscopes or star signs until a couple of months ago. I had a crazy weekend of strange tumultuous emotions and changes in my friendships and relationships and I happened to see a reference on Instagram to the lunar eclipse. I Googled it and it was almost alarming at how it seemed to be describing what I was going through.

I haven’t fallen back into checking my horoscope daily, but I did find a couple of great websites that I’ve curiously referred back to occasionally to review the movements of the skies. I love Mystic Mamma and Susan Miller. And since it’s my birthday month and today is actually my birthday, I’ve been checking in more regularly to see what’s afoot in my sign.

So again, I’m finding all sorts of interesting information. Mercury is in retrograde so that nagging feeling I’ve had of being a ship in the Horse Latitudes makes sense. I’m looking back a lot lately, getting ready to close out matters and process them and make the most of understanding them so I can, I hope, move on and take those lessons forward. I’ve had feelings about them that I thought I were over. I’ve had fears and anxieties lingering, old things that I thought I had resolved, but which apparently still need to be thought about and dealt with. The full moon is in Sagittarius so in conjunction with taking this period of retrograde emotional hibernation, I am going to ponder the new path forward and focus on how I can best make that happen. It’s apparently rare to have a full moon on your birthday (plus or minus a day) so I am considering that as a great sign for my day and taking the time to meditate on all of these things so I can move on to the next phase in early July.

At the ripe age of 41, I’ve realized that not everything goes how I’ve planned it, but the important, vital things in life revolve around the joy you take in yourself and your surroundings, and your own ability to see the silver linings. It’s about the beauty you see and the love and friendship you exchange with the people who share your journey, be they your close family or your friends and colleagues or the people you simply pass through space with. It’s about taking responsibility for your actions and your decisions and your own emotional well-being and knowing that everything has a significance and a resonance. Make it count. Happy Birthday to me.