wings and things

Where is Mum?

I got a bit of a shock yesterday when Anthony asked if I knew where his mum was.


Parenting And Stuff


OK, I know, not all of you waited for this moment exactly, but I worked so hard on it, I needed to get your attention, didn’t I? 😉

For those of you who followed my journey, and for those who have no idea what I’m talking about:

I promised (here)

I complained (a lot, here )

And finally I made it!  Here:

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Gutsy9’s growth

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G9 is now too big to be taken by a crow, fast enough to avoid the pecks of the pecking order, and can fly up to the height of a picnic table or low branch. His wonky leg is almost normal and he no longer walks with a limp. He sleeps happily all night with the ducks, Zaruma and Tapper, spends a few hours on my lap during the day and is nearly old enough to free range around the farm with the others. My biggest worry is he will fall into the pond and not be able to get out but yesterday he actually did fall in and flew out quite easily.

But guess what? I think he might be a she! The reason is that all of the adult males have a spur on each leg whereas the females don’t, and neither does G9.


Empathy requires effort

A few thing have happened lately that have drawn my attention to the notion of empathy – that ability to identify with someone else’s suffering and to feel it too. This is not as easy as sympathy.

Okay the first thing that made me think about empathy was (as blogged previously) Ming’s inability to feel it for Anthony. Then, last night, after Ming got home from his weekend away, he was obviously unconcerned about my asthma until I said, “Why don’t you care?”

“Because I don’t know what it feels like, Mum!” he said. Ïf you want me to care, you have to tell me to; if you want my support, you have to tell me how.”

Food for thought: empathy doesn’t necessarily come naturally.

The second thing that made me think about empathy was a blogpost by a friend whose beautiful daughter died recently after years of suffering. This mother’s grief is raw and almost unbearable to read about, and my sympathy for her is enormous, but what about my empathy?

So I tried to imagine it; I tried to imagine my only child, Ming, dying and dead, but I couldn’t get my imagination to get beyond his dying to his death because it was too hard. I felt so wretched with grief I had to stop my imagination.

Food for thought: Empathy does come naturally to some and I thought I was one of those, but I’m not sure anymore whether it is possible to feel empathy (automatically) for someone who has experienced something that you haven’t.

How can 19-year-old Ming feel empathy for his 77-year-old father? Is it something that needs to be taught?

I wonder.


The happy couple

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I’m still struggling with asthma (I realize now this is most likely due to having the old carpets ripped out the other day). So I’m not keeping up with other blogs very well at the moment.

Anyway, the pics are of our older two peafowl, King peacock on the left and his adoring Queenie. They kind of remind me of Anthony and me!


Little lull

This afternoon, after Ming and I visited Anthony in the nursing lodge, I took Ming to catch the train to Perth for the weekend.

As soon as I got home, the euphoria of being alone hit me, but so did the asthma (I think the hayfever must’ve become bored).

I have the meds. and all okay but I am going to have a little rest from internetty stuff for a few days.


Hardening the heart

I’m not sure if this is right or wrong, sensible or nonsensical, normal or not, but sometimes I have to harden my heart in a very deliberate way in order to ‘seize the day’.

We probably all do this to some extent – I’m not sure. All I know is that if Anthony is forlorn, or Ming is angry, or I am wondering/wandering, I seem to be able to harden my heart against itself.

And then I can breathe again.



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Gutsy9 has now been living outside for 16 days. To begin with, he was sleeping in a big cage within a pen, but he has now graduated to sleeping outside the cage because he is tall enough to drink from the water container without the risk of drowning.

Zaruma and Tapper (married Muscovy ducks) have taken a liking to him so I put them in the same pen as G9 for the night, with the geese and turkeys in a separate pen.

When I go out to the pens in the morning to let them all out for the day, all the birds go crazy with delight but G9 literally jumps for joy to see me and sometimes twirls himself around in a little happy dance before following me across the lawn and into the back veranda of the house.

He followed me into the bathroom today, asking for a cuddle!



I went to see a new chiropractor today because my chiro. brother is living in Honiara at the moment. So I showered and dressed in my going-to-town clothes, making sure I had decent underwear on in case I had to get into a gown.

Just before I left home, I ran outside in my old sandals to let the geese, ducks and turkeys out of their pens for the day. I accidentally stepped in a couple of puddles and so my feet were covered in mud, but, as I was running late, I just rinsed and wiped as much of the grime off as possible, then threw socks and boots on and raced into town.

Imagine my horror when the chiropractor asked me to take my boots and socks off! Dirty feet that have been inside socks and boots for an hour on a hot day aren’t particularly pleasant things to deal with.

Reluctantly, I took off my boots, then said to the chiropractor, Do I have to take my socks off? I think my feet might be dirty. He just smiled and said yes because he wanted to test my reflexes. Argh! So I peeled my socks off to reveal two filthy feet with matching toenails. I looked at them in shock and said, Oh no, they are dirty! as if I had never seen those feet before, as if they belonged to someone else, a dirty person.

The rest of me is clean, I said lamely, as I explained about the chookyard mishap. But the chiropractor just smiled and did the reflex thing and asked about the birds as if to distract himself from the horror of touching my feet.

Well how was I suppose to know he’d want to see my feet?


What did I say that for?

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This morning I wrote a post about coincidences in which I said, I was 19 when my father died. Ming is 19 now and his father is dying.

I don’t know why I said something so morbid when I wasn’t feeling morbid. I was feeling a curious mixture of fatalism and resignatiom, I guess, but not morbid.

Now, however, I do feel morbid because of my own stupid sentences and I wish I had said, I was 19 when my father died. Ming is 19 now and his father is alive.

Some people philosophize that you begin to die as soon as you are conceived which is, of course, true, but not a particularly pleasant way of thinking about life.

When Anthony was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and given 1-3 years to live (several years ago!) we were utterly devastated. I remember tearfully telling a friend and he said, Well, we are all dying aren’t we and another friend said, well, he’s had a good life. Neither of these comments were helpful, but they were true.

Anthony has outlived his prostate cancer prognosis only to fall into the arms of Parkinson’s disease. But I no longer think of this as cruel and tragic and neither does Anthony. In fact I have never seen the tiniest sign of self-pity from him in all these many years of illness.

Yes, Anthony is dying, but he is also living. And that’s a coincidence.

Oh yes and all the geese are alive and well, especially Godfrey!