Friday, July 27, 2007

Jolly July

This is Nugget. She is a Pacific Parrotlet that I adopted in June. I had been thinking about getting a canary because they sing so beautifully but when I went to the pet store, there were only three canaries and the only interesting looking one (she was grey with a tuft of featherish mess on the top of her head resembling a flat top) wasn't a singer. Turns out that summer is not the time for canaries, so instead of waiting until December, I picked a Parrotlet. She's a true parrot (a cousin of the the Amazon) but is about the size of a parakeet. She's not talking yet, but I'm working with her. Soon she will say "Hello, Gorgeous" every time I enter the room. :) I'm also trying to get her to say "Here kitty, kitty" because I have a slightly warped sense of humor. Her name was briefly Cat Nip, but when Jorge observed that she has just enough meat for one chicken (parrot) nugget, it was decided.

I've had birds my whole life but I had forgotten how much patience and effort they require. Parrots are a special brand of work because while they are quick learners, they can also be strong-willed. Nugget is territorial. From the beginning she let me know that her cage was her space and she nipped or hissed at me when I tried to take her out. Yesterday was a breakthrough day as she finally stopped attacking me and got right up on my finger! The trick was to spritz her with a water bottle when she nipped. She still clearly prefers to be inside the cage, but she also enjoys going "downstairs" to her playground which I have set up underneath her cage. This bird is spoiled rotten. She even eats table food. Doctor's orders. Apparently a diet of simple seed is to birds what eating McDonald's daily is to humans: strangely appetizing but fatty.

Jorge and I attended our first concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Months ago he bought tickets for the Decemberists with the LA Philharmonic as a birthday present for me. At the time they seemed pricey and I was a little hesitant. I have to say, however, that this was easily the very best concert I've ever attended. We packed a picnic and took a shuttle to the Bowl (parking is a nightmare). Andrew Bird was a delightful opening act and the Decemberists were energetic and entertaining. A few highlights: Colin Meloy deciding to unplug his guitar and pretend to play Chris Funk's solo. Brilliant. Also, Meloy asked everyone to indulge him and whip out our cell phones. He asked us to make them light up and hold them high. We obliged. The result: a sea of twinkling phosphorescent lights.

(I borrowed the photo from someone who posted it on the Decemberists's Myspace page. Thank you, Adam)

Overall, the group was playful as they interacted with one another and in the days that followed, the show became an increasingly emotional experience. With Jorge gone in Costa Rica I have been listening to The Crane Wife and Picaresque almost daily.

In other news, I've been jetsetting the past few weeks. I attended the annual AP Conference in Las Vegas and tacked on a few days with the family. We went boating and swimming on Lake Las Vegas which was the highlight of the trip. I never fancied myself a dive-off-the-back-of -the-boat-a-hundred-times kind of girl.

I returned home for one day after being in Vegas and then got right back on a plane to Wisconsin to visit Sandy and James. Madison is charming. When I arrived at about 10pm, the airport was deserted. How quaint it is to see an airport that closes for the night! Unfathomable. This trip was a much-needed respite from everything my ordinary life in LA has to offer. We walked (a lot) and dined out, made dinner at home, ate bratwurst and drank beer at a AAA Baseball game (photo above), watched a marathon of The Next Food Network Star, and just pretended that we were roomies again (at least I did), which was easy since they still have all the furniture that Sandy and I had while living together in college. I missed them both and enjoyed the dairy state entirely (except for those cheese curds - their squeaking was off-putting!).

Last night I made Flickr account which is for now a paltry effort on my part, but I'm hoping that having the account will encourage me to take more photos. Check it out and come back for more later!

Finally, I've been cleaning my house and my new classroom (!). Cleaning and organizing are very therapeutic for me and I'm grateful to have the time to do this.

Soon I will be reporting on Costa Rica and then I hope to start writing posts about more significant things. Till then...