Empty Nester – Extraordinaire

creating, living, loving – all in a long black skirt

Posts Tagged ‘goals’

A Dark Future

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January 19th, 2011 Posted 11:21 am

Several years ago, I read the article “I have seen the future – and it’s goth,” written by Dave Simpson and published in the Guardian, 21 March 2006. With his impressive Googling skills, Alek helped me find it again a couple days ago. I’d mentionned the findings reported in it to a friend on Facebook and thought it might interest out other readers.

When other adults question us allowing our children to be exposed to a goth lifestyle [and they do], we know we don’t share their worries.

That [parents of goths will probably end up boasting about their son/daughter the doctor, lawyer or bank manager] is the surprising finding of Sussex University’s Dunja Brill, whose doctorate in media and cultural studies looked at people with funny hair and eyeliner in London, Brighton and Cologne, and who is herself a former goth.

“Most youth subcultures encourage people to drop out of school and do illegal things,” she says. “Most goths are well educated, however. They hardly ever drop out and are often the best pupils. The subculture encourages interest in classical education, especially the arts. I’d say goths are more likely to make careers in web design, computer programming … even journalism.”

Actually, having been part of the gothic culture for over 15 years [I was exposed to, but not immersed, before that time], I don’t think these findings should be surprising at all.  Most of the younger goths I’ve encountered have been the intellectuals of their time, discussing classic literature and foreign film the way others their age discuss Family Guy or the latest Angelina Jolie movie – not that we never enjoy these things, of course; we’re all individuals with individual likes and dislikes.  Even I enjoy the latest offerings of reality TV while reading Oscar Wilde or Ernest Hemingway

Jordan, a great student; despite his gothic upbringing or because of it?

Speaking with other Goth parents, I’m reassured that our kids aren’t the only good students sprouting from the dark soil of our culture.  I suspect it has almost as much to do with the philosophy of parenting as with the natural abilities of the kids.

Our friend David commented on our Facebook wall:

We expect [our daughter] to do well in school so that someday she can get into college and have a career. But, as I explained to her, that is so she can support herself and we don’t care what that career may be (although she is leaning toward engineering). We show both by words and actions that character, truthfulness, honor and being true to yourself are the most important things. Some people are obcessed with $ and I wonder how many today are training their daughters to marry a doctor or lawyer.

I hope we can agree that the happiness of an individual should define success more than the pricetag on their home or cars.




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January 4th, 2011 Posted 11:13 pm

Alek went on a run today.  Dance is back in session, but he has Tuesdays and Wednesdays off this semester, so he wanted to fit in some additional exercise.  He was gone less time than usual for a run, but longer than I would have been in 26 degree weather when he came into the house alerting us that there was an owl in the neighborhood.  Now, we don’t live in – or even near – a big city, but we’re firmly in a suburban area.  I’ve seen turkey vultures, a deer, a pig, and many many bats, but never an owl.  The other kids and I threw on shoes and hoodies, grabbed the camera, and headed down the street to check it out.

The girls and I had seen an owl demo at the PowWow last October, but we were still excited to see this tiny creature [Alek had called it a baby].  When we arrived at the neighbors yard, Alek pointed and smiled.  It took the rest of us a while to find the wee thing – Bravo to its cloaking skills! 


It’s all I could say.  Jordan asked why I was so amazed and I laughed.  Why wouldn’t I be?? 

  • I expect owls to come out at night, yet it was day.
  • I expect owls to dislike the cold, yet here it is the middle of winter.
  • I expect owls in the wilderness, yet we were in town.

So much joy from the unexpected.  Even being someone who loathes surprises of any nature, this was a wonderful bright spot in the day and left us wishing for a new surprise tomorrow. The potential impact was not unnoticed.  Mentally, I wagged a finger at myself.

We could all benefit much from delivering the unexpected. Most of us, I believe, settle into the ‘normal’ and the comfortable in many areas of our life.  Family friends, business… emotional, physical, mental.  The forces around us urge movement and perhaps even chaos, but we resist, wishing to be rocked like infants into a comfortable state. 

We must work towards new ‘unbelievable’ events by surprising our relationships in a new way.    We must. The owl has decreed it.

What unexpected things can you bring to your own life to better yourself, your loved ones, or even strangers you come in contact with?  I’m putting this into practice beginning immediately – focusing on Bats! meow… and on my intimate family relationships.

I urge you to look for your own owls.



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Posted in Daily Life

In Good Company


January 3rd, 2011 Posted 12:37 am


I found my Christmas stocking FULL of items suited to being a DM.  For those of you not in the know, a DM is a dungeon master. Sort of a tour guide in the world of Dungeons and Dragons.  I’d played a bit shortly after Eric and I got married and moved to Orlando, Florida.  I was hooked. After we moved, we tried to get groups together every now and again, but nothing stuck.  A couple months ago, we tried again to get a group together.  It worked!  I’m sure it helps greatly that three of our four kids are old enough to play and the youngest already shows an interest. Even if we can’t find friends to come over and join us, we’re set! 

Truth:  I greatly dislike DMing.  Judge, jury, executioner.  Yes, it all sounds like something I should enjoy.  Storycrafter, dreamer.  More like me.  Organizer, task-keeper, manager.  Even more like me.  However, there is something about the job that drives me up a wall.  A weathered, gray stone, stained with the blood of orcs, wall.

Truth: I shouldn’t complain.  My family likes playing together and they claim I’m good at it. 

As it turns out, I’m in good company as a DM and player.  Many people I respect greatly are known to play. Kevin Smith, Jon Favreau, Matthew Lillard.  Even Judy Dench!

So, as a part of my preparations for 2011, I’m embracing what D&D [DMing, especially] can teach me. 

  1. Planning
  2. Updating those plans on the fly
  3. Enjoying the journey
  4. Accepting help
  5. Always using a critical and creative eye

Although, I also need to keep in mind that it’s not all about the loot or the XP.



Dollies, dresses, and blankies… oh my!


February 6th, 2010 Posted 12:25 am

I have great plans for new items for Bats! meow… I also have great hope that the time I need to draft the patterns and sew some samples will just appear in my life.

First up are a couple of new dresses or, maybe skirt and top sets.  The way this usually works is I determine what my girls want and then sew for them.  If the design is a success [as determined by the ooos and aaahs of the 6- and 7-years old girls  in the house and in the neighborhood], we’ll photograph, do the price workups [cost versus profit], create the web listing, and work on alternate size options – not necessarily in that order.

Next up are a set of rag dolls.  Or something of that nature.  I’m super excited about this.  When I was a little girl, all of my baby dolls [and I had a LOT of baby dolls with ALL the accessories] were little blonde things with bobbed hair.  They didn’t look anything like their mama.  Even the baby dolls in our house are 90% blondes. I do believe it’s time to expand the market to include more of the ‘looks like me’ variety.  Of course, there is more in the plans than just brown hair and grey eyes.  I’ll share more as soon as something has been sewn and stuffed. I’m really looking forward to this!

Finally, I want to incorporate my love of quilting into our designs.  More housewares, some quilts for babies, even some pillows for bigger kids and adults.  But not just any design will do – we’ll need something special, so more designing on real life graph paper.

So much to do.  Such great plans.  But time, again, is the enemy.



wednesday wednesday


February 2nd, 2010 Posted 10:57 pm

On the table in the sewing studio are the parts for one of the cutest girls dresses I’ve had the pleasure to design: The Wednesday dress.  Just like Wednesday Addams. It’s a goth favorite.

I made one for Ravynn when she was 2. She wore it until Whisper grew into it and Whisper wore it until she couldn’t. Now, that very dress is hanging in my fabric storage closest ready to be pulled out and used for inspiration.  When I feel my energy level slipping or when I’ve clearly overloaded my schedule and simply need the reminder that “Your children love what you do and who you are.  Carry on Mum,” I hold it in my hands and I feel stronger, better, more determined.

I want to sew for the girls [and the boys], but I have pending orders [note the Wednesday dress I just mentioned] to finish and ship.  I also have website updates to finish and discuss with my designer.  There are minor updates needed to Etsy and ArtFire.  And I have sketches for more designs  that I desperately want to mock up a pattern of and get ready to promote.

But first things first, so tomorrow I will complete the dress.

Maybe after that, I’ll photograph the sewing studio to share with my bloggy friends.