Category Archives: Family

Just Ducky!

We needed to give away a few of our ducks, having the male/female ratio disproportionate in the wrong direction. I had made mention to Deirdre that we weren’t going to catch them right away in the morning (meeting up with the recipient at 2:30pm), but that when we were going to, we would herd them all inside the coop and close the doors. This would make it much easier to choose the right ones to get rid of, because, of course, it was very important to Deirdre that we keep the “right” drakes.

Deirdre came in beaming a bit bashfully (yes, that is physically possible; but I didn’t have a camera to capture the moment for you).

“Well, I have good news and bad news!” she proclaimed.

“Okay,” I said. “What’s the good news and bad news?”

“Well, first I’ll tell you the good news. The good news is that now I definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY know for sure which male harlequin to keep!” Thus she declares like Christmas has come.

“And what’s the bad news?”

“Oh. . .well, . . .I forgot to make sure the gate was closed, so all the ducks went to the creek.”

Head bonk. Head bonk. Head bonk.

So, after preparing our box for transportation, I explain to Deidre we will have to herd the ducks from the creek to the coop, so we properly capture our prey. Deirdre insists we can catch them at the creek.

“How on earth do you think we can do that with out getting soaked to our underdandies?”

“BOOTS! We’ll wear boots!”

“How is that going to keep our underdandies dry? In case you didn’t notice the creek is deeper than our boots, and guess what? The ducks, when they’re in the water? Splash a lot. And when they’re chased? They splash more!”

Nonetheless, she was insistent we could catch them at the creek.

“Fine,” I finally said. “We’ll go down to the creek. YOU can try to catch them–not me!–and when it doesn’t work, then we’ll herd them back up to the coop.”

“It will too work! BOOTS!”

(No, this is not a three year old. I don’t blame you for being confused.)

So we trundle outside, heading toward the creek.

Quank. Quank. Qu-quank.

Sharp left turn executed. All the ducks are no longer at the creek. Closer inspection required.

Ducks, being the brilliant creatures that they are, don’t quite get the concept of fences. Pekin (who may be soon named Mary Lou), the two Rouen drakes, and Gertrude are all inside the fence, just by the coop. All four Harlequins are outside the fence, just by the coop.

Bam. Closed the far side of the coop. Ushered in the Harlequins. Bam. Closed the near side of the coop. Catch one, catch two, and the box is taped shut. Isabelle and her “boyfriend” (as Deirdre refers to him; he may soon be dubbed Joseph) are let out of the coop.

That’s the neatest, cleanest, quietest, calmest duck catching I’ve ever done in my life, oops-I-left-the-gate-open notwithstanding.


beaten around the bush


I got out of the car

was wrapped in a jump rope

and dragged into the darkness

I was

dragged around the table

many times

as fast as possible

I don’t know why

but it made other people happy

I was picked

up and dropped

once or twice

the strangest thing


none of it was strange

Girl Drama

So last night Evan finally became cognizant of the fact that I am in the process of writing a story, and he can’t see it. It is, I informed him, a girl story, and it would ruin my fun in writing to have a bunch of boys criticizing it as I wrote it. It amuses me to write it, so I am; I don’t guess that it would amuse them, so I’m not sharing it with them at the moment.

Needless to say, the only thing Evan heard was “girl story” and he proceeded to get all worked up that I was writing a romance, which (spoiler alert) it is not! And, equally needless to say, I did a poor job of attempting to defend myself, including saying such things as “if it was a boy story there would be more violence, and since it’s a girl story, it’s more touchy-feely.” By which I MEANT it was centered more around emotions than actions, but of course, saying something is touchy-feely is a horrible way to defend yourself from accusations you’re writing a romance.

Justin, at least, understood, very sagely explaining that it was a girl drama, and that you can write ANYTHING to be a girl drama; it just depends on how you write it.

“Even a StarCraft documentary?” Evan squawked.

Oh, yes, definitely, Justin assured him.

This required great thought. Finally he came up with:

“Even if it’s a silent film on human cannibalism??”

“Yes, even that,” says Justin.

“Really?” says I, having difficulty imagining it.

“Of course; all the old movies were silent. You just have to greatly exaggerate the emotions.”

Evan and just looked at each other. I think we both learned something last night. I learned you can make a girl drama out of a story based on human cannibalism. Evan learned I was writing a romance.


(It really isn’t a romance!)

I’m me; who are you?

On Friday I went to visit my Grandma and brother. I knew she hadn’t been doing too well, so I wasn’t surprised as she kept giving us updates on how she was now not feeling well. And I wasn’t too surprised when she over-dosed herself with her nitro and dropped her blood pressure by a hundred points; you’d think I would be, but the last time she had just come back from the hospital and I was visiting, she’d done the exact same thing. It’s like we’re starting our own bazaar little tradition. Go to the hospital. Come back. I visit. Take to much nitro. A perfect repeat from earlier in the year.

But this time, having her sit down and taking her through the next 15 minutes while her blood pressure came back up didn’t work. This time, an ambulance was called.

More ambulances than I can count have been called for Grandma, so this shouldn’t have been a surprise, either. But I’ve never been there while the ambulance was called before. I’ve never called 911, and now things began to fade into the surreal as I listened to my brother matter-of-factly talking to the dispatcher. Is this how you call 911? Somehow I always equate “911” with “barely holding down a panic,”–but then, my grandma seemed to have that base covered.

Kind of.

She was alternately sobbing from fear, and directing me to get her PJs to take with her. The pink ones. They were clean.

The surreal feeling intensified. Is this how one prepares to die of a heart attack? Making sure they have clean PJs with them?

I continued to (futilely) attempt to calm her down. Being upset does nothing to help lower your blood pressure nor provide your heart with enough oxygen. The sirens started to come into hearing range.

“I can hear them coming!” Grandma said, and broke down anew. All I could think of were the valkyries riding in, and it did nothing to take away from the surreality.

“They’re coming to help you, Grandma, not–” I blurted out, and then stopped a second short. Saying “kill you” didn’t seem like a good idea.

The EMT people arrived. They looked strangely familiar, but I couldn’t place any of them. My brother could; the head of the team had been Grandma’s nurse at the Emergency Room—oh, I don’t know, a day or so ago. Yes, we are frequent fliers, why do you ask? Awkward!

They started hooking her up to the portable EKG, and then they did something else. They put her on oxygen. It was the weirdest thing; as soon as the oxygen was put on her, Grandma was gone to me–there was only A Patient. The Patient did not have an abnormal EKG (for her, anyway), but the Patient was still to be taken to the hospital. The Patient was transferred from her chair to the EMT wheelchair; once they had the Patient downstairs, they transferred her again, this time to the stretcher. They took the Patient to the ambulance to get an IV started.

When we got to the hospital, the Patient was being examined. The Patient’s EKG had changed on the ride in; it was likely the Patient was having a heart attack. The doctor informed me that the heart specialist would down, and that cath lab notified that they needed to see the Patient.

Maybe it is because I have so rarely been inside a hospital to actually use it; instead, the majority of my hospital time has been sent working in it. Maybe I am too used to making hospitals happen.

Because when the lady came to draw vial after vial of blood, I started helping her as though I were her aide. And when we got the Patient transferred up to the Chest Pain Center, I was so prepared to do what I always do with patients–reposition them in the bed–that the nurse had to gently chide me, teasing me that she couldn’t let me do that since she wasn’t prepared to put me on the payroll. But this is what you do in hospitals; this is what you do with patients. There is a Patient in the bed, and I don’t know what else to do about it.

I went up again on Sunday, and the Patient was slouched so uncomfortably in bed. I couldn’t sit down till I got that fixed. She is crying, complaining of chest pain, certain she will soon die–and I hear myself saying, “Grandma, you’ll feel a lot better once we get in a more comfortable position.”

Yes. Right. I am a staunch believer in Rehab, but even I don’t believe we’re going to cure angina by repositioning the Patient in bed. But what else are you going to do?

I wasn’t all wrong; after getting her repositioned (I was a good girl and asked the staff to do it) and spending 15 minutes helping to convince her to take her meds. . .she did start feeling better. We left her in much better shape than we found her, but I. . .I could not shake the peculiarity of being so distanced from the decline of my grandmother.

It is true that I was always closer to my Grandpa than my Grandma, if nothing else by virtue of our personalities being more similar. And it is true that even with Grandpa, I didn’t always feel the weight of the situation. But I never lost Grandpa. . .Grandpa was Grandpa was Grandpa, right up to the last time conversation I had with him (we were discussing the likelihood of mine ever taking to coffee–slim to none), right up to the last time I saw him. But Grandma is somehow becoming a Patient. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Grandma is existing in a medical setting, whereas Grandpa spent his days at home. This isn’t a complaint; I think Grandma needs to be where she’s at.

But it feels so odd, like talking matter-of-factly on the phone with 911. Matter-of-factly discussing how the doctors tell us now how she is likely to die of a heart aneurysm, her heart literally breaking–rupturing–within her chest. Matter-of-factly considering how her heart is literally failing in every conceivable way, and some was I hadn’t even conceived of. Sitting here thinking about these things like I’m reading them off of A Patient’s chart.

I know it’s my grandmother. I know it is. But I keep seeing A Patient.

Mon brother, Mr. Goat, is starting a blog

Help him along. . .he is looking for a blog name!

He is whining that we are forcing him start a blog when he didn’t want to start one (too much). Yes, he said the too much. That’s why we’re making him. Feel free to join in!!

(He is forever striving to achieve the green burp he once saw a goat do.)

Younger brothers’ opinions to the contrary, “goniometry” is not even a remotely scandalous word. And “humeral” is too a word. And IP is not a statement on one’s urinary habits, but rather an abbreviation for “inter-phalangeal”.

We shoveled snow this morning and it was nice. It was just the right temperature, the birds were singing, the snow wasn’t too heavy.

Then I took a nap for the rest of the morning, and that was even nicer.

Then I studied bio all afternoon, and it made my eyes cross.

I had been hoping to get all my studying done before the weekend, but I do still have some stuff I should probably do tomorrow. . .but at least I think I’m ready for my bio exam now.

Listening to brothers’ commentaries on only family photos may be dangerous to your health. Only brothers would say of a younger sibling “Man, he looks so fat, we should have put him through a meat-grinder and made him into a sausage!!” or “He was always so wet, he was like a frog.” or “Look it him! He doesn’t know where his brain is, and he doesn’t think it’s a problem!!”

This is what snow days look like around here. Pretty much like normal days, but with even more crazy people running around.

You never know what you will find on the dining room table.



What is it?


Is it, like, some scene from The Lion King?


Wait. I don’t think there were dinosaurs in The Lion King.


Maybe it’s a Noah’s Ark re-enactment. . .


You know, gathering all the animals.


We’ve got the horses, and the cows, and the goats, and the pigs. . .

two by two

. . . and the, ah,. . .hmm. Well, they’re coming two-by-two, anyway.


I’d like to call these guys cute, but they look like the sorts of animals to take offense at that. They seem to think they’re big stuff.


And that’s the problem, really. If I wasn’t such a girl, I would have realized straight off.


It’s a massive army assembled to destroy the enemy base in the other room! Duh!


They tell me it’s been strategically arranged. Not quite so sure about the strategy of putting a very hungry looking dinosaur behind a bunch of fat little porkers.


Then again, maybe that’s why the piggies are strategically circling the wagons, so to speak.


I guess these are the, um, “irregulars” being held in reserve back here. . .


It’s not clear to me what the strategic purpose is of sending the sea creatures on ahead of the zebra, triceratops and horses. Better minds than mine have figured this out, I’m sure.


Note the regiment of chickens there in the upper left. . .that arrangement, at least, is logic my mind can grasp. It’s pretty hard to get chickens to lead the army out.


But I really, really, really think that whole dinosaur/pig thing is not going to end pretty.


This concludes our review of the troops. We hope you’ve been duly impressed!

Wish you were here, vol. 1

let them eat cake 2

Let them eat cake.

The Good Old Days are Sepia Toned. Everyone Knows That.

The Good Old Days are sepia toned. Everyone knows that.

My sister took this pictures, and I futzed with them in Picnik. Due to poor lighting (darn fluorescents!!) and the fact that everyone was moving (I could have titled either of them “Duck! The barbarians are coming!” or “Like vultures over road-kill. . .”) the pictures themselves weren’t so great. . .but I loved them anyway, for the feelings the captured, and that’s what I tried to bring out. (My youngest sister either knows the camera is there, or always acts like there is a camera. Not sure which.)

And I know this will make some of you cringe, but I like seeing them bigger, even though my side bar does run over them like credits at the end (or before) a movie:

let them eat cake 2

The Good Old Days are Sepia Toned. Everyone Knows That.


Grief is different than I expected. I am not quite sure what I expected, but it is different. I guess I expected it to be more acute, with more uncontrollable sobbing in the beginning and then, like an earthquake with it’s after-shocks, ever lessening. I did not expect that I would sit through my classes more or less numb the week that Grandpa died. I did not expect that now, almost 6 months later, I would find myself on the verge of breaking down completely in the middle of class, seriously contemplating walking out of the class.

I guess I cannot actually say I feel worse now than I did then. . .just different. I can’t even tell you why I cry; I have no discernible statement behind it. I just do. I could make excuses—well, it was at this point last semester that he died, and besides we were in the processes of learning what left hemisphere brain damage was, and it was basically a long list that accurately described many of his symptoms—but the fact is, I plain old don’t like to cry, and try rather hard not to.

I expected that I would cry more, especially in the beginning. I expected, too, that crying would make me feel worse. I didn’t expect it to be so hard to talk about. And I didn’t expect that both crying about it and talking about it would actually make me feel better. I didn’t expect that crying would be part of the healing process, not part of the hurting process.

I expected that I would want to write about it; that writing about it would be part of the way I processed it. That I would be writing reams and reams of Grandpa posts until everyone was so thoroughly sick of it they wouldn’t be bothered to read them. I was wrong. I don’t even want to think about it, never mind write about it.

I thought I was going to write more about it tonight, but I was wrong about that, too.

Oh, sweet home of love and peace
Where pilgrims tired and troubled rest
Into the hope of Zion lean
Where in Jesus’ arms we will fall at last

Oh, lift up your head
For the day is near
And we have no abiding city here. . .

A city filled with hope and light
God the builder and the architect
When our faith is turned to sight
Oh, I cannot imagine it

Oh, lift up your head
For the day is near
And we have no abiding city here. . .

Sandra McCracken, No Abiding City

I. Am. So. Sore.

I felt like I was kind of starting to figure out how to skate yesterday, as opposed to simply staying up-right and moving on my skates. But today, I am soooooo sore. I seemed to be getting more sore as the day went on. Which meant that I really benefited from today’s class where we had to do leg and arm massage. . .only, my “PTA” only did one calf. . .and just about every muscle in my body could have used a good going over.

Tomorrow is our first practical exam in our Intro to Rehab class, but the first half of the class has already passed with flying colors. If they can do it, I’m sure we can do it. Tomorrow we also get our “clinical choice” forms, which, as I understand it, means we get to see the list of what places are willing to take on students. We’ve all been dying to see it.

I feel like I’m on the cusp of “getting” this semester, figuring out a new rhythm and routine. I just can’t help but be impatient for me to actually get there, but it really can’t happen until after the first round of exams is over. But at least I have gotten far enough into it that I’m past the “I am so dreading this semester” feeling, and have kicked back into “schoolwork” gear.

I was thoroughly chastised, when I came home today, for how horribly I had been distracting my brothers. (Yes, it was said brothers who were chastising me. Apparently, it got so bad, he almost wrote me an email-cum-text to my cell phone to tell me how badly I was distracting him. I was saved by this onslaught of false accusation only because he didn’t know my cell phone number.)

Younger Brothers

So J. and E. have commandeered my sewing room as their study room while I was going to school. This is fine, swell and dandy. However, it has been conclusively decided that I am a great distraction to them. Sitting quietly in the room reading is a distraction. Opening the door is a distraction. Walking in the hall is a distraction. In fact, the other day, I was sitting DOWNSTAIRS, in the Den, and I could hear them getting quite distracted indeed, followed by a bellowed “TT!! Stop DISTRACTING us!!!” Apparently, my mere presence in the house is enough to make all concentration breakdown. As they tell the story.

O. and I never seem to call each other by our real names. I think he started it, and I followed suit. At any rate, it’s gotten to the point that neither one of us blinked an eye when he walked in, patted me on the head, and said “Hello, cow.” To which I responded, “Hello, toad.” It occurs to me that most people would probably not think this is normal.

They probably would also not think it is normal the way he comes up and pokes me in the arm, saying “test, test.” I finally asked him what on earth he thought he was testing, and he responded, “Your blood pressure. If it’s low, you ignore me. If it’s high, you whack me.” Yea, verily. As scientific as they come.

Collectively, I call them all “George”. They all answer to it; it’s simpler. Collectively, they all call me a rule breaker, a bad influence, rude, and anything else that might get me indignant.

I have informed them that tomorrow I’m going to be doing haircuts, and I’m going to cut all their ears off. C.B. is looking forward to it; he suggests frying the ears and eating them with ice cream.

“C.B.! That’s disgusting!”

He was pleased.