Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013


You go to bed on Saturday with a painful lump in your right armpit. It's not romantic, but there it is.

A lump. A red lump. And it hurts.

By Sunday night, you have a matching pain in your left armpit.

By Monday morning, it hurts to move your arms, a difficult thing if you want to, say, shower, or eat, or get dressed, or even, for that matter, roll over in bed, something that you're champion at. You ignore these things until you can ignore them no more. You know they're just lymph nodes doing their cleaning thing, but you've got things to do and places to go, and you don't have time for infections right now.

It's time to visit the doctor.

As chance has it, your doctor is on holiday this week, but the Other Doctor has an opening, this very morning. Bully for you.

The morning's visit includes a very slow computer, one urine sample, and two vials of blood.

Of the three things, only the blood is elusive. The nurse stabs your arm ever-so-gently. She wiggles the needle around. It feels like she stabs again, and then a third time, but you've taken an oath to never watch as blood is being drawn from your body, so you're not quite sure how many times she attempts the draw. But your arm is nearly purple from being in a tourniquet and apparently, nothing is happening.

The nurse withdraws the needle and attempts the other arm. Alcohol swipe, tourniquet, fist, poke, and....nothing.

There is a vein there, right? You do have blood running through your body, yes?

The options: go tomorrow morning to the vampires at the hospital, or have the other attending nurse make a stab at it. (Ho ho ho)

You go for the other nurse. Let's get it over with. She chooses the first arm with the fat vein situated in a weird angle. Alcohol swipe, tourniquet, fist, and you turn away anticipating the stab and begin babbling about when you take the gingerbread boys to get shots or have blood drawn, you pop a piece of chocolate in their mouths as soon as the needle hits skin.

You wish you had a piece of chocolate.


There is no chocolate to be had, not even a granola bar or a peanut. Nothing but lint and receipts in your purse....and success! Two vials of blood later, you're dismissed.

A morning of bravery and sore armpits sans chocolate. You'll make up for it when you get home.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Istanbul

A great wall of china
(near the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey)

Gentleman Farmer

You go out to the porch, slip on your sneakers, and walk down to the chicken coop. It's time to visit the girls. You walk down the steps, past the blackberry brambles, through the woods and enter the pen. Already you hear their peepings. Though you can stoop down to look through the small door leading to the ramp, you open the large door so as to see all of the bundles of black and white and tan feathers peeping away.

You squat down to see them better, to be less threatening, and watch as they hop down from the roost, visit the feeding trough, investigate the nesting boxes. They peck, peck, peck even if they are pecking at nothing at all.

Hard to think that six weeks ago, there were no chickens, no coop. Now the coop stands, complete with stained glass window (salvaged at the transfer station), three doors, ramp, and sturdy wire surrounding the pen. It's been less than a week since you picked up the girls, all eight of them. Four buff Orpingtons, two Wyandottes, and two barred rocks.

Though you and the Gingerbread Man decided not to name the chickens since they are livestock and not pets, you see their characteristics the longer you stand there, and it's hard not to name them. One of the Wyandottes likes to roost. The white-headed barred rock is an intrepid explorer. The black-headed barred rock hunts mosquitoes. The little buffs hang out in the nesting boxes. One of them is at the bottom of the pecking order, and you worry a bit for her. She looks pretty scraggly.

You watch them for a long time, until the mosquitoes get too bad. It's nice to have some female friends, even if they're just chickens. Perhaps someday you'll sit out there and read your revision to them and they'll cluck.

But for now, they are just eight pullets, peeping away, hopping up on the roost, pecking at the feed, slurping water.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013