Sunday, January 14, 2018

Of This and That and quiet things~~~~

Hello Darklings,

Well we had a deluge of rain this past few days, and now we are sort of drying out but more to come.

Mud slides, flooding, power outages, auto accidents all because of the rain.  But if it rains and then we have a period to dry out --- then repeat, etc.--- it might be manageable.    Although what has happened in Montecito is horribly tragic. 

Mr. Rodgers was a bit frustrated because of the rain, he likes his walks with the dogs but instead contented himself with helping Doyle check the attic for any possible leaks, although the roof is only 5 years old, but it pays to be on the safe side.

While up in the attic they came across some old portraits in their frames,  I think they are family members at least their names are written on the back with dates,  one is of an adorable baby girl, and the other of a dapper young man wearing a snap brim hat in an old style racing car called a “cut down”.

I’m pretty sure they are related, I have a book that my Great Aunt kept tracing family members so I may have some distant cousins I’m not aware of or they of me.  

Another thing they found was a hair wreath, with the names and dates of people when they were born and died, also contained in a glass enclosed frame,  so with the rains pouring down during the day, Mrs. Rodgers and I carefully cleaned the glass and dusted the frames and wrote down the names and dates.

The next thing is to figure out where to hang them,  I have wall space going up the stairs as well as the upstairs hall,  or some place in the formal parlor,  I do need to make careful decisions on that since we’ll be nailing into wall paper and once punched there’s no repair.

Poor Coralline and Christopher have come down with the flu even though they had the shots it is only 10% effective, they are completely miserable.  The twins however seem to be remarkably healthy, maybe all that outdoor soccer playing.  The best thing is to rest, drink fluids, and take Tynoldo.   I’ve been going to the school to get their assignments to help out their mother, but I don’t think they have the energy to do anything about it.   It’s frustrating to see them so helpless. But rest is the best medicine.

The one advantage  about rainy nights is that it’s  a perfect time to read good gothic novels,  I finish the Lady of Ashes book and am going to get the rest in that series, how it describes the fashion and work of being an Undertaker is a good addition to a good story.   But for now with my next rain storm I’m going to re-read “The Hound of the Baskervilles”  I think it would be perfect.

I really do like Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers, they love the style of the house and Doyle’s and my lifestyle, quiet, genteel, and a little quirky.   But they insist on doing what they can to help out, just a couple of days ago, Mr. Rodgers (with Doyle’s help) was in the attic and came across an old rocking chair, so he and Doyle took it to the garage and he began to restore it, it has a old needle point back and seat, Mrs. Rodgers has duplicated the pattern because the old one was falling apart, almost crumbling.

So besides walking the dogs he is working on restoring stuff, Mrs. Rodgers told me that it’s good therapy for him because he lost his work shop due to the fires up North.   Their Son is trying to get things done on their burnt out property but the rains are making things difficult.  But Mrs. Rodgers confessed that she and her husband would prefer to stay with me and Doyle and pay rent and something towards the utilities and food.

I spoke to Sis about this and she said it’s because the atmosphere of the house gives them much needed comfort and security, something they feel they may lose if they go back North, so it might be a good thing. 

So now more rains are coming just perfect for a Gothic mood,  but Sis and I are going to be going to the Film Noir Festival and I know that everything at home will be well in hand.

Later Darklings 

Thursday, January 4, 2018


Well Darklings,

It's been nearly 2 years since our last scary quake, and this one felt like a runaway express train.

The dogs suddenly were bouncing on the bed whining when it hit, waking us up from a good nights sleep.

This one hit at 2:39 a.m.  it was 4.4 in strength and the epicenter was at the Berkley/Oakland border with the Clairmont  Hotel as the closest landmark.

Doyle bravely put on his robe and slippers and checked for gas leaks and water leaks and if anything fell.   Our device the "little fireman" had shut down the gas so we were fine except we'd be without hot water for a shower. 

Doyle couldn't find any damage but we knew the daylight would reveal anything,  Sis also had her device shut down her gas, so between Doyle and Brian checking things and us closing off the individual gas lines and then relighting them once the "little fireman" was turned off is pretty much what we had to do during the day.

I was stuck wearing my sweat suit until I could bathe, but I did find a few things that had fallen off, the only damage was the beard of my St. Jude statue, which I managed to glue back.

It didn't rain today so we were able to check on the outside for any damage,  I really love those flashlights with the LED bulbs they really bring out everything, every detail, so we spent the day checking things out just to be sure.

Mr. and Mrs Rodgers had returned from their trip yesterday afternoon so this quake was a bit scary for them I managed to make some tea with my electric tea kettle for them so they could calm down, as a matter of fact I needed it too and was joined by Sis to see if everything was O.K. with us. 

Eventually we returned to our respective beds and awaited the dawn.   Coffee had to be instant, and breakfast was cold cereal,  so the first item to get turned back on was the stove, followed by the hot water heater and then the central heating.   Fortunately we could burn a fire in the family parlor fire place so we had a place to get warm since this was not a "spare the air day".

Dinner tonight will be Chinese Take Out once Doyle returns,  I just didn't feel like cooking tonight after that scare, and we'll be joined by Sis and Brian.

I did have a chance to talk to my brother and he said that his house rode out the quake very well, but it was hard getting the children back to sleep since they all clambered into their parents bed scared out of their wits, not that I blame them.   My brother said it was a good thing that the bed was Queen size otherwise they'd all be falling out of it.

We had rain yesterday and it is predicted that we'll have more tomorrow and a bit more next week, which is good, I'd hate to think we'd be going through another drought again.

And now it is dark, I hear Doyle at the door the dogs are barking a happy welcome, so dinner has arrived.

Tonight I think we'll relax reading and talking and listening to light classical music, something to calm our nerves.

Later Darklings

Saturday, December 30, 2017

of a Happy 2018 New Year to all of you~~~~

Hello Darklings,

Well 2017 is winding down to a close, tomorrow is the last day of 2017, I'm sure for some people they will be glad that the year is gone.

For others they may ask the question "What Fresh Hell is coming to us?"   I say that with all the new tax laws and other laws that Start on January 1st. 

I had a talk with my tax preparer and he says that I am really in good shape and will not be affected very much.   I don't know about anyone else, and I'm sure all the tax preparers are going to have some serious headaches.

But for now I am looking forward to a nice and relatively quiet New Years Eve, no I'm not going out this time ordinarily I would be going to the New Years Eve Dance on the USS Hornet, but Doyle sprained his ankle and it's going to take time for it to get back into dancing shape and I refuse to desert my Man.

So I have family and a few friends coming over with pot luck, which works out fine for them as they didn't have any plans as well.  It will be interesting to see if the children can keep their eyes open when Midnight comes and if they do fall asleep well I have those extra bedrooms for them to wake up to a new year. 

But Sis and I do have plans to start the New Year with our annual Film Noir Fest in San Francisco, already we have our passport tickets, our vintage selections laid out and ready to pack, reservations made and confirmed at Hotel Rex.    From Jan 26 to Feb 4 a complete indulgence into Film Noir! 

Of course there will be some old favorites like "The Blue Dahlia", "This Gun for Hire" and "I wake up Screaming"  but a lot of seldom seen film's like "Conflict" with Bogart.  

The house will be watched by Doyle, and Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers will be back so the dogs will have their walk if it's not raining.  

Christmas was very pleasant and very cheerful I'm happy to say, and I'm going to present to the children some new books with old fashion binders which I'm happy to say Barnes and Noble provide.

But for now I and Doyle are going to have a nice quiet evening, sitting by the fireplace with candles burning to give the impression of a fire, and we'll be reading our prospective murder mysteries.

Currently I'm reading "A Virtuous Death" by Christine Trent  it is #3 in the Lady of Ashes Series, and has Queen Victoria, seances, and murder all wrapped up in a nice little read.

I wish all of you a very Happy and Healthy 2018 New Year!

Later Darklings

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Of "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!"~~~~

Hello Darklings,

And Merry Christmas to all of you!

Right now NORAD is tracking the jolly old elf on his journey around the world,  and eventually all little children will have put out milk and cookies to help sustain him on his trip.

In a few minutes family and a few friends will be coming by to have some savory noshes, and hot mulled cider and wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

For some reason the children want to watch "A Muppet Christmas Carol"  instead of the Alister Sim version, which is fine.   We need a few chuckles while old Scrooge has the Christmas Spirit awaken in him.

On one of my side bar articles I wrote "More on Yes Virginia"  I was going to re-print it here but it is far easier for you to click on that article that I wrote.

So for now I wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year.

Later Darklings

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Of Christmas doings and a make ahead breakfast~~~~

Hello Darklings,

Well step by step, inch by inch, minute by minute we are edging closer to Christmas,  my two younger nephews, the Twins, can hardly wait.

They came with us to the Dickens Fair this last weekend after joining us (surprisingly) to see a local community theater’s presentation of “A Christmas Carol”.   

 When we got to the Fair, they were suddenly overwhelmed by the sounds, sights and scents of the Fair and although they were wearing modern clothing compared to our Dickens garb they got into the swing of  it, even so much as asking their parents to buy them those “news boy” flat caps,  now they are getting the idea why their older siblings like the genteel Victorian way of life---although as we know during those times certain things like sanitation and women’s rights were almost nil,----but they are getting the idea, much to their Mother’s relief. 

This morning I got a call from my sister in law and as we worked on what to have for Christmas dinner she told me that the boys are now insisting on wearing their caps to school but of course taking them off in class,  she made sure their names were written on the inside of the caps.   But, she said, they seem to cherish them, even my brother bought one and now is wearing it every time he goes outside or to work, “keeps his head warm” she said he told her and she thinks the Twins have found out the same.

I think that is marvelous.  

I recently read an article about Ghost Stories at Christmas time and this goes beyond Dicken’s “Christmas Carol” 

 “A Plea to Resurrect the Christmas Tradition of Telling Ghost Stories”  by Colin Dickey at the Smithsonian Magazine web site

He says “Though the practice is now more associated with Halloween, spooking out your family is well within the Christmas spirit”   I think that is a perfectly Gothic idea.  I mean why should Ghost Stories only be confined to Halloween, after all “A Christmas Carol” is a ghost story in the very meaning of the word.

I recommend this article to all you Gothic Darklings and find a way to be able to tell them around the fireplace or by candle light or the lights of the Christmas tree,  it would be a wonderful new and dark tradition.

I’m also going to have a make ahead breakfast for Christmas day, although it will only be myself, Doyle, Sis and her roommate Brian (the Rodgers will be out of town) it makes perfect sense to do this.

So the night before Christmas (or day before) you can make this without having to fuss about breakfast on Christmas day.

The ingredients is:
1 pound hot sausage
6 slices bread, cubed
6 to 8 slices of pre-cooked bacon crumbled
1 cup grated cheese
6 eggs
2 cups of milk
1 teaspoon  of salt
1 teaspoon of mustard

To prepare in a skillet crumble and cook the sausage until brown, drain (do the same with the bacon), Grease a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex pan or dish, line the bottom with the cubed bread.

Then top with the sausage, bacon and cheese,  in a bowl combine the milk, eggs and seasonings and beat well then pour over the layers in the pan, cover and refrigerate overnight.   Next morning, take out and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, cut into squares and serve.  Will serve between 6 to 8 people.

Of course you’ll have the orange juice and coffee which you can prepare while it’s baking and toast and butter.     I just love make ahead foods and this is perfect.

Well I need to go,  Sis and I have to do a bit of Grocery shopping and I know we’ll be going back again on Saturday for the dinner,  which means we’ll be cooking and baking Saturday and Sunday with my sister-in law’s help.

In the mean time Dear Darklings you have a wonderful Christmas.

Later Darklings 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Of a horrible wind storm~~~

My Goodness Darklings,

We have been having heavy, strong winds blowing in wrenching gusts and long blasts, Thank Goodness no rain, but it makes it very difficult for the fire fighters down south.

Yesterday, I've been watching the leaves fly and roll down the street,  and the wind chill is just horrible.  I managed to persuade Mr. Rodgers to not walk the dogs today to just keep an eye on them in the back yard.  It didn't make sense for him to catch a cold or worse before he and his wife went to see their Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren.

Today it is still cold but the wind has died down a lot, so Mr. Rodgers insisted on walking the dogs, and putting on their over coats (on all three) he went off merrily with his charges, who were happy to leave doggie messages to their doggie friends.

Mrs. Rodgers informed me that once Mr. Rodgers gets into a routine, it's hard for him to change, it gives him a certain solidity in his life, I certainly can understand that.  

Doyle and I bundled up and went out into the back garden as well as the front yard to see what Damage had been done by the winds,  some Christmas lights had come loose which Doyle quickly re-hung and anchored,  lots of leaves and smaller tree branches but I'll leave that to my Gardener, but nothing broken which was fortunate considering the strength of the winds.  Upon reflection it was a good thing I did not put up T-Rex for Christmas.

This evening we are going to see "A Christmas Carol" performed at a local community theater, and tomorrow we are going back to the Dickens Fair, it pays to be flexible.  I invited the Rodgers but they preferred an early bed-time. 

Doyle and I had been talking about the Fireplaces,   and he suggested that I convert the one in the Family Parlor to be a gas log, that way I could have a fire but not have to worry about a spare the air day,  but leave the one in the Formal Parlor as wood burning. It made sense to me, the house is huge and the central heating can only do so much, I open the vents to the unused rooms twice a week to keep any "damp" out,  and in the Winter time the heating bill can be brutal, thank goodness for the Trust account my Great Aunt set up, for the maintenance of the house.  I told Doyle I needed to look into if putting in a gas fireplace would violate the Trust,  I don't think so because I'd preserve the Surround and Mantle, I'll talk with my lawyer, but it would be worth while.

I'm also looking into seeing what novels Barnes and Noble have re-printed in their "Victorian" style to give as gifts to the children in future as well as to add to my collection.

So much to do and take care of.

Later Darklings

Friday, December 15, 2017

Of a quiet family evening during the Holidays~~~

Hello Dear Darklings,

We have having tonight a quiet evening,  the crock-pot is almost finished with the Beef Stew and the rice cooker has just been turned on, coupled with salad followed later by Peach cobbler and decaffeinated coffee.   Sorry Darklings but after 3 p.m. I do not dare drink any caffeine,  at my age I need my "beauty sleep".

Doyle is finishing reading the S.F. Chronicle which is filled with news about the late Mayor Ed Lee,  Doyle admired what Lee was trying to do for the people of San Francisco even if some things Doyle didn't quite agree with, but being Mayor of a Large Metropolitan City is not easy.

Mr. Rodgers is napping in one of the easy chairs with Belladonna and Wiener Dog snuggled on either side of him, they get so tired after their late afternoon walk.   Mrs. Rodgers is knitting a baby jacket with matching hat and stockings in pale yellow for one of her Grandchildren who is expecting a baby any day now, she has no idea if it will be a boy or girl so either soft yellow or soft green is perfectly neutral.    She also knitted for me slippers in purple with pink trim  to keep my feet warm.

The Rodgers will be going out of town to visit family next week and won't be back until after New Years, the good thing is that their relatives live in San Luis Obispo far away from the fires, but the smoke is causing haze and spare the air days,  I've been burning tea lights in the fire places to give some semblance of a fire to give the warm, cozy feeling.

Tomorrow evening we are going to take in the Oakland Zoo Lights, it is traditional as well as going to our local Christmas Tree  Lane, then back to my brother's house for hot chocolate and dessert, we've been to the Dickens Fair twice now but the children want to go back, my sister-in-law can't go but my brother and I will take them, now the twins want to know what is all this "fuss" over the Dickens Fair so they are coming with us with promises to be very, Very good---as they say in that commercial "Naughty is not an option!" 

Melissa my sister in law is a bit worried, well more than a bit and I can understand her feelings, she was informed that her mother has colon cancer, her mother didn't have any symptoms at all, but when a stool sample came back looking suspicious, a colonoscopy was done and a cancerous growth was found,  her mother is going in next Tuesday for surgery and if all goes well she'll be home for Christmas, the hope is that it was caught well enough in advance,  I understand that there is an 85% chance of being cured from this type of cancer so the odds are good. 

One good thing is that her mother will be staying at her brother Bob's house while she's recovering further from the surgery and if Chemo is involved Bob's wife Marge was a nurse and can help during the Chemo.   Her Mother is considering giving up her apartment and moving in with her son, they have the room, she had sold her house some time ago downsizing, so this maybe a good option.

I told Melissa that at least a general game plan is in place, just need to deal with it day by day.   But I know she won't really relax until her mother is home and they know what stage the cancer is in.

But at least the Zoo Lights can be a mild temporary distraction.

And now I think I can smell the scent of Hot Apple Cider----Doyle is making a large pot of it, well maybe the cider instead of decaffeinated coffee.   And the timer went off so time for dinner.

Later Darklings

  I think for Christmas Dinner I'll let Doyle carve the Turkey, he's so good at it.