Wouldn’t this look good on my car?

Ten years ago, when the Millennium rolled around, I didn’t have birds. My life was entirely different really. I was still on my first of the four total vacuum cleaners I’ve had since then, I had clean carpeting as opposed to the slate tile I have now and it wasn’t cluttered up with crud. I used to happily do three-day trips for work, ramming around the world like it was my back yard. I could take off to see my friend Lynn in Port St. Lucie. I used to go out at night and when I cleaned, it usually stayed clean for a while.

But life goes on with or without your realizing that changes are bound to happen. And God knows they do. My decision to bring Parker into my life was one of those changes that at the time I didn’t think would be that completely earth-shaking. I mean really, how tough could this be? I was trained to evacuate a 757 in 90 seconds flat, and feed 251 people in high heels, a skirt and some guy trying to take whiz in a ginger ale can in my galley!  Man, was I ever wrong! Getting Parker was the toughest thing I ever took on. But I took it very seriously. The guy whizzing in the ginger ale can? All I said was, “Hey! Put that thing AWAY!”

Parker at the controls of a 757

The birds are just one more thing to do, (Well, actually it’s a BUNCH of other things to do.) but it’s a fun thing. Cleaning cages isn’t too bad for me because I put newspaper on the top of the bottom grates as a substrate.  This keeps their “rooms” much cleaner. It’s easier to just roll up the newspaper, throw it out and replace it than to have to take out the grate and wash it. The cage lasts longer. I’ve had Parker in the same “room” since he was very young, almost seven years now and his room still looks almost brand new. Parker and Pepper don’t eat in their cages, they eat on their Wayne’s bottle brush play gyms.

So my life has changed “slightly”; rather it was changed by bring Parker home one fine April Fool’s Day. It changed again when I trained at Natural Encounters, again when I met Dr. Susan Friedman and completed her course: LLP,(Living and Learning With Parrots) and yet again when I began writing about my birds and about Aviculture.

And the hits just keep on coming! My weeks at the Cincinnati Zoo courtesy of Steve Malowski of the Zoo Bird House, and “Major Dude,” Dave Oehler completely rocked my whole comprehension of birds and bird care because my experience now includes looking after some pretty interesting species like penguins, Condors, Sea Eagles, Keas, Hornbills and Flamingos.

This Kea Just had a bath. But I was wet as well from the cleaning her enclosure.

So as you can imagine, it’s been an amazing ride so far. The people I’ve met and the things I’ve had the privilege of doing, (and planning to do!) keep me happy about my decision to turn my tidy life upside-down by bringing Parker home followed by Pepper a few years later.  I do so love them and moreover, I have really enjoyed meeting people I’ve met who feel the same way.

I’ve had the opportunity to share what I’ve learned by speaking at bird clubs and schools, and I’ve been a little shocked at the growing interest in my posts here at “PN.”

Usually when I take something on, I have a tendency to “do it up brown,” and I guess this “bird thing” was one of them. It led me and my writing skills to “BIRD TALK” magazine and the column, “Memo to Parker & Pepper.” The “Memos” are a trifle, a fun thing in the magazine. I suppose it’s a little like getting the dessert after a good meal. Although from what many readers report, they prefer desert first, which makes me very happy!

I’m thrilled about the growing interest in my “Chop” feeding concept. You can read a popular post about it here: “The Chop Blog.” It got people so interested, I was flabbergasted to find THIS on Amazon. Suffice it to say 2009 was a pretty good year for me.

So as I enter the new decade with my birds in tow, I’m probably not going to try and change things too much with a bunch of resolutions and promises to myself. I like my life too much as it is. But I still intend to pursue my adventures in order to complete my manuscript which includes a trip to “Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.” I’ll get on those flights even if it’s something I hate to do on my time off. And as for Parker and Pepper? Well, let’s just say I’m going to try and give them a little more training time, more outings and a little more time to bask in the sun. After all, they deserve it! Here’s to 2010!

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