Far be it from me to argue with well meaning humans encouraging us to use this time to improve our minds by learning a new language or writing a book. That being said, I think you should watch whatever dumb garbage you want. No need for self-improvement, you’re fine just as you are. I mean, if you want to learn a language or write a book, do that. We’re all here just trying to get through. No judgment. Read more
After reading my post about how any attempt I make to communicate with the universe comes back with a clear, “You heard me the first time, stop screwing around and do your work” a friend of mine sent me this link from Goop. If you don’t know what Goop is here is my feeble effort to describe it. It’s a website where you can buy super expensive things I’m pretty sure you either don’t need (jade eggs that for some reason people pop up their privates) or could get a cheaper version of somewhere else (like tea or socks). The website is not for me.
So when one of my friends sent me an article about how a deck of tarot cards could help “Guide Daily Decision Making” I had to try it. Except I don’t have a tarot deck. Is tarot capitalized? Let me check. No. And I am not going to buy a deck because I think tarot cards are very important to many people and shouldn’t be bought on a dumb lark and then left in a drawer somewhere. So I broke out the SpongeBob Uno game I’ve been playing with for the past fifteen years. I love SpongeBob, I love Uno, I have played these cards with both of my kids and have had hours of fun with them. They are important to me so it seemed to me they were a good fit.
The universe is nothing if not both understanding and flexible.
Can you use a tin of SpongeBob SquarePants Uno cards in place of a tarot deck to “Guide Your Daily Decision Making” as instructed by the Goop website?
The short answer: No, of course not, that’s stupid.
The long answer: Sort of, and here’s what happened.
First off, the person giving the advice in the article is “an intuitive and shamanic healer” named Colleen McCann. I looked her up, she seems nice. And she gave really good advice about how to use your cards. Here’s the quote that helped me feel like it was okay to use the SpongeBob Uno.
Every tarot deck comes with a guidebook to aid in interpretation. However this practice isn’t about learning a correct meaning to the card or a single way to interpret the message. I ask that you use this moment to flex your own “intuitive muscle” and tap in to how a particular card is applicable to different areas of your life.
Every uno deck comes with a guide to aid in interpreting the cards you are dealt. The kids and I generally ignore the guide and play in whatever fashion feels right at the time. I have a very well developed intuitive muscle when it comes to applying meaning to this particular set of cards.
From there the article gives a thorough and thoughtful primer on what to do with the cards in your hands. She talks about what she does for clients and she also talks about what to do if the deck is new or new to you. But as in all things, she said ultimately I had to decide how to proceed. She said you can choose as many cards as feel right to you so I did that. I was going to choose seven because that is how many cards you deal out in Uno but two cards were stuck together (probably with peanut butter) and I ended up with eight. This made me oddly edgy and I almost put the eighth one back but Colleen McCann’s urging to accept the process as it is rather than trying to impose a lot of hard and fast rules had me keeping all eight cards.
So, I couldn’t figure out how to do this in a way that made sense until it occurred to me I could just flip a card over, see what it looked like and see what came to mind. Here they are, all eight cards and my interpretation of them. At the end I’ll tell you how this changed my life for the better.
SpongeBob in a suit of plate armor wielding a spatula and riding a jellyfish. Armor: rich in Western symbolism of male energy and strength and privilege and bloody combat. Fear and triumph. Spatula: cooking but also a versatile tool (bug squashing, scraping yuck up off the floor, threatening siblings with while doing dishes). Jellyfish: squidgy ocean creature, can be dangerous, soft yet powerful. Beautiful, great to watch at the aquarium and bonus they probably don’t mind living in captivity. Also, SpongeBob loves them very much.
Pirate SpongeBob with an eyepatch studying a treasure map. Pirate: Fun in this context but pirates actually dangerous, vicious. Self-starters, entrepreneurs of the sea! Treasure Map: Can be helpful if you understand the mindset of the person who drew it. If they drew it for themselves, it could be like trying to decipher modern poetry where you have to read a 90 page bio of the author to understand seven lines of poetry. Treasure map not a slam-dunk sign of prosperity.
Pilot SpongeBob on an airplane ride that looks like the coin-op ones that used to litter the front of supermarkets. SpongeBob looks stressed out, this flight might be going down. Does this card reverse the two that came before it? I don’t think so, that might only be true if the last two cards were red. So it’s just a general reversal. What is the nature of reversal? Not all are bad. A reversal of fortune could be a good thing if you are having a terrible time of it. Like the treasure map, think through the broader implications of the object.
Green Draw 2
Pirate SpongeBob with Gary the snail on his shoulder. I was going to say the draw 2 card is never good but it can be if you’re stuck with only a couple cards that you can’t seem to get rid of, having a few new cards sometimes feels like it opens up play and gives me a sense of momentum rather than being stuck staring at the same cards turn after turn. Also, SpongeBob has his pet snail and that makes him happy which makes me happy.
Squidward in a goofy hat. He’s sad. Although dressed joyfully, he’s unhappy. Even though he’s a sea creature, he can never get into the swim of things and he misses out on the love and friendship SpongeBob and Patrick offer. Grumpy masculine energy.
Yeah, here’s Sandy the Squirrel! My heart lept when I saw her. Regular sea-space outfit with pirate additions. Sandy is all adventure and love and friendly, open and brave.
Sad Squidward jester. He’s a drag. But what is he teaching us? To join in with life’s joy even when it isn’t exactly what you’d like it to be? Or, maybe it’s time to move on? The ocean is vast, Squidward, why are you making yourself and everyone else miserable?
It’s Sandy again. Good ending.
Okay, so my notes then say, “Let’s use these today to guide decisions.”
And so I stacked them up, tucked them in my pocket and went to run my errands.
I have to say that the SpongeBob cards were easy to use. Anytime I was faced with a decision and SpongeBob was the card, I did what I thought was the nice and generous thing. SpongeBob comes off as this total idiot but he is really everything I want to be. He’s hardworking, loves his job and his friends and his life in general. He’s loyal to a fault. He’s a bad driver and sadly so am I.
The Sandy cards urged me to do things in a way I normally wouldn’t and that turned out okay since all I did was park in a different spot when I turned in the library books and I mixed my vodka with cranberry juice rather than fizzy water. Delicious!
The reversal card I used to decide that I wouldn’t call someone back who I really didn’t want to talk to and that eased a good amount of stress. The draw two card I was far too literal with and ate two brownies.
The cards that changed my life were the Squidward cards. Both times I used them I decided to leave people to do things the way they wanted to do them rather than impose my ideas. And it occurred to me after the second time that I, like many white women my age, are in constant danger of becoming Squidwards. I know that I have a strong sense of exactly how I want the world to work and when it doesn’t I get very upset and sometimes very, very angry.
But I don’t want to be a Squidward. Look at how much he misses out on. There’s so much love and friendship and general zaniness on offer and he rejects it.
I put the rest of the cards back in the tin but I kept the Squidward cards in my car as a reminder: Don’t Be A Squidward.
If I hear about a trend, it is either dead or made it into the mainstream. I thought tarot readings were mainstream mainly because in the town where I was raised, there was a small white house with a picket fence and a big “Tarot Read Here” sign in the front yard.
But I think each new generation discovers tarot readings in their own way and that speaks to the fluidity of the practice. I had my cards read or done or put on a table in front of me (I’m still not sure what the correct verb is) and after all the shuffling and tapping and arranging the lady leaned over the array then leaned way back, frowned, then laughed.
I had kind of thought the whole thing was a bunch of nonsense but now I was curious.
“What does it say?”
“Does that mean I’m going to die?”
“No, it means the cards have nothing to say to you.”
“Well, that’s rude.”
She only shrugged, gathered up her cards and then we played gin rummy (not with her tarot). She later told me she had never seen anything like it. I asked how long she’d been reading tarot, thinking it hadn’t been that long if she’d never seen anything like what had happened with me. She said she’d been reading for about 15 years.
So I don’t have much to do with tarot or for that matter, horoscope. Since the day I was old enough to read my horoscope, it has said some version of, “Most of your problems are in your head, now go clean something.” For fun I will read other horoscopes but then it stops being fun when theirs say things like, “Love is coming, be ready!” or “Take that leap you’ve been thinking of!”
And then a few months ago Felicia got me the cutest set of affirmation cards, called Affirmators. You’re supposed to mix them all up and as you do the mixing you are supposed to close your eyes, take a deep breath and silently ask the cards to give you a message that will benefit you in that moment. Six thinks this is the best thing ever. He announces what he wants, which is usually ice cream or a car (he’s 8) and then plunges in and comes up with the cutest cards that tell him he needs to do less work or be more inspired. He takes these to mean he doesn’t need to do homework or that he should be allowed to watch all the Harry Potter movies.
Over the past few months I have gotten different cards, all of them cheerful urgings to believe in myself and be playful, crap like that. And then, a few weeks ago, I got one of the bonus cards. Bonus cards don’t have a cute picture and a pithy message of the of be-nice-to-yourself variety on it. Bonus cards are more serious. It’s a paragraph about doing something you probably don’t want to do. The one I got was Perseverance. It was about how climbing mountains is hard and I should just keep climbing and that people who climb Everest aren’t fueled by inspirational quotes but rather live on lots of “grunting, and crying, and cursing like freakin’ pirates.”
A useful reminder. I kept my card out on my desk all day and then put it back in the deck the next day. Six and I remember to grab a card about once a week. For three weeks in a row, I got the Perseverance card over and over again. This is what happens when I deal with anything having to do with tapping into the universe. The universe turns implacable. What does implacable mean? It means relentless. Unforgiving. Incapable of being talked out of whatever it has talked itself into.
I hung the perseverance card on the fridge and now only Everett talks with the cards. Sometimes we get a signal. Mine isn’t cute or particularly uplifting but at least it’s clear.
Persevere. It’s about as exciting as the kitten hanging off the branch against an endless blue sky with the words, “Hang in there” written below. Some people are having a deep, rich and ongoing conversation with the universe.
Not me. And that’s okay.
Hang in there.
Felicia and I watched Logan Lucky on Saturday night. She was on her couch 200 mikes away from where I was on mine. Took us a bit to sync up the sound but aside from that it was great fun to watch a movie together. Our new movie night wasn’t so bad, especially if you find a movie as charming as Logan Lucky. Read more
Introvert’s Social Distancing Log, Day 1, Saturday, March 14, 2020 (so many commas, probably too many)
Well, my good intentions of getting up early, showering and eating breakfast before 9AM were shot to hell when I snorted myself awake at 10:15.
In the evening, before I fall asleep, I think myself capable of all sorts of miraculous behavior. A healthy breakfast, an ecologically minded 5 minute shower, taking time to brush my hair and apply mascara and eyeliner.
Morning me is unshowered, a banana flavored kid yogurt eaten while driving (uncomfortably eaten with the only clean spoon in the house which is those dreadful serrated grapefruit spoons), ratty hair swept up in a lopsided bun and needless to say, no makeup. Read more
There are two types of people in this world. People who are fine with and sometimes even welcome movies where a great romance ends in the death of one or both partners. And then there are people who really hate that.
I am in the second group. And that is okay. Neither group is right or wrong. We are just different. Sometimes we have trouble agreeing on what movie to watch. I say if you are in that situation, watch The Great Race or Auntie Mame. Or just go bowling.
In this time of political upheaval, worldwide pandemics and possible toilet paper shortages, here is a list of Romantic Movies Where No One Ends Up Dead.
You’re welcome. Read more
Here are 5 movie series (and a couple of lists of movie series) to watch while practicing social distancing. Once this is over, I think we are all going to realize that we don’t hate each other as much as we thought we did. We might very well become lonely for each other. Who knows, stranger things have happened. After 8 years of drought here in Southern California, I don’t know anyone who complains when it rains. Before the drought, the entire region lost their minds when it rained and now everyone smiles and points at the sky and happily chirps, “It’s raining!”
Well, I’ve stress shopped and stocked my house. I did not overbuy toilet paper but I do have 3 dozen eggs. We all have our weaknesses. Six is out of school for three weeks and I am trying to get Older Son to come home but thus far to no avail. I do want Older Son home but what I really want is his dog, Barbara. Barbara will let me cuddle and coo and fuss and fidget over him whereas my kids won’t.
In lieu of Barbara the Dog, I have turned to TV, movies and books. And it occurred to me that there are people who have been living full, productive lives and might not have a list of books, TV and movies they want to watch. So I thought I’d make some lists and share them. Let’s start with movies in a series. Read more
Christmas shopping can be fun. But sometimes it is a desperate, long, lonely slog through crowded stores full of items you can’t imagine anyone wanting. We are here to help with a list of 55 Great Christmas Gift Ideas, with Helpful Categories.
Our categories include: Random gifts for people you love but can never figure out what to give them, books for people you want to annoy, books for people you want to impress, annoying toys for kids of parents you can’t stand, necessities for outdoorsy people, necessities for indoorsy people, supplies for glamorous tweens and teens, picture books for kids, toys for kids of parents you like.
Let the Shopping Begin! Amazon said I had to put this where you could see it and that seems totally fair. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Random gifts for people you love but can never figure out what to give them
Japanese Origami for Beginners Kit: 20 Classic Origami Models: Kit with 96-page Origami Book, 72 High-Quality Origami Papers and Instructional DVD. Includes a DVD? Awesome. And if you no longer have a DVD player, use the DVD as a coaster. Or frisbee.
Books for people you want to annoy
Books for people you want to impress
Kindred by Octavia Butler: Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin. This is the novel you have been looking for, waiting for.
We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby is the book everyone did not know they needed. Buy a copy for everyone you love and become the person everyone comes to for author recommendations.
Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives
Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more!
Picture books for kids
Beast has been robbed! And so has the whole village. Without tools the villagers can’t put on their legendary Winter Party, so Beast sets off to solve the mystery. Discovering that a stranded Snow Beast is behind the robbery, Beast has to decide whether to help this odd-looking stranger.
Wilma’s parents don’t know quite what to do when their daughter wakes up green and requests bugs for breakfast. At school, Wilma’s teachers are appalled by her unusually colorful antics. Wherever Wilma goes, surprises await her and readers of this irresistibly funny fable. Absurd and action-packed.
Once upon a time there was a Princess . . . who made a pit stop. While the Birds and Beasts changed her tires, her Fairy Godmother told her she was in last place! With just one lap left! She might as well give up! Give up? Not THIS princess! Instead, she hits the gas!
Have you seen Oliver K. Woodman? You’d know if you had–he’s made of wood. And he’s on a spectacular cross-country journey. Folks of all sorts guide Oliver along the way and report back in letters and postcards to his friend Uncle Ray. After all, there’s a lot of road–and adventure!–between South Carolina and California.
A bear, lost in the city, who happens upon an unattended sandwich in the park. The bear’s journey from forest to city and back home again is full of happy accidents, funny encounters, and sensory delights. The story is so engrossing, it’s not until the very end that we begin to suspect this is a TALL tale.
Necessities for the outdoorsy
(it occurs to me that these gifts illustrate the fact I know nothing about what people do outdoors and that I think it is incredibly dangerous, which it most certainly is)
BEAR SPRAY! Do not go into the woods without it. You know what, don’t take out the trash without it. I used to live on the side of a mountain in La Crescenta and there was a bear that used to wander around the neighborhood. He had a cute name, I can’t remember it. Porkchop? Marshmallow? Rip-You-To-Shreds-And-Eat-Your-Spleen? Something like that… Meatball! It was Meatball.
Necessities for the indoorsy
Let’s begin with the basics. A good robe. This one is unisex so the sizing might be a bit of a challenge, read the comments and answered questions and you should be fine. There are 10 colors to choose from.
crocs makes slippers, they are unisex, they are wide in the toe box which I love and yes, I am wearing a pair as I write this. 11 colors to choose from and unisex sizing. So much better than a hatchet and some bear spray, am I right?
Throw blankets are the life blood of the indoorsy. One can never have too many. This one is 20 bucks and comes in 15 colors and 2 sizes. That’s such a wide range of options, you could probably find one an outdoorsy person likes.
If you are new to the indoorsy lifestyle, you won’t have a backlog of books, magazines, movies and TV shows you are determined to consume before you die. The New York Times Book of Movies is a great place to start. And it smells better than bear spray.
This pretty teapot is only 30 dollars!
You can fuss around with a teapot if you want but if you are going solo on your indoorsy, this tea cup with a built in infuser does the trick. There are many different colors and patterns, I just liked this one. I might buy it. Also, when you run out of tea you can just put booze in it. Or water. Whatever your doctor recommends.
These noise cancelling headphones are so expensive ($349) they make my spine itch but I still really, really, really want a pair.I also want one of these! It’s a Breville Convection oven with an air fryer and it will make toast! It’s also super expensive at $350! But it does so much…
Let’s be honest, I am going to buy all of the indoorsy products, except the slippers because I already own a pair of those. Let’s move on to the kids and whether or not we like their parents.
Annoying toys for the kids of parents you can’t stand
An actual review from a horrified customer, “It’s gift able only if you don’t like the parents. The noise is awful, you can’t turn it down or off when you’re playing with it. I sent it back.” The most common complaint about this toy is that there is no way to turn the sound off or down.
I love glitter glue and my house is coated in it but I don’t care. My ex-husband once said our house looked like an embarrassing romper room. There are people who will loose their minds at the idea of glitter stuck all over their house and/or car.
These little toys get tangled in absolutely everything. It’s as if someone with a hatred of children invented a toy. I hate them. My kids hate them. You should have a wee bit of a grudge against the kid as well as the parents because no one is safe from having to have one of these things cut out of their hair.
Toys for kids you like
My family has had many Connect 4 tournaments and I have lost every single one of them. No matter, this is still a fun game and people of a certain age love to repeat the best advertising line ever, “Pretty sneaky, sis,” when they lose.Crayons are like Lego and books, you can never have too many. Get a shoebox to store them in if your collection is getting out of hand.I loved coloring books but my kids never liked them. If you end up with someone who draws a lot, get a ream of cheap printer paper. For all others, this is a good quality drawing pad and it’s only 3 bucks.
For glamorous tweens and teens
There is a lot here to love. It’s a small, plastic banana. It has hand lotion in it. And there are mangos and red apple versions if you want to make someone a little fruit bowl.Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery, envy is.
Weird dishtowels to buy for people you know will love a weird dishtowel
And finally, this!
It’s a bag for snacks! Or lunch or a paperback romance and a can of diet coke…the possibilities are limitless!
And there you have it. Happy Shopping! If you have a category you’d like me to source gifts for, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see what I can do!