On Curses and Inherited Dead Albatrosses

I swear, I’m cursed. Or my dad was. Or that piece of shit house is. Either way, I think I need to find a good curse-breaker or exorcist or something. This has gone past the point of bullshit and into wondering whether or not there’s some sort of curse on my family line.

After spending several days and several more thousand dollars on junk removal services, at long last, the Albatross House went up for sale this morning. It was on the market for 5 whole hours before something else went catastrophically wrong. The very first potential buyer’s agent showed up to find part of the first floor ceiling had collapsed and water everywhere. They turned the breaker off and called my agent, who hauled ass over. I won’t have an idea what the fuck happened until tomorrow, when she can get someone over there to take a look at it. Thankfully the place is being sold as a teardown, because it’s been falling in on itself for years (seriously, the walls are cracked and none of the upstairs walls have attached to the ceiling in well over a decade), but come on. The last thing I needed to deal with tonight was a collapsing house in another state that couldn’t be arsed to just wait until it was someone else’s problem to deal with. Trying to explain to the electric company that no, really, please send someone over asap to shut the entire service off at the damned meter, while cooking dinner (because I was in the middle of cooking dinner when the agent called to tell me about the disaster), and get them to understand that yes, the house is up for sale, and no, after this no one is being allowed in because THE CEILING COLLAPSED AND THE PLACE IS UNSAFE, so we’re sure as hell not going to be turning the electricity on again, please just send someone to kill the power was not how I intended to spend my evening.

So yeah, the writing I’d started working on before this started, that I was planning to work on while making dinner, because I’d gone out and gotten a photo of the road I wanted to go with the story of Rattlesack Jack, finally? Didn’t get done, and now I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back to it, because that fucking house just will not stop doing everything in its power to prevent me from getting rid of it. It’s officially reached “malevolent entity” status.

I just want my life back, and to be free of that place. I’m so tired of constantly having my life eaten by my dad’s failure to take care of his shit.

Where Am I?

Apparently Twitter is going tits up at last, and since I can’t put a Where Am I Online post there anymore, it’s gonna have to go here, I guess. So, here’s the current list:

Mastodon: @Riversdaughter@mastodon.social

Tumblr: Primary (mostly not words, just whatever weird shit I feel like reblogging): theriversdaughter

Here related stuff with words and shit: trickstersroad (forthcoming)

Instagram: theriversdaughter

Ko-fi: trickstersroadstudio

There might end up being more, but that’s what I’ve got for now.

Fucking petulant rich children and their tantrums.

Well, That Took Longer Than Expected

Not an ideal workspace

*waves tiredly*

I’ve been mostly offline all week because what was expected to take maybe a day and a half, at most, ended up taking almost the entire week. This is the first time I’ve been at a real computer and not just on my phone since Saturday.

On the upside, Albatross House is 100% emptied out (seriously, the 1-800-got junk folks are awesome, or at least the ones on the NH Seacoast). It cost a bit more than I was expecting, but then, no one expected it was going to take as many dumpster loads as it did, so here we are*. I spent two days sitting in my truck while they dragged every scrap out of the place, trying (and failing) to work from the driver’s seat, but it was just the wrong angle and it was too damned cold. I had to keep turning the truck off and on to try and not freeze while also not wasting too much gas. Do not recommend. Today I met up with the real estate agent there to get her a key and go over a few things, and tomorrow will be filling out the couple pages of paperwork to get it listed and hopefully sold as quickly as possible.

While hunched over, trying to draw a straight line without a flat, rigid surface to put the sketchbook on, my resolve to one day be able to afford an RV van to use as a mobile studio was strengthened further. Also, having a bathroom and kitchen to use whenever I need them would be amazing. Major goal, there.

Tomorrow, aside from real estate forms, is dedicated to getting back to work. I have new metallic watercolors that should work the way I want, that the Coliro was not able to manage, and I want to play with them. If they do what the test page suggests, I’ll be able to do some really cool effects again, and I’m crossing all my fingers and toes.

Now, though, I go fall over so I can catch up on sleep before anything else. The last week has been a lot of Very Long Days, and I’m more than a little crispy right now.

*So tempting to get rid of all of my worldly possessions and become an ascetic after dealing with that catastrophe.


A pair of black kittens are sleeping on a beige two-tiered cat tree, one on each tier.  The wall behind is painted in terra-cotta and ginger.

No, not that kind. We’re not giving away one of the Goblin Boys. We were, however, cleared to release Bodach back into GenPop (aka, the rest of the house) with no restrictions. He had his follow-up x-rays yesterday morning to see if his pneumonia had resolved, and since his lungs looked nice and clear, his Dr. said he was free to come out of isolation.

Oisín and Púca were beside themselves with glee, and everyone is happy to get back to normal again. Y’all, I got to sleep on a REAL BED again! It was glorious, though I kept getting woken up by the rotating cast of cats needing reassurance that Mom was still where she was supposed to be and everything was okay now, but that’s fine. My neck is never going to recover from the last couple of weeks, but I’d rather extra back and neck pain than the alternative if Pinkie (Bodach’s primary nickname) got worse.

Now we just have a week of eye meds for Púca, who injured his eyelid while playing too rough the other day (because of course he did), and at least a month of lysine gel for all three of them to help deal with the cold that poor Oisín couldn’t shake off, but those are reasonably easy and don’t require further isolation. (We’re basically assuming that it’s endemic to the clowder at this point, and just treating all of them.)

Today’s rough outline is to reclaim the house and studio from the disaster everything turned into over the last few weeks of chaos, get the groceries done, and start working on getting the process for selling the Albatross House back on track. If I have enough brain cells left afterward, I’ve got a few sheets of paper prepped and some sketches that have been waiting to get started that I’d like to get to work on.

Somewhere in all of this, I have a story to finish, ffs, and some thoughts on the AI art kerfuffle, the increasing devaluing of artists in society, and some problems with the way that the phrase “Support your local artists” has been twisted over the years. First, though, I need to go pick up the groceries.

Carving Out Sentences One Word At A Time

A young black cat with a white patch loafs on top of a low bookcase, looking slightly to the right of the camera with a mildly suspicious expression. Behind him is a window with a purple tied-back curtain looking out on bare trees.
Bodach has suspicions about the roadwork going on outside the window behind Mom.

Bodach’s feeling a bit better, and since we moved him to the antechamber from the office, I get to not only sleep on a slightly more comfortable couch, but have easy access to the studio. (The antechamber was originally a bedroom, but when a previous owner of the house converted the carport into additional rooms, the room became a weird almost walk-through closet/office to get to the new master bedroom, which is what I use for my studio. The room we use for Himself’s computer room is one of the other bedrooms.) It’s nice to give him more room to move around in, and it lets me work while I’m keeping an eye on him.

Writing is still slow going, but it’s least happening, and so I’m finally getting to claw my way through Rattlesack Jack’s story.

A taste of what’s to come…

* * * * * * * * *

“Up along the New England coast, there is a marsh. Folks who live near it will tell you to stay out of the marsh and to avoid the road that cuts across it like a scar between sunset and sunrise. Most won’t say much more than that it’s dangerous, and leave it at that, but if pressed, there are some who will tell you it’s because of old Rattlesack Jack.

Some say Jack’s a ghost, the spirit of some farmer who died badly out in the marsh. Some say his is a stolen story, reskinned over an older Indigenous tale, or historical recollection twisted out of recognition (not uncommon in New England, sadly). Others say he’s an urban legend told to scare off tourists. Others still say that he’s something someone brought with them from the Old Country that stayed behind when they fled English transportation and hid in the marsh before making their way back home to Ireland.” ~excerpt from the tale of Rattlesack Jack

I’m Too Old For This Shit

I strongly advise against sleeping on cots when one is 46 years with a bad disc.

So, yeah, what should have been a routine neutering procedure for Bodach turned into a nightmare pretty quickly. The procedure itself went perfectly fine, but then the little dipshit failed at Water Drinking 101 at home a few hours later, and aspirated a little bit of water into his lungs, which warranted a trip to the ER. Not sure exactly how he managed it, but the 2 main theories are related to med side effect (the ketamine was causing him to have some sporadic involuntary spasms for a bit) or failure to figure out how to cone of shame. Either way, he’s got some pneumonia going on, on top of everything else, and is in the office. Sadly, he’s both very much a Mama’s Boy and extremely not okay with being alone, so I’m sleeping in the office on a camp cot until we can manage a better solution, or he gets better at being by himself for a couple of hours. My back is deeply unhappy about this.

I would really like my cats to stop this run of medical issues. Tuesday’s vet bills were about as much as my entire monthly income, and I ran out of spoons weeks ago. This was supposed to be the straightforward one, not another life-threatening drama and segregated household situation. It’s a good thing they’re cute.

I would really like to have 5 minutes and a few firing brain cells to use for getting some work writing done. There’s a boggart named Rattlesack Jack that is demanding his story be told, and he’s getting really pushy about it.

Re-enchantment and Resistance

Unattended children will be given pixie sugar and kazoos. Or fed to the corn wolves. It depends on which way the wind is going, really.” ~ October’s Market stall sign

* * * * * * * * * *

I was thinking about the phrase “Re-enchantment is Resistance” from Hookland Guide the other day, and the {most recent} rounds of social media fuckery. So much of everything going on lately is linked to social media and tech crap and just…the soul-sucking, mind-numbing, insipid banality of it all. Sadly, it’s not just the big, well-known instances, either. It’s those, yes, but it’s also the way that people have, more and more, been pushed to conform to a kind of sterile homogeneity. Like, your home decor has to be minimalist, done in tasteful shades of grey and cream (with a blue throw pillow for a splash of color!) with matching pets, and if it’s not you have to apologize for being so gauche. It’s awful, but it sure is good training for making sure that you aren’t uncomfortable in your beige and grey cubicle or open concept office space. It’s steady streams of performative outrage about how a website is a terrible place while also posting all the horrible things one can find to share on it, like fucked-up experiments with the Ludovico Technique, or people going onto pages and posts to fights with other people. It’s how, more and more, the creative people are spending our time marketing at people, instead of building communities and actually *gasp* being creative.

It feels like we’ve collectively forgotten how to see magic and embrace the weird, or if not, we’ve grown too afraid of speaking up about it, because we fear the inevitable backlash of daring to not suck on the fire hose of misery at all times.

I’m guilty of falling into some of these traps, myself, and I hate it. I’ve been spending so much time having to focus on day to day responsibilities that I’m forgetting how to see the whimsical side of things. My art and writing are effectively built on “pareidolia for fun and profit”, but somewhere along the line I lost the “fun” part.

All the stress of the last months, and having to really dig into how I use the internet for both business and personal reasons to rebuild elsewhere has given me the opportunity to see just how many cracks there are in the foundation now. This place is built on myth and magic, and without it the whole thing crashes down.

“Re-enchantment is Resistance.”

I can’t do a thing about spoiled rich people having tantrums. I can’t get people to stop being awful. I can’t stop Life from being a constant game of “The Floor Is Lava”.

I don’t have to give it my undivided attention and feed it, though. I can remember the reason I decided to live a life in myth, and start writing and blogging from that perspective again. I can remember that, no matter how much the world wants to pigeonhole me into being either a novelist or dedicated painter, I can smile and say “that’s nice, but I’m just a mythic blogger and apocryphal folklorist, and my stories and paintings are only very small”. I’m a storyteller before I’m a painter, but yes, I’m also a painter and jeweler and my mediums shift and change with the wind. I’m a cabinet of curiosities in human form. I know that it’s hard for a world that likes to keep the arts separated in nice, neat little boxes, but that’s the world’s problem, not mine. The world needs more people who don’t fit into little labelled boxes. Half the problems we have is because people keep trying to put people in boxes that they don’t fit in.

Social media and technology are just tools. How we use them is up to each of us.

Me? I’m going to see if the local secondhand shop has gotten any new cursed items in recently. Might go poke a mushroom ring, or see if the department store missionaries are still trying to evangelize people into their cult (because there were some serious Old Gods of Appalachia “Good Mother Ministries” vibes coming off them). If I find anything, it’ll be going up on the internet, because re-enchantment starts with myself, and I intend to resist the hell out of corporate monotony flattening the world out any more than it already has, and I will cheerfully use it’s own tools to do so.

I will resist, and re-enchantment is my tool of choice.

* * * * * * * * * *

Triptych and Vagaries

A small black cat is perched on the edge of a folding laundry hamper, looking intently to the left of the camera, poised to leap onto something (his brother is off-camera).  The wall behind him is painted the pale green of verdigris.

After closing the door and trapping us all in the bedroom, Púca turned his attention to the laundry basket to see what further mischief he could get into before breakfast…”

Yup, Púca’s feeling back his usual somewhat manic self.

* * * * * * * * *

The witch stood on the porch, sipping a hot cup of tea, watching the last of the leaves falling as the poppets gathered around the dying tree that had been home and hearth to them for so long. She sighed, sadly. The poppet that sat on her shoulder, the first and oldest of them all, chimed softly, echoing her sorrow. It was always sad to watch something that had sheltered and supported so many wither. She knew that there would be other trees that would grow and give homes to them, but it wouldn’t be the same, and there would be friends that would never be found again.” ~The Poppet Witch

* * * * * * * * * *

Thinking about the demise of Twitter and being sad and maudlin about the fact that there are people that I’ve talked with and been through births, deaths, weddings, divorces, major moves, children’s graduations, and all the other ups and downs of Life with that I will never find again once we move on from the site again. It happens every time a social site goes dark. I hate losing friends and acquaintances like this, and it sucks just a little more every time it happens.

When It Rains…

Púca passed his recheck with flying colors on Tuesday, and was released from the cone of shame and sent back into genpop after what was the most circuitous drive back from the hospital to home. Normally it’s a straightforward trip down 2 highways, and one side road on each end, but because of it being both Rush Hour and Election Day, the traffic was so bad that my GPS ended up having to route us down back roads that even I have never seen, and took over an hour. Fortunately, Púc’s pretty chill in cars, because wow was that a mess. When we got home, we let him out of the carrier, took off the cone, and he proceeded to run around for the next 6 straight hours, barely pausing to eat dinner.

Sadly, we only got a few minutes of respite, because it turns out that he also appears to have brought a cold home from the hospital with him, and now Oisín’s got the runny eyes and sneezing thing going on (and ANOTHER vet appointment scheduled for Monday, unless he either gets worse and we go to the ER or he gets better and I can cancel). Poor baby just wants to curl up on the couch with a blanket, tissues, and a bowl of mousie soup and watch bird videos.

Bodach, who is beginning to show signs of puberty, just had his neutering appointment pushed back another week, and I *really* need that stop. At this point, we’re racing the clock on when he starts spraying, and I do NOT need an indoor, uncut tomcat because other people keep failing to get their scheduling in order, thank you very much.

I would really REALLY like the feline medical drama to knock it the fuck off before I have to declare bankruptcy from dealing with vet bills. No, they aren’t insured yet, because they haven’t stopped being at the vet for the required amount of time for eligibility.

Still not thinking about the elections too much. Focusing on the fact that Massachusetts elected not only elected a woman for governor for the first time, but she’s also a lesbian, which is awesome on multiple levels. Still no idea on whether we voted to ramp up pushing for M4A, but we did vote to tax millionaires, so that’s a win.

Maybe, if the cats will quit being a nonstop rolling disaster for a few minutes, I’ll get to do some actual work today. That would be nice.

A Blood Moon For My Birthday

There’s a total lunar eclipse tomorrow morning, shortly before sunrise, and that’s a helluva delightful way to start my birthday off.

Gonna be a busy day, between getting out to vote, and then taking Puca back to the ER for his post-op recheck. Hopefully everything looks good and they’ll be taking off the Cone of Shame and clearing him to reintegrate into the household. Not sure how we’re going to handle things if he’s still on restricted activity, seeing as he plays hard and rough, and convincing him not to immediately launch himself into a knockdown brawl the second he leaves the carrier is going to be Exciting.

Trying not to think about the elections too much. Fascism would be the Worst Birthday Present Ever, and I’d really like to not, thanks.

On the other hand, it looks like some folks got together enough petition signatures to get single-payer universal health care onto a number of districts’ ballots, and ours is one of them (according to the state’s website sample ballot, anyway). It’s not a bill to do it, but it’s a push to get the ball rolling, which is a good start. The wording on the sample is:

“Shall the representative for this district be instructed to vote for legislation to create a single payer system of universal health care that provides all Massachusetts residents with comprehensive health care coverage including the freedom to choose doctors and other health care professionals, facilities, and services, and eliminates the role of insurance companies in health care by creating an insurance trust fund that is publicly administered?”

That’s a “fuck yeah” from me, thanks. UHC and UBI for everyone, dammit!

Got the Wacom set back up (Bodach helped) and a new RedBubble account started. Now to pick a starting point to draw so I can start getting stickers made.

Speaking of Bodach, he’s also hit the end of his tolerance for being separated from his brother, and is being extremely demanding about attention, so I guess I need to stop typing and go snuggle him before he implodes. Plus, it appears to be bedtime, so off I go.