5 x 5 : Day Four : I Spy With My Little Eye


People often ask if Dodger knows what he’s saying when he speaks English. Though he doesn’t always use language exactly as we would, we believe that he does sometimes mean what he says. Like today.

He made it clear by saying, “Want some water?” and bobbing in the direction of the tub that he bathes in that he wanted a bath. He likes to dip into a beer mug full of water. Can’t say why he won’t bathe in the whole big tub!

When the water got down a few inches, as in the photo, he said, “Water?” or “Want some water?”  I refilled it for him.

After repeating this for maybe fifteen minutes, he was done. No, he didn’t say, “You done?” which he does say when he is finished with his breakfast. He said, “Wanna cuddle?” Because usually he’s chilled and he wants to sit on a finger till his feet warm up.

I’m just sayin’.


Figured out my summer coffee fix today. Buy a tall blonde with a splash of soy milk and ask the barrista to fill my reusable cup up with ice. Pour the hot coffee over the ice, and viola! Iced coffee that’s not too strong. I can’t take the cold-brew they serve (and charge more for.)


The guest bathroom is starting to come together. I took a paint chip with me shopping and found this cool Indian print shower curtain, and some pumpkin colored towels. It’s starting to come together as warm and spicy. (Interesting since the wall color was a color match to the Bayeux Tapestry segment reproduction that hangs over the fire place.)


I love this bag. I get a lot of compliments on it. People think it’s some designer bag–“Is that an XXX?”–when in fact the image is from a series of tween books called Emily the Strange.

The only problem with it is that every once in a while the shoulder strap clip comes loose while it’s on my shoulder and the bag falls. Yesterday it did it again, and freakishly, the clip flipped up and hit me in my right eye.

The body is an amazing thing. I saw the silver clip right before it hit, but my lid closed in time. It feels bruised, but there’s not even a lot of bloodshot-ness.


Thank you, eyelid. I am so grateful that I can still spy with my little eye!

p.s. On Hydra’s recommendation, I wrapped tiny strips of silver duct tape around the clips so they won’t attack again. Yay, Hydra!



I try not to post a lot of pet bird photos on my blog, but I thought these were kind of photographically interesting.  The Artful Dodgers is a real sweetheart most of the time, and in this shot I had him on his back on a chair with the light coming in from the library window.


He was pretty patient with me for a few shots.  Then he was ready to be picked up again.

Happy Hatchday to You!

Yep, eighteen years ago today this little guy pecked his way out of a shell down in Lakewood, CA.  We first laid eyes on him when he was about 2 weeks old.  We brought him home at 12 weeks and it’s been a learning experience ever since.  Parrots are not simple pets.  They’re smart and they need affection and stimulation.

I took him to work with me, where I showered him with pistachios, almonds, and peanuts during the day.  We shared home made vegetable soup for lunch.  He mostly picked out the corn from his own dish, which is his favorite.  If he tells you that you are “So corn,” you have been complimented indeed.

Late in the day, I read him all his birthday wishes from Facebook.   He laughed and bobbed.

We had an appointment at The Perfect Parrot after work, for grooming and to pick out some toys.   He wouldn’t be able to be out looking at the toys in most pet shops.

As you can see, parrot grooming is not exactly a spa day for the little guy.  He doesn’t enjoy this, but having them use a Dremel tool to whittle down his nails is better for him than use using toenail clippers at home.  There’s a chance of splitting with clippers, I guess, though we did it that way for the first 18 years without incident.

He also had his long flight feathers trimmed back.  This way he can fly down and across the room but not so much up.  Up gets ugly pretty fast, because the highest bird is the alpha bird.  Getting him to come down from up can be stressful and painful…for us.  No matter what good pals we are, we need to be the alphas in this relationship.  That beak could get him in a lot of trouble.

The good folks at The Perfect Parrot also buffed up his beak and put some lovely lotion on it.

We also made the rather momentous decision to have Dodger’s ID band removed.  The Perfect Parrot folks kind of convinced me that he’d be happier without it.

This is a closed band, which means they slipped it over Dodger’s foot when his foot was small enough to do that.  Which proves that he was hatched in the U.S., not wild caught in Africa.  There’s a big enough breeding population of parrots in the U.S., so they don’t need to be wild caught any more.  Dodger’s parents were wild caught…so you know these are not really domesticated creatures.

The pro of keeping the band on is that it makes him identifiable should he be lost or stolen.  The coding on the band identifies his breeder and the month/year he was hatched.

The con of keeping the band is the slight chance that it could get hooked on something and he could break a leg.  Very rare occurrence, but still.  Also the whole thing of having something on his leg always, like a tiny shackle, has never been appealing.

If he were stolen, it’s a simple thing to remove the band.  If he were lost and we were trying to identify him, I think him calling out our names would probably be a clue.  Every time I got a few feet from him at the bird shop, he called out, “Sundry?  Sundry?”

OneL was worried that he’d miss his little bit of bling.   But he’s really an adaptable boy.   Jens and Weens think I should make an ear cuff or other jewelry out of the old band.  But we’re going to file it in the filing cabinet, just in case the parrot police come knocking some day.

Dodger cools off in the middle of The Perfect Parrot, post grooming.   They are so great about making sure the bird is stressed as little as possible.

He helped pick out some hanging toys and some foot toys, and we bought a perch that attaches to a window or shower door with suction cups.   We had a nice calm drive home, where he was happy to sit on his submarine while we arranged dinner and started some laundry.  He was one sleepy parrot after his big day.

Today’s photos were taken with my cell phone.  Sigh.


Embirded.  If you share your home with birds, you may have found yourself embirded.  It’s a term Hydra and I use to describe the condition of becoming aware that there is a bird on your hand when you don’t know how he got there, especially when you thought you just put him on his play set and told him rather sternly to “Stay.”

Yesterday morning as I worked at home, I was thinking how nice it was to have Dodger dozing on my knee.  And how things like this will keep me going to yoga for the rest of my life so I can continue to bend my knee like this.

Of course, getting out the camera woke Dodger up.  He is helping.

The crows around my office in Toluca Lake are in their nesting phase right now.  It’s pretty amazing to hear and see them swooping around early in the morning.   Around 7:30 a couple of them came by to try and wrest these seemingly dead branches from the top of the tree outside my window.

Bounce and twist as much as they did, they weren’t able to break these off.  This guy stopped and caw-caw-cawed into the air before giving up and taking off.  That’s my kind of coffee break.

Dodger’s Yellow Submarine

Hydra’s been designing this playset for Dodger in his head and on paper for a couple of weeks.  Isn’t it COOL!?

We have this problem with Dodger climbing down the front of the kitchen cabinets.  He opens all the drawers.  He’ll squeeze into the silverware drawer, or sit on the edge of the lid drawer and toss lids onto the floor.   He has also chewed on the drawers, which is not okay.  Tough beak.

Hydra spent a lot of time yesterday and today putting this together!  It has small doors with handles on three sides, and ladders, and perches on top!   Heck  I want to play with it!

This is the real genius that comes from living with a parrot for almost 18 years… One whole side opens up for cleaning.  Or for parrot extraction, should he be reluctant to rejoin the real world.


I was ready to click the video button and get a shot of Dodger climbing onto his marvelous toy for the first time.   Ha!  He’s pretty cautious about new stuff.  Especially big new stuff.

Let’s look at it from over here for  a while.


Dodger selects another vantage point.  In spite of spiking the deal with pistachios and peanuts on the upper deck, he is not ready to go aboard.  But he’s really excited about it.  His head is blurry in this shot because he is bobbing it up and down.  Very cute and a sure indication that he’s interested.


Yay, Hydra!   Really impressed with this!!   When I was looking through the photos to put them online, Dodger saw this one and said, “Wowww!” so I had to include it.  The back with the door shut.

Huntington Gardens Con Camera

Kitty and I met up with Antipasta in South Pasadena to indulge in the Signature Package at Happy Feet Massage.  What is this, you ask?  It’s 40 minutes reflexology + 30 minutes of acupressure or neck & shoulder massage for $40.00.  Really a great deal.

I didn’t take any photos of the place.  You can see them on the Happy Feet website.   It looks more posh online than it seems in person, but it’s very clean and comfortable.

This guy has nothing to do with Happy Feet.  He lives in the Huntington Gardens.  Antipasta took us there and got us in on her membership.   Sweet!

As you may (or may not) recall, last time I was here I had my camera, but no media card.  This time I came armed and ready!

We were greeted by a small flock of parrots. Pretty nice digs for these little guys.

One of the many amazing examples of desert flora.   I really think the Huntington’s desert area is the best of the (admittedly few) desert gardens I’ve seen.   Creatively laid out and well marked.


I love the way the water rings move around these female mallards.  The male is on the shore of this little pond, dozing and keeping an eye on them.

I didn’t take note of the type of tree this fell from.   It was quite large and it was hard to find the blossoms amongst the leaves on the tree.  But the flowers stood out on the bed of dry leaves below the spreading branches and made us look for their origin.

Even after picking this one up and examining it closely, I thought at first that it was a faux flower that had dropped off someone’s lei or something.  Very paper-like petals.


Oh, okay!  Here’s what the blossoms looked like on the ground.  I dropped my model back next to the path, so someone else could make the discovery.

The end of a bench in the rose garden where we paused.  It was easy to imagine Arabella Huntington sitting here looking back toward her massive home.


Just another of the gorgeous old trees on the grounds.  There are a lot of benches scattered around.  Very inviting.  And you don’t have to stay off the grass!

We didn’t go into the Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science on our last visit.  We only stayed in this muggy environment for a few minutes.  Whew.  They’re working on orchids, etc., in here.  It actually felt cool outside when we emerged into the 90 degree afternoon.


Goofing around with shadows.

Following your nose around  Huntington Gardens might inspire any of us to play a little.