Happy, Happy

Goodbye

After 10 days of searching, I found a rescue organization licensed by California Fish and Game willing to take and rehabilitate Snickers. Up until Wednesday, everyone I contacted said the bird would be euthanized. Snickers was a pigeon, not a California Condor. Pigeons don’t rate when it comes to allocating resources. I understand. But understanding the reasons why doesn’t mean I have to accept them.

I was in the baby bird formula section of PetSmart, of all places, reading a popular online discussion board on pigeon care. I had searched the board for rescue organizations the day I found Snickers, without luck. Lots and lots of UK organizations, but nothing local to me. In one thread I read something about medicine and how you could buy it at bird feed stores. On a whim I decided to google “bird feed stores” and one came up in my area–I’ve actually been there for wild bird seed for our feeders outside! There, near the bottom of the site, was a link that said, “Have you rescued a wild bird?”

Yes! Yes I have!

I called the number listed for a rescue organization 20 minutes from my house–one I didn’t find in the previous 10 days of googling. I spoke at length with the woman and ensured she would not put Snickers down unless it was absolutely necessary. We agreed I should come over and show her Snickers and when I asked her if 11:15 was a good time she said, “That should work because I feed the squirrels at 11:00.”

That’s when I knew she was my people.

I pulled up 15 minutes early and waited at the gate. At 11:15 she walked out with a sparrow flying alongside her. I kid you not.

She confirmed what I already knew about Snickers: I found him when he was days old, putting him at about 2 weeks when I turned him in. Everyone (rescue organizations, vets, friends) kept asking me if I was sure he was a nestling, if maybe I didn’t pick up a bird that was just testing out its wings. The woman at the wildlife rescue organization is the only person who trusted my judgment over the phone when I said I had a very, very young bird on my hands that needed rehabilitation and release.

I’m positive Snickers is going to be happy in his new temporary home. There are many other birds there, as well as squirrels, raccoons, and opossums. He’ll get to grow in a very large pen for birds, and because he is so young, the woman is going to supplement his formula with wet dog food. What a relief he is in the hands of an expert!

Before I left I gave her a $20 donation and took one last look at Snickers’s horribly ugly-adorable yellow fuzzy head.

Since then, I’ve gone to check on Snickers several times before I remember he’s at his new for-now home. I catch myself checking the clock every few hours to see if it’s time for a bottle. Ah, well. Maybe my happy-happy is the tiniest bit bittersweet.

Newbery Challenge | Dear Mr. Henshaw (1984)

Newbery Challenge | Dear Mr. Henshaw (1984)Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
Published by Harper Collins on 2009-10-06
Genres: Classics, Family, Friendship, General, Marriage & Divorce, Newbery Gold Winner, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 176
Goodreads
Amazon five-stars
Beverly Cleary's Newbery Medal-winning book explores the thoughts and emotions of a sixth-grade boy, Leigh Botts, in letter form as he writes to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw. After his parents separate, Leigh Botts moves to a new town with his mother. Struggling to make friends and deal with his anger toward his absent father, Leigh loses himself in a class assignment in which he must write to his favorite author. When Mr. Henshaw responds, the two form an unexpected friendship that will change Leigh's life forever. Supports the Common Core State Standards

Wrapping

This is my life right now. I’m wrapping books for the library with protective covers. I’ve done 100+ so far since Tuesday but, as you can see, I have a long way to go. There may be radio silence around here as I spend the next two weeks wrapping, organizing, and decorating the library for the school year. I’m taking pictures because I’m calling it a William Morris Project.

It’s very hard to sit on your duff for hours at a time wrapping books. I like a monotonous task as much as the next obsessive thinker, but even I need a break from monotony and hours of Netflix crime shows. When I need a mental break I read a Newbery. God knows I have enough of them at my feet!

I wasn’t going to post today, but I just finished Dear Mr. Henshaw and I’m so excited I had to tell someone. What an amazing book! Epistolary novels are some of my favorites! I had no idea Dear Mr. Henshaw was an epistolary novel! Exclamation points!

This is why I’m reading Newbery winners and this is why I’m trying to read more elementary/middle school books. I tried to get the kids to read this book last year, but because I didn’t know what it was about I couldn’t sell it very well. I’m not a salesperson. If I don’t like something or can’t tell you much about it, I won’t push it on you.

Now that I I’ve read Dear Mr. Henshaw, you can bet I’ll be encouraging the kids to give it a try. It’s an excellent book.

Newbery Challenge | The Whipping Boy (1987)

Newbery Challenge | The Whipping Boy (1987)The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
Published by Harper Collins on 2003-04-15 (reprint)
Genres: Action & Adventure, Friendship, General, Humorous Stories, Newbery Gold Winner, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 96
Goodreads
AmazonBarnes & Noble four-stars
A Prince and a Pauper Jemmy, once a poor boy living on the streets, now lives in a castle. As the whipping boy, he bears the punishment when Prince Brat misbehaves, for it is forbidden to spank, thrash, or whack the heir to the throne. The two boys have nothing in common and even less reason to like one another. But when they find themselves taken hostage after running away, they are left with no choice but to trust each other.

I don’t know why I bother reading the Goodreads reviews for young adult/early elementary literature. I keep going back hoping to read something that won’t make me huff and roll my eyes and curse humanity. I’m like the person who is allergic to peanuts and applies for a job at the Skippy plant. I should really know better and yet there I am, huffing and rolling and cursing.

Here is the most important thing you should know about The Whipping Boy: IT’S A CHILDREN’S BOOK. The grade level equivalent for this book is 4.0, so 4th grade. The Lexile Measure® is 570L, the DRA is 40, and the Guided Reading Level is R. This a book for the average 4th grader.

Got that, People of Goodreads?


As a piece of young adult fiction, The Whipping boy earned a Newberry Award. I’m not sure why.

You’re not sure about a lot of things, Jessica. You’re not sure what young adult means. I can tell you it doesn’t mean “books for 3rd and 4th graders.” You’re also not sure how to spell Newbery or what it awards. The Newbery (one ‘r’) celebrates children’s literature, not young adult literature. You’re thinking of the Michael L. Printz award.


This book is simple, but entertaining. It’s a quick, easy read. I remember reading it at some point during elementary school and enjoying it then. Reading it lately, though, it seems that it might hold more interest for kids than adults.

I can’t imagine why a children’s book would hold more interest for kids than adults. I’m stunned and once I wake up from my stupor I will view life through a new lens.


Yes, it’s entertaining. But the Newbery? This is such a doggone short book that I’m surprised it even made it onto the discussion table in the first place.

+10 points for spelling Newbery right
-05 points for using the word doggone
-95 points for assuming the Newbery has a page requirement

Final Score: -90


After reading “The Hunger Games,” this book seemed incredibly simple…

Please stop thinking.

This is a terrible book that I was forced to read in fifth grade. I was put into a group of other kids who were also made to read this miserable piece of fiction against our will, and it was so bad, that I was able to persuade my teacher to put me in another group. I thought it’d be better, but everyone else in that group were way ahead of me and understood a lot of it. It was called “The Westing Game” and it was by some guy who doesn’t know how to write, and it would take me forever to catch up to the other kids. I never did, so I was put back in the Whipping Boy’s group again, but the kids in that one had already finished it.

Snort. OK, so this guy actually made me laugh.

Please, understand this is a book for children. I would give this book, which I very much enjoyed, to 3rd and 4th graders. I will encourage my reluctant readers in 5th and 6th grade to give it a try. It’s a great read aloud book, too, because it is so short. I plan on reading it to Nico and Mikey, who have not read the Hunger Games, thankyouverymuch.

Snickers Update

Week 2

Yesterday I was running late. I had to take the boys to swim and then go to a meeting at their school. In order to get ready, I had to stop in the middle of feeding Snickers and ask the Mister to take over. I’ve been very good about doing all the Snickers work myself, both because I’m the one who brought the bird home and because this would be the time I bring home a baby animal with a rare communicable disease that turns everyone into ducks. Better safe than sorry.

But asking him to finish Snickers was unavoidable. So I knocked on his office door and said please and thank you and you’re awesome. I noticed him smiling at Snickers getting so excited about the bottle and as I ran by I said, “It’s fun, huh, to feed something so little.”

“Yeah,” he said. “But she still hit every ugly branch in the tree on the way down.”

I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but Snickers is alive and well. Lots of changes in just one week, too!

Growing!

Snickers was unfeathered all over but the wings two weeks ago, and even those still had feather sheaths. (You can see that picture here.) S/he couldn’t walk, couldn’t perch (stand on my finger), and really couldn’t stand very well, either. Snickers spend the first few days sleeping and eating. Come to think of it, s/he still spends most of the day sleeping and eating, but stays awake longer after eating.

Other changes including perching for a few seconds at a time. We work on that every day. Snickers can now stand and there is a little bit of walking/hopping, but only when the bottle comes out. It’s more of an adorable shuffle. And, you can see in Snicker’s sexy wing picture, the feather sheaths are starting to dissolve and some downy feathers (in gray and white) are coming in on the back and side. The yellow fuzz on the neck is gone, and today I noticed that some feathers are coming in on the neck and a couple on the head. The head is still yellow fuzz, but I bet in a week or we’ll have more feathers than fuzz.

Lastly, we are spending more time outside. I read that birds at the fledgling stage, which Snickers is fast approaching, spend some time on the ground or on low perches. The Mister and the boys are researching outdoor pigeon houses to build for Snickers. I’ll move Snickers there and, hopefully, once s/he is ready to fly, that will be that. I’m hoping to have that house set up in the next week or two.

When I first brought home Snickers, s/he was drinking from a baby pet bottle with the nipple snipped to the bottom. Now that s/he has almost doubled in size (!!) I’ve started cutting fingers off of rubber gloves and poking holes in them. The video above is of Snicker’s 3rd time using the rubber glove “nipple.” Snickers hasn’t quite got the hang of it, but the learning curve sure is cute!

Week 5

w5, 1

w5, 2

w5, 3

w5, 4

w5, 5 (1)

w5, 6

w5, 7

I suppose I should take my walks earlier if I don’t want most of them to look like they’re wearing a gray blanket of doom. Something to think about.

I thought about it. I’ll walk when it’s convenient.

The first picture may explain why I’m raising what I’m raising a baby bird (to be later released). We had unusual winds for this time of year fpr 2-3 days. I assume Snickers fell out of his nest or his nest blew apart. The research I’ve done on pigeons and doves-because birds and day planners are all I think about this week–suggest that they build flimsy nests, leaving them susceptible to winds. That’s just wikipedia. I won’t link to the dozens of bird sites I’ve read since Saturday. Speaking of reading, those of you who are on Pinterest and follow the book club board might remember me pinning this book about pigeons years ago as a potential book club pick. I love books on animals, and this one is so appropriate now that I might see if my library has it. (Hahahahaha. I’ll have to buy it.)

And, hey! Week 5 of daily walking now under my belt. Go me.

Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.