My Rabbits Star on YouTube!

(Something-or-other non-warning: the following 2 video vlogs and blogpost from The-Labyrinth discuss rabbits as pets and rabbit fur used as angora ‘wool’. There is NO graphic or saddening footage. Just fluffy stuff, I promise.)

After writing and publishing the book, Netherland Dwarf Rabbits: taking care of them in Australia—now published at Amazon and Smashwords—I developed an even closer relationship with Tirian and Minxy. You try following two young dwarfs around with a camera for a few days, experiencing the intimacy of their everyday lives, while also getting them to sit in giant coffee cups and wheelbarrows for free food. Chickens and rabbits, never work with them!

"She gave me food."

However, I do have a house to build! Photographing rabbits artistically takes time. And Patience. And it brings in little cash, you can buy my book here. Rabbits want to eat, sleep, play and run a muck up over social order and food. Politics: Minxy gets fed first otherwise he scratches whoever is in the vicinity of his wild, double-paw-claws-sticking-right-out spin. He (the tan Agouti) looks cute but he’s a nasty piece of work.

His dwarf rabbit brother, also from the Netherlands but bred in Australia, Tirian (the Chocolate Otter), is one mild-mannered, cuddly, placid totally chilled out bunny. He’s always up for a pet or a cuddle with fur so soft…

Still, no need to make a jumper out of him! Lucky our boys, Minxy and Tirian, live in Australia and not China! Besides, Netherland Dwarfs are bred for there cuteness, not their fur.

Did you know rabbits are vegan, like, mine are anyway? Like even if they were starving to death I don’t think they would start gnawing on each others raw flesh like ‘human carnivores’ would given that situation… Well, not all men carnivores, only the human ones who are adamant that we mere humans are meant to slaughter animals and eat meat. You know, the ones that say, “Look! at my canines.”, while pointing furiously at their teeth, created perfectly pointy for breaking into nuts.

I’d like to show you a video I made in spring of 2015. It’s kind of embarrassing but I’m getting over that; after all, my world is online and this was my first or second video published online.

Meet Mixie and Tirian (forever immortalised Anne Geddies style on my book cover):

Netherland Dwarf Rabbits: taking care of them in Australia

Netherland Dwarf Rabbits: taking care of them in Australia by Mischa van Loder

I had the most fun ever, all huddled up in my bubble of clean air, the fragrance-free study supplied to students with fragrance Allergy (and other conditions impacted on by chemical sensitivity) by Victoria University, St Albans, Australia. Terrifically good people over there.

I poured my heart and soul into this book; I hid from trauma and heartache in this book. I also got to work with my Established Author and Friend, Kim Cook, who taught me the finer details of the Adobe program, inDesign; while also smashing it with me with a different self-published Author platform, Smashwords. While working on my cookbook, ‘Vegan Indulgences ~ for those transferring to a HCLF lifestyle’, Cook is my role model (for writing not cooking!). Like, especially when I get stuck. It’s like: [I hear Kim’s voice in my head, talking to themselves (meaning ‘self’ in the pronoun of ‘they’)] “Mmm… Google this, do that. Oh, yeah. Ah uh.”, and, vamoose! We have cutest damn rabbit bullet. A. Rabbit. Bullet! (For listing text into a short list so that it’s easy to read in bullet form, in case you don’t use computers much, which I know that is exactly how it is for many of my readers. You can always post me a letter, I do write back on well aired out paper written on in pencil.)


Now, juxtaposed against the cuteness of my adorable, cheeky balls of fluff is the following video, where, just the other night actually, I found out that the jumper, one of my absolute favourites that I just happened to be wearing had fur, in the form of ‘Angora’, sewn, gruesomely embedded in amongst its nylon and acrylic fibres. I took it off to read the tag: Angora, Nylon, Acrylic ‘fibres’. Then I put back on my soft batwing cape and made the following video:

Here is the YouTube link to ‘My Favourite Jumper is made from Angora‘. I’ve not decided on what, if anything, to do with this jumper. Keep wearing it? (Use it to wrap my bunnies in? Sounds good to me.) Or:

Like the scarlet letter painted on the town wench, the jezebel of Melbourne flaunting sin in capes of purple velvet, I’m surrounded by animals skins, their furs. It’s weird waking up to the truth of what goes on with the animals in our world. The specism, I’ve got a collection of ugg boots that I don’t believe could ever keep me warm again. Not without that cold, disconnected sense of being taking over my perception, clouding reality once again. (What am I going to do? I can’t buy new boots. I do own a lot of socks, I could just put on 9 pairs of socks, especially if I am still in this draughty Beach-house this winter. Come on house, just get built will you? No solvents in plaster to outgass. Pray the epoxy grout is going to be okay. Or just kill me now. There are animals dying every minute.

Are you vegan? How have you handled your guilt over past atrocities committed against the animals in the name of luxury brands? If you’re not vegan, how do you feel about fur used in clothing. Leather?

(If you feel misaligned, maladjusted and marginalised to the point of invisibility; if you feel subjected, effected and rejected my society because of 3 letters, MCS (or EHS (Electrohypersensitivity)), then imagine how animals right now right this very minute are feeling. Is that okay with you?)

Yes, I’m using oxygen in this video, which I might make another video (vlog) about later. It’s helping me by giving me relief from painful upper airway inflammation. It’s nearly as good as going to the beach!

The Guardian: Can Angora fur ever be ethical? (Warning: Graphic Footage that needs to be shown in schools)

(This post has been updated)

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

How to Begin Building a House… with Ganesha

We bought our block, out on the Surf Coast of Victoria, Australia, back in 2011. In 2012 we engaged the services of EcoDesigner and Draftsperson, Quin Wyatt, hoping he could help us create an allergy-free, eco-friendly home made from non-toxic, low VOC materials: a safe home capable of protecting my immune system from mould spores; a home designed with passive heating and cooling in mind; a home that’s mindful of climate change and our precious planet.

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From 2012 up until this present day, we’ve been testing materials: glues, grouts, paints, silicones, waterproofing materials, wood, cement sheeting, plaster, magnesium board—even tiles. In August 2014 we finished the design. I began the mammoth task of organising quotes and tradespeople; however, after completing this task, we ran into some foreseeable financial hiccups and have had to return to Quin Wyatt asking him to make our house more affordable: we resized our footprint. When we first designed the house, we had another family member to provide for. Now that we are empty nesters, it makes even more sense to downsize. And it will cut costs:

(Before we go any further, here’s our running joke on this situation: my partner, Dan, and I took so long designing, planning and testing materials for this house that we grew older, therefore, as empty nesters, we’ve had to downsize.)

Costs: Just a hardwood house frame—in comparison to the traditionally used terpene-emitting pine frame—costs double that of an ordinary house frame. Include all the double-glazed, thermally-broken windows, and the price has tripled in comparison to ordinary windows. But without these two factors (there are a many others too, but these are the $bangers!), the house won’t be safe for me to live in. Like most chemically sensitive people I desperately need a safe house that won’t impact on my health. My main issues are moulds (outdoor and indoor), solvents, petrochemicals, wood-smoke (PM2.5 particles, particularly). I’ve also had to organize fragrance-free and chemical-free workpeople. It’s been a buzz! And I’ve been diligently taking notes so I can share them all here, at The Labyrinth ~ and finding my way out, with you.

I’ll give you a run-down of the completed plan as soon as I can; otherwise, if I do this now, this post will be my usual 2000 word essay! [For now: think tiles, magnesium board, brick, colourbond, rainwater tanks, balconies and sea air. A vegetable garden set in the front yard—with a duck lurking in amongst the broccoli. Rabbits running free. Two boxers laying out in the sun with me: Freedom: an allergy-free eco-friendly home]

The good news: just like the draftsperson we found, we’ve managed to find some compassionate and understanding tradespeople who’ve agreed to do what absolutely has to happen for this house to ever be a safe, health-tolerable place for me to live.

(When I meditate each morning, gratitude flows from me like the flush of pink petals from a lotus flower in full bloom.)

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And, get this: we’ve rented a composting toilet and placed it on our block so the workers (and Dan and I) can use it. No obnoxious chemical fragrance fumes! (More on this in another post. You will love this!)

And luckily, I’ve just experienced a blissful summer and autumn where my health improved enough for me to have actual consecutive days where I was well. (This has not happened since 2011.) Every morning I exercised, then spent the day on the phone organising every detail I could think of; nights were on the computer, compiling notes for my book, the soon-to-be-completed book, Freedom: an allergy-free, eco-friendly home. Thankfully, during this time, most products were already tested for safety—ergo, not all, though (We are stuck at the waterproofing (balcony and bathroom) stage!)

Unluckily, due to moulds and bloody wood-smoke, since winter began—and now the Solstice has passed, which means we’re half way through—I’ve had chronic illness as my companion once again. At least this year, I can deal with it. Some days I even accept it: Yoga, meditation, a supportive partner, energy from a plant-based diet, my latest treatment: the NSP Protocol, my dog, dwarf rabbits, my internet friends, and the faith in building a safe home are getting me through.

At times though, it’s not been easy: hesitation, trepidation, apprehension: a three-headed beast has eaten me alive.

Since I’ve had these well-documented mould symptoms: upper-respiratory inflammation (dry eyes, sinus pain, facial pain, sore throat), fatigue, vagueness, headaches, depression and sadness that mimic actual depression and sadness—all dispelling once the chemical exposure and the mandatory recovery period have passed—not only am I too physically and mentally exhausted to continue in the bull-at-a-gate manner I thrive on, but my confidence, my self-advocacy—swallowed by the inability to follow even my own internal conversations, let alone ones with carpenters/plumbers/manufacturers on the phone—have deserted me. Leaving me alone, plugged into a light socket, buzzing with paralysing fear, emanating through me as I lay in my bed. Unlike the previous times I’ve lost my cognitive abilities (cognitive symptoms started in 2012) I’ve learnt to accept the capabilities of my own brain and memory, especially over the last few weeks; instead of fighting it, I press pause, take the phone off the hook, put a movie on.

It’s okay, this time. I’ve been here before. It, too, shall pass…

I’m lucky, I’m in this build with, and only because of my partner, Dan; and even though, because I’m the chemically sensitive one, I want, need! to be in control of all the materials (for testing and research purposes) and speaking to tradespeople, putting the particulars into writing (for legal reasons), yet, I’ve relinquished this miracle work over to him. He’s actually more assertive than me. If you can imagine that [just add hyper-masculinity and swear words]! I have to trust in his capability. (Of course, I’m still doing the testing; he’s just organising the products and samples for now.)

Here’s how to build a safe home:

Have Faith…

I admire people who believe in God. Any God. The closest thing I have to God is meditation and exercise; and my Dog, which we all know is God spelt backwards. Yoga has been my thing lately. Even my dog has got some type of pose going on:

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Enter Ganesha:

This is the brass statue we picked up while searching for this exact statue. We wanted an actual large stone statue for the garden but only found this: still, a statue for the garden. To be buried there, actually.

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In the book, 99 Thoughts on Ganesha—Stories, Symbols and Rituals of India’s beloved elephant-headed deity, the author, Devdutt Pattanaik, describes Ganesha as an organic god, one who has transformed throughout time, space history and geography. Pattanaik reminds us:

“Of all the gods in the Hindu pantheon, he alone allows his form to be re-shaped and re-imagined and recreated as devotees will it. Thus, he reminds us constantly that:

Within infinite myths lies the eternal truth Who sees it all?
Varuna has but a thousand eyes Indra, a hundred, You and I, only two

Pattanaik explains how Ganesha takes the form of the self-created Supreme Being, also known as God, declaring that “whenever social order (dharma) is threatened, he descends to set things right. He offers his devotees three paths to reach him: the path of intellectual introspection (gyan yoga), the path of passionate devotion (bhakti yoga), and the path of detached action (karma yoga).”

During the 7th century CE, after some dudes who just happened to be Tibetan kings married some Buddhist princesses from China and Nepal, Buddhism spread to Tibet. This form is known as Mahayana Buddhism, in which, Ganesha is also known as Vinayaka.

Ganesha of Tibet has two forms: when in the benevolent form, he is the remover of obstacles; in the malevolent form, he is the instigator of obstacles.

Two weeks ago, during a weekend when I was ill, we drove the five minutes it takes to get to our block and held a ceremony: we buried a brass statue of Ganesha, asking for his help to remove any obstacles that may be placed in our way.

I feel better now…

Do you have any beliefs, rituals or deities that get you through the tough times? If so, please share…

Oh, and if you know of a low VOC, waterproofer for balconies (that are to be tiled) and for placing under tiles in the bathroom, please let us know. It has to be inert once dry (it’s the chemicals that outgass, not the actual smell, that’s the problem.) and it must be non-toxic to someone sensitive to chemicals, please.

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

In Loving Memory of Kathryn Chastain Treat

IN LOVING MEMORY OF KATHRYN CHASTAIN TREAT

Kathryn C. Treat passed away on Sunday, December 21, 2014 @ 2:20 am (California time). On Friday, Dec. 19, after having a wonderful time at the Rave Reviews Book Club’s virtual Christmas party, in a virtual chat room with her fellow RRBC VIP Lounge members, Kathryn informed that she was not feeling well and that she was going to leave. Shortly thereafter, she suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and then lapsed into a coma.

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Kathryn was an honorary board member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, where she served as Membership Director from Dec. 2013, until October, 2014. Kathryn is the author of “ALLERGIC TO LIFE: MY BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL, COURAGE AND HOPE.” She inspired and encouraged many with this book so if you have not had the pleasure of reading it, please head to Amazon and get your copy.

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BOOK TRAILER

Kathryn was a dedicated member of RRBC until her passing and she was one of the most supportive members the club had…not just to one, but to all. Kathryn leaves to mourn her husband, her mother, a sister, her two daughters, a son-in-law and three grand-kids (who she adored more than life), as well as her entire RRBC family.

Let us remember Kathryn and honor her memory by always being kind to one another and by always offering our support to another. It’s what she did. It’s how she lived. It’s who she was. In honor, many blogs across the world are memorializing Kathryn today with the same post that you see here. If Kathryn touched your life in anyway, please share your memories and comments below. As everyone who knew Kathryn may not yet know of her home-going, we ask that you also share this page on all your social media forums. We have erected a memorial page on the Rave Reviews Book Club site that will remain. Please stop by to leave your comments and memories of Kathryn as well, so that her family will get a sense of just how loved she was by so many. There you will also find more information on Kathryn and how RRBC has planned to continually honor her in other ways.

THANK YOU!

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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