Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 was a crashing bore.

Geez, where did THAT year go?

And I don't mean that in the sense of, "Wow, what a thrilling kaleidoscope of mesmerizing visions and whirlwind sensations! I can't believe ALL THAT happened in a single year!" Nope, I don't mean it like that at all.

Truthfully, 2005 was a bit of a throwaway year around here. Nothing big happened, at least nothing big that hadn't happened before. I tried to write a book but lost interest; then I tried to write another book and ran out of time. TMA published one of my articles. My friends Tim and Claudia and I sang at peace rallies. I got an office and a root canal. I started a publishing company. I worked - a lot. The cats endured the first full year of their Unfortunate Incarceration. In a single spectacular week in November, my husband finally got fed up and left his horrid job, one of our cats fell victim to a mysterious malaise, and my aunt died. And instead of preparing for or celebrating the holidays in almost any way, we had the scary, tinker-toy 1927 wiring in the front part of the house replaced by some of the nicest contractors we've ever worked with.

We didn't throw any big parties, but we had a lot of summer dinner parties in our driveway, which was much more enchanting than it sounds (I guess it would almost have to be). We made a couple of new friends. On more than one occasion, we shook our heads at the daily news and talked ourselves out of fleeing to New Zealand. I got fatter and older and greyer, although thanks to the miracles of Monoxodil I finally got my hair back.

Here's to bigger thrills in 2006. Peace on earth, y'all, and all the very best to you in the new year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I want my winter!

Winter arrived this morning at 10:35 am PST, and within a couple of hours the temperature at our house had reached 81 degrees F. A bit of a surprise (Uranus was rising in the Capricorn ingress chart), even by San Diego standards, and not an altogether welcome one. Sometimes our ridiculously congenial climate is entirely too perfect for anyone's good.

People visiting or moving to Southern California from colder climes accuse us of "not having seasons." Anyone born or bred here will tell you that's absurd. The changing of seasons here is subtle, and would make for a rather dull wall calendar, but it works for us. It's measured in the heavier blanket on the bed in winter, the first day of shorts in the spring, the debut of the air conditioner in summer, and a slight tang in the air come autumn. Sure, we rarely have an evening truly cold enough to warrant a roaring blaze in the fireplace without opening a few windows for balance; but on the other hand, we don't have to drive on icy roads or shovel snow. All in all, it feels like a fair trade.

That's why I'm amused by my neighbors who, during this festive season, mount expensive, complicated tableaux in their front yards, complete with shredded white insulation to mimic snow and artificial snow persons. Lights are fine, people - it gets dark pretty early, and we need all the light we can get - but face it, you're not living in Connecticut.

But we're not living in the Southern Hemisphere, either. And dammit, I'm not ready to throw off the heavy comforter on the bed and crank up the air conditioner. I want my winter, puny and nearly-imperceptible as it may be.

Blessings and cheer this solstice day, and on Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah. Thank you all for visiting the Big Sky this year, for your welcome notes, and for making my world brighter and warmer even than San Diego in winter.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Civic Duty

A confession: I'm 44 years old and have voted in every election for the past 15 years or so (and every presidential and midterm election since I was 18) - but I've never served on a jury. I never even received a summons until we moved to this house ... maybe I moved too much? In any event, I soon started receiving them regularly, but got excused so I could attend classes and later because I'm self-employed and need to, like, make money. Once I did try to go and do my civic duty, but here's the true story of why it didn't work out.

8:00 am, and I'm standing in a huge line of prospective jurors, loitering outside the courthouse. When they finally marched us inside, I... got lost. I trailed along behind a couple of people who looked like they knew what they were doing, but as it turned out their ultimate destination was ... the office where one requests an excuse from duty. At that point I was pretty disgusted with the whole situation. So I went ahead and got excused; it was easier than finding my way to wherever I was supposed to report for duty. (Perhaps as karmic retribution, the bus I was riding on the way home broke down.)

About a month ago (when both Mercury and Mars were retrograde) I got another summons, to report tomorrow. I'm no longer in school. Business is pretty quiet. And by God, I was all set to go. Then I looked at the fine print: "You're a prospective alternate juror," it read (I am paraphrasing). "Call us the day before you're supposed to appear. Maybe you won't have to." Sure enough, I called at the appointed hour and "your duty has been postponed. Keep calling until we decide we want you."

County of San Diego, hear ye, hear ye: Don't mess around - you need to grab me while you can. Before I lose heart. Before I get too much work.

Before I get lost.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Forward, march!

Mars turns direct today, after a long, slow, backwards tango through Taurus that began on October 1. Finally, the long, frustrating planetary impasse is about to loosen up. But don't expect the kind of explosive release of energy that you might get from, say, cracking open a bottle of champagne; Mars is, after all, still in lanquid Taurus. Rather, picture yourself slowly getting up on all fours like a cat after a long nap, stretching extravagently, then sitting there for awhile, blinking.