Bad: She's grown afraid of the blue hand towels I use when I towel her for nail trimming. I should try some of the white and other color ones.

Good: The "hold still while I hover my hand over you" training's good for getting her into a towel she's afraid of.

Bad: She won't take seeds from me as rewards/treats while I try to train her. I'm going to have to get her used to that again by first having her eat from my hand when she's hungry, and then hopefully at any time.

Neutral: I have a tendancy to clip her nails less far than I did with Peeper. With Peeper I clipped her nails until they were short enough for me, occasionally hitting the quick and having to use styptic powder to stop the bleeding (though I now understand starch or flour is better, I should fill a film canister and put it in Gabe's supply kit). With Gabe's light toenails I can see the pink shade inside her nails where the vein is, so I'm really nervous about hitting it so I don't clip it back as far as I would've otherwise. I get over this (and did with Peeper too when they got too long) but having the vet clip her nails at her yearly checkup. The vet/techs know better how far is safe, and can quickly respond if it does start bleeding, so they can clip them further than I can, then for the year afterwards I'm essentially attempting to maintain that clip and slowly losing ground, until her next checkup.


Dec. 12th, 2006 02:03 am
asterroc: (Peeper - Sleepy)
Some day I'll stop crying when I read things like

Go with me on the last journey. Never say "I can’t bear to watch it," or "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember that I love you.
--10 Commandments of Parrot Ownership

I didn't wake up. It was 9 in the morning and I went back to sleep and when I woke and uncovered her, she was gone. She'd gone quietly, I never heard it. I wish I hadn't gone back to sleep. her body was pointed towards the water bowl, she was struggling to get to it? her eyes, eye sockets were sunken, dried up. and i wasn't there for her.
asterroc: (Peeper - Sleepy)
I went to A. C. Moore this evening right after chorus, originally to look for something that I could create as a star mirror dangle for my car. I found opalescent origami paper, but also yarn for a scarf to match my new jacket, and ribbon and a few nice turquoise beads to make a necklace to replace the one that I bought that's built for a fatter neck.

And then I found Blue Moon Beads Item 61556. They had all the others too, except 61576, which now that I see it is my favorite. I ransacked the aisles for beads to match and findings for what was now in my head, and left a hundred bucks the poorer an hour and a half later.

3 hours of procrastination and 2 hours of crafting later.... )

Cheaper than the last harebrained scheme I had, and I get it now, when I need it.
Peeper's been on my mind again. As mentioned previously, I'm really thankful for all the wonderful years we had together. I'm also really thankful for all the support from my friends this summer.

However, I recently read that in cockatiels, an all-pellet diet can lead to kidney problems. In 2003 I converted Peeper from an all-seed diet to an all-pellet diet. In 2005 she had signs of poor kidney function, and at my vet's recommendation I changed brands of pellet. In 2006 she passed away from kidney failure.

Now I won't say I *quite* blame myself for her death, but I do regret it, and I do think it's possible my actions to attempt to help her instead hurt her. I also don't have sufficient credible evidence to fully believe that pellets-only can cause kidney failure, but my personal anecdotal experience does show a correllation.

I feel it's important to learn from one's mistakes, even when we're not entirely sure they're mistakes. For Gabe I'm working towards 1/3 Kaytee pellets, 1/3 Harrison's pellets, 1/3 seeds. No, I'm not going to be giving him fresh cooked vegetables twice a day - there's a reason I'm posting this here and not on one of those all-knowing communities.

Gabe's still not as friendly as I'd like. It will take years for him to become more friendly, presuming he ever does. My neighbor Maria says he really likes hanging out with her budgies. Gabe definitely knows he's a bird, unlike Peeper. Shame, really. Makes me consider getting a second bird, both to fulfill my wish for a playful bird, and to give him companionship. I want him to be happy, and I don't think he is sitting all day in his cage by himself and then just placidly watching the large featherless beast lumber around all evening. I am thankful I have that goofy and beautiful creature to wake up to every morning; I want to figure out how to make sure he's happy. A little part of me is tempted to just give him back to Maria....

I'm tired, lonely, missing Peeper, I'm not thinking straight.


Nov. 22nd, 2006 12:25 am
asterroc: (Astro - 2MASS)
I am thankful for the 16 years of joy I had with Peeper. I am thankful for all the many wonderful people in my life who supported me through it all. And I am thankful for all of my friends and family and Gabe who are still in my life and continue to brighten it every day, even when they're not here.

[ profile] blue102 (and others), make sure I send a Christmas card to Aunt Pat.


Oct. 18th, 2006 08:36 am
asterroc: (Gabriel - Goofy)
Gabe has a second flight feather out now, and he knows it. It's one the same wing, his right, so he now has one long one at the tip, and one moderate one next to other feathers. He occasionaly launches himself off my hand or shoulder, which he didn't do for a while, and doesn't go *thud* anymore. He's also figured out the he can then walk to and up the ladder to his cage.

He's still doing the food yelling thing, and I'm still caving in and giving one spoon of seeds every morning, and one every night - according to my measurements earlier 2 spoons of food a day will maintain a low weight or make him lose weight if he's high. Four spoons will let him gain weight. I'm unclear whether he's sneaking pellets during the day, maybe I'll make him gain weight and then not feed seeds at all for a while. Past couple nights I've shushed his yelling by letting him play on my shoulder. He really likes my necklace, but can't yet figure out that he's capable of climbing vertical surfaces, just so long's they're covered with fabric.

It's amusing to me how Gabe has a more independent spirit than Peeper did, but she had the capability to be more independent than he. With no primaries for life, Peeper learned how to get places by foot, and she also developed strong wing muscles so a single primary feather could get her enough lift. Having had all his primaries all life long, Gabe's used to flying anywhere and doesn't yet grok his other options by foot.
In response to a comment by [ profile] l0stmyrel1g10n on my last post, I've now written up a bit more about cockatiel colors. And it's still not everything under the sun...


Sep. 29th, 2006 07:35 am
asterroc: (Gabriel - Goofy)
i dreamed i woke up and gabe wasn't moving, he was motionless on the bottom of his cage, with his neck twisted funny and his eyes wide open. i touched him and he was cold. (this is the first time i can recall feeling physical sensation in a dream, probably b/c the referred memory is so vivid and was so emotionally loaded.) i wasn't sad. i started to half think about buying a conure.

i woke and actually was sad, which i'm happy about. he chrirruped "i hear you, it's morning and time to uncover me" and I was relieved.


Sep. 25th, 2006 08:08 am
reality: something got me crying about peeper again last night.

dream: [part 1] the lifegem i ordered from peeper's ashes came in, but it was the wrong color, and i'd forgotten to have her name engraved on it. [part 2] a salesman asked if i'd rather give that ten thousand to him to get her back then have the life gem. i said yes. he said he had one question: was that really what i wanted. i said i had one question: would she come back as a zombie or otherwise undead. i answered yes to him, he answered no to me, so he did it. i failed to ask that she be restored to health.

reality: i do keep thinking i want a lifegem from her ashes, silly as it sounds. i don't even know if there's enough of her. why did i keep dreaming that things went wrong, and it was my fault? last night i kept thinking it was too soon for me to have gotten gabe: i'm not over peeper, i keep wanting him to be the same as her, i don't appreciate him for himself, i want something other than what i did get. i still have the easy out of giving him to my neighbors. i don't wnat to do that, it's not fair to him. i don't love him. he's not the same. no one will be, i know that, but i still want the same, and htat's the problem.
asterroc: (Peeper - Sleepy)
I was just replying to a post on [ profile] parrot_lovers and I realized that I'm starting to forget things about Peeper.

When Gabe worries at my necklace he's clearly playing, as he works at it until he gets it off of me, and then cranes his head over the side of my shoulder watching it until I pick it back up. He's opened the clasp, and he's bent the links, whichever's easier he'll do. I've taken to putting the clasp at the bottm when he's around so he can't get at it as easily.

When Peeper used to worry at my necklace or earrings, she was preening me, not playing. But I can't for the life of me remember how I knew that.



Jul. 25th, 2006 11:06 pm
From this morning.

I was playing with all sorts of birds, the size of Quakers or Conures, bright green and blue and orange, scratching their heads. The poor orange one, same color as orange sherbert, had something wrong with its right eye, but as I scratched her she opened it and I saw it was a cataract.

I think the reason I keep dreaming these dreams about scratching birds is that Gabriel doesn't let me scratch him, and I don't feel like we're really bonding. Rationally I'm sure most of that is my really hectic schedule and how I don't have any time to spend with him. Here at astrocamp, he spends most of the day in his cage, and when I'm around I'm working on the computer on my online class, or else sleeping. So I haven't had the time to devote to him, getting him used to me, getting him comfortable with playing outside the cage, and so on. He's been enjoying a couple of his toys though, and he's perfectly content being in his cage all the time, he never has an urge to leave it, so I don't think he's noticing the neglect, it's just me.

After the dream this morning though, I found myself tempted to call it in, and give him to my neighbors, his godparents. They like him a lot, they enjoy his reclusive personality as is, and then I would feel free to buy a hand-raised conure from a breeder who'd know me from just after birth, or even one from a pet store that crooned as I walked by and stuck its head on the cage for a scratch from me. I miss that affection, that unconditional love, that I got from Peeper. Peeper I would've taken outside here to enjoy the sun with me; Gabe it seems like it would be a chore, I'd have to watch him not falling off of me w/ his clipped nails and wings, or if he'd had full feathers he would've just flown away.

Maybe I should set myself a deadline like end of Fall semester and if by then Gabe doesn't seem to like me any more, I'll ask my neighbors if they want him for good and look for a new bird. Sad.


Jul. 16th, 2006 01:06 pm
I wish Peeper had made it here, to the college I abandoned her for four years for. It's really beautiful outside, so deserted in the summer that I could walk through the whole town with her on my shoulder and never worry about something scaring her and she gets hit by a car. The air just smells fresh. She would have loved sitting in the sun with me. I didn't even bring her ashes. This would've been a good place to scatter them. Maybe I'll come back next year with her.

Maybe I'll take Gabe out later, maybe not, probably not. His wings are clipped enough that he can't escape. (Peeper wouldn't've wanted to, she would have shared the day with me and missed me if I left.) He doesn't grip my shoulder hard enough, so he keeps falling off me. At least he's starting to walk towards me after he falls, he's starting to trust me, associate himself with me. He seems fine here - I've got his cage behind my computer right now so he can see me the whole time. Less sunlight here than the living room, but it seems so sterile in comparison. It's hot out, outside might not be enjoyable anyway.
I'm leaving for astrocamp in two days, for two weeks. it just occurred to me - i have to decide whether to bring peeper's ashes with me.
I placed Peeper's ashes (in their box) on my mantle. Next to them is a clear box that I have some of her feathers in, and two eggs from when she was laying in 2003. The mantle, feather box, and ashes box make a three-tiered display for a few cards I've gotten from people. I'm not yet sure how to work the dried flowers into it, or if I want to. That might make it seem too much like a morbid shrine and not a celebration of her life. The flowers currently hang in the sun in my kitchen, the petals in a green bowl on the windowsill. Last night I slept well for the first time since getting Gabe and rearranging my bedroom.

Today I swept out the stairway outside my apartment. It's supposed to be my landlord's responsibility, but he doesn't do it and I don't feel like asking ever so I did it. It's still really dusty, needs a second sweep and a mopping, but not as nasty as it was. I disturbed a moth during the process who tried to fly out the large (sealed) window on the landing. It was interesting to watch, and I felt bad that it couldn't escape. And then two or three sparrows, the lead one male, flew up to the window and hovered outside, trying to catch the moth that was safely trapped behind the glass! It was amazing to watch, the moth was a few inches in front of me, and the sparrows just a few inches beyond that, they didn't care about me at all. I considered running to grab my camera, but about when I decided not to, the sparrows grew tired of the unwinnable chase, so I made the right decision by staying and enjoying the moment rather than running for a camera and losing the moment entirely.
asterroc: (Peeper - Sleepy)
picked up Peeper's ashes today; [ profile] jethereal came with. they came in a cardboard box that was some 3"x3"x4", like it was in the mail as-is. I was even more confused when I picked up the box and it weighed more than she ever had. The woman behind the counter explained that they were in an oak box - it's kinda like a casket supposedly for display, and the base comes off with two screws revealing a little ziplock bag inside. They're more than a thimble but less than a shotglass, lighter gray than I expected, with bits of bone still visible. I cried some more, but not loudly.

Gabe waltzed over the ceiling of his cage - he likes hanging upside down, which Peeper never did, but he doesn't like to come out and hang out, which Peeper did. His poops seem super watery still, so I may call up the vet tomorrow, but they didn't call back w/ any worms... I'm making progress though: one time I accidentally knocked him off the arm of the chair I sit on, and when he landed a foot a way I held my hand on the floor and he walked over and stepped up without prompting. Another time he walked over to my foot and stepped onto my foot and I "elevator"-ed my foot up to my hand so I could transfer him to my shoulder. So it seems like he's starting to know me.

he's not Peeper, he never will be.


Jun. 28th, 2006 06:50 pm
picked up my iBook at the FedEx today - the zip code was printed wrong on the tag, and the address wasn't in either google or yahoo maps, but I figured it out anyways.

got a call in the grocery store checkout line from a number in the same area code but not in my phone book. I try not to answer calls in public - I was embarassed my phone rang in the first place - plus I knew what it had to be and I didn't want to break down crying in the line. didn't in the car either, but hopefully [ profile] jethereal will come with me tomorrow to pick up her ashes so if I need him to drive I can.

got a bunch of non-dyed bird toys for Gabriel. I briefly toyed with renaming him "Kitty" for the humor value and so I could shriek it at him, but I like the angel connection too much.

got some veggies to go with a beef in oyster sauce stir fry right now. I'm going to go do that. hopefully i'll do some HW and externship work too, but .... we'll see.

ETA: Oh, and after buying roasted in-the-shell peanuts labeled "Mets" on a whim, I heard on the radio that the Sox are playing the Mets tonight. Heh.


Jun. 26th, 2006 07:52 am
The important part that I remember is that I was leaving my parents' apartment while talking to my mom. We had two zebra finches and two gray cockatiels that were feather plucking - one had plucked so many that it was hardly recognizeable as gray, and the other had no white patches on its wings, so I could easily tell they were different from Peeper. I was asking Mom about whether I should tell Charlie we'd found these since he was giving me Tico assuming I was lonely. But I worried that then he wouldn't give me Tico, b/c I didn't really like these two birds, I hadn't bonded w/ them, and Mom said it just was b/c I hadn't given them names yet.
So I'm thinking of making cards out of one of Peeper's photos. It's (of course) cheaper if I get a set of like 10 all the same, but I can't decide between a few.

[Poll #754154]


Jun. 22nd, 2006 01:11 pm
A thank-you goes out here to people who sent me tokens of their sympathy: [ profile] blue102, [ profile] galbinus_caeli, and [ profile] meredithanne42 and [ profile] unofischal. The most sweet of all though, was the sympathy card from the Tufts Animal Hospital. Brought tears back to my eyes to see that even in her waning days, she touched a number of lives.

My parents said my eulogy made them cry. I realized I left out one item - how Peeper used to wake early and then climb into bed with me, begging me to scratch her - but the piece seems complete as is, so I may not add it.


Jun. 19th, 2006 09:05 pm
When I went out to my car today, I was parked in by my neighbor Charlie's truck. I went to knock on his door and we got to chatting. He's got a vegetable garden on a fence nearby - it's actually on someone else's property, but Charlie takes care of the driveway in exchange for being allowed to plant there. As we walked back to his car, I mentioned how Peeper had recently passed away. He expressed his condolences, then dragged me back up to his apartment to show me, well, he found a tame (escaped, I presume) cockatiel by his vegetables just today!

He's a beautiful Lutino with the unfortunate bald patch they seem to be famous for, who looked a little nervous but readily stepped up on my or Charles' finger. That is, I'm assuming male from the bright cheek color, but I could be mistaken (as we were with Peeper). His eyes are red - apparently the specific mutation that causes Lutinos is a lack of melanin, which usually makes 'tiels gray and their eyes brown, but Lutinos and "albino" cockatiels do not have any negative eyesight side effects (at least I haven't heard of any).

So back to the bird, I offered Peeper's cage to Charlie, but I think he plans to not keep him in a cage at all, which is cute, but less safe for the bird and Charlie's posessions, but it's his choice. Charlie said he actually planned to give him to his mother, but if she doesn't want the bird, he'll give him to me instead.

I'm not getting my hopes up - I'm not even sure I'd choose a cockatiel for my next bird, and it'd be much easier on both me and it if I got it after I was done with the summer traveling. Though it occurs to me Charlie's so sweet he'd gladly take care of a bird while [ profile] jethereal and I were travelling, and he does know birds as he has a number of parakeets himself. And I'd rather not a noisy jealous male bird. If I did get him though, I'm tempted to name him after the vet who was so good to me and Peeper - Raffaele (it's an Italian spelling, I gather). Or maybe Charles/Charlie, after the student and my neighbor. <shrug> No use counting my cockatiels before they're hatched. :-P



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