Within The Hues or Sampling Nature

My four-footed companion and I were sitting outside watching a rather rotund mag-pie cavorting in the sunshine.  I was watching the light play upon the bird’s feather as it went about whatever business it was doing and my companion was debating if she should join in with whatever it was the bird was doing.

Actually she was probably trying to work out a way to get out of my grasp and chase the bird away so she could have a look at whatever the bird was pecking at. Prior to our encounter with the bird, my companion had managed to consume a few ants, tasted a beetle (that got spat out after a quick roll around her mouth) and sampled some of the leaves off the ground.  From her perspective I’m pretty sure she considers our outings to really be all you can sample buffets.  From my perspective, well let’s just say I keep hoping she will grow out of this phase if I expose to to nature enough.  I may have to admit defeat.

The thing about the mag-pie is that from a distance the bird is two colors, black and white.  Very straightforward and simple in color scheme, yet in the sunlight the black has hues of blues and green which serve as an excellent reminder that nothing is as simple as it appears; life is never as black and white as people want, rather we live within the hues of nature.

Perfume And The Indoor Whirlwind or Flowers And Puppy

The lovely, heavy perfume of flowers has come to fill the house again.  The four-footed one has decided the best way to enjoy al the different flowers and their perfume is to run around the house, from room to room.  This way she can enjoy all the smells in short bursts.  Of course she has excessive energy to burn off and lives within each moment and only that moment when it is current.

These flowers are part of a group which survived her “hatching” techniques a short time ago.  And by “hatching” I mean when they were just tender green splashes poking out of the ground she felt the urge to rest upon them.  They seemed to have survived her techniques as well as her attempts at imitating bumblebees.

The sheer number of flowers making an appearance this year has resulted in early cutting and filling of vases in the house.  Which has resulted in the mad dashing about from room to room to enjoy the scent.  It is as if I have a wee whirlwind in the house helping to waft the perfume in her wake.  😊  It’s safer then allowing her to run from flower to flower outside, and a little cleaner as well.  It keeps out of the mud and stops her from trampling over the helpless flowers!

Privacy, Protection Or Something

Would you share your internet browsing habits with a group of strangers? Does it matter if people have access to how you spend your time online? I guess it depends on how you view things. People will cite the protection of the collective or the greater good must take precedence over the individual’s right to privacy, such as the case with child exploitation and such. Does that change when you discover that it’s any third party that wants your data and your internet provide decides to share that with them?

For the record my internet browsing habits are pretty boring and certainly nothing that I feel the need to keep private due to feelings of shame or embarrassment. At the same time what I do within the confines of the privacy afforded to me in my house is also sacred to me. It is the last haven for my privacy. And according to the government I could lose that too because there is a need for the greater good to have access to what I view online. Really I suspect it’s more about targeted advertising. And I’m sure that at some level, someone will tell me I just don’t realize how important this is to me; to have advertising customized or targeted towards my habits is flattering.

Except having advertising and such targeted towards me, which let’s face it already happens to some degree online, is not flattery, it’s just down right creepy. Of course I’m of a certain age, an age where not everything I do is immediately updated on social media so it may just be an age thing. Of course I’m also of the age that if houses in my neighborhood are being robbed, I’m calling the authorities first; I hear that these days the appropriate response is to send a tweet or update your Facebook page first. It seems like a natural response to anyone who spends the bulk of their time on social media, especially now that social media allows for authorities to act upon those posts or tweets.

For the record, I’m also of a certain age, or maybe it’s just a point in my life, where I want to eat my food while it’s fresh and hot; not after I’ve taken a million pictures and posted the best of those online.

So maybe it’s just people of a certain age, or a certain place in their lives that resent having more of their privacy stripped away. In the name of safety, the greater good, customized advertising or whatever else it will be called. And yes, I reckon that because I’ve posted this, I will be considered cranky and old by some for surely only those of us at this age or place in life would dare complain about such things

Of Awkward Moments And Childlessness

A strange thing happens when people encounter a female who happens to be childless. The strange thing is a period of awkward questioning that for some reason people feel entitled to ask the childless female. I am guaranteed to have these odd exchanges at least a few times each year.

I’m not sure why the general public, strangers to be honest, feel it is their right to ask me about why I do not have children. Some feel embolden to remind me that it is my duty to supply offspring for my family. My lack of getting onto this particular project is no doubt a failure on my part and thus must mean I am somehow less of a female than my counterparts who have children.

Just the other day while out with a friend, a woman asked if she could borrow a chair from our table as her table seemed to be missing one. As we did not require the chair, we agreed that she could take it and thought that would be the end of our interaction. However this woman, who was waiting for people to join her, decided to make small talk about her children. When my friend agreed and said she knew what that was like, it led to that awkward pause where the woman than pointedly asked me if I had any children. I told her I did not and she proceeded to ask me “why not? Why not have children for your spouse and family?”

For the record I do not have a husband, not in the legal signed off a piece of paper sense. Not because Beloved and I have some type of “immoral” relationship, but because neither of us feels compelled to prove the validity of our relationship by a license. I have a license to drive my car, another which says I can legally own my four-footed wonder. I have no need for a license to say I can live and love Beloved. (I’m not big into being told that I need to have these pieces of paper and if I could have my four-footed companion without needing the paper, I would, but alas there are laws.)

Okay so now that we have cleared that up, I also was not aware that I was supposed to provide a child for anyone. I wasn’t aware it was some sort of duty as a female. So I looked at this stranger with the battle light in my eyes and I guess she didn’t like what she saw there as she backed off saying she was “sorry for being nosey” and that “it wasn’t any of (her) business”. I suspect she was just aiming for small talk, and for people of a certain generation I suspect that children tend to be a safe topic.

For the record I do not, nor will I ever, have any children for a variety of reasons which includes my health, the potential issues of passing my condition onto my children and finally because I enjoy the freedom I have in my life. I am sure that having children is rewarding and very fulfilling, but it does not make a woman any more of a woman. It is not the stamp of approval that says “you’ve finally made it as a female”, although at times society does make it seem that way.

I’m wondering if I should just buy a shirt with something like “to quell your curiosity, I do not have children, it does not make me any less of a woman thanks all the same.” Or maybe it’s about time the society understands that there are a myriad of reasons why people are childless; for some people it’s a heartbreaking reality that they should not have to discuss with strangers, for others it’s a choice that should not have to be justified to strangers. Hopefully some people will read this, remember it and maybe help those of us without children avoid all those awkward moments going forward.

Spring Training Of Sorts

The four-footed one has discovered the joys of spring, since we are just now coming upon her first birthday it occurred to me that she hasn’t experienced this before. Those small signs, when the bugs aren’t too large, but there seems to be a sudden infestation every few feet. The bees just starting to find swarm for a new place to set up a hive, which means swarms of lovely noisy things that surely must be bitten, at least I suspect that’s how she sees things.

Mud is an old friend, a dear one that she is very intimately reacquainting herself with, by rolling in the thick, sticky variety. And in the mud are all those tender green plants which must be sat on or chewed upon or at the very least tugged out of the earth. (There is a part of me that wonders how nature copes with the curiosity of the young chewing, rolling and basically destroying so much new growth that surely everything decides why bother, but of course it does bother so we still have green and flowers and such.)

Probably the most exciting, or frightening discovery she has made is bunnies. Baby bunnies left alone while their mother goes off in search of whatever it is that mommy bunnies go in search of. Sadly the four-footed one wanted to play with the couple of babies she stumbled across while looking for some nice sticky mud to roll in. Sadly because play for the four-footed one is not always gentle and the best way to get someone to play is to pounce on them. So you can gently nibble on anything that happens to not be tucked away safely. (To date the only animal/person which has walked away from play attempt completely unmouthed was an unsuspecting tortoise.)

Now for the record the mud frustrates me simply because it means bath-time which means really why not wash out the whole house since that’s what needs to happen during bath-time anyway. But what made the discovery of spring less exciting was realizing that for the first time the four-footed one would be in a position where she could actually harm innocent bunnies if left to her own devices. (Again how can nature let something like that happen to such cute little critters?) So we must learn to look with our eyes only, which really means it’s training time and training time means I’m the one back in training. Springs training this go around.

When Wishes Worked…How I Wish Things Worked With Lupus

Remember when you could make a wish and somehow it happened to come true? I distinctly recall standing before a fountain with a shiny coin in my hand, the warm sunshine making the water sparkle as I thought about a wish I was going to make. The mere act of throwing the coin into the fountain was the same as a handshake to seal a deal. The fountain got the coin and somehow I’d get my wish. Of course at that age I was young enough to be wishing for cake for a snack or a trip to the zoo or something of that nature. Stuff my parents could handle.

When I was around 15 I made a different wish, much darker and thus no fountain or shiny coin was required. Just a soft whispered wish in the darkness of night with no actual expectation of the magic to work this time, rather a desperate hope that somehow what I wished for would just sort of happen. That wish, so much heavier, was not one my parents would have approved of or even wanted to hear. It was for me and me alone. And it didn’t’ happen because when you wish to make the pain stop in any way possible it lacks action. I remember during this trying time of odd aches and pains and doctors advising my parents that there really wasn’t anything wrong me that then surely there was no use in me saying anything. But did that mean that I was meant to suffer in silence; lost in some strange place of desperation to be believed, to be relived of the pain?

I also recall that somewhere along the journey that is life I asked for odd things for gifts, be it my birthday or Christmas. One year I asked for new knees. Another I asked for new hips. And then there was the period of time I asked to just not be in pain any more. Those gifts never happened. They were beyond the magic of a shiny coin, beyond the whispered desperate hopes that arise to your lips during the dark nights.

Wouldn’t it be nice to just toss a shiny coin back in a fountain and know that somehow, some way, your wish would come true, not matter how small (a slice of cake for example) or large (for lupus to cease to exist) the wish was? If only that option existed, I can think of a few things I’d wish into oblivion and a few more I’d wish to be more of a daily reality. But that place, that special magic, doesn’t exist just yet, so I guess I will just continue to work with my doctors and try to keep lupus mostly in check. Because Beloved doesn’t want to have to don a tutu and try-out for the wish fairy role, even if only to make me laugh.

Being Good Isn’t Always Good For You or How I Became The Not So Good Patient

Any good student will tell you the surest way to higher marks is to always produce that which your teacher believes/wants rather than what you think or want to explore. If the teacher believes that Shakespeare is the answer to world peace, all good students know that they must incorporate this into their work to show they understand the lesson. And it works too, until the day it doesn’t because you have suddenly encountered a teacher who isn’t interested in what you think s/he wants to hear, but rather is truly interested in what you have to say and think.

And any good patient will tell you the surest way to keep your doctors doing everything they can for you, working to help you get better or into a more manageable state, is to follow their directions and instructions right down to the last little letter. And it will work too, until the day that all of that direction following no longer produces results that were expected. Because then, my dear fellow patient, sure you must have misunderstood something or perhaps not told your doctor everything.

The problem with being a good patient (or a good student for that matter) is that you lose your own perspective on things. As a patient you stop listening so closely to your body, you start to doubt if you are doing things right. As a student you stop thinking for yourself, you cheat yourself out of the risk and reward of putting yourself out there. But you want to be a good patient, or a good student, so you diligently do as you are told and hope to produce the expected results.

I tell you this as a former good patient, and yes as a former good student who could spin what a professor said into my own words but really was still just a take on the professor’s theory. I stopped being a good student when I realized there was something delicious and refreshing in testing out my own ideas and letting them stand where they may. Sure my marks may have suffered a little from time to time, but the lessons learned in the papers written was worth far more than a two percent difference. (Most professors, I learned, really are interested in your thoughts and ideas and are open to things as long as you provide the proper proof or support.)

Ceasing to be the good patient is a little harder because the risks are greater, but the day that a doctor looked me straight in the eye and told me that I was to blame because the treatment he prescribed was the same one he gave to similar patients and they had all reported improvement was the day I stood on my own two, swollen feet and challenged him. I doubted that the patients all got relief; I suspected that they were afraid of making waves and so went along all the while silently wondering what was wrong. Of course that was also the day I hobbled out of his office for the last time on swollen feet because after all he had the medical degree and so he surely knew better.

Being the not good patient is just another way of saying I advocate for myself. I educated myself about lupus, treatments and options and I am active in my medical interactions. If I don’t agree with someone who had a medical degree I don’t bite my tongue. That degree doesn’t mean that the doctor knows my body the way I do. If I think we should be doing something different, I don’t sit silently and hope things will turn around, I share what I’m thinking and what I’ve read. After all a medical degree does not instantly give someone access to all the latest research and results, not if the person has a full-time practice as well.

To be honest, stopping the whole good patient (and good student) routine has been liberating. It’s a way for my voice to be heard, my input considered and to move from being a passive member of the medical equation into a necessary and equal component of the big picture. The key is to be respectful and open, just like any other relationship.