Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Had Christmas with my mom on Christmas Eve.  Neither of us wanted to drive in case we really got the three inches of snow predicted for Christmas Day.We met at the Cracker Barrel at Brannon Crossing to eat and exchange gifts.  We were both thinking the same things because we gave each other candy and chocolates and money.

We did get about three inches of soft fluffy snow; it was the nice kind that swept off easily with my broom, but cold enough to freeze and crunch underfoot.  It got up to 30 degrees in the afternoon, but I don't think it got much below 24 last night.

I decided to brave the roads and go to the movies.  The roads were, in fact, perfectly clear except for my subdivision.  I went to the Movie Tavern; its parking lot was full but not the lobby. 

I bought a ticket for True Grit -- even though I'd seen the original I knew Jeff Bridges could do anything better than John Wayne.  And he did not disappoint.  The girl who played Mattie Ross was wonderful, as was Matt Damon.  The Cohens even directed using what I assume was more genuine language -- no contractions.  I don't remember the ending of the original movie, but this ending was perfect.  Mattie at 35 or 40, missing her left arm because of the snake bite, dressed in black, chastising the man as trash in the Wild West Show because he did not get up when a lady (she) was present, and then having Cogburn's body moved to her town, buried high on a hill, she dressed all in black.

As Cogburn rode through the night with Mattie trying to save her life, I wondered if the roads had iced over and if more snow had fallen back in my real life.  Would I be forced to blaze a trail down Richmond Road and into my subdivision, as if I too were in a western only fighting ice rather than outlaws or snakes?  But of course no additional snow had fallen and the roads were all clear.

There was a decent amount of traffic for seven at night, though it was odd to see so many dark buildings -- Wal-Mart, office buildings, restaurants.  Only Kroger's and the Shell station were open as I drove home. 

Got home just in time to watch a Gray's Anatomy re-run and catch up with the laundry and scritch some parrots.

Monday, December 13, 2010

December Snow

We got about 3 inches of snow last night.  I'm so glad I don't have to go to work in this mess.  In fact, I'm glad every day now I don't have to go to work.  People I talk to who are still there say nothing has changed, and I count my lucky stars.

I'm not getting as much writing done and I'd imagined I would.  On the other hand, I'm sleeping more and a lot better.  I no longer get those awful panicky sensations of dread in my stomach, and I find it a lot easier now to join groups and sign up for activities and shows I would have never done before.  I even met with a dining club group a few weeks ago where I didn't know anyone.  And it was just fine.

My birds are fine and seem to take it in stride that I'm home almost all the time.  More scritches for them!

I did come down with one of the strains of flu at Thanksgiving, and yes I did get a flu shot in October.  It took forever, but I did recover.

I took the Bobbsey Twins in for their annual well-bird check-ups last week.  Nicholas is 22 years old -- I knew he was old for a cockatiel, but I didn't realize he was that old.  Both boys are in fine shape, except that Nicholas has some worn places on his feet where he insists on standing on the food dish perch, which is hard plastic, all the time.  There's no way to wrap vet tape around it.  I hate to take it away and just have food dishes on the floor of the cage, but I may have to.

Here's a little video of Nicholas, taken with my new iPod Touch.

video


Here's a little video of Flash, who doesn't really like people.  Yes, they're allowed to come out of their cages, but they prefer not to.


video


Here's a little video of Charli eating some of the Very Best Banana in the World yesterday.

video

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Year

My most beloved Sugar Franklin died a year ago tonight.  I often wear the locket that contains some of her ashes, as I did today.



My official retirement from work is next Friday.  My office is nearly cleared out and I've decluttered my home office almost enough to have everything fit.  I have no idea how things are going to turn out, but my plan is to finally get some serious writing done and then worry about what to do.  I've had too many projects left half finished because of time and stress; now I'm hoping to at least get caught up.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Transitions

It's been dreadfully hot and humid the past few weeks.  Storms yesterday, and a nice peaceful day today in the mid-80s.

I've had a good Saturday.  Farmer's market early this morning, then some serious decluttering of my home office.  Threw out three big bags of trash, and took two big loads to Goodwill.

Birdies and I had fresh, sweet corn on the cob for lunch, and I also had tomatoes with cottage cheese.

The big news is that I finally found a way to take early retirement!  I'll still have to work, of course, but I won't have to worry about being destitute.  My last day at that place will be October 8.  

I'm applying for online instructor jobs and I won't mind working part-time for the university, but I won't ever have to go back to the place that's been driving me crazy for the past three or four years.  There's even a good chance I'll be able to get enough peace of mind back to get some writing done.

I've been missing Sugar Franklin a lot the past week or so.  This time last year she and I were engaged in the mighty battle of cockatiel beak versus syringe.  She always won.  I was looking for something in the outside storage building the other day, and the first thing I saw was her cage.  I didn't clean it very well when I put it out there, so I was thinking today maybe I should just throw it out.  In the unlikely event I ever get another bird it will always be her cage.  I think I have another cage just like it in another storage area.  We don't have any rescues in this area, so there's really no one to give it to.

The Bobbsey Twins are just as silly as always, arguing over which perch to sleep on, throwing any poisonous substances such as vegetables out of the food dishes, demanding Nutriberries every night.

Charli is well, though I think she's been a bit more quiet lately.  More happy to sit on my knee and doze or hang out on the basket in the plant stand after a hard session of chewing up the sudoku book.  She's had a few more yellow feathers come in on her legs.  Someone on the brown-head list has noticed this on his brown-head as well; he likens it to getting gray hair.  Charli is about 11 now, maybe moving into the beginning of middle age for a brown-headed parrot.

I worry sometimes that I give her more attention than I do the Bobbsey Twins, but she demands more while the cockatiels have one another and don't seem to mind if I'm around or not (as long as there are plenty of treats available).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bobbsey Twins

Sometimes the boys come out of their cage and decide to trek across the living room floor.  I managed to get some of their latest trip on film.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

O Happy Day!





I went to the Farmers' Market again this morning.  Among the haul was a nice stalk of broccoli, which Charli fell in love with as you can see (the broccoli is on a skewer).




Here, she's hanging upside down with her wings spread out a little bit.  She loves raw broccoli!

Later on I gave her some clean pea pods after shelling out the fresh peas.  She thought they were mighty tasty, too.

Then, miracle of miracles!  I dropped about 5 fresh organic blueberries in her food dish.  O Joy, Joy, Joy!

Yes, I gave goodies to the Bobbsey Twins, too, but they are most definitely not interested in anything edible unless it's seed or nuts, which I'm not providing today.  They'll just have to call the ASPCA and report me!

Now all the birds are taking naps.  It looks like rain, so I think I'll take a little nap, too.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lazy Saturday

I managed to get up, get showered, and get out early this morning.  First, a quick trip to S's Bakery for doughnuts that make Krispy Kremes look and taste like lumps of lead.  They're only open a few days a week and on Saturdays; they're always sold out by 10 am.  They refuse to franchise.

Then my second trip of the season to the farmer's market.  The city finally built a nice pavillion (above) and the stands stretch around the entire block.  I got there about 7:45 so it wasn't crowded yet.  Today's purchases were fresh sugar snap peas, new potatoes, a cucumber, a heavy red tomato, two ears of corn, and a huge stalk of broccoli.  

The Bobbsey Twins and I like raw broccoli florettes; Charli likes the stalk.  So everyone got good stuff.

For supper I tried two new recipes from allrecipes.com for the sugar snap peas and roasted potatoes.  The birds were completely uninterested in either, possibly because neither had almonds involved.

For dessert I had a slice of french vanilla pound cake, topped with homemade vanilla ice cream and slices of fresh peach.

I've been trying to eat a little better -- I have no illusion I'll ever eat as well as they do over on Parrot Musings -- but more vegetables, less meat, less sugar and fat, and no HFCS.  One bite at a time.

The Gulf of Mexico continues to die.  Perhaps BP isn't working on a Saturday, especially a holiday weekend -- the oil spill cam doesn't look a bit different today than it did yesterday.   I'm being sarcastic, of course.  Beats screaming.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Storms in the morning and threats of storms the rest of the day.  Suited my mood perfectly.  


Here is a picture of a dying heron, caught in the oil from the oil slick in Louisiana.  
Here's a closer view.  Those  of you who have parrots probably recognize the pose.

To say that I'm sick to the very soul of what's happening in the Gulf of Mexico would be the understatement of the year. 

I try not to think about it, but of course it's everywhere.  I spend too much time on facebook, watching the updates come through and the angry blog entries appear. 

It's Friday of the Memorial Day weekend.   There's some odd movie on, The April Fools, with Jack Lemmon and Catherine Deneuve and Peter Lawford.  It was clearly created sometime in the 60s; it's been on for over 30 minutes and no one's ended up in bed yet.   

My three little birds are tucked away in their respective sleeping areas, cages covered and dark.  I've been spoiling them too much lately -- too many peanuts and Nutriberries, bits bagels made with white flour, organic corn chips.  On the one hand they should be spoiled and allowed to have whatever they like (except for chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and avocado, of course); on the other hand, am I cutting their lives short by clogging their little arteries?

I'm going to make a big effort to get up early, early, early tomorrow morning for the farmer's market -- I like it when it first opens.  Everything is fresh and tempting, everyone is mostly awake and hopeful, before it gets too hot and humid and you have to squeeze between crowds of people to hand over money or put ears of corn in a bag.  Fresh potatoes and beans, lettuces, peppers, a cup of Marco's coffee made from his freshly roasted coffee beans, the heavy melons and soft peaches, ropes of garlic.  I always buy too much, but where else can I get local honey and free range eggs and cross-examine the farmer about his grain-fed roasts?

I want to start keeping my blog updated more regularly, too.   

My big plan for the weekend was to work on the book, but I've decided to let it go for a bit longer.  R and I are going to go to the movies and/or eat and/or plan a world takeover -- or something, just to get out of the house.  For the rest of it, I'll try to catch up on my favorite blogs and take several naps.  And not think about dying animals trapped in oil.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Derby Day 2010

Yes, I know it's been awhile.  Work, life, friends, family, strangers, and so on.

Today I finished the first draft of a book I've been working on.  A very bad draft, but finished all the same.  Now all I have to do is fill in details, get the style straightened out, polish the prose, make sure things flow in a logical order, and so on.  Another two or three drafts and I might actually have a real book worth reading.  No sweat!

In other areas, things are fine.  Work is quiet, for the most part.  I have a new therapist I like a lot who seems to know what he's doing, and that's helped a lot.

I received my first royalty check a few weeks ago.  A laughably small amount, but the amount doesn't matter.  I took a couple of pictures of it, in case I ever needed to remember.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Plot Continues

This is little Flash, snoozing between bouts of scheming with Nicholas.  He has such a beautiful crest, and he's an awesome flier.  I adore him.


Things continue to be unhealthy at work, and I've got applications out everywhere I can.  Personal life is pretty stable; family members and friends all well. The weather here is nearly as bad as it is everywhere in the nation.  Spring cannot come quickly enough.


All my parrots are spoiled and continuing their work on the Great Parrot Takeover.  I no longer pretend I'm anything but a pawn and almond provider in their diabolical plans.






In this picture Nicholas and Flash eye me warily.  Evidently I interrupted some sort of planning session.


I've told all my non-parrot-owning friends to begin the search for me if they don't hear from me for a certain amount of time.  Just in case.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Serious Snow & Safflower Seeds

We've had our second serious snow last night; maybe three inches.  Shallow enough to drive if I had an emergency, but deep enough to stay home with no guilt.

Here's a video of several birds feasting at my bird feeder.  Dozens more birds visited earlier today, so there's not much left for these.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76bOdRzHBCI

So I slept late, took videos, listened to NPR, had a leisurely breakfast, and plan to spend the rest of the day fooling around on the Mac and doing nothing productive.

 
I have a family of cardinals in residence in my backyard.  Here the male helps himself to seed I put out on the rail yesterday.  About an hour later, his mate came over to stuff herself.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Most Beautiful Green Bird in the World


I ordered some stuff from ParrotNutz.com and they arrived today.

I gave everyone a single Plopz treat to see how they would like them. The Bobbsey Twins ignored theirs, of course, but Charli was brave and tried it. This picture is of her after downing a bite and before delicately selecting another bite. (I'd crumbled it up before putting it in her bowl.)

Her feathers are so beautiful I just had to post this picture. I got some more pictures of her eating, but this one shows off her colors the best. I've never found a way to adequately photograph the brilliance and iridescence of her green feathers -- they literally glow.

The cockatiels are also in fine feather; their feathers are so soft it's almost like stroking a cloud, but I can't photograph that.

Parrots are the most amazing creatures I've ever experienced -- people are fascinating, of course, but parrots are a continual source of wonder for me.