OMG! Mercury Is Going Backward


Well, Mercury is not really going in the wrong direction: the planet just appears to be.

So, who cares?  I do.  After the last week of technology going wacky, car problems, deals (my son’s) gone awry, I’m once again a believer.

Yesterday, I told my husband numerous times, “This must be a Mercury Retrograde.”

He looked at me as if I were off my rocker.  Again!  “You’re not still into that astrology stuff, are you?  I thought you dumped it years ago.”

I had.  I stopped keeping track of “my” astrologer’s readings that I’d carefully noted on my calendar.  It seemed more trouble than it was worth and more than 50% accurate but . . . I’d given up on “readings” of all kinds, though my session with Robert The Reader that I wrote about in Psychology Today and blogged about on April 12, 2018, has stuck with me all these years.  (Check it out.)


The origin of observing cosmic phenomena goes back thousands of years, when people thought the cosmos revolved around the Earth, long before Google and Neil deGrasse Tyson. But Mercury never actually “retrogrades.”

It’s just an illusion caused by the rotation of the Earth, like passing a local train that appears to be going backwards because you’re on an express train, moving so quickly past it.

The last time a planet had any effect on us, Helfand says, is when a chunk of rock that would eventually become Mars crashed into Earth and created the moon 4.5 billion years ago.

By Tim Donnelly and Robert Rorke – New York Post, September 29, 2015

Written by two diehard skeptics who do have a lot of scientific support on their side.

I say, science be damned; at least, in this case.  (Don’t get me started on climate change deniers.)

So, Mercury Retrograde officially began on July 26 of this year and runs to August 19.  Whew!  Less than a week to go!

This is how my life has been turned upside down:

  • I lost my car keys (which I later found in a jacket pocket).  My backup keys didn’t work.  I called Kia.  Had I tried replacing the battery?  In fact, I had gone to a jeweler and had it replaced.  Well, the Kia lady said.  You’ll have to have your car towed to the nearest Kia dealership.  Was she out of her mind?  Sure, it would be free, but I’d have to wait, possibly a full day to get my car back, while the something-or-other was reprogrammed.  (BTW, did I mention that this all occurred on my birthday?)  Okay, so I called my closest dealership and was told the next appointment was four days away.  I begged and pleaded, said I couldn’t afford not to go to work (Okay, so I lied: I work at home), mentioned a week end trip I’d no longer be able to take.  (Yep, I fibbed again.  But, hey, I’m a quick study of Trump and the rest of his cronies.)  The poor Kia lady put me on hold, went to talk to her boss who kindly said he would fit me in the following day.  I skipped the appointment and paid a locksmith instead, dumping $80 for about three minutes of his time when he opened the spare key and saw that the new battery had been put in upside down.
  • Without warning, our Xfinity modem bit the dust.  Down to the Xfinity store to pick up a new one.  Returned home, my husband set it up, and we were set to go.  Ah, not so fast!  Seems as if the new modem didn’t like the Netgear router we’d had installed a few years back.  Result: we couldn’t get online.  Another hour spent on the phone with an Xfinity agent who finally, out of frustration, had us disconnect the Netgear and select Xfinity as our WiFi hook up. (Gee, what a surprise!)
  • Oh, I forgot: after our modem went done, so did our phones.  We couldn’t get a dial tone and were forced to use our cells.  That issue required a visit from an Xfinity guy whose accent made it difficult to understand.  In the end, after all the angst and time, the problem was a disconnected phone line in the jack in my office.  Oy!

Okay, by now, I was convinced that we were under the spell of a Mercury Retrograde and that our best tactic would be to burrow into a cave until the damn planet stopped looking like it was going backward.

  • We decided to buy a new, small Roku TV to replace the one in our kitchen that was at least 21 years old.  You guessed it:  We got all 30 Roku stations but none of the local and national.  And who watches Netflix or Amazon Prime or any of the other streaming channels in the kitchen?  Not enough time.  Cook a meal and head to the den where lives the big TV.
  • One final Mercury Retrograde disaster.  Our ADT alarm system went out.  My poor husband with sensitive hearing was trying to relax after two days of MR hell when the ghastly loud alarm went off.  A call to ADT did not solve the problem.  And unless we wanted to have the alarm go off throughout the night, it needed to be disarmed until a repair person could fix it the next day.  If we’d had a guard dog, we would have let him out of his cage to warn us of any intruders.  We don’t have a dog.  We left the downstairs light on.

Sure, all of this could have taken place at any time.  And I’m sure all those scientists out there who study this stuff would tell me that it was just a matter of bad luck.  They can have their research to back them up.  I’ll stick with my nemesis Mercury that goes backward four times a year.







Past Loves, Loss & Memories

Jerry taught a fiction writing workshop that I signed up for sometime during the two years I spent as a stay-at-home mom.  Full-time parenting didn’t fill my creative spirit, and maybe writing a short story about my failing marriage might be less costly than seeing a therapist.  (I eventually saw a therapist.)

I don’t remember if that was during or after Jerry and I became lovers.

Jerry was different from my husband and from other men in my past.  (Not that I had that many.)  He was a runner before running became fashionable.  He ate all kinds of nuts and seeds and other “food” stuffs that smelled funny and tasted even worse.  I was enthralled but not converted.

Every Wednesday at 2 PM, I sat on Jerry’s front steps, waiting for him to get home from work as a probation officer.  He loved kids, knew how to talk to the most unruly and disturbed and, as a bonus, had no problems with me having a son.  (I’m already ten steps ahead and imagining him as my son’s step father.  Oh, naive me!)

When my husband and I finalized our divorce, I counted on seeing Jerry as often as possible—maybe every night.  When that didn’t happen, I put out a call to friends that I was “available.”  I met my current husband and dated both men for almost two years, until Jerry made the inevitable decision for me by kicking me to the curb.  “You son is not the problem,” he explained on his way out the door.  “It’s you.”  Ouch!  Truth was he had met another woman and was smitten.  I guess I helped him see what he didn’t want in a partner.  (In truth, I can’t blame him.  I was an inexperienced partner who had lived with just one other man, and my track record was not for the record books.)

I saw Jerry off and on during the intervening years.  He edited the 1st edition of Dead Serious, my book about teen suicide, and was my biggest cheerleader.

I was a student in at least two of his writers’ workshops held in his home.  The last time, his knees from all that jogging were in poor working order but, in all other ways, he was just the same.  “Women,” he said.  “She (his wife) made me go to counseling.”

With the publication of the 2nd edition of Dead Serious, it seemed only right to give him a call.  We hadn’t talked in what seemed like maybe two years.  In fact, it was more than four, and Jerry was dead.  He’d succumbed to mesothelioma, probably from exposure to all the asbestos in the walls of the houses he’d renovated.  He’d been dead for four years.

I don’t know if I would have visited Jerry during the four months of his illness.  Probably not.  I wouldn’t have felt comfortable as the old girlfriend from another lifetime.  But I would have sent him emails, maybe even called.  I would have told him how important he’d been in the launch of my career as a “real” writer.  I would have told him how much he’d taught me about communication with other humans—and about love.  I would have thanked him again for helping me make the transition between being an unhappily married woman to becoming a single woman with confidence and independence.

R.I.P., Jerry, even if my condolences are four years late.




“Stand Up, Sit Down, Fight, Fight, Fight”

I don’t know about you, but we chanted that cheer at every high school basketball, baseball, football game.  (I don’t remember if the girls’ team even had much of a fan base, let alone cheers.  Most of the cheerleaders were also the jocks, so the pickings were slim.)

Right now, I want to stand up and fight.  Two nights ago, my neighbor hosted a Meet and Greet for NARAL, Pro Choice America.  (If you’re a woman [or man] and don’t give a damn about a woman’s right to choose, then you can peel off now.  Or maybe it makes sense to read on and consider changing your mind, even getting involved.)

Seven in ten Americans believe that abortion should be legal.  But Trump’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavenaugh, has ruled on one abortion case that indicates that Roe v Wade (1973), the landmark decision issued in 1973 by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of the constitutionality of laws that criminalized or restricted access to abortions, may be overturned.

So, stand up and fight, fight, fight.

I’m a writer, not a lawyer or political scholar.  But based on all that I’ve read, there is potential big trouble ahead for 70 per cent of the American public who think the government should stay out of the decisions women make about their own bodies may be ignored.  What else is new?

In October 2017, I (Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project) went to court to stop the Trump administration from blocking a young immigrant from obtaining an abortion. She had crossed into the United States the month before and discovered she was pregnant soon after. She never had any doubt about what she wanted to do. But the Trump administration had other plans for her.

Her plea, which I relayed to a three-judge appeals panel, was: “Please stop delaying my decision any longer.” That panel included Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and her plea went unheeded.

Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project

With a Republican-controlled Senate, chances look good for Kavenaugh to become the next conservative justice who would tip the Supreme Court to an expected six to three right-leaning majority.  (BTW, the three liberal-leaning justices are all women.  What does that tell you?)

The invitees at the NARAL Meet and Greet in my neighborhood were excited to be part of a movement whose first goal is to defeat Kavenaugh and then to “turn” the House of Representatives in November.  (Come on, you suburban white women who may be on the fence—who may have voted for Trump but kick themselves regularly for making that choice.  We need you!)

After drink, conversation and h’ordeuvres that made for a dinner (our host tried her best to give goodie bags to even those claiming to be on a diet), the group of more than fifty settled down in lawn chairs or on their feet and listened to a rousing talk about NARAL’s goals and how to get involved.  I was ready to grab my phone, call Republican Senators who have signaled that they may not vote for Kavenaugh, and march.  I’m a child of the sixties and have marched in anti-war demonstrations (That’s the Viet Nam War), the women’s movement (No, I didn’t burn my bra), and in marches against segregation.

It is a wonderful thing to be part of something important and to do something instead of throwing a shoe at my TV or switching channels to watch “Love It Or List It” or “The Property Brothers.”

So, grab a pair of comfortable tennies, go to, and sign up for the National Day of Action on August 26.  If there isn’t an event close to you, call the NARAL national headquarters in Washington, D.C., and ask what you can do.  I called and was told there WAS an event planned for Chicago where I reside and that the organizer would call me today or tomorrow.

Stand up and fight, fight, fight.