Monday, December 29, 2014

Of the days after Christmas~~~

Hello Darklings,

It is now the days after Christmas and I am reminded of this line from a song or poem I'm not sure which.....

"It's the night after Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse.

The toys are all scattered and broken I fear and
St Nicholas won't be back for a year.

The children are nestled all snug in their wee little beds,
while memories of Sugar Plums dance in their wee little heads.

Mama in her Kerchief, Papa in his cap
have just settled down for a long winters' nap."

Well fortunately no broken toys, but we did have a time rounding up everything.  Because of my brother's family move into their new home, but because of the timing, they have been busy packing and packing things.  With much of their furniture and unnecessary items being put into storage, like two large storage locker's worth.

The good thing is the children are off from school so the two oldest could help their Mother pack things while the younger ones taped the boxes up or boxed the unbreakable stuff like books, CD's and DVD's although my Sister in law said they wasted more tape taping themselves.  And of course boxing up the Summer clothing. 

Monica said that except for the boxes for the first time in ages the house is uncluttered.

Come the first full week of 2015 they will take possession of their new home while moving their things out of their old home, which sold at far above the asking price.  My brother told me that will pay for the new home, the motor home, the needed roof repairs on the "new" home, and with what is left over possibly pay off some bills as well or use those funds as "seed money" for any other repairs and/or upgrades.

But because of the packing, it was decided for the Christmas presents to be here at my house, so on Christmas Day after we'd all gone to Mass, and while the Turkey was cooking in the oven and everything else was set up to be cooked, the children tore into their gifts, and I'm happy to say everyone was thrilled with what they received. 

Of course the family parlor was a mess, but everyone carefully put the right gift tags to the right gift and nothing was lost among the wrapping papers, not even the dogs, although the twins though it would be fun to wrap Weiner Dog up like a present, fortunately Doyle rescued the little fellow.

And no ornaments were broken either. 

Chris and Coralline were very happy with the books I gave them, oh they got other things from me and Doyle besides books, but Chris was saying how nice the 3 books I gave him would look on his book shelf all nice and Victorian he said.

Coralline loved the Monster High doll I got for her, and the dressy warm coat as well, she said she will wear it going to Mass on New Years Day and over to my house for New Years Dinner.

Dinner was wonderful, and with so many guests, and we had friends dropping over just in time to enjoy dessert, which fortunately I had plenty of.   I thought all the children wanted to watch movies but instead they surprised me with wanting to play card games instead, like "Squeak", "Go Fish" and "Old Maid" and other card games to match up the same sets of cards. 

I had Christmas music on CD's of Christmas music boxes, played low so to not intrude, but it was nearly midnight when people began to leave, I had my brother and his family stay overnight it would be a long tiring drive back and they did not have to work the next day so it worked out very nicely.

Over the course of the evening my brother told me on the progress of their move but he and his wife discussed the logistics of living up here but taking the 45 minute drive to the school where the children go to, so they could finish out their school year, it would be a 90 minute drive twice a day, and even though gas is low it was not practical, they had to consider the children's health and also time for them to do their homework. So they scratched their original plans and made new one's

They talked it over with Monica's Mother and Grandmother the children's Great Grandmother and it was decided the children would stay during the week with Monica's mother and grandmother, and come home Friday evening and return Sunday evening to the Grandmother's.

Monica was sure that Chris and Coralline would be fine, but it was dealing with a strict hand on the twins, and to make sure they did their homework and not get out of line.  So they will give it a try for the first report card period and if their grades slipped then they'd go back to the original plan.

Also Monica said that by not dealing with the children during the week Monica and my brother could rotate days off while work was being done on both houses.  Although some work was being done now on their old house before the new owners moved in at the end of January. 

Monica also told me that by having things in boxes she could go through each box and weed out old stuff or things they've never used and donate them.  It made sense to me.

I'm glad I'm having my brother and his family over for New Year's Day, both Doyle and my Sister have left this morning, Sis driving to Sacramento to visit her children for the week and Doyle taking a commuter flight down to San Diego to visit his children. 

But I won't be truly alone on New Year's Eve, my cousin Louise has invited me to go to a New Year's Eve dance, where the dress is 1940's with Big Band Music, she's made reservations at a restaurant for dinner and then we'll go to the dance, it's a fund raiser for a charity and it sounds like fun, and I have the perfect vintage evening dress to go with it.

I can do the slow dances like the slow two-step, the French tango (not to be confused with the Argentine Tango) waltz, slow fox-trot, and a gentle Swing style, I guess I'll have to wear my support corset to make sure nothing pops. 

Then I have to see what surprises 2015 will have in store.

So if you do not hear from me before New Year's, then have a wonderful New Year's Eve.

See you in 2015 Darklings!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Of Santa and NORAD~~~~

Well Darklings,

Soon some of the family will be over, my cousin and her friend, of course Sis and her room mate Brian.

We are going to have a simple dinner in about an hour, then to watch Mae West in "Everyday is a Holiday", then relax a bit with Peach Pie then to go to Midnight Mass.

The dogs are all nice and warm in their Christmas Sweaters and it is getting very chilly tonight.

Earlier today Coralline called me and although she knows Santa is really the Spirit of giving and caring, his legend based upon an old Bishop and Clement Moore's Poem "The Night Before Christmas".

But she asked me an interesting question, how come NORAD {U.S.-Canada North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)} tracks Santa's progress all over the world.

My sister provided me with the answer because she had to deal with this same question with her grandchildren a few years ago.

Back in the early to mid-1950's NORAD's predecessor  was  the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD).

CONAD's main office was based in Colorado, and back then the local branch of the Department Store Sears and Roebuck was running an ad that said Call Santa any time day or night and Santa will talk to you. 

Now you have to remember back in the 1950's our telephone numbers were a combination of name exchanges and numbers such as KEllogg 2-5554  The Exchange being Kellogg or Neptune or Cherry Hill or something like that and followed by numbers, there was no thing as area codes back then.  And everything was run through a human operator.

Well it seems that the ad had mis-printed the phone number and instead with one digit difference put hundreds upon hundreds of children in touch with this defense agency.

Fortunately the commander at that time at first upset but then understanding, assigned  airmen to answer the phone as Santa Claus around the clock.

After that first encounter CONAD (later NORAD in 1958) decided to set aside a specific phone number every Christmas Season and advertise it as a direct link to Santa's North Pole State so various military volunteer elves could tell little children where Santa was on his travels.  

And from that happy accident a tradition was born.

So if any one with little children are reading this just google NORAD Santa Tracker and you will find out where Santa has been and is going.  

And I hope in a few hours all the children will be snug in their "wee little beds with visions of Sugar Plums dancing in their wee little heads".

Merry Christmas Darklings and to all A good Night!


Of Merry Christmas 2014!!!~~~~

Hello My Darklings,

I have not been posting much, but that's because I've been putting in the final touches for the Christmas holidays!

We're having the Christmas dinner here at my home tomorrow, with my O'Keffe and Merritt Stove doing "yeoman" duty cooking the turkey.

A lot of it will be pot luck but fortunately all co-ordinated, so that it's not all salads or desserts.

The old refrigerator is chilling the sparkling cider and soft drinks, Doyle has selected the wines, the house is sparkling and decorated for the Holiday fun, Christmas movies have been selected and ready to play in the downstairs spare bedroom, for the children to watch in case they are bored with the adults talking, I do have games for them to play as well.

But it's more than just it being Christmas, it's a time to celebrate being family and friends, being there for each other in good times and in bad.  

Both my sister and Doyle are going to call family members today, to their children and grandchildren,  I will be alone this coming weekend as they both travel to see them.  But not really alone, just glad for the feeling of happiness that seems to be filling this house, and which I hope invades other houses as well.

It's not a happy time for those with family members overseas, or in hospitals, or those who are displaced or homeless, that is why I and Doyle and Sis made extra efforts to donate to those charities that will be helping those in need, it really is something that should be done year round, but most importantly during the holidays.

Christmas always come here in the Northern hemisphere when the days are short and the nights are long, when fear of the darkness is at its worse. In the Southern Hemispheres its at Mid-Summer so strange really, but this is the time to drive back the Darkness and bring in light of reason, truth, compassion and love into the world.

Tonight we'll be going to midnight mass and during this darkest, coldest time we will remember the light that was brought into the world.

MERRY CHRISTMAS Dear Darklings and may all your Christmas Wishes come true.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Of Rain drops being gushers~~~~~

Hello Darklings,

Oh I am tired this afternoon.

Good thing the meat loaf was already made and just needs to be put into the oven.   Well I was up early this morning and decided that its a "Meat Loaf" type of day, with sour dough French bread, real butter, a crisp salad, mixed veggies of corn, carrots, peas and string beans, mash potatoes.

So I made the meat loaf, refrigerated it and saw that I needed more salad fixings and French bread.  Sis came over for coffee as I put together a simple list, and announced "I still need to get my flu shot!"  Oh Dear I thought, she is going to be down for the count over the weekend, flu shots do that to her. 

And she brought over two plastic bags of things to donate to the charity shop, "I don't want to go to the Kaiser Clinic in Oakland" she said "I want to go to the one in Alameda, then I can drop off these things"  well that works for me we could go to the Trader Joe's there as well.  

But by the time we left we knew that the Flu shot clinic would be closed until the afternoon, so we grabbed lunch, went to Trader Joe's, then the clinic,  afterwards we'd stop at the charity shop. 

I think my sister is getting a bit fussy of late, once she got her shot she asked for a lollipop, no we don't give lollipops "Well" she said "If I'm going to be poked and prodded and get a painful needle in my shoulder, I want a lollipop!"   I realized she was teasing the nurse, sweet young thing that she was, but to save the young dear from further confusion I said "Come along sister dear, I'll buy you a lollipop"  and out into the rain we went. 

When we got into  the car I turned to her and said "You just Had to give her trouble didn't you."  and she smiled and replied "Once we get to a certain age we should be humored, we've earned it."   And I'm her older sister.  I remarked "You're getting as bad as me."  "Why not" she said "I've learned from the best"  and I saw she had a smile on her face. 

We finally turned onto the street that had the charity shops and I looked ahead at the rain clouded sky and was puzzled by such a high plume of what I thought was smoke, even Sis mentioned it.  Then it dawned on my that wasn't smoke, smoke just drifts, this was falling down, this was a high plume of water shooting at least 20 feet up!

I was able to park the car and we carried the bags into the shop and I mentioned about the water and the clerk there said that a car or some sheared off a water hydrant,  Lovely I thought, and then we saw police cars going by and a fire truck, evidently it just happened and someone called it in.

We stood underneath the store's overhang and watched a little bit while police directed traffic and the firemen dealt with the hydrant, but it appeared to be completely sheared off, what a waste of water I thought, even though it was raining, still it was a waste of water.

Then Sis tugged at my coat sleeve and pointed out some Christmas ornaments she saw through the store window, I realized that they were old and matched perfectly the one's that were on the family parlor tree, there were a half dozen of them,  so we went back in and I immediately selected them and looked for more that were like that but that was all there was of that style. 

So besides having a bit of excitement I found some lovely vintage Christmas ornaments as well, and now they are on the family tree and Sis resting in the parlor on the couch curled up with a blanket for warmth with Belladonna and Weiner Dog doing guard dog duty on the couch while she naps. 

I'll pop the meat loaf into the oven in a half hour, on a day like today comfort food is what is needed.

Later Darklings

One thing I've discovered over the years is that Santa Claus comes in all shapes and sizes, and there's always a bit of Santa in each of us.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Of "Decking the Halls and fa la la la la"~~~~

Hello Darklings,

Well things have taken an interesting turn, a least for me, I was called in to fill in for two days, because someone was out with the flu. 

It's rough one this year as I understand it, and no one can really afford to be sick,  I'm glad I got my flu shot, and the other shots that an elder Goth is suppose to have.

Sticking a needle here and there, I almost felt like a pin cushion! 

But my co-workers were happy to see me they are planning a Christmas Party tomorrow so I will drop in and most likely take the public transportation to get there. 

The family came over Monday afternoon and evening, to decorate the trees, the children had to first finish their homework assignments before helping out, but the teachers seem to be easing off a bit, since their school will be letting out soon.

I had to keep the twins away from the irreplaceable antique ornaments, the plain ones  that I can buy at Wal-Mart or Target were fine, they seem to think they can toss it on the tree but my brother put a stop to that, and grounded them for an hour with more homework, saying "It doesn't hurt to be ahead of your assignments"  needless to say they were not happy.

I had Chris and Coralline work on the Family Parlor tree, while the adults worked on the taller one in the formal parlor.   With Sis, their Mother and I rotating between the two,  finally in the end we let the twins toss the tinsel onto the trees, needless to say lighted by just the tree lights they are a glorious sight! 

And everyone was hungry as well, it seems that tree decorating can build up an appetite,  I microwaved plain popcorn so the children could string them up onto the family tree, but I think half of it went into their tummies or fell on the floor for Belladonna and Weiner Dog to eat and sometimes cough up.

 But that is typical, I remember when I and my siblings would do the same thing and Mom always made sure there was more "Jiffy Pop" available---I mean how many of you remember those pans that had the foil that would blow up like a balloon while the popcorn popped,  it seems almost magical to me.

After most of the fun and silliness was over, I had the boys play a board game they were familiar with, which got most of their excess energy out (mostly for the twins) while Coralline preferred to play with the dogs, in a mild game of "chase the ball".

I did ask Monica if she had the twins tested for hyper-activity and she said she did and was advised to reduce as much as possible their sugar intake, and they were much better.  Maybe I'm getting old, but even she said they were still bouncing balls and thought that maybe getting them involved in more sports or something to work it off would be helpful, she didn't want them in football and baseball would be too tame so it was suggested basketball, it's indoors, can be played year round a lot of running and team building.  I said that's fine for the school year but what about holidays and summer, she and my brother were looking at a local boys club for that as well at the Parks and Recreation dept. offerings. 

Chris seems to like track and field, and he and his Dad do jogging, not too intensely but enough to burn off calories.

Monica told me that they are going back to visit the house they are buying, well really the elderly lady who is currently living there.   It seems she wants one last Christmas and New Years in her home before moving.   "She wants to finish the old year in her home and start the new year in her son's house but she also wants to tell us about each room, I'm going to record what she says, and take notes, I want to be able to capture the history of the house as well."  I thought that was an excellent idea. 

I asked about the furniture in the house and Monica said "that's the odd thing, all she wants to take is just her bedroom furniture and her dishware and silverware, a lot of it is very expensive and I guess she wants her son to have that, but he said he didn't want the furniture and it really goes with the house"  I asked if that was going to be extra and Monica said that from what is understood it is part of the price of the house, the son said it saves the cost of moving.

Which leaves Monica with the question of her furniture and I asked about that and she gave me the "eye".   "What furniture? After 4 children, 3 of them boys, I'm surprised anything has survived, but it will be different in the 'new' house"   The basement will be designated the Play area and Man cave, and will be strictly enforced "Including your brother he's just as much to blame" she said.

And I laughed out loud when she said that.  My brother looked sheepishly at me and said "Well you know the rules 'If Mama ain't happy nobody's happy' "   and I said to him "Well it went further ---If Mama ain't happy, nobody's happy and if Grandma ain't happy RUN!!" 

And I reminded him of the mischief that he and our late older brother got into and Grandma swatting them with her broom,  it took a long time to get that purple paint removed and covered.  That's one story I'm not going to get into, but Grandma never liked the color purple for a room ever again.

Of course the children had to hear it, nothing like hearing about their Dad getting into trouble, but their Mother sternly warned them that it is not an excuse to get into trouble.

Oh if I relayed all the scrapes we as children got into it would take a very long year to tell.  We were not bad but we did get into mischief.

I think that is why I like the movie "A Christmas Story", so much of it I can relate to.

But today I'm home, having run a load of laundry, with two more to do, Sis and I will go grocery shopping tonight, after dinner, Doyle said he'd drive us in the van.

So I'm going to check the slow cooker for the beef stew that is slowly being done.

Later Darklings

It was a lot of fun, but we ran out of cobwebs.
Of course there is always one family member that has to make sure its perfect.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Of Christmas Cheer and other things~~~

Dear Darklings!

"Deck us all in Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla Wash and Kalamazoo.

Nora's freezin' on the Trolly,
Swaller Dollar Cauliflower Alligaroo!"

And if you don't know those Christmas Carol lines from "Pogo" then I'm getting pretty old.

No Darklings I'm just catching up from the whirlwind of holiday fun we have been having and more to go.

While we were out yesterday at the Dickens' Faire yesterday, Doyle being the wonderful sneaky man that he is, bought the two cut trees that was needed for the formal parlor and the family parlor, and proceeded (with Brian's help) to put them up, and then get and untangle the lights that we put on the trees, as well as bring down the ornaments that we use.

We've been taking our time putting up the lights, well really I have, I managed the family parlor tree,  Doyle was called into work but he'll be home in time to help out with the formal parlor tree, then slowly bit by bit I've been putting the ornaments on the family tree. 

My team of "Merry Maids" saw the trees and I said "Just vacuum the needles and do the bathrooms, and the main hall.  Everything else can be done the next time"  One of my "maids" finished and then helped me unpack and dust the manger scene, remarking how old it is, and she's right, it was my great Aunt's, Mom and Dad's went to my brother and he carefully has it on display in his home, none of the children do a "Mr. Bean" with the manger display.  Not even the twins upon penalty of dismemberment.

I'd love to go into the fun we had this last weekend at the Dickens' Faire but it would be a lot to tell, needless to say Chris and Coralline had a lot of fun, my sister-in-law felt a bit overwhelmed but happy, I don't need to tell you how Sis and I felt.

I was concerned about getting home both nights taking into account what the protestors were doing, but with Doyle on speaker he was able to guide us pass any problems. 

Tonight they will be coming over for dinner and decorating these two trees, I'm afraid it will be our old standby---Chinese, but I know they won't mind, not with pie and ice cream for dessert.

But if they haven't finished any homework they will have to do that first and then help out. 

From the Stromageddon we managed to weather it just fine, some tree branches broke in my yard but no damaged, however a city tree just down the street broke in two, managing to miss cars and houses but making a mess of a neighbors front lawn.

We were without power for some time but with the fireplaces working and the oil lamps working we did just fine, gas stove for cooking and hot water for washing,  a low power generator to keep the refrigerator and freezer going,  and the greenhouse avoided damage, so with battery operated radio for music, Sis and Brian joined us and we played board games and chatted about things.  The next evening I talked to Coralline on the phone and she told me how they did with the Twins being the usual mischief makers, good thing their grandma was able to keep them for a while.

So tonight I'll get more of an update on the progress on getting the "new" home, I know they will be happy with the move.

And now I have to go back and continue to sort things out for tonight.

Later Darklings

Mom use to make this---sis is going to.

One year when we were little our folks didn't have enough money for store bought ornaments so us children decorated the tree  like this,  it is a great way to display your Holiday cards. Sorry that is not Sis and me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Of Christmas Lights~~~~

Hello My Darklings,

Just a short post.

Yesterday after making sure things were secured as much as possible, I even put heavy tarps (well Brian did, I don't climb ladders the way I use to) on the roof of my green house since it has glass panes.  And he nailed it down to the wood frames.

My brother and his family came by to swoop me up and we went to see the Zoo Lights, riding the zoo train and such, it was nice to be bundled up against the cold.  My nephew was even wearing his "news boy" hat to keep his head warm.

Monica told me that he's started wearing it to school, says it keeps his head warm while walking, but it puts it in his back pack to prevent the other boys from snatching if off his head, just as he arrives at school.

The children did most of their home work before they came over, then afterwards we went to a local Christmas Tree Lane and enjoyed the displays there.  Finally returning to my home, where the children completed their homework around the dinning room table, followed by fresh baked cookies, courtesy of my Sister and hot chocolate. 

My brother said that he wanted to take in the lights before the heavy storm hits, "Gonna be a lot of damaged home displays." he remarked.

As we settled into the family parlor we chatted about our holiday plans, when Chris remarked "Going to school makes it hard to enjoy all the holiday events that's out there."   So I said that's why it's best to pick and chose, rotate the events around each year. "But not the Dickens Faire!" he exclaimed, much to both mine and his parents surprise so I said "Never the Dickens' Faire."  and he settled back contentedly with a 2nd cup of hot chocolate.

My brother said that he had battery lamps ready just in case and with having a gas stove no need to worry about cooking.  The twins were saying how they hope it storms and blows things down and such and Sis said "You would not be saying that if you were in the middle of a hurricane like I was." and she proceeded to tell them of her adventures when she was in Florida on a business trip and what happened.  Seeing the children's' eyes get big amused me, and Coralline said "Auntie you could have been killed!"  Sis said "Right I could of been and if I have to go to Florida again I'll choose a different time of year."

After a while we saw the eyes droop on the children so we said our goodbye's until the weekend.  But before Sis left I asked her "Was that hurricane all that bad?  You never said it was." and she replied "I didn't want to upset you, you would have told Mother and she'd demand I come home!"  and she would have too.

Later Darklings

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Of Christopher Lee and Heavy Metal Carols and an "Addams Family" loss~~~~

Hello Darklings,

I've been outside and with Brian's help we've been making sure things are secure and won't get blown away. 

On the Christmas lights well we'll just have to chance it, there has been talk by our weather man of very strong winds up to 60 miles an hour coming with the next storm front.  That will make for a miserable commute.

Of course those protesters who blocked the 80 Freeway last night on the going home commute didn't do any good nor laying down on the rail road tracks as a train was approaching, fortunately the Engineer was going slow enough that he could stop before anyone got hurt, but blocking the railroad right of way is a Federal Offence as I understand it, and although the California Hywy Patrol has no objections to a peaceful demonstration, doing it on a high speed freeway endangers them as well as the drivers, being hit by a car or truck is equal to falling off a 5 story building.

These people are not using any common sense and while the free way was jammed up a woman went into labor, a man had a heart attack and another man had a stroke, with that I do not consider those demonstrations as being peaceful but life endangering.  No just no common sense at all.  But then Berkeley has never been the city of common sense, not from my personal experience.

But now onto a holiday treat----

Christopher Lee now 92 years old has just released a Heavy Metal Christmas album titled " Darkest Carols, Faithful Sing"   he says at his age every day is a blessing and a joy and he's doing it by doing things he loves doing.  I think I'm going to buy a copy just for the fun of it, because that is what an Elder Goth would do.

I mean think of it Darklings, the Grand old man of Gothicness, and frightening films, doing Heavy Metal Christmas Carols?  How perfectly Dark!  Now if he would just record the 13 days of Halloween it would be perfect!

But on the sad side I've just found out that we lost Ken Weatherwax who played  "Pugsley" of the "Addams Family" T.V. series,
I'm reproducing the article here I was surprised to discover who he was related to as well......

The Hollywood Reporter     December 7, 2014 9:00 PM

Ken Weatherwax, Who Played Pugsley on TV’s 'Addams Family,' Dies at 59 (Report)
Ken Weatherwax, who played the pudgy son Pugsley on the 1960s ABC sitcom The Addams Family, has died. He was 59.

Weatherwax died Sunday from a heart attack, his niece, Shanyn Vieira, announced on Facebook. Later, TMZ reported that he died in his California home and that there will be two funerals, one for the family and one for the fans.
Weatherwax starred as Pugsley, the reserved, insect-eating son of Gomez and Morticia Addams (John Astin and Carolyn Jones) and the brother of Wednesday Addams (Lisa Loring), on the campy Filmways Television sitcom.
Based on the New Yorker comic strip by cartoonist Charles Addams, The Addams Family spent just two seasons (1964-66) on ABC but aired for years in syndication. It also spawned a pair of Barry Sonnenfeld movies in the 1990s that had Jimmy Workman playing Pugsley.

A native of Los Angeles, Weatherwax also appeared in toothpaste commercials and on a 1964 episode of Wagon Train. After The Addams Family ended, he tried out for other roles but didn’t land anything, saying he was a victim of typecasting, he told Bill O’Reilly in a 2008 interview.

He also said kids in school hassled him for playing a character named Pugsley.

“Frankly, I didn’t deal with it very well,” he told O’Reilly. “I was kicked out of like six or seven schools and went into the service [the Army] at the age of 17. I did kind of draw a lot of fire from that.”

Later, he played Pugsley Sr. on a 1977 Halloween Addams Family movie for NBC and reportedly worked as a grip and set builder in Hollywood.
Weatherwax’s aunt was dancer and actress Ruby Keeler, who starred in such famed 1930s Warner Bros. musicals like  “42nd Street”, and his uncle was Lassie’s trainer, Rudd Weatherwax
His other brother is actor Joey D. Vieira, who starred as Porky Brockway on a Lassie TV series of the 1950s and had small parts in such films as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) and The Patriot (2000).
It's sad that he's passed on but hopefully with the internet and conventions he found some measure of contentment with the new generations who discovered the "Addams Family"

And now back to checking a few more things on the house before the storms come.

Later Darklings

Rest in Peace "Pugsley"

Monday, December 8, 2014

Of a "new Home" and an awakening at the Dickens Faire~~~~

Hello Darklings!

I was up early this morning, enjoying the fresh cold air and watching the clouds being painted with a soft baby pink with soft baby blue sky behind it, something only the very best of Victorian painters could only hope to capture.  And the wonderful sense of stillness before anyone had to scurry off to work today.  I enjoy moments like that.

And it surprised me to be up early after such a busy weekend.

To start we had a bit of a surprise Saturday night and a good one as well.

My brother and his family came over Saturday to help decorate the Black Christmas tree in the Entrance hall and decorate the house for Christmas and we had a pot luck supper afterwards as we relaxed with coffee (for adults) hot cider (for the children) and dessert, when my brother made an announcement, they are in the process of selling their old house and buying a "fixer-upper" much closer to me and Sis.

It's near the house of my sister-in-law's aunt (Trisha you know what city) and what they did was make a deal with the remaining family member who does not want it at all and wants to get it off of his hands quickly and not go through all the bidding wars. 

My brother and his wife had been considering for sometime a larger house anyway, the boys are jammed into one small bedroom and the oldest is needing his space, so they knew they would need a 4 bedroom house and also figure out a way for 3 bathrooms or 3 1/2 bathrooms.

Well Monica's aunt was friends with the elderly couple who lived in this very large house, but when the husband died, the wife did not want to live in the house anymore, so their oldest son was happy to have her move in with him, but also didn't want to go through the hassle of the sale of his parents home, Monica's aunt put the man in touch with my brother and her niece, and through the assistance of a real estate agent that my brother knows, they are hammering out the deal.

It will mean that the children are going to be changing schools, but my brother said that he will have them finish out the school year at their current schools  and do the change during the Summer break, moving will be enough of a change for them, even though it means commuting to get them to school and making arrangements with their soon to be former neighbors to pick the children up and watch them after school lets out, but they and the neighbors children are good friends, it will mean that any after school events are out unless the neighbors children are also involved.

And instead of them taking nearly an hour to come to my place or to go to work,  it will only be 15 minutes, much closer to where my brother and sister in law work and her aunt is close by to pick up the children from school and monitor them (mostly the two younger ones)

Coralline was just bursting with this news "It's a Victorian Auntie!!! A Victorian!!!"

And my brother said "And it needs work that is why we got it at such a very good price",  the good thing he said is that the foundation is earthquake resistant, because nothing is proof.  But the first thing it will need is a new roof "it has a leak or two, but the whole roof will have to be replaced"

Monica asked if I could be of some help "I want to keep it as original as possible but we'll need a few modern things--like central heating, but I don't want things ripped out"   But she did stress that a "Man Cave" to watch their sports programs was going to be down in the Basement.  "I want that Dickens' feel" she said of the main part of the house, it seems that my home has inspired her.

But I was surprised to hear my oldest nephew say "it be nice if the 'man-cave' was like one of those Victorian men's clubs" to the moans of the twins, but surprisingly my brother was all for that, "all in keeping with the theme" he said,  then he told the twins when they can each afford a home of their own they can decorate it any way they want.

Of course I am all for it!

The sale of their current house will cover the purchase of the new one, pay off the RV and still give them funds for some of the major work that needs to be done on the house. 

When is the move going to happen they don't exactly know, but it will be as soon as the elderly owner moves into her son's home, but it could be at least a month possibly more. 

In the mean time bids are coming in fast and furious on my brother's house, "We're going to have to store stuff  for a while until we can move in" he said and I said "You can always stay with me"  Sis chimed in and said that if it was too much for my house they could also split staying at her house with my brother and the boys with her and Monica and Coralline at my house.

We'll see how this all works out, but I was amused at how Coralline was dancing around with a dreamy look on her face and humming the Snowflake waltz, and also with some serious questions from my oldest nephew.

He asked if he could come with Sis, his Mom, Coralline and me to the Dickens' fair, we were planning to do it yesterday and next weekend.  I said that was fine and his face brightened up as he said "Auntie said its O.K. Mom!"  

My brother gave me the evil eye and said "So I'm stuck with the twins while we watch the Battle of the Bay?"  I said "teach them how hard it is to catch a football in the rain or cheer for one Bay Area team or the other."

But it puzzled me why my oldest nephew is now so interested in Victorian things, after all Sunday was the 49'ers/Raiders game, he'd never miss that, so as Monica and I were in the kitchen cleaning up things she told me that after last year Coralline could not stop talking about the Dickens Fair and Dunsmuir House, and at a Library book sale he found a copy of "The Boys' Sherlock Holmes"  which had selected short stories, he read it voraciously and then found the complete Sherlock Holmes stories on the family book shelf, started reading it and became interested in the history of the Victorian period.

It happened slowly with him asking Coralline about Victorian things,  Monica told me that Coralline has been helping him  and they research it together. 

"And the Twins?"  I asked,  "Still sports nuts, rooting for the 49'ers, Raiders, A's and Giants, they still bounce off the walls, of course your brother doesn't help."   but she told me he also encourages my nephews' new interest.

"Do you know your brother took him to the "Skulls" exhibit without the Twins and they had a fantastic time?" she told me.

I was surprised at that news because earlier when the exhibit opened we all had gone together to see it earlier in the year, of course the twins were like well like any young group of boys "Gross and neat". 

"Now he wants to go to see the History section over at the Museum but without the Twins to bug them"  I said I'd be happy to take him and Coralline to see the exhibits there.  Monica was grateful for that, it would take pressure off of her.

After they left I talked this over with my sister and she said "He's growing up, finding his interest, who knows where it will take him"  

Sunday we went to  the Dickens Fair and he got hooked!  It was amusing to see his head just turning this way and that, trying to take it all in, but the presentations in Mr. Dickens' Parlor where we saw a magic show, the Adventures Club and the one that does Jules Vern type things grabbed his attention.

 I think Archie the Sea Monster tickled his fancy, he was studying the displays and asking very serious questions from one of the gentlemen there who very kindly answered each and every one, he was so intrigued that at the Book Shop I found a copy of "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea", and surprised him with it, much to his delight. 

As we ate Fish and Chips I told him that in reading Vern, Doyle and Dickens he'll get an idea of how they spoke back then, but Coralline was not left out, I bought her a cape and gloves for her as well as a purse, my nephew didn't know how, for his age he should dress, but we did get some suggestions from the clothier, how he could build up his own costume for next weekend. 

Of course they had to play the children's games and saw the characters from Dickens' novels come to life, so I decided that I would go to Barnes and Nobel and get them each a copy of "A Christmas Carol", they have reproductions in beautiful bindings. 

But by 7 p.m. it was getting late for them and with one last meal for their dinner and some roasted Chestnuts to eat on their way home, the two of them could not stop talking about what they saw. 

We arrived at my home where my brother, Doyle and the Twins had watched the football game, the twins talked about the game but their older brother told them about the giant squid! 

Monica asked about other Victorian houses in the area where during the year they could take tours, and I mentioned a few such as the Pardee Mansion, Ardenwood Farm, and a few others and said I'd be happy to gather up the information and we could make plans.

Who had it better, the Twins with their football games or Coralline and Chris at the Dickens Faire with a Giant Squid?  I don't know but the hugs my Sister and I received from Coralline and Chris told us that they had a wonderful Dickens of a time.

Later Darklings

Friday, December 5, 2014

Of Christmas coming and "it's dangerous to browse while shopping"

Hello Darklings,

I have not been posting of late, recovering from Thanksgiving and I've started my shopping for Christmas.

Doyle wanted to bring out Grimm and put a Santa hat on him, I told him "No"  Jack Skeleton was one thing, Grimm with a Santa hat is another.

But the fake black Christmas tree is out, with red ornaments on it, I've even been able to find a Krampas ornament of all things, and he will be the featured one on the tree, the tree is sitting right now in the entrance Foyer.  And Tomorrow I'll be having my brother's family over to help decorate it and we'll have a pot luck dinner, something Monica makes, I make, and Sis makes and a few other things.

In a way I'm glad I do not have a cat or even a kitten around the house---when ever I hear of a friend or two who has cats and the disaster with a Christmas tree I think of this line that I read some time ago:

"Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree.

Your ornaments are history!"

That gives you an idea.

In another week, I'll be buying the big tree for the Formal Parlor and a smaller one for the family parlor,  and we'll have family over again to help decorate including Louise and her friend and again pot luck.

Sunday Sis and I along with Monica and Coralline will be going to the Dickens' Fair and try and squeeze in the Nutcracker and Dunsmuir house as well during this season.  I'm afraid this year will be missing "A Christmas Carol" but the Dickens' Fair will cover that in a way.  And I found out that this weekend will be the lighting of the Christmas Tree lane in our neighboring town, so we'll take that in.

While there has been a break in the weather Doyle and our neighbor Mellissa's Dad has been helping Doyle put up the Christmas lights outside, Lot's of lights.  Although Doyle was able to put up some before Thanksgiving, he's doing more on some of the fencing and such, and he bought a "live fir" wreath for the front door, very Victorian with a bright Red bow with gold trim. 

Sis didn't have any clients today so we went to TJMax to shop for new luggage for her, she's planning to visit her family but in January since there will be several birthdays to celebrate so it will be squeezed into one weekend.

I love TJMax they seem to have improved their selections of last seasons things, so with shopping carts and credit cards in hand we went there this morning, and we were lucky, Sis found a luggage set by Tumi that is absolute classic,  it was white with black trim, the white made to look like a basket weave, hard sided and there was a set of three in different sizes.  So we grabbed them and had them hold it for us at the check out counter which gave us a chance to browse the store.

And it is Dangerous to browse Darklings, very dangerous, I found a Michael Kors hand bag in black suede, with gold leather trim and a gold chain for a strap that could be adjusted to over the shoulder, cross body or hand held, PERFECT for evening wear for a special night out but not overly formal but classic and rich in its styling almost reminiscent of a Chanel in a way, and the suede so perfect it was like velvet, and not overly large either.  

Of course I had to pick up a bottle of Elizabeth Taylors "Passion"  and then in the shoes (Yes Ladies you can never have enough shoes)  Sis found a pair of beige Coach shoes and I found a pair of black suede heels with gold leather trim to match my Kors bag, and there was another pair for Sis as well.

Yes browsing while shopping can be dangerous, but when it came to jewelry, well I nearly "flipped" there was a necklace, just slightly longer than a choker that have large fake pearls overlaid with gold tone leaves as if the pearls were like pears and the leaves covering the top part of the "pear", laid end to end, I looked at it and drew my sister's attention to it and she agreed it looked in the style of some jewelry that we saw from the early 1950's but this was a modern rendition of it.  I tried it on and it looked wonderful.

Yes Darklings browsing while shopping can be dangerous.

Sis insisted that I also get a bottle of "Red" cologne as well and she bought a bottle.

She found a lovely red pull over sweater that had crystals around the neck line perfect for the holidays or any winter evening out, red looks lovely on her. 

Sis and I never exchange gifts between ourselves for Christmas anymore, as we seem to always know what we want, but I do have a gift certificate for dinner for two at her favorite restaurant, so I'll surprise her with it.

Doyle has found that getting a gift for me can be impossible so he prefers to surprise me with either taking me out somewhere or bringing something home of something I said we could use for the House.  But we've found that enjoying experiences together is the best sort of gift.

Now we have a policy with family, only the children get gifts, otherwise it would be a financial burden on everyone, Adults get together to enjoy good food, good drinks, good conversation and good times.  Children get the toys.

Since the time was early and the parents have not picked up their children from school, we decided to go to Tomatina's for lunch and then browse (that dangerous word) the main street, to see what it offered, it was a good walk, and good exercise to work our lunch down, the food is good there and so filling.

Since the bulk of the stores are in a 3 block area, we walked down one side of the street then up the other 6 blocks in all, and I had the pleasure of going through an antique co-op, and nearly swooned at the vintage evening purses (Never enough purses Darklings), there was one in lovely brown bronze beadwork, which I knew would go perfectly with a vintage evening gown I have.  And Yes I bought it.

Yes Darklings browsing ---very dangerous.   Which means I have to sew up a couple of bags to protect my bags.

What I do is I take a photo of my purchases, give them a number, then if it is to go with something in particular, the item goes into my special bag to protect it and is put with the item, dress usually in question, but then the assigned number and photo goes into a master book so I'll know exactly what I have and where it is, and what it goes with. 

The Kors bag and the shoes will be kept together since they will match a number of my outfits, but the vintage beaded purse will go with that vintage gown I have. 

It helps to have a huge closet or with the advantage of my house, a room for all of that. 

Yes Darklings looking fantastic, well dressed at any age takes work, but it's worth it.

Shopping for the children is always fun, and thanks to Coralline's mother, Sis and I know what she wants and what the boys want, and thanks to Sis's daughters-in-laws we know what their children want.  We don't shop the weekend of Thanksgiving, we don't need that insanity, but we've managed and sticking with paying in cash at Target and Wal-Mart (no we don't trust using their machines) it has been pretty good for us.

We have the bulk of what was on the children's Christmas lists, so now its just a few things, but I think for my brother I might slip him a bottle of Duke Bourbon (the one with John Wayne's image) to help him get through the holidays.

Yes Darklings browsing while shopping during the holidays is dangerous.  And tiring, but so much fun!

Later Darklings