The Year Without October

“For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth. In guts they beetle-scurry, creep, thread, filter, motion, make all moons sullen, and surely cloud all clear-run waters. The spider-web hears them, trembles – breaks. Such are the autumn people. Beware of them.” ~Ray Bradbury “Something Wicked This Way Comes”

I’ve been so busy dealing with Puca this past week, and everything else the weeks’ before, that I’ve more or less missed the entire month of October this year. I’m having a hard time not crying about that. This is my favorite time of year, the month of my heart’s home, and here we are, at the end of it, and I’ve barely been able to get outside, let alone do much of anything involving seasonal activities or adventures. Going to have to make up for it the rest of the year, so I’m sorry to anyone who missed the memo that I am one of the Autumn People.

We have been watching Guillermo del Toro’s “Cabinet of Curiosities” on Netflix, and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It is a series of horror stories, and it is done by del Toro, so understand that it is, in fact, horror, and extremely detailed, well done horror at that. We’ve got two episodes left, and I’ve enjoyed each one immensely. It’s hard for me to find a good horror that I can just relax into and enjoy, without getting annoyed at bad effects, reliance on jump scares or excessive use of fake blood, etc., so this has been an utter delight.

I’m going to try and get out for a little bit today, so I don’t miss Halloween itself, at least. I need to dance with the ghosts to the sound of the rattling bones of the bare trees, fill my lungs with the smell of rotting leaves and woodsmoke. I need to feel the cool, sharp edge of the wind on my skin as it whispers of the coming darkness and lose myself in the piercing blue of the sky.

If I can, I’ll also try and at least hunt a bag of cider donuts and bring them back home, because there needs to be cider donuts somewhere in all of this.

Running Around Like A Madwoman

Imagine, if you will, several small, round, somewhat fuzzy monsters standing in a row, holding signs with one or two words each on them, while behind them, a larger fuzzy monster runs around with it’s arms flailing wildly above its head. The signs read “Please excuse us, our artist appears to be on fire”.

I keep trying to write something but then things explode again, so while I have a minute….

So, yeah…last Sunday, Púca had to go to the emergency vet near midnight. The next day, he got admitted to a different ER nearly an hour away (it was the one that had ultrasound availability) for emergency surgery because the little bastard had decided to eat a bunch of hair that was acting like string in his intestines. While they were at it, they also did the surgery for his neutering, because well, it would be wildly inhumane to let him heal up from this, only to have to cut him open again. For those keeping score, that’s two major surgical procedures at the same time. We had to set up a GoFundMe campaign, because I zeroed out my own bank accounts so fast I hit velocity checks, and then hit other sources that I have to repay asap, or run into secondary disasters in the very near future.

Letting him die was not an option.

That was one of the worst days ever. I never want to have to stand at a hospital reception desk, frantically trying to get money transferred into my bank account instantly because they won’t start surgery until they have a minimum payment of many thousands of dollars, and if they don’t operate, my baby will *die* horribly and painfully. On a related note, the fact that a bank can decide that you can’t spend more than a fixed amount of your own damned money is A PROBLEM. (Guess how I found that my bank card has a daily limit? Shout-out to Sapphire the CSR who sat on the phone with me, working to get around that so we could save our dipshit child’s life. She was *amazing* and I appreciate her.)

He came through okay, but ended up having to stay until Wednesday, and then went back a few hours later because he’d started having a horrible cough. Thankfully it was just a side effect of having been intubated, but still… In the meantime, the bill for all of this (plus the side helping of having to last minute call our regular vet to come over and worm Bodach and Oisín, because in the process of everything else, Púca had a roundworm, which means one of the miscreants ate an infected insect at some point, and now everyone had to get that done) climbed into 5 digits and oh gods.

Now he’s home and steadily improving. He’s feeling better enough that he’s getting bored, which is both good and bad. He’s an extremely energetic kitten, and enthusiastic jumper, so keeping him calm and quiet so he doesn’t re-injure himself is A Task. He’s spending a lot of time kenneled in a dog crate that we had to get to keep him confined. The drugs help.

In the meantime, we also finally got word about whether or not our application for the studio was accepted. It was not. They decided to let one of the other artists already in the studio expand their existing space into it, instead. Disappointing, but given that I am no longer going to be able to afford rent until I can recover from feline medical disasters, it’s probably for the best for me. I’m more sad for my friend, who *really* needs the space for her work. She does absolutely stunning silk painting, and is currently stuck using her kitchen table to try and work on, which is really difficult with kids and pets in the house. I really hope she’ll be able to find something better soon.

The day before all of this crashed down I had ordered a set of paper bead rollers, and have things prepped for making beads and other jewelry once this settles down. I also found a box with some jewelry that I’d made, ages ago, that I’ll be going through and checking to make sure they’re in good condition. Things that are in good shape will be listed for sale, and things that aren’t will be disassembled and reused in new pieces.

Apparently Twitter went to hell in a hand basket while I was dealing with all of this, so that’s going to be exciting. Not sure how I’m going to handle that. I mean, I’m sort of stuck there for a while, and will keep on plugging away as long as I can (much like LJ), but hopefully another actually decent alternative will crop up shortly. FB and Instagram are functionally useless, Tumblr isn’t designed for real social, I did my time in the IM mines back in the days of AIM and have no desire to go back (looking at you, Discord), and nothing is really set up well for blogs-as-social medium anymore. I really wish that the useful sites would stop going tit’s up every couple of years. I hate losing touch with people, just because some rich asshole wants a new vanity project.

So, that’s the state of things.

I need to sleep for roughly a month…

Word, Wire, Paper, Bone Redux

A bright pink and yellow stuffed animal in the shape of a moth examines a hand-painted cylindrical bead wrapped in dark gold and bronze colored wire.
Sylvie Investigates A Moth-Proof Bead. Neener, Sylvie.

Well, this week sure was A Lot. On top of everything else, we finally got a phone call last night from the shelter that was going to be helping us out with the cost of the Goblin Boys neutering (Puca, in particular, because hooray cryptorchidism), only to find that the new vet that we’d have to use (the original one they had recommended turned out not being comfortable doing his surgery, and directed us to someone else, so we had to go back around for the approval from the shelter) doesn’t do ultrasounds first, but does it the old-fashioned way of “just open him up and poke around to find the MIA organ”, and yeah, that’s a deal-breaker for me. Our vet is expensive, and I appreciate so much that the shelter was willing to help, but we’re not going to be doing major, invasive, exploratory surgery on him when there’s an option not to. With ultrasound, they can locate the missing nut and go in with a small incision; without it, they have to basically go fish around because there are multiple locations it could be.

Needless to say, I now have even less time to come up with a couple of grand, because the biological clock is ticking down on puberty. There’s a small chance that we won’t have to redo their bloodwork again, at least?

In the meantime, I’ve got the studio rearranged into a more functional manner. Still needs some straightening up, but that’s always the case. Working out how to navigate Mothpocalypse damage and prevent further depredation. (Seriously, I’ve never had fucking clothes moths eat paper before, and while I’m glad they seem to have only gotten the one piece, and it was a minor one, having the little bastards eating my work is wildly unacceptable.) Today I’m working on jewelry, since gesso, paint, wire, and stone aren’t particularly edible to anything short of a Rock Biter. If I get one of those in here, well, I’ve got bigger problems to worry about than some gnawed-on artwork.

Always an adventure…

Apocalypse Moth Is My New Band Name.

Well, yesterday sure was a Whole Thing. “Moths ate my artwork” sounds like the Worst Excuse since “The dog ate my homework”, doesn’t it?

*sigh*

I mean, I’m glad it wasn’t one of the pieces that I’d spent days working on, and that it seems to be *knock on wood* an isolated incident, but still. I have no idea how to go about managing this situation and preventing it from happening again. Not gonna lie, after the last months’ shit luck, the temptation to chuck it all once and for all, sell all my worldly possessions, change my name, and drive off into the sunset for a few years is pretty strong right now. Maybe I’ll take up sailing and live on a boat somewhere.

Sadly, I don’t think I could talk Himself into it, and the cats would *hate* it, so I guess I’ll stay put.

It is, however, a reminder of both why my business is named what it is, and why I’m allergic to single-source income streams. If something goes wrong in single-source, it’s a disaster. If something goes wrong with multi-stream, it’s still a problem, but not a catastrophic one.

Today’s plan is rework my schedule to better suit multiple streams. Conveniently, the studio has just been rearranged in a way that makes that easier, as well. Time to get up off the floor, wipe the moth dust off, and get back to work.

*Endless Screaming*

Went to put a piece away and found this. This piece had been listed in the shop, and now it’s not, because, just…

If anyone needs me, I’ll be somewhere in the woods, screaming. I just…I don’t know what else I can do at this point.

Nervously Chewing Nails

Went to look at the studio space and artist collective with the three other folks I’m looking at sharing space with tonight (not naming, as I haven’t cleared things with everyone yet), and holy carp, y’all, I really love the place. The studio itself is slightly smaller than the space I shared with another friend years ago, but bigger than the spare room I’m using as my primary workspace right now, but since we’d all rarely be in there at the same time, this is fine. Even if we’re all there at the same time, it’s still got enough space for us all to to the Things That We Do (fiber/silk painting, leatherwork, jewelry of assorted varieties, mixed media, etc.) without really getting in each others’ way. The area that the collective comprises is….

gorgeous.

It’s small, cozy, and packed to the gills with beautiful jewelry, paintings, candles, hand-spun and dyed yarn, books, pottery, as well as delicious furniture in the common area, enormous windows, vibrant blues and purples, and and and…

I am in LOVE.

I want this work so much it hurts. I want to be around other artists again, and have a space that I can display and sell my art and weird little bits and bobs again and not have to worry about shipping and SEO algorithms, and oh gods, I just…

I want this so much I’m afraid of it. I’m afraid to hope. I want to hope, but I’m scared that this will get taken away again.

Light candles, throw bags of butterscotch candies at Trickster, or whatever, that our application will be accepted.

(No, I’m absolutely not freaking out about the state of this website right now, at all. I mean, it’s not like I’m trying to pretend I’m a Real Artist and Business Owner or anything while this place is a disaster that I haven’t had the time to really clean up and make presentable to Polite Company yet. *hyperventilates into a paper bag over my continued failure to come up with a pithy bio section or “proper” portfolio section yet*)

Seriously, though, and without dramatic *gestures above*, I want this to work out for us. For me, having a space to showcase my art, without the stress of having to fight with photography lighting while living in a questionably lit valley and not being a pro photographer, produce the massive quantities associated with shows, or the caliber expected at galleries (let’s face it, I’m effectively an illustrator of sorts, and my work doesn’t jive with fancy art gallery styles), and the flexibility to do the weird, random things I do, would help me get a solid foundation under me. For my would-be studio mates, it’s also a solid foundation to really, finally, get a solid footing in the lives and worlds we want to build for ourselves, and I want this for us all, so very, very much.

Gonna go huff a Goblin Boy’s fur for calm now…

Dancing Around With Nervous Excitement

Tomorrow evening I’m going to look at the studio space with the other folks that I’m going in on this little adventure with, and I’m so exciting I can hardly sit still. I’m nervous, because this will involve being indoors with other people more, and well, *gestures at ongoing pandemic*, but I’m vaccinated up to the gills, have no problems wearing a mask for hours at a time (just ordered a couple packs of KN95s), and honestly need access to the kind of resources that I can only get by being in a studio group.

In general, though, I’m really, really excited and hope that this works out. I’ve got several pieces of art that aren’t on the site for a variety of reasons ranging from being difficult to photograph, to being outside my current shipping capabilities that will have a place to go that those issues evaporate. I’ve got many more pieces that live only in my head right now simply because my spare bedroom doesn’t have the space to work on them, and my house doesn’t have the space to store them until I can find a physical space to sell them out of. On a personal level, being able to share a workspace with friends and be around other artists in person (the Pocket Friend Collective is wonderful, and I adore y’all, but sometimes I need to be around folks in meatspace, too, and that area of my life has been sorely lacking for too long).

Hell, just getting to see a dear friend (who started this whole idea) that I haven’t seen since 2019, alone, is so exciting I can barely even. The idea of getting to see her on a regular basis?!? Utter glee!

So looking forward to tomorrow.

There’s Someone In My Mug

Got up late this morning, because I was entirely covered in cats and didn’t want to disturb them. It’s rare for them to all curl up and sleep in a pile, since one of the usually ends up deciding that pile time is play time, and I was enjoying it while it lasted, even if it was on my legs. Stumbled out into the kitchen, poured a cup of coffee, started the kettle, and picked up my pumpkin mug with the intent to use it as a bowl for my oatmeal.

Someone was already using it. Inside, hanging on one side, was a very small hunting spider.

It’s gonna be one of Those Days, huh?

After apologizing, I unceremoniously dumped the spider out and rewashed the mug. I do not need extra protein in my breakfast, thank you.

Kittens are now beating each other up on the kitchen scratching tree. Bodach’s about to be unhappy with me as it’s time for his eye meds. He’ll get over it, good-natured beastie that he is, but in the meantime, he’s going to be Very Mad At me.

After that, the day’s schedule includes seeing about a vehicle inspection (and praying it passes), getting a painting photographed and listed, working on the newest Foxenwood painting, and making a pot of haluski for dinner. It’s a good day for comfort food.

Ridin’ This Rollercoaster Of A Week

This week has been A Lot.

The shelter we adopted the kittens from is going to help us get them neutered. It’s a little wonky at the moment, scheduling-wise, but it means that we might not drown trying to get everything taken care of with a wiped out bank account.

Several wildly generous people donated to the Goblin Boys Medical Fund, which made me cry. The timing was excellent, too, since Bodach developed an eye issue today that, if it doesn’t improve by tomorrow, will need to be seen by the vet asap. So at least I can pay for that from the donated fund.

Depending how nitpicky a mechanic I end up with, my truck might not pass inspection this year, and I’ll have to come up with the money to get a borderline issue fixed immediately. Also got the news that it probably has about a year left before I have to either replace it or spend more than it’s worth to try and limp it along further. Assuming it doesn’t break down sooner. Figures. I just sold Dad’s Tacoma in July, too. It would have been cheaper to fix that up and let the Rav4 retire. Sadly, I needed the money from that to pay the bills on the Albatross House. Need to get rid of that cursed place.

We were trying to avoid turning the heat on as long as possible, given heating oil prices, but my chronic pain informed me yesterday that that’s no longer an option if I want to be able to do anything beyond lie on the couch and cry. Oh, and the first oil delivery of the season and overdue furnace tuneup is just over a week away. Here’s hoping that nothing goes wrong with that, seeing as that is also going to run at least a grand already.

The good news, at least, is that while yeah, most of this is catastrophically bad at the moment, it’s temporary. We just need to manage to ride out a bad month or two and things will improve once we get past this immediate clusterfuck of expenses and not drown between now and then.

On a really exciting note, I’m looking at renting a studio space with a couple of friends at an art community about a half an hour away, which will let me bring some of the projects that are too big or complicated to work on at the home studio (aka, the spare bedroom), give me a space to go that I won’t be tempted to procrasticlean, get to be around other artists, and also have a physical space to sell art directly during Open Studio events so I’m not exclusively online. Folks are aware of the current disaster with the finances, and the limited timeframe on them, and are willing to work with me around it. While I’m nervous about being indoors around other people during a still-too-active pandemic, I’m at the point where I’m going to have to do so if I want to be able to get further than I am. At least the folks I’ll be sharing a room with understand basic safety protocols and are all fully vaccinated, and it’s a giant mill with lots of airspace.

The new studio space? Yeah, turns out it was started last year by a few folks who left the studio colony they were at before to start someplace that was more affordable to smaller artists than the old place had become. The one they left is the same place that I shared a studio with another friend, 12 years ago, that I left because of the Cataclysm of 2008. Assuming we get the space, it’s going to be soooo good to be back in a repurposed old mill full of artists again! I have missed it almost every day since I left.

So yeah….A Lot this week. Art-wise, I’m stuck on the damned Hallows ghost story, again, but I did get a new Foxenwood painting started and am keeping my spirits up by thinking of the days when I’ll be able to work on larger paintings and make brumeries without worrying about a stray metal clipping being eaten by a cat.

Speaking of cats, Oisin is yelling at the door, so I guess it’s time to wrap up and go to bed.

May things get vastly less eventful very soon…