Monthly Archives: July 2013

the ides

Today, well, yesterday really, because even though I’m writing this at 2:30 in the morning, it’s still today to me. It’s not tomorrow until the sun rises. I know a new day begins at midnight, but no, not really, it begins when I wake up, and although, lol, I’m awake now, I didn’t really sleep, so it doesn’t count. So. Today. The Ides. The middle of the month. The most famous, of course, is March, but every month has an ides. This is the ides of July.

I kind of like that idea that we acknowledge the middle of a month. Not the beginning when there is a rush to start things, get an agenda, a list, a set of goals. And, not the end of the month where we need to rush to finish off that agenda, cross things off the list and pat ourselves on the back for finishing the goals.

Like much of the ancient reckoning, calendar terms had to do with the celestial events––like the phases of the moon, or the placement of the sun. I remember from my college astronomy class nodesthat there were [are] eighteen nodes to the moon. Eighteen different places the moon hangs in the sky depending on the rotation of the earth, whether it is at apogee or perigee, the furthest or closest on the   plane of the earth’s orbit from earth.

The Romans had very specific terminology for the parts of the month. Kalends is when there is a new moon which in essence is no moon at all. Nones is the first quarter or what in class we called a waxing crescent. Then, when the moon is full, you have Ides. We use the term waning crescent to describe the phase of the moon before it disappears, before Kalends happens, again.

The moon holds such a fascination for us, we desperately want there to be life out there, to not be alone, to have other races, even if they are murderous and strangely alien like in Falling Skies or more human looking [well most of them] like in Defiance. Sometimes I wonder if we are giving more human traits to all these aliens, like the search for more power, the willingness to destroy a planet for it’s minerals, or even, the willingness to partner with another race to find common ground and make a life. Or are those traits universal, not just human. Because, in some ways that would be nice to think that these are universal truths [do we even have those anymore?] that people, whether human, or not, like us or not, do all of the same smart, stupid, kind, mean, generous, cheap, good and evil things. It would be grand to know we haven’t cornered the market on all the attributes of living a life.


I lose June every year and it makes me sad. It’s when we start the registration for the 2013 logo for FBfall conference and one thing leads to another and WHOOSH! the month is gone, with nothing to show for it, but pixels on a computer screen. This year I was a bit more productive. In addition to beta testing a new website,  I applied for a work in progress grant, completed a non-fiction book proposal for a publisher and wrote the first chapter of a YA coming-of-age novel. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The June of the station wagon packed with summer shorts, sweat shirts and swim suits, tents, sleeping bags, beach towels, camp stoves, lanterns, coolers, is the one I can’t get back. We were two families, the Hannicks and the Burketts, of all girls. Moms and daughters taking off for vacation, fathers to follow on the weekends. We would leave directly from school, uniforms, shoes and shirts carefully packed up and put in a special bag not to be seen for three months. A couple of hours drive north of the San Ferenando Valley and we were there, Carpenteria. Twelve miles south of Santa Barbara. Mrs. Colburn’s restaurant with THE most amazing lemon chiffon pies.

June Gloom they call it now, cool, foggy, damp. We camped right on the beach, supposedly the ‘safest in the  world’, the deep didn’t start until about a mile out. You could body surf those waves forever. Sitting on the picnic table, gritty with sand in every crevice of my body, I think I was happiest. Nothing called me but the now.

We use a lot of clichés now. They are posted all over Facebook, clever sayings, adages. We go way beyond the Farmer’s Almanac or Ben Franklin or even Shakespeare [although Will did memorialize pithy sayings with a bit of panache] Back then, we used the thumbnail comment with considerable caution, today, not so much. Memories almost demand the succinct, but no. Because each memory is different. It’s all about Point of View.

June. Run everywhere. Hair out-of-control curly. Fingers water-wrinkled. Skin sun-pinked painful. Food grilled. Parents relaxed. No getting up time. No going to bed time. Fourteen books every two weeks from the Burbank Public Library returned early. Summer.