I received this link from Jacek, my favorite pschologist. It is not as good a recommendation as it really should be; there aren’t many psychologists I’m too fond of, but Jacek is a good people. And, when I did my radio program for years in the middle of the night on KBOO, he was the only “professional” who ever showed up. Not that many people would show up for a program held in the middle of the night on the Friday before the full moon.
Also, on a lighter note? This is from Dr. Jacek as well. Who knew that you could get treated to a good meal at Hooters just by being a shrink?
Late, post-Caturday posting. I just saw a wonderful blog here: Cancer Killing Recipe. You know, I have so much more respect for anyone who knows what a real problem is and who chooses life anyway. God bless you, oneanna65.
These are animated- if they don’t work automatically, click them to nudge them along:
How I spent last weekend or….
The waiting room at Urgent Care
I was actually on my way to Best Buy to ask why the headset didn’t work, got there, noticed that my left foot was numb.
I knew my ankle was sprained, at least, and nobody seemed to think it to be a big deal. Especially given the bigger deal of the rip-roaring pain throughout my left leg that was caused by the ruptured disk that was squishing the nerve- But the ankle did look kind of dramatic. Although swelling had gone down over the past week (it was a week ago Saturday that I slipped on it), the bruising was spectacular. I personally have never seen anything like it. It has been blue-black from my ankle to the bottoms of my feet including my toes. So, given that the bruising was still awesome and the numbness was new, I thought it would be prudent to go to Urgent Care at Kaiser (in the Sunnyside complex).
The Urgent Care nurse who checked me in asked to see it, I showed it to her (sounds like a porn intro). She immediately had me go get X-rays and blood-work and I was shuffled through those places and put in the Urgent Care waiting room.
It would seem that the short phrases “waiting room” and “Urgent Care” were paired together for maximum contrast in the use and mis-use of the English language. You could probably do a whole – never mind, I digress…
I noticed that the group around me stayed pretty consistent. New people arrived here and there. A couple times someone’s name was called and they were taken back to what I decided was the “Exam Area” (I made up that phrase- I am easily entertained). I never saw anyone come back out of this Exam Area. After being in the waiting area for about 45 minutes a nice young lady came out of the hidden areas where people were sometimes taken (the ones who were never seen again, as far as I know) and she announced that there was currently about a 2 hour wait for getting in to see a doctor at “Urgent Care”.
She apologized, smiled and went back behind the closed doors.
I began to speculate about the true nature of this hidden dimension I had so innocently and glibly labeled as the Exam Area- maybe it was actually a place where the “disappeared” were being dissected and barbecued! (Had I eaten anything yet today? Were my thoughts being perverted by hunger?) I remember thinking there was some grease on the scrub-top worn by the announcer lady.
I closed my eyes to try and explore the smells around me- was there a faint odor of BBQ?
I was shaken from this macabre vision by something that at first seemed almost as unsettling. Sitting across from me and seeming to notice me only as I noticed him was Jess from the hospital- our volunteer coordinator. I hadn’t seen him arrive, it was as though he had materialized from thin air. He said that he had a cactus thorn embedded in his finger. There was no mark that I could see but he explained that it was buried deeply in the flesh of the finger, had no egress from it’s lodging and was causing him pain and distress. I have no reason to disbelieve him except that his story was so outlandish. What is he doing handling cacti?
Time passed. I kept myself entertained with a variety of “Twilight Zone”esque stories that could take place in the Urgent Care waiting room.
I eventually got to see the doctor. He very quickly ascertained that I would need to go back to X-ray because when I had come in they had not taken pictures of my ankle. They did have good shots of my toes but he was uninterested in those.
Hours later I was sent away with a big apparatus they referred to as a “boot”. The numbness was caused by the inflammation and blood from a slightly torn ligament and something else that he tried to draw a picture of. The nurse told him his drawing was poor and unrecognizable.
I have been greeted in the evenings and early mornings by the songs of frogs. The need to breed is driving them all together to the marshy areas, wetlands, storm sewers and other places there is water. Most of the time they will return to the spawning grounds they hopped out of, announcing their presence to possible mates with their music. I have been helping them do so safely and productively for almost 20 years.
Pacific Tree Frog, typical of the ones I see near my home. They are quite small when they first appear (about the size of my thumbnail) and grow to be about the size of my thumb if they live long enough.
Near my home are many marginal and well established wetlands. These include the aforementioned storm drains, ditches (marginal), seasonal ponds (marginal), well established ponds and marsh wetlands (especially in the area around Johnson Creek and the adjacent areas). The frogs I hear and see are mostly tree frogs (family: Hylidae) including Pacific Tree Frogs (Hyla Regilla) and Western Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris Triseriata). Sometimes there are bullfrogs but these are invasive, non-indigenous and tend to eat their smaller cousins.
Coming into the end of April, amphibians have plenty of water. It hasn’t been the wettest of winters in NW Oregon but there is plenty of healthy habitat for now. Some egg laying was observed in early April (some in March as well but there was a couple killing frosts, even snow, in March).
Lots of peeping, croaking all around the town- wherever there is a seasonal or year-round wetland. Froggies lookin’ for love.
It’s still too early to tell how the marginal habitats will fare. More frogs will be coming.
Frogs have been singing sweet songs of romance all spring. Toads, newts and the like have been looking for love in all the wet places. Now is the time to inspect the spawning grounds and see how they are doing.
You may know that globally amphibian populations have been in decline for many years. There are two main causes identified so far: habitat loss and fungal infections (such as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or Bd). Recently a study in central America has found a peculiar statistic: habitats that are disturbed but functional are less likely to have populations affected by infection. This makes habitat near cities and marginal wetlands all the more important.
So, annually, I check for habitat functionality near where I live, in southeast Portland, Oregon. In the inner part of town the wetlands, springs and creeks are underground but out where I live there are many places where frogs and their cousins have been (along with some fish) making babies.
Many years the summer heats up fast and if there hasn’t been enough spring rain I find the marginal habitats along the edges of these spaces dry up before tadpoles can mature. Not that it does much good, but when I see this happening I’ll scoop a few hundred polliwogs out of the muck and stick them in an outdoor aquarium. I feed them flake fish food until they can get out of the tank on their own and eat insects.
The back legs pop out first- almost literally. It’s like one day they are little spermish critters and the next they have legs. The tails shrink, the mouths grow wide and soon the front legs appear. Often within a couple days time the whole lot will just up and climb out to the world. I have chronicled this process here before many times.
This year, as last, I am happy to report healthy habitats, very wet wetlands and a thriving population of tadpoles with plenty of water to keep them until they are ready to hop along into the green spaces. Maybe one will come to your garden.
I walked through Beggar’s Tick today- it looks really good, very wet, seasonal ponds are full. Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to check along the northeastern edge of Sauvie Island where, with the Columbia River 15 feet above flood stage, the wetlands are very healthy. I surmise that all along the nearby rivers the sloughs, estuaries and ponds are happy, healthy and wet.
Excellent year for frogs and their fellow-travelers!
Note: this blog will have it’s 100,00th visitor sometime this week. Maybe tomorrow.
"Yeah, right. You want your meds now? Or do we have to tie you down and give 'em to ya in the butt?"
Really. But that isn’t the point-
When I was about 11 I decided to memorize “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville. I had read the book “Faranheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. I was afraid no one would have the patience to preserve Moby Dick for the book-less future. I made it through the first chapter. Later on I remembered the first page- (goes like this):
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs – commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme down-town is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.
Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall northward. What do you see? –
Herman Melville looked like this:
I personally like the movie with Gregory Peck as Ahab- better than the Patrick Stewart one, although I like Stewart as an actor.
It’s just a classic- you can’t compare it to Peck.
Reminds me of another great book, “A Long Way Gone”, a modern autobiography (by Ishmael Beah) of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone.
When he came here to the US he went to High School. This is an interaction he had with another student:
New York City, 1998
My high school friends have begun to suspect I haven’t told them the full story of my life.
“Why did you leave Sierra Leone?”
“Because there is a war.”
“Did you witness some of the fighting?”
“Everyone in the country did.”
“You mean you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?”
“Yes, all the time.”
I smile a little.
“You should tell us about it sometime.”
Here is a short audio clip from the book read by Beah:
This is how Beah looks today:
From his article in the NY Times:
Sometimes I feel that living in New York City, having a good family and friends, and just being alive is a dream, that perhaps this second life of mine isn’t really happening. Whenever I speak at the United Nations, Unicef or elsewhere to raise awareness of the continual and rampant recruitment of children in wars around the world, I come to realize that I still do not fully understand how I could have possibly survived the civil war in my country, Sierra Leone.
Most of my friends, after meeting the woman whom I think of as my new mother, a Brooklyn-born white Jewish-American, assume that I was either adopted at a very young age or that my mother married an African man. They would never imagine that I was 17 when I came to live with her and that I had been a child soldier and participated in one of the most brutal wars in recent history.
In early 1993, when I was 12, I was separated from my family as the Sierra Leone civil war, which began two years earlier, came into my life. The rebel army, known as the Revolutionary United Front (R.U.F.), attacked my town in the southern part of the country. I ran away, along paths and roads that were littered with dead bodies, some mutilated in ways so horrible that looking at them left a permanent scar on my memory. I ran for days, weeks and months, and I couldn’t believe that the simple and precious world I had known, where nights were celebrated with storytelling and dancing and mornings greeted with the singing of birds and cock crows, was now a place where only guns spoke and sometimes it seemed even the sun hesitated to shine. After I discovered that my parents and two brothers had been killed, I felt even more lost and worthless in a world that had become pregnant with fear and suspicion as neighbor turned against neighbor and child against parent. Surviving each passing minute was nothing short of a miracle.
After almost a year of running, I, along with some friends I met along the way, arrived at an army base in the southeastern region. We thought we were now safe; little did we know what lay ahead.
1994: The First Battle
I have never been so afraid to go anywhere in my life as I was that first day. As we walked into the arms of the forest, tears began to form in my eyes, but I struggled to hide them and gripped my gun for comfort. We exhaled quietly, afraid that our own breathing could cause our deaths. The lieutenant led the line that I was in. He raised his fist in the air, and we stopped moving. Then he slowly brought it down, and we sat on one heel, our eyes surveying the forest. We began to move swiftly among the bushes until we came to the edge of a swamp, where we formed an ambush, aiming our guns into the bog. We lay flat on our stomachs and waited. I was lying next to my friend Josiah. At 11, he was even younger than I was. Musa, a friend my age, 13, was also nearby. I looked around to see if I could catch their eyes, but they were concentrating on the invisible target in the swamp. The tops of my eyes began to ache, and the pain slowly rose up to my head. My ears became warm, and tears were running down my cheeks, even though I wasn’t crying. The veins on my arms stood out, and I could feel them pulsating as if they had begun to breathe of their own accord. We waited in the quiet, as hunters do. The silence tormented me.
The short trees in the swamp began to shake as the rebels made their way through them. They weren’t yet visible, but the lieutenant had passed the word down through a whisper that was relayed like a row of falling dominos: “Fire on my command.” As we watched, a group of men dressed in civilian clothes emerged from under the tiny bushes. They waved their hands, and more fighters came out. Some were boys, as young as we were. They sat together in line, waving their hands, discussing a strategy. My lieutenant ordered a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) to be fired, but the commander of the rebels heard it as it whooshed its way out of the forest. “Retreat!” he called out to his men, and the grenade’s blast got only a few rebels, whose split bodies flew in the air. The explosion was followed by an exchange of gunfire from both sides.
I lay there with my gun pointed in front of me, unable to shoot. My index finger became numb. I felt as if the forest had turned upside down and I was going to fall off, so I clutched the base of a tree with one hand. I couldn’t think, but I could hear the sounds of the guns far away in the distance and the cries of people dying in pain. A splash of blood hit my face. In my reverie I had opened my mouth a bit, so I tasted some of the blood. As I spat it out and wiped it off my face, I saw the soldier it had come from. Blood poured out of the bullet holes in him like water rushing through newly opened tributaries. His eyes were wide open; he still held his gun. My eyes were fixed on him when I heard Josiah screaming for his mother in the most painfully piercing voice I had ever heard. It vibrated inside my head to the point that I felt my brain had shaken loose from its anchor.
But that isn’t what I’m here to talk about today.
First up: Rainbows
I saw a brilliant rainbow on my way home from work the other day. It spanned the sky. I was able to snatch a few pictures from the commuter van in which I was riding. They don’t capture the the thing but I show them anyway. As per usual, click for full size (we aren’t chintzy about picture size at Moonsoup!).
rainbow leaving Salem
Now, some may call me cruel. I love cats. We have 5 cats in my home. Is it so wrong that I would want to dress them up for Halloween?
hats on cats
Self-explanatory. This is not a flattering picture of my wife.
She’s really much prettier. Terrible photo, my bad.
the kids grow- we grow old
Other pictures that have caught my fancy-
Angel Falls, Venezuela
This is why
Hey Jude flowchart
Sky at Powell Butte
Let Grandma see that smile, deary (click it if it doesn’t animate)…
"Good morning, default food-bearing large thing."
Really cool zodiacal picture from ESO
And if you want to see more amazing pictures from ESO go here.
mmmm... ahhh... oh, crap- time to wake up
maybe not so cute, perhaps grotesque…
…okay, back to cute
again, not cute has slipped in
I remember seeing this cat…
Click on the barbarian if he doesn’t animate. Also the ring of hands.
I don’t know why this happens sometimes.
The one below is also supposed to animate. Click if it doesn’t.
Alright. I want to talk to you about something. I have had a whole page dedicated to Roger Ramjet cartoons for quite a while. It’s not like it’s easy to come by these vintage, 1960s shows. I’ve even put them in order. So far I have had zero views. I’m beginning to think I’m wasting upload space. (Speaking of “space”, that’s where I moved the cartoons.)
So, I have a poll. I expect to get about as much response to the poll as I have from Roger Ramjet. But here goes. Vote!
Cute white bats
Free e-books for download (legal, beyond copyright):