Category Archives: you gotta love life

Bird Washing Day

I have some birds.  All of them are re-homed here because of various health circumstances and special needs.  …Like Whacky Bird, who quite literally faints at the mere suggestion of a changed routine.  And there’s Dumpling who managed to break his wingtip off and almost bled to death when his owner let him out to play.  Since the break left a shattered bone end and the vet had to pull some magic out of her arsenal to save him, the bird was re-homed with me because he needs special care and caging.

Oldest of them all, weighing in at 26 years of age, is Regal, a magnificent, slightly odd looking critter because he suffers a condition I call Bad Cage Disease, his early years being spent in a cage whose bars were made of zinc, not plastic coated steel.   Regal has nerve damage in one foot and a ring of missing feathers around his neck, all permanent problems.  He needs special supplements …which he loves, thank you very much.  But, because of the nerve damage in his leg, he can’t perch up high.  He’s now, basically, a ground bird, except for daily cage cleaning where he jumps up, one footed to a low perch that’s barely off the cage floor.  The fact that he’s supposed to be a perching bird, not a chicken whose feathers (except for the roosters, of course) are designed to stay above the detritus, makes him prone to, (a) getting his feet covered in doo, and, (b) miring his long tail feathers and wing tips, this all despite his special bird bath which he uses daily.

So we have “bird washing day” around here where I get him on my hand, take him to the bathroom, run some warm water, and proceed to, well, wash the bird.  Then comes clipping his toenails if they need it and whacking off any tail and wing feathers that are too long to stay off the cage floor.  He doesn’t mind any of it, at all.  In fact, he revels in it.

Whacky Bird, of course, thinks this is all sorts of trauma, and, usually, when I come back from the bathroom with Regal, I’ll find her either panting like a tired locomotive, still conscious, but unable to move, or she’ll be crashed out, unconscious, on the cage floor.  (She comes to after about five minutes, and, once Regal is safely back and she can see no damage has been done to her pal, she recovers to her normal, rather obnoxious self.)  Dumpling, on the other hand, will make all sorts of sympathetic noises once Regal is returned to his cage …which, Regal, being quite proud of his coiffure and freshly bathed splendor, pointedly ignores as he preens and struts.

So, there you have it.  Bird Washing Day at Dawn’s North Idaho bird retirement home.

bird bathing

My Hands

I received a really hurtful email this morning. It was from a fellow flutist who said, and I quote:

“You have really ugly hands. Maybe you shouldn’t video yourself playing flute. Or doing anything. Its [sic] no fun to watch. Ever think about getting your nails done? Try some lotion, too.”

Well, to that, here’s my response …though I neglected to mention in the video, an expert equestrian’s hands:

For those who can’t hear, here’s a transcript of what I say:

“People comment about my hands. The brave ask about them, the concerned and well-intentioned offering me bottles of flowery-smelling lotion, presenting me gift certificates for a manicure and nail job, bringing me ointments and salves. It’s true, I don’t have elegant hands. I’ve got working hands. These hands play flute and piano, type 120 words per minute, move heavy objects, in short, do a lot of hard, physical labor. They’ve moved tons of hay and grain, dug post holes, strung barbed wire, carried wood and water. These are a martial artist’s hands, a musician’s hands, a swordwoman’s hands. They ain’t pretty, but I love them.”

A Forced Abandon

The Internet went down. Soggy cables of a crumbling infrastructure will do that when a melt happens. Of course, it happens other times, too, but that’s usually either rodents chewing through the lines…or somebody’s highway construction project severing the main trunk. Gleefully, I took advantage of the hiatus granted me from the Net–from having to deal with servers, email, and everything cyber. It let me concentrate…or should have, on working on my projects.

First day down and, yes, me without any withdrawal symptoms (I never suffer withdrawal from losing connection. The opposite, in fact.), I worked on my audio project…until the cyberzombies who were suffering withdrawal descended, wondering if I had Internet access some way. (They know me too well, I think…and, uh-huh, I did have a way to connect, but I didn’t tell them that, because, for me, it’s only for emergencies. Using it is hyper-expensive.) Second day down, and it’s Mom’s birthday, which means everybody and their puppy either calls or shows up–no appreciable work done.

And, then, the DSL came back up…earlier than predicted. (Grumble.) There is something to be said for having no connection to the world at large, except for what’s outside your door. Life is cleaner, less cluttered, less stressful, less concerned. I prefer it that way, but the reality is that, without connectivity, I become insulated from the reality in which most people live, experiencing only the reality of localized here and now. I would have no idea if nuclear war broke out…until I became a shadow burned into the ground–no terror possible.

I remember when I lived as a recluse for long years, only coming out maybe once a month if I needed some fencing material or food staples. And to get the mail. Back then, I had an early form of Internet, too–all black screen or telnet white screen, delivered via braided copper cable that I paid a substantial amount to have run to the property from miles away. Communication was limited to text, used by few, and completely devoid of trolls, advertising, and, mostly, malevolence from black box intruders. It also was devoid of inanity, breakfast bagels, and surf-by spammers. I was reminded of that time today when, coming back online, Nathan Lowell poked his head out long enough to type of few conversant lines with Anita Lewis and me. It was refreshing to commune with people you know are intelligent and of sound character.

The point? I don’t know if there is one. Yet, I know that the Net as it stands today is completely unfulfilling as a communication and connection medium. At least, for me.

 

Can Walk Like a Human

Two weeks back, I was sprinting. On concrete. Didn’t see a rock, as eyes were looking ahead, not down. Shod foot landed off-square on stray rock. Something gave. Bad.

I didn’t go down, but I definitely dropped instantly to ‘walk’. Walk was hobble, though. Knew there was trouble. It was the same leg that got injured two years back by being banged into sideways by a very large, happily exuberant boar.  Same leg my Aussie shepherd banged into an re-injured it, mid-way healed, the same year.

“Yup.” Mumbled jargon. Typing. “It’s gonna take a good six weeks to heal. Ice, elevate, rest. No work for two weeks. None. Then gentle walking. Only.  Wear a support when upright. You have crutches, I see.  Okay. See you in two weeks.”

Sigh.  For me, that meant begging and hiring in help.

And I hate sitting on my ass, except to write or create artwork.

And, now, two and a half weeks later, I’m walking like a human, again. Oh, it’s not all the way healed, but it’s healed enough that I impressed everyone when I walked in for a recheck.

“Mild work, no heavy chores.”

Of course, I nod.  Then grin.

He grins back. He knows me. Shakes his head. Types on the keyboard. “See you next time.”

At least I can get rid of the temporary help and stop sitting around in front of the computer for most of the day.  There’s work to do and winter’s coming.

 

EVENING UPDATE: Well, bum knee and all, I made my walk tonight, me and Laddie. I managed 3 mph. Usually, I do a mile in 12 minutes walking, but, for a first time out since I tweaked that knee, I figure doing a mile in 20 minutes is pretty good, since it’s over 4 inch rocks that are tricky to navigate with both legs sound. But, yeah, I did wear a leg brace and, yeah, I did feel it grumble a few times.

 

New System Engaged, But There’s a Miffed Wet Hornet

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So, after a lot of hard work and even more patience, the new phone system is working, now, throughout the house as well as in the office, with wireless, LAN, and DSL all working seamlessly together along with FAX and landline phone WITH the plus that, if and when the DSL goes down (something that happens about once a week here in North Idaho), I can still get on the Net via another wireless option.

This has taken almost an act of Congress to get functioning, but, finally, as of yesterday, all systems are stable and working within optimum parameters.  The entire project took remodeling the whole system from a patched together one. It also required a great deal of coordination between disparate companies, plus some remodeling in the office and other parts of the house structurally connected to that office.

Whew.

Of course, just when you think that you’ve got everything back under control, all hell breaks loose somewhere else, in this case, at the two shops where my husband’s trucks are sitting. The first truck is his relatively new KW heavy haul…which needs a new wiring harness…which isn’t in stock (of course) and the second one is a loaner that, upon start-up, is throwing engine errors and is rife with air leaks.  Lucky for me, I’m sitting safely home, nowhere near a husband who is about as happy as a wet hornet.

ComNetwork_5-8-2016

Forrest’s Night Out

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Someone screaming in anguish, their guts being ripped from their body. Someone laughing, the sound maniacal. The audience members munch popcorn and sip their favored beverages, unmoved, almost bored. I leave my seat, climbing the spilled-pop-sticky carpet to the entrance/exit. I don’t want to see those kinds of “Coming Attractions,” thanks.  We’re here for a newly released blockbuster Forrest wants to see on the ‘big screen’, not to see unmitigated gore and celebrated cruelty.

My husband catches up with me out in the lobby. “Are you going out to the car?”

I turn. Smile. “No. I’m going to the bathroom. I’ll be right back. No worries,” I assure him.

His eyes plead.

I smile, again.  “Be right back.”

He nods and, relaxing, turns to head back down the dark entry to Theater #3. He knows why I left. I don’t like graphic violence. I see no need for it, except in the rarest of circumstances, and, even then, it can be done in a way that has astonishing impact without resorting to real-to-life depictions. I know. Because I write it, have written it, have made voice actors audio recording my stories choke up, unable to get a clean take time after time–professional voice artists.

In the bathroom, a little girl is waving her hands underneath the faucet, but she’s too short to get it to come on. I wonder where her mother is. I wonder at the architects and engineers who didn’t think about the needs of children and others of small stature. I wave my hand over her faucet, and it turns on. She smiles, mumbles ‘thanks’, and puts her hands under the running water, then manages the electronic eye on the paper towel dispenser by herself, though it’s a stretch.

I check my make-up–rarely wear it. My clothes–black–lay impeccably. My five-inch heels give me an illusion of elegance and grace, despite my petite frame and calloused hands.  My hair, freshly styled, is suitably mussed and tousled. I look like I just stepped out of a magazine instead of rural North Idaho. On purpose. I’ve dressed up especially for my husband. I want his evening to be the best, because these chances happen so rarely for us with his job.

I wash my hands. Think. Head back out to stand near the dark opening that leads down to where Forrest is saving my seat. The “Coming Attractions” are still playing. Sound says that they’re still cruel, mean, and gory. Oddly, the movie we’ve come all the way to the big city to see isn’t that kind of movie, so why are they showing horror and violence trailers is my wonder.

Some tall, teen girls walk by, heading for Theater #4. They sneer, make some comment I don’t understand in some alien-sounding jargon, then spit in my direction. Their efforts fall short. I don’t ‘see’ them, don’t react. The cop standing near the concession stand starts walking over, and the girls vanish down the dark hole that’s Theater #4. He asks if I’m okay. I assure him, “Yes.”

Finally, I hear the opening theme for the movie we came to see. I head back to my seat, Forrest grasping my hand as I settle in…offering me his popcorn.

It’s a rare treat–a night out in the big city a hundred-plus miles from home. The special effects alone will make worthwhile suffering the soles of my shoes sticking to the carpet, the crude “Coming Attractions”, the teens with their hatred. But that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to be with my best friend and soulmate. It’s Forrest’s night out.

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Joy Enters My World Thanks to Dustin and Zach

2011-12-29 15.28.26I just got word a few minutes ago.  My beloved husband is coming home, and he’ll be home through New Year’s and Friday, too!  Why?  Dustin (leader of the pack) and Zach, Forrest’s driver manager, have arranged it so that he’s taking a load up to Alberta that delivers Monday.  Joy, joy, joy. He’ll be home for dinner tonight, and I’ll get to wrap my arms around him for a whole couple of days!!!  Life has given me something to smile about.  Thank you, Dustin and Zach of the Northwest Regional Fleet of System Transport!