Well, this day was a real flaming bag of dog doodie. Those come along for all of us, and no matter how much you tell yourself they are just a normal part of life, it doesn't make them any easier to take. Technically I guess the bad day started last night, when Eric's car engine overheated and left him stranded on the side of the 405, but I didn't find out until this morning. (Our AAA membership more than pays for itself each year considering our frequent need of a tow.) I also woke this rainy morning to find the carpet under our bedroom window was soaked again.
That discovery sucked, but we held some hope that we might hear the mechanic say the engine was not completely toasted. Unfortunately, the hope that the car engine was not permanently damaged proved false. The mechanic actually used the words "catastrophic engine failure," which pretty completely quashed any feeble optimism we had mustered. Now we find ourselves back in the position of negotiating the use of our one remaining car in a way that will allow us both to get where we have to be when we need to be there. On top of that, we need to sit down and decide if we are willing and able to try to replace the vehicle we lost. As if tax season didn't already have me depressed enough!
Ah, well. C'est la vie. I know we will figure this out, and of course things could be much worse. Still, it is a shame this week had to begin on such a crappy note, especially for poor Eric. In the last seven days he's suffered from food poisoning, fallen down the stairs of the parking garage, and had his car experience permanent engine failure. If I were him, I'd seriously consider hiding under my bed covers for a good long time. Then again, when all's said and done he's still married to me, so I think he came out ahead.
All the negativity aside, I had a pretty good time this week at the Magical Gemstones colloquium the Villa hosted. It was quite a treat for me, getting relieved of my teaching duties for the day so I could spend it listening to various scholars lecture on ancient amulets (a.k.a. "gemstones"--makes for a sexier title). Next month a new exhibition on ancient amulets will be opening at the Villa, so the colloquium was a good chance for me to jump into the topic early. Also, I'm planning to develop a "focus tour" on amulets on display in the galleries, so the more research the better. Luckily for me my knowledge of ancient Egyptian religious/magical iconography and tradition puts me in a good position to begin to understand some of the layers of meaning in the amuletic images. Even in the ancient world ancient Egyptian religion was seen as very old (and thus very powerful), so some amulets in the ancient world borrowed heavily from ancient Egyptian religious tradition. If all goes well, over the course of the next month, I'll be able to transform myself into a mini-expert on amulets of the Roman world.
You know, many ancient amulets were designed for protection. Maybe what Eric needs is a nice amulet with a good strong apotropaic image and inscription to keep him out of trouble. Say, for instance, a nice little gem like the one below.