Wednesday, August 6, 2008
This 'flair' [as it's called] actually began about May 6, 2008. Normally, 99% of the time, the medication I'm already on will stop the flair in it's tracks. This turned out to be one of the 1%-ers. Due to our move from Arkansas to Washington already planned, set and confirmed and ready to go, I continued to believe that the flair was a 99%-er and would go away. By June 12 it'd gotten so bad that I'd gone into a mild state of shock and ended up in the hospital from June 12 to June 23. June 23 I was released on an oral steriod commonly used to put colitis into remission, prednisone, but for some odd reason my body refused to accept and absorb it and I ended up right back in the hospital again on June 30 to July 11. This time they had to insert something called a port in my chest to receive IV medication at home. Not a bad thing, looks weird, but it's making me better.
I'm 20 pounds underweight and very weak still. Colitis can be compared to cancer, even though the two aren't related in any way shape or form. With cancer, you know you can get it into remission, but there is no schedule or law or rule that says when that will happen. You just do your meds and follow the rules for getting to remission and that's all you can do. That's what I'm doing with my colitis. Taking my meds and following very strict rules with diet and rest.
The diet for colitis really is a vegan diet and since I'm allergic to animal protien, it's not a new thing for me. I was vegan before this flair started. You learn what your colon likes you to eat and what it doesn't. What you could eat while in remission you can't always eat during a flair. Spices and fiber and water content all effect how your colon will react to things. The hardest part of a vegan diet and food allergies is the regaining the weight part. Vegan just isn't a high fat diet! So that will take time, too.
What I miss most during this healing process is my crafts. I am too weak to sew. I can't take the pictures I need to reopen my store right now, but if I did reopen my store right now, I'm too weak to keep up with it. That's been the down side, the sitting and doing nothing part. The upside has been our new home with 5 picture windows, each nearly covering the entire wall it's placed in, plus a climate cool enough for me to leave doors open for an amazing sea breeze to gently grace it's presence in our home. My view is from the top of a bluff looking down over Ediz Hook in Port Angeles Washington. I get to watch the ships and sail boats come and go. The sea [The Strait of Juan De Fuca] is calming and soothing and on clear days I can see Mount Baker 88 miles away in the northern part of Washington all the way on the other side of Puget Sound near Canada. I can see Victoria British Colombia, too. Despite being confined to the house and not being able to do a thing but sit and rest, I don't feel trapped or confined. Too much bright sun and fresh air all right in my living room.
I do hope to make more posts, of my progress if nothing else, as time passes. There is no way to predict how long it'll take to get my colon into remission, but prayers and healing vibes are always welcome.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The Exodus Continued:
May 29, 2008: Mom got us up way too early again today, especially since we didn’t get much sleep since our neighbor on the other side of our wall kept going in and out and slamming her door. Well, none of us crashed, if nothing else, but it was quite noisy. Dad stuffed us into his truck in the right order without Mom saying a word and we were off and driving. Well, Dad was driving, Mom was watching AsaMina cause her hormones are still a bit nuts from all the time changes and early mornings and all. All of our systems, including Mom’s are a bit off. We like our tight schedule. Mom promises it’ll settle down again when we get to the place she’s calling Washington.
Today is also Cleo’s 12th birthday! Cleo told me Mom always seems to move or do something dramatic on her birthday, so she wasn’t surprised at the caravan ride to Washington landing on her 12th birthday. She said they moved to Arkansas on her 8th birthday. But, she also told me that this was the one time in the whole universe it was ok for Mom to be doing something dramatic on her birthday cause tomorrow we get to see Huey and Momma Tina! Huey is the love of Cleo’s life you know. She got really depressed, she tells me, when Belle and Ralphie both crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and didn’t want to live anymore. Then she met Huey and it was love and first sight. This will be the first time they’ll meet in birdson, you know. They talk on the phone and on the computer. Cleo’s my security blanket. I feel safe when she’s beside me—well in the cage beside me as we both like our own private space—and she feels safest when she’s got Huey’s picture. I’m glad Mom respects our feelings so much and makes sure me and Cleo and Huey are always together.
Mom took mostly scenery pictures today. I found New Mexico a really weird place to look at. It was very, very, very flat and there were no trees at all. But, as Dad drove further into New Mexico there were these odd mountain-hill things that popped up out of the ground. They were rather pretty. Mom said we went through the Painted Desert. It’s called that cause the dirt looks like it was painted. I thought that was fun to watch go by. I didn’t count birds today cause the scenery made me a bit nervous. We also went through mountains like I’ve never seen before. Cleo and Mom both told me they are like that in New Hampshire. I’ve never been there before and Mom and Cleo both told me it’s the other direction from what we’re driving. I guess I won’t see New Hampshire. Mom showed me a snow capped mountain called The San Francisco Peak. It was really cool cause I’d never seen a snow capped mountain before. It looked like it had one of Dad’s cowboy hats on.
Mom also told me that tomorrow she’d give me a rubber ducky and floaties cause my water bottle top didn’t hold suction today. She said I could have gone swimming in the diapers on my tray. Mom calls the paper towels she puts in our travel cages ‘diapers’ cause she says they catch ‘processed leftovers’ just like human pampers do. Mom’s a bit weird, but I’m glad cause I do love my Mom. My other two mom’s weren’t weird and they didn’t love me or even like me. By the way, does anyone know what ‘floaties’ are and why do I need them to swim in my wet diapers? I know what a rubber ducky is. I do hope I get one tomorrow!
I guess the one thing that excited Mom and Dad during the trip was that we crossed the Continental Divide at 1:32pm. Does that excite you? It doesn’t me. What is a Continental Divide anyway? One of those weird human things? I was watching the road when we crossed it and I didn’t see anything different than before the Continental Divide or after. Gotta be a weird human thing.
We’re now at Camp Cockatiel at another place called Motel 6 in a place called Flagstaff Arizona. I like this one better than the one we stayed at last night. It’s brighter and the A/C isn’t blowing on us. Mom had to cover us to keep the chill off. AsaMina likes this Camp Cockatiel, too. She and Worthington have the desk spot directly against the TV. She’s watching with her face nearly against the screen. Mom thinks it’s funny. I’m just tired, so I guess I’ll end today’s entry here. Tomorrow we head for San Diego and Momma Tina and Huey’s house! May 30, 2008: Another early day according to the clock Dad has in his truck. But, it feels much later. Mom said that we went through this thing called a ‘time change’. Actually we went through two of them. So, even though the clock says 6:40am pacific time, it’s 8:40 Arkansas time. Mom says our bodies will be really confused for a few days, but we’ll be fine. I was just grateful for the bit of extra sleep last night.
Today I counted airplanes and helicopters. Mom said they’re not birds, but they do fly like them. They made me and Cleo a bit nervous, but Mom was there to reassure us that it was ok. We traveled through this place called The Rocky Mountains. It was really cool, too. The mountains look like uncolored parrot sized pellets all piled one on top of the other. Mom said that’s where Pet Rocks are born. I’m not sure if she was serious or not since I’ve never seen or heard of a Pet Rock and Dad didn’t say anything to her. Cleo and Mom counted down the miles on the signs for San Diego all the way there.
After we got through the Rocky Mountains we went through a place called a ‘desert’. This desert was different from the ones in Arizona, which had rocks and cactus and funny little wiry bushes. The desert in California looked like a sand box with little wiry bushes in it. We also went through three things called ‘Border Check Points’ when we were on Route 8 in California. Mom and Dad thought it was weird since we were in California and not this place called Mexico. I’ve heard of Mexico on the news. I know Mexico has cool music cause Dad played some for us on the radio through Arizona and California. But, I can’t tell you much more cause I’ve never been to Mexico. Mom and Dad said we got close, however. If AsaMina had sneezed she would have slimed Mexico it was so close. Mom and Dad said that the border check points were to make sure we didn’t have illegals with us. I guess that’s why Mom micro chipped us and got our health certificates, too. We were legals, not illegals she explained to me after we got through the first check point. When we got up to the little building where the border check people were standing we were all super quiet in the back seat, even Tyson Parker didn’t wolf whistle at the lady who stopped us, and the border check people just waved us on. They didn’t check anything except where we came from. Dad told them Springdale, Arkansas and I guess that means Mom and Dad aren’t illegal, either. Mom said it was very good that we were quiet cause she didn’t have to take out the papers we got at the vet and show them to the border people. Mom said she was very proud of us, especially Tyson Parker who normally wolf whistles or yells ‘come-eeeer’ to ever human he sees.
Mom said it was the first time she’d seen signs for Los Angeles since she was 17 years old. Dad said he was 13 years old the last time he saw this side of the Untied States, which I guess was a long, long, long, long time ago. Mom and Dad are old, you know.
Once we got mostly over the mountains Mom read Dad the directions to Momma Tina’s house. Dad at one point told Mom we had to find Route 65 and Mom said Dad wasn’t’ listening so Cleo made sure Dad knew exactly where to go. She gave Dad all the directions, but Dad didn’t listen to her either. Mom told Dad to listen to her and Cleo. See, Huey and Cleo do this BSP thing where they can be with each other in ‘spirit’, so Cleo knew the area and exactly where Momma Tina and Huey live.
We found Huey’s house with no problem thanks to Cleo and I was so happy to see my Momma Tina! Momma Tina is really cool and nice. Huey only had eyes for Cleo, but Mom and Momma said it was because they were seeing their pictures move for the first time. Huey loves Cleo and Cleo loves Huey—even though they are real to each other now. Cleo got the cart next to Huey’s cage and the rest of us got put on a coffee table pretty low down. Camry, Huey’s sister who’s a medium sized sporty model dog, came over and stuck her nose up against our travel cages. None of us, including Worthington, are afraid of Camry. We’d never have one of our Weenie Cousins sniff us like that, but Camry is ok. We all knew she was safe and wouldn’t hurt us. We haven’t seen Cricket yet. He’s Huey’s brother, a cat. Cricket gets nervous around Huey and Momma Tina said that all of us were probably giving Cricket grey fur. I think Mom saw him , however. Momma Tina fed us tortilla chips and we got to stay up WAY, WAY past our bed time so we could have as much fun with Huey and Momma Tina as possible before we have to leave for San Pedro tomorrow. I really don’t want to leave. It feels so much like home here. I feel safe here and I’m not scared or shy at all with Momma Tina or Huey or Camry. I even showed Momma Tina my anti gravity boots and did some of my extra special back flips just for her, too. Momma Tina likes my anti gravity boots and back flips. I even let her get really close to me without panicking, too. Mom was very proud of me for that. I think I was proud of me for that, too.
Huey made Worthington duck a few times, which made Mom and Momma laugh. Huey can fly and he sounds like a hummingbird when he does. None of us are used to hummingbirds buzzing around our heads! But, Huey was cool and didn’t scare us either. He kept buzzing the top of Mom. Mom knew he was making sure she was a safe place to land. I heard Mom say that after we went to bed (way, way past our bedtime!) that Huey landed on Mom for just a second. He also helped Mom and Momma do a puzzle. I sure can’t wait for tomorrow. We get to spend the whole day with Huey, Camry and Momma Tina!
May 31, 2008: Mom says we’re on normal time today, which still isn’t normal to us. I do hope I get used to this Pacific Time thing soon. But, tired or out of whack or not, I’m glad we get to spend the whole day here today with Momma Tina and Huey!
It was a great day. Mom and Momma sat in the living room with all of us and worked on two puzzles. One Momma almost had done but hadn’t finished due to the horses not cooperating. Then they did a puzzle with an easy tree that took them all day to figure out. Humans definitely are very entertaining! Cleo was worried about me being on the coffee table by myself with Tyson Parker on one side of me and AsaMina and Worthington on the other, so she asked Mom to move her from next to Huey to next to me. I told her I was fine and that Camry was protecting me from indecent proposals from Tyson Parker, but Cleo does look out for me and insisted. Mom and Momma swapped her and AsaMina and Worthington’s travel cages around so they were next to Huey and Cleo was next to me. I liked when Camry came up to my travel cage and sniffed me. She’s nice and not scary at all. Kind of like a big cockatiel, but with fur. Momma said she’s half golden retriever and half border collie. I just know she’s a great sister to me and she makes me feel safe. Worthington and Huey can speak the same language and they talked and talked and talked and talked all day. Mom and Momma thought it was cute. I enjoyed listening to the conversation myself. Huey let Mom know she was accepted by landing on her. Huey really trusted Mom from what Momma said cause he’d buzz the top of Mom’s head like a hummingbird on jet fuel (Mom’s words for it, and I agree. The little guy is really fast!). He frizzed the top of Mom’s head from flying so close to the top of it. It made Mom laugh. Huey also is really good at puzzles and he helped Mom and Momma put both of them together. He’d walk around on the puzzle pieces and talk to each one. He’d also hand Mom and Momma the pieces he found that they were looking for. Huey sat on Mom, too. Mom can speak fluent budgie and they talked. I didn’t go and hide behind my toys once today cause I just feel so safe here. Safer than I’ve ever felt in my 2 ½ years.
We also got things called ‘egg biscuits’ as a treat from Momma Tina and Huey. None of us has ever had one before, but they are good. Mom said we’d get cheerios for breakfast tomorrow. I’m definitely looking forward to that!
I’m glad today was a quiet day with everyone in the same room. I’m going to miss Momma Tina and Huey when we leave for the place called San Pedro tomorrow. Mom said we’re going to see someone called Uncle Jerry and Aunt Vida. I sure hope they’re as nice and unscary as Momma Tina.
June 1, 2008: It was quite the day! We left Momma Tina, Huey and Camry at 9am. Mom really wanted to stay for breakfast, but Dad was in a hurry. I wanted to stay for breakfast, too. I wish Dad had let us stay just a bit longer. But, we left at 9 am anyway. We took this road called I-15 and went through more mountains. It was pretty, but all of us but Dad wished we were still at Momma Tina’s. It didn’t take us long to get to Los Angeles and a place called Harbor City where our Camp Cockatiel was for the next two nights and a day and a half.
Our Camp room wasn’t ready so we just drove down to Aunt Vida and Uncle Jerry’s place about 15 minutes away from our Camp Cockatiel Motel 6. Aunt Vida was startled to see Dad but when she figured out who he was she was thrilled and she was thrilled to see Mom and us, too. They used to have bird kids also, but they don’t anymore. Just a golden retriever who bounces a lot, but is really cool named Whitney and they have a chinchilla named Chilla who was very friendly to us. We stayed in the sun room with Chilla while Mom and Dad and Aunt and Uncle went to a Japanese restaurant. Mom told me she had stuff called Miso Soup with tofu and seaweed in it and Teriyaki Salmon with rice for dinner. I do know it must have been good since Mom said it was, but I have not one clue what Miso, tofu, seaweed, teriyaki and salmon are. I wonder, however, if all that stuff is as good as nutri-berries.
Mom and Aunt Vida and Uncle Jerry were all giggling about Dad. He actually tasted the Miso Soup! I know just from the little bit of time I’ve been in this family that Dad won’t eat anything unless it’s unhealthy and/or fried. Miso Soup, I guess, is neither.
We got back to camp really late, but it was lots of fun. It was my first car ride at night time. I’m not sure if I want to do it again or not, but I’m glad I got to do it once. Aunt Vida and Uncle Jerry talked to us and everything. None of us were scared of Whitney either. But, he was kept on the other side of the glass door from us so he wouldn’t bounce us. Mom said he had lots of ‘Go-Juice’. I guess that’s what made him move so fast. We also got to meet Tiny. Tiny is a big tortoise who was wandering around the back yard. Tiny came up to the glass outside doors to introduce himself, he was quite polite. It was a really good day. Ok, the truth, it was basically a good day. When we got back to Camp Cockatiel Momma Tina, Huey and Camry weren’t there waiting for us. I do miss them and Cleo won’t leave Huey’s picture that Mom attached to the back of her travel cage. She misses Huey most of all.
June 2, 2008: It’s a slow morning today. Mom said we don’t need to leave Camp till 10:45 am to get to Grandpa and Grandmas place. Mom’s nervous about it, I can tell as can the rest of us kids. But Mom won’t admit it.
No Momma Tina, Huey or Camry again. We’re all still missing them.
Well, it’s 5:51pm and we’re all back at Camp Cockatiel in Harbor City for the night. Mom said it’s going to be an early night cause we’ve gotta get up extra early tomorrow morning to head out to Medford Oregon which isn’t anywhere near Momma Tina, Huey and Camry. Cleo won’t leave Huey’s picture. I think she’s been in BSP with him for most of the day. We had a good visit with Grandma and Grandpa. They have a cool Husky named Bart who can sing and he did sing for us. It was really neat sounding. I’ve never heard a Husky sing before. While the humans had cold cuts for lunch me and my siblings camped out in a pool house that had the coolest of cool echos. Bart tried to check on us, but he wasn’t allowed in. Grandpa said he’d never seen a tiel before and Mom wanted to be sure we were safe. Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa had a good time and lots of good human talk.
Now, before I go on, why is it called a pool house when there is no pool in it? And is a pool anything like a bathtub? If it is, why on earth would humans willingly get into one? I HATE having a bath as to the rest of us. And for another thing, why are they called ‘cold cuts’? Isn’t it ‘cold sliced meat’? And the humans think we’re weird. At least when we have something to say we say what we mean and not all this secret code word stuff that they do.
After a few hours with Grandma and Grandpa we got to go to G&G’s house. Cleo and AsaMina know them and have spoken to them over the phone and told me that they loved all of Mom’s kids. They loved the stories about us and pictures, too. They crossed over the rainbow bridge just after AsaMina hatched, so I never got to meet them over the phone or in birdson either. But I guess seeing their old house is close enough. Mom said it’s changed so much that only the address is the same in the front. The front door faces the street and not up the street like it did before. There is no ivy on the stair railing, no dining room picture windows and the front living room picture window was gone, too. Mom also said she didn’t like the palm trees. She did tell us that it looked like the fig tree was still in the back yard. Mom was glad she saw G&G’s house and I’m glad we got to see it too.
I got to see something Mom called ‘L.A. scenery’ while we were on the 405 Freeway. It looked like a bunch of cars and trucks and motorcycles moving really, really slowly. It wasn’t as interesting as the buzzards flying above the cars. I do hope the scenery from Los Angeles to Medford is much more interesting than cars moving slowly.
June 3, 2008: Boy did we get up early! Mom had us up and Dad had us packed into the truck by 6:20am! We headed north on the 110 freeway and then got onto one called the 405 and got stuck in the L.A. Scenery for 45 minutes. Mom said it’s like that all the time on the freeways cause of so many humans on their way to work. You’d think they’d plan their trips better so they wouldn’t get stuck in the L.A. Scenery.
Most of Southern California was just city and buildings and such. It wasn’t until we drove over another mountain range and came near a place called Taft and Maricopa that we saw plants and farms again. Well, they were grape farms, Mom explained to me. Humans grow grapes to let them get old and shriveled and sell them as things called raisins. Mom said that’s where the raisins come from that are in our seed and pellet mix that AsaMina and Worthington love to throw at each other when they play on the jungle gym. Mom also told me that grapes also get fermented to make stuff called wine that gourmet humans and bums like to drink. Humans really are a weird species!
When we got a bit further north we saw where the rice in our Birdie Mush comes from. The town called Williams in Northern California has a farm called ‘rice pattys’. The pattys looked like soggy pools of grass, but Mom said that’s how they grow rice. That was interesting to see since I do love rice. We didn’t stop so we could taste any of the grass, ‘rice’, growing in the pools of water. Mom said it was still growing and wouldn’t be ready for tasting and eating till later on in the year.
I kept Mom and Dad guessing, too. I have been squeaking twice when I see a bird and like the well trained humans they are, Mom and Dad look right out the window for the bird, say to me ‘bird-bird’ and tell me I’m a good boy. I’m grateful for Mom and Dad on this trip. They’ve really kept me entertained! But, today I didn’t just count birds, I counted airplanes and helicopters, too. Sometimes I just would squeak twice to see if they’d look out the window and they did, every time! I love my Mom and Dad!
After a really, really long time, we got close to where Medford Camp Cockatiel was. But, before we could get to camp we had to go through the Shasta National Forest. That was really, really pretty! I think I enjoyed watching that scenery most of all. Lots of really, really tall trees and birds, too, I spent most of that part of the ride looking out the window or napping. It was getting late. Mom pointed out Lake Shasta and Mount Shasta itself. The mountain was the biggest I’ve ever seen! We didn’t get into camp till 7:30pm. Mom just got our dishes filled and water bottles filled for tomorrow and then we all just went to bed.
Mom says tomorrow is our last day on the road. She told me that we’ll be home tomorrow, which is a good thing since Worthington and AsaMina are beginning to get on the others nerves and ours, too. We’ve been in our travel cages since May 11 and on the road for 7 whole days. I think we’re all ready for home. Mom promised, just one more day.
June 4, 2008: It’s another way too early of a day! Dad had us all packed up by 6:30am again and we’re off for Port Angeles where our Grandma lives and our home is. I do wonder how the moving men moved our whole house to Washington. Mom told me it’s a ‘new’ house, not the same one we were in in Springdale. I do hope it’s got more sunny windows than our Springdale house cause it was always so dark in our room so Mom wouldn’t get sick. I do hope Mom doesn’t get sick in our new house. I do love my Mom and don’t like seeing her sick.
Our first stop was to feed Dads truck. It had an empty tummy as did Dad. While Dad was filling up the truck with its breakfast Mom showed us something called a rainbow. I’ve only heard of this rainbow bridge before, but this was the first time I’d ever seen it. It was beautiful! I don’t think Tyson Parker saw it, however, because he was talking to the lake sea gulls that were flying all over the place. They made me a bit nervous, but Mom said they were outside and we were inside so we were safe. I just watched the rainbow some more. It was good I didn’t see anyone cross over it cause that would have been really scary and sad, too.
After the truck and Dad had happy tummies we continued to drive north. About half way through the state of Oregon we passed a sign that said we were half way to the North Pole. The sign said it was the 45th parallel, but I didn’t see anything but the sign. Mom told me it was one of those human things so humans would know where they were. Dad told me we weren’t going all the way to the North Pole, just to Washington, a few more hours north. I don’t know, I think I’d have liked to see the North Pole myself. The ‘parallel’ is like the ‘continental divide’, invisible.
Mom pointed out farms up in the Oregon mountains to me. It was a damp drizzly day today, but it was really pretty cause the rain drops made the grass and trees sparkle a bit. I was too busy watching the sparkles to look for birds or airplanes or helicopters today.
Mom got really excited when we got to the end of Oregon and got near this bridge that connects Oregon into Washington. I looked, too. Mom said she and Grandma and Auntie Mir all drove this same road when Mom was a kid. Mom told me that Grandma’s cars odometer went from all 9’s to all 0’s on that bridge. Mom was definitely more excited than I was. Tyson Parker actually opened his eyes to watch the bridge, too. Tyson Parker has been sleeping for most of the car trip. He woke up to listen to the Mexican music in Southern California, but beyond that, he’s been a lazy bum and missing all the cool stuff we’ve been driving past.
Mom got lots of pictures of the Portland Oregon skyline and even more of the bridge she was so excited to see. I think she told me it was the Vancouver Bridge, but I’m not sure.
We drove some more and Mom showed us that we were getting close when we got off the I-5 freeway and onto one the humans labeled the 101. The 101 went next to this place called Puget Sound and then through Potlatch State Park and some place called Mynerva Beach. It was really pretty. I’ve never seen water like that before. It was a deep blue green and sparkled. I do like sparkles!
Mom called and talked to Grandma when we got to this town called Sequim. Mom said it was the town next to where our new home is. Mom said we were going to go meet Grandma first so we could all get hugged and pick up eggs and water for our Birdie Mush. We’ve been eating just dry foods on this car ride and all of us, especially Cleo, miss our Mush.
I helped Mom watch out the window for the streets Grandma told her to drive down. Mom said that Port Angeles had changed a lot, but there were still things she recognized and was able to help guide Dad to Grandma’s house. And, we did have to go past the Strait and through the Woods, just like the Christmas song…..or is it Thanksgiving?
Grandma is a really awesome lady! She climbed into the truck next to Mom and talked super sweetly to us and whistled at us and talked a lot to Mom and Dad, too. We didn’t stay long since we were all tired and Mom and Dad wanted us to get to the new house so we could settle in for the night.
It only took about 5 minutes to get to our new home. It was chilly out, so we were mostly covered when Dad carried us in. We got the living room dining room area as our new spot and Mom set up the blankets on the floor and put our travel cages on top. Mom told us that our big cages wouldn’t be here till tomorrow. The movers still had all of our things that didn’t fit in Dads truck.
Mom and Dad checked out the house and picked their rooms and Dad unpacked the truck and Mom found new homes for all the stuff. All of us were exhausted and went to bed as soon as the truck was empty. Mom slept on the floor in our room so we’d know we were safe. I’m glad Mom micro chipped me and kept me and brought me with the family on this trip.
June 5, 2008: We got up at 8am, our normal time, which still feels different to us cause the times are different between Arkansas and Washington. But Mom said we’d all adjust soon. Mom ate breakfast with us and then the movers showed up a little later at 9am. They were really nice people. Tyson Parker did his best to get their attention, but they were too busy moving our things into the house to stop to talk to Tyson Parker.
After they brought in our big cages Mom began cutting all the ties she put in to hold our toys and perches in place. She also had to put my cage back together again cause the back wall fell loose and was being held in place with a couple of my toys and Mom’s ties. As soon as our cages were together she took us out of our travel cages and put us back into our big cages. I immediately began looking around and all my toys were still there and my perches were still there, too. All was where I left it, but what Mom took out for my travel cage. She said she’d put the toys from the travel cage back into my big cage as soon as she can.
AsaMina and Worthington were the happiest to be back in their big cages. They have separate big cages, but shared a travel cage for the trip. They were happy not to have the others tail in their faces anymore.
Mom set our cages up differently than they were in Arkansas. I’m still next to Cleo, but she’s got Tyson Parker on her other side now and not Worthington. Worthington is now next to me and AsaMina is next to him. Mom didn’t want to totally separate them since they are good friends.
June 13, 2008: I figure it’s fitting to end this journal on Friday the 13th since I was named after Edgar Allan Poe and am Mom’s 13th tiel.
It’s been a very busy 9 days for Mom, Dad and us. Mom and Dad have run errands nearly every day and have managed to get all of our stuff and their stuff out of boxes and put where it belongs. I just love our new home! I’ve never seen anything like it! We’ve got the 5 HUGEST windows you’ve ever seen! The windows look out over the top of other humans houses and we have a clear view of the Strait of Juan De Fuca and the Ediz Hook and a place called Vancouver Island! We can see boats and big ships come and go and Mom made sure we can see all of this from our big cages AND our jungle gym. From our dining room and our jungle gym we can see the Cascade Mountains and the grey clouds that live on top of them. There are lots of birds here, too. Mom says they are Ravens and Crows and Sea Gulls. Mom says I need to learn to say, “Nevermore” to the Ravens. It’s so nice and bright here. Even on cloudy days it’s brighter than it was in Arkansas. Our room isn’t hot or dark at all, which is good for us and Mom, too.
Dad and Tyson Parker like to look out Dad’s front room picture window. Not sure why since it’s got the same view as our living room window. I’ll try not to be too shy and I’ll ask Dad later.
But, that’s my Exodus story from Arkansas to the place called Washington. I really had fun and so enjoyed all I saw and got to do. I’m happy to be here and I’m happiest of all to be part of this family forever. I’ll keep working on not being so shy since I do know Mom will always be there to keep me safe and I’ll always be part of this family, too.
When I asked Mom if we’d get to have another Exodus again she said to me, “Quoteth the Raven, ‘Nevermore’.”
Friday, June 13, 2008
I've never been one to keep a journal. I just can't seem to do it. Nope, can't figure it out either. But, in order to document the trip I did feel one was necessary. Below is the first half of that journal [page wise]. It's all told from the perspective of my 2 1/2 year old, Edgar Allan. I do hope all those who read enjoy his point of view.
In craft related news, I'm hoping to get pictures taken tomorrow and ready to upload so I can reopen my store sometime next week. The rest of this journal will be posted in a couple of days.
From Edgar Allan Chirp Stilwell’s Point Of View
May 11 2008 to
May 28 2008
My name is Edgar Allan Chirp and this is my story. My Mom is home number three for me. My first Mom adopted me and kept me for just a few months before she decided I just wasn’t what she wanted. She knew this lady who did her hair. The hair lady had just lost a tiel that looked like me named Bobby. So my first Mom passed me off onto Mom number two. Mom number two didn’t like me either. She kept me in a small cage in a dark corner. If I made any noise at all she’d throw a cover over me to keep me quiet. I lived with her for about a year. Then, when she got tired of throwing the covers over me she had one of her friends find me Mom three. Mom three has a whole house full of tiels. Mom three bought me a huge, gynormous cage with toys I’m still discovering there are so many of them. She makes me this stuff called Birdie Mush that has to be the best stuff I’ve ever tasted on the planet. I’ve got siblings, too, four of them. Cleo’s my best friend. She teaches me all I need to know and shows me how to be social. I’m quite shy and really don’t like humans near me. All the humans I’ve known before either have hurt me or scared me. My forever Mom understands and is just really nice to me, even when I’m scared. If Cleo is next to me, I feel safe. There is also AsaMina Sura. She runs the whole house, Mom and Dad, too. Cleo tells me she keeps all of us safe and protects us from harm. Then there is Worthington Israel Wentworth. He’s a year younger than I am. I’m 2 ½ years old and he just turned 1year old. He’s AsaMina’s shadow and second in command. If she’s busy and you have a question, just ask Worthington Israel Wentworth. The last of my siblings is Tyson Parker. He’s really weird. He tries to date fabric and paper towels and he’s even propositioned me a few times! Cleo told me he’s a rescue, too. Mom takes in strays until she runs out of room and since she’s out of room, us 5 are all there is. Cleo told me there used to be eight in the flock, but that was before my time.
Mom picked me up from the hair lady on June 17, 2007 and on the way home she talked sweeter to me than any one ever had before. She asked me if I liked my name Bobby. I didn’t. I knew I was given that name cause the hair lady didn’t know what else to name me and that was the name of her dead tiel. I’m not dead, I’m very much alive, you know. Mom asked me if I liked the name Edgar Allan. I did, very much and I told her by saying ‘chirp’ in response. Mom told me she picked that name cause it was a dark and stormy day when she picked me up from the hair lady and she likes the author Edgar Allan Poe. I was honored to have a name picked just for me and I puffed up as big as I could to tell that to Mom. It was my Auntie Darlene’s tiel, Mr. Tee who gave me my third name, Chirp. Mr. Tee is 22 years old, if you can believe that! Cleo is 12 years old and lives in the cage next to me and I can’t believe she’s that old, so it’s even harder to believe Tee is 22! Cousin Tee kept telling Mom and Auntie Darlene that my name should be ‘chirp’ and after saying it about a zillion times they figured it out and my name became officially Edgar Allan Chirp. I was very honored! My very own special name, picked special just for me and not given to me just because I wasn’t good enough or special enough or loved enough for a name of my own.
Mom always understands how scared I am. She always just talks to me and only holds me when she has to weigh me or trim my wings. She always talks sweetly to me when she does. It really doesn’t make it less scary, but it does help a little. Mom took me to this place called a ‘vet’ and, although it wasn’t fun, she told me it meant I was hers forever. I got this thing called a microchip put in between my shoulder blades. Mom says it’s my registration so anyone who wants to know where my forever home is, they just have to scan me and my microchip will tell them. Not all humans can understand cockatiel, you know. Mom does a pretty good job most of the time. Mom even lets me make my car alarm noise and tells me I’m a good boy when I do! None of my other two Mom’s liked my car alarm noise. They said I was bad. Mom says I have talent. I can also say ‘hello’. Mom says that’s special, too. I think she wants me to learn how to say ‘Edgar’. I’m working on it, just for her.
This pretty much brings me to this “Exodus” thing. November 2007, just after my second birthday (October 17, 2007, which is as close as Mom could figure I hatched cause of the markings I had when she brought me home), Mom told us we were moving to this place called Washington State. Cleo had heard of it. That’s where our Grandma lives, she told me. But, Cleo had never seen this Washington either. It made me pretty nervous and very scared. I was positive that Mom would get rid of me and find me Mom number four, but strangely enough, she didn’t! Instead Mom told me I was forever part of the flock. She told me she loved me and I was coming, too. I still found it hard to believe until Mom put me in my very own custom travel cage with my favorite toys and a brand new toy I love very much. It’s a bell with dangly bell pull chains on it. It’s a lot of fun to play with! Mom even got me a pinecone to munch on and play with during our Exodus to Washington.
On Mothers Day, May 11, 2008, Mom moved us from our big cages to our travel cages. She explained to me that this is where I’d live till we got to the place she’s calling Washington. My travel cage is bigger than the cage the hair lady made me live in and it’s got a zillion more toys, too. Mom filled dishes with the pellets and the nutriberries I like so I’d have plenty to eat. She only puts her hands in my travel cage to fill my dishes or change my papers. Mom changes my papers once a day, always in the morning. If I stay calm, don’t panic at her hands and only hiss or grumble at her, she praises me for being a good boy! I’m not so afraid of Mom anymore as I am still fearful I’ll be hurt. My first two Mom’s hurt me and scared me and I’m still getting used to the idea my forever Mom really does love me and won’t do those things to me. Cleo reminds me and Mom does, too and I am learning to trust. Mom told me that I could take as long as I want to learn trust cause it has to be earned. I’m not sure what she means exactly, but I know it doesn’t hurt and it’s not too scary either.
Me and my siblings lived in our travel cages for a week and a half before our Exodus began. On May 22, 2008 we moved to my Auntie Pugs house. Auntie Pug is nice to me, too. She talks to me nicely and doesn’t mind me being shy. She tells me I’m very handsome like Mom does. Auntie loves me, too. Auntie’s kids have fur, not feathers. They are weenie dogs named Lucy, Rambo and Maddie Mae. We were greeted with enthusiasm to spare when we got to Auntie’s house. Dad put us into his truck. Mom made sure I had the seat next to Cleo in the truck so I wouldn’t be scared. Dad made sure our travel cages were safe and secure for the two block ride to Auntie and Uncles house. We were put on Mom’s bed at first to get our bearings. Then Dad came in with a table that Cleo told me once belonged to Ralphie, one of her two mates. She’s so old she’s out lived two boyfriends! She’s got a forever mate now named Huey. Huey is pretty handsome and he’s nice, too. Well, his picture is nice. I haven’t seen him in birdson yet, but Mom says that’s our next stop after Auntie’s.
We got placed on the table and then Auntie and Uncle let the Flying Weenie Puppies in. Cleo told me we needed to make sure Lucy got fed. Lucy is the biggest of the Weenie Cousins, but I guess she’s under fed or something cause Cleo told me we had to feed her pellets, so I did. All of us but AsaMina, who’s flock leader and watches to make sure we’re doing things right and Worthington who’s watching AsaMina to learn how to make sure we’re doing things right. Cleo, Tyson Parker and I fed Lucy most of the pellets we had in each of our travel cages! Lucy was very thankful and barked lots of thank yous at us. Maddie Mae is very hairy for a Weenie Cousin, but Mom told me she’s a ‘mutant’. Half Weenie dog and half something called a Yorkie. I think she’s a cool cousin, hairy or not. Maddie Mae also ate the pellets we threw on the floor for Lucy. The third Weenie Cousin is Rambo. He’s pretty cool, too. He doesn’t eat the pellets, but he does think he can fly. He bounced and barked at us and he showed us his teeth, too. His teeth are really cool cause they’re purple and fuzzy. Mom says they need a bath in the washing machine, but I don’t think Rambo would like that much. Rambo never lets his teeth out of his sight cause he likes them so much.
We had lots of fun and really didn’t want to go to bed Thursday night. Mom, Dad, and Auntie were really tired, but we kept them up all night. We also got quite the lecture Friday morning about manners and how we needed to let the old humans get their sleep and all. Well, Dad slept. My Dad can sleep through my very realistic car alarm noise AND Cleo’s siren noise AND Tyson Parker yelling ‘Come-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer!!!!’ at the top of his lungs. Nope, Mom doesn’t yell at us for being that loud. She says if she can talk and express her feelings, so can we. I’m still getting used to Mom. I still expect the towel to be tossed over me. But Mom never has and she promised me she never will. The rest of Friday was pretty quiet since all the humans were so tired. We, me and my siblings and the Weenie Cousins, were all good Friday night and slept like angels and Mom was so proud of us we got cheerios for breakfast Saturday morning!! Mom and Dad told me there is something today called a ‘going away party’ for all of us. Mom said there would be lots of humans for us to meet and she promised me they’d be nice, too. I’m just waiting for them to show up and trying to decide if I’m going to be shy or brave when they come in to talk to us. Mom’s sitting in front of the table our travel cages are on in her wheelchair so people have to pass her to get to us. She keeps us safe that way. I’m still getting used to Mom, but I do love her.
A little after 5:30pm the guests began to arrive and they came in here after giving bags of human goodies to Auntie Pug and Uncle Johnnie. The first to come in was our cousin Torie. She’s pretty cool. It was the first time she’s really ever seen me. I’m very shy around humans. Before my forever Mom they all hurt me or scared me and I’m still learning that the humans in my life now are very different from the ones I knew before. Cousin Torie talked to me and told me I was handsome, too. I was just a little nervous, but Mom kept telling me I was ok, so I did relax a little.
Next to visit us was Auntie Eileen. She’s the love of Tyson Parkers life and he has the funniest flirt fit you’ve ever seen when he sees her! Auntie Eileen whistled at him and talked to him and he just went ‘happy nuts’, as Mom calls it. I just think Tyson Parker is really weird. We got to meet Helen and my Cousin Derrick and a couple of new people, too. I actually had fun until the Texas Chainsaw Massacre happened. That’s what Mom called it, anyway. She isn’t sure how it happened and neither is Auntie Eileen, but it happened. Tyson Parker, who was attempting to grow two tail feathers, pulled one of them and got blood everywhere! Mostly on Auntie Eileen, who was just happy Tyson Parker was ok. Mom yanked Tyson Parkers two tail feathers out to stop the bleeding and he was fine. Mom also dumped him in the bathroom sink to clean him up. Auntie had to find a clean shirt and they did their best to clean up Auntie Pugs blanket, too. It was a mess! But, Tyson Parker was fine and Mom said that’s what was important. AsaMina, Mom said, is giving her grey hair. I honestly can’t see a single one, but Mom’s never lied to me before, so I assume they’re there somewhere. AsaMina was supposed to lay egg four today and hasn’t. I guess she’s the next to get poked, but Mom will do that tomorrow.
After Tyson Parker was cleaned up and stuffed back into his travel cage, Mom asked me to show Auntie Eileen my anti-gravity boots. That means Mom wants me to show someone how I can walk upside down on the roof of my travel cage and do summersaults and back flips. Mom says I’ve got tons of talent and she loves my anti gravity boots, so I showed off a bit for Auntie Eileen who was just as proud of me as Mom was and told me so tons of times! It amazes me how some humans are so nice and some are so mean, you know? Well, it’s my bed time and tomorrow is another adventure and another day of our Exodus, so I guess I better get some sleep.
May 25, 2008: Tyson Parker is none the worse for wear from his tail feather incident. He’s fine and back to his normal self. Today has been rather quiet with not much going on. The excitement of the day was that we discovered how well trained Cousin Rambo is! This evening Tyson Parker yelled to Rambo, “COME-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!!” and Rambo did! At top speed, too! He bounced and barked at Tyson Parker and Tyson Parker sat at the bottom of his travel cage and whistled and called back. I find my Weenie Cousins rather entertaining and I just love to watch them. I didn’t join in in calling Cousin Rambo, just Tyson Parker and Cleo did. It was fun to watch. Cousin Rambo and Tyson Parker had a good hours worth of conversation. I didn’t understand most of it, but it seemed to be a good thing. I also entertained Mom several times with my anti-gravity boots. She fed me tortilla chips from her lunch as a reward. I do love those tortilla chips!
AsaMina didn’t ever drop egg number four. Her body seems to have stopped at three, which is making Mom even happier than Tyson Parker discovering he can call Weenie Cousins in their language into our room. Mom did a really weird exam on AsaMina’s bottom this morning to see if she was hiding any eggs. Apparently she wasn’t and AsaMina wasn’t happy about the exam either. I think I’m really happy I’m a boy. Cleo told me that only girls lay eggs and Mom only pokes the girls in rude places like that. I take that back, I’m ‘definitely’ happy I’m not a girl! We were so exhausted last night from playing with our Weenie Cousins that all eight of us fell right to sleep.
May 26, 2008. It’s a rainy morning today. I think Dad was going to go mow something called a barn lawn, but he’s still here. I guess you can’t do such things in the rain. AsaMina still hasn’t dropped egg four and Mom took out her little dish of three eggs this morning. AsaMina isn’t missing them or asking for them and according to what Mom said that means she’s not nesting and doesn’t want them. Mom also told me that is a good thing so her body stays healthy for this long trip. It’s Memorial Day today and Mom said it should be another quiet day. She let us each take turns looking at her computer screen so we could see and hear her read the messages our bird friends left for us on Bird Channel. We also got to dictate to her what we wanted to say to them. Mom does a pretty good job understanding us. I’m glad she’s keeping me forever. I do like it here with her and my siblings. Yeah, even weird Tyson Parker. He tried to make a date with me this morning. I told him what Mom told me to tell him, “Go sit on an ice cube!” I said it in tiel, but Mom understood and more importantly so did Tyson Parker. The Weenie Cousins just got up. Tyson Parker is calling to Cousin Rambo already—but is being ignored so far. There is human food in the other room.
Dad and Auntie and Uncle all went out to do outside human things today. Auntie and Uncle came home just a bit ago and the Weenie Cousins got very excited to see their Mom and Dad. Cousin Rambo came flying in our room to tell Tyson Parker that Auntie and Uncle were home and Auntie Pug yelled at Rambo for being so loud. It really wasn’t Rambo’s fault, Tyson Parker is just as loud as Rambo is and Tyson Parker didn’t get reprimanded at all! But, Rambo stopped barking and sat down below Worthington and AsaMina’s travel cage to see if my Auntie Pug had any further instructions for him. While Rambo waited, Worthington looked down on our cousin and said to him, “Good boy, Pretty Bird!!” Mom about died laughing and I was really surprised, too. Worthington has never said ‘good boy’ before. Mom sure rewarded him for saying ‘good boy’ and telling Rambo he was good for listening to my Auntie Pug! I think I need to learn to speak human, too. But then, on the other hand, I do get lots of praise and treats for turning summersaults for Mom and Mom tells me that of her 14 tiels, it’s only me, lucky number 13, that can do summersaults and back flips. She says that makes me extra special. I guess Mom really is going to keep me and take me with her and my siblings on this Exodus to Washington. I’m glad.
May 27, 2008 and it’s Vet Day, according to Mom. At 2 in the afternoon Dad put us in his truck to go to the vet. I’ve been before and it wasn’t fun. The vet poked and prodded me in rude places and I didn’t like it at all. But Mom did say that this was important for me so I could come with her and my siblings, so I did my best to behave. Dad puts me and Cleo in first cause our travel cages go in the middle of the seat. Then he puts Tyson Parker behind his seat and AsaMina and Worthington behind Mom’s seat. We prefer to be in this order and Mom’s really strict with Dad about that so we’re as comfortable as can be. Mom told me that I was the smartest of the flock cause I was sitting on the bottom of my travel cage so that Dad wouldn’t knock me off my perch when he stopped too fast or took a corner too fast. Mom talked to us and skritched Worthington on the way to the vet. We had to wait in the waiting room for a bit, but it’s always quite entertaining. There was a not too happy dog in one of the vets rooms. I don’t know what they were doing to him, but I was sure hoping they wouldn’t try it on me! Mom skritched Worthington and AsaMina to keep them calm and she talked to me and Cleo who got to sit on the bench with Dad while we waited. Mom took pictures of us, too. She figures if I miss anything in my journal, her pictures will cover it. I’m glad she’s not using a flash on her camera. They make me see spots.
When we went into the exam room a bit later Dad put me and Cleo on the bench, Tyson Parker on the vet table and Worthington and AsaMina were on top of Cleo and my travel cages just long enough for Mom to take more pictures. Mom takes lots of pictures. Then the vet came in. It was a new vet. Mom said our Dr. Nancy did something called ‘retire’, so we had Dr. Hayden. He was nice until he picked me up. But, I didn’t go first, Tyson Parker did. Then Mom grabbed AsaMina and Worthington and then Cleo. I got to be last cause I don’t like being held and Mom never pushes the issue, so I do bite. I don’t mean to, I just don’t know how else to say ‘put me down, please’ in human. Mom told Dr. Hayden how to catch me and pick me up. I was much politer than Worthington. I can’t tell you what he said cause it wasn’t nice. He said it all in tiel, so I understood and Mom understood. I think the vet understood, but you don’t need to hear such words. Definitely not nice! My tummy got poked, Dr. Hayden peeked and poked my bottom, examined my feathers, examined my nose, and then handed me to Mom who preened a few sheaths off my head feathers since I was already restrained and not very happy, and then I got put back in my travel cage. That was it, not too bad, just not nice either. All this means I definitely get to go with Mom and the flock tomorrow! We’re headed to a place called Amarillo first. We’ll camp there over night, I’m told. I also heard we get to visit family in Oklahoma, too. I guess I ought to end here for the night and prepare myself for tomorrow, I heard it’s going to be a LONG day! May 28, 2008: Well, Mom had us up at 6:27am. She and Dad kinda flew from here to there. I didn’t see my Weenie Cousins, but I did hear them. Mom said that was so Rambo wouldn’t bounce us and startle Worthington. He’s jumpier than I am! Once Dad had his truck stuffed with all our stuff and his and Mom’s, too; he stuffed us in in the proper order- Worthington and AsaMina behind Mom, Cleo next to them, Me next to Cleo and Tyson Parker behind Dad. Auntie Pug and Uncle Johnnie said good bye to all of us and held up our Weenie Cousins so we could squeak bye to them, too. I thought we’d be right back like yesterday after the vet visit, but Mom said we were going to Amarillo today and wouldn’t see our Weenie Cousins again—at least not for a long long time. I did squeak to my Cousins cause I do like them an awful lot. They’re kinda funny looking for tiels, but that’s ok in my book.
We drove to a place called Oklahoma City first. I rode at the bottom of my cage so Dad’s sharp corners and fast stops wouldn’t knock me off my perch. But Dad did good and I got up and watched from my comfy corner in my travel cage. Mom had told me that when she went to this place called Washington when she was a kid she counted skunks she smelled. I’m not sure what a skunk is or what one smells like, so I opted to count birds. Every time I saw one up in the sky I’d squeak twice quickly and Mom or Dad would see the bird and tell me I’m a good boy. I guess you do need to count something on the way to Washington.
We went to see my Grandpa Daddy Bill first, but he wasn’t home. Dad was disappointed, but we went on to Auntie’s Jan and Sherie next. They weren’t home either, but we sat in the driveway for a bit so Mom could make her lunch. After Mom had made her lunch we headed for Amarillo. The roads were bumpy and a bit spooky at times, but Mom kept telling us it was ok, so I wasn’t scared. I counted birds. Mom and Dad were very impressed with me when I began to squeak that there was a bird and they couldn’t see one. I kept squeaking and squeaking and Dad saw the bird first. It was a car with the license plate ‘D Byrd’. Dad laughed.
Mom told Dad that watching us watch the road was the best thing cause she was seeing things she wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Mom said it was like seeing the world with new eyes—well, at least seeing Oklahoma and Texas with new eyes. She said that’s what ‘Birds Eye View’ must mean.
Mom took pictures, of course, of us watching the world go by at 70 mph down I-40. Cleo watched a lot of the scenery through her yellow CD case guard. Mom asked her what it looked like. Cleo told her all about it, but in tiel. I’m not sure if Mom understood or not, but when Cleo got done telling Mom I wished I had a yellow CD case, too. Mine’s purple and pink and not pointing in the right direction to look through. But, it was ok. I don’t think I’d have seen so many birds if I was looking through the CD case like Cleo.
Mom got pictures of the leaning water tower of Brittan, Texas and the largest Cross in the world also in Brittan, Texas. They’re human tourist things and weren’t of much interest to me at all. Mom said we had to have a couple of human tourist pictures since she couldn’t photograph the birds I was counting. They were too fast for her.
We were staying in a place called Motel 6 in Amarillo off of something called Exit 73—I got to help Mom and Dad count exits! Mom asked me to help look for her. I didn’t know what a ‘Exit 73’ was, but I looked anyway. We get to have Camp Cockatiel on a bed tonight cause there is no room on the desk for us. It’s not long enough. I’m pretty comfortable and basically ok. All that bouncing around made me tired aside from just getting up too early in the morning today. Mom said we sleep here tonight and head to a place called Flagstaff tomorrow. We’ll have Camp Cockatiel there tomorrow night.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The Asha Chronicles Part 15
Birds In Space
Houston, I Think We Have A Problem
By Julie Stilwell and Timothy Graham
The Feathered Friends had been very busy lately helping out their fellow birds as well as their human friends and they felt the need for a vacation. The four had gathered at the home of Asha, a blue-font Amazon, in Byron Georgia. They were sitting out on her screen porch, sun bathing and trying to decide where to go to take some well-deserved time off. As usual, they were having a hard time reaching an agreement.
Asa, a cinnamon pearl split to pied cockatiel, had expressed an interest in doing some mountain climbing. The orange-winged Amazon BabyGirl thought that idea was silly since it involved way too much work. She was more interested in taking a sea cruise. The sky blue budgie Cecil (who had more attitude and personality than his little body could contain) thought that a trip to Europe would be fun. As usual, Asha saw that she, as the most forceful personality of the group, would have to make the final decision.
“Look, I have a good friend named Angel who lives in Florida,” she began. “Why don’t we go down there and take some time on the beach and if we feel like taking off for somewhere else, we can.” Asha, the voice of reason, ended.
That idea met everybirdie’s approval and the Four took flight and headed south for a relatively short trip to the Atlantic coast of Florida where Angel, an African Grey, welcomed the four and put on a nice spread of veggies, fruits, and juice. Angel’s house was near the beach and for couple of days the five spent most of their time lying in the sand and flying out over the surf.
On day three of their Florida vacation Asa suggested that they take a tour of the area. They took to the air and began to slowly fly south to see the sights. After about an hour they spotted a strange sight in the distance.
“What is that thing?” asked BabyGirl. “It looks like a big candle.”
“Well, we’ll never figure it out this far away,” said Cecil. “Let’s get closer.”
The five birds flew closer to the object and noticed that there were a large number of humans gathered around it. They seemed to be working on the object for some unknown reason.
“It sure is tall,” said Angel. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Let’s fly up to the top of it and maybe we can figure it out,” suggested BabyGirl and the rest readily agreed.
Soon they were perched on top of the tall object. From their perch they could see for miles all around. Several humans were working around the only doorway into the object. They soon finished what they were doing and walked away down a walkway to a tall structure that was attached to the object.
“Look, they left that door open,” said Asa. “I bet we could get inside.”
“Do you think that is a good idea?” asked Cecil. “What if those humans come back?”
“Quit being such a worry birdie,” said Asha. “Let’s take a look.”
With curiosity having a death grip upon them, the five flew into the object and found a cramped room filled with computers and chairs. Suddenly they heard a sound outside and noticed that several humans in strange clothing were headed towards the door.
“Quick, find somewhere to hide!” said BabyGirl and they scurried towards a small door that led to what appeared to be a closet. They crammed themselves into the closet and shut the door just as the humans began entering the small cramped room.
“I guess we better just wait here until they decide to leave,” said Angel logically. “They might get mad if they see we have sneaked into whatever this thing is.”
The five settled down and played some word games until they got sleepy. Heads under wings and sitting shoulder to shoulder they settled down and took a nap. They were suddenly jolted awake by the sound of a large explosion and a sudden weight descending upon their feathered chests.
“Darn!” said Asha. “It feels like a human has sat on me! What on Earth is going on?”
None of the others were able to answer as they were too busy trying to breathe. But as suddenly as the invisible weight appeared it went away.
“That feels better.” said Asa. “But what is this?” she shouted as she suddenly began floating towards the top of the closet. “I can fly without flapping my wings! It feels like I have no weight whatsoever!”
The five birds were very confused as they tried to orient themselves.
“I don’t think I like this at all,” said Cecil nervously. “First we weigh too much and now we weigh nothing at all. What the heck have we gotten into here?”
“We better try to find those humans and ask them what is going on,” said Asha, once again being the voice of reason.
The five had a hard time getting the door open while weightless but they finally got it open enough for Cecil to slip through. He scouted out the immediate surroundings and reported back to the rest of his flock still secluded in the closet.
“Three of the humans in those strange outfits are sitting in chairs just in front of us,” he said. “Does anyone want to go and talk to them?”
“I’ll go,” Asa volunteered. She slipped out of the closet and tried waddling to the front of the room. It was difficult to walk under the weightless conditions, but she finally figured out how to move forward without flying off towards the ceiling. She eventually got to the front of the room and began using her beak to pull herself up the leg of the human sitting in the front chair.
“Yes Houston, Shuttle Atlantis is a go for final orbital insertion,” the human said. “What was that last question you asked?”
A voice came from out of the air. “Shuttle Atlantis our instruments show that you are about two pounds overweight. Did one of you bring something on board that was not approved?”
“Negative Houston,” the man in the strange uniform said as Asa finally reached the arm of his chair.
“Excuse me sir, could I please ask you a question?” Asa said in her most polite and lady like tone of voice.
“What the heck was that?” the human asked. “Who said that? You all know better than chattering on the radio while we’re doing an orbital insertion!”
“Sorry to disturb you, but I do have an important question,” Asa said as she tried to get the human’s attention by biting on his arm. The material of his clothing was very tough and she was unable to get a good grip on it.
The human finally saw the strange creature on his chair and shouted “What kind of games are you idiots playing! What is this thing? Some kind of new robot?”
“I assure you I am no robot,” Asa said indignantly. “I am a cockatiel and I want to know where I am and how do I get back to Angel’s house. I am quite hungry and am tired of this lack of weight.”
The human was sputtering and stuttering but seemed unable to make a coherent sound. The two other humans sitting nearby were staring at the small brown bird and seemed equally unable to say anything intelligent. The voice named Houston kept asking what was happening but nobody seemed to be paying it any attention. Meanwhile the other birds had decided to leave the closet and join Asa. Asha tried to fly up to where Asa stood but, due to the lack of gravity, overshot her target and landed on a large group of instruments in front of the human. She latched onto a toggle switch and looked back at the room.
“Who is in charge here? We would like to go back to Angel’s house. Can you help us?” Asha asked, also utilizing her best and most lady like manners and tone of voice.
The human in the front chair had finally regained some semblance of composure and asked in a voice full of shock and disbelief, “Are you birds?”
“That would appear to be obvious,” said Asa. “And I suppose you are humans?”
The human ignored Asa’s attempt at sarcasm, “How in heaven’s name did you get here?”
“Well, why don’t you tell us just what ‘here’ is,” said Asha.
“Commander,” broke in one of the other humans. “Are those birds really talking or is this some kind of trick. Is NASA giving us some kooky test or something?”
“I have no idea Simmons,” said the commander. “Look you bird, or whatever you are. This is the Shuttle Atlantis and we are currently 180 miles above the surface of the Earth. We are in the middle of changing our orbit so that we can do repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope. Now, would you kindly tell us what you are doing here?”
“Well, we were on vacation,” said Asa simply. “We saw this big thing and decided to check it out and then all heck broke loose. What is an orbit?”
“Forget that Asa,” said BabyGirl. “Take a look out that window. I don’t think we are in Florida anymore.”
The five birds turned their heads towards a large window in the front of the room and saw the round globe of the planet Earth off in the distance and floating in a sea of blackness.
“Oh Yeah!” said Asha. “This is way cool! I’ve seen this before. Dad watches this stuff all the time!” She turned towards the commander. “You must be Captain Kirk!”
“Captain Kirk?!” the commander shouted. “I’m not Captain Kirk. I’m Commander Smithson.”
“No, really,” said Asha. “This has to be the Enterprise. I’ve seen it on television all the time. Dad’s crazy about this show. Where’s Spock? I like Spock.”
“Simmons, will you please gather these varmits and stow them away somewhere so I can complete our orbital insertion,” the commander said. “I have no idea how I will explain this to Houston.”
The birds went back to their closet without too much trouble after Simmons promised to bring them so food soon. When he left Cecil asked Asha “What is this Captain Kirk stuff? Do you know this guy?”
“Sure,” said Asha. “Like I said Dad watches this stuff all the time. He’s what they call a Treker. You remember those two firemen back in California? This is all a television show about space ships and Klingons and Vulcans.”
“You mean we really aren’t up in a space ship circling the planet?” asked BabyGirl.
“Heck no,” said Asha positively. “How the heck would five birds get on board a spaceship. Those things are huge. They would never allow us to sneak on board one of those things. They’re just filming a television show and we happened to get caught up in it. No problem. I think we ought to go look around. It might be fun.”
“But what about us being weightless,” said Asa. “How do they do that?”
“They can do anything on television,” said Asha with a grin.
“But that guy told us to stay here,” said Cecil. “He is supposed to bring us some food. I’m hungry.”
“Well, maybe we can find it sooner,” said Asha as she headed for the door. “Let’s go!”
The five turned away from the front of the ship and found a stairway leading down. They hung onto the rail and pulled themselves down the stairs. To the right they saw a room with four more humans sitting in chairs. They went in the other direction and found a small room containing a cage with a small monkey in it.
“Hey, it’s a monkey,” said Asa. “I wonder if he can talk?” The five birds tried to get the monkey to talk but he couldn’t say anything. Eventually they were able to get him to understand hand gestures and discovered that he had been loaded on board just before the ship had taken off and he had no idea why he was there or what was going on. He did make it clear that his name was Astro and that he would like to be let out of his cage and Asa took care of that without too much trouble.
“Any idea if where the food is?” Cecil asked astro. The monkey gestured to follow him and he quickly led them to another small room containing boxes of tubes. He took one of the tubes and removed the cap. He squeezed some paste on his hand and licked it with a big smile on his face. He handed the tube to Cecil who squeezed a small amount on one of his talons and took a bite.
“Yuck!” Cecil said with a grimace. “This is awful! Aren’t there any veggies around here?” The birds tried all of the different varieties of the tubes and found none of them worth eating although Astro was having the time of his life squeezing food all over the floor.
“Hey, do you think we’re on television now?” asked BabyGirl as she made an effort to primp her feathers.
“Don’t worry deary, Ben will not be disappointed,” said Asha.
“Well, I just want to look good,” said BabyGirl with a bit of a pout. “We can’t all be Divas and look good all the time!”
“Look, I don’t like being a complainer but I am really hungry,” said Cecil as his tummy rumbled softly. “Do you think there is any way we can get some good food around here?”
“Well, I’m up for a bit of exploring if you guys are. I’ve never been on a television set before.” said Angel as she headed toward a closed door at the far end of the galley.
The five waddle-glided across the floor to the new and mysterious door, upon reaching it, they discovered it was, of course, locked. With a quick jiggle and tug, the Convicts Chick easily unlocked it. Inside stood fresh veggies of all sorts in large glass containers with funny rubber gloves sticking out into the room.
“Why didn’t they just bring us here in the first place?” asked Cecil in an exasperated tone.
“Maybe humans think tubes of goo are better than fresh veggies?” comment Angel.
“Um, there is something funny about those veggies, Cecil.” the voice of reason, Asha, chimed in.
“I don’t see anything wrong with them?” said Cecil with a beak full of rubber glove.
“Um, hate to agree with Asha here, since my tummy is pretty empty, too, but I think she’s right. There’s something not quite right about those veggies.” said Asa, also chiming in as the voice of reason.
But, it was too late. As soon as the air hit the broccoli sample in the case it exploded into a neon green powder. At the exact same moment, out of apparently nowhere, two very large, very black bunny rabbits hopped into the center of the case as the green dust settled, snow-globe style, around them.
“AHHHHHHH!” shouted Cecil as he jumped back hard and fast enough to bump into the wall on the far side of the lab room.
Just then, sensing the possibility of freedom, the bunnies, who were now more green than black, forced their oversized bodies through the opening Cecil had chewed into the rubber glove. It was then that the real chaos began. Bunny One, who like Bunny Two, was completely covered in broccoli dust, hit the floor, left a large green splat, and bounced nearly 6 feet in the air due to the lack of gravity and almost hit Angel in the process. Bunny Two left an equally impressive green splat on the pristine white floor, but only managed a bounce of 4 feet, nicking the tip of Cecils blue tail and leaving a small green smudge.
“Ewwwwwww!!” grimaced Cecil as he shook the green broccoli dust off his tail feathers.
“We’ve got to catch those Bunnies before Captain Kirk finds out!” shouted Asha a bit louder than necessary.
At that moment Astro entered the little lab room and began dancing and playing with the bunnies. It was a mid air ballet that would have made Borishnikov, Abbot and Costello very proud. As Asha swooped this way with the large beaker, Asa swooped that way with an equally as large beaker. Missing Bunny One and Bunny Two, they bumped into one another, sending each other into mid air gravityless loop-dee-loops. Cecil dove like an Eagle after a morsel of fresh fish, hoping to herd Bunny One into the cabinet Angel had just pulled open. Astro, seeing something shiny inside the cabinet, entered it.
“GOT HIM!!!” shouted Angel as she slammed the cabinet door. Asa, lock master extraordinaire, locked the cabinet tight with Astro safely and very securely ensconced inside.
The ballet continued. Asha crashed into BabyGirl, who then was sent floating helplessly backward and then sideways into Asa, who then bumped into Bunny Two, sending it into the glass medicine style cabinet she’d just picked the lock on as Angel held the door open.
“GOT ANOTHER ONE!!!!” shouted Angel as she slammed the glass door closed and Asa locked the still green broccoli powder coated bunny securely inside.
“One more to go!” said Asha obviously as the five feathered friends all dove simultaneously for Bunny One. Seeing it was out numbered, Bunny One ducked into a bread box style experiment station.
“GOT HIM!!!” shouted Cecil as he, Asa, Asha, BabyGirl and Angel all slammed their nearly weightless bodies into the lid at the same time in order to close Bunny One securely into the box. Asa, for the third time in 6 minutes, securely locked another lock.
“Now what?” said Angel, slightly breathlessly.
“We clean up.” said Asa as she began to upright the few containers they’d tipped over.
“It sure would have helped if we knew where on this ship Scotty was! We sure could have used that teleporter of his to get rid of those bunnies!” said Asha as she found a towel and mopped up a bit of spilt water.
With the room looking as it had when they entered, Cecil asked once again to no bird in particular, “You know, I’m still hungry. As a matter of fact, I’m doubly hungry now!”
“You should have just eaten a tube while you had the chance.” said Asa as she found another towel and tried to mop up some of the mess left behind by Astro.
Asha and BabyGirl sat on the back of a chair while Asa, Cecil and Angel finished cleaning up Astros mess as best as they could.
“So, do you really think Scotty is here somewhere with that teleporter machine?” asked Angel.
“He has to be. He works for Captain Kirk and the Federation.” said Asha.
“Well, let’s go ask the Captain where on this ship he is and maybe Scotty can beam us back to Angels house.” said Asa as the five climbed up the stairs and made their way back to the command deck. There they found an obviously angry Commander Smithson talking to an equally angry human on a television screen.
“You are trying to tell me that five birds have somehow stowed away on a space shuttle?” the face on the screen said with sarcasm dripping from his voice.
“That is exactly what I am saying sir,” said the commander. “What should I do about this?”
Ignoring the commander’s question the human on the screen continued his rant “And not only are they birds they are talking birds who think you are Captain Kirk from Star Trek?”
“That is true, sir,” Smithson said in a quiet voice. “Again, what should I do about this?”
“I would suggest you quit smoking whatever it is you have been smoking and call me back when you sober up,” shouted the human in the screen. “Either that or declare yourself unfit for service and put Simmons on!”
“Simmons, will you please tell the General about the birds,” Smithson said with a sigh as he turned his face from the General on the screen to the astronaut on his right.
“No need to go to the trouble” Asha said as she glided to the front of the cabin. “Hey General, what is the title of this episode and where the heck is Scotty? Maybe he can just beam us back to Angels house with the teleporter. If it’s not too much trouble.” Asha added quickly.
The human in the viewscreen looked at Asha as if she were a snake that had just jumped out of his breakfast cereal. He tried to speak a couple of times but was unable to. He looked offscreen and said “Will the rest of you take a look at this and please tell me I am crazy and the shuttle is not infested with talking birds?”
“What is the big deal?” asked Cecil. “You all act like you’ve never heard of talking parrots before. Where are all the cameras? We want to look good for the close-ups.”
“How in heaven’s name did you all get on my shuttle?” the general shouted.
“We walked in the door,” said Angel. “It wasn’t that hard. Were we not supposed to do that? We’re sorry if we’ve caused a problem.”
“Well, I’m going to cause a problem if I don’t get something good to eat and soon!” said Cecil who could contain himself no longer.
“Commander, would you please remove those creatures from the command deck while I go and talk to the President,” the General said. “And while you are at it, why don’t you find your guests something to eat?”
Commander Smithson herded the birds back down to the galley where they found the cases of empty food tubes exactly where the five had left them and still empty. The Commander made it clear that all the food they had was in those tubes. He made the birds promise not to leave the room until he returned and went back up the ladder to face the wrath of the General.
“This is awful,” said Cecil. “I want to go back to Angel’s where we can get some good food.”
“I agree,” said Angel. “Where is that door we came in through?”
The birds climbed back up the ladder and found the entry door but discovered it was securely locked.
“Well, Convicts Chick, do your magic,” said Cecil with a gentlemanly bow.
Despite her best efforts, Asa was unable to get the door to open. “It looks like we are stuck here,” she finally said slightly breathless. “I guess we’ve got to wait until they finish filming this episode before we can go home.”
“What a vacation!” said Cecil sarcastically as he tossed his head back and flapped his wings ever so slightly.
The five decided to wander onto the command deck yet again and see what was happening with the show. They saw that Commander Smithson was again in a discussion with the General.
“The President has agreed that it would be best for us to keep this bird incident as quiet as possible,” said the General. “Lock those creatures somewhere that they won’t cause any trouble and get on with the mission. That telescope has to be repaired or NASA will be in for a public relations disaster that will probably affect our funding. Do I make myself quite clear?”
“Quite,” the Commander said. “Quite. OK, Simmons you have shown yourself totally unable to control those birds why don’t you give it a try Sanchez. Pack them into a storage chute and lock it tight. I don’t want to see or hear anything from them until we are back at Kennedy.”
The third human on the control deck stood up and made his way towards the birds.
“Do we fight or do we give in?” asked Angel.
“Let’s go along with them for now,” said Asha. “If we have to, Asa can get us out.”
The five birds meekly went along with Sanchez who placed them back into the storage chute they had endured during liftoff. They settled in for a long wait and spent the time playing games and napping. Angel got to know the other birds better and they came to enjoy the company of the Grey. After what seemed like an eternity, Asha suggested that Asa give the door lock a try. It didn’t take the well-named Convicts Chick very long to open the door. The five quietly exited and headed for the command deck to see what was going on. Once again, they found the Commander in a discussion with the General.
“We’ve taken four space walks General and it all comes down to one fact,” the Commander began. “The tool that we needed to fix the telescope was broken by accident. It is required for the very exacting work we have to do to make the repairs and without it we cannot do the job. Nothing else is small enough to get into the guts of the telescope. I’m sorry, but we can’t do a thing.”
“Don’t give up so easily Captain,” said Asha as she rushed to the front of the room. “We can’t let those dirty Klingons win that easily! I’ve got just what you need to do the job.”
“What the heck is that crazy bird talking about?” roared the General.
“I thought I told you to lock them away!’ roared the Commander to Sanchez.
“And I thought you were a hero Captain!” roared Asha three octaves higher than any of the three humans. “I guess I was wrong. Maybe Picard was the better Captain!”
“Wait a second!” shouted Sanchez. “I won’t sit here and let you say Picard was a better Captain than Kirk. That bald idiot was nothing more than a glorified diplomat.”
“Sanchez, have you lost your mind?” shouted the General.
“Wait a second,” said the Commander. “What did you mean when you said you have what we need to do the job?”
“Finally,” said Asha with a deep sigh and pity that humans had a tendency to be so slow at getting the point of things. “My friend Asa here is an expert at manipulating things in close quarters. All you have to do is fix her up a cockatiel-sized space suit, tell her what you need done and she’ll do the job.”
“You aren’t planning on listening to that idiot are you Commander?” asked the General.
“Right now, I’d listen to anybody,” said the Commander. “Sanchez, see about fitting this bird into a space suit and let’s get out there and finish this job.”
After some quick costume work and some instructions from the other astronauts, Asa went on the first-ever parrot space walk. The other birds watched on the monitor screen as she slipped into the innards of the telescope and easily made the necessary repairs.
“You know these new Hi-Def sets make it look almost real,” Asha said with amazement.
“You know what,” said BabyGirl. “I’m beginning to think it is real.”
“Are you trying to tell me you believe that we are really hundreds of miles above the Earth’s surface in a space craft while Asa is walking around in outer space repairing a million dollar telescope?”
“I guess you’re right,” said BabyGirl. “I just hope they tell us when this episode will air on tv.”
“Yeah, I want Mom to make a copy of it,” said Cecil, with a hint of pride in his voice.
The remainder of the mission went pretty smoothly after Asa completed the repairs. The shuttle returned to Earth uneventfully, stopping at the far end of the runway so the birds could be released away from the prying eyes of the press.
“I want to thank you for all you did for NASA and your country,” the President told the five birds after the landing. “I would appreciate it if you kept this entire incident a secret. But if you ever need anything, you can call on us.”
The five slipped out the door and flew back to Angel’s house where they dove into a huge meal of fresh vegetables and fruit. When they were finally finished they gathered in a nearby tree to discuss the previous few days.
“You know, they almost had me believing the whole thing was real,” said Asha. “But I knew it was television when I saw the guy they called the president. I swear he was the guy who played ‘Q’ in the Next Generation.”
“Well, real or not, it was fun!” said Asa.
Yeah, you got to keep that little space suit,” pouted Cecil. “You get all the good toys.”
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Well, AsaMina, my 'perfectly normal' Grandbirdie, sat, yes SAT on her pine cone for 3 days and 1500 miles in the back seat of Hubby's bouncy Chevy Blazer. Yeah, everyones bottom but AsaMina's got sore from watching her sit on that pine cone the whole trip! Well, three times I did have to tell AsaMina, who'd finally given her bottom and feet a break and gotten off the pine cone, that it wasn't nice to sit on her little sister. AsaMina had apparently gotten either bored or uncomfortable with the pine cone and opted for a softer place to sit--her little sister. No Precious wasn't obliging, nor happy with her big sisters decision and swore at her, fortunately in cockatiel, not English.
...I don't put in the pine cones till just before we leave so they'll last the trip. So, AsaMina, my resident Einstein, opted for the next best thing, a birdie granola bar I'd just put in her and Worthington's cage. She climbed up on it, got comfortable, and glared at me, "Grandma, I'm ready. Let's go!"
And, for those who don't know the story:
Why I'm "Grandma" to AsaMina and "Mom" to the other 4 Muska-Tiels
Back in 2001, the last birthday gift my Grandparents G&G gave me was Rowena Rose, a beautiful month and a half old Lutino tiel. Rowena Rose was paired up with my Buddie Moose and the pair lived happily ever after......sort of. June 18, 2001 I lost April-Moana, R.B. Birds biological sister to age. I gave R.B. Bird a popcicle stick toy to keep him occupied and busy and hopefully not missing his sister too much. Well, Rowena Rose saw this toy from the cage she shared with Buddie next door and Just HAD to have it!!! She was about 8 months old at this point and female tiels don't mature till they're 2 years old [this part will make lots of sense in a moment]. Rowena Rose spent 2 months doing all she could to figure out how to get out of her cage and over to that toy. She had no interest in R.B. Bird and was happily bonded to Buddie. On a cold New Hampshire early November day, Rowena Rose figured it out. She popped the lock on her cage and tentitively, but excitedly let herself out. (I am watching all this oh-so intently, just in case she needed rescuing from herself). Rowena Rose crossed the three inch gap between her cage and R.B. Birds and let herself in, uninvited, into his cage. R.B. Birds door was open as long as I was home because he stayed put if I asked him to. I'm now on the edge of my seat, positive R.B. Bird wouldn't appreciate the Yellow Alien entering his cage. Rowena Rose went right to the irrisistable toy and for the very first time 'assumed the position' beneith it. Now, she was just 10 months old at this point and what she was doing honestly meant nothing more than "Hi, I'm Rowena Rose and I've been dying to meet you!" R.B. Bird, on the other hand, being exactly 10 years and 4 days older than Rowena Rose, knew exactly what she was doing and went after her. [barely on edge of seat now. More in 'mid-leap and rescue' pose] So, Rowena Rose 'got' the toy and R.B. Bird 'got' Rowena Rose. At two months shy of turning 11 years old, R.B. Bird couldn't produce babies. Rowena Rose wasn't old enough to produce babies. Thanksgiving day we had egg! Then, every other day till there was six of them! Well, no way are any of these gonna hatch, she's not old enough and he's too old....
Miracles do happen! Three days past her due date, on the third day of Hanukkah December 13, 2001 at precisely 5:43am AsaMina Sura popped out of her shell and goosed Rowena Rose in the bottom causing her to leap a good 60 feet in the air inside the tiny nest box. She didn't think the egg would hatch either.
Precious was egg number four. The rest of the eggs were sterile.
So, my Grandbirdies are the result of a jail break. Momma Bird, Rowena Rose, in an unrelated incident, was nicknamed Jail Bird due to her weird habit of running her beak back and forth across her cage bars like the prisoners do in the old movies with tin cups. A friend of mine, knowing AsaMina's story of being, nicknamed her The Convicts Chick. I think that makes me The Bird Lady of Arkansas....er....'Alcatraz'?