The Grand Convergence

Tonight the moon will pass through the Earth’s shadow, and if you have a good look at it, you will be able to clearly see that the moon appears to disappear completely. And then it comes back. At a time in history when people did not understand why this was happening, a lunar eclipse caused great fear and consternation, especially among creatures who still had their amygdalas (see the weekend post). Some believed that a dragon was swallowing the moon, and they fired cannon blasts to scare the creature away.

Human history tells us that in the absence of an explanation, one will be created and blame will be assigned accordingly.

Courtesy Nasaimages.org

On the very same day as tomorrow’s lunar eclipse, our hemisphere will be leaning away from the sun at its sharpest angle of the year and the winter solstice will occur. Daylight will be brief and nighttime long. People once thought this was an indication that the division between our world and the spirit world was stretched very thin, and mischief was somehow more likely at this time than at any other. Noisy parties were held to keep the demons at bay. But now we are wiser, and we know noisy parties are where mischief tends to happen, especially if it’s been a hard year at the office and certain people (we won’t name any names) wind up holding too many drink tickets.

Every so often we get this kind of cosmic convergence and much is being made of the fact that a total lunar eclipse and the winter solstice haven’t happened on the same day since well before any of us were born (456 years ago) and won’t happen again until most of us are good and dead (2094). If being alive for this conjunction is on your “bucket list”, congratulations. You made it. But if you live in the Twin Cities and actually want to SEE the eclipse, you’ll probably have to leave town to get out from under the clouds and snow. But that simply adds to the opportunity. You could wind up seeing a total lunar eclipse, experiencing the winter solstice AND sleeping in a room at he Motel 6 in Fort Stockton, Texas, all in the very same day. Trifecta!

I am not sure why so much attention is paid when planets line up in a row or eclipses coincide with other astronomical events. The universe has lots of shining, spinning things that rotate around one another and cast shadows. Stuff is happening all the time. Perhaps tomorrow is also the day some distant star goes supernova, but we won’t know about it for millions of years. Well, WE won’t know about it at all. But maybe some Earthing will, eventually, and they may track the explosion back to that crazy moment in 2010 when there was an eclipse and a solstice on the same day.

In case the record is closely examined by some future researcher, allow me to announce that Tuesday is also the last pick-up day of sort-it-yourself recycling in my neighborhood. Beginning on Wednesday, everything that I typically recycle can be (MUST be) put in the same big bin. This is an unfathomable change. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been sorting newspaper from office paper and keeping the milk jugs and tin cans over by the garage wall. Separating stuff is what recycling was all about for me. Like an ancient chieftain who thinks a dragon has swallowed the Moon and the Lord of Misrule is planning to raise a ruckus, I am suddenly quite uneasy and unsure of myself.

When have a lunar eclipse, the winter solstice and a change in recycling rules happened on the very same day? Never before. And perhaps never again. Will we even call it “recycling” in 2094? I don’t think so. I feel extra lucky to be alive for this moment.

What event in your life would you like to add to the roster of amazing synchronicity for tomorrow’s grand convergence?

89 thoughts on “The Grand Convergence”

  1. As the dragon swallows the moon and the Dale’s recycling rules change, I hope my son spontaneously calls, shares his schedule, and announces that he has registered for the classes he needs to graduate. Otherwise I fear he may be a member of the Class of 2094.

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  2. Greetings! Personally, I am amazed that Minneapolis/St. Paul took so long to step into the present. Big Lake has had commingled recycled for years, thank you very much. Not much happening for my Grand Convergence. I’m on an unpaid furlough for 2 weeks which is a mixed blessing. Our oldest son in Marines will be coming home Wed night for 4 days which is a huge blessing. Otherwise, it’s just another ordinary week in December as I scrape together some money for presents for kids. A joyful day to all!

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    1. J — enjoy your time off. I had quite a bit of this “furlough” time last year and once I let go of the “no pay” thing, it turned out quite nicely. And, unfortunately, it’s just St. Paul that is changing its recycling rules. Minneapolis still gets to sort!

      I can’t think of anything that will be happening in my life in the next two days that would be thought of as different enough from other days that it would add to the convergence. Actually, it’s kind of a comforting thought…. that’s its just the same old, same old!

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    2. Sorry to hear that Joanne. Let’s have the in-laws get the kids something instead. And Dale forgot the revelation reference , “The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood”- Revelation 6:12 , which is what happens with a full lunar eclipse. It looks reddish and dark… of course this has happened several times since that writing, so I don’t give it much credence and I took it out of context. But I don’t give much credence to much anything religious these days…

      Joy to the world!
      and as my Atheist friend would say, Merry Solstice and a happy new year!

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    3. I am, as always it seems, in some converghence with Joanne. I go on permanent furlough with the same mixed blessings and issues as you, Joanne.
      All: I do not think I will be on here much this week. So, let me say a blessing on you all for the next two weeks.

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      1. Best wishes to you, Clyde, as you take care of the things that are coming up for you. If you can’t be here for a while, I’m sure the Babooner crew will be very much looking forward to hearing from you again when you can be here.

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  3. Rise and Shine Baboons:

    I have several prospective events on my hopeful radar:

    It is to snow today (2-4 “). I hope snow plows are out in a timely manner and that rush hour traffic is not snarled.

    I hope that the Republicans in the US Senate get the knots out of their underwear and pass the START Treat in a spasm of bipartisanism.

    I

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    1. i think those fine public servants are plannig to put permanat knots in their underwear about now. i am not hopeful. barrack has got to be wondering what he was thinking

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      1. I’m not so sure-I am a month younger than the president and have the same greying hair/eyebag thing going on. The other thing we have in common is being parents of bright 12 (or almost 12)-year-olds. Just sayin’ 😉

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      1. Great word: bipartispasm. Definition: Against their willful desire, they suddenly find themselves experiencing muscle-like brain contractions that influence cooperating and compromising for the common good.

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      2. I think the word I was trying to come up with earlier was chorieform, although a seizure that doesn’t stop is, I think, described as status epilepticus, which also would be and appropriate phrase in this case.

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  4. I would ask for the weather to cooperate so my husband can get out the Pine Ridge Reservation and back home. It looks nasty and the roads between here and Rapid are isolated two-lanes. I don’t imagine he will be home much before tomorrow at noon.

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      1. Yes, I have read that. Another good book is Walking the Rez Road, by Jim Northrup, about the Fond du Lac Reservation in northern Minnesota. One of the guys my husband is traveling with this trip attended the Indian boarding school in Pipestone and used to be on display at the Pipestone National Monument as a carver.

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      2. My mother, raised in Pipestone, tells of “field trips to see the Indians” at the monument in her school days (1940’s). She is now horrified by that. I have met people who boarded there as children. They do not remember that time well.

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  5. My small event to add to the R.A.S. (Roster of Amazing Synchronicity) is tomorrow will likely be the first day I strap on the ol’ cross-country skis and go for a spin. I was thinking that event might happen today, but with another blast of snow imminent, I’ll most likely be shoveling this afternoon and early evening. Besides, I’d rather the groomers and trackers get out on the trails before me so I don’t have to blaze my own trail. When I was younger I didn’t mind all that extra work, but now I’m just into the gliding and coasting more than the stomping and slogging.

    Cheers,
    Chris in Owatonna

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    1. enjoy it chris, i used to live next door to a golf course and the cross country skiing of 18 holes was a regular delight. i decided to test the temperature for ski/pleasure index and found that -10 is the perfect temp for cross country skiing. if it is 20-30 you sweat like a pig, if it is 0-20 you are ok but the sweat does still get you so wrm that it is uncomfortable unless you go out in a windbreaker and sweatmants with no lng underwear beneath. -10 – 0 is ideal and at -20 you need to put on the long underwear but can still be quite comfortable. enjoy the skiing when you get to it and i will be hoping for a nice sub zero temp for you.

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  6. i am glad to be in florida where the high of 63 goes unappreciated by many floridians who wear winter jackets for such low temps. we went to the swimming pool last night after ariving in the afternoon and the lifeguards in parkas goretex pant and hjackets combos, hoodies and gloves with stocking caps on make the swinning public feel like mach northern polar bears. the public walking by the pool were non believing that people would actually undress for the walk from the beach chair to the swimming pool and then on to my hangout in the hot tub.
    it will be getting up between 1 and 4 am to see the eclipse and i need to check i theink there is a space launch that got pushed off until tonight (they heard i was coming) we may run over there and do a launch watch ( great time) so if i could watch a solar eclipse during a space launch while in florida with my family for christmas that would be a good combo. i could do it while composing poetry and standing on one foot hopping and whistleing ” i’m a yankee doodle dandy” and looking cross eyed at orion, and i believe this is an occurance that would not be duplicated for 12,000,000 years. it should go down in history as the only one leg hopping tune whistleing during a space launch on winter solstace in the lunar eclipse in the whole planet ( don’t tell anyone this is certain to be an event someone will try to duplicate) this all occurred within 72 hours of clydes poem combining amygdalas, sexual desire and french fries all in one poem. a momentous occasion to be noted in the history books

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    1. If you pick up emotional and psychic resentment towards you today tim, it is all of us on the Trail emanating this negative emotion towards you in Florida. 4-8 inches forecast here. Sleet at my house as I type.

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    2. tim – enjoy Florida. I find in my travels that I do enjoy the sudden change in climate, including always enjoying coming home to cold, snowy Minnesota.

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  7. Tomorrow is the day when I am not having any of the neighbors over for a Solstice Party. Let me clarify. On my way to sleep last night, I had the notion that a Neighborhood Solstice Party would be a Fine Idea (even though this week is full preparing food and gifts and getting to my mother’s place in Iowa). Now in the light of day I have come to my senses, blessedly before I called anyone! 🙂

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      1. I think the s&h is planning on STAYING up for this one, provided it looks like we might be able to see the moon through the clouds…… no school today, but this little mom has an early day at work, so hopefully if we can see it, he will wake me up!

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      2. Beth-Anne, I left for work this morning while my dog was snuggled deep in the down comforter on my bed. It would have been a good morning to join her, but work calls. It was snowing so hard here this morning that she came back in from outside looking like a woollybear caterpiller that had been dusted in powedered sugar. I don’t blame her for burrowing in the bedding.

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  8. Morning–

    Anytime we can get the house cleaned up before company arrives is good timing in our book…
    Now, if we could just get the bathroom repainted and the Kilz product actually does cover the wall paper paste and the paint is dry before they arrive that would be even better!

    Other than that… nope. Nothing special in mind for Grand Convergence…

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      1. This is so true. I think I ended up at the hardware store six times in the three days before my mom’s visit in Thanksgiving. Took them all cookies this morning (at the hardware store, that is).

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  9. Hoping that a valve repair will result in a convergence of all four cylinders firing at their appointed times. The mechanic thinks he might get to it tomorrow.

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  10. This is somewhat OT and I hesitate to post since I’m in a bit of a funk and I don’t want to grinch anyone out. So, be forewarned and pass this by if funk doesn’t work for you today.

    Tomorrow is the day I will turn over a new leaf and become a person unattached to physical things and begin to divest myself of the unnecessary stuff I’ve accumulated to no useful end. The weekend had a three-part convergence of it’s own that was eye opening for me.

    Friday we helped an elderly friend, who was already my model for simple living, move to a smaller space with another good friend as her caretaker. Each item that had to be given up was wrenching for her, and tears were shed over stuff that is precious only to her and no one else will cherish.

    Saturday we spent time with a relative about my age who is no one’s model of simple anything and who has acres of storage space packed to the rafters with stuff that will have little value, real or sentimental, to anyone else when they go through it after she’s gone. She has five tools for any given task and no concept of getting rid of something when it has been replaced by something else. Stuff is accumulating exponentially and nothing can be located quickly or in some cases, at all.

    Last night, our always top-heavy but previously manageable, huge, marvelous, quirky, unique, upside-down Christmas tree that is the only imaginable display system for my huge, marvelous, precious (only to me) collection of Christmas ornaments, groaned, creaked, and started to tip over. We caught it in time to save its burden of quirky and unique decorations and prop it up while we undecorated it and repacked Christmas. I realized that the tree represented my narcissistic self-definition; (quirky and unique) and I was devastated to realize that my self-definition was really just a description of the tree and had nothing to do with who, or what, or how I really am. It’s time for me to purge detritus from my life and see what’s left.

    I realize that I’m in a stage of mourning over the tree and I may, next year or some time in the future, decide to decorate again. Now, however, the solstice eclipse seems like a good time to dig and purge and discover if I have any personality of my own or if I am defined entirely by my stuff.

    Which ever baboon it was who recently wondered if the common advice to take a picture and then purge the article really works to preserve good memories of the lost; I’ll let you know. I have a picture of the tree last year in all its glory to remind me of my self-perceived, quirky, unique past.

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    1. Tomorrow evening our Lutheran church is having a service to commerorate the longest night and to also provide solice for those who do not find the Christmas season their cup of tea or who are having a tough time. Your funk is coming at a really appropriate time

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    2. Caroline, I think I know what your tallking about. We have lived in the same house for over 30 years and plan to move within the next two years. We don’t know how we will ever be able to get rid of a bunch of stuff we don’t want to take with us.

      My Aunt lived for many years in an apartment in the Bronx. When she went to a nursing home, all of her stuff had be taken care of by me. All I could do was remove a few things and let the guy who ran the apartment discard or have what was left. He had to be paid to do this. My Dad had a similar job to do to take care of the stuff of one of my Uncles and I also had my parents stuff to dispose of. This is certainly not a fun thing to do.

      Clyde probably knows a little about this with the work he is doing to get ready to move. I think most people probably start feeling like they can’t save any thing when they see what has to be done when moving or leaving a place. Maybe there will be some magic related the luna eclipse and the solstice that will relieve the burden of dealing with all this saved stuff.

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      1. My very elderly parents are always cleaning out their closets and geting rid of stuff so I “won’t have to deal with it when they are gone.” I am grateful.

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      2. Caroline – I actually find your paragraphs to be rather uplifting — you took a hard look at something and are doing something to improve the situation! It was I that asked about photos, since I used to do clutter control and downsizing with people who usually unfortunately weren’t really ready to do it. You, my dear, are ready . With your permission, I’d like to print out your story and show it to a couple of people I know.. 🙂

        And Jim, as you said, a little lunar magic wouldn’t hurt.

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      3. Hang in there Caroline… you’re doing a good, worthwhile thing there in examining your accumulation of ‘stuff’. Times change. Windows and doors, opening and closing, all that.

        Best wishes to you!

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    3. Good work, Caroline!

      My plan has been to have my house on the market no later than February. I’ve been divesting myself of possessions for the last year. You’re so correct to recognize that you aren’t defined by your possessions. You are what you do, not what you have.

      Some objects may symbolize events in your life – these are harder to part with. I have a really hard time parting with things that symbolize relationships that are gone.

      I told my mom that I want to get down to just the basics. She has a really hard time with that. She wants me to keep the dining room chairs because they’re “made well” and you can’t buy them like that anymore. She wants me to have the gown I was baptized in. She thinks I should keep all of the handmade quilts. I’m not sure why.

      I came to the same realization as you that my possessions weren’t going to help me live a full and meaningful life. I came to this realization in a moment of intense loneliness and soul-searching. I’ve been acting on it ever since and it feels really good.

      Anybody want a set of four white, upholstered, ’70s-era naugahyde chairs? They’re really well-made!

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    4. Clearly there are a lot of Trail Babooners who share your determination to divest yourself of excess stuff, Caroline. Good luck with this noble resolution.
      I would offer the blog as a place to set up a swap shop, but I have a feeling there are no buyers here, only sellers.

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      1. I have been trying, in bits and pieces, to divest the house of That Which We Do Not Use. There is a lot. You are not alone in this Caroline. Some of it is harder to get rid of than others – I have started with the easy stuff.

        Living in the heart of Mpls makes it a tad easier for me find new homes for my unwanted things – I can put things up on Freecycle to see if someone else wants or needs what I no longer have use for, or put it out for Arc (as appropriate). It makes it easier if I know that things are going to new homes. Sometimes it’s even more fun when a fellow Freecycler takes something that I know will be re-purposed from its original use.

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    5. BIR – If anything I’ve said can be helpful to anyone, please feel free to pass it on.

      Thanks to all of you for the reassurance and support. We did the big downsize nearly nine years ago, moving from 28 years in suburbia to a downtown condo. We got rid of a ton of stuff.; really started over in a new space with all new furniture, new appliances, everything. We didn’t even move our pots and pans and dishes. It was amazing the amount we had to donate, give to strangers, and throw away, even with underemployed young people in the family who I’d have thought would be fighting over our stuff. It was kind of like we had both been divorced and the other spouse got everything so we got together and just started from scratch. So I’m not as bogged down in my stuff as I was ten years ago, but things have started to accumulate again and I’ve given a home to things of my mom’s (she has never thrown anything away to my knowledge), and there is more work to be done.

      In the original move, about the only thing my children (2 daughters) wanted was the good china. I finally divided it between them and then used Replacements Inc. to fill out a complete service for 12 for each of them. All is calm. They too are grateful (as we’ve told them they should be) that we did the big downsize so they won’t have so much to deal with when we’re gone.

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      1. Caroline – just back from running around all day w/ the teenager to see your comments. I’m sorry to hear about the demise of your quirky tree. I think we all have things that we cling to as part of your persona. So my Solstice wish for you is to have the year to spend in contemplation of some new quirky thing – not to replace the tree necessarily but to acknowledge the very many parts of your persona besides the tree!

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    6. Caroline — I’m moved by your candid cry of dismay about the need to rethink possessions and holidays and habits. “To every thing there is a season,” and I believe you and I and other folks who blog here are in the season of re-examining our lives and trimming things so that we can enjoy what is important. It need not be a sad process.

      I have a fellow to recommend who might help you with this task. He’s an old friend who has helped me in this process. His name is Henry Thoreau. He wrote one of the most magical books ever produced in this country, and the first chapter of Waldenis all about the process of learning what is important to you and putting it in a more central position in your life. The whole book is rich with insight, but you might just want to read that first chapter. Among other things, he makes it clear that this is a task to be taken on with a sense of humor and high hopes for a better future.

      One of the unusual things about this marvelous collection of baboons is how many of them (how many of us) are “of a certain age” when we are rethinking issues we thought we had comfortably resolved long ago. We probably can help each other. I can see right now that you are a poor candidate to help me get rid of the 52 VHS tapes I’m trying to give away, but I won’t hold that against you! Sometimes it feels like it was less trouble to accrue all this stuff than it is to shed it.

      And by the way, if you need advice on taking pictures of things you need to let go, I’d be happy to try to help there. I’m a photographer and a former teacher, and I’m in a good position to help anyone who is confused by digital photography.

      Good luck 🙂 !

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    7. Caroline-Thank you for helping me get shed of some of my guilt surrounding my decision several years ago to just stop giving a lot of gifts to people who absolutely need nothing more.

      I do very little holiday shopping, but do want to make some of the holiday goodies my grandmother used to make and share them with my 88 year-old-aunt. I’m the only one who can and will do this for her, and it involves no storage or dusting on her part.

      It must be rubbing off, as the s&h has a very short Christmas list, and most of it is not available in stores.

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      1. Your gift or your time and self to your aunt is a beautiful thing MIG.
        One chunk of our family stopped giving gifts to the adluts quite a few years ago. We adopt a family or two and the able-bodied women and the older children go out together and shop, then wrap, and one of us takes the load to where ever that year’s drop-off point is. The kids really get into it and a warm glow is shared by all.

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    1. Nice website… thanks. I think I’ll set my alarm to see if any of the clouds clear. If I try to stay up, I’ll never make it and then sleep right through!

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  11. Joanne in Big Lake: No, I don’t drain the tomatoes. I partially drain the beans, but never completely. It’s usually a very thick and chunky chili with all of the veggies. I’ve never tried ground beef in it.

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    1. Thank you — I guess I did OK then. The chili turned out great — nice and chunky with good flavor. Family seemed to like it. I garnished with cheese and sour cream for the finishing touch!

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  12. This is the first winter solstice that I am a baboon. It very likely won’t be duplicated again. It means a lot to me to be able to say that. You are all wise and articulate people and I’m honored to be among you. I just wish I was as creative as tim. I wonder what else he’ll do beneath the lunar eclipse on the longest night of the year!

    Like Joanne, I wish I could stop being afraid of doing what must be done in order to succeed. I get in my own way every time.

    I’ve worked in the same place since the summer of 1997. Things haven’t been going very well lately, so I’m interviewing for a different job on Wednesday. Please send me lots of positive energy! It would be easy and comfortable – at my age – to sit tight and try to allow the winds of change to blow around me, but it wouldn’t be all that challenging and a new door has opened… I still have my amygdala – now, I only need confidence!

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    1. Knock ’em dead Krista. You will do well. Baboon energy will be coming your way on Wednesday.

      Everytime that I’ve seen change from a distance and tried to deny/avoid it, it came after me anyway. When I can I try to go with the flow now, if I can see it coming. Looks like that is what you are doing.

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    2. Best wishes, Krista, for a positive interview and hopefully, a stimulating and fulfilling new position. Don’t let that small, scaredy-cat, trash-talking, limiting voice get the better of you. Unleash that creative, expansive, intelligent, capable and dynamic baboon and own that new job!

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    3. Everybody-remind me when it is Wednesday so I send the positive waves out on the right day. I’ve got a job that always has me thinking it is a day ahead and I don’t want to miss out on this (I don’t suppose it would hurt to send out on both Tuesday AND Wednesday). Good for you, Krista- put yourself out there!

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  13. OK, is anyone still collecting words for the Baboon Dictionary? Don’t miss bipartispasm, about a third down from the top…

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    1. I was the one who was compiling the list, then I was sidetracked by my work “issues.” A lot of that is now resolved and dying down (KNOCK ON WOOD) so I will try to get back at it.

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  14. I don’t know that I have much to add to the choices for what to add to the convergence of events. It would be swell if several nisse would show up to tidy up the place before Christmas Eve, but last I checked, nisse are more farm-dwelling creatures, not city creatures, so I may be out of luck. Still, even if the nisse wouldn’t tidy up, it would be grand to have a nisse on the grounds. Maybe with the lunar eclipse, one will wind up here via some ancient magics from Norway. 🙂

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      1. I have 5 tomte. My tomte have red wool hats that cover their eys and noses, and beards made of icelandic wool, (except the lady tomten who has grey wool braids.

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  15. Tomorrow is the students’ last day before Christmas vacation, so that in itself is a solstice celebration. It’s also Comfy Cozy day, where all are invited to wear pj’s and slippers and gather together in the library and listen to the principal read aloud some of her favorite Christmas books. It’s a magical scene – 90 first graders slurping candy canes, settled in and eager to spend a meaningful half-hour with the school leader. The books typically chosen are long and unfamiliar and read without inflection or expression. The audience soon becomes bored and restless, as do the first graders. By the third book, many have nodded off. This induced state of drowsiness remains with the children for almost an hour, or at least until recess. I can’t think of a nicer gift from a principal.

    It’s MY first winter solstice as a baboon too! I love that, Krista.
    Thank you, Dale and all, for the great writing every day. Now that’s a gift!

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  16. Oh, Frabjous day! (night) The sky has cleared and the moon is out! If I can stay up late enough, I may see a very dark moon. Husband arrived from Pine Ridge safely. He had a strange and wonderful time, and may be either a witness or a participant in a Sun Dance next summer. Go, Krista! in your job interview.

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