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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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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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Please change your mind…

I was incredibly saddened today to see the stark message on Third Mom’s webpage.  http://thirdmom.blogspot.com/
I have read her blog on a regular basis for many years.  In fact it was one of the first blogs I ever read and placed in my favorites.  Her grace, dignity, wisdom helped me in ways she will never know and now because of the saga that happened over Mothers Day weekend, it appears she has had enough of the anger and hate. 
Please take the time to heal but don’t leave us forever.  This note is from a faithful follower…saddened by the pain you must be feeling.
Please find peace Margie…
 
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Posted by on May 13, 2010 in Ethics, Uncategorized

 

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White lilacs…

One of my favorite flowers of all time.  The sweet, spicy smell drifting through the house brings with it a feeling of joy that spring has arrived.  That the days of rain and dreary days are almost over and summer is just around the corner.  Lilacs make me happy. 

White Lilacs

I don’t know why people don’t plant them very much anymore.  Is it because you don’t get instant gratification the first year or even the next couple of years?  When I plant a new lilac I eagerly await the next spring wondering if I will get a bloom or maybe two.  The following year I watch again in anticipation to see how many, and the following year, and then finally comes the spring when your new lilac is covered with blooms, heavenly blooms that smell divine.   For me this is that spring for my new white lilac.  
 
There is nothing better than driving down a street with the windows down and breathing in the fragrance of many lilacs in bloom.  To find that amazing experience you have to find a street where homes were built years ago, when lilacs were the rage and everyone had at least one if not many.   

Warm sunny days when lilacs are in bloom are the best days each year.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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