June 23, 2014

Creating DreamWorld, Part II – guest post by Sarah Allegra

 

To call DreamWorld my obsession would be doing it a great disservice. Almost all my creative energy went toward it. It quickly grew from the core cast of characters who came to me into a deep, lush, endless world of possibilities. DreamWorld became the vast land we visit in our sleep.

Some of the people and creatures who reside there have roles to play in your sleep. There is the Dream Purveyor, something between a classic gypsy and fairy,^ from whom you can buy particular kinds of dreams. Also, the Sentinel, an angelic being who watches over you while you dream.# We have a Queen (the first character who came to me that restless night long ago) and a King. There are dryads, magical animals (so many animals!) and even a few dark characters who reign over nightmares.

Prayer For The Frail

Prayer For The Frail

More than its individual parts, DreamWorld is a place. It has its own customs, rules, traditions and races. It’s lousy with magic, and there’s a strong theme of the sentient creatures living in harmony with nature. Nature herself plays an important role, bringing beauty, awe and a sense of grounding its other-worldliness a little bit in reality.

One of the things that is very important to me as I slowly work through the series is to put as much effort as the photos need into it. Sometimes it’s quite simple; take your model out to a pretty part of nature, pose her a little and you’re done. Most of the photographs are not like that though. Almost all of them require huge amounts of work beforehand, sometimes months of work. Every detail is hand-made by myself, both because I’m working with an extremely frugal ME-hampered budget and because I have such a specific design in mind. I’m the only one who can bring it to life. And I won’t lie, it’s incredibly rewarding when months and months of effort pay off by giving you the exact photo you wanted.

Potion

Potion

It really takes a certain kind of model to work with me. Because of that, I try and stick with my regular models as often as possible, but occasionally a new one slips in. Generally someone new enters either because I need a very specific look, or I’ve come across someone I feel I absolutely must photograph, usually through a model/photographer networking site called Model Mayhem.

There’s a lot of trust required of the models. Often, the things I give them to wear and do will end up looking drastically different in the finished photo. Plus there’s that whole photographers-being-obsessed-with-good-light thing, which means if you’re shooting outside (which I almost always am for DreamWorld) you have three choices. A) sunrise, B) sunset, or best of all, but hardest to predict, C) a cloudy day.§ Nothing ruins the magical mood I’m trying to set up like harsh, nasty twelve o’clock noon light. Because I’m also contending with physical pain most days, and because my pain meds prevent me from driving anywhere or even being in a car ±, this means sunrise is easier for me than sunset. If I go for sunset, I have to wait until the shoot is all over and done to take any pills, and that can make for a VERY LONG day.

April Grace as a shaman retrieving a piece of a soul.

April Grace as a shaman retrieving a piece of a soul.

When you consider how my models have to trust me, bearing inhumanely early call times, being out in the cold while flimsily clad, if not outright nude, gracefully holding very uncomfortable poses, often hiking long ways to get to our location, and rarely getting paid¤ it takes a special breed. They have to be as passionate about the final product as I am, as well as believe that I’ll be able to pull it off and make the craziness worth it. They have to be actresses as well as models; sitting there and just looking pretty is never enough. There’s always something to convey, a character to inhabit, a story to tell. While there are a few exceptions, modeling is much harder than most people realize.¥

I usually start each shoot by going over each concept with the model beforehand. On average, I photograph about 3-4 different concepts at each shoot. I explain each idea in great detail before the shoot, usually in an email as we’re nailing down a date and time. Sometimes I include music, videos or quotes from literature to help get my concept across. For me, this is one of the trickiest parts; I never feel like I’ve conveyed the story adequately, but again, my models are wonderful. The ones I’ve worked longest with are familiar with what I usually want out of them which helps a great deal. We develop a bit of a shorthand; if I tell them to ‘look ethereal,’ they know what that very vague-sounding request means.

The Shepherdess

The Shepherdess

It’s truly a bonding experience, and the models I work with frequently become dear friends as well. There are a few I consider my go-to girls, and I am deeply grateful for them. My work would not be the same without their talents in front of the lens.

While I often use compositing## in my images to bend reality, I try to make as much authentic as possible. Take my photo ‘The Court Of The Dryad Queen’ for example.
This is one of the longest costumes I’ve ever spent time on, but every single thing she’s wearing was hand-made and exactly how you see here. For her crown, I gathered sticks and branches from around my yard, used light wire to hold them in place, spray-painted it, decorated it with pine cones and lace leaves. The central ‘crowniest’ part of her headdress was a little decorative pot I got at Ikea for about $2, also spray painted. Her dress was constructed from many yards of muslin, about half of which I already had, and tea-dyed to become gradually darker at the bottom.^^ The cuffs and collar were made from hundreds of individual leaf shapes I cut out of lace, stiffened, hot-glued in place and painted. The dark green underskirt was just two yards of fabric I’d bought for some project which I’ve now forgotten, but it made the perfect finishing touch to her outfit.

For those interested, you can read a much more in-depth account of creating the costume at my blog, with plenty of behind-the-scenes photos.

The Court Of The Dryad Queen

The Court Of The Dryad Queen

The Court Of The Dryad Queen

The Court Of The Dryad Queen

The Court Of The Dryad Queen
Having thoroughly ground my fantasy in reality with all the work that went into the costume, now the fantasy came in. I spent months stalking the birds at the feeder in my yard, building up a store of images to pull from for this photo. All the animals, songbirds, squirrels and crows, were added in Photoshop and carefully blended in to make them look like they really had been there. I also had ended up with a background a bit more distracting than I wanted; it was competing with the crown for attention. I ended up having to replace the entire sky (not an easy task in this case) and add in the large branch above her head for all the animals to rest on it, which was from a photo I took of a completely different tree months before. A little sweetening of the colors and tweaking the light and shadows and it was done!

Orb

Orb

Months of preparation, weeks of editing… it’s a great deal of work, but I absolutely love it. Many people ask about how I edit photos, and I finally made a short video of the process. It isn’t so detailed as a step-by-step instructional manual, but it helps give people an idea of what goes into some of the wilder edits I do. If you’d like to get a glimpse behind the curtain, you can here!

Where Earth Meets The Sky

Where Earth Meets The Sky

Especially as the ME seems to be slowly gaining ground in my body, DreamWorld is more than my escape. It lifts my spirits in a way that goes beyond simply being distracting, or wistfulness, or making pretty things… it actually helps heal my soul to bring it to life. It feels like my true home.

And who knows, if I spend enough time there making the impossible possible, maybe, just maybe, a little magic will rub of into my real life.

Katie's World

Katie’s World

Sarah Allegra is a fine art photographer and self portrait artists in Los Angeles. Read her own blog if you don’t mind occasional artistic nudity: http://sarahallegra.wordpress.com/

^Fairy: see Spindle’s End. That’s the kind I mean here; ones who can perform bits of magic, sell charms and are mostly benevolent.

#Played by actor Paul Telfer, who looks exactly like the kind of person you’d want watching over your sleep. He has to be at least 8′ 15″, broad-shouldered, square-jawed and muscular like your typical Marvel superhero. Actually, he probably looks quite a lot like I imagine Watermelon Shoulders. That may just be my conditioning projecting his image onto the character though; the hellgoddess may disagree with me.

±If I get in a car on the meds, I do what I imagine is probably a very good imitation of Darkness or Chaos geysering. No one wants to see that.

§The sun and I are not friends. I would be so, so happy to live somewhere like Seattle, Portland or England where it’s cloudy more than sunny. I would LOVE that. I know most people come to California for the sunshine, but to me the sun’s rays are just nasty, abrasive deviants who live to ruin an otherwise great photograph.

¤Believe me, I would love to be able to pay them. On the occasions when I’m getting paid for what we’re shooting, they do too. One of the things I look forward to once I’m at a place of actually making money from my art is being able to financially reward these wonderful girls who have stuck with me this whole time.

¥I’d like to publicly thank Sandy Moore, Dedeker Winston, Aly Darling and Katie Johnson for their years of helping me bring my visions to life. These girls are not just astonishing models, but truly wonderful human beings as well.

##Merging two or more* photos together in Photoshop to form one finished piece.

*In my case it’s usually more like several hundred than like two

^^ After such intense tea-dying, the dress SMELLED for days. I had to email the model, a very easy-going girl I work with often named Dedeker Winston, and warn her that while her dress would be beautiful, it was stinky. I couldn’t even bring it inside the house the first day, it had to rest in one of our porch chairs. After that it could live in the bathroom until it aired out a little more.

KES, 136

 

ONE THIRTY SIX:  The Black Tower III

Then the wind blew the clouds in again, dark and heavy and low, and the wild-haired half-naked war goddess on her huge powerful horse disappeared behind them.  There was a murmur of dismay from more throats than yours and you wondered how many of your companions had the same brief, mad desire that you had, to raise your sword and stab it upward, as if the clouds were a curtain you could cut apart, and see the Defender again, and go to her.

“All here, Colonel,” said Barolin.  “All present and ready for your orders.”  And he cast his usual glare over everyone, daring anyone not to be ready, but you thought it wasn’t his usual glare at all, and that he was worried, more worried than you’d ever seen him, Barolin, who was as tough and clever and fearless as the colonel.

The colonel nodded, and then raised her hand and shouted out suddenly:  Canaluma nur frimeh-lec sen falconi dlin tuloom!

You stiffened, and your mare shook her head and sidled, but yours was not the only horse and you were not the only rider to react to the colonel’s words, so no one need know that you could smell the magic her words had released.  But the rest of your company were probably only responding to the magic’s kick, the disturbance in the aether.  You didn’t have to be able to recognise magic to feel its strength.

The colonel wasn’t a magic user;  soldiers rarely were.  It was one of the reasons why, when you ran away from the village where you’d lived all your life, you went straight to the Lady’s army headquarters and enlisted as fast as you could ink your thumbprint and press it where the captain told you to.  Therefore what the colonel had just shouted wasn’t a spell or anything she had to work herself;  it was probably some kind of key. . . .

“Is this the only way?” said Barolin.

“It’s the only way I know,” said the colonel.  “It’s not like this happens every duty shift, is it?”

You could feel the ripple of unease curling through the company.  The colonel didn’t talk like this in front of the people she led. She turned her horse so she was facing her company.  “Listen, you green dogs,” she said, which made everyone smile a little:  green dogs were either the newest, stupidest recruits or the legendary heroes who saved the country or the queen against impossible odds.   Dornag had swum leagues in stormy seas to bring critical news;  Eenarloc had fatally stabbed the enemy general in the eye with the shaft of a feather pulled out of her horse’s tail after the general had broken her sword in battle.  Eenarloc had been a Falcon, and the feather woven into her horse’s tail had been a falcon feather.

“I’ve heard most of the stories you lot tell each other,” the colonel said briskly.  “I’ve told some of them myself.  But I don’t think I’ve heard you tell the one that says a company that goes to support the Defender of the Gate probably won’t come home again?”

It was a tribute to what her people thought of their colonel that no one looked away.

“I confess that generations of officers have tried very hard to prevent that story from becoming commonly known.”

Magic, you thought.  Soldiers are the worst gossips in the world.  They’d’ve had to put a spell on it to keep it quiet.

“Partly because no one knows if it’s true or not.  If you’re going to lose sleep over something at least let it be real.  And the Black Tower is an uncomfortable enough posting;  it doesn’t need help from ghost stories.

“But”—she looked at Lamos, but he bowed his head and stared at his horse’s withers—“personally I think there’s something a bit odd about the Black Tower duty—aside from the amount of sleep you lose over nothing.  The Lady’s regimental histories go back hundreds of years.  You can look up how many sheaves of corn were stolen eight hundred years ago from a farm called Bright Harvest a quarter league west of the village of Rillbrook, or how many folk from Bagshire, and their names, ages and date of contract, enlisted in the Lady’s army seven hundred and eighty three years ago.  But there’s almost nothing, ever, about the Black Tower aside from the fact that duty there was already long established when records began to be taken.

“So I’m thinking that I want to send word back to base about what’s happened to us.”  She paused while the implications of what she was saying sank in.  “Coros.  Your wife’s expecting your first child, isn’t she?”

The whole company knew.  Coros could talk of little else.  And his face lit up every time he did.

“No ma’am,” said Coros.  “I mean, yes ma’am.  But Dora is a Raven herself, ma’am, and she’s the wife of a soldier and a daughter of a soldier.  And I’m a Falcon.  Ma’am.”

“Hmm,” said the colonel.  “Mol, you’re the last child your mother has left, aren’t you?”

“Yes ma’am,” said Mol promptly.  “But she loves her horses more, and the rents from her farm easily support her and her current lover.  Or lovers.”

“Oh?” said the colonel.  And so it went on:  Dumain’s old father didn’t need him, nor did Susalla’s crippled sister—“She’s scarier than a pod of dragons.  That she can’t walk is beside the point”—until the colonel laughed, perhaps a little painfully, and said, “All right, all right.  We’ll leave whoever comes after us a note.”

She paused again as if listening.  But you’d been aware of the change trembling in the air since very shortly after the colonel had shouted out the words of the key.  A key was as good a way of explaining it to yourself as any.  A kind of key that opened a kind of door.

You could feel the Black Tower . . . waking up.

Tables and chairs

 

The problem with this not posting every day shtick is that you’re missing so much prime A Day in the Life blog material.  Yesterday, for example, when the final exchange with Bozo* was only the beginning.  Eleanor, who is manifestly insane, has kept nagging me to let her come help with putting Third House in order.  All right!  All right!  Whatever!  If you are so hopelessly short of interesting things to do with your time BY ALL MEANS COME!  So while she was hoovering floors and mopping shelves I was trying to force all the books that are coming off the shelves in the Mostly a Staircase Ex-Bedroom which is going to be Peter’s office after we hack out a HOLE IN THE BOOKSHELVES for his desk to go, onto a much shorter wall of mostly-recently-frantically-emptied shelves.  This is a seriously arrrgh situation anyway** AND IT GOT A LOT WORSE WHEN ONE OF THE LITTLE BRASS DOOHICKEYS THAT HOLD THE ADJUSTABLE SHELF IN PLACE FELL OUT AND 1,000,000 BOOKS RAINED DOWN AND RAINED AND RAINED ESPECIALLY WHEN THE BOOK-SHAPED CANNONBALLS MANAGED TO TAKE OUT A COUPLE OF OTHER [FULL] SHELVES ON THE WAY DOWN, ONE OF THEM ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM.  And then Eleanor’s hoover, which she had thoughtfully brought, which is just as well since mine is usually full of wood chips***, TURNED ITSELF OFF AND WOULDN’T TURN ON AGAIN.  Because its bag was full.

Nina’s son is moving into his first flat—he’s been sharing a house and apparently furniture is not necessary in this situation.††  But the new flat is empty and Nina asked if any of our moaning about excess furniture might yield a spare table and four chairs?  Yes.  It certainly would.  So Nina and her wholly adorable husband Ignatius††† came down with a van and we played Musical Chairs [sic] for which we jigsawed around at grave danger to life and limb at our storage unit, extracting my old kitchen table from Maine and three of the four chairs that go with it—three because we’d need a forklift and a hoist to get at the fourth—and then a few odds and ends because why not, and drove interestingly in convoy‡ with Wolfgang and me loitering at corners as necessary, arrived at Third House, extruded one chair and the odds and ends, examined the Dishwasher Problem‡‡, proceeded on to the cottage where my old Maine table was swapped in for the bigger heavier Dickinson table which was great when I first moved in to the cottage but has grown mysteriously bigger with every additional critter crate, and then on to the mews where we swapped out two chairs.  And then Nina and Ignatius fled, because they still had to get all their loot up to London in time to get the van back to the van-hire.

We’d simply left my new/old table in the middle of what there is of a kitchen floor at the cottage, which isn’t much.  Both tables are drop-leaf, but the Dickinson table is rectangular and its leaves only barely clear the floor so when you put one up–and you can only put one up–it’s skating rink sized and grazes the hellhound crate so you absolutely can’t get past it unless you go under.‡‡‡  My table is round, and smaller, and the theory is that the little half-moon leaves will be usable, even in an square inch-age challenged area like the cottage kitchen.

I went back to the cottage with a happy rioting puppy§ and . . .

Had a very, very, VERY bad moment when I discovered that while my little round table is smaller, the curve means it doesn’t quite fit in the space that the straight line and square angled bigger table fitted in AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGGGGGH.

. . . No, it’s okay.  With a little weaselling the sticky-out curved edge of the table will clear over the hellterror crate so the table will settle back against the wall.  WHEEEEEEEEEEEW.  And yes, the modest half-moon leaf means I can actually sit at a table to drink my tea if I want to.

So yaaay.

* * *

* He hasn’t bothered to answer mine saying ‘please check back through this correspondence’ YOU UGLY RABID MEATLOAF.

** Especially when you started late because a hellhound threw up on the floor just as you were trying to leave and this is not something you’re willing to come back to in its original unaltered state.

*** Atlas is a wonderful human being and he’s a MAN who knows how to USE A HOOVER.^  What he does not know is how to (a) check the bag and (b) change said bag when necessary

^ Penelope says she married Niall for his hoovering.  One never tires, she says, even thirty years later, of having a husband who does the hoovering.  –In this household neither of us does the hoovering.+

+ Although Peter’s home help will employ a hoover if asked politely.  And my floors aren’t as bad as you might think BECAUSE THEY GET CLEANED REGULARLY AFTER DOGS HAVE THROWN UP ON THEM.

† Because Eleanor’s husband had been using it and hadn’t checked the bag.^  She immediately rang him up and ordered him to bring her a new one.  And he did.  Golly.

^ Niall also changes the hoover bag.  It doesn’t get better.  Although champagne is close.

†† They sit on the floor a lot?

††† I know he’s been a friend of the extended Dickinson clan since he and Nina were kiddies but they only got together a few years ago and he does the whole troublesome-in-law thing with such grace.

‡ Driving a hired van full of furniture is such fun.  Not.

‡‡ Which is that Peter comes with a dishwasher, and Third House doesn’t have the gap or the plumbing behind the gap for same.

‡‡‡ Since I don’t believe in wasting space of course there is stuff under the table.  But trying to jimmy something out without putting a leaf up is . . . bruising.  And somewhat liable to cause language.

§ You’re going to be two in August.  You wouldn’t like to think about starting to grow up, would you?^

^ Conversation with little old lady watching Pav loop the loop:  she’s very young, isn’t she?  Um.  Yes.

Singing for Sanity

 

There is a person, let’s say Person A, we will call him Abelard, who is doing a Project.  He is canvassing reactions and seeking input from a variety of Other Persons.  I am on this list.  Recently I received an email from Abelard that was to everyone on the list.  I answered.  Most of our answers go to him individually—occasionally one escapes and comes to the entire list—and he then posts round ups about what everyone is saying about this or that.  I noticed that my input had not been acknowledged.  Hmm.  Then there’s an email saying that he hasn’t heard from everyone and he’s hoping the rest of us will get in touch.  !!!!!  So I emailed him again.

Nothing.

Then I emailed asking for acknowledgement that he’s receiving my emails.

Still nothing.

So I emailed his boss, Person B, whom we will call Bozo, saying that Abelard was not receiving my recent emails about his Project.  Bozo did not deign to reply to me, but he copied me forwarding mine to Abelard.  Next round-up email Abelard adds a paragraph saying Robin, I’m not getting your emails.

I forward this back to Bozo and say now what?

There is a pause, and then Bozo emails grandly, well, since you’re not really necessary to this Project why don’t you just let it go?

I stare at this in disbelief for a moment (Bozo and I have had our little differences before—just by the way).  Then I write him again.  Then I take out all the adjectives and I send what I have written, including a copy of my original email to Abelard, to demonstrate that I might conceivably have something to contribute.

There is another pause AND THEN I RECEIVE ANOTHER EMAIL FROM BOZO SAYING THAT ABELARD IS RUNNING THIS PROJECT AND I SHOULD BE CONTACTING HIM DIRECTLY.

DO I GET TO SAY AT THIS POINT THAT BOZO IS AN INCOMPETENT TWIT?

Then I took my two shifts of hellcritters out and sang like crazy.*

I told you last week that I was going to experiment in turning over a new leaf about my singing—well maybe blow on a new leaf or wave it around a little—or maybe turn over just a new petiole—although I suspect if you turn the petiole over the leaf goes with it.  Whatever.  But I was going to stop pretending I didn’t have any voice just because I don’t sound like Nadia or Joyce DiDonato, and I was also going to stop pretending that the only time I had any voice was during my voice lessons after Nadia had done her teacher magic and that it all went away again as soon as I was at home and it was just me and the piano and an assortment of beady-eyed hellcritters.**  And, since I do have a voice, such as it is, I was going to work on developing singing stamina.

And what better exercise aid than very long folk songs?***  I had another little epiphany about singing folk songs too, and this makes me look like even more of a nincompoop† than the ‘oh woe is me I have no voice’ thing.  I’ve taken folk songs in to Nadia off and on right along pretty much from the beginning and she’s even said (repeatedly) ‘find what works for you’ but noooooo I’m not going to let myself get away with it being easy.  So I keep trying to find THE EXACTLY PRECISELY RIGHT VERSION of whatever, which I will then learn slavishly . . .  but folk songs being the slippery little devils that they are I rarely do find the exactly precisely right version which means that . . . I can’t learn them.  No!  Not allowed!  It must be the ultimate perfect rubber-stamped passed-in-triplicate official THE VERSION!!!!!  How pathetic is that.  Very, very, very slightly in my defense, the problem often is that I have the version I like and I want to sing in my head and/or my imagination’s ear, from Maddy Prior or Jean Ritchie or someone, and the available sheet music is never it.  McKinley.  It’s folk music.  Make it upGood grief.

To be continued again. . . .

* * *

* Or, you know, like sanity.  Till I felt better.  Hey, it works.  A good murder ballad. . . .

** At Third House the critter beds will not be slap next to the piano.  WILL.  NOT.

*** I sang for service again this past Sunday.  This clearly counts as vocal press-ups, since over the course of a long evening you’re singing hard for probably an hour and a half.  Riordan, who was music leader for the evening service, sent us the playlist Monday evening.  Usually I’m whining for it Thursday or so and on at least one occasion we got it Saturday afternoon.^

It’s a mixed blessing however, having it that early.  You have so much less excuse for not spending serious time learning the latest rash of driv—I mean, these earnest, committed songs of modern worship.  ARRRRRGH.  What I have found, however, is that power ballads for God have the same effect on me that power ballads about everything else do—which is to say they depress the crap out of me.^^^  It’s all so moany.

So I maybe didn’t get quite as much practise in as I might have done for having had the playlist all week.  But the funny thing was that in the heat of the moment Sunday evening with everyone else singing and twanging and thundering~ . . . it all became quite jolly.  Aside from the whole ‘worshipping God’ aspect.  At the end of service as I was crawling around on my hands and knees coiling up ENDLESS, Midgard-Serpent-length frelling cables, Buck sauntered past nonchalantly and said, if you get too good at that, you know, we’ll put you on the rota permanently.

In six months I’m going to have a voice like iron.

^ People have lives.  Christians too.

^^ I would much rather sing Are you working in the vineyard of the Lord?, which isn’t on YouTube, which is very sad+ or When the roll is called up yonder, of which there are a gazillion versions on YouTube, many of them not fit for much beyond making you a Hindu++, although I rather like this one:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIB0xL-ejQk&index=11&list=PLD747A0359ACA320E  But then I have a weakness for the banjo after a misspent childhood listening to the Kingston Trio.+++

+ ‘From the desert wilds of sin/ Are you bringing lost ones in?’ Gospel lyrics don’t mess around.

++ Although if student performances of Voi Che Sapete can’t put me off Mozart—and they can’t—the Singing Goldfish# of Goodgodville shouldn’t shake my faith.

# Glub glub glub glub

+++ YES.  I AM THAT OLD.

^^^ I had a friend a million years ago in another life+ who used to call the soft rock radio station his wife favoured ‘suicide music’.  This is perhaps a little strong but I know what he meant.++

+ YES.  I AM THAT OLD.

++ Although I like this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0b2GFdxuVk&feature=kp

Wheeeeeeeee SPLASH.

~ Serious drum kit.  Golly.

† Not to say an incompetent twit.

The hellterror morning ritual

 

I meant to write you a proper blog post tonight but the day has got away from me as days can do.*  So I thought I’d finally post The Hellterror’s Morning Ritual.  We all had a very itchy patch at the beginning of the spring.  The three hellcritters ate holes in their fur, but it only really showed on the hellterror because of black overcoat, beige undercoat and pale pink skin:  the hellhounds mostly match:  steel-grey Darkness has black skin and fawn-coloured Chaos has pale skin.  I had swollen ITCHY red eyes and I might well have chewed my eyelashes off if my face were configured for it.  Everybody’s hair has mostly grown in again, but I almost miss the extravagance of the hellterror’s ritual when she really, really, really wants to scratch her back.  Lately she’s more interested in whacking me with her long yellow rubber toy till I yield to the inevitable and play with her.   But she doesn’t look moth eaten any more.

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You have dogs because they make you laugh.

* * *

* This includes that Penelope and I went to a big National Trust garden over Ditherington direction this afternoon and sat in the sun and totally vagued out the way denizens of the British Isles may very well because . . . sunlight!?!^

^ Also because most of Main Street in New Arcadia has been dug up and is in heaps placed for maximum inconvenience plus scaffolding+ and temporary stoplights with boa-constrictor sized cables running everywhere and GETTING ANYWHERE takes about 1,000,000 times longer than usual.  In fact, I’m still in a frelling queue.

+ The scaffolding is up near me and isn’t the town unplanners or anything civic.  The Big House on the Corner belongs to We Are Wealthier Than God#, You Are Peons and We Don’t Care, and they put scaffolding up at least once a year when buying and selling small countries palls and they want to make their presence felt closer to home.  Then they hang workpersons all over the scaffolding in decorative patterns.  Who eat sandwiches and chat and sometimes they sit on the planks dangling their feet.  And six weeks or six months later they take the scaffolding down again.

# I don’t think God does money, does he/she/they?

 

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