Privacy: It’s A Brave Old World

 

privacy then and now

My gut reaction to this Wall Street Journal story about a company that puts sensors in downtown businesses to track the whereabouts of customers for marketing purposes—They go to the gym a lot? Sell ‘em tank tops! They’re barflies? Better apply for a liquor license!—was probably the same as yours: outrage and disgust.

How dare anyone track your location without your permission? Is it even legal?

As it happens, the company that tracks customers everywhere they go is in Canada. But in the US, it’s legal for companies to collect and share customers’ location, though a bill is afoot to restrict that. Many US companies already track your movements inside their stores.

No matter what the courts decide, the fact is that Google and Apple, whose software operates smartphones, know where you are at all times. It’s just a question of what they can do with that information.

One solution is to turn off wifi. But that’s kind of beside the point.

Which is that it’s getting damn near impossible to keep anything you do or say private anymore.

It’s the nightmare everyone’s talking about, it’s Big Brother, it’s 1984, it’s the Horrifying Future it’s…it’s…

A throwback to the past. To where we’ve lived throughout most of civilization.

Example 1:

I recall in my early years as a lawyer, I tried to call Tom Forbes, a lawyer in Eureka, Kansas. I looked up his number in a phone book and gave it to the long distance operator. Instead of transferring my call, she informed me, “Mr. Forbes is at the race track,” so this ended my request. I did not ever get the satisfaction of being told this by Mr. Forbes’ office secretary. It came from the long-distance operator. That was the uniqueness of the small town, where everyone knew everyone else’s business.

–from Trials of a Small Town Lawyer, by Ervin E. Grant

Mr. Forbes never gave the long-distance operator permission to disclose his whereabouts. But the technology of the day was such that she had that information, and having it, chose to pass it on to someone who wanted it. Sound familiar?

Example 2:

Growing up I was raised in the country in Skiatook. Everything about me spelled out country girl.

Skiatook was like every other small town. Everyone knew everybody. Everyone knew everyone’s business and who you are who your momma and daddy are, and who your grandma and papa are. They knew where you lived what you drove and whether or not you went to church on Sunday. Some people thought this was a bad thing, everyone knowing your business and all.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter where you live; every small town is the same. Everyone knows everyone else’s business.

–Tobi Smith, Wagoner Tribune (Oklahoma)

It doesn’t matter where you live, all small towns are alike, and everyone knows your business.

We all came from small towns. Cities came from small towns.

This is how people lived, and live. They track one another’s whereabouts when they can, and then they spread the information around, and they lay it on thick, like cream cheese on a bagel. Sometimes the bagel gets turned into a doughnut, or a cream puff, or maybe a hot fudge sundae with an extra scoop and whipped cream and toasted almonds on top.

It’s human nature. We’re interested in other people, their whereabouts and whatabouts, whether it’s for marketing purposes or gossiping purposes.

Which doesn’t mean it’s right for a company to track your location. But it’s not a brave-new-world thing, either.

Could the internet be bringing back the small-town connectivity that the early 20th century, when people moved from their small towns to big, anonymous, disconnected cities, took away? The automobile took it away; big-city jobs far away from family and friends took it away; radio and TV and later tapes and CDs and DVDs took it away.

And the internet did too at first, when it was a new, isolating, confusing thing.

But by now there are internet communities as established and close-knit as Skiatook. With all the gossiping and feuding—and support and helpfulness—that any community offers its inhabitants.

And living in a place like the internet where everyone is connected is similar to living in a small town, where other people know your business and a lot of other things about you, whether you like it or not. Some of them use that information to try to sell you stuff—and surely small-town salesmen in days past did the same thing.

Others engage with your interests and hobbies—and maybe your business—in a way that was not possible before.

Example 3:

Shannon Ehlers lived and worked in tiny Soldier, Iowa (population approximately 300). When he was working as a traditional Chinese medicine chemist, he didn’t have a lot of industry peers anywhere near him. But he was a master of using LinkedIn to connect, and not just within chemistry circles. Shannon asked and answered lots of business questions on LinkedIn, connecting him with peers all over.

–from Small Town Rules, by Barry J. Moltz and Becky McCray

No one would argue that connecting with others by choice is a good thing—it’s a great thing, actually.

It’s when we don’t make the choice to let others to know about us that we get outraged. Just as Tom Forbes must have been, if he ever found out what the long-distance operator said.

So while you can accurately say modern technology is invading your privacy, you can also say:

Don’t like it? OK, turn off your computer and your tablet and your smart phone, quit your job, pack up, and go live in a small town far,  far away from all this infernal spying.

Except it’s not.

 

Happy Birthday Domesticus!

birthday cake

Domesticus turns one today.

One year since I’ve had this blog! The year has whizzed by, but somehow it seems like I’ve had the blog forever.

I’m having so much fun with it. I’ve learned so much.

I’ve explored everything from classic cars to hackers and their wiles in selling diet pills to chicken parades, with a couple of fake celebrity interviews thrown into the mix just for the hell of it. Who knows what I’ll write about next?

There’s nothing like having a blog, your own domain where you are CEO and CIO and editor-in-chief and star writer. You can do anything you want…but with no deadlines or financial rewards, sometimes it’s hard to get started. Once you do, though, it’s hard to imagine a life without your blog. To me, not having it would feel like losing my vocal cords. An irreparable, catastrophic, panic-inducing loss.

I should blog more regularly. But even if I don’t,  just having the ability to do it at all is magical.

If you’re thinking of starting a blog but aren’t sure who your readers are, don’t know if you have the time, don’t know how to set it up, or have any number of other excuses, you should ignore them, make like a Nike ad, and JUST DO IT!!! Once you do, there’s no going back.

That said, I also have to admit that the subjects I write about and the reasons people find my blog are often highly divergent.

Over the past year, 11,084 visitors came to Domesticus, led here by an enormous variety of search terms. But a common denominator does stand out. I guess you could call it the lowest common denominator. Let me explain.

Back in May, 2012,  I wrote a post about a plant I grew from seed. I’m not much of a gardener, so it was inspiring to me to watch this plant grow…and grow…and grow. One day our landlady came over and saw it, and seemed taken aback. Later I realized why: my plant–lupine, a hearty Northwest native–happens to resemble a certain other plant that some people use for smoking purposes.

So I blogged about that.

Well!

ONE blog post that mentioned the m-word has brought me more visitors than any other subject by a mile. Actually, more like 400 miles. For example, w–d plant was a search term that led 142 p–heads to my blog. M— dragged in another 128. Other variations on this theme pulled in another hundred or so.

And then there were the doubtlessly disappointed, ahem, cultivators who turned to me for specific growing advice: w—plant growing (7), m— flower (7) c—s— flower (hint: Latin name) (7), and even w—plant pictures (6).

Sorry, guys. I don’t even smoke the stuff–though it’s now legal in Seattle–much less grow it.

On the other hand, 110 people who haven’t already bookmarked my site typed the letters d-o-m-e-s-t-i-c-u-s into the search bar just to find me. Thank you!!

Many other people did specific searches for the classic car models I mentioned in posts about the annual Magnolia Car Show, and were rewarded with Bigfoot’s dazzling photos.

And 28 of you came looking for fake celebrity interviews, which I have only done two of, but I can’t wait to do more.

It’s my blog, dammit, and I can say which I have only done two of  if I want to! (See do anything you want above.)

Seriously, it’s been a long, strange, and wonderful trip along with the stoners and the spammers (who get caught by my spam filter like hair in a drain strainer) and everyone else who has come to visit me over the past year.

Thank you so much for coming!

Except for writing more often, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Though I might stay off the topic of gardening for awhile.

 

New Year’s at the North Pole (aka Seattle) 2013

Who is that Eskimo?

Who is that Eskimo?

 

OK, it’s not really the North Pole. Though I’m dressed for it.

In fact, it’s not even freezing, nor even cold by Seattle’s standards. In our first winter living here, the winter of 2009, the mercury dropped to the single digits. Early mornings, driving to yoga, I thought How can anyone LIVE in weather like this?

So this New Year’s is…not that.

It just feels that way. I don’t know if it’s the humidity, the wind, both, or something else entirely but even with temperatures in the upper 30s and lower 40s,  it’s bone-chillin’ cold!

My friend Linda, who is from Canada no less, says the winter weather here has two speeds: warm, gray, and rainy or clear and cold.

It’s clear and cold.

But as you can see, I’m bundled up like an Eskimo in my puffer coat, fake-fur hat, scarf, and fur-lined gloves. Enjoying it. Except for my fingers, which are like icicles no matter what.

At least the clear air is good for photographs. Bigfoot got some nice ones, which I’ve posted below.

Enjoy, and here’s to the New Year–Skoal!!

Mt. Rainier rising over the Port of Seattle

Mt. Rainier rising over the Port of Seattle

 

Ducks at the Ballard Locks

Ducks at the Ballard Locks

 

Tree full of crows

Tree full of crows

Crow in winter

One flies away.

 

 

 

I’m telling the world: He said he fired his Chinese employee for beating him at ping pong!

It was a joke, though.

ping pong

I’m at the gym, gliding along on the elliptical with my brain set in writerly mode, looking around and observing people. That guy on the treadmill in front of me, could he be a Marine? Oh look, there’s my friend from church, the one who speaks with a lilting accent, I must try to remember where she’s from, is it Panama? And behind me, a man with a booming voice is having a jokey conversation with a friend as they walk along the main corridor.

I miss most of the conversation, but when the man says “I’ll fire her!” in his booming voice and he and his friend burst out laughing, I swivel my torso around to get a look at him. It’s an awkward swivel if you’re on the elliptical, and what do I gain from it? Nothing, only This is what two businessmen sharing a laugh together look like, this is what the man with a booming voice looks like. He is a rather slight fellow with a mustache, as it turns out. His build doesn’t match his voice at all.

I pedal on and forget about him until a few minutes later, when he suddenly appears at my elbow, lightly touching it. At first, I don’t recognize him.

Excuse me ma’am,  just want to make sure you know I was kidding.

Kidding about what? And who is this guy? I wonder.

You know, when I said that about firing my employee.

Oh, that guy. I didn’t hear the whole conversation, I say. I was just being nosy, pay no mind, I don’t say.

Well, I was telling my friend my Chinese employee beat me at ping pong. She beat the pants off me, actually. But I wouldn’t fire her anyway, she’s the best employee I’ve got.

Oh, I say. I laugh a little, and he is gone. It takes me a moment to figure out that when he boomed I’ll fire her!, he was referring to her thrashing him at ping pong. Now the joke makes sense.

But his behavior astonishes me. After reflecting on his words, he came all the way back across the room to the woman who had turned around on the treadmill to listen to him–me. To explain himself. As though he had to. To me, a nosy nobody.

Why?

Did he think, Who is that woman who swiveled around to look at me, could she be a friend of my employee’s who will tell her about the conversation?

But even if that were the case, the employee would surely get the joke. That she might worry her boss would really fire her because she beat him at ping pong doesn’t seem like a realistic possibility to me. I’m sure they joked about it at the time, especially given his jovial, outgoing personality.

What else, then?

He wants to make absolutely sure nobody ever thinks he would fire his Chinese employee for beating him at ping pong. Not even the nosy lady on the elliptical whom he’ll probably never see again–nobody.

Because you possibly could, if you were particularly obtuse, interpret his joke as a racist or sexist remark. And racist and sexist are about the two scariest epithets you can hurl at someone these days.

I want to run after him and shout, Wait, it’s a joke, I get it! I want to shout, It’s none of my business anyway! I want to shout, Even if you meant it literally, don’t apologize, you have freedom of speech!

But it’s too late, he’s gone, leaving me wondering, as I pedal on, about freedom of speech and what it means. Doesn’t it mean some people have a right to express their racist, sexist opinions, even if they are highly offensive to other people?  If the offenders aren’t at the workplace, where their comments have a direct effect on the people who work with them, the answer is yes. We have the right. But what good is it if we’re afraid to use it?

This guy was not only not offensive, he was so worried about being perceived that way that he felt he had to explain himself, to protect himself. Presumably against the possible pc patrol on the elliptical.

And if we feel we have to police ourselves from people at the gym, how free are we?

 

 

 

 

A Business by Any Other Name

What’s in a business name?

Plenty, it turns out. Especially for women.

That’s what I realized after talking to a successful entrepreneur about my writing and editing business, which I named Teresa Meek Communications. A simple name that says who I am and what I do. Does the job just fine, or so I thought.

But no, my friend says, my first name makes it sound too personal, too much about me, not businesslike enough. I need to take my first name off and call it Meek Communications–or something else entirely. He was quite insistent about it. And he runs a multi-million-dollar business, so he should know.

Though I already have a website, a logo, and business cards,  making a change from Teresa Meek Communications to Meek Communications is not such a big deal. If I do it, my friend says, I will make more money. People will pay more for Meek than they will for Teresa. Meek sounds like it could be a company full of smart people, instead of someone who’s clearly a sole operator. And Meek is serious. They might not even realize it on a conscious level, but potential customers would take more seriously a company using a last name or a business name than one with a first name in the title. He didn’t say so, but I suspect having a female first name in the title compounds the problem. Or perhaps even is the problem.

I think of Mrs. Smith’s cookies. The Mrs. makes it personal and clearly feminine, but even she didn’t use a first name in the business title. But what about Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix and syrup? Hannah’s Cupcakes? Wendy’s hamburgers?

So there, I want to shout. They use first names in the food business. Female first names, too.

But maybe that’s because women have traditionally been associated with the kitchen. Everybody’s mom is the best cook in the world, so it stands to reason that a product or a company with a female first name would sound homey. As in familiar, homemade, fresh from the oven, delicious. A selling point, no question.

Outside the food business, though, I have to admit I’m initially stumped. There’s Barbie, but that’s a product, made by Mattel.

I’ve got it: Suze Orman, who after first working as a waitress, then making her way up the ranks at Merrill Lynch and Prudential, founded her own empire and named it the Suze Orman Financial Group.

She used her first name, and a diminutive-sounding one at that, but it’s a Group. A bunch of smart people, as my friend would say.

Like the Oprah Winfrey Network. Martha Stewart Omnimedia.

I could be a Group too. I’ve seen women in PR and communications use this trick. To take a hypothetical example, someone named Beth Jones calls her business Jones Media Group. Sets up an 800 line with people answering the phone for the Group. Must be a bunch of smart people working at that busy company. Who would ever know it’s just Beth?

It doesn’t work for me, though.  I don’t judge people who do it. I get it. But we all have our own comfort level when it comes to putting our best foot forward, and being a Group exceeds mine.

But you don’t have to do all that, my friend says. Forget the Group, forget the phone line. Just a simple name change.

I’ll think about it, I say.

I think about it. I decide my friend is probably right.

But I can’t do it.

Like most women, I identify much more with my first name than with my last. For one thing, my last name is my husband’s name. I wasn’t born with it and didn’t grow up with it.

But then, I wouldn’t feel comfortable using my maiden name either. Though it was my last name for 20-some years, it always felt like my father’s name more than mine.

The only name I feel comfortable using is Teresa. It’s who I am. Always has been, always will be. For my website, I even tried to get Teresa.com by writing to the owner, who doesn’t appear to be using it anymore. She didn’t respond, and who could blame her? If I ever got Myfirstname.com, I’d never give it up either, even if I stopped using my website. Even if the whole internet went down forever.

Next, I considered other names. Having a business name that has nothing to do with me is fine. It’s just the last-name thing that’s a problem. I thought of cutesy names like The Write Stuff (taken), SEO-driven names with Freelancer in the title, names with Writer, Writing, and Business in them. But none of them felt like names I wanted to be associated with.

I seem to be stuck with Just Teresa. Now there’s a name! Personally, I love it. But would you hire a Just Beth or a Just Rick? Probably not. Sounds like they don’t think much of the service they provide, so why should you?

I’m proud of the writing and editing service I provide. I would never denigrate it, but I don’t want to boast about it either. I’m fortunate because I’ve found something to do that suits me perfectly. It’s really an extension of who I am. Maybe that’s why the only name that seems to work is the one I’ve got.

So it will have to do. At least until the day comes when I can’t handle everything myself anymore.

It’s hard to envision a Network or Omnimedia in my future, but then, you never know. I started off as a waitress. Like Suze.

 

 

 

 

 

Curioser and Curioser… Finding MORE Four-Leaf Clovers!

four four-leaf clovers found by Domesticus

Remember how amazed I was when I found a four-leaf clover?

I was so thrilled. They’re rare–just one in 10,000 clovers has that lucky extra leaf.

What does this mean for me, I wondered. Is it a sign?

I cherished my clover, pressed it carefully in a heavy book to preserve it forever, my one and only four-leaf clover.

But a few days later, Bigfoot and I returned to the park and I found another one!

A couple of days after that, I found four, pictured above, and partly below.

Domesticus with a shamrock and 2 of the 4 four-leaf clovers found that day

Domesticus with a shamrock and 2 of the 4 four-leaf clovers found that day

One soon after that.

And then, a couple of days later, the jackpot. I found fourteen four-leaf clovers in one day!

Clover field in Discovery Park

Clover field up close. I don’t know if there are any in here, but this is what it’s like to look.

Talk about not believing your luck. I called Discovery Park to see if they knew about a clover lode or had heard of other people finding them. Nope. They wanted me to bring one in so their naturalists could study it.

No way! I’m not letting some naturalist paw over one of my precious four-leaf clovers and break it!

As it turned out, I wouldn’t need any help from a naturalist in doing just that.

But at the time, all I could think was These clovers are mine!

Except for the one I gave to my friend Kim’s daughter Marian. I ran into Marian and her family when they were out for a walk and I was on my way home after my motherlode find. Of course Marian was all Mom can we go to Discovery Park and look for four-leaf clovers? Can we go Mom right now pleeeease?!

She didn’t ask if she could have one of mine, and I didn’t offer her one. The thrill is finding it yourself, or so I told myself. But then I got home and looked my handful of clovers and thought, Who are you kidding? Marian would love to have one of these, and here you sit with fourteen, plus all the others you’ve already found. So I walked over to her house and gave her one. I hope it brings her luck in clover hunting, and in everything else.

Clover field in Discovery Park where Domesticus finds four-leaf clovers

Clover field in Discovery Park. Doesn’t it look magical? There’s probably one in here somewhere.

Clover field and forest in Discovery Park

What to do with all my clovers? Being a methodical cataloguer, I have them pressed in Rodale’s Basic Natural Foods Cookbook with sticky tabs indicating the date and number found.

All was fine until I read online that after a week or two, you’re supposed to take them out and add a few drops of green food coloring to prevent the leaves from turning brown. I tried it on one, unfortunately my nicest specimen (four-leaf clovers tend to be a misshapen lot, with the fourth leaf often shriveled or hidden behind the others), with disastrous results. My dye didn’t come with a dropper, so I shook a drop onto the clover, but it just sat there in a big bubble on the leaf. So I shook some more dye onto the sheet of paper where I had placed the clover and tried to hand-paint it on. I tried to be careful, but the fourth leaf came disconnected.

After that it got to be like Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory. I rummaged around the closet until I found some Superglue I could use to try to reattach the leaf to the clover. The Superglue was old, and no matter how hard I squeezed, nothing came out.

Except…What what was that wet stuff getting all over my hands? Oh, no!  Superglue, from a crack in the brittle old tube I had just squozen to death.

But at least I had some glue. I picked up the fourth leaf to apply it, but since my hands were so sticky, the leaf stuck to them and when I tried to peel it off…Ruined!

Was my luck ruined along with it?

Rain and work interfered with my clover hunting over the next few days, but yesterday I stopped by the park on my way back from an estate sale to collect some regular three-leaf shamrocks use in future dyeing experiments. And it happened–I found another four-leaf! Rather small, especially the fourth leaf, but beautiful to my eyes.

Bigfoot, on the other hand, found a big one–wouldn’t you know it?–a truly magnificent specimen, his first. It’s catalogued and awaiting processing. Well, maybe processing. But only if I get my technique down with the shamrocks.

Oh, and that estate sale? More about that later, but suffice it to say, I  lucked out!

Domesticus hunts for four-leaf clovers

Clover hunting requires intense concentration and a willingness to hover hunched-over.

Wild lupine in Discovery Park
But even if you don’t find any, you can’t beat the scenery.Tree in Discovery Park where Domesticus goes four-leaf clover hunting

 

 

I Found a Four-Leaf Clover! What Does It Mean?

Four leaf clover

The real four-leaf clover I found, photographed with background added by BIgfoot.

 

We were walking on a woodsy trail in Discovery Park, Bigfoot and I. It was overcast and getting ready to rain, as it usually is in Seattle when it is not actually raining. The massive big-leaf maples and alders surrounding us were leafed out for summer, their wide green canopies hiding a gaggle of chirping birds. All the greenness and fresh oxygen, the big, protective trees, even the rain-is-coming low air pressure gave off a feeling of strength and abundance, of peaceful containment and self-sufficiency.

The forest, setting of fairy tales. I have always loved it.

Dark field in Discovery Park

Dark field in Discovery Park

On a trail at Discovery Park with dog

On a trail at Discovery Park

We took an unaccustomed turn on our way back, and off it, Bigfoot spotted what he said had been a trail.

“Let’s go this way,” he said, and headed off. I followed reluctantly.

In fact, it was sort of a narrow path, but you couldn’t really call it a trail.

“Maybe it was a trail, but it isn’t now,” I grumbled. “You know I hate bushwhacking.”

We walked on and soon found ourselves immersed in a giant field of clover.

“I’ve never seen so much clover in one place,” Bigfoot said.

Stretching out for several yards all around us were clover plants of every size and variety, large and small, some deep green, some a lighter green, and others with white inner markings. We were literally “in clover,” and now I could see how the expression came about. Out of the woods, you stumble upon a clearing filled with rich, green shamrocks. Life is easy, after all.

I bent down to examine the different types, and as I always do in a clover patch, searched for the elusive lucky one. I did see something that looked like it might have four leaves, so I reached down to part it from the thicket of surrounding plants. Usually the magical apparent four-leaf clover disappears when you do this, its fourth leaf turning out to belong to a neighbor.

But this time–I couldn’t believe it—the fourth leaf didn’t go away. I reached down farther and plucked its stem.

It was! A real four-leaf clover!

“Look!” I cried, holding up my prize to Bigfoot. “I hope it brings me luck! Do you think it means anything?”

“Think about what you were doing when you found it,” Bigfoot said.

I was walking. So what?

“You weren’t just walking, you were forging your own path. Think about what we were talking about.”

Big trees, Little Domesticus

Big trees, Little Domesticus

We had been talking about an email I had just sent to someone complaining about an attractive job I interviewed for, but am unlikely to get. And the recipient of my long-winded, self-pitying email had replied with the same words that Bigfoot has repeated to me many times: It doesn’t matter. You’re better off on your own. Don’t get a job, keep freelancing. You have valuable skills. You can do it!

But I’m not so sure. The security of a job appeals to me the same way a clearly-marked trail does. It’s no guaranty that something won’t go wrong. But it beats bushwhacking.

“I wasn’t forging my own path, I was forced onto it,” I say in answer to Bigfoot. Which is the case with freelancing too. Without a job, I am forced to try it. Though without Bigfoot’s encouragement, I probably would have left this bushwhacking path for a job–any job–by now. I’d probably be working at Starbucks. Instead, I’m giving this dark path full of unknown perils a chance.

Still, I hope the four-leaf clover brings me a job. At least, I think I do.

But instead, it strangely seems to be pointing me toward a freelance career.

The logo I chose recently for my new freelance business website is a shamrock. Shamrock is simply the Irish word for a regular three-leaf clover.

In designing the website’s logo, I looked at symbols, I looked at initials, I looked at abstract designs, and nothing appealed. I couldn’t even think of an image I wanted, until the shamrock popped into my head. It just seemed right, somehow. I thought about using a four-leaf clover instead, but it seemed like cheating. It seemed to imply I was lucky, or worse, that I thought I was special.

I downloaded some stylized shamrock images, but they didn’t look right. So I plucked a real clover, which I also found in Discovery Park, brought it home, and had Bigfoot take a picture of it and design a logo. AND HERE IT IS.

But now I’ve found a  four-leaf clover.

My clover is being pressed in the fold of a tissue inside a heavy cookbook with an even heavier atlas on top of it. After it’s fully dried, I’ll probably put it in some sort of enclosure and  keep it on my desk.

As for my website, I’m not sure if I should replace the shamrock with the new four-leaf or not. The idea seems less pretentious now that it’s real.

Maybe it would bring me luck.

Maybe I should stop thinking about luck and get busy writing.

What do you think? I’m open to suggestions.

That’s the way of the freelancer.

Bunny in Discovery Park--He eats clover.

Bunny in Discovery Park–He eats clover.

Thank You, St. Anthony!

St. Anthony

St. Anthony of Padua by El Greco

Bigfoot’s wallet was found!

But only after I said prayers to St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of lost things. St. Anthony is supposed to help you find what is lost, whether it is lost car keys, a lost job, or a lost love. He has helped me before with trivial things you might think would be beneath a saint’s consideration, like a lost earring.

A lost earring?

It was a a friend’s lost earring at a party many years ago, and she was quite upset about it. So we paused for a moment in our revelries to offer our silent, joking prayers to St. A., and voila–it turned up.

This time, St. Anthony led me to Bigfoot’s wallet under the bed, which surfaced while I was vacuuming.

That’s right, it was under the bed, not at the photo site at all. It must have fallen there when he changed clothes after coming home.

Of course it turned up when you were vacuuming, you say.

It would have turned up anyway, you say.

Well, read  some of these stories before dismissing the idea entirely.

Still don’t believe it? You don’t have to. St. Anthony helps skeptics and drunken party revelers as well as believers.

Bigfoot is the very definition of a skeptic. I am sometimes a believer in divine power, and other times a practitioner of silly superstitions, and I can’t always distinguish between the two.

So I choose “le pari de Pascal”, because I’m inclined that way anyway.

Of course I appear ridiculous in a society that worships logic above all, even though it’s really just a tool, even though we ourselves are moved much more by emotions and belief.

And that, Bigfoot would say, is the problem.

It doesn’t seem we’ll ever agree. But that’s OK.

Because St. Anthony also happens to be the patron of marital reconciliation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SuperMoon

Super Moon Seattle May 5, 2012

They called it Super Moon Saturday–the biggest and brightest moon of the year. The moon was the closest that it gets to Earth, which made it appear about 14 percent bigger than it does when it is farthest away.

Photographers were lined up to see it, including our own Bigfoot, who nabbed the shot above, and a little later, the one below:

Super Moon Seattle, May 5, 2012

According to the Seattle Times, increased  incidents of strange occurrences and weird behavior at the time of a full moon are just folklore.

However, Bigfoot did lose his wallet on the shoot. From his extremely deep pocket. In a pair of pants that, at other times, he has held upside down, and still the contents didn’t spill out.

He only walked around a little, and spent most of the time in his car.

It isn’t there.

Cue the Twilight Zone theme.

We hope the wallet turns up.

But if $6 and a passel of credit cards (now cancelled) was the price the moon exacted for capturing her mysterious beauty at the height of its power, so be it.

Truth be told, he wanted a new wallet anyway.