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Being a parrot foster parent

I belong to an organization called the Alaska Parrot Education and Adoption Center (AkPEAC). This group has, at times, been referred to as the bird Nazis.  There’s a reason they have that reputation.  It’s well deserved and well earned.

With PEAC, birds and their welfare trump all other factors.  Which means that well-meaning people who want to adopt or foster a bird find themselves facing almost more training sessions and evaluations than people who want to adopt or foster children. 

I bought my first bird in 1970 from a department store in Brooklyn.  Not much was known about parrots back

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We’re having a party

The parish church that formed the nexus of my childhood life, and the center of my parents’ lives till they died, will be celebrating its 100th anniversary this fall.  St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church and Grade School in the Ducktown section of Atlantic City is throwing itself a big party and inviting the old neighborhood to reunite for an evening of reminiscences, laughter and, of course, food.

Unfortunately, because the affair is being held in a hotel, the food won’t be as good as it was when the women of the neighborhood would gather in the kitchen beneath the stage

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Ads on a movie screen suck

Am I the only one getting more and more annoyed at the fact that I pay to go see a movie and then have to watch commercials?  It’s bad enough I have to sit through trailers of movies I’d never go to see with the sound track jacked up to ear deafening level. But then they have the nerve to actually show commercials.  The same commercials I see on TV, only writ large against a big screen they seem twice as obnoxious.

Not only can’t I get up for a bathroom break or to let the dog out or to

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Spending money despite the guilt

I was raised by parents who had been raised in the Great Depression. My mother’s family was lucky. Her dad owned a grocery store and even in the Great Depression people had to eat. But through her whole life my mother carried the memory of neighbors coming into the store with government coupons for food and the look of humiliation on their faces as they quietly slipped the papers to her dad.

My dad’s mom responded to the Great Depression by pulling him out of school and putting him to work.  The excuse she used then, and the excuse still

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Alaskans are by and far an honest lot

A few days ago, I received a call from a stranger. He said he’d found my phone number on a check that had been inadvertently left behind at a store in the Dimond Center.  Apparently the young man to whom I had issued the check had forgotten it on the counter there.

The young man’s mother is currently searching for the aliens who sucked most of his brains out when he hit his teens. She’s pretty sure that has to be the reason for such a major lapse on his part.  Or, she suggested, he was just being 16.

The

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Is there a sucker born every minute?

This past May I received a check in the mail from an advertising company for an Internet telephone book. The check was for about $3.  Being the competent businesswoman that I am, I looked at the check and wondered why I didn’t’ remember ever signing up for the service.

I read the front carefully to make sure it was an actual check and not one of those fake checks that you send back to the company and they give you that much credit if you buy the service. But no, it was a legitimate check.

I endorsed it, cashed it

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Barrow girl just doesn’t understand gardens

When I first moved down from Barrow to Anchorage and realized the size of the yard for which I was responsible, I panicked a little.  In Barrow, being responsible for a yard meant making sure the dead car, two partial skidoos and sundry pieces of what once had been an ATM were neatly stacked. In Anchorage, it was clear that maintaining a yard would involve green living things.

A friend assured me that as time went by I would become more and more comfortable with my yard, until I reached the point where I couldn’t wait for spring to arrive

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Without wildlife, Anchorage is not Alaska

There’s an old joke we used to tell on Anchorage when I lived in the bush. We’d say that Anchorage was as close as you could get to Alaska without actually being there. The more complaints I read in the paper about the moose and bears we share our world with here, the more I realize that maybe that wasn’t a joke.

I moved to Alaska from the most urbanized part of America – that great megalopolis that starts in Boston and ends in Washington D.C.  The only wildlife you see along that corridor are the deer eating on the

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A Barrow graduation

I traveled to Barrow last week for high school graduation.  My friend Greta was graduating and, after sitting through innumerable grade school Christmas pageants in which she was only visible as the ponytail in the back row, I wanted to be front and center for her final bow in the Barrow school system. It was a Barrow graduation which meant it went on for three hours in the high school gym with little kids running around, a constant flow of traffic in and out of the gym and a procession by the graduates to the rhythm of Eskimo drums while

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Addiction destroys lives

Remember that picture of Nick Nolte taken a couple of years ago after what can only have been a six-month, non-stop bender?  Remember any number of pictures of Courtney Love or Robert Downey, Jr.?

Now think about Rush Limbaugh. Have you ever seen a picture of him where he looked anything but well put together and sober?  And yet he had a major drug problem.

These thoughts run through my mind because I recently had surgery that necessitated a few days of drugs for the pain following it. I don’t do well on prescription pain meds.  So I spent the

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