Hi all, I hope you've had a good week. It's been quite a week for me - but a good one! So far this week, I've celebrated an anniversary, finished a draft of a writing project, and had my brain blown three times. Here's a rundown of the week:
1. Rick and I celebrated our 15th anniversary yesterday! Yep, that's a picture of us on the big day. It's hard to believe it's been that long, or that we're old enough to have been married that long! But we have, and we've come a long way even if we don't have kids. We've built a home, built careers, are building our personal endeavors (his website design and my writing), have our 3 birds, and are lucky that both of our families are still alive and nearby. It's been a great journey and we look forward to many more years. And as part of celebrating our anniversary ...
2. We saw Star Trek Into Darkness
today. Wow. Completely unbelievable and definitely outdid the last movie. A must see. At the risk of being lambasted, I'll be bold enough to say it's better than Iron Man 3. I completely trust J.J. Abrams with Star Wars now. Mine = blow. I don't want to give anything away, but I'll give you this advice if you haven't seen it yet: see Star Trek II - The Wrath of Kahn if you haven't recently. Yea, there are "references." It's amazing how they can change the history of that franchise the way they did and things are the same, and yet not. It was beyond phenomenal. Go see it. On the big screen. Now.
3. I ask for your prayers. An opportunity has opened up to me, and I ask that you pray for the Lord to give me favor in achieving it. It would be a tremendous blessing for me and Rick. I can't say too much about it now, but if it works out then you'll hear all about it. It may be a while before we know, but hey, we can use all the prayer power we can get!
4. Time for my season finale roundup! The season finales of Arrow
ran Wednesday night and again, mind = blow. They were amazing. Here's a short recap of my impression of each season:Arrow
- If you aren't watching this show, you should be. They hit the ground running and never let up. No dull character development episodes in this season - it's all action, and the combat scenes are amazing. Then again, Oliver Queen better be able to throw it down, because it takes a lot of guts to go against people with guns (especially one with the nickname "Deadshot") with a bow and arrow - yet he does, and holds his own impressively. For all of you that thought The Green Arrow was a "minor" DC Character, I can assure you that he can hold his own and proves it well through this series. The finale was no exception, and in fact had it's share of surprises that shouldn't have been surprises, but they signs that these "red herrings" were planted were very subtle. Kudos to the writers, producers, cast, crew, and everybody involved for making this a "must see" show in my home and many others every week. I'll even go so far as to say that I like Arrow
better than I liked Smallville
. Yea, it's that good. Supernatural
- I was glad to see the Winchesters get back to angels and demons this season. That whole thing with the leviathans and monsters just - wasn't as good. They're okay in bits and pieces throughout the season, but I didn't care for it as a central focus. Thankfully, they got back to basics this season and it was good to see. They definitely upped the ante with the demon tablet and the whole "closing the gates of hell" theme. Then an angel tablet pops up and that adds a dimension that has this show back to what it's meant to be. I did miss Bobby this season, but I think they forged on in his absence quite well, all things considered (and I thought Garth taking Bobby's place was weirdly appropriate. I wish we had seen more of that. He's goofy, but I think his character is a good balance to Sam and Dean's kicking a** and taking names approach - I mean, somebody needs to take the brainiac approach to the whole demon hunting thing, right? Anyway, well done and glad to see them getting back to basics, although that cliffhanger - wow! OMG. What a mess. Can't wait to see how they get out of THIS one.
So now it's all about summer reruns. Good for folks that need to for catching up. And I guess I have plenty to keep me busy because ...
5. I finished the rough draft of Incursion
, my sci-fi novella-in-progress, Monday night. No joke, folks, I wrote 12 chapters plus a prologue and epilogue in 13 days. I accomplished this feat because I kept waking up in the middle of the night with ideas for it, and this progressed into insomnia. Yea, the fun of being a writer, especially one with a full time job. I wrote on lunch hours. I wrote at night. I wrote on weekends. And I got the draft done in record time because I do need to sleep occasionally. So this summer's project will be getting that novella shaped up and ready to self publish, hopefully this fall. I'll keep you updated on the progress.
6. We managed to get our satellite bill down and upgraded our Internet speed. Because we realized that we're online much more than we are behind the boob tube, so to speak, and how we spend our $$$ needs to reflect that.
7. I don't know now many of you are familiar with Disco the Parakeet, but he was on the Take Two segment on The Today Show this morning at 9 a.m. Go Disco! Bird to your mother! What an awesome keet. He's the same age as Ollie and we love him here. Look up Miss Jumpin Jude on You Tube
for his videos. You'll love it. He's one great avian talent!
8. And finally, we're gearing up for a birthday here. Chloe's birthday will be Monday, May 20th! Actually, we celebrate it then because that's the date we "adopted" her (or as our bird friends like to say on Twitter, it's her "Gotcha Day"). She's 10, but it'll be three years since we adopted her. What a sweet little hen! We love you, Chloe! Hen power!
So it's been a busy week, but all in a good way. I'll take it. I hope you've had a great week as well. Happy Friday to you, and I hope you have a great weekend.
Sometimes, you just need to take a day off to escape the day to day grind. I did that today to spend some time with Rick on his last day off for Spring Break. I'm glad I did it. Sure, we had to get up to take the birds to the vet for their annual checkup. They got a clean bill of health, and wing and nail trims too, by the way (check out their take on it over at Conure Corner
). But after that, it was free time. Nothing major really - we went to Olive Garden for lunch, bought the birds some "consolation toys" and other supplies, and took a walk on Riverfront Park. But sometimes, it's good to have a slow day. I forgot what it was like to be bored. It's a feeling I don't often have.
You can see pictures from our walk along the Riverfront Park in Columbia, SC on Flickr
. That is a nifty website. I've really enjoyed it since creating the account during our trip to Arizona last month. I've never been one that was big on pictures, but between getting an iPhone and creating that account, I find myself taking more of them. It's easy to take them on the phone, and to organize them through the website. Everybody can be a photographer these days. Well, not everybody. Truthfully, I get lucky every now and then and get a really good shot but otherwise, my pictures are okay. The delete button makes me look better at it than I really am.
Anyway, it was good to have a Friday off to slow down the pace. Holidays and vacations are nice, but sometimes you need to have a "time out" to just be at home and exist.
That's all today. Happy Friday to you. Have a great weekend.
Hi everybody! I wanted to let you know that Feathered Frenzy - A Quick Guide to Adapting Birds into Your Life
was published through Smashwords and KindleDirect today. Go me!
If you know anybody that's new to bird ownership, or is just looking for a good overview of information, this is their book. I give advice, tips, tricks, and general knowledge I've gathered over 25 years of being a "bird mommy" that can help to make life with birds in your home easier, less stressful, and more enjoyable.
And look at that cover. Aww! It's Zack and Chloe! (I sure wish Ollie would have gotten in that picture like we asked but NO, he doesn't like having his picture taken ...)
So go check it out! It's available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Feathered-Frenzy-Quick-Adapting-ebook/dp/B00B85EJYO/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1359588239&sr=8-6&keywords=Feathered+Frenzy
and on Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/280462
I'm so excited to publish another book! Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement with my writing and in all I do.
That's all today. More later.
We hope this digital letter finds you safe, healthy, happy, and enjoying a wonderful holiday season. In the spirit of the annual holiday letter, I thought it would be fun to share some of the highlights of the past year with you.
I know, this is a blog. You've been keeping up. But for the sake of those that don't like to log in twice a week for my ramblings, well, here's a summary:
Rick just wrapped up a 3 year term on church council at Mt. Tabor. He was heading up the IT committee and did a great job updating the website (which was his major project for his first year on council) and with keeping up staff technology needs. It did get to be a bit of a challenge this year, though. We lost both of our pastors this year - the head pastor left for a higher position with the Synod in March, and the associate pastor left to head up a congregation in Charleston, which is where he's from. It was tough losing them - and then major changes at Rick's job drastically altared his work situation, which has required more overtime work and made serving a bit more challenging. But he stuck in there and was determined to see his term through. We're very proud of him for hanging in there despite the challenges of the past few months, and for all he's done for the church. You can check out the church website that he designed at www.mttaborlutheran.org
Unfortunately, I had to quit both of my church committees. I had always planned to step down from the IT committee when Rick's term ended, but major changes in my own work situation and my writing picking up cut significantly into my spare time for volunteer activities. There are some things and events that I do hope to continue participating in, but right now being on a standing committee isn't something that's practical for me. It's a shame, too, because I enjoyed it and hated to give it up. Maybe in another season of life.
My work has picked up with additional duties. I'm now working with 4 licensure programs, and recent staff shortages have put more of a burden on remaining staff. I do finally have a window office, which is good (although I got the workload that came with it), and I'm also required to travel twice a year for the landscape architect program. Last year I attended the spring meeting in late February in Miami, and the national meeting in September in San Francisco. That trip to Miami was the first time I've ever flown! It's not bad, either. And while I'm not a big fan of travel, well, I'm hanging in there to see how it works out. The next meeting up is the regional meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona in March. We'll see. That's all I can say for now. Overall the job is good, although it has been very stressful lately. Our workload usually peaks in December (exam deadlines, plus people in a rush to get licensed to get projects in the new year), and being down a person has been hard. Hopefully, we'll fill that open position soon and things will level out. I'm off work until January 2, so hopefully some time with family, friends, and at home with Rick and the birds will do me some good.
My writing is also making progress. I published my second fiction novel, Anywhere But Here
, through Whiskey Creek Press in April. They offered me a contract for my third fiction novel, a sci-fi apocolyptic novel titled Splinter
, last summer. I'm already working on two writing projects now that I hope to wrap up in the spring. One is another mystery novel titled Move
. It's about a young woman that unknowingly makes a deal with a djinn (genie), but unfortunately his help is rather radical and leads to more problems than solutions. The other is a non-fiction book titled Feathered Frenzy
. It's basically a "quick reference guide" to give people tips on making their home and lifestyle bird-friendly. And believe it or not, I ALREADY have an idea for my next project. That one is still in a very early brainstorming stage. I'm not even considering working on that one more until I get my two current projects finished. I'm building an audience and working on many promotional things for my published novels. It's slow work, but worth it. I enjoy writing and I think going the "independent author" route was the right choice - especially with the traditional route going into decline as e-publishing picks up. I hope I hit the e-book wave at just the right time!
The birds are doing well. They'll be doing their own Christmas letter to you on their blog over at http://conurecorner.weebly.com
soon. Santa has big plans for them and I think we're going to have three very happy birdies in a couple of days!
Our families are doing well. Mom and Dad are staying busy, as usual. Mom had surgery for carpral tunnel last summer and I tell you, that's the fastest surgery recovery I've ever seen! She was back up and running in no time! Dad is still working. Retirement talk comes up from time to time, but no definite plans or timeline yet. I tell you, those design professionals - they love their work and don't like to retire! Stephen and Nicole are doing well too. Stephen's still keeping them straight as a department head at Public Safety, and Nicole is working at home in medical transcription. She graduated from a medical management program in the spring, but unfortunately she had to have surgery for diverticulitis shortly after graduation, so that was an unexpected hiccup in her life. But she's doing fine now and moving forward again.
Rick's parents are also doing ok. You know his father has dementia, so there are good days and bad days - that's just how it goes with that. They joined the Methodist church up the road last month. Our nieces and Rick's sister and brother-in-law are also doing well. We just got back from our Christmas visit with them in Greenville this morning. They stay busy with work, school, and activities - much like all of us.
And yes, in case any of you are wondering, I did complete my New Year's resolution of reading through The Bible again this year. I actually finished it in September!
Well, that's pretty much it. We are truly blessed and thank God every day for all that He has done for us and allowed us to do for others. We hope all of you are doing well and that life is being good to you. You know that everybody is welcome to visit this website and blog. I strive to update it at least twice a week. Some people have themes for their blogs and while the theme of this website is my writing, the blog isn't limited to that. In fact, I believe all of life inspires my writing, and this blog is open to anything and everything happening in life. Feel free to read, share, and pass it along to anybody interested, whether it's family, friends, readers, other writers, or anybody that's interested in how one writer's life inspires her tales!
Merry Christmas everybody! I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season and that your new year is filled with joy, peace and prosperity.
God bless and best wishes,
Rick and Sherri
I know it would be prudent to post an entry this Election Day about the sacred right to vote, but you know what? You guys get it. And frankly, I'm sick of politics. I'll be glad when this madness is over. So let's ponder on more thought provoking things.
I mentioned in a previous blog entry that there are some crazy assumptions about people that don’t have kids. I’m not sure where people get some of the ideas from. I can’t personally speak for every childless person/couple, but I can say that some of the things people think are just crazy. For example, people believe that if you don’t have kids then:
1. You don’t like children. I find it interesting that people make this leap that not having = hate, and yet they don’t do it in other areas. I’m not a good cook, and yet not a single person has ever accused me of hating food. I can’t explain it. I won’t deny that I’m ignorant in this area. Heck, I didn’t even know that diapers came in sizes until a few years ago, and I admit that walking into a Babies ‘R Us store is the fastest way to induce an anxiety attack in me. But no, I don’t hate kids and would help one in need without a second thought. It might not be graceful or “proper” but I’d do my best. I can’t speak for all childless people and certainly it’s possible that there are some people that don’t like kids, but this is a conclusion it’s not wise to jump to. Having children is a personal decision and the reasons for not having them (at the present time or ever, depending on the circumstances) can be more complex than the reasons for having them.
Do you want to know what I don’t like? Sushi. It’s nasty and I can’t understand how it can be considered refined or high class to eat raw fish like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings. I know many would say it’s not the same, but I don’t follow the reasoning so just call it a crazy “me” idea. But no, I don’t hate kids.
2. You’re rich. People think that Rick and I must be loaded because we both work and have no children, but the truth is that the cost of living is astronomical whether you have a household of 1, 2, or 10. Everything’s expensive and the cost of living is rising much higher than salaries are. While it’s true that we might have more discretionary income, we do have to watch our finances and make sure to live within our means.
I wish this stereotype were true because it would thrill me to no end – but alas, it is not.
3. We have no family. The truth is that all of our parents are alive. Likewise, I have a brother that’s married, Rick has a sister that’s married and has our 2 nieces, and this isn’t counting aunts, uncles, and cousins. Somehow, though, it seems that doesn’t count because people raise an eyebrow when we say we have family functions or visits. But go ahead – tell them all that they don’t count as “family” since we haven’t reproduced. I’d be greatly amused to see how it goes.
4. We have nothing to do once we get home from work. Folks, this is another one I wish were true. I’d love it if I could come home at the end of the work day, retire to my recliner behind the TV, and that was my life – but it’s not. See, while we’re at work, nothing gets done at home. This fact remains whether you have kids or not. That means that supper has to be prepared, consumed, and cleaned up. Dishes must be washed. Laundry must be done. Birds must be fed and cages cleaned. Bills must be paid. Trash must be taken out. Kitchens and bathrooms must be cleaned, furniture must be dusted and polished, floors must be swept and mopped, and the grass must be cut on a regular basis. This all has to happen after work or on weekends – and that doesn’t include the time I need for my writing, the time Rick needs for his website work, church activities, visiting that family we supposedly don’t have and trying to squeeze in time to spend together. And all of that doesn’t factor in time with friends, repairs and maintenance on home and car, or spending time doing things we like on our own. *Gasp!* I’m lucky to have an hour a night to spend to myself. In fact, I only watch 2 TV shows, both come on back to back on Wednesday nights, and often I have to move Heaven and earth to MAKE time for that.
The truth is that the older you get, the more life tends to fill up. I get up by an alarm clock 6 days a week and my iPhone calendar looks like it needs ProActive (or a measles shot). Frankly, I don’ t know how people with kids keep up with it all. You guys must be heroes because I barely keep it together sometimes. Now if that rumor of being rich were true then I could hire out our housework but alas, the falsity of that lends to the falsity of this.
5. We think having pets is the same as having kids. I’ve never presumed to say, compare, or even think that having three birds is the equivalent to having three children. It’s not and I know it, so don’t even try to project that insanity on me. Have you ever noticed that when I talk about our birds, I refer to us as mommy and daddy with no capitalization? That’s on purpose because I don’t want people to make the mistake of thinking that I’m trying to equate Zack, Chloe, and Ollie with children. They’re birds. And birds are, obviously, very different from humans. I know. Remember, I worked in day care during my college days, before graduation and switching to being an office drone.
That being said, I do love my birdy-babies. Humanity was given dominion over animals and it’s our responsibility to give our pets the best life possible because they are entrusted to our care. An animal is just as alive as a child and deserves respect. In fact, it’s my personal belief that only the lowest of the low human beings would harm a child or animal. The penalties for animal abuse should be equivalent to the penalties for human abuse because it’s disrespect of the sanctity of life and taking advantage of those that can’t defend themselves. People that would harm a child or animal are a waste of existence if you ask me. I dare them to pick on somebody their own size. That would clean their clock faster than Zack can bust out of his cage when the door latch is loose.
I’m not sure where these ideas come from about childless people, but I hope you see what a good chuckle we get out of them. It’s silly, really, isn’t it? And thankfully, now you know that. Our lives may be different, but is it easier? I don’t know. I think it would be most accurate to say that we all face challenges in life. I don’t know if anybody has an “easy” life. I think it all boils down to being thankful for what you have and doing the best you can with it. Not every life follows the same “socially acceptable” progressive pattern. Life isn’t a puzzle, after all. But if you do the best with what you have then you have fullness of life – whether the pieces seem to fit or not.
That’s all today. Take care.
Many people have asked me recently about how things are going with my writing, so I thought I'd update you through a blog entry. I've stay very busy with it between promoting work that's already published and writing new work. Here's a rundown of where things are at:
As you probably know, I'm in the middle of an Author Feature Week on The Edible Bookshelf. DelSheree Gladden read my young adult novel, Blurry
, and is doing a feature on me that's focused on this book on Monday - Friday of this week. Today's entry is the best so far with an author interview on Blurry
. You can check it out at http://www.theediblebookshelf.blogspot.com/2012/08/interview-with-sherri-fulmer-moorer.html
. Be sure to drop by http://www.theediblebookshelf.blogspot.com
tomorrow and Friday too to see the remaining entries in the feature week. I'd like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to DelSheree Gladden for reading Blurry
and giving me this wonderful opportunity to reach readers through her outstanding blog!
I was also surprised to get a very flattering review of Anywhere But Here
today. It was so encouraging to see that this story touched someone and that they recommended it because they believed that others could relate to it too - even with the twist ending! (Folks, this book has a BIG twist in the end!). Dealing with personal setbacks and depression are the major themes of this fictionalized novel about a young woman whose life falls apart in the weeks after college graduation, and it was my hope that others would read this tale and find hope to face their own challenges. I'm glad people are relating to this story. That is, after all, why writers do write in the first place - so their stories can entertain and inspire others. I'd like to thank Goodreads for their support of indie authors and for helping people to find me and my work. If you love reading, this is a great site! You can check them out at www.goodreads.com
I have several book reviews for Blurry
and Anywhere But Here
pending, and I have my fingers crossed that they continue to get good reviews! I'm also planning to pick up promotion for Quarantine
, my mystery novella, and Resonance
, my horror long story, in September and October. Both of these stories take place in October. In fact, Resonance
is a Halloween tale. I believe these are good, quick reads that people will find interesting as a fall read. Plus, they're cheap - only a dollar!
On the publication front, I signed a contract with Whiskey Creek Press to publish Splinter
, my sci-fi novel that I wrote for National Novel Writing Month in 2010, in late May. I should get more information from them on a publication schedule in October or November, and it should be out sometime in mid to late 2013. I'll let you know when I get a timeline for publication. In the meantime, here's a synopsis:
The end of the world is just the beginning.
Dr. Leigh Lorene Lybrand, a thirty-three year old geophysicist, is content with her humble life on Earth. She has good work studying the reversal of Earth’s magnetosphere, a loving fiancé, and a supportative family. It’s a life most people would be happy with, until she’s offered a chance to make history. Developing interstellar habitats in the Jovan system will make her famous and financially secure for the rest of her life. She’s willing to put aside life on Earth for two years to have a chance to establish humanity in outer space.
History takes a critical turn when Earth is destroyed by a solar flare, and the crew of Jovan I are responsible for the survival of humanity. As they explore ways to survive in space, dark matter starts to rip open the fabric of
space and time, allowing Leigh and one of her colleagues to see parallel universes. When the visions take a sinister turn to reveal that a radical religious group planned Earth’s destruction, Leigh must make a choice: Accept her fate or use what she’s learned to save humanity; even if it means sacrificing herself in this universe.
I obviously need to clean that up into a more intriguing back cover blurb, but I beleive you get the point. And let me tell you, I'm super excited about this book! It's the most work I've ever done to write a novel - it's my longest book to date at 50 chapters and took over six months of research just to plan the plot! But the work was worth it, because I believe this is my best book so far.
On the writing front, I have two books in progress right now. That's right, two! The first is a mystery novel titled Move
. The tagline - be careful what you wish for. I don't nave a formal synopsis for it because it isn't complete, but it's about a woman that's stuck in a rut that unknowingly makes a deal with a djinn to help her with people that are getting in the way of her progress. Unfortunately, the djinn isn't really good with the whole wish-granting thing, and he makes a bigger mess of things than she ever imagined. And I'll be honest with you - I love working on this book. This is the most fun I've had writing a book since Blurry! It's just a good, intriguing story and I love the characters I work with. Well, except one of the villians, but I'm having fun helping things bite her in the butt. These are the experiences writers live for - to get absorbed in our work and fall into the world we've created. This is why I love writing. To create new work and share it with the world. I think the only thing better than reading a great story is writing one. Well, one that you think is great anyway.
The other book is a short non-fiction book titled Feathered Frenzy! A Quick Guide to Adapting Birds Into Your Life.
I'm writing this book as a way to share what I've learned from over twenty five years of bird ownership with others that have birds for pets. I might not have advanced degrees, but I believe that a lifetime of having birds for pets gives me plenty of advice to share, and I have picked up quite a few tips, tricks and lessons throughout the years that I beleive will be helpful to other bird owners. When I say this is a short book, I'm not kidding - I started it last week, and I've written 8 of the 10 chapters already. Hopefully, I'll complete the rough draft in the next couple of days. I plan to self publish this book. In the meantime, I posted a sample chapter in this blog last week, and I've posted another snippet on the bird blog over at Conure Corner at http://conurecorner.weebly.com
So that's what's going on with my writing. Thanks to all of you for your continued support and interest in it! I'll return to my usual musings and shenanagins next time. Until then, I hope the end of your week goes well.
It has begun! I started the rough draft of my next writing project, Feathered Frenzy, tonight. This book is a short guide to help bird owners integrate their avian companions into their homes and lives. It's been a while since I've done a non-fiction book (I've been writing mostly fiction for the past 5 years, besides blogs and occasional short pieces), so this is a refreshing break from the norm for me. Here's a sample from the introduction that I just wrote. Bear in mind that this is a very rough draft, so I'll ask for your grace and mercy for possible grammatical and spelling errors. Enjoy!
Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview
Welcome to the joys of bird ownership! Whether you just “adopted” your first bird, are adding birds to your “flock” or are an expert human companion to your avian friends, you’ve come to the right place for fast and easy information on how to adapt yourself and your home to the birds in your life.
Now what, pray tell, makes me qualified to tell you how to do such a thing? I’m not a veterinarian, or an ornithologist, or a biologist. There’s no fancy title after my name. I’m just a woman that works in professional licensing by day and writes novels by night. What makes me so special that I presume to tell you how to best integrate birds into your life and home?
I’ll tell you what qualifies me to write this book: over 25 years of experience with having birds as pets. I’ve had birds in my life since the tender age of ten, and for most of that time it’s been a multiple bird home. First
it was three budgies named Samson (Sammy), Delilah, and Petesy. They were my companions from middle school through college. I took a two year break from pet ownership after graduating college to get married and adjust to a job and home ownership, then came sun conures Zacchaeus (Zack) and Chloe, and budgie Oliver
(Ollie). Over the years I’ve not only learned a lot about having birds in your home, but I’ve noticed that the well of knowledge has drastically expanded. The diet and healthcare for birds has improved drastically, resulting in longer life expectancies. When I got Sammy for my tenth birthday in 1985, life expectancies for budgies was five to seven years. When I got Ollie in 2010, the life expectancy for budgies had increased to ten to fifteen years. And sun conures (along with other mid-size parrots) weren’t readily available or well known as pets in 1985.
A lot has changed, and the information we’re getting is improving every day. Unfortunately, that information is scattered. Birds are the number three pets in America behind cats and dogs, so naturally most of the pet care manuals available are geared toward our canine and feline friends. Finding in-depth information on bird care is still a bit of a challenge. It’s out there, but you have to hunt for it.
That’s where this guide comes in. The purpose of this guide is to pass along some of this scattered information, along with other tips and tricks I’ve picked up over a lifetime of sharing my life with birds. This is by no means a specialty guide on bird ownership, nor does it go in-depth on any topic. there are plenty of species specific books, training manuals and videos, and website information out there, and I certainly encourage you to read as much as you feel is necessary to grasp the basics of these important topics. In fact, I encourage you to do two things right now if you haven’t done them already:
1. Buy and read at least one book that is focused specifically on the species of bird you have; and
2. Join at least one Internet Group dedicated solely to the species or general type of bird you own. (For
example, I’m a member of a Sun Conure group on Yahoo!).
This book is to give answers to those unanswered questions that are still hanging in the air after reading those books and supplementing what you learn from the Internet group. Topics I’ll cover include what birds are best for your lifestyle (or how to adapt the bird you have to your lifestyle), the best cage designs, toys, food, and socialization tricks that have actually worked in my home. I’ll also share tips and tricks that keep my birds healthy and happy, save me time, keep my home orderly, and frankly preserve my sanity by integrating three active birds into my busy lifestyle!
Birds are great pets that enrich our lives and bring us joy through unconditional love and companionship. We are obligated show our love and joy in them by giving them the best home and care possible. Life with the birds may be hard work and challenging from time to time, but it’s never dull and it’s certainly worth the effort. And for all of our experiences, just imagine what life is like for them living in a human home.
Welcome to the feathered frenzy!
Many of you already know that I'm a proud "mommy hen" to 3 birds - Oliver (Ollie) the budgie, Zacchaeus (Zack) the sun conure, and Chloe the sun conure. Heck, they even have their own website and blog over at http://conurecorner.weebly.com
and Zack and Chloe are on Twitter as @wazzupzack and @ChloeConure.
But these aren't the first birds I've had. In fact, I had 3 birds when I was in middle school - college too (hmm, it seems that having a 3 bird home is becoming something of a pattern with me. Yep, back then it was just 3 budgies: Petesy, Samson (Sammy) and Delilah. Don't laugh, because I started getting these birds with I was 10 years old, and I didn't get to name any of them. Mom named Samson and Delilah, and we adopted Petesy from a great aunt that went in a nursing home with Alzheimers.
My apologies for the poor quality of this photo. It was taken with a Poloroid camera sometime around 1992 - 1993 and I scanned it because it's the only picture I had of all 3 of them.
I will say, too, that bird care has come a long way since I adopted Sammy at the tender age of 10 in 1985. We know so much more about better food, better toys, better cage design, and even how to arrange our homes for birds to have happier, healthier, and longer lives. In fact, the average life expectancy of a budgie back then was 5-7 years. When we got Ollie in 2010, I was told it's now around 15 years. I think that speaks to exponential increases in the lifestyle of our avian companions.
These discoveries are great, but I'm discouraged by the fact that many people don't seem to realize the improvements that have come along in the past couple of decades for bird care. Oh, the people I run across online are savvy and up on things. I believe it's because the Internet and social media is a great tool for spreading the word to other bird owners on our discoveries in this area. But at the local level, I'm still shocked by people that continue to buy crappy seed and shoddy toys at Walmart or the grocery store, and wonder why their bird always seems lethargic and sick. Or that don't provide fresh paper in cages, or use cage skirts, or deep clean at least weekly and wonder why the area around the bird cage is a smelly mess. Or get frustrated with their bird gets noisy, covers then, then wonders why that pissed them off even more. Or worst of all - they do everything right and are loving owners, but they don't clip the bird's wings, then are absolutely dismayed when they walk outside one day and the bird flys away because it saw a predator they didn't, and it's never found.
Yes, there is a lot to learn about bird ownership, and although there are many books on the market to tell you how to care for them, most of them are species specific. You get great information on how to care for that particular bird, but they lack in the good, old fashioned common sense things you need to learn about having a bird in your home. Plus more people have dogs and cats, so naturally most of the "pet book" market is dedicated to them. The information for birds is out there, but it's scattered and has to be gathered.
In perusing my Sun Conures Yahoo Group and Twitter, I started to think "if only there were a book that gave that good, general advice. We recently helped to rehome a green cheek conure that was found at Rick's work, and in thinking about all the things the new bird owner needed to know, it occured to me. Hey, I'm a writer. And they always say, if you're a writer and the book you want to read isn't out there, then write it yourself.
And so, welcome to the catalyst for my next book project. I'm planning to write a non-fiction book about basic things you need to know about integrating an avian companion in your home. Some of the topics I plan to discuss are:
· Birds & your lifestyle – what’s best for you, what’s best for them.
· Cages – best style, easy cleaning, mess control.
· Feeding – pellets, seed, and snacks. What foods are good to share.
· Toys – chew/preening/snuggle – and don’t forget happy huts and mirrors (for keets!).
· Adapting your home. Cleaning, organization, what you can’t have. Tips & tricks
· Socialization – establishing a flock and helping them adjust.
· Training. Yes, you can teach them. No, it’s not 100%. Anything’s better than nothing.
· Multiple bird homes. Cause birds are like potato chips – you can’t have just 1.
· General tips to make your life and home happy and less stressful.
· Fun ending – why birds are the best pets.
So, what do you think? I especially welcome feedback from my avian friends and their human parents. Does this sound like a good idea - and if so, are there any other things you can think of that would be good to cover? This project is on the drawing board, so let me know what you think.
I think this will also be a fun project. I haven't done much non-fiction, and this is an area where I know a lot through experience. Heck, you know I'll share more than a few bird stories along the way too. I'll be sure to let you know when I start, and of course will post excerpts. It's always exciting when you have a new project to start - and I'm doubly excited because I'm also still working on my mystery novel. Move is getting to a halfway point, and this is in the brainstorming phase right now. Since I don't do short stories any more (I only do books and blogging), then I believe I can handle two concurrent projects as long as they're in different stages.
That's all for today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
So I was off work today for Confederate Memorial Day. I know, I know, nobody's heard of it outside those of us that work for SC State Government. I honestly can't explain it. Several years ago they took away Election Day and our optional holiday and gave us Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Confederate Memorial Day instead. Frankly, I'd rather have election day off but that's the way it rolls round these parts.
Our HVAC unit quit on us day before yesterday. Got home from work on Wednesday and it was a wee bit warm in here. Turns out the unit had a major freon leak and bad coils. They're getting us a new one and will install it tomorrow. Thanks God for His mercies, because the temperature dropped the past few days. Highs in the mid to upper 70's and lows in the 60's. It's gotten a bit above our preference range around mid day, but overall it hasn't been bad. We open the windows when we're home and that helps. The house is getting aired out and the birds seem to enjoy the open windows. They aren't bothered by this at all. In fact, I don't think they're phased a bit. But I thank the Lord over and over for the mild weather and the timing of this (specifically, that it didn't happen when highs are in the 80's and 90's because it has been in the 90's a few times recently). It's been a darned inconvenience, but not too bad. I pray things go as planned and we get the unit installed tomorrow. Rick can't get off work, so I'm the one on home duty for this one. Looks like tomorrow will be a good day to work on Move.
Speaking of Move, the ideas are really coming along. I pretty much have the whole novel mapped out. Of course, there's the issue that I've been sick the past 2 nights with a headache so bad I couldn't possibly look at a computer screen. And I have to work, and of course my poor hands and wrists need a break from typing every now and then. I tell you, I think that if I had a free week I could write the entire rough draft. But alas, I don't, and so I shall peck at it as I can. But that's ok. I don't want to rush this one. I made the mistake of rushing with Splinter to get it done for National Novel Writing Month and I don't want to do that again. I'm glad I entered that because it was one of those things I always eyed NaNo with great interest, but it's really not suitable for a person with a home, family nearby, and full time job - especially in November when Thanksgiving rolls around. But having to pound out 50,000 words in a month was just stressful. I'm not doing that again, at least not while I'm working full time. I really enjoyed writing Anywhere But Here and Blurry, and I believe it was because I took my time and that allowed me to enjoy the process of having the ideas develop and the story come to life. So I'm taking my time and so far I have been enjoyed working on Move.
Believe it or not, I already have an idea for my next book. I don't know if I've mentioned this (I don't think I have), but I've recently pondered a return to non-fiction. Well, today I was in Barnes & Noble and while walking past pet books I had the idea: Why don't I write a book about having birds as pets? I know I don't have a biology degree and I'm not a vet, but goodness, I've had 6 birds in my life. I think, at least from the petowner perspective, I'm certainly experienced. It's a general idea now, but it has me intrigued. I'll ponder this further and if I'm able to brainstorm some ideas then I'll take a shot at drafting this one after I get the rough draft of Move done.
And if that works it really will be interesting and a new experience, because I've always worked on one book at a time, from rough draft to final draft. I've just never had 2 book ideas at once. This is a new thing, and frankly I find it exciting! It's great to have the Spirit inspiring me so much again. I haven't really written much since Anywhere But Here, with personal life changes and then getting published - so it's great to be actually writing again and have the ideas coming. I say keep that inspiration flowing and keep the ideas coming, Lord!
I am feeling better with my sinus infection today. No more headache, sneezing or congestion. I still feel a bit feverish from time to time, and I'm slow and tire easily, but overall I'm much better. The antibiotic has worked quickly and I'm thankful for that too!
That's all for today. Take care all. I hope you have a Happy Friday tomorrow and a great weekend.
I’ve had 2 people ask me if I miss working at my old department this week. I could understand if one person asked, but to have 2 people ask from completely different places does make it seem a bit odd. Another thing that makes it odd is that I was transferred almost 2 years ago. It seems to me that I wouldn’t be psychologically stable if I hadn’t adjusted to my current department in such a long period of time. But one of them pressed on and asked if I missed anything about the former place.
At that point, I naturally wondered if I was being baited for some reason. I honestly told them that I did have a couple of friends that I missed from time to time when I saw or heard things that reminded me of them, but the overall answer to the question is that I’m happy where I’m at and I wouldn’t go back even if I could. This is where I am, this is where I belong, and I’m 100% ok and happy with it.
It was a curious question, but I think I made a good admission. Things are always passing in and out of our lives, and it’s natural that we will miss some things. We miss people that have passed away or whose paths have diverged from our own. It’s natural to be nostalgic for what was from time to time and to miss things that have passed us by. And, of course, there are those “little blessings” along the way that we miss – things so little that sometimes we don’t realize it until they’re gone. For example, I miss:
1. My parakeets. Zack, Chloe and Ollie aren’t the first birds I’ve had. When I was in my teens, I had 3 budgies named Petsy, Samson, and Delilah. Funny thing is, I came upon them much the same as I came upon my current 3: We bought Samson, decided he was lonely so we got Delilah, and then adopted Petsy from my great-aunt when she had to go in a nursing home with Alzheimers. (Remember we got Zack, he got lonely so we got Chloe, then they found Ollie at Rick’s work and we wound out keeping him too.) Like our current 3, they each had a unique personality and were full of personality and spunk. They died in 1996 rather close together – Delilah of an infection in August, Petsy of pneumonia in October, and Samson probably died of heart failure (he was 13) two weeks after Petsy. I was so hurt when they died that I said “never again” to pets. Yea, right. We got Zack in 2000, and after we got Chloe and Ollie in 2010 I finally admitted that I’ll always have birds and will clean cages for the rest of my life. See http://conurecorner.weebly.com
for more on my current flock. They even have a blog!
2. My 1993 Dodge Daytona. We all have that one car that’s just perfect, and this was mine: a metallic blue sports car I got just before high school graduation. I got it brand new and absolutely loved it. I drove it until late 2006 when someone hit me in the parking garage at work. Although it wasn’t a bad accident, the damage was bad enough that they couldn’t 100% fix it, especially since the last Daytona’s were made in 1994 and replacement parts were becoming scarce. I now drive a 2006 Grand Prix. I like it and am very satisfied with it, but it just doesn’t have that same “zing” that the Daytona had. And ironically, Pontiac died a few years after I got the Grand Prix – so it seems that whatever car I buy is doomed to be discontinued or the dealer will shut down altogether. Looks like the chances of me being a repeat customer are slim with this track record.
3. Cross stitching. A friend at my former workplace taught me how to cross stitch in 2004 and I absolutely loved it. I even got adventurous and did a large pattern of a dragon and wizard, which I entered in the 2009 State Fair. I didn’t win anything, but it’s still hanging over my mantle and I get a lot of compliments on it. I did a few projects after the dragon, including one of Jesus that graces our entry way, but getting published required more of my time because I had to add doing publicity to my already full schedule with a full time job, home, family, work, writing, and church activities. I had to cut several hobbies and I finally had to make the painful decision that this one had to go on an indefinite hiatus while I build up my writing. I fully intend to take it up again someday when my life is less busy but for now, I’m focused on building my lifelong dream of being a good, well-respected novelist.
4. Smallville and Supernatural on Thursday nights. Ok, it’s not so much the shows themselves as it is that we
designated Thursday night as our “TV Night” every week. It was very nice to have both shows that we watch come on back to back on the same night. Smallville wrapped up after 10 years last season, Supernatural comes on Fridays now, and the new show that we watch, “The Secret Circle” comes on Thursday nights. At any rate, I discovered that I’m usually done with household stuff and writing by 9PM, so having the shows on separate nights doesn’t crimp my style at all. And, as I said, we can always make Friday our TV night with the advantage of DVR, although it’s not completely the same.
5. Free time in the afternoon on weekdays. Wow, I didn’t appreciate what a precious gift that was until I graduated from college and was in a full time job. It’s rare too, only enjoyed by those in school and retirees. That was truly a “don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”situation for me. I fully appreciate it on days off, vacations and even sick days now.
And come to think of it, I missed one with that person I talked to about my former job. It’s not just the friends I miss. I also miss those outstanding ham subs they made in the canteen on Tuesdays and Fridays. I’ve checked everywhere and I’ve found close, but not as good as that!
The point is that I believe it’s natural to miss things with the changing nature of life, and that’s ok. Life takes us through many paths and seasons and it adds to the richness of our experiences. But we also need to be mindful of where we are and enjoy the blessings that we have, because you never know when things will change – and sometimes, things change quickly and with little warning. So be grateful for those things that have blessed you, but don’t live in the past. They added to who you are so you can appreciate the present.
That’s all for today. Happy Friday to you, and I hope you have a great weekend.