Saturday, January 19, 2008

A New Year

2008, the "Year of the Rat", is finally here. It has been a long time coming for me. 2007 didn't end well. It was the "Year of the Fire Boar" (pig) full of clashes of fire and water. I can understand that. Hopefully, that is all going to change. "The Rat" is very productive and driven. I was born in the "Year of the Rabbit", my wife, "The Dragon". We had the most trouble with "The Snake".
We were reminded of all this "superstition" with our recent visit to Las Vegas and the Belagio. The whole place, especially their Conservatory, was decorated to honor the Chinese New Year. China, the largest and most populous country, will continue to have a major influence on our World's economy and environment/atmosphere. They must we reckoned with and dealt with, as a World Force, A Culture and Society and as Individuals. This is becoming very evident and pressing. We have certainly seen it in our own family. I now consider all this as "Life's Rubrics". Best learn from them, and not the hard way. Feng Shui will come in handy now and in the future.
Speaking of that, the lobby of the Belagio has changed radically recently. Right in the center is this gigantic stallion all sculpted in tiny, mosaic mirrors. It is awesome. They've cleared out everything else except for some couches nearby to sit and gaze at it. All kinds of tourists are flocking around it constantly to take pictures. I had trouble getting the "clear shot" above and had to go early in the morning. The ceiling is the same (Morano Glass Flower Sculptures) which are still spectacular. Behind the "check-in-out" counter is an alcove completely decorated in big, bright red ball ornaments hanging in groups over mandarin orange trees fully loaded and piles of oranges all around them. What symbolism! The "Year of the Horse" is not due for a few years (2014)...and the "Rat" and the "Horse" don't "get along"...not compatible at all, according to the Chinese calendar lore. Very Interesting! Why have that symbol, which definitely improves the Feng Shui there but is in conflict with with the current sign? They are having the current Democratic Presidential Caucus right there. Is it an omen? Hillary's people contested it, Obama's went for it since the "Vegas Culinary Union" has endorsed him.
From the balcony above the conservatory are the spacious spa and salon rooms of the casino. I had never been up there so...what the heck, I had just won a video poker jackpot from an attendant so why not relieve some stress. I chose the unique "Scalp, Hands and Feet" massage. Wow! Did it help with my migraine-type sinus headaches. Reflex-ology really works.
While I was sitting there by the horse waiting for my "gambling family" I heard the strains of "Fur Elise" from the lobby bar piano. I went over and asked, "Do you know "Traumerai"?, one of my favorites, with memories. The musician said, "If I cheat." Pretty soon, here come the familiar, melodic phrases of "pathos" and "longing". I was moved sitting there and teared up a bit. "What could've been" says to me. Further release from my massage I would guess.
Our favorite "coffee place" at the Belagio is "Palio". It is on the way to all their "Convention Square-Footage" with all the "professionally upward and mobile" stopping by for their caffine "pick-me-ups" The reason we like it is not just the stronger coffee (espresso) but how it reminds of our visit to Senea(?) Italy and the famous day of the "Palio" - an annual horse race in the town palacio. It is quite an event and one can get "trapped" in it and the crowds. The neighborhood "colors" (flags) and symbols are all paraded and bet on or against. Horses from these areas can win, by any means, I mean any...and even without a rider as the charge pell mell around the square. Del Mar Race Track near San Diego has their top-most restaurant/bar named the "Palio" probably for this very reason. It is open and you look down on the finish line with your bet tickets in hand. The symbols I chose from the ceramic hangings all the walls of the coffee shop are the most appealing to me now..."an owl", "a turtle" and "a snail" Atypical symbols for a race, don't you think? This is where I feel I am now in "my race", "my guest teacher career", my family and life. Easy does it, one step at a time...
In the last two weeks I've visited five different school's primary grades. I'll concentrate on these levels now, less stress. I've enjoyed them by and large. In one, I was told by the "observing principal" to "slow down", some of the weaker ones, academically, were not with me. I took it as good advice. What's the hurry? The lesson plan left by the regular teacher doesn't have to be on schedule and followed to "a tee". I'll take time to sing with them and joke with them. These times are precious and I'm so priviledged to be allowed to work with them...I alway have. RRR

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