Sunday, November 30, 2014

... oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

Today my fella and I put up two Christmas trees. For years I have been obsessed with Old World Christmas ornaments and even have an ornament tree aka the wrought iron tree pictured below. This is the first year that I'm actually putting my precious ornaments on an actual artificial tree so negotiating limbs was quite new to me. My fella brought the copper tree into our lives and I had a black/silver pencil tree that I used upstairs because well, I'm obsessed with Christmas. We're packed in now with two households joining together so the wrought iron tree just can't go up this year. There isn't the space.

While some might balk at the non-traditional nature of the trees, I think they're beautiful. And now, they're a combination of the two of us.


Last year's wrought iron tree

 "Devils with red faces, horns and tails often played a significant role in early German Christmas celebrations. Paradise plays performed during the holiday season in medieval times depicted life and death, the Garden of Eden, and good and evil." OWC

... all dogs go to heaven...

Professor's Monthly Homework Assignment is to reflect on our babies. I have just one.

I didn't buy him or adopt him from the pound. He was purchased for $800 by an ex to become a show dog. When we went to grad school in different states, my ex left his dog with me to babysit until he could find a place that allowed dogs. Having a restricted breed, a Doberman, in parts of this country especially cities that aren't so dog friendly cost me a great deal of money. I note that here because I saved every receipt until my ex turned over his papers. It would have become a lawsuit as serious as any human child custody. Once you're a mom to a pup, you'll fight to keep him against all logic and costs. When you’re a mom to a pup, you’re always a mom… even when your best friend has crossed to the other side. 

Aslan passed on 7/12/05 and still I miss him every day. His ashes are in my office right above my desk where I am typing this post now. Even when we were in parks or at my folks and he was allowed to run free, he always stayed close to me.... so I decided that he'd want to be close to his Mom. Our ashes will be buried together upon my death.

There was an episode of the Ghost Whisperer where the main character, Melinda, was having trouble walking down the hallway of a hospital because she was being overwhelmed by ghosts. I remember a golden retriever running down the hall and an elderly man petting what turned out to be the ghost of his childhood dog (of course, he was a ghost at this point). When Aslan was diagnosed with lymphoma and ran such a high fever that I had to make the only humane decision I could (and it was and still is a beautifully awful decision that was best for him), I laid on the floor on my pup while he took his last breathes and whispered, "You be the first". Regardless of all my great loves that I could predict in the future back then, I wanted him to greet me upon my own death.

I still have his leash, seat belt, collars, tags, and health records. How does one discard such things of one who was so precious?

I found this email in my account. I'm including it here for my post.
When you get to the end where I mention the dog treats, I will note that those pieces of Milkbone are still in the paper bag in the back of my freezer. When I left my ex, I took them to my apartment and then when I built my house, I moved them once again. My fella completely understands.
Sorry I haven't emailed you both back sooner. I haven't responded to
anyone this week by email or phone. Thank you so much for your kind
words. I am just finding everything so difficult. Only cried about 99
times today... an improvement from 100. Seems silly that blankets
could make me cry. We're trying to wash Aslan's bedding to donate to
the vet. I gave his food, treats and medicine to my friend Angela so
she could use it for her dogs. We don't have the heart to move his
food bowls. I washed them and just put them back in place. Another
silly thing I guess but the apartment seems so empty already that I
can't tolerate any more change. The hardest part is just figuring out
who I am without Aslan... he's been every bit a part of my adult life-
the reason I live where I live, the reason I drive the car that I
drive, even one of the main reasons for picking Larry as our new play
toy was because Aslan liked him so much.

I've tried to do a lot of searching to figure out what my religion
says about dogs and heaven. Every darn Catholic has an opinion. The
best answer I found was from TV- an old Twilight Zone episode which
XXX (my ex) and I watched while I rested against Aslan the day before he got
sick. I feel like it was a sign.
The episode included a hunter and his dog, Red, hunting for raccoons.
They end up dying and must walk down a long stretch of land when Red begins
barking as they meet a man. The hunter asks if the man is St. Peter.
He replies "oh no. I work for him". He welcomes the hunter through the
gate but refuses the dog. The hunter decides not to enter saying, "I'm
only going in if Red goes in". The story continues with the man
telling the hunter that he'll sneak Red in later but the hunter
refuses, "if Red can't walk through the front gate with me I'll just
keep on walking". The man laughs and says that they'll be walking for
eternity but the hunter and Red continue anyway.

They walk about a mile when Red takes off running and reaches another
gate with an "obvious" angel. When the hunter arrives the angel smiles
and says that they're all glad the hunter wasn't confused by the other
gate (Hell) and adds "gosh sir, don't you know all dogs go to heaven".

Aslan is being cremated. Thank you for offering your yard. That means
a great deal. I've planned for his ashes to be released in the field
at my parent's house- his favorite place to run and play (probably his
version of Heaven). We will have a funeral service for him once his
ashes are returned to us. We'll also have a burial- I know you will
understand this no matter how ridiculous this may sound -- his last
night home we had a broken off piece of Milkbone and a small treat in
front of him which he refused to eat (that's kind of when I knew
things were as bad as they were). XXX (my ex) and I were unable to do
anything with those treats... in fact, I carried them around with me
for a few hours. I finally put them in a ziplock and placed them in
the freezer because I don't have the heart to throw them away. My mom
suggested we bury them under his headstone (which she has already
ordered). I thought it was a good idea. That way he can sort of take
them with him.

... TAG! You're It!...

Tagged by the lovely Sylvie at Little Corp Goth Girl
These are the questions in the Blogvember challenge:

What is the best thing about blogging?'
Although I’ve recently started this blog, I’ve been a *blogger* since February 2007. For my academic blog, it’s been a way for me to push my research forward and make it available to those who may actually benefit from it. It also helps me to be as open and transparent as possible in a field that often takes the detailed research and sits it on a shelf in the form of a book.
As for this blog, I feel like it’s been therapeutic.  I also enjoy connecting with like-minded individuals who help me grow.

What makes my blog special?
Hmmm. I’m not sure what exactly makes my blog special.  The gardening metaphor is used to document my own growth although I do include a bit of gardening since I’m slightly obsessed with my yard. I might add that my personal life has hijacked my blog focus a bit. I mean, I got married so of course that’s going to show itself a bit. Perhaps the blog is special because it’s documented the beginning of a new journey after I’ve been so bitter-ish about the past ones.

How does my blog look in a year?
Maybe I’ll have more followers :p
Hint Hint

Which was my best post?
My “…making tiny graveyards and a skull terrarium…” post was the most popular but I think that was because Noah Scalin, the artist from Skull-a-Day,  posted the pictures on his Facebook page. The second most popular post was my Happy Halloween & Shovel Contest Post! I’d like to think it was my super awesome contest that received two entries (quality not quantity!) but it was probably more because I had just gotten married.

What other blogs / bloggers inspire me?
Pretty much all of the blogs that I follow (which is public) inspire me in some way or another. 
I will note that VictorianKitty and Trystan L. Bass are my biggest shopping enablers since they post their amazing outfits. I blame them both for the dent in my wallet :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

...correcting the space...

Last May, the stars aligned. I had a conference in New Orleans. This would be my third trip and for the first time it wouldn’t include an excursion with a boyfriend/husband. This was a trip for me to take back the city that I loved. My fella was very encouraging. He knew that I needed this as much as I knew that I needed it.

My arrival day was on May 10th, 2014. I landed and pulled off the drop-off-suitcase-at-hotel-and-get- to-the-cemetery-tour in record time. I toured St. Louis No. 1 cemetery within an hour of landing (even with a flight delay). The universe was smiling on me. What made the day even better was that THAT VERY NIGHT ***swoon*** THE Julian Sands (more swooning) whom I have loved since I was a fledgling goth girl watching Gothic (1986) and dying over seeing Mr. Sands’ bottom (I’m sorry but it’s true) in that performance. It was on VHS so it was probably the size of a pea but still… I watched the movie again and again and again and again. Not exactly for his nakedness but you know what I mean. I rented it so often that I eventually owned it!  I could write a whole separate blog post just about that movie… but that’s for another time. Anyhow, 2014… I was in New Orleans and Mr. Sands was performing THREE BLOCKS from my hotel. I planned a nice dinner for myself and then walked to the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans. The night was Julian Sands in ‘A Celebration of Harold Pinter’

This was the first time I heard Pinter’s poem, “I know the place”. Sands explained that even he didn’t quite understand it the first time he read it. He even misspoke when reading it in front of Pinter and turned “corrects” into “connects”. I, in fact, understood the poem instantly and it immediately became a favorite. So much in that it was the poem that I read to my fella at our wedding and it was included in the sugar skull paper art.  

I know the place.
It is true.
Everything we do
Corrects the space
Between death and me
And you.”
           ~ Harold Pinter

The evening was perfect. Mr. Sands even recited the shortest poem and since I was in the front row (front and center… the first one seated! Among an audience who was twice my age. I was so close that I could see him sweat!), he winked right at me.

Photography was prohibited but I asked the manager if I could please take a picture of the empty stage to remember the moment. These are my favorite colors. The evening was perfect. He cried reciting the last poem. We cried receiving it.

The New Orleans trip was perfect.  It was exactly what I needed before getting married.  I believe it may have been the single best trip I’ve ever taken… everything was exactly how it needed to be. I just didn’t realize how important the trip was until after… and until now.
Tonight is my one month wedding anniversary.  For a month I’ve lived with and loved the man to whom I’m now married. Each day we’re correcting the space.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

...gardens, cemeteries, and nails...

The gardening season is behind us (or at least it is in my climate).  Now the only spider webs I’m seeing are those that I wear around my neck.

The touring season has ended officially this weekend. My last tour was last Sunday. A few days ago, I planned to head to the cemetery for a walk but instead found two local cemeteries, Woodland and Shiloh Baptist, which I’ve never been to before. They’re a bit off the walking paths of my town but I was able to find them and have a little adventure. Of course, I was pretty bundled up. The weather is so up and down this time of year.
Shiloh Baptist Church Cemetery
This morning I continued my preparations of winterizing my backyard garden. Hoses were put in my small storage chest. The pumpkin from the wedding is slowly rotting away. We put it in the garden and now it’s almost flat against the earth. Tomorrow will be 77ºF (25ºC) and since it will probably be the last warm day until March 2015, I need to get out there and finish the final pruning.
Shiloh Baptist Church Cemetery
I have a small heater aimed at my feet as I type but I admit I am a wimp when it comes to cold weather. It’s in the low 50s ºF (11ºC). I live in New England for a few years but could not tolerate the weather one bit. They’re not all bad memories though. The first year I was in Massachusetts, my mom came up for a visit and we headed up to Salem on Halloween. We had no idea what to expect… and it Snowed! We were right on the water. Flowers were still in bloom. Mom and I walked through a graveyard and strolled down by the House of Seven Gables. Ladies in their witchy best were walking all around. I remember it being magical. But that was many, many moons ago.
Woodland Cemetery
Woodland Cemetery
Today my small town had an Olde Time Holiday Parade. We were all set to go but my fella wasn’t feeling so well and felt he needed a nap. He was sleeping so soundly that I just didn’t have the heart to wake him. I let him sleep and opted for an afternoon making and eating homemade cheddar potato soup. It turned out to be the right choice for both of us especially since the weather looked like it was going to rain. Everything has been go, go, go all year. I’m trying to sit and just be more this fall. Or at least I’m trying to be present with my thoughts even when I am in motion.  Rarely do I take time to take care of my nails during garden season. Today I took some time to give myself a French manicure.  It was nice therapeutic start to the week.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

...shiny things, crows, and (literally) cold feet...

sometimes I look like Mr. T

The last few days have been terribly cold. One minute I’m wearing open-toe shoes and the next, I need layers or socks! The leaves from the trees in the back of my house have fallen and with that is the time of year where I can gaze up and see the crows. I can actually hear them as I write. While some consider them a nuisance, I love them! They make strange sounds; and, they’re fun to watch because they’re amazingly curious birds.
I’ve been thinking about crows because of the myth that they collect shiny things. They don’t really… or no more than any other bird. They’re just inquisitive. Even with it being a myth, I’ve always muttered that I am quite like a crow attracted to shiny things. This has come up recently because while going out to eat at a restaurant last week, a woman held me practically captive in the restroom commenting on my jewelry. “Oh my god, I love it! It’s so different”… whatever that second sentence means. She kept asking about where I “got my bling” which would normally have me step up on my soapbox because I think “bling” is my least favorite word ever. In fact, I cringe. See, this is the makings of a soapbox rant…. Moving along….

I tend to layer necklaces and bracelets so when someone asks me for a history, I have to name each item one by one. I’m actually lucky because I discovered a local jewelry magician who takes old unwanted pieces and transforms them into brilliant *new* pieces. The good/bad part of this is that once she knows your taste and understands you, she’ll make pieces accordingly.
Origami Owl LEFT/ Coffin pendant from Trystan's Virtual Garage Sale 
Pandora TOP/ Trollbeads BOTTOM
I also get drawn in to jewelry parties (e.g. Origami Owl) and am gifted items (e.g. Pandora beads) that I feel like I have to follow up on for whatever reason. I know my taste and can usually transform items into my own or at least find the ones that work. One LOVELOVELOVE lately has been my Trollbeads bracelet. Oy! Their Halloween makes me want to die with a loud happy gwee! Or maybe I should just sigh “Kaw Kaw”. But there’s that myth again…