JJ

Posted in Pets on November 23rd, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

My little parakeet JJ passed away some time during the night last night.  Not much of a surprise there; he has been sick for a while, and even though he began looking well again a few weeks ago, he took a turn for the worse in the last few days.  He looked so awful yesterday that I knew he wouldn’t make it through the night.  But there was always hope that I was wrong.  He had been on what I called “death watch” before and made it through the night, so the hope was there.

I don’t really know what happened – he was only about a year old, and I had had him since January, not even a year.  He started showing signs of illness about 2 months ago.  I gave him medicine and TLC, and he began to do better, but like I said, I guess it just wasn’t enough.

He was “just a parakeet”, but I loved his company.  I was so excited to see what kind of bird he would become; how he would look and act as an adult and who he would be when he felt healthy, but now I won’t know.  Honestly, taking care of animals is one of my favorite things in the whole world, so why do I have to be so bad at it?  A few months ago, JJ was so happy when we moved his cage into  the living room so he had company all day rather than living in the solitude (or was it protection?) of our bedroom upstairs.  We kept him right near the Halogen lamp, could there have been a smell or the heat or something that made him sick?  On the rare occasion that a bug would fly into the Halogen, yuck, what a smell that made.  We tried to get rid of Teflon pans and things like that, but JJ’s new home in the living room wasn’t too far from the kitchen – maybe cooking smells did him in?  He was a fraidy-bird, so I couldn’t really take apart his cage to clean it out; maybe it got too dirty?  A dozen why’s and what-if’s, but no more parakeet.  At least he is not suffering anymore – it was getting really difficult to see him in his cage looking so miserable and worse for the wear.  Poor JJ.  Even if he was just a caged bird, I miss him already.  Ugh, and the cold weather is back today…  fitting somehow, just feels like a miserable day all around – time to make the best of it.

Back To Blogging

Posted in Everyday Life on November 8th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It seems like I haven’t had the time to blog as much as I’d like to lately.  Put it this way –  Halloween ended over a week ago now, and I still have a draft sitting here detailing how my family spent what’s probably our 2nd favorite holiday.  I think I will quickly summarize and get it churned out next, hopefully.

One thing that’s been taking up my blogging time is laundry.  When the seasons change, my laundry responsibilities increase from about 3 loads per week to 6 or 7.  That’s because my family of 6 is now wearing pants instead of shorts or sundresses, many of us dress in layers in the fall which adds sweatshirts to the mix, and then there are the added number of blankies that the kids use when it turns cold outside.  The good news of all this is that when spring turns to summer, I find myself with about half the laundry I’ve gotten used to doing in the winter – kind of a fall back, spring ahead-type thing for laundry, I guess.  But more laundry folding and less blogging for me in the mean time.

And that reminds me, a funny thing happened at church yesterday.  When my class got back to our classroom after large group, there were 2 new kids sitting there.  I introduced myself, and we were just getting started when their dad came to the door, seemingly embarrassed and very apologetic as he asked for his kids back – turns out their family had forgotten to set their clocks back  an hour, so they were actually there for the next service 🙂

Our family remembered to change our clocks, but we didn’t get to appreciate the extra hour of sleep it was supposed to bring – kids have biological clocks, they wake up at the same time every day regardless of what the clock says or what time zone they are in.  This is especially good advice if you’re going to travel with kids across time zones – don’t fool yourself into thinking that your kids will adjust to the local time when you travel, or you could be in for a not-so-pleasant surprise.  My wonderful, thoughtful husband is always the one who gets up early with the kids, but I had to be at church at 8:30 yesterday.  Also, I was up all night with a killer headache – now that was strange.

I am very lucky to be able to say that I very rarely get headaches.  If I don’t get enough sleep, I will have a dull ringing in my head, but nothing like Saturday night’s doozy that was actually waking me up throughout the night.  Luckily it went away (with help) before I arrived in my classroom full of 1st graders.  But I have to wonder about the cause of this colossal headache – could it perhaps be some kind of weird virus that had me laid up all weekend?  Saturday I was knocked flat on my back by a sudden and severe mysterious back pain.  It began on Friday, when I decided to take my kids to the zoo since they had a day off school.  By the time we were ready to leave, I couldn’t bend over and had to ask for help to tie my shoes.  I thought maybe it was a pulled muscle or something, maybe a cramp that would work itself out – I couldn’t remember injuring it.  But I did not enjoy myself nearly as much as I usually do at the zoo 🙁  And thank goodness Hubby decided to  come with or I don’t know how I would have been able to handle 5 kids (my daughter’s friend came along) by myself without hardly being able to bend or move right.  When we got home, Hubby had some work to catch up on, and I fell asleep on the couch while waiting for him – something I haven’t done for ages which makes me realize that I didn’t feel too well on Friday.  Then Saturday dawns, and I can’t get out of bed because of the extreme pain every time I tried to bend.  So I stayed in bed until 1:30 – played my cards right and got lunch in bed too 🙂 – when we absolutely had to leave to meet our youth group kids for a service project.  I got the easy job – waiting for the kids who were late – while the others raked leaves and picked up litter, and while I took it easy, my back started to feel better.  But then came the headache which was to plague me all night.  What makes me think this is a virus is because of all the stuff going around lately, plus the fact that my sister had this same exact sudden backache a few weeks ago – could it be a contagious ‘backache virus’?  I owed my parents an email, but I couldn’t get in front of the computer with my sore back, so I called them from bed Saturday morning, and that’s how I found out about my sister.  Anyway, my point is, it was a busy weekend, but also one where I couldn’t get to my computer even if I had had the time, hence the slow pace of the blogging.

And speaking of things going around…  my parakeet JJ is feeling much better.  He’s even chirping again!!  He hasn’t lost his balance while sitting on his perch in days, and his physical appearance is starting to look healthier.  The lady at the pet store said that if a little bird is fluffed up and at the bottom of his cage like JJ was that it’s almost always too late to save them, so I feel really great that my little guy seems to have another chance.  I guess I should have bought this really cool looking toy I saw the other day, but my husband and I have a policy that we try not to buy anything unless we have an immediate use for it.  This thing was a $10 cabinet – you install it in your living room or somewhere; it’s a nice looking wood cabinet, and it opens into a little play yard for small birds.  Ugh, just writing about it makes me want it, but the store was an hour away, and JJ is a cage bird – I don’t know that he would come out to play in a play yard.  I think of him as so fragile, so it would be difficult for me to make him come out; I sure wouldn’t want him to get sick again.

Well, anyway, I’ve rambled enough – guess I just wanted to share my relief at getting well and of being able to blog again.  Until that overdue Halloween post…

Best Way To Spend 88 Cents

Posted in Pets on August 9th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , ,

According to JJ my parakeet, the best way to spend 88 cents is on this little number:

I saw this little bird toy at Walmart the other day, and even though I knew it would scare the heck out of my scaredy-cat parakeet, I bought it anyway.  It’s a piece of plastic in the shape of an upside-down T –  a perch for the bird to sit on, while the part that sticks up hold millet sprays  – a favorite treat for parakeets.

I adopted my little guy JJ (short for Jungle Jack Hanna named after my favorite celeb) back in January, and he hasn’t ever been interested in playing with any of the toys in his cage.  My 2-year-old son used to bang on JJ’s cage, and so the little bird became afraid of people, and I haven’t been able to pet him in months – he flies away from me.  I was so afraid that he led a miserable existence locked away safely in my bedroom – until about a month ago, when I moved him from our bedroom (where he was by himself most of the time) to the living room (the centerpiece of most of our large family’s traffic patterns).  JJ has been SO happy to be a part of the action!  I’ve been happy to see him happy, but he still wasn’t playing with toys – until I bought this 88 cent Walmart Wonder on a whim.  At first, JJ kept his distance, and I feared I was right – he WAS afraid of everything!  I had to leave the house for awhile, and when I returned, the millet was gone from the toy – I was ecstatic!

The next day, I snapped the above picture of JJ perched on his new toy, and ever since, he’s been in love with his 88 cent Walmart toy!  He sits next to it and preens himself, and he even gazes at it lovingly.

I reiterate – BEST 88 cents spent (on a pet) EVER!!

Introducing… JJ!

Posted in Pets on January 9th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As you might have read in an earlier blog post, I received a pet store gift certificate for Christmas from my husband.  Today I spent it – I picked out the newest member of our family – JJ the parakeet!

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When you adopt a pet parakeet from a pet store, the workers have to barge into the cage full of parakeets with a towel on their hand to grab your bird, and then they put it in a cardboard box for the ride home.  This might sound like a mean thing to do, but in my experience (this is my fifth pet parakeet), the bird recovers very quickly; I wouldn’t even use the word recover really; they always seem just fine.  And JJ handled his transition like a pro!  He actually seemed immediately happy in his cage!  I put my finger in there, and he let me almost touch him, just a few hours after he got home!  He didn’t back away or anything!  I am so excited to become friends with this little guy; he is so cute!  It’s been about 15 years since I’ve had a pet parakeet, and I’ve forgotten about how they just exude happiness!  Already JJ moves his beak like he’s trying to talk and responds to my voice.  Hopefully I will make the time to train this little guy to be the little buddy I’ve always wanted in a bird – I get jealous of my husband’s relationship with his parrot.  Wait, that doesn’t sound quite how I meant to say it…

There’s a fine line between training a bird, earning trust, and scaring him off for good.  JJ seems very patient and ready to learn, and so am I – but getting to spend time with him while there is a trouble-prone toddler toddling around will be my greatest challenge, I think.

Many people have fun parakeet stories; they really are pleasant little birds.  My dad and my uncle had a parakeet when  they were kids named Tippy who would walk on their kitchen table.  They would hold a hand of playing cards, and Tippy would walk up, choose a card, and then carry it in his beak to the edge of the table, let it go and watch  it float down  to the floor.  I’ve heard that many (male) parakeets can talk, and of course they will sit on your shoulder and be your best friend.  So yeah, I’m excited about this bird, and it’s a nice feeling – can’t say there’s been a lot of that lately.  Even if he isn’t easily trained (defying all early indications), I’ve already tremendously enjoyed just looking at him and absorbing his pleasantness, something I look forward to doing in days to come…  feeling a contentment that I haven’t felt for awhile…

Just for the heck of it, here is a timeline of my other pet parakeets.  I was a kid when I had them, so I don’t remember dates or ages – each one lived for around 5-8 years, the usual parakeet lifespan.  But it bugs the heck out of me that I can’t remember which of my birds liked to ring his toy bell –   Tippy, I think?  I named him for my dad and uncle’s childhood pet…  The memories of the bell ringing bird have been replaced in my brain by the obscenely loud parrot we currently own who jangles his bell-shaped toy whenever he starts to get rowdy.  Parakeets are actually in the same biological family as parrots and are in fact classified as parrots.  So technically, we’ve gotten ourselves another parrot for our house, just what we needed, right?  But Squawky, the scarlet macaw (loud a**hole) parrot belongs to my husband (or my husband belongs to Squawky, depends upon who you ask), and JJ is mine – this is important since birds “mate” for life – I’m so happy to have MY bird!

So here’s that rundown of parakeets past:

Spunky – he was blue and fiesty, but we were really surprised when he she began to lay eggs!

Tweety – the only parakeet I had who was of the green /  gold variety.

Tippy – named after my dad’s childhood bird; he was light blue.

Goat –  my sister found him flying loose outside around her work.  They took him in, and when no one claimed him, I named him “Goat” in honor of my dream pet at that time.  He was pretty tame for a “wild bird”!

J.J. – dark blue, almost a gray to violet hue.  And why is he named J.J.?  It’s short for Jungle Jack Hanna, of course 😉

I Can’t Get Enough Of The Cute Animals

Posted in Fun Forwards on August 9th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I received a few more of the email forwards with  pictures of cute animals, so I thought I’d combine them into one post.  So here are some cute animals – enough said.

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That little parakeet is preening his smiling kitten buddy – something birds only do to the ones they love!  And these pandas were displaced when an earthquake shook their forest home, but they’re getting good care now.  What I wouldn’t give to sit right in the middle of that pen!

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And, for the finale, check out this cat who loves boxing!

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