Friday, September 28, 2012

Lessons From a Bird Brain

Dear Diary,

I am at the point in my day where I have finished the prep work for mopping.  I have dusted, swept and vacuumed.  Then, faced with the joyous task of mopping, I decided I really needed to write another entry!  (You will learn I am good at avoidance.)

I wanna tell you about my bird Jayda.  He's named after the precious green stone Jade, and, as is often the case with baby parakeets, we weren't quite sure of its sex at that young age.  We suspected a boy, but wanted a name that would fit a girl, too, in case.   He's got brilliant yellow and green plumage.  Hence the name: Jayda Sunshine Thompson.  I admit I was kinda hoping it would be a girl as they are better able to mimic sounds, especially the human voice.  (Photo courtesy of CGT.)

Jayda has been our pet since Christmas of 2005.  We have dubbed July 4th as his birthday, a nice mid-year, memorable date.  So he is now 7 years old.  I have never had a parakeet live this long under my (or my mom's, ahem) care.  Aside from his regular visits to the vet for beak and nail trim (yup, tried that once, ain't gonna try it again) he has had good health.

Up until last week.

I don't know how it happened.  I heard some fluttering of wings and saw his struggle to stay perched atop his favorite spot in his cage:  in front of his mirror.  Did I mention he is narcissistic?  But I digress.

Upon closer examination (I am not a vet, I just play one in my house), I could see he could not bear weight on his right foot, nor even open and close his toes.  I was hoping it was a mysterious sprain or something temporary which would heal over time.  It hasn't yet.

But Jayda has learned to adapt.  Thankfully he does not appear to be in any discomfort.  He still acts like his normal chirpy self.  And while he has shown that he has learned to manipulate his toes so at least he can bear some weight on the perch, he cannot easily move from one place to another.  He relies a lot more on his beak to climb around on the cage walls to get to food and drink and back again to aforementioned mirror.  It's clumsy and not bird-graceful at all, but he can do it.

Why do I bring this up?  I am sad to have a lame bird.  But I marvel at his ability to adapt to a rough situation.  He relies on the creativity of his little bird brain to adjust and conquer his environment, overcoming the obstacles along the way.  All with a beak and one good foot.

Now here I am, with two good feet and two good hands and brain a little bigger than my bird's.

Time to mop.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sharing My Path

Dear Diary,

This was my path this morning.  Take a moment to look at it.  Ponder walking it. 

Where does your path lead you today?

Serenely Yours,

Monday, September 24, 2012

Paralyzed with Freedom

Dear Diary,

It's Monday.  Time to start a new week.  The weekend schedule is over.  Concluded is the two-day volleyball tournament, two different church services for different family members, a lovely dinner party, and homework. 

Now the kids are off to school, and the hubby to work. I have 6 to 7 hours of "freedom."  Time alone before the 3:00 plan of action kicks in.  Just me and the dog. 

My mind is swirling. I have so much I want to do in addition to the so much I have to do.  How do I sort it out?  How do I prioritize?  How do I implement?

A list.  Yes, that's a good thing, a list.  Problem is right now I have several lists.  One is a Shopping List for the next errand run.  One is a more immediate Must-Do Soon...Today if Possible list.  I also have a Must-Do Later... Today if Possible list.  One is more of a Note to Self for those things I don't want to forget but which don't require an immediate action.  And that's not even counting the items scrawled on the daily calendar, or the chores that don't need a list, they so obviously need to be done.

Yes, I am a firm believer in The List.  I get much pleasure from crossing off a job, signaling a finished task, an accomplishment made. 

But this morning I am overwhelmed with the little things.  I am paralyzed with freedom.  I can choose this over that.  That over this.   Where do I start?  I guess I start with avoidance.  Hence this blog.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Birds and the Bees

Dear Diary,
I dread the day the hummers leave.  This month I have been mentally preparing myself for the inevitable.  I've been telling myself it could be any day now, and that it will be OK. 

Well that day came.  And it's not OK.  For the last two days the bees have been the only thing humming at the feeder.  The hummers and bees have had nectar sipping wars all summer.  The hummer wins every time of course.  But this is the first year I've noticed the bees caring at all about the feeder.  So it was interesting to watch the bees and hummers dance around each other to vie for the little plastic flower that seemed to supply an endless amount of syrupy sweet sustenance. 

I was very faithful about filling that feeder.   As if I was their sole provider and sustain-er.  I didn't want to let those pretty little guys down.  Frankly, I was afraid they'd run out on me.   "Well Sal, this one's run dry.  I am deeply disappointed in our provider.  Now we must move on or die." 

No, it was not my lack of attention that caused their exodus.   It was their choice to move on.  But it saddens me when I look out the kitchen window and see the deserted oasis.

Once I bring in the feeder and store it for the winter, I will pull out my seed feeder.  When that first snow flies, you can be sure it will be filled to the brim with seeds.  'Cuz how will those chickadees, finches and sparrows manage without my supply of food?  "Wow Bob, look-a-here! Lets stay awhile.  I'm so grateful, I was on the verge of starvation."

Oh my.  What kind of power kick am I on anyway?

Sweetly yours,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Time, Slow Down!

Dear Diary,

Yesterday my oldest (or is it eldest?) daughter turned 15. 

We are not talking about a fresh, newly branded teen girl anymore.  She is no longer in that post pre-teen phase when she officially graduates from the "pre-teen" label and becomes a "teen" by definition -- but, at my house, is still not old enough for most PG-13 movies. 

She now qualifies as a mid-teen, a young adult who is quickly becoming more adult than young.  Oh, and let's not forget the driver's permit.

This is where my heart screams, "Time, slow down! Hit the brakes!"  Let me explain.

Fifteen years ago, as new, doting parents to our first beautiful, most perfect daughter in the whole wide world, we were anxious for our brilliant offspring to reach all those milestones we read about in What to Expect...

The first smile, the first word, the first tummy-to-back flip, the first solid food.  Of course child #1 gets these milestones faithfully written in her baby book.  (Poor child #3.) 

I could go on.  Potty training, walking, reading, etc. etc.  The excitement and wonder of watching our child grow coincided with relief when she seemed to reach them in all the age-appropriate time frames.  Again, thank you What to Expect... (sarcasm here.)  I guess my point is that I loved every phase of her development but I always looked forward to the next.  My advice (which I took with child #2 and #3):  Enjoy the moment. Don't worry about when the next "moment" will happen.

Fast forward to now.  God willing, we have less than four more years until she flies from the nest.  Gulp.  Blink.  Trying to keep the emotions at bay.  Now my eldest (or is it oldest?) niece is off to college this fall.  What?  Wasn't I just IN college myself a few years ago?  Yup, I know that her parents and even grandparents are thinking the same thing.

My heart is so happy to see all of my daughters growing up into young women.  But couldn't time slow down just a little?  I want to savor those "firsts" that keep coming despite their age.  And believe me, I am heeding my advice and enjoying the moment.

Just don't expect me to write it in the baby book.

Momentously yours,

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Cell Phone Lot

Dear Diary,

I'm an allegory person.  I think in my parenting phase of life it comes naturally for me to find the lesson in the event.  It doesn't always have to be a lesson.  It could just be another way to look at the big picture.

Take yesterday for instance.  I was waiting for my husband to arrive home on an international flight at the major metropolitan airport near where I live.  (See Blog I Remember for, well, no useful additional airport reference.)

I used the Cell Phone Lot (CPL) for the first time.  You know, that mostly empty parking lot with a few cars sitting neatly in their spaces, their drivers idling the time away, awaiting the call of their loved one.  And I do mean "loved one" as you have to have some sort of love connection to take on the task of driving anyone to or from the airport. 
But I digress.

While I sat I had time.  I made a few observations.
  •  It wasn't pretty.  The relatively small CPL is surrounded by the larger economy parking lot.  The barriers between them were an 8-foot galvanized fence and some concrete barriers.  No, I wasn't there for the scenery.
  • Planes arriving.  With their descent comes a sense of anticipation for those passengers.   "Arriving" means home to me, but to others, this was their destination, or at least a stop on their way to wherever.
  • Planes departing.   Again, for some "departing" means they are home-bound.  But from where I sat, it means "off I go into the wild blue yonder!"
Most days I am in the CPL of life.  Waiting and observing the comings and goings of others who are on their way to somewhere.  Perhaps it is to the comforts of something familiar (home) or to new exciting events (the blue yonder).  I am content in the CPL.  Though some days I may feel the confinement of a steel fence, that is not true now. 

Now I see the freedom of the sky and I wait and I watch.  And only one thing will move me into action.

The call of a loved one.

Awaiting the next departure,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Enemy's MO

Dear Diary,

My daughter showed me a YouTube video today.  It only took a minute to realize this is what I wanted to post today.  And I will pat myself on the back if I can actually link it up correctly!

My church's pastor presented this for the 7th and 8th graders on a retreat last weekend.  It left an impression on my daughter, because she had a need to share it with me.  And yet despite her desire to share it with me, she told me I probably wouldn't like it.  Oh was she wrong!

I've heard a lot of sermons in my lifetime.  (Refer to first post if knowing my age is important to you.)  I've heard how
God loves me. 
God saves me. 
God sacrificed his Son for me. 
God gives abundant grace. 
More Grace.

These are really, really good things to hear. 

But in my lifetime, how many sermons have I heard about the Devil? 
Not devil with a small 'd'.  The Devil.  Satan.
God's rival and, therefore, my rival. 
If he's my enemy, how do I protect myself?   How does he operate?  What are his MO's?  The answers are, of course, in the Bible.  But indulge me with this song.  It's not your typical Sunday School song.

Take a listen.

In the Words of Satan, by The Arrows

Sinful but Redeemed,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Remember

Dear Diary,

I remember where I was 11 years ago.  In fact, probably every American over the age of 10 at the time remembers. 

Since I was young I've had the quirky, macabre fear that I would someday witness a plane crash.  Perhaps this was because I have lived in the path of a major metropolitan airport all my life.  Sometimes I hear those planes make noises that seem a little too loud and a little too strange.  I rush to the window to make sure the 400-ton piece of flying metal is still aloft, praying it is not my worst fear being realized.  Of course it isn't. 

Until 9/11/01.

Although we have a melting pot of backgrounds that shape who we are, today is a day we become united in our thoughts.   Not to remember the macabre, but to remember the heroics and bravery of men and women who were thrown into a situation never seen before in our history.  I am soooo proud to be an American.

Patriotically yours,

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dirty Jobs

Dear Diary,

Today I had to do something repulsive.  I never would have though myself capable, in fact. 
I deliberately killed a baby bird.

As a youngster, there was a point in my adolescence when my parents no longer rescued me from the stray spider dwelling in my room.  I either had to live with it, or get rid of it myself.  Getting rid of it consisted of half a roll of toilet paper wadded up in my hand. 

I didn't want to feel the crunch.

My dad referred to my technique as "fluffing" it to death, and would proceed to mimic a spider enjoying its demise with my squeezably soft Charmin fluff ball.

As adults, we are called upon to do some dirty jobs.

Many dirty jobs come with parenting.  They don't tell you about that in What to Expect When You're Expecting.  Ask the parent who's had to change dirty diapers, or wipe their kids' runny nose with their own hands, or clean up puke in the bed - and the trail on the carpet -- and all over the bathroom cabinets.  They will tell you, "Well, someone had to do it!" 

I try to allocate all dirty jobs to my husband.  He's a man.  Men are tough.  Men were taught at an early age not to cry.  And certainly they are not squeamish (except when it comes to the birthing room).  That automatically qualifies him for the job.

But when my man is not around, I get the job.  Today, my dog snagged a baby bird.  Actually a young bird.  One that was completely feathered, and probably still groggy from his night's rest, enjoying his Sunday morning sunning himself on the grass, when WHAM, up he is snatched by a slathering, toothy cockapoo.  I won't go into the details, but needless to say, I had to put it out of its suffering.  It was an awful feeling and a memory I won't soon forget.  Yet at the same time, I was proud that I could call upon myself in a time I would normally have wimped out.  Even at my age, I am growing and learning new things about myself.

I'm trying to teach my children to grow a little too. Take the spider illustration. For them it usually involves a lot of screaming and a shoe, but they are learning how to do a hard job. Because mommy and daddy aren't going to be there to usher out every spider in their path.  I'm glad they are squeamish, it means they have compassion.  But in life everyone has to do their fair share of dirty jobs. 

So keep that Charmin handy.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

My First Diary

Dear Diary,
Here I am.  It's been a while since I've written in a diary.  I still have my first diary.  Never even lost the key!  Too bad I didn't have anything juicy or philosophical to say when I was ten.  My brother could have secretly read it and fallen asleep with the evidence still in his hand.  Here's an entry from January 3, 1978 (yes, now you know how old I am)

           Dear Diary,
           I went to school today and brought my math home.  I watched happy days.

By April even I was figuring out how dull the entries were.  I decided to juice it up with entries like:

          Dear Diary,
          I started to like Lonnie Bailey and I'm glad I did!

Unfortunately, according to my historically and biographically accurate diary, ten days later Lonnie and I were no longer an item.

Why do I bring this up?  Well for one it was fun for me to go dig up a 30-something year old relic written in my own hand.  For another, I want to contrast my first, matter-of-fact diary with this one I am writing today.

Here there is no key, no secrets.  This is an outlet for me I am happy to share with my friends, family and the curious.  I don't know what I will write from time to time.  Oh you can be sure it will be whatever is on my heart at the time.  Me: waxing poet, emotion emoter, heart-reaching philosopher.  But isn't that what all bloggers do?

My youngest daughter will be ten this year, on New Year's Eve to be exact.  I wonder if she'll want to keep her 10-year-old secrets in a diary?  It could be the start of something good.

Yours sincerely,