Sunday, September 30, 2012

Morning Sunrise ~~~~~ Day


I woke up early to a wonderful almost watery morning sunrise,  the Fall feeling in the air is almost tingly,  so having a cup of coffee with my favorite hazelnut creamer (I have such a weakness for that), I went outside to enjoy the scents and sounds of morning... 

Yes Darklings, I said scents and sounds,  night and day have their own individual feel, and even within Day and Night there are special  hours where you feel one with the world.

For me those moments are when dawn is breaking and you hear the earth waking up, the fingers of dawn stretching out across the land, the beginning twittering bird song, there is a cat that has taken to sleeping under my front porch,  he comes out yawns and stretches, his own style of cat yoga,  and proceeds to wash himself.  

Belladonna makes a loud yawn and does "downward facing dog" then stretches out her back legs,  and sleepily looks at me for a little breakfast,  I feed her and put out something for the cat, I do not claim the cat, he is his own master.

Then I turn and look at my bird bath and before long the birds are down there bathing and splashing, getting a drink of water before going on their foraging. 

I sniff the air and scent it's chill from the night before, and a hint of "green" still lingers, touched by dust,  under laid by the scent of warmth to come, then more bird song.  Before too long people wake up and then the smell of breakfast comes through the air,  I know what each of my neighbors are cooking,  bacon from one, pancakes from another,  strong coffee from a third.

And through all of this my mind can hear the music of Grofe "Grand Canyon Suit" specifically the tone poem "Sunrise"  and I think he captured it so perfectly. 

Then the first car door slams and the magic is broken, time for me to get ready for the day.

Many, Many Many years ago when I first started working, I had for a long time the night shift at this one job,  I'd see so much and had to be so active, it took a while for my body to get use to working nights and sleeping days,  I didn't have a car then so when I left work to go home I took the bus and the dawn would be braking.    There was an all night coffee shop next to the bus stop and I'd buy a cup of coffee to go, back then you could not eat or drink food on the bus---you still can't---but the driver knew I was getting off work and there was hardly anyone on the bus at that time of the morning so he never stopped me from having my coffee to get me home.

But I'd listen to the sounds of the dawn and watch how it would change the land and each and every time, especially after a very rough night, it felt like a Mother's gentle hand touching me and saying everything is fine, now rest.

Now the sounds of dawn say to me wake up, wake up and live life and be one with the day as you have been of the night.

Later Darklings

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Only 31 Days to Halloween~~~~

Yes Darklings,

Halloween is only 1 month away, but why wait for just one day to celebrate when you can celebrate for the entire month.

And how does one do that?  You may ask.....

Well Darklings, I had been reluctant to ask Doyle but he surprised me by going on line to find out what sort of Halloween events would be coming, and there are a lot.

Of course one can have a party which is just wonderful, but also a lot of work.

Decorating your abode is another, but if you are living the Elder/Elderly Goth style you are just shopping to add to your furnishings.  However for me every 5 or 6 years I need a new skeleton, what is left of the old one's becomes pieces for my Haunted Graveyard.

So to start the fun, 6 weeks before Halloween take out your decorations and see what is still usable and what has become tacky, tired or simply "died".   

From there start planning your decorations both inside and out, mostly outside, now some people I know start planning and building their new outdoor Halloween display almost a year in advance.  That is really getting into the "Spirit".

Next see where during the week Halloween will fall, this year it's in the middle of the week, Pooh!!  Very difficult to have a Halloween party especially if you have to go to work the next day,  but you still can have one on the weekend before---Halloween is always the most fun if it falls on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday.    Sunday is good too but still one has to "rise and shine" for the next work day.

Next watch for the bargains in candy and load up.

Prep the ground where you are going to do your outside decorations, and the first weekend of October or the last weekend of September start getting things ready.  Now this year if you start this weekend you will have 5 weekends to prepare for Halloween.

Place all the non-destructible things in your outdoor display, test the lights for maximum effect.  And go from there to see what else to add.

Then visit your Spirit Store or Party Warehouse or go online to the Fright Catalogue or Grandin Road to see what you might want to add.

If you are going to have a party, plan your menu and send out invitations.

What I have done so far is I've gone to the Spirit Store and purchased a few things for my outdoor display, including an evil care taker and a hopping spider,  I'm considering the Werewolf to have inside the graveyard.   I also purchased plates and shot glasses.

I am going to have a party for a few friends on Halloween mostly finger food, and we'll hand out candy to the children and watch a few good classic horror films, I only go all out when Halloween falls on a weekend, but during the week I plan on it being simple.

Now if you are not handing out candy and are not holding a party there are things and events one can go to or take in,  PEERS is having their annual Bal Du Vampires but it will be held the weekend after Halloween, which is fine just in time for the Days of the Dead.

The ghost Town of Columbia is having a ghost walk one weekend and a paranormal event another weekend which Doyle and I will be going to. 

Find out which charities or functions are holding "Haunted Houses"  locally the most important one to go to is presented by "The Pirates of Emerson"  Doyle and I plan to go during the week.

Fine out if there are "Dead Tours" or "Cemetery Tours" in your city or near by,  plan on having a haunting Bar-B-Que with deep fried Bat Wings, and Black Velvet Cake, and dark liquids,  see if you can hire a fortune teller to tell fortunes at your party, or a magician or a story teller to tell ghost stories.

Let your imagination run wild,  Halloween is where if you have been repressing it, is a perfect time to let your inner Goth out,  sometimes community theater's will present during this time a spooky play---even if it's creaky---go to have fun.

Do something spooky, haunting, and Halloween each weekend, wear skull and bat jewelry at work, now is when it's perfectly all right to wear that black nail polish with little skulls or ghosts on your nails. 

The night or two before Halloween go around town to see what other people have done for decorating, take pictures as well.

And then, all you Muggles out there, you will find your inner Goth and once you go to that particular "dark side" don't bother to come back, be free to be creative, to soar, to be a bit quirky and expand your horizons, and become beautiful.

As for me, well we went to our local Spirit Store and I'm starting things already.   I've bought a dozen shot glasses that say "poison", "deadly", "Toxic", "arsenic".

And a candy gift store that I love to go to called "Gaslight Emporium",  opened up with a special party with all their Halloween gifts, and I bought a top hat decorated with a small skull and black veil, black roses and feathers, a lovely sign that said "Haunted House, Welcome" , some lovely spider jewelry, and decorated bottles with signs that say "skull powder", "spider eggs", "venom",  and apothecary jars that say "Belladonna", "Hemlock", and "Arsenic",  I think I'll use them to hold coffee, Sugar and cookies in the kitchen.  I think the one that says skull powder will be perfect to hold pepper,   as a matter of fact one can buy these labels that have bizarre names for drinks---I'm thinking I might use that for a few things, but carefully add what the real ingredients might be.

A number of magazines and books and booklets are on sale now with ideas for decorating and cooking and I saw a recipe for Black Velvet cake with a white cream cheese frosting and I mean the cake is black, not chocolate but black.  I will see if I can find the recipe for you and post it.  The top of the frosting was decorated with a spider web design which I thought was perfect.  

Oh one can go on and on with wonderful things Darklings and this is the time to do it.

And now I must go, Doyle is refusing me to cook dinner, I'm not a bad cook but he said that he wants to eat out tonight so we can enjoy the full moon.  

Time to Howl, Darklings

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Do Do That Voodoo That You Do So Well"


I’ve received several comments while I was on vacation, that I need to address, I didn’t post the comments because they seemed to repeat themselves so I wasn’t sure if they were from one person or several---BUT~~~~

I’ve had several people ask me why I do not remark about the events that are happening in the Middle East and the world, as well as the progress and statements by our two presidential candidates.

I know I have followers from as far away as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, Pakistan, Russia, the Ukraine, Israel and parts of Europe as well as the United States, Canada and in South America and Mexico. With the internet we have truly become a global society.

And as an Elder/Elderly Goth and a human being, in a way I think I might need to explain myself as a sort of apology, well not quiet an apology but definitely as an explanation.

In regards to the Presidential Campaign and our two candidates~~~~~

Here in my local community, on television, in the newspapers, magazines and radio I am so swamped with all these promises of “vote for me I can do better” that I begin to tune them out.

Not until October will I look over the record of both candidates and the parties as well as anyone else that maybe running will I make any sort of personal decision and that my Darklings is the key word “personal”.

I refuse to get involved in any debate regarding politics, to me it can destroy friendships, create a dividing line between family members and disrupt good feelings between neighbors, I will not put any sort of political sign on my front lawn nor “wear my personal thoughts” on my sleeve or on my blog. (Although this is about as close to personal as it can get)

I will attend any “town hall meetings” that I feel will be informative just so I can get a better idea of our local candidates for our state, county and city positions as well as to have a better understanding of the various initiatives, propositions and bond issues.

But talk about it on my blog? No I will not---I want my blog to be free of any of those things, I want it to be an escape into other things, far, far, far away from politics and religious fundamentalism, they are banned from my blog.

Is that harsh? No Darklings it is not… I do not turn a deaf ear nor a blind eye to what is happening around the world. As a matter of fact I am very aware of it; I follow it and do what I can to keep updated on it.

Yes I am and was horrified by what has happened and is happening, but if there is one thing I learned becoming an Elder/Elderly Goth, is that there is always more than what one sees and it is always best to step back and analyze before forming an opinion and then speaking it out loud.

Do I have thoughts and opinions about what has happened --- yes I do, Very Strong opinions, far, far stronger than what I have just mentioned but I will not post it here.

I will not say “vote for this person or this bond” or nor will I say anything inflammatory.

It is a wise Elder/Elderly Goth who will step back away from the fray and examine the bigger picture and wait for all the information to come in, for as each day passes more and more is revealed until eventually one can see what has and is happening.

In my youth, an elderly priest once told me “TRUTH LIES AT THE BOTTOM OF A WELL, one has to drag it up through the muck and mire, and then carefully wash it off, but when one does that, it can burn so bright as to be blinding, burning away one’s eyes when they see the falseness they have been hiding behind and the truth is revealed.”   and he was not referring to an islamic prophecy but to TRUTH.

He said it’s much like that scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” when the Nazi’s open the Ark of the Covenant and all these beings come out and are at first beautiful but because it’s truthful beauty it is so horrendous it blinds you and can destroy you, unless you are willing to open your heart to it, Indiana Jones and his female cohort realized this and knowing how terrible the beauty can be and knowing they are sinners, closed their eyes not because they wanted to see the truth, but having respect for it they closed their eyes and thereby opened their hearts.

I asked him, how can he, a priest be so content in his last days; he said he had seen horror when he was doing missionary work in his younger days, and he asked over and over again of God Why? Why? It was such a test of his faith that at times he was almost ready to toss it away, but then a child or someone sick, lame, in need of help would come to him, sometimes he could heal or help them, and there were times he couldn’t but only give them dignity and peace in their dying, to let them know they were not alone or forsaken.

And then one day he discovered that the answer was ‘it must be to learn, to learn goodness, compassion, pity and to balance one’s love of God and human kind against the dogma of religion and to keep Faith with God’ he told me that the greatest of God’s commandments is to Love One Another and in doing that to accept each other and respect and work with each other in Peace and Harmony, with that, even facing adversity he regained his faith.

He said it’s like a baby learning to walk, first you have to roll over, then you have to learn the function of crawling, then to gain the balance to be able to walk, first with one step and then another and BALANCE is the most important of the function of walking, WE, meaning the entire planet, have not learn to be in Balance, but we will, we’ve come along way from the Apes, but we have so much further to go.

He told me that when he felt sad about things, something comes along and reminds him that we must keep Faith; he said it can be as simple as a butterfly, a child’s laughter, a hummingbird sipping nectar, a sparrows song, the tiniest things. But that the worst he said is to inflame people and lead them down destructions path, or to follow blindly without reason or information. To be as sheep following the Judas Goat to destruction, he advised me to never be a sheep and I have never been one.

He reminded me of the two scenes in “Bride of Frankenstein” where first the Monster is hunted down like an animal, and then in the second scene a blind hermit takes him in and teaches him. Granted the scene is played in saccharin sentimentality but its truthfulness is there.

As an Elder/Elderly Goth I have and will donate to charities that can help the helpless, I will support those actions that will do the greatest good. I will help my neighbors, family and co-workers, be kind to animals, and avoid making judgments until I know everything to form an informed opinion.

For you younger Goths you can help with food drives, clothing drives, blood drives, soup kitchens, para-transit, help those who are weaker than yourself, do fund raising, get the word out on what needs to be done, work with habitat for humanity, raise food in community gardens to be shared and other charities.

Be informed; do not say “I’m democrat or republican or an independent or a libertarian or a member of Occupy” instead you should say “I am for keeping the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and all the amendments in the Bill of Rights and for helping my fellow human being and those creatures that do not have a voice.”

But my posting comments or thoughts on my blog about the situations in the world or the political arena? No, I’ll leave that to Associated Press and CNN, my blog is about what I’m doing in this world and to provide a bit of escape and thoughts for those who wish to come here, read and forget about other things that are horrible.

If what I post sounds selfish, self-centered, hedonistic I can assure you it is not, I do work that helps a lot of people and is both mentally and physically draining and if I didn’t take time to “heal myself” then I could not function in society, I would not be able to find the little fun Gothicy things in life. I would not be able to see the beauty in the dark, or with old and crumbling things, nor would I be able to see things in the light as well.

So what I do, I do to heal myself so I can help others. Am I wealthy? For a long time I was not, I had to work two jobs to save and achieve what I wanted; it is only in the last few years that my finances are where I can live a comfortable life, not large but comfortable.

Now My Darklings and Baby Bats, I have said the only nearly political or religious thing that I am going to say on my blog. (I think)

And I say to all of you, to quote Harvey Korman as Hedly LaMarr in “Blazing Saddles” (a politically incorrect movie you really should see), get out there and “Do do that Voodoo that you do so well.”

In the next few weeks, I’ll be looking into local murder mysteries, vampires, Halloween, ghost hunting and other things, that is if I have time as I am still doing construction and repair work on my home and Doyle has those October travel plans ***sigh*** it never stops.

Later Darklings.

13 Goals that an Elder/Elderly Goth should follow~~~


I’ve discovered something while I was on my vacation, first, and it is so obvious----I missed my little 4 legged darling, Belladonna intensely, so much so that I was calling her babysitter every other day, which fortunately her babysitter didn’t mind, but I fully intend to take her with me as much as possible from now on.

Secondly, while going through some things and also being on vacation I re-discovered things that I had jotted down many years ago, goals that one should achieve, things that were told/taught to me by my family, some of which I’ve mentioned before but I think bears repeating.

We must conserve our resources, our parents, grand-parents and great-grand-parents knew this, but it is something that we forgot in the vast consumerism of 1970’s to now in the 21st century.

We must remember to:







What the youngsters or Baby Bats, now call re-cycling and re-purposing, the Elders knew long, long before.

And these things that I re-discovered---fortunately I’ve managed to achieve most of it, but even for myself, an Elder/Elderly Goth, one should never stop learning.

I’ve also looked into the shelf and freezer life of products as well for my pantry and I’ve discovered it is so important to date things, that way you can be sure to use it in time and rotate out without waste, a large indelible ink marker is very handy for that.

But Something else I’ve discovered and have updated and augmented.

These are:

Goals that an Elder/Elderly Goth should achieved

And what younger Goths or Baby Bats should aspire to….

1. Know Yourself, to truly know yourself you must be prepared to change your opinions as you learn and grow older.  For if you are not willing to know yourself, to be willing to learn and with learning change, then instead you will stagnate and never achieve anything.

2. Know your Job and Skills, learn from the masters who have done this before, sometimes the old skills are the best. Remember Scotty from Star Trek who said "The more they over think the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.” And remember what he also told a young La Forge who said "The tank can't handle that much pressure."

"Where'd you get that idea?"

"It's in the impulse specifications."

"Regulation 42/15: 'Pressure Variances in IRC Tank Storage'?"


"Oh, that. Forget it. I WROTE it”

3. Learn and Grow, never be afraid to expand your abilities by continuously learning, that way life never grows dull or stale and it makes things interesting.

4. Apply knowledge with Wisdom, never ever think you know everything or have all the answers because YOU DON’T, be willing to admit that there are times when you could be wrong.

5. Achieve Balance, remember there are always two sides to every question, argument, situation and truth

6. Keep your Words in Good Order, it is always easy to use profane and foul language it is much harder to say things carefully without increasing the tension.

7. Keep you Thoughts in Good Order, it is always easy to jump to conclusions or to judge and condemn without looking carefully at the situation, remember the Indian prayer “Great Spirit, Grant That I May Not Criticize My Neighbor Until I Have Walked A Mile In His Moccasins"

8. Celebrate Life, in Life there is Death, in Death there is Life, it should always be a celebration, if you hear the tiniest squeak of a Hummingbird, see the flutter of a Butterfly, the inquisitiveness of a squirrels, the playful happiness of a dog, the relaxed attitude of a cat, the gracefulness of a fish, the soaring loftiness of a sparrow, then celebrate it, even if its just in your heart.

9. Attune with the Cycles of the Earth, we forget that to every Season there is a time for it, to ignore it is to throw your body and senses out of time and out of tune with the music of the spheres, celebrate everything and attune with it, from New Years to Valentine’s Day to Easter, to Mother’s and Father’s Day, Memorial Day to 4th of July, to Fall, to Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas, celebrate it, to ignore it is to bankrupt your soul and your self.

10. Breathe and Eat Correctly, slow down, simplify your life, enjoy the air that is out there, enjoy the sun, the moon, the stars, the day and the night, the rain, the wind, you do not need 100 pairs of shoes, nor all those apps on your Iphone or Ipad, sometimes it is good to disconnect from everything and just slow down, BREATHE and live life, to eating correctly we make the mistake of gobbling our food, we don’t savor it, we eat too many big Macs but forget the delightful crunch of a fresh apple, eating should be slowed down and enjoyed, from the taste to the smell, to the texture and flavor.

11. Exercise the Body, too long we sit at a computer ‘surfing the internet’ and denying the joys of the outdoors, even at night; we watch sports on T.V. but do not enjoy the physical interaction with friends and/or family, even if it’s a slow walk in the neighborhood you’ll get to meet people, discover little hidden treasures of shops and places, and missing the beauty of life around us.

12.Meditate, this is where you learn to listen to the stillness within, to bring the energies of the body into harmony to close your eyes and quiet the “monkey chatter” in the brain and in doing so achieve a blissful serenity that most people seek through drugs or over activity but really it is the stillness that brings it to you.

13.Honor the Higher Spiritual Power, yes there is something profound that is greater than ourselves, whatever your religious beliefs are, take time to say thank you to this Higher Power, if it was through the intervention by a parent, friend, co-worker, acquaintance or just someone in customer service who assists you to their best of their ability say “Thank You”, by doing that you honor them and you Honor the Higher Spiritual Power.

Some times it might be best to go on a Spiritual Retreat at an abbey or monastery to get yourself to learn to Slow Down and discover yourself and the simple joys of life, to go against the stream of “go, go, go!” and instead say “Why?”

Sometimes it can be the pleasure of doing childlike things, of blowing bubbles, of cutting snowflakes out of paper, of dancing with your dog, or gathering sea shells,   for to quote Captain Kirk "The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play." And we should all learn to play.

Later Darklings.

Ghosts and Blood~~~~

A Ghost Walk and Blood, Darklings???

Well Doyle has surprised me, with not one but two, yes, two ghostly events and the Oktoberfest.

He managed to book a cabin for two different weekends at the Marble Quarry RV Park just a 10 minute walk from Columbia State Historic Park. He did this months in advance knowing how quickly things can get booked.

So somehow we will manage to squeeze in an Oktoberfest, a Columbia Ghost Walk Oct 13 & 14, and a paranormal Urban legends weekends for October, and I have to make arrangements to get off on Fridays and I can take little Belladonna with us, as the Marble Quarry RV park permits pets but with a small fee of $5.00 a night, well worth it.

I am looking forward to it as it will make October and Fall so enticing and enchanting in a ghostly way. Already my bags are open and being packed bit by bit, with several warm sweaters for Belladonna.

I was relaxing last night with a glass of Zinfandel from the D’art winery and it’s rather good, all just right, the fire was burning in the fireplace, I was so glad to have one the first things worked on was the fireplace and it’s chimney, redid the firebox and ran a fireproof flue up the chimney to reinforce it and improve it’s drawing capabilities, the comfortable chair and foot stool, the fireplace, the zinfandel, Doyle reading, the CD disc of Angel Romero on the guitar playing on the stereo on a Fall evening, Belladonna napping on my lap occasionally uttering sighs of contentment.

So different from the hecticness of the day, I had a doctor’s appointment and she wasn’t going to waste a single minute of it, we talked over medications, diet and exercise, and she scheduled me for a mammogram, lab work which included blood plus several shots that I needed Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Shingles vaccine, Flu shot will be next week as well as a bone density scan….ahhh the travails of getting older and becoming and Elder/Elderly Goth.

But it wasn’t without some amusement, I was having blood drawn by a young man who loves his job and understands blood.

He saw it flow very nicely and remarked “You must drink a lot of water, your blood is flowing beautifully and cleanly” I told him I did drink a lot of water to keep hydrated but I had been concerned about the availability of my veins.

He said “Your veins are very small but well formed and plump, again the water. We have people come in and they could have nice large veins but they hardly drink any water and the blood does not flow very well, it keeps clotting or moving like sludge, so I have to advise them to drink a lot of water. The Elderly are notorious for not drinking enough water, they are so afraid of bladder accidents, but if they would drink a good amount of water at least two or three weeks before a lab test then it helps us and it plumbs up the veins. We have to be careful on the needle size, with small veins and for the elderly I like to use the smallest needle, it hurts less, and with being hydrated it hurts less when I inject the needle to draw the blood. The color is very good too.”

I turned and looked at him, smiled and said “Thank you, Count Dracula”, he smiled and blushed a little and said “I usually work nights but they were short handed today.” And with a deft flick of the wrist he put a Band-Aid where he had removed my blood. “Keep drinking that water.” He said as I left and I assured him I would.

So water helps plump up the veins and the blood so it flows through our veins better. I was not aware of that, so both water and blood is the life, I contemplated that as I idly stared into my glass of Zinfandel, how vital to our lives, and how easily we waste it.

With that thought I decided that I would look into the best way to irrigate my garden with the least amount of wasted water. About blood? I am not a good candidate for a blood drive, but I can donate to it. And with that thought in mind I relaxed as Belladonna shifted in my lap to get more comfortable and Doyle remarked about an article he read in the paper.

Later Darklings

Vampire Wine and other dark things~~~~


I’ve been having fun searching on the internet for Gothic indulgences and if you really want to go all vampy then check out Vampire Wine at, not only Vampire Wine, but vampire coffee and vampire chocolate, well chocolate is considered the “food of the gods”.

And I never thought one could find a gothic/vampire web site to cover these “little” things like dishes, glass wear and such but sometimes it’s nice to be surprised and the web site for items from books to plates to furniture is, when you get there go to the “database” for those subcategories for food, drink, furniture and such.

You can have tons of fun checking things out, however there are some “dead” links but on the whole I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

And now to go off topic----I’m back to cosmetics and fashion again Darklings, it seems that the dark cranberry and burgundy colors for lipstick seems to be a bit of a rage, and Chanel has come out with a new perfume “Coco Noir”. I have not smelled it yet, when I come across it I will let you know.

In the latest In Style makeover magazine it seems that these 4 colors are in for Fall and frankly perfectly wonderful for Goth beauty---Burgundy, Gold, Emerald and White, yes White Darklings is the new “black”, of course Gold looks wonderful with black, wine, creamy white or emerald.

As I said Burgundy is the new lip and nail color but avoid the browner tones of it. Nars lip gloss in “Rouge Tribal” and Maybelline’s nail lacquer in “Dressed to Kill” are very wicked looking, for gold look to Yves Saint Laurent nail color in “No. 29” and Guelain’s “Radiance” with 24kt gold as a perfume, a bit expensive but Darklings you are worth it in all your Dark, Dark Glory.

Estee Lauder’ nail color in “Viper”, a wonderful snaky green shimmer has me thrilled and will look smashing with my emerald green velvet dress and matching cape with purple velvet lining (yes a bit much but perfect for going out). If you are going for the whites either creamy or dead winter white go with Dior’s nail polish in “No. 115” but be careful to not make yourself look like a corpse, just ethereal, this is where you have to be careful with your facial makeup Darklings.

I have to admit I fell in love with the emerald green embossed leather bag with the resin tortoise shell top accents by Tory Burch, you can find it at Bloomingdale’s, but be sure you plan to keep it for a long time, frankly with it’s classic styling it will never become dated and I know for sure it will become a mainstay in my purse collection. (yes, I managed to buy it)

I had grabbed my August 19, 2012 New York Times magazine the “In Style” section from the Sunday New York Times to read and “devour” during my vacation and I was pleased to see, as in the September Vogue magazine, more corporate Goth styles, so my wardrobe will never be out of style. Frankly it never is, but those filmy Edwardian styles from Victorian Trading Company I just adore, including the Black Velvet Opera Coat which I ordered, perfect for a chilly winter evening.

But there is one other catalogue worth ordering or even going on line and that is the Pyramid collection at I was so excited to get it and I have to be very, Very careful Darklings or I’ll max out my credit cards. So much to choose from ***sigh*** So I will add these three web sites to my links page and you can have the fun of being pulled in this direction or that direction of decisions, decisions.

I have to admit I managed to plan to return from the first half of my vacation right when our local community had a Vintage Fashion Fair, and I found some lovely little things just right for an Elder/Elderly Goth, like a box of black handkerchiefs with white flower edging, just perfect for a funeral. And beautifully embroidered black gloves that go up half way toward the elbow, perfect for my ¾ sleeve leopard print coat (faux fur Darklings, faux fur), and another darling hat in gray with a darker gray trim. I am still looking for the perfect hat to go with my 1950’s faux fur leopard print coat.

But now Darklings my little Belladonna is demanding my attention, Mommy has been away too, too long, two times too many, and I have to admit I missed her too, so the next time I plan on a vacation I will look for pet friendly places, as it is only right, perhaps I can look into those “pet companion” vests, then she can never be denied her right to be with me.

Leaving you will all my ideas and links, remember when you plan for a vacation be sure to save, save, save, that way you will not break your budget, even though I have a good income with these difficult times, I am careful with my spending. And although it sounded like I spent a lot of money I had saved up for it for nearly two years to be able to have this indulgent time. And it was worth it.

Just as it was wonderful to return home although being on vacation for over 3 weeks was very, very special. Sometimes one really needs just to get away from things. I think I don’t need to mention what I’m referring to.

I have no need to talk about politics or the ways of the world my Darklings, having seen it all I am not a bit surprised. So if my trip seemed hedonistic, selfish, and self serving it is because in my work I have seen a lot of unhappiness and dealing with stresses.

I have discovered that I can only control what I can immediately control, I cannot control the world, but with what I can control I will do my best to make my part of the world a little better. I rescued Belladonna from a horrible starving death. I will make my voice heard at the voting booth. I will donate to those charities that help others, and on Halloween I will give out candy and make my front yard suitably frightening to children especially to those for whom that is the only free entertainment they can get. I check on my elderly neighbor and help her out, even if she did think my Great Aunt was odd and that I am just as odd, but we do get along.

But in doing that and more, one needs to decompress, and for that I saved up my money to do it. Do I feel guilty? Except for having to leave Belladonna with her sitter, otherwise---NO, I deserved it. And for an Elder/Elderly Goth that is quiet alright.

So remember, save you money for those fantastic memories, Darklings. I wish you to Have Fun.

Later Darklings.

Vacation update~~Lodi Review, wine and yard sales~~~

Well Darklings, I have a lot to post~~~

The beauty about laptops is they are much like a portable typewriter that the war correspondents used during World War II, Korea and Vietnam, now with a laptop and flash drives you can get the story out quicker or save it till one returns to home base.

So while I have a chance this morning I’m going to post a lot of “posts.”

Starting with this one~~~~

If you live in the Bay Area, do not discount Lodi as a place to get wines, I was very pleasantly surprised by the variety and quality of their wines. Of course if you go down the main drag all you see are just box stores and strip malls, but I did some serious research and found that they have an “Old Town Lodi” and wonderful one of a kind shops.

I love cheeses, but I have to be careful as sometimes too much cheese can cause problems, and as an Elder/Elderly Goth I know that problem all too well, but if you can go to Cheese Central on School Street you will not be disappointed. Now I happen to purchase some of their cheeses at the Thursday evening Farmers Market and they have fabulous jams and jellies. Another Shop in Lodi that I heard mentioned on “Eye on the Bay” is the Sea Salt Cottage, and it is as fabulous as they said.

I enjoyed lunch at the Dancing Fox Winery and Bakery, and went back on my last day before I returned home to get some bakery goods, which I know will last for several days. Just Heaven is the best way to describe it. Although some people said that their lunch was a “mixed-bag” in quality I felt that my lunch was quite good.

On the wines, I’ll leave that to your own choosing but I have to say I was not disappointed with the selection from D’Art Wines. Just excellent. There are many wineries in the area, and I recommend that you take just a week at least to enjoy the wine tasting rooms, but be prepared to have a very nice place to stay so you are not driving in an inebriated state.

I splurged and stayed for 4 nights at the Wine & Roses Hotel, it is a Hotel, Spa and Restaurant, a lovely romantic place for romantic couples, but not good for children---in that case take the kiddies to Disneyland. It was relaxing, pampering and well worth the big bucks that I spent there. On the Spa I went for the Wine & Roses Ultimate Treatment, the only thing that could equal it are the treatments at the Claremont Hotel and Spa…Ahhhhh Heaven.

For the remaining 3 nights I spent in Lodi I stayed at the Hampton Inn on Beckman Rd, don’t let the location put you off, it was very nice there, and priced very reasonably. And if you have children it is child friendly. Check out Trip Advisor for other places to stay.

There are in Lodi at least two child fun places, one of them is a science museum and the other is a small children’s amusement park perfect for the really little ones, check Lodi’s web site for more information.

While I was in Lodi at one of the wine tastings I met up with a young lady (well anyone under the age of 50 is young to me, but she was in her early 30’s) who is studying to be a Sommelier, not an easy thing to do as I understand it, having read a news article in a local paper. Her knowledge of wines was, in my opinion, amazing, but she said that she is not yet good enough to be considered a master at it.

I told her about my “middle class” wine purchases and she said that for California wines in my price range they were good choices, she did recommend a few to me that although more expensive I should treat myself to at least once in my life. Something I’m going to have to save up for.

I asked her what she was partial to and she said she had a weakness for the Portuguese Dry red wines and the Southern Italian Reds as well, she felt that the French wines could be “finicky” which was her word for it, but she was still tracking down a French red wine she felt good with. She still had not determined which of the white wines would be her favorite.

She was very into the history of the different wineries both here and in Europe and told me that if California had not rescued the French vines when France had that dreaded moth invasion many of our fine varietals would have been lost forever, she felt that France really doesn’t give California enough credit for having saved the wine industry. She also is studying California and other wines made here in the United States and said that we can sometimes be surprised by what can turn up.

Because we wanted to continue our conversation she joined me as my guest back at Wine & Roses for Dinner and we had a marvelous conversation over the wonderful food that was served, about the twists and turns in our lives, she agreed with me that we may not live the life that we want but we do live the life that we need to live.

We exchanged business cards and e-mails and made plans to get together in the latter part of October at an Oktoberfest she recommended and told me to bring Doyle as well.

I had so much fun at the Thursday Farmer’s Market in Lodi, and it is so interesting to see the differences in produce that each Farmer’s Market carries in various areas. I had fun making what I call “pantry purchases” of spices, jams, preserves and such that I will enjoy stocking my pantry with.

But home again, home again on Saturday so I would have had at least Sunday to do my laundry and get everything ready for work on Monday. But even on Saturday I had a chance to stop at a Yard Sale---yes Darklings, maybe I should put a banner on the back of my car that says “I brake for all funerals, cemeteries and Yard Sales”, and this one was a delight to check out.

I found a wonderful incense burner in a type of bronze of an Indian chief with a peace pipe, sitting on a blanket, the chief and the blanket are two parts with the blanket (also made of metal) to hold cone incense and then you place the chief over it and it looks like he’s blowing smoke and smoke coming out of the pipe as well. I determined that the style was from the late ‘teens to 1920’s when such things were very popular.

I also found several 1920’s fortune telling decks, and a peculiar looking tarot deck, it was only the major arcana but the designs were from the 1920’s but with the faces of skulls. I thought these decks would look good in my cabinet of curiosities in my library.

It turned out that the yard sale was really an estate sale, an elderly relative had died and I found a darling sugar and creamer in the darkest blue color I have ever seen right from the 1940’s, and a dark grey handbag from I. Magnin’s of San Francisco from the 1950’s which will go very well with my hat that I bought at the Vintage Fashion Fair a few days before I left for Lodi.

There were other things as well that I purchased, some period costume jewelry, and other things, and then I had to leave, since I knew I would be driving west and towards the setting sun, I wanted to leave before the sun was so low that it would be in my eyes while driving, not a good thing really, especially as one gets closer to the insanity of driving in the Bay Area.

If there is one thing I learned Darklings is this, if you are driving East in the early morning the Morning Sun will be in your eyes but will rise higher and get out of your way, but driving east in the late afternoon is fine, but if you are driving West it’s better to do it in the early morning with the sun behind you as the late afternoon sun can be blinding. North or South is not a problem.

But I always make it a policy to never drive after 3 p.m. when I’m on a trip, it’s always better to find a place to stay, otherwise you’re heading into commute traffic or evening can quickly come upon you during the late fall and winter months especially in the mountains.

And then I was home, happily greeted by Doyle who helped me unpack my car, and put away my wines and panty supplies as I loaded a load of clothes into the washing machine and finished unpacked my bags and putting things away, Doyle later stored the suitcases away with cedar blocks in them to keep out moths and such.

We went to pick up my little Belladonna who was delirious to see me, with barks of “Mommy you found me, don’t leave me again”. My sitter told me that she and Belladonna got along fine but she did miss me. With that in mind I am more determined than ever to not leave Belladonna behind if at all possible.

Fortunately I did not have to make dinner either Saturday or Sunday as Doyle wanted to stretch out my vacation just a little more without having to worry about dinner preparations, also he wanted to celebrate as he had successfully concluded his part in the investigation and it was all turned over to lawyers. I told him about the Oktoberfest in October and he said he would make sure to have that time free.

So now I am putting together my lists of places and events, things to see and plan on. Already I’m feeling a tug to explore something strange and new but I’m going to have to wait and save up my money and plan. I know I want to go North again but this time further North, to drive through huge trees and see if I can spot Sasquatch, to see bizarre things and hear the roar of the ocean on the Northern Coast, sort of a touch of “Dark Shadows” in a way, find my own “Collinswood”. Who knows…..maybe find Barnabas Collins…..???

Later Darklings.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The End of a Vacation~~& the Shuttlecraft

Hello My Darklings,

I am home.  

I returned later yesterday afternoon, first un-packing my car and putting things away, with Doyle's help.

Started a run of laundry and picked up my Belladonna who was happy to see me.  I have so much to post, but I'm going to save it for another time as I am still getting myself together to be able to return to the work force tomorrow.

Oh how I will hate to have to return to the mundane world, but I must.

On my return home I could feel Fall had arrived, the scent in the air, the change in the atmosphere, the landscape turning brown and going to dust, but the excitement of traveling and discovery was such a tingling experience that I want to do it again and again.

I am reminded of an episode of the T.V. program "Thriller" titled "Masquerade"  where this young couple who are traveling around the country with a trailer and looking for places to explore are trapping in this house of demented people, they somehow manage to excape and we think they are such heros, only to discover as they go into the sleeping area of their trailer that it contains a double coffin for them to sleep in.
Doyle has suggested that perhaps we should look into an RV to travel in.  But I love my home, but it is a thought.

Doyle has saved me the trouble of dinner, thank goodness.  So we will go out, with little Belladonna in tow in her carry all.

Doyle also managed to video tape the Shuttle's Fly-over the Bay Area espeically over the Golden Gate Bridge,  as I watched it I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment, and yes, patriotism.  Such old fashioned feelings but this fleet of Shuttles' taking us a step further into space, and now with Curiosity on Mars...I do not have the words for it.   Although I have not built the craft nor was in anyway directly involved, the feeling of what we can do is amazing and that is where I get my feelings from.

Doyle told me that a little girl was asking her Mommie  "Why is the Shuttle pulling the airplane?"   The Mother looked at Doyle and he said, "Let her think that."   When he told me that I laughed in amusement, the child's focus was in its own way correct, and that would be a moment for the Mommy to remember for a life time.  Doyle noticed the Mommy was confused so he said "It's to help the Shuttle land, when it get's to Los Angeles" and that seemed to satisfy the child.

In the next few days I will post the wined up of my trip.  But for now my Darklings,  check the stores, the Halloween goodies are out!

Later Darklings

Friday, September 21, 2012

Vacation Diary 6A~~~a Dancing Fox and JLo

I know Darklings what a combination,

I didn't think I'd post so soon but right now I'm unwinding after a busy day, then I will freshen up and go to dinner.

I've had the most fun in my wine tour, meeting people and discovering things.  Lodi appears to be the Zinfandel capital of the world and by going to the Chamber of Commerce it's like being at a huge wine tasting, so many varieties on display.  They really push it.

The Thursday Farmer's Market occurs in the evening, when things cool down and it was a wonderful experience with food, handcrafted items, entertainment, quite the event.  But Lodi in the San Joaquin County has like Napa, Calistoga and Sonoma and parts of San Jose, the perfect conditions for wine growing, but the evenings tend to be very cool after the hot days in Fall, so having a heavy sweater does pay off.

I bought so many things that I had to buy another suitcase,  I didn't bring my Samsonite as I wasn't planning to use an evening gown, but Lodi is not very back watered either---my concierge directed me to a Kohl's Department store in town where I found a roller weekend duffel bag in the Jennifer Lopez collection in Cheetah Print---growl!  Just perfect for all you Gothic animals out there.

And perfect for me if I plan to use just a weekender,  I've been in touch with Doyle and he says he has several weekends planned for us in October so for me to be prepared to travel some more, which I'm looking forward to.

Several times for lunch I went to the Dancing Fox Deli, I know Darklings, what an unusual name, but evidently its after the fable of the "Fox and the Grapes" and I remember as a child when I and the family was camping, one twilight evening my father and I went to a meadow and we saw a pair of foxes and they were hopping around like they were dancing, it was a special magical moment that I and my father shared

But getting back to the Deli I have to say that each time I have had an excellent lunch, I was told by a regular that sometimes it varies depending upon who is the cook or food preparer, but I have not been disappointed, their cranberry salad has become my weakness.

And I have found several brands of Zinfandel to add to my growing wine collection.  Doyle has also told me that my other weakness, Pumpkin Spice Latte is now being offered at Starbucks---the timing seems so perfect I think I died and went to heaven.

I know Darklings it may not seem so Gothic but wine and knowing good wine is an experience one should have, it is the "blood of the earth" as some people have referred to it and the pressing of the grapes signals the beginning of the end of the growing season, to be followed by the culling or slaughter of the herds and the preserving of the fruits, vegetables and meats for the hard dark winter that comes, it signals the dark period to come.  And for us to survive we must drink the "blood of the Earth".

Now I'm going to get into the shower and head out for dinner,  I'm going to indulge at the Wine and Roses Restaurant one last time, and then tomorrow home again.  But Doyle will spoil me a little when I get home and I'll be happy to see Belladonna, I bought her a sweater that's black with skulls and cross bones knitted into it perfect for Halloween or a Goth dog.

Later Darklings

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vacation Diary 6~~~

Hello Darklings,

This is going to have to be a short post, just to let you know I'm alive in the wilds of Lodi.

I know Darklings~~~where is Lodi?   Well you'll have to google it, it's in the middle of somewhere.

But don't let that be off putting, there are some wonderful things to find here in Lodi which I will post in greater detail in my next post.

I've spent 4 wonderful days at the Wine and Roses Hotel and Spa, excellent food, and accommodations, it's too bad that I have to shift to a different location tomorrow while I'm here in Lodi,  but I do have to save a little money here and there.

I've met some very nice people, had some wonderful conversations, indulged in the most relaxing spa treatment,  I have to admit it's going to be very hard for me to go back to work next week,  why couldn't I have met up with someone very rich instead of handsome and kind.   Of course rich and kind is nice too.

The weather has been warm  and wonderful and I understand that the grapes are at the peak of picking, so I wonder what sort of vintage we'll have in the next year or two 

I've been told to not miss the Farmer's Market tomorrow so I'm planning to go to that, it should be fun.

And now I'm going to make use of the outdoor jacuzzi and then get ready for dinner,  I've been careful in what I eat and all the walking has been helping me keep the weight off, but I think I'll have to go to the gym once I get back home. 

The next time I post it will be after I have returned.   I have a lot of things to put up and a few questions to answer, which I will do when I get back.

Later Darklings

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Vacation Diary 5 A and mystery of Vera West~~~

Well Darklings,

I had fun for the last few days, I found a few more bits of information on the mystery of Vera West and totally updated that page.   All I can say is it gets more convoluted and strange.

My bags are packed, my car is ready for me to go on my next leg of my trip.

To Lodi, how mundane sounding, but I'm willing to give things a try.

Belladonna will go to her sitters tomorrow morning, she is not going to be happy that Mommy is gone again.

Doyle is going to stay at my house to collect mail and the newspapers.  I know, why doesn't Doyle take care of Belladonna, we'll he's on a case as well and cannot be distracted by a little demanding dog, even if she is cute.

I had fun last night at this Vintage Fashion Fair they also featured Steampunk clothing and jewelry, there was even a Steampunk Costume Contest.  Free Food, Free Drinks and a good time, and I found some very interesting things for my vintage clothing collection.

What will I find in Lodi, I haven't a clue, but I do have a few recommended places to try, which I will post when I return.

And while I'm gone for those of you who love mysteries, do read my updated Vera West page. 

For now Doyle has returned home and is insisting that we go to this sinister looking Chinese restaurant for dinner---not to worry I know the food is good,  it's just that sometimes I feel that either Terry and the Pirates, the Dragon Lady or Indiana Jones (2nd movie) may suddenly appear, oh well, a little excitement can spice up one life.

Later Darklings

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vacation Diary Part 4 A~~thoughts as a child and now~~~

Hello Darklings,

I’ve had several people ask me on my trip how did I transport my wines, since keeping them in a car that can get very hot can destroy the flavor of the wine and turn it into vinegar.

It’s easy really; I don’t keep it all the time in the car, only when I’m transporting it.

I’ve purchased several canvas bags that are partitioned to carry up to 4 bottles of wine, these bags I padded with extra padding used for quilting, this helps prevents the bottles from cracking. Since I was going to several wineries in one day I also had a very large cooler packed with blue ice, the blue ice I put into heavy duty freezer bags to prevent the labels on the bottles from becoming wet or damp. I’d put the bottles still in the canvas bags into the cooler as I went to the next winery.

Although not perfect I have done this before and it has prevented any spoilage.

Now most of my hotel rooms have a refrigerator, so when I return to the hotel I move the wine out of the cooler in the car and put it into the hotel room and turn the air conditioner on to keep the room cool, and then I go back to the cooler to get the blue ice and put it into the refrigerator over night.

So all perishables go with me into my hotel room and any non-perishables I keep in a collapsible crate (it looks like a milk crate) in the trunk of my car, with the exception of the perfumes and jewelry.

When I travel I travel with at least two collapsible crates and one large cooler in my car trunk, I put my luggage into the trunk as well, what doesn’t fit I put on the floor of my back seat and cover with a very dark colored blanket that matches the color of my car floor so that way it’s not easy to see.

If I am going to stay more than over night then everything is put into my hotel room, otherwise it’s just the perishables and what I’ll need for the next day.

When I go grocery shopping either at the store or farmers market I do the same thing, it’s very good for frozen or refrigerated items and the crates prevent smaller items from rolling around or becoming squeezed or damaged, especially bakery goods. It’s amazing how well things can be preserved without too much worry. Of course with cakes you have to be carefully with the type of frosting, some types will melt and side off but I can’t remember if its butter cream or another kind of frosting, I’ll have to look it up.

If I have a lot of shopping I determine what sort of day its going to be, if its the farmer’s market, then I combine it with the grocery store and everything comes home and gets put away, then I go out again to finish my shopping. This is because most farmer markets open early in the morning and close early.  There is one that is open from May through September in the evenings, and I do enjoy that one espeically if the days have been hot.

But if I’m only purchasing at the grocery store then I do my other errands first and then finish at the grocery store.

This is where planning your trips maximizes your time and fuel usage. This is something I remember from how my Mother did her shopping. But we did have an advantage one of our major grocery stores was only half a block away so we walked to it, as a matter of fact our home was only a half a block away from the business district so it was easy to walk to everything.

My father took the bus to work, if Mother wanted to go shopping at one of the major stores to get clothing for me and my siblings she’d take the bus to go “Down Town”, because that is where the major stores were like Capwells, Sears, Montgomery Wards, J.C. Penney’s, Rhodes, Goldman’s, Brunner’s, I. Magnin, Macy’s, and San Francisco’s magnificent City of Paris store. If we went to San Francisco to shop we were not going Down Town, we were going to “The City”.

How I remember how we did that. My brother thought shopping was boring, so Mother would have a neighbor baby-sit him, usually someone that my brother was friends with their child to play with, and Mother would reciprocate later on. She’d take me and my sister because we loved to shop and we were always on our best behavior, because if we misbehaved we would not be able to go next time she went Down Town or especially to “The City” so we were always good.

We dress up in our Sunday best for that type of shopping, how I remembered being so awed at the stain glass ceiling of a ship plowing through the waters at the City of Paris store, it was a rarity to go there but once in a while we did. One time we went there to get a Samsonite traveling suit case for my Grandmother and a good traveling suit, she was flying back east to visit relatives she had not seen in ages, and she wanted to look her best.

I still have my grandmother’s suitcase, as a matter of fact I used it during this trip of mine, but Grandma was buried in her good traveling suit, I remember how lovely she looked in it when she went back east, and how lovely she looked in it when we buried her wearing it. As a matter of fact, Mother went to a florist shop and bought an orchid corsage and pinned it to Grandma’s suit before the casket was closed.

One of my aunts’ remarked that ‘Grandma looked like she was going on a trip’. I felt that was a beautiful thought. When my Mother died I did the same thing and just whispered to her, “Mom, I know you are on a trip with Dad, enjoy it, I’ll met up with you eventually. Don’t worry I have the map, I’ll find you.” And some day I will.

But all those wonderful stores that were Down Town are gone, now it looks like a bunch of Ghetto stores, nothing wonderful anymore. Of course San Francisco’s Union Square has their stores, but the feeling is not quite the same. And I find Shopping Malls very distasteful, seeing people dressed with clothing that hang off the hips, showing butt cracks, muffin tops, bellies hanging over a waistband, not shaved, or with bed-head hair, flip-flops and no style. I’ve found when I walk into a better store such as Macy’s the sales staff seem a bit in awe of me, I guess wearing a hat, gloves, that have a retro feel to it is a bit startling. But I’ve noticed that the staff stand up straighter, are more helpful and generous with their time.

When I go to the grocery store I always have a bagger wheel my cart for me and help me load it into my car, and many of them know that I tip them for that service. They always refuse the tip but I always make sure they get their tip, especially now when times are tough.

I have always said that it pays to be classy and observe the niceties; you’d be amaze at what excellent service you get. You don’t have to be a millionaire, just classy---Steve Jobs’ jeans and black t-shirt? Forget it, that’s only if you’re working on your car, in the garden, cleaning the house or oven, or dumpster diving.

And now I’ve confirmed all my plans for the next leg of my vacation, poor Belladonna is not going to be happy, frankly I'm not happy leaving her behind but she’ll survive, she'll be safe with her sitter,  but I have to confess it does feel good to have her snuggle up to me, especially on these cool fall nights.

I will post, hopefully from my location in Lodi or when I return I am not sure.  The good thing is I will not be leaving until Sunday, which gives me and a friend of mine a chance to attend a vintage fashion show Friday evening,  I know I'm going to have fun with that.
Later Darklings

Vacation Diary Part 4~~~~~

Well Darklings,

I finished my last day up in the Napa wine country with a flourish, and maybe did a bit too much, but with so many things to see on the last day I did not want to miss a minute of it.

Getting up early and having a quick breakfast, I left to go to my first event, which was a Senior’s Yard Sale of all things, funds raised go to various senior activities at this Senior Citizen Complex and I was very glad I got there, I did a quick look around and purchased a few retro items but my best haul was this one elderly lady that was laden down with a couple of heavy bags which she finally put on her table, it turned out that she had perfumes and colognes for sale, she couldn’t wear them because it caused her to sneeze violently, she had them priced so cheaply and many still were in their original boxes, I bought most of them for twice what she was asking.

I told her I collect perfume bottles, but really how often can one get a brand new, unopened Georgio Red, Bulgari or Elizabeth Taylor’s Black Pearls for $1.00 a bottle??!! Not often. So I paid $2.00 a bottle and as my Daddy would say “Made out like a Bandit!” Now some of the more girly, girly perfumes geared towards the teens, I left but I purchased 2/3’s of her stock. She said I was paying too much but I told her that it’s going towards a good cause and she was happy.

I did another quick walk around and then went to my next stop The American Folk Art Festival at the Madonna Estate Winery, they were featuring their release of their Hallo Vine Wine, an estate bottled 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, plus a wine and chocolate tasting as well as excellent foods and artistic and antique items for sale, I had an early lunch there, enjoying the activity, sights and sounds, it was a wine fest for the eyes, ears, and taste buds; Proceeds to support a local community theatre. I bought a bottle of their estate wine, if nothing else to help support their efforts. It seems they have this every year at about this time of year.

From there I went to the “Just Be Claus” Fall Extravaganza at the American Legion Hall, again another fund raiser, and purchased some home made preserves, and some pot holders for my kitchen. It was handmade decorations and specialty foods and such for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, but there were some goodies I could not pass up.

I managed to get an early dinner at a Mom and Pop restaurant (more of a burger joint) that I came across, really a small place, and I wish I had written down the name, but I had the most delicious juicy hamburger with melting Swiss Cheese, and instead of fries they offered a refreshing Cole Slaw that made me think of some of the “burger joints” my Dad and Mom would stop at with us kids on a Saturday afternoon, I felt myself carried away to wonderful loving memories.

“Mom” told me that they get their meat fresh every day, “none that frozen stuff” she said and the same with the Slaw, they were in their late 60’s and I found myself chuckling when some other “ol’ timers” came in and I heard the words from “Mom” going to “Pop” calling out “Order Up! Burn two take them through the garden and put a rose on it!” which meant two hamburgers with lettuce, tomatoes and onions (the rose).

Another old timer came in grabbing a cup and pouring himself a “cuppa joe” then going to a booth to join the two other men. My order was “Burn one, take it through the garden forget the roses add Cowbells” which meant a hamburger with lettuce, tomatoes no onions but put Swiss cheese (Cowbells—Swiss) I felt as if I had been transported back in time, in a way I almost hated returning to reality but I knew I had to.

I finished up my excursion by going to a Jewelry Trunk show and Conn Creek Wine tasting at the Grand Hand Gallery, there were many one of a kind pieces, some a little pricey, but I found the most magnificent ring, it was worth going into debt for.

On Monday my trip home brought back the realities of the traffic and congestion that 880 has to offer, so it was a good thing that at Cordelia Junction I turned off and took a different route home, granted it can be a bear as well but nothing like dealing with going past University Avenue and Berkeley, that is total insanity. I quickly unpacked my car putting away my treasures in the cellar that I’ve had set up in the basement, and my preserves in my pantry.

Laundry was sorted and the first load ran, I called and left a message for Doyle that I was home, then I went to pick up my little Belladonna. She was soooo happy to see me. I gave my sitter some gifts for her and she told me of how things had been in the neighborhood. I made arrangements with her to baby sit when I leave again the following Sunday, Belladonna will not be happy, but on my next trip I plan to take her with me. Then home again, to face the mail and the bills. Doyle came by and said he would take me out to dinner so I’d not have to cook on my first day home and I snuck little Belladonna in her doggie carry all as well, I did not want to leave her home alone after I had been gone for so long.

Doyle made arrangements to have my car serviced and checked out, and make sure its running fine, bills paid, junk mail shredded, newspapers re-cycled. I shared with Doyle what I discovered and regretted that he could not come with me, but he has a case he needs to work on. But we’ve made plans to go back later in the year and with Belladonna.

Doyle said I looked refreshed and invigorated, I said that going on a trip is fine but one needs to be grounded in reality as well.

I know Darklings, did I do anything Goth? Not really with the exception of finding dark rich red wines, touring Castles, discovering the power of nature, and being totally hedonistic with massages and treatments from the Dr. Wilkerson Resort and Spa and at the Whitehouse Inn, it was so wonderful, that I really didn’t want to leave, so sybaritic. All I can say is that I will post their links and you can find your special “Lotus Land”.

On my next post, I’ll only be in Lodi but staying in two different locations. Doyle said I should look into the wineries in Livermore in the future. Livermore---home of the Livermore rodeo, cowboys and wine? Who knows?

I think next year I will tour North again to the Trees of Mystery and the Avenue of the Giants, become lost in the redwoods, walk along Moonstone Beach, perhaps spot Bigfoot, cut over to see the Devils Post Pile, who knows where my travels will take me.

Later Darklings

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Vacation Diary Part 3~~~~

Hello Darklings,

Here is my update on my wine trip North to Napa, Sonoma and Calistoga.  The day after tomorrow I will be returning home, to carefully put away my treasures, and snuggle up to my Belladonna---and also do the mundane things like laundry, have my hair done, pay bills.  Oh Well Darklings, you cannot be gothiclly gorgeous unless you do laundry and have your hair styled.  And I’m also having my mechanic do an oil change on my car.  Mundane, mundane, mundane---it does bring one down with a bit of a “bump”. 


I ‘ve had  the most wonderful time of exploration, discovery, and wine buying, both on the road and on the internet.  Yes, Darklings the internet.

As you know several places I wanted to stay would not take dogs, so I had my elderly neighbor take care of Belladonna, something that I really regret doing as I miss her intensely but if I wanted to stay at these places I had no choice.  Fortunately I’ve been calling her sitter and it seems they are doing very well.  But I’m afraid Belladonna is being very spoiled… ahhh well that is a chance one has to take.

So what I have done was first go North to the Napa, Sonoma wine areas then I will return   home, take care of Belladonna for a few days and then go to Lodi for nearly a week.  It breaks my heart having to leave her behind, I’m beginning to wish that more places would accept dogs, but you have to have good dog owners that will use K-9 Advantage Plus and make them flea free to make it possible.   I’d even be willing to pay extra at some of those places for a doggie baby sitter, but that is not possible at most places. 

What I did is using the internet I checked out events that would be happening at the locations I wanted to go to and based on that made my travel arrangements, and there is something to be said for starting one’s vacation during the week instead of the weekends.  Lower rates, children back in school not that I have anything against children, only their parents who do not monitor them properly (yes I know I’m being judgmental but don’t you also thing the same Darklings?), traffic is not quite as bad, less noise in your hotel.

I made Napa and then Calistoga my home base in the North, and I have not been disappointed, the big question is which wineries to choose from, I can recommend going to for a selection of tasting rooms, lodging and places to visit and eat.  I mean don’t take my suggestions Darklings, you choose what you want.

I started out at Best Western Inn At The Vines, which I discovered is pet friendly, as I had booked for the Napa Wine Train for their Moonlight tour, so heavenly.  I was glad that I had booked so far in advance as seating was at a premium and limited. And I used my time the day before and after to visit several wineries.

Then I stayed at the very upscale Bed and Breakfast Whitehouse Inn during the mid-week and received  a lower rate, as a matter of fact if you stay for 3 nights you get a 4th for free, it is a saving, and with very pleasurable amenities but it is big bucks, so save up Darklings, save up.

When seeing the Inn for the first time you think you’re in the anti-bellum South, but in California. As I’ve said they have special rates as well for mid-week which is a good thing to plan on, unfortunately the Whitehouse Inn cannot accommodate pets and it is not a good place for children, too adult and too boring for the munchkins, but perfect for a romantic get away.

From the Whitehouse Inn I went to several wineries that had been suggested to me as well as visiting historic places including the Hess Collection where one can enjoy wine and art.

What wineries I went to?  Well there were a number of them, too many to list but stock up I did, reds and whites, sparkling, desert,  it really depends upon one’s individual taste, so it’s best that I leave it up to you although I had fun; at the Sterling winery the tram ride over the vineyards to the winery gave a wonderful view and Francis Ford Coppola’s  Rubicon winery.  Of course shopping in Historic downtown Napa was also a treat, I did want to take in the shops there. 

I took in the castle tour of Castillo De Amorosa, worth the price in my humble opinion.

I enjoyed the Napa River Cruise, which with a naturalist takes you on a river tour of the flora and fauna as well as the historic aspect of the Napa River on a wonderful luxury electric river boat.

And there were other things to take in but again I recommend you do your own planning by going to the websites.

I find that when one wants to stay at a better quality Hotel/Motel and are on a budget Best Western seems to fit the bill in most cases, there are others but I recommend seeing what other travelers have to say.

But if you have the funds and no children or encumbrances Whitehouse Inn is an indulgence worthwhile.

My next stop is here in Calistoga and if you are in Calistoga you must take in the mud baths and I recommend the one that got it started,  Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort, I’m finishing my last three days there.

Of course I could not pass up our own Old Faithful geyser in Calistoga; I had packed, at a recommended deli, a personal picnic lunch which I enjoyed there at the geyser as well as doing a bit of people watching.   I watched as the blasting heated water spouted up high into the sky, and I suddenly realized that what was causing it was this water becoming super-heated by buried volcanic action.  That somehow a volcano could erupt at any moment under our feet, I looked at the people around me the adults with their children and thought “Don’t you realize that we could suddenly die if Mother Nature gets really nasty, that we are only feet from death?”  I took a few deep breaths to calm and center myself, and remembered it is wise to know that death is only a hairs breath away from us.

I took a relaxing walking personal tour of our own Petrified Forest in Calistoga as it was close by and made sure I used my parasol to keep off the most harmful of the sun’s rays.  
It is amazing looking at these huge petrified trees looking as if they were only felled just a few days ago, but realizing that it had occurred millions of years ago when our own Mt. St. Helena exploded like Mt. St. Helens did just a few decades ago.  It had me thinking, will those trees covered by volcanic ash eventually become petrified millions of years from now?  It caused me to shudder with that thought.  And even as I walked I realized that on occasion my feet stepped upon buried petrified wood, possibly even fossils of those animals that had lived back then.  That thought was too tremendous to even wrap my mind around it.

Even now I am still amazed by these revelations.

Sunday there are a few events I hope to be able to attend close by,   then Darklings I will return home for a few days to catch up on mail, indulge in my little four footed darling and pack away my wines and goodies from my trip up north as well as doing mundane things.

Now some of the wineries are a bit commercial and for more discerning wine critics too boring to be of use, but then I went for the vacation, and I cannot spend $100 a bottle for wine, but I want my wine to taste good.

Remember Darklings, most of the more publicized wineries are a bit touristy so expect that, but for me they did not disappoint.

I will start with Castillo di Amorosa winery ---- I’m afraid some were too mundane for my taste how ever I strongly recommend going on their Castle and wine tour, that in itself is a treat, sort of a wine Disneyland for adults and a wonderfully Gothicly photographic  place.   I did buy their desert wine “Fantasia” which I found very much to my liking, a perfect light desert wine for a Summer or warm Fall evening.  I also was intrigued by their red “IL Brigante” their red wine blend and bought a bottle of it as well.  The IL Barone was recommended to me and I found it most intriguing but I could not afford it at over $150 a bottle.

Sterling Vineyards~~~~Darklings you have to take the Tram ride, it really gives you a wonderful perspective of the land around you and much safer than a Hot Air Balloon ride, sorry Darklings, I still dislike air travel.  But about the Wines, I found myself attracted to the Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford and the Petit Sirah, North Coast.

The Hess Winery collection---Darklings I could not choose, but beside their art collection they are also organically growing their grapes in a sustainable style, but I felt I was overwhelmed by the choices until I succumbed to their 19 Block Cuvee 2008 vintage.  Why that one I do not know but succumb I did.  I think there was something about the taste that reminded me of something very pleasurable.

There were a few others along the way, but I decided I would save myself from purchasing until I had a chance to do a more informative wine tasting with a friend of mine who is far more knowledgeable.

While I was in Napa at the Napa General Store I did their wine tasting as well and made notes to go to the wineries they suggested at a later time and more like an overnight run to those places.

One thing at the Whitehouse Inn is at 6 p.m. in the evening they would hold a wine and cheese tasting from various wineries and again I took notes.  With these two places it saved me from a lot of driving around.   Then afterwards I would go out to dinner, sans wine, because one can over indulge.

Now one would think that I will have gone a long, long distance but really Napa and Calistoga is only slightly one hour away from the San Francisco Bay Area, and if you down load the brochure from the Petrified Forest there is a simplified map showing the area.  How close and yet just far enough to enjoy for a day, a weekend, a week.  The choice is yours.

Also while I’ve been relaxing I had a chance to write up some “musings” on being an Elder/Elderly Goth, I will post them at a later time.

My next blog will be either from Lodi or from home when I return on my last leg of my vacation.  I hope to be able to start a separate links page of places to visit for your edification and pleasure.

Later Darklings

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Vacation Diary Part 2~~~

Well Darklings,

Let me fill you in on what I’ve done so far.

Currently I’ve had a very wonderful indulgent stay at the White House Inn, a very upscale Bed and Breakfast with Spa, for the last 4 nights, I leave tomorrow morning for my next destination in my little trip
Previously I had a lovely stay at the Best Western In At The Vines, they are pet friendly and child friendly and not only recreational oriented but business oriented as well. I’m recommending it to several business friends of mine.

I arrived early last Thursday the previous week, so I had a chance to settle in and do some shopping in down town historic Napa. There are so many shops to choose from, but having arrived early for check in I made sure that my reservation was set, left my luggage with the concierge and decided on a lunch on the Napa River.

This led me to the Napa General Store where they offer river front dinning
I purchased things at the Napa General Store, one would think they sell old-fashioned things but it’s not like any general store I’ve come across. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as box lunches (must be ordered in advance) wine tasting as well as an assortment of d├ęcor items.

I fell in love with and purchased a pair of antique tile and wrought iron candle scones that I’m planning on putting into my greenhouse in the future. For now I’ll keep them stored and labeled.

I had the pleasure of indulging in their wine tasting a few days later. There were other shops I went to after lunch and the walk did me good, it is important to have good street walking shoes that don’t look like tennis shoes and will hold up to all kinds of street wear. I’ll switch to tennis shoes if I know I’m going to be doing something rough, but if you are into serious hiking then shoes specific for the terrain is very important.
I discovered another nice little place to stay called the River Terrace Inn right on the Napa River, and from the reviews I’ve read it seems to be a wonderful place to stay. So I’ll put that on my list as well for future trips.

For dinner that evening I did plain budget dinning at the Denny’s restaurant near the Best Western Hotel, while not an overly extravagant Hotel it was a very nice stay.

The only problem that I had that first night, was a small child that was having fun in running up and down the hall for over 10 minutes, which is fine except that it was 10:30 at night. When I stuck my head out to find out why this munchkin was running, a parent came out saw me, apologized, and said her child had ADD or ADS (attention deficient syndrome) but taking a look at him with his freckles and red hair I figured it was more like a case of serious mischievousness, although one should not judge, there are children with that problem, but I do suspect that some that have been diagnosed with that really are not and it just becomes a convenient label. If that sounds judgmental, I will not apologize; I’ve been around enough children and their parents to know the difference.

And considering it was 10:30 p.m. a time when all good 6 year olds are in bed, the mother was a bit discomforted when she saw me in my black silk nightgown and robe ala 1930’s and although I’m in my 60’s my face has not fallen in or wrinkled (good genes and good care) and I was wearing my black satin mules which gave me a little height. So after she apologized I looked at her and smiled showing my perfect teeth (also well maintained and brightened) and said (and I love this line) “I love children too, usually medium rare with a good Chianti and a side of fava beans.”

I loved seeing the mother’s face and then I said “It is time for all good little people to be in bed, but he is so cute I could just eat him up.” And still smiling I said “Goodnight” and closed the door.

Needless to say the child did not run in the hall after that evening or any other time while I stayed there. When the parents saw me the next day they pulled their child very close to them after I looked at them, nodded and smiled.

That next evening I had the most wonderful experience on the Napa Valley Wine Train with their Moonlight Dinner special. I managed to get a seat in the Vista Dome car as one party had only 3 people, their 4th was unable to come on the trip with them. They were pleasurable companions; one even remarked that I reminded him of a movie actress from long ago, especially since I was in evening dress, I told him that I love the styles of the early to mid 20th century as it had class, which flip-flops, saggy jeans and exposed muffin waists have destroyed. And although I maybe overdressed I felt I should indulge in glamour since there is so precious little of it in this world today. He and his companions nodded and agreed.

I had suggested that we not talk politics as everything on the political front was see-sawing and it seems they were very happy with that suggestion so we talked about wine, and history, places to stay, places to see. I gained a lot of information for future trips, as well as suggestions for my current trip.
They told me about the Wine Train’s mystery tour which they’ve booked tickets to and were bringing some friends, unfortunately I could not get on that one in time.

All too soon the trip was over, and I drove back to my Hotel. I found myself restless, so still dressed in my evening gown I walked about the pool and lounge area, of course some of the staff were a bit puzzled by my appearance there, but a charming gentleman came out and asked if I would like to share a pot of coffee or tea, I said yes, he brought out two cups and a small tea pot with sugar, cream and lemons on a tray, I had no idea who he was but he was younger than me but older than the desk staff, I suspected at first he might have been a night manager, he said he wasn’t but a frequent business guest although he seemed to have some sort of pull with the staff.

We sat and relaxed drinking our tea looking at what star light there was with some noises from a guest or a passing vehicle. We talked about things, he asked what I---a woman alone was doing, and I said “Traveling, enjoying things, being me.” He said that he had seen me check in the other day, and was surprised to see that I was using vintage Samosonite Luggage, I told him of my interest in vintage things but that my work required me to be in the here and now.

We talked of film noir, vintage cars, wine, and romance. When the conversation turned towards romance I looked at him with an upraised eyebrow and asked “And this is leading to?” He looked embarrassed, admitted to me that he was smitten by me, inwardly I laughed, a younger man smitten by me? I thought at first he was ‘playing me’ but I could see that he was earnest.

I said to him “Darkling, I think you are smitten by the ideal of something long past and you wonder how can you gain it back” which was true. So I suggested some things to him suspecting that he is married, and told him that life must always be a balance of work and of love or family, if you have children then within that portion there must be a balance between being the father and being the lover.

I suggested that he and his wife look into finding a very reliable sitter especially for the upcoming months and around the holidays. “There can be fun family things, but intersperse that with romantic things, don’t allow your work to overwhelm your private life otherwise you will have no life.”

He said that he felt that some things were taking some of fun out of life and was making life for him and his wife a bit of a drudge. He said that he and his wife love vintage things but wondered how to incorporate it, with two active boys, his daughter loved old things but that wasn’t a problem with the daughter because she was in harmony with her parents; it was mostly his and his wife’s interest and dealing with the boys, I said “Start with rebuilding a vintage car, have your boys learn all about restoration. Show off the car in parades, join a vintage car society, then get involved with an Art Deco Society, tame the boys and teach them etiquette, get them away from video games and really into life.” He thought about it.

I had the pleasure of seeing his face brighten, he had an answer, and he knew what to do, He became so excited about the idea that he gave me an enthusiastic kiss, and then began to apologize for it, but we laughed and I said that I did enjoy it and was glad to have given him some creative ideas. I said my good nights to him and walked slowly back to the elevator and to my room without looking back.

I did not turn on the lights in my room, but instead sat in a chair looking out the window at the moonlight, and finding myself smiling. I can still invoke something in a man even at my age. I knew I wasn’t being played, the look on his face told me that.

Did I feel disloyal to Doyle? No, because I was meant to meet this man, to give him advice, to be, for a fleeting moment a romantic (I hope) dream and then to disappear from him forever. Kismet some would say. Fate others would say. Inevitable I say.

I did not see him for the remainder of my stay, which was all to the good. In the matter of a couple of days I had a lovely little adventure.

I’ve been at the Whitehouse Inn for a few days taking in other wineries and a few adventures and at the moment relaxing and feeling very hedonistic. As soon as I can I’ll post further what I’ve been doing once I’m settled at my next location. I hope to be able to tell you of some of the wineries I’ve been to.

Later Darklings.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vacation Diary Part 1 A~~~~

Well Darklings,

Just a brief addendum to my mini-diary.

I'm now at the Whitehouse Inn, have been here since Monday afternoon, I hope to post more tonight.

Met a very nice young man at Inn At The Vines a few days ago before I left to come here.  And was given a few suggestions of things to see.

It's been very warm up here, which makes it great for wine growing, but I've seen other fruits of the trees here as well.  Although there has been a marine layer in the Bay Area that has tempered some of the heat.

I was told by Belladonna's sitter that the temperature in the San Francisco bay area has been mild to cool between the upper 50's to mid 60's  that is why when you come to visit San Francisco be prepared to layer on and wear warmish clothing and then peel off as you leave the bay area, for any of you who plan to visit.

Now I must go, I have a few places to visit and hope to use the wifi to blog tonight for a more in depth update.

Later Darklings