Saturday, April 23, 2011


The funniest thing I’ve seen on Facebook recently is a woman telling the story of how a conversation with her 8-year-old daughter about a school lesson on eggs, tadpoles and frogs quickly slipped out of the realm of simple answers. I laughed until I cried. I won’t go into “overshare” myself but it’s the kind of funny that makes your coffee come back up your nose. It reminded me of the probable reason I didn’t have kids, which had little to do with biology or perfect timing and probably a lot more with the universe realizing I would have a difficult time keeping a straight face.

Mom had trouble keeping a straight face but it wasn’t the same problem as mine. Hers would collapse into abject horror or disgust or despair instead of hopeless giggles like mine. It wasn’t that I couldn’t be shocked. I could. I was. But my reactions to life ranged more from the funny-peculiar to the funny-“haha.” Mom’s were of a higher pitch and decibel level. For an introvert, she could be loud. When she let loose, it was an “everybody duck” situation. I knew I was different from my mother. We all knew to step lightly around her and my father put a lot of energy into the entire dynamic of “Don’t tell your mother.” Damaging as that was, there was a practical aspect to a little peace and quiet when things were quietly slipped under the rug.

She took pleasure in crafts and decoration as an escape. She took us to ceramics class when we were little. We worked on little things. I made an ashtray for her with pink flowers and light green grass and scratched an inscription on the back with the date. She gave it back to me when I was in my 20’s. I was glad she kept it but sad that she gave it back to me, a little rejected.

While we worked on our little projects, she experimented with different glazes and created a magnificently and complexly colored rooster which earned her a blue ribbon at the county fair. It was clear that blue ribbons were the only ones worth earning. I broke it one day horsing around with my brother, knocked it over with a swing of my hand onto the thick sand-colored marble top of our round kitchen table. Daddy tried to hide it, to glue it back together so she wouldn’t notice. But Mom had sharp eyes. She was devastated. She screamed and cried over her lost masterpiece and threw it in the trash. It was tragic for her that the rooster was broken but so much worse that my father had tried to cover it up, to make it better. We were all lost that day.

The process of creation for her could be soothing though. I loved Easter egg day which was usually Easter Saturday, just like today. We would get our Pas Bunny kits with the wire egg holder that never seemed to fit the eggs and the cups with vinegar and tablets of color in each. We all wanted the blue one, so light like a robin’s egg that with layer on layer could go towards teal. I experimented with the dyes to create different effects, most of them coming out somewhere between “camo” and mud. Every once in a while, I’d get something I liked, a pink, white and yellow striped one or something and set it into the cardboard holder to dry.

I loved eggs. I liked them boiled, scrambled, over easy and especially sunny side up. My favorite treat for starting out a vacation was to stop at the Royal Castle for a breakfast of sunny side up eggs, grits and French fries. It was the south. It was the fifties and sixties. We didn’t know what cholesterol was. We didn’t know why people had heart attacks. Things like eggs and grits and potatoes were good for you then.

“Mommy, baby chicks come from eggs, right?”

She stopped in dread. She did not want to have this conversation, not with a 5 year old. The Ace of Wands, the essence of life, growth, new projects, the beginning of beginnings had sneaked into the conversation and was there blazing before her like a torch held by angry villagers pounding on the door of the fugitive. She had been chased down before she was ready to be caught.
Art Postcard Tarot
(c) copyright 2010 Marcia McCord

“Yes,” she said slowly, stopping whatever housework she was doing at the time and turning to me. I could tell she was afraid. I couldn’t tell why. Baby chicks weren’t scary. They were fuzzy and yellow and cute and peeped and had bright black eyes.

“Not all eggs have baby chicks. Some of them are just eggs, right?” After all, I’d eaten a lot of eggs by then and never once found a baby chick. Wouldn’t that be a surprise? It would be the jack in the box of nature, to find a baby chick as a surprise in your Easter basket one morning.

“Yes,” she said, a little more confident, hoping we were just on the topic of baby chicks.

“And the mommy chicken sits on them and keeps them warm until they hatch.” I had a vision of a clean wooden crate with nice clean straw, a box just high enough for a chicken to step into in a clean dry place, sheltered from rain, safe from predators.

“Yes,” she said, a little more relaxed. At least we were going forward with the nice, caring mommy chicken and the fuzzy baby chicks and not backward to the origins.

“Did I come from an egg?”

I had in mind something like an Easter egg, something with a pretty shell with lots of colors, not just pink like my Mom always picked out for me. I wanted yellows and blues and greens and oranges too. I was pretty sure I wasn’t boiled first because then, well, I wouldn’t hatch.

On guard again. “Yes.” Her eyes opened wide with their storm-cloud blue sparkling a little with laser beam focus. We were suddenly in dangerous territory again. She inhaled one long deep breath and held it.

“Did you sit on me, too, like the mommy chicken?”

She looked at me and blinked and suddenly laughed. “Yes,” she said. I laughed too. I couldn’t imagine my mother sitting on a box with hay in it. She was much too proper to do that. Her dresses would get hay on them and get dusty. How she must have suffered so to have me! But she had kept me warm until I hatched so that must mean she loved me. I was satisfied.

“I think I’d rather have a baby duck instead of a baby chick, Mommy.” And I went back to my stuffed toys and the stories they told. My mother resumed breathing normally.

My day was sunny side up, and I was satisfied with my origins.

Best wishes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I’ve got to get out more often. It’s one thing to have an interior life. It’s one thing to have a day job and an occupation on the side. It’s spring after all and there are roses blooming here, roses, calla lilies, apple blossoms, freesias. And that’s just in my yard. My husband says, “You need to get out more.” Even my tarot buddy Kristine says, “Girl, you’ve got to get out more.” OK, they’re right.

What better opportunity than to watch the Big Match between our rugby Barbarians and, well, those other guys? Maybe they are right. I haven’t been to even one of the games and the Barbarians had a shot at the championship, quite a difference from last year. We don’t want to talk about last year. I think that’s the official story.

Victorian Trade Card Tarot
(c) 2010 Marcia McCord

It takes a lot to manage the field and keep the rugby team going. It’s not just the financial part, which is substantial. I’m the “silent” partner in this although I think the title is just an honorific. I do like to tell people that I’m the quiet one in the family so they get an idea of just how extraverted an extravert can be. This is also a labor of love for my husband. Oh, true, he never played rugby and still hasn’t. He had never seen a rugby game before a few years ago. When Lani asked him if he could help find a place for the Tongans to practice rugby, John couldn’t resist helping. Then Ben came on as head coach. He’s originally from Fiji. Both Lani and Ben fit what I think of as the “typical” rugby persona: big enough to fill a door, laugh loud enough to fill a room and a handy delayed reaction to pain.

That delayed reaction to pain is a good trait. It’s not that rugby is in itself dangerous. But except for the mouth guard to keep your teeth in relatively the same place they started and for some a cap that keeps ears attached to heads (worn by only a few), it’s an elegant, unpadded, fast-moving match typically between two teams of 15 guys who should be able to qualify for the winning team of any cartoon Gothic combat game. It’s a contact sport, perhaps something of an understatement. Sometimes the contact results in arms or collarbones broken. Sometimes there’s a cleating incident. Usually if someone gets hurt, unless there are bones visibly sticking out or a lot, not just a little blood, the game is played around the downed warrior in a gentlemanly fashion. The clock doesn’t stop though. The men address the referee as “sir” and only one player per team is allowed to talk to him. The fans, of course, are free to speak their minds from the sidelines. They do.

Rugby is played in the winter which in California usually means cold mud. They seem to like it that way. One game ended with both teams the same mud-color although they started out with different colored jerseys. In spite of the rain we have in the winter, we have to keep our field watered year-round to make sure there is grass on it when winter rolls around. And there’s a bit of electricity for the lights for the night time practices. And there’s the washing of the shirts, shorts and socks. Usually the uniforms have to be sent through the wash cycle twice to get the ground in stuff, mud, blood, whathaveyou, out. A lot of teams choose dark colors, a practical choice after I’ve seen what it takes to wash after a game. Large commercial washers are best. You don’t really want to put all that in your own washing machine; most of them weren’t built for rugby.

Yesterday’s Big Match seemed like the ideal outing. It was going to be nice, in the 70’s at most, partly cloudy, breezy. I found my sneakers and my Barbarians t-shirt. No question, we were taking the dog. Quincy goes to the field with my husband for every practice, runs up and down the field with the team, collapses in the shade and follows John around like shadow. I know the popular dog among the barbaric nowadays is something more ferocious, but our cocker spaniel is loyal to his “boys.” No question, we were taking the dog.

We drove down to Morgan Hill with our travel cups of tea and forbidden donuts. I had my sugar high and crash and by the time I woke up, we were there. I hadn’t been to Morgan Hill in a long time and remembered that was where I had had my first steak quesadilla, still a favorite.

We paid for our parking at the sports complex, grabbed our stuff and jumped out to find our field. We sat at the picnic tables for a little while waiting for the rest of the team to show up and then started towards field B. A young man stopped me.

“You can’t bring your dog in here unless you carry him. We have a policy. No dogs on the grass. It’s either carry him or leave him in the car.” John and I looked at each other, shifted our loads and he picked the bewildered Quincy up. We got to our pitch, found that there were two metal staircases to a trailer office on the sideline and made sure Quincy’s feet never touched the grass. We were a couple of hours early and the boys started to practice.

I should mention that our boys are not just boys. Oh, sure the team is made up of mostly young men built like fighter robots in a sci-fi movie. But then there are a couple of guys you would not call young. Lani and Ben are on the far side of 40 and one guy reminds me of one of my favorite San Francisco Giants’ catchers named Santiago, a guy who could be knocked down and get back up again and again, a guy who looks like he’s made of barbed wire who is past 50. And then there’s Lovina. She’s Lani’s daughter, in high school, and one of the best athletes I’ve met in a long time. She has an incandescent smile and beautiful long hair. She plays too. She knocks the other team on their uniforms so fast they don’t know what hit them.

Just before the game started, another man associated with the field came up to me. “We have a policy about dogs.” “We know,” I smiled. “We carried him in. He won’t touch the grass. And I understand, sir. We have a field too. We have bags and paper towels to clean up if there’s an accident.”

He puffed up and showed himself to be the bully he had hints of being. “You can’t carry that dog!”

OK, I am only 5’1” and of an undisclosed weight and a certain age. Let’s say I’m older and I have more insurance, OK? But I did have the dubious honor of being the arm wrestling champion of the junior high two years in a row and in spite of my obvious physical decline into the uncertain age thing, I can still lift 100 lbs. pretty easily. Jerk, I thought. I thought other uncharitable thoughts. But being blonde can help and I have been accused of having a firm grasp of the obvious.

“My husband can,” I pointed to John who is over six feet tall and not of a willowy nature. The rude man grunted and I explained that the young man at the gate had said we could bring the dog in if we carried him. We carried him. He wasn’t touching the grass. We were good. Mr. Rude was not happy but went away. Other people and their dogs arrived in various modes of transport.

The match started, the running, the yelling, the ruck, the scrum, the goals by the other team. And another employee of the park came up to me. “We have to ask you to remove your dog.”

John turned the videotaping over to Lovina and carried Quincy out. Since it’s cruel to leave your pet or your child in a car if the weather could kill them and since this was the Big Match and since we had driven two hours to get there, John and Quincy sat two fields and several fences away in the picnic area outside the grass while I videotaped with my camera too. Kenny went down a couple of times hard but got back up again. Lani took a tremendous hit from several of the other team’s players simultaneously. It was a hard game.

At half time, I switched places with John, but not before meeting another woman coming to watch the match carrying her fox terrier. They had apparently let her through. I saw other dogs. It looked like the dogs from our team were the ones sitting in the picnic area. It didn’t seem right somehow. I started to steam. I’d paid thousands of dollars to see this team to this point and even if they were losing, it was the championship. I mentioned the other dogs to the management and asked that in the future they make their policy better known to occasional users, like rugby championships. If I had known there was such a policy, we would have left him at home.

They thanked me for being so nice. Apparently they were grateful I didn’t pull a knife on them. Cocker spaniel owners are known for that in the south bay, perhaps. Or maybe it was the word Vallejo on my shirt. I had a knife in my desk drawer at home. Oh, there are some in the kitchen too. I really had little sharper than my wit to pull on them. And I felt that was a waste of time and wit.

Lovina played. The only injury was a concussion on the other team. We scored a kick at least but lost. When the match was over, we headed for the car. I was warming up to the after-match verbal explosion of the things I would have told the rude man if I too had been rude. But Quincy said it all for me. On the sidewalk in front of the parking lot, well outside the fence and the grass, he sniffed a lamp post base rising out of the concrete walk and relieved himself. Not a drop was on the grass.

“Good dog.” I smiled and walked to the car.

Best wishes.

Monday, April 11, 2011

They’re Here … Again

“Oh, good grief!”

I opened Kaye’s passenger side car door, mumbled, “Just a minute!” and huffed and puffed up my front stairs again. I was so much in need of this getaway and yet so unready. Just one more thing it was that I had to bring with me on our Spring Goddess Weekend. Good thing my head was sewn on tight. I apologized to the cats and the dog again for leaving them with my husband for the weekend, not a sad prospect by any means. Mr. Softie is very fond of the furry ones and they often come to snuggle up against, on or around him. But he was away at the San Francisco Giant Opening Day at the Ballpark baseball game, a tradition he is unlikely to break for any reason. I was taking off for the Russian River to meet my friends. Well, I was after I found just one more thing.

Finally in the car, house locked, cats and dog fed and consoled, dressed, packed, repacked and in a dither, we made our way slowly towards the edge of town.


Kaye, so patient with me, asked, “Do want me to turn back?”

“No, just pull into the high school parking lot. No one is here now. Just pop the trunk.” I did not have that visual memory of putting my toothbrush in my overnight bag. I rummaged through the trunk (that’s “boot” to you folks who speak alternative English) and realized that the reason I didn’t have a visual sense of putting it in my overnight bag was that I had put it in a different bag, one that was, at least, also in the trunk. I sighed with relief and a pang of guilt.

We drove a few blocks further and Kaye’s phone rang. You can’t talk on the phone and drive in California any more, not without risking a fine and of course much more importantly your safety. Kaye pulled over again into another strange parking lot and spoke on the phone a while. Then she shook in sobs of what I was soon to find out was relief; her sister’s diagnosis was so much better than they feared. I offered to drive. Kaye declined. We were both good now, Kaye I think much better than I was, having been so recently much worse.

We made it as far as the Sonoma Market, a wonderland of good grocery shopping worth every penny of the slightly higher prices. The deli, the bakery, the cheeses, the fish counter! We zoomed around the store to pick up provisions for the weekend, all the while sure that we would have too much food. We always have too much food. It’s what we do. It’s who we are.

“I forget, Kaye,” I called to her, my grocery cart behind hers as we headed in search of hummus. “Do we still drink wine?”

“Yes,” she laughed over her shoulder. “And we eat meat, too.”

A young man passing us in the aisle snickered. Kaye is younger than I am. I knew she would remember. The Giants won their home opener in extra innings while we were at the checkout counter and I breathed another sigh of relief. My husband would be elated at the win.

“Do you like Pete Seeger?” Kaye asked when we were back in the car, “Or Art Garfunkle?” Both, of course, and we listened to Angel Claire and then sang along with Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie.

     “Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
     Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
     You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
     All they will call you will be "deportees."

As we sang, I watched the vineyards, the oak and laurel woods and coastal hills green with the heavy winter rain.  The crumbling with little landslides had not completely collapsed onto the two-lane winding roads. I began to let go of technology in the specific, letting automotive and MP3 technology lull me to our favorite spring getaway spot with our friends of 20 years or more.

We had just hauled our bags and groceries into the house at the river when Julie arrived, then Ronda, then BG and we all sat at the round oak table, not my new one, but the one in the river house owned by my friends Al and Alice. We snacked on all the forbidden things, the wine, the brie, the chips, the salsa and a couple of token pears to ease our collective conscience. We traded our stories. I cooked the pasta in pesto with shrimp and it turned out all wrong but it tasted all right. We watched Tangled on the DVD player and howled and cried. I squirmed recognizing so much of my mother in Rapunzel’s “adoptive” mother who never, ever, ever wanted Rapunzel to leave the tower. It was midnight all of a sudden and I went to bed. The girls stayed up and talked more. I didn’t mind. I love these free-form weekends we get together, slumber parties for the older who have more insurance.

Ah, I settled into bed with my book A Discovery of Witches. Al and Alice must have gotten a “memory foam” topper for the bed. It was like sinking into comfort. I didn’t read. I turned off the light.

Bounce. What now, I thought. Someone had sat down hard at the bottom of the bed. "I’m sleeping," I mumbled. Two more bounces on that lower left side. Seriously. Another bounce on the end of the bed on the right side, then the bound of someone reclining on the right side next to me. Fine. Whatever. They all know I snore so enter at your own risk, I thought. And then I realized that these weren’t my friends. Well, they weren’t the friends I had intended to spend the weekend with. There were 8 or 10 of them. One of them looked a little like Bella Abzug without her hat. She seemed to be in charge of the “tour.” Another pushed a stroller. And they were upstairs and wanted to talk.

“No. Seriously, people, I’m sleeping. I’m off duty,” I grumbled. I would have put my foot down if I had not been lying down already. “You all have to go away. You’ll scare my friends. They think ghosts are scary, not just annoying or needy or whatever you are. Just go. Make an appointment next time.” I thought I recognized one of the departed members of the Football Pool where I met Al and Alice. They were confused a bit but Bella or whoever she was led them back downstairs. And out. Good grief.

I slept in a bit the next morning, showered, dressed and padded downstairs.

“You’re dressed,” my friends said, suddenly aware that they weren’t ready for the day. They kvetched and cooed and kitchened and changed into casual day clothes.

BG asked around the breakfast table, “Did any of you have a weird night?” She recounted being awakened by someone she didn’t know and kicking the wall beside her bed. I wasn’t going to say anything about the Tour Group but since BG had been disturbed I confirmed it.

“They’re gone now.” Kaye made me check for sure. Suddenly, I was the Knight of Swords, banishing evil, well, not exactly evil, more like uninvited guests. There was no evil there.
Victorian Trade Card Tarot
Now in its 2nd Edition
(c) copyright 2010
Marcia McCord

“Did you look under the beds?”

“No,” I said. “Everyone knows there are monsters under the beds and I don’t want to look at them.” We all laughed.

We discussed going to Armstrong Grove and visiting a friend of BG’s who had a table out at Duncans Mills. Duncans Mills won and the drive there and out to Jenner satisfied our outdoor needs; we stopped a few times for the stunning vistas. We shopped in Jenner and I found a couple of sweaters to take to Readers Studio. I asked the antique dealers if they had old tarot cards; no luck.

We returned to the river house and Ronda cooked her pasta, much better than mine, squash ravioli with walnut cream sauce and another salad. We were stuffed. And then we had Julie’s cupcakes. Oh. My. Goodness. Was chocolate like this even legal?

All the while we chattered at dinner, BG never suspected that some of our scurrying around was that we were getting ready to celebrate her recent milestone birthday with a croning ceremony. We welcomed her to wisdom, pretty sure she had brought some of her own with her, and told BG stories. BG had named the Cecile Brunner rose I had given her “Marcia Cecile.” I had never expected to have a rose namesake, so sweet of her! We made plans for the morning and retreated to bed, this time uninterrupted by visitors.

After our French toast and bacon breakfast a la Julie, we decorated our backpacks for our emergency kits. Japan’s earthquake and tsunami had inspired us to be mindful of preparations for The Big One. We had a long list of good ideas for things you will wish you had in an emergency, even a small one, and had exchanged gifts the night before. But that morning it was all about the bling: the fabric paint, the sequins and the personalized stickers. Fabulous, dah-ling!

I read everyone’s cards, even my own with Kaye giving her learner’s permit interpretations (and not too shabby, either) using my Art Postcard Tarot. We zoomed through the house like five tornadoes, dishes, laundry, trash, packing, closing, latching, settings, double-checking. And we left for home, humming the songs we had listened to and shrieked at the tops of our lungs in the woods, happy to be blessed with yet another spring of friendship.

*** *** ***

And guess what else is here? The Tea Tarot, the 2nd Edition of the Picture Postcard Tarot and the 2nd Edition of the Victorian Trade Card Tarot. Available now! Click on the link on the right just under that yellow bird, easy to find; it’s the one called Tarot Decks.

Best wishes!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Coffee with Chip


I turned toward what I expected was a nearby playground as my husband and I were trudging up a San Francisco hill. I thought I had heard a child call my name but shook it off. It didn’t happen again and we were only half a block from the Queen Anne Hotel. At the time, I was convinced it was a vertical block. At least I had worn the right shoes. You have to have the right shoes in San Francisco.

This was my big treat after a dreadful week at work, battling the dragons of misunderstood requirements, bad data, numbers that did or didn’t add up and one annoying typo that I can fix later at least. It had been days of long hours to right a wrong that crept into one of the computer systems and get it done in time for the end of quarter processing. And I made it. My rewards were a hum-dinger of a stiff neck that flowed like broken glass down across the top of my shoulder and of course my delicious evening with Chip Coffey as a “Super VIP.”

Based in Atlanta now, Chip is a famous psychic who has appeared on Paranormal State and Psychic Kids. I especially love his work with psychic kids and their parents to help them reconcile the sometimes scary world of experiencing things that others do not with everyday living. Chip has been called a cross between John Edwards and Dr. Phil for his tell-it-like-it-is way of dealing with paranormal phenomena and psychic sensitivies. He is at once humble and flamboyant, feisty and caring.

I had written him a quick note once to say how I admired his work with young people coming to grips with their psychic tendencies. While my mother never specifically discouraged me from what I did and was curiously accepting of my studies and card reading despite her own personal devotion to Doubting Thomas and believing in nothing she could not see and touch, it was clear that this was one of the Topics Never to Be Discussed. So we didn’t, of course. Her only comment had been, “Well, your great-great-grandmother was a gypsy, after all,” as if that explained anything. She considered it in the category of Not Yet Proven, where she also put all things religious, the relative fashion value of the color beige and the existence of extra-terrestrial life.

Luckily, when I was 15 I had met an elderly psychic, a volunteer at the hospital where I also volunteered. I was also lucky that in spite of all the possibilities, I actually had never been afraid of any of the encounters I had had as a child. I thought they were all normal in my earliest years, then realized other people didn’t experience those things. And like so many things in my family dynamic, we just didn’t talk about it. It was so refreshing to meet one kind person who understood, however. Even though we talked only a few times, I held onto that example to anchor me when things became turbulent or even downright freaky.

Chip’s Psychic Kids went a step further. Not only did he and Edy, the psychologist who worked with him on the show, help to make the kids feel good about being themselves and calm down enough to be able to distinguish startling or annoying encounters from those truly frightening. They also helped those kids speak openly with their parents about what it was like living in a world where most other people didn’t get all that extra information. Interesting to me was the realization that, in my own life, my “crisis” about being this way, even a little, was completely intertwined with my age. My own abilities seemed to accelerate when I was in my teen years, just at the time when kids all want to look alike and be accepted. The kids on Psychic Kids were all in the throes of that, and so while the show was about psychic kids, it had the universal appeal of trying to be yourself and fit in with everyone else at the same time, the essence of teenage angst.

After pulling my husband away from what surely must have been a fascinating real estate sign across the street from the Queen Anne Hotel, we puffed in, got our badges and slid into our seats in the last row of the Super VIP section. We had made a lovely evening of it so far, dinner in Japantown and a miraculous 15-minute massage by a diligent girl with strong hands and bad teeth, resolving my pain in the neck for the evening (best $15 I had spent all week). And now we were ready for the Big Event.

Chip’s Coffey Talks are a part of a multi-city tour that sounds like an exhausting schedule. Tickets are still available (see the link at the bottom) for other cities. With him at the Queen Anne were two of the kids and their mothers from Psychic Kids. They talked about their experiences on the show and how their relationships have improved. Chip took some questions from the crowd and I got a chance to ask my question.

I wanted to know if, in his work with psychologists and psychic people, not just kids, he had found a strong correlation between those with psychic abilities expressed and those reporting a curiosity called “synesthesia.” You can look that big word up in Wikipedia for a lot more information, but basically it means that your senses blend so that numbers have colors, shapes have smells and all those things that the more mystical discussions of the “music of the spheres” and numerology talk about. There are several different reported types of synesthesia and I have three of them. The empirical ear, for instance my mother and Doubting Thomas, would say that a statement like “smelling something angry coming” was utterly nonsensical. But that kind of statement seems to make utter sense to the synesthetes like me who get information in ways that, well, often defy description.

Chip was fun about answering my question and said that the answer he would give was to read his book which is coming out later this year. We think the title may be Growing Up Psychic but it’s not official yet. Then, I think to make sure that his answer wasn’t flippant or just plain unresponsive, he looked over his shoulder before completely moving on to the next question and said, “Read my book, but, yes, there is a correlation.” We had a break, grabbed a cup of coffee to stay up past my usual bedtime and resumed. He did a satisfyingly long series of readings for people in the audience.

My husband nudged me, “Hold up your hand.” I looked at him and he looked back. “Oh, right,” he whispered. “You talk with your mom all the time.” I smiled and nodded. I wanted others to have their chance. I talk with my mom, my dad, his mom, lots of people I never knew in life. Really. It’s OK. So far the only really weird thing is that house in Cincinnati I keep dreaming about. Maybe I’ll get a personal reading from Chip on that through his website.

One of the few things that disappointed me in the event was that Chip himself seemed angry. But it was with good reason. One of the reasons Psychic Kids is not being renewed for another season is that someone somewhere, not in the audience, accused him of exploiting the kids. Chip is bitterly hurt by this. I don’t blame him. To his point, accuse him of murder and he becomes a celebrity even if he did it; accuse him of hurting kids and he becomes a pariah even if he didn’t do it. And, by the way, he didn't. So what was disappointing about that, besides the fact that someone had accused him when my sense is that he clearly just wants to help people of any age come out of the “psychic closet,” is that Chip’s own defenses were up. There was a lot of energy in the room and Chip was well-prepared. His own psychic defenses were up “wall to wall and ten feet tall” as the CB-radio jargon goes. I wanted to see the relaxed Chip, unfortified. But I understand.

The only other thing that was really disappointing was the woman who, even after Chip threatened to throw her out of the show, continued to text message with her friend during the entire thing. Ha-rumph! Manners, people, manners!

Our evening ended for the Super VIP’s getting a little easy try at communicating with the Senator who built the building that is now the Queen Anne Hotel and the headmistress who ran the girls school there before it was a hotel. It’s the cheapest ghost-hunter tool on the market, a mini-Maglite with the back cap unscrewed just to the point where there is no light, no electrical connection to the battery. And Chip asked questions. And a few times, the light came on. We weren’t sure we were getting either the Senator or the headmistress, but it was indeed a fun way to end the evening.

Best wishes.

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Coffey Talk Tour: