Friday, 23 June 2017

Life on the Starry Highway

After a week of sucking down $1 beers in my home town, it was time to get back to work. I mean, after all, that was the point of this tour, right?

Speaking of tours, I'm in the middle of my third tour in as many years. My first tour in 2014 stretched from ISAR in Phoenix to SOTA near NYC, the second from SOTA to Portland and CA to Cape Town to India and finished in Australia over a period of 5 months and the current one is from the San Francisco to Seattle to Detroit to the East Coast to the West Coast of the US. I have to say living out of a suitcase for extended periods isn't a bad way for someone with Saturn in Pisces to live: it certainly kept me focused! I've been lucky to see so many wonderful landmarks but I'm luckier still for all the wonderful people I've been able to get to know better and to spend time with on their home turf. Oh and, um, there's the food.

Good folks always ask me about what it's like on a tour and it's one of the reasons I like to post status updates--I also feel it's good for helping people to connect with each other. It makes me feel like I'm bringing a whole lot of you along with me too. Of course, if you're not interested you don't have to read!

My first stop of the "East Coast Leg" of this current tour was in Philadelphia with a branch of the National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR--an organisation that has branches all over the country). I had never spoken with a group of NCGR members but of course I had heard of them. So I was thrilled they wanted to book me to speak in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, as I was hammering out dates, I inadvertently was a little too keen to book my return flight to the UK and made a boo-boo that meant I'd be back in London before I actually spoke in Philly. Whoopsie. Fortunately for my sorry Saturn in Pisces ass, alternative arrangements were made so I could still meet with NCGR in Philly. And what a great night we had: how blessed am I to spend the night with such a great cook and outstanding food, great company, a beautiful kitty called Burroughs and. . .Jacqueline Janes.
Jackie and me talking serious

Jackie and I met at SOTA (State of the Art Astrology) 2014 at Niagara Falls US (as a side note, I accidentally booked my hotel room to be on the Canadian side of the Falls--but what a great walk to work!). Way back then, I was just cutting my teeth on the lecturing circuit. I regarded myself as being very lucky to have the cash to get as far as SOTA and I was looking at that US tour as a one-off.  I "knew" I'd be back to teaching in a few weeks where I'd crawl back under the rock I came from and get back to an ordinary life as a schoolteacher. In my mind, I was already unpacking. 

However, Jackie predicted I'd be "World Famous" and that the journey was just beginning.

As much as I wanted to believe that, I pretty much dismissed what she said as an act of kindness and encouragement. Never, ever in my wildest dreams did I think that less than two weeks later, I'd get the invitation to India. And I certainly never thought that just two months later someone would stick a tiara on my head. Two and half years and five continents later (and with an invitation to the 6th continent firmly in my calendar), I'd still seriously hesitate to call myself "world famous" but I never crawled back under that rock I came from. There's not a day that goes by that I can't believe all that has happened, or that I have not been grateful to the people who have helped me get to where I've gotten to--because I would not have gotten here on my own. That's for damn sure.

And most of the time I really still can't believe it. I say all this not only to remind myself of what I've achieved but also to remind myself of my responsibilities. A fellow teacher friend of mine reminded me that our students--past and present--follow us on social media whether we want them to or not. I never want to give out the idea that living my dreams was handed to me on a silver platter: it's taken time, effort and money. But more than that it takes a lot of courage to take the risk of making mistakes publicly and to get back up and get back out there when there's setbacks. And setbacks can often be the gods shining their grace and blessings on you! Near misses? I've had a few! I am lucky that I have a strong sense of purpose and as the world's worst businesswoman, I have to constantly be on the lookout for better opportunities, to be open about my victories (which is difficult for someone with Venus square Saturn, Moon in Leo or no). I don't so much as have a dream but a purpose. And that, for new readers, is to bring astrology to education and to engage young people in the Ancient Art of Astrology. That's it and it sustains me. 

But back to Jackie.

It was a deep honour to check in with her. I had forgotten about her prediction (because I didn't believe it at the time) but I could tell she was pleased with me when I met her again. It brought about a need within me to reflect on all that has happened because I need to keep it all in perspective. There's still a part of me who could easily drift back under that rock because I'm afraid I'm going to screw something up. But thank the Great Goddess it's all been good so far!! My reflections became my June Newsletter which really is a "pinch me" post so when I'm back in London teaching I can remember what it all like so I can get back up there again--because once back in the routine of teaching, it can be easy to forget my purpose. It ain't easy living with Venus square Saturn!! So thank you Jackie for your faith in me!!

My next stop was with my fellow Phillies fan Frank Piechosky. The last time I was in Philadelphia, Frank gave me the most outstanding tour of the town I could have ever asked for. And the best part is he lives just down the road from Citizens Bank Park where the Phillies get serious. As a kid, I loved the Phillies because my cousin Mike Schmidt played for them (well that's the story I told and I'm sticking to it!). Frank is also a wonderful cook. How good is he? Well, check this paella out. It even has a "hidden" astrological theme:
And just when I thought I had died and gone to heaven, Frank made me scrapple (don't ask what it is!!) for breakfast . . .and then literally gave me the shirt off his back! That's right, a Phillies shirt--with Mike Schmidt's name on the back!! I love Frank!! Thank you again--and thanks to the rest of the NCGR Philly crew for a wonderful few days in the heart of US political history.

I guess it isn't surprising that SOTA friends were on my agenda while I was in the neighbourhood. I instantly fell in love with Eric Pride at SOTA 2014 and when I returned the following year, he and I and a few others formed a merry band who tore the town apart near Niagara Falls! I've had a lot of good meals in my life (ahem) but this one at Weinkeller's was a doozy.

With the lovely Jason Williams!
Luck smiled on us during our reunion a couple of weeks ago. We were sorry Jackie Menkes couldn't join us but again, what a fabulous dinner we had. And of course we toasted to our missing friend.

Note Jason on far right sans moustache!! Yummy!!!
As a kid, I used to think Hershey Pennsylvania must be heaven on earth. As an adult who has developed a refined taste for the flavours of the East (read "curry"), I'm not as enthusiastic. Nevertheless, when near Hershey, one must get to Hershey World where there really is a street called "Chocolate Avenue", the streetlights are made to look like chocolate kisses and the cows sing about their good fortune to produce milk for Hershey products (I guess it beats the hell out of producing a product for a burger chain!).

Oh and "snack size" has a peculiar meaning:

Thank you so much Eric, Jason (the unrequited love of my life!), Aaron and Josh!!! Come to England soon!!

Now I can't be 45 minutes from Baltimore without visiting my best friend since 8th grade Mike. I moved around a lot as a younger child but managed to settle in one school district (though we still moved house a lot) throughout my teens--and Mike has been a major part in all my teenage angst, "maturing" years and stupidity. Over the best seafood the East Coast can offer, we reminisced, laughed . . . and ate.

From Mike's house, I greyhounded it to New York City to meet (drumroll please) Ronnie Grishman of Dell Horoscope Magazine and Shelley Ackerman of ISAR. I haven't had the opportunity to spend much time with either of them before but what a girlie lunch was had!! Information was swapped, plans were made and kingdoms were conquered . . . and great advice was received. There will be lots more about this high powered business meeting so stay tuned for further developments!

Here we are looking our innocent best:
Oh and the food was fabulous!

Ronnie took time out of her busy schedule and saw me to the right train to the airport and raided my writing repertoire for goodies. We got plans. . .but let's just say I'll be back in NYC next year and you'll be hearing more about this meeting in the near future.

Some 9 hours later and I was back on the West Coast in beautiful San Diego (although I didn't realise it was as beautiful as it was until the morning). I was speaking at another NCGR group and what a group they were!! One hundred percent engaged, interested, supportive, fun. . .I wish I had more time to spend with them. But I did get to watch a glorious sunset with new friends, met more beautiful kitties and enjoyed. . .more food.
My visit to San Diego was very short but I just had to squeeze in a visit with April Elliott Kent who I met via the Jessica Adams show a few years ago--and also bumped into for about 10 seconds at ISAR 2015. So imagine my delight when she messaged me on Facebook to invite me to breakfast!

Over a casual breakfast information was swapped, plans were made and kingdoms were conquered . . . and great advice was received. Notice a pattern here? What is the point of a tour if world domination is just an option. And oh boy, April and I have plans.

And that's life for you on the starry highway! Food, friends. . .and gratitude! Just roll me off the plane at Heathrow. . .

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