Sunday, March 26, 2017

...Baskets & Caskets!, a contest...

On Easter Day
the veil between time and eternity
thins to gossamer.
~ Douglas Horton

Holy moly! It’s been years since Goth Gardening had a contest. I’m shocked because the Shovel Contest wasn’t weird at all; and, then I even had three prizes for the Gift Giving contest (and CryptKicker never even claimed his prize so if he still reads this blog, I have had your box ready to ship for almost three years now. No pressure, send me your address when you’re ready.)

I’ve been thinking about gifts lately because this weekend, I finally celebrated my birthday after being sick for a little over a month. I’m gradually regaining my strength just in time for the second half of the semester and spring!

Soon, it will be Easter and despite the story of a god coming back from the dead like a spiritual zombie (no offense to anyone but it has always been pretty creepy), and all the confusion over the bunnies, eggs, and chickens relating to dead-resurrected Jesus, I mean the Catholic Church wouldn’t have thought to steal anyone else’s religious symbols, right?!? (sarcasm alert), I’ve never been a big fan of Easter. That makes me sad because I love HOLIDAYS! And, hello, DEAD RESURRECTING GOD!

Maybe it’s all the pastel colors or maybe it was that Easter Egg Contest in kindergarten when I found a golden egg but it turns out it was for the first graders because some teacher hid the egg too close to the fence and a kindergartener found it and didn’t receive a prize. It’s not like I’m holding a grudge. Or, maybe it’s because people don’t dress up in costumes for Easter. They should. Those creepy Easter Bunny pictures make me smile!

I’ve also been thinking about how now that I am an adult I don’t receive an Easter basket. My mother used to make ***Oops, sorry sorry sorry*** I meant, the Easter Bunny used to bring me the most amazing baskets. As a kid, I received some candy but typically my baskets were filled with amazing small presents that were always perfect because my mother, err, the Easter Bunny always gives good presents. But, alas, now I don’t get one. I even make a basket for my fella! But then I enjoy doing it and the thought of putting together an Easter basket for me would stress him out.

All of this has led to a Goth Gardening Contest called Baskets & Caskets!

For your chance to win a Goth Gardener Easter Basket of the most Goth-ily Amazing Treats, create a post of your perfect Goth Easter Basket—one you would give to yourself or one you would give to a friend. OR, write a blog post about how to celebrate the Most Perfect Goth Easter! OR, write a scary Easter story because there aren’t many of those. The more creative (and by that, I mean weird), the better! 

Have your posts up by April 16th because that morning as the sun and Jesus rise from the dead (wow, this post is especially tacky tonight) I will publish my own post sharing the Baskets & Caskets! basket that you could win. In the comments, add your blog post URL for a chance to win.  

Can’t stand the anticipation?!? I will be sharing posts with sneak peeks of what will be included in the basket.

Sunday, March 19, 2017 time is wasted when you're with roses & friends in a cemetery...

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose
that makes your rose so important.”
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince

Monroe's restored grave site, Hollywood Cemetery
Saturday was the 5th Annual Rose Pruning and Maintenance Day at Hollywood Cemetery. This year, on the way there, I heard (Nothing but) Flowers by the Talking Heads. I see signs, not coincidences. 

I wrote about my first year volunteering here; and, last year, I wrote about my experience here. This year I had a larger group made up of the River City Cemetarians, a Meetup group that I started last year. I also had some of the same roses as I did last year, including the Burkholder rose. Overall, Saturday's event felt like a reunion. Some of the volunteers are "friends" I only see once a year now but during the lunch portion of the volunteer event we get to catch up. 

The weather was absolutely perfect. It started out in the high 40s with rain clouds and ended in the low 60s with this beautiful blue sky.
View of the James River from Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA
One rosebush that I helped care for is on the grave of Emma Trainer Burkholder. Last year I did some research after rose day and learned a little bit about the individuals buried in the plots with roses.

Last year I wrote,

“I learned that Mrs. Burkholder, who was born in Illinois and somehow made her way to Richmond, VA, was a member of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her ancestor who fought in the American Revolution came from Switzerland. I also learned that the Virginia Historical Society actually has a collection of records including a death certificate and a family Bible that belonged to her family. I’d like to investigate some more to find out more about her inscription, “Music is born of love.” But we don’t find out everything about a person on the first encounter so I have a bit of work to do to learn more.”

But, I haven’t made time to learn more so I am adding this to my to-do list. Now that I have been taking a course on Historic Collections and Archives, I feel much more confident going through these records.  Also, her rose was weedwacked by a member of the landscaping crew so this year I want to try to give it some extra care. Last year I went by to water it a few times during the hottest days of summer. This year I might need to add a bit of fertilizer, or something! If you look at the pictures from last year (see last year's post) compared to those from this post, well, that rosebush is looking sad.

Again, I have to add that the Friends of Hollywood Cemetery are great hosts. The Executive Director Kelly Wilbanks shows up and just as I noted last year, she is gracious and makes sure that volunteers have water and boxed lunches from Sally Bell’s, a family-owned establishment that has been serving homemade sandwiches and baked goods nine decades. This year, my Sally Bell’s boxed lunch included an egg salad sandwich, a deviled egg, a pecan & cheese wafer, potato salad, and a pineapple cake. My *Southern* is showing when I pick the egg salad and deviled egg combo but they really are different!
Connie showing me how to properly tie a rose to a fence.

Connie over at Hartwood Roses is our fearless leader, and she has done an amazing job organizing this rose-saving-volunteer effort. It also makes me realize that Connie and I have known each for two years now. In some ways, I can’t believe it has only been two years; in other ways, I’m surprised it has been two years. It’s not often we get to acknowledge our actual Friend-iversaries. I remember when I started this blog that an acquaintance said that one cannot make true friends on the internet. As I meet and befriend more of you dear readers, I prove her wrong every day. Sometimes we come together over roses and gardening; sometimes it is cemeteries; sometimes, it’s this great online goth community. Now my little black heart is feeling all full of love. I love you all! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

...shiny souvenirs from my life & National Jewelry Day...

Let us not be too particular.
It is better to have
old, second hand diamonds
than none at all.
~Mark Twain
 If it seems particularly quiet over here, it’s because *shocker* I’ve been sick. I hate February and February hates me. I came down with the flu the Tuesday after my last post and pretty much slept for the next seven days. The next three weeks have been a rally for me to get up when I’ve needed to and then back to bed the rest of the time. Even yesterday I watched four movies straight. I don’t recall the last time, if ever, that I watched four movies straight.

So we pretty much canceled my birthday plans. Oh, yeah, I’m 43 now. (Shrug) I had to save my energy for  the Wicked Women of Richmond panel on February 26 in connection with Women in Horror Month. I was so heavily medicated in order to make it there, and then I drank cider while medicated (Kids, don’t try that at home) that I fear how I will sound (or what I even said) when the podcast comes out tomorrow. My fella has been the best possible nurse/ driver/ doctor/ everything. If I don’t say that I adore him to pieces enough… well, I adore him to pieces.
This weekend, he even attended the RVA Horror Book Club with me. We met at the oldest pet cemetery in the area since we read Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, and I had planned to take a picture of the grave and write about Richmond’s Lady Wonder, a psychic horse. But there was poorly scribbled signage “No Trespassing: Violators will be prosecuted” so the book club moved our location because we’re all pretty much rule-following weirdos.

But today is National Jewelry Day and since I love jewelry, I thought I would take a moment from hacking (well, I’m still coughing but still) to talk about how much I love jewelry.
From antiques to contemporary collections, from junk to rare stones, I pretty much love it all. I believe that its worth comes from the sentimental value of the pieces. I have jewelry boxes, a jewelry armoire, and I display jewelry throughout my bedroom. When it’s not decorating me, it can still be décor!

I’ve written about my love for the sentimental before, but today I am going to share one of my oldest pieces that I purchased (not necessarily the oldest made but the one that I bought for myself when I was a teen) and some of my recent bracelet beads because I also like tiny things!

It was probably in 1989 when I bought this amethyst attached to the Eye of Horus. The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and good health. The amethyst is my birthstone and as it is known as the “all-healer” it is another piece of protection especially against psychic attack. I went through a phase where I wore numerous protection stones. At the time, I thought I needed them, and because I thought they looked cool. I remember that I was going out with a guy (Joel for those of you who have known me long enough) and we were in Newport News, Virginia. There was a store called The Pyramid and I’m pretty sure that I purchased this pendant there. Through the years it has been one of my most cherished pieces and it has witnessed so many life events and met so many of my friends, the late ones and the ones I loved who are no longer in my life. I remember certain loved ones handling the stone, mixing up their energy with mine. Now I'm much more protective of such things.
Moving along, my most recent jewelry purchase is a bead that I purchased from W. Hamond in Whitby. It’s the silver and jet fang charm that is now on my Trollbeads bracelet. I have a Pandora and a Trollbeads bracelet but I’m really not loyal to any of the companies since I have Pandora, Chamilia and OHM beads on the Pandora bracelet, and Trollbeads and the new Hamond piece on the Trollbeads bracelet. I’ve wanted the little fang charm for a while now and since I have been sick and stuck at home, in my weakened state I bought myself a gift. Well, that's the excuse that I'm using. 

I started collecting the beads for the bracelets years ago and I think that they’re now complete. If I add any more beads, they’ll just be too heavy or bulky. I remember an associate in Pandora stating that each of our bracelets tell a story about us and then after asking to see my beads seeming a bit flabbergasted when she wasn’t quite sure what my spooky story could be. Oh, they do all have their own stories.

On National Jewelry Day, I hope that you're wearing or at least thinking about some of your favorite pieces. Perhaps you might consider sharing their stories.