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...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

It's the End of the World as I Knew It... and I DON'T Feel Fine

Once upon another lifetime (March 2013), I started this blog.  Now that I think of it, it really WAS another lifetime, before any of the crazy stuff with my mom and grandmother began.  I'm definitely not the same person now that I was back then.  Are you?  Probably not, no matter what has or hasn't been going on in your life.

2016 has been a year of way too many endings and beginnings, at least for me: losing my mother, losing a beloved cat, buying a car, starting my online museum certificate program, finding out that we will probably have to move soon as our apartment complex is being sold to people who want to renovate it and raise the rents through the roof, and now that travesty of a presidential election.  Even though two of those events are good things, it's still too much change all at once, especially after the previous two years of mostly loss.  It's enough to want to make one want to just give up and crawl in a hole for at least the next four years, when hopefully all those nasty problems will have gone away.

Except they won't have, of course.  That's the problem with cowering in a corner, in a hole, or under the desk.  Those nasty problems just wait quietly until you poke your head out to see if they are gone, and then POW... right between the eyes.

But we can we do?  We're just average people, right?  Wrong; we're GOTHS, and if we were average, we wouldn't be wearing killer boots and lots of black, wandering around in cemeteries, and listening to The Sisters of Mercy, London After Midnight, and Siouxsie Sioux.  Some of us have had to deal with hate and prejudice more than others, but at some point ALL of us have felt (and may still feel) that we were 'different' from the sheep in the local flock.  We have all worked for, and earned, the right to think outside the box.

Unfortunately, the election seems to have given some people the idea that it's now okay to voice hatred to anyone they don't like or who is different from them, and to promote physical and verbal violence even more than usual.  We don't need this, and we definitely don't need the US government to support it!  

If ever there was a time for Goths to show solidarity and support for what we believe in, 

While I'm trying to think outside that box and find a constructive and useful way to confront these problems, I've been signing every petition to support ballot recounts, disband the Electoral College, defend Standing Rock, and stop the new government from messing with Medicare that I've been able to click a mouse on.  I've sent money to some of them, too, which I never used to do.  I'm THAT worried...  But we can all do more, and I'd like to, if I could figure out what needs to be done.  Share your thoughts and ideas here, please!!  

And if anyone reading this actually voted for Chump and thinks he will be just what this country needs to become 'great' again, I give you this quote from British author Evelyn Beatrice Hall:

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

May we never lose that right, especially by our own hands.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December: "I'm SO Goth..."

Have yourselves a wonderfully Gothy Holiday!!  

(If I can find this card for sale, I'm definitely buying it in bulk! In the meantime, you can find more of Aly Fell's work here.)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Calling Andrew Eldritch...

... and calling all goths!!  If you haven't read Sylvie D.'s blog post in Little Corp Goth Girl, you need to read it right away.  

It seems that Andrew Eldritch said in an interview that if Chump became president, he would put out another Sisters of Mercy album, presumably as a protest.  So Sylvie has created a petition to send to Mr. Eldritch (the link is in her post) calling for the album to be made, but she needs 100 signatures. 

I am Number 5!  What number will you be???

Image result for sisters of mercy logo

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hallowe'en Cake Walk

This is, I believe, what you would call a 'filler' post; something you do when you don't have anything to say, but want to say SOMETHING.  And this is really a fun link, given to me by a friend, so perhaps it's more of a 'dessert' post than just filler.  :-)

Hallowe'en Cakes

Hope you enjoy them! 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Why knowing the reasons doesn’t always make everything okay

After reading several friends’ posts, and watching/reading about current events in the world, I’ve been thinking a lot about certain phrases that many people tend to use when others discuss their problems or talk about a current crisis.  And I’ve decided that, in my opinion, the absolute worst one of these is: “Everything happens for a reason”, sometimes accompanied by “we just don’t know what it is”.  The direct implication behind this statement is that what happened wasn’t some random chance of fate or the result of hatred of the person(s) by the gods.  Okay, nothing wrong with that; it frequently IS comforting to be told that we’re not so insignificant that the universe doesn’t notice or care what happens to us.  However, the indirect implication is that, if we knew/understood the reason for something terrible happening, it wouldn’t be so terrible.  And those who tack on a further comment about karma or how “what goes around comes around” are also implying that at least some fault may lie with the victim(s).

Is it true that everything happens for a reason?  YES, absolutely!  Everything does happen for at least one reason, perhaps more than one. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the people it happens to did something to deserve it.  For example, the earthquake in Japan in 2011 happened because the several continental and oceanic plates that Japan sits on shifted.  The accompanying tsunami happened because the movements of that earthquake caused a specific type of movement of the water.  Their nuclear plants then had problems because the built-in protections that had held up against the earthquake weren’t strong enough to hold up against the tsunami as well.  These things each happened for one or more reasons, and we know what those reasons were. 

But please tell me, how exactly did knowing the reasons make things any less terrible for the Japanese?  Their homes were still damaged or destroyed, their friends and family members were still dead or missing, their communities were still demolished, their jobs were still gone or in jeopardy, their financial situations were still precarious, and they were still desperate for shelter, water and food.  How is it that knowing why these disasters happened is supposed to make it somehow less difficult to bear?  And while some of the fault, at least with regard to the nuclear plants, MAY have been the result of poor planning/ignorance/whatever on the part of various organizations, why should thousands of people who had nothing to do with that feel better knowing they are suffering for someone else's bad karma points?

I hope someone explained it to them so that they felt better about the whole thing.  

There are people who spout out the same useless and unfeeling platitudes when someone they know tells them they have cancer, or an inoperable tumor, or Parkinson's disease, or some other life-altering thing that can't be fixed.  Maybe they don't know what else to say, or maybe they truly believe it themselves.  But somehow, I don't think it would comfort them much if it was said to them in their time of need. 

PLEASE think twice before telling someone that their suffering is happening for a reason, and that they just don't know what it is.  It's not only condescending, it's judgmental and cruel, even if you don’t mean it that way.  Instead, try a nod and sympathetic silence, or maybe (even better) “I’m so sorry this is happening”, and give them a gentle hand squeeze or a hug.  Chances are you'll make their burden a little easier to deal with, knowing they are not alone, and that someone really cares.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

Book Review: "9 Realities of Caring for an Elderly Parent"

Way back in January 2014, the day after my mom went to the hospital for emergency heart surgery, I attended a talk given by a woman who had gone through pretty much what I was about to go through, and who had written a book about her experience.  The book is "9 Realities of Caring for an Elderly Parent", and the author, Stefania Shaffer, was touring to promote it, and was invited to speak at our university.  I almost didn't go, because I was afraid the hospital might call while I was at the talk; it turned out to be one of the best things I could have done.  Not only was I inspired by what she had to say at a time when I really needed it, but I bought her book and read it while dealing with caring for my mother and grandmother.

During those two years when I was shuttling back and forth between home and my mom's house (or the nursing center), I  sometimes felt VERY much alone.  Although my friends and family were verbally supportive, I had very little help with anything that actually needed doing, not because nobody wanted to help, but because most of the time no one else was in a position to.  Unfortunately, this happens to many people who find themselves suddenly having to care for elderly parents alone, when other family members are either unable or unwilling to pitch in.  "9 Realities" became part of my support group, because I was able to compare what she had to deal with against my own situation.  I sent copies to a few friends to help them cope as well.  When my mom died, I read the section on grieving more than once, to remind myself that I still wasn't alone. 

"The Companion Playbook" came out just this year, and I was privileged to receive one as a gift from Stefania.  I sure wish I'd had it while my mother and grandmother were alive, I could really have used it as well!  It not only has the really important points from the book reiterated in "nutshell" format, but it has charts and checklists for each point that can be used as written or adapted to your individual situation.  The Playbook can serve as a stand-alone guide without the original book, if you really don't have the time to read that as well. 

Stefania's book is an incredible story of love and forgiveness, and I highly recommend both it and its companion workbook to anyone who has aging parents, even if they are still active and in good health.   You can order both books at Stefania's website:        

Sunday, August 7, 2016

"The Grim Rabbit"

This cartoon is totally hilarious, not to mention silly!!  I was thinking of saving it for next month's "I'm SO Goth...", but decided I couldn't wait that long.  Enjoy!

The Grim Rabbit  

Now, wasn't that fun?  I'm sure that for the next few months I won't be able to see a car wash without laughing!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Extension 666: On Hold in Hell for Eternity

The Bastard Operator from Hell has finally been located...

Extension 666: On Hold in Hell for Eternity

This has GOT to be one of the craziest (and best) ideas I've ever heard for dealing with annoying phone callers.  I'd love to be able to do something like this to salespeople and "survey" people who call us at night and on weekends, except that I'd want the script to be much weirder, and with the most horrible music I can find -- you know, like the elevator version of "Greatest Hits of the Dentist's Office" played by a group of tone deaf cellists and trumpet players.  And, now that I think of it, I have both a son and a nephew who could probably set it up for us!  Hmmmmm...

I hope you enjoyed the wait!  (And is this totally goth, or what???)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Starting a New Museum Meetup Group!

Well, I'm no longer a member of the Goth meetup group; it was my choice, but I'm still a bit sad.  The main organizer and the other co-organizer, both friends of mine, left the group, and someone else took over.  I just didn't have the cash to become the organizer again.  The new leader is a DJ at a club on the other side of the bay, and so far all he has ever put up as meetups are his club's Goth Nights and a single band event.  No one else has put anything up for months now, and the one event I suggested since he took over was ignored.  So, I hustled my black-covered tush right out of there!  I can still go to Death Guild without being a group member, and NO points taken off my Goth Card for that.  :-P

Anyway, I was looking around on the site for museum meetups, and did find a couple; unfortunately, most of them aren't all about museums, they just have occasional museum events, and the one that IS all about museums seems to be focused on art museums.  Bleah!  Art is fine, but there are soooo many other kinds of museums to visit around here.  So as of next month (after I get paid), I will be starting my own museum meetup group, offering visits to all sorts of museums around the SF Bay Area, and see if anyone rises to the bait. 

Of course, one of the first events will be a visit to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, with a personal tour hosted by Yours Darkly...  ;-) 

Now I just need to think up a good group name.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sweet 16th Anniversary

No fancy posts today!  Martin and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary yesterday, and I just have to say this to the person at our wedding whom my son overheard saying that "it won't last a year":

IN YOUR FACE!  Tttthhhpppppffftttttt!!!!!  

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Light Summer Reading, Goth Style!

Well, now that Summer (ewww!!) is here, I hope you have all the important items goths need at this time of year:  sun glasses, gloves, SPF 1000+ sunscreen, a big hat, a huge parasol, etc.  You know, like these savvy people:

The OTHER thing you will need is appropriate reading material, and I've found some perfects books to share with you!  Four collections of horror stories, written mostly by Victorian writers.  I found all of these books in my favorite thrift store (Half Price Books); only one was actually a used book, but every singe one was priced at only $3.00 or $4.00!  Anyway, here they are:

The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror by Edith Nesbit  (David Stuart Davies, Ed.)

Edith Nesbit is best known for her classic children's books, including The Railway Children, but as it turns out she was also an incredible teller of horror tales!  Of the twenty stories in this collection, there is only one I don't like.  If you like stories involving possessed statues, reanimated corpses, vampiric vines, vengeful ghosts, and love that transcends the grave, you will LOVE this book!  It definitely found a permanent place in my bookshelf.

Bone To His Bone: The Stoneground Ghost Tales of E.G. Swain

Originally published in 1912, this is a reprint of a really interesting collection of nine ghost stories that revolve around the Reverend Mr. Batchel, rector of a small English parish around the turn of the 20th century.  Mr. Swain wrote in the style of M.R. James, a well-known author in the Victorian period whose horror stories are legendary (I'll be hunting for one of HIS collections next.)

As a bonus, six stories by a modern author, David Rowlands, are included, which continue the supernatural adventures of Mr. Batchel, and honestly, they are written in a style so close to Swain's that I doubt I'd know the difference if I hadn't been told.  This book is another keeper!

Dracula's Guest: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories (Michael Sims, Ed.)

This is a collection of 22 vampire stories by various authors.  Some are extremely good, others not so much.  I decided not to keep the book, as less than half of the stories made me want to read them a second time.  However, I definitely recommend it for at least one reading!  And it introduced me to a couple of writers whose other stories I will be searching out in the near future.

Night Shivers: The Ghost Stories of J.H. Riddell  (David Stuart Davies, Ed.)

I haven't finished this one yet, but it's already a keeper.  The author is another Victorian woman who really knew how to keep her readers interested and hanging on her every word.  I've read about half of the 15 stories, and the last one is actually a novella, so I will finish this horror story reading frenzy with a BANG!  

So, are you reading anything interesting this summer?  

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June: "I'm SO Goth..."

Even in ancient Greece, there were "goths" (as opposed to those Visigoths)...

The translation of the words on this ancient Greek mosaic is:  "Be cheerful, live your life."

AA photo

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes (of course, I can't remember who said it):  "While you're living, do all the living you can.  You'll have plenty of time to be dead."

Monday, May 30, 2016

Lest We Forget: Memorial Day 2016

Thank you so much...  It's not really enough, but it's all we can do now.   

I'm sure (I hope) most countries have a day of commemoration for those who have fallen protecting it.  For those unfamiliar with ours who would like to know more, here is a link to some information:

U.S. Memorial Day

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Thoughts on Death, Part 2: Urban Death Project

Now THIS is my idea of the perfect burial...

Urban Death Project Aims to Rebuild Our Soil by Composting Corpses

I LOVE cemeteries, but I'm not in love with what is done to most corpses, or to what is done beneath the ground.  The toxic embalming fluid, the lead coffins, the concrete "tubs" that coffins are put into so that the ground doesn't sink.  As the article says, it's NOT good for the earth.  And what better way to take care of our earth than to become a part of renewing it by donating our bodies when we no longer need them?

Of course, we'd have to create new ways to memorialize our dead, because I'm sure there will be many who would still wish to do so (including me).  Perhaps scattering small name/date stones or putting up a "memorial wall" with names and dates in a special garden around the site would be a good idea. 

What's your idea of the perfect burial method?  And how would you want to memorialize your dead?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Less Adulting, More Kidding

I found a link to this article in one of my groups on LinkedIn, and felt it was something Important (yes, with a capital 'I') to share with you:

"Adulting": Because Being a Grownup Should Only Be a Temporary Affliction

I LOVE this article!  It really speaks to the way I've felt ever since I realized how horribly OLD I had become while taking care of my mom for the last couple of years.  I never had time for fun anymore, and I was too tired to care when I did have a few minutes to spare.  Hell, I didn't remember what fun WAS after a while, and my son was all grown up so I didn't have him as an example anymore (one of those Millennials she was talking about).  So now I'm looking forward to less "adulting" and more "kidding" (oh, the places I could go with THAT, hehehe)!!

Now, to go home early from work and pull out my Monster High dolls...  :-)

Wanna come over and play?? 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Thoughts on Death, Part 1: Death Tag

A goth friend of mine sent me this tag; apparently it's going around YouTube.  Needless to say, it seems rather appropriate for this blog!

Here are the questions:

1.  How would you like to die?
2.  What would happen to your blog?
3.  Who will you leave money to?
4.  What happens to your body after you pass?
5.  What do you want your funeral to be like?
6.  What will you miss the most that still exists after death?
7.  How will you want to be remembered?

And here are my answers:

1.  How would you like to die?

Peacefully in my sleep would be ideal.  However, if I have to be awake, I'd like it to be as painless as possible, with my favorite music playing.  (And although I love both songs, I think I'd rather hear "Stairway to Heaven" on my way out instead of "Highway to Hell", just to be on the safe side!)

2.  What would happen to your blog?

Don't know, and don't really care as I won't be here!  That's assuming it still exists by then, as I plan to live for a very long time yet.  ;-)

3.  Who will you leave money to?

Money?  What money??  Who has money??? 

4.  What will happen to your body after you die?
 I want it to decay and go back into the earth.  I DO NOT want to be embalmed for any reason!  Just put me in a shroud, or at most a cardboard coffin, and bury me deep.

5.  What do you want your funeral to be like?

Whatever makes my surviving family feel best.  But I want "Dust in the Wind" to be played either at my funeral or at the graveside.

6.  What will you miss the most that still exists after death?

Chocolate, of course!!  And my family, and music, and dancing.  And my cats.

7.  How will you want to be remembered?

 I hope I will be remembered with love, and that I lived an authentic life.   

Now I'm tagging these lovely bloggers (it's optional, of course!), and looking forward to reading their answers:

 ~ Little Corp Goth Girl
~ Goth Gardening
~ The Everyday Goth
~ Roses and Vellum
~ Little Gothic Horrors
~ Goth It Yourself
~Vampire Rose

But if you're not on this list and you post answers anyway, please let me know, I'd love to read them!  :-)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Music Review: Disturbed

Oh, WOW.  This song came on the music channel we were listening to the other night, and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.  I'd never heard of the band before, but their 2015 version of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" is so incredible that I HAVE to have it! (Bought the CD yesterday.)  Sorry, S&G, but THIS is the way your song should be sung.  The video is excellent as well, and totally fits the meaning.

The Sound of Silence - Disturbed

Turns out Disturbed is classified (for those who care about these things) as a heavy/industrial/ alternative/nu metal band rather than goth, but the lead singer, David Draiman, draws on many styles, including hard rock, heavy metal, punk, grunge and new wave.  When he listed The Cure, The Smiths and The Misfits as influential bands (along with Kiss, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden), I knew he was okay.  ;-)

Here are a couple more songs/videos of theirs that I really like!

The Vengeful One

The Light


Thursday, May 5, 2016

May: "I'm SO Goth..."

Here's looking at you...

"All shall be well, and all shall be well..."

I grew up without a car; living in San Francisco made it actually easier (and cheaper) not to have one.  I got my license around 1986, but didn't actually own/drive a car until 1988.  Even then, a car was just a car.  It got me where I needed to go.  I kept it fed and watered, and got it fixed when needed, but I didn't think much else about it.

However, since getting the Sentra in February, I've been much more fascinated with it than with any other car I've owned.  When I go out to the parking lot, I look at it and feel like I'm in love.  I think about driving it when I'm not.  And I actually get jealous when Martin takes it for the day.  It's not that it's only two years old; my other cars were about 2-3 years old when we got them.  I've never felt superior about having things before, so this really threw me for a loop.  It was very weird, and was actually getting embarrassing.

Then I suddenly figured it out.  For years, I've been telling myself that "things have GOT to get better", but they never did.  Every time we fixed something on the van, something else would go wrong with it very soon.  The bills mounted up and I had to scrounge to pay them.  My mom got worse and needed more care.  I was stuck in a job I didn't want.  Things never got better, we just exchanged one problem for another, and there always seemed to be two to three problems going on at once.

But this car is "something better".  Yes, we now have an extra $240 in car and insurance payments every month, but because I got what was left in my mom's accounts after her death, we are able to afford it. And everything works.  (Knock on wood!)  The A/C, the heater, the CD player, the radio, they all work.  I don't have to shift into neutral when stopping so that the transmission won't buck.  The seats aren't broken.  All the dashboard lights and the gas gauge work.  And the paint isn't peeling and chipping off because the primer and/or the paint was bad (all Plymouth Voyagers and Dodge Caravans built that year apparently got bad paint and/or primer, at least the white ones; there should have been a recall on the paint job).

So this car is actually a sort of talisman for me.  It's physical proof that things not only can get better, but they ARE getting better.  And I'm clinging to that so that I can deal with the other things that I'm still trying to fix.

And yesterday, I noticed that the auto-withdrawal from my checking account for my credit consolidation payment went from $581 (!) to just $17 (!!).  I think I'm DONE with it, woo-HOOO!!!  Which means that one more thing just got better.  So here is a happy Goth to help me celebrate:
                                                        (I'd love to credit this, but the name is cut off; I found it on Tumblr.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

When one door closes...

... another opens, or so they say.  Last night a door that I thought was closed years ago suddenly showed a crack of light around it.

I left work early yesterday; for some reason, I'd been tired and groggy all day, and I was starting to make so many mistakes that I was afraid to trust myself any longer with someone's financial aid.  I went home and curled up on the loveseat in the living room to wait for dinner.  I wasn't asleep, just dozing, with absolutely nothing in my head (other than the squeaky-floored basketball game Martin was watching), when all of a sudden a VERY clear voice in my head said:  "You can go to Egypt and Crete."  HUH?????  Ooooh, wait, I can...

After my mom's bills and burial arrangements were all paid, I inherited the remainder of her pension fund.  Because I "inherited" it, I can't keep it or add money to it, but I can take money out of it whenever I want to.  I'm already using use some of it to pay for my museum certificate program; then I figured I would get a retirement account to put the rest into.  However, now I'm thinking that maybe I should use some of it to go to Egypt and/or Crete.  I honestly never thought I'd ever have the money, and neither trip is cheap.  But why not go?  I'll probably never have another chance, at least not until I'm too old to really enjoy it!

So now I am getting started.  I got out my expired passport and will be renewing it shortly.  And I have already chosen the tour agency through which I will be making my arrangements, Ancient World Tours (AWT), based in London.  They have many different tours to Egypt, and recently added one to Crete!  I "met" the owner, Peter Allingham, through an online group we were both in, and he was kind enough to allow me to quote him in my master's thesis.  Of course, that was back in 2006, but I'm sure he'll remember me... NOT!  ;-)

I shall now go and check on my "suitable for Egypt" gothic wardrobe.  Stay tuned for updates!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Deadly Quote of the Week

Sorry this is a little late...

This is a quote from Somerset Maugham, recorded shortly before his death in 1965 by his nephew:

"Dying," he said to me, "is a very dull, dreary affair.  Suddenly he smiled.  "And my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it," he added."

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Deadly Quote of the Week

I found a book, called The Oxford Book of Death, filled with wonderful quotes and excerpts from all kinds of books, poems and plays, that I would like to share with you.  So this will be the first post using these.  I hope you enjoy them!

This one is from the metaphysical novel, Kleinzeit (which means "little time"), by Russell Hoban:

"Under the bed, Death sat humming to itself while it cleaned its fingernails.  I never do get them really clean, it said.  It's a filthy job I've got but what's the use of complaining.  All the same I think I'd rather have been Youth or Spring or any number of things rather than what I am.  Not Youth, maybe.  That's a little wet and you'd hardly get to know people before they've moved on.  Spring's pretty much the same and it's a lady's job besides.  Action would be nice to be, I should think.

Elsewhere Action lay in his cell smoking and looking up at the ceiling.  What a career, he said.  I've spent more time in the nick [jail] than anywhere else.  Why couldn't I have been Death or something like that.  Steady work, security."

Very human, isn't it?  The grass is always greener somewhere else.  Especially in a cemetery...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

April: "I'm SO Goth..."

This COULD actually be me.  If you saw my t-shirt collection these days, you'd understand...

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Back in the World of the Living

Yes, it has been quite a while since I've posted.  I really didn't have much to say in March; I was too busy with work, my museum class, burying my mom, and grieving.  Not to mention saying goodbye to an old friend and welcoming a new one.  Yes... we have a new car!!

Our van's registration expired at the end of February and I've had the paperwork since December, but due to my mom's decline and death, I kept forgetting about it.  Finally, I got the smog check done, only to find out she had failed one section.  Instead of pouring more money into a 20-year-old vehicle on its last legs anyway, I decided that our money would be better spent going toward a newer one.  Thanks to California's "Vehicle Retirement" program, we got $1,000 for bringing the van to a dismantler that will recycle her parts and sell them.  This ended up being our downpayment on the new one.

My son and nephew picked us up from the dismantler, and off we went to look at cars.  We had no idea if we would actually find a car the same day, but we were lucky enough to hit the jackpot at our local Hertz rental car lot.  It was more than I wanted to pay initially, but it has less than 44,000 miles on it (we still have 17,000 miles of factory warranty), and the monthly payments are just under $200!!  And it can fit two guys over six feet tall in the back, and I can STILL see out the rear window, although that window is a LOT smaller than the van's.  I miss that huge panoramic rear view.

Behold, our 2014 Nissan Sentra!! 
(This isn't actually ours, but it's the same year, model and lovely silver color.)

And this is the interior (minus the GPS; we have the radio/CD player in that spot and the heater/AC underneath).  Also, think black interior and fabric seats instead of silver:

We are now in the market for a StarTrek license plate cover and some vinyl stick-on bats for the side windows, heheheh...

In addition, I've been working on my online Museum Certificate course.  I finished the 'Introduction to Museums' class in January, and am two-thirds of the way through 'Museum Artifacts: How They Were Made & How They Deteriorate'.  I finish that one on my birthday!  And I'll be on vacation that week as well, the first REAL vacation I've taken since 2013.  Then in May, I have a two-week course on 'Gallery Guides'.  I'm glad I finally had the opportunity to afford this program AND convinced myself to jump in and do it. 

AND I almost forgot to mention that my first published short story, "The Second Time Around", came out in February, not only online but also IN PRINT!  I bought a copy of the paperback (Women in Horror Annual, $20/new), and it's really good; I recommend it highly, and not just because I'm in it.  I got a "like new" copy from, but they are available on Amazon and in bookstores as well.

I hope you all had a wonderful Ostara/Easter/Spring Equinox! 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Power and Darkness: or, The Difference Between Sheep and Wolves

"A sheep without its shepherd is lost; a wolf without its pack can survive."
(John J. Coghlin, Out of the Shadows)

It's interesting, isn't it, to see sheep mentioned in the same title with power and darkness.  Other than the term 'black sheep', which usually refers to someone who embarrasses their family by appearing odd or disreputable in some way, we almost never think of sheep as being anything but helpless, stupid, and always in a group, dependent on others to guide them.  I've talked before about being a 'shiny black sheep', and how it's actually a good thing. 

And yet, any group of people who feel angry, frightened or threatened in some way can become a dangerous mob of sheep, turning from prey into inadvertent predators in an extremely short time.  Think of the townspeople in Frankenstein, a stampede to exit a burning building, or a riot in any country.  This can occur whether or not there is a leader; sometimes it's the leader who incites the action, while at other times the leader gets left behind or even killed if s/he tries to calm things down.  A mob of sheep is mindless, running entirely on the instinct of "fight or flight", and the voice of reason frequently goes unheard because no one is capable of listening.

Ironically, the term 'lone wolf' also has negative connotations, since wolves normally live in packs with a definite hierarchy.  A lone wolf is usually someone who is very introverted and/or antisocial, preferring to live and spend most of their time alone instead of with a group.  Most of them are perfectly harmless, and are often very good people.  However, because they act differently from what is expected of wolves, they are often looked upon with suspicion by everyone, sheep and fellow wolves alike.

When you look closely at these two seeming opposites -- the black sheep and the lone wolf -- you find they have many things in common.  Both are mavericks who will not or cannot accept the hierarchy or rules of the group, choosing instead to follow the beat of their own drum.   

In fact, they are almost the same

When I read Coghlin's quote (at the very top of this post), it really resonated with me. I've been more or less of a lone wolf for a good portion of my life.  As a child and young adult, I tried being a sheep because that was what I was supposed to be, but the skin just didn't fit me properly, and I probably looked and sounded a lot like a wolf version of the sheep in the cartoon below.  Then I went through a period of trying to be a pack wolf, but but that didn't fit me, either, and it was obvious.  It wasn't until I "found myself" a few years ago (to use an old 1970's saying), that I realized I was a shiny black sheep all along.  And that skin fits me "just right", like the smallest chair, bowl and bed in the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I am content.  Life is good.

So what about the power and the darkness?  The way I see it, the power belongs to those who think for themselves.  That would be the shiny black sheep and the lone wolves.  Pack wolves also have some power, because they choose to work as a team, and although they usually follow the rules of the hierarchy, they will argue with each other if they feel the need to do so.  However, their individual power is less because they usually do follow the hierarchy to avoid being turned out of the pack.

But the darkness truly belongs to the sheep.  Because a LONE sheep really is lost.  Without someone -- anyone -- to follow, a non-black sheep has no idea what to do or where to go, and is in serious danger of being devoured by any predator that comes along.  So the first order of business for a lone sheep is to find a flock.  Whether it's a club, a religion, a gang or a cause doesn't matter; it's having a flock to identify with that's important.  And if that flock ends up taking a header off a cliff some dark night, well, at least they went together.

So whether you identify as a shiny black sheep or a lone wolf, just remember: 

I think the power is worth it, don't you?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

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

I found this on the Elders of Goth FB page, and am sharing it here...  It just seemed SO appropriate for someone with eight cats (3.5 of them black) to post this:

I think this just says it all.  ;-P

(Although I think I'd upgrade that last one to Death Metal...)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Medusa: Eyes of Stone

Here is a poem I wrote back in 2010, when I was studying and working with Medusa as a matron goddess.  I've always seen Her as a guardian and avenger of abused and threatened women.  It goes well as a precursor to my short story, although it won't be published with it.  So you get an exclusive here...  Hope you like it!

Eyes of Stone

You look at me with
Your eyes of stone
But I stare back at you
And still breathe

Don't try to petrify me
With your gaze, honey
It won't work on me
We have the same wounds
The same anger

The same eyes

It probably wasn't your fault
He came after you
Any more than it was mine
But who believes us?
Obviously we asked for it
Or it wouldn't have happened

After all
It's not like they have any self-control
You can't expect them to take
No for an answer

Yeah, I don't believe that
Any more than you do

Got any extra snakes?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Another Story Accepted!

Just a couple of days into my bereavement leave, I got an e-mail from a publication called Monsters and the Monstrous saying they have accepted my short story about Medusa for publication.  woo-HOOO!  This is even cooler (in a way) than the other story being accepted.  This was the FIRST one I had submitted for publication, and it was submitted in JUNE, a few months before the Women in Horror Annual entry was.  I had e-mailed them a couple of months ago asking if they had reached a decision yet and was told they were still "in process", so I figured my story was toast, and moved on.  Imagine my delight to hear from them!

I have NO idea when it will come out, as all the submissions will, of course, have to be edited.  But just knowing that I scored this one as well makes it fine with me, whenever it gets published!

This is the statue of Medusa that gave me the inspiration for my story; I have it sitting on top of my stereo in my 'parlor'.  Awesome, isn't she?  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

In Memorium: Shirley Lee (Simpson) Myers, 1935-2016

On Tuesday, January 19, 2016, my mom finally got her wish, and passed away peacefully in her sleep, almost two years from the day she had her heart surgery.  But her heart didn't give out on her; instead, she made an informed decision.

It was a long and difficult two years.  Changing roles, where I became the one in charge of a good portion of her life, was probably the hardest thing for us both.  But our personal bonds became stronger and closer than they have ever been, as we became true friends and equals as well as mother and daughter.  She had to let go of so much, but she was able to do so only because she trusted me to take up the reins.  I promised her once while helping her up the stairs of her house that I would never let her fall.  That became a reality, not just physically but emotionally and financially as well.

When she made the decision to give up her rental home and stay at Meadowood permanently, it was because we both knew she could no longer live alone.  When she made the decision to stop going to dialysis in early December, we both knew that it was a final choice. It was really hard watching her get weaker and less coherent, but it was part of the process.  She always knew who I was, though, and she looked forward to my daily calls, even though I occasionally had to remind her who she was talking to.

The last two weeks she was unable to pick up the phone, and also lost the ability to speak, but I still called every day, and if a nurse or aide was with her they would answer and hold the receiver to her ear so I could talk to her.  If no one answered, I mentally held her hand and told her I loved her while the phone was ringing, since they said she always turned her head toward the phone when she heard it.

I will miss her horribly!  But I am SO grateful that she is at peace now and free from a body that was no longer working well and a life she was tired of living because she could no longer do any of the things she loved.  I hope my great-grandparents and my "fairy godfather" were there to greet her and show her around.  I hope that she and her younger brother and sister who died years ago are catching up on each others' 'lives'.  I hope that she and her own parents have made peace with each other.  And I hope that she and my dad have also met up and are friends again. 

                                     "In my End is my Beginning."  (Mary Queen of Scots)

Friday, January 1, 2016

January 2016: "I'm SO Goth..."

Do you, my friends, pass judgment on others?  Maybe you should reconsider...

A great way to start thinking for the New Year, don't you agree??  :-)