Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Endings and Beginnings

(Picture is Sugar Franklin spreading her wings -- she was really mad at me when I took this picture. The other cockatiels are Flash and Nicholas.)

The end of another year! I really hadn't thought about things until I was reading my favorite blogs -- all of which talked about what had or had not occurred during the year.

So here's my take on 2008

Continued to work and deal with all manner of BS at work.

Continued to love and slave for my four babies.

Lost a couple of people who were important to me.

Celebrated my mom's 79th birthday.

Continued working on getting a union going where I work.

No major illnesses or accidents.

Made a couple of new friends.

Didn't come to the end of any friendships.

Had almost all my clothes pooped on.

Came back to continue this blog.


Became addicted to numerous blogs.

Wrote numerous articles, some of which I actually got paid for.

Continued having fun with the women's chorus.

Helped some people with their parrot behavior problems.

More stuff I'll think of later.

Goals for 2009

Write more articles (and get paid for them)

Continue to love and slave for my four babies.

Find some legal beneficial way to deal with the Evil Person at work.

Transfer to a better job.

Maybe actually keep the backyard up.

Get the driveway paved.

Read more books (rather than listening to them on tape)

Make more new friends.

Continue working for unionization.

Continue singing in the women's chorus.

Help more people with their parrot behavior problems.

Take more pictures of my babies!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Origin and Evolution of Birds

I can barely wade through the technical stuff in this article, but it's interesting if you've ever wondered just how long parrots have been around.

What Parrots Tell us About the Origin and Evolution of Birds

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Little Flash

Flash, the little cockatiel pushed on me at a bird fair by a rather unscrupulous breeder, doesn't like me much. He'd rather die than allow me to pet his head or touch him -- unless he needs transportation across the room.

That's okay; I love him anyway.

I took him in for his annual well-bird exam, and the vet found a little spot on the hock of his right foot. It looks like a little scab from a burn, but it isn't on the part of the foot he uses or sits on. He has a heated perch but the temperature is so low I don't see how he could have burned himself on it or how he could have sat on the perch in such a position to injure that part of the foot, and temperature of the perch is different from the base to the tip so he has total control over where he stands. And he doesn't use the heated perch much. I've never seen him favor his foot or show any sign of discomfort at all.

Anyway, we don't know what it is. The vet told me to watch it and if it didn't look better in a few weeks, come back in. Then the blood work came back, and the vet said there was an increase in some kind of enzyme that denotes tissue damage. She thinks it's probably from the place on his foot, but I have to take him back in a couple of weeks to be sure.

Naturally, Flash isn't what you'd call willing to let me look at his foot, but I persist. Usually I can sneak a look at the place by twisting my head and looking kind of upside down at it without touching him (it's visible from the back when he's in a normal stance), but sometimes I have to pick him up. And then give him an extra treat for the "trauma" of it all. I feel guilty because I didn't know he'd hurt himself, and because I don't know what caused it.

Flash has a crooked beak, which makes his little face look off-center, as you can see in the picture. It doesn't affect his eating at all. I don't care -- I'd love him if he had two crooked beaks.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Stephen Frye and Threatened Parrot Breed

For those who don't know, Stephen Fry is a comedian, and used to do movies and comedy acts with Hugh Laurie. I think he was also Jeeves with Hugh Laurie being Bernie in a BBC series (but I could be wrong!). Here's the link to the article.

Fry filming threatened parrot breed

Stephen Fry is spending his New Year visiting a threatened species of parrot whose breeding chances are being boosted by the use of a special perfume.

Fry is filming in New Zealand from Boxing Day until mid-January for BBC2 show Last Chance To See, which will be broadcast in later in 2009.

The five-part series celebrates 20 years since the Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine book and radio series, which profiled eight species teetering on the edge of extinction, including New Zealand's native nocturnal parrot, the kakapo.

An unusual technique being developed to encourage breeding is the use of a synthetic stink for male parrots, in a bid to make them more attractive to female birds, following research into why some males have greater mating success than others.

Bird odour is thought to play a prominent role in the breeding success of kakapo males, according to Associate Professor Dianne Brunton of New Zealand's Massey University.

Prof Brunton said: "Some males do extremely well... females queue up and wait for them even when other males are available."

Last Chance to See will portray the issues surrounding some of the planet's most threatened species and the techniques conservationists have used to help them survive.

Kakapo numbers have almost doubled since the original series from writer Adams and naturalist Carwardine, but there are still currently thought to be only around 90 of the parrots left in the world.

In New Zealand, the protected areas of Codfish Island and Anchor Island offer the kakapo a safe haven from predators and allow ecologists to closely monitor the species and mating behaviour.

Fry and his crew are visiting five conservation sites on the mainland and on off-shore islands, those behind the show said.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another Oldie But Goodie

Please accept with no obligation, express or implied, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2009, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures, and without regard to the race, creed, colour, sex, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:
This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal at any time. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.

This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Fruit Cake Recipe

Holiday Fruitcake Recipe

1 Cup water
1 Cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups dried fruit
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
lemon juice
1 gallon whiskey

Sample the whiskey to check for quality.

Take a large bowl.

Check the whiskey again to be sure it is of the highest quality.

Pour one level cup and drink.


Turn on the electric mixer, beat 1 cup butter in a large fluffy bowl.

Add 1 teaspoon sugar and beat again.

Make sure the whiskey is still OK. Cry another tup.

Turn off mixer.

Break 2 legs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of died fruit.

Mix on the turner.

If the dried fruit gets stuck to the beaterers, pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the whickey to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift 2 cups of salt. Or something. Who cares?

Check the whickesy.

Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or sumting, Whatever you can find.

Grease the oven.

Turn the cake tin to 350 decrees.

Don't forget to beat off the turner.

Throw the bowl out of the window.

Check the whic...wishh..jug.

Go to bed.

Who the heck likes cruitfrake anyway?

(Written by Anonymous)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Seems Like a Long Time

Seems like it's been awhile since my last post.

I've been working on a new blog with a friend -- keep your fingers crossed it makes us both a ton of money.

Let's see -- birdies are all well and fussing at me as I type. Nicholas still flicks his little wing but not as much.

I've moved most of my domains over to, which is cheaper, has an easier-to-understand control panel, and 24/7 American support -- us Americans need all the jobs we can get, and when I'm wrangling with a tech problem at 8am on Sunday morning I do not want to fight the language barrier or hear how the offices are closed.

Piano lessons continue, one slow key at a time. Just when my fingers get used to being on one range of keys, O makes me move them to another range! But I'm trudging through anyway.

The women's chorus I'm in was requested to sing (for money!) at one of the international companies here in town. We covered all three shifts at different days, going in 90-minute sessions. I went last Saturday; it was fun to sing Christmas carols and the workers really seemed to enjoy it.

We're having our first winter storm of the season. Sleet, snow, ice. brrrrr

Now for the neighbors!

There have been the usual variety of unknown cars coming and going, especially on weekends. One weekend there were three cars in the driveway and about three more parked out in the street. But they're all quiet and no one comes around asking to use my phone to make long-distance calls.

Last Wednesday, the young woman who comes to clean my house (thank you gawd!) while I'm at work said the police stopped her at the entrance to the neighborhood (which is mostly rental property), demanding to know if she knew any of my neighbors. She said there were police cars and even those big police trucks, all surrounding a house about three doors down. She wanted to know if I knew them or any reason the police would show up.

Nope. There's only been one "incident" I know anything about and that was maybe eight or nine years ago. A couple of college boys, who lived in the SAME house, got drunk one night and started shooting guns out the door and in the house. The police evacuated everyone and by five in the morning, the kids were passed out and what seemed to be the entire police department were in the street. The police finally stormed the house and took the boys to jail and we were all released to go back to our homes.

I don't know what it is about that house.

Anyway, I happened to run into my next-door neighbor yesterday morning. He said he was home that day and "I was scared they were going to shoot me! They have their rifles drawn and everything," he told me.

Evidently nobody got shot and whoever they were after came out peacefully. And the neighbor was very nice and personable. As always.

I hope everyone is having a good holiday season. I'm going to my mom's and over eat!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nicholas Update Update

Last weekend I figured Nicholas was fine and that it was probably my overactive imagination at work, but then I saw him scratch his head by moving his leg under his wing instead of over it. So Monday afternoon I took him back to the vet.

She did a good exam and found three short blood feathers under his "arm pit," and thinks maybe that's making him uncomfortable enough that we would move his leg under his wing and flip his wing the way he's been doing. She said give it a week or so for the feathers to grow out a little more, and if there's still a problem we'll do X-rays.

Above is a picture of Nicholas, though it's a bit overexposed. And below is a picture of Flash with that darling long curled crest. I swear, I have the cutest little birds in the whole world!