Sunday, May 29, 2011

Straight To Video

Well, a very unhappy thing happened this week.

I work in a conservative industry. I've been employed by the same company for better than two decades. Over the course of that period, our office has occupied three buildings, this last one being the nicest (although no building is without its issues).

Our current building's issue is security. It has been told to us that a custodial employee of the building's cleaning crew installed cameras in the locker and ladies' rooms. We learned this week that our bathrooms were also compromised, and several of our employees have been tentatively identified on these tapes.

Yep. Lucky me.

Beyond that, this pervert had his stock of dirty, little, secret films up on a web site. This has since been shut down by the feds. The custodian was caught – hoisted with his own petard. The first thing he filmed was himself as he hid the camera. He was identified and arrested, but made bail. He is out, walking among the innocent.

I, meanwhile, have got to go down to police headquarters and positively identify myself on these tapes. 330 lbs, big plastic CRO boot, 4-quad cane...yeah, like I could be confused with so many other folks. In short, I get to be humiliated all over again. It's not bad enough the whole freaking barrio now knows I'm a natural redhead, I have to sit there with the knights in blue, watching me do things even I have never seen me do. At this point, I'm looking for reputable counsel.

Anyone know a good lawyer?

Also, for the past few weeks, I've been having itch problems. At first, I thought I was being bit by something. I had the dog bathed and Frontlined, I sprayed the couch and covers with Zodiac, I laundered the bedding...and it got worse. It went from looking like bites to looking like plague. Angry red welts would rise on my thighs and then disappear. Lines would appear on my skin. I was ready to spew Latin, elevate off the bed, and beat up a priest. Before the words “help me” appeared under my bra line, I went to see my doctor.
“To what?”
“Don't know. Time to see an Allergist.”
That won't be until Thursday.

In the interim, it is getting worse and worse. I am trying to hold it at bay with Benadryl tablets and Gold Bond cream, in the hopes of staving off my morph into Zuul the Gatekeeper.

"There is no Katharine - only Zuul"
 There is some happy news. First – it's a long weekend. Second – I have my new CRO and can function in it. I can also walk with the cane now (bye-bye walker!) and drive short distances. I should be set to return to the office on June 13th.

I managed to buy some bearded irises from an on-line catalog, plus my sister stopped in Lambertville and picked up 6 more. My brother planted them this Thursday and they look great. My pal Goldie in PA will be sending more once her growing season is done. They can be planted in the Fall. (BTW: Happy belated 60th, dear Wiccan sister, and many happy returns. Watch your mail!)

Today, my friends Joe and Helen went to Ashley Furniture with me, where I finally bought my new mattress set. I went with a Sealy. The salesman tried selling me another Sterns and Foster (my current set – the one where the box spring broke in half!) “Just try it,” says he. It was sooo high I couldn't even get on, unless I threw myself across it and maneuvered down it's length like a beached seal. I can just imagine me flopped out on my belly, pant legs slid up and hives bursting out like a pan of Jiffy Pop. Nice way to scare the normals.

Fun to eat - nasty to resemble
  The place was full of international families, plus one Korean couple who would jump over and lie on any mattress in which I showed interest. (My salesman would say “Now THIS is very firm, and yet allows for comfort and support.” Bong-bong-bong... they would literally bounce over other sets and fling themselves down on the mattress in question. “O...K....well, this one over HERE is a posturepedic with a feather top...” Bong-bong-bong ...splat. “Yee chow moy ya mei mei yadda yadda yadda ..” which probably meant “Hey, fat white girl. You too slow!” When they returned to the first mattress just as I returned, I finally said “Folks, I'm going to lay down – either on that mattress... or on YOU.” They took off like ants sprayed with Black Flag.)

I got home, happy to have yet another ordeal over. That's when Sears called to say someone in California tried to use my credit card. Whee! The fun wasn't over after all! Now my old account has been canceled, and the new card is in the mail, and I can't buy crap on the computer any more. Here endeth my retail therapy. (Sigh).

What surprises are in store for the rest of the weekend? Don't ask.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.

Thank-you for your service, Veterans.

I'm off to buy stronger wards and good luck charms.

Crap! No I'm not. No card!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Drips and Drabs

My theme for this blog is...not having a theme. I could say I've embraced Stream of Consciousness, or that it was a deliberate decision to take a break from didactics for an entry. By the truth is – I gotta no theme. So, I'm off on a tangent of drips and drabs.

Publishing: I mentioned that Circle published one of my articles. Now, Fate has published my piece called “Surreal Estate” complete with picture of a “for sale” sign and 2 clay/gauze ghosts. (I showed this in an earlier blog, but here it is again.)

I whipped it up right here in the lab (naw, it was done in the Halloween room) and they ran it. Neat! Things Your Elders Never Told You was also advertised in the back.

The very next article was one about ESP on the moon. This was by Charlotte Bennardo, a co-founder of Broomstix, and Natalie Zaman's current writing partner. Speaking of that duo...

Their book Sirenz will be out June 8th, but you can get a copy now from Amazon. I did. Surprise! I still have a cameo in the first chapter as Katharine the tarot reader. Nice to see those tarot lessons were put to good use. (Later it is mentioned that someone had been turned into a shih tzu. Humm... Rufus inspired breed selection? Sigh...probably not.)

I have to say, my first reaction was confusion. I read the transcript of the book 3 times in its earlier form, and the plot has changed a lot between then and now. Even if I had a lot of “What happened to...?” moments, YOU won't. Go order it. It's fun.

As to other writings: It has happened again. I wrote and re-wrote an article for Sage Woman. The editor loved it, said she'd find a home for it, asked for photos etc etc. This week, she dumped it. Well, it happens in publishing. However, this is the third dump in as many attempts to write for her. It was suggested I submit to The Beltane Papers, which I did. There it will probably sit unacknowledged until it's forgotten. So, NERTZ! I e-mailed the Sage Woman editor and asked if she'd like to hold it for a future issue. We found a theme where it should fit, and so the submission lives! It will be a while until it sees print, but that day will come. I'm getting too old not to champion my work.

Meanwhile, I checked with Fate magazine to see if Gary and I could use the same title and content as my future gargoyle article for our proposed book (with proper acknowledgment of the magazine). Phyllis had no problem with this, and so we will begin the gathering of the grotesque in June, once Gary's massage classes are over. In the interim, I came up with two other article ideas, one on Glastonbury and my experience there, and one on haunted New Brunswick NJ  and one of my investigations. It's part of my “New Jersey: not just Sopranos, animal prints and exits” drive to change the Garden State image. Phyllis was receptive to both, and so the creative juices are flowing once more.

Work has started once again on Myth Spelling - my new book. I'm still taking it slow, deciding what tone I want to set. Yes, there will be spellcraft and that portion will be done with the proper seriousness, but I will also be talking about the Gods and their stories. I don't want to turn it into a Pagan “Lives of the Saints,” so I've been leaning towards a more jocular voice, similar to what was done in Signing Their Lives Away. (There were vignettes on each signer of the Declaration of Independence. They were done respectfully, but with a light touch.)

Finally, I will be doing a book signing at Mystickal Tymes In New Hope PA in July. The date has yet to be determined. I will have both books, (An Irish Book of Shadows, and Things Your Elders Never Told You) as well as Graven Images Oracle decks. If any of you are in the area, drop by. I'll post the date and the address in the near future.

Home: I'm happy to report that the great Jersey Swamp, created in my cellar when the sewer system went south, is now drained. It is also sanitized and dry. Hazzah. Now my home improvements can be focused on flowers and collectables.

I have been craving irises, driving friends and family nuts trying to find blooming bearded irises. (I called one place and they thought I asked if they had any “bloomin' bearded Irishmen”..well, do ya?). My local nurseries said they carried them, but when I got there I found I was misled.

is a Japanese iris.


is a BEARDED iris. Look around. They are now blooming in everyone's yard. They are now blooming in everyone's garden. They are now blooming everywhere except in nurseries, flower shops, Home Depot, and garden centers. What's a gal got to do to get a sinkin' flower these days???

There is a place called the Iris Patch in Lambertvlle, NJ. They have them, but they do not answer the phone or respond to e-mail. I'm going there, anyway... and I'm bringing a shovel...

I've been a bit down lately. Mother's Day was kinda a bust. Didn't see my daughter (she called), never got a card or flowers (again, whom do I have to hurt to get a tussy mussy around here??) and as for the furry kid...well he did this all day:

Those are the wheels of my desk chair he's wound around. Happy Mama Day to me. Woo-hoo.

So, I did some retail therapy. I bought another Donna Marion doll (the Good Witch)

She looks great with the other gals.

I also bought something to keep an eye on my evil router. My nephew installed it. It hates me. When I allow updates to my computer, it locks me down cold. I have to unplug -count ten -plug back in – grrrrr. So, now I gave it a litle companion from the collection of Sheila Wolk.He keeps a sharp eye on the router. Enjoy your little friend, you noxious piece of tech.

Well, that's it. Forgive the rambling. My CRO is in and I am scheduled to pick it up Thursday. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Betwixt and Between

You know, Beltain is a funny time of year.
We think it's all yellow flowers and Maypoles, sunshine and sangria, tie-dye and tambourines (I'm a child of the sixties; what can I say) – but don't be fooled. This is a time "betwixt and between", just like Samhain. The gates between the living and the dead open, and we must be cautious regarding thought and deed. There are spirits about listening to your every wish.

I had forgotten. I've been reading a book about Dr. John Dee and Glastonbury, and I started to long for this mystic place that touched my heart so many years ago. I miss the Tor, the ruins of the Abbey, the quiet of the place when the tourists leave, and the winds blowing fresh as the sun sets. “I NEED that now,” I thought to myself. “I need an environment that reminds me of Glastonbury.”

Brother, did I get it.

I wanted to stand on the Tor and look out upon the land and water.

picture by Lynne Newton
 Close!, I stood on the top (of the stairs) and looked out over my own land...and water.

Chalice Well has a beautiful cover and reported treasures sunk within.

My particular “well” also had treasures within. They were no longer sunken, however. They were Alllll over the floor. I'll spare you the details.

The spring that feeds Chalice Well is reputedly filled with the bounty of  another realm. The Gold Medal team visiting my sanctuary said the pipe that filled my “well” was also full of Bounty. Plus Quilted Northern, tissues, and items I no longer use ( but some of my younger pals do). These also came from another realm - the bathroom on the ground floor.

They say the Tor and the Well have been blessed for centuries by Pagan priests, in their white, other-worldly garb, who sanitized and sanctified them for the use of the people.

Like OMG! Me too!!!

And those gentle breezes at sunset? It's around 7:30pm and there are 5 fans downstairs, blowing to beat the band.  They will remain blowing until Wednesday...Yep...24/7...right under my bedroom.  It will be like trying to sleep on the Hindenburg.

The price for all this? $4,600.  I checked. It's the same price it would have cost to go to Glastonbury and stay at the George and Pilgrim for 10 days.

See? Everything I asked for, and at the same price, without leaving the house in which I've been imprisoned for 6 months!!! Oh, I SO love the happy crap that can happen when the worlds are Betwixt and Between.

Happy Beltain, everyone! I'm going to bed.