Monthly Archives: August 2015

Got Them Tarot Card Blues…

I’ve taken up tarot again.

Some of you who’ve known me since high school, probably recall I read tarot back then, too.  As a child, I was given a deck by a reader when I was in NYC to see my dad on a taping of “To Tell the Truth”. The other contestant was a tarot card reader, and he gave me a deck because he said I would someday be able to read them.

I have written the website in hopes they can tell me the date, or maybe even provide a link.

Aside #1: “To Tell the Truth” was a game show with a celebrity panel, where 3 people stood on stage and said, “My name is _______”, all giving the same name.  The panel had to guess which one was telling the truth.  So I got to watch in the studio audience as my dad said, “My name is Wesley Pomeroy”, and so did 2 other guys.  No one guessed he was the one telling the truth, and at the end Kitty Carlisle said it was because she didn’t think his moustache was real – so he pulled on it, and everyone laughed.  What a fond memory that was, I was so proud of my father.

So, anyway, I have been studying tarot pretty much ever since then, with a brief hiatus when I lost my faith in pretty much everything (the domestic violence situation).

I found a couple of decks as I was going through my things, as I am still doing in an attempt to rid myself of anything I don’t absolutely need.   Some things will be packed away for others to have.

At any rate, I picked up a tarot deck, laid out a spread and looked, trying to see where I need to go from here.

Lots of pentacles (that’s good, usually means money and/or knowledge), the Heirophant (High Priest, some say), and an admonition that I am “stuck” but not to move just for moving’s sake.

I didn’t think it was specific enough, so I picked up another deck and laid those out.

I got the same cards.  The exact same cards.

I have never had that happen before so all I can think of is that I need to really look at, and ponder upon, what messages are in that spread. Because I would think that, if you get the exact same reading from two different decks, there is definitely an important message being sent.

I was pondering all this when I was surfing the net, and looking at various other tarot decks (there are zillions of them, and I do like collecting them), when I ran across a site that said:

“Free tarot readings!”

Naturally, I looked.  It is a site that will have a “student of tarot” read for you, and then you give them feedback on the reading as sort of a way to help them become better readers.  Well, ok, I’ll give that a shot.

I’ve never found one person who could read my tarot accurately.  No one.  Ever.

A week later, I got an email with my reading.  It was a “story” about an animal in the woods, and the interpretation was that I was already on my chosen path, and I should take classes in tarot from this place (“financing available!”).

My question had been, “What direction do I take and how will I find the finances for it?”

Needless to say, I thanked the person for the reading but pointed out that it meant nothing to me, that it was just a sales pitch for classes there.  And, at my age and experience with the tarot, and my economic situation being what it is, that it was inappropriate to suggest that to me.

I also told him that nothing I ever include when I read for others was present in his reading for me – suggested path, possible obstacles, people who may cross my path, and so on.

Heck, the Heirophant didn’t even show up.  Or the equivalent of that card in the deck the reader used (Wildwood Forest deck).  (The link here is for the deck, and it is not at all connected to this reader I had or the “free tarot” site)

Sigh.  I don’t know why it’s so hard to find someone – anyone – who can read tarot for me.

Aside #2: The quick answer would be, “Because no one can read tarot.”  Except…I can read tarot.  I have been doing it for years.  But I am not the only person in the world who can read tarot cards.

You may wonder why I would want that, if I can read for myself.  Well, it’s because I might not interpret what I see correctly.  Or I might not want to believe what I see (that’s happened more times than I care to admit).  In this particular case, I’m just not sure what it means.

On the face of it, it seems to be telling me I am going to school again, or I need to go back to school again, which is all well and good…but I sort of was leaning that way already.  Go back to school to study…what, exactly?  For a career in…what?

I have just as many, or more, questions now than before I read my cards.

No way am I taking out student loans.  So that somewhat limits how I go to grad school.  I would have to work for a professor to pay for my education, which is fine with me.  I did that already, to get my master’s degree.

But clinical programs don’t usually have that kind of gig.  So that rules out “PhD in clinical psychology.”

Which then, in turn, rules out “get licensed and go into private practice.”

I would be lying if I said that didn’t interest me, if for no other reasons than I would be my own boss, and also that it’s usually pretty lucrative – I am really tired of being poor and, at my age, I need to get my financial shit together.  I feel it’s nearly too late already.

But even more basic questions swirl around my mind…

What am I good at?  What career would allow me to make a decent amount of money so my future won’t be so bleak and uncertain?

Because, at the moment, the future is looking pretty dismal and hopeless to me.

Something I routinely used to do for clients (therapy clients, not tarot clients) – suggest what they might be good at, based on how well I know them, and point them in the direction of the path they need to take to get there – is something I cannot seem to do for myself.

I don’t think I am at all unique.  So where do I find someone like me, to advise me?

Even Boy Wonder seems to be at a bit of a loss, as per our last conversation where he pointed out the difficulties of returning to work as a mental health therapist.  But offered no alternatives.  And he’s been seeing me for more than a year.

It’s hard to not feel blue and discouraged.  And so I am feeling…extremely blue, very discouraged, and cannot see the sun for all the clouds in my sky.

I don’t have any weirdness to post, but I do have a kitten video:

Because…cuteness!

Recommendations?  Well, this is also kitten-related:

Exploding Kittens Card Game – the website states it’s for people “who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats.”  It’s not a gross game, and it looks like fun. It just went on sale yesterday, on Amazon.

Be good.  Be kind.  Hug a kitten, or a puppy, or some other cuddly being (um like your significant other, if you’re so lucky as to have one).

 

 

 

Who Ya Gonna Call? Um…

Crash!!

6 AM.  The cats are already off the bed and running towards the kitchen.  I stumble out of bed and follow them.  Chimes are heard from my mobile phone (text message).

All 3 of us stand at the kitchen doorway and look.  Nothing.

Nothing is on the floor, nothing has fallen out of a cupboard, everything is as I left it last night.

The cats want treats, I guess for being brave kitties and leading the way.

I look in the bathroom, just to make sure we aren’t misidentifying where the noise came from. Nothing amiss.

Storage room next to kitchen?  Nothing there, just flattened-out boxes (being smart, saving those for the next move), a computer desk, and a cot.  Nothing has fallen in there, either.

I go back to the bedroom and pick up the phone.  It’s a text message from Nancy:

“Everything ok up there?  I heard a crash!”

Ok, we can rule out the kitties and me hearing things, because Nancy heard it too.

“Dunno what it was.  Maybe the ghost,” I text back.

“Thanks for waking us up,” I say out loud, to no one in particular.  The cats have already gone back to sleep on the bed, having done their good deed for the day.

Later that day, I decided to go online and see if anyone has any suggestions as to how I can find out what this thing wants and why it keeps making noises.  I don’t even know what the explanation is for crashes and bangs that don’t seem to be connected to any physical thing, it just doesn’t seem possible but there you are – it’s happening in my apartment.

But, really, who online would be able to help?  On one hand, you have fake mediums and people who claim to be able to sort this kind of thing out but…I don’t like them, in general.  I find them to be not at all credible, usually because they are selling something or they just don’t seem to be telling the truth.

I have never met a medium, online or off, who wasn’t a complete fraud.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think mediums exist – I suspect they do.  I just don’t happen to think that the “real” ones are on TV or on paid internet sites.  Oh, maybe one or two started out that way, but then the pressure to “always see” gets to them and they start making shit up.

Activity isn’t ongoing, as most of you know from reading this blog.  And if I say, “Throw everything off the dresser,” nothing happens.  Things happen when they happen, and no amount of cajoling from me seems to have any effect.  So I find it completely unbelievable that “spirit” (as mediums love to say, ala Long Island Medium) would just manifest and talk when asked to.

On the other hand, you have people who don’t think there is any possibility of this being something unseen that is trying to communicate.  Their explanation would be that I am either lying (and so is Nancy), or this is a “folie a deux” – “madness shared by two”.   Or that there are completely normal explanations for this that I am not considering (mice? earthquakes? fracking? who knows?)  At any rate, I won’t get much help there.

Aside #1: I have a friend who already, thankfully, debunked the flushing toilet experience as a small part that needs replaced.  So, no, I am not ruling out normal explanations.

So I decided to post on a Reddit paranormal forum.  Since Reddit has now been purged of most of its ugly, nasty, hateful trolls, I thought well maybe someone else has this issue and can provide some feedback.

I posted on a few other sites, too.

I wrote a concise post about the activity, and mentioned that this happens in a lot of places I live.  But that I don’t think it’s something following me, and I definitely don’t think it’s classic poltergeist “I-am-angry-so-my-energy-is-going-to-knock-shit-off-shelves” activity (i.e., I do not believe I am the cause of the activity).  I ended the post by stating I wasn’t wanting rid of it, I just wanted to find out why it’s acting like this.

I got one nice response on Reddit, a long one by someone who has similar activity.  It quieted down when he started including “it” in his morning cup of coffee ritual.  I might try that, actually.  He just talks to it like it’s a visitor in his home, and while he doesn’t know what it wants, it seems to be quieter when he acknowledges it.

His idea is that whoever it is, is just lonely.  I can relate to that.

I liked that guy.  He was nice.  I thanked him and told him I would try the coffee routine.

The rest of the responses were from mediums.  Angry, hostile mediums.

Each and every one of them told me “it” wasn’t trying to communicate.  That it was a risidual haunt that occurred whether I was there or not (in every place I’ve lived since age 4?  Really?).

Aside #2: My dad threw out a Ouija board one night – I think I was 6 – convinced it was the source of some very weird lights in the house.  I don’t know about that but I still saw the indigenous ghosts and the ghost of an old woman, Ouija board or not.

Those were not the hostile posts.  None of them were hostile at first.  They all said the apartment “needed clearing” (uh yeah, for a fee, right?) or that I should ignore it.  It was when I replied to them that it got hostile, when I stated that I know how to get rid of “things” but that wasn’t what I was asking.

One wrote a diatribe about how a “6th century superstition” (she meant Wicca) was useless in dealing with spirits and that only small children or fools believe in magic.  Oh and that salt and sage are just things for cooking.

This, from someone who has a “team of investigators” who use sciency kinda stuff like EMF detectors, and not-so-sciency stuff like her own medium spirit-talking ways.

So, essentially we have a fraud and a pseudoscientist arguing with a witch that the witch’s belief system is “unscientific”.  The humor was not lost on me.  In fact, I think I “lol-ed” a few times.

The Stigma of Mental Illness Extends to Healthcare Providers, Too

I am going to write about something that very few therapists discuss – the common myth that therapists “have their shit together”.

And the reality that they don’t.

There’s a reason why you won’t find support groups titled “Therapists Anonymous”, “Bipolar/Depression Support Group for Therapists”, or “Help! My Significant Other is a Therapist!” and so on.

It’s simple, really, as oft-quoted by people who work in the mental health community, “We are supposed to always have our shit together.”

“Supposed to”.  Not, “actually have”. I can count on one hand the number of therapists I have met who are not suffering from some form of mental illness or substance abuse themselves.

It’s (maybe) surprisingly common.

The number one malady I have observed?  Substance abuse. Particularly of benzodiazepines (i.e., Valium, Xanax) and alcohol.

The number two problem? Mood disorders (major depressive, bipolar).

And a close third?  Personality disorders.

This last is truly alarming, because personality disorders are hard to spot and almost impossible to treat – for one thing, people so afflicted quite often do not think they have a problem.

Aside #1: There are 10 types of personality disorders, according to the DSM V (psychiatric diagnostic manual) – paranoid, schizotypal, schizoid, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive. 

Mind you, I want to make it clear that this is based on my observations.  So this is my subjective opinion, nothing more.

The substance abuse issue usually will trip a therapist up in the end, because he or she will often violate boundaries with patients (especially if he or she is a drug and alcohol therapist), act inappropriately (as in, being obviously impaired at work), or get into trouble with the law (DUI, for example).

Although it’s not good for addicted therapists to be treating anyone, for anything, it is at least somewhat self-correcting before too much damage can be done.

The mood disorder problem is the most tragic – for the therapist, anyway – because since a therapist is often unable or afraid to get help, he or she can needlessly suffer for years without anyone knowing.  It’s tragic because it doesn’t need to be that way, but it is that way because there’s no quicker way to get fired than to admit that you have a mental illness.

So no one admits it.

Hiding one’s mental illness is critical.

In other words, the people who are supposed to be so tolerant, so understanding of people afflicted with mental illness are they themselves some of the most judgmental hypocrites around.

The same people who will tell a patient, “Depression is the common cold of mental illness” (6.9% of the American population – and that’s just those adults who are diagnosed – according to the NIMH) in order to reassure the patient that he/she is not some freak of nature, are the same ones who will go to a colleague’s supervisor under the guise of “helping” and relate that so-and-so is on antidepressants that “don’t seem to be helping”.

Aside #2: I have seen it happen to others.  I have had supervisors ask for my clinical opinion of colleagues, and I have refused to give it.  I have heard colleagues complain about other “crazy” therapists, therapists who were good at their jobs and were just too open about having a mental illness – thereby “tarnishing” that “got your shit together” reputation.

It’s tantamount to a doctor getting fired because he/she caught the flu, broke a leg, or suffered from a chronic condition like migraines.  Doesn’t make sense when you look at it that way, does it?

But this is also a good segue into the third mental health problem amongst therapists that I have observed – personality disorders.  And those people are truly dangerous, to patients and staff alike.

Manipulative, self-centered, and fond of drama, a therapist with a personality problem delights in treating very sick patients because he or she – and there’s no polite way of saying this – enjoys seeing people suffer.  And, in fact, I have seen and heard therapists like this make fun of patients in treatment team meetings, display a horrifying lack of empathy, and basically treat the patient as a form of entertainment rather than someone with whom to conduct therapy.

A therapist like this will also cause disruption between staff members, just to sit back and enjoy watching the chaos.  This behavior is evident to staff when patients do it – in fact, the term is called “staff splitting” – but seldom recognized in another staff member until it’s too late (when someone usually gets fired, and it’s not the “sick” therapist).

Aside #3:  I have also seen this behavior in nurses and hospital administrators.  I don’t know if healthcare facilities/professions attract this kind of person, or if I have just had more experience recognizing it.  But I have seen situations where a nurse will go after another, “more popular” (with patients and staff) nurse and get her fired before she knew what hit her.

Randomly Rambling: Music & Social Movements

R.I.P Cilla Black.  She passed on August 1, at age 72.

I first heard her sing in 1964, on the radio (AM, of course), a song called “You’re My World.”  I loved it, and I made my mom buy the 45.

I was 8.  I still can sing the whole song by memory.  I don’t know what it was with her, I think maybe I just loved the very few independent “modern” singers at that time (which also included Dusty Springfield).

This was way, WAY before women played instruments in rock bands – they were all almost universally lead singers.  Or solo acts, like Cilla and Dusty.  It was still very much a man’s world back then, on the very edge of the sexual revolution and feminism.

There were very few role models for little girls.  When we were expected to grow up, marry, have kids. When we were not expected to be good at math or science.  We didn’t talk back, we still had dress codes in school, and we screamed at Beatles’ concerts.

It’s hard to imagine a world like that now.  Even that song I loved, “You’re My World”, ended with the lines

……

Darn it!  I was going to quote the last 2 lines, but my fear of being made to pony-up any amount of money for the priviledge to do so, stopped me.  Here’s a link to a video of Ms. Black singing it, live.

Suffice to say, the last two lines basically stated that if the relationship ended, so did the singer’s world.

Aside #1: Ms. Black did not write the song.  It was originally written – in Italian – by two guys named Gino Paoli and Umberto Bindi (“Il Mio Mondo”, 1963), then Carl Sigman wrote a loose translation in English for producer George Martin.  That’s the song Ms. Black made famous – it was recorded at Abbey Road Studios (“You’re My World”, Wikipedia).

Men defined women back then.  That is the world I grew up in.   Men were supposed to take care of women, protect us, defend us, charge in on a white horse, come by the house with the glass slipper, and so on.

My observation of adults did not reflect that, but I bought into it anyway.  I knew my family was different, I just assumed everyone else’s was of the “knight/princess” variety.

TV reflected that idea, too.  Moms wore dresses and stayed home, dads wore hats/suits and went to work.  My family looked like that from the outside, when I was a little girl.

Here are pictures of how adults dressed back then.

But on TV, Mom and Dad didn’t get drunk and have screaming arguments in the street in front of their house, ending with a dramatic storming out at 3 AM, swearing never to return (over and over again – for years I never got a decent night’s sleep).

Today, that would have been all over the internet and possibly the news.

Back then, people just acted as if nothing had happened.  It was kind of like the popular TV show, “The Twilight Zone”.

But I digress.

My point is, back in the 1960s, women and girls still often took back seats to men.

If you want a really good indication of what that world was like, listen to or read the lyrics to 1963’s hit “Wives and Lovers” (Burt Bacharach, what in hell were you thinking?).  Yes, people really did think like that.  It’s a song that has stuck in my head because I really, really hated it – even as a little girl, it gave me a creepy feeling.

Writing about women’s husbands leaving them because they didn’t take the curlers out of their hair!  Or because they didn’t put on makeup and a dress before their husbands came home from work!

Even later in the 1960s, during social upheaval, It was common back then for women to make the signs for demonstrations, and make the coffee for the meetings, but not be in on the planning.  Even in many leftist circles, we were still 2nd-class citizens.  There were exceptions but we won’t address that today.

It was so ingrained in society, that even when I left home in 1973 to go out into the big, bad world, my mom’s parting shot to me was

“You better find a man to marry you, because God knows you are too stupid to take care of yourself.”

Aside #2: This relationship with my mother was probably one huge reason I have never liked people who drink.  I think she might have been a decent person had she not been an alcoholic – but I never knew her when she wasn’t.

My point is, even the “progressives” at that time – which included my parents – were not really all that progressive.

And later, when Ms Magazine became popular, and a former Playboy bunny became the public mainstream voice of feminism, it was still very exclusionary – but on a different level.

I remember complaining to my history teacher – who wore a woman’s symbol necklace and who encouraged me to join the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.) – that even the fees for high-school students were more than most people could afford, and that I didn’t see anybody but middle- and upper-class white women joining.

I didn’t join.  I wouldn’t even read the magazine.  I have never been a fan of exclusionary so-called progressive movements.

This is not, in any way, to bash feminists.  I consider myself a feminist, too.  This is bashing classism within the feminist movement.   The leadership sees gender as the primary contradiction in society.

I see class as the primary contradiction in society.  I did at 16, and I still do today.

Men are not the enemy.  “Men’s Rights Advocates” probably are, but not men in general.

Anti-women sentiment/misogeny/gender inequality/violence against women are huge problems, yes they are.   Those problems would be ones I would address first, myself, if someone would just give me a damn ride so I could volunteer grrrr.

And so are racism, bigotry against people who love differently, and discrimination against people who have disabilities.  To name just a few of the major categories.

But at the end of the day, if you answer this one, tiny question, it all comes under this one umbrella:  Who profits from oppressing these folks?

Aside #3: It’s not a very large percentage of the population.  The young peoples’ movements on Wall St and in Seattle (and elsewhere) got that right, it’s about 1% or so.  Some of us must have taught our kids well.  

It’s interesting – but predictable – how quickly the Occupy Movement quieted down.  As with most class-based movements, this is always the case.  Co-opting people (i.e., paying people off) is probably the single most successful way to destroy a social movement  – just look at people who were supposed activists in the 1960s who are quite wealthy today and/or connected to the Democratic Party.

If that doesn’t work, though (you know, when someone with principles can’t be bought off), there’s always driving them nuts (the CIA used LSD for this, amongst other things), making sure they’re poor, jailing them, or killing them (MOVE in Philadelphia).

It’s always necessary to silence class analysis, always.

That doesn’t mean people stop trying.  Someone always sees.  Someone always speaks out. Though usually it’s not someone from the class actually being oppressed.  Ironically, there is still a class bias within social movements, even as they present a fairly accurate class position on things.

“Don’t lead, just support” seems to be lost on them.  Intellectualism has greatly reduced the effectiveness of every social movement in this country, post-labor movement heyday (Google it, young ‘uns).

Every time a progressive uses the word “sheeple”, I want to strangle them.  This is the attitude I am writing about.  I expect it from the right-wing, but it infuriates me from the left.

They don’t know what it’s like to be poor, which in itself isn’t worthy of condemnation – it’s the lack of empathy, the smugness that they know it all and don’t have to really try to understand what it’s like to be poor, the “we know what’s best for the masses” bs – that’s what depresses and enrages me.

Which brings me full-circle to one of the reasons I write this blog.

It started out as mourning the death of a brilliant singer, and then ended up, as everything inevitably does…with class contradiction.

Y’all see why I am a hopeless case?  I can’t be any other way and most of the time I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about it.   I desperately hate being poor, but I hate it that anyone else is poor, too, and I guess this is my purpose in life – to let y’all know what it’s really like.

Until I win the lottery.  Or get a good-paying job.  Either one, at this point, seems highly unlikely. But money, aside from making one’s life bearable, is also necessary to fund social movements, and I would love to be in a position to do so.

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”  – Warren Buffett

Like I said, laugh or cry…

Today’s weirdness comes from the site “Malcom’s Musings”, via “The Anomalist” website, and it’s an article about a gnome abduction.

No, not the stealing of garden gnomes by pranksters – though I find those stories highly amusing – but the attempted abduction of a human being by a gnome or something similar.  It’s quite a long post, and some will chalk up the person’s experience to a possible bad reaction to a prescription drug, a sleep disorder, or a combination of the two.

Except her kids apparently had similar “sightings” as children, and never told her about the until she started relating her experience, years later.   So, that struck me as, while not exactly lending credibility to this woman’s story, certainly head-scratching material.  I don’t know what to make of it.

However, I prefer my “whatever it is” that throws things, to invading gnomes.  I find gnomes much scarier.

By the way, the ghost/spirit/whothehellknows is active again, usually making very loud crashing noises in the kitchen. When kitties and I go to check it out – because the activity doesn’t scare my cats at all, oddly enough – nothing is amiss.

It also swept some items off a table, as I was standing right in front of it.  That was weird, watching things move when you are not touching them.

There is also very faint cello music, on occasion. When I asked out loud if it played cello when it was alive, the music abruptly stopped.  I still have no idea what he/she/it wants.  Nancy thinks I should get a tape recorder and see if I can get any EVPs.

I agree.  I can’t afford one, but I agree.

Today’s recommendation is for a website by “The Association of Independent Information Professionals”.  They help people start their own businesses as, basically, information gatherers.  Because for every person who hates researching when they have a particular need for information, there is at least one other person who loves to look things up.

I think that kind of job would be right up my alley.  I did tons of it in grad school, and do tons of it for my blog or just out of curiosity.  I think, though, that like everything else, it requires money.  But maybe one of y’all might find the site helpful.

The other recommendation I had, I stumbled across while searching for a legitimate article about the CIA’s project MKULTRA (to back up my assertion about people being driven crazy by being unknowingly dosed with LSD).  It’s a film from 1955, financed by Sandoz, which shows a (willing) test subject tripping.

It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the CIA – though the person who posted the video states this particular experiment was funded by the CIA.  I can’t find evidence of that but who knows?

It’s called “Schizophrenic Model Psychosis Induced by LSD 25”.

Be good.  Be kind.  And if you see something move in your garden, out of the corner of your eye…