Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The whales said to say hello! My friends and I saw them on their travels south past the California coast this weekend. Puff! Puff! Puff! Sound. When whales go by, they seem purposeful and thereby happier. It may be my imagining but I like the thought. They are in charge of their journey. I waved to the travelers out in the Pacific, beyond the roll line, beyond the rocks and almost to the horizon. Puff! Nothing else looks like that.

This past weekend my friends and I traveled to Ft. Bragg, California to a house Kaye had found and Ronda had rented for us. Kaye and I carpooled and met B. G. to take her SUV for the last leg of the trip. We agreed to listen to Team of Rivals after hearing B. G.’s review about Mary Todd Lincoln’s mental state of being either “in the basement” or “in the attic.” It sounded familiar. We all understood the idea of burning our candle at both ends, the Ace of Wands of new inspirations which can sometimes seem like the match that set the barn on fire. 
Tea Tarot
(c) Copyright 2011 Marcia McCord

After all, that’s why we have these “Goddess Weekends,” because we all need respite from the “barn on fire” thing that is modern life. We talked and never listened to the book on tape, interrupting Mary’s basement and attic for more recent history as the miles rolled by. It was still light when we arrived at the luxury house on the rocky cliffs on the south side of the California coastal town of Ft. Bragg.

Ft. Bragg has long been one of my favorite easy getaways. My husband and I have often gone there even when the weather was raw and loved it. But our Goddess Weekend met its promise for glorious October sunshine. The house! There were slate floors throughout, skylights and a wall of windows making the most of the ocean view. We had a hot tub, a fireplace and beach access. We were prepared: Little did Julie know that we had plotted celebration for her. And Kaye brought her telescope. We were rewarded with a moonless night and plenty of stars.

Telescopes sure have changed. Kaye’s new baby is a lot like a lightweight red tuba on a football tee. I pointed it at the bright thing in the southeastern skies.

“Look! You can see planets,” we were properly amazed. “Think we can stay up late enough to see the meteor shower?” The Orionids were due to light up the sky. What could be better? The Milky Way ablaze over rocky ocean cliffs and waves below, plus a light show!

It’s our 19th year of getting together. Essentially we all know each other through Ronda. I happen to be the “newbie” since I met Ronda only in 1990. I was there for the initial weekend. It was the weekend Polly Klaas was taken from her bedroom window in nearby Petaluma, an unthinkable crime against innocence. Ever since then, our weekends together, now twice a year, have been dedicated to Polly. It is our candle in the darkness.

But the course of true relaxation never runs smooth and this year, to my barely suppressed annoyance, I was the Drama Queen. True, not everything that happened was about me. I can be grateful for that. Ronda’s dog Sofie expressed her upset tummy in a sudden way that was quickly cleaned up. Sofie’s a very gentle soul and we would never want her to feel like she was a bad doggie for a bit of personal business. We had sandwiches for dinner, told our stories and huddled around the fireplace while we listened to the ocean’s roar. We retired in comfort to our separate bunks, but then Ronda and I sneaked out to see if we could catch a meteor. In the quiet of the night and in our bare feet and pajamas we were rewarded with a single streaking blaze from Orion’s belt parallel with his sword. Satisfied with tagging our meteor, we retreated to slumber but not before I took a last longing look at the starlit beach and rolling waves which, with each roll glowed with churned bioluminescence. The response of nature to nature is to glow.

“Marcia, I heard you last night.” This is a recurring theme. As if I can control my snoring when I’m asleep! I had offered everyone hot pink foam earplugs the night before. Everyone had giggled but left their earplugs behind. Hey, both my parents were champion snorers. And I snored when I was a size 2 for those of you who think fluffy people snore more. It’s the slack jaw and sloppy soft palate, folks. Think of it as the musical accompaniment to the night.

B. G. made a de-lish couple of breakfast quiches with fruit and we were ready to start the day. Almost. I realized as I had gone to take my morning prescriptions that my blood pressure medicine was not in my bag. That rattle when Kaye had hit the brakes for a surprise stop must have sent them flying under the seat of her car, the car that we left in Ronda’s driveway when we consolidated to carpool. Now I had to figure out how to get a couple of tide-me-overs for the weekend. Fortunately, both my insurance and the local CVS pharmacy were willing, although it took hours to pull it off. And we got a chance to sneak a little shopping into mix. I snagged a couple of African market baskets (to put tarot cards in, of course) and some beads that looked like beach glass for a project I have in mind. It was a modest splurge as they go.

On the way back, we practiced our special song for Julie’s celebration while Julie rode with Ronda and Sofie. We continued in the acoustics of the vaulted ceilings in the living room of our luxury beach house, perfecting our harmonies, tweaking our arrangement while the guest of honor was delayed at Harvest Market. Julie was in charge of dinner and served us an Italian meatball soup worth writing home about. (Read: John, this is what your “snot soup” wants to be when it grows up, seriously.)

We held our celebration for Julie’s croning without setting ourselves and the house on fire, reading our poems and singing our songs. Julie is wise and drop-dead gorgeous, with an enormous heart in that well-tended body. She is a Big Sister to a little girl whose life seems to be turning a corner. She is a woman who Makes a Difference. We think that’s what Polly might have wanted.

I read tarot for everyone and we discussed the serious topics the cards nudged us into, life, love, work, health, home, future. Half the ladies landed in the hot tub for a midnight soak in the cool night air. I changed into my jammies and wandered out to say good night and salute the Milky Way once more. And then I discovered I had locked myself out of my bedroom, the bedroom for which there was no key, the bedroom where my glasses, my prescriptions, my book, my clothes, my tarot cards, fer goodness’ sake, were safe from every creature save a bug that could clear the doorsweep. Tired, we looked for a key, useless as it was. We attempted picking the lock and even Googled lockpicking, hairpin in hand. No luck. I gave up and called the housekeeper who promised to come the next day at 8 am. I sank into the couch with more waves against the sand, more reports of snoring the next morning.

Does trouble have to come in threes? Or fours? Or all at once? We realized we wanted to tidy up for the housekeeper’s arrival and there they were. The pumpkins Julie had selected and hollowed out for us to carve as jack-o’-lanterns had collapsed in an ooze of mold from the heat of the fireplace. The remains dispatched to the yard waste bin, I broke the news to Julie.

“The pumpkins died.”


“Died. Really dead. Ooshy-squishy dead. Runny puddles dead. They are pumpkin roadkill.”

Housekeeper Alma, good soul, arrived, unlocked and I was rescued again. Kaye and I made breakfast, bacon and French toast, something none of us would ever eat ordinarily. We cleaned obsessively and all at once it ended.

We’re thinking Hawaii in 2013. It seems like a good place to visit after the end of the world, Mayan time. We’ll light another candle for Polly. And for all of us.

Best wishes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mouse on the Moon

“Can my friends and I eat our lunch in your yard?” Andrew asked. He had been helping them move and they were looking for a quiet spot. I was still in the midst of my workday and was happy to give them shelter.

“OK, but tell them nobody gets to smoke anything in my yard or my house, got it?” Hey, you guys put two and two together and come up with five, ok? Asthma plus liability equals house rules. “And don’t let the cat out. You know how she is.” Alice has been going on adventures lately. We talked her out of the street this weekend. Apparently she didn’t get the word that she’s a housecat. When you’re an 18.5 lb cat, you figure you have superpowers and your name is Adventure Kitty or something. I think she’s downstairs making her Halloween costume right now.

“Oh, and my friends are bringing their mouse.”

Aw, how cute, I thought. Maybe I can meet the mouse before the cats do. If it has eyes, a wiggly nose and a reasonable disposition, I probably like it. I’ve been a “Squee” person since I was a baby, before anyone realized I Can Has Cheezburger. Work was pretty intense that day so it seemed late when I walked downstairs for a break.

My guests were still resting at the table on the patio playing a game I didn’t recognize, something with large numbers lined up, something that didn’t appear to involve gambling, hard feelings or anything other than idle recreation. There on my paint-flaked bench was a cage. We introduced ourselves.

“Her name is Velvet,” my new friends indicated toward the cage. Velvet clambered up the cage side and sniffed at me hopefully.

“Velvet is a rat, Andrew, not a mouse.” I tickled her nose. She is a lovely rat too, rats being loveliest when they are tame and in their cages. I've encountered the wilder kind too.

I had had a pet rat as a child, uncreatively named Rat-a-Tat for machine gun fire, representing my brother’s love of guns and warfare. Rat-a-Tat was a fashionable black and white, front half black, back half white. Velvet is all dark with pink nose and toes. She’s a dainty thing with a taste for fashion as it turns out.

“Don’t sit close to the cage because she will chew your clothes,” her loving owners cautioned. Having had a few rodent-chewed textiles, notably one really nice afghan that John’s sister crocheted, I wasn’t surprised. I sat on the bench with a prudent space between myself and Velvet’s nibble range.

“Velvet want a leaf?” I offered a crunchy magnolia leaf to Miss Nibbles who happily took it to her ratnest and crunched with vigor. We talked for a few minutes. Velvet came back for further possibilities, obviously comfortable with human companionship. Alice pawed at the glass door from inside the house. I bent to pull a sprig of grass and gave it to Velvet. She was happy with the gift and snacked away. We talked a while, then break time was over for me and I had to get back to my own personal hamster wheel. “Money makes the world go ‘round…” played in my head.
Tea Tarot
(c) Copyright 2011 Marcia McCord

It was a small gesture, to play hostess to a well-mannered rat and her friends. It provided a moment of stability at a crazy time. Amparo, meaning shelter, comes to mind. It was the name of a waitress friend of mine in Southern California, her good service being a small refuge from the workaday world. I was able to provide the 4 of Wands hospitality in some small way, if only a little shade from the sun, a fence to shield from the wind, a quiet spot to sit and relax without interruption.

Echoing the rodent theme, a news story popped up into my consciousness that there’s an unusual population explosion of non-native mice out at the Farallones. A two-and-a-half hour boat trip from San Francisco, this bit of rocky outcropping is for the birds—literally—and in the 1800’s was the target of egg snatchers trying to feed the hungry mob that was the booming of the Northern California coast. John and I took a fall whale-watching tour there one fabulous afternoon and saw the birds: storm-petrels, puffins and murres. How the mice got there, I have to wonder. I like to imagine they drive their tiny boats in the night past the border patrol but I have a feeling that they hitched a ride one way or another. This year’s population of mousies on the Farallones has exploded to something like 50 times the standard rate for an official rating of “a lot of mice.” Where there are mice, there are owls and a few owls have whooshed out to what must be like owl heaven. Of course, owls like to eat pretty much anything that’s the right size and flavor, so when the mice population drops, the owls stay for the endangered other birds, like storm-petrels. Owl heaven turns into Paradise Lost because mouse is apparently the perfect food and storm-petrels, well, aren’t. So, the owls, thinking they must still be onto a good thing, stay too long and they start starving. People blame the mice.

So now they are trying to figure out how to get rid of the mice without getting rid of everything else. Why would we spend money on this? Because little stuff turns into big stuff, important stuff, stuff that affects humans and their way of life and at that point the people who don’t care about mice and birds and some rocks out in the Pacific will start to notice and wonder why someone didn’t DO something. 
Fav Squee Mouse Photo

In order to understand things more easily, we separate them in our minds and analyze them a piece at a time. But we constantly forget that we are all part of one gi-normous system called probably inappropriately with the latest findings and theories of astrophysicians The Universe, not separate little universes. We’re like bad children, all of us, taking apart the alarm clock to see how it works then leaving it there on the bed for the cat to bat parts under the dresser, never putting it back together again so it will function. Then someone doesn’t wake up in time for something important and everyone’s in trouble, especially the cat. What do we do about this cat problem, we wonder?

It’s pretty clear to everyone lately that the mice rebel every once in a while, too. The current Occupy movement, which has put together a diverse set of characters no doubt, is working to show that Big Predators may be able to ignore one squeaker here and there but in chorus, the mice put up a pretty big racket. Listen closely. They might actually be saying something.

Tiring of the role of mice-as-pests which feed relentlessly on the hard-earned stores of grain, the Other Percenters are putting a human face on economic issues. It’s hard for me to think of my life and existence as being a drain on the harried wealthy. After all, I’ve done what they told me I had to do, pulled myself up by my bootstraps, succeeded despite the fatal flaws of being female and nowhere near Ivy League material. I took advantage of the opportunities for education around me, opportunities which for the most part don’t exist now due to the relative cost of education. I used my dull-razor brain with no advice from any mentor or sponsor and figured out how to educate, then re-educate myself so that I was employable at a level that allowed me to purchase a house on my own salary, in spite of the misgivings of the misogynist bankers in that town long ago and far away.

“Just because you made all A’s in all your classes,” the banker explained to me patiently while reviewing my loan request, “what makes you think you’ll be successful in your work?” Wow, maybe because bone-headed guys like you make me so mad I could spit and I have a happy talent for turning that anger into something productive for myself and others. The jerk finally accepted my loan application after calling my father and securing Daddy’s unwritten promise to help me out if I slipped on my payments.

Mouse hater, I say. The guy hates mice and yet insists that they stay mice. Pretty soon, like the Farallones, will the entire infrastructure be threatened? Will they say, what do we do about the mouse problem? Have they leaned too close to the cage so that we’ve nibbled on the cashmere sweater? Will even the wise old owls be threatened, those who fly silently whose perfect food is mouse?

This is no new story. I thought of Frank Herbert’s Dune and his hero Paul Atreides a/k/a Muad’Dib, the Mouse on the Moon. We are just as prone now as ever to need “…Frank Herbert's warning about society's tendencies to ‘give over every decision-making capacity’ to a charismatic leader. He said in 1979, ‘The bottom line of the Dune trilogy is: beware of heroes. Much better rely on your own judgment, and your own mistakes.’” And what fun! Here’s an Occupy poster, typo included, with that very allusion circulating on Facebook today.

The Occupy’s detractors say the message is diffused so it is bound to fail. Today’s mice read though. Will a hero arise among us? Or are we truly stronger being the diverse individuals we are with the illusion of separateness always before us. After all, if we can send a mouse to the moon, why not Wall Street? And will they blame the mice again?

Best wishes.


Quote from Wikipedia:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thanks, Steve

As I sit here during Day 2 of a long software implementation, I remember that I have Steve Jobs to thank for this. A long time ago when I still wore short dresses and high heels, my first job out of college was as a legal secretary. Four years of college to become an English teacher and the job I landed paying 50% more than the nearest teaching job was one that required my high school typing class and my solid Catholic grade school grammar. But the senior partner was a quirky guy named Troy who was trying to get an Apple computer to drive an IBM typewriter. This could be fun.

He and one of his clients had this contraption set up in the little law library at the back of the offices. Troy’s wife Jeannie refused to have anything to do with it, seeing only money being flushed away on expensive gadgets with no new money floating in. Office managers have to think that way. And Troy’s favorite legal secretary Sue likewise declined the opportunity to dip a toe into what felt at the time like science fiction. I was the new kid and basically it was my job to do what Jeannie and Sue didn’t want to do. But it paid so much better than the teaching job I had worked so hard to qualify for.

Even before I went back to college to get a second bachelor’s degree in computer science, I was pretty sure that Apples and IBM’s had just enough of a different philosophy to make this marriage a rocky one. The three of us however tinkered away like mad scientists, interrupted from time to time by real legal work and Jeannie’s increased annoyance at kids playing with toys.

Needless to say, Troy, his friend and I did not become famous for the invention. It worked, in a way, but really was better at proving a concept than being a practical solution. It did serve, however, to pave the way for my later career as a programmer, then database analyst, then the long dark years in technology management and finally emerging as an analyst in my present job. It gave me the “tab A, slot B” background for understanding the inner mysteries of Computer Magic and it also gave me the confidence to know that the machine is only as smart as you tell it to be. As a programmer and DBA I later gained an appreciation for Divine Intervention in the world of computers, but for the most part there was comfort in the binary “it’s either on or it’s off” simplicity of the computational life.

Naturally, it’s not that simple any more. The more stuff you plug into the chain of things between your question and the answer you’re looking for on a computer, the more complex that simplicity has become. I laugh just as hard as you do (or not) at the promise we made to unsuspecting non-techies that computers were going to make our lives easier. I laugh every time one of the cats walks across my husband’s laptop and hits the little setting that disconnects him from the network. I laugh when he roars and whines that his computer is broken. I laugh when I walk into his office and reach forward with one finger, like a magic wand, to press the one little button that solves his problem while he glares at me in disgust and disbelief. Magicians aren’t always appreciated, Mr. Jobs. I’ll bet you learned that too. Maybe we shouldn’t laugh when we do these things. But sometimes it’s funny.
Tea Tarot
(c) Copyright 2011 Marcia McCord

“See that little blue light-y thingee?” I ask in my best Goon-techno-speak. He’s a people person, not a computer person. “You’re gonna wanna make sure that stays blue and if it doesn’t, just touch it with your finger.” This bit of wizardry repeats itself because it is repeatedly lost. I find he doesn’t hear as well when he’s at his wits’ end. I’m pretty sure I have the same trait so I don’t actually mind.

Of course, I’m really only on the fringe of being a real geek. Oh, once, a long time ago in an Illinois far, far away, I lived in the belly of the beast. I worked for a major Midwest insurance company who at the time loved its technical people. You got a rose on your birthday. You could pick your Christmas present from the company out of a catalog. The company had a private park with tennis courts, a small lake, volleyball courts, picnic areas and golf course. I traveled to exotic places like Hartford, Connecticut and Chicago for more intense IBM training, only to learn, like much of life, that if you clean up after yourself once in a while and vacuum out the dust-bunnies, your household and your computer both seem to run more smoothly. In turn for these marvelous perks, I pulled so many all-nighters recovering databases that the IBM guys thought I might have the most experience of anyone they knew performing that little task. They quickly figured out how to automate it with tools and so my dubious glory was short-lived. I think my record was 43 full forward recoveries on the Big Iron. By then I was a long way from Steve Jobs’ idea of computing accessibility to mere mortals.

And then there was the dirty little secret. While I loved computer fire-fighting and had branched out into what I thought of as “preventative design” to keep others’ really good ideas from going horribly wrong with one little oops, I became bored. Bored! How could I be so ungrateful? The career that more than doubled my salary a couple of times became routine. I could recover mainframe databases in my sleep. Well, I kind of had to because most of the time it was over night so that the business day wasn’t interrupted.

I realized that I could concentrate on customer service, which I loved, or “chase” technology and continue to keep up with whatever the latest sexy trend in languages and hardware and database design caught the fancy of the gizmo guys. I loved all that relational vs. hierarchical debate and how far to go with normalizing data. But I wanted it to work, you know? I wanted it to be useful, to make people’s lives better. It wasn’t just a toy to fiddle with in the law library.

So I gave up trying to be the latest in techno-fashion and concentrated on the folly of trying to make customers happy. Ever after I have spent a lifetime of being misunderstood by my bosses, slugged by the “patients” while packing them into the ambulance and attempting to translate technical terms into something that makes sense to people who have better things to do than try to understand what a dad-blasted machine is thinking.

Here’s just a little tip for people hoping to make a career out of technology and customer service: Please, whatever you do, limit your expectations of gratitude from those you are saving. The Magician is so often considered a trickster, a liar, a showman, and a thief by his admirers. Somehow, it never occurs to many people who are your loving customer base that if you have an ability you might choose to use it for good even if you had the opportunity to do otherwise. You may spend a lifetime being needed but never trusted fully. You must remember that a Magician is no one without his audience and you need them as much as they need you. That’s the good news and the bad news.

For that, I’m happy we had a Jobs. RIP, Steve.

Best wishes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Are You Reading?

Of course, I’m reading Tarot! I get asked what deck I am reading with or what books I would recommend and I thought, although my blog is not book-and-deck review themed, I’d share a few things that have come across my desk.

Derek who cleans my house says that things that come across my desk must have Velcro on them somewhere. He teases me about burning my decks and books, selling it all and starting over and other things that seem unconscionable to me. Sometimes Derek wins our little debates, but not this one. That doesn’t stop him from trying.

When I’m on Twitter (@MarciaMcCord), I do a daily tarot card draw I call Card du Jour. Usually, I use my little Pocket Universal Waite Tarot deck for that draw. I like it for clarity but I also like it for size. If you saw my desk you’d know that size matters and generally the smaller the better. There’s a lot to compete with. The Pocket UW is as “RWS clone” as they get with Pamela Colman Smith’s line images recolored in soft shades by Mary Hanson-Roberts published by U.S. Games and easily available.

When I do a reading for a client, I use a variety of decks. I don’t like to use the same one all the time because I don’t want to become so accustomed to the images that I fall into the same patterns. I like my own decks to read with and have been reading with my Art Postcard Tarot lately. I also love some other decks to read with, especially Kat Black’s Touchstone Tarot. This collage deck is taken from portraits of real Renaissance people like Mary Tudor, Jane Seymour, Christina of Denmark, Erasmus, the vivacious Marchesa Brigida Spinola-Doria, playwright and spy Kit Marlowe, and the dashing Jude Law look-alike William of Orange. These are real people whose real expressions blaze through paper and ink. I think this deck is excellent for relationship readings. Beyond that, the booklet describing each card and where the images originate is a riveting read in itself.

With all the denying that I’m a birder that I’ve done here, it’s no surprise that I recently picked up a Tarot deck called The Secret Language of Birds. It’s a large deck with a large box and a Druid theme (Order of Bards, Orates and Druids). Birds and their behaviors either individually or in flocks were considered omens in ancient times and even into the modern day. Consider the children’s rhyme Counting Crows:

Counting Rhyme (from The Folklore of Birds, by Laura C. Martin, 1993)

One for sorrow, two for mirth,

Three for a wedding, four for a birth,

Five for silver, six for gold,

Seven for a secret not to be told.

Eight for heaven, nine for hell,

And ten for the devil's own sel'.

As with the Touchstone, the booklet for Birds has a wealth of lore and reference, such as the introduction’s quote from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:

“How do you know

but every bird

that cuts the airy way

is an immense world of delight

closed to your senses five?”

Speaking of William Blake, I picked up a heavily discounted copy of The Portable Blake at one of my favorite haunts, Pegasus Books on Solano Avenue in Berkeley. I like Blake, always have. He was one “out there”guy. I like so many of the images he wrote and painted, like “I was in a Printing house in Hell…” and “’we impose on one another, & it is but lost time to converse with you whose works are only Analytics’” and “I see Past, Present & Future existing all at once / Before me….” Ah, Bill, what big eyes you had.

I’ve just started to dive into Marcus Katz' Tarosophy: Tarot to Engage Life, Not Escape It. One of my Tarot buddies said this was, at last, the tarot book they had been looking for. Marcus covers the practical (Difficult Clients and Querents) and the esoteric. A note for Ugly Americans: Do try to get past the fact that Marcus is after all from England and uses the word “whilst” and other noises foreign to our U.S. nano-adapted ears. If you want to read Twitter-ese, go to Twitter and LOL to your hearts’ content.

And whilst I’m in England, I’m having a delicious dive into The Book of English Magic. Arguably the best wizardry has its roots in England, even if transplanted from Norse, Saxons and Romans. Merlin, runes, holy wells, dowsing, henges and barrows, cups and spears, herbal recipes for the cure of elf afflictions, The Golden Dawn, Tolkien’s Middle Earth, T. H. White’s “remastering” of the Arthurian tales, plus short essays from experts in special topics fill this thick grey book that feels like a fairytale collection, especially if you can’t quite trust the fairies to do what you think is the nice thing. And I’ve only just started this book! This treat is on my bedside table like a box of chocolate mint candies.  It's worth a read and a re-read.

My friend Beth Seilonen’s Tarot Leaves are starting to show up in the mailboxes of the ardent pre-orderers. That includes me! I have two copies of the deck now, one to use and one to keep. I have many but not all of Beth’s hand-crafted decks also including one original art set of majors she made just for me with owls. I use them in readings for clients only occasionally, only because these babies are little works of art. It’s not enough to say that Beth self-publishes. They really are hand-crafted. Tarot Leaves is her first commercially published deck and I love what Schiffer has done with it. The box and presentation enhance the deck without overpowering the images of leaves and images within leaves and images within images that Beth is known for. Using simple lines and “comfort” colors, this little walk in the woods has an eerie music track playing in the background. There is the surface of things; then there is deeper. This deck is a treat for tarot collectors and those who want something both tangible and mystical, that tenuous thread between this world and The Other. I’m looking forward to reading with this deck.

Just in case I didn't have enough to read, I went into San Francisco an hour early to browse the tall, tall shelves of Fields Bookstore. I nosed through section after section, drooled at the locked case of rare and antiquarian books and finally settled on a couple of books on the kabbalah, something I could learn more about.  Heidi and I had a laugh at the checkout when she "tried" to charge me too little for my two books.  Good to know I can still read upside down and that I can also tell that 44 and 22 do not add up to 46!  When I told her I was on my way to Thalassa's class, she sent her good wishes.  That class ended up being a real tarot experience.  I'll save that for another time!

However, I will put in a plug for the Jay'n Bee Club in the Mission in San Francisco. What a terrific spot for a post-class debriefing with thin, thin crust pizza (sausage and mushroom, yum), perhaps the best in the City, and tall, tall margaritas. Plural.  This is a place to solve the problems of the world. And get a designated driver.

Don't bring your books there.  Besides reading the crawl lines on Facebook (“They Changed It Again”) and Twitter, I’m also reading Tarot in Benicia, California at Benicia Main Street’s Sorcerer’s Saturday: “Saturday, October 15th, 12 - 5 p.m. Join in this family-friendly celebration of Sorcerers, Witches and Warlocks! The day will welcome the magic and mystery of October with vendors, activities and special brews for adults!” I’ll be down at the end of First Street in the parking lot of the Old Depot Building. There is usually plenty of parking. Same low rates: $20 for 30 minutes.

So, what are YOU reading?  Let me know in the comments below.  Be sure to check out these books, decks, Fields Bookstore, Thalassa's Special Topics and the Sorcerer’s Saturday. Best wishes!