the portable baby
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The Night is Fine...
Are you making fun of me? - The Prequel
More chicken trauma...the saga continues
The littlest vurp
Julian and Anika at the Rodin Sculpture Garden, Stanford
Adrian's ultrasound photo shoot
Quiche for everyone!
Are you making fun of me?
Hateful Things by Sei Shonagon
Fixed email notification feature
Partying with Yulian
Sweet news for a happily married 36yo mom with 2 kids 3 years apart
Foul little fowl butt
What's new? I'll tell ya....
« August 2006 |
| October 2006 »
I forgot to write about this when it happened. It's basically the prequel to this other story about confrontations over bumper stickers.
Dan and Julian and I were driving in my car (a Hybrid Honda Civic), which has the following bumper stickers on the back:
"My Hybrid can beat up your Hummer - Pollution is out of fashion"
"Stop cutting down trees on my property - God"
"My car gets 40+ mpg. So who's the Patriot?"
So we're driving down Mathilda Ave. in Sunnyvale, on our way to go eat some Indonesian food, and all of a sudden this big super-nerdy schlubby guy in Coke-bottle glasses sidles up next to me in an older model beat-up VW Vanagon. He honks his horn to get my attention, maintains speed alongside me just long enough to FLIP ME THE BIRD while shooting me a dirty crazed look, and then takes off.
I couldn't help bursting out laughing. I looked at Dan and asked him, "What was THAT all about?" I figured it had to be the bumper stickers. SuperDork loves to pollute? Or chop down trees? I don't know, something pissed him off.
Here's the best part. The light ahead turns red, and SuperDork stops. There's no car in front of me, so guess who pulls up right next to him? That's right, little old me. He's TRAPPED.
I'm trying to get his attention, but of course he won't look at me. It's the worst nightmare of the bird-flipper to get stuck at a stoplight next to the flippee, isn't it?
Dan reaches over and honks the horn, which isn't impressive, because there's something wrong with my horn that makes it sound like someone just stepped on a dead duck. I really need to get that fixed. SuperDork doesn't look over.
So I reach into my glove box, pull out a dime, and throw it at his window. it makes a nice loud "TING!" and SuperDork looks over, panicked. I shrug my shoulders and give him the classic "What's up?" gesture, while shooting him a nice big smile, just to let him know how ridiculous I find it to be flipped off by some SuperDork in a Vanagon who objects that strongly to my *bumper stickers*, for crying out loud.
I can practically see the sweat dripping down his temple as he snaps his gaze back straight ahead. He's all freaked out now, like we're going to stalk him and follow him home, or pull out a gun and blow his brains out right there.
The light turns green and he zooms away as fast as he can, then makes a right turn to escape us.
Geez. Don't dish it out if you can't take it, KWIM?
I can't believe it.
I had Lucy all mended up, all her wounds closed, she was gaining weight and really looking great. So I put her back in the run and she was having the time of her life scratching in the dirt for worms, visiting with Henrietta, etc.
I had the flies all under control too. Haven't even seen one out there in days, the gnat larvae and Solar Fly Trap were really doing the trick.
Then I noticed TWO eggs inthe nesting box yesterday. Could Lucy have laid an egg, after not laying for several weeks? Or did Henrietta lay two in one day (not unheard of). Well, everything looked fine with her, so I didn't concern myself too much.
Today when I went out to check on Lucy, she was in the Eglu again. This was late morning, so I had an "uh-oh" feeling. When she heard me she came out, and I could see bloody bits hanging down from her vent. Ugh.
Henrietta immediately came over to peck at her vent. I shooed her away and picked up Lucy to assess the damage.
Not looking good. It looked like Henrietta had gotten at her a little bit, she was dripping blood, and the prolapse was quite big, plus it was dirty too.
I took her inside to wash her off in the sink, then called the vet.
I am going to have her put down this afternoon. I think she and I have both been through enough. I don't want her life to just be about pain. At least her last few days have been good. And for myself, I can't take nursing her through one more major illness, and I can't afford any more vet bills.
So she's all clean and covered up in her hospital cage. I am going to lay down with Julian and take a nap, then we'll go in to have her put down after that.
Ugh, this sucks. After all that work and such a beautiful recovery from flystrike...THIS has to happen. Maybe she had problems to begin with and that's what brought on the flystrike. Maybe this is due to the damage to her cloaca from the maggots. Maybe it's just a coincidence. I don't know, but it's really awful. I feel bad making her wait until this afternoon, since she's probably in pain, but at this point Julian needs a nap, I coud use one too, and I'm not in any mental place where I can just go chop off her head in the backyard and get this over with. I wish I could, but right now I think a nice peaceful death at the vet's is best.
Well, we just got back from the vet. She said that it looked like her whole oviduct had prolapsed and come out through her vent, and wasn't likely that she would recover. She agreed that putting her to sleep would be the best thing. She was very nice and sympathetic, and isn't charging me for the euthanasia.
So now we're back home. That's that. Yuck.
The saga goes on and on!
The vet just called me and said that they haven't put Lucy down yet. The vet wants to give her one more try. At no charge.
If she looks like she isn't going to recover, then they will euthanize her. She may need to be spayed. If she recovers, I can take her home once she is healthy. If I decide that I don't want to take her afterwards, then they will find a home for her.
The vet said that she is eating well and not in any obvious pain right now. She is going to monitor her over the weekend and let me know what her chances are on Monday.
I expressed my concern that she has been in enough pain lately, and that if it looks like she will have a lot more pain in her future, then I would rather have her put down sooner than later. She said she understands, and if it comes to that, she will euthanize her.
So the story of Lucy continues. This vet is really quite something. Most vets won't even bother with chickens, even bird vets, and here this one is willing to do pro bono surgery on mine and care for her until she recovers at no charge to me! Just to give a chicken a chance. Remarkable.
I'll have to think of something really nice to do for her in return. I'm pretty poor right now, have no extra money in my bank account, but I could at least make cookies or something...I'll have to see what I can come up with. Any ideas?
After a big breakfast of oatmeal with blueberries this morning, Julian and I went outside to feed/water Henrietta and set up the kick-ass Solar Fly Trap (see previous entry).
Julian played a little basketball while I was collecting the daily egg from the coop. He bent down to pick up his ball after a shot and suddenly squealed.
"Ew mama! Oatmeal!"
Being an experienced vurper myself, I knew just what had happened.
"Did you get some oatmeal in your mouth when you bent down to get your ball?"
"YES! EW! EW MAMA!"
Ha! THAT, my son, is the infamous vomit burp, aka "vurp".
Here are the ultrasound pics of our newest boy at 18.5 weeks. That was back on August 22nd, so he's almost a month older now and starting to kick pretty hard.
We decided to name him Adrian. I think I went through the whole baby book of names and found like, THREE that were acceptable. One was Constantine, which Dan liked too, but that's kind of unwieldy, and I can't think of any good nicknames for it.
Dan put his finger on Adrian from my list and said that was his choice. So I went and thought about it and it's good. It translates to French and Spanish well, plus it kind of follows the theme of Italianate emperors. It's classy and doesn't have any stupid nicknames associated with it.
Adrian sounds kind of similar to Julian, but what the hell...minor. Those "-an" names sound good with Baker as a last name, and I wanted something with three syllables, because that sounds good with a 2-syllable last name too. So looks like we have a winner.
Quiche is great. I'm not fond of the quiche that you get in restaurants or delis though. The restaurant quiches are almost always refrigerated and then reheated, so they are all dried out and nasty and weepy by the time you get them. I don't mind quiche leftovers after I've already had some *fresh* quiche, but I don't like to pay for reheated quiche, you know? Plus it's almost always spinach quiche, which I like, but there are so many other kinds of quiche to make. Why not branch out a little?
From Julia Child's "The Way to Cook"
The quiche -- that cheesy open-faced custard pie much in vogue starting in the mid-1960's, became so ubiquitous, and often so badly made, that its popularity waned. I vote it back in again because it is wonderfully good eating. And when you have ready-made dough inthe freezer, or a read-baked shell, it is fast to prepare as an easy first course or supper or luncheon dish.
As usual, she's right. Here are two of my favorites, from "The Way to Cook".
The mother of all quiches, shown above. I never see this offered in restaurants in its classic form, and I can't understand why. It's utterly delicious, easy to make, wonderful in every way. There's no cheese, but none is needed.
For a 9-inch quiche, serving 6 as a first course, or 3 as a lunch/dinner main course.
* 6 crisp strips of cooked bacon (I often use more)
* A 9-inch prebaked pie shell
* Seasonings: salt, freshly ground pepper, and nutmeg
* 3 large eggs, blended with enough cream to make 1.5 cups
Yes, that's it. That's all you need.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Break up the pieces of bacon and strew them in the bottom of the shell.
Season the egg and cream mixture, and pour it to within 1/8 inch of the rim.
Bake 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven, until puffed and browned.
Provencal Tomato Quiche
This didn't sound all that special from the recipe, but it came out incredibly well. Dan and I almost ate the entire thing by ourselves. Just be sure to spread the anchovy paste really evenly and thinly on the bottom of your prebaked pie shell. Last night I left some thicker areas of anchovy puree and they were too strong/salty in some bites of quiche. It should just provide a delicious hint of savory background flavor, not be overpowering or even identifiable.
This quiche is, of course, best at the height of the season, when fresh tomatoes are ripe and bursting with flavor. I used ripe heirloom tomatoes from my garden. Use the best that you can find.
* 2 cups sliced onions
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1 large clove of garlic, pureed or pressed
* 5 medium fine fresh ripe tomatoes, pureed or chopped
* Seasonings: salt, freshly ground pepper, oregano, and cayenne pepper; tomato paste is optional
* 3 eggs
* 1/4 cup lightly pressed-down, chopped fresh parsley
* 8 anchovy filets packed in oil, drained and mashed to a puree with 1 Tablespoon olive oil
* A 9-inch prebaked pie shell
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or other hard cheese
* 1 or 2 large fine ripe tomatoes, sliced
The tomato base:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a 10-inch frying pan, saute the onions with 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 8-10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Stir inthe garlic, then the chopped/pureed tomatoes, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until a thick puree. Stir in seasonings to taste, including a little tomato paste if you think it needed; let cool to tepid. Then beat in the eggs and parsley.
Filling the shell and baking:
Spread the anchovy puree in the shell evenly and thinly and cover with the tomato base; strew on the cheese, arrange the tomato slices tastefully on top without overlapping too much. Salt lightly, and drizzle a little olive oil on top.
Bake 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly puffed and an agreeable patchy brown.
Today I went to the post office to ship out some international orders, so I actually had to find a legal parking spot and wait in line.
I pulled into the lot only to realize that there were no available parking spots. When I tried to back out to park on the street, I looked behind me and some dude was already riding my bumper, so I was stuck.
I waited, and waited...and eventually two cars parked next to each other left at the same time. I pulled into the far spot, and the bumper-rider behind me pulled into the other spot.
I got out of my car and popped the trunk to get my packages out. The bumper-rider was already out of his car and approaching me. He glanced at my pregnant belly (which is getting quite large) and then launched in:
FAT SCHLUB: "So what's up with your sticker? What does THAT mean?"
ME: (Disoriented, because I had taken Dan's car to the post office, so I thought he meant one of the stickers that I have on MY car) "Huh? What sticker?"
FAT SCHLUB: "THAT one." (pointing at it) "It says 'SCIENCE'. What's that supposed to be, that shape...a fish?"
ME: "It's a rocket ship."
FAT SCHLUB: "Well it looks like the fish, which is a Christian symbol. Are you trying to make fun of Christians?"
ME: "You can interpret it any way you like."
And then I walked off. What a dork.
Can you imagine if I stopped to accost every person that I saw with this creationist crap on their car?
"What does THAT mean? Are you making FUN of evolution? Huh? Are you? What's that shape supposed to be right there...is that the Darwin Fish being EATEN? Well IS IT, you punk-ass bitch? You think you've cornered the market on truth? I got your truth RIGHT HERE pal..."
Yeah, not too likely to happen. But funny to imagine.
"Hateful Things" is an excerpt from Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book. She was a tremendously witty lady of the court in 10th century Japan who kept a private diary of various lists and commentaries, and this is one of them. It's still mostly dead-on accurate, over a thousand years later, and it always cheers me up when I'm having a most hateful day.
One is in a hurry to leave, but one's visitor keeps chattering away. If it is someone of no importance, one can get rid of him by saying, "You must tell me all about it next time"; but, should it be the sort of visitor whose presence commands one's best behavior, the situation is hateful indeed.
One finds that a hair has got caught in the stone on which one is rubbing one's inkstick, or again that gravel is lodged in the inkstick, making a nasty, grating sound.
Someone has suddenly fallen ill and one summons the exorcist. Since he is not at home, one has to send messengers to look for him. After one has had a long, fretful wait, the exorcist finally arrives, and with a sigh of relief one asks him to start his incantations. But perhaps he has been excorcizing too many evil spirits lately, for hardly has he installed himself and begun praying when his voice becomes drowsy. Oh, how hateful!
A man who has nothing in particular to recommend him discusses all sorts of subjects at random as though he knew everything.
An elderly person warms the palms of his hands over a brazier and stretches out the wrinkles. No young man would dream of behaving in such a fashion; old people can really be quite shameless. I have seen some dreary old creatures actually resting their feet on the brazier and rubbing them against the edge while they speak. These are the kind of people who in visiting someone's house first use their fans to wipe away the dust from the mat and, when they finally sit on it, cannot stay still but are forever spreading out the front of their hunting costume or even tucking it up under their knees. One might suppose that such behavior was restricted to people of humble station, but I have observed it in quite well-bred people, including a Senior Secretary of the Fifth Rank in the Ministry of Ceremonial and a former Governor of Suruga.
I hate the sight of men in their cups who shout, poke their fingers in their mouths, stroke their beards, and pass on the wine to their neighbors with cries of "Have some more! Drink up!" They tremble, shake their heads, twist their faces, and gesticulate like children who are singing, "We're off to see the governor!" I have seen really well-bred people behave like this and I find it most distasteful.
To envy others and complain about one's own lot; to speak badly about people; to be inquisitive about the most trivial matters and to resent and abuse people for not telling one, or, if one does manage to worm out some facts, to inform everyone in the most detailed fashion as if one had known all from the beginning -- oh, how hateful!
One is just about to be told some interesting piece of news when a baby starts crying.
A flight of crows circle over with loud caws.
An admirer has come on a clandestine visit, but a dog catches sight of him and starts barking. One feels like killing the beast.
One has been foolish enough to invite a man to spend the night in an unsuitable place -- and then he starts snoring.
A gentleman has visited one secretly. Though he is wearing a tall, lacquered hat, he nevertheless wants no one to see him. He is so flurried, in fact, that on leaving he bangs into something with his hat. Most hateful! It is annoying too when he lifts up the Iyo blind that hangs at the entrance of the room, then lets it fall with a great rattle. If it is a head-blind, things are still worse, for being more solid it makes a terrible noise when it is dropped. There is no excuse for such carelessness. Even a head-blind does not make any noise if one lifts it up gently when entering and leaving the room; the same applies to sliding-doors. If one's movements are rough, even a paper door will bend and resonate when opened; but, if one lifts the door a little when pushing it, there need be no sound.
One has gone to bed and is about to doze off when a mosquito appears, announcing himself in a reedy voice. One can actually feel the wind made by his wings, and, slight though it is, one finds it hateful in the extreme.
A carriage passes by with a nasty, creaking noise. Annoying to think that the passengers may not even be aware of this! If I am traveling in someone's carriage and I hear it creaking, I dislike not only the noise but the owner of the carriage.
One is in the middle of a story when someone butts in and tries to show that he is the only clever person in the room. Such a person is hateful, and so, indeed, is anyone, child or adult, who tries to push himself forward.
One is telling a story about old times when someone breaks in with a little detail that he happens to know, implying that one's own version is inaccurate -- disgusting behavior!
Very hateful is a mouse that scurries all over the place.
Some children have called at one's house. One makes a great fuss of them and gives them toys to play with. The children become accustomed to this treatment and start to come regularly, forcing their way into one's inner rooms and scattering one's furnishings and possessions. Hateful!
A certain gentleman whom one does not wish to see visits one at home or in the Palace, and one pretends to be asleep. But a maid comes to tell one and shakes one awake, with a look on her face that says, "What a sleepyhead!" Very hateful.
A newcomer pushes ahead of the other members in a group; with a knowing look, this person starts laying down the law and forcing advice upon everyone -- most hateful.
A man with whom one is having an affair keeps singing the praises of some woman he used to know. Even if it is a thing of the past, this can be very annoying. How much more so if he is still seeing the woman! (Yet sometimes I find it is not as unpleasant as all that.)
A person who recites a spell himself after sneezing. In fact I detest anyone who sneezes, except the master of the house.
Fleas too, are very hateful. When they dance about under someone's clothes, they really seem to be lifting them up.
The sound of dogs when they bark for a long time in chorus is ominous and hateful.
I cannot stand people who leave without closing the panel behind them.
I hate people whose letters show that they lack respect for worldly civilities, whether by discourtesy in the phrasing or by extreme politeness to someone who does not deserve it. This sort of thing is, of course, most odious if the letter is for oneself, but it is bad enough even if it is addressed to someone else.
As a matter of fact, most people are too casual, not only in their letters but in their direct conversation. Sometimes I am quite disgusted at noting how little decorum people observe when talking to each other.
Sometimes a person who is utterly devoid of charm will try to create a good impression by using very elegant language; yet he succeeds only in being ridiculous. No doubt he beleives this refined language to be just what the occasion demands, but, when it goes so far that everyone bursts out laughing, surely something must be wrong.
A man who has nothing in particular to recommend him, but who speaks in an affected tone and poses as being elegant.
An inkstone with such a hard, smooth surface that the stick glides over it without leaving any deposit of ink.
Ladies-in-waiting who want to know everything that is going on.
Sometimes one greatly dislikes a person for no particular reason --- and then that person goes and does something hateful.
A gentleman who travels alone in his carriage to see a procession or some other spectacle. What sort of man is he? Even though he may not be a person of the greatest quality, surely he should have taken along a few of the many young men who are anxious to see the sights. But no, there he sits by himself (one can see his silhouette through the blinds) with a proud look on his face, keeping all his impressions to himself.
A lover who is leaving at dawn announces that he has to find his fan and his paper. "I know I put them somewhere last night," he says. Since it is pitch-dark, he gropes about the room, bumping into the furniture and muttering, "Strange! Where can they be?" Finally he discovers the objects. He thrusts the paper into the breast of his robe with a great rustling sound; then he snaps open his fan and busily fans away with it. Only now is he ready to take his leave. What charmless behavior! "Hateful" is an understatement.
Equally disagreeable is the man who, when leaving in the middle of the night, takes care to fasten the cord of his headdress. This is quite unnecessary; he could perfectly well put it gently on his head without tying the cord. And why must he spend time adjusting his cloak or hunting costume? Does he really think that someone may see him at this time of night and criticize him for not being impeccably dressed?
A good lover will behave as elegantly at dawn as at any other time. He drags himself out of bed with a look of dismay on his face. The lady urges him on: "Come, my friend, it's getting light. You don't want anyone to find you here." He gives a deep sigh, as if to say that the night has not been nearly long enough and that it is agony to leave. Once up, he does not instantly pull on his trousers. Instead, he comes close to the lady and whispers whatever was left unsaid during the night. Even when he is dressed, he still lingers, vaguely pretending to be fastening his sash.
Presently he raises the lattice, and the two lovers stand together by the side door while he tells her how he dreads the coming day, which will keep them apart; then he slips away. The lady watches him go, and this moment of parting will remain among her most charming memories.
Indeed, one's attachment to a man depends largely onthe elegance of his leave-taking. When he jumps out of bed, scurries about the room, tightly fastens his trouser-sash, rolls up the sleeves of his Court cloak, over-robe, or hunting costume, stuffs his belongings into the breast of his robe and then briskly secures the outer sash -- one really begins to hate him.
And two excerpts from another list:
Things that are at odds with Nature
A letter that comes back unopened that one has taken great care to write in the most beautiful of script. One waits and waits for an answer, and then when it is much, much too overdue and one is waiting impatiently, the thing comes back (doesn’t matter whether it is a folded personal letter or a more formal letter with an outer wrapping), all soiled, rumpled up (even the signature on the wrapping has been smudged out). Then one is told the intended recipient was either not home, or unable to receive your letter because of some sort of superstitious taboo. This is the worst disappointment imaginable. Depressing isn’t the word for it!
Or again, when one sends a carriage out to fetch someone over to your house for a visit, and then the carriage returns and one is delighted and sends someone out to greet the visitor, only to see the carriage being drawn away toward the garage, and one hears the sound of the harness being plopped on the ground. And when one asks what has happened, one is informed that the person in question was not at home, and so, of course, was unable to come over. I am depressed when I see the ox being led away.
A wetnurse leaves her job with a new baby, saying she will be gone just a short time. Then when the situation becomes desperate and an attempt is made to get her back in a hurry, she replies only that she cannot make it back that evening. As though she didn’t think that would make a person go mad! Insulting and depressing isn’t the word for it!
Speaking of waiting—say one is waiting for a gentleman to arrive, and it has grown somewhat late when suddenly one hears a knock at the gate and one’s heart begins to race and one sends a servant out to see him in. And then one hears a totally different voice announcing himself, someone furthermost from one’s mind. Oh, the utter disappointment of that is not to be matched!
Wearing summer white clothes into autumn. Unbearable.
What can I say about a wetnurse who has run out of breastmilk?
I just fixed the email notification feature at right. I didn't realize it wasn't working, but apparently I forgot to configure something or add in some random line of code to turn it on when I was setting up this blog.
Anyway, all fixed now. If you want to receive notifications, then have at it!
We went to a birthday party for our friend Dan T. the other day. There were lots of kids there.
One girl, about 4 years old, was named Yulia. I don't know if you spell it that way, but that's how it was pronounced. Anyway, Julian was playing with her in a playhouse outside, and generally having a blast. He loves older women.
Yulia's mom was a little cold at first, but later on she warmed up after they had been playing together for about 45 minutes straight, at which point she asked me what my son's name was. "Julian," I said. She nodded.
Later on it was time to light the birthday candles and blow them out. Everyone was standing around, and Yulia's mom was nice enough to relight the candles after Dan was done with them, and then lift Julian up so that he could blow them out too. For him, that's the whole point of a birthday, even more so than eating cake. The candles are the crucial component.
Everyone was still standing around the cake and one person asked Yulia, "Is your name Yulia or Julia?"
"YOO-lia!" she replied.
"That's right," said this person, whom I hadn't met. "Yulia is a much better name than Julia. Julia is not a good name at all."
The little group of...Israelis, I think they were, kept nattering on about how Yulia was the best name and Julia was an ugly, horrible name in comparison. Every time they said "Julia" with their accents, Julian kept looking to see why they were talking about him and saying his name was ugly.
I felt like telling them to shut the fuck up. Julia AND Julian were both FANTASTIC names, and what the hell was their problem anyways?
But whatever. We were about to leave anyway, and I probably wouldn't ever see these people again. So I didn't say anything. But now I wish I had, of course.
Women's family choices have impact on later health
By Patricia Reaney
Mon Sep 11, 7:12 PM ET
Not having children, having too many, or too young or not spaced far enough apart could be detrimental to a woman's health later in life, researchers said on Tuesday.
And although women have a harder time conceiving after 40, those who do seem to have fewer medical problems as they age.
"We have shown that partnership and parenting histories are important influences on later life health and, in many cases, are as influential as the effects of a person's socio-economic status," said Professor Emily Grundy of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
In research funded by Britain's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Grundy and her team used three separate sets of data from Britain and the United States on women born in 1911 and later to assess the impact of having children on their risk of death and poor health.
"We got consistent results using these three data sets," Grundy said in an interview.
Poorer health in later life was associated with teenage births, big families of five or more children and closely spaced pregnancies of less than 18 months apart.
But older mothers experienced better health in their later years, according to the research.
"Probably people don't decide to have children at that age unless they feel fit and healthy enough to be confident of being able to look after them," she said.
Short birth intervals had negative health impacts on both mothers and fathers, which research suggests may be due to the physiological and psychosocial stresses of having children very close in age.
"That finding is particularly interesting because to our knowledge, it's the first time that later health consequences of birth intervals have been investigated in a developed country population," said Grundy.
The research also shows stable relationships contribute to long-term help in both sexes, although women many not always realize it.
When women were asked to assess their health, married women reported poorer health than single women. But Grundy said mortality rates are higher for unmarried women.
"Overall, these findings clearly have important implications for projections of the health status of the older population as well as contributing to our understanding of life course influences on health," she added.
I went to go pick up Lucy at the vet today and they gave me a rundown on what to do to care for her wounds. I had not *seen* the wounds up until today. I mean, I saw enough on Thursday to know that there was something really bad going on, but then I rushed her to the vet without inspecting. There was too much goo and matted feathers and I just wanted to get her there as soon as possible.
Today I got the full, clear picture. Holy fucking shit. It's a really good thing that I'm in my second trimester and no longer nauseous, and it's also good that I'm a biology major and have a really strong stomach for exposure to gory nastiness. Because otherwise I think I would have barfed all over the back room of the bird hospital.
I am tempted to take photos, but I don't want you to barf either. The knowledge that FLY MAGGOTS did this to her is absolutely the most disgusting part. Absolutely.
And supposedly her wounds are much, much better than they were before. Uh, when they were squirming with maggots. Now they are actually healing and closing up. But they are still horrific.
All around her cloaca is red, raw flesh. Like an open wound. But an open wound that you poop out of. AND have to lay eggs out of. Eggs are not small, by the way.
There are two vets at the hospital, and one of them told me on Thursday that she had an egg inside all queued up ready to go, and that she would probably lay it as soon as she felt better. So today I asked if she had laid the egg yet, and the other vet said, "No, what egg?"
Then she checked and found the egg inside, *still* ready to go. Poor little hen was just straining every few seconds as she was standing there, and the vet thought she had to poop. It turns out that there was a giant scab at the bottom of her cloaca that was holding it closed so that the egg couldn't come out. The vet had to tear the giant scab off so that the egg could pass, and then help to dig it out of her. Julian and I watched with open mouths. I fought the urge to run home and take an immediate sitz bath.
Julian took it all in stride, like a true farm kid. "Lucy has a BIG owie on the butt!" was his only comment. Yeah, no kidding. You can say that again.
Of course, this is not Julian's first traumatic, gory and violent animal experience.
The egg finally came out and everyone in the back room was enormously relieved. "Jesus, I'll bet THAT feels better!" was pretty much the phrase that came out of everyone's mouth at the same time. All women present.
Apart from the horror that is her cloaca, she has deep two craters in her skin several inches wide on either side. They were firmed up and scabby by the time I saw them. I can only imagine how bad they were before when fresh.
So I was told to spray her butt with warm water in the sink twice a day (yes indeed, a sitz bath), then dry her off and apply antibiotic ointment to all her wounds afterwards. I just did it tonight and I used up half a tube. I need to go get more tomorrow. It's especially hard because of the feathers. I have to pull them aside so that I can see anything, and then keep them from sticking in in the ointment. They have mostly fallen out where the wounds are, but there are still enough feathers around to make it difficult.
Julian the Unflappable Farm Boy has been an invaluable assistant. He stood guard over Lucy's carboard box while I got her crate all set up for indoor habitation yesterday. The kid's set to become a professional bouncer. Every time Bugs came a-sniffin' near Lucy's box, Julian attempted to whack him and shouted, "No, doggie! Don't touch Lucy!"
Then he stood guard right next to the crate door to prevent any unwanted dog intrusions while I was getting her settled in. Very helpful actually, because otherwise I would have had to turn around and whack Bugs away myself. Except that my Chicken Bodyguard was almost standing on top of me while all this was happening. It was a little crowded.
I kept finding him crouched down next to her crate afterwards.
"Are you being nice to the poor chicken? I don't want you to poke her or be mean to her, OK? She's sick and she needs to rest."
"No Mama. Just looking at her. I'm a Good Helper."
"OK, that's fine."
- Sick chicken Lucy is coming home tomorrow. I spent way too much money to cure her, but she is doing well. She'll pull through if we keep her in the house in a dog crate for a few weeks while her butt heals up. Otherwise the flies will attack her again outside and she'll go right back downhill.
Now I need to explain this to Henrietta, who is pining away from loneliness outside. I think I'll have to put them together inthe dog crate during the day, just so they can hang out. Henny is really sad without Lucy. Chickens were not meant to be alone.
I ordered some fly control products from Arbico-Organics. I didn't think there were that many flies, I keep the run pretty impeccably clean. But apparently even a few flies are too many. If a hen has a slightly poopy butt for a day or two, they can zoom in and lay eggs and start tissue breakdown. That's so nasty I can't even stand to think about it.
So I got some biological predators...a species of gnat that attacks any fly larvae it finds and devours it. The gnats themselves are tiny and harmless and not pesky.
I also got a solar-powered flytrap that will attract and destroy any adult flies hanging around. The vet said it's really, really good.
I know, I know, I'm doing all this for two hens. And we can't even eat Lucy's eggs for the next two months, because of the antibiotics that she's going to be on. But what the hell, farming isn't easy, right? Even on a very, very small scale. But once I get my learning curve down, things will be fine. Number One Rule right now is KILL ANY AND ALL FLIES. This should be pretty easy, because the weather's getting colder anyway. But I'm all set for next season. Motherfuckers are going DOWN!
- Our health care system is so awful I can't believe it's not being treated like a national emergency. We even have decent health insurance, but it's still a nightmare to get treated. Every little thing is a battle with the insurance company.
We all got colds two weeks ago. Everyone got better except me. My cold got better, but I developed a raging sinus infection. I tried to fight it off the best I could for a week, but last night it got the best of me.
I washed about a pound of blood-specked thick green goop out of my head before bed (thank you Neti pot, the world's weirdest and yet at times most useful product ever), but after laying down for about five minutes my sinuses were completely blocked again. All night long I lay gasping for breath, propped up on pillows, sinuses burning like fire, head pounding.
Another nice side effect of a sinus infection is tooth pain. The tooth itself is fine, it's just referred pain from the infected sinus, but it feels like you have a rotting tooth that's about to fall out of your head. Or burst into flames. So I've had that too. Two days ago I could barely eat.
All night long I planned on how I was going to the doctor FIRST THING in the morning. Since I wasn't sleeping anyways, I even got up and found a local walk-in clinic close by that accepted my insurance. At 9:00am when the doors opened I was there with Julian, all ready to wait for my walk-in appointment.
That fat coughing receptionist took one look at my insurance card and said, "We don't take THIS Cigna insurance. It's POS."
AAARGH. Well how much is a cash appointment? Turned out to be $125. Low-cost, my ASS.
I had already looked for my primary-care physician on the Cigna website and found nothing. Plus, who would take me as a walk-in on a Friday?
In desperation, and since I was driving by anyways, I stopped by my OB's office. He was off in Tahoe for a long weekend, but I got the cool tatttoed, pierced nurse at the reception desk, who hooked me up with a prescription for pregnancy-friendly, fast-acting antibiotics and told me to take Sudafed in the meantime. No charge. She did it right there on the spot. I was at Long's pharmacy with the drugs in my hand a half hour later. Already my snot is less green and the fire in my head has cooled.
Did I mention that I LOVE my OB? Best office ever.
I hate the Sudafed though. Breathing is nice, but I feel all woozy and wired. Goddamn non-drowsy crap. Drowsy is GOOD. When you feel awful and you're exhausted, non-drowsy is the worst.
- I went to go take a nap with Julian today, but he woke up screaming and crying after about half an hour of sleeping. He was burning up with fever, and he peed on himself, then I got him stripped down and back to sleep. When he woke up he was fine, not hot or feverish.
So I don't know what that was about. The 2 hour fever? Ugh, he had better not be coming down with another cold. I can't take it.
- The weather is all weird today. Super windy and kind of cold. If you're not in the sun you need a sweater. If you *are* in the sun it's hot. So maybe it's one of those change-of-weather reactions that people always talk about.
- I got a strange email today from someone I don't know. It has a link to a New York Times article, and it says:
I would be very interested in your response to the issue of disparity between the very wealthiest Americans (Of which you are one) and the middle and lower income americans as discribed in this column.
OPINION | September 8, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist: Whining Over Discontent
By PAUL KRUGMAN
We are, finally, having a national discussion about inequality, and right-wing commentators are in full panic mode.
What? Who are you? Why are you sending me this? And honey, if you think I'm one of the very wealthiest Americans you are seriously delusional.
Then I noticed that the email was actually addressed to Dianne Feinstein. Why *I* got a copy of it, I have no clue. It wasn't cc'ed to me or anything. Very bizarre. But yeah, at least it makes sense now. DiFi is loaded. Thank goodness she's turning away from her Republicrat tendencies and coming back to the fold a bit these days...fighting global warming, drilling off the California coast, etc.
OK, well time to clean up the kitchen. Oh joy.
I have no idea what to make for dinner. I made enchiladas last night with homemade sauce from the bounty of my late-season veggie garden, but we already ate leftovers for lunch today and I can't face them again.
I really don't feel like cooking at all, and I'm completely uninspired. Julian has eaten nothing but fruit and fruit bars today. He had a mouthful of egg this morning, but otherwise he's been a total frugivore. I guess it's OK because he has eaten quite a bit of meat lately, but still...I need to get something into him. What, I don't know. I think I just want some chicken soup or something. Aaargh.
OK, gotta run. Must blow nose and start cleaning.
Major Geek Alert!
I just found out about the coolest Periodic Table of the Elements ever:
Theodore Gray is one of the founders of Wolfram Research, the company behind Mathematica. In his spare time he has a passion for creating unusual and quite beautiful representations of the periodic table of the elements.
Every element has a pretty side, and in this poster I have tried to give each one a chance to show off what makes it unique and beautiful.
For example the noble gases are represented by discharge tubes that display their characteristic colors in an electric arc. Iodine was photographed while being heated from below to bring out the distinctive and lovely purple vapor it gives off at elevated temperatures. Niobium is represented by an ultra-high purity crystal ribbon, an attractive form that few people have ever seen. Silicon, in contrast, is represented by a relatively low-purity sample, but one that is just plain good-looking.
I was always fascinated by the Periodic Table. I spent quite a bit of time in Chemistry classes poring over the various elements on the big wall chart, especially when the lecture was rather boring that day. I always found it interesting to see photographs of the elements in their pure form, but I didn't come across them too often. Besides, the textbooks aren't too good at depicting elements that are gaseous, or that only exist in laboratories for a fraction of a second.
Of course, I like to read the dictionary too.
But hey, even if you don't personally find this too interesting, it would be nice to order one for your child's science classroom, or for a geeky friend. It would make a sweet gift for young budding geeks. Theodore offers several different sizes and some are quite cheap. I'm going to put a big one in Julian's room. Um, mostly for me. ;-)
Chicken trauma time.
One of my hens had been inside the Eglu for a few days. Both girls have both been off their normal laying schedule, sometimes laying eggs at midday, so I figured that she was laying an egg in there when I went out to feed and water them, and didn't pay too much attention. Normally they are never inside during the day.
Today I lifted the egg hatch and noticed her inside again, along with a bad smell. I decided to take her out and inspect her, and to my horror she was VERY sick, with a bottom completely drippy and wet with diarrhea. I offered her some water and she drank a little, but would not eat.
I immediately took her into the bird vet (once I found one!), and to my worse horror, was told that she had several large wounds to her bottom, all of which were swarming with maggots!!!!
I have no idea how she would get a wound in the first place. I only have two hens and they are very gentle with one another. No rats or vermin in the run, which is enclosed. My dog hasn't touched them. Nothing sharp in there either. It's a total mystery!
The vet said that perhaps she had a small irritation that then got droppings in it and spread to become a bigger wound, and then several wounds as the maggots set in.
My God, she seemed just fine until a few days ago! I feel like the worst chicken owner in the world, but I honestly don't know how this happened! She has always been a slow and irregular layer compared to my other hen, but for the life of me I don't know what else could have happened to her. It's not like she's sick from a stuck egg or anything. They eat a very healthy diet, the run is safe and comfortable...I'm at a loss.
So now the vet says that she wants to keep her in the hospital for a few days on injectable antibiotics. The maggots are still coming out of her wounds. (yech!), so there won't be any stitching up until the wounds are completely clean and pest-free. After that she will need to be kept inside our house for up to a month until she is completely healed, otherwise there is a chance of maggots reinfecting the wounds. I will also need to inject her with antibiotics. If I can bring her home a bit sooner, then the cost won't be quite so high, but already the estimate is over USD$300 without overnight care, and I can't imagine that is going to be cheap once added on!
I really don't know what to do. She's a sweet girl, she's our pet, but the thought of paying USD$300 for a chicken that will still require ongoing care is killing me. Dan is going to flip...he is already complaining that the chickens have cost us $$$ and daily eggs aren't worth all this trouble, etc. I can't see him being thrilled about a chicken inside our house for a month either, especially since she is *tremendously* noisy in the mornings. And I have no idea where I would keep her, either.
I can't imagine telling the vet to put her down when she has a chance of recovering, but I honestly can't really afford the expense and upkeep of getting her better either. I am 5.5 months pregnant, with a 2.5 year old, a dog, a home-based business, etc. I have customers in and out of my house all day with small children, another barrier to having a sick hen penned up in my living room.
If I were a farmer she would probably have been in the stewpot a long time ago. If she were my dog I wouldn't mind paying $300 and putting in the recovery time, but she's somewhere in between for us. A pet, but not quite at dog level, you know? We don't sleep with her in bed at night, you know?
Sigh. When do you throw in the towel on a chicken?
UPDATE: I just talked to the vet again and she said that Lucy's not eating, and she is currently just sitting with her head down on the ground. Not good at all. They will keep her overnight, give her food by tube, keep her hydrated and give her meds to control her pain, and if she's not up on her feet by tomorrow then we'll talk about what to do.
For everything she said she *could* do, it would be $491. I just can't afford that right now. I set the limit at $400 (which is still a stretch) and if she doesn't get better with what the vet can do for $400, then we'll put her down. Shit, I have to sell over ten Ergos to make $400. And for that I might just end up with a dead hen anyways.
Then I have to find another hen, because they are such social creatures. Henrietta can't live on her own as a solo chicken, she would be too lonely. They do *everything* together. In fact, I'm kind of beating myself up for not noticing this illness sooner, since Henrietta was pretty disturbed about Lucy, now that I think about it. She ran over to me every time I went outside and tried to get my attention, I swear. Lots of loud squawking. Which I ignored. Ugh, bad chicken mom.
I am so grossed out about the maggots. Jesus Christ, that poor chicken. Not only were they in the wounds, but they had crawled underneath her skin and made tunnels away from the wounds. So repulsive to even think about. I am itchy all over. I hate every fucking fly I see. Disgusting little bastards.
Today's money quote from an article in Salon on how Western hip-hop and rap are having a big influence on liberalizing Islamist societies. Dubious claim, but the article has some gems...
And who is the most popular singer in Iraq? "That's easy," said ABC Baghdad correspondent John Berman in a "Nightline" segment. "Lionel Richie." "Grown Iraqi men get misty-eyed by the mere mention of his name. 'I love Lionel Richie,' they say. Iraqis who do not understand a word of English can sing an entire Lionel Richie song." Asked to explain this phenomenon, Richie, who has performed in Morocco, Dubai, Qatar, and Libya, could not: "The answer is, I'm huge, huge in the Arab world. The answer as to why is, I don't have the slightest idea."
Also in that article is a link to an entertaining video made by an Indonesian sinder/dancer named Inul, who is revolutionizing the art of booty-popping in that Muslim country, much to the dismay of clerics.
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