raritan

August arrives, as it always does, thrumming with the ceaseless drone of cicadas, the looming threat of hurricanes, and a recurring, tender ache in my heart. A strange, soft, sadness for something that never was, wistfulness for certain places best left to exist in memories, a nostalgic sentiment for a timeline in which I, myself, should never have existed.

raritan2raritan3
These photos were taken almost seven years ago, as I was packing up bits and scraps of a life I’d never fully settled into, preparing a return to a place I never believed I would call home again. Nostalgia is a funny thing, strange and sad, wily and dangerous. Even as I was snapping these photos, I was already seeing the place, and my memories of it, through rose-colored lenses. But that rosiness was never a true thing. Good times did not happen here. I look at this fence today, and recall the beauty of the river beyond, and it’s so easy to think, “how lovely is the lazy current, the fiery glow of August’s setting sun”, and it occurs to me, stark and sudden, how often I despaired, and imagined throwing myself in that very same river. These are terrible, melancholy thoughts, and I have learned throughout the years that nostalgia is no true friend of mine.

5439946129_19a00baa4a_o

Mathyld (whose loveliness and talents I have recently written about, here at Unquiet Things) fashioned this Lionhearted talisman for me, back in 2011, when I knew I must make a decision that would change –everything– for me. Containing bits of labradorite, rutilated quartz, turquoise, and blue chalcedony, I clutched it for luck, I cradled it for protection, and I channeled all the confidence and strength that I could glean from its tiny, glimmering contents. It took no small amount of bravery and fortitude to walk away from that life, and I needed every bit I could get my hands on.

In the years that have passed, in the place that I am, I have found more love and wonder and satisfaction than I ever dreamed I’d have the courage to grasp. It’s funny to think that this situation, too, may change. That sooner or later the August shrieks of ancient insects will be too distant for my ears to discern, that I may trade the stunning semi-tropical savagery of annual hurricanes, for…well, whatever comes next. What is next? Where is next?  I’ve got some thoughts, but we’re not quite there yet.

cannisters saws

Meanwhile, I’m not going anywhere immediately, so that means we’ve got time to enjoy some rusty old treasures in the form of my late grandmother’s ceramic kitchen canisters, which we finally dusted off and filled with, well, you can clearly read on the canisters themselves what’s meant to fill them. And who am I to defy the word of Canister?

Also recently installed is my late grandfather’s workbench in our garage! Which I will probably never use, though it is wonderfully comforting to know it is nearby. But why do we have so many saws? Yikes. Better not ask too many questions, I reckon.

nobody pool

Typically I like to spend at least one weekend every summer at my sister’s house, during which I do nothing but luxuriate in her swimming pool from the first light of dawn (which is sometimes difficult to gauge through her black out curtains) until midnight –and quite frequently, beyond. In times of yore I drank margaritas all day to celebrate my one day of #mermaidlife hedonism, but as I’ve gotten older, the cocktails have become more and watered down until we’ve simply decided that our middle-aged bods and their glitchy digestive tracts prefer just plain water and ice as accompaniment to our aquatic interlude.

Schedules throughout this June and July were too crazed for our pool date, but I’d be damned if I let the summer go by without it! Thankfully it finally happened this past weekend, although, sadly, the weekend was mostly rainy. I did get in some night swimming, and got to swan about it my Nobody dress, which is probably not intended as a bathing suit cover-up, but eh, whatever. You can’t see it underneath, but my swimsuit is this one, in black, from Modcloth; I’ve had it about four years now and it’s held up pretty well–but considering I only wear it once every 365 days, it had better!

Dragula

Last month my BGF came to visit for a weekend, during which time we lazed about in our pajamas, ate a massive amount of junk food, and watched season two of Dragula in its entirety. Oh my lord, the insane alien baby realness in episode four! It was the perfect stay-in-and-make-poor-decisions weekend, and, as a bonus, she introduced me to Claws, which after having watched Sons of Anarchy, Peaky Blinders, and at least one season of Vikings, was exactly what I wanted. I’m so tired of seeing these shows about men and their macho gangs, doing all sorts of terrible, testosterone-fueled shit to keep their families together–I wanted to see a gang of strong females doing all kinds of terrible shit! I didn’t expect that it would come in the form of feisty co-workers at a nail salon, but that’s what makes it so unexpected and great. I believe that Claws may be what I was hoping for…and the bonus is that the show’s setting is Manatee County, and it contains all of the dumb craziness that could only take place in Florida. (I realize it’s actually filmed in New Orleans, though.)

I haven’t been keeping track of the visual media I’ve been consuming as thoroughly as I have in recent years, but here’s a quick rundown of some other things I have seen over the last month. If I were doing one-word reviews, I’d give them all a yes, even the bad ones (you can tell by the list which one that might be) because I think sometimes there are just things you kind of have to see. Atomic Blonde and Inside Out were my standout favorites, for what it’s worth. And The Great Mouse Detective, though a little silly, was worth it, just to hear Vincent Price as a villainous singing rat.

-The Disaster Artist
-The Room
-This Is The End
-Sharp Objects
-Atomic Blonde
-Antman and the Wasp
-The Great Mouse Detective
-Inside Out
-The Incredibles
-Coco

38837066_359623904574603_8445325332361248768_n
art by Johan Deckmann

It’s just that time of year, I guess. Summer, for myriad reasons–some which return yearly, and others always in flux- always just gets me to feeling some kind of way. I’m muddling through, though.  We’ll get there. Where “there” is no longer summer, I guess.

✥ 1 comment

12 Jul
2018

Cereal

I feel myself sinking into my yearly bout of summer malaise and The Morbs. All I want to do is sit on the sofa with a bowl of cereal and a glass with more ice than iced tea, and a big stack of books. I’m feeling less than productive…though truly, if I look at the past three weeks, I’ve gotten quite a bit accomplished. Perhaps I’m pushing through the ennui and heat-induced existential angst, even if it doesn’t feel like that’s what is going on.

maxresdefault

Usually when July rolls around, it’s time for our yearly re-watch of The Lord Of The Rings series. We curl up on the couch with the AC running at full blast, and we watch little Frodo and Samwise and Gandalf and all of their adventures, even though we know them by heart after these many years. The only other movies I can do that with are the Harry Potter series–and while I wouldn’t really consider these my favorite movies, they are the only ones that I can watch over and over and over again. I find them immensely comforting for frazzled nerves and burnt out synapses.  I guess I can also re-watch Soapdish and Hedwig and the Angry Inch on loop forever, but they don’t provide the same soothing experience. Do you have any films on your shelves that you could watch once a year for the rest of your life and never grow tired of them?

Corset 1 Corset 2

Speaking of things that soothe of comfort…lately I’ve dipped my toe (or my waist, really, hur hur) into corsetry. Earlier this year when I stuffed myself into a pair of strangulating Spanx, an interesting benefit beyond flub containment was that I found the torso-pressure really comforting. Like a firm, prolonged hug. Fast forward a few months, and a few of my close friends mentioned that they had purchased corsets, and in the process of seasoning them, (the initial, light and brief wearing of them to get them to nicely conform to your body) they noticed similar mental health benefits. Naturally I couldn’t be left out of Corset Salon, so I purchased one as well, to give it a try. Pictured above is the Mesh Waspie C-201 from Orchard Corsets. I can’t find much in the way of scientific evidence touting corsets as a method of anxiety control –although I suspect it works similarly to the very popular Gravity Blanket in this regard–but what can I say? It works for me. I do notice that I’m able to slow down and breathe (ironically) when I am corseted up. My heart isn’t pounding a mile a minute, like it usually does all day long for no immediately discernible reason. For some reason it calms me. If you’ve got an explanation, I am all ears.

books

Though I did not revisit my side-quest reading challenge from last summer, I have come up with another idea to keep up the pace in my goal to read one hundred books this year. I discovered an email from 2016 wherein I shared with my friend Maika the books I planned to read that summer. Looking back, I maybe read one of them, and no doubt that’s because I was still catching up on the summer reading I had planned for the previous year! My mission this July, should I choose to accept it, is to read the following books that I listed in that missive from June 13, 2016. The Joan Aiken book is a funny thing; I had originally seen a mention of Joan Aiken in the Weird Fiction Review Blog’s review of The Monkey’s Wedding. I was terribly intrigued but then shortly thereafter lost the link to the blog, forgot the blog’s name and definitely forgot both the title of the book, as well as the author. This blog is one I find and lose again quite frequently over the years, and for some reason it never occurs to me to bookmark it, which is silly, because it is a vast treasure trove of future reading ideas! You should remember to bookmark it for yourself.

 

✥ 1 comment

24 May
2018

Not todayI had to change the date in the title of this post three times because I honestly could not remember the date, or when I was, or, quite frankly, even where I am.

I has been a strange few months, full of extremes, and I feel like I am just now having the opportunity to take a deep breath (but hopefully not the sort you take before you plunge back into the fray, because I am tuckered out!)

B&G

In April, our merry band of weirdos met up for our yearly adventure, and this time the destination was Seattle! (See previously: Portland & Austin). Seattle is the home of one of my very favorite people, and I had actually planned this trip around the fact that they were getting married this spring. What an honor to have been there for their joyous occasion! And to have met their adorable mother, reunited with old friends, and have had my photo taken the bride and a life-size cardboard Nick Cave! Weddings freak me out, but this one was pretty low-key, had beautiful cakes, and a great soundtrack.  (It also introduced me to my new best friend, Spanx shapewear, about which I wax poetic over here.)

Scared TO Death

Splendor

One of the highlights of this trip was definitely The Scared To Death exhibit at the Museum of Pop Culture, spanning more than a century of cinema and featuring more than 50 props and costumes from film and television. I didn’t even know this treasure was a thing that existed, let alone present in a city I was traveling to, when I was traveling there–what a treat!

Aside from that, we took in the city, visited a thousand breweries, played countless games of Splendor (my favorite board game right now because it involves baubles!) ate at least five bowls of ramen a piece, got some new jewelry for both my face and my fingers, saw some art, devoured some donuts, spent some quality time with this beloved, beautiful face, and had a pretty fantastic time.

Longwood Gardens NYC

I barely had time to catch my breath before I was again flying away from home, but this time it was to see my BGF, who relocated to the Northeast late last year. (The photo from the top of this post was taken on my first morning there, while we relaxed on her gorgeous balcony with super boozy coffees.) I know we were both desperately looking forward to this visit, and I had a such an incredible time with her, both in catching up on our lives and spending my birthday weekend with my one and only Best Good Friend. We ate delicious cheeses, watched Teen Witch (I had never seen it! It’s pretty bad!) drank a great deal of Japanese whiskey, watched lots of Drag Race, and toured gorgeous gardens with fountains that looked like imaginary views from rich people’s windows in the 1950s, blossoms that look like truly outrageous, villainous rock stars, and romantical towers with dumb people in front of them, ruining my photo.

Whilst visiting, we also embarked on a side quest to NYC where mysterious adventures were had and beautiful artifacts were admired, and I will be writing more about that in a travel diary over at Haute Macabre, in the very near future! Oh, and most importantly, before leaving, I was introduced to what is quite possibly the worlds most delicious snack.

214

And so, that just about catches us up to present day. Present day being two days after we finally closed the sale on my late grandparents’ home.  We’ve spent the last year and a half trying to close out their estate, and with the selling of the home, we’ve crossed a major item off the list; I feel like we are finally getting somewhere, and maybe there is a light at the end of this long, tedious, depressing tunnel. So on one hand I am feeling fairly celebratory! On the other, though…

My grandparents lived in this house since 1985; they had it built for them to move down from Ohio and live out their twilight years in. They were the only people to ever live in this home, and my family enjoyed (well, mostly enjoyed) thirty or more Thanksgivings at their table. My sisters and I sought refuge there when life with our mother became too volatile; I hauled my laundry over there every Sunday afternoon when I was in my mid-twenties and still living in a small apartment with no washer or dryer. Whatever the reason we were in their home, my grandparents were happy to see us. It was our home, too. And on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 2:30 PM it became someone else’s. If they are even half as safe and happy there as my sisters and I were, then these new owners will have spent their money well.
30920553_2067020720203321_5275997646710898688_n 31210935_616629135336261_2129094273075773440_n

29715321_850187408439323_9062590584669077504_n

Some other things I’m into lately…

Some highly recommended reading: The Hunger by Alma Katsu, a thrillingly creepy reimagining of the Donner Party’s history and characters, and Experimental Film, by Gemma Files a strange and excellent story, a sort of pseudo documentary, rich in history and myth and weird technical details, about a mystery many decades old and how it begins to seep into the life of the woman obsessed with it.

Recommended viewing: The Terror (so good!) and Tokyo Vampire Hotel (so ridiculous!)

And that’s it for now! Until next month (or three months from now, whatever.)

✥ comment

29 Dec
2017

25025115_140511713329365_938233015945920512_n
National Cathedral; photo by vikinggoat

For the holidays this year we left the comforts of home behind and disappeared to DC for a few days, where my partner’s brother was hosting Christmas for the family. We had a lovely time, eating herring and schnitzel at Old Europe, taking in a show at the Kennedy Center, watching The Last Jedi (oh, Leia, oh, my heart), and mingling with posh people at parties. Well, maybe that last part was more nerve-wracking than lovely, but I survived it, fueled by the smoky magic of hangikjöt, endless steaming coffees, and lots of glorious chocolate cake. Despite the book in this photo, I actually had zero downtime, and there was not much done in the way of reading.

25012726_279661812558080_1655382225258020864_n
25015687_134504833897817_6538202725853691904_n

As is my habit, I packed poorly for the weather, and the terrain, and for my comfort. I looked pretty cute, though. Here’s documentation of my travel attire for each day I was there.

25015494_160457094565513_6451127847384776704_n
25024350_303171326860627_2909731504273752064_n

25008625_1014411332031962_9110458338780381184_n

25024566_2123086234644658_744463358773690368_n

Shout out to my favourite pieces: shoes from fluevog, Megumi dress from Altar PDX, Thief and Bandit Cats In Grass dress, tunic from Shadowplay NYC, bag from Baba Studio, beads from bloodmilk, and that fantastic First Order scarf/shawl/wrap, which was a gift (not sure where it came from, but thinkgeek is my best guess!)

25037173_519708881730646_4382525813556248576_n

On Christmas Day we walked up the hill to the National Cathedral for their Christmas organ recital and took in all of the gorgeous gothic spires and arches and buttresses and gargoyles and so on. It was a bright, windy day, and the cold inflamed my cheeks something fierce, but it was beautiful beyond words and absolutely worth it.

25016997_944762789005332_7062488949884715008_n 25017852_160681394701969_7560980686962688000_n 25022550_913952038767926_7257208159901581312_n

Now that we’re home again, it feels as if time has stood still for a bit and Christmas hasn’t yet passed…which is weird because all of our neighbors lights have been taken down, and their inflatables lie limp on the lawns. Keep them up a bit longer for us, please! We are exchanging gifts, just the two of us, on New Years Eve–which will be a nice way to wind down from the flurry of our Christmas visit, and a prolonging of that fanciful winter magic connected to the holiday, and which seems to linger no matter how old I get.

25014107_2043656042530252_3967672371225034752_n

My best good friend left Orlando last month and is now living up north. I miss her desperately. We didn’t spend a lot of time together, just a day here and there every few months or so, but our time together was always so precious, and it was such a comfort knowing that we lived so close to each other! She recently sent me an exquisite glass spider with a belly full of galaxy, and every time my gaze falls upon it I ponder our strange, wonderful friendship, and comings and goings, and the passage of time–and marvel that I’ve been friends with this remarkable woman for nearly twenty years.

Attachment-1 (1)

Tonight I’m relaxing and getting ready to see 2017 out the door. I’m not planning out my 2018, not yet. There is plenty of time for that in the next week, right? I’ll probably have some “best of” and “favorites” lists to share in the next few days, but for the time being, some things I am loving right now or have recently enjoyed are:

✨ The Steven Universe soundtrack (still watching this show, still adoring it)
Dark on netflix; strange goings-on in a small German town.
✨ A Trip To The Stars; as good as everyone says, read it now
✨ Thor: Ragnarok – way less boring than the other Thor movies!
✨ My new snake charmer illustration from Tenebrous Kate (above)

Did you accomplish everything you wanted for the year? Or…even for the month of December? Well, how about for this week?  Did you discover any new loves this month, or receive some amazing gifts? Tell me all about it!

 

✥ 4 comments

28 Nov
2017

IMG_0820

I’ll sum up November quickly: I fretted a lot, I feasted too much, and I miss my sisters desperately, having had them near me for one wonderful week, and now they gone. Other than that, I got, as they say, nothin‘.

Instead I’ll tell you about some of my favorite things this month!

Pumpkin Spice Snake Oil from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Halloween release. I received this one after I’d already written some Weenie reviews over at Haute Macabre, but this would have made top of my list, if I had sniffed it at the time! Snake Oil, a blend of “exotic Indonesian oils sugared with vanilla” is a gorgeous and intoxicating, but fiercely potent brew and– as much as I love it–I have to be careful wearing it around sensitive noses and sometimes it even gives me a fit of sneezes!  This pumpkin spice version is tempered by some pumpkin spices that I can’t even really discern, but it definitely makes for a kinder, gentler Snake Oil. I have been wearing it every day for the last week. And…it’s still in stock! I would advise you to grab it while you can.

Graces elixir from Sister Spinster. I own several potions and elixirs from Sister Spinster; I love the concept of encouraging self-care and empowerment through wild blooms and floral abundance. Do they work? Well, I don’t rightly know. I like to think so? I can tell you that a dropperful of Graces, with its mixture of chamomile, skullcap, linden, lemon balm, lavender and violet leaf infused in brandy with local honey, and taken with intent when I am feeling anxious, nervous, stressed or in the dark….well, it makes me feel like I am taking a moment to collect myself. And sometimes I think that’s either all you need, or it’s the first in a series of steps needed to get you beyond your anxiousness.

Lip Balms from Pollux and Key: I have the Cocoa Mallow Balm and the Chamomile Hibiscus Balm. I ordered these on a whim because I loved the unique combination of ingredients they presented (and the fact that these are non-minty lip balms, although if that’s your thing, they have a peppermint one, too.) After using them though, I tell you what–these are utterly lovely. They are slippy and soothing, not at all chalky or waxy, and the fragrances is very, very subtle. I can catch a tiny whiff of it, and whatever it is, it’s pleasant, but it’s barely there at all. And they seem to be flavorless, which I also love. I only wish they they had a version packaged in a tube; the tins are very pretty, and I don’t mind using my fingers, but a tube would work better for travel and I’d really like to throw one of these in every single tote bag I own (and that’s a lot of tote bags.)

23421488_1514881651932919_867181788580020224_n

The Spellbound leggings from Black Milk, which I nabbed as soon as I saw my stunning friend Maika wearing them, and which have quickly become my favorite things ever. I had a pair of leggings that I’d gotten from Black Milk a few years back and never wore because I thought they were uncomfortable…it turns out I just needed to wear a larger sizer. Who knew!

23279986_778016115737477_3410540152869617664_n

Speaking of which, isn’t this some marvelous advice with regard to friendship? “…meet those that recognize the wound within the both of you.” Indeed, that is exactly what I try to do! This very excellent suggestion comes courtesy Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles by Taisia Kitaiskaia. I cannot recommend this strange little book full of wild, wise, and wonderful counsel highly enough.

22709165_1546446408756762_9152024040133623808_n

In making up for the fact that our mattress is approx. 200 years old, I may have created a monster bed, one that drains my productivity and diminishes my number of waking hours. Between the Ghost and buckwheat pillows and the insanely high thread count sheets and the fluffiest, coziest duvet, I’m really just trapped in here, forever. The crowning glory? The eyeball-searing William Morris “seaweed” linen set. I had a tough time finding a website that would ship to the U.S.  but if you are one of the people whose gaze has not yet fallen on this thing and you are interested in napping on it yourself, you can find it, and a few other William Morris patterned designs at Amara.

23279940_1916203815061155_4775178673013653504_n

Lastly, if you like whiskey and you have a spare $70, I have stumbled upon a terrific one for you: Nikka Coffee Grain Whisky. I am definitely not an expert in such matters, but it is described as having “rich oak” and “marmalade” notes. Whatever that means? A lot of reviewers note that it’s a bit on the sweet side, and normally I am not a fan of dessert-y type drinks, but this is delicious.

Your turn! Got any recommendations for me?

✥ 1 comment

23099371_388833471530943_5100198888619376640_n

It makes me very grumbly that Halloween is not an official holiday and that I actually have to preoccupy myself between the hours of 9-5 on this day with things that have nothing whatsoever to do with ghosts or monsters or candy. Who can we complain to about this?

Being old farts, my partner and I are forgoing spooky soirées (not that we’ve been invited to any tonight, come to think of it) and staying home to pass out treats, carve up pumpkins, and watch Monster Squad. Maybe drink some whiskey. I might not even wait until the last kid has rung the doorbell! We’ll see what kind of night it is.

skellington
hat

Speaking of soirées! I was actually invited to a Halloween party a few weeks ago, and I am shock–shocked!– to tell you that I had a fine time. I actually had fun. What! How can this be? Honestly, parties are pretty awful for me; I get anxious about a lot of things, but nothing sends me into panic attack mode faster than the thought of celebratory social interaction. I think what made this an okay experience is that I knew the hostess and had been to her home a number of times, I already knew most of the attendees in some capacity, and, well, I went with a date. Actually three! My sister, brother-in-law and partner were all there. Come to think of it, there was actually nothing to be nervous about. Huh. My costume, in case you couldn’t tell, was a skeletonwitch. Oh, what, you thought I was a panda? Are you blind or something? Unfortunately, this fabulous hat arrived after the event, but that’s fine. I’ll wear it while I’m watching Monster Squad and drunkenly carving children. Pumpkins, I mean. I’m not drinking already or anything.

cadabera

candles

22280628_1460096414045309_4661275096646680576_n

Though we’ve had some glorious weather these past few days with lower temperatures that lend to layers and cloaks and tights and cardigans, the beginning of October was pretty wretched, as this time of year tends to be. I felt sorry for myself and bought an obscene amount of autumnal candles, spooky records, and a number of haunting reads. Also some “trock or treat” socks from Korea.

lady weird
goblinfruit

A few additions to the gallery over the past month: a lovely petite bat lady from Lady Weird and this wondrously elegant Martyred for Love sculpture by Carisa Swenson of Goblinfruit Studio

mabon
altar2
altar1

Knits finished in the past month: all patterns by Caitlin Ffrench. A thick, cozy shawl {Mabon} from her Wheel book, and two smaller altar pieces, each finished in a day.

brekkie

Earlier in the month I spent the weekend with my best good friend in Orlando, who is moving out of state. I can’t believe she’s leaving, but we’ve been through this before. 15 or so years ago, I was the one who was leaving…and everything ended up being just fine. So, although I will miss her, I know this will just be a new phase in the adventure that is our weird and wonderful friendship. Anyway, she fixed the most amazing breakfast for me, during the course of our visit. Basically a toads in a hole slash avocado toast mashup. It may now be one of my top five favorite breakfasts.
Let me tell you about my other favorite breakfasts lately: rice with a little butter and soy sauce, topped with a runny fried egg and furikake; a “fake bagel”, which is basically a low calorie english muffin toasted and spread with laughing cow cheese, ripe tomato slices, red onion, and Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning, and salmon jerky. For real! Salmon jerky is amazing. Do you, like me, hate sweet breakfast offerings? Cereal, yogurt, most breakfast bars, etc.? Gah, they’re just the worst.

What are you up to this Halloween? Tricks? Treats? Napping with your cats and favorite monsters? That sounds pretty great, actually.

✥ 3 comments

19 Sep
2017

21042063_481450085544205_3305741456198598656_n

It’s been a long few weeks. Few weeks? More like 8 weeks, I guess. Two months.

August arrived quietly enough, but ended in a flurry of activity and travel. I drove down to South Florida for work purposes, and was there for but a few days before heading back to Orlando to catch a flight to Salem to meet up with the Haute Macabre crew for a madcap weekend of witchery and poetry and beauty with some of my extraordinary friends.

21226960_773539222807424_692966537685893120_n21227569_113650242636817_7293836499995328512_n

The day of our arrival we were whisked away by the very excellent Jo, a new (to me) friend, who took us back to her lovely home, fed us delicious pancakes, and let us play with her two sweet puppers while we recovered from our long flights. From there it was off to Witchpix (or goth glamour shots, as we came to call it) for dress ups and close ups at their spooky costume studio in Salem! I was a little nervous about it because I am basically nervous about everything, but it was great fun. And, I mean, there was a wind machine! And props! And a broom that seated four. And did I mention dressing up? There were capes and cloaks and corsets galore, and even a hat that fit my big pumpkin head.

A++ ridiculousness, would highly recommend.

21295125_124277048223760_5674269160910094336_n

21224545_273606053135231_1887986800627023872_n

After our goth glamour shots we ambled over to the Black Veil Tattoo Studio for the Night Market Event which made for an utterly surreal dream of evening. Already exhausted for having been awake 24+ hours, being amongst the jostling crowd of people and the heartfeels from both meeting the creators I’ve admired from afar, as well as friends, both new and old–it was an intense experience. Especially if you’re not great at meeting people even when you’re at the top of your game (and please note, I don’t think my game actually even has a “top”. Maybe a “lower-middle”.) It was pretty wild. Pictured in the top photo is one half of our fearless leadership team, Samantha, along with staff writer Sonya V., whose face I adore. The bottom photo is the rare beauty of fellow staff writer Maika K. (whose face I also adore.)

Afterward we discussed how that, if there was ever a crowd in which to feel uncomfortable and anxious, we were in the right place–I suspect everyone who walked through the door that evening deals with anxiety and anti-social awkardness on some level. No doubt about it, we were among our people.

Later, in discussions with another friend, I was musing at how, even in the most accepting of crowds, I always end up feeling like the odd one out, an outsider. When I was much younger, this bothered me in a vague sort of way…but I finally realized it bothered me because it didn’t bother me enough…if that makes any sense? I felt like maybe humans are supposed to try their damnedest to be a part of things, and I think I recognized in myself that I just …didn’t want to. I love the idea of community, but at the same time being around people makes me so uncomfortable (anxiety re: saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, not having enough to talk about or maybe saying too much) that I think my discomfort is almost tangible and it might be a little off-putting to people who are trying to interact with me. And so I remove myself from the heart of things (if I ever even made it there) and observe from the edges. I think I am happiest there, on the fringe. I can see you over there and wave, and smile, and be glad in my heart that I got sort of close to you, and then I can scoot back to a dim corner and read a book while listening to the good times and revelries of the people I care about…from afar.

Wow, sorry to ramble like that. At any rate, I hope I never give anyone the impression that I don’t want to talk to them or I am too good to hang out with them and chat or whatever. (Unless you’re some weird, creepy dude, in which case, fuck off, you’re a pig from hell.) But I’m always happy to know like-minded souls and kindred spirits, so please forgive my weirdness if you’ve ever met me in person and thought “huh, I thought she’d be a lot nicer than that.”

21227444_142415069691642_2053750105638436864_n 21224924_760656510782794_4857142171033141248_n 21294548_130988260855554_721302116269817856_n 21296589_114503949218242_3737305044320518144_n 21372533_114120739302043_1948447330130722816_n 21372849_350808572024658_7157177357965459456_nThe next day we spent quietly recharging as we explored only a small portion of the 175 acres of grounds and monuments in the exceptionally beautiful Mount Auburn Cemetery–after which we again visited Black Veil, for the debut of Ashley Rose Couture’s current newest collection.

This time last year I was wringing my hands and tearing at my hair in mourning because I could not attend Ashley Rose’s exquisite “Shadows of the Realm” collection debut; this year I had a front row view of her equally enchanting “My Dearest Dust” installation, so I guess it all worked out in the end for ol’ Sarah.

21295064_510389255966371_6325887507271516160_n21294761_144984426099823_4297804203503386624_n21294535_660835997443159_8786905541701009408_n FullSizeRender 21371636_1824252667614712_4125020744381890560_n

On Sunday it was back to our old haunt, The Black Veil Tattoo Studio!  We were tattooed by the gracious, talented Ryan Murray who took our secret design collaboration ideas, which incorporated elements and symbols that are important to each of us, improved upon them immeasurably, and created something more beautiful than we could have hoped for. I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful experience for my first fancy tattoo (I already have several shitty ones) or have spent the day with people more dear to me.

In between tattoos, Matthew Murray, an outstanding host and as talented an artist as his brother, kept us company while we explored all the nooks and crannies and hidden corners of the shop. That wee kitten just kills me. Those tiny claws! What a little charmer! And the grim witchling from Handsome Devil Puppets– Ahhhh! Love love love.

21296077_109106056495655_685854879297568768_n

Post-tattoos, we one by one headed over to the Satanic Temple, where Sonya read from their book, Salt Is For Curing, and along with poet Janaka Stucky (The Truth Is We Are Perfect)  and author Peter Bebergal (Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll) presented an utterly enchanting, thoroughly engaging evening of poetry and prose. After their readings, there was a fascinating panel discussion and Q&A, brimming with shrewd insights and observations from the authors, as well as some… er… surprising and belligerent feedback from the audience. Which really didn’t even have anything to do with the presenters really, just some guy with a grudge and who wanted to vent inappropriately. Quel horreur!

Still–it was an amazing evening and probably one of my very favorite parts of the trip. Probably because I was in the audience, as opposed to in front of it. (Sorry Sonya. But you were magnificent!)

21296783_2261256647434573_3661366264430854144_n21296072_1602607376480980_6400324105169534976_n 21371954_263079614198337_3879639195358068736_n 21372331_1334640873324654_6058342677164851200_n 21372529_1410497122399689_191442987488641024_n

On our last day in Boston, before departing to the airport to catch our various flights, we made one last stop: the Harvard Museum of Natural History. What a powerfully peaceful place to unwind after the previous few days of whirlwind adventures! So many marvelous specimens (that elegantly attired long-tail widow bird)! So many sweet derpsters (that hedgehog!) There was wonder to be found around every corner.

And then…I was home. Just in time for hurricane prep!
But that’s another story for another time.

P.S. When you get home after travels, do you just like to sort of spread your newly acquired loots over your bed and revel in it?  Me too!

21296424_1953613991580843_9204047518701191168_n

P.P.S Sharing photos of my hair and nails because they will never look this nice again.

21226985_1648344231843031_3813214107331461120_n
21108108_126106608031749_5867847485879222272_n
 

✥ 4 comments

30 Jul
2017

20431403_1592516454124848_2997813491841737219_n

I find that I increasingly dread and actively avoid putting these “currently” posts together lately. I’m not sure why that is, exactly. To be quite honest, I love talking about myself and all the stuff I’m into, so it’s not like I’ve all of a sudden gotten weird and self-conscious about it. I operate under the assumption that my friends and acquaintances are a lot like me, in that they are curious about the lives of the people who they care about in some form or another (either on the internet or in real life), so if I want to know all about you, is it so hard for me to believe that you might want to know about me? Nope! For whatever reason, as anxious and uneasy as I feel about other things, sharing without feeling uncomfortable or awkward, or precious about it, has always been a thought process that’s come naturally to me (even when someone might actively try to squash it).

So what’s the problem, then? I suspect my low level dysthymia (undiagnosed, but that’s what my counseling-for-a-career sister tells me, and I guess I can’t really sue her if she’s wrong) really amps up in the summer time; I lose all motivation and energy, I stop taking care of myself and participating in the activities and passions I love, and it’s just a vicious cycle–I haven’t got the energy and life to do the things that give me energy and life.

So, yeah, here I am. My heart isn’t in it, but I’d be cross with myself if I skipped my monthly installment of talking about myself. Also, I will take this opportunity to show you my bangs-growing-out-progress, as well as the sparking new addition to my earthly meat suit: my new nose piercing, which I have fondly dubbed “lil crusty”.

20398346_118377108796695_6373185100179308544_n

My youngest sister has been checking in with me via email every day. I think she’s realized that for mental health checks, phone calls actually stress me out even more (although Melissa, I hope you know you should always feel free to call, I don’t mean to sound so singularly shitty about it) and so email is the way to go. This daily correspondence has been very helpful; it’s comforting to know that there’s someone out there who realizes I am going through …whatever…and who takes time to say hello every day, and shares with me little links she finds that will interest me, or maybe gives me a piece of advice that she finds helpful in her own life.  Early in the week, when I told her that it was a struggle to even get out of bed,  she urged me,  “…just do SOMETHING to break the cycle. Some activity, to get the momentum going.”

So, I took her advice. I made a list. I did not get to the big stuff. But I ate a goddamn apple, and it was a start.  I shared the imagery on instagram, and it was heartening and encouraging, all of the positive feedback I received, all the kind words and helpful sentiments. I won’t say I was surprised, because I am surrounded by thoughtful, generous, compassionate people. I always appreciate these wonderful souls, but to say I’m surprised by their reaching out to me in kindness? No way. Never surprised. That’s the kind of people they are. You all make me better for knowing you. Thank you. /end cheesiness.

quilt

So, that’s a lie. I have some more cheesiness for you. I received some wondrous gifts in the mail this week, from two incredibly special people. I was utterly moved to tears (and finally in a good way this summer!) at their generosity and the sheer amount of talent and astoundingly hard work that went into these treasures.

My sweet friend Lisa, who I began chatting with online during (I think) the final few years of my time up North, is thoughtful and clever, and very, very funny. I remember us poking fun dumb inspirational memes, and coming up with ridiculous ones of our own, and thinking “yep, Lisa is my people for sure.” Lisa is a quilter who creates the coziest, loveliest patchwork pieces and had apparently been working on this quilt for me since 2015! Accompanying this masterpiece was a beautiful note detailing her inspirations for the project, information on the fabrics used (one was from a collection called “spellbound”!), and the pattern, which is called Storm at Sea and interestingly involves sewing the pieces of the fabric directly onto paper templates and then tearing the paper away when it’s all put together. Lisa also included a marvelous poem which she noted had provided the “narrative underpinning” for the piece, The Plantation, by Seamus Haney. I finally read it in its entirety this morning, curled under the quilt in the dim glooms of my parlour, as the rain outside pounded against the windows–while I was warm and dry and feeling very, very loved.

At any point in that wood
Was a centre, birch trunks
Ghosting your bearings,
Improvising charmed rings

Where ever you stopped.
Though you walked a straight line,
It might be circles you traveled
With toadstools and stumps

Always repeating themselves.

20347260_487203648314177_1818763584356745216_n

Friendgift #2 came from the the inimitable jewel priestess/sorceress-solderer, sisterkin and glittering heart, Flannery Grace Good. I had placed an order for a few treasures from her shop, and she included this extraordinary moonstone spirit moth, in addition to some sage for smudging, a floral hydrosol, various stone talismans, and other things for general good juju.

This package had a bit of an adventure finding its way to me! I’m still not sure what happened, but somehow it got lost in transit, somewhere in the murky postal ether, and floated frustratingly out of reach for a week or so. When it finally arrived, I took a moment to breathe a sigh of relief and then commenced parading around in my shimmering new jewels. Flannery Grace Good, in addition to being a wonderful friend, is truly a master of her craft, and coupled with her imagination, creativity, and intense drive, she creates some of the most beautiful jewelry I have ever seen. If you’ve not peeked in her shop yet, you should certainly take a moment to do so, and say hello. 

books

Summer reading! If you recall, my mini quest in my overall yearly reading challenge was to read twenty five books in the months of June, July, and August. Last month I managed six, and this month at eleven books read (one of them is not pictured, above) I’ve nearly doubled that, so I think we’re moving along at a good pace.  Six + eleven = seventeen, so by the end of August, I’ll need to have read eight more books to hit my goal of twenty five, and…uh…win? I guess? I never actually got that far in my planning, I guess.

With Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu, fans are were probably like, “what’s this heartwarming crap about pet cats? I want grotesquerie and repulsion!”…but if that’s your initial reaction, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by this fantastic read, and trust me, you’ll get your Juni Ito grossness, but just…in a different sort of way. I was finished with the book before I realized it, and was sad to see it end! He writes about having to adapt to living with his fiance’s cats over time, and it’s both adorable and creepy, and overall a fantastic addition to his body of work. Thanks for this little surprise, J-Kun!

Actually, everything I read this month was pretty good, with Gilded Needles and Monstress at the top of my list, followed by The Beguiled, The Graveyard Apartment, and Bleed (all three would make excellent beach reads, with Bleed probably being my least favorite of the three)

Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu
Bleed
Monstress Vol. 2
The Graveyard Apartment
Southern Cross
The Lottery (graphic novel adaptation)
Rachel Rising Vols. five*, six, and seven
The Beguiled
Gilded Needles

 

20226013_213705875825224_6048513829191548928_n

And now I’ve got just enough energy left for some one-word movie & teevee reviews…!

6/29 A Dark Song : yes
6/30 The Belko Experiment: yes (except for last 5 minutes)
7/1 From A House On Willow St: ugh
7/3 What We Do In The Shadows (rewatch): ALWAYS
7/4 Kong Skull Island: meh
7/5 Attack On Titan Season 2: fun!
7/6 Lake Bodom: skip
7/17 Split: sure
7/20 Logan: yeah (but for beardy, bespectacled Wolverine reasons)
7/22 The Killing, Episodes 1-6: yes
7/22 Martin: YES
7/23 Creepshow: eh
7/26 Dawn of the Dead (original): fantastic!
7/29 Zeder (thanks Maddie!): yesyesyes

What was your July about? Wondrous things? Terrible things? Middling-meh things? What have you read or watched or seen or done that thrilled you? Or repulsed you? Let’s dish.

✥ 8 comments

28 Jun
2017

image

Oooof. It has been a rough couple of weeks. I never talk about my day job or my work here, because while it has paid the bills for more than a decade now, it’s of no interest to anyone but myself (and barely even me) and if we’re being honest here–I hate to work. Or to talk about work. Let’s face it, I think I hate even the very concept of “work”. And as of lately, I think I have been loathing the concept–and the reality–even more so than usual.

As that old weirdo, HP Lovecraft, purportedly said: “I never ask a man what his business is, for it never interests me. What I ask him about are his thoughts and dreams.” Too true!
Business, blargh!  Thoughts and dreams are the important stuff.

maxresdefault
Speaking of dreams, mine have been so vivid lately! Last week I dreamed that I decapitated a demon with a garbage can lid, and then used the same weapon to chop off his dongle and shove it up his butt-hole. I then jumped off a balcony and whizzed up into the stars, like a rocket! Hoo boy. Sarah has some issues.

A few nights ago I dreamed that I was a member of a clique-y conspiracy of witches, sort of like the depraved gothed-up coven that descended upon Rome in Argento’s Mother of Tears (pictured above)…except way less chaotic and crazy. More competent. Tidier. We were all prominent members of society, doctors, lawyers, etc. We regularly sacrificed our interns and assistants in terrifically gruesome ways. I ran around wreaking respectable havoc in a lab coat, but underneath it, I am pretty sure there was something like this (nsfw) happening.

bath2bath

To de-stress, I’ve begun making a of small ritual of the Sunday night bath (and you know how I feel about bathing). Our bathroom has been…ahem…under renovations for quite a while now, and the bath tub has just recently become available again. Huzzah! Time to break out my favorite bathtub-staining bath bombs { exhibit one & two} and my aurora projector, which does a crap job at projecting a magnificent aurora, but for the price I guess it’s okay at producing an eerie bathroom ambience.

beans chicken pie

RE: soothing rituals, despite the oppressive summer heat, I’ve taken to spending more time in the kitchen again. I go through phases, I guess. Sometimes I don’t even want to be bothered with the clanging of pots and pans and the chopping and the mincing and the yanking out of gizzards and whatnot…not to mention the hassle of clean up afterward! Sometimes though, perhaps I am channeling my grandmother, and nothing makes me happier than extended periods of gastronomic adventures and culinary experimentation!

Lately I have been spending time perfecting my black bean recipe (tip: this Cuban black bean soup is an excellent place to start), roasting chickens, baking pies, and making, for probably the 100th time, Isa Chandra’s vegan mac & cheese. Also pictured up there is chicken poached in sake & ginger, with hoisin & scallion flecked riced cauliflower and snow peas. We’ve been consuming a lot of Japanese-inspired dishes thanks to our recent obsessions with Wakako Zake, Tokyo Diner Midnight Stories, and Samurai Gourmet. Okonomiyaki night once a week!

19380086_801094526712559_8479197213984030720_n 19428710_189758844887951_4052689414898319360_n

On the knitting front, it has been somewhat slow-going. I just finished a grasshopper-colored (or absinthe-hued, if you prefer) pair of rib and cable socks and I shall shortly, secretly, be sending them to a friend. Because woolen socks in July is such a treat, right? But I hope, come December, they will be glad of them. A few years back I began to send my finished knits away to friends and folks that I admire, or who had, at some time, done me a small kindness.  I still practice this from time to time–I mean, I’m never going to wear all of this stuff, right? And it makes me feel good to let people know how much they mean to me!  This Blue Dahlia shawl has a somewhat similar fate in store for it in that it is headed off to a sweet friend, but it was the result of a bit of a craft trade. (FYI: other than knitting I am not in the least bit arty or crafty or handy, and I am always up for a trade!)

19436534_1349302488488836_8110710301550182400_n

Eeeep! Don’t you love it when Kickstarter goods that you backed and then forgot about show up in your mail to surprise you? Pictured here is the Slutist Tarot, a “mystical celebration of sex positivity that centers femmes, sexual deviants, divine whores and curious maidens.” Many contemporary tarot artists have been departing from the misogyny, racism, and imperialism of the classic tarot narrative and imagery, an intention that The Slutist Tarot shares– and in doing so, in telling the story of The Fool through the archetype of The Maiden, artist Morgan Claire Sirene has created something incredibly special.

In a fantastic interview Morgan speaks to how The Maiden’s journey differs from The Fool’s journey:

“The Maiden’s Journey is about sexuality specifically. How sex and sexual trauma changes you, your perception of yourself and how you deal with humanity. It doesn’t have to be a woman’s narrative even though I am telling it from a femme perspective. I can’t speak for all woman identified people, but for me and many women I know, having your life defined by sex is kind of inevitable, so it makes sense to me that this is The Maiden’s gift and curse.”

19367476_1903298336362729_4751995929903497216_nDespite the recent upheaval vis-à-vis my reading parlour, I am making headway in my Summer Reading Challenge, six out of twenty five, to be exact.

Strangely Beautiful by Leanna Renee Hieber: I can’t…actually..recommend this book
Hunger by Roxane Gay: Oooof. Yes. I’ll be talking about this over at Haute Macabre soon
Black Hole by Charles Burns: Dark and clever and grotesque. I think it’s a must-read.
Snot Girl Volume One: Social media star with allergies and a mystery. Kind of fun.
Giant Days Volume Five: I love these characters and the author gives a salute to yours truly
Jem and The Holograms Volume Four: Fun and pretty, but not very compelling.

frankenhooker2

One-word movie & teevee reviews!

6/3 Wonder Woman: Absolutely
6/8 Phantasm III: Eh
6/17 Star Trek Beyond: Meh
6/22 Raw: Okay
6/24 Frankenhooker: YASSS
6/26 My Neighbor Totoro (re-watch): Always
6/? Riverdale: loooooove

✥ comment

24 May
2017

artist: Christine Pellicano
artist: Christine Pellicano

Ugh, I am feeling so lazy lately. I picked up another a head cold on the way back from a recent whirlwind birthday trip to Portland, and I have got a serious case of the blarghs.

Instead of spending too much time writing anything, this month’s “Currently” is going to consist of all the photos of documenting the things I’ve been up to lately. Actually, that sounds like a lot of work, too. Damn. I can’t win.

New ombré hairs

Ombre hairs
Stuff I am reading! I am particularly excited by the new one from Jeff Vandermeer, Borne. So far it’s pretty amazing. Also, I hear very good things about Catherine Valente’s Deathless, which I have checked out from the library at least twice before and somehow still have not read.

reading
New arts from Ivonne Carley (happy birthday to me!)

Ivonne Carley
Current smells: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Antique Lace

antique lace
Tea & cookies at Kachka (along with nearly everything else on their menu! The Herring Under A Fur Coat was delightful!)

katchka

 

Spending time with my lovely spooders, Maika & Sonya, and making plans for future adventures!bloodmilk

Currently watching: Kimmy Schmidt season three (so dumb, so good, and I don’t care what this current crop of think pieces has to say about it); Fortitude seasons one and two (SO! GOOD!); The Girl With All The Gifts (meh, but I adored Melanie); The Blackcoat’s Daughter (also kind of underwhelming, but that’s because I have been waiting for two years now to see it, and it cannot possibly have lived up to the hype in my head.)

kimmy

What about you? What are you up to? Indulge my nosiness and tell me what you’re eating/drinking/smelling/watching/reading/doing lately!

✥ 4 comments