Excess, Storms & The Holidays – ChatterLog December 2012
Excess, Storms & The Holidays – ChatterLog December 2012
Greetings everyone and welcome to the December or “Holiday” ChatterBulletin, and the sign of Sagittarius, half-man, half-horse, also known as the Centaur. This time last year we focused on the athletic aspect of this “sporty” sign, since Sagittarius is the “jock” of the zodiac (he is after all half horse and has a bow and arrow in his hands!) so our theme was “Sports.” Now what shall we talk about this time? Well, when you read the ChatterTip for this month, you’ll see what gave me the idea. The Ruling Planet of Sagittarius is Jupiter, known not only for their philosophical ideas and wisdom, but also for their excess! So this month’s theme is simply “Excess!”
Excess comes in all shapes and sizes, and various forms and manifestations…. But check this out. Pretty much every Sagittarius I know is athletic but I also know at least two guys with Sagittarius featured strongly in their Astrological make-up, and they are both total “jocks.” Not only are they “jocks” they are “excessive jocks!” If they can’t work out for some reason, they are miserable. And when they do work out, they will push themselves until they drop. They don’t know when to stop! And, remember last year I mentioned that Sagittarius rules the thighs? Both of these Sagittarius “jock” friends of mine have had serious injuries to their legs, more specifically they broke their femurs! I rest my case.
Speaking of Sagittarius and horses, one day I was walking around the neighborhood and I came upon this poor little abandoned horsey, put out on the sidewalk to fend for himself… I couldn’t resist taking a photo, and combined with the red and green, I thought it would make a perfect seasonal photo!
So from excessive working out to what else? Where else can we possibly see Excess? I’ll tell you where? Last month the New Jersey and New York area was seriously hit by Hurricane Sandy, and many people are still struggling to get back on their feet again. Want to talk about Excess? That was one crazy storm, or was it? If you study Astrology, you can also relate the Seasons of Nature and the 12 Months of the Year to each of the 12 Astrological Signs. So guess what? The month of November, when the storm hit, is associated with the sign of Scorpio and is known to Astrologers and Meteorologists alike be one of the two rainiest months of the year, period. Scorpio is a Water sign, for starters, and when you consider the potential deadliness of the scorpion, the spider, the swamps… there is danger attached to this sign, and therefore to this time of the year. And that’s without even talking about what was going on with the Planets at the time of Hurricane Sandy!
I was without power for a week, which wasn’t much fun. It was cold, a tad lonely and yet also humbling. Like many, it was several days before I even saw any photographs of just how devastating it had been, when a neighbor came by with some newspapers he had picked up from uptown. Uptown, it was like nothing had happened, while downtown it was cold, dark, and very quiet. Having said that, compared to many, my situation was merely a temporary inconvenience. I lost power, not my home. I even pulled out my ancient Hitachi radio that my father had purchased for me when I moved to Paris more than 30 years ago, with the same batteries from the blackout a few years ago, and would you believe, it was still working? I put the radio on for a few hours each day, and it lasted all week. Just when I was thinking of throwing that old thing out too…
Back for one moment to Sagittarius, archers and arrows: A few months back my cousin was visiting his mother in Guernsey, the Channel Islands, where he attended the Guernsey Air Show, formerly known as Battle of Britain Week. I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters how both he and his brother have been watching and photographing airplanes since they were young. Well, Howard submitted some of the images he had taken of the Air Show to the local newspaper, in particular The Red Arrows, one of which of was featured in the Guernsey Press. Here’s the image they chose for the newspaper… Sagittarius shoots its arrows up into the sky…
One of my photographers Kathy Cacicedo, happens to live in New Jersey, and she sent me some of the photographs she had taken after the storm of her summertime home town of Seaside Heights. Notice in the “No Vacancy” image, we have yet another arrow, Sagittarius’ symbol of optimism, so may that same optimism spread throughout New Jersey and New York as they rebuild. Seaside Heights is also home of the “Jet Star” roller coaster that fell into the ocean! This is particularly nostalgic for Kathy, who put herself through college by working as a carney in all the boardwalk games on the Casino Pier, where it used to stand. Some of you may also be familiar with the 1966 Bruce Brown surf movie “The Endless Summer” – well, Kathy is a huge surf fan, and besides being a photographer, producer and film-maker, she is also a graphic designer, so just for fun, she did a spin-off on the original movie poster with her recent image of the fallen Jet Star. Certainly brings a more festive vibe to a sad situation…
This time of year is ripe for “Excess” of all kinds, and with the Holidays upon us we have the potential once more for “Consumer Excess.”People are shopping like crazy, but with budgets tight and many people still struggling after Hurricane Sandy, I am including some more affordable gift ideas to at least help curb some of the “monetary excess!” I’m all for giving gifts, don’t get me wrong, but somehow, somewhere, didn’t it all get a bit out of hand? Families who are struggling are still looking to find a way to somehow buy tons of toys and gifts for all their family, when they really can’t afford it. So then, to help ease some of the spending burden…
Affordable Gift Ideas:
- Secret Santa
One way to save on your holiday gift budget is by employing the good old Secret Santa. Instead of having to buy something for every single member of your family, office, or wherever, you put everyone’s name in a hat, and then each person pulls only one name (other than your own of course) from the hat. You then buy a gift for that person only and no one knows who’s buying for whom! Surprise Secret Santa! Thus excessive spending is avoided and, you can always set a “maximum” limit to keep it fair and affordable for everyone.
- Best gifts under $5!
About.com has a section called “Frugal Living” where I found a list of gift ideas for under $5! Now you can’t beat that!
- Gift ideas under $10 for ANY time of the year
While browsing on the Internet, I also came across this list of 63 ideas for gifts under $10 from Michelle Jones, Founder and Editor of BetterBudgeting.com. Why 63? I’m not sure, and while I don’t know too many people likely to do Number 59, which is “Favorite quote embroidered (key word there) on a nice handkerchief,” there are plenty of other less-laborious ideas on the list that are super-affordable, including baking some homemade cookies, providing you love to cook, that is! This is a great way to make delicious homemade gifts that will actually be consumed by the recipient, and therefore not end up as one of those gifts that the person doesn’t really want or know what to do with!
- Gift ideas under $25
Stores such as Target have many gift options, for “him” “her” and the “kids” under $25!
- Jewelry & Accessory gift ideas under $50
Check out my friend Pascale Fion’s online trunk show for Stella & Dotwith many items under $50!
- Uncommon gifts under $50
And then there’s a really fun assortment of gifts under $50 on Uncommon Goods. One of my absolute favorites has to be the “Cat DJ Scratching Pad!”
In closing – Happy Birthday to all you Sagittarians out there – and Happy, Healthy Holidays to all of our business associates, clients, family and friends!