Monday, August 27, 2012


Oh No, You Di'nt!

Those of you who have met me in person (and there are lots of you) are usually surprised when you meet me. I mean, despite the vigorous cussage that occurs here and the strong opinions, I'm actually generally quite a gentle person and easy to get along with -- although I will admit to a great love of inappropriate comments and slightly-over-the-edge-of-good-taste humour.

I have opinions, sure, and some of them -- as I said -- are quite strong. But just because I don't like a particular yarn or a particular design or whatever doesn't mean that I'm going to tell you you're a total assbadger for liking it when I don't. (Except for the hexipoofs. If you like those, then yes, you are an assbadger, even though I've dyed a ton of mini-skeins for just that sort of project -- but I digress).

In almost any field there is endless bitchery and the stabbings of the backs. I think we all know people who know the "right" way to do things. I've had several people offer to teach me to knit the "right" way.

I knit Scottish Production style. It's not that common, but it's what I learned. I don't hold the right needle -- it's propped somewhere on my body -- usually caught in the fold of the right hip (yeah, some call it "crotch knitting". Get over it -- it's nowhere near my crotch. It's more like groin knitting.)

I don't tension the yarn. I drop the yarn with my right hand after every stitch.

I'll try to explain in words ... when I learned to knit the mantra was "in, over, through and off". So the right needle (which is held somewhere on your body and I'll do a video of this one day if my daughter ever finds the charger for her video camera) goes in, the yarn is picked up by the right hand, it goes "over" between the needles, you hold the yarn in your right hand as the right needle goes "through" and then you give it a bit of a tug as it comes "off" the left needle. That's where the tensioning occurs.)

And, like I said, some folks think this is "wrong" and have tried to help me see the light. I tell them that off they must fuck, as my tension is perfect. No matter how you knit, if you do the same stitch the same way every time, and it always looks neat and tidy and exactly the same, then your tension is perfect and you're doing it right.

So there.

And there are tons of other little bitcheries that occur in the world of fibre. I had someone hang around my booth a lot the first time I did Sock Summit. At that time I was selling my sock yarn as "Toe Jam". I figured that if an entire chain of shoe stores could be "Athlete's Foot" then I could sell Toe Jam, you know? And she kept picking up yarn and then putting it down and going away and coming back and she finally said "I'd buy some because I really love the colours but I can't buy it because it has such an awful name." And I said "oh, I'm sorry about that," but what I really felt like saying is "no, you wouldn't. You really wouldn't. If you loved it, you would buy it. You just wanted to make me feel bad." But being a vendor we can't say that sort of thing.

But now, seeing I seldom vend, I can say it. If that lady is reading this? No. You just wanted me to feel bad. And it really didn't work ... other people have the beautiful yarn and you don't. Go away.

And of course there are all sorts of things to do with pecking order and so on.

But that's not what this post is about.

I've recently entered the equine world, having somehow become a horse owner, and I expected all sorts of snobbery here and there. The dressage folks look down on the eventers or vice-versa, the folks who own this breed look down upon that one. These folks don't talk to those folks.

I wasn't surprised at all. When you're dealing with huge animals, some of whom command huge prices, there are huge issues. Some of these gorgeous creatures are very high-strung, and the owners and riders are equally so.

Really, I expected to walk into a giant vat of bullshit. Or horseshit, to be more accurate.

But I didn't expect any of it to be directed at me. Not yet. I'm just a little kid in this world. I've owned a horse for what six weeks? Totally new. And my little horse? She's recovering from neglect and from being a track horse. She's pretty much totally new, herself. Neither she nor I have ever done anyone in the equine world a moment of harm.

This is what my love looked like, less than two years ago. She was skinny and filthy and dispirited. Completely depressed and so horribly malnourished. She used to race, and then she blew out a knee. Once she couldn't make money for the people who owned her, they basically threw her away. They abandoned her, after she had worked her heart out while she was still a baby (horses don't mature until they're at least six years old. Today, at five, she's still just a baby).

I have no idea how this poor horse came to be on the farm where she was, but my friend Katt saw her and knew that she had to save her. After a year of love and food she was sleek and clean and much happier, although you could still see her ribs. Katt knew that this wasn't the horse of her heart. I've explained in a previous post how she came to be mine.

We've been feeding her like mad. You can only see her ribs, and only just a hint of them, if she takes a big deep breath. She'll never be fat but she's getting a nice decent weight on her now.

She's been training on the lunge line and is learning voice commands (for folks who understand what this means, she's only been on the lunge line three times and already responds to voice commands.) This girl wants to listen and obey and work. She's gaining some muscle, has made friends with the other horses on the farm and is quite frankly happier than a pig ensconced in manure.

And she knows that she is loved.

Yesterday I went to see the Grand Prix jumping out at the Thunderbird Equestrian Centre. It was The. Best. A horse that I had watched several times on YouTube was there (Flexible is his name) and he was MAGNIFICENT. I had the best day and I ate pie and talked about horses with people.

I got some free advice that I didn't want at all, which only confirms that free advice is often worth exactly what you paid for it. A lady told me that I should never hand-feed my horse treats, because it would make her mouthy and grabby. I hand-fed her later anyhow, and when I got home Ben asked me if my horse had liked her Chinese apple/pear. I said yes and told him of the lady's comments. He told me I should have asked her if that was what made HER so mouthy and grabby. I died laughing.

I have no problem with people who don't hand-feed, and if it makes Aviva get mouthy or nibble at me I'll stop it but right now it's something that we both enjoy and she's very polite and careful about it.

Anyhow, the point of this whole rambling post is that ... I found out that Someone. Dissed. Mah. Hoarse.

The "don't hand-feed" lady, who is one of Angela's friends, had asked another of her friends about my horse. The other friend (who is apparently no friend of mine) had said that Aviva wasn't a good horse at all. She was "dumped" on me by Katt because I didn't know any better, and should have been shot for dog meat."

Um. Whut?

What the fucking WHUT?

Does this look like a horse of no value? Does this look like a meat horse? I have no problem with horses being eaten. I wouldn't eat one myself, but there's a zoo out near where she's boarded and there are animals there who eat meat. Often horse meat. There are lots of dogs who eat horse meat. Carnivores eat meat and that's what horses are made of. If it was her time to go, I really wouldn't have a problem with her being used to nourish another animal. It's better than cremation.

But ... and I ask again ...

This horse ... without a miniscule error in her conformation. This horse, who is sound in both body and mind. This horse, who is young and loving and willing to work ...

Does THIS look like the face of a horse that should be shot for dog meat?

I think not.

I'm not going to do anything to her. I'm also not ever ever ever until the day she dies, to anything FOR her. If she's on fire and I have a glass of water in my hand, I shall drink it.

Even if I'm not thirsty.

If she continues to repeat her lies ... well, then, I'm going to introduce people to my horse and let them make up their own minds.

And she's going to look like a total twat. Aviva will never race again; even if she could, I would not permit it. But she's a damned fine horse.

People who are looking for standing in a community should really choose the battles they want to fight. She can't possibly win this one (I'm not sure what the battle even is).

I'm not hurt. I'm offended on behalf of a very good horse who doesn't even know she's been insulted.

Imma keep feeding her and in a few short weeks Imma ride her.

She will be a paddock horse for a while and then we'll likely do some trail rides. Maybe, if she likes it, we'll do some dressage.

We will, however, not be shot for dog meat. Neither of us.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Are You Going to Scarborough Fair?

If so, I hope you have a lovely time.

We, however, are not.

Today is Food Onna Stick day, Chez Lapin.

We are going to go to the PNE. Whilst there we shall eat ALL the things. Most of the things will be onna stick; the rest will either be inna bun or presented in a brightly-coloured and environmentally-questionable container.

Little of this alleged food will have much in the way of nutritional value. Much will be deep-fried (dudes, year before last they were selling DEEP FRIED BUTTER! If they have it again this year, I think I'll try it. If I keel over from cardiac arrest, you can have my stuff).

Her Surreal Highness and I have done this once a year for many years. We couldn't do it last year due to lack of finances, however we have a little to spare (really we don't, as I should have paid the cable bill instead but I can talk them into waiting until next week when I'm paid again, and we need this).

This year Mr. Assmuppet will accompany us for the second time -- we usually do this without him.

I expect that the entire day will be hilarious and expensive. I anticipate spending about $20 throwing darts at balloons, only to get a 6" high stuffed animal made in China for a dollar or less.

I'm sure I'll treasure it for at least a week.

There will also be smepping of llamas, skritching of goats and sheep, and possibly a little taunting of ducks and pigs.

I intend to ride the carousel and, if I get terribly brave, also the Ferris wheel.

And then, at the end of the day, there is a concert that we are hoping to get to. It's included in the entry fee and I've never seen Heart live -- I'm gonna get there if I have to drag my sleeping and sunburned family in a sack.

Photos to follow.

Today I suspect it won't suck even a little to be me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012



Just a quick update, seeing I'm at work. We got our bag back, complete with sketchbooks! It had been tossed out back of the townhouse complex where we live, and when I was telling my neighbour about the break-in I described the bag, and he had seen it.

I still have to get the window replaced (and I suspect that the insurance won't cover the three pencils and the felt-tipped pen *g*) but all is much calmer here Chez Lapin.

I'll write a longer post later, possibly including some fibery stuff (I got a new wheel at the show in Abbotsford in February!) and likely some foul language.


Sunday, August 12, 2012



And, dear asshole, the little girl whose art you stole?

When she was around seven, she drew and painted a dragon. It was displayed at a local mall for about a month, and then it went to our nation's capital, Ottawa, where it was displayed as an example of what art the youth of our country can do.

And then when she was nine, she dyed some wool (she works in several media. Mediums. that.) and we went to Fibre Week at Olds, Alberta and an internationally-renowned fibre artist, Cat Bordhi, said that her work was so amazing that it should never be used for socks and hidden in shoes. It was so beautiful that it should be displayed where everyone could see it.

She is an artist who will be heard from. Often and with volume. You might want to hold on to her sketches ... may be worth some money one day.

She actually doesn't care that her sketchbook is gone; she thinks it's funny that you thought you were getting a computer and just got some scribbles; she can make more. She thinks that you're stupid for taking something of no commercial value.

Me? I'm her mommy, so I don't think it's all that funny at all.

And you're still an asshat.


It Sucks To Be You

An open letter to the screaming assflap who thought it was ok to break into my car last night:

Dear Sir/Madam/Dickhead:

Fairly recently, we got a second car. We purchased (for an unbelievably low price) a Ford Exploder Explorer because even though I haven't really done much dyeing since last October or so, I still go to fibre fests from time to time and need a larger vehicle than the little Chevy Cavalier my parents gave me a few years ago, so that I can take things like my event tent, display cubes, The Gridwall of Doom -- and oh yes, my family. I got it just before we took our first family vacation in 12 years, culminating in our week-long sojourn at the Fibre Week in Olds, Alberta. Although I'm not a huge fan of North American cars, it's certainly paid its dues already. For that one trip alone, the full purchase price of the car was pretty close to what I would have paid to rent a larger vehicle for two weeks. If we had rented, we would have returned the vehicle upon our return and would have had nothing to show for it. As it is, we now have a second very-needed reliable vehicle.

I am most pleased about this, even though I had to take money out of my ever-dwindling retirement fund to pay for it.

This morning about 3:30am I was sitting watching TV with my husband, enjoying some of the very-scarce time we get to hang out together. We'd had a late dinner (it was delicious, thank you for asking) and were having a drink, just sort of lazing about, when I heard an annoying noise. I finally figured out that it was a car alarm going off.

After a couple of minutes, when the noise didn't stop, I went out to see what asshole hadn't heard their alarm and had left it blatting for so long.

Apparently that asshole was me (and I apologize to my neighbours for not realizing sooner that it was my car and for not turning the alarm off more quickly).

I turned off the alarm and at first all seemed well. I started to walk around the car to see what had happened. I thought perhaps some person coming home in a drunken state had tripped and fallen against it, jostling it and setting off the alarm (we only have one parking spot in the car park in our complex, so it's parked on the street outside our townhouse. It's a large vehicle and the sidewalk is quite narrow), or perhaps the person parked behind me had nudged it while "parking by ear", as it were, and set the thing off.

And then I saw that one of the small windows on the rear passenger side was smashed.

I opened the car doors and at first thought that nothing was taken from the car; we don't keep much of value in there. And then I realized ...

There had been a bag on the back seat. A bag that very closely resembled a laptop case.

I had meant to bring the bag in when I got home from grocery shopping (for the delicious meal that we ate, and to which you were not invited) but I had to make four or five trips from the car to the house, and at the end I just left it there.

The reason I couldn't be arsed to go back for it was that all that it contained was a few pencils, a felt-tipped pen and a sketch book.

The sketch book that my husband and my 12-year-old daughter take with them to the coffee shop when they hang out while I sleep or work or whatever.

They are both artists and they love having coffee and drawing with and for each other. It's important Daddy/Daughter time.

And that bag was gone.

Now tell me; when you swiped the bag, you must have realized from the weight that there was no computer in there. Why the hell did you bother to take it? Was it that you'd cut your hand smashing the glass (please let this be true) and then had shat your pants when the car alarm went off (please please let this be true) and just ran off in a panic?

Was it because you're an idiot and don't know how much a computer weighs?

Was it because you'd gotten SOMEthing, ANYthing that didn't belong to you and so somehow you felt like you were a winner, even though the opposite is most clearly true?

It's not a great loss to us. I'm annoyed about the window -- I really don't have the money to fix it right now but I can hardly leave the car open to the elements. August is an expensive month for us. My daughter and I usually go to the fair, and then there's back-to-school clothing and school supplies. There's not an awful lot extra this month. Fixing the window is going to be terribly inconvenient for us, financially, but we'll manage, even if I have to dip into the retirement fund yet again.

But I'm sure you couldn't care less about all that.

You might care about the fact that if you'd taken a few more seconds to look around in the car that you'd have scooped a pile of CDs and a brand new phone charger. You might even care that there were a couple of brand-new camp seats still in their bags (worth about $20 each) and a few other things that were in the back. Haste makes waste, baby.

I hope you're happy with your new satchel. I wouldn't carry it about with you in public much if I were you, seeing we did report the incident to the police and provided them with a description. It's a fairly distinctive bag and I suspect you'd have trouble coming up with a suitable reason for it to be in your possession.

I know you likely will never read this, as you don't have the snazzy new laptop that you thought you'd snagged upon which to read posts -- that is, if you're literate enough to do so -- but I truly hope that you enjoy your new sketch pad that you stole from a little girl.

I'm really sorry that crayons weren't included -- I'm thinking that's more your style than pencils and felt-tipped pens, no?

Monday, August 06, 2012


Bella Aviva

Bella Aviva 003 by Rabbitch
Bella Aviva 003, a photo by Rabbitch on Flickr.

Y'all asked for a picture. I live to serve :) Here's my baby in all of her glory. I think she'd like some carrots now, please.


While I Was Out

I still haven't figured out how to put line breaks in this thing. I lie -- just figured it out. Hopefully later today.

Anyhow, while I was out I did a number of things. I went to several fibre fests, I walked in the woods a lot, I took a whole lot of photographs, and oh yes, I got a horse.

I heard that. Three of you just did a *facepalm*, two did a *headdesk* and there's one of you sitting there, reaching for the smelling salts, saying in a frighteningly calm tone "of course you did. That's the EXACT thing that someone living on the edge of poverty should do. Yes, a horse." I'm pretty sure you're going to need a little lie-down now.

So, yes. I got me a horse.

I'll explain how, but this is going to take a little while; you may wish to go and get a beverage. I'll wait.

When I was young (I'm over 50 and still feel like I'm about 20, but people in stores call me "ma'am" so I'm assuming I'm old now) I had two friends. I wasn't the sort of kid who had 50 friends over after school and went everywhere all the time. I wasn't one of the cool kids. I wasn't athletic, I was quite indifferent academically and I wasn't the sort of pretty that was in fashion at the time. Oh sure, I was pretty enough, I suppose, but I was old-fashioned pretty. I would have been a catch oh, maybe about 50 years ago :)

So there was me and there was Wendy and there was Angela. Angela and I were fast friends, I mean in-your-pocket-living sort of friends from when I was seven or eight.

When the time came, we went to different high schools, and although we still saw each other sometimes, we drifted apart.

I moved to Ontario when I was 14, and we never saw each other again after that. I thought about her often, and once this whole interwebs thingie happened I Googled her a few times. I never forgot her, but we never reconnected. (Wendy died when she was 16. No reconnecting or Googling for her, alas.)

Last October, I looked for Angela on Facebook, and there she was! She has an unusual-enough last name that I knew it was her, and so I sent a friend request, while feeling like a creepy stalker. I didn't know if she would remember me at all. The request was accepted immediately. Apparently she'd been thinking about me all of these years also, and had just been talking about me a day or two before that and wondering where I was and how I was doing.

I wasn't at all startled to find out that she was living out in the country, with cats and dogs and goats and chickens and horses. My daughter and I started going out to visit immediately. I think even on the first visit I just sort of walked into her house, assuming I would be welcome. I may have knocked; I don't know. I certainly haven't at any point since. I just assume her house is one of those places I can always go.

"Home" has to do with the heart as much as it has to do with family.

Anyhow, my daughter and I have gone out there to ride her horses a number of times since then. A few weeks ago, when I got out of my car on her farm, there was a horse in the lower paddock and it called out. I immediately went down to see who was yelling, and then came back and asked her who it was in the lower field. She said it was a horse she'd been boarding for a little while until the owner got her field properly fenced. We went down there together and she took the fly sheets off of the horse and I fell in love. On. The. Spot.

I mooshed all over this lovely skinny Thoroughbred, and after I left, Angela told the owner how much I loved her. The owner asked if I would be a good horse owner, as she was looking for a new home. Now, I wasn't in a position to take on a horse -- that's just crazy talk. But, I friended the owner on Facebook and we talked and well yeah, the inevitable happened. After an hour or so of talking, I ended up with a horse.

Total asshole move on my part, and I admit it freely -- I mean, who gets a freakin' HORSE without even discussing it with their partner?. (apparently I do) But it was going to happen anyhow and sometimes it's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask permission. I am in a turbulent and sometimes-confrontational relationship, and I give way on a lot of things; but apparently I had found my line in the sand over which I would not cross. I waited out the week of non-speaking and the week or two of displeasure and a little sniping. I think it's almost over now, as when I went out to see her yesterday and put the carrots in my bag, Ben reminded me to take an apple for her also.

If any of you know anything about Thoroughbreds, you'll know the name Northern Dancer. My beloved Bella Aviva is his great-granddaughter (and is only 3/4 of an inch shorter than he was ... he was a little horse with a huge heart). She used to race, but she blew a knee out during a race in 2010. She's supposedly technically able to race again and is young enough to do so, being only five, but she won't be doing that any more. I love the running of the gee-gees, but it's not a kind life, and she doesn't have the ZOMG RUN RUN RUN I MUST BE FIRST fire. She's a pleaser and a lover. She shouldn't be a racehorse, even if it wasn't too late for her to go back.

Right now she is a paddock pony and we're feeding her day and night to get some more weight on her. The previous owner did wonders with her and she was starting to fatten up a bit. She's as happy as a pig in shit these days, hanging out with three other horses and eating high-grade feed a couple of times a day (beet pulp, alfalfa, grain, vitamins and corn oil I believe), plus treats and tons and tons of fresh grass. You can hardly even see her ribs any more.

Later she will be maybe doing some trail riding and we may try a little dressage once my riding skills advance further than "throw your ass on the back of the horse and hope you don't fall off." She's looking good and this week Angela is going to start working to get some more muscle going. I should be able to ride her in a couple of months, at most. So yeah -- that's part of what I've been up to while I've been out :)

So ... how YOU doing?

Friday, August 03, 2012


This One Goes Out To The One I Love

O hai.

Yes, I've been gone a long time, and I'm quite sure there are only two people still reading. I had some things to work out, and I had thought I had nothing left to say.

Apparently that was untrue.

Now I'm back -- and there are things about which I still feel I need to write. There will be posts about knitting and fibre fests and so forth (and I still owe you a post about how I lost my virginity at Denny's in Portland), but tonight I want to talk about something else.

I was talking on Facebook tonight -- that's one of the reasons I've been gone so long ... Facebook ate my brains. It's like CRACK! And it's so much easier to post five times a day with two or three sentences than to write a whole blog post. And I'm lazy.

But I digress.

I was talking on Facebook tonight and a friend of mine posted "The mortifying sight of an ambulance in the fast lane, all lights flashing, stuck behind several cars and a van who are clearly steadfastly ignoring its presence."

That hurt my heart, so badly.

Here in Canada, we are required by law to make way for emergency vehicles, and we do so. We are required to slow down and move to the other lane if we're on the highway, and I've actually seen cars get up on the sidewalk to let ambulances and fire trucks through if we're in the city.

Well, except for the folks who drive Hummers, but that's a rant for a different time.

And so, a request. When you see an emergency vehicle on the road with the lights and the sirens on, please pull over.

A few minutes in the time that it takes to get to a person, cut them out of their car, put the fire out or get them to the hospital can be the difference between life and death. And I'm sure most of you know that.

But what you don't know ...

I work at a hospital. Actually I work at two hospitals, and I've worked at two others. I like the work and I'm well-suited for it. The place I'm working now, it'll be ten years this year since I signed on.

I work on the switchboard. I have no contact with patients, which is good for them because I have no medical training whatsoever. But, what I do is I call the codes. Code Blue (cardiac arrest), Code Pink (pediatric emergency), and the trauma codes in Emergency. And all of the other codes. We're all about the codes.

I'm the calm voice overhead that calls Dr. Kildare back to the Emergency Room, stat. (I think I've actually said "stat" four times in the combined time that I've worked at this hospital -- ten years -- and the last one -- eight years. We actually don't say that, no matter what TV tells you.)

But the thing that you don't know, and that you likely should, is that if you or your loved one is in crisis, there are more people than you know of who care.

When a trauma call comes in, I fret. I rejoice when you go home in one piece. I cry when you don't.

It's not just the people doing the hands-on work who are pulling for you.

So, from the calm voice overhead; I love you, and I'm working like hell to keep you safe.

(Enough of the serious stuff. Next up, knitting porn.)

And apparently I don't know how to work Blogger any more, as there aren't any paragraph breaks. I have to sleep now but I'll fix it in the morning.

edited to add: a) I've figured out the paragraph breaks and b) the day after I posted this I actually did have to say "stat" overhead. Made me want to laugh.

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