Dante vs. the Kraken of Garbage Island!

So, I have been trying more sequential story telling in my art lately.  I have been expanding and working on “Dante” as a character, and the universe he exists in for possibly years now, but I always had trouble actually creating a story out of it.  I have to give credit for the original inspiration of this story to my partner Korpolfr and our friend Greg.  They came up with the title and I asked if I could take it and run with it into a full little comic.  I am going to try to post one page a week, hopefully this really pushes me to continue working on it.  Thanks for reading,

xoxo

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It’s Time to Live {Spring planting and nice weather}

This past weekend, it suddenly became Spring and we were both ready for it.  On Saturday we got the supplies we needed and on Sunday we spent the entire day planting and transplanting.  Our plants were far too crowded in their pots, having grown some over the winter.  We still need a large pot for our elephant ear plant, but for now it is scattered all over our house in smaller pots.  We quite literally have plants in every room of the house now (except the bathroom, but that will be changing soon too!).  It is so nice to wake up in the morning to bright green plants growing by your head.

Without further adieu:

Jerry working hard in the back yard.

The very welcoming entrance to our humble abode.

While Jerry was mostly working at transplanting and doing doctor with them, I got the joy of finding dog poo in our front garden.  I admit, we always neglect the front  sectioned off bit of dirt garden.  My first year here, my mom planted Hostas there, but since I never watered them they died rather quickly (unfortunately this is a less than ideal place for a garden, since it does not get a lot of sun or rain (under the roof over hang).  This year, I decided to try an assortment of wild flowers that were suited to less sun.  Hopefully they sprout up (although this morning I noticed a very light frost on things…. fuck).  I think I will throw some more seeds down in a week or so just in case.

These plants are in the front kitchen window.

This baby pot has some dwarf marigold seeds in it.

We found this cool glass planter at a thrift store, and knew it would be perfect for our ever lasting ever green plant. The photo really doesn’t do it justice.

More plants, at our back door.

Another thrifted planter I found. I know that the image has sun damage, but I like how muted the colours are. Plus I love robins!

I failed to take photos of the plants now residing in the bedroom… but when I have another plant update (and I will!) I will be sure to include them.  I also didn’t take photos of the back garden area.  Jerry spent a lot of time edging the concrete pad and sweeping the area.  He planted some peas in one part of the garden, and I planted sunflowers in the other.  I also planted some mystery flower seeds in a hanging basket and in the robin planter.. I hope something grows from them! We moved the plant stand out of the kitchen, which also freed up some more floor space and makes the room feel less cluttered.  One step closer to the kitchen being “decorated”!

After all the work we did, it felt great to relax outside.  We let the kitties out to enjoy the weather too and explore a bit.  They love being outside, but are generally too timid to go outside of our back patio area.

Spring was moving in the air above
And in the earth below and around him,
Penetrating even his small dark and lowly little house
With its spirit of divine discontent and longing.
It was small wonder, then,
That he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor
And said, “Bother!”
Something up above was calling him.

(Segment from La Dispute’s song Seven)

xoxo

{about being brave} A New Job!

I am a shy person, and ultimately I try to avoid change, confrontations and awkward situations.  I think that this has held me back previously, from pushing myself and trying for opportunities that would make me happy.  But, in reference to this inspiration post here, if you don’t like your job, quit.  In order to quit my old job, I need to have a new job.  I need a new environment, I need new challenges, and I want to be working in my desired field: art.  So, after my previous blog post I decided to take some initiative with my resolutions and look for another job.  Finding a new job in London can be very difficult, we have an unemployment of 9.6%.   I have looked for jobs previously, handed out countless resumes, to no success.  Honestly, I didn’t have much hope of finding a really great job any time soon, and I thought I was wasting my time even looking.  But, dedication certainly pays off!  I applied for framing associate at Michaels (a craft store), and was actually called on the same day.  The next day I had an interview, and  I was kind of nervous.  I had not done an interview in years, let alone an interview that actually asked questions that relied on my art theory background!  After the interview, they said I was hired, and my first day was yesterday.  I’m really excited about this new job, I think that being in a creative environment will inspire me to create more at home too.  Oh, and did I mention I get a discount?  Hell yeah.

I know that when I was younger, all of this would have been far too terrifying to actually do.  I would have sabotaged myself somehow, being too scared to ask a cashier where I should go for my interview, having the confidence to give a great interview (that was actually relaxed and enjoyable), I would have found some way to get out of it.  Some credit though, I really must give to the book I was reading at the time: Coraline (the graphic novel adaptation by Craig Russel).  The story follows Coraline’s development, from being scared and running away, to forcing herself to be brave, until she simply was brave and was no longer afraid.

So be brave, as Coraline says: “when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave”.

In an attempt to include a photograph in every single post, I offer you a cute kitty:

Stay classy.

Thanks for reading!

xoxo

Better late than never? {Halloween}

I have been insanely busy the past few weeks.. there was a mad rush to finish my Halloween costume in time for our trip to Toronto, plus I’ve been trying to get my business back in shape for the Holiday season (but I will get to that more later).  This is still just a quickie post, to show off my costume (in part) briefly:

V stands for Victory!

I will be updating in the next few days with more details on how I assembled and made this Sailor V costume.

{Rest in Peace Bear}

Yesterday, my parents kitty, Bear, passed away of old age.  Bear was certainly part of the family, and especially when compared to other cats at my parent’s house, she survived the longest.  Possibly because she became a grumpy cat pretty young.  Bear will always have a special place in my heart, I have a lot of memories with Bear and even a lot of the circumstances around her hold a lot of significance to me.

It all started with this cat, who I found, quite literally, ripping apart a bird in the woods (well for dramatics I’ll say she was ripping it apart, but I actually interrupted her after she had eaten most/ all of it).  I had just started grade 8.  So, the logical thing to do in my mind was to lure this mean, pretty feral, but very hungry little cat back to my parent’s house.  Once I got her there, it was pretty easy to talk my parents into letting me bring her inside (after I had already started feeding her and she started to let me pet her once in a while, and I had named her all in all it took less than a week, I was pretty proud of myself).  I named her Kricket, because she made a soft constant sound much like a cricket.   I always loved cats, and wanted to help all the stray and feral kitties that hung around my parent’s house, to be honest I never really understood why my parents let me  bring Kricket inside:  she was afraid of loud noises, very skittish, was not litter trained, would frequently bite at you… But I was very determined to get Kricket to love me.  I slowly gained her trust, and eventually got her to sit on my lap once in a while.  So, the next spring Kricket is meowing right at my mom, my dad and I in the living room, and pacing, at this point I was joking and poking fun saying that she was pregnant and that she was going to have kittens.  My dad kept insisting that she was not, but then all the sudden a gush of gross stuff came out of her, and fell all over my dad’s newspaper: “uh, I guess she’s having kittens”.

Kricket, Bear's mother

I had never *actually* seen a cat have kittens before, and so wanted to watch the entire thing.  Kricket made terrible noises the entire time and all the kittens came out looking the same: covered in goo and weird-looking.   But once they were cleaned up, and opened their eyes, one kitten stood out from the others:

Bear and her two sisters

Not only was Bear the only orange tabby, she quite literally towered over the other two kittens.  I named her Bear, partially because of her impressive size.  She was a really playful kitten, I remember her chasing me all over the place, like we were playing tag.

What a big kitty!

Of course, I was begging to keep them.  Kricket, as it turned out, was a dead beat mom, and eventually stopped coming back to feed them or care for them.  I’m not sure if she just decided living in a house was not for her, or if maybe she was killed on the road and my parent’s never mentioned it.  Either way, I was allowed to keep Bear, based on the fact that most orange tabbies are male.  I don’t think my dad was very happy to find out that Bear was definitively a female, he was not a fan of orange cats (although I have no idea why), and would have probably preferred one of the grey tabbies.  But I’m sure that he is happy we kept Bear instead,  Bear was my dad’s cat, she really only cared for him once she got older.

Bear loved my mom's chair right from the start.

I have a copy of this picture in a frame, in my bedroom.

Bear always had a big personality.  One time when I was in high school, I woke up to her sleeping on my face.  Another time she dumped my wooden shelf of beanie babies on to my head when I was sleeping.  Bear was frequently the subject to my photography.  Which I’m sure she hated, especially when I was using a crappy film camera with a fixed flash.

Surprise!

Bear was a fat, and generally grumpy cat.  But she was part of the family and part of my history.  It’s weird to think about visiting my parent’s house with out her there.  She would keep my company late at night when my parents would be in bed, sitting with me or playing with a blanket, when no one else could see her being nice (I liked to think that she still remembered being a kitten and playing with me so many years before).  I will miss her greatly, and I know that others will miss her greatly also.

Not a fan of flash.

Love you Bear.

 

 

{everything will be okay}

I’m not going to lie, May was a difficult month for a wide variety of reasons.  Updating was difficult, making art has been difficult and over all I have felt like I am in over my head.  The two main issues of May:

E-Di, our beautiful black kitty needing a very expensive operation.

Attempting to re-organize the entire house.

I was also supposed to finish up my 365 day photography project, but at the end of the month I realized that I was a few days short.  I’m not sure where I missed days, but I’m pretty sure that some of them were in May.  To make up for this, I have decided to simply finish the remaining days into June and accept that I didn’t quite make it.  Regardless, I learned a lot from the project and I will have a better update once I am actually finished.

This past Monday, E-Di had his operation to remove a tumour from the base of his tail.  Anyone who says that having an animal child is less work than having a human child has obviously never dealt with  a cat after an operation.  Only, with animals it can be a lot more frustrating, they don’t understand what we’re saying, we don’t fully understand what they’re saying, oh and apparently poor medical work is also more acceptable.

When we got him home from the vets, he was very groggy and drugged up, and probably pretty confused as to why his behind was shaved.  This made the first night rather easy.

Where he had his IV in during surugry.

His sutures, which he prompty ripped out as soon as possible (but I'll get to that soon).

Wearing his first Elizabethan collar.

The problems first arose partially in due to the E-Collar that we received from the vet..  as you can see, it was a hard plastic and not very big.  In fact, it didn’t restrict his ability to access his incision at all, and he quickly learned that he could use the edge of the collar to scratch his itchy sutures.  But, generally he was not interested in bothering the area and so we didn’t worry about it too much.  Well.. big mistake.  The next morning, he discovered that he had ripped out the lower half of the sutures, leaving his incision wide open and obviously very sore.  I called the vet immediately (8am) and they told me I could bring him in for 9am.  I had to get him into his carrier on my own, as my partner was at school, and that was quite the struggle.  He did not want to get back in the carrier, and probably didn’t want to go back to the vet.  Despite being early in the morning, it was already boiling hot outside.  I can’t even imagine how uncomfortable he was in a carrier when I walked back and forth (the walk would normally take me about 10-15 minutes, but with a 13pound injured cat, it took more more like 25 minutes each way).

When I got the vet’s office, they took him into the back and then 10 minutes later informed that yes, he had ripped out some of his sutures (because.. I guess I didn’t already know that).  But they said they could put some staples in instead for a rather nominal fee.  I informed them about the E-Collar, and they gave me a different one for him, one that was not hard plastic, and that had a bigger cone (why they gave me that little one in the first place, I don’t know).  When I got him home, he immediately hid under my computer table, so I just sat with him until he decided to come out (keeping a very close eye that he didn’t bother his sutures and staples).  In the early afternoon he finally decided he wanted to lay in the sun, which gave me a good opportunity to look at his incision and new staples.  I was horrified at what I saw, which was one staple, in sideways, and literally going into his fresh wound.

Here you can see the staple, that is poorly placed and overall poorly done.

I called the vet and told them about it, I was very upset at this point because it was clear that he was in pain and that the area was bothering him.  They told me that they had the staples quick, and not to worry about it.  At this point there wasn’t much I could do, I wasn’t willing to leave E-Di alone and it was obvious that the vet didn’t want to discuss the problem further.  As soon as Jerry got home, I went back to the vet’s office, equipped with photos of the staples.  I talked to the woman who was responsible for this stapling job, and was pretty much given the run around.  I pointed out that it was kind of sideways, that his incision was still a bit open in the area because the staple wasn’t keeping it closed, that it was excessively gooey where that staple was, that he was incredibly lethargic and refused to walk, eat and drink water since the staples were put in… and I didn’t even receive an apology.  Instead I was informed about cat’s great healing (which although I acknowledge is true, should not be a justification), and that “well, he wasn’t under while we did the staples and its easy for him to move around while we did it”.  She said that I could bring him in for them to take the staple out and put a new one in, but I thought that it would ultimately cause him more stress and pain than it was worth.  She promised that the incision would still heal properly and that I shouldn’t worry about it.  I ended up purchasing pain medication for him while I was there, and left ensuring that they knew how unhappy I was with E-Di’s treatment.

That night was the hardest night to handle E-Di.  He spent more than an hour constantly pacing, trying to reach the incision area and growling at us when we went near him.  He was having a really hard time walking, and was generally in a terrible mood (not that I blame him at all).  After the incident the first night, I decided that I would sleep downstairs in order to keep an eye on him, and try to keep him as happy as possible.  We had to literally hold his food and water in front of him for the first few days because he wasn’t eating or drinking on his own free will.  I’m not sure if this was caused by lack of appetite, lack of energy or because it was painful for him to move.. but either way he did eat and drink a little if we held it there long enough.    He is already starting to act like his old self though, and he is walking a lot better now.  We’re trying to keep him from going up the stairs, but every time he manages to he has such a look of pride that I can’t help but let him stay in the upstairs hallway for a bit.


So, over the past few days, I have had very little sleep, and am incredibly exhausted.  I also have been unable to do any house organizing because he will try to follow me constantly.  He is the most happy just sitting beside me during the day.  He is certainly being pampered, which I’m sure he doesn’t mind either.  He has another appointment in just over a week in order to remove the sutures and staples.  I just can’t wait for him to be back to his old self, running around and playing.  I’m sure he is so bored, and its probably driving him crazy.

 

I also wanted to thank everyone who helped us out by purchasing crafted items, or by giving donations.  Every penny was appreciated.  We are a little less stressed about the financial pitfall this caused which allows us to focus on making sure E-Di heals and is happy.

Sweater Eyes

Writing Assignment One: Defamiliarization

Nothing has been the same since that other one appeared.
He eats my food.
He spills everything.
He plays with my toys.
He steals my love.
He steals my affection.
He steals everything.

I try to avoid him as much as possible.
I mean, yeah I suppose he kind of looks like me.
But he is nothing like me.
Mom will never love him as much as he loves me.
I am smarter.
I am cleaner.
I am less noisy.
I am more behaved.
I am better in every way.

Okay, so I admit I let him sleep beside me sometimes.
But only sometimes.
It’s not entirely his fault that he doesn’t understand.
I’ve tried to show him the difference between a piece of garbage and a real toy.
He just doesn’t understand.
I’ve tried to tell him that he is annoying, or that he hurts me when he bites me.
He just doesn’t understand.
I’ve tried to be a good role model, keeping my hair tidy.
He just doesn’t understand.

I’ve tried to tell mom all of this, and that it was okay to bring him back to wherever he came from.
Instead she laughs and coos at him, cuddles him on her lap.
It’s not fair.