Monthly Archives: March 2007

Just in case you happen to be wondering if today’s the day…

Isn’t this wild? If you are sitting around waiting and wondering if today is the day your labor will start, have fun!¬† Oh, by the way, the spectrum runs from dark green (low chance) to yellow (medium) to red (high).

labor-map.jpg

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Filed under Babies & Kids

More than You Ever Wanted to Know about Vultures

Amazing how you find yourself doing things for your kids you never thought you’d do.

Yesterday, I found myself throwing my laundry basket over a stunned turkey vulture in our yard. Yep. Commonly known as a buzzard. Bald, red head. Big.

I also found myself becoming genuinely concerned for the little guy (or gal) as the day passed. I’ll digress for a moment. My son is bird lover and for the past few months we have immersed ourselves in learning about birds. If you ever get a chance to see The Life of Birds series, a BBC production, do it! It is hosted by the charming, elderly David Attenborough. You will find yourself absolutely stunned by God’s providence for the birds. His careful attention to the tiny but crucial details in a bird’s life will make you realize how big His hand is in ours. Truly, “His eye is on the sparrow…” So, after a few months of study, I too have become hooked on birds.

Now, back to Viking. (So named by my son.) We really didn’t think Viking was going to live. When we found him, his eyes were closed and he alternated between quivering and lying stone still. After placing the basket over him to protect him from any passing cats or dogs, we left the house for a few hours. When we came home, my son excitedly reported he was standing up with his eyes open. “And someone fed him some raw meat!” Huh? I walked over to Viking and thought surely my son was wrong about the health report. Flies were buzzing all around the basket. A vile stench permeated the air. But, sure enough, there was a bright eyeball looking at me through the basket. A little pile of something¬†vaguely raw meatish was at his feet.

Okay, time to check this bird out. No, I did not lift the basket. Instead, I ran to the computer and found this nifty little site: The Vulture Society. Yes, my first thought was “A Vulture Society? I guess there is a society for everything.” But after reading about the lowly vulture, I really appreciate the little guys. They are clean birds. Their digestive juices are so acidic that their excretions are actually sanitizing. They excrete on their own legs to clean off the bacteria picked up from standing on carrion. Their heads, which necessarily have to poke and prod decaying flesh, are featherless, helping to again resist bacteria. They can soar without flapping for 6 hours. And, of course, they clean up the countryside of dead animals.

Why did ours stink so bad? One of their only defenses is to vomit up partially digested meat. This would send just about anybody packing.

When Viking started to move the basket around and stick his beak through the slats, trying to get out, I walked over to him to lift the basket. He hissed. I backed away. Hmmm, do vultures attack when scared? I hadn’t thought about that when I threw the basket over him.

Time to ask an expert. We found the phone number online of a rescuer. She instructed me to lift the basket from his backside and back away quickly. Yes ma’am. I’ll do that. Leaving my kids inside, armed with the cell phone, I feigned nonchalance and walked over to the basket (my kids were watching!), picked up a long stick, lifted the basket, and quickly backed up.

He didn’t move.

My “vicious” vulture sat there quietly and I was afraid that he was sick after all. I walked back inside, feeling quite like the wildlife rescuer in spite of my fear that things were not going to go too well. We watched him and over the hour, he began preening, stretching his wings, and finally, he flew home to the colony perched in the tall palms lining my street. We all cheered.

My son spent the evening watching the vultures soar above our yard. He was sure that Viking was rocking his wings in thanks. I love happy endings.

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Filed under Babies & Kids, Giving Thanks, Homeschooling, Thoughts

Wow, this is so much better!

Our family is notoriously slow to acquire the latest technology. It took us YEARS to buy a CD player and we stubbornly held onto our VCR tapes until the movie stores removed that option. It is not that we don’t like change, but I think there is a surprisingly thrifty streak in us. Why throw out perfectly good cassette tapes, or buy repeats of movies we already own? My home phone was perfectly capable of handling calls and my answering machine never failed to take a message, why pay for a cell phone?

Eventually, even techno-grumblers have to give in. We finally succumbed to cell phones and I’ll admit it…I love it. The ultimate in convenience. But that doesn’t mean I have to like paying the bill, though.

That is why I was thrilled when our cable company offered us digital internet at the same price as our old dial-up. Ha! It paid to hold out! I can hear my family rejoice now (“Yea, no more busy signals!”) And, really, this is so much better. I feel so efficient now…I can listen to great music for free, watch videos, catch up on you-tube wonders, and best of all blog in half the time!

At installation, the cable tech could not believe that I was still using a Windows 98 computer. “What?? But we just bought this in, what was it now? 2000? Wasn’t that just yesterday? It cost a whole bunch…. ” Grumble, grumble. I know I’ll have to give again soon. I currently can’t hook up my printer and my mouse at the same time. And I’m getting a little tired of reaching around the dusty box in the dark, stabbing at little holes that are almost out of reach, knowing if I pull the box out just a little too much…POOF…there goes the power cord. Gee whiz…what I’ll do to save a buck.

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Filed under Thoughts, Words and Writing

Blogging, Quicksand, and a Bubble Bath

I think that I must have subconsciously chosen a fast from blogging for Lent, because since it has begun, I’ve logged on once to post. Once. And I haven’t even lurked around on my favorite sites, either.

Being away nine days plus another out-of-town soccer tournament weekend in March has made for one busy mama. How do you recover from all those extra husband-rich days (i.e. weekend) away from laundry catch-up, grocery shopping, and lesson planning? They say that women are better multi-taskers than men, but I think that my multi-tasking neurons never connected. I am one of those who deeply concentrates on one thing at a time, and it’s usually my own thoughts, so I can be pretty unproductive outside my noggin. Add disorder and playing catch-up to my one track mind and I can easily feel like I am trying to climb out of quicksand.

All of these days away from my computer has made me think about how I use my time. Spring sports have begun and I have less free time now than when I first began blogging in the lull between fall and spring sports. I know that there are busier moms than me who find time to blog, lesson plan, clean, cook, etc. If I can discipline myself to schedule a thirty minute time block to blog, and stick to it, I would still be able to write and read other blogs a little. I like to think of blogging as my mental organization time, akin to untangling colored thread in a well-used sewing box. But it’s not all verbal housekeeping. It is also a little like taking a mental bubble bath as well.

Like busy mamas everywhere, I just hope that I can squeeze in a relaxing ‘soak in the tub’ from time to time.

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Filed under Thoughts, Words and Writing