Sunday, April 6, 2014

Things are so good - weekend recap - rambing!!!

A rambling post, most likely.  And one with no pictures!

Friday it was quite rainy here, so I aborted my attempt to bike to work after two blocks (I'm in a very conservative, professional firm so they frown on me arriving sopping wet!)  I decided to take the bus in and let fate decide how I'd get home.

It was beautiful around 5:00 pm, so I decided that I would run the three miles home.  I always keep a set of running clothes at work in case I ever need to exercise mid-day.  This planning paid off!

As I was running home, I realized that I am currently the happiest that I have ever been in my entire life.  And then I started thinking about how my life had changed so much in the past few years.  I was near suicidal when I found out that Thomas had been cheating on me.  I really thought my life was finished.  I'd put all of my attention into him (misguided!) and I'd neglected myself.  Never again!  This entire journey has shown me how I have amazing parents, wonderful friends, and a great life.  I never would have left him if he hadn't cheated on me.  Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like had he just remained faithful.  I would have stayed and had just been a shell of myself. I may have even become an alcoholic.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a day off of work, spent the night at my parents' house, and the day shopping with my mom.  I had such a great time!  My dad keeps the wine flowing, so we started having some interesting conversations (after some cards, of course!)

I had thanked my parents for being such great parents.  I've observed that I'm truly lucky in being born to my mom and dad.  I grew up super poor, but I always knew I was loved, and had essentially an idyllic childhood.  My dad started talking about parenting, and said, "I think that the best thing your mom and I did for you kids is..."

At this point I expected some sort of profound announcement -- "...the fact that we emphasized education" or "...the unconditional love that we had for you" or the equivalent.  Instead, he said, "...introducing you to movie musicals!"  And he was serious!!!

So then I started texting my siblings so we could see what everyone's three favorite musicals were.  It's really hard to choose, but I think mine are "Guys and Dolls," "Singing in the Rain," and "The Sound of Music."  Except "1776" should be in there as well!

In any case, Friday evening I had dinner at my best friend's house.  One of our mutual friends was involved in an organization that hosts international visitors.  There were two from Georgia who were spending a few days in my town.  They came over to my friend's house, and we had dinner together.  It was fascinating learning a bit about Georgia (I really want to visit Tbilisi someday after hearing them talk about how beautiful it was!)

I ran a marathon on Saturday morning.  It was a race that Thomas and I had run together in 2011.  Because I'm finally healed, emotionally healthy, and in a happy place, it was interesting for me to note the differences.  I could talk to people!  I didn't have to revolve my race around his pace!  No one was mean to me!  (Thomas was ever the only person who was mean to me, but I made excuses and lived in a fantasy world where I pretended he actually loved me.)

I went directly from the race (after showering) to the funeral of my work friend's brother.  I've read that you need to keep professional contacts professional, etc.  Maybe it's good that I don't listen to the rules.  I have become fast friends with one of the ladies at work.  I will call her Monica.  She's closer to my mom's age than to mine, but we are kindred spirits.  I have only been at this job for about two years, but she has become an amazing presence in my life.  We tell each other, "I love you," and it's so true.  I get along so well with her husband, kids, and extended family.  It's strange what fate has in store for us!

Then, I went to my friend's house to watch the basketball game.  Of course, I was rooting for Wisconsin, and my heart was broken when Kentucky won after we were leading almost the entire game.  I should just be happy that we made it to the Final Four, but I still feel cheated.  A bit.  I walked home (how cool is it that I live just a few blocks from my best friend's house?) and was just about to fall asleep, when I got a text.

It was from one of my very good friends, who is the husband of one of my coworkers.  (We also tell each other that we love each other.  Why don't more people express their true feelings?  I love being authentic and honest with everyone!)  They were vacationing in Florida, and their cat sitter called them to tell them that their cat was not doing well.  I felt so honored that they would call me to figure out the situation!  Even though it was about 11:00 pm at night, I went over to their house, packed their cat into the cat carrier, and went to the emergency vet.  Everything went well -- the cat is stabilized -- and my friends will be back on Tuesday.

I went to bed around 2:00 am.  Do you ever feel like you're living this crazy sitcom life?

On Sunday morning (today), I met two of my good friends to go for a walk.  I didn't feel like running since I was still recovering from my marathon, and one of my friends can't run since she is recovering from an eating disorder.  We had a great talk.

When I was married, I didn't really have friends.  I had acquaintances, but  I couldn't do things with other people or I'd incur the wrath of Thomas.  I'd learned to walk on eggshells, and normalize his aberrant behavior in order to keep the peace.  After all, I believe in marriage, and was determined to make mine work.

Now, I have so many friends!  My acquaintances have turned into friends.  I've made new friends.  People who I barely knew were there for me, and still are.  And vice versa.  I've learned to be authentic and truly happy.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say by this, other than abusive relationships suck.  I didn't think I was in one, even though friends of mine told me that I was.  He didn't hit me; I'm intelligent; things are OK; right? Not so much!  I was emotionally and verbally abused.  The stories I have told have brought my friends (and me) to tears.  Why did I think it was OK for Thomas to treat me so poorly?  And the truth of the matter is that I believe so strongly in marriage being forever (no one in my family gets divorced) that I would have stayed with him.

Which brings me to the end of this message -- I had an amazing first date today.  Since I've been single, I've gone on approximately 40 first dates.  I tell my friends stories about them, and they double over in laughter, asking me to write a book.  Perhaps someday, though I suspect my experiences aren't that different from other people trying to date in their 30s. (There are a lot of weirdos out there!  But also a lot of really good people!)

Things are looking up -- if anyone is reading this and is in an abusive relationship -- things get so much better!  Surround yourself with only good, loving people!  You're worth it!!!

Foraging with Max

Sometimes Max gets a little irritating. I know -- can you believe it? So, I look for things that will keep her busy for at least a few minutes.  One of her favorites, of course, is foraging.  It involves food, after all!  I recently realized that I get more bang for my buck when I throw in a bunch of tiny treats rather than use one large cashew.  Here is a video of Max trying to get the little treats out of the tower:

Ice cream, please. Want Some!!!

I was eating ice cream the other day -- not sure why since it's basically still winter here despite the calendar saying it's April -- and Max wanted some, so she got it:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Stadium concerts! And then a little culture...

One of my 2014 goals is to see 14 concerts. I am well on my way to beating this number! Earlier in the year, several of my best friends and I went to see P!nk. I didn't really know her music -- I tend to listen to indie stuff rather than anything popular -- but she put on an amazing show and I recognized several of her songs!
For my second stadium concert of the year, I got a text from one of my best friends, asking if I were interested in a free ticket to see Miley Cyrus.  This is definitely not a concert I would have paid to go to, but free?  Definitely!

First: we were meeting at a bar ahead of time.  I got there a bit early, and my friend was running late, so I sat at the bar and watched basketball, nursing a beer.  The guy next to me tried to pick me up.  So funny!  I told him I was way too old for him, but he kept trying.  I think he was in his early 20s.  I am 35.  Finally my friend got there, we joined her other friends who were already there, and had dinner.

The concert was pretty amazing in terms of the lighting, props, etc.  However, it was approximately 80% simulated masturbation.  I thought that was pretty sad, as Miley Cyrus's voice sounded pretty good.  If only she'd focus on the music instead of pretending she's in a porn movie...  I couldn't believe how many young children were there.  This is not Hannah Montana!

And now I sound like a prude...which I don't think that I am, but this was out of control.  Guess how much a hoodie (with a semi-pornographic photo of Miley on the front) cost?


And people were buying them!!!

Anyway, here are some pictures:

A few days later, I went to a concert put on by Brett Dennen, who is one of my favorite singers ever.  Check him out!  Pictures aren't good, but the music was.  I can't wait to get to see him again!
My office is not far from the art museum, so sometimes I sneak out of work and go for an hour or so.  My former neighbor called me this week to see if I wanted to see her daughter's work -- her daughter had been selected as one of the high school kids to display their art on the walls of the museum!  Here is her self-portrait:
 We had a great time catching up over lunch at the museum:
I used to run with her every Monday morning before work, so it was great to reconnect!

I'm missing a lot here on the blog, but so much has been going on.  There is life after leaving an abusive spouse!  More than I ever could have imagined.  Again, I am going to try to keep up more with what's going on in my life, with or without the parrots.

Speaking of the parrots, all of them are learning new tricks!  I'm going to have a friend over to videotape some of them because it's really quite fun.

I hope that everyone who reads this is doing well, too.  I am so looking forward to spring!  I've been able to ride my bike to work the past two days, and that has definitely improved my mood.  Heading to the trails for a long run tomorrow.  Life is good.  More soon, promise!


Please? Step Up!

As is probably obvious, I have a super special soft spot for Calypso.  Of course, I love all of my parrots, but there is something special about Calypso.  He is so sweet, and just perfect.

This is one of my favorite things that he does -- I'm so glad I was able to get a picture of it (especially as he hates the camera!)

Sometimes when I put my hand in his cage to give him a quick scratch before leaving, he takes my fingers in his beak, pushes them down, and then steps up on my hand.  Even though I am on the outside of his cage and it's closed.
I'll usually let him stay like this for a bit, and then I leave: a few minutes later than I would if I didn't have the cutest parrot ever.


Yet more random things that have been my life during the three months (!) I have not posted on the blog:

I have a GREAT coworker.  Actually, I have many great coworkers.  Peter is just one of them.  He lives in the same part of town as I do, and he's got eagle eyes.  Many times, I'll be out biking or running, and I hear my name called -- it's either Peter or his family yelling hello to me.  I love it!

His daughter is a great young lady.  They came out to watch me run in the marathon a few years ago.  When school in canceled, sometimes she comes in to work and helps us out with our filing, or other tasks that a 9 year old can do.  She came in a few weeks ago, and gave me this beautiful purple bracelet:
One of my closest new friends is an amazing lady who is very creative and busy.  She has created an organization that gets together food bloggers (they let me come even though I don't have a food blog, and very rarely parrot blog) on a theme.  Last month, for February, our theme was aphrodisiac foods. She made this delicious heart-shaped cake:
 I made a pasta salad that incorporated cherries, almonds, and spinach:
At home alone on a Sunday one week, a good friend called and asked if I wanted to go to the art museum with her.  Of course!  This was my favorite part of the special exhibit.  Fish!
My coworker and good friend won an award for being a Corporate Trailblazer in our city.  This was the food I ate; it was so delicious and some of the best stuff I have ever tasted.  I think the main dish was cheese-filled crepes.  I wonder if I can make something so amazing?
I may have mentioned that my dad and I have season basketball tickets to our local NCAA basketball team.  They didn't do very well this season, but we went to every home game and had a great time together.  My mom was also able to make many of the games.

Here is a picture from their first league tournament game.  We had very low expectations, but they pulled out a win!
And then, shocking us all, they kept on winning, until they won the tournament and, with that, a berth to the NCAA tournament!!!  It's unlikely they'll advance, but what a wonderful end to the season.  (I hope they don't jack up the prices too high for season tickets next year since my parents and I will be getting them again!)


To start January, one of my best friends and I went out to the trails for a run.  We've done many of these since then, but this was the first one.

Getting ready to get out in the cold:
So snowy!  So beautiful!
Back at home, Max continued to be adorable and to beg for me to pick her up:
I try to tell her that she is an independent grey and not a needy cockatoo, but she doesn't listen.  As soon as I put the camera in front of her, she pretty much lifts up her foot -- her way of asking to be picked up.

Calypso, as adorable as ever.  This year, he turns 19, and he celebrates his 10th anniversary with me.  Our bond just keeps getting stronger and stronger.
And Beeps continues to do well.  Here, he's showing off for the camera: destroying his phone book (who knew they even made those anymore?)
So excited that he rolls over on his back!

Max, again:

Eating peanut butter on a spoon.  She loves showing off how smart she is; I had several friends over when she did this.

Earlier in the year, I had my internet tech stop by to figure out why my service had ceased to work properly.  She yelled "Hello!" as soon as he walked in, and later insisted on performing her tricks for him.  What a show-off!  As it turned out, he had a Grey at home, so delighted in her tricks.

Calypso gets revenge

Last month, I was reading on the couch, and the parrots were hanging out on their cages.  Max apparently was bored with behaving on her cage, so she decided to fly to Calypso's cage.  And throw things at him.  At first, he was hanging out on the floor, playing with toys he'd dropped.  Once Max started aiming toys at him, Calypso climbed up to the floor of his cage, as shown here:
But that wasn't enough for Max.  She continued to try to throw things at him.  Finally, he had enough.  He marched up his cage and chased her back to her own cage:
Made me laugh!  (Of course, I would have intervened if it had become necessary, but I knew they'd be able to figure this out among themselves.)

More concerts!

I have months to catch up on -- and this will be but a poor substitute. I will be mad at myself years from now that so many of my experiences were not logged here!

I was heading to visit a friend, and the sunset was so beautiful, I took a picture while stopped at a light.  Unfortunately, I didn't capture exactly how beautiful it was, but I'm pretty sure most people understand that.
Here is Yuna, an amazing Malaysian pop singer.  If life were fair, she would be an international star.  She has amazing talent, and I was able to meet her after the show.  What a gracious, beautiful woman.
After the show, one of my friends (a local radio DJ) told me to introduce myself to the owner of the venue (she pointed him out) because he had a parrot.

I did (after a bit of hijinks -- introduced myself to the wrong guy at first!) AND he offered his venue for free to use for a benefit for the parrot rescue where I volunteer.  Isn't that great?  He's had his macaw for over 25 years and he believes is parrot rescue.  We're working on something -- I hope we'll be able to raise a lot of money!

Last month, I went to see Mason Jennings, who is one of my favorite artists.  He is so multi-talented:

I won't dwell on this too much here, but when I found out Thomas was cheating on me, and I knew divorce was the only answer, I thought that my life was over.  How I had no idea that my life was really just beginning!  I missed out on so much in my 20s, but I am making up for it now!  Life is amazing!

I am alive! Things are good!

I am the worst blogger ever!  I guess it's partly because I am out having a fabulous life and not taking as many pictures as before.  Also, not as good of a parrot-owner as before, as I'm frequently out doing things and not spending all of my non-work time at home.

I feel so lucky to "know" those of you who care enough to make sure that things are OK!

This will probably come out in several posts, and, once again, I promise to try to update more regularly!!!

Some things that have been going on in my life...

As I may have mentioned before, one of the best things about finding myself single again is the vast number of acquaintances who have stepped up and become true friends.  When I was married before, I had very few friends, as my ex-husband was very anti-social and tried to isolate me.  It's only with distance that I can see how abused I was.  It's rather embarrassing, but since I'm free now, I'm able to talk about it a bit more.

Anyway, I have a dear friend -- someone I've known for almost a decade -- who became a friend after this mess.  When she and her husband go on vacation, I cat sit for them.  That's Harley on the left and Sprecher on the right.  It looks like Sprecher is an alien!
 I was driving to work one day, and this sunrise was so pretty that I had to stop to try to take a picture.
One of the best parts of what I'm calling my new beginning is going to concerts!  I have become good friends with a woman who works at several of my city's best concert venues, which means I go to a lot of shows now.  Here is Hugh Bob and the Hustle:
This winter has been brutal!  Here is what I saw out of my office window most days this winter:
 I went to see P!nk perform in concert; she is an amazing athlete:
My friend gave me tickets to see Walk Off The Earth, who did a cover of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know"   This song helped keep me sane during the darkest period of my life -- when I found out that my husband was cheating on me.  They put on an amazing show, and, in their encore, did "Somebody That I Used To Know."
I volunteer at a nature center, so when I go in to work, I get to see all kinds of birds.  In this picture, there is someone on the suet feeder (I believe it's either a Hairy or Downy Woodpecker) and someone on the other feeder.
More in subsequent posts!