Friday, August 21, 2009

Bats & Spiders & Snakes, Oh My!

This is the week of weird happenings. Besides the unexpected horse, which Mark gets introduced to later today, he and I just spent a half hour chasing the 2 cutest bats out of the room. It's been raining for 2 days now and been in the 60s so we lit off a small fire in the wood stove. Apparently a pair of bats had moved into the attic over the summer and with the heat from the stove made it too uncomfortable for them and they came down through a hole in the ceiling that we never bothered to cover. 2 years ago we chased a bat out of here and that one left a whole lot more easily than this pair did. Maybe it was the fact that this was a pair. I felt bad about chasing them out into the rain but with Purrim (cat) and Daphne we wouldn't have been able to get any sleep and the poor things probably would have gotten themselves killed. As it was, I was afraid that we were going to injure the one that was really flying around while we were chasing it with brooms and a net that it kept flying through. I wouldn't have had any problem with letting them hang out in a corner by the ceiling, which is where it kept retreating to, until daylight when they would theoretically been easier to catch but they weirded Mark out too much and like I said, Daphne and Purrim probably would have raised a ruckus.

It was kind of strange, normally I have good luck with getting animals that I'd really rather not having share my living space to listen to me when I tell them that I'm trying to help them so that they don't get hurt, but the bats weren't hearing it. OTOH, the poor bat that we were chasing was probably frightened out of it's wits; I felt so sorry for it. I'm somewhat afraid of spiders but there's no way to keep them out of here and besides being other living creatures, I value their removal of bugs; that doesn't mean they don't freak me out though and I won't remove them if I can. I've explained to the spiders in the room that if they surprise me I'm likely to kill them and so far I haven't had any problems; when I tell a spider that I'm trying to catch what I'm doing, I find it normally stays still and lets me put a glass over it and slide a piece of paper over the glass. Sometimes they are so accomadating as to run into the glass so I don't have to worry about catching their legs as I cover the glass and then they leave very nicely when I put them outside.

We had a similar situation a couple of weeks ago with a snake. We were driving down the road and Mark felt something brush his leg, looked down and saw a not small garter snake looking back at him. Needless to say, he was a bit startled. When we got to town and he was in the bank I tried to find the snake since it already had almost caused an accident and Daphne had torn apart the vehicle the previous evening trying to play with it - at least that what we figure. I couldn't find it but did explain that it was not being wise and did have to leave and if it wouldn't let me find it then it should come over to the other side where it wouldn't cause so much of a problem. It was really weird but as soon as we got to our next stop and I opened the passengers sidedoor, it slithered out and went on it's merry way. Apparently it made it's way to nearby wooded ravine and I hope it has a long and happy life.

I wish the same for our 2 recent winged guests and hope they stick around; there's enough places for them to hang out. I know the possibility of bats getting and passing on rabies but it's not terribly likely and they have their valuable place in the local web of life. We did close up the hole in the ceiling though; more nocturnal visitors we don't need. Now to get some sleep before the sun comes up

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Never Thought The Day Would End Up Like This

Sometimes there are days that seem just too weird for reality. When I woke up this morning the major thing on my agenda was my weekly Bible/Torah/religion/spirituality study with a friend. Actually we start out studying Torah etc but end up ranging through many diverse topics but always come back to how this relates to the Almighty and how to live a life of holiness. Well, I think God/dess decided to see if we were all talk or what today and we had barely gotten into the real discussion (the most fun part) when my friend got a call saying that her hay needed to be gotten in since it was threatening rain. So much for our study.

I figured I could do something useful even though it's been a long time since I baled hay so I went out with her. Fortunately, today I have muscles, aka the fibro is behaving itself, and I was able to help haul bales into piles while we were waiting for the hay wagon to show up. (I'll probably pay for it tomorrow) When her husband and kids showed up he suggested I drive the truck saying he was giving me the most difficult job. I though he was joking. How hard could driving across a field be? He wasn't. I'll tell you, hauling a wagon across a bumpy field at walking speed trying to keep moving and not make any moves that would topple the already gathered bales is an art form. With an extra set of hands it took much less time than expected, the rain held off, baruch Hashem, and we were able to get the hay under cover before dark.

That was only the first surprise of the day. When I set out this afternoon I never thought that I'd be coming home with a horse. Yes, a real, live, hay eating, horse apple making horse. She isn't here quite yet but she's as good as ours. She's an Arabian/Quarterhorse cross standing about 13.5 hands but she's got some problems. It seems that life hasn't been too kind to her and consequently she's difficult to work with. My friend has been trying to find homes for this one and her companion since their owner basically abandoned them. She can take the other one but Windy is destined for the glue factory unless a home is found soon. Nobody in the area wants the hassle but my friend think that Windy is rehabilitatable with a lot of work and a firm but loving hand and is willing to basically donate her time to do so.

Mark and I have discussed for years keeping horses to help with the heavy hauling, besides the fact that I like to ride, but the last time I really worked with horses I was a kid 25+ years ago. Between that, the cost of the horse and the upkeep expenses we had kept putting it off as untenable. When a free horse falls into your lap though with trainer and contacts intact and looks to be a whole lot less expensive in upkeep than previously figured and you just happen to have an unused outbuilding suitable for housing the horse, one has to wonder if the convergence of factors wasn't divinely ordained. This situation just has that feel about it. This is liable to be an adventure, one which can be followed on our horse blog. I figure we're doing a mitzvah for the horse, my friend, the previous owner and probably each other as the longer we can be self sufficient, not the easiest thing up here, the happier we'll be.

One of the things I love about both Judaism and Paganism is the idea that the Divine can be found in the everyday. Isn't it a shame that so many people miss it?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Making Lemonade

Fibromyalgia officially sucks. Ok, so I have made it plain in several posts that I’m not appreciative of it’s effects on me and how it messes with my life but I haven’t talked about the very valuable things I have gained from it. It has taught me gratitude. That may sound strange but when you can’t do things you learn to appreciate the times when you can do them. There is a bracha in the morning prayers which reads:

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, ha-meichin mitzadei g’veret.
Source of Blessing are You, Adonai, our Source of Powers, Sovereign of the Universe, Who makes firm my steps.

When you spend a few weeks not knowing if your legs are going to hold you when you take the next step, and have no idea of what’s going on and no insurance for those expensive tests to find out, you become grateful for every step that you take without hitting the floor. When the strength in your legs returns to the point where you can count on it, as suddenly and mysteriously as it left, a wise person remembers not to take anything for granted.

Being 1 of the 3 people living in this house and the 3 of us equaling between .75 and 2 able bodied people on any given day, I am grateful for the ability to do simple things when I want or when I need to like making a meal, washing dishes, carrying 5 gallon buckets of water or soil across the yard to tend the gardens or livestock; there are days I can’t carry a gallon of water in each hand or reach above shoulder height without my arms feeling like they’re going to fall off - or rather that I’d like them to. I’d like to blog more often but too often my forearms and hands are screaming at me after too short a period of time working on the computer regardless of mice, keyboards, supports, gloves etc. The inconsistency of abilities and lack of control over the situation is enough to drive someone batty. ARRRGGHHH!!!

One of the things that drives me nuts about how American society views disability is that there is this expectation that one’s condition is a constant thing - in some cases it is but in other cases one can be debilitated one day and not be hardly able to get out of bed or lift anything or type for more than a few minutes and the next be able to garden all day or clean the whole house or type pages and pages of material or carve hard maple with no apparent change in conditions. Now of course, one forgets to take it easy and pace one’s self and overdoes it on the good days partially because you feel guilty for not being able to do stuff at other times (and society expects one to be able to get certain things done regardless) and end up paying for it. Baruch Hashem for affordable strong pain meds and a doctor who trusts your use of them but sometimes the meds just aren't enough and don't do anything to deal with fibro-fog or fatigue.

I can’t find it in myself to condemn people who get end up getting caught by the dragon, otherwise known as addicted to prescription pain meds, because I dance with that dragon. If it wasn’t for the fact that I don’t enjoy being high, except on a rare occasion, and develop a tolerance to pain meds very easily and value having something to kick the pain in the butt when I really need it to, it would be too easy for me to join those ranks. I am grateful for the God/dess given willpower and insight which allows me to dance with the dragon but mange to stay just out of reach of it’s talons.

I have also come to acknowledge and value the strength the Holy One has given me to deal with things and the fact that my symptoms from the fibro, the seizure disorder, or the depression, are not as bad as they could be. That’s not to mention being consistently reminded of those who are there when I just can’t do something or it gets to be too much or I need an understanding ear or a good swift kick to the rear. There’s also the fact that I live in a country and time where I actually have access to care and meds that make life easier, not that life couldn’t be a whole lot better but I’m grateful it isn’t worse than it is.

Monday, August 10, 2009

People's Fair 2009

Sometimes fibromyalgia really gets in the way of doing fun stuff - like merchanting at the shows I'd really like to do. For the second year in a row Mark and I went to the People's Fair: A Metaphysical Gathering at the Prospector's Paradise rock shop north of Calumet where I had had plans on setting up a booth this year. Fibro interfered at the wrong time though, laying me out for the better part of a week, and therefore I just didn't think I'd have enough appropriate stock to make it worthwhile and I expected the economy to put a real damper on sales. We had a great time though just walking around talking to people and of course I spent way more than I should have although most of my purchases fall into the category of things that will be incorporated into a number of carved staffs I'll hopefully get done for next year. My one non-business purchase is a beautiful labradorite cabachon pendant that is becoming part of my ritual garb.

Mark and I parted ways early on and he got wrapped up in several discussions with merchants who remembered him from last year and introduced him with some wry humor to others as the token Republican at the gathering. It is really nice to be able to go to such a gathering where 99.9% of the people are moderate to far left of center in their opinions and not be afraid of being tarred and feathered; over the last 8 years Mark and I stopped associating with various social groups we had been involved with because of the venom of many liberals and their rudeness to people who did not agree with all their opinions. It's awkward having beliefs/opinions that put one at various times in both the conservative and liberal camps but that's a topic for a past and probably future posts.

Anyway, the Fair was a lot of fun with approx. 30 vendors, many of them rock people, tarot or other divinatory readers and energy healers with artisans scattered here and there. I took my staff with me and got a lot of compliments on it from people including other wood carvers which was great considering it's my first piece. I also was able to share a few tips with a beginning woodcarver which made all the trial and error I went through learning what to do with my staff worthwhile. It was just great to hang out and talk with people and I'm really looking forward to merchanting next year and camping overnight; there is a certain comeraderie between merchants at gatherings like this, ren faires and the like and we tend to let our hair down after the public has left. Although it's a way of life with NO security, I do appreciate the allure of living the gypsy life of going from fair to fair merchanting. In the mean time I'll take my fun where I can find it and look forward to the People's Fair 2010.