Wednesday, December 19, 2012


My sweet little Nicholas, who died on November 11, 2012.

He was always loud and opinionated, a firm believer that humans were put on earth to scritch his little head.

He had the softest feathers of any parrot I've been fortunate enough to touch.

We're still not quite sure what happened. I noticed his nares were red and he fell off his perch. I hospitalized him over night and his breathing got better. I brought him home, but could get enough nutrition down his stubborn little beak. Back to the hospital, where he was doing better and then died that night.  The necropsy suggested he died of aspiration.

All I know is that he's gone and I miss him terribly.

Flash seems to have blossomed though, now that Nicholas is gone.  He didn't spend much time being sad or looking for his cage mate, but he immediately began singing Nicholas songs -- as loud and pure and uncannily accurate as if it were Nicholas himself.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This is Normal?

I have no excuses, so I offer none.

Today promises temperatures that are not in the triple digit range, so I think I'll do some cooking for a change. Maybe a meatloaf or something. With real vegetables.

My book is finally published and out. It isn't as good as I wanted it to be, but when is something I write ever good enough? It's finished and I'm glad I wrote it. (You can order your very own copy by clicking here.)

The problem now is what to write next. I've been thinking about doing a book on how parrots change lives, but there are a lot of logistics to work out first.

The parrots in my life are, as usual, perfect. The Bobbsey Twins like to stand on the open door of their cage and just watch things. Or nap.  At least once a day one of them will become frightened of something real or imaginary, fly off and across the room, and land on top of the kitchen cabinets. This causes the other one to follow suit. Then come the contact and alarm calls (though they're standing next to one another) for me to come "rescue" them. Which I do and they fly back to their cage and stand on the open door.

Charli has developed some sort of obsession with her metal food bowl. I've used these bowls for years as well as small white bowls, but suddenly the metal bowl must be attacked, thrown around, and subdued. I've been trying to get it on video because it's so adorable how Charli hauls that bowl around, but once she sees the camera she drops the bowl and pretends everything is normal.

Right, like anything is normal in this household . . . .

Saturday, April 21, 2012


The TV I bought a few years ago in order to receive whatever it is that changed and made our old televisions obsolete began developing problems a few weeks ago.  When I turned it on nothing would happen until I unplugged it, plugged it back in, and turned it on, and then waited.  And waited.  The waiting times grew longer and longer until I got fed up with it yesterday.

I took it to an appliance service store, only to find they don't work on this particular brand.  They assured me that the cost of diagnostics and any repairs would soon be more than buying a new television.

So, for less money than I paid for the first television with a DVD player, I bought a bigger TV and a blue-ray player.

What to do with the old one, I asked.  Oh, the clerk told me, people just throw them out.

Just throw them out.

It makes me feel old.  I grew up accustomed to televisions that lasted a long time, clock radios that lasted a long time, appliances that could be repaired, even shoes that could be repaired.

Now we just throw 'em out.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Single Crochet, Double Crochet

When I was in the third grade my grandmother attempted to teach me how to crochet, but I couldn't comprehend how to hold the needle and pick up stitches and drop stitches and count rows. Later, after she died, I found dozens of exquisite lacy pieces of crochet in all manner of patterns and sizes.  She had told me that she had never been able to crochet more than the simplest pieces, so the antique pieces must have belonged to her mother or grandmother.

In my 20s I sewed a lot of my own clothes and even learned to knit and purl but I could never figure out how to end stitches or bind off.  In my 30s I crocheted a simple shawl that didn't require anything more complicated than single crochet stitches.

Tonight I took a beginner's class in crochet.  My fingers remembered the way to hold the needle and how to make the chain stitch after all these decades.  We learned the double stitch and the slip stitch tonight; next week we make a pair of fingerless gloves.

On the way to the class I stopped at a favorite restaurant for an early dinner, only to find the only parking spaces were the ones with those awful automatic parking meters a block away.  You have to walk a block, pay $1.00 an hour via credit card or cash, get a piece of paper, walk back to the car, and put the piece of paper on the dashboard.  Everyone detests these things, so naturally they're everywhere.

Just as I opened my wallet to pull out a dollar bill a man shouted at me from across the street.

"Have you put any money in yet?"

"No," I said.

The street was empty and a middle-aged man in jeans and glasses ran over to me.  "I've got a lot of time left on my ticket," he said.  "If you want it," he added.

"Wow," I said, "you've just made a bad day better."

His car was parked behind mine, and he was right.  There were 45 more minutes left on his parking slip.  I thanked him, he grinned, got into his car, and drove away.  Later I wondered if I should have offered him money, but I didn't think about it at the time.

Instead I think it was probably his random act of kindness for the day.  Paying it forward.