Last week we had one of those polar vortex things that dropped the temperature into the single digits at night, so we brought them indoors at night. They chilled in a big dog cage and were clearly thrilled, settling right in and making happy noises. Naturally every time I walked past I'd bok-bok at them and give them some grapes or a piece of bread or whatever. I noticed when I go in the back yard they've gotten very clingy and they'll even take treats from my hand, whereas they wouldn't get within arm's reach before. They were doing this while I was cleaning out the coop today, and when I reached over to pet Speckles she squatted down and held her wings out, which is chicken for "come hitcher"! I realized that I'd been doing exactly what roosters do, call their hens over and point out treats to them.
I've read about ostriches getting confused the same way, and doing some research this isn't uncommon with all-hen flocks (we can't have a rooster because we're in a residential area)
My girlfriends, apparently:
(Goldie looks kind of horrible right now because she's molting)
It's oddly flattering. I hope at least I'm a handsome rooster!
It feels like I finally defeated the Level 1 boss - and now I'm slowly working my way through Level 2, which involves a hellacious amount of paperwork to get ID stuff, driver's licence, insurance, medical services and so on. The flight was very hard on my bad leg and I've been suffering pretty intensely. I'm grateful my sister was so eager to have me come live with her. Basically all I own now was what I could carry in 2 suitcases and a backpack, and I don't have a huge amount of savings. All I'm waiting for now is for my cats to fly out on the 10th and then I can relax. It's going to be a long hard road starting over.
Since I didn't have anything except the laptop, I had to buy a whole new computer set-up, including tablet & newer version of Photoshop Elements, so it's taken a while to get back up and running with commissions and covers.
Originally I was moving from the flat where I've been staying because my landlords (and good friends) have an ill, elderly parent they wanted to move in. It took a while but I found a place that would let me have the cats - unfortunately there was some kind of cock up with the paperwork and the guy rented it out to someone else, which I found out less than a week before I needed to move out. With my stuff in storage and having to stay at a B&B, I started to look for another place and something in me just broke.
I realized my relationship was never going to be repaired like I'd been hoping all this time, and I was just going to be even more alone. I've been suffering from extreme bouts of depression because of this, and to be honest I've come very close to offing myself several times. It sounds weird but really the only thing stopping me has been my cats needing me. Not a good headspace to be in. I haven't seen my family in years because they're in the States, and two of my sisters have been battling breast cancer the past couple years. Been feeling extremely guilty because I felt like I was letting them down not being there. I think maybe this is the universe telling me to just go back to the states.
Very difficult decision to make. I did love living here in South Africa, and I'm going to miss the folks here. I mourn the future I thought I had, with having my own family and someone to love and cherish me - I've lost the person I thought was my best friend, as well. It was incredibly stupid of me to think someone could love me, though. Also it's going to be difficult to find a job and afford medication in the states; honestly I'm terrified about that. I'm not in particularly good health any more, the lymphoedema in my leg that's a result of the spider bite & subsequent massive infection makes a stand-all-day nearly impossible, for example.
But them's the breaks. I've learned my lesson, I'll never expect anyone to love me again. Some people just aren't lovable, and I'm one. At least I will have my family, and it'll be great getting to be around my little niece and nephews. All kids need a weird fun uncle, right? I'm ten and fifteen years older than my youngest sibs, and when they were little I loved coming home on the weekends from college and taking them out to movies, the playground, feedings the ducks, apple picking or whatever, so I'm really looking forward to that. And of course I'm having my cats come back with me, although they have to stay a month because of the rabies blood titre requirements - hopefully they don't forget who I am! And there's other things, too, but this is already getting long.
So that's why I haven't been terribly active here for a while. Between the taking care of Oscar in his last months and all this BS with moving it's been a terrible strain mentally and a time sink. I fly back on the 3rd of October, so with luck by sometime after that I'll be settled in and back in the saddle. Wish me luck, friends!
He was doing better for a while, then he stopped eating and I noticed the side of his face swelling. The vet realized that an abscess in Oscar's mouth was cancer and that might in fact have been behind his stroke in the first place. It wasn't worth letting him suffer any longer.
I held Oscar and told him he was the best boy ever and I loved him. He purred up to the last as he passed away peacefully in my arms.
He really was the best cat you could ask for, and he's been with me through so much. I'll always miss him.
Oscar, the first week I had him.
Oscar and Aly when she was a baby. He was about 9 months old when I got her, mainly to keep him company while I was at work because I felt bad for him. They look like they're hugging in this picture, but they were actually in the middle of a wrestling match - they were good friends. In fact, Oscar was the only cat Aly ever liked (including her own kids once they grew up!). Oscar always did get along great with kittens.
Oscar and his daughter Minnie. Out of all the cats, they liked each other best & usually slept cuddled up together.
A few months ago Oscar, who's 15 (76 in people years) had a stroke. At bedtime I noticed his left eye looked odd and kind of sunken but assumed he was getting a cold, which Aly had just gotten over. The next morning the pupil in that eye was fixed and rolled down and out, so we rushed to see Dr. Nutt. At first it seemed like we had caught a break - aside from his eye, his paw being a little weak, and being a bit drooly on that side when he groomed himself, the stroke seemed minor and Oscar didn't have any problems walking or eating, and he didn't appear to have any mental problems from it other than a couple times urinating outside the litter box, which might have been due to him trying to get used to his altered vision.
After a month, though, I noticed again his eye looked a bit cloudy one night, and by the next morning it looked awful, like a dead fish's eye. Dr Nutt said it was a "melting ulcer", which progresses very rapidly and due to the paralysis in Oscar's bad eye. We tried treating it for several weeks with drops and painkillers, but it only got worse and worse, and even with morphine dropped directly on the eye he was clearly in pain. He couldn't close his eye completely, and the conjunctive tissue became inflamed and swollen while the eye itself seemed to deflate. Because the eye was clearly damaged to the point of uselessness, the ulcer wasn't responding to treatment and even if it did, he wouldn't have full sight and it would be vulnerable to more problems, I made the decision to have Dr Nutt remove the eye.
It was a very hard decision to make, even though I knew it was the best thing for Oscar. I had to fight through a lot of depression and guilt, plus there's always some fear putting an elderly cat under anesthesia. The only comfort was cats don't have the sort of self awareness that would let them feel sad about losing an eye, all he would know is he wasn't hurting any more.
Dr Nutt did a terrific job, as he always does. When we got home, poor Junior took one look at Oscar with the cone and his face covered in dried blood and dyed blue by antiseptic fluid and disappeared - I didn't see him again til the next day, to the point I actually thought he might have gotten out of the flat somehow. I'm still not certain what crack in space-time he managed to hide himself. Oscar was wobbly but his main concern was that he hadn't eaten in 24 hours and it was around dinner time.
He never did manage to figure out navigating with that cone. I had to leave all the doors open because he couldn't fit through the burglar bars, and the tops had to be off the litterbox because he got stuck (and went running across the floor inside the top of the box!). He also liked to wake me up in the morning by scraping the cone on my face. He even figured out how to scratch himself anyways - by pressing up against the corner of the wall and bending the cone enough so that his face touched the wall. He always was a smart little bastard. And Junior finally got over his freak out and they're cuddle buddies again.
So here he is a few weeks after surgery. There's still some scabbing but the doc says he's healing up great. And he's clearly compensating well for the lack of depth perception - he jumped up to the top of the fridge and back down today. The worst part has been getting him to take his liquid antibiotics - for a senior citizen recovering from surgery, he is damn strong! We'll have to get him a jazzy pirate eye patch to go with his new "retired badass" look.
Junior beta reading mt longhand first draft.
My cat Tequila (that's her with her daughter & adopted daughter) needs emergency surgery . . . this is going to run me a couple hundred dollars at least, and since I've already spent a lot on my own medical bills this year, I'm going to open for special commissions.
$50 (via paypal) for a full figure, color, painted character on a simple or clear background similar to these:
If you are familiar with my gallery, you know what my strengths are, but I'm open to new things. Please no extreme fetish/bigotry, etc. Gore or nudity is OK.
I'm taking four slots to start with, first come first served. Please have a description or references ready to go:
1. TAKEN - Not Here - Done!
2. TAKEN - Spacix - Done!
3. TAKEN - Zenbas
4. TAKEN - Aeden Custer
If you didn't get a slot, I will probably be opening more later in the week to cover the surgery fully. I just don't want to overwhelm myself right off.
Surgery went a lot rougher than I had hoped for, and having to recover while being almost totally alone and also running out of anti-depressants and being unable to refill so suffering from withdrawal symptoms has really made the last couple weeks hard. Only making things worse was, the day before my surgery I found out my sister has breast cancer - and after that, another one of my sisters, who has been battling cancer for almost a year now, was hospitalized for an infection related to her radiation therapy. You can probably imagine being terrified for their lives, frustrated at being unable to help and pissed at the general fucking unfairness of the universe isn't helping the ol' mental state. I've not been able to really get any drawing or writing done, and I know inactivity is a good way to fall off people's mental radars. Even if I haven't responded to every message, I truly appreciate the comments and interactions I have with you folks.
Hopefully things will start looking up at some point.
I've got surgery
coming up on the 21st to fix some issues with scarring and lumps left over from the surgery this past December, and which is causing me pain and impacting use of my right arm (the drawin' arm! I need that one). Unlike the last time, this is just gonna be under local anesthetic which means I'm gonna be doped but awake through it, and I gotta say, I'm kind of freaked out about it. I've pretty much gotten over the fear of needles I used to have so bad (I still don't like looking at them, but I can cope with the actual jab). Still, I don't know if its gonna hurt or feel weird and I'm scared I'll flip out during it, or something. And there's going to be the noises, and the smell . . . I dunno. I'm not usually a huggy person but goddamn, sometimes even I need physical reassurance and I could use some now. Badly. Maybe I should sew myself a friend :/
I'm gonna take at least a week off from work, so I have some books and a couple of movies stockpiled to keep me from boredom. I'm also going to prep for Nanowrimo. For obvious reasons I'm not going to be doing anything art-related for a little while.
Anyways, I shouldn't whine too much because other people have it way worse and I'll just get through it like every other damn thing I have to get through.
EDIT: Had a mix up with the payment, so now surgery is going to be on the 28th. Another week to fret, yay.
I have accidentally used stock art that wasn't for commercial problems, and both times I took the art down immediately and offered to pay the artist. It would really help, I think, if DeviantArt had some sort of sorting or marking system for licences for stock art, because the artists themselves don't always know the correct legal terms, or say nothing at all, or say "read the journal" (and no journal exists. At any rate, what these people are doing with my art is clearly malicious. Here's the thing. If someone wants to use a piece of my art for NON COMMERCIAL, EDUCATIONAL purposes, and they ASK PERMISSION I'm usually fine with it. I'm a freelance artist, and I have medical bills upcoming. Someone who steals my art and sells t-shirts with it is doing the exact same thing as taking my wallet or breaking into my house.
And I do have completely free and OK for commercial use stock available here
The ONLY places I am selling artwork currently are:
www.teepublic.com/user/viergac… - t-shirts, mugs, notebooks
www.selfpubbookcovers.com/vier… - premade blank book covers for self-publishers
www.etsy.com/shop/FicFinesseBo… - premade blank book covers for self publishers
If you see my stuff being sold anywhere else, it is theft, and I would greatly appreciate it if you let me know, thanks!
If you're an indie author or self-publisher, this is your chance to get a unique, professional quality cover at a discount price. Each cover is only sold once and composed of several images, so it's not just the same stock you see over & over again and your book will be one of a kind. All you need to do is add your name and title (which you can do on the site) and you're ready to publish!
My baby sister wearing one of my Frith's Promise t-shirt.
And here's current foster kitten Nugget helping me draw. His face is kind of a mess because he had a bad eye infection when I got him (he's all better now).
There's no rules besides just "draw a centaur". And have fun!
You can submit art to or to Centaur Central on Tumblr.
You can see when he gets a grip because his ears start wriggling as he sucks.
Don't make fun of my voice, I'm coming off a bad flu so it's really strained and scratchy
Just a few updates:
Surgery went well.
I went in early early, which was probably a bonus because I am NOT a morning person. It's hard to get worried about stuff when you're barely awake. The nurse prepping me said I looked like I was going to be a troublemaker (well! I never!) and I told her no, my one sister is an RN and if she heard I was naughty she'd fly over here and personally kick my ass. I don't recall much prior except climbing onto the operating table and my gown falling off. One of the nurses went to cover me up and I told her not to bother, half of Africa has seen me naked by now and everyone in the room would in a few minutes. I find this sort of fatalism a good coping method. It actually took an hour less than projected, which is nice because we got a refund from the estimate.
I actually enjoyed being in a nice facility being pampered for a day while I was monitored - air conditioning and an all-cartoon tv channel! The nurses were apparently very impressed with how well I rebounded from anesthesia, which is one of my many useless superpowers. Last time I had surgery, I woke up in the recovery room and helped the nurses solve a crossword puzzle. This time they were praising me for sitting up and walking down the hall without being woozy, and I said I haven't been praised so much for exhibiting basic motor skills since I was a baby. I can even eat with a fork and use three-word sentences! The only annoying things were the pulse ox monitor beeping every time I started falling asleep, due to my sleep apnea. I would shout down the hall, "I'm not dead" but of course they still had to check. And then when I finally did fall asleep, the night nurse woke me up for meds and I opened my eyes to see a stranger leaning over me in the darkness, face lit from below by the monitors. It's amazing I didn't have a heart attack XD
Recovery has been slow but steady. I only had the drains in for a few days, which is good because they're gross as heck and the cats were convinced they were really neat toys I was cruelly not letting them play with. The sutures are healing quite well, although removing the tape the check of them pulled the six chest hairs I've managed to grow right out. Dang it. The only problem I'm having right now, aside from the usual tiredness and recovery pains, is there's a build-up of fluid at the site, and I keep having to go in to the clinic to get it drained, which involves a freaking HUGE and very painful needle being shoved in various places and the gunk being sucked out. It's godawful painful, and afterwards I'm nauseous and soaked with sweat. Right now I have to sleep with a 2-kilo bag of rice on my chest to keep compressing it out.
I've been trying to take it easy and not do too much work, but hopefully I'll be easing back in soon. Thanks for all the kind comments, you sweethearts!
"Feather Girl" is about two feet from snout to tail tip, and is entirely hand-sewn from my original pattern in four different colors of faux fur with beanies so she sits up nicely. Her custom painted eyes have a following effect, which is pretty neat - she's looking at you no matter where you stand!
You can see more pictures Here and here.
If you're interested, I'm going to keep the bidding going until Weds., 26 October. I'd like at least $50 for her (shipping will be from Cape Town, South Africa) and you can put in a bid by emailing me at email@example.com (please put "dinosaur bid" in the subject line).
Thanks for looking!