Educating the Old F…olks

Yesterday I went on just a bit about how certain types of “educational” efforts directed at the older generation may not work as well as they could (unless the aim really IS to shame people and make yourself look “woke” or whatever the current term for that is).

Today, I want to remind myself, and you, steadfast readers, that there are oh-so-many ways that people under 40 have been teaching me new things, and I’m loving it.

I’m serious. I’m looking at YOU. And I have on day-glo rainbow clothing. That means something.

One person, E., has been especially helpful, and I even took the time to write a nice thank-you note today. Reading her Facebook posts over the past months and years has given me great insight into the choices we make, living authentically, and learning all along. Her candid thoughts about her mental health and parenting struggles also warmed my heart and made me feel much less alone. She’s one of the many people I know who identify as bisexual or gender fluid, even if they look on the surface to be in a more traditional relationship. It gives me great hope for the future.

My son’s gf (that’s what she calls it) is another one I learn a lot from. She’s got lots and lots to say, and sometimes it’s rather raw, but she always makes it clear that she’s sharing her thoughts and not pushing them on anyone else. That lets me read and learn and not feel attacked, no matter how much she hates capitalists. I’ve learned so much about the life of people who don’t “fit in” to stereotypes, have barriers to overcome (like not driving in Austin, Texas, not being able to afford your very important medications, dealing with autism symptoms, etc.). Seeing how she’s creating a good life with my son, having fun on Instagram, and being the creative soul she is gives me even more hope for the future.

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Shame and Call-out Culture

FIRST: I freely admit to being over 60 and that I became a feminist in the 70s. There are many reasons for people to be unhappy about those facts, but there they are. I did not grow up in a culture where it was considered a good idea to make sure that everyone in your social circle was very aware of any faux pas, poor word choice, or “moral” screw-up any other member of the group was unfortunate enough to commit. We called that gossiping, spite, just plain not being a good friend.

Oh no. She’s in a mood.

SECOND: Navigating society in a way that respects other people’s beliefs, cultures, preferences, and sore spots has never been easy. When I was a kid, it was polite to call darker-skinned Americans “negroes.” When “black” became preferred, some took longer than others to transition, but we did it, out of respect. Those of us who are not black, do our best to say “African-American” when relevant (knowing full well that not all dark-skinned neighbors identify that way).

When I was a kid I knew exactly TWO gay people, which I’d guess to be two more than most 60s kids. I’ve watched with awe and pleasure as stigmas have fallen away and people can express their gender and sexuality however makes them happy. What would my life have been like if I’d known “gender fluid” was an option? The point to this is that if you are still learning all these wonderful possibilities, you might mess up. Older people are human.

This guy is species fluid.
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Chicken Cube

Today I had two potential things to write about. I’m chickening out (oh how humorous) and writing about the hens rather than ranting about self-righteous millennials.

Also. Happy National Dog Day in the US.

We’ve been stable with chicken numbers for a couple of months now. Mandi thinks it’s because her dogs have managed to catch a couple of owls. I’m of two minds. I love owls, and they’re protected. But you can’t stop dogs from protecting “their” kittens.

Since it’s been so hot and the seven ladies I still have are trying their best to keep laying, I felt like they deserved a treat, so while I was at Tractor Supply, I got them a huge 25-pound cube full of grain and scratch that they can peck at and have fun. I think they liked it.

Rocky was just pecking at the cube.

I also thought I should show you how well that little scamp Buffy is doing. Her tail feathers are growing back after Jess the blue heeler puppy tried to carry her home in her mouth. But they are coming in much darker than they were before!

I think my dark feathers look classy.

The black chicken is acting broody or something. She won’t get out of the nest box. I hope she’s okay!

And…that’s my cheerful, pleasant chicken report.

Strange Fruit?

I did listen to Billie Holliday singing the song “Strange Fruit” multiple times last week, since it was one of the topics that came up for the commemoration of slaves being brought to this continent in 1619. That song always makes me shiver. Then I’m sad. Then I’m angry. I hope humans learn from our mistakes and treat each other better. Someday.

In more mundane stuff…

Today I was looking around wondering what I’d eat during this time of year and right before my eyes appeared two more benign strange fruit: a passion fruit and a prickly pear.

Passion fruit and prickly pear amid shiny lights

Those would be sweet and delicious any time, but especially now, when it’s so parched.

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Apache and the Ants

No, that’s not the name of a new musical group. It’s about why today’s ride was rather antsy for my usually patient steed, Apache’s Smoke Signal, AKA Apache AKA Patchy.

The morning went as usual. It was hot and I dripped sweat all over myself, but Sara and I got the horses (and Fiona) ready for a ride. We want to ride as much as possible, so we’re going early on weekend mornings. She goes more than I do, thanks to all my volunteering and such.

I put up with a LOT from Suna. It’s a good thing she gives me so many treats and bushes me so nicely.

The entire time we were out in the pasture where the horses usually hang out, Apache kept turning around and heading toward the gate. I turned him back around and made him trot around, go over some logs, or up and down the “hill.” He kept turning around.

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Volunteering with Doggies: Rewarding as Heck

This is the second Saturday in a row that I’ve spent at least part of the day volunteering for Milam Touch of Love. Today we were at an event at Tractor Supply in Rockdale, where we were invited to bring materials and dogs that are adoptable.

Our booth after the doggies arrived.

Since the event was in Rockdale, we invited the Rockdale Pound folks to bring some dogs. I got there first and set up the table, along with the really helpful manager at Tractor Supply. Our banner looked really good, and we made the whole setup look inviting.

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Vlassic: A Mysterious Lump

Something’s up with Vlassic! He’s happy as he can be, running around like normal, and eating all his food. But, he’s developed a big lump on his shoulder. It doesn’t seem to hurt, but you can’t miss it.

See my lump?

We’ve been trying to figure out what it is going on with him. I had a couple of ideas:

  • It’s where he got that rattlesnake vaccine and yelped so much. Could he have some kind of reaction or issue related to that?
  • Did he hurt his shoulder and have swelling related to that (Mandi’s dachshund had that happen to her, and it healed on its own.)
  • Is it a tumor (fatty or otherwise?)
  • Could it be a cyst?
Another view. It’s hard to photograph things on a black dog.

One of the articles I read mentioned that swelling could occur after an insect bite. Maybe the shot gave a similar reaction? Why, look what I found on an article about pros and cons of the rattlesnake vaccine for dogs:

Finally, the vaccine may be reactive and can cause sterile abscesses at the site of injection, and this is more likely in small breeds (as are most all vaccine reactions in my experience).

The Rattlesnake Vaccine for Dogs: Both Sides of the Story
By Dr. Laci Schaible

Okay, this is sounding really plausible. And if it’s sterile, it will go away. The plan, then, is to wait a few days and see if it gets larger or smaller. In the meantime, Vlassic gets to be called “Lumpy.”

I’m so majestic. I’ll be fine.

Book Report: Darwin Comes to Town

This month’s book club book is so sad I had to take a long break from it, and discovering this book made that WAY easier. I think I just spotted Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution, by Menno Schilthuizen in the new nature books section on Amazon. I loved the cover and was really intrigued by the subject matter: how life evolves in the world’s urban enclaves.

Schilthuizen, a naturalist in the Netherlands and author of many articles in popular science publications, writes really clearly without “dumbing down” the science behind what he talks about. I think his reminder that evolution is not just something that goes on in the forests, oceans, and hidden jungles; it’s going on right under our noses.

I love the cover art.
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Wine Room Accomplished!

You may recall that we started putting our wine cellar/shoe closet together a couple of weeks ago. Since then, the office area has been in a bit of disarray with lots and lots of bottles stashed here and there, plus pieces of IKEA furniture.

Masterfully installing a door.

So, yesterday, since I had to leave work early, I invited my strapping son, Declan, to drop by and pick up his next batch of treasures that I unpacked from the garage (lots of vintage albums and some 45s). While he and Riley were here, he was also kind enough to help me put the cabinet together properly. It helps, I think, to invite a non-drinker over to your furniture-building events.

Light shines from my son’s head as he expresses pride in his work.

I did assist by un-doing some of the things that we’d done haphazardly before, when we didn’t have all the parts, but Declan jumped right in there and started assembling like a pro. Wow, I gave birth to an assembler! He even got the fancy doors on the cabinets to do their fancy thing.

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More Gentle Memories, Why?

Surprisingly, at least to me, I had a really had time dealing with the flood of memories that came up when I opened that box of letters Monday night. I had a huge reaction where all the things I used to feel about myself and other people whomped me but good. I really had boxed those events and emotions up in my mind as well as the actual box!

As I blurted that all out to my therapist yesterday (good timing, that was), she was able to identify what was happening. That always helps, when I know what the heck is going on in my brain. She said I was having an emotional flashback. That made a lot of sense. She then explained the stages of it, which include numbness, re-feeling all hte feelings and their accompanying negative ickiness, and moving toward forgiving yourself and others, which lets you remember that while we all do things we regret or that aren’t really the kinds of things we prefer, we’re all human and doing our best, at the time.

So.

Also among the things I found were mementos of my time volunteering and working for La Leche League (breastfeeding support organization). I know I’m doing better about THAT time, because I no longer call it “a large, international nonprofit organization.” For a while there, I got sick when I said the name.

Oh heavens, look at all those memories! There are pins for each conference (2001 and 2003), our beloved LLLOnline pins (snazzy PCs in them!), LLLUSA (a quite dead organization I tried real hard to get to work well), the Alumnae organization (now Friends of LLL), and of course pins for how many years I served as a volunteer Leader. I’d really hoped for more years.
Continue reading “More Gentle Memories, Why?”
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