Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Silly girl. Last time I was at the library I picked up Norman Mailer's Harlot's Ghost.

It's in hardback. On Lucy's topnotch scale, it weighs 4 pounds and change. How do you hold a book that weighs 4 pounds for any length of time?

Did the publisher pay the man by the gram?
Lyman's dad is back in Natchez tonight at the hospital. He was having chest pains today.

I'm not a doctor, but seems to me a decent night or two of uninterrupted sleep, and a quiet day or two might do wonders.

UPDATE: He is out of pain, and ate a sandwich this evening. He'll overnight in Natchez.
Lyman's Michael is so tacky. He has taken to calling Lucy "Gumball Gore."
Have you heard?

"The bird is the word."

While Charlie is a parrot, he is not un-original. I'm learning to dislike the usage of "to parrot" as a synonym for "to repeat."

He is running through his vocabulary this morning, and I hear

"The bird is a boy?"

Yes, dear, the bird is a boy and the bird is a girl. But Charlie is a boy, a good boy.
A couple of days after the pacemaker was installed, f-i-l showed great improvement.

The road to recovery leads through a small rehab hospital in Ferriday, just up the highway a piece, about 15 minutes. He arrived there yesterday evening after a grueling day of paperwork in Jackson. He needs time and physical therapy to grow stronger before he goes home.

Time to reset this kitchen for low-fat, no-salt cooking. Oh, yuck!

UPDATE: By the way, I'm ready to listen to all suggestions and hints regarding this type of cooking. We have the two recent American Heart Association cookbooks already.

Seems that I'm always climbing up a learning curve.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I met Baby Jessica when she visited the town of Lancaster, TX, in 1988(89?). Lo, now she is a married woman.

The years pass quickly, no?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Yikes, almighty. Lucy has laid another egg.

Now we need to look closely at her nutrition.

She weighed 470 (g) on the scale before laying. The egg weighed 18 grams.
Miss Sarah has both tagged and pinned me on guilty pleasures.

I'll start with the birds. While these are domesticated birds, in their home environments, they fly and do their business as the rest of their groups do. Lucy evidently wants to have a little one, and I am in her way.

We own a condo on the Gulf Coast that wasn't torn to hell and back during the past two years. Our snowbirds of the past five years are in and happy.

We eat well. While the women of Sierra Leone and Darfur cook well enough, people came and come along and cut off their hands.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Next phrase up for Charlie.

Friday, January 27, 2006

My generous friend, Peg Britton, who is no young chick herself, is having back surgery today.

A little thought here, and one there.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I often sing ridiculous little made-up ditties to the birds. One has a swing beat and goes something like:

We got the cutie (point at Charlie)
We got the beauty (point at Lucy)
We got the cutie and the beauty,
They're the sweetie-pie birds,
They're the best little birds
in the whole wide world,
They sing it high
And they snack it low,
The best little birds you want to know,
They're the birdies, the birdies, the birdies,

So, this morning Charlie is going through his vocabulary and I hear

the birdies, the birdies, the birdies

Nice to know someone in the house listens to me.
Lyman's dad seems to have dodged that bullet.

He had a first heart attack just after Christmas. He was resting and recovering at home, then took a sudden decline. Both his wife and daughter thought he would die this past Saturday.

Lyman and his son went to Jackson on Sunday night. He looked little better then. Michael told me he was preparing himself to accept the worst.

Then he began to steadily improve. Yesterday the doc installed a pacemaker. Lyman's dad did fine.

He is still in Jackson with a 24-hour attendant. Lyman's sister is in Jackson at a relative's house to be available if necessary.

UPDATE: Seems to have been a problem with medication combined with lack of fluid intake, and irregular heartbeat

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

After a talk with the Johnsons last night, I decided to leave the second egg in the cage.

Lucy didn't take any interest in it. She returned to her normal sleeping perch.

This morning the egg was broken.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Lucy had this one in the cage.

Poor lil' Charlie says, "What is this girl stuff?!"

He'll be one year old next month.
Oh, for goodness' sake. Lucy had another egg. (Eclectus usually lay in clutches of two.)

The Gore boys sent their mother home from Jackson for a night. We were talking on the phone, and Lucy laid as we spoke.

Lucinda Faberge Ladybird Belle Gore.

UPDATE: Lucy has always loved Lyman's mother, and it isn't just her gold jewelry. One of the few words she has said was "Grandma" a Christmas or two ago. Girl doesn't go by "Grandma." She goes by "Girl."

You don't have to be be superstitious to think she gave her a gift.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Steve H. at Hog On Ice keeps two birds, too. One's newest:
"Do you love me, bird toy?"

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Another picture for scale. That's a quarter.


$25 a gram.

But Lucy is priceless.
Oh, my gosh. Lucy laid an egg. 19 grams.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Kim, here is that soup recipe.


2 cans artichokes (not marinated), drained and coarsely chopped
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely minced onion
1 cup finely minced celery
2-3/4 cups chicken stock
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon each white, cayenne, and black pepper (may add more to taste)
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 gallon oysters, drained

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Melt 8 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan. Add onions and celery. Cook until tender but not browned. Add artichoke pieces and cook, stirring, until well mixed and hot.

Stir in stock, salt and peppers, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 1/3 butter in small saucepan. Add flour and cook, stirring continuously, until roux is smooth and golden. Add the roux to the simmering soup and simmer for 5 minutes longer.

Add oysters and simmer until the edges of the oysters just curl. Don't overcook! Remove from heat and gradually stir in the cream. Serve immediately. This is a favorite recipe at our house. Served with hot french or Italian bread and a salad, it makes a meal. We usually halve the recipe, to serve three generously. A few dashes of Tabasco can be added to make a spicier dish, or Tabasco can be served on the side.


Far as I'm concerned, Sweetie Boy, you can have them all.

Friday, January 20, 2006

We're losing them.

Big Daddy is on his way to Jackson tonight.

Young and brash, with the world ahead of them. They'd make it the way they wanted it, and they did.

My father-in-law married his lady love in July and was shipped (seasick) to World War II in September. They didn't see each other for three years.

What people.

Give a thought, a candle, a prayer. He harries the hell out of me, but I'm not ready to let him go.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

This bird is co-owned by the proprietor of sonicfrog blog. Isn't she the most extraordinary bird you've seen?

I found her in the comments to Ms. Althouse's post mentioned below.
So we get a note from some unit owners down at the condo complex that have their certificate of occupancy and had snowbirds in the unit when the contractor-installed kitchen cabinet fell off the wall.

It had been screwed directly into the drywall. Not studs.

UPDATE: Not to mention the owner's kitchen cabinets that were screwed into a sewer pipe rather than studs.

I should have gone to jail.
Results are in on the blood work. Everything is normal and hunky dory. Cholesterol numbers are very good.

Now on to an opthamologist.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Yesterday afternoon, I determined that this would be the morning that I would have my blood tested at the doctor's office. I am a morning coffee drinker.

Last night, I set the alarm for 7:40, crawled into bed with a book that I don't think I'll finish, and settled down to read, perchance to sleep.

I was due in the office a little after 8 a.m. I woke at 5, 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, 7 and 7:30.

It's bad enough to wake in the dark at 5 a.m. knowing that there is not a d**ned significant thing you can accomplish for hours. Worse when you can't nurse coffee while cursing the darkness and other sleepers in the house.

Extending the topic, all would be well if this house were laid out a little differently. For instance, if Lyman and the birds slept in an annex across the street, I could get some things done.

Not much house can be kept on tiptoe.

And did I tell you I fell out of my office chair (the one with the broken back) and gave myself a black eye? I'd rather say I mouthed off to Lyman. It would be less embarrassing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Francesca, I won't count you dear for this, but since you tagged, here goes for fours:

Four jobs I've had
1. Community newspaper advertising manager (short-lived, I'm no manager)
2. Community newspaper editor
3. Technical writer
4. Waitress

Four movies I could/would watch over and over again
1. Sean Connery Bond
2. Roger Moore Bond
That's four, yes?

Four books I could/would read over and over again
1. War and Peace
2. Don Quixote
3. Robert B. Parker (anything)
4. Grimm's Fairy Tales

Four places I've lived
1. Dallas, Texas
2. Portland, Oregon
3. New York, New York
4. Vidalia, Louisiana

Four TV shows I watch
1. Design on a Dime
2. Design Challenge
3. Iron Chef
4. Good Eats/Alton Brown

Four places I've been on vacation
1. People's Republic of China
2. Israel
3. Italy
4. Great Britain

Four favorite foods
1. Oysters on the half shell
2. Bacon
3. Spinach
4. Potatoes

Four places I'd like to be right now
1. You mean rather than at home?
2. Propped in bed with a book (where I'll be shortly)
3. Looking across a mountain range
4. Lunching in a desert

Four bloggers I'm tagging
1. Gary Farber
2. Anyone else who'd like to play
3. Ditto
4. Ditto
Ann Althouse posts about Ziggy the parrot's revelations of an affair in the house here.

And I agree with her. Chris is a jerk.

UPDATE: I think I'll take that back. Chris is 30. He acquired Ziggy when he was 22.

Unless Chris was in a family that owned birds, Ziggy probably came closer to owning him. So Ziggy might be a continuing problem with Chris finding a woman to share his life with.

So that's not so bad, so long as Ziggy found a stable home.

Again, be careful when choosing pets.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I have read two books that made an impression in the past months.

One is Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance.

Another is Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees.

When I grow up, I want to be August. Or Dina. Never mind.

UPDATE: I don't watch Oprah, and I don't think anyone is infallible (look at what she did to the Katrina coverage. Despicable). But she's usually smart, and these are part of a collection given me in a brown bag. I'm ready to pass them on. Where do they need to go?
I received a catalog called "Black Expressions" for a book club that features black authors.

I don't want to belong to another book club, and I don't want to fill this house with bookshelves, but I want to read some of these books.

Sister Betty! God's Calling You, Again! by Pat G'Orge-Walker
Sister Betty hasn't been the same since God called her on the phone back in 1984. Now it's her job to look out for the members of the Ain't Nobody Right But Us All Others Goin' to Hell Church and members like Connie Fuse, Ima Hellraiser and Carry Onn.
What a Sista Should Do by Tiffany L. Warren
Three church women stop frontin and tell it all! Yvonne must confront her womanizing minister husband, Taylor's trying to keep married baby's father a secret and Pam's fed up with her hubby's P. Diddy wannabee lifestyle. Through prayer and each other, these sistas better figure out what to do!
Skyscraper by Zane
While everything may seem cool on the surface at Wolfe Industries, the nation's first African-American automobile maker, underneath it all this cast of characters is teaming with betrayal, after-work affairs, scheming secretaries and lots more!
If you're local, I'll subscribe and donate the books to your organization.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

"Yes, Charlie is a sweetie bird."

"What do you think about Lucy?"


The kid has his head on straight.
Both birds had baths this afternoon.

Charlie is, today, a "sweetie boy."

He'll tell you so. One can hear it.

Handsome, too.

Lucy is as glamorous as always.

Friday, January 13, 2006

All right. My traffic is up and I don't like it.

If you are cruising for incestuous bestiality, get lost.

If you are cruising for genetic mutants, get lost. Unless you are a researcher.

It's "De-lurking" week. If you are curious, speak up and say so. It won't cost two-bits.
Charlie is getting a lot of attention lately since he has started to speak.

Lucy doesn't like that, so she tries to beat him up.

Thing is, Lucy can say about anything she pleases. She don't please to say much.

Charlie is breaking the code of silence.
Hmmm. It's our 12th anniversary and it's Friday the 13th.

I need to have a word with the woman who cleans this house. She has become downright slovenly lately and it's got to stop.

My well-being is at stake.
Something new in the animal world -- now we have the parrot stomp.

Charlie has taken to coming to the floor of the corner of the cage in the morning, and stomping the grating with his right foot until someone lets him out.

Lucy would just shout.
I watch little TV. (I make an effort to watch Monk.) I see few films. I read for entertainment.

Books don't hold me to a specific time or location.

Of the dozens of books I've read in the past months, Scratch by Troon McAllister was the most entertaining.

AcAllister sends up poker players, advertisers, marketeers, reporters, the FBI, terrorist hype, golfers, lawyers, and courtrooms and any other specimen he deigns to address.

What I know about golf wouldn't make a weak tea, and I don't play, but I do respond to satire. My housemates were a little disturbed to hear me laughing aloud to myself so often.

Eddie Caminetti is presently my favorite character in popular fiction. Who else is a moral hustler?

I've read The Green. Now I need to find The Foursome.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Now that everyone has been well-distracted, I'll talk about my visit to the doctor.

I don't know what the woman at the desk told her, but she walked in as if she knew nothing. She had me describe my history and talk about my well-being.

So now, at my discretion, I drop in any morning M-Th a few minutes after 8 am and have a full blood work-up and urinalysis. That's where we start.

It's not a big deal. We're just setting up surveillance.
Lucy has an unseemly attraction to Lyman's son, Michael. It's not as bad as Eclectus males humping people's wristwatches, but she goes into sexual flutters around him at times.

Now, we run a fairly liberal household here. While their grandparents might flip, if either of these boys took up with an African-American woman or Latina or other, she would be welcome in this house. I would need to change the color palette for Christmas stocking items, perhaps, or allow myself to consider more exotic perfumes. (Dark women can wear them with more style.)

If either of the boys came out as gay, the same would apply.

But Lucy, honey, incestuous bestiality is off the chart. Sorry, baby.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Charlie is working on a phrase today. I can't quite make out what the adjective is but "boy" is clear.

We tell him frequently that he is a "good boy" and a "sweet boy", and "silly boy." Lyman calls him "Charlie Boy" often. "Cutie boy," we use. But he seems to be saying "stinky boy." He's been called that, too, but not often.

Best to stay positive, you know.

Monday, January 09, 2006

No, no and no! I won't feel guilty!

The weather here has been beautiful -- warm, sunny and breezy April conditions -- for more than a week. Perfect for yard work, or washing windows.

But I don't do those things in January. And I won't. No.


I tease Charlie a lot, but he is becoming a handsome animal. Look at those lines.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Living with Charlie is something like having a big, fat grey canary with the television tuned to the Three Stooges all the time. On multiple sets.

Lucy is beautiful and dignified. Charlie is a maniac. A fine little boy.

Friday, January 06, 2006

I was wandering around and found this post at Zonitics.

Pertinent passage:
I remember watching my mom type her dissertation on a manual typewriter, occasionally sticking in a piece of correction ribbon and typing over a mistake she had just made. After a couple of years' worth of work on her thesis, I came home one day and found her crying. I said, "What's wrong?" She said, "I just finished typing the last page of my dissertation. It's 225 pages." I asked, "What's wrong with that?" She sobbed, "It's only allowed to be 200..."
What is this idiot phenomenon on my hit counter? Something at bellsouth.net is pinging away.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Lucy weighs 440 grams.

Charlie weighs 502 grams.

UPDATE: Lucy's about two miniature Hershey bars (or seven pennies) over fighting weight, according to Craig Johnson's description of Eclectus.

What's the proper weight for a male Congo, Craig?
We're trying Ally's Green Chili today.

UPDATE: Very tasty and easy to make. It takes some time to simmer. It's a keeper. Thanks, Ally!
But in my questions of what I am, I haven't forgotten that I am a graduate of journalism school.

Looking at Tim Blair today, I see that Anderson Cooper has been on the job talking again of things he knows nothing about.

I didn't see any of the coverage of the Sago mine disaster, so I shouldn't speak out of turn.

I do know that under similar conditions in other mines, there were no survivors, so skepticism should have been the order of the day. Lethal gases tend to kill people and other living things. The locals were discreet.

God bless those families.
I do know there are a lot of I's in this blog. But usually they are pointers to something seen or heard elsewhere. Merely an introduction to another topic.

But now I need to talk about me. My two diagnoses in the 60's and 70's yielded no information about what I should do.

I've never known I was at risk. I thought I had my small defects, and that was what it was, and it was over. I forgot that I am a genetic mutant. A little odd, but that was that.

But things fall into place. I've never told a doctor I had Fong's disease, so I've always been given antibiotics for protein in my urine.

When I had surgery for the hernia, my surgeon said my connective tissue was weak.

So now I think I should get a urine test, and analysis, and look after myself in a way I haven't before.

I know who I am. But I'm not quite sure what I am.

UPDATE: I've set up a consultation with my GP for next Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ahem. I went to the University of Texas at Austin in the summer of 1977 (76?). A good many of my friends graduated from there.

National Champions.

::snicker:: USC ::snicker::
We've been thinking about purchasing an accurate gram scale since we acquired Lucy. Changes in weight are indicators for sickness in birds.

I also do some baking which might benefit from accurate weights.

So when Chef Tony sent me a link to this scale a few months ago, I kept the e-mail on file.

Lucy's turn of events this Christmas convinced us to buy now. So now we're waiting for delivery. Most bird scales we've seen run nearer $100, and weren't adaptable to other purposes. This one is both cheaper and dual purpose.

Ain't Chef Tony cool?

Monday, January 02, 2006

There's a spike in my traffic, and it's about Lucy.

She's fine. Chipper as a lark. And snotty.

Lucy is always well when she's snotty.
I recently noticed some changes in the nailbed of my right index finger. So I went online and found more information on Nail-Patella Syndrome, the genetic disorder I was diagnosed with as a child.

The doctor at that time (I was five or six, 1962-3) called it "Fong's Disease." A doctor when I was 21 (1978) called it "Patella Syndrome." Most sources refer to it as Nail-Patella Syndrome, or NPS. I've never before seen much information on it.

The current number for distribution is 1 in 50,000, so it's not particularly rare, though I've never met anyone else with it. Carriers have a 50% chance of passing it on to children. About 20% of us have spontaneous mutation in gene LMX1B. Neither of my parents had the syndrome, and had no memory of relatives showing symptoms, but they might not have known what to look for. None of my six siblings show signs, nor any of their children, so I tend to believe I'm in the spontaneous or "sporadic" group.

Some families have carried the mutation for generations and just saw the symptoms as family traits.

Symptoms vary widely in the affected population. My presentation has been very mild, with only the very odd thumbnails, thin flat index fingernails, and square knees, with somewhat thin calves. I have spurs on my pelvic bone called "iliac horns." There were some kidney problems as a small child. I've never experienced any disability, though I've never considered marathon running. Or wearing miniskirts. Kneebends are not my favorite exercise.

But it looks like that index fingernail is going the way of my thumbnails, and some of my toenails are showing some slight changes, too. All cosmetic, and nothing to worry about. I never planned to be a hand or foot model. But I mistakenly thought this was a "one-off" deal with all the damage done by time of birth. Not so.

There are real problems that can come up. Glaucoma turns up in a lot of us, and renal disease can be a problem, to the point of needing dialysis or kidney transplant. Arthritis might become a problem. These things I didn't know until last night, and will require more attention in the future.

I even found a woman's homepage with a forum to discuss NPS. And some people have serious things to discuss, as in lack of extension in their arms, displaced hips, clubbed feet, missing or malformed ligaments and tendons. Many had extensive corrective surgery or bracing as babies and children to correct twisted limbs. Many have had various knee and elbow surgeries, and a few have had kidney transplants at relatively young ages.

So now you know what I know. I didn't know there were so many of us or how debilitating it could be.

What about that Internet?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Egads, what a mess!

Charlie tried his first pomegranate yesterday. He likes them.