Monday, December 31, 2007

End of Year Reflections

2007 was a very good year for us. No major complaints! All of our parrots thrived, we added a friend for Daphne, saved 2 uromastyx, and avoided aquarium catastrophes that plagued us in 2006.

Unfortunately, there are so many parrots out there that don't have it as nice as mine -- or as nice as those owned by people conscientious enough to read about parrots on the Internet! The small parrot rescue where Thomas and I volunteer took in several hundred parrots this year. Parrots that once had loving homes but became expendable once they no longer fulfilled their owners' expectations. Parrots who were abused, neglected, and mistreated because they were acting like the wild animals that they are. It just breaks my heart that these wonderful, sentient beings are often so mistreated and misunderstood by humans. I wish I could do more, but have been trying to make myself understand that I can't save everyone and that bringing more parrots into my home at this point would only serve to shortchange the ones who already share their lives with us.

There are so many sitting in that shelter right now that I would love to bring home. And it's so easy to bring "just one more" in. But where does that end? Recently I gave a presentation on clicker training -- a fantastic way to bond and communicate with your parrot. At the end, I overheard one of the participants say, "This sounds great, but I don't have 5 minutes a day to spend with each of my parrots!" This is a person who went from having 2 parrots to 17 parrots in about a year and a half. They are still taking more parrots home, yet they don't have 5 minutes a day for each bird? What happens when the novelty wears off or when, in a few months, they wake up, realize they have 30 parrots and are sick of the noise/mess/whatever?

5 of my 6 parrots are second-hand (or more) parrots. We purchased Max from a breeder before we knew about the plight of unwanted parrots. There are so many untruths out there about needing to purchase a baby in order to have the parrot bond to you. This is a blatant lie, and it saddens me that so many people believe and repeat it. All of our birds, with the exception of Jeff Saturday who has been with us less than a month, are extremely bonded to us. And Jeff Saturday has made huge strides during this time so it won't be long until I can say that he's bonded as well. Rocky was 19 when he came to us, and I am hard pressed to think of a way in which he could be more bonded to Thomas.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, but it's just something that has been bothering me lately.

The end of the year is always a good time to reflect and make goals for the next year. In 2007, my big goal was to read 52 books, and I was able to accomplish that! I had gotten away from reading the past few years, and rediscovered why I love it so much. I just started reading The Agony and the Ecstasy and it is fantastic so far. In fact, I can't wait to go home and read and was a bit late for work this morning because I had to read one more chapter (which turned into about 5). For 2008, instead of trying to read a certain number of books, I am going to read a few books that I have started in the past but never finished, including Citizens and A Distant Mirror. These have been sitting on my bedside table for several years now. I am also going to try to revive the dormant book club my family had started a few years ago.

As for knitting, that is something I learned how to do in 2007. It hadn't been a particular goal, but now that I knit scarves (I've completed 5 so far), I want to branch out in 2008. I have ordered circular needles and yarn from supercrafty and will teach myself how to knit a hat before 12/31/08. Maybe mittens, too, but we'll see how the hat goes!

We hadn't taken a vacation since 2005 due to concerns over leaving the parrots, but now that we've found a fantastic lady who is willing to take care of them, we went to Prague in 2007. The parrots were basically no worse for wear, so we've got two trips tentatively planned -- Madrid in February and Belgium in May. Thomas has an arthritic condition that could render him wheelchair reliant in the coming decades, so we want to take advantage of our good health while we can.

We also have been making a concerted effort to buy local as much as possible. We have a relationship with a local farmer where we get all of our dairy products (we're vegetarian or we'd get our meat from him as well). The cheese tastes much better, and knowing it's from cows, goats, and sheep that are not mistreated is a bonus. We've discovered several local wineries, and are in the process of signing up for a CSA for the summer. That's where we, in effect, buy a share of a farmer's produce and receive a box of fresh, organically-grown vegetables every week throughout the growing season. We did that in 2005 but were unable to make it work in 2006.

For all products, we're trying to be more conscientious, as well. I had to give up a long-standing amazon addiction when I found out that they support dog- and cock-fighting by selling paraphernalia (magazines, etc.) on their website. It's been a challenge to find companies that have similar values to mine, but I'm trying as hard as I can!

I'm sure in a rambly mood today. I hope that everyone had a wonderful 2007 and that 2008 is just as fantastic!

2 comments:

Shannon said...

Hi! Don't worry about rambling. I'd call it making total sense. And you're not alone in your observations and conclusions. Thank you for taking the time to express them. By the way, even though I haven't left many comments, I eagerly look forward to every post you make about your avian companions. It's fun, enriching, gives me ideas (I'm now an regular customer of Parrot Asylum), and I just plain like how you write. Thank you again!

Mary said...

Shannon,

Thanks for your comment! I'm not sure what came over me yesterday -- I usually try to be more upbeat!

I'm so glad you've found Parrot Asylum -- such fantastic products and a really nice lady who owns it. Which reminds me, I have to get some more foraging stuff up that I did using stuff from there!

Thanks!