Tuesday, March 21, 2017

That Which Does Not Kill Me...

No, I haven't died.  Just in case you were wondering.

The world is a strange and confusing place, and I seem to be floating back and forth between 'strange' and 'confusing'.

                                              (Mike Twohy)

I've often read/heard this quote by Nietzsche, and it annoys me every time.  However, right now I'm hoping it's true, because otherwise I'm going crazy instead of getting stronger.

I was really hoping that 2017 would be a better year than the previous three, and it still might turn out that way.  So far, though, it hasn't had much to commend it.  Both our rent and my student loan payments are going up in April; not through the roof, but enough to make things difficult.  There was a fire in our apartment complex a few weeks ago. While our apartment wasn't damaged, it was a really scary experience.  My in-laws in Florida are having serious health issues, and we are worried about them but can't do much from California.  We had to put our oldest cat to sleep (her "In Memorium" is the post before this one).  And ALL of this stuff happened in March!  It feels like the Garbage Truck of Life is dumping on my house... again.  I really wish it would lose my address.

Fortunately, better things are also in the works for us.  We are getting ready to start house hunting, and we are going through a national non-profit organization called NACA (Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America), which will allow us to avoid having to come up with a down payment and closing costs.  I've only got three more museum classes to take before getting my certificate (the next one starts in April).  I'm working on a new horror short story.  And I just colored my hair a pastel smokey sapphire blue!  The color looks pretty good, although I didn't quite do it right so some of the hair underneath in back didn't get colored at all.  But, hey, I can always buy another box!  :-) 

At this point in time, I'm sort of content just to float along and see what happens next.  I don't really feel like doing anything, as in being proactive about the future, other than the house hunting.  And even that is really something I need to do because the extra rent will be an extra hardship, especially since the new owners are grousing about us having pets.  The past couple of years have really tired me out, and I need some downtime.  So right now, I'm going to sit here in my office, listening to the German Gothic band Faun's Totem album and smelling the freshly opened daffodils I bought at Trader Joe's, and just BE.  

And if any of you would like the Garbage Truck of Life to visit your house, just send me your address, and I'll be glad to send It along. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

In Memorium: Scathach/Pachamama, 2001?-2017

She was a beautiful tortoiseshell cat, originally known as 'Spitter', mainly because she would hiss and spit at everyone, especially her former human.  When we met her in 2004, she had been living on her own on our apartment complex property for about two years.  She had had at least three litters that we knew of; we had one of the kittens from the first one.  That summer we noticed her taking her three kittens to drink at the pool, which is next to our living room window.  We started bringing them water so they wouldn't drink out of the pool, but of course, that turned into bringing them daily food as well.  She never meowed at us; instead, she hissed.  We soon learned to translate these fairly well:

"Hiss." (Oh, it's you.)

"Hiss!" (We're hungry, feed us!)

"Hiss! Hiss!"  (You're late, where's our food?)

"Hiss?"  (More, please?)

"HISSSS!!"  (Don't try to pet me, you idiot, I'll rip your arm off!!)

We named her Scathach, after the Scottish warrior woman who trained many of the great warriors of Celtic mythology.  It seemed fitting, as her weaponry was rather formidable, considering she weighed only around six pounds.  However, she never once actually scratched or bit either of us, although once she did warn Martin off with a hiss-and-swat when he tried to pet her.  He got off VERY lightly, with only two tiny pinholes from one claw instead of a shredded arm.

While she still had this litter with her, she got pregnant again.  The five kittens (four black females and an orange/white male) were born just over the fence from our bedroom.  Three weeks later, when construction work was threatening the tree she had sheltered them under, we brought them in and set up a nursery in our master bathtub.  (Thank goodness we have two bathrooms!) Scathach willingly followed, and graciously allowed us to stay while she raised her babies.

Well, we found homes for two of those kittens, but Scathach and the other three stayed with us, along with the older two that were still with her and the one we already had.  (The new orange and white kitten was Chango, whose 'In Memorium' is posted here.)  It didn't take long until she stopped spitting.  The day she climbed into my lap, settled down, and started purring, I held my breath in disbelief, afraid if I moved she would hiss and run.  But she didn't.  After watching her continue to nurse her last litter for months, even after being spayed, we changed her name to Pachamama (or Mama, for short), after the Inca fertility/earth goddess.  Over the years, she has never stopped being "Mom" to them, running to see what was going on every time she heard one of them cry, growl or hiss.  Since Gandalf took over as king of our 'herd', she has also been affectionately referred to as the "Queen Mum". 

Then, this last Sunday morning (the day after the one-year anniversary of my mom's interment), Mama came up to me crying; she couldn't close her mouth and was drooling all over herself.  We rushed her to the vet and he found a HUGE tumor in her upper jaw, wrapped around an infected tooth.  We all felt she probably wouldn't survive surgery, so we let her go while we were there.  I am honestly surprised she lived this long; we think she was around 16 or 17, and  was down to 4 pounds, all bones, organs and skin.  She has been 'forgetting' to use the litter box for the last 4-5 months and was pooing on the carpet frequently unless we led her to the box.  Unlike the other cats we've lost, we didn't think she would want to be buried up on the hill in the local regional park (our private 'pet cemetery'), so we put her in the back yard where she can watch over the place she lived all her life.  It feels really weird not having her here, but once we knew she was suffering there was no question about the right thing to do.  

Rest in peace, Mama.  May your children who have gone before you greet you with love.  And may Bast and Sekhmet welcome you with honor to the Field of Reeds!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 2017: I'm SO Goth..."

Once again, Morticia Addams says it all in her own unique way:


I LOVE THIS WOMAN!!  Why can't more people be like her??

Friday, February 3, 2017

February 2017: "I'm SO Goth..."

Okay, this definitely looks like an assignment from Snapes' "Defense Against the Dark Arts" class, and I think they all just failed...  or maybe they passed???


Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 2017: "I'm SO Goth..."

Welcome to 2017!!  Just don't be so excited about starting the new year that THIS happens...


Sunday, December 18, 2016

What Happens After We Die?

It's been a rough year.  I've been thinking quite a bit about death, and what happens after we die.  Obviously, it's of great interest to me, since so many people and pets I know and love are dead now, and others are old enough that I know it's only a matter of time.  I've tried various spiritual paths in an attempt to find beliefs that make sense to me, but so far nothing has permanently 'clicked' in terms of being just right.  I think the real problem is that NO ONE knows for sure what happens to us and where we go (if anywhere) when our bodies die.  And that is what I want to know.


I once went on a shamanic journey to meet Death.  I found what I was looking for, and I will never be foolish enough to try that a second time.  However, even that experience didn't answer the question of what happens to us after we die. Death is not a static thing or even a state of being, but rather an event that transitions us from being alive here on Earth to... being something and/or someplace else.  Or perhaps not.

I do believe that there is something beyond this life other than oblivion; there are too many people who have had near-death experiences who have shared them to make me believe otherwise.  And while I am okay with not knowing all the details, I have to admit I would love to find out more about what is or is not on "the Other Side".  Hey, I'm only human!  ;-)

One of the reasons I no longer follow any of the current spiritual paths (other than occasional forays into the shamanic one) is because I have found too many contradictions within them, and too many things that don't add up when looked at as a whole.  For instance, I was raised LDS (Mormon), and one of the beliefs of that church is that those who attain the highest glories of heaven (the Celestial Kingdom) but who were not sealed to their spouse in an LDS temple will be 'servants' to those who are sealed to their spouses.  This makes NO sense to me, and never did.  Why would a loving and compassionate god force people who had obeyed his commandments, but for whatever reason were not married to another Mormon in a Mormon temple (like maybe they joined the church after marriage but their spouse didn't join), to spend eternity waiting on people who were lucky enough to have what they didn't?  That would be HELL, plain and simple!  If there really was  a "one true God" who knows and sees everything, I don't believe He/She would be that mean or petty.  Same with babies and small children going to somewhere 'lower' than Heaven just because they died before being baptized into a church, although this aspect seems to have been dropped by most religions now.  (This also has me wondering who made that decision -- God, or someone else?)

I followed the Wiccan path for many years, but eventually realized that Wiccans don't really know any more than the Mormons do about what happens after death, they're just much more flexible about the possibilities.  I studied the shamanic path for awhile as well, but then decided to take a break from all spiritual and religious exploration and give myself room to just breathe and think about it all.  That is where I am at this point in time.

So I'm open to any and all thoughts, beliefs, hopes and speculations about this subject.  What do YOU think/believe/hope happens after we die?  Where (if anywhere) do we go, and what (if anything) do we do?  This inquiring mind would really like to know...


Thursday, December 8, 2016

It's the End of the World as I Knew It... and I DON'T Feel Fine

Once upon another lifetime (March 2013), I started this blog.  Now that I think of it, it really WAS another lifetime, before any of the crazy stuff with my mom and grandmother began.  I'm definitely not the same person now that I was back then.  Are you?  Probably not, no matter what has or hasn't been going on in your life.

2016 has been a year of way too many endings and beginnings, at least for me: losing my mother, losing a beloved cat, buying a car, starting my online museum certificate program, finding out that we will probably have to move soon as our apartment complex is being sold to people who want to renovate it and raise the rents through the roof, and now that travesty of a presidential election.  Even though two of those events are good things, it's still too much change all at once, especially after the previous two years of mostly loss.  It's enough to want to make one want to just give up and crawl in a hole for at least the next four years, when hopefully all those nasty problems will have gone away.

Except they won't have, of course.  That's the problem with cowering in a corner, in a hole, or under the desk.  Those nasty problems just wait quietly until you poke your head out to see if they are gone, and then POW... right between the eyes.

But we can we do?  We're just average people, right?  Wrong; we're GOTHS, and if we were average, we wouldn't be wearing killer boots and lots of black, wandering around in cemeteries, and listening to The Sisters of Mercy, London After Midnight, and Siouxsie Sioux.  Some of us have had to deal with hate and prejudice more than others, but at some point ALL of us have felt (and may still feel) that we were 'different' from the sheep in the local flock.  We have all worked for, and earned, the right to think outside the box.

Unfortunately, the election seems to have given some people the idea that it's now okay to voice hatred to anyone they don't like or who is different from them, and to promote physical and verbal violence even more than usual.  We don't need this, and we definitely don't need the US government to support it!  

If ever there was a time for Goths to show solidarity and support for what we believe in, 

While I'm trying to think outside that box and find a constructive and useful way to confront these problems, I've been signing every petition to support ballot recounts, disband the Electoral College, defend Standing Rock, and stop the new government from messing with Medicare that I've been able to click a mouse on.  I've sent money to some of them, too, which I never used to do.  I'm THAT worried...  But we can all do more, and I'd like to, if I could figure out what needs to be done.  Share your thoughts and ideas here, please!!  

And if anyone reading this actually voted for Chump and thinks he will be just what this country needs to become 'great' again, I give you this quote from British author Evelyn Beatrice Hall:

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

May we never lose that right, especially by our own hands.