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Meanwhile in my backyard…

By TAO

On Saturday, I was standing in front of the kitchen sink doing dishes when a fluffy chickadee landed on the railing.  Her little wings were quivering noticeably, and I worried that perhaps she had crashed into a window and hurt herself, so I watched – dishes forgotten.  She didn’t move but kept darting her head back and forth tweeting – you feel so helpless because what can you really do?  A minute or so passed, and another chickadee landed a ways down from the little one in distress, this one smaller, and leaner than the fluffy one crying, suddenly the smaller one swooped over and the distressed fluffy one expectantly opened her mouth, and the smaller one popped a small worm or bug in fluffy’s mouth.  Mystery solved – fluffy one was just a baby learning how to fly!  Having fed her little one a tidbit, and reassured her – mom flew away, and within a minute, so did fluffy way up onto one of the protective branches of the very tall spruce tree in the backyard. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Bird baths aren’t used just for baths…

Stellar Jay landing on the railing with bird bath to the right

Seeing a bird bath brings back warm memories of watching the birds play in the one outside the kitchen window as a child.  It seemed like there were always a couple of birds dunking themselves and the flapping their wings sending sprays of water everywhere, repeating it time after time – until they flew away to a branch where they would finish their grooming.

Once I had my own home, I always intended to get a bird bath, one just the right height so that the cats could not just grab a bird off the rim.  I never got one for the old place and now I feel bad about that, because I didn’t understand why bird baths are important.

Fast forward to my new home and on the list again was a bird bath.  Several years ago I did find just the right one that attached to the deck railing by a clamp, and in reality, is just a circular band that holds a shallow plastic saucer that is about 1-2 inches deep – so that is easy to lift off and clean.  I had to have it!

Bird Bath view from kitchen window

That bird bath is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  At first I was kind of disappointed because it didn’t seem that many were entertaining me by playing in the water but then I realized – this bird bath is perhaps the only source of clean drinking water for the birds in my area.

Perhaps the only source of water close by for the birds when the hot weather happens.  That realization made me feel incredibly shallow, I never thought about birds needing to drink to survive, just like any other species.  I felt bad, and then worse, when I started trying to figure out exactly where birds in the city could find clean drinking water.  Sure, there are some creeks, and even a river, but there are none close to where I live.  They would have to drink out of the muddy puddles on the side of the road – which also disappear when the sun comes out.  I provided food, but nowhere to drink.  It makes sense now, why dad had the bird bath next to the bird feeder, and every time he watered, he washed out the bird bath and filled it back up.

Last night while doing the dishes I watched three Stellar Jays (like the bird in first picture) sitting together on the rim drinking water – dipping their beaks down into the water – tipping their heads way back and gulping down the clean fresh cool water.  Later I watched several Chickadees stop by and take several sips and fly away – including my little one with only one leg.  Then a couple of Crows stopped by and finally a Squirrel come over to get a drink.  I see all the birds in my garden except the humming birds use the bird bath to drink from every day – starting with the large Norther Flicker Wood Peckers down to the tiny, little, Bush T*ts, and perhaps the hummingbirds do too, and I just miss seeing them.

Have you ever asked yourself where the birds in your neighborhood find water to drink?

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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What is written vs. What is heard…

I find it an ongoing annoyance that what I write is not what people hear and am hoping to find a way to write in a way that will be heard – because including thoughts on my adoption/parents or not does not seem to make a difference.  I am also sure Shadow feels the same and perhaps why she has been so quiet lately.  A recent example is a post that has received hits since another blog linked to Shadow’s post on that same subject – fundraising

The first eight paragraphs of my post are about mom and dad – highlighting the fact that I hold them up as the caliber or standard of parents everyone else needs to strive to come close to…which I stand behind, but I get tired of needing to continually speak about, as I have lived more decades as an adult outside of the family home – than I did as a child – and it does not seem to make any difference.

The last of the first eight paragraphs states this: My parents had far more respect for us than to do anything like that.  We weren’t “charity cases” to be pitied and money given to help save us.  We weren’t adopted to be converted and save our souls.  We were respected as human beings who simply needed a home, and would not have subjected us to any of that.

Then I discuss my view of how “fundraising to save the orphan or charity case” (not the earning of extra money without bringing the adoptee into it) – that fundraising can be hurtful for the adoptee and I shows ways it can be.  This is the type of comment that tells me that what I write is not being heard.

From Rob: “I hope that you are able to get the help you need to help you be more at peace with your situation and that of your friends.”

I approved the comment but I am unclear how speaking out as an adult adoptee deems me as needing help because I voiced my opinion on “fundraising to save the orphan“.  That instead of going along with the status quo if it is too expensive – demand reform and if that reform results in less adoptees created then that is good because really who wants more adoptees created.

Is there any acceptable way for an adoptee to challenge current practices, or must we all simply roll-over and play the grateful adoptee to the saints who saved us?  Sometimes I think that is the preferred (or only) way for the adoptee to speak and that the more adoptees created – the better some would like it…and that saddens me deeply.

Somewhat off topic – it seems to be a requirement for an adoptee to speak about her parents (which I am happy to do), but yet I never seem to hear [adoptive] parents qualifying that they had great parents or speaking about them at all – before talking about something that might challenge the status quo in adoption – ask yourself why when we are the ones who actually lived it and are as old or older than you are…

***** 

On a completely different note – an update about my little amputee chickadee I talked about here – I didn’t see her for weeks and thought perhaps she didn’t make it, but then I saw her a couple of weeks ago and she’s still kicking and fighting to survive and just came for her first peanut of the day.  Life is good in my backyard!

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, Ethics

 

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Tali Sharot: The optimistic bias

From the TED webpage: “Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side — and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial.

Tali Sharot studies why our brains are biased toward optimism.”

“Whatever happens, whether you succeed or you fail, people with high expectations always feel better, because how we feel — when we get dumped or we win employee of the month — depends on how we interpret that event.” (Tali Sharot)

***

This morning as I sipped my coffee and looked out my kitchen window – I saw the following.  A grey squirrel having breakfast at the bird feeder happily munching on sunflower seeds looking right at me.  Songbirds perched in the magnolia tree waiting their turn at the feeder.  A hummingbird flitting amongst the potted annuals on the deck sipping sweet nectar from the blooms.  Then I looked down to the garden with the spring bulbs and perennials blooming, over to the white lilacs in full bloom, the best showing yet on this fairly young bush.  Then back to the middle where the leafs are budding out on the grapevine dad started for me from a slip off his favorite grapevine.  The same grapevine that I had at the old place, planted so many years ago, and after we moved my partner went back and dug up for me in the dead of winter because it was from dad, and somehow it survived that to grow and thrive here too.  That is my morning ritual and makes me happy.

The other day during my morning ritual, I was thinking about how optimistic I really am and how so many different parts of my life were all based on optimism – then I found the Ted Talk above.  If I wasn’t optimistic, I would not be talking today (literally and figuratively).  I believe change can happen, if enough people start talking about things that need changing.  That we can grow and evolve and remove our wants and desires when exploring a tough topic, and look at the reality of all facets of something and brainstorm, educate, and make it better for all – and that is what I want for adoption. 

Yet I am also a realist, because of the hard knocks I have experienced that taught me that I too, was vulnerable to bad things, and that also ensured I grew as a human being.  While I have a long way to go, I matured and gained the gift of empathy and the skills to assess the risks and ways protect me, if something happened.  At work one of my responsibilities was risk management and to review contracts from a compliance aspect, and note where we could, or could not comply, or when I felt the risk was to high for the company to take, and what changes needed to be negotiated.  I loved that part of my job – it made me think and assess our strengths and weaknesses, implement safeguards by processes yet not limiting productivity, and still made us stronger. 

Looking back it seems I have always instinctively wanted to trust everyone and believe their intentions are good, but I also assess them, to see if I truly can trust them, and they have to show by their actions that they deserve the trust I have in them. If they betray that trust – it is never the same again as unconsciously, I wait for them to do it again, know they will do it again.  I expect that is the adoption side coming out, and that too is part of me and has always been a part of me, the realistic side that things don’t always work out the way you want them to.

When I was starting to get sick and then the time spent in the hospital and recovery, the thought that I could die never entered my consciousness.  At the same time my realistic side kicked in and ensured when I was able, I got my house in order, that my living will was written, that my will was updated, that despite my optimism, I understood the reality was – that things might not work out if there was a next time.  That last part is also a blessing because you make sure each day counts, and the people you love, know you love them.  That you live the rest of your life with no regrets.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Adoption

 

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Backyard update…

Last week big puppy and little puppy kept snooping around the shed in the corner of the yard and wanting to go outside all the time…like every half hour…I finally figured out why on Thursday as I stood on the porch waiting for little puppy to come in from over in the corner where the old shed sits…luckily little puppy chose to actually obey my frantic scream for her to come…

A VERY BIG RACCOON was looking down from the open loft area of the shed in the corner.  After little puppy complied and was safely inside the VERY BIG RACCOON with a very concerned expression on her face slowly climbed down to the ground and then climbed back up and sat in the opening – eyeing me and then looking down – then back at me and down again.  Finally, I realized what the concerned look was all about and why the puppies were so curious as TWO BABY RACCOONS slowly inched their way up the wall to MAMA RACCOON…

For the next couple of days both puppies went outside attached to a rope and they were not impressed to say the least because they could not reach the shed in the corner.  Not sure if the Raccoon Family are still in the loft above the shed or found a safer temporary place as they have lived in the loft off and on for years – I think it was just really bad timing and that it may have been the babies first foray out of the nest.  I can imagine learning to climb would be really scary especially with both big and little puppies watching and Mama glaring down.

I just kept imagining if Mama Raccoon had taken on one of the puppies…animals should know better than mess with Mama’s…

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Who ever thought…

I love all the birds that come to backyard and feed at the feeders or take a peanut or two…all birds are welcome here.  At least that was my motto – crows and ravens, bush tits and hummingbirds, black cap and mountain chickadees, sparrows and finches, stellar jays, downy woodpeckers, northern flickers and even the big classic woody woodpecker too…until today.

Early in the spring I found the perfect bird bath, simple just a ring of hammered aluminum with a screwtype clamp that allows me to attach it to my railing, with a plastic saucer insert just the right depth PLUS safe from cats on the prey.  Perfect, it works like a charm attached to the railing outside my kitchen window.  The birds appear to love it and its easy to keep clean…

Today is garbage day pickup…I went out this morning to check the bird bath and found bits of pork chop bones soaking in water.  Not a big deal I took it inside to wash and looking out the window a crow is staring inside perched on the ring.  I refilled the bath and put it back and then watched as birds came, drank and went, squirrels came, drank and went…just perfect.  I just went out to check and other bits and pieces of who knows what had been left to ? wash ? soak ? can there be such a thing as a picky crow?

Life in my backyard world…right now I know its safe because big puppy is sunning himself on the porch…

Big puppy is inside and guess what…the crow is back and seriously he has food and is washing each piece before he eats it…OCD?

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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My backyard world…

Edited to fix and add… 

The last couple of days I have sat quietly outside trying to get pictures of the older baby Stellar Jays but they are proving elusive and stay in the shadows just far enough away to not get the great shots in the full light of day, those pictures that would really show off their beautiful hues of blue in their feathers and the downy fluff they have yet to lose. 

The baby Stellar Jays each have a way of showing who they are…

Picky who tests each peanut until the perfect one is found.  She picks one up and puts it down and then another and another as if to say ‘no – not this one’, ‘maybe this one’, ‘no -that one’, ‘this one’, ‘that one’ until finally she finds ‘the one’… 

Gangly seldom lands on the railing with grace but rather skids to a stop toppling peanuts one by one or crashing into another baby Stellar Jay.  Gangly also seems to have issues with take offs by the way…I hope one day he truly finds his wings.  

Selfish chases the others away and first finds a small peanut and then a larger one too, before he flies away. 

Grumpy flies in screaming at all the others as if to say ‘go away’ ‘go away’ and stalks back and forth with his feathers all fluffed, pacing back and forth pecking at those who dare to stay. 

Silent tries so hard to lend her voice but from inside my kitchen I hear nothing, only see her try repeatedly to sing, opening and shutting her beak, I wonder what she is trying to say.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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