Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Schiller Apartment Shenanigans: Nathan

On a beautiful Christmas Day, about a week after I had moved in, I had the usual garbage and cardboard to throw away in the dumpster. So, out my door I stepped. I noticed an old man in the parking lot and I curtsied slightly with a polite hello. I don't remember his name, but he introduced himself. He wore the silliest, most obvious wig of an excuse for a toupee that I would later see on him, turned sideways at times. A great bit of giggling came from that thing. Wishing me a Merry Christmas among other small talk, he mentioned that he lived with his son, Nathan, in apartment number 3, on the other side of the parking lot. Should I need anything at all, I need only knock on the door and ask.

A few weeks later, I stepped outside my door again. But there is something you need to know about the lock on my door. There were two: the deadbolt, and the simple one on the knob. I kept the simple one locked all the time, but there was a strange, unexpected malfunction where you could sometimes open the door without turning the knob, if it hadn't been properly shut firmly with a click. Here, I was about to figure this out for the first time. I managed to close the door properly after I stepped out, and alas, I locked myself out. I had to leave for work soon and had no idea what to do. 

Showing up at the door of apartment number 3 in my pajamas and no sweater or coat, with snow on the ground, I was later reminded of what a silly sight I made. I knocked on the door, and the alleged son, Nathan, answered.

Nathan was a man in his 30's, best described as a living Hunter Thompson. He looked like him and dressed like him, but I'm not sure if he even knew who Mr. (excuse me, Dr.) Thompson was. He invited me in from the cold, as I explained my situation of having been locked out. I mentioned that I had met his father who had told me to come to him if I needed anything, and now I did. He informed me that the building maintenance man could be called to unlock my door, which was free the first time. He let me use his phone, at which point, I also called my work to let them know why I would be late. 

Nathan was a unique, interesting character, who I'll never fully understand. He was from Texas, and would wear shorts and a heavy plaid sweater or jacket on a regular basis. I liked to think he was dipping his feet in both worlds: the shorts to remind himself he was from Texas, and the jacket because there was no choice if it was cold.

Nathan spoke softly and even oddly, with his mind constantly grabbing at the clouds for what he was going to say, even as he spoke it. I was not accustomed to waiting so long to hear someone think and speak at the same time. I learned a new kind of patience, here. He was a wealth of information, somehow seeming to know everything. And the funniest thing I had noticed was that he had two vans parked outside. Both were the same make and model and year and color. One ran, the other didn't. I figured he must have loved the first one so much that he had to have another.

As I waited for the maintenance man, Nathan smoked a clove cigarette. At the time I had never seen or heard of them, and found it to be a rather pleasant, Christmas-like smell. Later, it became an obnoxious, overpowering smell. 

He spoke gingerly, and it made me wonder if this was simply the way he was, or if he had a preference for his own gender. 

I don't remember what he said, but I had made a new friend. He seemed to view me as the little sister who could use a friend. And I saw him as a quirky big brother who could show me around this building, which I would soon discover, contained a wealth of oddities, myself included.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Schiller Apartment Shenanigans: Gary

It was a small, one-level apartment building. I had just moved in, not even a week earlier. I loved the place, but really didn't know much about it, its occupants, or even the neighborhood, as I had never spent any time in that area in the past. It was the dead of winter, days before Christmas. I had seen none of my new neighbors.

I heard a knock on the door. A man was there and describing him will be one of the most amusing experiences of my life.

I think the best way to start would be to say that he seemed like the sort of man who was still stuck in some kind of surfer era from his past. But one would wonder whether he ever actually surfed in his youth, or was it some sort of homage to those past days? Maybe he just happened to look the part. But, I think that perhaps it was as simple as he was a man from California, now living in the Pacific Northwest. He was getting older, maybe about 45 years. He had sandy blonde hair, rather receding in the front and about shoulder length in the back, but he wore it well considering his age. He had a white convertible Mustang from around the early 1990's or so, and he washed it every day. Later, I was able to use his car washing equipment (reluctantly, on his part) to occasionally wash my much prettier green 1976 Mercedes.

All of this is simply my description. Whether or not you can picture the image in your mind properly is not as important as the fact that he was standing on the other side of my door when I opened it.

"Do you have a cup of sugar?" he asked.

I was a little confused, because I was pretty sure it was obvious to my neighbors that I had just moved in. At the time, I was very naive and definitely not street smart. I compensated by being excessively cautious and 'not street stupid.' I definitely told people like it was, when I didn't see any danger in it, and even sometimes when I did.

This was my answer. "No. Why would I have any sugar? I just moved in."

He apologized and admitted that he didn't actually need any, but was looking for an excuse to say hi and welcome me. His name was Gary.

Now I was even more confused. I was raised quite respectably. I was taught that if you wanted to welcome someone to the neighborhood, you came to their door bearing gifts, not the other way around. I was reminded of a silly book I had read as a child, about the three little pigs. The story started with the self-proclaimed 'innocent' wolf asking for a cup of sugar.

He then invited me to a little party he was having at his house with a few of the neighbors. I declined, at first. I was not ready to throw myself into an unknown atmosphere full of strangers. Plus, I didn't know anything about him except for how he looked. What was I to expect? After a bit of convincing, I finally agreed to stop by for a moment. 

I showed up a little late. I wanted to be sure that people were at his place and things were happening over there, across the parking lot, before I arrived. I suppose that Gary should have mentioned that the party was specifically created for me. Apparently, the apartment neighbors weren't accustomed to coming to his place for parties. They were all just anxious to meet their new neighbor: a young 20 year old girl, out in the world for the first time, treading cautiously with every step she took. Me.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lotus Asylum: The Green Steps

The hall seemed to go on and on. I kept walking because I was curious, but more than once I thought about turning around and going back. There was no end to cell doors on the right. I didn't look into all of them. At first I did, and none were empty, but eventually I just wanted to find something new, a new place. There seemed to be no shortage of new places, lately. Why the mundane, now? 

I stopped walking. I looked down at my red shoes, then I looked up toward the long hall of doors. 

I suddenly wondered if maybe there was now nothing behind me, and I had to keep walking. Hesitantly, I slowly glanced behind me. I took a deep breath and sighed. To my relief, the long hall was still behind me. But, I now saw something else that wasn't there before. A wooden staircase, painted green, on the other side of the hall, from the cell doors.

I was intrigued. Things of color were delighting me in this place. This green set of steps were not there before, but I didn't care. I wanted to know what they were and where they would lead. I seemed to be in some kind of game, and I was ready to play. 

I carefully placed my red shoe on the first step, and my shoe turned green to match the stairs. I held it there while I considered whether I should remove it or not. Would it stay green or would it turn back to red? I made my choice by taking another red-shoe-turning step. I pretended not to care, but I did. 

Step after step, I kept walking upwards as the stone hall slowly disappeared.

My shops: Lotus Asylum

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lotus Asylum: The Cell

$150 USD

I found myself in an unfamiliar place, a long, dark hall. The walls and floors were stone and cold to the touch.

Along one side was a long row of doors, with little rectangular windows at eye level, looking into the rooms behind them.

I rested the tips of my fingers on the window ledge of the first door and peered inside. There, I saw her sitting on the floor.

She was tall and slender. With dark brown hair and a demure, poised face, she wore a long purple gown. The purple dress flowed and seemed to twirl and have a life of its own when she moved and walked. 

Her room was dark grey. She sat there against the painted stone walls, a little cold, but trying not to show it. One knee was pulled up and her arm rested on the knee, as though that was simply where it belonged. The other knee was only raised slightly, the other hand, bracing herself against the ground below her waist. Her name was Isabel.

My Links: Lotus Asylum

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lotus Asylum: The Attic

Edited 10-21-13

I walked into my mother's attic. I had known it was there all along, but I never bothered to enter it until now. Was I afraid of what it might contain? I didn't know.

It was a dark mansard space, and nothing was there save a large wooden chest, already opened.

Out of what seemed like thin air came people into the room. None of these were ordinary people. There was something odd about each one. Each was dressed in an elaborate costume, colorful and unique. A short little lady was dressed like a peacock, all blues and greens. Even a peacock plume topped her strange pillbox-like hat. There was a very wide man, who looked as though he should be the ringmaster in a traveling circus. Maybe he was, I didn't know. There were many characters, all of them seeming to be playing a part of some sort. Were they on their way to a stage somewhere to act in a show?

It didn't matter, they all beckoned me to come towards them and look into the chest.

I stepped towards the chest, slowly and cautiously, not sure what I would find. 

Finally, I saw them: old rags and ribbons. Dresses, hats, shoes, and jewels were stuffed in the box. It was like a dream. The Ringmaster said to me, "Who do you wish to be?"

I knew what he meant. It was my moment, it was time. I knew, somehow, that I must choose what part I would play in the great world. The world of the Asylum. The Lotus Asylum.

My links: Lotus Asylum

Other Links: Myriads of Thought

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Providential Accident

175.00 USD
She can be purchased here.

This is me. This is me showing you all of my colors, showing you exactly who and what I am, and the result of who I've become based on one experience that would forever change my life. 

When I was 14 years old, I had just come home from summer camp. I have two brothers, but they were away, doing whatever it is that slightly older brothers did at that time. It was my two parents and me, driving along a winding road, a road that we drove along quite often. It was very close to our house and was a familiar route that we took to get almost anywhere we wanted to go. I was excited, because I had won a free coffee drink certificate at my week of summer camp (what I had done to win it, I'll never remember. Perhaps old friends who were there could remember for me. . . probably not). My parents were happy to have me home, and decided to take me to a pizza place for lunch called Pizzicato, a place I'm not sure if I had ever been to yet at the time, but a yummy place for pizza. I wasn't a big eater at the time, and I was quite picky, but I liked Hawaiian style pizza, with Canadian bacon and pineapple. I was excited. In retrospect, my father says he was going 5 miles over the speed limit, and he regrets this to this day. I could never blame him for this. It's a perfectly reasonable thing to do, which a very rare policeman would ever pull you over for in this city. I still find no fault in this detail. But, we lived in the suburbs, at the time, where many woody areas surrounded our home and the streets we frequented.

I was never a girl who was very aware of her surroundings, I lived in my own head most of the time, carrying those inward conversations with myself, which many (if not all) people do from time to time. I did this often. I was a romantic at heart, and loved to dream during the day. So, my account may not be accurate, but this is how I remember it.

My parents treated me very well, but I longed for something exciting and adventurous to happen. Little did I know that what would happen next would be the answer to that little dream.

Driving along, my parents mentioned that they saw a female deer in middle of the road. I don't recall if my father slowed down or not, but I remember it as though he had. I, with slightly failing vision at the time, couldn't make it out, but saw a rustic old truck barreling toward us. That was what I noticed. He seemed to have something cardboard colored in the bed of his truck, and this is what I was certain was the deer they proclaimed to see. I was even going to prove it. I turned my whole body around and glanced behind so I could see that there were, indeed, cardboard boxes flying out of his truck. But, I had not time to prove it, because, apparently this truck had spooked the deer (which, alas, was there after all), and said deer, came flying in the direction of our car. My father expertly maneuvered the car the best he could, but there was no stopping the inevitable, the deer flew into our car. Darkness shadowed the inside of the car (which I was sure was simply us passing under a thick tree), and eventually a deer had landed on my lap.

That was it. It had landed, there was a mass of deer hair in my mouth, which was quite uncomfortable, but this was not important at the time. Amazingly, the car still worked, and my father drove it into a nearby apartment's parking lot. My eyes were closed, and everything from here and onward was only sounds. I only know what happened based on what I could hear.

It was a beautiful, sunny day on the 3rd of August, in 1997, and there seemed to be at least a few people out and about. My father called to someone to please call 9-1-1. We were all a bit traumatized, but my father seemed to have the most level of heads, having been harmed only with a couple of scratches on his arm, which didn't even require stitches. My amazing father acted as any incredibly level headed person would act, and did what he could, to bring help to his wife and daughter. My mother was in shock (I'm quite sure) and quite injured, as well. As I was apparently also in shock, I felt my head was still working straight, and listened as my mother tried to call 9-1-1. She thought my father was talking to her. He wasn't, and I realized this. But, in 1997, we were quite technologically saavy, and actually had one of those alleged old "brick phones" which was in my mother's purse. She had pulled it out, and mentioned something like, "I'm trying, but I can't get through." Later, it was discovered that she had indeed dialed 9-1-1, but had not hit "send." I (at least thought) I had told my mother something like, "He's not talking to you, mother." Yes, I used to call my mom, "mother." I still do. I find it a rather endearing term.

Soon, someone had opened my door, in the back right seat, who had claimed to be a nurse! What luck. But, as all nurses and even regular folks are trained, pressure should be applied to a wound until emergency help can arrive. Little did she know that, pressure should not have been applied in this particular case, as pressure had been lost in my eye. What had happened, was that some sort of pressure from the windshield glass, and deer, or who knows what, had slammed itself into my right eye, tearing the retina in the back of it. I knew from the moment it had all happened that something was wrong with my eye. But, I didn't know what. I did know, somehow, that I would never again see out of that eye. It just felt wrong. Something was incredibly wrong with that eye.

Still keeping both of my eyes closed, I patiently waited for the ambulance, whose sirens I eventually heard coming. They were such a relief, as I felt so uncomfortable. 

I was expertly transported (it felt magically done, actually) onto a stretcher, and rolled into an ambulance. My clothes were cut off, and I was asked if I felt any other wounds. I was cold, very cold. It felt strange to feel so cold on a warm, summer day. But, there was extra coldness on my hand. So, mentioning such, they noticed that I had deep gashes there, as well.

This is me. This is the accident that changed my life. So many exciting things happened after this day. I had many doctor's visits, surgeries, questions asked, things that were just the way they were. 

This was all okay with me. Eventually, everything was made right. I had my eye removed, and an implant "installed." And while things are generally uncomfortable with this particular circumstance, it was just the way it was.

Well, over time, issues started arising and while it was that time, when a new prosthetic eye should be made, it was discovered that deterioration in the implant was constantly causing infections, for which I was frequently seeing my plastic surgeon about. 

A surgery, a doll. 

Another surgery was necessary. Fifteen years later, it is necessary to have yet another surgery. It is just the way it is. And I'm okay with it. It comes with the lot I've been given in life. I've never been one to begrudge this particular aspect of who I am. It is something I've lived with, and I came to terms with that from the very beginning. 

So. . . my art, being an expression of who I am, and what emotions I often have or see, it seemed only right, that I create a doll while I was healing from this most recent of "medically necessary cosmetic reconstructive surgeries." It went well. I still have a long way to go, what with healing, and more possible surgery, and more eye related "what have yous." 

Here, for your consideration is the process of creating a doll representing me in my current state of who I am, who I've become, and how I feel going through the experiences I am having. Please enjoy.

The doctor put a few stitches in my eyelid, to keep everything in, while it heals, and tissues were happily taken from my tummy to fill in all the empty space around the implant. Thus, the stitches at the tummy area.

Here, I hope I've created the way I looked and felt just out of surgery, not an hour later. See it compared to the real me, below it.

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