Sunday, May 27, 2012

I discover Vampires~~~~

Well Darklings,

The weather has been changeable but frankly it feels good even with the slight chill in the air, watching the clouds from my either my office window, or seeing it through my Living Room window, scuttling across the sky, the wind whipping the trees, blowing one’s hair out of style, with trash and dust flying up and irritating one’s nose.

Last night I was sitting in my comfortable overstuffed chair with Belladonna, my little rescue dog, in my lap as I stroked her soft fur, she was enjoying the “full body massage”. I was listening to soft music designed to not intrude into one’s thoughts as I stared into the flames that was burning my fire place drinking a dark red wine that was sending a mellow warmth through my body and thinking about when I was growing up, what was fun or important, or even event changing, what led to my eventual Gothicness.

More than one event or epiphany led me down this path of knowing that in life there is death and in death there is life, of knowing that for us to know Good we have to have Evil, that in life we have choices placed in our path and the betters ones are not always the easiest ones to take, that all of Life is a learning lesson, that there are no immediate answers as to why evil or tragic things happen but they are there as a reminder to seek a higher path, that those who are good that die young have because their life was presented before us so that we can take something good from it even if that person’s death seems senseless, that in Light there is Darkness and in Darkness one cannot escape the Light, that Death should be welcomed as a necessary friend and that beyond Death’s threshold is another world waiting for us.

One event that happen was during the Summer before my High School Sophomore year, when one of my girl friends(and I didn’t have many), asked me to help her clear out her Grandmother’s attic, actually it was her Great Grandmother, but Millie’s Mother and Grandmother needed help wanted us to go into the attic and bring down to the 2nd floor level what ever was up there, if anything was too heavy for us then Millie’s Dad would bring it down. My Parents knew that this Summer was not going to be much fun for me because my Mother was ill and going to have an operation, but anything to help give me a distraction or some fun was always welcomed.

Most of the stuff was broken, but we brought it down anyway, even old 78’s records, we found a few old dolls that the stuffing was falling out, Millie boxed them with the idea of repairing them, and she did too.

We had fun finding old board games with their instructions and remarkably all the pieces for the games, it was declared that they should be kept; her folks thought that the games looked amusing. You have to remember Darklings, we didn’t have the internet, no cell-phones, no apps, no Face book, no video games…this was the way we enjoyed life.

We found an old crank-up phonograph in the attic and its’needles and played the records, some of them were old Blues and Jazz, even an old tube radio that still worked, we played first the phonograph and listened to the records to see if they were in good shape and then we turned on the radio and listened to music, it helped pass the time as we worked.

While we went through stuff sneezing and blowing our noses, Millie told me how sad she was about her Great-Grandmother dying, that she was quite a woman, Millie was hoping to find things from the old lady’s young life that she wanted to preserve. She decided she wanted to keep the old phonograph and the records, we even found a table that went well with it to hold it and the records.

There was also mis-matched dishware, old photos which Millie’s Grandmother recognized the people in them and said she would label them, old picture frames, curtains and drapes crumbling to dust, old clothing so fragile that if you blew upon them would seem turn to dust, our greatest find was her Great Grandmother’s wedding dress and picture… and we came across a box of books.

We went through this box of books, mostly children stories of boys in the navy or something like that, a couple of murder mysteries which I found fascinating, I was told I could keep them if I wanted them, but near the bottom of the box was the book that would be another turning point in my life. This book had a red lambskin cover and imprinted in gold gilt was the title “Dracula”.

I had vaguely heard of this book, back then the word ‘vampire’ wasn’t mentioned often, mostly ghosts stories, but a vampire? I was told that if I wanted it I could keep the book, since everything that wasn’t kept was going to a 2nd hand dealer.

After washing our hands, having a quick snack to hold us till dinner, I went home to shower and wash the dust off and get into clean clothes before going back to my friends’ house for dinner. I checked in on my Mother she hadn’t been feeling well and my Grandmother was caring for her, Dad was working late. We found out that it was Mom’s gallbladder and she was going to have to have an operation to remove it, but the operation was still several days away and Grandma was going to stay while Mom got better.

My younger siblings were staying at a cousins’ farm down South for the entire Summer, a place that was fine to get their energy out, until Mom was fully recovered, but I was to stay with the Folks in case my Grandmother needed help during the day when Dad was at work, it was something I didn’t mind because it gave me a chance to have ‘talks’ with my parents and my Grandmother.

So for me to have dinner at my friends house was fine, it took pressure off of Mom and Grandma and they knew where would I be and it gave me a chance to have some fun with one of my few friends. Grandma knew I wouldn’t stay out too late and could walk home.

Remember Darklings, back then it wasn’t so dangerous to walk home at night, we had street lamps, people still kept their front doors unlocked, but provided that I came home by a certain time. And during the Summer it was still light until 8:30 or 9 p.m., an innocent period of time when there wasn’t a rapist around every corner, or serial killers, and most sociopaths were locked up and lobotomized.

After dinner we got out one of the games and played it, during the fun of working the game, I asked about the books and Millie’s Grandmother said that the old boys readers were her brothers’ and then I asked about the red-lambskin bound book of “Dracula”.

Millie’s Grandmother blushed and said that it was a scandalous book about the Undead that drank the blood of the living, she told me how it made her frightened of the dark, and how her father, Millie’s Great-Grandfather confiscated the book from her and forbade her from reading it. She told me that it had been made into a movie and then she went on about Bela Lugosi and how women were affected by the movie. I wondered how did a film made 30 years before could affect women?

Millie’s Mother and Grandmother just turned the subject away and Millie’s Dad had a stuff and nonsense remark about the “whole business”. But I…I was curious; I had to read the book.

I looked at the kitchen clock and saw it was going on 9 p.m. so I thanked Millie’s folks for having me for dinner, Millie and I made some plans for the weekend which I would call her to confirm and picking up my books I walked home the two blocks to my parents house, the thoughts of the subject of the book about the Undead was rattling around in my head, I didn’t recall my Folks or my Grandmother talking about vampires, were there such things?

Although there still was some light out it seemed that the night was getting darker faster and more frightening for me thinking about some not human creature that “drank the blood of the living” and could never die….Walking those two long blocks I kept looking at houses that had their front porch lights on, in some places people were sitting outside in the front of their homes enjoying the warm weather, at least that made me feel better, there were people out. If I had to scream some one would come running….I hoped.

I felt a certain amount of relief when I walked through the front door and heard the T.V. on in the Living Room, Grandma had her sewing and was working on a dress hem and more listening to instead of watching a detective program called “Checkmate”, I remembered it because I thought Doug McClure was cute. Yeah---cute.

I didn’t talk to Mother that night as she was finally resting from her gallbladder attack and Grandma wanted to watch the program on T.V. Dad had come home tired and was eating dinner in the kitchen, when he was done I washed the dishes and put them away. I remember Dad asking me if I could heat up some water so he could have a cup of (horrors) De-Caf coffee, the instant kind; I did and got out the can of condensed milk that we used back then for cream. I remembered that I poured myself of glass of milk and I set it on the table across from Dad, he had seen the books on the table and remarked about them.

I told him how I got them and then over his De-Caf coffee and my glass of milk I asked him about vampires.

He looked at me and took a sip of his coffee and asked me where did I hear that word. I showed him the book, and he started to chuckle, he told me he read the book and saw the movie years ago, when he was a young man and couldn’t understand why the women would “swoon” over a round faced, overly painted middle aged actor in a tuxedo.

But he said when he read the book he understood how people could become “drained of energy” and told me about what we’d call “psychic vampires” and how some people could fascinate other people, to the point of destruction. It was a very informative and eye opening talk.

My Grandma had come in and made herself a cup of tea listening to our talk, she told me how certain women in her younger days were called “vamps” or “vampires” because they could fascinate young men to their doom making them spend all their money, drinking and doing drugs and other vices.

Dad told me that it is a mistake to “give away my strength, power or will” over to another and that is what vampirism is all about, to dominate and control the will of another person, starting that night he and my Grandmother started teaching me things to keep my will, to watch for trickery and psychic vampirism.

My Grandmother told me about how her sister my Great-Aunt, whose house I now own, had that ability but she would use it for positive purposes, her beauty could make men weak and willing to help out those in need, and in some cases my Great-Aunt would obtain powerful information that helped her make serious money on the stock market. So as a young teen-age girl this made a serious darkly impression upon me.

I did the read the book and found myself slowing losing my girlishness, or the idea of a boy looking cute, I began to view people my age and older and even younger, as those who could manipulate using emotions for their own purposes and it made me very cautious, I learned to not be so trusting. As I got older, especially in College, those lessons stood me in good stead and kept me strong and had me remain my own person.

When my Mother had recovered from her operation she told me about the Burton Abbott Murder case that had occurred less than 5 years before, about this man who killed a young girl who was about my age.

That was when I discovered and learned more about the Dark Side of Life and could never look at people the same way again. I studied and learned about the “Darkness” which added to my Gothicness, but in my own way I also remained in “The Light” and so would lighten it with a touch of “The Munsters” and “The Addams Family”.

But Fear struck again with the Zodiac killings in late 1968 and sent me back into the Darkness, people no longer kept their front doors unlocked and looked at their neighbors with suspicion and over the years I slowly became the person that I am now, a Yin and Yang of light and dark neither defeating nor overtaking the other.

Some day I’ll talk about the Zodiac Murders and how they affected me and the people I know, but not tonight.

Later Darklings

Friday, May 25, 2012

~~~Catching Up

Hello Darklings,

Work has been making demands of me, but I have to do it, it’s the money that pays the bills that get repairs done, and gives me the “filthy lucre” to buy beautiful goodies of which I have been having fun finding.

Shoes and purses, those accessories that a woman even an elder Goth woman can never have enough of and Nordstrom has been happy to oblige me.

I had fun buying a Pour La Victorie satchel, in Palermo style in white, black, beige with red handles. Fun and just right for summer to do business with, I also purchased Vince Camuto sandals styled in what they call Minter in black with a two inch heel and brass studs going down the front tongue, they’ll look so edgy with my chiffon black palazzo evening slacks, topped with a pale gold blouse. And to keep me warm when the evenings take a little chill a cashmere shawl in black with gold edging, you can never go wrong with black and gold or silver and black.

And considering the number of parties that I have been invited to that are now crowding my calendar, it’s a good thing I have several combinations of this style to make things look interesting. Fortunately I have lightweight tops in jewel colors that will help change my look.

If you, as an elder Goth are looking for more upscale clothing for the summer, scan through Nordstrom’s on line catalogue, with careful selecting you will find something that will suit your summer needs without looking like “Miami Vice”.

The weather has turned mild although windy but has improved enough that the foundation work has been completed, the new plumbing and wiring has moved forward with so much completed that we are ahead of schedule. The new laundry room is done, the basement storage area completely finished, lightened up and well lighted.

The only thing is waiting for the re-wiring to be done to the two original chandeliers and then they will be installed in their original locations.

Once the heavy work is done then on forward to re-plastering, fixing the areas that had to be damaged and carefully patching the original wall paper, and if this weather holds up we’ll have it done before winter sets, two of the windows on the weather side of the house had to be replaced which I was able to have perfectly reproduced.

Outside I’m replaced the gutters, but I’m going to have to wait on painting the house until next year, as well as fixing the driveway and restoring the garden, but my girl friend, who loves to garden, has at least cleaned up the jungle-like tangled mess so we can see the original bones of the garden’s layout and relying on old photos she may be able to determine what kind of plantings were done although I may make some changes.

On decorating the interior, that I will take very slowly, one room at a time if possible and live with the rest until it’s their time to be done, it’s really my intention to preserve as much of my Aunt’s house as possible including the interior, but some things such as curtains, drapes I’ll have no choice but to replace with something as close to the originals, I do have the photo’s which help. The first areas will be the Kitchen followed by the master bath room.

I can see that “spring fever” is hitting a number of our staffers here at work, it’s sort of a “Hey Mambo, Mambo Italiano” feeling, where you sort of dance a mambo dance because one just feels good.

For me it’s the new Johnny Depp movie “Dark Shadows” that opened, I’ve got to see it soon, bit by bit I’ve been buying the T.V. series on DVD, with everything going into re-runs I’m going to have fun during the warm summer evenings.

And I had fun at the Vintage Fashion Show that was a couple of weeks ago, as well opening Friday night at the Friends of the Library used book sale, so much so that I bought several boxes of books including the Horror short stories of Arthur Conan Doyle. But it’s so good to know that my money is going to a good cause.

Belladonna has been a good little doggie with all the repair work that’s being done, one of my more elderly neighbors have been kind enough to baby sit her while I’m at work, she says that Bella is easy to care for while she watches her favorite programs on ME T.V. and RETRO T.V. My neighbor has said to me that with these programs now showing, television has become more bearable for her, and with programming her Tivo she can record the ones that run late at night or two programs that come on at the same time.

The only time it’s a problem is when my neighbor has a doctor’s appointment, when that happens I make arrangements to place her in Doggie Daycare and she seems to enjoy the change of pace.

This last Mother’s Day, was another happy yet sad day for me and I’m sure of others, my beloved Grandmother died on Mother’s Day many years ago, and sadly some years later my Mother also died on Mother’s Day, the dates were slightly different but it was the 2nd Sunday in May each time. So I went to the cemetery to leave flowers on their graves in Memory of what wonderful ladies they were for raising such a ‘changeling child’ as me. I could not have asked for better or more patient women than they were. Dinning was difficult as every place was booked full, so I drove my vintage car along the roads that use to be the by-ways of long ago, to see where it will take me for a quiet celebration. I have never been disappointed and I wasn’t, I found an out of the way place that had excellent food and wonderful ambience. I was surprised that it wasn’t crowded but the waiter told me that for Mother’s Day it seems that they need places that can handle large groups and this little location was not geared for that. All in all a very relaxing day. Then back to work the next day…***sigh***such is life. Later Darklings.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Perfect Motto

Well Darklings,

I came across a wonderful quote that I think all Elder Goths, Femme Fatales and other darkly wicked Diva's should have as their motto.

Dita Von Teese was asked to describe her idea of what a woman should look like and the wicked darling replied:

"A femme fatale is always chic, a little wicked, edgy and dark, and has her own dress code she sticks to.”

And I think that is perfect for us.

Speaking of being chic, and a little wicked, I went to a wonderful Vintage Fashion Show last night, it was wonderful with music, a vintage fashion contest, drinks, and little munchies as well as beautiful vintage clothing.

I found a wonderful black hat with rhinestones that is perfect for my clothing style for early 50's, it can be worn all year round, summer and winter. And gloves in a deep reddish maroon color so very hard to find but was in style in the 50's.

I'm on their mailing list for their next event, how wonderful to have something so close by.

So I will make Dita's remark my motto and I think any wicked lady should too.

Until later Darklings

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thoughts on this Past Easter~~~~

Hello Darklings,

Ahhh Easter has passed with all its symbols; all the bunnies and chicks, and little ducklings, soft puppies and kitties, everything blooming, I’m sneezing.

And yes, with this post I am behind, but remember Elder Goths can be busy…so to continue…..

As an elder Goth I was thinking….contemplating really….. Easter is a peculiar holiday or feast to celebrate, because a Goth is really suppose to be pre-occupied with the dark side of life. But Easter does have its dark side, look at the full Easter story, the knowing of what’s to come, the betrayal, Judas’ suicide, the false accusations, the mock trial, the torture (enough to make a sado-machonist squirm in pleasure) the suffering, the method of dying, (don’t ask me to get into that but it’s really a form of slow suffocation), burial or entombment and then Horrors---possible grave robbing?

Well Darklings if you want gloom and doom the Easter story has it aplenty.

But as an elder Goth who does go to cemeteries and enjoys reading different funeral procedures, Easter can be a wonderful time, if one can get past all the egg salad from the left over dyed eggs that are not eaten.

For me it means bringing out my spring and summer Goth clothing. This is where one gets to pair black with another color, like yellow or coral or even a light green, Heavens!! A lighter color?? Why Not.

Of late, thanks to the T.V. cable program “Mad Men” more selections have come out and the new colors are a pink or orange coral, and this color is made for Elder Goths, you can pair it with your black clothing, your skirts, tops, dresses, slacks and jackets and not seem dreary, just edgy and fun. I recently picked up a coral colored light weight sweater and sweater shell which will pair wonderfully with my black slacks and skirts, I also purchased a bright yellow bolero jacket that goes well with my black dresses, and one can accent your all black outfits with scarves in those colors, trust me you can find them at flea markets and vintage fashion shows, I managed to find two pairs of cloth gloves, one in orangey coral and the other in yellow, but go easy on the yellow, one does not want to look like a bumble bee.

And black straw hats and purses are just perfect for spring and summer for the elder Goth, just sunny enough without looking out of place or being too Holly Golightly.

Avoid pink if you can, no pink lipstick or polish but Revlon has a great color called Orange Flip and a nail polish called “Chile” as in the spice.

I even saw an elder Goth friend of mine who had her nails done with a very dark blue back ground with white bunnies with pink ears. Who says Goths’ can’t have fun. And during this time it is perfect to have fun.

Near where I live there is several families of wild ducks that have become somewhat domesticated, if you picnic out there they will come up looking for a tasty handout, the female is usually the one in the lead about that, she makes all the judgment calls, when I go there I make sure to have a bag of “Duck Chow” which you can get from any good pet store or feed store. And keep Belladonna on her leash so she doesn’t chase them.

They say you shouldn’t encourage that but these ducks are “urban warriors”, they understand the wilds of city living, then after a time you will see them with their ducklings, I and my friends figure life is hard enough, at least give them a chance to get to adulthood or duckhood as it were, and then take their chances. But seeing the ducklings is enough to soften a hardened heart unless they are a sociopath.

Even at the White House when a mama duck tried to get her babies onto the White House lawn they needed help from the White House security force, last I heard they were doing fine at the East Lawn fountain. Often I’ve seen pictures in the papers of police officers and the general public holding up traffic so mama ducks and their babies can safely cross the street. An Elder Goth who knows how hard life can be, can appreciate the assistance.

Now I have been asked frequently how does one determine when Easter as celebrated by the Christian Church, falls.

Yes, it would seem that it appears to be random, but not if you know the formula. Yes Darklings, there is a formula or calculation as to when is Easter.

Easter is always the first Sunday after the first Paschal full moon after the Spring Equinox.

O.K. if you didn’t understand that here it is again by using astronomical calculations or when certain astrological constellations or stars appear in the sky that determines the first day of Spring, then using the full moon and a calendar, the very first Paschal full moon that appears after the Spring Equinox starts the countdown to Easter Sunday, which would be the first Sunday after the first full moon that appears after the Spring Equinox.

So for this year the Spring Equinox was on March 21 or 22 determining where you’re at, but the first full moon after that date does not happen until Friday, April 6, so Easter Sunday is on April 8.

Because of when the full moon makes its appearance after the Spring Equinox, determines if Easter will be early in the Spring or late in the Spring. Now it has to be a Paschal full moon because if one reads one’s bible (either NKJ or Douay) the events occurred soon after Passover, so the calendar has to be both lunar and solar or lunisolar to determine when Easter is celebrated, it can be as early as March 22 to as late as April 25.

And just to confuse you more it also depends if you are on a Julian or Gregorian calendar year, because Easter Orthodox always celebrates their religious holidays about a week later.

Wheewwwwuuuuu!!!! Do not ask me to explain that all again Darklings, look it up in Wikipedia.

I have one Catholic Goth friend who follows the whole Easter Ritual from Shrove Tuesday to Ash Wednesday, Lent to Holy Week to Easter Sunday and then Pentecost. She uses Lent to get her into dieting and cleaning her body system (safely of course) and to spring clean her house, which could include replacing worn out sheets and towels, cleaning out closets and just serious cleaning. Then if the weather is warm enough she’ll also do spring planting of annuals in her garden.

Last year she couldn’t do it because of the horrendous rains we had. This was fine if one is in to serious gloom or “Young Frankenstein”.

But for me I did go to church for Easter Sunday services, and I look for the darkest, gothiest church I can find and I am never disappointed, so far the Catholic and Episcopal Churches offer the best services. But what I like is the Easter Midnight Services which is not done very often now, when one enters the church in the front vestibule is the Paschal fire which the old palm leaves from last years Palm Sunday service is burned the ashes are saved to become the Ashes for next years Ash Wednesday.

The Church is dark with only minimal lighting, in one that I went to they still had the old candle scones and they were lit with glass covers around them for protection. The church is silent with only people softly muttering their prayers, then you hear the church bells chiming the midnight hour and just after the 12th bell has struck, a priest carrying the Paschal candle which has been lit from the Paschal fire at the entrance of the church raises the candle above his head and sings out “Christ is Risen!” That portion of the church lights up, he proceeds down the aisle towards the altar, stopping in the middle of the building and repeats the process and that portion of the church lights up, he continues down the aisle until he is at the altar and sings one last time “Christ is Risen!’ raising the candle high, the dark purple cloths wrapped around the statues& the sanctuary cross are whipped off by assistants and the altar area is lit up with light and the candles on the altar are quickly lit as the organ plays and a choir breaks into song as High Mass begins.

One cannot be affected by this amazing ritual of rejuvenation and redemption, you leave the church tired but strangely at peace with one’s self and with the world and sleep well knowing the dawn will look brighter.

Even now I have my palm frond from this last palm Sunday, I burned carefully my old one from last year and added it’s ashes to the box that holds the ashes from previous years, when I die I want these ashes to be scattered into the grounds of a garden or in a dark forest of redwoods to become something rejuvenating.

Kisses Darklings.