Friday, January 28, 2011

Putting it in perspective.

I know, I know, I've been lax about posting the past couple of months. I do have an excuse. Well, several actually. No, really, I do. At the beginning of our holiday break, I rear-ended hubby while we were biking and ended up sprawled on the street with several bruises, scrapes and a cracked rib. And I needed to meet my publisher's deadline for my next book and was falling behind. Good news is that because it hurt just to breathe, I couldn't do much of anything but sit and got a lot of writing done.

Then, when I was almost healed, I ended up having two Meniere's attacks in a row. This disease causes severe vertigo and tinnitus during attacks and impedes normal function. I tend to go into denial between attacks and pretend that I'm normal. Then, wham! I get hit with another reminder that I'm, well, just a little bit different than most. Hubby is great to me during these times but it's hard not being able to walk straight for a day or two and then being unstable for another day or two. I sometimes mope.

So, while I was having a pity party, and doing a fine job of it, I got news that my younger brother was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis. Can you hear the brakes squealing? Yep, that put an instant halt to my party. This is devastating news for anyone, but especially for someone who was a body builder and karate instructor and is still religious about going to the gym. My party was over. My brother lost his only son to an impaired driver three years ago, so he's no stranger to hard times. He's taking this current news with more bravery than I would. We commiserated, with me just trying to keep my mouth shut and listen.

Everyone has challenges in their lives and, thanks to my brother, I've learned that mine are not nearly as severe as I sometimes want to believe. So my pity hat hangs in the closet now and it's time to support my brother again. His disease is progressive, like mine. But unlike mine, his causes a lot of pain, sometimes on a daily basis, and makes it hard for him to do things I take for granted, like walking up a flight of stairs. He was acting all brave and whatnot, so I told him to go ahead and have a pity party, with balloons and a big pity cake. He's earned it. After that, he can be the brave one if he wants. Thanks to him, I have yet a new perspective on life. That mine is pretty great.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Todd Davis Memorial Scholarship

It's the new year and now is a great time to decide on your annual donations. My seventeen-year-old nephew died in 2008 from injuries he sustained in an automobile accident with an impaired driver. My brother and his wife have set up a scholarship in his memory if you wish to donate. Anything is appreciated and is tax deductible.

Todd Davis Memorial Scholarship

The Todd Davis Memorial Scholarship is open to all University of Houston—Clear Lake (UHCL) students who have volunteered their time at UHCL for leadership events such as, but not limited to, the ones mentioned above.

There are three ways in which you can donate in Todd’s memory:

1. under the “give to UHCL” tab.” Just be sure and select “other” in the gift designation box and write “for the Todd Davis Memorial Scholarship” in the memo box just above the “Personal Information” section on the page.

2. or you may call Kim Herhold at UHCL at 281-283-2036 and pay by credit card over the telephone. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted.

3. or you may mail your check to: UHCL, Office of University Advancement, Attn: Kim Herhold, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Box 318, Houston, TX 77058

Note: please write “Todd Davis Memorial Scholarship” in the memo section of your check. And please check with your employer’s HR department to see if they participate in a matching gift program.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New interview and eBook contest!

Thursday, January 6 - January 7


Created ByDana Davis

More InfoAward-winning and SynergE bestselling author Dana Davis will talk about her Teadai Prophecies fantasy trilogy and other goodies at Twilight Thursday at Moonlight, Lace, and Mayhem. Visitors will also have a chance to enter a contest for a free eBook copy of Deadly Fate: Book One of the Teadai Prophecies.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Bird Who Doesn’t Fly.

If you’ve ever read my bio, you’ve probably seen my crazy parakeets mentioned someplace. Believe it or not, birds have neuroses just like humans. Ours are no exception. Each bird hubby and I have ever had came with its own personality, quirks and prejudices. We currently have two budgies who are mates. The female used to fly all over the place, landing on things she wasn’t supposed to be on. We called her a "naughty birdie" and laughed at her escapades. Once our other birds passed away, she and her mate were left alone. Birds can go into depression when they lose a friend but these two seemed content to be together. Their grieving didn’t take more than a few days and then they were fine, eating their veggies and fruits and playing with their toys again.

After a while, the female began to fly less and less. She seemed content to sit in the cage and have her mate feed and preen her, which is how male budgies get their groove on, if you know what I mean. The vet checked her out and couldn’t find anything wrong with her. We even learned that some birds are content to stay in their cages and refuse to come out. But she’s a bird and birds are supposed to fly, right? That’s what we think, too. But after coaxing without success, we left her alone, figuring she would come out on her own eventually. Everyone once in a while, she would sit in the doorway and get startled by her mate and come out. But she hadn’t flown in so long that she had no strength in her wings and went straight to the floor. Instead of flying back, she would just waddle around – she’d put on a little weight – and sit under the coffee table. Her mate would join her on the floor and they would sit and preen. When she wanted to go back into her cage, she couldn’t get enough height, so she would waddle to me and wait for me to offer my finger as a perch. I would hold her up a few feet from the cage and, when she felt like it, she would fly back.

This was the only exercise our girl was getting. She had turned into a full-on couch potato, complete with waddle weight, and we decided to do an intervention. I began to take her out of the cage, whether she wanted to come out or not, two to three times a day and hold her on my finger until she flew back on her own. Hubby’s afraid he’ll squeeze them too hard, so I do birdie meds and anything else that involves holding them against their will. I don’t mind at all. I got nipped at the first week or so because she didn’t like me taking her out. Yes, it hurt, but after having animals my whole life, I’m used to it. Besides, how would you like a humongous hand reaching in through your front door and grabbing you? I know I would put up a fight, so I certainly can’t blame her for that. Her nips were a warning, not an attack, and she never drew blood.

After the first week, she stopped nipping at me and allowed me to hold her, knowing I wouldn’t keep her in my hands for long. Birds don’t like their wings held, even if they refuse to fly with them. Our little birdie even began to lose a bit of her waddle weight. I found this encouraging and would take her farther and farther from her cage every three days or so, until she grew more confident and got excited about these short flights. Her mate seemed to enjoy having her out again, so we put their birdie play yard up. This is a wooden platform with ladders, ropes and other toys. We placed the play yard in its previous spot, about ten feet from their cage at a higher elevation. They loved to play on it in the past but hadn’t since our girl decided not to fly any longer. This time when I took her out, I put her on it. She flew back to the cage with no problem at all and even sang a jaunty tune afterwards. Hubby and I did a little happy dance.

Then, yesterday, our girl came out on her own for the first time in months, flew to the play yard and back to the cage. It was just like old times. We did soft cheers of encouragement, and her mate sang his little heart out. After that, she did a half lap around the family room. We will continue to encourage her to fly and cheer her on when she does. She’s no longer “the bird who doesn’t fly”.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Contest winner!

Thanks so much to Clare Dargin and to everyone who stopped by for the interview. Congratulations to Manjiri, who won the eBook contest. Happy New Year!

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