Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Marching" Along

It's now three months since my surgery, and three weeks since the removal of the fixator. Healing continues, even though my leg/ankle/foot are swollen, and a mess of dry skin. My local doctor says the swelling is usually the last to disappear, so that's a comfort. It's easy to see that my foot is now under my leg – a minor miracle. Doctor Z. says I'm on the verge of a new life. I feel it, ya know? Hopefully, my surgeon agrees when I see him on this coming Friday.

Below is a “then and now” review.
The reveal





We're waiting for a tiny red spot of the side of my foot to heal before I'm put in a walking cast. Until then, I'm still stuck doing wheelies on the roll-about. I think we should be good by the time I go to Langhorne.

The big swelled part of my ankle is where the bone was pressing against my skin for 3 years. It stretched, and it's now full of fluid – which will also fade away. (Will it leave me with wrinkled ankle skin? Humm...)

Lumpy, but coming along.
Meanwhile, I started back to work on Monday the 14th from home. The morning was highlighted by an hour long new business meeting, followed by an underwriter meeting in which the Uber-boss reminded us how little business we have written so far this year. Welcome back, Kat!

It was a technological nightmare all week. Remote systems refused to work, passwords were no longer recognized, icons disappeared into the black hole which is our technical assistance department. I finally got to work on renewals (and my remaining 578 e-mails). However, starting tomorrow, I will be back carrying my full freight. Arghhh!

Still, the days are getting longer, my leg is getting better and, eventually, I will regain my “normal” life one step at a time (tee-hee!).

I've heard from a few more historical societies regarding gargoyles. I've got 7 potential sites lined up, but haven't heard from the big cities like Newark and Jersey City. I have to see if they have their own historic societies. It seems the nephew and the friend's husband will be my principal photographers. It anyone know where there are Jersey gargoyles, please advise!

And finally – I wasn't going to mention this, but I've gotten e-mails from contributors and readers of Broomstix, wanting to know the fate of the e-zine. Folks, we were suppose to post “Evergreen”, written by myself and Natalie Zaman, as the Yule 2010 to Samhain 2011 edition. It is a book on how to use your Yule tree in sacred crafts throughout the wheel of the year. It has yet to get posted. Natalie advised recently that she is working on it, but no time frame was given.

That's all I know. We were to resume our 4-times-a-year publishing schedule with Yule 2011. A notice was going to be placed on our web site, but apparently it hasn't been done yet, as I still seem to be getting inquiries. For more info, contact Natalie. I believe she is on both Twitter and Facebook.

Until next week, see ya!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, a time for flowers, candy, romance, and celebration of the Saint who was killed for performing marriages after they were banned in ancient Rome. .. or maybe the Saint Valentine who was a martyred Bishop...or that other one who...I'm not sure what the third one did... hell. There are three Saint Valentines, no one knows for sure which one is remembered with all the hearts and flowers. It doesn't matter: it's just another church “bait and switch” with Pagan repasts.

the skull of St. Valentine - now THAT'S a greeting card!
Picture by Lawrence OP

What we really have here is the feast of Lupracalia. This was celebrated in Rome for so many centuries that even the ancients didn't know when it began. Because of the name “Lupra” it could have been a festival to honor the wolf who nursed Romulus and Remus. Later, it was said to honor Faunus, or Pan, but that's not certain. As a celebration, however, it had a few interesting elements.

First, you had to bring on the Vestal Virgins. They would make meal cakes from some of the last of the grain, and burn them in sacrifice. Next, you take a dog and a goat, and they, too, are sacrificed. Two young, naked males youths were next presented and, with the knife from the sacrifice, they were anointed on their foreheads with the blood. It was then wiped off by wool dipped in milk. The young men were required to laugh. Sure, who wouldn't. 
wax on...wax off

Next, they were dressed in the skin of the now deceased goat, and led a procession around Rome. Strips were cut from the goat skins to make scourges. With these, the young men would strike people to remove illness, curses.. and especially the “curse” of infertility. (Ah ha! Finally the love/sex connection!). In fact, women would put themselves in the path of the scourge and bare themselves to assure that they got the whip. OK, we won't go into that.

She's already pregnant. Isn't this overkill?
The word February, itself, means “purification” - a time to detox the body and the soul. I have to admit, I'd rather do that with some roses and Godiva in lieu of getting beaten with a dead goat pelt. To each his own. Besides, the love of my life already has a fuzzy pelt and a slightly wild side.

Yeah, he is.
 By the way - and totally off the topic - have you folks heard that Romania has added the occupation of “witch” to their labor codes? Have they suddenly seen the light? Has the time of persecution finally ended? Well, yes and no. I'm sure they would still like to flog a few of us but, as a member of the EU (European Union), they can't. If you can't “beat” them – tax 'em! That's right, witches are taxed 16% on all card readings, scryings, spells and charms, the proceeds of which go to fund health and pension programs. So, in reaction, what did the witches do? They cursed the government officials. Good luck in the next election, boys!

No matter how you choose to celebrate tomorrow, honor ALL the love in your life – family, friends, your “fids” (furry kids), yourself. Don't be defined by the love of others. Alone? You really aren't. Buy yourself a heart of Russell Stover's, or purchase those posies for your own desk. Hell, scourge YOURSELF with sacrificed goat strips....just don't go eying up my shih tzu. There are times I'd like to sacrifice the little bugger myself, but hands off.

To all the loves in my life, hugs and kisses..and Blessed Be!

Monday, February 7, 2011

One Foot Ahead

It has now been a week since the external fixator was removed. The Old Ones answered my prayers: Monday dawned sunny and snow-free. We only hit one snag – my car was a block of ice and my sister couldn't get the doors opened. We were forced to use her vehicle and – thankfully – everything, and every limb, fit inside.

It was dicey for me, however. Over the last three weeks, I had endured more pain than I have ever experienced in my life, and it was 24/7. I'm glad no one told me this was typical, or I may have reconsidered the procedure. I ended up living on Vicodin and Percoset – something I had never done before. Even at double doses they barely dimmed the agony.

It even hurt if I lightly applied pressure, and I had to make it down the front steps. I did it, but damn near passed out. I think I terrified poor Diane.

Once at the hospital, we switched to a wheelchair. That's where I stayed until we were led to the one-day surgery unit. I transferred to a bed. From there, I was wheeled to the O.R. Holding area, then the O.R. operating table, and then – oblivion.

I awoke to a well bandaged leg and a remarkable lack of pain. Except for an occasional “twang”, it has remained that way. I'm still non-weight bearing while my wounds heal, but that should change by the end of the month.

foot loose and fancy free!
 My one avenue through the pain was creativity. Suddenly, the gal who could hardly sketch the coven symbol can now pick up a pen and draw.

I haven't turned into a Pre-Raphaelite – my stuff looks like the doings of a gifted 12-year-old – but the shift in my ability has everyone completely gobsmacked – especially me.

Gargoyle on the edge
journal dragon

corn dollie

"I can't hear youuuu..."

happy, rosey, little skulls....

(Sorry for the blurry snaps. I haven't quite mastered taking photos of paper!)

Did the intense pain open a creative channel? Did I pay off major Karma, and this is my door prize? I have always wanted to be able to paint or draw, if only a little. I love writing, however, and resigned myself to “painting” a scene with my words, in lieu of a physical medium. So, thank you, Universe. This is way cool!

Meanwhile, my writing has not been neglected. I've had very happy news about a piece I submitted for a major publication, and am awaiting a positive response to a piece sent to another. I proposed two ideas to my publisher at Fate Magazine, one on haunted houses and one on Gargoyles, and she loved both!

A hint as to the nature of the haunted house piece
One is already submitted; the other requires a lot of research. These were ideas I had kicked around with another writer, but they were never developed. I decided they were worthy of pursuit, especially the gargoyle piece. I have contacted 22 New Jersey Historical Societies, and my letters have started to bring results. Some folks seem fascinated by the idea. Now, to get x-hubby and nephew on the road with their cameras. Of course, the “mother load” of NJ Gargoyles is Princeton University, but I suspect my state has a few pockets of marble monsters lurking in the shadows. (Plus, as an alumna from Douglass – Rutgers University, I can't have those Princeton Tigers get all of the spotlight!)

Although progress is slow, work continues on my next book, as well. This is the year of the Golden Rabbit. I was born in the year of the horse but as a Cancerian, with 6 planets in water, a lunar year is my time to shine.

I'm gonna make it happen. Come, shine with me!