Monday, June 30, 2008

On In the Month of June:

Let’s see, since the middle of this month when I up dated last.

Knitting: I’m still working on the cotton tote bag. I’ve torn out whole sections time and time again. But it is more done then not. The black shrug is also still on the needles. The rat is getting ready to have another try at being felted. This time in the washer later today. And a bought some fancy purple yarn on clearance.

Lace making: Once the humid weather came. I haven’t done much lace making at all. I did start on a miniature for the doll house.

Doll house: I collected some more stuff to remake into things for the dolls. I started the curtains and curtain rods for two of the rooms. (Yes, I know I still have nine rooms of windows to put in. And a few doors too.)

Other crafts: I started working on the casket basket. I made three necklaces. I sewed some more tote bags because now that we do all our shopping on the same day and less often, we ran out of bags half way through the day.

Writing: I’ve gotten the two kids stories about the dolls into proof reading. I finished a Victorian fantasy of book. Worked on four other books and started three more.

Other things going on: My sister-in-law Lady Lovely and her husband Sir Success came for a visit. They are now retired and having fun with their lives. This trip was also to see their kids and grandkids along with other extended family and friends. They started out around here but have moved south to retire. We had a very nice time with them and wished it could have been longer. They live so far away we only see them once a year or so.

Me: I’ve been exercising regularly. The yoga is going very well. I reduced my calories a bit more. And in the last two weeks I’ve lost two pounds and that is just the rate I want to loose. So I only have around fifty more pounds to go. Let’s see fifty two weeks in a year. Yah, I can do that. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

On Making The Basket Project:

I started the casket basket. If you don’t know what pine needle baskets are like they are made in coils. You wrap a group of pine needles into a coil with a pliable cord, thread, sinew, or strapping around the coil of pine needles and leaving small spaces between wraps where you can see the needles. You stitch this to the last row alternately. Around itself and then the last row. Working your way around adding needles as you go.

I used green crochet cotton and a tapestry needle. A piece of drinking straw helps keep the needle coils the same thickness. And to start with I am not making a circular bowl type basket so I need to make a mat like base for the bottom center. Also I will be adding wooden dowels instead of pine needles for some rows on the bottom to help support the weight.

First you take a some dried ‘long’ pine needles like the white pine that I’m using. You can find last years needles under any ‘long’ needled pine tree. To get started take a handful or two and spread them out in front of you. You will note that they are in little bunches called ‘bundles.’ The place where they come together will be called the ‘end’ and the other the ‘points.’

Take your drinking straw and cut off a piece about one and a half to two inches long to work with. Hold the straw standing upright on the table and place needles ‘end’ first into the straw. The points will be sticking out. Don’t cram them in but fill the straw snugly. Pick it up and slide the straw along the needles until you have about a half an inch of the end part of the needles sticking out. Take an arms length of thread (or what ever you are using) on a tapestry needle and make a slip knot in the other end and slip this over your pine needle ends sticking out of the straw. Tighten it down onto the needles to hold the bundles together.

(If you are making a bowl basket the easiest way to start is to have a base disk with holes around the outside edge spaced about every half an inch. For a first practice piece a piece of thick cardboard will do.) (I used a blanket stitch to make my first length or coil and added the next to it.)

Now add some more needles to the point end of the straw in the center of the needles, ‘end’ first. Two to four bundles usually do it.

Sew this slip stitched end to the foundation. (I sew from the back and around over the front and then to the back for the next stitch.)

And then come back and wrap or sew the thread around this coil between the straw and the last stitch, about a half and inch from the slip or last stitch. Slide the straw along another half an inch and sew the same way. A stitch around the last row and a stitch around the new coil, repeat. Making your stitches snug. (Add more thread as needed in the same way and tuck in the ends by slipping them under the done stitches.)

Keep adding more pine needles in the center of the straw every time you move it along another inch. This way you can keep making it longer and longer until you come to the finished size of your basket and taper off until your done. The coils are flimsy by themselves. But when added in a circle coiled along they strengthen each other.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

On Pine Needles and Old Dogs:

Frustrated by my un-felted felting on Thursday. I waited to see if there would be any replies to my call for help on Friday. And I moved onto another project while waiting. I started to collect pine needles so I can make a pine basket.

Of course I am not making the one in the book. No Not I. I am onto bigger and better things. This will probably lead to a disaster. But if it keeps me out of the refrigerator I’m happy. I tend to nibble myself into a sweets food coma when it is hot and humid. And It’s too hot and humid to work with threads or fibers well.

So far I‘ve gotten five baskets full of pine needles. Lady Long wanted to play with them but I wasn’t letting that happen. Well not in the family room anyway.

I saw some very nice basket coffins on the web and got an idea. Since Lady Short is slowing down in her old age I thought I’d just make her a basket coffin myself. Nothing on the scale of those beautiful ones at Somerset Willow Coffins but I’m going to give it a try. If I don’t get it done in time, large project that it is with a lid and all. I do have a baby doll that is meant to be sleeping but everyone that sees it says it looks dead so I’ll just put her in it.

So that is where I’m at. Waiting for some help for my rat. I did try to stuff it but the pieces are still too long and it looks funny. So I didn’t sew it together yet. I’ll wait a bit longer for some help for him before I send him to the dogs.

Friday, June 27, 2008

On Unexpected Results.

I’m confused, confounded, discombobulated and in a state of high wonderment.

As I said yesterday I was going to felt my rat parts. I finished the pieces, tucked in the ends that needed tucking and readied everything for felting. I got out the dish pans. Hot water, hot to the touch, with mild soap, okay baby shampoo, in one pan and cold clear water in the other. And in they all went. Legs, ears, body, tail and even some extra yarn to sew it all together when it all dried.

I’m scrunching, swishing and rubbing each piece in turn. And they are stretching out and getting larger. Okay I say, maybe that is just part of the process? I keep on squeezing and scrubbing. Twenty minutes later they are now half way back to the size that they started at.

I add more hot water. Boiling in fact to bring the temp up. My hands are a nice ruby red from the heat. I rub. I scrub. And now something seems to be happening. The fibers on the outside are getting a bit matted and they are a bit smaller. I squeeze them out and plunge them into the cold water. They stiffen a bit and I check them out.

I grab the ruler and darned if they are not just a wee bit bigger then when I started. They just aren’t curled but laying flat. Fuzzier on the outside but not a bit smaller or tighter.

I head back to the label on the yarn. I read ‘Lion Brand Yarn,’ ‘Fishermen’s Wool,’ “Perfect For Felting” knitting and crocheting. 100% Pure virgin wool containing natural oils. I dump the water and start over. Maybe I didn’t have enough soap.

I gave up around the third try because it was getting late. They are not a bit smaller then when I started. I got a dry towel and set to wring them out to dry. I lay them out on another dry towel all nice and neat. They are sitting still wet the same size as they were when I left them.

HELP! What did I do wrong? What am I missing? I followed the instructions I read on every web sight I looked at before starting. And there were a quite a few. They agreed that there should be about 30% shrinkage for stockinet stitch. They even had pictures. Why are mine the same size I started with? Will they get smaller as they dry? And if so then why in the instructions did it say stop felting and set in cold water when they get to the right size? I’m asking for Help from anyone that knows anything about this. HELP! Help Please Help!

By the way. I had the same trouble when I accidentally got a wool sock in with a hot load of washing and I tried to felt the other to match. They are still different sizes.

Thanks in advance. Lady Euphoria

Thursday, June 26, 2008

On Rats, Knitting and Bears:

Okay, so I was knitting away on a new project this morning. Happily getting into my day. I had been unsure of what to expect with the felting I want to do. So I have decided to make a felted toy rat. I am knitting said rat in the same yarn I got for my mittens and hat to see how much it felts down so I know how big to make the others so they will fit well.

I’m sitting and knitting when Mountain Man, with bird seed in hand, asks, “What happened to the bird feeder?”

“Didn’t I tell you, a bear broke into it.” What is left of ‘It’ is hanging by a piece of wire, wood splintered and mangled.

We go off to buy a new bird feeder. After a morning of shopping no bird feeder was found. Apparently with the proliferation of wildlife making it’s way into the suburbs. All bird feeders are now a high commodity. Animals, mostly bears, break them open in yard after yard feasting. Leading suburbites to buy new ones, leaving none in the stores for us.

Not wanting to waste the time or gas we did the other shopping we had to do. This lead to an all day shopping affair.

In the bookstore while Mountain Man was looking at books with plans for bird feeders, he is looking for a more bear proof kind. Being in the crafting section I picked out ‘The Ultimate Basket Book’, by Lyn Siler (I’ve always wanted to learn how to make baskets and it was on sale.) and Vickie Howell’s ‘Knit aid.’ For my chemo broken brain.

I’ve said before about how I have been left with mild seizures from the chemo. After some of the seizures I can’t remember things I was just doing too well. And I’ll have trouble understanding a knitting pattern until I see the abbreviations definitions again. So this small book ‘Knit aid’ is just the take along ticket. It’s big on info, little in size by the way.

So I’ve been knitting away in the car and now have a photo of the knitting done so far. The tail is 15 inches long at this time and that is the butt end of the rat body with the hole in the middle to stuff it still on the needles. Two ears, one pinned down so you can see what it looks like and two hind legs I did the same with. The front legs and tail are tubes of four or less stitches. Note the tail getting thinner. Okay, you can't see it in the picture but it does.

If all goes well I’ll have the finished toy in time for tomorrows blog. I’m going to stitch it together except for the tail and felt it. Then stuff it and add the face. Oh. and I got a squeaker for it too. If I make a mess of it I’ll give it to the dogs. If not it’s mine, all mind. Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On Getting Through Tough Times:

Well the dog is doing better. Not all better but better. If you missed yesterday blog that will explain it. Thanks for asking.

Prices keep going up and that brings a frugal person like me to tears. We keep on getting less for more. And to top it off the vegetable garden keeps on taking hits. Too much rain, hail damage, seed that just didn’t sprout, and slug and bug damage. This hurts a lot because as part of our do it yourself lifestyle, we depend on those veggies to get through the year.

There is quite enough doom and gloom to go around. And things look like they will get worse before they get better. So I’m open to any tips for doing more with less and I’ll share them with all of you here.

We will try to get extra uses out of what we do have. Like clothing that is ripped and worn out being made into quilts, remades and rags so we don’t have to by as many rolls of paper towels. As to remades, holes in knees make the pants into shorts, holes in elbows made into short sleeves or sleeveless. Or something else entirely, pants leg bottoms made into small bags to keep things organizes, hats, fingerless gloves, etc. Even cut into strips and knitted into rugs and other things. And stained clothing will get dyed or appliquéd over.

I will serve more leftovers. Put them in a blender and purée them to add to other recipes, sauces and soups to stretch them. Stale bread and crackers will become breadcrumbs and the dreg ends of cereal boxes, cookies, will become ice cream toppings.

I am going to reduce the amount of things I throw away without thinking about it. I’ll reuse containers for plant seedling in, paint them and use them for storage of smaller things in drawers. I already use my own clothe bags when I shop.

Any other suggestions will be appreciated. Any good ones I get I’ll start a side column of those tips. If we can’t help each other to get by now that times are getting tougher, what are we good for?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On Time Lost:

Sorry I didn’t blog this morning like I usually do. The day started all wrong.

First thing when I got up I headed to the bathroom. I had to go so I didn’t take the time to grab my glasses. First mistake.

While going through the family room I see a large green toad on the rug. Not the first time a toad, frog or other outside critter had gotten into the house. I jump over it as I sprint to the bathroom.

Once in the bathroom I find that one of the dogs had been sick during the night. And although I am glad that the dog did it on the linoleum I make gaggy sounds and get myself to the toilet before I add to the mess. I have now forgotten about the toad in the family room.

I put the dogs outside so there are no more surprises. Then I head for the bedroom to get Mountain Man up and elicit his help. I don’t do sick since the cancer treatments. And it takes quite a few minutes to get him up. Who wants to wake up to that?

I get dressed in my yoga clothes to start my day. I emerge from the bedroom with my glasses on my face to see the toad still sitting in the middle of the rug in the family room. Mountain Man took care of the sick, so I’ll handle the toad. It is sitting right on the spot I place my yoga mat for my morning exercise. And I want to get started so I can get into my day.

I crouch down to get him to move along toward the kitchen door. Only to find that it was not a toad after all it was a green pile of goo from the wrong end of a dog. I yell for Mountain Man as I head for the bathroom holding my mouth closed.

I step lightly as I go from room to room looking for more offences. I don’t want any more surprises today. And the clock is marching on.

After Mountain Man gets rid of the bulk of what was found. Out comes the carpet cleaners, disinfectors, brushes, blotters and other cleaning stuff. The rug has wet spots in the center and I have no where to do my yoga exercises.

I move furniture around to find a new place that has the room I require and now hours later then usual I exercise. Breakfast to follow now that I can eat. I do my post yoga morning bathe, change my clothes and look at the clock.

Eek, It’s after noon and I haven’t even started the computer up for the day.

So here I am with a sick dog and cleaner rugs. Trying to get the time back. Where did the time go?

Monday, June 23, 2008

On Imagination Snowballs:

I have a project that has been a love/hate relationship for me. It has snowballed and has been going on for about ten years now. I’ll start at the beginning.

One day I was looking for something new to do and I had all these scraps of fabric around. I wasn’t in the mood to make another quilt so I decided to make myself a Victorian fashion doll.

I remade a pattern for a small doll I had from an old magazine article I had cut out years before. I made my doll 15 inches tall. Larger then the seven inch doll in the magazine. I added more detail and embroidered her face. I made her hair out of some rusty orange dyed fleece. She was cotton and wool, soft and comforting.

I made her some under things, a bustle and petty coat, a shirtwaist and skirt, shoes and a hat. She sat on my dresser. Then was moved to the children’s classics book shelf. I made her some more clothing. And well along came Christmas and I made her a little mantle to hang her stocking on and got her a tiny tree. She was moved to the coffee table.

After a friend was added came a house. And for the size to be right for a 15 inch doll the house with three floors needed to be 6 feet high with wheels to move it around. By this time I had stories about her and her friends in my head. More dolls and another house for them.

Like I said in an earlier blog I have finished the story books to go with the dolls and their houses. And I am onto the phase of making the rest of the stuff needed to take the pictures for the illustrations in these books. I have a miniature world taking up a third of my bedroom and more.

Eight dolls, two houses, a garden, furniture, stuff and clothes. (Hundreds of pieces of clothing alone.) All waiting for me to get the job done. And I procrastinate. Why? Because I love them and when they are all done and the books are together. Out they go.

I have no storage space or room for them any more. I need to be able to live in my own home without tripping over doll stuff everywhere. And since we are not building a room onto the house for them. They need to go. And I will miss them terribly when they do. They have been a daily part of my world for a long time.

Yes, I know that it will be months before I’m done with what still needs to be finished for the book. But the more I get done the closer to the end it comes. So the work has slowed down to a crawl and Mountain Man asks yet again, ‘When is this stuff getting out of here?’ For him the snowball is melting on the floor.

I know that all together it is taking up the space in my house of a small room by itself. And I need the space for other things. But it’s my snowball project and I want to keep it all. What should I do?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

On Not Being Like Others:

I like being alone some days. I get to do what I want and how I want. I dress as romantigoth as I like. Most of the time I tone it down a bit because my husband is not goth. Each month he goes off out of town to his religious affiliation club meeting and I have the day to myself. Out comes my more outrageous clothing, jewelry, and makeup. My fingernail are painted black. My hair is done up. My pointy toed boots are on my feet. My skirts flow and swish around my ankles. I am content in this.

There are days I wish I did have someone to share all this fun with. My friends and sisters are all very different individuals. We fit but don’t fit in each others lives. In this I have a cornucopia of women in my family and we celebrate the differences. No matter how much those differences annoy us at times.

But in that is the trouble. Being different I have no one to share my dress up gothic life with. No friends or family that are romantigoth like me. I got tired of being the dinosaur in the corner being laughed at the clubs by the bat-ling wan-a-be’s. All so new and fresh and hip. Thinking that they own it all. (My mind screams at them. “I was gothic before you were born.”) So my outrageous fun dress up days are spent alone because I’m too different to play well with others. And I’m too old to want to play in the kiddy pool.

Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t give up those dress up days for the world. I just wish I had a friend to share all the fun with. Because the fun gets multiplied that way.

And lets face it being goth can be lonely in the best of times. It’s just nice to be one of the crowd sometimes while being myself. I know that there are others out there. We just haven’t found each other yet.

So after a last coat of nail polish I’ll put on some music and have myself a cup of tea with my own dressed up self and a movie. And to my new friendship out there wherever you are. ‘Here’s to you. We may be in separate places but we are one in the heart.’

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On Dogs and Death:

I was walking in the woods and I saw a snake. Now snakes and I don’t mix. In fact snakes make me hurt myself getting away from them. Around here the snakes are on the move around June/July. I don’t walk in the woods without the dogs at that time of year. My dog, Lady Long, takes care of them for me. This fear of mine stems from my night terrors. I sleep with a stuffed Owl in the room to chase the snake terrors away. I go with what works for me.

Well anyway back to my walk. I got that deep chill down my back and had trouble getting home without a lot of careful steps in between me and the house. And I thought about how old my dogs are getting. And what I might do for my walking exercise without them with me. (How do you check a puppy for snake killing abilities?)

My dogs are old ladies. Lady Short is thirteen and Lady Long will be eleven in September. I fear the day that they die. Life will be really lonely with out them around. They are not the first dogs we have had get old and die but the first since my son died and my cancer. I think about death and the loss it brings differently now then I had before.

I once thrilled at that unknown but the closer I’ve gotten to it the more it looks like a black abyss set to swallow me whole. I have no desire to tempt it anymore as I once did. Don’t get me wrong I still would like to think that my loved ones are just on the other side of that veil waiting for me. But I live in a place in my head now full of uncertainty. When the promise of a life lived well and long was broken with the death of my son, my certainties in life got fuzzy and out of focus. Fear crept in.

I was sitting around gluing the pieces of the my life back together after his death and the cancer came. And I was back to clutching at shattered shards again. The pieces are not fitting together as easily as they once did anymore and I‘ve lost a few pieces along the way. I live with this fear like I live with my sons death, like I live with the cancer scars. I live with it and try to make a comfortable place for it to stay in my head. I don’t think I will ever be as naive about death again. But I do want to get more comfortable with the ending of life again. So I can let go of this fear that has found its way into my life that comes with the death of someone or something once dear.

Friday, June 20, 2008

On the Summer Solstice:

Today the day of the summer solstice. We in the northern hemisphere will have the longest daylight and shortest night of the year.

It must be hell for Vampires. I wouldn’t know I’m not counted in their numbers. And apparently wiccans and witches will be dancing naked under the moon tonight. A friend invited me once. All I will say is mosquito bites in bad places. But I digress.

The news casters on my TV were outside playing children’s games. And all of us are expected to have fun in the sun. But it got me to start thinking. Is there a winter solstice ‘To do’, ‘thing’, ‘get together’ for Goths on that day? I myself have never heard of one. And no I have not been living under a rock. Which led me to thinking about the old Be In’s. I was at some of the first ‘Be In’s’ In central park (NYC) back in the sixty’s and seventy’s.

(Yes, I know I’m dating myself. But for you who do not know what that is. A ‘Be In’ was held generally in a large park and people would gather in very large numbers and just hang out together. People would bring games and food to share and play their musical instruments, sing and get to know other people, ideas and cultures for the fun of it. It was usually announced on the radio that a ‘Be In’ was taking place at a given place and people would just show up.)

If there was a major Goth culture group back then they would have been there. Everyone showed up. Mom and Pop with kids in tow to the freakiest of freaks. All talking and having a good time together.

Anyway, today is suppose to be that kind of day according to the news people. And we know that they are never wrong. (Tongue in cheek.) They are calling for a ‘be in’ of sorts.

So do I go out in the sunlight and join them? Or do I sit on the sidelines out of the sun and miss out on the experience? I think it’s a good day to get my parasol fixed and see what the other folks are up to.

Meet you at the park?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On Getting Older and Grandma Addams:

We agree that I am old, an elder, a dinosaur. But every once in a while I get sideswiped by this fact.

Yesterday I was getting ready to go to my cancer group meeting and I was I bit surprised. I was doing up my hair and right there at my temples where once only a few strands of gray salted my brown hair was streaks of the stuff. And before you say ‘Get thee off to thy Stylist.’ I am allergic to hair dye. I have no tattoos. Allergic. Not even henna ones. Very allergic.

Add to this that a new woman joined my cancer group and thought that I was her age and she was 11 years older then me.

Do I like the new look? Yes. Was I not waiting for this day when I could do the bride of Frankenstein look without a wig? Yes. So what is the fuss? This is not a choice any longer. Now I am looking my age and apparently more.

Do I throw in the towel and go Crone? I like Grandma Addams as well as the others. I did the Uncle Fester thing when I was in cancer treatments, fat, bald and dark circles around my eyes. (Look Ma no makeup.) But sometimes I still want to be Morticia with an occasional Wednesday thrown in for fun. Now in the mirror I see something quite different. And this look says the fun is over.

Yes, Grandma Addams does know how to have her fun. And I do to. But one does like to have options. My options seem to be dwindling.

Getting older also has an element of the uncomfortable otherwise known as disappearance. The ‘you’ that you have become comfortable with seeing in the mirror is replaced with someone unfamiliar. One day you have the best ‘you’ looking out at you and in no time at all it’s gone. You feel like you are disappearing.

I’m not heading for the botox. I’m not going under the knife. No lifts or tucks. I’m not even getting a new wig. I have chosen to adapt to this metamorphosis of mine. If that is the cards I’m dealt, Grandma Addams here I come. But I’m gonna’ walk. Flying into the face of it is too hard so I’m telling everyone that my broom is in the shop.

Pass the baking powder. I gotta’ hide some wrinkles.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On Projects in the Works:

I’m back to my happy goth self, even though you can't see that in the picture. I finished making the ‘Hallowig’ in black textured yarn. Homespun from Lion Brand. Mine has a Cleopatra feel to it so I’ve decided I need to get out my beading and make a head dress for it. But I’m leaving that for another day. I’m knitting another shrug again but in black this time. And I’m knitting a large tote bag for toting my stuff around in. It’s a Cream cotton so you and see the stitching. I’m doing bands of varying stitches on it kind of like a sampler. Just something to have fun with as I’m knitting it.

I’ve finished writing one book of a set I started a year ago and I’ve started the other. (I always have more then one book in the works at any given time so each one takes longer to get done.)

I have plans for making over some of the treasures I found at the thrift shop. As soon as I clean the clutter off my crafting/sewing table and can set up the sewing machine. And yes move the stuff out from in front of the cabinet that the sewing machine is stored in. So maybe not today. And I do have my cancer group meeting to go to this afternoon also.

This morning I just finished doing a new Yoga exercise DVD. Not ‘new’ new. Just new for me. And for those that are interested it is Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss with Suzanne Deason. I think it is one of the better yoga DVD’s out there and I have quite a few of them. You can get it with or without the book from And it has four levels of workout variation. This is great for people like us who have to modify some exercises do to injury, like my knees and Mountain Man’s back. (Yes, Mountain Man does Yoga too.)

Mid month update: As to my weight loss/exercise program. I’m up to doing a whole video or more each day. Stair stepping for fifty steps. (My knees won’t take any more then that, I‘ve tried.) and walking for a mile or more with weights each day. I haven’t lost any more pounds but I am gaining muscle and energy so I think I’m in the ‘trade off’ stage. I’ve been loosing fat and gaining muscle so it’s all good and my clothes are fitting better again so something is happening.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

On My Thrift Store Shopping

I have been thrift store shopping. This is for me a ‘guiltless’ guilty pleasure. I’m frugal you see. (By definition being frugal is making the best use of ones money. Not that of being a penny pincher as most people think.) I love to wear long gowns and fancy dresses with a gothic edge. This is were I let my Romantigoth self flower. Velvets and satins, lace and chiffons all waiting for me to make over into a new look.

I only go to the thrift store about once every three or four months. And today was one of these times. I go in with a limited amount of money. If I didn’t I would buy out most of the store. First I steel myself for the let down of the perfect dress in a size way too small for me and then I let myself loose. I poured over the thousands of pieces of clothing on the racks. I head for the black section first. I place all the must haves and foundation pieces in my cart. Then I’m off to the dark purples, reds, blues, grays and even greens. Victorian or flowing Stevie Nicks type skirts, shawls, and lacy blouses are added. Black leather boots, a must have leather handbag, a men’s dinner jacket in black with a satin collar, a men’s dark gray vest, and some funky wide belts in black some with chains and studs. The shopping cart is full and even overflowing.

Now it is time. The Changing Room. I go in with my ‘maximum allowed’ items and strip to my under things. On and off with frantic speed the clothing is tested to see if it is right for me. Too short, Too tight, Too itchy, Too not me. The pile dwindles in my cart. I tire and sag but on I go until they are all gone through. The one pile is now three. The ‘Not leaving the store with out it’ the ‘Absolutely not, What was I thinking’ and the ‘Second chance.’

This last pile is the hardest to deal with. I like them, but do I like them enough to part with the moneys asked for on the tag? In other words ‘Will I get my frugal dollars worth out of said article of clothing?’ These I pour over with a fine tooth comb. I check the stitching and look for stains, I look for tears and loose or missing buttons. The pile gets smaller.

Now that I have only the best of what is left for my decision, I now need to plan how it will be used. Do I have anything to go with it or will it just sit in the back of my closet waiting for the right top to come along? Is it wishful thinking or does it really have the potential to become my latest favorite article of clothing when I cut the ruffle off the neck and dye the peach to red or black? And of course the age old ‘do I have enough money in my purse for this too.’

Hours have been spent on collecting, trying on, checking, planning and weeding through my indecision. I am spent and done in. On to the check out line.

In the line we shoppers look over each others selections and talk to the strangers who have the most interesting things in their carts while waiting for our turn to pay for our treasures.

I leave the store with hundreds of dollars worth of clothing in a bag large enough to line a standard metal trash can, all for sixty dollars. I pat myself on the back. The soft black leather boots alone would have cost much more than that. Or the dinner jacket. Or the evening gown. Yes, the evening gown would have been twice as much as that if I had gotten it new. Or the handbag. Or the… I have triumphed. I have won the day. I am the Romantigoth Princess of thrift store shopping. I’ve had my fix.

For now anyway.

Monday, June 16, 2008

On Crying in My Tea:

I’m little depressed today. Not all boo-hooy depressed. But the can’t get down to business kind. I got a phone call yesterday that was the last straw. So now I have the why bother, don’t feel like moving blues. I can cure it with a little chocolate. One candy bar and I’m back. Motivated, energized, happier but I gain weight.

I had a Victorian tea party all set up for some of my friends next week. Not a romantigoth one but still dress up. Everyone was excited and more guests were added soon after the invitations went out. Others heard about the fun and wanted to come too. And now with the cost of gas and the fact that I live so far away from everyone else it’s been canceled. No guests to arrive and I’m feeling sad.

So, Do I self medicate with chocolate and gain weight or sit around feeling lonely? Mountain Man is busy. He is always busy but more so in the spring. I have no friends to hang out with. All my friends have work/kids, live too far away, and/or they are not into goth.

I don’t drive. Not since the chemo caused me to have mild seizures. I still get gray spells everyday. I hear and see but can’t respond for few seconds to a few minutes. Not the thing to do behind the wheel. Almost no one but me knows that they are even happening most of the time. And Mountain Man is too busy to drive me to see my friends, I’m lucky if he gets me out to the grocery store once a week. I understand the work needs to be done but I sit alone while he‘s busy in the garden, splitting wood, mowing or the like.

Once people came from all over to visit with us, walk in our woods and teach their kids how to fish in our pond. Now it’s too expensive to come here for a get away day when they can walk to the park in town.

I know that my friends still care and that when it comes to gas money they have to spend it on priorities first. But I’m feeling a bit cut off. I was having fun getting everything planned and ready for the last two months. I’m all dressed up and can’t get anywhere. I live so far out of town that it’s a mile to the nearest place a taxi will stop for a pick up and I’d have to pay double for them to do that too.

Harry Nilsson said it in ‘The Point’ when he wrote the song ‘Think About Your Troubles.’ Don’t mind me I’m just crying into my teacup. I already feel better just getting it out. Thanks for listening.

(I added a link to the words to the song for those of you that don‘t know it.)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

On Father’s Day:

I will start by saying that both Mother’s and Father’s day in it’s origin were day’s to honor the parents of those who had died in war and the sacrifice of a child that these people made for the good of all.

I kind of had a rant on Mother’s day because of my mother status from having a dead child. And though my son didn’t die in war the holiday has changed a lot over the years. So although I am not a father I will say Happy Fathers Day to those among you who have also lost a child.

My trouble was that I was being avoided because people didn’t want to make me sad by reminding me that my son had died. What they don’t get is that you never truly forget, not ever. You just learn to live with it.

Once it happens you are changed forever. Never to be the person you once were again. For those of you who are new to this, I will tell you it does change. But you will not forget. Your life from here on with be split by the before and after of this breaking of your heart. And time will never quite move the same as it did before. You will survive but never be the same.

For those of you who have been through this day before, ‘This day will pass.’ One of the hardest thing to deal with is, ‘What to do with this love you still have for your child and have no person to bestow it on?’ I wish I had an answer for you. The problem is that it is different for each individual. Some volunteer, others visit the grave, they give to the ones in there life that are left, or there are those that just bear it out. If what you are doing isn’t working try something else for a while.

If you are up to it have some fun, be happy, live. It won’t change a thing about the past but it will help you in the here and now. Death is, in the end, just a part of life. Don’t let it take all the fun out of the life that is still yours to live.

So have a Happy Fathers Day. You are not being left out of the honor meant to be bestowed on this day by me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

On Knitting Something New:

The weather has been humid around here so I haven’t been making much lace. The tangle factor turns into a knot fact, stretching my patients.

I’m in the no mans land of finding just the right pattern for my needs, abilities and tools on hand. (When my youngest sister got into knitting in a big way I was in a ‘not so much anymore’ phase. I gave a lot of thing away while I was having cancer treatments. And I gave most of my knitting stuff to her. She is an amazing knitter by the way.)

I am now building my collection back up. And calling my sister weekly to see if she has that pattern I liked so much for that shawl, mittens, hat or scarf. (You know, the one with all the notations on the side.) We live more then a hundred miles apart. So sharing them is not an option.

I’m a so-so knitter. I spend a lot of time pulling out stitches and fixing mistakes. But what I’m left with in the end is usually what I started out to make.

I bought myself some wool yarn for felting. I have never felted before. Well not intentionally anyway. I have enough yarn to make a matching set of hat and mittens. So the hunt begins for the right patterns. I have a small head and generally get stuck wearing kids hats. That or having my hats held on with hat pins.

The way I see it by the time I find a pattern I like and will fit me right, buy or make the needles I still need to get the project off the ground and knit/re-knit them, then felt them, I’ll have it done by the end of the year. I go slow when I approach a new craft. I like to understand all levels of construction and creativity of a thing.

So for now you can find me pouring over patterns and deconstructing design until I have the right ones.

Friday, June 13, 2008

On Friday the Thirteenth:

Today is Friday the Thirteenth. And according to the news announcer on my morning TV news show it is one of the safest days of the year. Even robberies are down.

Apparently all those people who are afraid of it are being so careful that the world is a much safer place on this day. This is according to a Danish study I believe he said. I took his word for it and didn’t take the time to look it up on the web. And my own Daughter Princess is a nurse and said the same thing. ‘Accidents are down on Friday the Thirteenth.’

I have always liked watching other people on this day when it comes around. They will do the most extraordinary things. My grandmother was a very superstitious person and would practically hide in the house when it came along.

My mother liked baiting other people to do the things she would never do herself like daring them to break mirrors or walk under ladders. Oh the horror on their faces.

I didn’t like the convergence of my world and theirs. I was watched to see what I would do. Did they expect me to turn into something else? And if I did, what was I suppose to turn into? Or was smoke suppose to come out of my ears or something? So I took to just staring them down. I still think that they thought they had somehow stopped this change from happening in a backwards sort of way. Like because they were looking and I was too contrary to make the change in front of their eyes, their looking had done the trick and had tricked me into wasting the day away unchanged. To me it was one of the most boring days of the year. Nothing ever happened.

So I sat around unmoved and watched the ‘normal’ folk around me as they would throw salt over their left shoulders, peek around corners for black cats, cross themselves continually and heave long sighs of relief when something very unlikely to happen in the first place didn’t happen after all.

Now I know that there are strange powers in the world and that things do happen. But people come on. If it is worth being careful just because of a date on a calendar, why not just be careful all of the time and give us back our holiday.

Have a happy, safe and enjoyable Friday the Thirteenth everybody.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

On Deaths Effects on Friends:

I was reminded again this week about how when death comes closer to any one person in a group the dynamic changes for all involved.

I once had a friend. We were quite close. When her beloved grandmother died no one in our group came around her for awhile. I rushed right over to her house and held her hand, held her as she cried and helped her through it. (This was back in the day, you know pre-goth times. I wasn‘t outwardly goth back then. No one was.) Time past and kids grew. When my son died she actually said to me, “So what do you want me to do about it.” And she hung up the phone on me. She never showed at the funeral, not even a card. We haven’t talked since. Her mother died earlier this week. And even though I rarely ever miss the chance to go to a funeral, I did not go to this one. Some hurts run too deep.

The fear attached to death for some people is so great that they will let it destroy a good relationship before confronting it in any way. She had one less person to help her through the death of her mother because she couldn’t even bring herself to say “I sorry your kid died but I just can’t be there for you right now. Death scares me.” In the face of a death she did the unforgivable. She left a mother still in shock holding the phone with no one on the other end of the line, not twelve hours after the death of her first born. I hadn’t expected her to rush right over. I knew her fears. But I didn’t expect to be treated the way she treated me then.

I lost many friends the day my son died. Not because I was one of the crying miserable wretches that no one could stand to be around, because I wasn’t. It was because the death of a child was too much for them to bear. That was something they couldn’t even think about so my presents was intolerable. Others fell away when I got cancer. The thought of death of ones self needed to be run away from and me along with it.

The friends I have now are fewer but they are truer. Death does that to friendships, it tests them. Thank you Master Death for cutting away the baggage of shallow friendships.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On Reading My Favorite Books:

First off I will tell you I am a re-reader. I go back and read books I like over again and some of them more then once. It started in my childhood when we didn’t have a lot of books in the house. So I would re-read the books I already owned and had read. This lead to a discovery. Some of the books I thought I loved was not because of the story itself but because how the story fit into what was going on in my life at the time. Other books kept on giving me new insights with each reading. And those were the ones I really love the most.

This reading is of course in addition to reading other books in between, during, and around them. Like say, all the Harry Potter books again when each new volume came out. Or when I took to studying the Dead Sea Scrolls, Biblical and others last year. (And with the Old Testament in the other hand. I’m more then half way through that now.) Plus any other books of interest or need for information I come across. And this doesn’t count all of the proof reading I do to the stories I have written and are writing, changing, fixing, or finishing. Also the blogs I read regularly. You get the picture I like to read.

Today I have reached a bench mark. I have read all of the Valdemar Series by Mercedes Lackey. I would read them as I found the money to buy them, a trilogy here, a single volume there, over a six year period. My son turned me on to them a few months before he died. But when I started my cancer treatments I went out and bought all the ones I still didn’t own by then for myself. And I started re-reading them from the very beginning. The pre history through to the end.

(She started with the first trilogy and after questions from her faithful readers added the other books on the history and still more books on the back lives of some of the people in the first books. Along with the rest of the story into the future of the land.)

I love most all of them. And today I closed the back cover on the twenty sixth volume. Oh, and there are also the four Anthologies in there too so that makes an even thirty. I will visit them again some day but for now I am on to other things to read and places to go on the white wings of the printed page. A happy/sad day for me.

Now go find yourself a good book to read or even re-read one.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On Needs Virus Wants:

When I was a kid people thought differently then they do now. People looked around them and said, ‘I may not be the top man but I’m doing better then the bottom man.’ And they got down to the business of living.

Now it seems that everyone thinks that everyone else has more or better then they have and that they have to go into debt to keep up. Everyone seems to have the ‘gimmies’ or the ‘gotta’ haves.’ And ‘one is never enough.’

Maybe I missed out on something, but I don’t understand it. Maybe I was absent that day, but I don’t do credit, I do without. I have self pride, not pride in what I have. I know who I am in my birthday suit, my clothing does not define me.

Don’t get me wrong, I have wants. But I know what they are as oppose to my needs. Needs are food, clothing, shelter, warmth and safety. Wants are the caliber of those things and the extras in life. (Last years good and warm winter coat compared to the have to have, in style one in the store window this year.) To me ‘If it works don’t fix it’ means ‘Don’t buy a new coat until the old one wears out.’ I don’t go out and buy anything that is not life sustaining with my last nickel either. I save said nickel for an emergency. I have never bought anything that I didn’t have the money in my pocket to own.

I have been poor. I’ve had to wash the floor with the used dish water when I was done with the dishes, and washed my clothing by hand because I just didn’t have the money to go to the Laundromat. And I’m not talking for a week or two until the next paycheck came. I’m talking for years as I went to school and built up a life for myself. And I did it with kids at home. I worked, went to school part time and took care of my kids and home by myself after the divorce. I got no alimony or child support. You can’t get blood from a stone. And I walked everywhere I had to go because I couldn’t afford the bus fare much less a car. There were times I didn't know where the next meal was coming from.

I deal with the heat the same way. I am sitting here at my computer cool and calm with only a small electric fan at my back. My feet, you see, are in a bucket of cool water. I have no air conditioner, no pool out back, no attic to buffer the heat, no basement to cool off in underground.

Life puts us in a pressure cooker sometimes. But it doesn’t pay to make myself miserable by wanting something I don’t have when I can be happy with what I have. It’s best to make the most of it and forge on through as best as I can. I hope the heat doesn’t get to you.

Monday, June 9, 2008

On Power Struggles and Hurt Feelings:

My back is doing better and I am up and about but not back to exercising with the yoga too much but I am walking. (I know, with this heat I must be crazy.)

Well I kind of have to walk because I am taking care of the neighbors two dogs while they are on a weeks vacation. So a few times a day I walk down to their house and check on the dogs. I water, feed, walk and play with the neighbors dogs. Then I walk back up to my place.

This has been a strain on my two old lady dogs. Lady Short is thirteen and sleeps most all of the time now. But Lady Long is only eleven and wants to know why I’ve been sneaking out and playing with ‘the enemy.’

I have done everything short of stripping down and bathing myself and clothing to hide the fact when I come back home. Lady Short is aloof but Lady Long is in a state of high anxiety. She turns her back on me or bumps into my legs from behind. And when I look at her she turns away again with a look like, ‘what did I do?’

I don’t usually take this kind of job. One, I know my dogs don’t like it and two, I don’t like it much either. But Mountain Man agreed to it because they were in a bind and I’m the one doing it because he is busy in the garden getting the crops planted. I can walk the dogs in the shade but I can’t stay out of the sun in the garden.

How do you get it across to them that it is only temporary and that you still love them best? Their usually good behavior is quickly deteriorating. We have barking for no reason, puddles on the bathroom floor at night, not coming when called, and down right defiance to commands. And It’s only been three days.

I try to keep their schedule and I give them as much or more attention as I did before. But that is hard when they will have none of it. (You can lead a dog to it’s water dish but you can’t make it drink.) So now I am an outcast in my own home. Traitor. Adulteress. I have given care to another dog without their permission. I have sinned and must pay for it.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

On The Many Rocks of Mountain Man:

My husband, ‘Mountain Man’ has a hobby. This is a good thing. Well most of the time anyway. He plays with rocks, stones and the occasional bolder. Well he doesn’t 'play', play with them, he stacks them. He moves them. He moves a lot of rocks. His hobby is being a dry stone mason. Not one of these projects of his is put together with concrete. He stacks them so they stay.

I told you before I would get around to showing you pictures of some of Mountain Man’s building projects.

This is the wall at the back of my outdoor room for sitting, reading and watching birds.

This is one of the many balanced stacks of stones.

The wall to the south of the garden.

Me standing in front of the wall south of the garden. I'm 5'2" by the way.

There are more of his rock walls, towers, and other things around. Someday I’ll show you them to you too.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

On Computers and Heat:

Sorry for the late posting today. While typing my blog in the heat of my un-air-conditioned house. We hit 92 degrees inside the house and my computer stopped working. I of course lost the content of said blog and after cooling the system down I had to start over.

Although on occasion I have written a blog the day before, I am not in the habit of having them all lined up and ready to go. So having lost the train of thought I was in before the computer stopped working you will get a rant from me instead.

First off I hate Vista. This needs to top my list. I will not bore you with the innumerable ways that I dislike this system all you need know is that I do.

Second I hate all computers that eat pages of my writing or even chapters and loose them in the abyss of time and space.

Third If I can stand the heat, and know that I’m not good in this department, why does my computer zap out on me even when I give it the best fans in the house to help it along.

Fourth Sims. (This is a two parter) Why can’t they put out a quality product. And why does my Vista stop me from playing said game every time I finally get the new patch so I can load the newest extension or add on pack that I waited until the patch was out before cracking open the seal on the box.

Enough for now. I’m going to soak my head in a tub of cool water. See you tomorrow when I will post before the heat of the day. Have a nice one.

Friday, June 6, 2008

On Projects I have Gotten Done So Far:

Here are the promised pictures of the projects I‘ve finished since I started this blog. (Refer to yesterday’s blog.) I had to talk Mountain Man through the process. To me it is as simple as can be. Pop out the memory card from the camera and into the computer. Tap, tap zap and I’m done.

But it went more like this:
“Could you do something for me?”
“Like what?”
“Help me with the pictures for my blog.”
“Is this going to take long?”
“No, you just have to take the memory card out of the camera and put it into the computer.”
“Where is the camera?”
“On my desk with the computer.” (There are four desks in the house.)
“And you expect me to find it on that disaster area?”
“It’s not that bad. I organized some of that stuff last month.”
“Where is it?”
“Probably under the knitting.”
“Okay, I have it. Now what do I do?”
“Flip open the little door on the side and take out the memory card.”
“Which little door? Nope that’s the batteries. You know I don’t understand this stuff.”
“Here, give it here. Where are the batteries?” I remove the memory card and replace the batteries. Then hand him the memory card.
“What am I suppose to do with this?”
“You put it in the little slot in the front of the computer.”
“At the top there is a group of slot like holes in the front of the computer. One of them will fit just right.”
“Wait, I need to get my glasses. Which way do I put this thing in?”
“Label on top.”
“The blue side or the white side?”
“Which hole?”
“The one that is the same size as the memory card. I think it’s on the left side. All the others are too small.”
“Why didn’t you just say it was the biggest hole?”
“I didn’t think of it or I would have.”
“How hard do I push it in?”
“It doesn’t go in all the way, some of it sticks out so you can remove it when you’re done.”
“It’s not like a disk? Like a drawer?”
“No, more like plugging in a cable.”
“Then why don’t they just make a cable for your camera to hook it up to the computer. Okay, I have my glasses now. All done.”
“Is the curser on the box that says ‘download pictures to computer’?”
“Do you need me to put it back in the camera?”
“Later, when I’m done.”
“Okay, I’ll be back later to check on you.”

The pictures:

The knitted Shrug

The knitted Black Lace Winter Scarf

The tatted Lace Edged Handkerchiefs

The crochet Victorian Pitcher and Glass’ Covers.

I also knitted six wash cloths from left over ends of cotton yarn from other things I’ve made. Those I didn’t bother to take a picture of. And I still have to find a way to get the pictures to come out for the Victorian short cape I knitted. You can’t see the detail in the pictures because it’s black on black. Maybe when I’m up and around again I’ll change the color of the ribbon trim so you can see it in the pictures.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

On Back Pain and Sanity:

I was going to put up the pictures of the crafting projects that I had been working on over the last month and had finished. They are starting to pile up. The shrug, a black lace winter scarf, the lace edged handkerchiefs, a set of Victorian pitcher and glass’ covers to keep the bugs out of my lemonade. I took the pictures yesterday. But do to a relapse in feeling immortal I hurt myself. I can’t get the memory card out of my camera and into the computer. Not that I can’t move my hands. I am typing this posting. I can’t move my back. I am flat on my back in bed with sciatica.

Thankfully I have cable extensions on my key board and mouse. (I don’t own a laptop.) So I can use the computer to a limited extent. The screen is too far away to play video games and I have to crank the type set way up to read what I’m typing.

So, we know that I’m on a new exercise program. It was going well. Really well in fact. It would have been a badge of honor had I hurt myself tying myself in knots with the yoga. But yesterday I went to my cancer support group meeting and I was sitting crooked in my seat in the car. (Mountain Man was driving.) Well of course I know better then to sit crooked in the car. I have done this to myself before.

One of the reasons I like yoga so much is that it helps to limit the reoccurrence of this dreaded condition. And yes, I know how foolish I was to sit the way I did. Why do we do these things to ourselves? I know that I have a responsibility to take care of myself. All the more so since the cancer. Needless to say I won’t be exercising for a while. I did loose a half a pound all ready.

Mountain Man has deposited the portable DVD player and some DVD’s on his side of the bed where I can reach them. I have a book and the TV remote. But I am one of those people that has a hard time when I don’t have something to do with my hands. And at this point my crafts hurt too much to work on them.

You’d think that this forced vacation and being waited on would be a nice thing. Well not to me. I am independent. Mountain Man is busy. And I can’t get to the bathroom on my own. Okay, once I’m up I can slowly shuffle along but getting down and up again requires help. (Was the toilet always so low?)

So for the next few days at least I will be eating standing up and going slowly going stir crazy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

On Safety and the Good Old Days:

Okay, I am one of the first ones to admit that we are living in a toxic world. But I had high hopes. I was a young mother in the seventies. Pollution was turning around. They took the lead out of paint and I saw a rosy future through my glasses.

I grew up just outside of New York City on the Jersey side of the river. (The river with all the dead fish in it, back then before they cleaned it up.) Soon after I had my first child we moved to Pennsylvania. We could see the smog cloud over the city from the top of the Pocono mountains every time we went home for a visit back in the day. Some things have improved I have to tell you.

But my big complaint today is nail polish. Once upon a time you put on a coat of nail polish and it stayed and stayed. Now it seems to come off when I wash my hands. It chips and peels off at the drop of a hat.

Yes, yes. Hurrah, hurrah. Fewer bad chemicals on our fingers. But still I long for the old days. Nail polish that wore like iron. That I didn’t spend hours applying in multiple coats only to look down within an hour to find a chip in it.

I’ve tried them all over the last year or so. None are as good as the old poison stuff. I’m spoiled by bad products that worked for me. I’d give up painting them tomorrow if my nails weren’t ruined by the chemo. But I now need the protection of the polish on my nails.

So here is my dilemma. Do I find, buy and use the bad stuff and worry about cancer coming back or do I spend endless hours each week on crummy looking nails?

Where are the breakthroughs in modern science these days? Not in the nail polish isle at the local store at any rate.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

On Goth Going Green:

I try to lead a fairly simple life. I make do without many extras in life. I don’t have a clothes drier or dish washer. No air conditioner or other extra appliances. We try to reduce, reuse and recycle. We have a vegetable garden and it’s organic. We compost and don’t use chemicals. I use vinegar to clean and disinfect. (Which works very well I must say.) I have used cloth bags for shopping bags when I shop for years now. I don’t even waste the water from the tap when I run it until it gets hot. I catch it and use it for other things from refilling water bottles to watering my plants. I try to do my part.

We have rain barrels to catch rain in to water the vegetables in the garden. I’ve made patchwork quilts from the good parts left of old clothing and sheets. We have a whole lot of wash clothes around to use instead of paper towels. And I find uses for a lot of things that would have just gone to the land fill. Plastic containers become holders for my crafting stuff, if not the things I craft with. Plastic bags cut in strips can be knit or crocheted into mats, hats, stronger shopping bags and the like. (Don’t use the bags with lead painted labels for these.)

Of course there is always more I can do. And I am trying to find more and better ways to get things done everyday. Like the fact that we only go out shopping once every week or two. Consolidating trips so we save on gas, time and money. We don’t have jobs away from home.

This leaves me in a constant state of lists. Lists for what to buy so I don’t forget anything because we might not be back to get it again for a few weeks. Lists for when things need replacing by. Water filters, laundry detergent, flee and tick meds for the dogs. Lists of thing to watch out for on sale so we can stock up.

I missed the boat some how on the good life. There was never money for extra’s in my life. I was the oldest of six kids and there never seemed to be enough of anything. I married a man who soon after had mental health issues. He couldn’t hold a job for long and he squandered what money we had on his obsessive compulsiveness. We always seemed to be in debt. So by the time I married Mountain Man, and my kids were by then teenagers, I had learned to be quite frugal. But I have to say this, ‘A simple life is not so simple.’

One of the things I used to do was yard sales, garage sales and the like. The trouble here being people are saving money by not listing what they have for sale in the paper. Thus I don’t know which sales to put on my short list. I no longer go further a field because I don’t know that this particular sale will net me the right goods that I’m in the market for. I just don’t have the gas money to cruse around and look all day to come up empty handed. And if I go the internet route, I still have the shipping dilemma. One trip to yard sales versus four or more delivery trucks coming all the way up the mountain and through the woods to deliver my goods.

How can we save money and keep the planet green if we are spending more and gaining less? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Monday, June 2, 2008

On Death in General:

Right you are dear reader, death is the subject today. I got to thinking about death again, but in the abstract.

We only have one way, as yet, to become alive but there are innumerable ways to end a life. They even come in categories and sub categories. Natural, accident, illness, killing, suicide to name just a few.

I don’t fear death in and of itself but I do fear some of the more nasty ways of getting there. I don’t want to be tortured to death for instance. I would not care to be taken by a long and painful illness. But I do want time to say goodbye to friends and loved ones.

I try to say the things that need to be said just incase our parting is to be the last. I have many regrets but not the last conversation I had with my son. We told each other how very much we loved the other. Something told us to, more then the times we spoke before. So knowing that the same thing may never happen in my life again, I try not to end any conversation with a negative note but on a positive one.

I want to be able to give myself over into death freely in the end. In this I mean that I don’t want anything to hold me back when the time comes. Things undone, people depending on me to see them through, or help them survive the event that led to my death. (Such as a car accident or fire involving other lives.)

With death being so prevalent and unavoidable as the point of the full circle of a life, why so very many different ways to die? We spend so much of our lives avoiding it. Shouldn’t we know better by now? Death is coming to take all who live at some time in the future. But still I puzzle, why so very many different ways to end a life when there is only one way to start it?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

On Dreamitus:

I have dreamitus. (No I do not mean dermatitis.) What I do is, I build castles in the air. Day dreams.

Fortunately for me, I’m a writer and can have these world of mine come to life in word and print. Even if those worlds are just for my own enjoyment, as most of them are. I recently finished getting the main story portion of two books that play off of each other typed out. The only reasons that the books are not complete is because I have been making their world in the physical. I created dolls and houses, clothing and furniture, stuff and clutter for them so I could use this now massive amounts of stuff to take pictures of them as illustrations for the books. And no, I will never ever do that again. I did build, sew, collect, paint, glue, mold, and or made it all myself. It may just be mostly cardboard and paste/hot glue but it is my world come to life. The other reason it took so long is I was fighting cancer for a while in there.

Anyway, I now have to go back and tweak the story to match the details as they pan out in the illustration phase of this ten+ year project. (And yes, I do have to finish making some things for the pictures.) I brought this all upon myself by letting my imagination get away from me after I made the first doll. But the story writing phase of the project is done. (No, I have no intentions of writing more stories for them. I have other books in the works that I want to finish and other worlds in my head I want to get down on paper. And lets face it, I‘ve been at this particular project for a little too long already.)

This coming to an end is a double edged sword. I feel great now that I have all the information down on paper. But after all this time of having the dolls and their world evolve in the physical, I am sad about it coming to an end. They are somewhat like children to me. The main difference is that these children have done what ‘I’ wanted them to do and evolved into the people ‘I’ wanted them to. Not like my own children ‘The Shining Son’ and ‘The Daughter Princess.’

Don’t get me wrong here. My kids turned out to be fine individuals that have added a plus to society and found their own nitch in their lives. And I was never one of those mothers that wanted my kids to fulfill my dreams for them. I let them build their own dreams and lives. But one of the differences is my doll children are also stagnant. They never age, grow old or die. They don’t have trials that demand my attention at inopportune times. In essence although they are physical, they aren’t real. I can’t send them out into the world to grow and mature on their own. But after so much time doteing on them I almost wish they could.

The thing I started getting at in the beginning is that I’ve been doing the happy dance around in the kitchen. The feeling of accomplishment after so long is quite heady. This is lost on my husband, Mountain Man. No, He understands accomplishing something and the feeling you get when you are done. But in his eyes I’m not done. All the ‘Stuff’ is still taking up space in our house. I’m still crafting away and spending time at the keyboard. And not by the way spending all my attention on lets say, the housework. Not that he married me for those skills by the way. I am doing happy dances and getting sideward glances from Mountain Man.

So here I sit sharing with you and I’m having a bit of a conundrum. Do I just let my feelings flow freely and dance or get down to reality and back to work? Not to worry this is not a man versus women thing or even a him and me thing. This is a procrastination thing. It’s an, I want to have my cake and eat it too, thing. A, prolong the fun because the work and although fun work it is still work, thing.

I Know, I know, make hay while the sun shines. Get back at it before the momentum dies. But the feeling still is there that this is a big accomplishment in my life and I want to celebrate it. But my celebrating rings a bit hollow when I am the only one at the party. So humming a tune I dance in my kitchen by myself. But wait a minute! Here comes Mountain Man. No, it wasn’t the refrigerator he was after. And we dance. Happy accomplishments everyone!