Monday, October 25, 2004

My Brithday . . .

. . .is almost over. I'm almost disappointed that it is passing without a mention from Mark. But what did I expect? Flowers and a card professing his undying love? I don't THINK so.

But it hasn't been a total loss. Pattie sprung for lunch and we had cake (yellow cake with sweet, sweet icing - my favorite) in the office - to celebrate all the October birthdays.

Why don't I feel 57? It seems as if it was yesterday that I was sitting in Shea Stadium watching the Beatles playing on a small stage set at second base. Or was it just yesterday that Heather was a toddler who never wanted to step her little bare feet on grass? Or maybe it was yesterday that I walked behind Rich's casket? No, yesterday, Heather, Pattie and Lorraine had a surprise 50th Birthday party for me. If that was only yesterday, how can I be 57 today?

And now the big question: at 57, do I want to "start all over again?" Do I want to try another relationship - meet someone new; learn about him: his likes, dislikes, his quirks; meet his family, see his house, meet his kids, his pets. Do I want to go through the grief of "the first time" - naked in bed? I've read that men of a certain age are just happy to be beside a naked woman in bed, stretch marks, fat, drooping breasts and all. Hmmm. I wonder who did the research on THAT one.

At 57, do I want to go through it all again?

If I'm going to put my 57 year old, drooping, stretch-marked psyche through that torture again, he better be the man of my dreams -

One Week to Go . . .

. . .and my stomach is in a knot, my nerves are taut, and my head and heart ache.
What's going to happen in one week?
Where have you been?
Haven't you been watching "Indecision 2004?"
It's the election, stupid (no offence).
All I can see looming in the rearview window of my tortured mind is another four years of someone I cannot bear to hear or watch, let alone call president.
I don't want "Everyman" for the Top Job. I don't want someone likeable. I don't want the guy next door (well, I would if I lived next to the John F. Kennedy School of Politics at Harvard).
I want someone smarter than me to be President of the United States.
We haven't had that person for the last four years.
Let's hope we have him for the next four.

Friday, October 22, 2004

I was in Lititz Today

I was in Lititz today - at our building, Audubon Villa. I seriously considered going to Mark's to give him his key (yep, I still have it - must get a mailer and send it out), but then I thought better. I don't think I want to see him. It would hurt too much. I guess it does bother me - it was five years, after all.

It's hard not to think in terms of Mark - being with his family for Thanksgiving, what he may like for Christmas (at least I didn't buy that darn MP3 player early). Since I met him, I spent my birthday with him - not this year. I decided to work my birthday. Heather and I will celebrate by going to the "new" Friendly's near my apartment. It had burned a few months ago and I've watch the new one rise up, clean and bright and pretty. I guess using the Phoenix analogy would be too much when talking about a restaurant - but I thought dinner there, me with my birthday and arising from the ashes of a burned out relationship and Heather with her new life on the horizon, would be very appropriate.

I got a couple of emails form Mark's sister, Fay. I really liked Fay - in fact, I really like his entire family. So after a long term relationship ends, you not only break-up with the guy - but it seems as if you break up with his family, too. Anyway, got an email from Fay. We "chatted" through emails for a while. She wants to stay in touch; I, of course, said yes. But it will be email only. I don't think I could see them - they're too much tied to Mark in my heart and brain. I hope they understand.

I was in Lititz today and it was strange not going to Woodcrest Ave.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Peanut Butter and Pumpernickel . . .

. . . my new favorite sandwich. I just had one and it's 10:30 PM - not good for the old diet. What diet, anyway?

I can't sleep so I'm awake watching L&O/SVU - which usually holds my attention - but not tonight. I know - 10:30 PM is not that late for most people (like ME who's awake at 2 AM, emailing me. Hi, MaryE!) But for this old lady who gets up at 5 - 10:30 is almost the middle of the night. I need to get up at 5 AM - need to meditate - get back in the habit - like breathing in and out.

But instead of sleeping, dreaming of a little cottage in the woods, I'm awake, eating peanut butter and pumpernickel, watching L&O/SVU and wondering what the f--k happen to my nice, calm life. Maybe it's still there - with a few changes - it's still there - just waiting for me to claim it.

Now where did I put the peanut butter?

Peanut Butter and Pumpernickel . . .

. . . my new favorite sandwich. I just had one and it's 10:30 PM - not good for the old diet. What diet, anyway?

I can't sleep so I'm awake watching L&O/SVU - which usually holds my attention - but not tonight. I know - 10:30 PM is not that late for most people (like ME who's awake at 2 AM, emailing me. Hi, MaryE!) But for this old lady who gets up at 5 - 10:30 is almost the middle of the night. I need to get up at 5 AM - need to meditate - get back in the habit - like breathing in and out.

But instead of sleeping, dreaming of a little cottage in the woods, I'm awake, eating peanut butter and pumpernickel, watching L&O/SVU and wondering what the f--k happen to my nice, calm life. Maybe it's still there - with a few changes - it's still there - just waiting for me to claim it.

Now where did I put the peanut butter?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Stuttering . . .

The last blog posted twice. I guess the website liked it.

Monday, October 18, 2004

"Ya Gotta Be Pretty . . . ."

Preface: I'm getting no comments on anything I write; therefore, I believe that no one is reading my bouts of inner insight. So I feel I can safely write this - "blog it" so to speak - without a lot of backlash. It's something that's been rolling around in my subconscious for decades and I've got to get it out. So, here goes . . .

"Ya gotta be pretty. . ." I never actually heard those words but what I did hear gave me that value, unfortunate as it was, for my development.

What I heard was a comment to my father by one of his "friends." I must have been around 12 or so - old enough to know he wasn't talking about me and old enough for it to have affected me for the next 45+ years. Pop's friend said, "Well, Frank, at least you have one pretty daughter." It wasn't the remark that hurt as much as my father's silence.

And so I've discovered that if you want to get anywhere in this world, first you have to look good. First impressions are so important. I would never be able to dazzle anyone with my wit and/or intellect in the first few seconds - the time it takes to look at someone and make a judgment-call. So, strike one for me. I've never been pretty and will never be pretty - especially now that I'm getting older.

Being pretty means being thin, slender, a good body and especially good boobs - not trying to be crass here - just truthful. I'm a rapidly aging fat woman. I have more of everything and everything is going south. Strike two for me.

Being pretty means dressing well even on a tight budget. I can't find separates that fit me top and bottom (I'm out of proportion) and dresses that fit upstairs, seem to bag and hang on me downstairs. I wear bagging jeans because my hips and legs are out of proportion to my waist - so in order to get jeans/pants to fit my waist . . . well, you get the picture. On top of that (pun intended) my belly is quickly overtaking my boobs. Sure I could do sit-ups . . .did you read the post about my back pain? Exercising for sculpting is no longer an option - not even if I had a steel rod inserted up my spine.

So here I am - a fat, aging woman, out of shape and alone.

No one is going to stop to help me if I have a flat tire. No one holds the door open for me and smiles. No one is going to buy me a drink just to get to know me. The first two may happen if I let my hair go grey and I remind them of their gramma - but never the third one.

See: Ya gotta be pretty. I see it everyday at work where our cute, young receptionist gets away with things I couldn't at her age - well, of course, at her age I was a fat nurse working full-time and had a year old. My ex told me he married me because he "didn't have anything else to do that day." See? Ya gotta be pretty.

Still not convinced?
When was the last time you saw an ugly woman driving a sports car? An ugly man, yes. An ugly woman, no. We know better than to drive a sexy car . . .

Ya gotta be pretty.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

A Soft Place to Fall

I am a strong woman; at least that's what everyone thinks and what I must project. After all, I've gone through a couple of bouts with cancer, cared for my mother when she was dying, visited my irrascible, widowed father frequently until his death, cared for my fiance when he was ill and reared my daughter without financial or emotional support. I've been my own financial support for as long as I've been working. I am really alone in the world.

A strong woman.

But even a strong woman needs a soft place to fall. I need, want, someone to wrap a blanket around me when the wind is cold, to lead me to sit by a fire, to tell me that "all is well." And I would know that he will take care of everything.

Even a strong woman needs a soft place to fall.

I've never had one - not really - not ever. Maybe never will.

That is my fantasy.

And maybe to have someone change the oil in my car.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Witch Mitzi and friends Posted by Hello

What's Next?

Everyone has future fantasies, don't they? I'm not the only that has "pictures" in my head of where I want to be in the next few years and what I want to be doing? Geesh, at least I hope I'm not the only one.

So now I have to change those pictures . . . a little. The "what" is still the same: I want to be writing, maybe even supporting myself writing. Or, at least, supported by my lottery winnings and writing anyway. I'm still pragmatic. It's the "where" that's now in question.

I know I must be somewhere "in the country." I feel the pull of the woods, mountains, meadows. It's not just a fantasy - it's a need. I'm really not kidding about that cottage in the woods. Heather calls me "Snow White, the later years." She is so right.

I drove down the turnpike from I-80 to Allentown, dreaming of a "little place" in the Poconos - maybe that's not so unattainable. I shall keep the picture of the cottage in the woods - not too far from civilization: I do like a movie and a dinner out every so often. But far enough away from neighbors, that I can go out under the full moon and draw Her to me.

I had hoped to take a few days off to stay at Camp Taylor near the Lakota Wolf Preserve. As a 57 year old woman on a diuretic, I can't stay in a cabin with no amenities. I wouldn't want to walk outside to the latrine in the middle of the night. But the camp also has parked RVs - with real indoor flush toilets. I could stay in one of those, walk through the woods, read, write and listen to the wolves at night. At least that was my plan, until life intruded - or rather, work intruded. A presurvey and a meeting next week. Meetings the week after. The woods and the wolves will have to wait . . .but I don't know if I can.

The Pain Returns . . .

. . . .well, sort of.
I've been very lucky for the past two months - thanks to doing my strengthening exercises and my new drug-of-choice, Flexeril.

I thought I was rid of the upper back pain - that burning that goes across my shoulders. But it's Baaaaack! Not to the extent I had over the summer when I just wanted to sit in one position and cry. But it's there. I can feel it starting this morning, threading its burning tendrils across my muscles. I have my lidocaine patches, but I need a pair of scissors to open the package. I don't travel with scissors, so I'll ask at the desk.

It's going to be a long drive home.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

On Being a "Real" Nurse

I really can never go back to being a "real" nurse - you know, the kind that gives out meds, starts IV's, helps patients in an out of bed, etc, etc etc and generally runs her/him- self ragged for at least 8 hours a day. I can't be a "real" nurse again because my lumbar area (low back) MRI showed that I have severe spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and a disc protrusion on the right (hence the right leg ache while driving).

When my rheumatologist read the results of that MRI, she asked me if I had been an "athlete" when I was younger. I laughed and told her that I had been the fat girl in the corner with her nose in a book - in short: the "anti-athlete." When I finished laughing at her, I said, "Not an athlete - just a nurse for the last 36 years."

I still have my RN but I don't do "real" nursing; I do "quality improvement." I'm the Director of Quality Improvement for a company that owns 18 nursing homes in Pennsylvania. I have five Regional Nurses who each have their own group of facilities.

Today I was in one of buildings doing a presurvey, a mock survey prior to the Department of Health surveyors and the relicensing review that every nursing home goes through yearly.

I do enjoy this part of my job - especially when I don't uncover major issues. Today was a good day. But the best time was when I was in the facility's Alzheimer's unit. The residents were in the dining room listening to music, waiting for their lunches to be delivered. Some were singing along to the old rock and roll standards. When Don McLean's "American Pie" came on, I started singing - much to the delight of several of the ladies. I noticed one lady was singing the words perfectly. I asked her how she knew the words. "I sung it with my children," she said. Sometimes Alzheimer's allows a bit of clarity to slip out - a memory remains. For her it was "Bye, bye, Miss America pie." It's during times like this when I miss being a "real" nurse.

Then I feel a twinge in my lower back, my right leg aches and I can't bend down to talk to a resident in a wheelchair. And then I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be -- for now.

I really should be writing full-time. One day. Sitting in my little cottage in the middle of the woods. Blisssssssssssss.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Open Letter to Janet Evanovich

Dear Janet,

I admit that I've had a lousy, lousy week. Work has been a pain and I've had to drive across the entire commonwealth of Pennsylvania with an aching right leg.

To add insult to injury the guy I thought I would be with forever just dumped me - or rather he couldn't really decide if he wanted to dump me or not. His answer to my question about discontinuing our 5+ year relationship was "maybe." What's up with that?

So you can see that I was not a happy camper as I drove my Neon, sans cruise control, across
I-80. But suddenly I was laughing out loud. Inside my little car as I tried to stay just 8 miles over the speed limit, I heard Albert Clown and Valerie Plum announced their engagement at a Plum family dinner. I thought I would drive off the road, I was laughing so hard.

Thank you, Janet, for cheering me up and making me laugh.
Thank you for Stephanie and the entire cast of characters. I love them all.

And just because you made me laugh when I thought I would cry at any minute, you have a fan for life.


Early Morning

I should still be sleeping; I have a long drive ahead of me today. But it will be across I-80 through Pennsylvania - a beautiful part of the state at a beautiful part of the year. Stephanie Plum is accompanying me on this trip. Not just Stephanie (no one ever calls her Steph; her mother calls her Steph-AN-ie) but Joe Morelli, Ranger, Lula and Grandma Mazar. I'll have full car but passing motorists will see only me.

I finally was able to capture the audiobook "Ten Big Ones" Monday at the library (now why wasn't it closed Monday for Columbus Day?) So I will have a great time listening to Stephanie's misadventures and soaking up Evanovich's way of characterization and plotting - her characters actually drive her plot - just ask Lula. No one tells her WHAT to do - not even her creator.

Listening to a book on tape while I drive is one of the perks of my job - well, maybe the only perk of my job. It will give me something to do while I drive the 350+ miles today. It will keep me from thinking about what could have been.

I won't lie and say I had never thought about living on the farm with Mark - I had even mentioned it to him. We even talked a little about it. I would have loved it - trees and meadows, his wildflowers, birds, the barn cats. But not to be.

Yesterday I thought about how nice it would have been to come home and find him there, sitting in his SUV, waiting for me, with a bouquet of his wildflowers.

And then I realized why I had been having these uneasy feelings about "us." No wildflowers. Every year he would pick bouquets of his wildflowers for me - not this year.

Not this year.

About a month ago, the Regional Administrator from the Lancaster area called me about offices at Audubon. When Mark and I had talked about living together, it would have been in Lancaster and I could have had an office at Audubon in Lititz. I laughed and told him, not to plan around any office for me right now - give them to the building's staff. I wasn't going to be needing an office there - not this year.

Not this year.

So I knew. I guess I've always been the type to want a clean break -physically.

Now I must work on the emotional part. I have to replace those mental images of me sitting in an office overlooking the Stoner barn, writing my little stories.

At least I still have my stories. Wherever I go and no matter who is with me on my journey, I will still have my stories - and the stories of other writers.

Time to wake up Grandma Mazar - we have a long trip ahead of us today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

A Gratitude Attitude

I've been reading Dyer's "You'll See It When You Believe It" and Wallace Wattles' (yes, that's his real name) "The Science of Getting Rich." The first one was originally published in 1989 and the second one . . . well, Wattles published his small but impressive book almost 80 years before Dr. Dyer's. Similar ideas - but generations apart.

Both books talk about belief - believing in what you want and then having faith that the "universe" will provide. I know it's a difficult concept in this world of "show me." The theory (or maybe it's more truth than theory) is that if you focus on what you want, make that "want" a very specific and clearly defined image in your mind, your actions will follow your thoughts and you will manifest your desires. This is interesting to me because it closely follows the rules of magik used by modern witches.

However, both books also introduced me to a relatively new idea: gratitude. Expressing it daily and often helps to move you towards your dreams. Giving thanks is not a new thing; what is new is doing it often, even silently. I've been doing this more lately - even before reading these books. I thank Goddess after my meditation or journey. I go out early in the morning to look at the morning star and thank the universe/God/Goddess for the new day.

I've labeled this A Gratitude Attitude. This attitude takes the "positive attitude" just one step further. Being thankful for the people and things around you - people and things that you may usually take for granted.

A Gratitude Attitude.

I'm grateful for the time I did have with Mark. See, that wasn't hard.
I'm grateful for my family, my friends, my little apartment and my four-footed family.

A Gratitude Attitude.

Okay, I've started to make that a part of my life. Now all I have to do is get a clear picture of that little cottage in the woods. Cotswolds? At the foot of the Mendip Hills? Outside Glastonbury?

I need to work on it a little bit more.

But thanks for all the help. ;-)

More on Being Dumped

The Top Ten Things about Being Alone - Again

10. I don't have to go searching for cute pj's in both sections of Fashion Bug (Plus size area for the tops and regular sizes for the bottoms - they never match!)
9. I can wear plain white industrial- strength bras that support boobs and back
8. I can plan my life without "checking" with someone who is not planning his life
7. I can save money at Christmas (I know it means no more presents - but presents are only things anyway) I think I'll write a check for our SPCA - they're a no-kill shelter
6. I can meditate everyday without someone thinking I'm "weird" (even though I am weird)
5. I can concentrate on my writing (it may even give me some insights to the dreaded "black moment") As Jules has often said, "All is grist for the mill."
4. I don't have to justify being the L-word (no, not Lesbian, but Liberal - I guess it's more politically correct these days to be the former)
3. I can plan my vacation to Sedona and make it a spiritual one (no explanation needed)
2. I can go back to England and flirt with men (maybe there's an Englishman who would like a 57 year old chubby witch)

And the number one reason:
(Drummmmmm rollllllllllll)

1. I don't have to shave my legs!!!!!!!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Things Do Change Quickly

I was at a writers' conference all weekend and some great things happened. Just through serendipity and without any real planning, an editor requested two partials and an agent requested one. The editor from Warner Books was very positive about my pitches ( I was brazen and pitched three) and said I needed an agent. I just happened to be talking to someone about my great editor's appointment, when a young woman nearby "I'm an agent - send me two chapters." Like I said serendipity.

And this afternoon I broke up with my long term (5+ years) boyfriend. You know when your gut tells you that all is not well within a relationship. Well, I had that and I had to go with my gut - why prolong it? I asked him if he wanted to break it off with me and there was dead silence (we were talking on the phone). "Well, I guess that's my answer." And that was that. Maybe he'll call or email - maybe he won't. Last December it was "we should probably move in together." Then, when I developed severe back problems and was looking at possible disability, the talk of moving in together dropped. Hmmmm? I wonder why. The back pain is better and disability is a long way off, I hope - but the relationship? Who knows. I just know that I will not ever be used for my money-making, "she's-a-nurse-she'll-always-have-a-job" crap. Never again. I'm not sure if that was the reason (or if I even want to know the reason: I have enough ego problems). Maybe it's the witchy thing. If so, so be it. That's me - circles, grounding, journeying, meditating, goddesses, magik, drumming,candles, dragons and all. I've worked too hard to be the person I am today - this is who I am.

Maybe I expect too much. I know how it feels to be loved well.
I remember when my fiance, Rich, became so ill with end-stage cardiac disease and he was unable to make love. During one hospitalization I wheeled him into the private shower. He was sitting on a special shower chair. I got down on my knees in the shower room to wash his feet and legs. He patted my hair and said, "I don't know why you stay with me?" I looked up at him: "Where else could I be?" Once we alone were in a waiting room at the Hospital of the University of PA; we were talking and barely noticed that the transplant coordinator had opened the door. She waited a few seconds and then told us the doctor was ready to see us (I always went to the hospital with him - he couldn't drive). Later the coordinator pulled me aside and said, "You two are really in love. I could see that. I hope a heart comes soon." It didn't.

But life is a series of changes and how we handle those changes is how we live our lives. I intend to handle this. Just give me some time and understand if I tear up a bit every so often. There's not too many guys out there who want a 57 year old chubby witch. Or . . .maybe there is. ;-)
I've done well on my own for the last 23 years; maybe I have at least another 23.

The Witch is In!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Monday Morning

This is not a rant.

Driving to work this morning was a wonderful experience. I love this month (see previous post: "The Best Month"). But of course there was the nagging thought, always in the back of my mind: "if I didn't have to work, I could be writing." I'm trying to be more positive about things - so I let that little bugger slip deeper into the gray matter.

At an intersection about a mile from work, I was waiting for the light to turn green when I saw a car ahead of me that seemed to be on the curb. There was a large piece of metal on the ground behind it. As the light turned and I drove toward the car, I could see it was an older model Caddy - the entire back bumper, lights and all, had fallen off. Geesh! What a way to start Monday morning. Someone pulled ahead of the stopped car and the driver got out - maybe a friend coming to help him out. I passed them, thinking, "Blessings to you, sir and your Caddy."

I parked in the lot of our office building, near Allentown's airport (frequented lately by Air Force One since PA is a "swing state"). No one else was there; I was the first one. I don't have a key - don't want that responsibility. So I waited, listening to NPR and checking out the trees.

I realized something as I looked at the trees. I've been drawing them all wrong - or at least some of them - drawing them all wrong for the last 50 odd years. There is at least one tree in front of my office whose brances come out perpendicular to the trunk, not in a "Y". Hmmm? I wonder what type it is? I've forgotten all my Girl Scout training. I guess I'll just have to get a tree book to accompany my office bird book.

I really need to spend some time alone in the woods. I think I'll give that to myself for my birthday - time alone in the woods.


I found this quote and thought it important because fundamentalism (no matter what the religion) is quickly spreading and quickly becoming devisive: us vs them. "If you're not with me, you're with the terrorists." We need to remember that we are all connected. . . .but His Holiness says it better than I can:

My call for a spiritual revolution is thus not a call for a religious revolution. Nor is it a reference to a way of life that is somehow other-worldly, still less to something magical or mysterious. Rather, it is a call for a radical re-orientation away from our habitual preoccupation with self towards concern for the wider community of beings with whom we are connected, and for conduct which recognizes others’ interests alongside our own.-

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Saturday, October 02, 2004


I think I should make “one thing perfectly clear” (I am old enough to have lived through Nixon as Veep and as Prez), I wanted to be a nurse when I was a kid – at least I thought I could be a nurse because I wanted to be a doctor until I learned how much it cost to go to med school. Hell, forget about med school, Pop had told me I couldn’t go to college.
So there I was, sometimes interested in science and sometimes not and wanting to do something with my life – because in the early years of the decade now known as the Swinging Sixties, who was going to marry a fat girl and make her a housewife. And, anyway, Pop had logically explained to me that I needed a career – “just in case my husband died.” That was, of course, if some poor slob did decide to marry this fat girl – which, we were all sure wouldn’t happen.
But in high school I discovered I had a talent: I could write. And not just doggerel or little stories about puppies and girlfriends (I didn’t have a puppy and had few real girlfriends). I could write satire. I had a wit – something that must have been born out of years of being teased about my weight – having been fat since I was eight years old.
Let’s get this over with now – the weight thing. Because the weight – my weight – or the issue of my weight – my issue and others’ issues with my weight – is an important part of the story. It’s an important part because it defines me. And any story about me – even one that hinges basically on me and my profession – must eventually deal with the weight. So, like I said – let’s get this over with now.
The story goes in my family – at least it did when my parents were still alive and continues with me – that I was a skinny kid. I can validate this with pictures from my childhood. I am a normal, if not slightly smaller, 4, 5, 6 year old and then suddenly around the age of 7 or 8, I chubbed up. My mother would tell me that I had always been what all parents of the 50’s era dreaded, “The Picky Eater.” I would eat only bits of what was placed in front of me and meal times became a battlefield. There were the pleadings, the threats, the tales of children in other countries – usually China and India – who were starving and wasn’t I just the most selfish child, because, in the wake of all this hunger, I wanted to waste food. If I had only known my parents own histories – of growing up poor in the backwoods of West Virginia, both having hard scrabble lives through the Depression, I would have understood there concern over “throwing away perfectly good food.” Hell, I would have understood the bacon grease can that my mother kept. But I was a kid. I just knew that I was going to put into my mouth something that looked dead or something that was green and overcooked to a pasty substance.
And so, I was a skinny kid. And then I became a sickly kid. And I was taken to doctors. I was admitted to a hospital around the age of 6 or 7 – doctors thinking that I had some kind of dreaded disease – like leukemia or something. I didn’t. So finally, my father, who had not gone past eighth grade, hit upon the way to get his daughter to eat.
“You must not love me or your mother. You’re not eating the food I worked hard to buy and your mother took the time to cook.”
There is - was – the best motivator – guilt. And he poured it on like maple syrup on pancakes. And within a few years, mom and dad were begging me NOT to eat.
I became a fat kid, then a fat adolescent and then a fat teenager.
I never went to a prom or a dance – never had a date and never was kissed. All of that was me when I arrived at nursing school.
That and more.
By the time I was senior in high school, I had realized that I didn’t want to be a nurse. Oh, I knew what I wanted to be. I wanted to write. I wanted to be a reporter for the Washington Post. In the early sixties I read the Post from cover to cover – not just the funnies – but they were good, too.
I grew up reading a liberal rag so at the age of 13 I was a liberal – although I didn’t exactly know what that term was. I did know that my father was wrong about “the coloreds” – in fact he was wrong about the term, “the coloreds” – they were Negroes – at least in 1960, they were Negroes. I don’t how I knew he was wrong – God knows that up until then I had thought my father right about everything else in the world –but by 1960 everything changed. I was thirteen and Kennedy was president and civil rights was becoming an issue.
And so I wanted to write for the Washington Post. Throughout middle school and high school I wrote for the school papers. I wrote short stories and poems – pounding away on an old typewriter in my “office”, the basement of the little house on Lyon Avenue in Howard County Maryland. Pop had given me the little Royal portable as a Christmas present, hoping that it would inspire me to learn to type – so I could earn my living as a secretary. Oh, it inspired me alright – it inspired me to write. I can still remember seeing the picture of Grace Metallious sitting at a typewriter at her kitchen table, a chubby woman in jeans. Grace had written one of the biggest bestsellers of the 60’s, Peyton Place. She was my idol. Grace was chubby and she was a writer. I was chubby and wanted to be a writer.
Now, those of you who’ve come this far may be wondering, “Why is she so obsessed about her weight?” Anyone thinking that thought has been slender their entire life – or for the formative part of their life. I could be 110 pounds and still think of myself as fat. As I said in the beginning, weight for a fat child, especially a girl, defines her personality. So deal with it!

To be continued

Friday, October 01, 2004

Mitzi and John - Fantasy 1965 Posted by Hello

Witch Mitzi and friends Posted by Hello

The Best Month

Of course I would consider October the best month; I was born in it. But following many beliefs, I guess I should consider February my best month - not. I hate February and I'm very glad that it's short with its gloomy clouds and ice - and years of no Valentines for Mitzi.

Yes; all things considered: October is great. Watch out for cliches! Crisp fall mornings and bright starry nights. Swerve! Here comes another one! The crunch of fresh apples and the cloying sweetness of candy corn. Okay. You're right - not much of a cliche.

I feel more settled in October - I know the winter is coming but it's still just far enough away that I can let it settle on the back burner of my aging mind. I do take it "one day at a time" anymore. Ooops! Almost missed that one!

I do a lot of nesting in October. I take out embroidery that I've been working on for the last few years and try several new stitches. One of the cats usually claws at the thread, ruining it, and I put the hoop, cloth and floss away for another year. I may even bake a real pie, leaving Mrs. Smith to stand outside in the "crisp" air. But baking a pie would mean moving all the pots and pans out from their nesting space in the oven.

I buy little pumpkin squashes and huge pumpkins, golden mums and bronze leaves and make a fall arrangement for my small front porch. I hang out my "shingle" on my front door: " The Witch Is In" it proclaims. And so I am.

October is my favorite month for another reason - it has my favorite holiday within its autumn weeks - Samhein, Halloween.

Now we're going to make a sharp turn - hold on tight!

Samhein is a solemn holiday for my kind. It's the time to honor our ancestors and a time to cast off old habits that we no longer need or want. I've practiced my religion alone - solitary, we call it - for many years. But lately I've found a group of women who share my belief in a nature-based religion. Two years ago I attended my first group Samhein celebration. We quitely formed a circle after being blessed and each one of us received a name. At the end of ritual we went around the circle and read the name and the person's date of death - many names but they had all died within a few months of each other. They had been hanged in Salem as witches. One had been crushed to death. The overwhelming saddness of that dark part of American history is that those people did not give their lives because they practiced witchcraft (whatever that was in the 17th Century). They died because they DIDN'T and they refused to renounce their Christian beliefs to save themselves. They died, not martyrs for today's witches, but martyrs for today's Christians. And yet more than 400 years later in a field in Pennsylvania, thirty men and women, self-proclaimed witches, read the names of these martyred Christians. The witchcraft craze began with lies - all those people were condemned by lies - not because they practiced withcraft.
So when you see little girls dressed as witches for trick or treat or hear a recorded cackle meant to scare you into thinking a hag is nearby, think of the thirty modern witches reading the names of people who died because of lies so long ago.

It continues to this day: in Rowanda, Sudan, Bosnia, Boslan, Russia, Iraq. . . One need not be a witch to be condemned to death. One only needs a lying finger pointed at them.

The Witch Is In