Attacked by an Emu

Emu, Jurong BirdPark

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My cousin and I took my grandson to the Lazy 5 Ranch on Friday, before Labor Day.  First, we stopped at AAA and got directions to get there.  My cousin drove because I don’t like to drive on the freeways here.  My grandson was really good in the car.  He’s almost 4.

When we pulled into the ranch, there was a little booth where we paid and got some food to feed the animals.  We’d heard that it was like a safari where you drive through the ranch and stay in the car with your windows rolled down.    As we pulled our car over the grate (so the animals can’t get out) they swarmed the car.  There were antelope, goats, ostrich, deer and emus.  The emus are crazy looking birds with wild gold eyes.  I put food in my hand and with the window part the way down, I stuck my hand out and fed the animals.  Most of them were very gentle but the emus went nuts.  One stuck his head in the car and dove into the bucket of food spraying pellets all over me and the car.  He kept ducking his head into the bucket like it was the first time he’d ever eaten.  My cousin kept trying to roll up the window but she didn’t want to hurt his long neck.  At one point she rolled the window up a little too tight but the bird didn’t seem to mind.  I’m sure this had happened to him before.  He definitely knew the drill.  He kept diving for the bucket.  Finally,  she rolled up the window down just a little and the emu drew his head back.  We rolled up the window after that and drove on.

My grandson was freaking out over the emus and so were me and my cousin.  Those birds were really aggressive.  I rolled my window down again and was feeding the antelope and goats when an ostrich started running toward the car,  flapping his wings.  They are about twice as big as the emus.  My cousin yelled to me to roll up the window and as she was trying to roll up the window, I was trying to roll up the window and we got it up just before the ostrich stuck his big head in.  After that, my grandson didn’t want us to roll down the windows anymore.  He stayed in the backseat in the middle of the car and kept patting the window to make sure it was up.  He kept saying:  “Don’t roll the window down, don’t roll the window down.”  We promised we wouldn’t roll the window down again without asking him first.  He was very scared.  The ostrich had really scared me and I’m sure our shrieks didn’t help my grandson feel confident.  Our intentions really were good and we didn’t mean to scare my grandson.

As we drove on, we saw deer and pot belly pigs with their babies.  One pot belly pig had a baby that was only a day or two old.  We saw water buffalo and a rhinoceros.  There were also these cows with huge horns.  By the time we got to the pretty llamas, we were out of food.  We really wanted to feed them.  There were giraffe too, in a pen, all by themselves.  The road wound round and round and we were on it for about 2 hours.  My grandson finally calmed down since we were keeping the windows up so all was well there.

We headed home and my grandson fell asleep in the car.  He slept all the way home.  As usual, it took us less time to get home than it took to get to the Lazy 5 Ranch, but it was a lot of fun, except for the scary parts.  Me, my cousin and my husband were going out to dinner that night and my husband asked if the car was dirty.  I told him it had food all over the inside.  He frowned.  I had swept out the seats but I couldn’t get all the pellets up off the floor and out of the door.  He did a good job cleaning the car.  Except for the smears of animal snot on the windows, the car was clean.  My husband got some Windex to clean the windows.  We were going somewhere that had Valet parking so he didn’t want the car to look bad.  I blamed it on the birds.  It was really one of those:  You had to be there!

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Losing Our Pets

TaraenBram

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At one time, we had 6 pets.  5 cats and 1 dog.  Amber, the dog, was a long-legged, blondish red Shepard/lab mix.  The cats were Mony, Katie Boobie, Baby and Chewwie and they were all Heinz 57.  We accumulated the cats over several years.  Amber was a rescued dog and she was 2 when we got her.

Three years ago, in 2009, we lost our first pet, Katie.  I was sitting in the car waiting for my husband to go somewhere when he came up to me with a downcast look and said: “My cat’s dead.”  I jumped out of the car and ran to the side yard where she lay in the sun, on her side with her tail curled.  She looked like she had just fallen over, possibly from a stroke.  She was 16 years old.  I cried and cried.  We took her to the Emergency Vet and had her cremated.  My husband put a little stone bird that he’d found in the yard years before in a special spot, where she died, to remind us of her.  The following year we lost Baby, to an unnecessary pet surgery.  He was 7 years old.  We had Baby cremated.  That one hurt really badly.  Baby was the first animal we’d ever had to put to sleep.  It was horrible and I never wanted to do it again.  We  put a little rabbit next to Katie’s little bird in the yard to remember him.  I prayed that the rest of the animals would die of natural causes.  The following year, 2010, our dog Amber started to fail.  She was 16 and we knew she couldn’t hold on much longer.  We kept meaning to take her in and have her put to sleep but we couldn’t bring ourselves to do it.

One morning, we came out and Amber was gone.  This was July 6, 2011.  We were shell-shocked.  We notified the neighbors via email that our beloved Amber was missing.  Someone called us 4 days later to tell us they had found her up in the woods by a little pond, just laying on the sand.  She had walked a long way to die by that pond.  It was a beautiful spot.  I didn’t even know that place existed.  It had never occurred to me that aesthetics mattered to animals.  It was private property and we were given permission to bury her there if we chose.  We took her to the Vet and had her cremated.

When we moved from our house, we took Katie, Baby and Amber’s ashes and scattered them in the back-yard.  I can’t bear to talk about Chewwie, but in September of 2010, he was also gone.  That left us with Boobie and Mony.  I couldn’t get used to Amber being gone.  I still long for her and it’s been a year.  Every time I see a dog, I want Amber back.

On June 24, 2011, we lost Mony.  I remember because that was 2 days before our anniversary.  She had a thyroid condition and went around yowling for days.  She ate like crazy.  She was somewhat quiet after we’d feed her but there was no filling her up.  We knew it was time to take her to the Emergency Vet.  You’re probably wondering why we always go to the Emergency Vet.  Our pet’s deaths never occurred during regular Veterinary hours.  When we got to the Vet with Mony, we told them we were there to have her put to sleep.  They took her from us to get the IV going and they put us in the “Goodbye Room.”  It was a separate room that was dimly lit and had a nice rug and nice high back chairs.  They brought Mony into the room wrapped in a blanket and we sat there holding her, saying goodbye.  The Vet eased himself into the room and told us that Mony was yowling because she was disoriented, that she probably wasn’t in any pain and that it would be just a matter of days before it got to her brain.  It was time to put her to sleep.  She was very calm as we held her.  When we were ready, he inserted the drugs into her IV and she was out in a matter of seconds.  She was no longer suffering.  She was 18 years old.  We had her cremated along with the others.  It was very sad.

Now we have l cat left – Boobie.  His kidneys are failing.  He’s 17  years old.  He cries a lot and talks now.  He never did that before Mony died but now he’s the only one left and he’s lonely.  All his friends are gone.  The Vet wants me to bring him in for some blood-work to see how his kidneys are doing but I’m not going to do that.  It will only make me more anxious to know that his kidneys are now working at 25% rather than 75%.  I worry enough as it is.  I hold him as much as I can, but I have things to do during the day.  All he wants to do is sit in my lap.  He doesn’t understand I have a life and sitting around with him in my lap all day is not an option so he sleeps on the couch during the day and on my lap at night.  I try to make up for the loneliness he is feeling.  At least he’s not looking for Mony anymore.  That was heartbreaking.  When Boobie’s time comes, I will be devastated.  Not only is he my favorite cat, he’s the last one.

Once Boobie is gone, we won’t get anymore pets.  It’s too hard to watch them die.  I know people say the antidote to that is to get a new pet, but I don’t think we will.  We had a good, long run with most of our pets and I think we’re done with that part of our lives.  It makes me sad to think that, but I’d have a hard time convincing my husband to get another animal.  But we’ll see.  You never know for sure.

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Blogging

Image based blog entry navigation

Image by Lloyd Budd via Flickr

My husband was fooling around on the computer a couple of months ago.  He was making a logo for a blog.  He had some program on his computer where he could look at pictures then alter them with a kind of painting program.  It was really cool.  After a few days, his logo was finished.  He set up a blog, bought the domain name Dreadmonger.com and he was ready to go.  On his blog, he does fake news.  It’s from an Independent point of view.  I had no idea he was so clever and I’ve been married to him for 40 years.  A few of his blogs are about Maxine Waters and the Black Caucus marching on Martha’s Vineyard,  Morgan Stanley running out of ways to say the economy sucks and Dick Cheney making Al Gore’s head explode.  It’s satirical and its good stuff.

He told me he would set up a blog for me.  I asked him what would I do with a blog.  He said:  “Write.”  We sat it up and here I am.  Every morning I wake up and I have nothing to say.  I have to search my brain really hard for something to write.  There are lots of things to write about in my personal life but that would be too intimate to share with the whole world.  I’m sitting here right now listening to country music on Pandora.  I’ve got 30 hours left of my 38 free hours each month.  I don’t usually listen to country, but I tired of Steely Dan, Harry Connick, Amy Winehouse and on and on.  Country was a nice change. I’ve always liked country.

Now I have to find a picture to represent this blog entry.  Pictures of the politicians are showing but that’s not what this blog is about.  I’m going to try to get a picture of a blog.  I doubt I’ll be successful.  Here goes…How about that.  Something came up.  I wonder who Deven is.  The picture of the blog is too small to read but at least I have the right picture.  And that’s it for my blog today.

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Friday Night Music

"The Spinto Band" at The Social

Image by chadmiller via Flickr

Friday night, a band was playing at the local shopping center.  My son called and asked us to come and meet him where the boutiques and eateries were, by the fountain.  A lot of people were out.  My husband and I  headed over and  quickly found a place to park.  We walked to where the band was playing music.  We heard a trumpet and a trombone among the other instruments the band was playing, the trumpet being the most distinct.

There were probably 100 people sitting around in the restaurants patio chairs and tables.  There were probably another 50 people standing around watching their children play at the playground, sitting on the retaining walls and on benches.  I found a bench to sit on and enjoyed watching the kids play.  There were kids all over the place, running around, having fun.  My grandson was among them.  Some guy was passing out bracelets that glowed in the dark and he gave my grandson one.

It was a nice, balmy evening.  The temperature outside was perfect, in the high 70’s.  We stayed for about 1-1/2 hours and really enjoyed ourselves.  Everyone was in a good mood and having a great time.  The music sounded nice and there were little kids in front of the band, dancing and shaking.  One little girl was simply running in circles.  When we tried to get ice cream at the ice cream shop, the long line prevented us from getting any.  We headed for home and had sherbet ice cream cones there.  It was a lovely evening.  A nice way to spend a Friday night. There will be concerts there for a few more weekends.  My cousin will be in town next weekend, visiting from California.  It will be a nice repeat.

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Hunkering Down For The Hurricane

Infrared image of Andrew making landfall in Fl...

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I’m sitting here watching the news of Hurricane Irene.  I live in Charlotte, NC.  It’s supposed to make first landfall in NC.  The Outer Banks are supposed to get hit really hard.  The meteorologist said that the landscape of the Outer Banks will definitely be changed.  I’m not sure what that means.  Beach erosion, trees ripped up, parts of the island broken off.  I guess only the meteorologist knows.  It’s scary to think that so many people will be affected by this hurricane.  Possibly the hurricane of the century.

We are a couple hundred miles inland.  I hear that the hurricane is a couple hundred miles in circumference.  Will we feel the effects of it?  There will be power outages.  The farther you are from the actual hurricane, the longer it will take to restore power.  I wonder if that will be us.  I’m not as worried as if the storm will be coming inland, but I’m scared.  The last time we got hurricane rain, it was the tail of the storm and there was a downpour.  I sat in my bedroom, in my recliner, feeling like the house was going to float away.  It was non-stop, hard rain.  It was frightening.

My son said I would not do well in a natural disaster.  Does anybody do well in a natural disaster?  He says I’m too comfortable.  I asked my husband if it was so wrong to want to be comfortable.  He said:  “No, everybody wants to be comfortable.”  My son’s age is talking.  He’s 25.  Just because he’s impervious to physical pain doesn’t mean others are.  I wonder what I would do without my medication.  What do people do when they lose their medications.  The diabetics, the heart patients, the people with bi-polar and other mental illnesses, the cancer patients.  If the pharmacies get torn up along with everything else, how do they dispense medication?  What if I wasn’t wearing shoes at the time of the storm.  I think of all the boards that could be out there with nails sticking out of them, ripped from some wooden building that’s been blown apart.  Tetanus.  I’d need a tetanus shot if I stepped on a nail.  I guess I could just sleep in my shoes.  All this in the event we hadn’t already evacuated.  There are people who are die-hards that ride these things out.  I would evacuate immediately if told to do so.

Hurricane Andrew ripped up Charlotte several years ago.  It’s not out of the question that it could happen again.  I think of the people that suffered through Katrina.  The hurricane didn’t cause all the damage.  It was when the levees broke that the buildings were flooded.  It’s a tragedy that much of the town of New Orleans has not been rebuilt.  I wonder if the city will ever be back to normal.  Where did all the people who lost their homes go?  The houses are still sitting vacant so the people must have gone somewhere.  Life disrupted.

As I sit here pondering the storm, I realize that we are ill-prepared for a disaster.  We need to get some water.  We just went to the grocery store and bought $200 worth of food.  We have 2 bottles of peanuts and a pantry full of canned goods.  I’ve got emergency medical supplies.  My flashlight is in the drawer and we have candles.  I never think we have enough candles but my husband says we’re okay.  I’ll continue to ponder what’s going to happen to us even though we’re not in the path of the storm.  I pray for all those people who are.  May God be with them.

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Craigs List

Steacie Science and Engineering Library at Yor...

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We had never used Craigs List until we moved from our house.  We had so much furniture, I thought we would never get rid of everything.  We put ads on Craigs List and we sold everything.

We had floor-to-ceiling bookshelves completely filled with books.  I thought for sure we’d be boxing them up and hauling them somewhere.  Around 1,000 books.  I dreaded it for months.  What are we going to do with the books.  What are we going to do with the books.  Some lady called and offered my husband $400 for all the books.  My husband said no and she came back with an offer of $500.  My husband said yes.  They were all really good books.  None of them castaways.  She was delighted to get them.

We had a couple of Lazy Boy recliners that we were selling.  Some old lady came to buy one of the recliners and my husband helped her haul it to her car.  Another lady came and bought a slate table and a recliner because my husband told her that they went together and if she wanted one, she had to take the other.  He helped her carry them to her car.  It’s amazing that people will come to pick up furniture but they won’t bring any muscle with them.  I guess they just assume the owner will help them carry it out.  If I would have been there, I would have had to say:  “You’ll have to come back with someone who can help you carry this to your car.”  The lady who bought the books brought her daughter with her to help her load up the books.  It took them quite a while.  I guess she was opening a used book store and she was thrilled with her purchase.  Some of my favorite books went with that sale.  I hadn’t gone through the books very thoroughly.  I see books in the bookstore and my husband is always telling me:  “We have that book at home.”  Or he’ll say:  “We used to have that book.”  That’s really upsetting when he says that.

We had an antique tiger oak pedestal table and 4 chairs.  We originally paid $700 for them 40 years ago.  We put an ad on Craigs List for $500.  We didn’t get one phone call.  We kept lowering the price until we finally sold the set for $175.  It broke my heart.  North Carolina is not the place to sell antiques.  The table and chairs were the last thing we had to sell.  The ad ran for months and one day, this guy called from out of the blue.  We think he was an antique dealer.  When he got to the house, he asked if we would take less for the set.  My husband said no way.  I thought we were going to have to donate the table and chairs to some organization.

Recently, my son was looking for a roommate to share his apartment.  He put an ad on Craigs List.  He got immediate responses.  About 2 weeks after he ran the ad, he found a roommate who will move in with him in two weeks.  He sounds like the perfect roommate for my son.  Craigs List has really simplified our lives.  What a world we live in.  The technology is amazing.  Thank God for Craigs List.

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Glitter Gulch

The Golden Nugget Las Vegas

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Growing up in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1953 was pretty much the same as growing up in any other town of that size.  When people used to ask me where I lived, I’d say Las Vegas and their eyes would bug out.  They thought that Vegas was a town full of casinos, slot machines, big shows like the Folies and nothing else.  They had no idea that my home town was filled with houses, schools, churches, grocery stores and 7- Elevens..  I never explained this to them, but let them bask in the mystery of such a place.  There are casinos and shows, but Vegas is more than that.

My family moved to Las Vegas when I was 2.  My parents had a house in San Diego, by the beach, and they kept it when they moved to Las Vegas.  My Father moved us to Vegas because he had arthritis and the drier climate helped his joints.  We first moved into a trailer out in the middle of the desert.  Somebody loaned us a lot to put the trailer on.  There was also a building on the lot.

I don’t remember much about that time because I was so young, but one day, I went to the side of the building where there was a spigot and I put my mouth to the spigot to get a drink of water.  Little did I know that there was a wasp up inside the spigot getting a drink of water too.  The next thing I knew, the roof of my mouth was shooting pain.  I started screaming because it hurt so badly.  My Mother immediately came out and got me and brought me inside the trailer.  Once inside, I remember her taking her nail and scratching the roof of my mouth.  She was getting the stinger out.  She managed to get the stinger out but there was nothing else that she could do.  This is my first memory.

I’ve heard it said that your first memory sets the tone for your life.  If it is a happy memory, you tend to be a happier person than someone who has awful first memories.  I’m on the serious side, but I’m not morose.  I’m not sure how my first memory affected the rest of my life, but I’m happy, I’ve been married for 40 years, I have two wonderful sons and a beautiful grandson.  My life could not be sweeter.

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