Monday, May 8, 2017

How Black is Your Sole? Shoes for the Gothic Foot

I'm baaaaack!  Sorry for the April absence, but I just was not in a blogging mood.  Maybe it was because I turned 55, and almost no one sent me a card; then I realized that it was probably because most of my family members who used to send them are gone now.  My son and his girlfriend and my nephew did come and spend time with us, but even that was rather blah, for some reason.  They told me they had ordered a gift but it hadn't arrived yet, which was okay, I don't have a problem with that.  However, as of today I still don't have it, and have received no word that it has ever arrived.  Hmmmm...

Anyway, enough of that dreariness!!  Get back, E.A. Poe, no depressing stories from YOU today!  Today's post is about a great e-mail I received from a goth friend, Stella, who has kindly given me permission to share it with you, on the subject of goth shoes:

"I have issues finding shoes that are flat heeled, practical and gothy. Add in the problem of trying to keep  my feet dry (it's raining here alot) and I'm pretty frustrated. 
Bear in mind that because I've only been dressing "dark" for the last 2 - 3years,  and I tend to shop mainstream and charity shops, I don't have much experience with the old stand by "Doc Martin's ", and "New Rocks ".
What are your thoughts on the subject?  Do certain brands have a reputation for being more or less comfortable (for the elder goth market ). I'm fed up with mainstream style and shoddiness, and I'm wanting to invest in some high quality,  comfortable boots that are timeless (in a goth way)....and I would love to hear from someone else.  Thanks."
And here is my response:
"I love shoes, especially goth shoes!  I have been lucky three times with buying shoes online, but after that... phffffttt!!  I really don't recommend buying online shoes unless your feet are exactly a standard size, since you can't actually try them on and find out if they fit.  The three pairs I was lucky with are all somewhat extreme in style.  Two are a bit large for my feet (I wear size 8.5 and they are size 9), but I am able to make the boots (Anarchic by T.U.K.) work by using thick socks.  I believe the 4-inch platform creepers are Demonia.  The heeled lace-up shoes were harder as my feet would slide in them, so I had to buy inserts to put inside them to keep my feet in place; it worked, but they were never totally comfortable even then.  I did buy an adorable new pair of T.U.K. shoes with kitten heels online that were supposedly my size, but I finally gave up trying to make them comfortable enough to wear and got rid of them.  No more online shoe buys for me!

I've never had a pair of Doc Martens or New Rocks, so I can't comment on those, except that the ones I've seen in ads were rather expensive.  However, I've gotten a couple of pairs from my favorite thrift store (charity shop) that are soooo comfortable I may be buried in one of them!  But both have rather high heels and thick soles, so I can't drive in them.  The shorter of the two pairs is Kenneth Cole's "Reaction" -- very comfortable, but probably very expensive when new.  The taller pair is a brand called Glaze; I don't know anything about them, but they are made in China, so probably not very expensive.

Honestly, the best shoes I've found that are, in your words, "flat heeled, practical and gothy" were from Kohl's, a very mainstream department store.  They are actually boots, but they totally fit your three requirements, they are extremely comfortable, AND they keep my feet dry in the rain.  I just had the soles replaced, and told my shoe repair guy that I will keep bringing them in for repairs until they fall apart in his hands! 

Another store that I've been lucky at is Payless Shoe Source; unfortunately, they've closed a LOT of stores lately, and their styles change frequently, so you can't depend on them always having the 'right' ones."
Okay, readers, what advice can you give us??  What gothy shoes can you recommend, especially if you are an Eldergoth, or on your way to being one?  Our feet are in desperate need of your wisdom...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

That Which Does Not Kill Me...

No, I haven't died.  Just in case you were wondering.

The world is a strange and confusing place, and I seem to be floating back and forth between 'strange' and 'confusing'.
                                              (Mike Twohy)

I've often read/heard this quote by Nietzsche, and it annoys me every time.  However, right now I'm hoping it's true, because otherwise I'm going crazy instead of getting stronger.

I was really hoping that 2017 would be a better year than the previous three, and it still might turn out that way.  So far, though, it hasn't had much to commend it.  Both our rent and my student loan payments are going up in April; not through the roof, but enough to make things difficult.  There was a fire in our apartment complex a few weeks ago. While our apartment wasn't damaged, it was a really scary experience.  My in-laws in Florida are having serious health issues, and we are worried about them but can't do much from California.  We had to put our oldest cat to sleep (her "In Memorium" is the post before this one).  And ALL of this stuff happened in March!  It feels like the Garbage Truck of Life is dumping on my house... again.  I really wish it would lose my address.

Fortunately, better things are also in the works for us.  We are getting ready to start house hunting, and we are going through a national non-profit organization called NACA (Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America), which will allow us to avoid having to come up with a down payment and closing costs.  I've only got three more museum classes to take before getting my certificate (the next one starts in April).  I'm working on a new horror short story.  And I just colored my hair a pastel smokey sapphire blue!  The color looks pretty good, although I didn't quite do it right so some of the hair underneath in back didn't get colored at all.  But, hey, I can always buy another box!  :-) 

At this point in time, I'm sort of content just to float along and see what happens next.  I don't really feel like doing anything, as in being proactive about the future, other than the house hunting.  And even that is really something I need to do because the extra rent will be an extra hardship, especially since the new owners are grousing about us having pets.  The past couple of years have really tired me out, and I need some downtime.  So right now, I'm going to sit here in my office, listening to the German Gothic band Faun's Totem album and smelling the freshly opened daffodils I bought at Trader Joe's, and just BE.  

And if any of you would like the Garbage Truck of Life to visit your house, just send me your address, and I'll be glad to send It along. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

In Memorium: Scathach/Pachamama, 2001?-2017

She was a beautiful tortoiseshell cat, originally known as 'Spitter', mainly because she would hiss and spit at everyone, especially her former human.  When we met her in 2004, she had been living on her own on our apartment complex property for about two years.  She had had at least three litters that we knew of; we had one of the kittens from the first one.  That summer we noticed her taking her three kittens to drink at the pool, which is next to our living room window.  We started bringing them water so they wouldn't drink out of the pool, but of course, that turned into bringing them daily food as well.  She never meowed at us; instead, she hissed.  We soon learned to translate these fairly well:

"Hiss." (Oh, it's you.)

"Hiss!" (We're hungry, feed us!)

"Hiss! Hiss!"  (You're late, where's our food?)

"Hiss?"  (More, please?)

"HISSSS!!"  (Don't try to pet me, you idiot, I'll rip your arm off!!)

We named her Scathach, after the Scottish warrior woman who trained many of the great warriors of Celtic mythology.  It seemed fitting, as her weaponry was rather formidable, considering she weighed only around six pounds.  However, she never once actually scratched or bit either of us, although once she did warn Martin off with a hiss-and-swat when he tried to pet her.  He got off VERY lightly, with only two tiny pinholes from one claw instead of a shredded arm.

While she still had this litter with her, she got pregnant again.  The five kittens (four black females and an orange/white male) were born just over the fence from our bedroom.  Three weeks later, when construction work was threatening the tree she had sheltered them under, we brought them in and set up a nursery in our master bathtub.  (Thank goodness we have two bathrooms!) Scathach willingly followed, and graciously allowed us to stay while she raised her babies.

Well, we found homes for two of those kittens, but Scathach and the other three stayed with us, along with the older two that were still with her and the one we already had.  (The new orange and white kitten was Chango, whose 'In Memorium' is posted here.)  It didn't take long until she stopped spitting.  The day she climbed into my lap, settled down, and started purring, I held my breath in disbelief, afraid if I moved she would hiss and run.  But she didn't.  After watching her continue to nurse her last litter for months, even after being spayed, we changed her name to Pachamama (or Mama, for short), after the Inca fertility/earth goddess.  Over the years, she has never stopped being "Mom" to them, running to see what was going on every time she heard one of them cry, growl or hiss.  Since Gandalf took over as king of our 'herd', she has also been affectionately referred to as the "Queen Mum". 

Then, this last Sunday morning (the day after the one-year anniversary of my mom's interment), Mama came up to me crying; she couldn't close her mouth and was drooling all over herself.  We rushed her to the vet and he found a HUGE tumor in her upper jaw, wrapped around an infected tooth.  We all felt she probably wouldn't survive surgery, so we let her go while we were there.  I am honestly surprised she lived this long; we think she was around 16 or 17, and  was down to 4 pounds, all bones, organs and skin.  She has been 'forgetting' to use the litter box for the last 4-5 months and was pooing on the carpet frequently unless we led her to the box.  Unlike the other cats we've lost, we didn't think she would want to be buried up on the hill in the local regional park (our private 'pet cemetery'), so we put her in the back yard where she can watch over the place she lived all her life.  It feels really weird not having her here, but once we knew she was suffering there was no question about the right thing to do.  

Rest in peace, Mama.  May your children who have gone before you greet you with love.  And may Bast and Sekhmet welcome you with honor to the Field of Reeds!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 2017: I'm SO Goth..."

Once again, Morticia Addams says it all in her own unique way:

I LOVE THIS WOMAN!!  Why can't more people be like her??

Friday, February 3, 2017

February 2017: "I'm SO Goth..."

Okay, this definitely looks like an assignment from Snapes' "Defense Against the Dark Arts" class, and I think they all just failed...  or maybe they passed???  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 2017: "I'm SO Goth..."

Welcome to 2017!!  Just don't be so excited about starting the new year that THIS happens...

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What Happens After We Die?

It's been a rough year.  I've been thinking quite a bit about death, and what happens after we die.  Obviously, it's of great interest to me, since so many people and pets I know and love are dead now, and others are old enough that I know it's only a matter of time.  I've tried various spiritual paths in an attempt to find beliefs that make sense to me, but so far nothing has permanently 'clicked' in terms of being just right.  I think the real problem is that NO ONE knows for sure what happens to us and where we go (if anywhere) when our bodies die.  And that is what I want to know.

I once went on a shamanic journey to meet Death.  I found what I was looking for, and I will never be foolish enough to try that a second time.  However, even that experience didn't answer the question of what happens to us after we die. Death is not a static thing or even a state of being, but rather an event that transitions us from being alive here on Earth to... being something and/or someplace else.  Or perhaps not.

I do believe that there is something beyond this life other than oblivion; there are too many people who have had near-death experiences who have shared them to make me believe otherwise.  And while I am okay with not knowing all the details, I have to admit I would love to find out more about what is or is not on "the Other Side".  Hey, I'm only human!  ;-)

One of the reasons I no longer follow any of the current spiritual paths (other than occasional forays into the shamanic one) is because I have found too many contradictions within them, and too many things that don't add up when looked at as a whole.  For instance, I was raised LDS (Mormon), and one of the beliefs of that church is that those who attain the highest glories of heaven (the Celestial Kingdom) but who were not sealed to their spouse in an LDS temple will be 'servants' to those who are sealed to their spouses.  This makes NO sense to me, and never did.  Why would a loving and compassionate god force people who had obeyed his commandments, but for whatever reason were not married to another Mormon in a Mormon temple (like maybe they joined the church after marriage but their spouse didn't join), to spend eternity waiting on people who were lucky enough to have what they didn't?  That would be HELL, plain and simple!  If there really was  a "one true God" who knows and sees everything, I don't believe He/She would be that mean or petty.  Same with babies and small children going to somewhere 'lower' than Heaven just because they died before being baptized into a church, although this aspect seems to have been dropped by most religions now.  (This also has me wondering who made that decision -- God, or someone else?)

I followed the Wiccan path for many years, but eventually realized that Wiccans don't really know any more than the Mormons do about what happens after death, they're just much more flexible about the possibilities.  I studied the shamanic path for awhile as well, but then decided to take a break from all spiritual and religious exploration and give myself room to just breathe and think about it all.  That is where I am at this point in time.

So I'm open to any and all thoughts, beliefs, hopes and speculations about this subject.  What do YOU think/believe/hope happens after we die?  Where (if anywhere) do we go, and what (if anything) do we do?  This inquiring mind would really like to know...