Ravens I Have Known

I love crows and ravens! There are a couple of magnificent ravens I have known personally. According to Wikipedia, “because of its black plumage, croaking call, and diet of carrion, the raven has long been considered a bird of ill omen and of interest to creators of myths and legends.” I think he’s gotten a bum rap!

Ravens are exceptionally intelligent. One time I was playing fiddle by myself in a California State Park. A raven was circling overhead and I swear he was trying to sing. Every time I stopped playing for a minute, he chimed in with his croaky raven voice. We made a nice concert, the two of us. I stayed there for hours.

Another special raven I knew once was one who lived at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo in the 1960s. (For Chicagoans who might remember, his cage was close to the big canoe near the Zoo Rookery.) This bird had an eye for a shiny coin and would trade with me for hours. I’d give him a coin (he liked silvery dimes and quarters the best but would show interest in a shiny copper penny– otherwise I’d have gone broke!). He’d examine the coin thoroughly, cocking his head back and forth to see it with one eye at a time. Then he’d hop to the back of his big cage, place the coin in his stash, and then pick out a stick or a stone which he’d offer to me in trade. The shiniest coins would result in the most attractive stick or stone. I wish I had saved them.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a raven in a long time. I miss them.

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My battle with exercise

I have a well developed habit of avoiding exercise, going back to the years when exercise could have been life-threatening for me.  I had severe asthma as a kid and as a preventive measure, I was told “don’t run, don’t get too excited, stay put….”  There were no medications or inhalers at the time and it was a common and legitimate way of managing that disease.

But now, when it’s no longer necessary, those “don’t run” messages are still with me. Exercise is the best thing I can be doing for myself at this point. Yet I still get into struggles with myself about it.

I have been in physical therapy for the past few weeks to increase my strength and balance.  At my age, there is a danger of falling and the therapy is doing wonders for me.  But this morning, I again had to fight with the old messages to get myself to get myself to go.

My commitment to life includes continuing the PT and then continuing with an 8 week program for people who have just completed PT and want to slowly start an exercise program with coaches and trainers who understand my limits.  I will continue from there.

I don’t think the old messages will ever completely leave me.  But I know where they live and I am working to replace them with new ones.  I can and will do this.

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The thing about steroids

I feel better than great.  I think it might be from the dose of prednisone that was prescribed for me to relieve inflammation in my lungs.  I have experienced these effects before.  Besides helping my lung inflammation, most or all of my usual daily aches and pains are gone.  Any little skin conditions are cleared up.  I feel strong.  I am sleeping less, feeling stronger, rarin’ to go!  I feel 20 to 30 years younger.

I can understand why athletes take steroids and it helps them win.  When my body doesn’t hurt and I have more energy, I can go farther and faster than ever before.  I am rarin’ to go.

The problems with taking steroids are great and serious.  There are many possible dangerous side effects.  The medication can be taken only for a short period of time and then must be tapered off.

Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms are common.  If I had unlimited use of this drug, I could become addicted and it could kill me.  I am now in the tapering off process.  I will have to do that.  My aches and pains and other little irritations will come back.  I am sad about that.

I will greatly miss my prednisone.

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The Escape of the Chocoholic Cat

I know chocolate is not supposed to be good for cats, but since I am a confirmed chocoholic, there was often some around the house. I found out that my cat, Squeaky, liked it because once, I brought home a couple of yummy cupcakes covered with chocolate chips for me and my boyfriend. While we were in the kitchen getting a glass of milk, Squeaky ate all the chocolate chips from the top of the cakes. Who knew? Thank goodness, there were no ill effects.

This knowledge came in handy a few months later. I lived in an attic apartment in an old house at the time. I was taking a shower and noticed a cat face peering in the window of my bathroom from outside. It was Squeaky! I had no idea how she had gotten out there so I searched the apartment and found a small tear in the window extension on my old air conditioner. She had squeezed out of the little hole onto the roof and had made her way across to the window on the other side of the house.

The question now was how to get her back into the apartment? I called her and she came back to the other side of the roof, near the air conditioner window. I stuck my hand out of the hole and petted her. She definitely appreciated that, but she would not let me grab her to pull her back inside. I tried baiting her with cat food, a piece of meat, some cheese. She ate it, but backed away as she was eating. What to do, what to do??

Then I remembered that there was chocolate pudding in the refrigerator. I went and got some, took a spoonful and inserted it out through the hole. She lapped it up long enough for me to get a grip on a paw, and success!! Kitty back inside. I let her finish the spoonful of pudding as a reward for letting me catch her, repaired the hole as best I could and thankfully, there were no more escape incidents like that one. Phew!

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Feistylynnie's Blog

Years ago, when I used to take horseback riding lessons, we often had a schooling horse show at the stable. If you wanted to ride one of the school horses, they put all the horses names in a hat and whatever name you pulled out of the hat was your entry. In one particular show, I rode in the English Pleasure Class and out of about 16 horses entered, I drew a horse nicknamed “Miss Piggy.” She had another, more formal name, but she was so badly behaved, everybody called her by her nickname. I was a pretty good rider, but I knew there was no way I was going to win the class on that bad girl. True to her name, Miss Piggy bucked, wouldn’t stay on the rail, spooked in the corners and did every bad thing she could think of. Knowing I couldn’t win, I just laughed…

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The Ducks In Line at “Wendy’s”

Upon looking back at some of this blog’s titles, it seems that I have had quite a number of run-ins with birds! Here’s another memorable avian encounter!

It was one of those very, very cold January days in Chicago, several years ago. During my lunch hour from work, I decided to go through a Wendy’s drive through line to buy my lunch. As the line of cars slowly approached the pick up window, I noticed that there were three mallard ducks several cars in front of me. Yes, the ducks were in line between the cars!

As each car drove away from the pick up window, the ducks moved out of the line and then walked back in behind the next car. They repeated this after each car drove away to the window. It suddenly occurred to me that they had discovered a very unique way to keep warm in the below-freezing weather that day — in the car exhaust!

I wished them well, breathing in all that stuff. And, oh how I wished I had a video camera that day! I’m sure that unique film would have ended up on the evening news.

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Feistylynnie's Blog

I love Disneyland, and I love Disney World even more. They are the best get-away-from-it-all vacations I can think of. Those places are not only fun and entertaining, the staff is spectacular! The secret seems to be is that every single employee is highly trained to take extremely good care of the customers. Bottom line, they are all paid to be nice to us. Heaven!

But one time, at Disneyland, I had a horrible experience. I went on the “It’s a Small World Ride.” For those of you who have never experienced that, you ride in a little boat through room after room of dancing and singing dolls, all singing the same song. In the room where the dolls have Chinese costumes, they sing the song in Chinese. When the boat travels through the Holland room, the dolls sing it in Dutch. I can stand it for 10 minutes or…

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I have THE Solution! But is there even a problem? (THE JACK STORY)

Last night, when I got home, there was a message on my voice mail saying “This is (my landlord).  Please call me.”  My mind immediately jumped into gear.  What could he possibly want? And it was too late then to call him back. I would have to wait until tomorrow.  

Was my rent late?  No.. it wasn’t.  The check has already cleared.  Was it about my upcoming lease renewal?  Probably not, because his assistant has already contacted me and everything is in process.  Did they need access to my apartment?  

Or worse!  Had  they needed to get in to fix a problem while I was out?  THAT must be it! They went into my apartment.  It was too messy.  Some stuff was on the floor and not put away.  I hadn’t gotten around to vacuuming the carpet.  The kitchen had some dishes in the sink…  Had I taken out the garbage?  I don’t know!  OMG, OMG, OMG… what if they are going to evict me or not renew my lease!  What will I do??

And then I remembered early television pioneer Danny Thomas’s famous “Jack Story.” Here it is for anyone who hasn’t heard it:

                                                  THE JACK STORY, by Danny Thomas

There’s this traveling salesman who gets stuck one night on a lonely country road with a flat tire and no jack. So he starts walking toward a service station about a mile away, and as he walks, he talks to himself. “How much can he charge me for renting a jack?” he thinks. “One dollar, maybe two. But it’s the middle of the night, so maybe there’s an after-hours fee. Probably another five dollars. If he’s anything like my brother-in-law, he’ll figure I got no place else to go for the jack, so he’s cornered the market and has me at his mercy. Ten dollars more.”

He goes on walking and thinking, and the price and the anger keep rising. Finally, he gets to the service station and is greeted cheerfully by the owner: “What can I do for you, sir?” But the salesman will have none of it. “You got the nerve to talk to me, you robber,” he says. “You can take your stinkin’ jack and . . .”

The next day:  I called the landlord back.  He said “We were turning on the air conditioning in the building and your parking space is above the access to the building’s unit.  We thought we needed to have you move your car, but since you were out yesterday, the problem was solved.  Thanks.”

How many times have I jumped the gun, made assumptions and created scenarios from them, worked myself into a state, and acted in accordance… but of course, not with what was REALLY happening in the moment? How much undue fear, worry, self-torture have I committed in the name of “What if…?”  

Lesson learned again!  I hope… until the next time it happens.  Ahhh me! 

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