Saturday, May 31, 2008

On Carnivorous Plants and Mountain Man:

Mountain Man has a bit of the mad scientist about him. And he likes to experiment with ‘my’ carnivorous plants. He of course likes the Venus Flytrap the best. Instant gratification and all that. The leaf snapping shut on the offered bug. Mountain Man calls this renewable stomachs, I say disposable digestive system. But either way we like watching the processes.

Well the other day he went and fed the Venus Flytrap a slug. This was a bit too heavy for the plant and seeing the Venus Flytrap’s distress he propped it up with a few twigs. The plant dripped slug juice for a couple of days after that, then the leaf turned black. (Not to worry, the leaves are suppose to turn black after a couple of feedings.) And we cut the blackened leaf off like good Venus caretakers.

I am partial to the Butterwort myself. It looks all innocent with it’s little lavender colored flower luring in bugs. But the stem and leaves have a sticky coating that catches bugs and digests them. It is flowerless at the moment in the picture. I also like the cool pale green color of it’s leaves.

The other one we have in that terrarium that you can’t see well in the picture is a Sundew. It has paddle shaped leaves with little hairs on them that have a bead of sticky stuff at the end of each hair. Looking a bit like cactus needles with dew on the end of it’s needles. You know the rest. Bug, stick, digest, discard. Oh, and the white thing in there is the back of a thermometer, we like to keep an eye on their comfort.

Mountain Man is better at catching the bugs alive then I am. But freshly killed or live we feed them to our plants. This is in addition to the bugs that get caught on their own by the plants themselves.

It took me a while to talk Mountain Man into adding these plants to our household. And now Mountain Man doesn’t miss a chance to play with the little dears. It was my ‘house full of bugs’ cry that finally won him over. We heat with wood in a wood stove so bugs come into our house year round with the wood. Not that our house is full of bugs. But we do find them on occasion year round. And you can’t spray the wood for bugs and then burn it, toxins and all that.

Now I am having fun watching both the carnivorous plants and Mountain Man playing with them. I wonder what he will be feeding them next week?

Friday, May 30, 2008

On Weight Gain and Loss:

I appeal to you dear readers. I need to get back on the weight loss trail. And I am going to use you for my accountability if you don‘t mind.

Back in the day. You know, high school. I was 135/140 pounds. I gained with each pregnancy and lost it after that. I had my ups and downs due to illness and such. But the last weigh gain was after my son died and I self medicated with food (mostly chocolate) and I hit 250.

I was loosing and down to 200 when I found the breast cancer. (Thank you new nipple piercing at that time.) And had to stop loosing because they don’t like to have to keep adjusting the meds and I didn‘t have the energy anyway. After that I got back on the weight loss trail again and was down to 160.

I hurt my knees a while back and had to stop doing the exercise bike that had netted me those weight loss pounds. So even though I was trying to just use my vegetarian health food diet I gained back 25 pounds and I’m back up to 185. I don’t do fad diets. What I really do need is to have a better exercise program. So I am starting a Yoga/Tai Chi program today. That along with walking and just having a active lifestyle. I’ll add more as I get stronger and as needs be.

I do need to loose this excess weight for my knees if nothing else. So every once in a while I’ll post my progress and let you know how I’m doing. Probably weekly for a while then monthly until I hit my goal. I’ll try not to bore you with my weight loss saga. I keep it down to a little notation at the bottom of my blogs for the most part.

Maybe this way with all of you looking on, I’ll have the incentive and get the pounds back off. By the way my goal is to go down to 130 pounds and the reward Mountain Man is offering me is a new corset when I get there. No, It’s not like that. He asked me if I wanted a prize in the end and what I would like. I can have a new corset any time I’d like. I’m just too frugal to waste the money for a new something I don’t intend to be in this time next year.

Thanks in advance for the help. A size 18, Lady Euphoria

(Starting today. 185 lb., 30 min. yoga, 1/ 2 mile walk, 50 steps on stair stepper so far. And I‘m sore.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

On Trying to Keep Up:

I have been furiously making the lace for the handkerchiefs. I have the two purple ones done. Well the lace is made but I haven’t tucked the tails or sewed the lace on yet. And I am starting the pink as soon as I’m done here.

Yes, I did take off some time to do a few other things. Like this morning I made three sets of wooden knitting needles. I get wooden dowels and cut them down to length. I bought some wooden end caps too. I sharpen the one end in the pencil sharpener and then sand it all down with extra fine sandpaper. I use an emery board to sand down the other ends to fit the end caps and glue them on. Three sets of knitting needles for less then a dollar a pair. You can’t go wrong with savings like that.

It has also been hard to get the lace done with all the bandages on my blisters from working in the labyrinth and that still isn’t done yet either. Maybe a flame thrower would get the job done faster. Know where I could get one cheep?

I watched the movie ‘Shall We Dance’ while I was making lace this morning. I so want to learn to tango properly. Mountain Man and I dance in the kitchen every once in a while when the mood strikes. But I do have to say he has three left feet where dancing is concerned. I have no hope of winning a tango competition with him. He does do other things very well so I let this one slide. So much for the saying, ‘Dancers make the best partners in bed.’

Anyway, I hope to finish the pink lace by tomorrow some time. Then after I sew the lace on and press them, off they will go to Lady Pink. And I can get back to making the lace for the collar on the men’s shirt turned Victorian blouse.

Well back to work for me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On Memories in Boxes:

Today I was cleaning out the closet. I have no attic or basement so the closets are large and full of storage. Over, under, and around my many pieces of clothing are boxes and bags of stuff in storage. Plastic bins and cardboard boxes with the treasures of a lifetime. I only take on this task when I’m feeling mentally strong enough. There is what is left of my son’s life in there. (For those of you who don’t know ‘Shining Son’ died in a car accident some years back when he was twenty five years old.)

The ‘Princess Daughter’ has stuff in those boxes too. Memories of their childhood. A small rock from Shining Son’s first walk outside as a toddler. Princess Daughter’s first black patent leather party shoes. Pictures they drew for me when they were small. It’s not a lot of stuff as stuff like that goes, just precious to me. I saved the stuff to give back to them when they had their own children if that day came. Time will tell if Princess Daughter will settle down. But Shining Son will never have that chance.

In those boxes are poems and notes written to me from Mountain Man when our relationship was younger. Being married almost eighteen years now the poems are not as forthcoming. This is a second marriage for both of us. We have reached a comfortable groove in most things. I’ll keep the notes and poetry.

Boxes of papers. Journals and things once thought important. Instructions cut from a magazine for making some silly craft project. Articles on health or home improvement. All head for the recycling bin now that I have the internet at my fingertips. I need the space more. The journals I put back. They are full of mundane days of living before Shining Son died. Like in ‘Our Town’ the regular days are easier to look back at some how. Memories are the only place I get to visit my son now. Memories and dreams.

Pictures. Boxes of pictures. From a time when they were not as easily gotten in this cell phone ready age. Back then you had to bring along a camera and take a limited amount of pictures. Once the film was used up it was then taken to be developed. Then you waited for a few days to have that done. And once they were finished and back in your hands you strived to put them in book but usually just stuck them in an old shoe box within weeks of looking at them. There marches the high and low lights of my life. Birthdays, fender benders, holidays, injuries and stitches, vacation, storm damage. All reduced to slips of paper in boxes.

Memories of my life. I have fewer of them left in my head as I get older. And chemo brain has ravaged more then I’d like to think about of my memory. Still old memories get pushed out of the way for computer program instructions, shopping lists and doctor appointments. Making these boxes all the more important to me.

The some total of my collective life gone over in one closet cleaning day as I go through the boxes of memories.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On My Wisteria Wishes:

My wisteria is a thing of beauty. A water fall of purple cascading down to the ground. And the heady aroma that fills the yard so strong in the sun it can almost choke off your breath. I love my wisteria maybe because it lasts only for two weeks a year. I never quite get enough.

The flowers I like best are spring flowers. Purple Iris, Violet, Wisteria and Lilac. Not that I don’t like other flowers, because I do. I like clematis and honeysuckle, dragon flower, coneflower, spirea and mock orange. All of which I have in my yard along with others. The daylilies and hustas, wild rose, daffodils in abundance, the flowers on the horthorne tree. Azalea and rhododendron bushes, evening primrose, and more all grace my yard. But I like wisteria the best of all.

I have them planted at the corners of the house. Arbors hold them up. The one is the arbor over the walk way that you go under to get to the house. The other is out side of my bedroom door. It covers a little sitting porch I have there. I have two white wicker chairs in there. I open up the bedroom door and listen to my music as I sit in the shade making lace or knitting.

The wisteria hangs down and bumble bees slowly buzz from flower head to flower head sipping nectar and collecting pollen. A breeze rustles my skirts and cools my face. Fresh homemade lemonade sits in a glass and pitcher with covers on them to keep the bees from feasting there too. It could be a scene from days gone by with the exception of the music. (Delerium, Karma) I take the day to dream under the wisteria.

I dream of a world without hate and malice. Where children frolic unmolested and animals cause no harm to garden or person. Where people find pleasure in any task they take up to do and music is always on the air. And there are flowers like my wisteria enough to fill the warmer days of the year in abundance. Enough for everyone to enjoy.

I dream of a world that doesn’t hold prejudice and misunderstandings. Where bullies and the criminally insane can be helped to turn their lives around. A place without fear. A place of love and wisteria.

Monday, May 26, 2008

On Holiday:

Today is a holiday, as in a day off from work and an excuse to get away from home, or at least do something different at home. We went to the cemetery yesterday and put out the flags there and around the house. The cemetery is a little too crowded for me today.

We chose the stay at home option. I made a picnic meal and we eat it outside under a tree in the yard. Mountain Man didn’t do the barbecue. Not for one turkey burger.

The dogs think that this is one of the oddest things they have seen in a while, this our eating outside. We did eat at a folding table with chairs. I have learned over the years that if the dog are with us the food does not sit on a blanket on the ground. And anything that hit’s the ground is fair game for them.

We had the regulars of potato salad and baked beans. I had a veggie burger and Mountain Man his turkey burger. All the fixin’s for the burgers. There was salad both veggie and fruit. Fruit juice on ice. A nice light meal for the two of us.

The bugs came to feast as we ate. The flags fluttered in the breeze. The dogs wiggled and whined.

Of course this was just a respite. Mountain Man had been working in the garden since sun up and I had been cleaning the house, doing laundry and sewing a new summer skirt with a bustle.

He is now building a stone wall and I’m writing to you while the dishes soak in the sink. Yup, another holiday at the old homestead. And we seem to be working harder then ever. Some things never change.

Maybe I can find some water balloons for a little later?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

On Memorial Day. An open letter to the troops:

Today I look beyond my own small world and take in the day that nearly everyone in the USA is celebrating this week end. Memorial Day is a day to honor the fallen dead in defense of our country and what it stands for.

We (my husband Mountain Man and I) just got back home from the cemetery. We were putting a flag and marker on my husband’s father’s grave. Mountain Man’s father was in WW2.

There are more and more of them each day, those souls that have given their lives for a dream of a better world and to give others still in the world an amount of safety.

I myself have never served in the armed forces. My husband did and so have others I have known. It is not an easy task to undertake. And to die for what one believes in goes beyond the call of duty in my estimation.

The world would be a much different place without the peoples of the armed forces keeping things in check. Life is a balancing act to be sure. But these people walk a much thinner line then I do. And I respect them for that.

Hale the conquering hero and may they all come home safe and sound. But remember too the gallant dead. For that is what this day is for. A Day of Memorial to those that have died in service to our country and ourselves. May they forever rest in peace.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

On Cancer Treatment Commercials:

I am so tired of the commercials about drugs and treatment plans that are suppose to give you your life back while going through cancer treatments. A) They only work for some people. B) They don’t work for all types of cancer treatments and C) And this is the biggest one here. People really believe these commercials and expect so much more from you then you can possibly give.

It belittles what cancer patents are indeed going through. ‘Take a pill, a shot, a magic bean and all will be well again, just like before.’ Well I’m here to tell you that just ain’t so. You are profoundly changed by cancer on so many levels. Both in physical and emotional ways. I personally will never be the same as I was before the cancer treatments. And cancer treatments were not the worst thing I’ve ever had to live through in my life. So all things being relative, I feel I know of what I speak. And don’t get me wrong here, I was a middlin' case here.

My cancer was not found early, for it had spread some before it was found, and not a bad case either because it had a slower growing rate and it was dealt with, no more has been found since then. But I have been living with the scars. Scars to my body, scars to my emotions and scars to my very soul.

And if I have to look upon yet another happy face telling me go here and do this and cancer will be a snap I‘ll just scream. Even my oncologist admitted that if he let anyone know just how bad it can be, and still is for those of us that have been through it, no one would ever start treatments.

My memory is shot. I have physical troubles and scaring. My brain functions differently now. I must always look for signs of the cancer coming back. I am stuck in a death thought cycle. (Not that I think of death all the time but things remind me of how close I came to death with the cancer treatments.)

You do know that chemo is killing not just the cancer but you too. And that they only pull you back from the poisoning death they are putting you through, when they think they have killed enough of the cancer. And you then get to survive with what they have left of you to go on with, don’t you?

If you are lucky you get to heal and repair your body for the next year or two or more as your hair grows back and you push yourself through the days thinking ‘How come it isn’t easier then this? They got the cancer and the treatments are over, so where is my life? Why isn’t my life and energy back? Why am I not ecstatically happy about life now?’ And yes I will admit it. ‘Where are the parades for me and what I just went through?’ Oh no, we just get blank stares from faces that say, ‘Those commercials make it look so easy, so what is your problem?’

Friday, May 23, 2008

On Yard Work and My Labyrinth:

It is time for yard work. I know some of you don’t have yards. I not only have a yard but I have acres. Okay, most of those acres are woods and some is the vegetable garden but I do have a yard and it needs attention in the spring. Plants to be moved, wisteria arbors to fix, fences to replace. My husband ‘The Mountain Man’ does most of this work. He is bigger, stronger and doesn’t mind being out in the sun. But there is work for me too. The oak trees only loose half their leaves in the fall and the rest come down in the spring. I rake leaves. I decide where over grown plants that need separating will go. The Mountain Man plans out a new stone wall and I must find a home for the plants he is displacing. I hold the new posts for the arbor as he digs them in and pours the concrete. I work in the yard.

I also clean out my meditation labyrinth. It is a stone edged path that goes round and round, in and out of itself, in the oak grove west of the house. My back hurts from raking leaves out from between the stone edgings. I have blisters on my hands and the work is not even half way done. It takes days to clean and straighten the paths again. Winter heaves the ground and pushes the stones around. Small animals have burrowed under the larger rocks to find shelter in the winter months. There is a whole lot of work to be done here. In the summer I will walk in the cool of the shade under the oak trees but for now the sun beats and burns my pale skin as I work.

My labyrinth is a special place I come to think and to talk to my supreme being as I walk the path into the center and back out. I lay my burdens down in the center and walk out feeling better, freer and lighter. But for now it is just a lot of hard work. It is the one job around here that I wish I had more help with every time I do it. My blisters burst and ooze. But when it is done it will be worth it all. The blisters will heal and my back will stop aching, my fair skin will not tan but will peal from the sun burn and I will have a few more freckles. But I will enjoy my yard in the evenings after the work is done. But for now you’ll have to get back to me, maybe some time next week I’ll let you know then if I’m done and ready to enjoy it yet. It all depends on how many rainy days we get before I’m done.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On Projects and Time:

I have been working on a few projects this week. With the weather being so poor, Monday started with a heavy frost and then later in the day it snowed a bit, then rain on and off ever since. Days of it.

A few days ago I finished making a hat. A poke bonnet or prairie bonnet in black mole skin. (No, not real mole skins but fabric that resembles mole skin, thus the name.) Being in black it looks kind of Amish in style so I need to trim it with something distinctly un-Amish. I am still deciding on that trim. I used black grosgrain ribbon for the tie. I’ll have to get a picture of it to show you. Any trimming suggestions?

Last night I finished the shrug but I didn’t have the time to take pictures and put them with today’s post. And yesterday I also had my bi-monthly cancer support group meeting and one of the woman there liked my new mourning handkerchief so much she asked me to make her some handkerchiefs in other colors. I can’t say no to her because she is into an advancing stage in her second cancer. (Not that I wanted to say no.) She is a lovely woman and I just can’t say to her, “You’ll have to wait for them until I get some other things done.”

So I put everything else on hold to start to make the handkerchiefs for her. I’m not complaining but I felt the pull of the new collar I had started a few days ago. I don’t like to have too many projects in the works. I do of course, but I don’t like it just the same. There is a point that even I am overwhelmed but them and I am getting close to hitting it.

My husband, Mountain Man, looks at me dubiously. “Another project?” He says.

“Yes, It’s for my pink lady friend.” I reply sweetly. (She likes to dress in pink.)

“Don’t you ever get any of these things done?” He asks and turns to walk out not waiting for an answer. (To him it’s all one unending craft project.)

Mountain Man and I know the answer to this conversation. We have had this conversation oh so many times before. My life ‘is’ a never ending series of projects. So is his of course but his tend to be outside and mine tend to be inside. We have a few acres so he has a bit more space to work with then I do. Some day I’ll have to show you the dry stone wall he is building.

But anyway I am now working on some handkerchiefs for a friend and the other things I want to get finished will have to wait.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On Housework Vs. Fun:

I am not the ‘Suzie Homemaker’ type. I don’t live to clean my house. I’m not living in a mess. Just some clutter and a sliding pile or two. You can write your name in the dust on a piece of furniture or two on occasion but rarely find it still there months later. (I have to say that now because it did happen while I was going through the cancer treatments.) I do get around to it eventually. I really do dust on a regular bases. I just don’t see the need to eradicate every single dust fleck that comes through my space.

There are so many other things I’d like or need to be doing besides dusting a nearly dust free piece of furniture. Dusting is just not one of my priorities. I have stories to write. Crafts to finish. Clothing to sew, patch, make. Lace to make. Pictures to take. Older dogs to take care of. Dishes to wash. Laundry to wash, dry and put away. Food to prepare. Friends to email with.

And fun. I like to have my fun. Since the cancer I would rather have some fun in my life each day then worry about dusting. I need to walk in the woods, play video games, sing and dance each day. Nero fiddled while Rome burned and I shall have fun while dust collects in my house.

So I’m having some fun today. What are you doing?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On Making a Piece of Lace:

For me there is something wonderful even after all these years in starting a piece of lace. I am currently pouring over all my pattern book and sketching out new patterns as I look for just the right bit of lace to put on the men’s shirt where the collar had been. I am making over this shirt into a Victorian blouse or shirtwaist.

I will be working this lace in white. It is a white shirt and although I was going to go for black or even a color, what I wanted was gray. I am having more and more trouble getting the threads and tools I am look for then I once did. The factories that once made them have close in these modern times of machine made instant on demand consumerism. So more often then not I am left with white or ecru threads in the sizes I need. Even black is becoming harder to find.

I wish more people kept up the dieing arts and crafts of the past. To know the work and feel of starting from scratch and doing by hand. Quality, experience, pride, accomplishment, worth.

I am starting a new piece of lace work today. There is a bit of excitement every time still. As I take the thread and start to weave it like a spell into something much more then it once was. The thread twists and turns on it’s path through the lace. It wasn’t here this morning. It didn’t exist. I created it with my own two hands. Fancy or plain the experience of making lace is the same every time. Knots and tangles of threads melt slowly into beautiful lace under my hands.

It takes time to make lace by hand. And people just don’t seem to have the time they once had. But it can be found if the interest is there. I have made delicate wedding handkerchiefs that have taken over a month to make. I never know if the wedding couple understands or even appreciates the gift I had given to them. A part of my heart and soul goes into each piece of lace I make. A passion drives me to pick up a thread and make it into lace. Showing nothing more then that some of the best things in life take time and effort but are worth it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

On Victorians and Goth:

The Victorians made death into an art form. Almost everything a person in Victorian times did had death attached to it. In fact most of our death rituals are left over from them. They even used cemeteries like we use parks and would picnic there. And on special occasions they set the table with an extra place setting and chair for the departed to join in the celebration.

There were elaborate rules on dress and social obligation. Right down to their writing paper and calling cards all rimmed with a black border for the subscribed time limit. For a close relative a half inch border for the first year, a quarter inch border for the second and an eighth inch border for the third. And of course the black mourning dress. That went into gray with black trim and then pastels with black or gray trim as the time went by. Few people got through life without at least wearing a black arm band in mourning no matter the social standing. And the plethora of flowers was to try to mask the smell of death in the house. Funeral parlors replaced the home viewing.

They attended Séances and mummy unwrapping parties for fun. They had elaborate tombstones and mausoleums made to honor the dead and mark their graves. Death quilts or tapestries were made in the year after a persons death. Often these had a cemetery or mourning scenes on them. Hair art, made from the hair of the departed into flowers and motifs and hung on the wall in a frame. Playing cards were bad not because of gambling but because they came from tarot decks and you were tempting death by playing with them without the proper respect. But they often played with them anyway.

They made death masks of plaster from the faces of the dearly departed. They took photographs of the dead in coffins and sitting up in bed or a chair. Some people even went so far as to have life size statues made from the plaster molds of their dead children or babies.

The cypress flower meant death or mourning according to the book “The Language of Flowers” by Kate Greenaway. Weeping Willow trees did too. Many people felt that seeing certain birds or animals meant a coming death. Crow on a cradle or a large black dog known as a grim.

They put more into a funeral then a wedding. They even had professional mourners. These were hired to weep and wail and swell the numbers at a funeral to up the dead ones status in life. And often the meal after the funeral was the payment for coming. But you paid more for a good crier. Cookbooks of the day even had menus for funeral meals.

Yes, Victorians liked their death rituals. And I like the Goth side of Victorians for it.

More on death another time.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

On My Son’s Birthday:

I sit in a morose puddle of misery. Today is my sons birthday. This I only tell you because he is dead and has been for a number of years.

‘The Shining Son’ was twenty five years old when he died in a car accident. But today I am remembering the birth of my first child so many years ago. I was young and life had so many promises in the offing for me. The greatest at that time, being the promise of my life force continuing beyond my meager existence with my first child. “It’s a boy!” The first grandchild. The first to make my siblings into uncles and aunts. My parents into grand's. A happy day that now has gone bitter sweet.

The day passes with a hollow feeling. No balloons or cake, no games and music. No friend and family. Just another day. I dress with care to go to the cemetery. Fresh flowers for the vase in his head stone plaque. My child is gone and we cannot touch. There are no best wishes and many happy returns to this day anymore.

I lay on the ground with my cheek pressed to the raised lettering of his name on the brass marker, my tears watering the new grass. Time moves on and we are left in limbo, alone my child and me. I still want to scratch my way through the earth and hold him in my arms once again like I did on the day we buried him there. Instead I talk to him.

Cemetery visits are not a new thing for me since his death. I have been visiting cemeteries since I was a child myself. I have always felt at home in one. I grew up with a cemetery just a half a block away from my house and spent a lot of time growing up by sitting and reading, drawing or writing stories among the head stones there. I have no fear of cemeteries.

But on this day my visit is hard for me. No amount of blow ticklers or candles change the fact that master death has taken him from me. My child is not with me in the flesh to exchange ideas and move into the future with. I do not feel he is totally gone from me but he is not here in a way that we can talk in the ways we once did. He can not play video games with me or tell me what he thinks of a new song on the radio. He will never be married or have children of his own. The promise of my life force moving on into the future with him is gone. That light has gone out and today I am in the dark alone for my child’s birthday.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

On Keeping Busy:

Today I’m keeping busy. Mountain Man is off doing his own thing. He has his own interests and convictions, and I respect that. But this leaves me with a day to myself.

A day to myself is nothing new. I get them on a fairly regular bases. But he has the car and no one is coming over to visit. It’s a beautiful day to get things done so everyone has their own things to do.

But today I am feeling the loneliness of the day greater then I usually do. So I am bound and determined to keep myself busy. I have tomorrow to brood in.

I finished the mourning handkerchief. And both to my frustration and relief I had to take out my knitting of the shrug and start over. The dye lot of purple yarn has changed and so I am stuck with only the yarn I have and my yarn being a little too short by a few rows. (The new dye lot is a little darker.) So I had to take it out and start over making the rows narrower by a stitch. Of course I discovered this after I had knitted over a hundred and fifty rows. I took out the knitting a few days ago and let the yarn relax. This morning after I finished the black tatted lace that I made, then I sewed it onto the white handkerchief. After that I re-started the shrug.

I was glad to have a project to keep me busy even if it was one I had to start over. I put a DVD in the machine and watched the Addams Family do their Black and White thing yet again for me as my stitches accumulated. I took a break at row fifty to make lunch and give my hands some rest. I also sat down at the computer to check in and see what everyone else was up to. But it looks like most everyone else is busy elsewhere. So here I sit blogging about nothing much. Even my muse is gone on vacation it seems.

Tomorrow has it’s own things for me to do but today I sit by myself and try to keep busy so I don’t get too lonely by myself for the day.

Friday, May 16, 2008

On Wind Chimes:

This morning I moved the last of my wind chimes outside. This I do knowing full well that they may still be snowed on a time or two before the nice weather comes to stay for a while. I live on top of a mountain so spring comes a bit later and winter a bit earlier then for the folks that live around me in the valleys and lower lands.

I love the sound of the chimes and gongs and have missed their discordant music with the exception of the occasional clatter when they were bumped into in the house where they hung awaiting the wind all the long winter.

I take lengths of stiff wire and bend them into the form of an ‘S’ to replace the wire that had rusted over from last years weathering. Each wind chime on it’s own hook hanging from the tree outside my kitchen door. The heavy long tube chime with it’s deeper gong like sound. The light clacking hollow note sounds of the bamboo. The tinkle of the brass bell chime. And all the others filling in the other notes and noises in the breezes. Metal, Glass, Stone, Wood, and Pottery. Shards of broken things that had an interesting sound when strung up with a clacker or bumped into each other on the breeze.

As each one is placed in their place of honor they are checked for damage and fixed if possible. A new clacker string or a bit of wire to hold something back in place. Some do not make it, their cording rotted away and their pieces are taken to be replacement parts for others that have seen the ravages of time. So interspersed with the newer chimes are the miss-mash of the reclaimed.

I remember the person that had given it to me. The occasion it was received and the time spent in finding the right placement for it’s unique sound or look. They are important to me not just because I like the sounds but because of the memories that they invoke. Some of them I have made myself. They may not look as good as the store bought ones but I like them just the same.

Today the music of my wind chimes is back and I am content.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On My Being Goth:

I have been asked about being goth and I’m having a hard time explaining my gothness. For me it is about my feelings about what I am and my perception of my surroundings. I don’t need the clothing and makeup to be who I am. Not that I don’t love to dress up, because I do.

I miss my piercings. They all closed when my body over reacted to the chemo. I haven’t gotten them again yet. Mostly because of all the after care. It reminds me of the surgeries and treatments. The questions here is, ‘If you are goth why did you bother do something to stop the cancer from taking your life? Don’t you people want to die?’ Well, I really did have to think that one through before having treatments. And it came down to my family begged me to and that I wasn’t done doing a few things around here. I may be middle aged but I still have goals and desires. And thought death fascinates me, I could wait a bit longer before taking that particular plunge.

I look at a colorful world and see it in black and white. Not that I’m color blind, because I’m not. I see colors just fine. But I also see beyond them. The nuances of light and shadow. I see beauty in the broken, twisted, or maimed. I love the silhouette of plants in the winter. My twisted honeysuckle or spiky trumpet vine, dark against the gray winter sky holds so much more poetry then when in bloom.

One of my life’s credo’s is ‘When in doubt, Go for the shock value.’ Along with ‘Anything is possible, It’s the probability factor that gets in your way.‘ This of course mortifies and exasperates my mother, even now. She still tells me not to say or do things that embarrass her. Not for herself, she wants me to fit in. But I just can’t. I’ve tried. I don’t fit. Well not anywhere in the ‘normal‘ world.

For me being goth is part of my soul. And how do ‘you’ explain that to anyone else. Goth is just a part of me. A special part, but not all that I am. And for me that is a happy place. (Note the lack of smiley face here. But I‘d take a black rose.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On Birds:

I have been watching the Turkey Vultures that have been hanging out around our woods. We’ve had them before but not for some years and now they are back.

They fly in the thermals circling, circling with their large black wings and bright red/orange heads.

I think it has to do with the increase of road kill laying around. Not that there are more animals being killed. It’s just that the road kill out there is not being cleaned up like it once was. And the turkey vultures have moved in to do the clean up themselves.

They need to live somewhere and I’m glad that they chose here. It’s not like with the hawks. You have to look out for your dogs if they are small like mine are. A hawk or large owl will nab a small dog if the conditions are right. Turkey vultures only eat things that are already dead. They are the clean up crew of the forest. Any kill that is left over from the other animals around the vultures feed off of.

You just don’t need to worry about the odor of road kill when vultures live near by. So I’m having fun watching the turkey vultures flying over our woods.

Oh, and another thing. I am still learning how to get all the bells and whistles to work on this blog so I will apologize for my mess up with the link yesterday. So here it is again and thanks for hanging in there.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On Clothing:

I am knitting a shrug today. I am doing it in a Sugar n’ Cream by Lily. It is cotton in purple called Grape. I’m using double moss stitch for the most part. The cuffs are ribbed and collar and edge is garter stitch. I purchased the yarn on sale and when I got it home found it the perfect shade to go with a sleeveless summer dress I got at the thrift store.

We have no air conditioning so I like to have a few cool sundresses for the very hot weather. But I also like to keep my pale skin out of the sun. I needed something to cover my arms when I went outside. So I looked up and looked over the patterns that they have there for free and made my choice. I changed it a little to my liking and I’m a third of the way done with it already. I can’t wait to see it finished and paired up with the sun dress.

Although I dress Victorian/ Edwardian/ Gothic a lot of the time I do like to mix it up and add something totally different in when the mood strikes me. I am also way past the ‘shock them’ phase of my life. I spent many of my days shocking people and the novelty does wear off after a few decades. So I also have dull standard clothing in my closet. I spent a lot of time during my cancer treatments in dull standard clothing. I looked at it this way. I didn’t want to remember being so very sick in my favorite clothing and have bad memories attached to them.

Today is wash day at my house so it also means repairs. Buttons to replace and the like. I took a frayed collar off a men’s white shirt and I’ll close up the neck seam again and add some lace where the collar had been. And I’ll have a new Victorian blouse. I like remaking clothing to fit my needs and wants.

I tend to have a lot of projects going at the same time. The older I get the more my hands hurt when I work at something for too long. So I work at one thing for a while and then move to something else. I’m making tatted lace for a mourning handkerchief and soon some lace for that collar. I’m knitting that shrug and putting together a number of craft and sewing projects.

Anyway for most of my time today, I am knitting a shrug.

Monday, May 12, 2008

On Young Men:

I was recently visiting my mother and she also had other visitors at her home. We were all there having a work day. My mother is getting older you see and is not able to keep things up to snuff.

The other woman there had her two sons and younger son’s friend there to help with the muscle. The eldest son left early to return the truck used to move some unused furniture out of the way and then go to work leaving the younger two gentlemen to do the remainder of the physical work.

These two twenty something’s were left to try to out do each other for my benefit. They flexed and preened, kidded and joked. They dared and mocked, poked and prodded each other all in an effort to gain my attention.

I know I was just a new audience for their goofing around but it has been a while since young men put on their show for me. They tried to shock me with stories of there might and prowess, they took off their shirts and showed off their tattoos.

Of course they didn’t know what to think of Lady Euphoria Deathwatch but it wasn’t going to stop them from trying to impress her. What does one do with a woman oddly dressed and old enough to be ones mother? One tries to impress of course, especially if ones friend is present.

They found it hard to ruffle the feathers of the lady. They went so far as to discuss the drinking of blood. I am not a vampire goth but they had to try. They even got down to sharing hopes and dreams that they had kept to themselves to this point. Only managing to shock each other with their insights. They did try hard to impress.

It was a long day and after a while they ran out of material and subjects to exploit and settled down to eating their pizza. But it was fun to have young men falling all over themselves to try to capture my attentions for the day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

On Victorian Stereograph Pictures:

I love my old Stereograph. It is not the one I had as a child. People didn’t think about them as being worth anything back then. They gave them to children to play with.

The one I have was bought for me when I was an adult in an antique shop. I have a few old stereograph cards. Their two ‘nearly’ identical pictures side by side browned over in sepia from years gone by.

To use it, you sit with your back to the light source so the light shines on the card. You put a card in the slot on the cross piece and put the viewer up to your eyes. You move this cross bar closer and further from your eyes to find the best focus. And like magic, the two images become one in three dimensions. They pop out at you.

This is nearly a lost art. They were taken by a camera with two exactly identical lenses. It was really two cameras in one case with a shutter rigged to have both lenses take a picture at the same moment. What makes it work is the distance between the lenses. Like the space between your eyes gives depth to your vision. The distance between the lenses is greater then your eyes but it is the same concept.

I don’t have a stereograph camera so after a lot of trial and error I found I could make them myself by using one camera and taking two pictures of the same thing about the distance of the length of a brick apart. The best pictures are of scenes that have things in the foreground, mid, and background. Adding extra room around the subject helps because the picture will be trimmed to fit. You can’t take any action or pictures in this way but it works for still shots. And the closer the picture the harder it is to see the 3D.

When I first started doing this I used a regular instamatic camera but now I have a digital. I take the pictures in sets. I always take the left first then the right. It helps to keep them organized that way. After I print out the pictures usually four to a sheet (the size they are printed is different for each camera as the lenses are different in other cameras.) Then I cut the pictures out and place them loosely in the stereograph against a new card I cut out from poster board. I move them around until the picture pops and tape them in place for the moment. I trim them where they over lap and to fit the card and glue them down. I write the date, subject and place of the picture on the back or edge or the card and I’m on to the next one.

I have a unique collection like no one else’s. My own stereograph 3D pictures.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

On Mother’s Day:

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day here in the USA. Celebrated with cards and flowers to ones mother in appreciation of all the time and effort a mother gives toward ones upbringing.

I am a mother. I have a mother. I have a step mother. This should be a good day. But it isn’t for me.

The problem I have is, I am a mother of a child who has died. (My son at the age of 25.) The only people that wish me a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ are the people that don’t know me. My family and friends skirt around it. My daughter ‘The Princess’ calls me on the phone, but on the day before or after. (She lives over five hours away in another state.) My husband ‘The Mountain Man’ just says “Your not my mother so I’m not wishing you a happy anything.” I love the man but he doesn‘t get this one. (My children, though he loves them, are not his but from my first marriage.)

On the first year after my ‘Shining Son’ died, a Mother’s Day balloon landed in the garden. I still have it. It is flat with the helium all gone. But it arrived on Mother’s Day afternoon. Floated right down out of the sky. I cried like a baby. But that was eight years ago.

Now I spend the time looking at weed flowers in the yard and remember ‘The Shining Son’ as a small child giving me a handful of them on Mother’s Day.

Not that I’m complaining. I just wish it was different. I want family and friends could see that they can’t hurt me any more then I already am hurting, by saying ‘Happy Mother’s Day.’ They can’t remind me of my dead child because, I never forget. I want them to know that I am a mother with no Mother’s Day good wishes. I am left to spend Mother’s Day all alone.

So Happy Mother’s Day all. But especially the mother’s with dead children.

Friday, May 9, 2008

On Symmetry and Breast Cancer:

I have a thing about symmetry. Not an obsession. Pictures have hung crooked for months before I've gotten around to straightening them. I just like symmetry. Even lines. Boxes and rectangles. Equilateral triangles. Balance of form. Maybe it is the artist in me? Maybe I didn’t get my fair share of something as a kid and I‘m still trying it even it out? Who knows? But I like symmetry.

I like formal gardens. Patchwork quilts. Steps and stairs. Jigsaw puzzles. Don’t get me wrong I like the riot of stars in the night sky and the puzzle of pictures there. Wild flowers growing in a field. Clouds floating in an open sky. But the perfect roundness of bubbles. The concentric circles in a body of water when an object breaks the surface. Symmetry. Evenness. Balance.

I like my face with the exception of my ears but only because one it higher then the other. I’m okay with my body, over weight that it is and I am making changes for the better there too. Also in doing so I get the symmetry of repetition in exercise. Working one side then the other. But I am having a problem with my boobs. After the breast cancer operation and treatments I was left with two different size boobs. And before you ask, no, I wouldn’t consider surgery. Every time I look down I see the difference. Yes, I have a fake boob enhancement but I don’t like the plastic against my skin for long periods of time. I’m into comfort more then symmetry but this thing is getting to me. How do I come to terms with this? The more weight I loose the worse it gets. How do I love this uneven scarred thing on my chest? Is it the lack of symmetry or something deeper that I hate?

I try to keep my chin up in more ways then one. But I still have yet to find a comfort zone in this.

Yes, I know that I should be happy that I still have two breasts. But I have a thing about symmetry you see.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

On Lilacs in Bloom & Projects in the Works:

The lilacs are blooming around by my house. The fragrance is heady, thick in the air. Mountain man brought me a large vase full and they are sitting on my desk trying to obscure my view of the computer screen. It smells wonderful in here. I’m still sick but doing much better by the way. Now I only have a coughing fit if I try to talk. So I’m not doing much talking.

I finished knitting the Victorian short cape I was making and now I only have to tuck in the tails, block it, put in the interfacing in the neck band with the collar stays inside to make the neck stand up straight and tall then add the closure and ribbon trim. It sounds like more then it is really. It’s the blocking that takes the time.

I would add a picture but I’ll have to figured out a way to show it better. The detail on the black is not showing up well in the pictures. Yes, there are a few draw backs to black on black clothing.

We are getting ready to take some more pictures for my stereograph next week. (That is an old fashioned three dimension viewer with the cards with two pictures on each of them. Kind of like the old view masters pictures in the wheel.) I make my own stereograph pictures. I don’t have an old stereograph camera but I do okay with my digital camera, some tricks of sizing the pictures right on the computer and some good old fashioned cutting and pasting with glue and scissors on cardboard once I‘ve printed them out. I just can’t get any action shots, not that there were many of them back in the day. Anyway I’m hoping to be doing better by then. I’m want to get some good shots of the wisteria arbors in the yard. They should be in full bloom by then.

But for now I’m sitting back and enjoying the lilacs.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On Many Rooms and Stuff:

I want a castle with many rooms. I have stuff you see. In no order of importance, I need a room just for my doll houses and all their stuff, and that is just to have their little world all set up. I need another room just for all the crafting projects that are in the works for the dolls, their doll houses and the other things of theirs. I need a sewing room. A crafting room, for the rest of my crafting projects. A lace making room. A museum room. A music room. A library. An exercise room. A media room. A kitchen with many pantries. And a laundry room.

I want a study, just for me to write in. A game room. A plant room/solarium. A living room. A family room. A parlor. A dinning room. Some bed rooms with large closets. Bath rooms. A room for art and one for a gallery of family pictures. A dancing/ballroom. A breakfast nook. A room to think and brood in. A little cozy room to read and sip tea in. A secret room with nothing but cushions on the floor. And add some secret passages for fun.

And while I’m at it I want an attic full of interesting old things and trunks of costumes just to explore in when I‘m in the mood. And with it all a full staff to keep it all in order for me. I also want views. Views from turrets. Views from balconies. Views from windows. Views from the grounds. And with that a full staff of gardeners. I want rooms outside too. Walls of hedges or stone with seats and statuary, bird baths and flowers inside.

I want a world of my own. A safe and happy sanctuary for all my stuff and me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

On Cemetery Pictures:

This past week ‘Mountain Man’ and I went to an old small cemetery. I got all dressed up in my Victorian mourning dress and he had the camera. I had put this new ensemble together earlier in the week as my old one was too large since I’ve been loosing weight. We had a good time with me posing and him taking the pictures. Mountain Man is not goth but likes to walk in cemeteries too. I couldn’t wait to get home to load them into the computer so I could see and play with them. I resize and make them Black and White and or Sepia. But, I thought I had a meeting with my cancer group that afternoon. So we rushed off to the hospital annex with me still in my mourning dress.

Now the meeting is this week but I walked from the car park through the hospital to get to the non meeting, then to the day room up stairs where Mountain Man was reading and waiting for my meeting to end, and through again to get to the car park. The stares I got were something to behold. Lady Euphoria Deathwatch walking the halls of the hospital, well you could imagine. People were tripping over themselves trying to get a better look. Although I do like to dress in public on the odd side of fashion with a Gothic Victorian flair I’m not in the habit of scaring sick or distressed people to death. I leave that to Master Death himself.

I did get to play with my photos sooner then I thought I would and I was so thrilled about how the pictures turned out I put some of them into my blog page to share with you. They are the pictures in the header and by my profile. I hope you like them.
Today I am sick. I had dreams of better subjects to start off with in my blog, but there it is. I am sick. Yesterday afternoon it struck.

There are three levels of sickness. The first is the drag yourself around but still get things done kind. The last is the helpless being taken care of by others kind. And in the middle is the morass of misery kind.

I don’t have the energy to do much of anything but have to use what little I do have on things like blowing my nose and dragging myself to the facilities and back. The only reason I can write now is that I have the keyboard in bed with me. I am too sick to enjoy being under the weather. My eyes hurt too much to read or watch a movie.

And so I am left in bed thinking for most of the time. This is a double edged sword. On the one hand I can think freely with out having to pay attention to what I am doing. On the other the fever makes my thoughts run askew. Brilliant thoughts about the ‘shape of purple’ and the ‘if we could shrink ourselves what would the world offer’ bump into the thoughts of needed groceries to remember to put on the shopping list and what to make for lunch that won’t hurt my sore throat.

I am a do-er. I do things. I like my hands and mind to be busy. Being stuck in bed goes against my self interests. I pick up some knitting. This of course is taking longer because I am taking out almost as many stitches as I put in. I put it aside. I am sick and I will stop here. I have to get up out of bed and get myself another box of tissues. Maybe I’ll feel better later after another nap.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Since this is my first posting I’ll take a moment to introduce myself. You can read more in my bio if you’d like.

My name is Lady Euphoria Deathwatch. I am an Elder Goth, meaning I’m middle aged and have children who are probably older then you. I consider myself a romantigoth as I am into Victorian/Edwardian/Goth things with a little fairy goth thrown in when the mood strikes.

I live on top of a mountain in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania with my husband 'Mountain Man' and two small elderly dogs, Lady Long and Lady Short, where I write, make lace, craft and dream.

I am new to blogging so bear with me as I learn to navigate this format.