This week saw two more of my comrades turn the corner into their seventh decade. One of my besties did it halfway around the world in Capetown, the other, closer in Burbank, with festivities at a little Mexican restaurant in Toluca Lake.

The Capetown Celebration took place at the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden. Because I wasn’t there, I don’t have a picture of the birthday girl, just this beautiful greensward.
The Burbank celebration took place at Cascabel in Toluca Lake where the birthday boy avoided near immolation by the sparkler on his cake.

In addition to serenading the plethora of friends who are having milestone birthdays, I’ve found myself singing the Happy Birthday song a lot, usually twice back to back, as I lather my hands with a frequency unkind to my skin, but to practice the current protocols avoiding coronavirus. At last check, there were a few cases in the state, none close to us in Los Angeles. I cross my freshly scrubbed fingers as I write this.

Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed “the coronavirus is the common cold” and argued that the Democratic Party “poses a far greater threat” to the country than the virus does. 

Eliza Reisman, Feb. 27, 2020, Business Insider

Jeesh. Presidential medal winner. We have to get this right in November before DT awards Rudy Giuliani with his own Presidential Medal. Watching the field of Democratic Presidential candidates narrow- today saw Mayor Pete Buttigieg drop out – and following the fervent conversations about the appropriate candidate to vote for, leaves me with a rueful feeling that I may have thrown away my vote by voting my heart and voting early. Add the alarm of the novel coronavirus to the news front and it’s enough to send one into a complete tailspin. I spoke with my Dad yesterday and he was glued to the bad news monitor, aka the TV. I’ve decided I won’t turn it on these days. Not just because I’m never home, but because I just can’t go down the path of relentless bad news without coming out completely desperate for a cookie or six. Six is the number of cookies the state of the world engenders my desire for these days.

So to distract myself from both the television and the cookie jar, I’ve been reading the great Anne Lamott’s book about writing, certainly my favorite book on the subject to date, Bird by Bird.

I love her sensible and quirky instructions about how to get down to the act of writing and as you can see from this post, I’ve embraced fully the idea of “Shitty First Drafts.”

I’ve also been looking for synchronicities in my life, at the direction of my coach. One such synchronicity came this morning when I opened the Los Angeles Times and read the horoscope. I know it’s because I only get the paper two days a week that I really enjoy reading the horoscope, but today’s seemed important. I used to drive my teenage son crazy by reading him his horoscope. In spite of having been born under the sign of Virgo, he insisted he was a Leo. Come to think of it, I’ve never met anyone less Virgo-like than he, so I guess his instincts were reliable. But it would drive him mad when I read the horoscope to him. And of course, I had to read both Leo and Virgo so he could pick the one that best suited him.

Today’s horoscope:

Capricorn: You are now ready to wake up to something hidden in your psyche that you’ve long ignored. Relationships bring both joy and sorrow, but you benefit so much from them that you’re even happy for the sorrow.

Los Angeles Times Horoscope by Holiday Mathis

Well that rings a little too true. I’ve indeed benefited so much from my relationships of late, and have taken so much solace from my friends around the loss of important people in our circles. And around the celebrations of life, the milestone birthdays.

After reading my horoscope, I’ve been peering at myself to see what it is that I’ve been hiding in my psyche. I imagine that hiding things in your psyche must be a little like throwing things into the back of your closet – the floor is scattered with shoes. And now, my husband’s side of the closet is filled with earthquake supplies because that’s what his loss made me think of – the next catastrophe. And because I’m a Capricorn. Finding one’s psyche in the midst of boxes of MREs and water is a challenge. So instead, off I went to work.

I started around noon by playing costume fairy, going around to two of our three theaters to gather costumes whose demise I’d learned about from our stage managers’ thorough reports. Fortunately for me, one of our faculty was in the costume shop prepping the costumes for her play which begins dress rehearsals tomorrow night, so she was able to replace a zipper and repair the jagged tear in one of the actors’ pants. Have I been ignoring the fact that I actually hunger to learn how to do sewing and repairing costumes? I don’t think so, but while I was in the shop, I caught one of our freshman BFA Designers doing a bang up job on some masks for the BFA Juniors for Camino Real.

Tanner Jackson making beautiful masks at the direction of Costume Designer Joey Skinner.

Another synchronicity (read creepy AI thing) was tonight, I popped over to FaceBook and discovered in the side marketplace column on my page, a White Superlock Serger Machine. I guess my hidden psyche really wants to sew……

Sew….curtains for the lake house, maybe? I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time browsing on I’ve always spent a little time on retail therapy online, filling my cart with cute clothes, and then just closing the window before checking out. So satisfying to pick the size and color of the ensemble, then close the browser window. A contemporary form of window shopping that doesn’t inconvenience the sales people who have to return the clothes to the rack after you’ve tried them all on. See how thoughtful I am?

It’s even easier to close that browser when shopping for a lake house. Here’s my latest favorite. I know, it may seem ridiculous, but there’s something so satisfying about shopping for waterfront property. Because what starts to happen when you do, you begin to envision the kinds of plot twists that Anne Lamott says you can and should indulge in. It’s very good for the psyche. So now, as I wash my hands and sing happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear Elsbeth, I know what the sink I’m washing them at looks like, and when I turn to pick up the towel, what the dog romping on the grass by the lake looks like, too. I pick up the cup of hot tea, smiling through the steam and head out the slider to the wooden benches lining the porch.

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