Midweek Tidbits from Sima

(or, I’m back!)

So the last couple months have been a real wringer for me. As many of you know, my mother lost her ability to walk and started to weaken due to progressive spinal deformation caused by arthritis. In early March she had a spinal operation which opened the holes which were pressing on her nerves and reconstructed her spine. 2 days after the operation she went into a ‘code’, the one just up from ‘code red’, and had to be rescued by a bunch of nurses and doctors. She told me that she can’t remember much about it except for one thing; she saw my sister standing at the end of a long tunnel, reaching towards her. And she said when she saw that she knew she couldn’t leave; my sister still needed her, we all still needed her.

After over a month in rehab and a month in a hospital bed at home, Mom’s walking again. She’s really weak and has turned over my sister’s strenuous care to me and my father. It’s been very interesting. My sister adores having me care for her, and once I got over the squick factor, I really like caring for her. We sing and giggle and have fun, and I feel like a kid again, sneaking my sister into my room after we were meant to be in bed so we could listen to music together. So there have been some good side effects to my Mom’s long wasting illness.

Recently the PBS News Hour ran a special series on Autism, which is what my sister ‘has’. The series was really good and went into the impact autism has on parents and siblings. I cried when the little girl talks about the future with her brother. She’s 8 and already sees it (Episode 1). And I cried when the older woman, in episode 5, wonders what is going to happen to her and her brother when her parents die. I so know those fears and feelings and I’m so angry at society for just abandoning us after the autistic (and retarded, and physically disabled, and downs syndrome and… you get the drift) kids leave school. Their lives do not end then!

Anyway if you are interested, you can watch the special on the ‘net, here. Each episode is only 10 to 15 minutes long. The links to each episode are along the right hand side of that page.

Brulee, the runt, in front. Her sister Decadence is behind. They were born only minutes apart.


My interest in animal welfare came a bit closer to home in the last few months, as 4 of my does gave birth in April and early May. Or I should say, 3 of them. The 4th has a false pregnancy, but she’s making milk and I’m not gonna complain! One of the does gave birth to 5 kids, all does. That’s pretty rare. Two of the kids were runts and needed 24/7 care. Unfortunately one of the kids passed on. She was simply too little and premature for me to keep alive, although I managed it for a month. The other little darling is doing great, and I offer a picture as a cute antidote to whatever is bothering you currently. It’s hard to tell from the pic, but she can basically fit in the palm of your hand. She’s a bit bigger now, but I can still hold her and support her completely in one hand.

Speaking of bother here’s a link to a bitingly sarcastic article about GMO, not so much concerning plants and Monsanto, but some of the other frankenstein ideas scientists are playing with. It makes me wonder, didn’t they read sci-fi as kids? Are they that hubristic? So, from cracked.com, the 5 Current Genetic Experiments Most Likely to Destroy Humanity. Honestly, scientists: real speedy gonzales? Monkeys that glow in the dark, just because you can? Cows with human genes? Spider silk expressed in goat milk? Zombie pigs? Do you have no morals, no foresight?

Part of my struggles in the past couple of months have been due to the economy and the weather. Our CSA is not getting as many sign-ups as normal, so we’ll be selling at farmer’s markets. It all reminds me far too much of being really poor, back when I was a student after I got divorced. Cracked.com has an article about 5 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Poor. It’s as bitingly sarcastic as the article about GMO linked above, and really an eye opener if you’ve never been, or skirted close to being, poor. Warning though, the article is full of cussing and profanity, effectively so. When you are being f***ed over, you are being f***ed over. There’s no other way to say it.

The economy is difficult for all of us normal people and entire cities are suffering. Here’s Grand Rapids answer to being featured as a ‘dying city’ by Newsweek. I LOVE this video. Apologies if you’ve seen it before, it’s getting a lot of play currently.

Sky Dancing has done a lot of work on the crisis in Japan at the Fukushima power plant. Many years ago, as an undergraduate, I got my degree in electronic engineering and sub-atomic particle physics. I wanted to work on submarines, but they didn’t let girls do that, we weren’t allowed on carriers either, and so my options were limited to experimental stuff and the nuclear industry. I did some soul searching and switched to Anthropology and Archaeology. Anyway, I wanted to offer up a link to this documentary on another nuclear disaster, Chernobyl. I apologize if it’s been linked here before. It is rather long (90 minutes) and worth every damn minute to watch. The Battle of Chernobyl goes into what it took to fight and encase that monster. I expect in the end, the Battle of Fukushima will be much the same.

And finally, something fun, I hope. Many of you have probably seen the People of Walmart website (not linking to it, google if you want) in which candid photos of people shopping are posted for the humor and derision of all. The site is amusing in an ‘ohmygodwhatwheretheythinking’ kind of way, but it’s always made me uncomfortable too. Maybe I’m misreading this video, but my view of the people featured in the website changed after I saw it and I see the video as something of a celebration of the craziness, beauty, diversity and sheer wonderful dress sense of so many pictured on that webpage. The tune is catchy too.

I’m really glad to be back at Sky Dancing!

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18 Comments on “Midweek Tidbits from Sima”

  1. paper doll says:

    Thank you for this great post!

  2. Delphyne says:

    Great post, Sima and so good to read you again! Those goatlets are just adorable! I love the way they jump and kick their heels up!

    It’s wonderful to read that you enjoy caring for your sister. Caregiving was the hardest thing I ever did (for my parents) and I don’t know that I could do it again. I admire that you think it’s a “good side effect.” It plain wore me out and pretty much estranged me from my siblings. Your sister and mom and dad are very lucky to have you around to help them!

    • Sima says:

      I expect to really get slammed with the caregiving in the next 10 years or so. So I’m glad it’s fun now, too! My parents are approaching mid to late 70’s. Once they get about 80 I think it’s going to be a full time job, caring for them and her. And I think it will wear me out and estrange me further from my brother. But… what will be, will be. I’m damned if I’ll let them die in the street somewhere.

  3. okasha says:

    Congratulations on all your new babies. The doe who didn’t deliver will certainly be a big help keeping the quints fed.

  4. CinSC says:

    I really enjoy your posts. You were missed. So glad you are back!

  5. Fannie says:

    Nice to have you back here, and I really loved your post today. I wish I could sit down beside you, and grab your hand, and let you know how proud we are of you Sima. We know, it’s one day at time, things will be better, and it’s because you have come through, and warmed not only your family, your pets, and all of your sisters. Keep skydancing with us, with your love, and your wonderful words.

    • Sima says:

      Thank you so much, Fannie! I hope to trot out a posts on various happenings in the farming world soon, and to make this tidbits a weekly thing. I love Sky Dancing and the people here, it’s a good community!

  6. Outis says:

    I too missed your posts so very much. Wishing you as much strength and support as you could ever need.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Hi Sima,

    Wonderful post. I’m so glad you’re back. The picture of your baby does is beautiful.

    Have you heard about the WHO study that claims cell phones are responible for bee colony collapse as well as brain cancer? What’s your take on this?

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/cellphones-contribute-bee-colony-decline-study-suggests/story?id=13597625

    • Sima says:

      I think cell phones could be part of the problem, but I’m not sure how big a part. I think the phones are more a symbol of the real problem; we are putting too much crap, electromagnetic, pesticide, mutated pollen, garbage, whatever, into the environment.

      It’s very possible bees will turn out to be one of those marker animals, like golden tree frogs and other amphibians, which signal the start of environmental collapse in a particular environmental niche. Bees are pretty important because much of what we eat is pollinated by them. If we don’t stop screwing so badly with the environment (and it could be too late already), we could find food scarce. Mother Nature has tried to tell us this repeatedly. She will win in the end, we just might not like the results.

      Thanks for the compliment about the goatie pic. I’ll have to post a few more as they grow. They can be very pretty animals!

  8. Minkoff Minx says:

    Sima…my dear, it is great to have you back.

    The feelings you expressed about your sister is something I feel with my brother. Always growing up there was never a question that my brother (he has downs) would always be with me. I used to tell guys I’d go out with, it was a package deal. Me and my brother.

    • Sima says:

      I did that with guys I dated as well, Minx. It scared a few off, but they didn’t deserve us (me and my sister) anyway. My partner is very good with my sister, and she really likes him.