I was 15 when After Hours came out, Martin Scorsese’s black comedy starring Griffin Dunne as a pathetic, unlikable everyman who suffers through one of the longest nights ever. I loved it, and it introduced me to Peggy Lee’s masterpiece, Is That All There Is, which immediately became my favorite song of all time and has yet to be replaced, really.
The fact that I picked that song at fifteen to be my theme song for life is bad enough, but the fact that I can’t seem to unpick it is possibly worse. The romance has worn off. I’m not sure if I watched After Hours now that I would really find it that funny. Ok, well, maybe I’d find it hilarious still. Come on, Terri Garr!! TERRI GARR!!!
But poor Griffin Dunne, after all that, and the night he has and then he just ends up back in his chair at the office the next morning like it never happened. When I was young that seemed, well, it seemed impossibly hilarious, like, what did that guy expect? He was terrible. And he kept making the same mistakes over and over and over and being mean and snide for no real reason to the absolutely worst people he could possibly pick to patronize. Nothing was going to change for him.
But now I’m not so sure. Now I think I might see a little more of myself in him. Not the being horrible and snide so much, but the making the same mistakes over and over again. The funny thing about being young is that you think what you feel is unique and special and you find ways to immortalize yourself, brand yourself inside, you set down deep grooves about what you are and how you are always going to be so that you can’t forget, when really the person creating those ways of being isn’t exactly the best judge of anything.
If I had it to do over again, I would NOT pick Is That All There Is for my theme song, I would pick something else. Something a little less knowing, a little less bored and detached. Something with room to grow.
Can you tell I’m going through my Uranus opposition? A Uranus opposition happens around forty years of age when Uranus opposes the point it resides in your natal chart. It corresponds to that moment in middle age when you try to work out if the person you are as an individual is the same one you discovered when you became an individual. The classic example is when business men buy sports cars and leave their wives for their secretary. I haven’t got a wife to project any failed adulthood onto, however, I’ve only got myself and my jaded adolescent ennui. That and Sisyphus, of course.
But Mars is heading straight for a conjunction to my natal Uranus in a couple weeks, and kicking off that Uranus Pluto Square, so I’m thinking that a.) I’m going to be careful with knives and heavy machinery and that b.) this might be as good a time as any to find a new theme song.
So heads up, World! Bring me a new tune, a new song to sing, a new way of singing. Admittedly, you’ve got your work cut out for you, this song is a classic for a reason and it won’t go down without a fight, but I’m rooting for you, World, because I really don’t want to sing this song anymore, and I don’t have the stomach to be an alcoholic. So BRING IT.
Today’s Daily Dose is brought to you by Geena Davis and her pitch perfect delivery of the most quotable line in one of my favorite movies of all time, The Long Kiss Goodnight. I was lying on the floor just now in corpse pose having completed my first yoga session in at LEAST a year and this film popped into my head.
Actually, it wasn’t this scene that first popped into my head, though, it was all the montage sequences where Davis, who plays a PTA mom with amnesia, starts having flashbacks to her old life as a CIA assassin. (If you haven’t seen it and this brief description doesn’t pique your curiosity, I really don’t know what to say to you) As I was lying there on the floor, my body in a lovely warm – not yet hurting – glow I could feel old dormant bits of myself clamoring for my attention.
How could I forget to move for so long? It’s not natural, you know. Moving is natural, being sedentary isn’t. And I’m no spring chicken anymore, either. My body doesn’t just “bounce” back anymore, nowadays it needs some coaxing. But the “me” attached to that healthier, more physical self is just as strong as she ever was, she doesn’t need any coaxing at all. She’s chomping at the bit to come back.
She’s game for anything, and she’s really working it to get my attention. Of course, now that Mars is firmly in Libra and heading towards my Moon (more on Mars in Libra tomorrow) it’s hardly a surprise, I suppose, but certainly I’m hoping that my inner Charlie Baltimore will be as handy with her Mars as Geena’s was with this here knife.
Please oh please oh please let me be a chef! I don’t want to be an assassin or have amnesia, is what I’m saying. (That’s not what I’m saying.) What I’m saying is, Life is Pain, but it’s lots of other things as well, and though I’m planning on exercising a certain amount of caution in the weeks ahead as Mars begins its’ dance with Uranus and Pluto in the cardinal signs, no point pushing it, after all, I’m also going to just be exercising. I’m going to be using this time to push past my physical inertia and into something – well, something a little more comfortable.
It’s my body after all, I’ve got to live in it at the end of the day.
I am not operating at full capacity. I’m barely passing muster lately, if I’m honest with myself and I wonder what it would take for me to do something about it. What it will take, I should say. No, that’s not far enough, either, what it does take.
See? Even in my thoughts I falter. First just the idea of being “all that I can be” is purely conceptual, and then, once recognizing that, it becomes future tense, but truly, in order to activate, to “make it so,” surely it must be present tense, located firmly in the here and now.
I can’t knock the fact that I’ve been writing every day for the past two months or so, that in itself is quite a leap from the depths of inertia I’ve been battling most of my life, (especially considering all that I’ve been dealing with lately) but if I want to make any further shifts in my life than I’ll have to – well, I’ll have to make them.
Given that I started this whole exercise as a way of motivating my sluggish Mars, it seems like the thing I must do next, the activity to fold next into my daily routine, is physical activity. I mentioned a while back that I’ve been wanting to take up running, and it’s still in my mind, but given the U T T E R lack of physical energy I’ve exerted in well over a year, I suspect I’m a ways off from building up to a jog. So I’m just going to start walking. I’ve been an intermittent hiker, LA has some great hiking spots, but given how much I want to stick to writing every day and time constraints, I think I’d better stick to something nearer to my home.
Fortunately there’s a park right across the street from me. I’ve got my favorite yoga DVD too, and dang do I feel like I need a good stretch right now, but more than anything else I’m craving sunlight and trees and grass and the Great Outdoors. I need the interaction with my environment, the connection to place, to earth, to location. To time. To today.
I’m hungry for it. So I’m posting this sans a photo and when I come back in an hour I’ll post a picture of something I spotted whilst I was out there in the great big beyond.
I’m in one of my overwhelming – to the point of being crippling – 12th house hermit periods. I wish I could say I’ve been writing up a storm or at the very least reading a pile of novels, but my spare time has been utterly taken over by one action movie after another followed by a Veronica Mars marathon.
It doesn’t escape my attention that everything I’m watching so passively is the opposite of passive. It’s the ultimate vicarious thrill. My latest passion, Veronica Mars, even has Mars in the title!! I can’t tell if I’m sublimating physical activity or anger, (Mars behaviors) all I can say is it is incredibly satisfying to watch Veronica girl detective her way out of various scrapes surrounded by an awesome supporting male cast who put the support into supporting. No wonder this show has the rabid following it does, if it didn’t sound like too much effort and I weren’t so committed to lying prone in my girl cave for the duration I could probably muster up some foaming at the mouth action over it too.
I honestly cannot understand how this show escaped my attention before. I watched an episode out of sequence and didn’t get it, but it’s one of those you really have to watch from the beginning. Sigh. All those wasted years of not being on the inside. Had I known you can bet I would have pledged at least five dolla to their infamous Kickstarter campaign.
I just looked up Kristen Bell’s birth data, and apparently we don’t have the time of birth, but a.) I was heartened to realize she’s from Detroit (strengthening my theory about the connection between Detroiters and sisu) and amused to discover that b.) she was born with Mars at 4 degrees Libra, which any astrologer can tell you means she is about to go through a Mars return (Mars is about to transit Libra and when a planet returns to the same place it occupied when you were born it’s called a “return”).
This is amusing because the Veronica Mars movie will be released in March of next year and, since Mars is going to retrograde in Libra, her Mars return will still be active when Veronica Mars returns. Get it? See what I did there?
Well, not me, obviously, but isn’t the world wonderful and strange and full of pointless poignant connections? I just love a good astrological pun.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to the show and find out why everyone was so pissed that it ended so abruptly. (I’m SO relieved I’ve only got a few months till it’s resolved instead of the years that most of the fans did!!)
My mum sent me the most fantastic link the other day. A photographer named Jimmy Nelson traveled to the farthest, most remote places on the earth and took photographs of the tribes he found there. He’s published a book called Before They Pass Away to document their cultures, which are disappearing into the past. We are losing something. Something wonderful.
And as I look through these photographs on my Macbook against the backdrop of the city from inside my building, which was built in 1927, it’s impossible not to feel a part of it, of the disappearance, of the transformation in our world(s). To feel colonized and colonizing. But click the link above and follow the trail it takes you to another time, to other places, uninhabited by our modern western confusions.
It would be a mistake to oversimplify the process, to fetishize these indigenous cultures, to assume, to paraphrase Susan Sontag, that by seeing them, we know them, but that isn’t the value for me. For me the value lies in the mirror it holds up to me, to my culture, as if we can know ourselves without ever questioning our own assumptions.
Finally, it just makes me feel connected, these people wear clothes that are foreign to me, but their expressions are all too familiar. I see my mother, my father, my brother, my best friends. I see my humanity. Capturing that, engaging with that, is possibly the most important thing we can do in an era when entire cultures and histories and species are disappearing right before our very eyes.
We mustn’t lose that, our empathy, our interest, our responsibility, our care along with everything else.
Just yesterday I finally moved some of my furniture back into place after living with it in the middle of my apartment for the past few weeks. I’m not sure I can describe the exquisite relief of placing my plant back where it belongs on my beautiful bookshelf back where it belongs. Unfortunately, it turns out that my embrace of normalcy was premature because not three hours later I spotted a bed bug on my bed. And it wasn’t moving like a zombie the way the few I spotted early last week did, all on its last legs, oh no. This one was spry and fresh and making its way across my bed linen without a care in the world.
I actually started weeping. After I squashed it, of course.
I’m beginning to feel as though this will never ever ever end. I cannot explain what it’s like to live with all my belongings in plastic bags, the furniture piled up in the middle of the room, navigating through towers of my plastic wrapped belongings like a hoarder who has forgotten what she even owns. This is quite contrary to my normal way of living. Left to my own devices my home is generally very organized, open and easy on the eyes. I prefer a rather formal aesthetic. With Saturn (order) in the 4th (home) in mutual reception with Venus (beauty) that’s no surprise.
I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that I’m getting sadder and sadder, feeling more and more hopeless, returning to old feelings of depression and despair. I’ve been watching a lot of tv. I have four or five emails I need to respond to that have been sitting in my inbox for weeks. Everything is sliding. It’s so dramatic after how happy I was just a month ago, and it’s pretty clear to me it’s related to the current state of my home. Waking up to this mess all I want to do is go back to sleep.
Sisyphus, as imagined by the D’Aulaire’s
Pluto at ten degrees Capricorn isn’t just transiting my Sun, it’s transiting the asteroid Sisyphus, which is conjunct my Sun. The fact that the asteroid Sisyphus is conjunct my Sun is the very thing that made me start paying attention to asteroids in the first place, it’s just so on the nose, and describes my experience so precisely. The legend of Sisyphus, you may remember, is the one where the guy is doomed to all eternity to forever push an enormous rock up a hill only to have it roll back down the moment he reaches the summit.
For most of my life I have struggled with the nagging certainty that there really is no point to anything, effort is essentially a waste of time, so the legend of Sisyphus speaks to me, I identify with it.
The lesson of Sisyphus, at least as far as I can tell, is to release oneself from expectation or interest in outcome. There is only now, there is only pushing a boulder up a hill. There is no point, it just is. Theoretically this is actually no bad thing. It’s very zen, actually.
Sisyphus loses his marble
If I could squash the myth of Sisyphus inside me the way I squashed that bug last night, oh I fucking would. But I know better by now. The only way out is through. There is no end to bed bugs, there is only battle with them. There is no security, no home in my home right now. The only thing I’ve been able to keep ordered and collected and familiar is writing here. So I will just keep doing it. Not because there is anywhere to get, but because. Just. Because.
I don’t have to know why, I don’t have to worry about getting to the top because there is no top. There is no place to get. There is only here and now and this here boulder and my shoulder leaning hard against it.
Deep breath. Push
I think my nephew is having an even worse Venus transit through Crapricorn than I am. My mum made this completely amazing felt advent calendar for him with a variety of little treats stuffed into every pocket for each day of the month of December. Of course he’s only interested in the candy, I’m afraid he inherited the genetic predisposition for sweets from our side of the family. The poor thing had a fit yesterday when he woke up asking if it was “a new day?” and was it time for “Nana candy?” Only to find a quarter in the third pocket. Apparently it went on for an hour. He probably got that from our side too, bless him.
He was born with Saturn opposing Venus in Aries. It’s a tough configuration and the very one that had me worried when my SIL asked me what would happen if he was born when the doctors intended him to be. It’s not as bad as it could be, after all he was born forty minutes late, and while his Venus is in detriment, Saturn is exalted and belongs to the sect in favor and it’s in a good house. Which is all just an astrologer’s way of saying that if you’re going to have a problem, have an obvious one you can’t avoid and are willing to work on, those are always easier to address than all that hidden 12th/8th/2nd/6th house crap.
T is likely to meet 11th house (friendship) difficulties and possibly difficulties with art or children or romantic relationships (5th house) but they’re the kind of problems he’s likely to focus on, and in focusing on them they could become strengths. Besides, his mum has Venus squared by her Saturn and I have it trining mine, so he’s come by it honestly and he’s got lots of support for it.
Still, with Venus retrograding through Capricorn for the duration, which is his 8th house and contains his wee small Moon conjunct Pluto, I’m expecting to see some struggles till it finally exits in March. So it wasn’t exactly surprising to find that his favorite pal at the daycare he attends has been really standoffish lately. Last night while I was visiting T yelled at me three times “you are NOT my friend!!” with all the venom he could muster. This is the very worst insult the boy can imagine, which is just incredibly dear to me, and SO FITTING with his astrological significations.
I told him, “no, I’m not your friend. I’m your auntie, honey. I’ll be here no matter what happens with any of your friends.” And then he’d forget and we could go back to playing monster. Here he is exhibiting his secondary Saturn opposite Venus characteristic, which is the way he needs to line up his cars and put them in order. He’s been doing this for over a year now, though he doesn’t do it quite so much anymore, which I think is a great relief to my brother, who is a bit of a worrier.
It doesn’t seem like OCD to me, though, he only does it when he’s playing. He just likes visual order. He isn’t obsessive about it, he just likes it. Fortunately for him he’s got a Virgo mum with Pluto conjunct her Sun. They were made for each other. Order is the rule of the day in that house, and that kid always knows what’s what.
Typically Pluto conjunct Moon (like T has) or Pluto conjunct the Sun (like his mum has) are considered difficult, controlling aspects. But when you are a conscious of your needs it’s much easier to navigate. Just like Saturn square Venus or opposite Venus. These are not considered “good” aspects. But they are powerful ones, and with some guidance they could really be the most reached for tools in T’s tool belt as he grows older.
Yes, his mum is strict with him. I laugh sometimes when I hear her, because she’s just so totally the opposite of a modern helicopter parent, she’s straight out of the sixties! But I love it, because T always knows where the boundaries are and his little personhood is always held with utter regard and unconditional love. She corrects his behavior, but never demeans him or puts him down. And she is generous with her affection and expression of love, and he gives it right back. Actually, he is one of the most affectionate, loving people I’ve ever met. He knows he is loved and he gets a lot of proof. Conversely, he loves fully and passionately and he like to hug his people and to be held by them. (Saturn/Venus contacts always demand proof)
Still, no matter how supportive we are, the next couple months are likely to be hard on him, he’s got more lessons coming about friendship and showing affection and delaying satisfaction and waiting for sugar then might actually be – well, fun. But dem’s da breaks, kiddo! A lesson learned now whilst he’s tiny and growing is worth a thousand later when he’s bent over crooked and set in his ways. Besides, as I reminded my mum when she worried over how hard the advent calendar is proving for him, he’s a little white boy growing up in a pretty nice neighborhood in a wealthy American city. He’s fine. He’s gold, actually.
And he’s got all the love and the proof of it he needs or could ask for. Plus a bitchin’ handmade advent calendar, even if he is too little to appreciated it quite yet…
When I started out with the goal to write one post a day it was prompted by Rob Hand’s observation that people with strong Mars need to commit to something and fight for it powerfully. I’ve never been motivated by such a thing. Hand says that people with strong Saturn, like myself, must rely on discipline. Doing something every day. Not because you want to, not because you’re inspired to, but, well, just because. For no particular reason. Just good old fashioned obligation and duty.
So with twenty minutes left on the clock before I make myself a liar by not posting something I’m putting up Sister Corita Kent’s Rules as a little reality check for myself. I’ve been posting later and later lately. I’m not spending as much time writing my posts and I’m coming to them dried up and wrinkled from my days. I’m not happy about it, but between the bed bugs and Thanksgiving the last few weeks have wreaked havoc on my routine.
Nothing I can do about it except keep going. And remember that Sister Corita Kent was right. THE ONLY RULE IS WORK. The perfect Saturn lesson perfectly placed at number 7, which is Saturn’s magic number for a few reasons, but as my friend, Gary Caton pointed out, also his Chaldean order. Actually, Gary pointed out that the whole set of rules is laid out in Chaldean order, with number one matching the Moon, number two matching Mercury, number three Venus, four the Sun and so on.
I initially balked at number five for Mars, but I came around to Gary’s view the longer I looked at it. TO BE SELF-DISCIPLINED IS TO FOLLOW IN A BETTER WAY. Until I started doing this, writing every day, I’m not sure I would have seen so clearly how it is that doing following a saturnine path would lead to a stronger Mars, but I’m beginning to now.
Every time I post before midnight, every time I make my deadline, my resolve strengthens. I can feel it even now when I’ve been later and later and later. Even now when I have to hit publish RIGHT NOW to make it…
…even now when I’m editing after I’ve hit publish, cheating a little. Even now I can feel my commitment growing. In the past couple months since I started I’ve let everything else slide, I’ve not been following my doctor recommended low-glycemic diet, I’ve not been exercising, I’ve indulged myself too much in TV, but this one thing, this one thing I’ve been relentless about. And it’s starting to make me believe. Believe in what, I’m not quite sure, but I can tell you it’s got me now. And it’s starting to feel like Mars.
It’s starting to feel like home.
This song has been stuck in my head for a few days now. I just pulled up the video and watching it threw me right back to the eighties just like THAT. Night Tracks and Night Flight. Videobonanza. I remember liking this video too, even though it was years before I had a low paying, no respect job or ever spent a day that left me feeling remotely like the woman in it (and I do mean remotely, I’ve never worked three working class jobs at once, what an unending nightmare, how do people do it? Seriously).
I looked up the story behind the song and it turns out Donna Summer wrote it about a bathroom attendant she came upon who had fallen asleep in the corner. When Summer woke her the woman explained that she worked two jobs and she was tired. Summer couldn’t get her out of her head and that’s where the song came from. Though the protagonist in the video is played by a white woman, the woman that actually inspired the song was not. We know that because Summer put that woman, Onetta, on the back of the album inspired by her. I’m bummed that the woman playing the protagonist in the video is white. I’m sure the record company made the woman white so “we” could all identify with her, which just sucks. Especially since black and latina women are twice as likely to live in poverty as white women.
Though maybe it was asking a bit much for “us” to identify with a black woman when it seems “we” can’t identify with women as a whole. Did you know that 49% of the people making minimum wage are adult women? 28% are adult men and the rest are teenagers. There’s a lot of women out there working hard for their money, and “we” sure as heck do NOT treat them right.
We’ll never find a better anthem, though. I love you, Donna Summer!
I posted my last post at two minutes past midnight last night. It’s the first time I haven’t met my self-imposed daily deadline since I set it two months ago. I’ll confess I feel a bit sad about it and I woke up determined to write something new first thing. I was resolved. Yep, a resolution.
Resolutions are always easiest to make directly after failing, but in my experience it doesn’t make them any easier to keep. Someone should do something about that. Not me, obviously, I’m too busy failing! And that is precisely how they get you. Once you’ve failed one it just seems easier and easier to fail another. That do-nut looks good and you think, “one won’t hurt!” and the next thing you know you’re twenty pounds heavier and buried under an avalanche of the suckers.
It’s why I posted the damn thing anyway, even if it was two minutes late last night and not edited properly and had no image to accompany it at first. I felt like Laverne & Shirley, with ten seconds left on the clock of their famous Supermarket Sweep and all they could get across the finish line were their favorite cookies. But at least they got those. And at least I posted, even if it wasn’t perfect or even exactly on time.
…God Dammit. Now I want cookies.