Cornelia and St. Francis

Not to beat a story to death, but….

This is a sequel to Saturday’s post.  I have started keeping the sliding door closed and paying close attention to the dogs, particularly Daisy, so they can be let out when necessary.  I forgot once to close the door when I was going back and forth working outside in the yard.

That required removing another nest from the cabinet top.  Like I said, Cornelia the bird, is pretty strong-willed.

My husband left the door open when he left out early this morning.  I removed another nest building effort when I got up a couple of hours later.

I just let the dogs out and left the door open for a moment when I went to check the laundry.  My daughter, Faith, came to tell me that Cornelia was perched on top of a St. Francis statue on our living room bookcase.

It might be my imagination,  but St. Francis appears to be looking at me with great disappointment.

Cornelia has been working really hard on her nest only to have me destroy it again and again.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad living with a family of birds.

A bird in the hand…

…or in the ceiling light fixture, or cabinet top or any other place it damn well pleases (please excuse the language).

That’s our wildlife adventure for the day – actually, I’ve been dealing with this freakin’ bird  for over a week.  A bird, possibly a pair of Carolina Wrens, have decided that our home is now the perfect spot for their new abode.

First, I kept telling my husband that there was a bird in the house.  He said in a very patient and slightly condescending manner, “No dear, there is no bird in the house.”  Next thing ya’ know – “Holy shit, there’s a bird in the house!”  We found the nest in the light fixture attached to the ceiling fan in the dining room.  We took the light down and threw the nest into the compost pile.  Situation handled.


Then…we found a nest in the light fixture of the living room fan.  Took it down, cleaned it out and put it back up.  Next day, another nest.  Cleaned it out.  Left the ceiling fan running.  The bird dodged the fan blades and started another nest.  Took the light fixture down.

This morning, I hear the bird again.  My daughter sees it flying away from atop a cabinet in the kitchen.  I clean up the nest and go to throw it into the compost pile and realize that the bird is reusing the same nesting material over and over again.


I go run some errands, come home and the nest is back above the cabinet.  I give up.


I kept thinking that the bird would be frightened away by the constant human interference and presence, but I am sooooo wrong.  Who’s the bird brain here.  That bird is working harder to stay in this house than I am.  I could learn a thing or two about perseverance from this bird.  “Home” is worth fighting for.

I’ve tried to identify the bird,  but I can’t get a picture of it (or them) because it is really fast.  I went online and searched for small brown birds with a yellowish breast, but that leads you to more specific requests for information – like what color are it’s eyebrows.  Seriously?  I’m a relatively intelligent, educated person and I never knew birds even have eyebrows!

You might be asking yourself how the bird is getting in the house in the first place.  Good question.  Our back door is of the sliding variety.  The first week we moved in someone walked through the screen and we just never replaced it.  In pretty weather, we just leave it open and that’s never been a problem.

In addition, we have a 19 year old blind, deaf, incontinent basset hound with advanced dementia.  She will often still go outside to “do her business” as long as there is easy access.  That means everything needs to be the way it’s always been – door left open.  For the most part, we have beautiful temperate weather here, so it’s all worked out.

Now, it appears we’re going to get a doggy door that we really can’t afford.  We’ll never be able to teach Daisy how to use the doggy door.  I had to decide between cleaning up after the incontinent dog that can’t find her way outside or the flock of freakin’ birds living in the kitchen.  The dog can “woof” continuously for up to 20 or 30 minutes, but the baby birds…that would be annoying beyond words!

photo 1 (4)
Daisy Mae, the Basset Hound

I really love birds. I do.  They are beautiful, interesting, and intriguing.  I like to look at them and hear them sing.  I often use their images in my art. But, like many other things, the idea is more appealing than the reality.

In short, I don’t want to live with them.  I appreciate them much more when they are outside, in the wild where they belong.

UPDATE: I have officially identified the bird as a house wren – appropriately enough since she’s decided to live in my house. I put an aluminum cake pan on top of the cabinet to discourage the bird.  She shoved it out of the way and started rebuilding the nest behind the pan.  I took the nest down and she immediately started rebuilding.  This is one determined bird.


I’ve decided to call her Cornelia:  it means strong-willed.  My husband has been walking around laughing (at me) all morning. He thinks I’m obsessed and probably a little bit crazier than normal.   He claims the bird is smarter than the dogs and will figure out the dog-door before they do.  Sigh.

Be the Change…

I had several ideas for writing today, but one has very clearly floated to the surface on this Wednesday.

It could actually have been titled:  Perfectionism, Part 2.

Background information here!  For Christmas, I was given a beautiful journal with the Gandhi quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, stamped on the cover.  I had an epiphany of sorts…I had been pondering a “theme” to use for the New Year.

Resolutions just haven’t ever worked out well for me.  Does anyone really have any luck with them?  Who makes it to the end of January without breaking the resolutions?  Certainly not me!

Anyhow, in 2014, I decided it would be my year of “No Fear”.  I consciously decided to face things that I was afraid of instead of avoiding them.  For example, I started this blog (which had actually been started previously, but abandoned because I was afraid).  I publicly shared my art.  I battled my tendency towards agoraphobia.  Whenever I became reluctant to start or do something, I thought it through and tackled it.  Much better than resolutions!

Back to January 2015…I decided to play with Gandhi’s quote a bit and came up with:  “Be the change you wish to see in your world”.  Instead of worrying, perseverating, whining, or giving up on the things I’m unhappy with in my/our life, I decided that I would take action.  Taking steps, even baby-steps, even steps in the wrong direction, is preferable to doing nothing and being miserable.

The thing that I’d most like to change in my/our life right now is our financial situation.  It might be classified as dismal except that’s depressing.  Let’s just call it “a situation that has room for improvement”.

And that brings us back to the beginning of this post…

I’ve been sitting here at my desk for well over an hour.  It’s been a busy month with lots of distractions and I’ve totally let my money management system get out of control.  That’s a fancy way of saying that I’ve just been shoving the unopened bills into a big pile on the shelf above my desk.  Let me tell you, procrastination is no way to get your money woes under control.

Lesson number one:  Remember the theme from 2014 (No Fear) and stop avoiding that which you are afraid of.

Lesson number two:  Don’t forget to  “Be the Change”.  Doing something is almost always better than doing nothing at all.

One of the reasons I had avoided dealing with the bills is that I couldn’t pay them all.  I couldn’t do it “right”.  It wasn’t going to be finished.  Some bills were going back in that pile.

It’s so hard for me to take steps in a journey when I know I can’t get where I want to go; at least right now.

I’m trying to learn to let go of the expectations…that I can somehow be perfect, please everyone, have control of the journey, or change things as quickly as I’d like.

Most importantly, I’m trying to be kind to myself when I can’t seem get my act together…when the fear never fully goes away and when I feel like giving up instead of trying to change things.

Life is hard sometimes.

Life is always wonderful.

If you can’t do it right (perfectly), then don’t do it at all?

One of the many side effects of being a perfectionist is that sometimes you find yourself avoiding doing things because you can’t do them perfectly.

Hence, the long absence from writing.  I’ve really missed telling stories and sharing here…and often found myself thinking _ “I should write about that!”  But, I kept waiting for the time to “catch-up” on everything that’s been happening in my life.  The more time passed, the more that was happening, and the harder it was to write it all.

Truth is, the world will probably keep on spinning without knowing the details of the past months.  It would, indeed, be a long and possibly boring post!

Suffice it to say that time has passed and stuff has happened.  Some of it was significant, some not so much.  I’m just going to post this imperfect jumble of words to get back in the swing of things and trust that the important stuff will eventually find it’s way out into the world in future posts.

Life is, as always, good.  Challenging and difficult, joyful and sad, mundane and significant.  Life is….life.

There, I’ve jumped back in!  That first step is always the hardest, isn’t it?