breakdowns come and
so what are you going to do about it
that’s what I want to know
I called that one right, the bit about being all frazzled by the time I finally got there. Getting ready for the doctors appointment, I had my clothes all laid out, I was freshly showered, old medical records under my purse by the door and then there was another phone call about that nasty flood.
(Okay, if you were here earlier, there was a long whiny complaint that I wrote just to get it out of my system. It was about the stresses and strains of having not so nice neighbors. We have just one, who is exceedingly unpleasant and out of whack, too. The rest are lovely people; in fact, we’ve developed a good friendship that gets better every day with our front neighbors. The problem is, I’m not used to any unpleasantness with neighbors, ever. We’ve always been friends with them, socialized, cared for each other’s families. Call me lucky. But here in the city everyone is close up on everyone else and it’s hard when life requires a certain amount of cooperative spirit and you have one in the bunch who, for whatever reasons, is just a misfit. We have one like that and so, I had written a long, dragged out messy piece on it because it is wearing me down. But, at the end of the day, I find that I don’t have any more peace of mind by venting like that and I also think that by putting so much energy into it, I’m letting his problems have too much power over my life. I’m going to say my "now I lay mees" and get a good night’s sleep, wake up and head out to the garden store. Those of you who have been here and commented- gee, it’s nice to have friends who listen to that stuff and give you a supportive comment. Thank you. For those of you who didn’t get here before I pulled it- consider yourselves lucky.
We now return to our regular programming…)
Update on the Snarl’s great African adventure
Habitat: Every type of mopane habitat is well represented in this drive from the towering cathedral woodlands at Xakanaxa to the classic climax mopane woodland and in the drier and harsher habitats, extensive stretches of scrub mopane. The San-ta-Wani region has scattered ephemeral water pans with large floodplains and camel-thorn woodlands. 40 km of the drive is in Moremi Game Reserve with a further 40 km in areas designated for wildlife management where animals roam freely to and from the Game Reserve.
Wildlife: One would typically expect to see good numbers of elephant, giraffe, impala and zebra along this route. It also reliably produces good predators, particularly lion and wild dog. Large herds of Cape buffalo may be found in the San-ta-Wani region particularly in the summer months. Other ruminants such as tsesebe, blue wildebeest, greater kudu, common duiker and Botswana’s smallest antelope- the steenbuck.
Birding: A good day for raptors with African Hawk-Eagle, Gabar Goshawk, Shikra, Little Sparrowhawk, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Tawny Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle* and Steppe Eagle all inhabiting the mopane and adjacent woodlands.
Other birds common along this route includes most of Botswana’s hornbills including Red-billed, Southern Yellow-billed, African Grey Hornbill, Bradfield’s Hornbill and Southern Ground Hornbill. A large number of brood-parasites may also be seen. Diederick Cuckoo*, Levaillant’s Cuckoo*, Jacobin Cuckoo*, Great-spotted Cuckoo*, African Cuckoo*, Common Cuckoo*, Shaft-tailed Whydah, Pin-tailed Whydah, Eastern Paradise Whydah, Greater Honeyguide, and Lesser Honeyguide.
I got to the doctor’s five minutes late after fighting my way through downtown traffic and many layers of parking structure. The receptionist looked up and said, "Take a deep breath." The new doctor is wonderfully calm and low key and predictably, when she asked about my health history and concerns, I drew a total blank. She waited patiently for me to come up with something and then asked politely if the damp folder I was clutching to my paper gown was relevant to the moment. Ah! yes. So, you’ve had two children, half your thyroid removed, a family history of early stroke, partial blindness, some basal cell carcinoma? Everything looks very good on your labs, blood pressure, physical exam and weight (I’m still six over my own personal comfort zone). Last year, your mother died, you moved to the city after living your whole life in Ann Arbor, you’re helping care for your step-father, you’ve retired and you’re going through menopause (still). Are you depressed? I said no and she asked why not and I burst into tears and said I was just a little overwhelmed and sad. We both laughed and I said I need to find a yoga class here in town. She referred me for all those additional things: a mammogram, bone density, a dermatologist and a colonoscopy. I explained that I had had that done in 2000 and since it was fine I was on the ten year plan. She said, "Here at Northwestern, we’re on the five year plan so get that all taken care of and come back in six weeks." I think she wants to see if I’m always weeping and addled or if this was special. I made appointments for the first three and the colonoscopy department was all backed up for the next few months. If I play this right, I can get in and see her again on the other stuff and then just skip that last for another year before she notices.
Then I got my parking ticket validated so it only cost 9.00 to park instead of 28.00 (not kidding) and I wandered around the parking structure for an additional 45 minutes trying to get my car to flash or beep at me with the key fob. The problem was that the fourth floor has three levels. It’s a trick, like the lines at Disney World. In the end these two construction guys were helping me out, calling, "it’s over here. No, it’s up there. No, I think it’s in that next aisle. Wait, I hear it down there." I got back to brickhouse and called Rich and got all weepy but when he offered to come home, I pulled myself together. God, I’m such a mess today.
Good thing breakdowns come and breakdowns go. Tomorrow I have something interesting for you from right here in the Emerald City. That’s your first hint.