Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Wouldn't Recommend The Veal!

Ok, so I was recalling memories of my past and thinking about how the people and things that are truly meant to be part of our lives, will find their way there, often in ways we least expect them to.

My mother was an overprotective, obsessive worrier (Sorry, Mom) who controlled every aspect of our lives. My sister and I liken our childhood to being raised like veal. Our entire existence revolved around our own backyard. There are unquestionably children who have experienced far worse, however ours was not a "normal" childhood by any stretch of the imagination.

My sister rebelled dramatically under my mother's control, often making decisions that caused heartache to herself and our entire family. Being several years younger than she and having witnessed most of the pain her behavior brought to those around her, I vowed that I would never be like her. I was never going to give anyone any reason to worry or do anything that might ruin my life or theirs. I simply conformed to my mother's will, no questions asked and no matter how negatively it impacted on my own well-being. It was a safe, yet lonely existence that was as detrimental to me, as my sister's rebellion had been to her. There were a few close friends that loved me for who I was and were understanding enough of my situation to stand by me. Others however, used it as a constant source of their own amusement and ridiculed me for it. I eventually internalized my own pain, each of my mother's irrational fears and grew into an anxious and insecure adult.

When I finally married and moved from my mother's home, the control merely changed hands. I gladly allowed Ray to make all the important decisions that effected me. It was status quo, I had simply traded my mother's backyard for his and I was quite content with this new "veal-like" environment.

Then, quietly and insidiously, change. I can't decide exactly when or what brought it about, but when the winds began to stir, I found myself becoming..curiously, yet passionately..resentful. My own sense of rebellion was beginning to spin like a cyclone out of control, threatening to change the landscape of everything in it's path and life as we knew it. I eventually found even the perception of being controlled intolerable and stubbornly refused to go along with anything simply to make someone else happy. I must admit, this transformation was neither easy nor painless. It's amazing how unpleasant people can become when they realize you will no longer allow them to take advantage of you. Some long term relationships were lost when I refused to continue functioning as a doormat in the name of love or friendship. As you can imagine, our marriage suffered as well. Lines were drawn, ultimatums were given, shoes were thrown! Ultimately, most of us survived, just not in the same manner that some had grown accustomed to.

Last night, Ray commented on how much I've changed recently and in the 30 years since we'd met. He would be the best judge of this, since he's witnessed and lived through the worst of the storms. Hey, we did take vows for better or worse! The other vow I made was to my own children. That being, that they would know all the joys of childhood and so far, I've yet to hear any complaints.

I have long since discarded the resentment for the things in my own childhood I never had the opportunity to experience. Interestingly, some of the stuff I thought I had missed, I am experiencing now and find that I am able to appreciate them more as an adult. Hey, I always wanted to be a Witch and learn to play the drums! Who would have guessed that 40 years later, I would be doing both, often simultaneously! Perhaps it's an after effect of my upbringing, but I find it very difficult to allow the dust settle beneath my feet without learning something while I'm there! I almost never feel the urge to throw shoes, but still tend to have a fairly low tolerance for bullshit. If I am to be honest however, I have allowed myself to slip backward once or twice and be taken advantage of simply because of the nature of the relationship. But, with age comes wisdom. That was then, this is now.

Recently, when the winds began to stir, I embraced the wisdom of my past, and allowed myself to be led on a journey inward with all the inquisitiveness of the child I'd left behind. The change has been as dramatic as a cyclone, but without all the damage! Strangely, part of this journey has brought me back, once again, to the people and places that had engraved themselves on my heart years before.

So what about now? Well, I can tell you that, those who thought they knew me well back in the day would be in for a rude awakening and my mother would probably like to confine me to the backyard for all eternity!

In Darkness, Light!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Things That Make Me Sick!

Merry Meet Family, Friends, Followers and Lurkers:

:::Rant warning:::

So, last night at the suggestion of my 12 year old son, Justin, Ray and I watched Michael Moore's documentary "Sicko" which describes how seriously we are being bent over by the managed health care system in the country.

Oh, I know, there are some who question Michael Moore's credibility, but as someone who works in health care, I can tell you for a fact that these things are actually taking place. Your health care isn't in the hands of your physician anymore and hasn't been since the Health Maintenance Organization Act in 1973. If you are lucky enough to have health care insurance, the decision of whether or not your care is administered properly is being decided by some "medical director" who reviews your medical records and then determines if there is any way of avoiding paying for your treatment.

And what if you are one of the unfortunates who can't afford health care insurance? Well hopefully, you won't end up being put into a taxi by the hospital who's rendering your care, driven to skid row and dumped out onto the street still in your hospital gown because you've become too much of an expense.

Michael Moore took a group of our own 9/11 responders to Cuba to receive the medical treatment that was repeatedly denied to them in this country. Yes, Cuba. The communist country run by that evil, wicked, horrible dictator, Fidel Castro. There they were able to receive medical treatment, free of charge. Yes, free. These people were ill and that was the only criteria necessary to receive care. This is called the Universal Health Care System and is also available in France, Canada and the United Kingdom. Just not here. The people of Cuba looked upon our first responders as heroes. Our country, thus far, had only looked at them as an expense.

And this situation isn't confined to medical testing alone, but to the medications prescribed for you as well. A prescription medication that you are paying $120.00 per month for here in the "Greatest Country in the World", will cost you 3 cents in Cuba. And no, it's not a generic or off brand medication, but the very same prescribed by our own physicians.

Personally speaking, I have a stable lung nodule which was detected by chest x-ray. The guidelines for follow up of this type of diagnosis is that you need CAT scans for three consecutive years. After the 3rd year, if all has remained the same, no further testing is necessary. Well, for the first two years, I was given a prescription for a CAT scan, got the required authorization, had the test and it was all good. This year, I got the prescription, called for authorization and was denied. Why you ask? Because the "medical director" deemed my test, "not medically necessary" because...are ya ready? I have no symptoms! My pulmonologist spoke to the medical director, sent in the documentation supporting medical necessity and it was still denied because I have no symptoms. My sister died of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, which is a fatal lung disease. "Idiopathic" means that they have no idea what caused it. Now, if I had symptoms, I could possibly be at risk for dying, but of course, then they would pay for my care. Just not for very long. The prognosis for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is 4 - 6 years.

If you haven't seen this documentary, I would highly recommend you do, but only if you don't mind being pissed off beyond all definition of the term.

In Darkness, Light,


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"I Believe Those Belong To Me"

Merry Meet and Welcome, Family, Friends, Followers and Lurkers.

Take a good look at the photo. It was taken by me at friend's home that is thought to be haunted. Notice the woman's face?

If you are a fan of the supernatural and haven't already seen it, you must see the Biography Channel's pseudo-reality show, "Ghostly Encounters". This is a show in which ordinary people describe their experiences with paranormal activity. Ya gotta know, I live for this shit! It's the only show I can honestly say scares me enough that I often refuse to get up to turn out the lights after it's over!

Some of the experiences described are your usual ghostly phenomenon. Doors opening on their own, light flickering on and off, foot steps with no obvious feet to speak of. Then there are others in which people are actually forced to leave their homes because of aggressive paranormal activity. I gotta tell ya, I don't think I'd want to live through something like this, but I must confess, I find the notion of living in a haunted house wildly intriguing!

Ray and I were talking over dinner about what one's physical capabilities might be after death. When you think about it scientifically, we are made up of energy. Our bodies are merely vehicles for that energy to function on this physical plane. If it is true that energy can change it's state, but can not be destroyed, then doesn't it make sense that our own spiritual essence continues after the death of our physical body? I often refer to this as the continued existence of the soul.

That said, if a spiritual entity is capable of tossing plates across a room, moving large objects and otherwise communicating with us from the beyond, just think of the friggin' possibilities!! Not to encourage any one's bad "after death" behavior, but I immediately came up with a few of people I might consider paying a visit to once I've crossed over!

Oh, I would never dream of being so malevolent as to frighten anyone from their homes, but imagine explaining to your spouse the discovery of a strange pair of panties hanging from the bedroom light fixture!

So, in the event you learn of my untimely demise...just remember, the panties are mine. :)

In Darkness, Light!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Things That Crack Me Up!

Didn't they have to, oh I don't know, actually purchase these to make their video?

I think I might need to get one. I wonder if they're flame retardant?

Many thanks to You Tube and Prissy!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Not Part of the Curriculm..

Merry Morning Family, Friends, Followers and Lurkers!

So, this morning as I was rushing to get ready to drive the kids to school, I heard a familiar sounding, "Mommm". I can tell by the inflection that this was not Justin's usual, everyday "Mom", but the kind of "Mom" that usually strikes me with frustration.

"What?", I answered impatiently. "I need to do a book report", he replied. Ahhhh....yes, I was right, it was that kind of "Mom". By this I mean, this is the tone Justin uses when he's forgotten to tell us that he needs something or has some school project that he's known about for a month, but now, a couple of days before it's due, he's just gotten around to mentioning.

Before I could even form the words that would become my rant about being more responsible, he said, "It has to be about a famous person, but can't be an entertainer or an actor". "I was thinking about either Gerald Gardner or Isaac Bonewits". At first, I thought he was joking, but the look on his face assured me otherwise. I snickered to myself when I imagined his teacher's face when reading it. Then he continued, "Well, Gerald Gardner is the Father of Wicca, so I think that it would make a great report", but I've actually met Isaac Bonewits and read his books and he's really cool." "Well, that is true, I replied, barely containing my enthusiasm, "And Isaac is the first and only person to receive a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Magic from Berkeley." He was both impressed and amused. If I were to guess however, given Justin's fascination with history, he would be more inclined to go with Gerald Gardner, although given my suggestion that he do a little research on both to see who he resonates most with, it may very well be Isaac Bonewits. In either case, I'll be thrilled!

In the last couple of years, Justin has become much more interested in Paganism. He considers himself a Pagan, although he doesn't actually practice the Wiccan religion. I have made it a point not to encourage or dissuade my children from following my beliefs or anyone else's for that matter. I've tried to impress upon them that spirituality often comes from within and doesn't always favor a particular religion. I have also made it abundantly clear that before they could ever make any kind of decision regarding following a Pagan path, they needed to educate themselves enough about it as to be well-informed. Given the misconceptions and prejudices that still exist, I want them to understand that while the path might be well worn, fear will never allow some to enter the garden.

All this being said, I am gleefully anticipating Justin's final decision and his teacher's reaction. No matter whom he chooses to write about, in true Isaac Bonewits' fashion, he will probably be the first and only kid in the history of his Middle School to do a report on one of the more influential figures in Neopaganism!

::::beaming with pride:::::

In Darkness, Light!


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Imbolc Blessings!

Greetings once again, Family, Friends, Followers and Lurkers!

So, this morning, as I have most recent mornings, I poured myself a cup of the coffee, gazed out the kitchen window and uttered the phrase, "I hate fucking Winter". Ooops! Was that my outside voice? Why yes, yes it was!

I know that as a Pagan, I should embrace all the seasons and for the most part, I do. The changing leaves, watching the snow falling on a beautiful moon lit winter's night...are all magical. But there comes a point in every season, when the enchantment begins to wear off.

This morning was to be no different. As I listened to 1010 WINS predicting the next storm system which will be followed shortly thereafter by the next cold air mass, I turned off the radio in disgust! I hate the fucking Winter! (Oops! Sorry, outside voice again!)

Then, as I stood there, silently sipping my coffee, I noticed something. I actually held my breath and listened. Could it be true???

I had to be sure, so I decided to brave the cold and go out onto the deck. It was then I heard...a choir! NO, not of angels, you smart asses! The silence of the cold winter's morning had been broken by the sound of...birdies! Dozens of birdies singing their little hearts out! I stood there, coffee getting cold, freezing my ass off filled with hope!

I don't know why I should be so surprised the singing of the birds. Today is February 1 st and for us, the Pagan Sabbat known as Imbolc. It is the first festival of Spring, and heralds the dwindling of winter, the coming of warmth and new life and celebrates the Celtic fire goddess Brighid. It is the time when the first stirrings of life begin beneath the frozen soil and the Earth begins to awaken after her long Winter's slumber.

But, rather than give you a Wicca 101 lecture on Imbolc, I suggest you get up, get dressed, go outside, freeze your asses off and listen.

The birdies have a message!

Blessed Imbolc and Happy Spring!

In Darkness, Light!