Sunday, December 07, 2008

These are our first 3 birds.  They are zebra finches, and we got them in August.  (From left to right: Susan, Jack and King Tut)

Not more than a month later, we had eight birds. (Susan laid 5 eggs, and they were all viable!) They are sweet.  They have a chatter/chirp that isn't constant, but it is regular.  At first I thought it would drive me crazy, but it doesn't.  It is very calming - a kind of white noise that I really didn't know I needed until it was there. 

Thursday I was changing their water and I noticed that the perches were all bloody.  It wasn't a lot, but they are birds.  It was King Tut.  His belly was red, but he was fluttering around OK.  So I didn't really give it a second thought.  (This had happened to Susan within the first month, and she was fine the next day). Friday I found King Tut on the bottom of the cage, with his poor little orange feet in the air.  I was all for just chucking him in the trash. Cold, I know - but I really didn't feel like having the conversations with the kids ( that I was SURE we would have) once we told them.  Luckily, my husband saw reason, and placed King Tut in a butter-box and set him outside in the snow.  The two boys were already at school, but my daughter, M, (who is almost 5) was still home.  My husband gently took her onto his lap and said "M, honey, I have some sad news.  King Tut died last night.  Somehow he cut himself, and ended up dying."  M took a deep breath, her eyes were wet and bright, and sighed.  She said "OK, on the next sunny day, Mama will get a shovel, Daddy will bring the flowers, the boys will help me carry King Tut, and we'll sing him a song and bury him."  Then she hopped off C's lap and said "Mama, are you ready to go to school yet?"  

I really don't know where she came from.  (grin)  I'm glad she's the way she is, though.  And it's not just tragedy that makes her start making lists & delegating.  Today we were talking about how close Christmas is, and she started "we need to get the ornaments out - do you know where those are Mama? - and then the stockings.  And we need to frost cookies." and so on.  sigh.  I am going to frustrate her -  Poor girl.  I just barrel ahead and do stuff, I don't think of a logical progression.  (which is probably why I'm so tired all of the time.)  It's more of a "oh, and I should do this" and then I do, which reminds me of something else, which reminds me of something else... etc. 


Yesterday I went to a cookie swap.  I made toffee.  Mmmmm.  Ya know, you really can't go wrong with 2 lbs. of butter, and 2 lbs. of sugar topped with melted chocolate chips.  (some of it had pecans in/on it) .  I came home with some marvelous cookies as well.    I need to learn some photography skills.  


I've been making felted flowers and then beading them.  OMG so much fun!  I take 100% wool sweaters (that I get from the Goodwill) and wash them in hot water, then throw them in the dryer, cut them into flower shapes and then bead the stamens.  I've made them into pins.  Then I've  made a few stuffed animals - a mouse, a Totoro (Japanese wood spirit), a pig, a cat, etc.  I had to take books back to the library UNREAD because I was having so much fun with the needle work that I didn't have time to read.  The kids have been working with me.  I'll try to set up some kind of photo booth so I can post pics.  I've been toying with the idea of setting up an Etsy shop.  (Have you been to Etsy?  My friend Debbie has a shop  here:

She uses a similar technique, but I'm not sure if she has any flowers on her site. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How can it be December already?  I guess I've been caught in the crush of kids-going-to-school, grocery shopping, and house-cleaning.  (can't wait to read more about my exciting life, huh?)  

My parents drove up in October from Brownsville, Texas.  They brought their cat, Stella, in the back of the camper.  My mom is doing well - this chemo is less toxic.  Her hair has grown back, her strength is back.  We had a blast while she was here.  (They never stay long enough.)  grin. I did put my dad to work - he built a mesquite counter top for us.  So pretty.  (and so useful.  The kids just love sitting "at the bar".)   

(SOAPBOX)  I just have to scream for a moment.  My parents are 64 (too young for Medicare), have no insurance, & a limited income (made even more limited by the recent stock market woes) - but not limited enough for Medicaid.  In order to get the best price on a port (for her chemo) my mom had to shop around at hospitals for the best price.  A port (so that they don't need to poke her veins each time) costs $11,000 if you have insurance - she got them down to $3,000.  Of course, that does not include the physician, the lab work,  or the anesthesia.  It makes me so angry that she had to shop around for something that was integral to her care.  Sigh.  (end SOAPBOX)

But...  in the interest of full disclosure, her sister  had a fund-raiser for her that contributed; and her church also had a fund-raiser, so this one is covered.  It still makes me angry. 


I decided this year that I needed to pull back a bit - to tighten my circle of concern.  Mostly because I was worried about my mom and I felt I wasn't giving enough attention to my family.  Also because I was giving giving giving, and not taking any time for myself.  So, I took a leave of absence from the school board; I am not volunteering in the kids' classes; I'm taking Pilates at the YMCA.  It's working very well.  I have time to cook.  I've been going Crazy with needle-felting/recycling sweaters into flowers and stuffed animals.  I've been spending WAY too much time on the internet.   I wish I could find some sort of balance, but maybe this is the way.