Friday, April 13, 2012

The End of the Adventures of SHELLEY, the Patchwork Tarot Deck

Okay, Shelley has gone from my life, and is even now winging her way to Japan, to meet up with Roppo, fabled for his magnificent Tarot videos of Shelley and Frankie.

I have a couple of days to journal and swore to myself that I'd remember them clearly, but alas, I don't. I have some memories, but they are all out of sequence.

I took her to the meditation group. Ashley handled her - he's a bit of a Tarotist himself.

 He loved the whole concept. It was also his first time actually leading the guided meditation, and while he probably has something to learn in terms of technique, it was a fruitful and meaningful meditation for me at least. As you can see, he definitely enjoyed meeting Shelley beforehand, and like the rest of us she closed her eyes, relaxed, and followed his visualisations. She told me later that it was the first time she'd ever meditated, and she enjoyed it. At least Ashley wasn't the only person experiencing a first on the night.

She also met up with Jenneth again, whom she first met at Pagans in the Park only a day or two earlier, and the two girls smiled a lot at each other.

My young friend Spook was there (right of picture), and her friend Ruby (left), and yes, her hair really *is* that red.

Ruby was *really* taken with Shelley, and I believe the love was returned.

The Spook's boyfriend, disrespectfully known as "The Pet Russian" was there, and spent some time under the spell of Shelley's cosmopolitan feminine charms.

I have no clue at all why I wanted to take this snapshot at the meditation group: perhaps I had something in mind at the time. Just call me crazy.

Shelley went back to work with me the following day, the Tuesday, my last day with her. This is a photo of her very last reading for a paying client.

Remember my tongue-drum? The boys who sold it to me gave me some proper drumsticks (although I like the soft tone of the fire-twirling stick I've been using). Sadly, Shelley had to fly out before I took the drumsticks home to where my drum was, so she never heard the sound of it with real drumsticks.

The final afternoon came too soon, and a person shuffled Shelley after I had placed her cards in order for Roppo, her next host. Then the afternoon got away with me, and I knew if she was to catch her flight on time, I didn't have time to order her again (it takes quite a while!) It is the height of rudeness to pass on a deck that is out of order - I hang my head in shame.

But race out to the post office I did, and a lady there kindly consented to take a snap of my stuffing Shelley into her Travelling Clothes.

 Moments later I was taking a pic of her being weighed for the flight, then she was whisked away out of my sight on the first leg of her journey to Japan.

Farewell, Shelley! I hope you enjoy Japan twice as much as you enjoyed Australia, or at least my little corner of it.

Oh, and for everyone else, I wouldn't take much notice of the dates on the photos. I kept running out of battery-power in my camera, so I'd just guess - reasonably inaccurately - at the date as I loaded in my recharged batteries. Sorry about that.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The further adventures of SHELLEY, the Travelling Patchwork Tarot Deck

Day 3.5: Even quieter, and no photos. Shelley has been slumbering in her pretty patchwork sleeping-bag. I haven't left the house, and now it doesn't look as if I will. Tomorrow I'll be going to work with Shelley again, and I plan to pick up groceries afterwards, so perhaps I'll photograph her in interesting places (carparks, fruit and veg stands etc). Who knows what tomorrow could bring? Perhaps I'll even take her out for a coffee and muffin, as I once took out Frankie.

Day 4.5: Well, we had another quiet one. We went to work and Shelley was at the ready, but all the customers seemed to want to be down at the waterside markets rather than up in the bookshop, so she and I did no readings. Eventually Melissa and I got jack of a boring and unprofitable day, so we shut up early, I drove her home, then I went and picked up my groceries as promised.

I suffer from chronic Shopping Centre Rage (I suppose Americans would call that Mall Rage), so I took no photos until right at the very end. I decided to hark back to my daughter's childhood when one of my exes would buy a caramel-malted milkshake, (I should have known I was being psychic at the time - more on that later) so I had once of those which I shared with Shelley (photo 1). The rest of the time she hid from my Shopping Centre Rage in my handbag in the shopping trolley (photo 2).

Day 5.5: Today was much more enjoyable than yesterday. I was always going to go to Pagans in the Park at Budgewoi (I'm a regular), so that's how we started the day. I briefly considered de-hairing the dog-infested carpet before I left - then decided that almost anything was better for the soul than doing housework, and so left the added layer of insulation undisturbed on the carpet <grin>.

I was the first person to arrive at Pagans in the Park this morning - to find that non-Pagans had nicked our usual bench with its handy poles for attaching our Pagan banner. I had my beloved tongue-drum with me, and I was tinkling idly away on it when a delightful person introduced herself: the fabled Kerrie Edwards, co-founder of PitP, whose last attendance before her very personal struggle became outstandingly difficult was my very first attendance.

Of course, I lost no time introducing her to Shelley, and she got stuck in before anyone else turned up (photos 3-6).

Shelley enjoyed the feast - Pagans really know how to do food. I remember there being much more than this - I must have snapped this before everyone turned up (photo 7).

A gaggle of witches: Jenn, Nichole and George (photo 8).

Kerrie and Shelley *really* liked each other! (photo 9) And even Jenn-Jenn could scarcely stand to turn her back for an instant. (photo 10)

Jenn wanted to pose by the banner so that you could all see that witches really do exist (photo 11).

And what's this - Kerrie grabbing Shelley again? (photo 12).

Every so often people bring along interesting finds to show (like Shelley and my tongue-drum) or Paganny things to give away: Nichole had a book on dreams and someone else had a statuette of Kali, an interesting marriage (photo 13).

I ... sorta ... <blush> forgot about my camera for the rest of the time: a number of people handled and loved Shelley, we ate and drank and talked about devotional work in our day-to-day lives, and laughed and had fun. Nichole's little son let me share his Maccas meal-toys, and hammered tunelessly on my tongue-drum, which I didn't discourage.

Just when it was getting interesting (and my bladder was getting full and dreading the festy public toilets there), my daughter texted me and asked me to pick her up from the train station at a certain time. I had to leave soon. So when Bob finished talking about his devotional acts (symbolic self-tattoos), I hogged the stage, and pointed out that when a lapsed-non-smoker goes outside to ... er ... (yes, that's right) *smudge* their lungs, watching the leaves of the trees and the clouds in the daylit wind is an act of devotion, and looking at the night-time Moon and the constellation of Orion (who to me is always the Dark Hunter godform) is also an act of devotion. Thus I elaborately justify my favourite addiction <grin>. Suiting my actions to my words I lit up and fled, got home, rendered my nether regions more tolerable in the comfort of my own bathroom, and was just about to take off for the train station (the same one you came in on, Lutestring) when I received a text from da kid again, telling me not to bother.

And I'd left my much-loved monthly celebration for her! <muttermutter>.

There was a consolation prize, though. I'd just finished smudging my lungs again and hidden the evidence when my daughter's friend's car turned up in the driveway. Flick waved goodbye and left us together. My girl booked me for tomorrow morning to take her to the station to leave town again, and asked me to drive her down to her very best friend's house. I said that I'd do it for a bribe: a coffee with them in a cafe (sadly, Mojo's was closed so we had to resort to Costas, and the coffee was awful until I put suger in it).

This particular buddy of my daughter's is both my second daughter (predicated on the fact that throughout their childhoods, I either had two little girls in the house or none), and my Birthday Sister, as we were both born on the Most Spectacular Day of the Year. Strangely, we never seem to forget each other's birthday. It's kinda odd to be someone's second mother *and* their sister. Odd, but nice.

Kez, my blood-daughter, went in to order our coffees, and I lost no time telling Hayley, my birthday-sister, the story of Shelley and introducing them (photo 14).

Kez came back, and the two of them posed with Shelley. My own daughter is the Eurasian one: my second daughter / birthday sister is the Ditsy Blonde (photo 15).

Shelley took a good spoonful of my soy-capuccino froth, before casting her greedy eyes on the girls' hot chocolates (photo 16).

And *this* is what happens every time I try to get a decent portrait-shot of my daughter! <laughter> (photo 17)

Thereafter, the three girls played happily together (photos 18-21).

I can only get a decent shot of my daughter by catching her unawares (photo 22), but Hayley is much more compliant and will pose for me (photo 2).

Thereafter, there was more Tarot-play between the three girls (photos 23 & 24).

I had no excuse for taking these snaps, aside from the fact that I love the subjects dearly (photos 25 & 26).

At last the girls waved goodbye, and wandered off to Hayley's home where Kez is spending the night before utilising me as a chauffeur tomorrow morning, and I came home. Despite all the caffeine, Shelley was exhausted, and crashed out beside the laptop as I started diarising these last two days (photo 27). She is still in the same position (hasn't even rolled over in her sleep), so I *know* she's tired. The night is offering me a fantastic light-show of distant sheet-lightning, but Shelley simply cannot be roused to enjoy it with me.

And here's how I know Kez has accepted the roof-cleaner as family despite not knowing him nearly as well as I do: she picked up his beanie when she first arrived, and casually hung it on one of the horns of the cow-skull that he hung up on the wall. Looks rather stylish!  (photo 28).

I must have nudged Shelley, because she woke, and sleepily asked if she could be included. So I investigated the skull and hung her, in her sleeping-bag, from the skull's nasal sinuses (photos 29-31).

No bones were harmed in the taking of these snapshots.

Tomorrow: nothing planned during the day, but I will take Shelley to the meditation group in the evening. Expect me to journal more! 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

SHELLEY part II - the adventure continues

Day 2.5 of Shelley's time in my household.

Shelley and I had a fairly quiet one. Again I took her to work. Picture 1 is her first reading for a paying client. I said pretty much what you'd expect me to say, given the cards in front of me, and the client was happy. She also loved hearing Shelley's story.

Photo 2 is my tongue-drum, paid-for by that client (thank you very much). I brought home the drum with much excitement, and the dog that had sniffed Shelley was greatly intrigued by this new and different sound in the house.

Day 3.5 has been even quieter, and I took no photos. Shelley has been slumbering in her pretty patchwork sleeping-bag. I haven't left the house, and now it doesn't look as if I will. Tomorrow I'll be going to work with Shelley again, and I plan to pick up groceries afterwards, so perhaps I'll photograph her in interesting places (carparks, fruit and veg stands etc). Who knows what tomorrow could bring? Perhaps I'll even take her out for a coffee and muffin, as I once took out Frankie.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Travels of Shelley, Bride of Frankendecken - part 1

Some time ago, I hosted a Travelling Tarot deck called the Frankendecken (or Frankie), who was cobbled together, Frankenstein-style, out of spare parts and given a life of his own. Well, he was lonely, so we created another patchwork deck as a bride for him, named Shelley after Mary Shelley.

The story of her stay with me starts here.

Well here we go - Lutestring's last part-day with Shelley and my first part-day.

I met them both at Tuggerah train station, which from Sydney was easiest for everyone, and Shelley sat demurely in Lutestring's luggage as I threw them both into the Incredible Hulk (a rusting car I'm currently driving) and raced off to Mojo's Cafe at The Entrance. Mojos is blessed with delicious coffee, a good menu, and Bianca, my Pet Waitress. The shape of my life has changed in recent months, and now, far from ending up there a couple of times a week as a matter of course, I have to make a real effort to get there. Shelley was the perfect excuse. The Pet Waitress not only remembered me but remembered my subspecies of coffee, and welcomed both of my guests.

Shelley was very hungry after her journey, so I ordered her two meals, the John Dory off the specials board and the Mediterranean salad, a main course in itself, and she scoffed the lot whilst Lutestring and I looked on ravenously and sipped our drinks (Photo 1).

Lutestring had brought along a few decks for me to salivate over, and the Glastonbury flaunted its stuff whilst Shelley knocked back the food (photo 2). I begged Lutestring to pose for the camera, so she showed me her best side (photo 3).

This is a seaside town, and there is a lighthouse that lives on the cafe's windowsill (I have a regular table in one of the windows that is magically vacant for me every time I turn up, and which didn't disappoint this time), and after a few years of sitting with the lighthouse it finally consented to be photographed ... (photo 4) ...

... but Shelley was immediately jealous, and leapt between the lighthouse and the camera (photo 5). Then the Pet Waitress came over and had a look (photo 6), and consented to pose with Shelley (photo 7). Later over lunch, we introduced Shelley to Son-of-Frankie, a clone of the original travelling patchwork deck, and they chatted companionably for a few minutes, but didn't get naked as the original Frankie insisted on doing around the Anna K when he arrived at mine all that time ago (photo 8). Perhaps he is more coy around stepmothers than around buxom female strangers.

Afterwards, when I asked the usual screening question designed to find out if she would run screaming into the street if I let her into the house, it seemed as if Lutestring wouldn't be *too* horrified, so warning her about the many natural hazards in the subdivided shoebox that I am pleased to call home, I dragged her back there. I took no photos as she poked around among my collection and fell in love with the Herbal Tarot and the Whispering Tarot, nor did I take photos as I failed to interest her in my single roof-cleaning flatmate who might just have clambered all over her roof once before (professionally, not as a burglar, I hasten to add). Instead, I made my very first comment on this journal thread as she sat there, salivating.

I *could* have dumped her, later, at the train station, but something made me offer to drive her home, so we piled into the Incredible Hulk again and headed off to what my flatmate (talked-to on the phone) remembered as a "crumbling mansion", a rather romantic description from someone who, like me, loves eccentric things.

To me, Lutestring's house wasn't so much a "crumbling mansion" as a veritable Aladdin's Cave (or perhaps an Aladdin's cave-system). Rooms led romantically into other rooms full of wonderful ancestral and flea-market artifacts. Tarot decks, her handmade Tarot bags (all gorgeous) and fabric for making more bags were everywhere. I was given a cup of the nicest mint-tea that I'd had in ... oh ... ages.

And then I climbed into the Incredible Hulk and drove home again, a happy girl.

Thus endeth day 0.5.

My second day (or perhaps, my one and a halfeth day) with Shelley is ending as I sit here journalling. It started with my taking her to where I read Tarot, after promising myself that I would bring no other decks to read for clients with all week, only Shelley. (I couldn't quite divorce myself from the habit of having the Granny Jones and the SOL riding silently in my handbag, though). Here is Shelley in the morning, on my reading table (Photo 9).

And here she is on my little Altar at work (actually, just a glamorous way of concealing some *very* messy storage shelves) (photo 10). She got comfortable in my space (photo 11).

Then she suddenly realised just *where* she was: the Bookworm Kafe, a second-hand bookshop, and realised *who* was her host for the week (an addicted book-buyer), so she showed her Devil card in front of one of my addictions to indicate that there are financial dangers inherent in letting my addictions run rampant (photo 12).

I told her I was an Earth sign, so she threw a card in amongst my work-collection of stones (photo 13). We had just about exhausted the possibilities of my reading-room without a client, so I brought her out to the front counter (photo 14) and showed her to Melissa and her friend (photo 15). Melissa seemed quite taken with her (photo 16).

The two girls had some up-close-and-personal time together ...
... and Melissa discovered a card-back which she wants as a future tattoo, so I photographed it for her (photo 17). But to give Miss M her due, she liked some of the card-fronts, too (photos 18 & 19).

And despite the glamour of the proper cards, we cannot forget my gift of the title card, shown front-on here (photo 20) courtesy of the MRP people, who sent me a signed one with a replacement card ...

... and its reverse, which the previous hosts of Shelley have been kind enough to sign (photo 21). Sadly, I suspect that a Mary Greer signature trumps a Karen Mahony signature slightly - I was briefly tempted to swap them, but womanfully resisted. Notice the little, demure Nisaba-signature, so typical of my shy, self-effacing persona which Lutestring assures me is common to both AT and the "real world" whatever that is.

Then Lynne from the local library turned up, with a lovely thank-you card for me, for doing a Tarot presentation at the library a few weeks ago. "What's that about?" Shelley asked (photo 22).

"Well," I told her, "Some people are still backward enough not to know about Tarot, and the library was casting about to engage with the community a bit more, so Lynne rocked on down here some time ago and invited me to speak. The story is here, Shelley."

"But I don't have fingers," Shelley whined, "and in any case you're hogging the laptop."

"Later, later," I told her, and changed the subject.

I did this by walking her a few shops down the road to our local new-age shop, "Avalon by Nature", run by the lovely Jo (photo 23). Shelley was impressed by some of her crystals (photo 24) but I refused to listen to her shrill little voice trying to persuade me to buy them.

Jo spent some time with Shelley too (photos 25-27) and pulled a card for herself, the Magician (photo 28).

Jo then shocked me profoundly by holding a rather ... er ... phallic crystal cluster up with the King Pentacles. Really, I didn't know where to look! (photo 29) And Shelley was mortified, too. I coped with that by running away from Jo, to a shop between our two very fine establishments, called the Happiness Hut. They sell colourful, useless things. For over a decade (casually) and a few weeks (seriously) I've been looking for a tongue-drum, and the boys there found me one.

So I photographed Shelley there on a blue chair with an almost Three Swords type cushion, drumming on my tongue-drum with a banana in lieu of drumsticks, but in retrospect, after the previous snap, this too looks a little rude (photo 30).

After I went home, Shelley and I took my roof-cleaning flatmate's dog for a run in the park, and she investigated Shelley as thoroughly as possible without involving saliva (I was growling menacingly) (photos 31 & 32).

It is, of course, Wednesday, and Wednesdays I always go to the local club, to down some chips'n'gravy with my Wednesday Friend, and watch her knocking back the moselle-and-limes. For some reason she was dry for the first time ever tonight, so I couldn't use her as an excuse to give Shelley a sternly maternal lecture about the evils of mixing wine with cordial (photos 33 & 34).

<whispering> I can hear thin, papery snoring from somewhere behind me, so obviously I exhausted her, and she has crashed out after her thrill-filled first full day with me. I should creep off to bed myself, and refresh myself for some more adventures tomorrow.

My tentative schedule with Shelley includes a few things: Pagans in the Park at Budgewoi on Sunday, the meditation group on Monday night, and quite possibly a trip without me in the evil clutches of a certain roof-cleaner to a public ritual on the weekend. But who knows what will happen? <airy wave>. After all, the world - or at least the Central Coast - is the mollusc-of-our-choice!