The sudden warm conditions the other day poked my spring allergies. I am a sneeze monster. I’m glad I’m alone though. I just sneezed so powerfully I cleared the room of felines and launched an alien into the room. That’s always charming.
My morning ritual for most of my adult life is to drink tea and spend 30 minutes in a warm bath. This is to wake my brain and body up. A morning person I am not. This is also when I read or catch up on social bruh-hah because who doesn’t hold their phone over the side of the tub these days? (Except Myke.) Today I went fancy with bubbles. Ghost… she is on her towel perch as usual. However, Ghost interprets bath bubbles as a sudden mystical foamy road that magically appears over the water and offers new passage to the other side of the tub. Usually she gives it a few test jabs and seems to decide she should step back. Not always, but she never quite fully commits. This morning? She fully committed. I lost her to the bubbles. Quite instantly, as you might imagine, she levitated right out of the water and was out the door. (Bathroom door is always open a pinch in the morning so I don’t have to listen to frantic mews and clawing at the door by the other two felines. They don’t want to keep me company, they just want to battle for the winner of who was the last one to rub their face on the door and declare ownership of the bathroom.)
Ghost didn’t even grant me a second to document it. (Because Bast love her, a white cat with trendy foam extensions is heeelarreeus.) She is now hiding somewhere manically grooming I’m sure. For my part I am totally awake for a change. Aaaaand looks like I need to drag the mop out. Good-morning!
This is one corner of my house. Ever so slowly my plant army grows. My goal is to eventually live surrounded by an indoor Victorian garden. I think the living room is covered. Ignore me. I’m trying to avoid work at the moment.
On this day in tea there were many serious moments that left a mark on the world. In 1606 the curtain would close on Guy Fawkes for his part in the Gunpowder Plot. He would be remembered for years afterwards with the burning of his effigy set to fireworks. In 1865 the United States Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery. In 1929 the Soviet Union would politely send Leon Trotsky into exile, the same year that smooth voiced actress Jean Simmons was born. And looking up to the skies, in 1971 astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell took flight in a Saturn V and set off for a mission to the Fra Mauro Highlands on the Moon. In the present day, there are many eyes looking up towards the moon.
In the wee hours of Wednesday morning on January 31st a trio of blanket and shawl wrapped females sat on their favorite balcony at the Hathor Boarding House. A young woman sat between two rather old gal bookends. Emily had her eyes to the sky as her aunt Emma and friend Minerva Mox carried on with casual conversation about celestial events in years past. “I declare this to be the most special moment for the moon for this century.” Miss Emma offered. “Here! Here!” Minerva barked as she watched the nearing dawn sky.
Young Emma looked up at the beautiful velvety night sky and felt overwhelmed by its beauty. Her eyes kept darting to the very full moon and a smile would cross her lips. This was an evening that reminded her very much of being with her mother. She always felt her mother was a star in disguise; a brilliant celestial creature who had temporarily come down to earth.
Last Tuesday I mentioned traveling from an event in Ypsilanti to GR. Myke and I, along side our friends Ted and Kate, provided tea and entertainment for the event Madam Aubergine’s Mystical Tea at the Ladies Literary Club with the lovely Acadia as our hostess and organizer. Ted offered some of the spooky history about the library (said to be haunted and we found that to be true) and the surrounding town. I explained the Orange Moon Tea Society stories behind the teas being served. And Kate offered the history of Absinthe and her family’s Absinthe Tea recipe. It was a delightful evening. I posted about it on my cartomancy blog.
The Steampunk Symposium convention’s theme this year is Superheroes and Villains. The 2017 con was my first year to provide the event’s logo, graphics, and their new mascot the automaton Bly. This year Myke and I revamped the con’s website design and mascot Bly got to get her cosplay on. A variety of different versions of Bly (as Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Raven, Poison Ivy, Harly Quinn, Catwoman, and more) will grace the con’s tee shirts and event posters.
I haven’t done a lot of cartoonish or comic book style art since I retired my Foxglove and Colorado comics more than a decade ago. So it was a bit of a pain in the ass to re-learn the style to create Bly last year. Since doing so she’s been a lot easier to draw, even more so with the comic book costumes to put on her. It’s been rather entertaining. Some preview villains…
So I’ve pretty much been useless for most of autumn. The last lingering issue from my accident was my eye issues, but thankfully my eyes are coming back to full strength. So I’ve been catching up on things on the to do list. First up was the Isidore Tarot. I gave the website a bit of a facelift to go along with the release of the third edition of the deck. You can check out the site here. As for the new deck…
For the third edition I removed the white borders on the cards and made them full bleed. I brightened up the card colors a little as well. My king and queen of cups have become my packaging mascots. You can check out the deck or pick one up until Feb 24th.
And just to keep with the busy, I also took the deck and retouched the cards to change the rose and golds to blue-teals and sand. This is a special edition for spring I titled the Spring and Sand Spring Special Edition. It’s not a limited edition, but like the autumn edition before it, it’s only available for a limited time during the spring months. You can check that out here. 😉
I was organizing some of my old photos and came across the weekend Myke and I went from our Halloween tea party in Ypsilanti to power painting my aunt’s house before we had to return to Ohio. I have to say – I have a great mate and some incredible friends to spend a weekend balancing on a ladder at varying degrees of “holy hell this is high” to knock out that green paint job from the 90s.
Funny story. While my head feels like my brain is trying to pop out from my temples and my neck feels like two firey gnomes have a death hug on it, there is this massive amount of pressure building up up behind my face due to cranky sinuses. It’s like a bad science experiment waiting for a trigger. The trigger, that set all after things in motion, was a powerful sneeze. The resulting exposive action hurled my brain into the lamp, my face exploded across the room where it stuck to the wall like some creepy Hellraiser prop, and I think I might have made a rude noise elsewhere because Ghost is staring at me looking offended. It’s very freeing actually. With my brain temporarely out of my head I’m not tempted to neurotically google more symptoms to prove I’m dying. I’ll just nab my face later and soak it awhile before slapping it back on. I think I will try to go back to sleep and forget about this a bit. Though Gremlin is curious about my lack of facial skin covering. Hopefully he won’t try and groom me (which he does) and develop a taste for me while I snooze.
I just picked up a Christmas present for Myke, which will remain a secret until xmas eve. Then an ad popped up with a very cute shirt and I said “Wow! That’s really affordable.” before immediately scrolling past because nothing ever fits anymore. Then I remind myself “Hey sister, ‘anymore’ was actually a couple years ago now. Go look at the measurements!” So I do and I realize hot damn! I can get that freaking frilly black affordable shirt. Free shipping! Jazz hands in delight powerful enough to scare the cats away. It might be dangerous that I can purchase stuff like this again.Thankfully it’s cheap!
“I’m still pretty sure from the devil mouth I was born with, most of my lost baby teeth (aka how the hell is that canine growing way up there?!) were covered in holy water and buried far away from humans. But if they weren’t, I can totally see one of these! I could have kept it, nurtured it, and taught it how to seek out our enemies and terrorize them into submission. Something to think about with our kids. Given our combined DNA they should have some wonderfully haunted and evil tooth gremlins for us to work with!”
I just did a victory lap around the house. When I removed the last small bandage from my knee to find it completely healed! It still looks a hot mess for the massive scarring, but meh to that. I’m just bursting that it has finally healed. I thought it was going to haunt me into the new year. This is a grateful rabbit.
It occurred to me today that my Black Cat & Poisoned Tea Society artwork turned seven last month. During my off time from the aetherwebs I began my first large assemblage for the Winter Brides (pictured below), which is something I’ve wanted to do for years but could never justify the time away from the work that pays my bills. Anyhoo, you can see the collection here.
The Winter Brides
The Silk Bride
The Poisoned Bride
As I sat down to write my tea day entries I looked over a very long expanse of time. I was taken back by how many things had happened on this day, how many people of note through the ages had been born, and just how staggering this day was and might always be. So I instead turned away from the history pages and took a walk. I took what I call the long walk that would take me into the local town. When I reached town I found my feet unconsciously leading me towards my most favorite of spots in this place: Etta Diem’s Attic Shoppe.
As I moved through the shoppe’s front doors I was greeted with the oddities, strange things, and all around dark beauty of this place. Sometimes it can be hard to find another whimsical soul with the same amount of dark spice thrown into the mix. Since first meeting her, I knew Etta was my kin. She would never allow herself to be pinned down between the darkness and the light. She would never let anyone say there weren’t a pantheon of characters who moved through both places. I can honestly say she was the one person who helped me embrace all things about me. This is perhaps why I sought her out on this day.
“Miss Pagona! My little Poppy Seed!” the infamous Etta greeted me with as she moved from behind her attic shoppe’s front counter. She was as she always could be found: Dressed in dark Victorian attire with plenty of brooding and bruised color blooms to decorate her hair and attire. She smelled like white water flowers and orange ginger. When she wrapped her arms around me for her friendly hug it felt like a mother’s hug and for a moment I could forget that my own mother had been gone for so long. It allowed me to take a moment and exhale.
“What is weighing you down my dear? Your face has a shadow across it that has nothing to do with the sun and obstructions. Come now! Tell auntie Etta.”
I took a breath and soon found words falling from my lips. “Aunt Etta, it’s such a strange thing. I wrote my tea notes about things that have happened in time, and then focused on someone and something far more bright. I couldn’t find that today. As I looked over the histories of this day I saw so many things that were dark. The few highlights I encountered were simply the end of something that had been so dark. I needed something bright to write about and I could find none. It darkened my thoughts so deeply that I couldn’t turn a clear eye to the immediate world around me and find something better.”
The look on Etta’s face was what I needed. It was the perfectly understanding with just a slight hint of a smirk: She knew something. “Come with me.” she whispered.
The second edition of the Tea Bats Lenormand is on sale Nov 11th until Dec 1st! I love this deck, really I do. I don’t know if it’s me mellowing as I get older or that I spent so many years focusing on spooky women as art, that I’ve been needing a whimsical outlet. Who knows. Like all my decks it was a labor of love that kept my focusing. Please help out an artist so she can feed her cats, so to ensure said cats don’t get upset and eat her, so that I might live another day and not turn into a headline that reads eccentric artist lady found eaten by three pissed off felines, and buy a deck!
So as of my last post I was preparing to go in and have my face operated on. That surgery went very well. In fact, I just got back from my follow up appointment and my doctor was very pleased with my process. In three weeks time I’ve gone from torn up and shredded to ridiculously well healed. My knee is still healing and my eye is a pretty shiner, but otherwise you’d never know that I tried to take the left half of my head and body off via the stairwell. Color me tickled.
Now I finally get to stop thinking about my injuries and look forward to a business trip I’ve had planned with my gent for awhile now. This weekend we’re leaving for Boston for a large convention. Not one of our arty cons, but one for Myke’s actual day job–a place I get a freelancing with now and then. More than that, I get to see my dad for a little bit. I still hate flying and now I have to do it with a cane like a little old lady, but it’s all good. I’m just happy to have something non-doctor related to to look forward to.
The state of things: I’m putting my shoppe back online today. I still have only partial vision so me and the laptop screen are not really friends, but I can see well enough to get some stuff done. Halloween is fast approaching and that’s our season. Time to buck up and get back to the business at hand. Maggie took the contact form down for me while I was offline and hopeful Isidore seekers still poked about until they found a way to contact me about it. So I’m going to try and get that up at the very least. So off I scoot…
So the last time I updated my blog I was recouping from surgery. That was just about two months ago now. Well, two weeks ago, as I was mostly recovered and moving around without much issue, I got up to go to the bathroom around 5am. Our bedroom is in the attic of our house. The stairwell is in this small space that almost looks like a closet when you open the door at the bottom. It hides a very tall set of narrow, wooden stairs. Stairs I’ve made the bathroom trip down countless times in sleepy condition, sleep walking (but gotta go!) condition, tipsy, and so on. I’ve never had a problem. On this particular trip I missed the top step and caught my foot on the edge of the second and bent it under and started heading down… head first. Fun! Thankfully (if you can look at it this way, I do now) I slammed my face into the wall and knocked myself out. Everything after that is blackness. I didn’t regain consciousness (even with medic’s smelling salts and hard grinding their knuckles into my upper chest) until mid-ambulance trip on route to a trauma center in West Chester.
Setting the horror of the event aside for a moment, what really gets me is that at the time of my fall I was six hours away from getting on a bus and heading back to Grand Rapids for a week. When I came to briefly the ambulance gents were asking me questions to see just how wonky I was. Before that I was simply unresponsive. In my head, because it felt like so much time had passed and I was disoriented, I thought I’d already made the trip. My first worry, given how much pain I was in, was that my brother had gotten into a car accident after he picked me up at the Kzoo bus station. So I kept asking where my brother was and was he okay. Then I blacked out again.
When I awoke again I was in a hospital trauma bed with people around me and tubes here and there. I had managed to fall face first down those stairs and crash into and through the door. When Myke heard this and came down to check on me I was face down on the floor with a knee that was bleeding so profusely he thought I was going to bleed out. I thought he was exaggerating until I came home and saw the blood pool. I really managed to mess myself up. Injuries sustained were on par with a nasty car crash. I didn’t know what all I had done to myself. As I slowly started to get my wits back I knew that my left knee was killing me and that Myke and his mom wouldn’t let me look at it. My left hand had dislocated fingers and that fall tried to rip my pinky off, but thankfully it just ripped my web between it and my ring finger rather deeply. The trauma people only cared about my head though. I had facial fractures, a serious concussion, and I was bleeding onto my brain. I kept moving in and out of consciousness. My head was their first priority.
Here’s another interesting fact about emergency care in an ambulance: They cut your clothes off. My most favorite and comfortable pjs were cut right off of me to get to my wounds. I’m not going to mourn the pjs given my critical state at the time, but it did leave me naked in a strange bed with just a sheet over me. While in pain, bleeding, brain wonky as heal, and I still got to feel rather exposed to boot.
Eventually I was moved to a larger trauma center to address my head. They were going to take me there by chopper, however, I’m terrified of the things and apparently my reaction to the suggestion led them to figuring an ambulance would be better. So, another ride to someplace new. I didn’t like the new place. Most everyone who dealt with me was very nice, don’t get me wrong. But this is a level one trauma center in downtown Cincinnati. All the really BAD stuff goes there. And given how much near-death and horrible accident stuff they see, as nice as they are, the staff basically does what they need to do to you and tells you it’ll be over quick as you scream in pain. I did this a few times. The first time was them trying to get fresh knee x-rays. They told me I had a knee laceration but no one gave me details and as I said earlier: Myke and his mom absolutely wouldn’t tell me or let me see it.
So… a lot of hectic stuff happened there until they got me stable. I probably saw twenty different people with different specialties that checked over my variety of serious injuries. The orthopedic doctors were the worst. Nice guys, but it felt like raw torture. See, laceration was a nice way of saying I slammed my knee down so hard my entire knee ripped open. When they undid the wrap and removed the packing in the wound I was left with a seven by three inch gaping wound where I could see my knee cap. I’d like to say I was brave in the face of this but no; I freaked out. Freaking out led to screaming when the doctor moved all that around and stuck his fingers into the wound to check it. Eventually he slowly worked around the knee with a numbing agent so there was a poke into the wound and a burn. When it was numb he really gave it a look, then cleaned it out, and then explained he was going to have to pump 110cc of saline into my knee to see if any leaked from below the cap. This was to determine if my knee needed surgery. Despite the numbing agent for the wound, the saline went into my upper knee that was not numbed and it was one of the most horrible sensations. Then when he was done he tried extracting it with no success, except moving a syringe in and out till I was screaming at him to stop. It was… unpleasant.
Things gradually calmed down for me. I was no longer a priority concern so I was basically left to rest a bit. I was in one large trauma room with a curtain between sides. While I sat there resting several different traumas came through, including a car crash. The car crash was hard because I listened to them get the mother stabilized while the father needed serious work so that he didn’t die. He was awake for most of this and vocal. Thankfully I don’t remember so much about it now. My head trauma was to a degree that I was dizzy, wonky, and confused at regular intervals. I did manage to ask if someone would get me a gown.
Eventually my knee was cleaned again and sewn up. It looked rough. My torn web was sewn up. My dislocated fingers were fixed, which of course means someone held me while a doctor pulled on them to get the joints back in place. They were waiting to see if I was going to need facial surgery because the fractures were pinching muscles and nerves so I was having issues moving my left eye and feeling anything on that side of my face. They decided my face was far too swollen at the time. Another hour ticked by and everyone decided I was good for the moment so basically what remaining care I had disappeared with the supper shift. The rest of my experience there was rather hellish and long and I’ll be happy to never have to go back there again for any reason. They did the heavy lifting though when I needed it most so I appreciate that.
What has come after has been several visits to specialists, lots of new scans to keep a watch on my head, a lot of pain and healing, and one knee infection. Thankfully we caught the infection in time, but it came at the expense of my knee swelling up so badly that I was in excruciating pain. It also led to a strange and unhappy series of long moments: The ER doctor who tended to my infection and mega-knee was good and got me patched up and through the ER process in time to leave and haul ass over to West Chester to make it to my neurologist appointment. He’s hard to get into and with my injuries the time that might have come from rescheduling could have been critical for me. Sadly he didn’t feel comfortable doing the surgery my face required so he called a friend who could and managed to get me in there. This meant that morning we drove from Hamilton ER, then to West Chester hospital, then to the Eye Center in Blue Ash, and finally back home to Hamilton. No, none of these things are next door to each other. Yes, my left leg was still in loads of pain and all the excess swelling was draining. I wasn’t a happy girl. Myke wasn’t so pleased either. I woke him after he’d been a sleep for four hours because I couldn’t stand the swelling pain. During all those travels he hadn’t eaten a thing. My gentle giant can be a bear when he needs a sammich.
Now I sit here writing this as I wait for the time to leave for my eye surgery. They call it blowout repair to be precise. The week after my initial fall all my bruises had surfaced and 85% of my body was covered in them and very distressing hematoma bumps all over. My hands and legs were swollen. Numerous torn ligaments and munched up tendons. The cut across my knee severed a few important things to the space below it so I get these strange burning stabbing pains out of the blue as it heals. I had a cast on my left hand and a knee I could barely walk on. I have a very large hemtoma along side my left eye and the underneath is still black, as is the large bruise finally starting to fade along that side of my face and down my neck. Thankfully now, after a full two weeks, most of my bruises are fading and I can almost go out in public without people staring at me. I still get the looks because of my damaged face. I was even walking fine until the infection. All in all though everyone is most amazed that I didn’t hurt myself so bad I ended up staying in the hospital. It’s amazing what a set of stairs can do. It’s even more amazing how quickly I’m healing from it. Never in my life have I been so healthy that I recovered from a physical injury this fast. Without serious painkillers to boot. Tylenol got me through here and there, but honestly? Ice packs were my champion.
Mentally, on the other hand, even as the wonky and dizziness has gradually faded, I’ve been having an extremely hard time coping with all of this. It makes me angry that I could be so stupid to fall like that. It makes me sad that so much has happened to my body. I’ve had about five major surgeries in my life and what I hate most is that time in the surgery room when they’re prepping you before they knock you out. I get super anxious over that. That’s what I’m dreading most today. I’m not jazzed about a surgeon cramming an implant into my face via my lower eyelid, but at least I’ll be out of it by then. And if it helps restore my vision all the better. My eye, with that large hole in the orbital bone beneath it, is sinking you see. Not pretty. My brain just wants to scream at all of this. It’s too much in too short a time. I can barely look after my house let alone try and run my business. I haven’t been able to really spend time on the computer or phone because I can’t stress my eyes too much and frankly I can’t read anything I’m looking at anyway. Fatigue is starting to get the better of me and my appetite vacated with extreme im outta here a week ago so my weight has actually started to take a steep dive downwards. I’m struggling a little. Let’s just say I’m very frustrated right now. My thoughts are going to have to spend a little more time healing than it seems my body will.
All whining aside, we need to leave out of here shortly so I should end this to get to that. I have been updating as I can on my facebook page and Myke updates more on his. I have had a lot of well wishes and I appreciate them greatly. Time for me to scoot.
As a few of you may know I’ve been swimming through some icky health waters the last couple of months. After some tests and a trip to the surgeon we found out the main culprit of my irritations. Yesterday I had out-patient surgery to correct that irritation. The procedure went along smoothly and I came home snorgled out of my gourd (read that as: They gave me a lot of happy drugs so I wouldn’t feel or really remember what happened) and camped out in a recliner all night in la la land. Today I’m mostly more coherent, but the pain of the surgery is slowing me down a bit.
I’ll be on some heavy meds for the next week or so and keeping myself away from the aetherwebs so I have a little time to relax and heal. Then I’m hoping things will finally be back to normal again. I’ve been working at half capacity and very distracted for months now and I feel like that’s put me behind on so many things. I’m happy I can get back into my sites at full strength again!
So I have a serial fiction I’ve been working on, putting out into the world, and other stuff. When I try to sum it up I say “Vern’s Great Race meets Lovecraft wonderfully dark messed up stuff meets the hyper surreal blender of my mind with some scary HBO first season True Detective because damn! Finally twig puzzles are creepy again! … and that my friends is a tough sell to people who don’t know me. That aside, I’ve been using my “relaxing moments” to collage scenes from it… and yes, that sounds pssssbbssst. And they’re not evil or dark. So you should look at these collage snapshots into my brain is having a Lovecraftian horror chasing them down! CHASING! Or such. Err, how is your evening? I swear the dark is in there!
Well, not actually bloody… none was spilled. I spent the day updating sites (that still need further updating before they go live for those pages) and that to me is honestly enjoyable though tedious. I put on a marathon in the background (Darkness, Lords of Salem, some weird Canadian shows about weird stuff) and kept my head down and glued to the screen. Given I’ve been so useless with concentrating as of late, it was a good day. I finished it off with some new additions to my current deck project.
These are two more samples for my Ink & Blood Lenormand deck. It combines a variety of my favorite things that aren’t typically associated with Lenormand decks. If I didn’t mention it in a previous entry about this, the deck combines one of my artistic influences with trash polka style tattoos and Lenormand symbolism. I just love the stark colors and the sometimes simple graphics. I have three decks I’ve been fussing with, but this one has become my summer project. Anyhoo… snake and birds. More to come.
So both Orange is the New Black and House of Cards have new seasons? Netflix is trying to kill me. It’s like there’s this little evil binge-gnome that lurks around the house and it has a big N on its chest. It realizes that I’ve finally broken down and began watching Sons of Anarchy and made a call to all its binge-gnome friends. They came together behind my house where the main cable box is and formed a circle. The sky grew dark and they began to chant as their little bodies swayed back and forth. Somewhere far far away the great momma Netflix-Gnome-Beast heard their chanting and so whipped her evil red head back and cackled at the digital heavens where she is but one goddess among many. And then there, in my living room, my television heard the call and I looked up to see those shows flashing through my previews with the most sacred of words: New Episodes. Damn you Netflix. Damn you all to hell. There aren’t enough hours in the day for this. You’ll have to excuse me. I need to go find a shovel and start whacking some noisy gnomes out back.