I am having my bike tuned up (unfortunately I don’t live close enough to my brother in Sonoma county, as he does this all of the time – the photo is of his work area), so now I have to start riding. Was going to buy a new outfit too – all tight to show my new muscles and in 17 colors, but got sticker shock. (The tops and shorts on sale are all in XL or XXL. No wonder. How many XXL women have you seen in full lycra?) That’ll be my reward when I get up to 25 miles.
Just announced: the college major producing the most unemployed – Architecture. 14%.
Burn the Past
My neighbors had a great tradition at their New Year’s Day party borrowed from Santa Fe:
Zozobra: The Boogeyman of Santa Fe
Each year, New Mexicans gather around a giant burning effigy, casting off their bad memories into the consuming bonfire…
Before the throng –about 23,000 women, men and children – a 49-foot-tall marionette hangs from a pole on a rise above Fort Marcy Park. Soon, Zozobra, named for a Spanish word that roughly translates as “anxiety” or “anguish,” will go up in flames, along with the city’s collective gloom.
Tucked within his androgynous frame are bits of “gloom” – scrawled regrets, divorce papers, eviction notices, and a never-used wedding dress.
At Zozobra’s feet, a procession of white “glooms,” child dancers resembling diminutive ghosts, are chased away by the Fire Dancer, who taunts Zozobra in a blur of red. Finally, as Zozobra’s moans reach a fever pitch, the keeper of the flame puts a torch to Zozobra’s long, flowing skirt. (The moaning emanates from a behind-the-scenes recording, broadcast over loudspeakers, and is synchronized with the opening and closing of the puppet’s huge mouth.) The crowd cheers as the flames quickly consume him, along with all of their castoff gloom from the past year. Amid a flash of fireworks, what’s left of him falls to the ground in an anticlimactic slump. A persistent white arm, bent at the elbow, fingers pointing toward the heavens, is the last bit of “Old Man Gloom” to succumb to the flames.
(Sounds a bit like Burning Man.) No, my neighbors didn’t build a 49’ doll, but had us write our bad memories on paper doll cutouts, which we put in a box. The box was ceremonially burned in the outdoor kiva fireplace. And we didn’t dance, but we did cheer. Happy New Year!