Lighten Up – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary

Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary – Prefers to remain anonymous

Day 752— My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I’m forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

Day 761—-Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving in and out of their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, note must try at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair……must try doing this on their bed.

Day768—I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was given the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called (shampoo). What sick minds could invent such a liquid? My only consolation is the piece of the thumb still stuck between my teeth.

Day 771—There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary confinement throughout the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the foul odor of the glass tubes they called ” Beer”. More importantly I over heard that my confinement was due to my Power of Allergies. Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

Day 774—I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half wit. The bird on-the-other-hand has got to be an informant he speaks with them on a regular basis. I am certain he is reporting on my every move. Due to his placement in a metal room his safety is assured. But, I can watch and I can wait. It is only a matter of time.

Dianic Wicca

Dianic Wicca

*The Dianic Craft includes two distinct branches:

*1. One branch, founded in Texas by Morgan McFarland and Mark Roberts, gives primacy to the Goddess in its thealogy, but honors the Horned God as Her Beloved Consort. Covens are mixed, including both womyn and men. This branch is sometimes called ‘Old Dianic’, and there are still covens of this tradition, especially in Texas. Other covens, similar in thealogy but not directly descended from the McFarland/ Roberts line, are sprinkled around the country.

 

*2. The other branch, sometimes called Feminist Dianic Witchcraft, focus exclusively on the Goddess and consists of womyn-only covens and groups. These tend to be loosely structured and non-hierarchical, using consensus- decision- making and simple, creative, experimental ritual. They are politically feminist groups, usually very supportive, personal and emotionally intimate. There is a strong lesbian presence in the movement, though most covens are open to womyn of all orientations. The major network is Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess, which publishes “Of a Like Mind” newspaper and sponsors conferences on Dianic Craft. [* Amber K]

 

Vets Share Worst Things Their Pet Patients Ate

Vets Share Worst Things Their Pet Patients Ate

  • Nicolas, selected from petMD

Every year Veterinary Practice News holds a contest called “They Ate What?” in which veterinarians and clinic staff send in X-rays and case descriptions of the craziest things their patients have swallowed. The contest is a fun way to share offbeat incidents from the trenches of veterinary practice, but the stories do serve as a reminder that our pets need to be protected from the consequences of their dietary indiscretions. Here are a few highlights from the 2011 “They Ate What?” contest. Click through for the runners up and grand prize winner.

Honorable Mentions:

Melissa Seavey, Healthy Paws Veterinary Center, Westborough, MA

Ten baby bottle nipples were removed from the stomach of a 4-month-old golden retriever.

Stephen Crosby, CVT, VTS, New Haven Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine, New Haven, CT

An owner was feeding peanut butter off a spoon to her Alaskan malamute, who managed to gulp down the treat while it was still attached to the spoon. X-rays showed that the dog had previously also eaten a piece of a collar and a toy.

Caitlin Fickett, Alaska Veterinary Clinic, Anchorage, AK

A dog came in for vomiting and eating grass. X-rays revealed a foreign body in the stomach. The next morning, an additional X-ray better showed the object — a hard plastic dinosaur.

Patti Klein Manke, DVM, Woodstock Veterinary Clinic, Woodstock, NY

Prince Edward, a 9-year-old bulldog, ate his owner’s false teeth after finding them in a bowl of ice cream. The teeth were returned to the owner. (Hopefully they were cleaned well before being put back into duty!)

 

Runners Up:

Lisa Anne Attanasi, DVM, Eaglewood Cliffs Veterinary, Eaglewood Cliffs, NJ

Wailen, a 12-year-old beagle, presumably was brought into the clinic with symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. His veterinarian ordered abdominal X-rays, which revealed a hodgepodge of foreign “stuff” in his stomach. During surgery, the doctor removed shoe laces, mulch, a knee high stocking, a plastic plant, plastic ties, and the bristles of a car snow-cleaning brush.

Jenny Yanson, practice manager, Suburbia North Animal Hospital

Tinkerbell, a 6-month-old bulldog, ate a metal slip collar, became ill, and was brought into her veterinarian’s office. X-rays revealed that this was not her first offense. Two slip collars were surgically removed from her stomach.

 

Grand Prize Winner:

Vanessa Hawksin, DVM, Bayshore Animal Hospital, Warrenton, OR

A dog came into the clinic because of hind leg lameness. The doctor ordered radiographs to look for musculoskeletal abnormalities, and found nine handballs in the dog’s stomach instead. (I assume these were unrelated to the dog’s lameness.)

****

My Pentacle Is Bigger Than Yours!

My Pentacle Is Bigger Than Yours!

Author: Devon, The Maid Of Epona

I’ve been a practicing solitary witch for a little more than ten years. I have just recently decided to wear my pentacle openly.

Does that mean I’m out of the broom closet? Heavens no! I like to describe myself as having one foot in and the other out of the proverbial broom closet. I believe this to be the smart way to be, living where I live. Hey! Pennsylvania isn’t California!

I’m not a militant pagan although I do have a serious warrior’s streak. But being a warrior also means picking and choosing your fights. I work in the small animal business in one job and in the horse business in the other.

When working in the horse business, keeping your mouth shut about what faith you are, especially if it is an alternative faith that is greatly misunderstood by others, is the wiser way to go.

If I were to be open to everyone about my faith, it would have a detrimental effect on my career. People in the horse business would immediately assume that I was one of those “tree hugging, wackos” and I suddenly wouldn’t get hired or be able to buy or sell horses because gossip runs rampant in stables and sometimes is taken to be truer than the Bible! I also deal with many of the Amish community and I hide my pentacle out of deference to their beliefs.

So I pick and choose when and where to display my symbol of faith openly. I have also made an agreement with myself that, when I wear my pentacle openly, and someone questions my faith, then I must answer truthfully and intelligently.

I tell them that my pentacle stands for the four elements and the element of spirit. I tell them that it is a symbol of wholeness and balance, not of negativity and hatred. And its meaning cannot be twisted by reversing its direction, at least not in my eyes!

The first day I wore my pentacle, I walked about with a heightened sense of awareness, waiting for everybody to judge me. I guess I was expecting the whole world to gasp, point their fingers and declare me a witch in that tone of voice that meant nothing good. The actual reaction of people was much more subdued and confused.

Instead, the only question I had to deal with was, “I didn’t know you’re Jewish!”

Do you know how hard it is not to roll your eyes at someone and exclaim, “What? Can’t you count”?

I took a real risk this past Christmas. My husband had given me two gifts I picked out from our favorite knife catalog; an unusual knife and a pentacle decorated with red gems that I thought was pretty. So what it wasn’t silver!

Well pictures in catalogs can be deceiving!

I thought the pentacle to be modestly sized and the knife to be around the size of a Bowie knife. Well the truth was things were reversed.

The knife was the size of a pocketknife. The pentacle was big. REALLY BIG!

Try a pentacle with some serious attitude and lots of bling to the red gems on it. There was no mistaking it when I chose to wear out. It just reeled you in. Ooooh boy!

Then I decided to wear it out and obvious to a family function. Hey! It was a Christmas gift from my hubby that I still really liked in spite of the size. I wanted to show off my sparkly!

Now, not all of my family knows my religious denomination but most are aware. My parents are a blessing from the Goddess! They approve as long as I don’t go around trying to convert everybody. My brother and sister know and are open minded enough to not make a big deal about such things. My cousins even know and are cool with it.

My uncle? Well, lets just say his religious views scare me! He attends an ultra conservative church that has several ministers, several auditorium sized rooms for worship and boasts an attendance of several thousand people.

I was told to never tell my uncle what religion I was.

He was coming to the party as well.

I probably should NOT have worn the pentacle. But I did.

I also chose to disguise it with my new fashion statement, which was to wear cowboy clothes. You see, in the western horse show world, they have this design that is called a Texas star. It’s like a sheriff’s badge. Hmmm. Guess what? That’s a pentacle!

So I immediately went out and got my western show attire decorated in “Texas Stars”. I’ve got them on my hat and even my horse’s saddle and bridle sport little “pentacles”. No, I won’t wear ten million pentacles on myself but I’ll completely festoon my poor, long suffering horse with them!

Anyway, I showed up at the party with my hunka, big, new pentacle and my “Texas Star” hat. And my uncle showed up later. He looked directly at my new pentacle and then me and my newly dyed, black hair.

And then he asked if I’d had any of the steamed shrimp he brought.

I felt like I had had the rug pulled out from under me. I tried not to laugh my relief.

The pentacle was a big hit though.

Two people asked about it and my religious persuasion. I found out that they also were open-minded and we had a lovely evening chatting about esoteric things. Those conversations would have probably never happened if I hadn’t been daring enough to chance wearing it out.

But the real point of the matter is this: A pentacle, or a cross, or a Jewish star, or whatever symbol you choose to wear is nothing but a piece of jewelry unless the belief is behind it to make it more.

Those Wiccans that chose not to wear a pentacle or any other symbol of faith, does that make them any less of a Wiccan? No.

Sometimes I wear my pentacle and sometimes I wear my favorite jade horse pendant. They are both symbols of faith in my opinion and are as important to me as the cross is to someone else.

But I am not a Wiccan because I choose to wear a pentacle. I am Wiccan because that is what language my heart sings.

And no one can change what you feel in your heart. You can only choose whether or not to speak it.

Do you wear your pentacle on your skin or in your heart?

A Witch In An RV

A Witch In An RV

Author: Olbec

I am a Witch and I live in an RV with my husband and our Pomeranian (my familiar) , Blayde. To clarify, I do not live in one of those big luxurious bus sized RVs but a rather a van converted by Roadtrek (think Chevy Express van + bathroom + bed + 2-burner stove + tiny refrigerator = my house) . As minimalists, my husband and I chose such a small RV in order to leave the smallest carbon footprint on our struggling earth as possible. One really learns how to conserve water when your freshwater tank holds only 30 gallons!

I didn’t start out my Pagan life as a Witch living in an RV. I acknowledged my being a Witch eight years ago while living on our ranch in Texas. I had followed the Pagan path for approximately three years prior to that time, but I held a solitary dedication ceremony on April 10, 2001, and have been spiritually growing and learning ever since.

After we sold our ranch, and gave away most of our earthly belongings, we chose to live in an RV in January of 2008. If you are on a Pagan path, and considering the RV lifestyle as a full-time living option, you should know that there are both unique challenges and advantages to being a Witch living in an RV full-time. Allow me share just a few of these…

One of my biggest challenges is trying to keep an altar in a space barely big enough for the essentials of living. Aside from the fact that there are no open surfaces, which are not currently used for meal preparation, the bouncing and jiggling as we drive down the road would be most detrimental to items placed loosely upon an altar. Because of not having space in our van for a permanent altar I find myself setting up temporary altars at our various stops during our travels.

A temporary altar can present unique challenges, too. If we are staying in an RV park the neighbors are often very curious about, and can even be intolerant of, “the hippie woman” with incense, candles and sacred items chanting and casting a circle around the picnic table at the RV site next to them. I’ve experienced onlookers stopping, staring, and “tutt-tutting” while I was trying to concentrate on ritual… this can be very disruptive to the concentration required in many spells.

If we are staying in the wilderness, as opposed to an RV park, such steps as the preparatory bath prior to ritual can become a challenge all its own, too. (Remember that 30-gallon water tank is also used for washing dishes, flushing the toilet, cooking, etc.) Allow me share the fact that, in all honesty, bathing in a mountain stream (as spiritual as it may sound) is a very cold and tense experience. Depending on what kind of magick you have in mind to do a freezing stream bath may not be the best preparation.

Another challenge in being a Witch living the RV lifestyle in a small RV such as ours is that along with our personal items (clothing, dishes, etc.) I must carry all my incense, herbs, books and divination tools with me. I have no other house or storage area to keep all my goodies. This requires learning spells that require minimal provisions and not having many “extra” supplies on hand.

My familiar, Blayde, has also had to face challenges in adapting to ritual in varying locales. Where once we lived in the confines of a house and fenced yard in which he could enter the circle, lie down near the altar, and watch with his expressive eyes all that happened, he now finds himself needing to be leashed during many of our rituals. Whether because of RV park rules or the risk of harm in the wilderness his harness and leash now invade his life much more often.

Of course, as with all things, there is balance between “the good and the bad” when considering this lifestyle. I believe the advantages of living in an RV balance out the disadvantages very well.

I have the freedom to travel anywhere we want to drive to. This means that I have worshipped the Lady and Lord on the rocky shores of Maine, on the beaches of Florida, amidst the highest peaks of Colorado, and in the serenity of the Arizona desert. I have mediated while leaning with my back against an oak tree in Texas and watched the moon rise over a bayou in Louisiana.

During my travels I have seen both the fragility and the strength of Gaia. All this has combined to help deepen my confidence and understanding of my Pagan path and my magickal practices.
I enjoy the option of attending Pagan festivals anywhere in North America I want to go without worrying about time off from a job or needing a house sitter to care for my material possessions.

I keep a list of Pagan shops from all across the country and can visit them whenever I drive through their area, thus enjoying a wider range of viewpoints and outlooks than if I was anchored to one locale.

Although I wouldn’t recommend my footloose lifestyle to all Witches I do appreciate being able to live my life like this. To those who are considering living in an RV full-time (and this number is ever increasing) I recommend you do it with your eyes and mind wide open.

I gave up my closed in “wall space”, where I once hung various tributes to the Lord and Lady, for open “nature space” where I now see Their handiwork spread out before me. I gave up my lovely wooden altar for makeshift altars such as picnic tables, boulders, tree stumps, or a cloth spread on the grass.

I gave up my pantry full of herbs, candles and magickal supplies for a box of basic supplies that fits under our bed.

I gave up my comfortable routine of an herb-infused candlelit bath prior to ritual for a “sponge bath” under a tree, behind a cactus, or in the cramped quarters of our van.

But best of all, I gave up the concern of house payments, property taxes, and yard maintenance and am now free to concentrate on my family, my spirituality, my health.

Herb of the Day for 4/6 is Aloe Vera

Herb of the Day 

 

Aloe Vera

 

 

Aloe vera, Aloe spp.
MEDICINAL: The gel of the inner part of an aloe leaf is used to treat burns, skin rashes, and insect bites, as well as chafed nipples from breastfeeding, when applied to the affected area externally. Internally it can be used to keep the bowels functioning smoothly, or when there is an impaction, although it can cause intestinal cramping when taken internally, and there are other herbs that do this job better. It aids in healing wounds by drawing out infection, and preventing infection from starting. The fresh gel is best to use, rather than “stabilized” gels found in the stores. The fresh gel was used by Cleopatra to keep her skin soft and young.

RELIGIOUS: Growing an aloe vera plant in the kitchen will help prevent burns and mishaps while cooking. It will also prevent household accidents, and guard against evil. It is reported that aloe was used to embalm the body of Christ.

GROWING: Best grown indoors in pots. Those living in the deep South, as in southern Texas or southern Florida, can grow aloe outdoors. Remember that Aloe is a succulent, not a cactus, so it needs water to keep the leaves fleshy and juicy.

My Pentacle Is Bigger Than Yours!

My Pentacle Is Bigger Than Yours!

Author: Devon, The Maid Of Epona

I’ve been a practicing solitary witch for a little more than ten years. I have just recently decided to wear my pentacle openly.

Does that mean I’m out of the broom closet? Heavens no! I like to describe myself as having one foot in and the other out of the proverbial broom closet. I believe this to be the smart way to be, living where I live. Hey! Pennsylvania isn’t California!

I’m not a militant pagan although I do have a serious warrior’s streak. But being a warrior also means picking and choosing your fights. I work in the small animal business in one job and in the horse business in the other.

When working in the horse business, keeping your mouth shut about what faith you are, especially if it is an alternative faith that is greatly misunderstood by others, is the wiser way to go.

If I were to be open to everyone about my faith, it would have a detrimental effect on my career. People in the horse business would immediately assume that I was one of those “tree hugging, wackos” and I suddenly wouldn’t get hired or be able to buy or sell horses because gossip runs rampant in stables and sometimes is taken to be truer than the Bible! I also deal with many of the Amish community and I hide my pentacle out of deference to their beliefs.

So I pick and choose when and where to display my symbol of faith openly. I have also made an agreement with myself that, when I wear my pentacle openly, and someone questions my faith, then I must answer truthfully and intelligently.

I tell them that my pentacle stands for the four elements and the element of spirit. I tell them that it is a symbol of wholeness and balance, not of negativity and hatred. And its meaning cannot be twisted by reversing its direction, at least not in my eyes!

The first day I wore my pentacle, I walked about with a heightened sense of awareness, waiting for everybody to judge me. I guess I was expecting the whole world to gasp, point their fingers and declare me a witch in that tone of voice that meant nothing good. The actual reaction of people was much more subdued and confused.

Instead, the only question I had to deal with was, “I didn’t know you’re Jewish!”

Do you know how hard it is not to roll your eyes at someone and exclaim, “What? Can’t you count”?

I took a real risk this past Christmas. My husband had given me two gifts I picked out from our favorite knife catalog; an unusual knife and a pentacle decorated with red gems that I thought was pretty. So what it wasn’t silver!

Well pictures in catalogs can be deceiving!

I thought the pentacle to be modestly sized and the knife to be around the size of a Bowie knife. Well the truth was things were reversed.

The knife was the size of a pocketknife. The pentacle was big. REALLY BIG!

Try a pentacle with some serious attitude and lots of bling to the red gems on it. There was no mistaking it when I chose to wear out. It just reeled you in. Ooooh boy!

Then I decided to wear it out and obvious to a family function. Hey! It was a Christmas gift from my hubby that I still really liked in spite of the size. I wanted to show off my sparkly!

Now, not all of my family knows my religious denomination but most are aware. My parents are a blessing from the Goddess! They approve as long as I don’t go around trying to convert everybody. My brother and sister know and are open minded enough to not make a big deal about such things. My cousins even know and are cool with it.

My uncle? Well, lets just say his religious views scare me! He attends an ultra conservative church that has several ministers, several auditorium sized rooms for worship and boasts an attendance of several thousand people.

I was told to never tell my uncle what religion I was.

He was coming to the party as well.

I probably should NOT have worn the pentacle. But I did.

I also chose to disguise it with my new fashion statement, which was to wear cowboy clothes. You see, in the western horse show world, they have this design that is called a Texas star. It’s like a sheriff’s badge. Hmmm. Guess what? That’s a pentacle!

So I immediately went out and got my western show attire decorated in “Texas Stars”. I’ve got them on my hat and even my horse’s saddle and bridle sport little “pentacles”. No, I won’t wear ten million pentacles on myself but I’ll completely festoon my poor, long suffering horse with them!

Anyway, I showed up at the party with my hunka, big, new pentacle and my “Texas Star” hat. And my uncle showed up later. He looked directly at my new pentacle and then me and my newly dyed, black hair.

And then he asked if I’d had any of the steamed shrimp he brought.

I felt like I had had the rug pulled out from under me. I tried not to laugh my relief.

The pentacle was a big hit though.

Two people asked about it and my religious persuasion. I found out that they also were open-minded and we had a lovely evening chatting about esoteric things. Those conversations would have probably never happened if I hadn’t been daring enough to chance wearing it out.

But the real point of the matter is this: A pentacle, or a cross, or a Jewish star, or whatever symbol you choose to wear is nothing but a piece of jewelry unless the belief is behind it to make it more.

Those Wiccans that chose not to wear a pentacle or any other symbol of faith, does that make them any less of a Wiccan? No.

Sometimes I wear my pentacle and sometimes I wear my favorite jade horse pendant. They are both symbols of faith in my opinion and are as important to me as the cross is to someone else.

But I am not a Wiccan because I choose to wear a pentacle. I am Wiccan because that is what language my heart sings.

And no one can change what you feel in your heart. You can only choose whether or not to speak it.

Do you wear your pentacle on your skin or in your heart?

Devon, the Maid of Epona