Archive for the ‘Odds & Ends’ Category

Hurricanes and Torn Ligaments, Among Other Things

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Believe it or not, we had a Category 1 hurricane here in Albuquerque a couple of weeks ago.  It didn’t last long and it didn’t affect everyone.  Fortunately, we sustained no damage, but lots of beautiful old cottonwoods and pines were felled and there was flooding all over the place.  And there were power outages.  We were one of the lucky remaining 6000+ citizens without power for about 3 days.  Still, we did have fun shopping for batteries, LED lamps, and ice for our coolers while others were buying non-essential things.  Were were among the few still in survival mode!  Oh, and of course, we spent time in the evenings playing Scrabble with headlamps.


When the hurricane began, I ran from one house to another to close the windows in my place.  I flashed back to “The Wizard of Oz” when Judy Garland was running with Toto during the storm, wondering if I’d make it to my house.  Fortunately, while the floor was somewhat drenched with the rain coming in all directions, a general mop-up did the trick, and the birds and BunRab were fine.

Then, a few days ago, our 11 month-old Maltese puppy, Poppy, tore the ligament of her ACL.  Basically, one of her hind knees is busted and we have to wait for another week+ for the swelling and bleeding to go down before she goes into surgery to repair the damage.  She is consequently crate-bound except for short forays into the yard to do her business.  Here she is peeking at Sam, our Curious George, on my bed.  If she weren’t behind her screen, Sam would not be there!

Poppy and Sam

Otherwise, things are doing well!  Steve loves to shred his newspapers each night.  During the day, I also hang up a brown paper lunch sack filled with a treat and chewable toys, and he spends considerable time ripping that up and finding his treasures.

Let’s hope your summer has been free of hurricanes and torn ligaments!

New Mexico or Bust!

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

And we did not bust at all, but had a great trip, even though I was very tired from the start, having had little sleep after a marathon packing/cleaning day before.  Steve and Sam were crammed in travel cages on the front passenger side, the two cockatiels in travel cages were in the back seat that had been flattened. Bun Rab was right next to them in her fairly spacious cage.  After an initial getting used to the positioning, everyone soon got used to their places and seemed to really enjoy the ride.

During the trip, there was some chattering, but mostly everybody understood this was a long-haul trip and just settled down.  Everybody ate well – Sam nearly ate non-stop, dunking his pellets in water and slowly eating the outsides like ice cream cones.

It was exhausting hauling everybody’s cages into motel rooms, but they were all real troopers.  I couldn’t have had better companions.  On day 2, I drove for 11 hours, getting us to Williams, AZ at dusk.  And by the afternoon of day 3, we were flagging.  Near Gallup, NM, we stopped under a shady tree and all of us napped silently, listening to the birds outside chirp in the early fall heat.

On day 3, we all rolled in around 2:30 pm.  My mother had just returned home from the hospital, having contracted West Nile Virus a couple weeks previously.  I had fast-forwarded my trip to New Mexico by an entire month so that I could be here to help Mom and my sister.  Mom nearly died, but with many prayers and a dose of very good luck, she pulled through without complications.  We are soooo very grateful she lived to tell the tale.

Meanwhile, my living quarters weren’t ready because I had arrived a month early, so I camped out in the living room of Mom’s house with my bird cages parked in various places and Bun Rab penned in beneath the dining room table to be out of the way of traffic.  Chipper and Charlie had to bunk together, to save room.  That worked, but sometimes the racket of competitive singing and one-upping was very hard to bear.  But, again, all the feathered guys were very flexible, even getting used to  my sister’s Maltese dog Maizy.

By October, we all moved into my new “cabin,” and then it was time to get used to another home – the 3rd one in 2 weeks.  Steve regressed quite a bit, but that was perfectly understandable.

Chipper and Charlie hanging out above Steve's cage

Once settled, though, things fell into place and we’ve now been here since then, enjoying family life again and being together again for the holidays – so far:  Thanksgiving, a beautiful Christmas, and a very cold January.

The three of us after a wreath-making party

Sam is the most easy-going and adaptable of the flock, and he has been happy with everything – no matter what changes I make, rearranging his cage position, changing the routine, he’s happy-go-lucky because he gets to be with me most of the day (I work at home).

Sam above his cage

And Steve has been generally pretty darn happy too.  It’s taken him all this time to progress to this miracle moment of venturing OUTSIDE of his cage without hanging onto it by one leg!

"Look, Ma, no hands!"

And now, for a little light humor, I give you Chipper!  Just click on the link following:

Salad Sharing and a bit of song here:  Chipper’s Song

And Bun Rab is ecstatic!  She gets to have the entire run of my cabin – no cage.

BunRab soaking in the sun by my desk


Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Bun Rab catching the breeze

After a very cool spring and early summer, we’ve finally gotten very hot weather.  Bun Rab – with her shedding fur coat – is not liking the heat!  I will often find her standing as close as she can get to the fan in the living room, fur flying sometimes.  (I have to enclose electrical stuff, out of reach of her sharp teeth, which is why the fan is caged.)

The birds, having heat-loving DNA, don’t seem to mind it at all.

Stay cool, everybody!

A Night to Forget

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Wow!  It’s been a long time since I posted.  Other things in my life have taken precedence.  But all members of my flock are doing well.

Well, except for last Thursday night, when an explosion like a bomb went off in the complex I live in.  I don’t know how it happened, but a neighbor’s SUV crashed into the spare bedroom of the unit next to mine.  I was asleep, as were my birds.

We were not asleep for long.  All the birds began flying for their lives inside their covered cages, as instinct would have them do.  But, of course, cage bars don’t allow for flight, so all my birds lost feathers.  Sam and Steve lost one each, Charlie – for some reason being the calmest – lost only a couple of small ones.  And Chipper lost all but 2 of his flight feathers, so he basically cannot fly right now.  Poor guys!

Lost feathers, all in one night!

On my way out the front door to see what happened, I flung the birds’ covers off, so at least they could see.  Normally, I tend to them first, but not knowing what had hit the house and if people and house were in danger, I had to do first things first.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, but it was a very scary evening.  Now I know what it’s like to be hit by a bomb.  We were all pretty shaky through the next day, but as of today we are all back to normal.  The car was towed away, the hole covered up till repair work can be done.

And a rainbow appeared last evening to assure us that all will be well:

A Merry Christmas to All!

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

A Canine Interlude…

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

What, a post not about a bird?!

Once in awhile, I have to give way to the mammals, and I haven’t posted about Cedar, my officemate who belongs to my co-worker.  He’s now over 2 years old, which made me realize how long it’s been since I last posted about him.

Cedar has wormed his way deeply into my heart and I look forward every new week to seeing him and listening to his tales (he talks at the drop of a hat and often “talks back” when he doesn’t agree with what someone has said to him).  I love dogs, but with 4 birds and no fenced yard, it’s a no-brainer.  This way I can enjoy the dog without the responsibility.

Cedar has a special love for his white bear – a gift I gave him last Christmas.  I expected it to be torn to shreds within the hour of receipt.  But instead, Cedar carefully licks it and keeps it intact.  He tends to cuddle up to it when he feels misunderstood (especially when he thinks it’s time to go for his noon walk and we tell him he still has another hour to wait…)

But at other times, his bear is just a pillow…

A Good Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Back Into the Blogosphere

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

After a long absence, I plan to post regularly again.  It’s been a difficult few months. Chronic pain from an old injury is no fun!  I’m glad to say that I’ve made great progress in these past months and have hope that I will continue to grow stronger and be able to ward off the worst pain.

Over the months, I’ve had time to think about life, about art, about my passions, and what I still want to accomplish in my life.  Although it has been 13 years since I’ve been in remission from breast cancer (after 10 years, one is considered “cured”), I never stop feeling the press of time, especially as I age.

Sunrise over the Rogue Valley

As much as I love to paint and still feel the urge to do so, I’m going to continue my sabbatical from art for the present.  My other passion is family history and genealogy – and of course, my parrots.  Both of these particular passions are currently receiving all of my attention right now.

My favorite uncle Hank Domagalski, a World War II bomber pilot in the Pacific theater,  used to be the family memory keeper.  He was the only one who made 8 mm films and interviews of family members and events.  When he passed away a few years ago,  these materials came to me and I’m slowly gathering material to self-publish a number of books about my family lines.   If you are interested, you can read a short article I wrote about my father’s family at this link (my article is on pages 6 and 7 of the pdf here).   This type of research takes quite a lot of time and thought, and it is something I feel I must do as a legacy to my family.

My parrots and my house rabbit are doing just great.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been preparing for the addition of one more rescue parrot into my family, and I’ll be posting more about that later.   This photo shows my rabbit Bun Rab checking out the carrier in which I’ll be transporting my new charge by airplane.  I’m very excited!

So that’s my news for now.

Spring is Coming!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I know it probably  doesn’t feel like Spring is coming for many of us, but I always know we’ve passed beyond winter’s absolute hold  when I see a particular patch of snowdrops blooming in February.  Without fail, they always remind me not to lose hope of ever seeing the sun or feeling warm again.

It’s been a bit of a hard winter for me.  Owing to some health issues – fortunately nothing too serious – I’ve not been able to paint for awhile.  But I’m working on this and hopefully, along the the snowdrops and spring, I’ll be able to paint again soon.

Meantime, enjoy the shoots of green poking up through the soggy turf or snowy patches.  Warmer times are coming…

Chico Making Our Lives Safer

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

On my way to Albuquerque, I had a stopover in San Francisco – it was so good to see the ocean again after so long! and to be close to that wonderful city I’d roamed as a teenager.  I took this photo from my seat on the plane as we traveled south along the coast.

Upon my return to the same airport, I came across a gorgeously beautiful Belgian Malinois dog who was accompanied by his handler, Officer Jeffrey Brown of the San Francisco Police Dept of Airport Bureau.  Belgian Malinois look similar to German Shepherds, but the breed is older and doesn’t have the hip problems that German Shepherds do, according to Officer Brown.  Chico was alert and ready for action at all times (sniffing for explosives) while I spoke to his handler.  Officer Brown handed me Chico’s business card, which explains his story:

You may not be able to read the “Personal Message” easily, so I’ll transcribe it for you.  It is a quote from Mark Twain:

“Let us abolish policemen who carry clubs and revolvers, and put in a squad of poets armed to the teeth with poems on Spring and Love.”  Hear, hear!