Practical Tarot: Reacting to Transportation Delays

StrengthSix of CupsI tend to think of tarot as a spiritual tool, so it’s taken me some time to trust that it can also be extremely useful on a practical, everyday level. But I had a nice lesson in trusting tarot last night. I was trying to make it to a reiki 3 class on the other side of town, but I don’t have a car. My plan was to take the bus to the end of the line and then walk the rest of the way (it would have been about a 30-minute walk). I knew a winter storm was coming in, though, so I brought taxi fare with me just in case it didn’t look feasible to walk once I got that far. And, it didn’t. Our “winter storm” turned into a thunderstorm with rain turning to ice on the roads — I decided walking on the side of the road (no sidewalks), on slippery ice, in the rain, at rush hour was not going to be my wisest choice, so I ducked into a Taco Bell and called a cab.

And waited.

And waited.

I knew I had about 45 minutes to get to my class, so I thought I could afford to wait 20-30 minutes for a taxi. While I waited, I pulled tarot cards using an app on my phone: Strength, plus the Six of Cups. To me, the Strength card has to do with inner strength. When I see this card, the first thing I think is “Patience.” So…I counseled myself to be patient and wait. And I interpreted the Six of Cups in light of my circumstances (since this was a cups card and it was very wet outside) instead of thinking about it in terms of its more usual associations of nostalgia, childhood, and being with children.

But here’s the thing. My interpretation wasn’t wrong, in that it was very wet out and was going to continue to be wet. We had many “cups” of rain coming out of the sky…but tarot cards have layers of meaning, and I missed the more practical advice on this card because I was so anxious to make it to my class. This card, I now think, was saying, “go home to your children.” I just couldn’t accept that advice because I had planned so carefully to make it to this class. So I waited.

An hour and a half later, after talking to the taxi dispatcher several times, I gave up and got back on another bus and went home. If I had been open to the message I was receiving from the tarot in the first place, I could have saved myself a good 90 minutes of worry and anxiety.

Though this may seem like a trivial application of tarot, I think there’s a larger lesson here — about being open, about being able to listen, and about developing the ability to let go of a desired outcome in order to pay attention to actual circumstances.

Are the cards accurate? Only if we let them be.

Is Hollywood Hillbillies’ Memaw a New Incarnation of the Queen of Swords?

So, Hollywood Hillbillies is my first reality show. Ever. (It was on You Tube a few days ago, but is gone again now…see if you can find it.)

And I will be honest with you. My first reaction was, “I must never, ever, EVER, set foot in the South again.” That was probably just because this family may have triggered a bit of post-traumatic stress disorder from my own visits south of the Mason-Dixon line. I have many, many relatives, and friends, in the South. But–you friends and relatives in the South have to admit that y’all have no kale whatsoever in your damn grocery stores. (You know, kale? It’s a cruciferous vegetable. Like broccoli and spinach and cauliflower. Yes, people eat it and it’s delicious.) No tofu either. And that is a fact. I have checked. (Y’all need to write some letters to Winn-Dixie, stat!)

My second reaction was, “Why do these people have to talk like they have a mouthful of marbles? This is not My Fair Lady! We are not all being taught by Henry Higgins! Can’t we talk like it’s not painful?” (Did you realize that the Southern drawl is based on an upper crust British accent? Listen to it, people! Neither accent is my personal favorite, but, you know what, that’s really okay.)

But my third reaction was, “You know, though, I kind of like Memaw.” (The show doesn’t spell her name that way, but I honestly think you have to if you’re going to pronounce it right.)

And my fourth reaction was, “Actually, in some ways this family is really rather sweet.” How can I say that? Because they hold hands walking down the street! Could we start there? This is a loving family of people who are deeply loyal to and protective of each other. Is that wrong? Actually, no. Now, if my whole family came with me to a job interview or a business meeting, I’d have some words with them. But that’s my personal problem because I am just that intolerant and/or independent and because I have a bit of a temper when it comes to family members bossing me around. But those are my own flaws, which don’t give me the right to judge other people who are kind, sweet, and tolerant enough to cope with family being right up in their faces all the time.

And then there’s the fact that they stop and talk to the people working on the side of the road and ask to try the cactus they are eating for lunch! When was the last time YOU stopped to chat with a road worker and shared his lunch? To me, being willing to talk to and relate to and share food with ANYONE is the heart of democracy.

But let’s talk about Memaw, since she’s the heart and soul of this show. And Memaw TOTALLY is the Queen of Swords. Why? (I know some of you are thinking, “how can Bonnie denigrate the Queen of Swords like this?” Well, just listen for a minute.)

1. She doesn’t like phonies and she doesn’t like people acting like they are highfalutin’. She believes in honesty and in being yourself. And God bless her for that! We see too little honesty in this world. And I agree with her: I am tired of phonies, frauds, and lying.

2. She cuts through the bullshit. And in Hollywood, there is plenty of it. In fact, Memaw even cuts through her own bullshit. She tells her grandson that she doesn’t want to see any sexual activity going on while he’s living with her but then adds, “but if you do, make sure you use some protection.”

3. She IS the unrivaled queen of her family. No argument there. They all agree on it! She is the boss and there is “no negotiating with her,” according to her son.

4. Yes, she’s overweight, and no, that’s probably not technically any of your business, actually. What of it? Big deal! She looks pretty healthy to me despite the weight. You know what being overweight means? It does not mean you eat too much (even if it did, that would be nobody’s business but your own). But usually, being overweight means you maybe eat the wrong stuff, probably because you are too busy taking care of other people to take care of yourself, and it means you have led a stressful life so far and so your fat-producing hormones have gone into overdrive. That is what it means. These are NOT moral failings. Quite the contrary. They just indicate that like all queens, Memaw is preoccupied with looking after and protecting people. That’s her priority — not making a fashion statement.

4. You may think Memaw’s racist but I think she’s just plain interested. Yeah, she makes comments about people of different cultures and ethnicities. But have you noticed? All her comments in that department (or all the ones I’ve heard so far) have been complimentary. She frankly seems to admire diversity. “Japanese people are so smart,” does not sound like hate to me. “The only thing David Weintraub’s got going for him is he’s a Jew” does not sound like hate to me. To me, racism is a type of hate. Racism leads to violence and genocide. What I see here is not that. What I see in Memaw, and many, many other people like her, is racial stereotyping that stems from ignorance of other cultures combined with total fascination with those cultures. She’s thirsty for diversity — and that’s wonderful. What could be wrong with that?

And by the way, if you think she’s “white trash,” then you are more hateful than she is. And way more shallow. By far. Because this is a woman who walks up to literally everyone she meets and gives them a hug. She is love.

Imbolc Blog Hop: Tarot, Healing, and Creativity

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Ten of Wands -- Samurai Tarot

Ten of Wands, Samurai Tarot. From the LWB (Little White Book): “Free the mind of prejudice and learn to watch. The greatest fear is often impalable like the wing of a moth.”

Welcome to the first blog hop of 2014! Happy Imbolc (“in the belly,” the Irish holiday in honor of lambing), Happy Brigid’s Day, and Happy Candlemas! Or if you prefer, happy Groundhog’s Day!

To Catholics, Brigid is St. Brigid, and you can read about her at Catholic Encyclopedia. But to me, Brigid is a goddess. To read about her, try Encyclopedia Mythica. She is a goddess of smithcraft and martial arts, poetry, and healing…which leads us to…Dostoevsky? Well, just for a second.

Seven of Wands -- Samurai Tarot

Seven of Wands, Samurai Tarot. From the LWB: “There are times when there is no demon in the demon, no man in the man.”

The first gift my ex-husband ever gave me, before we even began dating, was a copy of Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground. Inside the front cover, he wrote, “To Bonnie the Rationalist: Read it and weep!” He called me a rationalist because I was so doggedly logical in my arguments with him. And as a rationalist, Notes from Underground never made a bit of sense to me. Yet, intuitively, it makes no sense either — it just left a bad taste in my mouth. (So does Crime and Punishment, for that matter.)

Here’s my point, and I promise this will relate (eventually!) back to healing, creativity, and tarot, and even to Brigid. My point is this. It doesn’t matter whether I look at Notes from Underground as a rationalist OR as an intuitive. Either way, the book sucks (in my opinion, which I am entitled to, this was NOT Dostoevsky’s best book). And so often this is the case…not that a great writer could write a terrible book…but that logic and intuition lead us to the same conclusion. They are like yin and yang; each contains the other; and for healing, we must have BOTH, without fail. Again, in my opinion. Here’s an example: A good doctor needs to know your history, because little bits of information from that history can foster intuitive leaps — and the doctor can (or may) figure out how those bits of information were actually linked later, using logic and science.

Both intuition and logic, or science for that matter, can be wrong, of course. But we often don’t accept that possibility, do we? We come to the conclusion that we come to, using our favorite method, either intuitive or rational, and THEN we deploy the other method, the one we didn’t use in the first place, to give our conclusion a little extra support. So the second method is inherently biased by the conclusions arrived at by the first method.

Now, I’m working my way to the truth here as if I were knitting a scarf, and I am a slow knitter, so please bear with me.

The Magician -- Samurai Tarot

The Magician, from the Samurai Tarot. From the LWB: “Even the gods and buddhas began with space.”

Nothing is true and yet everything is true. Life, and everything in it, is an illusion. And yet it also isn’t. And those two statements are simultaneously, both, totally and entirely true. And they are simultaneously, both, totally and entirely false.

Now this is the point at which my old graduate school friends would certainly jump in and call me a moral relativist. “You believe in nothing! And if you believe in nothing, what’s to stop me from murdering you right now? And what’s to stop you from murdering me?”

Well, if that isn’t the stupidest question. First, I do NOT believe in nothing. I believe in everything. Like Inspector Clouseau, I believe everyone, and I believe no one. I’m not going to murder you or anyone else, why? Not because I don’t believe murder is real! But because I’m a kind and gentle person, and I’m gentle even to rocks, and would continue to be so even if it were proven to me definitively that it makes no difference to the rock whether I handle it gently. Even if it were proven to me that the rock didn’t exist, or that I didn’t exist. What does compassion and lovingkindness even have to do with the existence of things? Nothing. Nothing at all.

Tarot readings can heal. So can rocks. So can thoughts and beliefs. So can medicine. So can a splint. So can a salve. So can energy applied in various ways. So can faith. Why? How is that possible? Well, it comes down to intuition and logic. You already know the intuitive explanation (or at least an intuitive explanation) or you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog. One version might go something like this: we have a mind-body-spirit connection and what happens to the spirit and the mind, of course, affects the body. But you could just as easily explain a faith healing using logic and science. If all we are is biology and chemistry, then you can’t very well argue that faith isn’t biological or chemical or that it doesn’t have a biological or chemical effect, can you? If we can even agree that faith can accomplish one single thing, such as reducing stress, then we’re there, logically speaking, because as soon as you reduce stress you’ve changed the biochemical balance in your brain. You’ve changed which neurotransmitters are being released and absorbed and in what amounts and you’ve changed what hormones are being released and in what amounts.

Nine of Wands -- Samurai Tarot

Nine of Wands, Samurai Tarot. From the LWB: “If your heart remains steadfast, the ice becomes hot, the snow warm. –Nichiren.”

Of all the types of magic we can think of in the world, healing is by far the easiest one to explain logically. You could heal with anything, even dirt, if you put faith in it. (In fact, dirt is one of the most healing substances around, but that’s another topic for another day.)

Seriously, just think about that.

Five of Wands -- Samurai Tarot

Five of Wands, Samurai Tarot. From the LWB: “If you understand that you cannot beat others, you will understand the path to conquering yourself. Then you will be victorious.”

In the Samurai Tarot, so many things that we struggle with are ghosts. Does that mean they are not real? Does that mean we need not struggle? Does that mean we need not engage with these illusions? No. But massive, major healing takes place when we can see them with a sense of perspective. When we widen our viewpoint to, oh, let’s say a geologic time scale. Or when we make our viewpoint very tiny, so tiny that we can see that all these problems are made up of nothing but space.

Tarot helps with that. Whether you have faith in the intuitive process (and I do) or whether you think it’s all bunk — ask yourself whether that even matters when it comes to healing.

But, specifically how does tarot help us to heal? Instead of listening to more crazy theories from me, choose an area of your life which needs healing, and try a simple spread based on the triple aspect of Brigid (see, I told you we’d come back to her!):

  1. What is my best weapon, tool, or resource in this endeavor?
  2. What kind of story do I need to tell myself in order to facilitate release?
  3. What would healing look like, in this case?

And don’t be afraid to let life turn you upside down like the Hanged Man, below. Remember — if you know the Musashi story — before he was hanged upside down from a tree, Musashi wasn’t yet Miyamoto Musashi — he was only Takezo. Not that there was anything wrong with being Takezo. But: I think he was happy with his transformation.

The Hanged Man -- Samurai Tarot

The Hanged Man, Samurai Tarot. From the LWB: “Don’t be stifled by fears. Trust in the spirit and ignore the material.”

Ready to hop to the next Imbolc Blog Hop post? Click below!

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Bachelor Cooking with Bonnie: The Method and Five Fast Recipes

So, I am a notoriously bad cook. Yet, I can walk into my kitchen, throw a few things together, and walk out with something delicious! How is that possible? Two reasons:

1. I’m willing to mix ingredients that have never been mixed before.

2. I am not that picky.

These are all  you need to be a wonderful chef! I consider this bachelor cooking, though I’m not a bachelor. (My husband says, “you should call this bachelorette cooking!”)

Here are a few combinations to get you started. (Note: all of these recipes CAN be gluten free. Use rice pasta or gluten free cereal. Substitute a gluten-free bread for sandwiches.)

Southwestern Lasagna

Follow a lasagna recipe. Substitute salsa for all or part of the tomato sauce. It’s that easy!

Trail Mix and Cereal, or, Trereal

Cheerios are just fine for making Trereal.

Cheerios are just fine for making Trereal.

1. Put cereal in bowl.

2. Add 1/4 cup of your favorite trail mix, even if it includes chocolate. Especially if it includes chocolate!

3. Add milk (or in my case, almond milk).

4. Enjoy the spectacular deliciousness!

Salad with Tahini Dressing

Why do all the work of making tahini dressing? Do this the easy way:

1. Put salad in a bowl.

2. Distribute some tahini (1-2 tablespoons should do it) across the top of the salad.

3. Add your favorite oil and vinegar salad dressing.

vegetable soup

…and this.

For ventil soup, you need this...

For ventil soup, you need this…

Ventil Soup

My husband came up with the name for this one. It’s one can of lentil soup, mixed together with one can of vegetable soup. So good that you won’t need to add crackers.

Everything Stir Fry

Have extra rice in the fridge? Dump it in a frying pan with an egg and whatever vegetables you have on hand (spinach and kale are good). Add ginger powder, maybe some garlic, and soy sauce. And water so your concoction doesn’t stick to the pan.

Have extra pasta in the fridge? Do the same thing. If you don’t have soy sauce, garlic, or ginger powder, try melting cheese on top, or adding salsa or tomato sauce. It will be delicious! You’ll feel like a real cook!

Honorable Mention: Peanut Butter and Nutella Sandwiches

My ten-year-old invented peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches while visiting her grandparents (I’m sure many other children of all ages have invented them as well). But you can also do pb and honey, pb and sugar (my friend Lara Weeks taught me that one in 2nd or 3rd grade), pb and leftover broccoli (no, my kids won’t eat those, and right now, the broccoli sandwiches are still just a theory for me–they remain to be beta tested…).

Happy “cooking”! And, if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, remember my mother’s sage words of wisdom: “Bonnie, the reason you’re not a good cook is that you just don’t care how things taste.”

 

How Underappreciated are Comedians? Or, Comedy as Bodhisattva Fever

Laughing BuddhaSo, I’ve decided not to blog every single day about tarot any more. This will come as no surprise to all of you who have watched my blog completely and totally disappear over the last few months. But yet, I do still want to keep the blog current. So my plan is, in this space, to write about tarot much of the time, but also touch on non-tarot topics occasionally.

Because that gives me a chance to share this somewhat random but still worthwhile thought with you: Stand-up comedians are a national treasure. They are. Comedians should be revered throughout the land. They should be worshiped in churches. They should not have to pay taxes. That’s how much we should treasure the people who can make us deeply, sincerely, laugh.

And here’s the thing: it’s NOT because they’re funny. Funny, by itself, could be mean-spirited, or crude, or just…in poor taste. Funny, alone, could even be racist or sexist or ageist or homophobic. And I have to say frankly that I don’t appreciate THAT kind of funny.

So it’s not that comedians are funny, it’s that they are so gentle and such good sports. It’s because they look into the soul of even those people who are behaving contemptuously and see a glint of true humanity in there. It’s like Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche said (in Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness):

[The] sore spot on our body is an analogy for compassion. Why? Because even in the midst of immense aggression, insensitivity in our life, or laziness, we always have a soft spot….Whether we are crazy, dull, aggressive, ego-tripping, whatever we might be, there is still that sore spot taking place in us….That open wound is very inconvenient and problematic. We don’t like it. We would like to be tough….We would like to lay our trips on everybody completely and properly, so that we have nothing to hide. That way, if somebody decides to hit us back, we are not wounded….”

But, he goes on to explain, what we need is to be wounded. We need to be hit right in the sore spot, so much so that it widens until it encompasses our whole being. That sore spot, he explains, is “embryonic compassion,” “basic sanity.” Buddha nature is

“like a heart that is sliced and bruised by wisdom and compassion. When the external wound and the internal wound begin to meet and to communicate, then we begin to realize that our whole being is made out of one complete sore spot altogether, which is called ‘bodhisattva fever.’ That vulnerability is compassion. We really have no way to defend ourselves anymore at all. A gigantic cosmic wound is all over the place — an inward wound and an external wound at the same time.”

laughing Buddha

What good comedy does, to my mind, is to hit us hard right in that soft spot. To open us so that we can be warm and compassionate. So that we can be gentle and understanding.

To quote from Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche again,

“It’s very harsh treatment, in some sense, but on the other hand, it’s very gentle. The intention is gentle, but the practice is very harsh. By combining the intention and the practice, you are being ‘harshed,’ and also you are being ‘gentled,’ so to speak–both together. That makes you into a bodhisattva….You have to jump into the blender. It is necessary for you to do that. Just jump into the blender and work with it. Then you will begin to feel that you are swimming in the blender. You might even enjoy it a little bit, after you have been processed.”

“….Beyond that delight, we also tend to develop a sense of friendliness to everything. The early level of irritation and aggression has been processed through, by mindfulness and awareness.There is instead a notion of basic goodness….There is room to relax, room to open ourselves up.”

So, this is what I see, in the gentle humor of Louis CK or Kathleen Madigan or Wanda Sykes or Eddie Izzard or Gina Yashere or Ellen Degeneres, to name a few examples.

Or at times, Russell Peters. Or to go even further, Bill Hicks. Or Christopher Titus. Or, how could I leave out Dave Chappelle? Or Margaret Cho? Yes, some of these people are occasionally very crude. Many use profanity. But that doesn’t change the fact that this humor is GENTLE. There is this whole attitude, especially from someone like Louis CK, of, “I’m just trying to give you a little perspective here. Not trying to be a jerk. Just giving you a little bit, just a little bit of perspective. Just zooming out and widening the picture just a little bit.”

And that’s the essence of good comedy. It’s not that it makes us laugh. It’s that it gives us perspective. It puts us in touch with a wider view of things. In that sense, I don’t think it’s inaccurate for me to say that good comedians touch the face of God. They zoom you right out of your little narrow pin-sized view of the world straight out into a point of view that encompasses the universe. Or, it makes us bigger, by widening that wound until we are as big as the whole universe. Either way. Same thing. That’s what good comedy is. It makes the angels laugh.

Margaret Cho

Interviewer: So, what would you have done if you hadn’t done stand-up?
Margaret Cho: Um, drugs?

And I don’t think the angels, or the bodhisattvas either, mind a little profanity. They’re aware of the profane. And if it’s put out there in a spirit of gentleness and good sportsmanship, I think they’re down with it. If it’s true that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” then it’s absofuckinglutely true that the F-word never killed anyone. Except comedically. In fact, in some cases, it’s when comedians are being their most profane that they are actually metaphorically speaking taking a crowbar and widening your perspective to its absolute limits.

So laugh a little today. And widen your view of things. If you feel like it.

P.S. I’ve tried to use clips here that I wouldn’t mind my kids seeing (for the most part). FYI…in case you are watching with kids in the room. But there is some profanity, so if you have a toddler who repeats everything he/she hears, you might want to use headphones.

Louis CK on dating:

and on being broke:

Kathleen Madigan on what really scares her:

and on the Post Office:

Gina Yashere, Live at the Apollo:

Wanda Sykes on being gay versus being black:

Eddie Izzard on languages:

Dave Chapelle: from Killing ‘Em Softly 

And finally, a little classic Bill Hicks…

on drugs:

and on politics (sorry, this one is  short some of the video–and sorry, as well, if you don’t agree with this particular view of politics–because I realize not everyone does):

I saw this on Facebook yesterday. Not sure where it came from. If you know, tell me and I will post a credit (or take this one down).

I saw this on Facebook yesterday. Not sure where it came from. If you know, tell me and I will post a credit (or take this one down).

Enough with the Judgements

Judgement, Samurai Tarot

Judgement, from the Samurai Tarot. The little white book that goes with the Samurai Tarot says this of judgements: “Look into the depths of your heart and do not conceal anything. The heart is a good judge.”

“All women can breastfeed.”

“Nutrition and exercise work just as well as antidepressants.”

“Your children will eat their vegetables if you refuse to let them leave the table until they do.”

“Those cigarettes will kill you one day.”

Is there something about winter that makes us more prone to telling other people what to do? Judgements are all over the Internet lately. I haven’t been blogging very much lately (too swamped with editorial work), but I feel I have to say something about this today.  Now. This minute. In brief:

Have some faith in your fellow human beings. If breastfeeding would work for your neighbor, she would be doing it. Trust me. Your depressed relative has probably tried nutrition and exercise and, in fact, probably uses them as adjuncts to antidepressants. If children could handle vegetables (or whatever it is you want them to eat), they would. Children want to please their parents more than anything. They would eat vegetables to make you happy if they humanly could. And your relative who can’t quit smoking just may have figured out that cigarettes are the lesser of evils. Here’s a conundrum for the judges out there: what if the cigarette smoker is smoking to stay off antidepressants? Or smoking to stay off harder drugs?

It seems like the worst judgements are saved for parents and people who use substances such as prescription drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. And frankly, these are the very people who most need you to get off their backs.

You may not know everything you think you know.

So please, enough with the judging.

Tarot with Mad Libs: Don’t Tell Your Grandmother What to Do (If You Know What’s Good for You)

One of my favorite things to do is to use non-tarot card decks for divinatory purposes. It’s fun! So, you’ve sometimes seen my posts related to cards I pulled from the Corporate Flash Cards, for instance. And I’m slowly working on getting the Ninja Wisdom Deck up to speed.

Mad Libs

Mad Libs cards

But tonight, after game night with my kids, I decided to fool around with the Mad Lib cards. I pulled a few cards for each of a few family members. For my husband, I drew bulldoze, burn, shocking, and desperate (what can I say? he has a lot of Taurus planets). For my teenager, terminate, pierced, and steamroll (gad, I hope she’s not planning on piercing anything! but she can pretty easily steamroll over me) and for my tween, squashed, tweak, and choirboys (well, she sings in a choir, and has been known to squash some things and tweak others, and for that matter to BE squashed at times). For myself, browbeat, incredible, bashfully (do I really browbeat? I probably do most things bashfully).

For my dad, I pulled drink, fiercely, and cheerfully, and for my mom, endlessly, belly button, and choirboys (hmm, she also used to sing in a choir…).

And for all of you? What message do the Mad Libs have for you tonight? Let’s see…

terminate (something to do with endings?)

forbidden (boundaries are at issue)

grandmothers (you know who you are)

Past Life, Universal Wisdom deck, Toni Carmine Salerno

Past Life, from the Universal Wisdom deck by Toni Carmine Salerno

and, for clarification: drink (something that hydrates or intoxicates us)

Well, this might seem like nonsense to some of you. It IS a Mad Lib. Still, I see something here. When I see the word “forbidden” next to “grandmother,” my first thought is, “nobody forbids a grandmother anything!” Getting to do what you want, within reason, is one of the few privileges of advanced age. So is getting to say what you want. Yes, I’d terminate those forbiddings, if I knew what was best for me…we can’t forbid the grandmothers to drink. We can’t forbid grandmothers hydration and we certainly can’t forbid them intoxication. Some of them are intoxicated by definition before they even take a drink!

So my advice, gleaned from these cards, is, listen to the grandmothers, even if they seem intoxicated, demented, loopy, or just plain old. Much wisdom comes from madness, and much from age and experience. In fact, grandmothers (and grandfathers too) are in a special place — a place of objectivity. A place and time when one no longer has that much interest in collecting wealth, or honors, or good will. A place and time when you might as well just blurt out the truth. So listen. Because it’s not always that easy to find people who will tell you the god’s honest truth.

And definitely, don’t try to put boundaries around your grandmother. It won’t work anyway. Just enjoy her, and enjoy the time you have left with her.