Mercury is Retrograde and so is Uranus

I had never heard of Mercury retrograde until my friend Sharon Rosenzweig enlightened me. While sipping tea at her house one day a few years ago, I mentioned that everything in my life seemed to be going awry and askew and I couldn’t figure out why.

Sharon said, “Well, Mercury is in retrograde.”

I said, “Well, that’s nice, but what does that have to do with anything?”

Ever so patient Sharon explained that people tend to misunderstand each other, transportation can get messed up, and lots of other things can easily go wonky when Mercury is in that cycle. She also told me that the periods before and after retrograde can get messed up, too.

“That’s like my sister Beth,” I said. “She goes wonky before, during and after her cycle. In fact, she doesn’t have PMS; she has AMS!” 

I’m sure I gnaw away at Sharon’s patience, but she never shows it. 

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “The planet Mercury rules communication, travel, contracts, and automobiles… So, when Mercury is retrograde, remain flexible, allow extra time for travel, and avoid signing contracts…” 

Actually, Mercury retrograde is an illusion that happens several times each year. When Mercury is in retrograde it appears to move backwards. But, “Mercury is just moving slower than Earth, causing the illusion that it’s moving in retrograde,” according to “Mother Nature Network.” 

While most astrologers and just plain regular folk believe that Mercury retrograde can mess things up in life, most scientists think the whole thing is just plain hooey.

In his blog “Bad Astronomy” Phil Plait wrote an entry titled “Astrology in retrograde” in the October 3rd, 2008 issue of “Discover” magazine. He wrote, “I was called by MSNBC reporter Helen Popkin yesterday because she was doing an article on astrology. And she stumped me with a simple question: “Have you heard,” she asked “about the idea that electronics tend to fail when Mercury is in retrograde?”

Uh. What?

I hadn’t heard of this little piece of nonsense, but according to Ms. Popkin, sure enough, some astrologers say that technology tends to fail more when Mercury is in retrograde… Since, astrologically, Mercury controls communication and technology, when it’s in retrograde things get screwed up. That’s why Hubble is malfunctioning, and why the LHC (I had to look this up: Large Hadron Collider) is having woes.

Yeeeeeeah. Oooooookay.

So for the next half hour we chatted technology, we chatted Mercury, we chatted astrology. You can guess how I feel about all this astrology stuff.”

He went on to say that Ms. Popkin had written “a fluffy humor piece, not really meant to sway people either way. I smiled a lot while reading it, even though astrologers make me want to stick my head in the microwave.”

Well, this is my fluffy humor piece! I am not of science or astrology, but I believe! So, go ahead and stick your head in the microwave, Mr. Plait.

I ask you, “How do you explain this?”

And, if scientific proof is needed, let’s go back in time two weeks to Thanksgiving weekend when winter storm “Bruce” caused, among other things, nearly 3,000 flight cancellations.

Was Mercury in retrograde then? As a matter of fact it was! 

“Bruce” dumped so much snow it was as if the heavy-duty laxatives it had been taking all month finally kicked in.

Many people say that when Mercury is in retrograde we should slow down, as Mercury appears to, and take time to reflect upon ourselves without placing blame.

So, during this time of reflection, I’d like to apologize to Mr. Plait. After watching a video of Taylor Swift explaining the ways in which Mercury in retrograde destroys our lives, I, too, would like nothing more than to stick my head in the microwave.

In the November, 16, 2018 article on called “Mercury retrograde, explained without astrologythere’s an embedded video of Swift who says that when Mercury is in retrograde, “You can’t blame yourself. You just have to blame Mercury ‘cause it’s just hella in retrograde.” Oy.

If I really wanted to, I could find out when Mercury will be in retrograde in the future, but I’m afraid that if I know I’ll just sit in the dark worrying and waiting.

Conversely, if I know when Mercury will be out of retrograde, I’ll have no excuses during that time for being lazy, unproductive, and disorganized. 

I prefer the element of surprise, so I simply ask Google, “Is Mercury in retrograde?” Usually, I get this response:

I’m always surprised when I ask and get this response:

But, in case you’re wondering, Mercury will return to its regularly scheduled orbit on November 7th, 2018 and won’t be in retrograde again until March 5, 2019.

It might interest you to know that ALL planets go into retrograde at some point; Mercury just gets the worst rap because of its ability to throw shade on so many important things in life.

You can do the astrological math to find out which planet rules your sign and how it might affect you when it goes into retrograde. But, to make it more fun, why not use that idea as a pick-up line at your company’s holiday party? “Hi! Which planet rules your astrological sign, when does it go into retrograde, and how does this phenomenon affect you?” I didn’t say it was a great line, but it’s something to think about.

I’d like to end with this: I feel it is my duty to inform you that the gassy planet Uranus has entered Aries and just won’t leave until January 7, 2019. My birthday is January 7th, so Mom, I can’t go out to dinner that night because I need to sit here and wait for the gas to pass.


P.S. I am still working on my book I Married him Anyway; I just wanted to write about Mercury while it’s still retrograding. 


Harriet’s Symphonette

Richard and Uncle D brought my father-in-law, Howard Leslie Korengold, aka Papa Howie, back home from Florida. He’s in good health (poo, poo, poo a million times) and is living in an apartment in a retirement community nearby.

Did you catch that his middle name is “Leslie?” But wait! There’s more! My mother-in-law (may she rest in peace) was Harriet, which is my mother’s middle name. My nephew is Joseph Maurice; Richard’s grandfather was Maurice Joseph. It’s all very Lincoln/Kennedy, but I digress.

Papa Howie has been mailing me his hand-written memoirs for years, and refers to me as his “Literary Agent.” I am honored that he trusts me, the most disorganized person in the world, with the only copy of his stories.

Howard is a creative and brilliant man. For instance, after Richard and I became engaged, Howard said, “If Richard hadn’t proposed, I would have.” See what I mean? He’s brilliant!

To celebrate his return home, I’d like to share a book he wrote and illustrated many years ago called “Harriet’s Symphonette.”


Halloween 1984

Richard was greeted at my parents’ front door by the sounds of moaning ghosts, chains being dragged across a wood floor, and door hinges in desperate need of WD-40. 

Earlier that evening I’d hidden a tape recorder underneath bushes I’d covered with nylon spider webs. I’d left only one dim outside light on so Richard could safely make his way to the front door where I had posted a sign that read, “Enter if you Dare!” Just before he was due to arrive, I ran outside and hit “play” on the tape recorder. I could barely contain my excitement about all the fun things I’d planned for the evening.

As a copywriter for the Sears Catalog I had friends in strange places who could procure just about any prop ever needed. A mannequin head and hand? No problem. You just had to know who to ask for the body part required.                                                                                                                                                                 

As I opened the door to let Richard in, I could’t help but notice the look of irritation and annoyance on his face from the scary sounds and poorly lit walkway. That should have been my first clue that my plan to enchant him that evening was not going to work, but it didn’t stop me. I closed the door and turned around to face him. Just as he was about to give me a “hello” kiss, I smiled, revealing bloody, wax vampire fangs. He was not amused, and I did not receive a kiss. At least the fangs were cherry-flavored.

Subtlety has never been one of Richard’s gifts. By the time I had bared my wax vampire teeth, he had shown facial expressions of disdain, displeasure, and disgust. I knew the rest of the evening I had been so eager to plan was going to be arduous for him, and a total disappointment for me.

I led my very unhappy, exasperated guest/victim into the kitchen where I had set the table for the two of us, as I had many times before. There were no visible tricks or treats which elicited a sigh of relief from Richard as he sat down at the table.

For the first course, I served pasta with extremely red marinara sauce. In an effort to create bloody looking spaghetti, I had added red food coloring and then squished whole tomatoes into the sauce with my sterilized, sanitized, and squeaky clean hands. Since Richard’s head was already spinning, the worst surprise would have been to give him food poisoning. 

As soon as I had set the pasta on the table, I said, “Oops! I forgot the garlic bread!” I had covered the basket of bread with a kitchen towel “to keep it warm.” When he removed the towel, a perfectly manicured mannequin hand was holding a piece of garlic bread, as if offering it to Richard. 

Who wouldn’t think that was a clever way to serve the bread? I’ll give you one guess.

I began to lose hope and started to panic just a tad. My brain started screaming, “It’s not too late! Go to Barnaby’s! Order Dominos! For Satan’s sake, go to Burger King! Whatever you do, turn back now! Grab your purse and Richard and get out while you still can!”

But I didn’t do that. I had gone to great lengths to plan this dinner as a way to show him how playful and creative I could be. I’d decided If he didn’t appreciate that side of me, I could still have fun, couldn’t I? Or was I leading myself into a den of humiliation and torture? I was leading myself into a den of humiliation and torture.

Knowing the next course could be the end of our relationship, I just had to hope for the best. I donned oven mitts and pulled a large black covered roasting pan out of the oven and set it on a trivet on the table. It wasn’t hot, but I wanted to provide the illusion that it was. Most people would remove the top part of the roaster to reveal a delicious-looking turkey or ham. I removed the top to reveal an upside down mannequin head full of salsa surrounded by tortilla chips.

Richard had told me many times that he didn’t like surprises, but I didn’t think serving a scary Halloween dinner met that criterion. As his girlfriend, I thought any clever, creative ideas I had up my Norma Kamali shoulder-padded sleeves would be seen as a way of creating a fun and memorable evening. I thought it was fun; he thought it was memorable, but not in a good way.

I don’t remember much more about what I served that night because the evening turned out not to be much of a “treat” for either one of us. 

Richard, always a gentleman, thanked me for dinner and then sprinted out to his red 1974 Plymouth Duster. I heard his tires squeal as he made his escape.

The only good thing about the evening was that there wasn’t much for me to clean. All I had to do was put a few dishes in the dishwasher, and wash and dry the mannequin parts so I could return them to their owners at work the following day.

In December of that year Richard invited me to his parents’ house for a special dinner he’d prepared just for the two of us. The photo below kind of sums up how different we are; the trick is to make it work which we have for 32 years and counting.

Richard and me through the years:

Michael Jackson and Lord Vader
Blake and Alexis Carrington from "Dynasty"
Blake and Alexis Carrington from “Dynasty”
Luke and Leia (with real Cinnabons in my hair!)
Happy Halloween!

Last year: I was Bruce Jenner and Richard was Caitlyn. Our friends Steve and Juliet were Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King. We were at Michael and Sara’s who have a year-round haunted house in their basement that I’ve been told is the scariest haunted house ever. I’ve never had the guts to go through it, but I’ve heard the screams.


The 2018 All About Richard Calendar, April

So, here’s the deal about the note and RV ornament I received from Richard.

The 2018 All About Richard Calendar, April

We had just moved into our first house with a 4 year old, a 9 month old, a cat, a dog, a snake named “Buddy,” and a goldfish named “Twirly Norman.”

Unopened boxes in every room served as furniture. We were all exhausted.

And that’s when Richard announced he had to travel to New York for business.

I wasn’t happy he was going to leave me alone with mountains of unopened boxes labeled “misc,” two small children, and half of Noah’s Ark, but business is business.

Until it isn’t.

After letting me know he was going to New York Richard said, “Ya know, I really could use a break. Since Atlantic City is so close to New York, I think I’ll extend my trip a few days and spend a little time there. Whatta you think?”

Whatta’d I think? I thought a lot of things. None of them were nice.

“No, I don’t mind,” I thought to myself. “Of course you deserve a break. I don’t. But you do. Go. Go, Oh Wonderful Husband of mine. Go. Enjoy yourself. Don’t even think about the kids and me.”

After retrieving my jaw from a box labeled “Dumbbells, and Other Assorted Crap” I said, “Look. You decide what to do. I’m sure if you think about it long and hard enough you’ll do the right thing.”

So, Richard went to Atlantic City for five days after a short meeting in New York.

He came home looking relaxed and happy.

I looked disheveled and displeased.

Richard tried to show remorse, but it’s not in his DNA. However, as a peace offering, he gave me the note in which he kinda, sorta, promised never to leave me alone again to go to Atlantic City, and a cute little ornament of the RV he’d be living in if he did.