Between the Lines Book Club: The History in Manhattan Beach

between the lines book club logoIn this month’s book club, we are reading Manhattan Beach. We will be discussing Manhattan Beach at Arden Dimick Library on Saturday, May 25th at 10:30 AM.

Jennifer Egan spent years researching this novel. However, her characters are fictional, and the Naval Yard did not employ any women divers during WWII. For those interested in the history behind the story, here are a few links.

First of all, Brooklyn Navy Yard has a whole website devoted to Manhattan Beach readers who want history. It’s full of information and pictures.

There’s more about the city at

Did you find yourself wondering what Charlotte Russe is? It turns out that it means one of two desserts. The first is a fancy concoction, popular in the Victorian Era. But the second is a simple treat, consisting of sponge cake with whipped cream on top. This is the version discussed in the book.  It’s very difficult to find this latter version of Charlotte Russe’s these days – perhaps they’ve been edged out by cupcakes, which are basically the same thing (a little cake with a sweet topping)?


Tarot After the Tower: The Star, The Moon, the Sun

UnknownLast month I posted about The Tower, a tarot card that is looming large in my midlife as I struggle with multiple life transitions. As a woman in my mid-forties, I find that I’m not alone in struggling not only with changes happening right now but with the realization that major changes inevitably lie ahead.

In the major arcana, the next two cards are The Star and The Moon. Both are cards that involve intuition. After The Tower, we have an opportunity to rebuild our lives, but that requires a lot of thought. We have to be able to dream big, but we also have to avoid being misled by illusion. The Star is a hopeful card, and the Moon card is full of foreboding, but both represent a mind that is searching for answers, and that needs to find them on an intuitive, emotional level rather than just a list of facts.

In applying The Tower, The Star, and the Moon to my health issues, I see the following:

  1. The Tower: my level of energy and mobility have sharply decreased, forcing major changes in how I live my life, as well as major changes in my relationships.
  2. The Star and The Moon: maybe I’ll be all better if I just wait this out, maybe I don’t REALLY have to change anything, maybe I’ll be cured in some instantaneous, easy, one-step fashion if I just wait. One the other hand, maybe things will never get better and I might as well just eat cake and take opioids all day until I die because no amount of self-care or medical care will fix anything.



We arrive at The Sun when we are able to move out of denial and apprehension and see truly. Rachel Pollack describes this card as showing an “active, energized” state in comparison to the dreamy Star and Moon. The sun traditionally represents knowledge, but after the Tower the person has been reborn into a state of what Pollack calls “childish simplicity.” This is the state that lets one accept help and take naps without guilt but also allows one to do their physical therapy in hopes of future improvement. It signifies the kind of joy and happiness that can only come from clarity.


While I’m a long way from The Sun card, I can see it from here, which is a good thing. I hope you are all visited by this state of joy!


Between the Lines Book Club: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

between the lines book club logoThis May, we are reading Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. This book has been described as a straightforward historical novel about a woman who grows up in the late Depression and becomes a diver in the Brooklyn Naval Yard during WWII. It’s also a crime novel, as the disappearance of her father is very gradually explored.

Manhattan Beach was praised by most critics and was chosen as the 2018 New York City “One Read” book. The author’s previous book, Welcome to the Goon Squad, won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 2011.

We will be discussing Manhattan Beach at Arden Dimick Library on Saturday, May 25th at 10:30 AM. You can also leave comments below!

A Month of Announcements

UnknownIt’s May, and May is the busiest time in my house with the exception of October. My husband participates in Bike Month, which is a big thing here, so he rides fifty miles a day. My daughter’s school and theater program wind down which means events and a new wave of auditions. And of course, we have….


Linden and I will be at Baycon from Saturday May 25th – Monday May 27th. We are both panelists and I’ll be in the Variety Show. I’ll be posting our schedules later this month.

Big news: I’ll be running a Tarot table and doing readings all through Baycon. Details to follow!

Other news:

I made a thing! My article about the Brontes and the supernatural is up on Clarkesworld magazine. Click on the link to read.







Blessed Beltane and Happy May Day!

bloom blooming blossom blur

Photo by Pixabay on

Lot going on on May 1!

If you are celebrating May 1 as International Workers Day, be safe!

No matter how peaceful your protest is planned to be, follow some safety rules. Take water and snacks, have a contact buddy who isn’t at the protest, plan a meeting place for you and your friends, and document, document, document. Keep track of exit routes. If possible, wear shatterproof lenses and do NOT wear contacts. Wear comfortable shoes! More tips at

Remember the Haymarket Riot!

If you are celebrating May 1 as Beltane, and you are celebrating it in *ahem* an adult way, be safe! 

Just remember 2 magic words – Consent and Condoms!

If you are celebrating with a Maypole, or flower baskets, or a walk in the woods, Blessed Beltane to you! Have a lovely day and a lovely year!

lavender field under gray and blue skies at night

Photo by Samir Belhamra @Grafixart_photo on


Between the Lines Book Club: Born a Crime

between the lines book club logoThis month in Between the Lines Book Club we are discussing Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. We will be meeting on April 27, 2019 to  discuss this book at 10:30AM at Arden Dimick Library. 

In the segment of The Daily Show below, Trevor Noah discusses the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, the activist who played a crucial role in ending Apartheid in South Africa and who reconciled the country upon becoming its first democratically elected president.

Tarot of the Month: In praise of Pamela Colman Smith

220px-Pamela_Colman_Smith_circa_1912This month let us recognize the woman who created the most iconic Tarot images – Pamela Colman Smith. In 1909, she was commissioned by Arthur Waite to illustrate a tarot deck. She was the first to create full illustrate the court and number cards as well as the cards of the Major Arcana.

Smith was well-known as a romantic illustrator, and she designed costumes and sets for the Lyceum Theater (then run by Dracula author Bram Stoker). Smith founded her own magazine, The Green Sheaf, and collected and retold Jamaican fairy tales. She was friends with W.B Yeats, actress Ellen Terry,  and actress Florence Farr, who modeled for Smith during the illustration of the tarot deck.

Like Arthur Waite, Smith was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn. Her contemporaries speculated about her race (she was rumored to be biracial, although there is no evidence to support this) and her sexuality. Later in life Smith became a Catholic. Her style of art fell out of favor following WWI and is just now receiving renewed recognition.

For more about this amazing woman, here’s the entry I wrote for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Enjoy!