MEXICO CITY: Witches!

In tiny, packed hallways, shoppers crowded around small vendors. Each vendor sold a variation on a similar theme: witchcraft. Santa Muerte glowered down from every surface, that wonderfully evocative patroness of the lost and downtrodden. Since I booked my flight to Mexico, I have been deeply intrigued by this heretical icon. She is revered by many people in Mexico, but the Catholic Church has condemned her worship. She’s skeletal and terrifying and considerably menacing to some. Legend says she will appear in your dreams, answer your prayers with the right gifts, and bring death to your enemies. She’s charming. Santa Muerte is not a truly Catholic image, obviously, instead she is the perpetuation of ancient Aztec religious belief.

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THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #201

I felt like I was back in Paris. I felt like I was in 2009 again and Barack Obama was newly president. I felt like I was twirling tipsily in front of Notre Dame. I was in Métros and searching for clues about my grandmother’s life along the Côte d’Azur. And Patsy was there. And Eddie was there. And I was never so content.

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THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #199

The real triumph, though, was a box of chocolate by a brand called Merci. Reader…oh my dear and darling readers. These little bars of chocolate are extraordinary. Truly, they taste like they came out of a fine chocolate shop in the middle of a little village in Switzerland. I can’t believe I can pick them up at a budget grocery store in the middle of the state in the middle of the country. We live in truly blessed times. The box that I picked up had several flavors, but the one stuffed with dark chocolate mousse was the best. I cackled merrily as I sat in bed eating chocolates and watching the Kardashians. I was getting fatter, getting nothing done, and doing no good for my workload, but I was living the definition of my very best life.

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THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #198

I love movies. I have longed to be working in that magical industry for the most of my life. I never really longed to be a star; I don’t think I’m an actor. I’m too much myself to ever become another character, you know? But to direct or write or design would be a dream. Many years ago, famed and beloved psychic, Sylvia Browne, told me that my destiny was in Hollywood as a producer. The older I get, the more I see that she was right. I mean, I’m not on a direct path to producing by any means, but my diverse interests have led me down some strange paths that could end there.

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THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #197

We went to Planet Fitness and one of the employees took us on a tour. She showed us all the exercise equipment which we politely nodded at, but she quickly became disgusted with us after she asked what our fitness goals were. “To be tan,” I replied, quite seriously. She scoffed somewhat but controlled her rage and gave us the tour of the massage chairs, tanning beds, and body vibrator things. This looked delightful so we signed up at once.

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THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #190

We live in such a hazy part of history. I am quite certain that people have always felt like they were living in dark times, and many have, but we have a particularly unpleasant road ahead of us. Nuclear warheads are at the ready, natural disasters are striking repeatedly, the president of our nation is the definition of a fool, the political right is making worrying advances in Europe, and personal rights and guarantees are being stripped away faster than I ever imagined possible. I’m so glad that Will & Grace will be back to distract us from the bleakness of reality. That’s what they did so well the first time around, they were comedic superheroes in times of incomprehensible war. We needed them, and we need them again.

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DOHA: Asia At Last

Land returned to view and I was delighted by my first sight of Saudi Arabia. The sands were red and lovely. I smiled to myself, getting over my depression, I was flying over regions of the world that nobody in my generation would have dared to dream about years and years ago. So many of them still believe that the Middle East is a dangerous place — and it can be — but so can small towns in America. There is danger everywhere, but it need not ruin our ability to explore or lessen the chance to broaden our horizons. The world is absolutely wonderful and I’m so in love with it. I’m so glad that I got over any cultural fear I had and let myself discover this beloved region.

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