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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.

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Wow! What can be said about Best Friends? They are the real deal, they raise the bar, they are the what we all need to respect and if possible—contribute to. Best Friends is the culmination of hard work, ambition, passion, dedication and compassion, the folks that make all this come true are simply incredible.

I’m back!! Sometimes we lose our focus, we all do some time or another, but most of the time, we find it again, that has been my life recently. So many issues and events taking me in different directions, so many people and politics coming into play, and I went along with it—until now.

Perhaps one of the most important events was the adoption of Rigby, our little Blue and Gold macaw. As some of you know, Rigby came to us in strange way, but she has been welcomed and loved by us—she has brought me such joy and she has also opened my eyes.

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What are my key beliefs? Avian (psitticine) education, gay rights, gun rights, and that we all need to follow our hearts to be happy. In the avian community, I am not anti-breeder, I am a moderate, I just don’t think we need another thousand Blue and Gold Macaws or Umbrella Cockatoos to be hatched when we have so many in dire need of good homes. Gay rights, well, yes, I think we need to acknowledge the fact that gay relationships are just a solid as heterosexual ones and that we need equality for everyone. Gun rights—guns don’t kill, people kill! Take the gun away and a person will find another way, trust me, we have all seen it! The last is obvious, find your drum, create your tune, and play it so people will listen.

Every time I see a photo of ad for Arizona I long to be there again and in the months ahead I will be working on making it happen, my heart is already there—now I just need to get the rest of me there. I also know that I am gonna have to make some decisions in the upcoming days that may be not to fun to make, but in the long run, beneficial in the long-term goal.

So now what? It’s time for me to focus again, and keep my goals in sight. I need to focus on Arizona and those big blue skies and creating a life there, one that will allow me to bring together all my beliefs and allow for my twilight years, when they arrive. I may not be readily available at times, but once I am relocated, things will be back to the same and even better. Bear with me friends…

Kashmir Csaky—when my Hyacinth Macaw obsession began, there became one name synoyomous with them—Kashmir Csaky, I remember going to http://www.macawmama.com and seeing her birds and I began to respect all she had done for aviculture. Aside from breeding some of the most spectacular macaws—Scarlets and Hyacinths, she is an accomplished writer with contributions that have played significant roles in keeping these amazing creatures, Kashmir in my opinion breaks the “mold” of what I consider breeders—she is far more, she is about husbandry, well-being, knowledge, and education and a true asset to the avian community.

Kashmir, thank you for your gifts of knowledge, you have educated many and given the world some spectacular birds to behold and appreciate.

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As promised, a series has begun, a series highlighting those that I feel have changed, are changing and will continue to change the way we look at our lives with companion parrots. Eventually, when I complete the series, the final will be a collage of all of them and a single word, Genius will be the statement…

Patricia Sund is a great friend, a gifted author and speaker and just an all-around great person. She has made many of us think, laugh, cry, or just stood in awe of her energy, the dynamo in black makes an impact on all. Patricia has made one word a nutritional statement Chop! As can be seen on various boards, publications, etc., the concept has caught on and is evolving. The concept is practical and fun. Patricia, my dear friend, Thank You!!!

Please do not copy these images without permission, I asked those that I am highlighting for the use of their photo and I hope those that are reading this blog will respect my intentions and efforts.

The world is full of crazy people, places, actions, events, etc., and we often associate ‘crazy’ with something negative, but I honestly believe ‘crazy’ can be a wonderful thing… I have learned that crazy can be passionate, driven, caring, nurturing, friendly, endearing, intelligent, worldly, and above all else, some of the best that life has to offer, yes, crazy can be a very good thing indeed. Apple did a ad campaign called “Think Different” it gave us images of people that have changed our lives, I want to do a group of photos in time that promote the same concept “Rethink Parrot”. Over time, I will be posting images of people that have approved me using their photos, these are the people I feel have changed all of the lives they have come in contact with, and definitely for the better.

The avian community is full of ‘crazy’ people, people that are challenging ideas, expressing new concepts, changing the tide, and helping those that have intelligence but at times have no voice or say in their lives of environment, many caged birds are just that, and the crazies have pushed that and proven there is so much more to companion parrots. Crazy in cases like this is Genius! The crazies have pushed us to rethink the old and bring forward new ideas, the crazies have given us a new way of thinking, the crazies have substantiated the way we do things. The crazies get up in the morning and think of new ways to enrich their birds lives and the lives of other people’s birds, the crazies are determined to make a difference and we are lucky to know these people—very lucky!

FaceBook has changed our lives, sometimes for worse, but depending upon how we use it, it can be for the better, we have a new way of communicating with others that we may have never been able to in the past, we cross paths with people and extend a hand in friendship and we all benefit from learn new things, that in my opinion is the best reward from being on FaceBook. I have come in contact with many that I truly consider a gift to humanity, who have changed my thinking, and in return I pay it forward the best I can, by helping promote their ideas, at times bringing my thoughts into an issue, and ideally some feathered souls will benefit.

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