Friday, December 30, 2005

Top Stories of 2005

Goddess, I hate those news stories, a recapping of all the (usually) awful events of the past year. I tend to change the channel when they come on. Not even looking at Anderson Cooper helps. I have the attitude of "Been there, done that" - move on!

So I'm not recapping The War or The Weather. I'm not recapping The Murders. I'm not recapping The Scandals. I'm recapping "the stories." And so (in no particular order):

A Witchy Hat off to every writer who finished their book in 2005.
A Witchy Hat off to every writer who started their book in 2005.
A Witchy Hat off to every writer who kept writing their book in 2005.

A Witchy Hat off to Stephen King, who continues to entertain me while giving me things to ponder. Having just finished the audio version of "From a Buick Eight", I am more in awe of the Pennsylvania State Police (heck, cops everywhere except some in Easton, PA).

A Witchy Hat off to Nora Roberts who has again held me captive to stories that have no murders and off-stage sex but great relationships.

A Witchy Hat off to Leslie LaFoy and "Grin and Bear It" - I laughed through the entire book.

A Witchy Hat off to Cindi Myers's "Learning Curves" - not all heroines are a size 2!

And since I've mentioned the above books: A Witchy Hat off to Harlequin for recognizing that love and relationships do not end when women reach the age of 40. "Next" is a wonderful line - keep publishing them!

A Witchy Hat off to Elizabeth Kostova's book, "The Historian". Thanks a whole lot because now I really want to visit Romania and Sophia and Turkey. And pleeeeease write the sequel.

A Witchy Hat off to Jenny Crusie for writing books about REAL WOMEN (and men) with REAL flaws. Jenny, of course, has none. And a Witchy Hat off to all the Cherries.

A Witchy Hat off to the forever young Lilian Jackson Braun, who sucks me into Pick Axe in Moose County, 400 miles North of everywhere. And a Witchy Hat off to George Guidel who is the perfect narrator for Ms Jackson's audio books; he IS Qwill.

A Witchy hat off to J.K. Rowling- "Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince" kept me company and calm while Heather's father was having bypass surgery.

A Witchy Hat off to my writing buds, the Pocono/Lehigh Romance Writers, who kindly gave me the "Tammie" for being a butt-insky --- I mean active member. And to Valley Forge Romance Writers, PLRW's sister chapter, and a wonderful group of talented women.

A Witchy Hat off to Christine Feehan - a gracious and talented writer who I had the pleasure of meeting at New Jersey Romance Writers.

And BTW: A Witchy Hat off to NJRW and their marvelous conference.

There are so many more who deserve to be mentioned: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Maggie Shayne, Sara McCarty and Dorothy Sayers (who has been gone many years but who I have recently discovered) - all writers I have read and loved this year. And so many more.

To all writers everywhere:
I doff my hat to you.

You are the "story of the year" every year.

"Tiger" Creator Blake dead at 87"

I read that headline on and my first thought was: "But he must have died years and years ago."

Wrong "Tiger" and wrong "Blake."

It was the obit of a gentleman who had drawn a comic strip, "Tiger."

I was thinking of William Blake: "Tiger, tiger, burning bright..."

I guess I gotta get out more.

Or . . . maybe not.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New and Improved Blog

Well, at least the graphics are - thanks to my webdesigning, graphic-maven of a daughter, Heather. BTW: She designed (can you use "drew" when it's computer-drawn?)the picture of Witch Mitzi and kitties.

And check out Heather's own site:

Sunday, December 25, 2005

My early Christmas present

December 8 holds two milestones for me. Thirty-five years ago, I was in labor - which didn't end until December 10th with Heather's arrival. Twenty-five years ago one of my heroes was murdered.

For many years Heather and I would go Strawberry Fields in Central Park on December 8th- she would go as my support, because "it's Mom's thing." Last year because she was in Seattle, I went alone. This year I planned not to go - meetings at work and the annual company Christmas Party would have made it a late trip and I didn't want to be in the city alone after dark. I planned to spend the evening listening to John's songs and reading his poems.

December 7th was very busy - meetings at work that lasted until 6. I made it to my hair dresser's appointment late and didn't leave there until almost 8 - ran to the ATM then ran somewhere else for a last minute office gift. I finally got home at 9. Famished, I was just starting my supper when the doorbell rang. It was Heather's dad. "I think I found something you love," he said. Thinking that I had an early Christmas present, I opened the door and then I heard Heather say, "Helloooooooooooooo."

She had flown from Seattle that morning and her dad had picked her up at the airport. They had been waiting around since 5 PM for me to get home. Heather and I had even talked on the phone while I was leaving Allentown, telling me she was "working" late. She wanted to come home to celebrate her birthday with me and her dad and she wanted to go to Strawberry Fields with me.

Heather and I were able to go to Strawberry Fields the night of December 8th. We walked by the shrine to John - more candles and flowers this year - along with hundreds of other people. Afterwards we walked through Central Park, glistening with lights. Forgeting the cabs we walked to Columbus Circle. Then we made our traditional walk on Broadway to Times Square where we had supper in a marvelous little restaurant called the AppleJack Diner - Heather's treat.

On her birthday, Heather's dad and I took her to see Narnia and then out to dinner. Her dad drove her to the airport the next day for her trip home to Seattle - and yes, she is making a home for herself there.

But it was the best Christmas present - since 1970 when she made her first appearance over one week late and two weeks before december 25th.

Thanks, Heather
Thanks, Rich

No good deed . . .

. . . goes unpunished.

Lat year I was alone on Christmas Day- what with Heather moving to Seattle and Mark dumping me. So I decided to volunteer at one of our nursing homes to help the Activities Department pass out Christmas presents to 150+ residents. A couple of people called off and it was me and one aide until someone else came in - at the end of the day, the back hurt and I could hardly move. Scrap that idea for 2005.

I would spend Christmas morning at the SPCA, cleaning cat cages. I have a lot of experience with kitty krap - so no biggie. And I did very well - did almost twenty cages (unfortunately there are a lot of homeless animals - many of them cats). I got to the next to the last cage with two cuties. Er. . .uh . . one cutie and one Siberian freakin' tiger masquerading as a black and white cat. As I reached in to take him out (to clean cage, give him fresh bedding, fresh food and water, and a new litter box) I suddenly found myself attached to him - his teeth to my forearm. Five little puncture wounds that we immediately cleaned out with disinfectant, swiped with neosporin and bandaged. After more than two hours, I was finished with my Christmas Day at the SPCA.

Of course everyone there was wonderful to me and very concerned. I'm watching my arm for signs of any infection - and cleaning the area and changing the bandage. My arm is a little achy - but so is my other arm and my back - from going down on the floor to go into cages, corralling kitties, digging in huge garbage cans of litter and cat food.

Would I do it again? You betcha - they need people to care for them now, because there were others who didn't. But I'm staying away from the black and white one in the last cat room in Building Q2 - he's had a taste of Mitzi and I'm afraid I was juicy.

BTW: Adopt a homeless pet at your local shelter. Save a life and gain a family. For animals, everyday is Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2005

What I REALLY Want in 2006

1. Financial security - because all the rest is unattainable if you don't have food and shelter (Maslov's hierarchy of being). I want to be able to pay my bills (even as they increase into my dotage), have health insurance, and enough left over for a vacation (even if it's only to Gettysburg - and maybe England for one last time before I die) every year.

2. Big dream: a Solar heated home (check out and look at the Blue Mountain plans - that's MINE) in the middle of five acres of woods - with a cleared southern view of the mountains around me.

3. Bigger dream: an intelligent, financially-secure (as in I don't want him to want me because I'm a nurse and will always have a job) gentleman of my generation and my beliefs who loves me and accepts me for who I am and what I look like - now - not after I lose 10-20-30 pounds.

Christmas Eve

Winter Solstice has passed and the days are getting longer, telling us that spring is coming. But before spring comes, look at winter - it is a really beautiful time. If you have any doubts, just look at a winter sunrise or sunset - the difference in the angle of the sun itself seems to make either one even more brilliant.

Although I don't practice any form of conventional Christianity, I do believe in all of Jesus' teachings - most can be found in my Wiccan wisdom. So I still find this a magical time of year. One Christmas story intrigues me the most.

There is a legend that tells of the animals in the manager being able to speak on Christmas Eve at Jesus' birth and because of that, every Christmas Eve at midnight, all animals can talk.

I will be staying up late tonight to converse with Murray, Huusker and Miss Shittie. I wonder what they will say. Has the food been okay? Are the litter boxes cleaned timely? Do they miss me when I'm on a business trip?

And I will have a question: How can people be more like animals - loving and pure of heart? And if we were, wouldn't that be like having Christmas all year long?

Merry Chritmas.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

More turning negative into positive and . .

...getting zinged in the process.

Let's see: Last year was my daughter's first Christmas in Seattle. I was going to be alone on Christmas Day. So I volunteered at one of our nursing homes. I told them I would help the Activity Department hand out Christmas presents to 150 residents of the home. There would be three people scheduled in the activity department that day - plus me. It would be a great way for me to spend some of my Christmas Day.

Or so I thought. Two of the three people scheduled called off and it left just me and one other person to hand out 150 presents. Good for the corporate person - let her see what it's really like. Well, I already knew. I was not a happy camper.

I had back and leg pain for days afterwards because I was doing stadning, lifting and walking that I shouldn't be doing any longer.

This Christmas I'm volunteering at the SPCA. I'm hoping not get to bit.

Negative to Postive

Okay - I'm supposed to change negative energy into something positive.
Tried that this week as company vies once again for a refinancing loan. I was very upbeat and positive while showing surveyors around two of our buildings. And then got a personal and nasty zinger from one of the administrators and in front of surveyor, too.

Okay - upbeat and positive.
And dodge the zingers.

The Invisible Woman

I am beginning to believe that the people who "run" the world - the under thirty-somethings (just look around) cannot see a woman over fifty. We are invisible.

I was Christmas shopping yesterday and every time (I mean every time), the clerk was under thirty, I would stand at a counter and be ignored while they waited on someone younger. In one instance, it was a teenage boy at a pizza counter who immediately started on a cute-young thing's order before mine was completed.

I log onto AOL and see the word's "Albums You Must Hear" by some people I've never heard of.

The scents for women are from JaLo and Brittney and some other pop start - again probably someone I've never heard of.

Is there a store (a free-standing so I can try the damn thing on store) that carries skirts? You know. Those things that are not pants. I have do a search and destroy mission to find skirts and when I do - good god! sequins and wild, garish colors and hemlines that are not for the over-fifties of us.

I am not invisible.
Not at all.
I am just amazed at how many people try to make me think I am.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Negativity and PowWowing

We all know about negativity and I seem to have a lot of it lately. I'll get to how I'm working on that in a minute.

Powwowing is a very old form of 17th/18th Century spirituality practiced by the immigrant "Pennsylvania Dutch" (who were actually Germans). Powwowing, which combined old world beliefs and Indian ways, was routinely followed in my hometown of Easton, PA. In fact nearby Williams Township is home to Hexenkopf Hill - Witch's Head Hill - associated with many powwow practitioners.

The early German settlers believed that illnesses (physical and mental) could be caused by "bad" spirits in the afflicted's body. The powwower would, through various rituals, cast those spirits out of the victim and into an inanimate object - such as a chair. In Williams Township, the hill that was to be later called Witch's Head was often used.

So what does that have to do with negativity?

I know people who are negative - who cast their "spirits" outward - directing that negativity to others, causing dissonance around them.

I seem to cast mine internally, causing the same dissonance inside.
I think I will find a hill. And if a hill is not available I will return to renewing a belief in myself

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cashed in Reality Checks

A friend, a single woman just approaching 50, and I were discussing romantic relationships. She's beautiful, classic features, with a slender body that is just beginning to show some of the curves of an older woman. She is not at all happy with the way she looks - hates her weight and is afraid no man would want her.

Hmmm? So what does that make me, I thought looking at my chubby bod, triple chins and ongoing wrinkles. The answer didn't take much thought. That makes me "a-lone for-evah."

I've been coming to grips with this reality. Mark helped a lot with that. Thanks, Mark. It's like a neon signed flashing across my mind. "This is IT!" It's just you and the cats. Heather's on her own in Seattle. Pattie (who includes me in family gatherings, bless her) has her home with Gary. And Mark's long gone. I have friends and they're wonderful. But basically I'm alone - all...a...lone.

I've written about all of this before - the need for stability, the longing for a soft place to fall. It just becomes even more apparent during the Holidays.

No man will want you, Mitz - you're too old, too fat, too outspoken, too . . .
Whatever. So just realize that this is the life you will have until the end and make the best of it.

Just me and the cats.

I wonder if the SPCA needs a volunteer on Christmas Day.