Wednesday, May 28, 2008
What Things Really Cost
A box of green garbage bags -- $2.79
The value of my time spent cleaning up the house -- about $40
Finding an old boyfriend running the drop-scale at the local dump? Priceless.
Apparently I am a small person with a shrivelled grape for a heart. Black grape. I was pleased.
Monday, May 26, 2008
The Needle and The Damage Done
I went to see my pusher today. Sure, there was plenty of "stuff" in the house, but last time I was there I scored a couple of ounces of jet black combed alpaca top and I couldn't get it out of my mind.
Nothing else would do -- not the tussah, not the bunny, not the cheviot. Not even the llama.
It was hopeless -- I had to have me some more of that. It was like a fire in my veins. Just the thought of it was an itch, a disease. I was helpless in the face of such need. It was like being in love -- if I had been capable of such an emotion since I felted the alpaca/silk/bunny roving.
I'll never get over that. Not if I live another three years.
We pulled the jalopy up outside the front door and, as always, Pearl was there waiting. I don't even know her real name -- I've just always called her Pearl*. It suits her. Small, mysterious, enticing ... she's always got the goods.
Today she disappointed me for the first time. No corriedale, no alpaca. I was stunned -- stopped in my tracks -- but she distracted me with packages of seawool. She's dealt with harder cases than me and knows just what to do.
I've been told to watch out for women like her, but I'm a fool for a broad with a package of cleaner-than-clean pencil roving. It's my only weakness**.
I fondled the seawool, a package of "young mohair", some combed Colonial top, and maybe a little tussah. I sniffed a batt of lambswool. For the first time that day I let my guard down. My attention slipped, and now I've paid the price.
By the time I overcame the dizziness of the wool fumes and turned around the woman had hooked my daughter as well and had taught her how to needle felt.
I blame myself; I shoulda been paying attention.
Poor kid, she didn't stand a chance. She'd already felted a fried egg and was looking around for more fibre to abuse.
She was a goner.
I bought two felting needles (plus all of the fibre I'd been sniffing -- there was no point in trying to resist.)
We got back home and I got the kid fed, washed and settled into bed, but I had to know for myself. What was it that had hooked her so hard?
I got out one of the needles, some roving and a block of foam and poked a few holes -- just a little taste, that's all it was. Just a taste. Then I poked a few more, turned it over, continued poking.
I was a poking machine. I couldn't stop myself.
Eventually I managed to pull away. The tiny red blob that I'd created just lay there, taunting me. It was like it was trying to tell me something, but my radio wasn't receiving that channel.
I turned my back and went into my studio where no such madness had ever occurred. Oh, sure, I'd enjoyed it, but I could leave it behind. It had no hold on me. I was strong.
I crept back to the dining room and reached out a trembling hand to pick up the needle once more.
Just a taste.
I can quit any time.
*yes, it's her real name.
**apart from the likker, and such.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I Can Has An Oops
Today the "good" hospiddle was all out of love (and so lost without me) and also all out of staff. So, out of the goodness of my heart and the love of filthy lucre, I went in to work the 10-6 shift.
Part-way through the day, the conversation went something like this:
L: Do you have a blog?
Me: (frantially trying to lie): Yes! (apparently I failed)
L: What's it called?
Me: (attempting to dissemble) Rabbitch (failing again)
L: Aha! I knew it was you!
I was well and truly ...
more cat pictures
My first thought?
more cat pictures
Seems my co-worker was talking to a friend and the friend mentioned "this blog she'd found" written by a woman who knits and spins and who works at a couple of hospiddles and had just quit her job. Sound familiar?
Well, it sounded familiar to L and she said "I'll bet I know who that is." Her friend said "Pshaw!" or something along those lines. "Out of all the people who blog and all of the people who knit, what are the odds that you could know her?"
And L said "I'll bet you five dollars right now that I know her."
After the initial "Oh noes" moment I warned her that I hadn't mentioned it because I'm a pottymouth and I figured I didn't really want my co-workers knowing all about me also too. She seemed unperturbed and started reading. So, um, Hi L! *waving frantically*
And L's friend? I do believe you owe her five bucks.
and now to wait for the people at the bad job to find it and try to fire me for it like what happened to that stupid woman who made a career out of being fired and then talking about her child's potty-training problems for several years
ps. if that happens, we'll have a party. beer's on me. more than likely, anyhow, after about the fourth one ...
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
It's A Beautiful Day
We went to the woods again today. I realize that the last post was also "today" but it was Monday when we went up to Lynn Valley Headwaters.
Today we just went down by the river near Bridgeman Park and walked about and skritched dogs and got licked and jumped on and we were all muddy and spitty by the time we left. No pictures this time, alas.
It was just E and me and I can't think of more fun that two girls could have on a semi-sunny afternoon. Well, I suppose I could but it involves unrelated girls and liquor and we're just not going there today, mmkay?
Buncha perverts, you are.
One of the good things was that we met another local artist who was pretty much smothered in Frenchies (two) and Pugs (three) and one slightly bewildered but good-natured lab. We talked for quite a while -- she makes nice stuff. I'm coveting some of her earrings even though I'm not so girly any more. I still wear earrings, though. Maybe next week ...
Bad, bad rabbit.
Don't buy the blue ones, I want them.
Suddenly, It's Spring
We spent quite a bit of time noodling about in the woods this weekend. This is the best shot, but there are many others ... trees, rocks, water and so on.
I thought it might make you smile.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Ride, Lala, Ride!
As many of you know, The Esteemed Lala, wife of the much-loved (and equally esteemed) Rachael is preparing for a massive bike ride to raise funds for AIDS research and to improve the lives of those currently living with AIDS or HIV.
I mean dudes, 545 miles, San Francisco to Los Angeles. On a bike. I'd rather spend a month with a damp and cranky weasel inhabiting my trousers. While I'm wearing them. Maybe even a damp and cranky weasel with fleas.
Apparently she is a woman of far greater moral fibre than am I. This is hardly startling; many are. But she's taking it to the extreme.
Today is a special day. Last weekend she rode 89 miles in one day. She referred to those miles in unflattering terms, implying that they had had some sort of illicit congress with someone's maternal unit. But she did it. And then I think she ate an entire pig.
Today she's riding a century. 100 miles. On a fucking bike. Dude, I drive to the corner store and it's on the corner. She's mental.
But I have complete confidence that she can do it. I have complete confidence she can do the "big ride", too. If I had the loot, I'd be standing there at the finish line on the actual ride day, throwing rubber chickens at her and shouting "I told you so" or something equally supportive.
I'm supportive, but I'm also about as annoying as sand in your bathing suit, apparently. But I mean well. Most of the time.
The point of this post (and I do have one) is that I think we should all spend the day singing, "Ride, Lala, Ride" whenever it seems appropriate. In fact I think we should sing it even when it seems terribly inappropriate, too. Unless you're in church. There is a dispensation for those in church (unless you can get the entire congregation to sing it with you and then I'm gonna so send you some yarn).
I'd also like to ask anyone with a spare $1 or $5 or even $100 on their BastardCard to go and cough it up on her sponsorship page. The initial goal she set was $3k and she's raised $4011 at this moment. So yes, she's met that goal ... but that doesn't mean that there aren't folks out there who could use a little more. Go, give.
This cause is special to me as my best friend Martin died on January 19, 1995, of AIDS. He fought for so long ... for housing assistance, for meal supplements, for anything and everything that would just give him the opportunity to live what time he had with a little dignity. And in between the fighting I must say that he and I had the best seven years of my life. I've never until this year called someone my "best friend" since he decided to die two days before my birthday (bitch would do anything to get out of buying me a present). He was and is irreplaceable. I don't want to see anyone mourn for 13 years like I have.
I'd really like AIDS to go away one day. I'd like it to happen in my lifetime, FSM willing. But until that happens, I'd really like those who can no longer fend for themselves be taken care of in comfort and dignity.
Um, so yes, I'm going to get off my soapbox now before I get even more maudlin than I've been. If you have some loot, please send it to Lala's sponsorship page. If you don't ...
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Some People Just Need Stabbin'
My dear friend Rachael is usually a calm and competent person. She has to be, for the work that she does (911 dispatcher -- she's got ova of steel; I could never do that).
Today she got pissed off (after, apparently, having been pissed on)
Someone had written to her, saying that they were outraged at her using her time at work to knit and steek and so forth, as she was "wasting the taxpayers' money".
I almost hijacked her comments with a rant but I figured I'd do it over here in my own space (and also too I haven't blogged for a week so likely half of you think I'm dead after my last dramatic outpouring).
You see, I have worked for almost eight years in a related field, although nothing as intense as she does. I work for a centralized call centre for six healthcare facilities. I call the codes for all six (ie, someone goes into cardiac arrest, I call the team to get there -- something goes on fire, I liaise with emergency services, etc.), plus answering regular calls, paging, doing patient info, helping out the oftimes bemused and chemically-enhanced public and helping avert disasters as best I can. It's a big job, but it's still nothing like Rachael does. (The other job is the same but for only two facilities, thank the FSM.)
And there's a lot of downtime on the off-peak hours.
When I work the night shift I work anywhere from 8-16 hours alone (usually only 8 but there have been times when there's been no relief for the morning shift). Nothing but the sound of my own breathing (I find music a distraction). No breaks. I have to pee with the door open in case the alarm goes off. (Fortunately there's a double-locked steel door set in concrete between me and the rest of the world. I don't love anyone enough to pee in public.)
When the phone rings, my response is often less than one second. If I'm across the room hastily heating something up or grabbing a glass of water, it could be five. If the code alarm goes, it's NEVER five. It's two, even if I have to drop my salad on the floor (no, I don't heat salad, shut up). I slipped on water on the floor one night and fell and thought I'd broken my kneecap and I still got the phone on the second ring (and am disappointed I didn't blog the bruise).
And when I don't get a call for an hour, or three? (yes, in my position it happens) I knit. I read. I do Sudoku. Sure, the taxpayers might think they're paying for me to knit (please also note that most of the knitting I do on that shift goes to charity). What they're paying me for is to make sure that the people who can save their lives or the lives of their loved ones get there in time. As she said, they're paying us to know what to do and to do it right quick.
And while I'm busy helping save their loved ones, I'm also paying their child's college tuition with my taxes even though my husband can't afford to finish his degree (and he works and is also paying for their tuition). I'm paying for their public transit with my taxes even though transit doesn't run at a time that would take me or my husband to work so he has to walk a couple of miles a day, while I have to drive a car I can't really afford.
I'm paying for them to send their three kids to public school while I'm scrabbling to find the funds to pay for the non-standard education that the one child I managed to carry to term urgently needs. And when I find it (and I will) I'll still be paying for their kids' schooling and not begrudging a penny of it. Kids deserve education.
But some people? I think they just need to lick me. Or maybe to get all stabbitied with dpns. I know it would make me feel much better.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
The Battle Begins
I believe my child is gifted.
I've had two educators ask me to consider the possibility; one who knows her in person and one who's read about her on my blog.
(There is a woman woman whose name I've forgotten -- sorry -- who talked to me when I talked to the West Coast Knitters Guild a while back. If you're still reading, would you send me those links that we talked about? I've done some research but I could use more and I'd really appreciate it. I'm thinking you're right.)
She's been having trouble in school, and more and more she reminds me of a little girl I once knew. A little girl I once was.
I was accepted into a private school in Scotland at the age of four. One of the conditions of acceptance was an interview with the headmaster. Apparently he said to me "now Janice (seemingly he didn't know my real name, which I still suspect may be Kali), I need to ask you a few questions," and I, with all the confidence of one who had never been required to colour within the lines, pulled my chair up to the edge of his desk, put my elbows on that desk, rested my chin on the heels of my hands, looked him in the eye and said "all right, what is it you need to know?"
He managed to stifle his laughter, but I was in from that point on.
And I spent years and years being "taught" how to conform, how to colour inside the lines, how to fit into the box.
I was miserable. I hated school from about a year in until the day I kicked its fetid dust off my feet after college (I only agreed to go because my parents paid my way, while I was working 28 hours a week, and because I found a two-year course that was offered in a one-year format. Apparently I've always been a little intense; I can't help it). I've taken a few courses since; I have the equivalent of an Applied Business Technology certificate and a two-year Bus. Admin diploma as well as a bunch of Humanities credits, but really ... organized education is as much of an anathema to me as is organized religion.
So now I'm facing the same with my girl. It's late and I don't have time for an essay so I'll quote directly from an email I sent my best friend tonight.
"She's been having a "sore tummy" at school for a while now. It seems to manifest itself when she has to do something she doesn't want to do. I'm seeing the counsellor on Friday to see if we can work out some strategies. She's young. I hope she's approachable.
E's been bullied a bit by some boys at school. I got all "mommy" in her teacher's face the other day, told her what was happening. She said "well, when there's that sort of teasing that stops just this side of meanness ..." and I stopped her in her tracks. I said "It's well over the other side of meanness and into assault, and the adults in charge Will. Make. It. Stop. ... Now."
I don't get all up in anyone's Kool-Aid (as the cool kids say) very often, but my child will not be abused by the kids or by the system. She isn't the same as the others. She doesn't colour in between the lines. She doesn't fit in a box.
She doesn't have to.
So far the strategies I've been offered have been ways I can make her conform, ways that SHE can change to suit the system, but I'm not buying that. They tried to make me conform and the first scars appeared on my wrists at the age of 13. Although you can see most of them if you look at the right angle, the ones that ran the length of my arm almost to my elbow are gone now and I only have one bad set that's still clearly visible (did that over 20 years ago ... 23 maybe?) and I'm going to get it covered with a tattoo one day soon, so I don't have to explain it to her. I'll tell her later if she needs to know.
I don't want her to have a matching set, so I'm stepping up now to make this right.
I didn't have parents who were willing to go to bat for who I was, they wanted me to be "acceptable" and "right" and all of that conservative stuff. I'm not that sort of parent. E shines. I used to also. It's taken me 40 years to get some of that shine back (I think it was always hiding) and I'm going to fight for her. It feels like fighting for myself.
Sure, some of what gives her a "sore tummy" is stuff she's going to have to suck up and do -- there's no escaping math (she says she likes it actually), but I'm not letting them crush the light out of her like they did with me."
And so there you have it. That's part of the reason I've been absent for a few -- we've got shit going on here.
And E and I are going to win this one. I have no limits whatsoever when it comes to my kid.
I think the School Board is about to find out about it.
Watch out; Momma's on the warpath.