Another Mercury Retrograde Has Begun

But there is no need to panic

The world may feel like it has turned upside down these days, from our social crisis to climate change, to fake news, and an upcoming election on top of it all. Sometimes it all feels backward. The only thing worse? Another Mercury retrograde has begun.

This happens to be the last of three Mercury retrograde for 2020. And like much of 2020, I look forward to putting both in my rear-view mirror.

What is a Mercury retrograde?

A Mercury retrograde is when it appears as if Mercury is traveling backward in its orbit through the night sky. This is, of course, an illusion, the planet does not physically spin backward. Yet according to astrology, retrograde periods can have their effect on our emotions.

The planet Mercury rules communication in all its forms; writing, reading, speaking, even listening. It has been characteristically thought during these periods, to be associated with confusion, errors, delays, frustrations, and miscommunications.

One might experience emails gone awry or mixed-up travel plans, or loving intentions unrequited. Often there seem to be more computer issues or mechanical problems than usual.

Because mercury rules all types of communication the best thing to do is to take a long, slow breath and try to remain patient and flexible. Double-checking your communications doesn’t hurt either. Give that email a second glance, allow extra time for travel, smile more at those around you. We are all in this particular experience together.

This is a good time to review new projects …..

How I Prepared a 10-day Meal Plan for Our Sailing Vacation

Cruising out of lockdown on a 36-foot sailboat.

I stand looking down at the piece of paper in my hand, on which I have scribbled my grocery list. I am in front of the potatoes in my local grocers produce aisle. I do not find potatoes on my list. Do we have potatoes? I don’t recall seeing any in the pantry.

Never enough potatoes, I announce to no one around, as I plop a 5 lb. bag into my cart.

A few months ago my partner Richard and I began discussing what it would look like to embark on an extended sailing trip. We had postponed all our previous travel due to Covid-19 restrictions, consequentially feeling a little landlocked.

But there is always sailing! An exciting, fun, and socially distancing activity.

The Vacation Plan

We live in the Pacific Northwest, near some of the region’s most beautiful waterways. With some vacation time coming up for him, we decided on a 10-day sail around the northern Puget Sound waters, circumnavigating Whidbey Island and ending in the archipelago of the San Juan Islands before completing our circle by returning to Bellingham Bay, where we moor the sailboat.

A few weeks ago, we began preparing for the trip. After a weekend sail, earlier in the month, with my son and his fiancee, we knew the sailboat needed to come out of the water for some clean-up and general up-keep maintenance. Richard spent a week cleaning, scrubbing, painting, and waxing the hull of the sailboat Selkie, getting her ready from bow to stern.

My main job was to ready the inside of the boat. Making sure all our supplies were in order from washed linens on the bed to toiletries, to well-stocked pantry shelves.

This brings me to standing in the grocery store, reviewing my lengthy list, and hoping I did not forget anything. Like potatoes.

Creating A 10-day Menu.……

5 Ways to Celebrate the Autumn Equinox This Year

And bring some balance into your world

A tinge of red and orange dot the hillside banked with a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees. A few big maple leaves have already begun to litter the walkways as the days grow shorter and the evenings become crisper. The wheel of the year has come full circle. Autumn is on its way.

I know for me, the slight chill in the air, the slanting sunlight, and the smell of wood smoke from a home hearth awakens my senses, or as F.Scott Fitzgerald said;

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

And with the change of season, we watch as the sunlight wanes, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. Yet, there is one day of balance, transitioning from the summer months and ushering us into fall, the Autumn Equinox.

What is the Autumn Equinox?

The Latin word equinox literally means ‘equal night’. There are two equinoxes in the astronomical calendar, one in the spring and one in the fall.

They mark the change in seasons and during autumn mark the balance of the light shifting from the longer days to darker, longer nights of winter.

On September 22nd, the sun will cross above the Earth’s equator, from north to south, marking nature’s conversion to the new season.

Earlier humans spent more time outdoors than we do now, becoming more accustomed to nature’s processes including those happening in the celestial skies, like the movements of the sun and moon.

A harvest ritual by any other name……

A Road Trip of a Different Color

“Road trips are the equivalent of human wings. We will stop in every small town and learn the history and stories, then we will turn it into our own story that will live inside our history to carry with us, always. Because stories are more important than things.” — Victoria Erickson

Road trips hold a sense of anticipation and excitement for that unknown but soon to be discovered thing. Sometimes they open our eyes to new places and our hearts to newly made friends. If we are very lucky, they open us too, to new possibilities and perhaps to dive within ourselves.

I am embarking on a road trip of a different sort, aboard a sailboat, and I invite you to come along! If road trips are to be like human wings then doing it by sail is the purest form of flying. The wind is literally beneath your wings and sails.

Before we cast off.

Our plan is to be sailing for roughly nine to ten days. There is a little wiggle room padded into our itinerary to account for any weather delays or unexpected situations.

But before we cast off with the Selkie (name of our boat) there are preparations to be done…..

We Are the People

A tale of voting rights throughout history


We the People, are the first three words of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. In all, a fifty-two-word sentence with some mighty power.

We are the people; black, brown, white, native-born, or immigrant. We are the people, not based on our sex, gender, or who you love. And as such, we form our government.

In our current social climate, with our country experiencing deep divides surrounding racial and ethnic equality, voting rights, and economic disparities, one could argue we are 180 degrees from the original vision and intent of our founding fathers.

But have we been here before?

Is it a crime for a citizen of the U.S. to vote?

This year is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote.

Throughout the late 1800s up until after WWI, women fought for their voices to be heard and to be recognized as a ‘person’ mentioned in the Preamble. Susan B. Anthony, a suffragette for women’s rights, was arrested and charged in 1872 for voting in a federal election, well before the ratification to the 19th Amendment.

If women had not gained the right to vote, were they considered ‘people’ under the words of the Preamble?



A Mother First and Gay Rights Activist Second

The story of Jeanne Manford and the baton she passed to me.

I sit at the far end of the semi-circle of tables and chairs. We are gathered in a small meeting room at the back of a pizzeria. The room doubles as a space for both group gatherings and birthday party bashes. As I take my seat, I smell the faint waft of red marinara sauce mixed with mozzarella cheese. Unmistakingly the aroma of pizza.

The man on my right is enjoying a lovely amber ale and the woman on my left greets me with a very warm smile. She is holding a stuffed turtle in her hand. As always in these new situations, I am feeling awkward and momentarily consider bolting for the door.

But then the meeting begins. The seats around the table fill up. The woman next to me holds up the turtle, using it as a talking stick item as she opens the meeting. Whoever is holding the turtle is the one who gets to speak.

Eventually, the turtle makes its way around the room and finds me. I hold it for a second feeling the plush fabric nervously with my fingers before I say, Hello, my name is MaryRose. I use the she/her pronouns. My reasons for being here are my kids. My son is transgender and my daughter identifies as Bi. I am here to find community and to deepen my learning.

I feel a hand on my left arm. I turn to the woman sitting next to me who is not just warmly smiling but beaming! Oh, you are doubly blessed, she says, looking me in the eyes. Welcome to PFLAG.

What is PFLAG?

The Day I Picked up His Banner and Walked With Him

The beginning of one mother’s journey as her son came out as transgender.

My son is twenty-three this year. Five years ago, at the age of seventeen, he came out as transgender.


It was on a rainy, Northwest day my teenage child, then known as my oldest daughter, drove off in the old Toyota. A family car no longer used. My child was setting off for a new college experience. Flying the nest.

The back seat and trunk stuffed full of boxes and belongings obscured my view of my oldest heading down the road and away from me. I worried about the visibility out the back window. I silently worried over the three hours of driving between our home and this new school.

Of course, I also mused; Would my child fit in and make friends at this new school? Will my child be happy there?

I never worried about gender. The idea of transgender, my oldest daughter truly being my son, never entered my mind.

At least not then.

Finding out via Facebook.

It was several hours later and I arrived home from a long day at work. I had not received a phone call so I decided to check Facebook. I flipped open my laptop and after waiting for the familiar screen to flash on, I began to scroll.

There it was. My child’s Facebook page and profile picture looking back at me. Only not my child’s name attached. There before me was a new name! Jace. I leaned back from the computer, confused but still staring at it.

My go-to action was to ask my younger daughter if she had seen this new name and what it might mean? Her reply, I think you better call Jace. Upon which she returned her attention to her Algebra book.

Alone in my bedroom, I dialed my child’s number. Anxiety and nerves built up with each consecutive ring. I don’t know what I anticipated but my body viscerally signaled me something was up because of the pit forming in my stomach and the clamminess to my palms growing into full-fledged sweat.

The End of the World as We Know It

And do I feel fine?

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. So goes the lyric from the alternative rock band, REM’s song by the same name.

This song hit the music charts in 1987 with it’s frenetic, fast-paced syncopated lyrics referencing everything from Soviet ruler Leonid Brezhnev to biblical rapture to comedic lines of Lenny Bruce. It sifted out everything strangely wrong with the world and weirdly juxtaposed. Is it any wonder it has become an anthem to our current situation during the coronavirus pandemic?

The feeling of loss for a life previously lived.

It is common to feel a loss and grieve after we lose someone from our lives, be it due to a death, a divorce, or maybe a moving away and losing touch. When this happens, we sometimes characterize our lives as life before, with that person, and life after. The void we feel can seem like the end of the world as we know it. And it kind of is.

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

What lies ahead of us, on the other side of our grief, is a new life. One without the person, activity, and things we were used to doing.

During this time of Covid-19 so many people have lost beloved spouses, parents, siblings, and friends. Their lives are certainly changed and their grieving real.

But what if we are grieving our way of life before Covid-19?

Six Degrees From the Stonewall Riots

A look back at the inception of PRIDE to see the way forward

Right now, most of us concur we are living through times of uncertainty and civil unrest. A global pandemic with a rising death toll, riots, demonstrations, police brutality, the sinking economy, and the list goes on.

But it’s not the first time our society has felt this type of shakedown.

A similar situation brewed throughout the 1960s with one sector boiling over during the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. This boiling point became known as the Stonewall Riots, and it was here the inception of the gay rights movement began.


In 1969, I turned one year old. My family lived on the West Coast, far from Greenwich Village, Manhattan, or New York and an uprising later to be termed The Stonewall Riots. For obvious reasons, I was unaware of the growing unrest in our country during the late ’60s and early ’70s.

My parents did not openly protest to my knowledge. Preferring to use their voices at the ballot boxes or campaign on initiatives for reform. They saw their voices being heard through the political process and that is okay. It was also a different time.

There was always a news broadcast playing in my home, either on the radio or the evening news on the television. I do not recall my parents speaking on issues of the day such as racism, riots, or drag queens. Perhaps they spoke amongst themselves. Perhaps they felt a child’s childhood should be left to play kick-the-can and savor their wishes to Santa Claus. Perhaps they felt I was too young to be touched by the burdens of the world.

Whatever their reasons, it was those burdening events; the Vietnam war, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Stonewall Riots which would ultimately shape the world I grew up in.

In 1969 the Stonewall Riots became a tipping point for the LGBTQ movement. A banner for equality I would pick up a few decades later when my son came out to me as transgender.

Of course, I knew the word but up until that moment that is all it was for me, a word. At that moment, with my son, it became personal. I had no context for the breadth of its meaning. Contrary to my son’s belief that his liberal-minded, progressive mom knew everything, when in fact I did not.

Where did I begin? I began at what I knew to be the beginning.

Today, I Would Rather Pull the Covers Over My Head

How to move forward when your heart is not in it

Today I would rather pull the covers over my head and wait out my funk. I don’t know why I woke up feeling this way. There is no clear-cut reason to point at and say,

That, that is the cause of my gloom, my sadness, grief, despair, or what-have-you.

Perhaps it is the pandemic news, maybe it is menopause hormones, overall I feel overwhelmed.

I give myself some grace to ponder these questions as I lounge in bed. Yes, under the covers.

I give up on trying to decipher a reason for my melancholy. It is what it is.

Sliding my feet out from the tangle of covers, I plant them on the floor. I do not jump out of bed but allow myself to rise slowly, letting that be my pace for the day.

There are many hours ahead of me before I lay my head back down on my pillow and pull my covers up. Here is how I faced them.