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About Me

I’m a relative newcomer to the Big City, and while I’m hard at work teaching Art History, I wanted to become part of the larger community of the city that communicates online about their likes, dislikes, and opinions about EVERYTHING!! So, while not endorsing restaurants or stores for any profit or financial interest (really!), I’m just going to write when I find something that I want to share. And I hope you’ll decide to follow me and spread the good word. (Meaning – I’m going to try to only be positive about what I like, not tear down things I don’t care for.) Let’s lift up the small businesses and entrepreneurs who are working hard to make it here in New York.

Be yourself. Everybody else is taken. – Oscar Wilde

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Showing the Cat’s Claws

Cats claw

This is an easy and quick reading that I usually do if I want the answer to a specific question. So, today I thought, what’s going to happen with my job? I know I’ve been taking a lot of time off, but I also know that my students really enjoy my classes and I will be very productive once my life settles down a little (famous last words, eh?).

1. “What am I holding onto?” The first card is The Star, which is a really excellent card no matter where it appears in a spread. Because of all the stars in the sky, the card is considered a celestial or navigation card. It’s not going to give direction, merely point out that I already know what I want and how to get it…so follow the stars! It’s possible that this card is telling me that I have too many stars in my eyes and I need to come down to earth a little, but let’s see what the other cards have to say.

2. The next card, the Queen of Wands, is here to answer “What can I do to let it go?” The Queen of Wands is a very confident woman, sure of her powers and attractiveness, and confident about all aspects of her life. There may be someone who is trying to stop me from using my powers, and that individual is the one I must let go – or else she will hold me back for the rest of my life. Boy, do I know who that is…my so-called mother-in-law (you can learn scads of stuff about her in “Freeing the Magician”).

3. So obviously, the next question asks, “How can I take control again?” Who wouldn’t want to get back on track after messages that are tantalizingly good, except for one teensy-weensy thing. The 8 of Pentacles shows a hard working man finishing up a job. The message is straightforward: work hard, be your best self, and everything will be alright.

4. “What do I Need to Do to Move Forward?” The 9 of Pentacles is a wonderful card, and the woman in the card is advising me to take care and enjoy life, now that my work is done. Completing a job, doing it well, is the best way to gain satisfaction and stability. Or at least I hope so.

5. The final card: “How can I use this to help me?” It’s interesting to have three cards of the same suit in a five card reading; it’s also significant that they are Pentacles, which represent money and material success. So the focus on work is appropriate, and the message I’m getting is pretty simple, too. Just work hard, don’t do anything fancy, and maybe I’ll be able to keep my job. The 3 demonstrates that teamwork can be a helpful way to add more accomplishments, and I have to admit that’s something I have not done. (I’m not good at teams, don’t tell anyone.)

So, there you have it. Short (kinda) and sweet. We’ll do a longer one soon, I promise.

First Stabbing, Now Stealing

Klimt 1912 closeup

This lovely, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, was painted in 1912 by Gustav Klimt. I’m sure it was appreciated by the owners. It’s different from his usual gold-infused portraits, and for that reason it seems to have a whimsical feeling.

And then there were Nazis. This painting was one of thousands of pieces of art that were taken and enjoyed by German officers and their families, and then hidden when the war was coming to an end.

When I was a graduate student in the discipline of Art History, I became obsessed with these stolen paintings. To the extent that I ran around some Eastern European countries late at night, dressed in black, jumping on stranger’s motorcycles and at times, even carrying a gun. My dissertation was killer, because I found a stolen painting, restored it, and returned it to its rightful owner. Not all of the stories associated with the rescue of these paintings end so well. More about that in “Embracing the Fool.”

Anywho, a lot of legal fights have been held over who really owns this painting. All I think you need to know is that it was recently sold at auction by Oprah Winfrey to a Chinese collector for a ginormous amount of money. I sincerely hope he’s enjoying it. But more than that, I hope the rightful owners see the news and show up at his door to claim it as theirs.

Take a Stab at it

ruby and diamonds dagger

No kidding, I saw two guys with daggers very similar to this one sticking out of their dead bodies recently. One had blood pooled all around his head and in his lap – the knife was in his neck, and the other was pretty cleanly stuck in his chest, meaning it was stuck there after he was already dead, so it was a message. For me. Placed on a lovely white couch in the Pierre Hotel. At least the couch wasn’t ruined, but I noticed it disappeared and was replaced with one in a yellow and white linen pinstripe the next day.

All of these events are pretty well described in “Embracing the Fool,” with me being the Fool in this case, as you may have guessed.

I’ve held similar daggers, some of which had a very nice curve in the blade, mostly for self defense purposes when I was traveling with the circus and later, doing my dissertation research. A girl can’t be too careful! Knowing how to throw and use a dagger is a handy skill to have. But I didn’t kill either of the men I referred to above. In “The Fool,” I used a gun to kill, when it became necessary. Self defense, of course.

Here’s an example of a curved blade dagger. Pretty, isn’t it? Until the sheath comes off.

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New Leaf with Another Ace

Ace of Pentacles

While Pentacles are associated with money and career, the Ace focuses on the opportunity to start something new…and find success. So, if your inclination is to change jobs or embark on a new business venture, and you draw this card in a spread, then your message is clear: go for it. All the resources you need will become available, and if you work hard, you will find success. But as with all the cards, you cannot sit back and wait for lightning to strike: you must do the work in order to garner the success. Trust your instincts, use your talents, and you can have everything you desire.

Next week, I’ll lay out a Celtic Cross spread and we’ll see what cards turn up!

Art is in the Details

Margaret_Bourke_White_Chrysler_Building

Margaret Bourke-White, one of the most well-known photographers of the 20th century, spent her life documenting not just the construction of America’s most fantastic structures, but also some of the most significant events that occurred during that century. Whether you believe that photography is “art” or not, you have to admire the composition and clarity of her photographs, ranging from destitute farmers during the depression to peasant workers in Russia after World War II. She was there to witness the liberation of the concentration camps in Germany, and her photographs of the survivors are stunning in the humanity they bring to that horror. Her photographs for Life magazine enabled Ms. Bourke-White to travel the globe, with access to places few Americans had gone before. This photo of the Chrysler Building in New York is less well known than the one taken of the photographer herself, perched on the back of an eagle-shaped gargoyle, getting ready to shoot pictures. It’s inspiring, and exciting, and the legacy of a very productive life.

Luxury in the Laundry

Pierre laundry bag closer

I brought home this laundry bag after an unfortunate stay at the Pierre Hotel. Not to say anything bad about the place – it’s a wonderful hotel – but let’s just say the circumstances of my visit were less than ideal. I’m not cut out for hiding from killers or dodging bullets, it’s just not me. Anyway, my boyfriend the cop keeps threatening to haul me in for theft because I took this when I checked out of the hotel. Pardon-e-moi, but I think they want you to take this stuff, to remind you of how wonderful it was to be able to put your dirty stuff in a bag and get it back all clean the next day. Wow! I keep waiting for that to happen here, but no such luck. I’m kidding – there is no way in hell I’d put dirty undies in this bag. I’m currently using it as a pillow case. A little show-offy, but what the heck. I had to shoot someone in that hotel, so I deserve a little something for my trauma. Don’t you agree? So cute, with the little crown on the “P.” Maybe I’ll find a reason to stay there again that doesn’t involve dead people. That would be good. I’ll probably still pilfer the laundry bag, though.

All Tied Up?

8 of Swords

This week’s Tarot card is the Eight of Swords, and I chose it to go along with Frida’s state of bondage. If you observe the woman in this card, she is blindfolded, tied up, and surrounded by swords: a pretty dire situation. But your reader asks you to take a closer look: the woman is not tied to anything, such as a tree or a chair, and with a little wiggle, she can probably get out of those bindings; then, the blindfold can easily come off. And as for the swords, whose are they? By themselves, they can do no harm. So in reality, the woman is guarded by no one, and impeded by her own fear. She can get away, and perhaps even grab a sword for her own protection. Many of us find ourselves in situations from which we feel there is no escape, and yet, with a change in perspective, we may discover that we are not really stuck where we thought we were.

Feeling like you’re at a dead end in your job or relationship? Wiggle around a little, change your stance, and you may find that you are able to release whatever has been holding you back. If you get this card in a reading, know that it’s time to take off the blindfold and look in a new direction. Don’t wait for someone else to “rescue” you…Time to grow up and rescue yourself from whatever mess you have gotten into. Frida was stuck in her body, tormented by physical ailments, and she became a victim of the time in which she lived, unable to change her marriage or Mexican traditions. She poured her anguish into her art, and created works that are unique and expressive. One can only wonder what she would have been able to do as a healthy, free woman.

Believe me when I tell you that the bindings, the blindfold, even the swords are all representations of your own fears. Once you realize that, you can step away from them, and start to really live your life. Go on, take the first step.