Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Demise of Mr. Pig

After spending a good part of the evening trying to figure out how to open up and operate the car unsuccessfully...

...my little visitors took out their frustrations on a large, painted ceramic pig who used to sit on my porch. How they picked him up and broke him still leaves me curious and a little frightened all at the same time.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Just a stop on their world tour

Judging by all the flora and fauna around my house, you would think I live way out in the country instead a long, leisurely walk from downtown Austin. I've got tons of birds, squirrels, possums and the inevitable raccoon. All that's missing is a deer or two, which are probably roaming somewhere in this neighborhood.


Once a year, in late spring or early summer I become part of the raccoon tour. I'm not sure how I got on the list, but it seems like the critters have their own version of "map of the stars" and my front porch is a highlight. As part of this tour, a group of baby raccoons learn to forage, scavenge and generally root around my front porch and flower beds. They climb up on the chairs, knock over flower pots, and try to open the windows and front door. The tour only lasts a week, two at most and then they're off to another location.

It is a simultaneously cute and annoying habit and my urge to go scoop them up to cuddle is always quickly overcome by the knowledge of their growls, hisses and sharp claws! So, I sometimes just chat with them (or to them...), or watch and simply enjoy the brief glimpse into their new lives.

Now that the little guys have moved on, I don't hear any strange scratching noises at the door, or thumps in the late evening. Which sounds like a good thing, expect when I do hear noises it means some other part of the wild kingdom has come calling and in most cases nothing as cute as these guys.



Thursday, June 11, 2009

Be the Match

On one of the blogs I started reading:"My very worst date" (yes it has some really funny stories); they printed a story of a couple that has been struggling with the husband's leukemia. The short story mentions he is in desperate need of a bone marrow or stem cell transplant to save his life. It also mentions that from now to June 22, you can join the bone marrow registry for free (there is normally a charge). Their hope is to find 46,000 new donors and maybe one of them can help the husband in this story. It really is a numbers game, the more people, the more possibilities, the greater the likelihood of a match.

Now, I'm registered to donate my organs and my tissue if something were to ever happen to me. It took me years to register for both of these things, not because I wasn't willing but rather because I just didn't take the time. And, I try to donate blood regularly, although I do have a tendency to pass out during the process (it's quite entertaining for everyone involved). I do these things because I know that not everyone will for personal, medical or religious reasons. I'm healthy and happy and very fortunate for the life I have so it makes sense to try and help someone else in need.

I've toyed with registering to donate bone marrow for many years, but for some reason this process scares me more than the other ones. I know...donating organs seems a little rough, but if that happens it won't matter to me because I'll be dead, right? Marrow on the other hand, would not only require more of my time, but also would include some discomfort, pain and potentially a stay in the hospital. And, they would take the marrow out of my hips...which would make for an interesting transplant. I mean, would the recipient feel a need to shimmy after they recovered? And, truth be told although I can tolerate pain fairly well, I'm such a ninny about it.

So, I read the frequently asked questions and other information on the site. In all honesty this did nothing to ease my fears,and maybe increased them. You may or may not get called, you may or may not be tested multiple times, you may have minor complications or major ones, you may never know who the patient is...the list goes on and on. Very factual, very real and not very cheery.

But despite my misgivings, I signed up to get a testing kit which they send to your house (which contains swab for your mouth...not drawing blood at home). If I was ever called, I know I would not feel excited but rather terrified. So why do it, why put myself through the anxiety? It's simple, how could I continue to read stories about people who need a bone marrow transplant and sit idly by...knowing full well I could handle the pain, discomfort and fear? Those of us who are strong and healthy can take the minor bumps in the road. And I can overcome my fears and hope that my actions will help someone else!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

In the palm of my hand

I'm not much for fortune telling, tarot card readings and the like. Although these are fun to do, my practical side always steps in to provide a healthy dose of skepticism. This last weekend at a dance workshop, I won a free palm reading. The last time my palm was read the fortune teller predicted I would find true love with my 7th boyfriend. Since I couldn't decide on the technical definition of 'boyfriend' I didn't want to put much stock in her prediction. I mean, what if #8 was actually #7, or if I was completely off in counting and #7 was that cute guy with the curly hair in elementary school that I kicked in the shin but can't remember his name? It was way too confusing and ambiguous for my liking.

Well, this gentlemen was different. After a rather long history of palmistry; explaining that he doesn't tell fortunes and just reads the physical characteristics of your hand, we finally commenced with the reading. There were several items that did seem to ring true. He said that I was a natural born leader but had a strong artistic streak; I was fairly inflexible (let's just call it stubborn) when I've made up my mind; I'm very concerned about keeping things "fair and square"; and I've had a very healthy life with few injuries and illnesses along the way. He noted that I've had two different paths in my career (which is so true) that have now converged (again true); and that I have recently been working to put my tendencies to lead aside and let my creative, artistic side flourish more...which is also true. He also said I'm very people oriented and get my energy from spending time with others (soooo true).

Some of these things may be good guesses, or generalities, but I thought it was pretty much on the mark. At one point however, he was looking at my life line and said there was something interesting about it, unusual in fact. Apparently I have a second life line running parallel to the first. It starts faintly in the middle and runs through to the end. He said, you may often see it at the beginning of a life line (which represents childhood), but not too frequently in adulthood. My second line seems to start smack dab in the middle.

I thought of my recent interest in martial arts, which works on cultivating your 'chi' or life force energy through your practice. Eastern philosophy says we are all born with a finite amount of chi, and when that tank is empty we die. To prolong life and fight off illness, you build up a reserve of chi, something akin to a second gas tank so you don't quickly deplete the first one. Hearing his comments, I immediately thought this may be evidence of my practice. That is until he explained the name given to this second line.

Today it is called the Mars line, but in the 1800's it had a different name and meaning. It could be considered your guardian angel. Suddenly, I couldn't help but think of my Mother who died nine years ago. It's often hard to believe I have so many more years of my life without her, and wonder if she's keeping track of me and my family. So, despite my skepticism on these arts I'll take his comments to heart. Because, what better place to have proof that my Mother follows me throughout this lifetime than in the palm of my hand.