Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Plannings~~~

Hello Darklings,

Well we’ve worked out a Holiday schedule with Corallines parents, they will drop her off at my work on Friday’s when she’s let out of school and then we’ll travel home by public transportation, depending on how quickly we need to get home, so it may vary, we have Bart and Bus or Bus and Bus or Ferry and Bus, or maybe Doyle will pick us up depending upon his schedule.

Already I’ve made reservations to see “A Christmas Carol” at A.C.T., the S.F. Ballet’s “the Nutcracker”, and a Children’s Tea at Dunsmuir House where we’ll also take in a tour of the huge Mansion.

Other things on our agenda will be the Oakland Zoo’s Christmas lights, and taking in a local Christmas Tree Lane and maybe one or two other things, but we’ll see.

We will buy a live tree for the Family Parlor, but I’m purchasing an artificial one for the Formal Parlor (aka the Asylum).  We’ll buy the fake one this Friday, I’ll get off work as soon as they drop Coralline off and we’ll spend the weekend trying to assemble it and decorate it, but we’ll buy a real one  a week or two after, I am concerned about it being a fire hazard, but we’ll see.  My sister when putting some things in the Storage Room, came across boxes of old Christmas ornaments, so we’ll use those and if we don’t have enough I’ll buy more.  Some of them appear to be very old.

One thing we will do this Saturday evening is there is a tree lighting ceremony in a local community so we’ll attend that and get a bite to eat out at one of their local eateries.

I’ve not told Coralline what we are going to do, sometimes it will be all three of us and sometimes, depending up both my sisters’ and Doyle’s schedule either all of us or just Coralline and me.

It has been ages since I was a child doing child like things, my sister had that advantage when her two daughters were growing up.  And she hopes to have some fun with her grandchildren, right now it looks like the due date for Grandchild number 2 will be the beginning of January of 2013, and the older one has just turned two.  Marie is going to see her daughter and son-in-law the week after Christmas, her other daughter will be coming by as well; last night I heard my sister complain about how available jobs forces families to be miles apart, at least she’ll be able to take the train to Reno instead of driving all the way there, they live just outside of Reno so her son in law will come and pick her up at the station.

But she told me that with Coralline we both will have a measure of fun, Doyle is in the same position as Marie, his children will be visiting other family members, so he’s going to see them for a few days before Christmas and be back by Christmas Eve, so he’s hoping to join us for some of the Holiday doings.

He feels bad that he’ll be leaving me alone for a little while but I told him I’ll be so busy getting the house ready for the holiday dinner I won’t have a chance to miss him, except late at night.  At least both he and my sister will be here for the Christmas Dinner.

And I’m certainly looking forward to that.

Later Darklings


Ahhhhh****sigh**** Darklings,

We survived the Thanksgiving Holidays, despite disaster, with laughter and dark thoughts, and now to re-cap and bring you up to date my Darklings.

On our Mundane Friday, Coralline found the Pet Cemetery in the farthest back portion of the property; a very adventuress and momentous discovery for the both of us as I was not aware of its existence, having just listed that area to simply be cleaned up, now with this discovery I have another project to enjoy doing.

Our brother and his friend with his truck moved the few pieces of furniture from our Sisters’ storage unit to the house and put them either into place in her rooms or in the upper storage room.  Sis could finally sign off on the rented storage unit and be grateful she no longer has to pay out that money any more, she also claimed her car that was in storage at a garage and has it parked in our driveway off the street. 

Since there is a two car garage in the back of the property that I keep my vintage Buick in, she can put her car in the other bay, and I can put up a canopy to cover my car, although Doyle has suggested that since there is un-used space behind the garage that is not being used for anything we could extend the back of the garage and move his vintage police car from his storage unit into the garage and still have space for another car if need be.   It sounds promising, something I’ll have to look into.

Sis finished updating her work schedule and started putting her things into place and getting her rooms organized while Coralline and I ran errands.

That Friday evening Doyle came home happy, the assignment that he was on came to a happy successful conclusion so there was a little celebration, while Coralline told Doyle about her wonderfully macabre discovery, so much so that both of them went back out in the dark to look at the hidden graves by flashlight.  Doyle’s reaction when he came back in later was to remark “Steven King Lives”.

When Coralline and I were running our errands we discovered that the Kardashian sisters have come out with a holiday line of nail polish, and we saw “nail polish by the yard” being sold, little bottles of different colors in a plastic tube a yard long going for $9.99 at our CVS drug store.  I thought what a wonderful fun gift, which I will cover further in another post.

Saturday of course was the Dickens Faire, which I’ve already told you Darklings about, the upside is now Coralline wants to read Dickens and the Sherlock Holmes stories and Edgar Allen Poe works as well a Jules Vern, I told her that since we had those books in the Library aka “Librarium” she was welcomed to read them here at the house, but Sis and I are thinking about buying Corallines’ own copies for Christmas along with other wonderful things.

Sunday, what fun we had on Sunday, instead of going to Target or Wal-mart we went to JC Pennys to buy Coralline clothes for her wardrobe, my sister and I had a chance to go through what she already had and her Mother admitted that Coralline had outgrown much of what was in her closet, but they didn’t have a chance to go shopping because of the boys sporting events taking up a lot of their time.

So my sister and I solved the problem, and shop we did, we found several dresses for her that had black backgrounds but were softened with a bit of color or ruffles and not baby like at all, jeans and pants in black, tops and blouses and a couple of cardigans for the chilly days, shoes, socks, undergarments, slippers and sleep wear, two coats to keep her warm, and a black beret which she fell in love with, clips for her hair and a cute purse to keep whatever she thought important inside of.

But she wanted another long skirt which no store had in her size, Sis said it would not be a problem to have made (she is clever with sewing).  And she was hoping to find a ruffle Victorian type blouse, no such look but since we know her size we can look for something like that in second hand shops.  And with many of them coming up with Christmas things we may get lucky.

Coralline said she’d like to have a separate wardrobe left at my house of things she’d like to wear around the house, so we did double up on some things that we hung up in her closet at my home.  Sis had fun finding a few things for her grandchild and grandchild to be while we were shopping, but she said she will send gift certificates to her adult children, much easier she said.

We had already talked to my brother and his wife and agreed no gift exchange, but secretly Sis and I will surprise Coralline with a few special things that she is not to tell her brothers.

Are we “corrupting” our niece??  Of course we are, but in our defense, and it was my sister who suggested it, we were really doing a sort of home education for the child.  Instead of being subjected to sports all the time, we were balancing her creative instincts and what we seemed to see is her inclination toward our sort of thinking, but we had to be careful that we didn’t run counter to what our brother and sister in law wanted for her, however so far it seems that harmony reins in their home with this balancing act.

I did tell my sister that we were still in the “honeymoon” phase, it could completely fall apart by the middle of next year, but she, having raised two of her own didn’t think so, since we were only having her for the weekends and the school breaks and as long as she maintained good grades and a positive attitude even if its darkly thinking it could become a very good thing, for all involved.

As I looked at this child who was lying on her stomach on the rug in front of the Victorian fireplace reading my old copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with Belladonna snoozing next to her, relaxing before we left to take her home, as the cd of Christmas Harp music played on the cd player that looked like it came out of something from the 1930’s, I could see that my sister was right, and perhaps it was expanding our own world as well.

I could see a bit of my sister and myself in this child, mentally I prepared myself for mud on the carpets, perhaps a stray cat or two, tantrums as she gets older and questions, lots of questions, but my concerns were temporarily dispelled when Coralline looked up from the book and petting the sleeping Belladonna asked “When are we going to buy a spooky Christmas Tree?”

Later Darklings

Morning Musings~~~~

Good Morning Darklings,

I came to work early today, taking into account the weather.  Right now I've having a break and my third cup of coffee, the bathroom is going to see a lot of me later.

I woke to the sound of cold rain, and mist and as I rode my public transportation to work felt the winter type chill in the air and an almost Victorian Gothic feeling as my bus went through the streets, wet and slick and the trees either bare of leaves or turning shades of red, orange, yellow and brown, with only a hint of green left before they fall from their branches.

People bundled up against the wind, hunkered down, avoiding the rain from hitting their faces, sometimes gusts of wind so strong it will turn an umbrella inside out, in some cases destroying it,  seeing soggy papers somehow flipping over and around as the winds whip them up.

Cars carelessly sending up oily splashes of water to the unwary, soaking them, and endangering them of catching a nasty cold before the holidays.

Large puddles of water waiting to soak shoes and socks and make feet cold and damp.  The sound of noses sniffling, sneezing, and quiet "sorry" to the public in general.   We cannot really stay at home unless the fever comes and sends us down for the count, and the aftermath as we finally get better but still have that cough, and runny nose.

Soup, wonderful soup, such a good thing for an achy chest, a stuffy head, a raspy throat, or a winter tea made with cammoille, cloves, cinnamon, a hit of lemon, a touch of honey and a hefty splash of whiskey, might as well feel good while you're trying to get better.

Hmmm as a matter of fact I think I will switch to tea for the rest of the day, minus I'm sorry to say, the whiskey, but I'll have some at home.

I'm putting in long hours for the next few days to leave my weekends free as possible.  My Sister and I are making plans for various Christmas Events through out the Bay Area, some we must make reservations for others will be spur of the moment things, but we are doing it with Coralline.

We found out from her parents that all previous Christmas's have been doing things with the boys, or plans around the boys without taking into consideration what Coralline would like.  Monica gave us a list of things her daughter had mentioned in the past but was disappointed in not going to.  And Monica admitted she was not interested in these events.   And she was surprised at the lovely selection of clothes that we purchased for her daughter,  the out-grown clothes will go to charity.

Monica admitted that her daughter is growing up, and is not a baby any more.  My sister said that our niece is still a child in many respects and as she gets older will be flitting from child to teen to child, and then teen to adult and back.  The next 10 years will go very quickly so we must enjoy them while we can.

We did promise not to buy a pony.  

Monica said that Coralline kept talking about how fabulous my house is,  granted she and our brother prefer a modern house nothing old fashion, but my house has made a serious impression on her daughter, in all the years we've been together it was either at my old apartment or at my brother's house, so this Christmas will be at my late Great-Aunt's house and Monica's curiosity is up.

As I look out at the office window down upon the wet windy streets, I feel a certain darkish feeling of joy, the reds and greens are darker and deeper, the gold is not brilliant but burnished with a deep fire, this holiday season is not one of Santa and Snowmen but of Dickens' Christmas Ghosts.   I'm going to have fun this season.

In my next post I will recap what happened last weekend. 

Later Darklings and be sure to drink lots of hot tea for the winter chill

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Of Discoveries, Charles Dickens and Coralline~~~~

Well Darklings,

Despite the fact that we had such an interesting situation at my brother’s house for Thanksgiving, we simply relaxed the day after, finishing washing and putting away the china, glass and silverware and then doing mundane things like laundry, house cleaning and putting together a grocery list to replenish the pantry.

Doyle left early but put a fresh pot of coffee on to greet my sister and I as we stumbled into the nicely warm kitchen. Coralline was still asleep as my sister and I tend to be early risers. We tacked the chores then Sis went on line for her job.

Coralline woke up and being a good child got clean and dressed, she asked if she could help but we had things well in hand so she investigated the house, poking around in various corners and un-used rooms, going up into the “lumber room”(aka the Cemetery) and then outside wandering in the now bear garden, she sat for a long time looking at the Koi fish that were in the newly fixed pond, and discovered the Pet Cemetery that was further back on the property,  I was not aware that we had our own private little Cemetery so when she came in excitedly to tell me I went out to look and pullin away brambles and overgrowth I discovered that  these were pets my Great-Aunt had, each with their own stone.

"Well"  I said to my niece "It looks like we have our own graveyard, we'll have to plan on how to fix it up during the warm months" and found myself pleased with the idea of such an undertaking, perhaps finding some old iron fencing to surround the area to give it a special cemetery look,  and I could see that Coralline liked the idea.

I was further amused as Coralline poked her head into the pantry, the basement and laundry room to complete her investigation of the house. Then coming back into the kitchen to finally have her breakfast and her mind full of questions, she didn’t want to bother her other aunt. While she ate and asked me questions, especially about the Pet Cemetery, I drank my coffee and answered them.

The day was still early and she, like myself, enjoyed the clear cold sparkling sunshine, she and I felt we did not want to waste a minute of the day, it didn’t matter that we were going to be doing mundane errands on this day. We decided that any clothes shopping could wait until Sunday, as neither of us wanted to face the Black Friday aftermath.

So I decided that we would do our errands riding in my vintage car, which was another surprise enjoyment to her.

That evening while preparing dinner she did her homework with the aid of my sister and then we told her about going to the Dickens Christmas Faire the next day. My sister had not been to it for nearly 10 years and felt it was time to catch up, Coralline had heard about it and always wanted to go but each year it was always something her brothers wanted to do. This year I told her is going to be different.

There were several holiday events that I had made arrangements for with her parents permission Coralline was going to see the Nutcracker, the Dickens Faire and possibly one other event. I do know we were going to also take in driving in one local city to see their Christmas Tree Lane, Coralline had been asking her parents if she could come each weekend during the Holiday Season to stay with me as well as the Holiday Break, before I committed myself to this I talked it over with Marie and Doyle and frankly they thought it would be fun to share the Christmas Season with a child in tow. So it was arranged.

The next day, Coralline with the enthusiasm of childhood, came bouncing into her Aunt’s bedroom and then into mine, while Doyle hid groaning under the bed covers demanding more sleep. She had found the long skirt, blouse and crochet shawl that I had laid out for her to wear in preparation for the event.

We went to the Dickens Fair and immersed ourselves in Victorian England. No Black Friday for us, not for us the waiting in line to purchase the latest electronic gadget. No---it was to become immersed in the Gothic Christmas Spirit.

I love Charles Dickens, a Gothic writer of the “First Water” as one would say, he had such an unhappy childhood and was plagued with problems after surviving a horrendous train accident---there is more but I recommend that you read a good biography of this man who, through his writing and his personal experience helped define the Victorian period.

My sister had been so busy with her work that this was one of the few times she could relax and enjoy herself, with the exception of the long weekend in Vegas.

Having bought our tickets on line, we managed to get there early and had seats to see Mr. Dickens introduce the characters from his books and with the swirl of Mr. Fezziewig’s ball the Faire was opened. I loved seeing Coralline taking in all of this with rapt attention and wonder.

My sister was smiling at what she was seeing and later she turned to me and said “I had almost forgotten how to laugh”, as we watched the antics in one of the theatres that was set up for entertainment.

But it never fails to take me into its magical moment with the scents of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, roasted nuts, and fudge, of roasting chestnuts, and the swirl of bangers and fish and chips, the noise of the news boys, and seeing glimpses of characters from Dickens’ novels and Victorian England including the Queen and her husband Prince Albert.

You forget that they are all actors so immersed are they into their roles, we encountered Mark Twain and obtained his calling card, Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson hurrying because “the game was afoot”; our niece, Coralline, was so taken by all of this, all these characters of both history and fiction come to life, up close and personal, not images on a flickering screen or separated by a stage but as real as imagination and a suspension of reality can make them.

The Victorian Period of Dickens, Poe, Jules Verne, Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper. Of High Teas and fish and chips, of wealth and abject poverty. Of the medical discoveries of Lister and Pasteur and dealing with typhoid, small pox, cholera, and tuberculosis.

A period of changes that moved as fast in the 19th century as it did in the 20th and 21st.

Of Morality and Depravity.

And of some of the most classic authors of our times, and for a brief time we could be immersed in it but without the noxious smells or extreme disease and filth.

We stayed and stayed and stayed, slowly taking in all the shops, Coralline was wishing she could dress more like some of the children she saw, the three of us were doing well enough with our long skirts, crochet shawls and hair wrapped up in buns, but I could see the value of this fantasy so we bought bonnets to add to our costumes with a little Christmas flair of red berries and green ivy and red and green plaid ribbons.

Like Cinderella and her glass slipper we had to leave regretfully and tiredly, but late that night as I checked on Coralline to see that she was settled in to sleep I saw tucked into the frame of her dresser mirror the “formal calling cards” of Mark Twain, Buffalo Bill Cody, several Dickens characters, Phineas Fogg, all neatly displayed, her Victorian Bonnet carefully perched and covered with a light scarf to keep the dust off of it, her “Victorian Clothing” carefully draped over a chair to be hung up or washed later.

When I went down stairs to join my sister and Doyle for a night cap, I told them what I saw, my sister said we have found that which resonates to the child’s soul, a bit Goth, a bit Dickens, a bit Victorian but all child, no visions of sugar plumbs but the characters from the Victorian era.

And we could but smile at the thought.

Later Darklings

Friday, November 23, 2012

How to Ruin a Thanksgiving Dinner without cats and dogs~~~~

Well Darklings,

My sister and I were returning home staring out the car window as we traveled in shocked disbelief of the travesty that we had been subjected to for Thanksgiving dinner last night.

Please Darklings do not get me wrong, I love Holiday Dinners, I enjoy the good food, the wonderful scents, and the excellent camadre, the sharing of family stories and memories of long ago. I also love seeing the happy faces on the kiddies; I also love exchanging stories about the different events in each other's lives. But most of all I love sitting down to a wonderful dinner, inhaling the wonderful food scents, saying "Grace", Blessing the cooks and enjoying the wonderful flavors.

I know, how can an Elder/Elderly Goth who enjoys the Beauty of Darkness, enjoy being subjected to being around relatives, even dysfunctional ones, well Darklings, taking in the disasters that unfolds at these functions and writing them down later for further laughter and comment is always fun in a perverse, and slightly darkly evil way.

Especially when it can be shared between like thinking relatives and friends, but this time, This Time, even I and my sister could not believe what had happened.

We drove in silence, I at the wheel trying to suppress body shakes at the thoughts and memories that were running through my mind, I did not dare speak to my sister, who also sat bolt upright in staring silence; in the back seat was our niece bundled up in a blanket, she had complained of being cold, and she had the same look as we did.

Finally my sister spoke----“What was Monica thinking of???”

There--- it was out, spoken of and floating on the air……quietly Coralline spoke from the back seat and said “Grandma always cooks horribly; I always get sick if I eat at her house.”

I immediately asked her “Are you ill?” “No” she replied, “I just ate the bread and skipped the cheese. But I’m hungry.” We all were.

If my Brother and his wife’s home was invaded by 7 hungry blood hounds like in the movie "Christmas Story" I could understand, If the kitchen had caught on fire, I could understand, If the stove or the oven had blown up I could understand, if a water pipe broke and flooded the house, I could understand, if Hurricane Sandy decided to visit the West Coast I COULD UNDERSTAND!!

BUT FROZEN SUPERMARKET LASAGNA?????? And cheese only Lasagna at that---no meat, no guts to it. It was defrosted, it was cooked, but to say that it was tepid was being charitable at best, a solid block of cold cheese at worst---- dry garlic bread with melted cheese that was not even room temperature and the cheese had harden and was a solid slab that could be lifted off the bread, lettuce that was wilted ( and it wasn't even warm spinach salad which is suppose to be wilted) bottle Thousand Island dressing that looked dubious, water to drink, no soft drinks, no sparkling cider, and no dessert-----the only thing that was palatable was the coffee, it was hot and there was sugar but no cream or milk or even half and half.

No roasted veggies, or baked green bean casserole, no baked yams with brown sugar or tiny marshmallows melting on top, no olives for the kids to stick on their fingers, no sweet pickles or small white picked onions, heated rolls or soft butter to slather it with, no hot gravy, no hot dish to speak of, no apple, peach, pumpkin or berry pie, heated from the microwave, just wilted salad and hard bread and cold cheese lasagna and water.

There we were at the dinner table, we looked at each other and not at Monica’s tight lipped face or her Mother (Coralline’s Grandmother) who for some reason was smiling, my brother’s face was shocked, while his sons made little gagging motions that stopped when my brother gave them a stern look. My sister and I put our best faces on, ate a little to be polite and thinking that there were starving children in Haiti, the Congo and Bangladesh that would appreciate even this food. We had the coffee to warm our innards, politely chatted for a while, ignoring the hollow growling in our stomachs and then as soon as we could we thanked Monica for dinner, packed Coralline and her bag into the car as soon as we could with politeness, and drove the 45 minutes home in shocked silence.

My sister and I quickly glanced at each other and said again together "What was Monica thinking of ??"

I’ve never, ever served a dinner that bad, I mean I've burned the pot roast once or twice but it was saveable, I have burnt potatoes and vegetables on occasion I mean who hasn't but tepid Frozen Supermarket Cheese Lasagna for Thanksgiving Dinner has got to be the worst; even if you have to be tight with money because of difficult economic conditions at least the Lasagna could have been HOT!!

There is an old saying "Beauty cannot be eaten with a spoon" which means even if you are a beautiful woman you better be able to cook, because if you can't then the man in your life will starve, which in some countries there are men who look for women who not only are good looking but can cook, but if they are not too good looking if they can cook like a goddess who cares!!

Then it dawned on me, Coralline said she gets sick when she eats at Grandma’s house.

“Coralline” I asked, “Did your Grandmother make the dinner?” she answered yes, her mother had been called the day before to work in the morning because of a scheduling problem but she’d be free in the afternoon, Monica is a nurse at a local hospital.

That explained part of it, but what had happened?

Coralline explained further that her Grandmother always used up everything in her refrigerator or on the shelves “Even if it’s been in the freezer for months, I hate eating at her house.” She pitifully moaned.

“Do you brothers get sick?” My sister asked. “They just throw up and see how far they can toss their guts” our niece replied. “Do the boys tell your mother they get sick too?” I asked, “No, it’s just a game to them.” She said.

Oh no, we thought “Well, does your mother know you get sick?” we asked.

“Yeah but Grandma tells Mom I’ve got a tender stomach, that I can’t eat good food.”

“That is going to stop” said my sister and I agreed, but what to do for now??

My cell phone rang, my sister was holding it because I cannot talk and drive at the same time so Sis answered, it was Doyle who could not make it to the Dinner, he said he was home, he had picked up Belladonna from our neighbor’s house and was going to slice up some of the Turkey Breast that I cooked yesterday to heat it up for sandwiches and he’d see us when we got home.

That was IT!! I had forgotten about the Turkey Breast, I had baked yesterday because I knew that at my Brother’s house leftovers was rare event with 3 growing boys, so I told my sister to tell Doyle to slice up the entire Turkey Breast, put it back in the Refrigerator and to wait for us to get home before he ate, we were going to have a real Turkey Dinner, she relayed that to him and told him what had happened, he said he couldn’t wait to hear further the gruesome details and would take care of the turkey slicing.

My mind was racing furiously at what was in the pantry and I knew we could have a very nice dinner, and we did.

With all of us pulling together with the boxed and canned goods in the pantry it was wonderful; we had turkey with Stove Top Stuffing, instant mashed Yams, canned Asparagus spears with canned Hollandaise sauce, bottled chicken gravy, canned cranberry sauce, olives, sweet pickles, Jolly Green Giant frozen but defrosted and well heated string beans with a butter sauce, heat and serve rolls with Challenge butter, Martinellie’s Sparkling Cider and Sparkling Grape to drink as well as hot coffee with sugar and Hazelnut liquid creamer and Hot Chocolate for Coralline, followed by Mrs. Smith’s Dutch Apple Crunch pie that was baking in the oven as we ate dinner on our Great-Aunt’s beautiful China and silver service and listening to lovely Christmas Music on the Radio.

Granted nothing was home made but considering the situation it felt like a feast to us.

Doyle had prepared the fireplaces and lit candles in their silver holders in the Dinning Room and Family Parlor to make the atmosphere cheery. Although Coralline has eaten with us before, she had never seen the really good china or how sparkling the dinning room could be, a totally different impression upon her young mind.

We said “Grace” with special prayers for those who are suffering from disasters the world over or who are without homes and hungry, that they be safe and the Higher Power watch over them, knowing that at that moment we were blessed and fortunate, but during the dark days of Winter we need to think of and help those less fortunate.

Afterwards we retreated to the overstuffed chairs and couches to enjoy the after dinner crash as we planned on watching a family tradition, the Black and White version of “Miracle on 34th Street”.

But as we relaxed and re-capped the disaster from the day while Coralline’s head rested on my lap in sleepy repose and her unshod feet were kept warm on my sister’s lap we got a phone call from our sister-in-law who was very apologetic about the dinner.

She knew she had to go in to work the over night shift and would not be home Thanksgiving morning and so gave her Mother money and a list of items to buy for the dinner the day before and her Mother would prepare it, but when she finally got home just before we arrived her Mother told her everything was well in hand but it wasn’t until it was being served that she saw the disaster that developed.

Needless to say after we left she and her Mother had a verbal fight, with her Mother explaining that she saved Monica a lot of money by serving what her Mother had left over from her own kitchen.

Her sons’ finally told Monica how they always hurl after eating at Grandma’s but never told her about it. I said that it also explained why Coralline was always sick as well.

She asked how Coralline was and I told her what we had done and that her daughter was fine, over stuffed but fine.

Monica broke down in tears from her embarrassment, exhaustion from working the night before and the fight between her and her Mother. Her husband, our brother, was upset, she was exhausted from the long day and in dire need of sleep, the boys were hungry and there was hardly anything left in the kitchen, except T.V. dinners, I said that might be the only thing left to feed them, unless there was a Wal-Mart open for the early Black Friday sales, that is if she wanted to subject herself to such exhaustion. She said no, it was going to be T.V. dinners.

Needless to say Monica threw out what was left over in spite of her Mother’s objections and told her Mother that she was going to take her to a “shrink” and “get her head examined” and demanded the money back that she gave her. Her Mother said that she used it to pay bills---how could that be asked Monica, since she knew her Mother has a very healthy retirement pension that was not affected by the economy and told her that she was going to look into her Mother’s finances as well to see if she had been lying.

We could only commiserate with Monica about everything and soothed her feelings and I said (Oh did I open my mouth) that Christmas Dinner would be at my home, to expect the unexpected, that the food would be good, but she was going to have to keep the boys in line, no football in the house, nor play it on the T.V. or Radio, it was going to be a family gathering the old-fashion way, she assured me that she would clamp down on them.

We wished each other a good night and a promise to bring Coralline home Sunday evening.

After I hung up the phone Doyle and Marie looked at me and said “You’re doing Christmas Dinner??” “Why not?” said I, “It will show Monica’s Mother how to do a real Holiday Dinner. By the way…” I turned towards my sister “…do you think you can get Kitty Kat ready for Christmas?” and my sister fiendishly smiled at me.

And with that we watched the opening credit’s to “Miracle on 34th Street”, Doyle slowly fell into a comfortable slumber, my sister Marie with her feet raised on a foot stool and a slightly sleepy look on her face, Belladonna snuggled next to me and Coralline snoring and drooling on the pillow on my lap as our Thanksgiving Day came to an end.

Later Darklings

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Rain and Thanksgiving~~~~

Dear Darklings,

We’ve had rain, glorious wet, soggy, bone chilling  rain for the past few days and on and off for the past few weeks, enough to encourage grass and weeds to make their appearance while the trees are bare of leaves.

For us here in our West Coast location this is a sign of winter and winter to come as well as the bone chilling cold. Snow is appearing in the Sierras’ and if it gets cold enough will come down to the 3 thousand foot level, and if it gets really cold down to almost sea level.

For an Elder/Elderly Goth the sign of rain adds something the the Gothic ambiance of my home and garden, lots of time I enjoy a cemetery or historic home after a good rain, it adds to the mood.  The nights are longer, the evenings are chillier, time for candlelight and fireplaces (unless its a spare the air day), the shadows that are cast are longer, deeper, darker.  And every squeak and creak could herald something ..... or it could just be Doyle complaining about a loose stair tread. 
My contractor said this is a good time to spot leaks in the roof although it had been replaced several years ago, but always a shingle can work itself loose. 

But I look forward to that, to me the winter season arrives right at Thanksgiving, when the Macy’s Day Parade shows all those commercially sponsored floats, and huge balloons, when Macy staffers volunteer to be in the parade and then when Santa arrives at the end of the parade you know winter has also arrived. And the next day you can go shopping for Christmas presents.

My sister woke early to watch the Macy’s Day Parade, while I lingered in bed reluctant to leave its warmth. But up I got, cleaned up, bundled warm and took Belladonna for her walk.

The little darling will be staying at our elderly neighbors’ home, she said she was having only a few old friends coming over for a simple pot luck dinner, since all their family live far away and they too enjoy Belladonna’s company. I did warn her to not give Belladonna too much turkey.

My sister and I will be going to my brother’s house this afternoon for Thanksgiving, and then bringing Coralline back with us for the long weekend.  My sister's daughters live out of town and with her oldest expecting their 2nd child she doesn't want them to travel for now.  So Marie will stay with me for this Holiday weekend, the beauty is that there are phone lines to be in contact.

My sister in law, Monica, said that Coralline’s attitude has changed a lot since we’ve made this arrangement to have her spend occasional long weekends at my house, she said that it has made the rest of the week more bearable without all the howling and arguing and her teachers have noticed an improvement in her attitude as well, she is not so “downcast” is the best word to describe it.

And she’d like to talk to my sister and I more on this, she has gone to a consuler to discuss this and has realized that her focus on her boys and their activities had contributed to the difficulties. It will be work for Monica because she admitted that she is going into areas she is not familiar with.

My sister and I said we’d be happy to help out, but we’d all have to look at our work schedules and social lives to achieve a balance.

Monica said that when the family watched “The Addams Family” she was watching Coralline and had a “wake up” moment about her daughter. My sister in law is not dumb; she just had to have an epiphany.

I told her about the Dickens Fair and asked if Coralline would be interested in going, did not need to ask the child twice.

So this afternoon we will go to Thanksgiving dinner at my Brother’s and sister-in-laws house, endure having the T.V. set (big plasma screen T.V.) tuned in to what ever bowl game is on, you know the Rose Bowl, the Hula Bowl, the Super Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Turkey Bowl, the Toilet Bowl or what ever bowl is being played, enjoy good food, chat a bit (if possible over the yelling about the game), then come home to enjoy the after Turkey snooze.

I have much to be Thankful for, the only down side is Doyle has to work but I did cook a Turkey Breast last night so he’ll have his Turkey as well.

Even for an Elder/Elderly Goth, once in a while one has to see the light and humor on special days like this and enjoy its dysfunctional gathering.

Happy Thanksgiving to all you Darklings and Baby Bats.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cakes, perfumes, nail polish and mattresses~~~Fun along the way~~~~


The last weekend was a lot of fun for me and my Niece that I call ‘Coralline’. But this last work week had shaped up as possibly something different.

Sometimes with the difficulty of the work we do, on our lunch breaks we look for things to make us laugh and sometimes its things that are not quiet appropriate.

Right now we do not want to hear about the FBI and CIA scandal or anything else, it is something that has been going on for a hundred years although I do love the dark side of this scandal, but it can become another boring soap opera or tella novella. The story is so old it becomes a big “yawn”.

One of our staffers is getting married, fortunately a simple wedding, reception to be held in her family’s large home, and food to be pot luck. She borrowed a wedding dress, but is using her Mother’s wedding veil. Groom and best man wearing a nice suit, one maid of honor to wear her best evening dress---I mean Darklings, she is going for economy as much as possible, wedding to take place on Dec 23. Christmas theme of course which the maid of honor is thrilled because it means buying a new evening dress in red, with either a red or white fascinator style hat. The service to be held in church that she booked a year in advance.

She is not freaking out, no Bridezilla here, for which I and other’s are grateful, but she was trying to find a good cake design. So she had been looking on line, for something, but she decided a white cake with red flowers poinsettia style and green leaves and a Mr. and Mrs. Claus as a cake topper, with raspberry filling, simple, easy, not fussy. But she found this web site called Cake Wrecks---we have been laughing so hard at these unintentional disasters, some of them weird, creepy (but then I love creepy), laughable and in appropriate.

So every so often when things get depressing at work, we go to Cake Wrecks for a laugh, check it out, you may even get an idea for a cake for some strange occasion---web site is

And now for something completely different~~~~~

As you know Darklings, I LOVE perfumes and colognes, I had been intrigued by Channel’s latest scent “Coco Noir” but came away feeling a bit disappointed, well the reviews were pretty much the same, a complete disappointment. Even Givenchy’s “Dahlia Noir” was a bit disappointing, but I saved the print ads for them just as souvenirs, but I’m still in love with Elizabeth Taylor’s “Black Pearls” but it’s my understanding that its been pulled off the market, even though the reviews have been fairly favorable.

There is a web site that I have come across where you can purchase many of these scents and also check out what reviews and personal opinions have been published---the web site is, at least you can get multiple opinions and in some cases purchase sample vials, which is excellent if you are on a budget or are unable to get to a department store to purchase a scent that you desire.

I simply am having too much fun adding to my nail polish wardrobe, although I don’t buy all of them, I couldn’t afford it, but I do purchase select intriguing colors.

L’Oreal has come out with their “Electric Fantasy” collection, and of all the color’s in the collection I really love the purple shimmer called “The Mystic’s Future” a rich, royal warm purple with a lovely fantasy shimmer.

Now for those of you younger Darklings the color is also paired with a lipstick called “The Mystic’s Kiss” so if you go clubbing but don’t want to wear black, then go with the purples with black sequins, purple up your lips, eyes and nails, for an ethereal corpse-like effect.

There are other colors in the Electric Fantasy collection but I’ll leave that to other nail critic’s on their opinions.

I have my niece ‘Coralline’ again this weekend, she begged her parents to come here instead of one of her brothers innumerable ball games, and she is being very helpful.

‘Coralline’ wants to get into being a very young Baby Batling, and since she is here for the weekend, that is good because it gives her a chance to get acquainted with her other Auntie while we move my sisters things, boxes and such from storage unit to the house.

I told my niece that since she is going to a private school she has to make concessions about becoming a Baby Batling, but I did present her with an extra bottle of “Spooky Skull” nail shimmer from the Revlon Halloween collection for her helping us move things, which she did very willingly. I managed to purchase a stray bottle that was left over from the promotion a few weeks ago.

With the Sally Hansen nail polish line, I was intrigued with “Midnight in NY” a black shimmer, and the glints of shimmer in some lights appear to be red and gold and in other lights silvery, the shimmer is so fine that it takes 3 coats to bring it out, I love its sophisticated Blackness, so much more refined in my opinion that if it just had a silver shimmer to it.

But on the other end of the spectrum is Sally Hansen’s’ “Hidden Treasures” a incredibly pale pink shimmer of the most palest pink I’ve every come across and it too changes with the light, in some lights the barest hint of pink, in other a pearlized white that reminds one of the most perfect oyster pearl.

I gave my niece a bottle of that color as well. With those two colors she is on her way to Gothicness, at least in a mild way

Doyle has been in and out of the house, he comes home, checks in on me, gives me a quick update without revealing anything sensitive and then has to leave again, well it is something I’m use to, he hopes to make it for Thanksgiving Dinner at my Brother’s house. But sometimes he surprises me, in one corner of my dressing room he’s put up another sign but in keeping with the d├ęcor of the room is white with black and gold lettering it happens to be over where I keep my perfume and nail polish collection and is delicate and lovely----the sign says “Apothecarium” which is different from “Apothecia” where I have the wines stored. I think he is having too much fun but I’m not going to discourage him.

Having my sister at home is fun and it’s really very relaxing for the both of us in many ways, with us moving much of her boxes out of storage, Doyle has left me with his van so we can move more boxes and such, and the following weekend after Thanksgiving, my Brother and his brother in-law with his truck, will move the few pieces of furniture that my sister has and she can get her self finally settled into her bedroom.

Fortunately I was already in possession of a bedroom set from my Great-Aunt so it was just getting a mattress for her and also new mattress for another bed for our niece.

My sister is really glad with this idea of having her things and making my home her home base, less stressful and economically better for her. And considering how big the house is, it feels good to have her in it when Doyle is away on assignment.

Since I have 5 bedrooms and 4 ½ baths, my sister is using the two bedrooms that share a bath, that way she can have her own sitting room to have her mini-office set up with her computer and own phone line. She loves hardwired land lines like I do and this way it does not tie up my computer line at all.

There will be times when she has to go out of town for her work, but at least she can feel comfortable knowing she can have mail safely delivered, and a safe place for her car.

With my sister setting up housekeeping in one bed room, I’ve assigned another bedroom to “Coralline”, and with my sister having to buy a new mattress the day after she arrived, I decided to buy a new mattress and box springs as well for the bed “Coralline” will have so we won’t have to share my bed anymore; with my sister being home for now it was easy to have those items delivered, later this afternoon we’re going to Wal-Mart and then Target to see what kind of bed spread and linens they have for both beds, so much better than using the sleeping bags.

My sister told me how the delivery men were re-acting to the house, she can be a little “stinker”, she set up an audio device to project the sound of a lion roaring, so when the men were carrying the first mattress up stairs it went off and they heard that sound, one of the men said “What was that?” and Sis said “Oh that’s just Kitty Kat, he’s hungry, but don’t worry, I’m going to feed him”. (Did I tell you she can be a “stinker”?) After they had delivered the second set, Sis gave them a tip and the audio roar went off again and Sis said “I really better hurry and feed him; he gets so cranky when he’s hungry”.

Sis told me “You should have seen their faces, one of them had that look that says ‘Feet don’ fail me now!!’, I wish I had a video camera.”

My sister does love to do mild practical jokes on occasion, she has a friend of that does mechanical and electrical set ups for haunted houses, and I can see where her mind is going, frankly I’m following along the same lines.

I was glad that new mattress arrived it seems that when “Coralline” has a bad dream she’s a bit of a ‘thrasher’, I’ve already been awaken from a sound sleep several times with her hand smacking my face. I was not aware that she suffers from bad dreams, I did ask her about that and some of them are vivid, it’s possible that the stress of being in an accelerated class can take its toll on a young mind. When she wakes from them she clings to me very frightened and I sooth her saying she’s safe, she relaxes and falls back to sleep, but the next day is apologetic about waking me up so abruptly.

I’ve talked to her Mother about this and at least she is going to see what can be done to help her. Perhaps being in a less stressful classroom situation might help, but we don’t want her mind to be bored either.

“Coralline” had another bad dream last night, I and my sister quickly went to her room to comfort her, and she relaxed and fell asleep, this morning again she apologized for waking us last night because of her nightmare, but I told her how one time when my sister was at a friends house for a sleepover, so Mother and I were watching a scary movie on T.V., it was “The Haunting” with Julie Harris and Claire Bloom, what scared us was not what we saw but what we didn’t see, I was 17 at the time and was so scared I had to sleep with Mother, but I told my niece that the reverse can happen when Mother was so scared from seeing the opening scenes of that Steve McQueen movie “The Blob” that we left the theatre and she had to sleep with me.

My niece laughed at that and relaxed about the whole thing. My sister said she didn’t know that and I told her “Well I didn’t see the reason to mention it” but privately we hope that with our niece being in a good class environment but with less stress will help with her nightmares.

Last night my sister and I had the pleasure of watching our niece dance down the bedroom hall way in her nightgown as she twirled along enjoying her environment with the purple wall paper with the gold pattern designs and touching the individual wall lamps after each twirl, happily humming a tune. My sister said it reminded her of her daughters at that age. I have to confess if it wasn’t for photographs I’d have to wonder if we were ever young.

The burdens of adulthood can be so exhausting at times. But now with the situation with “Coralline” both my sister and I can, in a way, relive the discoveries of becoming Goth. But for children now a days it is so much harder, my sister is going to talk to her children to see what sort of stresses and difficulties children are facing now a days. In many ways I would not envy being a child growing up in today’s world. My sister and I are hoping we can give some protective mechanisms for our niece.

And Hostess Cupcakes is no more, another tradition gone. ***sigh***

Well they are ready to go shopping, and one more trip to the storage unit for today. We do fear that the stores will already be crowded, so it will be take out dinner tonight.

Later Darklings

Friday, November 16, 2012

Family, relatives and "Coralline"~~~~

Well Darklings,

My 3 day weekend did not go quite the way I was expecting. Not that I had anything really planned, Doyle has an assignment, which will be intensive, so I won’t be seeing him very much, I thought I was just going to do a few things and generally putter around.

But Friday morning at work(Just at the start of the 3 day Veteran's Day weekend), I got two phone calls that changed a few things. I was planning on going to “load up” on Duraflame logs and tea lights (easy to do anytime) but first I got a phone call from my sister and she’ll be flying in Monday evening, a bit sooner than expected but still I’m very happy about it.

Resourceful Sis, managed to get a flight out to Texas and from there to Las Vegas, where she stayed for the weekend enjoying the hedonistic sights of “Sin City”, sort of a mini-vacation. Then she hopped a flight out Monday evening to my local airport, so I had the fun of picking her up at about 8 p.m. and getting her settled into my home, I really didn’t mind and the timing was good since I had Monday off as a holiday (Veteran’s Day).

But things got a little complicated for me, because the 2nd phone call was from my Brother he of the 3 jock boys, sports enthusiast wife and very quiet daughter. I’m sure you can see where this is going, but if not I’ll fill you in.

I’m an Auntie, and one calls upon Auntie’s when the “married with children” have their backs to the wall or have what they perceive is a “changeling child” Auntie’s are the hidden super hero’s, they come through in times of crisis---well at least the one’s I know do.

My brother and his wife are nice people, but they love their sports, their boys love sports, their daughter (who they were hoping to be a boy) hates sports and considers those who play sports and get a lot of money as idiots---except for Joe Montana. Why he is the exception I have no idea.

She is 10 years old and thinks of sports as the “bread and circus” of the 21st century Modern Rome, I am inclined to also think that way, but I have to admit I do love Professional Bull Riding (I always cheer for the Bulls), and Alright for those who think that is a sin---then I’ve sinned but I’m not going to apologize. I’ve seen professional Portuguese Bull Fighting without blood letting and I am amazed by it. Trust me Darklings, the Portuguese Bull Fighting done here in the U.S. is done without blooding and is darkly Gothic, darkly beautiful and ritualistic. It is also a part of my ancestral heritage.

My niece loves music mostly classical, ballet, and saw the recorded version of “Phantom of the Opera” which she considers her favorite musical and Opera (well she is Only 10), and has seen the “Twilight Movies” much to her parents objections (they thought she was seeing a Disney movie with a friend).

So she is a changeling child.

Anyway there were several big sports events coming up this last weekend that they wanted to attend but their daughter set up such a “howl” that there was no peace in their home, until my brother remembered me.

So I had Carol, whom I’ve started calling “Coralline” for the weekend, which worked out in several ways, she needed to do both a reading and writing assignment for the weekend, the reading assignment was easy, her folks dropped her off on my work doorstep 2 hours before I got off work on Friday, with her bags in tow. ***sigh*** (I do love my brother but with his wife, it has to be on her schedule)

I apologized to Coralline because I still had to work and was concerned she’d be bored but she said she has a reading assignment and needed to do a report on it, and had to check over her math homework which she had initially finished in her free time period at school. So setting her up in my area to do what she needed to do, she was content.

She is a remarkably self possessed child, gets mostly A’s with a few B’s in school she’s in an accelerated course and is reading at the 8th to 9th grade level with full comprehension. Her math is at 7th to 8th grade level and constantly improving, her science is at 8th grade level, she is like 10 going on 80, wise and sad at the same time and mildly frustrated at her immature brothers, and her sports addicted parents.

I can understand in a way, I mean my Dad liked sports he could watch a football game, was mildly interested in baseball, and basketball, but it was not the defining thing in his existence, mostly it was a way for “the men folk” to gather around watching the game on the old black and white T.V. and discuss the mis-fortunes of the world.

My brother played football in high school and college and got hooked, seriously hooked. Sometimes I and my Sister have wondered if he didn’t get switched at birth, however Mother assured us that did not happen.

I and later when my Sister came on the scene, well we had a few playmates our age but we never really felt comfortable with them, they seemed so “childish”, I guess being around grownups a lot can affect a child, but for my Sister and I it was a good thing. Later in our teens we developed a few friends our age, but again not many.

By the time my brother came around, there were lots of kids his age, and he never seemed to think beyond when he could go out and play kick-ball or something with his pals. Amazing what a difference 8 years can make.

My niece Carol aka “Coralline” seemed to be in the same situation as I and my sister, close by there were no girls her age, but plenty of boys her brothers ages and it wasn’t easy making friends in a highly competitive accelerated education classes.

So I had Coralline for the weekend and she has been tagging after me all this time, I wasn’t sure how she’d take to an Auntie who is an Elder/Elderly Goth, I informed her that the basic rule is “My House, My Rules, Homework comes first, and I need to know from your parents what you can and cannot do.” She was very willing to go along with that especially the minute she saw my house from the outside, the first words she said was “Wow!” And took to the house both inside and outside like a duck to water, even Belladonna was happy for the extra attention.

She stood in awe in front of the portrait of my Great, her Great-Great Aunt and said to me “I don’t think I’ll ever be as beautiful as her” so over dinner I told her the story of the ugly duckling who became a swan, and showed her pictures of me and my sister as children, just like her, unformed, shapeless, in pigtails, no hint of any kind of beauty.

And then as a sort of game I showed her how her beauty will develop, pinning a dress to fit her that was a perfect color for her completion and doing some light make up, and dressing her hair I showed her that in time she would become a very beautiful young lady. I told her to always remember that as she grows up, but that it’s perfectly alright to be a 10 year old girl and to have fun as a 10 year old girl.

She almost hated taking off the makeup but I informed her that part of her beauty routine was to always be clean which meant washing her face and brushing her teeth morning and evening, and other beauty things that a 10 year old can do.

She enjoyed her weekend with me and then meeting her other Auntie as well, her writing assignment was “How I spent my 3 day weekend”. It was to be done in a diary format; she said her class mates were going to be jealous. I asked her why and she said “None of them have a house that is from that movie “The Addams Family”, except with less cobwebs.

While we were waiting for my Sister’s flight to arrive at the airport, my niece asked me a lot of questions about my childhood, and I discovered through her questioning that she is going through the same type of difficulties as I went through. Granted the stresses of today are different from when I was growing up, but the issues are pretty much the same.

I gave her the “Cliff Notes” version and told her to file away what I’ve said in her mind and write down any further questions to ask me, because there was more than what I gave her in the condensed version.

She asked me if she could wear all black and I suggested to her that at her age it would be best to go with dark blue, purple, deep greens and the occasional red. She hated the cutesy baby girlie things her mother bought her, and I said she was still too young to try and look sophisticated and to enjoy being a young girl. I told her a splash of pink was fine, and when combined with black can look very nice. She asked me to ask her mother if I could take her clothes shopping in the next few weeks (right after Black Friday which I dread), but I couldn’t refuse. But I told her that I would need to get an idea of what was already in her wardrobe and we could go from there. So like two conspirators we made our plans.

I know her Mother, my sister-in-law, she comes from a family of sports enthusiasts, when I’ve tried to talk to her about music, literature etc., she always manages to bring the conversation back to sports. When she talks about her children she always has a lot to say about the boys and their achievements, when it comes to her daughter she says that she’s happy she gets good grades in school and is never a problem but hates sports and my sister-in-law has admitted to me in a recent conversation that she doesn’t understand her daughter and has no idea how to really deal with her.

I suggested to not force sports on her as her interests were in another, more artistic direction. And “Corallines’” Mother keeps asking where did that come from, well Duh! Look at her Aunties….***sigh*** I did tell you that I ‘like’ my sister-in-law.

Then again she gets so wrapped up in the boys’ lives that it seems she doesn’t have time to spare for her daughter. I think this is something I’ll need to talk to her about in depth. Even for an Elder/Elderly Gothic Auntie there are boundaries and I need to see what they are.

When my Sister and I dropped our niece off at her parent’s house we made arrangements with her parents for her to spend the Thanksgiving break with us, even though we’d be at my brother’s for Thanksgiving Dinner, which promises to be very interesting. I told her we would see about the Christmas break.

She asked her parents if they could watch the first “Addams Family” movie for their movie night and they said “Sure, why not” since her brothers had been choosing the movies for the last 2 months, all sports oriented or the “Jackass” movies.

My brother and sister-in-law do not suspect what is slowly developing for their youngest. If nothing else my niece finally felt she wasn’t an outsider in this family, that they were the outsiders and we (my niece, sister and I) were “perfectly normal”, “Crematorium” Kitchen and all.

I do know this ‘Coralline’ is thinking like my sister and I did when we would make plans to do our brother in, only she has to contend with 3 brothers who are older. The good thing is I told her that it would be wise to stop the planning, that when her brothers are grown up they could become useful in many ways. She had not thought about that, which made me smile.

And now she has met her other Auntie whom she has heard about but never met until now. My sister and I think this is going to be “a good thing.”

Later Darklings.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Shuuuuu~~~She's still asleep~~~

Dear Darklings,

I'll have to make this one short.   My 10 year old niece has been staying with me since Friday Afternoon.

She's asleep right now, last night we went to the movies to see "Skyfall" and it was so exciting, although a late night for her.  But I'm going to wake her up in a few minutes.

Long story but I'll shorten it,  Doyle is on an intensive assignment and would not be around, not a problem as I was going to do things for this long weekend.   My younger brother and his wife and their boys had sporting events (including going to the 49ner's/Rams game) for the weekend.

My niece who is not into sports set up a howl about being dragged to these things she was not interested in.
And she has homework, quick compromise, she will spend the weekend with her Elder/Elderly Goth Auntie, and the little Batling has been in heaven, at least that is what she is saying.

I've had her since Friday Afternoon when her parents dropped her off at my work when she got out of school.  But not a problem she had a reading/English assignment and was also going to check over her math work.  She's in an advance placement classes so she is working above her age and grade level, something that her brothers are not---they're not dumb but are working at their grade level, but she is out pacing them, and they are into sports which she is not.

The idea of a sports weekend was not sitting very well with her, so Auntie to the rescue and it has been interesting and eye opening for the both of us.   Today is her last day with me, and this evening we will pick up her other Auntie at the airport.

And from what has been happening I think I have a Baby Bat in the making.  I'm smiling at the thought, in some ways I see a lot of "me" in her.

Must go I hear the shower running so I know she is up. 

More to come.

Later Darklings

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Chilling Cold has arrived~~~~

Well Darklings,

The chilling cold has finally arrived, announcing the anticipation of Winter, and its attendant colds, sneezes, sniffles etc.   last night it got down to the upper 30's here in the Bay Area.

But for you Darklings that live in Really cold countries, that is nothing,  but I am not a polar bear,  and for an Elder/Elderly Goth, the cold can bring upon the aches and joint pain one really can't stand.

So now its increased heating costs, checking for spare the air days if I want a fire in the fireplace, stacking up Duraflame logs,  and least I had my fireplaces checked and cleaned,  and if we cannot burn a fire I do have candles,  one can have a lot of fun stocking up on tea lights by the bag fulls (thank you IKEA and CostCo).  

Yes Darklings, if you are lucky to have a fire place but it's a "spare the air"day then burn candles in the safety of your fireplace instead,  trust me it does put out it's own kind of warmth as well.   Now I know that there are tea lights and candles made from petroleum products and so many people recommend soy candles but they can be expensive, but if you are having a romantic get-together then by all means do use soy candles.

For those of you who want the ambiance of a fireplace but live in an apartment where having one is not possible,  check out the Victorian Trading Company,  they have electric fireplaces, with wonderful old-fashioned fireplace mantles, and you have the beauty of taking it with you when you decide to move.

And if you want to burn tea lights I also suggest that you place them in the safety of glass containers and keep them well away from anything flammable, like curtains, drapes, lampshades, or cloth mantle pieces and do not discount anything plastic either.  Plastic is just as dangerous.   And do not leave them burning unattended or over night while you are sleeping.

Candles burning  in those wonderful Gothic style candle holders from Spirit or the Fright catalogue can look so positively macabre, but again you have to remember safety.

So now with the chilly sun out lighting the sky and burning off the dampness from the night before I am going to buy my supply of both tea lights and Duraflame logs and plan on how I'm going to do spring cleaning to remove the winter dust next year.

Later Darklings

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's Bram Stoker's Birthday~~~

Well Darklings,

I have a reason to celebrate, it's Bram Stoker's 165th birthday!

Author of "Dracula", "Lair of the White Worm" and other tingling tales.

My friends called me here at work, and since it's been raining on and off, it will be a perfect night to get together to celebrate.

Later Darklings

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gardens and politics and other things~~~~

Hello Darklings,

Well I decided to bow to a “higher wisdom”.

My two friends who love to garden told me that for the restoration of the original pond in my garden, which currently is empty, it would be best to hire a team of pond experts to work on it and to maintain it for me, as well as installing the smaller pond in my greenhouse, currently the 6 small Koi that are in my temporary pond are doing well, but they really need room.

They recommended Creative Ponds and Gardens, and I’ve called for an appointment.  I really feel better about doing this as I want to get that pond up and running, my friends said that it was no problem to work around it  doing the plantings once the ponds are established.  They were also looking into someone that can help me restore the Greenhouse and add a proper walk way to it from the Main house.  And I trust their judgement.

Of course my friends can’t quite understand why I chose Koi that are nearly all white but I said that the white against a dark back ground will give the ghostly effect that I want, especially under a full moon.  And with that explanation they understood.

We were experiencing rather warm weather for the moment, but the weather man says it will cool down and start to rain this weekend, and although I love the rain and cool weather, I was hoping to start removing some of my more fragile Halloween outdoor decorations, I managed to remove a few of them, the werewolf has been put in storage in the basement carefully covered with a heavy duty garbage bag until next year, although I might bring him out for Christmas and put a Santa Hat and Beard on him.  I am perverse enough to do that.

Voting for the Presidential election is all over, I was seeing people with little stickers on their clothing saying “I Voted”--- Good for them I thought; I sent in my mail in ballot a week ago, and that night there was nothing on the radio and television except for information on the votes coming in along with word of various voting scandals, that part I was looking forward to.  Doyle suggested  we turn on the Television but treat it as a radio while we read our respective books, it was a good idea as I feel that all politics are crooked as the deviousness of the characters on “666 Park Avenue”.

And speaking of that show, I have found it to be a “guilty gothic pleasure”; I do hope it will run for several seasons, but I would not be surprised if people developed some sort of “fan fiction” based on the show.  Even I could see some possible developments. 

A friend of mine gave me an extra bottle of Revlon nail color, in the High speed drying series---it’s a lovely Emerald green titled “Invitation Only”, not as dark as Poison Ivy by Wet and Wild, but lovely; the color will be perfect for the Christmas season or for St. Patrick’s Day, or I might go with a red for the Christmas Holidays.

Now with the Halloween Season over and all the after Halloween Sales are done, I feel a bit flat but all was not lost, I had a chance to pick up a new book to add to my macabre library collection-----The title of the book is “Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection” written by Simon Winchester, if nothing else as a dissertation on that part of one’s anatomy that houses the brain and showing the different shapes of over 2,000 skulls including those of extinct animals, I find will be a fascinating study, worthy of a read on a stormy, wet, wind-swept evening.   Winchester is also the author of “The Professor and the Madman” the story of two men who complied the Oxford Dictionary one of them was in a mental institution.

I find that adding books on very bizarre subjects such as Lizzie Borden or Jack the Ripper or the Black Dahlia, vampires, those listed above and other bizarre subjects have made for interesting comments by my friends when they peruse the titles in my Library, such as Mary Roach’s books “Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife” and “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers”, I feel that such titles and subjects will always make for interesting reading no matter what the season is.

I’m looking forward to my Sister coming to stay for a while in my home, I’ve heard from her again and she is fine, but things on the East Coast are a shambles and that is putting it very mildly with everyone who has lost homes completely displaced or stranded without heat or food.  I feel helpless except to help out with fund raising.  We took up a collection here at work and I contributed to that as well.

My Sister will be flying in a week before Thanksgiving to avoid the crush of crowds.  I have no idea what we will do for Thanksgiving dinner, we may go out to dinner or our brother may invite us over to his place for dinner or a friend of mine might send out an invite, so far I’ve not heard anything, but frankly that doesn’t bother me, I’ve always looked at the Thanksgiving weekend as a time to rest and relax, and pour through my latest Victorian Trading Company catalogue.   Although dinner at my younger brother’s house can be a bit wild and wooly, with 3 rambunious boys and one very quiet girl of 10, my nephews and niece.

Doyle shows me a bottle of wine as I am typing this, it’s called Apothic Red, I looked up reviews on it, some find it o.k. as a sweet wine for the amateurs, others hate it, says that it’s a blend of Syrah, Zifandel, and Merlot and smells of butterscotch, the reviewer says it’s more of a cocktail wine.  He spotted it on sale for $9.00, so we will try it  tonight and if it’s not good, oh well.  But he says he has a new name for the area where I keep the wines, it will be called and labeled  the “Apotheca” where vintner’s blended and stored wines in a supposedly mysterious place in the 13th century.  He says we’ll call the ‘lumber room or storage room’ the “Cemetery”.  

I found myself laughing at the thought---who says you can’t have fun when Halloween is over.

Later Darklings

Sunday, November 4, 2012

After Halloween and possible changes~~~~

Hello My Darklings,

My little Halloween Party was a nice success, we managed to raised $300 to send to the disaster relief fund for the people who suffered and survived Hurricane Sandy.

A few of my friends brought over more finger food, and yes, Doyle was right with the extra goodies that my friends brought, we have more than enough goodies that I purchased to serve as dinner and lunch for the next few days.

In spite of the threat of rain in our area I did have quiet a number of little trick and treaters, some of them barely 6 or 7 months old dressed as pumpkins or teddy bears, excellent costumes to keep them warm. Most of the children were any where from 2 or 2½ to 10 or 11 years old, not too many of the older ones, although my neighbors daughter is 13 and she still loves to go trick or treating, she came home early did her homework (I just can’t believe that teachers would hand out homework on Halloween), got dressed in her costume as “Queen of the Night” with artificial black roses and all.

She came by about 8 p.m. with her Mom and Dad in tow and I gave her a hefty amount of candy, my house was the last one for them to visit so I invited them in for food and drinks (nothing intoxicating for their daughter I can assure you).

I told them that I was going to show “Poltergeist” in about an hour and she pleaded with them to watch it. So they stayed with a promise by her that even if she was tired the next day she would get up to go to school.

Their daughter Miranda and they had never been inside my Great Aunt’s house, but had been watching all the work being done and curiosity got the better of them, so leaving Doyle to do Host duties I took them on a tour of the place, explaining some of the work to be done and what had been done.

Of course it was then that I realized that Doyle with his own sense of perverse humor, had put up signs in various areas of the house with beautifully Gothic style signs, he labeled the kitchen as the “Crematorium,” my basement laundry room area as the “dungeon,” the area where I keep my wines as “The Cemetery”, the master bed room as the “Morgue,”(trust me Darklings for a Morgue it can get lively) the guest bathroom (and I found out later the Master bedroom bathroom) as the “Laboratory”, at the library he put up “Cabinet of Curiosities” (which I found quite right), the living room was the “Asylum”, and the dinning room as the “Torture Chamber”, the closet where I keep some of our coats and my guests can hang their coats had a sign that said “Witches Broom Parking”, where he found these signs I have no idea but I felt they were just right and decided that I would leave them up after Halloween.

Of course my neighbors were a bit puzzled but thought that it was all in good fun, until I mentioned that I was going to keep the signs up, I had so much fun enjoying the looks they gave, much like the looks that people give when they walk into the Addams Family house, Doyle didn’t label all the rooms but we’ll get around to that.

Miranda thought it would be fun to live in a house like mine and I said she needed to save up her money and get a well paying job because it does require serious up keep. She saw the full length portrait of my Great-Aunt and was in awe, I remember that same feeling when I first met my Great-Aunt in person for the first time.

Most of my trick or treaters came by between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and it did do some misty drizzle, on and off, and then by 8:30 the rain came down in earnest. I was glad that I had the werewolf on the porch instead of in the yard; it prevented its electronics from getting damaged.

By 11 p.m. after the movie was over it was time for my guests to go home, yes Thursday was a work day, but I was glad that I had taken that day off, it gave me a chance to go to Spirit to get some 50 percent off on some goodies and then I stopped by another favorite store of mine called Gaslight Emporium, they offer the most delicious treats and seasonal gifts, but I just had to purchase these display apothecary bottles that said “Hemlock”, “Belladonna” and “Arsenic”. There were other bottles that offered “Spider Web Essence”, “Tail of Rat”, “Black Spider Oil”, “Skull Powder”, and a tin that said “Spider eggs”. I understand that these display bottles and such can be found on line, or one can make one’s own with graphics and one’s own computer.

And a lovely sign that said “Welcome to the Haunted House---enter at your own risk” in beautiful elegant lettering. I’m going to put that next to the door bell.

Then I came home to do the final clean up, washing and re-arranging. Friday and Saturday I had to put in long, long days to catch up with my work and at least on Saturday we could set the clocks back one hour so that we are in harmony with the rising and setting of the Sun, which means that darkness will fall sooner, which is fine for me.

But when I came home on Saturday, I had a bit of a surprise from Doyle, it was going on 7 p.m. and I took BART and bus home glad that everything had been caught up and that dinner was going to be either heated in the oven or microwaved, when I saw this delivery truck in front of my house, I thought that it might have been for one of the neighbors, considering that the foreclosed house had recently been bought, but no it was for my home.

I went in and found Doyle in the kitchen with the delivery men setting up a brand new but 1950’s retro looking refrigerator in the kitchen in place were the old one was, I asked Doyle where was the old one and he said in the Pantry Room (aka “The Columbarium”) next to the freezer and not to worry none of the food had spoiled.

I said nothing and just watched as they got it in place and plugged it in; Doyle tipped them for their efforts in moving the old one and moving in the new one.

I asked him what this was about; I said I loved the retro look of it, it reminded me of the old Frigidaire that use to be in my Parents home, but this new one is frost free and an energy saver, just like the old one that had been moved into the pantry room.

Doyle told me that he saw how I was trying to put refrigerated items in the old refrigerator, and yes granted it was the smallest possible one that my Great Aunt had bought since she was only shopping and cooking for herself since she no longer was giving parties and the other one had stopped working. I had been planning on getting a larger model and I loved the retro look it went well with the 1950’s O’Keefe and Merritt stove and I was going to put the old one into the pantry to hold extra items that had a long refrigeration life, like soft drinks, beer, International delight Pumpkin spice creamer and anything for parties. And even though I had the freezer for frozen items it didn’t work very well for those things one had to keep cold but not frozen, like Jello in the shape of a brain.

Doyle wanted to surprise me and he did!!! He said that with my Sister moving in that it would also be good to have extra space for any specialty foods that she liked, which was right because I was not aware of her food preferences.

So Doyle fixed dinner while I got comfortable and we relaxed eating dinner in the kitchen.

That is when Doyle brought up something that I had only been toying with, hiring a cleaning service on a regular basis. He made some very good points about that, I mean personal things like washing our own clothes (Doyle prefers to do his own), and sheets and towels I certainly can do, and washing our own dishes and pots and pans, but he said given the overall size of the house it made sense to have a cleaning service come in once a week to clean and then all I’d have to do is just some touch ups here and there.

I really like the idea but I was concerned about security, he said he could “vet them” out. And my real jewelry I could keep in the safe, he also said that once I have the back garden and front yard designed the way I want I should consider a hiring a gardener to mow the lawn and trim back the bougainvillea, my retired friend Fred who loves to garden but doesn’t have space for one can come out and work in the yard with the plantings and I could pay him for his work.

I have to say his ideas did have merit and was on the lines of what I was thinking about and I could afford it given my income from my job and the income from the trust my Great Aunt had set up. It was just a question of re-budgeting the finances, considering that most of my credit cards are nearly paid off and I did save up money for the wine trip I took earlier this year. Doyle said he would contribute to it since he also “made his own messes.” So I told him to go ahead and look into it.

Doyle remembered some of my unhappy dealings with previous “boy friends” and suggested that we draw up an agreement, anything that he bought for the house would be given as a gift to me and he would not dispute it, and also what we felt would be fair on other items such as food, utilities and such. I told him that I felt comfortable with our arrangement and knew he’d never be like some of those “men” that appear on “Judge Judy”. But Doyle is a stickler for what is right and proper, so I agreed to the idea.

There was one other thing Doyle brought up, he said he was moving out of his old apartment and moving his files and such into a studio apartment for when he needs time and space when he’s working on a case and needs to be totally focused on it. He told me where and I was delighted because it was in a building less than a block away, he said that by shrinking down his space he could claim most of it for his at home office for tax purposes, and the rent was far cheaper than where he was before and he had a place to park his car instead of on the street or in my driveway. Considering that he spends most of his time at my place it made sense for him to have his “man cave” closer, considering that his old place was several miles away.

All in all very good news.

So with this Sunday with everything shifted to standard time, I have a lot to think about, especially as the nights grow darker and colder sooner. And many changes going to happen.

Later Darklings