Friday, October 26, 2012

Almost There...

We're getting closer, folks! Samhain is almost here. I love the changing of the leaves, the cooler weather, the crisp blue skies...OK, we're about to get a hurricane on the 29th and 30th, but hey! It's been that kind of a Samhain-tide. All I can do is hysterics. At least I don't have to worry about a roof blowing off or a cellar full of water.

The fun continues. Thank you, friends, for your good thoughts about Ellen reuniting with her cat. Perhaps I should have included a picture of Karla so you all had a specific kitty upon which to focus. So far, she has been given a kitten, and caught a calico stray in her have-a-heart trap. Any more, and she'll turn into our local “crazy cat lady”. (Actually, she returned the kitten after a failed attempted to give me a new pet. Rufus is coming home next week, and I have no desire to face the wrath of Ru!) This is Karla:


I went to the eye doctor to complete my exam and pick up my new glasses. I had to do that dreaded field of vision test. You know the one: one eye is covered and you stare into a machine with the other, looking ahead as little white lights flash on and off all around the peripheral. Your job is to press your clicker whenever you see one. Problem is: they leave an after image on my retina and I end up seeing lights all over the place! I HATE that thing!!...OK. I'm calm now. The good news: pressure in both eyes is down and everything looks spiffy. Bad news: got home, tried on my new glasses, and the left eye is completely blurry. $398 dollars for glasses I can't use. I will go back and have them adjusted, AFTER Samhain, and after the flood waters from the hurricane subside. (Eye doctor is down the shore. Lucky me.)

Claude is doing better, although she is in pain. She expressed her displeasure at my posting her “wicked witch” picture... so I KNOW she's getting better! (Love you, Claude. Don't yell at me. I only have one synaptic cleft left and the neurons are barely speaking.)

Prescriptions have been lost at pharmacies, medical faxes have gone astray, food orders have gone wonky, my sisters showed up at the house and resurrected the Spanish Inquisition regarding my diet, my finances, yadda yadda. OH! And we finally found all my makeup...behind the couch in a cloth bag.


Anyway, I have my musical selection for you - “Night on Bald Mountain” a la Disney's “Fantasia”. Pay particular attention to the demonic figure. Look familiar? A famous Universal actor agreed to pose for the character. His name was Bela Lugosi.

For the Sherlock fans out there: Please continue to support the Save Undershaw Project. Doyle's home has been saved from conversion into apartment units, but it is a far way from being restored. This is the place where so many great tales were penned, including “Hound of the Baskervilles”.

I also have a seasonal treat for you. It's a little video entitled “Sherlock Holmes and the Undead”. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Samhain-tide, Get Off My Hide!

I have often told my friends and family, “It's Samhain-tide. If anything can go wrong, it will.” Last week was a perfect example.

Claude was released from re-hab (she had a knee replacement) and was home for a week. She had several panic attacks, but I was always able to talk her down. Last Monday, I got a call at 9am. It was Claude and Jack. She was crying and he was saying, “I can't calm her down. YOU try.”

I couldn't either.

I had her get dressed and had Jack drop her off at my house. I kept her for a few hours but couldn't get her to eat, sleep or stop crying and making those constant “huh huh huh” noises while rocking. Finally, she stated she wanted to go to the Emergency. I convinced Jack to drive, and off we went at 3pm to Princeton at Plainsboro. (Don't any of you DARE make “House” jokes. Tain't funny.) Finally, at 9pm, she was admitted.

Four days later, lots of hydration and tests, and they found nothing. She was feeling better, so they sent her home. The next morning, at 9am, Jack calls. “Is my wife with you?” I thought he was kidding. Claude and I are so close, we endure endless verbal barbs about “being a couple”. So I answered, “You better hope not; I'm in bed.”

He wasn't kidding – Claude was gone. No note, no sign, just apparently rolled through the bedroom wall into another dimension. As I was talking to Jack, I got a message on my mobile. Nurse Jackie from St. Peter's Hospital called to say that Claude fetched herself an ambulance in the wee hours of the morning, and was in Peter's A&E with shortness of breath. Please tell her husband.

Jack was on the verge of collapse. It's OK to get yourself to the hospital; NOT OK to do so as a disappearing act. (I chastised her proper once she got back home.) End result: congestive heart failure, probably caused by all that hydration at Plainsboro. They kept her until Saturday when I ...again... had to don my knee walker and show Jack how to get to New Brunswick. He worried about getting lost the entire way, even though it was my home turf.

Claude on a good day
and not so good day

MEANWHILE... Friend Ellen's 14 year old cat managed to escape unnoticed into the night and has yet to return. Karla was her buddy and she was wracked with guilt that she hadn't detected her escape until an hour later. (In Ellen's defense, Karla hides in the house quite often, so there was no reason for alarm until the food dish went untouched.) Ellen and I made various calls back and forth. I had to support my friend. There was no question of doing otherwise, but the stress was mounting. (Everyone send out a little prayer that Karla and Ellen get reunited!)

THEN – I get a phone call saying Joe and Helen were coming to visit from Thursday until Saturday. These folks are like another set of parents to me, as they are 19 years older. Helen is great: when she comes she helps me go through boxes, do laundry, organize my books. We always get a lot done. Joe is no longer ambulatory, except to get from the car to my rocker, the rocker to the WC, and back. Meanwhile, he issues orders and shouts questions which are impossible to answer from another room like:

Kat, what's that over there?”

Over WHERE, Joe?”

Over there!”

Define 'there'”.


Three days of this, folks.

They left Saturday, and Sunday afternoon my in-laws arrived to stay overnight. Peter and Diana (brother-in-law and wife) and I always get along great. They were staying with me, while my mother-in-law stayed with Gary in Asbury Park. Now, I usually get along with Mom, but she is getting older and more sensitive. Due to my stressful week, I wasn't exactly in a patient mood myself. Mom started making negative comments about another family member. When I mentioned that this individual once wrote me and said that perhaps my spiritual path resulted in my Cancer (six years ago), she exploded. “He never did that!” I was virtually called a liar in front of my family and friends, in my own home.

Yesterday, I had to give a three hour deposition regarding my law suit (I was taped at work using the rest room, as were 59 other women. Naturally, we're suing.) I got a letter saying my company overpaid me and I had to send a cashier's check for almost $1000... and my mother-in-law and Gary are coming to visit again towards the end of the week. I'm not overjoyed with Gary, either. He told his family, out of my hearing, that I misunderstood the letter I had received re: cancer. He read said letter himself, and knows there was no “misunderstanding”. I got thrown under the bus, people!

Finally, I got to use my shoe and brace for the first time today, and my leg was swollen so it rubs on the brace. I also need a new shower chair...another expense. Oh! And I packed makeup to wear at the Para X last week. When I got to the show, the bag was in my grip but the makeup was gone... just gone. I still haven't found it. That's a good $50 right there.

Samhain. You're killing me.

We still have two weeks to go. Holy Mary....

Anyway, I have  three videos for you today. The first is for Sherlock fans. After having folks tease that Claude and I are a bonded pair....

(“We are NOT a couple.”

Sure you are. You are a couple who love each other without having sex.”

There's an English word for that: igit.”)

...I kind of understand John Watson's frustration.

And for the classical selections: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. Ah...Bach.

As well as Grieg: In The Hall of the Mountain King.

Hang on there, everyone! Samhain got ta end sometime.

Monday, October 8, 2012


The Para-X was held this past Saturday, and I had a blast! 

Thanks to Karen Timper and her group (New Jersey Ghost Organization) for holding the event. Thanks to everyone who bought books and Graven Images Oracle decks, and all the folks who chose me to do their readings.  I was honored. 

 I had a very full lecture room for my Wicca 101 presentation, and that was well received.  Sorry to anyone who wanted to speak with me after.  I had people lined up for readings (for which they had already paid) and I couldn't stop to chat, much as I would have enjoyed that. Take heart!  My e-mail address and blog address were in the give-away packets we handed out during the lecture, so feel free to use them.  There were some very interesting questions raised during the presentation that I would love to discuss at greater length!

Thanks also to:
!) Charlene for being my driver, fetch, carry, promoter and friend. I can always count on you to chat up my talents!

2) Keith, the nephew, for being there all day, running errands, helping break down my area after the show, and allowing me to use him as a point of focus during my talk on directing energy.  There's nothing like a room full of people pointing their fingers at you by command of your aunt. Hope the paranoia after-glow faded quickly.

3) Thanks to my friend Lori from Philadelphia, who braved the trip with kids and buddy in tow, only to get lost.  At least you made it to the presentation and, hopefully, got to see a few vendors before they packed up. You took it in your stride. That's why I love ya!

4) ..And thanks to Ellen, who made time in a busy day to come, only to find me drowning in a sea of people.  Yipes!  Sorry I had to neglect you. 

Scenes from the vending floor

The Lytle sisters: Denise and Yvette. Check out Yvette's Etsy shop "Happy Harpy"

My table

My crew: Charlene and Keith

Friends from Philly

One very tired Kat

Now for the musical selection.  You may remember the opening of this music as the theme from "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"... if you're as old as dust, like me.  The show went off the air in 1962, but anyone who remembers it will think of Hitch's profile as soon as the music starts. (The rest of you can look it up on YouTube!) Here, then, is Gounod's "Funeral March for a Marionette". (It starts a bit slow, but keep watching.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Harvest Hurry

October already! What kind of a time vortex have I fallen into? This Saturday is the Para X in East Brunswick. I remember being in the hospital thinking, “Oh, by October I should be up and walking. No problem.”

Wrong... but I'm getting there.

Meet my new shoe and brace.

It's not the medieval torture device I had envisioned. I took my first few steps since this entire ordeal began almost a year ago. It felt strange, but good. I won't be using this until my physical therapist is here from visiting nurse service, but I should be walking with a walker in a few weeks. Fingers crossed.

The Anam Cara has been released from rehab. Claude is doing very well, and is now at home. She will also be doing physical therapy. Gods! We're the walking wounded around here! The replacement knee surgery went very well and, although she is in pain now, ultimately she'll be glad she did all this. Her attitude is great, her spirits are up, and I am very proud of my gal. Atta girl, Claude!

Meanwhile, the show must go on. I put together my presentation and my handouts for Saturday's lecture ( I will also be selling my books and doing Tarot readings). I'm going extremely high tech for this:

That's right. I've finally gotten into the 20th century. Big improvement over the rock and chisel I used in the past. Hey, I printed off exhibits onto full page “Post It” sticky picture paper and attached them to my presentation pad, PLUS (brace yourselves) I have a laser pointer. Well... OK. It belongs to Rufus. He likes to chase the red dot. But on Saturday it is a lecture tool. Folks have brought down PLANES with these things, people! I will have the power!! (...until the shih tzu comes home).

Now, on to the musical portion of the program. My first selection is Chopin's “Funeral March”. I bet a bunch of you thought this was composed purely for Warner Brothers cartoons ala Chuck Jones. Nope! It's a bona fide piece of spooky, classical gloom.

My second selection is a particular favorite of mine. I encountered Schubert's “Erlkonig” in University. I was shocked to recognize the opening as the “chase music” from dozens of silent movies. Little did a know there was a mystic, macabre story behind the music, based on the old legend of the Erlkonig. Below is the English translation of the German, and an Illustrated video of the song with the original verses.

Everything sounds more frightening in German.

Who rides, so late, through night and wind?
It is the father with his child.
He has the boy well in his arm
He holds him safely, he keeps him warm.

"My son, why do you hide your face so anxiously?"
"Father, do you not see the Elfking?
The Elfking with crown and tail?"
"My son, it's a wisp of fog."

"You dear child, come, go with me!
Very lovely games I'll play with you;
Some colourful flowers are on the beach,
My mother has some golden robes."

"My father, my father, and don't you hear
What the Elfking quietly promises me?"
"Be calm, stay calm, my child;
The wind is rustling through withered leaves."

"Do you want to come with me, pretty boy?
My daughters shall wait on you finely;
My daughters will lead the nightly dance,
And rock and dance and sing you to sleep."

"My father, my father, and don't you see there
The Elfking's daughters in the gloomy place?"
"My son, my son, I see it clearly:
There shimmer the old willows so grey."

"I love you, your beautiful form entices me;
And if you're not willing, then I will use force."
"My father, my father, he's grabbing me now!
The Elfking has done me harm!"

It horrifies the father; he swiftly rides on,
He holds the moaning child in his arms,
Reaches the farm with trouble and hardship;
In his arms, the child was dead
Humm... Sweet dreams!