Cathy vs Tinkerbell

May 20, 2020

by Donna Verteramo

Cathy hates fairies.

Hate is a strong word and we were taught to not throw that around lightly.

Cathy hates fairy energy.

Fairy energy would include woodland sprites, elves, gnomes, pixies, brownies, or imps.

Cathy once said “Tinkerbell is the DEVIL.” “Tinkerbell is the DEVIL.”

I am not sure exactly when this started, but if I strain to think about it, I think it’s just always been that way. When you are a psychic or a practicing wiccan there are things that people assume you love: dragons, dreamcatchers, the color purple, handmade potholders … and fairies.  Cathy was given a fairy in a jar as a wink from a fellow psychic friend and Cathy told her, “you know I am going to put her in a closet.” The friend acknowledged the fate of “Rosie” with a dismissive laugh. Cathy hated Rosie.

“Why do you hate them so much?” Sofie asked Cathy one day.

“I don’t like their little manipulative ASSES!” Cathy spat.

 

Rosie lived in the jar and Cathy wanted to remove Rosie and free her to kind of create a truce. No matter what Cathy did, she couldn’t twist and turn the figurine out of the jar. So she stayed in the jar and the closet until Cathy regifted her. The daughter of a friend was having a birthday pool party at my house and Cathy thought she would love Rosie. With a note explaining the fairy and how trapped she must feel, Cathy gave her to little Violet who squealed with delight. Violet’s mother reported that on the way home in the car, the jar tipped over and Rosie easily tumbled from the jar.

A couple of years ago I was working a show at the theater, the hecticness of the front of house for a sold out concert was the backdrop of one of the strangest (and funniest) phone calls I ever received from my sister.

 

“Are you busy?” 

 

A few years ago Cathy made friends with a local woman who is also a spiritual healer. Cathy liked this woman a lot and felt that she had a peer who could understand Cathy’s daily life in the spiritual realm. Sometimes you live a secret life if only because what becomes ‘normal’ communication with the world above your crown chakra is difficult to translate into everyday language. Her friend spoke the same language, actually she’s more gifted in a whole other realm.  The fairy realm.

 

My relationship with fairies is a healthy one with love and respect.  I have a fairy garden in my yard that grows a little each year and during the warmer months I return the remnants of ritual work to the earth in my fairy garden.  Cathy’s disdain is quite entertaining to me as I look at Cathy as an astral force to be reckoned with and Tinkerbell is not a worthy foe.

“Okay, so Sofie and I were going to a workshop at (let’s call her Callie) Callie’s and the other people cancel and I think ‘Great we are the only ones who are supposed to be here’...” Cathy starts telling me about Callie and her workshop. “You know how Callie speaks in fairy?”

 

Cathy describes Callie (whom I have never met) as an artsy, attractive, woman who sells real estate in her ‘real job’.  The first time Cathy had a reading with Callie, Callie started making loud, cacophonous chirps and coos that startled Cathy out of her seat and slack- jawed.  Despite the strangeness apparently Callie was a remarkable reader so Cathy was in.

 

“Right, she speaks fairy…” Remember that I am working a concert and just saying those words in that environment makes me feel unsettled. Cathy describes another session of chirps, trills, squawks, and squeals with Sofie now slack-jawed and then Callie reveals Cathy’s past.

YOU WERE THE QUEEN OF THE FAIRIES! YOU WERE RIGHTEOUS AND DEMANDED ORDER! YOUR JOB WAS TO KEEP THEM SAFE AND THEY WOULDN’T LISTEN TO YOU! THEY WOULDN’T FOLLOW THE RULES FOR THE GREATER GOOD! THEY ROSE IN MUTINY AND BANISHED YOU!  

 

Cathy and Sofie gasped with belief and disbelief. This rang true and Cathy cried for 20 minutes. A brief glimpse of truth into a past of so many lives before was jarring.  

 

The dichotomy of Cathy describing her past queen of the fairies life and her workshop experience and the reality of my job at the moment made for a surreal snapshot of a day in my life I consider self defining.

 

Since then Cathy can sense a ‘fairy person’ immediately. She calls them out and knows that even if she likes the person in their current incarnation, they will never last as a friend in her inner circle. She can smell a winged rival like a pig can smell truffles.

Fast forward to today. 

 

I woke up anxious to post my Witchy Wednesday Patreon post as early as possible as I had a long to do list for the perfect weather we were having. I wanted to show my fairy garden, I wanted to talk about my connection to the earth and the tree of life meditation. Chris offered to help me and hold the camera for me. But before I ventured outside, I wanted to do some Instagram work. Cathy and I started messaging on Facebook as usual and we immediately got into a tiff over semantics. Back and forth we went until I eventually called her. She was snippy, which was unusual. When I said what I was planning on doing she said “that’s what’s wrong! Your working with the fucking fairies!” I told her she was being dramatic. We made up and laughed our goodbyes.

TAKE 1 - Chris used his new 4G camera. We filmed, he edited. It wasn’t right. 

TAKE 2 - I film with my camera. Upload to Vimeo, transfer the file to Patreon, write the post. Video won’t work. ERROR 404.

TAKE 3 - Copy and paste the text. Delete the Patreon post. Start a new post. Computer FREEZES

 

I facetime Cathy.

 

“Hey,” she answered.

 

“STOP FUCKING WITH MY ENERGY! LET ME POST ABOUT THE FAIRY GARDEN FOR FUCK’S SAKE!” I pointed at her. Cathy just raised her eyebrows and I hung up.

 

TAKE 4 - Create the final post.  What usually takes 20 minutes took almost an hour. 

 

*************************

After I spent an afternoon today dodging people who are refusing to wear a mask in public during a pandemic, Cathy and I talk about her past life as a leader who only wanted to keep her people safe by making rules and enforcing them. Fairies, humans, we are all fated to rinse and repeat our karmic cycles.  

We Made It!

May 3, 2020

by Donna Verteramo

As a society, we mark memorable milestones with remembering where we were. Where were you when the towers fell, Diana died, or for some of us Joe Strummer? Memories marked with what we were wearing or the smell in the air. Bookmarks in our autobiographies. 

 

I remember the brightness of my deck and wearing my pink rubber clogs while I was researching “how to make a podcast”. I remember that Cathy made Dad’s sloppy Joe’s the day we tried (and succeeded!) to record for the first time. And I will remember everything about March 8, 2020, the day we celebrated the 100th episode. A milestone we could not have imagined!

Just like two and a half years ago, we can’t imagine the future of The Sisters Are IN. Can a legitimate plan say “help people, be authentic, enjoy the process”? That’s the plan. Our path up to now has had curves and turns, some at forks in the road, some at a dead stop T. We have no map; just a desire to keep going.

Since the beginning of the year, Cathy kept including in her reading with me/us that “there’s something epic coming where we have to help each other.” This was a regular theme in January and February as we crept toward the upper 90s in episode numbers. When we scheduled the party, it was going to be perfectly timed to release mid-March. And then the rug was snatched from underneath us all. That Sunday was going to be the last get together with friends that any of us would have for a long time.

Cathy and I always say to each other that “everything leads to something.” At the party we had a couple of Cathy students from the Patreon Mentee tier come and practice what they’ve learned. Toby read cards and Tina did sound healing. The response was overwhelming! Toby was so busy that he didn’t even get to see the recording happen. Our first open mic was in Cathy’s small house, and for this open mic we had over 40 people over the course of the day. It was a blast! Multiple practitioners, maybe a vendor or two, another day at the salon. Our wheels are turning. We just have to make it through this crisis. And we will. 

During this time of quarantine, Cathy has discovered her talent in creating electronic music coinciding with her chakra work. CHAKRAVE is in it’s larva stage as part of the journey to keep moving forward, experiencing life as it happens. Everything leads to something...

The Last Prank

by Donna Verteramo

March 20, 2020

When I was a teenager, we played a game that my turkish friend taught me. It was a game to be played while living life and we called it “in my mind.” The premise of the game is to catch someone unaware. Anytime you handed something to a player the other person had to declare “in my mind.” You do that until someone is out. Inevitably the family would play but Dad and I quickly became the last two standing. And it would go on for … days. My father actually set a small towel on fire in the kitchen just so he could hand me something to put it out with. I once threw him a frisbee that was just laying in the yard, and I threw it as hard and fast as I could at his head so he’d have to catch it and he pushed little Cathy in it’s path. (I am still laughing).

Dad loved a good joke. Beyond that, he loved to laugh and he would take any situation to any length for a good belly laugh. When I was very little, we would play hide and seek in the house. I remember getting myself on the higher shelf of his closet (one of those rolling door closets in a 70s ranch) and staying up there for a really long time. When he couldn’t find me in my usual spots and his calls for me became more urgent, Mom got involved. I was scared but stayed still. Eventually my mother noticed things on the floor of the bedroom out of place and found me. Mom was PISSED! I got down and was reassured when after Mom stormed away yelling at my father for encouraging me, he smiled wide and said “good one”.

That set the tone for the rest of his life with us. When Cathy was little and in the car with him, he would pretend to pull up reins when parking in the driveway. He never faltered. He also would touch the windshield when honking the horn, convincing kindergarten Cathy that if she touched the windshield, the horn would blow. When she became suspicious he was always able to keep up the charade. This went on for a lot longer than it should have. A combination of Cathy’s nature of trusting people and Dad’s persistence, made this go on until she was about 6 or 7.

When I was in my 20s, my parents were regulars in Atlantic City. They would often treat me and a friend to come with them for an overnight at a casino. Dad and I developed the elevator game. We would enter the elevator and either pretend to be mid-sentence or start an argument. I would formulate what I would say all day. 

 

“Did your lawyer call you yet about a court date? I can’t believe you’ll get away with it on a technicality.” Dad would definitely play along trying to shake me off my game.

 

“Did you really have to sleep with my best friend?” I could tell by the glint in his eye that he was simultaneously angry and proud.

When he was going through chemo-therapy from his esophageal cancer, he had the most wicked gas. Once we were winding through the casino and an older couple were walking slowly in the aisle and arguing. Dad kept saying ‘excuse me’ but as he put it, ‘the old bat ignored me’. So he followed them to their elevator, went in, farted and then said “changed my mind” and jumped out as the doors closed. 

I was wide eyed and awed. Dad said “Respect the king!”

When I was in my 40s Dad was helping me hang a new storm door. We needed an extra set of hands and solicited Cathy to hold the weight of the door up and still so we could level it. Dad gave me a sideways glance which I knew was “stay with me.” Dad encouraged Cathy to “go up about an inch”, so she did. And then “Nope, too high….. A smidge more….” and then I chimed in “Stop moving!” This also went on a lot longer than it needed to because… Cathy.

When my father was given six months to live in January of 2015 we started planning for his eventual demise. Not surprising to anyone, that six month mark came and went with Dad determined to keep death at arm’s length. He did this for another year. However, six months prior to his last day, we started seeing signs.

A week before my birthday in January of 2016, he went into the hospital with congestive heart failure. I asked him to please not die on my birthday. He said “don’t worry, it won’t be on your birthday.”  He made it through with severe warnings from the doctors to slow down. 

 

A month later I said “Please don’t die on Sofie’s birthday, you’ll ruin it forever for her.”

A week before my birthday in January of 2016, he went into the hospital with congestive heart failure. I asked him to please not die on my birthday. He said “don’t worry, it won’t be on your birthday.”  He made it through with severe warnings from the doctors to slow down. 

 

A month later I said “Please don’t die on Sofie’s birthday, you’ll ruin it forever for her.”

He said, “Don’t worry, I’ll pick a better day.”  He was in and out of the hospital later that month.

 

Later in the spring, the biggest event of the year at my job when Santana played our Gala fundraiser, I begged him to “don’t leave the house, don’t cheat on your diet, don’t move. Don’t you dare go to the hospital!” I threatened.

 

He said, “Don’t worry, I’ll pick a better day,”

 

A month later in June, Dad was slowing down and having difficulties. At one point at the doctor's office the nurse took his blood pressure.  It was so low that she looked at him and quietly asked how he was alive? Two days later, he was in the hospital. Three days later we were consulting with palliative care physicians. Two days after that, he was brought home with hospice care. Two days after that, he stopped being able to speak clearly nor eat. Minutes, hours, and days bled into each other. My sister Cathy and I had to make hard decisions. Around 6pm on the night before he died, I realized that the next day was Father’s Day. 

 

“Are you fucking kidding me Dad?!” I yelled over him. “Father’s Day is 6 hours away!”

 

He smiled weakly and mouthed “Gotcha.” I was simultaneously angry and proud.

 

He died around 1am on Father’s Day. Respect to the king.

Kim's Birthday

by Donna Verteramo

Last week on Patreon for the animal spirit of the week, Cathy chose Coyote. Coyote rambles through the night following the scent on winds that constantly change. Coyote tells us not to surrender to failure when the scent we are following ceases to lead us. Trust that the path you are supposed to be on is in front of you. Don’t panic.

 

When Cathy and I sat down to record the podcast I exclaimed that I felt my whole life had felt like an idea thwarted! I thought I would do one thing, go in a certain direction, and then suddenly the scent dissipates and I get swept in an entirely different direction. As an adult, I will encounter people who have achieved their station in life by executing a plan. They thought it. They did it. And there they are. I envy them. But that concept to me is like a foreign language. I can hear the sounds but how does it make sense?

February, 2, 2020

Plans of mine seem to not be mine on large scales and small. I have learned to give in, ride it out and see what comes on the other side of it. As you age, hindsight is more than 20/20, it becomes a foundation of learned wisdom.

 

Years ago, Chris and I went to Florida for a long weekend around my birthday. He grew up in Florida and still likes to visit and explore whenever we can.  We had spent the weekend driving around to tacky roadside locations, sipping cocktails at hotels we didn’t stay at to steal their view of the sunset and visit some of his old friends. We were to return the night before my actual birthday. Modest birthday plans were made in New York after our return with family. 

 

The night before we were to return our flight was canceled. Actually ALL flights were canceled as the tri state area was experiencing a debilitating snow storm. I was disappointed and ready to go home. While Florida is a favorite place of Chris’, it isn’t mine. I smile through ridiculous senior citizen drivers, strip mall after strip mall, chain restaurants and an underlying energy of uneasiness that permeates every server and cashier who are either resigned to settle there or are escaping another life somewhere from another state. (Is that why no one seems to have the same accent, even though it’s in the south?). Anyway, we were stranded. Luckily, I had room on my credit card to extend the hotel and we declared our status of stranded on social media.

 

Happily some his Chris’ old friends reached out and declared that this birthday was not a lost cause that they insisted on being a part of our new plans. Chris offered to take me to the new Harry Potter amusement park but I wanted none of that. I wanted tacky Florida. I wanted underbelly. I wanted off the beaten path.  We ventured in our rental car seeking out large tortoises, taxidermy, souvenir shops and ultimately bar hopped in places on a tourist strip.

 

There was one particular bar Chris’ friend told him to stop at called Fort Knox. His friend warned with a laugh that it was the kind of place you will get tuberculosis from the carpet if you fell face down. We arrived for one drink at happy hour. The bartender immediately recognized that we were out of place. I should mention that a meth drug deal was going down in the parking lot next to us when we arrived, so there’s that. 

“It’s my birthday, I want a shot before we move on.” I declared.

Last week on Patreon for the animal spirit of the week, Cathy chose Coyote. Coyote rambles through the night following the scent on winds that constantly change. Coyote tells us not to surrender to failure when the scent we are following ceases to lead us. Trust that the path you are supposed to be on is in front of you. Don’t panic.

Last week on Patreon for the animal spirit of the week, Cathy chose Coyote. Coyote rambles through the night following the scent on winds that constantly change. Coyote tells us not to surrender to failure when the scent we are following ceases to lead us. Trust that the path you are supposed to be on is in front of you. Don’t panic.

 

When Cathy and I sat down to record the podcast I exclaimed that I felt my whole life had felt like an idea thwarted! I thought I would do one thing, go in a certain direction, and then suddenly the scent dissipates and I get swept in an entirely different direction. As an adult, I will encounter people who have achieved their station in life by executing a plan. They thought it. They did it. And there they are. I envy them. But that concept to me is like a foreign language. I can hear the sounds but how does it make sense?

When Cathy and I sat down to record the podcast I exclaimed that I felt my whole life had felt like an idea thwarted! I thought I would do one thing, go in a certain direction, and then suddenly the scent dissipates and I get swept in an entirely different direction. As an adult, I will encounter people who have achieved their station in life by executing a plan. They thought it. They did it. And there they are. I envy them. But that concept to me is like a foreign language. I can hear the sounds but how does it make sense?

 

Later we met his friends and the cooler bar was…. Okay. I shared our adventures of the day with Chris’ friends Susan and Margaret and then shared the invitation to return to Fort Knox. Susan is the owner of a local salon with a cool edge to it and she was the one to tip us off to that bar. She was into it. She said, “Let’s go there!”

 

Tongue in cheek, we went. The vibe was darker, seedier, more crowded but really joyous. Donna the bartender saw us immediately when we arrived. She yelled for Kim and brought us to her. Kim was a woman who looked older than she should, probably from all that Florida sun from working and not tanning. She had straight black hair and had a biker chick vibe to her. She loved the idea that stranded New Yorkers were at her party. She grabbed the mic from the DJ and announced to everyone that she was sharing her birthday with me and the place erupted in applause and laughter. From that moment, I didn’t make a turn without a drink being pushed into my hand. There’s an expression called ‘girl-drink drunk’ but I was on my way to dirty fish tank drink drunk. Music was loud with a hip-hop-pop-country that was amusing to me just in how foreign it was. Susan, Margaret and I mingled and laughed with strangers while Chris watched our purses and kept a watchful eye on the crowd. He was both scared and amused. And then it was my turn to be scared.

 

Kim came to me about halfway to my dirty fish tank drunk and told me that there was a tradition of spanking for your birthday.

 

“Did you say a tradition of planking?!” I yelled over the music. In this part of Florida, you couldn’t throw a dead parrot without hitting a weird pirate mascot outside a store or restaurant and I thought it was a pirate thing.

 

“No! SPANK-ING!” She pointed towards Donna and the other bartender who looked exactly like so many other women in the bar. Over blonde, over tanned, mushroom topped tank top over jeans from the 90s and bright manicures.

 

“The bartenders get to paddle you with their paddle for your birthday and then you get to sign the paddle!” She delivered this part of the plan with an excited smile and raised eyebrows. I was immediately panicked. Music stopped, the DJ started chanting something and Donna and the other bartender came around the bar towards me and Kim.

 

Chris, Margaret and Susan watched while I was pushed over the pool table with Kim at my side. I remember asking how much it was going to hurt and Kim just said “It’s worth it, I’m right here.”

I barely remember the spanking, I remember all the phones out filming. I remember signing the paddle and the big tray of jello shots that followed.

 

I was really inebriated. I mean REALLY inebriated but I felt the pressure of not disappointing stranger after friendly stranger who wanted to buy me a drink for my birthday. People who wanted to make my birthday feel like this was how I was supposed to celebrate it.  I accepted every drink graciously (probably not as graciously as I want to remember) and clinked many plastic cups together in revelry. I think it was the most alcohol I ever consumed. What came with all of that alcohol was a whole lot of well wishes from people who I would never see again.

 

The next day were were to fly home. That hangover will still insight a sour stomach if I think about it. I stole a pillow from the hotel so I could grip it from the time we left until we reached home. Kim’s words “it’s worth it” rang in my ear like tinnitus.

 

Everytime Facebook reminds me of that birthday I think of Kim and Chris’ friends warmly. And everytime our social plans don’t work out, I relax and see where the scent in the air takes us.

The Lost Episode

by Donna Verteramo

January 21, 2020

Monday was a holiday. We had a babysitter. We had a solid topic. Everything was in place for us to record an episode with no hiccups. Niko was particularly cranky so Sofie got us going and went to put him down for a nap.

 

“Hi, Don.”

“Hi, Cat.”

 

And we were off. 

Cathy and I were talking about trauma and grief. The latest Netflix documentary about Aaron Hernandez haunted her. How we freeze in the moments of our grief and trauma. How sexual abuse is so prevalent and seems to live in all of us some how, some way. Some people may be barely affected like mites that live on our eyelashes which doesn’t affect us until some television show shows us the monsters under the microscope, others carry heavy trunks of baggage everywhere defining their every day.

 

I visited the trauma of my best friend dying in my arms at the age of 22. How it defined me and set me on a path of spirituality and self education. Around the time of his illness I was spending the summer at Vassar College at an acceleration program sponsored by an honors program at our community college. I was very close with my english teacher who brought an unknown (at that time) playwright Jon Robin Baitz to the class.  Instead of taking notes about the themes he discussed I was struck by the tone of adjectives he chose. With my teal colored marker I made a list. I remember it was a somber list. Even when he was describing success, it was through a gray filter. I showed my teacher who was excited to know what I thought of the class. She insisted I crash a cocktail party at her house (which was nearby) to show him. Looking back, I think I was the innocent catalyst of a ribbing she’d enjoy but I was just excited to be invited to the adult table. My memory is faint of the details of the evening. I remember how he smelled (this launched me on a bunny trail of celebrities and how they smelled) and I remember a heavy discussion about the assignment he gave us. He instructed us to make a timeline of our lives. And while his lecture was reminiscent of a gloomy day, so was my timeline despite my extroverted social life and free summer days of writing and theater and making out with boys. The timeline of the first 20 years of my life were marked by things that happen to me. The intense personal chat in my teacher’s Victorian dining room with JRB was about transforming the timeline into things happening for me. This lesson was a complete failure for me into my 30s. It is only within the last 10 years the things he said to me made sense. 

 

Cathy spoke so eloquently about shedding the grief that weighs us down on a daily basis about relying on her ‘charismatic adults’ (whom I call her imaginary friends, St. Michael and the gang) when she literally ran away from home because she was simply not being heard.  The simplest of gestures we asked of our mother to listen to our trauma; Cathy with her early expressions of sexuality and me with a trusted piano teacher who crossed the line. Both of us rejected of just being heard. Both of us traumatized by the latter.

 

Both of us looking at that experience as happening for us. Making us better helpers now. Better listeners. Compassionate.

 

After I jokingly reminisced about being traumatized by having to be in Carol Channing’s dressing room with her and her husband and finished the podcast, we noticed the computer ran out of storage space and the episode was not to be. It will be until we record the next one for the transformation to occur from happening TO us to happening FOR us. But it will. 

 

Bunny Trail:

Bernie Williams smelled sweet like cake, Al Pacino smelled like an old man’s mothy attic, Daniel Craig smelled like fresh pine air.

Zsa Zsa and the Zen of Kindergarten (2000)

by Donna Verteramo

This week Sofia opened her salon with Sisters Are IN VIP, Karen an hour away from my house. Cathy and I have been struggling to learn the back end of the podcast work trying not to rely on Sofie as much. It’s been a learning experience for Cathy on the computer - the real computer - as opposed to her legal pad that she affectionately calls her “laptop”. For me, the control freak I can be, has had to try to work around a schedule that suddenly doesn’t have anything to do with us! Sofie has her own dreams to pursue, it feels like yesterday that we were putting her on the school bus for the first time. With that in mind, I dug up an essay I wrote 20 years ago that was read on our local NPR station. 

 

Here’s a jog down memory lane.

January 18, 2020

A New Beginning

by Donna Verteramo

I forget how busy the gym gets to be in January. It seems the equipment that normally sits quiet next to me is now humming along powered by good intentions.  Eventually the intentions evolve into routine or dissolve from distractions. By spring, paths are set.

 

Over the holiday break, Cathy and I talked a lot about intentions. I promised myself to be more intentionAL. To be more mindful of the background noise I employ, to be proactive about how I want my life to look like. What are the daily changes can I make that will make a difference in the long run? 

 

This past September (Episode 80: Strangers and Rollercoasters) https://soundcloud.com/user-726734621/episode-80-strangers-and-roller-coasters, Cathy and I learned a powerful meditation method and I’ve been practicing it since. I think with that open connection to the universe I learned I’ve been able to let my eyes see wider than my periphery.  A general calmness on a daily basis allows me to assess and check in on all the things on my to do lists, small and large.

 

In order to be more authentic and follow a path toward a future created by my intentional actions rather than hopping over unintentional consequences, I need to write more. And by more, I mean daily. So here I am.

 

Welcome to an online journal for the Sisters Are In podcast. Here, you’ll find a collection of my short stories and essays that track back to stories we’ve told in past The Sisters Are IN episodes. 

 

Enjoy and thanks for the support.

January 8, 2020

© 2019 by Luna Parker Designs 

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