Posts Tagged ‘horses’

Over the weekend we had a friend come for dinner. While sitting on the deck at twilight, sipping VA wine and gazing out at the mountains, she noted the lack of bugs. Which of course led to my narrative on life at the Jersey Shore, how Monmouth County was the epicenter of tick/thug life, and eventually my experience as a West Nile survivor.

It was the summer we were packing up the Rocker for college. We lived in a tony swamp, on an estuary of a river. I’d have to swat mosquitoes off my hands in the middle of the day while hanging laundry outside on my clothesline. Let it be said, I love hanging towels, sheets and everything else in the sun and wind for that smell. It’s become a meditation of sorts.

For a full week I suffered with a blinding headache and a fever. But I carried on, never seeing a doctor because why bother, I lived with one.

Not until my eyes had turned as bright red as stop lights, and I could no longer read. That’s when I went to the first eye doctor. The one who told me to go home and wash my hands, I had conjunctivitis…

Then Bob took me to the “good” eye doctor, my savior, the one who realized right away what was going on. I remember distinctly his feeling of – what? Pity, sympathy – no doctor has ever looked at me like that before or since – and I was off to Bob’s old ER on the river for tests. Dropping steroid drops in my eyes every hour, swallowing steroid pills while packing up my son for his next great adventure. And eventually, I was an empty-nester who had lost my right-mid and lower-quadrant visual field; the peripheral vision of both eyes. My daughter’s favorite medical term, I think just because she liked the sound of it on her tongue, became my final diagnosis; Homonymous Hemianopsia. Say that five times fast!    

When i think about it, that’s most likely the reason I fell to the right in the bounce house. It’s the reason I jump when someone approaches me from the right. Most likely I abhor crowds because of my brain injury and it’s why I turn my head to the right so much while driving. All because of a little bug.

Which is why this recent headline caught my eye, “Orange horse is first West Nile equine victim of the year.” 

Orange is not the color of the mare, it’s a county one field away as the mosquito flies. “In 2014, there were seven cases of West Nile virus in humans in Virginia and three equine cases, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The human cases occurred in August and September and the equine cases occurred in September and October.” http://m.dailyprogress.com/news/local/orange-horse-is-first-west-nile-equine-victim-of-the/article

So even though we live in the mountains now, in a relative bug-free zone, I guess these are the months to spray bug repellant and light citronella candles. Makes me long for the Berkshires.  IMG_3030

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What’s that old saying; “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth?” Maybe you’re too young to have heard it, but it means be grateful for whatever someone hands you. In the days before Oprah was giving away cars, horses were the penultimate gift. And you wouldn’t want to imply that this horse was “long in the tooth,” ie getting on in years with one hoof in the glue factory. That would be tacky.

But what if you’re an elected official, like say the GOP Governor in our fair state of Virginia. And what if one of your biggest political donors, let’s say he owns a pretty big vitamin supplement company and his name is Jonnie Williams Sr., chief executive of Star Scientific, let’s just say Jonnie decides to give you and your family gifts worth over six figures?

The First Lady of VA gets a Rolex to give to her hubby, and then a $15,000 shopping spree in NYC at Bergdorf’s.

The First Daughter receives a $15,000 wedding catering gift, and a another $10,000 engagement gift goes to a different daughter.

Believe me, I know weddings can be expensive! We have 4 this year to attend, and thank goodness for online wedding registries. I wonder what would cost $10,000? That wooden salad bowl?

Last week, R-Gov Bob McDonnell released a written statement apologizing for the scandal and saying that he had repaid Williams for $120,000 in loans: $70,000 to a real estate company owned by the governor and his sister and $50,000 to first lady Maureen McDonnell. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/mcdonnell-daughter-repaid-15000-catering-gift/2013/07/31/58bb18ba-f9ea-11e2-9bde-7ddaa186b751_story.html

So while everyone has been focusing on the slimy, sexual antics of other political men, our Governor was hoping all this would just go away. But the tables have turned and Jonnie (whatever happened to the “H” in John?) is cooperating with federal investigators, which can only mean they are planning to prosecute McDonnell under the Hobbs Act which “…prohibits elected officials from taking money or other items of value in exchange for the performance of official duties.” http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/state-regional/star-donor-assists-u-s-in-mcdonnell-probe/article_f8012a33-00b4-56b9-b9af-1901751965e3.html

Now I had to raise my hand and swear I’d never take any gifts while I was a member of the School Board in NJ. And I was never offered any, still…there was no ambiguity about it, none whatsoever. And when I covered Borough Council Meetings, members would recuse themselves from votes if they had the slightest interest in a business.  On every level of government this conflict of interest oath must stand if we want to rise above the banana republics of the world.

Such a slippery slope our Governor has been on, and his holier than thou wanna-be replacement Ken Cuccinelli, running for his seat in November, hasn’t uttered a peep. Maybe Gov Ultrasound, and his  AG Cuccinelli who would like to overturn Roe vs Wade – who sponsored the ‘choose life’ license plates and supports fake pregnancy centers – maybe these two just need to refocus their public policy on the economy.

Something is rotten in the state of Virginia! Quick, call the veterinary dentist.


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