Thursday, November 20, 2008

Toe Bumps and The Fatal Rash

It's winter time again here in the bloody arctic circle. A joyous time which brings into my exciting world one of the mysteries of my life: toe bumps. Strange bulbous, red lumps that magically appear on my toes when the weather gets cold. Burning, itchy to the point of pain, globules that appear on one toe, stick around for a few days then disappear only to appear on a different toe, or on a really exciting day, a couple of different toes.

What are these enigmatic toe bumps? Where do they come from? What do they want? I haven't a clue and they aren't talking. Perhaps aliens are abducting me late at night and probing my toes thereby leaving tell tale signs that I just haven't pinpointed yet.

Toe bumps aside, mostly, now I have this rash. Sounds like a personal problem you say. Perhaps you should secretly go to the doctor, you say. And yet, I'd rather air it here in blog fashion so all three of my readers can exclaim over my misfortune.

So I have this rash.....which normally wouldn't be of a great deal of concern, irritation (no pun intended) but not concern except I'm taking this medication. One of those lovely drugs that has a two page list of side effects one being: rare but fatal rash.

The doc told me when she prescribed it that I should watch for a rash on my back so for several months I dutifully looked for a back rash, which, surprisingly enough, I didn't get. Fast forward a few more months to a few days ago when while washing my feet (and aren't we all so glad that I do, indeed, wash my feet?) I discovered a weird looking rash. A foot rash. To go along with my winter toe bumps. Good lord.

Having enough presence of mind to dry off first, I went looking for my husband and told him there was something wrong with my feet. He took a gander and said, in his stating the obvious kind of way, "looks like a rash". Um, gee, thanks honey, that was helpful. We then started pondering, unsuccessfully I might add, what could possibly have caused a bizarre foot rash and finding we didn't have a fucking clue, moved on to other topics assuming that if I died in the night, it was the fatal rash.

Other than the itching, I pretended not to notice said rash until a couple days ago when once again exiting my bathtub I discovered to my great dismay that I now not only have a foot rash, I have an arm, butt cheek and hip rash as well. Lovely. But....I'm not dead so it occurred to me that perhaps it's not the fatal rash but instead is caused by something slightly less insidious rash type thing. Whew, that's a relief. Sort of and yet, not.

So here I the arctic tundra dealing with toe bumps and a non-fatal rash. Perhaps I have mange....some weird human mange that you don't hear about unless you watch that show...that show about weird medical crap people get.

The moral of the story, if you can call it that by any stretch of the imagination, is have some pity for those of us who are grouchy hags in the winter. For all you know we have toe bumps and not so fatal rashes that look like mange. You can tell who were are by the limping and scratching.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Boys Will Be.....Girls?

Thomas Beatie is pregnant again. Has anyone heard this story? (Has anyone not??) The pregnant man? Puhlease…. I think it’s heartwarming that this couple wanted a child and went about all that was necessary to have one. I think it’s fortunate for them that, unlike many couples in similar circumstances, they were able to have a child. That’s great, really. But, BUT, Thomas is NOT a man. He has short hair, he has a moustache, he wears shit kickers and doesn’t have large breasts but he’s not a man.

Here’s a newsflash for you. If you have a VAGINA and a UTERUS, you aren’t a man. You’re a woman or a transsexual/transgendered in transition but you aren’t a man. Seriously. Do I really have to point this out? Am I the only one who noticed? Does anyone in the real world really think that having your breasts surgically removed and taking testosterone makes you a man? Does having breast enlargement and taking estrogen make you a woman? What if a woman has PCOS which makes her produce testosterone and develop male characteristics? Does that now make her a man? If you have a penis but outwardly look feminine, does that make you a woman? Not here in the Heartland of America. Here it makes you a high voiced guy dressing and acting like a woman or a deep voiced woman dressing and acting like a man. Here in the Midwest, if you have a penis, you’re a guy and if you don’t, you’re a girl. We see a lot of cattle and hogs and such....we understand the whole body parts thing.

I’m for gay marriage. I’m for transsexuals/transgendered having gender reassignment surgery so that their bodies match their gender identification. But I’m also for using accurate terms when describing someone’s gender based on genitalia. Men are not able to bear babies so to say that Thomas is a man having a baby just isn’t true. He’s a woman, transitioning to be a man (although he isn’t planning to undergo the final reassignment surgery), who is pregnant. Just because the state of Oregon has agreed to refer to him as male doesn’t make him male. If you have to see the OB/gyn for a pap smear, you ain't a guy.

Have we become so politically correct that we can’t just say what’s what? The pronouns seem to get in the way. We refer to a transsexual in transition as he or she based upon the gender that person intends to become but a guy is still a guy and a girl is still a girl. The pronoun thing is to help make the transition easier for everyone. It’s to help the TS/TG and those around him/her become more comfortable with the change but calling a woman “he” or a man “she” doesn’t make it so. Not to make an inappropriate comparison, but merely to clarify the point, I have a female dog that everyone refers to as “he”. That doesn’t make my dog male.

Thomas is a woman, married to a woman, who has had one baby and is pregnant again. Good for them. I wish all happiness to them and their family but Thomas is not really a man. What he is doing is worth some remark but why is it top news? And why has it been top news for so long? He’s a woman with a moustache who is going to have a baby. So what? My sister-in-law is a woman with a moustache and deeper than average voice who had 5 babies but no one put her on the talk show circuit. Good thing since she can’t get through more than 2 sentences without saying the “F” word. We could all decide to call her “he”, in fact she’s addressed as sir on the phone with some regularity, but she’s not a man either.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

You Do Not Know Everything (aka the hay blog)

Someone explain something to me....preferably a man since they seem to suffer from this disease. Guys, here's a hot news don't know everything. Your way is not always the right way or the smartest way, in fact sometimes it's pretty damned stupid, complicated, dangerous and ill advised. What is it that causes you to think you somehow cornered the market on the right way to do things? Hmmm? Is it a testosterone thing like always wanting to get laid and insisting upon incessantly talking about getting laid and being all proud of yourself every time you do get laid? That must be it....they must be related.

My friend, Lisa, calls it Stupid Girl Syndrome. It's what happens when we're happily completing some task and you, the one with the penis, show up and explain how to do it. Or even more us how. Like, suddenly, having breasts made us incompetent. Has it ever occurred to you that we can function just fine without you around and, at times, that's actually preferable? I can hang pictures, tear off a roof, change a light fixture or outlet, plant and weed a garden, strip copper wire unplug the toilet and any number of other things all by my little self and when I'm done, it's just fine. Everything works fine, everything grows fine, everything turns on and off fine. I don't really need your help. I may humor you because apparently it makes you feel good to help me but for crying out loud....give it rest once in a while.

Remember last year with the hay? Of course no one reading this remembers so let me share that little episode with you. My pasture needed to be hayed. I have no implements with which to do that so we called a guy (cuz as my bro-in-law is known to say, ya got to have a guy) and said, "Hey, guy, wanna come hay our pasture"? Since my particular penis carrier is a city boy, I said tell the guy it needs to be small bales so I can move them around and get them into the barn since the barn loft door is 4' off the ground.

Calls were made. The guy came out and created 47, that's right folks 47, 800 pound bales of hay which measured roughly 5' x 3' each. The guy brought them all up and dumped them in the middle of my driveway while in the process trashing my lawn, newly graveled driveway and drainage culvert. Once he'd gotten them all here, the three men stood around scratching their heads muttering about how they might be able to get them into the barn and stacked. After a suitable period of muttering and scratching they determined that they didn't know how they could do that. Oops, sorry. it falls to am I to get these fucking things into my barn before it rains? And once up there, if we can get them up there, how am I to get them down when I need them? Several hours later with a borrowed forklift that required a 45 minute trip to pick up and a rushed phone call to my father which required his 1 1/2 hour trip out to my place, the hay was finally in the barn.....15 minutes before it rained...and thank goodness for the ox-like strength of good Prussian stock such as my father. Now what part of Get Small Bales wasn't clear to you and the hay guy?

If I need to know how to avoid traffic and find a parking spot at Wrigley Field, you're my guy. If I need to tag or tattoo a cow or hay a field, you won't be my first choice for advice. Here's a helpful tidbit that I'll give you for free: If you're from Chicago (or any other large city) and you've never lived on a farm and you don't know shit about any form of farm life, you might want to ask someone who does. Even if she has breasts.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Boyfriend's Buck....

I live on a farm. Have I mentioned that? Well, I live on a farm. A small farm, what’s referred to around here as a farmette which means not enough land to be a real farm with tractors and cornfields but too much to be called a big yard.

I have specialty cows. Short, black, pastoral looking cows. I make jokes that they’re Italian cows: full sized bodies, short, stubby legs. My Italian husband finds this mildly humorous.

I have chickens, weird looking ducks and loud obnoxious geese. I love them. They make all manner of strange noises and crowd around my feet looking for food which makes me feel like a bizarre Dr. Dolittle.

However, today’s topic is goats. More specifically, rutting buck goats. Deer hunters will have a pretty good idea where I’m going with this. They rest of you just have to wait in suspense.

My buckling, as I call him, is a sweet guy. He’s a Kiko, all white, big horns that will only get bigger and become a hassle but I can’t see having his skull cap cut into to remove them. Ick. And may I say again? Ick.

The problem is Buckling has gone into rut. What’s rut, you ask. Rut means he’s a horny bastard and is doing all the charming things that horny male goats do and it’s not a pretty picture.

Don’t get me wrong. I love goats. They’re funny and sweet and playful. They get all happy whenever I go to see them, even if I don’t have food (unlike aforementioned birds). But, man, rutting bucks are gross.

The rubbing up against the does in a romantic fashion is cute and sweet. The pulling his lips back from over his teeth isn't terribly flattering to his appearance but I can let that slide. However, the recurring pissing on his face is neither cute nor sweet. Yes, that’s right…face pissing. Who’d have thunk it?

Apparently, buck pee is an aphrodisiac for does. I’m glad I’m not a doe. Very glad.
Early on during his rut, Buckling seems to have decided that I will make a nice new addition to his harem of girlfriends. Now, as I mentioned, I love goats but I don’t LOVE goats, if you catch my meaning.

It happened like this: I decided to sit in the pasture communing with the critters and trying to desensitize the calves to my presence so they would let me move them around with the ultimate goal of piercing their ears with huge orange tags. They didn’t know that though. That's a good thing as they frown on that particular procedure.

Buckling approached looking as though he wanted some neck rubs so I obliged. However, instead of moving on to eat grass or belch up nitrogen gas, he continued to rub his head on my back and shoulders. Hmmm…what’s that about, I asked myself. Then it occurred to me. Ut Oh, Buckling finds me attractive; in a romantic sort of way. Not good since he weighs more than I can easily handle and, did I mention, has really big horns? While I kept pushing him away – pushing on his side, not his horns as I didn’t want him to decide I was challenging him – he kept coming back for more head rubbing on my extremities. Still not good so I left the pasture. Never let your head be below that of a rutting buck. Apparently, that’s a bit of an invitation and not one I’d like to offer. Luckily I don't have a tail to flag or I'd have been in serious trouble.

After conferring with my online goat list I was given a couple of suggestions. Spray him in the face with ammonia water or whack him with something. Goat whacking, you’re thinking. How awful. How abusive. How un-PETA like. Those are the thoughts that come from people who have never had a horny, 150 lb buck sidling up to them for a little afternoon delight.

To add to my dismay, I made a trip to the post office to mail whatever. Some guy walked in and I smelled a skunk type smell so I after he left, I asked the post office lady if she smelled skunk. She said, “I smell something but I’m not sure what it is”. I offered that the dog and I had been precariously close to a skunk the night before and I wondered if perhaps it had sprayed us after all. She assured me that I didn’t stink. Whew. Until…until I strolled over to the trash can to throw some superfluous paper thing away at which time she said, ”Oh, yeah, it’s you”. Now there’s a way to make friends..go out in public smelling like a skunk.

On the way back home, I was pondering the skunk experience and wondering how it could have sprayed me without spraying the dog who certainly didn’t smell like anything other than dog when it suddenly came to me. BUCKLING! Buck piss! Yummy…now I smell like buck piss. Ugh.

To make a long embarrassing story slightly longer, when a buck wants you to be his girlfriend, wash your coat right away. And when he tries to woo you further, a cut off 2x4 across his brow ridge is an excellent way to change his mind.
Don’t try this at home folks…..

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And Here They Are....

Neurotic, howling, whining dog, my sweety

Big neurotic, howling, whining dog with hyper, bitey dog
Psycho goat mauling dog and new neurotic dog

Former hyper, bitey dog

New bitey dog voted
New neurotic dog (the red), little not so neurotic and yet bitey dog.

It Really Isn't My Fault

I have animals. Actually, I have a lot of animals. When I met up with my current spouse my father told him I'd "animal him to death". Maybe that's true....but he doesn't seem to mind. Mostly.

I had cats growing up and when I moved out on my own, I wanted cats again. So I told my then spouse that I was going to get a cat and he said, basically, over his dead body. So I got a cat. He was a little insecure but a lovely cat all around.

Then I got another. A year or so later, another, and at the end, we had 4 cats. All sweet little things except the Siamese who had an attitude. She liked me but that was about the extent of her social graces. The rest had, um, some issues.

I moved on. New man, new cats; slightly neurotic cats. But it wasn't my fault. Really. Strays have issues. Strays living in a noisy house with kids, one of whom wants to dress them up in doll clothes, have bigger issues.

Then...oh yes then, we got dogs. 5 indoor cats weren't quite enough animal husbandry. We required larger, more unruly, creatures in our immediate living space. Bring on the dogs. Loud, barking, trash eating, hole digging, mud rolling, poop eating creatures who loved me unconditionally, usually while covered in cow shit.

The first two were nice, calm, bright dogs until one got creamed by a truck 3 weeks after we brought her home. Not a good day. The other was a fabulous dog, even though she was afraid to go into the house. No clue why... but she figured it out and from then on, was everything you would want in a dog other than the running off to tear up the neighbor's garbage but, hey, she's a dog.

Then the neighborhood kids thought we needed another stray dog so they brought a barking, running off machine of a dog. I love animals but I could have choked the life out of that one with my bare hands. I found her a new home so she could annoy someone else.

Soon-to-be-ex-hubby decided I needed a puppy so along came the sweetest, most neurotic and needy dog I've ever met. Loved him to pieces but he had issues. I'm talking issues like ISSUES. Nice of the former owner to tell me that his mama was so neurotic she ate his sofa. Ate the sofa. Didn't tear it up a little bit. Didn't pull the liner out from under it. ATE IT. Nice....this is information he probably should have shared with me. Before mine ate a hole through the kitchen wall. Before he chewed the upstairs woodwork. Before he ate two of my favorite pairs of shoes. Um, yeah, I'd have liked to have known that. But it wasn't my fault he was a bit, um, insecure. I got him that way.

New spouse, same dog plus spouse's disobedient, thinks she a bloody cat, snooty dog. Mine glued to my hip as usual. Whining like the world is coming to an end if I left without him. Running beside the quad or truck as I drove them wherever I was driving them. Bringing me baby things: birds, squirrels, rabbits, never breaking the skin, because he knew I like them. Sitting in the driveway looking despondantly up the road until he saw me coming home. Gotta love that kind of devotion. Me that is. He drove everyone else insane. Whining, howling, up yer butt affection. Short drive to the land of insanity although everyone loved the howling. But I didn't make him that way. He came that way.

Old, snooty dog went off to where old snooty dogs go and in came a new dog. Hyper, loud, funny as hell dog. Bit everyone, in the nicest sort of way. Not mean biting; hyper, unruly, poorly trained cattle dog biting. Spouse thought this was funny. I wanted to choke them both.

Lost both dogs. Sad. Got a new dog. An unknown dog with unknown genetics and a major fixation with goats. Not good. A fence charging, goat mauling, completely loving little terror of a cattle dog. He had to go. But before he went, I paid an outrageous amount of money to get yet another cattle dog from a rescue. Another sweet little dog...with issues.

Goat mauling dog moved on to someone without goats. Sweet, neurotic dog stayed and spouse again remarked that I made her that way. She came that way. She's my big dog reincarnated or something, without the adorable howling and not so much whining. Still up yer butt and under your feet. Still miserable when not in my company. Still whines pitifully when she's outside and I'm in. Picture this: cute little dog sitting outside my smoking window whimpering to come in and sit in my glowing, god-like presence. Yeah....unh huh, but not my fault.

Spouse decides we need another dog to keep her company (keep him company) from the same gene pool as the original biting cattle dog so off we go to the cattle dog farmer's house to order up a new dog. I picked her. I like calm, smart, sweet, non-aggressive dogs. She's that. She's a sweety. She bites spouse. He thinks it's funny, that is until she draws blood. Which happens almost daily. And he thinks I make them weird?

This one doesn't have issues. She's not noticeably neurotic. Further proof and vindication that I don't make them that way.

I take in strays mostly. I take in animals that have issues and behavioral oddities. I take them because most of the time, no one else wants them. They remind me of...well, of me. I take them because their quirks don't bother me; I have quirks of my own. We meld well. We bond. But I don't make them that way.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nope, I don't get out much

I'm one of those people you don't talk to much, unless you're my family, a close friend or a mom on my listserv. However, this spring my hubby, fondly referred to as The Sicilian, and I decided we spend too much time at home (usually in the garage) talking to each other, the dogs and miscellaneous livestock. Homey, yes, intellectually stimulating...not so much.

So since then, we've been meeting people. A lot of these people are strange, but that's a different blog, but some are nice, regular people. It's nice to meet new people. It's entertaining in most cases and we've made some friends; people who come to visit which isn't the norm for me but it's hard too. It's hard for me to go meet new people. It's hard for me to make conversation, that light "how is the weather, you have how many kids, what do you do for a living" conversation. I don't do chit-chat. Why? Because I don't get out much and because of that, I live largely in my brain and not at dinner tables or social events.

It seems almost every time we meet someone, that person will ask if I've been to such-and-such or seen thus-and-so or travelled over there. My response, "I don't get out much". Women will ask if I've gone shopping at such place and my got it. It goes on and on and people think I'm being witty and sarcastic which to some degree I am but the truth of it is, I don't get out much. Seriously.

Case in point: I'm sitting in my living room, listening to who knows what on the tv (I'm not paying attention). It's too cold to be in the garage where I can look out at my farmer view and listen to the birds making their bird noises, the dogs barking and playing, the goats doing goat things and the cows mooing and making that odd, unreproduceable noise they make when they're playing. Yes, cows play. I should have taken a bath and should have already gone to town (that's what we say out here in the provinces where it takes about 20 minutes to get to someplace that sells something you might need, quaint huh?). I need to go to the bank. I need to buy dog food cuz the puppies are looking at me with those mopey puppy eyes that say, "why are you starving us to death when we love you?"

I haven't taken a bath yet or gone to town yet because sometimes I can't. Yep, that sounds stupid but sometimes I can't. I can't get up off of the chair or the sofa and go do something productive. I can't go out to my truck, start it up and drive to the nearest town to pick up dog food or put money in the bank or buy the icky lunch stuff that The Sicilian takes to work. I can't.

I don't really know why I can't. I feel maybe I'm unmotivated but that's not it. It's not that I don't want to do those things, it's just....I can't. It's frustrating and people think I'm odd or a loser or anti-social (which isn't completely untrue) or whatever it is that people think but don't say out loud in my presence. Probably a good thing they don't actually.

My sister writes about me in vague terms in order to not draw attention or embarrass me. She's very good about that because she knows...she knows that it's not always easy for me to be "normal". She knows that I don't always answer my phone because I can't. It's not that I don't want to talk to you, it's that I can't answer my phone. It's that I can't take one more thing, I can't hear one more thing, I can't risk one more thing being wrong or stressful or someone saying something nasty to me that I can't deal with. It's a problem, but it's who I am these days.

Every day, several times a day, I log into Yahoo IM as invisible. You can't see me, you don't know I'm there. I watch who logs in and who logs out but I don't say anything because I can't. I might want to but I just can't. I can't carry on the chatty conversation that IM requires and those long pauses that take place when I can't think of anything to say make the person on the other end uncomfortable. So I just watch.

I receive over 100 emails a day. Every morning I make my tea and sit down at my computer to check my email. I scroll through all the messages looking for the ones from my sister and my step-daughter. Then I read the ones from my list ladies and after those are done, I read the jokes, etc from other people but some days I can't. On those days I look for my sister and step-daughter's messages, read those and then log off. Then I sit and wonder what the other ones say. I wonder who is having a good day, who got to speak to her kid, who is upset and may need what I may say to her, but I can't read them. I can't write back. I have to wait until I can and that may be in 3 hours or in 3 days.

I miss being me. I miss the time when the only major problem I had, besides crying more than other people, was not being able to go into a new restaurant by myself. Drive thru is great and no one thinks you're strange if you go to the drive thru.

My friends, most of whom I've never met in person, find me sympathetic, empathetic, practical, to the point, realistic and sometimes painfully honest and blunt. They don't know that I don't get out much. All they know is that I'm always there when they need someone to talk to. It may take a while, but I'm there. That's not so bad, is it?

But I wish I could go out. By myself. Being productive. Doing things other people wish, want or need me to do for them. Doing the things that I want to do. Visiting people, like my sister. I wish I could....but I don't get out much.