Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye, 2014

I am SOOOO glad this year is over!  It's been, quite literally, the worst year of my life... and I hope it STAYS that way.  I don't need another year as awful as this one has been.

Goodbye, 2014... may you take all the bad, sad crap with you, and never return!!!  

Saturday, December 27, 2014

In Memorium: Chango, 2004-2014

Chango was born on September 19, 2004, while my coven was having a Mabon ritual at my house.  We knew his mother was pregnant, as we'd been feeding her and her two older kittens for quite a while.  Our first glimpse of him on the day he was born (we have a picture in our main computer, which is on the fritz right now) was of an orange and white ball of fur surrounded by four black balls of fur (his sisters). 

Because they were in danger from a construction crew who didn't know they were there, Martin brought them all inside when they were three weeks old, along with their mother.  We eventually found homes for two of them, but Mama and the other three stayed with us, and we took in the two older kittens as well.

Even when they were still nursing, Chango always had to be in the middle of things.  He had soulful golden eyes that made you melt looking into them.  He was spoiled rotten, and got into the habit of whining when he wanted something.  He loved to cuddle and be carried like a baby, but kneading was his life.  As a human, he would have made one hell of a bread baker!  He was constantly rushing between my feet to get into my altar room so he could sprawl on the floor and hang out with me there.  He brought love and laughter into our lives, along with some frustration and a few tears.

A couple of years ago, he barely survived an infection that started in one fang and spread to his lower jaw.  I told him then that he couldn't die before we paid off the $845 bill.  I don't think he made it, but it wasn't for lack of trying. 

Last month, we found that his liver had failed, and he had a less than 33% chance of the medication helping him.  Fortunately, it did, and we were given six extra weeks with him.  However, a few days ago, he began going downhill again, and this time the vet found a mass in his abdomen.  He told us frankly that, even if he managed to successfully remove it AND even if it wasn't cancerous, having two serious medical situations so close together meant that Chango's chances of surviving another year were low.  Because of this, combined with his age and the prohibitive costs, we decided to let him go.  We didn't want him to have to go through all this misery a third time.  So the vet gave him a tranquilizer before the final shot, and we held him and rocked him until he fell asleep.

Losing a beloved fur companion is never easy; it's even harder when you are with them from almost their first breath to their last.  Then they're more like your children.  On Monday we will take him to where our other children in fur are buried.

Bast and Sekhmet, please guard your brother Chango, and guide him safely to wherever our beloved cats go! 

We love you, Chango!  Rest in peace, Mango Boy.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Blogvember Challenge; or, I Got Tagged by The Curious Professor Z

Well, I was tagged by Professor Z for Little Corp Goth Girl's "Blogvember Challenge", but not until December, so perhaps I should rename my post the "Blogcember Challenge"???  Naahh...  ;-)

Oh, and I'm proud to say that Professor Z successfully defended her dissertation, and will soon be officially called Doctor Z!!  woo-HOOOO!!!

So, back to the Challenge: 

1.  What is the best thing about blogging?

For me, and I think for many others, the best part of blogging is 'meeting' all sorts of wonderful people, and knowing that they read what I write because they like what I have to say.  Sharing myself with others and having them respond with acceptance, understanding, and empathy is awesome!  And when I'm able to help someone else with my words, that's even better. 

2.  What makes my blog so special?

I'm sure this answer is different for each of my readers, but for me, it's special because it's all about ME!  Well, not just me, of course, but it's unique because it's done from my perspective, which is different from everyone else's; no one else will ever look at things in exactly the same way that I do.

3.  How will my blog look in a year?

I really have NO idea.  I'm a somewhat different person from who I was last year, and I'm sure I'll do more changing in the coming year, so it will be exciting to see what happens to my blog in the process!  :-)

4.  Which was my best post?

Errgggg... I'm not sure which is my absolute BEST post, but I've got two that I think are pretty much tied for first place.  One is "When I'm 64: Thoughts about Dressing Goth after 60".  The other one is "The 50+ Face: Skincare for Women and Men".  Both of these have so many hits that I figure they must be the "best" ones, at least to my readers!  Although my personal favorite is"The Goth Closet (as Opposed to the Closet Goth)".

5.  What other blogs or bloggers inspire me?

This one is easy!  Here's my "short list", in no particular order:

NOTE: If I read your blog but it's not on this list, please don't be offended!  I still love yours, or I wouldn't be reading it.  :-)  But these are blogs that have helped me through some difficult, sad or frustrating times, and I wanted to give them a small boost in return.

 Now, I'm supposed to tag three more bloggers, but I know many people don't like doing these, so I will just say that IF anyone whose blog I read decided to accept the challenge, I would love to read their posts.  :-)

Happy Holidays, everyone!! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Have a Very Batty Christmas!

Yes, I'm greedy...  GothGardening is having another contest, and I want to win!!  But really, that's just an excuse to write about one of my favorite things... BATS!

Even before I discovered the goth subculture, I've loved bats.  When I took my son, who was four at the time, to a Cub Scout weekend camp, there was a bat under the door flap of our tent, and when I opened the flap I accidentally flipped it inside.  Instead of screaming and/or running, I called to him, "Hey, Stuart, come quick, we've got a BAT in our tent!"  But it flew out before he could get there, so all he saw was this little black streak zipping away through the air.  Bummer, dude...  All the other kids around us thought it was cool, though.  :-)

Bats are not only CUTE, they're also ecologically awesome!  Did you know that:

~A single brown bat can catch around 1,200 mosquito-size insects in one hour; a small colony can eat over 6 million bugs in a year.

~An anticoagulant found in vampire bat saliva may soon be used to treat human cardiac patients. 

~Some seeds will not sprout unless they have passed through the digestive tracts of a bat. Additionally, bats spread millions of seeds every year from the ripe fruit they eat. Approximately 95% of the reforestation of the tropical rainforest is a result of seed dispersal from bats. 

~Bat dropping is called guano and is an important fertilizer in many tropical regions because of its high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen.  During the Civil War, U.S. soldiers used bat guano to make gunpowder.   

~In China and Japan, bats are symbols of happiness. In Chinese, the words for “bat” and “good fortune” are both pronounced “fu.” 
~Bats make up a quarter of all mammals; there are over 1,100 species of bats in the world. 


~More than 50 percent of bat species in the United States are either in severe decline or are listed as endangered.  

So you see, it's important to keep our bats happy and healthy!  We don't realize how much we need them.

Finally, here is a pic of the holiday cards I sent out to all my goth friends this year.  I actually bought them LAST year on Christmas Day, just to make sure I had them!

Christmas Cards, Bats, 25 ct. 

This card is currently available at Elipsis Design on Etsy.  Check it out, along with all the other awesome small businesses on Etsy!

And although it's a bit early yet, have a Very Batty Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Birthday Massacre Show

Hi, there...  I haven't been posting much lately, mainly because I've been too exhausted both mentally and physically.  Spending half my weekends this year at my mom's house taking care of things was NOT easy.  Even though she's back home now, I've discovered that I apparently went into "Mom Mode" during the year, and because her mother never acted much like a mom, I think she is enjoying the feeling, even though I doubt she is actually conscious of it.  So now it's time to turn off the "Mom" button and get back to my normal "my child is now an adult and therefore I don't need to mother anyone" space.

So... Monday night I finally got to see a goth band live!  One of my favorites, The Birthday Massacre, was playing at Slim's in San Francisco.  I bought the tickets before Halloween, just to make sure I didn't back out due to anxiety, which has been a bad habit of mine that I've discussed in previous posts.  

The opening band was The Red Paintings, a group from Australia.  They were pretty good, we enjoyed them, and the lead singer was pretty funny between songs, although he dropped a slight overabundance of F-bombs.  They actually have local artists on stage with them, creating original artwork while they are playing; it was interesting to watch the art "grow" on stage!

The next band was called New Year's Day.  My mother always said that if you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all, so I won't.  Except that the lead singer dropped even MORE F-bombs than the other guy, only she wasn't funny at all.

Then The Birthday Massacre came on.  Awesome show!!  They are just as good live as they are on their studio CDs.  And Chibi, the lead singer, is funny, lovely and gracious.  An added plus: NOT ONE F-bomb from her the entire time they were onstage.  The whole set was upbeat, and people were finally dancing, whereas most had not done so during the first two sets.  I wish they didn't live in Canada; apparently they last toured the U.S. a few years ago.  We need them here more often!!!  (Certainly more often than we need Justin Bieber...)  The Birthday Massacre

I had a fantastic time!!  I danced through most of the first set, ALL of Birthday Massacre's set, and through a fair amount of the recorded music they played before and in between sets.  I was probably the most trad goth there, wearing a DIY-altered skeleton t-shirt, a floor-length black studded skirt, my 4-inch Demonia platforms, fishnets, and a long black velvet coat.  And as far as I could tell, I was the ONLY one there wearing a spiked collar!  Errrr, where did all the trad goths go???  We saw one or two people we've seen at Death Guild, but a LOT of the patrons didn't even look particularly goth, although many were wearing black.  And I couldn't see any platform boots, except for mine.  Oh, well, I didn't care, I was dressing for myself, anyway.  And no one could question my right to carry a Goth Card, heheh...  ;-)

Just writing this has improved my sucky mood immensely.  Now to get back to work; they expect me to do that here once in a while.  

Have a great week/weekend, and I plan on posting more of my regular stuff in the very near future.  Oh, and I was totally serious several posts back about learning to play the bass.  I finally found some music books for bass online and ordered them!  So very soon you may be hearing some truly odd noises on this blog...  ;-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

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

Time for a wonderfully Dark and Creepy Holiday season!  Well, this says "Merry and Bright", but we know what we all REALLY want for Christmas...  ;-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Goth Turkey Day!

This is TOO awesomely funny not to share!

And Happy Turkey Day from Lucretia's Reflection, as well!

Monday, November 10, 2014

An Early Thanksgiving

Well, as of today, it's official!  My mom will FINALLY be going home from the nursing facility on Friday the 14th.  At long last, this situation that has dragged on since January will be OVER.

At first, I just felt numb.  I couldn't even feel excited, all I could think of was that I just got back from Clearlake yesterday and now I'll be going up again in five days and spending up to nine days there, getting my mom reorganized and adapting to some new living conditions.  And my mom calling me three times today to tell me about more things I needed to do didn't help.

But now I'm starting to feel happy about it.  This IS the outcome we've been hoping for for so long!!  Not like Grandma, who just went downhill and never recovered. So I'm going to try to shake off the exhausted stupor I've been walking around in for so long, and do my best to make this an enjoyable trip.  Of course, my mom and I may end up killing each other anyway, as we haven't lived together in decades, and always did have different ideas about how things should be done!  

You don't think I'm kidding, do you??   Good.

And now, for a little pre-Thanksgiving cheer...  my favorite part of "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving"!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wow, I'm a Scary Goth!!!

Well, I never thought THIS would happen, and I just had to share.

On Monday at work I wore my Misfits sweater from Hot Topic:

As I was opening the restroom door to leave, a coworker was walking up to the door to go in.  She looked at me, shrieked, and hopped backward!  Then she said my sweater startled her, and we both burst out laughing. 

I've worn this sweater to work several times, but never had a reaction like that!  Have you ever actually scared someone with what you were wearing (and it wasn't Halloween)???

Sunday, November 2, 2014

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

This would probably have been more appropriate with turkeys, but I don't think solid black turkeys exist...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

From My Tomb to Yours...

 Have a wonderfully Dark and Spooky Halloween!!!

(Well, I HAD to get a skull in this somewhere, you know...) 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Video: "Danse Macabre"

So, are you all ready?  Got your costume in the closet and candy by the front door??  Have you found a really sincere pumpkin patch in which to wait for the Great Pumpkin???  If not, you'd better hurry, Halloween is almost here!!

And here's a little extra something fun for The Big Day!  I got an e-mail from a gentleman with a blog called Addovolt Productions, and he asked me if I would be interested in featuring a short indie comedy he made and put up on YouTube.  After watching it, I'm VERY willing to do so!  It's called "Danse Macabre", and it's extremely funny!  To quote Mr. Quint himself: "It's just a really weird, indie dark comedy that I did centered around Dracula, his brides, and a gang of Vatican agents on a fateful Halloween night.  It's a fun, cartoonish little project and is, strangely, one of the few films around that features the vampires speaking in actual Transylvanian dialect (with English subtitles)."

So, for some campy Halloween fun, just click on this link (don't worry, it's not a trick)!   Danse Macabre

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fun Spooky Cartoon: "Pink Panic"

I found this today while trolling around YouTube for Halloween songs and other stuff.  I haven't watched old Pink Panther cartoons in a long time, but this reminded me why I love them!  And I didn't remember that there was a haunted house... err, hotel... episode.  Too funny!

Here's the Pink Panther in "Pink Panic".  Enjoy!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Coming Out of the Socially Inadequate Closet

One of the problems I've always had is not feeling socially adequate.  Oh, I learned to fake it pretty good, but I have serious anxiety issues whenever agreeing to attend any kind of social function, even where I know (and like) more than one person there.  The most recent of these events was last night, when I attended a friend's birthday celebration with my husband, at her house.  After RSVPing "Yes" last month, I began agonizing about it a week ago, trying to decide if I could get away with telling her I was feeling sick, or something unexpected came up, or my nine cats all died at once... you get the idea.   I felt totally stupid and ridiculous, but I could NOT get around the terror.  Finally, I looked up her invitation on FB, where I was able to see who she had invited, who had accepted, and who might come but wasn't sure.  I found that I knew several people who were coming, and it was a smaller group than I had expected.  I was able to calm myself down to the point where I could relax and look forward to it.  But yesterday... again... the anxiety began screaming through my head.  I told Martin that we would go at least as far as Party City, where I had to return something, and then we would decide if we went from there to the party or home. 

We ended up deciding to go celebrate my friend's birthday with her, even if it was only for a half-hour.  As soon as we parked and turned off the engine, I was FINE.  We ended up staying for a little over an hour, and I did enjoy myself.  It did help that most of her friends that I meet are pretty nice and laid back, and since we are both organizers in our meetup group, we know quite a few of the same people.  My other friends also showed up, and it was great seeing them again.

WHY does this happen??  Why do some people have no problem at all being sociable with strangers at any type of event, while others would rather be run over and stomped on by a herd of stampeding wildebeest than go to a party for someone they know?  And just as important, HOW can we overcome this seemingly ridiculous problem?  I say 'seemingly' because there is absolutely nothing ridiculous or funny about it when you are feeling that way; it's demeaning and demoralizing, but never amusing.

(I'm an anthropologist, so you'd think I would know these things, but nooooo...)

So, how do YOU deal with this problem?  And if you're one of those people who has no trouble socializing... Share your secrets!!  Why are YOU so lucky?????     ;-)

Monday, October 6, 2014

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

I found this pic on LittleCorpGothGirl's blog post, and I just could NOT resist using it here!!!

Happy October to all of us who are still "babybats" at heart...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Goth Gardening's Halloween Contest Post!!!

If you check out GothGardening's 9/30 post here, you will see she is having a Halloween contest!  Sounds like fun, so this post is my entry.  :-)

I don't usually use shovels, not even for gardening; they're usually too big and unwieldy for me to handle.  I like to use a trowel whenever possible.  However, shovels can be very handy for many things:

They work as makeshift grave "stones" when you have a sudden need for them.  (This frequently happens to goths, dontcha know...) 

And they also make excellent boundary markers.  Of course, then you can't use them for anything else, but still, it's impressive looking, and keeps people from falling in the wrong grave.  (If that's not YOUR name on the gravestone, don't fall in!)

However, I think my favorite use for shovels would be...:

Sending pictures like this to an ex, either your own or someone else's!!  Why not share the love, mwaaa-hahahahaha!!!

So, did I win?????    ;-)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Can I Gag Now, Please?

Have you ever known someone who was so danged upbeat and happy all the time that you just wanted to kick them out the window?

I know someone like that here at work.  He really IS a nice guy, and I would never tell him how I feel about his eternal cheeriness, but sometimes it seems that I run into him whenever I just DO NOT feel like trying to be happy.  Or perhaps I run into him when the Universe decides it wants to mess with me, like today.  I had a really bad night last night, tossing and turning in a bed that was overly warm and full of cats, poking Martin to make him stop snoring, and worrying about money and dealing with my mom's stuff.  Things were a bit rough in the morning, but I watched another episode of 'Dark Shadows' at lunch and was feeling better.  Went into the lunchroom, and there he was.  Now, I admit that no one twisted my arm to stop and chat with him, so it was my own fault, really.  But I was trying to feel a bit more upbeat, so I figured, what the heck, maybe it will help.  It didn't.  And as he was basically telling me how the world is full of puppy cats* and rainbows if we really look for them, I just wanted to turn into a bat and flap away with a crash of thunder and lightning into the darkness.  After I strangled him with my bare claws.

Now I'm sitting here feeling mean and grumpy, so I figured I would share the love and (hopefully) push some of the guilt onto all of you. 

Isn't that nice of me?

*And I just found out that there IS something called a Puppycat, and there are rainbows all over the page.  Gaaaakk...  You can find it here (if you REALLY want to).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dancing in the Rain

It's that time of year again, when I want to crawl into my den and hibernate through the rest of the year.  But at the same time, I find I am craving company as well. Very strange, and difficult to balance well.

But, on a positive note, it's RAINING!!!  And Martin was sweet enough to call me at work and let me know, so that I could take a break from my windowless office space and go out and dance in the rain without an umbrella, which I did...  :-)


Thursday, September 4, 2014

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


"And think, as softly-sad you tread
Above the venerable Dead,
Time was, like thee they Life possest,
And Time shall be, that thou shalt Rest."

   ~Thomas Parnell, "A Night Piece on Death" (1721)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gloom with a View

It's been quite a while since I've posted anything of a personal nature; my last truly personal post was back in May, when I wrote about being invisible.

I believe I have mentioned the situation with my mom's emergency heart surgery in January and her seemingly never-ending recuperation due to an infection that will not go away, as well as the parallel issue of my grandmother's fall and subsequent decline and death.  However, although those things are partly what inspired this post, they are not the main reasons, nor the main issues.

The fact is, I am bored and frustrated with my life and the standstill that it seems to be in.  It occurred to me the other night, as I was thinking about this, that every one of my past hobbies and enjoyments are no longer of interest to me, and I have almost nothing to replace them with.  Dance, poetry and music have been a HUGE part of most of my life.  From childhood into adulthood,  I wrote poetry, most of which I still have and enjoy re-reading on occasion.  I listened to music all the time, but also loved to play and sing as well; I played the clarinet for five years (from 5th through 9th grades), and taught myself to play the guitar as a teen.  I have been both a church chorister and a choir director, and have sung in several church choirs as well.  I was a professional bellydancer for almost 20 years, and in the process learned to play zills (finger cymbals) and do some very basic drumming.  All of this has gone by the wayside in the last several years, and I'm not sure why.

So I am doing my best to create an "updated" life, with new hobbies and interests, and (hopefully) a new career and job to go with them.  I've got a decent number of wonderful pen pals with whom I correspond regularly, and the meetup group events and people are fun, when I can get to them.  I have also pinched Stuart's bass guitar and its accoutrements from his room, and I am going to attempt to learn to play it.  (I bought it for him for Christmas while he was still in high school, and he hasn't used it in years, so I am repo-ing the entire setup.  Move over, Patricia Morrison!)  And I've decided to try creating some gothic-style decorations to spruce up our apartment and garden.

As far as job hunting goes, I have spent quite a bit of time improving my resume and my LinkedIn profile and connections.  I also frequently check the online job boards of various museums and anthropological associations.  However, in the six years since I received my MA, I have been searching constantly, have applied for the few local jobs I found that I was both qualified for and interested in, and haven't ever gotten as far as an interview.  This situation has caused some serious depression on my part, and I'm honestly not sure how to deal with it anymore.  I feel like I wasted my time going back to school for eight years while working 40 hours a week and raising a family.  Was it worth it?  With thousands of dollars in student loans coming due, I'm not really sure anymore.

What do YOU do to promote yourself when looking for a new career/position?  Have you used LinkedIn or other online services?  If so, how did they work for you?  Do you have any advice, thoughts, or opinions you would like to share?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fairy Outfit for Work

My apologies for not posting anything since the 3rd.  I've been running around like a mad thing, working overtime and then cavorting madly about all night with my fans going home to do my laundry, then crawl into bed.  And I'm still going to Clearlake every other weekend to visit my mom in the nursing center and take care of her house and bills.  I'm hoping someday she will finally get to go home, and I won't have to do this forever.  Anyway...

A lovely friend in Wales sent me a box of gothic goodies a few years ago, and inside it there was a GORGEOUS purple/black tunic-style top with pointy bits trailing from the sleeves and hem, and lots of beads and sequins all over it.  (Think of Stevie Nicks as a fairy.)  I adore this top, but I haven't ever worn it because "I have nowhere to wear it".  Yesterday I thought to myself, SCREW this, I'm going to wear it to work!  So I did, with a pair of plain black leggings and a pair of black leather heeled booties with silver buckles.  I look like a Dark Fairy!  :-) 

Unfortunately, my throwaway camera is full, and I don't have a new one yet, so you'll have to wait for a photo.  But rest assured, I would do Stevie Nicks proud... 

In the meantime, here is a lovely picture of a fairy for your viewing pleasure!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

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

Goth is the only community that REALLY HAS discovered time travel; the past, present and future are melded into one glorious black, pink and purple family...


Whitby Goth 141 copy

Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Review: Death, a Life

 Death, a Life  (with George Pendle)

Yes, it's a weird title.  And it suits the book just perfectly.  Taking the reader from before the creation of the world up to the (almost) present day, with side trips to both Heaven and Hell, the autobiography of Death Itself should indeed be considered a "life", or at least, an attempt at one.

I find this book to be both funny and terrible at the same time.  Not terrible in the sense of being written badly; on the contrary, it's beautifully written, with lots of quiet (and not so quiet) puns and plays on words that really made me smile.  Rather, it's terrible in that it brings the reader face to face with some truly horrendous aspects of people and of our society in general.  I'm sure there are a lot of things I'm still missing when I read it, but I find something new every time that I hadn't noticed before, and it gets better each time around.

Death, a Life is a "must read" for any goth worth their absinthe.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Meetup Event: Goth Mall Crawl!

Yesterday our meetup group had our first Goth Mall Crawl.  I've never been a mall goth, and I was dying to find out what it was like!  No, seriously, I just thought it would be fun, and possibly nostalgic for anyone who had ever been a mall goth, only without all the angst.  Also I haven't been shopping with anyone besides Martin in ages, so it was perfect.

Anyway, while only four of us actually made it, we had a blast!  I knew both the others already, and one brought her 16-year-old daughter, who I have seen occasionally but haven't spent time with in a few years. We met at Hot Topic, and ended up spending probably an hour there, looking through everything (and I mean EVERY thing!) and trying things on.  I ended up with a bottle of awesome pink/blue spatter nail polish and two great pairs of shorts that had "Buy one, get one for $1" tags on them!  I was really lucky to find both in my size, as there was only one pair of each left, AND they were the only ones I liked. 

The Misfits shorts (I'm thinking of removing the back pockets so you can see the letters, it says "Misfits"):

The purple/black tie-dyed distressed shorts by LOVEsick, and the nail polish (which has a LOT more blue flecks in it than this pic does):

Then we had lunch, followed by a stroll around the rest of the donut-shaped mall.  I lost count of how many stores we actually went into; it really didn't matter because we were doing so much talking, anyway.  When we finally got back to Hot Topic, we'd been there for almost five hours... no wonder my feet hurt! 

The one thing we didn't do was take any pictures.  :-(  I guess we were too busy talking to care! 

Have you ever done the mall goth thing?  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Adventures in Eyeliner - GoodGoth to the Rescue!

This post actually started out as a rant.  However, it turned into something different, thanks to good communication and lots of determination.

It all started out when I ran out of liquid eyeliner in May.  I was using Hot Topic's Blackheart line, and I really liked it, so I wanted to get more.  However, I couldn't get to the mall right away, so I grabbed the tube of Milani eyeliner I'd bought but only used once; it was awful!  Seemed to take about six minutes to dry, so unless I kept my eyes scrunched almost shut while it dried, it smeared all over the top of my eye shadow.  I used it as lightly as possible during the week, then threw it out on Sunday before I went to the mall... two malls, as it turned out.

But guess what?  Hot Topic has discontinued their Blackheart makeup line, and there was no liquid eyeliner to be had there!  So I headed back to Sephora, where I had just purchased an eye shadow palette (more on that in another post).  However, they didn't have anything much in liquid liner, so I went downstairs to M.A.C.  They're pricey, but have a good reputation.  They had two types of liquid liner, one for thin lines, and the Penultimate Eye Liner, a pen-style liner which was supposed to be SO much more versatile than a brush applicator, with options for both thin and thicker lines; I picked that one, and walked out with a $20 (+ tax) liner instead of the $3 one I came for.  Problem solved?  Not even...

The Penultimate Eye Liner turned out to be the Penultimate Disaster.  It would only make very thin lines, it did not have any staying power and was gone under my eyes before the end of the day, and worst of all...  IT. WOULD. NOT. DRY.  Acckkk!!  After a week, I took it back to the store for a refund.  I decided to use just pencil until I could find something acceptable.  It didn't look right and didn't stay on particularly well, but at least I didn't look like I had two smeary black raccoon eyes!

Then I got an e-mail from advertising their "13% Off for Friday the 13th" sale.  I had found a liquid liner there that I liked awhile back, but they stopped carrying it when I tried to get more.  On the off chance that they had something else, I checked... and there it was again, Kleancolor's Hardcore Black Metallic Liquid Liner!!  For the same $20 (no tax, shipping included) that I had used to purchase a single liner from M.A.C., I got FIVE of these.  :-)

Nine days later... I finally received my order.  (They take anywhere from 2-9 business days to actually ship an order; I guess it depends on if they have it in stock or have to order it, but that's a bit long, if you ask me.)  I opened the box and happily put my liners away.  Next morning, I opened one and used it -- or tried to.  After several minutes of shaking and scraping inside the tube, I barely had anything on the brush.  It was either almost completely dried out or almost empty!  I tried all five tubes, and two of them were bad.  Arrrgghhh!!  At least I had three good ones, so I wasn't stranded again, but I was not a happy bat.

I checked GoodGoth's return/exchange policy, only to find that they don't allow returns OR exchanges on cosmetics "for health reasons".  In a total snit, I sent off an e-mail telling them that I was furious because I got defective items and couldn't exchange them, and that I was never going to buy from them again BUT I would be sure to tell all my friends about it.  After the weekend, I got a very nice e-mail from them saying that their policy is worded that way so people don't order makeup and then return it just because they don't like the color, or whatever.  But because I had received "defective" goods, they would be glad to exchange or refund, my choice.  Sweet!  I told them I'd love an exchange, and did I need to return the bad ones?  They replied that I did NOT have to return them (they took my word for it), and my replacements were already on their way!  Two days later, I had my package... and they didn't just send two replacements, they replaced my ENTIRE order!!  I now have EIGHT tubes of eye liner, which will probably last me for at least the rest of the year!  (And even if some of them turn out to be bad, I won't complain.)

So, true to my promise, I have now told my friends all about how came through for me when I totally did NOT expect it.  I guess the moral of the story is:  Don't give up, but do speak up!  If you never ask, the answer is always No.  If you DO ask, sometimes you get even more than you asked for!  :-)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

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

"Steampunk is what happens when Victorian goths discover the color brown..."

Well, I'm not really into steampunk, but I love this photo and the wonderful outfits!!  (Is that guy wearing a dead bird???)  And I also happen to like brown...  ;-)

Friday, June 27, 2014

When You Don't See Me


"I don't exist when you don't see me
I don't exist when you're not here
What the eye don't see won't break the heart  
You can make believe when we're apart
But when you leave I disappear
When you don't see me."

One of my favorite songs is The Sisters of Mercy's 'When You Don't See Me'.  If I had heard it when I was a teen, it would have probably been my theme song.

I have been having an e-mail discussion with one of my goth friends about what is basically "social anxiety", in which we both confessed to having horrible anxiety after committing to attending something like a meetup, club or other public event, and we waffle back and forth right up until the last minute about whether to go or not.  What shocked me about this is that she is the last person I would have thought would have this problem; she is extremely friendly and outgoing, but she told me that she has to "warm up" to someone before she is really comfortable with them.  We are so alike in this respect that it's not funny.

I've always been pretty much of a loner.  As an only child, I grew up with a few other kids on the block to play with occasionally, but mostly I was on my own.  Being a year younger than the other kids in my grade, I spent my elementary school years mostly on the outside of the social circles.  I always had at least one real friend (versus just acquaintances) each year, but I spent the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades in three different schools, so I had to make ALL new acquaintances/friends in both 4th and 5th grades.  I always felt out of sync with everyone else, and buried myself in books that surrounded me with imaginary people whom I felt more comfortable with than I did with real ones.  When I wasn't with my own friends, I actually did feel invisible.

I lucked out in 7th grade, when I met the three other girls who would be my cronies all the way through high school.  But that ended at graduation, when three of us went to college in three different cities, and the fourth disappeared into oblivion.  After two years of college (where I found a boyfriend but no regular friends), I got my AA degree and went to work, which further distanced me from my two other friends, who were still getting their bachelor's degrees and living on campus.  All the women I worked with were much older (I was only 19) and either married or divorced, so even work wasn't a place where I met people I could relate to. 

After high school, I didn't have a circle of friends, or even a best friend, until I started taking belly dance classes.  That's also when I discovered my alter ego, "Lucresha the Bellydancer".  When I was in costume, I was a totally different person.  A few years later, I discovered my second alter ego, "Lucretia the Mary Kay Rep".  They kept me going through my 20s, 30s and into my 40s, until I stopped dancing professionally because I no longer had a group to dance with or a place to teach or practice, and became too busy with school and work and my new marriage to keep selling Mary Kay.  Eventually my MK and dance friends drifted away, and there was no one at work or school whom I really connected with on a personal level.  While we did belong to a couple of Renaissance Faire group and went to faires regularly, I frequently felt invisible there as well, especially after the faire closed for the day and we were all ourselves again for the evening.

This may sound somewhat like a sob story, but it really isn't.  I honestly have never felt a need for lots of friends, but I did get tired of having almost no one to talk to except my husband and son. However, I also realized that most of the friends I'd had over the years were only friends because we happened to be doing the same things at the same time in the same place; we weren't friends because we actually connected with each other in a personal way (except for Debbie, who is still a friend today).  When you REALLY need to talk to someone at 2am, it's nice to know there's someone who actually won't mind if you call.

I have made quite a few pagan friends in an online group I've been part of for years, but the problem there is distance.  None of us live in the same state, and two live in other countries!  It's hard to be close to someone when you never actually see them, and when most of your conversations are group-oriented, anyway.

When I joined the goth meetup group, this changed considerably.  I actually connected closely with three different people almost at once.  I was a bit leery at first about throwing myself wholeheartedly into it, just in case it didn't last, but that hasn't happened. Now I feel like I have real friends who understand me and are okay with my weirdness.  I still need my space, but that's not ALL I have anymore. And while I still feel invisible in certain places and with certain people, it's not as bad as it used to be, and it doesn't bother me nearly as much.  

Have you ever felt invisible?  How did/do you deal with it?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Death Guild and an Anniversary

Fourteen years ago yesterday, Martin and I got married at the Valhalla Renaissance Faire in South Lake Tahoe, CA. If you want more details (with pics), go to this post.

We started off on Monday night with a meetup at Death Guild, a weekly goth/industrial night in San Francisco at the DNA Lounge.  (Why they picked Monday nights for this is a puzzle that will trouble me to my grave!)  Almost all my favorite goth friends were there, including Wendy and Winter, and although I'd never heard most of the music before, there was some danceable stuff.

Here is a pic of me at the club:


Then yesterday, on the actual Day, it was sleeping until 9:30am (good heavens!!), then lazing around the house most of the day (except for going to the mall), followed by takeout from our favorite Chinese restaurant, Tin Fu.  We ended the day by watching "Grimm" episodes that we taped but hadn't seen yet.  What could be more enjoyable???

Next year, though, we are going to P.A.R.T.Y. (hopefully) with a Renaissance/Goth-themed renewal of our vows at Valhalla!!  We've already starting making tentative plans, so stay tuned! 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Goth Mom in Need

One of my best goth friends, Winter, has a sister-in-law named Kanena.  She is a single 20-something goth mom with a 5-year-old daughter, and until recently she was the main caregiver for her mother, who is dying of bone cancer.  But now Kanena has been diagnosed with cervical cancer, and is undergoing chemo treatments.  And of course, this means she needs to be able to pay for them, as well as medication, doctor visits, etc.  When you are a home caregiver, you don't usually have insurance, and even if you do, it's never enough to deal with something like this.

On behalf of Kanena and her daughter, I'm posting this link for donations to help her pay for her treatments.  If you would like to help and are able to do so, here is the link to her GoFundMe account, which will send the money directly to her:

And if you would like to help but are unable to do so monetarily, please send prayers, healing energy, or anything else that you feel inspired to send her to help her get through this difficult time.

Thank you so much!  Mitakuye oyasin...  ("We are all related...")

Sunday, June 1, 2014

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

Okay, this just takes the cake!!  Chocolate cake with black icing and raspberry filling, of course...  ;-)

Come to think of it, I remember once seeing a Halloween card that said:

Outside:  "I'm pregnant."
Inside:  "That's the scariest trick I know.  Happy Halloween!"

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Happy World Goth Day!

It's a gray, overcast, slightly chilly Thursday morning here in Hayward, and I'm at work looking goth to the teeth -- fishnets, spikes, bones, boots and all.  Just call me Abby... ;-)

Get your Goth on, and celebrate World Goth Day with me!!

In honor of the day, I give you one of my favorite songs (which is NOT by Voltaire, no matter what it says on YouTube), the classic "If I Only Were a Goth"!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

An Outfit Post for 2014

I just came across some pictures taken in October/November 2013, and realized I hadn't posted them!  So here is an outfit post for you:

I love the spiderweb tights above, but they're not really tights so much as strings woven into a pattern, with nothing holding them together!  So I'm wearing a sheer pair of regular pantyhose under them to keep them "anchored" and prevent my toes from going right through them and rubbing to death on my shoes.  They look and feel much better this way.  (Shirt: Etsy; lace skirt: private LJ sale)

The black shredded pants have fishnet sewn behind the slits so it looks like I have tights on under them.  (Shirt: EcoThrift; Pants: Torrid; Studded belt: private LJ sale; Rose necklace: Etsy; Rosary necklace: Hot Topic)

Silly, I know, but it WAS October!!  (Shirt: K-Mart; Pants: Torrid; Skull socks: JoAnn Fabrics)

The last one is a closeup of the skull, so you can see that it's actually made of cats!!  And yes, it's navy not black.  (Shirt: Torrid; Pants: EcoThrift)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review: Dark Candles... also TIKI !!!

I love candles!  And thanks to The Curious Professor Z and a review post she did long ago, I was introduced to a wonderful online candle store called Dark Candles. These candles come in many scents that you won't find anywhere else, and are created especially "For Those Who Prefer the Dark".  

I've tried quite a few of their candles (I'm into votives and tealights), and I have to say that I LOVE many of the scents.  Unfortunately, I've also found that while some candles' scents are quite strong and fill the room properly, others just seem to barely have any scent at all. I'm not sure whether it's the individual scents themselves, or whether the quality of the pouring is what makes the difference, but the strength of the scent is uneven and varies, not from candle to candle, but from scent to scent.  (I know, I'm using the word "scent" too much, but I'm not sure how to explain this properly.)  So although I may love the actual smell, there are several fragrances I won't buy again because they were so weak that I had to stand over the candles to smell them.  That being said, there are many wonderful fragrances that are worth your time and money to check out.  AND they have a "Shadow Card" program.  You get one Shadow Card for every $10 you spend; when you have ten cards, you mail them in and get $10 off your next order.  Sweet!!

The fragrances I order on a regular basis are: Full Moon, Dracula, Arachne's Garden, Dragon's Blood, Forbidden Fruit, and Black Rose.  All these scents are totally YUM!!  (Yes, even Dracula, just don't go there, okay?)

Right now, Dark Candles is having a 20% sale on all orders over $20, AND, in honor of the upcoming Summer, they have brought back a special collection.  Here is the blurb from the e-mail I got this morning:

The calendar says it's spring, but the weather here at the Dark Candles Mansion is not cooperating!

To get us all in the mood for warmer weather and some fun, we are bringing back our Tiki Collection Pack! Stop by and check out South Seas, Singapore Sling, Sneaky Tiki and Civil Savage!

This collection pack will only be available until August 31st. Also, just because you asked, available for a limited time is Forest Breeze, a welcoming scent of the threshold between meadow and forest. Very neutral and inviting!

Enjoy 20% off all orders over $20.00 with the coupon code: TIKIMAY14 

Now, I have NO idea how long the sale is going to last, so I suggest you order ASAP. And Meagan, check out that tiki collection before it goes away!  ;-)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Do I Really Look THAT Old???

On Friday, May 9, 2014, I went through another one of those annoying life passages...

I was driving up to Clearlake (again) to collect and pay my mom's bills and visit her for Mother's Day.  As usual, my first pit stop was at the Jack in the Box in American Canyon, just on the other side of the Vallejo city limit.  Also as usual, after using the ladies' room, I bought a bottle of water, which is $1.59 + tax for a total of $1.72.  I ordered from the same lady I frequently see there; she's at least my age, probably a bit older.  But this time the total came to only $1.18.  Weird.  I sneaked a look up at the menu board, but it still said $1.59 there... huh??  Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, however, I paid the $1.18, grabbed my bottle and left.

As I got into the car, curiosity got the better of me (it's my cat nature).  I checked the receipt and nearly choked, then burst out laughing; she had deducted 50 cents as a "senior discount"!!!  Seriously???  She didn't ask me if I was over any particular age, and I was wearing my usual jeans and a gothy t-shirt.  I certainly did NOT look like a "senior" anything!  Well, I had no idea what their age limit is, so I decided to enjoy the joke, the water, AND the discount.

After I got home, however, I couldn't resist the urge to go onto Mr. Box's website and check their senior discount age limit.  When I did I was sorry... Do I really look like I'm at least 55?????  Yes, I know that 52 isn't that far off, but still, I've got SOME pride.  Martin assures me that I don't even look 50 yet, but either that lady was reading my tree rings wrong or something looks older than it should.

Anyway, I've spent all this week dressing in some of my awesome gothy spring/summer clothes, and I feel MUCH better now!  Hmph... Senior, my @$$!  (However, this will NOT stop me from starting to ask about senior discounts at other places.  Why not pay less if I can do it legally??)

Monday, May 5, 2014

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

Here's the purrrfect kind of cat for goths.  I give you... SKELEKITTY!!!

Of course, black cats are my ultimate favorites  (and MUCH easier to find...)  ;-)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Wild Weekend

Saturday morning I left for Clearlake (again).  I'd been getting weird vibes and feeling nervous all morning, like there was something "wrong", but I couldn't put my finger on anything.  I got onto the freeway, and was doing 70mph through San Leandro (about 10 minutes out from home), when a loud "PING" somewhere in or under the engine got my attention.  At first I thought it was just a rock, but then I started having problems maintaining speed.  She'd been rather sluggish and jerky when I accelerated onto the freeway, but this was different... suddenly I felt that something was not connected right to the gas pedal.  I pulled off the freeway, called Triple-A from a gas station, and got a tow home.  I HAD to get to Clearlake that day, as I had people coming to finish clearing out Grandma's house on Sunday.  Fortunately, my son and his girlfriend were coming up later in the day, so I got a ride with them.  I had to come home Sunday night instead of Monday, but that was okay.  Whew.

When we got to Grandma's house Sunday morning, we found the back door and screen wide open and the outside doorknob missing.  Someone had obviously broken in, but it couldn't be seen from the street so the police driveby hadn't noticed it (assuming they DID drive by as requested).  Fortunately, the valuables that had been in obvious places were already removed, so whoever broke in probably didn't get anything.  This was confirmed when we found various hidden valuables during the cleaning process, including the silverware (real silver), and a piece of folded tinfoil stuck into a bunch of cards on the kitchen table that concealed almost $400 in cash!  I'd have missed that, but the two people I hired to help are VERY honest, and while Jim could easily have concealed it, he quickly brought it to my attention.  We also found my grandfather's Bronze Star, another box of letters he wrote to Grandma while he was at Camp Roberts and then in Italy during WWII, and several small things my mom wanted.  The only thing we didn't find was Grandma's "good" jewelry, and that might be in the safe deposit box, or she might have given it away or sold it.  She had several jewelry boxes full of stuff, but I took that out for safekeeping before she died, and most was only costume anyway.  We're not going to worry about it.

When I told my mom about the money, she told me to keep it, and use it for repairing the van.  She is the executor of Grandma's estate, so she could do that.  She said that I'd been busting my behind doing all the work for both her and Grandma (which is true), and that I should be compensated for the wear and tear on the van.  Thank you!!

So Monday I took the van in to have her repaired.  She'd been running very rough for a few weeks (yes, it started during all this running around to Clearlake), we had leaking coolant, and I figured she needed a tuneup, but we didn't have the cash.  I did give her an oil change earlier this month AND bought a new battery last week, but neither solved the problem.  Now, between the money from Grandma's house and Stuart paying his April rent (finally!), I actually didn't have to worry about the cost too much.  Turned out the sparkplugs and ignition coil were almost dead, so they did the tuneup and replaced everything, to the tune of $500.  When we went to pick her up, we found out that he hadn't known about the leaking coolant hose when he called but the guys fixed it along with everything else.  Since he'd already given us the estimate and it had been approved, he couldn't charge us for the coolant hose replacement, which would have been another $50-55, so we got that for free!  I'd have felt bad except that the diagnostic alone was $95, which is rather high, so I didn't feel they got ripped off.

Now the van is running beautifully (knock on wood!), I'm DONE with Grandma's house and almost done with the rest of her business, and when I go up again in two weeks (on Mother's Day weekend), I should be able to relax a bit more and spend more time with my mom.  She is doing extremely well, and the doctor has expressed cautious agreement that she might be able to go home by the end of May.  woo-HOO!!!

I'm feeling extremely blessed now.  I didn't have an accident when the van conked; I was able to get to Clearlake on schedule and meet my obligations; we found everything we wanted and/or needed to find in Grandma's house, which is now OUT OF MY HAIR; I got the money to fix the van and the work has been done; AND I got to spend time with Stuart and Kori.  I feel like I've lost 40 pounds!!!  :-)

Thanks to all, living and otherwise, who made this possible!!  And thanks to all of you who have been sending prayers, energy, and general good juju to me and my family.

A blessed Beltaine/May Day to all!

And just to make this a slightly gothy post, I give you this pic I made on some random site awhile back.  The funny thing is that last year I bought a black strapless sundress with pinky/purple skulls-and-crossbones on it!  This would totally be me, if only I was drawn that way...  ;-)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Is Today a Good Day to Die?

The other day I had a meltdown.  It was inevitable, really.  I've just got too much on my plate right now, and I had to throw open the door to my Shadow closet before it either imploded or exploded.  So it was actually a good thing, although the timing could have been a little better.  ::sigh::

Among other things, something that has bothered me for a long time but now has become a front-row issue  is how our society deals with aging and the elderly while at the same time spouting the praises of modern medicine's ability to allow people to live longer.  Every other weekend I visit a place that is full of older people who are no longer capable of living alone or taking care of themselves.  Some have physical issues, others have mental issues, and the really lucky ones have both.  Some have devoted family members and/or friends who visit frequently and keep them at least marginally in the social loop, while others are totally alone because either their families and friends have abandoned them or they have no one who is still living or close enough to come. Many of them lay in their beds or sit in their wheelchairs and just stare or sleep all the time.  Are they content?  I have no idea.  My grandmother was becoming one of those people towards the end, especially when she could no longer hear or make herself understood to those around her, and I know she was not enjoying that.  She had been telling my mom for years that she was ready to die anytime; she was just waiting to go.  We thought she had a health care directive ("living will") that indicated her wishes, but we were unable to find it; we still have no idea where it is, or if it ever existed.  She was fortunate that she died naturally, before any decisions about life support had to be made.

I'm not afraid of death... I'm afraid of being forced to continue living after my body has decided it's time to die.  While I do have a health care directive that clearly states I do not want to be kept alive in a permanently vegetative state, and I believe that both my husband and son would honor that wish, what about other types of situations?  I believe that someone who is permanently in ill health or extreme pain but who is still in control of their mental faculties should be allowed to "let go" and die if they wish to do so; this would include people with dementia, Alzheimer's, or some other form of mental deterioration who still have fairly long periods of lucidity and rationality.  I think it would be awesome to be able to do it surrounded by one's family and friends in a social ritual, like birthdays, weddings, showers, baptisms and confirmations; the way it is done in certain movies such as "Logan's Run" is a good example (although we'd have to change the part about it being a form of population control, with everyone being forced to die at a certain age regardless of their health).

I know it probably sounds horrible to many people, but why can't we be as 'humane' to those of our own species as we are to other animals who are ill or in pain and never going to get better?  We have our pets and other animals "put to sleep" by a veterinarian rather than force them to live with a lingering illness or die a painful death.  Why shouldn't people be allowed to do the same, with society's blessing?  Now I'm definitely not saying it should be required of everyone (or anyone), and it should never be decided by someone other than the individual in question, but I do think it should be an option for each of us.  Since DNR ("Do Not Resuscitate") directives are legal, why not legalize LMD ("Let Me Die") directives as well?

Remember Terri Schiavo?  She lay in a nursing facility from 1990 to 2005, unable to move or speak, and the doctors said she was brain-dead, which meant she had no consciousness of anything or anyone.  Her husband and parents fought for years over whether she should be kept on life support or allowed to die, and the only ones who actually benefited from this were the doctors, hospitals and nursing facilities who received exorbitant sums of money for keeping her alive while the fighting went on (not to mention the lawyers). Her family only ended up with heartache that continues to this day.

What do YOU think about this subject?  Should it be socially acceptable for permanently ill or injured people to choose their time to die?  Why or why not?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Birthday Vacation!!

Yesterday was my birthday, and I'm celebrating by taking this week off!  I had to go to Clearlake last weekend to clear out Grandma's house, so I felt I owed myself a break, and this was the perfect time.

Here's what I've done so far:

Monday I met with two goth friends and went thrift store shopping!  We had a GREAT time, and found some awesome deals.  I ended up with a black Punisher t-shirt, a red lace micromini skirt, a pair of red/black/white knee socks with skulls-and-crossbones on them, and a black shirt that's hard to describe but looks awesome; these are the things I can wear right away.  I also found a black t-shirt with a cat head and "Me-ow!" on it, which I put in my closet in the "I-need-to-lose-5-to-10-pounds-first" section.  Hey, you gotta have something to work towards, right??  ;-)  And I spent less than $20 on all of it. 

Tuesday was my birthday, woo-HOOO!!  I started out by going shopping at my favorite grocery store, Trader Joe's, and dancing through the isles to the song "Witch Doctor".  Then on to Jiffy Lube, where I gave my van a birthday present of an oil/fluid change, plus a new headlight (that I didn't know needed changing).  After that, I headed for Kohl's, as I had COUPONS!!  I found an awesome pair of boots, originally $79.99, that were on sale for $25.  Using my $10-off b-day coupon and my 15% off coupon, I ended up paying only $13.86!!  And that came of my b-day money, so I actually got them for free!  Thanks, Mom!  :-)  From Martin, I got the DVD of the new Vin Diesel movie, Riddick.  I am totally addicted to Riddick, heheheh...  We'll be watching that later today.  And then we had cake!  Since Martin's birthday was Saturday and I was in Clearlake, we had the one cake for both of us (we usually do that, anyway).

Today is Wednesday.  My son is coming over to hang out around 12:30 while his girlfriend is in class; when she gets out, we'll all go out to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  I'll probably work in the garden as well, since it's really nice today.

Not sure what I'll be doing Thursday and Friday, but I'm sure I'll think of something!  ;-)

What do you do to celebrate your birthday???

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Danse Macabre

"Danse Macabre ('Dance of Death') is an artistic genre of late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter one's station in life, the Dance of Death unites all. The Danse Macabre consists of the dead or personified Death summoning representatives from all walks of life to dance along to the grave, typically with a pope, emperor, king, child, and laborer. They were produced to remind people of the fragility of their lives and how vain were the glories of earthly life. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest recorded visual scheme was a now lost mural in the Holy Innocents Cemetery in Paris dating from 1424–25."  (Wikipedia)

One of the things I enjoy most about Renaissance Faires is the performing group, Northern California Danse Macabre.  They are very sneaky about their "entrances" and "exits", and don't wander about the faires in their Danse Macabre costumes.  Instead, they wear regular faire garb like everyone else most of the day, but before each of their performances, they slip one by one into one or more of the many encampments and hide in or behind the tent while they change into their DM costumes and makeup.  Then they suddenly appear, seemingly out of nowhere, do their parade/dance through the faire without speaking to anyone (performances consist of period music on period instruments, no vocals), and then disappear into another tent or tents to change back into "normal" faire garb.  Those who wish to join the group must find them in their hideout at one of the faires they attend in order to apply.  I REALLY wanted to join them, but unfortunately we had to stop attending faires before I was able to do so.  Below is a photo of them at one of the faires a few years ago, and here is a brief glimpse of their dancing and music (I found both on their website, linked above).


Here is a wonderful picture of the Danse Macabre that I found in an e-mail sent by the group awhile back.  Unfortunately, no information was given on when, where or by whom it was created, so I have no idea if it is a medieval original or a well-done modern recreation.  (UPDATE: Thanks to Little Gothic Horrors, here is a link!)  Underneath is a poem found on the group's "business cards" (also on their website).  Enjoy!

DM Card 1 back - right-click to save

Saturday, April 5, 2014