Archive for August, 2008

not quite dog days…

but close. The kiddo starts school next week, one week after the local kids do. We are alone together for one more week. That has meant lots of time spent at her favorite places—the two pet shops in town. I know I’m spending too much time—-waaaaay too much time—at the pet shop when I admire the mice -eek!—and reptiles like geckos and bearded dragons. And….actually consider a ferret occupying our home. When I start admiring ball pythons, I’ll definitely need an intervention. But seriously, I can walk into Petco now, stop at the parakeet corral, and know who’s mating and which males are dueling over which hen. Nutty.

Stella laid an egg last week. One. Don’t get excited like I did though. She’s promptly forgotten all about it. Silly hen. It’s tiny. About a half an inch, tops. Milk white. Hard to believe a whole bird could emerge out of it.

Current mystery: why oh why does Finn ignore his water bowl and insist on sneaking long sips out of my cup—a goblet, no less?


it’s happening already

We were at the pool yesterday. I was watching the kiddo frolic with her little friends and quite suddenly, tears began sprouting from my eyes. For at least ten minutes. Kindergarten. I think myself above emotional displays—-I’d rather do almost anything than cry in front of people— and thank goodness my face was already wet and my sobbing hidden. It surprised me. I saw not a rambunctious, healthy five year old in front of me, but a tiny baby. Mine.

She’ll be finished with Headstart in two weeks, and then on to the school of my present dreams, an Emilia Reggio school that just opened its doors this year. Its teaching philosophy infuses art into every academic discipline, which is an excellent fit for her.

Anyway, the kiddo will be happy to have Mama all to herself for ten days. Rosellabella is alive and well. She talks about her everyday. Sometimes when I’m bored with Rosellabella, I tell the kiddo that she’s on vacation, visiting a friend.

“Who?!?”, she demanded.

“Uh….Lucretia. Her good friend Lucretia.”


“Wellllllll…..Lucretia has dogs. Lots of them. Hundreds of them! So, Rosellabella comes over to help her with them.”, said I. That Rosellabella. What a good friend, dontcha think? Of course anyone  with a  friend who  had all those dogs would help out.


“I want to meet Lucretia.”


What have I done?????




“Miles? Miles, what’s happening? She’s evicting us! Didn’t you send that rent check?!??? I TOLD her the check was in the mail!


Oh dear….


Miles! MILES! Miles, She’s taking my swing, Miles! Not my swing! Miles, DO something!


Oh wait….my stars! Miles, sweetie, is this your idea of a surprise? This….this is a palace! Just look at  the square footage!


Ohhhhhh, but honey, how ever are we going to make the payments??? What about our future children’s college education??


:sigh: darling, you shouldn’t have! “


O.k., that’s the way I’d imagined it would be. But not my birds. Yesterday was moving day. Finally, my birdies have a proper flight cage, which every bird should have, in order that they can have the space to fly. A flight cage is a long, rectangular cage, a bit shorter and squat than the tall, narrower cages typically found in the average pet shop. I’ve been eagerly anticipating its arrival, so I could hear their little wings flapping.


Like most moves, it had its exasperations and tempers flared. Mostly the bird’s tempers. But it was hell on my part, catching those two. Finches are notoriously averse to handling. High strung creatures, they are. Especially my Stella. I’m not particularly crazy about handling birds, myself. Clinca the parakeet is growing on me in that regard though. So averse was I to the finch capture, that I started out just opening the release doors and joined them together, figuring that they’d know what to do. They just stared at each other and stood pat as my arms grew tired under the old cage’s weight.. Hmph.


So, sighing, I resigned myself to the task at hand. Miles—-I swear I’m not making this up—-had to have one last copulation in the old homestead as I turned to fetch the rubber gloves.


After all of that fumbling and twisting, not to mention too many false starts to mention, the two just stood upon their perches, motionless. The shock, probably. Stella froze, her tiny beak agape, which always happens when she’s stressed out. Like all moves, I swear this one is the last time.


They’re happily flying to their  heart’s content now, and singing. So it was worth it, of course. It’s a good cage. And conveniently enough, it can house more finches than the last cage.


 :Ahem to the happy couple:




Zebra finches are supposed to be the rabbits of the finch world. Only the males sing. And each, his own singular tune. My finches have apparently not gotten the memo regarding their breed’s fecundity. But not for Mile’s lack of trying. He’s always courting Stella; serenading her, grooming her feathers. It’s sweet.


I think Stella is young, which could be a contributing factor to the empty nest. She reminds me so much of my Grandma Leila. And likewise, Miles brings my Grandpa; her husband, to mind. Grandma Leila was a true lady; gentile to the end, inspite of marrying poor. She came from a very well to do family in Connecticut who, according to legend or speculation—I could never get the straight story and my Grandma revealed her background most sparingly…. I don’t know why—–lost their money in bad real estate deals. She was a good writer. And liked to spend most of her time as a young woman listening to trials in the court house in New Haven. It was a different New Haven then, she always reminded us.


She could not have merged her life with a more different personality in my grandfather, whom she met when he performed in a vaudeville show. An artist. Flamboyant. Liked to ride broncos in rodeos, because, well, he’d never done that before. Guitar strumming singer in a band who liked to emulate Gene Autry in bright cowboy silks. And, penniless. They went on to raise nine children.


I liked Grandma Leila all right, but she was a mystery to me. Difficult to get to know. She reminded me in her dotage of an Empress Dowager, with just a touch of snobbishness to her. Certain people (not my father) she deemed unworthy of her daughters were not allowed in the house, even in the cold of winter.They   were allowed only a spot in the front porch, and that’s where they sat. And waited. True.


I think as a writer, she enjoyed my stories in the hometown paper. But other than that, we had little in common. My general nature is  much more closely aligned with my grandfather. I even live not far from where he grew up, which is quite accidental and nothing I knew until recently. There was little that made me happier than being his shadow, whether in the garage with his pet racoons, or plucking strawberries with him in his garden, or at the P&C, even if he did embarrass me when he flirted with the deli girls.


He was charismatic. It was fun. He may have been perhaps tipsy from the brandy some or maybe even most of those times, as I came to understand later, but I was just a little kid along for the ride. No one could outshine him in the fun department. Aside from his appearance (either white splattered painter’s overalls, or a ratty Izod cardigan I suspect he never washed, by the smell of it), you’d have never known he was poor, because he was so happy and vibrant.


He was generous. He’d pass along food for people even less fortunate than he. He was an optimist. Born on the 13th, he considered that his lucky number. My mom always adds it to her lottery picks. It helped that he was born the day before Valentine’s day, which he always added, and, I’m sure, reminded his wife. Often, probably. One day, he took us all for a ride, and brought us to a house my family passed so many times before, on the way to get ice cream in another town in our station wagon. It was full of junked cars. And it belonged to my estranged grandfather, my father’s father. I’d never met him before. I met him only twice in my life. The second time would be at my father’s funeral. I’d often wondered why he did that. After my father died, he picked us up every morning and took us to school. I often kept him waiting with my dawdling. I wondered why he did that too. It was just who he was. 


He was quite simply, magic. In a grownup. Not an easy feat.


I look at Mile’s florid plumage and I can’t help but think of those fancy cowboy duds in my grandpa’s pictures. Mile’s is just an easy going bird, for a finch. He’ll make a fantastic papa, I’m sure. And the both of them will make beautiful birdies. If they do.


Let us hope.



she’s never met one she didn’t like:

Her favorite things…

A few of them:

(click on the images to enlarge)


Six unspectacular things about me:

  1. I’m frugal. Very frugal. Not stingy though. Crack couponer. Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose, etc. It bores people, but it fits right in with my philosophy on simplicity in life.
  2. I’m slow. I like slow. One of my favorite pieces of advice on hairy situations is to slow it down. It is often greeted with looks of confusion or exasperation. Or a reckoning of my sanity. It confounds friends. But it works for me.
  3. I find feathers all the time, everywhere I go. It’s nothing of monetary value (what will I do with them all, really?), or some super power, but I secretly think it means something.
  4. By the time I was ten, I’d read the Bible in its entirety. At the time, I thought it was a spectacular feat, but reading something that long without fully comprehending it is kind of a waste of time. So, not so spectacular.
  5. I can’t go a day without reading a newspaper. I start getting this itchy, cranky feeling. I fully expect the kiddo to one day join me in this addiction.
  6. I am a terrible, terrible liar. I just can’t lie successfully, or sans queasiness or a crisis of consciounsce. I don’t even bother anymore. It’s not worth the time, effort, or anxiety.

new baby

I’ve been busy most of the weekend preparing for my new baby, a two month old parakeet the kiddo has named Clinca, who was born with clubbed feet. I’ve never had a parakeet before. I’m kind of averse to having pets who are known to be trained to do all sorts of tricks. Then I feel obligated to do so, except, I won’t, because I find it insulting to the animal. I know nothing, really, of her condition. But just thinking of making this little ‘keet happy and comfortable does all sorts of wonderful things to me. He/She is an absolute darling, though understandably, very nervous. But pretty agile, in spite of the handicap. And today, Clinca hung out on my lap without flying away (which he can. Ok, I think it’s a he). But anyway, I’ve been thinking of various ways that I can make life more interesting and accessible for the sweetie. Kiddo is over the moon ‘cuz the ‘keet lives in her room for the time being.

I have lots of pictures and scans of all sorts of stuff I’ll be uploading soon. Ciao, for now.

August 2008
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