Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Research Has Begun for My Second Book

I've talked and talked about it, but talk isn't enough, as I've been pushed into beginning research for my second book, because of the impending handover of control of the Valencia library and the two other Santa Clarita branches from the County of Los Angeles to the City of Santa Clarita at the beginning of July. Without access to the County libraries, I would never have been able to write my share of "What If They Lived?"

Last night I started, and today I finished, "My Thirty Years Backstairs at the White House" by Lillian Rogers Park in collaboration with Frances Spatz Leighton, about Park's thirty years working as a seamstress and maid in the White House, first with her mother, Maggie, and then in her own right for the Hoover family. Very little in that book garnered anything I could use for my own book, but being that I love the 1979 miniseries that was made from it (and which I own on DVD), it was worth reading it again.

I have no publisher for this book this time, not that easily again like it was with "What If They Lived?", but I'm ready for the challenges in finding one.

Every Day a Little Death

Late last night, our white zebra finch, Ducky, died. Like Jules, who preceded him to the Rainbow Bridge, he was old, perhaps even older than Jules, by a few days or a few weeks. We can't be sure, but Ducky was getting older when we got him. We were told we could just have him, because that pet store owner didn't see anything in him anyway, thought that because of the generally dirty look he had and the beak that had been pecked by other finches to a misshapen form, what use was he?

Ducky was good for us, and in his new cage, his energy rose, and he would make sounds like an adding machine, that ringing sound, over and over.

The saddest thing last night was not that I saw his small, hunched figure at the bottom of the cage take his last breath. It was after I went to bed, and so I heard about it this morning, that Mr. Chips, who tweeted along with Ducky, and I guess was close to him.

Mom had taken off Ducky's cover completely and was doing the necessary work with Meridith, gathering Ducky's body (no burials allowed in our neighborhood) and putting it in a paper bag along with his favorite toys. Mr. Chips tweeted and when Mom pulled back part of his cover, she found him looking right at what was going on, with his beak on the bars of his cage. He never stopped looking. They were closer than I thought.

Ducky had been going for a long time. Gradually, he began to lose energy. His feet weren't carrying him the way they used to. And the adding machine noises faded. But, he was old. That's what happens. It's sad, though, because he was one of the stalwarts of our home. Not only a cute bird, but always there, always happy.

Right now, Mr. Chips and our new finch, Gizmo, are tweeting. Mr. Chips's tweets are more boisterous. Gizmo's tweets sound like a resolute cricket with a throat problem. But then, it's his second day here. He likes that everything in his cage is for him and he doesn't have to share anything with any other finch, like he did at PetSmart. Oh, and he's named Gizmo because he has the same coloring as his gremlin namesake. His was the easiest name to figure out.

It is quiet today, though. Just as much solemnity as it was when Jules died. It feels weird not having our adding machine anymore. But it is a cycle. Mom already has her eye on another finch, one that was in the same cage as Gizmo at PetSmart. I've no doubt that'll be part of our weekend errands.