Rhonda's A 'Muse'-ing Rambles

Life and Times of a Busy Woman

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Archive for the ‘Tales of Dina’ Category

Happy New Year!

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on January 2, 2009

I want to wish all my friends and family a happy and prosperous New Year. Many people at this time of year set out to make new resolutions, often failing in their attempts to keep them. Instead of making a new resolution this year, I am going backwards. I am going to ‘finish’ the old year. Instead of starting new projects, I will put the finishing touches on old projects. I don’t need to pick up a new book, I have old ones that need to be finished or reread, some even need to have their reviews finished. Instead of finding a new craft project to start, I will pick up one of the projects that I haven’t completed and finish it. I hate to admit that I have several of these, so it may take some serious time to complete them to my satisfaction. Among them are a rug, a crocheted afghan, a couple of weaving projects, a crewel embroidery project that my mother left half finished before she died, a scarf to knit, two pillows to make, a small pieced quilt for my son and half a dozen unfinished ceremics that need final coats and touch-ups of paint. That’s just handicrafts – the writing too has several directions I can take. My memoir has two new chapters that need to be fine tuned and added to the manuscript. A great poem needs polish, a magazine article needs to be edited with photos added [and sent in to the editor!]. More chapters can be written in my two fiction pieces – one a sci-fi/fantasy piece [see Tales of As’r here in the blog], has outline that can be fleshed out and added; the other [see Tales of Dina] has a couple of short stories that are hand written and need to be added to the computer.

And work can’t be forgotten! After an entire year has passed, I still have a couple of tax returns that require a little more client input before I can finish them. One more contact with the clients can’t hurt if it gets me the info I need so I can get these out and I can finally say, “I’m done!”. After all, this week all the new returns will start pouring in, starting with W-2’s and payroll taxes, then quickly following with tax returns that need to be filed quickly so people can get their refunds or at least prepare themselves for the blow of what they may owe. This is going to be a tough tax season I feel as many people lost much of their savings and investments, lost their jobs, their homes and, in some cases, the lives of loved ones. I’m personally in the same boat with nearly all of the above. My husband is unemployed, we’ve lost much of the value of our retirement and other investments, many friends and family have died and money is tight.

More on the work front includes planning and setting up my pieces of a Shotgun Instructor class that I am assisting with this month and assisting in setting up a Mountain Man Rendezvous complete with period costumes, black powder guns and wilderness skills.

Above all, I need to find a way to make more money and get insurance for my family. Although I have the certifications, hands on skills, college degree and more for a variety of jobs in business management & tax law, my age and lack of current work in the public sector makes it hard to come by a good job with the economy stressed as it is now. There are just too many people [younger] out there that are willing to work for less wages because they too are starving and losing their homes and needing money to put into retirement.

Not only do I need to clean house with unfinished work – but I literally need to clean house. Months and years of pack rat accummulations need to be sorted and either put into good use or disposed of. Old files need to be shredded; but require fine review before they meet the teeth of the shredder. Old clothes, blankets, coats and boots need to go to a deserving charity. Old chipped or broken things need to be mended or thrown away. Books need to be sorted and in some cases, recycled. This is one chore I will LOVE – since it means I can replace them with other books.

So, instead of diving into a New Year with new work – I am going to clean the slate and finish the old. It is so refreshing to complete something that has been sitting there emitting a little weary cry in the back of my mind “Finish me…..”


Posted in Daily Life, Shooting sports, Tales of As'r, Tales of Dina, Tax Talk | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Cough it up

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on May 8, 2008

Coughing has become a major portion of my time spent this past month, so I’m reminded of a funny story that happened to my friend, Dina the werecat.

One of Dina’s jobs is to deliver and sometimes help plant items from her friend’s nursery in Central Texas. On this particular day, she was helping an elderly lady plant some spring flowers, and typical to the area, even though it was February, the temperature had soared over 90 degrees that day. Although not often affected by allergies or cold symptoms, Dina had a tickle in her throat when she left the nursery and was often clearing her throat to try and lubricate it or loosen it up so the tickle would go away.

Toiling away at the direction of the customer, a very nice woman, Dina began to heat up as did the customer, both over dressed and unaccustomed to the unseasonal heat. Before coming to work earlier that day, pre-dawn in fact, Dina had shifted to one of her larger cat forms and hunted for rabbit, dined nicely on the plump spring bunny, then spent a lazy morning grooming herself.  Now, she was hot, tired and thirsty. Sitting back on her haunches to wipe her sweaty brow with a sleeve, Dina reaches for the water hose to take a drink to soothe her parched throat, which was causing her to cough even more.  “Oh, honey,” says Mrs. Youngst, “don’t drink that water”. I’ve got a nice jar of sun tea that I set out this morning and it won’t take me a moment to get two glasses”.

Thinking the tea would go nicely towards soothing her tickley throat, Dina agrees and rinses her hands off before moving to a chair set in the shade of a nearby Burr Oak. When Mrs. Youngst comes back with two large sweating glasses of iced tea, they sit and visit for a few minutes about, what else? – the weather. Instead of soothing her throat, however, the tickle seems to get worse after a few sips of the cool brew and shortly Dina finds herself coughing and gagging. Concerned, Mrs. Youngst is hovering over her like a nervouse butterfly while Dina is waving her help away.

Suddenly, giving one last choke, something comes out and goes ‘splat’, right in her hand. Flushed with embarrassment, Dina quickly takes a napkin and hides away what is in her hand. “My dear, are you all right?”, the kind lady softly asks as she pats Dina’s shoulder gently. Dina, though mortified with what she holds in the napkin, assures the dear soul she is now fine and takes a long swallow of the now soothing tea. What she held in her hand, and quickly stuffs away in her work bag – is a hairball. She’d never coughed one up in human form before, only in cat form, so she hadn’t been aware of what the signals were telling her. Had the old lady seen the hairball, there’s just no telling what she would have thought, but for Dina, this was one of the most embarrassing moments she’d ever had in human form.

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Dina and the Airplane Plant

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on April 2, 2008

Airplane PlantThe Spider Plant (aka Airplane Plant) – chlorophytum comosum – has been said to be like a cat in a previous life. Why is that? They have nine lives and when you leave them alone for a while in the dark they fool around and make babies.

Dina’s friend Lea has an amusing tale they once shared with me. Lea is part owner of a commercial nursery and Dina helps her out from time to time when the various seasonal rushes require extra help. In addition, Dina gets referrals from Lea whenever a customer either wants some plants delivered or help in planting them.

Lea had asked Dina to help her load a truck full of potted Airplane plants that were to be delivered to the Burnet airport. They were to be part of the decorations for a welcome booth the Daughters of the American Soldiers were setting up as a shady comfortable rest area for some of the pilots. The truck was to go out the next day but would sit in the parking lot all night.

The next day, Lea waited around for Dina to show up until she couldn’t wait any longer. Getting in the truck alone, she started her journey north, which would take her a little over 30 minutes to reach her destination. A few minutes into the drive, she began hearing strange noises and thought the truck must be having some kind of engine problems. Slowly pulling to the side of the road (something you can do on Texas roads with their wide convenient shoulders), Lea stops. Listening carefully, she doesn’t hear anything, so continues on her way. Shortly after starting up again, the noise begins again, but since the truck was driving well, she decides to finish her journey and prays there is nothing serious going wrong with the truck.

Reaching the airport with no troubles, Lea quickly finds the booth that has been set up for the DOAS and parks alongside. It’s barely past dawn but plenty of people are out and about, mostly working on airplanes that will later be flying in the air show. She gets out of the truck and ducks under the tent flaps to open up the door fly so that it will be easier to haul in the potted plants. Suddenly, the noise she heard while driving starts in earnest – and is coming from the back of the truck! Rushing to the back of the truck, she flings open the door, and out leaps a large cat that rushes past her and into the tent. “What the?” she gasps. Then she starts to giggle as a sudden thought came to her. “Dina, hon, is that you?”

From the tent comes a surly voice, “What took you so long to open up the dang truck? I’ve been yelling (sounded more like yowling to Lea) all morning trying to get you to open that door!”

Now, as luck – mostly bad in this case – would have it, Dina loves airplane plants to a distraction. After they were done working and everyone had left, she went back to the truck and had propped it open with a rock, just wide enough that a small cat could sneak in if she wanted to. Later, she drove back and parked her car behind the barn, then changed to one of her smaller cat forms. This is a bit of a longer process than her normal almost panther sized shape because in transforming to a smaller mass, it takes longer to displace the extra energy. The same goes for the reverse – it’s not a quick transformation like in story tales where they go poof and are done. I’ve heard it’s not pretty either, but neither Lea nor I have ever witnessed this. Dina is pretty private about it and we are thankful.

After transforming, Dina leaped into the back of the truck and started winding her way through the lush, freshly potted plants. Soon, she was patting at the swaying leaves, then jumping and hiding from plant to plant, enjoying the feel of the fresh loam in her toes. She became so heightened in her enjoyment of playing in the plants that she accidentally knocked the rock loose that was keeping the door open. It took quite a while for the adrenaline to wear off from her high frolic, but soon she realized that she was trapped in the truck. The plants had been packed in pretty tight and what was a cozy playground for a small cat became her jail as she couldn’t find room enough to transition back to human form. In cat form she couldn’t open the door. After playing a while longer, she finally crawled under some leaves and decided to sleep on it until someone, hopefully Lea, would open the door to check on the plants before leaving for the airport.

Lea hadn’t cooperated in that respect, and after waiting for the no-show Dina (who was asleep in the back of the truck waiting for Lea), she had just jumped in and driven off. The noise Lea had been hearing was the sudden waking of the slumbering cat, then the yowling of Dina voicing her disapproval of being locked, in cat form, in the back of a moving truck.

The show went well and the DOAS didn’t really notice that some of the airplane plants were slightly tattered from an over exuberant cat. And Lea had a great story to tell about the ‘cat caught in the truck’. Most people never get to hear the full story, but since I know Dina and her shape shifting qualities, I got to laugh at the full story. And every year in April I try to find another small airplane plant to give to Dina for her collection.

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Hello Dina (pronounced Dee’ na) the cat

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on March 30, 2008

Hi everyone! I want to introduce you to Dina. Dina is a cat living in the Hill Country of central Texas. But she’s not an ordinary cat – she’s a shape shifter who stumbles along in her alternate personality as a human. I’ve been fortunate to befriend Dina and from time to time she tells me some of the stories that make up her life. Since I saw her today, she’s fresh in my mind. She happened to see my blog entry about the mountain lion tracks and wants me to show her where they are to make sure someone (something?) hasn’t invaded her territory. I wonder if she considers me part of her territory? Or a minion? Hopefully, only a friend!

How weird is it that she has two very protective minions which happen to be ordinary dogs? That’s another thing Dina wanted to talk about today as I mentioned she seemed to be dragging her tail. Every where she goes, they can be found, following her around, placing themselves between her and other people, sleeping on her feet wherever she lights or even crawling in her bed when a thunderstorm surfaces. Take last night for instance. Out of the blue around 1:00AM, a brief thunderstorm decides to attack the slumber of the two dogs. Their immediate reaction is to jump into Dina’s bed and crawl up to lay on her face and neck, or as near as possible and demand Dina’s comfort and protection until the storm monster goes away. She says she has lost many nights of sleep keeping company with her minions.

Let me describe Dina to you, just a bit, no more. She’s tall, fair skinned and carries a long, thick luxurious mane of hair. Her talons are long and unpolished and if you get near her – you have to watch out that she doesn’t accidentally slice you. Did I mention she was a klutz? Only in her human form, of course. Somehow, she says, she doesn’t quite manage to carry off any feline grace when she’s on two legs instead of four paws.

Over the weeks, as she tells me her little stories, I will share them with you. She has an emphatic touch with birds and animals, an uncanny sense of direction and tracking skills and a fearless, fun loving approach to embracing life. An awkward quirk she has – she loves to be on, in and around water outdoors, when she’s in human form. But a bath – in a room – in a house? puh-lease! I’ve caught her more than once washing her hair with a hose in the yard, and I know better than to get too close if I want to stay dry.

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