Summer, Canadian Style

The last five days, Tuesday through Saturday, were unusually cool.  A cold front passed through on Monday the 14th, bringing some needed rain (there had not been any rain for the previous two weeks), and then after that came the chillier days.  Temperatures each day got up into the 70s (only 72 degrees on Thursday), and at night they went down in the 50s a couple of times.  I can’t remember another time when I experienced a July that felt like a May or September; somebody on the radio called it a Canadian-style summer.  We even slept with the windows open for at least half the time.  Today it finally reached the low 80s again, and we’re supposed to go back to the usual summertime 90s tomorrow.

The cool snap was well-timed for us, too, because we had three guests in the house last week.  My brother Chris came up from Florida last Sunday and stayed with us until Saturday morning.  Then on Wednesday Leive’s cousin Sonny and his wife Mencie stopped here, on their way to Michigan, and spent two nights here so they could see both of us (I was in bed when they arrived).  They are supposed to come by again tomorrow, on their way back to Georgia.

In other news there has been a virus infection on my computer for the past week and a half; only today can I declare the last of the viruses gone. And since I last wrote here there have been two birthdays in the family, Leive and Brin-Brin.  Or maybe in Brin-Brin’s case I should call it an anniversary.  Last Tuesday marked seven years since we got Brin-Brin from a bird show in Bardstown, KY.  It’s hard to believe it has been that many years, though parrots do have quite a long lifespan.  It also means he is eighteen years old, but he still acts more like a kid than an adult.  We were amused to find he liked Mencie while the folks were here, and let her carry him around the house.  Well, Brin-Brin always had a thing for Asian women, except for Leive’s niece Rezia, who married his worst enemy.  Maybe I will share the pictures of Brin-Brin and Mencie here, if I can get copies of them.

Tomorrow marks three months since I started the job in Richmond.  Boy, where did all the time go?

I’ve Been at the New Job for Six Whole Weeks

Hello.  The first and foremost purpose of this message is to let all my readers know that Charles Kimball is alive and well.  I can’t believe that over the whole past month I only posted one message, and it wasn’t a very important one.  That is my longest absence in the seven years since this blog started.

The main reason is my work schedule.  From Monday through Thursday I am working a ten-hour day at my new job, so when I get home I am usually too busy doing other things, like eating and sleeping, to write anything here.  On the job it’s so far, so good, but I still have a lot to learn, even after six weeks; I am not considered to be completely out of training yet.  I’m off the other three days of the week (more when there is a holiday), but it turns out I’m often busy then, too, or I just can’t think of anything to blog about.  Oh well, my gain is your loss.

When I have been on my computer at home, I have also been working on the next and final chapter of my Latin American history series.  Since the end of March I have completed the sections on Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Paraguay and Venezuela, and have composed bits and pieces on the other countries.  It looks like I will be tackling Nicaragua next.  My goal is to complete the chapter by the end of this year.  For those of you looking forward to the latest chapter, I hope you will find it was worth the wait.

Here in Kentucky, the main news last week was the discovery that $20 million disappeared mysteriously from the local school budget, and for the first time, both the men’ and women’s softball teams from the University of Kentucky made it to the college world series.  College baseball is a sport that normally doesn’t get as much attention as basketball and football, maybe because the season is shorter.  We’ll see if that changes for Kentucky now.  Way to go, ‘Cats!

For most of May the weather was fairly typical for Kentucky.  Wet enough for Leive and I to watch for leaks in the house, and the outside temperature is just right most of the time.  In the middle of May we had a cold snap where it got all the way down to 38 degrees for two mornings, but that was very unusual.

On Sunday, May 19, my aunt and uncle from Chicago dropped in for a visit.  They came mainly to visit my father in the retirement home where he is now staying, two miles from our house.  They spent most of the following afternoon and evening with him, celebrating his birthday early.

Since Wednesday, my in-laws, Gene and Rezia King, have been staying in our basement.  They are remodeling their own house, and with the floor stripped up and foul-smelling chemicals in the air, the place isn’t a fit dwelling place for the time being, so we took them in.  I think Gene will be moving back into their house tonight (he isn’t here now, anyway).  Rezia is still here, happily cooking and chatting in Cebuano with Leive.

The most amazing thing is that our parrot Brin-Brin is friends with Rezia again, for the first time in nearly seven years.  He took it hard when she married his worst enemy (Gene), and after that, she could come over alone, and he would still go to the bottom of the cage and cry, as if he expected Gene to show up with her!  What a silly bird!  Well, Rezia sang to Brin-Brin the other day, and music appears to be what he wants the most from people.  Now he’s all right with Rezia hanging around, at least when Leive is in sight, too.  He still hasn’t accepted Gene yet, but we all expected that to be a bigger challenge.

Night Fright

A bit of news regarding the family pet.  When I came into the kitchen this morning, I noticed quite a few seeds and other small bits of trash around Brin-Brin’s cage.  That’s normal for parrots in the daytime—after all, in the wild, scattering seeds is how how birds plant trees—but it’s not supposed to happen in the night.  When I looked in the cage, Brin-Brin’s largest toy, a chain of wood and rubber blocks on a string, was on the bottom of the cage in two pieces, and so were most of Brin-Brin’s tail feathers.  Brin-Brin was on his perch like usual, but he certainly wasn’t in a good mood.

Leive and I figure that Brin-Brin had a bad dream, bumped into the toy, and both parrot and toy came crashing down.  When sleeping birds suddenly thrash about in the middle of the night, it is called a “night fright.”  Fortunately it doesn’t happen often, because we put a night light near the cage.  Coincidentally, last night I had a bad dream, too.  I dreamed I went to a science fiction convention at a hotel and lost my glasses there.  The good news is that everything was all right once I woke up.

I remember how Chico, the cockatiel we had in Florida, had a few night frights.  The worst one had us scared; he was bleeding from a broken feather, forcing an emergency trip to the vet to have the feather pulled.  That prompted us to buy a larger and safer cage for him.  Brin-Brin is okay, because he didn’t bleed from the feathers he lost, but now he only has one tail feather left, so he doesn’t look very presentable.  My brother Chris is coming to visit at the end of this month, and Brin-Brin won’t have time to grow his tail back by then; hopefully Chris will be understanding.  The picture below is a rerun from 2008, showing how Brin-Brin looked on a happier day.

Come on, Brin-Brin, eat hardy and grow some more feathers!

White-Out In the Tropics

Would you find this embarrassing, if it happened to you?  Today I read a story about a hiker who was stuck on the mountain he was climbing for two days because of a blizzard with white-out conditions.  The mountain was Mauna Loa, in Hawaii!  What a strange winter we are having!

Hiker saved from blizzard . . . in Hawaii

Yes, I did hear this morning that the famous Pennsylvania groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow, and hence we should expect six more weeks of winter.  That may be true for Pennsylvania, but for Kentucky he was wrong the last two years.  In 2012 he saw his shadow, but both Kentucky (and Connecticut, where I was staying at the time) had an early spring.  If I was going to spend a winter in New England, that the definitely the year to do it; among other things, I missed Hurricane Sandy.  Then in 2013 the groundhog did not see his shadow, but we got an extremely cold March.  Therefore I’m going to predict that the worst part of winter is behind us.  Yesterday the temperature climbed all the way up to 65 degrees, and it rained this morning, so the last of the snow from a week earlier has been melted/washed away.  However, another big cold front is passing over us right now, and the thermometer is falling again, meaning winter isn’t over just yet; the weatherman is saying we could get 3 to 7 inches of snow by this time tomorrow.  And we’ll find out soon enough what kind of weather the Superbowl will have.