Monday, April 24, 2017

"Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now."*

So, previously in my life (to steal blatantly from the marvelous Miranda Hart), well actually it was last week, something unusual happened involving the animal kingdom. My colleague E and I were taking our daily constitutional (which just means that we were doing our daily mile walk for our morning break). The square block where our office is located downtown is just shy of a mile, and we were coming into the home stretch in front of the courthouse when I noticed something odd. There were two men standing there looking closely at a bird.

Disclaimer: I am terrified of birds. It is an irrational fear, but it is my fear. Birds are going to peck your eyes out. If they don't go for your eyes, they'll go for your hair. I blame this on 1. Alfred Hitchcock and 2. Okane Hall at Holy Cross where you had to walk into the back of the ivy-coated building through a door in the inside corner of the basement. The birds used to sit in the ivy just waiting to attack making a fearsome racket. I used to enter the building at a run. And, normally, I only run when chased.

There was something strange about this bird. It wasn't running away from the men. In fact, it was hopping closer to them. That immediately got my attention. Potential bird on the attack. As we got closer, I got a better look at it and realized the bird was a parakeet.
Sunlight the parakeet, not dead

Then I made my mistake. I TOLD my colleague, "Hey look. It's a parakeet. How did that get there?" Well, my colleague is an animal lover and decided then and there that we needed to rescue the bird because the weather was still pretty cold. She tried to get it to come to her, but it was too fearful to land on her finger. I started to back up as all this happened because even though parakeets don't have sharp pointy beaks, they still have claws.

E couldn't get the bird to come to her (thank goodness) so she came back into the office where she got a box in which to hold it, saying she'd take it to the Humane Society at lunch. After conferring with another animal loving colleague, she got a good size packing box, and twenty minutes later, she was back in the office with the bird in the box. The second colleague, H, who keeps parakeets as pets, decided that she wanted to adopt the bird and brought her home with her at the end of the day. While a little gun shy at first and definitely hungry, the parakeet, now christened "Sunlight", is healthy and doing well.

* from "The Dead Parrot" sketch by Monty Python

"And there's another country, I've heard of long ago"*

So I went with my parents to Easter Mass at their church because I didn't have enough time to go to Mass at my church in Hartford, go home, make the hors d'oeuvres I was responsible for, AND get myself to my sister's house in the 40 minutes it takes to get there and be on time for dinner.

It was a very nice service. The children's choir was performing the music at this Mass, and they were doing a very fine job (despite singing everything in a high register that I haven't been able to reach since my middle 30s.) Something happened during Communion that "caught me for a loop", as my friend MMH would say.

As the congregation stood up to go to Communion, it was announced that the hymn would be "O God Beyond All Praising", which I didn't know. Or rather I THOUGHT I didn't know because all of a sudden the organist is playing "I Vow to Thee, My Country". At a Catholic Mass. In the United States. In a predominantly Polish-American church. My dad poked me in the back as I got in the communion line, and we shared a little pleased look.

This will surprise no one: as I sung the "proper" lyrics in my head, I teared up a bit.

* "I Vow to Thee, My Country" lyric by Sir Cecil Spring Rice/music by Gustav Holst

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Being an Auntie...of a Future Anglophile...

At the moment, I have four nephews. (I say at "the moment" because by the end of July I will have five. Bless!) Sister B has three boys: N1 (4.75 years), N3 (2.25 years), N4 (4 mos), while Sister K has one, N2 (2.5 years), and will have N5. They keep us on our toes, but they are a very lovable and a really funny group of kiddos.

Phone box at the Tate Gallery
Scots Guard at Clarence House
N1's new favorite film is the live action Paddington, based on the classic children's books by Michael Bond. He thinks it is hilarious and frequently quotes the film, talking about "Darkest Peru" and "marmalade sandwiches". He says "marmalade" in a British accent, that, combined with his little boy speak, sounds like he is actually saying "llamalade", which sounds far less tasty than marmalade.

The Underground
He didn't seem overly impressed when I told him that I had been to London, including Paddington station, on vacation, and London was one of my favorite places in the world. But I wasn't really sure if he was paying attention to me at the time. Hmmmm...

Cut to: It is April school vacation this week, and Sister B has been wrangling all three boys at home when something happened that she needed to share with me. Apparently, the two older boys had been playing a game when N1 said, "Let's stop! Let's play "Go Visit Aunt Melanie's House in London!!"

IF ONLY, N1; if only.

ETA: On Saturday, April 22, we went out to brunch and there were little packets of marmalade on the table. N1 doesn't like jelly (even strawberry) so he didn't try it; N3 did try it, but he didn't like it. Since I don't like marmalade either, I couldn't really blame them.


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