Sunday, December 29, 2019

Stumbling Around Windows 10

After running like a well-oiled machine on Windows 7 operating system for years, this blogger is currently stumbling around Windows 10 grabbing onto anything vaguely familiar to steady herself.

We had an "interesting" time yesterday afternoon getting the re-furbished Dell ready for action. My husband helped a lot, but we both had problems, based not on the actual operating system but in finding all the necessary passwords, the product key etc. These were required for just about every move we tried to make. I have my collection of passwords scribbled in a notebook - higgledy-piggledy-wise so that anyone looking would find it hard to discover any particular password. It turned out that I'd made it too difficult for myself in most cases, for seldom used passwords!

The product key for the version of Windows 10 installed on my re-furbished Dell caused a bit of cursing. I eventually found it after pulling out the big box. The magic number had been partially covered up, possibly intentionally to avoid theft. I didn't realise it was partially covered, so much swearing ensued when I was constantly berated, by messages from Microsoft, for not buying a proper version of Windows, and I should get me to the store and flippin' buy a proper one! I eventually realised I'd have to scratch some colour off a part of the product key to find the full 25 digit key. Phew!!

I'm now able to access and send e-mail, access and post on my blog. I've installed a couple of programs needed for dealing with photographs and other images, and am about to install my new version for Win 10 astrology software - very basic, it just enables me to produce natal charts without the maths involved.

Oh flippin' heck! The washing machine has just broken down in mid-cycle, with some horrendous noises when trying to spin the load. I'll have to do some squeezing, then drape a few items around the bathroom and garage until they are just damp enough for the drying machine. TSK!

Below, I was experimenting with the library of images from my old computer, masterfully transferred by Himself. Yes! It works! A few wise words never go amiss.

I shall go stumble around some more now.

Monday, December 23, 2019


I hope to be back soon after Christmas using my new (well, refurbished) computer with Windows 10. Good ol' Windows 7 will not be supported by Microsoft after January 14, boo hiss! If I find difficulty coping with a new-fangled operating system, however, I might be gone for quite some time!

In the meantime:

Friday, December 20, 2019

Winter Solstice, 2019.

As we in the northern hemisphere prepare to welcome Winter Solstice 2019 on 21 December, in the southern hemisphere Summer Solstice will be celebrated. An urge to mark these points in time must be in our DNA. Humans have been doing so for as long as we are able to see into the distant past.

Countless structures around the world served ancient civilisations as natural calendars to mark solstices, equinoxes, and sites of sacred ceremony. The nearest such structure to our Oklahoma home is in New Mexico, the state adjoining Oklahoma's panhandle, to the west.

At the southern entrance to an area known as Chaco Canyon stands 443ft high Fajada Butte.

Here, in 1977, Dr. Anna Sofaer discovered the "Sun Dagger" - a petroglyph thought to have been carved some 1000 years ago by an ancient people who inhabited the area, the Anasazi, ancestors of the modern Pueblo peoples. The ancestral Puebloans were a prehistoric Native American civilization centered around the present-day Four Corners area of the Southwest United States, where Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico meet. The "dagger" is the only known site in the world that marks the extreme positions of both the moon and the sun.

"A large circular spiral and a small spiral are pecked in the cliff behind three large stone slabs. At midday on the summer solstice, the sun shines between the stone slabs and creates a dagger of light that bisects the large spiral. On midday of the winter solstice, two daggers bracket the large spiral. During the spring and the fall equinoxes, a small dagger of light bisects the small spiral. The slabs also cast shadow on the large spiral that marks the moon’s eighteen point six years cycle of its orbit"
(Chaco Culture Brochure).

Friday, December 13, 2019


When I opened this blog in August of 2006 it was as an astrology blog. After several years of astrology blogging I'd exhausted my supply of things to write about, astrology-wise, so opened it up to more general topics.

At Quora, where I've been a member for a couple of years, in a niche section of the site there are a handful of professional astrologers answering questions on the topic, most of which questions come from people who think that astrology begins and ends with Sun signs, as found in newspapers, magazines - even in some books. These professional astrologers, with patience of saints, continue to try to educate the writers of such questions, with little success. I followed their example, for the most part. The astrologers must also fend off the usual denigrating and rude remarks about astrology and astrologers, fired from that unhappy band of astrology sceptics.

Amazingly, I received a "Top Writer" award after my first few month's of Quora input (on astrology and a couple of other topics), but that was in a year when the site owners were trying hard to encourage new writers. Many of us, new to the site, were shocked to receive this "Top" honour, but enjoyed it anyway. I've stepped back from writing on Quora during the past months. The quality of questions, on all topics, nose-dived after website owners began paying for questions. I do still visit the site, but on a read-only basis.

Anyway - back to astrology and in particular, that much maligned by some and loved by others branch of the subject, Sun sign astrology. Here's what I first wrote on the topic here, in 2006, then re-aired it in 2015, with comment from "mike". I fear that mike left planet Earth a month or two after leaving this blog. He suffered from what I believe turned out to be a terminal illness. He left with a remark along the lines of: "See you further down the road." R.I.P.

I'm often puzzled and irritated when reading the critical thoughts of "serious" astrologers about other astrologers who specialise in Sun sign astrology.

What is their problem? Sun sign astrologers play a big part in keeping "serious" astrologers in business. I'd guess that 9 people out of 10 who contribute to the livelihood of "serious" astrologers, through personal consultations, or purchase of their books, are first drawn to the subject via Sun sign columns, or books (such as Linda Goodman's) based on Sun sign astrology. It ill-behooves one to bite the hand that feeds him/her.

Even the worst astrology columns in local newspapers, and there are some really bad ones, serve to keep the concept of astrology alive. Good Sun sign writers such as [the late]Jonathan Cainer and Rob Brezsny, can inspire readers to delve deeper into the subject, whilst offering regular doses of inspiration and wisdom, rather than out and out predictions of the "tall dark stranger" kind.

It is possible, of course, to get into what I call "the Sun sign rut", but anyone sensitive to astrology will soon find a way out of that rut. Those less sensitive will still find plenty to play with among the Sun signs, and this is definitely better than nothing. Knowledge of traits attributed to the 12 zodiac (Sun) signs is helpful when moving deeper into astrology -time is not wasted reading Linda Goodman's books, or any other descriptions of the 12 signs.

The reason Sun sign astrology remains popular, and that people at parties still love to ask "What's your sign", is because there is a golden nugget of truth there. It doesn't shine through as brightly in every person, but it's always there. The Sun sign is an easy handle to grasp, a clue to work with, and let's face it - it's fun!

"Serious" astrologers can take themselves far too seriously. It's obvious that astrology is not yet an exact science, nor anywhere near, and probably never will be. All astrologers are whistling in the dark, to some extent. Make it a friendly, happy tune, please, guys!

I still feel much the same way, though often wrote, in my astrology posts, that "there is no such thing as an Aquarian, a Taurus, a Libra, and so on". Nearest things would be an Aquarian-type, a Taurus-type etc.

"mike" wrote in response to the quoted piece above...

Gotta start somewhere, so Sun-sign astrology is a beneficial launching pad into the wide world of astrology. I read a variety of Sun-sign and-or ascendant forecasts, because I enjoy reading how various astrologers interpret the transits. It's amazing how the same set of transits can be astrologically interpreted. Most all of the Sun-sign astrologers account for the other planets' interactions and interpret those by Sun-sign and-or ascendant, by the houses involved, whether they call is as such or not. The approach lends itself to generalizations, but overall, most astrologers do a decent job, particularly if the reader knows something about their own astrology and can filter for their own interpretation.

With the advent of the internet, delving into one's personal, natal chart is SO and allow any Sun-sign reader to further their knowledge with a quick and easy natal chart computation. In the old days, one would have to find an astrologer to perform the task or learn to do the math themselves. Both of those websites have natal chart interpretations, too. Seems to be an infinite number of astrology-based websites with each having an archive of useful information for the beginner or advanced.

I used to read Cainer and Brezsny, but I find they are too sugary and vague, typically assuming the reader will ALWAYS react with the most positive expression, which most individuals will not. It's always nice to have their positive encouragement, usually in a metaphorical presentation, but too often real life presents itself in less-than-perfect, non-storybook ways. I don't find that these two astrologers to be very helpful, as there isn't much offered...astrology-lite...LOL.

Different strokes for different folks. I prefer a more detailed, realistic over-view of transits, warts, roses, and all. Others want a more palatable, allegorical presentation that always presents the golden path with some amusement thrown-in.

I think that the authors (bloggers) that format by transit offer the better service to the reader, eg "this week's new Moon in Sagittarius", "today's Sun square Jupiter", "the upcoming Mars, Uranus, Pluto T-square". Tends to force the reader away from the spoon-fed, superficial, popularized astrology that we all love to hate.

I responded with:
mike ~ You've given a balanced and realistic view of the situation - many thanks!

I prefer the approach of [astrologers such as] Jonathan [and Oscar]Cainer and Rob Brezsny because there's more than enough doom and gloom elsewhere - reading them is like warming one's hands (or backside) at a welcoming fire on a bone-chilling day. They're not always 100% cheerful, but usually offer food for thought, if not always a wide smile.

I tend, mostly, not to look for "proper" predictions, preferring to wait and see, then match outcomes to planetary movement. Preparing the mind for something that might never happen or might happen in a very different way than expected, isn't good for me - but some might enjoy it, and I realise as much. Mundane stuff is different - in that sphere I'll look ahead and enjoy reading what "proper" astrologers have to say about, for instance, Trump's chances, or how others might fare in the 2016 election, etc.

Dragging myself back from 2006 and 2015 to 2019, I can see astrology reflected in my life currently, quite clearly. Pluto (planet of transformation and even death) at my birth in 1939 was in my 1st house. Pluto reached a point in my 7th house, exactly opposite my Cancer ascendant, very close to natal Mercury in Capricorn, around a couple of years ago. My medical problems, diagnosis and treatment began at that time - exactly! These have continued to develop as Pluto, very slowly, moved along a degree or two, then re-traced its steps through the same area of my natal chart. Pluto is now moving forward again, at last, and by early next year will be out of range of my ascendant and Mercury. Pluto hasn't done its worst and killed me, yet! I hope that I can get through the remainder of Pluto's transit alive but transformed, realising that I'll never be completely free of my current health issues. I am transformed from a healthy and active elderly person to someone hobbling around with a quad cane, unable to do many of the things I used to love to do. Pluto will move on through late Capricorn towards my 6 degree Aquarius Sun, but very, very slowly. At some point between now and Pluto's arrival conjunct my natal Sun around 2027/8 I'll be saying, "Goodbye Planet Earth" - but not quite yet. (I hope!)

Friday, December 06, 2019

Christmas Trimming

At around this time last year I remember thinking to myself, as I sorted out a bit of Christmas decor for the living room, "I wonder if I'll be here to do this again next Christmas?" At that point, most of my current ailments hadn't surfaced, I felt fairly confident that I would see another Christmas, barring accidents. Thinking along the same lines in 2019 I'm not quite as confident. I have had 2 more surgeries, several procedures, and some radiation therapy; early breast cancer has spread to bones - femur and hip, since Christmas 2018. I've made it through 2019 though, and once again here comes Christmas, with me still part of it. Yay!!

I decided I must make an attempt to do some seasonal decor, and made a start this morning. Dang though, I feel knackered! (As we'd say in Yorkshire). I should have asked for assistance from Himself, but I'm an independent cuss. I didn't realise how much walking is entailed, too and fro - garage to utility room to kitchen, to living room. It's part-finished now. I'm having a rest, here at the keyboard.

Our minimalist outdoor seasonal decor will be done tomorrow - with help from Himself. We'll put solar lights on our two young Redbud trees, exchange a Fall wreath with a Christmas one, and stand Santa where he'll catch the breeze and wobble on his springy feet. We don't clamber around putting lights along gutters and window frames as most householders do in these parts. Okies tend to start on Christmas trimming immediately Thanksgiving is over. I like to allow December to find its feet before getting out the red and green stuff, while inadvertently scattering glitter where it ought not to glitz. It's not long since all of last year's wandering sparkly bits eventually disappeared! I bought a robot vacuum cleaner a few months ago and, happily, it seems to have an appetite for sparkles. It has been a big help to me. I can mop and dust, with quad cane at hand, but can't easily push a heavy vacuum cleaner around. I didn't opt for the most expensive robot vac. I chose a mid-priced model called "Roborock" - I can recommend it.

Now...back to the glitter spreading!

Monday, December 02, 2019


Digging around in some storage boxes the other day, I came across the following bits and pieces.

#1 - A card containing Mother Shipton's predictions, something my Grandma kept in her dressing table drawer, passed on to my mother, then via her to me. My 10-year old blog post about Mother Shipton and her prophecies is HERE. These are words of her predictions, as printed on the card.

#2 - A photograph taken at the blacksmith's shop in Gretna Green, part of a coach trip with my mother in the early 1990s, after Dad had died. Gretna Green became famous as the venue of many "shotgun marriages" in the days when stringent English law on marriage caused couples, desperate to tie the knot, to escape to Scotland where marriage laws were much less strict. Gretna Green was the first place over the English/Scottish border, the blacksmith's shop was the first building travellers encountered. The town now makes a pretty penny from tourists! Our trip included a stop at the blacksmith's shop, with opportunity for a fun photograph depicting a runaway marriage. In the photo below the guy seated with the shotgun - playing bride's father, was my late partner (for over 30 years), the lady seated (in the role of bride's mother) is my mother. I am in the crowd - behind and between the top hat of the rather elderly groom and a girl wearing a striped jacket.

A photograph I took on one of our many trips to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. One evening I must have noticed the setting Sun in just the right place for this: