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Jazz Fest, Bird University, and Spontaneous Combustion

I took an unscheduled break from blogging while making room in my life for the Jazz Festival. I saw the following concerts: k.d. lang, Pink Martini, Chick Corea, Bela Fleck, and Daniel Lanois. I thought they were all good.

The Jazz Festival is an entirely different creature than the Blues Festival or the Folk Festival. There wasn’t much of a festival atmosphere to it. It was very subdued, with limited food selections, almost no craft booths, a tiny CD tent, and no green initiatives (not even recycling bins!). Because almost everybody was over 40 years old, there were only chair people – no standers. Which meant that there were no chair wars, which is kind of a standard feature of outdoor festivals. From what I could tell, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of drinking or dancing going on. Cigarette smoking was banished to designated areas and I didn’t smell a single joint anywhere.

The music was good, the setting was okay, the porta-potties were clean, the food was adequate, the beer was excellent (Beau’s), and the acoustics were decent. But it just didn’t feel much like a festival. Since there wasn’t much to do, people tended to stay in their chairs and play with their phones.

What else is new? Well. Duncan lost some more weight. He’s down to 15 pounds now. He’s lost 10 pounds since I got him. Those prescription appetite enhancers really work. I never thought I’d have to worry about Duncan’s appetite. This morning he was on his fourth breakfast at 9:30! I guess the kidney disease is going to kill him sooner or later, but it’s vital he keeps eating. On the bright side, he seems happy enough. He still loves to snuggle and sleep and patrol the neighbourhood. The only thing left on his bucket list is catching Oboe.

Speaking of Oboe, I’ve been playing school with the birds every morning. I’m target training them. I have a little wand (a chopstick with its end painted red), and when they touch the end of it with their beak, I reward them with a safflower seed. So, for example, I say “Perch” and touch a perch with my wand. Oboe flies over, lands on the perch, touches the wand, and I give him a safflower seed. He’s my star pupil – he loves playing school. Simon likes it too. Even though African Greys are supposed to be the smartest of all parrots, so far this doesn’t appear to be true of my particular flock. Oboe’s a wickedly clever little lovebird, and Simon’s a sweet, daft baby Grey. Kazoo is shrewd. She won’t do anything for a safflower seed. If I want her to touch the wand, I have to show her a peanut first.

Recently we rented a van and went out to Kazoo’s old home to pick up her outdoor cage. It barely fit in the cargo van. It’s huge. Now Kazoo and Simon can spend some time outside each day which is very important for their vision and absorption of calcium.

Oboe could easily slip through the wire mesh of that cage. Simon can stick his head through it too so I can’t leave them alone out there even for a couple of minutes. I take Oboe out in his regular cage while the big guys share the big cage. We don’t generally stay out too long because I can’t handle the heat. Seriously. Hot muggy weather and hot flashes are a lethal combination. I feel like I’m a prime candidate for spontantous combustion.

Far better that I sit inside with the shades drawn, eating frozen cappuccino yogourt and fanning myself with a copy of Bird Talk magazine.

12 comments to Jazz Fest, Bird University, and Spontaneous Combustion

  • I went to Jazz Fest on Friday night to see Elvis Costello and caught a bit of Elliot Brood as well, and I think it was a bit more of a festive atmosphere that night than what you encountered. There was definitely drinking and dancing (on my part and by others). Though I was annoyed by the Chair People taking up all the space right in front of the stage for Elvis Costello. They should have a place for standing people who want to dance close to the stage. Maybe dancers at the left, Chair People at the right? I don’t know. Anyway, I had a lovely time. I loved Elvis Costello so much I lost my appetite and didn’t even eat any of the vegan cookies that were for sale. :)

    • I ate one of the vegan cookies! It was pretty good. Ginger something – my favourite. I’m glad Elvis attracted a party.

  • Florence

    I agree with you, that hot, muggy weather and hot flashes are a lethal combination. Your description about feeling like you’re a candidate to spontaneously combust is also a good description. I’m going to borrow it! I keep telling people that my thermostat doesn’t work properly!
    I do so enjoy your stories about your menagerie.

    • Thanks Flo. The menagerie is a lot of fun. I had a dream about you last night. You had asked me to go to your house to do something for you while you were away. Turn something on or off, I forget. So I let myself in and tried to turn on the light, but it didn’t work. There were all these light switches that controlled other things, like the garage door and the air conditioning. I couldn’t remember what it was you wanted me to do, so I was wandering around, hoping I’d see something that would remind me. I noticed you had all kinds of air conditioners and heaters, and they were all going full blast. You had a whole room full of tiny antique tables. And there was a big old Packard in your garage. That’s all I remember!

      • Florence

        Hi Sue, my light switches do control things, like the patio light and one lamp in one of the plugs in my living-room. I also have one switch that doesn’t seem to be connected to anything! There are two switches in each of the bedrooms – it took me the longest time to figure out that one switch turns the light on in the closet and the other the lamp in one of the plugs. No garage door or air conditioning (I do have two fans, perhaps those needed to be turned off, but I can’t imagine me leaving them running when I’m not there. No heaters either.) I wish I had some tiny antique tables, but not a whole room of them. I have too, too, too much in my apartment! Maybe I’m going to finally starting sorting through things and get rid of them? No garage to have a Packard in it – maybe I’m going on a trip in someone’s Packard? I might have asked you to pick up my Saturday and Sunday papers. My young friend from next, who is a primary school teacher will be moving in a couple of months so I won’t be able to depend on her to do that. If you remember anything more about that dream I’d be interested in hearing about it! You remember far more about your dreams than I do! Maybe you can dream me up a good man?

    • I laughed out loud when I read it [spontaneous combustion]! It is so true and I plan to steal it also. Well, I shall try to remember to give credit.

  • Lucy

    You should get one of those kids’ water sprinklers and set it up in whatever space you have left in your backyard next to the bird cage. Then you can cool off, and I’m sure the birds would like the sprinkles of cool water too! However hot it gets the water from the sprinkler is always still cold or cool.

  • Lucy

    There are some cool kids’ sprinklers at Shoppers Drug Mart with many little spouts that wiggle and shoot water in all directions. I got one of those and it;s great. We also have a water gun that my son got for his birthday so I chase him and squirt him down.

    You could also go to one of the splash pads or wading pools to cool off… but maybe two adults going there without a kid would look too weird. If you want to rent a kid so you can go to the splash pad, let me know and I can give you a discounted rate! :-)

  • grace

    Sitting with your feet in a bucket of cold water is also very effective. I can just imagine Kazoo laughing under the sprinkler.