Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vultures on the Roof

During my daily walks around my subdivision, I can't help but notice that one of my neighbors has a vulture infestation.

That's right - a whole covey or flock (or whatever) of vultures, of all beasties, have taken to lining up in a row across the very peak of his roof.

Now vultures aren't cute like sparrows or doves; they're huge, black, hulking preditors with scary, hungry eyes, dagger-like talons and an ominous, sharp beak that could rip a body to shreds. And often does.

But the thing is, vultures eat dead things. They're raptorial birds that exist almost entire on carrion. If a creature is running, hopping, limping, or even still squirming, they won't touch it. They'll wait patiently, stalking the poor critter until it finally kicks the bucket.

So I wonder what the heck those vultures on that roof are waiting for? They wouldn't be hanging around if there wasn't plenty to eat. They'd take off for deader pastures.

Now this puzzles me.

The more I think about it, I begin to wonder if maybe I don't have vultures on my own roof. Maybe not the beak and feathers kind, but some sort of nasty, formless, spiritual predators who continue to lurk around because I keep them well fed with dead stuff.

Yep, I discard tons of dead stuff ... failed relationships, half-cocked ideas that I never got around to thinking through to fruition, projects that I started but never completed. A vulture's smorgasboard of demise, dissolution and decay.

They're up there, circling, hovering, waiting. I just know it.

I don't want them peering at me with their black, beady eyes any more, stalking me ... waiting on me to falter at something else so they can sink their bloody talons in.

So what do you think? How do I shake the vulture paranoia and shoo the horrible creatures away?

(Stay tuned for the next installment of vulture fumigation 101!)


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Power of Descriptions

I was in a bread store today, headed down the aisle to pick up my regular two loaves of honeywheat, when I overheard a conversation that grabbed my attention.

Tall, freckled, mousy-haired woman: "Hey, Edna, I haven't seen your Ruthie since she was in kindygarden. What does she look like now that she's all growed up?"

Short, fat, frizzy-haired woman: "Well, I reckon she looks a lot like me - petite but maybe a little chubby, with wavy hair and glasses."

I did a double take. Was she serious? I would NOT have described the 200-lb woman speaking as "petite" or even "a little chubby" in a million years. Maybe "obese," "rotund," or "dumpy."

Nor would I have thought of her thin, wispy hair as "wavy" - I think "curly" might have been too generous. Think Brillo Pad or Chia Pet here.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that few of us probably describe ourselves as others do - because we perceive ourselves in a way that preserves as much self-esteem as possible. And that's a good thing. If we don't think of ourselves in a positive light, who else will?

I think it's time to tweak the way I think of people - even in the privacy of my own head. I would much rather give someone the dignity that comes along with being "svelte" as opposed to "skinny;" "big boned" rather than "behemouth;" "mature" instead of "old;" "assertive" instead of "pushy."

And I hope they do me the same service.

Signing off,
Your frosted (not graying),
flowing-haired (not split-ended),
healthy (not plump),
energetic (not ADD),
au natural (no make-up on at the present),
friend (even if you don't know me, you'd like me better if you thought of me as a friend),

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In the Beginning ...

I was reviewing some interesting (and a bit offbeat) notes I'd jotted down during my recent study of Genesis and thought I'd share a few of them with you. I'd love to hear your comments!

1. Gen 4:1 - Right after Eve had a big falling-out with God, she named her new baby Cain, which means, "With the help of the Lord." Cool. After all she'd been through with the forbidden fruit and getting kicked out of the Garden of Eden (blowing it for all humanity and all), she still was able to get past the anger and guilt and recognize where her blessings came from.

2. Gen 4:13-14 - Cain's response to punishment for his sin (murder of his brother) was not remorse and repentance, but self-pity. So how do I respond when caught in sin ... defensiveness? Anger? Self-pity?

3. Gen 4:16 - You can actually choose to leave the Lord's presence; Cain did. Do I?

4. Gen 4:26 - the beginning of "church" upon the arrival of Seth to Adam and Eve (after Seth had a son). Now we can do "church" anytime, anywhere.

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's a Rocky Road!

Call me a marshmallow. I guess I am when it comes to my little furry friends.

Take Rocky, for instance. He's not even my dog (he belongs to my daughter, pictured left), but the poor little guy is so needy, I can't help but sympathize. He was recently whining in pain from a slipped disc, so to help immobilize the lesion site, I used my occupational therapy splinting skills to make him a little body brace.

What an ordeal! You just haven't lived until you've made a squirmy 5-lb dog a body brace. And then it never occurred to me to check the placement of the belly straps until he stood pathetically looking up at us in the yard when we told him to go potty. Turns out one of the straps was directly over his little wiener. When we removed it, he went for 30 solid seconds.

Live and learn. That particular problem never came up in my 30+ years of fabricating splints for humans.

I don't know if it's a "tiny dog" problem or just Rocky, but the little fellow shivers practically nonstop from October until March. If the temp dips below 65, he quivers like a tower of Jello. We've taken to heating up a beanbag and slipping it under the blanket in his doggie bed. If we forget, he stands beside the bed shaking from head to tail like his paw is stuck in the electrical outlet, giving us the puppy-dog eyes until we get up and pop the thing in the microwave.

The other day I got home around noon and walked into the bedroom. I noticed the electric blanket light beaming from my bedside stand, so I went over to turn it off., My husband Chuck, who isn't exactly known for his canine affinities, popped up behind me, saying, "What are you doing?"

"Oh, I must have left the electric blanket on this morning," I replied. "I'm just turning it off."

"No, don't do that," he said, looking sheepish.

It was then I noticed a small lump beneath the bed covers. The lump moved. For heaven's sake - the man who outwardly had little sympathy for four-legged creatures had put the dog in our bed and turned on the electric blanket.

Go figure.

Made me think about the way God treats me - I'm so needy and dependant on his sympathy to get by day to day. He splints my boo-boos, cleans up after my mistakes, and when I turn my poor pathetic puppy-dog eyes upward and beg for his mercy, He's more than happy to take me into His bed and turn up the heat.

I couldn't be more thankful for His traveling mercies on my own Rocky Road!