The Newest, Fuzziest Addition

I was at war with myself for some time over whether to get an Angora rabbit. First, I decided yes, and went on a quest for one. What I came home with, ultimately, was not an angora but a lionhead cross that suckered me at the humane society. Who can look at a fuzzy, dirty rabbit with matts, who hops into laps and snuggles, and say no? I love Lavender, and she does give a little wool, but my heart still longed for a proper wooler.

I hemmed and hawed. I talked to breeders about breed, temperament, whether to pluck or shear. I was reminded that we wanted to have a baby next year, and would I have time for an Angora then? I tossed the idea of English angoras right out the window. Adorable as they were, I needed something lower maintenance if an Angora was in my future. A fawn French came my way, and still I resisted – I wanted something white, so I could dye the wool if I wanted. But I disliked red eyes, which the vast majority of white rabbits have.

Then Mary Steel announced her German/Satin woolers had a litter, all black – and one little white bunny. German and Satin?! What a combo! And from a group of bunnies kept primarily for their wool! And white! And within driving distance! I steeled my nerves, and told her I wanted him. Her. Whatever.

And in a little over a week, just before my birthday, ze bunny will get to come home! I’m very excited. He/she is looking like a pointed or shaded white, which means a possibility of no red eyes. Even better! It will be interesting to see what shade of white his/her wool ends up being. Right now it appears to be a shade of ermine, but there’s no telling. We will see! I am sure the wool will be awesome to spin with. And, new bunny to snuggle and obsess over and feed treats! Best of all, Germans are big and easy to care for, so I feel confident that the new baby will not be a serious detriment to bunny care. Whenever this baby appears. Sometime next year. No I’m not pregnant. Trust me you will know when I am. Because pregnant women are smug and talk about being pregnant ALL THE TIME. Having been a pregnant woman twice before I feel I am a minor expert on this.

So! Bunny picture, courtesy of Mary!

Baby Bunny

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The Tiny Tyrant

I have an alternative to ZOMG. It is XOMG. It is when Xander is involved.

My beloved little two-year-old, Xander, is tiny and pale, with hay-colored hair, sky blue eyes and a perfect, luminous complexion. He is loving and endlessly smiling. He is also the living embodiment of destruction. This week alone is a perfect example of his rare, continuously practiced art. In the time it took for me to run downstairs for a towel and return, he got out of the bath, found my Nintendo DS and dropped it in the bath water. A few days later he walked up, picked up my phone, babbled at it for a minute as he likes to do, then dropped it neatly into my coffee. He figured out the cabinet latches in the kitchen, grabbed the soda ash (a dye fixative), shook it wildly and got it into his eye, requiring a 7:30 PM dash to my brother’s for help holding the boy down to irrigate his eye for ten minutes.

Ever try to pour water in a two-year-old’s forced-open eye for ten minutes? It is the stuff of nightmares.

I love my son, but he is Trouble. He is sneaky, highly intelligent, curious and creative. These are traits that will serve him well as he grows up. They do not, however, serve ME well. Is it really any wonder I retreat into fiber when he’s worn me out? But these days, even fiber-world has a host of things that are as yet undone. I need to get Phat Fiber samples ready to go – and that is a greater undertaking than I really comprehended. I am learning. I think it will be good, just … so many details to think about! I need business cards. I need to reach beyond the crippling self-doubt that tries to creep up and tap me on the shoulder. I need to stop comparing myself to people who have been at this for years. And of course, I need wool, oh so luscious wool to sink my hands into and sigh happily. When I went to meet my knitting group last night, I took a handful of especially nice merino in my pocket to fiddle with on the way there. Just the feel of it is comforting when I am nervous, while my stomach turns and my shoulders hunch up into boulders.

So the list of things that need to happen within the next couple of weeks …

– Finish Phat Fiber samples
– Make business cards and attach to samples and yarns
– Take pictures of samples and yarns
– Mail samples
– List samples (and full sized versions thereof) on Etsy
– List any missing yarns on Etsy (I think there are one or two)
– Finish Circlet story “The Eagle and the Austringer,” begin “Stockholm”
– Oh shit someone asked me for a leather bookmark and I completely forgot!
– Set up cage for BUNNY
– Make a blog post about the bunny, because he deserves his own
– Grapple with my inner demons
– Laundry

Yup, that about does it. Let’s see how that goes …

What Dreams May Come When You Forget Your Medication

I would like to tell you about an interesting phenomenon. I take Cymbalta daily to combat the effects of fibromyalgia. When I forget my medication for a couple of days (which I really, really try not to do) my back and arms ache like I ran a marathon; my brain becomes fuzzy; I go through the day in a fog; and I suffer an acute bout of crippling, chest-aching depression. So yeah, I do my best to stay steadily on my medication. I am a good girl in that respect.

But there is one magnificent side effect to not taking my medicine that almost makes it worth it to skip now and then. The night after I forget to take it, I have amazing dreams. Semi-lucid, photorealistic, epic, story-shaped, totally recalled dreams. I wake up in a state of wonder, itching to write. And sometimes, they’re just what I need.

Take last night. I dreamed last night of traveling in a foreign country and meeting the most magnificent people – artists and writers, dancers, lunatics. Middle aged men with whiskey and stale cigarettes talking about Alice Hoffman and Brian Froud. Beautiful old women making watercolor butterflies to give to passers-by. Delightful libertines and mystics, and one who I can only describe as the embodiment of storytelling, kind of a metaphysical representation of Joseph Campbell. And he was kind and gentle and lovely, and he liked me and wanted to stay in touch with me after we all parted. I had this sense of the beginning of an intimate friendship that would span the rest of our lives, and I loved him in a way you can’t ever really love a true human being. There was a physical aspect to it, but I’d call it more sensual than sexual, a comfort and joyfulness with touch that had nothing to do with sex. When I woke up, I missed him fiercely.

So perhaps now you see why I am not always as good with my medication as I ought to be.

Now, there can be pitfalls. I must never, ever, EVER do this after watching a zombie movie, because I WILL have zombie dreams. Nor must I watch “Ringu,” or anything will small evil things. Or spiders. Or demons. Ok, no horror movies at all. See, people who write horrific things, as I sometimes do, are usually big fat wusses. Stephen King? Wuss. Neil Gaiman? Self-proclaimed wuss. Me? Big fat wuss. It’s because we’re affected by stuff like that; it sticks in our weird, sticky, jam-covered brains.

Alright. Off to write fiction …

Phantastic

Recently my husband took me to see “The Phantom of the Opera” at Dallas’ Fair Park Music Hall. I’ve spent a lifetime listening to the soundtrack but had never actually seen it. It … was … magnificent. It surpassed all my expectations, and my expectations were pretty damn high. I was pleased, to say the least. I even went online and found Phantom earrings on Etsy, from a lovely seller named OperaPhanatic. Lot 667, showing here.

Phantom Earrings

Since then I keep coming back to the story. It is a magnificent story, so pleasingly story-shaped, as life never seems to be. It was almost mythic. The figure of a girl growing into herself, changing and becoming more than she was when she started, discovering aspects of herself through relationships, music and personal strength. Beauty, heroics and courage in Raoul, and an entirely different sort of beauty – and madness – in the Phantom. This tortured figure, this murderer and composer and lover, keeps drawing me back into his disfigured head. I keep telling him he is too recognizable to be a muse. I can’t make him into a character to write. He smiles and says “Oh yes you can. I will tell you how. SING FOR ME … ” Though when I try, my toddler says “MAMA NO!” Apparently my singing horrifies small children.

I have found that online, people will argue about anything, and the debate between Team Raoul and Team Phantom rages on. Team Phantom has some good points as to why Christine should be with him. He’s a genius, they respond to each other on a nearly cellular level of passion, he’s intriguing and mysterious and kind of paternal. He can help her art. He’s hot in his own bizarre way – at least in the latest movie version. Team Raoul has some equally good points, among them the fact that Raoul puts value on Christine’s freedom and personal choice, he knows her as a whole person and not as a twisted musical obsession, he’s hot in a classical way, he has money and position and can give her a non-sewer-oriented life. But perhaps the most poignant of Team Raoul’s points, and the only one that really matters, is that unlike the Phantom, Raoul is not a FUCKING PSYCHO. As intriguing as I find the Phantom, let’s not forget that he kills people, yo. And not even for terribly good reasons.

So I’m going to do something with my Phantom obsession. I’m not going to write fan fiction (shudder) or a pastiche of PotO. In fact, if I do it right, no one will even recognize it for the Phantom-inspired stuff it is. But I love the idea of the disfigured genius, and if I can have some other character fall as hopelessly for him as I have, then all the better.

Ummm … if my characters are part of myself, and I love my characters, does that mean I’m in love with myself?