Tibia Comic

I apologize for disappearing for a couple weeks, yet again. I keep intending to write, and then I just put it off. Shame on me.

Enjoy a comic made by Hubby in Iraq! It’s based on a game called Tibia. (I used to call Tibia a graphical MUD, but it’s also kind of an MMORPG…) Click to enlarge.

001 Snakebiterod

Dish-Hater

I just have to say it. I hate dishes. I hate them so much. The world would be a better place without the need to wash dirty dishes. The sad thing? I have a dishwasher! In fact, I’ve always had a dishwasher (from age 10 onward, pretty much)! And yet I still hate dishes. This is why you will find my sink constantly filling up with piles of dirty dishes.

I make resolutions. From NOW ON I’m going to empty the dishwasher as soon as it’s done and put all my dishes in there as I use them. Then all I have to do is press start when it’s full! Or I look up tips online for how to make the chore easier. Does any of it help? No. I still hate dishes.

I blame my upbringing. I mean, there’s just no other explanation! Dishes aren’t that bad, when you really think about it! In fact, though unloading the dishwasher feels like a huge task, it usually takes less than 5 minutes from start to finish! So my dread of it and disdain is really unfounded. It’s silly! But I can’t help it, and it must be because when I was a pre-teen and teenager, I had two main responsibilities. Dishes and lawn-mowing. And now? I hate them both.

Thankfully, I only very rarely have to mow the lawn, now that I have a big strong husband (and, when he’s gone, a big strong lawn-service-guy).

But dishes still fall to me. They fell to me when I lived with my parents, when I lived with my sister, when I lived alone, when I lived with a roommate, and now that I live with my hubby. And that has to be it. That has to be why I can’t stand them – simply because they’ve always been my job, and the job began to grate on me.

So how do I conquer this? Really, I figure someone must have a word or two of advice! (But don’t tell me to put it on Hubby’s chore list, because I’ve already thought of that Smile with tongue out )

Milspouse Friday Fill-In #44

Wife of a Sailor hosts this weekly meme for military spouse bloggers. I participated twice before, and I can’t remember why I stopped! It’s fun, and I’d like to try it out again! Here are today’s questions…

(Click to see previous Fill-Ins)

friday fill in

  1. When you vacation what type of vacation do you like to take (beach, historic, adventurous, food oriented, etc.)?

    I am always, always up for a beach vacation. I’ve never lived near a beach, but when I was younger I would visit my dad in the summers, and we would spend a weed or two in Florida fishing off the pier and fishing/swimming at the beach – sometimes watching the July 4th fireworks there. I love the ocean!
  2. What is your best memory associated with a song (you know we all have tons!)

    My first ever real date was with my now-Hubby while he was on leave during his second deployment. We had an amazing night in Ft. Worth, TX, starting with sushi (my first time!), and ending with a moon-lit carriage ride around the city and a sweet drink at a jazz bar. In the middle of all that, we went to a concert to see Alpha Rev, a band we’d never heard of before but ended up absolutely loving. Every time I hear the song American Jesus I remember that night and how perfect it was. Smile (No, it’s not a Christian song. I actually don’t know what it’s about. Ask my Hubby.)

  3. If you had six months with no obligations or financial constraints, what would you do with your time?

    Well, would my husband also have no obligations? I think we would probably make a trip to Australia and then go tour around Europe for a while. Have a very lengthy second honeymoon! lol This probably sounds rather selfish of me, but I’ve been so long without him, I really can’t think of any less selfish ambitions I’d want to focus on! Maybe finding/buying some land and building a house? Can you do that in 6 months?
  4. What is one thing about you that people do NOT typically notice at first that you wish they would?

    The only thing that really comes to mind is… when people meet me, they ask what I do. And somehow I always end up sounding really pathetic, and they’re not sure what to say. I wish people could recognize that even without a day job and without being a student, I still keep busy and I still have a brain. I “do” lots of stuff! In fact, right now I’m finding myself slightly overcommitted with my various goals… I’m studying one book with my Sunday school class, another book in another Bible study at church, another book with a different group, plus I’m doing my daily Bible study, and I’m reading various marriage books and novels, managing our finances, trying to become a better housekeeper, trying to potty train my cat (still!) and grow various plants and stay active!
  5. It’s a summer of sequels, and if you had to live in one of each of the following “worlds” (there are three total) which would you choose and why? 
    –X-Men: Be a Mutant, what would your power be?
    –Harry Potter: Be a Witch or Muggle?
    –Twilight: Be a Vampire or Werewolf?

    Obviously I would be a witch in the Harry Potter world. That one interests me most. To actually live around vampires? I don’t think I’d like that…

Thankful Thursday

I’ve been thinking all year that I wish I had specific things to post on specific days, but I’ve had trouble thinking of topics to use for that. Well, now I’ve been inspired by my buddy Lisa at The Army Chaplain’s Wife. Interestingly, I’m feeling pretty grumpy today, so it’s probably a good time to write about things for which I’m thankful!

To start with, I’m thankful for this idea! Thanks, Lisa!

I am thankful for Psalm 91:14-16:

“Because he holds fast to me in love, [says the Lord], I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

I’m also thankful for the on-post lawn service – despite the fact that yesterday they left a note on my door saying they couldn’t mow my backyard because my gate was blocked (which it was not). They still save me what would be a lot of trouble of going down to the garden center, renting a mower, lifting it into and out of my trunk, putting it together to mow, doing the actual mowing and edging… What a blessing for the Army to provide that service while Hubby is deployed!

I’m thankful also for my Hubby who longs to be able to be with me and comfort me when I’m having a bad day. He doesn’t want to avoid me; he loves me at my worst. Thank you, Honey! 🙂

Birdy Blessings Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Birdy successfully distracted me from obsessing over the approach of R&R, and before I knew it Hubby was home and meeting Birdy himself. They took to each other right away. Birdy seemed to bring a sort of balance to R&R that might not have otherwise been there. We were unable to be too far away from him, as he was still dependent on me for feedings while he was learning to peck at seeds and drink water on his own, but we were still able to doo all the fun things we wanted to do. The only thing that got left out of R&R was something that would have cost us a large amount of money, and we weren’t so disappointed to pass up that opportunity, when it came right down to it. Birdy held us together. He brought us joy in the mornings as we fed him and in the evenings before bed. Hubby knew that sometimes, if I was tired and cranky, all I needed was a little dose of Birdy’s love to cheer me up. We even took Birdy on walks and took him in the backyard to fly. He kept us company at home as we played on the Xbox or watched movies. We were, in fact, looking forward to keeping him and having him around for a good 15-20 years.Birdy family portrait

However, Birdy’s story has somewhat of a bittersweet ending.

“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job 1:21b (ESV)

The day Hubby left to fly back to Iraq, Birdy also left to fly away and make his own life. The Lord gave him to us for just a short time to meet needs in Birdy’s life and in ours. I was able to give him warmth and shelter and car when he needed it to survive, and before he left he learned to eat seeds on his own and drink water, to preen and to fly, and then he apparently no longer needed my mothering. I pray that he stays safe, and I grieve for the fact that he probably won’t live as long in the wild as he would in my home, but he is where he wants to be. And he is as much in God’s hands now as he was the day I found him weak and hungry, as much as the day he vomited and I was sure he was dying. The Lord has Birdy in His hands. And as I put seeds out in the backyard daily, I sometimes catch a glimpse of this one mourning dove who likes to return alone and peck around. I’m pretty sure it’s Birdy, stopping by for Mom’s free food. Smile

birdy last picture

 

 

 

This is our last picture together, just minutes before Birdy left the “nest.”

(Click for videos: Birdy Got Lost | Trying to Fly)
(Sadly, we didn’t take videos of Birdy during R&R, and I intended to start taking videos again when Hubby left, but I ran out of time, so all the videos we have are of his younger days)

Birdy Blessings Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2

The first thing on my mind when I woke the next morning: Did he make it? I had to know if my baby bird had survived the first night. I was already unbelievably attached to him. If God had indeed given me this bird to distract me from my impatience waiting for R&R, well, it was working. And Birdy, as I began to refer to him, did indeed make it through the night! He greeted me happily with chirps and wriggling wings as I peeked into his box, and it brought me such joy. He truly became my baby. Though I didn’t birth him, I worried about him like a mother, and he was utterly dependent on me for everything.

I was worried, though. I hadn’t wanted a bird. I was just trying to save a life. Now, it seemed I was stuck. I had to keep caring for him, and it soon became apparent that he was bonded to me in such a way as would make it very dangerous to try and release him. Also, how would I get anything done between all the time spent caring for him? What had I gotten myself into?

But every time I fed him or spent time with him, it became a real joy. It was…uplifting! Over the next two days we settled into a rhythm of feedings and naps, and I found that I could find time for other things (chores) in between times. Birdy was happy to snuggle against his heating pad and rest in between feedings; he didn’t need me 24/7. I managed to learn how to better manage my time, and around this time I started to wonder just how God was using this. Maybe there was more to this than just distracting me for the time being. Maybe, I thought, this is actually a bit of preparation for motherhood? Maybe it’s preparation for the future, for keeping other birds – maybe even chickens – so that I won’t be afraid of them?

Feeding BirdyEach night, I put Birdy to bed and prayed he would make it through another night, and each morning, I prayed for the strength to give Birdy what he needed as well as do all the other things I needed to do. We continued to grow more attached to each other even as Birdy became more independent. There came a day when it seemed he no longer needed or wanted to stay in his little shoe box between feedings. I would sometimes put him in and close the lid so it was only open a crack and thus force him to rest a bit, but at other times I would set him on the windowsill to look outside, or he would sit on the open lid of his box and preen and watch me.

I got a lot of help and support from the members at Pigeon-Talk Forums, and it was a few members there that began to say that Birdy’s poops were not looking so good. He might be sick. I felt horrible! Birdy had just gotten past what I’d considered the danger zone and was finally seeming to thrive, and now he might be sick? I was told all kinds of problems that might be causing the bad poops, and I had to drive and call all around trying to find a medication that no one seemed to carry. Even once I found a store that would ship it to me overnight, it got delayed, and it seemed like I would never get it! After I received it and started giving Birdy his doses, his poops did not improve, and we had some more scares. He threw up his formula several times and was acting very lethargic, and finally I took him to a vet who very kindly worked us in between his other patients to check Birdy over and take some stool samples for testing. Birdy came out with a clean bill of health – such a load off my mind! Such a relief!

Thrive BirdySo many things could have gone wrong… There were so many mistakes I made in caring for this bird, and my efforts were so imperfect. He could have died from the mistakes I made in the first day alone! I fed him when he was cold. I left the formula out all day and reheated it, allowing bacteria to grow. I made the formula with hot tap water, possibly introducing bad things to him from the hot water pipes. I made his formula too thick sometimes. I fed him way too much some days, so he could have aspirated (this, in fact, is probably what was causing him to vomit his formula on occasion – overfeeding). I didn’t keep him perfectly protected from drafts in his box. And yet throughout it all, Birdy not only survived but actually thrived under my care. The Lord must have been protecting him from my blunders.

God seemed to reveal to me over time spent with Birdy that he really cares for all of his creation. Maybe the whole experience was less about me and more about showing God’s love, even for something as insignificant as a dove – one dove among hundreds just in my neighborhood alone. Or maybe he intended this to save Birdy, teach me about his love, prepare me for motherhood, distract me, keep Marty and me together and focused during R&R, and many other things… Maybe he provided exactly what I/we needed at exactly the right time, and used it in even more ways than I can imagine. 🙂 That does sound like my God.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Matthew 6:26 (NIV)

“Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?”
Job 38:41

“I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.”
Psalm 50:11

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.”
Matthew 10:29

Full Crop

(Click to watch videos: Baby Dove Feeding | Friday Morning Feeding | Feeding Birdy 12 days old | Feeding 5/2)

Birdy Blessing Part 2

babybird 2

Part 1

I started trying to research what to do with the baby bird I found before I even got home, but my phone didn’t prove very helpful. Once home, I hurriedly found an empty shoe box and put a rag inside. I put the bird down inside and grabbed by laptop to start googling. Was I going to have to dig up worms? Was it a grackle? A dove? The bird started to utter tiny, pathetic-sounding chirps, and my mind kept going back to the time my mom had tried to save a baby bird, but it had died within the first 24 hours.

I could find nothing helpful online, which isn’t too surprising, looking back. Different types of birds need different kinds of care, so most helpful information is found for searching for your specific bird type. I didn’t know what else to do but take the bird in his shoe box to Petsmart and see if someone there could help.

I wasn’t feeling very hopeful as I walked in to Petsmart and approached a young cashier who looked utterly bored with life. I showed her the bird in the box as I asked if anyone might be able to help, and at first her face seemed to be saying Are you crazy? We’re just a retail store.. We don’t actually know anything about animals. But that’s not what she said. Instead, she pointed toward the fish wall and said there was a girl over there who could help.

I had to wait as the employee finished helping another customer. Then, I showed her what was in the box. She looked the bird over, checking under his wings and all around to see if he was okay. She told me he was a dove, which surprised me. Who knew doves started out so ugly? She also said he was very cold and dehydrated and hungry. She was very helpful in telling me just how to warm him but make sure he wasn’t too warm. She showed me the baby bird formula and said there were instructions inside. She said to use a syringe and aim toward the left side while I’m facing the bird because otherwise it could go into his lungs. She told me it had to be warm enough that it digests correctly, but not warm enough to burn through the sensitive crop. She also said that, most likely, he wasn’t going to make it no matter what I did.

I thanked her and told her that I at least had to try. The formula was only $10, anyway. So, I bought it and headed home.

The first feeding was quite an adventure. I didn’t learn until later that I wasn’t supposed to feed him while he was cold. I thought food would be priority number one, so I didn’t bother to let him warm up on my heating pad before pulling out a clean syringe that I just happened to have gotten from the vet the previous week to help give my cat his antibiotics. The formula was mixed and warm, the syringe was ready… And the bird…would not…open…his beak.

Aren’t they supposed to gape when they’re hungry?! Why won’t he open!?

I didn’t want to touch it! Okay, so it wasn’t diseased, but… I admit it, I was a bit scared of birds. And I knew I should limit human contact if the bird was to have any hope of being released, which was my full intention. But I soon realized I was going to have to get over my fears or the bird was going to die. I wrapped him in the rag and began to try and open his beak with my fingernail.

babybird 3Most of the formula from that first feeding went…well…everywhere but his crop. Quite a bit of it actually ended up in his eyeball, which kind of worried me. I had no idea how to tell how much he’d actually swallowed, but after having to reheat the formula 3 times, I decided it was time for a break. I put the bird in his box again to start warming up and drying off while I looked at videos on YouTube of other people feeding baby doves.

I gave him rather un-successful feedings again several times that day, trying the syringe and eye dropper methods, before I finally got one good feeding in with the plastic bag method. And then, as it grew dark, I moved him to the guest room with the door closed (to protect from the cat), covered his box with a blanket to keep the heat in, and prayed hard that he would somehow survive his first night.

 

(Click for videos of baby bird’s first day with me: Baby Mourning Dove and End of First Day…)