Thursday, October 30, 2008

A New Era

The big news in our lives this week is that Pearl has a new baby brother thanks to her dad and stepmom. She is totally smitten with the little guy and it reminds me of the sweet slow times when Pearl was small. It's going to be a big adjustment for her as she takes for granted her position at the center of the universe. Hopefully she can be helpful and not resentful and not get to feeling too looked over. Who knows maybe it's the best thing to happen to a pre-adolescent child, to have the attention taken off you while you sort out who you are. I think she'll be a great big sister as she is naturally bossy and who better to boss than a smaller brother. My own feelings aside, and they are plentiful and contradictory, this is a new life to be celebrated and welcomed into the larger expanded family that connects the past to the future.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Good Day

The work schedule is a little light these days which gets me a bit nervous. I soldier on. It was gloriously sunny today, the leaves are turning, the air is crisp and fine. I worked outside, stacking some firewood I had cut and put into the trailer. Somehow got to thinking about decay as I guess it's normal to do in fall. Seeing nothing but decomposing and freshly dead animals at the side of the road as I go on my daily pilgrimage to the stop sign and back. We have a lot of decay in our lives right now. A passing comment from my sister makes me realize all the parents are getting on in years and I start to feel the rising panic of my own eventual demise. So much for uplifting thoughts while work is slow and the sun is shining. I moved on to clean the hen-house and even managed to tidy up the barn. I found a spot in a big wooden cabinet I have to store the chicken feed in, so the mice and rats won't be tempted to burrow into the brown paper sacs during the cold winter. My neighbor Jerry brought me two bales of straw yesterday, I was almost completely out, collecting handfuls off the barn floor to put in the chicken house. I drug the two bales of straw to the barn and stacked them in the chicken tractor. I am storing the straw in an enclosure so that the nasty little hens, who leap from their pen and spend their days marauding around the barn won't scratch it into loose piles. Thoughts of death aside it was a nice day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One Whole Year

Feeding the chickens today—and they look like hell by the way, everyone is molting—I remembered that it was my blog's birthday. I have managed to keep writing through a whole year. I realize none of it is polished and some it probably does not make sense to anyone but me but it makes me happy to do it. Like feeding those damn chickens, its just nice to do. They all gather around and they make happy little sounds. Quite an array of sounds too. One day I will record those. It's impossible to describe their sound with words. Mere crappy words who have no pitch.

I am not sure where all this putting down words will lead but I am willing to do it and see where it takes me.

I let the broody hen stay on her nest after all. I stopped worrying about how she would eat and drink and let her instinct guide me. Eventually two chicks appeared and I cleaned the nest of the blank shells while they cheeped around the henhouse. The mama hen did do a good job of keeping the chicks tucked under her wings. After awhile I built a little ramp so the fledgling chicks could get outside. They went cheerfully. The weather changed, a few wet windy nights and when I went to perform my daily chores they were no where to be found. The hen was back with the flock like nothing had happened.

Next time this happens I will swoop in and get the chicks into a separate nursery where they can grow up out of danger from predators (is that what got these ones?) and the other hens.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dogbite Debriefing

Diagram of Potentially Dangerous Dog

I am closing the dogbite chapter of this life in the country. Wednesday September 1oth, 2008 whilst walking my fine dog Luna, I suffered a surprise attack from a poorly socialized mutt who lives on my road. The little sneak came around the back of Luna who, had swung out in front of me on her leash. In a split second the marauding dog leaped toward the hind side of my right leg, made a big chomp, and then raced off. Feeling a bit victorious I am sure. I was deeply appalled and more than vaguely shaken.

I called Animal Control to follow up last week. As it turns out, this dog has a long-standing bad habit, of going out and terrorizing people as they pass on the road, or stop to check their mailboxes which are situated directly across from the dog's driveway. Animal control has deemed the dog potentially dangerous and so it needs to be:

1. Kenneled in a 5 sided kennel on a slab, kennel must be locked at all times.
2. When on leash dog must be muzzled. Leash holder must be 15 or older.
3. Dog must wear an orange collar to indicate potential danger.

Last but not least I sent a letter to the owners of the dog requesting reimbursement for medical expenses. I am not a suer, it was just an unfortunate accident. They have been keeping up their end of deal in containing the dog. I acknowledged this in my letter to them.

The good news is am back to my precious walks. I have a semi gross purple scar on my leg which will fade over time. There is a knot under the skin, I wonder if it's a lump of compressed fat or something. When the dog bit me, all it felt like was a little snap. I think the snap came from my skin popping open under the pressure of the dog's jaws.

I have not yet bought any pepper spray as I boasted I would and I regularly forget to carry my anti-dog-stick with me, instead I carry milkbones. When Luna and I walk up the road I can hear the dog barking at us and it's sad to think that it would have been a whole different dog if someone had just taken the time to walk it everyday, but there it sits locked in it's kennel, barking at the world.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pledge Drive

So I've been listening to the NPR pledge drive all week and I am feeling smug. I have donated money over the years but not an amount that nearly matched the pleasure I get daily from listening. Last year I signed up to pay them an amount monthly, it gets taken out of my account and I don't really feel it until it's time for the pledge drive. This year is the first year I have listened to the pledge drive completely guilt free. I am light and airy, listening and laughing along with my favorite KUOW hosts. I am proudly part of the 10% who pledge to public radio. The truth is I should pay hundreds per month for what I get out of the programming. I listen a lot, it's my main source of news and culture. It's on in my office, it's on in my car and in the house. When I am away at Mark's I stream it. It practically defines me.

Here's my pitch. If you listen, send them a few bucks or get on the payment plan. It's an amazing place to go to hear the voices of this planet. It gives me hope and makes me laugh, it keeps me tuned in and turned on.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Risky Business

Eddy is home and getting stronger. It is not happening by accident, Mark is really focused on Eddy's ability to get up with assistance and walk the 25 or so steps to the bathroom. At the moment he can only walk from the bathroom door to the toilet. We wheel him from his room to the bathroom door. There is risk involved in getting him up, he could fall. His skin is phyllo dough thin and his nerves are fragile, the bathroom is made of hard objects with sharp corners. Occasionally you have to take evasive action to get him to his destination. He yips and oohs, it doesn't feel good. His legs can give out, he can sort of lose interest in what is happening and can topple over. He has fallen, but not often, he has never been hurt. When he finally arrives back in his wheelchair he always thanks us for safe delivery, no matter how rough the trip.

The greater risk lies in not getting him up, letting him lose all connection to his body, forgetting to walk. All those brain pathways getting covered over like old dirt roads. There was tremendous perceived risk in assisting him through his day but we brought him home anyway and slowly he is returning to his original semi-marginal state as we hoped he would. Our commitment is renewed to keep at him, to walk and move around despite his strenuous complaints and missed synapse. Trying to keep him moving until the end, that is the goal. None of this is easy, it's heavy and it feels awkward, sometimes it's scary but generally it feels like the right thing to do.

Risk is unavoidable, the key is to know which risks you're willing to take.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Home Soon

Eddy, Mark and Luna in the Acute Elder Care Ward

We brought the dog into the ward yesterday to cheer Eddy up a bit. I am not sure if it made a dent in his glum but he did recognize her. Today he stops the antibiotics and we hope it brightens him up because he is still really bummed out. He stares at us like he wants to tell us both off with our assanine optimism. He's been doing the exercises with Mark but very grudgingly. Mark meets with a physio rep today and hopefully she can see that he does know what he's doing and the proof is in how much stronger Eddy is after the last 5 days of therapy. We have a lot of mixed feelings of course about the hospital experience but mostly we feel strongly that keeping Eddy out of care is preferable for all of us.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What I'm working on

Here are a few pieces to illustrate the evolution of the Sustainable Connections Think Local First annual coupon book I am currently putting together. I got the idea over lunch with Michelle Grandy of SC. I have long used these drawings from Havana Street, generally adding sassy little captions as if they are speaking to the consumer. The idea was to create a sort of comic book page that was filled with language that felt like testimonials or those ads you used to see in the back of magazines. Ads filled with outrageous claims. As you can see I went from pencil sketch in my notebook to a b/w version I sent to Michelle to get initial idea approval. I then moved to color version and massaged the language a bit. Version 3 came back with a few comments so I lost the smoking lady and revised some copy and the title and there you have it. It should be available for sale here in the Bellingham area before too long.
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