Snowy Visitor


Mom and I were sitting on the back deck the afternoon I arrived in Indiana. This pretty (homing?) pigeon watched us from the roof of the garage for a while.  Then she came down to check us out, though she wasn’t interested in the black sunflower seeds we offered her.

Mom says she looks like she was carved out of Ivory soap. And those red feet!

After a while she swooped through the yard and away over the fields, hopefully toward home!


RIP Boomer


Boomer, on the left, passed away Saturday morning.  He was a good little guy.

We were going to get one budgie, but right after I picked him out, he snuggled up to Tex, on the right. So we brought both of them home.

Tex, the survivor, has always been the more people-oriented of the two, but he is still looking for his brother.  He checks the foot of the sheer curtains that are behind them in this shot, because in his last days Boomer sometimes overshot this perch and slid down them, where we’d rescue him.

Six years is not long enough. Hoping little Tex stays with us a long time.

I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party


So this Cooper’s hawk stopped by the feeder outside our library window this morning. He spent a long time looking around like, “Don’t delay the party on my account.” But no one else showed up.

Well, no one except this one clueless squirrel who busied himself selecting cracked corn from the scattered offerings on the ground.


Señor Ardilla was all, “WTF!!?” when the hawk flew away.

(Please excuse the fuzzy image, but the body language says it all!)

I Feel You


This little guy has a high EQ (emotional quotient) which is briefly described as an individual’s ability to recognize his/her own emotional state and the state of others. This is probably why it’s hard for a lot of people to share their lives with birds. If you’re upset, they are likely to get upset, too.

We tell him to calm down when he gets over excited sometimes. He’s gotten worked up about something in the past and told himself to “Calm.”  Self awareness lives in parrots.

The first time we really clued into this was years ago, when we still lived in Sherman Oaks. Helen Hunt is one of Dodger’s favorite actors. She doesn’t even have to whistle to get his attention. One evening we were watching Mad About You and Helen paced across the screen stressing out about something, her hands stiff in front of her. Dodger walked back and forth on a TV tray, eyes intent on the screen and said, “Calm down!  Calm down!”

We were astonished.

This past Sunday, we engaged in a little binge-watching of Flea Market Flip. It’s a show where people upcycle stuff they buy at a flea market and then compete to redesign and sell it at another flea market.

For us, this is like a sporting event where we sometimes both are crying out to the television, “No!” as someone slaps gray paint onto vintage oak or uses just the wrong fabric on that padded bench made out of an old chest of drawers.

So we’re both couch-quarterbacking the flippers, and Dodger says, “Calm!  Calm down,” which gave us both a good laugh. We let him know it’s okay, we’re not really upset.

He may have actually helped us become better people over the decades.  He’s 23 and we realized a long time ago that for him drama is its own reward. Getting an emotional response from us is super fun. It takes a lot of effort sometimes not to just yell, “Stop it!” and I still do sometimes, but I have gotten better at not reacting too much to the shattered mug on the kitchen floor. I have to respond and clean it up, but I don’t have to multiply the fun by getting all cranked up about it.

So hopefully, while he’s helped me embrace the Zen concept that the glass is already broken (so be grateful for the glass every day you can enjoy it), maybe we’ve helped him appreciate the value of calm.

Calm is, after all, where the scratches and cuddles live.