Sagittarius 1° (November 23)
One of thirty, as well, before I get some tests done and, look at me, I ate bad food (old sauerkraut and maybe even older smoked salmon) which means I have been running back and forth to the loo so yay on jumpstarting the weight loss as well. My dreams were fucked. They were a combination of trauma surrounding my parents’ friendship with the Vermes (and by extension my own with “brother” David) and being on the boat which I know, given what’s been going on around here, must be a subconscious stresser because, hello, I’m afraid of leaving all my stuff here. I have a nice contact for Belfast which I will use. We had a fruitful client appointment. I have all that “manifesto” stuff under my belt. The officer from town did call me back. I created the entire menu and I did manage to get through one of the chapters. Well, nearly. I know I can be done with all of that by noon tomorrow and then I’m in and staying in and the next stop will be to put all this stuff in place for round two. I have to do two things. I have to write finished copy as best I can on the first go, like any professional writer would; and I also have to let it be light and lively and make room for more room. It will come back to me in August and September and then I will have November and December to make a physical move (using August and September as the springboard for doing that. July is going to be packing and vacation and getting pretty much everything out of the basement so that it can be easily taken with. This is going to be quite a challenging year to say the least, and I do well to make the most of every waking moment, and also to have it be that I don’t get weighted down by the usual stuff in the meantime.
The following blocks of text are exceprts from my first year of Blagues, nos. 1181-1185 I am reading through all of my Blagues, five per day, and posting some samples here. Now, in my sixth year of writing this Blague, by the time I get to my seventh, I will have journeyed through all the daily Blagues of my first five years. If that’s confusing I apologize. Year seven, I’ll only have to read through year six, once a day.
Day One – Boston To Juneau
What a relatively easy day considering all the traveling. Grabbed a taxi from the Eliot around 7am and made our way, no traffic to Logan. Alaska air is in a small terminal; there was no wait to get through security which was remarkably thorough. We were in first class—one of the perks of being flown by a wealthy friend—and it was a smooth six hour flight, with pretty lovely food, for the airplane variety, to Seattle. We had less than a half-hour to board the next plane which was just steps away from where we were let off. Amid hopes our luggage was on board with us, we then flew to Juneau just two plus hours. The airport was quite tiny but it didn’t have that third world feel. It had more a dystopian vibe and there were pro-life posters in the actual baggage claim area.
We were collected by Graeme, the boat’s captain, and taken down to the harbor where Calypso was moored. There were bald eagles in the treetops, casually, like crows; and it felt quite red-statey overall but not uncharming, despite the obvious queues of tourists off of Alaskan cruise liners. My weak airline bloodieshad made little impact other than to make me feel abdominally distended; we had a nice chat and then went ashore to see the Mendenhall glacier and waterfall, which was a stroll more than a hike. Got to speak with Dayne, the first mate, who is a special character among special characters on the boat.
We weren’t going to await dinner for Florian and Jill to arrive, but managed to in the end, which was great. (We were meant to meet them a the Seattle airport and take the flight to Juneau together. But their flight from Frankfurt, to which they got late last night from Zurich, was delayed; and they were stuck in immigration. We boarded and I asked the flight attendant if she could inquire after them—there was a ground crew member on board who chimed in: “What are their names?” We told her and she said “yeah, no” they were not going to make it and in fact their seats had already been given away.)We lifted anchor and set off up to Tracey Arm to see what would be far more major a glacier. Drinks and smoked salmon before a bowl of light tortellini with peas and vegetables followed by what seemed to be a fancy version of donut holes. We chatted a bit but everyone was bushed. I don’t really remember falling asleep. My arm really hurts and I’ll have to get to the doctor sooner than later.
Day Two – Tracey Arm
I woke at four but didn’t dare budge from the room that early, even though it was already full daylight. We are having just about four hours of darkness per night seems like. It would turn out to be quite an eventful day which began with me on the upper deck, wrapped in a cashmere blacket, at five a.m. It was really too cold so I came down and started writing and doing a bit of fundraising and awaited breakfast, buffeted by an Americano, once Cleo, the morning stewardess, emerged. As determined as I was to just have fruit I had to go for the fresh waffles on offer with what I believe was orange-infused ricotta. Two more Americanos and a bit more work as we made our way up to the glacier.
By 9 o’clock, I believe, we had smoothed our way through the calm silky water to where we wanted to be: faced with a giant wall of ice straight out of “Game of Thrones”. There were loud moaning sounds coming from the glacier at first but no visual accompaniment. And so Neil in one and Jill and Flow in another set out in kayaks to skirt the glacier closer up; and inspired by Jo who arrived on deck in a terrycloth bathrobe, we ducked below decks to become similarly attired, all stripping off to our swimsuits and slipping into the hottub. Before S. and I did that, newly arrived back on the upper deck, Jo was in a bit of a flurry because a huge chunk of glacier had broken off and made a giant splash and the subsequent waves that rocked the big boat and therefore most certainly the kayaks which were microscopic in comparison and way closer to the setpiece of G.O.T..
While still in what was an aptly named hot tub, the temperature of which did ultimately send me out first, resulting from strange sensations from it in my arms, one of which is already comprimised from some kind of pinched nerve, Neil returned from his marine adventure really shooken up, heart pounding. I don’t really know and forgot to ask if indeed they were wearing life vests, the three of them, but anyway, the sheets of ice falling off the glacier, an occurance which had now become regular, created mini tsunamis and they really struggled, phyisically and psychologically, not to tip over. I have still never tried kayaking and I’m very happy that I rethought my original impetus to make a virgin voyage in one this morning.
Lunch was a Mexican fiesta of pork tacos and fish tacos and quinoa salad and another one which was a medley of sweet corn, black beans and cherry tomatoes followed by a sort of team of coconut mexican cookies in a yoghurt sorbet. And there were tiny bottles of Patron tequila placed at our plates with a side of salt and limes. I think only one of us had their entire nip, I had about half and thus took an afternoon nap; but not before playing MarioKart, my first lousy but comical attempt at a video game, and a competitive one at that. The appeal for me was choosing my character and my vehicle both of which were very cute; but I do not know how to work the tiny joystick device with multiple ancillary buttons they provide you. And David, a cheeky fifteen, followed up each game with “highlights” of my (not everyone’s, mind you) race, sometimes in slow motion, showing my cute character veering all over the road in a manic manner.
The nap lasted about an hour with Streetcar Named Desire playing low behind the veil of slumber. Then it was time for afternoon tea—we are eating again already?—featuring a rhubarb cake. And it was off in one of the tenders to try and find some whales with an axe to chip off some ice from a berg for cocktails. This would prove a very bad idea indeed. We didn’t see any whales on our rather long journey out of site of the boat. (I learned later that a few of us—we were only six in our party plus the crew member driving—were thinking this seems a bit dicey, being so far out of site of the boat, without any life vests, given the fact we might sneak up on whales; this was an instinct that would be justified, however not in light of the whales but in respect to the unsuspecting iceberg we were seeking to hack with an axe.
We came along side a rather big blue one which was beautiful but it didn’t allow one to reach it with outstretched axe-wielding arm which specifically belonged to the fifteen-year-old David. So we set our sites on a “tiny one” which was roughly the size of a large refridgerator; or at least the proverbial tip was, emerging from the grey-green sea. David was poised on the bow like a cartoon masthead; but before he could even graze it the bow of the boat struck the submerged majority of the berg which resulted in the following scene: Suddenly the managable fridge-sized block of ice rose up to a great height before us, like some Norsegod come to life, or as if the iceberg was on some kind of underwater elevator, growing to a height four, five times its height—what was actually happening was that the boat’s bump into it had caused the iceberg to flip back from us, the refridgerator submerging and giving way to what had been the enormous submerged side increasingly towering, in the kind of slow-motion reserved for near or perhaps full-on catastrophes, bumping in the boat back in seeming retaliation, crunching into the bow and bending the metal ladder attached to it. In that eternity of a moment we were all silent, expectant, frozen and utterly and helplessly awaiting our fate which we have thought would be a proper capsizing into the freezing drink. We came through it muttering things like “oh my god” and “holy shit” and “that was close” and “wow, wow, wow.” And then we set off to see if we could find some whales, which we did.
There seemed to be a humpback whale on its own, or maybe it was calving, or something of that nature; because a small distance from said whale was at least one, maybe two, orcas or killer whales which are quite a different animal. And it was like dualing marine mammals where the humback would creat a flurry of activity, slapping the water with her flukes, and then the orca(s) would bubble up and spout and make some separate kind of commotion. It was very strange and we didn’t quite now what was what. We later learned that orcas are predators with proper teeth who will hunt other marine mammals, seals, mainly, but also newborn calves of other “real” whales which aren’t predators but gentle krill-eating giants with giant brushes instead of teeth that filter in mass quantitie of smaller aquatic life as sustenance. And as we watched this random, avant-garde whale choreagraphy I know that the bulk of our brains were still processing the David versus Goliath iceberg that had moments before played out.
We did have cocktails that night with an hors d’oeuvres of a fresh tuna paté spread on cucumbers, which was followed by a delicious dinner of seabass and garlic potatoes and a good deal of delicious Pouilly Fumé. People were drinking a bit more than usual and we played Cards Against Humanity conversationally puncutated by details of the ice incident, thoughts and impressions and admonitions of true terror. All of which resulted in “new rules” that entail: always wearing life vests when out on the tender and always being within sight of the boat itself when out and about on the smaller vessels. This is a good thing.
I woke up to the following email from a first cousin on my father’s side—of which I originally had seven and now just four, two of whom I’ve only seen, like twice in my life, but not for decades, and probably will never see again…actually that is probably true about all my remaining cousins on my father’s side. This from the one, of all of them, with whom I once was closest and whom, even so, haven’t seen in over thirty years…the subject line of the email was “Branding” and I represent the body of the text in full:
Funny how much money is spent on branding and how some simple brand memories last decades
Today, I had a thoroughly crap day that Monica had an inkling about.
After dinner and sitting on the couch to relax she walked up to me and said. “ I know you had a bad day and when I went to the store earlier I thought I would get you a special treat to brighten the day.”
She was holding a box of Haagen Das Ice Creme Cookie Bars.
Special treat. Being the recipient to Numerous fat genes need to minimize carbs so it was a nice unexpected surprise.
When I looked up first thing that registered was how much your mom liked Haagen Das.
I looked around since not everything from shopping and asked her “ what else did you get?”
It was then I saw Band de soleil. Over the weekend we talked about how I get a red bronze tan and Monica gets a yellow tan. I asked her to get a bronzing tanner.
Bingo just like the Haagen Das can’t think of band de soleil without thinking Aunt Peggy
Probably because she also made her rice with noodles, butter and College Inn Chicken broth
Ok I’ll get of the reminiscing diatribe and seems like people sometimes are better branding advertisements than any commercial ever made.
Have fun and enjoy 55
To deconstruct, in my opinion, he “sounds” drunk. And you can see that he “edited” it as certain words mid sentence are in upper case, still, supposed remnants of previous versions of lines nad phrases. It’s very odd overall that he would write me and begin with “Funny that…” as if we are somehow always mid conversation, which we are not. He also has some facts quite wrong. And though I appreciate (which has proved to be) an ongoing obsession with my mother, his romanticism of her is wholly narcisisstic and rather intrusive. I don’t appreciate being taken, as I sometimes am by him by email, perhaps once a year, down some memory lane in a park whose theme is my mother not his, especially when it’s revisionist, if unconciously so.
First off, my mother didn’t eat Haagen Das, the spelling of which, I trust, might be correct in his email and which I thus replicate here. She either bought and relished Breyers “vanilla bean” which came in a square box or, more often and later in her middle age, she would buy pints of different flavors, though typically also still a supplementary pint of vanilla as well, from one or other of our local seaside homemade purveyors of the stuff. I will concede that she might have at one point purchased a box of “cookie bars” but it wasn’t a signature move that would have defined her, but perhaps something she tried, drawn by the promised convenience of being able to unwrap one and not have to struggle with scooping. That is entirely possible. But I doubt my cousin ever spent multiple nights, let alone one, at my parents house during whatever time he cites from his faulty mists of memory, whereby “cookie bars” (did he misspell creme or was it intended and perhaps Googled for clarification?) would be some kind of ritual of hers in which he partook, parenthesis: I didn’t.
Next, she didn’t wear the misspelled Band de soleil. She did wear Bain de Soleil. However she did not, being fair skinned and freckled, red-haired, 100% Irishwoman, wear the greasy orange variety (that might have created a bronze effect, even, in part, from that orange being something of a dye) which was basically hard oil; but instead she opted for the white somewhat more protective—although this was before SPF percentages—white cream, which I chose to spell thus—accented by zinc oxide on her nose and lips, which would nonetheless have been shaded by a cap. My mother did “tan” in a sense, but it was really more of a result of her ubiquitous freckles being brought out by the sun and banding together in solidarity into some kind of overall semblance of color, which was my mother’s actually word for it. She never said “you’ve got a tan”, or “you’re very brown”, she would say, “ooh, you got color today” and it wasn’t spelled colour.
As I’m in a snark I will add that I don’t believe I ever met “Monica”, my cousin’s wife, just as I have never met the two daughters I believe he has with her. The only child I know that he has is a son called Daniel who was born in the late seventies and whose conception precipitated Joe marrying Cheryl which was his girlfriend dating from the Saturday Night Fever era and who would have, by the late eighties, been a model for some friend character that the main character in “Working Girl” would have left behind in Staten Island while the Carly Simon song played to sweeping scenes of a crossing ferry. Daniel had big blue eyes. Joe did not. And in order for Daniel to be his biological son, Joe’s father, “uncle Joe”, my father’s sister’s husband, would have had to have blue eyes or else no dice. I do not remember if he did or he didn’t. I think that is perhaps a grace.
And in case you’re wondering about the final kicker to that email: Yes I will be 55 this year and, yes, my cousin wants me to know he knows that. But there is an edge to ending the email that way, too, don’t you think? To me it says: Even you, little Billy, whom I envy for having the mother you did (and whatever better life he imagines I had over him) will shrivel up and die, and you are well, now, on your way. So enjoy that….
I must also tell you and remind myself that breakfast today was fruit and a delicious egg and spinach filo pastry tart which I tried and failed not to eat. (There is always tomorrow—yeah right, who am I kidding?) The boat continued to make its way south and we happened upon an island of noisy sealions we could also smell from a distance. Then we went seeking whales in earnest and found them in abundance. We spent the morning, all of us, watching a feeding frenzy that entailed groups of humpback whales “bubbling.” This is what they do. They all dive down deep below and release air from their blowholes which bubbles krill and other yummies up to the surface….then, they all head to the surface straight up, like rockets, with their mouths open, such that, all of a sudden, a group of giant whales emerge together, straight up, into the air which is terribly exciting. Then they dive down to do it again, and again and again. As they’re below seagulls on the surface bob and wait; then the seagulls all take to the sky, calling out to one and other, and hover over the spot where they giant black heads, mouth agape, will again appear, giving all of us with fingers perched on the red buttons on our phones to start a new video some semblance of a heads up, no pun intended, but there it is. That went on for hours and we watched some of it from the bridge, where we also got to see some naviation maps detailing where we were and where we were going.
Then lunch of a rich mushroom risootto with morels and black truffles with both breaded veal cutlets and breaded cod cheeks and a delicious minerally rosé from the Languedoc. Nary a vegetable in sight but who cared. While we ate the boat made its way into a little cove where there were apparent hot springs. Post lunch and very full and even a bit swollen from the gluten I was now consuming at every meal—I didn’t mention there were giant breadsticks laced with anise seeds of which I gobbled two—I needed the kind of lie-down that I got: one where I sweat out, mainy around my upper chest and neck, whatever my digestion couldn’t filter on its own, feeling slightly nauseous slash fluish. So I made my excuses and didn’t go ashore; neither, I learned, did anybody but Jill and Flo and Kenzie.
It was apparently a more treacherous climb than anticipated, and there were some “old geezers” (Florian’s words) already there when they reached the spot. The water was scalding in spots and resulted in actual burns; but they did find a place to wade in without being boiled alive. We have surmised there is a literal hot spring which derives from far above and cascades down to these “baths” which are really man-made soaking ponds. But it gets better or worse depending on your perspective: Neil, who didn’t join the trio, later went ashore to walk the dog, the cutest white Westie in the world. There he saw a house on stilts which turned out to have three, let’s call them, cubicles, each of which was outfitted with a “domestic bathtub” not porcelain but probably plastic, that was also continually filling with the steaming hot water, but simulataneously emptying as well, through it’s unstopped drain. I have to say I’m a bit intrigued and might have to check that out on the morrow.
Last night cocktails was delicious Beluga on blini with champers—yum. Then two lobster tails that were in a delicate thin pool of broth. Followed by a delish banana chocolate (flourless I assume) pie. Incredible. [I think I wore a blue shirt…jeans again?] We played another quick round of C.A.H., this time writing some of my own. I did not win. I felt a bit cranky going to sleep, as I have every night—not cranky in the sense that my mood is bad, but in the manner in which I seem to fall, and really not stay, asleep. It’s all very episodic. And once again I was fully awake this morning at four o’clock and went upstairs at five.
I tried sitting on the upper deck, wrapped in some blankets. It wasn’t even cold but there were hundreds of no-see-ums and mosquitoes the size of 1970s-era Buick Electras. So I came down stairs and did some writing there and requisite catching up and that’s pretty much where I am right now. For the next several days I need to marry my Blague writing with other needs of characters strung together, for the festival, and for the books-in-progress. Having had a taste of fun I’m a bit preoccupied and on that score feel as if life is happening somewhat elsewhere. But I’ll work through it. There is some vague interest in our projects but I’m not going to bank on any of that having made such a mistake before.
I sat in the Sun after breakfast which was crabcake benedict, wrongly named. It was tiny crabcakes with hollandaise sauce, so I ordered some poached eggs to go with. And I had my fruit and coffee and politics dominated the breakfast conversation, which might have been foreshadowing as some real shit has gone down today apparently. Namely, Michael Cohen says that Trump was in the Trump tower meeting and other things are unraveling. I really hope so. I started reading Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology and it put me in something of a bad mood. I shouldn’t compare myself because “comparison [truly] is violence”, as our friend Taylor Mac says—he might have gotten it from somewhere else—and it really is up to me to be as big or small as I want to be. We don’t even have a Wikipedia page which makes no sense. Everyone I know seems to be getting theirs and I’m going to let that inspire, not discourage, me. We all have our sadness and we all have our own timing.
I had a nice donation today from a friend. A client who was a youngster a decade ago when she first come to see us is experiencing some major successs and credits us in that coming to bear. Alaska is ridiculously beautiful and I truly cannot get over the daily views off the decks and through our portholes, if that’s still a word in operation. Lunch was scallops and lamb, surf and turf being a Chef Leo theme. And we are in the sign of Leo and there are many Leos on board, including one of the most famous in the world whose birthday we shall soon celebrate.
We have a Murder Mystery tonight based on the game Clue, or as the Brits call it: Cluedo. Attached is a picture of the menu.
Okay so last night was really a lot of fun. I realize these murder mysteries in the end are less about what the plot is and more about the characters, and specifically, how they draw out the people and lend license. J. and I always seem to be at odds, funnily enough. One time, during a Greek gods mystery, she was Athena and I was Dionysus, so right there we were archetypally disposed to humorously clash. Last night was the bit of the same and it really is fun to exchange barbs with friends in the course of the created dramedy. A total hoot. D. totally emerges from his otherwise normal teenage-boy sulk and really hams it up—he is so funny—while M. really takes her signture ingenue roles so serious. Jill and Flo were totes fantastic; Flo was the perfect Colonel Mustard and he really seemed very much in his skin, again, a byproduct of having a character to both veil you and access elements of personality one often keeps under wraps, for reasons of politesse.
The crew girls did such an amazing job, with the game and the food pairings with wines, choreographing their service into a serveuse ballet. We sat outside for a bit afterward and had a wee bit more wine and then some brandy. Post that, Flo and I stayed up for another hour talking which was a rare moment of male bonding and our burgeoning bromance. Complete with innocent peck good night. Adorable. Overall such a perfect night.
This morning my nerves were slightly frayed but not really for only having slept about five hourse. There were banana pancakes for breakfast which was short and sweet as we went to a salmon hatchery which was fascinating. It is called Armstrong-Keta Inc and I’m telling all my friends to visit their website an learn more about it. The owner? Ben gave us a tour that lasted about fifty minutes which was perfect, and now, as I write this, we are headed to El Capitain (where the operating system got its name?) to explore the largest cave system in Alaska, and one of the largest in the country. Cannot wait. I will top the Blague off with a recap of the day. Meanwhile I have to get my brain around the work I have at hand today…..(which turned out not to be today).
The boat was pretty lurchy as we hit a bit of open ocean and it was too nauseating to work. I did manage to ready a hundred easy pages of the Norse Gods book by Neil Gaiman. (More feelings of undervaluling to fight.) Lunch was cous-cous and cod fritters and veal balls and salads of actual lettuce. Rosé. The sorbet seemed to be mandarin orange. The boat ride to the caves took about half an hour. We were the new life “vests”. We hiked up many many steps with two guides Brooke (who I swear knew who Jo was) and Jessica, whose second day it was and who had obvious native—Klinkit?—blood. S. got through it. The steps down made ones legs shakey. Jill brought tip money, something I wouldn’t have thought of doing. I’m sure I’ll be able to take everyone out for a meal or some such when we hit a town. I don’t know when that is but I suspect in the next day or so. In two days we will have been here a week and Jill and Florian will be gone forthwith. I would like to see them in Europe this year, hopefully soon.
It turned out to be a Hawaiian themed night and luckily they provided flower shirts and leies (sp?). Speaking of which my clothes are beginning to not fit and I will have to start slimming down. Anyway I really want to get back to yoga in the coming weeks. We had poke in spoons for our drinks appy, and I had the best blood mary of all time. Then crisp white wine for dinner of rockfish with rice and endives and steamed bun of gingery chicken filling. Dessert was a sort of souffle cake with almonds (I think) anyway I ate everything. Then we watched Anchorman 2.
To view the original Sabian Symbol themed 2015 Cosmic Blague corresponding to this day: Flashback! The degree point of the Sabian Symbol may at times be one degree higher than the one listed here. The Blague portrays the starting degree of for this day ( 0°, for instance), as I typically post in the morning, while the Sabian number corresponds to the end point (1°) of that same 0°-1° period. There are 360 degrees spread over 365/6 days per year—so they nearly, but not exactly, correlate.
Typos happen. I don’t have a proofreader. And I like to just write, post and go! Copyright 2020 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved. Get your HAUTE ASTROLOGY 2020 Weekly Horoscope ebooks by Starsky + Cox.