Sunday, December 9, 2012
Of Rain Storms, Falling Trees, House Painting and Christmas doings~~~~
As I’ve said in an earlier post, I’ve been busy with some Christmas planning.
I know, what is an Elder/Elderly Goth doing Christmas planning, it’s not Gothicky. Well yes and no.
All the Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman stuff is really is not Gothicky unless you watched the episode of “Castle” on Monday evening (Dec. 3, 2012) someone murdered Santa Claus, but if you read Dickens “A Christmas Carol” that is a very dark Gothic Christmas Story with Scrooges’ “Bah Humbugging” all over the place, but to be visited by Ghosts, including the last one, a very dark and somber presence indeed. Yes Darklings I would be inclined to say that there are old aspects of Christmas that are dark and Gothicky indeed.
The rain storm that we had was heavy, not as heavy as feared but it did do serious damage and some flooding in various areas. I think the most frightening thing is when the ground is so soaked and heavy with water that it just falls away, collapsing road ways, like it did in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
But looking out the front windows at night as the rains fell heavily on the street, lighted by the street lamp; it felt almost gas lit as if I was in Victorian London, faintly hearing the clip-clop of a horse pulling a Hansom Cab.
Its nights like that that I do not want too much electric light on, I want that cozy feeling of a cosseted Victorian parlor.
Ahhh but when looking at the house in the clear light of day one can see that it will need a serious coat of paint come Summer, I could see serious paint flecks being peeled off by the wind and rain.
But what colors to paint it? That is my question. A friend of mine told me that with careful scraping away the layers one can find out what colors were there before and decide which one to go with. That might be the way to go. But my sister suggested that I look at the colors that outline the stain glass windows in the front parlor, entrance hall, Dinning room and Library since they are towards the front of the house. She felt that some how the colors of the house paint would reflect the stain glass windows, I liked that idea, but we’ll know more come summer.
After dropping Coralline off at her parent’s home last Sunday a week ago, Doyle and I leisurely returned to my house, my sister was out of town for the day visiting friends and would not be back until Monday.
While Doyle was driving, the car was filled with Christmas music from a radio station, I was reflecting upon my initial thoughts on buying an artificial tree but instead found myself purchasing green trees instead; the scent of the trees as we were decorating was uplifting upon my soul and in the end I was glad we did not buy a “fake” tree. I decided that I can put up with vacuuming tree needles till next July if it brings that much joy to one’s soul.
For some reason when Doyle and I arrived home we were just a bit too wide awake to go to bed, so we turned to reading our respective books, having a glass of red wine and listening to music on the radio; in the midst of a quiet moment Doyle suddenly stood up, turned down the radio, quickly went to the window and looked out.
He stood there looking out at the street for a minute or so, I watched him puzzled by his actions, but dared not to say anything seeing how intent he was looking out, then I heard a faint sound outside, and was puzzled by what that was.
I saw Doyle’s eyes grow large then he stood back from the window, closing the curtain he turned to me and casually asked “How fond are you of the tree that’s on the verge?” (street side strip of grass between the street and the side walk)
I looked at him with a questioning look for a moment and then said slowly “Well----it’s a nice tree but I’m not attached to it, why do you ask?”
“Well, it just fell over into the street” Doyle replied nonchalantly.
With that response I quickly went to the window, looked out and saw that yes, indeed, the tree which was about 9 or 10 feet tall that reminded me of a mulberry tree, had fallen over into the street, what was so amazing was there were no cars either in front of my home or across the street and it had managed to fall quite cleanly without damaging anything nor breaking any power poles.
It was, however, blocking the entire street, and I knew that some people had to leave very early in the morning and it would have been a bit difficult for them to get by.
Portions of the tree roots were uprooted doing damage to the side walk by lifting up part of the concrete slabs and there was a good size hole in the ground.
Knowing where my gas, water and sewer lines were, I was grateful that they were not near enough to be damaged.
We went outside to survey the uprooted tree by flashlight, street light and rain sprinkles. We could see that the roots were quite “punky” or spongy, they had been rotting for some time although the tree gave every appearance of health, but because they were so spongy and soft they had not the force to do any damage to any utilities but just enough to lift the concrete sidewalk.
Taking in the entire scene, I found myself thanking what higher powers there be that nothing was damaged and no one was hurt, but I did find that I had a slight feeling of loss, I had no idea how long that tree had been in front of my Great-Aunts house, but now the landscape with its demise, had changed.
Doyle went and got an old saw horse from the back yard and put it across the side walk to warn people of the uplifted sidewalk in the dark as we knew there were some late night dog walkers. Then we went inside, not knowing who to call Doyle decided to call the police non-emergency number and informed them of the fallen tree.
While we waited to see if anything would happen, Doyle changed into dry clothes and I made hot herbal tea to warm us up.
An hour later a police car showed up and using its pusher bar moved the tree just enough so cars could get by and the police officer put up warning signs, after that we went to bed only to be awaken at 4 a.m. in the morning with the sound of a chain saw.
A street crew was sawing away the tree and putting the remains in a dump truck and packing away the signs, they moved our saw horse and put one of their signs over the side walk and the hole the tree had left.
I was glad that it had been attended to, but at 4 a.m.?? Well that certainly disturbed my sleep, but Doyle was snoring with a buzz saw sound that could cut through a red wood tree.
On and off during the next day, according to Doyle, people were walking by and gawking at the hole, some came to the house to ask him what had happened. When my sister came home she saw the tree was missing, the gaping hole and street warning saw horses, we told her what had happened.
Young Miranda and her parents, our neighbors, came around just after dinner that evening, asking about the tree and over coffee and hot cider we told them about the event. Miranda’s parents became concerned about the city tree in front of their house and decided to contact the city maintenance department to send someone to check the health of their tree.
Miranda and her parents admired the three trees in the house as well as the vintage ornaments, Miranda discovered that some ornaments were placed inside the trees to make small scenes and using puffs of cotton stretched thin to look like snow and tinsel to make it sparkle, she was enchanted by what she saw.
Connie, Miranda’s Mother, said that she was lucky to be able to get lights up and throw what ornaments she had onto their tree. With a growing boy and his cousins rough housing in the house, more than once their Christmas tree toppled over with a crash.
I told her folks about my niece Coralline and we talked about getting the two girls together for an event or two. So we shall see how this develops. Even though there is a 3 year difference it’s possible that the girls might be compatible, we shall see.
Connie told me privately while we were in the kitchen that her daughter always loved old fashioned things, that a lot of the modern things that most girls her age including Justin Beber was not interesting to her. She had such a great curiosity about my Great Grandmother’s house wanting to know what it looked like on the inside. Connie told me that Miranda was worried that it would be either torn down or made into apartments, given the current housing market.
She was delighted to see how it was being fixed up and the opportunity to come inside to see the interiors, it was better than she expected.
Of course Miranda knows that she has to use the computer and such for school and eventually work, but cell phones with all kinds of apps, were too much for her tastes, she liked simple things, but her parents insisted she have a cell phone for emergencies, so she has one that’s simple and basic.
They had gone to the Dickens Faire this last weekend and enjoyed it very much. I asked Connie if Miranda enjoyed living in a Victorian home and she said that she does and can’t imagine living in anything else, she’s very much a “history buff.” She has an older brother who is in college but doesn’t seem to have the same interest, at least not before he left for college, but he was coming during the Holiday break for a visit, that they were looking forward to.
I told Connie about various re-enactment groups and different docent programs with museums, perhaps they might have something that would interest Miranda. Connie thought that was a wonderful idea, Miranda was so interested in how old-fashioned things worked that would be wonderful for her.
Later my sister and I wondered if that would also work for Coralline, because in many ways the Victorian Era was a very Gothic period of time, Gaslight, Dark Alleys, Horse drawn Handsome cabs, Fog shrouded buildings.
We shall see.
This weekend we have again Coralline, Saturday we went to Dunsmuir House for the tea and were happy to see that Miranda and her Mother had the same tea time, so we shared a table, that gave the girls a chance to get acquainted, then we all toured Dunsmuir house, I was so delighted with how the Foundation restored this elegant home to it’s Victorian grandeur, the girls were just amazed by it, we had a chance to ride a horse drawn carriage around the grounds and the girls were pretending to be princesses, I was fascinated by the history surrounding the house, how it was built and I sensed that in some ways it was built to spite people as well. Then the Hellmann’s purchased it as a home away from home, installing a swimming pool and tennis court.
For some reason I felt that the modern mansions built by our current millionaires or billionaires just does not measure up to the elegance of this house. Its interior and exteriors was featured in two films that I know of “Burnt Offerings” and the James Bond movie “A View to a Kill”.
But the movies do not do it justice to the feel of the place; one would have to come in the Summer during the Gatsby Weekend event to get the true feel of it. But I would love to see it in its natural setting at night, especially a winter night, with the grounds all dark and damp, that feeling that the “Hound of the Baskervilles” may be roaming the land. I get very shivery thinking about that.
Connie suggested that we take the girls to the Oakland Zoo’s Christmas lights that very evening, “get them good and tired” she said. And although chilly as anything it was very beautiful, with all the lighted decorations, the animal displays were not open to the public except for a few indoor ones.
I promised Coralline that we’d come back when the weather was warmer to take in the zoological gardens.
Next Friday evening it will be the Nutcracker Miranda’s parents and I managed to get tickets together so far the girls seem to be getting along. Coralline and Miranda pleaded with us to go back to the Dickens Faire one last time, Connie said that she couldn’t afford another visit but in the spirit of the season I said that I would spring for the tickets for everyone. Connie’s husband Bob would not be able to come as he has to pick up their son at the air port.
So far the girls seem to be enjoying each other’s company despite the 3 year difference, but Coralline has a bit of maturity, and Miranda has the wonderful gift of just loving beauty. And they seem to like the same things, Coralline showed Miranda the pet cemetery and took Miranda around for a more in depth look at things in the house. I found myself amused when they would come into the Library while I'm writing out bills and balancing my banking accounts, all excited with their discoveries and asking a "ton of questions" (as they describe it).
So putting down my pen and setting aside my paperwork, I would answer their questions about things in my "Cabinet of Curiosities", the pet cemetery, strange old things in the attic or basement, and various things around the house. One thing that has them puzzled is the stain glass windows in the dinning room, each of them has a different statement. In going over the various repair bills and purchases done long ago by my Great-Aunt, I discovered that she had them specially made, I can only surmise that she had gone, many years ago on a tour of the old Winchester Mystery House and became fascinated with the stain glass windows there.
One reads "Fast unclasp the tables of my thoughts" the other reads "These same thoughts people this little world" The girls asked me what do they mean, I told them they need to read the two windows as if they were one sentence and then then will understand the meaning.
Both of them asked me why do I dress the way I do and wear my hair the way I do. I told them that I would be happy to answer those questions but at another time, if they can wait, which they promised.
I asked Connie about her thoughts on the girls and she admitted that Miranda was socially awkward around older girls and boys, and just a little immature, but her grades like Corallines are excellent. She told me that sometimes according to her information and observation, some children mature a little later than others, but she exceeds her education level, so she’s in advance classes like Coralline but not quite so accelerated. And she prefers to come home and study, she takes ballet classes but informed her mother and the teacher that she does not want to do recitals.
I thought that was strange but Connie told me that performing in front of a group stresses Miranda, if it’s for a class assignment she’ll do it and she’s fine when interacting with people and children her own age but when the conversation among her peer group turns to things that teenagers talk about like whom they adore Miranda becomes shy. Although she has a “crush” on one of the Twilight hero’s.
And both Miranda’s and Coralline’s sense of things Victorian, dark, Gothicky and mysterious are quiet prevalent not in a harmful way but just enough to be a bit “Addams Family” with a sense of fun.
My Sister, Connie and I will see how this develops.
I'm also going to post one or two more postings this morning that I had been planning to post, but have been too busy to.
Today we are going to take it a little easy, Coralline has homework that must be done and Miranda asked if she could come over today to do her homework as well. Connie had no objections since she has to do things around the house. So a relaxing Sunday for us I think.