[Do whatever it is] everyday

Good morning, world. I love morning, as long as dawn is breaking. Every morning is a clean slate.

I’ve been thinking about my efforts recently to blog regularly, which reinforces to me my own voice as I deal with various struggles but it also attests to the power of habit.

Exercise: same thing. It doesn’t matter how ‘hard’ you exercise in the beginning because the true goal is to incorporate the habit as an automatic part of your life.

Same for artists that paint everyday. Same for meditation.

Life is about discipline as much as it is about improvement and skill.

That constitutes my philosophy for the day.

Update on Nala

I originally would wake Nala shortly before 6 a.m. when I turned on my pink bedroom light and started getting ready for work. I would bring her downstairs while I fed the cats and made coffee.

As a working bird mama, I wanted her to have time with me.

But since she refuses to close her eyes at night unless I am in the room, I want her to sleep in. So I’ve been creeping out of my room in the dark every morning and returning when it’s time to clean cages and feed birds.

So far this appears to be good for both of us.

Stress

I’m exhausted.

Obviously stress is in the air today. Nala ate through her perch in her cage. She has two, but only one runs the whole length of the cage and she ate the end off it.

She played with a bunch of her toys, so I don’t know whether to chalk it up to boredom, anxiety or rambunctiousness. But she’s been here about 16 days and she ate her perch.

I guess I need to find her some more toys. Although she does have a bunch.

She seems to be talking more and dancing more. Her favorite song is Angelina by Harry Belafonte.

Today I went through some medical bills, tax paperwork, a school fundraiser and some band trip stuff with my soon-to-be ex-husband. We all had dinner together. He brought a pizza.

Then I finished my chores. Laundry. Bird cages. Some vacuuming. The roomba would not go to home base. After an hour and with the battery almost dead I discovered why… the roomba had unplugged its own base while vacuuming.

And to make my day a little more demoralizing, I tripped over my own two feet walking between buildings at work. The administration offices and the literacy center are a block apart. And I just fell. I was hungry, probably worn thin from too much stress.

Someone across the street saw me, and yelled to see if I was alright. She was walking a very large dog. I got up and said I was fine. Barely even scraped my hands.

“Darn ice,” she said.

There was no ice. Just me and my faulty legs.

Sometimes I feel so healthy and strong.

Some days I feel so broken.

That is what it feels like to have cerebral palsy. Sometimes your body works, sometimes it doesn’t.

State of the menagerie

Author’s note: this post was originally posted last week but somehow got unpublished and republished in the wrong order.

Let’s start with the kitten…

Mistofelees is still on our sun porch. The teenager has her room 100% clean and ready to accept the new member of the household though she and the teen have not worked out an agreement for when she will sign her lease.

The two have been playing, footage of which can be seen here: Playing Kitten

Some of our other neighbors are feeding her braver siblings and hope to catch them because they know of a potential home.

And then there is Naughty Nala. She was mad at me from the time I got home from work yesterday until I came home today. Refusing to step up, refusing to come out of her cage, biting me if I went near.

But today she seemed to forgive me for going to work. She stepped up beautifully and snuggled like a sweetheart chattering away.

She stood on the dishwasher while I made dinner and while we ate. To reward her, we fed her sweet potato fries which she loved. Video here: Nala is a Sweet Potato Girl (that’s a pun, referring to Tori Amos’ Cornflake Girl.)

If you don’t know the song, let me take you back to my college days: Cornflake Girl

It must be January

The gym is really crowded.

The teenager asked to go to the gym and I didn’t want to go but I went. All I did was 10 minutes on the bike. But I came and that is something.

That’s enough for me right now.

As a parent, I told the teenager I would never say no if she wanted to drag me to the gym.

My yellow budgie, Peek-a-Boo (whom we nicknamed Boo-Boo), had an episode of night fright last night and woke me up at 4:30. I had gone to bed shortly after nine, so I had trouble falling back to sleep.

I ended up doing some writing for work. When the house is still and your mind is fresh, it’s amazing how easily ideas flow. Even if it is 5 a.m.

I packed my yogurt, fruit and granola parfait for lunch, substituting some chocolate Fontina brand Christmas cookies for breakfast. Lunch didn’t happen until 1:45 so that didn’t help my fatigue.

NALA

But I got some amusing text messages when my daughter got home from school. I had set Nala up with her new toys, fresh fruit and romaine and Hulu set to hours of Sesame Street.

My daughter went to check on her, which says a lot about how far their bond has come as a week ago my teenager was afraid of Nala and vice versa.

Today I got a text that the teenager planned on offering Nala tea. This photo followed:

And it looks like Nala did not pluck today. Now Nala was also glad to see me when I got home, though we had a disagreement about where Nala was going to sit while I ate dinner.

I think Nala thought my plate was her plate. So I ended up with a pretty pointed beak stab in the middle of my middle finger.

DINNER

The teenager says she’d like to lean toward vegetarianism. So we’ve reduced the amount of meat we buy.

Last night’s dinner was homemade mozzarella that my neighbor received as a Christmas gift, spinach, a Pillsbury flaky buttermilk biscuit, two poached eggs and imitation bacon bits.

Tonight’s dinner was “Greek Night.” I made that up. It’s a mess of stuff from the cupboards. But it doesn’t qualify as vegetarian, only pescatarian.

I made a green salad of chopped romaine lettuce, two kinds of olives, the mozzarella again, and avocado. I added two prepared Greek Salads from Lidl: one a giant white bean salad and the second a tomato-based lentil salad. I also served “calamari fries” from Lidl, which are basically thick chunks of potato somehow mixed with calamari.

The teenager had her salad with light ranch dressing. I had mine with a Whole 30 approved balsamic vinaigrette. I made a salad for lunch tomorrow (but didn’t include the calamari). That’s the featured photo for this entry.

Well, now for the amazing part of this entry.

BEDTIME

Last night I tried to put Nala to bed at 6:30 and sit downstairs so she could sleep. Just like a baby, she screamed for Mommy. I returned to my room, and watched TV on my iPad in the dark just load enough so she knew I was here.

Tonight I put her to bed at 6:30, left my pink night light on, covered her and went to the gym.

When I came back an hour later, she didn’t even rustle. I’m tiptoeing around my room as not to wake her.

Goodnight, Nala.

Nala shenanigans and meal planning

For those who enjoy Nala’s shenanigans… She insisted on trying to steal my coffee. See her here: Coffee thief.

And we do still have the cats. Including big, dumb Oz.

Periodically I put her back in my room, but she kept calling me due to her fear of the budgies. So Nala watched me unload & reload the dishwasher, have breakfast and make extra parfaits, do two loads of wash, hang wash, let the roomba vacuum the kitchen and then I washed the kitchen floor.

As for meals this week, the menu includes:

  • A nice chunk of ham I got at the grocery outlet for $1. Probably with boxed Mac and cheese.
  • Veggie burgers or regular burgers
  • Spaghetti, either that black bean spaghetti I got at Marshall’s or Green Giant lentil rotini I got on sale at Target
  • A prepared salmon and vegetable salad I also got cheap at Grocery Outlet
  • And “Greek night” with a lentil salad and a white bean salad from Lidl and some mighty fine looking mixed olives I got at Grocery Outlet for 77 cents.

And this little naughty cockatoo refuses to vacate the drying rack, probably because it’s heated.

Now my daughter and I are off to bake cookies.

Sunday morning babbling

Nala is chattering away on my chest as I recline in bed with a cup of coffee at 7:30 a.m. The wind howls and rain patters sporadically. It’s freakishly warm for an East Coast winter morning. The budgies fly and play freely as Saturday and Sunday are free bird days.

We got up at 6:30. Nala once again plucked a feather and squealed when I didn’t come get her as soon as I woke. I don’t know if it’s out of fear, hearing a rustle in the dark and not knowing if it is me, a cat or an unknown predator or if she’s a brat and wants my immediate attention.

Life with birds. Speaking of life with birds, I notice that people with larger birds often have a bird room and bedtime rituals so the birds can sleep undisturbed. I wonder if I will eventually move Nala so she can get her rest undisturbed. I need to start putting her to bed around 6:30 since I’m an early riser. My evening routines need to change.

This morning, I had planned on opening Nala’s cage and going down to make coffee and feed the cats. Nala jumped on my hand and decided to come for the ride. I didn’t even offer.

But she’s a moody little Goffin and refused to do anything but sit on my shoulder and bite at me if I tried to move her. (I was offering her her morning tea which she wanted, but she wanted to drink it from my shoulder. I tried to ignore her, and leave her on my shoulder but then she would fly off my shoulder and stand in front of the cat. Luckily, she did this with Oz who has no idea what she is and merely sees her as something over which he displays jealousy versus Opie who clearly sees her as dinner.)

I was trying to be patient but then she starting picking apart the shoulder seam of one of my favorite work-appropriate dresses so I put her back in her cage. She didn’t like that. I have tiny bloody beak nips on my fingers now, but once she saw I was putting her in her cage she settled.

Five minutes later I came back to my room with my coffee and fresh romaine and fruit for everyone. I opened Nala’s cage door, put her fruit in, and let her hang out on her cage while I gave the budgies their romaine.

Then she rejoined me. Much less moody now. And she said two more phrases this morning. One almost sounded like a greeting and another that seemed like “hi, Nala.” She said it when I slipped out of the room to use the bathroom. If my attempt at reading the context is correct, it seemed like she was requesting to come with me.

Nala met some new people yesterday. She met my neighbor, mother of the Maltese/Yorky mix who visits here and spends her vacations with me. Nala didn’t know what to make of such a strange dog but she did like my neighbor’s very pretty nails and jewelry. I hope Nala learns to trust my neighbor as she is one potential caretaker should Nala need a sitter.

Then Nala met my dad and stepmom. Nala jumped right on my dad’s shoulder. Immediate connection. She refused to come down. My stepmom reached out and asked Nala to step up but Nala wasn’t interested. My stepmom had a cockatoo thirty years ago so I wondered how she would react to them. I have never seen an animal or a person not take to my dad.

I also bought Nala a new toy and treats. She liked neither.

On a personal level, I did a five-minute workout yesterday three sets of 10, shoulder press, with a 15-pound dumbbell on each arm. I’m still lazy but at least I did something.

My weight though is up three pounds but I know that is because my only meal was at Applebee’s. I invited my dad and his wife to join the teenager and I at Applebee’s because I received this email:

I love food. I love real food. I love fancy food. I love plain food. But I also love junk food. And for some reason I kept dreaming of boneless wings all week. And the teenager loves shrimp.

And while Applebee’s is not fine dining… I wanted company and I hadn’t seen my dad since Christmas. We all got the all-you-can-eat. Here’s the part I didn’t know; it’s mix-and-match. So you can get either boneless wings OR double crunch shrimp OR riblets AND get a different one every time.

I ate two plates of wings. So there’s soooooooooooo much sodium in my body right now.

I’ve spent an hour drafting this. I need to sort out laundry, wash the floors and hopefully get to the gym today. I did some grocery shopping last night. Spent $40 at the Grocery Outlet and hope to do my meal plan for this week.

It’s going to be another stressful one.