Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rabies Awareness Day

I know a lot of you who read my blog are dog lovers just as I am. Most of us are responsible and make sure our pets are up to date on their vaccinations but this terrible disease can impact not only pets but wild animals. An then  through them all of us. I'm sharing this article as a reminder to keep your pets, kids and everyone safe since in some areas this illness is running rampant. Bats and many rodents as well as coyotes. foxes and skunks especially may be carriers. GMW

Rabies Awareness Day, 28 September
     (Article from a farm magazine)

Although the rabies virus is commonly known for causing a life-threatening disease, many people are unaware of what exactly it entails and how to prevent its transmission. In honor of World Rabies Day on September 28th, here is some information to help further raise awareness about rabies and how to help protect your family and pets from this deadly disease.
Rabies is an infection affecting the central nervous system, or brain and spinal cord, of humans and animals. This infection is caused by a virus that is transmitted primarily from bites wounds, scratches, or tissue from an infected animal. It is nearly always deadly if not treated before the beginning of symptoms.
“Symptoms include fever, lethargy, seizures, and ultimately paralysis,” said Dr. Stacy Eckman, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “This paralysis can include paralysis of the muscles that control swallowing, leading to a ‘fear of water’ or ‘hydrophobia’ that is often described with rabies.” Behavior changes leading to abnormally aggressive behavior may also occur.
Since humans and animals alike usually become infected through a bite by a rabid animal, many believe that it will be easy to tell when or if the disease has been spread to them. However, it is entirely possible for rabies to be transmitted to you or your pet unknowingly. Bat bites or scratches, for example, may be so miniscule that they go unnoticed.
“Bats are the most common carriers of rabies in the United States,” said Dr. Eckman.  “It is important to always avoid any contact with them. If you have come into contact with a bat, inform animal control officers in your area so they can submit the bat for testing, if possible, and contact your doctor.”
Although bats are the biggest threat to humans, household dogs can easily contract the disease if bitten by another infected dog or animal.
“Worldwide, dogs are a common transmitter of the disease via bite wounds,” said Dr. Eckman. “But it can also affect humans, cats, farm animals, raccoons, and many other warm-blooded animals.”
The time from exposure to the virus until symptoms appear is usually only a few months, and unfortunately, once symptoms begin, there is little hope in humans for survival.
“There are treatments that can be given after a bite and before symptoms begin (post-exposure) that are useful,” said Dr. Eckman. “They include human rabies immunoglobulin, followed by a series of rabies vaccines given over a two-week period.”  These shots help the body's immune system destroy the disease in its early stages, and getting them before symptoms appear is usually helpful in preventing infection.
However, prevention is always said to be the best treatment, and that couldn’t be truer when it comes to the rabies virus. The easiest method of prevention is to always steer clear of unknown or aggressive animals. This includes avoiding contact with stray dogs, bats, or any wild animals, as well as avoiding the handling of a dead animal.
Depending on the situation, preventative rabies vaccinations may also be a recommended method.
“Vaccination can greatly reduce the risk of infection for people who have a high risk of exposure, such as those who work with animals, including veterinarians,” said Dr. Eckman. “Companion animals and farm animals should be appropriately vaccinated by a veterinarian.”
If you think that you or someone in your family has been exposed to the rabies virus, wash the affected area with soap and water for five minutes after potential exposure and seek immediate medical attention. Rabies is more common than you might think, and preventing its transmission to you or your loved ones is the most effective form of treatment. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

September-- Memories, Time and Too Much Rain

At midnight, September will be half over. For many years September and October have been my favorite months with September having a slight edge. A lot of key events in my life have happened in this month going way back to the time when the school year began right after Labor Day. Fall in the high desert it a great time and there were lots of adventures in my earlier years--camping and hunting and expeditions into the mountains that I loved. Even a big mule deer that fell in the bushes...

Next, I went off to college in September which was almost like being born again into a new life. Then I was married in September a few years later and started yet another and very different chapter in my existence. So even now, I still enjoy this month and cherish the memories that were made over the years. The daughter who became mine when I married in September 1971 turned fifty yesterday! I still remember her as she was in about 1972 when we were celebrating our first anniversary as a family. Happy Birthday, Jenna!  It's hard to believe how much time has passed--it runs like water, years flowing together into a stream.

The other day I spoke of water--and unfortunately, it was way too much in many places last week and it looks like a repeat performance is coming our way. My heart goes out to the folks who live in Baja California and those who were vacationing there when Hurricane Odile hit last night.

I cannot even begin to imagine how terrifying it is to experience one of these fierce storms. I saw on weather.com where some places received eleven inches of rain in an hour??!! Yikes, that is beyond imagining. So I pray all can survive and live to build new homes and tell children and grandchildren about their adventures. During the balance of this week, moisture from that storm will spread north and slowly east so it is likely that Arizona and New Mexico will get hit with some heavy rain. While we need it to break the drought, too much at once can wreak havoc. So I'm saying a few prayers for all in the path of this weather.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Water in a thirsty land

I cannot claim credit for that phrase although it has stuck in my mind for decades. It was originally written by the late Raymond Carlson, for many years the esteemed and seemingly eternal editor of Arizona Highways magazine. There can be no doubt he knew and loved the southwestern desert for he had many such phrases that captured the essence.

At any rate, that is what I experienced yesterday. I had driven up to Capitan, a small community north of Ruidoso at the edge of the mountains and the eastern NM prairie where a dear friend lives. Someday I will have to tell you about her amazing house but that is another tale. Anyway I took my laptop computer--the one that was too big and heavy for my recent trip--and a flash drive full of pictures. We spent several hours looking at them while I answered Kathleen's questions and kept up a running travelogue. All at once we were jolted by the sound of thunder. It was way past lunch time so we drove down to the town and feasted on a yummy salad at a neat little cafe. By then rain was falling but mostly just a gentle drizzle with a few booms and flashes some distance away.

I realized I had better head home and decided to go by way of Carizozo instead of back up and over a shoulder of Mount Blanca to Ruidoso and then  through Apache Pass, some 7000 elevation feet or so. I had to use the wipers most of the way down the hill but it did not seem bad. I got to Carizozo which hovers between the juniper hills and the edge of the desert and the sun came out.

Ah, I thought, I'm almost home free. It is roughly sixty miles from there to Alamogordo. I had to go up and over a final ridge south of town that separates distinct zones of climate and vegetation. And then on the south side, I ran into a virtual wall of water!

A storm had come spilling down off 12,000 foot Baldie or Blanca and it was a wild one. All at once I could hardly see the hood of my little Focus wagon to say nothing of the road. Winds buffeted me back and forth across the water slide that passed for a highway. I did not dare pull off as I could not see the edge and did not want to end up in wheel deep mud or even worse, a running arroyo so I plowed on at a slow pace.

Now and then a semi would suddenly appear, about three car lengths away. I would scroonch over as far as I dared and it would roar past, adding to the rain with a huge wave from the drenched road. I got through one of those rain bands to enjoy a drizzle for maybe half a mile but soon hit another and then two more before I finally got out of that zone.

Yikes! I don't think I ever drove in harder rain. There was water everywhere as it was one of those frog strangler flash flood making sort of rains. The only worse time I could recall was when I was going back to Colorado after my first trip to look at property here in August of 2011. Just short of one of the little towns between Trinidad and Pueblo, I got into a fierce hail storm. It was crazy. The noise was deafening and it soon felt like driving on a road paved with ball bearings. I didn't get into a wreck or even see one but it was scary!!

At any rate, I finally got out of the storm yesterday and the last thirty miles or so were calm. It didn't begin to rain here until after supper time, about eight. We got a tremendous light show for an hour or more and then it rained. not hard though. It was just a moderate, gentle rain all night long. This morning there was 1.1" in the rain gauge! We had low clouds and fog for awhile but then it became mostly clear and there was no rain close to us today although some dark clouds billowed up over the mountains to the east. So, we welcomed water in a thirsty land and I did not hear of any serious flooding or damage. When you score both of those, it is a good day in the desert! This evening there was even a rainbow that lasted a long time and moved along south above the rugged hills. It was much like this one and we saw some clouds like the classic thunderhead but also some very black and ominous looking ones but they drifted away.