This is the year I plan to relocate, we have decided to take our gang and head west, to Arizona and start a new life there. Why Arizona? Many reasons, but, first and foremost, I love the diversity and climate, when I set foot on Arizona sand, I feel at home and I realize that is where I want to spend the rest of my life. We cannot choose where we are born, but we can choose where we will live and eventually take our last journey.

The times ahead are gonna be busy, we have a house to pack and sell, we have to make our last memories of Illinois as our residence, and we have to put roots into a new community. We have to figure what is going with us and what is not going, we have to find a house, and I have to find employment—again, we’re gonna be busy! As for employment, I am seriously considering IKEA for a career, it’s a great company with ethics and people that I really appreciate and respect—the blue-box has much appeal if you look at it in a realistic and fair light. Yes, I will still be working in design, but I am also weighing options and seeking some diversity.

What are my long-term plans when I relocate? I want to do more in the avicultural community, I want to write more, contribute more, and find my focus—there are many ideas floating around in my head, its just a matter of bringing them to fruition. Arizona is where I will spend the remainder of my life and I hope to make a contribution there and enjoy the second half of my life. I have done much research, that I am convinced this is the perfect decision for me. I also look forward to doing some cactus gardening and landscaping, I love the geometric shape of cacti and I think it will be fun working with them as a visual and living form. As for my participation in aviculture, well, sit tight and wait, as I said, lots of good ideas are floating around in my thick skull, I just have to bring ‘em out!

One of the toughest considerations is realizing that I may need to reduce my flock so I can pursue a new life and spend time with the one companion parrot that I truly adore—Ms. Maggie, my Hy. I love all my birds, but Maggie has changed my life and I look at her and realize that as I grow older, she will be the one that will stay with me ‘til my dying days, she understands me and I understand her. I look at my flock and I have raised some wonderful birds but as I grow older I realize there are other things I need and want to pursue. Those of us, with larger birds realize our birds do not age as quickly as we do, they are perpetual two-year-olds and that is what makes them so endearing.

The biggest issue is when I look at my flock, I honestly love them all, each one is significant in my life for particular reasons, but I am also realistic with myself and what lies ahead. If I could do parts of my life over, I certainly would never have built the flock I have, I would have limited myself to two macaws and been happy with that. I go back and forth with rehoming some of my birds, I want what is best for everyone—not just me, and more importantly—them! I realize the facts, most larger companion parrots will see many homes in their lifetime, but I don’t like adding to that statistic—I actually hate it! Who do I choose? Who do I trust enough with my beloved companions? How do you find the right homes and feel secure with them? All of these are questions I am asking myself on a daily basis—this on top of all the other issues—yeah, it makes for a long day! Who do I keep along with Maggie? My little Blue and Gold, Rigby, who can’t wait to see me when I come home? My stunning Greenwing, Blaze, who is often misunderstood, but is truly a gentle soul when given the opportunity? It’s a very tough decision.In the upcoming months, I will hopefully have an answer—if not sooner. Of all my birds, I can honestly at times see Blaze in another home with someone who could dedicate more time to her, she sorta got blindsided by Maggie when she came home and then later with Rigby. There are days when I honestly believe I am a stepping stone for Blaze and she will be going on to a place where she will blossom.

So, my friends, this year will be a year of many changes for us, we want to meet all those we have friended on Facebook, we want to enjoy the blue skies and warm winds of Arizona, and we want to leave Illinois behind us to build anew. I hate what Chicago and in particular, Cook County has become, it’s not where I call home anymore, I will always love Chicago, but from a safe and sane distance.