Scopes and ‘Scopes


It was so lovely to chat with you yesterday.  As I have more free time than usual at the moment, and have decided to use the time to work my way through the tasks repeatedly written (and undone) in my planner, I am instead looking up my horoscope.  2009 has been strangely focused on astrology for me.  Before this year, I considered astrology a fun way to parse personality types, or an echo of my mother telling me “that is so Sagittarius of you,” etc.  But, then, this year, I find myself actually relying, at least playfully, on this unexplained science.

The new year started with a visit from you, dame Millicent, and we ate up hours on the internet reading about ourselves and our astrologies.  It is the ultimate sleepover feast: you can cover all aspects of one’s life with the helpful talking points of a horoscope.  And like most slumber party gossip, it lets all parties revel in their own esteem and possible improvements, and offer opinions and reflections in turn.  It was also the New Year, and I liked the hope and promise that all the online and astrologers were offering for 2009.  They said 2009 was looking like aces.  Yes please!

And then, my mom called and told me that a psychic she sees was very excited about something in the works for a Sagittarius.  This again, suggested that 2009 was aces. Yes please!

But, the trouble with horoscopes is that they lead to expectation.  If they are right, the most you can get is a “oh, wow, that is weird,” and if they are off, then the entire idea gets shirked to “that isn’t true at all.”  It’s a strange little past-time.  I found myself all worked up because my mom called again this month to say that the earlier psychic must have been full of crap because nothing amazing had happened to me.  I was irritated because she was dismissing it so easily after offering it so ripely to me months before.  I felt duped.  But I also still cling to the idea that good news is out there, and that all the very good horoscopes are right on target.

And then I read about what is supposed to be coming my way in March, and I want to dismiss it all again.  Apparently, I’m going to be broke this month, have an ornery boss, and have a tough time with my spouse.  I also shouldn’t get a haircut this month or by designer jeans.  Fantastic.

So, if I chose to believe the good stuff that doesn’t quite appear, can I  believe in the rough stuff in hope that it’s a case of opposites? Or, do I need to start looking other places for rah-rah cheers that the world is a delicious oyster with some life lessons on the side?

Or, do I just need to quit religiously flipping through the Sagittarius calendar I got as a gift for Christmas? I really never thought that there was a tear off calendar that I would use for anything besides scrap paper.  But this one is actually open to today’s date.

Maybe astrology is good for me?

Maybe I need to get out of the house more?



Razzles and Dazzles

Dearest M.,

As you rifle for belly-dancing materials, I thought it would be of interest that sequins are the great-great grandchildren of the belly dance.  It seems a perfect ancestry.   Originally, at least according to my brief Internet research, coins were sewn into clothing to make them glint and jingle during the dance.  I’m sure this was also connected to a women needing to carry her wealth on her person, which the modern sequin also does. Now, the wealth represented is more in spirit than money, but it still is an outward shout of what a lady’s got.

I adore sequins because they hold their own conflict–extreme attraction and poor taste–in one little bauble.  They demand we look, and they also demand we understand they are fakes–not diamonds or coins, but little shiny plastic disks meant to catch our eye.   They were used on billboards before neon and electricity was a norm.  Sequins are advertisement, and I like to think the ones used on billboards were gigantic, pizza-sized things that flapped and shuddered like a sixties Brazilian lounge singer’s afterparty getup.

I also love sequins because they are constant enough for most people to have a memory with them: dancing at the prom, recital costumes, a great-aunt’s Christmas sweater, watching Anne Miller in old movies.  They were always the golden fleece of any dress-up trove as a kid visiting other friend’s houses, and they are the sole motivation in my short career as a synchronized swimmer.  They are also wealth because of their numbers–where there is one, there are usually a hundred.

Sequins are one of the good things in this world.  I think Baz Luhrman understands this.  But they are also costume, which might be the source of the joy.  They are for play.  When brought out as honest to goodness everyday wear, well, it’s problematic.

Other instant delights that demand their own little world?


Carla Fran