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Back from hiatus

It's been a long time since I posted here. I renewed my membership today and decided to come back, have a look around, remember what I used to do hanging out here.

I moved back from San Francisco in 2015, now I'm in Arkansas again. I've spent a couple of years now on a farm, with lots of critters. Four indoor cats, three outdoor cats. A last Black Marin hen who's being rehomed to another farm where some of her siblings live. A small flock of goats. Four horses. One sheep that was a rescue lamb my granddaughter babied and took care of, now a large and shaggy wether. I had not expected to get involved with farm animals at any point in my life, but they're interesting.

I spent a lot of time offline roaming around the countryside with Kitten. I ride with on her horse shoeing expeditions and sketch sometimes, usually in small travel journals. Often those same animals, occasionally landscape elements. And of course to the very end of his life, I sketched Ari. We lost him at age sixteen late in the summer. He waited till I was away at an SCA event for the weekend and quietly curled up in the back of the kitchen cabinet to sleep. He had a good funeral with a very large stone protecting him from the coyotes, it hasn't been disturbed so I know he's just gone to earth.

He was beautiful and loyal and loving. I still and always will miss him. Like Elric and Jessie Cat before him, Ari was one of my lifetime cats, closest companions ever.

The job was still open, so some time later I adopted Sissy, a full purebred Maine Coon runt. She has all the features of a Maine Coon but is only about the size of an ordinary cat, a reasonably good sized tom. For a Maine Coon she is dainty and tiny, with very large feet and big cheek fluffs and jaw - that latter being a matter of slightly longer chin hair than most cats too, and slightly longer hair on her whisker pads. At first she looked very butch, but in behavior Sissy lives up to her name.

She is a sweet femme. She does this Mae West tail sway thing, it's gorgeous especially in full winter plumage. She also reaches out with one paw, holding it out to be hand kissed or to take your arm or get your attention. She sings. She is the Diva of the household, singing in her high trilling soprano voice. Lovely Sissy, the Fluff Girl, is a long hair color point with tabby points - she looks more like Ari's mother Snow than Ari, and of course she has the tufted dark ears of a Maine Coon so that's wonderful. She's beautiful and unusual and lovely, she has proven herself for cat muse work and sheds many Cat Hairs of Inspiration. She was five when I got her, her previous human lost his housing and couldn't keep her. Which was sad, but lucky for me that I got her.

Other than that, I'm still disabled and not doing much. Had a long fallow period without even much sketching, trying to pull out of that. Did do Nanowrimo this year and last, nothing worth editing but it was good to get back to it. Maybe next year I'll write something worth the work of rewriting.
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 7th, 2017 02:51 pm (UTC)
<3 glad you are safe from the fires!
welcome back!!

sorry about ari

talk more later
i need more sleep

Dec. 7th, 2017 03:04 pm (UTC)
Re: <3 glad you are safe from the fires!
Purr thank you! Yeah, the fires are going insane out there. It's bad. That drought carried on for years.

Moving back to Arkansas has been different. I get outside more. I was getting to the point in San Francisco where it was so expensive just for food that my SSI didn't cover my basic expenses. Twice I wound up running out of food before the month ended, it was bad. The first time I got onto a meals plan that delivered something daily, the second time even with that I wasn't eating enough. So moving here was a big change.

I'm not constantly broke here, it's a lot easier to live.

My city died. San Francisco's not what it was. Even the most successful artists were losing their studios and apartments to the soaring rents, it's becoming a bedroom community to Silicon Valley and not much else. All its richness, diversity, colorful variety and culture is flattening out into rich tech bros and it got really bad on the street. They drove all the homeless off my street and drove everyone inside who did have housing, so it went from being interesting to sit outdoors on the stoop to empty and lonely, with half the stores closing by way of rising rents. It was extremely depressing. But I'm here now and getting to know horses very well.

Kitten shoes horses and is now a barn manager at an Arabian breeding barn, so it's definitely the rural equestrian life. We don't have a lot of money but we're living really well on not much money, which is awesome. Most of my stuff is in storage till they get my cottage built, they're building me a one room cottage on the property and I've been putting money into it but some setbacks meant it wasn't started yet. So I'm crashing in the living room till it's done, piled high with inside cats even when it's cold.

The wood stove keeps it really nice inside in winter.
Dec. 9th, 2017 11:41 pm (UTC)
Re: <3 glad you are safe from the fires!
Oh, man, that 'gentrification' stuff. It ruins neighborhoods, IMHO. And so much of that 'everyone is inside now' life. It's why I like the area where my parents live. There's all these kids outside playing, and you see people walking and stuff.

I've heard that in some areas of California, they've made it illegal to sleep in your car, which hurts poor people, and students. Because they live too far away from work to go home and sleep between second work or school.

And Arkansas sounds pretty. Horses! I love horses.

Drought... isn't that the whole west coast? My dad has cousins in Washington State and Idaho, and they've been having trouble with not enough snowfall. See, the snowmelt is their water, but there's been less snow, so their reservoirs are not getting filled up.

I also follow comic writer/artist Roberta Gregory, and she has posted pictures from around Washington state, where there were some impressive glaciers or snow mountains, that are now very tiny. I was wishing we could have shipped them the water from Harvey (I'm in Texas.)

Anyway.... glad to see you are okay.

Please do keep us updated.
Dec. 10th, 2017 01:39 am (UTC)
Re: <3 glad you are safe from the fires!
Yeah, the gentrification was going so heavy that it outpriced everyone who made San Francisco special. I lived in the Tenderloin, once the most livable poor neighborhood in the country. But the crackdowns on the homeless were brutal. One day a vibrant street with a lot of acquaintances, the next barren except for a couple of tourists heading through toward Union Square. It never recovered.
Dec. 19th, 2017 11:00 pm (UTC)
Re: <3 glad you are safe from the fires!
From what I've heard through my network of tech contacts --

It's not that SF became a bedroom community. It's that Silicon Valley outgrew its capacity. So, it began expanding. Since I also am in various tech groups and networks as I'm going to begin studying to get into tech (the sorta stuff Storme & Shay do, actually), I'll see mentions of job adverts and suchlike.

I see a LOT of tech start-ups advertising for SF. I've seen several from the cities around, including Oakland. It's insane.

We're seeing some of it up in the Seattle area, but not quite as badly. That said, we're also earlier on in the process than Silicon Valley/SF are now. Storme wants to move closer to the office in Seattle, but the price of rent is such that even though they make over $100k/yr, rent is going to be painful (mainly because there are costs Storme has with various medical conditions that others don't have -- the actual cost of disability is rarely visible to the outside eye).

- Elial, aka Nonny
Dec. 19th, 2017 11:20 pm (UTC)
Re: <3 glad you are safe from the fires!
Oh you said it! Yeah, I think you're right about the Silicon Valley expansion, it's just that the landlords have been going insane with it. There are a lot of vacancies in high-rent apartments no one can afford, but there's no affordable housing and they're getting ever more cruel with the homeless. They also shut down that Silicon Valley homeless village that was getting so creative, it was a tent city turning into a sort of creative wonderland with shelters getting sturdier and a lot of people working in low end tech jobs. But they cleared that out along with all its community.

Ugly truth about the real costs of disability too. I'm glad to have my power chair and a family friend just gave me the spiffiest cane I've ever held - silver dragon's head handle on a black cane and it's got a flask inside. Not a wobbly blade, something actually useful. But if I had to buy my meds it'd start to eat about a third of my income. I still can't afford the regular chiropracty that would actually improve my function.

Things are weird and ugly. Let's hope a backlash actually comes up solid now.
Dec. 19th, 2017 11:20 pm (UTC)
Re: <3 glad you are safe from the fires!
BTW like your new icon, you look very strange with white hair but it's a cool look!
Dec. 9th, 2017 11:28 pm (UTC)
Hey, glad to hear you are still alive! I remember when Ari died, but had not seen you on Facebook lately. (I don't get to check all my updates on FB, so I just assume I've missed folks' updates, not that they've been on hiatus for a while.)

I used to share your art supplies reviews too. I have a different name on FB, B.E. Miller. This is my crazy fandom place, plus the first place I started looking at blogs, hence the odd pen name here.

Not surprised about the being disabled still. Unless medical science comes up with a new cure. Glad to hear you are still around though.
Dec. 10th, 2017 01:37 am (UTC)
Purr thank you!
I wasn't around on Facebook much either. For a long time I just wasn't home or online much, so I didn't really post anywhere.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


2013 Nano Winner
Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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