Archive: Jun 2010

Pullet not poulet

My chicks are turning into pullets which means I’m better able to tell them apart. I’ve named two of them thus far: Capucine and Genvieve.

Here’s the list I’m working from to name the remaining six:

Empty nest

Last night I went to bed inside while my chicks went to bed outside for the first time. They were hatched and mailed to me a month ago exactly. In that time their cotton ball bodies have grown lanky with sporadic feathers and startling large wings. When they started to fly across the pen yesterday afternoon during their outside play date, I knew it was time.

Like all parents, we worried they were growing up too fast. It would be too cold (yes, we live in MS where it hasn’t been anything near cold in months), too windy, too dangerous, just too soon. We worried our adult hen would eat them or even a snake would come to get them. We checked on them until we went to bed. All seemed well. The babies on one side of the coop huddled together, and Paulette asleep on a roosting bar. No signs of attempted entry from raccoons, coyotes, or reclusive small black bears whose kin Teddy Roosevelt once hunted here and who were then named after him (it’s a true Story see wiki).

We went to sleep not to the sound of chirps but to our thoughts of what we would do if we woke up and one or several were dead. They are definitely too big now to flush, and the ones I can tell apart from the others have names. I tried to clean thoughts of little burials from my head as I walked to check on them this morning.

All were alive, hiding from Paulette best they could. Paulette was just demanding to be let out to start her foraging for the day. I guess my mother’s instinct was correct. They were ready and despite her fussing, so was she.


My friend from graduate school Kristen forwarded this email to me today at 11:


Our friend and colleague Richard Patteson has passed away.

Jack White and Carlene are at Richard’s house now; they found him slumped over his desk. The coroner is on the way, but we do know that his cancer had metastasized and that he had been receiving radiation treatments.

At this point, I know nothing about funeral/memorial arrangements. Please know that I will keep you informed. In the meantime, I know that you will keep Richard in your thoughts and prayers.


I didn’t see it until I got back from my disaster training in Tupelo early this evening.

Patteson was a friend. He’s the one who told me I should consider graduate school. I was 19. I had to ask him what it was. I cannot imagine life without having gotten my master’s degree. It was such a defining period where I learned so much about myself and the world. Thus far, it has been the best time of my life. He was a large part of that. I have photos from one of the graduate seminars we had at his house, all of us smiling with him in the middle.

Daniel had taken his scifi class. He thought a lot of D, and that meant a lot to me. It’s not easy being an English major who marries a scientist.

I did a Directed Individual Study with him and worked to develop a paper on Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera for submission to publication. I wasn’t even an English graduate student at the time. I had graduated, but I needed some credit hours to receive an assistantship in foreign languages, and I needed the help to turn a shorter paper into credible research article. Then I was very much focused on attaining my PhD so I could be like him and my other professors.

Actually it was my introduction to Marquez by him that inspired me to learn Spanish. Without his influence, I would have never spent a month in Spain. Would have never befriended Miguel in Mexico this April. I would not be the me you know today.

He was one of my recommendation writers and one of my job references.

He was there long after I graduated, when many of my former English dept friends were not. I remember him whispering to me at my engagement party that he and I were the best dressed people there.

I emailed him in May and he responded. He didn’t mention his health was fading though I knew he had cancer. I did not know it was getting worse instead of better.

I already miss him.

Oh Lillie

We ended up going for a night walk last night with the girls and our friend DK. We had been walking maybe an hour or so when Lillie started to have one of her seizures. She walked really slow and started trembling. These are her seizures. She’s aware. She wants us. She shakes and stretches out her legs. In terms of seizures they’re pretty mild.

D had to carry her all the way back to the car. So we went home and she calmed down and was moving around. Then she had another one which has never happened before. She has only ever had just one. So then she calmed down and we were in the bed asleep and she had another one. I called the vet school who said we should bring her in and they’d watch her and sedate her, which I didn’t like at all. Lillie has some issues emotionally and being a strange place all drugged up and away from us would be very stressful for her, and I didn’t want that to cause another seizure, so I called T, our friend who is finishing up her Vet degree, and she happened to be on duty at the vet school last night. T told us to bring her in, and she’d take care of her. It’s good to have friends, especially friends in vet school. So we brought her in because Lillie knows T, and T promised me that if they kept her they wouldn’t put her in a crate (Lillie does not take tight quarters well) but instead would baby gate her off in the main office where they hang out, and she’d watch her if they decided she needed to stay overnight.

Well they evaluated her and told us the same thing we had been told before after the first seizure. Seizures happen for a number of reasons. As long as it’s not happening every month, it’s manageable. All the things to figure out why they happen would be invasive and expensive, and the truth is most of the time they never figure it out anyway. They just end up eliminating things that could be causing it and the treatment is usually the exact same. They gave us some medicine so when it happens again, we can give it to her and stop the seizure in 30 seconds and prevent more from happening. If they start being really frequent, we should come back because there is everyday medicine she can take to prevent them, but as we were told before those side effects would be worse than her brief shaking episodes and are more for dogs with bad seizures all the time.

We got in the bed really late. Lillie has had no more seizures. Our exciting life continues on.

Thinking green

ING posted my May blog in June. It’s fun you get to hear my voice if you’re into that sort of thing.

Ah spring, the season of green grass, green trees, and greenbacks. For me, this spring has been marked in green by the return of my gardening addiction (no interventions, please) and my first identity theft experience.

Part 1: I’ve never even heard of that city in Georgia
A few Sunday ago, I went to pay bills—only to see I had no money. All I saw were transactions draining my checking account, one drug store at a time. First, I panicked. I had my debit card in my wallet. I hardly use the thing. I could barely remember the last time I used it, and it wasn’t in Georgia, especially in three places I had never been.

Read or listen to the rest at Thinking green, especially when some jerk in Georgia has ripped you off.

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